What I Learned | Winter 2017-18

Vulnerability.  I'm learning that even though vulnerability isn't always easy, it's so so worth it. "Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness." -Brené Brown in Daring Greatly.  Also, this: "Vulnerability is about having the courage to speak your mind by revealing your true heart, even though you might be wounded in the process." -Tim Suttle in his book Shrink.

Justin Timberlake's new album "Man of the Woods" is  stinkin' good. There are a couple songs I'm not crazy about, but for the most party it's a really catchy album. I think it is really sweet how much his wife is on the album and how much the lyrics speak to his marriage and family. I really like the songs The Hard Stuff and Young Man. Sauce and Man of the Woods are fun, make you want to get up and dance, songs! I dig it JT, I dig it!

Steal like an artist. I got this book years ago by Austin Kleon called Steal Like an Artist. I revisited this book recently and for different reasons. I am a graphic designer by trade but am now a full-time mom. I see other moms kicking butt and taking names and I admire it (sometimes in a healthy ways, sometimes not). I want to implement things they do but am afraid to because it is "their thing." Kleon shares in this book, "If we're free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to take something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it." I'm learning to collect all of the influences that I admire and remix it into something that fits me and my family.

Norah. I'm learning that Norah LOVES books. She will carry around a book until someone picks her up and reads it to her. She is a smart little girl.

Shame resilience. As mentioned, I am reading Brené Brown's book Daring Greatly. Her research is all about vulnerability and shame. She talks about the concept of shame resilience and what that looks like in the context of our lives. "Shame hangs out in the parking lot of the arena, waiting for us to come out defeated and determined to never take risks. It laughs and says, 'I told you this was a mistake. I knew you weren't (fill in the blank) enough.' Shame resilience is the ability to say, 'This hurts. This is disappointing, maybe even devastating. But success and recognition and approval are not the values that drive me. My value is courage and I was just courageous. You can move on, shame." I'm also learning how much I value courage in myself and in others!

Isaiah is re-earning his title as "monkey". He has started climbing out of his crib which means it is officially time to make the switch to the big boy bed. I am learning what it looks like to negotiate with a 3 year old. I'm also learning how to have a better poker face.

After the fall. Isaiah got a really cute children's book for Christmas called After the Fall. It is the story about how Humpty Dumpty got back up again. I think I cried the first time I read it.

Books. If you haven't caught onto this yet, I have been reading a lot of books. I have a stack about a mile high that I want to read. I also have about 15 in the "save for later" section in my Amazon cart!

Well there you have it. The winter edition of "What I Have Been Learning..."


Leo + Joelle | Playa Del Carmen Wedding

Brenton and I had the chance to travel to Playa Del Carmen and celebrate with one of my friends from childhood as she got married!

Joelle and I met the summer before kindergarten and have many, many memories in our 20+ year friendship. I was so glad we were able to be there as her and Leo created a very special and important new memory!

We flew in around dinner time on a Wednesday. As soon as we got checked in, we dropped our luggage off and were on a mission to find food! They had incredible sushi at this resort. We payed that restaurant a visit a couple of times during our short stay! After dinner, we met up with everyone at the Gin Bar. This place was cool. We ordered our gin and tonics and then added whatever bitters you wanted. So mine was a grapefruit gin and tonic with lavender bitters. Yum.

Thursday we went on a boat ride with everyone that was there for the wedding. On the way to our snorkel spot we got totally soaked by the big waves. Once everyone was done snorkeling they prepared a fresh meal for us, including the fish they caught off the back of the boat on our way to snorkel. They had some entertainment for us on our way back and it was a much slower paced ride.

Friday was the wedding day. We had the morning to relax by the pool and the wedding was in the mid afternoon. It was on a beautiful sky deck overlooking the pool and the beach. Joelle looked absolutely stunning and their vows were so beautifully written to one another. The reception was a blast and dancing with my friends from high school brought back some fun show choir and dance memories!

Saturday was our last day in Playa Del Carmen. We took full advantage and were on the beach all. day. long. We headed home in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday and got home to our babies in the afternoon. It was a fun, quick, getaway!

Congrats Leo + Joelle!


2017 Christmas Letter


I hope this letter finds you well! We had a busy year with quite a few ups and downs! As I sit and reflect, there were a lot of lessons learned and a lot of healing that took place. This wasn't the easiest of years, but overall we count it a blessing!

In march, Brenton was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He had surgery to remove his thyroid as well as 28 lymph nodes on the right side of his neck. He then had to do radioactive iodine treatment to kill the remaining cancer in his body. We struggled for a while to get his medication right after this and he battled through some anxiety, but he is finally in a good place again! Praise Jesus! He has been hunting a lot this fall, which he absolutely loves. He is still waiting on the big buck. Work is going really well. He is still with Farm Bureau.

We traveled a lot this year! In April, Brenton and I went on a Caribbean cruise with his work. This was a much needed get away right after the cancer diagnosis! In June, we traveled with the whole family to Maine. My aunt owns a cabin there so this was a nice, slow paced vacation! In July, we took Isaiah to Disneyland with Brenton's company. My brother lives in California so we got to see him as well. My mom also decided to join us for part of this trip which was a blast! At the end of July, Brenton went to Canada for a fishing trip and in August I went to Waco for a girls weekend!

I started the year off a little rocky as well. After having Norah in November 2016, I struggled with postpartum depression. It took a while for that fog to clear. I was able to focus on fitness and getting in shape for our cruise in April. This inspired my entire year and encouraged my weight loss journey! In October, I ran my first half marathon! I'm still a stay-at-home mom and I love it. I have decided to set my graphic design career aside and focus on my kids. I'm actually really excited and relieved by this decision. I'm ready for what 2018 has for me!

Isaiah is quickly approaching 3. He is a sweet, sweet boy who loves tractors, robots, and PJ Masks. He is very aware of his surroundings and asks a lot of questions. It's so fun watching him grow!

Norah just turned 1 in November! She loves music and loves to dance. She has picked up a lot of the sign language we have taught her and will eat just about anything. Norah can be incredibly sweet and just as spicy. She is just about to start walking and is saying a few words. She is our little bug.

We are excited to start another year and we welcome it with open arms! We feel so grateful for our friends and family that gathered around us during the tough times this year and who celebrated with us during the good times. Now, more than ever, we know the value of community and that God designed us for it. But we are most grateful for the love of our Savior, Jesus. It's the reason we celebrate this time of year!

So, Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


What I Learned | Fall 2017

Recently, my friend and mentor suggested I listen to a podcast by a woman named Emily P. Freeman. I was listening to it as it was my turn to drive on our way home from Wisconsin this past weekend. I found myself pressing play over and over again. I wanted to hear more.

A couple of episodes in, Emily starts to talk about a blog series she was inspired to write. It was a series about what she was learning. She has now invited her readers to participate and it has become a community about growth. I think it is a great idea to take time to reflect, as Emily puts it, on the "sacred and the silly".

In the podcast she shares, "Tracking what I'm learning helps me understand who I am becoming."

I'm inspired. This has been a season of growth for me. I have been open to change, there has been heartache and healing, and decisions yet to be made. I'm excited to share, so here goes:

My home should look like a construction zone, not a museum. I'm building up humans. Let perfection go.

Learn to express discipline out of love and relationship, not exhaustion. I'm learning to get better at not just catching my kids when they do something wrong, but also when they do something right. I want my kids to know that I care about their hearts, not just their actions.

Isaiah is hilarious. He says funny things, at funny times, in funny places. I love him.

Female elephants. Ok, this one needs a little explanation. My friends and I saw Jen Hatmaker on her Moxie Matters tour and she talked about how female elephants behave in the wild. To sum it up (you can read more about this on her Instagram page), female elephants gather around the one that is wounded or giving birth and protects her until she is able to get back up. Essentially, they protect one another. I have my elephants, and I couldn't do life without them. I am learning how incredibly grateful I am for deep, deep friendships.

Every Mile Mattered. This one also came from the Moxie Matters Tour - thank you Nicole Nordeman! I'll just take some lyrics and leave them here for you: "It's history, you can't rewrite it. You're not meant to be trapped inside it. Every tear brought you here, every sorrow gathered. Yeah it's history and every mile mattered."

Harmonizing. I'm singing a little bit again and I haven't done this in quite some time. I'm learning some basics again.

I'm strengthening my ability to hear God and be obedient to the ways He is guiding me. I have felt Him nudging me to let go of some things that I have been holding pretty tight to. I was finally able to let it go with a deep sigh of relief. I know in my head that He knows best, but forget to trust it. When I am finally able to take that step in faith, it feels like I can breathe again.

I was a distracted mom. This goes with the thing I learned above. I was trying to do too much and it was taking away from what is most important in my life. I'm excited to no longer live distracted.

Building wood signs. I have turned my husband into Bob the builder, whether he likes it or not. I have been making/building/designing/painting wood signs for people. This has been a fun creative outlet for me!

My soul needed some breathing room. Emily helped me see this with her podcasts and I encourage you to take a listen as well. We get really wrapped up in the hustle and it contaminates us to the core. Just because I have lived a certain way for so long doesn't mean I need to continue living that way. Take. A. Step. Back.

Norah is a little spicy. She has such a different personality from Isaiah, which is great, it's just different than what I am used to. Isaiah was such a mellow baby that the thought of disciple didn't cross my mind until recently with him. Norah just turned 1 and I'm already wondering what to do with her. She is going to be strong-willed, which again is fantastic, but punching me in the face is not so fantastic. I'm learning (and will continue to learn) what it's like to raise a strong-willed child.

I can run! I ran a half marathon (13.1 miles if you don't know - I'm bragging a little) with one of my girlfriends. It was a bucket list thing and I was so proud of myself when I was done. I have a new appreciate for my body and what I can accomplish by simply having the determination.

This list is not exhaustive. There are some tender lessons still being learned, but I'll plan to follow Emily as she does this with the seasons! I'm excited to continue journaling what I'm learning over the next 3 months and I hope you will join in too!

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