**Note:  Putting this note here, feels like it will interrupt the "flow" of this post, but the whole point of this blog is to be real, so this is just me being real.  I actually wrote this not quite a month ago...I went through a time of intense grieving, and it was really strange that it came prior to when I expected it.  As I'll mention later...that's the thing about grief...it's quite unpredictable.  I expected this weekend to be really hard for me, but in God's wise and merciful plan, He has had me VERY busy and I've haven't had much time to really dwell on things.  For this, I am abundantly thankful.  While I realize that the day is just beginning, I'm thankful to have distractions already in place and I really think it won't be as bad as maybe I thought it would be.  Several weeks ago when I wrote this, I wasn't sure at what level I would even be functioning (you know...if you can't hold it together a month away from an anniversary mark, how are you going to maintain on the actual DAY?!?), but God is sustaining me.  He is holding me firm, and I am completely humbled with gratitude.  This doesn't negate anything that follows...it is all still so true, but just know that while some days seem really, really dark, there are also days that don't really seem that dark at all. 

Peace isn’t the absence of the dark. 
Peace is the assurance of God’s presence in the midst of the dark.
 Ann Voskamp

The times when my head is full of things to write are the most inconvenient times.  Driving.  Church.  Showering.  Meetings.  Lying in bed, covers perfectly situated.

And then there are the convenient times to write and I can’t remember a thing I was thinking of two days ago and it’s all just a jumbled mess inside my head, begging to escape.  Words, letters, phrases, thoughts all bouncing around.

I think I understand, in a very small way, why many classical composers went insane.  The constant noise in my head is sometimes too much to bear.  Other times the silence is truly deafening.  

The desire to run is great…to run away…but it is inescapable.  It lingers, while you run on…but the running helps.  Not the running away, but the slow plodding, feet thundering on pavement, it drowns out the deafening static that is always there haunting…always trying to take over.

Before you jump to conclusions about my sanity (of which I make no claims), just let me say that grief does strange things to people.  And then, if the grief wasn’t enough, there’s the guilt for even feeling the grief.  And then there’s the anger because why the heck should I feel guilty about my grief?  But, never the less I do, so it’s back to the guilt, but the grief is still there and still just as great, and so the merry-go-round spins…

...never stopping, sometimes slowing, but always, always, spinning.

And then there’s grace.  


An ocean of grace, drowning me, swallowing me up, leaving me gasping for air.  Grace so great I’m not sure I can actually believe it’s real, so I push it away.  But it comes rushing back to swallow me up again, waves lapping at the shore, tide sucking me in, engulfing me.  


Is there a point, you’re asking, for all of this?  Well, not really, but writing helps the crashing and banging of thoughts in my mind to find a place to rest on this page.  To give me some peace, because there…

I said it…

...it’s out.  

Seeing the thoughts in ink (or on a screen for this our 21st century) gives life to them, makes them less haunting, and somehow more endurable.

It’s been a year.  

A year since the lifeless body of my baby boy slipped from within me onto the bloody sheet.  A year since I cried out to God, begging Him to make it stop, begging circumstances to change.

Begging for my plan, not His.  

It’s been a year.

A year in which I spend every day praising Him for the miracle that is my beautiful girl throwing her arms around my neck, squeezing me tight in hugs and saying, “Momma, do you want a kiss?” 

A year in which I start to understand in some small way this phrase of “holding loosely.”  A year in which I constantly hear, “Jesus + nothing = everything.”  




A year in which I find myself trying so hard to be the perfect Christian, the perfect mother, the perfect wife, for fear that I’m not learning whatever lesson it is that God was trying to teach through a tornado, car accidents, miscarriage.  And realizing even in the midst of my trying that I can’t, I never will, and even if I could, that’s not how God works anyway.

A year when I think I’m fine and then something triggers the grief and it suddenly washes over me and the room feels like it’s closing in on me with images, sounds, smells.  Strange things that trigger it…well,some strange…and some, not so much.  And then anger at others…why were YOU not more sensitive to ME?  Surely you knew that THAT would be difficult for me to see, hear, watch, know, etc!  And then the guilt…and the realization that so many, even those who have experienced miscarriage will not, cannot understand.  They cannot understand, because they were not in my situation, they are not me.  They did not give birth to his lifeless body, they did not hold him, see him lying there in the palm of his daddy’s hand, plan his burial service, experience the soul-ripping pain of a child who was a part of me being lowered into the ground and covered with dirt, knowing all the while that his soul was not there, but still the pain was great.  No, they simply cannot understand.  Just as I could not before and still cannot for someone else’s situation.

A year when I watch my little girl playing and think of what it would be like if she were interacting with her baby brother right now.  She would be a good big sister.  A year when I hear her speak of her “brother” not having a clue (praise God for little ones not remembering) who or what she is referring to.  A year when I can’t pass the cemetery without nausea.  

A year of everyday knowing that it is part of God’s plan and trying to get my head to trust despite a heart that hurts.

A year of pouring myself into the blessing I have been given – the beautiful blessing now 3 years old…  Not wanting to miss a moment of this life with her, not wanting to spend another moment grieving the loss of a child when I have one right here before me.  Most days, that’s how things go.  But some days, some days, the grief takes over and we lay low.  We snuggle a lot, I kiss her head through my tears, I drop everything to be with her.  Because our God is good and I must remember this and must trust Him with her life too.  However painful it may be for me to think of that, but I do not want to take one day for granted.

So, if you ask me how I’m doing, I’ll tell you I’m doing well and all is grace.  And that’s the truth.  But that doesn’t mean that some days aren’t hard, that I don’t still feel an ache of loss, and that I can get through a day without thinking about my babies in Heaven.  But, I’m not one to talk about it, so this is all you get.  When the room starts closing in and the grief tries to take over, you’ll find me resting in the arms of my Savior, and lovin’ on the little girl He’s graciously loaned to me and slowly the room returns to normal.

(This is an excellent article by Tim Keller that has not only brought me comfort, but challenged me as well.)

I know You've washed me white, turned my darkness into light
I need Your peace to get me through, to get me through this night
I can't live by what I feel, but by the truth Your word reveals
I'm not holding on to You, but You're holding on to me.
~Casting Crowns~

The sovereign Lord is our refuge...He will not withhold anything from His sons and daughters...including the suffering they need for growth in grace.
~Scotty Smith~


(Marathon) Baking Day

Yesterday was one of those days where I thought I'd tackle a few small projects and be done in a relatively short amount of time.  8 hours later (and really, really sore feet!), I finally finished.  Whoa.

I grocery shop for two weeks at a time.  That sounds like I spend two weeks shopping.  I go grocery shopping every other week.  There.  That's better.  This saves me both money and time and I'm happy about both of those.  I also make a lot of what we eat from scratch.  We're pretty much getting to the point that anything we eat is either whole food (by that I mean fruits, veggies, meats/protein) or homemade.  There are still a few exceptions, but they are becoming the (very small) minority.  What all of this means is that I usually have a baking/cooking day once every two weeks where I try to make a lot of the things we will need for the next week or two, and then I just fill in with other things when time allows.  I hope to be able to share the recipes (and pictures...since I have a cutey-patootey-helper!) for future baking days on a regular basis in order to encourage and inspire you all to have your own baking days.  For me, being in the kitchen is relaxing, even with 4 things going on at once and my helper underfoot.  I have my mom and great-aunts to thank for that.  I know for some it is not, but I hope that whichever side you land on, you will at least find a recipe or something from these posts that is helpful for you.

Today, I was having camera issues again (shocker!), so I don't have any pictures that are worth posting, but I will try to link to the recipes that I made, and you can look at the original pictures on those sites.  Note that today was a longer-than-normal day for this sort of thing...normally we are only in the kitchen for 3-4 hours at a time.

Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Chicken Salad with Grapes (no recipe...just toss it all in)

Hard-boiled Eggs (to go in my tossed salad lunches)

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Granola (altered recipe slightly with fruit/nuts)

Homemade Wheat Thins

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Brownie Bites

No-Knead Bread (which I plan to bake today in my crock pot...stay tuned...)

Fiesta Lime Rice

And, can I just say that I loved being able to move 6, yes SIX pins to my Tried and True board on pinterest?!?!? :-)

Pin It



While we're not officially done with summer yet, everyone else is getting ready to go or already started back to school.  And, while I've thoroughly enjoyed our relaxing summer (pool days in abundance!), I've found myself craving structure, organization, and yes, even a schedule.  While there are many days when I throw the schedule out the window and just "go with the flow," there are also a good many days that we do try to adhere to a schedule for the most part...at this stage of life it's a "loose" schedule, but it mostly keeps me focused and accountable for being a good steward of my time (or at least that's my intention...).  SO, over the course of a few evenings last week and a few hours on Saturday afternoon, I was able to put together a daily schedule for us and on it I have just about every hour from 6am-11pm assigned.  Yesterday was our first day "following" it and I have to say that we both seemed to be much happier campers.  

C is three...as she is quick to tell anyone who will listen. :)  She loves to learn.  She is a sponge.  I love watching her learn and I love the gift I've been given to be able to teach her about God's world.  At this age, she needs SO. MUCH. TIME to play, pretend, imagine, and explore, but she also enjoys more structured learning times too.  So, as part of our schedule, we are starting some pre-school type work, both in worksheet form and of course LOTS of hands on.  I hope to spend some time planning for each month and working around a theme.  I'm not sure who is more excited about this...me, or her.    :)

You know I have a love affair/addiction with Pinterest, but I'm happy to say that I have found so many helpful resources from that site and it really is helping me to improve in many of my responsibilities.  Time management NOT being one of them.  Ahem.  The point being -- I discovered some scheduling tools from pinterest that I wanted to share...

This cleaning agenda is what I'm hoping to stick with on normal weeks 
when I can just clean a little bit each day.

If I decide to clean the house all in one day, I'll probably follow this method.

And I love this deep cleaning schedule,
I just wonder if some of these things need to be cleaned more than once a year!

All of these schedules are kept in my home management binder, and I found lots of helpful (and FREE)  printables HERE.

And, THIS is a fun daily schedule printable that I use sometimes, and other times I just use a more boring gray/white one.



When the weather's nice, we head outside for a photo shoot playtime.  OH yeah...my camera is NOT dead...just had to put some good quality batteries in it.  YAY.

OH...you brought the camera...





love this.  

aha....getting closer!




THERE'S one!

OH....did I mention 3 going on 13? :)

back inside for more dress-up!


weekend in pictures...

So my camera is dying dead.  I haven't figured out if this is just because I've drained every last little bit out of the rechargeable batteries or if it's actually the (8 year old) camera.  TBD.  In the meantime, I'm stuck with my (less than desirable but better than nothing) camera on my phone. blech.  Costco has some suh-weet deals on (REALLY NICE) cameras...just in case anyone is doing any early birthday or Christmas shopping...

We enjoyed a mostly laid back weekend at home...well, Friday night and Saturday afternoon.  Sundays are no longer restful for us now that AWANA has started, but we're thankful for the fellowship and learning/growing opportunities.

SO - this is a picture post, enough writing....

 She discovered on Friday afternoon that it is FUN to play dress up with Mom's shoes...

 She kept saying, "Mom, what do you fink of my outfit?!?"  (Seriously?  3 going on 13!)

Assassin bug, yes?

We usually have pizza on Friday nights...we're out of frozen pizzas (SHOCKER, I know!  Thank you derecho!), so we've been doing homemade.  I'm enjoying this little helper...

One of these things is not like the other....

my husband made pickles on Saturday afternoon...

yes, yes he did...you read that right.

I made butterfinger bars...yeah...the kitchen smelled lovely weird.

More dress-up....hats this time!

Mmmm....pickles!  (They are actually quite tasty!  Move over Mt. Olive....)
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