Monthly Archives: March 2014

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this week


High School orientation for Zach was on Monday. It felt a little surreal sitting there listening to the principal talk about course scheduling and credits to graduate. It feels like just a few years ago that I walked my nervous little boy to his kindergarten classroom, so afraid to walk away and leave him there. Now, he’s talking about art and technology and graphic design classes he wants to take and what he might study at college. My heart hurts a little bit.

It snowed again this week. But the great news is the temperature is forecasted to hit 60 degrees by Monday. That might not sound very warm, but in comparison to what we’ve been living with for the past three months, it’s going to feel like the middle of summer.

Jake surprised me by washing all of the dishes the other night. I had a dishwasher in need of unloading and reloading as well as a pile of dishes on the counter. Some days it feels so overwhelming. I wash them and the next day, every plate and glass in the house has been used. I don’t know why I didn’t get the “happy homemaker” gene. My mom was always so good at it and kept a nice clean home. I try, but I fail miserably. So when I fell asleep on the couch the other night and woke to Jake saying “Dishes are done, man!”, I got a little teary-eyed. He knows how I struggle with it and that was such a blessing to me.

Anyone recognize Jake’s “dishes are done” quote? Here’s the clip:


From the movie “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”. ;)

Have a wonderful weekend!

the music of my heart | all this time

When I was younger, I would sit in my bedroom late at night and listen to songs on my “boom box”. I would tape songs from the radio, especially ones that tugged at my heart and brought tears to my eyes.

I was a pianist then. I would take the songs I loved and try to pick out the tunes on the piano keys. I accompanied friends when they sang in church. I wrote songs of my own. The piano helped me get out my feelings and my aggressions. I’d play light and fast when I was happy, slow and soft when I was sad and heartbroken, tears falling on the keys.

I loved music and I surrounded myself with it.

But somewhere along the line, that stopped. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment. All I know is I stopped playing my piano and I stopped listening – I mean really listening – to music. Yeah, I would have the radio on the in the car or have a CD in, but it was like I wasn’t really letting the music in. I wasn’t letting it move me in my soul like it always had before.

The last time I remember really loving a song was after I saw the movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” (Oh gosh! I just looked that up and it came out in 2005.). I loved the song “Unwritten” and I went out and bought the soundtrack after the movie just for that song. I popped it in my car CD player on the way home and turned it up LOUD with the windows down and the moon roof open. I played it over and over. I loved the words, the music, everything about it.

In the past few months, I’ve started listening again, paying attention to the story of the songs, connecting and relating to the lyrics, crying many tears as my heart opens and remembers and heals.

And it hurts, but it feels good to surround myself with the music again.

I want to start sharing some of the songs that have been speaking to me lately, deep down in ways my heart hasn’t been spoken to for a long time. Being open and remembering and letting go of some of those feelings I’ve locked away is allowing me to let the music in again.

I recently shared about the song “Come However You Are” by City Harbor. I probably listen to it ten times a day and really wish I could just put it on a loud speaker on top of my car and drive around playing it for everyone.

“Come with your regrets. Come with the things you can’t change. Come with all your fear and all your shame with everything. Come with the pieces of your bruised and broken heart. Don’t wait. Don’t wait!” OK … this post is not about that song, but I love it and wish I could share the message of that song with everyone I know who is dealing with difficult things in their lives right now and have turned far away from God.

But today, I have to share a new favorite by Britt Nicole. I downloaded her latest CD, Gold, for Chloe this weekend because she loves that song (such a great song for girls, by the way, and for boys for that matter) and I found many songs that I love, but one that really stands out to me and moves me to tears. It’s not really a new song since the album has been out for over a year and I’ve heard it on the radio before, but I never really listened to the words before now.

I won’t type out all the lyrics, but here is the first verse and the chorus of “All This Time” that really got my attention this past weekend.

All This Time by Britt Nicole

I remember the moment
I remember the pain
I was only a girl
But I grew up that day
Tears were falling
I know you saw me

Hiding there in my bedroom
So alone
I was doing my best
Trying to be strong
No one to turn to
That’s when I met you

All this time
From the first tear cried
‘Til today’s sunrise
And every single moment between
You were there
You were always there
It was You and I
You’ve been walking with me all this time

All these years, since the moment all my hopes and dreams came crashing down around me, I know God has been there with me. I love the lines in the chorus – from the first tear cried ’til today’s sunrise and every single moment between. Even when I wasn’t listening or paying attention, when I was wrapped up in my life, when I looked within myself for the strength to get through things instead of trusting Him (which never worked, by the way), He was walking with me all along, loving me through it all.

If you haven’t already, have a listen to the YouTube video at the top. I hope the message and the music will touch you as it has me.

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to stop by here and read my blog. It means so much to me, more than I could ever express in words. :)

monday’s list


• It was a very quiet and uneventful weekend around here. Didn’t take many pictures. And I liked it that way.

• Jake took a day off on Friday and we had lunch together. That was so nice. Our dates lately have been few and far between. We let the busyness of life take over sometimes. Definitely need to make our dates higher on the priority list!

• Family game night Friday. Played a game that Jake bought – Forbidden Island.

• Enjoyed some movies – Frozen (twice) and Saving Mr. Banks. Love Disney.

• Got some new music this weekend that is touching my heart (will share about this later this week).

• I adore everything that Lindsay Letters makes. I have lovely visions of her canvases above my piano in our future home (no news on that front yet – still lots to do around here before we list our house for sale). But for now, I picked up this cute mug (above) – Live Creatively! – and I love it.

• Editing some photos to be printed for my Project Life album. Will be sharing pages early next week. More weekly layouts for this year’s album. A digital layout. And another layout for the Germany album focusing on a visit to a nearby town with a romantic legend.

• Spent several hours scanning more of Grandma’s negatives. Every time I scan, I find new moments to cherish.

Easter 1975. We sure did love our new baby cousin, Tonya (me – left, Traci – right), back when it was just us three girls and none of the boys were born yet. And I guess I thought it would be funny to sit in Tonya’s little baby seat (me and Uncle Tom – Tonya’s dad).

• I think I’ve settled on a cover design for my book. Now I just need to get the supplies I need and photograph it. Then I can start working on the layout in Photoshop. Praying I can recreate what I’m imagining in my head.

• Jake and Dwight’s latest Plus Sized Models podcast is up today. They invited their running friend, Adele, to share her experiences with running as therapy for her PTSD from serving in Iraq. Have a LISTEN HERE!

• A little over a week left of March. How did that happen? And a week and a half until Spring Break. Yes!

• This week … we’ve got a high school orientation for Zach this week. Yikes! I can’t even believe that is happening.

what a girl wants


A cute Chloe and Mom selfie. In the drive-thru at Biggby for a little jolt of caffeine. Because no post is complete without some kind of photo. taken January 29.2014

Spring officially arrived yesterday. We woke to a dusting of snow on the ground. Not exactly what I hoped for. It’s too bad that at the exact moment the season changes, the snow doesn’t melt away and the trees don’t magically explode with leaves and blossoms.

So we wait. For the warmer weather to arrive. For the little buds to start popping out on the tree branches. I’m so ready for it.

Yesterday, I browsed the Michigan DNR website and chose a campsite for Jen and I for our annual camping trip. Just the thought of sitting outside in our camp chairs, chicken and veggies cooking over the campfire, and the warm summer breeze blowing across the lake makes me kind of giddy.

It’s coming. Soon we’ll probably all be melting under some ridiculous record-breaking hot summer temperatures. I have this feeling we’re going to go from one extreme to the other this year. But I don’t care.

I want t-shirt and flip flops weather.

I want the warm sun on my face.

I want to go running without worrying about slipping and falling on my face on the icy sidewalks.

I want the beach, the pool, ice cream, garage sales, painting the house, planting flowers, opening the moon roof in my car and driving with the windows down (I sort of have to … my air conditioner is broken). :)

I want this.

If I start to think about all the things that spring and summer bring, I can feel my mood lighten a bit and I need that right now.

It’s been the longest winter EVER.

on this day … in 2007


I think I’ve shared this here in the past, but I found it again today as I was looking through old photos to see what I photographed on this day in years past. I made this page in 2007. The photo was taken by my amazing friend, Heidi, a year earlier in February of 2006. Just a quick photo taken in their spare room with all natural light against a white wall. I’ve always loved it. And, obviously, this was in the days when I did more traditional scrapbooking and played with lots of products. :)

I’ve always liked looking back through the many folders of pictures on my computer to today’s date in past years. It’s fun to see where we were, what we were doing, how little the kids were. So, I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called “on this day“. I guess it’s kind of like the ever popular “throwback thursday”, but it won’t be every week, just every once in a while when I feel the urge to look back. :)

second thoughts


Maybe people look at me and think I’ve got it all together. I’ve got a loving husband and two great kids. I’ve been able to work from home and be at all my kids field trips and class parties and soccer games. I’ve had my photography and scrapbook pages published in magazines. I’ve put “my life” out there on this blog for the past nine years, sharing all our trips and birthdays and moments. But it’s not the whole story. It’s not all pretty pictures and happiness 24/7.

Inside, I’m a swirl of emotions most of the time. But I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding it.

Sometimes I think about that line at the end of Titanic when old Rose says, “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.” I’ve always liked that and felt it was true of me. Deep down inside, where nobody but Jesus can see, are wounds and scars and insecurities and doubts and fears. Things I don’t share with anyone.

I could. I could open up more (“open” is my one little word for the year after all). But for some reason, I feel like my deepest secrets are boring to everyone but me. And I’m sure it’s my own insecurity and fear of being hurt that keeps me from sharing. I used to be an open book. My friends from high school and college will tell you. I told them everything that was going on with me and everything that was in my heart. I let them in. What you saw was what you got.

I’ve been reading “A Million Little Ways” by Emily Freeman this week. It’s all about finding the art that God made you to do. One of the things she talks about is “first thoughts” and how a lot of times we edit ourselves and push our first thoughts – our true feelings and desires – back inside and go with our second thoughts instead for fear of failure, of being judged, of not being accepted, to please others.

This is so true of me now.

Maybe it was my broken heart. Maybe it was the years completely consumed by my business, or no longer feeling like our church was “home” anymore. Maybe it was Jake losing his job and the humiliation of going through a bankruptcy, or feeling like a failure – in my business, as a mom, as a wife, as a daughter, as the maker of our home. Maybe it was just life and years passing by and feeling like I should know what I’m doing by now. But I don’t.

I don’t think I’ll ever have it all figured out. This life. And I don’t think we’re supposed to. I think we’re supposed to question and search and seek answers. And I’m OK knowing that one day, I’ll get to sit down with Jesus and all the things that I never quite figured out here in this earthly life will make complete sense because they won’t matter at all. Things that seemed to be the hugest deal will pale in comparison to sitting in His presence and knowing that THIS is where I’m meant to be. HE is what matters most. No second thoughts about that.

monday’s list


• Family Movie Night at my parents’ farm with my brothers. The Lone Ranger this time. Chloe and Rick had fun tossing popcorn into each other’s mouths (video above). ;) Mom sent us home with some St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes. The kids always love special treats from Grandma.

• I started feeling dizzy on Friday evening and it’s still with me. I’ve also got some sinus stuff going on, so I’m thinking it’s related to that. Not fun.

• Jake ran the IRISH JIG in GR early Saturday morning. His first race in a while. He was happy to get out there running again and he did great.

• It was Jake’s weekend of hanging out with the guys. The kids and I stayed home and watched Catching Fire while he went out to a movie with our bro-in-law Jeff. On Sunday, he worked on a podcast with Dwight for their Plus Sized Models site.

Happy St Paddy’s Day! I went through the drive-thru for a coffee this morning and the girl who took my order was all dressed in green and speaking in an Irish accent. I couldn’t help but smile. And she upgraded my coffee to the next size just because. A happy morning indeed. :)

around here | happy pi day


I’m typing away at my desk and I can hear bangs and crashes outside as the sun melts the snow and ice from Wednesday’s snow storm. The kids had yet another snow day on Wednesday. We went from nice thawed, dry roads, driveway and porch to 6″ of heavy wet stuff. Normally, I wouldn’t mind a random snow day here and there, but we’ve had so many this year that we were informed by the superintendent of schools this week that we’ll definitely be extending the school year into the second week of June and even further into the month if the snow days continue. I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but this is the longest winter EVER.

Our snow day was actually very productive. I spent most of the day doing laundry and baking meals ahead for Jake’s lunches. Chloe’s floor was covered in clothing, so I asked her to please sort the dirty from the clean and she ended up cleaning and organizing her whole space. When she starts working on her room, she’s on a mission and she does such a nice job of it. She likes to display all her favorite things and she’s loving her new IKEA bookcase we got her for her birthday.

I also got one of the small IKEA bookcases when we got Chloe’s so I’d have a place for my albums and Project Life supplies. Lots of new goodies arrived this past week from Becky and Kari as a thank you for being part of the creative team this year. Thanks, girls! :)

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend Starbase with Chloe’s class at the Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek. I went with Zach’s class (posted about it HERE) when he was in fifth grade, too, and it’s such a great program teaching kids lots of fun science facts and experiments. Chloe made me get my picture taken in the space suit. I did always want to be an astronaut when I was growing up, so I guess now I know what I would have looked like in space. :D

I picked up some yarn at Mary Maxim last weekend when we visited Jake’s parents. I’m giving THIS pattern a go.

It was spring conference time this week. Chloe’s was student-led and, boy, is she thorough. She put together a little power point presentation with a slide for each subject. They’re supposed to write a few sentences about what they’ve been learning. She wrote at least 6 paragraphs about each subject and read them out loud to us. The conference is supposed to take 10-15 minutes. It took us about 20-25. Nothing wrong with that. I just remember Zach’s having a few sentences, very brief and to the point. It’s so interesting to see how different they are. She’s doing well in all subjects with Math still being the one she struggles most with. When she takes her time, she’s got it. But when she’s rushes and doesn’t think it through and check her work, she makes a lot of silly mistakes. We’re working with her teacher and doing extra practice each night through a couple online sites they use in class and we think it’s really helping. Zach’s doing pretty good. His biggest problem has always been not turning things in on time and forgetting assignments. We’ve got him using a daily planner and that’s helped. Last marking period saw some lower grades because he didn’t make up work on time. This marking period has been much better and we’re proud of him for being more responsible.

Finally starting this book that my lovely mom-in-law got me for Christmas. I’ve been reading Emily Freeman’s blog for a while now and have never read any of her books. For shame. Time to change that.

And here’s my pile of books to read. It pays to have a hubby who works in publishing. Can you tell where he works? One of these things is not like the others. Hint: It’s not Revell. ;)

Still plugging away at scanning Grandma’s negatives. Found this one last night of me taking a bite out of my 5th birthday cake. My mom still makes us do that every year. ;)

And, last but not least, Happy Pi Day! For a little Pi Day humor, click over to my hubby’s website, Plus Sized Models.

come however you are


I spend a lot of time in my car. Driving here and there. These days, it’s pretty much the only place I listen to music. For the past few months, I’ve been stuck on Taylor Swift’s last two CD’s on repeat. Before that, it was all of Bethany Dillon’s. Every once in a while, I’ll decide to mix it up and flip over to the radio, ’cause I’m crazy like that. ;) Yesterday, I heard a song on the Christian music station that I instantly loved. Not sure how long it’s been playing on the radio since I haven’t been listening much lately, but it’s new to me. The song is called “Come However You Are” by City Harbor, who are also new to me and I believe are just releasing their first album.

What I love most about this song, besides the beautiful harmony of their voices together, is the message of the lyrics. Whatever you are dealing with, whatever pain or regret or mistakes you’ve made, no matter what your past looks like, you can give it to God. All of it! Right now! Because He loves you more than you could ever know.

Here are the lyrics, but if you’d rather hear the music, I’ve added that at the bottom.

Come However You Are by City Harbor

To anyone walking down a hard road
Worn out with blisters on your feet
To anyone with a heart that’s shattered
Doing your best to hold it together
With no prayer to pray and no song left to sing

Whatever pain you’re dealing with
Let me offer this

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

To the girl who never had a father
To the guy who thinks he’ll never
Amount to much of anything
To those of us who feel unwanted, unneeded, unloved and desperately incomplete

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

Come with your regrets
Come with the things you can’t take
Come with all your fears and all your shame
With everything
Come with the pieces of
Your bruised and broken heart
Don’t wait, don’t wait

Whatever pain you’re dealing with
Let me offer this

Come however you are
Come with all your heart breaks
Come with all the mistakes you’ve made
Lay them down at the cross
Give them to the God who loves you
Hurt, scarred, falling apart
Come however you are

Here’s a video from YouTube of the song. The only one I could find.
)

I hope this song has blessed you as it has me. Love you guys!

monday’s list

;)

AJAXed with AWP