Category Archives: random

full of words

I know I’ve been pretty quiet here in this little space, but it hasn’t been for lack of content.  At first I think I would tend to blame the lack of posting on all the good things that are going on in my life right now, specifically going to school- since that’s the added blessing in this season.  However, I’m realizing that we make time for what we care about, and therefore, I want to say…I care about this space.  I want to write.  I want to write more often and better.  I believe there are so many pages of words waiting to be typed here.  While I’m not sure whether I will ramp up my posts starting today or in eight weeks when my first year is over, I do know I’m excited!

As of now, I’m applying to attend Bethel’s BSSM 2nd year program, which starts in the fall.  I keep finding myself saying, it’s either school or adopt another baby…and while I would be so happy with either, I’m leaning towards school for this next year.  This has been SUCH a unique and foundational experience for me, I don’t feel ready for it to end yet.  I’ve learned more about who I am and who God is in the last 6 months than I ever imagined.  So much of the journey has been uncovering what I thought I knew but didn’t fully believe.  It’s been refreshing and invigorating.  I cannot wait to share with you guys.

He is faithful.


the air i breathe

I’ve been a bit stuck in life lately.  Sickness hit our home like a tornado and I’m still staring at the disarray, though the crazed awfulness has passed.  What’s odder still is that for the past seven years, when sickness has fallen on me- there’s no real consequence other than suffering through it.  Dealing with sickness as a mom is a bit like no one caring that you’re sick because your job just continues.  But now, as a student, I’m actually missing something.  This experience has forced me to prioritize what is important and restoring health to my body has to be at the top.  Here I sit, two weeks late, still not completely healthy.  I still cannot take a full deep breath, I am still coughing my brains out, and I am still exhausted and depleted.

But what affected me the most in the last few weeks, was when I lost the ability to fully breath.  I’ve never had any issues with asthma or anything related, so when, after a full week of the flu, I started having trouble breathing- it was rough.  I couldn’t lay down or even lean back without panicking because air seemed so distant.  I had to sleep on the couch sitting up, but the first night the thought that if I stopped breathing, no one would know, passed through my mind.

I have never been more thankful for breath than today.  As painful as it is sometimes, I’m so grateful that sometimes we experience a momentary loss that propels us into the importance of the simple that we take for granted.  I don’t think I’ve ever really contemplated breathing as much as I have in the last week.  I’m so glad God created us to not have to consciously think about breathing.  What a gift.

Perhaps the lack of oxygen to my brain is what propelled me to write this random post.


rainbow pom-poms and painted unicorns

Welcome to my stream of consciousness, the first of 2018.

It’s 8pm and the UPS driver just delivered a present I bought myself…a garland (if you will) of rainbow colored poms, made of yarn.  God has been speaking a lot to me with rainbows in the last few months and apparently, my whole life- so I thought it would be fun to hang a reminder in my bedroom.  I had no idea these poms were giant so when I opened them I just started to giggle and couldn’t stop.  It’s as though God was literally trying to make me laugh.  Gosh.  So good.  I hung them and can’t wait to hear what my husband has to say about them- ha!  But for me, every single time I see the rainbow colors in my room, I’ll be reminded of how much God has always watched out for me, always cared about me, always been there.

Christmas was good…even in our tiny house.  It was cozy and delicious.  Thankful to have family here to celebrate with us and thankful for this extra week off too.  Though, technically my school started, so I am going tomorrow…easing myself back in.

My dear friend Megs sent me a quote earlier today and I can’t get it out of my mind.  “Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly.  It’s your masterpiece after all.”  So good.  Often I find myself deleting apps or throwing something away in my house, changing a decoration or an entire belief and I don’t even stop to waver.  Editing my life is so necessary, so healthy, so helpful.  This ties into my 2018 theme (I’ve decided the word goal doesn’t really fit anymore…after the smashing success of last year’s Just Say Yes theme, I’m rolling with it).  He makes all things new.  I’m excited and anxious to see where this year leads me, and I am on the edge of my seat.

For Christmas my parents bought me a mini projector– that I asked for- because I thought it would be fun to create with.  Over the weekend I finally decorated my daughter’s room a little bit.  She’s been in the stage of “destruction” for quite some time, so I didn’t realize she was capable of handling wall decor in her room…but low and behold, she’s growing up.  Today I kept wanting to jump in the car and stroll down the aisles of Hobby Lobby to look for a horse/unicorn/zebra canvas to complete her little makeover.  But then, I remembered my new tool…and literally traced and painted a unicorn in 15 minutes for her wall.  This thing is bomb.

We took all the Christmas lights out of our house last week, but last night we put some back up.  The house just seemed too dark, and sad, and non-twinkly.  It’s so much better now.

I finally read a book that wasn’t for school.  My mom brought me a stack of the best…so here’s the first one I’ll recommend- And Then You Loved Me by Inglath Cooper.  Also, Bart and I saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and shockingly, I loved it!  It was hilarious.  Go see it.

Ok.  My husband keeps giggling from the other room while watching Ellen’s new Game show so I gotta go investigate.  Over and out.



adding to the collection

Just finished my annual Christmas song hunt on iTunes…always feel the need to add a couple new melodies to our collection of songs for my favorite time of year.  At the moment, my favorite new find: Jon McLaughlin’s “Hallelujah This Christmas” is putting a smile on my face.

Today is the beginning of our Thanksgiving break.  No school for a whole week.  I started the day with a lot of good intentions…put the kiddos to work organizing and cleaning out toy bins and drawers, mostly to get space ready for where our Christmas tree will reside. But, 3/4 of the way through, I found myself drawn to something better… iTunes Holiday music.  So, here I am, mesmerized by the Christmas music that is almost drowning out the loud screams of my crazy children, (who have inevitably giving up the collection of lego pieces and broken crayons) thinking I could multi-task a blog post while I lull myself into peace.

In front of me sits my Thanksgiving meal lists- the menu, the recipes (trying a new one this yr),  and the giant grocery list yet I don’t even feel overwhelmed.  I’m feeling so grateful for this time of year.  Perhaps it feels even more special because at this moment last year our house was carefully packaged into a hundred brown boxes and plastic bins, and though I was excited for what was coming…it felt very sad to skip Christmasifying our home.  I do not recommend moving during the holidays.  Bringing Christmas to life in our house is my favorite- nothing brings comfort and cozy together better than strings of white lights and real trees inside.

I’ve wanted to put out our Christmas decorations since September but I’ve held off.  Not because I believe in any rules of the season, but because I love weaving real Christmas tree branches everywhere in the house and one cannot find those until Christmas trees start appearing.  So, alas, I have waited patiently.  I am still burning my fall Apple Pie candle happily, and staring at my giant GIVE THANKS reminder above the cupboards.  Fall is shorter here in California, but it’s still been beautiful.

I’ve been so thankful for this new fall season- one where I get to be in school again.  The last time I started school in September was seven years ago, my last year of teaching, before baby Josiah showed up.  I have been loving school- I’m learning so much and growing even more.  Feeling the Father’s love over me in an even bigger way makes this Thanksgiving and Christmas season seem even more special.

Ok, back to work.


life at the moment

Here I am. Bart and Josiah are at soccer practice.  Regan, my sick little boy, fell asleep at 4:30pm and it’s now past 6 and he’s still in dreamland.  I’m trying not to dread what tonight might hold if he can’t fall asleep and kinda hoping he’ll just continue until the morning.  So, Maya and I are chillin.

Today felt weird.  I’ve been charging full speed ahead with school and all that our lives are filled with…plus my dad visited, which was wonderful.  And then screeeeech.  The doctor said Regan has bronchitis yesterday and suddenly I find myself at home, for 2 days.  What used to feel normal now feel’s kinda weird, but kinda nice.

I quieted the house today- put away all my spring/summer decor that has been up since January when we moved in.  The weather is SO divine right now- gosh- living through a summer of 110 degrees makes 80 feel like an arctic tundra in the most beautiful way.  It’s funny to realize how many rules I created for myself during the summer…from what I wore (all black, doesn’t show sweat) to not buying chocolate unless I was immediately headed home (it would melt so fast).  I couldn’t even leave flats of water bottles in the trunk for later…the plastic would melt and get distorted.  My car window came unsealed because of the heat…no amount of rolling down windows would cool off the car, I felt thirsty all. the. time.  Its bizarre.

So, that’s behind us- and life is really nice.  I am so thankful for school- for my 3 kiddos and myself.  It’s a whole different frame of mind, but it makes me so much more productive.  I’m realizing how much I can accomplish with limited amounts of time.  It’s invigorating.  I love being back in a classroom setting, learning every day.  I’m even embracing the homework.  I know, weird right?

This is such a boring post.  I just wanted to tell you that I’m alive.  Hopefully I’ll be back soon with something insightful.


you have your grandma’s laugh

gramWe said goodbye to my grandma this week- one of my very favorite people of all time.  Esther Clara Swenson left this world on Monday and I haven’t stopped remembering since.  She was truly a gift to our family and such a joy to be near.

One of the many things I admired about my grandma was her desire for community.  She was a sincere friend to anyone and everyone.  Even when I was much younger I remember always hearing her talk about her friends and siblings, as if their lives were so intertwined, one and the same.  We started writing each other letters when I moved away, and I loved getting her cute cursive notes, filled with information about whoever was sick, her recent lunch dates or current walking partners.  Even in her last few years, when we’d fly home for visits and head up to Park View to see her, I always got to meet a tableful of smiley women, usually different ones each time, and it made me so happy.  In a world full of people longing to be seen, she saw.  She never stopped reaching out, turning strangers into friends…a true treasure.

I loved her humor.  The last two times I saw her, even in her distressed state, she still joked with my sons and then with my sister and I.  Laughter was so important to her, just as it is to me.  She was so good at it, smiling was her favorite.  On one of our last visits, grandma was sharing a room with a sweet bed-ridden woman who desperately wanted company and kept asking me questions, trying to make conversation.  All I wanted to do was soak in the precious moments with my grandma, but as we neared the end of our time that day, after I had laughed loudly, that dear woman exclaimed “You have your grandma’s laugh”!  It stopped me in my tracks, tears welling up immediately.  I don’t remember ever being told that…but it makes me smile each time I think about it now, especially because my laugh is such a part of who I am.  I wanted to hug that lady as I walked out the door, tucking that little nugget into the special place where all my granddaughter memories reside.

It’s actually difficult to separate the memories of my grandma from the whole of my life, because she was present for so much of it.  I am so thankful she was such a fixture all of these years.  I remember sleepovers at my grandparents house, the best mac-n-cheese, homemade popcorn and Saturday morning cartoons (we didn’t own a tv, so this was such a treat).  I remember her stories about the farm, and Pa, Wanda, Leona, Oscar, Arnie…I giggle at her family’s names because they were just so darn cute.  Her childhood seemed like another world, yet she melded into mine so seamlessly.  I remember her old telephone with the round dial that I used to play with endlessly…the seagulls in the bathroom, the storage room upstairs with extra snacks, and searching for treats in her freezer.  I remember the night I stayed at their house awaiting my little sister’s birth…and the countless other major life happenings she was a part of.

I remember her cute little house and all the times I dreamed of what I would do to renovate…even though as I look back now, it was perfectly cozy and exactly my grandparents.  I remember her faithfulness as my grandpa deteriorated- so loving and strong and steadfast- never wavering in her care for him.  Eleven years ago, I remember laughing with joy as she danced the night away at my wedding.  I remember when she met my first born son- he was a giant baby and the picture of my little white grandma holding my roly-poly black son still makes me chuckle, even through these tears.  It was so special to be able to introduce my children to my own grandmother.  She was always so happy to see me, and my family, every time.  She always tried to kiss me on my lips and though I often resisted, the last time I saw her I kissed her square on the lips with pride and held onto that hug for a long time.  My sister had suggested I pray for her…and I couldn’t finish without tears welling up.  All I could think about was that it might be the last time I held her hand…and it was.

I recently recall a conversation surrounding the beauty of how well-loved my grandma was.  In this day and age, sadly, it’s unique and amazing that my grandma ended up with three sons who adored her (not to mention all the rest of us family members).  Throughout her life, but especially in these last few months her sons selflessly tried to out-serve one another and it was incredibly touching to watch.  I have thought long and hard about her secret…how did she do it- how did she end up surrounded by such dedication and affection?  And I know.  It was love.  It was connection.  She knew how to make people feel seen, heard, and valued.  She knew how to stay connected and love really really well.  She knew that was more important than anything else.

I am so thankful for all these years I was able to see a life well lived.  She was a gift.  One of faithfulness and honesty, one of acceptance and generosity, one of laughter and kindness, one of joy and unconditional love.  I am so so so glad I got to be her granddaughter.

Until we meet again Grandma…


ten years in between

It just hit me recently that ten years ago, at this time, Bart and I were moving to Kansas City, Missouri to begin a new adventure.  We had quit our jobs in New Jersey and applied for an internship at the International House of Prayer.  I’m pretty sure we never dreamed what would happen from that one decision (read: love, freedom, jobs, adoption, friends, moves- to name a few).

Ten years later, here I sit, in Redding, California- ready to embark on another spiritual school.  I can’t help but feel grateful for the gift it has been to learn about God from incredibly wise, Jesus-loving teachers.  Our internship at IHOP laid some of the most important groundwork in my spiritual growth- it was there I truly learned who Holy Spirit is- and that relationship grew so much.  I could liken it to a good buddy becoming my closest friend and confidant.  It’s been my favorite ever since.  Hearing His voice has changed me so profoundly…I’m not sure there are words to describe before and after.

I love growth.  I don’t ever want to stop changing.  I know there is always more room to learn…especially when it comes to the knowledge of God.  Each drop of wisdom about the Creator of this world brings such incredible opportunities to grow and change.  Almost every week in the past few months, I’ve been reminded of a quote by C.S. Lewis that just sends a knife to my heart and re-lights the fire in me…over and over.

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”


AHHHHH.  SO GOOD.  SO TRUE.  There is MORE.  SO MUCH MORE.  INFINITE JOY?!?!  YES!  My prayer for this year is to be challenged and encouraged to find the more.  I’m not even sure what it all means…but I can rest in the fact that God knows.  I’m just excited, really excited.  Bring. It. On.