if we; even though; i am

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if we leave out or exclude, because they aren’t blood. 

i am thankful to be learning about 100% inclusion. 

if we shame or scold because they aren’t saved. 

i am thankful that maybe the peace i receive from my relationship with my Creator could help someone else experience peace too: even if, even though.

if we back down or stay silent because we don’t want to rock anything even if the side of love is tipping it all in the way of safety.

i am thankful that there is an anchor for all of it, always.

if we forget to say it, if we want to leave it behind, and step fully into wholeness of healing, but waves of fear keep us timid. 

i am thankful for healing, in all ways, in all its own timing, in all days.

i we have more than enough but our plans get spoiled by the inconvenience. 

i am thankful for abundance and leaning into the uncomfortable ways in which i can learn to give more always.

if we experience differently by the sheer truth that our cells do not rage with pain- unfelt because of the side of history, unaware of inequalities, no fear because we have been sheltered from it. 

i am thankful that my ignorance is being shattered. i am thankful to unlearn my viewpoint, and relearn that my privilege isn’t something i can dismiss without causing pain to those i love. 

if we feel we are less, have less, deserve more, expect more because it isn’t fair. 

i am thankful that my brain is seeking, still seeking to notice this narrative and distrust it with every ounce of equality i can muster. i am thankful that the bitter is softened with the sweet. i am thankful for the seasons, the changing of the skies, to show me that we are always moving. i am thankful that i believe we can live them, these seasons, together, going forward, with compromise, hard work, and shared pieces of apple pie. i am thankful that even if this holiday is sweet and hard, i have hope that we see each other, reach out, teach more: of sharing, of past sacrifices, of past pains that need to be healed still, and that most importantly, we can eat together. ONE table, ONE shared meal of grateful grace, even with its flaws, even with, even because of : if we, even if, 

i am thankful. 

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joy :: day three :: personified

today was not what i planned. i was home alone supposed to be working on homework. i tried. it just was a mess in my craft/work room and that is where i needed to do work.

so my time was not wasteful but sometimes wayward.

i actually started the day at the coffee shop, but there was a young man who was insistent that we all hear whatever he was telling his date. i think i may be old. i have realized that i need silence to work or read or concentrate really. which is funny because normally i don’t like when it is too quiet.

but the reason it was not what i planned, was because i had to miss my favorite girl’s softball games, to work on my homework. which i did very little of. my viking told me she played fantastic.

so, it was a long day. i am super bummed i missed a chance to cheer her on. i cleaned and tried and was productive. but missed my favorites.

they came home exhausted and windburned and starving.

i had the blankets ready. i picked up the pizzas, and i waited on them.
just the act of taking care of them was the happiest part of my day for sure.

because sometimes joy is spoiling. sometimes good ranch and a recap of plays awesomely executed, and acknowledgment of a room well cleaned is exactly what you need (minus the stinky feet).

but mostly, when the plans of the day change, i wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in this world than sandwiched between these two snoozing beautiful people. because they are my joy, and i don’t know what i did to earn their love. but i am the luckiest girl in the world that this is my life with them.

they are my joy.

to me, they are joy personified.

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joy :: day two :: in the details

photo (18)oftentimes i am too busy for the details.

my brain gets mushed into thinking that everything on the news is the only news.

sluggishly moping along

like there is no good out there.

no sparkle.

no triumph.

no joy.

i wander in and out of a pessimistic haze, unsure of my faith, too much noise,

too much hurt – intense pain for those whom i cannot help. i get depressed.

it happens more than it should to be honest.

regardless of my brain’s chemistry, i want to know more JOY.

i have more than enough love, experiences & laughter in my life to know anything but happiness.

i know my faith SHOULD be stronger than my worries, my fears, mine (others’) pain.

i know i am not alone in this warp of too much.

i cannot control everything that happens to me, only my attitude toward it.

most days, it only lasts a few minutes, maybe an hour.

then:

something miraculous happens: i notice the joy.

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i become engaged in being ALIVE THAT VERY MOMENT.

i pick up the details, i smell, i touch, i seek.

i am reminded that i have been given the gift of life every day that i wake up,

i need to grab hold of it with everything i’ve got.

i must seek the joy i want to wear.

hot diggity damn do i want to wear it out!

we’ve got one life folks, what message are we trying to sell, problem are we trying to fix?

what if we really LIVED in the moment, became happy to have BREATH, and sought joy in every turn?

we would hear joy, be joy, see joy, envelope the world in joy.

let’s find our joy, SEEK IT OUT. now go!

i have HOPE because it was SPOKEN (part one)

View More: http://mnewsomphotography.pass.us/hopespoken how do you explain a special gift of attending a women’s Christian conference & a travel plan that makes you anxious (switching planes & a big Hotlanta airport with an embarrassing story to boot), & the connections from a stranger-turned-friend are placed in just the right timing? & even perhaps, how you sit next to the people on airplanes that may make some Christians balk, & make me open up even more about how i know we are ALL loved, & how all of it makes for one of the greatest weekends of my life? i will try with humor & truth. but is all of it just coincidence? nuh-uh. it isn’t. i am starting to believe in non-coincidence. if you think i’ve gone all crazy eight ball lady, you are wrong. i went to Hope Spoken, & the words, hugs, stories, shared meals, “coincidences” that i experienced are not fake. they did not happen on a reality t.v. show, or to someone’s aunt’s best friend. they happened to me. & i am going to be as brave as possible  & share those stories, some bits of the conversations (privacy will be upheld completely), & down right COOL things that i experienced, & i will hopefully give you a sense of how this weekend & another weekend over a year & a half ago, have changed me forever. i went to the Influence Conference well over a year ago. that began the process of this weekend for me. click over here to read that recap. so i kinda knew what a women’s Christian conference could be, or would maybe look like. & was i ever excited. but the BEST part of this experience, is that while that conference was my first, & i loved every second of it, Hope Spoken felt like it was a gift from God, JUST FOR ME. that may sound selfish or weird, or like i loved this conference more, but i believe that what God started at the Influence Conference, He finished at Hope Spoken. He is the Ultimate Storyteller. when i tell you some of the deets, you will *hopefully* know, why it has taken me so long to even process this conference, & while some of it, will remain in my heart as a private love letter from God, shared only for my hopes & dreams, & for my future.

my roomie: darling, sweet, HILARIOUS, open, warm. her name is kerith, & i love her. she’s from texas. a mama, a wife, & an all around great friend & sister. View More: http://mnewsomphotography.pass.us/hopespoken kerith & i had not met in person before this weekend. by the time dinner rolled around a mere maybe two hours after we met, people at our table (hi beautiful ladies!) asked how long we knew each other, thinking we were long time friends. God knew that i would be shy to room with a “stranger”, that’s why i felt okay about letting some of my gunk out there prior to meeting her. we got to know each other online through emails & texts first. & i now cannot wait to stay in touch & become even better friends with this hilarious, sweet soul that lives in Texas. i’ve already asked if she’ll move her family to the mitten …. (please leave comments to coerce her to at least consider it, & leave out any details of said polar vor-anythings). 😉

the town: dallas. i may be in love with you. i told every person i encountered that i was from michigan. i had a confidence i never knew i had, i talked to the hotel peeps, the taxi drivers, the waitress, & i was just SO excited to have my toes painted with my open toed sandals on. i’d love to visit you again, perhaps next year for the Hope Spoken conference again? it is on my prayer list to go. let’s make it happen Dallas!

the decor/overall feel: i cannot express enough how in love i am with every little detail. casey, danielle & emily were so lovely, so thoughtful in their planning, & it made my heart sing, especially because i am a graphic design student right now, & am falling more & more in love with everything visual.

Hope Spoken welcome

♥ we were welcomed with hope ♥

Hope spoken treat table outside

♥ treat table; i spy a hard working host husband ♥

every detail was lovely

every detail was lovely

this is the warm up post. i will finish the other half of this with stories to tell you… (oh the stories!) and hopefully explain a little of how this weekend was one of the best in my life! more coming soon! and if you think of it today, will you say a prayer, or shoot some positive energy my way tomorrow morning. whatever is your thing, i’d love some good stuff, as i start a new adventure on a new job, and i’m a bit nervous! thanks lovelies!  toodlelooly for now! (my grandma kitchen used to say that every time you left her…miss her SO much).

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turkey is not the only thing.

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jesus.

coffee, sometimes with sugar, always with cream.

the sky at dusk.

snuggly socks.

the warmth of the spring sunshine.

rock and roll.

cheese vendor at the farmer’s market.

patterns in fabric.

color.

motorcycle rides.

aromatherapy.

friends who know me inside and out.

family who loves me inside and out.

spilling guts to strangers.

kind neighbors.

ridiculous belly laughs at no one’s expense.

new girl.

plants, plants, plants.

FLOWERS.

a.r.

sports.

art, & the souls who believe in themselves enough to make it.

banjos.

children laughing.

quilts.

sisters.

traditions.

turkey.

you reading this.

my best friend.

for these, & every.living.thing.i.am.so.thankful.

happiest day of gratitude to you, and yours.

push on

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sometimes your keyboard is a bit too sticky.

perhaps that is your truth. or maybe your tires, or your days seem flat.

perhaps you have forgotten what life without hard work looks like.

or perhaps you need to work harder, like i’m feeling.

maybe you need a break.

a rest from the busy, or a nook from the stress.

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maybe your colors are all running together, & you just feel muddy. or blue.

i am here to tell you that it happens to everyone, & that you must push on.

i don’t mean to push through, i mean push on. for there is strength in knowing when to rest.

rest if your soul needs it.

take a break in the most relaxing, or energizing way.

but please carry on with the utmost hope, as we know that the Good Guy has our backs.

his wings will shelter us from the storms of our days & longest nights.

He is always looking out for us, no matter our moods, our colors, our stories.

we must know that He is there regardless if we feel Him or not.

He is there. what an awesome TRUTH.

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this truth is something to take hold of, & wrap ourselves in daily.

He is our Great Comforter – our Great Hope.

i would be lost without my God, & His love for me.  I know He has a plan that I cannot see.

my peace in Him gives me rest, & knowing that I’m in His hands, gives me energy for the weary days.

also? coffee helps, chocolate is necessary, & hugs are my favorite.  🙂

gratefullness too.

family & friends’ honeyed voices, & pictures of lovely littles & people, sent right to my little phone.

those pictures & texts, the notes of thoughfulness – make my day. 🙂

they probably make yours too. i am going to consciously start writing more snail mail. surprise someone i know with a lovely note of happy.

all these things are sources of goodness, & in this month of gray skies & lack of color, i need that, & perhaps you do too. maybe someone you know needs that love sent their way?

so let’s go give lovely-ness to our world, & let us be grateFULL.

we can be the LOVE we want to feel & see, & we don’t even know fully the greatness of how that LOVE that will change us! ♥

push on my friends. our love is needed everywhere. our love is felt always. our love is irreplaceable.

He will cover you with his feathers,
& under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield & rampart.  PSALM 91:4

coffee shop south haven

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adventure, adventure :: backpacking in the moonlight

i went backpacking for the first time last fall.
where you wear your food, your clothes, your space to sleep, on your back.
and you set up camp at some lovely place, where the air is fresher than your lungs know what to do with.

at some point on our hike out.

at some point on our hike out.

we went up north in the lower peninsula of michigan, to the hoist lake recreation area.

it was magical.  i don’t have any pictures of walking in, but we walked in around 10 p.m., and it was just stunning. quiet, and peaceful, and coolish with a humid mist.

these two were pumped, as was i.

these two were pumped, as was i.

it was the kind of trip, where the planning is quick, and spur of the moment, and where the excitement of the trip is electric.  we had all the equipment we needed, and just decided to go.  we only had one real night/day to spend up there, and that was all we needed. i love my family.

she was ready to defend me against squeeters.

she was ready to defend me against skeeters.

my love has backpacked his whole life, and a.r. is following in those giant footsteps of his, and is quite the adventurer herself.  i love nature, i love being with my family, and i have definitely camped rustically (no bathroom, no showers, no people around you for a LONG while) before.  but, i had never backpacked.

in the morning, i felt peace.

in the morning, i felt peace.

it was not a very good night of sleep for me, but my sweets both slept amazing.  i was worried i would roll over a.r., and so, couldn’t quite relax.  but, i know if we could’ve stayed at least one more night, i would have been refreshed beyond my own understanding, because just the less than 24 hours that i was up there, i was refreshed.

these beauties were taking a bath close to us in the morning mist.

these beauties were taking a bath close to us in the morning mist.

we had a campfire, and campers food (a.r’s fave) we hiked during the day, we gathered sticks, learned more about our surroundings, and laughed in the wind.

my firemaker.

my firemaker.

we are blessed to have been able to go.

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morning coffee ♥

morning coffee ♥

this was our view. we couldn't see another person from our "site".

this was our view. we couldn’t see another person from our “site”.

God's Glory.

God’s Glory.

i beyond a doubt, believe that it was a perfectly orchestrated trip from my Maker to enjoy the end of last summer with my loves before the school year began again for a.r.

it was exactly what we knew we needed.

trifecta of awesomeness.

triangle of awesomeness.

no makeup, no worries.

no makeup, no worries.

it is one of my favorite trips of all time.  i was less healthy than i am now, but that makes me even more excited for this year’s trip!

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those two people are my heart.

the people in this picture make me so happy, even if i look like i need a nap, and a makeover! :)

the people in this picture make me so happy, even if i look like i need a nap, and a makeover! 🙂

goofballs in the woods.

goofballs in the woods!

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thank you Lord, for this view.

thank you Lord, for this view.

love is everywhere, you just have to look.

love is everywhere, you just have to look.

i heart wildflowers.

i heart wildflowers.

backpacking is amazing. i am an amateur, but i know if you have any questions about stuff we brought, or what you would need, r.l. would be happy to help you answer those questions.  it is something you should try.  just once.  i promise, you will come away relaxed, refreshed, and more in love with life.

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best girl. small frog. favorite.

best girl. small frog. favorite.

only a prince will do.

only a prince will do.

go out and seek adventure. it is a blast. i promise.

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we did it! (well, i knew they could do it, but i again, was less healthy then, and this was an accomplishment!). yay!

we did it! (well, i knew they could do it, but i again, was less healthy then, and this was an accomplishment!). yay!

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now go find some adventure!!!

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the breath of freedom

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the curtains take in deep breaths, as if they know i need to.

the hum of the day, the dusk settling in, my lap warmed by the addictive portal.

i speak of kindness, of loving your neighbor, but it is more than that.

we must love our words too.

protect them fiercely, know that they carry weight.

we must protect those themes that young and old will absorb,

as if the pulse of humanity depends on it.

it just may.

now, no more shall my lips produce another vile spewing,

i’ve realized i am done with their toxic effects.

i am free!  i don’t need to make excuses, nor belittle myself, or others.

my God has set me free, and i no longer need to feel the death grip of fear.

anxiety does not have a hold on me.

for :  i know that i will be going to the Highest place of Peace (one day), for the sole purpose that i am loved beyond my earthly understanding.

i am thought so highly of, that my breaths – are counted, measured

as a sleeping babe in swaddles was, once, long ago.

that thought provokes more than just happiness in me.

i am overwhelmed by it.

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so, i strive to perfect this earthly breath i have been given, knowing that i shouldn’t and can’t be perfect.

don’t be perfect, it is a waste of breath.

love your best, and the rest will fall into place (i must tell myself).

there was only one perfect one.

and He saved me.

and the words that keep striking me over and over again, are

‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, and now am found, was blind, but now I see.’

so, if i can just carry that notion, tucked alongside my ribs, it will become my anthem.

i just need to remember to sing it.

amazing grace (in)

how sweet the sound (out)

that saved a wretch like me (in)

i once was lost (out)

but now am found (in)

was blind (out)

but now i see. (in)

i am overwhelmed by grace friends, and it is good.

it becomes my breath.

i am alive, and i am free!

happy monday to you, i hope your night is filled with love and light!

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beckon to the ivory arch

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what will heaven look like?

what will be revealed?

what songs will envelope

our tear free hugs of zeal?

when the sun of life is setting,

sprinkling grace along each day,

when will we remember,

that heaven is the only way?

when the bluebird song is whispered,

when the angels lead our march,

when the laughter of our loved ones

beckon to the ivory arch.

i want to relish in the joy

of each and every breath received

when our God shows us His love

i can learn to trust and Be.

i know the way to get there,

i hope we meet someday above,

i believe in Heaven’s promise

i believe in His great love.

 

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