h a p p y n e w y e a r

2017. A new year has come again.

I'm thankful that this happens every year. I'm thankful that we get to tuck away another year, full of its own moments and seasons of hard and good, add it to the memories of all the years that have come before it, and crack open the binding of our newest addition. I'm thankful for the way that it makes me pause and consider, taking a bit of extra time to reflect on what has just passed and what lies ahead. I'm thankful for the planning it inspires, the old dreams that still remain and the new dreams that just begin to take root, and the hope that it refreshes in my heart. I'm thankful for the conversations that we have about what we've walked through and what we are facing. 

I'm thankful that it is new.

2016 was a hard year for me. It rubbed me raw. This past year was one marked by waiting, craving the answer to unfulfilled longings and finding the answer still to be, "not right now." It was a year marked by fear, fear springing from not knowing truly what my little one was battling and of being terrified that I wouldn't be able to help her. It was a year marked by exhaustion, exhaustion in figuring out how to be mama to my little, in staying on top of all that life held, in feeling like I was behind and forgetful with so much. It was a year marked by plummeting to the depths of certain sins in my life, feeling slapped across the face with how toxic and present they were and then embarrassed at how little I actually wanted to fight some of them. It was a year that felt like I was being pruned until I had nothing left. And yet, here I found the "new."

Here, in this place of looking back over the past 365 days of pruning and utter rawness, sits the start of being made new. I am face to face, again, with how desperately I need Jesus. He removes that fear; goodness, He utterly shatters that fear. He meets me in that place of unfulfilled longing and reminds me that He doesn't withhold one good thing from me when I walk with Him. He lets me fall on my exhausted face once again so He can gently pick me up and remind me that His grace is sufficient, His power is perfect in my weakness. And He gives me the greatest hope, time and time again, that those sins that seem so overbearing, so consuming, aren't the truest thing about me anymore. He's making me new.

I am so grateful that the little word that graces the middle spot of that catchy "Happy New Year!" phrase we all shout at midnight every December 31st holds a heavy amount of meaning, really wonderful life-changing meaning. 

And I am grateful for 2016. It was hard year, but it was threaded through with a lot of grace. That grace was found in the adventures experienced, the books read, the travels had, the food cooked, the holidays celebrated, the new opportunities given; but that grace was most especially found in the people that fill up my text message app and my everyday, the people who walk through the raw and the lovely with me, who do more and say more than I could ever write down, and who show me Jesus in every piece of it. In particular, the 2 souls that I've been given to love in the most tender way, the ones who are tangible pictures of the kindness of my Lord every hour of the day. 

This life of mine. It's full of beauty. It's full of beauty because of the one common thread that has weaved through my words here: the One who makes it all new.

2017, I'm glad to see you.

settling back in

Hi friends!

It's been some time. I've missed you guys.

Life has been a whirlwind lately, to put it lightly. To open up my planner and realize that we are close to the halfway mark of August just blows my mind. Where did the summer go!? To be honest with you, I am not mourning its passing as my crisp temperature-adoring, sweater-loving heart is eager to see the arrival of my beloved autumn come around the bend. 

I have missed this little space with you all. Though the load and the busyness of life the past weeks required the blog to sit silent, I have been so eager to return. An absence does good, though, for re-orienting and refreshing, and I've been grateful for that.

And I've just plain missed writing. I am far from an inward processor. No, no, it all must come out. Thankful, thankful, thankful for a patient, gentle husband who has logged maaaaany hours of sitting quietly next to me awaiting the thoughts to form into words that eventually result in my "aha!" moments. Jason Coobs, you are a good, good man. So, over the years, writing has become another outward processor for me. It's a help to see those words on paper; I see the patterns, the tendencies, the struggles. Through my writing, my journaling, my "word dumping" if you will, I more clearly see my heart. Though it may take me many a minute, an hour, a day to get those words out, it is sweet to me. So the longing to return to it has been great.

Now I shall dust off my keyboard, re-enter the land of blogging and give y'all a bullet point catch-up on the the last weeks of life:

-- We have moved. The full story shall be shared soon, but a little over a month ago now we locked the door to Springdale #311 after 3.5 years there and moved into our new apartment home. Though a bit unexpected and rather hurried, it was a move marked by a lot of grace, gallons of coffee, and a readiness to start this new season and fill the walls of this new place with memories.

-- A mark of that grace that was seen daily was in the beautiful people that make up the village we do life with. These people are kind, generous, thoughtful souls that are pictures of our sweet Jesus. Whether we see their faces week-in/week-out or whether they walk with us from a distance, they love us so well and we are thankful. 

-- We have been reminded, yet again, that parenting is an intense tool of sanctification and a very clear reminder of our constant need for the grace and strength of Jesus. Wowsers. The 4 year old stage, you guys. It's a wonderful doozy.

-- We went to visit our mountains. We got back last week from a sweet visit out west to our Colorado family. Always cherish those days with them; the laughter, the lazy mornings of coffee sipping and long chats, the dinners on the deck....so much goodness in those days. And those mountains and that open sky, they will always have a piece of my heart.

-- Our days are filled with good things: J is in the midst of studying for a major exam at work, we ordered schoolbooks for AK yesterday #alltheemotions, we are enjoying all the pool-time we can get, snuggling friends new babies, making fall plans, cracking open new reads, and settling into our new normal. 

It feels good to take some breaths after the whirlwind that has been our summer and look back and be reminded that the greatest mark over the summer has been that glorious, everyday faithfulness of the Lord. The resounding thought in my mind over the past days has been how very glad I am that I don't do this life on my own. He's given me my husband. He's given me my daughter. He's given me my tribe. And best of all, He's given me Himself. Thank you, Jesus, for holding me and all the pieces of this life. 

I'm happy to be back with you, friends. I hope you have the most beautiful Monday!

one of those days

Those days when my energy level is low and "in a funk" is the best description of how I'm feeling. The days when my level of patience with AK is shamefully low and tears of frustration or discontent seem to be hovering right behind my eyes ready to fall at a moments notice. The days when any type of task seems completely inconvenient and I wish I had little mice and bird helpers like Cinderella to check off my to-do list and have dinner prepared and delicious when J walks through the door. The days when being left completely alone sounds like the best type of plan.

This isn't one of those days where life has just been busy, or someone's not feeling well, or we just need to chuck the to-do list and have a fun day or a lazy day. There are those days when blankets and pixar movies and books are the best activities for the day. The days when hubby gets a text asking if we can just pick something up for dinner that night or he says, "hey, let me cook dinner tonight and you just relax." The days when the dishes pile up a bit more and the laundry piles stay put in the hall because it's just too beautiful outside. Trust me, I'm all for those "hey, let's just have a fun day" type of days and those deliciously lazy days, where you cozy down and just "be." I will fly the "supporter of said days" flag high as I firmly believe we all need those days. This, however, is not one of those days. No, this is a day when I just want it my way and I certainly don't want to do things for anyone else. This is a selfish day. 

And when I actually let myself have what I want the funk gets even deeper. The patience grows shorter and I raise my voice more, putting off tasks just makes me feel more irritated and stressed, and J and AK get the leftovers of a moody me. 

It's on days like these, like the way yesterday started out, that I see more intimately my constant need for grace, my every moment need of Jesus. I need His help to get outside of myself. I need His love to be the foundation of the way I love J and AK. I need His Word to be the firmest truth in my mind.

Yesterday I kept reminding myself to not just brush past days like this without really listening to what I'm learning. That I'm learning that I cannot let my time with Jesus be the first thing to go amid the activity of the day; clean bathrooms and folded laundry are far less important than Him. That I'm learning how much AK responds off my mood and she's either seeing Jesus in me or not.  That I'm learning how much it helps my mental state if I just let myself be quiet, just taking in the sounds of our home. That I'm learning how much better it is to wait on a task so that I can build train sets or paint a picture with my little love. That I'm learning how much it means to my husband if I pack his lunch for him in the morning and send little notes in it telling him how thankful I am for him. That I'm learning that there's a difference between saying, "honey, I'm just having a rough day. would you mind helping me get _____ done?" and not saying anything, but rather just waiting for him to pick up on the needs that my pouty self is silently expecting to be filled. That I'm learning that loving well, loving like Jesus, means constantly dying to myself and fighting through the funk. And fighting through the funk is so worth it, because on the other side of that funk is such a sweetness. A sweetness that exists because that's where I'm made more like Jesus.