To the Brave

For the brave ones who aren't afraid to be themselves : thank you.

Thank you for being you. 
Thank you for speaking your mind even if you step on toes.
Thank you for sharing tough subjects that can be polarizing but doing so respectfully.
Thank you for putting words to how you feel and not being ashamed to do so.
Thank you for showing me that life doesn’t need to fit a mold.

You, being you, gives me the courage to start being me.
You remind me my feelings are mine and an my feelings valid.
You remind me that what I have to say matters, even if others don’t agree.  
You remind me that struggle is okay and that each of us has our own story.  
You remind me my story is mine to tell, mine to cherish and while every piece may not be pretty it can be knit together into something beautiful. 



By now you have certainly heard about the trending new hobby of coloring.  Many benefits have been cited for taking a few minutes to sit and color, relaxation, mindfulness, increased focus and decreased stress.

I must admit I was a bit skeptical at first. But I was surprised when I found I really do enjoy creating in these more intricate coloring books geared towards adults.

When I had the opportunity review a new coloring book on the market, of course I jumped at the chance.

Wonderland by Amily Shen is a coloring book inspired by Alice's Adventures.  From the Mad Hatter's Tea Party to the Queen of Hearts and who can forget the White Rabbit. There is much adventure to be had in this whimsical coloring book.  

The pages are full of unique details as you follow Alice's story. What truly sets this coloring book apart form the crowd is Shen's unique art style coupled with the story and puzzles you find intertwined through the coloring pages.

If you're love Alice and her Adventures this coloring book is perfect for you.

 I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Insta Life

Red Rock Relish :: this stuff is amazing. Seriously.
Cookies::They may look good but they weren't.  Please give me your best (no fail!) cookie recipe! 
A new drawing in the works :: Should be in the shop later this week!
The mountains are calling :: Pike's Peak Art Print
Miss A and I visiting Josh and John's Scoop Bus for the first time. 
Let the training begin :: #pikespeakorbust
Big changes coming for Everyday Summit :: Stay Tuned!

Are you on Instagram? Come join in the fun!


Grace upon Grace

Yesterday we hiked.
It was therapeutic.
I was frustrated and took it out on the mountain as we turtled our way two miles up.
I was discouraged at how out of shape I am.
Angry because of why I'm so out of shape.
Dave gently reminded me that 6 months ago I almost died.
Oh yeah.
Minor details.

I hadn't filled him in on my goal yet.
Too afraid.
I told him I knew what I wanted to do.
But on the uphill I couldn't bring myself to tell him.
In fact sometimes it's hard to even talk about all of this as a person and not just an event.
It's easier to say "All that happened in December."
Instead of "Losing Oliver."

So on the uphill I told him I knew what I wanted to do to remember Oliver.
Except I didn't say his name,
because yesterday I just couldn't.
 I just alluded to the event. 
And he knew exactly what my heart was trying to say.
I told him I knew what I wanted but didn't tell him what its was.
Instead I just trudged along this rocky trail,
embarrassed at the huffing and puffing each step was bringing.

But I kept going.
Step by step.
Grace upon grace.
This gift of a day,
 even in my frustration 
and anger 
and sadness
and embarrassment.
And each step was grace.

Even if I can't see this grace,
 even if I don't feel the joy in it. 
 I know it's there.

And that's enough.
It has to be enough.
Because this muck I'm walking through is thick,
and dark
and uphill.
Just knowing that each step is grace 
and that grace doesn't rely on me
or how I feel about it,
that is enough.

Do you hear that?
It doesn't rely on me.
Or you.
Or if we see joy in it or if we grumble the whole way.
It's grace.

We reach our destination on a rocky overlook 
and we enjoy the breeze
the relief from the pounding sun and steep uphill climb.

Then we turn and head back down the way we came.

And I run.
I run.
I don't run...ever...
unless I'm chasing something
or something is chasing me.

And I'm not sure what I'm chasing
or what is chasing me.

I felt strong
and tall 
and free.
And each step was grace.

Then I told him.
My goal. 
How I want to remember our boy we never had the chance to meet.
I want to do something hard.
I want to conquer something too big for me to accomplish alone.
I want to do something that scares the wits out of me.
Something I can fear even as I go but still put one step in front of the other.
I want to climb this mountain.

I want to live in each step, whether it's anger or joy, I want to take each step.
Step by step.
Grace upon grace.


A New Thing

Sunday mornings are sleep-in mornings at our house, meaning Dave takes our oh-so-early riser downstairs when he wakes to give me extra shut eye.  Generally my body won’t let me sleep in too long, so before anyone else wakes up, I sneak downstairs with them and squeeze in between them.  While GH plays iPad and snuggles with Duckie, Dave and I talk.  This time without interruption has become a favorite part of our week. 

This morning we talked about our story over the last few years. The hard.  While the last three years have been filled with so much good, it’s been filled with incredibly unexpected hard.

There have been moments of stepping out in faith, and some of these moments turned completely upside down from how we thought the “plan” would unfold.  There were moments that make us ask why.  New parts of our story that are sad and uncomfortable and difficult to see how God worked.

Moments like losing Oliver in December.  We realized this spring that with the urgency and shock of those few days and in the whirlwind of events, we had delayed processing this loss.  Only over the last few weeks we have we finally begun to healthily work through the grief.  

On this particular quiet Sunday morning, we found ourselves looking back at earlier parts of our journey.  Parts of our journey when we could clearly see how God called us in faith and the result was much different.  Parts that weren’t necessarily easy, but were easier to understand and see how God had so evidently worked.  It’s so easy to look back and desire that ease, the clear picture of God at work.

Later, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses:

Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past. 

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Reading more context on these verses, God tells his people, "What I’m going to do in the future is even greater than the good I’ve done in the past."  The amazing works God had done in the past will be forgotten because of the unprecedented things God is doing right now.

What a reminder for us!  To stop looking back at the things God has done and hoping for that outcome.  Those were good. Those are a beautiful part of our story.  But even now, when it’s hard to see and emotions are thick and heavy, he is still working. It’s springing up before us.   I don’t want to look back and grab for what God did in the past, I want to see what He’s doing now, even if it involves so much hard and sad.  Even while I can’t see it today, I believe He is doing something new.  A new growth that is working hard to press its way up from the soil. May I not miss it.


Book Review : Simply Calligraphy

One of my goals for this year was to improve my hand lettering.  I think hand lettering is a beautiful art form but admitedly one I'm not very strong in.  When given the opportunity to read Simply Calligraphy by Judy Detrick I was excited to learn some skills to improve my hand lettering.

Simply Calligraphy is an aptly suited title for this book and Judy does an excellent job at making calligraphy not only approachable but doable.  While indeed it will take much practice mastering this art I was thrilled with the simple steps in this book to immediately see results in my lettering.  A short and to the point book it's perfect for anyone wanting to get started in calligraphy.

 I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


Blanket Statements

Some days it hits me...I'm supposed to be pregnant right now.  I should be feeling flutters in my rounding belly, Dave and I should be giggling that we just got rid of all our newborn things, caught up in the excitement of buying new wee baby clothes.  My sweet friend and I should be walking through pregnancy together and swapping food craving stories.

I'm not at all ungrateful for life right now. I'm thankful to be alive. After all surgery held, this truth has not been lost on me. I'm thankful for my people that God so generously placed in my life who I get to love on and journey along side.  I'm truly thankful for so much.

But this blanket. This blasted blanket.

The one I love and the one I want to pretend doesn't exist.

This blanket that was a tangible feeling of comfort and warmth in a season of grief.  The newly warmed one I was so thankful that they sent me home from the hospital with in the wee hours of a cold December night.

This blanket that has brought me so much comfort is the one that constantly reminds me every time I see it that I brought this blanket home without a baby wrapped in it.

This blanket that was wrapped around me for weeks as my body temperature struggled to regulate after surgery did not come home to swaddle a baby.

Why is this so hard?  Why do some days I forget and some days I still grieve?

When someone asks how I am...I don't know what to respond.  I respond with a blanket statement that while true, is not complete.  A blanket statement that says I'm thankful and I'm physically feeling better.

But underneath, my blanket statement is that some days are still hard and some days I'm just sad.  A statement that says I want you to ask about my journey and be ok with my hurt.  I want you to ask what we named him and what I will miss about not having met him.  I want you to ask about how God showed up in the hard and how even weeks prior to all of this unfolding he was preparing my heart.

So this blanket I hold tenderly and I want to tear it to pieces.  This blanket of thanks and of a grief I never wanted to claim as mine.  This story I'm learning to embrace as my own in all it's unexpected turns.  This is not what I planned but the Author of my story is the giver of good, good things and this story of mine is mine and I'm determined to celebrate it in all of it's messiness.

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