I find myself at a spot of questioning. Wrestling.  This season has been difficult. So difficult that some days I'm not sure if it's good and some days I feel solidified that yes indeed this is the right path.  Others remind me of this as well, that this journey may be hard but it's worth it and so I keep pressing forward.  Present day circumstances not included, thing have been well but this journey I’m on digs deep into boxes I’ve locked up tight and put away never wanting to unearth again. 

This journey has delved deep into my core, into my beliefs about myself and about my God.

It has rattled me, challenged me and made me ask far more questions than I feel like I have answers.  But for the first time I’m asking questions.  I can’t say that I’m not afraid of the answers because I am, but this time it’s not stopping me from asking.  I’m trying to trust that God is big enough for my questions and patient enough for my constant questioning.

I feel like this should be an exciting time a time of celebration.  Because I do feel like this is a remaking, but maybe first it’s an unmaking.  A digging up and throwing out of lies and this while certainly it should be celebrated is exhausting and emotional and feels overwhelming. While these lies are being exposed, these are long held belief and for so long I've known them and they've felt safe, while even if it’s not the best, it seems hard to let go.  Letting go of the lies gives view to the truth and the truth exposes my brokenness.  

Sometimes the truth is more painful than the lie.   

But maybe in the truth, even if it’s more painful at first? Forever? I don't know.  Maybe only in the truth there is opportunity for healing, for growth, for remaking.  

Sometimes when I draw I just don’t get it right, proportions or off or an unsightly mark is impossible to cover up.  But I hate starting over. I hate going backwards. I hate U-turns. 

So instead of starting it over I just keep going and attempt to turn a blind eye to what I know is wrong.  I try to cover it up with more shading or I adjust proportions as best I can to make it comfortable.  I finish it.  Then I spend the next several days hating it.  It’s not right and I know it. I try to convince myself it’s not as bad as it seems, I show it to others asking what they think and how it compares to my other work.  I try to make this okay because starting over just seems like a lot of work.

Eventually though, I do start over, often grudgingly.  This time I’m more careful in the proportions, I slow down, I take careful consideration in where the light comes from and where the shadows will form, I research, I study a true picture of what I’m drawing to see how to apply it to my piece.

Ultimately, I’m much happier with the second piece.  It’s more true, more accurate to what it really is.

For a drawing the unmaking and remaking seems a bit insignificant.  

Unmaking things I’ve tried to make ok for decades sometimes feel like the bottom drops out from under me.  Beginning to realize something you believed for so long isn’t really true, it feels a bit like falling into nothing.  When all my defenses are gone, all the excuses and reasonings begin to come up empty for holding on to something, the only option is to let go of something I’m realizing has never been true and discovering what really is true.  

But the truth brings with it light and that light exposes all the pain, all the brokenness.  It shed light on the pain I’ve tried so hard to keep hidden, to not admit, to not feel, to make comfortable.
So while right now truth brings light to pain, I’m trying to remind myself: new growth needs light.


This Thing Called Brave.

“To say that was brave is an understatement.”

The words were directed at me and all I could think of is that this is not what I thought brave would feel like.

The picture I had painted of brave is standing tall in the midst of a battle, staring down adversity, speaking truth confidently, willingly and joyfully stepping into an impending storm.

None of which I was feeling.  I can’t stop my chin from trembling or the tears from falling.  And instead of standing strong I feel like curling up and hiding.  There is zero speaking confidently, zero stepping firmly into difficulty.  It’s more like crawling and forcing myself to keep going, but really I’m not sure I want to and really I feel more like quitting than standing tall. But I’m being called out as brave and all I feel is weak. And scared. And broken

So really I wanted to disagree with the assessment that I’m brave.  Because this, this feels anything but brave.  This doesn’t feel valiant and put together, this is trembling and brokenness.  Me, brave?  No, not me and certainly not now.  

But I don’t say anything. I don’t disagree…out loud anyway.  Because truthfully, I hope that just maybe it’s true.  That maybe I am brave and maybe I’ve been wrong about brave all along.  And so I let it sink in, try it on for size.  

No, no I still don’t feel brave but then I remember Gideon.  I’ve been asking God to call out in me who He sees me as, who I really am as I work on dispelling the lies I’ve always believed about myself.  Because when I begin to strip away the lies I’ve believed about myself for so long, truthfully I’m left with not having a clue at who I really am.  And I feel a lot like Gideon hiding in these walls believing things I’ve long been told or have told myself. 

So maybe God is challenging my view of brave and maybe He’s calling me out as such.  Maybe I’m braver than I have ever believed.  I’m just not sure yet.


On Love and Marriage

12 years.  This year seemed different.  There was little fanfare outwardly, we had zero plans. I gave him a water filter for camping, he gave me a drawing journal and a cupcake (he knows my heart).  We decided to head to a state park and ended up driving an extra hour for a Sunday drive through the mountains and exploring new sites.  We were unprepared to be gone all day, the kids got tired of driving, I got hangry (need I say more?).  We adventured, dipped our feet in the water, climbed rocks, relaxed by a river, admired beauty.  

Yesterday seemed to show clearly that we have changed greatly in 12 years, but in the last year we have changed even more.  We are a bit battle scarred perhaps but more real as we walk through life.

I was at a counseling session recently and we were talking about love and marriage. My counselor asked, “Why does Dave love you?”  I sat for a few and couldn’t think of a single thing…I was a bit reluctant with what I felt was a depressing answer. I shook my head, “I have no idea.”  He looked at me and said, “That’s the best answer you could give me.” I was a bit taken a back by his response.  Then he explained, if Dave loved me for this reason or that reason or because I do this or that, then his love is conditional.

We are zero experts at this, friends. We’ve certainly learned heaps in the last 12 years but we came into marriage naive kids walking headlong into marriage. Thankful to have excellent premarital counseling but we had no idea what awaited us.  Most of all God has been gracious with us as we stumble through, He has forgiven us much and helps us forgive, He has loved us unconditionally and helps us to learn to love as he does.  We thought we had it all figured out, sure marriage would be hard but we could do it.  When got married and it felt like the bottom dropped out on us.  We fought, hard and long.  We didn’t forgive easily. We had little, if any, productive communication.  I had anger issues.  I had deep wounds I thought marriage would heal.  The list could go on and on.

A few months into our marriage we attended a Bible study for young married couples.  We sat in a large circle of 30+ young marrieds, everyone who spoke up (and there were many) said they never fought. Dave and I looked at each other and hung our heads.  We weren't sure what what was wrong with us.  Was our marriage doomed?  It felt pretty horrible, needless to say we never went back to that Bible study.  We didn’t know what we were doing but we just kept taking the next step. They weren’t always steps towards each other, there has been a lot of course correction along the way. 

We’ve been to counseling, together and individually, not just once but through different seasons over the years.  And don’t think we are saints for asking for help because often it took bottom to get us there.  We’ve seen so many marriages of sweet friends fall apart and that made us want to hold on tighter because we know we are not immune.  We’ve walked through much heartache and walked through much joy.  And it’s changed us.  It’s changed us as individuals and has shaped our marriage.  There have been seasons where those changes weren’t for the better.  We are scarcely the same people were were 12 years ago.

Miss A has been asking a lot about love and marriage lately, she still thinks it’s gross (phew!), but she’s beginning to wonder what it’s all about.  “How will I know when I’m in love?” “How will I know when I meet the person I’m going to marry?”  We’ve done our best (read fumbled through) explaining without platitudes and helping to paint a picture that love isn’t all feelings and is work even when you want to quit.

But maybe this is really the advice I want to pass along : learn love without condition.  Choose to love when that person isn’t their best self and you aren’t your best self. Choose to stay when you want to throw in the towel. Choose to fight for each other. Choose to ask for help when you want to run the other way. Choose to love when what you love about that person is hard to see.  And even when you don't get it right, choose to try again and again and again.


Punderdome Review

We often enjoy a game night with friends. I had hopes that Punderdome the card game would be a fun one to play during game night.

Based on the live game show Punderdome 3000! created by father daughter duo Jo and Fred Firestone, this game is definitely for the pun lovers, but maybe not so much for those who enjoy laughing (with an eye roll) at a good pun every know and then. 

Played in two rounds, round one a question is asked and everyone throws out their best pun-filled answer to the given question, the second round is to write your own pun.

This is where the game, in my opinion gets especially tricky, and maybe too tricky.  Given two unrelated words players write their own pun connecting the two words.  For us, this is where the fun stopped.  How does one think of a random pun in 60 seconds?  Or maybe I'm just not that pun-ny.  

We did enjoy the first round, trying to come up with answers to the puns.  We actually discovered Miss A has quite a talent for puns, she answered quickly with an answer that fit the question over and over again.  While there is an answer on the card, the point is to answer with a pun quicker than your competitors not necessarily to match the answer on the card, so it leaves a lot of room for creativity.

Unfortunately Punderdome was not the fun game night play I had hoped, however we did discover a secret talent in the family.  

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


When Beauty is Hard to See...

There is something about looking through the camera lens that makes beauty that may otherwise be hard to see come alive and beg to be captured.  

 There is a slowing down that happens when looking through this lens.  And when slowing happens there is ability to see differently.  To see and savor and give thanks.

Beauty has been hard to see lately.  So I dusted off my camera and challenged myself to see the beauty that I know exists around me but has been clouded by much.


Colorado Springs Food Truck Guide

Make sure to check out my latest post one the Colorado Springs Moms Blog : 
Colorado Springs Food Truck Guide. It was a delicious one to write. 



Having been raised in the Midwest, I grew up around water from a very young age.  I was on the swim team for several years and loved the water.  Naturally I thought I would be able to easily teach our kids how to swim and they would be fish just like I was growing up.  Wrong.  I tried and failed and tried and failed. 

We were generously given an opportunity to try out SafeSplash for a month of lessons. I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

We signed up each of our big kids (they are 10, 8 and 8).  None of them could swim independently and all had varying degrees of uncomfortability in the water.  I wasn’t sure what 4 lessons would do for their swimming skill mastery, but I figured it certainly wouldn’t hurt.  

First of all, let me tell you about the SafeSplash registration process. It was fairly simple: sign up with basic info online and then they call you to set up a location, time and appropriate class for your kids.  Easy enough. I got all three signed up in back to back classes at a location near us in less than 10 minutes.  No stress...I like it!

When we arrived for our first lesson, we were shown where everything was and how classes worked. I was super impressed by the cleanliness and cheerfulness of the building but also impressed by how well SafeSplash was run and organized.

They have at most 1:4 instructor to swimmer ratio and I love that this promotes safety but also individual attentions to the kids. There is also a life guard on duty in the swim area as well as a deck manager who calls the kids by name into the pool area to get them to the correct instructor for their lesson.  

The smoothness of how classes were run definitely helped me as a parent feel comfortable and created a safe swimming environment.  At our location there was a wall of windows the length of the pool with bench seating so parents could sit outside of the pool area and watch their kids swim.  Oh and I have kids that get SUPER cold (ahem and a bit grouchy) in cold water, there were zero complaints about the water and I was told excitedly by Miss A, "It's not hot, it's not cold, it's warm!"

The instructors have been so encouraging to our kids and have definitely put them at ease.  After the 3rd lesson our oldest went from being able to float on his back with some assistance to swimming independently across the pool.  The picture above is him at the 2nd lesson, I was so amazed at his quick progress at the 3rd lesson I didn't even get a picture!  Everyone progresses differently, of course, but all three kids have made big strides in water comfortability and skills in the water.  Each level has certain skills that need to be accomplished before they can move onto the next level — not just swimming skills but also water safety.

Once a month they have a Splash-N-Tell at the end of class. Five minutes before the end of class they call the parents in for the instructors to give feedback on the child's progress and let the kids show their parents a new skill.  The kids love telling us what they learned, but especially enjoyed Splash-N-Tell time where they could show us what they've learned. 

We were so impressed by SafeSplash we signed them up for more lessons.  SafeSplash has several location throughout the country and in Mexico you can sign up.  If you're local to Colorado Springs, the location we attend gives a free trial lesson and if you're a military family they currently offer a 25% discount. 

We received a month of lessons from SafeSplash in exchange for an honest review.
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