day 18: a year of memories

Every year for Christmas, I make photo books for our daughters.

Today was the day I compiled them for Randa & KK. I’ve learned a bit about how to theme them, group photos, and weed through hundreds of easy-to-take-with-my-phone sweet, fun, and silly moments from the year… but it is still hard to whittle it down to 20ish pages.

I’m so thankful for the memories made in 2013.memories3

~ for friends who had us over or invited us out.
~ for people who came to this very state for a visit.
memories1~ for the amazing Capriotti family reunion  in June.
~ for that trip to Chicagoland back in the New Year (I can’t believe it’s been that long)
memories4~ for neighbors who became friends
~ for friends who became family
memories2~ for family who shared summer Friday nights at Chipotle and summer Wednesday nights at Movies Under the Stars and a whole lot of other times.

I took a break from this project long enough to frame the girls’ new school pictures. This is always its own stroll down memory lane as I lay out all their older photos and compare the babies that used to be to the little girls who are growing so very quickly:randa2013

randa-memorieskk-memories  kk2013

…I’m thankful for these smiles being captured, and for the hope of more memories to be made. Our best days are still ahead!

day 17: donuts and Jesus


I have a new mantra… a new little daydream…lately…

When I get frustrated with American Christian culture, church drama, or something along those lines, I pose this question:

Can’t we just be brothers and sisters eating donuts at the feet of Jesus?

The first time I asked my friend De this, she told me “Um, no.”  Yep… rain all over my parade, but I knew she was right. We make Jesus and faith and grace and love way too complicated, and yet…

this morning, at church

– both services, all of it together –

well, it’s the closest I’ve experienced to that yet.

Pray in agreement with God.
Trust His Spirit to lead you.
Put aside your own agenda.
Pass the donuts.


day 16: weekends

IMG_4118 Friday nights, we usually do something with our whole {local} family.

Saturdays can be anything.. nothing, house work, church events, gatherings with friends, beach, or a combination.

Sundays are all about church…and usually lunch… and hopefully some rest after that, but whatever it is, they are normally very full, draining, and happy.

IMG_3832When we first moved to South Carolina, weekends were sad. We had gotten so used to traveling for many of them – or being relieved to be home. And here, we knew no one to hang with at first, and no where besides the touristy places to go.

But they are fun again. I like being home. I have satisfaction in the quiet and calm {mostly} just as I do in the throws of a social scene.

Today we cooked a big breakfast for our girls and their friend. Then I cooked lunch for some friends (and the same recipe for our dinner) and baked a little. We visited with those friends, fed ducks, even went swimming, had ice cream, stopped at the store, finished a few chores, and watched a movie with the big kids after the littles were in bed. In spite of missing a phone call (but the voice mail made my day!), and another opportunity for the girls to party (at the local Ho Ho Hoedown!) it was a well balanced, lovely Saturday.

Hope you had the same~

day 15: their friendships

Friendship-Quotes-1Since I can remember, friendship has been one of the central forces in my life. And I have always struggled with it. I want to be great at it. And I want to be matched with people who are going to give it like I do. I love being in the throws. I want to run around together. I want to do life together. I want BFFs.

But grown ups have to adjust to friendship in different ways. You can’t responsibly drop everything to do all the things you want to do out there with everyone, and leaving my intimate friendships back in Illinois or scattered in other places has been a challenge. I want to hang on to them and try impossibly  to keep everything the same, and I also want to forge friendships here that are comfortable and feel lifelong, and that is hard-so-hard to do.

littlebffsEnter my children. It’s another absolute blessing they bring to me. I love to study how they do friendship. They each have a little of me in them: KK is fiercely loyal and wants everyone to like each other. Randa delights in the company of “her people,” and she loves big.

Tonight Randa has her BFF spending the night. As I tucked them into Randa’s bed, I looked up to see my little girl with the biggest smile on her face. She reached over and touched her friend on the cheek, reveling in the moment of togetherness.

It is one of the purest joys we can experience, but its season is short. We cannot keep friendships like we have as children, but I am grateful for the chance to watch my children have them. No drama, no complications… just slices of life shared and hands held and precious little giggles down the hall.

day 14: the power

It has not been such a great week for me in the realm of girl power. I’ve stuck my foot in my mouth, I’ve had a short fuse, and even though I know better than to lean my ladder on anyone, I lost focus and was severely disappointed.

I have this informal playlist… maybe you do too? … of girl power anthems. I’m way behind the times on music, so most of the things are old. I get my new tunes by watching TV or downloading the free songs from Starbucks. Er, anywho, these are all included…

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I could link the songs, but seriously… you know them.

Anyway, these are a sample of my go-to songs for righteous indignation. You can’t hurt me. You can’t steal my wind. You can’t make me fit in a box. Nah-nah-nah…which eventually turns into wah, wah, wah, because mostly when I am turning to these songs, someone has wounded me (sometimes it’s me), and I need to punch through the hurt and come out whole.

Yeah. What can I say? I am flawed. Deeply.

The problem, of course, is not all the other people; it is my focus on them.

And so today, at the end of a long two days that didn’t ultimately feel so positive, and hours before another long one that is going to be awesome (because we’re beginning to celebrate Randa’s 7th birthday), I want to get back to my center… to the power that I do have. It has nothing to do with proving I am right, or strong, or declaring my needs and that I can meet them all by myself. It;s actually the opposite.

I have the power to approach the King, to tell Him what’s up in my tiny little world, and trust that He will show me what to do.

“Truth is it’s time to stop playing these games
We need a Word for the people’s pain,
So Lord, speak right now, let it fall like rain.We’re desperate, we’re chasing after you…
Take me to the King.
I don’t have much to bring.
My heart is torn in pieces… it’s my offering.”