simple joys | backyard

Whether we lived in our 900 sq foot condo and had only a backyard porch,

Our little 2 bedroom rental with just a little patch of grass,

Our old rental downtown with a big, old yard and room to roam,

Our first home we could really make ours, and poured our heart into a backyard that was ours,

And now dreaming up a new space for the next years of our lives to unfold….

watching our babies play in our backyard is one of the simplest joys of my life.  No matter what our backyard looks like.


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on doing hard things

I have felt reluctant to write, or talk much these past few weeks.  I am typically so focused on joy and all the many many good things life offers, and so it’s been strange and unsettling walking through such a dark time when joy and good feelings seem so far away.

But I am also learning and changing so quickly, I’m afraid if I don’t find the words now, they may escape me later when my heart is feeling lighter and more full of hope, and love, and goodness   .  My heart is still very much full of those things, but with the heaviness of grief poured over it.

This has been a time of deep reflection for me.  As much as I want to escape myself and what I’m feeling, the only way through that is to look deep down and be brave enough to feel all of the feelings, let them wash over me and let the light bring me back to my feet, time after time after time.  Get used to that pattern, and let it teach me and better me each passing time.

I am feeling lost and almost unrecognizable to myself as I walk through this grief, but I’ve also been able to extend myself love and grace to BE whatever I need to be in this time – easier than any other time.

A dear friend, who is farther down a similar path I’ve just started on, recently wrote me.  She said, “You will be met with darkness you couldn’t have ever imagined.. and the light will be equal in radiance to balance and overcome that darkness in every way.  I PROMISE YOU.”

Her words rang so true to me, because I have already experienced that.  This place of sorrow that must only closely resemble the feelings of hell; right there was God, also.  Literally holding me in His steady embrace.  Knowing the feelings I was having were too much to bear, and holding onto what I myself couldn’t.  I have felt the power of angels, on both sides of the veil, doing the Lord’s good and loving work in my  life.  I have been lifted — actually lifted by prayer, soothed by loving words, carried through by endless amounts of service – big and small.  I have seen how it works now, and that we all, at every single second, can be used for God’s greatest good.  What a beautiful new way I am seeing the world, through the shady glasses of my own despairing grief.  This world is beautiful, and our pain is used for our good and His glory.

I am writing to you from a place where I am unsure if I CAN DO HARD THINGS, but here I am being called to DO HARD THINGS anyway.  I pray that I can cling to faith, and pull through this gracefully.  Coming out the other side more whole and full of His love and light than ever before.


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life after loss | tubby babies make me happy

What a month!  Never in my life have I experienced the depths of life that loss has shown me this past month.  I am exhausted, and so ready to put it behind me and learn and grow, and gain perspective over pain.  I am looking ahead with a heart broken open, eyes that see deeper, love that extends more fully.  Again, the mantra that gets me through my hardest hours have been, “I am not afraid, I was born to do this,”  With the good Lord on my side, I will be held steady.  I will be given what I need in my time of suffering, my worst days will be sanctified.  

I have appreciated every bit of advice I’ve been given on how to get through this debilitating grief.  One dear family friend of mine (@myfriendmesha on instagram) mentioned “hand therapy”, where you work with your hands on anything.  Gardening, baking, art.. whatever it might be.  I have been making myself pull out my camera, just like I used to love to do.  Just simply taking photos of my children living our lives.  That has gotten away from me over the years, and it felt so good to get back in touch with my roots.

I have noticed as a wonderfully tender mercy that though my heart is broken and my world seems to be crumbling, it is also full of life, and light, and promise.  My life is good, and happy, and fulfilling.  It will heal me as I lean into it fully, as I have been called to do.  Nothing reminded me of this more than having my babies in the tub the other morning.  I got out my camera and remembered again, that life is happy.  My heart is right here at home with my little ones, and this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Anyone around here long enough to remember THIS or THIS post?  It’s like having the same babes twice! :D

Praying that May blossoms into beautiful things in your lives.  Mine too!


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So far grieving is just mostly really sad, and really weird.

The time frame my mind is in, and the time frame the rest of the world is in seems disconnected.

I am grateful that I have a good relationship of God, and have found so many tender mercies along the way that help me to know that I am not alone, that my sister is near in my heart, and that the turning time will continue to help and heal.

Those are all very important reminders, and I need them often.  Because if you have a sister, you can imagine the pain of losing her runs so deep sometimes it knocks the breath from my lungs.  We are not yet to the stage of it getting better each day, mostly it jumps around, or rather comes crashing over like a wave of indescribable agony in between moments that look and feel almost just like normal life.  I have found trouble sleeping, and also trouble doing anything other than sleeping.  I have experienced a whole set of physical symptoms I hadn’t expected, as well as the looming sadness and grief I had expected, even though it’s worse than I could have anticipated.  Mostly it’s hard to wrap my mind around it, because I hadn’t expected it.  Not her, not now.  Not ever, actually.

There are so many layers to grieving this loss.  The processing of what happened, accepting the loss, caring for what’s left, the memories intertwined in every single moment of my life, and the bleakness of looking forward without her physically here.  Plus juggling family dynamics, watching others I love mourn, feeling responsible, helpless, hopeless, peaceful, sad, full, empty.

It really is just a lot and that makes it really hard to talk about, or write about.. it’s a lot to process, it’s heavy, it’s sad, it’s something no one wants to hear about because it’s so awful.

But I also know this is an opportunity to use this trial to find deeper meaning in my own life,  let it allow me to love others more fully, and hopefully in time bless others with my offered wisdom as so many have blessed me with.

I have also experienced many sacred and special moments of understanding what it’s like to have a sister, who I am deeply connected to and love, in heaven.  It has put into perspective some things about my testimony, God, and heaven.  It has brought peace and understanding in ways I really appreciate and needed.  This has absolutely brought more compassion to my heart, and given me eyes for other’s good I don’t think I’d have any other way.

I know there are no words to offer, but truly, people reaching out and offering their love and prayers or whatever they have to offer has truly gotten us through so far.  I have felt lifted, and comforted by the prayers and fasting on my behalf, and I am so so grateful for that sincere kindness.  It means something, right now it means everything.

At the current moment,  I am doing my best.  At continuing to do things I love, like taking my dog for walks and mothering my children.  I am doing my best at allowing myself to feel sad, allowing myself to need space and quiet, trying to allow myself to ask for help when I need it (always working on that).  I am leaning into the love my family has endlessly offered me, and I am pouring out love as quickly as I can to those around me hurting as well.  It has been a beautiful, heartbreaking, bonding time for all of us, and I pray that we can lean into love as we continue to heal.

Thank you sincerely for the prayers, donations, meals, flowers, words, messages, drinks, thoughts, and time.

I truly have the best friends in the whole wide world, and I’ll never be able to repay what has been given to me these past weeks.

My heart keeps taking me to our family’s theme for this school year,

Keep loving. Keep tryingKeep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.” 

(Full talk HERE)


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