Posts in Personal
The merry days.

"And God in uncontainable affection, knelt down and kissed warm life into you with the breath of his love.You are made of dust of this earth and you are made of the happiness of heaven, and you are flesh and you are spirit, and you are of two worlds longing for the home of forever and him.No matter your story before, this is your beginning now: you were formed by Love…for love.” ― Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift

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The night our neighbors joined a donkey and sheep and pig in our front yard over hot chocolate and marshmallows to celebrate the the reason of the season.

It was just chilly enough to feel festive,and just random enough to feel like it could become a tradition. But gathering with neighbors and friends alike in the front yard, making our way through marshmallows and hot cocoa, mingling over wrangling children serenaded by braying and laughter, it was an evening that warmed me to the fullest heart.

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Our everyday stories of mercy and grace.

"Mercy is not getting what we deserve,And grace is getting what we do not deserve."

In these days that so quickly slide into months into years that are strung together like jewels, I'm challenging myself to not let go of the sacred practice of making photographs. Because for me, it's more than light and color and even transcends the God given gift of emotion. And it's not about the memories because I will always believe that what lies ahead is always greater than what has gone before. But within the frames I'm going to see stories like mornings gathered around eggs and pancakes and pulling out the Bible I gave him in the first few months we ever held each other's hands because we already knew we held each other's hearts. And the stories like Thanksgiving 2017, a near 80 degree day, arms around each other, giving me just about ten seconds of eye contact and smiles before scattered adventure called their name, the OG Frenchy Five and how they dug through dust and layers to find the sparkliest of treasures to fill their Nana and Papa's tree. And the stories of quieter days spent learning from and alongside each other, the way the little matriarch of our clan carries the youngest up to rest in the afternoon light. And the stories of nights, some with traditions and some filed under normal. The stories of unfinished tasks and accomplishments great and small. And the stories of half dressed and messy and I'm sorries and let's try this again. The stories I pray never go unnoticed. Our precious stories of mercy and grace.

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The week away, the week within.

With stories full of seashells and salt and "I'm sorry"'s,we've returned to our Kansas plain life. We've made this trek a few times now, added children and bags and freckles and frustrations and mishaps and laughter each time. And with each time we've come to believe this sacred time we've been given is less about "getting away" and more about diving into, less about landscape and more about learning, less about scenery and really just another way to share life. Because what we've found for ourselves, our own, is when we step back from the busyness, the distraction of our normal rhythm, we've found firsthand there's not as much to hide behind and instead we are challenged to face head on the complicated, the endearing, the imperfections, the essence of what we're going to choose, who we're going to choose. And so these are my photographs, my film, my memories made tangible from days spent just a little closer to each other. This is what I'll remember when as their limbs continue to extend, their bodies grow bigger, their dreams grow greater, a mother's heart made art through the lens. And although just like a wise man once said of all of social media, what is chosen to be posted and shared is just our highlights reel, because it doesn't hold a lot of what became evident, a lot of what needed to be worked through, the travel glitches, the time zone change, the shift in routine, the inner workings of leaning into love, this highlights reel still holds what is worth being refined for. And though it's not usually easy, pretty or simple, I know I'm left here, humbled, grateful, joy-filled learning to choose them.

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The rhythm of living, exploring the love of learning together.

September has slipped away into history already.And another chapter has started, the fourth year of somehow finding ourselves in this rhythm, calling our life of learning- school and because it is mostly together- homeschooling. I've shared over coffee with friends my own story of childhood of sunrises and books in the treehouse and tending baby chicks all with my sisters followed by a few years in private education, even some in uniform finished up with four high school years with its sports and proms followed by state university and then back teaching for years in the public schools. So all this to say I know trials and joys will be found in any system, there's no perfect teacher, no perfect setting, no easy road.

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A drizzley Fourth of July in suburb streets with firecrackers and sparklers and friends.

It poured all morning.But we piled in the garage with cousins and grandparents and made summer food and played in the water and laughter was the summer soundtrack. And then when the clouds finally gave way to golden light, we lit firecrackers and sparklers and lit up memories with the besties our children are growing up with. This was the Fourth of July of 2017 in suburb streets with firecrackers and sparklers and friends.

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Kansas plains and summer sun and a couple days back where their daddy grew up.

Kansas plains and summer sun and burgers at Braums and breakfast outside and harvesting Papa's garden and freckled cheeks and sunscreened skin and water slides and picnic lunches and jungle gym-ing and baby wearingand a field trip in a rented fifteen passenger van and lots and lots of back porch rocking... these were a handful of the memories made back where their daddy grew up.

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