Any celebration, Ben usually knows that some little bit or bauble is the way to go. Can’t go wrong with something for the fingers, neck, or ears. Though this time around, for my 40th, it’s been so busy, I had no strong request for anything. Maybe it’s because we are about to embark on a huge house renovation, so I’m feeling like every penny we could scrounge needs to go to that. We still have so much we need to order and maybe I’m just dragging my heels because I don’t want to spend money, but I know this house ain’t gonna get put together if we don’t spend any money. My BFF was trying to convince me to pick something out to commemorate the big milestone. I have some things in mind now, but I still need to sit on the idea a little while longer.
Something I’ve been thinking about is some cool, different drop earrings. I have a vintage turquoise pair, and in the craziness of our stuff everywhere at my parents house, I lost one part of the sterling fringe. Since then, I’ve been searching to see if I can find replacement piece. Big statement earrings are totally my jam. Forget small and subtle, but let’s go for something with some punch.
Maybe I’ll request one of those as a stocking stuffer, along with my favorite almond cake cookies. What’s on your Christmas wishlist? My kids just turned in theirs, so I need to go through them and see what they want. Two of them want to get their ears pierced, so maybe they’ll have some dangly earrings on their wishlist too!
On the cusp of a new decade and I’m ready to step into my 40’s with joy and excitement. There’s no trepidation in my heart, no fear of the number, but more excitement to see what the Lord will do in this next decade. When I turned 30, I had just had Glow a couple months prior. I had 4 kids in 5 and a half years, and was done with having kids when I hit 30 (or so I thought). We were going to church in LA and driving about an hour each way. No one lived near us, I was about to start writing my book, and I just started homeschooling True for kindergarten. I was busy crafting, sewing, writing, blogging, and Ben was busy in the garden (and I also remember many mornings praying and asking God to grow Ben). I also felt like I was drowning and barely keeping my head above water with 4 kids all under 5, but that was life. My hands were super full, but so was my heart (when I wasn’t having a mommy meltdown).
Now, stepping into my 40’s, I have 5 kids. Unbeknownst to me (at that time), we’d have one more girl, but this time via adoption. We no longer live in our house, and once we officially move into our (new to us) house, we’ll have so many friends and family near us. We won’t be driving to church much longer (Lord willing) and will just have to walk down the street to gather with church fam. I’m still homeschooling, but I have 2 kids in high school now (that kindergartner is now a sophomore, and so is Brave). I’m still crafting and sewing, though it is a wee bit difficult to do at my parents’ house since there isn’t much space, but I’m also been running a vintage clothing shop for a few years now too. Ben has no garden to work on because just as we about completed our garden, we sold our house. Lord willing, once we move in and settle in, the garden planning will commence, but his time he spent in the garden dramatically lessened several years ago when he started spending more time in God’s word and with the church, which was an answer to a prayer I had been praying a decade ago. And now, he’s in pastoral ministry, which is never something either of us would have imagined. I still feel super busy, but I have 4 very responsible big kids, who help with so much. Ben and I couldn’t be involved in all we’re involved with, if it weren’t for their help.
The decade has brought its share of trials, but as I look back and remember some of them, I also see how God used those specific trials to grow us. No trial is ever wasted. While never comfortable, and I remember when in the thick of some of them, just weeping and not imagining a way out out times, but God always delivers. The story he writes for our lives, is always better than one we could write ourselves. One of the lessons that stands out from this past decade is… hold your plans loosely as you trust the Lord to continue to direct your path.
There’s so much I look forward to. I’m excited about continuing to grow the friendship with my girls as they grow older, and step into teen years and adulthood. We look forward to more ministry and time spent with church family. I look forward to hanging out with my parents when they retire. And in a few years, I start homeschooling all over again with Red.
Goodbye 30’s! You had some not so awesome moments, but I wouldn’t change it because in those hard moments, God did some deep work that deepened my joy in Christ! Maranatha, come Lord Jesus!
Last week we started our 11th year of homeschooling. And what I thought was the last day of summer break was actually the first day of our new school year. I got online and saw all these emails saying “Welcome back to your first day of school!” And welp, guess summer was cut short by a day and we jumped into the new school year. Really though, we took it easy, and for our first day we did life skills by trying a new ice cream place and figuring how to recreate the flavors, and by going thrifting, and teaching the girls how to read fabric labels and pick out good fabrics. All life skills things, so I’d say our first day of school went well.
There are a lot of diagnostic tests Soul and Glow have to do to kick off the school year, so I’m having them finish those off before we dive into our new things together. And what a weird school year this will be living at my parents house! I’m praying we’re in our house by the end of the year, but with contractors not really returning our calls or even getting back to us with quotes, we’re not going anywhere anytime real soon. I think because of all the change, and sort of living out of boxes, I’m kind of dragging my heels starting school. I know we’ll eventually get into our new rhythm, but I just need to jump in and do it.
For True and Brave, they are sophomores… SOPHOMORES! And they are taking college classes this year. They are in a dual enrollment program, so as 10th graders, they can take up to 11 units of college classes a semester. They have their first 2 this fall, and will take another one in the spring. Their classes are all online, though I think it would benefit them to go in-person, but with being in transition, it’s just easier for them to sign up for online classes. I can’t believe it’s 3 years left of homeschooling and then off to college for them. Then, as they go off to college, I start homeschooling all over again with Red.
That will be wild starting all over again. Red is getting a totally different parent than the older girls. I tell them (True and Brave), “I’m sorry I screwed you guys up so bad!” That mom guilt is so real with all the things I would do over if I could, but Lord willing, my shortcomings point them to Christ. I’m never going to be that perfect mom, friend, sister, daughter, church member, etc… but I don’t have to beat myself for not being perfect because Christ was perfect in my place. He is my redeemer. It’s not about what I can do, but what Christ did. I need that constant reminder because it’s easy for me to get frustrated and stuck in where I messed up, and let me tell you… there’s a long list of areas I need improvement. Anyway… all that to say… I hope through my life, shortcomings and all, I point my kids to Christ.
So here’s to a new school year and all the highs and lows that will come! I know the year will fly by like they always do, but I am definitely looking forward to next summer and hopefully by then we will be in our new house!
Hello! I’m not sure who still tunes in here from time to time. There’s something from IG that feels like it’s missing and I think it’s the heart that I feel blogs carried. Many times, I start to write a really long caption on instagram, but only to press delete, delete, delete. Something feels off to share there; it’s not quite the same as it was when sharing to this online space years ago.
Instagram has become entertainment. I’m definitely not good at entertaining there, nor do I like the pressure to entertain there. I like taking pictures. I like editing. I like looking at pretty pictures. I like sharing pretty pictures. I love getting home decor and fashion ideas. But it’s not a place that feels natural to share myheart as much as I did on my blog years ago. Blogs in its infancy were messy, raw, people in progress, but then it got really glossy and commercialized and then something got lost after that. The people all become professional.
I’m thankful for this space and the opportunities it afforded me and my family. The connections I’ve made and the things I’ve been able to do because of it. But when everyone got so glossy, something got lost for me. Maybe I just couldn’t keep up. This started as a means to document my beginning journey of motherhood, which I’m now 15 years in, as well as my foray into sewing, and all the other creative things I liked to do at that time. It was fun until it wasn’t. And popping in here and there was nice, but lately, I miss just writing to write and reflect.
So I don’t know how often I’ll pop in, but we’ll see. I’ve worn a lot of hats since the beginning of those blogging days, but at the end, when I think about what I want to do with my life… it comes down to sharing my messy heart and using that to help others love Jesus. Because we are all a mess. We are all people in progress. And as one who has been redeemed by Christ, that process for me is called sanctification.
I’ve wanted to talk about the language of adoption, open adoption, depression, and the challenges that’s brought for our marriage, church life, friendships, conflict, dislike for particular roles in life, raising teens, feeling like I screwed up my kids (but I think all parents do screw up their kids to some degree, but we’re all trying the best we know how, with what we know at the time), moving, and the list goes on. But then I go to write something on ig and it doesn’t come out as easily as it does with a keyboard at my hands. And I’ve started post to write here and there, but never get around to pressing publish.
Anyway, all that to say, “Hello again.”
We are on the start of a new season for our family. We sold the home we lived in and loved for 14 years to be closer to church family. It does bring us a little closer to my parents too, and it also gives us a space to be able to have my parents (or Ben’s mom) in a separate back house should the need for that ever arise. But it’s not a particularly cute house at the moment, and it needs a lot of work, but I can’t wait until we can make it our home home.
We’re living with my parents while we make house plans, wait for permits, find a contractor, and initially, I thought we’d be closer to to being done by the end of summer (we got the keys May 19), but we haven’t even started. I know it will happen all in God’s good time, and he will provide the right contractor, and praying it all fits in the budget. But I know how it all ends up, is what is meant to be, and I’m excited still! A little nervous for the bumps that will come up, but still thankful and excited.
I guess house renovating is a lot like life… you never know what will pop up, and when something does, you deal with it, and for me as a Christian, with as much joy and thankfulness as I rely on God to carry me, and then you keep moving forward until the house is done.
If you’re still popping in here too, do say hello in the comments below!
Summer’s end is just around the corner. Lots of things that I thought would happen didn’t, but that’s okay. It’s been a summer filled with transitions and lots of intentional time with my girls.
Spring and summer are my favorite seasons to dress for. Being a California girl, layering is just isn’t something I’m good at. I’m bad at layering pillows on a couch too. Anyway, we were able to get away for a bit last week and in the heat of the desert, it’s a bathing suit and button down all day every day. Also, in the summer, I go minimal on the jewelry, which means instead of ring stacks and a neck mess, I’m pretty much only wearing a neck mess. I still love piling on my necklaces, but my fingers don’t do so well in the heat, so leaving out the rings means less swelling.
I love many of these necklace pieces and all would make great for stacking to create your own neck mess. I love this minimal, but bold collar necklace, this candy looking necklace, or even this charm necklace (I love all of Grainne Morton’s work). I don’t have anything quite as bold as some of these pieces, but I think I’ll request my girls make me one. They’re all about jewelry making this summer, and I think we can get more crafting in before the summer ends.
LARGE PAPER FLOWERS Make for Mother’s Day or as teacher appreciation gift
SUPPLIES FLOWER template Tissue paper Construction paper Scissors Masking tape Dowel/stick Paint Paintbrush Glue
DIRECTIONS 1. Print out template. Use that to trace out petal pieces (need 2 pages of petals). Or cut construction paper down to 8.5” x 11” to print template directly onto construction paper.
2. Cut out all flower pieces. Cut petals along the dotted line.
3. Cut a 2.5” x 10” strip of tissue paper. Wrap that around the top tip of the dowel. Tape the bottom in place. Cut slits to fringe the paper to create your flower center.
4. With your petals, cross over the bottom cut pieces that are cut, this gives each petal that petal curl. Tape each piece onto the dowel with masking tape. Continue until all your petals have been attached.
5. Paint the dowel and masking tape at the base of the petals green.
6. Once the paint is dry, glue your leaves in place.
7. Write a little banner message to attach to your flower.
It’s a sweet token of love for the mothers in your life, or to let a teacher know you appreciate them.
See original post here(@rubyellenbratcher), and as always, love when you share it, simply tag and credit please. Thank you! #easyartaday
We are already into our summer garden, but this is how our winter garden fared:
Romanesco (above photo, top left) - The 6 plants grew slower than we hoped. Started from seed at the very end of November, the buds weren't evident until a few months after. Unfortunately it appeared to be too late for our warmer temperatures because they bolted. The small heads that were there blew out like a slow motion firework and we never got to enjoy them.
Kalettes (above photo, top right) - This was the most anticipated veggie that's a kale-Brussels sprout hybrid. And now in June, month 7, the suspense continues to build! They are painfully sllllllllooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww growers. All the leaves you see there are not the actual kalettes. Rather, the kalettes grow just like Brussels sprouts, attached to the stalk at the "armpit" of where the large leaves you see in the photo connect to the main, vertical stalk. However, instead of looking like mini-cabbages like Brussels sprouts, the finished product is more reminiscent of a shuttlecock. Three different varieties are there and the kalettes just started to form in the last couple weeks. We're almost there!
Bok Choy (above photo, vacated spot, middle left) - We harvested it just like the ones you see in the store. Oops. Evidently it's a gift that can keep on giving, so long as you remove some of the leaves (not all at the same time!) We enjoyed it, but could've enjoyed it more had we harvested it differently
Fennel (above photo, middle, center) - We all love fennel. Ben doesn't like licorice but loves fennel (which has a licorice flavor), so it's possible to like it even if you don't like licorice. This is one of the veggies the girls get unusually excited about! Unfortunately, it is a one-hit wonder (when it's harvested once, that's all), but totally worth it).
Broccoli Raab (above photo, middle right) - This bountiful and bitter vegetable grew so fast; we just weren't ready for it with all the fruit tree planting back in January and February. It bolted and flowered shortly thereafter. Bummer since it's one of our favorites. The girls, not so much... their palettes aren't as accepting to such sharp and spicy flavors.
Mixed greens (above photo, bottom left) - The most generous vegetable by far. Like grass (or hair)... you cut it and it grows right back. Saved a lot on bagged mixed greens over the 3 months it was in ground!
Carrots (above photo, bottom right) - All shapes, sizes, and colors. The girls had a lot of fun popping these with ease out of the ground.
We learn new things every season we have new crops. We'd plant everything again, just making the changes mentioned in the tending approaches. The jury is still out on the kalettes to see if they'll be worth hogging up nearly an entire bed for over half of a year! Tomatoes are now in the bottom 2 beds, but since the kalettes continue taking the scenic route journeying to their destination, it prevented a 3rd bed for tomatoes that are so dear to our hearts and tummies!