March 14, 2020

It all feels sort of apocalyptic. And with the California sunshine being replaced with cold and rain, it feels especially glum. All my expectations of what was gonna happen this weekend, suddenly changed in one email, and then it was domino effect. It’s like all of life was cancelled. A girls trip in a few months, has changed. The workshops I was supposed to teach got changed to a date that I’m unsure I’m able to do. Everything feels up in the air. 

I see different views on this online… some say the media is making it a bigger deal than it is, and others sharing the wisdom to all the drastic closures. Someone I know was already avoiding taking her kids out in public in January because of the coronavirus (and flu), and I kind of internally laughed because never would have I imagined this. Ben and I are pretty OCD as they come, and we are on the extreme of cautiousness (we take hand sanitizer everywhere we go!), but for sure did not expect the drastic measures currently being taken be our reality.

And with all my workshops cancelled this weekend, and other events cancelled, I know me and my freelance artist/business owner friends are feeling a bit of the strain. I know I was hoping to work this weekend to help pay for some big upcoming (and unexpected) medical bills. So while I’m glad everyone is safe, and I think all the cancellations were the right call to make, I know the result is a ripple effect of anxiety in other areas. Though I am very thankful that I can still run my vintage shop and that can go on (so thank you to everyone who’s supported by commenting, liking, or ordering from @wovenfolk). 

But as a Christian, I know God is still in control, none of this was a surprise to Him, and even all this will play out just as He planned. Sure, things won’t always make sense, but I know God is trustworthy, even amidst suffering, and that He continues to be my hope (again, even in suffering or uncomfortable trials). With all the unknowns and anxiety, I will keep trusting and resting in Christ alone for protection and provision (even if someone gets sick and we lose income). 

One blessing from this is that it’s sort of forced an opportunity to pause a bit. A reminder to “be still” and trust in God. I feel like life was going full steam ahead and then boom… we put on the brakes. Suddenly. And now, I get to rest a bit more with girls, I get to try out some creative ideas that have been swirling in my brain, and now I get to work on taxes. All of us Bratchers are homebodies by nature, we’ve got a garden with food, and we can eat through our pantry and fridge because we never eat out anyway (well, rarely as a family), so we good with being stuck at home.

The number one priority is to love our neighbors and we can do so by washing our hands, being mindful of our hygiene, and staying home to protect those who are vulnerable. Even our church gathering will be done online this Sunday (and maybe the next), so we are taking all precautions seriously, so that we give our community an an opportunity to get ahead of this virus before it just takes off with us. Sickness sucks. Death sucks. This virus sucks, but it definitely keeps reminding me that my hope is in Christ alone.

Sin left this world marred and broken. God in His holiness created everything abundantly and overwhelmingly good, but man’s sin separated us from God, and introduce death into this world. We broke it. BUT GOD! Demonstrated His love for us, and through Christ, who lived the perfect life we could never life, went to the cross to die in our place. Jesus received the punishment for sin deserved for me. All my good will never be good enough. For those who repent and trust in Jesus, we are given the righteousness of Christ. We are restored back to God. We are given that hope. So repent and believe!

I look forward to that day where there will be no more pain and brokenness, no more novel coronavirus around, just glory and joy… glory joy-filled days for all eternity! Just as God had intended for us to enjoy Him freely forever for those in Christ Jesus.

In the meantime… keep calm and wash your hands, friends!

P.S. Aren’t the posters Brave made cute?!! We wanted to make this important reminder in a bright, cheery color. And she’s way into lettering, so any chance she gets to write on something, she’s all about it.


February 13, 2020

Oh man. Life lately. So crazy.

There’s so much I want to say and share, but haven’t had the time and energy. The girls get all my energy and attention, and even then, I feel like I’m failing at giving them that undivided attention. Big family problems, I suppose.

Things I want to grow in… more silliness with them. I need to let loose more. Gotta find that balance of the routine scheduled mom that I am and the chill mom they need me to be also.

Also, I need to grow in doubling the encouragement. It goes back to that uber disciplined mom that I am, and wanting to make sure everything gets done, and we stay on schedule, so it feels like I’m barking orders. I need to double the encouragement. Remember that, Ruby.

Last thing, I need to slow down my hurried heart and enjoy these days. Yeah, life is full and it’s going fast, but darn it, Ruby… slow down. They’re only little once.

Fortunately, through all my failures and obvious need for improvement, I’m thankful that there is grace from Jesus and from my kids. They don’t benefit from having a perfect mom, but they will benefit from a mom that clings to the cross of Christ, a mom that repents regularly and trusts Christ continually. Jesus, you are my hope and righteousness. Help me in these quick and busy season of raising kids. Amen.


January 28, 2019

Last week was a hard week. I started last Monday feeling encouraged by the events of the previous weekend, but by Saturday night, I was defeated. Some relationship trials, a couple sleepless nights, getting sick for a couple days, then crazy winds in our area that forced my car door open wider than I wanted, which resulted in some of my white car paint scuffs on a clean, black car, and a lady yelling at me then asking to exchange insurance information for said paint scuffs. I was immediately apologetic, but didn’t anticipate it would escalate to wanting my insurance info. I was crying at this point, but she didn’t understand why and said it was no big deal, and so I didn’t comprehend why were we exchanging insurance info if it was no big deal. That just pushed me to my limit for the week and I was on edge the rest of the day with tears and anger to anyone over anything. I texted my accountability group everything I was feeling, which certainly made for a messy read because I wasn’t even sure I was making sense at this point. I had anger, sadness, and frustration all bubbling/bursting inside me.

On Saturday night, I didn’t even want to go to church family gathering the next day. I knew I’d be encouraged hearing the word and seeing church family, but my soul and body were too physically exhausted to go. And I was just getting over a cold/sinus infection, so I knew I could get away with just saying I needed rest if I really wanted to. In the end, there was a church meeting in the afternoon I didn’t want to miss, so I sucked it up and went. And yes, I was encouraged hearing the Word. The reminder to “wake up and stay up” based on Revelation 3:1-6 was the rebuke and encouragement my heart needed. I was refreshed getting hugs from sisters who knew exactly the kind of week I had and I was excited to jump back into the week with a renewed spirit ready to conquer another week’s of life’s trials.

Then, today hit. Big parenting bumps this morning. The defeat returns. That anger, sadness, and frustration combo hitting hard. Learning how to disciple your kids’ hearts is some messy business, especially when you’re a big mess yourself. So when I’m at a loss, and don’t know what to say or do, I can at least turn to what I do know… Jesus took my mess with Him on that cross, and because of that God looks at me and sees Jesus’ righteousness instead. That truth ought to direct my parenting. Well, pretty much all my life. That sets me free. At least it ought too when I’m letting that truth massage its way to the depths of my heart.

As far as trials… relationship bumps, car bumps, or any other kind of life bump… when I’m seeing clearly, I can thank God for the place they have in life. Trials refine my heart, cause me to re-examine my heart and its idols, and push me to cling to Christ. Yeah sure, there are some days when I just want to give up, and I’m totally over it and would rather use distractions to numb myself (today is one of those days), but it’s the sweetness of Christ that pulls me out of that. That sweetness gave me life everlasting and that sweetness reminds me to praise God for these kumquat moments… when the sourness of life is covered and overwhelmed by the sweetness of Christ. Maranatha!


November 26, 2018

Her name is Red Elizabeth.

If you follow me on ig, then you know about 6 weeks ago, we welcomed another sweet little girl into our lives via adoption. We are definitely in that newborn haze and still trying to figure out how to balance 5 kids (not easy!), four of whom I am currently responsible for their schooling. It’s been pretty silent in this space and I had thought I would share more seeing how November is National Adoption Month, but we’re too busy adjusting and enjoying this sweet little babe of ours. Plus, I’m still trying to figure out what and how to share. There are so many hearts involved; adoption is joy and loss existing simultaneously together. It is Red’s story to share, so I don’t want to overstep because this belongs to her. But just like I have shared the birth stories of our other girls, how she entered our lives is something we take joy in too. I will share what I can in time, which probably won’t be much, but for now, let’s start with her name…

Red symbolizes blood, life, and family. It’s sort of a different take on the name Scarlett. We are so thankful that her birth mom chose life for her. While she didn’t grow in my belly, from the day we found out this possibility, God started growing her in our heart. All 6 of our hearts. She is part of us. We went from 6 to 7. Also, our prayer for Red is Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” We pray that she would ultimately find her identity in the REDemption of the blood of Jesus and what He did for her on the cross.

Elizabeth is birth mom’s middle name, so we gave her the middle name Elizabeth to honor Red’s first mama. Her name is something that we discussed with her first mama prior to her arrival, and it was the name she was given at birth. Our adoption is open adoption, and we will always celebrate her unique story, so it is special that her name is a reflection of that.

My mother-in-law put all the girls’ names together in a way that’s easy for people to remember. She tells people, “A true, brave soul glows red.”


October 15, 2018

This was a special Sunday for the six of us. My girls have grown so much the last few months. Life throws unexpected things and these girls have risen to the occasion. God’s provided all the strength, courage, and peace they need, and then some. God is using this particular moment in time for their good and His glory. We might not see the immediate effects of the trials now, but we know it’s doing some deep work in the depths of their heart. All good things, I know.

The song “Wonderful Life” from the movie Small Foot has kind of been sort of family theme song lately. It’s a song of excitement, curiosity, and thankfulness for what’s to come and I think we’re especially feeling that now…

Take a look around
And see the world we think we know
Then look closer
There’s more to life than meets the eye
A beauty to behold
It’s all much bigger than we know
It’s only just beginning to unfold
So let it all unfold

Far beyond all reason in your mind
There’s a world mysterious
There for you to find
All these questions
That we always have
All we are is curious
There’s nothing wrong with that
So go ’round every corner
Search every part of the sky
‘Cause a life that’s full of wonder
Is a wonderful life

We will continue to wait on God to unfold our story. We know it’s gonna be a good one, even with bumps that may come up. This life now, with its joys and pains, points us to Christ. He is our hope, truth, filler of wonder, and because of that, it certainly is a wonderful life.


October 1, 2018

Dear October,

We’ve been nervously and eagerly anticipating you. We know this month will bring new mercies, more joy, some fighting, abounding grace, lots of forgiveness, and probably a few surprises too. The girls have lots of plans for Halloween and we mostly have all the costumes put together. Some big things are coming up, like my BFF’s official adoption day of her 3 girls that we have all been waiting forever for, a sushi bowl party to celebrate my sisters’ birthdays, and a trip to Texas. I have a pretty long to-do list of things to prep this month, so I better get to it. I spent my free time, on this first day of the month, listening to a couple podcasts, reading articles, and taking a nap (on accident), so yup, none of those things got done. I better get to it cause this month will fly by I’m sure.

Here’s another month to allow God to work in our hearts and put into action that heart shifting and convicting He’s been doing lately. We’re in for the wild, or maybe tame, ride life might bring this month. We’ll see. September was busy getting back into the routine of homeschooling and finishing up some house projects. For awhile there, I didn’t think we’d have an organize house again, but the girls are settled into their new rooms and we are all loving the little switch-a-roo.

We know you don’t bring us vibrant red and orange leaves, and we are content with our evergreens and palm trees. The sun is setting earlier and the days are a bit cooler, so we are definitely feeling the change. Welcome, October, we greet you open arms. Also, we gotta get through you to get to November, and I love November because it’s my birthday month.


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