Thursday, November 6, 2014

I've Been Everywhere, Man (Oct. Ed.)

Last month I...

Attended Catalyst with these nerds, Lori and Becca

Got schooled by the likes of Melissa Green (I have plans to officially start stalking her for various reasons...) Jen Hatmaker, Esther Havens, Ann Voskamp, Lindsay Nobles, and Jennie Allen.

Flew from Catalyst in Atlanta straight to Denver, where spoke at the Passion For Orphans conference. I didn't take a single picture on this trip, because it was an extreme whirlwind. But I had a fantastic time. (And I only had to turn around and compose myself during my talk once, and just for like two seconds.) ;)

Took Calvin to see his doc, which ended up being a bit of a fiasco. But Silas wrote "I can love you" on the dry erase board, so that helped.

Had these rad kiddos over while their Mama was being Superwoman and their Pop was in Nepal fighting for girls who have been trafficked. (Want to live out the Gospel in a new way? Support this organization.)

Experienced the week where every tree in the 'hood set itself on fire. (Took pictures accordingly.)

Parent Teacher Conferences! 3 glowing reports.
(And our church serves dinner to the teachers every year, which I think is the best idea ever. Especially since it was tacos this year.)

Helped at the Neighborhood Pumpkin Extravaganza hosted at our church.
(Followed immediately by Family Picture Day.) 

Went to Michigan for the Anniversary trip of the ages!

Headed down to Ohio to retrieve my Fall-breaking kids, and stuck around for a day.

We woke up to crazy-thick fog. The kids were already out running wild in the field and screaming just to hear the echo.

Then we visited my dad's garden, because it still looks like this, so why wouldn't we?

The kids each ate a giant carrot for breakfast.
(Best kind of weirdos. Best kind!)

Spent time with my new nephew, Hans-David. He's super happy, except for when his Aunt Shannan holds him.  :/

Back to the pitch dark.

Calvin and Ruby started chess club.
It does strange things to me to have them in chess club...good strange things.
Some days I hope they'll teach me to play; other days not so much.

Calvin practiced Tae Kwan Do take-downs on his Dad.

Spinach and chicken quesadillas with sauteed zucchini, ready for the grill. Delish!


We burned up our last warm days at the park. (sniff sniff sob)

Calvin tested for his navy blue belt!
He broke two boards put together with his foot...on the first try.
(Speaking of his feet...they are my favorite part of this picture.)

{And speaking of Calvin...shhh!...he sometimes still holds my hand in public. If no one his age or older is around.}

Two little houses are going up, right next to ours!
Come be my neighbor. Think of the fun we'd have.

I'm the new Box Top Coordinator at Chamberlain Elementary.
Next stop? The White House!!

We're still collecting and I LOVE getting all of your sweet notes and envelopes of box top love. The school office saves every one for me to see. You guys are the official BEST!  This month we used part of our cash to pay for a walking field trip to the pretzel shop for all the 1st Graders. :)

(If you want to send some, mail to Chamberlain Elementary 428 N 5th St, Goshen, IN 46528.)

I logged some hours staring through the screened window of my bedroom. This is where I do my "official" writing, and it helps to be able to look out over part of the world.

We walked to church almost every Sunday. My favorite!


I've had more trips in the past two months than in the entire year prior. 6 states in 31 days. Some days I feel all hush-hush about it, like there are people who might have "opinions" on this sort of thing. Other days I want to crawl in a hole and hibernate.

Most days, I'm thankful for this season we're in, where for the first time, with the kids in school, we're able to focus a little more on my work. I'm grateful for a husband who shares my philosophy that our partnership is equal. We agree on our schedule, and when I'm not here, he is. He does all of the things, even Ruby's hair.

I like that my kids see that sometimes I'm the Mom and sometimes Dad's the "mom". We all share the load. (Just don't ever ask me to unclog a toilet, or I'll faint dead away. That's full-on Dad territory. Period.)

The deep guts of life is that this week has been hard for me, even though I'm finally back into my normal routine. EVEN THOUGH I SCORED A MUCH-NEEDED PAIR OF JEANS FROM THE CONSIGNMENT STORE IN TOWN. (Jeans in my size? Second hand?? Jesus did rise from the dead. This is proof.)

I spent the end of October at the Storyline conference in Chicago. I soaked it all in, took mental notes and real ones, waded into deep waters with dear friends. I felt God speaking just to me. I felt brave. Gutsy. Loved. Held near.

This week, the enlightenment feels mostly gone. This week, fear creeps in.
But I know it's a lie.

So for now, I might be a bit quieter. I just need to let a few things settle into the cracks.

The Epic October of 2014 has wrapped, but life is still full. It's full of rhythms and seasons and wild, vibrant people. It's full of work and fun and helping and learning.

It's beauty full, so we lean in when it's harried and lean out when we can.
And then we do it all again.


  1. Sounds like quite a month!!! That is wonderful! I bet it was life giving, but I also understand how it is stressful. A couple years ago I had an AWESOME October that I lovingly referred to and still refer to as "Pam-tober." I hope your October and the things in it filled you with joy and carry you through the times when joy seems hard to find. XOXO

  2. Also, your pictures are so beautiful!!! Thank you for sharing them with us!

    1. Well, thanks! These are all from my phone, which does not have "the best camera ever". :)

  3. So glad to see the tiny hands shout out. Mike Ohara (one the founders) stood with my husband in our wedding and we get together yearly. Hearing how The Lord has taken a post college hiking trip to Nepal and turned it into tiny hands makes my heart sing and tremble.

  4. I just love that picture of you and the kids on the way to church ~ framable ~ I think so!

  5. Very random thoughts...
    Love the selfie with the kids being goofs! Thank you for supporting the family who is championing the anti-trafficking in Burma. Quesadillas on the grill? What a super idea! Storyline? Gosh, you were at my church. That's my brush with fame - that Shannan from FPFG visited my church. ;)

  6. my nine year old, who "prefers to be called a tween", will hold my hand with no prompting at school in front of everyone until he sees me smiling and then remembers himself. i love it!

  7. You have such a gorgeous family!

  8. Wow! Our October was crazy too with tow getaways for hubby and I and now we are already plotting another.

    FYI-sometimes fear is an indicator of dehydration. I counseled a woman in a prison re-entry program who was very fearful and once I got her to drink enough water everyday it just went away. But, I always knew when she had cut out the water because she would just be shaking with fear when I saw her.

  9. Gmail is a B* third time its erased my comment and made me login and then rewrite it. $%@(@( buzz kill. Ugh. I love your pics, loved seeing Howard, wanna move in with your mom and dad (actually you aren't a bad option) and loved the end. If this doesn't take my comment, I give up!

  10. Loved reading about your adventures, including the one that included me. Understand that things need to sort themselves out, so go sort in peCe. Just don't be gone too long. I'll be tempted to think an early snow storm got you!

  11. I loved hearing about your adventures in October. Don't be apologetic over living your life to the fullest, I think it's great! Your pic of Calvin and you holding hands reminded me of my youngest son who is a freshman in college this year. I didn't drive him often to school his senior year but sometimes when I did, I would reach out my hand at a red light and say "hand please " and without even looking up from his phone would reach out and hold my hand for a minute or so.

    1. I always ask my boys if they'll still sit on my lap when they're grown and married.


  12. It made me smile to come over here today and see my own face :-) (which makes me sound like I'm obsessed with myself a little). Also, i miss you - why oh why haven't we talked in SO long?!

  13. I'll be your nerd any day.
    Love you and your big ol' heart and I'm sorta loving your jail chap, too. In a non-weird way, of course.
    And I'm gonna totally copy and paste our pics and then compose my own ramblings from Oct. I'm feeling lost.

  14. I approve of all your pictures. And I can love you, too.

  15. FPFG!!! Loooooove this post soooo much! Your gorgeous photos were seriously nourishment for my soul! You capture such simple beauty! It's breathtaking! I literally gasped out loud when I saw the spider web clinging to that wrought iron celestial thingie! :) I spent the first 30 years of my life living in Indianapolis until last year when I moved to Orlando. Although Florida surprised me with how much I love it here, I miss the good old Midwest too... And boy did I enjoy your photos and your words! You really have a way with photography and with writing. Over the past year or two your blog has become one of my all-time faves. Love the way you're reppin' Indiana, girly! Keep up the great work! #MidwestIsBest ;) p.s. so sorry if I accidentally posted this comment twice!? LOL.

  16. I did an internal gasp when I saw a picture of that tree on fiyaa and THE ROLLS on your nephew!! heart eyes!