a continual feast.

On a quiet morning drive to church, I peek up into the rearview mirror and find two almond-round eyes staring back at me. They are caramel. They are honey. They are the rich, deep color of a cup of undiluted tea. I smile at them because I know what is coming. Below those eyes full of wild and wonderful, a toothy grin spreads wider than the mirror can hold. It’s already tinged with the crookedness of life lived full.

On a warm spring evening, we drive up and down brick-cobbled streets trying to squeeze in for a night’s dinner out. Blocks away, we park and tumble out into the green air of Spring on the horizon. Later, we walk out into the most beautiful sunset over the staggered lines of old factories. We take the slow steps back up and through the spring breeze and fall into our car after a full and well-lived day. My girl slips her hand in mine.

On a barely blue night, my oldest and I stay up to read together. We read about life and change and feelings and being. After a joke and a goofy look, we lose ourselves in belly laughs. The kind with tears that wet dry, world-weary eyes with joy-balm. The kind that bubble up for minutes on end and disrupt any attempt to move on. He laughs like Woody the Woodpecker. I haven’t heard it full and abandoned in too long, it feels.

On a post-time change afternoon, the sunlight cuts through our kitchen in strands  so concentrated I want to try to scoop them up. It’s the kind of bright and shiny that heals winter-cold bones. I dice vegetables and watch fragrant steam rise up out of my favorite red dutch oven. Our house is full of joy set to beat driven music. I cut and stir in time, bouyed by the variety of God’s beauty in this world.

Every morning lately, I’ve landed in the same spot in my Bible–Proverbs 15:15. It’s true that when I look at my world through the lens of what I don’t have–of what is heavy for my carrying arms, of what is hard and asks much of me, of what might always be a no, of what is outlined with loss–my table seems scattered with crumbs and tinged with a lack of hope. Scarcity looms.


When I look at my world through the lens of what has already been crafted into my life, there’s not enough room on my table for all of the goodness that drips off like grapes all heavy. It takes looking, yes, seeing clearly. It also takes picking moments up and rubbing them so that I become familiar. It takes letting every goodness-scent roll over me. It takes a quiet attention to the soft down beat and the whistling up beat of each moment.


Even when loss and pain and uncertainty walk woven into my life, I open my eyes and see a feast all piled up and spilling over and forever-full.

And I know Who has prepared it for me.

the order of things.

On a Sunday afternoon, I’m laying down on the couch, my knees tucked in and my earrings flung onto the coffee table like I don’t lose one of a pair all the time. I have many a lonely earring. I’ve got my college quilt pulled up to my chin. It’s worn so threadbare that it is basically transparent, most of the seams and piecing frayed and ragged. The world is that hazy, dreamy mix of half-closed eyes, Sunday afternoon golf and sun streaming through the windows.

My eyes almost close when my youngest saunters up and takes ahold of my face.

Mama, did you know you’re so cute?

I want to always, always, always have that moment right there at the tip of my remembering brain. I want to remember his nubbin fingers and warm skin on my face. I want to remember how he grinned wide, snaggletoothed and impish. I want to keep close how my heart soared and his caramel eyes squinted with a smile.

I also want to be like him: freer to give praise and see beauty. I could list out all of the reasons for NOT beauty in my life. But not today. Instead, I long to see like my six-year-old does.

I’ve spent the summer studying it, learning how to reframe my definition of beauty. And I’ve decided to step out from under the heavy burden of a broken world’s gospel of same, unflawed, only good things on my terms beauty. Instead, I’m going to embrace the true Gospel’s beauty of surrender and open-handedness and humble acceptance that my life-spot and all of its accoutrements do not dictate God’s beautiful hand at work in it. What’s happening all around me, how I feel about myself, all of the particulars of my life do not get to say that my God is not good. But. My God’s goodness (bestness for me) gets to–does– color my world with beautiful, beautiful things.

I’m cupping my life in my hands and telling it this: you ARE full of beauty.

the importance of being a beauty hunter.






I’ve been beauty hunting this summer. With each day, I am realizing how important this is for me. Most of the things I’ve scavenged up and stuffed in my remembering pockets are just ordinary things. Nothing extraordinary has happened. My kids have fought with each other. I’ve lost my temper. I have a preteen. No miracle answers to prayer requests have come. I haven’t seen big dreams come to fruition or start. I haven’t lost those elusive twenty pounds.

And that is why it is so important for me to beauty hunt.

It’s because I feast my little eyes on inspiration and turn that into prescription and a whole lot of diagnosis. It’s because I inch toward the belief that perfection is the best thing. It’s because I let pride rise up and rob me from the beauty of sitting in my smallness. It’s because I push and push and push against the boundaries of my life with my striving fists. It’s because I’m a peacemaker, a people-pleaser and a top notch avoider. If you’re wondering: that looks like a follower with a healthy bit of dreamy-eyedness and some difficulty with intentionality. Sometimes I forget what is important to me in the wild scramble that can be everyday life.

I’m not really gifted at push back (It’s the whole people-pleaser/peacemaker thing.), but this strong shove that is a beauty hunt is vitally important. Otherwise, I will fall for every try harder, every bitter pill that is just settling, every be bigger, every perfection lie.  I need this. I need this; I need this; I need this.

You, too?

about beauty.


Like a sucker punch to the gut, I am now the parent of a 6th grader, 4th grader and 1st grader. Real talk? I am feeling an ache over the passage of time. There are no more babies. Soon, my youngest will lose his snaggle-toothed smile and soft childhood belly. Nubbin fingers aren’t meant to last forever. I can still hear the way the pleather on the hospital sofa bed crinkled as Tom tossed and turned the night we held our first child in our arms. I can still see bright pink and green curtains we hung in our girl’s nursery, the ones with the huge, white grosgain bows. I can still feel the soft in and out of my wild youngest’s fresh breathing.

I know the difficulty that is in the years behind me. But I know better than ever the beauty, too.

I spent a good chunk of last summer studying Psalm 16. David penned one of my favorite verses in this beautiful Psalm and I just wanted to know how he could say with surety that the lines around his life were in beautiful places. I still do.  As I studied, I settled on a simple statement: There is beauty here. It wouldn’t have been easy for David to say. When David wrote Psalm 16, he was either cornered by Saul’s army or nursing the wound of hearing no to one of his good and beautiful dreams–to build a temple for his God. He was either done for or done in. About to be destroyed or about to be overcome with disappointment. And he said: Surely, there is beauty here. I’ve learned, am still learning, that it was in the believing and then the looking. He knew his God. He knew his God’s goodness. He knew what good really means. So, he looked and he saw. He saw beautiful things.

God is shifting the boundary lines in our family. These heart houses that are living in my tiny corner of His kingdom are walking in wider spaces. It’s beautiful and I’m not afraid of who they are becoming. Still, I’m sort of standing at the edge looking back over the things that have passed through, a good place but not one for lingering. I’ve walked the lines enough to know that there is going to be some narrow living in this time. I’ve learned to believe with everything in me that the most imperfect and dazzling beauty grows in the narrow places.

There is beauty here. In the narrow place. In the wide place. In the exhausting place. In the restoring place. There is beauty here. I’m holding this banner high over me–especially this summer–as I ask God to make my eyes beauty-sensitive and my heart love-motivated. I don’t want to stand at the edge of the past or at the forefront of the future, fear filled and fighting to avoid or go back. I want to be present today, right here in the lines God is drawing and shifting around me.

I’m going to be reminding myself everyday that there is beauty here. I’m going to be training my eyes on the moments that are just full and bursting with Him, even the ones that feel a bit sandpapery. And I’m going to keep track of them. I’m doing it for me but I’d love to invite you along ,too. I’ll be using #surelybeauty on instagram. Either way, I hope that in the thick of today you’ll stop and remind yourself that there IS beauty right here.

something about our house for a change.

When we moved into this little house of ours four years ago (Gasp! Longest we’ve ever stayed anywhere!), I was running a little handmade business. Just off the foyer was a sweet little room with built in bookshelves, a closet and a full bath. We live in a real-life, former, actual parsonage and I’m pretty sure my little room was a pastor’s study. It made for a great office.

Two years ago, I gave up that business and I have struggled with my little room ever since. It’s had several different incarnations as an office but mostly it just looks like a storage room.

On a sunny afternoon this spring I began to wonder how we could use the space better. It’s just off the foyer and houses the only bathroom downstairs.  Honestly, it’s been rubbing at me that we don’t use the space that well since it was a major draw for moving here (after four previous moves).

So. After some really hard thinky-thinking and a few talks with my husband and finding five people to agree that it was a good idea (because Tom was not in a hurry to move my six foot tall headboard down the stairs for me to quick decide it wasn’t such a good idea after all) we are in the process of moving our bedroom downstairs.


I took this picture of our office yesterday afternoon. As you can see, I’m making lots of progress. Smiley face.

The biggest concern was that we would be losing space. Half a room, to be exact. This little room is cozy and it will be a challenge to make it work but I’m so excited. I’ve lived in a few small houses and there is something about being really intentional about every single thing. We also had to think about our own bathroom being the main one. I decided that I would be more motivated to maintain some peace and order and make(ish) the bed if I knew that others would be passing through that space on a regular basis. Plus! We gain a guest bedroom with lots of storage upstairs and out of sight.


That’s one half of our current master. I’ve switched to all white bedding and stolen some of the burlap for our den.

In the end, it’s been a gift of creativity and a goal to work toward. Sometimes? You just need that. I’m absolutely willing to be wrong if it means that I’ll fall in love with what I already have. I love problem solving and there have been lots of little issues to think through, especially keeping some kind of work/writing space for me. I don’t have all the solutions yet but I’m ok with not knowing. It’s ok to start without knowing all of the details.

What do y’all think? Am I crazy? Naive? Too pie in the sky?

PS-If I’m wrong I’ll just have to live with it because Tom is not carrying that headboard back up our 75 year old staircase with two turns and two landings.

PPS-Look how much difference a little wallpaper removal made in our bathroom. I’m far from done but it’s such a nice change.


for when you wish.

wishes2It’s a bright and beautiful King Day afternoon. I’m in the kitchen trying to find the right water temperature for dishes. The hot water runs over my hands bringing up pink skin.  The tinkling of a full sink begins.

I look out the wavy glass of the window on our backyard. The boys are playing baseball. The dog is stealing the ball.

“GroooverrrrrRRR!” Big smile.

And then huge, hard, cold punch to the chest. I wish. For so many things but mostly that some of the hard things would be taken away. And now my tears are plinking on the edge of the cold counter top. One. Two. Three.

Tumbling, tumbling and my thoughts follow all full of Haven’t-I-been-good-enoughs and Isn’t-it-time-to-move-ons and This-is-not-so-beautifuls. All of the sudden my kitchen is filled with the stale air of why. In my experience, why almost never brings fresh wind.

But then something rustles through the clapboard shambles of my mind: this is just buffing. It must be from Him. Nothing so fresh could come from me right now.

This? Is just buffing. All of these things that rub my skin so raw and pinky tender are revealing something so beautiful: Christ in me. And words can’t begin to scratch out how much I need to see Him in all the bits and pieces of my life. To encounter Him and His grace and His enough over and over again: the thrum, thrum, thrum of this buffing.

When I was eighteen and beginning a faith walk unlike anything before, I was looking for a Lord to spit-shine me up real good. Make me acceptable, liked. Show me how to have a good life. It was how I needed to come to Him and I’m so glad for His grace.

Just now-almost eighteen years later-I am beginning to see that it is less about being shiny and good and more about being closer and closer to a Savior. It is the only way through.

This buffing hurts but it is beautiful.

a beauty revolution.

New Film Premiere – I Like Adoption. from ILikeGiving.com on Vimeo.

Yesterday a dear friend linked to this video on facebook. I hope you’ll take the six minutes to watch this.

Because this story? It’s a story of beauty rabble rousers. My heart ripped when the mama of this beautiful family calls us victims of our culture because we believe that beauty means being perfect and being the same. Because it is true.

All my life I’ve disbelieved beauty in my frame and I’ve struggled to find beauty in my home and my disappointments. But what if all the things I thought disqualified me are the very building blocks of beauty in my life?

What if, like this family’s son, we could put quotation marks around the things that we believe have made life mis-formed so that we can believe we-our lives-are well-formed? And what if our lives spoke that beautiful truth over others, not just words but really lived out?

Let’s call a lie a lie. Beauty is not defined by this world, this culture. Let’s be beauty rabble rousers.