Later, Not Goodbye // Clarksville, TN

June 22, 2016

“It’s not a goodbye, it’s a see you later.”

Three years ago a little family (then of only 3) made their way to Clarksville, TN to make it their home via the military. Knowingly they came, we met, and became kindred spirits with the knowledge that three years was also how long they planned to stay before skipping on!
So, year one and two snuck by on us all. We became close, we watched this little family grow with the addition of another kiddo, we watched them grow stronger as dad shipped out for a nine month deployment and mama and boys continued faithfully at home, we watched with joy their reunion as the leaf of year three turned over. That’s when the realization hit us.

Wait, they wouldn’t be here forever?!

As this little family moves on from our embrace to the many other amazing adventures I know the Lord has in store for them, I am just overwhelmed at the memories we’ve shared, the laughs that have shaken us to tears, the bond of friendship that has grown ten-fold stronger because it is united in Christ.
This is something that even an ocean can’t separate.
So, we send the dear H. family off with embraces that long for them to stay, but also with urging hands nudging them on to the place, people and hearts the Lord has for them to touch next!
.   .   .   .   .
Of course sending such a family off requires one last hoorah of memory bank filling, so my sisters and I leaped at the chance when (finally!) a free calendar square made itself known!
The Saturday morning started with cinnamon rolls. Can you get much better?
I think know not.

As we finished off the tasty pastries and wiped our upper lips we discussed plans for the day, the unanimous decision being to hit the local farmer’s market! While mama got ready, some play time in the most bright and cheerful play room was in order!
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Needless to say, these little guys know how to play! From dress up to Duplo skyscrapers to hilarious quotes of their own (“You’re goin’ in the trash can tomorrow!”) with the addition of looking stinking cute in the process! They reminded me of the little Lost Boys from Peter Pan, which upon my asking them if they had heard or watched Peter Pan, their reply was “Who’s that?”

We also talked all things Toy Story and Finding Nemo, which of course included watching the upcoming sequel teasers of both!
But as always, play time can’t last all day, no matter what Peter Pan may say.
Jammies were exchanged for shorts and t-shirts, blonde hair was combed, and we headed into the real life of the day!

“I love to walk a city, whether I’ve been there once or a thousand times before. It’s amazing what sort of inspiration you’ll find when you steal a second glance .”
| erin hiemstra |

     How little I knew of Clarksville ’til we took the time to see it! I had been downtown briefly a couple years before, and driving it once every week, I thought I knew it well! Only until we turned another corner downtown did I see a whole new little world of charm! Makes we wonder what other cities I so quickly check off my list as “explored”.

The thirst quencher of choice was some one-of-a-kind homemade lemonade that totally hit the spot!
I could see local farmer’s markets being a new favorite Saturday activity, having been to very few myself I forgot how exciting they are!
Seeing a glimpse of the diversity of talents and expertise these people share, combined with tempting smells, a fresh breeze through the aisle of tents, the beat of vibrant music from some local musicians, and just watching new faces pass by.

2016-06-15_01062016-06-15_0097     Of course, it goes without mentioning that outings like these always call for a token/souvenir to remember them by! And as the mama in this sweet family being the extraordinaire paint brush handler that she is, it seemed all too spot on to head to the little pottery studio situated on Franklin Street, called Horse Feathers.
The personalities of these people. I have loved watching these little guys grow up and getting a sneak peek at their unique quirks that makes them who they are. And also watching their sweet mama and dad nurture those quirks while walking and leading them along the path.

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Our creativity fix satisfied, we headed back out the antique aqua doors and back toward the car, taking in the sights slowly as we did. Seriously, this downtown area has me itching to come back for a more in-depth snooping!

1 universe.

9 planets.
204 countries.
809 islands.
7 seas.
And I had the privilege of meeting you.

You’ve touched our hearts in ways that can’t be put into words, we are so thankful that God put Clarksville on your map for a season! See ya later sweet friends, we know new adventures are calling your name, but we’re totally keeping those old ones under lock and key!


sunshine after the rain

May 20, 2016

I’ve been wondering if this rainforest-like-wetness we’ve been experiencing in our area will maybe just take a “rain check” soon!
*chuckles* So. Much. Wata.
But funny, how I never truly notice or appreciate a beam of sunshine until it breaks through after raindrops.
Isn’t it the same in some of our life stories? The sunshine moments gleam even brighter after the cloudy ones shift on for a time.
“The struggle is part of the story”; the rain and sunshine alike, each a beautiful part of the plan.

rainy window
rainy window #2

rainy window #3
I have felt, over the past few months, kinda like cereal that has sat a bit too long in a toddler’s bowl of milk.  A bit soggy.
Drenched with life raindrops, I am now ready for some sun.  But being “soggy” in this way, it’s taught me trust, trust only in the Lord.
Experiencing the raindrops, the uncertain ones that would whisk in without notice, it’s reminded me of God’s faithfulness that always shines bright, regardless how overcast the day.
He uses those overcast days, the rainy ones, the stormy ones. . . to grow us.
To help us glorify Him in the moment, but also even more when He rolls in the sun!
We can be utterly amazed at Him in these sunshine opportunities, most times the aftermath of a drenching; by His grace I can say I am,
even when I wondered if I ever could.

Praise Him in the sunshine, praise Him in the rain. He sustains. He is faithful. He is enough.
| Psalm 40 |


change in the air

April 26, 2016

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes,
but when you look back everything is different?”
| C.S. Lewis |
3-29-16 #2
Breeze shift it looks like!
Change is happening everywhere in our lives these days.
In the world outside the kitchen window each morning I look out with a smile because it’s different than I left it some hours before.
One more tulip has shyly opened, the driveway is framed in by more green,
the breeze that comes through the screened window is definitely one that says “Summer!”.
In those around me too, change looks to be sprouting.
Each day may seem to fly by unchanged as we carry on with routines, schedules, appointments, jobs, here-and-going; but all the while I look curiously into each face knowing we are on the brink of change.
A brother looking at college possibilities for next year, an almost eleven year old who wakes up only having grown closer to my eye level with a more mature comment & desire to be included with the “big guys”, grandparents that age and knowing that the days we have enjoyed up to this point will be slightly different, reminded to embrace them even more thankfully.
As for me, well, I thrive on that word; change.
The everyday sameness can sometimes leave me with an itch I can’t reckon with or explain.
But it’s definitely bitter-sweetness I taste as we roll up on this changing life season, the excitement is about to burst beyond containing but a hint of lingering too as I realize. . . we won’t ever be the same as we are now.
My brain seriously is a maze every day. I’m working through tons and heaps, in pretty much every different area of life! Too many ideas, too many ambitions, the trying to buckle down and unitask on one and learn it well. The balancing of time with service, work, learning, & fun.
I want to change & grow, to thrive; oh, I don’t want to remain stagnant.
But how does someone start the ball of desired change rolling?
Right now, my only answer to the question is seeking the Lord in every moment.
And I mean every.
Even when my head feels like it’s swelling with dozens of questions that I don’t have answers to, I know that He is the answer. The areas of my life that make no sense right now, my Lord is at work beneath the surface. Someday I may have the answer, and then again I may not.
Regardless, I know He’s using them as the means of reforming this lump of clay that desperately needs it every day.

The Lord is daily shaping, molding, and pruning. I can tell, it’s definitely not always comfy.
We grow discouraged when we long to change, grow, blossom and more accurately reflect His image. Then, in the hour, it looks only like we are still just the same lump of clay, the unchanged gnarly branch.
But He sees different.
He knows the transformation that He is bringing about day by day, small each day but grand in the big picture.

In these days of change when we can’t quite understand what He’s doing, I think after a series of tomorrows we will be able to look back and see the same amazing change that He was orchestrating all along. And it will be a looking back of joy & thankfulness because even though we may never fully understand every puzzle piece, we will see how those extremely weird & odd pieces which we thought were worthless . . . He had a great plan for.

Busy weeks are in the rearview mirror but also on the road ahead! Excited and ready for them while at the same time learning patience in the middle of lots of happening & desired change.
{2 Corinthians 4:16-18}

heart writing

366 pages

January 1, 2016


Page 1 of 366.2015-12-28_0001

As a new year dawns and begins to leave 2015 in the rearview mirror I find myself reflecting a good deal. Reflecting with joy, with a hint of sadness, saying goodbye to a year that held so, so much!
The pages are bursting out of the covers of 2015.

How does one (even a wordsmith) put into words the depth of thought, the fleeting moments of action, the unique personality of faces, and precious flurry of uncountable minutes that made up this year? One doesn’t, plainly put.
But to say it in short, I have been blessed. B l e s s e d.
Blessed to have had 365 days that I was able to stand, to breathe, to just live. Blessed that even in the moments when I just knew I couldn’t take another step, couldn’t handle another moment of something hard for fear of snapping in two under the weight. . . the Lord saw me through; gave me the breath to inhale/exhale and take another step. But even more did He give me the needed relief of someone or something that cracked a smile, made the way of escape for a laugh, breaking the clouds for sunshine. Blessed also that He gave me so many moments of sunshine without clouds. 2 0 1 5. It’s been a year of, well, transition. The road forked, the road which was laid up to this point with the pavers of younger years, learning, forming a solid foundation, planting of seeds. This fork in the road is really just an extension of the old, continuing on; new pavers being laid each day.
The mortar being grace.
I love celebrating New Years. I always have. It’s more than just the celebration itself though, it acts as a kind of Thanksgiving Day for me. It’s a looking at the big picture of the entire year, remembering moments that I messed up, words that should have gone unsaid, actions that should’ve been taken, resolutions that didn’t quite happen. . . but oh, not stopping there. We would despair if we put a period right here. But no, there is GRACE! God’s grace in our lives, this is the exclamation point!
If we look close, we will see God’s fingerprints over the entire year as well. The moments he gave us assurance and victory, the opportunity and confidence to say a word that needed to be said, the ability to act when by ourselves we would have laid dormant, and maybe a resolution that wasn’t on our “list” but that He convicted us of maybe mid-year and chiseled away shaping us even until now.
So we do look back on the dimming year not with despair or frustration of the “should have’s” but with the eyes of thankfulness for the mercy of the Lord that was the only thing upholding us. Give thanks for this and buckle up equipped with faith for the new year peeking it’s head. We make resolutions, book lists, goals, qualities to work on, ideas to develop, but give ourselves grace. Make it a bullet point now that we will fail, we will stumble, but that the Lord is bigger than even those shortcomings.

Live with the daily reminder of His grace in our life story which he is weaving into a beautiful, unique pattern, comparable to no one else.

We may only see the back side of it, knots and tangles of 2015 that really just don’t make sense, 2016 will have those knots and tangles too. But He is at work, trust and also glorify Him.
Saying “hello” to a new year brings so much excitement, a feeling of mystery not knowing what each new day will bring. As I stride into this new year, it’s definitely with this enthusiasm in tow, ready to take on each day with the Lord directing my steps! I have come to notice these years are stepping stone years for me. Each day may just be a little step, a little lesson, and little progress, nothing all that grand looking back when they have become a week. But in the span of a year, how much progression then? He uses even the small & unnoticeable moments as building blocks even just as He can use me, weak vessel that I am. I want to keep this as a doorpost, written on the tablet of my heart even when the excitement of the new year beginning fades and the normality of life sets in.
2016. This year there are 366 days to fill, it’s a gift. Do you see it? It’s a beautiful and wonderful opportunity before you, what will you do with it? Let us live it to it’s fullest, for Him!

W E L C O M E  2 0 1 6!!!


>>>a b b y