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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Home for Hope.

Change makes me want to write.

So what I'm also saying is 2015 has been a steady year.

And it's a miracle I remembered my blog password.

A quiet blog usually indicates a quiet life season.

Although our life is far from quiet.

A loud "status quo" might be more accurate.

A new chapter is upon us.

Bringing changes I am so very excited about.

In May of this year,

after the retirement announcement of their senior pastor,

Dave was approached to consider a merge with another local church,

First Baptist Church of San Carlos.

Our summer was full of meetings and dinners and interviews.

And so much prayer.

And lots of communication with our Hope church family.

And our faithful Hope leadership.

And more recently, an official decision to move forward with the merging of two churches.

So much excitement.

Lots of "too good to be true" feelings.

But sometimes,

oftentimes actually,

I've been reminded that God is in the business of goodness.

And this is what He's doing here.

He's given our faithful church a permanent home. 

A warm welcome by a dear group of faithful saints in San Carlos.

I can't wait to see all that we're going to accomplish together.

Hope Church began in my grandmother's living room over six years ago.

Sometimes in her backyard if it was warm.

It was a faith jump.

A big, crazy leap.

We'd left the only church we'd ever known with no real plan.

Which, if you know us, is unlike us.

We were slow, comfortable and boring.

My part-time job allowed me to go full-time.

Dave became a stay at home dad for a short season.

Then he worked as a homeless shelter coordinator.

Then a barista.

All the while shepherding this faithful flock of believers.

The best he knew how.

In unconventional ways and places.

At weird times.

At all times.

With little sleep.

And God honored it.

I'm thrilled to see our history continue just a few miles down the road.

I'm thankful for our humble, hard beginnings.

The stacking and unstacking of chairs approximately 260 times.

The constant reminder that church is not a place, it's a group gathered.

I don't ever want to forget that.

I look back on our journey with great joy.

The Lord taught us so much.

Even (and especially) when we thought we knew it all.

I am thankful for those that were there with us when we jumped.

Those that stayed from the very beginning.

When it was hard and inconvenient.

I recognize and value your sacrifice.

I'll never forget it.

And those that joined us along the way.

The love and loyalty they showed us.

The patience they extended as they got used to something different and new.

The lessons learned and mistakes made.

There were many times where it felt like we were wandering in the wilderness.

Unsure of what God was doing.

Unfit for this calling.

I see that He has been preparing us for this all along.

What a privilege it is to serve Him.

What a gift.

What a reminder of His faithfulness.

Dave is able to quit making lattes at 4:30 am.

He'll have an office that is not our playroom.

He'll have a place to store his 5 million books.

He'll have an admin (can I get an AMEN?).

And the help of a kind and friendly associate pastor.

We are home.

In a place where Jesus will be preached and people will be loved.

A group gathered just five miles down the road.

And there is no other place I'd rather be.


Local friends, here is a schedule of events.

Please feel free to join us.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Prayers for Ashlyn.


I've taken a bit of a writing break.

We've been busy.

And I'll just be honest.

I've learned that controversial posts are not for me.

My people pleasing heart took a bit of a hit.

And I think I'm still recovering.

While I'm a little sad I can't share my heart 100% here,

I don't ever want to hurt anyone with my words.

I'm reminded that heart sharing is most fruitful in person.

Face to face.

The internet makes it all too easy to toss words out into the universe.

Words that are easily misunderstood.

And require clarification and real conversation.

Cookie recipes and dumb stories are safer.

And more of what I think Jesus wants for me.

Jesus likes cookies.

I'll save the drama for Matt Walsh.

Honestly, I don't know how he does it.


Popping in real quick to ask for prayers for our middle girl.

She's having cochlear implant surgery on Monday up at UCSF.

Her hearing in her left ear declined a few months ago and she became a quick candidate for a second implant.

We are so grateful for her first implant and all it has given her.

We're very excited that she'll now be able to benefit from having two.

We're thankful we know what to expect and that brings some peace.

But it's still scary to hand your little girl over outside the operating room doors.

Please pray for wisdom and a steady hand for the doctors.

Please pray for peace for her.

And minimal pain.

Please pray for peace for those in the waiting room.

It's a scary few hours.

Please pray for a speedy recovery.

Please pray that should would sit still for 48 hours.

I can already tell this will be our biggest challenge.

We are so grateful to be able to ask for such a precious favor.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Always October

So I forgot I had a blog last month.

I mean.

We were a little busy here in the Bay.

I had "World Series house" for a few weeks.

Piles of laundry.

The only clean stuff was orange and black.

Unpaid bills.

Except for cable.

So many leftover casseroles.

And desserts.

Life just kind of stopped for a while.

But it was full speed ahead at the same time.

Watching games with friends.

And Giants cupcakes.

And swimming in the pool in October.

And cheering like crazy as they came from behind.

Learning to accept loss when they didn't.

Going to the games with family.

Garlic fries.

And sundaes.

And running into old friends at the ballpark.

An amazingly torturous Game 7.

My head still hurts.

Cheering with our neighbors.

And driving around downtown afterwards.

An extra happy husband.

Life around our city when our beloved team makes the playoffs is a little slice of heaven on earth.


But other stuff happened, too.

I turned 38.

And spent the morning taste testing donuts for church.

Which, you guys, is a pretty great birthday.

A So Cal friend came to celebrate.

And we made her wear orange and black.

Dinner project is going well.

Holland loves spaghetti night.

Dave ate peas.

Ashlyn is eating carrots like nobody's business.

All we do is win, win, win.

Kayla's gone cellular.

It's Grandma Cee Cee's old one, not activated and wi-fi only for a little responsibility-proving trial run.

Basically she can play Candy Crush and text me, her dad and her grandparents.

And use SO. many. emojis.

She also has a private Instagram account.

It's cute.

I started a new bible study about wisdom.

And oh it's good.

And it's making me realize how not wise I am.

Speaking of.

I'm using hairties for third kid childproofing.

She is all over the place and into everything.

She says Mama, Dada and has just started calling Kayla "Yaya."

She is so very close to walking.

But I've been saying that all month.

So I'm just not sure anymore.

Personally, I think she's just a little lazy.

And would rather sit on Pop Pop's pinball machine.

Obviously safety is a primary concern around these parts.

Halloween was interesting.

Ashlyn insisted on Ironman.

And pretty much wore the costume out before the 31st.

Kayla was Princess Leia.

And Holland was a pumpkin that I couldn't find until 30 mins before we went trick or treating.

So she almost went as a baby.

I'm still eating their candy.

I blame World Series house for all of it.

We love our San Francisco Giants.

Thanks for making October so fun.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Dinner Project

I have a confession.

Our family has disastrous meal habits.

I'm sure it's probably a sin somewhere in the Old Testament.

Dave could very well be disqualified as a pastor.

And things have gotten progressively worse since the baby arrived.

I won't go into detail but let's just say there has been an unGodly amount of Chipotle involved.

And eating of separate non-Chipotle frozen items in the playroom.

It's piece and quiet and burrito bowls for Dave and I.

But it's not good for our family.

We're a culinary tragedy.

My sweet friend Laurie posted a meal plan on Facebook last week and tagged my Baked Ziti Recipe in her rotation.

A Baked Ziti I only make for friends with new babies.

Or when we have company over.

Because my kids look at it like it's laced with formaldehyde.

So I laughed.

And made a promise to myself to set this dinnertime ship straight.

I want my kids to remember meals around our table.

Conversations where we look at each other's faces.

I want them to have memories of favorite foods that are not store-bought, take-out and/or frozen.

My last post was a good reminder that we need to make the most of the afternoons that they are home with us.

This growing up time is short and goes by so very fast.

I want that extra hour.

And although there will be complaining and resistance and hidden vegetables behind the china hutch at first.

I know it will pay off in the end.

I know it's important.

I'm starting simple.

And I'm starting tonight.

Make your own pizzas.

And salad.

I'm having the girls choose a few more new recipes from my Kraft magazines and cookbooks.

I also have a few standard classics that I'm going to force them to eat.

Baked Formaldehyde, for example. 

I'm committed to cooking a FULL meal every weeknight even if no one eats more than one bite.

And everyone needs to try one bite.

And after I see what sticks,

I'm implementing Laurie's rotation.

She has 5 weeks worth of set meals.

I'm thinking we'll probably start with two weeks.

I found this cute Post-It printable made by my friend Mique.

That will go on the fridge.

My kids do better when they know what to expect.

I'm also bringing back dessert as an incentive.

Fun, easy desserts.

And kitchen will be closed after dinner.

I don't want dinnertime to be a fight.

And I don't want brussel sprouts hidden in my walls.

But I don't want there not to be dinnertime.

So I will do my best to find things we all like.

I want this to be fun.

Also, I find that when I confess, others do, too.

Any other dinner slackers out there?

It's safe here.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Galatians 3:28 and the Elephant in the Classroom.

Sometimes on Sunday mornings Dave turns his back to the congregation and faces the stage, mid-sermon.

He preaches to himself.

He even says that.

"I'm preaching to myself here, guys."

And I type with that sentiment.

I'm mostly blogging to myself here.

But I'm only half the equation.

So I realize it kind of falls short.

I guess I just want you to feel like we're in this together.

Because we are.

And anything otherwise would contradict the heart behind my words.

But I think we need a reminder, Christian moms.

Enough is enough with the judgment over schooling choices.

The conversations we have with like-minded friends under the guise of "encouragement" or "fellowship" that quickly turn south.

And we start them knowing they will turn south.

The screen shots and snarky texts we send.

The comments we make under our breath and the thoughts in our heads.

The finger pointing and misguided passion.

The delighting in weaknesses and short-comings to prove our stance is correct.

The public school mom who scoffs at the homeschool family learning in their PJs.

Or having a math lesson at a convenience store.

The homeschool mom who, although she may not say it, carries herself with arrogance and believes in her heart she loves her children more.

The public school mom who ignorantly assumes homeschool moms are overprotective, overwhelmed and raising children ill-equipped for real life.

The homeschool mom who shares news articles about our failing public school system every chance she gets.

Even though she's never stepped foot on a public school campus.

The public school mom who arrogantly comments on posted news articles, proudly proving she's not sending her children off to the wolves.

Even though she doesn't know for sure.

The homeschool mom who judges the public school mom for having her head in the sand and being lazy.

Or even worse?

The implication that she can't possibly love her children if she is willing to expose them to the "evils" of the public school system.

The public school mom jealous of the greater influence a homeschool mom may have on her children.

The homeschool mom jealous of a public school mom's late morning pedicure.

The public school mom who doesn't "like" a picture on Instagram because it has a home education hashtag.

The homeschool mom who doesn't post a comment on a picture on Facebook because it has a public school location geotag.

None of this is good, you guys.

Or healthy.

Or edifying.

Let's stop.

Because here's the deal.

Homeschool mom is doing her best.

She loves her children.

She takes seriously her role as parent.

She messes up.

She is tired and weary and scared.

Public school mom is doing her best.

She loves her children.

She takes seriously her role as parent.

She messes up.

She is tired and weary and scared.

We need to trust that we're each doing what's right and best for our family.

We need to love each other.

And support each other.

And not let feelings of inadequacy, insecurity or envy cloud our emotions.

Or worse?

Fracture our friendships. 

Because there is a wedge.

And as the American Christian homeschool movement gains momentum, it's getting worse.

I see it.


In churches.

I see friend circles based on schooling choices.

I even see divide within the homeschool community over curriculum.

I see popular Christian preachers calling for a mass exodus out of the public school system.

I hear it in our tone when we talk about it.

It's getting kind of crazy, you guys.

It makes me sad.

And honestly.

I think Paul would be angry.

He might even swear.

Because it's rubbish.

It's imperative that we abandon the mindset that there is only one way to educate our children.

That homeschooling produces anti-social, uneducated and narrow-minded individuals.

Or that homeschooling is biblically mandated.

And that Satan himself is running the American pubic school system.

And he isn't.

Here's the reality.

The public school system has deep flaws.

It also has great triumphs.

The home education system has deep flaws.

It also has great triumphs.

Through all of it, God is still in control.

And without relinquishing our own control and relying on Him,

we don't stand a chance.

If I, public school mom, want zero judgment.

I need to judge zero myself.

If you, homeschool mom, want me to respect you and your choices.

You need to respect and trust mine.

We all want our kids to be decent humans and know and follow Jesus.

But that happens through prayer.

And study of Scripture.

And implementing the things of God into your family time.

At 10:30 am.

Or 3:30 pm.

Ultimately, it happens through God's sovereign work in our children's hearts.

It's not contingent on any specific learning environment or curriculum.

Likewise, it can't be thwarted by any specific learning environment or curriculum.

Press on in confidence, mamas.

Be praying.

Be learning.

Be loving and unified.

We miss out when we're not.

We're all doing our best.

Be quicker to give each other the benefit of the doubt than to say I told you so.

Public school moms, let's be praying for our friends that homeschool.

For patience and wisdom and endurance.

Homeschool moms, let's be praying for our friends that choose public school.

For encouragement and assurance and that their families would make a difference on campus.

Our children learn the most from watching us.

All day long in a homeschool setting.

Or after they are done with a full day of public school.

Our influence is the same.

And we want them to see Jesus.

So let's be sure we're showing them what He looks like.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Our little girl turned one last week.

She's such a sweet addition to our family.

This past year has changed us.

It's hard to imagine life before her.

She's a petite little thing.

Her hair is growing in a bit and I predict Kayla's curls.

She's scooting around the furniture.

And constantly on the move.

She is quick.

The lure of our cable box has been replaced with the dog crate.

Which is more convenient for my productivity.

She has a mouthful of teeth and says "mama" 237 times each day.

But I don't think she realizes who's she talking about yet.

She only sleeps through the night when someone else puts her down.

So basically I'm trying to get Dave on board with hiring a night nanny.

She is sweet and even tempered.

Unless you take away something she shouldn't have.

Like dog bones.

Or pennies.

Or Spray and Wash.

We celebrated her milestone last weekend.

With pinwheels.

And cotton candy.

And lots of little friends.

And not so little friends.

The weather was beautiful and the party guests spent much of the day in the pool.

Ashlyn and Kayla rigged a inner tube jump that kept everyone very busy.

Nan hired a "lifeguard" that most likely didn't know CPR but he could yell really loud if someone was in trouble.  Which is kind of the same thing?

I made pistachio cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that the birthday girl rejected in disgust.

I think she even kicked it at one point.

My baby hates cake.

We sang to her and she got scared.

So we stopped before she cried.

Daddy barbecued hot dogs and sliders.

While chatting with the non-lifeguard.

Candy-filled pinwheels made perfect and easy favors.

Ashlyn opened up all of Holland's gifts.

While the guest of honor played with a single piece of orange tissue paper for 45 minutes.

You know.

I don't agree with Hillary on much.

But she is absolutely right when she says it takes a village.

A kind, loving village.

Our girl's first year of life has been so greatly supplemented by so many wonderful people.

It's made our year richer.

It makes her life better.

I've seen the impact our village has had on our older two.

And it makes me more confident in parenting.

We are not alone.

And I'm so thankful they've stuck around for our littlest.

Their love and investment makes a difference.

She is blessed because of it.

We are blessed because of it.

Happy first birthday, Holland girl.

We love you so.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Canned Goods of Summer.

Kelle Hampton posted the following as a caption on Instagram last week.

Under a picture of her husband reading a bedtime story to their daughter:

"One for the parenting canned good cellar --

jars of good, happy, peaceful moments

that we stash away to pull out during the droughts and harsh winters of life.

Our [social media] feeds are full of them --

summer sleepovers, family hugs, cartwheel silhouettes against beach sunsets,

babies sleeping on chests, bedtime stories and smiles for days.

Every moment of every day hardly looks like this.

But maybe we accept that these little feeds are our cellars,

and it feels good to stockpile the best stuff when it comes.

To hold us over during the messy and hard and confusing.

For all the jars I've robbed during the hard times (I took one today!)...

I restocked one tonight.

Stock your cellars."

I love these words.

And here are the canned goods of our summertime.

All the best moments.

And a reminder that all moments are not best.

And that's ok.

Everyone has their sad stories.

Their bad days.

We just like to show the world our happy ones.

And that's ok, too.

Camping with kindreds at Bass Lake.

I do need to pause and talk about camping for a second.

Process, if you will.

We were in tents.

In dirt.

With spiders.

It was hard, you guys.

But we're already planning next year's trip.

It's kind of like childbirth.

You forget quickly because the memories are so rich.

Cove swimming.

Late night campfire laughter after the kids are asleep.

Hot dog quesadillas and Pop Tarts for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Ice cream in Yosemite.

But then I remember the spiders.

I might need an epidural next year.

We also crashed my parent's time share for a week.

Newport is our favorite.

Nor Cal beaches are beautiful and all.

But it's nice to actually get in the water.

Thanks, mom and dad.

You are so kind to share with us.

If it wasn't for you all of our vacations would involve spiders and Pop Tarts.

We attended many weddings this summer.

Young adults near and dear to our hearts.

It was a joy to celebrate what God has brought together.

Different celebrations, unique to each couple.

Love is the best.

Praying over the miracle of new life in our church family.

That happened 100% naturally, two weeks after a failed infertility treatment.

I still can't believe it.

Come to Hope, ask for Jen and talk to her for three hours.

Her story is my favorite.

Praying for our pastor on his 39th birthday.

Hearing dear, wise saints thank him for showing them love and grace.

For preaching forgiveness and truth.

For causing them the read the bible with fresh eyes.

For caring for them.

The canned goods of pastoring.

There were the simple days, too.

Visiting a nearby stable.

Turning 10 months.

Although I don't know how that is even possible.

Naps at church.

She takes them wherever she can get them.

Third child.

Golf camp with dad.

Sand for lunch at the beach we can't swim in.

And so many drum parties.

Really loud drum parties.

We're about to enter a busy fall season.

All exciting stuff.

But I'm already overwhelmed at my schedule.

The ease of summer is now tucked away on a shelf.

And I know I'll be visiting that mental pantry often.

Adios, summer.

You've been real.