for the first time in over ten years, i am on vacation. i have traveled to beautiful, relaxing places in that time but this trip is very different. my husband and i drove eight hours with our beautiful little girl to a condo on the southwestern coast of florida. we agreed to unplug...taking the time away from immersing in social media and work-related conversation. we approached the week with a high level of intentionality - focusing on our little family and the experiences we can create. our seven day trip is only halfway through and i already miss it.

as i type, my little girl is teetering happily across the floor. she has ventured to use her walker, and took her first confident, assisted steps. she has been much more cuddly than usual, giggled at the silliest things and calls to include the parent that isn't involved in the fun.

my husband needed this time more than anyone. he often attempts to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, at least the world of those closest to his heart. he holds the stress of bills, schedules and manages all of our car and home needs. he often does the grocery shopping and cooks our meals. he makes it a priority to give me breaks from childcare and coordinates much needed date nights. he shifts schedules and sacrifices personal time to accommodate others. this week, he relaxed. he smiled. he watched football and went for a swim. i saw him take deep breaths, read books and chase our daughter around the kitchen. for a few days, the world is on hold and we live in a bubble.

there is no deep meaning behind this post, simply an acknowledgement of the need for rest. my goal is to take the vacation philosophy home with me...to stop and take a deep breath, smile and enjoy those around me.

today, i am thankful.



So...we're having a baby.


From the moment we took "the test," my perspective on life has completely changed. Food doesn't just fill my plate, it sustains my unborn child. Clothes aren't chosen merely for style but for warmth, comfort and protection for the baby within. And although only the size of a raspberry, the simplest of decisions are made with he or she in mind.

I worry that my little boy or girl will have my nose; if he will like me; if he will be picked on in school; what I will say when peer pressure threatens to pull him down. I hope he knows God's love right from the start; he will experience deep and lasting friendship; he will resemble his father in every way.

As questions plague my mind, I am reassured that my little raspberry was created for a purpose greater than himself. That he has a very special role to play in this struggling world and I am honored to stand with him every step of the way.

This is going to be a crazy ride.


Under construction

We live in a fairly busy section of Atlanta. Among other things, I pass a McDonald’s restaurant on my way to work each morning. A few weeks ago, I noticed walls being built around the existing structure, shielding those on the outside from the construction underway behind it.
Before long, barriers covered the entire building. As I drove past the restaurant each day, I found myself trying to peer behind the construction equipment to see the progress being made.
So often, I find myself doing the same in my own life. I want to look behind the scenes to see the finished product...peek behind the walls, take a look at the blueprint, give my input on the final result.
A week ago, I noticed something very different on my way to work. The old, tattered building had been replaced by a beautiful structure. The entire facade was torn down to make way for a completely renovated storefront. Brick took the place of simple paneling; newly painted signs restored the old. A fast food joint had quickly become much more.

Sometimes I wish God worked that way...hiding me away until it was time to reveal the finished product.

For the last couple of months, I have been addicted to a song. I listen to it while driving in the car, as I type away at work and even as background music while I do things around the house. Any opportunity I have to listen, I press play.

“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust”
Gungor, Beautiful Things

I am a mess. My weaknesses, limitations and flaws are overwhelming. Too often, I need to be reminded that God is creating something beautiful out of me. No matter how severe the damage, how much of “me” needs to be torn down, God is building a work of art. He is slowly and carefully revealing the beauty that is hidden underneath, displaying the masterpiece that has been under construction all along.

“Give them beauty for ashes,
      The oil of joy for mourning,
      The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
      That they may be called trees of righteousness,
      The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3   


It was far from a typical first date.

With 18 high school students trailing after me, I walked toward the restaurant in NYC. I hadn’t seen our dinner guest in six years. He'd asked about hanging out. Getting together to catch up. Nothing of his invitation gave an indication that his intention was anything but friendship. But the two block walk from the train station began to feel much longer. What if I don't recognize him and walk right past? What if we have nothing to talk about? What if I spill Chicken Tikka down my shirt? Or all over his? Thoughts flooded my mind and my heart began to race. Why was I so nervous? It was just one dinner.

All hopes of a “casual” meal went out the window when I saw him.

My heart stopped, my breath caught in my throat and I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. Forget Brad Pitt or Ryan Reynolds…this was the most attractive man I had ever seen.

I was startled back to reality by the students around me.

“What’re we eating?” “What does ‘Tikka’ mean?” “Who is this guy?”

I made it through dinner with very few mishaps but knew I couldn't wait another six years before seeing him again. Luckily he felt the same way.

It’s hard to believe that dinner was one year ago today.

When I was a little girl, I played make believe. I watched the Disney movies, read love stories, played with my Barbie dolls. In my naive young mind, I imagined my own Prince Charming. He was brave and strong and very handsome. It might sound like a silly fairy tale or the immature longings of a girl who loved romance.

But years later, I have all that and more...

I have a husband that can make me laugh when no one else could.

Who brings out a part of me that I always knew existed but couldn’t find on my own.

Gave me the courage to find myself again when I didn’t think there was anything left.

Selfless and caring. Kind and generous. Sensitive and understanding. All wrapped up in one. 

One year ago today, my fairy tale prince walked back into my life. And I've thanked God every day since.


The Storm

The other night, I was startled awake by the cold nose of my dog Belle. She found the edge of my hand which had slipped off the bed in the early hours of the morning. My eyes slowly opened, adjusting to the darkness. Belle stood patiently next to the bed, her nose nuzzled into my open hand. At 8 years of age, our black lab has a relaxed view on life and normally, very little can convince her to get out of bed. As I tried to figure out what was so urgent, a clap of thunder echoed through the room. Belle began to shake and huddled as closely to me as her large frame would allow. Glancing out the nearby window, I realized we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. The change in weather was unnerving to my once brave dog. I shifted in the bed to allow room for her and, seeing my relocation as an invitation, Belle quickly jumped onto the bed and under the warm stack of blankets. Over the next few minutes, her breathing began to slow and I could feel her body relax against me. As I finally drifted off to sleep, a bolt of lightening streaked across the sky and Belle lurched. I stroked her hair and spoke softly, slowly reminding her that I was still there. She gradually began to settle in, leaning against me. The storm continued throughout the night, as did our routine.

Two years ago, I created a blog. It wasn’t listed publically. For the first year and a half, no one knew of its existence. It was a safe zone…an arena to process through my day to day thoughts with a level of transparency that only anonymity can bring. The blog was just for me.

When I started it, I was going through a unique time in my life. The career I’d chosen 8 years before took an unexpected turn. My family faced a battle we never could have prepared for. And I began to feel restless, empty, alone. I quietly withdrew and spent much of my time thinking, processing through and talking to God.

I remember the day I felt the foundation begin to give. There wasn’t a specific event that took place. Perhaps it was the mere fact that everything remained the same. But on that day in October, something shifted. I couldn’t take another step. I was desperate for answers. For relief. For change.

“I have had enough Lord.”

Much like Elijah in 1 Kings 19, in the midst of desperation, I cried out to God. I was overwhelmed with frustration. This was not the life I’d dreamed of when I was a little girl. Things were not supposed to turn out this way.

The storm in my life left me feeling much like Belle in hers. And in the darkness, I too reached for an outstretched Hand.

That day in October proved to be a turning point in my life. For years, I had prayed that God would change my circumstances. I had asked Him to give answers, to lend discernment, guide steps and often felt that my cries weren’t heard. But that day, God began a process of slowly revealing all that He’d been doing behind the scenes. He was answering my questions, paving the path, extending peace when I needed it most. The prayers I uttered were heard. God cried when I cried, hurt when I hurt.

Today I begin a new blog with a fresh perspective and renewed appreciation of my Master.

“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30