Monthly Archives: June 2012

summer, simplified.

AND the winner is…
Michelle, Tara, Sarah, Julie, Suz, Andre, Kate, Holly, LKL!!!
Reading over your words blessed my soul this week. As you shared your heart, I wish I coulda handed you all a band right then. So please e-mail me your address at so I can send one your way 🙂

Last summer, we had a bucket list of what we wanted to do. We were finishing up a major house reno and didn’t want to get life lost in all the projects. This year, our goal has been *simple and two-fold:
*Simple, as in simplified, not necessarily easy.

Be a blessing.
Let joy live loud in our souls.

Some things have fallen behind these days. Laundry piles on the couch, needing folded. Fabric mounds on my sewing machine, for mending or repurposing (or to be thrown away – gasp!) Baking is set on the back-burner as temps cross into the 100s. The stack of papers waiting to be filed turns skyscraper. (Not to mention all the dust and dirt and fingerprints and crumbs from all the comin’ and goin’ of 3 boys.) So, daily I read these words to refocus:

No empty-nest mama looks around and wishes 
she did one more load of laundry.
~ Ann Voskamp

Our days have been full and loud. The hose of visiting with friends and family is on full-blast. And, we are soaking it in! Someday I may learn how to keep on top of the laundry and the rest of life. But when given a choice, the laundry can wait. 


I’m thinking that when we look back on these days, we won’t remember whether or not our laundry was put away. (Most likely, not put away 🙂
But the lady doing synchronized swimming in the lake – that is a memory we will never forget.

Jump in and enjoy it, friends!
Each new day offers another opportunity.
The sun rises and hands us a new beginning
May Love be priority. 
Peace become something we work for. 
And Joy, let it take over!

Let joy live loud in your soul. 

~ Ann Voskamp


share the love

Sometimes my mind wanders. I hope you don’t mind wandering with me a bit. 
It’s been a dry summer, which I may not have noticed if we weren’t trying to plant grass. The water bill may be a little higher from watering our weeds grass, but our family hasn’t really felt it. When we’re thirsty, we pull out some ice cubes our fridge made and pour ourselves a glass of iced water. When we’re dirty (and honestly, times when we don’t have a speck of dirt on us), we turn on our shower and water so clean you could drink it pours. Plus there’s the washing machine and the dishwasher and the sprinkler and slip-n-slide…

Then I get the Compassion magazine and read of Kenya’s severe drought, and it seems so very far from reality.

1 billion people worldwide live in chronic hunger
   which is equivalent to the populations of North America and Europe combined!
                                                                     ~ from unicef

And I wonder how would we do? What would our farmer’s market look like with 3 years and no rain? Where would our food come from if the shelves of Super-Walmart were bare? How would we bathe if the faucet ran dry? Would we get used to drinking water from a river rather than reverse-osmosis? What could happen…

Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness.
                                                                          ~ from

Which means, in the 5 minutes it takes you to read this post, 15 children died because they don’t have clean water. I can barely wrap my mind around what that means. I try to explain to my child who got upset because he was given a glass of water rather than fruit punch at school (because he’s allergic to red dye) that many children their age never made it to school because they spent their day looking for water. But it seems the best way to begin to understand is to realize how very blessed we are. To realize we are blessed to bless.

I can’t talk about water without giving a great big shout-out to those making a difference. Luke realized we are blessed to bless when he started Mudlove. 

You can check them out here, and should really watch this video
Every $5 spent at Mudlove provides 1 African with clean drinking water for 1 year! Really.

And so,
to share the love, 
my first giveaway!! 

Comment below with what word you would love on a Mudlove band. 
It can be any of the above or make up your own! {11 character limit}
I’ll throw your name in a hat and reveal the winner next Friday, June 29th.
P.S. I’ll mail overseas too 🙂
The winner will receive your very own Mudlove band with your word of choice.
And, one more person has one more year of clean drinking water.  

Girl at new well in Sierra Leone
I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink…
Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, 
you did for Me. ~ Jesus


We were a little bit shocked as we held our 4 month old and saw 2 lines appear on a pregnancy test. I’m still learning how to take care of one…and now two? may have ran through my mind. But when that newborn son was laid into my arms 9 months later, I was overcome with tears of joy embracing this gift of life. We named him Jack, which means God is gracious.

The Lord knew. He knew we needed his laugh, his smile, his zeal and compassion and adventure and passion and wit. 

Jack turned 8 last week. 
All he wanted to do for his birthday was go fishing. Andy woke him up at 5.30 AM, he sprung out of bed, grabbed his fishing pole and off they went, just the 2 of them, to fulfill his birthday wish. He also told us “all I want for my birthday is a hug from everyone in my family.” (I’m still giving him hugs for that 🙂
He’s a great kid, that Jack!
So, like we do, we celebrated his life, God’s grace, another year…



You, Jackson Paul, are a precious gift from God, delivered at just the right time. I pray you never lose your passion for justice, that you kindle the flame of compassion, that your heart delights to do what is right. And that wherever you are in this world, you know how dear you are to me. 
How blessed I am to be your mama, see your eyes light up when you hear the good beat of a hip-hop song find “patio” snuggled in your arms as you sleep be asked every night to scratch your back before bed laugh silly with you watch you grow and explore and discover.

in case you like star wars

It’s birthday season over here, celebrating adding another year to Jack’s life tomorrow! Which reminds me that I never wrapped up our last one, in which I recruited a guest writer. He’s 9 and likes Lego Star Wars, this party was to celebrate him ‘cuz we love him so. And he’s gonna take it from here.

in a galaxy not so far away…..

this is the penyata that our dad made. it was slimy.

look at all the food to eat!

look at the cake.

we made lightsaber,s.

epic battle agencet dad!

bace ball!

(:the talk:)

lego challange!

eatting the food with freinds!

battling the death star for candy!

the wish! of 9(:nine:)

silly kids!

i am glad to be nine!!!!!!!! miles.

We had fun, and most importantly, Miles felt celebrated and loved. With our boys’ birthdays in May, June, July, I just started doing 1 party a year. Jude’s party will be next year and Jack’s was last year. I do enjoy planning and throwing a party. But I cherish the birthdays where it’s us and the kids, just being with them. In honor of Jack’s birthday, we spent today at one of our favorite places. 
More to come on that, and the many ways I adore our 8 yr. old.
But I’ve got a cake that needs to transform into a fish.


I have the fondest memories of visiting my grandma this time of year, of finding our way out to see her herb garden. She would point out an herb, pinch off a leaf, press it to her nose {closing her eyes sometimes while she took in the aroma}, then hand it to us to taste. We’d wind through her stepping stones, sampling the various nuances of flavors, fascinated by her knowledge of all the different herbs and how she would savor them all. As a kid, I didn’t fully grasp the heritage she was passing on…..until now. 

This week, we ran into some friends on a walk and got to talking. After awhile, we found our way back to our house, out to see my herb garden, snapping off leaves, taking in the aroma, handing them around to be tasted, and shoving them into plastic baggies for them to take home and savor. 

You may have never seen what all the herb-hype is about.
Let me show you 🙂

Watermelon. Blueberries. Mint. 
This was the outcome of needing to bring fruit to a Memorial Day pool party, already having watermelon and blueberries, but wanting to spice it up a bit. Now it’s one of our favorite flavor-combos. So simple. So summery.

I had no idea how much more flavorful fresh cilantro is than store-bought. Pungent, refreshing, a natural chelator. 
And a good side for a date night at home.

Guacamole with Fresh Cilantro:
1 avocado, Juice of 1/2 lime, 1/4 jalapeno (chopped), Cilantro, Salt to taste

Mint-Lavender Limeade.
Not sure how to describe the flavors of this drink, other than you gotta try it. People ’round here are always trying to get rid of mint. It grows like a weed, so take them up on it! I juiced 3 limes, which made 1/2 cup lime juice, added 3 1/2 cups water, 2 packets stevia (although you could sweeten with honey or sugar), the above mint and lavender. Blended. and Savored.

Below, the left is some thyme I harvested and dried last fall compared to store-bought on the right. This winter, when we made pots of vegetable or tomato soup, I would add the home-grown thyme for a fresh flavor. 
The difference is like night and day.

There’s still time! (and thyme 🙂
Herbs grow fast.
Many are perennial. 
You don’t even need a garden for them! They grow great in containers. 
Some of mine are planted in steel buckets. Directions here.

Looking back, what I appreciate most of our trips to the herb garden is seeing 
Life is to be savored.
So often, we find ourselves in a rush. 
Herbs are a reminder of how flavorful life can be, but we have to slow down.
Stop and smell the rosemary.