Confronted with death (pt.1)

Over the course of the last year and a half there have been so many times I have wanted to share something, but due to the rapid pace of life and the sheer weight of it all, I haven’t. People write books about parenting adoptive children from trauma… and there’s a good reason why. Many people close to our hearts have passed away: family and friends. We’ve moved. Remodeled. Run businesses. We’ve run through testing, and jumped through hoops, with infertility. We’ve also dealt with deep challenges that aren’t even worth giving energy to at the moment. And in the midst of it all, we’ve forced ourselves to stay connected in a time when all we want is to curl up on our bed and hibernate. Most people have no clue what we’ve walked through because we don’t blast it all over social. We just don’t roll like that. But this… this challenge… was unlike any that I had experienced up until this point.

On July 2nd, I received a call from my dad that my mom had an accident. “She fell off a step stool. She’s in a lot of pain. Please pray for her.”

“Okay. I will.” I said.

Falls can be painful. I get it. I’ve taken a few.

A few minutes later I received another call. “Mom can’t get up. She can’t move her legs. An ambulance is coming.”

Concerned. I waited.

Thirty minutes later, another call. “They’re taking her to a bigger hospital… it’s not what they think.”

My sister and I booked a flight to Indiana for the next day. I canceled work and waited. Anxiety grew within me.

Dad called back. “They discovered mom had an aneurysm. The doctors are running tests.”

“Is she okay?” I asked.

“We don’t know yet.” my dad said. “She had a stroke too. She’s hemorrhaged. There is blood and water on her brain. They need to operate. It’s risky. If they don’t, she’ll probably die. If they do, she might die. It’ll be five hours before we know anything.”

A text from a doctor cousin… “You better get up there as soon as possible if you want to see her alive.”

My head spun and I felt numb. I walked around my room in a panic, not going anywhere. I knew that I needed to do something, but what?


Shaking, I knew what I needed.

Funeral clothes.


{I’ll be sharing our story through different posts. More craziness to come.}

A growing family

Two short weeks ago, we received a phone call that Amy, Daniel’s sister, wasn’t going to make it through the night.

This wasn’t the first time that we received a phone call like this one. In fact, it had been fourteen months since the first call where we dropped everything and drove through the night to South Carolina. Amy lived. Time passed. Liver transplant. Recovery. Dialysis. Now, she needs to get a kidney transplant.

This roller coaster season left the entire family depleted.

But this time, this phone call, this trip through the night to get to the hospital, this diagnosis, was different.

Amy passed away on Easter Sunday, leaving behind a ten-year old, bright-eyed {brighter personality} son.

As Amy’s passing wasn’t even absorbed yet, so also the reality that Daniel and I were about to become parents. The following weekend, after the funeral, the three of us drove home. With each passing mile, the reality of what had happened, and what was happening, sunk in deeper. Sadness and joy. Excitement and grief.

I think it’s cool how the Lord is giving us this time as we wait for the adoption process. Time for Bright-Eyes to start the grieving process and learn about what his new life looks like. Time for us to catch our breath, grieve, and figure out what being parents looks like. {I mean, what time does a 10 year old even go to bed?} And time for all of our hearts to be knit together, no longer as aunt, uncle and nephew, but as a mom, dad and son.

There are so many fascinating details, so many emotions, so much brokenness, so many points of intersection that fill the last few years… And yet a strong, shining strand of redemption unites each piece. I hope to share more details in the future, but for now I’ll just share this one…

For the past four years Daniel and I have been trying to start a family of our own. Nothing is wrong, we just can’t get pregnant. [For those of you who have walked a similar path, you know what a toll it can take. A journey like this can barely be summed up in one sentence.]

Though God, in His tender sovereignty, knew that Bright-Eyes needed us to not have kids for him to acclimate to his new life. No competition. All attention directed toward him. God also knew that we too needed this bright-eyed boy first. Not sure why, but we’re very grateful.

We are tired from the journey that lead us to this point. Though the joy and hope that we have in knowing that God’s timing and ways are flawless puts wind in our sails and lovingly pushes us on. We are truly thankful for this gift in our growing family.

So, here he is… our first son. And soon, it will be official.

Color blindness and Valspar

A friend of mine posted this on facebook, and I really enjoyed it. So, I thought I’d share it with you. I’m impressed that Valspar is making this possible… Very cool Valspar. Very cool.

Letting go

A message to myself:

Even if there’s something better out there… It’s hard to let go of what’s in my hand for the unknown.

As I clutch, with white knuckles to what is good enough, I keep my eyes on what is best. I just can’t let it out of my sight. I long for it… I dream about it… Though my inability to let go of good enough feeds my growing discontentment like fertilizer.

I don’t know what you believe… but I believe that you can speak to the living God – and that God speaks back. Not in a crazy way… in a sane way. In a way that really transforms my life.

So, when I pray and ask God for insight and wisdom, I believe (100%) that He gives me those things. He promises that.

I’ve been seeking wisdom regarding a transition for years. (Just ask anyone close to me, I’m sure they’re tired of hearing about it.) So finally, I felt like I knew what I needed to do. It was clear. More than clear actually – uncomfortably clear – the kind of clarity that has to do with obedience. When clarity mixes with obedience, that’s some serious stuff. Seriously good. But serious none the less.

So, that’s where I am… struggling to obey.

Like God has never proven Himself faithful, good, or loving beyond comprehension. So, why can’t I let go of a mediocre dream for something greater? Can I not see that it actually is greater than what’s in my hands? Is it because I know that the next step will be hard? Is it just too risky?

So, I’m at a crossroad… I’m either going to believe that where He leads me is best – or I’m not.

If I can just wrap my mind, a little bit more, around how much God loves me… I would be less fearful, less intimidated and more willing to let go of the known for the unknown… Because if He really does love me, then He is trustworthy – without hesitation.

Sometimes I wonder if I jump, will he be there to catch me? Or, what if I leave what is certain -and obey- and then it all collapses in on itself…. and I end up out on the street – begging for food – without my tweezers (possibly the worst case scenario)… Okay… I know, a bit over the top… But sometimes, before I even get to taking the step of faith, deciding to turn in the direction of obedience is more difficult than anything.

The unknown that I turn toward might fall apart. Then again, the certainty of today might be pulled from underneath me. If I do everything right, things could still end up in a hot mess.

You see the thing is (and excuse me as I tell myself this for the eighteen millionth time)… It’s not up to me to make it right and beautiful and successful. Success doesn’t hinge on my perseverance, intellect or smooth skills (whatever those might be) alone.

What I am responsible for is loving people and loving God. It’s not complicated really (though I tend to over complicate everything). It’s simple… Today, am I being obedient to what God is leading me to do?

Am I willing to let go of my expectations, fears and disappointments and turn toward Him {and trust} in His love? His love that sacrificed, and gave and risked it all… And continues to give so that I might continue to scratch the surface of how deep and how wide and how high is His love.

If I can allow myself to get lost in His great love, then I can more fully see who He really is… In seeing who God really is, you can’t help but fall more in love with Him. Then, all I will want to do is turn and run in the direction that He is calling me.

If you would like to know more about what talking to God looks like – or want to ask any questions about His love for you, email me. We can walk through it together.


How to create a light box

So I needed ((wanted)) a light box to take some product photography. Holding up a piece of Arches paper with one hand, a camera in the other, and making sure the afternoon sun was just right took its toll on me. [Okay, I’m exaggerating… I don’t get good afternoon sun in my new studio.] So, the idea of a light box was born. I googled how to make one and found a tutorial that I really liked at {Never} Homemaker.

I love do it yourself projects and really enjoy accomplishing them. I thought about documenting the process of making this light box, and sharing it with you (like most DIY projects I do), but here’s the thing… If when doing a project, anything slows me down, that’s a {very} bad thing. Slowing down = losing momentum… aka, losing interest. ((I’m working on finishing projects that I start… that’s a new goal of mine.)) So, when the DIY iron strikes, I’ve gotta get to work. The next best thing I can offer you is an awkward photo that my husband took of my excitement when I turned on all of the lights (I know – I look somewhat constipated – but it’s excitement I promise) – AND – share the link to the amazing light box tutorial.

Let there be light!


I found that building the light box was more expensive than the tutorial mentioned… though that probably has something to do with the fact it was posted five years ago. None the less the light box turned out great and so have the product images that I shot using it.

Thanks again for the wonderful tutorial Ashley!!

Love was in the air…

This past weekend ((as you know)) I was at Rifle Paper Co. Thursday through Saturday, I was busy calligraphing love letters, favorite quotes, scripture and much more. I always enjoy my time with the wonderful people who pass through the doors as well as the rockin’ employees! Basically, it’s a great time had by all…

Valentine’s Day at Rifle Paper Co.

It’s that time of year again when love is in the air and everything is smothered in all shades of pink. It’s also that time of year when I’ll be at Rifle Paper Co. calligraphing love letters! If you will be in the Orlando area, you are cordially invited to stop by Rifle, browse their amazing sales and gorgeous bouquets! Also, make sure to stop by so I can see your beautiful face and calligraph a little love letter to yours truly!



The Sparkling Wine Walk

If you’re looking for some laid back fun before the craziness of the Valentine weekend begins… I have a SUPER FUN solution: The Sparkling Wine Walk in Winter Park!

Tomorrow I will be at Rifle Paper Co. calligraphing love letters to your favorite love(s)! If you’ll be in the area, stop by for some really great sales on Rifle products and {free} – beautiful – calligraphy! 🙂

I hope to see you there!



New Year Reflections

Happy 2015!

No doubt you’ve already entertained the idea of a New Year resolution… Personally, I always go back and forth between making a New Year resolution and ignoring the idea all together. The challenge for me is that if I think of a resolution, I’ll more than likely forget about it by the end of the month. Then, I’ll remember again in August and get annoyed at myself for #1 making a resolution if I was going to #2 forget about it like usual. Thankfully, I remembered an old file on my computer that I’ve had for yeeears and years. This document is a list of 26 questions that guides you in reflecting on the past year and looking ahead to the new year.

I found some of these questions online (I don’t remember where because it’s been sooo long) and I’ve added some questions of my own that I like to reflect on. You can answer them all or just a few, take some out or add some of your own as well. Shape it to be exactly what you want. Talk them through with a friend or spouse or journal them on your own. (Daniel and I are going to be answering five questions a day until we work through them all.)

For me, I enjoy making time for reflection. I like considering where I’ve found joys, successes, challenges and even disappointments. I think that when I look back and process my life in a healthy way, I’m bound to learn and grow.

So, no matter what 2014 was like, if we make time to consider where we’ve been – and where we want to go –  that can make for a very Happy 2015!

New Year Reflections