Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Capturing Joy

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile,
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”  
Thich Nhat Hanh
This summer has been so joy-filled.
We have made memories with sweet friends,
fell all over again in love with each other,
and captured joy in every part of our everyday.
Joy is living and living is joy.
For us, joy is
watermelon and seed spitting on the back porch with your best bud, 
and getting to do life side by side in your favorite chairs,

eating Popsicles until your tongue threatens to turn to one,

enjoying sunsets with your best girls on a no boys allowed beach getaway,
and getting texts from your husband letting you know your child is well cared for,
and dressed to impressed (Daddy style)

splish splashing at splash pads and stopping to savor Fun Dip with sweet friends,

top knots, jersey dresses, and bathroom mirror love notes from your one and only,

stealing kisses from your future bride (a mom can hope),
and the bond shared by the parents of these two precious angels that says "I get it,"
"I'm here," "I understand," "We got this."

trying out every playground in town, and then doing it all over again and again
to choose an unbiased favorite,
and using midday power naps to gear up to do it all over again.
Mark Twain nailed it, “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”
Joy captured is joy shared.

Monday, July 21, 2014

all you need is less

A friend posted this picture last week, and if she didn't live over the river and through the woods, I would have hugged her.
(click on image for link)
all you need is less
In a world of more, more, more, I can't help but love the idea of less being best.
less time spent on social media
less worry weighing on our hearts
less pain
less energy trying to please others
less stress stealing our joy
less clutter clouding our homes
less comparing ourselves to friends and neighbors and complete strangers
less yes
less hate
less hurt
less rush
less me
less on the dreaded to do list
less angry
less busy
My heart has been craving this.
My body has been longing for this.
My days have been needing this.
all I need is less

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I never knew I wanted a child with Down Syndrome until I had one


I had a dream this past week that Baker woke up without Down Syndrome.
Like his extra chromosome was absorbed into his plush minky sheets.
Or as if the sandman had carted it off in his knapsack and tucked it beside the lavender he used for lulling.
It was gone.
His beautiful eyes still boasted their autumn pools, but lacked the almond slant that never fails to draw me in and captivate my whole being.
His tongue remained tucked obediently inside his cheek, not once lagging like it does on occasion, especially when he is focusing so intently.
His hands hung by his side not in front of his face for signing, as words bounded from his lips articulate and coherent and utterly foreign.
As I reached in to hug him, his body did not collapse into mine, as is my very favorite thing about Baker - the way his low muscle tone makes him puddle into my eager embrace.
He was stiff.
His steps did not waiver, not once did his balance falter. He was sure footed and walked with a stability his little body has never known.
In that instant, he became a typical child.
Gone were the thoughts of IEPs.
Therapies were tossed into oblivion. 
His struggles became successes. 
The specialists on speed dial were no more.
I sat abruptly in bed. Tears streaming. Faint whimpers escaped my lips.
I navigated through the dark room and padded the familiar steps to Baker's bed.
I picked him up and felt his warm body fold sleepily into mine.
It was just a dream.
He was still the same Baker Boy I had read Let me Hold You Longer, while his little body relaxed and his eyes grew heavy.
He was still the same Baker Boy I had rocked and sang "This Little Light of Mine," and to seal the deal, "You are My Sunshine" only hours earlier. 
Nothing had changed.
Everything had changed.
I don't know who said it originally, but I believe it to the very depths of my being.
I never knew I wanted a child with Down Syndrome until I had one.
No truer words have ever been spoken.
He is loved exactly the way he is.
He is one of our Creator's greatest masterpieces.
He was crafted in love.
He was knit together wonderfully.
He is a joy spreader, a light brightener, a glad giver. 
Being his mother is the greatest blessing.
Watching his life bring glory to our Jesus is an incredible gift.
Just the way you are, sweet Baker, we love you just the way you are.
"For we know that in all things, Christ works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

Friday, July 11, 2014


I love Pinterest.
I love, love Pinterest.

It saves me from dinner party fiascos, helps me fill an otherwise daunting set of built-ins, provides countless hours of entertainment for on-the-go toddlers, gives 12,477 uses for pallets, helps you clean everything from here to Timbukto, and is a great time passer for carpool lines and waiting rooms.

Aside from recipes I may never cook, and the DIY home projects I'll likely never DIY,
one of my favorite things to pin on Pinterest are words of inspiration.

This is one of my favorite boards to scroll through for fist-bumping, butt-kicking, be a better daughter of His, and wife and mother of mine, get 'er done motivation!
These are some of my favorites.
She Will Not Fall - Psalm 46:5 - fiftyfive18
Well said.
Funny how all the stuff in the middle is true but what is most important is in bold. Simple and clear!

enjoy today!

This is how I always feel... overwhelmed at first glance, but later everything works out. Just don't quit at once!

grace, not perfection

Today you are you. That is truer than true. There is nobody else youer than you. Dr Seuss

Whatever you are, be a good one. -Abraham Lincoln



You are you and you are awesome!
Have a booty-kicking, fist-bumping, fabulous Friday!

What words inspire you?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fun on the Fourth

Happy Birthday, America!
The Fourth of July is one of my very favorite holidays.

I love the food, family time is the best, and I can hardly wait for the fireworks (although I much prefer fireworkers have a curfew, now that I have a little one who begins his snooze fest long before the light show begins).
As we went through the day, I couldn't help but get swept up in the euphoria of the holiday.
We donned red, white, and blue,
exchanged our front door monogram for something more patriotic,
put flags in our flower pots,
topped our pancakes with strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream,
barbequed all the things,
marched to This Land is Your Land throughout the house,
and then, we prayed with urgency and pleading for our great nation. 
Throughout the day, I found myself alternately humming and petitioning the lyrics to my favorite Shane and Shane song, Be Near.
Happy Fourth of July!
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, June 26, 2014

differently the same

In a world of black and white, there is
good and bad
day and night
light and dark
up and down
left and right
beginning and end
empty and full
stop and go
easy and hard
different and same
In a world of black and white,
things are easy.
But, we live in a world of color.
A world where lines are blurred and boundaries are broken.
A world where different is sometimes the same
and the same is sometimes different.
Baker is different.
Baker is the same.
My boy loves the beach.
This past week, we visited the gulf coast with my family.
As I watched Baker, I couldn't help but fall over and over again in love with my two year old.
watching him interact with the world
seeing things through his eyes
witnessing him adapt to new environments
Those things are the most incredible gift.
Some of Baker's behaviors are typical of most toddlers;
others are unique, special to my special boy.
Baker loves the sand.
He crunched it between his teeth, massaged it in his hair, rubbed it between his hands,
and hid his feet in its protective cover. No spot of flesh was exempt from the grainy goodness.

He gets a kick out of throwing.
balls, kisses, forks, blueberries, picture frames, remotes, tantrums
You name it, he throws it.
He is the boyest boy I know.
He splashes big, jumps high, laughs hard, and screams loud.

He loves who he knows.
And he knows who he loves.
(and his Jessie Girl is one he loves fiercely)

He eats like a teenager.
This boy is a bottomless pit.
But is oh so picky.
He is sensitive to textures and is leery of anything foreign to his main menu.

He is mischievous and oh so silly.
He is serious and sweet.
His kisses are sloppy and delectable.
He is messy and loud.
He is independent and resourceful.
He cuddles and snuggles.
He high fives and fist bumps (and pulls fingers, but that's another post for another day).
He is a peacemaker and a people pleaser.
He is a thrill seeker and a life lover.
He loves big and laughs hard.
He teaches and he learns.
He is the same and he is different.
He lives life in color.
He breaks boundaries. 
He is my Baker Boy and I couldn't be more proud to call him mine.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Five on Friday

on involving children random acts of kindness

This past week, Baker and I scheduled a play date with some of our favorite kiddos. We love hanging out with this precious family.

Throughout the school year, we would plan ice cream outings and backyard shenanigans. When we set the date for our first get-together of the summer, I racked my brain trying to decide what we could do that was different than the things we had already done. I thought back to some posts from bloggers I follow about involving kids in random acts of kindness. I had always dismissed these, thinking we would join in when Baker gets older. Here was our chance! There are no children more joy-filled, and I jumped at the opportunity to schedule a day more meaningful than water slides and sunscreen.

It was the best day! I wish I had hidden a camera to video everything.

The sweet conversations among the children, "While we're at Target, we can buy water bottles to pass out at a construction site. We can also smile at a stranger, leave an encouraging note for a mother on a changing table." And from another, "Ohhh yeah, we can also let someone go in front of us in line." And the youngest, "Yeah, and I am going to help someone unload her groceries. Hey, while we wait in line, we can be writing notes to leave on windshields in the parking lot."
Later, driving down the road, I overheard, "Jenn, I know we didn't plan to give anything to that man beside us, but it looks like his car doesn't have air conditioning. And it's really hot out here. Can we give him a water bottle?" And the girls, "I'm thinking about that verse in James to write at the bottom of this note, but I don't remember the address." "I have a good Bible verse for that note, let's use this one..."

I was mush. The Lord was using these children and it was incredible to watch.

They chose the following acts of kindness (and already have an ongoing list for our next playdate)
one. leave coins on a drink machine
two. leave a note of encouragement for a mother on a changing table
three. smile at a stranger
four. compliment a stranger
five. buy dog treats for a local vet's office
six. take flowers to a nursing home resident who doesn't have family in town
seven. pass out popsicles to workers at an oil change garage
eight. take water bottles to construction workers
nine. leave encouraging notes on windshields
ten. help someone load or unload their groceries
eleven. let someone go in front of us in line
twelve. buy a stranger's meal
thirteen. chalk attack! etch words of encouragement and love in chalk
I shared more about this fabulous day on Instagram. Come see!

on my recent addiction to roasted veggies

I can't get enough roasted vegetables. It's true. No vegetable is safe from being tossed in olive oil, sprinkled with garlic salt, and being thrown in the oven to do it's marvelously delicious thing.

For lunch today, it's roasted tomatoes, green beans, and avocado over a half pita for a roasted veggie pizza, of sorts.

on summertime and me time

Baker is in school this summer. I mourned the thought all school year. What would I do without my Baker Boy all day long?

Kidding. Sorta.

I have come to love the few hours I have each day to savor the quiet, clean our home, prepare dinner, read, and check items off my summer bucket list.

This time is allowing our family time together to be more intentional. Here's to being a hand free mama.

on Father's Day

I just love this Father's Day card Baker made for Brian this year. So perfect for his favorite hero. And I am the biggest sucker for personalized cards.

on a mischievous toddler

Baker has learned to open doors. Everything that was safe, is no longer safe. Times, my friends, they are a changing. And I quite love it.