March 5th

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

A few weeks ago, Paul and I cruised through Lifeway looking for a new Bible study.

For how many they have, not many caught our interest, and it was slightly disappointing. Is a couple’s bible study (not devotional) too much to ask for? They actually eliminated their Marriage section all together, and clumped some marriage books in with the Family section – mostly kid based. I get that it’s hard to compete with Amazon (they have signs everywhere that they’ll price match to Amazon), but it was still disappointing.

After scouring the shelves, we decided on one that focused primarily on Genesis 1:1.

I didn’t really think about just how perfect that would be until we started in on it. The story of creation – duh, perfect fit! In my photographical exploration of creation through this blog, it’s been fascinating to learn about it so in depth with this study.

So far, this study has been a really good fit for us. It’s challenging (the questions aren’t easy gimme ones), the way it’s broken down is good for us (10 week session, broken down into five sections, so one study a weekday), and the points the author makes are really thought provoking.

First question: Who wrote Genesis?

If you knew the answer to that, I am impressed! For those who didn’t know (like me and Paul), Moses actually wrote Genesis!

The author really digs into verses throughout the Bible to explore and backup explanations behind how we were created, who else was present at the time of creation (you thought it was just God, didn’t you?), and for what true purpose were we created (Hint: To help further His purpose is not the answer).

This study has kind of turned my views on creation upside down, and has put me even more in awe of my existence.

It makes it even better that I can once again sit in our sunroom with the morning light coming through our window. The sun’s position and strength are changing, and it helps it feel more like spring!

January 3rd

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

I’m not normally a sunrise gal, sunsets are usually more my style, but this morning took my breath away.

After my post yesterday, this honey of a sunrise (gorgeous color AND great cloud texture) was like balm on my heart, a small hug from God.

That’s what great about this blog project – I feel more connected to what’s going on around me (as I’m always looking for something to photograph), so it’s easy for me to see the good. It’s easy to have my cup filled, to feel refreshed.

There is so much delight in everything around us; many times it’s not obvious, it’s small, but it is there.

December 23rd

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

We started going to a new church this spring, Eagle Brook, and have really enjoyed it.

Although the church is large – with seven campuses they could even be called the “mega-church” of the Twin Cities – the way they handle services makes it seem small. It used to really bother me that we were going to a “mega church,” but I’ve realized that there’s a reason they’re so large, and that’s a good thing. Many people just like me and Paul really have connected with how they teach.

Their music is what sold me the first time we went. I love good music, the kind that rocks you. It’s like a concert, and I don’t know how they nail it every single week but they do; it never fails that tears fill my eyes each week.

And the pastors are great, normal people. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed so much in church before.

Anyway, we attend the Anoka campus, and between yesterday, today, and tomorrow, they’re hosting nine Christmas services. NINE. Pastor Bob said today in his message that throughout all seven campuses, Eagle Brook as a whole is hosting 57 Christmas Services.

Think of all the people connecting with Christ this weekend just at this church. That’s mind blowing.

At the beginning of the service today, they showed a very emotional video of a family and how their Christmas changed from year to year. Deaths, new relationships, resentment, joy.

I was proud of myself for holding it together to be honest.

Then our campus pastor took the stage and welcomed everyone. In an abbreviated nutshell, he said this: Merry Christmas, we’re glad you’re here. We know that Christmas isnt always an easy time of year, and we’re so glad you chose to come and spend your time with us. God sent his son so that we could have eternal life. He moves mountains. And I believe you being here today is not coincidence, that you were brought here today for a purpose.

I had noticed the two women sitting in front of us when we originally took our seats but didn’t think much about them. Looked to be a mom and daughter about my age.

However, at that moment in the service I watched the mom reach out and place her hand on her daughter’s knee. The daughter firmly took her mom’s hand as they exchanged a very emotional look and sat there together.

That was my trigger, and had a hard time keeping it together. I wasn’t the only one though – I watched them wipe tears from their eyes throughout the rest of the service,

What was their story? What brought them here? What words were they there to hear? How was God moving through them?

It was powerful.


October 10th

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

So much soul food today. First with a much needed breakfast catch-up with a dear friend, and a rainy afternoon snuggled under a blanket (with a cat), deep in a book.


If you’ve read any of Brene Brown’s books, you may know what I mean.

Brene is a social psychologist who has spent her entire career studying shame and the effect it has not only a personal level, but a cultural one. Very simplified: The challenge of true belonging in a culture that fears authenticity. She explores how shame shapes us as a society and in turn effects our behavior and connections with one another…or I suppose you could argue the reverse. How shame-shaped behavior and connections impact society.

Either way, I was introduced to her through her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be, and Embrace Who You Are. It pulled me in in a way no other book (based on research) ever had. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to learn more about how I can live in true vibrant delight.

So then I went to the library and placed holds on all of her other books, hungry (maybe even a tad desperate) for more.

The fact that I was numbers 13, 24, and 18 in the que for her books should tell you how popular they are. It was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it.

Three weeks ago, it was finally my turn, and I read Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. It was the book I brought with when I followed Paul to work a couple of weeks ago, and within 5 hours I had read it from cover to cover. I journaled while I read this book, writing down particularly strong messages that I wanted to remember. While taken out of context, and maybe not meaningful to those who haven’t read the book, here are a couple:

“We’ve come to the point where, rather than respecting and appreciating the courage and daring behind vulnerability, we let our fear, shame, and discomfort become judgement and criticism.”

“If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

“Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them.”

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. […] I want to experience your vulnerability, but I don’t want to be vulnerable.”

There were so many challenges posed in this book; it made me uncomfortable at the same time that it set me on fire. I felt understood, but also felt the challenge of owning my own feelings and experiences. She put out the call to set healthy boundaries, and set aside the shame calls of “Dare not! You’re not good enough,” or “Don’t you dare get too big for your britches!” Shame becomes fear. Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation.

I returned that book, and was happy to see that her newest book Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone was being held for my pickup. That is the book I didn’t surface from this afternoon. This book spoke to my biggest weakness: my inability to trust my own mind. If you know me well, you know that I tend to take the “Decision By Committee” approach. I like hearing other people’s input to reassure myself that I’m doing the right thing, making the right choice.

I think a small part of why I do that is because I want to “fit in” and make the choice other people would make. Nothing too radical for me. Got to blend in, can’t make waves.

So if we’re talking about issuing a call to action, this book was it. However, it spoke to the very core of why I don’t engage in debates or heated discussions. This line was wholly encapsulating for me: “The looming threat of blowback should we voice an opinion or idea that challenges our bunker mates keeps us anxious.” Or even this one had me doing some deep breathing: “Human approval is one of our most treasured idols, and the offering we must lay at its hungry feet is keeping others comfortable […] I am convinced that discomfort is the great deterrent of our generation.”

But this reaction and mentality is starving us of true connection.

“Of course we’re a social species. That’s why connection matters. It’s why shame is so painful and debilitating. It’s why we’re wired for belonging […] the biological machinery of our brains warns us when our ability to thrive and prosper is threatened. Hunger is a warning our blood sugar is low and we need to eat. Thirst warns us that we need to drink to avoid dehydration. Pain alerts us to potential tissue damage. And loneliness tells us we need social connection – something as critical to our well being as food or water. Denying you feel lonely makes no more sense than denying you feel hunger.”

Woah baby.

On one of the last pages, Brene had this paragraph, which I have two stars next to in my journal, and I think it’s so important, so I’m ending with this:

“Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don’t belong. You will always find it because you’re made that your mission. Stop scouring people’s faces for evidence that you’re not enough. You will always find it because you’ve made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don’t negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

(Picture of Colt’s toes because I looked up from my book at one point to him sitting in the window. And I love the way his tail tends to curl around his toes when he sits.)

September 12th

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Sometimes, puppies make things better.

Sometimes you just need puppies to make things better.

Over coffee with a friend about a month ago, she asked me if I was noticing if many of my friends going through tragedies, as she felt surrounded by it. Many of the situations she shared were stories that made your heart felt heavy, maybe even a little hopeless. A couple people came to mind for me at the time, but no one particularly close to me.

But the last couple weeks, it’s been there. Family, friends, and tragedy. The hopelessness. The fear. Hospital visits, miscarriages, infertility, mental health mazes, car accidents, the loss of pets. I feel like almost everytime I turn around, something gets added to that list.

At the beginning of the year, I prayed about loving people be my goal for the year. Spending intentional time with friends, and writing, calling, or texting more often. Making people my priority. Well, this past month He’s provided me with ample opportunity to walk the walk.

And amid the tragedy, I’m really thankful for that.

It is an awesome thing to be provided the opportunity to really love someone. To know that to be human is to be at the mercy of our Father, to not have the answers, but to have the companionship He gifted us with to work through the tears and fears until His plan is revealed.

To have people to really pray for. From the very depths of your being pray for. It builds your faith, even when you can’t see the end.

It also brings hope. Because if we have such a loving Heavenly Father, who only wants good for us, our suffering is nothing but temporary. That He sees us all here in our struggles, our grief, and He knows. He knows you now, and He already knows the three-months-from-now you, and even the five-years-from-now you.

And that, my friends, is worth a countless amount of puppy kisses.

August 10th

Friday, August 10th, 2018

I got a glimpse into God’s delight this morning. It still has me smiling.

I was packing up my car, on my way out the door to meet my friend, Tiffany, for a walk this morning when I heard Sandhill Cranes out in one of our hay fields. Freshly cut on Wednesday, we’ve had all sorts of critters hanging around out there now that the grass is down. So while hearing them didn’t surprise me, their distressed calls did. They sounded like they were being threatened; their tone was an anxious one.

So I put down what I was carrying, and peeked out of the garage. I went from concerned to delighted in less than a second.

Our two twin fawns were out antagonizing the cranes.

So what did I do? All together now: “I ran for my camera.”

How do I know those are the fawns, you may be wondering. Their playful, innocent nature gave them away. While they’ve grown very quickly physically, it was obvious from their behavior that they were still learning. Their curiosity in the cranes was endearing; the cranes were yelling at them, but that only increased their need to understand what they were.

Specifically for the fawn in front.  The instigator.

After the moment in my main photo for today, the fawns started grazing, and the cranes took that opportunity to move away from them. However, their distance didn’t last long. Instigator wandered back over, causing the cranes to really get defensive. They both opened their wings, ducked their heads, and charged.



This caused a gleeful retreat from said instigator, tossing his head and bounding around like a giddy foal.


He then ran over to his sibling,


And they ran back toward the treeline together. But not before sharing in a mutual delight of a new discovery.


Childlike wonder and delight aren’t a right reserved to humans. You see it in puppies, kittens, foals, calves, and as seen today, in wild animals as well.

It was a fun moment to witness today! I hope you all enjoyed this little play out of events as much as I did!

June 8th

Friday, June 8th, 2018

It feels like we’ve done nothing but run this week.

That’s the way it is with coming home from vacation though, right? Life seems twice as busy once you’re back. Between mowing our overgrown lawn, weeding the garden, grocery shopping, cleaning stalls, planting pumpkins, etc etc, we’ve been playing catch up.

So naturally, Paul and I have a two day Christian music festival that started tonight and goes through all day tomorrow. Between being in Hawaii for the last week and the fact that we bought our tickets months ago, this kind of snuck up on us.

But tonight was awesome.

Zach Williams, Crowder, and Jeremy Camp all played tonight and we are a fan of all of them. Jeremy Camp is actually the reason we bought tickets, so it was fun to be this close during his portion of the concert.

For those who don’t know, Joyful Noise is an outdoor music festival held at the National Sports Center in Blaine. Thousands of people filled the field and bleachers. Those sitting in the field brought folding chairs, but there was a section on both sides of the stage for those who wanted to stand.

I was more than comfortable sitting in my chair off to the side, but Paul drug me up there for Crowder’s performance, and we had so much fun so we stayed through the rest of the concert. He pushes me out of my comfort zone, and most times I’m thankful to him for that – thanks honey!

It’s supposed to storm tomorrow, so we’ll see what the morning brings!

May 14th

Monday, May 14th, 2018

Does anyone else get summer anxiety?

Paul and I were just talking about it the other day. Winter was so long, I think it traumatized me. We’re already halfway through May, the grass and trees are green. I’m already feeling summer slip through my fingers and I haven’t even jumped in a lake yet.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me. It’s the ebb and flow of living in our climate, I suppose.

Anyway, moving on.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the depth of friendships I’ve cultivated with new friends over the past year and a half. Incredible women at different walks of life who’ve taught me so much about God, life, and who I am as a friend.

Women who make me dig deeper, think harder, and invest more thoroughly. They’ve shown me that being vulnerable makes me strong, and is a springboard for community.

This morning was such an excellent example of that.

My sweet friend Christine invited me out for a barn date. We’ve been in a small group together, and have found that we have a lot in common other than our faith. Horses are another big connection for us, so naturally, she’s come out to meet our boys, and today was about me meeting her girls.

Christine was a great voice of reason and troubleshooting over the winter when we were trying to navigate Junior’s soreness. She helped keep me grounded and validated my feelings when I felt like I was losing my mind. So today, she had asked if I could come out and do some liberty with her girls to see if it could be a tool for her to use as a form of mental workout.

It was so fun!

I haven’t worked with mares in a while, and I forget how much spunk and sass they can dish out. It was so refreshing! It makes gaining their cooperation and respect that much more satisfying. Both girls engaged really well with me, and I’m excited to see what Christine does with it!

Then pulling in back at home, my joy kept multiplying. My new lens was waiting for me on my front porch! A wide angle lens, just in time for Hawaii – I can’t wait to play with it!

Also, our Joyful Noise wristbands came in the mail today! SO PUMPED!!!

May 12th

Saturday, May 12th, 2018

I’ve always loved the little guys.

Bees, small birds, butterflies. They just do their thing, completely unaware of the large world around them. Solely focused on their purpose, they just move through life unaware of time, weather forecasts, or relational responsibilities other than to their mate and young. What they do is follow instinct, doing what their bodies tell them to do. They don’t live life based on other’s opinions or suggestions – they just do them.

Today, this little Chipping Sparrow was bringing his mate pieces, so they could build a nest together. I sat on our front porch for awhile, watching him make trips back and forth. Each time, his mate would happily welcome him back with happy chatter, encouraged by his ability to bring use-able, build-able pieces to her. He would drop off each piece and head back out to find another, confident in her ability to build the nest.

God’s awesome example of partnership and purpose.

April 30th

Monday, April 30th, 2018

When I rolled over at 6am this morning, and peeked out the window, I could not believe my eyes.

The texture of the clouds was incredible.

Now, I’m rarely out of bed at 6am, but this morning I bounded out of bed.

After photographing them, I settled down in our sun room with my bible, specifically to read the book of Ephesians. Paul and I have been trying out a new church, and their current sermon series is on “7 Words to Change Your Life.” Last week’s message/word was “Thanks,” and at the end of the message, the pastor suggested reading Ephesians for more context and guidance in being thankful (specifically to God). I’ve always loved Paul’s letters, but I hadn’t read Ephesians before. One of my favorite passages was this one:

“I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you may understand the wonderful future he has promised to those He called.”
Ephesians 1:16-18

The first verse is the ringer for me: I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly

I don’t know about you, but I can do a better job of this. The thankfulness lives in my heart daily, I see it and recognize it, but do I stop and tell God? Stop and thank Him? No, not everyday. I need to step it up; the day is never to busy, too full, to thank God.

My other motivation to the quiet time with my bible this morning was Paul. My husband Paul, not Apostle Paul, haha. The sermon yesterday was on “Help,” and it really resonated with us both. I was on the verge of tears the entire sermon, and when we walked out, I knew it would be a deep conversation starter for us.

The sermon focused not only on asking for help, but knowing when and how to give help. This resonated with Paul and me very differently, but still profoundly. On our way home, I expressed to Paul first, how thankful I was that we weren’t in need of any great help. We’re both healthy people, no loss of spouse or children, no job loss, we have a house to live in, food to eat. The only real help I’ve needed recently was help through the loss of Burke. But through that pain, God really showed me the quality of friendships I have. The incredibly special, selfless, caring friends and family that gave their time, their words, their prayers, their love when I really did need it the most. They gave me help, even when I didn’t ask for it, they just stepped up and were there.

Overwhelming in a good, beautiful way.

And then God brought me a friend who had been a key part of my healing with Burke, who ended up going through the loss of their pet, exactly one week after I lost Burke (the exact same appointment time and everything – exactly one week to the minute), and I was able to reflect that love and support back on them. God gave me that opportunity to give help after a wave of receiving help.

This all can’t just be coincidence people. I mean, really.

So after I shared my reflection on the sermon, Paul said he really resonated with the closing verses, 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

He felt inspired to dig into the Word more; he wanted to start reading his bible when he woke up in the morning, so he could pick a verses to focus on for the day.

Our cat, Finn, is always on the bed with us when we wake up in the morning; I open my eyes to him staring quietly at me, and the moment our eyes meet, he starts to rumble-purr, the sign of ultimate contentment and excitement from him. Paul said he felt like Finn was a great analogy for God; He sits on a edge of the bed, expectantly, waiting for you to wake up so together you can explore the day He made for you. For us to recognize that, and to not blow right past Him, but to stop and talk with Him.

When I was photographing the sunrise this morning, that’s all I could think about. I imagined myself sharing those awesome colors and textures with a God that enjoys our delight, and it was a wonderful way to start the day.

If you are interested in listening, here are links to the Thanks sermon, and the Help sermon.

April 21st

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Paul and I love to grill, so naturally, with the welcome change of weather comes cooking outside.

We let the cats out with us, and we all enjoyed an afternoon full of sunshine. It’s fun when the cats enjoy the sunshine and warmth just as much as we do. It was so good for our souls.

As our dinner was cooking, Paul and I reflected on the bible study we had had with Cody and Dana last night. It was so good to dig into the word with friends, and Paul and I were hungry to do more. So naturally, because death was on our minds after the week we’ve had, we went down the path of what reaching heaven looked like. Being the seeker of truth that he is, Paul went in and grabbed his bible, and he sought out verses that addressed our discussion.

This man is just incredible. Cooking me dinner while digging in to what also feeds our souls. Dedicated is an understatement. To me, his faith, his job, his friends, to doing the right thing. To quote back at him what he said to me tonight – Paul, I love you a ridiculous amount. Thank you for being on this ride with me. Everyday is an adventure with you.

Also a note: this wasn’t setup or posed. I snuck my camera out while he was deep in concentration. That may not matter to many, or seem significant, but it matters to me.

April 19th

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise this morning.

No, there weren’t vibrant shades of pinks and reds, or warm sun rays coming through the fog. No, just simply the fact that the sun was shining was what made it beautiful.

The kind of sunrise you get after a rain storm. Clean, warm, faithful. A sort of blank slate, ready for you to rejoice in it. To seek the day that God has made.

As I watched the song birds happily flitting from tree to tree, singing at the presence of the sun, I realized I needed this sunrise today. I needed those joyful little birds, too. The reminder of God’s goodness and His beauty; the reminder of His ultimate plan.

In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
In the morning, when I rise
Give me Jesus
Jeremy Camp // Give Me Jesus