Dear Newtown

December 17th, 2012

This is my winter song to you. The storm is coming soon, it rolls in from the sea. My voice; a beacon in the night. My words will be your light, to carry you to me.

Is love alive? Is love alive?

They say that things just cannot grow beneath the winter snow, or so I have been told. They say we’re buried far, just like a distant star. I simply cannot hold.

Is love alive? Is love alive? Is love alive?

This is my winter song. December never felt so wrong, cause you’re not where you belong; inside my arms.

I still believe in summer days. The seasons always change and life will find a way. I’ll be your harvester of light and send it out tonight so we can start again.

Is love alive? Is love alive? Is love alive?

This is my winter song. December never felt so wrong, cause you’re not where you belong; inside my arms. This is my winter song to you. The storm is coming soon it rolls in from the sea. My love a beacon in the night. My words will be your light to carry you to me.

Is love alive? Is love alive?

Winter Song by Sara Bareilles

Dear Newtown -

I have been playing this song over and over again while praying for you. I am not a parent. But I have worked with all kinds of children. All kinds. Children I still carry in my heart. I pray that even though you will probably never read these words, that you know that we are mourning with you. And I know they are just words. But I could not just sit here. I will not just sit here. I want you to know that I am weeping with you. I am weeping for the children who were lost. I am weeping for the families whose tables will have one less member with them during Christmas dinner. I am weeping for the children who are left. The children who watched their teacher lose her own life to save theirs. I am weeping for the first responders who have seen things that no one can even imagine. I am weeping for the parents who are so broken that they can’t imagine being whole again.

I know this December now feels so wrong. For all of you. The storm is here now. And it is raging. But the spring will come again. Love is alive. Love is here. I pray that God’s love is the beacon in this night that seems so dark and bleak.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

who will she pick?!

June 26th, 2012

found

you’re wondering the same thing, too.

there are four men left. FOUR! that’s it. so let’s just take a minute to review the lucky men stuck in reality tv love.

chris. 25. sales.

i’m not a fan. he’s neither dynamic nor handsome, and in reality tv, you have to at least be one of those two things. i’m not sure how he’s gotten to the hometown dates. emily must see something in him, but i’m just not sure i get it.

arie. 30. race car driver.

ok, this one i get. he’s adorable and he drives fast for a living. he was the first one to profess his undying love for emily. but he doesn’t know what a poultice is. so, he’s not the brightest, but he’s cute and he treats her really well. i could see this one going all the way.

sean. 28. insurance agent.

alright. alright. seriously? i think this is the one she actually ends up with. he’s a blonde, southern charmer. what’s not to like?? he definitely seems like emily’s type. and let’s remember what her friends thought of him. i believe one of them sat on his back while he did push ups. that’s impressive on so many levels.

jef. 27. entrepreneur.

i have been team jef since day one. he’s adorably edgy, funny, and a little on the shy side. to the haters, he’s not immature, he’s fun loving. and so what if he looks like he’s 17? it’s called boyish charm. and his last line on their date in the library? “i want to date you so hard and marry the $*#& out of you”. killed me. i had to rewind to make sure i heard him right and then i laughed so hard. dear emily, do not break his heart. just don’t do it.

so now, i can’t wait for monday night! wooo! let’s meet these men’s families and get closer to a proposal!!!

who do you think will be the future mr. emily maynard?

all the guys photos found

seven of fifty two: anna & the french kiss

June 25th, 2012

Started: June 19

Finished: June 20

did this book make me cry? yes. did i stay up too late using a headlamp because my husband had to sleep? yes. did it give me a new favorite book boyfriend? heck yes. i know. blasphemy, right?! what happened to peeta? oh get over it, i can change my mind.

so in a nutshell, this book is about Anna, who is sent to a fancy schmancy boarding school in Paris. she’s all cranky about it because it’s her senior year and she’s all worried about missing her best friend and an almost boyfriend. excuse me while i get cranky with her for being cranky for spending her last year of high school in Paris. IT’S PARIS FOR PETE’S SAKE! ok, i’m done – don’t mind me. anyway, enter St. Clair, a boy with an international flair, who shows her all that Paris has to offer. they become dear friends and it’s the cutest thing ever. honestly, it will leave you feeling giddy.

Stephanie Perkins has a second book, Lola and the Boy Next Door and i can’t wait to get my hands on it!

we had a yard sale

June 19th, 2012

a few months ago, i read 7 by Jen Hatmaker. and man, did that book mess me up. essentially, through this book, my eyes were opened to the ridiculous amounts of excess that so many of us have. i cleaned out my closets, i refused to buy from companies who don’t treat their workers and the environment with care. and then i wondered, what else can i do?

that question led me to Garage Sale 4 Orphans – an organization devoted solely to helping people clean our their closets, their basements, and their garages and turning that into money that can help orphans all over the world. so i approached our youth group for some help. the kids loved the idea of helping others, of getting outside of their comfort zones, and doing something big for the Kingdom.

we spoke to our congregation and asked them for their “stuff”. the first few weeks, i was really wondering if we’d ever be able to fill a table or two. the friday before our sale, we had filled over 10 tables, and the “stuff” was spilling over! praise the Lord for the wonderful people who spent some time in their homes and got rid of their “stuff” to help these kids!

and then we wondered, would anyone come? we have a small church on a country road, and while we had advertised in newspapers and online, we still wondered. God provided so many families and couples and moms (and hardcore yard salers) looking for clothing and furniture and keepsakes. my goal for the sale was somewhere between $400 and $500. and the grand total was …

$743.23!!!!!!!!!

it’s more than we could have imagined! it’s so amazing to watch what God can do!!! we’re going to donate the money toward one of the safe houses in Haiti. and the leftover “stuff” (seriously, there was still a lot left over) has been divided to be donated.

to the youth group: thank you all for the ways that you helped out. some organized, some donated, and some worked that day. without you, this would not have been possible. you all are truly a blessing!

five of fifty two: wonder

June 13th, 2012

Started: May 23

Finished: June 9

this was a suggested read from my SIL, kate. i’m so glad i listened to her! what happens on these pages is a very real and somewhat tragic, but hopeful story. it begins from the point of view of auggie, a boy who is about to enter 5th grade. and he is no “normal” boy. he has a combination of rare genetic disorders that have severely distorted his facial features. auggie is ok with who he is … but the new kids at school, and even some of his family members, still have a way to go on their journey of accepting auggie despite his different appearance.

if you’ve ever been the kid being bullied, the bully, or the kid that just sat by and watched it all happen, this book will speak to you. auggie is so relatable and has such a sense of humor. his teenage sister is such a … teenager. his friends are people that i wish i had the pleasure of knowing in real life. and his parents are an amazing combination of cheerleaders and soldiers for his cause.

i absolutely loved the way ms. palacio jumped around with the points of view. i felt like i really knew the different characters and where they were coming from. and it certainly reminded me that there is always more than one side to every story.

Newsies

June 8th, 2012

yesterday i fulfilled #22 on my list of 27 things to do before I turn 28: newsies on broadway. the movie captured my little heart in high school. and you may ask how did i live so long without knowing it’s splendor? i have no idea. but believe me, i’ve made up for lost time. i wish spotify would tell me how many times i’ve listened to “seize the day”. or maybe i don’t want to know.

our church choir director had seen it in april and was so enamored with it she asked a group of us if we’d like to join her again. UH, YES PLEASE. so a bunch of us surprised our mommy’s and mommy’s in law for mother’s day with tickets and a day in the big apple. it was honestly perfection. the cast is so amazingly talented. my hands were practically numb from clapping so much. and yes i teared up. multiple times.

and dudes, our choir director has mad connections. one of her past students (she was a high school choir director too before she had 3 beautiful babies) knows Laurie Veldheer, so we got to meet her, and then inadvertently got to meet a bunch of the other cast members. i died a little. especially since my mom was literally chasing after some of them in the theater. hey, if you don’t take a chance, you’ll never know. they were the nicest people. so humble. and adorable.

Kara, Ben and the very kind boy in the red hat (it was a frenzy, i’m not sure who he was) signed my playbill. jeremy had to go back inside before i was able to ask him to marry me get his autograph too. i think i would give my left arm to be able to see it a second time. or maybe i’ll just beg my husband incessantly until he gives in.

min & matt’s wedding

May 21st, 2012

this past saturday we attended the wedding of my SIL’s childhood friend, melinda. her and matt were married in this GORGEOUS estate on an equally gorgeous day. it was so picturesque! we had a lot of fun snapping some photos during the cocktail hour.

hope you all had a lovely weekend!

three & four of fifty two

May 20th, 2012

Divergent Started: May 10

Divergent Finished: May 14

Insurgent Started: May 14

Insurgent Finished: May 16

you all know how much i looooovvveeeddd Hunger Games. and i had heard through the grapvine that people who love HG will love these too. boy were they right!

i’m going to try really hard not to spoil anything so i’ll keep this brief. the main character, beatrice, reminds me a lot of katniss. she’s strong. she has some life changing choices to make. and she seems to be in constant conflict with herself. beatrice lives in a world where the people are broken up into factions. when she turns 16, she must decide whether to stay in the faction she was born in, or choose another faction. let me tell you, there are so many twists and turns and surprises. and if you’re looking for a another great book boyfriend, these books deliver.

while i really enjoyed the books and the creativity of veronica roth, i think i’m going to have to cool it on the dystopian novels for awhile – too many weird dreams!

two of fifty two: the fault in our stars

May 14th, 2012

Started: May 8

Finished: May 9

I don’t just read books, I seem to devour them. And this book was no exception.

This is a love story. But it is so much more than just that. Hazel is a reclusive 16 year old with cancer. Her mother goads her into attending a support group for teenagers surviving with the terrible disease. It is in that support group that she meets Augustus. The book then becomes their story.

Hazel and Gus are extremely different in how they react to their disease, but they both do so with so much humor, I found myself sometimes laughing out loud. But I remembered that they are teenagers. With cancer. And my heart broke over and over again.

John Green writes with such purpose. Each line has some lesson in it. It stays with you. And – as every good story should – it makes you take s step back and marvel at the world around you.

to the best momma in the world

May 13th, 2012

thank you.

xoxo