It was beautiful

finding beauty By September 7, 2017 65 Comments
When I was nine years old my mom took me shopping for new shoes. Mine were worn out and too small and it was time for a new pair. As we entered our local Payless shoe store, I spotted a pair of emerald green flats and fell in love. These shoes were going to change my life.
“Please mom?” I asked.
“They’re not very practical.” She answered. “Do you promise you’ll wear them?”
“I promise.” I said
We drove home and I skipped into the house thrilled with my new green shoes. I could hardly believe I owned something so beautiful. They were mine, all mine.
I wore them even though they gave me blisters. I wore them when the color scuffed off around the toes. Eventually they wore out completely.  No matter how tightly I tried to hold on, their beauty faded.
I felt a little sad when we cleaned out my closet and bagged them up along with other too small or not needed items. But soon something else caught my eye.
A couple weeks later, my friend Marie invited me to her house to play.  When she opened her bedroom door I saw a four poster bed with a white ruffle canopy. I had never seen anything so fancy.  It was so beautiful I could hardly stand it.
It is the first time I remember feeling jealous.
I wanted that bed to be mine. But I matter how much I begged and pleaded, I knew my parents would never buy my a four poster bed with a ruffle canopy.
The green shoes wouldn’t be the last time I would try to own beauty and hold it tightly.
Marie’s four poster bed with a ruffle canopy wouldn’t be the last time a would feel jealousy and longing.
As I became an adult I still craved beauty. When Steve and I were engaged I was sure i could find something–incredible wedding photos or the perfect couch or the right lipstick–to satisfy my craving. For a short time I would enjoy these things but their beauty faded. Nothing seemed to keep that jealous ache away for long.
When I was 38 weeks pregnant, we learned something was wrong with our baby. I was quickly admitted to the hospital and two days later, Steve and I held our first son, David.  He was 4 lbs, 2 oz and had only had two fingers on his left hand. We were told he had a rare genetic disorder called Cornelia de Lange Syndrome This wasn’t the baby I dreamed about. The beautiful life I had planned was slipping through my fingers. I imagined years filled with doctor visits and wheelchairs and feeding tubes. We loved David dearly, but in those first days, I couldn’t imagine beauty as part of our story. The pain of losing the baby we expected combined with navigating David’s physical needs was almost unbearable.
I was fully aware for the first time in my life that I was not in control. I began to understand I had never been in control.
I worried a lot less about finding the right lipstick and spent that energy taking care of our new baby.
I wasn’t as concerned about having the perfect home. Instead I focused on rare quiet moments with my husband while our baby was sleeping.
When David was ten weeks old he smiled for the first time. His smile was like glue healing the cracks in my broken heart.
It was beautiful.
When he was three months old he laughed for the first time. It was a rolling giggle and it was the most incredible sound we had ever heard. Steve and I looked at each other with unbridled joy.
It was beautiful.
When David was eighteen months old, his brother Matthias was born. We were relieved to meet our healthy, happy baby. Matthias balanced out our family. He was exactly what we needed.
Steve and I had two boys.
They were beautiful.
We bought our first house and filled it with thrifted furniture we sanded and painted.
It was beautiful.
Money was tight those first years. We paid our bills every month but had little left over for fun.
Sometimes we would splurge and go to Dairy Queen for chili cheese dogs. I treasure those memories with the four of us sitting in the booth at DQ.
It was beautiful.
During a particularly difficult financial time, someone from our church slipped $500 into Steve’s briefcase. We were in shock. To this day we have no idea who gave us that money.
It was one of the most humbling gifts we ever received.
It was beautiful.
Last week I stood on the beach staring at the glittering ocean waves. I let the salty ocean air fill my lungs. My heart was happy.
It was beautiful.
There is beauty in a hot cup of coffee.
There is beauty in sitting with a friend and sharing our hearts.
There is beauty in sunlight coming through the window.
There is beauty in slowing down to rest.
There is beauty in an impromptu dinner with friends.
There is beauty when my arms are tired from holding my boys.
There is beauty in the emptiness of loss, because loss means I have loved.
There is beauty in the dark places–where we least expect to find it. I have found on the hardest days, beauty shows up in real and miraculous ways.
The tighter I try to hold onto beauty, the more it slips through my fingers.
When I look to my outward beauty, my home and material things to fill me I become frustrated.
Beauty cannot be owned or possessed.
Beauty comes to me when I open my eyes and open my heart.
Beauty comes to me when I stop trying to control things and let them be what they are–messy and amazing.
There is nothing wrong with green shoes or four poster beds with a ruffle canopy. There is nothing wrong with a new couch or the perfect shade of lipstick. These things are beautiful gifts–ours to enjoy for a while. But the little things; a smile, a tiny giggle, an anonymous gift, a small hand in mine, the ocean waves, the sun warming my shoulders, these are the most beautiful gifts of all.
I want to hold beauty with open hands. I want to remind myself although I cannot own it, there is no shortage of beauty. It’s impossible to run out of beauty because the God of the Universe has filled his creation with beautiful things. He gives us gifts to enjoy, to soak up and to share with others. There is an endless supply of beauty around me. My arms and my heart are full.
In fact, this very moment, right now, is beautiful.
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hello come and eat

older posts By September 4, 2017 5 Comments

Hello friends! Steve and I have been cooking a bit–nothing fancy–just yummy meals to try to bring our little family together. Yesterday morning we made bacon, eggs, sweet rolls and French press coffee. He makes a mean egg and perfect bacon. I set the table with chargers and runners and linen napkins and it makes it feel more official somehow. Bri McCoy’s book arrived at the perfect time and I can’t wait to read it. Today is the LAST day to preorder the book and get some extra goodies! Click here for more info.

How about some hellos for a new week? ❤️ 

Hello setting the table with pretty things–like a salt cellar, pepper grinder and salad tongs.

Hello using chargers and table runners and linen napkins. The texture makes my heart so happy. And a happy heart is a good thing. That gorgeous macrame runner is from this handmade shop.


Hello savoring the last couple bites of breakfast. Yum.

Hello trying to hydrate in the midst of this INSANE heat wave we’re having.

Hello thinking about Houston and praying for people who are beginning to put their lives back together.

Hello cleaning out closets and feeling embarrassed by the amount of stuff we accumulate.

Hello third week of high school. David is loving it. We are trying to encourage more independence for him. It’s hard for me–to be honest, I baby him too much. But I know it’s so important.

Hello second week of 8th grade. Matthias is loving it too. We are trying to encourage more responsibility for him. It’s hard for me–sometimes it’s easier to do it myself. But I know it’s so important.

Hello SALE in the shop–have you had your eye on something?

Hello feeling grateful for a day off.

Hello to you. It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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Hello paddleboarding

hello monday By August 21, 2017 5 Comments

I went paddleboarding on Saturday in the ocean and it was so fun! I went a couple years ago I paddleboarded at a lake–but it was very smooth and easy. I wanted to try paddle boarding in the ocean and it was definitely do-able. The board can easily stabilize when a wave comes by. For me it was getting over the fear of falling and just relaxing.

How about some hellos for a new week?

Hello trying something new–lately I’m trying to yes more and put myself out there.

Hello time with soul friends. I was at a writers’ retreat over the weekend and it filled me up.

Hello doing some work on our bathroom to update. It will be messy before it’s better–kind of how life is, right?

Hello writing and writing and writing some more.

Hello cooking new things. I want to try this dish–I’m thinking maybe I’ll add chicken to make it a main instead of a side.

Hello reading this book and finding it just as romantic as the original! Jane Austen is a favorite–and all things related to her.

Hello wanting to get back into walking regularly. I’ve been out of my routine this summer and I want to walk and hike more consistently.

Hello wishing I was more organized. Sigh.

Hello trying to keep up with texts and emails and failing.

Hello feeling very thankful David had a great doctor visit last week!

Hello starting school this week! Hello new year, new teachers, new things to learn.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

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Hello Me, Hello You

hello monday By August 14, 2017 4 Comments

Hello friends!

Every Monday is a new beginning and a fresh start. This week as I sat down to write out some ‘hellos’ to greet the new week, a poem came out! So how about a hello poem for a new week?

Plum Goods, Santa Barbara {love this shop!}

Hello me
Hello you
Hello today

Hello something new

Hello fresh start
Hello beginning
Hello starting over
Hello coffee brimming

Hello deep breath
Hello feeling good
Hello hopeful
Hello sisterhood

Hello encouraging
Hello believing
Hello friendship
Hello love receiving

Hello together
Hello love giving
Hello side by side
Hello fully living

Hello happy
Hello sad
Hello angry
Hello glad

Hello victories
Hello mistakes
Hello forgiveness
Hello give and takes

Hello being me
Hello being you
Hello imperfect
Hello honest and true

Hello to what is
Hello what will be
Hello seeing clearly
Hello being free

Hello taking risks
Hello getting started
Hello fully present
Hello open hearted

Hello new day
Hello high or low
Hello stepping out
Hello here we go

Hello me
Hello you
Hello today
Hello something new

What are you saying hello to this week?
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hello trying something new!

hello monday By August 7, 2017 7 Comments

Hello friends! We are back from England and trying to get back in our rhythm–I always forget how long jet lag hangs on. We are getting there slowly but surely.

I am taking an online ‘abstract floral painting” class and it’s fun–and also stretching and frustrating and inspiring. Below is my first painting. I don’t hate it–so I figure that’s a good start!

It’s a brand new week, how about some hellos?

Hello trying to get my suitcase all the way unpacked so I can put it away.

Hello trying some new recipes and having fun setting the table. I feel inspired.

Hello registering David for HIGH SCHOOL Oh my gosh. David will be at a new school and I’m a little nervous. And also a little excited.

Hello getting ready to homeschool Matthias in the fall. He’s looking forward to it and so are we.

Hello breezy cool weather after a week of tropical heat. So unusual for the central coast of California.

Hello making a list of all the doctors David needs to see. I’ll be honest, it’s overwhelming.

Hello fresh plums and peaches from the grocery store that are sooooo yummy. I love this season!

Hello watching this series–so good!

Hello reading this book–full of good reminders.

Hello looking forward to time with my sisters this week. Hooray!

What are you saying hello to this week?

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All Is Well

the meaning behind the jewelry, thoughts By July 31, 2017 115 Comments
About 30 minutes after our plane took off for England, David started having rapid breathing. We gave him his inhaler–which helped a bit, but we watched him closely and worried throughout the 10 hour flight. After we landed we took him to the emergency room in London. It ends up he had pneumonia–thankfully we caught it early. Everyone at the hospital was wonderful. They sent us home with meds and within a day David was back to himself.
I am a worrier.
I worry about David’s health.
I worry about my boys’ safety.
I worry when I’m a passenger in a car.
I worry about what others think of me.
I worry if I give my boys enough love and attention.
I worry about my marriage.
I worry I’m letting people down.
And on and on and on.
And my worry never helps me or anyone else–not one single bit.

I wrote this poem on a walk in the English countryside and I wanted to share it with you–because maybe you’re a worrier like me. I hope it encourages you.


All Is Well

Stress and worry
Have helped me not
My joy they’ve taken
This moment forgot

My thoughts bundled up
In fear of unknowns
My mind distracted

My present disowned

Detached from what is
I guess what may be
I imagine the worst

Dark and doom I see

Instead of the light
That always surrounds me
I am safe and secure

God loves me profoundly

My path is before me
God planned every part
Before my first step

From the end to the start

Life’s mysteries to me
Are by God fully known
I am His child

He cares for His own

When sorrow takes hold
And the light seems so dim
His grace and love find me

My hope is in Him

When the pain of this world
Crowds in to oppress
My God gently holds me

And shows me His rest

My worries don’t help me
I’m beginning to find
They wreck and they ravage
I am free, I can breathe
Nothing can alter
The path I am walking

My God will not falter

Today I will practice
Letting go of control
I am held by God’s hand

All is well with my soul

I will learn to be still
And quiet the fear
Today is a gift

My God holds me near

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Hello Traveling

hello monday, Leonards take England By July 24, 2017 2 Comments


Hello eye opening

Hello sun shining

Hello arms stretching

Hello coffee brewing


Hello together being

Hello day planning

Hello directions mapping

Hello London exploring

Hello legs tiring


Hello jet lagging

Hello beauty seeing

Hello picture taking

Hello museum viewing

Hello crowds navigating

Hello scones and jam eating


Hello mind opening

Hello heart believing

Today is beautiful.

What are you saying hello to this week?

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hello home

hello monday By July 3, 2017 3 Comments

Steve and I had a three day trip to New York last week. The weather was great, we had productive meetings and we had fun too! But, of course, there is no place like home!

It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. How about some hellos?

Hello perfect weather–which makes it so much easier to explore!  Hello World Trade Center and Occulus

Hello Dear Evan Hansen. Oh my GOSH it’s so good! I cried, I laughed, I left inspired. I can’t get the songs out of my head. So good!

Hello lots of coffee to fight the jet lag. Hello more coffee just because it’s so yum!

Hello eating way too much good food!

Hello New York! Sometimes I think NY likes to show off.

Hello getting lots of sad/hard news last week. My heart has been heavy for friends who are struggling. Sometimes life is so hard.

Hello welcoming lots of family this week. Yay!

Hello celebrating the 4th of July and David’s 15th birthday.

Hello reading this book–I love her perspective.

Hello watering all our plants every couple days–they get so thirsty!

Hello looking for a new Netflix series to watch. Any suggestions?

Hello to YOU! What are you saying hello to this week?

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Wisdom From David

david, hope, inspiration By June 30, 2017 66 Comments

David, fifteen years ago we held you in our arms and cried. You weren’t what we expected and we were grieving. I didn’t expect to have a baby with a syndrome, heart defect and only two fingers on his left hand.

I cried tears for me, what would my life look like now that I had a child with special needs?
I cried tears for you. What would your life look like as you navigate living with special needs?
From the moment I saw your sweet face I loved you. I was your mama and I would do whatever I could to protect and nurture you. But I worried about how other people would treat you. I wished you could run and play and be silly like other children.
I feel silly saying this now, but I wished I could change you.
I felt pity for you, I felt pity for me.
I didn’t know it then, but sweet David, you were born to do big things.
You are a world changer!
My pity has turned to pride.

My worries have subsided as I see you soak up life and give love to those around you.

Everyday you teach us how to live with well.
You have helped us stretch and grow our hearts to make room for more joy.
You have shown us what it looks like to love with your whole heart.
Now my wish is for you to be YOU.
You are one of a kind.
You are a light.
You inspire me.
Today, for your fifteenth birthday, I wrote down bits of wisdom you have taught me.
What follows is how you live, how you love.

Happy birthday, my love! I’m so incredibly thankful you’re my son.

***

Wisdom From David

Come over
Settle in
Sit down

Snuggle up

Let yourself relax
Let yourself enjoy
Let yourself let go

Let yourself be loved

Make friends
Make music
Make messes

Make memories

With open hearts
With honesty
With happiness

With your hand in mine

Let’s dream
Let’s explore
Let’s learn

Let’s be brave

Today holds newness
Today holds adventure
Today holds beauty

Today hold hope

We are us
We are you and me
We are each other

We are family

Slow down
Breathe deeply
Be quiet

Let your heart speak

Listen closely
Feel your feelings
Think outside the box

See with new eyes

Forgive
Forget
Let your heart

Be free

All is right
All is known
All is safe

All is well

No shame
No fear
No hiding

No worry

You are precious
You are seen
You are loved
Be grateful
Be curious
Be gentle

Be you

One of a kind
Three words (I love you)

Forever, for always

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hello growing up

hello monday By June 26, 2017 2 Comments

Hello friends! We had a lovely weekend with the perfect mix of time outdoors, time with friends and time relaxing. Yesterday we had lunch with our little friend Bella {and her amazing parents}. I adore this pic of her and Matthias! It seems like yesterday Matthias was that little. I love watching him grow up and love on little ones–the way people loved on him.

It’s a brand new week, how about some hellos?

Hello Matthias and Bella. So much love!

Hello slow days of summer and staying in our PJs until noon.

Hello July right around the corner.

Hello getting ready for David’s 15 birthday! {15??!}

Hello watching this show. It’s sweet and funny. Have you seen it?

Hello reading Dr. Seuss with David. He loves it!

Hello listening to this audio book. She inspires me.

Hello working on some new pieces of jewelry to share with you. So fun–my favorite thing!

Hello loving this new shampoo and conditioner–not cheap but so hydrating for my curls!

Hello drooling over the amazing baskets in this shop. Gorgeous, right?

Hello eating endless amounts of m&m’s and then wishing I didn’t. But they’re so yum!

Hello listening to all the albums from high school and college. They bring back so many memories–Madonna, George Michael, Police, Toad the Wet Sprocket.

Hello saying I’m sorry a lot lately. I get grumpy with the boys and then have to apologize. Summer brings more time together and sometimes more grumpiness.

Hello to you! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found, What are you saying hello to this week?

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