My Family


That’s how family gets made.
Not by ceremonies or certificates, and not by parties and celebrations.
Family gets made when you decide to hold hands and sit shoulder to shoulder
when it seems like the sky is falling.
Family gets made when the world becomes strange and disorienting,
and the only face you recognize is his.
Family gets made when the future obscures itself like a solar eclipse,
and in the intervening darkness,
you decide that no matter what happens in the night,
you’ll face it as one.
~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p29~


Grace Upon Grace

I was telling (okay, writing) a friend yesterday about our recent visit to The Grace Agenda conference, and what a blessing it was to go, get away, recharge. So I realized I ought to share my thoughts here as well.
The conference, and the days spent traveling & away in general, were such a blessing. We went down on Thursday just so we could swim at the hotel, eat out, and watch cartoons with the kids on “a real tv”! The kids still aren’t quite sure what commercials are, and get excessively frustrated about them. Cracks us up. After the two little kids were asleep on Thursday night, my dad took Gabriel swimming again and my mom offered to listen for the toddlers (we had connecting hotel rooms, so we left the doors open between them, and she stayed in her room), so Steven and I went out for a little date to our favorite coffee house pub called Bucer’s, where there was live jazz and lots of hustle-bustle. We were only out for about forty minutes, and it was a refreshingly fun time. Friday and Saturday were very busy days of conference sessions, coffee breaks, lunch with friends, a dinner double date with excellent friends on Friday (my parents watched our kids and took them swimming for us during that time), playtime with our children, a fantastic choir concert on Saturday night.
The conference sessions didn’t hold much “new” to us in all honesty, partly because the teachers were people we have known for twenty years & also just partly because Steven and I have both been raised in the Church and have continued in the Church. But it is always good to go hear things we already know, to preach old truths to ourselves in new ways, to sit alongside friends for mutual encouragement and exhortation. It made us very thankful. Rachel Jankovic and Nate Wilson were (as usual) my favorite speakers, just because they are so engaging and witty, weaving incredibly solid truths into their speaking without leaving it dry like crackers. (And it’s just funny, too, because my brother and I were friends with them when we were in our teens; I remember one time specifically on a Sunday afternoon, playing disc golf with them and some other young folks at the University of Idaho, and there was plenty of good laughter.) But so much has happened and changed in the intervening 15 or so years.
On Palm Sunday we were overwhelmingly blessed to be at Trinity Reformed Church, to hear Toby preach, to see so many friends we hadn’t seen since last summer, to cry with another friend who just buried another son (a 16 week boy, they named Gilead), to have some friends want to talk and subsequently wanted to pray with me right then and there for joy and hope. So beautiful and humbling. We then went out for lunch with another young family (I’ve been friends with the wife for years, but our husbands had never actually talked, just briefly met occasionally and shaken hands, etc) before driving home on the Sunday afternoon in sunshine and rest and hope and joy.
So yes. A good weekend. In so many ways. And here are a couple random pictures from a Saturday evening session (you can tell the kids had gotten tired by now!), and some quotes I managed to scribble down from a few of the talks.



The rocky soil produces the sweetest fruit.
~Bekah Merkle~

 Weaker doesn’t mean inferior. Compare a crystal goblet with a 2×4!
~Nancy Wilson~

 Love God, love your neighbor, love your enemies—that covers it.
~Douglas Wilson~

 If women are not allowed to be a female glory, they will become a feminine shame.
~Douglas Wilson~

 Exile is a universal human condition.
~Timothy Edwards~

 Wisdom is a tame word, but it’s not a very tame thing.
~N.D. Wilson~

 Tell stories and live stories. Use the stories around you to inform your character and shape your narrative.
~N.D. Wilson~

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Courage literally means of the heart. Courage does not mean bold, brash, outspoken, adventurous. We need courage in areas where we are tested. Any strength that requires resistance requires courage. Courage is the form of every virtue once tested. It takes courage to ask God, and for contentment as you wait. Pottery can not do anything until it has gone through the trial of fire. After we are tested we too become capable vessels that can hold water. Patience without courage is untested and weak. Peace combined with courage is fierce—it’s like a guard dog. It’s a peace that fights things off. You can only have one master, when you have Christ as your Master, you will have courage over fear. John 14:7, Deut 31:6, Josh 1:9, Heb 13:6, Ps 23:4, Eph 6:10, Ps 118:6, Ps 27:14
~Rachel Jankovic~

Contented means a deep satisfaction with the will of God. He has made us, called us, and even created the good works for us. Be satisfied to be created second. Be satisfied to be created female. Be glad for the calling of men. Be overjoyed in who your husband and sons are called to be. Be satisfied that God called your husband to be your head. Be deeply satisfied to be your husband’s glory, crown, helpmeet. Be satisfied with being domestic and fruitful.
~Nancy Wilson~


Blitz Trip Grace

By God’s grace, the Holy Spirit’s fruit of patience and gentleness swell and ripen in these times.
God gets the glory for giving me the strength I need
to be kind to my children when I feel hurried or annoyed at the end of a very long day.
And in times when I let the Spirit’s fruit rot because of my sinfulness,
the Lord gives me the grace I need to apologize to my kids
for my hastiness, insensitivity, and unkind words.
Bedtime is a maturing experience for all of us.
~Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full, p111~

Other maturing experiences might be long drives in the car and blitz weekend trips that are so packed with fun busyness that naps & bedtimes kind of go by the wayside… So on mornings like today, I am extra thankful for grace, and am asking Him for extra measures of kindness, patience, gentleness, and joy today as we readjust to being home and as we reach for good things like naps & bedtime.

But man, aren’t weekend blitz trips with long car rides and occasions for grace just marvelous for the family!? Love it.

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The Lord’s People on His Day

This morning we have the joy and privilege of worshiping at Trinity Reformed Church, where a longtime dear friend of my family is pastor. It is the liturgical church that has continued to deepen our love of and desire for beautiful old church liturgy. While we were looking for a new church home a year+ ago, we were able to visit Trinity Reformed Church a little more regularly (it’s a 2 1/2 hour drive each way, so not exactly a place we could call our own church home unless we moved), but we have been settled at Christ The King Church now (and it’s only 50 minutes away, so very reasonable for being our church home) for so long that we have not visited our friends at Trinity since July! Until today. What a joy and blessing. The Lord is good.

And just because these two blog snippets from Pastor Sumpter were so liturgically pertinent, I have to share them.

You have not been summonsed here to make a respectable appearance in a religious assembly. You have not been summonsed here to go through the motions of some ritual. You have not been summonsed here to mechanically repeat your lessons. You have not been summonsed here to compete with others, to gossip, to envy, or to worry. You have been summonsed here this morning to worship. You have been summonsed here to make a joyful noise to the Lord. You have been summonsed here to serve the Lord with gladness, so sing to Him with all your heart and mind and soul. You have been summonsed here so that you might remember and know that the Lord Jesus, He is God. He made us: we are His sheep. You have been summonsed here to thank Him, to bless Him because He is good.


…in Ephesians, [Paul] says that our inheritance is in Him, and in Him we have forgiveness, and in Him we have the Holy Spirit, and in Him God is uniting all things. In other words, we can’t move or think or breathe or eat or drink apart from Him. Our identities are completely bound up in Him. This is what it means to be a Christian: that we no longer live for ourselves but now we live for Him because we live in Him. But this means that all of our human interaction is also in Him. We talk together in Him, we walk together in Him, we eat together in Him, we work together in Him. This is why Christian friendship, Christian marriage, Christian family, Christian business, Christian community is all about sharing Christ in and through the various activities we engage in. And this is not just a way of speaking; we are confessing fundamentally that God is here with us. God is present in us and around us. He is here.

So, on this Lord’s Day, worship the Lord because He is good, and may the Lord be with you all. Amen.


I just have to share with you about my reintroduction to sugar after five months without.

I mean really, if you’re going to go off a diet, you might as well go nuts, right?! :lol: This is what Salt & Straw called their “ice cream flight” and I got to pick four flavors. I ended up with coffee/bourbon, almond brittle with salted ganache, freckled woodblock chocolate, and sea salt with caramel ribbon.

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That is some SERIOUS DELICIOUSNESS!!!! :icecream:

Smoke, Sky, and Sea

A filmy western sky of smoky red,
Blossoming into stars above a sea
Of soft mysterious dim silver spread
Beyond the long gray dunes’ serenity;
Where the salt grasses and sea poppies press
Together in a wild sweet loneliness.

~from “Twilight in Abegweit” by L.M. Montgomery~

Family on the Oregon Coast

We had a lovely week on the Oregon Coast with my side of the family. We had fantastic times at the beach, hours and hours in the pool, explored the tide pools, squeezed in a few fun dates, played games and played with cousins… it was a fantastic time. What good little travelers our sweet children are too! It was a blessing. Here are a couple quick glimpses of our super duper fun.P1010157 P1010143 P1010158


We went away last week. Steven had a conference in Seattle, so Gabriel and I tagged along for a change of pace & scenery. It was a wonderful time and we are so thankful we were able to do it! Here are just a few pictures of a couple things we did while we were there.

A wonderful Japanese meal: we let Steven have the sushi, and we all shared veggie tempura, gyoza, and Japanese fried chicken (to make sure Gabriel would enjoy something).

At the Seattle Aquarium and on the boardwalk with one of my dearest friends (and two of her kids).

What a beautiful and sweet blessing it was to get away for a few days with my boys!