This morning I woke up to rain. A gentle thunder storm and the drip-drip-drop of July showers coming down outside my window. I rolled over and looked at the clock. 8:00 am. I pulled Felix into bed with me around 4:45 am to make the last part of our night a bit less stressful. Side nurse. snuggle. Side nurse snuggle. "Yes, he slept in" I thought.

Big blue eyes sleepily opened and a grin that won't stop beamed up in my direction. The morning was lazy. Oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts, and coffee while Felix played and practiced crawling. A skype date with my good friend Liz and a bit of cleaning during Felix's first nap. Lunch with Josh. Felix tried pears, and loved them. All while the pitter patter of scattered storms kept me feeling cozy in my home. I decided today was a good day to make bread and to stay inside.

Kneading sticky dough. Adding a bit more flour. Knead some more. Let rest and rise. I lit a woodwick candle to pretended I have a fireplace. Vacuumed and swept. And then an afternoon walk with a friend morphed into an afternoon tea and chocolate with a friend on the living room floor. Felix wiggled about working out some of his little boy energy.

Two hours and some soul sharing later the dough was now twice its size. Ready to be formed and then rise again in bread pans. Baked till crunchy and golden brown on the outside. The gentle smell of yeast mixed with salt, water and flour. The most basic of ingredients. Timeless and warm. With the candle, the rain and bread all going at once, I almost felt like Autumn was in the air.


I love autumn. I'm so looking forward for this season to be over. This literal season of hot summer (even though as far as Tennessee summers go, this one has been mild) And the metaphorical season of life. This life season has pretty much beaten my entire family to a pulp and it's time for a fresh start. Fall always seems to bring a new beginning in my heart, so even though the temperature was in the high 80s today I mentally shifted into cooler weather.

With the aroma of bread filling my house, a sleeping baby, and the soft roll of thunder outside I took a deep breath in. Closed my eyes and breathed out July. Said goodbye to one of the most difficult months of my life and cut a slice of still warm home made bread. Bring on August.

Fresh 20: Fail

You Guys, look at this amazing Fresh 20 meal I made.

Just kidding. It's a Freschetta Frozen pizza with some added grape tomatoes and parsley as a garnish to throw you guys off. I posted last week about how awesome Fresh 20 is and how much we love it and how I planned to share some of our meals with you guys and then this week fell apart.

I was a good girl and went to the Franklin Farmers market on Saturday while Josh was out of town to pick up some of our ingredients for the week. Then Sunday afternoon got away from all of us with another epic post-church nap (why are those the best) and we never got the remaining ingredients for the week.

Enter Monday - Felix isn't napping so all hopes of making it to the grocery without a melt down are shot and the rest of the day is history. We wound up at Blue Coast burrito for some Baja Fish tacos and then Tuesday night we sort of just chose an easy route because we had lots of errands to run, Josh was meeting up with a friend and we weren't super hungry come dinner time.

But that's ok. Life is crazy and we are flexible! We used some of the grape tomatoes form this week's menu on our frozen pizza and we have plans to eat up the "Turkey" (read: chicken) cutlets for tomorrow nights meal. Stay tuned. I'm sure a riveting post about cutlets will be coming your way, or not. ;)


Little Adventurer

Felix. My little adventure boy. Always moving and exploring. Looking for the next thing to discover.

A few days ago we were having some quiet play time while you sat in your crib with a handful of soft toys, finger puppets. Soft rattle. Soft crinkly block. The next thing I know, you have your feet against the wall, your hands gripping the side of the crib and you are pulling yourself up off the bed reaching for the window blinds. My immediate thought was - Hazard! (And I made a mental note to move the blind cords) But then I watched you.

Quite determination. Focus with extreme intensity. Even after slipping from the bar a few times and landing on your bottom, you didn't give up. You just kept trying for the dangling cord. My heart was bursting. I was so proud of you (and still am). You no longer seemed like a baby to me. Just a little boy on a mission.

Eventually, you grasped it and it wiggled away, swaying back and forth just out of your reach and one final fall landed you on your back like a turtle. Angry you couldn't free yourself from the laying down position and in an instant you flashed back into my sweet little baby. For now, you are a bit stuck between baby and kid. But I'm here to help you learn and grow even when big ole tears of frustration come a result. You will get it soon enough little one. In the mean time, lots of snuggles and hugs when you fall.

Then today. You were playing, again in your crib, with a few toys. A couple wooden sea animals from nana, a soft brush and your plush carrot squeaky toy from IKEA. I was getting ready in the next room with the doors open so I could keep an eye on you down the hall way. Happy Happy boy. Pulling toys out of a box. Examining each one. Then I saw you take your position again. Except this time, on the other side of crib - not facing the wall. Feet planted firmly on two rails hands gripping the cross bar and I hurried down the hall to stop you. Before I got there, this was happening.

Standing. Grinning ear to ear. So proud of your achievement. So from an arms length away at that point, I, of course, took a picture. Note to self...lower crib mattress.

While Daddy made lunch for us this afternoon, little boy, you rolled back and forth across the living room floor. all wrapped up in your blue snuggly blanket. Stretching this way and that to reach the legs of the arm chair. To reach your new stuffed monkey, then - what's this? - mommy's flip-flop. Ah... Happy as a clam, all by yourself. Then lighting up the room with  your precious smile when i walk in. Independent, yet extremely social.  The best of all world. I know you have great things in your future, my son. my little adventurer.


eucharisteo: a simple list of thanks

Trying to be more thankful.  eucharisteo: a simple list of thanks is hopefully going to become a regular post where I compile all my notes of thanks from one week and share.

old friends texting encouragement and prayers
spicy dark chocolate
wine tastings at the bottle shop
free time to blog and read
a caring devoted patient husband
baby chewing crazily on teether bracelet making me laugh
provision through etsy sales
black and gold butterfly crossing my path twice
being resourceful and finding the fixings for a delicious lunch right at home
mini monkey breads made by my husband
baby hands running through pouring water and big smiles at bath time
hard working husband
friends in my living room and babies playing together
1.5 hour naps
fresh home cooked healthy meals
beer on sale
homemade baby food saving us money
Soft milky white baby skin
nursing snuggles on the couch


My Friday

You guys...i'm going to be honest...today has been rough. Felix still isn't sleeping well (up last night at 10:30, 12:30, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and then up for the day at 6:30) and I have been throwing a massive pity party all day about it. I tend to lash out at those closest to me that are capable of being lashed at - including but not limited to my husband and my dog willow. My poor family.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE being Felix's mom. And if that means I need to deal with sleepless nights, I can handle it because he really is such a joy to be around from the hours of 7 AM - 8 PM. Super happy. Easily entertained for the most part. Smart. Smiley and Sweet Sweet Sweet. I know I am SUPER Blessed. I have a list of things I'm thankful for that I keep on an app on my phone and I'm pretty sure Felix is on there in some fashion or another every day. But this no sleeping thing is making me depressed.

I cried last night before bed. Thinking about the fact that I was going to have to wake up in an hour or less and every minute that ticked by when I wasn't snoozing caused further anxiety. I cried this afternoon when it took 40 minutes to get the rambunctious little dude down for a 30 minute nap. I cried into my pillow when Josh came home for lunch - hoping for some miracle of miracles and a break from the madness. Which worked - he took the kid for a walk and I just spaced out. Looked at pinterest in peace. Played a bit of words with friends. Peed by myself...you know...the things people without young kids do.

And honestly. That 20 minute break of no responsibilities was amazing. Got me through the afternoon. I was a bit of a super mom after lunch. We played out side in the grass and took some pictures. We banged a few metal bowls with spoons and made a ruckus. Played a few rounds of peekaboo and did some side nursing snuggles with lots of smiles back and forth with my sweet baldy boy.

And tonight Josh took me to Whole Foods (happy place) and the Bottle Shop (happy place) and then he headed out to a guys night and I spent an hour chit chatting with my sister at her house, eating chocolate and drinking wine while Felix played on the floor. Now I'm home. It's 9:00 and Felix is down for his first stretch of sleep. (please God let it be more than 2 hours) and I'm in my PJs with the remaining bottle of wine beside me and plans to catch up on some blog reading. A fairly mundane night, but the bit of free time this afternoon and right now has refreshed my bones.

Cheers and fingers crossed for a decent night's rest.

The Fresh 20

Food is important around here. In the past Josh and I would end up eating out for dinner probably 3 times a week and even though we are wanna-be foodies, we don't have the budget to hit-up every fusion, french or fancy restaurant in town. So we often times would resort to pizza, chipotle, chick-fil-a, or subs from somewhere quick.

We decided recently that this was NOT a good plan for our waist line or our budget and we wanted Felix to grow up in a home that had meals around the table together, so we committed to eating at home more often.

Now, this was a good idea in theory, but I lacked imagination in the meal planning department and had no knowledge about how to do this in a cost effective way. Often times I would plan a meal the day it was to be eaten and then go out and buy all the ingredients for said meal. Ending up in about 30 bucks spent at the grocery store. We would have left overs, but in my head if I was spending that much on one meal for 2 at home and still dealing with clean up afterwards, we may as well be eating out.

Enter a few weeks of feeble attempts and frustration that led to a random discussion on Sunday afternoon about meal plans, a quick Facebook post asking for some advice and my friend Amanda suggesting The Fresh 20. It was down hill from there.

Being food lovers, busy and on a budget the Fresh 20 was perfect. It compiles a weekly menu (5 nights a week - not the overwhelming 7 like other meal planners) then gives you an itemized grocery list of 20  ingredients to purchase for ALL your meals that week. That's it. 20 items. Some ingredients are in multiple dishes, others are used up on one night. And because the list includes in-season items that you use multiple times throughout the week (so you can buy in bulk) it helps save money  So far our weekly dinner costs on the Fresh 20 has been about 70 dollars or less and many times the meals have leftovers to carry our lunches as well.

Meals like garlic chicken with massaged kale and avacado salad, Grilled sausage pizza with homemade pesto sauce and cantaloupe, or grilled chicken tacos with pineapple salsa are a few of our favorites. I'm loving it. I'm trying new dishes that I would never come up with on my own. And they are WAY healthier than my regular go-to dishes but these are still packed with flavor. I'm hoping to document some of our meals and share them here on the blog. Stay tuned!

How do you meal plan for the week? What are some of your go-to dishes?


Because I Need to Write About Something Less Heavy - Breakfast Quinoa

It's been heavy around here. That's the season of life I'm in, but there are also a lot of really great things happening. Like Felix is napping better. (two 1.5 hour naps today!) Like my husband works his butt off at his 9-6 job and comes home and continues to work his butt of on side projects. Hoping for one day more time with his family. (I'm so grateful for him) Like fresh baked cookies, skpye prayer meetings, homemade pizza, spontaneous late nights with good friends and wine, afternoon housewarming parties, baked oatmeal, and coffee with other mamas.

Like a fun trip to Barnes and Noble last week when Felix played with toys on the ground and I read Bread and Wine with a stack of other hopeful books beside me.  And one of my favorite moments recently was last Saturday morning when I decided I was going to make the breakfast quinoa from the above mentioned book. So on Friday afternoon I sought out the ingredients at Whole Foods.

Whole foods is one of my happy places. I needed out of the house so in between naps Felix and I ventured out. I strapped him into the shopping cart with a blanket tucked around him. Taking note how tiny he looked holding himself up in the front of the cart. His baby hands gripping the metal in front of him and his ear to ear grin of excitement to be sitting in the cart. Free to twist and turn all about to see whatever his little heart desires. I loaded up on 2 lbs of Whole Grain quinoa, chicken apple sausage, and bought a new pack of brown eggs.

The next morning was Saturday. While I was sautéing the onion in a bit of olive oil Josh realized we were out of coffee and headed out to Whole Foods for a pound of breakfast blend. I chopped sausage. boiled and simmered the quinoa and then fried 3 eggs. Two for Josh, 1 for me. A pinch of salt. A dash of red pepper flakes for Josh and our eggs and toast routine was turned gourmet and healthy. I plan to buy Bread and Wine sometime soon so I don't have to compulsively come up with excuses to go to Barnes and Noble just to read it. What I've read so far is amazing.

This was such a special morning. Felix was happy. Watching me cook, playing with toys on a blanket laid on the floor. Josh grinding beans and pouring us both a steaming cup. Me grating sharp cheddar, and chopping ingredients around the kitchen. It had been weeks since we were able to spend a laid back Saturday morning like this together and it brought about a sense of togetherness and restored a bit of peace to our home. Quinoa lightened our heavy load.


WLWL - Sleep & Strength

Worship Leading While Lactating - A series about my experiences as a mom and worship leader. 

This past week was one of those weeks. Felix was sleeping worse than ever. Up every hour or more. Not napping. and very needy when he was awake. Demanding attention and movement and constant activity. Saturday afternoon rolled around and I nursed Felix down for a nap as I left the house around 3:45 PM for rehearsal.

I knew leading this weekend would be hard. Little else other than my sisters, parents and my own exhaustion had been on my mind that week. How can I help my family? How can I get Felix to sleep. What is going on in all this chaos of life. How is God moving. I was struggling with being angry at God. I was feeling like my prayers were going unheard. My heart was broken in the midst of this crisis and my emotions were all over the map. I didn't know how much I would have to offer the church body as a leader.

Rehearsal Saturday night flew by and we were done 30 minutes early. We normally don't rehearse ministry time songs, but I decided to play through them since I had the time. Something happened. As usual with God when He comes it's powerful and usually catches me off guard a little.  I was simply running through the song "Promises of Wonder" and in the midst of distractedly playing the line "In the darkest night, when death closes in, all your promises are yes and amen." squeezed at my heart out at me.

How can this be true? My mind raced. I've seen the darkest night and I don't believe you. I don't trust you right now, God! I continued to sing "To the fatherless, your love rushes in. All your promises are yes and  amen." Struggling through the bridge knowing in my head the words are truth, but my heart hadn't made the connection yet.

I repeated the words over and over, trying to will the truth to sink in. and then it happened. I felt the Lord draw near. I felt Him standing right by me. I didn't need to have the answers. I didn't need to straighten out my emotions and be a "happy little worship leader." I just needed him near. And believe it or not, with his presence so close. So comforting, I began to see how even in this dark season of the soul among my questions and confusion  God is there, working. He indeed does have good promises and good plans for my life and HE IS GOOD. And a peace and energy washed over me as I sang. Whether I fully understood it or not, I allowed myself to cling to his loving kindness in the midst of pain and out of the bowels of my soul a light began to shine again. Hope and restoration of my faith.

Tears ran down my face as I sang the bridge again to an empty sanctuary and finished the song with the lines "Always, and only, the mark of Your love will be my glory."

A supernatural energy came into my body and the set that evening and the next morning (after another night of little sleep) was sweet. A time of intimacy with God and in his presence. We lingered and loved on God and felt him close. For once in weeks I didn't feel angry. I didn't feel tired. I didn't feel confusion and doubt.  He strengthened my heart and built up my faith and allowed me to lead out of my own complete weakness.


Felix - 6 Months

The 5th month flew by with me never taking his photo. Whoops!

You are officially 6 months and getting so big! You were 28 inches and 18.5 lbs at your doctor's appointment on Monday and hitting all your developmental milestones on time or early! Sitting without support - Check (since 5 months!) Rocking on hands and knees getting ready to crawl - check! Eating some puréed goodies every now and then (sweet potatoes, bananas, avocado)  - check!

You had your first two airplane trips this past month and did swimmingly. Hardly a peep for the first 3 times and a bit fussy, but nothing uncontrollable on our most recent return trip. You are starting to have so much more energy when you are awake. Two Sunday's ago we couldn't keep you still during church. You were such a busy little bee trying to grab everything and see things behind you. We eventually just sat you on the floor and put a bunch of quite toys in front of you to play with. You loved it!

We went in the pool a few times this past month. The first time you got in the water, it was a bit chilly and you took a deep breath in from shock, but once you got used to the temperature you just kept looking at me all bright eyed saying "da da da da" (your new favorite word) over and over.

You practically fold yourself in half every time you lay on your back to stick your toes in your mouth, but staying on your back never lasts very long. You roll both ways now and are constantly pushing up into downward dog position and more recently into all fours rocking back and forth. Today you even got one knee moved forward and then face planted. (whoops!) I think if you could skip crawling you would. When I hold your hands you sway back and forth moving your feet forward walking! It's quite impressive for 6 months.

All this new movement is making for some interesting sleep time. I lay you down to sleep and when I come back in you have completely changed positions. Head at opposite end of the crib. (You're sleeping in your crib now, too!) leg tossed up on a railing. bootie up in the air. I think it will be more amusing when you can figure out how to keep yourself asleep in such odd positions. Most of the time you end up waking yourself up, which means I'm still one tired momma.

You've started to fake cough to get my attention and when I look at you, you think it is the funniest thing. You also get super hysterical with laughter when you are slightly over tired. It's quite entertaining, but then I know i'm in for it when it comes time to put you to sleep. Fussing and kicking and wiggling all over your crib is bound to ensue.

You could read books for hours (A son after my own heart.) You are a ham for the camera, bu are hard to catch with the iPhone because of how fast you wiggle around. We have migrated to sitting in the blue bath tub, but honestly, it's too small for you. Big baths are in your near future! You are so much fun to play with and we spend hours together every day examining your toys and trying new things with each one! Tossing the ball. Shaking the rattle. Squeezing the stuffed fox. Or I can set you on the ground with a variety of play things from your toy chest and you will amuse yourself while I cook dinner, fold laundry, etc. etc. What a sweet boy.

I'm amazed at how many people remark how happy you are. Family members and Friends, of course, because they are around you all the time and get to interact with your sweetness day in and day out. But complete strangers come up to us and say "What a happy baby!" To me this is odd. I would never think to say that about a baby I don't know. "Cute" "Beautiful" "Sweet" those are my go-to adjetives for pretty much any baby I run into and you are all of those things, my precious child, but Happy...happy is what people feel when they see you. Happiness is what you exude and you bring joy to those that even just briefly come across your path. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since we specifically chose a name that ment "happy" when we named you.

I'm so thankful I get to be your mama. Your daddy and I constantly pray that your life would be marked with the presensce of the Lord. and that you would know Him from an early age. We love you sweet boy. Happy half birthday.



Worship Leading While Lactating: Being a Mom in Ministry

I'm supposed to be at the church for worship practice in 15 minutes. The night before I was up no less than 5 times calming a fussy baby. I'm exhausted and praying "give me strength Lord" on repeat in my head while I put on my eye liner. I still haven't finished my hair, put on shoes, brushed my teeth or, most importantly, nursed my 4 month old son. One of these items will need to go on the back burner. Frizzy hair it is. 

I know some women choose to take a season out of service in the church to focus their efforts at home after having kids, and that is awesome.  In fact, I was told a few times while I was pregnant that worship leading wouldn't be as important to me after my little bébé arrived. Hearing this made me sad. It ended up being one of my main worries during my pregnancy. Was I going to have to step down from my role as a worship leader? I didn't want it to be less important. I still felt a magnetic pull to pour myself out leading others in worship. I so desperately wanted to be a mom, but at the same time still wanted to walk in this part of my calling. So while I understood the notion of others stepping down for a season after children came along, I always knew that wasn't for me. I wanted to stay involved as much as possible post-baby. 

I serve as one of the main worship leaders at my church here in Franklin, TN. So far being a mom and serving in church ministry has posed some interesting obstacles, resulted in some deep revelations and brought about some hilarious stories. I only have one kid right now, so things could get even more challenging when our family grows further. So, I've decided to share it all here. The funny and the not so funny. The hard and the not so hard. Tips, tricks, and ways it has made me grow as a leader, a mom, and a disciple of Jesus in a new series called "Worship Leading While Lactating"



Last weekend Felix and I came back from a 5 day trip to Baltimore to be with my family. We flew in on Saturday (a rough flight with a screaming, over tired baby) and Josh picked us up at the air port. I was so happy to see him. Being apart felt so odd. I was able to cope in the day to day alone with Felix and some help from willing sisters, but I missed my other half immensely.

Saturday afternoon we ate Chipotle for lunch and then took a long family nap. Snuggled side by side. Felix with his leg tossed over my hip and Josh with his hand resting in my hair. It had been such a heavy week apart from one another and when we woke we thought some fun was necessary to bring back family unity. We made soft pretzels with jalapeno cheddar sauce from scratch. It was such an interesting experience  They weren't prefect, but we learned a few tricks along the way and I'm pretty sure we will try making them again sometime in the future.

Monday I jumped back into the grind. Felix had his 6 month appointment in the morning (!) and I started getting the house back in order after a week of Josh living like a bachelor. Honestly, I was surprised there wasn't more of a mess to take care of, but the laundry was piled high, vacuuming was needed and all the bathrooms were in a terrible state. (They were going down hill before I left, so I can't solely blame him.) 

I got the first floor picked up, bedroom picked up, dishes done, laundry started, and I cooked a healthy meal from the Fresh 20. (Pineapple pork with broccoli and brown rice.) All while Felix napped, played with toys on the floor, practiced rocking back and forth on all fours, played in his exersaucer and repeated the process throughout the day.

In the evening we ate dinner, then went on a very muggy family walk. As I was cleaning earlier that day I noticed how stinky Willow was, so we got the bright idea to try and give her a hair cut and bath last night. Let's just say instead of a hair cut, it looks like we gave our dog the mange. Poor Willie-Ray.

Today has been similar, bathrooms cleaned, laundry folded and put away, baby laid down for naps, fed sweet potato, living room vacuumed and I'm planning a grilled chicken pasta for dinner. 

I know this post is pretty mundane. But it has actually been a refreshing few days. Having a bit of normal. Normal mornings. Normal afternoons. Normal evenings. Normal meals. Normal bedtimes. Just normal. How is your start to the week going?



Today my heart is raw. I've been crying off and on for days now and Felix has decided to completely revolt against sleeping. Up literally every hour or more. Yesterday my body and mind shut down. I couldn't take it anymore. The pain from recent events, exhaustion and other life demands took it's final blow and then shoved me into a 2 hour nap that couldn't have come at a better time.

I'm still processing through all that is happening along with my family, but at this point it feels like my heart - the muscle that drives my emotions - has been pulverized all that it can take and is ready for some healing. I know it will be a slow process and I still have quite a bit of grieving - along with all it's glorious stages - to go through and honestly the place I want to go right now is distraction.

I want to dive into books, blogs, movies, TV Shows, mothering, projects, relationships etc. but the truth of the matter is, that what I really need is some soap, water, and thick ointment slathered all over these open wounds.

I need time to march on to give me space to process. I need the sand paper that's been grating against me to ease up a bit and allow me to get used to the new roughed up shape. I need to sorting through my questions, my anger, my attitude  and my theology.  I need to figure out how to let Jesus in for healing. And try to reconcile what His role was/is in this tragedy.

And in the midst of all of this, 6 month dr. appointments will be made. Obligations will be met. I'll lead worship. coffee will be consumed. walks will be taken. poopy diapers changed. hands held. Babies soothed. dinners cooked. and sisters hugged. But I'm holding onto the truth that God will press in. He is close to the broken hearted, you know.



So much has happened. A lot that I can't and don't feel comfortable sharing. A family crisis bringing all the Ewing sisters and our mom and dad together in one place. At my parents new home in Baltimore. Hugs wrapped around one another finding comfort in warm, familiar and steady arms. Spinach lasagna, garlic bread,  coffee and chocolate chip cookies filling our tummies. Giving us a sense of oneness in an strange and confusing place and situation.

When tragedy strikes coming back to home base sometimes feels like the only thing that will keep your insides from falling right out of you. The only thing that will keep you from curling up into a ball on the floor and screaming is having your sister next to you and your moms hand stroking your hair. Familiar jokes. Familiar faces. Familiar snuggles. Clinging to each other with a strength we didn't even know existed

I wrote earlier this month that home for me is Nashville and Franklin now. And it for sure is. Especially with my parents recent move to Baltimore, the house I grew up in in Ohio is no longer ours.

But this week our family truly proved that home has little to do with a location. It's in dad's stellar breakfast omelets  In loading a dishwasher together - you wash I dry. In backseat driving and teasing. In recipe tug-of-war and in curled up reading on the couch next to each other. In talking loudly at the dinner table, hands laid and prayers lifted. In backs scratched and hymns sung in harmony. We found that home is in fact, with each other.

Your thoughts and prayers for us are appreciated.


Another Goodbye

Conversations over pesto pizza, salad and cold beer at Whole foods with mamas holding fussy, overtired babies on our hips wishing we had more time. The plans were to meet up the next day for a cookout, a sleep over, and some final moments together before Nate and Joanna (my brother-in-law and sister-in-law) would depart for another stretch in the mission field in Africa, but the night was sweet, the air was cool and none of us wanted to part ways.

We talked about health, we talked about travel plans, we talked about babies, and future babies, and holidays, and reminisced about being housemates. As usual, the conversation eventually turned toward the Brewery. The one the boys will start up when they finally return from Afica for good. Thirteen Foot Brewery. (13 feet is the collective height of the boys - 6' 7" and 6' 5"). Dreaming of menus, and marketing plans, and beer names and distribution possibilities.

When we finally peeled away from each other for the evening, Josh and I got in the dark car and looked at each other knowing we were both thinking the same thing. We are really going to miss them.

We are blessed with a great many close friends. People we trust and have lots of great times with. However, then there is the inner circle of friends. People we bare our souls to. People who know our dirt. who will pray for us, check in on us, watch our kid for free and we can be 100% real around. These people have seen me on multiple times unshowered and without makeup. (this is a big deal...) This is a small group. I can almost count them on one hand and most of them are family members. Nate and Jo are in that group.

It's really hard having to spend this season of life so far away from one another and even disconnected from typical means of communication (cell phones are limited and internet access is very spotty where they live in Cameroon.) I'm glad they are walking in their calling. and I support them and what they are doing 100% And I'm SO glad the word of God is being spread. But selfishly (very selfishly) I wish it could be spread through someone else.

That is bad.

I repeat...That is SO bad....

But It's true. I love these people so much, that having to see them come and go so often tears a bit of my heart away every time they leave and I'm not even blood related to them, so I can only imagine how much Josh's heart breaks when they go. I'm so glad we were able to spend a few precious nights lingering and sucking out every last drop of time together to sustain us till they come back. We will miss them like crazy.


Tasting the Wind

The ball park was hot and muggy even for a night game in the 4th inning. Felix was a dream smiling at strangers seated behind us, wearing a cute light blue Orioles baseball cap and soaking in his first baseball game with his intent blue eyes. But the heat started to get to him, or mostly get to me and I decided to take him for a walk.

We went out to the concession area and felt instant relief as the tunnel near the harbor in Baltimore created a breezeway of sorts. After a short walk I decided to just stand off to the side away from the commotion of the game to see if I could sway the little man down for a nap.  We stood by an outlook over a green tree lined patio and let the wind rush around us.

The breeze was so strong my hair whipped around my face and the rustle in the trees created a wave like effect. Felix closed his eyes but kept his face up - taking the wind intentionally on his face. One little hand gripping my shirt and the other reaching upwards toward the strands of hair blowing about.

With little success at catching a tendril of my locks he surrendered and just let the wind blow through his clammy fingers. Hand stretched upward toward the sky. I watched as his eyes searched for the source of the sensation, glancing back and forth between me and his hand with a quizzical look. Air rushing around us.

Very methodically he reached his hand out then drew it to his mouth. Over and over. trying to taste the wind. Trying to find out if it was real or not. Was he in a dream? Did this feeling in fact exist? With a shy smile and sleepy eyes Felix surrendered to the mystery of the wind. Burying his head in my chest and yawning.

It's hard to not draw parallels between this simple act of a child and wind and an encounter with Holy Spirit. The spirit is so real. You can see his effects on the world around you. Sometimes you can hear him. Sometimes you can smell him. Sometimes you can even taste him and you can most definitely feel him. But no matter how hard you try to comprehend, the Spirit will remain a mystery.

God, instill in me a childlike encounter with the Holy Spirit. Reaching for you expecting to Taste, Touch, Smell, See, & Feel.



For the longest time when people asked me where I am from I would always say "I live in Nashville, but I'm from Ohio." Within the last year, that answer has morphed to be "I'm from Nashville." I don't know what shifted. I don't know if it was the 5 years of CMA music fests endured (3 years as an employee at the Country Music Hall of Fame), if it was the cicada swarm, the flood, or the sweltering heat that pushed me through my right of passage to be "from nashville" or if it was the gradual knowing of an area. Feeling comfortable driving around without directions and having insight on the best coffee place, our favorite lunch spot or the closest, most reliable salon.

Maybe it had more to do with turning this little condo into a home that is lived in with touches of our own story in each room. Oh my mom, made that. My brother in law banged our ceiling here with a weight. Our friend spilled coffee there ages ago and we could never get the stain out. We bought that at Ikea on our 2nd anniversary. Remember that night when worshiped for hours in the living room? This table has been full of women for wine night and full of men for late night beers and chess. This is where I stood when I spoke the words "I'm pregnant" and this is where I knelt for the first 2 hours of labor in the quite coolness of a January night with worship music washing over me. Over here is where we set up our son's bathtub. It's his favorite part of the day.  And in this corner is where he slept for the first 5 months in this world. and so on...and so on.

Yesterday we returned from a 9 day visit with my parents at their new house in Baltimore, MD. It was a great time hanging and spending more than the rushed weekend together. We relaxed and enjoyed cozy evenings watching the Food Network, sharing meals, and laughing. We visited Ikea, the National Zoo, the Baltimore Aquarium, and even saw an Oriole's game.  Their new house is beautiful. Throughout the week as I could I would help my mom unpack boxes and settle well loved and recognizable things on to brand new shelves with freshly painted walls and pristine carpets. Felix had ample space to wiggle around on the floor I took advantage of an awesome soaking tub as my mom soaked up time with Mr. Felix. We had a great time, saw some wonderful things, ate some delicious food, and I miss my parents already.

But, there was something about recognizing percy priest lake from the airplane and seeing the Nashville skyline in the distance that put my heart at ease. This is my place. Nashville. Home. Where my husband and I first lived. Where we had our son. Where we run into people we know when we are out to breakfast. Where Felix will have his first memories and where I see many many years of love and growth to come in this town, in our home and in my heart.