The Loving Medium

"The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance." -Psalm 16: 5-6

This verse is inscribed on the sidebar of this very blog. It is also highlighted in my bible and on my Instagram bio. Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. It's an important reminder.

Earlier in the summer as I was reading another Narnia book with Caleb (The Horse and His Boy), we got to a part which described the stare of King Lune. Caleb interrupted the story to pose an instant competition. "I can do that, easy". Then he gave me a steady, seemingly unrelenting stare. His six year old face showed no expression. Just a silent challenge, with his almond brown eyes and the tiny bit of baby fat that hangs on his cheeks. He cracked a little, laughing. He lost the challenge, and then somehow declared that actually, I lost.  

I look around our house a lot. Our life is little. We school. We work. We laundry. We eat. We meltdown. We rest up. We are now twenty nine and six, on the cusp of milestone years. And indeed, whether we always recognize it or not, we have a beautiful inheritance. I prayed for this, years ago. I prayed for exactly what we have right now. Autonomy. A home. A job. These basic things that can be hard to attain are the things I submitted to before God and listed to him as needs. I didn't need it right then. I asked for it for another time, a time to come. And as he does, in HIS TIME, he provided.

We lean on him for everything. It's hard to feel a sense of control all the time, when our hard earned security is shaken. It is Christ, who holds our lot, and he has a plan beyond the ordinaries of the every day.

In the midst of this, I never really know what Caleb thinks of me. I just do the mom thing-I show up, and if I have food, my status of likability instantly skyrockets. All of a sudden, I am wonderful and the best. But when I do all the boring stuff, like make sure he takes showers, it's a drag and I am far less cool. Luckily, it's not my job to be cool. It's my job to be Mom. And as hard as this can be at times, it is always an honor. 

Last week we were reading one of my absolute new favorite children books called Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena. Intertwined in those gorgeous, colorful pages are life realities of a child and his Nana, taking the bus while learning about the not so basic vibrancy of the people and the city in which they live. This wise grandma teaches her grandson service, humility, strength in being happy without, and seeing beauty in the seemingly ordinary. I love it. Caleb likes the book too-though not to the degree as I.  Last week when I had picked it out to read again, Caleb huffed while stating, "OF COURSE YOU'RE GOING TO PICK THAT BOOK! You're all about service. I WISH YOU WERE ALL ABOUT FOOD!!" Surprised, I answered incredulously, "Service? I wish that were true. I think you have it backwards...I'm all about the FOOD and need to be MORE about the service!!" Still, if my son thinks this-I'll take it!!

It's easy to carry around the guilt of motherhood. Am I doing enough? Do I need to make the bible more exciting? Do I need to create (potentially cheesy) Pinterest activities that help teach kindness? Am I present enough? These are some of the questions I ask myself. We've got to give ourselves a break. Maybe the internal script should look more like, "I am enough." Why is this so hard?

The other day we were reading (yes another book related anecdote) about the diversity of families. The last pages talk about how families can be big, small, happy, sad, rich, poor, loud, quiet, and so on. And it ends asking, "What's yours like today?" Again, Caleb huffed and sighed. If you wonder what a verbal eye roll sounds like, just talk to a six year old who boasts that he's actually a teenager. Yes, he has made sure to inform me of this. In any case, Caleb sighed and said, "You're going to say Loving. Our family is loving. BUT, I say we are medium". I have yet to really ascertain what he means by "medium" and will broach this topic again. However, if he thinks my answer is that family is loving, I am well okay with that. More than okay-I am grateful. Somewhere along the lines of work and single motherhood struggles and all of the rest that goes along with life, he sees that his mom apparently values service and loving. I gotta say, we can do a heck of a lot better in both. But maybe right now, I need to tell myself, we are good; we are enough, and in this "medium", we find God. Praise be to God.

Fall Activity List 2016

Hello All!

I am back with our usual Fall activity list of potential goals and ideas for the season. Here are the lists from Fall 2014 and Fall 2013 (and please make note of how adorable my child is. The growing is out of control!!). It's the same stuff every year with general differences. Some we have already done, some we will do, some we already do in general. 

  1. Fall crafts
    1. leaf rubbings
    2. Make apple prints
    3. Yarn Pumpkins 
  2. Seek volunteering opportunities
  3. Make popcorn and watch a fall movie
  4. Bake a fresh apple pie or apple cupcakes
  5. Go on a hayride together (prob not gonna happen)
  6. Drink apple cider (hot or not)
  7. Hang fall décor  
  8. Pumpkin picking
  9. Pumpkin carving
  10. Jump in leaves
  11. Roast marshmallows
  12. Have C try candy corn
  13. Bake pumpkin bread or pumpkin pie
  14. Play a board game
  15. Do a puzzle
  16. Make turkey chili and corn bread
  17. Indoor fort
  18. Go to a fall festival
  19. Host a story time at your house and pull out all of your favorite fall books 
  20. Enjoy a fall picnic
  21. Make homemade applesauce
  22. Visit Disney Halloween 
  23. Shop for Halloween costumes
  24. Go trick or treating!

Looking forward to seeing what we come up with! This year Caleb bought his own Halloween decorations. He only had three dollars to spend on this, so we went to the dollar store and he picked out some good ones! He loves the festivities of it all, and feels a great need for decorations. In lieu of spending money on this, we also made one decoration so far, with other ideas to follow. 

Caleb loves that bat and picked it out for Halloween last year. He put it on the door this year. I don't love it...but it is his house too!! ;) This is our new homemade decoration contribution for this season so far... 

Chris: Our Goodbye (for now), Heaven's Bright Hello

Sometimes in life we find, not only the beauty of friends who become family, but we find the beauty of those who helped make these friends they people they are. 

And we find that their hearts extend to us with love and with such kindness, that it will forever impact our lives and never be forgotten. I have had this happen a lot. One such of these families, are the Duncan's. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that one of my dearest friends is Jessie. The Lord put her into my life in the beginning of our college years, and despite our preconceived ideas of each other that may or may not have been true, we became instant friends.

In turn, I have the honor of knowing her family.

When Caleb came into this world, I was a newly college graduated single girl, with no real job or place to go. I had the blessing of working at a retail store with some awesome people during my pregnancy after finishing my degree, but had to move back Orange County.

My sister and brother in law were newly married, and out of the graciousness of their hearts, let us stay in their spare room for two months.

We needed a place to go after that point, and without question, Jessie’s parents, Chris and Beverly, took us in. Caleb was a screaming two month old baby then. They moved their home and lives around for us. They organized, cleaned, and arranged. We had a curtained off enclosure in one of their family rooms. It is there we stayed for about 4-5 months.

Jessie was gone in South Africa during the front end part of that time, so for a while, it was just her parents, Caleb and I with Nik, her younger sister. We regularly ate amazing home cooked family dinners together, we went to art shows together, and would huddle up on the couch and watch movies together. It was there, Caleb had his first Halloween and first Christmas. While my life conditions were in flux, and the Lord had so much to figure out for me (which he surely did in time), I felt at home even the first night there.

All too recently, Chris was diagnosed with an advanced form of prostate cancer which rapidly spread throughout his body. This is the man who checked my tires and randomly picked up spare car parts on the side of the road if he thought we could use it. This is the man who is always faithful, always prayerful for those that he loves. This is the one who in his last days, got out of his recliner to see Caleb dance outside with new friends made. It was the second time he stood that day, and one of the last times he ever stood again.

Today, Chris passed away to be at peace in a glorious new life with the Lord. I am grateful and excited for him, and yet saddened with his family here on Earth.

Every time I saw him leading up to his passing, I saw the progression of his disease, but more than that, I saw his spirit and personality. Even the week leading up to his passing, he was concerned for Caleb’s safety as he dug outside, not wanting him to dig out something sharp. Caleb on the other hand, was and may still be, convinced that what inflicted Chris was “leprosy”. He didn’t understand that it was because Chris’ body could no longer heal itself, so bruises stayed.

The last time I saw Chris was Tuesday. Praise be to God for that opportunity. We prayed. We read Psalms. And I told him of how grateful we are, and how we love him. He could barely speak, yet still told me that he loves us too. He asked where Caleb was. And he took my hand, kissed it, and held it.

This is the man who today, has gone to be with Jesus. And what we get to do know, is forever be grateful for his life, for his gorgeous family whom I am so blessed to know, and pray for their comfort during this terrible time of loss.

And a note on his loving wife, Bev. The last time I saw her with him, she was again, tirelessly caring for him. In that, her tenderness and love was distinctly clear. I have seen no better example of love, of generosity, and of Christ, than from these people in these times, past and present.

Baby Caleb and "Mr. C". 

Baby Caleb and "Mr. C". 


To Chris, to Bev, to Nik, to Jess-All my love.


Mother's Day: The school edition

This morning I attended my son's Mother's Day event at his school. He prepped me for this morning in advance, saying to me, "Mom, I hate to say it, but there will be a foot massage. And then we will have breakfast on the blankets and we will give you the rocks we made for you and the bookmarks." 

He pretended he didn't care if I went. "It's your choice, mom." Then said he would be sad if I didn't go. 

As we walked to his school this morning, he had our picnic blanket and was rather tickled for life. An old man saw him eagerly walking to school with me and they had a little chat. Caleb said to him, "Guess what? I know what 1100 plus 600 is. 1700." 

When we got to his class, his teacher Mrs. Manos read us all a book about what Mom's don't do well. One of the points this little story made, was we don't eat breakfast well. Apparently we eat things like bran flakes, tea, or yogurt, which is almost literally what I eat every morning. 

After the book, the kids came to sit with their mom's who were sitting in their seats at their tables. They read us the stories they wrote about us. "My mom has black hair. My mom has brown eyes. My mom has a kind heart. I love my mom because she reads stories to me". He even drew me:

She has big lips, an even bigger mouth, big eyes, long full hair, and furrowed in eyebrows similar to that of an Angry Bird. All of this sounds about right.

After he read his story to me that was about me, he came up behind my seat. "What are you doing?", I asked. "Back massage", he stated. His little hands went to work for about two seconds on my shoulders, and then on to the next item of business: The gift. It was a rock glazed with a heart he had made, along with his decorated bookmark. All of which, he forewarned me about. After this, he went to visit with his friends for a bit, and then he showed me around his classroom. He pulled out a book and we sat on the carpet to read. Naturally, a few friends came to sit with us. Then one of the girls snuck off to get a second book lined up for me to read. During the second book, Caleb rose to tell his friends and their moms that his mom was reading to some friends and he, and they should join. He had such a sense of pride about him. 

The event came to and end, and the next thing I saw was a rip roaring Caleb running through his playground waving to me. Life can be such a burst of joy, that he can so live in each moment. 

Mother's Day, Sunday, was a tougher day to boot with Caleb. He was wiry and wild. We visited our dear friend Amanda's church, to support Audrey on her day of dedication. Then we rushed off to a delicious, fancy lunch my sister set up for my mom and I at Il Forniao. It was lovely, my child was not. He at one point, fell over in his seat, splat right on his back, and laughed. He was in a mood for the first half of the day where he either wanted to cry, or ram his body into walls because it was fun. He laughed heartily while hurling his body like a spaghetti all around. 

My sweet friend and colleague in NY has a son who is much older than mine. He is taller than her now. I was briefly recounting the morning to her, and she said to me, "I am sure he is challenging and it gets tiring, but he is yours, and will be the one to lift you up one day". I replied to her with a smile saying, "He lifts me up even now".  

I don't know if I win at this mom thing. But I will tell you what-I win at the recognition of this beautiful life we live. It doesn't always feel this way. Sometimes it feels sad. Sometimes in spite of the profound and undeniable ways in which we have been provided for by the Living God, I still have the audacity to feel loss. Sadness. Grief. It doesn't change the fact that God's got this, and that he is bigger. It just means that human beings are complex, and God heals and loves regardless. It also means that it is okay to feel these things. And it is okay to be the mom who waits, and who loves. It's okay to be the mom with the wild boy who shines. No, it is good, truly.

And a note on being lifted up- I am lifted up all the time. I think we all are. By God, by people close and not so close, by nature, by all kinds of things. And this Mother's Day, beyond the rambunctious antics of my son and his sweet life, I was most lifted up by my family, who while we gathered to celebrate my strong lady of a mom, sought to celebrate me too. It was incredibly sweet and kind. It was very much so, generous. 

The Six Year Old Birthday Interview

Each year I ask Caleb the same set of questions on or around his birthday. Here is the three year old interview, the four year old interview, and the five year old interview

This is his six year old (golden birthday) interview. 

1. What is your favorite color?  Aqua Light Blue

2. What is your favorite toy? Legos.

  •       Any favorite in particular? Lego Star Flyer Obi-Wan’s Jedi Interceptor

3. What is your favorite fruit?  "WHAT! What the what? Oh wow. It is APPLE."

4. What is your favorite TV show?  Octonauts

5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Subway

6. What is your favorite outfit? Rocket Raccoon costume.

7. What is your favorite game?  Video game-Starcraft and the classic game, "Sorry". 

8. What is your favorite snack? Pears. Watermelon. 

9. What is your favorite animal?  Bat. Raccoon. 

10. What is your favorite song?  Uptown Funk

11. What is your favorite book?  The Chronicles of Narnia “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe” by CS Lewis

12. Who is your best friend? Levi

13. What is your favorite cereal? Honeycomb

14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Whatever I want. I like to play tag.

15. What is your favorite drink? Gatorade. Fruit juice. 

16. What is your favorite holiday?  Halloween. And Christmas. And also Easter and Shamrock Day.

  • What is your favorite if you could choose one? Christmas.

17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Stuffed animal. The bat one.

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Waffles.

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cake.

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Just a normal man. That has a job.

  • His follow up thought on the matter- 

"Here's what I just want to be. I just want to be me...But then I can't make money."

On his (golden) 6th birthday. Cheers, 6 year old. And guess what? You can still be you AND make money one day.  ;) 

On his (golden) 6th birthday. Cheers, 6 year old. And guess what? You can still be you AND make money one day.  ;) 

Happy Six, my wild child

He is curious and oh, so descriptive. He is sharp and quick witted. He just wants to share his world with you and tell you in detail, what he’s created, what he’s thinking, and what story he is crafting. He has the same face as when he was born, except today, he is six years old. His golden birthday.

This has been six years of growth and change. For him, it has just been childhood, and hopefully, a good one, at that. For me, it has been the gradual process of setting up our lives.

I started off with two major goals that take a whole lot of time to accomplish. With the help of family, friends, and a grace filled and everlasting God, these goals were met. My goals in the early years of his life were to set up our home, our traditions, and our independence. I didn’t come into the whole motherhood thing with traditions, so I researched relentlessly what and how I wanted to teach my child. I learned a few crafts, came up with our lessons and our lists of ideas, and put them into practice. I worked a 9-5 job with for a beloved family owned company close to our home, while doing the mom thing. I got a new job, and eventually, a new apartment in a new city after living in the idyllic Irvine.

In everything that we do, God is there. He opened the doors in his timing for us to come to Fullerton after living in Irvine for the first five years of his life. It was a tough transition, surprisingly more for me than him. I had grown used to our Irvine home. I loved how close we were to family and how great of a neighborhood it was. It was a blessing to be there, but it was time for us to move on. 

Last summer I was in New York for work and knew our time was running out for finding a place to live that was affordable and in a good school area. I flew home, took the next day off, and within that day, found a place to live. The doors opened for us to move to a place within the boundaries of a great school that had the same rating as the Irvine school he would have attended. He was also enrolled in the exact childcare program that worked best despite the program initially being full. This is all due to God’s guidance and provision.

I can finally say we are more settled in our new city and I feel less amiss about the move. Last year when my child turned five, he embarked on the first big move of his life (and handled it better than I) along with starting Kindergarten in a new place, with new friends. It was a year of big transition and changes, but all for our growth as a little family and for him as a little man. I can never stop giving thanks for this. We owe it all to our Great Provider.  So when I think about his life, I think about his spark. I think about his resilience. I think about how much life has evolved year, after year. And how here we are now, living the simple life of a mom and son, but one that is truly blessed in the mundane and routine. It is here, that we get to thrive. Happy (golden) Six, my son. I’d pick no better wild child to have as my own.  

In Jesus and Politics

I have been thinking about this a lot in light what happened in San Bernardino. I know this is a sticky topic for people. I respect the opinion and feelings of others, and recognize we all fall somewhere differently on this heated and heavily debated spectrum. This is just my feeling and observation on all this right now.

 The LAUSD closed their doors today due to bomb threats made on schools for the safety and security of the children as a precautionary measure. While this ended up being a hoax, it provides a glimpse of the climate our culture is in, especially in the aftermath of the recent attack in San Bernardino.

We as a nation collectively observed an outcry that arose about the lack of action from politicians on while saying, "God isn't fixing this". A change in the tide of the response of people came out with the sentiment of, “We are sick of it. Sick of no change. Sick of words with no actions.” The Daily News wrote, "Prayers aren't working." Others wrote that this is due to the U.S. taking God out of schools, a sentiment I find only causing more of a divide. This isn't about that. First off, the world has always been a place housing atrocity and evil. I heard that in the history of humanity, collectively there is only 35 total years of no war. We are always at war. The bad has run rampant since the beginning of time. It's not going to get better. In our current societal climate, we do need change, and we need to use wisdom in the midst of crisis while taking action and implementing reform. However, we also need Jesus.

We are in the midst of celebrating the Christmas season which beckons to the coming of the Messiah over 2,000 years ago during a time of great governmental unrest and oppression. People expected the Messiah to fix their broken world and their government. They didn’t expect the Messiah that they got-The Savior who came. They didn’t expect this Savior would be their Immanuel, God with us, and not come for the change in politics, but rather, he’d come for the souls of people. He was (and is), the revolutionary Jesus. He did things backwards, and mixed up the order in which they knew. He reversed injustice starting by the inequalities and petty judgments in which people are so prone to pass on others and in which society adheres to. Did this stop the Romans from nailing him to the cross? Did it stop Christian persecution in Athens in sacrificing them to animals for the entertainment of others, or any of the abundant other horrible things that happen? No. Sin and evil happen everywhere, all the time. But God is good and sovereign regardless. We are living in a time of evil that threatens our homes and our children. This is no time to turn away from prayer or from the God who knows no beginning or end. This is the time to position yourselves towards Christ and pray for our people, pray for our country, fervently.

It is tiring that politicians offer posh answers about prayer and thoughts. We do need change and action. But above all else in the midst of that, we need Jesus now and always. In the Old Testament when people grieved, they tore their cloths and spread ashes on their faces. They fasted for days and weeks in prayer. They waited in expectation for God to move. It seems more than offering “prayers and thoughts” for families lost. I am not saying people need to do what folks in the OT did, but what I am saying is that perhaps we ought to position ourselves before Christ in a serious, heavy hearted manner, seeking prayer for our country and the people of the world. I can tell you that I have not done any such version of this. I pray, yes. But do I really disturb my life in any way to take this up before the cross? No.

No matter what, bad things happen, and God is mighty. This isn't a time to step away from the Creator. It's a time to draw near in expectation, while also making efforts to be educated on what happens in the world. Do we need reform and should we expect this from a political leader? Yes, absolutely. Do we need Jesus? Even more so, yes.

See, the words of common Christmas carols ring true to this day. May we remember the Savior who came. May we remember him now, more than ever. 

O holy night
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

...Truly He taught us to love one another, 
His law is love and His gospel is peace. 
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. 
And in his name all oppression shall cease. 

Looking Toward Advent '15 & Our Intro to the Advent Wreath

"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."

-Matthew 1:23

The meaning of Christmas, is Jesus. Advent means arrival and coming. We are celebrating the arrival of Jesus. The Arrival of Emmanuel, God with us. This is a time to really begin to grasp the enormity and beauty of Christ’s coming through his birth. I have written about Advent here before, so to quote an older Advent study that I had done with SRT:

“Advent is not about waiting for a baby to be born. Advent is not about waiting for a religion to be established. Advent is not about gifts or liturgy or days on the Church calendar.

It is a weary, hurting world tracing the promises of God through time.

It is the groaning of mankind under the weight of sin so heavy it cannot lift its head. From the first debt of sin to a voice crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of The Lord!”, Advent traces kings and kingdoms and goats and alters in search of an everlasting hope – Emmanuel, God with us.

This is Advent: the coming of hope to the hopeless, the arrival of peace to war-torn exiles, the long-awaited exhale of freedom for generation after generation gasping for air.

Advent is the elaborate yet stunningly simple plan of God to descend to His children, to become like them in the most unexpected, unglamorous, fully human way.

This is the beginning of a great ransom story.”


Each year I do this through a number of ways. It sounds like more than it is. We have our tree of advent that is in conjunction with the studies we do-Just a quick read that goes over a little lesson, often illustrating a name of God. We have our little ornaments that these names written on them for Caleb to put on our tree of Advent. Another thing you can do that I love and might just do as well as an activity is a paper chain with all the names of Christ, which also works as a count down.

We have our Advent wall with our calendar counting down in the form of envelopes. These hold daily scriptures and activities, so as we read our lesson for that day, we review the card as well.

Lastly, we always read The Jesus Storybook Bible for advent. It’s an incredible book and I highly recommend it.

This year, we are adding the Advent Wreath. I have always been intrigued, and a wonderful friend gave me hers a while ago. 

So, because this is our first time utilizing the wreath, I of course had to do some research and put down a little lesson plan of sorts to help guide me as I do it with Caleb. It’s easy, I just have no background in this and I like having quick references with versus and meaning for each candle. The below was taken from Happy Home Fairy and Feels Like Home.

Special thanks to Jill, for her Advent Wreath given to us! 

Advent wreaths have four candles, each symbolizing an important aspect of Christ’s birth.  There is also a fifth candle that goes right in the middle of the wreath that celebrates His birth.

First Candle (HOPE)– The Prophesy Candle (Candle of Hope – the hope and expectation of the coming Jesus!).  Read Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7; and Luke 1:30-35.

Second Candle (LOVE)– The Bethlehem Candle– The place where Love was born!).  Read Micah 5:2; and Luke 2:1-7.

Candle Three (JOY)-This is the one that’s usually pink, but it’s okay for it to be purple, too. All mine are white.) The Shepherd’s Candle -Candle of Joy – the Shepherds were filled with joy about the Good News!).  Read Ezekiel 34:23Luke 2:15-20John 10:11.

Candle Four (PEACE)– The Angel’s Candle-Candle of Peace – the angels brought a message of peace!).  Read Isaiah 52:7Luke 2:8-144:18-19.

Candle Five on Christmas Eve-Christ’s Candle – The Savior (this is the white pillar in the center of the wreath). Read Isaiah 9:2Luke 2:30-32.

Candles are lit each Sunday of Advent, beginning with the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and then each consecutive Sunday leading up to Christmas Eve when the fifth and final candle is lit. You light the first on the first day, and then both the first and second candles on the second week, and so on and so forth. I will be lighting our first candle when we begin Advent and then proceed with doing it each Sunday until Christmas Eve.

I know everyone does this season differently, and I would love to hear what you might do to be intentional about Advent, or even just aspects of the Christmas season!

Enjoy the start of a new Advent season as we look towards the coming of Christ’s birth.

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

-Isaiah 9:6