Travel: Southern Pacific Crest Trail

agoldenafternoon-121 copyThe Southern Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is always an exciting place to visit.  You will feel like you have one foot in the desert and one in the mountains.  On this particular visit last year, the trees had seen better days.  Fire had touched their weary branches, but you could still feel their longing to blow in the wind.  Parts of the land felt like you were stepping foot on a new planet.  Ash had mixed with the dirt to form a new kind of topography.  Yet, life-filled flower buds grew from this very burnt soil.  Remarkable how God brings life from death.  He’s good at that.

If you are wanting to hike the PCT with your kiddos, the best spot is directly across from the Laguna Campground.  There is parking on a few spots along the road.  We had little kids and older kids on this hike and they all did just fine with a snack and rest at the top (one baby was in a carrier).  The views are a tremendous reward for everyone!

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Simple Moments v. III

The heaviness of life can sometimes feel like you are being crushed.  We were reading about the water strider in science this week.  The author of the book was pointing out the delicate balance this insect has with the water he lands on.  His delicate body possesses just the right amount of weight to stay afloat on the water, without sinking below. The tension is RIGHT and NECESSARY between him and the water.  Without tension from below, he would sink and would be unable to find his daily food.  With extra tension from above, he would sink.  Isn’t that so with life?  We can feel the pressure being put on us  from above by guilt, sadness, loneliness, sickness, and fear.  Yet, please don’t forget that Jesus is holding us up so that we don’t sink below it all.  He is our delicate balance.  Oh, how I need to remember that truth when tensions are pressing from above. There is hope for those of us who feel like we are drowning.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

Psalm 18:16-19





He’s got us.

This week, as I shared here, the kids and I have been surrounding ourselves with things that bring joy and healing. I’d love to share some of our moments this month, some usual and some special:

1. I love having this old door on which to spread around our planting supplies.

2. Our lemons are growing furiously.  Lemonade was calling our name!  Plus, the weather has been in the 80s and 90s so it was a welcome gift.

3. Becky and Jesse, our local SD photographer friends, came to do a fun photo shoot in our kitchen with the kids and I.  It’s always fun to do something out of the ordinary.  Plus, B & J are just good people. ;)

4. Spring is a couple of days away but our yard is blooming!  Here are some of the succulents in Faith’s old fairy garden.

5. I love goofy kid smiles.  You will find zero perfectly staged Olan Mills portraits on my walls.

6. Finally got to plant some seeds.  We are 2 months late for CA, but thrilled to have some started. Here’s hoping we can keep the MANY kinds of critters out this year!

7. Laundry can be pretty if you find a cozy spot and chase some golden light. I like to throw a little Ray on as well because his music always takes me back to slow summer days.

8. I had my last bite of cheese a weeks ago so I made it pretty and soaked every last bite in.  I remember telling a friend a few years ago that I would never be able to live without bread and cheese.  Now, here I am, without either, and I haven’t collapsed into a complete tearful mess…yet.

9. I’ve attempted so many new “pinterest-y” projects to make some learning more exciting and my children don’t seem to be interested in my efforts yet.  The project pictured is learning tally marks with popsicle sticks.  It’s supposed to help those more tactile oriented kiddos, which is how my youngest learns best.  The sticks kept moving too much, which Dean found frustrating.  I’ve shed some tears of discouragement but I will keep trying!

10. Another lovely friend, Kristin Guy of DinexDesign, came to visit and let me play around with a box of mysterious props for her “You got served” styling challenge.  So fun to play with some new things!  She has remained a sweet friend after we met at an Alt Summit conference a few years ago.  You can see my pictures on Kristin’s site here soon!

11. Seconds before I snapped this picture, I was watching a little hummingbird hover over those flowers.  There is so much beauty to be found.

Search for the Joy


The last few days, the kids and I have been focusing on life-giving activities to find joy in the heaviness that can come with life. We’ve made lemonade from our lemon tree, grain-free waffles, cut our roses and kumquats to place around the house, planted seeds, read books in the garden, and sat and watched the birds that have been searching for twigs in anticipation of their baby birds. So much joy God has for us in the every day, if only we would find it. I really needed to soak some of that in this week, how about you?

Handmade Charlotte Event for YOUR kids!




San Diego friends!

My friend Rachel Faucett, of Handmade Charlotte, is a Jesus follower, homeschooling veteran, and creative GENIUS.  She has one of the most vibrant personalities and is a super fun human to be around.  She has teamed up with Pottery Barn Kids to bring you some amazing DIY kits for your kids to create with. Yay!

Here are the awesome kits:

Super-hero Lacing Cards

Hair Style Lacing Cards

Pom Pom Owl Kit

Super-hero Mask Kit  (my fave!)

Plus, guess what?  Saturday, March 7th at 11am I’ll be hosting an in-store event and make-along at the UTC Pottery Barn Kids store for the Handmade Charlotte DIY kits.  Your kiddos get to make a FREE craft project and can also make one of the craft kits being offered in the store (once purchased).  This is an RSVP event so make sure to call the store and pick one of two sessions: 11am – 11:30am and 11:30am – 12pm. Each session only has 11 spots so call right away to save your spot.

UTC Pottery Barn Kids

4505 La Jolla Village Drive
San Diego, CA 92122
(858) 453-1249

This event is happening at every Pottery Barn Kids across the country! Even if you’re not local to my area, click here to find a store near YOU!

I’m excited to see some of you!  Let me know in the comment if you’ll be there! ;)



A New Perspective

A Golden Afternoon

School in bed.

Friends, we only see little glimpses of each other’s lives. I love beautiful and uplifting pictures as much as the next person. I find wonderful encouragement in choosing the perspective of joy. Still, I believe we need to share the broken and ugly parts of our lives too. This picture has been a lot of my life the last 6 months, especially the last month. I share this hoping that it encourages you in your own brokenness, whether physical or spiritual. God sees you and holds you close. You are Beloved.

I was encouraged by Henri Nouwen in his book, “Life of the Beloved”: 

“Our brokenness is truly ours. Nobody else’s. Our brokenness is as unique as our chosenness and our blessedness. The way we are broken is as much an expression of our individuality as the way we are taken and blessed. Yes, fearsome as it may sound, as the Beloved ones, we are called to claim our unique brokenness, just as we have to claim our unique chosenness and our unique blessedness.”

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