turn all the way

It’s February and it’s the month of love and it’s the longest-shortest month of the year and I want to write about love but I realize maybe I don’t know anything about love and what can I learn in only a few long-short weeks?

Really, what is love? really… love is….

and I think 1 Corinthians 13.

But I don’t know what it’s talking about and I can’t recite the verses and I may just be the opposite of love and I can’t take it so I don’t look . I don’t read . I don’t memorize . I don’t recite . How in the world – the months – these weeks – for this special day can I  live out these scriptures?

I must turn.

I must turn all the way.

I’ve gotta turn all the way away from my sin all the way to the Savior and re.pent.

Repent… repentance isn’t only turning away from sin but it’s turning to the Savior.

I’ve gotta remember…

I’ve got to remember He preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Remember He called “Follow me…”

Remember the disciples immediately left their nets, their boats, their work, their father, and followed him (These grown men left everything).

Remember He commands “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

Remember He answers “The greatest command is this: love God with all of who you are and love your neighbors as yourself….”

Remember He gives Himself so that they and you and me could have everything.

This is the way . the truth . the life . of love.

Jesus loves you and me this I know.

He loves you and me so much in this way that He gives His life so that you and me sinners dead can have life abundant and eternal.

Maybe that’s when I can know love…. when I seek first the Kingdom of God and I follow Him,  I turn all the way to Him, maybe then the Way the Truth and the Life leads me into His love?

Maybe this is when I love Him with my all and I am able to love others the way I love myself…

Maybe love is wiping off shelves and wiping away tears and putting everything back in its place. Maybe love is hot coffee and sweet chocolate and strong words and sweet compassion. Maybe love is looking into his eyes; hugging her neck; choosing to turn all the way so that you can hold that person’s hand and help them into the kingdom of Heaven with you, into abundant and eternal life together.

Love is this. Love is not pink and purple construction paper and red and white candies. I might like those things but they are not love.

Love is this. Love is not pretty and polite and polished and put together but ugly and painful and messy and unraveled and falling to pieces, and being made whole again by Love Himself.

Love is this. Love is not sitting on a throne beside Him but coming under the Cross with Him. Love is the death burial and resurrection of Christ for you and Love is taking up your Cross and following Him.

Love is not a set aside day for a dinner date but all personal preferences set aside so that my minutes, days, weeks, months, years and life prefer someone else besides me, so that my life turns you and her and every person I hug all the way around to Jesus.

Jesus loves you this I know

and Jesus is love this I know

for the Bible tells me so.

When we are little and sinful and silly and weak

He is lovely and Sovereign and Good and strong

and Jesus is Love.

And maybe this year I will lean in a little more and turn all the way around to Love and hug your neck in a way that turns you all the way around in love to Him… and maybe we will be transformed by Love that casts out fear and cares for all of our burdens and why not now?

Rhythms of Repentance


Well, we are officially into this new year – into 2018. Our Christmas trees are down and long forgotten (Can you believe it was only a month ago that we were celebrating Christmas!?); we are making reservations for Valentines dates and Spring Break vacations. Woohoo! We have enjoyed snow and now we are over snow and we are ready for skirts and sandals and sun sun sun.

If you’ve been following along, we’ve written our obituary and we’ve written our resolutions. This month hopefully you and me were able to establish a few rhythms into our daily life to accomplish our big resolutions and to live like we only have this one life. The thing is, throughout the last thirty days, we have either subjected ourselves to the “pain of discipline or the pain of disappointment”*… depending on if we chose to stick to what we wrote down in the first place.

I hope that you resolved this year to practice repentance, and then included it into the rhythm of your day. I hope this because repentance is the sort of thing that matters a lot and the sort of action that we really need to begin with.

I shared with you that one of my resolutions this year is to read well, and that I am reading through the Bible in a year.

With thoughts of repentance and the desire to live into the the life Christ has given me in new ways this year, I was reading Matthew 4 and this is what the Word says :

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – verse 17*

This is Jesus’ message, the first thing He says as He begins His early ministry – He commands all who can hear Him to repent. Turn from yourself and your sin and make the full turn to Jesus. Why? He says “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (or, here).” The Kingdom of Heaven! is the reason and motivation that Jesus gives. The Kingdom of Heaven is to stir our heart’s affections, to cause our eyes to glance His way, to seek His Kingdom, to fix our eyes on Jesus. To live this way – to live seeking and seeing the Kingdom – we have got to repent.

The Kingdom of heaven is life and love and inclusion and satisfaction and being with our Creator and Savior forever. It’s all of our heart’s desires met in one place, in The One, and it’s for all who believe in Him. Heaven is for all who repent.

When we begin to practice repentance we get to enjoy foretastes of His Kingdom – of love and peace and rest and delight and life, abundant life.

So, how? How do we turn?

Well. for me –

When I realize I don’t remember His words, I repent.

When I notice I am forging through, shouldering my way to success with my own methods and ideas and what-should-works; When I notice I am not relying on Him, I repent.

When I drop the ball, drop responsibility, I repent.

When I damage relationship, I repent.

When I destroy an hour with waste and wanton, I repent and beg that He redeem the time.

When I get set in my own ways, I ask for a re-set.

When I feel like I’ve returned to my old ways, I repent. He renews.

When I am un-reason-able, I ask He make me able to reason.

Have you thought about the fact that every time you try to save face you are tripping over Grace? Did you know when we turn back from our sin and we turn to Him, He’s already right there? We run right into Him, right into His arms, right into His love, and He rights us. He’s come for us with His Cross and His resurrection and at the very moment you turn, He’s there time and time and time again. For you, and for me, and for all who believe. He gives us Grace and He saves our face, our very lives.*

When we forget, God remembers. He comes and re-members us.*

When we remove ourselves from Him, He comes and removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.*

When we’ve freaking lost it, He radically comes and finds us.*

This is the. good. news. A new year and a new set of resolutions is Not. But, the message that Jesus came and Jesus preached “Repent!” because the Kingdom of God is here Is. The reality that the Kingdom of God can be experienced just a little bit on this side of the sun is the good news for our souls. The fact that one day when this whole thing is over, and we are on the other side of the sun, those who believe are gonna live in His Home with Him forever; this is the good news for you and me. And girl — get this. To get it, to come in, to live in this real-new, all you have to do is repent.

This is good news. This is your new life.

*Ann Voskamp, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life / Matthew 4:17, ESV / There is a children’s book entitled Because I Love You by Max Lucado that tells a story about a Maker who builds a wall to protect his children, but includes a hole to provide His children the choice to love him. When one of his children climbs through the hole, past His presence, He immediately begins the rescue. This is God our Maker and Jesus our Savior and we are that child who has climbed out of His protection, and He comes to save us. / Psalm 103:12 / Matthew 18:12-14

a new year + a new beginning

Happy 2018! We made it!

On New Years Eve, we have a funny family tradition to take a family selfie lying down on the hotel bed (since 2011 we have been traveling with Tyler + MPB the last week of December) -this is from 2015!

So there’s this thing people do around this time of year that unless you’ve been stuck under a rock, you have heard about it – and probably been a person who has done it, too.

Everyone hits December 27th… I’ll give y’all a day or two.. and starts in on making resolutions. Whether you journal it out or joke about it, everyone is working on their New Year resolutions.

When I asked google about the history of New Years resolutions, I skimmed over some information that showed how it was the Babylonians some 4,000 years ago who initiated both celebrating the New Year and making new year resolutions.

So apparently we’ve all been doing this for quite some time. Even though, by … what?, February 10th, to be generous, we have either forgotten, abandoned, or messed it all up … our list is in the trash. Sometimes we do take it out, uncrumple it, and even make it to the end of the year, but in an unwittingly common manner, we make them, and we end up breaking them.

Still, I always find it so fascinating to hear others’ New Year’s resolutions, even though I realize they tend to be about the same thing every year. I like to listen to friends as they share from their past, from what they’re learning, and to the practical ways they hope to change and grow as a person. And even though everyone’s resolutions are so personal, it seems to me that we could sum up resolutions something like this…

reading – books. magazines. journals. articles. the Bible.

running – or whatever form of exercise one has decided upon

arithmetic – all of the numbers… your weight, your budget, and what time you wake up in the morning

These are the three R’s of New Year’s resolutions. 

And though I want to talk a bit more about these three R’s, and while sincerely I cannot wait to share with you my resolutions for this year, let’s start with this question:

What is the WHY of resolutions?

Well, to begin considering this question, and I am just thinking aloud here, not even asking google, and I have yet to talk this over with Tyler, I think we love a good start-again. We love love love a fresh page, a blank slate, a new beginning. And we imagine that we surely will do better with this lovely new. Surely we will be kinder, be thinner, be healthier, smarter with our money, and definitely check off all of our business – home – friendship – plans.

I mean, I love a fresh beginning.

Happy New Year, 2016!

This love for new is intrinsic in us – it might manifest itself in different ways, in different personalities, generations, and values, – but the thrill of a white page ready for purpose and pen is all around loved by all.

So, you, me, we all love a fresh beginning and it’s intrinsic in us. Think about it with me – we are made in the image of God and it is God who loves a fresh beginning more than any of us…  We are displaying Him in this love.

Here’s the thing though – if we love it, and if it’s the image of God in us, then why do we have to uncrumple our paper so many times >> Why did we crumple it up in the first place?

Well,… We are made by Him in His image. And… we all have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

So, here we are in love with new and fresh but we have sinned and cannot cannot cannot climb back up on our own. Glory cannot be ascertained through New Year’s Resolutions no matter how much we want it – love it – write it down – desire it – try to make it happen.

So Glory came to us. 

And this is what we packed up into boxes, shoved back into our attic, back into December… remember? We celebrated that Glory came to us. “And His name shall be called Immanuel, which means, God with us.”…. “And His name shall be called Jesus, for He will save us from our sins.”

Jesus’ birthday – the Incarnation – God wrapped in the soft skin of a brand new baby – brings new life, brings glory to us.

So often, though, we miss out on Glory because Glory is so small. and we want to be so BIG.

We tend to run right past this grand reality every Christmastime, since, for heaven’s sakes, the advertisements and articles are already ramming resolutions down our throats, and into our longing hearts. As if this is the savior… as if we could save ourselves…. with a list.

But this reality – the Incarnation – Glory to us – Good News – a Real. New. Beginning – will completely and utterly transform our resolutions.

Going back to the question at hand – what is the why of resolutions? – we must realize:  because of sin, our why… the reason we make resolutions… get’s awfully thwarted.

Our why comes out of selfishness, out of sin, and perhaps even from Satan himself.

Remembering the three R’s I mentioned, we read books for all of the wrong reasons; we run and exercise to bring whatever glory anybody – and I do mean any.body. – will give us; we count our pounds, and our dollars, and our minutes because we feel like we have just.got.to.save.ourselves.

and we are out of breath.

NO wonder we are so prone to crumbled papers and despair. NO wonder we are so apt to end up feeling like we are amazing when we actually end the year and we have actually completed our resolution… or at least by swimsuit season we have lost enough weight, we have saved enough money, and we are making!it!happen! by going to the beach in our bikini!

and we are holding our breath, hoping it all stays put.

Bless our glory-stealing hearts. Bless our I-think-I-can-save-myself souls. Oh…. our sinful, selfish, satanic resolutions needs not be kept up but repented of.

Honey, it’s not that losing weight or budgeting your money or reading a book is a sin. The thing is though you are using that goal as an end to gain glory for yourself and when you go after glory for you you are stealing it from the only One to whom glory is due. 

(Remember, we have all sinned… you. and me. me me me me me. And it takes one to know one, and I know about glory-theives because I am one.)

So what do we do with this image of God love of new and this sin-thwarted heart?

What do we do with our shiny resolutions and sin-sick soul?

Well, we dig back out December once again and we unwrap the Gift of Christmas once again and we confess Jesus is Lord and Savior – not me, not you, not anyone else, or anything else, and not any list either.

We repent. You don’t have to cry, but you can. You don’t have to kneel, but feel free. When you and I repent, the only thing we must do is turn away from ourselves, our sin, and Satan, and turn towards Jesus.

So let’s start together – Let’s repent of our sin. Let’s breathe out prayer and breathe in freedom.

Here we go. :

Jesus, I turn myself in. I have been a glory-thief and I’m even been really good at it. I have been self-indulgent, I have been self-righteous, I have been full of myself. I made up this long list of resolutions… But I am over it. I am over myself. I confess my sin and I trust You, Faithful and Just, to forgive me and to cleanse me from all of my unrighteousness.  In Your precious, saving name, Amen.

And from this year, Happy NYE 2017 and Happiest 2018!

merry christmas, every one

Praise God from whom all blessings flow 


Praise Him all creatures, here below! 


Praise Him above, ye heavenly host! 


Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! 


Not to us, O LORD, not to us – but to YOUR NAME we give GLORY, for the sake of Your steadfast love + Your faithfulness. 

O God we bend our knees, we bend our hearts, we bow our heads, we bow our worship before the Newborn King, come to us, the Gift of all gifts, and we praise the Savior and King, Jesus Christ our Lord. Glory Glory Glory to the Newborn King! Glory Glory Glory to the Savior of the World! Glory Glory Glory to Immanuel, God with us! Glory Glory Glory to Christ, who IS LIFE.

Friends and family, we wish you the merriest Christmas, we pray that you grow in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and are filled with the fullness of Him, – filled to the very brim of your soul, even overflowing, – who fills all in all, so that you too with us can sing, Praise God from whom all blessings flow, from now and into all eternity.


welcome to us 

Saturday is for sharing – a yummy breakfast. a walk. a good conversation. a fun game. an afternoon nap. a table for two. a slow dance under the stars…

and today I want to share with you a few photographs. We are husband+wife, daddy+mommy, & three little men – our sons – our children –

welcome to the new us. welcome to our family.


unspecified“Joy shared is joy multiplied” – Tyler, our fearless and loving leader




“You have filled our hearts with joy” – David, in the Psalms



“Come to me, little children” – Jesus



“I sing over you” – God our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer


“Children are a gift, a blessing, a heritage from the Lord. Happy is the man whose quiver is full.” – Psalm 127:3-5


“May these boys abound in brotherly love” – my prayer for them





“My son, listen to your momma’s instruction, and live” – Proverbs 1:8

“I’d rather do nothing with you than something with anyone else”

>>> photographs . amy free photography <<<



on a name

He had been quiet for a while.

I had been listening… and though some say that it’s through suffering the Lord speaks the loudest, in waiting, in my experience, He is very quiet.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

We walked into Jubala, all four of us, for a pre-supper afternoon treat. We wanted to relax. We wanted to enjoy the best cup of coffee we know. We wanted to watch our little lives run around in the sun.

I don’t know the exact time frame. I just remember it had been a while.

There on the wall, in hand lettering on a huge canvas created by a friend, hung these words


I looked closer, reading carefully.


HE gives and gives and gives again.

It was like a whisper. a Really Pretty one.

I knew. I knew that I knew – this is a word from the Lord.

“One day – this side of heaven – I will give again – to you.” — It’s only because of Him and from Him and through Him. It’s not because of me or something I did or earned or… no.

I waited and listened and listened and waited some more. He was quiet. He was near, I knew that. But He was quiet.

Friend, it was a long time. When you’re waiting, a minute feels like a long time. Months feel like eternity. And with the anniversary of a year of waiting,…

I wanted to wait well. I wasn’t always sure what that looked like. Sitting still? Doing a project? Praying like I was talking my head off? I wanted Him to speak. to come. to answer. to move.

Most of all I wanted Him. I waited like the watchman waits for the morning. Any sign. Any glimpse. Is that You, Lord?

In the waiting, I would remember His whisper. “I give again.”

I learned about Annie Johnson Flint. She’s a woman who exemplarily lived out her faith in the living God. This hymn, one of her many, sings:

  1. He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
    He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
    To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
    To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.
  2. When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
    When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
    When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
    Our Father’s full giving is only begun.
  3. Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
    Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
    Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
    The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.
  4. His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
    His power no boundary known unto men;
    For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
    He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again

Sometimes I drove myself mad. Other times I cried. In the afternoon, I might sleep. There were days when I would whisper back, “I cannot do this anymore.” And He would respond, “You are right. But I can.”

So I put my face to the Lord’s like a flint. I was gonna get Him. I was gonna see the Lord. I held Him to His Promise, because He says He is The Faithful One. He is The Promise Keeper. Not because He owed me, or I did something, or I had earned…

“While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me.”

Eventually, I rested. I was like Jacob, who demanding the Lord bless him, after wrestling with the Lord, could say, I have seen the Lord face to face and my life was spared… and the limp was a blessing, and the new name was the gift, and seeing the Lord was really the only thing that Jacob had wanted all along.

I wrote in my journal:

“I know Good wins. I hold my breath, baited breath – eyes fixed – I want to make sure Good wins.

God, win.

In the moment of wrestling all goes silent. Still battling – still baited breath – warring. waiting. watching.

God win.

Here I am right before the battle ends. Right before the Victor conquers. Come on. Come through.


I stopped crying. I knew He was coming. I sat up, alert. I could almost see Him.

It was the end of February, cold, and there was a morning I – by some miracle… – got a good long time in the warm sunshine in the Word. My boys were sleeping, from what I remember, and I just sat there with the Word pouring into my heart, the sun pouring into the windows. He was speaking again.

(I want to pause and say that there is so much more that I could write to share with you, there are so many ways I could write this post, and perhaps I will write more at another time, but suffice it to say, Our God is a Great God, in the biggest of big ways and in the every-little-jot-and-tittle ways… He has done great things, and with the same heart that John ends his gospel,

“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” )

I read through the story of Joseph, found in the book of Genesis. I decided to look up what the name of Joseph meant.

Right at the top:

“May Jehovah add,/increase // to add, to increase, to repeat // means to add, increase or do again”

— to give again —


I nearly fell through the floor.

I knew it. I didn’t know when… but I knew. He was going to do it again.

Jehovah – the Holy God, the unchanging, eternal, self existent God – came to me, in His Word… “the I am that I am” promised to me (little me, little little me) that HE would keep His covenant, because, after all, He is THE Covenant-Keeping God.

And this Jehovah, The Lord of All, was promising little us our Joseph. The Lord was promising another boy. The Lord was promising that we would see life in the land of the living.

And there is just something so scary and so heavy and so messy about holding God to His Word – except that He commands that we do it and His character says we can – because He is The Faithful One who Keeps His Promises. because He is I am that I am.

I wrote down the words in the my journal, I read through the Scripture again, and I stared Him straight in the face and I said

– You are scary and You are Good. and I will not let go, I will not stop waiting, I will not stop praying and holding You to Your Promise until you answer me, bless me, re-name me, re-make me. give me all that You are and all that You promise.

And on that spring March morning when I held the positive pregnancy test in my hand, early morning, fully awake, I was quiet.

The Lord had spoken.

I limped upstairs, silently, and showed Tyler the test.

On that hot summer morning, sitting in the ultrasound room, when we looked at each other’s blue eyes, we smiled —“another boy” we silently nodded at each other

Joseph Haddon

Of course.

Not because we had done anything or earned anything… no….

But because He is Faithful and Good, Scary and Sovereign. He is the God who remembers, who removes reproach, who comes, who gives again. He is Jehovah. He is the God of Life.

“Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, ‘God has taken away my reproach.’ And she called his name Joseph, saying, ‘May the LORD add to me another son!'” (Genesis 30:22-24 ESV)

Psalm 46:10 / Psalm 27:13-14 / Psalm 73:28 / Psalm 130: 6 / Psalm 145:13 / 1 Corinthians 1:9 /  Hebrews 6:13-18 / 2 Peter 3:9 / Romans 5:8 / Genesis 32:22-32 / Hebrews 12:2 / John 21:25 / Genesis 30:22-24; Genesis 35:24; Genesis 37-50 / Exodus 3:14 / Revelation 3:12 / Isaiah 42:5 / Job 33:4

I am excited to share with you soon where the name Haddon comes from, too… there’s another good story. And that weighty Genesis scripture…. there are stories upon stories here. Praise the Lord.



on a quiet time

A friend asked me the other day if there was a certain devotion book that I recommended – she’s a mom of two little boys like I am – and she remarked that the ones she has recently tried are either way too basic or way too intense.

She’s a godly girl with a good-thinking mind and she has lived some real life… and now she’s living the life of a wife, homemaker, and mom of two young (infant and toddler) sons.

And I know exactly what she’s talking about – nobody needs trite (there’s no time for that). At the same time, nobody needs tedious and too-much (there’s no time for that either).

So I really thought through her question and wanted to answer honestly – she asked if there was a devotion book I recommended – which means she wants to know if there is one I have used, or currently use, that I like and would share with a friend.

Truly, through this season – first trimester pregnancy, sick with life and living with two littles,  and then through the summer-travel season – my quiet time has looked nothing like it did at the beginning of 2016. My time at the beginning of this year was rich with bible study, reading scripture, reading rich discipleship and theological books, not to mention all of the time spent readying for our church’s mom’s retreat, for which I was the speaker.

Once I entered into the first trimester of pregnancy, my quiet time consisted of reading “The Daily Light.” This takes about five minutes and can be done on an iPhone app, laying in bed. Or, sometimes I would read it out loud to the boys at the breakfast table, after choking down my daily scrambled eggs.

When we traveled this summer, it looked about the same, maybe some more scripture from wherever the Lord showed me, and it also looked like intentionally engaging the Lord during the worship sets when Tyler played.

I have a friend who talks about enjoying the rich seasons and stewarding them for the times in your life where you will need to draw from the reservoir, and goodness, if parenting littles all day long isn’t that time, I don’t know what is. The well is necessary. And so is the bucket. So is the cup. The Living Water is what we are after, well-full, bucket-full, cup-full.

We are after a satisfying drink of the Living Water.

I need Him. I need The Word. The Living Water. I need to engage in prayer with Him. I need to drink daily.

What does this look like for me right now?,… in this season – this season that I am home, that summer is slowing, that I am in the full-swing of the second trimester of pregnancy, that I am preparing for autumn…

Right now I like to take time in the morning to read one psalm (usually the one that corresponds with the date on the calendar), to read one or two pages/chapters in “Keep a Quiet Heart” By Elisabeth Elliot, and to journal whatever the Lord speaks to me, whatever my response, or prayer. Sometimes that’s one sentence. Sometimes it’s several paragraphs.

Yesterday morning, He gave me this time before the boys woke up. Today, it was after breakfast. I let them go play in the other room; I stayed at the table, and when they would come in, I would request that they ‘give mommy her quiet time with Jesus.” Tomorrow I do  not know how the Lord will set the table, draw the water, give me time with Him. I look forward to seeing how He will!

I have a couple of books that I am reading through right now; my goal each day is to read chapter from each book. The books vary – one is on marriage, one is on raising children, one is just for fun, and the last book is from the library, super-practical, and a simple read. If I don’t “meet my goal” – no big deal. Providence didn’t have that as part of my day.

For all of life, including your quiet time, the key is to be in constant close communion with the Lord.

I think of quiet time like breakfast with a friend. You’ve gotta eat breakfast. Some mornings it’s bacon and eggs and pancakes and fruit and hot coffee and donuts all on a clean white table cloth. Other mornings it’s eggs and toast. Some mornings it’s a Clif bar. But it’s breakfast and you eat it and it’s sustenance. Eat your breakfast. Spend time with the Lord.Whatever meal He sets for you, enjoy it. Don’t worry if it’s not what you expected, or think it should be. Eat with Him.