A few weeks ago while the girls were at school, I jumped in the jeep, drove down long country roads until I found a piece of Heaven on Earth–The most amazing sunflower field I’ve ever seen–well, the only sunflower field I’ve ever seen, but that’s beside the point. I knew there was no way I could capture the vastness of the yellows and greens meeting the clouds with their tips standing tall all the way to the horizon. Being a photographer, that was a little disappointing. I wanted to share it allwith everybody. Some things just are not reproducible. I had to let it go. I just stood for a long, long time and stared, allowing all of my senses to take in the glory of it all. Breathing it in, I realized I was breathing in joy, and new life.
Everything around me in Kansas is new. The sunflower fields, the white, fluffy clouds, the stunning sunsets and sunrises that surprise me almost every day…the giant spiders, frogs in my garden, the Royals, Chiefs, and lots and lots of old barns and pioneer settlements.
I. Love. Kansas. Really, I do. Breathing new air has been good for my soul. I find myself coming alive a bit more every day. I’m grateful for new friends, a new church and the schools our girls attend.
Do I miss Indiana? Every single day. I miss my friends who are like family. I miss the familiarity of everything and not having to figure out new stuff every day. I miss apple orchards and blueberry picking. I miss Lake Michigan, the rolling dunes, and the lighthouses most of all.
The bright memories of our old home mixed with the awakening of my soul in a new place are good indeed.
Standing in the sunflower fields made me fall in love with my Creator God all over again. When I see what an amazing artist He is, I am humbled and I feel loved, knowing that He made things like sunflower fields for me to breathe new air and make my soul come alive.
I am so grateful for new life. Grateful for the hope that change can bring.
Look around you…even if it’s not a ginormous sunflower field…look at the clouds. Marvel at the sky. Catch a frog and look her eye to eye, and then kindly let her go back to whatever girl frogs do in gardens.
Feel the Creator’s love for you in the endless beauty that is Nature, that is the air you breathe everyday.
We moved from Indiana to Kansas on May 2. Every single day since then, I have had a lesson in the form of humility from one source or another. Every place I go, I have to rely on Siri or my instincts to figure out where I am and where I am going, and how to get there. The days I rely on my instincts, I get lost.
Other than daily getting lost or finding myself driving down the wrong way on a one way street, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Kansas. Our new church family, Westside Family Church, has welcomed us with grace and peace and so, so much kindness.
Every day is a new introduction. A new something somewhere. I am a deeply settled person. I enjoy roots, predictability, and the peace that comes from knowing what happens next. Learning the in’s and outs and shortcuts will take time, I’m sure.
As I am being humbled by learning all things new, I thought I’d take a minute to blog about what I DO know. These are the people I know best in the world–their in’s and out’s, their shortcuts, what makes them who they are. I’d like to introduce my family. Understand these are bird’s-eye-view introductions. Each one of us is incredibly complex. Our girls are very spirited–The dynamics of raising three girls in one family are intense, insanely fun, and keep Rob and I on an incredibly high learning curve .
Rob and got married 21 years ago when he was 21 and I was 19. We were close friends from the time I was 12 and he was 14. I still remember clear as day the first time I saw him. He radiated joy and warmth and he was the funniest person I knew (besides myself, of course)
Rob is a phenomenally gifted communicator and teacher of Jesus and His ways. He is a wonderful husband and amazing father to our three girls. He is patient and kind with them, leading them by his example and courage to follow Jesus wherever He leads. Rob is a guitarist and musician. Music oozes out of him wherever he goes. It’s in his soul and spirit. He’s a dreamer of really big dreams, and a huge believer in helping others implement their own. I’m proud to be his wife.
Maddie is 15. She is an old soul in a young body. She’s an introvert, a Noticer, and deeply compassionate. Maddie is wise beyond her years and can spot a faker in a second (someone who says they are one thing but really are not who they say they are). She’s deeply intuitive and an amazing photographer. She’s hilarious and fun, practical and precise. She is a wonderful role model to her younger sisters. I am so proud to be her mom.
Whitney is 14. She is the tallest of our girls, and is made of solid muscle. She’s a strawberry blonde beauty. She’s intense, incredibly fun, an extremely strong leader, bold, loud, confident, and courageous. Whit is the kind of kid who is a friend to literally everyone she knows and an underdog for the outcast kind of kids. She has a gift for making those around her feel loved, included and important. Whitney makes me laugh every day. I’m so proud to be her Mamma.
Isabelle Joy(Belle, Isabob, Corndog, LIttle Mac, Is., Peanut)
Belle is 10. She exudes joy and life like no one I’ve ever known. From the minute she wakes up until her head hits the pillow at night, she oozes life and radiates joy. She is so much fun, non-stop. She is a Rainbow Loom genius, making bracelets and crafts several hours a day. She is deeply sensitive, is easily hurt, but comes alongside those who hurt because she knows how it feels. Belle is a best friend and buddy to whomever she is with. She is the definition of joy. Her smile and laugh light up a room like magic. I’m so proud to be Belle’s Mamma.
Me – I’m 41. I’ve written for several magazine publications over the past 10 or so years about family life and spiritual matters. I am a mega introvert. I need lots and lots of time alone, and people often misunderstand this part of me as snobbishness or aloofness. I promise I am neither of those. I love people. I love Jesus.
I love my family with all of my heart. I love anything artsy or creative or fun. Driving my Jeep with the top down, taking photos along the way with the sun on my face (or even in the pouring rain) fills me up. I’m often in nature alone, photographing stuff that point me to my Creator. I see Him through my camera lens, and hear His voice in the wind.
That’s enough introducing for now. Your eyeballs are probably tired from this very, very long post. Go take a nap and give your eyes a break. It’s been so lovely getting to know you all. Thanks for being gracious and kind as we humbly get to know you back.
So, suddenly here we are, over the rainbow…in Kansas! Who would have ever thought that we would end up in Kansas? I wouldn’t have! For all the people that live here in Kansas, I am ashamed to say the only perception I had of Kansas was a black and white one from my childhood-Dorothy’s Kansas with farms and cyclones and crazy wizards living in trailers in the middle of nowhere.
I have been overwhelmed by the beauty of this place, the blue’s are more blue, the green’s are more green. We live a few miles from several parks that are breathtaking in their beauty. There are bluebirds everywhere, coyotes, and SNAKES! We’ve had so many adventures in the month that we’ve lived here. It’s been wild and wonderful.
Before Rob and I came to Westside to interview for his position, a friend texted me and said, “What do you think about moving to Kansas?” I replied sarcastically “I am NOT moving to Kansas”.
Famous last words. Ha.
The girls enjoyed getting to know their new schools for the last few weeks of the school year. It was a bit hectic exiting their old schools and entering the new, all at the end of the school year and during a cross country move, but on the other side of it all, we are glad we made the decision. They were each able to make some friends, as well as learn their way around their new schools and our neighborhood.
We love our new house. Belle’s school is just outside of our back gate, which means she can get to school in under a minute in the mornings, but it also means we have a gigantic playground in our back yard, and a beautiful path to walk in the evenings. We are beyond grateful.
We have also been getting to know our new church, Westside Family Church. It is one amazing place, with a wonderful staff and tons of extremely friendly people. Learning everyone’s names has been a challenge, especially in my now old age of 41, but people have been very gracious and patient. 🙂
We are still waiting for our house in Granger to sell, so if you know anyone who is interested in a fabulous house in Granger in an amazing school district, let us know! Also, if you are a person who prays, ask God to send the right family to love that house and neighborhood as much as we did.
We are grateful for all the love and support of our friends and family in this time of transition. It’s been an amazing ride to the other side of the rainbow, but we are happy, settling in, and finding our footing here as we march forward together as a family on this new adventure.
In case you didn’t know, I really like to take pictures. One thing I like to do every year is sort through my own photos on my camera roll and pick out the top 100, 30, then the top 10, then my top 3, just for fun. Since I am immobile until I get my cast off next week, it’s a good time to do my “Year in Review” stuff. Right now I have 900 or so from the past year to sort through. One of the secret reasons I take so many photos is because it causes me to reflect deeply on all the beautiful moments we shared as a family. As I’ve sorted through them in the past few days, I was struck by a few things I thought I’d share.
I’m proud of my family for sticking together and pulling closer to one another than we’ve ever been. I’m proud of my girls for loving each other well, sticking up for each other, cheering for each other and making our lives better by becoming the beautiful young ladies they are inside and out.
I’m proud of my husband for pulling through the most difficult year he’s ever had-for loving me when I’m unloveable, for supporting his mom through the death of her husband, for driving the girls to a hundred practices, and being the dad who is all up in their face at every lacrosse game taking their pictures, watching them shine, making them glow with the joy of being deeply loved.
I’m humbled by the grace I’ve come to know through brokenness. My physical body and my heart have been broken this year, but I’ve come to see God and His ways a little more clearly. I’m humbled by the love of many people poured out to our family through meals, gifts, calls, cards, and a thousand acts of kindness.
My extreme independent self is humbled to have to send my husband twenty texts a day, asking for things I cannot get for myself because of not being able to walk for the past two months.
Looking back I see with blazing clarity that Grace and Love and Light and Joy are mine. I’m grateful for the ways God is showing me sides of Himself I would never see if it weren’t for the circumstances of this year-the high’s, the low’s and the in-betweens.
God is Good. He is love. He is light. These things are true. These things I know. And I’m grateful. Though everything around me is changing, He never changes. And that, my friends, is good news.
I’d love to hear what you’re reflecting on as this year draws to a close. I have nothing but time as I will be immobile for at least another week or so. Drop me a message. Send me an email. Write me on Facebook. I sincerely would love to hear from you. If not, have a very Merry Christmas!
I’ve enjoyed Autumn so much this year. Where we live, right on the edge of Michigan, in our corner of Indiana, we have lots of trees. I remember when Rob and I moved to this area 20 years ago from Chicago, thinking about how many trees there were everywhere and how beautiful they were. I still think that, and have come to enjoy their beauty even more.
My favorite thing is to go out with my camera and walk, looking for changes in the trees and flowers. Seasons change. Change is beautiful. Change should be treasured and noticed and captured for it’s unique beauty.
We have a lot of change going on in our lives right now. And you know what? It’s not easy. But I am finding it is beautiful–Because we are learning things about ourselves and each other that we never knew before. Stuff that skimmed on the surface before is now plain as day because we have been given the opportunity to slow down a bit and focus on change. We are so grateful for the grace of change and the beauty we are learning in it all.
Embracing the change of seasons in our own lives has been highlighted by the stunning leaves of autumn all around us. Breathing it all in. Slowing down. Watching and Waiting.