Category Archives: Family Life

Christmas Cookies

We’ve been all about baking and decorating Christmas cookies this year. Gosh, its honestly been years since Ive done things like this……I love how our babies bring back the joy and wonder of the Christmas season. This Christmas has been so much fun with Ezra. He’s all about the lights, snow, Polar Express, wrapping presents and of course……COOKIES!

I won’t tell you how many cookie + movie nights we’ve had……but I’ll tell you this…..we’re racking up hours [and calories].

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Artifact Uprising

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I’ve been a fan of Artifact Uprising since they launched their business. I love everything about their brand, their story and their vision. I mean….their tagline is incredible “Inspired By The Disappearing Beauty Of The Tangible.” They had me at that right there.

I’ve printed the wood block set, as well as the Instagram Photo Book [for Ezras 52 week series]. Both products were beautiful.

My most recent print project was the Square Photo Print Set.

This project is a special one. I usually print gifts for other people…..but this one was for me. I printed images that I took on our drive to/from Montana to Boise…..right after I received the call that my mom passed away.

The drive was heartbreaking. There were moments of silence and tears and sometimes laughter….as we talked about my mom.

Since this was my 4th rodeo in the past 5 years…..dealing with the loss of a loved one….I knew that I needed to focus on Gods Word. It’s the only place that brings peace and keeps me from losing my mind. I know what I need most in times like this….and that is to focus on Eternity, otherwise….this situations can easily be turned inside out and upside down. Its a slippery slope……and so this project was born.

I began taking photos of the landscapes throughout the drive. All shot on my iPhone. Some shot through the car windshield [due to inclement weather] and others with the windows rolled down. It wasn’t so much about a perfect photo…..but capturing something that demanded my attention and pairing it with the Truth that was anchoring my soul, in that moment. I posted these on Instagram all throughout out my trip. It was how I was processing each second, minute and hour of the day.

Its a fact. If we don’t write it down….we will forget. Forgetfulness is the enemy of Faith.

This road trip may not seem to be one for the books, but it was for me. I was reminded multiple times of Gods great love. God was near and tending to my broken heart, as He promises to do so in Psalm 34:18.

I don’t ever want to forget the things that I have learned and experienced, especially while in the trenches. These trials shape us and make us into better versions of ourselves. Nothing is wasted. Pain is a Microphone.

I took a self-portrait an hour before my moms Celebration Of Life service. A wave of grief had come over me and my mind was so full that I couldn’t even put words on paper. So I took a break and a deep breath. As tears streamed down my face I knew I wanted to remember this moment. I wanted to remember what I looked like. And what I felt like on the inside. They say our eyes are the windows to our soul…..and in capturing this moment….I would remember all that I needed to from this day.

So, I decided to print this series….which was truly inspired by the disappearing beauty of the tangible. Today marks six months since I received that call that took my breath away. I love you, MOM.

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#ichoosethankfulness

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“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
-Brene Brown

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Three years ago, I started a hashtag on Instagram titled #ichoosethankfulness

There were zero posts the evening that I typed that hashtag in the search bar.

Tonight….as I write this blog post, there are 2,681 photos using the hashtag.

The phrase was inspired by my sister Melissa, who went to Heaven on November 14, 2010.

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I CHOOSE THANKFULNESS is about being thankful in all things and in all seasons. Its choosing thankfulness even though our hearts are broken & burdened. It’s choosing faith over fear. It’s choosing joy. It’s choosing Jesus. Always.

I treasure the stories that have been shared using #ichoosethankfulness. I love that its been used all year long and not just around the Thanksgiving holiday. I have met some incredibly brave women who were vulnerable enough to share their heart…..and in turn has inspired an online community.

A lot has happened in 5 years. I have walked through the valley of death 3 separate times.

In these past 5 years…..I’ve lost my dad, my little sister and most recently, my momma.

Its been tough. Losing my mom this past May was a doozy for me. It hit me hard. There are no words to describe what it feels like to me…..to be here on this earth….without parents. I’ve never walked this out before. I came into this world with parents….and now, at 37 years old…..my parents are gone. For the first time….I’ve look at this world as a place that truly is not my home. This whole thing has set my gaze on Eternity and on Heaven, my homeland.

It’s natural for us to think that as time goes by…..we get further and further from the ones who have left this earth, but its just the opposite. As each day goes by….we get closer and closer to Heaven, which is very near.

Will you join me in sharing the ways that you are choosing thankfulness this month? This year? Some have posted a photo a day for the month of November, while others have posted randomly through out the year. Whatever you choose to do…….be encouraged to share your story and inspire others. 

My pastor, Levi Lusko and his wife Jennie know the incredible pain of loss. The way in which they are sharing their story of pain….and using it as a microphone has been powerful. It has encouraged and inspired me greatly. I will be giving away 4 autographed copies of his book, Through The Eyes Of A Lion this month. I’ll be scrolling through the #ichoosethankfulness hashtag and will be choosing one photo a week.

Join me! And be encouraged, my friends. xoxo

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For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:17-18

 

Dinner Party!

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Last night I hosted a small dinner party on our back deck, in honor of Reed. He didn’t want it to be about him, but it was, of course. The people that gathered together love Reed….honor and respect him greatly. We were definitely in good company and we are thankful for these friendships in our life.

My dear friend Hollie helped me put together the menu. She’s an amazing cook….and inspires me in so many ways when it comes to being in the kitchen and feeding my family. Reed LOVES Hollies cooking [no , this doesn’t bother me one bit]….so if her and her husband couldn’t be here [they live in Portland] the next best thing was to make a Hollie meal. She helped me put together the menu and we skyped each other as I was chopping away in the kitchen! Seriously, who takes the time to cook with you over Skype? Hollie does [and I miss her like crazy].

Main course:: Grilled chicken topped with peach salsa; Watermelon salad with goat cheese; Potato salad
Dessert:: Strawberry Shortcake
Specialty cocktail:: Glacier Ginger Brew + shot of Montana Spring Wheat Whiskey [optional]

Last night reminded me how much I enjoy hosting small gatherings. One of my goals this summer is to host more dinners on our deck. Nothing beats face to face conversations, along with a good meal, of course! Who’s coming over?

Here’s a glimpse into our evening celebrating Reed….
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Happy Birthday, Reed

Happy Birthday Reed

Today we celebrated Reed. He’s a simple man who’s known for his love, loyalty and entrepreneurial ways. 
He’s a solid husband and the sweetest dad ever.

 
Reed, I love you with all my heart. Thank you for being you and constantly striving to better yourself [physically, mentally & spiritually]. You inspire me in so many ways and I am so blessed to call you mine. There’s no one else I’d rather adventure through this life with. You are living out a legacy for your family and I am so very proud of you. 


You are loved. You are valued. You are honored. 

 

Happy Birthday, husband 🍰 xoxoxoxoxo