penetrable.

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I fancy myself a conqueror of sorts.  I’ve spent the last two years convincing myself that I’m stronger than I think I am, that I’m no longer the sick kid whose body is weak and unfit for adventure.  In fact I’ve come to truly believe that I can do anything I set my mind to.  My greatest obstacle is myself and my own fear.  No longer do I let my bad lungs or big hand hinder me from trying something outrageous.

On the evening of Christmas I got very sick.  I started having some of the worst stomach pain I have ever had in all my life.  I went from being entirely fine to incredible pain in the span of two hours.  Unsure of what else to do, my family took me to the emergency room in Spokane.  My mom asked me if she should take me to the hospital and all I said was, “Whatever you do, don’t call 9-1-1!”

I am strong.  My pain tolerance is very high because I have daily pain in my hand that I have simply learned to live with.  Ignoring it has been my biggest plan of action and it has become second nature.  This pain however, was too loud to ignore and impossible to argue that immediate action had to be taken.

In the emergency room, they took me back as soon as we arrived and they started me on an IV with pain medication.  I got some relief but to be honest, I don’t like putting medication into my body.  I avoid it as best as possible, so I chose the smaller dose until I couldn’t handle it any longer.  They ran tests and took my blood, but after several hours everything revealed itself to be normal, other than the extreme pain.  I literally had the fourth doctor who saw me that night come into my room, ask me question after question, look me in the eyes and say, “I give up, I have no idea what’s wrong with you.”  I started crying and told him, “Don’t say that to me.”

After that they admitted me to hospital and ran tests on me for the next 24 hours.  I remember very little from the next day, but I have bruises all up my arms to prove the many times they poked me and drew my blood.

I saw a handful of doctors, nurses, and specialists while in the hospital, but they discharged me the next day because my pain was under control and I could keep food down.  They have no idea what was causing the pain, but I have tests with pending results still to come in.

Since I’ve been home, the pain has returned, less intense, but present nevertheless.  Yesterday I laid in my bed and cried and cried, but not because the pain demanded tears, but because my heart was so discouraged.  I was hurting and not knowing what to do to make it better, because I have no idea what is even causing the pain.  I hate not knowing.  I can’t conquer it if I can’t name it.

And like I said before, I fancy myself a conqueror of sorts.

This conqueror felt more helpless than words could say.  And every time the conqueror asked her King for direction, He would just smile and pull her closer, embrace her tighter.  When a conqueror is ready to fight for justice, the last thing they want to have happen is to be told to rest, take deep breaths, be still, be taken care of.  They want to hit something, fight through the pain and climb the mountain!  Yet the King whispers, “you are not defined by your pain.  You are not defined by what you can and cannot do.”

I have always been the sick kid.  By the time I was 12 years old I had had six surgeries.  I was in and out of the hospital so many times, I had the routine all figured out.  I can even remember times as a girl saying I was sick simply out of a desire for attention.  As I got older, I no longer lied about my pain, but I let myself be defined and consumed by it.  There were so many things that I never tried because I simply believed in my heart that there was no way my body could handle it.  Now after fighting through the lies I had told myself over and over and the labels that had been placed on me for years, there I laid in a hospital bed, helpless to conquer anything.  I kept thinking to myself, “I’m not the sick girl anymore, so why am I here?”  As if being in the hospital defined me.  As if all the work I had done to redefine myself, to let truth win, was stolen.  And the voice of the pain just got louder and louder and the voice of truth got quieter and quieter.

Yesterday, as I cried in my bed, helpless and hopeless, I called Andy.  He knows me so well, he sees me so well.  It’s a little trippy sometimes.  And out of his mouth, he let the Spirit speak.  It was his voice but the King’s words.

Yes I am strong.  But strength is not something that is defined by whether I’m standing or laying.  It’s a heart attitude.  It’s a mind set.  It’s joy when there’s nothing to laugh about.  It’s hope when darkness surrounds.  It’s love in the midst of hate.  It’s being able to admit that help is needed.  I thought being strong meant ignore the pain, never ask for help or show that I’m weak and broken.  To be strong is to be impenetrable.  How wrong I’ve been.

I need help.  My body hurts and doctors cannot find a cause.  My heart is tired.  And I need to be reminded to let Jesus renew it.  I need prayer.  Let’s be honest here, the King is the only answer.  I am penetrable.  I am strong, but weak all at the same time.  I am a conqueror who needs a redefinition of what that even means.  We were not made to do this alone.  I am not made to do this alone.  Even highly experienced hikers need a sherpa to hike Mt. Everest.  Will you be my sherpa as I hike this giant mountain?  Will you whisper the truth in my ear as the lies shout at me?

My name is Hannah Sophia.  I fancy myself a conqueror of sorts.  But don’t let my laughing, sweet demeanor, crazy past endeavors, and inner strength fool you.  I am penetrable.  And I need you.

And that’s okay.

advent & a bride-to-be: celebration and longing.

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I started a new journal the other day.  Starting a new journal is like a birthday to me.  It’s empty pages, lined or unlined, are possibilities.  I know by the time I am done with it, it will be bent, corners frayed, pages scribbled and doodled on, my raw honest heart dripping from each line, promises and truth from the King overtaking it all.  I love a new journal.

I like to start my journals with some sort of note about what in the world is going on in my life at the time.  I know one day I will look back over all of my journals, and probably laugh at the early years and then cry over all the things Jesus did, all the promises He kept, all the things we overcame.  This journal, I started with this, “King of all days, what a crazy place I find myself in here…”

It’s December 24th.  I had no idea I’d be where I am today.  This time last year, I was home for the holidays and it was a tense season for my family.  My home was in Proctor, Tacoma with my Johnsons.  Getting married was no where near my thoughts.  Worship schedules, enjoying eastern washington culture, loving on my family, playing games at my sister’s farm house, the tension of buying gifts and spending money, possibly having to buy a car, all of these things were on my mind.  I remember I could feel this overwhelming weight of consumerism last year as it was my first Christmas home after experiencing life in Kenya.  Last advent season was very hard for me.  It’s crazy to think how far I have come since then.  

If you had asked me just a few months ago where I would be today, as many of you did, I thought I’d have all of my stuff packed and be preparing to leave for Kenya in a week or two.  I thought I’d be entirely single and content in that.  I thought I would have quit my job, that I love so entirely, to be home with my family, crying and celebrating before I moved to Kenya again.  I never thought I could have lasted in America this long after falling in love with a country and a people.

But here I am, engaged to my favorite friend and my wonderful love, planning a wedding (February 23, 2013!!!), living with my sister and her sweet family that I always wish I could spend more time with, cherishing Christmas in the States with my two families knowing that next Christmas Andy and I will be in Kenya, loving well yet living in the tension of the demands of the King’s Kingdom and the kingdoms surrounding me.

I’m on the verge of an entire change in my life.

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I feel like I understand how Mary, the mother of the King of Kings, must have felt.  I am in a very similar place in my life as Mary was in when the angel visited her, delivering the good news from the Father.  I can just see it now… “Andy, I was visited by an angel of the Lord.  He said to me that I am to have a child.  I know we are not yet married and I have not been with a man, not you or any other man.  But the angel told me I would have a child anyways, not just any child, but the Son of God.  The Messiah that we all have been waiting for, that our father’s fathers waited for.  I am going to carry him inside of me, birth him, and we will raise him together.  The angel said I have found favor with God and He cares for me deeply.  He cares for us deeply Andy.  He chose us…”

I love Andy, but this would be a terrifying conversation to have.  And I don’t even live in a culture where I would be stoned to death if I was pregnant before marriage!

I imagine the next nine months for Mary to have been filled with joy, anticipation, fear, longing, excitement, tension.

That’s how I feel.  Joy.  Anticipation.  Fear.  Longing.  Excitement.  Tension.

Tomorrow is Christmas, the day we celebrate the birth of the King Jesus.  It’s is the culmination of advent, this season that we (Andy and I, our family, Kaleo) have been so diligently leaning into.  Yet I cannot help but still feel this beautiful tension of advent.  Yes, advent is the season leading up to Christmas, but I dare to say that advent is almost a continual season from now until Kingdom come.  Advent doesn’t just end with Jesus coming to earth, but to me it begins the promise of Jesus coming again.  It’s celebration and longing.  The two are ever-present.

I celebrate that the King has come to earth to rescue me and left me with His Spirit, so I may know Him and be known by Him.  Yet I long for Him to come again and restore His Kingdom on this earth.  Where every child has a family, where there is no more sickness, no more big hand and daily pain, where I no longer have to fight my sin nature everyday, where we are made new, whole, where we don’t have to terrace the mountainsides so village homes don’t flood, where no child dies of AIDS or starvation, where no woman or child has to prostitute themselves, where the slaves are given freedom, where we all worship the King with no division between tribe and tongue.

We are a bride waiting for her bridegroom to come.  All the while preparing for the wedding feast.  Celebration and longing.  I am a bride, waiting for the day I will marry my bridegroom.  All the while preparing for my wedding day.  Celebration and longing; tension.

As hard as it can be, I embrace this tension. I choose to walk in it, with celebration and longing.  For my King has come and He will come again.  And that promise makes it all worth it.

“I have one hope, it’s a hope worth finding.  I have one love, it’s a love worth dying for.  And one God, a God who believe in me…  So I’ll sing of my love, His name is Jesus.” -Dave Richardson

hiding: part one.

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I like to hide.  Not just a little bit, like I would hide all the time if I could.  The first summer I lived with Dave and Katie in Orting I had a closest introvert middle children, like myself, dream of.  I never put a single article of clothing in my closet, I just left it empty so whenever I wanted to I could pull my laptop into the tiny attic closet and sit with Jesus.  Sometimes I listened to music, wrote poems, read my bible, but other times I would just hug my knees close to myself and talk to the Holy Spirit.  He would take me away from this land into realms of the heavenlies.  It was a sweet time that I look back on wishing I could return to at times.  I spent many hours in that small closest with my King.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve settled with the simple allusion of being hidden.  Usually these spots are in a coffee shop somewhere.  The shop has to be small enough that it’s not busy and bustling, but big enough that I don’t feel like everyone can seem me all the time.  Of course everyone can see me, but it’s this allusion of being unseen that I search for.  My current favorite place for said hiding is a new coffee shop in Cheney called The Mason Jar.  It’s a wonderful shop owned by a local family with decorations straight from Pinterest.  I love it.  And yes I do work at a coffee stand and could drink free coffee, but yes I do pay for my coffee and over tip my baristas at The Mason Jar simply for the opportunity to hide away in the corner with the King.

This is my happy place.

Today I sit here in The Mason Jar picking up where I left off in Luke 4.  It says in verse 42 and 43, “Early the next morning Jesus went out to an isolated place.  The crowds searched everywhere for Him, and when they finally found Him, they begged him not to leave them.  But He replied, ‘I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns too, because that is why I was sent.’”  I can so completely vibe with the crowd in the story.  I would definitely be the girl in the crowd crying out to her King and love, “Don’t leave me!  Stay here with me for always!  Let’s just hide away and not let anyone else in.”

And what I realized today is that I am that girl and I do that with the King!  I hide away in closests and coffee shops.  I let the King speak to me and change my heart and then I hold onto it.  I hide it away.  I light a lamp and I put it under a bowl.  When really a lamp is made to be on a stand, giving light to the entire house.  (Matthew 5:14-16)

How selfish I let myself be.  

When the crowds begged Jesus to stay with them, He didn’t leave them out of an ugly or careless heart, but He left knowing that there was a bigger picture.  He was just one man, fully God and fully human; able to be in only one place at a time.  He knew He had to travel so that others may know of His Father who sent Him.

The same is true for me and you.  Our salvation is not our own.  “It is for freedom that I am set free.” (All Sons and Daughters)  We have been given salvation and life in Christ so that others may as well.  But living for others instead of just ourselves means we would actually have to be real and live exposed.  And sometimes that cost is too big.  Those are the moments I find myself hiding away, hiding inside of myself.

It’s time to break free.

It’s not about me.  It’s for the sake of the world and for the sake of the Kingdom.

the kingdom on earth.

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I’m currently reading Sex God by Rob Bell.  He says so much in each chapter that I find myself having a hard time getting through it.  I feel like after every other page I need to just sit and let his words marinate in my heart and change my life.  One quote that has thoroughly invaded my thinking is this: “When Jesus talks about heaven and hell, they are first and foremost present realities that have serious implications for the future.  Either can be invited to earth, right now, by our actions.”

Andy and I talk a lot about living in “Kingdom culture” and following Jesus’ instruction to pray “your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”  When we realize that the Kingdom is not far away but is truly upon us, it changes the way we think, the way we conduct ourselves, the words we use.  And this week I keep thinking about where the Kingdom invades earth in my life.

In the same way that people hear the voice of the King in different ways, so does the Kingdom manifest itself in different ways for different people.  I encounter the Kingdom when I’m having coffee with a dear or new friend or playing with my sister’s kids or baking bread and kneading the dough or giggling in excitement at the Christmas lights hung in my neighborhood or most recently, when I’m sewing a simple project, mindless stitching away.  Those are the moments when I feel Jesus the closest.  Almost like I could hold out my hand and He would grasp it in return.  His voice is clear yet soft and tender.  His peace rests on me like a warn blanket, straight from the dryer, inviting me to curl up on the couch and cuddle in.

This is how I experience the Kingdom:

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In Carter’s bright blue eyes and cubby arms.IMG_8926

In the age of this intricate fence in the rolling Idaho hills.IMG_5693

In Abby and Zekey.IMG_8125

In the simple joy of throwing leaves.IMG_9000

(Photo by Andy Labolle)

In spending hours in a busy coffee shop, watching people, tipping my baristas too much, making new friends, getting lost in the editing of photos or writing of a blog.

How do YOU experience the Kingdom?

brave, life, boy, messy, imperfection.

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I haven’t really been sure how to write about this, to be mysterious or honest, cryptic or plain.  I guess I’ve always been the crazy kite girl flying off to wherever the King’s breath ushered me and to be honest, I still am!  The good news I am sharing with you today doesn’t change who I am or the dreams I have, it simply adds to this crazy life I lead, all for the glory of the King.

This very handsome guy is my boyfriend Andy.

I know?  This is the moment so many have been waiting and wondering about for so long, myself included.  Who in the world is going to be running quick enough to catch this girl?  Well, this catch has been caught and I haven’t slowed my pace one bit.  In fact, I’d dare to say I’m running faster.  It’s like this: I’m jogging along to the beat of the song in my heart, you know just running cause that’s what we do in this life of faith.  And all of a sudden this man crosses my path, and instead of continuing to the right, he joins me.  I quicken my step for a minute, wondering what he’s doing and why he’s here.  When he asks to join this race by my side, I agree and we begin to share stories of our lives and of the Kingdom.  As a camaraderie develops, we begin to encourage one another as we are tired and egg each other on in excitement, racing to see who can run the fastest.

But let me back up a bit…

In early August, Bryan, Becca, Aydin and I went to see the movie Brave with our very dear friends the Rott’s.  We sat in the back row of the theater and I giggled at their beautiful Irish accents and their fiery attitudes.  If you haven’t seen Brave, this is in no way a spoiler, but I love the main character Merida.  She’s a feisty ginger princess that never fails to have her bow and arrows by her side.  She carries out her princess duties, with much complaining and whining, but on her days off, she finds adventure.  She works on her archery skills, climbs mountains to giant flowing fountains, rides her horse through the forest, whatever tickles her fancy; she’s free.

I walked away from the theater on that warm August day fancying myself a similar soul to Merida.  Minus the rebellious attitude and teenage angst, the similarities are definitely apparent.  I was coming out of a season, grasping my true love for adventure and carefree fun in a way I never have before.  I was climbing mountains, training for a half marathon, embracing who Jesus made me to be.  I was content in my singleness.  I even told people I could see myself not getting married until I was 27 and having my first kid when I’m 30.  I was ok with that.  There are many mountains to climb out there!  What do I need a boy for?  Oh the sense of humor our King has…

I went to the theater and saw Brave again on Halloween.  And sitting to my left was my best friend and my love.  Oh how my life has changed in just a few months.  I can hardly believe it.  If you had told me in June that I would be where I am today, I would have told you that you were plum crazy.

    

Andy and I have known each other for about three years.  We’ve been friends, but not much more than that.  It hasn’t helped that in those three years I’ve lived in California, Kenya, Cheney, and Tacoma.  This kite girl doesn’t stay put for long.  It’s only by Jesus’ wise plan that we’re in the same place even now.  And this season is sure to be short and quick, but Jesus always seems to do things that way.  He places me somewhere for a quick season and I dare not waste a moment.

I’m learning so much about myself as Andy and I are learning to live this life of faith together.  We push each other towards the King and we give strength to each other when we aren’t strong enough ourselves.  It’s very beautiful.  I feel like I have a better grasp on Jesus’ love for me now.  Andy sees all the ugly, yet he loves me anyways.  How can that be?  But I guess it’s reciprocated; I see his ugly and love him still and that makes sense to me.  And if I can love Andy and Andy loves me, how much greater does the King love and care for me.  My outlook, my view, my knowledge of the King, my understanding of His ways just continue to expand and I continue to be amazed.  Not just by who He is, but who He says I am.  Because faith demands a response, right?

I’m reading this book that my friend Kelly gave me entitled, “Messy: God likes it that way” by A.J. Swoboda.  I’ve used this word, “messy”, often in the past few years of my journey with Christ.  I can’t help but use it.  We’re human, we’re messy.  As Andy would say, Jesus did not create us to be angels.  We’re imperfect, we do things wrong, and we need to release our own expectation of ourselves to act like angels and just accept that we’re human.  It’s so true.  I grew up in a church that taught me that loving Jesus meant I had to be angelic, perfect, follow a set of rules, attend every church event, be self-righteous.  But I’ve come to the realization now, that we’re imperfect and Jesus likes it that way.  Our undeniable imperfection is made great through His unexplainable perfection.

So please allow us to be messy in this process.  I say that to remind myself to let us be messy.  It’s part of the process, it’s part of growing.  But hang around us, lean into this story we’re beginning.  Be a part of us.  We need you and we want to be a part of you too.  I’m confident in very little in this life, but this much I am: we are following where the King leads us and that is all we can do.  Where else would we go?  “Lord, who else would we follow except you…” John 6:68

messy curls and destructive foxes.

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Andy and I were talking the other day and he said, “I know that you hate when people say that you’re perfect or holier than thou or whatever, but I guess I just see you as so amazing that I have to ask, do you ever just feel messy?”  I laughed at his silly but heart filled question, mostly because I don’t see why anyone would call this girl perfect, and said, “Yes.  That’s why Jesus gave me crazy curls Andy; to remind me that I’m imperfect and messy, but He loves me anyway.”  I have had few moments in my life where I have prophetically spoken something to myself using my own voice, but this was one of those times.  I’ve always felt messy, I’m a middle kid, messy is what we do best.  But Jesus tying my messiness to my crazy curls, took things to a whole new level I guess.  Ask any curly girl, curls are a blessing and curse.  But most of us have learned to embrace and love them.  That’s the same thing Jesus is calling me to do with who I am, embrace it, love it.  Then to have Jesus speak so clearly to me, “your curls are to remind you of your beauty in the mess…” my heart is still melting.

    

I have gone through seasons of struggling with wanting to be a perfectionist, being my own biggest critic.  Through those seasons I’ve come to realize how anti-Hannah in Christ that character is, but every once in awhile it seems to show up again.  Now is one of those seasons.  And I’m fighting it daily, struggling to overcome it.  It’s a fox that has entered my vineyard and invited his friends to eat my fruit.  They are far from taking over, but left to themselves for too long, and they would.

Mr. Lying Fox entered my vineyard when I moved home and started my new job.  My customers are generally quite friendly, but I get the occasional grumpy Magee or temperamental Tina and let me tell you, Magee and Tina pre-caffeine tend to say things that make a heart hurt.  Instead of shaking it off, Mr. Fox’s voice begins to play their hurtful words in my head over and over again.  And before long, it’s all my mind can think of.  I begin believing the lie that my job defines who I am.

Mr. Fox invited his cousin Ms. Stress Nightmare Fox into my vineyard next.  I have had stress dreams about work since the day I started.  I make lattes in my dreams all night long, never pleasing customers, never pulling shots properly, burning milk, getting slower and slower yet busier and busier, I can never keep up.  Ms. Fox plays off my small fears in my job and makes them into full blown nightmares, causing my small nerves to be giant mountains of stress in the morning.  I haven’t been able to escape the Fox family, waking or sleeping.

Ms. Fox invited her daughter, Little Perfectionist Fox, to join her in stealing and feasting in my vineyard.  Every time I failed to do something perfectly or forgot a to do the dishes or showed up late (because yes I am the late friend) Little Fox would throw the baby out with the bath water and everything I had done well was forgotten and only what I have missed remained.  The negative was like mud covering my glasses; all I can see.

At first I ignored the Fox family, writing them off to be small moments of weakness or imperfection that I need to just get over.  It hasn’t been until quite recently when a friend of mine was sharing with me a similar set of foxes that had invaded her vineyard that I was able to identify them for what they are.  I’ve just been so busy on the other side of my vineyard, harvesting and reaping the fruits of my labor that I’ve ignored the signs to these destructive creatures.  Eventually however, the harvest will come to a close and if I neglect my small vines, I will not have a future harvest when the time comes.

I do not know how to balance it all.  I do not know how to be at one side of my vineyard harvesting grapes to make wine and be at the other side of my vineyard chasing out the foxes who have some to steal, destroy, and kill.  But my east most fields are beginning to show the toll of the pests and something must be done.

I stood before my vineyard, with the weight of the tasks to be completed weighing on my shoulders.  I took a deep breath in and let it out slow and heavy.  And in sweeps the Familiar Man.  He never shows up the same way twice, but He always shows up when I’m at a loss.   “Take inventory of your field my love.  Take note of what has been lost, yet what has been gained in the harvest as well.”  We walked through the long rows of the vineyard, sampling grapes, recalling the joys and challenges that the fields have brought.  We stopped at the east field, surrounded by the mess.  To my surprise, the fox family had been caught.  I could see their tails from behind a row of vines.  The Familiar Man reminded me of the day I had called out to him for help.  It was the very day I had identified the foxes‘ existence.  That same day, He had set traps in my field to bring an end to the reign of the Fox family.

The relief of the foxes being gone was huge, but we still stood before a mess.  The Familiar Man grabbed my hand and said, “Do not be discouraged or overwhelmed by all that lies ahead, but do not run away from it either.  You are right, you cannot be in the north field harvesting and in the east field chasing foxes.  But the foxes have been caught, now all I need you to do is build a fence.  Your fields are beautiful.  You have graciously let many in to pick from your branches without payment, simply out of a heart to love well.  That was fine for a season, but in the process, the foxes were allowed free roam as well.  I want you to instead build a fence with a large gate, so you can continue to welcome the friend and the stranger, but the foxes will not be welcome.  Beware though my love, the foxes will try and disguise themselves and sneak in again.  Examine carefully who you let into your fields.”
With that He led me to the border of my property.  “One more thing my beloved, this is no longer where your land ends.  I’m expanding your territory.  You are going to need it.”  He hugged me goodbye and kissed the curls on the top of my head.  “Start building.”

I can’t say I’ve ever built a spiritual fence before, but I guess today is my day for something new.  The King speaks to me in stories and parables that seem so real I could reach out and touch them.  I think He just knows that if I can “see” it or imagine it, the meaning and the story last far longer.  I know it all sounds crazy, I guess I’ve never denied the fact that I’m crazy, just embraced it.
I’ve realized that in the past few weeks I’ve been working so hard to love people well, but all I’ve really done is pleased and fed the noisy foxes and neglected the ones I really want to love.  The hard part is over.  The foxes have been identified and removed.  Now, I just need to build a fence and clean up the mess that was left behind.

But with a fence comes freedom.  The freedom to truly love the friend and stranger with my whole heart, instead of a busy people-pleasing heart.  Because my worth does not come from the amount I harvest or the size of my field or the number of people I love or how well and quickly I make a cappuccino, it comes from the King, or the “Familiar Man”.  My value is in Him and Him alone.
Jesus give me the strength to not give into the noisy foxes on the other side of my fence, beckoning, manipulating, taunting me to let them in again.

“Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!” Song of Songs 2:15

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.  So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
“May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.  My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10

“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…  So if the Son set you free, you are truly free.”  John 8: 31-32, 36

just another day.

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Friday evening, the kids were stir crazy, so Meg told them all to take off their shirts and run around in the sprinkler.  I think the boys were especially surprised to have Mama say they could run around like crazy after dinner, but they were excited and didn’t challenge the idea.  We spent a very simple evening outside, watching, laughing, making memories.

After living in Tacoma for the past year in a fast paced, task centered, sarcastic, witty culture and now living in this slow paced, relationship centered, community oriented culture, I’m learning and discovering what I value.  I can see value in both cultures, in both ways of doing things, I just need to decide what’s right for me, who I want to be.  And sitting on the porch, on that warm September evening, with my family, laughing and taking joy in each other, that seems right to me.

Here are some photos from our wonderful night so you can join with us in all the fun.

   

Abby has black on her face because she was eating charcoal from the fire pit.  Ha!  Just another day…

This is Jacob.  He was hanging out with us on Friday.

Abby’s “cheese” face. So funny!

    

    

Oh, did I mention my sister is a crazy cloth diaper-er?  Aka Super Mama.

    

Jacob is learning to walk and he kept standing himself up and falling down and laughing and crawling.  It was so much fun to watch and to play with him.

    

    

This is when Abby decided to climb into Caymen’s kennel with him.