Shifting Family Dynamics

I went out to Illinois this weekend for a family gathering, and had the awesome opportunity to take my gorgeous cousin’s senior pictures! She sure has grown up… but haven’t we all?

My oldest cousin is married with a beautiful little girl, another cousin has two young boys who are growing up much faster than I can keep track of. One cousin is engaged, and a few more aren’t too far off. My brother is now always absent from gatherings, serving in the United States Marine Corps. All but three of the cousins are out of high school, and after this year there will only be one left! Even college is a thing of the past for the majority now.

Our conversations have changed from toys and playdates, to sports and activities, to work and significant others. We laugh about old jokes from the past, tease each other, and eat copious amounts of delicious hors d’oeuvres.

Growing up is a strange thing. The thanksgiving ‘Kids Table’ is now the place to be, though none of us are really kids anymore. We all forget how old everyone else is. Sometimes we forget how old we are, and we laugh.

I rarely get out to see my family, because of the constraints of work, school, and other commitments. It was definitely refreshing to be able to catch up with everyone.

Now, back to the senior photos! Isn’t she beautiful?

eDSC_0102  eDSC_0294eDSC_0374eDSC_0365  eDSC_0125eDSC_0231eDSC_0109  eDSC_0072

Apple Picking

I love living in Michigan.

I love the weather (but don’t hold me to that in 3 months…), the beaches, the culture, my hometown, and the fresh fruit. Blueberries, apples, cherries, peaches, raspberries, strawberries… and on and on and on.

Fall is my favorite season for many reasons, and I’ve always absolutely loved going to pick apples in our local orchards. It’s beautiful, the apples are fresh, the air is crisp, and they have cider and donuts. Score!

Yesterday, a couple of my best friends and I went apple picking, and I took a few photos of the process and the plunder. We were lucky enough to go while they still had Honeycrisp apples available, and they were delicious!

eDSC_0066   eDSC_0086eDSC_0094

It Will Get Better

It Will Get Better

Do you ever feel like you just hit a brick wall?

Your day was great, until…
The project was a sure success, until…
The relationship was making headway, until…

Until what? What causes a good thing to grind to a screeching halt? Or worse, what causes things to begin slipping backward?

I wish I knew.

It happened to me this week. It was as if, at 3:47pm on Tuesday, my joy simply dissipated. I was discouraged. I was overwhelmed. Even the simplest tasks were grudgingly done.

Trust me, that’s not fun to experience or admit. I’d love to think my life is always perfect…

But I’m under no illusions. 

This week has been exhausting. So was last week. Unfortunately, sometimes the feeling of defeat hangs on for more than a few days when times of busyness, anxiety, grieving, or depression wear out our hearts.

We’re tempted to complain and ask God why he puts us through hard times. My challenge to you is this: Next time you feel discouraged and defeated, ask instead what he is trying to teach you.

Learning experiences aren’t usually fun, are they? They’re hard. They’re challenging. They stretch you out of your comfort zone and past what you thought you could handle. And that’s okay.

There is good news, though: We always get through hard times.

With extra prayers for strength and grace, I made it to Wednesday. And then to Thursday.

And guess what? Things are getting better. Sleep, prayer, and a good conversation with a good friend have been enough to keep my discouragement at bay. (The ice cream didn’t hurt either…)

So, friends, if you’re going through something difficult today, this week, month, or year, here is some encouragement—it will get better. Exhaustion is a reminder that we can’t do things on our own. Thankfully, we don’t have to! Lean on the Lord.


My Other Family

I already have an amazing family. I love them, and I’m sure I’ll write a post about them sometime. (Never fear, family.)

Today, however, I’m marveling at the indescribable blessing of having been accepted into someone else’s family. As a nanny, I’ve been integrated into their home in a way most people don’t get to experience.

It’s been life changing.

For over two years now, I’ve spent more time than I can count with this lovely family. When I started nannying, there was only one little man to take care of. He was 7 months—still just a baby. Now he’s over two and a half. They’ve also had another little peanut, and he’s now almost 1 year old!

Both of these little boys have claimed a bigger piece of my heart than I’d ever imagined they would.

It’s incredible to see their lives change. I’m able to experience the world through new eyes, and their wonder and excitement overflows onto me!

As their nanny, I spend a lot of time with them. I also really respect and look up to both of the boys’ parents, and I’m so thankful for the chance to work with their mother’s business. She’s taught me a lot about entrepreneurship, design, and so much more. I never even dreamed I’d have that opportunity, when I first agreed to nanny. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I began my internship at Engedi. God certainly works in mysterious ways.

I treasure each day I’m able to spend with this family, and I know I will never forget them, no matter what direction God takes me.

With that said, I was able to take some family photos of them last Saturday at a beach near us! We definitely went for more candids, since we knew trying to pose the young boys would be more difficult. Plus, it was fun!

I love how the photos turned out! Hopefully they do as well. Which one is your favorite?

eDSC_0050  eDSC_0107 eDSC_0116 eDSC_0061 eDSC_0178  eDSC_0172 eDSC_0146 eDSC_0270  eDSC_0254 eDSC_0345

Time for a Confession…

Yes. I have a problem, and it’s time for a confession:

Time for a Confession...

I am a notebook addict.

The addiction is tempered by my college student budget and penchant for buying coffee, books, and things I don’t need on Amazon. I don’t go shopping often, but when I do, I find myself wandering down too-familiar aisles, reaching for something new. Charming covers. Soft leather. Luxurious paper. Classy details. I’m drawn to them, and even before I own them, my mind spins with dreams of how I’ll fill them.

I have notebooks designated for a wide variety of uses. Journals. Daily notes. To-Do lists. School. Work. Inspiration. Writing.

The happy little books clutter my shelves and my heart with endless handwritten memories. Page after page filled with scribbles, sketches, and stains from carelessly sipped coffee or tea.

Some of my notebooks line my bookshelves, nightstand, and desk like devoted little soldiers, long after their pages have been filled. I pull them out occasionally to relive or remember. Others are thrown away when their usefulness has run it’s course.

As an aside: This post is prompted as I’m struggling to get rid of some of my old notebooks. Half used but well loved, they’ve taken up too large of a drawer for too long. Does anyone else develop attachments to journals? Apparently I do, because this weeding out process is difficult.

It helps that I know that next time I go shopping, I’ll end up with more notebooks in my cart, whether or not I intended it. I’ll give them a good home, and fill them with ideas and love.

Here’s a peek at some of my favorites!


A breathtaking leather notebook given to me by my boyfriend. He knows what I love!


Bold. Italian. A Christmas gift from my lovely friend Rachel.


A gift from my grandparents. It’s so beautiful and ethereal. I’m filling it with story inspiration!


A beautiful leather journal given to me for graduation by my youth pastor. “Smells like cow!”


A lovely, soft, Celtic notebook. Actually, this was given to my brother. He wouldn’t use it, so he gave it to me! Huzzah!


I bought this one for myself… because it’s a good reminder!


I haven’t found a use for this one yet, but I’ll get there. For now, it’s adorning my desk.

Plus many, many, many more.