Easter babies

The weather was lovely yesterday and I’d been wanting to take a few pictures of the kids in their new spring clothes so we decided it was time to try! By we I mean ‘I’…I probably should’ve waited till I had Nels around for extra hands…:) This photoshoot was an absolute comedy of errors. One kids’ shoe off, the baby eating grass, somebody sneezes (and gargantuan SNOT BUBBLE erupts…tmi? do forgive me! ha!), one is looking at the camera, the other two are arguing over who is sitting on who’s foot/dress/hand, etc. etc. etc!!! :) While I didn’t manage to get “the photo” I was after – of all 3 of them looking at me and smiling! – we still captured some really sweet memories and photos I’ll treasure for a long, long time. <3 Hope you enjoy!

[Kaya 4 years | Hudson 2 1/2 | Ezra 7 mo.]


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*The bow ties the boys are wearing in some of these pictures (arrived at our door mid-photoshoot!) are from the Etsy shop Delicately Woven, run by sweet mama, Sarah. They are 3 ties for $16 and 10% of the proceeds go to support an organization serving women and children affected by sex-trafficking.*

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Happy Easter to you and yours!

Celebrating our forgiveness in Christ! <3


A Morning Prayer {Psalm 5}

“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”  Psalm 5:3, NASB

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3, KJV

morning kissies

Mothers of young children expect, almost invariably, to be awakened by their little ones early in the morning. Asking – “Can I get up now?”, slipping in for cuddles, crying out for a clean diaper, “staaaaaarving” for breakfast. It is routine; predictable as the sunrise and the cock’s crow. If a morning came when I didn’t hear a little voice calling for me, for help – the silence would be terribly alarming. But, by God’s grace, I do hear sweet voices every morning. They wait expectantly for me to provide them with all they need for their day – food, clothes, the days’ ‘agenda’ and love. That is the only way for them to start the day. Oh, how I love to hear their voices! The groggiest, most painfully tired morning is somehow made beautiful with the sound of their voices.

And how else could we, the children of the LORD, start our day? Do we not need all from Him, and have every reason to expect that He will generously give it? Are our voices routine and predictable, a sweet morning fragrance and aroma to our King who never sleeps? He is a king! The King of kings, but He is our Father too, and we have reason to believe he delights to satisfy our needs and desires. We tumble out of bed and tip-toe into His presence with messy heads and hearts and ravenous appetite, and believe, childlike – He will smile; anticipate – He will provide.

Are we too proud? Starting our day on our own? Making fools of ourselves and frustrations of our lives, when God delights in our morning requests?

Instead,  let us “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Our time of need is first thing in the morning.

<3 jc

“When first thy eyes unveil, give thy soul leave to do the like; our bodies but forerun the spirit’s duty: true hearts spread and heave unto their God, as flowers do to the sun; Give him thy first thoughts, then, so shalt thou keep Him company all day…” – Henry Vaughn



“When I awake, I am still with you.” – Psalm 139:18

House Tour: Part 2

The other day I gave you a partial tour of our home, and today I’d like to show you the rest (except for the upstairs bedroom and bathroom, because I have come to believe it will *never* be unpacked and organized…but, if one day - lo and behold! - it is? i’ll snap some photos and show you! maybe), and then if it ever stops raining we’ll do a “Part 3″ of the garden and porch and such…

This weekend we bought our first “married” coffee table! Yay for craigslist scores!



I kind of can’t believe we’ve never had a coffee table, but I’m glad we do now. It makes the living room a lot more functional…and it inspired a rearrangement…



(You may remember from the previous post that the piano is opposite of these couches…)


This is the front door and hat/coat rack.

To the right of that front door is the kitchen…


(Hello, birthday roses!!!) It’s really nice to actually have a place to put a kitchen table…in our first apartment it was actually in the living room, and then in our last apartment is was half-opened in the small kitchen.



I’m looking forward to potentially sewing some little curtains for this window (and maybe one of the other two) if I find some suitable fabric this summer.

IMG_3828The sink is, in fact, empty sometimes…thanks to having a dishwasher finally! What fun. And out this window you may find our friends – the neighbor cows – grazing on a drizzly April afternoon. :)



The kitchen door, leading to the porch, is often confused for the front door. It actually used to be the front door, because originally the house was just the kitchen plus upstairs bed/bath. To the left of that is the stairs leading to office/guestbed/bath…


(Hello, pantry!!! Never had one of those either. I feel like a “prepper”…only not really. I’m “prepped for a week or two, maybe! ;-p)

And of course, no kitchen is complete without a little coffee nook. So, here is ours…


Now that the house is mostly settled I think we will be spending our every spare moment out in the garden! We are very eager for the planting season and every time Nels comes home it seems he has a new set of bulbs or seeds..:)

This weekend though we are heading out to the youth retreat (3 kids in tow – pray for me!) and are looking forward to a great and refreshing time!

Happy April friends! <3


House Tour: Part 1

Ever since we moved in I’ve been wanting to share photos of our new house for our friends and family back home. I wanted to wait till everything was “just so” – but – I’m realizing that’s not going to happen anytime soon, and I want to show y’all around anyway! It’ll be a work in progress as long as we are here…;-) But we’re also really enjoying our little rented piece of wild and wonderful West Virginia.

Our little 3-bedroom, 2-bath white farm home is in the country, but only about 5 minutes’ drive to downtown, and about 15 minutes to work for Nels.


My favorite thing about this house (besides the washer, dryer & dishwasher, hello!!) is the light. There are a lot of great windows and I’m looking forward to learning where and how to take photographs in this house. It’s fun watching the different beams and shadows throughout the day. Like I said, there are 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, but one of the bedrooms and the second bathroom is upstairs…with our kids being little I wasn’t comfortable with either them or us being separated by a flight of stairs in the night, so that is our guest suite/craftroom/office and it is the room that is farthest from being settled! But I think it will also be one of my very favorite spaces.




The first room to get completely unpacked was Kaya and Hudson’s room! We took down the bunks (they were giving me ulcers), and decided to put their beds side-by-side for now. Their room is cozy and small, but they have a great big closet for the changing table, clothes, toys, random storage and half-eaten snacks….;-)



Beside their room is the laundry closet…(with toy tractor that I did not notice till now! HA)…



And across from it is our room and the main bathroom.

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Our room is pretty spacious (a new and weird feeling!) and right now it feels a little under-furnished in some places, but I’m also enjoying just having some floor space. Our master closet doubles as Ezra’s bedroom for now. And…the neighbor’s chickens are partial to the yard out one of our bedroom windows…;)


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The living room is also still a work in progress. I’ve been searching around craiglist and some local flea markets and thrift stores for a coffee table and some accent chairs…we may make progress on that this weekend! But for now…



…one side of the room is for our couches and the piano…(will have to upload another photo later! oops)



…the other side is for our computer and more bookshelves…



(whatttt show were we watching?! no idea. lol)

Anyway! That is most of the main floor! I hope to share some more sometime soon…:) It’s starting to feel like “homey” as Hudson says!





on parenting failures and God’s abundant faithfulness

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True…” 


One evening last week I lay in bed late, eyes wide open, mind still busy.

It’d been a long and full and hard couple of weeks. I was exhausted and stressed and irritable. Unfortunately, my dear first born had been the one who suffered most.

I was convicted that I needed to apologize to her for hurrying her so much. For being frustrated with normal little kid antics, for sighing deeply and dramatically over innocent (or not!) messes, for responding in anger and for not spending as much time just talking and playing with her. My heart was so heavy. I wanted to tell her that, with Jesus’ help, I would try to be a better Mommy tomorrow.


But. It was after 11. She was sound asleep. I sighed, and prayed, and opened up a book, deciding that I would try to talk with her first thing in the morning.

It was maybe 2 minutes later that I heard her call out from her room “Mommy, mommy, mommy!!!” And I smiled, knowing the Lord’s presence and gift of a special moment – the chance to make things right, even in the middle of the night. He heard me! A dream had woken my girl up, and I knew that moment was God’s “second chance” for me. My sleepy little 4 year old was practically purring like a kitten, loving every second of cuddling in mommy’s bed. She was quick with forgiveness and hugs and kisses and “It’s okay, I love you Mommy.”

In an amazingly redemptive moment, my own sin, followed by my apology and the forgiveness of God and my child gave me a fresh and powerful encounter with the Gospel, and allowed me an opportunity to share it with my first-born disciple.

I was so happy to have my conscience relieved, to share a special moment with my daughter, and to see the Lord being faithful to help me as a parent. I confessed my sin, He forgave me, and then provided me an immediate opportunity to make things right. It is such an overwhelmingly strenuous and monumental thing to be a parent! I’m so grateful that God doesn’t leave me to go it alone. He is FAITHFUL and He is TRUE.

With His help, I’ll be a better mommy tomorrow…;-)

<3 jc

Happy First Day of Spring! :)

Happy First Day of SPRING! :)

Are you doing anything fun and spring-ish to celebrate the turn into a new season? We are itching for flowers and garden produce around here! I’m a little behind on housework though so we’re not going too crazy just yet (listening to The Briefing while cleaning…interesting news and commentary from the president at Southern Seminary). ;-)



I think we may still be in for some snow in West Virginia (though Kaya has officially stopped praying for snow, for which I am soooo grateful), but I am starting to feel optimistic about the eventual arrival of some truly lovely weather. And the further possibility of…


Spring crafts…


Daffodils & fresh decor…


… starting a little kitchen herb garden on the porch…

…and maybe my kids all deciding they’re into afternoon nap time again?

Happy Spring to you & yours ~

Hope you enjoy this Christina Rosetti poem for the occasion…;-)

I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.

I wonder if the springtide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
Sing, hope, to me;
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.

The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.

- the First Spring Day



the half-baked & over-due moving update

This morning I have escaped to the “Upper Room” (our upstairs guest bedroom/office) for my mommy time away. I try to sneak away from time to time to a coffee shop for more focused Bible study, reading, journaling, blogging (and just a break!). With the hecticness of our cross-country move, it has not happened for some time, which means I am savoring it all the more today!

I am feeling rather fancy dipping biscotti (a sweet gift from a church member!) in my steaming coffee…never mind that I am waist-deep in unpacked boxes up here except for one chair in the corner. Unpacking and settling into a new home is taking me quite a lot longer than I anticipated. I don’t know exactly what I expected, but I honestly thought I would be “done” by now and able to spend a couple days thrifting for a few rugs, curtains, end tables, etc. to pull it all together. But that is a joke. We’ve had an obnoxious, rough round of colds (well, only Nels and I so far, and hoping it stays that way) that has slowed us down, and we’ve also been wanting to spend some time at church and with new friends, and also setting up all the new internet, insurance, utilities, etc…and it just takes a lot of time. While it frustrates my impatient and sometimes perfectionistic nature, I do see that the Lord has been speaking to me about slowing down, savoring life, not hurrying through every task but living each day to His honor and glory. (A convicting read? “Why Slowing Down is Paramount…”) Efficiency has often been my (somewhat accidental) highest value.

ANYWAY – the move. I have not updated my blog much about it, since we have had so much going on, but I’m sure most of you kind readers have already heard. In February Nels was called by the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church of Morgantown, West Virginia to come and be the Pastor of Youth. Long and crazy story short, we had visited a few weeks prior and initially declined. The week following that decision we both felt like we were grieving and were really happy when one of the elders contacted us and asked a few questions, and wondered if we would reconsider. We literally had a host of faithful saints praying for us, and as God helped us work through some of our concerns, we were happy and at peace in answering ‘yes’ to the call. There was a sweet and quiet but profound joy in seeing the Lord open the right door. I could tell quite a few amazing stories about the whole candidating process, and it was really difficult, but because of all that we have a strong inner certainty about being where the Lord intended for us to be.

So, we packed up our lives in Kansas City and moved 869 miles (give or take!) to our new home in Morgantown. God provided a quaint rental farm house just outside of town for us at an affordable price, which we were so thankful for (one of my major concerns was lack of great housing in the area, so to see this answered was a kind provision!). The weeks leading up to the move were so bittersweet. We had many goodbyes to say, and felt near to bursting with love and appreciation for our life and many relationships in Kansas City. We met, were engaged and married at Midwestern. I had my 3 babies at the same hospital 12 minutes from our apartment. And while Nels grew up in the Army, relocating often, I spent 20 years in and around the Kansas City metro and my parents live there. Our favorite haunts will be missed, my Bible study ladies will be missed, Nels’ hunting and fishing buddies and coworkers will be missed, and on and on. The time was ripe for us to move on, and we know God is continuing to work in and grow our family, friends in KC. He was gracious to allow us very special goodbye parties and we got to see most of our closest friends one last time before heading out. Our church sent us off so sweetly as well.

We loaded the bright yellow Penske truck and our big gray Suburban and headed east on I-70. Nels’s mom and dad travelled with us, doing the heftier (and more nerve-wracking!) chore of driving the big truck. On their advice, we decided to make the journey in 3 days, which allowed for a slower pace for the huge truck and my carsick Hudson, Ezra’s couple of blowout diapers, terrible rash discomfort, etc. While we did not enjoy 3 hotel stays with 3 little ones (ahhh!!), we did enjoy seeing Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and finally Pennsylvania and then West Virginia. Having Mormor and Papa Tim along helped the kids emotionally as they were quite concerned about missing their friends and Hudson kept asking to go “homey”…Nels and I were also encouraged to have them making the trip with us and praying together as we went.

On our final travel day, we travelled east through Ohio, into Pennsylvania and then south to West Virginia. The flat farm lands gave way to rolling hills and then very steep grades, massive evergreen trees and mountains. It was a very epic-feeling final hour’s drive…we kept calling Mormor and Papa Tim back and forth, excited with tidbits of conversation about the new scenery, praises that we were almost out of the car, songs of thanksgiving, etc. We had been listening to “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” on CD in the car, and were at the exciting part when the children first arrived in Narnia, when they were told that “Aslan is on the move.” And, though I was exhausted and overwhelmed, I knew God was gently leading us. I know that He has called us to Morgantown, and I know He has plans for us, for serving Him – here.

That evening we walked through our house (which I had only seen a few pictures of!) but stayed in a hotel in Morgantown. It was one of the worst nights of sleep I can imagine, with baby up and fevering and the 5 of us in one bedroom. Nels and I were terribly disheartened because we were hoping to be at our best for our huge move in day, the day that we would meet a lot of new people and need to make lots of decisions about the house.

But, somehow the Lord gave me a boost of energy to get up early and read my Bible in the hotel lobby. I read Psalm 139. I was amazed by the love of God. I felt so loved, and His love pushed out my fear. It was also comforting to know that even though “home” was 800+ miles behind, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.” I was so humbled that infinite, sovereign God cared to encourage and speak lovingly to me on that difficult morning. It also brought to mind a portion I’d heard the day before in “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”…“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

So, here we are in Morgantown! We have been blown away by the warmest welcome imaginable by the CMA church family. They helped unload the truck, have brought meals, came to pray for sick Ezra, invited us to their homes, etc. The kids already talk about their friends here (though they don’t know anyone’s names!), and I about bawled when Hudson exclaimed “homey!” when we pulled into our little white farmhouse the other day. It is starting to feel like that, and I am enjoying exploring our new surroundings and meeting many new friends. We are so excited to be serving our “unsafe” but very good King here. It is certainly an exciting adventure to follow Christ.

I’d appreciate your prayers for our church, the elders and pastors, our youth leaders, and the youth group – as well as our family! <3


P.S. I hope to share a house-tour photo blog sometime (if we ever get settled in!! ha!) and maybe a few photos of Morgantown. Stay tuned! ;-)