Saturday, November 21, 2015

one hand and the other.

Writing is my outlet.  Sometimes I don't even know what the words of my heart are until I sit and write them down.  This blog allows me to have that outlet when I need it...and tonight, I need it.

This year has been a bit bi-polar for me.

On one hand, it has been a beautiful adventure through new theology, ideology, and lenses; a new and fresh and bold grasp of Kingdom and Gospel and Church and Jesus; a constant hunger and excitement and need to ask more questions, read more information, and dive deeper.  It truly has been amazing.

On that same hand, I've jumped head first into the world of parenting two children.   Some things haven't changed very much at all and others are so very different...some of the difference are because there's two of them; some of them are because of their genders; some of them are because I also was parenting a threenager through this time.  So much of the adventure with these two tiny humans has been so incredibly amazing and fun.

And yet on that same hand still, I've gotten to travel quite a bit.  Small trips to familiar places mixed in with new cities and a few flights, all filled with some pretty cool memories.

However, that other cruel hand threw in some punches.

I try so very hard to keep my happy up, but this whole year it has been so very hard.  It's so hard to complain when I really have nothing major to complain about.  People receive devastating news, lose people they love, attempt to mend shattered families or accept the changes...really tough stuff every single minute of every single day.  As a speaker once said, "sometimes Satan launches flaming arrows, while others are tiny pebbles..."  I currently have no flaming arrows, and for that I am deeply grateful.  But the pebbles have piled high.

These past two months with Hunter in a new job has been...trying at best.  Without a doubt the hardest couple of years of marriage for us (you know since we've been married soooo long), but learning how to handle each other and how to function these past two months takes the cake.

This is also the loneliest I've ever felt in my entire life (which is irony of ironies since I pretty much am never alone--yay for mothering littles).  It makes me want to hermit up even more than I have the tendency to do already which in turn leads to cabin fever (remember the littles) that makes me want to scream as loud as I can.  I feel used up and useless all at the same time, like I am constantly doing but can never do enough.  I feel disliked, excluded, and unimportant often.  I feel incredibly numb and yet extremely raw, as if the two could coexist.  And I cry.  a lot.

And yet I cannot list to you what has led me to this state.  The pebbles have just piled high.  And the weight has found me.  I just don't have the energy or the umph to fake it or push my way or sometimes even be nice.

You'll notice that most of those in the list are feelings.  I know I am too emotional and a little crazy and all up in the feels.  I desperately wish I had the ability like some people do (i.e. my husband) to just roll things off my shoulders or not be hurt or not feel everything. But with this, I have had no luck.

Sometimes life is just so mean.  And exhausting.  And so very hard.

Thankful this day for pajamas, comfort food, and God's never-ending grace.

" track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%..."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dear Arabella,

You, precious little sweet, are FOUR years old!

This year has been so much fun because you have been learning so much.  You have full conversations, your imagination is unbelievable, you reason through problems, you make and understand jokes, you ask questions, and have to know how everything works.  It's truly been amazing to watch you develop!

However, this year also brought on the phase we deemed the "threenager"... Because you also learned to argue, to assert independence and your own opinion, to be stubborn, to have major melt downs and mood swings.  In other words, you acted like a teenager in a three year old body!  And oh, the level of interest that brought to this family dynamic.

Arabella, in the middle of all of that, you are still just as cute as they come.  Not a single day goes by without your daddy and I telling you at least one how unbelievably beautiful you are.  We just sit and stare often.

You are also so, so sweet.  You want to share what you have with everyone you meet.  If someone is upset, you want to make them smile.  You give hugs and kisses just because you want to.  You just love people so well.

Music is still one of your absolute favorites.  You've learned the words and can carry the tunes to so many songs, and will do your best to sing along even if you don't know it.  I just love hearing you sing in that sweet, high-pitched voice.  

My favorite though is to hear you sing "Jesus songs" along with the radio.  Your precious voice sings "Hosanna" and "There is Power in the Name of Jesus" and "10,000 Reasons"...But your favorite (and you know all the words!) is "Fix My Eyes"!  We love to turn it up loud in the car and dance and sing it together!  Instant mood lifter.  Your prayers have also developed into well thought out dialogue based on what's actually going on in your own life--you always end with "make good choices" :)

You are such a good big sister to Kaplan!  Granted you drag him around and take his toys, but that's what older siblings are for.  You also make him laugh and feed him and take care of him.  You two love to snuggle and wrestle and play.  You both have absolute joy all over your faces when you see each other!  You're favorite nickname for him is Kap and your name was his first word :)

Daddy's little helper is an understatement.  He's had to work a lot this year, so your time with him has been extra special.  Going fishing and riding in the Bronco are your absolute favorite!  But you'll do just about anything as long as it's with him. 

We have gotten to travel quite a bit this year and make so many memories.  A few trips to Branson and Aunt Chelle's, two Major League baseball games, a huge pumpkin patch in Houston, several trips to Pineville with the Sassers, multiple zoos, and Lafayette for Disney on Ice just to name a few.  You're not scared to try new things, go new places, or spend time away from mom and dad.  Just so big.

You are a tad obsessed with costumes, my princess.  Usually when you come out of your room in the mornings, you're already dressed up!  Your favorites are Anna and Elsa, but you also love Sofia, Doc McStuffins, and Cinderella.

Arabella, you are quite possibly the most grateful child I have ever met.  When you receive any gift, big or small, you are genuinely grateful.  You say thank you over and over, give a super sweet hug, and sincerely appreciate the kindness.  It's overwhelming and humbling.  I pray you never lose that gift...true gratitude is the key to true joy.  

You're learning how to write all of your letters and spell words and names.  You're doing a great job and I still get so impressed each and every time you write something.  Watching your little brain grow is just incredible!

I am so excited to see how much more you grow and learn and change this next year.  Our relationship is so special to me, and I can only pray that I treat you with grace each day.  Your daddy and I are whole-heartedly obsessed with who you are and always will be.  Keep enjoying life and finding giggles every single day.  Arabella, you are my treasured gift, and I promise that I will always love you more than you will ever know.

Happy birthday, my love!

xoxo, mama

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dear Kaplan,

My precious little hunky chunk--you are ONE year old!  I cannot believe a whole year has passed since you rounded out our little family.

You were 9 pounds and 13 ounces of pure perfection (my doctor didn't believe me when I told him you were going to be a biggun...mama knows best).  We were all three instantly in love with you.

You are so laid back and easy going.  You've always been a good sleeper (hallelujah!) and you really only get upset when you're hungry.  It took us a long time to get you to laugh out loud, because like your daddy and your Papa, you have a pretty serious looking "happy face".

My little Kaplan, you are such a snuggle bug.  You love to be loved on and will snuggle in for a hug in the sweetest little way--you usually do this when I get you out of your bed and when I'm about to put you in your carseat (you know it's harder for me to put you down in that seat when you're loving on me!)

You have been a pretty big mama's boy since day one.  Daddy was working so much for the first half of this year that it took you two a while to warm up to each other.  But here in these last couple of months, you have become big time buds.  Not to mention, you are such a mini-me of your daddy.  You look exactly like him and share SO many of his personality traits.  There has not been a single day go by that at least one person hasn't told me how much you look like your daddy or refers to you as "mini-Hunter".  

And that sister of have loved each other every single second.

Speaking of Arabella, you are such a trooper.  She tends to think of you as her favorite toy, dragging you around the house, dressing you up in all kinds of accessories, taking things away from you, laying on top of you...putting you through the ringer!  You will fuss when you've had enough, but for the most part you just go with the flow and let her do her thing.  Your eyes light up when you see her, especially first thing in the morning.  Makes my mama heart melt.

As of now, you have 9 teeth and humongous gums with some more on the way.  You are trying to toddle about (taking about 7-10 steps at a time); but you are such a quick crawler and you know that's still your fastest method of transportation, so it usually wins out.  You can say Bella, mama, dad, wa-wa-wa (Juannie), look, hi/hey, and you shake your head no.  And you've already had your first real haircut--not just a trim--because that beautiful hair you were born with got too long!  You've also already been to six states and flown on a plane, you little traveler, you.

Our favorite nickname for you is "Flappin' Kaplan" because you flap your arms like a wild man all the time.  It makes us laugh every single time!  You also kick your right leg over and over, especially when you're excited.

You love singing (in church, when Juannie hits the high notes, you can't get over to her fast enough!) and will try to join in.  You love to read books and are mesmerized by all the pictures.  You love Bible class and are starting to participate and soak it all in.  You love being outside and crawling around in the grass and swinging.  If Bella or daddy goes outside without you, you pull the curtain on the back door aside and just watch and jabber until they come back in.  And most of all, you love to eat.  Your best friend is whoever has the food :)

You have mastered the game of peek a boo, from leaning around furniture or someone's shoulder to covering up with a blanket to popping up and down behind a church pew.  So fun!  And while we're talking about church are such the little escape artist!  You crawl under the pews and through people's legs before we can even realize you're going.  We've had to snatch you up halfway down the aisle several times...

Kaplan, your laugh is very contagious.  It took us so long to get a real one...we cherish them so much!  Your first belly laugh at something instead of from being tickled was of course at Arabella.  I love how much you make each other laugh.

You are so incredibly curious.   You have no fear and explore any new place.  You climb and dig, open every cabinet you can reach, put every thing you touch in your mouth...I can't let you out of sight because I guarantee you're getting into something!  I am constantly digging things out of your mouth.  Keeps us on our toes.  But goodness, you're cute.

Kaplan Paul, you have added a whole 'nother level of love to our family.  It is so much fun to see little pieces of who we are come out in you.   You are just such a cool kid.  I hope you never lose your pleasant, laid back way of handling life.  

Your daddy and I will fight for you, protect you, teach you, and love you every single day of our lives.  You will always be our precious, perfect son; our second baby; our beautiful, blessed gift.

From here... a year

Happy birthday, sweet boy!  I love you more than you will ever know.

xoxo, mama

Monday, September 14, 2015

miss the mess

I just had one of those insane realizations of how quickly time passes as I went in to spy on my sleeping babes.  They are so long when they're still, and it hit me full force tonight how big they have gotten. And plus, oh my stars, there is nothing more beautifully precious than a sleeping child. All the feels are workin tonight. 

A dear friend and I were visiting at lunch yesterday, and I was lamenting about keeping my house clean, specifically the floors. And with a kid who puts every single thing into his mouth, the floors is the thing that needs to be cleaned the most!  Anywho, this precious friend of mine just moved her youngest into the dorms a few weeks ago and has been living the empty nest for a while. Her very quick response to my grief (ok I was whining. Let's call a spade a spade.) was this...ya know, my house stays clean now, but oh how I miss the mess. And the reason for the mess. 

I appreciated her words that afternoon, but tonight they were actually heard in my heart. 

So my floors will stay filthy. And my car and my living room and my life will stay crowded with toys. And I will have silly dance parties and read the same book repeatedly and watch all the cartoons.  I will let her help me cook and I will let him give me slobbery kisses. I won't stress when they spill or take all of the toys out of the bins or splash water out of the tub. 

Because sooner than I can imagine, I'll be moving those sleeping souls into their own dorm rooms...and I'm going to miss the mess. 

xoxo, angie 

Sunday, September 6, 2015


Many, many thoughts go through my head every minute, and I plan for so many of them to make their way to this lovely blog-land.  But lo and behold, that has not been happening.  So here are some snippets of life here as of late...

1.  I wore some grey linen pants yesterday and they just felt funny.  Something didn't fit right, but I couldn't tell what was different about them from my other linen pants I wear pretty often.  Until I took them off last night and saw "maternity" on the tag.  That'll do it.

2.  I'm going to the Air1 Positive Hits concert next Sunday night, and I'm pretty pumped!  Our group will be comprised of an 18, 19, 20, 21, and 28 year old.  I cannot guarantee that I will not pretend to be 22.  Or 17. I mean that kind of pattern just needs to be continued.  No need to be an outlier.

3. I just did a cartwheel for the first time in probably 12 years.  I was strangely terrified, but I nailed it.   And impressed my 30 year old and 3 year old.  Boom.

4.  We're starting the book club next Tuesday on Jen Hatmaker's newest book For the Love.  I read it in just a few days as soon as I got it, and I am so looking forward to giggling and learning life together with my girls in the comfort of my pjs.  And Jen is my BFF (even though she isn't completely aware of that and we've only met briefly) spending four weeks with her (one night a week via live streaming, but who needs specifics) is making my heart flutter.
--if you live near me and want to join in on this, please let me know!  You are so very welcomed to join us...laid back and simply good--

5.  My wee babe is teething mega bad.  He's cranky--mind you, his version of cranky is still more pleasant than a lot of babies' norm, so I'll take it no problem--and his poor gums are so freakin' swollen.  Four molars at the same time.  Bless his beautiful heart.

6.  Hunter slept in Bella's room Friday night (so they both went to bed at 9:30) and then they went out on the boat all day long Saturday.  What did I decide was the best way to spend all of this "free" time?  Watch approximately (or exactly) 14 episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  And 4 more today.  Lovely.

7.  I finally got a meal plan done again and I feel so incredibly accomplished.  We are eating good home-cookin' for the next three weeks for sure, and the brain power that goes into deciding what to cook was spent ahead of time.  What a glorious tone that sets for my evening!

8.  The amount of times I have to say "no" during the day in some form or fashion is just enough to make my eyes twitch.
"No sir, don't open the entertainment center cabinets."
"Bella, do not drag your brother across the floor."
"Kaplan, do not put _________ in your mouth."  (inserts electrical cord, grass, old food, dog food, etc...because he puts everything in his mouth.)
"No you may not have candy for breakfast."
"No sir. Don't bite."
"Bella, quit laying on your brother."
and it goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on............

9.  I have been in a major purging mood since we found out we will be in this house for a few more years.  And now that I have time to do it, things are leaving this house left and right.  And we're rearranging to make it feel fresh and more workable for us. Absolutely love it.

10.  I've been completely fine without cable for the past three months.  But now my shows are all about to start back up and I'm getting the twitters...(Grey's Anatomy, The Blacklist, Fixer Upper, Dancing With the Stars).  Not to mention football season.  Oy.  Deep breaths.

11.  We were able to go to Austin and Kemah and Branson and Kansas City (twice) and St. Louis within a month's time.  Such a blast to travel to so many places with all different combinations of people and make memories like nobody's business.  But also so good to have some down time at home these next few weeks.

12.  The "threenager" phase is about to be the death of someone in this family.  The arguing and whining and melting down and sassing and crying and shouting and fighting and deliberately disobeying (definitely feel like Mufasa every time I bust out that line) is just enough to drive me to the brink of insanity.  And then she smiles.  Or snuggles in sweet.  Or kisses me without being asked. Or tells me she loves me.  And I melt.  Thank God for those moments.  And for wine.

To quote Glennon, because I love this term so much..."life is brutiful."

xoxo, angie

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I just got back from a week long trip taking our kids to Encounter, a church camp at Lubbock Christian University.   And oh how it changed us.

I got a lot of questions and side eyes and disbelief at the fact that I was leaving my kids that long.  I'll be the first to admit--it was a crazy long time.  I dropped them off on a Saturday afternoon and didn't get the back until the next Sunday afternoon...8 nights, 9 days.

But I will also be the first to tell you that it was completely worth it.  I love my babies with every ounce of my being and I missed them terribly.  But my role as mama is not the only one my life fills, and it is not always the one that can receive all of me.  Youth ministry reached into my heart and latched on tight--and doing Kingdom work alongside these people is another role that receives pretty high priority.

I am so grateful for our parents' willingness and ability to keep our kids while I was away.  Knowing I did not have to worry about my flesh and blood kiddos allowed me to be there completely and fully for my blood bought kiddos all week.  And I don't have a single trace of doubt that I was where I should have been.
This camp is an intense one.  There is so much material covered between 15 interactive classes and 6 keynote lessons.  Plus, we have the privilege of studying with two doctoral theologians and ambassadors for whom I have the utmost admiration and respect (thank you, thank you, thank you).

There's a lot of chance for youth group time and one on one discussion/counseling/mentoring.  This was my third year to be able to take our group, and each year has been so different, but equally beautiful and filled to the brim with growth.

"Lyft" (picture the Y in that spelling as a person with their hands outstretched) was the theme this year, taken from Psalm 121:1-2, "I lift us my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth."  The week centered around lifting our eyes and ourselves to our God, even in the middle of pain and brokenness and loneliness and fear...not that those things will not happen to us, nor will they go away, but that our God is bigger than all of that.  And lifting to Him brings a peace that allows us to deal with our circumstances; it brings a willingness that allows us to see and love people; it brings a complete understanding and reminder that our life's focus should not be ourselves.

We brought 7 kids with us this year.  Some of them don't have much going on right now.  Some of them are yet to have anything major happen.  And some of them are in the middle of walking through some really tough stuff.  This week opened hearts, healed broken ones, released emotions, and forged relationships...

I was able to catch the tears of several of my kids, my heart breaking with theirs.
I was able to give guidance in some ways, and simply offer a gentle presence in others.  
I was able to pray directly over each of them.  
I was able to laugh and share jokes and be silly and make memories.  
I was able to still "be mama" and take care of them when they got sick.
I was able to experience Eucharisteo with each of them, giving thanks in the presence of our risen Jesus through the breaking of bread.
I was able to learn and study and have questions of my own answered.
I was able to worship unabashedly and fully present.
I was able to stand in the gap for my kids and their families.
I was able to spend the week with my best friend, growing in Spirit.
I was able to get to know them deeper and strengthen bonds.
I was able to listen.
I was able to see.
I was able to feel and experience the movement of the Holy Spirit.
I was able to lift my eyes, my heart, my hands, my prayers, my attention, my focus, my life...
I was able to love on these kids (they'll never really know how much I love them).

Y'all are my people.  And I'm so proud of that and grateful for that.  
Thank you for letting this "old" gal be your friend.  I love you!

xoxo, angie

"Joy" --Rend Collective

We're choosing celebration

Breaking into freedom

You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We cast aside our shadows

Trust You with our sorrows

You're the song

You're the song

Of our hearts

We're dancing to the rhythm of Your heart

We're rising from the ashes to the stars

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul

The joy joy joy making me whole

Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love

The pain will not define us

Joy will reignite us

You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

The dark is just a canvas

For Your grace and brightness

You're the song
You're the song
Of our hearts

We're dancing to the rhythm of Your heart

We're rising from the ashes to the stars

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul
The joy joy joy making me whole
Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love
You're the joy

The song in my heart

The hope of my soul
In the shadows

In the sorrows

In the desert
When the pain hits
You are constant
You're the song of my heart

You're the joy joy joy lighting my soul

The joy joy joy making me whole

Though I'm broken, I am running
Into Your arms of love
Into Your arms