The Little Things

Hello my friends!! It’s been almost two years since my last post. Wow! I don’t know if people even read blogs anymore but, I feel like writing so here it is!:-)

I had to do my grocery shopping yesterday – the Friday before Easter. The stores were full of people who were in a hurry to get things done.  I have learned to cope with busy stores and crowds. With my introvert personality, that can stress me out and overwhelm me. I use “the little things” to boost my mood. I take along a drink I enjoy – my coffee or a smoothie – and sip it as I shop. I use my favorite hand lotion. The yummy smell gives me a little mental boost. I put one ear bud in and listen to my favorite worship music. I find when I do the small things, I have patience for people. I more apt to smile and let them get in line ahead of me, or reach for that box of granola bars when I was standing there first.

I wasn’t always this way. This is a coping mechanism I learned in the process with our Julianna. When she was in the hospital really sick, and then at home on hospice, I learned to enjoy the little things that I took for granted before. Things like a good cup of coffee, (hospital coffee is the worst)…sitting or standing in the sunshine for a minute and just breathing…the smell of my favorite lotion… Things I enjoyed before but all of a sudden, all those small things became my lifeline. A tiny escape from what was happening in my daughters room; even if just for a moment. A reminder that I was still alive, still breathing, still capable of smiling and feeling joy.

So now, I find myself employing those tactics in the sometimes chaos of everyday life. When traffic is really bad, or CostCo is horribly crowded, I find the small, beautiful, ordinary things to be grateful for and smile… 🙂

 I Play

I have a confession to make: I’m a 42 year-old mom and I play Pokemon Go. 

 I have two teenage boys, ages 18 & 16. They are video game fanatics, and they play Pokemon. My husband too. I thought it was great that they were playing together. They had something to talk about, something more in common between their worlds. I thought I could be content just going out “hunting” with them and generally hanging out. Turns out – that’s pretty boring and I found myself on the outside of their conversations. SO last night while we were standing around a Poke Stop and they were discussing which ones they were catching and talking to strangers – gasp! – about the gym nearby and who “owns” it, I decided to download the game and play along. My 16 year-old got SO excited when he saw what I was doing. Haha! I have to admit, it’s pretty entertaining.  I can see how it is addicting for some people. You have to go out walking and find the Pokemon and catch them. We have taken several walks together as a family in the past week. I can’t tell you the last time we did that. 

I can hear some of you now…”what a waste of time, why would you do that?” Here’s why: 

I learned years ago that spending time with my kids meant getting involved in what they are interested in. Having boys, that often means sitting down and playing a video game with them. I meet them where they are. We have conversations about games that can turn into meaningful life conversations. Do I want their memories of me to be about me always giving them grief for the games they played and the things that interested them? Or do I want them to remember how I sat down – or in this case – walked around – and played with them? There is a balance and playing with them gives me the opportunity to talk about and demonstrate how to play in moderation. How to balance video games with real life. 

My encouragement for you parents is to meet your kids where they are at. If you have “littles”, get down on the floor and play with them. Get involved in their make-believe world. When they get older, learn about the things they are interested in, wether it’s computers, sports, or books. Get involved with them. That’s all they want – your time and attention. You might be thinking “how is playing video games giving them attention?” Trust me – I had to learn that one. My boys love it when I do that. Playing a game together creates teamwork and communication. I heard of a study that found  when a group of people are playing the same game together , their bodies physically sync together. Heart rate, respiration, etc. That’s pretty awesome!  

So, even if it’s not something you would otherwise be interested in, jump in a play with your kids. No matter their age or activity. Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve gotta catch ’em all!! 


My mama heart is hurting tonight. Social media is not my friend today. I thought I would be okay. I mean, I made it through “birthday season” just fine. The time of year in the spring when the group of girls who are the same age as Julianna have their birthdays. It’s always tough to see them turning another year older and doing things she never got to do. But this…

That same group of girls…including my beautiful niece who closely resembles my Junas with long blonde hair and big blue eyes…they have finished middle school and are moving on to high school. Beautiful young ladies heading into some of the most fun, memorable, years of their lives. I’m so proud of them but at the same time I can’t help but think “she should be standing there with them”. It’s not fair! I always thought she would be there, in a fully functioning body. We believed for that for so long. And now that she’s gone, I thought that ache would get a little easier to bear because she’s no longer trapped in her broken body. But you see – the hard truth is, this grieving in mostly for me. I dont get to watch my beautiful girl grow up. I don’t get to be the proud mama of a daughter who is pursuing her dreams. Please don’t mistake what I’m saying. I love my boys beyond words and am so proud of them. But at the same time I’m missing out on my daughter. 

I’m so glad that death isn’t the end of the story for her – or us. Until I see her again, there will be days like this when I need to give myself room to grieve, to cry, to get my emotions out- and that’s ok. As long as I don’t stay in this place. I take it all to my Heavenly Father – my Papa Daddy. I give it all to Him and let Him love on me until I feel as though I can breathe again. 


I had a very vivid dream early this morning. I gave birth to a baby girl. At home. By myself. In my bathroom. 🙂 I clearly remember the details. I remember thinking how pleased Travis would be to come home and find the baby in bed with me. But then, I remembered I already had a baby, only two months old and thinking “I didn’t think I would have this one so soon. How will I manage to care for both?” But that thought soon left my head and my focus was on THIS baby and cleaning up after the birth. Basically, focusing on the task in front of me. I was sitting there giving birth and looking at the mess in the tub in front of me. Like I had labored in the tub but got out to give birth and the water in the tub was dirty. It didn’t bother me during the process but after baby was born, I thought “I need to clean that up, what a mess!” I put the baby down and started on that task. When I turned around to check on baby, there was a little girl there with the baby, maybe 4-5 years old. She had the baby dressed and sitting up!

No-I don’t think this dream was literal. I’m past the baby phase in my natural life. In the spirit, however, babies represent new things God “births” in us. I have no doubt this was from God, and I’ll tell you why. This past week, especially, I have been feeling very overwhelmed with everything I have going on. I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with my schedule. I have a long list of “to-dos” and I felt as if I was drowning. Even though most, if not all, of my list were things I’m passionate about and enjoy doing. I began to pray and ask God if there was something I need to give up. I was thinking about the tasks that seemed the most overwhelming to me, and it hit me. My crafting business – Carlily. Even though I thoroughly enjoy the things I create, it has been taking up time and kind of robbing me of the joy of it. That’s a hard one for me to give up. It’s something that I’ve worked hard at. Even though it’s tiny, it’s “mine”. Well, that should’ve been my first clue…anytime I call something “mine”. Haha! I decided to put it on “hiatus” for a while. I haven’t even announced it yet. I just told Travis about my decision. The moment I made the decision in my heart, I felt a release. The follow-through might be a little hard. I love to create – especially for other people. Making something for someone else that brings them joy makes me happy. I know there will be a time in my life for this, it’s just not right now.

So, it’s no coincidence that I had that dream the night I  made this decision. I think God has “birthed” something new in my life and I’m SO excited to follow His promptings and find out exactly what it might be!

I think I have said it before but, If you are so busy that you feel overwhelmed and disoriented, there very well may be something in your life that you need to let go of. Even if everything you are doing is “good” and part of your passions and giftings. We go through seasons in life and, if we are listening to our Heavenly Father, (that inner prompting and intuition) we will know what season we are in and what our purpose is for that season. Yeah – sometimes it’s hard and hurts a little bit to let go of some things but, it’s SO worth it!

Interpretations from my dream:

  1. God has birthed something new in my life as a result of my decision to lay down my own things and do what He is asking me to do well.
  2. God is speeding things up. I thought I would have a full gestation period in between births but that didn’t happen.
  3. Focus on what He puts in front of me and trust that He knows what need attention and what doesn’t. After I gave birth, my attention turned to cleaning up.
  4. I will be giving birth to things and handing them over to the next generation and teaching them how to nurture it but also, they will accomplish things much faster and easier than I could.


I originally drafted this post 9 days ago. Yesterday, the message at church was about handing over your “time, talents, and treasure” to God. SO good and timely! You can listen to the message on our website.


Ne Year

Happy New Year!! So…its January 4th and I haven’t made any resolutions yet. I’m typically not a resolution person anyways. Instead, I’ve decided to take the month and evaluate last year and plan for next. Our Pastor is starting a series next Sunday on prayer and will be starting a 21 day fast then and is encouraging the whole church to fast as well. I’ve already decided to do it. I haven’t decided what kind of fast yet. I plan on talking with Travis and doing something together. This coming year I have some things I want to do and I want to sit down and think about them and plan. Write down my intentions. Living intentionally is something I love but lose sight of every once in a while. Some of the things I want to focus on for myself…

-books to read this year


-my business

-blog regularly

As for my family, we have a high school graduation, an 18th birthday and a 16th birthday this year, among other things. Can’t wait to see what God has for us. This past year was tough but we learned a lot. 

Here’s to a New Year full of possibilities and adventures… 😊

Fear and Love

My heart is so heavy this morning. I’ve been hit with the reality again that our world – our nation – is broken. I feel we are sinking fast. Some people say a different president is the answer. Some people say stricter laws are the answer. Some say our laws need to loosen up. Let people in/close the borders and don’t let people in. I am not one to jump into a political debate but here’s the thing: I don’t think this is political. No – I think it’s spiritual.

You see; if you ask yourself what the core of all of this debating and heated emotions is, it all boils down to one thing. Fear. Fear of someone coming in and hurting us, fear of our rights being taken away, fear of someone else having too many rights…the list goes on. That’s one of the Devil’s #1 weapons is. If he can get us swept up in fear of what is happening or fear of what might happen, he has us where he wants us. Frozen and not advancing for God. We get caught up in protecting “me and mine” that we forget to lift our eyes up and see others around us. We don’t trust anyone who is different than us.  And the truth is, in this natural world, that is a natural response.

But, here’s the thing – as Christians, we are not of this world. We are merely living here.


So what, then, should be our response? Pray. Pray and ask God what He would have you to do. The answer might be completely different than your neighbor, who is also a Christian. God sees the whole picture and we only see fragments. Trust Him and know that He loves you and your family more than life – literally. Trust Him.

Second – walk in love. Everyday.


In every situation, you have an opportunity to show love. Ask yourself, what does love look like in this moment. Love never fails!

I love that! If we would just take a moment and ask ourselves that question, I believe that our everyday lives would look a little different.

This world is scary, and it’s only going to get worse. Keep your eyes on The One Who has seen the end and be at peace. The saying is true…

What the world needs now is love, sweet love…God’s love. We are His hands and feet on this earth…let’s live love out.

In Over My Head

This song describes what I feel like at this season in my life. My prayer has been: I know there’s more God, I don’t know what it looks like, but whatever it is; I’m in! Take a minute to read the lyrics and listen. Maybe you are in that same place; of knowing there has to be more but not quite knowing “what”. Take it to God. It’s a beautiful thing when you take time to just be with Him. Let Him whisper to you. Soon that whisper will be all you can think about. You can’t go without it. Your desire turns to doing whatever He wants to do. Ask Him what He’s up to today and tell Him you want to be a part of it. He won’t disappoint. He’s always looking for people who are willing to say “whatever You want God. I don’t care what it looks like – big or small – I’m in.” I’ve been in such a time of transition and I can feel it SO strongly – there is so much more He has for me to do. I love to be in over my head! That’s the place where we HAVE to rely completely on God. When we get to that place where we know we can’t get there on our own or stay there. It’s His Grace that carries us – His ability. It’s not hard, it’s not exhausting, it’s an ease when we flow with Him.

Camping and Back to School

I realized it’s been over a month since I’ve posted. Here’s what’s been happening in our world:

The boys went back to school. 10th and 12th grade. Wow! Time flies! It’s fun to see Josiah start to come into his own and mature. It’s like talking to an adult sometimes. I love my conversations with him in the car. I will miss that when he starts to drive on his own. Caleb is also maturing a bit. Schoolwork isn’t such a struggle this year. Thank God!! Theater actually starts tonight. The first audition for the first show of the year. Basically now through May he will have rehearsals for a show 2-3 evenings a week.

We got to go camping in Idyllwild the week before school started. It was so nice to get away and unplug together. We took a hike to the top of Suicide Rock. The views were incredible! I’m hoping to squeeze one more trip in before it gets too cold.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read. Have a great weekend!! Have a look at our camping pics. 🙂

P.S.    The two with the boys at the top of Suicide Rock so accurately portray their personalities and the way they approach life. Caleb lives “on the edge” and loves to push boundaries. Josiah is cautious and calculated. And yes – Caleb made us very nervous up there. Travis more so than me, he literally never took his eyes off of him!

Because a big boulder has to be conquered...

Because a big boulder has to be conquered…



Quick hike to see the sunset over Taquitz Peak

Quick hike to see the sunset over Taquitz Peak

The Black Mountain fire lookout tower. The view was amazing up there!

The Black Mountain fire lookout tower. The view was amazing up there!

Permit to hike the trail to Suicide Rock

Permit to hike the trail to Suicide Rock

A new friend we met along the way...

A new friend we met along the way…

This was about halfway up

This was 2.5 miles in…

View from the top of Suicide Rock

View from the top of Suicide Rock

Travis watching Caleb like a hawk. I love what this picture portrays...a father watching over his son...

Travis watching Caleb like a hawk. I love what this picture portrays…a father watching over his son…

Two steps to the edge and straight down.

Two steps to the edge and straight down.

Josiah sitting far away from the edge and looking the other direction.

Josiah sitting far away from the edge and looking the other direction.

Caleb sitting as close to the edge as he can get.

Caleb sitting as close to the edge as he can get.

Playing catch. (don't judge his form, they play lacrosse, not football. Haha!)

Playing catch. (don’t judge his form, they play lacrosse, not football. Haha!)

One Year

Last Tuesday was the on year “anniversary” of Julianna’s passing. I kept meaning to sit down and write before then but my thoughts refused to form cohesive sentences. I was a jumble of emotions and thoughts. We spent the day together as a family at the beach with my sister and a few cousins. It was a great decompression day. Being outdoors is always good for my soul. That’s usually where I head when I need some space. I wasn’t really emotional on the actual anniversary day – but I was leading up to it. That’s how my brain functions. The thinking about and “anticipation” of the day is usually worse than the day itself. I keep thinking of a quote from one of my favorite movies – the third in the Lord of the Rings trilogy; ‘The Return of the King’. Gandalf and Pippin are waiting for the battle to begin. They know the army is coming, all is still and quiet and Pippin says

I don’t want to be in a battle. But waiting on the edge of one I can’t escape is even worse.

That’s how I felt for – really – the past 1 1/2 – 2 years. Knowing that Julianna’s body was starting to fail and knowing what we were facing was, for the most part for me, worse than her actual passing. Thinking about it happening and wondering what we would feel like, would it be horrible for her, would it be fast or long and drawn out? This past year has been more of the same for me – in regards to waiting for the “firsts”. Our first Christmas and other holidays without her, our first Mother’s Day and Father’s Day without her, her birthday, and the first anniversary of her death. I feel like I’ve spent the past two years waiting for things I couldn’t escape to happen. Now that the date has come and gone – I feel like I can look forward to my future. Whatever it holds. I know there will be other tragedy’s that happen to me, but, for now, I don’t know about them and don’t have to “wait” for them to happen. I can take a deep breath and focus. Is the grieving process over? No! I know enough to know that I’m always “in process”. However, I’m SO incredibly glad this year is done. That phase of the process is over. I know exactly where my sweet girl is and exactly how she’s doing all the time. She’s finally enjoying her body and has everything she could ever need. For me – that’s priceless and brings an immeasurable amount of peace to my soul.

Happy Birthday

13 years ago we welcomed you earthside. It was an incredibly happy and heartbreaking time. Getting the daughter I longed for; just not in the way I imagined.


You captivated us with your big blue eyes. The way you could communicate without speaking was beautiful. 13 years ago; they said you wouldn’t make it to 1 year, you celebrated 12 years with us earthside.

juna bday party009bday picture

You defied the odds – time after time.

This year we celebrate without you. I always knew this day would come. I didn’t know how I would feel. I still couldn’t say if someone were to ask me. Sad. Happy. Relieved for you. It seems that “bittersweet” is the word of the year. Dad took the day off work tomorrow so we can be together and remember you. We will probably take some flowers to your grave. We will think about you and talk about you and those beautiful blue eyes and the conversations we had with you. How you loved your movies and music. The way you would light up when your favorite people came into the room. We miss you so very much but we know that you are in the best place for you. I wouldn’t wish you back.
Happy earthly Birthday my sweet girl. Can’t wait to see you again!

march 04 (3) juna & Dad002 kids - august IMAG0260 Juna and Mom002 july 2005030