Birthday Boy

To the man who has had my heart from the beginning.

{Doesn’t he make 38 look amazing?}

It’s going to be a wonderful year.

Happy happy birthday, babe.

I love you…

always, c


Joy Dare

‘A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest heaven’  Matthew 21:8-9

Can you imagine what it must have been like as Jesus came into Jerusalem? To be a part of the crowd that laid blankets and palm branches down. To be the ones shouting ‘Hosanna – save now’ to Him. To see His kind, smiling face.

I wonder what it was like for Him. Riding into town, knowing this was the week that He would die. Our pastor said that He likes to imagine Jesus smiling as He came into town on the donkey. I had never really thought about it that way before. But I do imagine that He was joyful. Joyful but with knowledge. Smiling but maybe his stomach churning. I want to know Jesus in this way. This way that He is not a man from a long time ago that we call Savior. But a man who might have been scared, but because He loves me {and you} so much, he chose us. A man who knew the end of the story before it even began and still chose us. A man that could see every mistake I make, every lie I tell, every sin I commit and STILL chose me!

I know I will never fully be able to completely express my gratitude to Him.

But every day, I WILL say ‘thank you’ because of who He is.

Joy Dare

It’s been a while since I’ve listed some gratitude and it is something I need to do.

We’ve had some sickness, some selfishness, some loneliness.

And it’s easy to take those things and look inward and hold onto them and let them be the eyes that I look through.

There have been some challenging days.

But today,

Today I choose to look at all the good {and there is so much to see} to look at His grace {and I am thankful He continues to cover me in it, especially when I don’t deserve it} to look at His peace {and allow myself to wallow in THAT – not my self-pity} to look at the hope {and let it lead the way}…

Today I am thankful for:

– coffee with cinnamon creamer

– the chirping birds

– my son’s temp finally broke

– coffee with cinnamon creamer

– broken cat-tails all over the back yard by some curious little boys

– memories of our sweet Lulu

– mother/son dance with this handsome fella

– coffee with cinnamon creamer

– sweet messages from friends

– Psalm 91:14 ‘Because Cami loves me, says the Lord, I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges my name. She will call upon me, and I will answer her.’

{When our pastor’s wife spoke last weekend at our women’s retreat, she told us about placing our name – or the name of who we are praying for – in the actual scripture. I like how personal it makes it}

– exciting house news {I’ll keep you posted}

– another day closer to our forever home.

How about you, what are you thanking God for today?


Sometimes when people send encouragement, it is a time that I desperately need it.

Other times when I receive it, I may already be having a good day. But I like to tuck those important words deep in my soul. I may need them for a later date.

Yesterday morning, I got a text from a sweet friend, I don’t see often enough, just letting me know I was in her prayers that day. At lunch another friend called to see how I was doing, she had just been thinking of me. And later that afternoon I got a text from my cousin who said I had been on his mind.

I probably hang on to cards & texts & emails a little too long.  But there are days I go back to read them again.

Did you ever have to do the ‘3-put-up rule’ when you were younger?  I remember if we said something mean, we had to say 3 nice things about that person. {Talk about rough punishment}  This is kinda the grown-up version – you don’t have to say anything mean to follow it up with something nice…

Start with nice.

If you are thinking of someone today, send them a little hello.

Tell them your day is better because you know them.

Go ahead and give them your beautiful smile {or even a kiss}.

Make someone’s day before they make yours.

‘therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing’ I Thessalonians 5:11


Joy Dare

‘Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love Him with all that’s in you, love Him with all you’ve got!’ Deut. 6:5 The Message

109. His arms stretched out for me – love!

110. The daily presence of the Holy Spirit – love!

111. His word that encourages & fills my deepest holes – love!

‘…For even if the mountains walk away and the hills fall to pieces, My love won’t walk away from you, My covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart. The God who has compassion on you says so.’ Isaiah 54:10 The Message

Joy Dare

Still playing catch up for my January gifts

 It has been really good to list these out on paper to see the great blessings He continues to give.

80. Lulu

81. ‘meeting’ Ana

82. the deepness of God’s love

83. forgiveness

84. patience

85. love

{Learn more about Joy Dare}

Friday Praise & Prayers

I came home from a meeting last night and O was still up. He wanted to lay in bed with me to fall asleep. We climbed in and he began telling me about the book he is currently reading. Now let me tell you, O is usually our quiet one. He thinks before he speaks. His kindergarten teacher told me that she learned early on that when he had something to say, she stopped and listened, because he didn’t talk, just to talk. He shares because he really has something to say.

But last night as we lay beneath the comforter {me still in my jeans & sweater}, he told me about this book like it was a movie he watched. His details were amazing, like he saw it with his eyes. I could barely follow as he went from one chapter to the next, pausing only to let me take a few ‘mama & O’ pics {I am trying to not just take pics of the kiddos alone, but be in the pics, with them}…

He smiled and went right on talking about the next chapter…

and the next…

God, I am thankful for that moment…

Time to hear Owen’s voice.

Time to let him share his brilliant mind with me.

Time for a little one on one with my 2nd born.

God, my prayer today is for Your hope to shine brightly. May I see You in every part of my day.

What are you thanking God for today?



Friday Praise & Prayers

“Try to view each day as an adventure, carefully planned out by your Guide. Instead of staring into the day that is ahead of you, attempting to program it according to your will, be attentive to Me and all I have prepared for you. Thank me for this day of life, recognizing that it is a precious, unrepeatable gift. Trust that I am with you each moment, whether you sense My Presence or not. A thankful, trusting attitude helps you to see events in your life from My perspective.

A life lived close to Me will never be dull or predictable. Expect each day to contain surprises! Resist your tendency to search for the easiest route through the day. Be willing to follow wherever I lead. No matter how steep or treacherous the path before you, the safest place to be is by My side.”  –Jesus Calling

My prayer today is that I will stay close to Him all day, knowing that His plan is still better than mine.

As much as I am a scheduled person, today I am thankful for impromptu date nights.

Jason & I went out last night for dinner & it was so good to get away, just the 2 of us.

I always feel better when we connect & are able to talk 1 on 1.

We went to Sam’s after dinner {yeah, we’re fancy like that}.

As we were walking through the aisles we remembered the time we had taken Lulu there with us.

I carried her in a wrap against me.

She wore her pink Ohio State hat.

An older lady came over to see her & say how beautifully tiny she was.

We walked around that giant store with the tiniest treasure we had ever been given.

Oh what sweet memories.

I miss you so much baby girl…

Give Thanks

I’ve been thinking about this new year & what it will look like for our family & what steps I can start it off with that will help shape me & our year. I know many things in life we cannot control, but I believe how we start each day is in our control.

So I have I have been thinking about forming {good} habits.

And so this morning when I came across this I knew immediately what habit I wanted to start-up again.


As much as I love {most} of our technology these days, there is something I adore about hand written things. I want to write down {with pen & paper} 3 daily things I am grateful for.

This must be something deep within me because although most days my thoughts are fleeting, I remember going away to college & unpacking a box of goodies my mom sent with me. Tucked down in the side of the box was the lightest pink pack of thank you cards tied with a ribbon & a small handwritten note from her that said ‘a grateful heart is always in style’. I’m sure I have that note saved somewhere.

I also vividly remember when D was a toddler, I bought us each a little notebook from the dollar store & every day we sat down & wrote 1 thing we were thankful for. His thanks were lines that he drew, but as he told me what those lines ‘said’ I would write the words down & knew that his heart was being grateful.

My sweet friend, Susan, has her children stop when they begin to whine & tell her 3 things they are thankful for in their lives.

Love it! 

I can find something daily that I am ungrateful for very easily, but I want to choose to find 3 things that I am grateful for starting today.

Would you join me as I give thanks, for our God is SO good. 

Here’s my starting list {I’m behind a few days, so I will continue to add to this list}

 1. cinnamon vanilla coffee creamer {yummy}

2. my husband {whether he brings home a deer or not} ❤

3. God’s very spoken words that I can read & that are new to me every day

4. boys from the bus windows saying ‘I love you’ in sign language

5. a warm home

6. blueberry muffins

7. a little girl who snuggles me

8. ‘Jesus Calling’

9. the excitement of a new home

10. an empty laundry basket

11. Lulu


Thanksgiving & Rejoicing

“This IS the day that the Lord has made

let us REJOICE and be glad in it”

Psalm 118:24

We miss you deeply sweet Lulu Grace.

We give thanks today for being able to hold you here on earth.

And we give thanks that we will hold you again when we see you in heaven.

“REJOICE in the Lord ALWAYS and again I say REJOICE”

Philippians 4:4