Wednesday, July 17, 2013

We are the Wheelers

My family. Next to Jesus, they are the greatest treasures this life has to offer. I told a friend the other day that I realize I am blessed. I am married to an incredible man who adores me and God has trusted us with four healthy really fantastic children. With all our trials and difficulties, when we are together, at peace, I feel as if being with them is the closest I'll ever get to heaven, this side of heaven. :)

Finding a photographer who can capture that feeling for me? Nearly impossible. I'm not even kidding. There are lots of very talented people out there who can take great pictures. But finding someone who can capture the very heartbeat of your family? That's a totally different story.

When Mike's parents asked us to vacation with them on the Oregon Coast this last April, I began searching for a photographer who I hoped would be able to do just that: see my family the way I do and somehow manage to translate that into photographs.

Xiomara was the first photographer referred to me and the only one I contacted. When she called me we talked for 45 minutes and I knew that not only had I found the right photographer, I'd met a kindred spirit. She, quite literally, had me at hello.

Words fail when I try to explain what Xiomara did for our family on that very windy day in April. Not only did she take amazing photos, capturing each child's personality and the love Mike and I have for them and each other, she made us feel like rock stars. She had us laughing and enjoying ourselves so much that when the wind picked up and the temperature dropped, our poor kids, constant victims of my need to document life's every milestone, continued to smile and play along. Something they never do for me! 

I am trying to treasure each moment God gives me with our kids. They are small for such a short time, and life isn't often very easy. Taking the time to appreciate each child for who they are and for the unique spirit God has placed in them is not often at the top of my "do-to" list. Going away, on vacation together, helped me to slow down, remember how amazing this life God has given me is, and to really value the husband and kids God has graced me with.

I am so grateful to Xiomara for helping us to relax and enjoy the moment. For capturing our laughter and smiles. For bringing out the best in our kids. For taking the time to capture who we truly are. For being more than a photographer; for being a friend.

These are a few of my favorites from that very special session!
All photography in this post by Imago Dei Photography

I know you'll enjoy all of Xiomara's work so go check it out!

Monday, May 27, 2013

I just don't know

As some of you know, Mike and I are in the process of selling our home. It is a process, and has been a long time in the making, but once the decision to sell was made things have progressed very quickly. The first question people ask when they hear we're moving is, naturally, "Where are you moving to?" Our answer often surprises them. Or worries...or frustrates...or confuses...

We do not know.

We have a plan, but there are a lot of factors that may sway or change our course. We're ok with that, and ultimately, we really have no clue where we'll be living when our home closes. To add to the confusion, we are doing a short sell so even though we have an offer on our home, we have to wait for the bank to approve everything and it is a time consuming process and requires a lot of waiting.

The fact is, this is absolutely thrilling for us. We've made a decision without having a solid plan in place and are stepping out in faith in what we feel is obedience to God. Not having a plan is very unusual for us but we feel as though God has spent the last few years stripping us of those things we find our comfort and security in, that are not Him. While this is exciting for us, the kids see it a little bit differently.

Last week, before church began, the kids were asking about when and where we are going to move. I told them, yet again, that we do NOT know, but that God does. They continued to ask questions.

"Will we take our TV?" Yes.
"Will our new house have an upstairs?" Maybe.
"Will we take the fireplace?" No.
"Will we take our beds?" Yes.
"Can my stuffies stay with me?" Of course.
"But the light switches...will they come, too?" No.

So. Many. Questions.
At one point, Brooklyn began to cry and wailed,

"What if our new home doesn't have a baaaaaaathrooooooom?"
It was comical. I tried to suppress a laugh (unsuccessfully) before I went to give her a hug and assure her that Mike and I will make sure that her basic needs are going to be taken care of.
And the words just slipped out,

"Why can't you just trust that we will take care of you?"

Oh man.

Did the Holy Spirit totally just talk to me while I was reprimanding my daughter?


The kids have never moved before so this is a new experience for them, but I honestly reached a point where I thought, "Have we taken such terrible care of you, have we provided so poorly for you, that you can't even trust us to make sure you have a place to use the bathroom?"

How many times do I do that with God? How many times have I become hung up on these details that are of no consequence? How many times have I questioned His ability to care for me, or to provide for me, or to love me simply because I can't see what He has in store? When things don't go the way I expect, how quickly do I become despairing and begin to wail and moan that He isn't giving me what I think I need?

I've been told that raising children is a refining process that reveals much of your own sin. Over the years I've thought this meant that I would see how selfish I am (it has) or how impatient I am (yep...that, too) or whatever other sin I think I am struggling with. I didn't think it would be revealed how little I trust my Father to take care of me.

In that moment with my daughter, I felt a deep compassion for her and a need to just hold her. I heard myself saying,

"Mom and Dad are going to be there. We'll be with you. We'll take care of you. That will never change."

I could feel God saying the same things to me.

I don't know how our story is going to play out. I don't expect that we will always be comfortable, or warm, or honestly, that we will always have a toilet to pee in. God has never promised us those things. But He does promise to never leave us and that He does work all things for good, for those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. I'd like to think that means having a toilet, but ... you never know. I do know He has it all planned out and I am thankful that even when I'm crying out to Him because I just cannot for the life of me figure out what is going on, He can gently chuckle and put His arms around me and whisper to my heart,

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3,4

So, no. We don't know where we're going to live.
But God does.
And by God's grace, I'm content to rest there.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Today was a wonderful day.

To my shame, I don't often take the time to really sit back and think of all the ways God has shown up in my day. As the sun was setting today though, I realized what an amazing blessing today has been and I just felt the need to share my joy with others.

I will never tire of these blue skies!

1 - The sun was shining and it was warm. This kind of weather is so good for my soul.
2 - Today was our last day of homeschool co-op until the Fall. I really can't explain what a blessing the women of this co-op have been to me. Each Monday of co-op, I come home feeling full and encouraged. While I look forward to having a little down time from having to get out of the house so early each week, I will sorely miss the women whom I have come to cherish so so much.
3 - I left my cell phone in my friend's car yesterday afternoon. She returned it today, but I had almost 24 hours without it and I realized how much I enjoy the quiet. I am thankful for the reminder.
4 - A friend whom I love dearly but don't get to really visit with often enough, had sent me a text asking if we wanted to have a play date while my phone was away. To my great joy, when I finally was able to respond, she was available still and we had a great visit! God spoke through her to get through my hard heart. I treasure her so much!
5 - Mike is at refresher today and was home at 5 p.m. We get to go to bed together tonight and wake up together in the morning. A week of "normal" work shifts is wonderful.
6 - We stopped for dinner and I met an amazing homeschooling mother of six. From the time our conversation first began I knew she knew Jesus and she gave me hope and encouragement that she had no way of knowing I needed.
7 - My sister cleaned my house. It is sparkling and wonderful and I could kiss her (and probably will!)  for taking care of me this way!
8 - I got to read my Bible. I'm still working on making this a habit that I stick with, but God is so gracious and patient with me even just a few verses feed my hungry soul.
9 - I'm still on a high from having spent the weekend with the women from my church. While it wasn't what I expected, it was more than what I hoped for and God affirmed the love I have for our church family.
10 - The blog post from Imago Dei photography of our family session went live today. You need to check it out. Xiomara did a stellar job; we were brought to tears!!

I'm determined to take stock of the little blessings more often. I have a feeling if I were to look, I'd see God a lot more often in my day. I'm so thankful He's always there.

What are some of your blessings today?!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Road to Honduras

Our family is going through some big changes and I wanted to share them with all of you! Head over to my personal blog and check it out!!

Here's your photo hint of what the changes are ... can you figure it out??

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Benefit for the FOP

I'm doing my first fundraiser for our officers! Hooray!

Check out my POST and head over to Facebook and 'like' us!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


In conjunction with my Getting out of Debt/Remember When Wednesdays posts I'm doing my first EVER giveaway!

Head on over to Being Gently Led for all the details!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

What do you do??

Momma Fargo just celebrated 22 years with her hubby. How cool is that? 22 years off her life sentence she said. Ha! I have this feeling (call me crazy) that she actually adores that man that's put up with her for so long (snicker snicker).

It seems marriage, or at least marriage long term and/or marriage done well, isn't such a common thing in police work. When Officer Hottie was in academy he was told that something like 80% of marriages don't survive the first five years after police academy. I don't know if that statistic is correct or not, but I know it sounds scary. I remember very clearly OH coming home, holding me and saying, "I will NOT let that happen to us." We're committed. We're in this for the long haul. Good or bad. Period. There's no escape plan, no exit route, no Plan B. It's us. Until death. That's it.

Honestly, I like it that way. OH and I come from a long line of committed marriages. All four sets of grandparents were only married to each other. Both of our parent's are still married to each other. Talk about stability.

I feel very strongly that marriage was created to be enjoyed; not tolerated. So I enjoy it. Very much. So far, it's my favorite. Even more than being a mom, or chocolate or sleeping in. Being a wife takes the cake. And although I would love to do an entire post on what Officer Hottie does to make sure that I enjoy being a wife so much, I will instead pose these questions:

How do you keep your marriage strong?
With all the failed marriages around, how do you keep it together?
With failure being an option for so many, how do you keep the temptation away?
What do YOU do to keep your husband coming home every night?
What does HE do to make sure you're home when he gets there?

(If you're missing me at all, or are just curious about our debt story, come check out Being Gently Led. It's where I'm at most the time now!)