What Real Success Looks Like {allume}

If your blog changes lives, what does that mean? And what if it doesn’t? If your writing attracts hundreds upon hundreds of readers, what does that make you? And what if only your best friend stops by? If you raise hearts or incite lengthy comments, what does that measure? And if you don’t, is your success any less?

I’ve been the long-time blogger asking why I write unsure of myplace in this blogging world. And I’ve resolved to stay true to my voice and calling even though I’m unsure what that looks like.

But this one, this one has been pruned into me and the cutting is still fresh. I still struggle to believe this is what faithfulness looks like, I am resolved to know it.

Today I’m over at Allume talking about the only true success. Join me?



Weekend Wanderings {vol. 3}


Beasts of the Southern Wild. I wanted to love it. I thought I would love it. I found it to be mediocre and a bit cliche. And the whole magic realism thing they were trying for with the beasts was shaky at best. I found this an interesting article, The Case Against Beasts of the Southern Wild.

But trailers…my husband and I sat and watched about 30 minutes of trailers the other night. Here are a few that peaked our interest:

  • Olympus Has Fallen – Big, loud, & not so realistic, but it seems an action movie I might actually want to watch.
  • Iron Man 3 – What is he going to be rude and sarcastic and save the day? Again? Oh, I’d never guess. Well…it actually looks interesting.
  • Upside Down – Probably the most intriguing, though it could be a repeat of Across the Universe or I may just be thinking that because of Jim Sturgiss is the lead.
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness – This isn’t really my thing, but my husband was interested. I just kept saying, “It’s Sherlock! It’s Sherlock!” Though there is this one line, “I am better.” “At what?” “Everything.,” which is totally something Sherlock would say.
  • Lore – Intriguing, possibly depressing. About the children of Nazi family on the run after the ally invasion.
  • The Place Behind the Pines – It’s like playing cops and robbers, but with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper.


I finished the Harry Potter series last weekend. It was good. I didn’t want it to end. J.K. Rowling is my new writing hero. I’m afraid to watch the movies for fear of being disappointed. I think I’ll go buy a Gryffindor sweater now.

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Last week was not a fun week for me and mothering. I finally picked up this book and it was a bit of fresh air. I always appreciate Sally Clarkson’s fresh, grace-filled approach to motherhood, mentoring, and how being faithful won’t look the same for everyone

It requires faith to be yourself. […] But living according to the voice of God’s Spirit is always the way to freedom, joy, and fulfillment. […] Be the best and most excellent and most righteous self you can be, but live in the freedom of God’s call and design on your life.

Do you think that with such a diverse family, as each of us is bound to have, that one single formula could possibly allow them to live in the grace and power God has meant for us?

…Live an exceptional life with your family and children, by faith, and not by formula.

Next weekend I’ll be headed to the Mom Heart Conference in Raleigh with a few friends. I’m soo looking forward to the refreshment and encouragement and a bit of crazy.

People You Should Be Reading But {Perhaps} Aren’t


I’ve been planning and thinking and pinteresting about our new house. We’ve only been browsing houses on trulia and zillow, but I’m eagerly planning putting my collages back up on the wall. I’ve been eyeing these prints from Katie Daisy for a while. Aren’t they gorgeous?

this week’s words…

“When you’re Sense sometimes you just have to throw caution {or well-laid plans} to the wind and follow Sensibility across the muddy hills.

Even if it means getting wet. […]

Oh, it was a bit of Mary Lennox and the magic of secrets and a bit of earth. And it was a bit of Marianne’s hopeless romance even in her brokenheartedness. If only for an hour, my tired mama-dreamer soul smelled hope and joy and the blaring adventure only children conjure.” [read more…]

Where have you been and what have you seen this week?


Chasing Blue Skies

I felt a bit like Marianne today. The sky has been dark and gray for days and then, this morning while the boys were running circles in our small living room yelling like banshees and Olivia whimpering to be held or fed or both, I caught a glimpse of the sky.

The window matted bleak, puffy clouds, but up–right there in the corner, a bit of spring blue wrestled to burst forth.

“There’s some blue sky! Let us chase it!”

My mind ran to the very grown-up to do list I had outlined for my day: schedule an appointment for the van, laundry, preapproval letter, contact the realtor, teach these kids something, abide, make it through the day without losing my head. As tempting as blue sky is it would have to wait. There were grown-up things to be done.

Somewhere in the crazy my mom called and in the cacophony of attempting to hush these youngins so I could make heads or tails of what she was saying she suggested taking them outside. Before I could rattle off my to do list, she interrupted me, “Oh, I know it’s not always easy, but it’ll help them burn so energy off. It doesn’t have to be all day. It’ll be good for you.”

I hung up the phone. With the blue sky lingering over me, I reluctantly got everyone ready and fed the baby before we headed out the door, while scenarios of the many ways this could go wrong played through my head. After we were coated, booted, and wigs warmed, we started off on our adventure.

{to my boys everything is an adventure}

Turning the corner in front of the house, the bit of blue stretched wide its aching arms and waved. I laughed.

And then I laughed at myself for laughing at the blue sky.

{isn’t that how joy comes? like a surprise. Wasn’t C.S. Lewis surprised by joy? And how does Ann count her thanks but in joy?}

When you’re Sense sometimes you just have to throw caution {or well-laid plans} to the wind and follow Sensibility across the muddy hills. Even if it means getting wet.

Today we chased blue sky. We got stuck in mud puddles and hunted down bandits. We saw our stagnant creek bubble and trickle. We listened to bull frogs and splashed our clothes wet. We glimpsed a hint of spring. Some of us even sat right down in it all.

And we laughed.

Oh, it was a bit of Mary Lennox and the magic of secrets and a bit of earth. And it was a bit of Marianne’s hopeless romance even in her brokenheartedness. If only for an hour, my tired mama-dreamer soul smelled hope and joy and the blaring adventure only children conjure.

There is hope in the living and breathing and the chasing after blue skies.


Rescue is Coming {the exodus road & novel writing}

I’ve hinted here and there that I’m writing a novel. It’s a scary thing to admit. I’ve been working on it off and on for 8 years. When I told a new friend how long I’ve been working on my book she commented how it’ll be the great American novel by the time I get done with it. I doubt it.

I’ve been taking my time because with age the story has changed…so much so I’m embarrassed to admit how it started. Truly. {don’t ask}

In the last year I’ve worked more consistently on my still nameless project than I have in years. I’ve flitted back and fort on characters and plotlines and over the summer I closed the lid on a fantasy bent. I’m still writing, but finding the more I write the more I need to stop and create the world in which my story unfolds. {nothing like a little J.K. Rowling to make you go, “Wow. Yeah. Knowing the ins and outs of your world will make for a believeable story.} I’m learning more deeply how my characters work, their motivations, and flaws. I’m asking what is the history of a country that would make x happen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. What is my book about? 

{that’s always an awkward question to ask. I’m learning “Ummm…” is not the correct answer.}

Prostitution. Slavery. Redemption.

The one-liner: Orphaned as a child and raised in a brothel, Hajaryah is forced to serve the lusts of men. But when a childhood friend returns and challenges her acceptance of the law, Hajaryah must decide whether to accept her fate or face her fears.

Time after time I’ve found myself having to stop in the midst of my writing and just pray. Some times I have to close the computer or flip to something lighter. It is emotionally draining to create a character who is so hurt, so scarred. To read articles on how the Roman brothels were filled with slaves stolen from other countries and above the a painting of the sex act and price the woman performed. To know mass infant graves have been found outside an ancient brothel in England, leading archaeologists to believe  the child of a prostitute was immediately met with infanticide. Sometimes it’s all too much.

I feel the weight and magnitude of sin and what makes me want to curl up and cry is this isn’t just a story. This isn’t a retelling of history. When I feel it’s too much and I can’t keep writing, I remember myself…this is someone’s reality.

Did you know…?

  • There are 27 million modern day slaves.
  • Every 60 seconds, a child is sold for sex worldwide.
  • Human trafficking is the third largest global industry, behind drugs and guns.

There are girls fooled and lead into sexual slavery, women sold by their families to pay the rent, girls mourning their childhood…or their children. And what of the girl crying herself to sleep tonight after being smothered by a man’s sin? It’s disgusting and it’s sad, but it’s real.

And so I write.

It’s for their voice I labor in these pains of inarticulate words. Tell my story, they whisper. Shed light.

But I can’t just write. I am compelled to act.

I’m partnering with The Exodus Road as a blogger to share stories of rescue and the good work they do. Haven’t heard of The Exodus Road?

The Exodus Road exists to empower the rescue of victims of sexual slavery. Operating primarily in Southeast Asia, we believe that a major component of fighting human trafficking and child slavery lies in working with local law enforcement to find situations of trafficking and to then assist in the rescue of victims and the prosecution of criminals.

The Exodus Road “fuels covert investigative teams around the world as they work to find, document, and free victims of sexual slavery.”

I look forward to sharing stories of rescue with you and ways you can help end slavery.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

Rescue is coming. Will you be a part of it?



Weekend Wanderings {vol. 2}


Only one of favorite chick flicks. If you like whimsy, then Penelope’s for you. I wouldn’t mind Penelope’s wardrobe. {also featuring Mr. Tumnus with his shirt on and Mr. Bingley as a bad guy.}


I’ve been listening to The Lumineers whenever my computer’s open. It’s simple, good for the soul, happy music.

{and this video makes me want to hang twinkling lights and roses from my ceiling}

And a live set…

A YouTuber left this comment: “Lumineers: aka woody harrelson, marion cotillard, and cary elwes” So true.


John 15 and 1 John are where I flip to when I don’t know what to read…or when I need a good reminding I’m not meant to live in my own strength. {honestly…that’s every day} But the last few weeks I’ve been thinking on a series I wrote awhile back and this,

Trusting God means in the midst of the crazy I can remain sane.

I just have to let go.

be okay with not

having control




Simplicity Parenting is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a few years and finally got around to checking it out from the library. I’ve haven’t gotten to far into it (time mostly). I know it’ll be a challenge to implement, but will probably {hopefully} be healthier for our family.

I finished reading Love & Logic last week. Really good and very practical (unlike most parenting books), but still no magic pill. Sometimes I wish…


Cath is an accessory around these parts. Even the jamies.

It all started with desktop wallpaper. And then, not long before I went to London last year, I discovered Cath Kidston made all sorts of goodies. When we went to Winchester to visit Jane, I got to peruse in the magical world of Cath Kidston. Seriously. This was the stuff dreams are made of. Vintage-esque, kitchsy, bright, with a bit of shabby chic.

My mug and a skirt and dress came home with me, though I would’ve loved to take the whole store.

Stripes & florals is where it’s at! I have a mild love affair with stripes (particularly blue) and polka dots to the point my stylist (aka my sister) has banned me from buying anything striped or polka dotted.

{still taking pictures in mirrors…me and my fancy phone}

Where have you been wandering lately?