I’ve spent some time over the past couple days digging through my childhood home. My parents are moving (for several reasons) and this week is the last time I’ll be in that house. I haven’t been overly emotional about it, which is a miracle, but there have been a few moments of fond remembering.

Like looking at the front door where Dave and I had our first kiss.


Or finding photos of my siblings and myself that show how close we were.




I am fine with leaving this house, but I’m not nearly ready to let go of the memories.



I’m not a political person. I don’t like to get into debates. I don’t like to see or hear other people debating either. I have strong convictions about some things and I have absolutely no opinion about others. I think that’s the way it is for most people.

I was brought up in a house where grace was taught, practiced, explained, and witnessed countless times. I have parents who are faithful to their beliefs in Jesus and what the Bible says about grace, and because of that, I care about grace. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. I think there’s an epidemic of people who have forgotten forgiveness, gentleness, and grace. Grace to the church when we see that is has failed, grace to the non-believers when we see that they are hurting and lost, grace to Republicans and grace to Democrats.

The internet has been ablaze with attack lately. People have chosen a side – for whatever the current argument may be – and they’ll defend that side with all they have. I believe that opinions are important and we have a right to feel strongly about things. But I’ve seen rifts developing where healing should abide. Being eloquent and passionate is great, but using it to hurt other people who are trying, like we all are, to do what is right is… well… hurtful. The last thing we need in this world is more hurt. It is hard enough here as it is.

Pro-gun, anti-gun. Organic food, fast food. Christian, atheist. Home school, public school. Chick-fil-a, anti Chick-fil-a. Whatever it is – we are all finite and full of good intentions, brothers and sisters who need grace.┬áCan we try to give grace to those who disagree with us? May we be people of great love and understanding before we are people of internet debates.

Restless – Stream of Conciousness

I am embarking on my first solo road trip to Missouri and back this weekend and I could not be more ready. I’ve been in an incredibly restless mood lately. My brain has stopped making sense of anything. Days are running together, meals are getting overlooked (and when I do feel hungry, nothing in particular sounds good), my emotions are out of control, and my mind is scattered over a million things. I want a vacation with Dave, I don’t want to be in the house, I’m looking for projects to do, and wandering back an forth between the living room and the kids’ room… itching to DO something. Anything. The few things I have planned aside from the rather large load of design and shop work I had this week have been a welcomed change of scenery. Restlessness is the best way I can describe it.

I think part of it is that I’m in a period of waiting that I’ve never had. No job or school to punch in to every day for the first time in my half-grown life. I’m just in-between. I’ve started and finished a million projects and it’s stirring up my creativity in ways I haven’t felt in a long time, which I’m loving. But the downside to that is I am unable to sleep. As soon as my head hits the pillow I’m thinking about art and foster kids and traveling and writing and illustrating and how uncomfortable the bed is and I just. don’t. shut. off.

My conversational skills have tanked (not that they were ever all that impressive) because I am only able to form sentence fragments. It could be the lack of sleep, I suppose.

Whatever this weird state I’m in is, I’m hoping a trip home to Missouri will shake it up and put the pieces of my brain back together. This creative, moody, nonsensical monster I have become over the past week is not my favorite.

The White Box

On the top shelf of my closet, for the past three years, you would have found a white box filled with baby items. Shoes, clothes, bibs – items I found on sale or received as gifts… it was my “someday” box. It got dusty. It got pushed around behind other items and rarely taken down. It was too painful. I’d toss something into the box without looking if I had anything to add. I loved that box. And I hated that box.

Tonight as I was re-organizing the foster kids’ room for the millionth time, I started doing inventory of the items I have for future foster kids. I decided to go through the white box. I pulled out onesies and toys and smiled over all the fun things for these unknown children who will be a part of my life soon. I was getting seriously giddy about all the stuff in the box and all the ways my life is going to change.

But I began to get teary when I pulled out two baby tees my mom had given me in August of 2009 – one pink that says “sweet pea” and one blue that says “peanut.” I had just told her the news that Dave and I were going to try for a baby and she bought them, excited with me about the future. No doubt, she was imagining grandbabies with white skin and auburn hair, like baby Steph – thinking of rushing to the hospital as I called her, in labor, holding my sweet new baby and calling it “sweet pea” or “peanut” and rocking him or her to sleep. I was right there with her, imagining and hoping and dreaming about baby Hagen.

So much has changed since that August. Three years of negative pregnancy tests and blood work and trying and trying and failing. Three years of imagining and hoping and dreaming, but not seeing results. Three years of watching friends get pregnant, have babies, get pregnant again, have second babies. It’s been a really hard three years. But those three, long, hard, lonely years have brought me to this place I’m in right now. This place of being excited about bringing someone new into our home, learning their habits and preferences, getting to know their unique personality and hear their laugh for the first time. It’s not the place I pictured. The baby isn’t white with auburn hair anymore. My mom won’t be rushing to the hospital, Dave won’t be grabbing our hospital bag on the way out of the door, and I won’t be having contractions. Things are different – very, very different – than we all imagined. But they’re better, somehow.

Do I still hope all those three-year-old hopes? Of course! Do I still get sad sometimes when I think about the negative tests? Absolutely. But this new and different place is better. I don’t know how it’s better yet. I don’t understand it and I don’t know if I ever will. But I know that God doesn’t allow these hard things to happen for no reason. I know he’s growing me and changing me.

I know I will love the kid that comes into my home with everything I have. I know that I will do everything I can to be the kind of mother that this child needs. I know that Dave will have my back and be an amazing parent. Always. I know that my mom is going to be an awesome grandma and that I’ll call her with questions and worries and funny stories – just like I’ve been imagining for 3 years. I may not have a dusty white box in my closet anymore, but I have faith that this is better. Somehow.

I Mean Business

What began as inspiration from Rifle Paper Co for a pretty border for a baby shower invitation has turned into a set of stationery, a mess-load of shower decorations, and a dozen hand-painted business cards. Which is totally practical. I have uploaded decent quality photos of the stationery patterns below so you can save them as iPhone backgrounds or whatever! Enjoy!




This is Why I Call Myself a Human Mad-Lib

Let me preface this post by saying I DO work some days. But those days are scheduled in advance and vary by the week. But in this weird in-between work and fostering period of my life, this is what a totally normal not-planned-in-advance weekday looks like:

8am: Decide I definitely do not feel like I’m ready for my day. Not getting up yet. Going back to sleep. Except I’m playing on my phone because I can’t actually fall back to sleep. Think about nothing.

9am: Done checking email, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter on my phone in bed. Guess I should get up. Get on laptop to work. Start designing, blogging, Etsying. Think about very little.

10am: Feel hungry and realize I haven’t eaten breakfast. Text Lillian to see what her family is doing for lunch. Invite myself along.

11am: More computer work. Start to daydream about leaving the house. I feel I’ve been alone far too long and wish Dave was home. Text Dave to tell him hello and send him a picture of myself making a funny face.

Noon: Lunch with Lillian and kids.

1pm-3pm: Errands with Lillian and kids. Whole Foods, Essex, Thriftsmart, CSA pick up. Hear that Muppet song I love and sing it during all errands.

4pm: Say I’m going home to take a nap. Really want to take a nap, but lay down in the living room and think about how little sleep I will get when there are foster kids here instead. Feel nervous. Feel inadequate. Feel excited. Feel adequate. Feel really excited. Think of crafts to do with kids. Think of crafts to do for myself. Remember how messy the craft closet is.

4:30pm: Get up and decide to reorganize entire house, paint furniture, do laundry, and make Dave a present – just for fun. Sing that Muppet song I love really loudly to myself.

5:30pm: Lose steam after only reorganizing the DVD drawer. Text Dave to see if he’ll be home for dinner and send him a picture of the DVD drawer with 7 exclamation points.

6pm: Start to think about cooking dinner and check fridge multiple times. Text Lillian and Amanda to see what they’re doing for dinner. Invite myself along. Tell Twitter about the DVD drawer.

6:15pm: Answer Dave’s phone call for a conversation neither of us can hear because his windows are down in the truck. Get annoyed. Tell him I’ll text him when we know where we’re eating. Walk to the neighbors house to hitch a ride to dinner.

6:30pm: Finally leave for dinner.

6:45pm: Actually decide where we’re going to eat after 15 minutes of aimless driving. Sing that Muppet song quietly.

7pm: Meet Dave at restaurant. Probably Mexican. See a cute baby at dinner. Wish I had a baby. Laugh at Dave’s work stories even though I don’t understand half of them.

8pm: Come home and show Dave how awesome the DVD drawer looks. Feel surprised that he’s not freaking out about it. Reorganize the foster-care room for the 100th time while humming that Muppet song. Dave unwinds in front of the TV.

9pm: Tell Dave I need his help for just like one second- moving some furniture, measuring something for a project I thought up, or hooking up the printer. Get confused when he is too tired to help. He helps anyway. Feel guilty. But also thankful. Decide to watch TV with him before bed because he deserves some downtime. Play on my phone and keep interrupting because I don’t like this show.

10pm: Dave zombie-walks to the bed. I tell him stories about my day and ask him about his while he tries to sleep. Alternate songs to hum- not just Muppets. Dave falls asleep in 10 seconds and I get up to watch an episode of something on Netflix.

11pm: Alright fine, another episode.

12pm: Another.

1am: Go to bed. Not tired.

1:15am: Make a grocery list. Make a project list. Read the Bible. Check Facebook. Remember what I forgot at the store. Wish I could wake Dave up and tell him a funny thing I thought of. Design a baby shower for a friend. Look at motorcycles on Craigslist. Feel sad I can’t get Dave a surprise motorcycle. Feel thankful that Dave doesn’t have a motorcycle – they’re very dangerous. Remember we need to get health insurance. Wish I was pregnant. Sing the Muppet song in my head.

2am: Why is no one still posting things on Instagram? Write a blog post. Remember what else I forgot at the store. Decide what to wear tomorrow. Remember I haven’t done laundry in a week. Feel guilty. Feel silly for feeling guilty about laundry in light of world orphan crisis. Feel hungry. Ignore it. Decide to take more walks. Think about how much I love air conditioning. Think about how the heat doesn’t bother me so much in Haiti. Think about Haiti. Think about adoption. Think about foster care. Make a foster care shopping list. Get nervous. Get excited. Get tired. Pray.

3am: Sleep

4am: Wake up – no blankets

5am: Wake up – too many blankets

8am: I definitely do not feel like I’m ready for my day. Not getting up yet. Playing on my phone because I can’t fall back to sleep.