My Illustrated Faith

There’s a movement of sorts spreading like wildfire that I recently joined in on. Journaling Bibles and “Illustrated Faith.” You can find so many beautiful examples online- Pinterest and Instagram, especially. 

I’ve been sharing the pages of my Bible studies online and had so many questions about techniques and supplies, so I thought I’d try to answer some questions here. 

First off, the journaling Bible I purchased was this one from amazon. It looks like it’s sold out, but a quick search for “journaling Bible” brings up tons of options. 

As far as supplies go, this would totally be a personal preference thing. I’ve used watercolors, markers, colored pencils, chalk pastels, and stickers. 

These are the utensils I’ve found I use most. Watercolor tip: the least amount of water you can use, the better. Chalk pastels are awesome. You can use them all over the pages, vibrant color, and the pages won’t wrinkle or bleed through. If you don’t have chalk pastels, try using colored chalk instead. Very similar results. 

The best thing about this process is my renewed desire to get into the Word. I’m forced to slow down and take away something to think about for the rest of the day, and it’s great for memorization! 

My little buddy likes to get involved too. This is the most interested he’s been in art in months. I’m loving having him here next to me while I journal. 

If you have more questions, please let me know in the comments! I have a feeling this new passion will stick around a while. 


Wind-up toy family

Dalton requested to be a robot with lights for Halloween, so Dave and I built him this suit.



It took me until last night (convenient!) to think of a family costume that went with Dalton’s request. I finally landed on wind-up toys and worked all day on piecing and crafting together the remaining 3 costumes. Each costume had a small cardboard wind-up piece but we didn’t get good picture of those.


We had a fuzzy bear costume for the baby, so to turn him into a wind-up monkey, I just made this quick little vest out of some scrap fabric and “cymbals” out of craft foam, gold paint, and jingle bells.


For my wind-up doll, I had the tutu, apron, tights, socks, and ribbon. I made a quick trip to Goodwill this afternoon and found my top and shoes. A little make-up, some ringlets, and bam. Wind-up Doll.


Dave, enthusiastically (jk), went as a jack-in-the-box. We had the clown costume (hand-me-down from my Grandma), so today I just wrapped a box with paper and painted it. So easy.

So for one day of work, about $20, and some around-the-house supplies, we had our very own little wind-up toy family!

On Learning It’s Ok

My poor husband. He is married to a slob. There are nicer ways of putting that, but they are less true. I’ve always been a messy person, and it’s not something that appears to be getting better with time. I am a total, complete disaster when it comes to housekeeping (and several other things, but that’s a different post). I have tried checklists and personal rewards, I have paid cleaners, I have solicited family members to help, I have that I will be a new person time and time again. But yet there is mess.

When you walk into my home, there are things everywhere. Empty bottles, ukeleles, play doh crumbles, shoes, socks, pajamas, toys, paint brushes, books, you name it. I have spent many tears over my inability to “keep it together” and the feeling that I am failing. Any time someone walks through our door, we are apologizing about the mess. And do you know what? I’m tired of apologizing.

I am learning that it’s ok. It’s ok that there are toys by the front door, because it took me 5 years of praying for children to get to toys on the floor. It’s ok that there are ukeleles and play doh bits on my dining room table and paintbrushes in my sink, because this home is full of life and art and music and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s ok that there are books spread across the couch because that means our curious little minds and growing and learning and quality time together is happening. It’s ok that I haven’t washed a bottle in over 24 hours because I have spent many of those hours holding this sweet baby and giving him the food he needs to grow grow grow. It’s ok. Our home is a complete disaster zone, and it’s ok.

So the next time you come to my house, and you worry that a tropical storm may have just come through, I will not be apologizing for my mess. This is a happy, inviting home and I am proud of that.


Our D Anniversary

There were tears during prayers tonight as we thanked God for our D. Happy, thankful tears for this past year with our boy and all the joy God has brought to us through D. He is the king of 3 year olds. Kind and polite. He is dedicated and hard-working. He loves snuggling and pretending and dancing and laughing. He tells genuinely good jokes. He asks for the music to be louder and he loves spicy food.

Our year has been so full of wonder and joy, some really special firsts, and much learning and much growing. He is the perfect fit for our family and God knew. We had no idea what was in store when we said yes to that call one year ago. No idea. But God knew. This month begins the process to make D forever ours. As I type that, proclaiming it and allowing it to be real, I can’t help but tear up. We could not be more completely in love with this boy. He has captured our hearts and he has made us a family. We knew from the start, in our hearts, he was our boy.

As you grow up, I’m going to tell you the story of your first year with us so many times. I’m going to tell you the look on Daddy’s face when he walked up the stairs and met you for the first time. I’m going to tell you about how you fell asleep in my arms and I knew we were forever. I’m going to tell you that we love you so so so much. And I’m going to tell you so many times that you are tired of hearing it. But I’m not going to stop because you made me a mama. You changed me. You are mine and you are my greatest joy. I love you, sweet boy.









Perfect in Weakness

My December was riddled with stress, pretty intense physical problems, and a level of depression that’s hard to put into words. I barely limped across the finish line. Every hour was hard. A fleeting moment of happiness would end in tears, seemingly for no reason at all. Almost every time I was alone (and sometimes when I wasn’t alone) for an entire week, I cried. I have not felt that level of darkness before and I pray I never do again. Every single social interaction (apart from a few days with family) was forced, faked, or skipped altogether.

I know these things are sort of “one day at a time” things but I’ve had several good days in a row and I couldn’t be more thankful. I finally want to see people and do things again, and I don’t want to lay face down on my bed all day long. Coming out of this hole feels beautiful and amazing. For the past few days, I keep catching myself smiling at the sun waking me up in the morning. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled at anything that woke me up in the morning. I can breathe and laugh and mean it.

Basically I am telling you this because depression is the worst. It sucks life out of every moment. But God gives life and if I didn’t yell that truth at the top of my lungs at the end of the past month, I would be a fool. I am so thankful for a God who pulls me up and out when I desperately need it. The verse that got me through my second darkest hour is fresh on my heart. For when I am weak, he is strong.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9

Hard, Glorious Days

Today was one of those mama-of-toddler days that leaves me limp on the couch with my eyes half closed by 7:30pm. Fits and tantrums and disobedience all evening long.

These are the days I choose to scroll back through photos and videos of the past eight months with this miracle boy and fight the urge to wake him, to hold him close, to tell him I love him and he is safe here and that he’s my very favorite little guy.

I find myself wishing these 2 1/2 year old craziness hours to tick past quickly and simultaneously feeling my heart heave at the thought of another year passing for this baby (who is not at all a baby anymore). “Mommy don’t help me. I do it myself.” Telling me a story, or choosing his own clothes, or learning to button a button, and I can’t hold on tight enough.

Each day that passes feels more and more like we are a “normal family.” Like it has always been this way, the three of us, Mommy and Daddy, and D. And I will catch myself forgetting that God orchestrated our family in such a way that things are shaky and sometimes scary, but that our story of togetherness is beautiful and complicated and not a bit normal. So I’m thankful. I’m thankful that my story is full and precious. I’m thankful that the picture I had in my head was all wrong.

Our journey to this new normal was painful. More days I begged to go by faster than I care to admit. More pain for that sweet boy than I will ever know, this side of heaven. But I am thankful for a Savior. A Healer. A Divine Creator that chose this life for me on purpose. So on the hard days of tantrums and anger and disobedience, I will breathe in deeply of my Saviors plan and exhale my own.

An Announcement

Without giving away details of case information or giving anyone the illusion of certainty (no such thing as certainty in foster care), we have some transitions coming up.

My heart is overflowing with hope because there’s a chance we will be welcoming a new baby into our home sometime this spring! It could be just a few months away.

There are a million “what-if” scenarios of how this could NOT happen, but we are hoping that God will provide this baby with a safe and loving home, and we are really really hoping that that home is ours. Which brings me to my next announcement.

The Hagens are moving! It’s about 5 minutes down the road from where we live now, but it is is literally double the size of our current place. I have been dreaming of more space ever since our foster care calls started pouring in and I realized we didn’t have space for more kiddos. Little house, big heart. So with the possibility of a baby as early as late winter/early spring, we jumped.

So, my praying friends, I’m asking you to rally again.

Specific requests:
that the baby due this spring is healthy and safe while in the womb
that we would have the chance to bring the baby home with us
that the transition of moving to a new house again will not cause D to fear abandonment
and that we will physically be able to pack super quickly (we may be moving very very soon…)

So there you have it. The daily Hagen roller coaster has launched.