Remind me of this when I forget, which might be often. Or just every January.

I want you to be ridiculous. I want you to say YES to the weird stuff. You’re not having any fun? Change that. We can absolutely be sojourners on this ride, and we can be missionaries to our neighbors – or we can pack up everything and move across the pond. Let’s do it all. Let’s not wait another day to start living. Your bank account might never be wide enough for the dreams you can dream but may your heart always be strong enough for the weight it will carry.

You can’t afford a trip to Europe? Do you know someone who’s been? Invite them over to tell their stories and ask to see their photographs. Make food you might taste over there and drink the drinks you envision yourself having. Sit outside in a garden. Call the visitors bureau and ask them about the city. If you can’t call: research, here I’ve done some for you … Travel ideas for Italy. Pinterest is a thing: use it.

Streets of Madrid

Go there, do it. Even if you can’t literally go any where. Enlist help from someone who loves hosting, ask them to show you or help you, invite friends (new and old) to enjoy a night on the canals.

You don’t have to own a boat, rent one; it doesn’t even have to have a motor. Or you can ask a friend or family member who owns one. Buy the hat for the captain, sit down, play the music, and watch the landscape pass-by as if you’re in Italy. DO IT. Why not?

Fathers Day 2015

When you feel ridiculous you should always have weird looks and stares from those around you who can’t see the beauty of dreaming just yet. They will soon, keep going. When they ask “why” your answer is always at the ready … “why not?!”

Dreaming isn’t an idea that you never realize. Dreaming is the opposite of fantasy, it’s your reality waiting to happen.

It won’t give you permission and the first step into Ridiculous is chilly. You might feel foolish and childish. You might fain mocking from the crowds but here’s a secret: they all wish they could wade into this water too. So keep going. Start swimming.

Lakeshore, showing them the beach

They will know who I am by your love for each other. (Paraphrased from John 13:35) Love is so many, many things. Mowing someone’s lawn, visiting the sick in your hospitals, making meals for young mothers, lending your hands, giving to causes with time, money or talent. But love isn’t a chore. Love is also being first in line at the roller coaster with your wide-eyed 9 year old for the first coaster ride of their life. It’s the sheer volume of happiness they eek out as you ascend and then rip down the rafters. Love is showing up to the dance recitals and hosting the sleepovers, it’s making the pancakes or warming up leftovers. Love is beneath the sheets, but also in the backyard. It’s touching your loved ones gently and ushering them closer for an embrace. It’s always an offering, never an obligation.

You guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love is the high five and the posters on the sidelines when your people run the race they never thought they could finish. It’s the Holiday dinners and traditions for some of us, it’s the stockings and wrapping paper for others. It can be too much and not enough all at once. Love is overwhelming, like standing in a field of wild poppies for the first time and noticing that if you had never taken the wrong turn you would have gone the rest of your life not knowing that this existed. And it would continue to exist, without your permission or need for interference whatsoever. It’s there because the seed was planted and the clouds broke open and sang them into the air, a duet with the sun. It’s there, we just have to see it.

20100603-DSC_3150
20100603-DSC_3152
20100603-DSC_3143

Love is so contagious. Be ridiculous. And then pass it on.

well drained soil: full sun

Winter is the hardest season for me. Because it covers the promise of New with a blanket of white forgetfulness and then March happens and everything is brown but the air is green.

April and September are my favorite months, each bringing with it the culmination of my favorite things; Dreams and Realities.

Every April I plant new flowers and plan a garden to feed my family and care for soil and bring dirt into my house because I can. I wash my feet in the rain and soak in the sunshine. And I buy charcoal to taste the smoke. I drink wide brimmed glasses full of flavor and smell the intoxicating promise of summer.

The children play outside and go to sleep easy, we all work hard but play harder and splash in the memories of what we can do here. I want to build things, like a home, but I want to travel, like a merciless vagabond, and homeschool my children and eat all my meals with only my fingers and write wild poetry like a drunk under the stars.

I want to taste this life. To live this messy life wild. Wearing a garden on my arm and dreads in my hair – I want to escape the everyday and discover my tomorrow.

An archeologist of my own time here, I want to unearth all the fossils.

when words fall out

I’ve had a hard time keeping up with my words lately. Not because I don’t have any, I have so many I don’t know where to start. This season of life feels full in a way I’ve never experienced before. Full of opportunity, possibility, vulnerability. Full of freedom yet fully weighted down.

Ollie Farms
peonies
No, you're the finished bonus room of the #34stproject. No, you are. No, you. #OMG
It's time for the Third Grade Rocked My Socks Off kick off to summer party! #thisiswhatialwaysimagineditwouldbeliketobeamom
Thai style stir fry bowls with carnita pork thrown in. #inmyface
I love the dance of this chaos. #thankful
Twinkly lights up: summer is actually here. Party soon, you're all invited. For the #studio - thinking about changing the siding to a vertical line and painting it a deep brown/olive with cream trim. New doors (thinking a small custom french door for fron
Cheering on Emma and Sophia at Girls on the Run!
boys in the yard
Fun with friends and neighbors
Fun with friends and neighbors
Memorial Day Parade 2014
upload
Last official #before photo of the #studio #tinyhouse. Tomorrow she gets some jewelry. #corrugatedmetalroofing #newsiding #electrical
I like this chick.
Overwhelmed with my new summer schedule. But this makes me feel better.

For the past few years, especially months, I’ve been stuck in the limbo of before. Before the final product, Before the After photos. Before the walls come down. Before the change is seen.

I’ve been wading in the during, dust, remodeling a life, remodeling homes and a work experience and a feeling of what Belonging means to me. I’ve been in it, I’m doing it. The work is happening, the seeds have been lain.

After has felt like an idea, not a destination. It’s been a carrot in front of me for so long that seeing beyond the string is so entirely new and unfounded for me it’s overwhelming.

Mom-pile! #everyonewins

And I’ve learned it’s more than a destination. It’s just now. Every morning is always the morning after the one before it.

And for me, that’s all I need.

upload
upload

Here’s to more evidence of the afters.

caught

I keep thinking the flowers on the trees will disappear over night. For the past 9 nine days I’ve been mentally making plans to go down town with my camera JUST to capture this time. The essence of spring, of something new. Like the ribbon on a well wrapped gift … once it’s taken off, you can never really get it back. Not the way it was.

But I drive past our main road every day and those trees with their white flowers are still bursting with surprise.

Frederik Meijer Gardens

It catches me off guard, every single time I see it.

I drive the roads flanked with tulips, still on display. And I notice the flowering trees in full bloom. I see the carpet of green on every lawn, not yet have I seen spotty brown grass. Everything is lush. It’s just full. Everything is reeling in the aftermath of this really harsh winter and maybe I never really paid attention before, but this year it just gets me.

Spring Break 2012

Like a beauty that I had forgotten. Something I wondered if I’d ever experience again is finally here. It’s renewal, but it’s lasting.

That’s what keeps surprising me. It hasn’t gone away yet. It hasn’t melted into the melody of greens and garden boxes. It’s holding on, as if to tell me …

Volksparade 2014

… she was worth the wait.