Thursday, September 4, 2014

mama to many

This week has been so wonderful and quiet. I feel like it's been the weekend for a week now.

A lot of people have asked why I'm not doing daycare anymore, especially because they would have liked for me to watch their children in the future.

Doing childcare over the last seven years has been so helpful to my little growing family. I have had the joy of caring for SO many little ones since Maximo was a babe, and even before. It helped me to bring in some income, it allowed for me to be with my kids and to eventually care for kids in my own house. It was a perfect fit with my life as a stay-at-home-mom.

Timing was perfect. It was recently time for Tya to start kindergarten. Ramona's mom and dad were ready to move her to another in-home-daycare with her cousins. As this time drew near, I knew in my heart that it was time for me to be done.

Eli is only home for one more year before he does pre-K NEXT YEAR! I want to enjoy his last full year home.

My ability to advocate, educate and help to fight against sex trafficking is expanding. The door has opened up for me to volunteer with Breaking Free. And I hope to do many Trades of Hope trunk shows this fall. Have you hosted one yet? If not, please think about it! You can help me spread awareness, hope and love to women all over the world. Check out my website and take a look at our new fall/winter catalog here.

I have an opportunity to sew and create again, AND for my items to be for sale in an up and coming local, hand-made gift shop! I plan to make more wood signs, poster prints, dolls (including more Frida dolls!), etc. And I am looking into possibly doing screen-printed shirts.

A couple of weeks ago my husband brought me home a plant from the farmer's market. I have become a hoarder lover of indoor plants and he knew that I would love to welcome another plant child. I'd never seen a plant like it before so I posted a picture to the St. Paul Perennial facebook page and other plant lovers educated me. It's called a "Mother to Thousands". Go figure.

I believe that God's timing is perfect and that He has a plan for my life that is coming to fruition. I will always be a "mother to thousands many" but it will look differently now.

Tya had a wonderful first day at school. Ramona's new daycare mom sounds wonderful. And my life moves forward with those little girls and all the kids before them forever in my heart.

Cheers to the new season. Cheers to autumn time- my favorite time of year. Cheers to the next chapter in my beautiful and messy life.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

sometimes He calms the storm...

There is this super outdated song that still warms my heart every time I hear it about how God comforts us and protects us. It sounds like it is from 1994... don't make fun of me. Here are some of the words:

Sometimes He calms the storm 

With a whispered peace be still 
He can settle any sea 
But it doesn't mean He will 
Sometimes He holds us close 
And lets the wind and waves go wild 
Sometimes He calms the storm 
And other times He calms His child 

Max has been really worried about Gabriel starting school. He is worried that kids will bully him. Max hasn't had issues with bullies yet, but the funny thing is that HE is always bullying Gabriel. 

I can tell that this Gabriel-going-to-school issue is heavy on Max's heart because he had an awful nightmare the other night that Gabriel drowned in a lake. For a couple of days it was something that he needed to tearfully process through with me multiple times.

Max was really difficult this summer. I was beginning to think that I had the meanest most awful kid in the world. All he did was bother his brothers and bother me. He was rude. He picked fights and called everyone names. He was completely empty of any compassion for anyone. 

And now, over night, his heart is filled with brotherly compassion and he is a changed kid. He has been so sweet, so thoughtful, and so loving towards his family.

I'm letting him ride this out. We are talking a lot about our responsibilities as mom+dad, his responsibility as brother, and God's responsibility as the ultimate protector. His current fear and anxiety can't go away unless I decide to keep Gabriel home this year and not send him to school. That's not an option. 

In this situation I can't calm the big worries. But I can calm his little heart and assure him that Gabriel is going to be okay. 

I feel like God consistently reveals his identity to me through situations that come up with my boys. God always comes through, whether it's to help our little heart manage or to help solve the big huge issue that is burdening us. 

Sometimes He calms the storm 

And other times He calms His child

I have a lot of friends who are struggling with big things, situations that feel over whelming and too huge to handle. Be still and know. He may solve the big picture, or he may comfort your heart as He walks with you through it.

Peace be with you.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's all about to change.

Yeah hi...
It's been a long time.
I know, I always say that.
This summer has been busy. Last week and this week have been pretty peaceful as Maximo is in summer school and one of my daycare kids is gone this month. So I have had a little more breathing room. We spend almost everyday at the pool or at the park. We have playdates every other day. For as busy and crazy as it has been, it has been fun.

This fall though, everything changes. Take a deep breath. I do every time I think about it.
Max will be in school.
Gabriel will be in pre-K (like preschool) half days.
I will no longer do daycare.
I will only have Eli home during the day.
Just let it sink in.

I may actually be able to run to Costco, Trader Joe's and Target during the day.
I may get to go visit more friends during the week, and with only one kid to buckle in.
I may be able to keep a cleaner house, and be a better meal planner.
I may be able to work out again.
I may be able to volunteer once a week at Breaking Free.

It's weird that I am entering in to a new season of life, that my season of little kids at my feet all day - is over. I'm done having babies in my house.
Just let it sink in. I'll give you a minute...

I have so many hopes and dreams for what this next season will look like.... but I don't know what is to come. The one thing I am certain of, is that I am leaving it up to God. Because he has a plan for this next season.

So for the next six weeks I will be finishing up this season well. I'll be holding Ramona a little tighter when she lets me. I'll be soaking up Tya's giggles and hugs. I'll be having lots of fun at the pools/playgrounds/playdates with the kids.

Ugh. Fine, I guess I'll try to enjoy every moment the way the seasoned moms tell me too... (personally I think they tell me to do that only because they remember every moment with their little tornadoes treasures being tender and wonderful... I hope I remember these moments like that!)

Here is a little taste of my summer so far:

pool day e'ery day

me and seester pretend we are kardashians sometimes.

matt and i are being intentional about our marriage.

maybe i'll actually wear real pants when i'm no longer
chasing kids all day? prolly not.

little eli

seester got a neck tattoo. i got one on my foot.

a tiny bit of brotherly love

a lot of brotherly cuteness here. wow.

tya and tha boyzz

being intentional..... we are stuck together so we may as well like it.

my brother-in-law finally got married!

b'mona (as we call Ramona) is growing up too fast. she is mobile.
she wrestles eli to the ground trying to steal his bagels.

some of our best friends and godson are moving away.
at least we got one good grill night in!

Alright, I am off for the night. Hope you all are enjoying the summer.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Lately I am learning a lot about slavery: Human Trafficking. Women, children, and even men. Forced. With out a choice.

And I feel like my eyes are being opened up to so much. Some very profound things, some very simple things.

One thing I have been pondering is what I allow myself to be a slave to. All the people I am learning about who are modern day slaves, have no choice. Prostitution. Sweat shops. Desperation. Poverty. Devastation. War.

Me? My life is pretty easy when we're looking at the big picture.

And I am asking God what I need freedom from.

And then I feel really stupid. 'Cause it's things like facebook. And sugar. And my bad attitude. A poor body image. Fear of what people think. And my desire for a neat and tidy cute house.

I took facebook off my phone a couple months ago. Before, whenever I had a spare moment I was on the good ol' fb. Checking out what you are making for dinner tonight, how cute your baby was when she woke up this morning, or who was causing drama on the neighborhood facebook page again. Not all of it is pointless. Because I genuinely care when your little boy has had a fever for three days, how your honeymoon was, that you posted a new blog entry or that you're sick of your job... but it's getting in the way. And I could be managing my time better. And ugh. I hate admitting that.

I put Facebook back on my phone not too long ago. I manage so much on there.... Like my Trades of Hope page and our Urban Collective Trunk Show page. It's a big source of communication for me and my friends. 

Balance. I need to balance it out. I need to be intentional about what I am doing on facebook and not do the mindless scrolling thing.  

I'm trying to clear out the unnecessary stuff that gets in the way. (I feel like I am ALWAYS  in this process.)
I want to take away the false comforts that somehow allow me to escape for a moment. It's okay to escape sometimes. But I'm trying to do that by listening to good music or by chatting with my mama or one of my girls.

I think it'll be easier now that we aren't stuck in the house for days at a time.

So, there it is. Our daily battles and slavery to the stupid things overwhelm us at times, but luckily we can claim power and victory over them if we really try.

Daily I am thankful for the freedom we experience. And daily I am reminded of those who suffer, stuck in bondage to circumstances they cannot control.

On Mother's Day I went to a march for the girls missing from Nigeria. I'll share some of the photos that were posted below.


(photo by Renee Horsman)

Heavy stuff on this mamas heart lately. But I believe sometimes we are called to share in the burden of what weighs on the hearts of those around us and all over the world. This slavery issue is what my heart aches for so I continue to press in and figure out what I can do about it. 

Pray for the missing girls. Pray that slavery ends. It's an overwhelming situation but there are things we can do. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

be still.

This morning I woke up and decided to push aside my bad attitude over it being Monday.
(It was hard, I had to push really really hard)

I came downstairs and my husband had made coffee. So that helped.

Then I went and sat on the porch and I did something that I do not do often enough. I opened up my phone and started my morning by reading today's devotion from my favorite book Jesus Calling. Here is an excerpt:

I want you to know how safe and secure you are in My Presence. 
that is a fact, totally independent of your feelings...
Although My Presence is a guaranteed promise, that does not necessarily change your feelings. When you forget I am with you,you may experience loneliness or fear. It is through awareness of My Presence that Peace displaces negative feelings. Practice the discipline of walking consciously with Me through each day.

No more than 5 seconds later my 1st grader began to cop an attitude about having to get out the door to the bus stop. Instead of beginning my usual morning speech about how "we all have responsibilities and even though we don't feel like it sometimes, we still have to go to work/school/etc..." I told him I'd walk him out to the bus stop.

As we walked hand-in-hand I told him that I loved him. That I am proud of him. That God is always with him, even when he is having a hard time at school or when he feels alone or anxious.

The sun was shining, the air was crisp and it was a perfectly sweet moment.

As soon as we got to the bus stop he ran over to his friends. Apparently it's not cool to stand at the bus stop holding your mother's hand. When the bus came he sat in the seat the faced me and secretly blew kisses to me until they had passed me by. I love that we got to have a sweet and peaceful beginning to our day.

On my way back home I was met by Gabriel and Eli coming out of the house. They had dressed themselves and were without shoes. We took a little walk down the block and back.

Again, another perfectly sweet moment.

I know I say it ALL.THE.TIME. This season is oh-so-hard. The whining, the potty accidents, the constant need for snacks, the messes, the fighting, the difficult bedtimes, the long days. I make it harder on myself by trying to do it on my own. My Father God is there beside me the whole time but instead I choose to feel alone in it and to try to take it on by myself.

I had a new friend over today and she saw my little poster (I saw it on pintrest and recreated, it's not my own design!) She asked me what it meant to me and I had to think for a minute.

I try to fight through so many of the hard moments on my own, which is dumb. I need to stop. I need to breathe and chill out. I need to seek out how God wants me to deal with it. I need to acknowledge that He is there, ready to fight the battle for me. Whether the battle is a whiny kid, an unexpected expense, a fight with my husband or someone close disappointing me: I need to be still and allow Him to take it on.

Be still. Be still. Be still. I think this is what God is trying to show me in this season.

A few months ago it would've been my dad's birthday. It was a hard week, I missed him so much. There was a necklace at Groundswell that had been on display for a long time. I knew I needed it.

I wear it almost everyday. Just as a reminder.

Alright, well, here's to practicing the discipline of walking consciously with Him through each day.
Be encouraged.                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Once in a while I am right.

Last week Maximo came rushing through the front door as he usually does after school. It's usually because he is about  to pee in his pants.

This day was different though.
He swung open the door with a look of sheer terror screaming that a kid from the bus was going to punch him in the face.

I'm not one to over react. But my inner mama bear began to rise up and I asked if it was a kid from the bus stop. Yep it was. Max lead the way as I went and stuck my head out the front door and looked down at the bus stop. There were some kids out there and I hollered over to them "what happened?" They all hollered back that *dude said he was going to punch Max. Then they started hollering down the street at *dude telling him to come over here and talk to me. Matt over heard the situation and stormed out of the driveway ahead of me. So I followed. In my bright green crocs and SAHM yoga pants. (And no coat since was a balmy 22 degrees out.)

When we got to the corner, fifth grade *dude was half way down the block walking a little girl home from the bus stop. I know this kid isn't a bad kid (he is employed by the little girl's mom to walk her home each day) and I also know that Maximo is notorious for annoying older kids on the bus.

I didn't know what I was going to say, and that's when I ask Jesus to give me the right words.

It is so important for us to be in relationship with our neighbors, even the punk ass neighbor kids who threaten my boy. So I knew that I was about to set the foundation for how these boys see me.

I was surprised when dude walked back over to where we were. By this time Matt had gone back home to Gabriel, Eli and Tya after seeing that everything was going to be alright.

So here I was with Maximo, *dude and his little kindergartner, and the other two 5th grade boys that were loving to be all up in their business.

I just asked what happened. *Dude said Max was bothering him, and he got fed up, and so he told Max he was "gonna punch him." I felt *dude's pain. Max does stuff that makes me want to punch him in the face irritated too. I explained that although Max looks older, that he is six. *Dude and his friends were surprised. They thought max was 9. I just explained that we are working on how Max needs to not bother people, and that he is still learning how to ride on the bus since this is his first year doing it. All I did was help to create some empathy. I told him that I understood why he said that to Max, because he was frustrated, but that it doesn't feel good to me to see my boy run home, afraid.

I explained that we are all neighbors and that we gotta look out for each other. I explained that in a few years Max would mature and grow up a little and that he'd be out with them in the summer playing basketball and riding skate boards (with helmets of course...). The boys nodded and agreed. I told them all that if there is ever any issues with Max, to come and talk to me and Matt, that we want to hear them out and help solve it instead of threats being thrown around.

I love living in the city. I love that Max is around kids of all ages and from all different backgrounds and I truly hope that Max get's to be these boys' equal someday. That they are shooting hoops in our backyard and hanging out with my boy.

I hope I get to be the cool mom that everyone trusts. I want to have a heart big enough for even the toughest boys (mine included).

Today I watched for Max from the front door as he skipped all the way home with a big smile on his face. He walked in the door and said "MOM! You were right. Those boys are my friends now!" He explained that they all had a snow ball fight and the big boys were nice to him. I told him "isn't that cool? That when you treat them like a friend instead of annoying them on the bus, that they actually get to enjoy your friendship?!"

Once in a while I am right I guess.

Maybe I wasn't so right when thinking it was okay to
wear my green crocs out in public.

My big (little) 6 1/2  year old trying to figure out his way in the world.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

don't wait until the timing is perfect

Yesterday I was talking about having faith like a yellow mansion and dreaming big dreams. Another thing on my heart a few weeks ago was learning to be brave.

You all know by now that I'm passionate about the fight against sex trafficking. The more I learn about it, the more fired up I get. I am so excited Ito figure out how God is going to use me to help, rescue, support and give hope. 

I hope one day that our family gets to adopt in to our family a daughter. I have been reading about how general age of entrance into sex trafficking in the U.S. is like 12-14 years! Most of these girls are runaways, or are from the foster care system and in homes that are not safe. They just need strong families and people who are going to love them and protect them. I want one of those girls. I want to rescue her before she is even faced with that danger. Or I want us to take a girl in that has already been chewed up and spit out. A girl that is in pieces and that needs a strong mama, dad and family that will help to put her back together. I want us to get to show her real, unconditional, safe love. To love her like God does. I want to help her realize her value, worth and true beauty.

Crazy right? I even think it's crazy. This is one of the dreams that when I ask Matt if it freaks him out he tells me "nope."

It seems so far away. 

So what to do until then?

Learn more. Pray more. Be the best mom possible to the kids in my care now.

I am attending two events in the next month. One is called Freedom Weekend and you can read about it more here.

The other is a volunteer training and informational meeting with Breaking Free at the Roseville Library on March 5th from 6-8. If you are interested in joining me and learning more about this organization, register at

Another thing I am doing in the meantime, is my Trades of Hope business. I'm learning to be a voice. I am learning how to raise awareness. I am meeting people all the time who want to help make a difference too. It's a simple way that I get to make a difference now. It's a way that I get to be useful now

People, we can't wait until the timing is perfect to move and to start to help. If there is a cause that you feel called to help with, find a small tangible way that you can help now. Don't wait.