We've had lots of fun around here recently.


Dear, dear friends from our Dallas Seminary days came to visit us.  
you know, the kind of friends that even after not seeing each other for 3 years you can pick up right where you left off? 
 These friends of ours met us almost 10 years ago, 
when Matt and I had been married for just three months. {three months!}

for four days our household had a 1,2,3 and 4-year-old in it.
i loved it. a tad crazy at times, but the fun-and-fabulous-kinda-crazy.

we had lots of food, lots of playing, and lots of late night talks.
which proved I'm not as young as I used to be.

but oh-how-it-was worth these 2-in-the-morning nights, as my spirit was refreshed by these sweet friends of ours. how encouraging it is to visit with friends that walk this journey of ministry and raising-little-kids with us.  who will listen, laugh, and love on us when our souls get weary.  
these friends have walked with us during some of our hardest days...

{after our third miscarriage, as I was getting ready to go into surgery, my dear friend called me.  she told me she was so, so sorry...and cried with me on the phone.  at the time she apologized, but the way her heart hurt for us spoke more to me than her words could have}.

we are forever, forever grateful to them.
and promised not to go 3 more years with out seeing them!

love your friends today. encourage them.  pray for them.  
call them.  email them. text them. be vulnerable with them. trust them. challenge them. 
it will be worth it. 


Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Proverbs 27:17

Just as I am

5 years ago this fall I was pregnant with this ridiculously sweet baby boy.

He was nameless at the time, though several names were high on my list.
Lincoln, Pierce, Anderson, William.
We discussed it lots.
got nowhere lots.

He was {finally} named about a week before he was born.
Grant Owen.

Fast forward two years...

 ...and our beautiful baby girl was nameless.

At 33 weeks, when the perinatologist left the room after deciding to do an emergency c-section, Matt and I looked at each other and said she needs a name, huh?
Grace Abigail it was.

So, after having our kiddos barely named when they were born, 
it's only fitting that after more than 5 years of blogging,
I finally settle on a blog name I love. 

Just as I am.


It's the name that's been in my heart for awhile, 
but I hadn't been able to put words to it.

This blog, although at times to me it just seems like a silly little place where I write,  is truly my heart on paper.

My heart for my husband.
My heart for my kids.
My heart for our Savior.

I get humbled and blessed when people read this, my heart, comment, and say nice words...
for really, it's just me.

My night-owl-self.
my shoe-loathing, flip-flop-loving self.
my must-need-coffee self.
my heart-aches-for-orphans self.
my sometimes loud, need to think-before-i-speak self.
my broken, inadequate, humbled-before-God self.

This blog?
it's Just as I am.

Just as I am..
going through life, doing the absolute best job I can to love my husband well.
to love my children well. 
to love my Savior with my all of my heart, soul, and mind, and to love my neighbor as my self.
that's what I pray for for my life.

I fail. a lot. 
i doubt my Savior's plan. i get impatient with the kids.
but I repent, confess, and pray for Supernatural ability to do it better the next time.

Just as I am.
a midwestern girl at heart,
a sinner who placed her trust in Christ,
who longs to leave a legacy to her children and her children's children.
a legacy of love. of serving. of radical, life-changing love and service to our Savior.


Just as I am, thy love unknown
hath broken every barrier down; 
now, to be thine, yea thine alone
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.

Another Pancake Night!

Saturday night
usually means pancake night in our household.
cheap, easy, fast.
which is completely what our family needs as we head into Sunday morning!

Tonight was pancake night, blueberry style.

One of my favorite pancake tips?
I usually have my own "pancake mix" ready-to-go.

When I measure dry ingredients out to make a batch of pancakes,
I'll measure the same ingredients into 2 or 3 other bowls.
then dump the extra bowls into ziploc baggies and label them.

That way, on nights like tonight, when we're even more busy than normal
and the kids are more tired and need more attention 
and my house is a lego explosion so I can barely walk through the kitchen
all I have to do is dump the bag out, add the milk, egg, butter,
and cook.

{I happened to run out of baking powder when I made this - I do usually add all of the dry ingredients together!}

For some reason, having the dry ingredients pre-mixed makes the whole process way simpler.
{I do this for muffins, too! my own muffin mix!}

I haven't bought Bisquick or other pancake mix in years
because of this tip my mom taught me.
hope it helps you, too!


notice the blog name change?
more about that tomorrow.

What I Would Say

{What I Would Say Today}

If I weren't so worried about offending.

Love your kids. a lot.
play with them. pray with them.
laugh with them.
give up the laundry and play combines with them.
be nicer to them. be kinder to them. 
stop complaining about them.
they're only little once.

Be really, really gracious with your little ones.
We're called to be {tender-hearted}.
ephesians 4
why do we get the harshest with the littlest ones in our lives?


Grant had big tears in the grocery yesterday because he wanted a donut.
I caught myself wanting to tell him it was fine and to stop.
i paused and gathered myself.
and then knelt down right in the middle of the bakery section and hugged him close.
and told him i loved him, and I know it's sad when we don't get what we want.

because I have, for sure, cried out to God before when I'm disappointed.
does He harshly tell me to get over it and pull myself together?
no way.
He quiets me with His Love.
Zephaniah 3

{What I Would Say Today...}

if I weren't worried about offending

Love your family well.  
Love others well.
even radically.

today, choose to be radically patient and kind to the littles in your life.
to the bigs in your life.

{they will know us by our love.}
john 13
today, be kind in your words.
patient in your actions.
These little ones of ours are given Divinely to us.

today, i will embrace my 2-year-old's independence.
i will hug her when she freaks out, 
knowing how many times the Lord has scooped me up into His Loving arms when I am spiritually weary.

today, choose grace.
grace for your kids.
I will be compassionate  the midst of all potential 2-and-4-year-old-drama.
grace for yourself.
 i will not be frustrated that our guest bedroom is a laundry explosion.

and in choosing grace for our kids, 
remember that we model for them the Parent who committed the Ultimate Act of Grace.
do it well.

John 3:16


Tonight was roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli for supper.
super, super good.

{roasted chicken for the rest of the family. 
my mostly vegetarian self just cannot eat chicken}

the day didn't start off as smoothly.
we spent 40 minutes {forty minutes!} looking for Grant's shoes this morning.
he was about to go barefoot to preschool.
seriously, folks. FORTY minutes to find shoes.

they will now religiously go where they're supposed to. 
at least until the 2-year-old shoe thief walks off with them again.

the kiddos are now sleeping. my wonderful husband that spent the forty minutes shoe-searching with me this morning is at an evening meeting.  i squeezed in a quick run and am about to make some dunkin' donuts decaf coffee, add lots of half and half, and sit down. i'll browse some recipes from magazines piled up {clean eating and fine cooking are a couple of my favorites!}, look at some road race calendars and try to convince myself to register for an upcoming 10K, and keep reading in Colossians.

{a good way to end a day that didn't start so smoothly!}

oh, about the roasted chicken?

so good even the animals liked it.


{Saturday brunch}


it's not feeling like fall, but we had a lovely fall brunch Saturday morning.

simple-but-pretty deep red carnations.
fresh fruit.
spinach quiche.

 and really good friends.

A beautiful start to the weekend, 
which ended with Sunday afternoon naps and early-to-bed kiddos. 
I'm making more pumpkin bread for some friends coming over tomorrow night, and will probably double {or even triple!} the recipe into muffins, because the kiddos?
they like it. a lot.

Icecream truck!

while playing around the house a couple of days ago,
my favorite-four-year-old burst out with
Mom, how many more sleeps until the icecream truck comes?

a lot of sleeps, buddy.

Grant's answer?
I think it will be 2 sleeps.
we should pray that the icecream truck will come in 2 sleeps.

alright, sweet Grant.  alright. 2 sleeps. we'll pray.

well, today we're 2 sleeps later.
and guess what?

thanks to his sweet prayer
and a fabulous streak of warm October weather, 
Grant's a very happy little boy.


it's Tuesday.
and I'm kinda getting over the migraine-of-the-century here.
So thankful,
so very, very thankful!, 
that at least Matt's schedule was flexible enough to step in and help care for the kiddos a lot over the past couple of days.

so, thanks to some naps, a great Nurse Practioner who stayed after hours to give me some emergent migraine medicine, and a lot of prayer, I'm feeling functional at least. thank goodness!

{on another note...}

...for those of you who have followed Grant's journey, you'll know that our favorite-four-year old was diagnosed with systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis last spring.

He had a tonsillectomy in August to try to help his extreme fatigue level.
at a follow-up with the ENT yesterday, we are so, so thankful to say that although he had the worst-tonsillectomy-recovery-ever, his mouth has healed fabulously.

He is now back to his three-times-daily NSAID for his JRA.
and is doing great.
really, really great.

for which we are really, really thankful.

even over the last few days as I've battled this migraine,
I've been so reminded that even our health is a blessing.
that I think our family will never again take for granted.

  {a four-year-old who is not complaining of joint pain? big, big blessing.}
{a 2-year-old who's not in the hospital with toxic shock syndrome? big, big blessing.}

 Grant's future with JRA?
 we're staying status quo right now with his three-times-daily meds.
see the ped. rheumatologist in about 6 weeks.
and, as always, we pray.
a lot.
for his health. 
his heart.

and we count that doesn't include some health crises
like emergency calls to the ENT or big, swollen, red, painful joints.
a blessing.

grant owen.
4 1/2


 Happy Birthday to me!


i was greeted yesterday with cinnamon rolls and streamers. chocolate cake and good coffee.
  and then unwrapped sweet presents from my wonderful family.

My favorite four-year-old gave me a specially built lego truck.
just for me.

 and a space ship.
complete with an astronaut.

{it just might have been my favorite gift.}


And Matt and I were so privileged to go to a dinner banquet...
where I got to where real, non-running-shorts-for-clothes

...that included lots of good food, special conversations, and inspiring speeches.
including one honoring Howard G. Hendricks, 
a professor Matt had at Dallas Theological Seminary.

I was brought to tears by this special man's 60+ year ministry.

and as I sat in the banquet hall on my birthday,
I was struck by Howard Hendricks' life and legacy.

If I could flash-forward to my 40th birthday...60th birthday...
90th birthday...

what would a 5-minute-video summarizing my life include?

hopefully that I ate lots of chocolate cake.  
 {calories can stop counting at 90, right?}

had loved really, really well.
and taught these sweet ones to love their sweet ones really well, too.

i think it's going to be a good year.