Summer reading

I'm not a huge reader but there are some books I've run across lately that I am really eager to read.

Currently, I'm reading two...

I've been reading 'Grace For The Good Girl' by Emily Freeman for a while and although I don't consider myself to be a 'good girl' it's helping me understand friends in my life who are. If you are a natural born 'good girl' you should read this book. 

I just started reading 'Interrupted' by Jen Hatmaker this week. I bought the kindle version for $1.99 so I've been reading it on my computer which kind of hurts my eyes. So far it's a very eye opening book and will probably have me wanting to change the world by the time I'm finished with it. It's that kind of read. 

Here's a few more on my list that I'd like to read eventually...

 Are you reading any good books this summer?

If I ever write a book...

I have absolutely no desire to write a book, let's just throw that out there. I like blogging but I don't think I like writing enough to write more than a page or two. In college I always struggled with writing papers that were more than four or five pages because I didn't feel like I had anything else to say. I can usually get my point across in fewer words as opposed to many. People who write books dumbfound me. How can you possible have that many words in your head? I just don't have that much to say... about anything. At least that's what I think. Maybe it's the fact that those words come over a span of months and even years, I don't know.  More power to you all the authors out there. Keep on writing! 

Any who, I had this idea yesterday that I liked so much I had to write it down so I wouldn't forget it. It was like a title for a book popped into my head. The title is "She Thinks The Same Way You Do" with a subtitle of {uncovering insecurity and embracing relationships} by Courtney Laib. Haha. I just added the "by" part, just now:) It just makes it sound more official doesn't it? 

This idea didn't just come out of thin air, though. It's something I've been thinking about for a while now. In the last couple of years I have developed some really great friendships with some women that I adore. There was an imbalance in my life and I needed more community to lean on. Through these relationships I've learned that women are insecure. All of us. I know this isn't a surprise to anyone but when you only maintain surface-y relationships all you ever see of a person is their "good side". For some reason we as women almost always assume that the people around us have it all together.... their marriages, their families, their emotions, their passions and dreams, and we are the only ones who don't. Am I the only one who falls into this? And then when I actually sit down and talk with someone and hear about what their life is really like, I realize that they are just as insecure and uncertain as I am. How refreshing. Not that they have insecurities, necessarily, but that they are just like me. A work in progress.

I think sometimes when we are wallowing in our own insecurities we are afraid to embrace relationships because we're afraid of what people might think of us. We're afraid they won't like us, or they'll think we're weird, or they'll think our life is too messy, or that we're not fun to hang out with. These fears keep us from having deep and meaningful relationships the way God intended. 

I was having a conversation with someone the other day and they were asking about a certain situation in the past that could cause me to be afraid to make the same move again for fear of being rejected a second time. I responded, that of course I was nervous but fear shouldn't keep us from continuing to take risks in life. A life free of risk is a very boring one. And the same applies in relationships. If we don't risk our own comfort to dive into people's lives and let them dive into ours, our relationships, if we even have any, will be very boring. 

So, back to the book. I think I just wrote it actually. Haha. Maybe more thoughts on this topic will develop but for now that's whats been going on in my head. 

Thanks for listening. 


I have a toddler.

This weekend my son Cooper turned two. When he was first born, practically everyone told us that "it" would go by fast. It being the first 18 years of his life, I guess. Well we've only experienced two years so far and I would have to agree that it does feel like they went by fast. Cooper is learning words at a rapid rate. He's figuring out how to run and throw balls (among other things, which usually end up hitting Justin in the head), and he's still infatuated with all kinds of musical instruments. He loves to pound on our piano, and strum Justin's guitar. The drums are the latest instrument that's been added to his "band" and he walks around the house with a spoon hitting things and saying "play drums". He hasn't broken anything yet but I'm sure it will happen eventually and then his musical phase won't be so cute anymore. But it is fun to observe what sort of things he's enamored with. It makes me wonder if he will grow up to have some sort knack for music or if he simply just likes to bang on things to make noise. Or maybe both.

We had a small family party on Saturday that included Justin's mom and siblings and my mom, who came from Iowa. My brother was in Wisconsin for a conference so we went a little more low-key this year since we had less people attending. And I am so not a party planner, so the more simple the better. I bought pre-made pizza crusts, cheese, sauce, and some toppings and we did a "make your own pizza" thing for dinner. I also made cupcakes (only 12) mainly so we could have something to put a candle in for Cooper to blow out. We did eat them though:) Cooper got a few gifts and then we just hung out. It was just right.

Can't wait to see all that Cooper will learn in this next year of life. So grateful to be his mom!

Summer vacation

Justin, Cooper, and I got home early this morning from a week long family road trip/vacation. We had a blast! We left last Monday morning, June 11th to drive to North Carolina. June 11th was also Justin's 34th birthday. We drove about 9 hours to Lexington, KY. We stopped at a hotel for the night and grabbed some dinner at a local Cracker Barrel. Cooper 'wooed' all the waitresses with his cuteness and they even let him use their brooms to sweep the floor. He LOVES to sweep.

The next morning we drove from Lexington to Asheville, NC to spend the night with Wayne and Gwen Mahaffey. The people who know them well call them Gwendy and Pop. Wayne and Gwen are the parents of my friend Caroline, who lives here in Illinois, and she was also in town with her four kids. We spent about 18 hours there which included dinner, some playtime at a park in Asheville and then breakfast the next morning and more playtime before we hit the road again. It was a short but very fun visit!

Gwendy insisted we take a picture standing tallest to shortest:)

Swinging with Eden.
Gunnar, Tygar, and Stone.
After we said goodbye to the Mahaffeys and the TeSelles we drove from Asheville to Lake Lure, NC to make a quick visit to see my friend Miriam. Miriam lives in Georgia but is spending part of her summer working at Camp Lurecrest. She didn't know we were coming to see her and her reaction was priceless. And it was exactly what I pictured. It involved lots of running and screaming. It was awesome:) We got to spend about an hour with her. She showed us around the camp, introduced us to some of the people she works with and then we ate lunch with her. It was a short visit but so great and so worth the winding roads we took to get there. 

Love this girl. 

Then we drove from Lake Lure to Charlotte and arrived at my friend Greta's house. Greta is married to Jeremy and they have two kids, Joyner and Judson. Don't her kids have the coolest names!? I told Greta that if I ever have a girl, I might name her Joyner because I love it that much! We stayed two nights at Greta's house and had a ton of fun. We played outside, went to a splash park, played wii fit after the kids went to bed, and ate some delicious food. Oh yeah, and drank lots of VERY sweet tea made by Greta. Greta makes some good sweet tea. Greta and I also had lots of snuggle time on the couch and some great chats:) I don't snuggle with a lot of people but Greta is one of the few I'm always up for a snuggle with:) Loved the time we got to spend together. 

Cooper had lots of fun relaxing at Greta's house:)

On Friday we said good-bye to the Joneses and drove two miles down the road to the Debolt's house. It's sounds crazy but we really wanted to stay at both of their houses so we could have some quality time with the Jones family AND the Debolt family. My friend Natasha is married to Frank and they have two girls, Aubrey and Bethany. Her girls both loved hanging out with Cooper and Cooper had fun playing with all of their girl toys, most of which were pink. He didn't seem to know the difference. Natasha and I had fun catching up on life and laughing about who knows what. I always love talking to Natasha. Sometimes I feel like we are practically the same person. Her husband Frank shared some AMAZING coffee toffee homemade ice cream with us. It was the best ice cream I've ever had! We had a blast with their family. 

Hanging out at the splash park. 
My sweet friend. 
We tried to get a picture of the five of us before we left but Cooper didn't feel like cooperating. 
We left North Carolina Monday morning to make the drive back to Illinois. We did it all in one day and it took 15 hours. We left at 11am EST and got home at 1am CST. Crazy. It was a LONG day but Cooper did great and it was so nice to sleep in our own beds last night. Although, some of the beds we slept in on vacation were nicer than our own.

So summer vacation 2012 is in the books. Now it's time to gear up for some student ministry camps in July and Cooper's 2nd birthday this weekend.

I am so thankful for such great friends who let us come visit them and invade their homes. I love you all! Thanks for making great memories with us!


This photo best describes how we feel about summer time around here. Our faces may appear to be afraid but really we are having fun. We were at the park a couple of weeks ago and Cooper loves to swing so sometimes Justin and I swing with him. I decided to see if I could jump out of the moving swing like I used to be able to do as a kid. I succeeded but I didn't look near as cool doing it as I had pictured. And I think I only got about a foot off of the ground. Justin did a little better job. 

We like summer. I love the warm temps, the trips to the pool, the family vacation time, the time with friends, and the freedom that summer brings. We probably don't look forward to summer as much as parents with school aged kids do and our routine doesn't really change that much either but it's still a NEW season. 

Because my husband works with students things usually get busier for us in the summer. Beach days, summer trips, and spontaneous visits from students at our house makes for a busy but very fun few months. 

As for our family, here's some things we will be doing or would like to do this summer:

Vacation. Which will be happening in less than a week. Next Monday we will head out of town to visit some friends in North Carolina. We'll be driving and taking our time to enjoy the sites along the way. We will be spending most of our time in Asheville and Charlotte. I love the south and can't wait to breathe in the mountain air and drink lots of sweet tea:) 

Run lots of miles. This one is for me specifically. I want to do a lot of running this summer. Not marathon running but maybe 3-5 miles four times a week. That would make me happy. 

Trips to the city. I love hanging out in Chicago so I'm hoping we can get up there some this summer to enjoy all it has to offer. 

Students. We will be doing two trips with our Jr. High and High School students this summer. Both to Expeditions Unlimited in Baraboo, WI. Both in July. I am hoping Cooper and I can go on the High School trip but still not sure how that will all work out. 

Water. Cooper loves water so we plan on spending lots of time at the splash pad in our town. He also loves the park so I'm sure we'll be spending lots of time there too. 

Girls. I'm going to be meeting with a few girls this summer, every Thursday night. Nothing fancy, just hanging out, drinking coffee and talking about life. Really looking forward to it. 

I could probably add some more but that's a pretty healthy list as it is.

Here's to a great summer!