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on anxiety.

Troubled-Waters-Cleansing

this week, i’ve been thinking a lot about anxiety and depression, and how to normalize it, how to own it. these conditions, these afflictions, they are REAL, and they are something that so, so many people struggle with, and hide, and feel ashamed of.

i’m done feeling this way.

guys, i have anxiety.

and i want to share my story with you all today, in hopes that it will be a light in the often dark, dark world of mental illness.

* *

when Jord and i first moved to Vermillion, we were newly married (barely one month into our marriage!), and we were both embarking on new adventures: i was attending graduate school in English literature and teaching at the local university, and Jord accepted (literally a week or so before our wedding!) a new position in athletic development for the fundraising body for the university. we were living in a new city, an hour away from our families and friends, and we were navigating newlywed life together.

once graduate school began and the academic year ramped up, my perfectionist tendencies – that i was able to keep in check (for the most part) in my undergraduate years – heightened considerably. with each novel or reading that was assigned, and with each student essay that hit my grading pile, i lost more and more of my ability to endure what felt like (to me) falling short.

if i didn’t underline or annotate or seek to fully understand each sentence of each novel or critical reading that i was assigned in my graduate courses, i felt like i wasn’t qualified to seek a master’s degree. if i didn’t circle every grammatical error or imprecise topic sentence in my students’ essays, i felt like i wasn’t trying hard enough or doing enough to help my students to succeed.

as you can guess, these feelings – of failure, of doubt, of constantly seeking to do more, to be more – took a toll.

Jord was a first-hand witness to all of these feelings. he was the ear to which i confessed all of my stress, the shoulder on which i leaned, the face to whom i looked to for support, for comfort, for safety.

but i felt like i was failing him, too.

here we were – newlyweds! – and i couldn’t even muster enough energy at the end of the day to stay awake during a movie, to hold his hand in mine as we munched on popcorn.

my anxiety finally reached a breaking point in February of 2011, when, in the midst of teaching a new course and taking my own classes with seemingly even higher demands, i remember feeling helpless, like i didn’t possess any skills whatsoever to cope with my new reality – my teaching assistantship, my graduate coursework, my marriage. and in that moment, i remember Jord taking my hands in his and recommending that i seek therapy.

* *

Jord came with me to that first appointment, and he held my hands as i cried to the therapist at our local hospital about the way that i had been feeling, and the toll that these feelings were taking on my life. i truly feel that seeking help was the first step in managing my anxiety, for without my weekly therapy appointments, which i participated in faithfully until the end of 2012, i’m not sure that i would have been able to find the light in the dark tunnel that i was trapped inside.

the other tool that helped me then, and that still aids me now, is medication.

i take a little blue pill every morning, before i guzzle my coffee, and i’ve done this every morning since 2011.

* *

in the early weeks and months after i began my weekly therapy sessions, i also had what my therapist called my “emergency medication,” which was fast-acting and effective in quickly calming my anxious tendencies. i remember carrying this medication with me in my purse everywhere i went, and i remember reaching for this pill a few times, when often unexplainable feelings of overwhelm or failure would bubble up.

after a while, my emotions began to even out, and i felt comfortable and confident moving forward in my graduate studies, my teaching assistantship, my marriage – my life – without the emergency medication in my purse. Jord and i began to seriously discuss starting a family, and shortly after that, we were expecting our Lionel.

i took medication for my anxiety during both of my pregnancies, with Lionel and with Quincy. while my doctors placed me on a different brand of medication during these time periods of pregnancy and breastfeeding, i faithfully took my low-dose anxiety medication each morning of both of my sons’ entire existence, both on the inside and in the outside world. and i’ll do it again, should we decide to have another child eventually.

even in light of the emotion-ridden and utterly painful guilt of the doctor’s misdiagnosis for the reasoning for Quincy’s brief NICU stay, i know that the medication that i take each morning saved me many times over.

it allowed me to complete my graduate studies. it allowed me to re-engage in my marriage. it allowed me to even consider becoming a mother. it allowed me to cope with the guilt that i unnecessarily felt for Quincy’s short stint in the NICU. and it allows me, still today, to be the mother and the wife and the Sara that i want to be.

* *

anxiety is something that may have brought me to my knees time and again in my adult life, but it’s also something that i manage on a daily basis. i do so with the support of my family and friends, my colleagues, my faith, and yes, my medication. my anxiety is not shameful – it’s a point of strength for me, for if i didn’t endure such struggle, i wouldn’t feel such triumph.

well hello there.

this is my first post in three-and-a-half months, and i’m not even sure what to say. so, hello there!

i suppose that i should catch you up on life in these parts. in short, we’ve been soaking up all that life has to offer, and i’ve been trying to focus on living life instead of documenting it – hence the radio silence over here.

but, i miss writing about our lives, and i miss sharing our little part of the world with all of you, so here i am.

all about L

first, our sweet L turned 4 in June, and he had a memorable baseball-themed bash at our local park. all of his dearest friends and family came to celebrate the big ‘4’, and we sweat and soaked up the opportunity to be amongst kiddo laughter on the gorgeous (albeit windy) day outside. we ate some concessions-themed food in cute little red-and-white-checked cardboard baskets (baseball theme!), we opened gifts (our boy’s toy collection continues to burst at the seams, which made Goodwill donations even easier this year – yay for sharing forgotten toys as we acquire new favorites!), and we even played a game of t-ball, which was a fascinating and wildly entertaining way to close out the festivities.

L-Hockey-Fall-2016

speaking of t-ball, our boy had his first season of organized sports this summer, and he LOVED it. he loved his purple Hawks jersey (go Hawks!), he loved hitting and fielding (playing pitcher was his most favorite; even though pitchers don’t throw the ball in this t-ball league, pitchers often see the most action on defense), and he especially loved his coach…Daddy.

we’re now in the midst of L’s first soccer season, and he adores that as well. he already has four goals to his name, as well as countless steals, assists and, of course, foibles and fumbles. but he couldn’t be having more fun, which is all that matters to the Mama of the house.

lastly, in semi-big news, we added a dog to our family…for about 18 hours. unfortunately, we’ve discovered that L (for sure) and (most likely) Q are allergic to dogs…and we aren’t talking stuffy noses; instead, our boys coughed and coughed, woke up with itchy and red eyes, and had buckets of snot making it difficult for them to breathe. so, despite our love for the adorable, perfect, sweet sweet SWEET Golden Retriever that we brought home (we called her Millie!), we returned this sweet dog to the family who had been caring for her in hopes that she would find a new home. we know that she will be a wonderful pet to her new forever family.

we do have hopes that perhaps the boys will outgrow their allergies, as many individuals that we know have experienced. we are also very, very cautiously investigating the opportunity to bring a hypoallergenic dog into our family. we are visiting friends in a few weeks that have a Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle mix), and we’ve heard that Golden Doodles shed much less than Golden Retrievers, but we aren’t ready to make the financial – or, frankly, the emotional heart – investment yet.

all about Q

our sweet Q has been replaced by a stubborn, insistent, “i do it myself” child who is, to put it nicely, challenging to parent these days. however, he still has that killer smile, so he’ s largely walking all over us as we grapple with this new reality. of course, we should have expected this turnaround, as our beloved L also sported quite the stubborn streak around 18 months of age, but my Mama memory (and, ahem, my heart) sure wasn’t primed for this transition.

i have all the feelings for the baby stage of my boys’ lives, but when they hit the toddler phase, and the “i love you’s” give way to the “noooooo’s,” i begin to lose my mind a bit. in short, attention Jord: #weneedmorebabiesinourhouse.

Q-Baseball-Summer-2016

despite the arrival of his attitude, Q is one of my favorite humans. he is saying more and more words (and complete sentences, as of the beginning of September!) as the days pass, including a few of my recent favorites:

* “i block,” which is only uttered when Q, engaged in a football or wrestling match vs. Daddy and L, makes a killer block like he’s in the NFL

* “i OK,” which he says every time he coughs, trips, sneezes, falls…the list goes on…

* “Lionel?” which is said…all the time. he LOVES his brother and always is actively seeking him out, whether it’s to play cars, to watch iPad (which Q is also obsessed with – thanks, Blippi), or to wrestle

lastly, Q’s love of water knows no bounds. we visited a local water-park as summer drew to a close, and while L wavered between courage and caution when it came to slides, waves and fountains, Q couldn’t get enough. “wa wa” is a frequently-uttered phrase in our household; i can’t wait to get Q into swimming lessons.

what’s new with Jord and me

Jord and i snuck away for a long weekend in July to celebrate the bachelor/bachelorette parties of our friends. we left the kiddos with the grandparents and drove to Wisconsin, which is becoming our new favorite state – it’s just so pretty, guys. i wanted to buy every little adorable old house on every street corner in the small town of Hartford, where the parties took place, as well as in the neighboring town of Ceaderburg, where the bachelorette and her girls partook in some delicious wine (i only bought two bottles, but i’m totally regretting not buying a whole case while i was in town). we also had our very first batch of Wisconsin cheese curds, which will definitely not be our last – YUM.

Jord-Sara-Fall-2016

in other news, we’re doing well with our budget plan, thanks to Financial Peace University. we’ve had to put a bit of a pause on our additional payments to our debt as of late, due to some uncertainty with my contract negotiations at my day job (i teach English at a local technical college), but these stalls in extra payments are allowing us to more readily afford a new roof on our home – it’s funny how God provides!

both Jord and i are experiencing times of busyness at work, so we relish the opportunity to soak up time with our boys and with each other. one new thing that we’ve been doing lately: we’ve been playing board games together (L’s newest favorite is this, which he purchased with his own money that he earned doing chores around the house and from his birthday; Jord and i are OBSESSED with this game). we also recently added this game to our collection, and we’re anxiously awaiting a break in our schedules to play it.

big (and little) home updates

speaking of a new roof…we learned this summer that our roof experienced significant hail damage during a storm in the fall of 2015 (yes, almost an entire year ago). we had an insurance adjuster come out to survey the damage and estimate replacement costs. during this process, we learned that our homeowner’s policy had an ACV (actual cash value) stipulation, which, in simple terms, means that when something is damaged, our policy only covers the actual cash value cost, not the full replacement cost. SO, long story short, if we want to claim our roof damage and replace the shingles, we would have to pay out a bit of money in order to replace our roof. luckily, we’ve worked with an excellent contractor who’s been tirelessly appealing to our insurance company for more comprehensive coverage of our damage, and our out-of-pocket is significantly less than we initially anticipated. so, in the next few weeks, we’ll have a new roof installed!

Front-of-House-Updated

i’m also way behind in updating you on a few little tweaks that we’ve made to our home in the past few months. i’ve completed a phase I makeover of our upstairs bathroom (i’ve had a post on this drafted for MONTHS). these inexpensive updates have made such a difference in the space, and i hope to share it here soon – i just have to find time to clean the bathroom (HA) and then snap some photos.

we’ve also moved L into his own big boy bedroom downstairs (as mentioned here), and we’ve reorganized Q’s room to better suit him. i have also painted a dresser from my childhood to use as storage in Q’s room, hung a few more items around the house, and officially traded (with my brother and his girlfriend!) our black 4×2 Expedit in exchange for a distressed dresser.

what’s coming up

we’re headed out on a few mini vacations this fall and winter, mostly to bigger cities in neighboring states to take in a baseball game, go shopping and/or see friends. but this December, we will also embark on a Black Hills (South Dakota) family vacation with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend, and their new Yellow Lab puppy, Copper.

we’re excited to cozy up in a cabin with snowy mountain views, to play board game after board game, and to (hopefully) teach sweet L how to ski, all while soaking up time as a family unit. it’ll be my family’s first real getaway in a very, very long time, and we know that introducing our boys to the magic of the mountains in the wintertime will be an experience that they won’t soon forget. in short, we couldn’t be more excited. hopefully, we’ll recreate moments like this, except with four people (and no babies – sob!) in the photo:

Hills-2012

that’s all the news that i have from our world – what’s new with you?

our boys’ journey with short stature.

Troubled-Waters-Cleansing

Our waters over here aren’t the most troubled in history. We are certainly blessed beyond measure in numerous ways. But lately, I’m feeling stuck in these can’t take a breath, life-jacket-breaking waters, and I need to come up for air in this space.

Our sons, while immeasurably bright, gracious, kind, and as silly as they come, are short. Our boys have never, not once, met even the bottom percentile of the growth chart when it comes to height, and since we were pregnant with Lionel, and then with Quincy, we’ve been prepared by doctors, genetic counselors and physicians for many outcomes, the majority of them terrifying.

Thanks be to God alone, our boys do not have concerns that align with the scariest of conditions, but they are remarkably behind where the doctors feel that they should be. For instance, in Lionel’s case, the age of his bones is one year behind what’s normal for his age. And in Quincy’s case, he’s shorter as a one-year-old than even his big brother was at age 1.

It’s not simply that my boys are short. In these modern times, we are blessed – and challenged – by the question of what can, what should be done to augment their growth, and what, if anything, would be effective in doing so. It’s this question that has me grasping for oars to wade us out of these, our troubled waters.

Our boys have undergone extensive testing to rule out genetic abnormalities or deficiencies. We’ve had extensive discussions with our sons’ specialists about medical intervention to augment their growth. And these tests and these discussions continue, with little to no answers regarding where this height challenge came from, other than the determination that it’s a familial condition that’s been passed from Daddy to our boys. Yet, the time is quickly approaching to make determinations about whether or not to intervene medically, and, if we elect to do so, whether or not treatment would actually work to help our boys to grow.

In other words, given the lack of information regarding our boys’ short stature, the decision whether or not to pursue growth hormone therapy is a nuanced one, and one that is immeasurably difficult. Our doctors are unsure as to whether this treatment will help our boys to grow. To provide context: Jordan took growth hormone when he was a child, and following his treatment, he grew to 5’4″, but there’s no certainty that it was the growth hormone treatment and not a delayed growth pattern, for example, that played a role.

It’s always been in our medical plan to make a decision about growth hormone therapy for Lionel around ages 5 or 6, but his sluggish growth pattern has pushed up the timeline for treatment to ages 4 to 5. And last week, we were told that our Quincy may be in need of intervention sooner than his brother, around ages 2 1/2 to 3.

If you do the math, that means that both of our boys, our treasured, healthy boys who just happen to be short, may be receiving growth hormone treatment at the exact same time. And we, their parents, are left to grapple with not only the question of whether this treatment will be effective at all, but also the logistics of daily growth hormone injections for TWO wiggly toddlers, the financial burden of growth hormone therapy for not one but TWO boys, the pleas of “Why do I have to have shots?”, the recognition that our boys are different from their friends, their cousins, their peers.

Jordan keeps telling me, the Mama who has no experience with what it means to be below average height, that it’s important for our boys to be taller than the doctor’s projections, which, to be honest, will leave our boys near five-feet tall, if they are lucky.

But I won’t speak for him; my own fears speak loud enough.

I fear that if our boys are short, and not just short, but quite short, they may have to bear the taunts and the teases of bullies.

They may not be picked for the team at recess.

They may be made to feel inadequate, either consciously or subconsciously, by their peers, even well-intentioned ones.

They may not be asked to dance at prom, or they may be needlessly fearful to do the asking themselves.

They may arrive home from school in tears, wondering why the children tease them so mercilessly, why they are different from everyone else, why they are so short.

And it’s the hurt faces of my two boys that prevent rest from taking hold of my body, that pound my heart violently, that give way to tears more often than not.

No mother wants her child, her children, to bear the brunt of what cannot be helped.

But this. Can this be helped? Should we pursue help, even if it’s not guaranteed to work?

Though it’s felt at times during these past four years as though the rain is pouring down on us in immeasurable buckets, I haven’t said a word about this publicly, because I’ve long insisted that it’s not my story to tell: it’s our boys’ story.

But, I’m coming to realize that this, for now, at least, is my story, too – it’s the story of me, the Mama of these two bubbly, wonderfully exquisite boys, coming to grips with what God has handed us in this life.

I’m learning that I’m allowed, if I want, to throw a fit and say that life isn’t fair and ask for God to just help my boys to grow. And on better days, I take comfort in the the hope that God is using these troubled waters to cleanse me, to cleanse my boys, even when – especially when – I doubt the purpose of these trials.

Thank you, friends, for reading this muddled snapshot of my Mama heart. More to come soon. xo

featured on Design Mom! {sara’s writing}.

hi all! i’m beyond honored to be featured on Design Mom today; as part of her Growing a Family series, i’ve shared a piece on Q’s stay in the NICU, entitled “A Bitter Pill to Swallow.” here’s a peek:

Three white, sticky circles were attached to his chest. Wires spilled across his breast bone, red and white in color. The beeping of the monitor tracked his heart rate – beep, beep, beep. His feet, wrapped in bandages as a result of many hours of pokes and tests, were oozing red and aching, making his sweet face grimace with each cry.

He lay in a bed with see-through sides, clad only in a diaper brandishing the letter “N” for newborn. The colorful mixture of cotton and sunshine yellow that swaddled his tiny middle was the size of my palm. He was sleeping, fitfully, clearly in a state of distress, which was undoubtedly caused by anxiety regarding when his next round of testing, his next unsuccessful round of nursing, his next interruption would disturb his slumber.

to read the rest of the piece, i’d love for you to click over to Design Mom! thanks so much to Gabrielle for the endless inspiration and for sharing my story.

and, for those of you popping over here after reading that piece, or if you’re just finding Our Family Roost, we’re so happy that you’re here!

Family-Photo-Q's-Baptism

to catch you up quickly, i’m Sara. i’m married to Jord, who also blogs in this space. we are blessed to have two sons – sweet Lionel Conner {who we call L here} joined us in June 2012, and dear Quincy August {who’s known as Q around these parts} made his debut this past November {click here to read L’s birth story, and click here to read the story of Q’s birth}. Our Family Roost is our little corner of the web where we chronicle life as it happens {and as we remember to blog it!}. for more on who we are, check out the About Us page!

want more? here you go:

* Jord and i were married in 2010 in a DIY, vintage-inspired ceremony; click here to check out posts about our wedding!

* we bought our first home in August 2013 and have been slowly putting our own stamp on the place; click here to see a tour of our home!

* we recently partnered with Tiny Prints on a reading nook for our sons and our boys’ shared bedroom!

thanks again for stopping by! questions? the comments section is just for you.

xo,

Sara

 

 

what i’ve been reading + learning {Sara’s bookshelf}.

Lara-Casey

a week ago, i posted the following on Instagram:

At first, summer vacation for me meant catching up on sleep and Netflix and house projects and yes, finally enjoying play time with my kiddos during the day. But now, just 2.5 weeks in, summer has become a time for me to chase after what matters {reconnecting with my love, playing with my littles, reading books I’ve been meaning to read, making our home work hard for us, sending up prayers I’ve been meaning to say, letting go of tears I’ve needed to shed, offering apologies that are long overdue}, not what doesn’t {Netflix – or any television, for that matter – as well as spending time unintentionally on social media}. I am devouring book after book on my list – I’m on no. 4 since summer began for me – and I’m finding so much joy and life in the words of others. I will share more about what I’ve been reading on the blog soon, but for now, a taste of #Margin by Richard A. Swenson, a book that is full of jewels of wisdom and truth: “[God’s] love validates our worth and, as a matter of fact, provides the only basis for it” (268). How freeing it is for me to know that I {and you!} are worthy to the only One who matters! I’m so thankful for this today, and I hope this truth warms your heart, too. xoxo

and today, i’m here to share what i’ve been reading + what i’ve learned.

in the few weeks since my summer began, i’ve read Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Blair, Margin by Richard A. Swenson, Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose by Lara Casey, Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space by Elsie + Emma, the beauties behind A Beautiful Mess, and Let’s All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs. all of these books have awoken something within my heart + i can’t wait to share these nuggets with you!

from Gabrielle Blair’s Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide:

Bedrooms, to us, are meant for sleeping. Our only requirements are enough space for a bed and a place to put clothes, with a bedside table and a lamp for late-night reading. Our kids’ bedrooms house a few toys and a few books, but the majority of these things are stored in the family room and the living room . . . We like it when the kids come out of their rooms and spend time with the family, and that’s more likely to happen when all of the “stuff” they’re interested in isn’t located only in their bedroom. My advice? Dedicate your bedroom to all things bed, from sleeping to napping to daydreaming. The less there is to do in the bedroom, the easier it is to lure the young ones out, which creates more opportunities for positive family interaction in the shared living space.

the bedrooms in our home {click here to see a current glimpse into our home} are all quite small, and our boys’ shared bedroom is even more so, since there are two littles living in there. thus, we’ve taken this philosophy to heart in an effort to keep the bedrooms in our home tidy + to encourage family interaction in rooms that allow more space for us to congregate – namely, our kitchen, our living room + our family room. my husband and i both had televisions and/or computers in our bedrooms at some point during our growing up days, so i wonder how we’ll handle the idea of a bedroom being reserved for “all things bed” when our kids are older?

from Richard A. Swenson’s Margin:

Even when I feel inferior, even when I have been victimized, even when the pace and pressures of life bring me to the point of collapse, Christ brings me to His rest. When my surrender is completed and His yoke is accepted, then my soul will find rest. And it is imperative, in such an age as ours, that we rest spiritually.

Swenson goes on to distinguish Sabbath rest {rest that occurs one day per week, on Sundays} from spiritual rest, which he terms “surrendered rest”:

The Sabbath rest is a rest He calls us to, but the surrendered rest He offers to us. The Sabbath rest we enter out of obedience, the surrendered rest we enter out of our need. The Sabbath rest arises from the good and perfect law of God; the surrendered rest arises from the good and perfect grace of God. The Sabbath rest is remembrance [see Deuteronomy 5:15]; the surrendered rest is meakness. Both provide soothing, God-ordained healing.

Swenson makes this differentiation to show the importance of creating margin, or space, for rest in our lives. for me, rest has always been something that i’ve felt guilty for taking; in particular, i’m a person who needs a generous amount of sleep per night, so i’ve been known to bow out of social functions or quiet time with Jord in favor of sleep. but, Swenson’s thoughts about rest and its importance helped me to feel inspired to shed this guilt and to embrace my need for rest, primarily because rest is something that Jesus provides for us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV). thank God for this!

from Lara Casey’s Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear. Take the Leap. Live on Purpose:

Following Him frees us from chasing perfect. Following Him frees us from a life going nowhere. Following Him gives us a clear life-giving purpose — to love Him and serve others so they know that love, too.

Casey continues by laying out God’s purpose for our lives:

God’s purpose for us is painted in every letter of the Bible, and it can be summed up in this: love God and serve people. He has given us all different gifts, talents, and resources to use for carrying out this purpose. God’s purpose for us is the big-picture vision; goals are our action plans to carry out that vision, using all He has given us.

you may know that i’m a huge fan of all things Lara Casey, particularly because she’s so gracious in sharing her heart and in helping dreamers like me to make things happen with her Powersheets goal-setting program. because i’ve steeped myself in all that Lara has to share on her blog, i didn’t expect to be so moved by her book, but goodness, i was. her book has helped me to think of goal-setting, something that my to-do-list-loving self has focused on for many years before my first set of Powersheets landed in my hands, as something that can be divinely inspired, something that can bring God glory. each day that i awaken, i want to, as Lara says, “keep reminding myself to set goals that fuel His purpose, not my own gain or what someone else says is a worthy pursuit.”

from Elsie + Emma’s Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space:

Reorganizing cabinets and making new space for hard-to-store items is such a rewarding way to spend an afternoon.

these girls speak my language! my favorite of their ideas for kitchen organization: using locker baskets {like this one} to corral seldom-used items in the kitchen {vases + liquor, i’m looking at you}.

from Annie F. Downs’ Let’s All Be Brave:

Seeing other people be brave makes you want to be brave, too. That’s why you’ll see rational adults going down a loopty-loop waterslide even if they don’t want to, because they want to show the kids it isn’t scary. It’s a domino effect. That’s why we have to start. It’s why we have to go first. It’s why we have to be brave — so that others will be inspired to be brave as well.

oh, this spoke to me. as i reflected long ago, i was one of those rational adults who put on a brave face while going down a slide, simply because i knew that my biggest boy was watching me. but the thing is this: i didn’t take it to the next level. stay with me here; Downs continues:

Because you are making a way for them, saving them some pain that your bloodied arms prove is real, and honoring their footsteps by providing a clear path. Never forget as you step forward with your life that you are a trailblazer. Someone is watching. It’s the walking in front of. It’s the standing beside. It’s the trudging behind. We do this because we aren’t alone in it. Even if you don’t see others watching or standing or following, they are there . . . Seeing you be brave may be all they need to be brave. That may be all it takes.

sure, i was brave in that one moment for Lionel, but am i brave in other moments – as much as i can be – for him, for Quincy? am i brave for Jord? am i brave for Jesus? as i’ve learned from Lara Casey above, setting goals that honor God and serve others is worth striving for – and it takes bravery to do that, i’m convinced.

if you’ve made it this far through this post, thanks for reading. it’s been a joy to share with you what i’ve been reading + thinking about these first few weeks of summer! i’d love to hear what words you’ve been mulling over lately – care to share in the comments?

one more thing: i want to share what’s up next on my reading list!

next, i’ll be diving into L. Elizabeth Krueger’s Raising Godly Tomatoes: Loving Parenting with Only Occasional Trips to the Woodshed {a recommendation from Lara Casey + a gift from Jord for Mother’s Day!}. i’m also dusting off a devotional that I purchased long ago called The Message SOLO: An Uncommon Devotional.

{image above from Lara Casey}