Beautiful Chaos

Finding adventure in the everyday

Sawyer James 9 months


Even amidst the chaos that is this month, I couldn’t leave out my monthly post about my baby and his changes. There have been some big ones.

He took his first steps last week!! Still not crawling, still not pulling himself up on anything, but by golly if you stand him up he’ll balance and he’ll walk towards you a few steps before just lunging the rest of the way. The big kids were so proud.

He took his first steps walking towards Layla to try to take her toothbrush. It reminded me of Seeley. He took his first steps between her and I as well. I’m so grateful for that little mama. She loves him so well and cares for him so naturally.

Sawyer started eating a lot more this month too. He is no longer satisfied with just Mama’s milk. I still make sure he gets lots of that, but he is also eating lots of soft fruits and veggies and scrambled eggs. It’s good that he’s a fan of eggs. We eat them every morning in one form or another. That’s 8 or 9 dozen every 2 weeks for those keeping track at home.

I’m borrowing a walker from one if my friends and Sawyer has figured it out this month. He follows me from room to room until he gets stuck or facing the wrong direction. I love that he can get around, but can’t get into anything! I know those days will be over so soon, but I’m really soaking them up while they’re here.

Sawyer is my noise box. If he hears Layla squeal or scream, he does it back to her. He loves making monkey sounds, “ah ah ah!” And at the library last week I stood him up next to a shelf of books and he started going “ooooo oooooo” like he was so impressed. I love how noisy he is. We’ll see how much the people on our airplane appreciate his noisiness.

Oh another big deal this month, I’ve started dressing him. Yup, that’s right. Up until now he’s been a pajama only kind of guy but going through clothes to sell at our church’s annual resale I found a bunch of Seeley’s old stuff that will fit him and he’s made the step. Only jammies 75% of the days now instead of full 100%.

Currently we are not sleeping. I’m guessing in a month I’ll be able to report back the growth of at least 3 new teeth, but for now it’s just swollen gums and cranky nights. And I’ve got too much to do this week to nap. Come on teeth!!

It’s so amazing what a month can do. How much different will life look after the next 30 days?




Yesterday Seeley listened to everything I asked. He wasn’t out of control hitting his brother or sister. He wasn’t screaming all day or running circles in the living room.

He was calm and quiet. He took a nap with NO battle, without me laying with him.

What is happening??

My first theory that lasted until 2pm was that he was sick. I kept waiting for him to throw up right in the middle of whatever he was doing. I kept asking him if his stomach felt ok. And I kept pressing my cheek up to his forehead to see if I could notice a fever.

I could not figure out what was happening to my wild and mostly out of control little boy.

And then it hit me. We played outside for about 3 hours Monday and played in a gym for 2 hours yesterday morning.

So my new theory? He had so much pent up energy it was constantly exploding out of his body in aggressive chaotic ways, and once he was given an outlet for all of that testosterone he became my sweet boy again.

True? False? That still remains to be seen. But if it is true? How terrible to be walking around with so much crazy inside of you just dying for a way to get it out. I will be doing my best to provide him with some physical activity every day.


I love that crazy boy.

I get super into books


I’ve noticed something over the past few years. Whenever I finish a really good book series, I have to wait awhile before I can start a new one. I didn’t understand this phenomena at first but have recently figured it out.

I just finished reading the Vampire Academy series. [Don’t judge. They were pretty awesome.] Anyhow, that was a 6 book series! Every time I had to go sit upstairs and nurse Baby to sleep, Rose was there. Every time I had to go rock Baby at 2am for 2 hours, Rose was waiting for me.

For 6 whole books!!

And now she’s gone.

The reason I can’t just pick up another book series to get into? I just lost a group of friends and adventurers forever. I’m mourning.

And so the reason I have space to write this blog right now while I’m nursing is because I have no Rose and Dimitri to run to. I have no crazy magic good vampires to make my world feel a little bigger than these 4 walls.

Someday, I get to go on my own adventures and be the master of my universe (totally surrendered to God and wherever he leads of course), but these days I don’t really get to go on massive adventures. And sometimes it’s fun to pretend.

PLEASE live from your heart!


I hear sometimes in Christian circles that we shouldn’t live by our emotions. That we should live in obedience instead, striving to follow God despite our selfish desires. This way of thinking says that our sinful hearts can’t be trusted and we need to ignore them and smother them with God’s truths to live differently in this world.

Well, this line of thinking ignites a fire in my heart that needs to get out. So I’m writing.

I have lived in “obedience” mode for most of my life. Trying to be “good enough” for others to earn love before I met Jesus and then “good enough” for God under the guise of “obedience”. I tried to beat my heart into obedience. I tried to push down my fear and selfish longings. I tried to ignore or “speak truth” to feelings that went against what God says. I tried. And where I ended up? Alone. Isolated from people because no one knew the real me. I didn’t even know the real me. I was so good at masking what was going on in my heart that I am still trying to uncover why I’m reacting at times. I have learned to feel my heart shut off, but it still takes time and usually journaling to uncover what I’m skillfully trying to avoid.

I became isolated from people because I was trying so hard to be something I wasn’t that I was living a lie. I had to hide from them to keep them from seeing a glimpse of the “real” me that I was so diligently trying to keep covered up from the world. I was one person on the outside and someone else on the inside. But I was so so good at it that I didn’t even know I was doing it. It seemed like the right way to go: obeying God and doing the right thing. Oh goodness.

WE ARE NOT ROBOTS! Sorry for shouting. That’s how fired up I feel. God did not create us to simply do his bidding like little minions, jumping when he says jump and giving up all heart and preference and choice. *sigh* Ok, back to my story.

Then I saw one man at a church event bare his heart and share the messiest, most real story I’ve ever heard. His story. It made me uncomfortable. I had spent so much time trying to cover up the mess in my life and here he was exposing his to the world. And as he shared his story it was in the exposing that God was able to heal his heart. To take his mess and renew it. To free his heart from all the trying and striving and allow him to live a real, authentic, free life. That was the beginning of my journey to honest living.

And I think I feel so fired up about this topic because I cringe at the thought of others still living that kind of half life that numbed me to everything real going on inside. It has taken 5 years for God to get me to this place of owning my mess, taking it to Him with full confidence of his love. You see, obedience comes out of relationship. It flows out. A natural thing. Not any kind of striving.

When God created us He gave us this heart that beats out feelings of all kinds and I can’t stand by and let anyone say that we should ignore what our heart is saying. That is ignoring a piece of the way God made you. It’s no different than the fact that he made your hands and feet, he made your face and body and he handcrafted, delicately and thoughtfully, just the way he wanted your heart.

Ignoring our heart is ignoring God. It is how he speaks to us. It is how we are aware of what is happening inside of us. Yes, maybe our heart is being selfish, but the only real way to stop being selfish, the only LASTING WAY, is to share that selfishness with God. Own it. To pour it out to him, sometimes with a friend, and allow Him to pour his grace all over it. Transformation is NOT an act of the will. We CANNOT force ourselves to be something we are not. God is the only one who can change our hearts.

And He is not afraid of our sin. He is not afraid to see that it’s ugly in there. He already knows it and wants to comfort us from the guilt and shame and then walk with us into newness. He doesn’t condemn or mock, he understands and grabs our hand and leads us into freedom and love.

We can’t live a life of serving God if we are spending all our efforts running from the very piece of us that makes us us. If God so painstakingly picked out that heart for us then we need to embrace it. We need to set it free. Allow our hearts to really feel because it’s only in that really feeling that we can really love. That we can truly rejoice and weep and cry out in anguish to our Beloved. The only way that we can share someone else’s sorrow and pain and carry it with them. The only way we can set the world on fire with God’s love. We need to let our hearts feel.

So, let us not close off our hearts in the name of obedience. Let us not claim emotional distance as the true way to follow God. Let us not offer cliche Bible verses to others when they are struggling. I can’t imagine how heartbroken He’d be that we shut down such a core piece of who we are, how we function in his name. So laugh. Cry. Get angry. Be selfish. Be prideful. Be ugly inside. Take those to God and find friends who are real as well. Tell Him honestly where you are, and let him speak to those places. Let him speak to them over and over again. As many times as you need. He doesn’t get tired of teaching his children how to let go of fear and bitterness and anger. I believe he delights in us when we come to him and allow him to truly set us free.


What we do when we have the flu


This nasty stomach bug seems to be going around so I thought I’d let you all know what we do in those situations. We haven’t gotten it this year, thankfully, but I keep hearing about it in our circles, so I’m glad I’m stocked up on what we’d need. As always, in case you haven’t seen it, this is why we are pretty strictly Shaklee around here.


One very important thing when there is vomiting and diarrhea is to stay hydrated. Sometimes vomiting can continue simply because the electrolyte balance is all out of whack. I’ve seen it in Layla. She was sick with the flu and couldn’t even keep in a sip of water. She kept throwing up and throwing up despite having an empty stomach. A friend suggested i give her sips of Shaklee’s Performance instead. It is Shaklee’s sports rehydration drink and it is all the things we love about Shaklee- no sugar, artificial anything, dyes, etc. and it is a perfect balance for the body. She started sipping that and didn’t throw up again. Of course, it isn’t magic and if you’re still sick you may still throw up, but your body won’t be struggling with dehydration as well.

The only other thing I do is optiflora, shaklee’s probiotic. While the gut is losing the good bacteria at an intense rate, it helps to keep replenishing it and allowing them to do their work.

I don’t do Tylenol or Motrin for fevers. I just try to keep my kids or me as comfortable as possible. My reasons? One, I don’t personally trust what’s in those or how they work, and two, fevers are good and shouldn’t be tampered with. God created fevers as a part of our body’s defense system. This has some good myth versus facts about fevers, although I don’t agree with giving medication for discomfort. I don’t want my kids uncomfortable, but breaking up the fever over and over instead of letting it do it’s thing, will make them uncomfortable longer, because it will take their body longer to fight. This Mama talks a little about it here.

Good luck! I hope your family doesn’t catch the bug going around! Let me know if you want to stock up on things so you’re ready in case it comes your way!


*As always, I’m not a dr, just a mama who has found some amazing things that work for my family and I’d like to share them with you!

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I’ve been wrestling with Beauty lately. I’ve been on this journey for awhile where I’m learning that my beauty is not something that can change or get lost. It isn’t tied up in my weight or muscle. It isn’t in my hair or my clothing or how I make-up my face. I am beautiful because God created me that way. He thinks that I am beautiful.

So, while I’ve been learning all that, make-up got really confusing to me. ‘If I believe that I am beautiful then I don’t need to wear makeup’ is where I went with it. I have been makeup free for over a month now. And to be sure, I don’t need makeup at all to be beautiful, I truly believe that. But this blog post by a lady I adore (and don’t technically know) sent me into a weird place. I was panicking inside but didn’t know why. I had to really dive into this beauty thing and figure it out.

And what I figured out? I am beautiful. Period.

That fact doesn’t change whether I wear a burlap sack and shave my head (something I actually really want to do someday). Or whether I wear makeup and lose the rest of this thyroid weight I want to lose. I am beautiful and I can still find what feels like me. I can still cut my hair in a way that makes me feel sassy, wear makeup that fits my style and wear clothes that flatter me and those things don’t change the truth.

Nothing can change that truth.


I’m inherently beautiful and nothing can take that away or add to it.

You are inherently, absolutely beautiful and nothing can take that away from you either.

This song is about God making beautiful things. I love it and hope you will too.

My friend crush


I have a new obsession.

It started out innocently enough. People were posting things of his on Facebook and I was intrigued so I watched a few. Then I liked his FB page and watched them/shared them myself sporadically.

Then came the mid-night rockings and feedings because of a teething babe. I would watch one 5 minute clip from YouTube and they’d recommend another and another. Before I knew what was happening, I was watching clips way past getting baby to sleep.

And now, I’m determined to be best friends with Jimmy Fallon.

I have my concerns that he may not be as ‘real’ of a guy as he is on tv, but then I keep watching and I’m continually impressed by his heart and humor and have decided I really should give my bbf Jimbo the benefit of the doubt.

So, I keep watching and giggling and waiting for the day I meet Jimmy and he invites Trav and me over for dinner. Hopefully he’ll be impressed enough by our good looks to invite us back again because I’m not sure I’ll be able to say much that first time. Trav is really great under pressure so I’ll just let him carry us until I can chill out and realize he’s just a regular guy.

One of my favorite clips of Jimmy right now.

And another.

And another.

Happy Thursday.

Steps on the journey


A few weeks ago we had a series of amazing conversations as we ate breakfast and shared my tea in the mornings. Layla asked me to read the story of Jesus dying on the cross. As I started reading, Seeley was eating and half listening but not really engaging. As I said some of the gruesome truth of this story, his ears heard what his mind couldn’t comprehend.


Why did they do that to Jesus? And he listened to my answers. And asked more questions. Layla had her first moment of faith when she was 3 as well. Asking questions about what happens when we die. I think this was Seeley’s first understanding of the Savior’s love for us by taking on death and his first encounter with his rising from the dead and ascending to heaven. We read story after story. He didn’t want to stop, but baby woke up and needed my attention. We read again and again that week. We had so many conversations about God and his sacrificial love for us. He never “prayed the prayer”, but I don’t think he needs to say some magic words. He understood and believed that Jesus died because of his love for us and our sins needing paid for.

What a blessing to be a part of these faith journeys.

**If you need a great children’s Bible, look no further than The Jesus Storybook Bible. AH-mazing! It has made me cry multiple times in it’s story telling of the Father’s love for us and Jesus’ struggle. I wish they would make it bigger with so many more stories in it! On that same note, if you have a good “in between” Bible please let me know. Layla would love more, but couldn’t handle all.

Why we do what we do: unschooling


So, I’ve kind of dropped the ball on my series why we do what we do and the first installation of said series. But, here I am giving you the next part. Feels pretty risky continuing to let the world know just how different we are, and I think that’s why it’s been at least a month since I’ve given you any more details into our world. But, I prefer risk over safety, so here you go world. Enjoy.

The winter before Spunky turned 3 I started thinking about schools for her. One of the ones I liked had a preschool that started at 3 and if you didn’t get in at that level, chances of getting in for kindergarten were slim. I HATED the thought of sending her away everyday. Even if it was only for a few hours, it felt like MY job that I was giving to someone else. I felt like I wanted to be a major part of her discovering her world and finding her interests.

But I had a problem. What was in my head as homeschooling was NOT what I wanted. I didn’t want to take on a new role in her life that would cause more stress and division than there needed to be. I didn’t want to have to make her learn. So, I kept searching.
A friend mentioned looking into unschooling. What?!? It sounded super sketchy and totally made up. But as I read about it, as I let my mind open to the option, the more it fit with who we are.
When Travis was a freshman in high school he tried really hard at “school”. And he got C’s and D’s. So he stopped trying. Still C’s and D’s. As a freshman in college he tried really hard again. Same thing. I’d take a leap and say he didn’t learn much those 9 years except how much he could NOT do and get away with it.
I was the opposite. School was a piece of cake. I knew how to study and how to cram and I could ace a test any day of the week. But I learned very little as well. I know shockingly little about history, geography, political…stuff and science. But I got A’s and B’s in those classes. My brain is awesome at memorizing but if I wasn’t interested or it was too much information too fast, I didn’t actually learn.

Enter unschooling. As with everything we’ve been discovering on our journey towards oddball-ville changing our perspective of education and children in general is where I needed to start. Unschooling says that kids WANT to learn. Babies want to learn how to roll, crawl, walk, talk… And kids want to learn how to tie their shoes and ride their bike and read. Somewhere in childhood learning becomes a pain in the ass because people are making us do it and grading us on how well we did it. Someone is telling us what we need to learn and we are forced to comply or get bad grades that then follow us.

If someone did that to me right now, forced me to learn, I’d be furious. I don’t care about finance or mechanics or engineering and so making me learn it would be a waste of your time and mine. It just wouldn’t happen. You may be able to motivate me to get good grades by some sort of bribery, but I wouldn’t actually remember a thing if I didn’t care.

So unschooling trusts the child to have an intrinsic desire to learn and then let’s them do it. That’s it.

Last summer, Spunky said, “I want to learn to tie my shoe.” We spent an hour on it and she had it down. A week or less after that she said, “I’d like to learn to read.” Bam. We started working on it together in a way that made sense to her. And now, she’s reading. No fights. No forcing. No stress or pressure on her part to do well to please someone. She is having so much fun learning. She wants to get out her practice book and do some with me. Today, she said she wanted to do 4 “lessons”. She wants it and so she is going for it. All on her own.

That’s unschooling. Exposing her to things she may be interested in and letting it go if she isn’t. Trusting that she will want to understand grammer so she can write cards and letters that she loves to make people. She will want to learn fractions so she can cook on her own and feel SO big. She will want to learn history because the stories are our stories and she can take them in one at a time.

Schooling this way, for us, is the natural way for her to be discovering who God made her and how he wired her to see the world. She isn’t the same as Monkey and they will explore different things and learn in different ways. Their passions will be different and so it only makes sense for their educations to be different. I love their desire to learn and I never want to squish that or turn it into a chore. 12 years out of high school and I love learning again. At my own pace, about the things that set my heart on fire. I’m so grateful to allow them to discover what sets their hearts on fire and run after that.

A few unschooling/homeschooling things I’ve enjoyed recently:

An article about how we learn

Kid hacking education

Matt Walsh on Standardized Testing- he’s super blunt, but I kind of love it

the flame


Our brave and foolish hearts cry out for more. There is a deep longing, a bigness in our chests that calls to us; at times in enticing whispers and in others enraged shouts. A purpose that engages the kingdom and sets our hearts on fire.

It’s only an ache right now. A growing chasm within us that won’t let us settle. Won’t let us be satisfied until. Until God himself reveals his purpose and lays out the plan and sets it into motion. Until we jump into this deeply mysterious and profoundly beautiful ocean of calling and start walking on the crashing waves hand in hand with the savior.

And until the timing is right, we wait. Because all we can do is trust his ridiculously lavish love that joins us with His impossible purposes and unimaginable plans. We rest in the humanly unattainable commission he gave, the call to more. We tenderly embrace these beating, bleeding hearts he put in us that won’t, that can’t be persuaded to let mediocre be enough.

Inwardly we groan like a woman in labor. We are growing pregnant with purpose and the time is drawing near for the it to be revealed in us and through us. Right now we are growing and stretching. He is developing something beyond what we can create on our own. And then the intense groaning and slow process of stretching will bring God’s thoughtful creation to fruition in our lives and forever change the world because of it.

So now we hold the ember that he has given us. We hold it close enough to keep us warm but don’t dare close our hands around it lest it burn us. But when the time is right, he will place it ablaze in us complete with ideas and plans and details. He will ignite the flames but they will not burn us up because it will be his hands holding the fire and ours walking into the calling.

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