Oh hey. Thought I'd take a break from my blog break and update all of you on our lives. You've always been so supportive and loving to my family and the least I can do is show you some adorable photos of my kids and give you a little life update! 

Zach is thriving in ministry. He loves his job and I love watching him grow and challenge himself and become more and more comfortable with his calling. It's exciting to see. Our pastor announced his retirement about six months after we moved, so things have been a little transition-y lately. We're so sad to see him and his wife leave, but also excited about the future and what God has in store for us, for the church, and for our city. Things are moving and shifting and I can sense change coming again. Part of me is like, "NO! No more change! I am DONE." but then the rest of me is like, "Ok bring it. What do you have for us, God?" 

I miss blogging. I intentionally stepped back from my online life because I wanted to make sure I was giving myself the space to find real life community. Sometimes the internet can give you a false sense of friendship and connection,  but the reality is that this is a one sided relationship. There's also the awkwardness of being a pastor's wife and having such a wide audience on here. I just don't have the freedom to write like I used to write anymore. And that's fine. I'm collecting my stories and writing when I have a few minutes. I've been spending a lot of time reading about technique and grammar and that probably sounds boring to the non writers reading this, but I love it. I can't get enough of these books. I just finished On Writing Well and I'm still working through the exercises in Writing Life Stories. HIGHLY recommend them both. 

This is not a crucial life update, but I downgraded cameras! I know. Super exciting stuff. During a simpler time in my life, I was a photographer, but in the last two years, I've barely used my fancy shmancy SLR. All of my photo taking was happening on my iphone and I wanted to start taking nice pictures again. So I bought a mirrorless camera (this one) and it's just so great. Can't wait to TAKE IT TO DUBLIN AND HOLLAND IN AUGUST!! Because THAT'S happening. Ahhhhh. 

Anyway. THE KIDS. Jonah turned five in January and is thoroughly obsessed with dinosaurs. No you don't understand. He is OBSESSED. Everything is dinosaur. EVERYTHING. This kid knows what age each dinosaur lived in, when they went extinct, what they ate, what their names mean, how they fought, where they lived. It's ridiculous. Did you know the T-rex and Stegosaurus never met? And did you know that birds are the only living creature today that are similar to dinosaurs? Look it up. Birds are dinosaurs and Jonah loves to shock people with that fact. We took him to the Museum of Natural History in New York City a few months ago and had such a great time. Worth every penny. Honestly. 

With his favorite dinosaur, the ankylosaurs, at the Museum of Natural History.

With his favorite dinosaur, the ankylosaurs, at the Museum of Natural History.

Emery will be three in July and continues to crack us up with his feral child antics. (Find me on snapchat for daily Emery nonsense.) His temper tantrums have calmed down (thank you LORD) and he's starting to become his own little person. He is obsessed with the show Tumbleleaf on Amazon (such a good show!) and bugs. He ate a fly yesterday, just for kicks and giggles. I cannot keep him clothed during the day and potty training him is a nightmare. They can't stay in diapers forever, right? Or can they? I don't remember. He makes us laugh so much and he is so sweet and loving, but Lord have mercy.  He's my sanctifier.

I was going to share a photo of him in his feral state, but I really love this one Jonah took of him last week. It perfectly captures his quiet and curious side.

I was going to share a photo of him in his feral state, but I really love this one Jonah took of him last week. It perfectly captures his quiet and curious side.

Anna turned one in March and is as sweet now as the day she was born. Her personality is starting to really show and she is a feisty little thing. She pinches and hits her brothers when she's mad at them, and instigates fights all the time. So really, she's a typical little sister and it's hilarious. But she's also just so sweet to everyone she meets and says "Hiiiiii!" in a way that will make your heart melt into a puddle of good feelings. I love her. Having a daughter is so much better than I ever thought it would be. 

My health is on the up and up. I don't want to go into too many details online, but I'm getting help and finding answers and looking forward to feeling like myself again. I recently spent an extended amount of time with my family and laughed until my sides hurt. After a few days of non stop laughter, I called Zach and told him how good it felt to feel like me again. I've been in a funk for so long that I forgot that I didn't always feel that way. It was a good (and sobering) reminder that I am not back to normal yet, and that's ok. I'm getting there. 

My cousins and I.

My cousins and I.

One that note, it's been exactly one year since we moved from Tennessee to Massachusetts. I had no idea...NONE...what this year would be like. I was hopeful and excited and optimistic, but things haven't played out exactly as I thought they would. In a lot of ways, things are so much better than they were a year, even six months ago. But in some ways I feel like I still haven't found my place yet. I've moved every 2-4 years since I was in kindergarten and have never struggled to adjust and adapt like I am to this new life. But I'm trusting that God is preparing my heart for something and I can't wait to see what it is. I am SO ready to move on from this gray season of life. I don't know what my next step is, but I'm hopeful and excited. 

Thanks for journeying with me, friends.   

Oh. One last thing. I spent a small fortune on my hair and it's the best investment I've made this year. L-O-V-E it. 

only slightly sorry for the snapchat filter.

only slightly sorry for the snapchat filter.

Not a twinkly light person. (But I want to be)

I was 18 years old and sitting at a young adults bible study. Having grown up in a pastor's home and with three whole semesters of college under my belt, I was pretty arrogant and obnoxious. At the time, my identity was wrapped up in bringing the shock value to everything. I was Kristen the loud, Kristen the center of attention, Kristen the fun and obnoxious and hilarious. I was probably only one of those three things, but I digress. I can't remember what I said to make everyone at the table raise their eyebrows, but it must have been good. Everyone was quiet for what felt like a minute and then one guy spoke up and said, "You know...I don't like what you just said, but you said what everyone else was thinking." And then the girl next to him said, "You always do that. You don't just say what everyone else is thinking, you say what we're thinking but are too chicken to actually say out loud." 

And well if that wasn't the coolest compliment I've ever received. I'd always been that way, but to hear someone put it in words that made it sound like it was a positive thing instead of the thing that always got me trouble was freeing. That's who I was. The person who just said what I was thinking regardless of the consequences. 

I'd like to think I've toned that down a bit. I don't say what I think all the time, but I'm not afraid to. I just don't sometimes. It mostly just comes out when I'm writing. I write exactly what I think, the way I think it, in the words that I think it.  I just wish so badly that I was one of those people that can see the silver lining. That can face life with creativity and spin words into music and write something that leaves you feeling encouraged and excited and like life is beautiful and exciting and wonderful. I'm still hoping that one day I'll be able to do that, but I just can't seem to find the flowers in all these weeds! 

I was scrolling through my instagram feed and stopped at this beautiful and warm photo of someone's perfectly neutral and clean kitchen and the caption said something about "such a happy day" and "twinkle lights" and I got so annoyed that I turned my phone off and refused to look at it again for the rest of the night. Oh your life is twinkle lights and happy days? HOW WONDERFUL FOR YOU. HOW DARE YOU HAVE A HAPPY DAY WITH YOUR KIDS WHEN ONE OF MINE WAS SCREAMING AND THROWING SOUP CANS AT MY HEAD FOR THREE HOURS. And that was totally not fair because this instagrammer is one of the most authentic in my feed and she does post the tough stuff too, so why couldn't I be happy for her happy day? UGH. 

And then I found this magazine that was all about finding the silver lining and being positive, even when it's hard, and I  wanted to relate to it so bad. The photos were so beautiful and there was poetry and creative writing and I should have loved it. I really wanted to! But I found myself rolling my eyes and snark laughing and then I felt bad because women poured their heart and souls into it and I was scoffing at it because I'm having a hard time. I SO want to be positive, even if I have to fake it, but I don' It's not something that has ever come easy to me. I've always been a negative nancy, but postpartum depression had just made everything so much worse. Sometimes I feel like it's sucking all of the light out of me and I hate it. I hate it so much. I wish I could channel all my sad and drown PPD in it. It's so dumb. 

I'm not a twinkly light person. Even on my best days, I'm not fluffy and bouncy and bright. But I wish I could be just a little bit! I get that there is value in being the type of person that is real and honest and isn't afraid to talk about the hard stuff. I'm not hating on myself, by any means. I just want to do some self discovery and figure out how to channel my sadness and struggles into something positive. I truly want to be twinkly lights and happy days and maybe just wanting it is a good place to start.


The Ellipses

From 2013-2014 we lived in the question mark. I mean. Took up permanent residence. Changed our zip code. This is where we live now. There was this constant wondering about what was going to happen next. Would God provide? Where's the money coming from? Is this the right decision? What will happen with this job? When will we move out of the basement? How are we going to make it? What is our calling? Has our calling changed? Where is God leading? So many questions. So few answers.

2015 is the year that we take up residency in the ellipses. The fear is gone and all that's left is anticipation. The good kind. The "Just wait! There's MORE!" kind. Thing are happening in our our family, in our spiritual lives, our ministry, our careers, and our finances. Good things. Only good things. We're just waiting to see what else God has for us. We have joy in the ellipses. We have peace here. We have hope in the ellipses. God is good and he wants good things for his children. I get that now.

When you stop holding out on God, he'll stop holding out on you.