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2016

hello friends + family!

I think the first year we got married was the only year I wrote a Christmas letter and one of the last years I even sent out cards! Since I know that I still have Uriah's thank you cards from his birthday in my desk drawer, the idea of getting Christmas cards/letters out seemed pretty unrealistic.  So, I decided I could write a little blog post updating people on our lives:

I started off not knowing how to summarize 2016, so this was the best that I could do... ( and somehow it's LONG)

....

If you've ever been on a missions trip when you finish, you have a time of debriefing, then you get home. Home is when you have to assimilate back into a way of life while managing all the change you personally experienced and keeping hold of all you've gained in understanding of the world and of God.  I feel like this year has been a bit of the "debrief and assimilation." Almost two years ago, we transitioned out of all our ministry 'work' and felt the Lord leading us to a new assignment, away from the church we grew up and met in.  

However, we had no idea where the Lord was leading us!  In order to stay connected and not isolate we met with friends weekly to worship and share a meal. This was an amazingly sweet time of building relationships. Some were new, some were people we've known for many many years. In that time, our family felt genuine community in such a strong way. Like in Acts where the disciples shared meals and had joy in their hearts - it was like that! I've seen the community and love for one another come through these people in incredible ways continue, {even after we've stopped meeting}. Our friendships with these families have continued and their hearts to serve one another, encourage, and strengthen one another remains. I feel like that time was kind of like "the debrief" for us personally to prepare for whats ahead and allow God  time to remind us of what He had done in our hearts in the years passed.

the day we went to santa cruz for less than two hours - but had a great time! 

the day we went to santa cruz for less than two hours - but had a great time! 

Next came assimilation, figuring out what a new 'normal' was. Stevie continued to work at the construction company he has worked at for many years.  Just recently he started working with a new company and is doing incredibly well there too. Even with the demands of Devout, he's still giving his day job his best. There are really really rough weeks, but he amazes me with his diligence, work ethic and the fact that he rarely complains. I probably don't do a good job of telling him in person but his heart to serve and genuine care for others- even strangers. is incredible. With his work schedule (construction + Devout) I was solo on Sundays for months; a day where, in the past, we would have gone to church together. In fact, I've gone to church with him for more than half my life!

I visited a lot of places with the kids, learned different worship styles, teaching styles, operating styles, sometimes I left in tears, but every time God was faithful. I was a bit of a vagabond so we made the decision to have me go to a friend's church when Stevie wasn't with me. I was convicted this year for my misunderstanding of different parts of the body of Christ. Nearly everything about this place was different then what I was used to, but the Lord met me there in incredible ways. I say they are the church that took me in when I was homeless. I had to work really hard to just go to church and avoid people like I wanted to. I am forever thankful for the friends that reached out and pastors that cared for me and the kids as I was 'on my own' those Sundays. I'd come home and tell Stevie of God's kindness and gentleness working on my heart. All the years of the 'missions trip' had caught up to me. I just wanted to know I wouldn't lose sight of all I had gained during those years as I went into the next season ahead. God really gave me confidence to trust Him during those services.

content magazine shoot 

content magazine shoot 

Slowly, Stevie's been having more Sundays off! We have a team of 10 people at Devout now who help keep it running in one way or another (not including our two families, so it's kind of crazy when you think that this whole thing started on a BBQ converted into a coffee roaster in Jon's garage!). I'm so thankful for the people God brings to work at Devout. They come and go but, for the season they are with us, I hope we loved well and they look back on their time at Devout as a good experience. Many are friendships I hope remain for years to come whether Devout or not! Same with some customers– I had a few helping me as I buckled the kids into the car in front of the shop yesterday and it wasn't strange at all!

devout's 3rd year anniversary party

devout's 3rd year anniversary party

Some of the friendships we've made through Devout have led us to start attending a Calvary Chapel Church plant in Livermore. (all 4 of us! yay!) We look to 2017 with this next 'missions trip' ahead at what our role and commitment should be with their house.

KELILAH

Kelilah continues gymnastics, did a little basketball class, and recently has been obsessed with all things ballet this year. I've been doing preschool with her at home and we've been having a great time! Pretty amazing teaching someone something, and they learn to grasp it on their own.  This year Kelilah attended a Vacation Bible School and it was really impactful on her 3-year-old self. In October she turned four and her desire to know Jesus and understand more about God has been really inspiring. There is a lifelong journey of getting to discover this Man Jesus and I'm thankful she gets an early start.  She sometimes thinks she's a teenager and has an attitude to match but we are dealing. Haha.

URIAH

Uriah is amazing. He's a really great baby- well not baby anymore. This year he turned one and is still so chill. He's really into the details of things and even though he doesn't talk yet, you can tell there's a lot going on behind those eyes. He's got quite a temper if he doesn't get his way but most of the time is super sweet. This is my first full year having two kids and it is incredible to watch a brother and sister interact and laugh together, learn to share, and care for each other. I joke that Uriah and Kelilah have a twins bond because when Kelilah gets hurt in the other room, he starts crying and runs towards her. Compassionate little guy.  But, we all love him so much and he knows it. 

ME

As for me, I've scaled back on pursuing  freelance work and given more time to working a very very  part time job for a company called Slimfold Wallet. It's interesting to see small businesses in another field and even though I rarely use anything in my skill set ( I'm learning how to use a tape gun and dare I say it... spreadsheets!) it's actually really enjoyable work and I'm thankful for it. Stevie works incredibly hard to allow me to stay home with the kids and it's been my goal this past year to be better at that role along with the random things I help with at Devout. 

TRIPS

see Elsa's castle in the background? no... kelilah didn't either. hahah 

see Elsa's castle in the background? no... kelilah didn't either. hahah 

Early on in 2016 we spent a day at the snow, which was quite unimpressive when your 3-year-old was imagining that 'the snow' was going to look like Elsa's castle!! It was icy, kind of miserable and super disappointing for kelilah. we decided we might give it a few years until we go back again. haha.

We were blessed with a trip to Oklahoma to see Caleb (Stevie's brother) graduate and get married. It was a nice time of hanging out with the Pape's. Just when we had lifted up a half-hearted prayer because we weren't sure if we could afford Stevie missing work for the trip, my landlords, unknowing of our prayer or our trip, decided to lower our rent for a year! They said to just keep the amount it would be all at once and we ended up only paying a few hundred dollars for rent that month. It was such a miracle... 

In summer, Stevie worked a LOT  of overtime. So pretty last minute, we planned a trip to the Yucantan Peninsula in the fall.  I never imagined we'd be able to do this this year and  I've been posting about it slowly here on this little blog, because there is so much to say about it. It was a dream. But the best part of course was having Stevie with us for a whole 7 days in a row... ✨

Kelilah did get to see a princess castle this year when a friend of mine treated her  to Disneyland for the day! Carly joined us too and it was fun girl time ( well + uriah!) . We basically got stuck in Fantasyland and never made it out the rest of the day!  [below is kelilah's face when she saw a the disneyland castle] 

We don't know what this next year holds as far as how Devout will be demanding of our time, so I'm thankful for all we got to experience together.  If things go forward with Devout in San Jose like they seem to be, we might be in for another few years of intense building. Hopefully a little easier since we've been through it once before... Please Jesus! Haha, oh well, we will see!

All in all, the days go by and another year passes. Some thing's seem like they stay drudgingly the same, while other things change so much. But I pray in all of it, you each reach for Jesus to guide and lead you. If we let Him, He is the one who will direct our path, through the valleys, on to the mountains. Through the debriefs, the assimilations, on to the next thing. It's easy to get distracted and caught up in everyday. but- there is more.  It's our prayer, that as a family, and that you our friends, wouldn't forget. 

A friend asked what our anthems were for the year according to our Spotify most- played list. I've never looked at that list like that before, but this was our #1 and it shows:

"though the earth may try, to satisfy my heart, though the earth may try, to tell me You're not faithful, though the earth may try, to blind me from Your goodness. You shine through. You're the only one who fills me up, the only one..."

He's the only one who will shine through and light up our path. We doubt, and try to fill the void with things that we think will bring happiness or contentment. but each year passes and I am more convincedd that Jesus is what satisfies the heart within us. We are learning to be content in every situation, and resting in the Lord establishing our steps.  It's not always easy, but it's always better.  I can write all this good stuff and still leave out some low-lows but even more so, the countless testimonies of his mercy + grace that is new each day. 

If you read this long, you must really love us. Thanks for being part of our lives!

happy new year! 

Love,
The Papes

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Tulum - Ruins

Okay so the Ruins in Tulum are probably the only thing you would ever think of is in Tulum if you've heard of Tulum at all. It is a really touristy spot. Like the kind people take a bus to from their resorts back to their resort. Or the kind people hop off their cruise to see and hop back on their cruise after they've seen it. Or people passing through, and stop in. Nonetheless, I still wanted us to see them, so we did! 

Arriving: what you experience is everyone telling you they are a guide and have parking. Its annoying, and can be stressful. Eventually you decide to trust someone and park. And you begin to question to yourself,  why you drove 20 min away from your super chill peaceful cabana on the beach, and think you are really glad this isn't the Tulum you first experienced. (Keep going...)

Entering: you'll purchase tickets and realize they want to charge you tax to bring in your selfie stick.... weird i know. so because you didnt' know you would be charged a tax you didnt pay it when you bought your tickets. so you get your selfie stick confiscatedto pick up after the ruins. now you know. 

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 none of the following pictures were taken with a selfie stick>

Inside: its HOT. like we came in technically the WINTER. and its still blazing hot. you are really hot, not sure if there will be food, trying to understand why ATM's only give US dollars when so many places only accept MEX currency. So you buy your daughter who is already complaining about the heat a purse and try to bribe her to walk... in the really hot weather. (keep going...)

Ruins are interesting and I can't stop thinking about what was sacrificed, worshiped in this very land and really really day dreaming about visiting Israel, so I can see artifacts of my faith... and try not to remember Y2K. 

(then!!!!) we stumble upon THIS view below and suddenly, you think.. your never leaving. its so beautiful. 

Stevie had his favorite moment of the trip in the water above while  rain fell from above. - his favorite moment turned his least favorite moment. when it started to rain. like really rain and  I made him get out so we could get to higher ground. 

all of the locals start packing up their bags to  head home and I think - they must know something we don't! So my sister and I start to panic. 

Stevie has us under 'shelter' - but what he didn't see when he got back in the ocean was the rain going sideways at us. While mexican mama's nearby are trying to cover my kids with their blankets. I start yelling for Stevie to come out of the beautiful ocean water bliss...So our mayan Ruins tour was cut a little short as we went walking in the pouring rain to a little shelter hut. While Stevie was sulking that we weren't in any better of a situation than we were when he was living the dream the ocean in the pouring rain. However, we had a good laugh about it (okay maybe not uriah or kelilah) and stevie forgave carly and I eventually haha

We finished up the day with trying on sombrero's at the shops, and a little gelato spot outfront of the ruins and of course - make carly go rescue my selfie stick from the office!! It's kind of one of those, we were miserable together so it made it fun together moments and i'll cherish it always. 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#kschool4

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We are 3 months down into school and I wanted to get out some of my thoughts this far. So after the first month I was pretty disappointed at how AYOPS was going. The things I liked about it, an artist study for example, weren't there anymore and it was feeling more and more like a  random pinterest collection. I was also not happy with the literature choices, as they weren't driving the whole of the lessons. I'm sure it works fine, but it wasn't fitting us.  So what ended up happening, has been happening, is I've been collecting a few ideas off of the AYOPS curriculum and then doing my own research on literature I'd prefer and lining up the ideas I pinterest-ed myself. All while still using the ABCJLM worksheets. This whole system was working but ended up feeling a bit chaotic and I wasn't super loving each day. haha 

A friend introduced me to an instagram feed from the person who started The Peaceful Preschool, the books were exactly what we are looking for and some are even from the curriculum we used last year that I grew to love. If we hadn't already started, I would have used it for sure. So this month, december, I'm doing two of the middle letters and our advent ( an amazinggggg one, i'll have to talk about later) and its what i'm calling TRANSITION. 

Transitioning to starting The Peaceful Preschool in January and only pulling ideas I reallllllllly love from AYOPS for fun since I already bought it :/

I've realized if i'm excited, then we have a more successful study. 

Things that are working:

ABCJLM worksheets
Worksheets are not in the realm of educational styles I'm drawn to... but they have been good practice with her keeping up at getting better at writing her name and are challenging for her, which is a good thing. I'm able to pay attention to how she responds to situations where something is challenging and help work her through it. Her dad is a perfectionist, and I'm quick to give up if It doesn't come easy... she's got a good dose of both of us! 

Reading On the Banks of Plum Creek
I really wanted to read a chapter book and she had this one from her cousin and always 'pretended' to read it in her head. We are almost half way which is probably not very good. but we've enjoyed reading in the outdoors or at home. The other day she pretended to read it (out loud to me this time) and said, the wind blows on the outside and the sun ... anyway very descriptive scenery words and I thought, hey, guess she is getting it! 

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Journaling
It's working but I haven't been the best at doing them. however, when we do them, they are really good. Basically I do have AYOPS to thank for this, but I will write out her thoughts for her about a topic or something she said and she will illustrate it.  One of my favorites, was when she said she wished she could go up to the sun and jesus would hold her so she wouldn't get burned. I don't think she realized there is a verse about going through fire and not getting burned... it was so neat. 

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Art Studies
We had some great times studying artists and their styles this semester. This was something AYOPS introduced in one month and I decided to keep it going again when I hodge podged the lesson plans together. 

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Practices
These are things that we've been consistent with, even though its not my personality to enjoy doing the same thing over and over. I've realized how really really important it is. The practices have helped us both in our daily routine. Counting out objects, drawing in sand trays, using the alphabet sound box. These are things that are pretty incorporated in TPP so its so nice we've had them a part of our routine already. 

cherokee honey cake during thanksgiving

cherokee honey cake during thanksgiving

Baking
One of my favorite things about the world lessons we used was baking something from a different country. AYOPS had some baking, but TPP incorporates it under the literature  theme! something else I'm so happy about! 

 

In the process of publishing this post, we really got breakthough. Sometimes, it feels like i'm just doing all this stuff and nothing is coming across. But in the middle of P and O I showed her she can write POP! And from there with the letters she knows and from her name she was able to write alot more words! So she'd say, How do you spell POT? and I would tell her and she could write it!!! LIKE, HELLO, are a couple I remembebr. I'm really looking forward to fully emerging into TPP and how beautifully  it incorporates so many things I love. We've had fun, but its just getting better. 

 

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TULUM - intro

where to begin. two months ago we sat at a dirty little quarry in our city because my kids hadn't seen their dad in days gone by and we thought some family time outside would be good for everyone. except the lake we wanted to go to would be too far for stevie to get back in time for work that night. so there we were trying to make the best of this exhausting situation of working nights and days surrounded by my second least favorite bird: seagulls.....when stevie said, we need a vacation. 

I haven't heard these words in a long long time from my husband. like, over 3 years at least when we were trying to plan a trip to italy and then we decided to put our vacation money towards devout to get it to start. since then, the weekend trips we've taken have been me basically pulling stevie away from work because I was afraid he would crack. I truly believe jesus was wisdom when he said we needed rest. I've seen first hands the effects of not having it through him! 

so I was so shocked when he said he wanted to put some of the overtime he'd put in this summer to go to the Yucatan Peninsula

I've never given much thought to that area but I was determined to look! 

Stevie had mentioned playa del carmen and all I knew was that it was somewhat around Cancun.

All i knew was that I did NOT want to stay in a resort with buffets.... 

I wanted to explore and explore we did. 

with the 2am pinterest browsing and instagram location tags we were able to find some of what I think are the most amazing places.

when I was 16 I went to the jungles of panama to tell people about jesus and I never quite lost my love for it. little did I know, this city would combine my love of the jungle with stevia's love for the ocean. my love of curated aesthetics and his love for amazing food in a little town called TULUM. we never did find good coffee though, so maybe that's a thought! ;) 

I have so many places to share and experiences i'd like to process so here's our little travel guide to this beautiful place with our kids +my sister who came to help watch them so I could explore, [she's the best!] >>> 

 

 

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Stuck at the Family Biz

these words stuck out to me the other day while watching Chef's Table:  

" The restaurant to me has never been something that took my husband away from me the restaurant has always been our family " 

here the wife of Massimo Bottura who owns one of the highest rated restaurants in the world gives some perspective I admire. 

we started the journey of devout coffee with no children. I remember the day we told my brother and sister in law that we were pregnant and we knew it would have been easier to start without kids but they told us that night, kids are always a blessing

Kelilah has grown up knowing life inside the coffee shop. She had little forts set up during the buildout where she'd go back to watching something on one of our phones after she'd 'help' for a bit. danced the night away as we'd spend late hours being with stevie while he worked on something or other. She only really knows single origin dark chocolate 'coffee' and has eaten more pastries than the average 3 year old should have in their diet i'm sure. 

During the build out in Niles I was driving all over the bay looking for cheap tile to put in our bathrooms before our health inspection in a few days so we didn't all go completely broke and could open back up! I remember praying and talking to uriah as we drove. just me and him (thankfully grandma has summers off and had kelilah!) and I wondered then if life would slow down when he came. Uriah was 2 weeks old at our grand opening. The days prior, Stevie spent no more than a few days with us before he was back out in the garage finishing the furniture. Our house was full of people working on projects and I remember a friend called to stop by with a meal for us and I said " i'll be home in about 15 min if you want to see the baby, otherwise someone will be there and you can leave it with them!" I know now why women don't leave the house that early because I had a week old in the carseat right next to strangers and was told many times I must almost be due!  Uriah was passed around to all our friends and family the day of the opening of the coffee shop and still to this day has been so easy going. God knew what he what kind of family he'd be part of! 

I wish I could say life slowed down. But the following year has been the busiest of our lives. With a full coffee shop this time, meant more customers and more coffee to be roasted. There was a few months of manageable busy-ness but not long. A full time job still for my husband and coffee work by night. I could go into how hard it has been on our kids, how it's affected our marriage, but instead I will tell you how it's strengthened our faith. 

through the rough, there is gold. 

By God's grace my marriage is probably the best it has been in almost 9 years and my kids love their dad so much. We ache to see him have regular dinners with us. but we've been learning to make this lifestyle work and give God the best we can with what we have been given. 

I don't know if there is an 'arriving'. life is a pilgrimage - and the only hope we have is that on the other side we appear before God and we loved him with everything he had us walk through. 

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You see, the grass always seems better on the other side. Maybe life will lighten up on me, just let me get this or that and it'll be easier, my season will come. I truly believe there is a season for everything. some seasons are REALLY hard and some you feel like your walking on sunshine. But I think what i've been clinging to is in every season - he works things out for our good. 

my sister shared that verse with me recently and reminded me that we think good is good! like our own house, our finances together, our family happy and healthy... our job enjoyable! but you know what our GOOD is HIS good for us. sometimes it takes whatever he sees fit for us to walk through to find ourselves at His feet again and again saying we need you, we love you, you are so patient, so kind...  and that is GOOD. He is good.

We finally get a week together as family and I'm really excited. Part of me prays things do lighten up on Stevie, (just as I do around every turning point) he's a working maniac right now. But there is a side where I have to be okay if we don't get weekends and our  family dinners are sometimes pizza after hours while my kids pretend to roast or sleep on coffee bags. Where, owning this place is part of our lives, part of our family and in all that we've been given, the privilege  of meeting faces in our community everyday, hosting people to meet with other people, share laughter, shed tears, first dates, new babies - life. family. If the owners of a world class restaurant can see it like that, then how much more so me

 

 

 

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4 of the Most Clever Kid Songs I've ever heard to date: 9/15

So awhile back (probably longer than I'd like to admit) my receiver to connect my iPhone music to my car fell apart. I should have bought a new one right away and gone along blissfully ignorant to the amount of random children's music that exists in the world. For instance, did you know they have versions of mambo number 5 with disney characters names sung instead of all the women's names... random right? or - justin beiber's What Do You mean? with "hanging out all night" instead of "making love all night" I'll take the 'clean' version [insert pink girl with hand raised emoji here] any day! lol anyway, since the fate of my receiver, I discovered I have XM radio somehow mysteriously... because I don't pay for it. I love worship music but on XM you basically have kirk franklin gospel or the message ( I might have skimmed over a joel osteen radio station once, but I didn't land it long enough to find out anything gladly! lol) the message was fine but on days I can't handle one more " I dare you to move" by Switchfoot from my school days I had to find something else and I found KIDS PLACE LIVE! 
 

It is a weird, eclectic, sometimes educational, sometimes not my kind of funny jokes, sometimes I like the songs, sometimes I can't handle that they let people make music completely off key and flat and I go back to the message or sit in silent confusion till it passes, sometimes weird voices, sometimes interesting facts. nonetheless it keeps things interesting! 

Along the way I've discovered some real treasures.. here are 4 of my favorite super clever songs I've discovered while having XM radio in my life. aaand since i don't know if you have XM radio and chances are if you ever do you will probably never be as foolish, I mean BRAVE, as I have been to land there for days on end to discover these SUPER CLEVER MUST LISTEN TO SONGS! ( and if you only pick one pick number 4.) 

1. You've Got What it Takes // Mike Phirman

"You've got what it takes to be a kid
Total strangers want to squeeze your face
And when your teeth fall out no one says "yecch" 
Everybody says "Yeah!"

Probably the best description of children -ever. This is amazingly clever for SO many reasons, but
my favorite is how kids think its just a fun song, but any adult with children is like the cracking up emoji.
because the lyrics are so accurate to real life. especially funny AFTER eating when your kid wouldn't sit
in their chair the entire time and plus if you are exhausted. 

Listen Here

2. Monster Truck // Sugar Free Allstars

"Well even monster trucks have a soft side (yes they do) They like to listen to some Air Supply (yacht rock) 
Strawberry pancakes for their breakfast (with whipped cream) And when they watch sad movies, sometimes they start to cry (Beaches) 
But the telephone rings and then
It’s back to work again....."
 

So at first listen, you think. this. will. be. stuck. in my head. for days. and then you'll go to the
actual monster truck show and fall in love with it.  because the way the song is written makes you wantto act it out - and I really do imagine hopping over all those busses in my mind while driving... every time.the bridge is so random it wins my CLEVER list. we exchange big smiles from drivers seat to car seat when this one hits our ears!

Listen Here

3. GRAPES // Andrew & Polly
 

"LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA GRAPES, GRAPES, GRAPES GRAPES"


i know with lyrics like that, you are probably thinking this has to be the most super annoying song ever. 
but in our family it has become quite catchy.. I've even heard uriah give his try at a few la la's
they basically took elements of modern pop songs and made it hilarious for kids. I don't even know
how you would think of this combination but that is why it makes my list. CLEVERRRR! 

Listen Here

4. Song Without a Rhyme // Steve Songs

" She was so strong, she could have wrestled king.... Friday... like from mr. rogers neighborhood"

I can't even pick a lyric phrase i love the best and that one doesn't even make sense out of context. But that is because this entire song is the CLEVERESTTTTTTT!
and probably the reason I made this silly list in the first place. because I really am amazed at this song. They go back and forth trying not to make each other rhyme throughout
the whole song. my friend and I couldn't help but wish this was a game we played back in our
improv comedy days. The studio version is perfection because it feels so genuine but you can tell it was rehearsed.. in the most perfect kind of clever way! 


Listen to a live version Here 

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#kschool4 begins

I really tried to get into preschool this year. I think the pressure of knowing that I need to actually teach something and have it get across kind of made me more content with the thought of putting that on somebody else besides me. however, my main thought was I really wanted her to expand her social circle. one of my dearest friends I met on the first day of preschool.... we were actually the only two to show up the first day... you never know who God will put in your path! 

this year... i'm leaving that social expansion up to the divine hand of God (okay and a little nudging from mom to say hi to that kid) at one night a week in a new awana's class. since.... we never made it off the waiting list on the schools I tried for.

The disappointment from not making it into school was eased the day over the summer kelilah had said unprompted " mom I really miss doing activities with you!" (we had stopped all summer) so here I am, finding myself on my 3rd year of teaching kelilah. whew. how is that possible?  it got real the day I started taping sight words to the furniture in the house. haha 

this year my goal is to have her actually 'get' some basic stuff. at least I feel that is a good goal anyway... we can't justttttt handicraft our way through discovering the world. or can we? haha

montessori, this was the first educational style that got me excited about teaching and although i've come to appreciate bits and pieces of reggio emilia and even the beauty of waldorf without all the mystical worship mother earth stuff.  last year we tried a more Charlotte Mason approach and I loved it. 

the purposeful crafts, the living books that I actually LIKED reading to kelilah, the value for the outdoors...which I've been working on cultivating better in our own lives and it has been wondeful. 

so, this year I didn't have the briliant work of worlds of learning to fall back on. so I had to search for a different curriculum. I found A year of Playing Skillfully  and it looked like it had enough charlotte mason and the other style mash ups that I love rolled into one to inspire me to keep going, if kids do learn best through play, then this was the way I wanted to go about it. I still don't know if we will put her in TK next year but if it is my last year having her at home, I want to have as much fun as we can!

However, I still felt to prepare for school, I'll need the practicals of writing skills, and basic preschool objectives. So I am still 3 years later pulling from abcjesuslovesme for these resources  that interest me, such as handwriting practice worksheets etc. I know its totally against montessori to do worksheets but that IS the fun of doing things yourself. plus, kelilah feels really like a big kid with them for some reason :) 

I skipped catechism for young children this year as I totally dropped off on it last year after the first few questions. however, they still are wonderful things to memorize in my opinion, especially since never learning them growing up. My reason secondly being we have enough memorization happening at awana each week!

so back to playing... 
we did go over the objective checklist from abcjlm and it was a good thing to get us going the first week and remember where she was at and how far we should aim! 

so we are aiming high. like a hot air balloon in flight. I don't quite know where this year will land us but enjoying the journey along the way. how poetic that it was one of our first activities of this year from ayops to explore our city on google earth and make up stories of where the hot air balloon might take us. 

somewhere along life, i NEVER wanted to homeschool. NEVER wanted to just be a stay at home mom. I still remember the day I was on my knees before God repenting for how i'd made these vows to myself without seeking His heart first. I had constant anxiety about motherhood life and real deep deep fears. God is so kind and took my heart on a journey to freedom and within months of that day on my knees, we had our first baby on the way. kelilah rinnah. victorious joyous song. because God is our deliverer and sets our mouths to sing His praise. even in the hard days - I know God goes before me... even in this time of heavily investing into my kids. 

If you are homeschooling this year, working or even just playing(which I know can feel like just cleaning some days!!!)  Your place is right where He's placed you, and so is mine.  Set your mind on things above and through Him comes the strength to face any day, any fear, any height. 

There is something beautiful about knowing a life yielded to God means we don't have to worry about what 'place' we are in. there is complete trust in knowing we are where he sets us... homeschooling, working, playing, cleaning...  and where he sets us...we must grow by staying abiding in Him. Apart from Him, not pinterest, not blogs, not instagrams, not curriculums, apart from Him ... we can do nothing. Here's to another year of sowing into little lives... oh that their roots would grow down deep into the richness of who Jesus is. 

 

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orange juice

I've been wanting to post this forever. then this month I was looking at our bank statement and remembered. oh yeahh! I pay for a website I haven't updated my portfolio on yet aaandd haven't posted on like i planned. 

one of my weaknesses: keeping up with things. 

as in like this blog.

as in like i decided i'm going to start reading *again* and got 2 chapters into a book a month ago.

as in like I decided i'm from now on using my really amazing skin routine my friend bought me for christmas every day which has not been happening. 

as in like i'm going to make my husbands lunch for work.. every night. andddd it is 12:53AM and i'm choosing to keep up with my little blog instead.

things I have kept on:

schooling and practical life activities *like this one* with kelilah. i thought for sure I would get discouraged and quit. but i've done it. for a whole school year and 6 months + summer lessons.
 

back to things i'm bad at keeping up with (since that list is apparently longer): watering trees. (especially fig trees) but even though, God is gracious to me and still gives us the best oranges from the backyard. so as you've seen, we made tiny glasses of orange juice. well kelilah did, almost entirely by herself. 

 

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kids room [jan.2015]

we squeeze two sleeping spaces in one of the 2 rooms in our house. uriah has yet to {ever} sleep in his crib so it is more officially a blanket holder. I've taken pictures of kelilah's room over the years and this is one thing I do wish I had posted some where to look back on. it's always changing and now as her personality grows her room reflects that. we had just re-organized when I took these, so sadly there is only one of her letter practices of writing 'kelilah' up. she was so proud she had taped at least 5 up around the room, it was pretty great. 

this has pretty much stayed the same for three whole years. i just love it and haven't parted with the set up. 

this has pretty much stayed the same for three whole years. i just love it and haven't parted with the set up. 

free play area. my sister jokes that our house is like a preschool. i just take it as a compliment ;) blocks, kitchen, doll house + dress up is always available to play and everything has it's space. it seems to be working! sometimes I sit and i tell her what to put away next. more recently kelilah will close the door and 'surprise' me that she's cleaned up the room all by herself! I'm enjoying that while it lasts!!

free play area. my sister jokes that our house is like a preschool. i just take it as a compliment ;) blocks, kitchen, doll house + dress up is always available to play and everything has it's space. it seems to be working! sometimes I sit and i tell her what to put away next. more recently kelilah will close the door and 'surprise' me that she's cleaned up the room all by herself! I'm enjoying that while it lasts!!

a little friend of k's made that amazing glitter picture for her in october. i love that she loves it up. doll house gets pushed over every month for uriah's in the chair photos taken here.  

a little friend of k's made that amazing glitter picture for her in october. i love that she loves it up. doll house gets pushed over every month for uriah's in the chair photos taken here.  

these bins ^ that a friend referred to me have saved my sanity. I can say i actually have a pretty organized home life. sometimes i'm lazy, but this system has actually worked for me. anyone who has known me before, knows this was a near impossible feat.  plus i love that i can see our toy rotation! This way things actually get played with and not buried and forgotten. k does so great keeping out of the closet, only sometimes she sneaks books and i mean, can you really be mad for getting out books!! hah

these bins ^ that a friend referred to me have saved my sanity. I can say i actually have a pretty organized home life. sometimes i'm lazy, but this system has actually worked for me. anyone who has known me before, knows this was a near impossible feat.  plus i love that i can see our toy rotation! This way things actually get played with and not buried and forgotten. k does so great keeping out of the closet, only sometimes she sneaks books and i mean, can you really be mad for getting out books!! hah

there is always activities and toys changing on these shelves. some we play together some she can do by herself. we've had a blast playing go fish... sweet times. 

there is always activities and toys changing on these shelves. some we play together some she can do by herself. we've had a blast playing go fish... sweet times. 

i gave up on those soft little covers. too much laundry. i made that book of journal entries i wrote to k before she was born. I need to make uriah's... 

i gave up on those soft little covers. too much laundry. i made that book of journal entries i wrote to k before she was born. I need to make uriah's... 

the blanket holder... 

the blanket holder... 

i couldn't find a bed spread i liked for the space for a long time when one day k came home from my mom's house with one of hers. my grandma made it years + years ago. she's 90 and when she sees it in there she just can't believe her granddaughter uses it every night. <3

p.s. stevie said i caved when elsa and anna came from christmas... and i did. do i regret it? yeah sometimes a lot ... but she really is so happy playing with them, + that part can't really be beat. 
my favorite was when she used to say elsa "made glass"

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hello blog.

sometimes i feel like blogging is a thing of the past. 
with instant social media, we want media to come to us - 
not dig to find it. 

but recently, i realized i think i want to blog again for me

not because I really care if any one reads what I have to say. 
but so I can look back on it and remember. 

today i read a quote from jim elliot.
 

“Wherever you are, be all there.  Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God.” – Jim Elliot

and that's kind of where i am now. 

 

i believe i am in the will of God for my life + my family's life right now. 
it isn't in the hill tribes of northern thailand, nor is it leading others into an encounter with Jesus through the sound within me. it's not creating the coolest thing to draw people into the church's doors. it kind of looks like drawing candy cane castles on poster-board and figuring out how to avoid the massive pile of laundry that never ever seems to dwindle. writing customer service e-mails by morn and editing promo videos by night. 
 

even in those moments, i want to be present, be 'all there', 'all in it' , because these babies i'm watching sleep as i type are growing. even though the days are so slow sometimes. they are going by fast. I don't have to pick up where I left off with my journey in God after they've graduated- or at least till they can all go to the bathroom by themselves and sleep in their own beds. 

i just keep reminding myself. keep your zeal. because even though it doesn't look a certain way. it is still real. it is so much simpler than i've made it in the past, yet sustains complexity to search out. 

so much has changed in my life in the course of one year. sometimes it feels like i'm running ahead with a message that people won't see the truth of until miles down the road. i don't know why God's scooped us up and whispered to our hearts. I don't know why we couldn't stay planted. but i feel like I have eyes to see and I see now that even in the midst of mom life, God is brewing something. 

i've never seen the beauty of the christian community embrace across a city as effortlessly as i have as of late. I've never had so many people i can call upon as friends, despite my own efforts to keep people at a distance. i've never known so many strangers, people so different than me in so many ways, in almost a decade. and its beautiful. i've missed that. 

i have always wanted to go to unreached places of the world. + here i am, already living here. 

so, what do i do? stuck in a whirlwind of dishes, melting babies and attitude checks. I remain wholly there. wholly here. here in the will of God for us.

+ so i try /// here's my efforts.
to be continued... 

 

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