Broken for His glory

A recent run has brought me to this place. As you have learned while joining me on our family blog, there are quite a few annual blogs. Birthdays and anniversaries seem to be things I am really motivated to document. I had accepted this year I might have to bypass my tradition and not write my thoughts or what I am learning. I think shame and frustration were the champions to whisper that defeat. But as I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, I knew that what I am experiencing is real and is maybe for you too, to somehow let you know you are not alone. 

11 yrs.

I won’t rehash our marriage. Go through pasts blogs and you will see I have been very candid about married life with Richard. Last year, when I shared the top 10 things I have learned in marriage, I cringed. My breath might have stalled as my loud beating heart took over after I hit the publish button. It was one of my most open, nothing held back blogs. Much to my surprise I had a lot feedback. Funny how the deepest, scariest things we share are the things that can draw authentic people in…

So 11 yrs. 

As I have pondered on this timeframe, 11 yrs of marriage, 17 years of being in each others’ lives. I keep hearing a title, one that I have recently embraced as my season, maybe as my life long banner: Broken for His glory.

I was sharing in my safe little bible study group recently something I had despised and quite frankly caused many fights, silent treatment and resentment was now gone. Wives, it was the dirty underwear left less then a foot or two from the laundry basket. Years and years went by. Didn’t he get it when I chewed him out? Did he think the dirty underwear fairy came every morning to gather them up and magically wash, fold and put them back in the closet? Of course not, because me, this fairness, justice seeking wife ensured he knew no such fairy existed. As I was working through frustrations with the Lord, it was placed on my heart why I find that dirty underwear not it it’s assigned place.  

He is typically in a rush, a rush to come help me with the kids or better yet serve his family. He isn’t going down Sarah’s list of tidiness. Relieving me so I can make dinner or letting me shower while he starts breakfast is where his mind is at. 

Why was I willing to waste so much energy on something that was the remnants of his desire and willingness to attend to my needs? 

It took 11 yrs to learn this.

We had an opportunity to talk to a young couple, still in the dating phase, but looking like they are headed into the direction of a big choice. I love those moments when we get to do things together. Sentences are finished, we are animated, we feed off each other. I often wonder what it would be like working with him…

As we shared key things to think about it brought up something I like to hide inside. 

We shared why we have higher moral standards when it comes to TV shows. Sounds so silly, archaic, maybe even cheesy. I have seen eye rolls, defense arguments have been delivered my way, I have been told my/our standards are too far. Yet as I shared with the young man why this was so important, I saw it clicked. You know what I said? I said it’s his job to cherish his partner, to honor her not just by his mouth, hands, deeds, but also his eyes, the very things that are the gateway to his soul.
I am so passionate because Richard had to work his way through a very guarded, walls built wife. 

11 yrs ago he took my baggage.

I have 4 little ladies. Trust me the weight of these gifts is too much for me at times. Yet I also see glimpses of Gods goodness and redemption in their little souls. I believe he knows I will fight to teach them, guide them, help them understand why they need to have high standards. Standards that won’t make them many friends at times, standards the world will laugh at, standards that set them apart.

Those standards were things I didn’t have the chance to live out in my adolescence. 

There is a young teenager that makes me think so much of me. I don’t know her whole story, honestly I don’t really even know her, yet I KNOW her. I know the emptiness, the constant searching to just be loved, the self preservation to take care of her needs and attain them anyway she can. Ultimately being on the search to finding true acceptance. 

When I see her, my past, it’s yuckiness, the baggage of my choices are piled high on that insanely expensive airport luggage cart. Each bag is labeled “fragile, contains explosives, cold, hot, damaged, keep this side up”, etc.

My choice to not keep a standard that demanded respect and better yet set boundaries for me to experience true love and acceptance meant Richard had to marry a woman with not just any baggage, but spiritual baggage that resulted in the choice I allowed my soul to be tethered with others in my past.

For 11 yrs, I have been slowly unpacking.

No surprise here, but I don’t adapt well or quickly to change. Richard has learned this very fast. Thankfully he sees the warning signals and backs away very slowly before damage is done that neither of us want to experience. He has waited, pursued and asked how to help me work through my stuff. In the end, we both learned the only person who could help me unpack my stuff is our Heavenly Father.

11 yrs later, healing is happening.

I don’t think there is any big “this is the only plan”. But I will tell you there is one factor in why healing is happening. 


As I read his word more, as I hide it in my heart, as I meditate on it day and night(seriously I do), I find out who and who’s I am.

My Heavenly Father is healing the wounds that have left me an embittered, difficult, stubborn, and yes still a stand offish wife when the valleys seem too deep and too close together.

I don’t believe this healing couldn’t have happened had I not had Richard though. Faith for him comes easily. If God says he will do it, Richard believes it. He doesn’t spend days, months, every single second questioning God on every what ifs. So his faith in the things unseen, the things yet brought into his glory, he truly believes they exist and he will see their existence one day. Case in point, he believes he will have a wife that will no longer be trapped in bondage that Christ freed her from.

Even though something as minimal as seeing his lack of laundry etiquette not an insult but instead a byproduct of his heart that wants to care for me in ways I was not cared for or witnessed personally seems odd, it’s proof of healing for me.

Guys, HA, if you even read my lengthy, wordy blogs, you know that ones that seem to make your wives cry or say “hold on”. If you are reading this and have seen there is something that is holding your wife back, will you do me a favor? Will you bring her to the mighty healer. Will you seek him and ask him how to love her as the Lord helps her unpack her junk?

Ladies, if you have an elephant in the room, the thing that will send you running to the chocolate, wine, obsessive workout schedule, social media dependency, unlimited need of acceptance. Will you take a moment and ask yourself, how is this impacting my marriage? What baggage are you choosing to pack and lug behind you, sweat dripping off your face? Do you want to be free from it? 

11 yrs ago.

I said yes to a man who didn’t know God. I said yes to an idea of something I had no clue about. I said yes all while trying to hide and not deal with my stuff. Yet God in his promises that seem to never end, has helped me not be known by my baggage. Best of all he has given me a spouse that sees me as a masterpiece, something that was made just right for him, someone he wants to hold onto tightly and squeeze, yet releases me to the one who can repair those hurts. 

I have recently found myself finding little ways to show him my appreciation (be his helpmate) more importantly thank him for his patience. For not running the other way when it finally hit him how deeply messed up his wife was. 

His faith has helped him in marriage see his wife was broken for Gods glory to shine through in what seemed impossible. 

So a little incentive. Help her and she will help you. 

Happy anniversary to the other half of my soul.

Love like her 

Since her first day here on earth, Ya’el has consumed the space she is in, you know when she is in a room, its like she has a magnetic pull. Your negative energy is drawn to her positive. I should have realized then her soul would have a power to draw people in. At just a few hours old, she was bright eyed, eyes wide open and I remember just staring right back at her, into her dark eyes.

She was so alert and so aware of the new shapes, sounds, and smells that where taking place.

Flash forward to 3 yrs later and I have to admit that she is still living her life with abandon. She sings at the top of her lungs, neck muscles strained, diaphragm engaged. Songs seem to be one thing that calms her need to always go, always think, always explore. When she is strapped to her car seat, freedom stripped from her, you will hear countless songs. Yes, she sings songs that you might recognize, even with her 3 yr old vocabulary skills. But most of the time the songs you hear will come from the many different things her little brain has processed. 

Ya’el feeds off emotion, but not in the way her big sister Kyre does. Ya’el loves to observe, contemplate and reason why those emotions took place. She doesn’t need to take ownership of them and make everyone else aware of them, like Kyre does. What Yael does is ensure you know she sees and empathizes with you. She will stroke your hair after a hard day, hold your hand when tears seem to be beckoning your name, but she will jump and laugh if joy is something stirring up inside you too.

I have realized that when she carves a place inside your heart, it’s as if you need her to acknowledge your presence when she enters a room. It’s like when the guest of honor has finally shown up and you are praying deep inside that you will be pulled from the crowd and asked to sit in the place of honor next to them. I can’t explain it, but this is true about her. I watch it unfold everyday with her siblings and her few close people in her little world. She will stumble out of her room and daddy is first to say “morning boo bear” as he scoops her in his arms. 

Cayden will force Ezzy to share the couch to allow her to squeeze in and catch the morning cartoons.

Ezzy holds every ounce of patience she has in her body and only gives it to Ya’el throughout the day. 

Kyre will run her fingers through her hair and bow down to her eye level and say with the sweetest voice “Ya’el , do you want me to help you get dressed?”. 

For me, it’s when I walk in the door after my morning workout and say hi to the big kids and look for those two little eyes that seem to have no iris, just to be met with them. There is rarely a smile, instead it’s as if she takes a moment to read me, then after I say “morning Boo”, she looks at me with a corner smile and says “morning momma”

This last year, watching Boo fly through the terrible twos was somewhat ok. I have had milder 2 yr olds and I have had stronger 2 yr olds. She had to spend most of this last year being replaced as the baby and graduating to big sister. 

I was concerned her favorite spot in my arms that was diminishing quickly would leave an embittered toddler. This was the child that would smack my hand away when I began the weaning process after finding out about Veil and training for a half marathon. She would dig into my body and not relent. She knew what she wanted and even at 19 mos old was so firm and unwavering in it.

As she soon realized Veil was a permanent fixture in this family unit, she adapted like a champ.

It has been with relief and thankfulness to watch Boo want to be a big sister. I think that cord of empathy woven deep within her makeup finally had a purpose in her little life. Veil has been soothed countless times with a gentle head rub and Ya’el’s current song of the day.

Ya’el hasn’t lost her secrets that she likes to hold within her as she entices you with her smiling eyes. Playful a term we say a lot about her is an understatement for this kid.  

Richard has not only encouraged her trickster behavior but also welcomes it as a sign of love from his “favorite”. The kids all know they are loved equally and in moments of seeing Ya’el wrap her daddy tightly around her finger, they all pat her on her head and say “whatever you want favorite one”. Her favorite trick, the one I wish she would move on and find another is locking us in the pantry…she will sit in the kitchen while chaos is taking place and sounds can muffle her presence just enough to make her hidden and as soon as someone walks through that door, bam, we find ourselves at her mercy.

I am forever grateful for the people who have won affection from this terrific 3 yr old. It is a blessing to see the love she is given, because she loves so deeply. I have been told many many times by one of her favorites “can we just freeze her at this age?” I see the smiles that can’t be contained, the willingness to carry her around, push her on a swing, blow bubbles with her, or any other agenda she has created for the day.  

The world is a brighter place because of her and when I see her slow down and take something in, I have trained myself to stop immediately, sit beside her or down at her level and look around. Because if is something causes this ball of energy to be still, then it’s worth finding out what it is.

 Her dream of blowing bubbles and having lunch at the beach is on the agenda for her party when Kalli gets back.  But her annual birthday number pancake will have to do until we can celebrate another year with our Boo bear and friends and family. 

Ya’el Ariel Ruth, I thank the lord his plans for our family were bigger and crazier then we had hoped for. I don’t regret a single day putting my master degree on hold and have loved every single day of being your momma, even the day I told your dad all I wanted for Christmas was to never go grocery shopping with you again after the nightmare I experienced with your awful tantrum. 

You have won me over and over with your spunk and I feel honored you are mine. I want and look forward to learning how to love and give empathy to those around me, knowing for certain you are going to teach me.

Happy birthday my 3 yr old

A camping we will go

When we first mentioned our plan to take the family camping I will tell you we were met with some eyebrow raises, eyes widened and words that articulated the looks on those faces very well. I did not go into this camp out naively. I was very aware that this was going to be quite the feat to accomplish, aside from CF being part of the equation. 

Ezzy didn’t miss a single treatment and I know she/we were covered in prayer. She had a freak situation happen a few days before that left us scared. Her lips turned blue and she couldn’t catch her breath. The only thing we can think is it was due to her missing her morning nebulizer treatment. We had forgotten to steralize her neb cups the night before (yes, it can happen, even though we have to do them all the time) and they were in the process of getting cleaned. She can’t miss her treatments, they keep her airways open. They are not negotiable.


But first I have to acknowledge something that I think most of you know, but I still need to say it. I want to believe down the road when these little humans I am raising are grown, they will look back at their life stories I have written and smile, cry, laugh, or feel something as their eyes meet these words. So I have to say, this camping trip was the dream of a little almost 9 year old, who after seeing what the obstacles were, he made a plan, worked incredibly hard, and most of all achieved it.


7.5 wks of early mornings, injuries, mental defeat, indoor track time and logging some crazy miles all over this island resulted in him carrying a campaign to raise funds for his sister. Each time we went to Timber and Marine to drop off funds, the young man would ask, “how far have you run this time?”. I love how people took the time to not only support him monetarily, but also with their words. If you didn’t say something to his face and said it to me or through facebook, I let him know every word of encouragement, praise and acknowledgement said on his behalf.


To the donors, thank you!


To Cayden, my one and only son…you know how I feel about you…every single run, you were wrapped in my arms, met with a kiss on your sweaty forehead and heard me tell you “son, you are amazing! You are like no body else! Wow, I am so proud of you! Can you believe you just did that?? That is crazy!!!!”


As we prepared for this little getaway, we started making lists of what we thought we needed and then in a moment of nerves I made a post on social media and asked everyone what we should pack.


I was really thankful I did this, because there were some no brainers on there, that in my stress of trying to pack everything but the kitchen sink, I realized I was overlooking small things, like uno cards, which provided hours of entertainment while Ezzy did her vest. I also felt I was given a pass on having to slave away cooking elaborate meals over the campfire…why? Because of stupid Pinterest. I am so glad a mom said to keep the meals simple. Those were the meals that my kids loved and enjoyed. Meals like oatmeal or tacos in a bag were a huge hit as we gathered around the fire.

It took 2.5 full hours to load up the car. Yeah.


I had warned the hubby we should start sooner, he informed me multiple times that I was overthinking things and it would take us no time. After my decision to not be the squeaky wheel I relented and closed my mouth. An hour into packing, shirt off, sweat rushing down his face I heard him say “this is a lot of stuff!!!” He quickly realized everything wouldn’t fit in one trip and we were so glad my mom decided to follow us out to the campsite last minute so we could fill her car too. You would be proud of me that I didn’t say “I told you so”


We set up camp, while finding out that the Harney family was declared the premiere meal of the weekend by the mosquitos and no-seeums in the area. The “no Deet” bug spray that was coating our bodies with sticky film, was just an appetizer for those stupid bugs before they reached their main course. Thank God my mom found our favorite bug spray at the local grocery store right before heading to the site. We were an oily oily mess the whole weekend, but at least not covered from head to toe in bites.  


Bringing the kids’ bikes was such a great idea and I loved catching glimpses of Ezzy’s and Cayden’s heads shining in the light between the trees as the whizzed by all the sites. The whole camp ground was full with other little people and if you stood still you could hear their muffled laughter with the crackling of the fire, the chirp of the birds and chatter of the squirrels.  Cayden even got to shoot his bb guns safely while kids played, something he loves to do.


We were so blessed that some friends decided to join us on our adventure, their daughter is one of Ezzy’s closest friend. They had gone out the day before like us to scope out the camp grounds. We both were able to grab the last few slots available. Once the kids figured out the little trail between our 2 sites, we let go, HA, mainly I let go, and let the kids roam to and fro between our sites.


One thing we quickly learned was we had grabbed wood from the wrong pile and had wet wood. After running through some solutions, it was decided Richard would drive to my cousins’ to get some dry wood. Within a few minutes of him leaving, my said cousin showed up at our site with a truck full of wood, because he just wanted to check on us novices. Thanks to my family we were supplied with plenty of wood for our camping trip.


As nighttime began to fall all our heads were topped with the headlamps Richard found in the $1 bin at Safeway.

Smores were happily eaten in mass quantities around the fire. Along with a rich desert my sweet friend and her hubby decided to bring us after their date. Needless to say all healthy clean eating went out the door this weekend and I indulged in lots of yummy things.


Even though it became apparent that our neighbors, a group of young 20 somethings had no regard for the family with little kids next to them, we managed to squeeze a few hours of sleep in. When I say few, I mean few. They didn’t quiet down until 3:30 am and we could hear every word spoken as if they were in the tent with us. Our little early risers woke with the thrushes’ morning song and daylight and we soon had movement at our camp ground at 4:30 am.  


Not enough coffee could cover the exhaustion that Richard and I were feeling.  


We were pleasantly surprised how quiet Ezzy’s generator is. When it was ran the night before all the camp sites were full of lots of sounds. When we used it in the morning it didn’t seem to bother those around us. I think the songs Ya’el was singing was louder then the generator.


​My sweet friend who brought us desert the night before also came and met us in the morning to go and check out the minus tide with the kids. She blessed us with some candid photos of our time together. She even went back to our site and snapped some pics while we were away.


Coffee, tired parents and kids being fed energy from the freedom to explore made some pretty great pictures if you ask me.

I learned on this trip my friends’ husband is the piped pier of little ones and this picture says it all. 

The kids even found a bullhead submerged in the sand too.  Along with sea stars and plenty of shells. 


Quesadillas were scarfed by hungry bellies and we gathered our swim gear and walked to the beach. My little man was set on taking me out in the little boat I had found at our grocery store the day before and we chatted about all the things he loved doing and couldn’t wait to do for the rest of the trip. 

Honestly this is why so few pictures were taken. I found myself caught up in conversations with my friend and her husband and we had ample times to just sit and hear each others’ hearts. One mark of deep friendships is the ability to sit together in silence, no pressure to fill the spaces. That happened that day on the beach. It blessed my introvert heart in so many ways.


After crisping up our skin with the welcomed sun, we headed back to the campsite and found ourselves with more visitors! My cousin and her boyfriend brought a drone to play with and also extra arms to hold little girls. 

One of Ezzy’s favorite people came to visit us too and sat with her while she drew during one of her therapy sessions.

Cayden was able to go kayaking with another cousin who came by and he ended his time securing a place in Yael’s heart too.


Our kids went down without a fight and their tired little bodies found sleep quickly even thought we realized we were going to experience another night of little sleep thanks our neighbors. But we did see a pretty amazing sunset!


Richard and I were taught cribbage by our friends who joined us for the camp out, while our tired kids all slept. Richard took a few trips to check on the kids and did find himself running quickly over to our site to calm a frantic child that was trying to get out of the tent and couldn’t find the zipper.


Thankfully our kids slept a little better and Richard smartly brewed a pot of coffee immediately to ensure he wasn’t met with a grumpy momma again. We knew our time had come to an end and we needed to get tired worn out bodies back to civilization. We broke down camp in record time, probably driven with the incentive of a hot shower and our own beds for the night.


Before we could go, our children decided to have church (they even made invites and passed them out to all campers they could find).

I will admit, I really wanted to go home and was ready. I was done being the buffet for bugs, I was in desperate need of quiet time. I did not go to church with the best mindset or heart. But when these little children who lived out what us parents have been instilling in them, I soon found tears gracing my eyes.


​We were led in worship and communion in a little sanctuary made of skunk cabbage and moss. Rays of sunlight peaked through the trees. Sounds from the neighboring site filled the forest sanctuary. They even had a section for the sound guys to sit in. Our communion elements were made up of white sandwhich bread and purple sports drink.


There at campsite #6/7 we partook in Christ’ sacrifice and gave thanks for the full filled weekend he provided us.


​Needless to say, this crazy family is already dreaming and planning our next camping adventure and can’t wait to make more memories. Thank you for believing in Cayden. Thank you for supporting him. Thank you for the camp gear that was purchased for our family. Thank you for allowing this amazing time as a family to happen.