Today My Baby Turned 5

Today I woke to your sweet giggles from the other room. And I smiled big at your excitement bursting. But it took just about all my strength to sing that birthday song to you this morning without letting the tears spill out.

For somehow a half a decade’s worth of days have gone by, and you just keep capturing my heart over and over.

5 years.

Oh, Ariya – I can’t tell you how much I adore you, my forever baby.

birthday girl


birthday fun - Ariya

You with your glorious smiles and elaborate stories.

You with your sweet determination and constant growth shown in the words you’ve read, bikes you’ve ridden, teeth you’ve lost.

You with your big heart and the way you dazzle everyone with your love.

So many days I wish I could convince you to slow down; stop growing for a little bit. I just want to bottle up the treasure of you – right here, right now.

picture taking birthday girl

Ariya no training wheels

Ariya's first lost tooth

It was five years ago that I held you all swaddled in my womb.

And those pitch black hours of the early morning were the last time I felt kicks from the inside –

The last time I heard the thumping of a heartbeat so loud and beautiful –

The last time the journey of sleepless nights and baby shampoo and endless diapers and sweet newborn smiles was birthed from this crazy love.

birthday girl - Ariya


That morning you captured my heart with just one glance and proved that miracles are still possible.

For this mama’s womb had been stretched right thin, and when you came out you were this deep shade of blue, and then there was that hole in the middle of your little heart.

Yeah, don’t ever forget that God still works miracles today.

Just a few weeks later you were the blue-eyed beauty that taught us that God brings hope in the darkness and we can trust Him.

And five years later you’re still showing us beautiful glimpses of God.

Ariya is 5!!

birthday girl

Oh, my little girl, I love you! And I hope today has been a day that you’ve seen and felt and lived and breathed that love – as we tromped over to Burger King for breakfast just so you could play in the play place, and as we cooked up your favorite macaroni and cheese, and as we bounced as high as we could in the bouncy house set up just for you, and as we sang and smiled and celebrated while you blew out five candles on your Shopkins birthday cake.

Keep giggling, precious girl.

Keep playing and dancing and praying to Jesus.

Keep learning and smiling and giving sweet glimpses of His love.

And even though part of me would love for you to stay five forever – please don’t ever stop growing into the beautiful young lady God has created you to be.

Ariya's birthday cake

Happy 5th Birthday, Ariya Faith!
You are loved deeply!

He keeps stealing my heart

So this guy – it’s been 14 years – and he just keeps stealing my heart every day.


Our life together has been a joy. I couldn’t have asked for a better husband, friend, or father to my kids.

Gabe, you make my heart skip a beat still, and I love walking this life with you. I love you!

The Day She Turned 10


I don’t know how in this crazy world a decade’s worth of days has gone by. Just yesterday I crawled right into that crib with you as your tears mixed with mine. And I prayed something fierce that you would sleep and that no one would see me curled up in those bars around this […]

{Continue reading…}

the words every mother needs to hear

The Words Every Mother Needs to Hear

For all of you mamas with precious little (and not-quite-so-little-anymore) ones that have filled your womb, your home, or your heart – your labor of love and prayers and kingdom work matters! “To the best mommy ever.” Words written in bright crayon after the morning of frustration and doors slamming and yelling over muddy footprints […]

{Continue reading…}

A Decade of Missing My Daddy


It’s been a decade – forever ago and just yesterday all wrapped into one. And the memories are all faded and jumbled. But I remember my tummy. How the knots squeezed tight on my belly swollen so round that I couldn’t see over or around or through. And two babes toddled at my feet as […]

{Continue reading…}

12+ Favorite Activities for Easter (it’s all about Christ!)


So, yeah, the story of Easter is tough. It is painful, soul-ripping, and gloriously beautiful. In the end we find it’s a story of deep sacrifice, extraordinary love, and ultimate victory. But getting to that point can be quite excruciating. At Christmas we fall in love with Jesus – God with us – right there […]

{Continue reading…}

To My Only Son – on Your 8th Birthday


Yeah, everywhere we go, you’re the boy with all those sisters – The one with crazy energy and far more passion than I ever thought possible. The little man striving to exhibit incredible strength, courage, and honor amidst all things girly. The son that I never in a million years could’ve realized how very much […]

{Continue reading…}

Why it’s been so quiet around here

why it's been so quiet around here

For years her words whispered softly from behind closed doors and with little ones underfoot and that giant pile of laundry. She painted with words that she prayed would bleed grace and shout hope through the aching. And she cried out something desperate when she reasoned she was losing her ever-loving mind. And as she […]

{Continue reading…}

When you think you can’t do this anymore

When you think you can't do this anymore

I scratch out these words with fingers trembling – With this deep ache to get real and raw and vulnerable but just not knowing how. I. Am. Afraid. Weeks into the new year and I’m already shaking, slipping, shattered. Maybe it’s the aching realization that I’m just not cut out for this anymore. Some boy […]

{Continue reading…}

To Moms Everywhere – what you need to hear this Christmas

To Moms Everywhere - at Christmas

To you moms everywhere, at Christmas – I see you sweet mama with hair in a messy bun and icing on your cheek as you stand in last year’s Christmas pajamas clattering out bowls as cereal gets dumped to overflowing – feeling this crazy concoction of being amazingly blessed and fiercely terrified right at this […]

{Continue reading…}