Kelly Two Point Oh

It’s been awhile.

I’ve come to see that every time I actually write the proclamation: “I’m going to write more often”, its the exact time that the largest gaps in blogging happen. So I’m just gonna zip my lips on any future writing commitments.

So I just got back from Austin, Texas on Sunday. I was one of the lucky few that landed a coveted ticket to the conference, IF GATHERING, back in October when they took less than five minutes to sell out. It also meant that I was going to see one of my best friends in the universe, Dikola, who I hadn’t seen in over two years. She moved back to Houston last year and she also scored a ticket. God does good things ya’ll. He also knew what our February was going to look like and that I would need this trip/break more now then back in the fall.

This isn’t the post where I break down IF. Truth be told I am still road weary and digesting all that was spoken in a 12 hour span. Drinking from a firehose and digesting ten steaks takes some time!




Basically all I got to see of Austin...I wanted more.

Basically all I got to see of Austin…I wanted more.



Look how close we were to the stage for the first three hour session!!! Less than 15 feet away from these wonderful women of the word!

View from my seat!  Blind luck that we were standing near a door they decided to open near where we were standing in line allowing us to be one of the first on the ground level.

View from my seat! Blind luck that we were standing near a door they decided to open near where we were standing in line allowing us to be one of the first on the ground level.





The only thing I’m going to touch on in this post is what stinking Bob Goff said. Yeah…stinking. He made me cry. BOB GOFF MADE ME CRY!!!! He literally was on stage for 12-15 mins with his adorable wife and in that tiny span of time he said some words strung together that formed an arrow that shot right to the quick of my heart. That place that God’s been gently showing me my ugliness.

That part we excuse.
That part we blame others for.
That part we harbor offense and resentment.
That part we say and do terribly awful selfish things from.

Yeah…he took his words arrow, drew it back, and shot it straight into my heart.

Look at him…. doesn’t he look mean?

I’m totally kidding, this man is one of the most joyful people I’ve ever encountered. Don’t get me started on his wife “Sweet” Maria. He literally calls her that…EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. That will either illicit eye rolls (you cynic) or tender sighs (you romantic). I find it endearing personally. Although if Ryan started calling me Sweet Kelly I would die laughing. There is one thing I have learned about myself. I am a very kind person but I am not “sweet”. I’ve met sweet people and I ain’t one of them. There is a difference.


So to the point. You want to know what he said? I mean this literally may do nothing for you but God has been kneading my heart for months and I have hidden like a coward behind my pride and not “dealt with it.”

Bob started talking about what it is to honor one another and in particular he and Sweet Maria talked about honoring each other in marriage and teaching the next generation (our children) to honor. Is your throat dry? Is it just me?

Then he comes out with it. I wanted him to take the question back immediately because he made me feel. Dagnabit…he made me cry. He said….(drumroll)

“What would it look like for you to become the next humblest version of yourself? What would that look like in your marriage, in your family, in your friendships?”


What would Kelly 2.0 look like?

You mean the current one that is TOTALLY put out when her husband walks through the door excited to tell her something and I barely squeak out an acknowledgement of his presence, let alone grant eye contact and God forbid LISTEN to his words? It’s more like I irritatedly cut him off….bark out a few commands for him to please deal with “that” kid and could he PLEASE take his boots off and “Did you remember to call so and so or do this or that?”

I make it clear he has not done, been, or are enough for me right now. His presence is a mild to severe rock in my shoe and please deal with those three hellians we made because this chick is punching her time clock card. I’m donesies.

If I had the magical ability to fly I would have flown up and stolen one of these amazing lights.

If I had the magical ability to fly I would have flown up and stolen one of these amazing lights.

Once the kids go to bed I’m all…”Oh HEY…I remember you….you make me laugh, I’m crazy attracted you and I love being with you more than anyone in the world.” Except by then I’ve dealt out a heavy blow of sighs, snarky comments, rude behavior, or just flat out ignored. Not exactly greasing the wheels for a sweet night with Ryan.

I will say I married a gem. No matter how I treat him HE DOES NOT RESPOND IN THE SAME WAY. That actually made me cry typing it out. He’s not perfect but he is VERY gracious and loving to me. I don’t “deserve” it. It’s rather irritating sometimes but my word…what an unbalanced household we would have without him. To be fair to me I don’t always act this way but the scales are definitely tipped in the wrong direction.

Don’t even get me started on my mothering awesomeness. I swear my kids must think there are two moms at all times. One that is fun, laid back and approachable and the other a short tempered, bossy, rude, overwhelmed ogre. DO NOT APPROACH THE SLEEPING GIANT SHE WILL RIP YOUR HEAD OFF IN TWO SECONDS FLAT!!!

It’s bad guys. I am so ashamed of myself at night. Being a typical type A person I am going through my lists and assessments of my day when I lay down at night and there are times I just bawl because I know what a class A jerk I have been that day to those that are dearest to me. I know how much I have escaped through my phone or computer to another world, to people that don’t live in my four walls. BECAUSE THAT SOLVES EVERYTHING….escapism!


I don’t even know what comes over me. I am constantly at war with my mind, heart and spirit. I literally do that with which I hate. The collateral damage is my family.

Teach the next generation to honor? Gulp….

Honor your husband? Gulp….

I realize I struggle with self-absorption and entitlement. Oh those Siamese twin sins always go hand and hand. I wake up every day with an agenda. Because that’s what you do before kids and spouse. You decide what YOU want to do, when YOU want to do it with little to no regard for others because your kingdom hasn’t enlarged yet to include others you are personally responsible for. (I’m not accusing all singles as being selfish. Put your rocks down)

But man….YOU….doesn’t exist any more and EVERY DAY I am reminded of that. You’d think after a decade of marriage and over eight years of having children I would remember that. I wouldn’t be so “put out” by my agenda only getting 10% accomplished every day. But nope… I feel devastated that I got hardly anything “done”. My devastation turns into anger and resentment which I sling with easy at those around me. (Don’t you just want to be my friend? hahaha)

The endless servitude of motherhood and marriage is meant not to defeat and crush us but to refine us into Christ likeness. Christine Caine said this gem at IF “The believing life is not about “me” it’s about “us”. I will build MY church says Jesus. It is our only destiny to live all our days advancing the King and the kingdom.”

I’m missing it being stuck in my entitled mind, my angry heart and my brooding soul. I’m missing living humbly, with JOY in my service, discipling my children daily not just with words quickly spoken in rote fashion five minutes before they go to bed but with every moment of my day.

With humility I need to admit “Mommy was a JERK, I was WRONG, I am SORRY, I NEED Jesus’s forgiveness and grace, I need your grace and forgiveness (Chloe, Bennett, Rhett, Ryan…whomever I have hurt)”


Alright Stinking Bob Goff….I’m taking the challenge. By writing this publicly I am making a declaration of sorts aren’t I? I’ve outed my not so secret ugliness to spouse, children, family and friends. I don’t like Kelly 1.0 most of the time. She is outdated. Error messages pinging all day long.

To add a few more Chris Caine quotes: “If the horse is dead…dismount (oh snap) Get off, move on. Don’t hold on to what was. He is not the God of what was he is the God of I AM. Let go of the past in your present or you will never have a future.”

So I’m going to molt this Kelly 1.0 right here on this blog post. It’s vulnerable to make a declaration knowing full well it’s going to come with it’s setbacks and mistakes and yet….I KNOW this is that next area that Jesus is saying “It’s time Kelly…it’s time to grow up, woman up, and get out of your own way in serving me with your whole heart, mind and soul.”

Anyone else want to push their chips in to Stinking Bob Goff’s challenge?

Can I end with a few pictures that should make you smile? My “baby” turns four tomorrow. My sweet and sassy, clever and hilarious, ridiculously cute and charming boy is turning four. Rhett let me take him outside for about three minutes to snap a few photos of him before he declared that he was done. Can you even handle those Gollum eyes, dimples and lashes??? That kid could cure depression.










Birthdays have always meant something different to me with each decade.

When you are a kid…BIRTHDAYS ARE EVERYTHING!!!! My brother and I are one year and 18 days a part. You can guess how many times we’ve had to “share” a birthday party. Now that I’m a parent I get it but as a kid it was the pits! It’s bad enough to share but when you have the opposite gender to share it with…well let’s just say I never got the 80’s Jem party that I wanted in my mind.

My favorite birthday happened when I was around seven or eight. My mom and grandma made a cake with animal crackers all lined up around a perimeter of bendable straws set up like a circus tent. My mother has many, MANY excellent strengths but being crafty isn’t one of them.


It felt special to have a sort of theme and LOTS of friends were invited over for our combo party. We tied balloons on a string and then to our spindly ankles and ran around laughing half terrified at the sound of popping balloons and half frantic trying to stomp on our friends balloon first.

Truthfully, I don’t remember much more than the cake, lots of friends, balloon stomping and one prized birthday gift, a felt design kit. It was full of brilliant colors and shapes and different felt backgrounds where you could design stuff. I sat in my driveway fixated after the party was over and began to manipulate the colors and shapes. I’ve always enjoyed this type of creating. You might say this is the pre-curser to why I constantly redecorate rooms in my house…not by buying new things…just moving stuff around to constantly reinvent what I have.

I don’t have a picture of the party but this is me at seven years old desperately trying to cover up my missing front teeth. Sweet Captain Kangaroo impression no?


I remember feeling happy and satisfied, special and excited, on that Michigan spring day. That year I didn’t mind sharing with Jamie. I had my felt kit and that was all right with me.

In my 20’s I threw myself my birthday parties most years. Partly, because in college my birthday always fell a few weeks after college broke for the summer and the odds of getting remembered while everyone was working at camps, summer jobs or traveling overseas was slim to none. There were some lonely college birthdays in upstate New York that came and went with little to no fanfare.

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It seems egocentric looking back back and maybe it was on certain years. Mostly, I remember just being happy to have finally found great friends in my 20’s and I wanted to be around them as much as I could. I didn’t like being alone. I feel like I struggled my whole life to find where I fit in and to have a great set of girlfriends. In my early 20’s I found my two best friends and soul sisters, along with a string of other amazing women from my church. We were foolish about guys and money, selfish, and obnoxiously introspective together but we loved each other fiercely out of our broken places, knew we needed Jesus badly and we managed to push each other forward towards His grace and mercy despite our short comings. One by one we became emancipated from our sin and brokenness by our late 20’s.

My best friend and of course Ryan goes along with every dumb idea I have. He's a keeper

My best friend and of course Ryan goes along with every dumb idea I have. He’s a keeper

Those birthday parties were full of fun and slightly rebellious excursions at times. Others ended up being called “Kelly’s Porch Parties”. Hey…if you are gonna be famous for something…this is a pretty sweet title to hold. Our apartment was party central. We threw parties for no reason and every reason back then.

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On my 27th birthday a group of girlfriends threw me my first and only ever surprise party. I can’t even remember how they got me to show up but I do know I was 110% shocked when I turned the corner. What awaited me was nothing short of a magical party with white strings of lights littering the sky like bottled up fire flys, my favorite wine, a home-made cake, all my girlfriends and a treasure box filled with letters they each wrote me about what they appreciated. I felt truly loved on that night. It’s a beautiful thing to be considered. We fight the lie often that we are invisible and no one remembers us. When a group of people not only see you but craft a night around your love languages….well it’s one of those “thin places” between heaven and earth.

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On my thirtieth birthday I was fat with child and the decade of wanting quieter birthdays began. The older I get the more my “introvertedness” seems to be taking over. I don’t crave the loud, long nights of my 20’s porch parties. I’d be happy to spend a weekend away with one or two of my girlfriends eating delicious Indian food, thrifting, talking for endless hours, reading and being kid free. That seems like the best, most meaningful birthday I could hope for. Ryan learned years ago, birthdays are for my girlfriends and anniversaries are all about him.

And so my last birthday of my 30’s is here. THIRTY NINE!!! How in the free world did I get here so stinking fast? I’m still 25 in my head but one glance down at my mom bod squeezed into my skinny jeans let’s me know that indeed 40 is right around the corner. I do want to kiss straight on the mouth the people who are shocked by my age and reply incredulously “I thought you were in your late 20’s I can’t believe you are almost 39!” I know I can’t milk that cow forever and at some point I’m going to say my age and people are going to respond with “Oh” and then I will know that all the miracle eye cream in the world can’t help me.

My 29th bday....whewww...TEN years ago..nuts!

My 29th bday….whewww…TEN years ago..nuts!

So I want to share my list of things I’m glad the Lord saved me from in my 20’s to bring me a life that is deeper and better than I could have asked or imagined for in my 30’s. We think we know who we are in our 20’s and what we want but we really don’t or it is a shadow of what is to come. Often in our 30’s we begin to really mourn some choices we made, time we wasted, student loans accrued for degrees we don’t use or jobs we hate, relationships that took precious energy, careers we sold our soul to for what? Consequently, we are now mature enough to rejoice that some things just flat fell apart, dreams died and people moved away in our 20’s but with fresh hindsight a decade or so later we see with perfect clarity what the Lord saved us from because of those loses.

1- Society tells us to be happy at all times and that’s a line of bologna. We’ve become professional fleers (flee-ers?) and it is detrimental in the body of Christ. Don’t like what that pastor says…flee. Don’t like that friend speaking some truth in your life…flee. Don’t like what he or she did….flee. We leave churches, people, relationships, jobs, commitments in our wake all for the sake of personal happiness. I’m not saying be a doormat but there is something so incredibly beautiful about staying the course through hard times that reaps a harvest of intimacy, maturity, depth and growth that is irreplaceable. The only thing we are suppose to flee is temptation.

2- I never used my youth ministry degree. At least not in the traditional sense. I was engaged at 21 which fell apart half way through my senior year. I got three job offers to be a youth pastor in CO, MI and FL and I took none of them. I was SO devastated and lost after I graduated not using my degree or being a wife to this man I thought life was over at 22. DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME FROM ALL OF THAT!!! It was the wrong man and I was such a screwed up, broken woman I had no business being in ministry. I’m SO thankful God took my sorrow and turned it into dancing. My dreams were too small back then and I needed to know who God the REDEEMER was before being in ministry.

3- Your marriage is worth fighting for. You know those movie scenes where in anger or passion someone straightens out their arm and swipes everything off a desk in a karate chop motion? That’s what it took for Ryan and I to get back our marriage. We wiped the slate clean in our lives and stepped out of every commitment that took from our family and we buckled down and we got help and we learned to look each other in the eye again and we repented and confessed and forgave and learned to love and communicate in healthy ways. We will be working on it the rest of our lives but I’m glad we had the courage to push out the noise and make space for healing. Don’t let pride, sin, or anger rule your home. You can stand there alone in your “rightness” or you can be the chicken or the egg that goes first towards healing. Jennie Allen recently said, “Good marriages are built in trenches not on vacations.” AMEN

4- I never knew I loved being alone. I was terrified of being alone in my 20’s and avoided it at all cost. I mean letting my mind sit in silence and solitude, no thanks, time to go to the mall. I was scared of facing my demons or to come face to face with a Holy God. Because that’s the kicker. If we just stop and sit for a hot second, really sit at the foot of the cross and disengage from ourselves. You know “YOU”…the one you think about and try to please 99.9% of the day. When you sit with reverence and marvel at our HOLY Father, one that has never known sin and yet sacrificed everything for our sin. HE truly becomes greater and we become less and conviction, not shame, begins to swell within us with tsunami force and we WANT to confess and purge and make right what is wrong. We want to unfurl our grip on our life and relinquish it to our holy and sovereign LORD because intimacy breeds trust. He is trustworthy….oh good gravy, he is trustworthy.

5- As open of a book as I am about my life there are really only a few people I let into the inner chamber. My girlfriends mean the world to me and the older I get the more thankful I am that I have experienced such deep soul connection, passionate times of prayer, humble moments of confession, and laughter until my cheeks felt like bursting. I never realized how rare this connection was amongst women and I desire it so much for all woman to experience that level of intimacy. When you are able to shed comparison and perfectionism and join the sisterhood that awaits you…there is nary a greater love apart from my Lord, my husband and the love I feel for my children.

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Honestly, I would wax poetic all day about what I have learned…this post is long enough and I’ll save the others for a future post. God is so good and I enter this last year of my 30’s with a very grateful heart. This song below is on heavy rotation (picture Ryan rolling his eyes when I que it up again) But the joy of the melody and the lyrics sum up my attitude going into this next year! Enjoy…the whole album is AMAZING!!!!

Breaking Up With Guilt

My professional writing career is on a roll!!!!

I kid, but only slightly, as I was honored to write another article for the Central Virginia Family Guide’s 2015 issue. (On stands this week!)

You may remember my 2014 article “Un-spoiling Your Child.” By far, it has been my most popular, most shared post to date! Clearly hitting home for parents. Yay for un-spoiling the next generation!

This article deals with taking back your family, creating margin, and living a life of freedom and not guilt. Now doesn’t that sound nice?

Enjoy…. I added some pictures of Bennett and his 7th Bday Father/Son Campout party last Friday. It is the best example to accompany this article. I didn’t plan one activity but let kids just be kids for three unstructured hours and they were AWESOME AT IT! Imagine that! Kids instinctively know how to untether their spirits, imaginations and enjoy the great outdoors. It’s a beautiful thing. I also gave myself permission not to decorate. Besides balloons, a ninja turtle table cloth and napkins….I didn’t do a darn thing. Instead of junky “goodie bags” (who thought of this money sucking idea?) I bought a bunch of glow sticks so they could run in the woods in the dark and we could track them. Not the least bit Pinterest worth. It has felt so good to let go of the birthday party pressure!

I’m a duck baby…perfect mom pressure rolling off my back!

You know...just hanging out in the woods with my board.

You know…just hanging out in the woods with my board.

Too cool for school. Seven years old looking good on Bennett

Too cool for school. Seven years old looking good on Bennett


The definition of squander is “to waste something (especially money or TIME) in a reckless and foolish manner.”

I would call myself a type-A, list-making, list-checking type of gal. However, I can also be the queen of squandering time.

On the rare occasion I am given a morning off from my children, I turn into one of two people. The first Kelly lazily kills an hour on social media, wanders around her house like a lost puppy and eventually plops on the couch and does nothing. The other Kelly is frantically trying to squeeze 24-hours of tasks into four hours of time. I can’t seem to discipline myself enough to prioritize. I flit around—partially completing one task all while simultaneously starting four more. Somehow in my brain it makes sense but I have very little to show for it at the end of my alone time. Cue sad violin. It’s no laughing matter to be a time-waster.


They never stopped setting up scenarios and battles for hours. Hilarious

They never stopped setting up scenarios and battles for hours. Hilarious

Time is a precious gift. You hear it often in cliché quotes on Pinterest.

“You can’t save it for later.” You can’t “bank” it or work “overtime,” so that all of a sudden you get a 50-hour day. It just doesn’t work that way. You can only spend the moment or waste it. We don’t stop to ponder that fact often enough.

I have never read of anyone saying at the end of their life “I wish I had watched more TV” or “I wish I had spent more time on social media, worked more hours, accumulated more or shoved my kids into more activities, so I barely saw them.” It would be absurd. So why is it that we spend our days doing the very things we will live to regret?

I read an article written by a palliative care nurse, Bonnie Ware, on the top five regrets people make on their death bed. Here they are:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. (She said EVERY male patient expressed this one because they missed their children’s youth and the companionship of their spouse)
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express
my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

In essence they wish they had spent their time differently. Sobering.

And so we face this challenge as parents and spouses of how to spend our time wisely. We simply can’t get so lost in the shuffle and monotony of our duties that we miss the opportunities to invest in what is eternal. We live in a society that demands we “do” endless activities and “spend” well beyond our means. We are tired, grumpy, overworked, short-tempered, dissatisfied, distant from one another and burdened by our finances. There is a cost to every decision we make and usually the first to get cut from the list is our children and spouse. Someone has to step off this destructive merry-go-round.
Last time I checked, society wasn’t putting my kids to bed, paying my bills or married to my spouse. So a few years ago our family decided to divorce ourselves from society’s rules and invent our own.


We were the typical, ubiquitous American family that had every white square filled, spilling into the margins of our calendar. With three kids under age five, we knew we could never keep up the pace and think our marriage and children would survive let alone thrive under those conditions. We were not designed to live in a frantically feverish state of being. We blew the whistle on ourselves, and my husband and I had a big heart-to-heart. We needed to write a list of our core values and then evaluate if our lives and schedules allowed for those core values to take root, or if they were just ideals we tossed around in public conversation while our personal lives mocked those same words. Values are anchors and lighthouses in our lives—the immovable foundation and guide to get back to steady ground.

For us it took moving 25 minutes outside of Lynchburg from our little cottage in the city to our rustic home on a few acres in the country. It wasn’t a glamorous move that movies are made from. Part of our core values was living well in our means. We found a pretty unsavory foreclosure that we fell head-over-heels for and worked hard to make it a beautiful home. It was a refining and —at times—fun process. Moving out to the country brought a “soul peace” we could have only dreamed of in our past life.





Being 25 minutes from town also meant we had to say “no” more often than “yes” to activities and invitations. We couldn’t afford to fill our gas tanks every 2-3 days, and so we decided on our second core value. The majority of our life and socialization would happen out of our home.

For most people who pull up our long driveway, surrounded by pine trees, the sentence we commonly hear is “It feels so peaceful here.” I can’t think of a bigger compliment. There is something about a hot meal around a table with another family that slows down a night, deepens the conversation and helps you appreciate your family. Sure, there are sometimes screaming kids, boycotted food and lots of messes, but the joys far outweigh the hassle and drama a gaggle of young kids can make.



We traded “rush” for “peace.”We “under-whelmed” our schedule in order to have margin in our lives. The days are long but the years are fast with kids. Did you know there are approximately 936 weekends from the day of a child’s birth to the day they leave home? Are you squandering those weekends away or maximizing this season of life?

But guilt is a fickle beast. You would think it would motivate us to make better choices but instead it tends to make us more frantic. Moms who struggle with feeling guilty about grabbing a 30-minute nap, flipping through a magazine or revisiting a hobby when their children are resting buy into the lie that it is an indecent luxury to allow one’s body and soul to rejuvenate. Building margin into a balanced life does not mean that you avoid time to yourself or time to rest. Water flows down from the top. If mom and dad are stressed, distracted, unavailable and one-dimensional….what is trickling down to your children? Just because a new hat is in my arsenal—“mom hat”—that doesn’t mean I traded it for my former self. I added it to my wardrobe where it’s in heavy rotation with my writing hat, my photography hat, my decorating hat, my girlfriend hat, my wife hat, etc.

So, I broke up with guilt, and it felt good! I refused to let my husband go by the wayside or my friends get kicked to the curb. My children know that mommy has “girl’s night.” My daughter likes to help me pick out my jewelry for it and can’t wait until she is old enough to come with me! I love that she understands that my friends are a priority, and they help mommy find joy and balance in her life. Our kids don’t bat an eye when my husband and I declare a date night. We want them to know very clearly that we love and are committed to one another and that we need a break from being “mommy and daddy” sometimes so we can just be “Kelly and Ryan.”

Probably the best picture of Rhett ever taken. Our Mensa child clearly!

Probably the best picture of Rhett ever taken. Our Mensa child clearly!

I can’t offer a comprehensive list of “how to’s” on finding a balance in your life because there are many subjective circumstances that prevent families from fitting into neat, little boxes, but I do implore you to sit down with your partner and hash out what your core values are. When you look back on these years, what do you wish you had accomplished? Are you willing to live courageously, willing to set boundaries and stick with them, willing to live frugally and “do” less, willing to let your kids have a childhood instead of an activity schedule?

It’s not easy, but it is so worth it! With each decision you make to incorporate balance, peace and margin, it’s like attaching a little tugboat onto the steamship of your family unit. It might not pull you strongly off your current course but with each tugboat you add, eventually you will see your family headed into calmer, safer and healthier waters.

Would a time-squanderer do that?

Oh did I leave you hanging?

Well thank you all for your encouragement from my last post about the journey of our city house on the market. It seemed to strike a chord with many of you that ruthless trust in the uncertainties of life is not only vital to building our faith in the Lord but it’s mandatory and unavoidable.

I know you are eager to hear the outcome and I wish I had some awesome grand announcement that we are days away from closing but alas, the contract fell through 100% a few days after my post. There was no counter offer or addendum, just pulled the plug. It’s hard when something is final like that and you know you are back at square one. I will be honest, that was a dark day for me. A very dark day filled with ugly cries and a lot of staring out a window like a Cymbalta commercial.

Sometimes I let myself unpack my feelings further than I normally would because the days don’t allow for long drawn out periods of pondering. I gave myself permission to dwell on my sorrow that day knowing I would be riding a potentially dangerous line of self-pity (not helpful) versus self-actualization (helpful).

There has been a LONG 12 month battle of opposing emotional forces going on in my mind and heart. Last April marks the start of this battle.

My best friends family and another family we share deep community with moved halfway around the world to serve the Lord. Clearly, I was 110% behind this but my heart and my life had a gapping, gushing, ugly hallow wound. This was an unimaginable personal loss for every person in my family. In many ways I’m still trying to learn to live life without these 10 people.

Two weeks later I was in the emergency room with extreme pain in my abdomen. I ain’t no wimp, I don’t go to doctors for nothin’ but I couldn’t handle this. I had no idea that I actually just tipped the first domino in a four month long wild goose chase to figure out what was wrong with me. Cue endless doctor appointments, blood and stool testing (yeah for sexy fun!) a colonoscopy (more sexy fun), an endoscopy, natural health appts, trying new supplements, and in the end changing my entire diet going gluten free. (This was a radical change from my highly processed life). There was a mourning process of food, yes I had to mourn it. I earned my filled out jeans for a reason. I had to accept that I have gluten intolerance and leaky gut, not to be trendy, but because of the trauma of a parasite and salmonella poisoning 14 years ago my intestines have never properly healed. I could not believe I was so sick again.

After the ER bill came in at $2000 (oh Hi fat deductible…I hate your face) it also marked a year long financial strain and loss I can’t even begin to divulge here. It has been brutal between my health stuff and of course carrying two mortgages for six months. There is no end in site to this area of loss and yet…if you read the last post…God has miraculously sustained us. Heck, for the first time in eight years we are getting a tax return! Hallelujah!!! He steps in at the seemingly last and yet perfect moment and provides what we need.

So you can see why that Sunday afternoon call from our realtor came in like a sucker punch to the gut.

I didn’t realize how sure I felt that this offer was going to stick until my chest started to tighten and the tears began without ceasing. I was tired of being sad and yet I was sad again…very sad. I had to let go of the “idea” that the trial of this house was not ending.

Poor Ryan. It’s hard when you can’t articulate your sorrow to your spouse. I just needed to be alone and sort it all out.

I let myself revisit the sorrows of the last 12 months. These are very real loses and not one of them has changed. I’m still sick, I’m still without these two families, and our finances are still ground zero. BUT I know that I am not without hope or joy because that is the exact other force that keeps pushing against and nudging out my sorrow.

Guys..I can’t stop with the GIFS…they make me laugh. Last one I promise. Think of JOY as the dark car and the white car as SORROW trying to cut it’s nasty way into my joy lane like a punk. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!!!!

In case you don’t follow me on FB or Instagram then you might not know that the most exciting announcement came out of the gates on April 7, 2015. It’s no wonder satan really poured on the awful the two weeks leading up to our launch. There was full force spiritual warfare happening and getting the news about the contract falling through was just one fiery dart we had to extract lest the poison of discouragement take root.

Last May a relationship began in our life with an amazing couple in our church that is on staff with REACH Global (our church’s denomination sending agency). They were missionaries to the Ukraine for 15 years but now serve in a director position with the SERVEurope team. They just happen to move to our area a few years ago and were introduced to us by our friends that moved overseas with the disclaimer “You MUST spend time with them and you MUST share your vision for ministry.” And so we sought out this couple not knowing anything about them and boy we had no idea what that relationship would yield in our hearts and lives.

You know when you meet people that connect to the deepest desires of your heart in a way you only experience with a few people? Yeah, that was this couple for us. A few decades older, well seasoned in missions, and completely FREE in the spirit. These two are salt of the earth and so gifted in prayer and encouragement. We started meeting together once a month to talk and pray. Only a small group of people knew about this vision.

Month after month ticked by and the Lord helped us finally get our vision into a tangible format. It has a name now. It has a website thanks to my husband. It has a voice thanks to Ryan’s brother, Joe Portnoy, producing a video for us.

Guys, the other set of tears that flow often and hard from my face this last year are because I CAN’T HANDLE the joy of this vision finally being launched. For the last 12 months this ball has been in motion and it is beyond what we could ever dared dream for our lives. It’s a grand invitation into the work of the kingdom and it is scary and awesome and WAY bigger than just Ryan and myself. It involves you too! Please take four minutes to watch:

Yup! Right? Can you even? The Good Storyis out there! I would love for you to go over to the site and click around. There is SO much more than the video could cover. (Ryan is just that tall he doesn’t fit on my screen shot)

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I want you to hear about our incredible trips we are taking with REACH this summer which will determine SO MUCH about the future of The Good Story.

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There are two ways to get involved. The first is becoming part of our prayer and financial support team. I know, I know…tis the season for mission trips. This is so much more than a missions trip! These trips will set the trajectory for the future of our ministry. We get to work with a REAL agency with REAL missionaries with REAL communication needs that REACH Global believes The Good Story can help change! Are you with us?

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There is also a pretty low commitment support route and that is to click over to The Good Story Shop and purchase an instant download made by friends of TGS. 100% of your purchase goes towards our REACH Global trips! We will be adding more art each month.

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Lastly, and most importantly, the VERY heartbeat of what The Good Story is about is found in our Ambassador program. There is no way on this planet this ministry will thrive or survive from the efforts of two people. No, we are not foolish enough to think we can change the face of missions alone. Nay, Nay…it will take an army of creatives and technology to do that! We are finishing up what will be the application process and taking inquiries for people to join us as Ambassadors for TGS.

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The Ambassador Creed is as follows:

We believe creatives and technology are a very underutilized commodity in the body of Christ.

We believe God gives all individuals specific talents and abilities on earth that are meant to bring Him glory and advance the kingdom of God.

We believe creatives in arts and technology have a difficult time giving or donating their talents and abilities when there is no personal gain or payment involved. This prevalent attitude needs to change.

We believe we can be the generation that ushers in the second coming of Christ by being on the forefront of the Great Commission.

We believe missionaries could cut their pre-field support raising time in half if they were properly undergirded through the creative arts community to communicate their passions and initiatives with visually excellent and compelling materials. (i.e.-photos, support cards, printed materials, websites, video storytelling, written expression)

We believe missionaries need proper technology training in order to establish a means of communication while they are raising support as well as on the field

We believe if we work together we can gather and engage technology and creative individuals to BE AVAILABLE, BE PROACTIVE to seek out opportunities to serve and finally to GIVE GENEROUSLY and LAVISHLY of their abilities to missionaries.

CREATIVES ARE THE GAP in the Great Commission advancing quicker but they are also the BRIDGE IN WHICH MISSIONARIES CAN FIND SUPPORT, STABILITY, TRAINING and MEANS TO COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY in an age of technology that demands visual impact in order to understand and commit to a cause.

So if any of this has peeked your interest we strongly urge you to go to the website and poke around and join our newsletter team, join our support team, or please for the LOVE OF GOD and the DESIRE FOR ALL TO KNOW HIM…fill out an Ambassador inquiry form if you are in the creative or technology field. This is a slow but deliberate bullet moving to the heart of the Great Commission target.


Guess what, He delights in these requests and He WILL do a beautiful and complete work for HIS glory in HIS timing and it’s going to be AWESOME!

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