Here we go….

“You should write again” one of my soul sisters, Kristie, says to me wide-eyed and grinning while we sit in her living room.

We are sipping lukewarm coffee from mugs with the telltale two to three scum lines that note previous microwave heat ups. It’s another failed attempt at a peaceful playdate where we alternate between fragmented thoughts and disciplining our kids. As usual I’ve rolled up in stretched out sweatpants, mismatched shirt, questionably “earthy” scent and axel grease hair. Yeah, Kirstie is a “safe” friend.

“About what?” I say with eyebrows pinned.

“I don’t know…anything…everything…you are funny…people connect to you, women connect to you. God’s gifted you Kelly, you need to use it.”

“Ohhhhh kayyyyyy….thank you, but seriously about what? I like telling stories but I’m not sure how that warrants a blog again.”

“Just write.” she says with those big brown doe eyes looking back at me. That was that.

I think that conversation took place about two years ago.

“Just write”

“About what?”

So it’s taken time to figure out what to write about. I mean just what the world needs more of…BLOGS!!!! (eye roll) Isn’t this market a wee bit saturated? So I realized that if I were to dip my toe back into the ocean of blogs I needed to do it for one reason, because I love Jesus and I am truly excited at what I am learning. It’s not to be witty, accrue followers, be a decorating guru or parenting specialist because I am none of those things. I’m an imperfect woman living a very blessed life making TONS of mistakes but learning just how crazy, deeply, madly I am loved by the Father and he has asked ME to be a part of what he is doing in this world. I GET to do this thing called life WITH Jesus. THIS, now THIS gets me excited to write.

I used to blog several years ago when I first got married but closed up shop exactly five years ago. For those of you joining me back from those “Filtering Life” days you are CRAZY faithful and your check is in the mail.

There is no way to kick off this blog properly without a little back story, bear with me… not every entry will be this long and without photos but this is where my story unfolds. Consider this our first date, a proper handshake, awww….heck…I’m a hugger, get in here I’m sure I will fit perfectly in your armpit.

Around 2008 my blog following started creating great momentum as well as our photography business was also taking off LIKE THE CRAZY. ( I promise these are not humble brags…there is a true point to this) The two very measurable veins in my life were going well, getting their public kudos; I was SOMETHING I tell you. I mean just drop my name to somebody and see what it gets you…..NADA, ZIP, ZILCH. Kelly who? It doesn’t take long to inflate your own ego.

The irony of public success is that usually behind the scenes you tend to find a giant, fat mess. You see in any attempt to be GREAT…..the balance of life shifts to those branches. It’s like putting Miracle Grow on half a tree. Have you ever seen a tree grow lopsided? One or two branches getting fatter and heavier with growth while the other side grapples for some of the nutrients. What happens when the branches get too big on one side. The TREE SPLITS. This is NEVER not the case. This was MY reality.

Half-dead-tree

As Kellan (our photography studio) was starting to get picked up on all the major wedding blogs and Filtering Life was growing exponentially on Google analytics……my marriage was withering on the tree of Kelly. My ability to juggle a toddler and infant who were cramping my blogging/photography style were causing me to be a miserable, impatient, STRESSED FREAK BALL. It was madness. We worked seven days a week and never went to bed before midnight. We always bought in to the lie that it would be worth it.

I slowly watched my husband and I drift farther and farther apart in less than three years of marriage. Granted there were other factors involved but when I look at my own part in this thing called “my life” I was trying to find my happiness, worth, and value in the social media arena to compensate for the fact my REAL life was falling apart.

Nothing in our society paints a greater false reality than social media. (soap box alert) Blog comments, Twitter followers, Facebook fanpage followers, Instagram followers, wedding blogs don’t share life with me, they don’t crawl in to bed with me at night, raise my children, pay my bills, pray with me, listen to my heart, etc….you get the picture. It is rubbish…..meaningless…futile. They are false lovers of the worst kind and I was deceived like a chubby girl buying the next diet fad….SENSA anyone? Just sayin…. been there.

And so the straw that broke the camels back came on November 21, 2008 when we lost our third baby to a miscarriage. A baby I didn’t even know was inside of me until it was too late. Chloe had turned two years old weeks before and Bennett was six months old and we just finished a wedding season of 28 weddings while Ryan worked a full time job…..a baby….AGAIN? How in the free world we did anything “marital” during that time is beyond me, not to mention I was about 10 weeks along when we lost the baby thats how distracted I was. We named this child Jory Lee “God will uplift and heal”. (a promise we DESPERATELY needed during that season)

That, my friend, is when the tree split…..right down the middle. That was when I saw the choice. We could splint our tree together and nurse it back to health, cut off those fat branches of my blog and our business….. or it was time to go our separate ways in life. I no longer had a husband/best friend. I had a roommate and quasi-business partner when we were speaking. We had created a life and family and it was fractured….badly. Now, more than ever, mourning the loss of our precious baby I NEEDED my husband. Jory was the wake up call we needed to see that if we kept up at this pace we were done. Its hard and it’s humbling to admit to one another that you have ROYALLY screwed things up and that we needed REAL help in our lives. Our attempts to be GREAT were really paying off were they not?

We needed help, we needed to learn a word that would save our marriage and our hearts….”NO”. We needed to buckle down and repair our tree. I needed to extract the two measurable things in my life that gave me a sense of “you are not wasting your day” and let them go. I’m a stay at home mom…..I get it. I’ve yet to have my kids give me the slow clap after I have wiped their butts, put away their laundry, clean up their toys for the billionth time that day or when I humbly bend over to clean up the spilled milk from the cereal bowl that was chucked across the table. Immeasurable servitude of the most thankless kind. Oh how I was missing out on what this season of my life was really about. There is so much precious in the hard.

Letting go of my blog and us TOTALLY cutting Kellan in half (our main source of income mind you!) was only the first step in obedience. It was like cutting off those big FAT branches so the trunk of the tree could stabilize and rest. We began marriage counseling with our pastor (GOD LOVE YA MARK!) and began working through the pain and hurt that we had caused each other. WE TOOK A MASSIVE leap of faith in our finances by cutting Kellan. We still had a tremendous amount of debt in our lives. We fought for our marriage, we put God first, our family next. We went against the grain of society that says when marriage gets hard, when you aren’t “feeling” love or loved then flash up your fingers in a giant peace sign and head out and try again elsewhere. Let me tell you, it was very tempting. (I am oversimplifying, there are many circumstances surrounding divorce)

You may have noticed the title of this blog, “The Good Trees”. Trees have always fascinated me. I don’t know why, I really don’t…I just think they are beautiful. I grew up in Michigan and upstate New York so I was blessed to always experience all four seasons. Trees seem to show the most tangible signs of each season. When we moved to our dream “fixer upper” a year and a half ago we got 2.5 acres of land. I’d say at least two of those acres are pines. Pines are my favorite. We also have a billion windows in our house (that my kids have beautifully decorated with their greasy fingers and sloppy tongues…not annoying in the least) I love that no matter where I am in my house I am looking at trees. They bring me peace.

In Matthew 7:17-19 it says:

So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Hop on over to Matthew 12:33:

Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.

Can I ask you to read those few verses a second time. Can you count for me how many times the Lord uses the word “great”? If I am not mistaken in my counting….I mean I taught special ed math so I am decent at counting….the count would be ZERO. The word is GOOD. Let that word wash all over your mind and heart. It’s good to be good. Good produces good.

I am a self professed perfectionist. I have spent way to many DECADES in self loathing, self defeat, and bitter comparison with others. FOR WHAT???? Because I wasn’t the GREATEST that is why. Greatness is another one of our society’s big, fat lies. How dare you be good at your job, how dare you be a really good mom, wife, friend, sister. Is there anything wrong with “great”? Not in and of itself, but great is hard little bugger to steer. Great puts YOU at the front of YOU and before all others. I’ve decided if I am going to be GREAT at anything, then it is going to be at living, really living in the kingdom of God. Even then…what does the Bible say when we stand before the Lord at the end of our life? What do we want our Maker, our Creator to say to us? “Well done GOOD and faithful servant.” I WANT to bear good fruit in all areas of my life and I’ll be darned if I don’t want my husband and my children to also be bearers of good fruit. I am nearing 38 years old (this is the part where you gasp and say…really…I thought you were like 28 years old…..why thank you I say meekly with a tone of surprise) I feel 40 breathing it’s hot stinky air on my neck and all I can think is “Dear God…I’m JUST starting to get ‘it’, can’t life slow down? I have so much ground to make up for!!! WHY 40 WHY???? WHY oh why have I wasted so much of my life on myself. Ugh….” ( I may be dramatic at times and over use exclamation points. Deal with it!!!!!!!)

We will get in to that a lot more on this blog but I figure I owed you a solid after reading this novel entry to at least explain the title and premise.

You may notice there are four categories I will be blogging under. The good life, good family, good home and good marriage. This blog is about my life, my hobbies, my relationships and my family. I will never apologize that all areas of my life fall under submission (gasp…that word makes so many recoil…how narrow-minded of me….nah) of the Bible. I am a Christ follower…in that it’s a lifestyle baby. I don’t just go to church on a Sunday and check it off my religious duties. Every area of my life, marriage, home and family runs through the filter of Jesus and praise GOD I don’t have to go this life alone. Lord knows my twenties are enough to see that left to my own devices I ROYALLY and UTTERLY mess everything up.

I don’t plan on having regular features like “Tips Tuesday” or “Crafty Friday”. I don’t dare enslave my life to a blog ever again. You choose to come here and read and I pray that you are gracious in my blogging frequency and infrequency should I choose to take blogging breaks. I also need to make one big fat disclaimer. I HAVE ATROCIOUS grammar. I am sure you can see by now that I am a free flow writer. I think it, I write it. I have no clue if an apostrophe or God forbid a semicolon be needed. I hope you find it sweet and endearing instead of annoying and ignorant to which I am sure it is. But I will pretend you don’t secretly judge me.

Thank you all for starting this journey with me. I’m a feeler, your comments really do warm my heart and your vulnerability with me is so appreciated. I can’t promise I can acknowledge every comment but know that they are read and I am extremely empathetic. Your joys and your pains are FELT by me.

I also need to make three gigantic shout outs to the people that helped make this blog possible. First my extremely nerdy and devastatingly handsome husband who designed and programmed this blog. Second, the incredible artwork for my banner was custom painted by the crazy talented Jen Mancier of Tender Branch Studio (did you notice the trees representing our family? Even a little sprout for our sweet Jory) Finally the custom script was done by the amazing and oh so sweet and dear Kathleen Ostrom of Leen Jean Studio. Their links are at the bottom. Thank you all for taking my heart and aesthetic into your minds and hearts and making my blog look SO beautiful! I simply love it.

So I did it Kristie, I just wrote!!!!!!

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82 Comments on Here we go….

  1. Kristin
    January 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Kelly! Congratulations on the launch of this beautiful site. Thank you for sharing your heart, story and love for the Lord with us. You are such an inspiration to me and I am so excited to keep up with your life and find encouragement through your thoughtful words! on this amazing blog.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 8:52 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Kristin! You made some touch decisions about your business as well. Your heart longs to serve Christ and co lead your family to LIFE in the kingdom. So many blessings!!

      Reply
  2. Amanda
    January 14, 2014 at 12:51 pm (4 years ago)

    I hope you didn’t think I’d leave my comments solely for Kellan, my friend. 😉 I’ve been excited for this, and I’m glad you’ve taken a step back into the blogosphere – I know it’s been a long time in coming. SO. MUCH. Of this resonates with me right now…I’m on the cusp of some big things myself. I think 2014 is going to be amazing for us, and if it’s this great at 37(me)/38, just THINK about how wonderful it’ll be when we’re 40! xoxo

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 8:54 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh Ms Faithful! Amanda, I delight in your comments and the journey you and Jay have been on in your marriage and becoming parents. I’m so excited for what is ahead in 2014 for you! Email me more deets! Blessings to you!

      Reply
  3. Liz
    January 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm (4 years ago)

    So happy you’re back. :)

    Reply
  4. Meagan
    January 14, 2014 at 1:23 pm (4 years ago)

    Kelly!!! I’m so excited to read your thoughts and heart. I want to sign up for your book release already. 😉 You are such a magnet to me, you totally draw me in with your wisdom, hilarity, encouragement and realness. Can’t wait to keep reading. I so wish we lived closer. My heart aches for an in life mentor like you. Xoxo

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 8:55 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh Meagan, your love for our family and loyalty makes me smile from ear to ear. Your heart is SO eager to live and grow deeper in the kingdom. You and The Don…..you have it in you to live differently and I can’t wait to watch your marriage grow and grow. WE love you and wish you lived closer too!

      Reply
  5. Colleen
    January 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Being sold out to God and following His lead in every area is so liberating and refreshing! Glad you are writing again. I was just randomly reading about willow trees this week–how they like to soak up water. They just hang and flow. Know your words will do the same—hang with people and cause readers to flow into their unique rhythm with the Lord

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm (4 years ago)

      Colleen, your comment actually made me cry in the Y parking lot. What a beautiful analogy with the willow tree. I can only hope the Lord would use my words in that capacity to further the kingdom. Thank you for your love over the years. What a wild way the Lord brings people in to our lives. Who ever would have guessed Kelly choosing us for her wedding photographer would yield such a harvest of relationships! So much love for the Dabneys

      Reply
  6. Kathleen
    January 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm (4 years ago)

    I LOVE that you are putting your thoughts on this blog. :) You are inspiration to me and no doubt many others. xoxo

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 8:59 pm (4 years ago)

      I love you girl! Thank you for talents on this blog. I think of you EVERY time I look at the banner and I smile. It’s so beautiful like you!

      Reply
  7. Destiny
    January 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm (4 years ago)

    A friend shared this blog on Facebook and something (God) told me to read it and I felt like these words could have come from the pages of my mind. It’s eerie how much I see myself all over this blog. I rarely choose to read blogs and I never comment but I had to share how excited I am to have found a blog that speaks to my sole in a profound way. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:03 pm (4 years ago)

      Destiny, THANK YOU for stopping over and taking the time to leave a comment. I’m always amazed at how God leads people into the path of another. I’m so grateful that the words of this post resonated so deeply with you and only pray that you feel rich encouragement. You alluded to us traveling similar roads. I pray the Lord has also changed your story and you too can say without hesitation that He is good.

      Reply
  8. Loren
    January 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm (4 years ago)

    What a beautiful blog entry, Kelly. I’m so glad you’re writing again!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:04 pm (4 years ago)

      THank you Loren! So glad you stopped over to read, means so much to me.

      Reply
  9. Lissa Anglin
    January 14, 2014 at 2:29 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this! Thanks for sharing your story- I can relate to many elements. I’ll be reading :)

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh Lissa, is it coincidence we met at J.C. workshop the very moment Ryan and I were starting to rebuild our marriage….not even. So glad you have stuck through the social media to come to this place.

      Reply
  10. Erin
    January 14, 2014 at 2:40 pm (4 years ago)

    Kelly, you’ve always been such a beautiful writer. Even on simple instagram photos your heart and love for God is always palpable. I am so excited for you and your new adventure! Many blessings friend!

    Reply
  11. Carol
    January 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Kell, You are an excellent writer and I pray this blog doesn’t turn into a “job” or hinderance to your happy home. Our sermon on Sunday talked about everything belonging to God……that we just take care of things here on earth for him. So think of it as God’s blog and do it for HIs glory . Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:09 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you so much Aunt Carol! You have enthusiastically and patiently been waiting for this blog to start. I so appreciate it and your encouragement. It is certainly my desire that this blog be something I do when I feel I have something to share of value and to not feel any pressure to write outside of that. So much love to our family up north!

      Reply
  12. Heather
    January 14, 2014 at 3:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Yay! Yay! Yay! I’m thrilled about this blog and the way you are sharing your heart. You challenge and inspire me in so many ways and I’m so excited to read more…

    Ps can I sign up for email subscriptions?

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:10 pm (4 years ago)

      Yes, Heather…Ryan is adding that plugin to subscribe in the next day or so. Thank you so much for wanting to be so faithful!

      Reply
  13. Jodi
    January 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm (4 years ago)

    Kelly, so excited for you and this new creative outlet! I have always loved your writing…the honesty and truth you speak is so inspiring and encouraging. So excited to see how the Lord uses this blog for His kingdom. Blessings to you on this new adventure! xo

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Jo! You and Kurt have always been such true friends in the “industry” You saw us as a husband and wife and encouraged our lives to reflect the kingdom above being successful in the wedding industry. We are so honored to call you guys friends.

      Reply
  14. Jenny-Lynn
    January 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm (4 years ago)

    I loved every word of this.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:14 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m. So. Glad. Thank you Jenny….so very grateful you stopped over.

      Reply
  15. Jeanie
    January 14, 2014 at 3:14 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Kelly, I don’t know you, but I am Jacob Zachary’s mom & I think you know him. I saw your blog on fb. I think Jacob’s wife Aimee read it & liked it so I read for myself. Beautiful! You are doing one of the most important things in the kingdom of God & that is to encourage, inspire & provoke to “good” works, your brothers & sisters in The Lord who are on this pilgrim journey with you ! NEVER think lightly of that : ) Thank you !

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:25 pm (4 years ago)

      Jeanie, you have a WONDERFUL son. WE love Jacob and he was the sound track to our wedding day strumming and singing his heart out at our very HOT wedding. I have read over and over the line your wrote “you are doing one of the most important things in the kingdom of God & that is to encourage, inspire & provoke to “good” works, your brothers & sisters in The Lord who are on this pilgrim journey with you ” I can’t tell you how much that means to me and challenges me. Thank you so much for reading and thank you for taking the time to leave such a wise and encouraging comment! Blessings.

      Reply
  16. Sarah Almquist
    January 14, 2014 at 3:17 pm (4 years ago)

    Yayyy so glad you are back!! Your thoughts speak to my heart and I look forward to hearing what is on your mind 😉

    Reply
  17. Jen Mancier
    January 14, 2014 at 11:22 am (4 years ago)

    I am so proud of you for sharing your story and your gifts with us, Kelly! Even more, I am proud of your commitment to God and your family and for letting us know up front that they come before this blog :-) We love you for it and patiently wait for your lovely and honest posts. Praying blessings over this xoxo

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:33 pm (4 years ago)

      Jen, THANK YOU! Thank you for bringing this blog to life with your art and for your thoughtfulness in the painting. It makes me smile every time I see it. Thank you for your encouragement and your excitement for this blog. It’s seriously kept me going when I was questioning if I should do it. You are so lovely Jen, truly!

      Reply
  18. Julie
    January 14, 2014 at 11:33 am (4 years ago)

    Kelly !!!!
    So good reading your new blog! I love your heart! My favorite line might just be “when to use a semicolon!’ So my style! :)

    Thanks for your honesty & heart! So many of us are in throes of motherhood with little ones & we can feel “left behind” because we aren’t “keeping up” with this world. But you are showing what’s important.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm (4 years ago)

      Julie, you have been so faithful over the years it’s an honor that you have loved our family so much from a distance. I’m so happy to see you over here on the new blog

      Reply
  19. Lyndsey
    January 14, 2014 at 11:47 am (4 years ago)

    Kelly, I am not a blog following kinda gal, but I knew this would be great! I am excited to follow this. I have always enjoyed listening to you talk and your incredible use of words with wisdom and wit. Well done!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm (4 years ago)

      Aww Shucks Lynds!!! Thank you so much for deciding to read MY blog, that is awesome. Your words really do mean so much to me, thank you!

      Reply
  20. Amanda Brown
    January 14, 2014 at 11:53 am (4 years ago)

    Hurrah! You are BACK! And better than ever with a clear focus, a renewed purpose, and the same old awesome humor, honesty and passion. I still feel like we are long-lost soul sistahs who have never met, and it’s so good to hear your voice again. Thanks for sharing your journey…many similar points to my own. What a crazy ride it’s been, hey? You are beautiful and loved and also just swell.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:47 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh Yes Pancakes…we are a sisters from another mother. Humor kindreds and lovers of all things Heighs!! It does feel good to write again and I appreciate your words and encouragement, this day has made my heart smile. I was so happy to see your name pop up in my comments. I miss your funny commentaries and honest remarks. Don’t be a stranger.

      Reply
  21. Hayley
    January 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm (4 years ago)

    Thank you Kelly for your beautiful honesty! Your encouragement through this crazy life with this blog will be used by God for His glory!
    Blessings!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 9:57 pm (4 years ago)

      Hayley…wow…so long ago my friend. Thank you for taking the time to read and leave a comment. I am so grateful!

      Reply
  22. Laura B
    January 14, 2014 at 12:47 pm (4 years ago)

    Kelly – Great first post. I can’t wait to read more :) So glad you’ve decided to spread a little Kelly joy with those of us who can’t get a dose in person.

    Reply
  23. chrissy
    January 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm (4 years ago)

    holy heck. i am so glad you’re doing this. this first entry alone was worth the wait. i adore you, friend. xo

    Reply
  24. Rebekah
    January 14, 2014 at 2:11 pm (4 years ago)

    Enjoyed your first blog! Chrissy Romine is my friend and recommended it on her FB. Thank you for sharing! We seem to have lots in common with our love for Jesus, husband, and children. Thank you for being so transparent. I’m also a hugger (and tree lover), and I’m giving you an “e-hug” right now!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 10:01 pm (4 years ago)

      The question is, who is in whose armpit. You have to be taller than 5’2″ for this to work! I’m so glad Chrissy sent you my way. If that’s who we have in common then things are looking promising for us! Welcome and thank you for your taking the time to read and comment!

      Reply
  25. Nikki
    January 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Welcome back! As someone who understands the fragility of marriage and has been down the road of divorce thank you for sharing a glimpse into your personal journey. There really is so much precious in the hard.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 10:02 pm (4 years ago)

      NIkki, welcome back yourself! Thank you for your comment. I know that divorce is something more common than not and that you have gleaned a lot since that time. Praying this blog can be an encouragement to you!

      Reply
  26. Bernalee
    January 14, 2014 at 3:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Honest! As you journey toward another rite of passage, it just goes better to reflect, shift, change and adjust to what has been taught and learned. As a senior, I desire this for my own as they wait in the river of this age group. The opportunities to thrive for your generation are immeasurable, and often taken on as is they are demanded and competitive. Your candid expression shows that even though the world is vivid, wide and waiting for us, we can and must choose for those who are in our most inner circle – first our Lord, and them those whom are in our care. Continue to write…and I will pray and hope that your message will reach those I love and pray for. Thank you for paying attention to the ‘tree’ and your willingness to do the most drastic acts to save it!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 10:06 pm (4 years ago)

      Bernalee, thank you for you comment and rich encouragement! I can imagine you have much to offer in wisdom to your kids and grandkids (if you have any) I will certainly do my best to speak honest truth and to point those that read to Jesus, the source of all truth. Many blessings and thank you for stopping in!

      Reply
  27. Hayley @thetinytwig
    January 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Glad to see you around again. Have loved keeping up with your sweet family for the past 7 (SEVEN?!) years since the oldests were in our bellies! So excited to read along. xo.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 10:08 pm (4 years ago)

      YES SEVEN!!!! it’s bananas that that much life has gone by and you have already beat me in baby making :-) You sure make some beautiful boys. I love your heart Hayley….I love your desire to simplify and focus and dig deep in the kingdom. You are a co laborer for leading women to abundant life THROUGH Jesus. Thank you for your faithfulness to keep up with our lives and to encourage my walk!

      Reply
  28. Kristin
    January 14, 2014 at 4:28 pm (4 years ago)

    Gorgeous, Kelly! I’m so glad you’re doing this!!!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 10:09 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Kristin!

      Reply
  29. mandi
    January 14, 2014 at 8:08 pm (4 years ago)

    This was deeply refreshing and wonderful. And hilarious. Thank you, Kelly.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 14, 2014 at 10:11 pm (4 years ago)

      Well that is a big compliment coming from such a brilliant writer. I’m so glad you stopped over to read Mandi! Your words make my heart smile and I am so encouraged to keep going.

      Reply
  30. kathy
    January 14, 2014 at 9:08 pm (4 years ago)

    Thanks for your transparency regarding struggles in marriage, and praise God for His restoration. Reminds me of one of my favorite books on marriage, “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas…what if God’s greater purpose in marriage is our holiness rather than just our happiness…Blessings on your endeavor (Ps 37. He will give you the desires of your heart, as you delight in Him.)

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:04 pm (4 years ago)

      Yes praise God for restoration indeed Kathy! I have heard of “Sacred Marriage” but not read. ALways looking for sound recommendations, thank you! I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment, it means so much.

      Reply
  31. Joelle Watt
    January 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm (4 years ago)

    Kelly,
    I would see that you were excited about “The Good Trees” on fb, but had no clue it would be blogging. I clicked here today. and am so glad I did. As a fellow photographer and Jesus lover, it’s ironic that I find myself piecing together a blog with my heart OUTSIDE our photography business. Your post just gave my heart a “high-five” as I step out in faith as well.
    I’ll recommend your blog, on my blog and fb….and I’ll stay tuned! Blessings to you!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:22 pm (4 years ago)

      Joelle, you have definitely been following our family and business for a long time now. I’m so thrilled to hear how you are stepping out as well. What a bold and beautiful step in your business, one that comes with zero regrets. Thank you for your encouragement and for your recommendation, that is awesome!

      Reply
  32. Kristie
    January 14, 2014 at 10:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Well, it’s no surprise that I love this! And you. So proud of you for doing it and for the incredibly gifted and beautiful friend that you are. I look forward to reading this!!

    -Love your other “earthy” smelling, “doe-eyed” friend:)

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm (4 years ago)

      Im earthy…you re doe-eyed. get it straight! You know how much you mean to me. Thank you for the nudge, the strong suggestion and your belief in this area of my life. I love you too much to say!

      Reply
  33. Kelley Deyo
    January 14, 2014 at 11:54 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh man… I got into bed waaay too late, and told myself I’d just quickly check instagram… then I see a post about a blog?? Dang you and your ridiculously interesting, unashamedly raw, hanging-on-your-every-word BLOG! Love your transparency and your terrible English… equally. But really, never been a blog reader myself, but you may have just found yourself a new ‘follower’. Keep giving God the glory and let him bless the pants off of this thing!! Proud of you!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:28 pm (4 years ago)

      so you are blaming your eye bags on me this morning? I see how that goes. I’m SO glad you “stopped” by and stayed. Like a virtual cup of coffee with you. I do hope you will stop back in. I won’t be writing super often so you won’t be considered a “blog reader”…love you girl!

      Reply
  34. Deborah Ross
    January 15, 2014 at 12:26 am (4 years ago)

    Kelly, I always loved reading your blog before. Your writing style is very natural to read and relate to. I’m glad to see you are using this gift again!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:30 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Deborah! You have definitely been a faithful reader over the years, that does not go unnoticed!

      Reply
  35. Christina Main
    January 15, 2014 at 2:45 am (4 years ago)

    “I will never apologize that all areas of my life fall under submission (gasp…that word makes so many recoil…how narrow-minded of me….nah) of the Bible. I am a Christ follower…in that it’s a lifestyle baby.” Couldn’t have said it better myself! Just so happy for you and this Christ glorifying space! Yay you!!!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:31 pm (4 years ago)

      High fives Ms. LA!!!!! We are west coast/east coast soul sisters I just know it. Thank you for the encouragement and taking the time to read and comment, it is precious to my heart.

      Reply
  36. Alexis
    January 15, 2014 at 4:22 am (4 years ago)

    How lovely this is. It’s quite freeing to finally find yourself out of the pressure to be “great”. Besides, what is great anyway and by whose standards? Good for you and your lovely family! Hope all continues going well for you. :)

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Alexis. We’ve come along way from Austin Powers Gold Member have we not …..hahahaha

      Reply
  37. Ashley
    January 15, 2014 at 8:55 am (4 years ago)

    Loved your last blog and can’t wait to read this new one. I am friends with Dikola and love how honest and true you are. Thanks for being real!

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 2:36 pm (4 years ago)

      Well Ashley if we have Dikola in common then I already know you are a woman of great worth! I couldn’t begin to say enough good things about that woman and her fierce prayers for me and my marriage during all the crazy of the last 8 years! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. I means SO much!

      Reply
  38. Regan
    January 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh how I needed to read this today! You have blessed me beyond words. Thank you for your vulnerability and your beautiful heart to share!! I can’t wait to read more from you in here! Marking this is one of my newest favorite blogs! :)

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm (4 years ago)

      Wow Regan! What a compliment. I am thrilled that you have enjoyed the first entry so much. Hoping they are all this impactful. Thank you for reading and commenting!!

      Reply
  39. Charity
    January 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm (4 years ago)

    Kel, I love you and so enjoy YOU. I am thrilled that you are doing this. You will be my first blog to ever follow. I don’t take time to do a lot online anyway, so don’t feel pressured to blog when you have other things that need you – I will enjoy reading it whenever you do. May God bless the work of your hands as you spur us on to love and good works.

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm (4 years ago)

      Charity, thank you so much you sweet soul! I so appreciate you taking the time to read this first entry and to comment. I certainly won’t be blogging at any great frequency, just when the Lord lays things on my heart. I’m so pleased at how well it’s been received. My cup is full!

      Reply
  40. Angel
    January 16, 2014 at 11:06 am (4 years ago)

    I am a filtering life groupie who found you on instargram and am now telling all of my friends and small group members about ‘the good trees’. I love your writing, humor and humility. Man, you are refreshing! Praise God for his grasp on your life and for your willingness to shed His light on many other lives. Amen, sister, and God bless. xo

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm (4 years ago)

      Fist bump on following THAT LONG!!! I feel like anyone who is resurfacing after me not writing for 5 years should get a medal. That’s so wild to me. Thank you for your words of blessing. It is an honor to encourage anyone in anyway by my story or what I am learning. Truly that is the Lords redemption to restore what the locusts took in my foolish youth. Thank you for taking the time to read and stop by!

      Reply
  41. Holly
    January 16, 2014 at 2:36 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow! I did it, I read a blog!( It was great by the way) :) Congratulations on getting it out, I’m so happy for you. God is doing so much in and through you, it’s time to share it with the world. :) You are a great friend and sister in Christ and I bless you and your site.

    Reply
  42. Crystal
    January 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm (4 years ago)

    Hooray! Been looking forward to reading this for the past few days and am finally taking a break to do just that. I always love when your Instagram posts are followed by a block of text, and this is even better. 😉

    Also, you grew up in Michigan? What part? How did I miss that? I mostly grew up just outside Detroit, and my parents still live there. Gots to be sending love to another sister from the glove. :)

    Reply
    • Kelly
      January 17, 2014 at 10:34 am (4 years ago)

      Greetings to you Ms. Wales….. I grew up my first nine years of life in Battle Creek! How did I miss you were from there? Thank you for your words of encouragement about the blog, it’s been overwhelming…in the good way…to see the response. I really don’t know what to say.

      Reply
  43. Christy
    January 16, 2014 at 8:38 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Kelly,
    We are connected through the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon or some such thing as that … however I can PROMISE you that we are most definitely kindred souls … I LOVED reading your journey { & will continue to follow } and can promise you that it is never too late … While I am very young at heart ( & thankful for really good genes that keep me looking younger than my years ) I started my discovery journey in my late 40’s so late you might have even said my ” Ah-Ha ” moment was on my 50th birthday … so now only a few months into this decade of my life I am chasing my dream, living as best as I can through my God, and letting him drive … things are working out pretty well that way … I too am OCD , Perfectionist, juggle way too many “jobs” , try to be everything to everyone … Funny – I’m in the wedding business ( Co-Ordinator | event design | officiant ) and have started many blogs ( because my friends say I write well and was dealt an extra serving in the humor department ) .. I tell you … we are just alike … I’m so proud of you … keep the faith and keep spreading the inspiration – but this time on your own terms ! Enough ramblings from your ” 6th degree ” but I hope we will be friends and can encourage each other along the way … Thanks for sharing ….. and if you’re ever in Charleston SC … look me up ! You have a few blog fans here …..

    Reply
  44. Karen
    January 17, 2014 at 7:35 am (4 years ago)

    LOVE this!! As a relatively new (2 1/2 yrs) wedding photographer I find myself getting extremely overwhelmed at the “look at me, I’m the greatest” industry. I’ve been working so hard to find balance and not wrap up my identity in my business, but in Christ. It’s hard!! And as my husband and I are about to start a family, I know it’s that much more important to keep God first and family second…and my business where it should be. Thank you for this blog, for your words, your honesty and vulernability!

    Reply
  45. Katlyn
    June 29, 2015 at 11:17 am (2 years ago)

    So encouraged reading this! and i gotta say i am losing it laughing about ” I’ve yet to have my kids give me the slow clap after I have wiped their butts, put away their laundry, clean up their toys for the billionth time that day or when I humbly bend over to clean up the spilled milk from the cereal bowl that was chucked across the table.”

    Thank you for your heart and thoughts and beautiful blog – i can tell i’m going to love it here!

    Katlyn

    Reply
    • Kelly
      June 30, 2015 at 3:02 pm (2 years ago)

      Katlyn,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and actually starting where it all began! Impressive. I thank you for your heart felt words of encouragement. I’m so pleased that you have found joy in this blog and I hope you continue to glean some nuggets of what living life in the kingdom is all about. I don’t write often so I’m thankful for those that stick with my fickle blog posts!

      Reply

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