Category Archives: family

Circle of Gratitude


We have been so blessed on this journey, I wanted to record some of the specifics in a meaningful way.  It has been the little things, the “coincidences,” the prayers, the perfect gifts, the comments that have been the overwhelming signs of a gracious maker and provider.  It seems this is the moment he has been building my faith, family and friends for.

“Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:7

When I saw this gratitude wreath from one of my paper stores, I knew this was how I wanted to display my blessings accrued over the last three months. Each leaf is small but together they create a beautiful story.  I am thankful I am not in this alone. Continue reading


When you take the leap, and the ground gives way…

9I have been trying to write this post for weeks… at first I was anticipating posting a picture of a shiny new RV that would carry our family to neat places around the country.  We planned an epic adventure, a family sabbatical, one of trusting God and waiting on his timing to reveal what was next for us.  We looked forward to reconnecting as a family, investing in our girls who are rapidly approaching tween years, exploring the beautiful land of the free, and living in the space between.  But in the last few months our plans have taken a drastic change, an unbelievable turning of events.

After we were finished at camp,

after I gave my two weeks notice to the school,

after I communicated the plan for our family sabbatical,

after we found the perfect RV and researched our route,

after I packed half our house,

after I thought the change was enough, I went to the doctor…

Continue reading

a tradition old, a tradition new


I grew up in a very musical family outside of Detroit.  My grandmother in particular loved singing, some of my earliest memories of Christmas were at her annual Christmas sing-a-long .  Children helped shuttle coats to the master bedroom and the kitchen was full of food & cookies.  In addition to singing, instruments were brought in; bass, french horn, clarinets, and her piano that we weren’t allowed to touch without washing our hands.  People packed in, family & friends.  It was such a delightful way to gather and celebrate, it defiantly had a touch of cheer and magic.  I loved it and I loved her.  Even before she passed we began celebrating the party at my uncle’s house, to this day the tradition lives on even though the crowd has changed over the years. We still end on the twelve days of Christmas and five golden rings is the coveted assignment.  DSC_0083

We live just far enough away that we rarely get to attend the Griffin party.  So this year I decided to gather up my pockets of people and host my own gathering for Christmas caroling.  Just moving (yes that is where I was this fall) I really needed a goal to put our home in some sort of living order.  The cabinet doors had been put on just the day before and I still don’t know where half my cooking utensils are.  Our new house has a long history of families hosting parties and cherished memories, it’s a bit of a sacred space in many hearts.  It was a bit daunting inviting others into an unfinished space with such a story.  But opening your home is much less about presenting the perfect as it is making room for people to come together, enjoying each others presence and making new memories.    I have spent far too many afternoons alone painting walls, ceilings, cabinets, unpacking boxes, scrubbing, dusting giant cobwebs…  The rug full of shoes by the front doorway, fire roaring in the hearth and a kitchen and rooms crowded with people felt just about perfect.


We had at least 5 inches of snow that day, so I am thankful as many were able to make it.  In end my heart was overjoyed with the cajon drum and children shaking jingle bells.  We sang till we were silly and laughed at the awkward moments where you see an unfamiliar verse to a carol and completely forget how it fits to the tune.  It was an affair we would be lucky to repeat,  an evening to honor Grandma May and the house tucked in the woods.

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happy heart


Only thing better than spending a week at camp with your cousin, is a day at the lake relaxing!  Glad to have her back, one of my most favorite days of the summer, great friends, fun, food and family!


Psalm 16:8-10

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure.




Valentine paper piñata

dec sewing

We were thankful to take a little trip to Mexico for our 10th anniversary – so I decided to make a little paper heart piñata for my hubby for Valentine’s.  He is actually taking a class this weekend so I decided to get him a few of his favorite treats to keep him focused…pinata contents

After cutting two paper hearts out of 12×12 thick paper, I used my daughters craft sewing machine to sew it up.  Remember the little hedgehogs?  I made some little love-y raccoons to join them.

OK, so I think the results would have been a little better had I pulled out my larger machine, since the petal on this one no longer works.  You can flip a switch that powers it automatically,  I kind of flip the switch and crazy turn the paper as it sings away (although I see it dropped a few stitches…) I don’t think he’ll mind.  Did you make something cute for valentines?

pinata valentine

t-rex gave me the flu




We spent Christmas in Pittsburgh,  our one outing was to the natural history museum.  Everyone had a good time, I could feel it coming on – I am not sure how t-rex gave me the stomach flu since he doesn’t have a stomach or an immune system but I am sure it’s from him.  Then the whole family went to the spaghetti warehouse for dinner while I slept in the car.  I laid low over the holidays, I finished my study on Ruth (more on that later), and my favorites at the museum were the minerals and gems (more on that later too).  I am going to stretch my little week into another blog post or two so I don’t feel as guilty about not posting as much this year. Which I said I would never do (the guilty part) but it just happens.  I haven’t made many new goals yet this year but (more on that later…!)



Prepare him room!


Joy to the world!  The Lord has come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
prepare him room
And heaven and angels sing!
No more will sin and sorrow grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He’ll come and make the blessings flow
Far as the curse was found.

Thankful for enough time to finish preparations this week (mainly wrapping) and two snow days off school.  Nothing makes wrapping go faster than gazing out on the falling snow.  We took one day to hit the slopes as a family and spend some quality time together.   I am extremely thankful for a quiet year, and Christmas is especially sweet as our littlest accepted her savior into her heart this year.  Blessings to you and your family this Christmas season, see you in 2013!


giving thanks

Apparently I needed a break from blogging – sorry for my lack of November posts!

This weekend we celebrated our first Thanksgiving in our home.  We usually travel to our families, but this year we invited them to join us.  I had dishes and servers I didn’t even know I had … our new table was just shy of being finished so we made do.   I cherished the family time, cooking, men breakfast (this will be a new tradition – where the men cook breakfast everyday), swimming, rock climbing, movies, and sleeping in a caboose.  We packed in lots of fun with our turkey, how about you?  Any great traditions, new or old?

reliving baja

This place is for real!

My husband just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary with a little trip to Baja.  The weather was beautiful everyday and what is more relaxing than life by the water!  We only spent one day in Cabo before jetting up the coast to escape the busy tourist areas.  This is the famous El Arco, located at the tip of Baja, we took a panga (water taxi) out and rented snorkel equipment on the beach for $10. Everything was so blue!

I have heard a lot of travel warnings and advise about Mexico – but our experience was nothing but peaceful.  Perhaps I was comparing it to our travels in Africa and elsewhere but everyone seemed so laid back.  I was surprised that few people spoke English, but even so we managed knowing only a few key phrases.  I took SO MANY photos, I thought I would relive it a bit this week…  more to come.

it runs in the fam…


Saturday, I opened a package in the mail which yielded this necklace and earrings my sister handmade for me.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!  I guess the hint I dropped … worked!  They have such a great weight and are put together so excellently.  I admire the unexpected combination of leather and pearls.   Thanks E – you’re the best!