Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Sometimes I tell stories of shepherds and angels while we drink hot chocolate.
Sometimes we get messy, making snowmen out of old Mason jars while listening to Bing Crosby sing about white Christmases.
Sometimes our hearts are merry and warm, bursting with joy.

And sometimes short stories take thirty minutes because little boys need drinks, are annoying there brother, and can't stop making strange noises.
And sometimes we get messy and complain the entire time even though we know a little soap and water will take care of the stick on our fingers.
And sometimes we never get around to making that hot chocolate because Mom's feeling a little frazzled.
And sometimes little boys are so shocked that Mom is yelling that they jump right out of there chairs, because Mom rarely yells.

In the end sometimes all you can do is search for the joy in the midst of all the chaos, breathe deep, and keep it real.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Our vows

This year marks our tenth year of marriage.  That day you were dressed in black and me in white as you held my hands fumbling for my ring you spoke our promise to each other with such confidence.  As I am sitting here now reading our vows and flipping through photos I am impressed by how well you live out these words.  I am humbled and honored by it. Thank you.

My vows all those years ago to you, my dear Strong Man:

Do you, Shandy, take Charlie, to be your husband?

To give your hand, your heart, and your promise that your love will always be a safe haven for him.

To give in the presence of God and these witnesses your sacred promise to be his in times of plenty and in times of want, in times of sickness and in times of health, in times of joy and in times of sorrow, in times of failure and in times of triumph.

Do you promise to love without reservation, to respect him, to care for him and to protect him, to comfort him in times of distress, to encourage him, to laugh with him, and to cry with him, to grow with him in mind and spirit, and to cherish him for all eternity?

We tied the unity braid, a symbol that our marriage was three part.  First centered on Jesus, our foundation weaving ourselves in making the braid strong, complete, a new thing.

With this ring I pledge my faith and trust.  Receive it as a symbol of our endless union and our unbroken love. 

I love you more now then I did that day.  While I meant every word of it ten years ago I am more confident in our promise to each other today.  We have walked the easy and we have walked the hard and we have conquered them both.  You are my best friend.  I look forward to the next ten years with you.  Then to the ten after that and again the ten after that.  I dream about when we celebrate our 50th together.  You'll be completely bald and my hair will have only known the color grey for the thirty years before and our hearts will beat as one, and these promises will still be as steadfast as they were in 2006.

I love you.  Thank you for asking.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Our tree

10 years since we put up our first tree together.  Ten years of memories hang from the one we have now.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday by far.  I love working in the kitchen and having the house smell delicious, like Gram's kitchen.  I love having family visit and cooking with them.  I love slowing down and counting all the joys in life.  However, Christmas is a close second.  The primary reason is because each ornament on the tree has a story.

On our fifth Christmas and our fifth year of marriage there was a snow storm in October that dumped three feet of snow.  We where home with two little boys for a few days going stir crazy.  So we took some flour, water, and a few other ingredients boiled them together and made our own Christmas ornaments to pass the time.  We have some wild looking ones that hang on the tree as the boys were only two and three.

This bell and a few others sat on the tables at our reception.  Every time it rang we kissed.  Now it hangs on our tree.

This one holds our engagement photo.

This one marks our first Christmas.

This was Man of the woods favorite pacifier.

Laughter was only 9 days old when he experienced his first Christmas.

This year we have the biggest tree we've ever had.  It is my favorite tree, marking another year of marriage, parenthood and sweet memories.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Dearest Laughter,

It's Saturday morning and you're intently watching cartoons while I quietly watch you.  In just a few days it'll be seven years since you breathed your first breath.  I'm still awed by you just like I was that night I first held your purple little body.  I counted your toes and fingers while I impatiently waited to hear your first cries.  I held my breath like you only to breathe deep as you cried for the first time.

On a date, just the two of us.

That's kind of been our story you causing me to hold my breath, to pray hard, to trust more, to love with an open hand.

You started walking at 9 months.  You broke into the cleaning supplies shortly there after to enjoy a mouthful of Comet.  You were mad at me for taking it away.  You opened the piping to the water heaters releasing a few gallons of water into the dining room.  You were the first to have x-rays confirming a broken collar bone.  More then once you dived face first into a pool just out of arms reach even though I hadn't taken my eyes off of you.  As you watched a friends fish you stuck your face into the fish bowl drinking some water.  The moment was complete when you came up dripping wet with a "Yummy!".  At two you walked right out into a river so you could fish while the rest of us set up our poles.  You fell out of every single chair you sat in until you were at least five.  You love old bottles and tiny mugs, and your ukulele. You want to travel all over Asia telling people about Jesus when you grow up. You give up your most prized possessions if you think it'll make somebody else's day.

Looking at Mr. Fish.

You live life to its fullest.
You dream big.
You love unconditionally.

This next year you'll end second grade as a seven year old and you'll do it well as school is easy for you.  Most days you do more then I ask just because it's fun.  I'm sure your dreams will only grow bigger and you'll give more gifts and "super missile kisses" then the year before.  You'll continue to keep me on my toes loving deep and living wild.

This year I pray that you continue on without any broken bones.  That you keep giving all that you have, but maybe learn not to give away what isn't yours.  That you continue to see past peoples flaws to there hearts.  That you use those "missile kisses" and gift giving tendencies to comfort others.  I pray that you keep dreaming big and that your favorite book is always your Bible.  I love that you are your own person and I pray you keep blazing your own trail.

Playing the Uke with Great grandpa Emerson.

I'm proud to be your Momma. Here's an interview with your seven year old self.

What is your favorite color?  Red
What is something special to you?  Mom

What is your favorite word or saying?  Magic missile kisses.
What is your favorite thing to do?  Sword fighting, even though I haven't done that recently.

Who is your favorite superhero?  Thor
What is your favorite book? My Bible

What is your favorite memory from this past year?  Beating Val at Monopoly. 
What do you want to be when you grow up?  I will be a missionary to share God's word.

I love you sweet boy.