unpacking. editing. and reese turns three.


my big navy blue suitcase is still sitting unpacked in my room upstairs from my trip to new york city two weekends ago..
there’s a smaller bag next to it from our youth fall retreat this past weekend…
and my closet literally looks like a bomb went off inside it. clothes spilling out and across the floor.

from where i’m sitting right now i see about six things that could be done~
the pots of pink summer flowers on my porch brown and wilting, needing something fallish in their place.
a laundry basket next to me piled high with clothes to fold.
dozens of fingerprints on the window directly in front of me.
stains on the white couch i’m sitting on just calling for a good dose of bleach…

and that’s all just from my view in the living room –
if i went and sat in another room i’d see six more things that needed done.

but i’m five photo shoots behind with editing pictures and so all these other things have been let go while i catch up there.

my business is something i do totally on the side. more for fun really than anything.
i can’t imagine you moms that work full time and still come home to all your “six things in every room” to do!!
how i admire those of you who are doing that.

but no matter what – whether we work outside the home or are feeling buried from within it. one thing that i think applies to each of us is the constant battle to keep balance as we maneuver through everything we need to do ~ trying to be careful the urgent doesn’t steal focus over the important and comparison doesn’t diminish all that we are accomplishing!

most of us are doing way better than we think we are.
{{let’s take the time to remind each other of that}}

i used to be so driven trying to keep up and get it all done and be all i thought i was supposed to be… and one night when i hadn’t had the time to make dinner, and my husband said to me it was okay, as silly and simple as it sounds it’s like his words suddenly liberated me –

“don’t worry about it. you can make dinner tomorrow!” he laughed.

because yes. therein lies the freedom – in the tomorrow’s!  when we’re overwhelmed and feel we can’t keep up or catch up, it won’t always be this way… we will make dinner again! and the toilets will get cleaned and the pictures edited and the mums planted and the laundry.. well, the laundry will forever be there!

i’ve learned and am learning to let it go! to be okay when it all doesn’t get done. to stop chasing after the phantom superwoman i think everyone else is. to know my limitations. to lower expectations. to practice saying, “no.” and to sit back and accept some of that grace that’s all around..  grace that we can so easily give to everyone else but forget to keep a bit of for ourselves also.

amazing the rest that happens in my soul when i do that.
and though still messy, the entire atmosphere of my home takes on a new beauty!



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on the day kate and i left for new york city reese turned three!
it’s crazy how it turned out that all my girls have birthdays within weeks of each other.
we finally had a little celebration of reese monday night.
taco’s and strawberries on the menu and a “baby cake” she picked out herself from the grocery bakery.
afterwards shayne and i took her to toys r us where we let her choose one thing..
which ended up being more like four, since, after all, she is the baby!

right away upon entering the store she saw a rapunzel barbie and immediately said that’s what she wanted.
we told her she had the whole store still to look at toys but she didn’t care – that was it!

shayne and i laughed because none of our other kids are even half this decisive.
kate would be the closet.. but we’d still be walking around that store were it ben or emma!!
so crazy to see how each child is so different.
it sure makes the dynamics in a family so interesting and fun!
i remember with each one when pregnant wondering what they would be like and how they would fit in the family..


reese is probably the strongest personality of the four kids.
determined and stubborn and independent and talks alot.
she likes doing things her own way.

she refuses to say she’s now three. she says she’s five, because she wants to go to school with emma.
after much convincing that she wasn’t three, she then would say she was four. or two. but never three.
recently she started holding up three fingers when someone asks her age, but she still won’t say the word!

she makes me laugh and want to pull my hair out all at the same time.
and usually i am! pulling my hair out while dying laughing. :)

i can’t wait to see how God’s going to use these things that seem like weaknesses now as strengths the older she gets and as she learns to yield her life to Him.

i think it’s important as parents that we never quench a child’s natural personality but rather direct it towards good and ultimately how God will use it for His glory – which of course becomes the delicate dance of parenting, right? the teaching and instructing and correcting without damaging their spirit. i’ve seen so many kids whose parents tried to squeeze them into a mold of what they wanted them to be or what they thought other people would want or what would bring them the most praise as parents, and every single child, without fail, fled those kind of homes as fast and far as they could as soon as they were old enough or out from under their parents watchful eye.

that’s probably been one of the hardest things, especially in parenting girls, to have personalities so different than mine in some of them. to not always feel i get them or understand where they’re coming from and the temptation to want to change them to be more like me ~ but as my girls get older, and most of all with my firstborn, i’ve seen the wonderful blessing that comes from those differences and i’m glad that they are each exactly how they are. it’s what we needed in our family. it’s what i needed in my life!

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i already see that in reese! the way she’s challenged me. stretched me.
yes, frustrated me at times.
and yet, changed me!

every single day i thank God for the gift of her life.

i tell her often how the doctor’s told us she was dead, but that she wasn’t! she was alive!!! and how happy we were that she was. and how we love her and how God has a purpose for her being here and how glad i am that He put her in our family.

and she’ll listen. grinning big. then say at the end, “a-din..”

and i’ll tell it all again.
and again.
and keep telling her all throughout her life –
the goodness of the Lord.
to her.
to me.
to us as a family.


“we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done…” ps.78:4


29 thoughts on “unpacking. editing. and reese turns three.

  1. Dana

    What beautiful pictures and wise words!! Girl, you are so ahead of the game! It took me many more years to figure out that everything
    isn’t so urgent! Letting go, picking your battles, having cereal for dinner…those are some important lessons! I figure that I am about 10
    years ahead of you. I have 2 that have graduated college, 2 currently in college and 1 that is a freshman in high school….and I promise…
    just last week they were all in elementary school!! I’m pretty sure that I worried WAY too much about laundry and clean rooms than I
    should have! My youngest is SO well adjusted…we laugh and play so much…sometimes he goes a week with out making his bed…and I am
    totally fine with it! Enjoy these precious, messy, crazy days…you are doing an amazing job!

    1. amber Post author

      loved what you had to say! it’s because of moms like you in my life that have helped show me these things much earlier on than i would have learned them on my own – i too can see so much more freedom in my younger two already that my older two are just now getting to because of how bound up i was myself in parenting them… it’s sobering to realize how much of who i am effects who my children become as well. which of course just drives me to my knees and as i’m learning more and more, is exactly what it’s supposed to do! :)

  2. Elizabeth

    The Phantom Supermom! I try and keep up with her too! Haha.
    Can’t, Can’t believe Reese is THREE!!! She looks like the rest of the kids.
    A great big Happy Birthday to her. and wow how I remember her amazing story. Prayed for you all weekend and then..She was fine! :)
    Looking forward to seeing NYC pictures. Can you believe we have 16 year olds? Aren’t we still 16? Haha.

    Happy Thursday Super Mom!!! ;)

    P.S. I’m thinking a city weekend getaway in Chicago is in order for you and Shayne. ;)

    1. amber Post author

      no! i cannot believe we have 16 year old’s. cray-cray!! ;))

      shayne was telling me he wanted to take a trip somewhere for our anniversary this year –
      i’m going to suggest chicago! :))

  3. Jessica S.

    She is a doll! Your blog is a blessing to my day when I have the chance to read..I really appreciated your last post.

  4. Stephanie

    From the “working-outside-the-home-mom” who’s had a a crazy, hair-pulling week – thanks! Big *sigh* over here.

  5. Linda

    Your words are a blessing to me,what I needed this CrAzY week.:-) ‘Chasing after that phantom Superwoman I think everyone else is ‘ made me laugh but it’s true! We find ourselves doing that and realize that we’re missing out on those little moments that mean so much. Thanks for your post!

    1. amber Post author

      how right you are that chasing the phantom superwoman causes us to miss out! instead of winning like we’re trying we end up losing!! losing security and time, memories, even sleep! i so want off the comparison hamsters wheel and to simply enjoy the freedom of walkin at my own pace! ;)) thanks for your comment!

  6. Tracy

    LOVE !! i find it so like God to put people in my path that are encountering the same things as me , to so me im not alone ! This summer was the first time i admitted to myself that my girl is nothing like me , i wanted her to be so i could understand her and “help” her but she is so different and i am finally ok with that :)
    As well we too have a baby in the family that is growing up so fast and can annoy us and make us laugh all in the same minute ! Thanks for sharing your heart xo

  7. Kellie

    Happy Birthday to Reese! I remember your pregnancy with her so well- she is a miracle! I just love the little outfit she’s wearing at the toy store.
    Praying God’s blessings on you and your family!

    1. amber Post author

      yes! i’m so grateful for those of you ladies who were with me during all that – walking beside me across this computer screen and praying and encouraging me all throughout her pregnancy. crazy to think of how much life we’ve done together w/out ever having met!! :)) sweet sisters in the Lord — what a gift!

  8. amber Post author

    my angel, yes! to remind me of God’s goodness and mercy.
    thanks so much for coming by – a comment from you always makes me smile!

  9. Gabrielle

    …And then she grows up like me and frustrates her mom and then says to her….you prayed for me. :) Some days I know my mom wished she could take back that prayer :P
    Can’t believe she’s already 3?!!? time sure is marching on!

    1. amber Post author

      i think all us moms have those days!! ;))
      so good to hear from here again, friend. xo.. i’ve been wondering where you’ve been!
      are you still blogging?

  10. Cindy

    I remember being pregnant with Jacob… wondering how we/HE could come up with another kind of different,
    when we already had so many “differents” running around calling us mom and dad! And yet I still KNEW,
    Jacob would be uniquely Jacob. So why then am I shocked? When he WANTS TO DRESS UP FOR SCHOOL PICS? :)

    so here’s me, laughing about how you describe your darling daughter. and celebrating the “differents” even when it makes us want to pull hair.
    love to you both.


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