where we’ve been

We walked along this beach, in wonder of the power and beauty of the ocean.


We passed through this grand beachfront hotel and pretended we belonged before burying our toes in the sand where we felt much more at home.


We admired this garden that the chefs from the aforementioned hotel utilize in their cooking and we dreamed of having a garden of our own someday.


We took in beauty that was waiting for us everywhere we went.


We breathed deeply and rested in where we were, knowing that we were exactly where we were supposed to be.


We praised the Lord for who He is and what He has given us and the blessings that He has lavished on our lives.


We marveled at the cleverness and creativity of our God as we admired His creation.


We spent an afternoon in front of these trees and under this blue sky, eating sandy PB & J’s and (accidentally) scorching our skin.


We swam in these waves, threw seaweed at each other, and allowed the salty water to crash over us.


We saw creatures large and small, from lizards to seals, going about their normal, everyday lives.


We loved on each other and savored time away from the daily grind to experience life anew.


We came home thankful for family and rest and life and beauty, not to mention the fact that our home is still standing.  We’re grateful for each other and Jesus and how He has created and shaped us.  

In other news, Danny watched “The Hobbit” by himself tonight and took care of Chris & Emily’s dog because I’m in Greeley for medical appointments today and tomorrow.  We’re in the process of unpacking our house after storing many of our most important belongings at my aunt and uncle’s while a wildfire blazed nearby.  We’re also packing up at the same time, because we leave for Alaska in just a few days.  These days have been tumultuous, but we’re holding tight to the promises our Father has for us and learning to be where we are.  This is where we are.


dear hendon

{Our sweet friends Chris + Emily, plus their little love, Hendon, are moving to Idaho.  This is a letter to their daughter about her parents and the impact they’ve had on our lives.}

Dear Hendon,

I can’t believe it’s here.  About a month ago, your mama excitedly called me, telling me of an application your dad submitted to Mission Aviation Fellowship in Boise, and how incredible it would be for y’all to move there (I feigned excitement and instead cried for a long while after we talked).  As you know now, the Lord moved things along quickly, and before we knew it, it was official.  Yesterday I said good-bye to your mama (and I wondered if I had ever embarrassed myself so much in my whole entire life).  Y’all are moving to Boise, and that is where you will grow up (at least for the foreseeable future).  You, sweet girl, will certainly never remember the days you spent in Colorado Springs, the first eight months of your life that you spent in this beautiful and fire-filled state.  But I will.


Knowing your parents has been the biggest gift of my married life.  You see, Danny (who you will know is my husband, if your parents have raised you well) and I got married this past January, and moved a couple blocks away from your family’s home in the Springs a few days later.  We knew very few people in the area, and were dreadfully lonely.  We met you and your parents a few weeks later, at a class for ‘young’ marrieds at the church we were both attending.  Danny went up to your parents as soon as the class was over and asked what type of birth control they were using when you were conceived.  I know without a doubt that you have been a blessing that words cannot describe to your parents, and that you will never fully know how much they love you, however, they did not plan your birth.  You were a sweet surprise, being born just ten-ish months after they married in December 2011.  All that being said, I’m so glad that your parents embraced us instead of being horrified at Danny’s rather forward question.


It was love at first sight.  When Danny suggested approaching y’all, I was so hesitant.  You see, your mama is GORGEOUS (sometimes she gets confused, so please remind her often) and the most stylish human I know (after Duchess Kate, of course, but I’m pretty sure she’s part robot).  And your papa is pretty good-looking and stylish himself, but we all know he must get it from his wifey.  Little did I know that the sooner we became besties, the better.


It wasn’t until a Super Bowl party with the aforementioned group at our church that we really had a solid conversation (i.e. your mama openly admitted her love for Beyonce) with your parents that didn’t involve getting pregnant.  Y’all were sitting all alone, so I decided to gather my shaking self and approach.  Turns out it was my best decision ever.  That group must’ve been full of crazies, because in my opinion, y’all were the coolest ones there.  I have to restrain myself from talking to your pretty mama 24/7.


Your mama and I exchanged emails for a couple of weeks before finally getting together for coffee/tea while you napped one afternoon.  That afternoon, my spirits lifted as I felt so surrounded by Jesus and His love in your home.  How blessed you are to grow up in such an amazing household.

It was then that our story really began.  We started to have dinner together almost weekly.  We played Wahoo together, we watched movies together, and we went on walks together (and watched as your dad tackled Jeb when he tried to annihilate another dog).  Needless to say, we very quickly became close friends.  At one point, you and your mama came over to help me redecorate my house, because as every reasonable person knows, I’m not good at such things.  We spent the afternoon hammering nails, rearranging furniture, repurposing old pieces, and bringing new, beautiful life into our home.  If you want, ask your mama if you can see the picture I took of y’all as she walked over to our house with you strapped to her, your toy(s) over her shoulder, and her bag on the other shoulder.  She thinks she looks homeless, but I think she looks cute.


The times we’ve spent with you and your parents have been so life giving.  Your mama and papa have loved Danny and I so very well, embracing us as family.  They are both excellent listeners and good at asking questions, making us feel cared about and known.  Y’all aren’t vegan (at least not at the time I’m writing this), but every meal we ate together was (demonstrating your parents’ tolerance for people with weird ideas).  With a southern twist, of course.  If southern hospitality is a real thing, then I like it.  Because every time I was in your home, I felt special and wanted and important.  Your mama always remembers the little details of my life.  She laughs with me, and while she hasn’t cried with me yet, she hasn’t harassed me for falling apart in front of her, so that’s something.


Sweet Hendon, I know very few people like your parents.  When people like them come into your life, you grab onto them and hold on so tight that they’ll never get away (or at least that’s what I do).  Apparently I need to work harder at the gym, because y’all have gotten away from me, leaving me asking the Lord to give Danny a job in Boise so that I can move into your basement (or trunk, because you don’t have a house yet).  I know that someday you’ll probably want to move out and away from your parents, so I’m telling you now: Girl, that is a CRAZY bad idea.  See if they’ll let you live with them forever.  If so, do it.  Because they’re the BEST EVER.  If they deny you, come live with me, because I know you’ll be just like them: unconditionally loving, hilarious, adventuresome (except when it comes to  snakes), drop dead gorgeous, and without a doubt, in love with Jesus.


I love you Hendon, and I love your mama and papa.  Just like you’ll never know how much they love you, they’ll never know how much they’ve meant to Danny and me.  They’ve helped us survive our first few months of being married and living in a new place and loved us with Christ’s sacrificial and unconditional and amazing love.  Best of all, though, they’ve taught me to say y’all whenever I get a chance.

With love, and so many hugs (and give your mama a couple for me, if you don’t mind),


you give and take away

We have been given so many things.  Innumerable gifts and blessings that we have not deserved.


Recently, however, we have come to see many of those taken away, and it is painful.

Our best friends in Colorado Springs just announced on Friday that they’re moving to Boise.

The church we had settled at and begun calling our home has been a source of question and confusion for us lately.

My only friends close to my age in the area were suddenly transferred, and I’ve only been able to see them twice in the past two months.

My volunteering positions that had been so rewarding and worthy of my time have been frustrating and I’ve been wondering if what I am doing makes a difference, and if I should continue giving away so much of my time to these causes.

The dreams we carried with us as we moved to Colorado Springs have slowly faded as we have doubted our purpose and place here, asking ourselves how we fit in and how we can best glorify God in this season filled with a fair amount of pain and struggle.


It’s hard to understand why such good gifts of friends and community and so much more cannot stay with you forever.

It’s times like these when I hear these words echo in my heart,

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;

may the name of the Lord be praised.”

{Job 1:21}

And I find such joy in them, knowing that He is good, and He is knowing, and He is purposeful.


I cling to words of truth, to promises that are so much bigger than the long hours, the passing days, and this vapor of a life I am living.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.

He has also set eternity in the human heart;

yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

{Ecclesiastes 3:11}

I long for heaven, for the time when goodness will not be taken away, when I will understand these times of pain and questioning, and when my faith will become sight.


You know those times when extra hugs are nice, as are moments of quiet and times of rest?  Not to mention walks in the woods and kind words from unexpected places?  Reassurances of who you are and what you’re doing?  And maybe some warm chocolate chip cookies too?  Yeah.  Now is that time for us.

We’re looking forward to two upcoming trips we have planned in the next couple of weeks.  Things will be quieter around here as we enjoy family time in San Diego and a few days later, in Alaska on a big, beautiful boat (okay, maybe more of a ship).  Time to soak in beauty and rest in who we are in Christ and understand more fully the gifts we’ve been given that will never, ever fade away.  The lovingkindness that will not and cannot be taken away, the truth that will never not be true, and every spiritual blessing that is our in Christ Jesus.

Grace and blessings and all of the goodness that Christ offers that will never be taken away…may they be yours today and everyday.

***All pictures are from my family’s 2007 trip to Oregon and Washington.

our circus friends

This past week, we had two people we didn’t know stay with us.  A month ago, I found one of them on the internet, said we’d be glad to host him when he was in the area.  This past Monday he came and brought a friend.

Sketchy, right?

Well, let me assure you that it made for one of the most exciting weeks of my life.  In a really good way.

I became aware of Couchsurfing, a website that connects people looking for a place to stay while travelling with people who are willing to offer their couch (or guest room) and host the ‘couch surfer’ for a night or more, when Danny and I were planning our (non-existent) honeymoon.

At the end of April, I received an email from the site, telling me about surfers coming to my area.  I opened it and read about many of the people.  A certain individual caught my eye – a 23-year-old juggler from Reno, Nevada who wrote that he participates in Couchsurfing “like a sir.”   I excitedly described him to Danny while composing a message to Aaron, that went something like this “YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO STAY WITH US.  AS LONG AS YOU WANT.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE COME STAY WITH US.  PLEASE.”  (Or at least that’s how it went in my mind.)  Did I mention that he is currently employed by the circus and instead of travelling on the train with all the other performers and animals, he drives his motorcycle around the country?  Well, Danny was not very excited about it, and thought that my enthusiasm was weird.  Y’all.  I stay at home all day, surfing the internet and washing dishes and baking.  Having someone from the circus come stay with us sounded like a welcome break from my current lifestyle and terribly interesting and even a bit unpredictable (which is rather opposite of my life these days).

By the title of this post, you may have guessed that Danny softened to the idea of allowing Aaron to stay with us, even if he still thought it was a crazy idea.  In fact, I think that out of all the people (probably 25+) I told about Aaron’s upcoming visit, no one thought it was a good idea.  Thanks, friends.  Way to support my good ideas.  And now I have not just one friend in the circus, but two.  How do you like that?

Anyways, a couple of days before his arrival, Aaron asked if he could bring someone with him.  Sure…I replied.

Little did I know that someone (Ania) would be the best part (sorry, Aaron) of their visit.

They came to us quite sunburned and worn out after a day of motorcyling across Nebraska and Colorado.  We ate dinner together while Danny and I asked a million and one questions.  Ania and Aaron have such interesting lives and experiences, and we couldn’t get enough.  Ania is from Belarus, is trained in rhythmic gymnastics, and has worked around the world in a variety of venues, from a cruise ship that sailed throughout Asia to a casino in the Philippines.  She came to the U.S. this past November to begin performing with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, and has been travelling across the country with the circus since then.  Aaron has lived in China and Ukraine, and is an excellent juggler, although he currently works as a clown in the circus.  He has dreams of one day being a part of the Blue Man Group or another branch of Feld Entertainment (which operates Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey).  And I have no doubt that he can and will fulfill those dreams.

The next day, after their very unfortunate motorcycle accident, Ania prepared a delicious Russian meal for us, consisting of a vegetable soup and potato pancakes.  Danny and I already had plans to eat with our friends Chris and Emily that evening, but we enjoyed her creations for lunch for the next three days.  I had a chance to work alongside her for a while in the kitchen, which was so fun.  She’s a great cook, and completely self-taught.


They left while we were at Chris and Emily’s, due to the rain predicted for the next day (and wanting to prevent another motorcycle accident), but not without first cleaning the kitchen and leaving the place spotless (read: they’re sweet people, and if you were thinking about hosting Aaron and/or Ania when the circus comes through your city, do it!).

On Thursday we had the opportunity to attend the circus’ first performance in Colorado Springs, as Ania generously arranged for two complimentary tickets for us.  The whole day I was going crazy.  As in crazy excited.  We hit tons of traffic on the way to the arena, as well as very long lines at the ticket office (which turned out to not be where we needed to be to get our tickets anyways), which meant that we missed the entire pre-show, aside from about three minutes.  However, we did arrive just in time for us to go onto the floor and take a photo in front of the main backdrop.


^^ Seriously pumped.  ^^

We had amazing seats (thanks, Ania!) and had a fantastic time.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve had that much fun.  My favorite acts were the trampolinists, the dogs, and of course, all the parts that Aaron and Ania were in.  Unfortunately, we got pictures of almost everything else EXCEPT for my favorite parts.  Ha.


^^ Grand entrance ^^


^^ Unicycle basketball game.  Quite impressive. ^^


^^ The tight ropists were excellent, and our seats were a prime location for viewing their stunts.  Can you imagine riding a bike with a woman balanced between yourself and another bike rider?  Not to mention on a tight rope! ^^


^^ At intermission, Ania came to see us!  She’s not allowed to wear her costumes when she’s not performing, so I was surprised to see her in ‘street clothes.’  Isn’t she beautiful, though?!  ^^


^^ If you read what I wrote yesterday about “The Elephant in the Living Room,” you will probably wonder why we went to the circus.  Ignorance is bliss, I suppose.  Nonetheless, the elephants did a great job. ^^


^^ As you can see, the elephants had many tricks up their sleeves. ^^


^^ To beat the crowds trying to leave the parking lot immediately following the show, we wandered around the grounds were the animals and equipment were kept, and found a photo op I just couldn’t pass up ;) ^^

All in all, we had a great time getting to know Aaron and Ania.  They kind and interesting individuals who have accomplished much in their short lives.  We’re blessed to know them, and hope to see them when the circus comes to Denver in October.

To Aaron and Ania: thanks for sharing yourselves and your lives and your dreams with us.  Thanks for putting up with our endless questions and for being okay with our early bedtime and unexciting lives.  We so enjoyed spending time with the two of you, and wish you the best in your last two shows in Colorado Springs, as well as on the rest of your journeys.  Keep in touch, and we’d love to see you and host you again!  Also, Aaron, I’m so sorry we didn’t get any photos of/with you.  Just another reason we need to meet up in October.

the elephant in the living room

Last night, at the recommendation of our friend Whitney Buckner, we watched “The Elephant in the Living Room.”

The exotic pet industry is a $20.5 billion industry in America.

I found it at the library, and I knew it would be good, because Whitney doesn’t recommend bad movies.  But I didn’t know it would be this good, and shake us so hard.

15,000 exotic cats (tigers, lions, cougars, etc.) are kept in American homes.

The movie follows Tim Harrison, a public safety officer and exotic animal expert in Ohio, and Terry Brumfield, an average citizen of Ohio, and who was also the owner of six lions.

In Texas, there are more tigers living in captivity (3,400) than living in the wild in all of India (1,400).

Over and over, I wanted to think that the things the movie was showing weren’t real.  That the statistics were made up and crazy and unrealistic.  That the lion running loose, attacking cars on the highway was staged.  That the people were just actors.

In most states, dogs and cats must be licensed and registered.  Lions and tigers and monkeys and more?  Not so much.  Six states do not ban or restrict exotic wild animals at all.  To find out about your state, click here.

But it’s real.  I’ve been doing some research this morning, and figuring out that it’s 100% true.  Your neighbor very well could be harboring a primate or a bear or a crocodile, and you’ll never know unless it escapes, or they get tired of it/scared of it/can’t afford it and release it.

Two days ago, a monkey that escaped from a home in Miami was spotted by passerbys.  Police and wildlife officers responded, but could not capture it.

My emotions throughout the movie ranged from anger to disgust to joy to frustration to disbelief.

Tigers are 360 to 720 more likely to be involved in a fatal attack on humans than dogs are.  66 children have lost limbs, suffered paralysis, left permanently blind, or experienced other injuries from exotic big cats since 1990.

I adore going to the zoo and petting dogs and watching videos of pandas on YouTube (read: I love animals).  I have often tell friends and family that all animals are friendly and while I still believe it at some level, I most certainly do not agree with keeping exotic animals as pets.

In the past 20 years, over 80 people have been killed by exotic animals in the U.S.

Elephants, komodo dragons, mountain lions, you name it: they belong in the wild.  Not in your (or anyone else’s) house.

Within the past week, a variety of seemingly absurd exotic animal incidents have been reported.  A java macque (a type of monkey from southeast Asia) bit a six-year-old boy in St. Louis, a kangaroo that had been on the run was captured in Florida, a python being kept in a family’s car in Michigan went missing while they ate at KFC, a 7-foot alligator was confiscated in Ohio after being kept in a plastic box for 15 years, and the aforementioned monkey in Miami is still on the loose.  Read about more exotic animal incidents here.

If you don’t believe all this, watch the movie and do your own research.  If you don’t like documentaries, you will like this movie.  If you do like documentaries, you will like this movie.  That being said, I think that everyone should watch this.  Find it on Netflix, rent it at the library like we did, or buy it off of Amazon.  Read more about it in this excellent article.  Whatever you do, watch it and do something about it.

the elephant in the living room


Just like last month at this time, I have a bunch of different posts I am working on, but also so many life updates/random news I want to share, so here we go.  The second in what may possibly be a monthly thing…what’s going on with us lately…

  • We had two individuals who work for the circus stay with us on Monday and Tuesday.  Their lives are so very fascinating, and our time with them was outrageous.  Tonight we’re planning on going to the circus (EEEEE!) to see them perform, so more on that later.  MUCH MORE on that later, believe me.
  • My passport came in the mail two days ago!  Which means I can go to Alaska (in two weeks)!  And yes, I know that Alaska is in the United States, thank you Chris, but the cruise line told me if I didn’t have a passport I couldn’t go.  So there.
  • Organic blueberries…we ate five pints of them in the past five days.
  • Next Wednesday there is a special night for MEMBERS ONLY at the zoo.  Obviously we will be there.  And I am excited because I am hoping that fewer children than usual will be there since it will be at night.  Not that I don’t like children, it’s just that sometimes there are a lot of them, and because they are smaller and cuter than me, they always get precedence at things like demos and encounters and they always get to be closest to the animals.
  • I got to see these lovely, lovely ladies last Saturday!  They came over for breakfast and we got to spend three hours together (a record)!!  We took some crazy photos together, and had so much fun.  I am so blessed to know them and love them and be a small part of their lives.


  • Danny has to work this Saturday, so they gave him yesterday off.  We took advantage of the rare weekday off and headed to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, thanks to a great deal from Living Social (which is available for 7 more days!).  We had the time of our lives.  Even though I slept through the IMAX.
  • I have been doing crafts lately.  I know, WHAT?!  This is a lie, you’re probably thinking.  Well, if painting frames counts as a craft, then yes, it is true.  I have painted 8 frames and 1 mirror lately, thanks to my wonderful friend Em.
  • I got a free subscription to Real Simple (my best magazine ever), starting this month, and I already feel like life is looking up.
  • Danny cleaned out the closet in our guest room last weekend, and I don’t even recognize it now.  Maybe that’s because I can see the floor and walls and ceiling and close the door without rigging up something fancy for the first time in ages.
  • We had dinner with Chris and Emily this week and, as always, it was delicious.  Emily is a master chef.  I can’t post photos of her (I have hunch that she is in the Witness Protection Program), but I can show you this image of their child…


  • We’re leaving for San Diego in ONE WEEK.  So excited.  We have been counting the days for a while (okay, since we bought our tickets), and absolutely cannot wait to spend time with Danny’s family (and if I’m really honest, see the pandas and the ocean too).  
  • Danny fell the down the stairs while carrying his lunch pail and gym bag and his finger is still injured (a week later).  This is definitely sad for him, but slightly comical for me.
  • Some naughty birds have built a nest right outside our door, which means that I cannot leave our house without a sun shade over my head and a great deal of fear and trembling.  Not a good situation, especially since the eggs haven’t even hatched yet.  It’s going to be a long summer.
  • We watch HGTV every morning at the gym.  This is not a new development, I just thought you should know.
  • I’ve been going to Chris & Emily’s a fair amount lately, to work on my crafts and soak in all the time I can get with these people.  And also Jeb.  They are heading out of town next week for an extended period of time, so in between our trips to San Diego and Alaska, we get to watch Jebby!  Every time I see him, we talk about how we are BFFs and he gives me a tongue bath.


  • I’ve been going to acupuncture twice a week lately, which obviously I think is a good idea, since I love Dr. Eva.  She’s been trying some new things lately, such as cupping and other things that I don’t know how to succinctly describe.  If you don’t know what cupping is, ask Jennifer Aniston.  She created quite a stir recently when she wore a dress that showed off marks from her recent cupping session.  My back usually looks like hers these days, except I don’t use cover up…I just have red-ish, purple-ish marks on my back for a week till it’s time for my next session.    
  • Danny’s Kindle Fire (which he uses primarily for Facebook usage) has stopped working.  On the upside (in my mind, at least), he’s picked up reading!
  • My new favorite blog is Big Mama.  Check it out, and read her hysterical book, too.
  • My dad ran over an armadillo two days ago.  Not okay.  And then Mysteridge sent me a photo of the poor thing.  Also not okay AT ALL.  Because it made me cry.  (If you want to see it, I will forward it to you via my phone, but I will not post it here because it so upsetting).
  • Yesterday I found out that Danny likes dinosaurs.  When I responded in shock, he told me that all boys like dinosaurs.  News to me.



  • One more thing.  We are going to Boise sometime in the late summer/early fall.  More on that later.

zoo + broadmoor + mini golf

I mentioned that our Memorial Day weekend was excellent, as evidenced by our time at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings and the Miramont Castle.  Well, that was just Saturday.  On Sunday, we went to church, had some leftovers for lunch, and headed to the zoo.  If you’ve been around this neck of the woods for a while, you know that I love the zoo, and that I am so grateful for the membership I was given for my birthday a couple of weeks ago from my in-laws.  Danny and I hadn’t been together since Christmas time, when we went with my family, and we had never been just the two of us.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and can’t wait to go back next week for a special member’s only night (I think this might be where you get to ride the giraffes).






As you can see, we had a good time.  We did see some real animals, and not just statues, even though our pictures are no indication.  Live animals just aren’t as good at posing for pictures, it seems.

After the zoo, we stopped by the Broadmoor, since we drive right by it on our way home (despite having significant trouble finding a place to park that wasn’t outrageous and/or illegal).  I had walked around the property with my family a while back,  but Danny had never been there.  It was even more beautiful than I remembered, and so peaceful.  We watched a good portion of a wedding taking place on the lawn, and meandered along the lake. We didn’t want to look too touristy, so we didn’t take any pictures until we were close-ish to our car.


I looked online at wedding rates and packages for the Broadmoor once we got home…and my oh my.  At the minimum six times more than what we paid for our wedding.  Pretty significant chunk of change.

On Monday, we enjoyed a lazy morning and some (vegan) banana doughnuts with peanut butter glaze (new recipe!) before we finally got with the program and left the house in the late afternoon to use one of our Groupons at Academy Miniature Golf.

We got to play both 18-hole courses with our Groupon, and really enjoyed our time.  It’s definitely not among the top mini golf courses I’ve played (and believe me, I have played a LOT of mini golf courses, probably at least 100), especially since it’s along Academy, which is a (very) main road in Colorado Springs.  It did, however, have a cave and a beautiful waterfall, and is relatively well taken care of.


After Danny beat me by over 21 strokes on the last course, we got out of that place and did something I feel a bit more confident in – reading.  We explored a new park nearby, Dublin Park, spread out our blanket, and read for while.  Well, I read for a while and Danny rode his ripstick all around…


…and then settled down to join me for a bit before we decided that while the park had a great view, it allowed for many gusts of wind and cold air, so we moved on to the grocery store (to clarify, not for reading, but for shopping).

Overall, we had a superb weekend.  We used up three online deals we had accumulated, so how could it not be a success?  Er, I mean, we enjoyed being together and doing new things and eating delicious doughnuts and sleeping a bit more than usual, so it was a success.