noun re·treat \ri-ˈtrēt\
1 : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what 
is  difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable
2: a place of privacy or safety : refuge
3: a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or 
instruction under a director

My weekend was spent enjoying the fullness of this word: retreat. Nancy Guthrie, along with more than 150 women from 40 churches other than our own joined more than 150 women from CEFC on Friday for a very moving, inspiring, refreshing and worshipful evening. The title of Nancy’s talk that night was “When God Says No.” We have all experienced, in some form or fashion, God telling us No to a repeated request. Maybe it is little. Or maybe it is very big.  But the answer has still been, at times, no. But Nancy reminded  us that when God says no, we find comfort in knowing that Jesus understands (fully man and fully God). We find companionship in drawing close to Jesus (he came close to draw us close!). We find confidence trusting in God’s goodness. (God did, in fact, say no to Jesus in the garden so that he could say yes to you and me for all eternity!). We are so very loved by the One True God! My scribbled notes from the evening end with this: Satisfying and sustaining you as you endure…ask him to use my weakness to put his power on display.

I have always been acutely aware of my weakness. A cry baby. Nervous nelly. Insecure. Unsure. People pleaser. But Nancy reminded me that my awareness of my weakness, ahem, my sin, is what can make me strong! I am able to fully lay it at his feet and let his power be made evident in this very weak vessel. I used to say I reveled in my geekiness. Well, no, now I will revel in my weakness as I glory in my Redeemer!

Oh, I don’t think I can summarize all that was Saturday here and now…I will save that for tomorrow. But, man. I am so thankful for where I am right now. To be surrounded by women seeking to know Jesus more deeply. To love one another truthfully and honestly. For women who teach the Bible like nobody’s business. Dig deep, layer after layer, revealing Jesus, revealing God’s promises, his hope, his love, unfailing, undeserved, unending.



I read an interesting article today in the NYTimes. Simply titled, Medicating Women’s Feelings, I was interested and bookmarked it to read later. I am glad I did. I appreciated the tone throughout: medication can be very useful and important in treating psychiatric issues. However, there is a definite overmedication of not only women, but I would dare say all Americans. What I find the most frustrating about the situation is not that people feel the need for chemical help, but that our society has created and seeks to maintain a new normal for all people. But biologically, it just doesn’t make sense.

The article discusses, and I agree, that people, and women in particular, have hormone cycles that produce different emotional responses. They are a true normal and healthy. In fact, if we feel overwhelmed at a certain time each month, perhaps we should pay attention to that and factor it in to our lives regularly! No, instead we feel inadequate, unworthy and sick. We need it to go away so that we can get on with life. I beg to differ. Yes, again, there are times that medication is a must. Believe me, I know. But perhaps we need to take a hard look at the demands our society is placing on us, or that we are placing on ourselves, and change the situations rather than alter ourselves. From the article, ” When we are overmedicated, our emotions become synthetic. For personal growth, for a satisfying marriage and for a more peaceful world, what we need is more empathy, compassion, receptivity, emotionality and vulnerability, not less.”

My tears are not a sign that I am weak and pathetic. My concerns are not irrational and unimportant. If they are out of balance, perhaps I should seek counsel. Talk. Pray. Read scripture. Still need help? Perhaps my doctor should be consulted. I don’t know. I am surely NOT a doctor. Each person must weigh the decision themselves. I would just urge you, my friends, to consider that you were created with those emotions and the God that formed you, knows you. He will carry you, he does carry me, through it all. Sometimes with help from friends, sometimes with help from a counselor, and at times in the past, with help from medication.

making it up as I go.

So, I don’t have time to come up with pretty words and deep thoughts lately. Mostly because my spare time has been spent sewing. I have now made 4 t-shirts. Two are great, 2 are good. One of the good ones needs some shaping. The other good one was a poor fabric choice. So….I am not bummed. In fact, I am so encouraged and excited. Next up is a dress. I was tempted to skip the dress in favor of a skirt, but I am sticking to the original plan.

But this blogging thing. I am not doing so well with it. I feel pressure to make every little thing so meaningful, when the meaningfulness just IS sometimes. Do you know what I mean? Like, the fact that Chris took the kids to the library tonight so that I could sew. Two full hours of quiet, machine humming, iron hissing. It was beautiful. But it is nothing that will bring a tear to the eye or leave you wanting more….so, instead of not writing at all, I am giving you my thoughts on where I am in this process. It has been tricky for me lately. So, read on if you’d like, or have patience. You just never know…


I have become obsessed. Planning, sorting, shopping, dreaming. All about fabric, sewing and creating my own wardrobe. Lofty goal is to not purchase any ready-made clothes. Attainable goal, make as much of my wardrobe as possible. If something is wearing out, don’t buy a replacement, make it.  There are amazing resources, free patterns, blogs about altering patterns to suit my own body or style, etc. available. And I plan on getting some Spring sewing done.

So far in 2015, I have purchased one thing out of necessity (and pre-handmade wardrobe obsession kicked in). I bought a new swim suit from Target in order to go to Great Wolf Lodge. I like it. I will make my own one day. I actually spied some Liberty of London swim fabric…dreamy…but that is not a NEED, so…

Here is the fabric purchased so far:


The top four are from Organic Cotton Plus. Double Gauze, interlock (stripes and geometric design), and twill. The bottom is a double knit from Joann.

They will become an All Dressed Up dress from, Hemlock tee from, Kirsten Kimono tee from, Moss skirt from Grainline, and a Wiksten tank with Tova sleeves from

Amazingly, there are still two fabrics on the way from Organic Cotton Plus! A cotton voile, for a tunic from one of my Japanese books, Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom (link is to book in English, mine is not, but I can always email Brennan!), and a Cotton/Hemp jersey for another t-shirt (probably another Wiksten hodgepodge).

For a glimpse at some of my inspiration down this track, I need to point you to another blog. If you are into handmade, minimalism, or sustainability, you will find it interesting. I haven’t followed all the steps yet, but plan on following along quite a bit.

I am so excited for this…but I know I get a bit obsessed and one-track-minded. So, I hope I remember to feed my family and do the laundry, and….

so sew.

{missed 6 days in the challenge. I will blame recovering from a tummy bug, girls’night out, girl’s brunch and a birthday. Hopefully, I will get the ball rolling again!}

I spent the afternoon on Sunday sewing. I worked on a small project that has been rolling around in my mind for a couple years. It all began in the ’80s. Remember those purses we carried with wooden handles and reversible covers. They probably were emblazoned with your initials or a whale. Maybe a frog. They were very preppy, a little impractical, and super awesome. Well, a few years back, we were in Jim Thorpe, PA with my sister’s family. We stumbled into a little vintage shop and I scored such a purse in perfect condition. Except for the initials were wrong. I knew I would make a cover some day. Just didn’t realize it would take so long! Fast forward a couple years to a random purchase of fabric. I love Denys Schmidt’s style, so I purchased a charm pack of her Shelburne Falls collection. It stayed stashed away until Sunday.

I sliced it up into strips and pieced together a little cover for my bag. I decided to make it reversible by lining it with a piece of fabric gifted to me by my nephew in Japan. It still needs buttonholes, so as soon as it is complete, I will share a photo. It was so fun to make and I can’t wait to use it this spring!

Getting in front of my machine gave me the itch to sew more often. I have a lofty dream right now to sew my own wardrobe. To stop buying ready made items. I don’t think it is that outrageous. I am a uniform wearer anyway. I have a definite style that I enjoy. It may not be the most hip, but it is me. My short term goal is to sew up two dresses and a couple t-shirts. I will keep you posted!


I am really looking forward to lent. This preparation for Easter is something I have toyed with, but never sunk into. But since going to our church, one service that I have typically looked forward to is the Good Friday service. That looking straight at the cross. Seeing what happened and why. And who for. Remembering. Repenting. And ultimately rejoicing. Tomorrow I will begin a Bible study online. I have never done this, either. I will join ladies around the world at #shereadstruth as we come near the cross. If you would like to join in, it is free at the website, or available through a free app, as well.

I need it. I feel a bit fragmented, distracted, forgetful. How can I pray, read the Bible, get “ready” for the day only to find myself in anger or frustration an hour later? I am needy. I am weak. Thankfully, that’s nothing new to God.

Romans 5:1-11{emphasis mine}

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

tummy ache.

We have been invaded by an uninvited guest. Jude was first, then Eli, now Stella. Chris and I can’t tell if we are sick, exhausted or grossed out. I am going to bed now, hoping to not be woken every hour like last night to rub heaving backs and wipe sweaty brows. Although, the backs and brows are loved dearly, we all need some rest. Stay warm, and stay away. (Nicky, I am praying you are healthy. I am sorry!)


What a great day. We are not very sappy around here when it comes to celebrating St.Valentine, but taking that the day landed on a Saturday, we ended up with a winner.

I think tonight requires a list of thanks:
❤️The best babysitter ever
❤️Breakfast out with Chris
❤️Laughing together
❤️Delicious food
❤️Baking with kids
❤️Texting with a long distance best friend
❤️Sunshine photos on a blustery day
❤️Bone broth
❤️Freshly bathed kids
❤️Jude’s laugh
❤️A sweet card from Eli
❤️A helpful spirit in Stella
❤️Movie night
❤️Looking forward to worship


Today, I am doing something I do well. Reveling in my geekiness. I could try to blame the lack of sleep caused by sitting bedside to a barfing Jude, or my recent work with Eli on memorizing prepositions, but truth is…it’s just me.

As you all know, I’m trying to get better at memorizing scripture. I can’t just read to memorize. I need to write it out. Over and over. Plus, I like lists and blue bic pens. So, as I am struggling through 1 Peter 1:3-9, I was caught up in all those prepositional phrases! They work as anchors to help me get it straight. And to see what is really being said. I decided to sit with Stella as she did her school work and try out one of her class’s ways of learning: doodle notes. Here is where that took me… Kinda fun. I am not an artist, but I am solid on this much of my memorizing! I think I will keep adding to it as the verses go on. We shall see…


I finished reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot the other day. I love the feeling just after a book is finished. An odd sort of quiet where the characters still stir in your mind and time seems suspended over it all. This book has so much going for it. Nonfiction that feels unreal. Funny dialogue. Heart gripping characters. But what I keep thinking about is not the HeLa cells, Henrietta Lacks, Johns Hopkins, or science, but of her daughter, Deborah.

What a life this woman lived. Not one of ease, but of hardship and struggle. In every imaginable way. But her attitude kept coming back to one of desiring knowledge and understanding. Pretty remarkable, considering the story and her family’s differing opinions.

But I am not even really stuck on her life experiences. Or even her personality. But the way I viewed her throughout the story. In a moment, a page or chapter, I would think one thought. Like, she is crazy! Or she is having a panic attack! Only to read another couple pages and realize a whole different truth. It has me thinking about how we judge folks. Perhaps even ourselves.

If lives are lived out on a timeline, we can block off episodes from point x to point y and they look one way. (The woman has mental health issues!) But expand that point y a bit further and you find out that the story is vastly different. (Oh my word…she had severely high blood pressure and blood sugar!) imagine the many times we have looked at the lives of others and missed what came just before or right after. How differently we would react if we knew the other side.

My students and I were talking about meeting people for the first time in a cold-call sort of situation. Some were great experiences, others, rotten. We threw out possible reasons for the rotten ones. The person on the other end just was diagnosed with cancer. Her dog just threw up on the floor. Her husband just left. That changed the whole perspective. I used to try that when driving in the city. If someone was particularly angry, I thought maybe they had just received bad news, or were late to a crappy job. Maybe I was excusing bad behavior, but in a way, I think I would rather do that than judge harshly.

So, while my thoughts are not totally gathered over The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, my impression is still one of high regard. People need to read that story. It is important, but maybe not for the reasons we think when we glance at the cover. Funny how that works.