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winter in florida


birthday cake-one day late

Today, you had your birthday cake. One day late. Just us at home on the back porch. You loved your cake so much.  I think chocolate must be your favorite. After having your cake, we spent some time by the lake.   Love these simple moments, watching you explore. 



soccer siblings


The life of soccer siblings.

This photo captures the life our children have grown to love during soccer season. Our team families have spent countless practices and matches together at soccer complexes around our state. The siblings, who are not playing soccer, have become the best of friends as they wait for practices or games to finish. The kids play on the field sidelines, play-park sets, or wherever they can find room to run. These team families have become like family to each of us. It is something special. I am so grateful that our younger children enjoy this time at the fields. They may never know if Big Sissy won or lost; but they have a great time while waiting and always ask when is the next game.





Today, we said goodbye to our beloved dog Buster. Fifteen years of memories flood my head and heart. Each of us feels broken as a part of us is gone.

I was looking through pictures from the last month and I kept coming back to this moment. Over and over. Not because it is the best picture or memory we have of him. I stop, because this was our ordinary, our mundane, our everyday. Him, by our side. Him, as part of our world. For fifteen years, he was there.

There are parts of our life that are so normal, so every day, that we forget to even notice them. We take them for granted, almost like the breath that comes from our lungs. And then one day we wake up and something has changed. The normal; whatever it was, is different. I don’t want to notice the beauty of the everyday only when it is gone. I want to embrace it and appreciate it. I want to see it. The everyday; the habitual, the predictable, is what makes our life a complete story. Life simply isn't made up of grand picturesque moments. I want these seemingly insignificant moments to be etched so deeply in my heart and eyes that I never forget them.

I am grateful for all of the years we had with Buster. I am thankful that his life was full of joy and good health until the very end; yet, I long to have him with our family again. I wake up each day and feel such a void. There is nothing to take away this hurt, but I find peace in knowing that he is now without pain. These images will serve as an important reminder to me. A reminder to slow down, to notice and be grateful for all of the beauty God gives us in each day.



in awe


I love to watch how our kids can find wonder in such simple moments in their days. I strive to live like this. I want to stop and be in awe daily of this world we live in. Life gets busy and some days I get so focused on the moments we are living that I lose sight of God’s glory and my part in His amazing story. Yet, our lives here on earth are so short. Whether we are given 4 or 94 years to live; they are so brief, in light of eternity.

Where do we each fit into His story? What do we do with the years we have here on earth? This is something I have been thinking about a lot. I met with 5 young women last night as we wrestled through this question. Each of us has dreams and visions that God has placed on our hearts, yet many of us fear others and what they think about us. Many of us are scared of failing. We are scared to move in obedience. And we seek affirmation, approval and love from the world. It is an internal fight so many of us face. But ultimately, it is a fight to love God the most.

And then this morning, I came across these words from Jennie Allen, “Our God is worth this fight. And if there is a sober, honest bone in your body you'll admit that this is a fight! It is a full-on war to love God more than any visible thing or person on this earth, even more than ourselves."

I pray we will all keep dreaming for Him.That we will boldly and bravely follow Him. That we will seek Him and His glory and our small part in His story. I pray we live our lives with the knowledge that His love and affection are far greater than anything we can create for ourselves.

And I pray that when I come to the end of my life I can say these words: “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” John 17:4.

I don’t ever want to stop living in awe of Him. I don’t want to stop seeking my part in His great story.





I love to get outside with our children and spend time exploring. No agenda set. Just time together. Recently, we spent some time at one of our favorite local spots. The kids spent hours exploring and imagining. They each had their own island in this fun world they created. I sat next to the water and listened and watched as they played together.

In a world that competes with electronics daily, I know without doubt that the real magic happens when everything is unplugged.

Head on over to the 5 minute project to see the rest of these images together. Josh Solar and I have collaborated using the word Explore; one of us in the warmth of Florida and the other in the cold of Kansas City.



Morning Mercies

the joy project january 19 ginger unzueta The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Lamentations 3:22-23



love in a frame

the joy project january 11 2015 There’s something emotional for me about seeing these five together in a frame. Family knows us in ways that some never will. My husband has seen me in some of my most ungraceful moments; moments of selfishness, moments of hurt, and moments of fear. My children have seen me in my most impatient hours; tired, worn out, and irritable. And these realities; they go both ways. It's a constant yo yo of love and forgiveness. It’s not from lack of love; but simply humanity filled with our imperfect and selfish ways.

Family can often be the people that we hurt the most; yet, at the same time we love them with the deepest and most crazy love. It’s incredible to know love like this. Pure and unconditional. I believe love and life are both made up of the imperfect. People. Memories. The mistakes and stories waiting to unfold. The struggles and successes merge together to create a life that we will one day look back on.

Many days, I hurt my family and in turn they hurt me. We are all weak and imperfect on our own. But, each new day is adorned in grace and mercy. Each new day, we have the chance to come before God and ask Him to help us be more like Him. Each trial we go through on our own, or as a family, gives us a chance to seek Him. He brings light to the dark. And because of that, I humbly thank Him for this imperfect life and for these imperfect people to love and grow with.