October 23, 2014

africa, i am forever changed.

so, i had almost half of a post written about my trip to africa, but for some reason it just sat and sat without ever coming to conclusion. i read and reread what i had so thoughtfully and carefully written out and i just couldn't get over thinking that it didn't even sound like me. funny how just a few weeks can change you.

i feel like i've had a bit more time to process my trip now and maybe that's why i felt the need to start this whole post over. but hey, it's whatever.

there's so much to say about my trip to africa.

you know, like it's completely and entirely different from America. the sights, the sounds, all the fruit-bearing trees, the slow way of life, the women walking for miles and miles with babies strapped to their backs and somehow still managing to gracefully balance towers of supplies on their heads, the dirt being swept outside a hut just for us to make a visit, the way that the children cared for each other, babies, just babies caring for babies.

and some of the biggest smiles you ever laid eyes on.

these people. they are people that i will never forget. some of the most humble, content and joyful people on the planet. oh, and to worship with these people! there's nothing like it. heaven will be a glorious sight with these dear brothers and sisters!

but there were hard things too. like, i don't know if i've ever worked so hard and still felt so small. and how overwhelmed i felt at the harvest. and how much the people wanted us there and want us to come back. and how much i wanted to help, but all along they were the ones helping me.

i can't help but think that maybe i needed this trip just as must as they did.

i know it's cliche and that lots of people say experiences like this will "change you forever", but it really is true.


africa, has forever changed me.


as we were riding on the bus one day it just hit me. the red dirt! uganda has red dirt *almost* just the same as oklahoma! it looks just the same! but, make no mistake, it's volcanic! -thanks for that little nugget, doug-the geologist on our team :) but it's just the same you know, stains real down deep, leaves marks in your soul. it may never be washed out and reminds you of home, though so very different and so very far away.

it did my soul good to follow this path of obedience that was scary for me and, as hard as it was, it did my soul good to leave my family and all that was comfortable.

God worked through us during those 10 days, and it was definitely all about His glory and others coming to know Him, but He has a mysterious way of flipping the script, as some of you may know. we worked long and hard days and as we poured ourselves out, He was simultaneously pouring into us. our hearts were broken. our eyes were opened. and our souls were changed.

i learned some things about myself as well and how much i need to be in constant prayer and communion with Him and not just one lousy, checked off, often missed or squeezed in time in His Word. and you know, that moves mountains!

so yeah, "forever changed" will have to do because that's just what happened.

October 19, 2014

what to wear: seattle in the fall.

i was crossing my fingers and toes for *at least* one rainy day while we were in seattle. come to find out that's just something you don't really have to do, silly me.

so yeah, the weathermen got it all wrong and i was left completely unprepared for the stuff we got. but hey, question, is it just me or are these weathermen getting less and less good at their jobs? whatever, you know it's true.

anywho, this oklahomie was a wee bit chilly and seattle's fall was feeling a smidge more like the beginnings of winter. so i thought i'd share a little insight into what to wear if you ever head out that way. in the fall.


// 1 // always, always pack a JACKET with a hood. i took a hoodie, but with all the rain it didn't do a lick of good. thankfully, the husband let me wear his waterproof jacket over it much of the trip. he's good to me y'all. or something like this would be good to carry around with you--this jacket folds up and stows away in it's own pocket! bam!

// 2 // umbrella. how fun is this color changing umbrella from restoration hardware! we were dumb and didn't pack an umbrella, although, give me some credit people, i did actually consider it. our hotel had umbrellas for the guests though so we totally lucked out! and we seriously needed it almost every day.

// 3 // boots. i would've killed to have my rain boots there with me! or just ANY of my tall boots for that matter! you do need to make sure they're comfy enough for walking though.

// 4 // scarf/hood/shawl. unlike oklahoma, it's already scarf weather up there so get one of these and it'll do double duty!

// 5 // backpack/cross body purse. with all the walking we did i think it's best to take a backpack or cross body purse to stay hands free.

// 6 // watch. we were trying to cram as much as we could into our 7 day trip so i was constantly checking my watch. it especially helped me keep tabs on public transportation-we had a few very close calls! waiting an extra 10-15 minutes for the next bus, train or ferry can cost you!

// 7 // handbag. i think it's always a good idea, especially while traveling, to have a little handbag 'handy' with all your most used/go to items in it. i'm addicted to chapstick so that's probably the #1 item you'll find in my handbag! anyone else..? no?

oh, and if you forget something, you can always buy! there's shopping galore! h & m, gap, urban outfitters, nike, nordstrom, banana republic...on and on!

did i miss anything??

October 16, 2014

tenley girl turns one

i have never been a super girly girl, in fact, i was pretty much a tomboy all growing up. so as soon as i found out that i would be having a little girl of my own i swore off the pink. well, i had, at the very least, solemnly vowed to myself to not overdo it like all the "other girl moms" do, but alas there i sat one year later planning a pink and gold first birthday party. phuh.

you know, i'm not entirely sure why the color pink has grown on me so much this past year, but maybe it reminds me of the color of her little button nose as she squishes it when she drinks her bottle. or the color of her cheeks when she plays hard with her brother. or maybe it's the way it speaks innocence over her. how she's still my baby and always will be. how she's sweet and pure as snow, but tinged with just a little bit of spunk and attitude and unruliness. the perfect blend of my complicated tenley.

the color has definitely taken on new meaning now that she's here and it will forever remind me that i once was a mommy to a baby, a baby girl, who was lovely and petite and everything feminine, but at the very same time she was spirited and passionate and fierce. pink is the color of my tenley. the sign that i'm a mommy to a daughter.

and i wouldn't have it any other way.

love you baby girl,


*party supplies: party galaxy and target*
*cake stand and tableware: target*
*cake, food, tassel garland: homemade*
*tenley's crown: etsy: love crush bowtique*

October 15, 2014

12 months tenley.

so yeah, i'm waaaaaay behind on this just like always, but the perfectionist type A in me won't let it go...

you are doing so great lately. definitely saying da-da AND ma-ma. i'm as happy as a lark, if you couldn't tell :).

you still have 4 chompers on top and 2 on bottom.

my favorite thing right now is the way you've been scrunching your nose and cheesing. i just love it. you've also been doing this thing where you shape your mouth into a giant "O" and make the cutest little whistle! your personality is really starting to shine!

you started crawling on all fours at your birthday party! i'm super glad that you're done dragging yourself all over the house, but i do miss that little leap frogging olympic swimmer crawl of yours. we've been trying different things to get you walking, but i think it could be a little bit longer for that. plus, you prefer to do things on your own terms...so...here's me releasing my "helicopter mom" arms and stepping back for ya ;).

and eating is pretty much your favorite thing. you seriously eat everything. like EVERYthing. hey, i'm not complaining!

we are so proud of where we've come with you! those first few months were tough and then dealing with all the hearing issues and tubes in your ears-i feel like we're really starting to come out of all of that now! can i get an amen?!

these past 12 months have been filled to the brim and life seems to be just flying by. your first year came and left in a blink. i still remember seeing you for the first time, my dark curly-haired wonder with the cute little rolls all over and thinking to myself, who is she?

as i've gotten to know you this year i feel like i've gotten to know myself. it's almost as if you were born my little mirror to show me who i am. i've seen the good and the bad and who i long to be. you and i are so alike and i pray that i'm someone whose examples will some day be worthy of following. we have a long ways to go, but will you go with me?

i'm looking forward to our girly dates with pedicures and secrets. prayers and tears, because i know there will be plenty of broken hearts and hurtful words. but i will be there through all of it, the joy and the pain. i will be there like my mommy was. this is what we mommies do. and i can't wait. i can't wait to grow with you and to get to know you more. you are one special soul my sweet tenley girl.

i'm so thankful to have you, my daughter and my lifelong friend.

here's to many more years growing and learning together!

love you forever,


hey, she can cry if she wants to right? ;)

October 10, 2014

the one with seattle and the food.

first things first, y'all.


i think we did fairly well considering we didn't do much research beforehand on where to eat. i mean, we did have the most delicious donuts of our lives and the best fish sandwich known to mankind, so not too shabby if i do say so myself.

on our first full day in seattle we walked from our hotel to pike place market in search of the one and only daily dozen doughnut company because check these ratings. we pretty much planned out what we would do each day the night before and used urban spoon and google maps non-stop. anyway, donuts are considered a food group in our home so we knew we had to hit it up. so we grabbed our donuts (they only take cash!) and headed over to the "first" starbucks for some coffee. everything is all right there together so it was easy peasy. the starbucks was like any other starbucks for the most part, but it was a nice (and warm) spot to enjoy our donuts. i mean, the donuts were uh-mazing. we both preferred the plain over all the frou-frou stuff. they sort of remind me of cafe du monde's beignets in new orleans. delish.

another place to note in pike place market is matt's in the market! it's on the top floor of one of the buildings and from where we were seated we were able to look out the window with an awesome view of the market! our waitress recommended the pan-fried cornmeal crusted catfish sandwich and let me just tell you, this is the sandwich that will change your life! like for real. even the simple green side salad was good. it's definitely a spot to try!

the night that we went to the mariner's game we found a taco truck called el camion and it was pretty tasty! we also got hot dogs in the stadium because we don't do baseball games without dogs. that's just blasphemy.

on our last night in seattle we took a ride on the huge ferris wheel and grabbed some really good catfish over at ivar's for a late dinner. little did we know that we would be one of the last ones to eat there as it was closing that night for a good 9 months. come to find out, seattle is going to be doing some major construction on a seawall which has caused a ton of the waterfront businesses to have to temporarily close. boy did we make it just in time for our visit!

we feel like we ate a lot of really good food and it was sort of nice to enjoy a few quiet meals together as just the two of us. every now and then though as we were enjoying our food in peace it'd hit us that we actually really missed our two screaming little maniacs that usually join us. but they're pretty great so who can blame us :).

thanks again, seattle!

October 6, 2014

to Seattle with love.

i know, i know, i haven't even written about my trip to africa yet and here i am jabbering about seattle. forgive me, i'll get there i promise. this trip was definitely easier to process than my trip to africa so yeah, this post first.

actually, i'm considering making a few posts for this trip, like possibly tips on things to eat, wear and do or if you guys have any other questions i'd be happy to answer them! but first, let me just tell you, i loved seattle and the pacific north west! like LOVED. first timer right here and yes, mind blown, thank you very much.

we got a little taste of both the city and the outdoors just how we like it. rialto beach and olympic national park are at the top of my list and pike place market was definitely my favorite seattle thing. more on those later though. but yeah we had the best time and tried to squeeze as much as we possibly could into those 7 days and i'm mighty proud of how we did! i think we only had one wrong turn the entire time! go team travelers!

anyway, i have no earthly idea why i never realized how much of a fishy watery city seattle is, i mean tom hanks lived on a houseboat in sleepless in seattle for crying out loud and the baseball team's mascot is the mariner...i knew these things. so yeah, fishy and watery, she definitely is that, but she's also so so many other things. i'm talking surprises around every corner, right along with a starbucks. you know, i'm just wondering who DOESN'T want to hit up a starbucks every other block? oh and the hills, can't forget the hills. i worked muscles in my legs that i've never used in my entire life. you know the ones you city walking people you, i tip my hat friends.

the place was, sing it with me now,  "a whole new world! DON'T you DARE close your eyes!". seriously though, the trees were too much and the mysterious way that the water and the city looked perfect together was just...meh ;). i think you get the point. seattle, you are a little stunner aren't you? and you know it!

until next time my love.


the one in boots and jacket. always.