My heart is broken into pieces (+ prayer printable)

If you follow me on social media, you'll have picked up that our family has been going through a really difficult time. I haven't really alluded to the what and the how...quite honestly because I could hardly say it aloud yet.

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Have you been in that place before? So hurt that you can hardly ask for prayer because you're so emotionally drained and don't have the energy to talk about it?

Growing up, our family had a code word we'd say if we needed help. I could call my folks while at a party, slumber party, etc, use the word in conversation...and my parents would immediately pick me up, no questions asked.


We do the same thing now for our kids, but we've even gone one step further: they know if they just need a hug or a cuddle and some mom or daddy time, they have a word they can use and we'll know they need a little extra love. They may not be capable of voicing it aloud yet, or depending on their age, they may not even be able to put a finger on WHY they feel that way...they just know they need added affection.

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We've all needed a little extra love over here lately because our oldest son Abreham decided he didn't want to be part of our family anymore. If we were sitting over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, I'd share details with you...but both because it's a long story, several years in the making...and because I'm still trying to figure out how much and what to share with the world, I won't pour everything out right now.

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What I will tell you is he's an 18-year-old Junior in high school who has lived through a lot of trauma in his life. He's angry, he's broken, and he thinks he's better off alone because he can hide in his pain and not feel. Because feeling, to him, is weak. And it's painful.

We know he's safe, but I will leave details at that.

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I am devastated.

Absolutely devastated.

I ache every moment of the day with the loss and rejection and sadness. I'm angry, worried, and full of sorrow, all at the same time. As I go through the cycle of grief, over and over (and over), I give it back to my Father in Heaven to is with my son and I'm reminded he's not actually alone.


The thought of it is incredibly painful, but I'm ready for God to allow Abreham to be broken...but not destroyed.

And that's what I'm desperately praying for: that God only allows him to go so far. Just like the waves are only allowed to come so far onto shore, I pray that the Lord only allows Abreham to drift from Him so far. It's so hard knowing our kids need to learn from failure sometimes. They need to try things and realize growth is hard and it's even harder when bad decisions are being made.


Ben and I always say we want to prepare our kids for the road, not the road for our kids...and this is yet another example of how we cannot soften things for our children at every moment. This is obviously a much larger situation than simply allowing them to see what happens if they decide to wear flipflops to school when it's 35 degrees. This is huge.

This could potentially change the trajectory of his entire future.

And that may be even harder than him deciding he doesn't want to be part of our lives anymore.

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And the incredible hurt and pain he's cutting into his brothers and and sisters hearts, is one of the hardest parts on my mama-heart. But hearing the prayers of these little ones for their big brother, is awe inspiring. They pray for his "hurt heart", they pray for protection, and they pray that He comes home.

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While praying a few days ago, the Lord whispered in my ear "I will bring him back to you." I knew better than to ask may be 10 days, it may be 10 months, it may be 10 years...I just don't know.

But HE knows.

And I will rest in that because He is God and I am not.


Abreham, I love you.  You are not alone and can never stray too far that God won't pour His love out onto you. There's nothing you can do that He won't forgive if you ask with a sorrow-filled heart.

The Lord is walking beside you, Abreham, even when you don't want us to be. I will pray for you always. I will love you always.

- Mom

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Prayer these days has been a constant companion, though sometimes there are times it is hard to do so. I created this printable to remind myself of who He is and what He can do. Our God is a BIG God, and one of deep love for us.


When I have a hard time praying, I'm simply going to read this. If you need it, I pray you print it out, too. Head to The Library to download. As always, the password is at the top of all my emails, so if you haven't subscribed yet, feel free and do that today.

Love you friends, thanks for walking life with me.

Take Joy,


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(free printable) June calendar!

Are your kids out of school yet? Every morning mine are already asking me, "What's the plan? What are we doing today?" and "When are we going to the mountains? When are we headed to the zoo and hiking and doing our outdoor movies?"

Rather than allowing them to make my head spin with all their questions, always asking to see the calendar on my phone as well as my Anchored Press planner, I decided I'd print out a calendar to tack up on the bulletin board in our kitchen.

That way they can see exactly what days we have plans and what days they know they can laze around, ride bikes to the pool, and play with their neighborhood friends.

I thought I'd make it available to you, too!! Just in case your kids are big question-askers like mine are.

I'll commit to making a new one for July, August, and September, getting us through the summer months. And if y'all are liking having them, I can continue each month after that! Let me know if you want them to continue! Happy to oblige! ; )


Take Joy,


P.S. The calendars will be available in The Library (you must subscribe to the blog via email to receive the password).

To access The Library, click this button here (in the sidebar)...

Getting to know your kids better with the (updated) 4 Gift Rule + free printable tags

We've done the "Four Gift Rule" for gosh...maybe five years now?

And just absolutely love it.

We first began because we had recently brought home some of our adopted kids and felt burdened to just tone-down the excess in life. And in Christmas.

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We wanted to be more intentional in our gift-giving with the kids, not simply buying something because they might like it and then purchase something else because it was on sale and they'd mentioned it once, and then wrap up yet another toy I found last year and forgot about in the back of the get the idea.

That's how we gave gifts to our kids before switching gears.

Can you relate??

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For several years in a row however, we've done...

. Something you Want .

. Something to Read .

. Something to Wear .

And last year we switched from...

. Something you Need (because, truly...they have all they need.) to instead, Something we'll Do .

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This particular gift is our kids favorite because we get to do fun one-on-one dates that are right up their alley.

Things like, dinner at a fancy restaurant, tickets to a monster truck rally, heading downtown for the Art Walk, having our nails painted at a nice spa, going to a play, or an afternoon at the arcade.

Every family has to be deliberate with dates with their children, and having a family our size definitely takes major intentionality. It's important to us though, so we make them happen throughout the year.

These Christmastime dates are just a little bigger...a bit more special than simply having a hot chocolate and croissants at Starbucks.

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The Want gift is probably the hardest to purchase, believe it or not.

I think it's because Ben and I have to brainstorm together in finding hands-down, the one gift they want more than any others.

It forces us to really know our children and their likes and interests at this exact moment in their lives.

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Most of our kids are complete and total bookworms so sitting down and writing down ideas on the one book that would thrill them more than any other also helps us pay extra attention to where they're at in both interest and reading level.

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Something to Wear doesn't have to be as boring as it sounds.

Don't worry, we're not gifting socks and underwear here.

Instead, it's things like an NFL jersey we wouldn't typically spend money on, a sparkly "twirling" dress, or even something like this sweatshirt (for Abreham...shhhh) that will instill confidence in who they are and remind our kids how we see them.

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(click here to download striped tags)

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(click here to download dotted tags)

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(click here to download plaid tags)

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What do you think of this idea...would you change up the way you do Christmas?

What Christmas traditions do you have in your family!!

Comment below... I'd love to hear them + maybe add 'em to what we do!

Click here for more of our Christmas traditions + here for how we do Christmas.

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.free. Lock Screen Memory Verse + a little encouragement

For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:15b

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I love how this passage reads in The Message:

Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.

Wow. Makes me think twice about what comes out of my mouth. You too?

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I  just finished reading Jen Hatmaker's new book, For the Love.

I've marked the whole book up like a madwoman and have noticed a common thread: freedom. Freedom to say no, freedom to set boundaries, freedom to be the best sense of the word.

Freedom to wear yoga pants like a uniform (hah!) and freedom in the abundant love of Christ.

"God measures our entire existence by only two things: how we love Him and how we love people. If you get this right, you can get a million other things wrong." (p71)

How do all my random thoughts go together with Matthew 12:15?

Let me tell you...input and output.

Back in the 80's, when I was a painfully shy, sweet(ish) Sunday School girl, I spent most of class fixing my ever sagging tights where the crotch somehow always ended up mid-knee, the thin nylon sagging around my ankles, (I know I'm rambling, but please tell me I wasn't alone in this).

But when I wasn't wriggling around trying to get my undergarments just-so, I remember singing my little heart out. And I recall singing particularly loud to a song named "Input, Output".

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Do you remember it?

Warning: it's sung in a computer voice.

Mhm. Yep. I never claimed to be cool.


Anyway, it goes: "Input, output, what goes in must come out.

Input, output, that is what it's all about.

Input output, your mind is a computer whose.

Input, Output, daily you must choose."

 And as cheesy and lame as the song is, complete with computer voice and motions, it's stuck with me.

if I live in love

If I pray and work hard on kindness and patience, I'll speak in a way that will make our children feel my love for them as they grow. They will see freedom in Christ through my words and actions.

But this not only means feeding our hearts with meat from The Word. It also means we need to be careful what we spend our time watching or listening to. What conversations we're having with others.

It also means if we're angry or dissatisfied, we need to have an outlet for it...before it comes out in an unhealthy way.

I'm a (recovering) stuffer. I hate confrontation and will just press anything unpleasant down further and further, hoping it'll just go away and I'll get over it. unhealthy!

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It wasn't until being married that I realized that's NOT ok! You can't do that when you're on a team with someone for life. Your spouse will think everything is peaches and cream and then WHAM! A typhoon hits and takes everything out in it's wake. It ALL pours out.

The little issue from that day and everything all the way two years ago back. And his head will be spinning with confusion.

Talk about things AND pray about them.

Find a friend, your husband, or a counselor to just be crazy open and honest with.

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And wouldn't we rather overflow with love, kindness, goodness, generosity, and encouragement for others?

. . . . . .

Enjoy this lock screen + printable!

I challenge you to forward this post or the image itself on to a few friends who you cherish and think may love it, too! xo

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Printable (below): Download here.


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Cell Phone Lock Screen (below): Simply take a screen shot or download here. 10:15 lock screen download

past lock screens

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