Welcome!

Hi! I’m so glad you stopped by. I’m basically the Chaos Coordinator around here. Our family is spending a year or so living full-time in a travel trailer, exploring this big ol’ world while my husband works as a superhero (also known as a Pediatric ICU nurse).

If this is your first visit, you can learn more about me by reading the Welcome Start Here page. I hope you’ll come on in, grab a cup of coffee, and kick back for a while. This is just our little place on the web where we like to share our stories and hear yours, too. And we all have stories! 

Some days it’s an adventure, some days a drama, and a lot of days feel like a slapstick comedy. No matter the day and no matter our stories, I believe we’re meant to share them to encourage one another. Wherever we might be in our story, we can’t give up. We never know what’s ahead for us around the next bend. We just have to keep turning the page.

Take the Leap of Faith

Photo by Gerald Yambao on Pexels.com

With a blast of its whistle, the vintage locomotive shuddered to a stop along the tracks at the top of the bluff. The charming conductor tipped his hat and a grin spread beneath his handlebar mustache as he helped us down the stairs. We found ourselves in what felt like a scene straight out of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

Deep River Landing stood below us on the riverbank. A cheery white-and-blue riverboat was moored at the end of the dock. As we made our way down the gangplank, the ragtime music playing over the speakers put a little pep in our steps. We shielded our eyes against the bright sunlight glinting off the Connecticut River and found seats on the third level of the Becky Thatcher.

We shoved off, and the swift current of the river carried us away from the landing and out into the beautiful river valley. Osprey soared from green hillsides to bring fish back to their nests. The massive stone walls of Gillette Castle peeked out from behind a stand of trees on the very top of the highest hill. I wondered what it would be like to stand in a turret window and look down, watching the riverboat meander upstream.

A sudden whoop and holler, followed by a splash and cheers, caught my attention, and I made my way over to the rail. On the far side of the river, a group of twelve- or thirteen-year-old boys was clinging to the hillside. One by one, the boys grabbed hold of a thick braided rope, looked to the heavens, and with a cry to rival Tarzan, leapt from the hill. Out over the river they would fly, patiently waiting until that final moment of maximum pendulum swing before releasing the rope and letting gravity deliver them into the cool waters with a splash. As the riverboat passengers erupted again into delighted cheers, the boys on the hill took a cheeky bow.

I applauded their adventurous spirit. I didn’t think I would have had the courage to jump. That hillside perch must feel even higher once you’re standing on the edge. I seriously doubted I would trust the rope and the branch to hold me. That cold water must feel a million miles away when you’re in the empty space between land and river. And they did it all with an audience. I would be afraid I’d do a belly flop, embarrassing myself in front of a boatload of strangers.

I made my way back to my seat, still pondering these things when God nudged me. He whispered to my heart and reminded me I had recently taken a big leap of faith, too. Just several months before, God had asked us to leave our home and our family for  an unusual lifestyle that would take us far outside our comfort zone. We had sold our home and most of our belongings to join my husband on the road while he worked as a travel nurse.

Even though we didn’t yet understand how this new life would work, God had asked me to grab ahold of his hand and jump into the unknown. And even though I was more than a little afraid I’d do a belly flop in front of all our friends and family watching this journey unfold, I jumped…

I would love to invite you to click through to finish reading this post. We talk about what God shows us once we leave the solid ground of what’s familiar. When we find ourselves suspended in that space between what was and what’s to come. The “not yet” can stretch on indefinitely and can be more than a little scary. I hope you’ll join us at The Glorious Table here: https://theglorioustable.com/2021/10/devotional-take-the-leap-of-faith/

Keeper of the Light

When we’d driven just about as far as the blacktop would take us, we found ourselves at what felt like the edge of the world. Surrounded by blue sky and dunes of waving beach grass, the beach stretched before us. The seemingly ancient lighthouse stood tall as gulls circled overhead, their sharp eyes watching for a chance to swoop in and grab the forgotten remnants of a sandwich.

We grabbed towels and blankets and coolers and shovels and buckets and kids and began the slow climb up the impressive dunes. We paused at the top to take in the scene that had been hidden from view just moments before. A wide expanse of sand sloped from dunes to sea. The waves of the ocean looked as if they were in the cooling-off period after an argument. We claimed our spot in the shadow of the lighthouse and throughout the day, I found myself wondering what it would have been like to be a lighthouse keeper…

I suddenly related to this anonymous lighthouse keeper. The early days of motherhood are filled with bottle washing and diaper changing and booboo kissing. The later days are filled with dinner cooking and clothes cleaning and homework helping.

We fall into bed at the end of a day full of repetitive tasks, completely exhausted and counting the minutes before we do it all over again. It can absolutely feel monotonous. It can definitely be isolating. And most often, it feels pretty thankless…

If you can relate at all to these feelings, I invite you to join me over at Atlanta Mom to be encouraged in the midst of this day-to-day, rinse-and-repeat season of motherhood. https://atlantamom.com/family-lifestyle/keeper-of-the-light/

Designed to Need Help

Photo by Enrique Hoyos on Pexels.com

My husband gently shook my arm, and I opened my sleepy eyes. It took a minute to focus and process what I saw outside the car window. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought I was still dreaming. It looked as if we had been transported back in time and across the ocean.

We had just entered the old city gates of Quebec City. The streets had turned to cobblestone, and the buildings looked as if they had leapt from the pages of a classic fairytale. Flags fluttered, and flowers brought a cheery reminder of spring, despite the snow still on the ground.

We found our hotel and excitedly wheeled our bags through the front door. We were greeted by the charming woman behind the front desk. She welcomed us to Canada, checked us in, and gave us directions to the nearest parking facility. Once we got our bags all settled, we set out to park the car.

It didn’t take long for us to become hopelessly lost, and our GPS wasn’t much help. All the signs were in French. We couldn’t tell which streets were one way or which direction traffic was headed. There was a construction project blocking an entrance with a detailed sign explaining the detour. I’m sure it would have been extremely helpful to anyone who could read French.

My husband suggested we stop and ask for help, but I didn’t want to bother anyone. I was sure they had places to be and appointments to keep and did not want to be delayed by the unprepared Americans who hadn’t taken the time to download Google Translate before they got lost.

Thankfully, my husband decided to stop and ask anyway. Otherwise, we might still be driving in circles on the cobblestone streets of Old Quebec City. We pulled to the side of the road when we saw a couple eating lunch at a sidewalk café. I gathered together all the courage I could muster as I approached these strangers and asked them for help…

{To find out what happened next and what lessons God was teaching me, please click this link to continue reading at The Glorious Table. Designed to Need Help | The Glorious Table}

His Word Gives Us Clear Directions

For more photos of our travel journey, please join me on Instagram: @ThisOneTinyLife.

When we’d driven just about as far as the blacktop would take us, we found ourselves at what felt like the edge of the world. Surrounded by blue sky and dunes of waving beach grass, the Cape Cod National Seashore stretched before us. The Race Point Lighthouse stood tall as gulls circled overhead, their sharp eyes watching for a chance to swoop in and grab the forgotten remnants of a sandwich.

We grabbed towels and blankets and coolers and shovels and buckets and kids, and began the slow climb up the impressive dunes. We paused at the top to take in the scene that had been hidden from view just moments before. A wide expanse of sand sloped down to the sea. The waves of the Atlantic Ocean looked as if they were in the cooling off period after an argument. Couples strolled hand in hand at water’s edge. Blankets dotted the shore like the patches of a quilt waiting to be sewn together. A family was stacking firewood in anticipation of a sunset celebration.

We trudged through the sand and staked our claim near the lifeguard’s tower. A bright purple flag flew high above a serious-looking young man decked out in whistle and binoculars. The kids dropped their towels, kicked off their shoes, and were racing toward the water when it dawned on me. There was just one thing missing from this iconic beach scene: swimmers. On this beautiful, warm, sunny day, there was not a single soul splashing or throwing a Frisbee or body surfing. No one was in the water.

At that moment, the purple flag on the lifeguard stand began to wave as the breeze picked up. And there, in sharp white contrast on the purple background, leaving no room for misunderstanding, was the outline of a shark. The kids recognized the heightened urgency in my “STOP!” and begrudgingly reversed course. After a quick Google search, we learned the flag meant Great White sharks had been spotted in the area.

As a Florida native, I am no stranger to the beach. But the New England coastline is not like home. The sand feels different, the surf has a bit more urgency, and the rules and guidelines are unfamiliar. This purple flag was new to me. I wasn’t sure what it meant. Thank goodness for Google.

That day on the beach made me think of Psalm 119:19. I like how it’s written in The Message: “I’m a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions.”

I invite you to click through to continue reading what God reminded me that day on the seashore. The full post can be read at The Glorious Table. Please join us in a conversation here: https://theglorioustable.com/2021/02/devotional-his-word-gives-us-clear-directions/

He Is Faithful to Restore

The Spanish moss waved gently from the limbs of the hundred-year-old oak trees still standing tall and proud against the deep blue sky. The shade they generously provided my park bench was a blessed relief in the Georgia summer evening. The sweet smell of azaleas drifted by on the breeze. As we waited for our dinner reservation, I closed my eyes and listened to a lonesome melody sliding off the strings of a fiddle somewhere across the square. As the fireflies came out to dance, I thought to myself once again, There is just no place on earth quite like Savannah.

We climbed up the uneven front steps of the stately mansion. My jaw dropped as my eyes tried to take in every detail of that grand old home. I had never seen any place like it. We took our seats at a cozy table for two in front of a parlor fireplace. I felt like we had just stepped back in time.

It was easy to imagine the important business conducted over there at a desk by the window. I could almost see the stately men looking out over the square, smoking pipes and discussing the colonial politics of the day. I pictured the children who might’ve made the scuffs on the old plank floors as their elegantly dressed mothers sipped tea by the fire.

Every ornate detail of this 250-year-old home had been exquisitely preserved. Or, at least, that’s what I assumed. But I was wrong.

Savannah’s incredible historic district has been an inspiration to cities all over the world. But what we don’t always realize is that those beautiful, grand homes weren’t always so pristine. Back in the 1950s, those same homes were hollowed out, broken shells. They stood as just a wisp of a memory of their former selves with floors rotting, windows busted, ceilings leaking. One by one, the city began to raze the mansions to make room for parking garages…

I would love for you to click through to continue reading the remainder of this post at The Glorious Table. Come see how we are not much different than those hollowed out homes, but God is faithful to restore.
https://theglorioustable.com/2020/10/devotional-faithful-to-restore/

When We Don’t Have the Words, He Does

Screen Shot 2020-06-10 at 10.22.59 PM

I’m staring at the mountains rising up behind the screen of my laptop. The sky is impossibly blue, and the sun is shining. The breeze is cool on my face. It’s almost cold enough to grab my jacket. Birds are singing. Voices, music, and even some laughter are drifting over from neighboring campsites. This entire scene unfolding around me feels almost normal. Like any other day in any other time.

You could almost pretend there’s no global emergency going on. You could almost imagine it doesn’t feel like that impossibly blue sky might fall on our heads at any moment. You could almost forget the enormity of the grief and pain in the hearts of humanity this whole world over.

Almost.

I’ve agonized for days over what I should write for you. What words of encouragement could I offer to this hurting world? Every time I started, my words seemed to be painfully inadequate when held up against the light of statistics and headlines. Every sentence seemed sorely lacking. So I just stared at the mountains and the blinking cursor on my white screen while I whispered to the Lord.

The truth is, I don’t have the words our hearts need to hear. Contrary to what my Instagram feed might lead you to believe, I know I never have had the right words. But that’s not how I want the world to see me. I want to be seen as calm in the midst of chaos, stoic and courageous in the face of uncertainty and fear.

During quarantine, I’ve taken up cross-stitching. I worked for hours on a three-inch kit designed for kids. As a complete beginner, I painstakingly followed the pattern. When my colorful little llama was finished, I proudly held it up for my family to admire. My four-year-old was extremely impressed—until she turned it over and saw the back…

I’d love for you to click through to continue reading this post at The Glorious Table. Just click this link and join the conversation: https://theglorioustable.com/2020/06/when-we-dont-have-words-he-does/

There Is Life in the Desert

Screen Shot 2020-02-07 at 9.04.12 PMThe truck eased off the highway and came to a stop in a cloud of dust. It was day five of our cross-country road trip, towing our new home behind us, and our tank was nearing empty—both literally and figuratively. Nevada stretched before us, reaching as far as our eyes could see. A narrow ribbon of road crossed an ocean of sand and scrubby sagebrush, eventually fading into the edge of a shimmering horizon. You could practically smell the heat on the dry breeze. It felt like trying to breathe with a hairdryer blowing in your face.

I herded kids and dog into the now-familiar routine of dog walking, gas pumping, coffee grabbing, snack choosing. Then, resigning ourselves to as many more hours on the road as we could take, we set sail once more across that ocean of desert. Darkness and exhaustion would soon force an overnight break, and we’d find a place to set up camp.

As we climbed back into the truck and out of the suffocating heat, I had an overwhelming wave of sympathy for the Israelites who wandered in the desert for forty years. I wasn’t sure I could take another forty minutes. This prompted a reflection of some of the metaphorical deserts I’d occasionally found myself wandering in the past.

The memory that stood out most was the night I found myself sobbing on the kitchen floor. My husband was in the throes of nursing school and was gone most of the time for classes, clinical shifts, and studying sessions. We were both working part-time jobs, but the bills were piling up and the money had run out. I had just been diagnosed with a couple of autoimmune disorders that made my normal daily activities physically exhausting. I was also obsessively researching and educating myself on our four-year-old’s recent autism diagnosis and all the therapies required. Oh, and potty-training a two-year-old.

I felt like I was drowning in a desert of quicksand. I cried out to God to show himself to me. I desperately wanted signs and wonders. But instead of rainbows or lightning strikes, I got a still, small voice.

That voice reminded me of Scripture long ago etched into my heart. Some were verses I didn’t even remember memorizing. They were just there, in the corners of my mind, waiting for such a time as this, a time when I needed them. He reminded me that I am never alone. He is always with me. He doesn’t fade away when my feelings do. When I couldn’t feel him by my side, I had to choose to cling to his promises, even if it was with my fingernails. He is true, and his promises are eternal…

I’d love for you to finish reading this post by clicking through to The Glorious Table. I invite you to join the conversation!

Who Am I Reflecting?

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 3.28.08 PM

Our footsteps echoed on the wooden planks as we left the riverbank and stepped out over the water. The old walking bridge had stretched across that expanse of dark river for as long as the townspeople could remember. Several generations had held hands and stood right there in the center of the bridge, watching the lazy flow of water gently meander under their feet and return to view on the other side.

When your feet have left one bank but haven’t quite reached the next, you can stop right there and find yourself in the middle of two worlds—caught in the between of heaven and earth. The above is reflected so perfectly in the water below that it can be difficult to tell which way is up.

Lately, I find myself often caught between two worlds. Our family recently sold our house and most of our belongings to commit to a season of full-time travel. My husband is working as a pediatric critical care travel nurse, and I’m homeschooling our three kids while we tag along. Every thirteen weeks, we find ourselves on the road again, heading to a new town.

To walk each path the Lord leads us down has been an incredible exercise in faith. I call it the “best worst thing” for my often-anxious heart—to learn to trust God in all the small details of this unusual way of living.

This has also been the most epic adventure of our lives. We’ve experienced life among the rocky coasts of New England, the rolling farmlands of North Carolina, and the breathtaking beauty of the Sierra Nevada mountain meadows and Lake Tahoe. We’ve grown to dearly love these little towns and big cities we’ve called “home” along the way.

But like all great adventures, this one does not come without sacrifice…

 

I would love for you to click through to The Glorious Table to continue reading this post and join the conversation in the comments. (Here is the link: https://wp.me/p6QH26-35j)

And All Is Well Because You’re Here – Cape Cod

The wheels of the borrowed stroller had barely hit the cobblestones before the clanging of the bell caught our attention.

Looking across the crowded street, I met his eyes, twinkling from underneath his wide-brimmed hat. He clicked his buckled shoes together, clanged his bell three times, tossed his cape over his shoulder, and cried out in our direction: “AND ALL IS WELL BECAUSE YOU’RE HERE!”

IMG_8019

If you’ve never had life affirmations shouted at you from a pilgrim decked out in his Sunday best, have you really even lived? That alone might be worth the trip to Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Situated at lands’ end on Cape Cod, Provincetown is a quirky mix of history, culture, colorful characters, and sassy charm.

Think Key West meets Savannah, but in the most New England way.

Between the shops, restaurants, farmers market, and monuments, there was more than enough for us to do in an afternoon. We only had a few hours, so we walked the harbor and saw replicas of historical sailing vessels, ferries unloading boatfuls of weekenders from Boston, and whale watching tours departing for guaranteed sightseeing.

Commemorating the landing of the Pilgrims in 1620, Provincetown will celebrate the 400th anniversary next year. So, we gave into peer pressure and a few brave souls conquered the 116 steps and 60 ramps to climb Pilgrim Monument. They were rewarded with incredible views of the cape and the Atlantic Ocean.

From the packed streets of Provincetown, we drove a few miles down the road to Race Point Beach. The entire Atlantic coastline of Cape Cod has been preserved as a national park. The Cape Cod National Seashore is massive and completely full of unspoiled beauty.

(Tip: If you have a 4th-grader, you can get a pass that will grant you year-long free access to all parks within the U.S. National Park Service. Click here for more info and to print your pass! https://everykidinapark.gov/get-your-pass/)

IMG_3413

We climbed over the dunes and staked our claim on a few square feet of sand. The kids were mid-dash to the water, when I spotted the purple flag waving high above the lifeguard stand.

“STOP!”

IMG_8022

I wasn’t entirely sure what the flag meant, but the menacing outline of a shark against the purple background called for a google search at the very least. Sure enough, the flag warned beachgoers that Great Whites were in the area. A few of the more, um, stubborn people went for a swim anyway and gave us the best laugh when a seal surfaced right behind them. They practically walked on water trying to make it to shore.

We had a wonderful time. Cape Cod might be the most quintessential New England experience. Shingled cottages, charming towns, waving sea oats, bonfires on the beach, clambakes. Cape Cod has it all.

IMG_3410

No matter what’s going on back home or whatever stress you’re carrying on your shoulders, it all falls away when you make it to the cape. You don’t have to take my word for it. Take it from the life-affirming pilgrim.

All is well because you’re here!

Oceans of Grace

53B1C36A-0049-4696-B3A3-40D9FFB68DE2.png

The blue of the sky was two shades deeper than it had been any of the other days that week. The salt air carried the weight of winter on its breeze, but the warmth of the sun held the promise of spring. Laughter, slightly muted by the rhythmic surf, carried across the sunbaked sand.

My three-year-old daughter came running over to where I leaned against a giant piece of driftwood, her blond curls bouncing with each excited step. She proudly announced she had found the fanciest rock in the whole wide world and held out her dimpled hand to reveal her discovery.

What she clenched in her toddler grip wasn’t a rock at all, and its smooth surface shimmered in the sunlight like a gemstone. The translucent shade of turquoise reminded me of crystal-clear waters captured in images on postcards from paradise.

It was sea glass, and it was love at first sight.

We spent the rest of our afternoon pacing the water’s edge, heads down and eyes straining. By the time the sun was dipping below the horizon, we had collected a handful of treasure in glittering shades of blue, white, green, and purple. When we got home, we placed our treasure in a small glass bowl on our kitchen windowsill and pulled out the computer for an impromptu science lesson.

Sea glass originates from pieces of ordinary glass jars, bottles, windows, or containers—items we might consider trash. They somehow end up in the ocean where the salty waves and the pull of the tides tumble them around and around. Over the course of years—even decades—the shards of glass take on a frosted appearance. The sharp edges are worn away until each piece of glass becomes a smooth, soft, colorful work of art…

To read more about how God used sea glass to show me more of Him, please click through to The Glorious Table: https://theglorioustable.com/2019/06/oceans-of-grace-womens-devotional/