hello cousins in carpinteria

adventures, hello monday, san luis obispo By June 29, 2015 2 Comments

Hello Monday! We are in the thick of summer fun and business craziness. The two seem to go hand in hand–and we’re doing our best to roll with it. Last week the boys and I met up with my twin sis and her twin daughters to kick off summer with some swimming, good food and hotel silliness. We had so much fun! How about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!

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Hello sunscreen! Sometimes putting on sunscreen feels like a part time job!

Hello swimming and sunshine. David loved the pool–it was nice and warm. And of course the other kids swam for hours.

Hello email and meetings between trips to the beach and the ice cream shop. Sometimes it flows and sometimes I feel pulled and frustrated.

Hello camping. Which means hello dirt and sand and roasting marshmallows.

Hello time with friends. That’s the best part of summer, I think!

Hello s’mores and cinnamon rolls and eating waaay too much sugar.

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?

Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there!


hello yucca ridge trail

adventures, hello monday By June 22, 2015 Tags: , , 3 Comments

Hello friends! We had a weekend packed with fun and productivity. We saw Inside Out {which we loved!}, ate at our favorite restaurant, celebrated Father’s Day and hiked Yucca Creek Ridge. It was a very warm day and the hike is steep with little shade. But we pushed out at had a great time. How about some hellos for a brand new week?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

yucca ridge trail san luis obispo

Hello yucca plants. They are actually quite sharp and we all got a few scratches during the hike.

Hello sun on my shoulders. I loaded up on screen and still managed to get a little sunburn.

Hello happy David on the hike, happy David during the movie and miserable David during dinner. Thankfully we had a server who was super speedy and we were in and out of the restaurant in 30 minutes.

Hello Matthias getting so good at hiking! I love being outdoors with him.

Hello hearing a rattlesnake on the trail and picking up the pace to get away. We never saw it, but it sure sounded like a rattle!

Hello working on sprucing up the master bedroom this week. Fun!

Hello exciting things to share with you this week. Stay tuned!

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. Will you join me?

Leave some hellos in the comments section or link your own hello monday post there.


hiking the bluffs montana de oro

adventures, family, san luis obispo By May 27, 2015 7 Comments

We’ve been hiking a lot lately and it’s been so fun! One of the easier hikes we’ve done is off the beaten path and absolutely breath-taking. It’s land owned by PG&E so you have to enter by walking past a gate and sign into the ranger station. The views are staggering and the landscape is easy to navigate. Check out these pics.

Maybe we should have a gathering in San Luis Obispo and I’ll take you to my favorite restaurants, show you some beautiful hikes and of course we could do a little thrifting too. Wouldn’t that be fun?


hello home {the best!}

adventures, dominican republic By May 11, 2015 4 Comments

Hello friends! We are back home and soaking up lots of extra cuddles and family time. We had a great time in the DR–very productive with some fun and even a little bit of sightseeing! It’s beautiful and I love the DR–but there’s no place like home, right?

Today I’m sharing pics of our time last week and saying hello to a brand new week. Join me?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello Altos de Chavon. It’s an artists colony with incredibly stone work. Truly breath-taking!

Hello finding love. It’s everywhere.

Hello time with my love. So thankful for him.

Hello stone steps–so much detail.

Hello hard working rhino.

Hello golden flowers, golden sunset.

Hello church built 50 years ago that looks thousands of years old.

Hello breeze through the palm trees.

Hello nighttime at the marina.

Hello little star twinkling above the trees.

Hello fresh fish. Very fresh. I don’t think I’ve ever had such fresh fish.

Hello delicious. I wan’t sure how to eat it but I figured it out.

Hello all done. Yum.

Hello color and light.

Hello laundry and emails. {I’m always saying hello to those!}

Hello snuggling with my boys. So happy to be home!

Hello sipping an extra cup of coffee to fight the jet lag.

Hello needing a day off to get the house in order.

Hello new designs to photograph and share with you!

Hello getting back into our rhythm with eating good and exercising.

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?
Leave some hellos in the comments section or link your own hello monday post there.


hiking bishop’s peak, san luis obispo

adventures, san luis obispo By May 8, 2015 2 Comments

Last weekend we hiked Bishop’s Peak off Foothill in San Luis Obispo. It was harder than I thought! It’s do-able, we just took our time. Steve carried David in the backpack. At the end, we all had a huge feeling of accomplishment!

Going down was a little scarier than coming up. So good for us to stretch ourselves and try new things.

It’s Friday and we are heading home to the boys. I absolutely cannot wait to see them. What are you weekend plans?


hello hiking, hello happy

adventures, hello monday By April 20, 2015 6 Comments

We’ve been wanting a really good backpack for David for years. We’ve researched online, debated and waited. And yesterday we finally broke down and bought one. The one we got–a Deuter kid carrier II–is big enough for David. {It holds up to 48 pounds and he’s about 40 pounds} He was comfortable and happy. It has shoulder straps so even when Steve slipped one time, David was secure. It’s an investment but so awesome. We headed up to Montana de Oro to try out. Why didn’t we do this sooner? We had so much fun! It was a gorgeous day–the sunshine on our shoulders, the birds chirping. I can’t wait to go again.

It’s Monday and a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. How about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello exploring our own backyard and seeing things we haven’t seen before.

Hello moving and stretching and laughing and getting out of the house!

Hello laughing and climbing trees and running ahead on the trail. Matthias would prefer to stay home and play video games and draw–but we dragged him outside and he had a blast. Listen to your parents–they know best! 😉

Hello chillin in the backpack. David loves to be outside. He was happy the whole time!

Hello tree climber. I knew you had it in you!

Hello cross trainers instead of heels. Feels good.

Hello little quail perched in the tree.

Hello breath taking views and feels overwhelmed by God’s creation.

Hello blooming flowers and blue skies.

Hello butterfly with painted wings.

Hello family and being together. Hello connecting and talking and making memories.

Hello sunscreen and water and potty breaks.

Hello stepping away from my desk and email and the to-do list.

Hello lots to do and energy to do it.

Hello getting ready for SNAP! Will you be there? I can’t wait!

Hello groceries and menu planning.

Hello feeling refreshed and thankful.

It’s Monday! A fresh start and new beginning! What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there!



How Dominicana can make you better person {beauty of a gift}

adventures, dominican republic By February 19, 2015 8 Comments

I am surrounded by beauty.

the beauty of fresh fruit.

the beauty of a little girl’s smile.

the beauty of a cottage with gingerbread trim.

the beauty of eyes that sparkle.

the beauty of perfectly mismatched tiles.

the beauty of colorful clothes drying on a line.

the beauty of friendship.

the beauty of flowers growing past iron bars.

the beauty of twin sisters.

the beauty of a breeze that blows through the flag.

the beauty of a hillside with uncountable steps.

the beauty of a woman walking to work.

want to be part of something beautiful? consider sponsoring a child in the dominican republic. it will make all the difference in this child’s life.
{and the necklace pictured above, is a gift when you sponsor}

we fly home tomorrow night. i have more to share with you next week. i’m leaving part of my heart in the DR but i can’t wait to squeeze my beautiful boys!!!


There will be hard moments, but I need to hold myself together

adventures, dominican republic By February 18, 2015 24 Comments

Before this trip, I had already traveled to the Dominican Republic three times. I’ve traveled to Guatemala multiple times. I’ve been to the countryside in Thailand. I’ve seen poverty and heartache.

So when Compassion asked me to come to the Dominican Republic, I said yes. I wanted to understand the people more deeply. I wanted my heart to fall deeper in love with the DR.

But I didn’t want to get too attached. I didn’t want to get too emotional. I didn’t want to be too broken.

As I packed my suitcase for the trip, I was determined to be strong.

“I already know what I’m going to see”, I told myself. “There will be hard moments, but I need to hold myself together.”

These trips can be overwhelming and heart-wrenching and exhausting. “But I’m fine”, I assured myself. I’m not going to let my emotions get the best of me.

And then we went to visit Elsa, who is a grandmother to Jazmin, and her two grandsons. Jazmin was born with a disability. She can’t walk or talk. She can’t chew food. When she was born, her mother didn’t want her. She is completely dependent on her grandmother to care for her and meet her every need. When I saw her curled up in the corner of the couch, I longed to hold her in my arms. With her grandmother’s permission, I scooped her up and I melted into a puddle of tears.

And I wasn’t fine.

All I could think about was my sweet David and how very loved and precious he is to me. What if we lived here on this mountainside? What if there were days I had no food to give him? What if I couldn’t afford medicine when he was sick?

Jazmin, you are worth three plane rides, a bus ride and a climb up steep stairs.

You are worth crying hot tears and being a complete mess.

You are worth cuddling and kissing and loving.

You are worth having my heart shattered into a million pieces.

You are worth every diamond, every pearl.

Each and every child is worth it. You are worth it. I am worth it.

Because of Jesus, each of us is worthy.

Tell a child she is worthy today. Open your heart and let yourself be part of something truly amazing. Click here to sponsor a child through Compassion.


1 little step to become better person {the lump in throat}

adventures, dominican republic By February 17, 2015 18 Comments

Today we visited with Josefina and her daughter, Hilde. They invited us into their freshly painted home with wall patched together with brick, found wood and cardboard. Their entire home is smaller than a typical bedroom in the US.

While I’m here in the DR, I want to learn first hand how Compassion is impacting lives. I want the mothers to tell me how life is different now that their child has a sponsor.

When Steve and I asked Josefina to tell us how life is different now that Hilde has a sponsor through Compassion. Her response was, “Everything is different.”

So we pressed for more specifics.

“Can you give us specific examples of things she has now that she didn’t have before?”

This single mom with deep dimples and tired eyes, responded, “Now she has shoes. Now she has food to eat. Now she can go to school.”

Oh. Wow. We let it sink in.

Every minute of everyday of Hilde’s life is different.

Hilde literally has shoes and food because of her Compassion sponsor. Daily life is livable because of the resources provided through Compassion. And the future looks different because of the education, training and opportunities available to Hilde through Compassion.

 I asked her mom, “What do you want for Hilde that you couldn’t do for yourself?”

And she looked back at me with tears in her eyes.

And that lump came up in my throat. Because I am a mom, too. And I want every good thing for my children. And we cried together. Because life is hard. And being a mom is hard. Being a mom in poverty with very few resources is even harder.

I gave Josefina the necklace she is wearing. She put in on and told me, “No one has ever given me gift like this.”
She touched the necklace around her neck and I knew it was something truly precious to her.

As we turned to leave, I commented on a rag rug laid over a plastic chair.

“This is lovely, did you make it?”, I asked.

She picked it up, folded it into fourths and put it in a plastic bag. She put it in my hands and gave me a tight squeeze.

Josefina, who has so little, gave freely and without hesitation. I felt the lump in my throat and wondered why I am so hesitant to give when I have so much?

* * *

Friends, I tell you this story only so that you can know, without a doubt that sponsoring a child through Compassion, changes a life. I don’t want you to feel one ounce of guilt. I only want you to know that you can come alongside a mama and help her care for her child.

You can change a child’s life today. You can change their future.

You can be part of something truly amazing and beautiful.

Click here to see children waiting for sponsor.


a mother’s heart

adventures, dominican republic By February 16, 2015 4 Comments

Today in the Dominican Republic, Our Compassion team leaders took us to visit a CDSP {Child Development Sponsorship Program}. This is the flagship program for Compassion and probably what they are best known for. You probably already know that you can sponsor a child for $38 month. Steve and I sponsor Joeli and we can’t wait to meet her later this week.
I expected the kids to be friendly and affectionate–and they were. So fun! I didn’t expect to be so moved by one mama I met. I didn’t expect to see Compassion so directly changing individual lives. Read on for more.

How cute are these girlies? Yep, they latched on to me quickly and stole my heart. We sat together and sang as the program started. Heart-melters.

Steve made friends, too. The kids adored him. He’s very lovable.

We brought necklaces to give as gifts. Here, I’m pictured with Veronica {on the left}, the CDSP head and Ana, a tutor {on the right}.

Homes are built with mostly found materials and are small, cozy and clean. There is sporadic electricity and often no running water. Beds are often shared by siblings and parents. This isn’t an easy way of life, but today I experience families full of joy, hope and love.

I passed out stickers and had an army of children happy to take them off my hands–and stick them on their foreheads. So silly!

Dominicans take pride in keeping their clothes clean. Even those in extreme poverty brush their teeth and hair and put themselves together.

This group of boys was playing by the river. The DR gets a lot of rain and this river swells a few times a year and floods the nearby homes.

Homes are brightly painted and the texture and color is breath-taking. And kittens and puppies are everywhere.

Above is Lisbeth, her mother and her younger brother. Lisbeth has a sponsor through Compassion and it has been life-changing. 18 months ago their home burned down after a neighbor knocked over a candle. Compassion helped them rebuild a new home, with concrete floors instead of dirt. The home is more stable and dries more quickly after a flood. Lisbeth receives medication, food and training through Compassion. Her mother says the emotional support that Compassion provides, especially during the crisis of losing their home, gives her hope.

I asked this single mother what she hopes for, for Lisbeth. She said she wants her to be obedient and to thrive. She wants her to be whatever she wants to be. Lisbeth wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and with Compassion, that goal is significantly more attainable.

I looked into this mama’s eyes and saw my own heart. A heart that simply wants every good thing for my children.

She doesn’t want my pity. She doesn’t want my charity. She wants someone to come alongside and say, “I get it. I’m a mom, too.” Sponsoring a child through Compassion directly changes that child’s life. It means the future looks completely different. It means today they will have the food, vitamins and medicine they need.

Click here to see children waiting for a sponsor. They will melt your heart. {and that necklace above is a gift when you sponsor!}

And if you want to see kids with special needs, waiting for a sponsor, click here. How cute is Damarisell {she has epilepsy}. Rensy has sass! Love it. She is visually impaired.
Chanelys is adorable. She has a speech impairment and medical needs.

Want to get excited? So much is happening! To see kids being sponsored while our team is here in the DR, click here.