Hand Me Down Buttons and Love


Over the past few years, my grandma-in-law has been passing her craft supplies down to me. She has been filling my craft closet with vintage treasures of lace, fabric, and lots of amazing buttons. She didn’t just buy buttons, she would painstakingly cut them off clothes that were no longer wearable. So the different collections passed down to me, were grown over decades of deciding what was valuable enough to buy, and then what was valuable enough to keep.

Two weeks ago, this sweet woman passed away and we’re are all saying goodbye in our different ways. Today, I’m sorting through sewing notions and thread– my last gift of hand me downs from Grandma. She would always tell me, “You’re the only one that does this stuff anymore. You will actually use it.”


So now I’m making the hard decisions. What can I make for the little girls, her great-grandkids, so that they will remember her? How do I use these vintage tools that I’ve never seen on Pinterest? How do I continue what she started long ago?

Because she loved so well with her sewing and crafts. Not just the family, but strangers too! She would buy teddy bears and stuffed animals at garage sales and thrift stores. Then take them home and clean them up. Give them a new smile or eyes. And tie a bow on them. Around Christmas time, Grandma and Grandpa would drive around to the roughest parts of town, passing the them out to whatever kids they could find.

I’ve learned so much from her over the last 14 yrs of having her as my grandma. I want to honor her with the tools and supplies she’s left behind. And I want to continue to pass down the lessons she taught with her life.


Day Seventeen: Stories of Hope


Have you heard of GivesMeHope.com? It’s a site where people post their stories of hope. If you are looking for a little hope pick me up, click the link and check it out. This one was my favorite.

the things no one else will tell you about having little people in your life

baby Angelina Jolie

my littlest person, back when she was little

One day, you will take off your shoes and put them exactly where they live in your closet. Then later that day you will look there and the left one will be missing. You will search the entire house for it, only to find it under a dresser in the bedroom down the hall. Do not feel like you are going crazy. You DID put it away. You DID NOT put it under the dresser in the other bedroom.

One day, you will be going through a security check point and you will not have kids with you. The security guard will pull: a pair of underwear, a yo-yo, and a half eaten lollipop, out of your purse, for a whole line of people to see. Do not explain. Just smile.

One day, you will be cleaning out the backseat of your vehicle only to find an entire uneaten bag of french fries under the seat. Do not ask yourself how long it has been there. Do not lecture/question your kids about it. It will happen again. It is completely out of everyone’s control.

One day, your littlest person will walk down the hall to you in your very expensive, most favorite pair of high heel boots, wrecking the heels and making them wobbly for all time, and you will only laugh and take pictures.

One day, you will find a little girl in your bathroom smearing designer make up all over her knees and elbows. Do not yell. It is a rite of passage. It’s supposed to be expensive.

One day, you will make every bed in the house, turn around and find every bed in the house unmade. You are not going crazy. Do not remake them. Make the little people do it. Do NOT remake them. It is okay to have sheets on top of the blankets, for one day.

One day, you will be at your lowest low, and out of the blue, two little arms will hug your neck and tears will pour down your cheeks and a very little person will tell you, “Don’t cry. It will be alright.” Do NOT disregard their advice, because they are little. Do not tell them they don’t understand. They understand better than you do in that moment.

One day, you will find a stick of butter in a closet. It’s best to just pretend this never happened.

One day, a little person you are responsible for, will lift up her skirt while on a stage, say a cuss word to one of your pastors, or tell people you really love alcohol. Do not let this define you.

One day, you will sit and write about all the ways that your little people drive you crazy, and mess up your stuff, and you will realize what they have taught you: People matter most.  Deadlines, stuff, looking like a good person are all irrelevant. Live well with your people. Give them all the love you have in you.

Embarrassing Picture Alert!

frosh winter formalJon and I have been married for 12 years, which is not a remarkable number.  It’s just a normal number in marriage terms.  Because we were teenagers when we started dating, one of the things that we don’t really take issue with, is change in each other.  You know when you are watching a movie and the guy says, “You’ve changed!” with accusation in his voice.  We sort of laugh at that.  We laugh because it is our goal to change.  It has been such a large part of our relationship.  We knew that when we were committing to each other, we were not only committing to the cute 21 year old version, but also to the 33 year old stranger that was to come.  And, for that matter, I am still committed to the 65 year old bald man I have yet to meet.

This sort of commitment is becoming more and more ambiguous these days.  In movies, and in conversation, we talk about life long commitment the same way we talk about oil changes.  In about 500 more miles, I will need to go to Jiffy Lube.  We talk about it more as maintenance and routine. Yesterday, I read an article about “maintaining a good marriage relationship”  and she spoke about allotting more time in your schedule so that you can be with your spouse. It all sounds so clinical and mathematical, and the author had only been married for a year, eek!

But, this is what has struck me lately.  Life is not guaranteed to us.  Not only can I not guarantee I will be around tomorrow, but I cannot guarantee that Jon will be around tomorrow.  When I think of this, my mind goes back to our college dating days, when we weren’t guaranteed to see each other.  It was so exciting to accidentally run into each other on campus, or get a phone call out of the blue.  These days, when I “accidentally” run into my husband, I say things like, “Did you remember to get the crescent rolls?”  I used to hang on his every word, listen to his ramblings and laugh at his cheesy jokes.  (Which must have been annoying to watch, I apologize to all our college friends.  How did you put up with us?)

I agree with the author of yesterday’s article:  there are times when we need to look at things practically and schedule times to be together.  But, I think more than anything it is a heart matter.  There was a reason I wanted to spend all of my college free time with Jon.  I cherished him.  Yes, there was crazy infatuation and we liked to make out (Sorry, Mom), but I recognized something about him that I tend to forget these days.  He is the only one on the planet like him.  He will have a way of looking at things that is different from everyone else.  He will love a bunch of random things and pull them all together in a way that only he can.  And, I happen to love the way he does all that.  And, just like everyone else in my life, I don’t know how long we have each other, so every day is to be treasured.  Every lingering hug in the kitchen enjoyed.  The car, we can take for granted and maintain regularly.  The marriage, we need to fully enjoy and celebrate constantly!

For the Love of the Ocean– The Tutorial

So, now that you’ve read through my sappy sentimentalism, I think it’s time for a little tutorial.

Wear comfy layers.  It will be hot, cold, and windy all in the same day.


Pack a lunch and snacks.  It gets hungry out there, and you won’t want to leave once you’re settled. This is the perfect time to use disposables. That way you can throw everything away while you’re still there.


Expect to get gross.  It’s just more fun that way.  You wouldn’t worry about getting muddy while you were splashing through puddles, why would you worry about little sand and saltwater?

Source: google.com via Lisa on Pinterest


Put your two year old daughter in a two piece bathing suit, regardless of what your husband says about modesty.  On the 5th trip to the porta-potty, he will thank you for it.

Source: flickr.com via Stephane on Pinterest


Always look for shells!  And, don’t forget to look for sea glass, driftwood, and really cool rocks while you’re at it.  Do NOT bring home seaweed!  It will only smell worse.  It will not “air out.”

Or, just ignore everything I just said and do it your way.:)  Like, you needed my help!  What’s your favorite way to enjoy the beach?

For the Love of the Ocean Part II

It’s hard to understand, I know, but when you live by the ocean something happens.  It becomes a reference point.  Not really a directional reference point.  Although, growing up in the Bay Area, my dad used to try to tell me things like, the bay will be on this side of you and then you will drive towards the ocean.  Ha!  It was never that kind of reference point for me.  I have no sense of direction.  But, it was always a thinking place.  I can remember back all the way to Jr.High when my girlfriends and I would walk down to the beach and sit in the sand.  We would talk about all the Jr.High drama in our lives.;) Sitting there next to the BIGness of the ocean, put life back in its place.  It put me back in my place.

Then, I think along the way, the ocean became this place where I could mark the years.  I remember my brother’s birthday party when he was little and got a crazy bad sunburn.  I remember hauling all of our books down to the beach and pretending to study in college.  I remember taking my babies for their first visits and sticking their chubby little toes in the salty water.  Somewhere along the way, the ocean became this place that soaked up memories and stored them for me.  So that now, as I drive up to the crest of a hill and spot the sparkly blue goodness, I gasp and well up with emotion.  If I sit in the sand and fix my gaze on the sunny horizon, the ocean gladly unfolds a lifetime’s worth of snapshots with each coming wave.  And, as I am presented with glimpses of myself, I am reminded of the choices I have made and the values that propelled them.

Next up: The story about how I embarrass myself in surfing lessons.  Just kidding.  Just more love of the ocean.

For the Love of the Ocean


Last week, I went on a little trip to LA.  It was supposed to be a writing/visiting trip, but unfortunately I got a really gross stomach flu and was out of commission for most of it.  But, that’s not what I wanted to share with you.:)  On Thursday, I got to go to the beach!  It was only a brief visit, but oh, how lovely it was!  As I drove up over the hill, the endless blue waves were sitting there, right where they have always been.  I literally gasped.  I didn’t realize how much I had missed it.  My heart was so filled with gratitude in that moment.

Now, I want to take some time for those of us that don’t quite get the love of the ocean.  We’ve all seen the Corona commercials with the quiet hush of the waves and the sand sticking to suntanned legs, so I think we can all agree that the sun and sand make for a great vacation destination.  But, I have heard many of you, and I won’t mention names, complain about the tiny little rocks or say, “It’s sort of just a big lake, right?”

In honor of my ocean, this week, I will give you this California girl’s glimpse of the love.  The love that will pay twice the rent.  The love that just has to see it every once and a while.  The love that can overlook sand in the sandwiches.;)

Our Love to You

So, we didn’t do Christmas cards this year because we were moving and life was crazy, but instead we worked on a little valentine to send out to our friends and family on Valentine’s Day.  Our friends and family are Ah-mazing and they put up with a lot from us because we are kind of all over the place, so we really wanted to find a way to say, “We love you!  We couldn’t do life without you.”
The alternate title for this little movie is Look What You Can Do with an Iphone, because we just used what we had on hand. We also filmed in our cave of a kitchen.  Hmm, not exactly sure why. But, all that really matters is that we wanted to show some love.

Which brings me to my I-know-it’s-not-Valentine’s-day-point, thank you for stopping by this little corner of internet!  We love having you!  I know most of you are the friends and family, I mentioned above, but in case you aren’t, I just want to say, “Welcome!  Our casa es su casa.”  If you ever have questions, comment or email, we’d love to hear from you!

Missionary man

He’s such a good husband and dad that sometimes, I forget that there is this part of him as well.

jon gray shirt

This is what he loves.

jon groups

This is a part of his life that reminds him that he is uniquely made and called to a purpose.

jon hand game

As his partner in life, I want to protect this space for him.  I want to encourage his heart in the things he is passionate about.  I want to help  make it possible for him to extend himself, fully, to those who are hurting.  And I want to, not only, sustain the homefront but make it a soft place for him to land.

jon brown shirts

It is an incredible honor and privilege to do this for this man.  I fail miserably sometimes, but it is my prayer that I can learn to love better, uphold better, and hold dreams better as we continue to journey together.

gifts from my mom

Some of the wonderful things I have learned from my mother:

Before your feet hit the floor, start the day with prayer ♥ Buy flowers ♥ Don’t be afraid to stand strong, regardless of circumstance or popularity ♥ Write ♥ Care for others ♥ Give special care to those who are older than you ♥  It’s okay when people mispronounce your name ♥ Give sacrificially ♥ Food from all over the world is yummy ♥ Children are precious and should be adored ♥ Thrift stores are wonderful ♥ Try new things ♥ Live in humility ♥ Put a little powder on your nose ♥ Find value in things others can’t ♥ Always accessorize ♥ Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Happy Mother’s Day!  I love you Mom!