Sacred space

by Lesley on March 22, 2014 · 14 comments

in growing up


There are cookies baking in our oven one last time, and their smell provides lures me to pause from the packing. I need one more night to write at my little corner desk, in my little white kitchen, in my first little home.

I never imagined we’d leave so soon.

Three years in a home is actually quite short in the grand scheme of things, but oh how we’ve loved in this house, and oh how we’ve lived in this kitchen.

The first time we saw our house I was newly pregnant, but didn’t know it yet. Just days after placing our offer, when kitchen remodeling plans were entering the conversation, I saw two faint pink lines pop-up on a home pregnancy test. By the time our baby bump emerged the kitchen had been torn down to nothing and I asked Shane to build me a corner desk near the windows because I was going to be a mom, and I was going to quit my job, and I was going to write.

This kitchen has seen my hope.

Shane built us a beautiful kitchen and just days after it was completed we hosted a small gender reveal party. On our new granite countertops we cut open a pink cake and I pumped my fist because a little girl was going to join our family.

This kitchen has seen my joy.

A few months after Anna arrived, I’d stand alone in our kitchen as Jonathan spilled out the words “Cancer.” I rocked back and forth, sobbing, as he promised to be home soon. And then I stood, frozen, staring out the windows before screaming to God:  “I don’t want to be a widow!”

This kitchen has seen my fear.

It’s in this kitchen I gave him Neupogen shots each morning before work so his white blood cells would grow, and then we’d hoist Anna into our arms and spin her round and round while Justin Bieber crooned on my laptop.

This kitchen has seen our fight.

It’s in this kitchen I wrote articles for Her.meneutics and penned much of my book proposal and interviewed literary agents.

This kitchen has seen my determination.

It’s in this kitchen that Jonathan and I made approximately 200 breakfast smoothies, loads of pancakes, our first Thanksgiving turkey, several Easter buffets, a pan of enchiladas that somehow ended up on the walls, and countless batches of granola.

This kitchen has seen our appetite.

It’s in this kitchen he called to tell me the PET scan was clear, again, and we rejoiced in his health.

This kitchen has seen my relief.

It’s in this kitchen where I made Anna’s first baby foods as she opened drawers and made messes. It’s also here that I once yelled at her for leaving Legos in my path, then dropped to my knees and begged forgiveness when I saw how much I’d crushed her spirit.

This kitchen has seen my anger.

It’s in this kitchen that my sister called to tell me Grandma Jeanne had passed, and it was here, just a days ago that I learned Grandpa Frank will not be far behind.

This kitchen has seen my sadness.

Just a few weeks ago I stood in this kitchen as Jonathan called from work and said, “There’s no longer a job for me in Sacramento. We have some choices to make.”

And again, this kitchen saw my tears.

Tonight I write in a sacred space and a holy place…

…it’s not an historical site or a church or a room with a view…

it’s my kitchen.

And it’s forever part of our story.

(Photo taken a few weeks ago by my lovely friend, Ashlee Gadd, to help us remember our home. It was in this kitchen that Ashlee told me she was pregnant with her first baby, Everett.)


The next thing.

by Lesley on March 20, 2014 · 3 comments

in santa barbara

I mentioned last week that we’ve been facing some big decisions. I wanted to share that our family is moving to Santa Barbara early next week. It’s quite sudden and unexpected and wonderful and sad all at the same time. Wonderful because we’re heading closer to our families and closer to the ocean but sad because it means leaving a caring community, and a city we’ve come to love…not to mention the little house we’ve poured into. I’m still processing this big change but one thing is for certain: God wants us in Santa Barbara. I’m so thankful for the way He is working in our hearts and our home to make this change happen. I can’t wait to fill you in someday on all the little details of this move, but for tonight this quote will have to do:

“Everything is interim. Everything is a path or a preparation for the next thing, and we never know what the next thing is. Life is like that, of course, twisty and surprising. But life with God is like that exponentially. We can dig in, make plans, write in stone, pretend we’re not listening, but the voice of God has a way of being heard. It seeps in like smoke or vapor even when we’ve barred the door against any last-minute changes, and it moves us to different countries and different emotional territories and different ways of living. It keeps us moving and dancing and watching, and never lets us drop down into a life set on cruise control or a life ruled by remote control. Life with God is a dancing dream, full of flashes and last-minute exits and generally all the things we’ve said we’ll never do. And with the surprises comes great hope.” –Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life



A lot has happened since early January but for some reason, as each week passes faster than the one before, it’s becoming harder to know where to start.

We were sick all of January, and then I had breastfeeding issues (which, I’ll admit, I’m kind of embarrassed to write about publicly so I’ve saved my whining for in-real-life-friends) and then we potty trained Anna (yahoo!) and my niece Lucy was born. Soon after that it was my birthday, and then Jonathan and I went to Tahoe for a night and skied, and then our sleep training efforts with Owen hit a major stopping point (boo!) and then I had a small breakdown so I went running to see my favorite counselor, Lori, and then our family made a big, huge, didn’t-see-it-coming life decision that I’m still processing in my head but haven’t yet attempted to put on paper.

There is so, so much I want to say.

There is so, so much I want to write about.

There is so, so little time and space and creativity.

It seems like such a shame for this blog to be so very empty when my life is so very full.

Maybe that’s why I feel the need to just pop in and say…

I haven’t forgotten about you.

And, I’ll be back soon.



All you need to know about Stitch Fix

by Lesley on February 18, 2014 · 3 comments

in style

Gentleman, I give you permission to skip right over this post. Ladies, this one is for you.

Today’s post is all about shopping, which isn’t a topic I usually cover. I don’t consider myself a particularly stylish dresser, although I also don’t think I’m a bad dresser either. I try to keep up on trends, but I’m never one to try something unless it’s become popular. (I resisted skinny jeans FAR too long!) As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned how to dress right for my body type but I still make strange choices every once-in-awhile. My biggest shopping mistake, in my opinion, is that I continue to buy cheaply made clothes from places like Target and Old Navy. Sometimes my cheap purchases make me happy temporarily, but they never end up being my favorite, long lasting pieces.

I’ve been hearing about Stitch Fix ever since Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy started her reviews last year. I decided that once I lost most of my remaining baby weight I’d try out the service. Earlier this month, as a birthday gift to myself, I did just that.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a Stitch Fix profile, which asks you lots and lots and lots of questions about your style preferences, sizes and clothing needs.
  • Pay a $20 styling fee (which will be put towards your purchase, if you make one).
  • Wait for a big box to arrive on your doorstep with five perfectly chosen items.

My fix came last week and it was just as fun as I’d hoped. I’m in a stage of life where it’s nearly impossible to get to the mall by myself. To be able to try on new clothes while the kids were napping…well…it was awesome.


I actually loved every item in the box although the cargo capris and green chevron maxi dress didn’t fit. Of the items that did fit, these were my favorites:


stripe top

“My stylist” definitely figured me out. I have a thing for stripes, can you tell?

I fell in love with the Eight Sixty Kourt Striped Maxi Dress which was very flattering, super soft and long. (Tall girls can have trouble finding maxi dresses that fit, can I get an amen?) Of all the items in my box, I really, really wanted to keep this dress because it’s so versatile. I just know I’d wear it all summer long…to the park…to barbecues…to church. (It. was. PERFECT!) But, alas, this baby came in at $130ish dollars which, to be quite blunt, is way over my budget. While I’m willing to pay a bit more for clothing than I have in the past, I’m not yet ready to spend over $100 on a casual summer dress. Ultimately I decided to peruse and found a very similar dress for less than half the cost. I’m hoping it might work for me instead.

Stitch Fix includes a style sheet containing why each item was sent, as well as photos depicting styling suggestions. Even though I didn’t end up keeping anything, I loved this feature because it helped me to consider what I already own, and what I might want to add to my wardrobe in future months.

styling ideas 2

My overall feeling about Stitch Fix? It’s very fun and super convenient but pricey. Had the items been a little less, I probably would have purchased at least one item. But, despite not keeping anything in my box, I don’t feel like I wasted money. I loved trying on clothes I likely wouldn’t have chosen myself because it opened my eyes to new fashion ideas. I was also reminded that when clothes FEEL good and FIT right, I wear them more.

I think I’ll probably try Stitch Fix again at some point. If you’re curious about the service, please use my referral link and give it a shot.

p.s. Happy Birthday Hachoo!



We’re smack in the middle of cold and flu season so it seems like an appropriate time for a frank and awkward conversation about runny noses, nasty coughs, and children who don’t cover their mouths, like, ever.

This is our second cold and flu season with a toddler. And while we’ve (knock on wood) weathered the season better than last year, I still can’t believe how often Anna gets sick. In fact I started keeping a log last August, and she’s had some type of illness every single month since then. Of course most of her illnesses are minor—a mostly clear runny nose and some coughing—but STILL.

Last winter, after Anna had pink eye, croup and the stomach bug (twice) I asked our pediatrician if she was a particularly germy kid. Did we need to do something different to keep her healthy? Our doctor said that most young children pick up an average of one illness a month (!!!) especially when they start visiting daycare or attending school. She assured me our kids need to battle all these annoying little cold bugs in order to build their immunity.

The most annoying part about children’s illnesses, in my opinion, is how the symptoms linger much longer than they do for adults. When Owen and Anna were sick last fall we went to the doctor because neither of them could stop coughing. I was convinced Owen had pneumonia.  But it was just the common cold, and a doctor’s hypothesis that our kids simply have tiny airways and perhaps struggle with colds more than the average child.

So, here’s my question: when your child is sick with the common cold, how long do you wait before letting them attend Sunday School or any other playgroup/preschool setting?

The reason I ask is because I have opinions on the matter, but I always second-guess myself. A few weeks ago Owen started coughing right as I dropped him off at the church nursery. The volunteer gave me one of those looks, “Are you sure?” and I had to explain, “He’s had a cold for weeks. He’s not contagious, and he sounds much worse than he actually is.” (Please believe me! Gulp.)

When my kids are coughing at church or on the playground I’m always a little nervous other parents will think my kids are infecting their kids. But with how long it takes children’s’ symptoms to disappear, we’d be home ALL winter if we waited for the last sniffle to dry up. My general guideline is to keep them away from other children for at least the first 2-3 days of symptoms. If the symptoms are minor and improving (clear runny nose, dry cough) I will usually allow our kids to be around others.

I’ve also just accepted that any public place—church, playground, birthday party, preschool, etc.—is germy. We’re washing hands with much greater frequency this winter and giving Anna vitamins and probiotics.

What is your philosophy on keeping children quarantined?  Are you surprised by how often they’re sick? If not, what’s your secret to keeping them healthy?

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