Wednesday, October 12, 2016


sometimes love looks like first dates and butterflies. 
innocent kisses and sweet love notes. 

it looks like prom dates and slow dances. 
laughter and carefree abandon. 

sometimes love looks like heartbreak and tears.
short lived breakups and silly arguments.

it looks like long distance and short visits.
"snail mail" and late night phone calls.

sometimes love looks like important questions
and even more important answers.

it looks like a white dress and a long walk. 
a big promise made with two little words.

sometimes love looks like learning to live together. 
sharing dreams and bathrooms, too.

it looks like suppers together at a new kitchen table.
extra chairs holding the promise of what's to come. 

sometimes love looks like a plus sign and happy tears. 
followed by doctor's visits, sorrow, and loss.

it looks like renewed hope and a shared secret. 
a precious heartbeat and "it's a girl!" 

sometimes love looks like holding your heart outside of your body.
ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.

it looks like disbelief that we're in charge. 
"is she really ours?!" and "are you sure we can do this?"

sometimes love looks like late night feedings and early morning giggles.
an endless mix of exhaustion and awe.

it looks like another plus sign and a little bit of shock.
and just enough crazy to want to do it all again.

sometimes love looks like surprises and "it's a girl!"
big sisters and best friends.

it looks like piles of laundry and messy floors
full hearts and tired eyes.

sometimes love looks like yet another plus sign
and the fear that comes with being officially outnumbered.

sometimes love looks like defeat and discouragement.
disappointment and regret.

it looks like, "let's try again" and "i'm sorry."
forgiveness and grace.

sometimes love looks like valleys. 
darkness and shadows and "will this ever end?"

it looks like hard times and uncertainty.
questions without answers and fading glimpses of hope.

sometimes love looks like mountaintops.
hills to climb and obstacles to scale.

it looks like doing hard things
working together and common goals.

sometimes love looks like packing up memories
boxes and boxes and boxes (and boxes) galore.

it looks like weeding through years of a shared life
finding goodness tucked into every corner.

sometimes love looks like starting over 
a new foundation stronger than before.

it looks like brick by brick, step by step
one day at a time. 

sometimes love looks like surprises and changed plans
a beautiful blessing that we never knew we needed.

it looks like changing diapers and making lunches
carpool and cheerleading practice. 

sometimes love looks like date nights and long weekends
reminding ourselves that we're more than just mom and dad.

it looks sacrifice and balance
grace beyond what we're capable of on our own. 

sometimes love looks like redemption and restoration
beauty from ashes and the goodness of God.

it looks like strength for today and hope for tomorrow
answered prayers and unshakeable faith. 

love looks like you and me. 
Hand in hand and heart to heart. 

nine years later... i still choose you. 

happy anniversary to my love.

Friday, July 22, 2016

if these walls could talk...

if these walls could talk, i believe they'd have quite the story to tell... 

a story that began with a young, engaged couple walking through the process of building their first home. blissfully unaware of anything but the lives they were about to join together and the promise of  what their future would hold. a time when paint colors and lighting, carpets and hardwoods were major decisions. things like dress fittings and floral arrangements, cake flavors and menu options were high on the priority list. and during the beginning of that story, our story, we visited the homesite day after day. watching the foundation being poured, the walls constructed, the roof being installed. sometimes weather would delay the process, but eventually the work continued and the piles of wood, brick, stone, and dirt began to take the shape of a house. our house. and just as those walls began to take the shape of a house, so our lives began to take the shape of a family. 

if these walls could talk, they'd tell of how we first moved in and couldn't afford all of our furniture yet. how we borrowed a couch or two from our parents and were thankful our tailgating chairs came in so handy, but we had a nice tv so that helped. because, priorities. ;) they'd tell of how jeffrey and i would come home from work and binge watch our favorite shows, because what else do you do when you don't have kids? we'd eat in the living room and have our own little "tailgates" while watching back to back episodes of prison break or 24. and there was always a threat made from the one en route to the one who'd already made it home, "don't you dare watch that without me...." 
these walls could tell of laughter and tears. sorrow and heartache. joy and thanksgiving. how we sat in the family room, on our borrowed couches, and told my parents that i had been pregnant, but i wasn't anymore. we cried tears of sadness over the baby that i miscarried and wondered how we'd move on. and yet, not six months later, these same walls surrounded us when we told my parents and brother and sister in law that we were pregnant again and having a baby girl. this time we cried tears of joy and thankfulness. these walls would tell of the time jeffrey felt our baby move for the first time. how we'd eat a bowl of ice cream after supper just to see and feel our baby kick and dance while we sat on our borrowed couches and watched our dvr'd shows. 

if these walls could talk, they'd tell of first year fights... or rather discussions ;) ... that involved life or death decisions. things like where to put the christmas tree, how to fold the towels, and even who should choose which show we watched at night. all things that would obviously alter the course of our marriage. they'd tell of the ways we learned to compromise and to work together. they'd tell of the times we didn't always agree, but eventually made our way back to what mattered most. 
if these walls could talk, i'd probably be embarrassed at the number of messes they'd be able to recount. they could tell of the applesauce stains on the carpet from a new walker who thought it would be fun to step on a "no spill" pouch. (false advertising if you ask me). they'd tell of the paint chips from "art museums" and sisters that didn't know tape could take paint off the walls. these walls could tell stories of potty accidents, sick babies, sticky fingers, and even some original artwork adorning them when momma wasn't looking. 

if these walls could talk, they'd tell stories of the many performances they've seen. everything from dance-offs to ballet recitals. it's been years and years of revolving doors of talent competitions - and many a three-way tie. they'd tell of forts and castles being built. tea parties and fairy tale balls. and i'm sure these walls could sing just about any disney song ever written. 
these walls could tell of long nights with new babies. and long nights with toddlers. and long nights with preschoolers. and.... just long nights in general. ;) 

they could tell of all the firsts they've seen. all of those unforgettable moments that i wish i could freeze in my mind... our first night home together as husband and wife. our first nights home with all of our babies. first words. first steps. first days of school. first days of work. and these walls could tell of some bittersweet "last" moments....  the last time we brought a baby home to that house. the last christmas we celebrated there. the last days of school. last day of work. the last time we all sat down to eat supper together as a family. and i can't help but wonder, did i treasure every "last" as much as i did each "first"? 
if these walls could talk, they'd be able to tell of some darker times. some not so happy moments of life that we wouldn't want to relive at any cost. times where survival seemed the only option. and yet... breath after breath, step after step - we made it through.  these walls could tell of tears and prayers and grief beyond what we ever thought possible. they could tell stories of heartache and loss. disappointment and sorrow. 

but i'm so thankful that if these walls could talk, they'd be able to tell stories of redemption and restoration. of the countless times i cried out to God and He answered my prayers. the times when my faith was hanging on by a thread, but my God showed up and our lives were changed. they'd tell stories of forgiveness and second chances. these walls could tell of how far The Lord has brought our family and the many ways that He always provided without fail. 
if these walls could talk, i believe they'd tell of the similarities between their existence and the life of my family. these walls could tell of how they started out strong and blemish free, basically a blank canvas for life to fill. much like our lives when we were newly engaged and first married - starting out strong and ready to take on the world. but as time passed, our lives and those walls had cracks that begin to show. the handprints and sticky fingers covered the shiny white facade of perfection until we were left with something different than what we started with. 

but i believe that if these walls could talk, they'd say that what we're left with is so much richer than what we started with. that the authenticity of each scratch, each scar, each mark is so much more valuable than a clean, unblemished wall. we can cover those blemishes, paint over the scratches, fill the holes, and smooth out the edges, but that doesn't change the fact that life happened. the experiences within these walls have changed us, moved us, challenged us, and marked us. yet here we are; still standing.  

as we move on from our first home and eventually continue our family story in the midst of new walls, i pray that i'll always remember the lessons we learned during these first chapters. that i'll never forget the Lord's provisions for our family and the grace that abounded. i pray that no matter what, the walls of our home will never define us, but the love within them will.

"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures."
Proverbs 24:3-4

Friday, July 1, 2016

friday favorites...

hi! remember me?
it's okay - i barely remember my own name most days ;)

and before you ask, yes... i'm still pregnant. but not for long!! the end is in sight, my friends. all the praise hands for that! if you're wanting a belly picture, just look below, and use your imagination. it's not too far off....

since we'll be adding another tippins lady to our trio sooner rather than later, i figured i should hop back on the blogging train. but seeing as i'm 50000 months pregnant and perpetually tired, i'm easing back in with a nice easy post...
some friday favorites! :)

one of my absolute, hands down favorites.... this guy.

i wish i could tell y'all how hard he's been working. it's craziness, really. and i don't mean his regular 8-5 job (although he's been doing that, too!) i'm talking hard, manual, labor. we closed on our house on wednesday of this week (did i mention we were moving? ha! more on that later...) and our goal was to be completely moved out over this past weekend. with saturday being our "big moving day." well, because i'm pregnant and in throes of full on pregnancy brain - i not only scheduled libbi's birthday party for that saturday morning, but also signed on to host a shower (across town!) that afternoon. and because we love to make things interesting, that saturday was also officially the hottest day of the year and our upstairs AC unit decided to quit working (hello, 95 degrees upstairs).
but let me tell you, jeffrey was the calm in the midst of the storm. i'm crying and stressing and worrying about every little thing and he was just as calm and cool and collected as could be. he took care of me, the girls, the house, everything. and never once complained. he spent his morning at a spa birthday party full of seven year old little girls and made sure the birthday girl knew there was no other place he'd rather be. 
he made 50 trips back and forth from the storage unit to the old house to the dump to good will and on and on. he took apart furniture and moved it up and down stairs in the miserable heat. he loaded and unloaded boxes, furniture, clothes, and kids all day long. and i am not exaggerating when i say he did it all without a complaint and with the best attitude i've ever seen. we would have NEVER been moved out if it hadn't been for him. and he's probably majorly embarrassed that i'm even sharing this because he hates public praise, but i just couldn't help myself. jeffrey is one of the hardest working people i've ever met. his work ethic is pretty much beast mode and nothing less.

another favorite  - these parents of mine! they have been so kind and selfless throughout this whole chaos of moving. which brings me to another thing i don't think i've mentioned - we're now roommates! surprise!

our house sold rather quickly and we weren't prepared to buy or build just yet, so we did the most logical thing we could think of with three small kids and a baby on the way.... move in with my parents! ;-) but seriously, my parents have been so gracious and accommodating. we couldn't have done this without all of their help. there's no way. especially with me being so pregnant. they celebrated 38 years of marriage last week and my mom spent the better part of her day babysitting my girls while i ran errands all over town and helping me pack up our house. my dad was a champ helping move furniture and boxes too. let's face it, they're voluntarily housing my family of (almost) six - not only are they my favorites, they're my heroes ;)

next on my list of favorites.... these THREE! 

they have also been amazing throughout the moving process. they've played nicely together when i needed them to and they've played quietly on their kindles when i needed them to. i couldn't have asked for more. they've handled all the shuffling, and transitioning, and change with smiles on their faces. don't get me wrong - we've had a few little adjustment bumps to work out and i know there will be more growing pains in the future, but all three girls have just been going with the flow (probably even better than their momma!) 

we even took them to our closing with us and they all three sat and played their kindles and didn't make a peep. which is basically a miracle in and of itself. and moves them right on up my favorites list ;-)

now this? this is absolutely a favorite. i can NOT wait to put this sweet little gown on my sweet little baby!! thank you sheshemade for the PRECIOUS bundle of joy package. it is a forever favorite.

and speaking of our new baby girl - her name is one of my favorites. i'm not sure if i've ever shared it on the blog, but we've decided to name her Lottie Jo. for the longest time i wasn't sure if i wanted to stick with the LJT mono like the other girls, but eventually we decided, why not? :)
the girls weren't thrilled with lottie at first (only because it rhymes with potty, go figure.) but they are totally on board now (as if they had a choice). lottie is just a name that we loved. a little different, but not TOO different. libbi, laney, and liza all have grandparents' names as their middle names (jane, james, june) and baby lottie will, too! she will have the middle name "jo" after my maternal grandfather - joseph. i just love that all of girls will have family names to carry on the legacies of grandparents who have meant so much in mine and jeffrey's lives.

and finally, a fun little list of my current pregnancy favorites. because let's face it, at this point in the pregnancy anything "favorite" is few and far between ;)

crushed ice (i know, i know, i will regret this when i go to the dentist again), butterfingers and butterfinger blizzards, naps, and air conditioning. basically, set me up in a cool room with a butterfinger blizzard, a cup of crushed ice and i'm a happy girl. easy to please, right? except for the fact that there is no dairy queen near us, it's 100 degrees outside, and naps are pretty non-existent. but that's okay, i'll have a nice vacation (aka hospital stay) before too long!

happy friday friends, hope this weekend is full of lots of your favorites.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


it's no secret that libbi is my worrier. she's also my analytical child. and if you know anything about anxiety and worrying, it doesn't go well with deep thinking. ;-) 
bless her. she overthinks everything and plans out every possible "what if" scenario in her mind. juuuuust in case. 

i can get frustrated with her at times because she lets her anxiety get the best of her. and other times i'm frustrated because it's like i'm looking in a mirror. it's hard seeing your weaknesses played out in your children. motherhood can be very humbling. but it can also be incredibly rewarding. 

this past weekend was definitely one of those rewarding moments. libbi performed in her ballet recital and i know she was nervous. who wouldn't be? standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people? that's a challenge for even those with nerves of steel. and yet, my little worrier; my shy, precious introvert; my sweet, anxious first born, got up on that stage and danced her heart out. 

and i was beyond proud. not because she danced perfectly and remembered all of her choreography. not because she looked like a beautiful angel up there on the stage. and not because she was the star of the show. 

more than anything, i was proud of her for having the courage to do something that scared her. i was so proud of her for having the courage to overcome her fear of the unknown and step out on faith. 

i hope and pray that she will always know that she has the courage and the ability to do hard things. no matter if it's standing on a stage dancing or if it's standing up to peer pressure at school. she can face her fears and doubts - and come out on the other side. with grace.

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind."
2 Timothy 1:7