Back when Jason and I were engaged, we thought our life was so crazy and so busy.
(How adorable.)
We were juggling college, he was on staff at church, as well as touring with his band, I was lifeguarding and planning the wedding.

How did we even survive?  Did I mention that we had a puppy????!!!!!

During our premarital counseling, we each had to make a list of what we were bringing to the marriage.  I don't really remember anything from my list, but one thing stood out, the one thing Jason ranked as what he needed the most.

I could provide a refuge from his crazy days.

He is the ultimate extrovert, and lives a very people filled life.  But even extroverts need to come home to a little bit of peace.

It is something that I have thought about these last fourteen years.  Being a refuge.

It is wholly different now than when it was just us and our dog.  Young and dumb newlyweds with a quiet, clean, house and way to much free time.  Our whole life was a date night.

Now we are a little less young, and hopefully less dumb, the house isn't always clean, and it certainly is never, ever, ever quiet.

Add in the fact that he is now basically working three full time jobs at once, without a reprieve on the horizon.

A refuge has never been needed more.

Thankfully, via a rabbit trail of pretty fonts on Pinterest, I came across the loveliest blog Designs by Lulu.  As I was reading through the archives, I came upon the post that I needed to read most for this season of life.  A post I am so thankful for.  So encouraged by.  Written from the heart of a young bride who recognizes the great gift her husband is to her, and it is her heart's desire is to love him well.

She speaks of providing and En Gedi for her husband, which means "a desert oasis in the middle of a dry land, complete with fresh water, trees, fruit, and life,  and that most men feel like their life is desert, and desire to come home to En Gedi at the end of a long day.

A place of rest, refreshment, and rejuvenation."

Jason is a great gift.  He has weathered this stressful and uncertain season with such grace and determination.  He sacrifices, serves, and cares for all of us in more ways than I could ever count, or hope to repay.  I want to love him well.

Jessica and I were talking about what En Gedi would look like to our husbands.  She shared it with Dave, who responded, brilliantly, GEDI UP.
 Yes, my friend, we need to Gedi up.

I asked Jason what his En Gedi would look like.  It was such a great conversation to have, and his requests were so simple, so doable.

His first request is to come home to a clean house at the end of his one fifteen hour day each week.  I can so appreciate that, coming home, exhausted, poured out, and being faced with a kitchen sink filled with dishes, school work strewn all over the table, kid chaos everywhere...  No fun.
Walking into a restful, picked up space?  Dreamy.

So now, after I put the kids down, I still have plenty of time to serve him by putting away my half finished sewing/ painting/ craziness, toss dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, sweep the floor, light some candles.  Nothing difficult.  Nothing complicated.  Normal stuff.  Normal stuff that makes him look forward to coming home. 

The second, is to simply make plans and leave the house by 9 am on his day off.
Again, no big deal.  No use in wasting the day away.  Especially when days off are so rare.

We are two weeks into Operation En Gedi, and I cannot begin to explain what a gift it has been to us, our marriage, even our kids.

Loving and serving my husband, is such a joy.  Simple, thoughtful things to help him to feel appreciated for all he does for us.  How could I not?

I dare you to find out what En Gedi looks like to your husband, and then see what you can do to be provide that refuge for him.  I can promise that you will not regret it.

Gedi up.

1.  I am boycotting Fall.  It's too hot.  All of the pumpkin spice latte love is making me crazy.  Summer forever.

2.  I also will not divulge how much our electric bill was last month.  Because I am curled in a corner sobbing about it.  Guess what we just found out a year too late?  Happen to have six people living in your house?  They give you a discount.  Yep.  So thinking about having a fourth kid?  Not only a tax deduction, but it will save you 20% on your electric bill.  Get busy.

3.  The only redeeming thing about this fraudulent fall are these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that Jaime brought to Kyla's pinterest party.  Bake them.  But go to the store to buy shortening first.  Unless you have some.  Which is weird.  Because it is creepy.  But so is Velveeta, and you all know how I get over my aversion to it for Santa Fe Soup.  Of which it is still to hot to eat.

4.  My husband just upgraded his phone, and I got his old one.  Yayyyyy.  No more cutting my fingers on the shattered screen, or choosing between music or photos, as I battle the STORAGE IS FULL warnings for dayzzzzz.  Plus I have the front facing camera again.  Hello selfies.

5.  One more thing that is decent about fall-  Apple Crisp.

6.  September is trying to ruin me.  I have only five days and twenty miles to reach the 44 mile goal.  Grossssss.  I woke up crazy early this morning to get a few in.  The new Mumford & Sons came with me.  WOWWWWW.  It is amazing.  Fastest, happiest 4 miles yet.  I think I will have a date with them in the darkness tomorrow too.
(I may or may not have spent the entire naptime laying on the ground listening to the album over and over again.)

7.  We are watching Friday Night Lights from the beginning again.  SO GOOD.

8.  If you want to watch Downton Abbey before January, Rage Against the Minivan has a great hack.  I am tempted, but I have to resist.  There is no room in my days for a rabid marathon.  Nor is there any way I could ration out my viewings.  A Downton Abbey bender sounds amazing.  But I must use self control.

9.  Is it weird to put a font on your birthday list?  Or to start a birthday list months out?

10.   Back to Friday Night Lights- repeat repeat repeat this song from the soundtrack.

11.  I don't have germ issues.  I have stain issues.  Bag of Lays (which you totally give to the baby because if you are the grown up and you get Lays you are sad, wishing they were not Lays) on the blacktop at lunch with his sisters?  No biggie.  But if it was a bag of Cheetos?  OVER THE EDGE with stress.
That concludes our Tuesday nonsense. 
I have a date with some Englishmen.
This might just be my favorite song from the album.  At least today.
Keep my eyes to serve and my hands to learn...

What else would you make for a brinner party dessert?
I mean really?

The menu:
Maple bacon cupcakes

Yes please.
Perfect for a girls night.
Especially since zero husbands could wrap their heads around or even try the bacon cupcakes.
Isn't bacon totally man food?

So weird.
But hooray.  More for us ladies.

Cupcake recipe from the adorable April of Gingerbread Blog
Maple buttercream adapted from this recipe.
Bacon baked in the oven via my homegirl Martha.
Seriously, even if you never make bacon cupcakes, PLEASE start baking your bacon in the oven.
I am not kidding.  Especially if you are a freak about your bacon being perfectly crispy, not creepy, not burnt.  Just crispy.  Pretty tricky on the stovetop. 
Pretty awesome and easy in the oven.
Perfectly even and flat.
Game changer.
I have been wanting a cute cupcake pedestal for a while.
Especially one of these from Aedriel Orginals.
But sometimes you just need to make do with what you have.
Especially if you have an orphaned saucer from The Great Cabinet Crash of 2010, that needed a new life.

Here's a quick how to...
Wouldn't it be a great gift?
I think yes.


Dollar store candlestick
Spray paint

Prime, spray, glue, done.

Make cupcakes.
Bake bacon.
Rig up a pedestal.

Link up your Pinterest adventures.
(Even a week or two late...)

 (New prints available here.
100% of proceeds go to Hope4Sudan.)

The first team left for Sudan last week, covered in prayer, trusting in the Lord, rejoicing that He provides more than we could we could ever imagine.
We serve a huge God.

He commands us to be strong and courageous in all circumstances.
He promises that He will be with us wherever we go.

All circumstances.  Wherever.

I am being stretched in this very promise.

We are in a season of change.  Change is not my favorite.

Thankfully God knows so much more than I do.  He always shows up.  He always cares for me.  He always gives me exactly what I need when I need it.

Our church is starting this study and it is ruining me in the best possible way.
It is exactly what I need.

I am clinging to Joshua 1:9.

Believing that God is with me wherever I go.

Because He is.


Join me in praying for the Sudan team as they bring food and hope to a desperate situation.

I will leave you with a song that has been stuck on repeat in my headphones, mind, and heart.

This is the good stuff.

Not the young and dumb and in love stuff.

The history. 
The working through our crap.
The fighting for the best.
The sacrifice.
The commitment.
The digging in when it hurts.
The pressing on when it matters.
The praying and crying out.
The challenging of each other.
The encouragement.
The rejoicing.
The despair.
The sleepless nights.
The care of the little ones entrusted to us.
The standing side by side at the sink each night dissecting our days.
The crazy.
The beauty.
The reason that we said yes.
The reason why we said forever.

Because forever is such a mystery when you are young and dumb.

Forever is everything when you have loved and fought and cried and coasted and celebrated and grieved and still get butterflies.

More than that day fourteen years ago.

So much more.

143 Jason.
I choose you.

 Ten pictures for ten consecutive hours.
Finding beauty in the ordinary.

Hello September.

 1.  Sunrise waking 2.  Preschool starting (I know.  It says the 9th.  It sums up the chaos that is our life right now.) 3.  Fabric shopping.  4.  Baby wearing  5.  Lunch pounding  6.  Spray painting  7.  Soccer practicing 8.  Pizza partying 9. Team swimming 10.  Cheesecake indulging.

ten on ten button small

The lovely Kim from A Cuppa Kim hosted a mug swap which was BANANAS.  The crazy awesome kind of bananas.  Not the horrible kind that weird people eat.

All over instagram it was MUGMANIA. 
The best/ worst part was it was a secret swap.  You knew who to send to, yet you didn't know who was sending to you.
The suspense...
I am so bad with suspense!!!

Each day I tried to play Sherlock Holmes and figure out which mug might me mine.

Then, when I saw this post from Lindsay of Pen & Paint I LOST MY MIND.

I am in awe and amazement at the beauty she creates from her hands.
Thinking that someone would get a one of a kind Pen & Paints creation was more than I could handle.

See that little comment on the bottom?  Ya.  I was hoping.  HOPING she had me.

Imagine what went through my mind when this lovely package showed up in my mailbox.
Seriously.  Imagine.
It was crazytown.
I could frame the dang box it came in, it's so cute.
For reals.
But wait, it gets better.

Are you still alive?
Because I sort of wasn't when I opened it.
The mug?
Are you kidding me??????
Hand painted.
The only one in the entire world, and it is mine.
Be jealous.  I sure would be.
But I don't have to, because it's mine.
Deal with it.

She totally could have stopped there.
I still would have won the most amazing mug in the whole dang swap prize.
No, she had to go and get even more awesome and add in some cards.
Cards swathed in the glory of what she drew.  MUGS of awesome for days.
On cards.
For me.
Proceed with the hating of my guts.  I understand.  I can take it.  I certainly deserve it.
Honestly, I cannot believe it.  Cannot.

Since I am more of an iced coffee girl, and the simple fact that this mug is way too rad to hide in a cupboard, I needed a reason to keep it out on the counter foreverrrrrrr.  A little succulent from Lowes did the trick, nicely if I may say.  That is until my black thumb kills it.  But then I will just replace it with another little plant.  Then another, then another, then another... It is a cheery hello as I stand at the sink and wash dishes for days.

Lindsay- I love your crazy talented guts.
Thank you.
(Visit Lindsay's shop.  You won't regret it.)

I was paired up with the lovely Susan from Life at Pemberly.
I love that girl.  She is all kinds of encouragement and sunshine.
The quest was on to find her something special.

I settled on a simple, hobnail-esque latte mug (from Target in case you need one) that would hold lots of coffee, and tucked in a little cozy cuff and mug rug.
I even cut into my PRECIOUS donut fabric that is tragically out of print, and I have been hoarding forever.
She is worth it.

Kim, you are a spreadsheet rockstar.
Thanks for hosting.
Thanks for pairing me with such amazing friends.

Are you ready for next year, or what?
Pretty sure it cannot get better than this.

The hottest month.
42 mile goal.
Craving air conditioning.  Not sweating.
Falling off the MyFitnessPal wagon.
However, because of my stubborn nature, the dumb goal was met.

Every single mile included gobs of children.
Every single mile somebody cried.
Often multiple somebodies cried.

2.2 of those miles involved a very sweaty, very angry, 25 pound, beastly baby in the Ergo, because I accidentally left the stroller at home in the garage.  That was all kinds of delightful for my marginally healed, three kids got sliced out of me, c-section scar.

But in the midst of the crying, the drama, they got outside.  They got their wiggles out.  They are entering soccer season more prepared than they have ever been before. 

Let me just tell you, we are quite the spectacle on our adventures.  Lately we have been walking on a trail frequented by lovely retired folks and their pampered pooches.  Lovely retired folks who are not used to seeing multiple double strollers and lines and lines of small children walking/ running/ crying/ fighting.

As they see us coming, we can see their minds counting all of the small bodies in our care.  They usually greet us with a polite, yet stressed out YOU HAVE YOUR HANDS FULL!!!
Yes.  Yes we do.  Our sweaty hands are very full.  Full of awesome.

I also didn't get new shoes.
After heeding the overwhelming advice to go to a running store and be fitted, I decided to wait.
You see, the thought of having to run in front of the running store dude so he could figure out my stride or whatever is AWKWARD.  Hauling four wild children into the store with me as I have to run for the dude?  NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. 

Since August meant I had zero by yo'self time, It also meant that I had zero run awkwardly for the dude by yo'self time.

Maybe this month. 

This months goal is 44 miles.  Today is the 6th.  My current tally is a gigantic goose egg.  A big old zilchy zilch.  I want to stay in and bake something.  It's hot outside.  But September is in for it.  Watch out.  Sweating to commence this evening.

I want a cupcake.