I love love but I hate Valentine’s Day


This is the first year that I completely, whole-heartedly am relieved that we don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. And not just because Jason is out on tour. A few years ago he mentioned that he felt like the holiday was forced, putting unhealthy expectations on couples, becoming a competition, and setting a lot of people up for disappointment. We never really did much to celebrate the day—usually dinner at home to avoid the restaurants—and maybe a few candles, some chocolates, flowers, the usual. But we’ve moved away from that to not doing anything at all. I’m sure that sounds really cold and unromantic to some people. The truth is, we go on date nights several times a month, we show and tell how much we love each other everyday, we surprise each other with random gifts—we’re both very affirmed in our love and we have a healthy marriage. So take that, St. Valentine. Or Hallmark. Or whoever… And if I feel I’d enjoy some chocolates or fresh flowers in the house—GASP–I buy them! The random delivery of fresh flowers at work just because he knows I’m having a crappy day or the specialty chocolate from some exotic location just because he was thinking of me—those things mean way more to me than anything Jason has ever given to me on February 14.

Valentine’s Day IS a really important day for another reason, though. It’s my dear friend, Laren’s birthday! Precious says Happy Birthday, Aunt Laren! Fun fact: Laren and Precious both have heart shaped birthmarks.




My love. My husband. My best friend.

What a year this has been.

You traveled the world by plane, tour bus and van.

Played on stages big and small.

I saw you on TV and in a magazine.

Your quiet confidence was never boastful

…except maybe about all the good food you ate on the road.

This year we became parents but not in the way we had expected.

Or planned. But an idea was planted in my heart and it grew.

I strategically brought up the need for foster parents in the US.

I secretly prayed that God would open your heart to this crazy idea.

You jumped in with both feet.

We sat through long, boring classes together.

Homework, physicals, blood tests, home studies.

You painted the bedroom and assembled IKEA furniture with me,

And then let me go hog-wild with the rest of the kids room design.

You were right by my side through every step.

Praying with me, for me, for yourself and for our future kids.

In July I got the phone call that changed everything.

You were in Norway but I knew what you would have said to this one.

The next morning you met your first daughter through Skype.

I watched you fall in love with her, grinning from ear to ear.

It was the first time I had seen her smile and say hi in her first 12 hours.

Three days later we picked you up from the airport.

It was getting late but you wanted to take your little girl to the park.

You pushed her on the swing and chased her through the grass.

As I stood back to observe and take photos, I was witnessing a transformation.

You became a daddy right before my eyes.

In your strong arms she felt safe immediately.

She was stand-offish with some new people but never with you.

You taught her what a father’s love looks like; what Daddy means.

And I fell in love with you all over again.

We taught her how to kiss. It took 2 weeks and several demonstrations.

I’ll never forget when you called me at work at say,

“Guess what I got?”

A kiss! Her first kiss was reserved for her daddy.

I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

On September 1st we walked into a courthouse carrying our first baby girl.

And walked out without her.

We clung to each other as we went down the steps and crossed the street.

I’m not sure who was holding up who as we tried to hold back the tears a little longer.

Then we cried together.

This past year has been wonderfully difficult and full of joy. A beautiful mess.

You have grown so much as a man.

I am endlessly proud of who you are,

And thankful to call you my husband.

Happy 29th, Jason.

Frosting a Cake


I am a cake connoisseur. I am not, however, a cake decorator. In face, I made my first ever layer cake the other day for my mom’s birthday. Frosting it was no piece of cake. Later that day, I came across this video from The Kitchn: The Easiest Way to Frost a Cake. I think part of my problem is that the tops of the cakes were a bit sticky. Maybe I should have left them uncovered overnight rather than covered. I wish I had thought to flip the cakes over. That’s just plain old smart.

Oh, and icing the cake? I need a tutorial on that! I have some ancient (I mean “vintage”) cake decorating tools. I bought a new tube of red icing from the grocery store. I envisioned some lovely red tulips (mom’s favorite flower) with green stems. The red icing + the born-before-my-mother tools worked OK. I had a tube of leftover green icing that was too thick. I tried to water it down and well… not a great idea. The top of the “B” almost ran right off the top of the cake. Help me, Rhonda.

Next time I think I’ll make my own icing so I can get the consistency and color however I like. Do you have any suggestions for cake decorating? A favorite icing recipe?

Happy Birthday, Mama!


Today is my mama’s birthday. I love my mama! I aspire to be as generous a mother as she is and always has been with her love, time, help, advice, friendship and prayers. I hope to never take for granted how blessed I am to live close enough that we can grab lunch, meet for dinner, go for a swim or a walk, or plan a shopping date whenever we feel like it … I don’t know many people in Nashville whose parents live close (it’s a city of transplants for the most part) and I’m very grateful for it.

Here’s a picture from Easter Sunday of my mama with my niece Eliza. She’s going to be an awesome Memaw!

I love you, Mama! Glad we can celebrate together tonight.

Happy Birthday, Jessica!


Happy birthday to my favorite big sister today! I miss you, Jess. Glad we’ll get to roll Swedish meatballs together again this Christmas Eve.

Good-Looking (and Yummy) Ice Cream Cake


Jason’s birthday was back on September 16th and I decided to give him a mini surprise by making homemade ice cream cake and taking it to our small group to celebrate. (Small group = Jason, me and three other families from our church that get together once every 2 weeks to hang out, encourage each other, pray for each other, etc.) I’ve made homemade ice cream cake a few times before but it always turned out kind of … ugly. I mean, you can’t go wrong with the taste but it has never looked anything like the $15-25 store-bought kind.

This year I was googling recipes that use ice cream sandwiches because they make the ice cream step a lot easier. I found this Oreo & Fudge Ice Cream Cake recipe from Kraft that uses just five ingredients: ice cream sandwiches, oreos, cool whip, fudge, and jello pudding mix. It was pretty simple and it turned out really pretty!

Once the cool whip on the outside started to thaw it started to get pretty messy but the slices turned out pretty good looking. Most importantly, everyone thought it was D-to-the-licious and the birthday boy was very appreciative.

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend!


My favorite person in the world, my dearest husband Jason, turns 28 today! Happy birthday, Love! This has been a great year, hasn’t it? I’m looking forward to the next year of your life and I feel so blessed to be your wife. It’s my great privilege to walk along side you, laugh with you, cry with you, sweat with you, get splinters with you and have slumber parties in the living room every weekend (staying up too late watching 30 Rock, eating pizza and drinking root beer floats) with you. You are my heart!

This picture of you is, hands down, my favorite from this year. A boyish side of you came alive while we were in Naples. I loved watching you explore the beach looking for sea creatures and the way you lit up when you found those conch shells. You are creative, adventurous, strong, gentle, thoughtful, patient, caring, passionate, smart and faithful. I love everything about you!

Here’s to many more vacations to warm sunny places and the dream of a mid-century beach house in Naples!

Happy birthday, Jason!

Happy Birthday, Ginger!


Today is my sister-in-law Ginger’s birthday. I don’t think she reads my blog but I wanted to give her a happy b-day shout out here anyway. I hope this year is an amazing one for you—I know it will be! I can’t wait to find out if that’s a sweet pickle or a dill pickle you’ve got in there!

I feel very blessed to have a brother-in-law and sister-in-law that we’re so close to—right across town—but also that Jason and I are good friends with. Ginger is one of the most thoughtful and caring women I know. She’s got a huge heart for people, especially the vulnerable and oppressed. She’s got strong faith and a beautiful relationship with God. She can be serious and also completely silly—the best kind of friend. In 5 months she and Dan are expecting their first baby and I’m so happy for them! Also, I totally can’t wait to be Aunt Martina to that little baby and shower him or her with love.