family + summer gatherings 5: these blue mountains

DSC_0827 DSC_0823 DSC_0825 DSC_0831 DSC_0832 DSC_0836 DSC_0837 DSC_0840 DSC_0843 DSC_0844 DSC_0845 DSC_0847DSC_0850 DSC_0851 DSC_0853 DSC_0854 DSC_0856 DSC_0860 DSC_0857

While family was in town visiting, we squeezed in as many picnics as we could.  This one, up at Craggy Gardens, one of our favorite spots.  After dinner we hiked up above the picnic area to catch this view and this gorgeous sunset in the dusky light.  Truly breath-taking.  I’m super thankful for my brothers and the way they love on my kiddos.  My little ones adore them (and the Aunties, too!) and hopefully they will one day realize what a sweet gift it is to have lots of family that loves on them and spends time with them!  And I’m thankful for my parents who taught us to love the outdoors, still so hip + young and able to get out and enjoy God’s creation.

family + summer happenings

DSC_0560 DSC_0561DSC_0569DSC_0570DSC_0565DSC_0567DSC_0568DSC_0573DSC_0576DSC_0585DSC_0587DSC_0586DSC_0588DSC_0593DSC_0581DSC_0594DSC_0595

It’s raining here in these blue mountains and we are all fighting head colds for the past week or so.  Momma’s finally been taken down with it and ain’t nobody got time for that.  So we are taking it easy the past couple of days, thankful that rainy days make us want to lay low anyway.  Listening to quiet melodies, snuggling + movie watching.  Right now the kids are outside getting thoroughly wet + muddy, the baby is sleeping.  I’m taking this opportunity to catch up on sharing some photos from the last month.  My sister + her family from British Columbia were in town earlier in June, as well as my youngest brother + his girlfriend from Charlottesville, so we had a lot of days just being together.  It’s funny how when you’re growing up together, you get so annoyed with each other and can’t wait to get out on your own.  Then you grow older and wise up and realize these people are some of your very favorite people, some who understand you best, some of your closest friends.  These memories together are treasures.  So.. prepare to be bombarded with photos as I catch up.

These, from one of our regular picnicking spots up near Mount Pisgah on the parkway.  My dad’s family has years of pictures from their own family gatherings there when my dad + his siblings were growing up, then my parents spent many of their dating + early marriage years picnicking there.  They spent many summer weekends hauling all five of us kids up there as we were growing up, so I suppose a lot of moments have been shared in that little cove of trees.

Mother’s Day


My soul has felt a bit crowded lately.  I’ve realized that I “write” constantly, usually in my head because I often don’t have time to scribble down the thoughts in between dirty diapers that need to be changed and sibling squabbles that need to be mediated.  I’ve found that whatever I’m learning, whatever God is teaching me needs to find expression, usually in the form of writing.  It’s how I make sense of it, but more than that, it’s part of the process.  We come to God thirsty, He pours into our souls, and we fill up, we overflow, we spill over.  Writing is how I spill over.

But lately?  There hasn’t been much time or space and thus, a crowded soul.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  It was one of the best days I’ve had in a while, and it was so simple.  Breakfast + coffee made for me by my husband and the kids.  A bouquet of azaleas picked from the yard.  Worship at church with our spiritual family.  Then we grabbed a few items for a picnic and headed up to one of my favorite spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway near where we live.

We talked about it on the drive up, my husband and I, that there has always been some part of me that craves getting up on the mountains, in the mountains, yes, but more so up on the very heights of the land.  Where the wild whipping wind and the faintest flapping wing of a bird riding the updraft are music to the moment.  It was perfect yesterday.  Holy ordinary.  We captured a few moments, chatted with a few other hikers out enjoying the glorious day.  We played and laughed and got a little sun-burned.  The landscape was moody and dark with rain clouds one moment, pierced by sun rays the next.

I can’t find words for it, but it just does something for me.  So spacious, so abundant, so other-wordly and wild, it feels like my soul can expand and exhale.  A perfect little escape for a weary momma with an overcrowded, busy soul.

DSC_0360 DSC_0365 DSC_0368  DSC_0377DSC_0370DSC_0375DSC_0377DSC_0380DSC_0381DSC_0386DSC_0388DSC_0394DSC_0400DSC_0405DSC_0407DSC_0416DSC_0424DSC_0430DSC_0436DSC_0457DSC_0461DSC_0462DSC_0468DSC_0493DSC_0498DSC_0509DSC_0510DSC_0511DSC_0515DSC_0518DSC_0519DSC_0524

To all the mommas out there, I hope you had a sweet Mother’s Day, feeling the celebration and the smile of God over you as He so highly esteems your every effort + work of faith!