My 2018 Word ( & reflections on 2017)

I can't believe it is December 22 already. For me the days go by so slowly and at 7am I wonder if the day could ever be over and then the weeks and months are a blur - so fast.

So many people do this but the thing is to pick a word/phrase/hashtag that you want to focus on in the coming year. I've done this the past couple years and written the word/phrase in my planner on the first page so I could keep coming back to it and as I make and renew my goals.

2016 my word was strength. We had a really rough fall 2015 and that easily bled into 2016. It was an interesting season when my job was my ministry with my husband in my home on the church property. It was all connected and there was little space to breathe or create new paths but I knew my baby boy was due May of 2016 so I needed strength to get to maternity leave and then strength to sustain new life with no sleep.

2017 I didn't have a word going into the first weekend of February but God easily captured my attention when I attended the IF:Gathering and Jennie said her vision is "that we would get really good at the things that nobody sees." I loved this and was intrigued by it and started putting rhythms in place to cultivate this lifestyle but as I've been reflecting more on I still feel I need to go deeper with it.

2017 was a big year of transition but I will summarize it as a hard one. I had really high hopes coming off of maternity leave to implement all these fresh ideas and programs for our ministry and job and was excited to return back to work. After returning it work God made it abundantly clear to both Mark and I that we needed to move on. We heard this but then heard silence and we weren't sure where God was leading us. Looking back now, sitting at my dining room table in Gravenhurst I am smiling just thinking about God's perfect timing but those spring nights of defeat and unknowns left me in tears. Each day I love my husband more but wow, He did such an amazing job leading our family away from all comfort and following God's call up to Gravenhurst. Thank you Jesus for Mark and his leadership! I am so grateful looking back at seeing my hesitant heart and Mark's patience with me as he prayed God would make it clear where he wanted our family. I spent the entire summer getting ready to leave my home and also being the most sick. Honestly, August-October is a complete blur and there isn't much to write. I have never been so unproductive and so sick in my entire life. Every day was a struggle to get out of bed and Mark and I labelled those months as "just survive." That was my job. Keep Jackson alive. I napped when he napped and went to bed by 8pm most nights. I barley left the house and became really isolated in this new town because I was so sick. The nauseous and dizziness started to clear around October when I could decrease the drugs I was taking and now I only have take one pill a night or else I would still throw up but its manageable and I praise the Lord each day for that. October is when things started to turn around.

God miraculously provided the most perfect job for me as an office coordinator where I don't need childcare and can work part time and I started having energy to put into my small business as a wedding planner.I got out of the house and found some great play groups for Jackson which allowed me some awesome ministry opportunities.

So what does 2018 hold?

This past week I took two of Jackson's nap times to just sit with Jesus in silence and thank Him for getting me through 2017 and asking Him what 2018 holds. I asked Him to give me a word or a new theme but I kept circling back to the theme of being unseen. Reflecting on this past year there was a lot that was unseen. As a pastors wife I've had to quickly learn that I can't share most things, whether they are good or bad. In 2017 I learnt to a new extent how to be vulnerable, open and real with keeping a lot of my life private. This was difficult to blog about because the lessons and things I was learning were things that I couldn't share publicly because it wouldn't be honouring. But then God has been showing me that the really sacred things are not meant to be shared in public. We validate social media and sharing our highlight reels and great moments but God has been teaching me that the great moments according to His word are the things in secret, the things to sacred to share. 

For example, Mark and I have been praying for God to bring us "need" and allowing ourselves to say yes and make that margin available to say yes. I get giddy typing this because God is answering our prayer each day providing new people to love on and care for and share the gospel with. Miraculous stuff- but these things are so awe-inspiring and so great and so just for Jesus and I (and Mark). They don't make my instagram feed or facebook account. I couldn't have insta storied the moment where this teenage boy knocks on our door looking for a pastor to talk about the meaning of life with. These moments are the real ones, the ones worth living for but aren't made for the public - they are unseen

And as I wrote in my journal I realized I want so much more of this unseen life. My soul is craving these intimate moments with Jesus. A bible study recently was released by Kristin Hill called called "Go and Tell No One" and it focuses on exactly this unseen life. I love what she writes about this study:

"Even though there is a longing deep within us to be known, understood, validated, recognized, and affirmed, there is a call from Jesus that is deeper still that answers those longings in the Secret, and the Sacred, with Him. Throughout the gospels, Jesus models for us a life that seeks the Father, in Secret. In both everyday encounters, as well as miraculous, life-changing moments, we see Jesus drawing people into the Secret with Him, often with encouragement to treasure those moments by keeping them Sacred."

Yes. Yes. Yes. I believe this because I have tasted it and know it to be true. But I long for it to be more real in my life and I believe in this next season I am able to experience it at a deeper level. 

So my 2018 word: u n s e e n

How do I go about accomplishing this? Less time looking at others lives and trying to produce things to showcase my life. More time with Jesus alone. More time carving intentional space where I can say yes to whatever Jesus has for me and somehow learning not to feel pressured to share it with everyone and being OK with that. I don't think I will delete social media because there is so much good that happens on instagram but I do need to put in more boundaries and create more healthy rhythms to limit the time spent on it so I can spend it more with Christ.

So welcome 2018. I need you. 2017 was a rough year (minus these last couple months) and I am longing and expectant for new lessons. I know I am not seeking comfort as Jesus isn't found there but I am longing to look more like Christ and I know that pruning process is uncomfortable as I continue to deal with my sinful, prideful heart. But I welcome you, I long for those uncomfortable painful moments because I know that I am being molded into the image of Christ and that is my one desire. I can't wait to welcome our second born into the Hockley family and also thinking about summers living in Muskoka on maternity leave seems like a dream when there is a beach down the road from where we rent.

2017 thank you for the lessons. I know that suffering produces steadfastness and that I want that to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1: 2-5)

Do you have a word for 2018? Even if you think it's a dumb idea (my husband does!) I really challenge you to take some time to be silent and think about 2017 and all that God has done and taught you. It's amazing what He wants to show us when we make time for Him and reflect.

Merriest of Christmas from me to you! Thanks for following along through all the silence on this space. I hope in creating new rhythms that I will want to be blogging more but another babe is coming so I can't make any promises.

Your readership means so much. & as always I am an email away if you want prayer or to process anything!




Dear Jackson -1.5 years

 Dear Jackson,

I wanted to write down some things quick so that I don't forget because I am already starting to forget. I also need to be quick because you don't nap very long so I am literally racing against the clock. A part of me wishes you weren't so curious and so busy so you would play by yourself and I could type this post out but that is you and the moment the iPad and my keyboard is out you want to watch videos of yourself and bang loudly on the keys making writing impossible.

You are becoming such a big boy and there isn't any "baby" left in you. You are a full toodler. Exploring the world, learning new things each and every day and excited for every new adventure. Speaking of an adventure we have taken you on one these past few months. Moving cities and homes and everything fimiliar to you is a big transition - and watching it through your little eyes has given me fresh insight on transitions and having grace with myself. Everything we have thrown at you, you have taken to- except the nursery at church. You are still terrified of it and cry and I worry and stress the entire service but I know everything is a season and this too shall pass.

I want to remember that you are obsessed with birdies and make bird noises all throughout the day. Your hearing is better than mine and you always can hear the birdies and look up to find them. You also love airplanes and we see lots in the sky every day, which you point out to me every time. We must acknowledge the planes, birds, squirrels etc. Stop and watch in wonder. Then we they fly or go away you wave to them every time, seem satisfied and then continue on with the task at hand. You are a big boy and need to be treated that way at all times. Often if I am helping you willl literally take my hand off of your cup/bowl/chair etc.. and throw it away so "you can do yourself." You are one stubborn determined boy and I know that it is hard to parent that right now but you will be a force for the Kingdom of God with those characteristics as you get older.

You love helping out around the house. You empty the dishes washer (the cutlery) and proudly give each piece to us. You turn on and off all the light switches, open and close the garage, help mow the lawn, pick up leaves, empty out the laundry from the dryer and put it into the hamper and on some days you even proudly put away all your toys.. but the last example is only sometimes... we are working on that one with you.

Eating... hmm what to write about that. You love eggs and fruit and then everything else is a gamble at all times. Breakfast is normally good but lunch and dinner can be you crying and throwing your food the entire time or taking really big bites and using your utensils like a pro. Meal time is probably the most stressful for me as a Momma in this season. I want to feed you nutritious meals but you often cry if the food takes longer than 5 minutes to make and cook. You follow me around all day that when I try to sneak away to cut veggies or boil rice you know food is being prepared and demand to eat it right away.

You are still sleeping through the night about 12 hours. We switched you to one nap around 16 months and naps have been really rough for you. There have been so many transitions in your life and this is another big one so I am trying to not resent the fact that I get little to no alone time or rest during the day. This has been so hard while being pregnant and sick because every time you nap, I nap. And when you sleep at seven I am right behind you most nights crawling under the covers by 8pm. This has been tough to spend quality time with Jesus and Mark and make friends and new connections but when I keep an eternal perspective I quickly remember all that I have to be thankful for and stop worrying about what I'm not doing.

You understand everything I say to you and we communicate great! I will tell you go get a bowl, your shoes, your blanky anything and you will understand and get it for me. It is such a privilege watching you grow. You can't speak back to me but you are trying. You say "dada" "momma" "hot" "more" and make a lot of birdie noises.

Your daddy is your best friend and you love when he is around. You get so sad every morning when we drive him to work and look forward to him coming home. You are much more at ease when Dada is home and so much less clingy to me. You love when he takes you on walks (or anyone takes you on walks.. one of your favourite things) and you full out giggle every time we kiss you, "get you", chase you or make a game out of something.

Jackson, you are God's precious child and I am honoured, humbled and often teary-eyed that I get to be your Momma. Motherhood is hard but I've learnt and continue to learn that all really good stuff takes work and is hard. This journey has continued to refine me as a human and follower of Christ and I know Jesus better by being your Momma. Thank you for all your kisses and snuggles. The way you put your head on my shoulder and wrap your little arms around my neck makes me melt and gives me such purpose.

I love you sweet boy.




Excited to share the news that the Hockley family is growing! We know every child is a miracle and are just praising Jesus for the little life living in me.

People always say you spend so much time on baby number one, but my the second and third you are in a different season - that statement is so true! I love these babies the same and am so joyous towards this baby but it is different. Need an example? Check out my last baby announcement On the blog here. This time around... a heart felt blog post with a photo I made Mark take with me and a toddler who just wants to run around and not take the photo:|

I think the main reason it is different this time around is that I have been so so sick. If you've been following this blog for a while you will know that with Jackson I had some morning sickness too, I may have even said how sick I was. Perspective is funny. Thinking back on carrying Jackson doesn't even feel like I was sick compared to this baby. This baby has taken every last ounce of energy from me for the past three months. I have also been extremely sick. The dicletin has kept the dizziness and nauseaous at bay but the pills make me so tired that I can't function. I've really wrestled with not feeling myself as we've packed up our home and moved and tried to transition into a new community all well feeling so tired and sick. So maybe I'll make Mark do a real photo shoot with me once I start feeling better. 

I am out of first trimester so hopefully this all day sickness and tiredness goes away shortly. God really is good though because I've been too sick to work or hold a job and right now I'm unemployed so that has been a blessing that I can sleep when Jackson sleeps. Mark and my motto right now is just to survive, not thrive. Aka: the kitchen and bathrooms are dirty but Jackson is alive and fed and loved and that is my job and then I sleep all the rest of the time. 

Baby is due early April - but I'm scared to tell people the exact date because Jackson was 10 days late and I grew very impatient waiting for our sweet little bundle. Jackson and baby will be just under two years apart as Jackson's birthday is in May. 

Anyways, SO EXCITED to share the news on the blog and this space. It will all be different up in Gravenhurst and if I'm totally honest I really want to give birth at Grand River and have my St. Jacobs midwives again- not give birth in an unknown city without all my family support. However, I am excited to welcome another life into this world! Kids are such blessings and I am thrilled for another child. 

To my baby: Jesus knows you, loves you and is forming you in my womb. I've had two ultrasounds already and been able to see your sweet little body growing and forming. You even waved to me and the technician with your little arms. 

 Baby you are loved. By the creator of the world who sees you and has plans for your life that will matter in eternity. Your momma and dada love you so much already and we are praying that you continue to grow and grow strong. You are loved dear one. You are seen. You are known. 

We love you. I love you.  I love you even if I don't ever feel better for nine months. You are so worth it. 

Can't wait to meet you sometime (hopefully) in April! 


*also this is why I haven't blogged in a couple months... I've been permantely sick:( Am hoping and praying I will start feeling like "Maddie" again and can get settled and keep writing, and also clean those bathrooms and kitchen;)


Waiting Waiting

This season is really interesting. Mark and I feel so exhausted each and every day. Not physically exhausted but emotionally and mentally. I know many of you have moved cities so I know there is a huge community that can totally relate.... but wow I didn't expect this. This overwhelming feeling just hanging onto me.

I am living in this tension of feeling released, excited and called to what's next and at the same time trying to remain present, tie up relationships, see people and overall leave well. With these two desires at odds with one another and so many things out of my control I am left feeling stressed and anxious.

The amount of sweet church people asking me who is taking my place and what will happen when I go and not having an answer for them is draining. I want to provide the answers and help but I can't. That is up to the church leadership and not in my control. On the other side, I want to know where we are going to live, settle down and make deep roots in Gravenhurst but that is also outside of my control. The housing market is a lot different up there without a lot of options and that is making me anxious. How do I pack, what is going to go in storage? Do I need storage? Where will I work? Should I pursue more weddings and get more serious about this side hustle-passion job or should I look for work that is stable and secure hours? 

These two popular verses that I have had memorized since I was little always ring loud in these overwhelming excited but sad kind of days. Many people quote Matthew 11:28 and know it well. It says: "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest." Most people stop there and declare that over their lives as they sit on the couch and watch nextflix. However this verse isn't talking about phyiscal rest but this spiritual kind. If you keep reading the passage it says "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." 

Now that is something we can preach over ourselves. Jesus is saying to come to him. To literally sit at his feet and stay there. To spend time with him (not watch nextflix) and to commune and be with him.  When we do this we find rest for our souls. True rest. Rest that actually matters and is life giving. This is the rest I need in this season of feeling so many emotions and trying to leave well but being excited for what's next. 

The second verse I've been speaking over myself is found in Matthew 6:27. It says so clearly and just makes me giggle at how timeless the bible is. "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" Gah, convicted every time [and I speak this verse out loud most days and still get convicted of it...this is an ongoing struggle].

Jesus is so great and sometimes speaks so clearly. Can I add a single hour to my life by worrying about so many things out of my control? Nope. But I do. I get up from the feet of Jesus and start striving again, start trying to do work in my flesh rather than work from a place of rest. 

So here I am telling you I'm flawed and so in need of Jesus. I need his rest for my weary overhwelmed soul and I need his words to remind me that worrying solves nothing. That popular Chris Tomlin song "I need thee oh I need thee, every hour I need thee" is so true. I am in need of Jesus in this season and every season. The nice part is that I know this season has an end. Just four or so more weeks and all the boxes will be packed, A house will be found and I will be typing these blogs in a new town. But while I wait, I will continue to speak these verses over my life and praise Jesus for his faithfulness and goodness each day.

If your are going through a transition season know I am right there with you. Speak these ever popular verses out loud over your life and believe them, sit in them, rest in them. 




I never thought I would write this blog post. I am known as an Elmira-snob. I literally love this town with my whole heart and want to see my family and kiddos grow up here. Both my parents and Mark's parents are here and all of our siblings live close by too. I want Jackson to go to the same elementary school I went too. This area is comfortable and in my opinion so dang cute.

But God. He knows best. His comfort is better than any comfort I could get from my little town (that actually isn't so little anymore).

After much prayer we sensed God calling us somewhere else. While seeking where God wanted us Mark came across an amazing associate pastor position. He loved the job description and the way they valued everything we valued in ministry. Then after some more research we found out that we knew the head pastor, who we love and think very highly of. He is a great leader and just got really excited about the "what if's" and "what are the chances that at this exact time he needs an associate pastor and Mark needs a new position." I told Mark not to apply since it was too far away but he did and I am so thankful he did.

After countless hours of prayer and seeking God's heart, visiting Gravenhurst and then church, meeting the elders and having supper with the Pastor and his wife we drove the two and a half hours home just in awe of God. He is so so good. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up. God opened the doors when they were closed and did His thing. If you get one thing out of this post I want it to be that God is working still today and that He cares. The timing wasn't how I had expected it, but I've learnt by now that it is never with the Lord. His timing is best and if we would have looked years ago this opportunity wouldn't have been there.

So here I am. Giddy, excited, expectant, scared, nervous, overwhelmed and already tearing up at the thought that I can't have family dinners multiple times a week. My family are my best friends and the people I want to hang out with. Jackson had full time childcare between his grandparents which is the most amazing thing and such a neat thing to have rich deep realtionships with his grandparents. I'm nervous to make friends again, scared about trying to find a place to live but overall so at peace. I know this where God is calling Mark and our sweet family and being in God's will is the only thing I want.

I was saying to Mark this week that I just love Jesus so much. Jesus really is my best friend and I am so in love with Him. We chat all the time and through these last couple of months it's been really tough but Jesus has been so present so gracious so good. I told Mark that if Jesus calls us anywhere in the world we would go, happily because all I want is to serve Him; to give Jesus away because I 100% believe He is the answer and the HOPE this world needs. And if I believe that, my life needs to be an example of that. So although my worldly comfort is being stripped from me and leaving my family and cute town will be sad it is nothing compared to the excitement I have of doing this for Jesus. His will be done, not mine.

So logistically (everyone has been asking this) we will start the very end of August and hopefully move in somewhere then too. I will look for work once we are settled and I know the area/jobs etc. We would like to only have one vehicle to keep our costs down but I am praying for a job that is part-time where Mark could watch Jackson and I work a couple evening shifts and could take a car. We will see though what comes of this. The church has committed to two years and so have we. We will see what happens and go from there.

One last thing to add that I want to remember. I haven't seen Mark this excited in so long and it is just the most beautiful thing ever as his wife. So will you pray for us if you think of it? I am so messed up and can always use prayer! Pray for this transition and that we would leave well. And pray for Calvary Baptist. That Mark would be the pastor God wants him to be and I would be a great pastor's wife, whatever that means. I honestly have no idea still.

Thanks for journeying with us. Thankful for your readership and your interest in our little life.



Dear Jackson //Thirteen + Fourteen Months

Dear Jackson,

I thought I was done writing these letters to you. My goal was to write you letters for a year but I want to remember. I know parents say they will never forget but oh man, your momma is super forgetful and needs to write everything down. Just ask your Dad, I can't remember any of our dating history so here I go again. I will write you letters when there are things I want to remember.

Right now, you are in the must fun stage. From the moment you wake up to the moment to fall asleep you are moving (and moving fast) and exploring the world. You won't sit still. This makes my momma heart sad sometimes because I just try to snuggle you or hold you for a bit but oh no you have to see and experience the world. I can actually watch your brain working as you open and close doors and touch and feel everything. You live in wonder and I just adore watching you learn and experience this world. Speaking of opening and closing doors this is something that I want to remember. You are obsessed with doors. We rented a cottage with the Hockney family in early June and there were 6 doors on the main floor and you were in love. You walked around in circles just closing the doors and then asking for them to be open.

You are still obsessed with the vacuum. I think the vacuum and the vacuum stick is still your favourite toy. The first thing you do when you come home from childcare is look for the vacuum. You also love looking in the pots and pans. If anyone is cooking anything on the stove or running water/doing dishes you need to be held. You must supervise all of these tasks or else you throw a fit. And boy can you throw a temper tantrum. You scream pretty loud when you get frustrated and can't see what we are cooking. It is cute but also super difficult to get anything done. Normally one of us is doing the dishes and the other is holding you up right beside watching the whole time. Productivity isn't at an all time high but hey this is parenthood!

You are still sleeping great! After a rough start in life you go to bed anywhere between 7-8pm and sleep anywhere from 5:30-6:45am. You also still do two naps about 1 hour in length each time.

Everyone comments on how little you are! Most people call you a "little man" and I couldn't agree more. You are tiny. You don't have chunky legs or rolls on end. You are petite and I am so in love with you and the tiny baby you are. I have no problems with you as my little man. You haven't hit 20 pounds yet but you do eat so much. I think you just can't gain weight because you move non stop all the time. I tried to weigh you this week and you were 18 pounds.

You love your blanky and have started carrying it around with you.

You also love reading books now. You will go grab them from your room and carry them around and pretend to read them, it is just awesome.

I can talk you normally now and you will understand. It blows my mind at how children grow up and learn and having a front row seat on your sweet life is the best gift. You get things now and learn new things everyday. I will go tell you to brush you hair and you will find a hairbrush and start brushing your hair and then come and brush mine!!! It blows my mind- how do you know what a hairbrush is and how do you remember where I last put it? And how do you know it goes on your head and then to come to my head? You understand so many words and it is a really cool season being able to talk to you like an adult and have you understand.

You eat OK. You decide what you want to eat and whine when we do not get your food fast enough. You love eggs, mangos, raspberries and homemade mac n cheese. You do not like meat. The only meat you will eat is bacon and well that doesn't really count as meat.

You love going for walks anytime but your Daddy and I try to take you for walks most evenings where we process our days and try not to talk about work. You talk to yourself and babble along super happy and content with life. You also adore the park. You love love watching people and the slide is one of your favourite activities. You also discovered the sand box at the park and that has been a game changer. You get super dirty but I'm all for a bit of germs and dirt.

You are doing great at childcare and love going to your Grandma's and Grammie's + Pappa's house. You are one lucky boy to have your grandparents taking care of you. I know this may not be for forever but am cherishing this season. You do so well and love going to their houses bu it's been really tough on me. I want to be the one teaching you everything and seeing you do all your things. I know that that isn't possible and its good to see Momma work but the mom guilt is a real thing.

Jackson, you have a personality that is so caring, so curious and you are so determined. You love people and love your family so much. You are such a sweet boy the way you blow kisses and wave at everyone you see. What a complete JOY it is to be able to be your Momma. There honestly isn't a day where I don't thank Jesus out loud of his goodness but entrusting you to be for such a time as this. I know we are only on this earth for such a short time compared to eternity but you are my greatest earthly gift and I am so thankful for the opportunity to love you like Jesus and point you towards him. He is the very best.

I love you my sweet baby,


Dear Jackson // YOU ARE ONE!

Dear Jackson,

You are a one year old. Turning less into a baby and more into a toddler. You love walking everywhere and still have such a strong personality of determination and curiosity. The world is yours to explore and you are definitely taking every waking hour and exploring it. You never snuggle or sit still, you are constantly on the move needing to touch and feel and eat everything. It's such a JOY watching you explore the world.

It's been a year and there have been so many transitions that marked this year. 

I stopped breastfeeding at a year. It was time for both of us. There is something so incredible about my body feeding you and providing you with all the nutrients you need and there is also something so taxing about feeding you from my body. You would only feed if the room was quiet and there was nothing distracting you. You made it impossible to feed on the go so I started with just morning and night feeds. Then after you turned one we did a week of just morning feeds and you were happy with being finished and so I was. I instantly lost 6 pounds and overnight felt like myself again. The first time in almost two years. 

The second big transition is that I returned to work full time. This has been a hard transition for your Momma but you my boy, have done a brilliant job! You are transitioning so nicely and love spending the days with your grandparents. It's such a blessing to know that your grandparents are taking care of you. I know financially I have to work but I think I would be so much more of a mess if a stranger was taking care of you. I am so jealous not spending every waking minute with you and resent working but I know this is just our season and life and that God is good through it and I will be ok. You sure seem OK. 

You started waking up around 5:30am which was just too early for your Dad's and my liking. But now almost 13 months (yes, I'm writing this late again, the normal) you are waking up at 6:30am and that is a great time! We have 1.5 hours with you in the morning to feed you and get you ready for the day and drop you off at 8am. Those 8 hours are long until 4pm comes around and then we fetch you at 4. 4-7 you are normally hungry and a tad bit grumpy and then you get tired around 6pm. I get jealous that we aren't there for your "good hours" but am thankful for all the moments I do get to spend with you. I so look forward to 4pm every single day.

You are still so determined and curious. You work at something and keep to it until it's completed. I am so proud of all that you are learning and discovering each day. You like independent play now and  your favourite thing this month is putting items into bowls, cups, mugs etc. You enjoy putting items into another item. You love talking on our cell phones, and carrying around the remotes. You love love love being chased and walking around in big circles around the house. You still love the tupperware drawer and are getting so good at pointing to what you want.

Your first word is "da da" and you can say "yayaya" really clearly but thats about all the words you are saying. You mumble and make other sounds but no "momma" yet which I'm trying really hard on.

You weigh 18 pounds at 12 months!

You now clap and love doing "how big is Jackson." Whenever we say "YEAH" you burst into a huge smile and start clapping feeling so proud of yourself. 

You eat with a fork or spoon and that is your preference over your hands. You are now eating all normal people food and getting your nutrients through that along with some oils, some protein powder (when you don't eat a lot of meat) and water. I am so thrilled with our eating plan and how we aren't drinking cow's milk. Being a first time mom is scary with all the different nutrition plans out there but I am so happy and thankful with ours and how you are have done so well. You are growing and doing amazing and now you love all fruits and veggies and are happy without all that sugar. Although you love cheerios and the third ingredient is sugar!

We threw you your first birthday party and it was so much fun! You were tired though and didn't eat the cake. I was hoping for you to smash it but you stuck your fingers in the icing licked it and then didn't really think anything of it. I was happy with it that you didn't have sugar right before bed! That would be your first experience with straight crappy food and I'm happy you didn't care for it. I know that will eventually change but for now until you realize how good cake really is we will stay away from it. 

It was so great having our immediate families over to celebrate your life. The life God has given you. You have blessed me in more ways than I could ever write. You make me giddy about the littlest things and make me slow down, be present and experience God in the mundane. You are trusting and loving and give the best kisses. I am so blessed to be your Momma. Thank you for making me Mom. Thank you Jesus for letting me raise Jackson for whatever amount of time I have to be his Momma. I know that Jackson is yours, and you love Him so much more than I ever could. Thank you for the blessing He is. 

Jackson, I can't wait for more. More days with you to love you and show you God's love. Happy First Birthday Jackson Thomas. You are the best!

Your Momma

*my goal was to write dear jackson letters until he was one. I will do sporadic updates as he gets older but will probably stop the monthly letters. Make sure you subscribe to the blog (right side banner) to get notified every time there is a new post!

That Time I Ran A Conference

there are two things that I know and God is teaching me so strongly right now.

one: God isn't found in my comfort zone. Faith and all the good things that Jesus died for is not found in my safe, secure, comfortable life

two. blessing often comes after obedience. 

this past fall, I read a book called Anything by Jennie Allen. It changed my life. She asks the question "if God is really real, if God isn't a fairytale and heaven and hell is real and Jesus really died to set us free then what..." we would do anything and go anywhere with Jesus. I started believing this and praying this to a whole new level. I prayed the same prayer for a couple weeks, "Jesus I'll do anything for you." Then one night while feeding Jackson in the early hours of the morning the Holy Spirit spoke so clearly to my heart and told me to run a teenage girls conference and just talk about the real stuff with them. It was such a clear specific word.

After texting some of my best girlfriends about it, I found out that God had told my sweet friend Steph the same thing (how cool is our God!) and after connecting with some more friends it was clear that God was up to something, stirring our hearts and asking us to step out in faith. None of us had run a conference before, let alone on purity but we wanted to be faithful in what God was asking us to do.

With so much prayer, we started stepping out in faith and just doing the thing. It was costly for me to do this conference. The amount of hours I spent researching how to make a website, to praying for these girls, to organizing all the details of venues and topics, to writing my talk where I shared openly about my struggles was hard, scary and just a lot of work. I was so scared no one would show up and just scared that this wouldn't be received well. I questioned a few times if we all heard God clearly but it was always reassured that we need to be obedient in what He asks of us.

The conference happened last weekend. 29 girls showed up. It was amazing. We worshiped together and talked about sex and relationships. We prayed with the girls and ate delicious pancakes. We didn't go into debt and God provided financially with so many people believing in these teen girls and wanting to help or donate. God showed up. Not in any huge mountain top way but in blessing our obedience. I had so many good conversations, real conversations of girls sharing their hearts and their struggles when it comes to purity and just life.

And I got to share my heart. I am so beyond passionate to be available to love on these teen girls and just walk through life with them, not judging them but coming alongside them as there cheerleader and prayer warrior. In my many years of working with youth I know that many Christian girls don't think sex is a big deal and girls are struggling trying to figure out purity in such a messed up world. High school was so hard for me and as a believer going to heaven, I struggled a lot. I got to talk about porn and masterbation and boys and being defined by sin instead of being defined by God. I got to talk about how sometimes we live saved but stuck in our sin and shame letting it define who we are instead of letting Christ define us. And I challenged these girls that if they want to be defined by God they have to know what He says about them, and how can they when they don't know what His word says, when they don't read their bibles. It was so good. I felt the Lord speaking through me despite the awkwardness of these topics and the vulnerability I had to bring.

But again, obedience brings blessing. 

In no way am I saying I am a good Christian (there really is no such thing anyways) or I did this perfectly. I am the first to admit out loud that I am so messed up, saved by grace and I need the cross every day. But God did ask me to do something, and despite the cost I did it and wow, I met God. I needed God and He showed up. I drew near to Him and he drew near back. I actually had to practice faith and go outside of my comfort zone and when I was out there in the unknown, God was thick and real and tangible. 

Since the conference I now have some girls I am texting and praying over and asking God "now what" with big God dreams in my head. How can I love on and cheer on the next generation of teenage girls? What else Lord? I am willing despite the cost.

Are there areas of your life where you are living comfortably? I challenge you to pray "anything, Lord, I'll do anything you for you" and see where He leads. I'm sure it will be out of your comfort zone but I can promise you through God's word that He is the best and more than enough. You will find the good things of Jesus and get to experience the blessings God so wants to give His children if we would just trust Him and step out.

I'm cheering you on! Let's go after the good things of Jesus, let's get uncomfortable for the sake of Jesus.

ps. if you want more info on our conference that my sweet friends and I ran check out our website here: elmira girls conference


Dear Jackson // Eleven Months

Dear Jackson,

What a little man you have become. Life has been busy around here and since you turned eleven months on April 12, I am writing this on May 3. Yes, your birthday party is 1.5 weeks away and I am telling everyone that you are one year old. So this letter is going to be super short because I am feeling really guilty. But in my defence, your pictures were taken semi- close to eleven months so that is a win!

Highlights from this past month:

1) YOU ARE WALKING! It started with standing up and falling towards us, then baby steps (still totally falling forward) then within two weeks you are fully walking around our home. It is so incredible to watch you concentrate and try to figure it out. It's a joy watching you learn and discover.

2) You love putting toys into other toys and stacking. This is one of your favourite things that you do multiple times a day. You will put your toy balls into containers and shake them, carrying them around. You will put your soother in my used tea mug and then take it out again. You are starting to build towers and play with puzzles and you are getting the idea that certain toys have a function and a place and aren't just used for "shaka shakas." This also means that you think things go in the toilet

3) This is Daddy's favourite. You love how your voice echos when you talk into a mug, any cup or any bucket. You will talk into it and then pull back and think it is the coolest ever

4) You started waving hello and goodbye and when we yell "yay" you wave both arms in the air. Aunty Livi gets all the credit for teaching you this skill.

5) You love talking on your cell phone. You pretty much use any toy and put it to your ear and smile and we exclaim "hello." You also love FaceTime and face timing the family.

6) You learnt how to high five... yet you don't clap and I've been trying to teach you to clap for months and months!

Love that you are learning and growing so much. Praying for you daily, that you would know Jesus' love through me and that I would rely on Jesus for all my parenting strength.

Jackson you are a JOY. I am so in love with you. Thank you Jesus for allowing me to be Jackson's momma. What a good good Father you are.

Love you my sweet 11 month old (11.75 month old:))

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