A Mess

Our kindness advent it still moving along.  Tuesday we left a note and treat for our trash man.  We’ve done this every year and this year the big kids decided to skip the whole angst of whether or not he would see it or dump it and just run it out to him themselves. And then it was time for school and he still had not come by.  So I waited with the two littles.  Amon started screaming and cheering when he picked up the treat.  Success.

Yesterday we left a note and treat for our mailman.  We’ve got some amazing people in our lives who are just doing their job well and kind and with joy.  A kid’s thank you note, cookies and a Cracker Barrel gift card can simply say “Thank you”.

Today we took treats and goodies to our pediatrician’s office.  This one always makes me a tad emotional and lately I’ve been a lost cause anyways.  Our doctors and nurses and administration always take such great care of all our kids, but I always think about Amon and his special heart.  Geez.  Being kind and nice can have such an impact on someone’s life.  Choosing to be compassionate and empathetic can change the world.  This special office has done all of that.  Our pediatrician knew Mom and still talks about her.  “I was thinking about your mom just this morning.  She always did ______”  Do you know what that does for one’s heart?!?!  Amazing things.  We are crazy blessed with accessible health care and good, kind and caring professionals who look after us.

Here’s what I ended up making…Smores BarkCaramel Pretzel Magic Bars, (Josh Kelley was not a fan, but I was) Crockpot Candy, Christmas Candy Bark, Saltine Cracker Toffee (this is basically like crack…WOW!!!) and Andes Mint Cookies.  You can see all the recipes collectively HERE.

Tomorrow we are leaving notes with gift cards in shopping carts.


The past 7 days has been wild for us.  We’re sitting with a lot of big emotions and feelings lately and sometimes you have to simply hold on.  We’re adjusting back into a family of 7.  Things are just hard and complicated sometimes.  I have a thousand thoughts and feelings I have sat down multiple times to type and then I just close my computer because I couldn’t quite make sense of everything.  And I still can’t.  I thought “How do I connect 5000 thoughts that somehow make it into my head and heart and mull around all together?”  I still don’t know so I’m just going to keep typing.

*I’ve decided I’m a mess.  And our family is a mess.  And if I had to guess you might be a mess too…maybe.  I think about the disaster I turn into everyday.  Sin after sin after sin.  I get so pissed off about things I really should be giving compassion and mercy and grace to.  I put my sins on repeat and continue to fall on my face.  I let my pride win and I think I have it all figured out.  I think my way is the best way and don’t even think about offering me a different route.  I think I know better than Jesus most days.  Josh Kelley gets my worst.  My kids get my worst.  I find myself holding tight to grace when it should fall freely from my hands because I am #1 in line who needs it desperately.  You guys I’ve got nothing figured out and every night I think, “Okay God.  Let’s give this another go tomorrow.”

*God has been teaching me about how valuable and important people’s stories are.  For over a year now I’ve been trying to lean into people’s stories.  I can be so quick to judge, but when I shove my know-it-all-self aside and choose to listen and be curious and invest, sometimes people share and it’s one of the greatest honors ever.  I then begin to understand others and their lives and how they arrived to the place where they are.  I begin to see how impactful our stories are on others and who we are now and who we are becoming.  Our stories shape and mold us into who we are…they are valuable and deserve a listening ear and an empathetic heart.  It’s easy to make judgments from the outside…from the surface of what I think I know, but when I get to digging and people share, I get a glimpse into the truth of people’s hearts and lives.  I keep thinking about how I want my own heart and story to be handled by others, so in turn, how will I respond and handle the stories of others who share with me.  I can’t help but feel this is such a crucial decision…I want to be so careful.

*I sat with a friend for hours yesterday talking about really hard things.  This life is just damn hard.  Sometimes I think “Why God?  Why all that?  Why did you think they we’re strong enough to handle that mess?”  I don’t give Him the credit He deserves and I certainly question His judgement.  I forget we can do crazy hard things because He lives in us.  I’m right we aren’t strong enough, but Christ is.  He can do immeasurably more than we ever imagined.  He brings beauty from the ashes.  He takes our broken selves and makes something incredible.  He does what only He can do.  This world makes zero sense sometimes.  None.  Hebrews has been spot on for me lately.  Just word after word after word….each time just stabbing my heart.  It’s good you guys.

Hebrews 8:9 “…when I took them by the hand to bring them out of Egypt.”

This verse captured me immediately.  It spoke to the mess I am and the mess everyone else is too.  The Creator of the world…God Himself…will take us by the hand and lead us out of our mess.  It makes me weepy and thankful and humbled.  He comes into our mess, into our brokenness, into our sadness, into our pride, into our judgment, into our hate, into our bitterness, into our sin, into our shortcomings…into anything we can offer up…He is not scared or too good or afraid of exactly as we are.  I am crazy thankful I don’t have to fix myself or clean myself up for Him because I would be in a constant whirlpool…I would never get there and so, instead He comes right down into my mess with me and grabs me by the hand.  Geez.  What a good good God He is.

*I am for sure an emotional mess lately.  I want to claim it’s the holidays, but let’s be real, it’s pretty much all the time.  I have bounced between rock hard and soft mush my entire life and currently I am in a perpetual soft mush emotional state.  I recently cleaned out my office and had a giant pile of stuff I wanted to get rid of.  I let friends and family pilfer through it and then donated what was left.  My friend Ashley stopped by one day…she’s a teacher and a lover of junk…so I told her to come look though my pile.  She took a few things…one being a gallon ziplock bag of wooden thread spools I had covered in different fabrics.  I’m not one to hold onto to things.  I like to think of myself as a minimalist, but for over three years I had held onto those wooden spools because I had sat by Amon’s hospital bed and tried to busy my hands by covering each spool in brightly covered fabric as machines beeped around me and fear and grief had taken a tight grip on my heart over Amon’s heart and the loss of mom.  I was in the bank drive-thru today when she sent me this picture.

She took those wooden spools and made this beautiful wreath for her friend who is a high school sewing teacher.  It made me cry like a giant baby…it made her friend cry too.  I could not get over how amazing it was and how amazing Ashley is.  The simple yet astounding thoughtfulness and love she had put into this wreath made my heart swell.  It’s a testimate to Ashely’s heart and her kindness.  She’s one of the good ones.  And I know so many kind people just like her.  It blew me away.  I ask God all the time to show me His goodness and I found it today in Ashely’s simple love and kindness for her friend.

So that’s the state of my mind and heart currently.  It’s all over the place.  A mess like I said.  And it’s okay to be a mess.  Jesus makes it okay.  What a God we serve who takes us just as we are, meets us in our mess and then uses us despite ourselves.  I might not understand it all and I might question the fire out of God, but how comforting it is to know He not only is okay with me coming to Him just as I am, but that He is there and loves me so fiercely.


  1. Amazing. Thank you!

  2. Cousin Amy says:

    Could we now sing together, “Let all the people say Amen”:):) Thanks Laura!!

  3. Thank you for sharing your heart. A couple weeks ago our sermon at church had 1 point….”God is in the mess”. He meets you there and will help lead you out. Sigh…what a wonderful reminder.

  4. Wow. This whole thing had me a mess. i love the story about Amon and the spools In the hospital. Thank you for your kind words and for always putting life into perspective. Love you and your big, mushy heart!!

  5. A family of 7 again? And from the photo it looks like Little Miss is back? Glad she had a safe, warm, familiar place to return.

    Knowing people’s stories – yes! A silly small example .. a friend was recently complaining about slow people in the grocery store. She’s busy, don’t you know, and doesn’t have time for them. I laughed. Having just had unplanned, emergency surgery a week ago I am very much that slow person in the grocery store these days. You can’t look at me and know my insides hurt (or that I’m really supposed to be resting), but my speed and stamina are limited by very real circumstances.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Your kindness and thoughtfulness are inspirational.

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