So *this* 
& *this* is more of our reality (umm, can we talk about pre-teens?)
this. Which was only achieved after threats and bribes because #reallifewith4kids
 This appeared in many of our neighbor’s mailboxes last week and while everyone’s texts and messages about our “adorable” picture made me smile they also exposed this fear in me that the jig is up.  So let me just say it, “Y’all, we are much more of a hot mess than the shiny cover lets on.”  It is easy to make assumptions, both positive & negative, from a safe distance but the truth; like for all of us, is much more complicated. We are ALL; you & me, less interesting & at the same time more complex & vibrant than one image or story can tell.  I create beautiful images for my work and I always know a perfect image is not the full story but rather than make it less perfect- the fuller truth of who each of us is makes it more beautiful because it makes us more fully human and more seen & known. Being seen & heard & known is desperately important to me. It is how I live out my messy faith and make sense of this world. It is the ONLY reason I am sane (most days).  It how God has healed and is healing painful wounds; and although it is not easy it is good. Life is awful & beautiful and it is meant to be lived together so we can call out both when we miss it. It is how I see a truer picture of myself and God; in the reflections & gifts of others I richly receive by doing life together.  
I was grateful that Hannah; the author of the article choose to include the quote, “the world is imperfect and our family is, too, but we can imperfectly love one another, embrace grace and be for one another. That will take us through any challenge.” There. is. so. much. more. to. that.  The messy working out of loving and learning what it means to be imperfect together, bumping up against insecurities, confessing over and over again, making right (or at least our still broken version of right), accepting each other, & walking through whatever comes. The longer I live the more confident I am in my choices & the space I occupy in the world AND at the same freakin’ time the less sure I am that I can control or affect any outcomes.  I am quite often caught up in wondering if all these moments of parenting are adding up to anything of true value but in a way that feels like letting go of something I was never meant to carry.  I pray and hope all my short comings as a wife, mom, person will not harm those in my life but without allowing the shame to define my story.  I still struggle wondering if there is significance to my small life and if I am missing something.  I lose my patience too often & when I feel like I am on fire I sometimes unfairly want those closest to feel the burn too. I love Jesus but find myself struggling to pull comfort & the worth offered by the world in snug tight around me.  I guess I feel the need to share because as I remind you were are all barely holding on most of the time I am reminded myself there is nothing to live up to- only rich, abundant, messy life to live INTO. Let us all stop comparing ourselves to something that does not exist. Grace changes the game. Thank God because the game is sucky and unfair.  You don’t see the struggle and deep loss we are walking through on this shiny cover.  But I am convinced it actually makes it MORE beautiful.  Your weakness and struggle make you more beautiful too friend.  Life is pretty ordinary and extraordinary and walking through it all hand in hand is exactly what God is asking of us.  
Here is to embracing more of the  awful & beautiful moments and remembering picture perfect is over rated, 

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