joy after trauma: living in the both/and

It’s been about seven months since the day doctors tell me I almost died, seven months since the birth of my son.

It’s funny how God works, though. Seven months since Jesus saved me from death and I’ve never felt more alive.

It hasn’t been an easy seven months, don’t get me wrong, but it’s been…somehow, is this a thing? It’s been a time of seeing and being more clearly. Seeing bits of heaven and glimpses of Jesus on His throne and in our presence…me being present in ways I just flat-out didn’t have the capability of being before.

What I’ve learned is this: on this Earth, for those in the fold of God’s flock, when we grieve, grief and joy will interlock fingers, go hand in hand. We must not be afraid of grief.

Jesus, the weeping Friend of Lazarus, is not afraid of grief.

And neither did He turn His face from the joy set before Him.


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

How can I grow comfortable with this Both/And? This living in the Both? This joy over life itself and grief over things broken?

Now, after strapping baby into his stroller, armed with a paci and sunscreen for a walk in this sunny weather, I jog inside for a moment to grab a water.

The cool blast of the AC hits me and I close my eyes, suddenly bombarded with the memory of a hospital room.

A hospital room I wish I could remember clearly, but I can’t.

I won’t.

I can’t.

Not yet.

I close my eyes and take a deep breath, lean against the door frame.

Jesus, help me.

A nurse’s voice rushes back to me. “Push. Push. Good girl!”

I remember the pain – something hurt terribly, but it was worth it to me.

Soon I would hold Baby in my arms…just keep pushing…

Back in my kitchen, tears fill my eyes.

How I wish I could remember the moment I first held Baby.

How I wish they could have put him right on my chest, where he belongs.

How I wish the three of us – me, Michael, and baby, weren’t separated, torn from each other like Goodness from its home in Eden.

Here in the kitchen, as I’ve learned to hear in the stillness lately, Jesus speaks to my heart gently.

I understand; I see the things you lost.

I see, too, the things the Father has given you.

You may not see them yet, but I can. They are good.

And I rejoice over you.

Baby’s happy gurgles from the garage bring me back to the present.

I breathe deep.

The Father holds your baby.

Your beloved baby lacks no good thing.

And he is blessed by you.

I blink. Tears change from grief to relief. I wipe my eyes and jog back outside, put Baby’s favorite sunglasses on his expectant little face, say Thank You silently, and push the stroller out into the sun at a run.


Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Baby and I sail through the blossoming trees, green branches waving hello, the wind in our faces, a podcast about Mommy Fashion on the phone speaker, giving me permission to wear leggings and tunics forever. I smile, inhale, exhale, listening to the uplifting banter, focusing on one foot in front of the other, Baby’s feet bouncing along with mine.

The time of grief is Good. And the time of sunshine joy is Good, too.

In every season, may we have eyes to see and ears to hear His Beauty in both joy and grief, for He makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him.


Blessings and joy to you,


God is real, angels are real, and miracles still happen: my labor and delivery story

“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91: 11.


I want to share my labor and delivery story with you. Not to say “Wow, look how strong I am!” or “Hey, here’s a crazy story about labor.”

This story really isn’t about labor, and it’s really not about me.

Though it is crazy – I’ll give it that.

My story is really an illustration that God is real, angels are real, that God performs miracles, and that He does in fact hear and answer our prayers.


The day before my due date, I was deep in the throes of labor, which had been going beautifully for hours – just like my whole pregnancy. Beautiful, clean, nothing to worry about.

Then it was time to push. At this rate, said the midwife, Thomas would be born in just about five minutes. Despite the discomfort of labor, I was beside myself with excitement. Michael was there, cheering me on, I had my Office episodes rolling…this whole scene was my dream-come-true.

Then everything shattered into a million pieces, the only hope of being stitched back together were the hands of God.

The next few minutes were the worst minutes of my entire life. I’m choking up right now, remembering.

Machines started beeping. In a matter of a breath, about ten nurses surrounded my bed. They poked me, prodded, yelled orders to each other. One held my hand and never lost eye contact with me. One flipped me into different positions, moment after moment.

And I didn’t know why.

As the seconds ticked, orders grew more tense. Phrases like, “We need to get this baby out. STAT.” were suddenly being thrown around.

Confused, shocked, and in lots of pain, I looked over at Michael. Helpless as me, he gazed back into my eyes.

Then I was lifted onto another bed and before I knew what was happening we tore out of the room.

Like in the movies, we screeched down the hallway, literally taking turns on two wheels while yelling for people to get out of our way. Nurses on all sides of me were yelling “Get a doctor! Get a doctor! We only have a few minutes!”

Tears pooled in my eyes.

“Is my baby okay?” I choked out to no one in particular, wincing with contractions.

“We’re doing everything we can,” said the midwife, not daring to tear her gaze away from the path she was blazing.

I closed my eyes and let the tears roll down my cheeks as the chaos continued around me. So much noise, so much everything, but in my head it was just me and baby and Michael in some kind of surreal nightmare.

My baby. What’s wrong with my baby?

Where is my baby?

What’s happening?

Is my baby okay?

Will my baby be okay?

Is he…alive?

More tears. More yelling.

My baby. My baby.

My baby, I prayed. Jesus. My baby.

Someone poked my leg. “Can you feel this?”

We were in a room with bright lights now.

Nurses were still yelling. “Are we ready to cut?” someone yelled.

“No!” My tears flowed more. “I feel you. I feel you.”

A man took my face in his hands. “I’m going to take care of you,” he said, a mask covering his mouth.


The next part of my story takes place while I was under, proving absolutely true the verse “The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still (Exodus 14:14).”

During our flight to the OR, the on-call doctor had apparently still been ten minutes away.

But we hadn’t had ten minutes.

Enter miracle number one.

Another doctor – apparently one of the most highly-respected doctors in the entire hospital – happened to get to work early that day and literally ran into our brigade on accident while strolling the halls, reading emails on her phone.

She was the one who got my baby out in a matter of minutes and saved his life.

What had happened, I found out later, was that my baby’s heart rate had dropped dangerously low in a matter of seconds, and it had continued to drop at an exponential rate.

What we didn’t know – couldn’t have known – at the time, was that my body simply doesn’t like labor. Over the course of just a few hours, I had developed blood clots in response to the stress of labor, and possibly shot one of them to the placenta, blocking my baby’s air. The other theory is that my body was so stressed by labor that it flat-out stopped sustaining him the way it was supposed to.

Either way, as soon as the doctor got Thomas out and saved his life, he’s been the most beautiful, healthy, strong, perfect baby in the world.

He’s strong.

But mostly, God is strong for him.


After they got Thomas out, next came about three hours of reconstructive surgery to my uterus. Since they did the emergency c-section when I was already nearly finished with labor, my uterus was so stretched out and tired that it was shattered by the incision.

The LORD had fought for Thomas. This is where the LORD also fought for me.

I had also been ravaged by a terrible sinus infection only two days before labor, and when they put me under and laid me flat for so long, mucous had gotten into my lungs. When they tried to remove the ventilator I was on, my airways closed, and they had to work to get me to breathe again.

This was miracle number two.

If the ventilator had successfully come out, I would have never been transferred to the ICU.

I needed to be in the ICU.

Because only hours later, I hemorrhaged. Badly.

I lost a dangerous amount of blood.

Had I been anywhere other than the critical care of the ICU staff, I don’t know what would have happened.

But God knew.

And He took care of it.

This was in the middle of the night.

Enter miracle three.

A family friend was woken up at this time, miles away, and heard the LORD tell her to pray for my uterus – that I would get to keep it. That I would have the choice to bear more children.

And so she prayed.

Another family friend who’d had contact with my mom was already awake and praying for me, and while she prayed she received a vision of angels filling my room in the ICU. She saw them calmly doing their jobs – guiding the doctor’s hands, stopping the bleeding, protecting me.

Then, just a week ago, two weeks after this all happened, a woman who had prayed for me but who I’ve never even met before called us to tell us she’d gotten a word that the angel in charge of me that night was a very important, commanding angel – a Commander of God’s angel armies.

None of these people had talked to each other, just talked to God.

My favorite verse has always been “For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” – Psalm 91: 11. I have prayed this verse over myself and my family daily for years.

And God heard. Every prayer I ever uttered, He heard. And He answered.


The bleeding was still dangerously thick when the doctor came to Michael. “We have one more thing we can try,” he explained. “But if it doesn’t work, we’ll have to do an emergency hysterectomy.”

Michael didn’t bat an eye. “She wants to be here for this baby hands-down. If you need to take it, she’d tell you to take it in a heartbeat.”

The doctor left, and Michael prayed that if God wanted to grow our family in other ways, that He’d take my uterus and give us peace.

God did give us peace. But He did not take my uterus.

He saved my uterus.

God not only called His people to pray for me, but He had heard their prayers.

Enter miracle four.

The surgeon who’d come to Michael, who’d worked on me for hours – who’d fought gallantly and WON the battle to save my childbearing uterus – was the most skilled surgeon in the entire practice, nurses informed us later.

We couldn’t have planned our rescue any better.

The last-ditch effort worked beautifully.

The bleeding stopped; my uterus was saved; my body can bear more children.

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Enter miracle five.

The ICU nurse who was taking care of me used to be a labor and delivery nurse.

“Does she want to breastfeed?” she asked Michael. (I was out of it for about 36 hours. Michael made all decisions for me. He is amazing.)

“Yes. Very much so,” Michael responded.

“Get that baby in here and put him on her chest ASAP.” the nurse commanded.

And they did.

I will not share the picture of the time I met my son here, because it’s sacred and personal, but man. It is the most beautiful picture of two children of God rescued in full – one battered and bruised pretty bad, but not dismayed. One young and perfect and safe and sound. Both victorious.

My first memory after coming-to was this same brilliant nurse wheeling my baby in to see me again.

“We have a visitor!” she sang cheerfully.

I was fully aware that I was in tons of pain and had tubes coming out my nose and throat, rendering me unable to talk, but I also had no idea what had happened.

Then I saw my boy and cried through my tube-filled smile. He was so healthy, so perfect. I didn’t care about anything else.

“Skin-to-skin,” I wrote down.

“Don’t be discouraged if he doesn’t nurse, honey. We just fed him,” said the nurse.

I didn’t care.

They placed him on my chest and instantly he nuzzled into me, his mama, not caring one iota about the tubes or my lack of voice, and latched onto my breast. We both melted.

I cried.

The nurses cried.

And my baby and I have had the most special, amazing nursing experience together ever since. Despite all the trauma we both went through – our bodies and hearts knew what to do. Nursing him at midnight is still one of my favorite times with my boy.

Enter miracle six.

A mere two days later, I was off the ventilator. Apparently, most people don’t get off a ventilator for two weeks – I only took two days.

This was not my strength – this was God’s mercy.

Then we were moved into a family unit room with our precious boy.

My vitals continued to improve miraculously.

Doctors and nurses visited our room, one after the other. “I just wanted to meet you,” each one would say. “I’ve heard your story. You’ve literally been through hell and back…and you’re doing so well. It’s incredible.”

With Thomas in my arms, I would just smile. “It was awful. But…we’re good.”

Only four days after being off the ventilator, I was well enough to go home.

The surgeon visited me before we left. “I want you to know, you have nothing to be afraid of,” he said. “If you want more kids, you can have ‘em. This fiasco will never happen again. Your uterus is recovering as from a normal c-section at this point, and next go-round, we’ll do a scheduled one. It will all be fine.”

Then he smiled. “Go live your life.”

Michael and I left the hospital, buckled our baby into the car, and stared at each other with tears in our eyes.

We’d been in a battle of epic proportions.

And God had won it handily for us.

“Let’s go home, little buddy,” Michael said, kissing Thomas on the head. “Let’s go home.”


Enter miracle seven.

I was supposed to be anemic for two months after my hemorrhage.

A mere two weeks later, at my blood count check, I was informed by my very surprised doctor that I already had the blood count of a healthy female who hadn’t even gone through a normal labor.

Not only was I no longer anemic, but my vitals were stronger than ever.

Then, at Thomas’s first pediatrician appointment, his doctor scanned our hospital file and then stared at us. “Wow.”

We nodded. “We like to do things with a bang.” (Ha.)

He shook his head. “You are rock stars. Not only that – but this is one of the most beautiful, healthy newborns I’ve ever seen.”

We smiled.

Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.

Praise the LORD!


I know I’ll be processing these events for a while, but I also have a very contented peace. YES – there are times I still break down and cry, remembering the trauma and heartache. I still get angry that it happened this way.

But, enter miracle eight, there are MORE times that I smile at my baby while holding him, that I complain like all new parents about lack of sleep, that I sing baby lullabies at night, that we go on family walks.

We are healthy. We are here.

We are not afraid.

We have the choice to bear more children. Like the doctor said, this will never happen again.

But mostly, if God can fight for me so powerfully while I am at the weakest I’ve ever been, barely hanging on, how will He not also continue to be faithful in the future?

If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31).

I’ve learned firsthand that prayers are powerful. That angels are real. That God has not stopped performing miracles in our modern day.

And I know that I know that I know in my deepest of hearts that God is the realest reality there is.

Be still.

He will most assuredly fight for you, Beloved.

I’ve seen it firsthand. It’s my story.

I pray His mercies and faithfulness over you, too.

Abundant blessings and healthy, safe, labors and deliveries to you,




the nursery’s ready, so all that’s left is to do is…freak out

It hit me when Michael and I were at Ikea buying furniture for baby boy’s nursery. Picking out a bookshelf to hold all his baby books? Awesome. Picking out his diaper caddy? Yay! Picking out drawers to hold his pacis? Adorable!

Then we got to the bathroom section.

I literally stopped short in the middle of the toothbrush holders and nearly peed my pants which, let’s be real – isn’t that abnormal these days. The urge to pee, I mean.

Anyway, I stopped short.

Michael looked at me. “Hm?” He asked, eyeing me with concern. He was probably also afraid I might pee.

“It’s just…” my voice got quiet. I stared at the little plastic bathroom caddy I was holding. “He’s…he’s going to have his own…toiletries. And stuff.”

Michael blinked.

I raised my eyebrows and shook my head. “I mean…our kid will have his own toothbrush. And his own shampoo. And his own life. And…he’s like, he’s a real person!

He laughed. “What’d you think we were having? A cat?”

I laughed, we moved on, and I didn’t pee my pants, but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the fact that my baby is his own person. Really though, he’s God’s person.

The point is, he’s mine – yes, such a gift – but mostly he’s God’s.

And so I have no control over basically anything. Like his personality, his likes or dislikes, his taste in food, his taste in music, his taste or disdain for *gasp!* books

Y’all. What is this new member of mine and Michael’s little family going to be like?

And then…even scarier… cue the urge to pee again…HOW AM I A MOM?

The fear inside yells, I can’t be a mom!!! I’m just Robyn! I still sleep with a stuffed animal at night and I still hate grapes and I’m still working on my temper PLUS I’m already a writer and a teacher and a tutor and a sister and a daughter and a wife and a friend…and so now, I add mom to the list?!

It all just feels really big.

Really big.

Like I’m five years old again, playing dress up but my feet don’t fill my mom’s high-heeled shoes – and I try them out anyway to see if they work.

I suppose this just reminds me why it’s so important that my true identity is Jesus. I’m His. I love all those other roles I get to be a part of this side of heaven, too, but I suppose even when I have little baby resting in my lap I’ll still be…Robyn. God’s Robyn. That won’t change.

Sleeping with a stuffed animal probably won’t change either.

I don’t think God will mind.

But change is scary, I think.

Which is probably why, when my freshman roommate and I were left alone for the first time after our parents dropped us off at UGA, we looked at each other like, what do we do now? and then just sat on the floor of our dorm room and ate an entire bag of dove chocolates in one sitting.

While I was telling God how afraid I am of this upcoming ginormous change (even though it’s the best change I can imagine after getting married to Michael), I felt like He was chuckling.

And He probably was. Because for some reason the fact that I’m afraid was shocking to me. 

But I suppose God knows me better than that. I don’t think I shock Him.

I was there in the moments you were joyfully excited, I felt Him whisper. I was there when I chose him for you and Michael. I’m there with him now. And I’ll be there every step of the way for you. That is the one thing, Beloved, that will never ever change. I have always loved you. No change in your life will ever surprise Me. I’m your True North – your Constant in every change.

It’s calming to think that right now, He’s there alongside me while I watch videos about breathing through labor and how to clean a pacifier, He’s there while I try on nursing clothes, and He’s there when I wake up from the dream where I accidentally feed my baby saltines rather than breastfeed him and the doctors yell at me.

When our identity as God’s children is simply and profoundly Loved By God, change will never shake us. Because then, I supppose…what’s there to shake?

So, here it goes: bring on the change!

And maybe definitely absolutely a bag of dove chocolates.


Blessings to you,



p.s. – feel free to pray for my labor, and that everyone involved will keep saltines far away from me 😉

tell me i look amazing, feed me a block of cheese, and show me to the bathroom: confessions of a pregnant lady

The florist smiled at me as I waited for her to finish trimming the bouquet I’d selected.

“Are you having a boy?” she asked.

I beamed. “I am! We’re so excited.” I cocked my head. “How did you know it’s a boy?”

The florist raised her eyebrows. “Well, moms pregnant with boys tend to look…tired and drained. Moms pregnant with girls look bright and energized.” Her facial expression was that of someone who just told me she ate the last of my ice cream and wasn’t that sorry about it.

I wish I could have seen my own expression at that moment.


There are lots of emojis I could pick to accurately describe my reaction, but Word won’t let me use emoijis. Alas.

I did laugh, however. Because what do you say to that? “Oh wow, you look tired and drained, too!”

No clue.

I’m chuckling as I write, because people are funny. And I’m assuming she didn’t mean it to come out that way.



Totally 😉

But for real, I am thankful and awestruck to be pregnant. Our journey wasn’t the easiest to get here, and I truly experience each day of pregnancy as an incredible gift.


photo by Joseph Wood

And yet, no matter my overall attitude, pregnancy has also been a tidal wave full of awkward moments and emotions.


There are a few things I’d like to laugh about:


1. The lady behind the counter at Staples told me an epidural will ruin my life. However, I am not deterred. Give it to me.


2. Sometimes…I get stuck in the cushions of our couch. Like a wobble-weeble, if you will. I am okay with this! Because when else can I experience a day in the life of a Tellytubby? Hashtag blessed.


3. Our bed is tall. These days Michael hoists me into it, like we’re cheerleaders and he’s the base and I’m the fly. Unless of course I choose to instead grab the mattress and roll myself onto it with an adorable grunt like…yes, a Tellytubby. A Tellytubby who grunts.


4. The last time Michael went to the grocery by himself to do our weekly grocery shopping, the cashier asked him if he was stocking up for the whole month. “No,” he said. “Just for the week.” Apparently this confused her. “Wow. How many kids do you have?” she asked. “Uh…my wife is pregnant…” was his response. (P.S. – that haul lasted me five days.) Hashtag YOLO.


5. Everyone knows your belly gets bigger when you’re pregnant. But why doesn’t anyone warn you about your butt? Asking for a friend.



Michael holding his own “bump,” naturally

6. I was awake for two hours last night because for some reason it hit me at 4 a.m. that I will be going through labor in a few short months. HOW DO YOU DO LABOR? Also asking for a friend. I’ve heard you can’t eat during it. I should probably sign up for a birthing class. I will add that to the list of things I keep forgetting to do…


7. I have lost the capacity to remember anything.


8. I have also lost the capacity to eat without burping. Hashtag sorry not sorry.


9. All I really want is for you to tell me I look amazing, feed me a block of cheese, and direct me to the nearest bathroom.


10. And, last but not least, these have been some of the sweetest months of my life. I love the way God has slowly been introducing me and Michael to our baby boy through sweet times of prayer and little baby kicks. I love nesting. I love talking to my baby. I love that he kicks when I’m falling asleep. I love that God hand-picked him for us, and us for him. I love that his nursery is blue. I love his heartbeat. I love my big belly. I love the way strangers go out of their way to hold the door for me. I love that baby is totally in God’s hands and not my own. I love that Michael is the daddy. I love that we have no clue how to be parents. I love that we’re learning it together. I love this gift of life in my womb.


So, ladies. Let’s laugh with the “florists” we come across, because we know the very breath we are breathing is the most wonderful gift.

And maybe…just maybe…when your “florist” gets home from work…someone will have eaten all her ice cream.


Mostly 😉


Blessings to you,



Ten Things I’m *Loving* Lately

It’s time for another Ten Things Tuesday


Here are ten things I’ve been *loving* lately (starting, of course, with the all-important coffee category):


photo by Elah Tree

  • Nestle Coffeemate Chocolate Toffee Truffle Creamer – Do I really need to elaborate more than this name implies? I think not.

image via coffee-mate

  • Dunkin Donuts Caramel Coffee Cake Ground Coffee – All I’m going to say here is, “You’re welcome.” Plus, this coffee doesn’t have any sugar in it! Just delicious flavor. Also, side note: I get the impression it’s seasonal (as if we needed another reason to love fall), so get it before December!
ground coffee

image via walmart

  • Fall decorations via the Target dollar section – Tucker ate our last fall centerpiece which was a plastic pumpkin. I didn’t know cats liked to eat plastic but…I mean, I can’t really explain Tucker. Anywho, I bought a very cute ceramic pumpkin centerpiece from Target for just $5. Pretty sure Tucker can’t chomp into ceramic. Although…I wouldn’t put it past him. I’ll keep you updated.


  • Going on walks just for fun – And I mean the kind of walk that isn’t for exercise. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good run. But separate from running, I’ve really enjoyed taking work breaks by stepping outside for a minute or two, putting in a podcast, and enjoying the fall air (while killing it on my fitbit…because, let’s be real, why walk at all if your fitbit doesn’t give you virtual fireworks at the end of the day?
spring landscape

image via SheWorksHisWay

  • Taking my iPad to the gym – Okay, okay. I know. This one is so millennial of me. But it really does make the elliptical/bike/treadmill much more entertaining! And now that Netflix lets you download certain shows onto your device, you don’t need wifi to watch while you’re at the gym! Just download an episode or two while you’re at home (may I suggest Parks and Rec?), and then watch it at the gym!


  • The Glorious in the Mundane podcast with Christy Nockels – I didn’t know her speaking voice could be just as soothing as her singing voice, but it totally is. This is a podcast I love to listen to when I’m doing mundane chores like dishes or laundry. She uploads about one podcast a month, and each one is full of encouragement, entertaining small talk, and feel-good deep talks.
  • On that note…Be Held, a lullaby album by Christy Nockels – Pretty sure this came out less than a week ago. It’s an album full of lullabies, and one of the songs, Pitter Patter Goes the Rain, features her children and husband singing, playing the ukulele, and drumming. It’s adorable and refreshing.
  • “Surprised by Joy” by C.S. Lewis – Now, to be totally honest, I haven’t yet finished this book. But here’s the truth 100 pages in: it’s fascinating. This book is basically Lewis’s autobiography of his childhood/early adult life, and it’s been quite an interesting read. Disclaimer: it’s not for kids. Lewis, a strong believer himself, is pretty frank about certain things that young eyes don’t need to read.


  • Lularoe Butter Leggings – They are what they sound like. Leggings that glide over your legs like butter. You will never wear real pants again. Never! Just kidding. Sort of. You should probably wear real pants. BUT when you are in the mood for leggings, look for a retailer on Facebook who sells lularoe, or find a friend who sells it (yes, I know. It’s one of those, but it’s a great product). They’re $25 each. I have three pairs. I would have more, but Michael keeps mentioning this bizarre concept to me called “a budget.”


  • Homemade Sweet Potato Fries – Y’ALL. They’re so good. Like, this one time, Michael and I just made a boat-load of these fries and ate them (plus some cookies) for dinner. Literally all you have to do is cut up your sweet potato into little fry-looking strips (warning: cutting through a raw sweet potato is like cutting through brick. But it’s totes worth it!), toss them in olive oil, spread them on a cookie sheet, salt and pepper them, then bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until they’re crispy to your liking.


Enjoy, and Happy Fall, lovely friends!





Diary Post: disney, universal studios, harry potter world, and lots of middle schoolers

Most of you know that mine and hubby’s intended New York Christmas Getaway turned into New York Hospital Stay. By the time we got home from that trip, Michael looked at me and said, “I think we need a vacation.”


So, we took one! And not a severe food poisoning/hospital one. A REAL one!


“But hubby,” I initially said. “All I want to do is wrap you in bubble wrap and never let you go on vacation or eat out ever again.”


“So let’s go to Disney World.”




And we were off!

It was one of our favorite vacations. It was also, as one of my good friends called it, a “working vacation.” This means that instead of sitting on a beach all day, we probably walked the equivalent of a trillion miles per day because, Mickey. We wanted to do ALL. THE. THINGS.


And it was awesome. (Minus that brief dehydration spell brought on by doing ALL. THE. THINGS. while drinking ALL. THE. COFFEE. Whoops. Totes my bad.)


Anywho, here’s a brief way too detailed photo diary of our time in both Disney and Hogwarts, the latter being the place that seems to be withholding our acceptance letters. Hmm. Weird.


Bring on the Magic!


I wish this picture could capture my squeals and how I spilled my beloved junior mints in the midst of unbridled excitement.


aside from how ridiculously beautiful our “moderate level” Disney resort was, the bus system used by all the Disney resorts makes staying at any of them – value, moderate, or luxury – totally worth it.

RESORT TIP: When you stay at a Disney Resort, make sure to buy a souvenir mug. These mugs are about $16, and they provide you with FREE refills of coffee, soda, and water at your resort. Drinking a cup of coffee in the dining area each morning will pay it off easily.


dinner at Disney Springs (aka re-vamped Downtown Disney).

DISNEY SPRINGS TIP: We ate at basically most restaurants here, and while the atmosphere in most are realllllly fun, the food isn’t anything stellar. So if you’re looking for a really nice dinner, maybe go outside of Disney Springs. Other than that, our Asian cuisine at Morimoto was AWESOME. I would recommend it.



We lucked into being at Epcot on the first day of its Garden Showcase! There were butterflies and Disney princesses everywhere. I couldn’t even.

EPCOT TIP: The food here is ah-mazing. Spend all day here and eat everyyyyyy meal here! Eat meals you’re not even hungry for here. Eat. At. Epcot.

The World Showcase opens at 11, so if you want to meet Belle (in France) get to the World Showcase right at 11 – which is what we accidentally stumbled into, and I couldn’t even. Basically I couldn’t even the whole time. Then Belle told me she liked my necklace, and so now it’s officially the coolest necklace I own. Because Belle. I still can’t even.

EPCOT TIP: Eat at Via Napoli and order their pizza. It is the closest thing I have had to authentic Italian pizza since I studied in Florence. Also, get a gelato sandwich (pictured above) which consists of two doughy cookies hugging gelato.

I know, I know.

I told you!

Eat. At. Epcot.

EPCOT TIP: Ride Mission to Mars if you like roller coasters. It’s INTENSE. However, do not ride this before eating aforementioned gelato sandwich….

…You’re welcome.

Animal Kingdom



The safari was amaaaaaaazing. mylanta. this is when we drove through a herd of giraffes, right before a feisty antelope chased the zebras into our hummer. Not a joke.

ANIMAL KINGDOM TIP: Go on the safari FIRST THING when the park opens at 9. This is what we did, and not only was the line a lot shorter, but the animals were super energetic and happy since they just ate breakfast. Apparently they like to nap in the afternoons….(don’t we all?)


Ever seen the movie “Holes?” you’ll recognize this little guy 😉


Happy campers 🙂

ANIMAL KINGDOM TIP: WE LOVED THIS PLACE. SERIOUSLY. It’s like a zoo…but BETTER. If you have little kids, the shows are awesome. If you have big kids (or if you basically ARE a big kid, like me and the hubs), then the Mount Kilimanjaro roller coaster is awesome, and so is the Dinosaur Expedition. It’s way more fun being chased by dinos and meteorites than you might think.

Harry Potter World / Universal Studios


Diagon Alley! This is my favorite part of Harry Potter World, which spans two different parks via the Hogwarts Express. Go on the Hogwarts Express. Because Hogwarts Express.

HARRY POTTER WORLD TIP: You won’t be the only overly excited nerd here. I promise. Also, eat at Diagon Alley. We ate at the Three Broomsticks and it was a fantastic decision. Ride Escape from Gringotts. It’s super fun.

HARRY POTTER WORLD TIP: Take a picture with the Hogwarts Express Conductor. He has an excellent accent.


Hogsmeade! This is where you will find Hogwarts and lots of butterbeer.

HARRY POTTER WORLD TIP:: Hogsmeade is the smaller side of Harry Potter World. It also contains our FAVORITE RIDE FROM UNIVERSAL: Escape from Hogwarts. Do not miss this ride! It takes you through the whollllllle Hogwarts castle, and makes you feel like you’re flying! It’s too much fun.


Somehow I’m braver with my hubby. I went on the Hulk. And it was awesome.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS TIP: This is a park that is TEEMING WITH TWEENS. If you are a middle school boy, this is like your mothership. If you are not a middle school boy, perhaps you can assist them in their loud endeavors to attract female attention. Or, just be entertained by their attempts. You will not be disappointed.

Middle schoolers, I love you. You make the world go round.

Also ride: the Transformers, Men in Black (super dated, but still really nostalgic for us 90’s kids), and Spider Man rides.

Magic Kingdom


This is by far my FAVORITE park. If you only have one day for a Disney park, do this one. It’s just not the same without it!

MAGIC KINGDOM TIP: While this park is my favorite, its food is my least favorite. Really. BUT the cool thing is, they let you bring in your own food and drinks!!! Since hubby and I knew this, we made a reservation at the Be Our Guest Ballroom for breakfast (which has decent food and an AWESOME atmosphere), and we simply brought PB&J’s and apples for lunch, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Also, Disney has really good coffee. Which we also enjoyed.

MAGIC KINGDOM TIP: Don’t miss out on these rides: Splash Mountain, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, and Space Mountain (for older kids or adults). For younger kids, (and really everyone), honestly the entire park itself is truly a magical experience. From tucked away wishing wells to walking through Cinderella’s castle to meeting Buzz Lightyear to nighttime fireworks…Magic Kingdom really is magical. I can’t say it enough!


When I didn’t get into Hogwarts, I applied to buy this particular residence. Still waiting on that to go through.

Hollywood Studios

Truthfully, we only took two pictures in Hollywood Studios. One was me fangirling over Belle’s ballgown from the live-action movie, and one was of Walt Disney’s 2nd grade desk. Because those are the kinds of pictures I take.

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS TIP: Hubby and I did this park in just half a day, and we were pleased with that decision, mainly because Star Wars world isn’t open yet. It was pretty easy to see all the attractions we wanted to in a short time span.

Similar to Universal Studios, this park was also teeming with tweens. (Again – highly entertaining and enjoyable. Middle schoolers, we love you. Don’t ever change. Except for you, young whipper-snapper, who sat behind me in the Tower of Terror and kicked my seat repeatedly to show the girl sitting next to you how you’re very mature. Perhaps you can showcase your maturity in a different way next time. I will be happy to assist you in this endeavor.)

All jokes aside, this does seem like a park for older kids, since most of its rides appeared to be thrill rides. (REALLY fun thrill rides!) Don’t miss out on the Rock N’ Roller Coaster and the Tower of Terror. They give you that fun stomach-dropping feeling. 

Also, my favorite non-ride attraction was the Walt Disney Museum. It was super interesting for the history buff in me, and was also very inspiring as it showcased Walt’s creativity and drive. I loved it. Loved it.


It was such an awesome trip. I would highly recommend Disney to anyone – old, young, newly married, married for 50 years – it’s all magical.

We’re already planning our trip for next time 😉

Blessings and happy vacationing to you,



3 pearls of wisdom for us dream-chasing, big-hearted, all-over-the-place 20-somethings

Hi, I’m Kim.  I have been married for 8 years and have the joy of being a SAHM to two little boys who are 5 and 2.  I am not a writer.  I met Robyn 10 years ago when I was one of her leaders in youth group.  I have had the privilege of being in her life since then.  She asked me a while back if I would be willing to share some wisdom on her blog.  I don’t feel like I have much to offer, but I would do anything for Robyn, so I made a short list of nuggets of wisdom to pass on. 

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  1. Take all your dreams and the desires of your heart and lay them before the Lord. He loves to meet the desires of your heart. 

And then decide if He is worthy of your praise, even if none of them come true.  I once had someone ask me this question: “If you could dictate every detail of your life, but not have a relationship with Jesus, would you?”  If I’m honest with myself, it is a little tempting.  It certainly takes away a lot of “what if?” questions that keep me up at night.  There are no “what ifs?” if I get to decide.  There are a lot of accomplished dreams and a very comfortable life.  But, my answer is one thousand times no.  Because I have learned that His ways are better than my ways and often times, He has things in store for me that are so much better than I would have chosen for myself. 

If I was in charge, I would be married to my high school boyfriend, who turns out, is not as cool as I thought he was and for many reasons, not a good fit for me.  And I would have missed out on my way cooler husband, who loves me so well.  God is good.  I actually told my now husband on our first date that my dream job was to be a Room Mom.  You know, the mom that plans the parties and goes on the field trips.  Luckily, that didn’t scare him off, because what I was sharing were the many desires of my heartMy desire to be married, have children, be in a place where we can live on one income and I can stay home so that I have the time and availability to be involved in my kids’ school.  So many steps, so many chances for things to go wrong.  But, so many opportunities for the Lord to meet the desires of my heart.  In His infinite love and wisdom.  Because He loves me.  And He is worthy.    


  1. Cut the grass every once in a while.

Until recently, cutting the grass was not in my wheel house.  It’s dirty and not fun and it’s a “man’s job.”  I remember the first time I got out and cut the grass.  My husband was having a busy week and we had weekend plans, and although I had never done it before, I had watched him do it hundreds of times, and my dad before that.  So, I put on my oldest shoes and figured it out. It was something I could take off his plateAnd you know what?  He didn’t even notice.  I thought it was a prank at first.  But, then I realized that’s the point.  I’m called to be my husband’s helper, to serve others.  So I do.  Just to helpNot to be praised or so he will brag about me or do my chores.  But because I am able bodied and can help.  Serve others.  Especially when there is no glory to gain.


photo by danielle hulsey


  1. Don’t miss the blessing in your current life season by always thinking about the next.

Oh, this is so hard.  I feel like it is in our blood to think about the next season.  When we are in high school, all we can think about is college.  Then we get to college and can’t wait to get out.  Then we want to be engaged.  The engagement season is hard because all you want to do is get married.  Someone asked us at our rehearsal dinner how long we thought we would wait before we had a baby.  And the cycle goes on.  But each one of those seasons of life can be so rich and was designed to grow us and prepare us for the next.  Even in the midst of difficult seasons, so many blessings only last for that season.  When you are in high school, your mom does your laundry.  When you are in college, your best friends literally live next door and are always there.  You learn independence from being single and starting your first job, and when you are married before kids, you can go anywhere with only one bag and no babysitter. There are so many blessings in every season.  Take the time to look for them until the Lord allows the next.       


God Bless,