Darren and the cat spent a little time reading the National Geographic together.



I just love these two :]

The Cat Made Me Do It


This is what the cat does when I try using the computer instead of petting him.


{Pet me. Pet me now.}

So if I ever post anything crazy on here, just know that the cat probably wrote it…definitely not me ;]

The Good Stuff

I have noticed something lately and it’s this: On the flip side of almost every complaint is something to be thankful for.

For instance:

I have bills to pay but that means I have a home and electricity.

I am buried in laundry but that means I have more than enough clothes to wear.

I have to get up and go to work but that means I have a job.

Gas is expensive but the fact that I think about it means I have a car to put it in.

My family is far away but I love them enough to miss them and care about the distance.

I am tired but that {usually} means I’ve been productive and accomplished a thing or two.

I have to cook dinner but that means I have food to eat.

I get hurt sometimes but that means I have the capacity to love and am close enough to people to get hurt.

I could go on but you get the idea. Lately I’ve noticed in myself the tendency to be negative, to grumble and complain. But I know better, I know I’ve been given so much and have so very much to be thankful for. I’m trying to have a more positive attitude and to see the good in what I normally find to complain about. So here’s to seeing the good and beautiful on the flip side of life.

Up In These Parts


Two crazy boys: Check.


One light saber

Two swords

One sling shot

One gun that shoots lightning

And a rocket launching airplane




The two best babysitters in the whole. entire. world.


kiss Sneaking a kiss in was loudly protested by the imps in the back

Check ;]



I have thought a lot about time lately, mostly because it always feels like it’s getting away from me. I’m young and if I get to live a full life, I have plenty of time left. I know that and yet I feel a little panicked every time I look at what day or month it is and wonder how we got here so quickly. Summer, for instance, is over. Um, not okay with me, not that anybody asked but seriously, what the heck? I thought summer just started and all of a sudden everyone I know is posting back-to-school pictures of their kids on Facebook. A little girl I used to babysit put a picture up today of her first day in college…so now I feel old and summer is still over. Awesome.


I keep thinking its July and then I look at my day planner and realize for the 19th time now that it’s August and that August is fast melting into September. Normally I rush through summer trying to get to fall. I love the cooler weather, the pumpkin lattes, the boots and sweaters. But this year I just can’t get there mentally. I want time to stand still for a moment so I can catch my breath and get my head around it.

Fall Hike 2008-13

Darren gave me a watch for my birthday last year; I had pointed it out to him in a catalog and then on my birthday he took me to the jewelry counter where the lady working pulled it out and gave it to me all wrapped up and ready for my birthday. I squealed; I do that when I’m happy. I’ve worn that watch a lot this year, especially in Europe when we didn’t have our cell phones to check the time and we were always keeping track of the minutes and the train schedule. I look at it in church when I’m thinking about lunch instead of the sermon and I look at it a lot at work…waiting, waiting for the minutes to tick-tock past five.

It feels strange to me to wear time on my arm like that, to watch the thin little second hand tick along beat by beat as the seconds of my life pass on and on. It feels a little bit like taking my pulse or listening to the beating and rhythm of my heart. Tick tock. Tick tock. It terrifies me, watching my life go by like that.


Right now time feels like water swirling down the drain and I’m caught and drowning in the waves. I keep wondering what this is all about; why do I feel like time is marching over me instead of tick-tocking along with me? Why am I drowning?

We are busy for sure. This morning on the way to work Darren and I kept listing off things we need to get done. I finally pulled out a notebook and starting writing things down and the list ended up being two pages long. We work all day, we run errands, we eat quickly and late, we try to get a few things done around the house, we watch a little TV and then collapse in bed before we have to get up and do it all again. We run and run but somehow I feel in our haste that I’m running out of time…or at least misusing the time I’ve been given. It nags me, this anxiousness about what I’m doing with what I’ve been given and what I should be doing better instead.


This post has no resolution really, because I have no answers. These are just my thoughts, my fears, the things I’m working through and trying to get a handle on.

This is time—marching, marching by.

Stuff I Know About Life

When you’re a teenager, you know everything about life. Then you get a little older and start to think maybe you don’t know anything about life. Then you get a little older still and learn a few lessons the hard way and start to realize you do very much know a few things about life—not everything like when you were younger, but some things for certain.

Here’s what I know:

I know it takes a lot of time and work to build trust and just a moment to destroy it. Respect the position people give you in their heart and life and think before you do something stupid that could destroy everything you’ve built. It takes years to get to know someone and really learn how to love them. It takes seconds to throw everything away. Little things have the power to break down big things.

I know my perspective is not the only, nor necessarily, the right perspective.  The world is huge and diverse. People are influenced by vastly different lifestyles and circumstances. It’s not fair to believe my particular lifestyle or circumstances give me the knowledge and authority to assume I’m right about everything and everyone. Yes, I hold to my beliefs and live according to what I believe is right. But in that I try to remember that I’m still learning and growing and so is everyone else. Besides, if we were all the same, the world would be profoundly boring.

I know compromise is not a bad word. Compromise is simply a gracious way of getting what you want and helping others get what they want too. Demanding that everything be done your way every time doesn’t make you powerful or put you in control, it makes you a jerk who will soon be doing everything your way…alone. If you want to be in any kind of successful relationship (work, marriage, friendship, family) then you will have to learn to give some and take some. Sometimes it’s right to speak up and have things your way when it really matters; sometimes it’s best to shut up and get Chinese instead of Mexican for dinner because people matter more than your particular preferences.

I know loving someone fully and truly is worth the heartache and risk. You can’t get close to someone and put your heart on the line without the near certainty of getting hurt somewhere along the way. But being close to someone and building a trusting, loving relationship is worth the bumps and scrapes. People aren’t perfect; they will hurt you. But people are also exactly what life is about and they are worth loving with abandon.

I know I have to take risks to accomplish my dreams and goals. Life is a series of stepping-stones. Moving from the safe and familiar into the unknown and uncertain is scary. But you cannot move forward or accomplish your goals by standing still in the same safe place. Life requires risk and fear and the occasional failure; that is how we grow. I have learned more from the stuff I screwed up than from anything I did right. So embrace the possibility of messing up and use your mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. Push through the fear and do it scared.

I know life does not come to those who wait, it belongs to those who take it. If you are standing around waiting for instructions or inspiration, I’ve got some bad news for you. Life happens in the moving and the making and the people who are doing what they want are just that—doing. So figure out what it is you want to do and get busy. Don’t be afraid to try, to stop and start again, to make mistakes along the way. Fear only the time wasted not doing whatever it is you are here to do.

I know money and things can make me happy but they cannot satisfy me. People sometimes say that money can’t make you happy; I disagree. I think money can make you very happy. Money can give you freedom, choices, and opportunity. Money can buy you whatever it is you want. But here’s the thing, there’s a difference between the happiness that comes from having stuff and the peace and satisfaction that have nothing to do with material things. Don’t mistake the two. Peace and satisfaction are soulful and immaterial; they are a choice and a mindset, not a particular house or cell phone.

I know to be a little bit cautious and cynical towards the media and anybody trying to sell me something. This is not to say you go around assuming the worst about everyone and everything. But I think it’s only smart and reasonable to take caution when anyone is trying to persuade you or gain something from you. The media is trying to sell you something—a lifestyle, a worldview, a product— so don’t mindlessly believe everything they say. Think for yourself about your values and beliefs and make choices based on that, not marketing.

I know for everything I want, there is something else I can’t have. The idea that anyone can have it all is unrealistic. No one has enough time or energy for everything. So you must learn to prioritize and choose. You must put down this to pick up that or you will burn out and lose out on everything in your life. It is important to discern what matters most to you and to let go of the things that distract from your priorities.

I know saying less is saying more. The world is very loud these days and there are ever-increasing ways to share your thoughts and opinions with everyone the world over. But here’s the thing, no one wants to know what you think about everything all the time. If you speak less, people will listen more when you do speak up about the things that matter most to you.

I know the people I surround myself with will deeply influence me. The people we spend time with and listen to will have a deep impact on what we value and who we become. This isn’t a bad thing unless you surround yourself with people who are toxic. The right people can fill your life with truth, inspiration, and hope. The wrong people can slowly turn you into someone you don’t like. You are not above the influence of those around you. It is also important to know that you are influencing the people in your life too. Are you helping them or hurting them?

I know I don’t know everything and what I think I know might change :] I don’t ever want to stop learning and growing and sometimes that will mean letting go of things I thought I knew…and that’s okay.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” -Rumi

The Best Things in Life

DSC_0554The other night I made one of my grandma’s much-loved recipes–homemade pie crust topped with sugar-glazed strawberries and homemade whipped cream. I remember picking strawberries with my grandma out of her garden when I was a little girl. I love that the recipe card is written in her hand and I always think of her busy in her kitchen when I pull it out.

DSC_0536Speaking of strawberries…I curled up in bed with a big bowl of them the other night and dipped one right after the other in Nutella. Pure bliss ;]



Katniss likes to wake Darren up every morning…by sitting on his face ;] They are snuggle buddies and I love them both to pieces.

Sometimes the best things in life are the small things…like strawberries and kitty cats

Our Real Lives

Sometimes, as much as I love blogging, the whole thing feels a little less than genuine to me. I obviously only share parts of myself here with you. I try to be open and honest in this space but you can only get so much of the whole picture from the occasional words and pictures I share.

I also try to be positive on my blog because honestly, who wants to read about someone else’s problems all day? I want this space to be beautiful and inspiring so I only share those things that I hope you will connect with and be inspired by. But in so doing I leave out a lot of the truth and always feel like a little bit of a fraud.

This is challenging because I find myself reading my favorite blogs and sometimes I get a little discouraged thinking other people have so much more going for them than I ever will. I look at all their pretty pictures and eat up stories of their adventures and I start to think I must be a complete loser compared to them.

But the truth is these people I admire are only sharing a part of themselves with me—just like I only share a part of myself with you. However beautiful anyone’s life may look, we all have problems, hurts, discouragements, and a whole world of history that has made us who we are.

I have to remind myself of that when I read about other people’s lives online.

I enjoy social media—Facebook, blogs, Pinterest… It’s all good in its place but it’s important to remember how much more there is behind all the pretty pictures and words. There is a lot more going on in my life than I can ever share with you here. But I still want to share with you what I can. I want to tell you my stories and show you my pictures—even if these stories and pictures only give you a glimpse and not the whole story.

There are lots of good things going on in my life right now. As I shared with you not long ago, Darren and I just bought an old house we are remodeling and we are so excited about moving out into the country.


Earlier this week we planted a big vegetable garden and the other night we pulled an old piano bench outside and sat under the stars planning and dreaming of life in this new place. While we were sitting there the most incredible shooting star I have ever seen zipped by with a trail of flame behind it…I actually gasped out loud—it was that amazing.

In just a few days we leave for Europe. Europe! We have been saving for years and now we finally get to take off and see Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and England! Holy moly kids…I can’t even tell you how excited I am.

I look forward to sharing all these little adventures with you here over the summer. But in doing so I just wanted to remind you (and myself) that these are just pieces of our lives. The rest of my life involves sitting at a desk doing paperwork, cleaning the house, cooking, grocery shopping, bill paying, blah blah blah. I don’t sit here and tell you about the day-to-day because that would bore me to tears and I don’t want to do the same to you. But the laundry and the paperwork…that is very much my real life whether I share it here or not.

Life is good but it isn’t good every second of every day and it isn’t just pretty pictures and big adventures. Life is beautiful and messy and so much more than the individual parts we share. That’s it. That’s all. Love Kari :]

To Boston

Boston 2010-2

Boston, city I have loved since I first set foot on the cobblestone streets. The place where Darren asked me to marry him standing by the water on the Back Bay. The place where we spent some of the first days of our marriage. The first place people want to see when they come to visit me and the place I love exploring still.

I can’t understand why people hurt each other. There is so much violence in the world but it’s easy to forget about it until it happens in a place you love.

I don’t know what to say. I don’t understand it. All I really wanted to say is that today my heart is with Boston and the people there.


DSC_0005 (2)

I love lazy weekends. The cat curled up in my lap and took a nice, long Sunday afternoon nap.


I drank a big mug of hot tea with lots of honey and cream and played with my new camera, trying to figure it out.


DSC_0044 (2)

I may or may not have looked into the sun for 30 minutes trying to see what color my eyes are in the light. I may or may not be blind now.


Oh the light though, it is great fun to chase with the camera. Katniss and I played games with the shadows.


And then I chased the sun flair, trying to capture it and make it immortal.

DSC_0089 (2)

DSC_0085 (2)

DSC_0102 (2)

DSC_0108 (2)

The sun got caught in the bottles.


And then it slipped away behind the trees.