Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 11.10.14

It’s been quite some time since the last edition, and there is so much beauty to share.

Ezra is responding incredibly well to treatment at his therapeutic day program (TDP) – aka “school.” The staff is amazing and is giving us a lot of evidence-based parenting advice that is tailored to Ezra’s specific needs. We are already seeing improvements in his moods, sleep, and behavior – not just at school but also at home AND out in the community!

Ezra’s first day of the program:

06 first day of school again

Here are some incredible things that we have witnessed over the last few weeks: Continue reading

Shifting Focus {and how my blogging might need to change}

I sit here failing for words. I feel like I’m on the verge of something new, but yet unable to put my finger on what that might be.

I tell my husband these things in the car. We are talking about my blog. He speaks of goal-setting and then he tells me to figure out what my one message should be. The one thing I want to teach or share, if I were speaking to a live audience. And then to keep coming back to that one thing.

“Yeah, but I already know what that is…” I tell him.

“It’s finding God’s beauty in my mess, and giving others hope that they can find God’s beauty in their mess too.”

I believe that this message is something that I have come back to time and time again, and successfully so.

But I’ve focused a lot – maybe too much – on the mess.

The mess of mothering a difficult child.

The mess of loving a combat veteran.

The mess of a troubled spiritual past.

The mess of developing personal identity.

The mess of mothering through chronic fatigue syndrome.

At Allume, Katie and I got to talking about how, so often, we just long for people to truly get how much we have been through, and what we are going through. I think a lot of this has come out in my blogging.

It’s been a lot about my mess.

There’s been a lot of self-justification. Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 09.27.14

I really have no words for how difficult the last few weeks have been for our family.

Our son’s behavior has led to both a suspension and expulsion from his private preschool (although those words were never used and the school was ever-so-gracious about both). While we are well on our way to getting some help for him through a behavioral therapeutic day treatment program, he cannot start until the first week in October. This has left me at home with a very difficult child, who also is not sleeping well. It’s him and me against the big bad world – well, in reality more like him against me. 

Several of the professionals and other concerned individuals have asked about my support network. And it’s hard to answer. Because I have a lot of emotional support. But sometimes, what I really need is someone to take him off my hands and give me a break. But most of my friends have kids in school or are homeschooling, my MIL works full time – and then there is the behavioral aspect which makes it difficult (if not even dangerous) for anyone else to keep him. Taking care of him requires a lot of physical strength (of which I feel like I’m lacking, but I do what I can). There’s lots of lifting, picking him up when he’s kicking and screaming, getting hugged and tugged on – and even hit and punched – constantly. It’s not like I can just ask anyone to deal with him.

He literally smashed my head in the fridge yesterday. I poked my head into the fridge to look for my soup and next thing I know, BAM, my head is smashed between the door and the edge of the fridge. It hurt. I screamed. Scared him half to death. I cried off and on for the rest of the afternoon.

So, it’s just been a lot to handle.

But I want to share some blessings – some real God moments – even before I get to all the pictures and beauty in the mess I normally share.  Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 08.12.14

The sun is finally peeking out after four or five days of solid rain and gloom. What remains is soggy leaves, mud, and stifling humidity – yet still I welcome it.

Life is messy. I’m used to coming here and pouring it all out or leaving a rant on Facebook or just getting it off of my chest in hopes that maybe in the release I will feel less alone.

Unfortunately, more often than not I am just left feeling more frustrated. When everyone wants to offer their two cents, their suggestions, their thoughts. When I hear “Have you tried…?” and “Are you doing…?” and “Have you called…?” and “Have you read…?” and it starts to feel like they are just pointing their fingers at all the ways I’m not doing enough for my family.

And so today, I’m not going to get into the mess. Because I simply don’t have the mental energy to sort through the gush of well-meaning comments that leave my head spinning.

Instead, I’m going to tell you how we went to the pool for Independence Day. How I packed red, white, and blue fruit salad and called it a day. No parades, no birthday parties for America, no sensory bins or preschool. Just me, this boy, and a pool. Underachieving at its finest. Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 07.08.14

Sometimes it feels like our transition out of the Army is going to take forever. We got out and then we needed to find a new job and a new home and then we moved to NC but then there was a lot of other stuff to take care of. Like healthcare and life insurance, a disability claim, caregiver benefits, vocational rehabilitation benefits, and making sure that Russ doesn’t have sleep apnea or neurological problems (he doesn’t). Now, we are currently working with the VA about education benefits and looking into both short-term and longer-term career options for my husband who is having to start completely over, both vocationally and educationally.

In all of this there has been paperwork, appointments, tense discussions, more paperwork, and a lot of big scary grown-up decisions to make.

I’m not complaining, because the fact that we have access to a system that is taking amazingly good care of our needs as a family is worth it. But it’s been…well, like I said – grown-up stuff that we have had to take care of and sometimes that’s very overwhelming when there is severe anxiety going on and a 3-year-old boy underfoot. Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 06.04.14

Can I just take a moment and rave about how great the past few weeks have been?

I’m not really sure what has made the difference. Maybe it has something to do with warmer weather, or maybe the new supplement my husband is taking, or maybe the fact that we got to take a vacation and have a few date nights…but it’s been good. Perfect? No. But good.

So I’m just going to jump right in and get to sharing some of the beauty!

There is beauty in finding hiding places at Lowes (aka “the Special Store”) to hide out in while hubby spends a solid hour talking over lawnmowers with the associate. We loved hanging out in the shelves where no one could find us!

01 fun at lowes Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 4.26.14

Thank you so much for your outpouring of heartfelt comments on my last post. It was so nice to feel less alone – and I was reminded yet again of the power of vulnerability and how it can touch the hearts of others when I least expect it.

Now, it’s that time when I share with all of you the everyday beauty that I am surrounded with – in spite of this sometimes messy life.

There is beauty in “free” ice cream at ChickFilA when you exchange your book in for ice cream with a kid’s meal. (P.S. If you are gluten-free, this seriously is the best and most cost-effective option at CFA: kids meal, grilled nuggets, with fries or fruit, and a drink – and ice cream to boot – for FAR less than you would pay for a no-bun sandwich!)

And this one and only time, this CFA offered us sprinkles! You can see how that made Ezra’s day (and mine)!

01 ice cream Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 03.16.14 {in which I post 40 photos and hope I don’t break my blog}

Once again I find myself a little bit “late” on getting this posted when it’s “supposed to be.” But I’m okay with that as long as you don’t mind putting up with a little bit of an excessive photo dump. No? Okay, good. Let’s get on with it then. 

The Mess

I feel like to fill this space with my mess and struggles would be slightly redundant. I’m starting to really get a complex about being the-most-depressing-Christian-mommy-blogger-ever. So instead, I’ll direct your attention to that post where I talk about being chronically mentally overwhelmed, the most depressing anniversary post you will ever read, that post where I talk about marriage not always being amazing, that post about mothering through chronic fatigue…you get the picture. You’re welcome.

The Beauty

Now, to share the beauty. Because in spite of all the mess I have spewed forth recently, my life really is pretty blessed.

I have proof.  Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 2.13.14

It’s been a LONG 5-6 weeks since my last Beauty in the Mess post. January took a lot out of me and February has been no different!

There’s been a lot of cold weather, some bouts of snow. (As I write, we are currently snowed in and tomorrow will be our third day in a row stuck at home with nothing to do!) These weeks leading up to Ezra’s 3 1/2 year mark in March have been very very tumultuous for him. His behavior has been really difficult to manage (which you can read about in this post from my perspective and in this post from my husband’s perspective).

But there have been a lot of positive things going on.

My husband and I are actively pursuing starting back up professional counseling both as a couple and individuals through the local vet center. We’ve only gone through intake so far and haven’t gotten quite into the actual sessions but that will be happening soon!

We have enrolled Ezra in a three-day a week, full day preschool program to give us some much needed whitespace and to give him interaction with other children and the ability to form relationships. I’ll be talking about this in an upcoming post because this was a very emotional decision for me. (I’d like to share some of my thoughts about it, especially when I was very vocal in an earlier post about how he wasn’t in preschool.)

There have been some other positive changes going on that I’m not quite ready to share as of yet, but hopefully soon I can share some good news with you all. There’s a lot of things we are waiting on that will hopefully offer us a little better financial and every-day life situations in the near future, but for now we are in a holding pattern waiting for those things to take off! (Sorry for the crypticness here, and no, I’m not pregnant in case your brain was going there…)

I feel like our family is headed in a very good direction, coming out of a very complex and difficult year as we have transitioned out of the Army.

So yes, there is beauty in spite of the mess! Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 01.09.14

December was a pretty laid-back month for us. You can read all about our Christmas here, but in this post, I’m going to share some of the non-Christmas things that kept us busy and seeing beauty in every day life.

There is beauty in this pouting, hiding-in-denial boy. Yes, no amount of talking would coax him out; and eventually I had to just physically drag him out from his hiding place, but I suppose that a little boy not wanting to leave church is a sign that we are doing something right and that our church does a good job with the kids on Sunday mornings!

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 01.09.14 Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ A Christmas Edition

Back by popular demand!!!

(I’ve always wanted to say that…)

In all seriousness, this was one part of blogging that I was considering passing over going forward. I wasn’t sure that you all really cared to see posts full of 20-30 photos of all of the mess of my life, but almost every single person who filled out my reader survey said that they wanted to see MORE of Beauty in the Mess! Color me shocked!

For those of you who are new around here…first of all, WELCOME!

Beauty in the Mess is a blog series that I publish monthly (ish). It is a very personal, honest look into my life through photography (a mix of iPhone, Instagram, and my lovely Canon Rebel). But more than that, it is a personal challenge to me to see God’s beauty in my everyday, messy life; wonder and love in the mundane.

For this edition, I have so much to share that I am going to split December into two posts – one Christmas and one not. 

Beauty in the Mess ~ A Christmas Edition

Can I be honest with you for a moment?

(Thank you.)

I am so incredibly glad that Christmas is over… Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess {Thanksgiving Edition ~ Part 2}

God our Father

We thank You

For our many blessings



Dear Father:

Today is Thanksgiving and I admit that I haven’t been very thankful this week. I have been fatigued and overwhelmed and distracted by our hardships. But today, I want to be thankful for everything you have given me this month. Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess {Thanksgiving Edition ~ Part 1}

Wow. I really really try to do these posts every month. But between Allume and life…well…it just didn’t happen in October!

Thursday is Thanksgiving and I can’t think of a better time to “catch up” on sharing my many many blessings. We don’t have any big holiday plans other than a simple dinner with our local family – my husband has to work both Thanksgiving and Christmas so that’s a bummer, but it’s nice to not have to travel anywhere!

I’m going to have to split this into two posts – one for my October blessings and one for November. So make sure to come back tomorrow! Continue reading

Paint, tote bags, elevator speeches, and learning the same lesson all over again

For the last year this has hung in my kitchen:

This combined creation of my son’s messy finger-painting skills and my eye to make something beautiful out of it serves as a daily reminder to me:

“He sees a bigger picture than what I can see. And time after time after time he reminds me… Aprille, I know you think it’s ugly, and messy, and not worth keeping. But you are not beyond my power to make you beautiful. EVERYTHING can be beautiful in my time. Just be patient. I’m not done with you yet.” Continue reading

Beauty in the Mess ~ Edition 10.02.13 {AKA what life has been like for the last two months}

My goal is to get one segment of this series posted once a month, but it just hasn’t happened that way! I’m sorely behind on my photo-sharing and questing for beauty, but today I need this.

The “mission statement” of this blog is this:

“To see…to remember…the beauty that God makes out of my messes. 

And perhaps, just perhaps

That others could see His beauty in their lives too.”

I know that this post is going to be about me. About my family, my kid, my life. But I hope  – whether you read every caption or just scroll through the photos in a hurry – that God brings to mind things in YOUR life that are beautiful. Things you can be thankful for. Blessings you can praise Him for.


But first, a little bit of the mess. Because there’s always mess. Continue reading