Friday, April 25, 2014

{coffee talk} TAKE A SEAT

Your story matters to me. 

Your hurts matter, your life matters, your wisdom is needed. You have much to offer and much to gain.

So take a seat.


You have been invited. You are welcome here. So sit down, share your story, and be a vocal part of this community. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

{coffee talk} WANTING

I dream of a cottage style house built by my Dad somewhere near water and so many acres of nothing but grass and dirt and trees. I dream of salvaged barn doors in that cottage somewhere, the ones on a pulley maybe, heavy and creaking. I dream of built-in book shelves that touch the ceiling, filled with colorful stacks and rows of books.  I dream of vintage things all around, from years ago. I dream of a really big garden full of fruits, veggies, herbs and flowers. I dream of a cozy space for guests to stay and kids to play above the garage. I dream of all of that, and yet I still want the house to be small, holding us close together so there’s nowhere we can go to end up feeling like we don’t belong.
I dream of chickens. So many chickens. I ask Pete for them often. And a dog. And a pot-belly pig named Gertie, short for Gertrude.
I dream of a swing on a wrap-around porch not too far from the rocking chairs. I dream of looking through the window while I sit with “my love” (Pete’s pet name for me) and swing and rest. I dream of a study, one with those built-in shelves full of books and french doors that lead to an entry where the staircase climbs high and is chock-full of candid family photos. I dream of writing in that room while the breeze gently blows through the window. I dream of looking outside to see my kids run far and fast but where I can still see them, watching them play for hours with nothing but sticks and rocks and water and dirt and each other.
Through a swinging screen door, I dream of a home. I dream of my kids loving life, fully alive with joy in simple things, and to love people unconditionally. I dream of them to learning to help the world around them because they see their parents doing that. I dream of making them big meals and laugh with them around the table while the chairs scrape the wood floors. I dream of going to church on Sunday and then spend the afternoon with grandparents, feeding the horses and smelling the flowers. I dream of running into old friends in the grocery store, standing in the aisle talking until the frozen things in my cart start to melt.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming and hoping for a thousand different things. The renewed health of a loved one. The reconciling of a relationship. The love of a father, or mother, or husband or wife. The happiness of children. The success of a friend. There’s even nothing wrong with the wanting of things, things that make your heart happy with their beauty and light, like a cottage house in the country.
More than anything else I could dream of, I’d like to truly be content with exactly how things are in this very moment, even when times are difficult and painful, but holds hope somehow. I can always continue to dream, I just simply hope to do it with a peaceful and patient heart.

What are you dreaming of today?

Friday, April 11, 2014


Hi friend! I’m back from maternity leave and what a wonderful, fulfilling season in my life. I took a much-needed step back from blogging and social media, but did what I could to keep you apprised of Baby Ripley’s growth and development in photos. I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed bragging on him – what a precious gift from God that little boy!

When you take a “break,” life never really slows. In truth, with four kids, time velocity quadruples, I think. They keep the hubby and me on our toes.

To that point, my daughter recently tried out for the 7th grade cheer team and didn’t make it. She performed the dance and cheer accurately, unlike many others, but she just doesn’t have the cheerleader ‘motions’ that many of her well-trained cheer peers have. And quite honestly, Bailey’s heart just wasn’t in it – it was more of a social desire, a common interest to share with her best friends. Regardless, rejection is a tough pill to swallow, and being pushed to the sidelines in sports is never easy for any child. Or adult.

But I remind her that she is and will always be a cheerleader. In a slightly different form.

You see, I take great pleasure in watching my family and friends see their dreams come true. It’s as if their dreams become mine, and my investment in them is real and significant. Their dreams take up residence in my heart. I cheer and do cartwheels when they succeed, metaphorically speaking, and I cry and pray and feel disappointment for them when barriers stand in their way.

Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you find great pleasure in cheering the triumphs of others. Or, maybe you find yourself annoyed to find yourself pushed to the bench. You wonder why God seems to have called you to the sidelines, instead of the main stage…or center court…or center field. Maybe you’re impatient and wishing for a moment of your own, with people on their feet in the stands, cheering for you.

Take heart, friend! In God’s great manuscript, there is no such thing as “sidelines.” Every single role, every season, every mission matters, and has great meaning in the Kingdom of God.

What are you cheering for today?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

{life in pictures} RIPLEY | TWO MONTHS

Monday, April 7, 2014

{meet my guest} ENJOY ESSENTIAL

Enjoy Essential is partnering up with two young women who have decided to run the San Francisco Nike Women's marathon this fall, and in order to do so, they will need to raise money for the charity of their choice. We have designed kids tees and women's tanks to support their cause, and all proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Here is some info about Arianna and Jenn and how they encouraged each other to start running and training, and why:

Along with our decision to run came a decision to pick up a mantra. When we thought about why we were choosing to run we could have thought up a few different reasons; bonding, fitness, the Tiffanys necklace waiting for us at the end, to shed the final few baby pounds, but what seemed to hit home for both of us was "I'm worth it." Because we are. We deserve something that is good for us and makes us feel good, something that motivates us, a win. Everyone deserves a win, because we are all worth it. We also decided to take up a fundraising challenge to sweeten the deal. We both partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, committing to raise money to fund research and for the care of patients and their families. Who is more worth it then people fighting cancer, their support systems, and the people fighting to find a cure. We are both personally connected to this cause with multiple family members that have survived blood cancers. If we are worth it, they are worth even more. Purchasing a shirt means that you are coming along with us for this crazy training, fundraising and racing journey. We so appreciate Enjoy Essential supporting us with this fundraiser. We look forward to seeing people sporting their new shirts and supporting a great cause as well!

Women's tanks and kids tees can be pre-ordered exclusively here, for only $15.99:

All profits will be donated to the charity and will sponsor Arianna and Jen running for the greater good. Grab a tank for you, a tee for your little one, and show the world you're worth it!

Saturday, April 5, 2014


(repeat from 5/31/12)

Dear children,

Mom is feeling a bit nostalgic today. The time is flying fast, and I worry that my days raising you will be gone in a flash.

So, here are ten of my greatest hopes for each you…

1. That your Daddy-Pete and I instill in both of you a love of education and books and seeking knowledge. Read everything. Fill your head with philosophies and history and science. Education is one of the few things in life that can never be taken away from you.

2. Travel the world. Experience as many different countries and cultures as possible. Take every opportunity to go and do and see!

3. Seek out your passions. Grow them! Be they music, art, dance, sports… whatever! You are capable of reaching whatever goal you can dream up. Invest in yourself and your talents.

4. Do not be afraid to speak up when you feel something is unfair, unjust or harmful. We are all deserving of kindness. There is no cause or difference worthy of belittling or bullying others. Doing the right thing is not always the popular thing, but it will always be worth it.

5. I hope that one day you know what it feels like to love another person with all of your heart. Take your time (lots and lots of time!). Don’t rush into matters of the heart. Enjoy your youth and be carefree but when you’re ready, loving someone else faithfully and completely will be one of the greatest gifts of your life.

6. And along those same lines, I hope that you know what it feels like to be loved by another with all oftheir heart. When you do fall in love, make sure that person is willing to give the same to you. You are worth the effort. True love is an equal partnership.

7. May your heartbreaks in life be minimal. They will happen. And they can feel so consuming and paralyzing but know that they are part of your story. The hurt will shape you and it will make you a wiser, better person. Sometimes, the bravest thing you can do is allow yourself to be vulnerable.

8. Have a group of friends who will be loyal and encouraging. Over the course of your life you will hold so many different friendships - some of them good and some of them detrimental. Don’t waste time on anyone who is not good to you. Let the lessons from all of these relationships allow you to build a circle of friends who will always be there to stand with you in the highest and lowest moments of your life.

9.  No matter what happens to you, remember that your father and I are here to care for you and guide you and support you. Even if we disagree with you, don’t ever be afraid to come to us for help. We may not always have the answer or the means, but we’ll be in it together. Our love for you is without limits or conditions and it will always be that way.

10. And lastly, the most important hope of all. Never forget that faith in and love for Jesus Christ is all you need. Above the love of a partner, the friendship of your peers, even your family. Let Him be the north star that guides your life.

When I think of your future, my heart can barely contain the hope it holds for you. You are so young now, but the days are moving fast and I am taking every opportunity to be purposeful and open about my dreams for you. But these words are just that … my dreams… merely a launching pad for the possibilities of your life. Who will you become? What will you achieve? Only time will reveal those things. I am certain that the very best thing I will ever do in my life has already begun. In whatever you accomplish, you will be my greatest legacy.


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