top five

I'll cut to the chase. 
The short story is - we used to live in Washington State. It was some of the best and hardest years of our lives. I made friends with a group of women so quickly and so wonderful that it felt miraculous and it turns out, it was. 
I've missed them terribly for a year and a half. 
I went back for a five day trip. 
It was a huge blessing. 
Now here are my top five things about that trip. 
(in random order)

the yellow leaves on the black pavement took my breath away. So did running up this hill. 
this is our old house in Bellevue. When I ran by the words "you've made all my desserts into gardens. you've made all my ashes into beauty" were in my ears. Yes, Lord. You have. 
1. Running in Bellevue. 
Before I even left for Washington, I was super excited about running around in the place I used to live. I love running when I'm out of town, I feel like it gives me such a different feel for a place. Running somewhere you don't currently live, and never ran in is like a double wonderful. I ran by a house we used to live in, down streets I used to push my kids on walks, and over the freeway that we drove up and down all the time. It was beautiful and redemptive and one of the best worship sessions I've had in years. Plus, Bellevue in December is one of the prettiest sites in the world in my opinion. 

these babes & just a few of their babes. between all of us, we have thirteen blessed kiddos. 
I had a few really new babies to meet. Babies of mamas who are like sisters to me. And plenty of babies who are now big kids to play with. I loved holding those babies and snuggling them. Bribing toddler girls to like me with lipstick. Playing cars with the boys and just watching their mamas love the mess out of them. And it was a blessing to my heart to talk to my ladies about our baby, Arrow, that we lost this summer. To talk about how pregnant I'd be or how sweet it was to send them all letters to tell them we were pregnant. They cried with me and smiled with me at our memories of him. 

special thanks to Embassy Suites & the Holy Spirit for this night. 
3. Mini Women's Retreat
One night of my trip, some of my closest friends and I all shared a hotel room and had a wonderful girl's night. The original plan was to have a night on the town, come back to the hotel and paint our nails and be girly. But wouldn't you know, we ordered thai food take-out, wore sweats, and opened our hearts to one another. And that felt just right. I highly suggest grabbing three or four ladies or eight and hitting up your nearest Embassy Suites for a night full of the gospel and veggie pad thai. And, well - tears. Of course our eyes were all basically swollen shut the next day. 

4. Mars Hill. 
I love that church something fierce & am so thankful for how God worked in our lives there.

praying for my family and I look out my plane window to see this. Our God is so big. 
5. To rest up for my fight. 
Through some talks and some prayer and some straight up Holy Spirit messing in my heart, my eyes were opened to some ways I've stopped fighting. Stopped fighting for righteousness, stopped fighting in prayer for my kids. I've grown tired and restless and when things in our life have seemed a little too hard, I've let myself get easily distracted. So this trip felt like the perfect span of time for the Lord to convict me, correct me, and give me the rest needed for the fight. 
And I'm ready. 
And excited. 

Thanks for letting me share my trip faves. 
and thank you Lord for such a wonderful trip.