If I'm being honest...

If I'm being honest, I would tell you that life has been stressful and hard these last couple of YEARS. Sure, we've had our share of joy and everyday graces but along with that, we've also had to deal with some pretty big things.

Sometimes, you just get to the point where you start to wonder if you're ever gonna get to come up for air?

If I'm being honest, I'd tell you that my life seems out of control.
Not in a spinning kind of way like it's about to explode but in the kind of way that I, Catherine, a self- proclaimed control freak, has absolutely NO CONTROL anymore over my future.

Wait. Did I ever?

Come to think of it, it all started when I said Yes to God. I've said yes to a lot of little things over the years but also to some pretty big things as well.

Throw in the fact that my dad passed away after a tough battle with cancer and then my mother in law passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. Breathe. Just breathe.

Yeah, it's been a tough couple of years.

God has used these major turning points in my life to show me that indeed, He is the One in control, not me.

Letting go is hard. Obedience is hard. And quite frankly, love is often hard, too.

But I wonder at times, has the feeling of losing control led me to feel insecure and fearful in a way that has simply kept my voice quiet?

Does wanting to look like I have it all together, keep me from sharing too much? Too much pain or struggle or fear?

So it becomes easier just to share about the milestones or the "happy" moments and keep the rest to myself. After all, this blog was never meant to be a tell-all or a place where I share anything but my positive, happy self.

But alas, life isn't all rosy and it doesn't always come packaged to us in a pretty bow. Regardless of what I'm going through, this space of mine has always ALWAYS been a place where I give God glory. Even through the hard times. Especially through the hard times.

Because despite the fact that life can throw us some major curve balls, the honest truth is that God is good. I see that every day when I look into Zach's face. I'm reminded of just how FAITHFUL and GOOD He really is. He provides for our every need (and then some). He supplies us with daily grace and gives us the strength we need to face the next big thing.

So, now that I'm being honest, let me just share with you that I'm broken in places and I have just as many fears and insecurities, as I have hopes and dreams. And I certainly don't have it all together. Lord knows I don't have it all together. It's not easy for me to share my struggles and there are only a couple of people in my life that I feel safe with.

I'm also learning that God has a purpose for my brokenness. And if I allow Him to, it's in these broken places that I can be used by Him.

Lately, I've been feeling like Satan just wants me to keep quiet. He doesn't want me to share my deep struggles (with anyone) because he knows private struggle is so much harder than being in community. He knows how to whisper fear and death into our ears but when we SPEAK OUT and SPEAK LIFE, his power diminishes in the Light of Truth.

I'm learning that adversity is God's very tool for developing a stronger and deeper faith. Each of our trials can either be stepping stones or sinking sand. Our trials are meant to build perseverance, not to cripple us into complacency or defeat.

And you know what? Life is so much better, richer, and more meaningful when we can cut the small talk and be really honest with one another. I was never good at small talk, anyways.

When we don't let others in, we often spend too much time in our own heads. I find that can lead to two things: pride or fear. I've experienced both. Pride can turn into self righteousness and division while fear is the thief that steals our joy and peace.

But no matter what we're going through, when we look to Jesus, our humble and mighty Savior, He is our victory. The battle has already been won. Wait, did you hear that, sister?


I think we forget that sometimes. And therefore, we think we have to fight them on our own. The grave is empty, friends! That's how the story ends (and a new forever begins). Our story doesn't end with whatever we're facing and fretting about today.

I don't know about you but sometimes, just by having the opportunity to encourage another person, I, in turn, end up encouraging myself. I love that. But I'm also a big believer in preaching to yourself if you have to.

We all need it. We all need to be reminded sometimes how to be brave. After all, courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the ability to act in the presence of fear.

Let your voice speak, even if it shakes. And yes, let's kick Satan in the teeth today.

I have no idea what the future holds but I do know Who holds my future.

And honestly, He is all I need.

Desert Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym

So fun to see the Gove's there!

Daddy practicing his belaying skills with Faith.

For months now, we've been wanting to check out Desert Rocks in Palm Springs. We first heard about this indoor rock climbing gym from our friends, the Gove's. Coincidentally, they were there when we showed up on Saturday morning.

Learning something new is always more fun with friends. The girls absolutely LOVED it.

They climbed for 2 hours and although they were sore and had blisters, they said it was totally worth it. In fact, they can't wait to go again. I think next time, we'll buy a monthly pass. It'll be a great way to get some exercise and challenge yourself. Especially during the hot summer!

California Mission Project

Daddy was the main architect.

Faith loves to paint.

We used foam board to make the mission walls.

This was my dining room table for about 3 weeks.

The small church was also made out of foam board and painted to look like rustic wood.

Faith's Mission Santa Barbara.

Grace's Mission San Rafael Arcangel.

The cemetery and entrance to the church.

They were so proud to take them to school.

Does this bring back memories or what? The California Mission Project almost seems like a right of passage for most 4th graders in the state of California. I remember making mine out of sugar cubes and popsicle sticks. :)

Thankfully, this was encouraged to be a family project. I helped the girls with all the components of writing and presenting their report while daddy focused on the design of the mission itself.

Together, we spent countless hours (and the better part of 2 weekends) on this project. It was ALOT of work but in the end, it was a wonderful experience for the girls and they did GREAT.

So proud of them!

Hailey's Birthday Lunch

Celebrating this dear one's birthday!

The Sunday Funday Birthday Lunch Crew continues!

Mexican food, lovely gifts, and the girlfriends you hold so dear. I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon. What a JOY it was to celebrate Hailey and this last year of her 30's!

She's always been one very special woman in my life and I am so blessed to have called her my friend for the past 9 years. Happy Birthday, Hailey! We love you! Xoxo

And our sweet and talented Jill made us all Boston Crème Pie in a jar (the birthday girl's request).

Since I was already stuffed from all the guacamole and chips, I brought mine home for the family. As you might have guessed, Morgan and the girls devoured it immediately. Thanks, Jilly! You always make getting together EXTRA special. :)

And I heard it was delish!