y’all, seriously.

if you want to see the high school heirarchy, go to a homecoming parade.  

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a few weeks ago, we decided to “live alive” and get out on a Thursday night and head downtown for the annual Midland High homecoming parade.  Often, I can’t wait until my kids are in school.  Not because I don’t want to spend time with them [it actually terrifies me] but because I can’t wait to be even MORE a part of the community in the public school system.  

(5 of 8)

so, we went.  and y’all it was so fun.

I love teenagers, and I pray that my season of ministry with them is not anywhere near over.  We’ve taken a little break these past two years with the kids home – but that age group is still so near and dear to my heart.  [but perk: our sweet babysitters are that age, and that’s the perfect opportunity to mentor and love on teenagers, when they are right there in your home, your family, and your life]

they are awkward.  they don’t know where they fit.  or they try to fit so many different places.  the things that might not be “cool” in high school, will undoubtedly be the things that are awesome in real adult land.  but they don’t know that yet.

I would do anything to go back to high school me, and say JUST STOP trying to fit in with everyone else!  do what you love.  it’s totally cool that you are both the head cheerleader and the co-editor of the yearbook.  no one says you have to chose.  or fit in ONE category.

…until you go to a high school homecoming, and “the groups” have never been more apparent.

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bonus: what I would say to my younger self.  be who you are! who god made you to be. 

ps- i plan jokes in my voice memos? that was so 2012.  


what would you go back and tell your high school  self??

  • Ali - It’s so interesting to watch high school group dynamics at work from an outsiders perspective. Wish we all knew what really mattered when we were in high school.ReplyCancel


I can remember pulling out of Springfield and recording this voice memo this summer.  I was 4 days away from being home, and 15 days on the road.  traveling cross country with the kids, stopping in cities and towns to stay with friends who’ve become so dear to us.  most of these friends I didn’t even know five years ago.  It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with people over mission trips together, adoption, starting a business, being in ministry together.  It was a dream of a trip, and by that I don’t mean it was free from frustration, tears, fights, sleepless nights…because it was full of those too.  but the chance to take off for almost 3 weeks to cruise around the southeast is not lost on me.

these are the moments I don’t want to forget.  


first stop without Stephen, was outside Atlanta to stay with my Noonday girl Paige and her family.  her teenage girls greeted us in their front yard when we got there Sunday afternoon and we spent hours sitting around that afternoon talking about our story, adoption, and playing with Camp + Asher.  Everywhere I went, I learned something new in the kitchen – and Paige has a lot to teach me with her homemade pizza.  Mornings around the breakfast table with coffee in hand while the kids explore their backyard, and a whole day at the pool made our time in Atlanta so memorable.


It amazes me how close everything is in the southeast, it was a joy to drive 20 minutes up the mountain from Chatanooga to visit my adoption sister Tobi on the way to Nashville.  We met at Created for Care 2 years ago and were instantly sisters.  Her home was a magical dream land, and it was incredible to meet her sweet daughter Ivey, that we had prayed home.



I pulled out of Atlanta [via Chatanooga] and made our way to see my photography friend Misty and her family in Nashville.  I get tears in my eyes thinking about her standing in her front yard with her son Asher on her hip  in to welcome us to music city.  Her sweet husband emerged from the house to unload my car [which had already gotten pretty tiring], and as I sat down on the back porch swing, I had a glass of wine in hand.  These people know how to welcome their guests!  Walks to dinner, late nights on the front porch, and a much needed night out with girls filled my tank so much.


I had an extra day to spend, and why not travel 300 miles out of the way to visit the Mohr’s in St. Louis?  Katie is a dear dear friend, and we had no idea this trip would be the start of what is now The Carry Camp.  Sarah happened to be in town too, and our little playdate downtown was the start of something so beautiful.  ONLY God could have ordained that meeting!!



Springfield has a special place in our hearts.  I literally think about it weekly.  Most of our “man up” missions family lives there – and through adoption and Africa, those people have become so dear to us.  we’ve made multiple road trips to Springfield, MO over the years and I was excited to visit.  The Gibsons made me feel right at home.  I finally got to sleep in a separate room than the kids [ they had fun slumber partying with Zoie!], and thanks to all the fun goodies waiting for me by the bed, I felt like a queen.  Farmers market, the fun ice cream party with everyone, and going to church with them made us feel like part of the family!


I’m SO GLAD I recorded that when I did.  Not that I have forgotten those moments, but they take me back.


I challenge you to do the same!  record your thoughts and memories in the moment!  you will be glad you did!

  • paige - love you like crazy & ya’ll are welcome here any day!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Chantel Klassen - <3 YES! I'd love to go on such a trip, but even more so, this makes me want to be a more hospitable person.ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - What a sweet and fun road trip full of so much great friendships! Bless you for being on the road just you + the two little ones ;) Quite the brave momma! I love how small the world is. One of my very best friends who I was just visiting in St. Louis is friends with Katie. I have heard her talk about her over the years, and now it runs full circle since you are friends with her.

    Small world.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Bunker - That’s so cool how you’ve made sweet connections all over the states! So cool to see how people can connect because of our stories.

    If you’re ever in Houston, holla at me! :)ReplyCancel

  • look back at 2014. - […] way and me + kids started our tour of the south visiting friends in 5 states in 11 days. an truly incredible trip filled with […]ReplyCancel


let these beautiful voices singing praise to the Lord wash over you today.

God is good.

and he’s doing his work of JUSTICE all over the world.

“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.” – Isaiah 30:18



rwanda day 4 162

my time with International Justice Mission in Kigali, Rwanda will not soon be forgotten.

you too, can be part of bringing freedom to the captives for $24/ month.  join the fight with IJM by becoming a freedom partner today.

IJM FP 350x350

photos by Paige Knusden



Africa has taught me a lot.  but when I recorded this, I was doing a testimonial for the Mocha Club and their I Need Africa campaign.


“Africa has taught me that family is built on more than a blood line”

and I don’t know how to else to say it, but show you pictures of our “Africa family”.

they are a part of me, of us, forever.


  • Catherine Diehm Wilson - Love these pictures! That is SO true. My 8 year old was telling me the other day that he loves how easy the people here except him. You meet someone, they introduce yourself, and now you are instant friends, easy as that! The acceptance and relationship happens so openly and quickly!ReplyCancel


listening to this bucket list makes me smile.  it makes me want to go out and DO STUFF.  not just TALK about doing stuff, but really do stuff.  to truly #livealive.  life is busy, and some weekends it’s just way easier to stay home, clean the house, get “prepared” for the week…which I absolutely love doing that.  it makes me feel put together and ready.  but the weekends where I truly am myself, are weekends like these on my bucket list.  this is where the memories are made.  ok, bucket list, let’s do this!


go to a concert + dance

go to a winery

wonder the streets of a small town square

reading time on the lake city, colorado porch

pray with someone to receive christ

get another tattoo

lake weekend with good friends

baylor baseball game in the spring

slumber party with girlfriends

experience friday night lights again

hill country road trip with my man

photo (16) copy 2

what’s on your bucket list?