continuing on with the birthday theme….so my friend Jenna + her circle of people do this thing on birthdays where they have a small gathering of their closest friends [or a family thing!!!] and everyone goes around and tells that person what they love about them. she started this for me on my 30th birthday surprise party night and it was the sweetest birthday night of my life.  I mean, who doesn’t want to hear why your friends love you, or be re-told sweet stories, and laugh and cry all at the same time?


[jenna at my 30th birthday// photo by Alison Holcomb]

The first time I went to Jenna’s birthday I was so nervous.  [I mean, give me some wine first] but now I absolutely love it.  this is not at all something that I grew up doing with friends or family, but it’s something I want to do with our kids and friends.  Our other friend Lana and her family started it and they do it for each of their kids birthdays.  Everyone in the family will go around and tell that person what they love about them.  Can’t you just picture this being a memory your kids will have for a lifetime?

this voice memo is my “practice” note to myself of what I was going to tell Jenna on her birthday last month.  and as I think about, it really should be a PRACTICE.  We should tell the people around us what we love about them or how much we appreciate them every day.  even if it’s awkward.  even if you cry.  it might be uncomfortable, but no one said loving people was easy.

let’s change the way we love people, and let’s TELL THEM about it.

do you have any fun birthday traditions?  I wanna hear!

  • Andrea Worley - I love this! i remember reading about this on your blog last year. what a special friend. ReplyCancel

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sometimes friends that you meet at conferences for 2 days become these kind of friends.

friends that love you well.

pray for you often.

encourage you and pour blessings over your life.

sometimes their words on your 30th birthday you just need to keep handy so you can read them when the days are hard.

thank you Sara Gilmore, for being that friend.


ps – sara has a way with her words.  you should follow her on IG.

  • Caroline - I love this! Love sweet friends that pour into you, despite where you met them or how long you have known them!ReplyCancel

  • Bailey Jean Robert - Small world! I gave my Declare ticket to Sara –a friend of a friend from Antioch in Waco– because I couldn’t fly home from Seattle to go to the conference. So glad you two connected! And her blog has blessed my soul so much. What a gal!ReplyCancel

  • birthday love. - […] on with the birthday theme….so my friend Jenna + her circle of people do this thing on birthdays where they have a small […]ReplyCancel


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what’s right for someone isn’t right for everyone.  I mean, my pink hair and double pony tail is sorta a silly example, but it’s the truth.

I was having a conversation with a friend just this month and it totally related to this concept.  it went like this…

friend: oh, you shouldn’t move to that neighborhood, because the school system there isn’t good,

me: oh really?  


friend: I am so sorry I said that to you.  I was thinking about it, and that wasn’t right for our family, but that doesn’t at all mean it isn’t right for yours.  

me: thank you!


y’all!  A- to the MEN!  why do we spend so much time worrying about what people think of our choices?

what’s right for me, maybe isn’t right for you.

and what’s right for me, maybe is crazy to you.

would it make a difference in your relationships if we went into conversations with this mentality? 

  • Kiersten DeLong - I completely agree. It’s just sad that not many people realize or think about that (including myself). Your friend is so courageous to have come back and with humility apologized. Not many would do that. And by the way… I love the pink! ReplyCancel

  • Megan George - I think this is huge! My husband and I were talking about this the other day. The people who act like because our adoption doesn’t make sense because it doesn’t make sense to them really hurt our feelings and the relationships. But our friends who think it’s crazy, but are rooting for us, praying for us, and helping us fundraise anyway have become some of our biggest encouragement.ReplyCancel

  • sarah beth - YES. I really struggle with this. One of my personality flaws is that I dearly love finding efficient ways to do things – and then suggest that it’s the only or best way to do a thing. In reality, I’m finding what is efficient and best for MY family, not for everyone else’s. Thanks for this perspective and the reminder that I can rejoice in and encourage others’ decisions as they submit to the Lord!ReplyCancel

although this wasn’t a voice memo, or a note on my phone, it was a document I started the day we found out our first IVF failed.  often times on days that I’m feeling all the feelings I have to get them down.  even if I know no one will ever read them but myself.  it’s basically my heart on paper.  #fertilityfriday


I don’t really have words for today.  I had no idea how it was going to turn out, but this morning my gut said, “not today”.  but my heart was still full of hope.  and comfort from dear friends and my sweet nurse Morgan who kept me uplifted and positive.  a crazy morning trying to get blood work done at my ob’s office, filled with tears and serious “if you can’t do this for me, I’m leaving” moments.  not proud.  hanging out at my husbands office for a bit so I didn’t have to go home alone.  then, just as I like it, a revolving door of a few close friends who came to sit with me in my waiting.  heating up leftovers, sitting on the couch so I could rest on my heating pad as my cramps and bleeding just kept getting worse and worse.  and then, for a few minutes an empty house.  a husband who came home from work to get my suburban to go get the kids from school so I could stay home and “wait for the call”.

the call came when it was just us two in the house, and I’m thankful for that.  my eyes welled up with tears as I looked to my husband sitting on the other couch in our living room and I just gave him the thumbs down.  I listened as my sweet nurse Morgan said through tears that unfortunately my labs came back and I was not pregnant.  in fact, my hcg levels were so low that it was basically negative.  the embryo that we implanted never attached.  tears.  then after a few minutes, hanging up of the phone and hiding my face in a pillow.  a hot bath while the husband went to get the kids, and a thankful mama as her babies ran in the back door squealing “mama! mama! mama!” and ran into my arms.  tears again.  thankful for these little people that have changed my world.

rocking them to sleep tonight I just prayed over each one, and thanked god for them.  thanked god for my promise, my Camp.  for fulfilling a dream I didn’t know I had, and not answering my prayers 5 years ago when I wanted to get pregnant.  and thanking god for my joy, my Asher who was a little surprise and extra blessing on top of blessing.  my life would not be the same without those two.  and as I sit numb, disappointed to the point of wanting to be devastated, I feel peace.  I feel a twinge of excitement for what the heck god is up to now.  if last time this all happened, and years later he blessed us with our double portion, camp and asher, what did he have in store now?

two friends at almost the exact same minute texted me a reminder of my all time favorite scripture – “god is able to do abundantly more than all we could ask or imagine”.  and I know he can.  so what’s he up to now?

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one of those things was FOR SURE the carry camp.  

god can use my pain, and turn it into purpose!  my scars for others good.  come say hi! 

  • Lauren Casper - I remember getting the news from you that day and feeling so crushed for you. I love your heart. <3ReplyCancel

  • Caroline - God is able. Trusting He will continue to redeem your story and expand your family.ReplyCancel


ok, so maybe technically I’ve already written about this here.

but I found this note in my phone, based on a talk I had just heard by Rebekah Lyons at Love Does last year.

and I just keep thinking, it’s the truth.

I was feeling pretty down recently, and my friend Candance sent me a text saying something like this,

“I’m not a writer like you but I crave being vulnerable with people in my life. I feel like God is growing our influence here with our church! Your story and blog encourage me so much. I’m also so thankful I can encourage my husband to be the same. He just talked on Thursday to our core group about wanting to be a vulnerable leader so that the people at our church can feel free to be the same. That’s your influence girl.”

I don’t tell you that to toot my own horn.  I’m just saying!  if you want your people to be VUNERABLE, YOU START IT!!!!

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I’m doing this “fit for fall” challenge, and before we started we had to post pictures of ourselves pre-challenge.  ummm scary.  but once someone was vulnerable and brave to post, everyone did.  it was safe then.

I’m on a group text with all my best college gals, and one of our friends is always the first to open up and be so real about how hard motherhood is.  my favorite is when she sent us a video of her messy house.  you better believe the texts rolled in by the hundreds for three days solid after that.

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this summer, while in Rwanda for #StyleForJustice, we got to sit around a room with IJM clients moms and share our stories.  share a burden and a blessing.  I’ll never forget the words spoken to me by my friend Jennie afterwards – she told me that after I opened up so vulnerably with the women, they opened up!  they felt safe, they felt like they could also share the deepest hurts in their story.  that was a moment I’ll never forget [and I’m sure will share more about later]. ** posted a little about this over on the carry camp blog today**

my point…

be vulnerable.

let people into your junk.

be real.

build it and they will come.

have you seen this kind of vulnerability take shape once someone starts?

  • Chantel Klassen - Oh this is so true. Vulnerability is so much easier when someone else has started. I’m going to make a point in the future to be the one to start! Thanks Wynne!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Brown Dorman - Very true! Thanks Wynne ‘Trippet’ Elder!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Chilton - Love this girl! Explains a lot of why your friendship is an easy fit for me. ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Chilton - Love this! Vulnerability gives others so much more of Jesus and his freedom! ReplyCancel

  • Erika Riggs - i so believe in vulnerability. beautiful!! :)ReplyCancel