Dear John #39

The Day After Christmas...



Last night we ordered some pizza, settled in after E went to sleep and watched Elf (my favorite.) We talked for a while, and around 11:00 went to bed.

This morning will be spent going through Christmas pictures, the piles of laundry that are clean, yet not folded, wrapping up last minute treasures for the fam, while listening to She & Him radio station on Pandora, and sipping salted caramel chai from Trader Joes. My kind of morning.

I'm giddy with excitement at getting to go home soon to see that family of mine. I haven't seen them since October, so it will be especially good. Looking forward to the way Eowyn reacts to seeing her cousins and getting to see her with my mom and dad.

Some fun memories from this Christmas to remember: Eowyn giving us the present of legitimately starting to laugh with ease (she always did a chuckle sort of thing, before,) Ben catching a plate on fire in the microwave, Ben who "isn't that big of a fan of Elf" losing it on a couple of scenes (I'll be winning him over yet!) Eowyn eating banana moosh and loving it, going through the big chest of toys that Bre gave us several months back and seeing Eowyn (and Ben) have a good time, and resting with this sweet family of mine.

So. Full. So blessed.

Hope your Christmas time was spent full of joy.

P.S. For my readers that often read via Facebook, I'm moving away from that a bit. While I do plan on doing so with some frequency, it will not include every post. If you'd like to follow along, I'd welcome you to subscribe via email or other means. Just wanted to give you all a heads up! Happy Almost New Year!

Merry Christmas!



May yours be filled with joy and celebration as we all celebrate Jesus and His Birth!

Christmas Eve




Snippets & Being Honest


 My baby girl is sleeping, my sick husband is too and everything's quiet...

We woke up this morning and s.l.o.w.l.y made it out of bed. Eowyn was just sitting in her room, wide awake. Its days like these that I'm so happy for her patience. Its like-since the alarm doesn't go off she knows its a day to sleep in.

We opened up presents. We ate breakfast. We grabbed lunch with an out-of-town friend. We picked up more medicine. We came home.

and now we're here. we had to cancel our evening plans due to illness and I'm learning how to be a caretaker. Ben will graciously admit that I was horrible at taking care of him when we first were married. It was a sad sight folks.  I was impatient, selfish, demanding. Yes, demanding of a sick man.  So glad I'm learning. so glad he is so kind. With him being sick things obviously look different than I had imagined for our little first Christmas as 3.  Luckily, we celebrate Christmas THREE times. If sickness was going to come-this is the perfect time for it.


I keep going back and forth between taking a hiatus from blogging. Mostly because recently every other post I get anxious. I'm not sure why. I worry that my heart isn't being heard-that I don't know who's reading or I don't know where they're at. I've contemplated making this a private blog and doing invitation only, but so many of my closest friends have come out of the woodwork through this blog. That just doesn't seem like the answer.

I love this little blog for what its done for us. It's recorded our fondest memories, given us a place to express our hopes and has given us a way to let people in to our lives all at once. But its also naturally opened the door for criticism, and for misunderstanding.

Ben is an encourager. He's the one that dares me to put it out there. How many times have I written things that were on my heart and then got scared and wanted to take it down. He's the one that says "leave it." These little daily practices of sharing are perhaps what have made me learn how to be vulnerable face to face. I'm slowly getting comfortable with the anxiety and dread that comes when presenting oneself to an audience who's perception I can't control. Does this feeling ever go away? I doubt it. Because I care about you. I care for your heart and where you're at. Because of this, I doubt it ever will.

I always half-joke with soon-to-be-married friends that I don't expect to hear from them for 6 months or more. They act surprised, and somewhat skeptical that 6 months will be the time it takes for them to move back into the lives of others, but I've found it to be true-and it was the same grace extended to Ben and I by several friends. A friend of mine made mention that perhaps having a baby is similar, you need 6 months to figure things out.

I think that may be why I loved Colorado so much. I had that time to just be us and begin to figure out what that meant. While I love Minnesota and all of its benefits, it also has a lot of responsibility, and a lot of reminders of responsibility I struggle now to maintain. I was blessed with  several other mothers who offer support here, but that means also being surrounded by other mothers carrying different loads. I often fight to not keep asking myself "am I doing enough?" "Do they think I'm doing enough?"

But its even this very blog post that reminds me why I want to keep writing. Something wells up in my chest that makes me feel the need to share.  And while I'm at home, often having to be flexible with a very emotionally sensitive little human, I feel God whispering to and changing this heart. This blog has allowed me to process and has allowed me to share here, even if it is a full week before I see another human (other than my husband). It gives me a place to share things like the fact I really don't have a clue what I'm doing, that sometimes I'm struggling to figure out the reasons I agreed to all this, remind myself I really am blessed even when having to cancel the umpteenth time on a friend because of life and sickness and mis-communication. Its allowed me to put myself out there and, while getting mixed responses, has allowed me to make peace with a lot of life. And then to celebrate it.

So,  I guess all of this is to say thank you to the encouragers of this blog. Your little reminders that encourage my honesty are what has kept this from turning into a 'happy-go lucky-life is a piece of Jesus-loving-pie' kind of internet space. Its kept it authentic and sometimes messy, but at the very least real. Which has in turn influenced who I am-and kept me some sort of authentic as well. And while we don't share most of our troubles here, because that's not its purpose, I do appreciate your grace as I sort through what it means to believe in Christ in these different areas of life. I sometimes am curious if I don't have contradictory statements in blog posts from one year to the next as I grow. I'm sure I do. Thank you for the grace extended to someone who is and always will be figuring it out.

Thank you for your own ability to filter. Even these posts. It is often this fact: My readers have the ability to process through and decide what they agree with and not agree with, that allows me to be at rest that I haven't derailed someones interest in Jesus because of my twenty-three-year old probably-flawed theology. I'm glad we serve a God who can't be figured out in a day and that I'll be spending this whole life discovering Him.

So, with Christmas happening all week (this seems a really odd place to write a post like this, doesn't it?) I hope this week is especially meaningful, and especially encouraging. I hope the honest conversations you have with family and friends flow freely and that our responses to one another are marked by love and truth. I'm learning the balance of those two (How often I'd rather respond in one rather than the other!) I know we'll be doing a whole lot of the classic Hope CC quote: "Taking God seriously, and ourselves-not so much" this holiday. Hooray for a whole season of generosity and togetherness, all because Jesus came on the scene.

Love you guys. Merry almost Christmas.


best Christmas presents ever

this guy. this girl.

Merry (almost) Christmas


This may be too soon to say, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this will be our favorite Christmas yet. The significance of Jesus being born has been so meaningful for us this past year and the way Ben and I have observed life around us, living post-Christ's birth makes Christmas tunes and the significance of Him coming penetrate our hearts all the more.  

In addition, having a little squishy baby to celebrate with allows our past-conversations about fun future traditions to become very real. Some of those traditions 1.) getting pajamas on Christmas eve.  2) buying ornaments (we're making them this year)  and now with a wee-baby, we've also embraced an approach to gift giving that  I've read on other blogs. This year we decided that we would give and receive three gifts: A want, a need & a surprise. I read of this here, and then another (not quite sure where) linked it to the Gold, incense and myrrh that the wise men brought Jesus. We like that. Its been especially fun and good for my heart to make this a tradition so I don't go crazy on feeling like we're not buying Eowyn enough 'stuff.' That, and we want there to be a distinct Jesus culture since its his birthday.

Ben and I are getting to celebrate Christmas with his sister on actual Christmas day and with my-side of the family over new years, so we decided that this weekend we'd do our own little Christmas as a family. That means tonight is our very own Christmas Eve. There's been a silly giddy excitement about tonight and tomorrow that I think will be extra special and will continue since we'll get to celebrate Christmas all week.

Here's a few of the pictures from this evening.




Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and very festive weekend!

Dear John

Today we were talking about our marriage and what we thought of the past few years. The conversation turned back and forth and became a dialogue about what God really intended with this one man-one woman deal. I asked you if you thought we were getting to experience what he desired for it and in your reply you said this:

"i think we have had a lot more 'heaven' moments than most marriages get to experience. "

that little statement a midst all you said has resonated with my heart. I keep thinking about it and I know its so meaningful because of how true it is and has been. When I think about all of this and who you are and who I am and who that makes us, I am overwhelmed. 

How blessed am I? 

Ben, You have fought relentlessly to be the husband that God calls you to be. After some of our most vulnerable and sometimes severe conversations, after some of the deepest apologies, after all that life has brought us and out of us, we're in front of each other as we really are. And in the vulnerability and honesty, and transparency that comes with being who I am in front of you, with scars and failures and so many imperfections, you look and see and delight. And I am astounded. My heart and words  keep asking, "really?" Yes really. You respond like Jesus. Your words are the reinforcement to the actions that you consistently express. Redeeming Delight.

You are a man among men. 

And when I'm sharing with you about feeling misunderstood by others, or when I'm searching my own heart for answers-you've often told me "I think the reason why you feel this way, is because this is the way you are...." You then proceed to describe me with such accuracy it moves me. I am known.

My past, my current, my hopes, my insecurities, the hurtful lies I believe, the dreams I get scared to share. the random side comments that have shaped me from my past, the deep routed patterns of my heart you work to know them. And you take all that and you lead us to Christ time and time again. You affirm me and yet still remind me that all this is secondary to Jesus and who I am because of Him. 

I don't really know how to say all that I feel but I do think you're right in saying we've experienced some of those 'heaven' moments. This marriage has made me crave Jesus and heaven and being in the presence of the Almighty God all the more. As Christ is making you into a new creation, I've gotten to see Jesus in your forgiveness, compassion, joyfulness, understanding, leadership, justice, protection and delight. Through our commitment I've tasted and seen that the Lord is good. 

thank you.

Happy Happy Happy


A lot of semi-chaos has plopped on the Sprague house the past couple of days. So much so that we've been playing halo and jokingly (kind of) delighting in shooting at people nearly every night. I'm not too much of a video game girl, but snipe-ing some fellow gamers in good fun is a bit cathartic after many a stressful conversation.  So, while the swirl of 1st world problems (Cuz really, that's what they are) surround me, I figured I'd make a happy list to remind myself, Girl, you got it good.

1. I accidentally shipped our packages to Colorado. Like...all of my family's christmas presents. We couldn't really afford to replace them, so I was trying desperately to work with UPS, Fedex, and the receptionist to get them resent to us. It ended up impossible. As in the UPS guy called and said he refused (Why?!?! No idea, something about fedex labeling and the like....really it was probably him being tired of the crazy christmas present ladies trying to get their stuff.) So, in defeat, I called amazon to let them know that they hopefully should be getting all their presents back. Then you know what happened!?! The most beautiful woman I've ever met over the phone told me "Well, its normally policy to have to wait till we get the shipment, but I'm gonna go ahead and override that and RESEND all of your packages now so you can get them intime." I asked her if she was serious. She said yes. I told her she was amazing. She laughed and said merry christmas. I cried a little.

2. This face:
and how much I love that she's in our life.

3. Its cold outside. We have heat in this house.

4. We've been watching the Cosby show all week and getting parenting tips. Ben jokes about the handful of kids we'll Lord willing, be raising and its fun to see him talk about it and to see how excited he is about it all. There's also a lot of peace that comes with seeing him joke about it.

5.Small Group. We have some of the best friends everrrrrr.

6. Speaking of friends, I've been overwhelmed by them lately. I prayed for this for so long. God is so faithful.

7. This whole week I've been processing through this past year and looking forward to this upcoming one. This is the year we'll celebrate 3 years, possibly move to a new state, potentially grow another baby, and more. To even look into this past year (which a fun little review post will be coming soon!) has me filled with thankfulness at all God has done.

8. I'm so excited to see my family. My momma. My sister. Everyone. So excited to see how Eowyn will react to the boys. I can't wait.

9. This body. God has been really showing me the purpose of this shell that holds my soul and has been giving me a lot of clarity on what desires really are, what we are supposed to do with them, and how beautiful it is that we can experience him tangibly. Thankful for this body and for God's genius.

10. Salvation. I've been reminded often these past few months where I would be without Jesus. Its often left me feeling raw, saddened and thankful all at the same time. Yet, its causing a humility to enter my heart as I realize just how little my condition has to do with me, and how much it has to do with Him. For that I'm thankful.

Happy Happy Happy.

Dear Eowyn


To my dearest first child on your 5 month birthday,

Every morning, my alarm goes off. I roll out of bed, hair disheveled, groggy, not quite awake. I walk into your room to find that you are already awake and probably have been for 30 minutes. But you are patient. You're mom works with you on patience every day. What I find is a content and quiet little baby girl, ready for the day, happy and smiling. I kneel down, smile back at you and start to thank God for blessing me with a beautiful daughter. I pray that you would get caught in all that you do, good and bad. I pray that we would celebrate your successes and learn from you failures. I pray that this day would be a day of discovery and learning, and that you would continue to grow and be healthy and strong. I pray for your laughter. I pray that God would protect your heart for the rest of your life and would reveal himself to you when the time is right. I pray over your future husband as well, whether born yet or not, and ask that God would lead him to Himself and to you in His perfect timing.

I love you, Eowyn. You have been a joy to be the father of. I look forward to the day you run around and wear me out, as I take on the roll of tickle-monster and horsey. I'm excited to discover your giftings with you and point you on a path to achieve. You are my love, third only to Christ and mommy. Continue to grow in love, faith, and truth.


The Girl


Just a little over a year ago, we found out we were gonna have this baby girl. We were blessed with getting the happy news sooner rather than after months (and for some years) of trying. I enjoyed parts of my pregnancy, but a lot of it was filled with fear. I had friends who had miscarried, or had stillbirths  and in a lot of ways I felt like I couldn't get excited until she was finally here. Just in case-just to protect my heart. 

If I hadn't felt her moving after a while I would lay in my bed and wait. Drink something to make her move and the deep sigh of relief would wash over me as soon as I felt her move. At about the 8 month mark I realized that this fear I was allowing had to stop. Why? Because right then there were only about 100 things that could go wrong. Once she was born? There were thousands. 

I began a battle to fill my heart up so much with joy and love that there isn't room for fear. Once she was born, I would pray thousands of mini-prayers over her protection-"I can't take care of her while she sleeps (when I needed to sleep as well) so God, you're on watch." Obviously he's always on watch, but for me sleep became a form of releasing control. I had to sleep-I was going nutty, and I needed the peace that he wouldn't let her stop breathing or any other slew of problems. So day after day I repeated this and the like to Him. Slowly, I discovered-He's really good at taking care of her.

Perhaps it was all these small steps that have lead me to the incredible joy I'm getting today. Those first three months were so hard that in contrast, Ben and I are swimmingly happy with this bundle who, while still has her minor meltdowns, is turning out to be such a sweet hearted girl. These pictures start to capture the thousands of faces she makes at us everyday. I love these month posts, because while she naps I just look at her and marvel and wonder at all that God is doing. 

I sort of never want to teach her how to say 'cheese'when pictures are taken, because having that stare she has in the last picture says more than any cheesy grin could. This is my daughter: Intensely attentive, giggly, silly, and ecstatic about being with others. She's a fan of her naps (Praise be to the Almighty God) and does these sing-song cries when she wants something which make me laugh and cherish her all the more. She loves to play, has iron-grip and is already her dads girl. She even refused to go to sleep the other night until he came home. As soon as he entered, (nearly) she was out like a light. I love that this is our kid. I love seeing her dad with her, I love seeing her come alive every morning with the excitement of the day. I love watching her stretch when waking up, and the sweet little grin she gives the minute she's coherent. So many things.

I can only imagine what she'll be like at 6,7,8 months and so on. Each age is my new favorite.

As a parent, I'm resting. I consistently tell her that she is enough as she is-mostly to remind myself. I've made a deliberate effort to forbid my heart from putting her into the ranks of performance of babies, to see how she measures. She is just fine. I know its easy to fall into the "what should my baby be doing at this age?" so its been really refreshing avoiding those conversations and websites entirely. It's allowing me to let  her grow and do her thing and get excited for her advancements rather than wishing she would do more.

Ben has become a whole new level of impressive to me. I write about him on here mostly as an active way to remind myself to be thankful, and when I think about it it makes me all the more in awe at how incredible God is in crafting him. He's such a good dad to Eowyn, and such a great encourager to me. He's learned that reassurance isn't just "I'm sure its fine." He takes interest. And address my fears head on. The other day I was talking about making sure Eowyn was getting enough food-she's a petite gal-and so since she's not little miss tub tubs, I think about it. Ben was calmly reassuring. His kindness in guiding us through not worrying about things and giving perspective to life situations really has shaped who I am as a mother. I like that.

Thankful to have Ben, and this little spraguelet and a God who cares enough to walk us through this crazy stage of life. Happy 5 months Eowyn.

Happy Weekend!

5 months!

Justice Smiles and Asks No More

Justice has always been my motivator. Even since I was little, at the sight of injustice my little spirit would rage. My dad dubbed me the 'defender-of-the-weak' when I was around 6 because of my consistent issues with fighting with bullies, and the few black eyes I came home with. I would puff out my chest and defend the kids that were getting picked on. Did I get hurt? Yes, but justice prevailed! This caused me to get in the middle of situations and take responsibilities that weren't  mine to take. Pain and hurt ensued. And it often had left me wondering where God was in all of it.

This need for justice hasn't left me. This week I've felt that weight. There's hurt and it's not right. I have felt the weight of it all. Even when they aren't my stories to share, my heart feels such heaviness. This week I hid, laying in my closet staring at the ceiling wondering "Where are you God? What are you doing? Why haven't you moved yet?" I've met rage this week in ways I haven't in a long time...these chapters were needed.

God has been challenging my heart in this. He's been asking me if I am willing to believe certain attributes of him. If I believe in a God who really is Just, and really is merciful all at the same time? And If I believe he has it under control. Do I think he really does protect the innocent? Do I think he really is able to heal? To be honest, most days I question it. This week I've had to convince myself "No, God is Good. No God Didn't Forget. No, He cares even more than you do."

In reading chapter 9, it talks a lot about the prodigal son and the way that the older brother who stayed home had bitterness in his heart over the celebration of his wayward siblings return.   This particular passage of the book stuck out to me this week:

"To find out what was going on the older son [in the prodigal son story] summoned one of the servants. How interesting that it was more natural for him to get his information from a servant than to go directly to his father. When the servant told him that his brother had come home and his father killed the fattened calf and received him, the older son "Became angry and was not willing to go in" (Luke 15:28) a son who knows he is accepted doesn't get angry and refuse to go in. Still, I stand up for that bitter older brother with discomforting passion. Good girls think there should be consequences for the actions of the prodigal, not a party. (Chapter 9, 39% in kindle)

The book continues in showing how the older son wasn't innocent. He was acting in his own sin as well. He could have been a part of the party, the father met him as well outside of the door and invited him in,  he was not short-handed his inheritance and would receive the same blessing as his brother but his bitterness and resentment kept him out.

Even in summarizing that piece of text I see into my heart. See, I'm fine with the prodigal having a party, just like I'm fine with restoration of relationships, and salvation to come to unbelievers, but I cringe at those words "the same blessing." I am often outside that door like the older son, because truth is, I want a better blessing.  I don't want 'them' to be able to experience the great freedom of Christ after what they've done. No, not in its fullness. I've convinced myself that I've done better and while I want them to have a party-I want a bigger one. Even in mercy, I want it to be ruled by 'Justice'. Justice is the King in my system, and Mercy is the Queen. She adds softness to the punch-but the punch is still coming. (I seem to consistently ignore the fact that I deserve one huge punch as well.)

I'm not sure why I would often times rather die on the hill of 'what I deem right' rather than embrace Gods good news. Why do I convince myself that my selfish, sinful heart has any capacity to create a correct view of righteousness when the Almighty God has already laid it out for me?

When the question at the end of the chapter was asked "In what ways are you living like a servant rather than a daughter?"  One answer came to mind. "In what ways am I not living like a servant rather than a daughter?" 

Then Chapter 10 happened.

She walks us through the story of Adam and Eve and Eve taking the fruit. 

 "Satan did two things in the garden that are vital to understand as we begin the process of letting go of our girl-made hiding places. First, he convinced Eve she had to do something in order to be something. If you eat the fruit then you will be like God. ... (chapter 10, 42% Kindle)
"The second thing Satan did in the garden is a little trickier  something many people go their whole lives without noticing. Something that makes the difference between living like a good girl and living in freedom....Satan told the woman "you will be like God" (Gen 3:5.) But God had already covered that. In Gen 1:27 God made man and woman in his own image. So what does that mean? It means they were already were like God, made in his likeness, bearing his image. Satan was promising something to them that God had already graciously and lovingly provided. Satan convinced them to forget God's gift and try to work for it instead." (Chapter 10, 43%)

At this point I could just write the whole chapter out. It was wave after wave of truth. It was the gospel. The consequence of Sin. The lies we believe. The inability of us to handle it on our own. The lack of expectation for us to handle it on our own. The entrance of Jesus. The truth about justice and mercy and grace. 

"Here's the truth: aside from accepting Jesus as your personal savior, there is nothing left to do to gain God's favor. Nothing. And that means no thing." (Chp 10, 45%)

I've discovered the risk of embracing this truth. If I embrace that I cannot earn my salvation, that its all by grace and that I deserve hell and full punishment for the horrible things I've done, then that means I have to be willing to believe that God grants that to others as well. I have to believe that Jesus really is enough to cover all sins.  All. Sins.

I love this hymn, but do I believe it ?John Newton says:

Let us wonder; grace and justice 
Join and point to mercy’s store; 
When through grace in Christ our trust is, 
Justice smiles and asks no more: 
He Who washed us with His blood 
Has secured our way to God.

I'm struggling this week. I'm struggling to really decide if Gods love stretches quite that far. If he covers it all. And if Jesus is enough. Yet, in that struggle I'm finding truth. That he is, He has to be. I can't do this on my own.  I'm discovering that I have to embrace that truth, and all that comes with it.

I've always identified myself as a Thompson. And while my name has changed, there are certain attributes of my heritage that I will always identify with. Growing up, my mom would do a powerful thing. She gave me identity in that name. When I was struggling with something she would say "Brittany, Thompson's aren't quitters." and often times after a very powerful pep-talk (my mom delivers an incredible one at that!), she'd end "...And don't you forget, you're a Thompson!"

Now, did I ever quit? Yes. I did. But, because I was a Thompson, I wasn't a quitter. There was a unshakable identity to who I was that no matter my actions, couldn't be taken away. To read the text above-that Adam and Eve were already in the image of God. They already had his last name. To see that I am His which means I carry his name as well. That means I am what he says I am.  I may sin, but I am no longer a sinner. I fail, but I am the daughter of one who always succeeds  I see injustice, but my father is just

My namesake is enough to give me identity.

God has been showing me how rich of a life there is available to me if I would embrace this truth. When thinking a lot about this chapter-I've thought often "how sweet and simple would working in God's garden be?" There were no thorns, there was no death. No sin. All things would live. Even the black thumb of mine would do just fine in a place where God was the master gardener. Such freedom to just be and enjoy all that God did. The work would be life-giving work. The rest would be deep rest.

My heart says "that was then, this is now." Then I hear " No, there's Jesus."

I never understood becoming a new creation, because I always thought it was my job to become it. As in, " I accept Jesus, now I got to work on transforming myself the way that a body builds itself into being something strong." It was my responsibility  This whole week I have been reminded time and time again that God changes my heart. God changes my character. God changes who I am. God makes me a new creation.

God forgives sin, God heals broken. God redeems. Joel 2:25, he will repay what the locusts have eaten. Can God really do that? He can. He does. He will.

Whats there left for me to do?
Worship. Praise. Rejoice. Rest.
And a whole lot of Trust.

I'm excited for the next chapters. To see where this will take us. To Discover Jesus A little Bit more.
Linking up here



When we first got word that we were moving to Colorado, I asked Ben what he thought it would do for us. The main theme we kept going back to was our marriage and that it would get better. We weren't sure quite how, but we both agreed that this would be good. I'd say we were right. The time there solidified parts of our friendship that I didn't know even existed. There was a deeper trust, a deeper honesty and a deeper joy that we moved back home with. Getting to come home has been all sorts of good (and honestly, all sorts of hard.) I was kind of worried that whole 'you and me' mentality we had in Colorado might change since we were now surrounded by all our near and dears, but I'm finding that when little E goes to sleep, we get to be that you and me again. We got goofy last night. Eating gelato from target (Oh. my. goodness. has anyone else tried that stuff? Incredible.) Playing wee bits of halo (random fact: I snipe like no ones business-or at least Ben reassures me that " Go up to that tower so no one can shoot you-you're a great sniper") and just being together. It filled my heart. 

These past few weeks have been up and down emotionally for me (read: kinda messy) as I process through the move, what I'm reading and the way my relationships and my surroundings affect me. Through it Ben has proven even more a confidant, leader, truth-speaker and  friend. I had previously shared some fairly deep friendships, even with some guy pals in high school and college-and I worried when we first got married if our friendship would be unparalleled. Yesterday, as I was looking at that good-looking bearded man, I was reminded of this early-marriage worry. Oh Boy, dear 20 year old Brittany, Nothing comes even close to what you got going on now. Praise the Lord.  Cheers to marriage-the best friendship builder ever, Jesus who gets all the glory for making Ben and Brittany become "Ben and Brittany" and to having someone know my heart so deep it makes me all warm and comfy and electric at the same time.

Hey Ben, We got a good thing.

The funny thing with these photos is that Ben was pulling stunts a year and half ago too.  It seems to me he has a particular fondness to trying to lick me in photos. Weird? Yes. Not sure about that cute little habit.

We may be taking these every year just for kicks. I get excited thinking about a goofy Eowyn pulling stunts like this guy.

Eowyn's First Snow



As all the rest of Minnesota knows, we got the royal downpour of fluffy white goodness today. So, we did what every good Minnesota parent does-introduced Eowyn to the awesome white stuff . While Ben and I sort of have a love hate relationship with it (we got stuck in the driveway just trying to get to our garage this morning...and near turned around a few times rather than go to church this morning), perhaps, being born here she'll always have a fondness for it. Lets hope so. My anticipation for wonderment and glee wasn't exactly what I got from her this time. She was more confused as to why we would bundle her up right before nap time and take her into cold weather with wet stuff hitting her face. She did look cute however all bundled up and I think she liked sucking on her gloves. Eowyn has successfully been introduced and we have officially turned the heat up in this humble little abode.. 

In addition, as you may have noticed Ben and I have an official domain name for this blog: We've talked of getting one for over a year now, and figured with all the Christmas merriment, we'd go for it. Ben came up with the tag line during blog design, and I love it. Plus, having a domain name that basically symbolizes what we're about gives me all sorts of happy feelings. Happy Sunday and Stay Warm!

Saturday Mornings

{the most wonderful time}


Christmas with babies? Magic all over the place.

Eowyn staring at the lights (Look at her mouth open! :) ) I got to see one of my dearest friends ever today. I sit in my car and marvel at how good God is at making that girl every time we see each other.  It's snowing outside. We ordered pizza. Talking with Ben through what I'm learning about myself. Remembering to not take ourselves too seriously. Ben, giving me room to amend my previous notions, helping me figure out what it means to follow Jesus with my heart and mind then my actions. Stretching my understanding. Laughing. Talking about the chance of me getting a nose ring (maybe when I'm 30, he says.) Concluding how freaking awesome our kid is, discussing future babies and if we get no more for whatever reason we're okay. Remembering what it was like when we first got married. The difference between twitter-pated, and what we got today. Joking. Flirting. Video Gaming. Blogging. Resting.

 These are the best kind of days and the best kind of nights.

the best things


When I feel like organizing, but don't feel particularly motivated, I go through my camera and delete pictures I've already posted on the internets. Sometimes, much to my surprise, I forget a certain day and rediscover it all over again. These little pictures were that surprise today. Remembering this was a special treat for today. Eowyn was fascinated by his beard and just kept staring at him. They shared several minutes just looking at each other  her reaching up touching his face. It was perfect. 

Not only is that husband of mine gorg-e-ous. His love for our girl, the man he's become since attaching 'dad' to his person-hood, and his love on this momma are all something I am moved by daily. He reminds me of how good we have it. In the chaos of everything that comes with being a parent and having a cr-a-zy- job he makes this ride actually pretty awesome, and he affirms me in the best kind of ways.

this weeks favorite affirmation: "Babe, you make a good porkchop."

Ben, you're the best kind of husband. and the best kind of dad. Given the choice, with all I now know I'd pick you.

A Little Taste of The Glory

 "I've heard several pastors and teachers over the years compare the law to a mirror. If I have dirt on my  face, I go to the mirror and it shows me truth. The mirror isn't bad it simply reveals what is there. At the same time, the mirror itself has no power to clean my face. It would be foolish to take the mirror from the wall and rub my face with it trying to clean off the dirt. But that's what good girls do with the law. We believe that by keeping it, we will somehow gain favor.

 So why would a holy God give an impossible standard to a group of born failures who, no matter how sincere or how dedicated or how determined could never ever live up to it? God should have known we couldn't fulfill those expectations  But the secret of the law was not to prove our inadequacy for Gods sake. It was to prove our inadequacy for our sake." (Chapter 6)

Last year, I did a class called SHAPE that our church offers. In it, we did a personality profile called strength finders. Two of my strengths are discipline and responsibility. It was especially pleasing to hear from the instructor that I was in the camp of about only 3% of the population. Very few have both of those as strengths! I'm not gonna lie, a lot of pride over being 'unique' filled my heart. I was the disciplined AND responsible one! Bam. In. Yo. Face.

Yet, if I'm honest, most of my life I've kept up a "this is the cross I have to bear" mentality. Other people find freedom in Christ and that's great! It's because us responsible, disciplined people are still keeping the law up.   We're like Job-making sacrifices for you children while you go party.

Whenever the Gospel was preached  about how we now have freedom from sin and with that freedom from the expectations of the law-I said "yes, praise you Jesus!" and used it as a talking piece. But after that bit,  my heart always reminds me" but there's still a law. After all Jesus didn't abolish it-he came to fulfill it, and since I'm his child, I have to too."

If you haven't caught on yet, the last two and a half paragraphs are my heart twisting the gospel to feed my own pride and convince myself I'm awesome.

Put plainly, I've missed the whole point of Jesus coming. " But the secret of the law was not to prove our inadequacy for Gods sake. It was to prove our inadequacy for our sake." When I read that it sort of hit me in the face. Mostly because that confuses me and angers me. Why would God give us this? Why would he give me something that would constantly leave me feeling so much like a failure, especially when he knew I, like the Israelites would confidently say: 

"Yes Lord! I will be careful to do everything you require!" (Exodus 24:3)

And that's been where my heart has been this week. I've been struggling through and finding glimpses of a God who spent several hundred years demonstrating one thing: without him I am nothing. That, and he isn't interested in a performance. And while I've come to this conclusion countless times before, the lies I've built (quite well I might add) are something I constantly run back to. My old understanding of God is comfortable-even if its a lie. And my old understanding of our 'agreement:'he gives me salvation and feel-good feelings when I do something right and then reminds me of his grace when I fail-is preferable. Why? Because I get all the glory and worship when I succeed-and I can rely on his blood when I don't. (And I can throw a fit over how its impossible to live up to his standards when I'm feeling particularly sorry for myself.)

I ask God: If the law isn't your expectation, then what IS it? He then  reminds me of the gospel-That Jesus fulfilled all expectations with his perfect life. That then, by dying on the cross he took all punishment for my sins and in exchange, through belief in him I stand before God as blameless. He reminds me that a relationship with him means surrender of self, reputation, trying to win his favor and in exchange I get to take on a new identity as His. But then I retort like a snotty nose kid after being told the greatest news EVER: "yeah, but after that!"

The gospel is enough. There is nothing more. I know  that every action I do is still filthy rags. I know that everything done on my own accord is not worship to him its worship to self-and it doesn't honor him. I know all that. But I don't like it. Why?! because I don't like that he isn't impressed by me. I want to hear "By Golly, Brittany YOU are a fine creation. Everyone should notice you and be impressed with you and try to emulate you, because I want to!! Wow! Why don't we worship you instead!?"

Now its dramatic, I know. But its at the core of what I'm wanting. 

As the best character to ever grace my T.V. Screen, Nacho Libre asks:

 Don't You want a little taste of the Glory? See what it tastes like?!

Yes Nacho. I do.

"Therefor the law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24)

"But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Romans 3:21-22)

"The Law says obey. Grace says believe and obedience follows." -Emily Freeman

 "Grace is not Jesus helping you live up to the law. This keeps us focused on the law. Jesus came to fulfill the law so we don't have to look at it anymore. I no more listen to what the law is saying. I listen to what Jesus is saying." -Dudley Hall

I'm hanging out in a place of tension. I'm tasting resignation and surrender of my prideful, sinful self and I'm discovering that while this girl may not struggle today to not go and say a few blips of profanity or lust after some hunk of man, its a full-blown knock-out-fight- to not try to take this body, home, self,  spouse, kid, and stuff and say MINE and then use all of it to glorify myself. I'm recognizing, perhaps for the first time, my 'trying to please Jesus' for what it is: a complete rejection of the Gospel. Its nasty sin masked as christiandom.

 This is hard.  This is all I've ever known.  But its time. I struggle to make sense of a battle to find rest. 

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful naturea and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do..
 (Ephesians 2:1-10)

Praise Jesus that through him I'm winning. That what he promises is so much better. That I can be done with all of this and when I stand before Jesus and everyone else daily I can point to Him and its enough.

This book: Grace for the Good Girl by emily freeman, has been oh-so-good for me. I'd recommend it to just about everyone. Its possible every girl I've ever met will be getting this for Christmas.  In the meantime, if you happen to buy this via online or otherwise, I'd welcome you to join in the party in this online-book club #thesamepage  It can be found here

{coming home}


We got the news that we'll be going back to Minnesota in....(drum roll please)....two days! No I'm not kidding. Yes we found out today. Now we get to pack like maniacs and get our things shipped back to the motherland. I think if there's anything I've discovered on this adventure, its that Ben and I were made for Amazing Race. We would be incredible at the surprise last minute changes and the quick, find-a-way-to make-things-happen scenarios.

Happy to be coming back for the potentially short, potentially long future. I wanted an adventure marrying Mr. Sprague, and by golly I'm getting it.

And so, we'll be returning to the frozen tundra. I'll be honest to say I'll miss this mountain view, the ridiculously friendly people (like...15-20 minute conversations at walmart. ) and the 50-70 degree weather. Oh and Ross. How I love me some Ross.

But, coming home to Caribou coffee, the best friends a girl could ask for, and Hope's worship (we missed you) is enough to make us giddy. I miss our books too. And the big bucket of yarn I have waiting for projects at home. And seeing Eowyn eat snow is going to be pretty awesome too.

Home, here we come!

Losing Reputation


I've been following several blogger gals as they read through the book "Grace for the Good Girl " By Emily Freeman. God has been putting all sorts of questions in my heart as of late and its honestly made me pretty uncomfortable. I kept getting questions, and not being able to have answers.  I don't like that.

In kind of an impulse, I decided to join in on this virtual book club called the same page.  I felt like this is where God was leading me.

I'm pretty behind, but I was assured of how perfect this book was for me in the first few chapters. I'm forcing myself to take it slow and process through what the Emily says rather than trying to speed through and be caught up.

Even the first three chapters have been overwhelming in the best way. It's been refreshing and somewhat scary as I confront a lot of lies I've spent a good chunk of my life believing.

I'm learning the difference between conviction and competition. For me, I often embrace the latter under the mask of the other. I've noticed a lot of lies that have left me feeling overwhelmed in a negative way and have left me sort of desperate for approval from Ben, other moms or anyone else in my vicinity (yes, even my blog readers!)  I'm discovering a lot of truths that I'm hoping don't just impact me through the weekend.

Here is one big one. I've convinced myself for quite some time that: "the days I rely on my own strength, I'm not as 'good of a wife and mom' but the days I rely on His strength, I can become all that He wants me to be."

Now when you read that you think "what? Wait. That's true!" Perhaps  The issue, as even the author talks about, is how I've defined good. and what I think God wants me to be.

The way I define good is: clean house, work out completed, time with Jesus taken, dressed and showered, awesome healthy dinner on the table, baby happy and content, some awesome other project completed and all the while enough energy to engage with my husband. To make him laugh, enjoy conversation and overall just be awesome. Perfection. bonus points if I'm all sufficient, and need nothing from him.  For the longest time I thought, "If I rely on Jesus more, I'll be able to do all this, that's what he wants from me."

Some days I actually did it. Kind of. But most days, like this entire week (or month) I've failed. and its left me telling myself I was never relying on Jesus enough, and I was disappointing everybody. I kept telling myself that even if they were 'grace-filled" enough not to tell me so, I knew it. I failed, and they were 'loving me through it.'

I'm discovering how tangled of a mess I am. And how ridiculous of a lie that is. How wrong my definitions of good are. The days I rely on Jesus should not be marked by great performance.  As Emily states, they should be marked by worship.

The days I really focus on Jesus, the amount of to-do lists accomplishments vary. Often times its marked by me not doing all that I planned, and realizing in him I'm complete. Yes, even when I ate chocolate for breakfast (by choice) and went on a walk instead of laundry. Those days are the days I often find Jesus and not in the "its okay, I forgive you for not doing your chores, I love you still" sort of way. but in the "I'm excited I have your attention" sort of way.

The phrase "enough" has been a constant this past month for me. I find myself asking myself 'am I enough?"" "When will I think I've had enough?"

And I'm learning the answer is no, never, not until...

Not until I give up the assumption that I'll ever reach the expectations I've set for myself-because at their core they're not God-Glorifying, in fact they make me run from Him. And no I'll never be satisfied with what I have because I'm so insecure in my own self that something will always feel off-and I'll fill it the only way  I know how. Not until Jesus comes in and changes my heart. And frees me from unhealthy expectations and competitive heart. I have caught myself countless times adding things to my to-do list this week-including character changes. " I need to work on applying more grace to people, not having a judgmental heart, being a better listener....." the list goes on. and I'm finding freedom in being honest and saying "I can't." I can't (in my own strength) stop this judgmental heart because its what i use to often measure my life. It's how I can convince myself I measure up.  To stop so many of these sins in my heart there has to be a 180 in my soul. And if twenty-three years of life has taught me something, its that soul-changing is only done by Jesus.

I'm starting (just barely) to feel the freedom that comes from resignation. The freedom from losing reputation even with Jesus (how silly does that sound, but how true it is for me!) is something I'm tasting. The freedom that comes with being okay if others conclude my worst fears: I'm a bad friend, a bad mom, a bad wife, boring, a 'preachy' blogger, boastful, not a good ministry leader, not enough to meet expectations,  (it makes me get all queezy even writing those things!) Yet- its that freedom I'm chasing after.

Until I am actively fighting against having my peers define my worth, until I abandon this self-sufficient ship for Jesus,  I'll be in this crazy cycle. And I'm tired. I claim Jesus yet keep holding on to the things he's saved me from and somethings gotta give.

I'm so thankful for this book. I'm so thankful that it's pushed me to take a step-out today and be okay with just Jesus.Its freeing. I'd encourage anyone who's feeling heavy to take a look. I hope you'll encounter the same kind of peace that's invading this girls heart.