{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.

Dear John #37


{if needed, click on the image to make it larger}



You may have already seen this buzzing around facebook. But if not here she is:

When I first saw this, I laughed. Its one of those "wow, how true is that? harty har" cards. At least its meant to be. But I couldn't shake it. I haven't stopped thinking about it.

I went thrifting with my family on Saturday for the half off sales at the local goodwills. I found a few goodies (many were J crew, banana republic and a few other of my favorite brands) and I paid no more than 2.50 for each piece. This was exciting. As I was leaving, a sales clerk was checking everyone's bag to ensure no one stole anything. I kept thinking "why steal when I could get this already so cheap?"

I've lived the past 6 weeks with a suitcase worth of clothes. Yet, I still haven't worn half of them. I have an entirely stuffed closet at home. Which I actually already went through for the season and gave two stuffed garbage bags of clothes away.

These reminders keep coming at me. The fridge filled with food. So full stuff expires before I ever get around to eating it. The laundry piles. The sheer amount of stuff. Even when money has been tight, I've never been in need. Ever.I have never gone naked, never went hungry and still had a room stuffed with toys. Clean water. health. education. community.

And, yet, I still find myself battling the desire for more. Today I was making a mental list of things we 'needed' to buy here (because a few stores here are significantly cheaper than back home,) and then I did a weeks worth of laundry. Eowyn, (a kid who would probably prefer to just run around naked) had a whole laundry basket full. No, she doesn't need more onesies. No she doesn't need just one more cute outfit.

We are rich. Filthy rich. Richer than kings from before. Even King David didn't have clean running water. Nor did he have medicines to take away his pains. We can buy these things for the equivalence of a meal.

Even the things I think I need. like "basic color t-shirts," I've convinced myself that I need these things. Why? To go with of the slew of shirts I already have. Obviously.

I am humbled when I think of the way the rest of the world sees us. The way we consume and consume and consume then consume some more. It doesn't surprise me the bad taste people get in their mouth when thinking of Americans. We just take and then decide it was never enough. I'm one of the worst offenders.

I am in desperate need of a change.

I'm learning that being thankful has to be more than just a pretty paragraph of all I'm happy for. It has to be a heart change. It would be like Ben, sporadically thanking me for all I do for him as a wife, yet most of the time explaining all the things he really wants next from me. His thankfulness would mean nothing. I would feel devalued. I don't want to be that way towards the giver of all this.  I don't want to thank God in my prayers then spend my free time adding more to my 'wishlist.' I'm so guilty of this. But it needs to stop. I don't need more.

Its as if I'm full-engorged really-but I keep eating. When will I finally say 'I have had enough?'

I'm struggling through this still. Is deprivation the answer? I don't think so... Martyrdom for me would only lead to pride and a judgmental heart of all those other 'consumers.' But how can we be truly thankful as we continue to gain? I'm working through it.  As for today, I don't know the answer. I really want to just be thankful-deep down in my bones.

May my heart really believe the words "enough."

Just so you know....

Cloth Diapers//Why We Made the Switch


I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. Since I now feel pretty comfortable with my cloth diapering routine, I figured it would be a great time to share in case any moms or dads were considering it. Here are some reflections regarding cloth diapering our baby girl.

Why I Became Interested in Cloth Diapering:

The idea came from the mom-blogs I started following while pregnant. I have followed quite a few blogs that made mention of cloth diapers, and one of the best blogs I had found regarding her opinion (and she had done regular reflections on her cloth diaper experience) is found here.

I remember mentioning to Ben I was considering doing cloth diapering after reading a few posts on the topic. After showing him some pictures and talking it over it became a serious option for us. The diapers aren't pins and cloths like so many think they are. When we saw that and watched a few funny youtube videos of dads recommending cloth diapering, we were sold. We thought it sounded great for several reasons (convenience, lack of chemicals, sustainability, etc.) but our main motivator was money.

Does it really save money?

So, we started crunching numbers. We had heard conflicting views on whether or not it was really worth it financially and concluded that for us it really was. We figured out how much it would cost if we cloth diapered comfortably (more than 10 diapers) and we figured out it would take about 2.5-3 months of buying disposables to= upfront cost of buying cloth . So what that meant to me was if I hated it-after about 2-3 months I could quit.  Lucky for us, we love it. Both of us find it convenient and now that we're in the 4th month of CDing (cloth diapering), it feels especially good to not be having "diapers" be one of our budget items! This is something Ben mentions near every month during our financial meetings. :)

Which diapers to choose?

Next step was deciding which ones. This is the hardest part. There are a ton of diaper options out there regarding cloth. A good book to read if you're interested in getting the full scope of it all is found here.
I ordered it from our local library and appreciated the information. It helps to set a budget of what you're willing to pay. For us, it was about 150-200 dollars. This limited our selection which was helpful in making decisions.

After talking with Ben, and doing WAY too much additional research we decided on the FLIP for affordability and FUZZIBUNZ for convenience (and it was recommended by a few friends.) We figured we'd try them both and we'd purchase more of the ones we liked best if needed. I would recommend just going with whatever one or two you're learning towards. Yes, another diaper might work better, but the only way to find out is to try it out. We actually went to a place in Saint Paul called Peopods Natural Toys & Baby  to physically look at them. I wanted to get my hands on them to actually see what they were like and the people there are awesome. Ben ultimately decided which ones we would choose. When we went to that store, Ben picked the two he liked best and we went with that.

Our Experience So Far:

It's recommended to wait till you're baby is born before purchasing. I struggled with this and went ahead and bought a few of both prior to her coming. I'm glad I got limited quantities however, because 1) I used disposables the first 8 weeks because E was too small for the One Size Diapers (6 1/2 pound baby and  its recommended to use disposables to prevent staining from Meconium )and 2) As stated, I really didn't know what would work well.

Once we started, it was exciting. I prepped all my diapers (washed them a few times with cloth diaper detergent) and was ready to go. The first day we did cloth diapers felt like an achievement  Eowyn went in them just fine no issues. Other than at night time, we started cloth diapering at about 8 weeks old. and it was nice not having to take out the trash so often.

It actually wasn't till about three weeks ago that we started doing cloth diapers FULLY. She is somewhat of a heavy wetter and would leak through the cloth at night so I bought some hemp (read: Super absorbent) inserts and they've been perfect for overnight with the flip.

"The Stash"

Several websites recommend 15-24 diapers to start out with. We just simply couldn't afford more than 13 or so at the time we wanted to start so I started with a Day Pack as mentioned previously, and about 5 fuzzibunz. We also got a free BumGenius Diaper with buying the fuzzibunz which brought us to 14. since I've gotten a few more things here and there. My recommendations on what I think you might really need bare-bones is below.

 My "Stash" as of today:
8 Fuzzibunz One-Size Elite Diapers
2 FLIP Diaper Covers
6 Stay Dry Inserts
1 BumGenius (free with my purchase of the fuzzibunz through clotton Babies)
3 Joey Hemp Inserts (Purchased recently)
Wet Bag (purchased recently)
Rockin Green Laundry Detergent

Total Costs:approx $215.00

We had some amazon credit from selling textbooks that allowed us to buy the FLIP and a few of the fuzzibunz, so we actually were able to only spend about 100 of our own dollars. This has been a huge money saver for us. In reality, I'm functioning just fine with the amount I have and don't necessarily see us buying too many more. We may, if we decide for convenience sake buy another FLIP pack, or buy two covers and buy some prefolds as is recommended by the first website listed.

How Are They Holding Up?

Our cloth diapers have been washed several times over the past 4 months and are holding up incredibly well. They still look new. It makes me feel good to very rarely have to use disposables, mostly because I like not having to buy diapers anymore. Ben and I intend to have a few more kiddies, Lord willing, and it'll be nice to have a stash of diapers to keep using. It'll be super cost effective this next kid!

Laundry hasn't been so bad either. It really is only an extra load every couple of days. They come out looking mint. Once she starts eating solids, I'm sure it'll be a whole different ball game in terms of cleaning, and I might buy a sprayer, but currently I find it all to be very easy-and have very little interaction with the contents inside the diaper.


I will say that it took a while to figure out how to get the Fuzzibunz not to leak. For us it was adjusting the elastic (its a super customizable diaper) in her little legs and using both the inserts that come with the diapers. Since weve had very little problems.  The Flip we never had issues with. We just snapped  it and it worked. I'd recommend these in a heartbeat.


I personally think we could do just fine with 4 Flip Covers and 12 inserts. That would be 2 Day Packs at 100 Dollars total. If you were to purchase from places like Cotton babies or Kelly's Closet you can customize colors etc. I love the flip and while the fuzzibunz are working now, for a while they were leaking and it was frustrating  The FLIP is the brand that I've heard most consistently good reviews from friends and bloggers. And they're one of the most affordable mainstream brands. I like them a lot, and will generally use them even when going out and about (something I have yet to fully trust my fuzzibunz with.) If one were to buy two Day packs and the laundry detergent it'd be around $115. If you wanted to just buy the covers and prefolds, as MoriahMakes recommends, I think that would be even more affordable

Knowing what I know now, I still would definitely cloth diaper. I plan to with all our kids. It's easy and it is nice not every worrying about running out. Plus, once we bought them, it was incredibly nice to not have to worry about budgeting for it any longer!

Bonus: I noticed Eowyn got a fairly decent rash when using disposables, and then after a few days of medication/using cloth she hasn't had any issues. When I start to see any bit of red I use the California Diaper Rash Cream approved for cloth and that seems to do the trick.

While this may be more than you ever wanted to know about cloth diapering, If you have any questions about it, I'd love to answer them. Feel free to email or leave a comment below.

Yay for babies!

Garden of the Gods and Old Colorado City


There is no doubt that we're enjoying our stay here in Colorado. Yesterday we went to Colorado Springs and checked out Garden of the Gods, Glen Eyrie and  "Old Colorado" city. It was a fun time admiring God's creation and enjoying good company. We've gotten to do a whole lot of that since moving here. This week has been particularly special.

Denver Zoo Part II


The Spragues have a tradition of checking out the zoo in any of the towns they visit. It's a fun tradition that we kept up when they came to visit us here in Denver. The day before thanksgiving, we headed out to the zoo and had a blast. A lot more of the animals were out than when Ben and I went, and the weather was beautiful. Ben and I saw a whole section of the zoo we hadn't the first time and we had a lot of fun both watching the animals and watching Ben's mom get the animals to respond to her. We swear, she's an animal whisperer. They do just about anything for her, dancing and talking included. Eowyn seemed more into it as well. With the first time using a stroller my sister gave us (thanks Bre!) we watched her take it all in! At one point the peacocks (that are allowed to just roam the zoo) came flying really close to her. She loved it. We also had some squirrels steal our mint-chocolate chip cookies from our stroller-so it seems the animals enjoyed us just about as much as we enjoyed them.

This zoo really is amazing. Its HUGE and if you're ever in the Denver area, we highly recommend checking it out. Its affordable and incredible to see. There are animals I never knew existed and tiny little monkeys that are about the size of chipmunks. Both times we've gone we've had  "never seen that before!" moments.

We're enjoying Ben's family visiting us through Sunday. We're hoping to go to Colorado Springs to check out a few sights there.

I hope your thanksgiving was filled with reminders of how great we have been blessed. I know ours was. Even the sheer amount of food filling our fridge is a kind reminder that we live overwhelmed. We have more food than we can consume in a day (possibly even a week!)and we have community and family and health and all sorts of things that can't be purchased. Thankful for God's blessings, and even His common grace on all people. Even seeing all the animals was a cool reminder of the creativity of the God our family worships. He did good and it seems had a whole lot of fun.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!




Every other picture I take of this kid makes me think I'm looking at a whole new baby. That face.  Those eyes. They change daily. This week they're stormy and as always expressive.

You're remarkable, little woman. And brighten every single day. 

Red Rock Ampitheater



With Ben's Mom and Dad here, we decided to make the most of a beautiful Sunday and head out to one of the spots we've heard good things about: Red Rock Ampitheater. It's known for its history of concert performances, including the Beatles and we had heard that its sights are worth the drive regardless if there's a concert or not. So, after church and a quick lunch, off we went. The sights did not disappoint.

On our way home, we stopped at this cute little ice cream place. It was AMAZING! Baileys Irish Cream, Vanilla Chai, Guinness Caramel, Sleepless in Seattle (a coffee flavored kind) just to name a few of the crazy flavors) left us happy campers. Eowyn even licked a bit of my chai ice cream and approved.
The day was well spent. With shakey knees from all the walking up and down gazillions of stairs, I think we'll all sleep well tonight.

We got a little curious as to how E would look once those lush locks come in so we did a little experiment. Here are the results:
 Watch out, boys.