Life Lately...


...Thank you for all the kind responses to my blog post yesterday. I'm thankful that I do have this platform where we can be transparent with our friends and family. Your kind words affirmed the appropriateness of vulnerability. So for that, I thank you.

...The weather is phenomenal! Me and the girl are going outside several times a day and are loving it. Collecting leaves. Waving at the doggies, and trees. Fall in minnesota is a good life. Ben and I go on a walk in the evening and its such a treasured time for us. Being outside is such a great way for me to hear Ben's heart, and in my morning walks, I can rest my soul the most. It only makes sense to me that I find God easiest in the cool of the day. I think He's just a much a fan as I am.

...We've got a wedding (Holla!) Ren Fest & a Birthday bash to attend this weekend. So PUMPED. Dancing? Turkey Legs? Sword Fighting? Amazing Brunches? We're in.

...Two months in and we still are die-hard Costco fans. thanks to all my friends who answered all my questions about if its really worth it. We love that place. I recently purchased the best coat of my life in our anticipation for some cold winters, along with the churros...Seriously. We feast on samples.

...Speaking of Costco, They sell my favorite bulk chai concentrate. What?!? I've been a happy, HAPPY lady this fall. Ben is pleased that I don't keep hitting up the bou, and I'm happy that I still have fun money left over at the end of the month because of it.

...Eowyn has TWO TEETH SPROUTING. Our 14 month old finally has some bottom teeth evident to the rest of the world (well, kinda...if you look really close.) There are four up top making little mountains out of her gums-but no sign of whites yet. She's also officially crawling like a normal baby (not army crawl) and standing up by use of walls and the like. She's been walking with assistance for a while, but still is terrified of being left alone while standing-perhaps because a kid-friend stood her up and thought she could stand, and she sort of face planted. Never the less, she's done a risk-assessment and decided its not worth it for now. She does cruise around furniture though which is super exciting. She's in that crawl all over you phase, which is both fun and erm...not fun. She LOVES books. So we've hit up the library and are bringing buckets full every week. She loves flipping through the pages and pointing to all the faces. She listens long enough for me to actually read them. She says "uh-oh" "Dada" "duck" (weird, I know. Ben taught her.) "Two" (like when we count One, Two, Three and throw her in the air. Its a bit muffled, but the intonation is the same and its adorable.) She's a big fan of waving at friends, and she officially knows how to say "More, Please" "All Done" "Eat" and "Yes" in sign/face movements. Oh, and she does high fives and eskimo kisses. My heart bursts.

We're working on the fist pump. Oh and saying "mama." I think she doesn't do it on purpose.

...Oh, anyone that knows how to crochet baby hats, contact me. I want to learn how to make this delicious little guy. Teach me your ways-and how to make it for a bigger baby head

...This season is a really good season. Its a giant season of waiting-which has its days of being not okay-but there has come this deep understanding of Ben and I to each other that's been super peaceful. Its just good to be known. I'm so glad God made marriage-just the idea of having someone to face life with is such a good one.  Thanks God.

...We've started watching Doctor Who. People, its invading my dreams.

...Eowyn is still a ham. Always and forever.

May your friday be filled with joy and your weekend even fuller.

To the writer of this blog, just 68 days ago


The one and only picture taken for this little babe.
68 days ago I turned twenty-four. I proclaimed quite triumphantly to Ben "I had only expected one baby at this point! But now I'll have two!" It was a good day. I was feeling wonderfully, the medicine was helping, and my birthday was full. We celebrated my girl's birth the same weekend. I was gonna announce the babe in my belly that very week. Oh July, How I love you.

These 68 days have seemed like very long 68 days. The first month after the 20th crept slowly. The day of Eowyns birthday party-the day after my birthday, was the day we got the news of our miscarriage.

The weekend of my birth, I learn about my baby's death. 

Flash forward to the first days of fall, and I in all honesty don't even recognize parts of me yet. Growing a baby, even for a few weeks changes a person. Having a baby die changes a person quicker. In many ways, I imagine, its all part of the great big evolving into a  mother. From the onset, sacrifice is required. Sickness. Fatigue. So much change. But there's hope. Sometimes, there's not and it all seems bleak, but in my case: I anticipated the outcome. Baby cries. Silly giggles. The crazy joy I already  have manifested in flesh  napping in the other room. I thought I knew how this story ended, or rather begins.

As I just weeks to my big day, moaned in our bed that I was gonna die, (Sickness does not become me) Ben reminded me "just a little bit longer." So much anticipated goodness was held in this year of Twenty Four.

I keep thinking I'm done talking about 'it,' because somedays honestly the thoughts don't cross my mind. But then, I'll be in a baby store and I'll get hit with tears, or I'll look at my calendar and see a scribbled "20 weeks." and it just gets my heart so sad. 

So, with all that in mind, I wanted to write the writer of this blog, 68 days ago. Because I like to do weird things like that. 

September 26th, 2013


Brace yourself.

Tomorrow is going to be perhaps the most confusing day of your life. You'll get to celebrate with all your friends the birth of your girl. You'll have a party for her that turns out exactly how you hope. Seriously, your friends are amazing. You'll go into the bathroom right as the party's end, and see something you're not supposed to see. It kind of makes you panic and you whisper to Ben that you'll be needing to go to the ER that night. You go to the garage and cry in panic. Breath. Breath some more, and then give it to God. You think "so many people bleed in pregnancy, this is nothing-CHOOSE FAITH" and you go back in. Ben's face will be mixed with fear and confusion, but the party must go on. It does. Your best friend stays back to watch Eowyn. She knows your fears , and she prays.

Several hours later, after nervous laughter and watching Big Bang Theory in a cold room you'll get the news that fears can be realized even for those that you just "prayed boldly to Jesus" against. You'll weep, and weep and weep.

The next several days will be the weirdest. You'll get the joy of spending time with Ben's family, and their presence will bring a sense of normalcy that makes you feel alright. But you'll find yourself waking up crying and its just...hard.

You'll question God a lot. You'll go through some emotions and say some things that if God were just flesh, he would surely leave you. But he doesn't Brittany. He doesn't leave. I wish I could tell myself that then. He won't leave, he knows youre thinking so many scary thoughts. Its okay to share with him. 

You wont want to tell him  your dreams for a while-scared he'll "smash them like he did this one." But you'll hear him whisper when the time is right. He'll teach you something: in death there's glory.

Thats where we get to the good part. Perhaps, in hindsight it all can be claimed good.

A few weeks later, after procedures and check ups are done. You'll find yourself-your heart-kind of new. You'll start reading books that show you how to open your hand, even to the stuff that will kill parts of you-and parts of you will die. God grows something new. You'll discover in friends the capacity to trust. They'll bring you little mementoes that ache your heart and make it rejoice at the same time. You get to taste community through the death of your baby-a holy community-much like he or she is already experiencing. People will touch you with knowing words that even now days later bring water to yours eyes and make you thankful.

You'll see a new side of Ben. There's a fear at first-that you won't grieve quite right. But, you do well and just give each other grace. Sure, there's moments. There's points when he doesn't quite understand how you can say so many ugly things about God-when we're surrounded by so many other things from those same hands that brought this. So many good things. He'll remind you-of Eowyn, of your marriage, of the overflow of joys. You'll slowly conclude: He's right. 

As job says: "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" 

Actually, I'm pretty sure thats near exactly how your husband will say it. Ha. He'll make you pray to God when you decide you're never talking to him again. He'll make you "repeat after him." He'll become an even more incredible leader. He leads you back to Jesus.

Notice  how much respect for your husband grows in your heart. How he fights for you. Cares for you. Allows you-in the absolute mess you become-to be the one he loves. Celebrate that. It solidifies a deeper love that wasn't there before. It builds a trust.

You'll become a better mom. There's something about loss that-when done a certain way-makes gain sweeter. God is guiding you there. You've started to notice things you didn't before. "Look at how Eowyn's growing so fast? " (When before, she wasn't growing fast enough!) "Look at how well she expresses emotions!" When before-you would tell Ben in an-all-too-tired tone "She's sassy." 

Not to say you won't have bad days where you still think that her sass is too much, but it has a sweetness. Its the same sass you gave your mom (Hi mom, thanks for grace)-and its growth. Its life.

You'll become a better friend. Now that might sound weird for a person to pronounce themselves a better friend-but so many things you'll learn to understand. You'll learn how much heartache is caused when people try to fix problems with too simple phrases. "You can try again." or "In God's timing." or "For His reasons." You'll learn that truth, and delivery of truth are two very different things. (Every phrase that's been said to us is true!)  You'll learn the value of silence (perhaps for the first time in your chitter-chatter proned life.) You'll also learn to hear hearts not words. Because the hearts are what matter-and every heart is just wanting joy for you.

You see, all of this,-this dare I say gift-that came out of the hand of God will change you. Right now, the best thing you can do is be where you're at-which will be angry and violent-hearted to that hand. But even in that you'll learn how to pound on the doors without cursing his name. You'll learn-not without error-how to beg and cry and moan and break, without spitting in the face of the giver. When your worst fears are realized you'll say 68 days later "God loves me, and he cares. He's good." You'll see Jesus once again.

I guess its good you cant read this. Because if I read it 68 days ago, I'd spit in my face and tell myself to shut the  H up. Oh, P.s. you'll swear a lot more in your heart than you ever have. Sometimes *gasp* even out loud. You'll worry that you're getting worse, that your heart is somehow deteriorating. But its not. I think its kind of like a wound. It gets nasty before it gets healed. The whole "darkest before dawn." 

All this to say, 24 year old Brittany. Back 68 days ago there was much anticipated goodness for this year. It's proving to be true. God is getting glory. You have a deeper love for your family. You know Jesus in a way you didn't before. He did show up. He was there in the ER that day-and he is still showing up. He didn't act how we so desperately prayed he would-but he did act. He is acting and its a beautiful thing to behold.

You'll like who you are on this side of grief. Loss strips so much from us. But the beautiful surprise in all of this is that it stripped away so many things to reveal a much greater beauty. 

If we have to go through it again (Lord, please no.) we know the truth. We know that God , even when fears are realized, won't leave. May you, if anything remember that. He won't leave.

:: What God Requires ::


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. 
And what does the Lord require of you? 
To act justly and to love mercy 
and to walk humbly with your God. 
Micah 6:8

I remember as a freshman in college finding this verse during a incredibly hard season . I clung to it for dear life. I felt overwhelmed by the challenges of university, ones I was unsure I'd succeed at and felt that while the world required much, God required even more and I was for sure failing him.

In comes this verse. Just three things. Oh so simple. It gave me rest and carried me through. In a time of being surrounded by a lot of struggle, I got to see Jesus through this and I loved him. He cared about justice so he calls me to act justly. He gave out mercy so asks me to do the same. He called me to be humble in light of it all. Through this verse, in many ways God became a friend. I liked Him. I rested.

I was walking Eowyn during our regular morning stroll and was reminded of this passage. "Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly." I have chanted that over to myself often through the years. But this morning it was overwhelming. I took some time to look up what each meant with my phone and felt a heaviness settle in. 

Just: based on or behaving according what is morally right and fair. 

When I read this, I honestly thought "Well, I got that one in the bag." There are days when you could ask me what my moral wrongs were and I would actually have to take a good 20 minutes to come up with a handful. (Ask my husband or friend, or kid if she could talk or any stranger and my guess is they could give you 20 for every minute I spend trying to come up with my list.) Lets not mention the big fat  dead giveaway of PRIDE that makes it hard for me to even come up with said list. I'll get to that in a second.

Mercy: Compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

Compassion: Sympathetic concern for the sufferings or misfortune of others.

Forgiveness: the act or process of being pardoned, absolved, or exonerated.

And this is where it got me. Just incase I wanted to scoot by the first one.  Just minutes before I was thinking of wrongs committed against me. I had no record of my own, but I had a cement record of  everybody elses. Just moments ago I was making judgement calls.

So here's one accurate judgment call I can make: I do not love mercy.

Humble: Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance.

Should I even speak anymore? I feel like I, in that moment with God, had the face of a magician caught in his deception. The wall behind the wall is revealed. The card up the sleeve. Or more appropriately, I did the trick wrong and got the bunny killed.

Bow and leave. Bow and leave.

I kept walking, crunching my leaf friends underneath me. I had no more words. Thats when I started being reminded. Reminded of the intense conversation I had with Ben last night about something too stupid to even bother with. Where all the while Ben was trying to understand why I was so fired up about it and I just kept telling him he was wrong:  Eowyn was getting stressed out from it all but I just kept on going. I'm reminded of the pride I had and how I wouldn't back down. Or the way that Eowyn, just wanting to spend time with me, kept punching the keys of this computer since I was focused on it and I was getting frustrated earlier this morning. Or the way I fought critical thoughts at a passerbyer I didn't even know. 

What hits hard (apart from the barrage of reminders of my failures) is that this all is not a mere request of God. "God has shown me what is good. and this is what he REQUIRES." That I act justly: That I actively work towards choosing and acting good. That I love mercy. Not DO mercy. LOVE mercy.  Only in the action of loving mercy can I give it correctly. Because if I give it, not out of love, I'm not giving a true pardon, I will expect repayment. God's called me to delight in giving pardons, in releasing those that have wronged me. All the while walking in the knowledge of my own importance. Walking humbly with my God. The little that I am in light of all this story, its with Him. 

Because "he has shown me, O mortal what is good."

Its funny how verses that once gave relief, now give conviction. Yet, it is so helpful to my heart. So often I measure myself by my clean home, my (begrudging) change of schedules for others, my SO-HARD life of dealing with Eowyn on her bad days. And I think "this is what God requires of me, so suck it up." 

In those moments, is my heart choosing right? Am I loving to forgive my husband, my child, my friends, the person that doesn't even know me but did me wrong? Am I remembering who I am in light of who God is? 'Cuz that's what God requires.

Thats where the beauty of Jesus dying comes in. Had he not lived perfect,  become my sin, died to destroy them, and given me life, I'd still be stuck in this. I'd be stuck with my wrong answer and with my angry fist. He gave me a way out.  Not only that, Praise Jesus, He's active now. That first part of the passage is huge. "He has shown you... what is good,"

Because Justice according to me? is not good. And mercy? Is not without repayment. And humility doesn't even exist in my system. Had God not been there today to remind me, I'd ended my walk thinking I was sinless, and that the rest of the world sucks. I'd be a self-righteous cynic who only did 'right' when it benefited me. Folks, thats not good.

 But he has shown me what is good and removed my sins. He's changed my heart. I can walk in freedom to do (and fail to do, and try again to do) what he has requires. So, this weekend my hope is I can get a taste of what it means to act justly. To walk humbly. to love mercy. May you taste it and the sweetness of Jesus with me. 

As always, thanks for reading.

Girls Weekend 2013


Back in 2010 I had the desire to go to a craft fair in chicago. Ben in his pure genius recommended that rather than having him go with me, to ask my sister to come instead. After giving her a call, she recommended we ask mom to come too and there it turn into a girls weekend. Momma Bear was called and she agreed.  In that moment a yearly tradition was born.

I loved the time I spent with my sister and mom. With both of them in the ministry, weekends are often busy and the opportunity to go somewhere and rest together is something I treasure every year.

This year we headed to stillwater for our 4th getaway. I got to plan it and thought it would be the perfect spot for some fun. It was a blast. The first full day we enjoyed the antiquing stillwater is known for, Nelson's ice cream (whose 'child sized ice cream' is literally the size of a newborn), shopping at craft stores and discount clothes stores and noshing on some gluten-free pizza. We hot tubbed and watched movies and got my mom caught up on funny youtube videos. The following day we hit up a flea market,  the farmers market, and checked out the courthouse. We just enjoyed each others company while collecting treasures (both tangible and non.)

Right towards the end, when Ben came to pick me up, I got to snap a few pictures of all of us together. All the Thompson girls. I look forward to when E is older to enjoy these times, but they're special now in that I get to take a break and both Bre and I are child-free.  Its super life giving.
It was all that a girls weekend should be.

Happenings In September



...There's so much beauty that happens at summers close. Temps are cool enough for my two heat-abstainers to come outside with me on walks in the evenings. Ice cream happens a lot more as its the last hoorah before fall and the leaves are already starting to turn into their reds and vibrant colors.

...After the busy labor day weekend, we've ushered in a quiet couple of weeks. Visiting with friends occasionally, but overall resting. September has already been incredibly good to us. We yearly read a marriage book and we're well into our second week reading it. Its been good for us and we're finding ourselves finding ways to "go the second mile" which equals us feeling extra full of loving-kindness toward each other. I praise God for that man.

...Along that same note, I've been reading and hearing and seeing all these things that have been showing me where my preferences are.  The christian calling, as I'm coming to understand it,  boils down to 1) Prefer Jesus above all and 2) Prefer others. Its what our pastor calls 'simplex'. So simple, yet incredibly difficult and complex in its actuality. Getting to practice this in my friendships and especially marriage and parenting has been hard, but life-giving. Jesus does a good job of taking care of me when I give up trying to take care of myself above all else.

...So, the story of our little mini garden is as follows: In June we were given a ton of tomato and pepper plants. Said plants sat in their tiny canister for a couple of weeks. I bought pots for them finally, but not enough. I planted them overcrowded. As I grew in my knowledge,  I killed off some of the tomato plants to let the other ones use up the soil and hoped for the best.

Well last night I witnessed two beautiful things. 1) My husbands biceps during the classic trapeze act and 2) This little guy:


So while I see pictures of luxurious crops of tomatoes, I keep cheering my humble little buddy on. I'm pretty sure my garden produce will equate to two peppers and one tomato this summer. But if I double my efforts next year perhaps we may have enough for a feast or at least a spicy sandwich.

....With school resuming around us, I bought a notebook and began filling it. It has sort of become a sacred little book to me. It holds quotes, prayers, dreams, goals, you name it. Its been a treasured piece and has actually acted as a bit of a catch all. So many times I leave a paper trail of doodles and the like. Having it all in this little notebook has collected my thoughts and gives me fresh breath when I sit down and go through it. Nothing like looking at all your dreams and hopes and inspirational findings in one place.

...Incase you ever speculated if indeed our kid was a ham. I give you these picture as evidence.

These are 3 of 25 plus all with her being ridiculously silly. And that shirt was a gift from grandma when Eowyn was just a babe and it officially fits! I love it. Spraguelet.

...Speaking of that kid, We got ourselves an assisted walker. All she wants to do is hold on to my hands and walk around the place. She's cautious about tables and sofas, so she always is reaching for hands. But we got her down to only holding one hand and standing up by herself for a good 30 seconds. At first I didn't think she would be in the walking stage till the solid 18 months, due to the fact she didn't crawl till a week before one. But sure enough, she's figuring it out. It may be sooner than we thought. She collects sticks too, so thats presented some problems as she likes to gather as many as possible in one hand then run with my hand in the other. At least she's moved on from the eating leaves when I'm not looking.

...this lady made her first from scratch wild berry pie AND two loaves of bread in one week! I was going through this book (which is really actually quite handy to have around) and just up and decided it was gonna happen this month. We've been noshing on both this week and they taste amazing. I'm quite proud of myself.

Hoping the first weeks of september have been good to you and given you a hopeful heart like it has us.

Eowyn's squawking in her bedroom for me to come get her.

As always, thanks for reading.

Guest Blogging at Our Nest In The City :: Day in the Life


I got an exciting opportunity to blog over at Our Next in the City this past week and would love it if you guys checked it out.

Em is a church planter and momma in Montreal and I've loved following her blog over the past year or so. When the opportunity came for me to write a "day in the life" post while Em welcomes her new little one,  I was thrilled.

Hope on over and join me over there while I talk about what a day here at the Sprague home looks like.

The Portland Malt Shoppe :: Duluth Finale


Praise Jesus. The Portland Malt Shoppe is pure amazing.

After a long day skipping along North Shore, to end the evening we took the advice of a dear friend and found this place for malts. I expected a good malt. I didn't expect this. I can't tell you how awesome this place is.

 Ben and I while waiting in line decided on the classic chocolate malt-you can't go wrong that right? But soon we discovered you don't just choose a malt flavor,  you choose your own ice cream to go with it. And the flavors are exquisite -there is no plain-ol-chocolate ice cream. So, after much praying, (haha, just kidding.)  I chose Black Raspberry Truffle and Ben chose moose-tracks for our chocolate malts. Mind blown.

We were pleasantly pleased by the display (A cherry! A Wafer snack! Whip Cream!), the affordability and the deliciousness. Off we went on our drive home slurping our malts happy with 10 bucks left over and deliciousness in our belly.

What we didn't anticipate was reaching the bottom. There we discovered little moose tracks and truffles sitting ready to be eaten. Like a jillion of them. Portland Malt Shoppe, you are too kind to us.

If in heaven there is a malt shoppe, I imagine it would be something like that.

With a near perfect day end, we drove to get some gas for the way home. The station we went to was closed,  and then we ended up getting lost and landing in what seemed to be the 'bad part' of Duluth. After getting hit on with a baby on my hip and my husband standing by my side (bold move guy, bold move), the most nasty bathroom experience that left eowyn with full frontal dirty from crawling away from me and me feeling the need to wash my hands after washing my hands; I'd say we topped off a good night with some crazy stories. 

What more could you want from a mere 12 hour trip?

All in all Duluth, with your lake, your delicious food, and your breathtaking beauty, We gotta say-we like ya.