Lately // 2013 Recap & a Hibernation Farewell


There's been a lot of words rumbling around in this brain of mine. A lot of 'drafts' of blog posts, a lot of bits and pieces of the tornado that seems to be 2013. Its been a crazy year, no? Everyone I speak to says similar. Its been one crazy (for many tiring, exhausting, painful) roller coaster ride of a year. Rather than write the long of it, I'm going to sketch down bitty glimpses into the sprague happenings. I want to remember this season-this not yet 2014, end of 2013-that has been so filled with so many things. Mostly, its been filled with grace and good stuff. So, Here we are. Here's what God's doing:

  • After writing a newsletter that we decided not to send (its two page of rainclouds and praising Jesus anyways,)  Ben observed one thing. "Wow, its been a really hard year." He said it in a sort of surprise tone.  I agree. With both his tone and his words. While the reality is we can list off  half a dozen rock-our-world events that 2013 has held (that we'd like to not repeat,) we can list off two dozen ways God's showed up with each passing month, each passing day. Its left us, as Ben often says "better than we have been." I'm learning 'hard' doesn't mean bad. Hard, in the rawest, most beautiful of senses, for this time, means good. It's been a hard year. But its been a good year.
  • After said conversation, we decided that there's so much of 2013 left! Two whole weeks! Its not over yet!  I feel like we're a bit giddy with the slew of holiday celebrations that we are on the cusp of.   We've decided to let this year end in all of the merriment we can muster and to celebrate Jesus' birthday with even more rejoicing. Why? Because we've experienced death this year but because of him, we get to forever experience life on the other side of this timeline. We sing a million thanks for that. 
  • We have a lot of Christmas traditions, one being we only buy 3 presents each. One need, one want, one surprise. It's tied with the 3 wise-men gifts, but I think it especially allows us to curb the deep desire to get ALL THE THINGS for each other. It also remind us that presents, as great as they are, aren't what this is all about. That being said I've noticed an increased intentionality in our giving. I'm so excited for our Christmas present gifting this year. So excited to see Eowyn's face when she opens her gifts. I bought things for my family that matter deeply to me. Things that left me changed. I look forward to sharing such gifts of meaning this year.
  • This next year, 2014 will undoubtedly be the craziest year of our lives to date. Because of this, and because Eowyn has been hit with a nasty cold on the cusp of travel, I've found my days incredibly quiet. This is a straight up blessing from my Jesus. When talking to Ben over personal pizzas and delicious dr pepper nectar (that we got for free from buying diapers and getting a target gift card. Huzzah!) I commented that I've never felt more 'spiritually fit' in all my life. This whole year has been a tangible example of feeling the effects of sin, then feeling the even greater effects of a savior and healer. I'm already praising God for what I hope will come, and if it doesn't-and if all doesn't turn out how I hope, that's okay. This year and all God has done for us screams that we are still I can't even explain how much peace we have despite the tsunami we're about to go surfing in. Go big or go home, right? I'm thankful for this week to catch my breath. 
  • I sent out our Christmas cards and picture-newsletter today. I'm  especially excited for them to reach my near and dear in a distant asian land-even if it takes 2 months to get there. I may or may not have washi-taped all over it. Who knows if that alone will make it take longer. I guess we'll see.
  • Ben gets the best husband and dad award this year. Seriously. Praise God for that man. I'm so excited, if the Lord wills it, to have more babies with him. Kid's deserve the treat that is this bearded face and his fathering skillz. If this year has done anything, its made me fall in love more with my Jesus and more with this man. Ben, on the off chance you read this: You're a really good dad and even better husband. 
  • Quotes that were said a lot in our home:
    • "May we someday know that the most exquisite work of our lives happened in those days of darkness."-Dillow
    •  "There's several ways to tell the same story." -Niequist 
    • "Eucharisteo always precedes the miracle" -Voskamp
    • "There's only going up from here." 
    • "Fear is not a good motivator"
    • "People are thinking about you far less than you think they are"
    • "There's still mercy reserved for him/her, you/me"
    •  "The Cure had begun"-C.S. Lewis (From the full quote: "It would be nice and fairly nearly true to say that " from that time forth Eustace was a different boy." To be strictly accurate, he began to be a different boy. He had relapses, but most of these I shall not notice, the cure had begin." Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
  • Bible Verses that were looked at a lot and shaped who we are:
    • "Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you, therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him"-Isaiah 30:18
    • "Sharing in Christs sufferings becoming like him in his death, (you come) to know Christ and the power of his resurrection" -Philippians 3:10
    • "See now that I, I am He, and there is no god beside me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal." -Deut 32:29
    • "Surely just as I have intended, so it has happened, an just as I have planned so it will stand." -Isaiah 14:24
    • "Thou he slay me, yet I will hope in Him" Job 13:15
    • But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' Mathew 9:13a
  • I've got so many exciting designs, and dreams in my head that I hope to create in 2014. I'm looking forward to sharing some of those things here. These next few weeks (and perhaps month) will be pretty quiet though on the blog front. I've been pulling out of social media slowly and have found it to be kinda awesome. I'm sure Ben appreciates me not feeling the urge to instagram everything. And I've found it to be restful to forget that there are other people in the world other than my 'home team'. You'll probably still catch me on IG, and maybe even here (because Lord knows as soon as I leave I feel the urge to write a trillion posts) but, just in case it works out how I speculate. Merry Christmas, happy new year (And happy valentines day too, Just incase.)

A special thank you to all who have reached out to us this year. If there ever was a year where we learned the value of real community, its this one.  May God, in His deep goodness, lavishly pour out His presence on you. May this season be a 'thin place' where you feel Him even more than you normally do and may you have wisdom to rest in that place for a while.

Also, I hope you get all you want for christmas! Eowyn wants laptop cords to put in her mouth-Santa nor his elves will not be delivering her wishes this year, but she does get a (soon to be very annoying for her awesome parents) light up cell phone! It even has an electronic puppy on it that dances. I anticipate lots of squeals. She got purple pants too. She's gonna be stylin' with her cell phone and skinnies. Watch out world.

Merry Christmas & May 2014 Be Stuffed Full with Joy.

And if you haven't had enough of us, look at how little Eowyn was last christmas. Gush-worthy. Or to see her with horn-bows on her head  here's that too. I like her toddlerness now, but I miss her babyness.

Ten on Ten :: December 2013


I'm always surprised at how this little prompt changes my days. I love Rebekah's blog  and her ten on ten is one of my favorite series I've encountered in my days of traveling the blogland. I was pleased to remember the tenth was coming up a few days ago when she made mention of it, and am excited to join again like I did in October. I didn't bring my camera along ( I will next ten on ten) but a lot of good things happened yesterday. Perhaps its the simple act of looking, but there was a lot of joy to be found.

So, this tuesday was spent a large part in doors, with the afternoon out and about. I sent out a few packages of love to Ben's momma, and enjoyed a day staying warm. We had a doctor appointment this afternoon to talk about babies and blood work and what have you, and  after the appointment (which Eowyn did AMAZING AT-praise Jesus) I miraculously ended up at Old Navy (woah, how did that happen?) where I found a pair of skinnies that Ben now calls my 'boyfriend jeans' (because he doesn't realize that boyfriend jeans are loose fitting-when I corrected him, he told me these were infact my boyfriend jeans, because my boyfriend likes them) so all in all-good day indeed. Crafting, chai, a bit of some shopping business, and a goofy girl. I'll call it good.

 Tuesdays tend to be our "dive days" where we find cheap eats in our town to go to dinner to, and this time we went to our trusty hole-in-the-wall Gyro place "Ali Baba's King of Gyro's" (and indeed, Ali Baba, you are king.)

Normally we have a good time noshing on our food and leaving, but this time the owner's family came out and sat while doing some record keeping. Ben and I and his family (wife and daughter- the 4 others not present) talked for a good twenty minutes about life. Real life:  Language learning, moving here from their native land, how to teach kids to be smart (and he kept praising Eowyn for her lack of shyness, to which she delighted to keep talking  to him,) loving your family well. I kid you not, this was perhaps one of the most enjoyable conversations I've ever had at a restaurant. One of those where I'm tempted to find out their address and send them a christmas card. I left an incredible google review instead. I imagine thats a bit less creepy. I still might send good ol ali babas a mug shot of us if we have any extras. A good gyro deserves a Christmas card.

And so it was, a tuesday filled with little bits of goodness. Hop on over to Rebekah's blog to see her ten on ten as well as other's. Happy Wednesday

"You're SO real" :: Thoughts about this blog


One of the most frequent comments I get on this blog is "You're so real!" Thats the first thing that always is said.  There's been other things attached to it. Words like "brave" "vulnerability" "Honest" and all of these I store away as compliments to fuel the fire to keep blogging. You all have affirmed me and this blog and I can never thank you enough. This little baby is a joy of mine. and you readers, are what make it fun. 

And while I do make every effort to be real, I'm gonna be honest with you guys and say that even this 'real' 'vulnerable' blog has a very unreal presence to it.

For starters it never gets messy. I even like to go look at it to make me feel like my life is a bit more structured than it actually us. Unless the internet fails, I can post only the best 5 of my 600 images I took, and get them all centered, and my words can be spell checked (although all my grammar friends know that I fail despite efforts.) There won't be frequent server fails or messed up CSS. Celebrating Daily with its pretty flowers can always look shiny. Even at 2 am.

I can tailor my facebook page, my blog, and every other online presence I want until its just right. I spend time crafting what I think is a clever status (and oh how good I feel when you affirm it! "They think I'm funny too"!) I spend time editing my photos to reflect light just right.

But home? The wreck of dishes in the sink, the random spoon and papers and books that somehow got thrown up onto my living room floor. The shower I took last night that then turned my hair into a rat's nest this morning when I woke up (because curly hair is a beast to be tamed, people,) Eowyn's room that smells a little too much like diapers despite all modern efforts; Good lord, we just want to open a window but then we'll freeze. All of these things can't be tailored every single second. And 'real' more often than not is not desirable. Its frantic. Its messy. It raises my blood pressure.

You probably all know this. We see it a lot-this pitch to remember the real vs online,  but do we really embrace it and make it part of how we process? Do we deep down ponder these truths as we read through blogs that have fun pictures, edited to show all the good stuff? Do we realize that all of this really is such a tiny minuscule percent of a life? I don't. I just covet instead.

And while I try to not just shove all the good happy moments in your face, the reality is that's typically what makes the cut. We celebrate daily around here.  So what gets here is the celebrations. You may think "but you talk about struggle" and yes, I do. Yet, most of what makes it here is still processed struggle.  You get to see a bit of the ongoing heartache of struggle through miscarriage and have seen us trudge through marriage junk and kid frustrations.  But you see the refined fire bit, the celebrated struggle, The "sweet" of the bittersweet; not the ashes, and tears that my husband, and close friends have to walk through with me. So by the time my readers eyes make it to this page, so much healing and processing has already happened. In fact, by the time it gets there, we are closer to okay than not okay. Readers don't see when I burst into tears when someone hugs me and tells me she felt for me when she heard the news. Readers don't see the red face my snotty head gets when I cry. Some days things are not okay. Like. Really. Not. Okay. Someday's the God we serve seems more distant and some days I fight bitterness, disbelief, frustration and have to force the 'celebrate' out of me. Those are typically also the days I don't blog.

A lot of days I'm praying out loud "Make my heart better-oh and FIX EOWYN, 'Cuz this child sometimes drives me crazy (and I can make her pretty upset too. Life is hard when you cant drum the laptop and eat pennies.)

Why am I saying this? Haven't I said all this before? I feel like once a year I like to throw out this disclaimer. Mostly so we  can realize the true value of friendships and put cyber community-as amazing as it is-in its place: Behind real-in-flesh community. That's where the 'real' 'brave' and 'honest' really gets to happen.  I know so many of you can relate when reading, and when you're with me in the flesh is when your knowing eyes meet mine. And thats when I know you can relate.

So I guess what I want out of this is to say thank you. Thanks to those of you who actually do know what my face looks like in its cry-state. (God bless you for not affirming when I ask you if I look like a cherry.) Thank you to those who have moved towards us in friendship as awkward as it gets, who give me solutions to my baby dilemmas, you relate to me in my frantic "...this child..." unfinished sentences. You carry life with me. Thank you to those who have forwarded along books, asked me how things are going, texted me funny pictures of your face  with double chins (I seriously have the best friends) to make my day better. Thank you to those who once were just in this cyber community and have moved into the flesh community. I love you. Like real down deep love you.

You make all of this so beautiful. May this blog serve to catch all the good moments as we are carried through by the real deep down friendships. May this blog continue it's function as the blessing it already has been in making those physical- I can hug you for real-friendships happen again and again. But may all of you know this fuzzy headed girl is most the times that exactly that: Fuzzy. And this blog has a solid dose of quality "hair-gel" and photoshopped lighting.

As always thanks for reading.

The Red Door Christmas Store :: TODAY & SATURDAY!


Today and Tomorrow from 10am-6pm there's an amazing pop-up shop open in minneapolis! The Red Door! I have the pleasure of both contributing products to it (the cowls on the latter and egg-necklaces you see in the 4th and 5th pictures have been my winter fun) and had the opportunity to take a look today and pick out a few treasures myself! I was so impressed with the amazing quality of products sold here. People, do yourself a favor-make plans to go this weekend. 

And when you come, make sure to grab delicious cider and cookies (courtesy of the Red Door) and pick up some christmas treasure of your own to round out your holiday shopping (or complete it all there!) There's always the option to simply find a few special treasures for yourself. I totally did (I bought a BEAUTIFUL scarf camera strap for my camera. I'm in love with it) Plus surprises for my new nephew who comes in April. 

Cash & credit card are accepted. The cookies are delicious (Eowyn enjoyed mine immensely) and I even had a wonderful woman offer to hold Eowyn while I shopped (How amazing is that!?) True story: E didn't want to come back to me when it was time to go-proof this is indeed a magical place. 

For details, location and more pictures of up and close products visit the Red Store on facebook.

A few of you have asked specifically what I will be selling. Here's what will be there made by the Sprague household (because Ben did in fact help quite a bit:)

If you go tomorrow, you'll see me there in the afternoon. Yes, I'm pacing my shopping self.

Happy Shopping!

Weekend Celebrations :: Thanksgiving 2013

We were pretty excited about getting to spend Thanksgiving with my side of our extended family this season, but on tuesday we got the start of the flu and it lasted well into thursday. Luckily, come friday we woke up nice and ready to go out the great state of wiscoland.

We got to spend the afternoon of Friday through Sunday enjoying my parents and while the visit was shorter than we liked (and missing a few important mentionables), we got a lot of quality out of that time.  Eowyn was showin off this weekend, so it was fun to capture a few of the bursts silliness and her faces.

My parents let us go on a date night to watch a movie at a local theatre, which was a blast. Free date night-praise you Jesus. All of you mamas that live close to your momas. One word for you: blessed.

There's just something about having your mom near by. Luckily, we got the small pleasure of enjoying them and their deep love for us and our girl for the weekend and left, as always filled.

Right before we left, we got some quick shots for our christmas cards. This is just one of the ones that  we took for fun. But, I love it. 

Hope your thanksgiving was filled. Ours certainly was.

Eowyn Meets Snow :: part II


 Eowyn's Great-Grandmother Marge sent over some money several months back in order to get E some winter gear. The timing was incredible. That very weekend there was a huge consignment sale in a SOCCER FIELD just for babies. I was able to get the loot. Like, little lacy dress, pajama suit, columbia snowsuit, gloves, boots, and a coat. All of which were pretty much mint condition. So the pictures you see here are due in full part to Ben's grandma. Eowyn and her mama thanks you.

So, the snow fell, and the girl woke up, so I bundled her up to let her meet snow. She met snow last year, but sort of just stared off into space. This time, she got to experience the fullness of it. Her conclusions? At first skeptical. Then I showed her you could eat it. She loves it. Mostly in her mouth, but its fun to walk in too. These pictures attest to her satisfaction of it.

Happy Snow day! 

and a special thanks to Grandma Marge for making this all happen.

Seasonal Blues vs. Jesus

This season.

I feel like I begin every blog post with that. "This season." 


This season has seen a lot of surprise joys. I was dreading the winter, my friends. Like deep, deep dread. Stay-at-home mom with only two windows that get light and that minnesota grey that sets in for a full 6 months. Boo. With happy light in tow, and more IKEA lamps in the house I reasoned it would be a bit better-even with the blues that always creep-than how it normally is, but I was still terrified.

It sounds kind of weird seeing as all this blog is is me gushing over Jesus, but I never thought to actually give over this bit of my life-this fear of the winter and dark and inevitable gloom that would set in my heart several months. But one day, while reading through all sorts of bits and giving over even more to Him, I felt him tug on this area. I realized then I hadn't once really given this sad stuff  over, so thats what I did. I talked through the seasonal depression and anxiety and cabin fever that I have faced since college, and all the things I hate about it and gave it all over to him. 

Thats what I keep doing. As I see the haze creep up (which continues to be regularly), I find myself hiding away and praying and hiding away and drinking copious amounts of chai and reading solid theological books that are from moms, and wise women, and just good people.  All of these little things have been adding up. When I talked to Ben about it recently he commented, "This is the best you've ever been this time of the year." 

Thats a big deal folks. And it made me tear up happy joy tears because I agree with him. This is the best I've ever been. Isn't that such a God thing ? The time when I'm worse, I give it over to the Big guy, and he makes it the best I've ever been. I feel like when all of the heavy is weighing on me I'm more able to be active then before. go, sit in front of your light, rest and read some truth, or sometimes its even clean the kitchen, get out of the house.  I think a lot of this is holy spirit prompting (because I'm stubborn and fight with the reality that I even need to sit in front of a 'happy light'.) and the results are praise-worthy. So thats what I'm doing.

In other news, its dumping snow and my baby is asleep and I ran out of chai (mourn for me.) So, my motivation has depleted. Thus, its blog time. Fun time.

I haven't been on the blog too often nor have I been reading to many. I noticed these past few months I have a tendency to social media dump than get quiet again. Its been healthy for me to keep away a bit in that its given me time to consume so much reading. (More on that soon.) And now I have a whole slew of favorite books that have forever changed me. But, I'm starting to miss the creative joy I get from the blogland, so its good to be back.

All that to say, look out for the next couple of weeks because there's a handful of posts scheduled. Recapping Thanksgiving, a pop-up-shop in Minneapolis I hope to see you at,  Ah-May-Zing Book reads, and lots of pictures of my babies face. Maybe even some outtakes of our crabby baby christmas pictures fails. If you should be so lucky (which you are.)

Happy Snow Day!