10 Things :: Life Lately


1. Things are falling in to place like magic. I find myself constantly being reminded how faithful God is.

One night not too long ago, I was hysterical over how ridiculous this all is. The next day, 20 details got figured out. Sad how it takes this girl one big ugly cry before she prays it all out and relinquish imaginary control.

This whole experience has shown me far too often how little I trust my Savior. I'm glad to have this opportunity to be made aware. It's refining: A hard, painful, stressful refining, but refining none the less.

My friends have called me easy-going and I want to laugh and tell them to come over to the sprague house. Bless that poor man that comes home to my fuzzy head every day. I even yelled at him over the phone this week because Eowyn squeezed an applesauce on his dirty clothes. Why was this bothersome? It isn't. Unless you're crazy.  Ben laughed because he knows my brain is broken, now. Bless him.

2. Eowyn is starting to pronounce words correctly. This is sweet, but that means she's growing up. Somebody, hold me.

3. I'm going to miss Target. A lot.

4. We found out where we will be living!! This was very exciting news.

Well, until I looked it up on google maps. Tip to people using google to solve all their problems of feeling out of control: take a look at when pictures were taken (right corner in street view.) When you look  up your new residence in giddy excitement and see that it doesn't exist and instead there sits a giant rubble pile, you'll get a little nervous. Until of course, you realize that image hasn't been updated since 2006. Then go to instagram hashtags to see what an area looks like. People post a lot of pictures of #allthethings. Relief will flood in.

We'll be living in a land that is literally translated to 'dude island.' Fight the jealousy, people.

 In all seriousness, we're very excited. It seems lovely.

5. It has taken us far less time to get rid of all our things than it took to accumulate them.

6. We're taking a red eye from MPLS to Amsterdam. I actually think it will go quite well. Thank you to all the kind faces telling us how great overnight flying is. You're encouraging (even if you're lying to us.)

7. We're excited to get through our to-do list and board the plane. We keep saying that a couple months in, once we know how to get to and from work/grocery stores/group gatherings etc., get health benefits all figured out, and have our very own bed, we'll have that 'exhale moment.' I look forward to the day where my brain checks out for a while and I actually feel like I'm home. When Ben comes through the door and asks "what do you want to do tonight?" and it doesn't involve building Ikea furniture or figuring out how to translate a grocery list? That will be a night of celebration.

8. God is proving to be even better at the details than I am. This trip is causing me to love Him even more.

9. There is a kind older woman who sits out on her driveway in the summer. Nearly every day last summer during our walk through our neighborhood, we saw her and always came to talk and pet her cat, 'Nosey.'  I was sad thinking I might not get to see her before we left, but I got to see her this past week and Eowyn even was able to talk with her (she put on quite the show) and shriek over the cat! He's the kindest cat I've ever met. It blessed my heart so much and I'm going to miss them.

She always asks me every week if this is our only child. Right after our first miscarriage, she asked me as usual, and it hurt to reply. Yet, I did. When I did, she said for the first time: "I always hoped for more children, but only had one." I told her our story then, and she responded so calmly and so patiently. She has brought so much goodness to me and my girl. God has used her in so many ways, I'll miss her dearly.

10.  This blog post from Ann Voskamps Blog blessed my heart so much this past week. This idea of 'soul care,' and even asking our souls hard questions has changed a lot of my thoughts this week. I've found myself being reminded of this post and have been  moved by the practice of focusing on soul care and moving away from my constant  'self care' emphasis. Even her example of "Soul, why are you so angry?" has been profound to me. I've used this question (insert varying emotions) on myself and she's right. Asking questions like these does lead me to prayer. Love that lady.


In less than two weeks we'll be waking up on another slice of the world. That's the most exciting thought, and most heart wrenching. From here on out we have a big to-do on our list every day. It's going to go by fast and I know it.

So, Brittany. When you scroll through this in a few weeks trying to remember the haze remember:

The way God works in the '4th and 99,' how details you didn't even anticipate were taken care of for you, how much you really aren't very good at being in control anyways, at God's timing with all of it-even from a year ago. Think of the way, over time, God has brought all things and worked it to good. How in death, there's regrowth and how crying over distance is a good thing to cry about.  Think of how blessed your friendships have been. Remember that the boxes filled with your treasures will still be here when you cross the pond back again, that stuff isn't the point, but this adventure is a beautiful gift from the Almighty. What an incredible man and little girl you get to experience it with. This is 100% gift. This is something that we've dreamed about and prayed for. Praise God it's two weeks away! 
Remember, most of the stuff you're stressing about are first world problems, most of which will be completely solved before you have most of your furniture set up. I pray our family is hyper aware of the gift that all of this is and will choose joy when it all seems to be less than hopeful.
Two weeks goes by fast.  See you soon, Helsinki!

Losing Community :: Getting Ready Part II


The movers come to assess what we have to move to storage this week. I've started decluttering my craft closet-the most difficult of the purges yet. We have our flight. We find out word about housing this week, as well. We're selling our stuff in the Target Parking lot to craigslist responders. Eowyn thinks that we just keep going there to run free. In some senses we are.

Cash in our pockets and more and more space in our home. It is freeing.

When I went to my beloved TJ's ('trader joes' for all you who have yet to make its acquaintance) for groceries today,  I saw these pretties instantly. I hesitated thinking we just might have too little time for flowers. But then I was like " Who has too little time for flowers!?!" 

There's a running joke in our family. Every time flowers magically appear in our home (usually purchased by myself,)  I'll often thank Ben for them, informing him that he bought me flowers today.  He always responds in turn with some sort of sweet response.  He's got good taste and an awesome sense of humor. (He does buy me flowers himself as well. But we have one car..so..surprises are kind of difficult with those things.)

They're beautiful aren't they?

Thanks Ben, I love them.

Now on to the heavy stuff.

I've told a few friends this, but I want to write about it here. Getting rid of stuff isn't so bad, not really. It becomes easy when I realize I was just a steward over it for a short time, and now it's going to someone else.

The hardest part is the goodbyes, or rather not dodging goodbyes. I struggle to work through emotions when people look me in the eye and say "this might be the last time we see you." I feel a sort of deep need to schedule something, to tell them we'll be back, to make light of the reality of it all. More so for me than for them. Yet, I'm learning to not dodge the reality. We're moving away permanently. We probably won't return to MPLS to live here again. I'm making room to let the sting  be felt in my heart. I'm learning to let the hug linger and to actually share my heart with them. Just incase weekends don't work and it isn't until the other side of heaven that we see their faces again, I need to be brave enough to speak truth.

One of my most dear friends told me, "If your goodbyes are hard, that means you loved well." It makes my heart feel a bit lighter every time I remember this. The reality is our community has loved us well. You've taught us how to love by loving us so deeply.

Grace at our rough spots. Teasing gently and speaking to our shortcomings when you could have avoided us because sin is uncomfortable. Grace and encouragement and humor and hands and feet. Babysitters for free dates and knowing glances. Food during miscarriages and bringing it up even though it hurts and shared tears and newborn clothes when a baby came a month early and I was told not to buy anything newborn "because they come out big." A million times moving us from apartment to apartment. Pointed questions about how our marriage is doing, how our hearts are beating. Making room for honesty about how parenting can suck sometimes and how marriage is even harder. All of it.

All of the love we've felt over the past five plus years is overwhelming at its least.

Ben and I are simply different human beings because of the way people have moved into our lives beyond opinions and casual conversations. Our marriage is good because of it. Our family is stronger because of it. We love Jesus deeper and understand him better because of it. We have tasted and seen what real community can be like. You just don't come back after that.

It's scary to try and find something like it again.

In less than 3 weeks and we'll be in another country and start from scratch on new community. In some ways it's nice in that those new relationships don't have to deal with so much of the struggles I've brought into previous relationships. But then I remember that this move will bring its own struggles, its own grief. Our new community will be built on sorting through what it means to make a fresh start entirely. They'll still see us vulnerable and unsure. I don't even know what that means. To be honest it's straight up scary.

But God is the God of Helsinki inasmuch as He is of this city. He took such good care of us here, why would he stop now?

So, if you want to know how to pray for us. Pray for community. Pray for grandmas and grandpas and friends and babysitters and spiritually wise counsel and a community of awesome friends so we can be real and grow. Pray for our girl that she would be loved well by others and would grow to know the same kind of kindness she knows here. She has like...five mommas here. All of them lover her so deep.

Pray for our marriage, that we'll be kind as we struggle through growing in a new place. For our parenting, that our frustrations with not knowing what we're doing in this land wouldn't translate to being frustrated with our little when she struggles through her own emotions.

Pray for God's timing in trying for another spraguelet. For his hand on it and that he would give life.

Pray for our families. It's sad when miles separate. Skype is nice but hugs are better.

Pray that the spaces we leave here will be filled by people that can be loved well and benefit just like we have and bless the ones pouring into them.

Pray for peace.

As always thanks for reading and even more thanks for loving our socks off-both metaphorically and literally. You've made us feel like home.

P.S. Eowyn knows how to sniff flowers now, which is adorable. But she also thinks it's funny to lick rocks....so...she's weird.

Easter Shenanigans :: 2014


Easter is kind of a big deal with my side of the family. Easter Baskets are guaranteed, Jesus Resurrection is partied to, Death is Dead, Candy is eaten, Heaven is talked of. It's kind of the best celebration of all things good.


Getting to celebrate with our girl this year made it even more amazing. She loved the candy, was dancin' in worship and enjoyed fully the brunch (with bacon) we got to enjoy with our incredible friends. After church I asked Ben to grab a few pictures, and as you can see we partied hard before getting home. Our hairs are a little crazy and E's bow is all loose (and shoes came off somewhere between there and home.) But that's all good signs of one happy Easter.

He is Risen, Risen indeed.

Capable :: Mom Thoughts


My little spraguelet is on the cusp of two years old in just a few months. While this is bewildering for me, it's also been pretty awesome to see her in her toddler skillz. If there is anything I'm learning, it's just how capable she is.

The other day during our daily walk (once that sun comes out, if its above 35 we are outside!) we happened upon a play ground. Up until this point E couldn't really manage the steps and would get flustered at how limited she was. If there weren't swings present (which there aren't at this particular park) we often times pass. But this time, I figured we'd give it a try. We were the only ones there and I know she has a growing fondness for slides.

You should have seen the excitement in her eyes as she slowly understood what she had to do to climb the steps, hold on to handle bars and eventually slide down the slide. Once she got a taste, she was sold. We climbed up and slid down dozens of times. I was laughing out loud from her screeches of delight.

At first I was nervous letting her pull herself on to those steep steps, but something prompted me to just let her try it. Seconds later she owned it. Confirming the suspicion that indeed my girl is growing up.

At this point my new found struggle is when her abilities are limited by our rules. Sure she can stand on the bed, but that doesn't mean we should let her go running around on it (she's fallen before more than once.)

Sure she can walk pretty fast, but that doesn't mean she gets to run around in the middle of the road.

Sure she can reach the world record for goldfish in a toddler's cheeks, doesn't mean we should allow her to try to chipmunk it (because you know, we've had to turn her upside down before and fish out a giant mass of orange globness after she laughed at us and inhaled said goldfishes.)

And while these 'rules' make perfect sense due to lessons learned, and perhaps are obvious  due to common masses, to her it's all nonsensical. So, it's a daily power of the wills. And that's hard. But I'm learning. Even with mental understanding, she's capable. She rises to the expectations and when she doesn't, there's grace reserved. But just because she doesn't meet them once, doesn't mean I shouldn't let her try tomorrow. Slowly I see her get it.

She's capable. Physically and Mentally. She's getting it.

And I'm capable. Of patience and of the task at hand. I keep reminding myself of both these truths.

This toddlerhood business is a whole beast of its own. But, I think we'll make it out alive.

St Cloud Adventuring :: A Little Slumber Party


We had been playing a verbal tennis match back and forth on the issue of when and where and if we even could swing it: A girls overnight, just the two of us, before we moved. My good friend for almost 3 years now, Katie  thought of the idea. She cleared her crazy schedule, I started looking for a place to go and we planned a date.

It's a funny thing when you bring two photographers together, We both end up getting half the pictures. But the half that I have, I love.   Her zest for life, and her giver heart are two things I treasure.

It was a blast getting to walk along the downtown strip of st cloud on a cloudy day and talk to all the locals. It was a joy to be in such good, refreshing company and we found quite the many treasures, despite having no plans on shopping. We even got E squeaker shoes that ended up being the best entertainment that evening. :) I learned about quality tooth brushing, delicious coconut ice cream, and this girls incredible back story. Such a great weekend.

Katie, I really love you.

13, 14 & 15 of 52

13/52 When she walks out the door, she turns around, and asks for her sunnies. The word comes out more like "uuees?" and every time I laugh as I dig them out of my bag.Girl knows her needs.

14/52 Taking after her mamma's heart. She loves drawing. More specifically she loves dumping the crayons out of the bag, drawing a few lines then loading them bag in. I like joining her.

15/52 Ben has fun being a dad. His daughter obliges his silly ideas. I posted the photoshopped version of a photo just like this with a light saber in her hand and it makes us happy.
Eowyn, I'm really glad you're here.

21 Months!


This 1 & 3/4th's business is pretty awesome.

See Eowyn Grow here

Ten on Ten :: April 2014


If there ever was something I'm grateful for, it's my husbands push into the world of DSLR's. Before our wedding, we bought our first camera together for our honeymoon. He even then knew how minister to my heart. I know any camera will do, especially in the world of iphones and increasingly impressive megapixels, but I think there's something that immediately makes an event special when I bring my 'big' camera along. It puts my mind on alert for moments. It brings out a willingness to go slow, to see where the adventure takes us.

Today is clean laundry that needs to be put away, but more dishes that need to be cleaned. It's the final shipment of suitcases, and a girl that's been a mix of wildly independent and simultaneously needy. It's been an exhausting mix of a day and it's barely past lunch time

It's a sunny day, which often means a good day. But a good day can still be a hard day. It's a thursday.

It's for this reason that ten on ten means so much to me. Because when I sit down during my girls nap, there's a big heavy sigh and the dishes cause a sort of mind numbing exhaustion.  The hamster wheel of it all can sometimes be a bit depressing. But then,  I look at these pictures and I think 'good day.' 

These pictures remind me.

I read a quote recently: "Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure."

Today's already been quite the adventure and I think we'll work to continue to see it as such.


I absolutely love the concept of ten on ten, the brain child of Rebekah Gough. It's so simple. Ten pictures, on the tenth of the month. You can see previous months here or visit her blog for more.