water at the well | at home with bb

this summer has been a challenging. our usual busy season has had a lull which i was looking forward to because i don’t love summer and summer weddings are HOT and sometimes miserable. i loved the idea of not working on weddings for the summer (even though that means we also have no money because we aren’t working) and using the time for creative ideas and new productivity. but instead it’s been a mess of a summer. too many ideas, not enough money. too risky. not the right time or season of life. we have two huge goals in life : business. owning them, starting them, maintaining them. and the second is rescue. foster care / adoption. raising children together who need all the love because we have love to give. we are in probably just a normal season of decisions and choices and we will get somewhere but to me it feels very dramatic and desperate and i’ve been wallowing in despair for weeks (okay, months).

i have also never been a mother before. so far i have still tried to do all the things i have done before and even a few new things but also with a baby. i had no idea how much it would wreck me to be away from my son. it is excruciating. i have never once felt like i needed a break from him. ethan and i just want to be with him ALL OF THE TIME. if he could do movies we’d even still date with him. we haven’t been good at sharing him.

i just had a dream last night and in it i had to be away from him but could feel this pull the entire time that i needed to get back to him so i left the people hanging and just went to my kid. i was on the phone crying with one of the people in the group i was leaving. i HATE disappointing people. but i wanted jack more.

i am so torn. and i feel the privilege i am coming from in my circumstance and that has also caused inner turmoil. i know that this is stupid lucky and ridiculous that i get so many choices and options. to work or to stay home. to be with my kid all the time and start a new home business. to keep my wedding photography company going and only need a nanny on saturday.

i struggle with slowness and value. i have learned warped ways. i have craved praise from the outside world to show me my worth. i avoid stillness at all cost. when i am “doing nothing” with my baby i crave productivity. when i have a chance to be productive i crave a nap or a moment to eat alone. i can’t keep up with my own standards.

i read a conversation in a book last night that was very much like me. the woman was complaining about her disheveled garden and her husband made the comment that no human could keep up with her standards. IT ME!

having jack, having huge grief and emptiness from the death of two parents, has made a hard force of stillness in my life that i have been successfully avoiding for too many years. all of the years of not dealing has come to smack me in the face. all at once. all of a sudden. and i have literally nothing else to do this summer but to finally face it. it’s quite annoying. it’s terrifying. it’s ugly. it has produced many a migraine. horrible all over body fatigue. it’s daunting. it feels quite impossible and i would like to continue to avoid it.

i am about to turn 30. and if i don’t face some hard things now, i’m afraid i never will. and i will be very mentally unhealthy. it feels scarier to face things because mistakes are made and people most likely will be hurt and it can be an all out war to dig into issues. but the more i avoid, the more i find that this side of not dealing is way scarier. i am not confident in anything here. i am so unstable i can’t even order off a menu without freaking out about what someone else might think of my choice. i struggle to make decisions with my family about our future because i am so full of fear. i might (most certainly) find some ugly things out about the people in my life and MYSELF (blah! the worst!) and hard choices will have to be made and i might not (most certainly will not) be the same person on the other side. but i have to do it. it beckons me.

Jesus is calling me out upon the water.

i love that Jesus met people by the well. something we need so often and so much of, drinking water. and he tells us of the living water that he can offer. and we’ll never thirst again. i rarely understand.

because i still need to drink water every day. i forget that i have the free gift of living water to power my day and my thoughts. i get lost in the drudgery of needing to refill my water glass yet again. missing the gift. i lose my way and get entangled in a bunch of lies and sins and worries and warped desires.

like peter, i looked down at the scary waves around my feet instead of keeping my eyes upon the Savior holding my hand.

but, ah. the good news. grace, grace, grace. a new day is dawning and his mercies are new. a free gift to be taken and enjoyed to the fullest. my God is a good good Father.

i am tired. i still want to hide away and keep avoiding. but now i have so much to deal with and can see that if i keep this up, i could avoid myself into much more danger.

i have the ability to face. to deal. to grow. and then, hopefully, on the other side, to help others heal. my hard work now will yield good fruit and will help make others brave to do the same.

all of this is safe in the arms of Jesus.

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sleepless nights | presence in the dark | at home with bb

i imagined more sleep when my baby slept more.
that makes sense to me.
but that has not been what’s happened for me.

jack is sleeping better.
ethan is sleeping fine.
i am being awoken around the same time every night.

WHY.
anger followed.
annoyance.
it makes me have the bad moods throughout some days.
i text complaints to my friends.
i tell my doctors about it. wanting them to fix me.
i’m seeking answers.

but two nights ago i confirmed what i thought it might be but was avoiding.

God.
in pursuit of me.

time away.
a sweet meeting.

i get very angry when i don’t sleep.
i’m a tired new mom. I WANT TO SLEEP WHEN IT’S SLEEP TIME.
my baby is finally sleeping longer than 4 hours at a time.
I NEED THIS.

i don’t want to talk about sleep schedules or nap times or how to get my baby to do what i want him to do but i will just say that he still rises very early and we’re working on it.
for 10 months i have forfeited my alone time with God because i’m in a daze at 4:30am with my little gift.
we nurse and rock and we play with blocks and read books and sometimes i try not to cry or be mad at him.

lately he’s up at 4:40am on the dot.
i’m able to nurse him and put him back down and he’s out again until 6 or 7.
this is HUGE and AMAZING. and i could just get back to sleep, too, that would be even better.

but there’s something i’ve been avoiding.
and this is why i believe i am waking around 2 or 3 am. ANNOYED.
i’ve felt like maybe it’s the Lord but also could we just not? could you come back later because it’s freaking 2am and i have to be up soon with a baby and i’m not interested.

i’m reading a book with the subtitle “waking up to God’s goodness around you” as if written as a joke just for me in this very moment and God is certainly having a great laugh as i come to realization.
how funny.

come away with me, i hear Him sweetly say.
i desire to be with you.
i miss you.
i am waiting.

i asked for confirmation like an idiot and said in my heart, if you wake me up again i’ll know it’s you and i’ll come away with you.

i woke with energy.
i met Him in my living room.
i have never felt so pursued.

gentle yet fierce presence surrounded me.

He asked me one of those life-altering questions.
if i never get another night of sleep-through-the-night-sleep, what kind of person would i choose to be?

how far am i willing to go for Love?
is this it?

i heard :
are you done? do you give up?
you’re too tired? you’re in too much physical pain?
you have lost belief that I Am the one who sustains your life and your days?
you forget that I see your days and know what you need to make it through?
why have you taken your eyes off of Me?
you have lost faith in my source of energy?
why haven’t you found a new time to meet with Me since our days of quiet mornings alone together have been replaced with the beautiful gift of the child that you’ve asked for and I created?
what do you think your precious sleep will get you if you do not remain in Me?

nothing.
i am nothing without Love.

i thought i was nothing without sleep.
but i am nothing without Love.

i would like to sleep. and i’d like full nights of it, repeatedly.
but it’s just not the time.
it’s time for a rude awakening.
my soul is at stake.

there’s something waiting for me in the dark.
my least favorite hour is now a time that i must explore in order to grow.
i read that growth requires death.

i immediately feel like a toddler. “i don’t wanna”
followed by a sit. and a long pout.
and that’s what i’ve been doing for weeks.
it’s not cute.

i’ve been thrown into a season of deep self-exploration.
three years plus now after losing both of my parents and having a baby.
there’s a lot of weight to all of that.
life shattering, life-as-i-know-it altering circumstances.

i was certainly not prepared to endure lengthy, dark days.
we would just pray those away and grab for worldly comfort to help distract and ease the mind.
and do that on loop so we don’t have to stop or think or be still or deal.

but now i am deep in it.
i can only hide and excuse for so long.
it all comes crashing down upon at some point and
now i have to decide what i will do and who i will become.
it’s the pits.
it feels like the most important of all the things.

ethan and i got to spend some of jack’s nap time today just sitting on the couch with coffees, talking.
i spoke of the experience with God in our living room and he said “that’s it. i was waiting for the story. you have your wise eyes on and i couldn’t wait to hear what was going on”

there is so much going on.

one of my favorite photos of us, jack boy.  spring 2019.

one of my favorite photos of us, jack boy.
spring 2019.

love is | i am

i’ve read before where an author took the word “love” from the famous love chapter in the bible (1 corinthians 13: 4-7) and changed each “love” word to “jesus.” i really enjoyed that and it spoke to me. then, just recently, while reading a commentary on this chapter the author changed “love” to “i” and challenged one to work on these characteristics in one’s life. this very much spoke to me. in a sort of punch-you-in-the-gut way.

today i’m sharing that passage with the word “i” instead of “love.” it will sound very familiar because everyone’s heard this passage a million times. but read it slowly and take it in this time. try to take on these characteristics of love and jesus and become these in your relationships and work place and in your parenting. it is quite the challenge!

“4 i am patient. i am kind. i do not envy. i do not boast. i am not proud. 5 i do not dishonor others. i am not self-seeking. i am not easily angered. i keep no record of wrongs. 6 i do not delight in evil but rejoice with the truth. 7 i always protect. i always trust. i always hope. i always persevere.”

this is truly beautiful. but in all honesty i feel like my life’s passage is sounding something more like this :

“i am impatient. i do not feel like being kind. i have much envy of others. i am self-centered. i am selfish and i don’t want to work on it. i am very easily angered and i am counting wrongs and keeping track. i am not trusting of God’s plan and i am not hopeful. i feel like giving up and not persevering any longer.”

the beauty is that God is my help. i can run back at any time and i do not have to be stuck as an impatient, unkind, easily angered woman who is self-centered. i can choose a deep breathe and a reset. i can restart. even right after a blow up at my husband or baby. there is grace upon grace. and new mercies each morning. i just have to get out of my own way and accept it. it is a free gift.

yesterday was a terrible, no good, very bad, miserable monday in the burt home. but, oh! what a difference a day makes! i woke up with the beautiful “praise God from whom all blessings flow” singing in my heart and ringing throughout my soul. and this morning has been full of grace and delight and beauty. i am free to come back to this every minute, any day, all the time. praise God, indeed.

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what's in the way | at home with bb | walking with Christ

last night we had friends over to read scripture together. finally, we are doing this with like-minded friends who actually want nothing more than to just be together, share in a meal and read God’s word.
these two have really pushed ethan and i recently as we recognize just how long we’ve allowed ourselves to stay in a weary state. complaining, wishing things were different, wishing our mentors were back in our daily lives. i compared us to the israelites complaining after they were rescued from torment and slavery, complaining in the desert that they’d rather go back to that than live with what they have now. we’ve had a few-to-many-years long pity party and these newly on fire jesus loving friends have helped wake us up from our slumber. it’s made me remember a lot from the way things used to be. the “wonder years” of having older, wiser, beautiful mentors to do life with. it’s been many many years now that they’ve been gone and i feel like we’ve been flopsing around like fish out of water without them. i forgot to build a stronger relationship with christ as my mentor and humans as a nice way to connect to one another and to him, but only christ alone should fill and satisfy. we’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in these lonely years. we’ve pushed others too far, made many uncomfortable with our intense and harsh to them ways. we’ve lots friends, we’ve found out what real friends are. we’ve been through the ringer with community and relationships. i’ve tried way too hard and put way too much effort into the wrong things and wasted much time.

telling new people about who are mentors are and why, and how sad it’s been to not have anyone come close to their level of awesome was such a sweet wake up call to me. i started hearing, “you know their life. you’ve seen their life. you’ve just spoken of the simplicity of it. you love their life, respect it, continue to seek long distance mentorship and wisdom from them, you know how to do this on your own. this is on you, now. you are the one not letting your life be like what you see in theirs.”

so now, what is getting in the way of my life being fully and clearly about Jesus Christ?

me.
my lack of being in the word of God.
fear of other’s opinions.
fear of being misunderstood.
fear of losing even more friends. and even christian friends.
too much time looking at lives in tiny squares on instagram.
too much time focused on sharing little bits of our life and not enough time on longer words, longer posts on my blog, where i’ve done so much good, hard, processing work that has helped me and others.
not being good at being alone, never allowing myself to be alone enough to allow loneliness to leave room for God to take over, overwhelm my soul and make me not alone ever.
my excuses that when i have the house finished i’ll be able to worship better and be at ease, peace.
excuses that if we had some land i could go out into creation and really feel God’s presence.
my pain is overbearing and small tasks just feel insurmountable. excuses. excuses. excuses. it’s really embarrassing.
spending time being angry that i don’t see great christian influences here in our community. i probably haven’t looked hard enough. or i only focus on the lump some that aren’t living it out instead of surrounding myself with the ones who truly are.

i have a blueprint of a great life laid out in scripture and in the example of our dear mentors.
i have full permission to get over myself, stop feeling sorry for any of my circumstances and LIVE IT.
the abundant life Jesus has for each one of us.

my next focus is to rid my life of the things that are getting in the way.
this way of life costs something. it costs everything.
if it’s not costing me anything, then no wonder i don’t feel the presence of God or have an abundant life.
there’s no room for him. there’s only room for what i want, want i like, and i’d like him to still just bless me anyway. but it’s enough.

i recently read a perfect quote that i’ll just drop right here.
it has a “bad” words in it so be warned if you’re sensitive.

“i’ve never seen any life transformation that did not begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit” - elizabeth gilbert

ethan and i have often talked about change not happening until the person just gets tired of themselves enough. it’s seriously true. and it’s exhausting to try and get other people to get tired enough of themselves to change when you love them and feel like you see change that needs to happen but don’t focus enough on your own change and just GO and DO and BE the change. that’s where we’ve been. we’ve been begging people around us to change with us, alongside. but it’s not built that way and that’s why it’s not working. it’s individual by individual. and i need to just get to work on just me. the rest will follow accordingly.

it’s scary to become a new person. we get into habits and get used to people and hours and weeks going by in certain ways. it’s scary to not know if others will like you during and after a transition. but i am pretty certain i will like myself better and i will be better off for these changes, so it is going to be worth the cost.

and God is so gracious. he showed me just how much he resides in my front yard, in this very home, at this very time. he’s in the morning dew. creation knows him. i can sing along with the birds and the trees.

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on being mama | jack truman burt

today started out rough.
it was the day after a wedding day so ouchies. sore and so extra tired. but baby wakes at 5am no matter what day it is and on this particular day, probably to push me even harder and grow me even faster or send me into deeper reliance and devotion to God, he also refused his usual first morning nap. on top of that it was sunday so his second nap would also be interrupted.
great.

my mood was not lovely.
i was angry that my husband gets to sleep longer than me.
i was mad at my kid for not sleeping when he’s “supposed” to. or for as long as i wanted so i could get some extra sleep. i really contemplated canceling church and just crying and asking ethan to give me a nap while he watched jack. he would have done it. probably because he gets more sleep causing him to be a nicer human. but we’re really craving community and being back in the pew so we went anyway. it’s been really hard for me to do things because i’ve become crazy obsessed with nap times. like, legitimately crazy person level obsessed. when you can’t function and don’t sleep for longer than two hours at a time, sometimes even less if you can even believe that, for over six months, you become slightly unhinged. so scheduling anything in the past eight months of our life has been really anxiety producing for me. but i really want to commit to being back at church and creating family in the town we feel called to. so i decided i wasn’t allowed to have any more emotions about it and we are just going.

ethan didn’t tell me this until after church but he prayed for jack to begin getting used to church and being in the pew with us. we feel strongly that he stays with us and not in the nursery but we also know kids can be distracting and babies are A LOT so we are navigating that currently and being open. but today jack was a perfect doll baby! he sat adorably in between the two of us and he looked over at his quasi- aunt and uncle and gave cute faces. he played quietly. even though he was tired and hungry he just behaved. it was the best. if only we could get him to sleep on us! that would be the dream. i know this won’t be the case every sunday so i just enjoyed every second we got of this one!

we didn’t have any work today which i was thankful for. so we kept it as a family day. ethan and i worked in j.tru’s room on his cute little bookcases (which are spice racks from ikea, i’ll share soon!) and we’re working on blinds because right now we have black out towels in his windows. there’s been a running trend in our home of using towels in windows and i will say that also makes me not want to be a nice person. why can’t we just have blinds!? we also had to get a crib bumper because kid gets his legs caught in the slats. why do they even make cribs like this? i’m calling for a new design where they can’t get caught in the slats. that probably exists but i’ve already spent too much money on the crib he has to make changes now. oy!

and while i was in pajamas doing jack’s laundry and sneaking kisses while he played, ethan grabbed our big camera and captured some special moments. i adore these images below. i see myself completely differently now. i have so much grace for myself. it’s so good to see myself in this new way. i’m no longer picking myself apart for how i look on the outside. i’m loving the way i feel on the inside. wife and mother. two very special boys who adore me and want me and need me. i don’t always love the responsibility but i am learning to see it and count it as joy. my days are so incredibly different than just eight short months ago. my entire being, my entire life has utterly changed. never to return.

this boy gave me a new title to add to my many. mama.
he even is saying “mama” now! it’s THE BEST EVER IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD OF ALL GOOD THINGS.

this was my first mother’s day. i’m happy to report i had no expectations so the way the morning went did not ruin my whole day. we didn’t do gifts. we don’t do presents for birthdays, anniversaries, christmas or any of the days. i just don’t get it. but i live happily most days, learn from my mistakes and really really love living a real, messy, simple life.

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baby blooms | spring magnolias | memories

being pregnant with our mystery gender baby was such a delight! we enjoyed so much the pregnancy process. not knowing what we would be having, but just being thankful to grow a human and see what God had planned for our family!

it wasn't always the best feeling, with sickness, migraines and being worried about loss, but each day pregnant was such a gift.

now that he’s here, i often put my head to jack's chest to hear his heart beat and remember so fondly each time we got to have an appointment with our midwife and friend to listen to his beating heart inside my womb.

i get this wonderful feeling inside each time i feel/hear his heart beat.
the same feeling i got when hearing it while he grew. we got to first hear that beautiful beat when he was just 9.5 weeks a' growing. i told my mom the day before, which was a tuesday, the last day i got to spend alone with her before she died. and on that wednesday we got to hear his beating heart for the first time. the gift of new life.

ethan has the appointment on video. we cried. our midwife cried. she had been our friend for around five years, knowing we’d love to have a baby and wanting to work with her. it was a special moment for her to share in, too!

and each time i grew, we captured photos to keep for us and baby for our lifetime. jack loves looking at this photo. we have it printed and we tell him about this date day and how his papa found the perfect blooms and took mama’s photo. how mama loves magnolias the most. how we couldn’t wait to know what kind of baby he/she was. and how we are so thankful it is him. our jack truman.

family. growing. tiny seed. beautiful life.

and to enjoy a pregnancy during the blooms of the spring!? what a gift!

i had a small goal of using the magnolias this spring to capture the same type of photo, in the same outfit with jack on the outside, but i couldn’t find the dress in all the mess of our love burt home renovations (use this link to the hashtag loveburthomereno and my highlight stories to take a look at our progress on instagram) and then the magnolia blooms came and went. i decided not to stress about it and to just be thankful for this gorgeous photo that ethan burt made happen. also, quick shout out to glorious pregnancy hair. my postpartum hair misses you.

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purpose | brokenness

to the person who is struggling while looking at my beautiful, healthy, alive family,

i see you.
i understand.
and i’m sorry.

i see the pain in your eyes when you gaze upon my family. what looks like absolute perfection. what you desire for yourself that you don’t have. i have been there. i know it doesn’t look like it now, and you don’t even have the capacity to care that i’ve been there because you’re there now. you’re hurting now. this is everything awful and unfair and painful to you. so anything i say to you while i hold my beautiful baby cannot be heard. anything i say with my husband who adores me sitting next to me goes completely unheard, too. and it sucks. it sucks for you and it sucks for me. so what do we do? how do we coexist well? how do we fight for relationship? usually they just break. it’s too much. but it makes me super sad. there’s enough coming between people and i’d like to find a solution. what is your purpose in this time and season and what is mine?

every time jack finally sleeps a bit, i think he’s dead. and just every day i think about him dying. i think part of that is unhealthy worry but part of it is just surrender to the Lord that this little life is not in my hands and i have little control over his life and what happens. (i still do the same with ethan!) i could worry and hover and fret but that would make everyone miserable and usually causes more accidents than relaxing. i will still most likely be the over-anxious mother, but i’m taking lessons weekly from my super chill, amazing, seasoned mom friends.

jack’s life already has so much purpose. he brings light and joy to everyone who meets him. people call him beautiful, and he really is. he’s a beautiful boy. his eyes amaze everyone. they say he already really sees. we agree! his eyebrows make them laugh, and his little tongue is like his signature. these things make him unique. and God has been so gracious, as his name meaning, to show us such purpose in a tiny little life of seven months. i know that no matter how long or short his life is, it has purpose.

i’m now the person i used to see and try really really hard to be happy for, but hurt a lot after seeing. it pains me because when i see people hurting because of what they see in us, i want to say, “me, too”, as in, you’re not alone! i know this pain i see. it took us eight years to get here. it was painful, i had to grow and growing is so freaking painful. i had to search my heart, i had to go through hurt, i had to question and be angry and fight. my marriage went through a lot and we were scared and sad several nights. there were tears of sorrow. i had to change my perspective of a life and a life’s purpose. i had to learn contentment and it’s a super difficult lesson and process. God, in his grace, showed me that all those years of “infertility” were just barrenness with purpose. He had a plan, my plan, a plan just for me. but it’s painful when we keep the expectations of a plan for our own lives in front of our faces and fight the plan that was meant for us.

in the brokenness of your life right now, you are a gift. our broken parts make up our story and our story helps connect and heal others. if Jesus didn’t break his body and pour out his blood, we wouldn’t be saved, healed, restored, victors over death. but he made broken beautiful. we don’t have to wait for a good gift to come before we can be a gift to others. in our very brokenness, we are gift.

i didn’t want to wait until i became a mother of my own biological child to live purposeful. so i did the work. and God has been so so beautiful in showing me the fruit of that hard labor. and now that i have been allowed such a gift of motherhood to a healthy child, i will not wait to lose him to earthly death to surrender his life to the one who created him. people who have gone before me in loss of child have been doing the hard work for centuries, proving that God is good and i can heed their wisdom now in my own life.

there may need to be a perspective shift in your life like i so desperately needed. maybe you are single because you are meant to travel. or maybe meant to serve the family that it pains you to see. maybe you don’t have children because God is asking you to focus on your co-workers or your spouse alone, or fostering or adoption. i don’t know! you have to do the hard work. finding people to be honest with who will love you along the broken way will be a gift to you. and you serving where you need to serve while being broken will be a gift to the world.

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baby boy | bath bubbles | jack truman burt | honest motherhood

i printed & framed our boy’s first bath with mama memory.
this is everything to me! there is so much story here. so so much.

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i remember this time as being very hard. good, everything i ever dreamed of, and also hard. too hard.
it was a dream of mine to take a bath with my baby. and here i am doing so.
but what you can’t see here are my tears. i am in so much pain.
my c-section hurt. jack is a huge baby and kicks a lot so he was hurting my stomach.
we were in the early days of breastfeeding and i had oversupply, painful let down, clogged ducts, the works.

i just wanted it all to stop.
this was not what i thought this would be.
why is this so hard?
is this how it is for everyone or just me?
how can something so beautiful and God given also be so terrible and painful?

i had no idea that so much of motherhood would be amazing happiness, the greatest joy, along with terrible pain and all the anxiety. i wanted it to be just bliss without the mess. and i fought this hard for months. i’m still not entirely over it.

now we are in month five and i finally am seeing what i maybe was supposed to see all along. this is what sin brought us. this will be a constant struggle. a work that is never completed. never mastered. a journey with bumpy roads and bruised body and standing in the rain. but that doesn’t mean it isn’t also amazing, worth it and good for me.

i wasn’t allowing the Lord to use me, use my baby, use my husband to refine me.
i wasn’t willing to see my selfishness, my own sin in my desires vs reality.
i was fighting for my unmet expectation of what this time “should have been”

i have been completely broken open. wide open. and several people have witnessed my brokenness. in the hospital. my blood, my nakedness, birthing a human, coming completely undone. my husband has seen me at my absolute worst. my closest friends have seen me unraveled and shaken. and so many people are a part of me being rebuilt. put back together. but never to return to the old self. it’s like a dramatic new start. a painful reset. a forced awakening. i get to be made new again, but it’s painful to be put back together.

i will only be whole if i allow the Lord to do His work in me. i have reminders of what happened, loud marks on my body. new pains that i feel deeply, physically. but He has promised that i will heal and be made whole again one day. each step following Jesus leads me down a road of wonder and grace and beauty and suffering and mystery. and i want to go on that journey.