lil’ slugger

celebrating people’s birthdays is one of my most favorite ways to show them how thankful i am for them. thanks to the enabling BT – – we went to the lake. we had a pretty little family-style breakfast then went on to get dressed for the day in lil slugger gear (aka morgan wear), which looked like we were going to the race in bristol – good timing. redneck riveria hits the road for johnson city, tennessee!


how else would you start off birthday celebration road trip besides putting your hand over your heart and reciting the pledge to the ‘merican air freshner? better believe that birthdaygirl started that allegiance.


i couldn’t even begin to tell you what all we laughed at, but rest assured, muscles were sore from all the laughter. we dressed like lil’ sluggers, so let the picture-telling of the day begin…





lots o’ love for these girls. we had such a great day of laughing, tubing, wakeboarding, belting songs in the car, wearing our hats backwards, and loving life.



Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

i just read this article on garden & guns.

nothing i love more than some simple, normal food items done well.



brambleberry crisp

sweet corn + black raspberries










i am most excited about

these macaroon

ice cream sandwiches… yuuuummmmm.

i can already taste them in my mouth.

next time i’m in nashville, i will be seeking out this ice cream. thanks jeni.

baby judah

beck was on assignment second session – summer staff coordinator extraordinaire! beck loves patagonia and is so willing to serve with all he has. he is on staff in kerrville, texas. hayley emits joy like its breathing. the way she loves judah… i could watch all day long. this family is incredible, radiating the gospel – i am so thankful that they were at southwind for 5 weeks of camp. i feel blessed to have served and worked alongside beck and gotten to spend some good time with hayley! one night i asked beck at an event to tell me about judah, then a few days later i went and sat with hayley while judah slept so she could tell me. it was fun to hear the same details they shared about how christ was in this. little judah has story full of christ, so here is my attempt at remembering details.

beck is full of adventure. hayley appreciates cleanliness. hayley and beck tried to have a child five years ago, while they were on assignment at windy gap. but they always said “they weren’t really trying.” after a year or two of trying, beck encouraged hayley that they go to the doctor. they went and over a series of appointments, one surgery, and a few OBGYNs they found out they couldn’t have children. this process was almost 5 years long. a friend at some point on this road talked to them about adoption. they began to pray through that possibility. (they had always talked about it after they had kids of their own.) so the seed was planted.

the timeline is a little fuzzy in my memory, but here comes the part where jesus is so gracious. beck and hayley went to an interest meeting, were handed a bunch of paperwork, and then the holidays hit. thanksgiving came and went, with christmas soon after. then it was january (of this year), and the representative from the adoption agency calls and says “are you folks still interested? you should get your paperwork in!” beck and hayley fill it all out in almost one sitting. as they sat there, a sheet is about what kind of child you want.

beck: “white?”

hayley: “not an issue.”

beck: “disabled?”

hayley: “not an issue.”

beck: “african-american?”

hayley: “not an issue.”

beck: “latino-asian mix?”

hayley: “not an issue.”

after they went through just a few on this long list of characteristics, beck finally said, “honey, do we care at all about what child god has chosen for us? if we really trust him and his providence, we need to give full control over to Him.” and so all received not an issue. hayley told me that when the adoption agent saw this, she was stunned. “no one has ever not had a preference.” they told her about how they were trusting christ and he knew what child he would give them. what a picture of faith and trust.

the details of judah being born involve a few false alarms, some big contractions, and a midnight phone call saying it was really coming. beck and hayley hopped in the car, headed to houston, and received a phone call on the way hearing judah screaming for the first time. tears.

there were so many moments of a baby’s first few days shared with jessica, beck, hayley, and judah. together. as a family. naming him – judah charles. sharing with jessica where the name judah comes from… the bible and how he was the forth born (just like this judah!). holding him. visitors hours. hayley spending the night with jessica because no one else was there. signing judah over officially to the marlars. (can you imagine?)  leaving the hospital together. for jessica, having to watch her son be buckled up in another car. the adoption woman telling the marlars to leave because jessica would have to grieve. hard details.

i am certainly missing more of those details. this is where hayley shares her heart. it’s worth the read, i promise.

so thankful for this family and excited to keep up with them in the future. i know that christ is in this family and it is a gift to know them.


since being home, i’ve done nothing but unpack, organize, paint, clean, and be crafty. tends to happen in reverse order of that list, which is why i’ve made so much progress on my room (sarcasm duh).

it wasn’t my original vision, but i’m happy with it! the frames are ones from goodwill. some painted, some not. i think the total cost was $16 for them all.


some more projects are in the works. i am loving being back! so grateful for my friends. morgan got me 2 out of 6 knox cravings – they were waiting for me when i got home on tuesday! love her.

see you soon

that phrase was tossed around today.

“see you soon.”

hopefully, i’ll be coming back for chrissy’s wedding in october. more to come on leaving southwind, but tomorrow jill and i road trip back to knoxville.

southwind has been such a blessing. jesus is gracious in letting me live and serve here this summer.


this place is not the armpit of young life camps. it’s a hidden jem – – i’m going to miss it.


see you in tennessee, folks.