The first time I met Kari 2 years ago was when she showed up at my door with dinner and homemade watermelon sorbet. We had just adopted Abel and she contacted me and said “I’m bringing you dinner.” as a mom of 5 under 5 I didn’t argue!  We sat together and she was telling me about research and planning she was doing because she had a dream of opening a farm to cone local ice cream shop.  We became a part of the same book club and then we moved into the house right behind hers. The day we moved into our home we didn’t have anything in our fridge but we did have 4 pints of MELT ice cream in our freezer because she somehow knew that after moving in the dead of summer in Texas nothing says “I’m home” like ice cream!  I’m so glad God has brought this sweet and fascinating person as well as her sweet and fascinating frozen creations into my life.

If you live here in the DFW area… you have to take a trip to this  bright yellow shop of local and hand crafted ice-cream. Her flavors change with the seasons… but my all time favorite flavors is Salt Lick, so whenever she has it, get it before it’s gone!

chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-001chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-002chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-003chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-004chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-005chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-006chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-007chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-008chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-009chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-010chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-011chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-012chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-013chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-014chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-015chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-016chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-017chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-018chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-019chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-020chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-021chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-022chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-023chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-024chappell kids trip to melt BLOG-025


Check out our other adventures around Cowtown! 

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trip to the Barber BLOG-001trip to the Barber BLOG-002trip to the Barber BLOG-003trip to the Barber BLOG-004trip to the Barber BLOG-005trip to the Barber BLOG-006trip to the Barber BLOG-007trip to the Barber BLOG-008trip to the Barber BLOG-009trip to the Barber BLOG-010trip to the Barber BLOG-011trip to the Barber BLOG-012trip to the Barber BLOG-013trip to the Barber BLOG-014trip to the Barber BLOG-015trip to the Barber BLOG-016trip to the Barber BLOG-017trip to the Barber BLOG-018trip to the Barber BLOG-019trip to the Barber BLOG-020trip to the Barber BLOG-021trip to the Barber BLOG-022trip to the Barber BLOG-023trip to the Barber BLOG-024trip to the Barber BLOG-025trip to the Barber BLOG-026trip to the Barber BLOG-027trip to the Barber BLOG-028

Thanks Fort Worth Barber Shop (John and Kiko) for making my boys look oh so fly!  Kiko, loved how you won Ezra over with your smooth moves and he is totally a fan now.

Check out our other adventures around Cowtown

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  • AngelaMarch 20, 2015 - 7:58 am

    Dapper Jack! I love it. They look so handsome.ReplyCancel

  • John razoMarch 21, 2015 - 8:22 am

    Great pics can you send some our wayReplyCancel

  • Jonathan MorrisMarch 25, 2015 - 8:02 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your photos! I wish my parents would have documented my early barber shop experiences.ReplyCancel

When alcoholics realize they have a problem and get sober they probably have to steer clear of alcohol or anything that might lead to alcohol for a long time….. when someone realizes they have a problem with self-righteousness… do they steer clear of the church, of quiet times, of christians and their culture? I think it feels like that is what’s needed for the sake of my inner struggle sometimes. I have an ongoing battle in my heart, one that no one sees and if they were to see one side of it, it wouldn’t look like a problem, it would look respectful and admirable. But I see both sides now… have for some time now. And it’s not pretty.

What used to be a girl who knew all the right things and could say all the right stuff and lived the right way… now is more of a girl who is more skeptical of American Christian culture and wishes she could move to a place where they are just happy to see a bible rather than fighting and shunning those who don’t believe it exactly as they do. It’s REALLY hard to not roll my eyes at things some Believers say, it’s REALLY hard not to want to stand up and scream and say “that’s not what following Him is supposed to be! that’s not what Jesus said or came to do.” But then there’s that same girl wanting to drop names of who I know or the degrees I have or my pedigree…. wanting to be seen and looked up to. It’s really hard to be around and surrounded by Christian culture because whenever I’m around it from the first moment there is a fight going on inside my heart… one side feels so comfortable and very much at home, hungry for what I know I can be and gain from that circle, the other side is uncomfortable and wants to fall on the floor and weep and confess everything I’ve thought that day out loud just so people know the real me and know my real Hope.  I feel like I’m both the pharisee and the tax collector…. and usually I’m finding it’s more comfortable and easy and doesn’t require as much energy to be the pharisee in Christian circles.

Sometimes I feel like an addict… a self righteous moralistic addict, but the very triggers I want to avoid (church, other christians, conferences, denomination gatherings, seminary,  anything that growing up we were told we needed to do to have a good walk with God) in order to make the fight not as hard are the very things that can bring healing, encouragement, truth, friendship, and accountability. For me, It’s kind of like having an AA meeting in a bar.  Challenging yes, but it forces me to keep my focus on what is the real Church, maybe that’s why I’m drawn to churches who meet in buildings that aren’t churches. I think it’s why I like living in neighborhoods where sin and brokenness welcome me as soon as I step outside of my home…. reminding me and holding up a mirror to the sin and brokenness in my own heart and in my own home. (not that I’m saying you have to do those things to see those things… it’s just what helps me.)

I’ve also come to realize that trying to force someone to see the addiction of self-righteousness, moralism, legalism… is probably akin to dragging someone who doesn’t want to stop drinking or sees that they have a problem to an AA meeting. But trust me, those things can fracture a family just as much as a family member being hooked on the bottle. I think it’s easy to think someone who has an issue with alcohol or drugs or other life altering destructive addiction is somehow worse than the addictions we run to but somehow look less harmful. But I’m convinced that the enemy likes it that way. Obedient, pristine, church going, law abiding people… who don’t know their full need of Jesus. What a great life… what a terrible eternity.

Since we are using the illustration of alcoholism… and I do know that it’s a serious problem that hurts families and destroys lives and not to be made little of… but I think what John Piper says about it is truly eye opening, at least it was for me. “Legalism is a more dangerous disease than alcoholism because it doesn’t look like one. Alcoholism makes men fail; legalism helps them succeed in the world. Alcoholism makes men depend on the bottle; legalism makes them self-sufficient, depending on no one. Alcoholism destroys moral resolve; legalism gives it strength. Alcoholics don’t feel welcome in church; legalists love to hear their morality extolled in church.source

The past few years I’ve longed for a day where I don’t feel like I’m still wrestling with my faith and where I belong and what really matters and what truth is the truth I need to be sharing and who are my kindred people and how do I root out religion in my heart yet draw from a rich tradition of knowledge and true wisdom? What authors/speakers do I read and listen to… writers and speakers I once wouldn’t touch with a 10 foot seminary educated pole I now find to be brothers and sisters in Christ who might take different takes on certain areas of the faith. How do I show my children Jesus and train them to be great people but help them fight the desire to just be well behaved on the outside and show them their constant need of Christ?  Am I swinging on a pendulum too far the other way? What is being real look like in todays churches? I want to stand up and cheer sometimes and lay down and weep other times… but neither seem to be appropriate in any of the churches I’ve been to lately.   I have Christian friends and family praying for me to see the error of my ways and yet those very ways have helped turn this girl who once prided herself in knowing all 5 verses of a hymn without a hymnbook to one who needs those very words to get through her day because my heart forgets and naturally drifts towards the two lies that either I’m one step away from His displeasure or that because of my great deeds He is pleased with me.  When will it all just settle down and be this quiet peaceful walk with God and man?  When will the wrestling stop?  If I’m honest….it might not ever stop.

And I think I’m okay with that. Because in the wrestling I have found abundant life. I have found deep freedom. And I am hungry for more of both.



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  • Katy TullosMarch 4, 2015 - 4:05 pm

    I LOVE this. I really hope the weather gets over itself and moves on quickly so that the roads don’t cause any issues tomorrow because I’m so excited to hang out and get to know you! This post hits so close to home. Last year when reading through Acts I pretty much kept yelling out loud “This isn’t the Jesus they tell you about!” I love how nonconformist he is and how much that challenges this born and raised rule follower!ReplyCancel

  • RachelMarch 4, 2015 - 10:47 pm

    I enjoyed this read. I’m glad you have those personal convictions and let them wash over you and affect you. That shows to me you are not swinging too deep into either side. To me – it looks like you are a human who is trying to place her identity not on the pristine knowledge of Christ, but in the love and teachings of Christ.

    Your post made me think of these verses:
    We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭5‬:‭11-14‬ NIV)
    Especially 14. You have been training yourself and training your kids to be able to distinguish good and evil. Both in the world and in yourself/themselves. (ourselves). I think that’s all we can do. Grasp at the solid food not for our own righteousness sake, but because it helps lead us. And if you or anyone is listening to the truth of what they are studying I think they will be steered in the right direction.
    I believe in your truth seeing eyes.
    Thank you for sharing the real ness. I love LOVE how honest you are.ReplyCancel

  • HopeMarch 5, 2015 - 7:09 am

    Oh Casey, love love love your raw vulnerable honesty. Your pendulum is swinging fine. If it ever stills itself, you are in trouble. Movement means growth and we all need that. We need the struggles. Thank you for sharing your heart and allowing others to join you in saying, “YES!”

    I sometimes feel like being seminary trained is both a blessing and a curse. I am thankful for it and the exposure to incredible teachers (and incredible lifelong friendship formed there), but it does have its dangers as well if we allow it to turn us into elitists. There is beauty and much to be learned from the rich tradition of our SBC heritage, but my prayer is that we never allow it to keep us from seeing God revealed in other parts of our lives and from seeing that God uses other vessels as well. It is HIM we long to know and our relationship with Him won’t necessarily look like anyone else’s.ReplyCancel

  • HollyMarch 7, 2015 - 11:44 am

    Casey, I wish we could sit and share together. Your words hit home for me in almost every way. Especially since living abroad and being away from the “Christian culture” that exists so heavily in the South. I think it’s been one of the most eye opening and necessary shifts for me – experiencing this vast world The Lord has created through other cultures and eyes. It actually leaves me wondering how to approach the culture that exists where we live in an honest yet loving way. I sometimes find myself afraid to tell people I am a “Christian” because it has so many cultural ties to it that aren’t the true gospel meaning of a Christ follower. But oh how I desire for souls to know the beauty of the true Christ. I’m all over the place in my thoughts – but just know I’m thankful for your thoughts and I’m encouraged by them. They lead me closer to Truth.ReplyCancel

I saw the cutest little boy today named Asher around the same age our son Asher would be now. I love that while these crazy babies of mine keep me tethered to the reality of the everyday, the hurting, the needy, the hungry, the searching, the dying, the crazy ones and where I find myself in all of the above, the gift and privilege of being Asher’s mom keeps me tethered to a coming reality where everything sad will become untrue, all wrongs will be made right, and all the grandeur and glory will finally satisfy my unquenchable longing for more, and my wrestling ever-wavering faith will become sight. ‪


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My sweet friend Emma (she’s 13 and awesome!!!) has a ministry in Houston making baby blankets for babies who get abandoned in the hospital or have nobody there for them to bring new things to. I got to help her make some when I went to fisit them last year and She cranks these out… ,but the demand is high. (which is sad… but I life that the hospital is wanting her to do this!) So can you donate fabric? make squares? give money? give time?  Go check out her BLOG and find out how you can help life the littlest and least of these in Houston!

I want this devotional! Paul Tripp might be one of the most influential writers in my life.

The difference between offering and inviting.  I can’t love this post any more than I do.  (it also helped me understand what being hospitable feels like to my more introverted friends and family)

Enjoyed watching the Oscars if only for the two performances by John Legend/Common and Lady Gaga. It was OH SO good!  Movies that I personally loved seeing… dare I say life changing, that were up for awards were   * The Imitation Game  * Selma  *The Theory of Everything  * Begin Again  * The Judge.

A free e-book download, The Surprises of Success: 15 tips of living the life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s written by a collection of some of my favorite bloggers/writers. I kind of had an epiphany while reading these chapters, I’ll tell you about it sometime later.

A case for taking more selfies.   “By documenting ourselves, we’re valuing the intrinsic good that we bring to the lives of others. Because we’re not just girlfriends, wives, mothers, and daughters. We’re humans that are loved and love. That make funny jokes, and have good hair sometimes, and make awesome lipstick choices.”  

A case for printing more selfies… and all of your photos for that matter. Will today’s memories be the forgotten dark ages of the future?

Oh that churches and ministries stop making people who have had premarital sex feel like they are Damaged Goods.    “Your marriage is not doomed because you said yes to the boys you loved as a young woman. Your husband won’t hold it against you, he’s not that weak and ego-driven, choose a man marked by grace. It’s likely you would make different choices, if you knew then what you know now, but, darling, don’t make it more than it is, and don’t make it less than it is. Let it be true, and don’t let anyone silence you or the redeeming work of Christ in your life out of shame.”  

*as a personal vent, I’ve been to a lot of wedding where the bride and groom were pure and they made a really big deal of it in the ceremony. Now… I get it, I thought I was all that and a bag of chips for not kissing until my wedding day. (yes… I was kind of duggger-ish back then.) But honestly now having been to many weddings… I listen to what pastors say and wonder what in the world anyone who is attending who didn’t have that as their story might be feeling about themselves… about their worth. We can make it sound like “look what a great spouse they get because they saved themselves for marriage”. When marriage is a gift from God and not something we earn or deserve.

Stay at home moms…. don’t wait until you explode to let your husband know you need a break and some time alone. Tell them! stop waiting for them to notice and tell you to go. THIS post is a great reminder. 

THIS recipe. Oh my stars!!! Might be the BEST Pinterest recipe I’ve ever made. It’s SO freaking good. A few steps… but worth it.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. THIS post on Why are we so afraid of Down syndrome is a great read!  “I feel like the technology for detecting Down syndrome is far more advanced than our understanding of what it means to have Down syndrome — or raise a child with Down syndrome. And for the sake of objective reporting and compassionate care, we should all strive to understand the bigger picture.” 

I couldn’t pick between THIS POST for brand new parents or THIS ONE that challenged me to go vacuum my living room. But my sweet friend Heather… she just knows what to write to challenge me where I’m at. Hope it does you as well.

and finally since it was the month of love… I finally finished a highlight video of one of my very best friends wedding back on thanksgiving weekend of last year. Capturing this and seeing the literal answer to years of prayers… it was a complete joy!




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  • HollyMarch 3, 2015 - 4:12 am

    Thanks for sharing about your friend Emma! We are moving to Houston next month so I will reach out to her when we get to town. Hope you have a good week, Casey! xoReplyCancel

  • LisaMarch 3, 2015 - 2:44 pm

    Love these posts! I always find new things to read/try and really love seeing your insight and perspective and heart! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • nicole neesbyMarch 5, 2015 - 8:17 pm

    thanks dear!! you are the sweetest. and i just love you and your gorgeous little guys! XOReplyCancel

  • Anna JohnsenMarch 14, 2015 - 7:11 pm

    Casey your so on my awesome list…thanks for these..loved Jan too :)ReplyCancel

1.  Sometimes you don’t know something needs tweaking until you try tweaking it. I thought I had the perfect popcorn system…. I knew the right temp and I never burned the popcorn. Until the other day I bumped up the heat by one number and found that it popped quicker and left almost no leftover seeds.  I could have settled for works good and doesn’t burn… but oh what a difference 1 number up made.  Makes me wonder what else in my life needs tweaking.  I think this is the beauty of goal setting and ongoing reflection… it gives you the room to tweak things and analyze things that might need tweaking.

2.   Sometimes keeping a strict simple schedule frees you up to have days/weeks that are a little more crazy but very fulfilling. I’m learning that although I like my slower simpler days and I’m tempted to stress when my calendar looks busier than normal and have anxiety when the unexpected pops up, that often God is at work in those days with lots of scribbling on them. One unexpected work of God was bringing this sweet mama to my home for a mini-mini headshot session. (like we took them a stones throw from my house in a trashy alley). Sometimes an hour on the porch listening to a friends story is all you need to give you perspective on what you think is a stressful week.

This adoptive mama who is also a Cancer survivor Blogs HERE:


3. I used to think that it only bothered me when people said “you have to be a strong/patient/good/etc.. person to have 5 kids so close together/adopt” But I realized this month that it bothers me anytime someone says “you HAFE to be a strong/patient/good person to do ______ (fill in the blank).  I think we are all thrown into journeys and challenges and twists and turns and tragedy that being strong/good/patient wasn’t a prerequisite for.  Someone one facebook said to a mom of a newborn with Down syndrome… “you have to be a strong person to care for a newborn with Down syndrome.”  I wanted to yell LIAR! But I didn’t.  Each one of us could point to things in our lives that have come into it that either helped us become stronger… more patient.. and realize that only God is truly good but He gives good gifts to us and His image in us is beautiful and good.  So ya’ll… lets’ think before saying what people have to be or what they are and focus on who they are becoming through the journey God has them on.


4. I learned I love all of these. Check out my #Casey_LovingLately hashtag on Instagram. @caseychappell.


5. I learned that if you’re counting calories…. Cheesecake Factory is NOT the place you want to go. But that it’s still doable… if you don’t eat pretty much anything else that day and order a salad and split the Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake.


6. I’m going to miss Parenthood for a long time!! That show taught me SO much about the way I want to do family and life together. Here are a few take aways that the Braverman family inspired me with.  * let your kids come home  * marriages are worth fighting for  *adoption is rarely the adventure we set out on and harder than we think but more fulfilling than we could ever imagine. * put your kids needs first in dealing with school systems…. if needed create the school your kid needs.:)* kids will go through all kinds of crap and phases in their lives but if you maintain/pursue a relationship with them you will be there with them on the other side.  *Travel more as a married couple  *We need to come along side of parents with children with autism and support them way more than we do.  *plastic surgery is almost always a bad idea (camille)… but over time people will get used to it. *pursue your dreams  *support your spouse as they pursue their dreams  * take up projects as you get older that you can incorporate your kids/grandkids into. * step back and look at your family and enjoy what God has given you.



7. Organic ground beef is worth the extra money. It just is.  Save in other areas, but the ground beef….buy the grass-fed stuff. (and not having to split up and rewrap the meat by getting the 3 pack of organic at costco is just worth the splurge all the way around.)



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  • nicole neesbyFebruary 18, 2015 - 4:44 pm

    ahh! YES to missing parenthood. there is a permanant whole in my tv time for life now!

    also your words about being strong to handle xyz are so so true. we need to stop saying that. JESUS is the hero and savior in our lives.

    so so glad you followed my IG account so could find you. you seem like a gem and i’m excited to get to know you better.


These faces and their stories represent so much brokenness and hurt and loss. And if dan and I were to lie down with them it would add even more sin and pain and grief.

Please don’t think that we have this beautiful family because we live a good life or are deserving or because we are special people or that fate brought us together. It’s only because we have an incredible God who works above, within, in spite of, and through brokenness and the ugly parts of our lives and this world to create something that nobody could have planned or thought of in those very low moments.

I’m so thankful that God is always consistent with His character and that it’s for His name sake and His glory that we receive such joy and are freed from the bondage of thinking we have to live perfect lives in order to gain His love and favor! Because you don’t. So please if you think you have to get your act together before you come to Christ… That’s a lie. If you think that the trial you are facing is because He is punishing you or If you had chosen a different life things would all be better… You’re wrong.

His grace is so vast and beautiful that if you were to truly taste and see you’d see how the broken things in your life are often the very things that bring us close to Him, that show off His sufficiency, that end up being the very things that God uses to create the beautiful things in our life (the things we wouldn’t trade a perfect pain free life for) I’m so thankful for these little image bearers of God running around (driving me crazy) reminding me that it’s all about Him and even my trust in Him today is because of His work in my often faithless heart!

So here’s to all the messes and screw ups and brokenness to come and may we find Him there. Because He is.

‪#‎Hesinthemess‬ ‪#‎adoptionisnotplanB‬ ‪#‎neitherwasthecross‬

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  • Cynthia StuckeyFebruary 4, 2015 - 2:31 pm

    Love Love Love this. And YOU! AND the faces of those sweet Chappell kiddos.ReplyCancel

THIS music video of a smash-up of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space + Style


Might be one of the best blog posts I’ve read so far this year.  SO full of HOPE and Great wisdom on doing the things we don’t feel like doing! (which in my life is a good bit of what I do every day… or should be doing every day.)

I want these bandaids. I’ve been saying for years someone should make these and SOMEONE did! They look great!  #diversityinhealing

I love words. And THIS post showed me SO many words I misuse.

These prints from my darling friend Mandie Joy…. super mom and foster mom! Come on oil mamas… you KNOW you need this print!

Fascinating. Completely fascinating to me. Oh for a spirit of Hygge while waiting for spring to come.

This girls post REALLY makes me want to try Blue Apron…. and makes me want to blog like her! Anyone of you try Blue Apron yet?

I know a lot of people diss on Facebook and social media often but THIS post really shows how meaningful and life changing Facebook is for special needs moms. I know it’s been life changing for me… especially since we might never had heard about Abel had the need for a family for him not been posted on facebook. #downsyndromerocks

These cookies.

If you are going through a hard time with a wayward child or know someone who is. THIS post is SO SO good. It’s full of hope and super practical advice for parents. I know we aren’t close to this time in our lives but already it’s helping us know how to love others around us who are running from those they lose and also to start now and implementing things with our kids so that when those days of tension and tough love come then we will have laid some groundwork before hand.

And finally these two commercials.  HERE + HERE




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  • GinaJanuary 23, 2015 - 6:08 pm


    Seriously SO MUCH. Keep posting these!!!ReplyCancel

I’ve heard from so many of you how you are thinking through and brainstorming and looking back and dreaming about what is to come. I’m so glad!  Honestly, it holds me more accountable to the things I write on here. Blogging is a tricky thing… you want to write for yourself but then it’s still very public. So it’s something that I often trust the Spirit to lead me in. But I do believe that blogging is a way I process and in many ways order all the swirling thoughts in my cluttered mind.

This is part 3 in my Dreaming Big for 2015 Series. And this is Definitely for myself. You can find the blog series I’m following and going by HERE on Lara Casey’s blog. It’s just simple (but so not simple) steps that I do about every 6 months or so the past 3 years  and it’s been life changing…. life changing in very small ways, but life changing nonetheless.


So here is What I’m saying NO to.  No is SO hard for me to say ya’ll. I’m a total YES girl. But when I realized that Saying No is really Saying YES to the things that matter most in my life then it changed my outlook on it. I still wrestle with feeling like I have to explain myself to others when I say No. I need to work on that this year. Not that I don’t want to share… but I shouldn’t want to try to soothe my guilty feelings of letting someone down because it doesn’t work for our life right now.


These are the ones I’ve processed so far… I’m sure many more will come to light and be incorporated in our family this year.



I’m saying NO to

Saying “hold on or just a minute” when my kids need my attention or to do something for them but I’m on the computer writing or editing or really anytime I’m doing something that in reality I could stop and come right back to. This will take time to break a habit of mine.

Big Birthday Parties for our kids and going to other kids birthday parties as well. *I’ll write more on this in a future post. It’s not something I think every one should do but right now it’s just something our family needs to step back from at this time.

Photography Mentorships/Workshops in Texas.  For some odd reason these really work well when I do them in North Carolina but tank here in Texas. And I’m just not at a place in life where I can effectively pour into people in this area…. now, want to talk adoption…. I’m All in! These are a few AWESOME places where I think online photography classes and mentorship are taking place that are high quality and sometimes even free! Creatife Life  *

Being scared/nervous about posting things on my blog.

Saying No to going on the spring mission trip Dan will lead to L.A. Even though everything in me will be longing to go as he has planning meetings and gets on that plane!

NO Parabens and Aluminum in my/kids lotions and beauty products.  It’s a step that I think is a good one towards a more natural daily beauty routine.

High School Senior photo Sessions. I have done them and I do enjoy them… it’s just not my wheelhouse and thus it’s not what really I love most.

The pressure (from myself) to read a lot of books.  This last year, I read 2 1/2  books, and they weren’t that long. But they impacted me and if I only read 1-2 books a year but I take the time to let them sink in… then I think that’s great! Sorry book club… I’ll still be the one who hasn’t read but is coming for time with you and good wine!

Feeling like I have to know what conferences or networks I should attend, be a part of or invest in this year. I don’t. I do love going to them and being a part of something bigger than me… but this year may hold all sorts of surprises that I need to be home for and my kids are still so small and dependent that I don’t want to say I’m going to invest in something wholeheartedly when I know I still need to invest a lot more at home…. and when I haven’t been led to anything specifically that says, THIS this is the people and timing that He wants me to throw my heart and time into. That day may come…. but for today, I’ll trust that He will have me going where He wants me to when I need it most.

Letting awkwardness or hurt prevent me from saying things like I love you and things that are deep and meaningful.

Not feeling like I have to please everyone and represent all sides when posting on social media. I have a perspective and I have a calling… so it’s okay that I post accordingly and trust that others with different perspectives and callings are posting likewise.

To other FB pages other than my personal one… I just can’t keep up with a photography one, a hobby one, etc..

Planning big events for my extended family. In my mind I always want to have these grand get-togethers but they never really pan out…. so I need to take that effort and make smaller gatherings happen more often! $5 roll Sushi Happy Hour coming your way Brothers and Sisters!!!

Not thinking that Instagram is a lesser way of blogging if that’s what I have time for.

Letting my mind run too far in the future (like more than a year) when it comes to planning things like schooling for my kids, the way our life will look, where we will be living. Because It often breeds fear and then causes Dan and I to argue about things we have no idea will be like when that time comes.  (for example, the other day we argued about digital learning when our kids are teenagers…. so stupid of me to argue about something that will change and develop in so many ways in the next 10-15 years.)

Think of more specific NO’s. I need boundaries and am always needing ways to structure and provide margin. So hopefully this will be a list that grows over the next few weeks.




in 2015 I’m saying Yes to:

Adopting a little newborn girl that has Down syndrome. Yes, it’s totally the plan for this year. Yes, it’s totally crazy sounding. Yes, it’s the cry of BOTH of our hearts and our kids can’t wait to have a little baby sister. I’ll write more on this later. But for now… we are home study ready and just waiting for God to bring the right birthmother/birthfamily along who bravely choose life for her child but needs a family to call her their own! We are a part of THIS registry that puts birth moms who are expecting a little bundle with an extra chromosome and families hoping to adopt a baby with T21 together!!  This is our nursery that’s slowly coming along. Abel is really excited to gain a new roommate! Oh I can’t wait to tell you more about how God put this newest adventure on our hearts. I think it’s going to be so incredible!

I might be a little obsessed about vintage floral little girl clothes right now. Half that dresser is little girl stuff just waiting for her to get here.

Doing something every day that is working towards simplifying my life…. if that’s making a Pdf, arranging the spice cabinet, or throwing stuff away, or whatever… but every day do something little in that area.

Mondays being an all day keep laundry going day and watching something I totally wouldn’t ever spend my time watching  (reality, or E! or something like that.) while folding mount laundry!

I need to stretch. I carry SO much tension in my body. I find that when I’m stretched or get a massage it takes away that feeling of being stressed out that my brain thinks is my life… but really it’s all in my muscles.

Baking Cakes for Birthdays and Special Occasions. HERE is my pinterest board of the cakes I want/will be trying to bake this year! I got a great bundt pan at a goodwill last week. Can’t wait to use it.

Teaching Classes for Influence Network

Keep Buying art supplies for the kids when I feel like I am buying the same things every month because they lose/break/ruin/use up the ones I got the month before. But them having a constant creativity outlet matters more!

Making Dr. Appointments.  Dentist… Eye… Lady… all those things that are so easy to put off but in reality are so easy to make happen.

Tackling Finances, getting bills/debts all written out on a poster board OR spread sheet.

Helping my neighbor and her family in ways that help them long term and always show kindness and authenticity even when that means saying hard things to her and pursuing her.

Organize smaller get togethers for my siblings and their families.

Making more of Pioneer Woman recipes. (they ALWAYS come out great! Her beef tenderloin is outta this world!!) Even reading her blog more often is something I should do because it shows me how to blog in a way that makes you feel like you’re having a conversation with the writer.

these peanut butter apple delights from PW are so easy and incredible!! click HERE for the recipe link!

Buying clothes I need.  Seeing clothes as something that God promises to provide for me and not viewing them as things I shouldn’t spend money on. Any mamas out there relate to me on this one?

Taking walks as a family right after Dan gets home from work.

Sharing more openly when I’m in person with people about all that God’s done in and through my marriage.

to Stevia. I like it already in cold drinks, struggling with coffee.

Arranging a My favorite things Tea Party

Seeing Taylor Swift in concert. YAY!!! Dan and I are so excited to go with our friends the Coelhos come October.

Keeping worship CD’s in the car so that the kids will know them as well as they know their taylor swift album. They love hillsong but maybe finding a few others that have the songs we worship most with on sundays would be great too.

Making Family birthdays more special and thought out. This blogger I adore… and I think she inspires me to work hard at creating beautiful and colorful celebrations that aren’t simple but still are.  Simplicity takes a lot of planning I’ve come to learn.

Booking Family portrait sessions a few times a month

Dallas Littles Club


Watching the first episode of a new kids cartoon with the kids. (sometimes I wait and assume it’s Nick Jr…so it’s great, and then later go, eh.. this isn’t the greatest show for my kids and then they are all sad when I ask them to watch something else)  Gosh, I wish every show was as good as Wild Kratts!! Love those guys SO much.

Finishing my two 31 Day Series on Adoption and Hospitality. (even if it’s what I do come October instead of a new series!) I want to finish them!!

Trusting that when God leads Dan in certain areas that it’s what’s best for our whole family.

Thursday nights being a night I can go out (book club, coffee with friends, etc…)

Hearing Jen Hatmaker speak. Because she speaks truth like THIS.

Getting Journal Bible and marking it all up and letting the truths express through art in the margins. I think that will help me meditate and remember throughout my day.  I’m inspired by THIS BLOGGER (who is also a rad foster mom!) and the way she goes about art journaling. I need to take THIS class! And what an awesome thing for my children to have to cherish…. the creative otuflowing of the ways His word spoke to me.

Figuring out a sock system for our family.

Doing a family album with Project Life… printing photos quarterly.

Coffee dates with local friends who push me, challenge me and speak truth into my life.

Plan in state road trip for this summer. (we typically have done epic road trip one summer then in state the next.) Maybe San Antonio/Seaworld would be a great trip ! I’d say the Ocean… but I think the Ocean has lost it’s attraction as a family until the kids get a little older. Abel eating handfuls of dirt unless I held him the whole time was our last experience. Yeah… no.



Word/Phrase of the Year! 

Last year “Done is better than perfect” was my theme!! And it applied in so many areas as I embraced a busy life of lots of littles.  But there are a lot of areas that I’m seeing some fall out from that approach. Now, it will still be something I have to remind myself often of when it comes to many things…. But I needed something that would challenge and ground me in these areas that I find are lacking and even suffering from in the areas of what truly matter most. (kids, marriage, health, relationships, God.)

For weeks I thought Slow down and get it right was going to be it. But slowing down usually isn’t my problem. My problem is because a lot of times doing those things I need to do and want to do is hard.

Please don’t judge me but, when it’s 8:30 and your kids have been going full throttle all day and all you want to do is be alone and have an adult conversation with your husband then brushing 5 kids teeth is HARD Work! When you have to arrange babysitting, a ride for your husband to work, and make sure insurance/medical savings is all the way it’s supposed to be and pick the right doctor that will treat you not mask your symptoms… then making and keeping a Dr. Appointment is HARD work! When you have 8 siblings, most of which have spouses and kids and you want to try to connect and love them and spend time with them to get to know them better… it’s HARD work! See, these are areas that are worthy of every bit of effort and then some… but it’s Hard!  Loving your neighbor who is probably more used to using and manipulating the people in her life than being in an actual friendship is HARD. Living intentionally with others and “doing life” with them and serving them…. it’s inconvenient…. it’s messy… it’s HARD Work!

Adopting a newborn, in many ways is easy longterm because you get to know that child from day 1 typically…. but at first it’s HARD work because you’re trying to figure out this baby as she figures out her new world… breathing, eating, digesting, sleeping.  Babies are Hard…. and all the new mamas said AMEN! God keeps bringing international adoption up in my heart.  I think when you’ve been overseas and know about how great the orphan crisis is… how can you not feel a tug towards that again. (unless it’s been a year or two since you’ve come home… you get a break from that tug!) We haven’t heard Him speak or lead in that direction right now for our family but I think whatever capacity He’s putting this on my heart, if it’s walking along side of others, if it’s supporting a ministry, if it’s traveling overseas, if it’s actually starting the process (don’t think it is but Dan and I both know that we want our yes on the table to whatever He might have in store for our family), Whatever it may look like… I know it’s not easy! International adoption is NEVER easy! It’s HARD!

So for 2015…….

DO HARD THINGS!! will be the theme of my song.

It’s what I want to challenge myself with. It’s what I will need HIM and His strength and power to be able to accomplish these things. (Yes… I need Jesus to get my kids teeth brushed! I’m just being honest!)

Do you have a theme or one little word you are clinging to this year?



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  • Timothy EberlyJanuary 13, 2015 - 12:58 pm

    Very good read. I wish I could write my thoughts down as well as you did. :)ReplyCancel

  • MarissaJanuary 13, 2015 - 2:58 pm

    Love all of this! I love the idea of intentionally saying no to things. Did you read The Best Yes? I heard about it and need to read it.

    I am also planning a favorite things party for my 30th birthday this summer! I think it will be so fun to make the event about celebrating some of my favorite people and not making the whole thing about just me, and it’s kind of a push back against my lonely desire for someone to throw me a surprise party for the big year since I’ve never had one. So I’M going to throw a party for my friends instead. :D

    I didn’t do resolutions really this year, well I mean I’m trying to eat healthier, I want to do a running event every few months, I signed up for a race in March so I’m officially training. My big thing this year is kind of getting organized, but I struggle so intensely with it, I don’t know where to put things, so my 2015 slogan is “Where does this go?” I like what you wrote about doing something every day that will simplify your life.ReplyCancel

  • DanaJanuary 13, 2015 - 9:15 pm

    Sooo great, Casey! This pushes me to be more reflective about the world and season I am currently in. Thanks for loads and loads of inspiration!ReplyCancel

  • LaraJanuary 14, 2015 - 7:39 am

    Goodness I love you and YAY FOR A SISTER!!! This all fires me up beyond words!ReplyCancel

  • Angey priceJanuary 14, 2015 - 2:11 pm

    Love this so much!!!!!! Love you so much!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Whitley rubinsonJanuary 17, 2015 - 4:13 pm

    After my husband fell asleep last night and I wasn’t ready to go to sleep, I went to your blog and read. A lot of it. I was lying there sobbing silently and tears streaming down my face as I read about your journey of motherhood, adoption, loss and gain. As I was telling my husband all about it this morning I cried yet again as I retold many of the stories of your life.
    Your life is beautiful. God is good. So, so good. I appreciate you sharing your life and adventures and pain and motherhood experiences so openly, vulnerably, honestly. I must say that God is speaking to me through your writing and I praise Him for all of the good he has done in your life. Truly, reading was a worshipful experience for me.

    I can’t wait to become better friends with you, my neighbor and sister in Christ.
    Whitley RubinsonReplyCancel

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