denver chronicles [4] // garden of the gods.



we drove into colorado springs to visit my friend courtney who is currently working at theWall, now called prayercores - a ministry partnered with Every Home for Christ. (you can purchase a really awesome shirt to help partner with the ministry here.)

she also makes some pretty incredible music. this is some rough recordings of her at a retreat a couple years ago.


courtney is like a sister to both ricky and i. ricky was best friends with her while attending the honor academy after high school, and when he left to come back to san diego and go to school - i moved to texas and entered the same internship. there courtney and i became best friends. we have known her for so many years - and she was my roommate while ricky and i started dating while living in kansas city. we were all a part of the international house of prayer. even now, as i write this - my heart overflows with love for her. she stood with me at my wedding - and she stands with my in my heart and runs beside me in my journey with God. she is a woman of steadfast love for the Lord, loyalty to His cause and His kingdom, and a mouthpiece for the truth of His return. i am honored to know her - and it was SHEER JOY introducing her to Amos. i am astounded and the men and women of faith Amos can look up to and learn from. she is one of them.


we drove into colorado springs with alex and nate parker (and also my beloved mother). alex has a great blog here - and she is one of my grandest friends. we grew up together in illinois, attended honor academy together, and have walked with each other in life. she also stood in my wedding, and i at hers. OH THE JOY OF FRIENDSHIP! and the FAMILY OF GOD!


they are one of the most endearing, vulnerable, and sincere couples i have ever spent time with. they recently moved from st. louis to denver in a huge leap of faith and it has been so encouraging to watch the Lord take care of them every step of the way.

64df0IMG_4616IMG_4689IMG_4675  IMG_4654 6asdfasd40 fams

sidenote: i know it is ridiculous i am wearing a maxi dress in the mountains. when i dressed for the day trip i didn't think through our potential activities. eeesh, i'm so silly.


denver chronicles [3] // bff's + baby

amos is asleep in his crib. yes, yes, it is true. he is asleep in his crib for the first time... ever! and while he is asleep, i am being busy, busy, busy editing denver photos that have been patiently waiting for me. i want to get all my posts done pre- amos turning one. which is next month!!!

while i'm doing that, i wanted to post 3 gems. the first is amos reaching out for me. he does this everytime i turn off the car and walk around to open the backdoor. i always crawl into the seat to unbuckle him, but first give him kisses on his little, white, chubby hand.

i love these 3 photographs for many reasons. one, is obviously, is amos - but also seeing the people i love and cherish, turn around and love and cherish my son. it's the grandest thing to behold.


more pictures to come. :)


denver chronicles [2] // my bff's are his bff's

A couple weeks ago we went to denver, and i have so many pictures to post about it. This is Amos being loved on by his add-on aunties, Tara and Alex. He is so, so loved.

cousin tarIMG_5030playtime

Amos loves all his belly kisses, and is really good with people. I think he is so used to being passed around from the time he was born, that he lets about anyone hold him and give him baby kisses. He is definitely not shy...

belly kiss 

He is even fond of dogs (big and small) - and here he is about to pounce on my cousin Tara and her husband Brandon's dog, Tulo.

amos meets tulo

more pictures can be found on my flickr (and more to come).


random. // instagram, shop windows, and lil' links.


I'm at a coffee shop with Ricky sitting across from me reading about how to promote 401c3 organizations to give to the poor.

Reminiscent of earlier days. Amos is crawling around like a crazy man at Ricky's parents and giving his cousin Emery multiple kisses on her little, black-haired head. Therefore, I can sit and stare at the wall, or the barista, or the top of Ricky's head without the little wheels of my mom brain running thinking, "Does Amos have something in his mouth? Could he bump his head? Am I ignoring him?"

And so,
That's me, above, with my blended chai and a coffee house picture behind me. I know no one really cares to see my head missing the forehead, but pictureless posts just seem so faux pas, don't they?

I don't have much significant to say. All my newest pictures are on our desktop computer.

Well, actually, now that I am just sitting here - staring - without a care in the world, I remember I have some newest pictures on my cellphone.

As I get those pictures ready for this post, I have to say that I caved and joined pinterest. And it is wonderful. I find it such an effective way to catalog projects and inspiration you find - especially for the design company.

Oh, and speaking of See the Skyline - we are back in action. I took a little break over the past month or so, but now I'm going full force. My Mexican Fiesta invitations were featured on this wedding blog. Check it out!

photo 2

So last night in a major sweet tooth moment (i have these way more than i should) i decided to make some smoothies. I pulled out our frozen fruit and threw in some frozen peaches and mangoes. Because we had to almond milk or yogurt, I threw in just a little of our fresh green juice (loving our new juicer!) full of some kale, garlic, celery, spinach, and more. On accident I ended up with some homemade gelato rather than a smoothie - which was more along the lines of what I was craving. It was delicious!!! Ricky and I both had 2 bowls each. You should try it out!!!

photo 2 

Amos has been enjoying time with his Grandpa and Grandma a lot while I'm busy googling over Emery and hanging out with Jen. Here he is just chilling with Grandpa Rich.


Here is little Emery, she gets more beautiful by the day. The second one she is doing a little baby yawn. Isn't she just GORGEOUS!? Ahhh! I love it.


and some more instagram moments. [1] Amos with a monkey on his back in his diaper at Grandpa and Grandma's playing with their plethora of toys. [2] Sleeping and sunbathing. What a life! [3] Trying out green beans (not pureed) for the second time and LOVING them - though his face isn't as convincing. [4] Emery in her daddy's arms, doing some stretches. Can you believe they are cousins? hahaha.

photo 1

And then, totally random, who doesn't love a creative and captivating Anthropologie window/shop display? if only we could push all those clothes in the back room as our closet and live in the inside. This one was in Denver, and blew my mind.

Well that is all for now. All random, and ridiculous, but wonderful at the same time.

Keep asking Him to breathe on Your heart, for it's His wind that keeps the burning alive.


denver chronicles. [1] /// hotel fun.

there is a lot to cover about our vacation to denver.

we had the time of our life, and when you are parents of a baby - you are easily entertained by simple pleasures.

example: (below)

jumping on hotel bed #1


new life.

The Emery Effect from Michael Muniz on Vimeo.

It's been a wonderful and trying past couple of days. We arrived back in San Diego from Denver on Tuesday. San Diego had an all day black out on Thursday. Saturday morning we woke up to a mass of texts and calls letting us know Jen, Ricky's younger sister, was in labor. By the time we rushed to the hospital, Jen was an hour away from starting to push this little one out.

I was able to film the actual birth and time in the delivery room. It was one of those moments you can't relay. To watch Jen take on labor with such determination and then to see such a smooth labor and delivery really brought healing and hope to my heart. It was such a contrast to the 50 hours of labor and 2 1/2 hours of pushing I experienced 10 months ago.

After holding Emery and kissing her beautiful, Mexican (and .2 Asian) forehead - I spent the following days rejoicing with the Lord. Not only for little Emery, for her miraculous birth, and for the beauty that is life - but more specifically for the Valdez family.

When I met Ricky, I was naive and in love. I cast aside my life, my family, and my dreams to take on his name. I packed up all I knew and drove across the desert to join his life.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that when the romance of a "recklessness in the name of love" died down - I looked around and realized I was the only white girl in the closest thing you can get to Mexico in the states. I was surrounded by chiles and chicken tacos - and a people that did things WAYYYY different than how I grew up. Everything from eating to talking to church was foreign to me.

And here I am, 3 years later, standing in a hospital room watching my sister-in-law do the most vulnerable and triumphant thing she may ever do. I'm hugging my mother-in-law while we weep watching a bloody, raw, and freshly born baby clear her lungs on her mother's chest while her father pushes back his wives sweaty hair and gazes for the first time on her little baby face.

It was like slow motion. The nurses were running around, everyone was straining and crowding in to see her face, and I just sat behind the camera and stared.

When you fall in love and take a ring, your gaze is very limited. You see your husband. Your taken over with love. You dream of your home and kitchen curtains and future children and midnight laughters and, though it may happen for a brief moment here and there, you have no idea the entirety of what you are gaining.

When I met Ricky and when the Lord in His jealous kindess asked me to leave "father and mother for the gospel" - all I knew was that I was losing everything and gaining my husband and the will of God. I had no idea I would be welcomed, as if I too were born and raised in his very home, into Ricky's family and world as I was.

And this isn't normal. It's not. Not for everyone. Sister-in-laws don't become everyone's best friends. Mother and Father-in-laws come over for dinner here and there, and you cook a roast and clean your home and send them away at 8:30 PM sharp.

But I inherited, by the hand of marriage, a second family. One I have grown with for 3 years. I've wept with them (a lot), laughed with them (even more), handed them my son, and was reborn in their midst - reborn into a family from a totally different world than my own.

And they don't replace my own. I have one sister. A dashing young nephew. A mother and a father. All my dearest friends, my flesh and blood (or closest to it), the source of the most prayers of my own and for my own. All survivors of our own 25+ year battles. And ones I wish (so much I have to avoid thinking on it) could be nearer than they are.

But in the Lord's kindness, I married a man and a family. They've taught me to linger at the dinner table when the food is done and to spend money on celebrations, because people are worth it. I now know how to make a mean cup of salsa (as they call chile). I don't think it's odd to invite my mother to stay in our home when she retires. They've erased the concept of debtor's ethic in a community of family and friends. Saturday mornings seem incomplete with out a huge, rather unhealthy, breakfast. And it would be absurd to leave an event without saying goodbye (with a friendly side hug) to every friend and stranger in the same building.

I'm still a white girl, but I wake up to a boy who is half me (and my family and their stories), and half of this entirely other world. And it's beautiful.

And I'm thankful. Thankful that my loud, outspoken, vegetable loving, small talk hating, midwestern self was so quickly given the Valdez stamp of approval. I love them.

So while in that delivery room, thinking of my husband who tricked me - who stole my affections and threw me into a whirlwind of imperfect (as we all are), yet beautiful, BEAUTIFUL people... it was just a picture of our journey with the Lord. He steals are hearts, rips us from our old world, and throws us into a family. And when the newness of salvation settles into a clarity for the call - we see our new brothers and sisters. Of every nation, tribe, and tongue. And all of us are going to live forever. Forever. Watching the old things pass away - through much labor and trial, and the new and beautiful, like little Emery Hope, come face to face in the light of the Son.

"Behold, I am make all things new."

"I... pray... that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."


i'm an aunt again!

 God is incredible.

Congratulations Jen and Michael Muniz! Emery is beautiful!


it's good to see you again.


I know it's been awhile. It's been a good while. The last two weeks of August and the first of September were really dear to me, and so I tried to not let anything steal moments from them. My husband started graduate school on Tuesday, and for the next 2 years life is going to be a lot more crazy. These last few moments of uninterrupted evenings and study free weekends were encased with my jealousy. Blogging fell to the wayside.

We went to Denver over labor day to visit some of the people we love. I will of course have many posts to share of our adventures. It was a sweet time - investing in the people I love. Covenant friends. It always rips open the heart and the aching for eternity arises from within. To live life running aside these people would deepen our joy, but in our absence and lonely run - and in the will of God - the worth of His beauty is declared.

We saw the mountains, we laughed with our friends, and we dazzled at the city. It was refreshing to be somewhere new.

After arriving home I got a whole new zeal for life, for love, for His kingdom. Sometimes all you need is a new place or an old face, one that reminds you of times past and seasons before, where Your heart was burning. It was the kindness of God to remember: remember prophetic promises, remember loves (even those that have grown cold or fallen away), remember what we are running for, Who we are running toward.

And it's not that I forgot the Lord. It's more I'd forgotten the whole story - the one He's been weaving since I felt His shining face as a young girl. And just because we are swimming in the mundane - doesn't mean it's not being written as I type. Even in my small apartment in disarray, even in the midst of a slumbering boy and bank accounts and homework assignments and utility bills. Even in the midst of walls to be decorated and vegetables to be cooked. Even in the midst, we are fighting the war and exhilarated by His goodness.

I thought it was time to simplify. Life can get complicated and entangled with a mess of things that aren't helping you propel forward. They aren't evil. They are just unnecessary. We run the race like an athlete going for the prize.

And so this is what I did: SIMPLIFY. Is it really necessary to update my life to others through 5 different medians? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Blogging. No, this is a complete waste of my minutes that lead to hours - precious hours that are calling for my attention and my heart. Therefore, I am streamlining and doing everything through this blog. Facebook and twitter will link to my Blog. Instagram has been pruned down to the dearest of friends - ones whose images I am eager to see and stories I feel are wrapped up in my own.

I know this seems silly. Practicalities are always so silly. But practicalities are the fuel behind a burning, furnace of a passion before God. If my practicalities aren't in order, I'm not in order.

Therefore apps were deleted - and I set out to use my useful apps (bible, ihop-kc, revelation, etc.).

At my sister-in-law's baby shower mother's were giving wisdom and one said, "Nap times aren't cleaning times." This set me free. I love a clean home. I love folded and put in place laundry. I love done dishes and organized cabinets. More than that, I love a burning heart - alive and resounding, "I delight in Your decrees; I do not neglect Your Word!"

Let's get these things in order.

And people. I invest time in reading the lives of random people - when there is so much to be done in investing in those the Lord has given me. Let's get this in order.

And so I feel him reminding me how to live. He's a good Father and a perfect leader. I am a weak sheep, but at the end of the day, I know His voice.

and His voice is reminding me how to live.