the tenery family, the beach, and the family of God

the beautiful Tenery family came to visit this weekend. we took their daughter Shiloh to see the big ocean and amos got to run around fully clothed in the sand and waves.

i am so thankful for ones i have known for many years (i've known kyle for about 8, and ricky has known maria for 10!) and i have been able to watch them grow in God and remain steadfast by His grace. it's such an encouraging thing - the family of God! they are some of the most dedicated, brave, true and steady people i have encountered. they love the Word, God's people, and proclaim the gospel with such boldness.

and their daughter is just PURE joy and delight. such a honor to spend the time we did with them.

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Shiloh is a little unsure about the big waves...

feeling sand for the first time
the beautiful tenery family. 
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asleep on her momma...

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amos finally comfortable in the ocean this season. takes a couple beach trips each summer for him to warm up to it.


super cute baby amos videos.

so the main reason for the existence of this blog is to keep a little journal/scrapbook of sorts to remember the growing up of my little ones and the joys (trials, lessons, moments) of this season. i found some random video clips of amos before he turned 2... some before he even turned one.

it's crazy, really, i can't even remember him not being able to articulate his thoughts. rolling around on the ground all chubby, pre-crawling. sitting with his toys, pre-walking. and those one word moments. it seems ages ago.

i now have a little boy (who refers to himself as a very, very big boy) - and his babyness is long gone. have they told you it goes super fast? because, GUYS!, it GOES SO FAST. they are non-walkers for 8 or 9 months, to forever walk... forever move on their own and be dependent on themselves. they are non-talkers for a year or 2, to then enter full conversation and understand the words/sentences they overhear, forming their thoughts and ideas. they nurse for 1, 2, 3 years? they cuddle for who knows how long, to then become grown men, grown women cuddling their own. this is just CRAZY.

i want to freeze lucia and keep a baby version of her forever. but then still let the other version (i don't know, this is weird...) to also see her form her own personality, her own dreams, her own little journey. i want the baby and the girl. but the baby is just a quick little flash, here today, gone tomorrow.

this parenting thing is just nuts. nuts. the them growing up, inching further and further from you - NUTS NUTS NUTS. i can't handle it.

but for now, i'll reminisce on these ridiculously long clips of super fatso baby amos, and try not to cry.

Amos Various from Tiffany Valdez on Vimeo.

Amos as a fat baby from Tiffany Valdez on Vimeo.


nap time

yes, my child has some of lunch all over his face. hate it, but it's true...
i've been determined to take out my DSLR and take some more "non-phone" pictures for awhile now - just hadn't gotten around to it. thankfully, i had spent the day cleaning the house to find the bag hiding in a corner of my room. i took it out and snapped some photos just as everything was calming down and we went into nap time.

unfortunately, amos rarely naps these days - but we do have "quiet time" that is about 30-45 minutes (working up to an hour) of him sitting quietly in his room reading his books. he really enjoys this, and because of frequent library trips he has a great variety to choose from. 

lucia, on the other hand, has been having a harder time going to sleep and staying asleep due to some teeth that are cutting (i think!? i hope!) and has been a little uncomfortable and fussy - and can't stay asleep long. yesterday i put her in the ergo while i cleaned and sang her some songs. she finally fell asleep and i laid her down on my bed. i always bunch of blankets all around her (so safe, right???) so she feels secure. i just love her little sleeping face. though everyone tells me they look so alike, to me they look worlds a part. i become so familiar with every little curve of their face - the littlest things separate them so much. when they are asleep, however, they mold into one beautiful child. their eyes are closed and lucia looks like a little amos. 

amos getting tired of reading books, and sneaking off to his "toy basket"

bookshelf: ikea, cheese cloth and burlap curtain tutorial found here, baby carrier: ergo, bedroom curtains: ikea, amos' bedding: ikea, books from a million different places.


"the gospel in her home" (practical ways to honor God in our homes)

one of my deepest desires is to make my home a place that the presence of the Lord is loved and felt. a dwelling place. a little tabernacle made up of His people (myself, my husband, and our housemate - and by God's grace, eventually my children) where everyone can encounter Jesus.

sometimes the most lofty of dreams are achieved in the most practical of ways. okay, almost always achieved in this way. it's just making choices, daily choices, to honor the Lord and welcome Him.

here is a list of some of the easiest and most practical ways i've learned to honor God in my home. i'm not perfect at it. i don't do all these things, every single day - but i try to do some of them every day. it's the little movements of our heart that still make deep impact.

- turning off the TV. it makes room for so many wonderful things.
- turn on worship music. filling my home with this keeps my heart aware, and i honestly believe changes the atmosphere for my children too.
- taking snack times (we have 2 set snack times at 10:30 and 2:30) and praying for something specific. we pray for our family at the first snack time, and our life group/church in the second snack time.
- praying before your major meals. finding something unique to add to each prayer. "thank you for that baseball game last night. etc."
- reading from our "Jesus Storybook Bible" every night, and adding biblical principles into story time. After reading I tell Amos a story - and it's a great time to teach him lessons or about the character of Jesus.
- teaching Amos to sit and wait on the Lord. reminding him that God speaks, and Amos can hear him. also God can show him things in his minds eye.
- family devotionals once a week. we have started using the little take home sheet from Amos' church class. it's super simple, and doesn't need to be made complicated - especially with younger ones. explain something about God's character and relate it to a story in the Bible or something God says in His word. pray from it. "thank you God for giving your children power to heal the sick! help me to pray for healing for my friends!" and then if you are musical, bang on your instrument and sing to Jesus - and if you aren't, put on a worship song (Will Matthews stuff is great for family time) and dance around your living room.
- apologize for your sin, and acknowledge it to your children as sin. ask them for forgiveness and let them know God, through Christ, has extended us forgiveness.
- before we go to sleep, we list things we are thankful for. it's been the make up of Amos' first sincere prayers. "thank you for my mommy, thank you for my daddy, thank you for Lucia, thank you for that ice cream cone, thank you for my friend Preston..." Amos' little additions are the sweetest things, showing me the true highlights of his day.
- have a mission statement for your home that is visible. i haven't rewrote or hung one up in our new house, and am just now realizing it. in our apartment i had things we were believing God for that month listed, our seasonal prophetic Word from the Lord for our family, our family mission statement (super simple, one sentence) and i like to have up the meanings/verses connected to Amos, and now Lucia's, names.
- when i read the Word during the day, read it out loud if Amos' asks me too - or encourage him to sit with me and read His bible. same with journaling - giving him his own art form (painting, drawing, etc.)

in what ways have you found it easy to let the gospel saturate your home? i would LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear. i am always open to adding/changing how our family does things... if it means we dwell on His goodness that much longer.

that they may grow up in a home that the Lord and His Word are honored and enjoyed!

check out the posts over at After His Smile HERE and Mike + Brit HERE.

we would love to hear your stories on how the Lord is revealing His gospel in your home. either leave a link below to your personal post, or share a photograph on instagram with a few sentences how the Lord has been teaching them about the gospel in your home. make sure to use the hashtag #thegospelinherhome


hooray!!! [amos' vision of jesus and other happy things]

tonight, after we read a story about Jesus letting all the children come and sit with Him - I reminded Amos that Jesus loves him and wants to talk to him and show him things. I said, "Let's close our eyes and ask Jesus to show us something. Sometimes we have to wait for a little bit, but Jesus' promises to reveal Himself to those who ask!" 

and so we did, him and i lying in his little toddler bed, huddled close - we closed our eyes and asked Jesus to show us things. 

Amos was quiet for a bit, eyes shut tight. I finally asked him, "Did you see anything" and i waited for him to answer.

He opened his eyes wide and said, "Yes! I saw Jesus cleaning up my toys!" 

"You did?" I asked in wonderment at the sweet and simple revelation of Jesus, "You know, Jesus is a servant. If He came over, I'm sure He would joyfully pick up your toys!" 

and then he said... 

"I saw Him vacuuming too!"


- LOVE the app "vine" on iphone. my name is above (@tiffany__dawn) and i take an unruly amount of little snippets of amos and lucia. amos' crack me up, because his little conversations are so endearing. they are just 6 second clips of our little lives. you should check out the app!!!

- i'm also doing a giveaway over on the instagram (@tiffany__Dawn). follow me to learn how you can win a pair of earrings for both you and a friend from burdees etsy shop.

- enjoying designing for the Giving Keys. check out the founder Caitlin Crosby's Ted Talk where she talks (and sings!) about the journey of the company.

- bbq grill was a greattttt home purchase, especially in san diego where the weather is bar-b-queable (a word?) 98% of the time.

off to sleep, and back to the week.
may you feel the Lord's servant heart for you over the coming days. ;)


this is love.

our God is love. yes, love. a love so unchanging, so unrelenting, so jealous, so clear, so beautiful.
and our tastes are small. so small. flashes, so fast, it leaves us in longing.

we do not understand the passion that would lead a God to die. lead a God to walk in the dirt, embrace the leper, wash our fickle feet and lock the cage of the human frame - forever embodied as a man like us. so He could love us fully. so He could love us well. so He could suffer and rise to give us entrance into forever.

His love reaches the man without a home. the women ashamed. the fatherless. the motherless. the lonely. the prideful. the angry and the lost.

His love reaches the homosexual. the intellect. the down syndrome daughter. the autistic son. the artist. the "enlightened". the perfectionist. the weary mother. the workaholic father. the socially awkward. the democrat. the republican. the orphan and the kings.

His love can find us when we are hiding, when we are shaking our fists at a Creator, when we are killing and wounding and destroying.

He is a Redeemer. He is living, roaring, singing, and dancing wildly while being so deeply involved in humanities destiny - in it's great and small dealings. He is King. He is King. He is God.

and so today, remember, He loves you. He loves you and all that comes with you. Your oddities, your secrets, your dreams, and your pain. Though you cannot see Him, He is there - beckoning Your heart to call on His name, to ask Him to save you - because He will. He's like that, never turning away a soul, making all things beautiful. He's just that good.


lucia mercy @ 3 months old (almost!)

my beautiful baby girl is almost 3 months old. she's very vocal, and let's me know when she wants me to slow down and hold her. she loves to be swaddled, rocked with her pacifier for naps. and nurses in the bed to sleep for the night. she smiles, giggles, and loves watching her brother play. she's endured some amos rowdy play rather well, and i think she's going to be a tough cookie.

she immediately naps when put in the ergo, and still hates the carseat/car rides - unless i'm singing. and she will go down for naps by the end of the song if i sing "part of this world" (no joke - not sure how i discovered this) from the little mermaid. it's her magical tune. that and "Hosanna, to the Lamb that was slain," and old Hillsong classic i've been singing to both my kids since they were born.

she can hold toys, kind of unintentionally - and grab her hanging toys. she eats her blanket and the bottom of her dress if she has one on. she sometimes catches glances of her hands or feet and stares at them in wonder.

she loves tummy town on her dad's chest, and the mirror on her play gym. she's strong! and she is such a sweet delight to me. i'm so overjoyed to be a mother to a daughter.

sleeps sometimes in swing, sometimes in bed, sometimes in moses basket, and sometimes swaddled. pretty versatile

a new trick. ;)

carseat entertainment because she's certainly not a fan.
out to eat.

amos at 3 months old.


"the gospel in her home" (help!)

           Today I don't know what to write. This is a group post we are meant to post at the same time so we can link together. I'm having a week that is sprinkled with failures and inadequacies. I suppose every week is filled with those in our human existence, but some weeks they are much more prominent than others.

           This week I forgot to post because I tried going to bed at 8:30 last night due to extreme exhaustion. I had skipped dinner in a rush to get Amos to bed, only to realize skipping dinner had lead me not to be able to sleep. My head is spinning trying to wrap my arms around each of my roles in life. A mother, a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a homeowner, a maid (let's be real), a cook, an organizer, a business owner, a designer, an artist, a writer, and the list goes on. Some of these roles are a much higher priority than others, but it would be silly to act as if others have disappeared in the light of the more important ones.

          I think the most difficult aspect, as of right now, is not the time management side. I've grown in this area much over the past 26 years... specifically the past 3 - a post for another day. The ones that are troubling me now are the relational ones - having enough to give in every area. I want to spend quality time (both one on one and together) with each of my children every day. I want to spend quality time with my husband each and every day. I want to maintain community. I want to serve my neighborhood and church. I want to keep up a friendship with those in my life that live far away but I have committed my heart to. I want to honor my mother and father by keeping up relationship with them. and most importantly, I want to have a genuine relationship with the Lord. One that involves dialogue and thought and TIME.

         How do I do this? I honestly have no idea. When I feel particularly successful in one arena, I feel like an utter failure in another. Example, this week I have purposely set forth to spend hours each day with each child despite tasks that need to be done. I obviously always do this, but I was trying to be intentional about unbroken time - giving them patience, gentleness, full attention. You know, embracing the hidden Mary within and trying to tell the Martha that roars "no". This is very specific with Amos - it involves activities, outside time, etc. I found myself last night, almost crying, because I feel like I felt like I missed Ricky - which is crazy because he is finally home every evening. I had had full days with my kids, but by the time he came home I was rough, short, and impatient. On top of all this, I have promised phone calls I have to make to friend - and the list continues. Not counting all the undone tasks.
         I guess I do not have any profound points to make. I am LEARNING to be a mother of two. Gosh, I'm learning to be a mother of one. I'm learning to be a loving and servant-hearted wife - and I'm coming up on year 4.

        Ultimately, because of the cross and Jesus' death and resurrection  there is hope for me. There is hope that He will work all things for the good of those who love Him. He will take my broken attempts at mothering, at being a loving counterpart in all my relationships and make them beautiful - make them count - make them GOOD. He has given me every gift to succeed in these arenas. He sent me the Holy Spirit to HELP. He will give me wisdom if only I ask.

        So the gospel gives me answers/direction/wisdom, but even before I have them, Christ gives me hope they will come. I am not alone. Amen and Amen.

the ones that give me the roles i am so honored to walk out, even in their trial and hardship.

check out the posts over at After His Smile HERE and Mike + Brit HERE.

we would love to hear your stories on how the Lord is revealing His gospel in your home. either leave a link below to your personal post, or share a photograph on instagram with a few sentences how the Lord has been teaching them about the gospel in your home. make sure to use the hashtag #thegospelinherhome


what my mother and grandmother gave to me.

today was my mother's side family reunion. they all gathered in a small town in a large backyard and spent time together. i missed out, as i live miles away and tickets aren't cheap. my grandmother was not in attendance as she is busy laughing and talking with Jesus. that's the reunion of all reunions, if you ask me.

my mother is her mother's daughter. their hands are the same, and they both laugh at the face of lightning storms and extravagant things. each have shelves of worn bibles and journals filled with prayers. my mother is her mother's daughter.

i am thankful for this. i am thankful for them. i am thankful for the values that have been passed down, especially as a woman - that I can give to my own daughter. .

- don't buy what you don't have the money for. thank you, because i've never had to face credit card debt in my 27 years of life. 

- "cleaning up takes 10 minutes." if you take a couple "10 minute" segments out of your day to do tasks, straighten up, etc. you will essentially rarely ever have to clean more than that. it's constant small care that will keep your home from becoming overwhelming.

- don't pick up after yourself and you'll have to pick up 100 hair pins, one by one. my mother tells me how my grandma kept a pretty tight ship. having so many kids in a small home meant everyone had to pick up after themselves. one time, in a rush, my mother took out her curlers and pins and left them all over the bathroom counter to make it to cheerleading practice on time. my grandma found the curlers and pins, walked all the way to her school and made her leave, walk home, and pick up each curler and pin one by one until she was done. after that she was free to go. :)

- love the outcast. my mom has always been the one to befriend the "odd duck" as she would call them. the lowly position at work that no one has the time to talk to. the socially awkward person in the neighborhood. you know, the unlovely, the unloveable. my mother has taught me to see the beauty and the gift within each person. not to love them for the sake of becoming a saint, but to find what is in them that can be loved. what story do they have. what has made them the way they are. what makes them come alive. she has never thrown aside the outcast, ever.

- simple things can make you happy. in all my years growing up, i rarely remember my mom purchasing anything for herself - and even if she did, it was commonly second-hand. she taught me the art of yardsaling (found here), and that labels don't mean a thing. her home is filled with items she found on sale, and it is one of the coziest places on earth. my childhood was rich. not because of "stuff," but because of family. i honestly believe my ability to stay content in our income level has allowed me to stay at home. i know if i worked, we would double our income and be able to have a larger home in a nicer area - but i have the grace, passed down from my mom, to find joy in the simpler life. 

- our lives are sustained by the Word of God. they truly have declared this prayer with their lives, "Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times."  Psalm 119

- at the end of the day, our only hope is Jesus. it has been the sustaining hope I have seen within my mother's heart through 27 years of my watching her triumphs and trials. as it was my grandmother's, whose face was smiling throughout cancer and her final moments of life. she was created to be with the Lord, as was my mother, and as was i. this is our hope.

thank you Grandma Doris, thank you my sweet mother for teaching me lessons in my youth that take others years and years of heartache and mistake.

this is weird.

i always come up with these train of thoughts and say to myself, "i have to blog about this." but when the time comes to sit and process unto some form of writing, my head goes blank. here i am, my baby daughter asleep and my son and husband running errands. a fairly clean house surrounds me as i munch on my summer tomato, cucumber, and chickpea salad and sip my iced americano.

and with this quiet, still and rare (very rare) moment before me, my mind absolutely goes blank. almost as if it STOPS THINKING.

it's weird, maybe that's what it needs. to just stop for a moment. to not have 15 layers of thoughts running at once - maybe it needs some breathing room.

i don't know. because it seems i need to take a moment and have some super DEEP thoughts. but when those thoughts do come, they seem to come in the midst of a million little thoughts that are sustaining my home and my children lives like, "make sure amos doesn't fall off that chair or run with that grape in his mouth or don't let lucia roll off the couch or feed them, clothe them, bath them, KEEP THEM ALIVE..." and then something flashes across my brain like, "THE MEANING OF LIFE." (well not that extreme, but something along those lines)... to be lost in the clutter of the lesser (yet as significant in the long run) stuff.

so now here i am, just processing out loud the reality that my buried deep thoughts are found somewhere within my subconscious - in a room or a drawer unbeknownst to me.

this is a weird post. lucia is waking up.

goodbye. ;)

because posts without a photo are weird. therefore i give you my children.