Pages, Pictures And The Telling Of The Story.


For each of my kid’s birthdays and at the end of every year, I sit with my laptop and comb through photos. For every birthday, I make a slideshow to play in the background of their party and for every Christmas I make a year in review photo book.

This is my favorite part of each celebration, because it ground me like no other tradition can. When I sit with these books or drag and drop the photos into a cohesive slideshow it reminds me of the story we are telling with our lives.

At the end of every December, in the midst of each page, stories are ending and stories are beginning. The year is coming to a close and this practice forces me to sit and reflect.

For my children, their stories are new and uncertain, who knows where they will go? Their gap-toothed, awkward smiles are full of possibility and they beg to be reflected upon years from now after many more chapters have been written.

We are living out a story, for better or for worse, and our story is a small portion of the larger story that is being told throughout the world. The plot line that we play a part in moving forward.

And what was the story this year for our world? For your family? For your soul?

Some days it feels like one of hate and we wonder what sort of world we are leaving behind for our children.

Other mornings dawn bright and hopeful and our souls wake buoyant and light.

These days, these years, these pages are all part of a bigger story. It is easy, painfully easy, to get completely immersed in the mess of the here and now to believe that surely, truly this is all there is.

But when we scale back or look to the sky, we are reminded of the size of the universe and the sheer volume of the story.

So whatever blend of stories and emotions 2015 is leaving you with, remember that these are but pages in a book that is yet unwritten. Feel hopeful as you cling to the real truth that God is in the business of redemption and restoration and the telling of a good story.

The book is a beautiful mess that is moving toward something and we all influence the plot line and play a role in the character development of our friends and neighbors.

So, from me to you: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Thank you for being a part of my story and allowing me, in a small way, to be a part of yours. May we continue to write and grow together as we welcome a sparkly new year.


Photo Source



Here’s a post a wrote for my dear friend Abby’s Sane For The Holidays Series. I love her and her brave, honest writing. If you don’t follow her in all the places you truly wouldn’t regret doing so. 

My Christmas tree is perfect, absolutely perfect.. and completely un-pinnable. I am writing this blog post in it’s light as it stands all fat and wedged in the corner between our entertainment stand and fireplace.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we loaded up our high-mileage mini-van and headed to a local tree farm, to meet Santa, drink cocoa and cut down The 2015 Penny Family Christmas Tree.

When we arrived, we got the low-down, grabbed a saw and looked over the price list/ tree farm map. The average tree on the lot ran from $30- $85 dollars, which is a lot of money for something we’ll to kick to the curb in 5 weeks. So, off we went, on the hunt for a cheap, scotch pine, sure to cover my house in needles while saving my budget.

We soon realized that we were not the only ones with this mentality and that most of the cheap trees were utter crap. It was at this moment that our 4 year old son fell in love with a Frasier Fir, a tree of the $85 variety.


He plopped down next to it, proud that he was able to spot THE PERFECT tree for his mama. When we suggested another tree his lip came out and he promptly burst into tears. So, like good parents who don’t cater to their kids… we promptly wrote a check for $85 and strapped his dream tree to the top of the mini-van.

Hey, you pick your battles, right?

Behold the holidays in all their glory.

Behold the holidays in all their glory.

So we get the Gucci Tree home and prop it up in the tree stand. I logged onto Pinterest to see what they have to say about stringing lights and garland, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong.

Then I realized something, rather profound. 2015 is not going to be the year of the Pinnable christmas tree.

In fact, I don’t know that any Christmas ever will be.

Head on over to accidental devotional to finish it up and see a wicked awesome picture of my kids in front of the Christmas Tree that is crazy unpinnable as well.


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