Category Archives: Thankfulness


There are some things that just shouldn’t be put on a blog.

I haven’t blogged in almost a year because I needed to intentionally process with people, to glean their wisdom learned from mistakes and triumphs. I needed to feel wet tears and let mine be touched, I needed to see furrowed eyebrows and know that mine were being seen. I needed celebratory hugs and crooked smiles all around me. Its been a big year. I love family, both blood and the other kind, more than I ever have before. Not more than I ever will though.

I am convinced that sharing life will gain greater importance as I go on.

I turned 27 this year. We have a birthday tradition where we list our top 3 most memorable events of the year at a meal shared with family and friends. They aren’t necessarily the best events… but ones that will mark the last year of life.

My top 3 of my 27th year:

My Pappaw passed away August 19, 2011.

I got to witness my newest nephew, Graham Kristian, come into this world September 2, 2011.

The third was actually 3 events so I kinda stretched the rules.. the breakup, reconciliation process and then Engagement with Karley Neil (who is  now my husband!!)

My top 3 can be summed up by Loss, Gain and Redemption.

My life was filled with.. life this year. It was beautiful. It may not have always looked beautiful, but entering with the assurance that God is actively redeeming the world and being able to hope in more than mere circumstance gave me the freedom to love, be healed, be still, and know that he is God.

Some of us have to persevere longer in the hoping and waiting. Some of us do not get to see the pieces of redemption we are desiring with our whole hearts. Some of us will have incredible disappointment. My heart aches over those and with those, knowing that I cannot ever fully know their grief. Although it may not seem like it in the midst of sorrow, we have attainable to us something that will never disappoint, something real and tangible that we can always rest on.

We can be reconciled to the one who made us and then become new. The old hurts caused us and that we have caused others can be put away. We no longer have to be defined by the grievances, but by who we were originally intended to be. There is one who took all the crap who didn’t deserve any of it, so that we could live without it and have hope for when our bodies ultimately fail us. I am thankful for being able to hope in something greater than a world that continues to bring pain. Having experienced redemption firsthand, I recognize it is my honor and responsibility to share the message of reconciliation and to actively be a part of the restoration process.

So, this is what I will strive to do.

This is the story of redemption that we put on our wedding blog.

My midwestern man moved to Hume Lake in 2006. He created lots of things and invested himself fully in the people and the programs so that kids will be drawn into the story of the gospel. Meanwhile, I was following a big dream of teaching people to live full lives which lead me to work at Hume in 2008 and found myself just down the street from this talented, goodlooking, people serving manly man.A few trips around the lake, down the hill, games of cribbage and cups of coffee later… and we had to face the facts: we liked each other. alot.
We spent the next many months living and serving and playing and falling in love. We adventured whenever we could and lived life and grew together.
Along the way we learned each other and about ourselves. The Lord refined us and shaped us… which wasn’t always the most pleasant.After a couple years we figured out each other’s shortcomings, that communication is difficult and that vulnerability is terrifying. We finally released each other and Jesus held us both.
In that time the Lord reminded both of us who he made us to be. He grew us and loved us and guided us. And then, he taught us grace, forgiveness, reconciliation and redemption.
He gave us each new hearts. He redeemed our lives and made us whole so that we could fully love each other and best reflect HIS love.We are so thankful for the road we have traveled together–for the uphills and the scenic routes, the cruise controls and the stop lights. Our thriving relationship is proof that God redeems and changes people for his purposes. Now we understand his grace and have seen firsthand what he can do. We are SO excited to extend this same grace and love to those around us.
On our own accord and with our best attempt we are nothing… with his hope and grace… we are beautiful.My man moved to Santa Barbara to be near me in Decemember and asked me to be his wife on the 29th. We celebrated with family and best friends for a few days and have hit the ground running with wedding planning and house remodeling!

So stoked out of our minds to begin life together!!

Thanks to each of you for sharing in all of this with us. We hope that you are each encouraged by our story and through our redemption. God is so stinkin good!!

Karley was redeemed. I was redeemed. We were both made new. And we have stories for days. We are also the first to admit that we are continually being made new… It is not a one and done and all perfect now kind of thing.
I am looking forward to viewing the world through a lens of redemption. I aim to share those things more with the people around me and here, in this little blog.
See things redeemed.

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Filed under family, forgiveness, Grace, Thankfulness


Disclaimer: Reading this may cause extreme dizziness and confusion. If you find your way through to the end I hope that your nausea will have settled. Good luck!

Today I opened my journal and just stared at it for awhile. I’ve been pushing it aside and trying to ignore it because I haven’t known where to begin with trying to wring all the thoughts out of my head without it being a sopping mess.

It was pretty cool morning on the beach and I wasn’t wearing a hoodie, so I only got 3 pages in before my arm froze up and made my handwriting nearly illegible. I succumbed to thinking. As much as I want my journal to be coherent, and my blogs for that matter, its this confuzingly awkward life of mine that I have been aiming to straighten for awhile. Today on the beach, surrounded by seagulls, I asked myself, ‘why?’

God has brought me to this place in life where I feel blindfolded… and like I am in one of those times when someone is driving you and you are trying to guess where you are going and make sense of your surroundings without really knowing anything. Its like ohh… we went left and then right and you said this… so we are probably going… And they just laugh because they know its good… but you just want to know, so its kinda irritating. Ya know? Well. I have found freedom and beauty in it.

He has shown me that the love that he has given me for adventures, for people, for reading and writing and discussing, for photography, and all different kinds of food, and for running, and for seeking him. For a long time I have felt spread too thin. I like too many things. I have wanted to be channeled.

Excuse me, Mr. Painter, you put too many colors on this canvas and they don’t complement each other. 

Sometimes I do feel like abstract art. I don’t really like abstract art.

I have been looking and analyzing myself to the death trying to figure out these pieces he has given me so I can go ahead and put the puzzle together already. But now I see. He never gave me any pieces. He never gave me hints. He made me whole. If I am looking for something in the future, its not what he has for me.  What he has for me, I already have. I am complete as I am, because of what he has done in me.

My love of being around a lot of people. and for being alone.

My love for adrenaline and crazy sports. and for laying on the beach.

My love for healthy food. and a fresh donut.

My love for reading challenging books. and for people’s witty fb status updates.

My love for working out. and for taking naps on the couch.

I have a hard time making decisions because I like too many things. I have too many favorites. I am too optimistic.

Focus. Purpose. Intention. Even typing those words make my heart race.

If I focus on one… what about the rest?

In the past 2 weeks I have surfed, paddleboarded, started learning to kite board, sea kayaked and swam in the ocean. I could focus on one and maybe even get kinda good at it. But then I wouldn’t get to experience the others… and they are stinkin fun! This is who I am.

My focus, my purpose, my intention is Jesus. Today. Whether that is through eating donuts with friends or taking photos of insects, he gets the glory as I enjoy him and what he has made. After all, this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. He will shape and lead and guide, most likely without me realizing it, as I pursue him and what he has set right before me.

So, for transparency part of this post…

Because I enjoy so much, I am in danger of getting distracted. I am in danger of living life in a really full way, soaking up all that it has “to offer me,” and then tanking. As I look back through cycles of my life, there have been periods of darkness that overcome me. I haven’t understood them. They have clouded all that has been good and all that I have enjoyed with feelings of pointlessness and despair and drudgery.

When I get in the habit of living life because it is good, I am on unsteady ground. When I allow myself to be distracted from the only real and steady and consistent thing in life, from the only thing that gives life… and instead focus on “life,” all that is sweet and good and what makes me, me, becomes tainted. The good in life stings bitter.

I write this knowing that not many people will read it, but knowing that some will encourages this confession and profession of what he has done. This is part of my testimony of what God is doing in my life. I am convicted that I have been asking: Where am I going?, instead of: Here I am, send me.

I am sure it will be a lifelong wrestle of enjoying life because I think it is good… and knowing that the perspective I should have is to enjoy life because God is good. Because really, life isn’t that good. Sorry. But there is a lot of pain and crappy situations that I would rather avoid. But I pursue this life, these people, this town because this is where I am and because he is good. He is always good.

God has always been so gentle in his teaching and patient with me as I struggle to unlearn all that life and culture and society has taught me. He has much more grace than I have for myself and loves me much more than I love myself as well. Instead of wallowing in my own self-condemnation ranging from not reaching certain standards to deliberate sin that would horrify most people, I will go to him because he immerses me in forgiveness and mercy, makes my heart new and sends me out to love.

Gosh, he is so good.

That freedom cannot be found anywhere else.


Filed under Grace, Life Ponderings, Thankfulness

oh my heart.

Luke William.

Born 03-04-05…. turns 6.

As I went through these pics and many many others I cried. This little man has such a huge grip on my heart. I can’t believe I’ve known him for six years.. such a short time.. but I also can’t remember our family without him. He brought us together.

As I look through the pics of me and Rach squishing his sugar cheeks together with our kisses… I can see his graduation from highschool… from college… on his wedding day. Life goes fast. It is treasure.

At some point he is gonna fall in love. He may have his heart broken, he may break someone else’s. At some point he is going to stand up for someone, and later need someone to stand up for him. He will do well on a test, and on one he may be disappointed. He will try and succeed and try and fail. He’ll most likely break something and have to wait for it to heal. Someone he loves will die. He will dance to his favorite music.  He’ll figure out if what he liked when he was little stays the same. He may grow to like melted cheese. He will have regrets. He will have hopes. He will see how big the world is and will know how small he is. He will dream anyway. He will see.

I am praying that he learns at a young age that his life is not his own, that he was bought with a price.

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Filed under Life Ponderings, Thankfulness

oh the holiday.

Tonight I started making the infamous Schakett family Four-Layer Delight, all by myself, for the first time ever, without supervision. I am nervous if the crust is going to be right, if the cream cheese is going to be blended in well enough to the cool whip and powdered sugar, if Vegard and my dad are going to want to eat it for breakfast. I hope it is okay. The recipe couldn’t be more simple… there is a reason I was entrusted with it. But still… though room for error is small, there still is room.

Today I made eggnog lattes and peppermint mochas at Starbucks. I consumed a couple Peppermint JoeJoe’s when I got home. I started Christmas shopping this afternoon. And I turned on the Christmas music while I was in the kitchen putting the delightful layers together. Apparently the holiday season is here.

I had a strong since of nostalgia for some reason earlier today of Christmas with the Mase’s last year… and the couple of weeks that I spent with my grandparents exactly one year ago. Three hundred and sixty five days have gone by. It doesn’t “feel” like it, but I don’t really even know what that means.

Am I going to spend another Christmas season trying to figure out how to make it not just less materialistic, but not materialistic at all? The years go by fast. Too fast to not figure this out immediately.

I am trying not to pessimistic, or sinister even when I consider how America (or the world), considers the holidays, because that defeats the purpose.

Like everyday, it is about kingdom living. Restoring the earth, restoring people.

His kingdom come, his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I want to seek that earnestly. That is why Jesus came. To save, to restore: all things.

May my words and deeds and gifts be those that restore and actively further the kingdom of God.

Lord help me.

I also just got a new lens off of craigslist. I am loving it.. but have a lot to learn and a steady hand to acquire. Its a Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro. Pretty awesome. So, these pics are practice with the new toy. Unedited and rough… but it was either as is or no pics. Its bedtime.

And yes, I realize the seeming contradiction of acquiring things while talking about not being materialistic. We (I), must hold all things lightly and take nothing for granted. Having enough to eat today was grace… even though I am used to eating I must remember the immense blessing of having a full stomach.

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Filed under Giving, Life Ponderings, Photography, Thankfulness


I am going across the world

to love kids

who I know nothing about.

I don’t know their struggles.

I don’t know their fears.

I don’t know what they have been through.

I don’t have advice.

But I have Jesus.

and he is more than enough.


I have been given many opportunities to step out in boldness lately.

It is exciting.




Exciting doesn’t describe it… it kinda makes me wanna cry and laugh at the same time, shaking my head in disbelief. The disbelief is not in my God, but in how I lived outside his “pushings” for so long. I grieve that. So I forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3).

He opens doors for His glory…

and it makes me smile.

Off to prepare for the logistical things (finding a long skirt), and praying he prepares all else.

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new friend.

Coming up with some kind of  crazy adventure or even a simple but fun idea… and then acting on it, is one of my favorite things.

Moments like that in life make me smile. No putting off for another time.. Seizing the day. Thought into action. Dreams come true.

Living life.

Today was one of those days. I met a girl last night who is from Fresno and had never been surfing. We decided that she needed to go. And we decided that I should be the one to take her because I always want to go but have no one to go with. But… she doesn’t have a board and she lives half an hour away, so we had a plethora of excuses to pull from. However, today I got a text from her asking if I was still up for it. I was.

So we went.

We worked up a sweat getting into our wetsuits, swallowed too much salt water and almost surfed into a seal.

But it was awesome.


Filed under Thankfulness


Click on the pic to check out the video on her blog. So precious.
Praise the Lord!

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This little one straight up melted me with her sass in Haiti. We get to hear her story on CNN today and/or tomorrow.

Here is the blog from our trip if you want to see pics… most of mine did not turn out so great :/

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Filed under Life Ponderings, Thankfulness

this doesn’t seem real… yet.

This is my ghetto countdown… at moments like these I wish I was much more computer savvy :/
Details are to come. What I know now is that I leave on April 16th and return on April 24th. We will primarily be at the Maison de Lumiere.

UPDATE! Leaving on the 14th. Booking tickets today…


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I just got a trial version of LIGHTROOM and have been trying to figure it out. This is the first attempt.

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Filed under Photography, Thankfulness