Wednesday, May 30, 2012

the water

this boat is very special to me and i can not believe it's been five years. five years since we have been on back. when justin and i first started dating and he took me to his dad's houseboat for the first time i had no idea what was in store or what house boating was all about. two things: dock holiday is incredible and there is nothing like being on the water. we realized as we drove home on monday that we will never let five years go by without being on the boat. it was a magical weekend and watching ava experience it all for the first time...priceless.

the boat is where we met sara and tommy for the first time and where justin surprised me with an engagement party almost six years ago. some of my best memories with justin and our family are wrapped up in this boat. while floating in the water 7 years ago i sorta told his sister that i was going to marry her brother (we had just met the month prior) and i was pretty confident about it. i can be overly confident and say things without thinking sometimes...but this was not one of those times. as i have been reflecting about the weekend and the joy that surrounded it i realized that my love for this boat is so intertwined with the summer justin and i fell in love that it holds such a deep party of my heart. this is where our families met. this is where justin went right after we met and camp ended. this is where so many of our first memories were made together. 

justin loves water. oceans, lakes, rivers, you can name it. i saw something new in him this weekend as he and ava played in the water. hoping she will share the same passion for water and it looks like she is up for problem.


thank you for a magical weekend...just for us.

today our 6 week adventure begins. ava and i drive to DC and fly to MI for my cousin's wedding. ava is the flower girl. get is going to be good. then we fly back to DC and drive to a young life camp in the adirondacks of NY state for the month of june. it is going to be full and it is going to be good.

i will be back on friday with something good. don't miss it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

my prayer

i am studying ephesians with a group of ladies and last night paul's prayer for spiritual strength put me in my place. do i live like this? do i live in this truth? is anything about his prayer for me and for you even the least bit evident in my heart and what i am about as a follower of jesus? questions i am asking out loud to myself and to those around me who i know desire deep fellowship with Christ. i know He wants more me. i know He has more for me. He did not just walk through scary ugly cancer...but He has joy for me in the mundanes of life. laundry. ironing. grocery shopping. giving baths. making meals. packing for vacation. walks to the park. errands. many of us said last night...we want extraordinary. not just good or great or awesome. but so much more and i know it is available to us. i desire to live in the joy and freedom Christ offers us.

prayer for spiritual strength
ephesians 3:14-21(esv)

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith - that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever, and ever. Amen.

read it, then read it again, then read it again, then let is sink into your head and your heart and your soul.
i love that the love of Christ surpasses all knowledge. that is a lot of love.

Monday, May 21, 2012

burned 'um up

thankful for the response from many of you in regards to this post. happy to know i am not alone.

this weekend was spent at the rockbridge. it is the young life camp where justin and i met 7 years ago. it always feels safe and comfortable to us. i love that. ava ran around and did not stop moving for basically two days straight. it was tiring but good. thankfully there were a lot of friends there who were willing to keep up with her and play. thankful for friends who love ava the way that they do.

it was refreshing to catch up with people we rarely see and get away for the weekend. with fellowship, worship, and time to slow down. even though it was busy with soul felt rested. spending time outside, soaking in the beauty of the mountains, and being reminded of all i have to be thankful for...we have phenomenal friends and God is good.

on saturday night justin took ava back to our room and put her to bed so i could stay in club to hear pat goodman speak. during worship we sang this song and it does something to my heart and i can not get through it without tears. lots of them. pat went on to share a lot that i felt was directed right at me. i even thought...did pat tell justin what he was going to be sharing tonight so that's why justin made sure i could stay to hear it? either way it was huge for me. all about the voices we listen to and the lies we believe and how in those places...when we believe those lies...we become stuck. stuck in the bondage that keeps us from living in the way we were designed to live. whole and complete in Christ. because of the is done. all of it. everything...His death covers it all. the end. if only i could really live in that freedom. at the end he asked us to write down whatever lies. whatever bondage we are living in. whatever is keeping us from experiencing Christ in a more intimate and real way...write it down and burn it. yup, a big bonfire. burn those lies up.

so in tears i wrote down four. four things i think about all the time. i have come to believe are true and have left me stuck, sad, anxious, and scared.

so on may 19 i burned it up. i know it is not magic or anything. but i feel lighter. i feel more free. i feel a little less stuck. i want to believe what is true. i want the Lord to enter into the depths of my heart and into my secrets. into the places that are ugly, embarrassing, and in turn prevent me from living in the freedom that the cross offers to us all. here's to freedom.

only took two pictures this weekend. but her eyes in this picture are priceless...she just wanted to get to that pool as soon as possible.

what lies do you believe? what do you need to burn up?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

direction or lack thereof

i have been sitting here for what feels like forever...and i got nothing. i had hopes of writing while ava is asleep and before i need to get to bed...but nothing seems to be coming. not sure what that is about. i guess this is writers block. i told justin this weekend that i feel like i have no goals and i am not sure what i am passionate about. to which he said...babe, you are passionate and let's get you some goals. i know what i like. i know how i like to spend my time. i enjoy lots of things. for example i like decorating, cooking, crafts, tv, books, shopping, being outside, going for walks, hanging with friends, being with my family, etc. i enjoy all those things. but i guess i wish i knew what ignited a fire inside me. what brought be joy and purpose. i know my life is found in Christ...but i desire to have more specific direction. is okay that i do not feel passionate everyday about being mom? but i would not trade it for the world. ever. seriously. is it normal to feel different about things everyday? it okay that i know i want to write a theory but the idea scares me and i am paralyzed in that fear so i stop moving in a direction of writing? is anyone else in this boat? not totally clear on what they are about and where they are headed? i wish..for now that i had a little more vision for my life. i do believe that if you put your mind to something you can do it. whatever it is. i do believe that...just not totally sure what i want or where i am going (aside from the definite: being a wife, ava's mom, and a friend to many) so instead of coming to some conclusion or conclusions tonight...i will keep it open ended.

anyone else feel the same way? i sure hope so.

regardless of my lack of goals for least ava is real cute.

thanks queen. these pictures are precious.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

our day

this weekend we celebrated two biggies...five years of marriage and mother's day. we sorta blended the two into one really great day. i woke up to flowers with gift cards from my favorite ice cream place in town all stuffed into between the bouquet. opened my card and not surprised when i opened it and " still the one" was playing. justin is a fan of the musical card and paying $8 for that feature. laying on the table was a gift card with what appeared to be a clue to a riddle..."roses are red."

for justin i had been wanting to hang something on this wall since we moved in. but i knew i wanted it to be some sorta of saying or something good to kinda jump start our day since we look at everyday as we go down the stairs. so when angie's shop officially opened i knew i wanted something she created for this special space in our bedroom.

i decided on this: i'm so happy we ended up here. seems appropriate. no matter where we have been or where we will go and all the adventures in between i want to keep us grateful for exactly where we are right now...wherever that may be & all the times it will change...i am so happy we ended up here...together...for life.

we got ourselves together and headed downtown to the farmer's market. we ended up with homemade lemon pound cake that ava wanted to share with strangers. i was taste testing some cheese and inside the box of cheddar cheese was clue number two..."ava's hair."

then we headed to our favorite little breakfast place in town and it was incredible. the straps on the highchair were broken which offered ava a bit of freedom while eating, but mostly allowed her to give kisses. we saw our friend kristie at breakfast who then randomly handed me clue number three..."gets a twirl."

if you are married to someone on young life staff and they happen to be funny they mostly will be asked to "program" at yl camp. program is over the top and ridiculous and essential to week of summer camp. justin is good at it. the best i think. on our walk home we headed into a fabric store to get silver sequin fabric for a cape and bright yellow for lightning bolts. seems normal enough to me.
ava was rewarded with a yard stick from ragtime fabrics and used it as a walking stick for the trip home.

then lots and lots of swinging in her new swing with clue number 4..."when it comes." 

ended our family day with some ice cream. biggest "baby cone" i have ever seen.

second to last clue came from our friend clint and it said..."to wives."

we headed to dinner to celebrate and reminisced over the past five years and then a little box came across the table and as i opened it the final clue..."you're a true pearl." my first real pearls. totally surprised. it was a special day. thankful for my husband and for being a momma. such a gift.

also do not miss our story in the fabulous online magazine docica. seriously i love it. great stories. photography, design. inspiration. all on your computer, ipad, or phone. i am obsessed. our story is featured on blog lovin' on page 134 if you care to take a look.

Monday, May 14, 2012

a letter.

ava is still not hundred percent so i will be back tomorrow with a post on our anniversary and mother's day. so for today be sure to check out E, Myself, and I and her incredible week long series...

i was asked to kick off the series today with my own personal letter to new moms...or any mom or any woman really. i am honored to be included. do not miss it. read HERE.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


it is kinda of a milestone. five years seems like a lot...but in the best way. i still feel like we just met...but it has been seven years. i recall thinking how crazy it was in the beginning of our relationship and how much we had missed out each others lives. although our connection felt so natural and easy. it still seemed as if none of it was could this possibly work? well it's working. here we are celebrating life...our family...the adventures we never anticipated when we said "i do" in a garden in virginia five years ago today. with 33 people around us...whose love and support has been undeniable...we made a covenant. to God, to our family, friends, and to one another. for life. no matter what we are in this...let's keep fighting for what we know is inside of us. passion. intentionality. writing letters. sharing our hearts. achieving our dreams and being committed to getting to know one another a little bit deeper everyday. let's do this for the next forever. a few wedding pictures can be seen HERE.

let's celebrate. we are off for a family day and special date tonight. we will be posting pictures on the iphone app instagram. it's @libbyryder. 

happy mother's day to you all. i am sharing a little letter to all the mommas out there on monday and linking up with my friend elizabeth. be sure to check out her series next week. for many it is a day of celebration and joy...but not for everyone. i do not want to dismiss your heart and your desire to be a mother or have a better relationship with your mother or the grief of the loss of the mother. but either way...let us celebrate where we are today. it is all a gift and we do not waste it. any of it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

the joy of a swing.

today happened to be one of those days: wide open and no set plans. i like these kind of days. sometimes they make me sad and i feel like i have no friends but other times i embrace laying in bed and watching cartoons with my family. drinking a couple more cups of coffee than the typical morning. but laying around all day is probably not going to win me any "mommy of the year awards" so we headed to story time at the downtown library. of course there was not story time today at 10am. so we read a few books and then headed to the children's museum. a entire kindergarten class was there for a class trip and no joke they were such sweet kids. a few little girls helped ava get one a slide that she could not reach on her own. the girl looked over at me and said, "nothing i wont do for a little baby." i melted because little baby she was talking about was my girl.

we headed to the post office to get a few stamps for mother's day cards and on our way got a little sidetracked by kline's ice cream. the featured flavor was: peanut butter chocolate. um, i am so done. that is my all time favorite flavor ever. so we got ice cream at 11am. that's cool i think. it was nearly noon. justin has been helping a friend paint a house that he is flipping and the rainy weather has made it hard to paint...he was finally able to do it today. so we decided to surprise daddy with lunch but when we called to make sure he was there...we got a little stressed out husband on the phone b/c the paint sprayer was broke and he was a little annoyed. so we we turned around and headed home (we are bringing him his lunch when ava is up from her nap). 

ava got a little mad about life and being confined to her stroller. begging me..."walk momma...please, walk momma" after trying to explain to her that road was busy and that she would end up wanting me to hold her as soon as she had her much desired freedom. i let her out. for about 3 minutes she walked right next to me and discovered her pockets in her shirt and walked with her fists inside her pockets and telling me over and over..."mommy pockets. see pockets." after those 3 long minutes she put her arms up and said, "hold you mommy. please hold you." to which i scooped her up and reminder her that the correct way to ask is..."hold me please mommy." she repeated that and we continued to talk. i often think that it is far more entertaining and sweet to not correct her grammar.

right before we came upon this tree swing my arm was officially aching. we walk past this swing almost everyday and for the first time she asked, "swing. oh, please swing please." thankfully the swing is the front yard of a house that young life leaders live in so were not trespassing or anything like that.

see that picture below...well that is joy. in case today is hard and sad and dark and your anxious about your life and wish things were a bit brighter...remember where joy comes from. for us today it came from a swing. i try not to be cliche about anything. really i don't. but today i needed this. i needed to stop (even though i wanted to get home to put her down for a nap) and let her swing. experience the wind blowing her thin little hair. she always laughs when the wind blows her hair.

a little nervous and thrilled. she kept begging..."higher mommy. higher mommy." but since this swing was clearly not designed for little kids i was a little leery of her letting go and falling a bit too far to the ground. but she held on and she laughed. she laughed really hard. when your child laughs it does something inside you. something seemed to tighten a little. i love this little person more than i knew my heart could hold and i need to hold onto this morning and this walk and this swing and this moment forever. she was happy. nothing unique or profound about it. just pure happiness. all from a swing. a swing we have walked past everyday since we moved here.

try not to miss the small things.

 our family has much to celebrate this weekend. five years of marriage and mother's day. more to come on the blog this weekend.

time to go as i can hear ava yelling from her crib..."open the door please...please open the door."

Monday, May 7, 2012

a quick road trip.

loved reading about what people are hopeful for...seems like little babies are a theme. something this house is hopeful for as well. all in His time. 

justin and i have been trying to slow down a bit and not fill our weekends up just because they are open. we tried and failed yet again. but with good reason. on saturday a few friends from chesapeake, including eric who took a little extra time to finish school officially graduated from college. we knew we had to be there. we wanted to be there. so a couple hours before we would need to leave we decided it was a go...we packed up for less than 24 hours and made the trip. first we stopped by a few graduation parties here in harrisonburg. yay for my brick house girls. i met with these 8 girls most every sunday night to talk about life and jesus and where we were at and where we wanted to go. it was so life giving time for me. we got into the car and drove through some serious rain storms, but it passed quickly and ava was excellent. it was a surprise to everyone at the party that we were coming so our plan was just to open the door and send ava in alone to watch the reactions...but alas ava was not into our plan. it was a fun night of celebration, catching up, and being with some of the people i love most in my life. although we had a few times on the drive where we questioned our decision to go (i sent a text to katie, who was the only one that knew we were coming..went like this. me: we are nuts. just leaving now (4:30pm) to which she said: i love it!!! it's the best and only way to life. seriously.) i love that perspective. you just do it. even when it does not make a lot of practical sense you go, you do, you call, you text, you send flowers, you do something and it was more than worth it. it really is incredible how many people we saw in less than 24 hours...but staying up until 4am helped. it felt like home. it felt good. it was freeing to talk about our new home and genuinely mean it when i said..."it's good." as i went on to elaborate on what good meant it was encouraging to hear myself say things like..hopeful. turning point. being myself. while still sharing how much my heart aches for the relationships in chesapeake and the people we miss so dearly. we are lucky. lucky to have so many people around us that love us and little ava...when they really do not have to care about us at all. but the bond is deep. some of the friends we saw on this short trip were alongside us as newlyweds. new parents and cancer survivors (and a hundred other things). i am thankful. it is good to be thankful. don't loose sight of it. it changes you. i need reminding everyday.

after a late night with friends at the river house. yes, we went to the river house. i cried a little. i tried to hide it. it was gut wrenching at first. i was speechless. i am sure i seemed rude. sorry janis. i did not mean to. it just brought it all back and by all i mean everything. in a single second i saw it all. ava crawling for the first time. dancing on the porch. parties on the porch. the water. the dock. the people who cared for us in that place. the pain and the triumph. not kidding this and what felt like a hundred more memories and emotions over took me. but then i was okay. i held it together. we ate taco bell at 2am. we talked upstairs. we laughed. it did help that it looks different without our stuff. our pictures. our ava. when we drove back to where we were staying justin said...the river house: my most favorite place i have ever lived that i never want to live in again. i think that was it. we love that place. what it represents for our family and what is represents for me. so much pain and darkness along with such joy and laughter and life. i found life in that house. real deep life. new purpose. new vision. new strength. new hope. but it was only for a season. i know that and i am becoming okay with that. but it has a little bit me and my heart. so i will keep it there and still move on. i think both are okay.

i am thankful for friendships that are honest and real and point to jesus. katie you taught me that. thank you for pointing me to jesus. all the time. i miss you. i care about how your heart is and how you are doing. i will never forget to ask. not for the rest of my life.

since it was a little whirlwind of driving. friends. a little bit of sleep and more friends this is the only picture i took. but it pretty summed up the drive home. thankful for unplanned visits with friends.


comment #5. she is hopeful for:
i am anxious, but i am mostly hopeful. hopeful that the Lord will fill spots on our bus to sharptop in just over a month. most of my girls are not able to go to camp anymore, so we have many open ones. hopeful that finances will flow in and the all the glory would be given to Him. our area is struggling financially and our kids are struggling financially even more. hopeful that kids that are not yet signed up for camp yet will be there and that they will meet Jesus!

congrats! email me at take a look at the shop and order a little print for your home. nice mother's day gift if you ask me.

Friday, May 4, 2012


let's start with pure joy. thank you narnia girls for loving her so well today.

lately i have felt different. like i am experiencing my own life in a new way. i feel more myself than i have in a while. i bit more comfortable in my own skin. i certainly have missed it.  the last year and half was an out of body experience for me. i mean i was alive. i was moving. i was present. i am well aware of what happened and where we were and where we are and the changes we have walked through. but i finally seem to be catching my breath. able to feel secure and confident and peaceful. not all the time. i still struggle with being myself and feeling totally comfortable and not worrying about what people think of me or don't think of me. but i am seeing the light. i am hopeful. i have hope for this new town. these new people. this new beginning. i love relationships. i am thankful for the friendships that span across the country. but this new place in life has left me stuck in many ways. finding myself more considered about people's opinion than being true to who i am. i am not that confident or that strong or that sure of what i am. let's just get that out there. it's freeing to be honest. i have struggled with even knowing who i am this year. so that all seemed to collide when we moved somewhere new and i carried this heavy weight of...i feel like i am supposed to be all of these things and i am not sure what that is so in turn i am failing because i am not sure of who i am or what i am about. please do not miss this. i know that in Christ i am full and complete. i hold these truths close. i find my foundation in that. but since i am a little bit of a mess and do not have it all together i felt so uncomfortable in my own skin. not every second or every day or every week...but it was always lingering. this horrible pressure. that no one put on me...but me. which seems to be the case most of the time.

but the hope. the glimpse i have been living out this past week or so has given me such life. such vision. such peace and such joy. today after a few leaders left our living after a great couple hours of talking and connecting and lots of..."yes...totally...i agree...i feel the same way..." i felt alive. i felt like screaming...YES...this is what it is about. talking. connecting. ava running around without pants on b/c she is working the whole potty thing and she screaming and jumping and then sometimes a little too quiet (to which i found her reading in her room...precious). this is life. this is freedom. this is being a mom while walking alongside so many people i care so deeply for. i felt like myself and it was natural. i have missed natural and easy. justin and i had dinner with some new friends last night and for nearly four hours we sat around the table and talked and shared stories and a new friendship was born. all the while our two little girls playing and laughing and literally destroying the house. but they were living. doing what kids need to do and should do.

these are just two examples of where i have seen a shift. a shift from being a little wounded and overwhelmed with life. again, not all the time...but whether it was on the surface or pushed way down deep it was there. this uncomfortableness that i could not escape.

i am seeing new relationships form and beginning to go deep and be real and fun. people are fun and i love being with people, but i also like to be alone. i have embraced that about myself. i sometimes just need a second. i am not totally confident. i have not arrived but i am moving. i am seeing such hope and joy from really doing life alongside my new friends and my heart feels full and peaceful. i am thankful people have accepted us and pursued us and shown us grace in this new season of life. i love that i am still walking through life post cancer and discovering where it is taking me and for now...i am hopeful and looking forward to the future. i just had this random is so funny what ends up on the blog when so much goes unwritten and not shared. along with this new hope has come living on a budget (i hate it), thinking i was pregnant (which i am not), getting good time with justin and our family, working, exhaustion, and thinking about my new grey and white chevron curtains more than any human should think about fabric.

such a time as this...jmu graduation tomorrow, almost summer, the pace of life seems to slow a bit & i am ready for it.

the view from the top of our street.
 yup, those are mountains in between all the trees.


i love angie. i am so proud of how far she has come and that she is making her God given talents and passions a reality...sister has a little business that one day will be a big business. we all start somewhere. angie designed our blog a few months ago and i love it. it feels like me and she just finished up on my friend elizabeth's new blog design. she is using her graphic design skills and creativity to make custom wedding invites, save the dates, birth announcements, etc (all found on her design blog HERE). but today she officially opened her ETSY shop full of creative and real prints for your home, office, dorm, etc. what is perfect about her prints is that you can print them off at home. when you purchase a print a PDF file is sent to your email within 24 hours. no shipping and handling. no waiting. boom...ready to go. i have this one ready to be hung in little ava's nursery. we sing it to her every night. this one will be gracing our walls very soon as well..gotta love katie davis.

***in celebration of her etsy shop about a GIVEAWAY just for us? because everyone loves something for free and it is fun to win something. one lucky commenter will get THIS print (also see below). it is one angie's favorite and my mine too. giveaway will end sunday 5/7 at 6pm. tell me...what you are hopeful about? comment away and winner will be announced monday night. ***

happy weekend. let's really enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

one delightful button

our friend katie the owner and designer of one delightful button is back this month and we are thrilled to have her...just in time for mother's day. seriously her earrings are the perfect addition to a spring and summer wardrobe. they are affordable and we love affordable. 
this month she has two awesome things doing on. 

1. 10% of your order will go to Young Life to help send students to summer camp. i love it. 
2. use the code libbyryder for 10% of your order.

happy shopping. my current earrings from katie are my most favorite one's to date. all linked.