The children spend all day imagining other worlds, playing out stories, and synthesizing a nonsensical beauty out of the most unlikely objects. They’re about my feet as I do my household tasks, and I get such a unique look into their individual personalities, weaknesses, and strengths. Inevitably, usually in the afternoon, a child comes in search of hugs and snuggles, and I’m happy to oblige. It occurs to me how very blessed I am to be surrounded by the love of my children.

Before we were married, my now-husband and I had our share of petty arguments, the worst of which was over a chicken nugget. Ridiculous, I know. But when you’re young and you don’t know how to let go of unimportant things, you pick a random thing to blow way out of proportion and fight about for hours. And I’m willing to bet most couples have at least one argument about  a completely stupid thing. Anyway, I digress. I had this great knack for choosing an unimportant issue and wrapping up all my anger, pain, and fears from past circumstances that really had nothing to do with our present disagreement, and when we got to it, I could really unleash a furious bundle of crazy on my sweetheart. More than once, when he didn’t know quite what to do, he would just wrap his arms around me and hold me in a tight hug while I fought him and cried and stomped my feet in protest. He just held on, firm but tender, until I worked it out. I fell in love with his ability to disarm me…to meet me in my heartaches and tantrums and just be there with me until I was through…in a hug that reminded me of his love, his patience, and his willingness to journey through my emotional baggage.


Over the years, I’ve watched friends in different situations, braving the storms of their lives with courage and bravado on the outside, only to realize that my unmarried friend in the middle of grad school, and my mom-friend going through a tough divorce, and my own amazing mama go for weeks or months on end without a real hug that whispers love and reminds them of how infinitely valuable they are. I’ve come to believe that a hug can go a long way for someone who has been feeling very alone. It can bring comfort where comfort is sorely needed. For cancer-mamas who worry about whether their children will live. For working mamas who spend every ounce of energy they have to be a superhero to all and stay-at-home mamas in the trenches who are at risk for forgetting what it is like to be a woman not covered in snot, spit up, and poop. For women who have longed for a baby but whose arms are still empty. It’s great to smile at people to brighten their day, but a smile is cheap compared to a hug. A hug costs something…not money, but courage to step over the invisible barrier that keeps us all safely inside our own comfort zones, to say “I am really here for you, even in the mess.” And even if the people around you look put-together, you just never know what someone is really going through in their private life.

If you’re in a tough season, I want to send out a virtual hug. If you live close, I’m good for a real hug any ol’ time. And if you are someone who just wants to encourage someone else, find someone to hug today! You might just bring encouragement to them at just the right time.

Has there ever been a time when an unexpected hug has impacted you?

The Blog Name


I wanted to give a little insight into why I chose the name “Light and Loveliness” for my blog. The meaning of names are very important to me, and one of my nerdy personal hobbies is researching the history and significance of names and sometimes adding favorites to a long running list I’ve kept for years. That list is specifically possible baby names, and I joke with friends that I keep having babies so I can put names I love to good use, but my fascination with meanings goes beyond baby names.

I love when little details really mean something. I have realized in recent years that light is a dominant theme in my life. As a photographer, every time I look at anything, I’m thinking about where the light is, how the light hits an object, how it reflects, or how it illuminates little details that could otherwise be missed. As a follower of Jesus, I am continually discovering more about the story of God in Scripture and the evidence of God at work in my life, like a light shining in a dark place, uncovering treasures I didn’t even know were there.

And for the bigger picture, I am keenly aware that the world we live in today is full of darkness, hate, and desperately ugly things…and quite honestly, many days it crushes my spirit to see how humans treat other humans. How greed destroys the delicate and beautiful. How callous people become to the needs of others. It’s a big mess, and I have to push back. I can’t accept that it has to be this way…it doesn’t have to be this way.

Light and loveliness are what I personally want to put out in the world in direct opposition to the dark and ugly. I need to recognize and highlight it for myself, so I don’t crumble under the weight of anxiety, depression, and the gnawing ache of the soul…all things that I’ve struggled with throughout my life. Love surpasses. Love covers. Love hopes and endures. Love wins. And that, friends, is why I have embarked on this new blogging journey.


It’s kind of funny really. Starting another blog. I mean, my husband probably doesn’t think so, since he’s the lucky guy that gets to handle all my website whims and make me new spaces to write, create, and share. I won’t tell you how many websites and blogs he has made me over the years. (The honest truth is I don’t remember/can’t’s that many.) But I’m so thankful for his expertise and enduring patience with my hair-brained ideas! Thanks, my love!

So welcome to my newest blog! We’ll see how long I last before I abandon it for other things…but truthfully, I hope to pour out a lot of things here, and I do intend to stick with it. Everyday life, homeschool, mothering, soul musings, and more. I have this really annoying habit of over-thinking everything, so one goal I have for the coming months is to just share and go…and let you see the nitty gritty of my beautiful, simple and admittedly messy life. My hope is to bring a bit of sunshine and encouragement to you, wherever you are. See you around!

With love, Emily