Ian and Larissa: {When Love Didn’t Give Up} & Giveaway!

ian and larissa graphic

The story of Larissa and Ian has been shared in several places in the Christian world.  But Desiring God has been doing a particularly excellent job of keeping those interested in Ian and Larissa up to date with their progress.

To those unfamiliar, Ian and Larissa are a married couple whose story is unlike most of ours.  They have encountered many trials, and have persevered in a tenacious, Christ-like love.

Ian and Larissa were like any other college-aged couple – enjoying the carefree fun of dating  – until the day Larissa received a troubling phone call.  Her boyfriend, Ian, had been involved in a car wreck.  Larissa immediately began to pray that God would spare Ian’s brain, as she drove to the hospital to be with him.

ian and larissa before accident

But Ian’s brain had been traumatically injured.  And for several hours he was in surgery, as doctors worked and Larissa prayed.  Miraculously, Ian pulled through surgery and began to make progress.  Brain-activity tests showed him to be gaining ground.  Larissa made the decision to move in with Ian’s family, so that she could become a part of Ian’s daily care.

The two continued to date, though Ian was unable to talk.

“We just prayed that some day marriage would happen.  We watched all of our friends get married, and that was challenging.  But we just tried to hold out hope that that would be us some day”.

And it was.  Eventually, step-by-step Ian re-gained the ability to communicate enough.  And he and Larissa began to pursue engagement.

I think what helped me, Larissa states, is knowing that Ian would not have left me, if the roles were reversed.

ian and larissa wedding color

Ian and Larissa were married.  And they began to build the foundation of a marriage, though with a unique set of challenges.

We are able to love each other with just a more Christ-like love I think, because of Ian’s disability.  And we are able to understand that picture a little bit better than if you were healthy, Larissa offers.

Agree? she asks Ian.  Yes, he states firmly.

In the past 3 years, Ian has made continued progress.  He is able to walk on his own, enjoying increased freedom of movement.  And he and Larissa move forward in building a solid, married love.

ian and larissa couch

When asked: How have you seen God at work in your marriage? Ian is quick to respond, A better question would be, how have I not seen God at work in my marriage?



Ian and Larissa have been at work writing a book, sharing their adventures and experiences in seeing God’s faithfulness to their marriage.  Entitled Eight Twenty Eight: When Love Didn’t Give Up, the book releases August 28th of this year.

ian and larissa book

In honor of their dedication and perseverance, and in conjunction with my birthday which is also 8/28, I have pre-ordered 2 copies of When Love Didn’t Give Up: Eight Twenty Eight – one for myself and one to give away.

If you would like to be entered for this giveaway, please leave a comment at the end of this post.  Or, click over to the Facebook page and leave a comment there.  I will leave the giveaway open until Friday, as Summer fun has slowed blog traffic down.  And please take 8 minutes to watch Ian and Larissa’s beautiful story on the video above.  It is well worth a few moments of your time.

Happy Monday, all.

















Monday Has Come – A Few Easter Photos


I am taking a step back from regular Monday posting today.  We had a wonderful weekend full of company and activity, and I am a few days behind with writing.  And I would not have it any other way. I have not cracked open my laptop since Friday, and the break from regular focus has been refreshing and enjoyable.

Don’t we all need social-media fasts and Internet breaks sometimes? I do.


Emma found me a beautiful bird’s nest in the yard.  A beautiful reminder of Spring and new beginnings.



The boys found time to be brothers- and Pat was able to document their sweet relationship.

Will thrives on affirmation from Josh.



And Josh rises to the occasion of being both friend, and example.



Our fearless adventurer managed to stay unbroken for the day – and she wore a dress happily, because “it feels like a sweatshirt”.


Their energy can be so taxing at times, but yesterday was a reminder to me of what I have – and sometimes I am too aware of what is taken from me, in the wake of their needs.



I have them.  They have one another.

But mostly, because of Easter, we have Him.

And He holds us all together.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends.  See you back here tomorrow!


6 Simple Family-Friendly Easter Ideas

easter flowers

{Watercolor “Valentine Lips, by Keith Thomas}

For those of you new to the blog, Friday is a casual day here.  In an effort to allow for creative expression,  I scale back on Friday’s, so that we all have a little room to breathe.

This week, I have book-marked 5 simple ideas which might help you make Easter weekend both simple and beautiful.


1.  FREE Scripture Printables

What better way to internalize Scripture, than to place it where it can be seen?

Maegan has designed this free printable.


And 36th Avenue has designed this beautiful FREE printable:

  free he has risen

2.  Egg Craft

After emphasizing the key spiritual concepts of Easter, there are many fun culturally festive elements to enjoy.

This is a sweet and simple idea for an easy craft.  My Emma is never happier than when armed with a glue stick and scissors- this craft meets both of those passions.

easter craft

3.  Pretzel Rods

Children love novelty items, and these are just that.  In an attempt to weave adult foods with those that children enjoy, these will appear in our home on Sunday –  simple and inexpensive.

pretzel rods

4.  Mini-Cupcakes

Also, with small people in mind, here is a great resource for creating bite-sized cupcakes, found on Spoonful.

mini cupcakes

5.  Family Easter Outfits

Here in the South, Easter is often warm and sunny.  It is the kick-off weekend of Spring, and as such, churches are washed in seersucker and pastels.  Many of us take family photos on Easter weekend, which makes this resource so very helpful.

easter outfits

6.  Egg Coloring Page

While you are trying to shower and dress, this might be a great page to print off for your children.  It might buy you 15 valuable minutes!

egg coloring page

That is all for today.  I hope you all have a lovely Easter weekend, celebrating our HOPE in Christ.  We have been given so much more than we deserve, and His grace alone is the foundation of our celebrating.

Enjoy spending time eating good food, surrounded by those you love.

He is risen!

The Goat and the Cross {An Easter Story}

goat art

It is morning in the camp.  The sounds of a fresh day settle in.  Children run, playing mischievously, darting in and out of tents.  Metal pots clink as breakfast is prepared.  Manna again.  The camp is accustomed to the daily rhythm of food sent from Heaven.

Meals are eaten and the remains cleared away.  All is prepared for the day, this busy day.  Today is a day for gathering as a group – cousins, grand-parents, all will be there.

The sounds of animals can be heard throughout the camp, the quiet bleating of sheep and of goats.  The priest sounds the trumpet and tents begin to empty.  Babies are brought out on their others’ hips.  Toddlers skip along, holding onto the hands of their grandmothers.  It is a noisy gathering.  But a hopeful one.  And then, there is stillness.  A reverential hush falls over the crowd.

A goat is led into their midst, and a priest holds him.  A prayer is said for the people, over the people.  And all the while, the priest holds his hands steadily on the head of the goat.  Forgive their sins, he cries.  Forgive every sin, known and unknown. And the people are sober as they consider their days previous.  Remembering.

A man steps forward.  A young man, a fit man.  And the priest releases the goat to this man.  Go, he is told.  And so he goes.  Far and high, up into the mountainous wilderness surrounding the camp.  The goat steps eagerly, unburdened.  But the man is aware.  He must lead his animal as far away from the camp as is possible.  Only then, only then.

goat art 2

The animal treads on, until the man is weary and he knows that the distance covered is enough.  And he releases the goat gently, coaxing him into eating some grass after so long traveling.  And then he turns to leave, for the walk back to camp will take a long while.  And as he begins the return, he is joyful.  So very joyful.  Left behind, his heart cries.  All is left behind!  And the walk does not feel so long now.

He returns to camp after many hours, weary, but with a heart filled.  And the people sleep well, because of what is left behind.  High on a mountain somewhere, is a goat bearing their shame – and they cannot help but be grateful for the transfer of the sins that mark their days.


And then a few hundreds years later, something better arrives in the camp.  This time, it is a Lamb.  And he is beautiful.  But for Him, the walk up the mountain is neither one of ease, nor is it joyful.  There are no gentle hands placed on His head, but instead a crown – twisted from thorns, sharp and biting.  His wounds are raw.  He bleeds.  He is prodded sharply as He walks, and whipped as he stumbles.  Sorrow marks his face.  And as he climbs toward where he will be left, his strength fails. 

The transfer this time, is harsh.

A Cross awaits this Lamb, and He is placed on it.  High above the city, so that all can see His shame, but only some feel it.  He bleeds and hangs, and all the while He loves.  And the sacrifice of the goat looks so tame now.

And it is.  Because what can compare with a sacrifice that exchanges sin and blood for life and redemption?  The goat followed, but the Lamb led.   The goat symbolized, but the Lamb fulfilled. The goat was left high on a mountain, lost.  But the Lamb left the mountain, and came to find.

This Lamb became Easter for us.

May we celebrate Him always.