19 Jan

That Time I Wrote About the Poop in the Corner

poop in the corner pic

There’s a pile of poop in the corner.

Feels like the appropriate ending to this afternoon.

For the record, the poop belongs to our pet ferret who was playing in my office yesterday while I cleaned. apparently he didn’t get the “we’re cleaning” memo.

This afternoon got me thinking about Facebook — what I post and why. My motives were questioned by someone and at first I was REALLY angry (truth is I’m still sorta ticked).  I have been accused of being fake. If not putting my drama on Facebook makes me fake, well then, I’m fake.

Do I have struggles?? Um, yeah, I breathe air and live in a messed up world don’t I? Nothing is perfect in my world, except my Savior and His grace. Beyond that I’m just a girl trying to get it right. And along the way I post things to remind me what we’ve done as a family, funny moments and just snapshots of our life. (I LOVE the TimeHop app that reminds me of those things on a daily basis!!)

So I post things like….

timehop app pic

Facebook holds some of the sweetest memories of our everyday life.

 

 

Or this….

Because one day the will both be so big I forget the days when they were lil and best friends.

Because one day they will both be so big, and I’ll forget the days when they were lil and best friends.

And truly I apologize. If here, or anywhere, I post something that makes one feel that I am bragging or trying to front about our life. I’m not. (I pray that the Lord roots out anything that isn’t of pure motives.)

The truth is life happens fast. And I want to remember it. To catch. To hold it. To celebrate it. To freeze it. Either via camera or phone I try and grab the moments that leave my memory before I’ve had a chance to dwell and be thankful.

I was encouraged by a sweet friend to put up some pictures that show our ugly truth…the laundry, the dust, the dishes…the whatevers of life that get left when you are too busy living it (or living in it). All I could think is who wants to see that??  I mean really???

Then I sat down at my desk and noticed the poop.

poop in the corner pic

Oh yes, there it is next to the piles of papers the weasel spread about in his play time yesterday. A pile of poop in my beautiful, clean office.

 

 

And all I can do is laugh.

You see, my sweet sisters, everyone’s life is full of crap. I don’t care what church you go to, what you drive, where your kids get their education, or just how cute your Facebook pictures are. We’ve all got stuff to deal with.

And it is about time we started giving each other grace rather than grief.

It is about time as image-bearers of Christ we choose to laugh with each other and be willing to get close enough to someone to be able to cry with them. To carry their burdens and care for them. True friendships are not lived on Facebook and before you pass judgement, get off the computer/put down your phone and walk with someone in their life.

I want to live my life as openly as I can, because I really feel like that is who God calls me to be…to love on His girls and be honest about what’s hard in life. But, the truth is I won’t post that on social media…I LIVE life in our house…in our town, and freeze frame life online.

Want to see the full picture…come on over. You’ll leave our house with a belly full of food, your pants covered in dog hair, your ears chatted off and you’ll see that the sink is full of dishes, there are books stacked everywhere , the counter is dumping grounds for everything, the guinea pigs have as much of their shavings on the floor as in the cage, and I haven’t showered yet today.

But, hopefully, there will be no poop in the corner.

05 Jan

The Year I Dated my Husband

year of dates January

There were days when the space between us felt like a canyon.

I wanted to blame him. He was pulling away. He was choosing not to spend time with me. He….him….it was his fault.

But, we are one flesh.

If he was pulling away…I was letting him.

If he was choosing not to spend time with me…I was letting him.

Him….me….us….

Like the long lost Wallenda sister I flung a rope over that canyon and have decided there is only space where we let there be space.

The relationship of Christ and His bride is one of joy and love. If our marriage was to reflect that it was time to tap into our joy and love.

So, this year, I’ve decided to date my husband.

In the fall I began to hatch a plan to give my husband a year full of joy and love for Christmas. I combed Pinterest, read blogs, and found awesome websites like Dating Divas.

Armed with ideas and cute printables, I worked like a crazy woman. In the afternoons while the peanuts played, I scoured the computer, compiled lists and began assembling envelopes full of fun stuff. It dawned on me AFTER I gave him his present on Christmas that no only did I keep this gift a secret (which was REALLY hard and almost didn’t happen) so did our sweet lil peanuts!

It is not realistic for our lives or our budgets to pull off a date night with going out + babysitter + whatever every week. So, the envelopes make sure that at least one weekend a month we are out of the house sans peanuts. Then at least one other weekend we do something fun after the peanuts are tucked all snug in their beds.

For instance, for January we went to a lovely bed and breakfast this past weekend. We enjoyed a beautiful beach themed room in the mountains complete with gas fire place and comfy a king bed. It was like starting the year in a beautiful oasis (with YUMMY food) relaxing next to my hunky hubby. Next weekend we will watch/listen to a marathon of our fav comedian, Brian Regan.

year of dates January

I don’t know what this year of dates will hold. I pray it brings more relaxation and laughter. Likely there will be revelations, adventures and funny moments to share. All I know for sure is one thing, I will spend time with my hunky hubby and get opportunities to be close to him.

Years from now, as our family recounts our history and shares stories, I hope 2015 is regaled as the year I dated my husband….the year that found no space between us.

02 Jan

Poppin’ Countdown

poppin countdown 1

Zombies, dancing chickens, cookies, howling and more…our New Year’s Eve was poppin’.

In an attempt to make our New Year’s entertaining and full of fun I took to Pinterest. I found lots of cute ideas, put a few of them together to match what we had available in the house and out popped the “Poppin’ Countdown”.

poppin countdown 1

Balloons were hidden all over the house. Starting at 5 p.m. family members ran around the house to find the balloon marked with the appropriate hour and their name (the one pictured is 11 p.m. for our daughter). When everyone had found their balloon they had to report back to the living room.

Next step: pop your balloon and retrieve the piece of paper with instructions. Not allowed to use anything sharp.

After balloon pieces were picked up (cuz the puppy thought his part of the game was to consume all the lil pieces), you had to follow the instructions. Sometimes the whole group had the same instructions, sometimes they were different. More than once people did theirs and other peoples too…just cuz it was fun.

poppin countdown 2

 6 p.m. – eat a cookie!! (before dinner was ready…everyone quickly complied with this one)

poppin countdown 3

8 p.m. – dance like chickens

poppin countdown 4

10 p.m. – zombie dance

poppin countdown 5

11 p.m. – sparklers (a New Year’s tradition for us)

poppin countdown 6

Midnight – hunky hubby’s special balloon message — the kids had to go on the deck and sing a crazy New Year’s song LOUD

(he said he didn’t need a balloon to tell him to do that!! Smart man.)

We had a blast. We entertained/annoyed our neighbors a few times — howling on the deck, running laps in the driveway singing “We are the Champions” and more. I think we were just two or three hours in when the requests for doing it again began rolling in.

I have to tell you, I think our kids looked forward to each hour more than they did the ball dropping. Join us next year for Poppin’ Countdown?

31 Dec

…listen for the footsteps…

footsteps

The sound of God shutting the door.

The sound of the rain on roof.

The animal noises.

The sounds of the story of Noah stick out to me. (So do the smells, but I don’t dwell there too long!)

The sound of the flood waters slapping the side of the ark.

The sounds of people outside the boat.

But today, as I study, as I sit with Noah and his wife inside the hull of their calling I hear a sound I did’t hear before. The footsteps. The footsteps of those that followed Noah into the ministry of His calling. The footsteps that followed Noah as He followed God. The footsteps that followed Noah to Salvation.

…followed Noah…to salvation

Little feet thunder up and down the stairs, and I wonder how one small boy can make the noise of a herd of elephants.

I hear her voice echo down the hallway as she sings in her room. When I pause my typing I can hear her foot tapping on the floor as she belts it out with Jamie Grace via her karaoke Christmas gift.

I can hear their footsteps.

And I know….I know…little ears are listening, little eyes are watching, and those little feet they are following.

I sit in our home still half full of Christmas and full of the sounds of Christmas break. Video games, dogs wrestling, music, laughter….play. Our little ark here in a world flooded with all that seems painful and maddening. Our little ark where God opens the doors (with ideas, callings and studies) and beckons others in to be safe, to learn and be loved on. Our little ark, where little feet are following us…and the weight of the question nearly knocks me over…where are we leading them?

Oh, how I want to say salvation.

…to Jesus…

And sometimes we are. We do.

And sometimes….we don’t.

On the days when the tv echoes into their hearts before a Word from God does. On the days where mama’s temper snaps and all the is gentle and holy is awash in the sound of a mama gone mad. On the days when death calls, checking accounts hemorrhage and life is hard…do they see us run to Jesus, so they can follow us there. I can’t always say yes.

We are a handful of hours from the new year. I think of all the things I’d like to do that would improve our lives, bring glory to God, change the world.

I don’t do resolutions. I set goals. I dream with God. And I look forward to whatever that strike of midnight brings…knowing my King sits on thrown before time started and after it ends. I love the promise of a New Year…a blank slate…the Spirit hovers of the pages yet unturned as God’s plans wait for me. And yet, here I sit.

Footsteps.

Not a moment is lost on God. This reading and Bible study on the precipice of the New Year. He leans in close and whispers to me….listen for the footsteps….

And I think that perhaps 2015 is the year of the footsteps. Of intentionally looking where I am pointing (in life and deed), so that those that follow…our little peanuts and someday grand-peanuts, our friends and family……whoever….will find them selves smack dab in the middle of God’s plans and miracles when they look up to Him on their own.

So here’s my 2015 goal…dream….resolution…hope…thingy… as I walk through the everdayness of my life, and live the highs of teaching/speaking to the lows of the laundry and every moment in between, those footsteps behind me will echo my sweet Jesus’s footsteps in front of me.

08 Oct

More Than A Snake, An Apple & A Bad Day

God calls out

It’s there…in the garden….among the fig leaves that my breath catches in my chest. And I see, maybe for the first time, that this isn’t a story of a snake, an apple and a bad day…this is the story of my God who pursues those He loves with truth.

Where are you? (Genesis 1:9) The Lord’s voice carries through the garden. He calls to the man. His creation. Adam. The one who is hiding.

God doesn’t call to Adam because He can’t find him. God, the heavenly LoJack – nothing lost or stolen, He knew where Adam was.

But did Adam?? Did Adam realize that he was hiding…that he had withdrawn from the Lord or was he too busy trying to make a loin cloth out of fig leaves…no needle, no thread…just the biggest leaves he could grab to cover his sin…his shame…his guilt…his reality.

And I think about all the times God whispers, Where are you? 

When I sleep in on Sunday, when I pick up my remote instead of my Bible, when I drive by the homeless man with a sign, when I dial the phone to ignite the gossip fire…when, when, when…too many whens.

God whispers and I hide.

Adam mentions his nakedness and his fear (v. 10). He has listened to the fork-tongued hiss that plants the weed of doubt in the midst of a garden.

Who told you that you were naked? (v. 11) Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?

Who have you been listening to?  That is the real question He asks, isn’t it?

Whose voice is in your ear, God calls out. Have you listened and obeyed my word or have you believed the lies of another?

How often do we listen to another’s voice…facebook, twitter, the tv, the gossip on the line, the friend that doesn’t point to God in your hour of need or moment of weakness…we listen to lies because they look pleasing and easy. “You deserve more.” “You have every right to be angry.” “You shouldn’t have to wait for what you want.”

God has pointed out the separation, the break in communication, and the sin.

Our God. The God of relationships, points out the sin…the separation…and waits.

In a breath…in the next verse (v. 12)…Adam totally admits that he ate the fruit. But instead of getting of this crazy train at Humble-Thyself-Village and repenting. He blows right on through to It’s-So-Not-My-Fault Landing. A place we all know well.

God calls out our sin, not to condemn us, but to convict us…to bring us back to repentance and back into relationship with Him. God calls out our sin to bring us back to him. God calls out our sin to bring us out of hiding and into the Light. Where are you? Come to me. Return to me.

God calls out

Adam and Eve chose the disobedience…sin was there. And then, they made another choice to blame others…and the gap becomes a chasm….

I told my sweet Bible study ladies last night that I hide in plain sight from God. More like the child’s game of covering your eyes and pretending you are invisible. If I don’t look up God, you won’t see what I’m up to. It never worked for our daughter when she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar and kept RIGHT ON EATING (like I wasn’t there). And it doesn’t work for us.

Allow God to speak into your life….come out from your fig leaves and look His grace in the face. You’ll find that when you answer His Where are you? His answer is Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

18 Aug

Cue the Woodland Creatures

snow white

It is a scene that will probably unfold a thousand or more times in our lifetime. Nothing special or exciting. Me with a broom. Him, elbow deep in the day’s dishes and soapy water.

As I swept through the kitchen wearing my sweats and my hair pulled back in that I-haven’t-showered-yet-and-my-hair’s-a-wreck style, I felt invisible. Or maybe hoped I was.

Psssstttttt…

Green eyes sparkling he smiled at me.

I love you.

And then there they were…those butterflies my hunky hubby can still give me. Not the I’m so nervous are those vultures or butterflies (although I did get plenty of those when we were dating!!). No, these are the, how in the world did I land you kinda butterflies. The good ones.

As I stood there and looked at him my sweats and t-shirt could have been a ball gown. Someone cue the woodland creatures and fire up the orchestra,  because I felt like a princess.

Love is a beautiful thing. Steady. Always there….

…and so easy to take for granted.

I think back to those newlywed days, when the nearness of my hunky hubby was intoxicating. How a touch of his hand sent electricity through me…that often just shorted out my brain and made me dumb. His love was all I could want on this earth.

We celebrate 10 years of marriage in a matter of weeks. His kitchen proclamation of love reminds me….we are in love. We are parents, homemaker and manager, we are neighbors, friends, son and daughter….we wear more titles on most days than I can count or would care to admit. But, more than anything else…before anything else…we are husband and wife.

I love that man with everything I have, but I so often forget to tell him. I try to show it in favorite meals cooked, ironed shirts and a picked up house. I try to model it for our children in respect, reminders and commitment. I try to tell others as I sing his praises, write about him in my blog, or plain brag on my man. But, sometimes, the simplest, the most direct just falls by the wayside….the words.

We all need to hear words of love and adoration….whatever the relationship. Parent-child, friend-friend, husband-wife…you name it.  Speak them today. These words of life and love. These words that change moods, battle demons, lift spirits and make hearts beat faster. In whispers or in shouts! In ball gown moments or sweats in the kitchen moments.

Speak. Love. {and cue the woodland creatures!}

 

03 Aug

When He Hung the Moon

moon meme

Books piled up around me, papers scattered across the desk and floor, my Bible propped up against the laptop keyboard. This is my sweet spot. This place of digging through Scripture…turning words and phrases over and over again. Taking things apart and putting them back together. Somewhere in the digging God begins to whisper. He meets me here.

I am preparing for an Autumn full of the Word. Bible study with our children, Bible co-op with a few homeschool families and a ladies Bible study. And they all begin in the same place…the beginning.

Genesis.

It is easy to blow through the Creation story. Six days. Darkness. Light. Sky. Water. Land. Plants. Sun. Moon. Stars. Fish. Birds. Animals. Man. Rest. Yeah, we got it, right?

Oh but there’s so much there. Always the same, but ever revealing. Like the tides rolling across the beach, bringing up new treasures changing the shape of all it touches. The ebb and flow of life and time….the shift of experience and lens….the rolling of the days that crash into years.

It all flows from these words….from in the beginning…and we can skim over the water….over the Word….and we see only the surface. Missing the depths of love, the layers of existence, the details of our infinite God in His creation. And it’s there, in this delving into the depths. It’s there, lingering in His spoken genesis, that He whispers to me about the moon.

moon The moon...the lesser light to govern the night…. God said “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky…to give light on the earth.” {Genesis 1:14-15} And it’s there I see it…this moon that reflects the sun. This moon that gives light in the darkness…the moon that gives light that does not come from within. The moon that is dark and lifeless on its own…that its beauty, its life….its light are only that which are reflected from the giver of light.

Oh, my friends, we are moons.

We were created to reflect and give light in the dark. But all that we have to give….to reflect…all that makes  us beautiful and lovely…that makes us powerful and seen…..is  not ours. We were made to shine Jesus’s love and light into this world. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. {John 1:4-5}

For when God hung the moon to reflect the sun the Messiah was already named….already on his way. In the beginning was the Word. {John 1:1} When time was set into motion a plan was under way. A plan for salvation and eternity. A plan for love and life. A plan for you….and me.

As sure as the moon was hung to reflect light into our world. We were made to reflect Jesus into our World. All our light….anything lovely in us….comes only from Jesus whose image we bear, whose Spirit we are filled with, whose light we shine.

Over the centuries the moon has been the center of fascination — from religions and celebrations, to navigation and space programs, to poets and painters. It’s light draws us to ponder and picture, to reach and explore. And when we reflect the light that shines in the darkness we draw others to Jesus….we awaken a fascination…a  need to explore and reach…to find and connect.

As we begin to start our ladies Bible study this fall, I’ve spent lots of time pondering themes, curriculum and how life change happens. {you know lil things like changing lives} Then I read this verse….For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.   {2 Corinthians 1:19}  

Nothing I do affects life change. No, it is a personal relationship with Jesus that changes lives. And so many of us who know Him do no live like we do…we do not internalize His truths…that from in the beginning to the second you read this through eternity God’s promises are fulfilled. And as we learn that…truly come to understand God’s promises…His plan…Jesus…our lives will be one long, sweet, loud Amen. We will be moons reflecting the Son!

01 Aug

What Worked For Me

watermelon sticks

It’s almost an obsession. For books. For vacuums. For recipes. For vitamins. Even for pens.

I read reviews. Blogs. Retail websites. Wherever.

I want to know if what I’m going to invest my time and money in is worth it. I am always curious to know what works for other people, so I thought I’d share a few things that have been working for me lately.

Yum.

I know I’m not the only mama…woman…eater of yummy goodness…that is looking for an easy, affordable meal that makes the whole family happy. I stumbled across this recipe for One-Pot Chicken Burrito Bowls on Pinterest.

I made it by the recipe the first time (I always do. I try it their way then I add my twist to it). It was great without changing the recipe. This week I made it with my twist, because the garden is overflowing with yummy goodness and life is too short not to eat fresh corn, tomatoes and peppers. Oh, I also squeezed half a fresh lime over the rice while it was frying and threw in cilantro and oregano from the herb garden.

My picture isn’t nearly as pretty as the one on their website, but it was yummy. Try it. Trust me.

burrito bowl

Simple.

Saw this early in the summer on a life hacks post and it has revolutionized our watermelon eating this summer!

watermelon sticks

 

Cut your watermelon into “sticks!!!” Slice melon in half, then cut in one inch slices, turn 90 degrees and slice in one inch slices again. Repeat with the other half of the melon. You wind up with sticks that lil fingers can grab the rind and eat without covering themselves in sticky juice. No utensils required either! WARNING: you and children will eat lots more watermelon this way.

Words.

I’ve been trying to read more books for me this summer. I read lots of history books, kids’ books, and Bible study books through the year, which are all great books. But, this summer I  have made an effort to grab all kinds of books to expand my horizons and to conquer the blues that have knocked at my door through all our ups and downs. In that quest, I stumbled across “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. It is Gretchen’s year-long journey to greater happiness…as she pushes herself to find what makes her truly happy, changes her habits and comes to terms with who she is deep down. I loved it! Gretchen writes like you are sitting with her as so pours over her resolutions chart. It inspired me to really find what I enjoy and be okay with that. And I’m in the midst of that quest now. (I’ll keep ya posted!) I enjoyed the book so much I’m reading her sequel “Happier at Home” now.

 

Now it’s your turn!! Tried a new recipe this month? Please share. Are you a life hacker?? Hook a sister up. What’s worked for you?

31 Jul

Parched. Dry. Thristy.

zinnias

Crispy around the edges. That’s how I feel.

Parched. Dry.  Like the heat of life has burned the beauty right out of me.There are no traces of the spring full of hope and days drenched in Jesus.

Summer swirls all around me. Heat rises and circles around us.

I stare at the flowers….one too many days without water. One too many days they were left to battle the heat of life without the sweet relief of rains.

Oh how I feel like those flowers.

Parched. Dry. Thirsty.

My mind drifts to Jesus at the well. It is mid-day and the sun is beating down. He’s there to meet a woman who is parched. Her life has left her dry. He speaks to her of living water. (John 4)

I hear His whisper….whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

But I feel like the flowers. The rain comes but they still are weathered and burnt. Oh how I want to drink deeply from the well my Jesus offers.

I’ve never liked the phrase, “His ways are not our ways.” Truth is I struggle with God not letting me in on His plans. I shake my fist at the sky and tell Him how I want to plan, to prepare, to just know what He’s up to.

And then life got turned on its ear. For two years, my hunky hubby and I have walked our family down a road that lead to foster care…we thought it was for one child. We did the training, we signed a zillion papers, and we waited. And waited some more. Then one day it seemed the doors were opening, we were walking through them…there were meetings, visits, painting, packing, moving, and the painful realities of parenting in the wake of trauma and abuse.

Suddenly the calling isn’t what it looked like. Hard choices are made. Life changes again.

My heart is dry and sad as we live in the wake of a placement gone wrong. Sadly wrong.

And I wonder how do you live when you don’t get God? When the phrase “His ways are not our ways” is so achingly true in your everydays. When callings seem to fade or change or hide or dry up. When you’ve built and fought, trained and focused on something that leaves you empty and sad.

Perhaps these Zinnias hold God’s whispered answer.

zinnias

Even in their whitered state there is beauty. Not a conventional, put in a vase and admire kind of beauty. But the beauty that comes from life, from experience…and when you look at the middle…there are seeds. Flowers have one job…grow and reproduce.

And even in the whithered silence of life there are chances for growth…there are seeds…there are new flowers….there is life.

I am parched. But, my sweet Jesus whispers Scripture when I won’t open the Bible. Rains living water into a heart that is cracked and hard.

I am dry. But, my sweet Jesus draws my attention to the work He has for me to do with him. Blows the sweet winds through a house that is stuffy and locked up tight.

I am thirsty. But, my sweet Jesus is my answer. And even as I sit, tears pouring down my face in a room that was supposed to hold our son…his healing and growing. Jesus allows me to see the growth, the faith that has stretched.

And my heart trails to them….the women who have lost a child through miscarriage, adoption or death. That empty place where your tears won’t stop falling and your heart aches in waves that threaten to drown you in sorrow. I don’t know why God allows us to love and lose. But I do know that when we love — wide open, hearts free — we look like our Jesus and people need to see that…even in the briefest of glimpses and the hardest of moments.

The truth is I wish things were different. I wish we could have had help, that we had the skills to help a boy that was fighting so many things. I know there is no failure where love rules and Jesus is preached, but there is emptiness in the wake. There is pain in loss.

I have faith that as I just dwell in the Word (a good friend urged me to just write Scripture when I can’t find words to write what I’m feeling….and I have been) Living Water…the graceful ebb of my sweet Jesus will flow into me. I might be crispy around the edges for sometime, but my heart will be full and ready to overflow, again.

30 Jul

The Last Place You Look

last place you look

Sometimes I just get tired.

I don’t want to do one more load of laundry or cook one more dinner. I don’t want to read one more book or teach one more lesson. I don’t want to write one more blog or encourage one more woman on the phone. I don’t want to lead a Bible study, support my husband, parent my children or even get out of bed.

Sometimes, I just want to do nothing. To do what I want to do.

The truth is I have felt that way for the last few months. I have tried to deny all that God has laid in front of me. Spouting out things like, “I would like to be the one people take care of now and then,” or “Why can’t someone else be the one to encourage others?”

And the more I stamped my feet and demanded to do what I wanted. The farther away from God I felt.

The farther from God I felt, the harder it became to do the things.

Until I couldn’t feel God. I was snarling at my life. I was joyless…is there a word for a joy deficit, cuz that’s what I had...I think I owed people joy. And nothing was getting done.

—-

I wrote those words a little under two years ago. In the wake of a season of difficult circumstances — death of loved ones, health crisis and God calling me to do something I just didn’t want to do.

I stumbled across those words tonight as I was cleaning up my blog. And I just stared at the screen.

Stared.

Cried.

And began to wonder who I owed joy to now.

All at once my life came into focus through the lens of my own words…my own life…and that’s just weird.

I am struggling with heartache. Pain. A season of loss and I feel lost.

Angry. Sad.  Tired. Joy-less.

In this season of  being glued to the couch and wanting to pretend life wasn’t marching on, God whispered, the Spirit blew through, and I knew. God called me to get up….the Spirit planted words in my heart. And it was time to move forward. But I sat on the couch, waiting for God to send me a sign (another one, a bigger one, one with red lettering that flashes!). I sat on the couch waiting to feel joy…waiting to get happy again.

My grandfather sat in his chair, his body weakened by age and life. I searched each drawer, cupboard and nook in his tiny assisted-living room. I found the paperwork he asked me for and laughed, “Isn’t it always the last place you look?” “Well, I should hope so…why would you keep looking if you found it,” he chuckled back.

These words ring in my head….my heart.

I’m waiting for joy. God whispers, why are still looking you have joy?

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2-3

This season of loss and following God when I don’t understand is growing my faith in ways I never imagined. I’ve been able to tell stories of whispering Jesus’s name for peace and reassurance when nothing else would help. Stories of amazing provision and peace when nothing about our situations seemed like they would work out.

YES! My faith is growing. I am persevering. Jesus…the Word….the living breathing saving grace of God asks isn’t that enough? And I choke on my self-pity and egocentric behavior. If I’m honest with myself…nope. It hasn’t been enough. I keep looking for something else.

Truth is I want something tangible. Another candy bar. A funny movie. A good hair day. A phone call from a friend. A Target shopping spree.

I want to say the right Christian words. To hold up the facade that makes you think, dang she’s got it all together, but God girl to God girl…truth is I don’t live like God is enough.

I know that I know that I know, God is calling me to write. My blog. My story. His grace in my life. Bible studies. Words that pour The Word into a parched world of women who lose themselves on Pinterest and in junk tv in hopes of finding the secret to their joy. When I study my Bible. When I dig around and find meanings and phrases. When I ponder the infinite God in the tiny details of my life. When I pour out what He pours in….I am joyful. I am happy. And even though I know, I keep looking…and I can hear my sweet Grandpa’s words “why would you keep looking if you found it?”

So, here I sit today. Writing. In the office that my hunky hubby help me carve out in our home. My space filled with books, commentaries, precious treasures and the sweet-spot calling that Jesus whispers to me.

last place you look

Jesus calls each of us to pour out what He pours in. To give him away. It looks different for each of us, living out what He’s designed for us, but friend I can promise you this….being with Jesus….chasing Jesus….giving away Jesus is more than enough.  It is joy. It is everything. And I’m going to stop looking, because I already have my joy….

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,  for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 1 Peter 1:8-9

17 Jul

Spirit Led Homeschooling Planning

Spirit led planning

After a week of plans that went awry and trips to the ER (yeah everyone’s okay…just life with peanuts!), I’ve settled in on the couch surrounded by books, planners, highlighters, pencils, stickies, my laptop and big ideas!!

That’s right mamas, I am connecting the dots of our homeschool year.

Spirit led planning

I must admit when I get to see it in little snippets and piles I get so excited. SOOOO excited. Think of their worlds being stretched, the concepts they’ll wrestle with, the history they’ll breathe in. I could nearly bust and I get soooooooooooo full of ideas. I put big plans on paper. Stickies of field trips. Lists of books and videos. All kinds of things to supplement our already great curriculum and busy schedules.

And then God whispers….

And I look at the piles and wonder. Am I planning God right out our lives? Do I fill our days with stuff and concepts and take out room for Spirit-led discovery and simple moments of joy that are essential to our life?

I’m a planner. I like lists and books, calendars and guides. God knows that…He made me that way. But He’s teaching me to use my powers for good! To use the gifts He gave me to honor Him, not allowing them to become a substitute for Him.

I don’t know what the picture of our year will look like, until its over. It is like every day is a puzzle piece, and we only know what it looks like when the whole picture comes together. God knows what it is supposed to look like…if I seek Him all the rest will come together. (Matthew 6:33)

5 steps to help plan a Spirit-led school year:

1. Pray. Seems simple. Often overlooked. Essential to success. Not only praying as you plan, before you plan, after you plan…daily, moment-by-moment. God is in every detail of our lives and we need to seek Him as we plan our days, start our daily lives, and balance family, home, school, life and more.

2. Leave blank days. Um, not just leave them…schedule them. There are days where I know we will do independent work, but that does not take all day…there is room to grow, to play, to discover. These days are the days we can follow what God puts before us — opportunities for service, following our peanuts’ interests, time to find the joy of our home and life.

3. Seek. God is with you. He’s all around you. But often we let the hands on, immediate needs, squeaky wheels part of life direct our steps. A small quiet time with God, in the Word, can change the course of a whole day. Even if you don’t see it on the page. God gives us what we needed when we need it, and if we start the day with our hearts toward Him God can use those moments to whisper to our hearts all day.

4. Grace. Jesus pours into us and whispers to our souls, and then we get caught up in our own ideas. We push to become super mom or live up to the ideas on Pinterest and Facebook. It is easy to become hard on yourself, and your kids. But, if we are focusing on the goodness of God, the grace of God, we can give ourselves grace in our shortcomings, in our undone to do lists…and we can pour out grace on our children as we guide them through the exploration of life.

5. Playdough not rocks. Your plans, your ideas, your life….let it be mold-able, changeable. Leave room, and be ready for the Spirit to whisper, to open doors for you and show you how to reach  your children hearts.

I’m still here. My stack of books. Praying and seeking. Planning and dreaming. But in it all I hope, I pray, I’m ready for God to put our puzzle together. That at the end of the year we can look back and see Jesus and lil hearts growing toward Him.

20 Jun

Love will break you but it is good

storm

In the distance the thunder rolls.

In the house a door slams.

A storm is rolling in…inside and out.

storm

I sat on the edge of the stairs and watched the storm move in.

Slamming doors, banging on walls, a little voice filled with rage and fear.

The storm was picking up steam.

Here, I sat…weary.

Beyond weary….exhausted…drained…broken.

The thunder rolls…the sky gets dark.

Slamming…banging.

Tears build up in my eyes and in that moment I’m not sure how this plays out.

I’ve got nothing left. I whisper. Hoping…praying…that the God who brought the rain will somehow bring the sun.

I begin writing a blog post in my head about what love looks like….

Love whispers when you’d rather yell to be heard.

Love knocks on the door that just slammed again.

Love promises to stay through curses and cussing and being pushed away.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7

hopes….perseveres….I’ve got nothing left. I whisper again.

Then from the living a song rises that I’ve never heard before.

The storm rages — the wind blows, little feet kick doors, the thunder shakes the house, slamming doors rattle the hallway, the lightening is so bright and close that it is almost blinding, a little voice spews anger at deafening decibels — and here I sit on the stairs. Tears streaming down my cheeks and Jesus singing into my soul from the living room.

“Love’s not safe at all
Love might let you fall
Love’s not easy
But it’s good, it’s good, it’s good
Love will take your time
Love might feel unkind
Love will break you
But it’s good”

It is not my love or my energy or my efforts that will reach our foster peanut…our someday son….it is Jesus. His love pouring through me…and when I’m empty it can only come from Him…that…that is perfect love…love that is kind…love that casts out all fear….love that will always persevere…love that is eternal.

Like all storms, this one passed. The thunder rolled on and a little body grew tired.

The sun shone. A faint rainbow glimmered above. And I rocked a small body in my arms while he cried and let go of all that was battling within him.

This is exhausting work…this work of parenting in the wake of trauma, abuse and neglect….

Love will break you…It’s not easy….but it’s good.

 

 

 

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