Tuesday, October 26, 2021

2021 today...

And here we are two years later. We had a vile presidential election in 2020, are still having a worldwide pandemic (Covid-19), and the voices of so many have flooded the news and social media and changed the physical, social and emotional state of our country, and parts of the world- some for the better, some for the worse. 

But here we are all. Still standing. And if anything, hopefully you have found your voice in the mess and chaos. I'm learning to treasure what is truly important to me. I'm learning to believe in myself and to shut out the noise of the naysayers, one of those voices being my own. This may be in connection to just getting older and realizing that I don't need to wait on anyone's approval or permission to follow the dreams in my heart. This doesn't mean me being a wild woman and throwing all cares to the wind! But what this does mean is stopping the excuses and living in fear of failure or judgement. I, like you, was created for God's glory, to honor and bless Him with my gifts and talents and to flourish in those areas. Sometimes, this looks like glorifying Him in a challenging situation, or in a take great risks situation. Sometimes it looks like waiting, sometimes it looks like jumping in the pool and then figuring it out to swim. But the most important thing in all of this is keeping the focus on Jesus.

Every little step on His path, no matter how big or small, how exciting or mundane, is prep for the journey of this life. Daily commitment is key. The artist's first brush stroke builds and builds, and rests, and then starts again, eventually ending in a masterpiece. But it started with that first stroke of the bristles to the paper, with vision, not with an exact plan, but a step by step moment, grit and commitment. It's a good thing.

"Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established." Proverbs 16:3

"Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statues and keeping his commandments, as at this day." 1 Kings 8:61

Friday, July 26, 2019

how time flies

My goodness, how has it been more than a year since I've written on here? I must say I do like the ease and quickness of Instagram. But really, it's because I love to post pictures and my hard drive is full and I can't download any pictures on this awesome Macbook that I'm pretty sure is 7 or 8 years old- yep, shout out for Macs...Iphone, hmmph, not so much anymore, but we don't need to go there since I still have the silly thing that I owe an arm and a leg for. But I digress...

Ok, so we have an amazing little girl. She's pretty darn stinking special, just like her brothers. Delivery was ok. After five natural births, I opted for an epidural. Maybe because I'm older, maybe because I was struggling big time with fear over this delivery. I don't know, but I said yes to that beautiful ginormous needle filled with numbing medication. So the results- it was awesome during the delivery. My husband said it was our best delivery ever. And you know, it was amazing to not feel like I was going to pass out from the awful pain you can't escape. The cons- with the previous deliveries there was such intense pain and then such intense relief after delivery, there was an overwhelming wave of emotion. This delivery was quite the opposite, calm and thankful but not a rush of emotion and for me personally, I didn't feel that immediate bond with our sweet girl. Next, the back pain hung around for a good few months. Not cool. Before, that baby popped out and I was up at the bathroom and back to normal, but not so this time. Finally, but the most ridiculous and no validity, I "felt" bad that I hadn't been stronger and done natural. But this is just pride, I'm just keeping it real by sharing what my mind was going through. So if we did this again and you asked me which route I'd take, I would opt for natural again or at least try my hardest for it. But I speak only for myself. The pain of natural childbirth...oh man, at least I know I could never be a spy and deal with interrogation. It's no joke but I've also been through it and have something to compare it to. But there is never ever any shame in which option a mama chooses. A precious friend of mine had BIG babies and endured more pain then was ever necessary for her and I believe she would say get that dang epidural before you even leave your house! Birth should be a blessing, not traumatic if avoidable.

I returned to work after 6 weeks- again, something completely new from our past babies. It was heart wrenching. God and I had quite a few talks and crying sessions. But we're ok. Our sweet girl is safe and truly the happiest lil peanut I've ever seen. She is adored by her daddy and big brothers. And my job is a God thing. It's a place that is growing and stretching my faith, my reliance on the Lord, and learning to be strong while not losing my joy. If you ever wonder if God isn't listening, know He never stops. He is always there. And when your tears fall, He catches them. And when the laughter rolls, He is there rejoicing with you. This season of life, He continues to remind me, it is not my circumstances that are important, it is my heart in them. Paul rejoiced when free and when in prison. He was content with little and with much. It was his heart in his circumstances. His joy was complete in Christ. My heart through all of this, it is always has to go back to knowing and remembering I can trust my heavenly Father to lead us.

So on to buying pink flip flops and preparing to send our oldest off to college. How so much can happen in a year!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Spring and simplicity

I love fall. The smell of burning leaves, pumpkins growing, thoughts of pie and warm rich colors all around. It is a season that feels cozy, small and quiet and evokes a spirit of rest. But this year, maybe because our sweet girl is on the way, I am truly excited for spring.

I love flowers and happy bright colors. I am not one who wants bouquets of flowers brought home from the store. My hubby is awesome and knows that I can't bear the thought of spending more than $10 on a bouquet of flowers that will die in a week. Oh but give me a garden filled with blooms (heart eye emoji here) - it is a dream! I have mentioned it here before but my little dream home for us would be a farm house with some acreage and flowers, chickens, big garden and bees. Now, I have never had any of those items and I am not going to lie, the tomato plants I have had, they survived probably because they were hardy, but I would like to learn. The older I get the more I desire for that peace of simplicity. To be less in the world and more in what God has blessed us to care for.

I desire that simplicity for our home as well. We are a big family. My husband and our kids are precious blessings and I want to cultivate a home that gives a feeling of peace and order. Having less stuff means more time to rest and enjoy each other's company. It has been a process for me for years of letting go of things. I am a dreamer at heart so I have 10,000 ideas and plans going on in my mind at one time. But unfortunately, I have this slight hurdle of follow through so the projects and plans tend to stay in their dream stage, meaning a pile (or piles) of projects growing around the house. I am a work in progress. I am happily finding that balance of allowing myself to dream (that is part of the fun) while still being realistic of knowing when to actually purchase items. Really, being a creative, it is just my desire to put something together that is pretty.

Not really sure where this post is going. Maybe just random thoughts :) It started with looking at Magnolia's Silos spring recap and how much I am drawn to the photos and desire to do something along those lines. Thinking about the different jobs I have had over the years, my favorite was working at an inn along the coast of Maine for the summers and being responsible to set up the decorations for weddings. I didn't do the big things, like lighting, bringing in the floral pieces etc. I was given the freedom to add those delicate touches the bride and groom hadn't considered, like the placement and organization of name cards, having the centerpieces be just so for balance and beauty, small details of lighting and candles to highlight the gift table and cake table. Really, just the little details that made them neat and orderly with simplicity.

My hope is that the Lord will see fit to bless us with some sort of creative job like that in the future. My husband and I are entrepreneurs at heart. He has the gifts of big picture, marketing and management. While I on the other hand have the small details, beauty, customer service part. What I love about how God has wired the two of us is that we are both creative in different ways. He is the one on the ground holding the big happy red balloon flying in the sky (me.) But, by God's grace and prompting, he keeps me grounded, aware of the God's faithful and secure character, and he doesn't let me go. And I let him see we can dream and have that reckless and free trust for our Heavenly Father's love for us. It is one of the sweet and refining gifts of marriage God has blessed us with. And it is truly by God's grace that we can see them as gifts and not hindrances.

So here is to joyfully embracing spring and the different seasons the Lord has for us. God has truly impressed upon my heart this past year that life is a gift, He is trustworthy and faithful, His love is steadfast and that to enjoy the season you are in. You just don't know what He holds for your tomorrow but we can trust that every prayer never ever falls to the wayside. He hears and cares for each one.

Monday, April 9, 2018

He is a good Father always

For years I'd prayed and yearned for more children. I wanted so desperately to have a large family (even when we already had a large family). But my husband was not on the same page. He knew our hands were full, the stresses of this dispensation of the reality of living in an area (that we knew was home) where we both have to work outside of the home full time, it just wasn't realistic. And I have to tell you, this girl here is a dreamer and I love Jesus and believe Him for His provision big time. However, I will honestly say, for some time I was putting the Lord in my little box of wants and dreams of me being able to homeschool, have a huge family, make everything from scratch, be an artist and on and on, but not taking the time to seek Him and His dreams for us.

But I will tell you from the depths of my heart, my other prayer during that time was to be a good wife to my precious man and to be a good mom to our boys and that, I believe, was the small still voice I was actually listening to in the midst of my dreams. So the slow painful process began of letting go of dreams and "facing reality" and placing our kids in school and looking for a job. But what happened with that was I actually started to hear my husband, not just listen to him, but hear him, which in turn honored and loved him. And the the kids, God gave them teachers whom He picked and schools, although public and there were (and still are) conversations that need to happen on an on-going basis (and yes, some that grieve our hearts), that were small and have helped them grow and thrive academically and physically beyond our hopes.

And then the Lord blessed us financially with a full time job for me with benefits and retirement, a job that by earthly standards, is amazing. But I will say, after the initial excitement of going to work and getting a paycheck and learning (I love learning new things) the reality of being gone from home, learning a new routine, dealing with angry people, feeling the "guilt" of not doing everything at home and feeling like a failure kicked in. And it was over two years I struggled with the Lord, questioning Him, our choices, my husband's leadership (was he listening to the Lord??---most definitely yes, but I was not hearing that then). But the Lord pressed on, never leaving me, ever gracious and patient, continuing to lead and minster to my fearful heart and continually softening my husband's heart with great patience for me. And bit by bit, He has ministered and counseled my mind and heart.

What have I learned in the past almost three year, when forced to be quiet, to trust Him wholly and completely with my life? That I can. I will tell you honestly, He revealed a deep fear in my heart and lie in my mind, that at times I am still working through- that I am not enough. Yet His Truth is renewing my mind that I don't needs others approval for my value. We hear so often, and accept that saying, "I'm a people pleaser." But why? I stopped saying it. We need to speak life over ourselves. Instead I say who I am.
I am a daughter of the King.
I am saved by grace.
Greater is He that is me than he who is in the world.
My sins have been paid for by the shed blood of Christ on the Cross.
I am a new creation in Christ.
My past is my past and His mercies are new every morning.
His Word is Truth. 
He says I am who He says I am.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made, created in His image.
He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind.

I am a God pleaser - not a people pleaser.

Daily, I choose these truths. Not in pride, but humble gratitude and confidence in His truth and the great sacrifice He made for me. He deserves no less! He has given us the gift of life. The living and personal God! And when I pray, read His Word, repeat these things and praise Him, His peace floods my soul. I stop looking out and comparing and thank Him for the sweet gift of my life and the plans He has for our life and can rejoice for others. That is a precious gift that gives freedom. Knowing your cup, maybe appearing through earthly eyes, to be cracked earthenware or fine silver, in truth, it is yours in His hands. And anything in His hands is the finest of the finest! 

All that had to be said so it could be understood the surprise the Lord heaped upon us last November with the addition of new jobs, was a miracle baby. I say miracle because it was a prayer I had finally set at His feet with joy and let go, praying every so often, but not in desperation, and thanking Him for our sweet ones and knowing my husband's heart and wanting to truly honor him. I will keep it real, it wasn't a jump for joy finding out, but I had peace (and still lots of prayer for my sweet man who sees our age and finances). But there was peace. And our precious Father topped it off when at the 20 week ultrasound, the tech looked at hubby and said, "Papa Bear, you are going to have a princess." Humbled mama with tears right here.

I want my life to bring Him glory. I am a wretch He saved from the pits, clothing me in white, and He continues to heap blessing upon us. He is patient and when we question, He patiently ministers to our hearts and waits for our obedience. It is a daily walk, but His love is repeated over and over again in His Word- His love is steadfast and He is faithful! He gives good gifts, by His standards, not the world's. And despite the hardships and sadness of this world, my heart can trust Him. He is a good good Father.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Pray without ceasing

Our cousin's precious wife and their sweet girl. When the Lord so graciously answers years long prayers. 💓  

This past year the Lord has impressed upon my heart His faithfulness. In His provision for our family, He has used a job that has forced me to stay quiet with my own thoughts, to be on my face in prayer, to cling with desperation knowing my own strength was nonexistent and to truly seek Him and who I am in Him. 

Realizing I am not in control of this life and that He truly loves me and hears me is priceless. Being able to have that peace and security of knowing He is for me has allowed me to begin to move forward daily with joy and trust. My husband and I have been pressing into the Lord with prayer and He answered some huge things in our lives that are unmistakably Him. But we had to go through the seasons we were in for Him. These were specifically with work but the Lord used them to refine us, to praise Him no matter what and, I believe, to bless others in the process. God does and is doing so much more than we realize and this is when praying without ceasing and letting go come in full force. 

I will be sharing in my next post about our crazy but amazing month of November. It is truly a sweet and huge testimony of His continued faithfulness. 

Bless you sweet ones, press into Him and if I may recommend, my friend posted on Instagram recently about her morning routine in the Word. I have been being intentional to read His word for 30 minutes everyday this week. I am quick to pick up my phone and scroll through social media or start the laundry or anything else thinking reading my Bible has to be a perfect time and place. But the truth is I need to stop and sit to start well (and it helps I also am reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World I am definitely on the Martha side, which can steal my joy a lot of the time.)

Any morning or evening routines you have with the Lord?

Happy and blessed week.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him. 
Samuel 1:27

Friday, November 10, 2017

tomorrow is not promised

I'm thankful for God's continued grace and provision. It's been a season of layers slowly being peeled back on the onion. Heart and mind at His feet. His grace is above and beyond sufficient.

Yesterday, I opened my Instagram feed and read my sister had died. 
We weren't close but it still shook me. She has two babies that are our second son's age. 15. Babies still. She's gone and she leaves behind a husband and two sweet ones and dreams and hopes. But more importantly, did she know Jesus?

For a brief moment, when she was expecting we reconnected. She was expecting twins (their first and miracle babies) and us with our second. We talked about strollers and other baby things. Several months later hubby and I and our two littles had the sweet privilege to visit them and meet their little wee ones. It was the last time we saw them. We enjoyed a nice visit and I later sent her a few books, one, The Power of a Praying Mom. Her response was they didn't have any religious beliefs. And then communication went to Christmas cards, and eventually just me sending a Christmas card with no response back.

15 years ago. And now she's gone. And it was a wake up call to me. It was the reminder that everything here on earth is temporary. This is the one and only life we will have. So the social media, the job, the dreams, the plans, none of them matter. What matters is what I do for Christ. How I love these people with fierceness that God has allowed me the privilege to be with. What matters is that I live with joy, not anxiousness, fear, worry, doubt. Our days are not promised. We have our today. And on the day when I sit at Christ's feet I want Him to say, "well done my good and faithful servant." I want Him to know I lived in this world but not of it. I want Him to know I treasured His life and His death given for me. I want to be able to rest my head at night knowing my life is for Christ and not myself.

Let us wake up to the great calling God has upon our lives. To glorify Him. To lift one another up. To be a light in an ever-darkening world. To love. To rejoice. To speak Truth. To seek His kingdom first. To live with joy and peace, even in the midst of chaos. Because tomorrow is not promised, today is our today.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. 
The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving 
let your requests be made known to God.  
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, 
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:4-7

Friday, June 2, 2017

Daily life ... to thrive

This journey of life-daily routines... sweet one, do you see the sun peeking through? The Lord is always present, perfect in His steadfast love. So as you're going about your day, remember this is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it! Don't just survive, thrive. Thrive. There's this big beautiful story God is weaving and you are part of it. You are a main character that He loves and adores and He is for you!

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"-Romans 8:31

Sunday, July 10, 2016

to God be the glory


It has been over a year since I have written here. It has flown though. It has been a good year. It has had its struggles but God has been faithful. When I had first started writing this post I was talking about the struggles and, on a good note, the beauty God has brought from the ashes. But the truth is, I want to just get to the point.

I love Jesus and He loves me.

I love my husband and he loves me.

I love my kiddos and they love me.

And that's it. This is all that matters.

This is my story. This is what God has shown me over the past year. And this is good, so, so good.

So I think I will continue to write here. Maybe. I want to bring glory to God with the time I spend here. And there are some sweet creative ideas I have had milling around in my mind and heart for a while that my sweet man has encouraged me to pursue. Fear has held me back forever. But no more. This is not honoring to the Lord. It is for His glory and not mine. There is freedom in that. I am not going to make light of fear. It is a nasty, ugly lie from the enemy, but Jesus has defeated him! And Christ lives in me! Amen (insert huge heart emoji)!

If I continue here then be on the look out for changes to this blog - good changes. Definitely still family happenings, but the addition of some of those creative "things" I mentioned before and more of Christ. More of His Word. Diving deeper and digging into His love, truth and grace. Seeing Him in marriage, motherhood, the church, friendship... living intentionally.

Happy weekend friends! To God alone be the glory!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

art, family and creating...

Photos from this Mother's Day visit to the Chrysler Museum 
The last few months, possibly six already, I have been slowly embracing that idea that it's ok to feed my desire to create. All the way up through high school I did art. I was even accepted to a prominent art school in New York but because of a couple factors (and my lack of patience) I decided to go to school for culinary arts instead. Despite how that college season of life turned out (not so good), God used it for His glory as the ashes were turned to beauty. The Lord took this broken girl and blessed me with a God-loving husband; a man who made me feel loved, special and worthy. He then blessed us with a son and a few months later my new life in Him. A year later, quite pregnant with our second, He called to my heart and I wanted to publicly confess my precious belief and need for Jesus, my Savior. I was baptized at that moment and sobbed (it was quite comical at the fear in the pastor's face at this sobbing pregnant mama lol.) The story, His story, slowly unfolds from there on, like layers of a sweet onion being peeled. This is pretty much reflected in this blog. For the most part this is why I wanted to start this. I wanted an outlet. Now, truth be told, I had some sort of high hopes and dreams of having one of "those blogs"; something that would be famous, insightful, money generating, fabulous photos, exquisite words. Oh how patient God is with me. Little did I know, God would use this blog instead for so much more. Blogging has allowed me to journal, to see God's workings in my heart, to help me see my heart (always helps to see your thoughts written out, gives a fresh perspective and hopefully a better one than your own), and truthfully just a sweet record of our family with pictures. I am thankful for this blog and for the creativity it allows. I am also thankful for the connection it's availed to so many other mamas, their creativity and the encouragement I have received from their walks with the Lord.  

Some things I have been embarking upon to add to the blogging outlet have involved reading The Fringe Hoursand this mama's sweet blog The book rocks. I haven't finished it yet, it's more of a slow read, depending on where you are at in life, savoring the chapters. But it was eye opening to see how many of us women think alike and that nasty burden of guilt most of us live under (that's for another post though ;) ). I have also started regularly reading the blogs I have on my side bar, several of them artist mamas learning to balance life, family while still being creative. They are embracing how God has made them, using the gifts He has given them. Mostly, what I have gleaned from these past few months is learning  that it is okay to spend some time creating, I need to be intentional in making the time for it, whatever I create is not going to be perfect (so just do it!), and actually acknowledging that it is something that makes my soul happy. 

So there you have it. Create. Use what God has given you for the main purpose of His glory, not man's. If you end up benefitting financially or some other earthly way, awesome! As long as it is for His glory, then He will use it for what He wants, whether it's just for a filling in your heart or for the benefit of others. :)

Happy and blessed Sunday to you! I am so thankful to have today off, to be able to spend time with our family, go to church, plus have lunch with some of hubby's family and their five wee ones (they were diligent in gently mentoring us as newlyweds and baby Christians) and later, a visit with my cousin, his wife and their sweet little girl.

To God be the glory.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

His will, not my own...

This week...hmm, maybe actually these past two years, I have been learning:

1. God hears my prayers
2. God answers my prayers in His ways, not my own
3. He is faithful
4. He really does love me and my (His) family
5. One step at a time (and this is SO hard)

Like Dory says, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:24 ESV

Despite what I want or experience here on earth, eternity has been bought for my life by the shedding of Christ's blood. And life in this fallen world is truly only temporary. Despite it being hard, I can have joy here and now because of His Spirit. He loves me! He cares for my needs and when my focus is on Him my perspective is fresh and new-it is His! Our circumstances are not ideal and our continued efforts are yielding such small fruit it seems. But I believe, not in a wishy-washy oh-so-spiritual-way, but in Truth, that God does have the bigger picture and plan. Proverbs 16:9 says, 
"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps." My prayers are not going unheard. Hubby and I are trying to do what we think is right and what would be best for these sweet boys God has entrusted to us. But I also know...and trust...that He is closing doors that are not on the path to where He wants and knows is best for us, and for this, I am forever grateful and can have peace.

Finally, two recent events that God has used to greatly encourage me, continuing to reveal His faithfulness.

This past weekend I was blessed to help set up for our church's upcoming VBS. It was a bunch of mamas, most whom have been friends for quite some time and I am new to the group. But we had a lovely time and I realized that I was thankful to have been asked to help. I tend to not want to "bother" people and try to do everything on my own. But the Lord opened my eyes to see how this other mama asking me to help (truly because she needed help) blessed me. I had never considered asking someone to help would be a blessing instead of a hindrance. God is so good! 

While I was setting up at the church, hubby and four of the boys were traveling to NC for his cousin's wedding. I can't tell you how much his family means to me. My husband's aunt has such a precious testimony of God's redemption and I think of her often as I walk this road of motherhood, career, the boys' education. The wedding was a precious reflection of Christ being at the center of parenting despite the world and circumstances. The parents' lives have been far from perfect; one set a lineage of pastors, the other first generation Christians. But here stood two beautiful people, reading their vows to one another, promising to love Christ first and then each other; vowing to encourage and support one another and the dreams God has given them individually; vowing to love, not in the feely mushy way, but in the way God commanded us to- with their whole being and not just when they "felt" like it. My frequent fears of "messing up" by not homeschooling, missing family meals, being in public school, working outside of the home, not being the "perfect Christian family" (hello?! seriously??) are put to ease by this family's living testimony of the truth that Christ is bigger than my small mind can comprehend. Yep, deep breath. Please don't misunderstand me and think I am not saying these things are important because they are! However, we must bow to Christ and live the life He has given us and watch Him work. It is in our weaknesses we see His glorious strength. What is the most important thing in this life? My relationship with Christ. When I am at His feet, the rest falls into place. What is the most important thing for my husband and my kids and those I encounter? They're relationship with Christ and them seeing my relationship with the Lord. Life is not perfect. We live in this fallen world where we make mistakes and there are consequences. But God can redeem and bring beauty from the ashes. Oh, how His love is so sweet.

Here is to a new week and His glorious will, mercy and grace in our lives. May I bow, without fear, but with the security of being under His wings. In Jesus' name I pray this, amen.

2021 today...

And here we are two years later. We had a vile presidential election in 2020, are still having a worldwide pandemic (Covid-19), and the voic...

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