Monday, April 23, 2012

Come on Over!

Happy Monday!! I decided it was time to finally bite the bullet... after a few months of mulling around the idea, prayerfully considering every angle, I'm blogging from my new home. I hope you'll join me over at this shared life! Super excited to see what God has planned!


Friday, April 20, 2012

On Being Together

Joining up again with The Gypsy Mama for 5 minute Friday~ the rules are no editing, no over-thinking, no back tracking. Just writing. Today's word is together... Go.


This is something I've been thinking a lot about. Fearing the our family doesn't spend enough time. I fear that I'm wasting time, spending these days apart. much of our lives are spent in transition... going to and from. So I've been trying to carve out more moments to share. Trying to be intentional about listening and looking into their little eyes and being close.

And I still worry. Giving my anxieties to God because He tells us to. Does it do any good to worry that I'm not doing enough? This thought of together makes my stomach hurt. Praying that He can weave us into a family even on the days when we don't see nearly enough of each other. Or we argue and hurt and it doesn't feel like we're connected. Can we be together and not even know each other?

This is turning kind of sad, and I didn't mean for that. But this is close to my heart these days... each second slips into minutes and hours and then we have less time to be near each other. But proximity doesn't equal together, does it?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Today I'm linking up with Hearts at Home again! This month's topic is all about balance~ Do you have it? Where do you find it? Are you taking care of you while managing a life? Mary Byers' book "The Mother Load" has the tagline 'If you're taking care of the kids, who is taking care of you?' This is a great question because I think once we start pouring ourselves into our kids, the first thing to get dropped from the priority list are our own needs. I was especially guilty of this when my kids were really small because they require so much from us 24 hours a day!

A bit like a teeter-totter, life has lots of ups and downs... I'd love to just find the middle line of perfect balance! But then again, if the teeter-totter always stayed straight, it wouldn't be so much fun, would it?! Okay, so I'm rethinking my see-saw comparison because I think in this case balance is the goal... I'll leave the picture, but trash the analogy!

 I've got to admit that I'm not always the best at this... but I have learned, especially over the last few months that I do a much better job of taking care of those around me if I am continually being refreshed from the inside out by Jesus. The hardest thing is that this takes such a huge amount of intentionality. I have to make getting up early to spend time in His Word a priority.

I have also found that I need to spend time with my girlfriends! I lived for a long time thinking that I just didn't need anyone else, but this was a terrible belief! Now we have fairly regular girls' nights, craft nights, and also a weekly Bible study. We laugh together, pray for and cry with each other~ These times are a huge part of my being better able to manage my home and love on my kids!

So how do you manage it all? Do you have any tips & tricks to offer? We'd love for you to link up and check out the posts from other mommas~ we're all on this journey together!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Better Writer Day 27~ Niche

Today's writing assignment is to write the post that has been nagging on you... the one that you are hesitant to write because it somehow doesn't fit into your 'niche' or makes you nervous to hit the publish button.

I was standing in the kitchen just now, chopping carrots and listening to the littles swinging from the tree in the backyard thinking about this challenge. I don't think I necessarily have that post. I haven't ever really felt like I had a niche to stay in. I think the posts that make me the most scared to hit the button on are the ones that expose me and force me to come face to screen with my own ugly. And I have a lot of ugly. But the thing that God has been teaching me over the last months is that putting those things out there, writing as He guides me and then publishing them lets the Light hit them. And I'm more likely to turn from all that darkness if it's been outed. I'm grateful for that!

So last week I was confronted with some ugliness in my life. A craving that just popped up. Sin. For our first Christmas together, Trace bought me an Empire Red Kitchen Aid Mixer. Upon purchasing it, his friends told him he was writing his own death sentence~ "You're buying her an appliance, and you aren't even married yet?!" But my man knew this girl. And I was beyond thrilled. Ten years my beloved mixer and I have mixed and made, kneaded and whisked. She has been an ever-loyal companion.

Well, in the midst of making dozens upon dozens of cookies in the last few weeks, I began to tire of having to mix each batch of dough individually. Wouldn't it be nice to have a mixer with twice the bowl and motor capacity? Wouldn't it be great to have a pouring shield that would keep powdered sugar from attracting all the ants into your kitchen? And so I began to search online for an upgrade. And I found it in the pro series. And I began to want it. Crave it.

I told Trace, and he agreed... justified it even. I deserved this. Isn't it funny how things begin to snowball? I had talked myself into it, and even Trace was telling me to just buy it. But for some reason I couldn't. So I talked to God. Thank goodness I had a clear head to do that! And as He is faithful, He spoke to me: A craving for more is ungratefulness. Sin. Ingratitude. Unthankfulness for what He says is enough. Ouch.

I was confronted by my own prayers... I pray 'give us today our necessary bread' and then ask for extravagance because I don't feel content with what He's deemed necessary. Proverbs 30:8 says 'give me neither poverty or wealth; feed me with the food I need'. And in that moment, that exposed and painful, wound-exposed moment, I dropped to my knees and confessed my sin. And I can truly say that in that turning moment, in agreeing with Him about my sin (that's what confession means, after all) and in the walking the other direction of it, I felt truly content. Deeply. Because it's enough.

"for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." Philippians 4:11

Monday, April 9, 2012

Better Writer Day 25

Happy Monday! I hope you had an awesome weekend! Today's writing assignment is to write about our weekend, which is nice because I wanted to share some pics anyway, and then choose one part that sticks out and elaborate on it.
Our weekend was full of spending time together as a family...Friday and Saturday long easy days. I had several cookie orders to finish up and deliver on Saturday, and then at Remy's request went for a 'nature walk'. It was a great way to spend a gorgeous afternoon. We haven't spent much time exploring any outdoor areas near our home (we're not what you would call 'woodsy' people, by any means!), so a friend recommended a trail and we just went for it. Later in the day we shared dinner with some friends. Sunday was a long day, as we had to be at church bright and early for worship practice, breakfast, an egg hunt and then the service, of course. But Easter is always worth the extra effort~ we had an amazing time of revelling in and worshipping a Risen Savior!! So thankful for the freedom that is found in an empty tomb!
We found a beaver dam!!
 Taking a walk outside on Saturday was just what our family needed. I think we are so insulated, literally and figuratively, that we just needed to get out and breath... Some of Remy's Easter goodies included a bug box and binoculars, and both littles got a magnifying glass, so Remy The Explorer was ready to get out and make some discoveries. We packed up a lunch and then hit the trail.

The beaver dam was our first discovery, and this was an amazing find to everyone. We hoped to see some beavers, but Remy was convinced that they were hiding underneath the bridge. We stopped long enough for him to draw a picture of the dam in his journal and then kept moving. The binoculars revealed all sorts of amazing sights, and stopping to eat lunch on a bench was a welcome rest for little legs at a halfway point.
Catching Bugs
We made lots of 'good finds', climbing over logs, sitting on stumps, turning over logs to collect centipedes and worms... but I think the most rewarding thing for me was just spending time without any of the world pressing in. Time kind of stood still while we were out there. The kids played well together and also got nice and worn out! We brought home a bug box full of living things, which we spent an even longer part of the afternoon at home just observing. It really is the simple things, isn't it?

Thanking Him this morning for a full weekend well spent~ time with family and friends celebrating the biggest day of the year!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Better Writer Day 24~ For Whom

Hello, lovelies! I'm a few days behind... I've been reading books to Halle while the cookies bake, crafting paper Holy Week stories while the icing dries, and catching up on laundry while packaging about 12 dozen cookies this week. With each one saying thanks to God for bringing in these orders that are supporting my trip to Africa this summer. Grateful but exhausted. So I have been reading the challenges and thinking of responses over the kitchen sink, but the words just never made it to the keyboard.

But I'm here tonight with a few minutes to breath. And what do I do when breathing but write... And it's fitting then that yesterday's assignment was to share why I started blogging and what my dreams might be for this medium of writing. I started blogging about three years ago when my littles were really little. I began mostly because their grandmas wanted pictures, and I wanted a way to share them easily without much hassle. I thought a blog would be a way to tell a few stories and catch up the curious relatives. What I didn't realize was how much I would have to say, or that anyone would even listen.

A few other friends and family began 'tuning in', and I started to expound a little. Our days were full of doing fun everyday things, and I began sort of preschooling with Remy, so I started telling a bit more about the goings on in our home. It was a natural process for me, as I've journalled for most of my life. I didn't really have any dreams of growing or of the blog becoming more than a family journal, but I knew that I liked the process and having a place to store the memories (mommy-brain zapped my ability to remember anything!).

It was around this time that I discovered the world of blogging in its fullness... I was completely sucked in by the inspiration, the community, and the craftiness! This stay-at-home momma suddenly wasn't completely alone, and in the quiet moments while Trace was on the road I found that some of these communities and relationships kept me from a complete fog. It was around this time that I began to dream for my blog, I think. I felt like God was crafting in me a story that He wanted me to tell. I began to share more about the goings on in our home and my heart, and while I gained some readers, the healing I gained simply in the telling was miraculous.

I want the space where I write to be a haven. Much like I feel God calling me to create a haven for my family in our home, I feel He's calling me to carve out an online space for other moms and homemakers to find vision, rest and peace. He has placed a call on my life to ministry to other moms and homemakers, and while a large piece of that actually takes place around the table in my home, I believe part of it will be shared in the space where I write. And though I'm still putting together a few of the pieces, I guess I can reveal that I'm going to be moving to a new blog home soon that will sort of culminate this vision for ministry called 'this shared life'.

 My prayer is that God would use me. That may sound over-simplified, but with all my heart I just want to be obedient to whatever it is He's called me.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Out Loud

Write It, Girl is having a contest and giving away one ticket to the Allume Social Conference. And I'm dying to go... So to enter, they asked 'What does it mean to be a Write It, Girl?'.

 It's funny because in answering the question posed, I feel a bit like I'm in a pageant or something... I've been linking up with them on Tuesdays, but it's been with much trepidation. I feel like God says a lot of things about me. He calls me a lot of things: Beloved, Child, Heir, Daughter... But I've always had trouble believing any of them. And one He's recently been asking me to grab and hold on to is writer. Me? I've written volumes of journals and poems, letters and notes, to-do lists and dreams...  So I'm saying it out loud, I guess.  Calling myself a 'Write It Girl' means that I am a writer. Even if I write for only one. ~Praying that I always only write for The One, the True Author and Creator!

I have also loved jumping into and getting to know the Write It, Girl community. Such an inspiring group of others, all challenging and equipping each other in their faith, writing, lives... I'm not even quite sure how I stumbled upon the site, but I'm so thankful I did!

Happy Tuesday! I'll be back in a bit with the Better Writer's Challenge for today!