Thursday, November 29, 2012

Last night I could not sleep.  Ironic that a little over a week after begging for sleep I stumble on a night in which I cannot wind down and go to sleep.  My husband was working and my kids were snuggled down so I checked out netflix.  It has been a while since I have watched something besides Barbie, Princess, or Go Diego Go :).  The title caught my eye first and then when I read the reviews I knew what I wanted to watch...Acts of Valor.  Have you seen this movie?  OH.MY.  this movie is so good and such a heart breaking reminder of what happens when someone lays it all on the line for our freedom. 

There are a few movies that I have seen over the course of the years that I would say have changed my life, enriched it or challenged me and what I believe and what I am striving for.  This is one of those movies.  Like reading Katie's book, Kisses From Katie, I put it down (the book) or paused it (this movie) and asked myself what exactly am I doing with my life?  What am I so sure of that I would die for it or give up everything for?  How do the men and women that serve our country - how do they live in such a way that they are ready to die at any moment?  How does a person become so sold out for what they believe that they will pack up and move across the world into horrendous poverty just to serve and love the people there?  How did they become the men and women that would do that?  What about me?  Now that I know about the poverty that is out there, now that I know the degree to which these men and women go to for our freedom, for our country – how will that make me a different person?  Will I give more, pray more, serve more?  Will I teach my kids about this?  Will I hug them a bit closer because somewhere tonight someone’s mom or dad won’t be coming home?  Will I take that money I would have bought a starbucks with and ship it to a kid who hasn’t eaten today?

Friday, November 23, 2012


Five Minute Friday Lisa-Jo Baker


If I could have a minute to say one thing to You, I used to think I would ask you why.  Why things have to hurt, why some people have to struggle, why Your Son had to die.  But now after life has unfolded a bit more I think I would like to fall down at Your feet and whisper one thing.

Thank you.

May my laughter ring with it, my tears cry out to you.
Thank You.

Thank You for life.  For breath.  For forgiveness.  For grace.

May the trees scream with it, the grass ripple with it.
Thank You.

Thank You for the rain, the sun, the gentle breeze and the gale force winds.

May my thoughts dwell on it, my heart hold on to it.
Thank You.

Thank You for the sleepless nights, the tissues that wipe, and the arms that hold.

May the birds sing it, the leaves dance it.
Thank You.

Thank You for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat.

May our very beings cry out in complete and utter abandonment.  You are worthy.  Worthy of the whisper, worthy of the shout, worthy of the song and worthy of the dance.  You are worthy of all we have and more. 


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

There are a few "go to" blogs that I read when I need a reminder or a pick me up.  Reminding me of what is most important and why I am doing what I do.  These women write with such talent that it is staggering, their words and thoughts drip with encouragement, the kind that is ooey-gooey and sinks down into who you are.  It sticks to your thoughts, your words, your actions.  They have such grace, been given such gifts and choose to bless others with them...inspiring!

Coffee Tea Books & Me - such a sweet, sweet heart
A Holy Experience - truly one of my favorite people (I do not know her personally, but after reading her beautiful words, I feel like I do :) )
I Take Joy - Sally Clarkson is such an encouragement for moms.  Sometimes I feel a bit intimidated because I fall so short of the ideals that she speaks and teaches about (the ideals are amazingly awesome).  But I never feel shamed for my short comings, just encouraged to get back up and try again!
Inspired to Action - LOVE this blog, such awesome ideas
Cottage Thoughts - sweet, sweet momma heart
Embracing my Cup - sweet, sweet momma heart
Kingdown Twindom - sweet, sweet momma heart

But by far my very favorite of all is Sarah Clarkson.  This young lady has a way of writing that is captivating.  I have a few posts bookmarked that she has written over the years that I go back to again and again.  The last two posts that she has written, well I do not have words to do them justice, they are incredible.  If you find yourself a little overwhelmed this holiday weekend or with pockets of quiet that you need something soothing to fill them with, please take the time to read her words. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am exhausted

Seriously feel like I have been ran over by a huge bus, then flattened by the train that was behind it and then just for good measure I feel like I have been pummeled by a mixer - you know the kind that have the two spinning things?  It has been a very, very hard week and a half.  For a number of reasons, but the topping on the cake?  My kids have gotten a bad head cold.  The kind of head cold that they wake up every thirty minutes crying all.night.long.  The kind of head cold where one of them gets it, starts to finally feel better and then wham the next one gets it.  And family is in town, family that we don't see very often, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I have not slept more than an hour at a time for a while.  I am wiped out.  I want to crawl into bed and sleep for a week and drink huge vats of coffee while curled up on the sofa in front of the fire place.  Except we do not have a fire place and caffeine has been bugging me lately so I have to limit how much I can have and the day must go on even if I am fresh out of the umpf needed to get the day done.  But in spite of the exhaustion and the dirty dishes piled up, the laundry that needs to be folded and the worksheets I need to look over and hand back for corrections, there have been some beautiful moments tucked into the last few days...  

1) rocking my youngest, she is still small enough to be rocked, in a quite living room at three in the morning and hear her say "sing it again, Momma?"  (Away in a Manger)

2) laying down next to my kids when they are sick and have them curl into me and feel them completely relax.

3)  hanging up window clings today in between me reading aloud and seeing their delighted eyes sparkle. 

4)  lighting the cinnamon candle and having it make everything smell so very yummy

5)  reading a good book and becoming so lost in it that I forget I am not actually there

6)  reading the story Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott that we have read every year since my oldest was five years old.

7)  knowing if we get to go tomorrow there may be a very yummy green bean casserole on the table

8)  sipping my cup of hot coffee, microwaving it after it sat too long, forgetting it and then finding it later when I go to pop the kids some popcorn :)

9)  remembering Thanksgiving pasts and hoping for Thanksgiving futures and realizing each moment is precious

Monday, November 19, 2012

1 Peter 4:8

For a long time 1 Peter 4:8 has bothered me and stumped me.  Bothered me because it seems like a good excuse for someone to do something wrong because love will cover it and stumped me because it seemed like a good reason not to confront someone who's doing something wrong because love is supposed to cover it.  Does that make sense?  But today I realized that the first part of the verse needs to be my focus for now.  I need to grasp the what before analyzing the why.

"Above all else, love one another deeply (what) because love covers over a multitude of sins (why)."

Above all else - above everything, before anything, during anything, after anything, ABOVE all else

Love one another deeply - deeply tells us how.  It is the kind of deep that digs down beneath everything else, the kind of deep that is cellular level, that is tucked in the sinewy depths of our fibered muscle, the kind of deep that stretches us, sometimes hurts us, always calls for us to put the other person first, the kind of depth that changes us.  We will not look the same after we learn to love like this.  The kind of love that is Ephesians 4:2.   Completely humble.  Completely gentle.  Completely patient.  Bearing ALWAYS with one another with this kind of love.

I haven't even begun to learn how to love like this.  I barely even scratch the surface. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Morning

Good morning, today is a glorious morning here in our neck of the woods.  The air is cold, the coffee is hot and my bagel is toasted to perfection.  We have a busy week, flu shots, field trips, lunches with Daddy...I am starting Bible in 90 days from the beginning this morning as well.  We have so much to get done before we take a winter break here.  A lot to tuck away in their brains, a lot of reading, a lot of writing, a lot of math pages...but we might as well have fun with it along the way right?  I have a couple of surprise audio books waiting in the wings, some great music and awesome color sheets too.  We are set for a great if the actual meets the plan...then that will be awesome.  If not, then we will roll with it the best we can!

Give Thanks In All Things
1) hot coffee, cold cream, sweet sugar
2) the Bible in 90 Days plan
3) bagels with butter toasted
4) sweet voices saying, "Mommy wake up it is a new day and I am awake and I am HUNGRY"
5) Hearing Tanner's teeth chatter after he ran around outside in the cold
6) flu shots + new movie and pizza party plans
7) field trips with friends
8) sweet friends who will email and encourage and listen
9) Thanksgiving is coming!!!!!!  YAY.
10) COLD mornings - LOVE them!

In all of this I do not forget those on the East coast struggling through the aftermath of Sandy and the winter storm that just hit them.  I lived in Manhattan for one glorious summer, I love New York City.  Today my children and I will gather and pray the hours for them, for every single person affected.  Honestly I cannot even wrap my mind around all that has happened and continues to happen.  We are also going to be brainstorming on how to help, where to give and what to do.  If you know of any great ideas, feel free to leave them in the comment section. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012


This is one of the most beautiful things I have read in a long time.  Beautiful because it is so true and so humbling and so I am at a loss as to what to say... but I encourage you to read it for yourself and see.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Quiet

Lisa-Jo Baker's Five Minute Friday


This morning I drag myself to the table and plop down.  I am tapped out.  For some reason the kiddos tag teamed last night and what began at three am and a scary dream twisted and turned and hopped and here I am.  Still awake.  Not having slept since three.  I am tired, exhausted, grumpy.  I prepared my coffee which translates to dumping most of the bag of Gingerbread neglecting to measure it.  I am beyond caring as long as it is hot and it contains caffeine, that is what sugar and cream are for, right?  To fix the mistake? 

Anyway, last night as I sat beside the bed of one of my children, rubbing her back, soothing her from a bad dream it was quiet.  The kind of quiet that you can hear the clock ticking all the way from the kitchen.  I don't know about anyone else but in the middle of the night when I cannot sleep for one reason or another my thoughts tumble around and my brain runs non stop.  I replay the day, make mental notes for the ones to come, analyze a comment or a book read or a movie I saw.  I think.  And then think some more.  I wonder about the hurricaine and all of those people now hit with a winter storm.  I wonder about the election and the direction of our country.  I wonder about my children and how we are doing with our parenting.  I wonder about my friends and family and on and on it goes.  Eventually my thoughts turn to God. I wonder about God and His perspective on hurricaines, elections, families and friends and sleepless nights. 

I realized I am not really comfortable with the quiet so I jump from thought to thought desperate to fill up the silence.  Why?  I am not sure.  But this morning when I saw what today's word was I thought about last night and how quiet the space around me was, but how loud and annoying the space inside of me was.  And I wonder, are you comfortable with the quiet?  Are you able to quiet your thoughts and your mind and just enjoy the silence?  If so and if you happen along this post, would you leave a comment and let me know how you do it?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


We want to avoid suffering, death, sin, ashes. But we live in a world crushed and broken and torn, a world God Himself visited to redeem. We receive his poured-out life, and being allowed the high privilege of suffering with Him, may then pour ourselves out for others.
Elisabeth Elliot

giving thanks

1)  living in a free country that allows you to vote
2)  hot coffee and cinnamon life cereal (without the milk poured on it) for breakfast
3)  Phil Wickham's music
4)  glancing out the window and seeing the trees, some bare, some a brilliant color - all look dipped in gold because of the morning light pouring over them
5)  feeling better after having a cold for over a week
6)  having a husband that will take me to vote and then buy me a decaf gingerbread latte to help my sore throat
7)  watching my children snuggled down under blankets sound asleep
8)  pumpkin spice candles + cold mornings

Monday, November 5, 2012

a few of my favorite things

Lately I haven't had much to say because honestly I have been struggling.  Struggling to relax into the life that God has planned.  Because I had a different plan, well at least in my mind it looked differently than it does in reality.  Our days can be unpredictable at best.  I am a list girl.  Give me a pen, a paper and a mug of steaming coffee and I am content.  At least I was.  Then I learned that once the ink has dried on that list there is something else to do.  Another step to take.  Surrendering that list to His hands and submitting to His will. 

When I take a step back and given the choice between a life with Him and a life without Him, I will choose Him.  Actually there is no choice.  He contains my next heart beat, my next breath, my joy and all the hope available.  It is just hard knowing as I put one foot in front of the other that today may be a hard day.  I may be called to die to myself a little more and be patient when I would rather stomp my feet and demand my way.  To forgive hurtful words and actions...again.  To have to say I am sorry and seek forgiveness....again.  To see myself as I really am and know it is not where I want to be.  To make mistakes and have others see those mistakes.

But when I stop, take a deep breath and look around me I remember Ann Voskamp and the first moment I read her challenge.  To count the way He loves.  Count the blessings, say the hard hallelujahs.  I remember the excitement that roared through me.  The hope of being able to love the moments, all of the moments, because finally I saw that He gives each one.  And to know that even something I don't like or that I think is hard, is more than worthy of my saying 'thank you'.

So in order to start my week off here are a few of my favorite things...

1)  Gingerbread - gingerbread coffee, latte's, candles, muffins - LOVE gingerbread - the flavor, the smell
2)  Those hard passages that we wrestle with.  That leave us asking WHY and HOW.  That leave us with more questions than answers, that keep our heart set apart to Him.  Thinking about Him, wondering about Him, and yes even wrestling with Him.  Because no matter what I cannot forget it is all about Him.
3)  The opportunity to get up early when I would rather snuggle down into the warmth and comfort of my blanket.  It is the chance to die just a little more to self.
4)  Getting older, seeing the effects of aging, the little gray hairs, the lines around my eyes, the need for glasses now...this is a privilege SO many people would love to have.  People that now lie quiet in their graves.  And yes I am certain many would choose to be in the presence of God instead of living life on Earth, but still being here, seeing my children grow up, it is a gift.  And who cares if I look like I have lived 36 years here?  Isn't that part of the gift?
5)  Being married.  Being in any relationship is hard.  Loving someone else more than you love yourself is a daily battle.  But what battlefield is more glorious or more worth our love spilled out than the battle to love your spouse more than you love yourself?
6)  Being a Mom.  It is hard.  SO SO hard.  The days can be long.  They can be full of complaining and whining and bickering.  But that moment when they wrap their arms around you say, "Mommy, I love you so much."  AHHHH there is nothing like it.
7)  Tanner rounding the corner as he runs to his cage.  The floor is tiled and he tries so hard to stay upright, yet in his excitement he tumbles and scratches and careens from side to side.  His ears flop and it is just about the cutest thing.  Ever.
8)  The ability to write.  And read.  And walk.  And run.  And think.  And speak.

I hope you all have wonderful weeks.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Roots of Rivalry

Lisa-Jo Baker's Fabulous Five Minute Friday


Many days the squabbling erupts into such a clatter of voices that I cannot tell what happened or even if everyone is ok at that moment.  The tears, the outrage, the anger just boils up and over until we are all coated in its sticky, yucky goo.  When this happens it is hard to take a moment and think and dig into the root of the problem.  But I have learned over the past ten and a half years, if I do not attack the root, there is NO hope of it not happening again and again and again.  So I take a deep breath and dig in and dig deep.

Usually after I have sent everyone to their room, including myself, I will come back and one at a time listen as each of them tells their tale.  Usually there are three pesky roots involved...

1) someone has forgotten that they are only responsible to their sibling (what they can control - their actions and attitudes) not responsible for them (what they cannot control - how their sibling responds in any given situation).  I hear myself saying this a LOT through the day "There is ONE Mommy here, not four"

2)  someone has used their sibling as a measuring stick and that old yucky bug of comparison has come in and taken a huge chunk out of their friendship in that moment.  I catch myself saying this a lot too, "God gave you a sibling, not a ruler.  He created each of you and you both are fearfully and wonderfully made with your own unique strengths and your own individual weaknesses.  God gave you the strengths for a reason, but He also gave you the weaknesses for a reason.  He did NOT give you each other to use a measuring stick to see how you are doing." 

3)  someone wants what they want when they want it.  Selfishness is a HUGE ugly root that every human being has to tackle on a daily basis.  In children this particular root seems to be healthy, strong, and solid.  It is like the weed/vine thing that sprung up this spring in our yard.  It was a hot and dry summer, most everything else was either droopy or died before it began - but this vine?  It thrived,  I purposely did not water it, tried to get to the root of it and pulled and pulled it down weekly, but every time I checked it would be there with ten of its closest relatives.


Now that I know the roots I have to figure out how to dig them up and weed them out.  Next post I will tackle this.