On Settling {#WholeMama}

It’s been a while since I’ve joined in on the #WholeMama posts. I lost track of the group and the words. And honestly, I continued on. I missed the group of women, the community, I had found – but as we all know, life continues.

And then randomly, thank you social media, I found them once again. And what a perfect week to jump back in. Because this week, our prompt is settling.

After #WholeMama, I had settled into a routine. A new routine of writing, of summer with family, of playing, and downright craziness. It was a beautiful season. One filled with adventures, friends, and life.

Yet, as time always does, it skipped forward, quickly and abruptly. And I found myself in fall. My favorite season, but one I never truly settled in. Fall was a season of seeking a pace. It was a time of trying to settle in. Trying to create the ‘perfect’ schedule that would be both life-giving and freeing.

Motherhood

Shockingly, I never found it. And now, as spring peaks it’s head around the  hopeful ending of winter, I find myself running from settling. I want to burst out of the cocoon I had been frantically piecing together. I want to run, searching out life.

Honestly, I just want to run on some green grass with my puppy. (No, I do not actually have a puppy.)

And that’s where settling leaves me. In this strange middle ground. The meeting place of comfort and newness. Grasping for life, while clinging to safety. 

What does settling mean to you? I would love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below, or join us over at #WholeMama.

love to you

Praying for the Spring Rains

Hi, friends. I am so sorry I have been absent from here for the last few weeks. I am searching for a schedule that will include more time for this writing, but thus far, it has eluded me. One day. And until then, I will continue to jot notes to my future self on my phone. Hopefully future me knows what all my ramblings mean.

yellowstone trip

LIFE LATELY

I’m going to be honest. I have been a little much lately. A little too emotional. A little to extreme. A little too feeling. And I’m not pregnant – so ack! Seriously though, I feel like I have been searching for a way to flourish this season. And instead, I keep coming up with ways to merely survive.

It has, however, led me to prayer and reading the Bible. A lot. Which is why I’m not writing here as often as I would like. The time allotted for me, is time I am spending solely in the Word. Because I need it. It is my root, my foundation. And without it, I would be lost and alone. Scared and weak.

And while I may still be struggling, I am able to stand firm that it is all for Him. It is producing something in me, that though hard and difficult, is good. And for His glory. And so I continue to press on. To press into Him and His grace.

THE SPRING RAINS

Earlier this month, I finished the Old Testament. A passage in Zechariah has become my constant prayer.

Ask rain from the Lord
in the season of the spring rain,
from the Lord who makes the storm clouds,
and He will give them showers of rain… (Zechariah 10:1)

I pray, I shout out, to my Lord. The Creator. I call to Him for rest. I call to Him for life. I call to Him for joy. I long to be filled. Filled to the point of overflowing, dripping down over me. Covering me. Like the spring rain, soaking and filling and nourishing all. Bringing life and new growth with it.

Yet, the more I think of rain, the more I remember that rain brings more than life. The rains, especially those spring rains, bring with them destruction. They can cause flooding, damage, and even death.

PRAYING FOR RAIN

As I pray for rain, I remember that I am not only praying for life and joy, but I am also praying for suffering. I am praying for the blooming that the spring rains bring. While at the same time I pray for the flood waters to reshape me. I am praying that my Creator, the One who knows me so personally and intimately continues His refinement of me.

And I am encouraged by Paul’s writings.

…we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope… 
(Romans 5:3-4)

I am reminded that the floods are producing something more. The suffering is making me steadfast and teaching me patience. It is producing a strong character in me, one that looks more like my Messiah. And in that refinement, I find my way back to hope. And in that I will ever rejoice!

yellowstone

HIS PROMISE

A few verses down in Zechariah, I find this promise. And this is where I rest. I encamp myself here, ever waiting for the rains. No matter what comes with them: suffering or blessing. Or both.

I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph.
I will bring them back because I have compassion on them,
and they shall be as though I had not rejected them,
for I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. (Zechariah 10:6)

Because He is my strength. He is my salvation. He has compassion on me. He will rescue me. He hears me and answers me. He will not reject me.

Though I may not be here as regularly as I would like, this is where you can find me. Standing in His grace, praying for the spring rains.

Please know, this prayer is not one of blessing or prosperity. I believe prayer is an aligning of my heart to His. It is not to ask for my own will, my own gain. Prayer, talking with our Heavenly Father, should mirror the ways Jesus prayed. Acknowledging Him, confessing, giving thanks, and asking for help. God is not a genie in the sky, waiting to give us all the good things our eyes have seen. He promises good for us, but we must ever remember that our humanness limits how we understand good. God sees our good, not just here but our eternal good. And there are times when that refinement, for our eternal good is painful. But God is still good. 

love to you

The Purposeful Fall: A Look Back

I sit here tonight, thinking on the fall. The weather has finally hit “winter” temperatures and as winter steadily approaches, it has left me looking back at this past season. It has left me remembering. I remember the family moments, the growth. I remember the hard days. The difficult conversations. And I remember my word for fall: purposeful

 I always feel like the seasons are long. Specifically, fall seems to span so much. So many changes in weather, days, activities. It is my favorite time of the year: beautiful weather, my favorite moments, and lots of birthdays. This year, I craved a purposeful fall. A fall filled with intentionality. Intentional conversations. Intentional interactions. Intentional invitations. And there were moments. But for the most part, I’m honestly not sure.

I haven’t shared this here, on my blog, but this fall my church home announced a change. A transition. And if you’re at all like me, unforeseen change rocks you. A lot. I am thankful for God’s grace in it and through it all. Because it caused me to pause. To take a step back. To evaluate. To re-evaluate. 

And that’s a good thing. It creates intention. So while I sit and reflect on this fall, I initially remember my failures: I did not intentionally meet new families. I did not purposefully jump into deeper community with new friends. Instead, I paused. I had to wait for God. I had to listen. I had to be still. 

Being still is hard. Really hard. So this fall was hard. Really hard. 

Yet today, as I sit and remember. As I sit still, quiet, and small. I see intentionality. It doesn’t look quite as I anticipated. Quite as I had planned. But it is there, in the waiting. I was intentional with the questions I asked. I was intentional with spiritual disciplines. I was purposeful every morning as I sat coffee, Bible, and journal in hand. I was intentional with my deep relationships.

It may not have been easy. Honestly, it wasn’t very pretty either. But it was purposeful. It was a time filled with difficult intentionality. Some parts were beautiful, while others were hard and ugly. There were difficult conversations. And new friendships. Strong friendships.

As I sit here in the quiet of a house of children at bedtime, I can rest knowing that God is faithful. He guided me, taught me what intentionality looks like. What living purpose-filled looks like. And that sometimes it looks completely unlike anything I could have imagined.

And even when it’s hard and uncomfortable, it creates beauty. Because it creates a deeper reliance on Him. 

As winter, and the seemingly unending holiday season, approaches I will be signing off, until the new year. I am excited for all 2016 will bring. I am excited for new blog posts. For the ideas flowing in my head and on paper. I am excited for all I am learning as I daily read the Bible. I am excited for new relationships. For new spaces and places to grow.

With that, I will leave you with my word for this winter: Anticipation. As you can see, I look forward to this new season. It leaves me wondering, hoping for more. For beauty. For truth. For grace. And I know God is always faithful. And so this winter, this new season, leaves me full of anticipation.

What word will you choose for this new season? Do you feel hopeful anticipation, purposeful, or maybe grace-filled? I would love to hear in the comments below. Or, as always, fill out the connect form if you would like to talk more!

love to you

 

The First Snow

There is just something so beautiful about the first snow. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but tonight, I sit, watching snowflakes fall. As they cover the branches  of the trees in the backyard. As the pines become a beautiful winter white. I cannot help but feel something special. Something new.

As I stare out at the sleeping wonderland around me, I feel peace. It is quiet and still. The snow is pure and white. There is nary a footprint to mar it’s beauty.


Perhaps this first snowfall of the season is even more special because it began at night. After (or rather, as) my little ones were tucked quietly into their beds, the snow began its magical and wondrous decent. It quietly began to cover the ground. Nudging the earth to sleep once more.

And it is there that the beauty begins, isn’t it? In the quiet. You know my life is really, anything but quiet. But here, as the snow silently falls, it is. I simply stare out the window. Marveling at the beauty of a snow-covered branch. And it reminds me of more. It reminds me of Him. The Creator. His marvelous works.

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Creating a Gratitude Journal

You all know how much I love gratitude and crafting, right? I know I haven’t shared many crocheting posts lately, but if you follow me on Instagram (nudge, nudge) you will see a steady stream of crochet goodies and maybe even some other crafts. (Probably not, but you never know.)

This Thanksgiving season reminds us of the importance of gratitude. Of giving thanks. It encourages us to take time and remember. And I love seeing social media taken over with friends spending time in daily gratitude.


I remember when I first learned about this idea of year long, daily gratitude. I was given the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. Ann was living her life as a homesteading, homeschooling, mother and wife. She was wrapped in the typical. In the normal. And friends, isn’t that right where we find ourselves too? Wrapped in the small, average, daily moments of life. So a friend challenged her to list 1,000 gifts. To practice daily thankfulness. And she said yes. This daily practicing of Thanksgiving changed her life. And her heart.

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The Grace of His Word

Hello again, dear friends. It has been far too long. Far, far too long. And I have missed this each and every moment I have been ‘away.’

As I return to my spot at the kitchen counter; this small corner designated for me + my blog; I cry. Tears of missing this writing, these words, this open heart. Tears over time past. Tears for my own heart, the turmoil I have been battling. The turmoil that has caused this space and time between us.


Because maybe you’re like me. I run away from the things I love when I get overwhelmed and ‘foggy.’ It’s something I need to get better about. And I have. Mostly.

So here I am. I’m sorry for the long, unannounced break. Sometimes life sneaks up on you. Life throws you off balance. And time passes before you regain it. And that’s okay. Because, well, because of grace.

I want to return to this place of vulnerability. This place of openness. I want to go back to the beginning. To who I am at my very core. I want to go back to what I believe and the power of His words.

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Seeking Wisdom

“Give me wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people,
for who can govern this people of Yours, which is so grand?” 

Oh to walk into this great task, this grand adventure of parenting and to ask for wisdom and knowledge is jaw dropping. Okay, so technically this quote was from King Solomon (2 Chronicles 1:10). And he wasn’t speaking of his children or of parenting, but rather of leading a nation. But there are some things that are true to both parenting and leading a nation. Right? I mean, really, they are both leading a group of people, a sometimes unwilling group of people. A group of people that you don’t always understand. They both require much of you and they both place much responsibility on you.

To ask for wisdom at the start of leading parenting makes me pause. I think back to my first pregnancy. My first little one. That moment the nurses handed me my baby. The first time I saw him on an ultrasound. The first time I looked into his beautiful eyes. The moment I saw “PREGNANT” come across the pregnancy test. The moment I looked on his perfect face. I think about and remember the prayers I prayed at each of these moments. I prayed for health. I prayed for his future. I prayed for my health during pregnancy and labor. I prayed for safety. I prayed for sleep. I prayed for and continue to pray for him. I pray for his day. I pray that he loves the Lord. I pray for patience (that one’s for me). I pray to understand boys. I pray that one day I won’t have to clean the bathroom daily. I pray for the right words for me and for him.

But I have never prayed for wisdom. 

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How Great the Father’s Love for Us

Today finds me feeling cloudy. I stare out the window and the weather mirrors my feelings. Or perhaps, I mirror them. I cannot find the words to put with my thoughts. Or rather, I cannot seem to nail down my thoughts. They seem scattered. A mess.


Do you have those same days. The ones that begin with rain at the bus stop, continue on with children getting sick, and then by the time nap/quiet time roles around, you feel sick too. The ones that find your son walking home from the bus stop crying and frustrated. The ones where your heart just sits breaking and wondering, unsure of words or wisdom to share. (Not that I’m speaking specifically about my day today.)

Maybe that was a little specific, but you know the days I’m talking about. Sometimes nothing needs to happen for me to feel blank and cloudy. Other days it is compounded by the way life is thrown at you. And you are left to sit and wonder. Why am I a mess? Why is my life messy? What did I miss?

Why am I not enough? Why can’t I do it all?

And I am reminded, each and every time my mind wanders there: I don’t need to be enough. That in my weakness, I remind my children of the One who is enough. That in the times when the world seems unfair and rough, there is One who has conquered the world. And what glory that He lives in us!

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The Purposeful Fall

I love words. I believe they hold meaning and are oh so powerful. I believe speaking words over our life and our seasons is impactful. And so I have begun the practice of naming and claiming each season as a family.


Though fall started a few days ago, I have been thinking and praying over our word for this fall. And tonight, as I drove to MOPS, I got it. This fall would be purposeful. I want each moment, each word, each interaction to be purposeful. Of course there is grace, because we certainly won’t be purposeful in all that we do. But we can try. And if there is anything to be learned from claiming and naming a season, it is grace. It is that through naming our season, we are choosing to live intentionally and with loads of grace.

Purposeful. Fall is a season of busyness. When fall begins, we are still trying to find our way through our new schedules. We are celebrating birthdays (most of us are fall birthdays). Fall ushers in yard work galore. Fall is the final hurrah for spending time outdoors, so we spend as much time as possible outside. Fall is the beginning of the holidays and with it we celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving. Fall is the time when activities start for the kids…and for me. Fall is a beginning.

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Lessons in Thankfulness: 4 Tips to Practicing Gratefulness

I find myself writing a lot about gratitude. I talk about thankfulness and how it has affected me. And my life. But then I continue on. I continue with life without ever going into details. I continue on without sharing what thankfulness means and how to practice it in a practical way.  So today, today I will stop rushing past. Yes, today I am pausing and reflecting. Today, I will share what gratefulness is to me and what it has done in me.

practicing gratitude

ONE THOUSAND GIFTS

About a year ago I was given a book. One Thousand Gifts by Ann VoskampThis book changed my life. Seriously, I don’t say this lightly. At all. I have never read something so profound (you know, other than the Bible), that it literally changed the way I lived and viewed my life. Ann shares so vulnerably, so personally her own journey of gratitude and grace. She walks us through her life, her story, and her journey through thankfulness. Her journey began with a challenge. A challenge to document 1000 gifts. A challenge to live this life, with the ups and the downs, to the full. She began with a journal and a pen and then began using a camera to document the small and big ways she experienced gratefulness. The small and big ways she experienced the love of her Heavenly Father.

MY JOURNEY OF THANKFULNESS

That is where I met, Ann. I met her in the middle of the easy and the hard. I met her on my own journey through life with a special needs child. I met her on my own journey of understanding who I am outside of motherhood or marriage. I met her on my own journey to understanding the love of the One who created me. And honestly, I began this journey of gratefulness thinking it was a bit silly, even unnecessary. I practice thankfulness at the dinner table daily, with my children. We recount our days for one another, grateful for the hearts that beat so closely together.

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