July 26, 2013

July 10, 2013

  • {new space}

    here’s where you can find me now – gracetobe.com
    still working on the format of things but wanted all my friends here on xanga to know my new blog address.

    if you haven’t shared where you’ll be yet drop me a message or comment at the new place with that info.

    love to all,


June 21, 2013

  • {a bit of life lately}

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    the white trillium blanket of the forest floors in spring.

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    spring training.


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    water break.

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    cotton ball clouds.

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    pretty light.

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    tired little hiker.

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    ben’s spot.

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    tired little hiker gets a lift.

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    panera opened.

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    roller coasters.

    sweet notes.

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    goofy kids.

    spring 2013 142
    thrift store finds.

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    homemade soup.

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    bringing the beauty in.

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    sweet tea.

    spring banquet 105
    spring banquet.

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    spring banquet 172
    best friends.

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    my grade nine youth girls.

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    grade nine girl leaders.

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    good big brother.

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    sweet girl.

    blue 005
    colored toilet paper. {finally someone read my mind}

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    kate’s play.

    may days~ 393
    evening walks.

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    if you’re planning on moving to a new blog address would you mind leaving that link in the comments.
    i know several have moved and i’m already missing who went where.
    i’m working on opening a feedly account to keep them all in one place and having the links together to copy over would be helpful!

    i’m headed to wordpress also.
    funny that i talked of moving from xanga months ago…
    even think i was misunderstood by some who read and thought i was saying i was out to be the next great blogger.

    oh, well. those who know me or care to give me the benefit of the doubt know that’s not what i was about.
    and after all, once i looked into it more, making money from your blog is not as easy as just sticking a few ads on the side.
    it’s way more involved than i ever care to be.

    i never want blogging to feel like a job. it’s just something i love cause i like writing and most of all..
    a bunch of my friends hang out here too!

    but. now that xanga might be shutting it’s doors i’m suddenly all sentimental and not wanting to leave.
    it’s like that sweatshirt from high school you can never quite throw out.
    old. outdated. whatever. it’s your favorite. it’s comfy.

    xanga will always be a favorite sweatshirt that holds some of my sweetest memories.


June 17, 2013

  • {to my kids}

    i wrote this driving home from the store today.
    on a sunday school paper of reese’s i found buried in my purse. an old grocery list down one side.
    my thoughts swirled and my gratefulness overflowed and i just scribbled away as i went from stop light to stop light…

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    to my kids-

    you don’t really know it yet. not really. the incredible dad you have in this man.
    you see it some. just not in full. we never really do when we’re kids.

    i smiled at your notes. reading how you adore him. the pride you have.
    every child feels that of their dad, i think.
    the light that sets off in their eyes that this.. this is my dad!
    i’m grateful i still see that light in you.
    some dads quench it out so early. not even knowing. not even aware.

    having a dad that’s aware is a gift! 

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    you wrote how you wanted to be like him when you grow up.
    i’m glad. i don’t mind one bit. i hope you do and i hope you are. more like him than me.

    but someday. someday you’ll know more what it’s meant to have a dad like this.

    when you’re gone from home. from here. when you leave us.
    when his words will ring over in your mind and you’ll want to remember…
    try to remember. what did dad say?

    girls. you’ll know a good guy when you see him.
    one that will cherish and honor you.
    you’ll know what that looks like. you’ve seen it here.

    a guy that knows the strength of being a servant.
    a guy that has self control and not consumed with himself.
    a guy that sees your heart not just your body.
    a guy that puts your needs ahead of his own.

    yes, you’ll recognize a guy like that easy.
    you’ll say, “he reminds me of dad.”

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    ben. you’ll know how to be that guy.
    what it means to value a woman. to show her worth!
    to be tender with her weakness and respectful of her equality.
    to act with integrity and always be a gentle man.
    you’ll know how to treat her because you’ve seen how your dad treats me.

    you’ll know what a dad you had when someday you’re getting up while it’s still dark to go to work.
    whether sitting at a desk or working in the blistering heat.
    when you feel the weight of financial pressure closing in.
    the responsibility of providing…
    the fact that a dad’s provision goes way beyond his mere physical work.

    and on those days, when it all bears down and at times feels too much.
    suddenly, in one of those moments you’re going to realize…
    this is what my dad did for me every single day.

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    and at some point. someday. when you’re all older and grown up you’re going to stop and think back.
    think how you never knew… never knew the burdens perhaps he carried. never knew the heaviness of his heart.
    because always, he walked through that door each night with a smile. you all running to meet him.
    and tanned and tired and sometimes discouraged. and yet you would never know. because for you he was always strong.

    when maybe other dads would go for their paper or t.v. when they would want to be alone and not bothered.
    he would stand there by that swingset pushing you a hundred more times.
    and, “just one more under doggy please daddy.”

    he would listen to your tales of the day and play dutch blitz and help with homework.
    later slipping into each of your rooms and kneeling beside your bed, praying with you.
    hugging and kissing you goodnight. telling you he loves you.

    do you know some kids have never heard their dad tell them they love them?

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    you’ll know what a dad you had someday when you have kids of your own and suddenly all dad said will make total sense!
    you’ll get the rules and boundaries and say, “thank you God that i had a dad that cared.”

    and someday if you live far away and wish he were near.
    you’ll hold on to all these things even more.
    his words. his wisdom. his affirmation. his time. his laughter. his hugs.

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    and in those hard times of life. when nothing makes sense and you feel you can’t make it through..
    you’ll find yourself holding onto something far greater than what any earthly father can give you-
    the hope of your Heavenly One.
    and you’ll know He can be trusted and relied on not only because you were told that
    but because you saw it lived.

    yes, someday… someday you’ll know {even} more what it’s meant to have a dad like this.

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    love, mom

June 13, 2013

  • {moving here. staying here. learning to be all here}

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    i was always that kid that couldn’t go to sleepovers.
    i never made it.
    i always ended up in tears, my parents having to be called.

    even as a teenager i wasn’t a whole lot better. 
    i remember at fifteen flying to this girls conference thing with the homeschool group we were part of. 
    i hated that week. i was miserable.

    tracey, a girl from my hometown that i didn’t really know at the time flew out to the conference with me.
    she would later tell me how i talked incessantly the whole way about a recent trip to my aunt’s house in atlanta, georgia where i was supposed to stay with her for several weeks until her baby was born but i only lasted like three days and i had no idea how i was going to survive that week at the conference because i was already so homesick.   

    tracey would later go on to become one of my closest friends.

    and we still laugh about our first flight together. though i tell her i have no memory of carrying on that way!  i mean, over sharing with basically total strangers doesn’t sound like me at all!! ; )

    so, it’s kinda funny when you think the kid who couldn’t stand to leave home would move 800 miles away. and twice!

    the first time, as a newlywed, felt much different than the second.

    the first time it was about beginning a new life. an adventure…

    maybe i read too many janette oke books growing up. her canadian west series!
    and the idea of the rugged northern frontier and canadian mounties and wolves all held a wide eyed fascination.

    but in reality i was like every other normal girl that fell in love with a guy -
    and wherever he happened to be is what would become my home. location didn’t matter!!  
    though that was before i’d lived a winter here. ;)

    the second time i moved here was much harder…

    instead of beginning a life, we were uprooting one we loved.
    and though i still felt a bit of that canadian adventure in me, i was far more concerned with how the “adventure” would effect the four tender souls entrusted to my care.

    but my reason for moving hadn’t changed. i loved this man and where he went i wanted to be.

    and though i can’t imagine not being married to him and doing life next to him it doesn’t take away from longing for others i love. i just long for and love him most! :)

    homesickness is a strange sort of feeling. it just kinda settles in right around your heart and never really leaves.
    and the silliest things can trigger the tears.
    like standing in the brand new opened panera line yesterday..
    a lady behind me mentions how glad she is to finally have panera in canada.
    saying how she and her husband eat at them all the time when they go to florida. 

    “they’re just all the way down 75 south..”

    i smile. and tell her i know.

    “75 south is what takes me home. i’m from cincinnati.”

    and then she slaps my arm and starts talking all excited about the times they have stopped there and what a pretty city it is. and i listen and feel tears, not because i’m sad. not really. but because we both share this mutual love for a place dear to my heart and yes, i miss it.

    but the thing is this. i can’t let my missing what once was cause me to miss what’s right in front of me!

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    i really came face to face with this a few weeks ago when shayne started his first monday morning back in the land of the self employed.
    it was a change i knew was coming. we had talked about it for months. it was all in the works.
    the company he was with this past year had been great! and he’s still doing some subcontracting for them…
    but financially we needed other options. 
    and when some opportunities to be in business for himself again came up, shayne thought it was the best route.

    it’s weird though how you can know something’s coming.. and yet it still take you by surprise!
    like the drop on a roller coaster. you’re slowly going up.up.up. higher and higher. and you know what’s on the other side. you anticipate it. it’s why you’re on there to begin with. that thrill!
    but then. then there’s that pause at the top. that pause for a split second that’s just long enough for your life to flash before your eyes and suddenly you think this isn’t such a great idea after all!  you want off. you want out. and hey! those stairs that run alongside the tracks are there for a reason!! thing is, there’s that heavy metal bar across your chest holding you in. you’re already committed. there’s no backing out. so what do you do? the only thing you can – - shut your eyes hard. hold on tight. and scream at the top of your lungs as you plunge straight forward down towards the earth at eye watering speed!  

    i’d say we’re still in that “drop mode” around here. or maybe that’s just what it means to be self employed. ha!
    but the biggest adjustment for me wasn’t the switch from the norm. the security of an every two week paycheck. the loss of  benefits. or having a company truck or computer or perks… it was coming to terms with the realization we’d be staying here longer!

    i remember the first time it hit me. we were driving somewhere together, shayne and i. he was talking about things with the business and since i’m not really a very business minded kind of gal i just sat and smiled pretty and nodded my head. but then, he mentioned something about 6, 7, 8 years down the road and i felt like my brain went fuzzy. i think i was still smiling and nodding but i wasn’t hearing a word he said. after awhile he asked, “babe? you listening?”

    “huh?” i said snapping back to attention, “uh.. no. you kinda lost me at the 6, 7, 8 year thing…”

    this move here was never supposed to be long term. it was never the plan. 
    and though i said i “surrendered” my plans to God, suddenly surrender looked entirely different. 
    and that moment in the car was one of those moments on top of the roller coaster. that pause.
    hello! let me off this thing. this is not what i thought it was!!

    because yes. surrender rarely is what i think it is.

    giving in to something just because i know there’s no other option or way around it is not surrender.
    doing what i need to do to get by until i can get back to the plan i wanted is not surrender.
    even resolving to not be miserable but look for the joy and live in the moment, is not surrender either.

    surrender only looks one way. 
    arms out. hands open. self abandoned. holding onto nothing except Jesus.

    there’s been way too many times in my life where outwardly i had all the right appearances of surrender.
    good at looking the part. but inside – a heart full of resentment, even bitterness at what God was doing.

    i’m done with that. i want it to be real.
    i want what i’ve grown up my whole life saying i believe to truly be what i believe!

    it’s not easy. surrender never is. 
    oh, talking about it. singing the songs and quoting the verses is easy.  

    but when God says, “now live it.” and maybe living it means living it someplace 800 miles from family we love and friends we miss. a place that’s familiar and a country that’s ours. maybe living it means giving up how i thought life was supposed to go.. yeah, that’s the hard part. 

    yet i want peace in my life. i want a calm and assurance that isn’t rocked by any circumstance or trial. and i know there’s only way to that kind of peace – it’s not found in chasing the american dream or having a great job. it’s not living by family or having security stashed away in a bank account. it’s found only in the person of Jesus. only.

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    but even as i write that.. even now. i know i’m not going to consistently live like i believe that.
    i’m going to forget what i write here. i’m going to get tired. i’m going to doubt. i’m going to think all this surrender stuff is for the birds!
    i’m going to stand up and want off this ride.

    but i also know this …

    no matter what, i’ll come back to the same conclusion. i always do.
    this isn’t unfamiliar territory to me. trusting an unknown future to an all wise God.
    He and i have traveled this way before together. many times now. 
    and same as before, i’ll struggle. i’ll want to give in. to give up…
     but He’ll love me just the same and let mercy draw me back.

    i’ve always liked that bible verse that talks about the Lord rejoicing over you with singing.
    but it wasn’t until recently the first half of it really stood out to me - 

    “The Lord your God in the midst of you is mighty.. He will save.”

    and it’s that word midst. in the middle. right in the thick of it.
    that’s what i loved. what i needed a visual of.

    He’s not on the outskirts. standing by. merely cheering us on. 
    He’s not an observer of our life. He’s a participant.
    not standing there hoping we make it through.
    but helping us through. walking us through. sometimes, yes, even carrying us through.

    He’s in the middle of our lives. He is mighty and He never stops saving us!
    “many are the plans in a person’s heart..
    but God’s purpose’s shall prevail.” prov. 19:21

    i don’t want to be here simply because i’m here, i want to be all here.
    maybe it’s not forever. maybe it’s for who knows how long. but it is for now.
    and i don’t want to live life waiting on the life i want and miss the life of TODAY!

    i might be screaming at the top of my lungs.
    and my knuckles might go white from holding on so tight.
    but i’m holding.

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    “Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be.
    Don’t think you’ve lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now.
    And now is right on time.”


May 31, 2013

  • {what if i did what i could}

    “Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who previously had leprosy. While eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. But some of those at the table were indignant, “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did what she could…” Mark 14:3-9

    the woman in this story acted with what she had. and she acted where she was!

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    “What if I took stock of my offerings and humbly but realistically grabbed hold of what I could do- and did it, without holding back? Even if it made little sense to those around me but all the sense in the world to God? How could I wholeheartedly let God love me and love Him back, if I did what I could?

    What if I acted with what I have? What if I did what I could by giving what I think I can’t live without? Could I live without another pair of shoes? Could I make out a check for the same amount as my mortgage this month and invest in a school in India? I wonder…

    Sometimes acting with what we have means we spend money. Other times we invest less tangible assets, such as love, time, or energy.”

    this is an excerpt from the book, She Did What She Could.
    i’ve read it before, a year or so ago. but reading it again i find it’s challenging me in ways that didn’t strike me the first time through. and i find myself asking…

    what if I acted where I was, with what I already have?
    what does that look like in my life?

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    often we put off what we could do because we think we need more before we can give.
    more money. more time. more spirituality. more getting it together –
    wondering what in the world we have to offer. feeling talentless. useless. timid.

    instead of doing what we can, we do nothing at all.

    i love Jesus’ response to the naysayers, it speaks right to my feelings of inadequacy too - 
    “leave her alone. she did what she could…”

    in other words, “let her bring what she has. let her do what she can. let her give, whatever that is.”

    and i hear my heart asking, what alabaster boxes do i have to give? right now. today.

    not waiting until i have more. worrying it’s not good enough. wondering what others might think.

    “stop the self editing and just do.”

    how might others see the gospel – see Jesus- if i did what i could?

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May 28, 2013

  • {the baby}


    she’s the one that’s always with me, right by my side.
    i don’t remember the others like this.
    maybe it’s because they had each other.
    or because i was homeschooling and they were always around.
    maybe because mamaw lived close and the kids went there often.
    now. it’s her and i. most days. just the two of us hanging.
    running around. sometimes meeting a friend for coffee or flying solo to the beach.

    she’s the most attached to me and yet the most independent. scared of hardly anything –
    except lawn mowers and automatic toilets in public restrooms.
    she’s stubborn and knows what she wants. right down to whether her underwear feel too tight or too big!
    it’s been quite the ordeal. finding underwear that meet her approval.
    i’m wondering if God’s preparing her to marry a french guy, where clothing is optional in parts of that country. ;)

    the same intensity she has about things like comfortable underwear though is  the same intensity by which she loves. all or nothing!
    throwing her arms around your neck near strangling you with her hugs.
    or my favorite of the moment – when we take a picture together, reaching up to touch my cheek with her hand and pull my face in closer.

    i’ll say, “i love my baby.”
    she replies. “i love my mommy.”


    i get asked fairly often. “is she the baby? are you done?”
    some days. when she’s refused to go to bed the night before and up the next morning before 7..
    when she’s squeezed shampoo all over her sisters bed or dumped the entire contents of fish food in the fish bowl -
    in those times my answer is yes! yes she’s the baby. and, oh man, i’m so done!

    but all the other times and most days my answer will be, “maybe. we don’t know.. we’d like another.”

    to which people either say i’m really brave or really crazy. ;)

    the thing is as i close out my last year of thirties and approach forty i’m not sure what “another” actually looks like for us..

    all i know is i want my hands open. my heart even more. and my selfishness to not cause me to miss out on a part of the story God might have for our lives.

    sometimes i wonder if the real answer to the abortion crisis in north america isn’t more picket lines or phone calls to congressmen, but a greater love for kids. starting with our own. and the ones God would want to bring into our lives in whatever way that might be ~ through fostering. adoption. helping out a young mom with her hands full. welcoming school friends the kids bring home, or the neighborhood kids right around us. and since this kind of heart change doesn’t stand still, maybe even the “big kids” too – like that grumpy man down the road you know lives all alone!

    viewing kids {viewing people} as the blessing they are and not an inconvenience to be tolerated.
    that we just put in our time then brush our hands off, glad that’s behind us.

    coming to a place as christians – as the church – as the body of Christ of putting hands and feet to our words. applying real life practicality to the fancy sounding sermons on loving others where it’s so easy to nod our heads in agreement, even give a hearty amen, but walk away and do nothing!




    i think one of the greatest ministries an older lady, whose nest is now empty, could have would be to the moms around her still with kids at home – to take little ones for an afternoon so mom could run errands alone. with older ones, passing on skills like cooking, sewing, gardening.. lost arts that no one seems to be learning anymore. or simply the enormous wisdom you have to offer from your life experiences. wow! the investment and treasure of women like this. and i’m not writing that here to give anyone a guilt trip – but for myself to hopefully come back and read and do!

    {dear self: be that older lady to young moms someday!}

    there are certainly times i cannot wait for the empty nest days to come. when i’m exhausted and maxed out.
    when i look wistfully around at my girlfriends who have only teens now and no young ones to chase and i think of the peace and quiet i might be having. 
    but this area of kids. which really spills over into something so much bigger than whether or not i ever have anymore, has been quite the journey for me. one that’s far from over.

    i think it’s a journey that looks different for every family. for every women.
    for me, a huge {HUGE} part of it has been letting go of selfishness. a constant process.
    and not allowing the opinions of others or society to dictate what only God has the right to lead us in. 

    i often think of that story in the Bible where the children came and wanted to be near Jesus and the disciples were shooing them away.
    how many times in my own life has that been my attitude. that i was too busy with something more important to make time for what seemed “insignificant.”
    but the Lord shows us by His example that loving the least of these-
    the marginalized. the unwanted. the seemingly insignificant. this is the most important work!

    and always has been.

    it’s not limited to age or how many kids we have but at the end of the day, whether that means  swinging wide our front doors or heart doors, it’s simply a willingness to be available. open. welcoming those God brings into our lives, in whatever way He does that, and loving without
    partiality or prejudice because it’s how He loved. and if we’re His, it’s how we should love too!

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    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

    Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.”

    emma and i have been working on psalm 23 and reese picked up some of the verses..
    here’s her version of it. and you might want to pause the music at the bottom before you listen.
    i especially like how she says, “righteousness.” :)


May 22, 2013

  • {what’s holding us together}

    the other night i couldn’t sleep.
    i just felt a heavy heart over several things.
    from somewhere way back it’s like the ending of this message i had first heard years ago in the hills of tennesse came to mind…
    so i got up and went to google it.
    i didn’t want to watch the entire thing, only the end. and i found it! 

    the words were exactly what i needed to hear.
    and i thought i’d share because, maybe i’m not the only one.

    “we will never not be carried by the strong hand of a universe making God and He will bring us through…” 

May 10, 2013

  • {remind me}

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    sitting here in the living room enjoying a little quiet as reese naps.
    windows are open, curtains blowing up in the breeze.
    love when they do that and i grabbed my camera to take some pictures.
    there’s just something so magical about the wind~

    i’m sipping on a coffee that’s loaded with vanilla creamer..
    which is about the only way i drink coffee, all nice and khaki colored.
    i’m sure all the real coffee drinkers out there are just shaking their head at me! sorry guys.

    this week has seemed to equal two. i think i’ve thought it was friday since tuesday.

    tuesday night at youth i kept asking people how their week had been, as if it was already over.
    they’d look at me a little confused and i didn’t even catch on till someone said, “well, it’s barely just started…”


    i’ve had this nasty flu/ cold thing that’s been going around, so that might explain thee {extra} fogginess.  ;)
    and i just saw i wrote thee instead of the, so apparently it makes ye talk with an irish accent too!

    i hate colds. anytime really, but especially when the weather is warm. it feels like such a rip off.
    i don’t want to be inside blowing my nose. i want to be out. or atleast up and about and doing what i need to. ..
    with yes, the curtains blowing up wildly in the breeze through the window!
    but no matter how i pushed myself this week everything seemed to move in slow motion.
    and by everything, i mean e v e r y t h i n g !

    i was positive at one point i really had been cleaning the little size two fingerprints off the patio doors for atleast six hours..
    only to realize it’s just the same thing i do every day.
    same spot.
    same routine.
    same little hands.

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    i found myself kinda chuckling at one point.. thinking of how everyone tells mom’s with little ones that someday they’ll miss these days of messes to clean up. sitting in a house with everything clean and pristine and not a thing to do {sounds rather inviting, eh?} :) but i thought at this rate.. by the time i get to that someday of missing these days i won’t be able to see out a window at all! i’ll be too old and probably half blind so it won’t matter in the least if they’re clean or dirty!!

    but for right now, when you’re still so much in the middle of it all that someday can seem like forever away, can’t it?

    i look at my older two and you’d think i should know. i mean, i do.
    in those moments of quiet reflection all by myself i realize it.

    then all four descend on me and so many needs and things to do and places to be and i feel pulled in a thousand directions and yeah, i forget what i was just remembering maybe seconds before.

    selfishness is funny that way-
    it never really reveals itself until something’s knocking into the territory of what we want or expect.
    i can be the most selfless, serving mom in the world when i’m all alone- haha!
    but add the kids and a little everyday tiredness and craziness and it shows in a hurry what’s in my heart.
    and i can tell you right now – it’s not always pretty!

    it doesn’t matter what i think i am it’s how i react when life gets stressful that reveals what i really am!

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    last night was one of those nights when i felt the ugly creeping out.
    it was all going along fine.. and then, bam!

    suddenly everyone’s texting and asking and running in and out and the door is slamming and kate needed picked up from soccer like 20 minutes ago because her dad, that had planned to get her ended up working later than he thought. and ben is begging me to take him to the skatepark with his friends because heaven forbid they’d just skateboard down the road like normal people. no. you see on the street there isn’t any stairs to gap or rails to shred. {aren’t you impressed with my skater talk?} and sweet emma just wanted to go to the book fair at her school that of course, was right during when kate needed picked up and ben wanted dropped off. and reese was in the fridge eating every slice of american cheese. through the wrapper!! and the left side of my upper cheek beneath my eye felt ready to explode right out my face and i really just wanted to go to my room and sleep, for like a week! actually.. i really wanted to board a jet plane to someplace tropical and remote… where i was untraceable. untextable. uncallable. unwhinable. unmomable. ;) )

    and even more so when i finally dropped ben off later and he said i had to come sign some papers.

    “um.. you didn’t say anything about me having to get out of the van, bud!”

    “but they won’t let me skate if you don’t.”

    “do you see what i’m wearing? this isn’t public safety approved!”

    and he just stared at me blankly cause he’s a guy and of course, doesn’t get it.

    “please, mom.”

    i stared back. then, sniffed my runny nose hard, that at this point i so desperately needed to blow {but not a napkin to be found in the entire van}. i shook my head and let out a long sigh. turning the van off and climbing out, tugging at my clothes as i did…

    i was wearing leggings with a shirt that didn’t quite cover my bum.
    and yes! i know, i know {liz!!!} that leggings are not pants!
    i hate it too when girls wear them like they are.
    but i hate even more when almost 40 something year old’s that don’t have rear ends that look anything like that of the younger girls wearing them wear them!

    i tried the best i could to keep my back to the wall.
    i’m pretty sure the people there are still puzzled at the strange mom that creeping along the wall like some burglar as she came in and out.
    oh my word!

    back in the van i lowered my mirror and looked at my cheese faced two year old.

    “you kids have no idea all i do for you.”

    to which she only responded, “we det ice tream now?” 

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    finally. when everyone was back home and safely deposited in their beds and i’d had a chance to blow my nose and change my leggings and was once again the selfless mom, all alone! ;) i thought back over my attitude to my kids that night… this whole, “you’ve no idea all i do for you.” and i realized how when i hold on to that perspective it just causes me to plummet instantly and feel only frustration and disappointment in my kids because they’re not giving back something i’m expecting. which, when i don’t let it go can so quickly lead to resentment. even bitterness.  not that i would say i’m “expecting” anything. but that’s the thing. i don’t have to SAY it. my responses are dead giveaways to where my motives are coming from – a heart that is being tender and teachable or a heart that is anchored in self pity and pride over all i’ve given up and do for my kids, even my husband {because i can have the same attitudes towards him}.

    and when i have these times of processing, it’s easy for me to get the part that selfishness and genuine love cannot live together in the same heart. one always suffocates out the other~ all i have to do is look no further than my own life for plenty of examples of that! but, sometimes i still try to combine the two. thinking i can love through my selfishness and own efforts, which becomes alot like trying to squeeze into last summer’s shorts after the winter’s extra pounds.. there’s no way except by force. and who wants a forced, phony love?

    Remember, it is not your weakness that will get in the way of God’s working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” paul tripp

    delusions of strength. how that part jumped out at me!

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    so my conclusion is always, ” then how, Lord?” how do i mother these kids with Your strength?  with a love that is for them and not me. not rooted in selfishness. how do i have a sincere servant’s heart.. how do i get to that place? because it’s certainly not just naturally there!

    and i’m not really sure the answer exactly. like 30 days to becoming a better mother kind of formula.
    i wish it only took 30 days.
    but it takes a lifetime. and i think that’s supposed to be the point –
    always learning. growing. realizing our need for something beyond ourselves. for Someone!
    and i’m grateful He never gives up on me and continues to show me every day what i lack and ways to do better.

    and then, this…
    just a prayer that i pray often. simply, “God remind me.”

    when the chocolate milk spills and is running all over the table like a fountain onto the floor – remind me.
    when toddlers have climbed in the fridge and are eating through cheese wrappers- remind me.
    when teens have attitudes and i feel anything but a soft answer wanting to come out – remind me.
    when i clean the fingerprints off the window for the one thousand eleventh time – remind me.
    when i’m tired and sick and want to leave on a jet plane…
    when everyone needs to be somewhere and all i’m supposed to be, i can’t….
    in all these moments. and the hundred in between. remind me.

    that it’s not about getting something. but showing something.
    not in what i say but what i live.
    a gospel that’s found in more than just pages of their Bibles.
    a grace that never runs out. a mercy that flows down like that chocolate milk across the table – everywhere!
    and a Savior that sees this tired mama that might not always get it right, but redeems the parts she doesn’t.

    He doesn’t just cover part of us. He covers it all!

    parenting is worthwhile


May 3, 2013

  • {a happy place}

    yesterday was the first day of the year i was able to go to my favorite place here~
    well, to go and not freeze to death! ;)

    reese and i just decided to make an afternoon of it…
    lunch time. nap time. everything!
    so peaceful and wonderful.

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    later when i picked kate up from soccer and ben from skateboarding we grabbed some ice cream and raced out to catch the sunset..

    as we stood admiring i said to the kids, “just think.. God put that there just for you!”

    and if you look close, you can still see the brush strokes!! :)
    what an amazing artist He is.

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    wishing you a weekend filled with moments that just kinda make you want to stand and look a bit longer..

    love all my friends who gather here. thanks for sharing in my life. xo