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Showing posts from 2017

2017

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It's that time again. Time where, if for no one other than myself, I gather the moments and memories of the year in review and compile them here as a way to document and reflect. Today I spent time reading and reviewing these year end blogs all the way back to 2011. To see how the Lord has been at work is an ever-present reminder that no matter what we face, He's never left or forgotten us.

We started 2017 traveling to Tennessee for Poppy's celebration of life service. We returned to the first and only snow of the season.


February is always my favorite month and this year proved to be no different, although the celebration itself was much more low-key than the usual pomp and circumstance. The pizza would say otherwise but I enjoyed a quiet night out with the family eating pizza and chocolate cupcakes downtown. 
Mom and I got to take a trip to the Chick-fil-A corporate offices in March. It's important to note because this is the first full year of having myself, mom, an…

Broken

As I was putting away the ornaments and decorations, I noticed the sparkly peacock Eli had picked for the top of his blue tree was broken. He wanted it special to remind him of Davina, the peacock he's affectionately named and looks for every time we visit our favorite Florida vacation spot. We've seen her every time we go. Eli makes sure of it. He'd first named the peacock Dave only to learn that he was a she so he switched it to Davina. I felt the peacock tree topper was an excellent choice but now that I saw it broken I hesitated to put it away with all the other decorations. 
I know my boy well enough to know its broken state doesn't qualify it as useless. I admit I set him up with the conversation:
"Hey bud, did you see your peacock is broken?"
"Yeah, I know mom. It's okay."
"What would you like to do with Davina?"
"Mom, if you're suggesting we're throwing her away, that's not even an option. Just because she'…

Noel

Noel, NoelCome and see what God has doneNoel, NoelThe story of Amazing love!The light of the world given for us,NoelOne of my favorite Christmas carols is The First Noel. I love the beauty of the word. I have it displayed in multiple places throughout our Christmas decorations. Last year I discovered Lauren Daigle's song Noel and my heart was captivated (the above chorus). The story of amazing love - truly the reason for the season, when the light of the world was given to us. Our Savior, Emmanuel.This morning as the familiar chorus played, I was struck by the word. While I love how beautifully it looks and sounds, I didn't actually know what it means. You may know me well enough to know that I have to find the meaning... So I looked it up:- A Christmas carol- A joyous wishUpon further exploration, I found that at its roots it can be traced back to a Latin word that means birthday. Now you know how I love a good birthday!Suddenly my love of this word that embodies a joyous bir…

When Giving Thanks Is Hard 

It's the season of giving, the season of loving, and sharing. The season we gather with family and friends to give thanks followed by celebrations of the birth of our Messiah and Savior. It's meant to be filled with love and hope, peace and kindness, comfort and joy. None of that grandeur is lost on me on this day of giving thanks. But what do you do when giving thanks feels hard, maybe even impossible? When you don't feel grateful for the place you're in. When grief has overtaken the emptiness in your heart. When despair has filled all the places where hope should be. When celebration looks and feels different because of the circumstances you've faced. When peace has been rocked by chaos and confusion. When the promise of love has left you broken."But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord." Jonah 2:9From the belly of the whale Jonah cried out to God. In his distress he ga…

My Source for Joy

"...in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 1:6bIt hit me square between the eyes today. I was praying for wisdom and discernment, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me and fill me. You see, the truth is I haven't really felt myself lately. I'm not really sure how to describe it other than feeling my usual joyful self slipping back and forth into this feeling of sadness and despair. It looks and feels like a lot of different things and quite truthfully I'm sure it's different for each person. Chalk it up to grief and sorrow, being overwhelmed or simply being burdened by things I can only pray about, but it's been an unusual place for me and I'm learning how to navigate it. I've only shared these feelings with a few close people, all of whom have given me the freedom to just feel whatever I'm feeling while offering an extension of comfort. No one has told me to just get over it…

Cherish the Moments

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Look at her. That sweet little baby. She wasn't a week old yet and I remember holding her while she slept thinking "I should lay her down. I'm going to spoil her." And then I remembered how quickly the time would pass and snuggled her close. We would stay that like for hours sometimes, letting the laundry and dishes go unnoticed and all other tasks and chores be forgotten. Two years later I can tell you I don't regret those hours for one second. I don't have any regrets other than I should have held her more. I should have cherished the moments longer. Mamas, don't lose sight of it. They grow so quickly - so quickly. Everyone will tell you how fast time will fly and when you're in the sleepless stressful days when a shower is rare and yet your only escape to normalcy, when you're overwhelmed with clutter and piles and feeling like you may never know normal again, remember how fast it goes. Remember how it will all-too-quickly be gone. You'll b…

Get to Jesus

It's been a tough couple of days. Michael made the last minute decision to travel to Florida after his dad has been in the hospital for more than a week. Multiple health concerns and now a surgery made it apparent his time spent with his dad would be important. The kids and I stayed back to keep to our normal schedule at home. I had forgotten what it's like to be a single mom but I don't miss it in the least.  It was a difficult night for us all being away from one another. It became apparent sleep would not be easy despite the weariness felt. I've already been up for hours and it's only 6 a.m. It's given me time to think, pray, read, and workout (I guess now is as good a time as any to start that workout routine...).I attempted to listen to something while I got ready. It's my usual morning routine. I tried everything but all I got was the spinning circle of apps thinking about loading. LPM, Focus on the Family, Right Now Media, iDisciple...none of them we…

Unwilling Participant

I had everything set. The dress, the shoes, the matching hair bow, the props. It was all laid out. Violet is a month away from turning 2 and we decided to forego a frivolous party and take a family vacation instead. But there still needed to be pictures. So I scheduled the photo shoot and got everything ready. She was all dolled up and I stood back waiting for my little princess to participate in what I was certain would be the most picturesque photos we would cherish for years to come.

I was wrong. So wrong.

It was hot. 86 degrees in October. Not a cloud in the sky, the sun was beating down on us both. She was not having anything to do with me putting her down. She screamed and cried the second I tried to pry her out of my arms. I tried to reason with her, got her blanket, was even willing to cave to the idea of a pacifier just to calm her down. Nothing worked. She met my determination to get amazing photos with her own resolve to not participate.

Forty five scalding minutes later, I…

Tragic Monday

It seems I've been responding a lot to the Monday morning onslaught of media. Last week it was the furry over the NFL. Today it's the grief for what's happened in Vegas. The reality is I was just telling a friend yesterday that I've been purposely avoiding the news and yet there's no escaping the way these things are ravaging our nation. Last week we were divided by differing points of view, casting stones and drawing lines between "us" and "them." Today we seem to be united by our broken hearts, offering prayers and extending our sentiments toward strangers. It only takes a week and one dreaded tragedy to bring us back together and remind us what's really important.

I know when things like this happen there's questions about where God was, uncertainty about why He allows such things to happen. In the midst of what's unclear and heartbreaking, I only know to do one thing and that is to turn to the Comforter who gives strength and ref…

Fantastic Friday

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You know the scene. The morning scramble of herding children - trying to get them dressed, fed, and out the door. Socks and shoes are never where you need them to be when you're in a hurry. Frustrations abound with a scattered mom brain and scurrying children. It was a frantic Friday indeed.The scene was comical at best. A barefooted toddler was running laps in the driveway at the mention of my notion to get her hair fixed. She never slowed down but I never lost my determination. I chase her, running while combing and putting in hair bows. I was completely unaware of the spectacle we were to the neighbors until I finally stopped to catch my breath and realized I was panting. I felt certain I deserved a medal for the Olympic feat I'd just accomplished of two perfectly placed pigtails all while running full speed after a toddler. My boy was no less frantic, searching for his Batman costume. It was super hero day at school and the costume was nowhere to be found. Never mind the f…

Taking a Stand

My newsfeed is flooded today. Once again we've hit a wall on where the lines are drawn between respect and standing (or kneeling) for what we believe in. Some are standing up for the sacrifices made for the freedom to do so. Others are kneeling in an act they claim is seeking justice.  Whatever your own stance today, I implore you to hear something even more important than recent headlines.

This isn't political. It's not about the flag or the anthem or the President. It isn't about a race or denomination, it's not about gender or labels. It's about the only thing I know to be absolute truth and that is the fact that He bled and died for us ALL. To cover every single one of our sins and our foolishness. His blood is enough.

This is my own personal stand for Truth. Not what I believe is truth but what God's Word actually says is Truth. The One and Only Truth. The inerrant Gospel of the Son of God who came, willingly gave, and sacrificed His life for my soul.

4th Grade

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My sweet Eli,Tomorrow you start fourth grade. I can't believe how quickly the years are passing. You only have two more years of elementary school and  I can't even begin to think about beyond that. But before I get ahead of myself I want to share some pivotal things with you that have marked this summer. This summer has been wonderful! The stressful moments have been few and far between in comparison and it's only proven to me how much you're growing and maturing. We've come a long way from the tumultuous struggles last year and struck a delicate balance of relaxation and fun mixed with just enough structure from part-time summer camp and it worked out beautifully for everyone! Your camp counselors would often tell me how creative you are, how they would never think about things the way you do. You challenge people around you to think differently and it causes people to understand more deeply. Last week you were having a tough time. You were upset and crying, tell…

What a Test

Jesus looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him. So he said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test Philip. He already knew what he was going to do. John 6:5-6 (emphasis mine)

I don't know how I've never caught it. Maybe I've read it before but today the words leapt off the page. We know the story. Thousands had gathered to hear, see, meet Jesus and the miracle of the two fish and five loaves unfolded to feed the masses. But I'm certain I've only focused on the miracle itself and not necessarily the preamble.

There's so many ways this is speaking to me today. So many new ideas and lessons in a story that seems so familiar.

1. Jesus allowed Philip to be a part of the plan.

Jesus was very specific in his question to Philip. "Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?" It wasn't a matter of if the people would eat but a matter of how to get the food. The wording is so intriguing because it a…

Still Learning

I don't know how it happened but it's already August. It seems like just a few weeks ago we were celebrating school being out and the freedom of long summer days. Somehow I blinked and now we're bracing for the back-to-school madness.

I rejected the idea of school supply shopping for awhile because I thought that would somehow mean it wasn't a reality. I just couldn't bring myself to it. I didn't want to acknowledge this passing of summer with the finality of packing a backpack and saying goodbye to lazy pool days.

But we did it. Eli and I made a date of it. We got some popcorn and a slushy and went searching for painted rocks before loading up on the mandatory list. We made a fun outing of the ordeal even if it was going to feel like they were stripping us of our summer-time freedom.

In the middle of our rock hunt my nature-loving boy started to veer off. His compulsion to pick up every stick and leaf started to get the better of him (and me). I started to fee…

Love Isn't Enough

We weren't really seeing eye-to-eye. It wasn't one of those "in-your-face-not-going-down-until-I-prove-I'm-right" fights. It was more like the "passive-aggressive-visible-frustration-over-nothing-big" kind of scuffles. I took my passive-aggressiveness out on the house. It was a silent motivator to get things done. Loads of laundry getting washed, dried, and folded, clean sheets, straightening up flop piles. I made sure to empty the dishwasher EXTRA LOUD. And that's when it hit me. I was being so dumb. What was wrong with me? Did I somehow expect the clanging of bowls and tossing of silverware to justify my pride? The scuffle wasn't over chores or housework. It wasn't over roles or responsibilities. It wasn't about who was right. It was just a simple thing we didn't seem to agree on. A difference of opinions due to differing personalities. I wasn't wrong but I wasn't right either. Neither of us could claim it. In this little c…

Faith

"During difficult times, your natural tendency is to rely heavily on your own understanding. However, your human understanding is not up to this task; it will fail you time and again. You have every reason to be confident in Me. I am the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and I am in charge of every aspect of your life." - Jesus TodayDo I believe that? One thing I've learned about faith without works is that it is in fact dead. Sure, my head knows that it's true but my actions (and let's be honest, most of the time it's my knee-jerk reactions) say something different. Can I say with full faith that even in the difficult times, I am willing to let God be God and rest in knowing He's in control of every aspect of my life? If I'm being honest I have to admit this is an ongoing struggle for me. It's at the core of what I wrestle with in my humanity. The battle to release my inhibitions, fears, anxieties, and allow Him complete control. Truthfully, …

Super Mom

Seven days. That's all that's left of the school year. Two of which are early dismissals and the long-awaited, well-earned summer break will be here. At this point we are nearly crawling toward the finish line but we ARE going to get there. I wish my son would just buy lunch but instead he requests one packed. We've resorted to the store-bought lunchables and pre-packaged snacks. Not the healthy kind either. We're talking chips and cookies. The elaborate napkin drawings have turned into smiley faces and stick figures (at best) with a "Love you." We stopped doing homework 2 weeks ago. It was SOL season so it was what I felt was my due diligence to ensure my child saved up his brain power for school. (Yes, this is the story I'm sticking with because it is how I've convinced myself that we all get a homework pass.) But seriously, if it wasn't already learned previously, why do we think there's going to be anything of grand importance shared the l…

Breaking the Silence - Infertility

I first shared this on 5/12/12. I'm updating and modifying this story but still feeling it's relevant to share, especially as we approach Mother's Day this weekend. 

We'll honor mothers everywhere this weekend. If you're at church like me, you'll be asked to stand and be recognized as the congregation will applaud moms. But I'm mindful that a few years ago I was not able to stand, and while I was seated and blending in with the crowd, I was silently dying inside.

Please don't take offense, but when you're dealing with/diagnosed with any type of infertility, it's not usually the kind of thing that makes the prayer list. Over and over on our prayer requests from church we see requests for surgery, illness, cancer, accidents, sometimes even emotional health. But I have yet to see one prayer request come through that calls for the prayer chain to lift up a couple who are struggling with infertility and the desire to get pregnant. (Maybe this is happen…