Dec 4, 2014

Decorate Your Heart Instead

Holiday greetings, readers! Here's my heart as it stands this chilly afternoon. The post is a bit all over the place but these are life lessons I need to get out even if they don't flow editorially (nerdy writer jargon there!).

In recent trials God has been immovable, even though lots of things in my life are jumbled and messy!! He's remained the same, so present, so fighting for my heart, pulling at its strings to guide me to true peace and joy...being firm with me as I often dodge the path of obedience. Sometimes I see that very narrow path and just don't want to walk it because it appears too treacherous or challenging. Satan is a total jerk who has been trying so hard. I have to laugh in his face because he thinks he can win. 

It's not going to happen.

As someone who likes to have a general idea of what's going on, not to be mistaken for control freak, because I'm not one, it's been challenging to exist in a sea of uncertainties. I won't expound because it could bore you, but let me just say, through it all my strength has been found in Him. I'm confident I can thrive even in the midst of struggle. I am much stronger than I ever thought I was...than I was ever brave enough to be. I do have my days where the residual pain takes my breath out of my chest and I need Him to be my breath--He is patient with me.

I want to encourage you, especially during the frenzied holiday season, to seek and protect pockets of quiet to reflect on the perfect plan God orchestrated when He sent His one Son to earth. I have two beautiful awesome lovely adorable boys and couldn't bear the agony of losing them. 

Let that kind of love register in your spirit...His love is truly wide and deep and exponentially growing for YOU, with each moment. Christ doesn't need the tinsel and lights...He is THE LIGHT. But also know that He is the originator of beauty, and if He placed it in your heart to create an inviting, peaceful, anointed holiday home then by all means, deck the halls. As long as it is for the right reasons...don't pressure yourself to keep up with the Joneses. 

Decorate your heart instead. 

some of my wreaths this year

I've heard the Christmas story numerous times. One of Truman's books simplifies it quite beautifully. We got to the part about the angels singing glories and Wilder whispered, angels are everywhere, Mommy. They are in this room right now, we just can't see them. They are going like this and this and this (and he gestures to show they are covering the living room ceiling, like a hedge of protection). To which I responded, Yes, Wilder, they absolutely are here protecting us. His deep child faith arrowed straight to my spirit and I was reminded to pray more frequently for safety. I have been so focused on the this season of not-knowing that I have faltered in my prayer life.

So, I leave you with this.

When your life is full of uncertainties, remember that God is quite certain of His love for you. 
He will always guard you. 
 made this snowglobe!

And that certainty is plenty reason to be merry. 

Nov 5, 2014

Parenting distractions

When life takes you on a different path, one you thought you'd never crawl, let alone walk, you wonder if your eyes are peeled open enough to even see the road ahead. To crane your neck just so to look past the roadblocks and remain hopeful for the rainbow, or the ray of light, or the pretty packaged gift at the end of the trying and fighting and yearning and walking and climbing and questioning. I know now that my pretty package with a giant red bow on top...well, it's my opportunity to parent. My darling littles are who the sacrifices and trying are about and for. I see it. My eyes are open wide.

I've realized over the past several months that while I've failed at many things, one thing I have not done is fail my children. Sure, I've made mistakes, and can recall moments I'm not proud of as we all do, but being a mama is the thing I continue to throw myself into and try to excel at. My children will forever be my family; I will always have them and they will always have me. And they need a mother who will not live in feelings of failure.
So often we try to complicate things. We think it's necessary to Pinterest this and paint that, or have our children dress in the best clothes with the best Instagram photos. This isn't where my heart is. I am inspired by those things, for sure, but in this life season, where many uncertain things remain, I must guard my heart against the distractions that abound in the world. There are things that deter me from my course, that take away from beautiful time with my children, and I must simply crack down on going back to the basics.

Back to silly music and laughing and funny faces and wonky artwork hanging on the walls. Love is family and time is what binds a mother to her children. Time is the most valuable gift I have to give to these beautiful loves of mine.
It's nothing new. Nothing life shattering to remember. It's basic. Intrinsic. Necessary. Our calling and position as intentional parents. 

May you be given eyes to see the light and blessings along your parenting journey. And enjoy the little red-bowed gifts interspersed to keep you going!

Also I have really cute kids.
And a TON of laundry to catch up on.

Sep 15, 2014

It isn't static

Love isn't a static mundane thing
It takes shape and form as quickly as the clouds do.
It ebbs and flows like the shore's tides.
Love is a living breathing thing with a built in gauge.
Measuring the formula of the blood within our veins.
Measuring whether or not it
Contains poison or miracles.
Hope or invisibility. 

And if you happen upon someone, friend or lover, who relates to you
with more healing miracle then heartless venom,
keep that person around for a lifetime.
Or two.

 Then enjoy every iota of light and miracle that courses through your veins, 
allowing you to be the person you were meant to be all along.
Empowering you to ignore the classless haters.


Aug 19, 2014

He is Six

Today, he becomes six years old.
Six years he's melted my heart minute by minute.

Wilder's steps toward becoming a mini adult are no longer itty bitty steps, but longer strides...those strides that make a mother's heart swell and burst with pride, but break with a longing to keep that baby safe forever. It is very much a dueling feeling, where I feel that at any moment, I'm going to have the rug pulled out from under me, stumble onto the ground, and once I've my bearings about me, brushed the dirt off my clothes, he is walking down the driveway toward his beater car jumbled with hand-me-down furniture, a fancy Apple computer, new school clothes, $200 in his pocket til next payday, and a college journey ahead.

It both hurts and heals my heart to see my children grow. I'm never able to actually see the power of love that lies within my spirit. If I were to see it it I would likely be surprised at its enormity. I know it is huge and overwhelming and formidable and impermeable. I can't help but think that watching Wilder, Story, and Truman turn into pretty awesome human beings is a way that I get to see, in a roundabout way, a few effects of my love & training, and of God's deep love and care for them, too.

I started blogging when I was pregnant with Wilder. So much has happened in our lives since then and I'd never dream this is where we would be. But one thing remains, as it habitually, relentlessly, does: LOVE. Love is what carries us through the long, challenging days, the parenting struggles, the exhausting schedules. Love is what brings magic at night, where we lie there with flashlights and giggle at our shadows on the wall. Love is what compels me to work on my own heart, so I can impact Wilder's for the better. Love helps us find grace. Love helps us find the Lord. Love intertwines our lives with other people's so we can raise our children in community. Love creates a defense and covering over our homes--against the enemy and His attempts to destroy. Love caresses our pains, stills our tears, deflects our fears.

And love has brought Wilder to the landing spot of age six, so, so beautifully. He is such a caring, sensitive, intelligent child and I am more proud of him than I could ever express with words. I'm sure parents known exactly what I mean. He's the cherry on top of my sundae, and I will forever adore him.

Mamas out there, as you send your children off to school, perhaps dreading the new schedule, or rejoicing at newfound free time, I urge you to prioritize your children when it comes to building meaningful relationship with them. Open up your heart to your children and let them see your silliness and vulnerability. Teach them lessons you wish you would have known. Your past failures or failures on your nuclear family's part have no place in your new legacy.

Put your phones down and color with your babies for a little while. They will love seeing you color and will probably say really hilarious things during the process. Don't rush through bedtime stories--use funny voices for the differing characters. Make them ants on a log for a snack and chocolate chip pancakes for weekend breakfast.

Unfortunately, we won't get this time back. We get one shot, you know?

You see, just like that I've brushed my clothes of the dust of life, looked up, and seen my firstborn, with his beautiful dimples, bruised tooth, and wiry cowlick--well, I've seen him turn six.

My sweet Wilder, never change. Unless it is to become more like Christ. You are the sun.

Happy Birthday Wilder Raine!

Aug 7, 2014

Well Good Lordy!!!

 I really need writing in my life. It's been hard because I can't be a completely open book so I just stopped blogging. But I know I can be an almost completely open book and that's better than not writing at all!

If you are still around or my blog is somewhere on your list of faves, then, thank you for not completely abandoning ship on me! I have so much to catch you up on.

First thing's first is my children. Oh my word how they bring me joy! I feel so undeserving. I have made so many mistakes with them, yet they show me grace after grace and mercy unending. That's no excuse for me to be an unintentional parent, but it does give me hope that, despite my shortcomings, the babies know I love them with all that I have.
 Wilder is almost 6 and starts kindergarten in 5 days!! I am so excited for him. I will likely cry, but, he is so ready. We tried for kindergarten last year and it just didn't feel right. This year he has learned more about who he is in Christ and what behavior he wants to display. He just seems more solid emotionally and developmentally. He melts my heart with his love for science and how things work and his willingness to help with chores. Recently I said, "Wilder, I am so proud of you!!!" He replied, "Mommy, I'm proud of you too," and gave me a smooch. I was on cloud 9. I mean, how many of us are told that someone is proud of us? Not me!

Story is 4 and the princess of the family. She can get down and dirty outside but still loves her tutus and dollies. I love having a princess girl to cuddle with and kiss and teach about inner beauty. She says the funniest things and loves her brothers. She starts daily preschool this year with Wilder's former teacher. She's going to rock it! She loves to color and play store and dance and twirl. 

Truman is the biggest crack up. He makes everyone laugh and smile. He is a ham. At 15 months he's into everything! Walking/climbing/running and learning almost words. He rarely fusses and sleeps like a champ. He makes my insides absolutely soar when he laughs. So, I tickle him a lot. I like that he's fearless and a big boy...we may have an athlete!

I also have updates on work and Romania and the Lord.

Goodnight for now.
God is good.
I am often puzzled by Him (and sadly have been angry with Him here and there), 
but I still have faith.

May 21, 2014

If Your Presence does not go with us

I'm going to Romania.

Or, rather, God's sending and taking me to Romania!

We leave late June. This June.

There will be an overnight flight. Lord, hear my heart's desire to want to conk out!

Thirteen women from my church...estrogen in tow.

We will be helping at children's summer camps and doing teas/ministry with gypsy women, in the Bucharest area.

Women who are broken, battered, shunned. Women who have been stripped of everything and left for a life of poverty.

Women who, I've been told, are very loving and polite. They will be in awe of how we look, of where we come from--a land of hope and freedom and liberties and prosperity. A land where we supposedly have no problems. We will share our hearts with them..share that we too have experienced heartache and have seen God come through. We will guard our belongings (I'm going to wear one of those clear slings that goes beneath the shirt) because they tend to steal. Thievery and lying and forgery are used for survival in some areas of the country.

I'm asking the Lord to prepare my heart. Rip out the parts that do not glorify Him.  I have experienced my own version of brokenness and loneliness that I plan on being very vulnerable with the gypsies about (with a translator's help). I ask that you pray with me too! We had an awesome time of prayer and sharing and unification as a team this week. We were vulnerable about our fears about the trip (many of us are young moms who are struggling with leaving babies behind, but know we are called to go) and bonded over similar concerns.

Re-entering the mission field, if even just for 9 days, is a way for me to thrive. I feel most whole when I am giving of myself, when I am pouring out and loving others with all my heart. I am so thankful our children will be well cared for and, dare I say, spoiled, while I'm gone!!
Our prayer support person was prompted to share this verse with the team. It is found in Exodus 33:15 during a conversation between God and Moses. It reads, "Then he said to Him, 'If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.'" Hearing that verse was confirmation for us as a team. It validated everything that has happened up to this point from the initial prompting to go, to fundraising, to team unification. The Lord has clearly set a path for everyone going! And I'm honored to be part of it. He is so good. And we wouldn't go if we didn't feel peace that His Holy Spirit goes before us.

I recorded a video with more about my heart for Romania. You can view it as well as fundraising details, here. The Lord has provided so much already (thank you to those of you who have already given)! He is worthy. He makes me strong when I am weak. And boy have I had some months of weakness. It's time to stand strong as His daughter and go make a difference. 

It's time to get over myself.



Arise, O God, judge the earth; for Thou shalt inherit all nations.
Psalm 82:8 KJV

Apr 28, 2014

What About The Heart Stuff?

print by LadyNoelDesigns

I've only had time to watch the first few segments of Christopher Wiegand's American Blogger, but I am already infatuated with the stories and the beauty of it. It made me really miss the blogging community which I was once so deeply entrenched. I recall the the sense of pride I felt in showing honesty and vulnerability here...

Because of some things within our family, however, I just can't bring myself to say the specifics of my current situation. The world wide web is a huge place, and people know my blog. They know I hop on here and pour out my heart. There are just certain people who do not "get to" see those deep recesses of my heart; I simply won't allow it. It is nothing personal toward any of my loyal and supportive followers, at all!!! Maybe I should become a private, invite-only blogger? I don't know!

But I do know I've missed you! And while life hasn't been 100% rainbows and unicorns the past six months, it HAS been laced with moments of joy and beauty and grace and gratitude. All I can say is that I am just sooooo thankful that my heart and my life have been washed by the cleansing blood of Jesus!! My my what DO people without Him DO when they are faced with trials??

I can't even imagine.

I'm glad I don't have to.

So what's been going on in your worlds?

I know there is still the world of Pinterest and paper straws and washi tape and hoop art and staged Instagram photos and WIWW garlands and mason jars this-n-that...but what about the heart stuff?

I wanna know!