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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Winter Work

Spring arrived early, and I have savored every birdsong and bloom.  I must remember that what I see in the winter doesn't reveal the work happening within the ground or the heart.  This season has been one of outward challenges for my little-big family.  We don't have anything resolved. There are no answers or tidy resolutions.

I feel pressure to have a solution.  I long for relief from an ongoing struggle.  I experience stress to solve matters in the lives of those I love.  Sometimes I just want to be let in, to know where someone stands.  But these desires are not destinations and the daily ministry of life reveals progress...even if it seems glacial at times.

- Consistently reaching out to one who has seems to have closed her heart.
- Diligent correction to one who is pressing against boundaries.
- Encouragement to the persons without direction and entering a new stage.
- Commitment to a goal that often feels impossible.

Meals. Laundry. Encouragement. Routine. Often these are the points that provide the structure for growth.  They aren't glamorous and don't earn any recognition or reward.  But showing up, supporting, training and working are efforts that aren't wasted.

When we have day after day in a row with cold air and dark skies, and the warmth of spring may feel far away.  Don't forget that the darkness is necessary for growth.  Wonderful things are happening even when they are completely unseen.  I miss something when I want to skip these days and rush into the brightness of spring.  I miss the lessons done in darkness.  I overlook the value of the mundane.  I forget the return on seemingly small investments.

I miss so much when I don't let winter do her work.  The season where so much seems dead is often the very time when I am being prepared for a new season of beauty and life.  I can't wait!

Friday, February 2, 2018

What's Saving My Life Right Now

I'm so grateful for my life and the people who make it full (and-oh-so-busy).  But, life certainly isn't all roses and sunshine for me or for anyone!  There are several things that are really saving my life right now and making things just a bit easier - just enough to really appreciate them!  Here's my list:

The Clicklist at Kroger has truly changed my life!  It sounds dramatic, but the change has been truly dramatic.  I'm saving money on our groceries with better planning and saving time every week.  My family has learned to let me know what they need and I can immediately add it to the list, compile the list each week and then just swing by to pick up.  I seriously think this is a huge step forward in home management...well done!

Strive for sunlight, whenever I can.  Every single year I am depleted by winter's darkness.  So, like before, I'm making the effort to be outdoors for a little while whenever the sun in out in full force.

Don't sweat it.  Okay, so in other winters I've continued exercising straight through the season.  This year, I've been giving myself a break.  Seriously, I'm demanding less of my body and letting it rest.  I'm still walking/jogging several times a week but when the weather doesn't permit, I'm being more gentle on myself and not forcing a workout indoors.  The mental drain of being okay without cardio is so refreshing.

The 10-Minute Rule.  Defined as the first ten-minutes that I return home from work, any question will be answered with, "No."  This rule was in full-effect for many years, but I've gotten slack as the children have gotten older.  I've started it back up, and the relief is genuine.  Basically, it teaches the kiddos to wait a few minutes prior to bombarding me with questions.  This allows me to transition from office-mode, to mom-mode and truly consider their needs.  It's a game-changer.

Drink that water.  Nothing new here, staying hydrated keeps me feeling fuller and looking fresher.  I like to sip from a coffee cup when I'm at my desk, or a water bottle for when I'm running around living the mom-life.  Our favorites are Contigo brand.

As women, we know all kinds of life-savers that make it easier to function and enjoy our days.  I'd love to hear what's saving your life now in the comments.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018


January didn't disappoint in the winter weather department, though there were some mild days scattered in between.  I'm so glad to have made it to the mountains at least once. 

During one of the days (which turned into several days) that we were home due to poor road conditions, Faith and I painted her room - then completely updated the look.  It feels so like "her."

It's basketball season, so we root for the little guy every Saturday.  His team has worked hard and improved bunches but I really like seeing their bonds grow from practicing each week.

Faith turned twelve, and I got to spend quite a bit of time with her middle school friends.  
It was a blast!

The cold temps have created lots of cozy, snuggle time.  Our smallest pet has taken full advantage.

What have you been up to this January?

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Give Your Future A Chance

Sometimes I feel stuck, and blah and just unmotivated.  January is often one of those time - the holiday aftermath, cleanup and indulgences leave my budget and my body feeling depleted. Often I feel disappointed, looking at goals I made at my last birthday and seeing that they will not be accomplished by the time my age ticks up another year in February.  I look at the lovely blank calendar, then feel sucker-punched by they days I don't get to spend with my children.  It's easy to turn inward and melancholy, and often I do just that.

By doing so, I am acting defeated before the game even begins!  I have enough faith to know that I can't see the whole picture and that there are things I cannot see or control that are waiting to come forward at just the right time.  I have experienced this many times in my life.  In fact, the longer I live, the more history I have of God pulling a trump card when the outlook seems most dire.
(image source unknown)
If you find yourself feeling this way today (or any ole' day), I encourage you to give your future a chance.  Don't write off your hopes or dreams, or even just daily joy because things are working out or feeling perfect today.  I started this blog because life was so far from perfect that I needed to learn how to be alright with that.  It's not something you learn once, but keep learning throughout a lifetime.  There may be a season where it feels like everything is clicking into place, but that is rare and certain to be interrupted. 

Seek contentment and gratitude.  Count your blessings and embrace the real-ness of living each day.  I'm doing it!

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Luxuriously Slow Start

Anything that happens slowly is a luxury since our world is so driven and focused and rushed.  2018 has come quietly for me, and I'm so thankful.  We arrived from visiting our Midwestern family on New Year's Eve and welcomed the New Year with simple games and togetherness.  Slowly I've taken down our Christmas decor and settled back into routine at my work.  None of our children have yet returned to school, so lazy days, long meals and lingering time are the standard of our days.  It's a privilege to take things easy.

I'm reading and noting in my journal the things that are working in life right now, and the things that are not.  These thoughts help me make changes, adjust perspective and shape goals.  For me, my re-set takes place around the time of my birthday in February, so these weeks of January are for taking time to prioritize, dream, plan and ask questions. 

The cold has been paralyzing, but it's given me time to turn inward and for now it is good.  How has 2018 begun for you? 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Wishes For Joy and Peace and Happy New Year!

I'm at the office today, and having a hard time concentrating.  I'm thinking of all the things I would like to be doing at home with my people: baking, wrapping, shopping, watching movies and general coziness is on the agenda from this evening onward.  Our entire family unit will be together all weekend through Christmas Day.  I'm planning to savor every moment!

I've already enjoyed a very sweet Christmas season.  Our home feels sparkly and cozy.  We've hosted and attended parties and participated in giving through school and church.  One of my favorite traditions is a Christmas date with each one - so special!  I've soaked up the joy, this year.  We headed south for a big family weekend and I'm anticipating a trip to the Midwest, where I get to be with more of my family.

I pray your Christmas is a special time, no matter where and when you celebrate.  May you get a moment to gather with loved ones, reflect on the meaning and memories of the season and begin the year with optimism and peace. 

Blessings to you and yours,


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Prepare Him Room"

I hope you will visit the page I created to stay focused on a Joyful Holiday (even when life is far from perfect!)

I know many people (and all the stores) already have their Christmas decor out in force and are fully into the holiday mode.  I love this season.  But our home isn't there yet, and we will gradually put out the decorations as our schedules and energy levels allow.  The first thing I have to do, it clear out spaces previously filled with harvest decor and make space for our holiday gear.  It's certainly going to be a full and busy season.  Time is even more scarce when children move between homes, so I treasure what we have.

Even as the mantle and the home are prepared for the holiday, I want to prepare my heart.  Some questions I use, and you may want ask yourself this year:

- Is there room in my day for Christ to change my schedule?
- Will my attitude be frantic or settled?  
- What can I do to foster peace?
- How may I shift my focus to gratitude, even when there are painful times?
- Am I creating expectations that will lead to disappointment?
- What will be my measure of a 'good' holiday?

There is no end to the options of festive events, cute crafts and traditions that will compete for our attention. I will have to choose what gets my favor, I will have to be intentional with my Christmas.  Let's view this not as a limitation, but as a gift to select what matters over the noise.  I will have the courage to say no to budget busters and energy drains.

Most importantly, I'm making room for the true reason we celebrate.  Sometimes I seek the spectacular, but where I'm most moved is in the simple and the lovely.  Listen to the words of the carols, they are glorious.  Read with a child.  Show up for the chaotic school event.  Give with meaning.  Capture the memories.  Let Christ flow through each interaction and trust this season will hold gifts we didn't even know we wanted. It's time for a new standard.

What are ways you are preparing room for the true meaning of Christmas in your heart and home?  I'd love to hear!