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Painted Glory {Five Minute Friday}

It’s that time again! I love these gals, all 300 of them! We pour our hearts out in black and white. As we stretch ourselves, faith grows in our hearts and as we step out blessings pour over our friends. It is good to be here every Friday!

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Today I stepped out from the shaded corner into the fierce heat. It was a welcomed sensation, this brightness. Its radiation penetrating deep to my bones. The course sand filling up between my toes, hot and thick, put a slight urgency in my step.

Here. Yes, here.

Beneath this tower of reprieve swaying to the breeze, I settle. The hum of pool fun is fading off in the background and the beat of ocean waves is beckoning.

I breath in the humid air and lean back.

Unfolding all around me is a tickle of green against the crystal blue. It dances on the whisper of ocean waves. First the harmony to my right echoed by the melody of green palms to my left. The steady rhythm of aguas and sapphires, sifting grains, and outstretched verdancy is soothing. It all sings, this masterpiece sings of Holy Glory.

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An artistic expression of joy. I breath it in and find a smile. This painting, vibrant and swaying, brings forth a smile deep. Painted Glory.

Blank Paper in Typewriter by Korjarie Matiessa

{Five Minute Friday}

I am hanging out with these Lovelies today.  5 minutes of vulnerability… right here, right now.  No make up, no curling iron… no matching outfit.  Just me and five minutes of words.  {grin}

~Writer~

I’m not sure I can quite use that word next to my name … yet.  I have only just begun this exploration, in it’s technical sense I have only been writing for 4 short yet glorious months… but this growing, churning hunger has been in the works for atleast three years.  It started when I was asked to write out my testimony for a friend’s blog.

And then I found my self struck with love.  Infatuated with the process.  Distracted by the syllables and drawn in right. between. the. punctuation.

“I can’t see how God is moving in my life until I am writing about it.”  ~Ann Voskamp

I absolutely agree with Ann.  The words that have poured out of my heart have revealed so much more about faith, love… about His work in the deep dark places in my soul.

“Writing is a very vulnerable thing. But it is blessed”. ~ Max Lucado

For me, life has always been processed through words in a journal.  But more recently writing has become a sort of expression of worship back to the One who has miraculously saved my life.  I hadn’t noticed all the ways of salvation until my heart started pouring out.

Blank Paper in Typewriter by Korjarie Matiessa

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“Surprised By Motherhood” {and maybe a little terrified too}

I paused for a moment. Tears streaming down my face, for just under the surface raged a storm I did not understand. In front of me, stunned, stood my husband holding our sweet 6 week old son who still smelled of new life. I took half a breath and then bolted.

The storm was too much to hold in. I practically ran for the car and in the blur of a moment was driving down the road.

Bawling and barely breathing.

I pulled into a dark, empty parking lot, only two miles down the road. Stunned at my own vulnerability and unnerved by the raw emotions exploding everywhere, more tears flowed. I was overwhelmed. I was horrified. I was angry and somehow sad. The battle of ‘shoulds’ and ‘wants’ raging between my ears. Crying out to a silent sky, I cried some more. I wasn’t sure I wanted this motherhood gig. And quick to follow was the flood of guilt for even thinking that thought. I felt alone and completely out of control and they now called me “mom”.   I am supposed to be the Mom, forever. … In the silence of that parking lot there were no answers, no solution to calm the raging storm. So, I caught my breath and swallowed hard. This is real. This. Is. Hard. Thirty minutes later I sank back down into the couch next to my sleeping cherub and silent husband.

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You are the first one I have ever told of that very dark night. This was the part of motherhood I was NOT prepared for and no one had ever even whispered about it. I had no warning this would happen, this shedding of expectations, this pause of dreams, this monumental shift in identity. This heart labor. In the course of 9 months and a few hours I became someone’s story starter and no longer the leading role in my own story. The foundation to their story goes FAR BEYOND food on the table, sleep routines and homework. Before he could even roll over, this fact settled in all the crevices of my heart, even the parts I didn’t want to acknowledge. And that horrified me.

“I didn’t know that you continue to labor long after the baby is born. I didn’t know that there was someone connecting the cacophony of dots that spelled out my life, which so far had seemed without rhyme or reason”.   –Lisa-Jo Baker in Surprised by Motherhood.

Seven gloriously, messy years later I can tell you that I would not change a single second of this Motherhood journey. It has brought a depth to life that cannot be undone. I have known struggle, true death-defying struggle. I have experienced joy unspeakable and peace like a Heavenly breeze. I have had noise… oh, the noise. “Motherhood is a superpower”, says Lisa-Jo Baker and she is right, so very right. Diaper by diaper we sleeplessly get up and hold their hands. I did and I have and I will. I just never expected it to look and feel like this and I still have no idea what to do with this power. Those hidden places in motherhood still get jostled and I didn’t realize they could be embraced until I read Lisa’s words in Chapter 3.

“It’s funny how having a mom and becoming a mom are so profoundly connected.”

I have spent much of my adult life sorting through my childhood, and this has affected my acceptance of the role of motherhood.   Don’t get me wrong, I have always wanted to be a mom – I just didn’t know it would rock my world this much… had I known I may have thought twice. But God knew. He knew that this was the journey I would need to travel to find healing, true healing from the scars made long ago. For our stories are all connected, hers into mine into theirs. Those tears shed on that dark night, they were a dot along this new journey. And I am watching them weave into this life story, beautifully.

“I could have never seen it then. That all these random dots would connect to map out the latitudes and longitudes of a life I wasn’t lost in after all.”

“But moving forward is usually impossible without first going back. And the girl who swore off motherhood needed to unravel her story before she could make sense of the new-born sleeping in the crib next to her….” ~Lisa-Jo Baker

I have only read the first three chapters of this book. And my soul, my Momma’s heart, is taking in a deep breath. A breath of freedom. Someone is FINALLY talking about the underside of Motherhood. This book is not a “how-to” book; there are no organic recipes for baby food, no potty training methods, no chore charts. Instead there is a comfy couch, a warm friendly hug and true place to be honest. Gut-level – honest. Lisa’s openness to talk about her journey through daughter-hood and into motherhood has given light to understand my own moments and how they bleed together into a story. A beautiful, exhausted, hilarious, messy, but glorious story called Motherhood.

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You need this book. Trust me. You can read the first three chapters for free here. Or skip the craving and go straight for the whole box of cookies and buy it here.

Grab a box of Kleenex, and that last box of Thin Mints and find freedom. I can’t wait to sit on the couch and marvel in what we discover.

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mighty. {Five Minute Friday}

Sometimes I don’t feel powerful. I feel just the opposite, I feel overtaken by the power of life around me.  I am deplete of energy and strength.  I feel completely unable to put forth any force.  The demands, the responsibilities, the relentless tick of the clock and dawn of new needs seem to carry the force.

Then they show up; pouncing in with sword and shield.  One is wearing an authentic Knights cape and the other an invisible force-field.  They ‘argh’ and flex and boldly stand tall.

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They wear mighty and they are mighty.

A smile erupts across my face and reflection creeps into my moment.

You know, I am mighty too.  I got up today and faced the dawn.  My cape may be invisible but have no fear.  Despite sleeplessness, dirty diapers, clothes piles and sibling rivelry, I will have you to school on time with class picture money.  All of your soccer gear is clean and ready to go.  You will have barbeque sauce instead of Ranch with your Nuggets, I promise.  I may have skipped dinner (oh, and lunch) but your sheets are changed and your favorite blanket ready for you when the night comes.  My expectations for the day are far from met, and my list remains unchecked.

I don’t feel mighty… but I choose mighty.

 

{I have come to love these Friday posts.  I find myself sitting amongst a fantastic group of writers who leave me inspired, encouraged and giddy – giddy for words.  Come see what it’s all about over here.}

{And next week is launch week for an amazing new friend.  Her words have set my momma heart free!  I can’t wait to share it with you!!}

Arizona Highway by Marya

Change Happens

Life is evident in the rhythms of change.  Coming up over that last rocky hilltop took my breath away.  Here it was, finally – summer.  Oh, it’s not yet summer by the calendar but if you were to ask my deprived skin cells they’d all nod in agreement that the 80 degree sunbeams were evidence enough.  We left winter storm warnings only 15 hours ago.  The view out my window now proves winter won’t last forever.

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Somehow the sun catches me off guard this time.  Our extreme winter back home froze deeper than I thought.  Wearing tank tops and flip-flops feels kind of awkward in March.  The sudden change of southbound travel has my internal weather clock all out of sorts.  I try to shake it off by rolling down the windows and cranking up the music.  It’s beautiful to follow the palm trees as they stretch higher towards the sea of blue above and to count the cactus standing watch below; but it is still not quite right.

We unload into our vacation rental, and as the miles settle down into the dust of the desert I grab the “traditional” cocktail and find myself migrating to the porch chair.  The sun sinks lower and its heat breaks into brilliant colors that seem to stretch from west to east.  There have been so many evenings like this one: the birds serenading the sunset, the mix of hot desert sun and cool evening breeze caressing your bare feet.  This moment has become an annual tradition.  A tradition birthed out of connection, connection to legacy.  Every evening around 5 o’clock there would be a shuffle of patio chairs along the concrete and a jingle of ice cubes in glasses.  Soon the smell of bourbon would waft through air.  Conversation would hum along occasionally interrupted by bouts of laughter.  Here, life was regaled.  Stories told.  Dreams shared.  Current struggles would dance with recent victories.  This was family.  This is legacy.

I wish you could have seen it, that patio of yesterday.  It wasn’t just warm from sun burnt concrete, it was warm with love.  Love without expectations.  Grandma and Grandpa just clicked and their love… their love was a rare form, visible in human touch.  It was deep enough to meld 6 adolescents together as if they’d been family all along.  It was gentle enough for everyone within its embrace to stretch out and touch their dreams.  It was true enough to flow through two generations… maybe even three.  It was in the way they looked at each other, the way they held hands.  She could read him across the room without saying a word and he knew her needs before she did.  The way they shuffled along the walk together was harmony.  Their love made her eyes sparkle and it gave his heart a song to whistle.  It was a quiet love, subtle almost.  But it was there – strong and steady.  It connected everyone on that patio.

Stories of life now mingle in the breeze of memories.  And it took one wisp of Orange Blossom fragrance for me to find the missing piece.

I miss her.  I really miss her.

Every so often, at the most tender of moments, a certain bird sings a song.  It triggers a fragrant bouquet of memories like Grandma’s perfume, her clean kitchen, and crisp linens.  In its chorus of only a few notes a symphony of love floods back over me.  This same chorus woke me as a young girl on special summer visits.  I would wake to the sunshine peeking through wood blinds, the feel of pink cotton sheets and the creek of an old oak bed frame, for just outside my window sang this melody.  10 years later I would wake again on the desert to the same creek of oak wood, the same pink cotton, and the same melody of bird song.   And now after grandma has gone this song still finds me on green fairways chasing white balls; it has whispered memories of love on anniversary dates; it has caught me off guard in the midst of reflection.  And here it sings just beyond this new, awkward patio on this trip of unfolding change.

There is a new face this trip.  She is lovely, absolutely warm and her energy is contagious.  I can see why Grandpa likes her.  She seems to have brought back his smile.  Her companionship is life-giving and for that I am eternally grateful.  Conversation amongst us settles around the subject of a white ball on a sea of green.  It’s a sweet moment, tender and easy.  There are chuckles and a little teasing. The banter comes smooth, just like bourbon with a twist.  Watching her settle into the bend of his arm brought tears to the edge of my soul.

Things have changed.

A season has come to an end.  And as the snow starts to melt, new blossoms of life emerge.  I do miss the comfort of last season, it was familiar.  But I like the beauty peaking up in this next chapter.  I guess this is where legacy blossoms on into next generations.

For HORIZON

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Reflections of Holy Art

The wet rain drizzles over the emerging spring.  It’s deceptively cold, yet I find myself calmly warmed.  Perhaps it’s the quiet of the grey or the way the wind forces you bundled; either way I am serene today.  Words have been hard to find this week, lost in my own thoughts.  Like a lake clouded by unsettled sediment, my soul has been churning.  Up to the surface have come some long-lost pieces of my story.  Oh don’t worry, I am certain they will be written about as writing is how I sort life; but this week, this week it’s just too murky.

Murky water does make you look up though, causes you pause to step back and check out the big picture.  And that sight, my friends, steals air.  The last four days I have noticed new scenery among every day views.  We stopped to eat a sub sandwich on the side of the road near a lake… the robust mountains perfectly reflected on the crystal water.  Water so cold it was mirrored, yet warm enough to deny winter’s frost.  I paused.  I savored.

As the mountains with snow-capped peaks peered back from the surface of the water I saw them, every perfectly reflected detail.  Every snow peak above reflected as shimmery silver zeniths on the lake.  Every cloud puff in the sky was a perfectly echoed wisp on the water.   Every edge, every curve, even every shadow was eloquently repeated in the reflection.  The lake was an authentic replication of Holy Art.

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Then today as I drove my car down the same old road, past the same old farm houses and industrial buildings.  My breath was stolen over the swirl of a bird in flight.  He swooped over a vast field of hope yet to bloom.  It was as if the only one moving past this moment was me.  The soundtrack of country love humming through the radio.  The world around me paused in a breath of normalcy, beautiful normalcy.

The parking lot is hemmed by pine trees  – the big, bulging kind.  I stayed in the wrapped warmth of heated seats and recycled engine air and paused to watch.  They dance.  Those big bulky trees dance all winter long to the sound of howling wind.  And it was graceful.  Serene.

I’ve sat in wonder at the weaving of Bible stories too.  Like David, a shepherd boy who wore the crown.  He was world renowned for the giants and battles he fought and revered as one of the greatest Kings of all time.  Yet his story keeps going, leading right up to the birth of Christ.  David’s story weaves and winds in ways where today we can see glimpses of Christ.  But could he?  Did he look up from the murk to notice how it all comes together? Did David glimpse into the big picture?

I am humbled by the humanity of each story told in the Holy Cannon.  And I am breathless over the faithful tapestry God reveals between the pages.  I wonder if my story will be similar?  Heroic moments, and gut-wrenching pain mixed with worshipful highs and sinful falls, all strung together to echo the glory of the Almighty.

As I ponder the big picture and wade through the current murk I am quiet with thought.  Life moves forward, seasons change, but I don’t want to ignore what floats to the surface during the shift.  It’s easy to get lost in the wind, to allow the whirl to distract you or worse, to discourage you.  I could back track out of the murky, churning water and only consider the surroundings.  Instead, I’d rather wade deeper, sort it out and then reflect the Glory.  I want to be an authentic replica of Holy Art.

I have seen that kind of reflection in my daughter’s eyes.  I’ve seen it when she stands under her father’s gaze.

I hadn’t told her where we were going, “It’s a surprise… but we need to buy something special!”   I leave her hanging in cruel anticipation.  I know it’s mean to tell a girl you’re going shopping for something special and not divulge more.  She groaned and then savored the growing butterflies in her tummy.

We park the car, unload the stroller and buckle in squirmy little brother.  I’m certain she has figured it out… but she doesn’t let on.  As we step up the curb in front of her favorite kids’ clothing store, I lean down grab her hand and look into those beautiful, breath-taking brown eyes.

“We are going dress shopping!  You are going to need a new dress to wear on your date with Daddy tomorrow!”  As the words settle into her sweet heart glee literally erupts in her eyes!  Oh, the way that warms my heart!  We shopped.  We giggled.

“What about this one, Mommy?  What do you think?” And when we finally settled on the perfect dress, matching shoes and tights she said,

“Mommy, I wonder what Dad will say when he sees me come down the stairs?”

My heart skips a beat, “Sweat heart, He’s going to love it!”

These moments are all the more sweet because not only does she eagerly anticipate them, she prepares for them.  And so does he, seeking substitutes for board meeting votes and altering business appointments all to take her to this Valentines Dance.  But I also know how this will shape her soul.

The moment she walks down the stairs and takes the hand of her father I am in awe of the reflection in her eyes.  She is beaming.  As he places the corsage on her wrist she is transformed.  She is no longer a six-year-old with skinned knees from riding bikes, nor is she the middle sister who fights with both fists on both brothers.  She is a woman-child soaking up her identity.  In her eyes you can see the affirmation of beauty, hope, and life.

Beautiful Love

As they drive off to the dance I find myself in awe of what just unfolded before me.  My sweet daughter saw herself through her father’s eyes.  His love affirms her identity, her authentic self.  It was as if all of her dreams, her talents and character flashed in the beam of his smile straight to her soul.  Watching that beam mirror from her heart was Pure Holy Art.

As I wade through murky water it feels messy, sometimes frightening and I’m lost.  Where is the reflection?  It needs to get sorted, to settle.  I need to seek it through His eyes.  With anticipation I pause to take His hand, His love, His affirmation.

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Willing to Cry Through

Happy Friday to you!  It’s Five Minute Friday and our word today is WILLING.

Willing: The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses a course of action; volition.  Deliberate intention or whish.  Bearing or attitude toward others; disposition.  (American Heritage Dictionary).

I don’t know how one can walk through this life and not experience the highs and lows of love.  The heart ache, the exuberance, the wonder and the dismay, they all come to those with open eyes.  After so much heart ache or utter disappointment it is easy to shut down and wall off.  Unfortunately, to experience the good we have to walk through the bad too.

I sat this week at a parent soccer meeting.  (This is a sure sign spring is approaching – Thank God!) The first third of the meeting was all about how parents should behave.  (that’s a whole blog post on its own).  But the remaining two thirds of our hour and a half were spent discussing concussions.

Concussions.

Hold on.  We’re talking about my 7 year old son and my 6 year old daughter.  They are still babes and we’re disecting the signs and symptoms AND TREATMENT of concussions???!!!!  As I shuffled out of that rather odd meeting I determined to disenroll them from this activity.  I want my children to have minds sharp and alert FAR into their 90′s not just enough get through school.

But if I hold them back from the risk they will never experience the thrill of accomplishment, the rush of adrenaline in excercise.  If I want them to reap the benefits of this activity I have to be willing to face the risk.

Life is full of risks.  Risks of the heart are just as dangerous as the risks to the physical body- infact I’d argue they are moreso.  But you have to be willing to cry through the broken places to find the depths of true love in the beaming moments of joy.

Breakthrough!

Absolved and Free by DRB

The Rest of Grace

Stumbling to the coffee pot yet again, I peel my eyes open.  It’s 9 am and the older two kids are off to school already.  I’m not entirely sure how that happened.  “How does my three-year old wake every hour on the hour all night long and STILL have gumption to play – I mean, seriously!?”  {Can I just shout out a ‘Praise the Lord’ for Cartoons that entertain all day every day!}  As I lean into a hot mug of caffeine, insisting it has what I need to make it through another day of mothering, house-keeping, friend-ing, and Christian-walking, I am overwhelmed.  Staring me down are expectations, needs, demands, goals, plans, chores… ones from yesterday compiled with those today.

The comparisons start shouting and I’m not even half way through the first cup.

“Half the day is gone!  Why didn’t you just stay up and get caught up?!”

“You did this for months with a newborn and your house never looked like this, what is your problem?!”

“Other mom’s never shout at their kids the way you just did, what a lame excuse!”

“You should be ashamed for how much you whine about this!”

“You should be grateful for the added cuddles you get with him every night, this is fleeting time.”

“You are lazy! So what if you didn’t sleep, you are the grown up, shape up!”

Oh, Mickey Mouse, please distract them from the storm raging in this momma’s soul.  And bring me more coffee!  I want to shout back at those disgusting accusers:  “I’m not grateful, it was cute the first three nights but not fourteen nights later.”  “I am whining and I did lose my temper”… I’m immobilized by fatigue and dreading even the simplest of tasks.  I am lost in this struggle, desperate for air and blinded by sleepy eyes.  I’m sinking.

Storm coming in Panama City Beach, FL

On the fourteenth coffee-induced morning, as this now daily argument with comparison starts swallowing me, I began to wonder – maybe there was more to this whole situation than just lack of sleep; is more to this rest thing than just hours of pillows and drawn curtains?  What if it wasn’t so much about this temporary problem but more about the attitude I held in my heart?   What if I found a way to live with peace in the midst of the raging waves?

So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God.  For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world.  So let us do our best to enter that rest.  But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall. For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.  …This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.  So Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.   ~Heb. 4: 10-13, 15-16 (NLT)

Wait a minute.  Are we talking sleep, or swords or grace?

All of the above.

Matthew Henry writes in his Concise Commentary: “It is evident, that there is a more spiritual and excellent Sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that of the seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews.  This rest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in the gospel.”

A rest of grace.

Grace:  the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

A rest of grace.

As I look back over my recent weeks of struggle against rest I see my fight against vulnerability.  There are scars of perfection and left over expectations.  I wrestled control.  I labored and strived for pride.  My perfect plans and color coordinated calendar were disrupted, dismantled and undone.  I fell from rest with a push of doubt and unbelief.  Like the Israelites, I placed my value in my activity, in the visible expressions of my perfect control.  The perfection of being on time, everything put together and finished to the shine, well-mannered and need-free.  I doubted God wanted me any less perfect than that.  I didn’t believe grace could come to the midst of my need.  In Psalms 95:7-11 God says the Israelites would not “enter rest” because they didn’t remember His provision, they hardened their hearts and that hardening hindered the move of grace.

The literal sense of rest is sleep.  It is a very vulnerable state to be in, all of your defenses are down and you are completely unaware of your surroundings.  I imagine Peter felt dreamy stepping out of the boat onto uncertain waters.

“Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.  About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.  When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified.  In their fear, they cried out, ‘it’s a ghost!’

But Jesus spoke to them at once.  ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’

Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’

‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said.  So peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.  ‘Save me Lord!’ he shouted.” (Matt. 14:24-30 NLT)

Peter stood up in a rocking boat and stepped off the side.  He put his foot down firmly on the water and then took another step.  And another.  His head up and eyes forward, his only focus was the face of Jesus.

Did you catch that though?  Peter was out of the boat in the midst of the storm.  Just look there a minute:  waves crashing at the boat behind him and still nipping at his heals.  The wind howling, whipping his tunic and I bet his friends were either screaming in terror or eerily silent in shock.  Yet he’s walking forward with an attitude of rest.  The storm outside was not reflected inside his eyes.

Then he stopped believing and started noticing his vulnerabilities.  He looked elsewhere.  He. is. standing. in. the. middle. of. the. sea.   No  oars.  No life vest.  Not even a rope.  And it’s scary-stormy.  Life is a mess all around him, plans are disrupted, life disheveled and he is coming undone.  How does Jesus respond?  “Peter, what a mess you’ve caused!” or “Waves, you are so evil!” No.

“Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.  ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said.  ‘Why did you doubt me?’  (Matt. 14:31 NLT)

Why did you doubt?

His promise of rest, rest of grace still stands.  It was promised to the Israelites in the desert.  It was promised to Kings in battle.  It was promised on the hillside in Judea and it is still a promise for today, my day.  His word is alive and strong - exposing my most vulnerable thoughts, needs, and desires and I lean in.  He has been there, to the depths of my humanity and back.  Hebrews 4:15 says that Jesus faced all the same storms we do, but he didn’t doubt.   My doubting his grace in the midst of this mess will only steal my rest.  The storm can rage on but I will not sink.  I choose to lean in.  Rest may not come in the silence of the waves but instead it comes in my ability to lean in and boldly cling to grace.

So Let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.  (Heb. 4:16 NLT)

Absolved And Free

Choose to Notice ~ Five Minute Friday

Yikes!  It has been a whole week since I’ve last posted!  It is that time again, Five Minute Friday!

The word today is: choose.

It has been a rough few weeks.  Sleep has been elusive and that can reek havoc, I mean real havoc.  Like the moment the alarm goes off and you hit snooze.  Seven minutes later you it again, this time the hazy thought of the calendar saunters hauntingly through your head, but you pay no mind.  Seven minutes later you actually don’t hear it.  Twenty minutes later it strikes like the sound of a dog about to vomit – IT’S WEDNESDAY.  IT. IS. WEDNESDAY.  (not Saturday).  Covers fly, drool dries and feet stumble up and out, thoughts racing a mile a minute: wake kids first, then pee.  re-wake kids then throw on pants.  encourage teeth-brushing, forget dressing for the weather.  definitely forget dressing to impress the other moms.  wake the culprit wait to wake the toddler.  skip brushing your hair and teeth – grab a hat and a cup of coffee instead.  find a quick breakfast. don’t forget the back packs.  load the car.  don’t forget the toddler.

Now don’t speed.

The culprit My sweet baby has been struggling to sleep and I have been struggling to cope.  Lack of sleep can do crazy things to life.  But it will pass, much like the passing of those newborn sleepless nights.  What struck me the hardest was the fact that I was making choices out of deficits.  I let the lack of sleep affect the way I talked to my other children, I let it affect my tone when I greeted my husband (who was sleep-deprived as well).  I even let it deny me permission to forego perfection and pursue grace in the form of a nap.

So after chasing the clock and failing to procure sleep for three weeks I took a step back and noticed.  I choose to leave the laundry, the expectation of completed Bible Study homework and the goal of a shower every day to notice life.  In my choice to embrace the hard moments I found snuggles, three-year old art (on my Bible Study Guide), new towers of Lego castles, and the sweet sound of “Good Night Moon” in my son’s voice.

Small ~ A Five Minute Friday Post

Happy Friday my friends!!  Today’s post is a Five Minute Friday prompt.  Oh it is soo fun ~ you can find all the details here.

Today’s word is SMALL.

I am reminded of a simple card my Mother-in-Law gave me.  It held a verse…

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin,”  Zechariah 4:10

Small beginnings are humbling.  They are scary and tender.  But they are celebrated by Angel Armies.  This blog is one of those small beginnings – a simple expression of my mode of worship.  Spilling words on a page is like singing your heart out in the middle of the superbowl.  But I don’t write for superbowls.  I write on an old lap top, in the dark of my kitchen at night.  It is a small blog, but it is a beginning.

Every great oak tree started as a small tender seed.  Every great leader started as a small, fragile babe.  Every deep dream started as a small offering of passion.

Don’t despise those small beginnings – the beginnings are worthy of celebration, they lead to finish lines, influencial companies, game changers… world changers.  Soul changers.