Thursday, October 3, 2013


Family, Friends, and Those Readers who graciously open their emails, turn on their Kindles, turn on their phones to read these words and open their hearts to share in this journey for joy...


I am switching up, flipping over, swagging on...

(Okay, I feel like I do when my husband plays softball and I try to cheer for him and I use

I am moving!  In fact, we are moving!  You, me, all of us...we going to a land beyond.  A land where there is not the LONGEST.URL.EVER.

So you might have seen we have been gone for a bit.  We will be back.  There are big things happening here. Things like new addresses, new adventures, new places where God is shaping, and changing, and whispering His dream for each of us...

the dream to inspire,
and love on those in our lives.

This new leg of the journey is taking me to a place where I will be stretched, pulled into the uncomfortable, and yet I know I will be amazed at His beauty in ways I have never dreamed of before.  I will be opening my heart like never before and praying for His grace to be displayed in the shouts of praise and the whispers of the night.

Join me?  The new website is  and will be up the second week in November!

Check back then, pretty please?

source of image:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What is Worship? {Five Minute Friday}


He didn't care who was watching.  He just wanted to worship Jesus.   Tiny hands clasped. Clutching at the hope that this big God would hear this little boy.  And he does.
This eyes -closed -alien- headband wearing little boy lifting his head to God.

Opening his heart
Holding out his tiny prayers
Knowing His Father's love.

Oh, that my worship may be like a child.

Opening my heart
Holding out my tiny prayers
Knowing my Father's love.

For with each breath I may have...
may I worship Him.

Join others here for five minutes of amazing writing and a community of writers that will bring you in with grace and encouragement.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The thing about women is that no matter how very happy we can be for somebody, this little thing called jealousy can pop-up.  And it can happen at big things like friends who go on vacation to hotels that cost $1000 a night when your special family time is camping in a pop up. And it can happen when a virtual friend gets a book deal that you have been dreaming of and writing for since you turned eight and wrote a story called The Mystery at Legend Lake.  And it can even happen when you are alone just reading a magazine and you see someone who you want to be.

This might look like I am just reading a magazine relaxing on the beach, but if you could see behind the scenes, you would see someone who longs for a time when she felt beautiful. Not beautiful on the inside, but on the outside.You would see me wanting to be this woman.  Now, I know good Christians are perfectly content with who God created them to be because God has a purpose for everyone, so I would not ever want to actually be this beautiful woman with the piercing blue eyes and high beautiful cheekbones and the 4.5 million dollar home, and the one child who never misbehaves in public, and has access to all the Godiva chocolate she wants...  No, because that would be not being content.  I would never feel that (please hear sarcasm).

 But since we are behind the scenes, that is what you would see....Me wanting earthly beauty.

Me not wanting Heavenly beauty and the promise of wisdom because I fear the Lord, you would see me wanting this outward beauty so I could feel good about myself.  So even though my husband says he thinks my body is amazingly beautiful, I would not feel the need to cover the places that I question.

Because this thing called envy hits when we compare to others, but it drives an even more burning clench on my soul when I compare to myself.  What I looked like long ago, what my life was like, what I could have if I had only not made the choices I have made.

I know it is wrong.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I want the confidence of not questioning my face, my body, my hair. The confidence that my thirteen year old daughter feels playing volleyball in her bathing suit. And my prayer for her should be the same as for myself:

God, may I take care of my body, but may I be okay with it not being 100%, for beauty is fleeting and truly I know a woman who fears the Lord shall be praised. And at the end of the day, that is the praise that I truly seek, because I am reminded that only that praise will fill my heart and if I listen very quiet.  I can hear my Creator whisper, You are that beautiful to me. I created you and I gave you each freckle, and grey hair, and body that gets sometimes gets tired.

I can put the magazine down now, for I see his face instead.

And when I give me him my desire to be pretty, He promises to make me beautiful. 

Beautiful in Him.

Sometimes I think I am all alone in my feelings...maybe you have it all together?  

But if not, May you feel His beauty soak deep the open parts of your souls today.

Linking up with other beautiful writers going Behind the show His marvelous in our mess. Please join us.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Such a Long Day {Story} - Five MInute Friday

He asks me a question.

I was tired.  It had been a long day.  One too many nights going to bed late because we were "on vacation" and you just can't go to bed early if you are spending time with your cousins. But when little bodies get weary from the waves and little minds play tricks on the souls during the night, it doesn't seem worth it.

And yet, as I tuck him in after a day full of new freckles and captured crabs, the taste of salt still on his lips, I see the content look in his eyes.  Happy because he did get one more chance to body surf and that one more Twizzler stick, and we got to sing one more song.

And so even though I am tired, and I so want to just go off and read (and perhaps join a late night party myself), I say, "Yes. Yes, I will read you a story..."  And it is all worth it.

My photos are not loading, but may these words encourage you to say yes to being a part of His story today.

So excited to link up with Lisa Jo for Five Minute Friday! Please come join us here for a wonderful community.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Man, His Dream, and a Little Bit of Green Paint {Behind the Scenes}

Lincoln: This man. Us : This family. Both having dreams of a better life. A better time. 

Or even just a better day.  

That can happen sometimes when you travel with your family.  What starts out as a day full of promise and anticipation ends up being a memory that you would rather forget.  And you ask your spouse, "How can they fight when we are spending so much money to give them these experiences?!" And you shake your head, yet also knowing that they will never appreciate the history of this kind of trip the same way I did not appreciate all of my college classes on writing and the Bible (Seriously, there were SO may kings!). 

So the memories will come even in the tiring times: The endless game of Tag Back that results in tears. Hearing, "How much longer?" so many times you are tempted to say, "We get there when we get there, so cool it!" and you will have just become your father in the wood sided station wagon so many, many years ago.  

I find that I actually understand and forgive my family for many things that happened on my childhood vacations.  There was the one time when I was seven that we climbed Pikes Peak, our family of five, and my father bought us two cookies and one glass of milk to share.  We laugh about that story to this day.  Yet, there we were, last week,  in our Nation's Capitol and I heard myself saying, "No, you do not need your own lemonade, you can share with everybody." (Beverages in DC and on any type of mountain are very expensive!)

And yet, we still have these dreams.  These dreams of perfect vacations and perfect moments that we can fill our scrapbook with Pinterest ideas. And we pray that we can at least get one picture that is Christmas Worthy:

What gives us away as tourists?  
Hmmm, could it be the matching shirts?! 
Please note the lemonade in my son's hand.  Thankfully, they were all sharing!

This place of honor and history and hope. This monument gives people this hope.
We were there just hours before this Lincoln was vandalized. (We had nothing to do with the green paint.  I promise...).  That is what we hope for...not liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but just a vacation that our children will remember fondly. A vacation that will bind us together with a loyalty and love that will stand the test of  time of junior high tween years and high school teen independence.

But as I think back on those moments of my family vacations, I have found that some of the ones I most remember are the ones that we struggled through.  That is what shapes us, that is what binds us, not only for the character that becomes embedded as we have to share, and give for one another, but also because we don't  want to tell anyone else what actually happens during some of those vacations. Those stories get told only to family who understand who we are or maybe to really good friends.  

A gal I have known since high school shared a story when her family visited Gettysburg and her high school son actually said the words, "This is why I like going on mission trips better than family trips, so I don't have to deal with this stuff." and stormed away from the picnic bench after a particular stimulating growth opportunity (read: Big fight).  Yet, this same young man just a few days later was laughing while playing water polo with seven little cousins.  I like to think God designs our minds with the capacity to remember that which will change us - hopefully for the better.

A little twist on Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address eloquently describes a perfect family vacation motto: The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but {we} can never forget what {we} did here.

So behind these smiles, is hope.  A hope that these kids will stick up for each other, call each other for their birthdays, ask each other to stand up in their weddings. And, as Chesterton said, hope  is the power of being cheerful in circumstances we know to be desperate. Lincoln had that hope.  I have that hope.  And I pray that my children will have that hope.

Because let's face it, we know our kids will face much more desperate times as they get older, but at the age of seven, it seems pretty desperate if your mama will not buy you a taser at the Old Post Office Gift Shop. 

Now, your turn:

What are some vacation moments that you still remember from your childhood??

Linking up with some wonderful ladies that get real and encourage at Behind the Scenes. Join us here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Strawberries, Smiles, and Snuggles

My Sweet Strawberry Blond Baby Boy.
Born almost exactly two years after my Blondie Blond Baby Girl.
This picture shows the touches and smiles and giggles of two best friends who love to snuggle.

And if you look closely, you can see that Sunshine is not just patting Jammer's head.  She is not just lovingly making sure everyone knows that he is hers.  Although she did often do that as well, but on this particular occasion, she was looking for something.

"Mama, where are they?"

"Where are what, Sweetie?"

"Where are the strawberries?"

"The what?"

"The strawberries. Everyone says he has strawberries in his hair."

And so I learned the value of words to a little child.  How they listen to everything you say.  They take it in even when you do not think they are listening and they let it steep.  May God remind me of that and may my words be like honey to my children and to those around me.  May they be sweet strawberry honey to the hearts of others.

I am linking up with a dear community that desires to go deep.  To share with each other, to encourage each other.  And to let everyone else know that behind the scenes may not always be pretty, but God is working there just the same! Check out other wonderful photos here.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I am linking up with One Girl for another Chasing History Link Up.

Here are the directions:

"Just pick one of your favorite women in the Bible and then write about her. Do a little research, read the chapter(s) over again. Dig in deep or span out wide. Just learn.

And then come back and tell us all about her - and you. Share how God is using a woman's story from long ago to challenge you, teach you, or encourage you.

It doesn't need to be fancy. It doesn't need to be long. Write however much you feel comfortable. This isn't a bible study - this is community coming together to talk about Him and the Stories He has written."

And last week, I picked Leah.  And we talked about comparing.  Leah and her sister Rachel.

Now, this week, I am going to pick...



Yes, but this week, I am talking about blessing~ an unexpected gift.

Her whole life might have been spent comparing to her sister Rachel.  Her husband had to work seven years for her hand in marriage and the another seven years for Rachel who he really wanted to marry.  

The names that Leah gives her sons show her journey to blessing. First is Reuben whose name means "son provided in my affliction." Then comes Simeon whose name means "gracious hearing of the Lord"; next is Levi, which means "my joining"; then Judah, meaning "the praise of God; next comes Issachar whose name means "a reward"; and finally, Zebulun whose name means "a joyful habitation." So, ultimately, Leah is fulfilled.

So all of these sons, and yet Rachel had no children. So blessings come in different forms for every person.
Jacob's family continued to grow until he had twelve sons and one daughter. Rachel would finally have a son named Joseph, and later a son called Benjamin by his father. While having Benjamin,  Rachel dies in childbirth.

And what about Leah? After Rachel's death she, no doubt, becomes Jacob's chief wife. 

God saw the suffering Leah endured and he blessed her above her  sister. Leah held a special place because of the sons she had. Her son Levi became the father of the priestly tribe of Israel and his descendants include Moses, Aaron, Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist, Barnabas and Peter. From the descendants of Judah came King David and Jesus, the Son of God.

At the end of their lives, it was Leah who was buried with her husband Jacob in the Cave of Machpelah.

It might have taken a while, but Leah become content with what she had. Remember her name means content, and not only that, she was blessed.  

At first it did not look like she was blessed for she did not have the full love of her husband, but God is bigger than a husband's love or lack of love.  God is bigger than infertility. God is bigger than not knowing where you are going to be working next year. God is bigger than a dream unfulfilled. God is bigger than where your child will go to college. God is bigger than a family torn apart.

These are earthly prayers that long to be answered, but God desires to bless us even more than we could ask or imagine.

We are content asking for basic things like protection and security.  Those are the things that he gives even to the unbelievers.  As children of God, we have the amazing power to not only ask for those things, but to ask for even more blessings. Deeper blessings.  Deeper gifts from His hand of grace.

We can ask for the blessing of wisdom, the joy of knowing Him better, the power to overcome affliction.

Leah couldn't see it at first, but little by little, she saw the hand of God and knew she was blessed.  Her greatest blessing came at the end of her life ~ being part of the line of Jesus and being buried with Jacob.  Our greatest blessing will come at the end of our lives when we see the face of Jesus, but as our Heavenly Father wants to give us good gifts, if we seek to glorify Him, He will be faithful to give us mighty blessings on earth as well.

And we will be blessed.  Maybe not always how we think, but He is faithful and we will be blessed.

How have you been blessed this week?

Check out even more beautiful stories of women in the Bible. This community of writers sharing what they know, what they feel, what they dream.  They share how His story becomes a part of their own.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Five Minute Friday : In Between

I am linking up with Lisa Jo today for 5 minutes of writing, dreaming, and sharing.  Check out more here.

5 minutes.
One word (or, today, two).
No editing.
No over thinking.
Just write.


In Between

I watch you hang the ornament and touch the one that looks like you.  All dressed up ready to go out for a Daddy/Daughter Dance.  In Between a baby and a young girl.  

Not quite yet ready for twirls on your own, but needing a hand to hold.

  The satin dress shimmers and your smile sweetens and your Daddy watches your every move.  In the same way, our Heavenly Father watches us while we dance for Him.  He takes our hands, not quite ready for life and yet trusting Him for the dance.  For the song to come and our lives to be touched. May you always hold your Daddy's hand and may you always run to your Father - the one who holds the earth in His hands. 

And may you, and may I
always twirl for Him
as we are in between these worlds of Earth and our Sweet Home.


Monday, June 24, 2013

The True Picture - Behind the Scenes

Today I am linking up with Crystal on her new link up called Behind the Scenes.  You share the photos and then you share the story.

The Photo ~

Early Blessing

The Story ~

Perfect Timing

We have about a hundred of photos similar to this.  Spanning about ten years, we have gone to Hilton Head every other year for one week of sweet refreshment and cousin fun.  All seventeen on my side of the family packs it up and drives sixteen hours to the beach.  My parents rent the house and we just have to get there.  It is a wonderful blessing and we have beautiful memories because of those vacations.

Now this sweet silhouette is hanging on the wall of our home.  It is a reminder of days filled with watching our kids play and actually sitting down and talking with loved ones.  It holds in it a hope of a new day and a dream of new beginnings.

It does not show the fact that we are not catching the sunrise because we wanted the perfect photo opportunity, but because this sweet little girl would get up at 5:00 am every. single. morning. It did not matter if we were at home or on vacation.  She was ready for the day.  And instead of waking up the rest of the family with giggles and questions on why the sand wiggles through your toes, we decided to go out for a walk and by God's sweet grace, we brought our camera and took this picture.

A little girl touching the sand.  Hopeful for some wiggles and fully expecting giggles.  Because God's grace will show up even when you are tired.  And even when you don't expect it.  And even on vacation.

And now we get up on purpose.  And we take a picture in the same spot each time.  Because now we are expecting something sweet and beautiful.  And each time, we get more than we expect.  In the same way, God blesses us more than we could ever imagine.  We might just have to get up a little earlier to see.

His timing is perfect.  What big things are you praying for right now?

Lining up with a lovely community that not only shares the photo, but shares the life. Come join us here to connect.

A Woman of Comparing ~ Chasing History

Rachel and Leah

Playing, dreaming, whispering tales
Of husbands and children to come
Not knowing that one day a choice would be made
For the beauty over one

Their story is one that is intertwined as sisters and even more so because of the husband that they share.

Leah ~  Her name means "contented one."  

Now Laban had two daughters. The name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.  Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. ~Genesis 29:16

There are several translations and thoughts on this choice of "weak."  Some define it as delicate and soft.  Other translations say the word means  weary. Some scholars say that it means Leah had light blue or light colored eyes.

(Since my daughter shares this beautiful name, I tend to lean towards the delicate and soft camp.)

In any relationship, there can be an element of comparing.  It is not what God would choose, but it is part of our sinful nature.  And these sisters were no exception   And when your dad pulls one of the world's worst bride switches, it does not help.

Jacob loved Rachel. And he told her father that he would serve him for seven years for Rachel. Her father agreed.  So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him "but a few days because of the love he had for her."

But on the night of their wedding, Jacob took his daughter, Leah, and brought her to Jacob, and he went in to her.  And in the morning he woke up to Leah by his side

"And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so, and completed her week. Then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.  Genesis 29:25-28

As if sisters needed more to a husband?

And isn't that just like us to compare?  I am blessed to have a sister that I adore and we are actually very close, but we have not always been as close as we are today.  I grew up in her shadow of good grades and a blemish free reputation.  I got good grades and I was grounded for things like not wearing my coat so it isn't as if I really acted out because of my comparing, but it was there.  It was always there.

And for Jacob, it was there.  But for Laban, it was not.  He knew what was right.  He knew the relationship of the family. And I pray that we, as women, can know our relationship to our Father.  Know it so true.  Feel it so deep. Live it so much, that we little by little stop comparing ourselves to... 

the mother who is on time for camp
the writer who has that bok published.
the friend who just got engaged.
the new mama whose baby is "normal"
the woman in the magazine. 
the neighbor who doesn't have to work.
...and even more that the Enemy wants us to notice.

Leah had delicate eyes and yet she was passed over for the beauty of another. There will be times when we are passed over. May we dive into our beauty that comes from Him and know we are His beloved and His chosen and may we rest on that sweet truth today.

Today I am joining some writers and dreamers that desire to dig deeper into His Story knowing that each detail of every story has a Truth to be remembered for it becomes a part of our lives. Join this sweet community at It Just Takes One to hear the story of Biblical Women and the stories they lived and we are living out even today.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Five Minute Friday ~ RYHTHM

The call came early in the morning.  A little boy's sleepy head was still laying on my pillow. Snuggles left over from a scary dream.

The call came from my neighbor.

"Did you know your tree is on our deck?"

No. I. did. not.

I go look at the damage and wish that wind would not have come.  And after further calls, we find that insurance will not pay.  So, my husband does what he does best.  He tackles it himself.

Well, not himself. My in-laws come to help. My Daddy shows up.  Even my brother stops by to cut, haul, and clean up our mess.  This is the rhythm of family.

When my children grow up, I want them to be willing to haul wood for their siblings.  Not because they have to, but because that is just what family does.

Now, they are Popsicle slurping friends who love to jump on the trampoline together, but one day even when the Popsicles are all gone...because that day will come, I pray they will help each other out, for we each are one beautiful mess.

Enjoy your moments today, Friend!

I am linking up today with Five Minute Friday.  Hop on over to
 Lisa Jo's blog to get the whole story and check out some amazing writers who write for five minutes -  no editing, no over thinking, no kidding -  just sweet writing.  You will be blessed!

Monday, June 10, 2013

If you are visiting me here from Her.meneutics, welcome to my little space!  Please look around and I am so glad you are here!

We are on 
If you want to start at the beginning with us, please click here.

Get back the Simple Joy in Gift Giving

Ahhh, summer is here and I always start off with big plans of making my own Christmas gifts when I have more time.  Yet, we all know summer can be just as busy as the school year.  So this summer, my challenge  is to keep gift giving simple, and if we can save a few bucks while doing it, well, that is just a bonus!

Tip One:  Less is More

Take this time to be creative and you will find that simple gifts can often be the favorites.  Especially for kids, make the wrapping a part of the gift, whether it is a blank campus or even just a yummy candy bar taped onto the present.

Tip Two: Make it in Multiples

If you get a great idea, do not just make one gift, make several of them.  They can be used as hostess gifts or even birthday gifts in a pinch.  If you will be doing any entertaining, they could even be used as goodies for the end of the party. Make sure to leave a tag for easy labeling.


Tip Three:  Bunch it up in a Basket

This is where you can make a gift even more special because you can personalize the theme as well as the individual gifts.  A perfect example, especially for teens, is the classic movie basket:

Other examples include:

book basket
music basket
gift card basket
art basket
crafting basket
sports basket

Tip Four:  Give Experiences

This is one of my favorite gifts to give and for my kids to get.  Instead of more toys that no one ever needs, give a gift of a movie date, a zoo visit, or tickets to a musical.  Grandparents can get into this kind of gift giving with giving bigger experiences like a class at the park district or a day at a museum.  These gifts are often the ones that are the most remembered.

Enjoy these tips and hopefully this summer you can plan for some creative, simple, and fun gift giving ideas.  Any even more creative gifts out there?  I would love to hear them!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Fall

This one made my heart ache and swell at the same time...

This weeks's prompt: * FALL

You picked the yellow one.  Of course you did.  The yellow one that looked like it was laughing.  You were so excited to go, but when you got on, you found "that it go so fast." And you wanted to go by yourself. And we let you, but if you look close, you will see Little Brother right next to you with Daddy holding him and an arm's length from you.  We wanted you to be able to do it on your own.  But Mama was still afraid. I didn't want to see you fall.  So I sent Daddy to watch you, to protect you as I smiled from the sidelines. 

My girl, you are getting bigger.  You are entering new merry - go rounds with a new school, new friends,  new dreams.  Oh Sunshine, it is going too fast! I will still cheer by the sidelines and watch you. And now more than ever, I trust in the fact that your Daddy in Heaven is protecting you and waiting to take you into His arms just in case you fall.

Come on now, let's take this ride together.

* Five Minute Friday -
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

STEP TWO - Simplicity Series - Making a Simple Schedule for the Summer

STEP TWO in the Simplicity Series

Step One was the reason that I had to find a way to declutter my life.  Popped open diapers and neighbors who just walk right in.  If you want to read the whole story, check out Lysa's site where I guest posted.

SO here is the break down for the rest of this Series:

I will give you a home challenge connected with a heart challenge.

Three days a week.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

We hit it hard in the beginning of the week and you have that week to try some of the ideas.

Or try them sometime this summer...

take baby steps or plunge right in.  

The important part is maintaining what you do and add another step: Maintain Plus!

Since I gave you a schedule, today's challenge is keeping in the same theme:

How to Make Them Simply Work For You

It was Tuesday afternoon.  I knew I had to do something, but I could not for the life of me remember what it was. Did I remember to unplug the curling iron?  I rarely use one, so it totally could happen.  Yes, I did unplug it.

Is it garbage day?  No, that was yesterday.

I check my calendar and there is nothing written for today...oh wait, something is scribbled in the side of the margin...some numbers and CHUCK E. CHEESE!

I forgot my son's birthday party.  And actually not so much forgot just to go...I had forgotten to invite people.

So, one call later, and a changed date, and we have ourselves a new party.

I don't even think it counts as being forgotten if it was never really planned.  My son had no idea that I had already called and made that date.  He just new he was getting a party sometime.   He is the fourth child.  I guess he just feels lucky to be having one.

So, for me, to simplify my schedule is not just a thing I could to try if I have some free time this summer.  It is a necessity in order for my family to feel a sense of peace and fun anticipation. Children (and me) need to know what is coming.  It gives them a sense of stability.  And for fun events, it helps to get them excited.  I am not saying you cannot surprise your children, but, "Surprise, you have soccer practice in five minutes and we live ten minutes away" is no fun for anyone!

So here are some tips to help clear your calendar and make each moment more meaningful:

Don't Over Plan - Summer leads to a more relaxed schedule, but often that can lead to more things we try to get done.  Look at the calendar in the beginning of the week and be intentional about what activities you are going to be involved with.

Build In Margin - If there is a free day, you do not have to fill it!  A free day can be a wonderful time to get things done at home or even for the children to just "be" at home, whether that means reading, jumping on the trampoline, or playing games.

Plan for Interruptions - When you are planning to go somewhere, count on adding at least ten minutes for forgotten footwear, last minute bathroom breaks, and lost bumpies (blankets).  If you add on these minutes now, you will not find yourself running late.

Make a List - Whether it is a bucket list for the summer or a list of places to visit, make that list and put them on the calendar right now.

Be Specific - When I was a teacher, I was very specific in my daily schedule because I had a principal as  my authority.  Well, God is a bigger authority and I have to be responsible for the things he has given to me : children, time, gifts, activities.  I need to be specific in my schedule and mark down what I am doing. Put down time for just you and one child even if you have four.  If you write it down, it will more likely happen.

Celebrate - Don't forget to put in times to just have fun with no reason.  Or celebrate when a week went well and you made it to all the birthday parties! Life really does go too fast and you want to enjoy as many MOMents as you can.

Now for the Heart Connection - (Oh, I can't wait to switch to Wordpress so I can add different fonts and hearts here...)

In order for any day to run more smoothly, I have to put in time with Jesus.  We can plan our days and ask Him to join us, but what really needs to happen is for us to join Him where He is already working.  Even just ten minutes to connect and read His Word will focus our hearts and clear from our minds what are earthly distractions so that we may focus on what is eternal.

This doesn't mean we will forget that we need a new van or that a friend has breast cancer, but by coming to Him in prayer, and worshiping Him, we will be reminded of His omnipotence and know He can help us get through any struggle and we will be focused on His omnipresence and we will remember that He will never leave us.

And those are the things that I want to remember...along with my son's birthday party!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

So excited to be posting over at the site of my friend who leads people to follow hard after God and encourages people to make this life an adventure! 

And there is a giveaway there and here!

Please join me over at Lysa Terkeurst's site for my Simplicity Series Kick Off!

For the next few weeks we will be finding out what true simplicity is and what it means in our heart and home! 

We will learn together what it is like to FULLY LIVE IN THE MOMENT.

God is not a God of chaos! (1 Corinthians 14:33) Get ready to clean out those cupboards, organize that kitchen, and streamline your schedule for a life that gives more time to connect with the people you love!

And if that isn't enough....I am doing a giveaway on my new book: Clutter Free Simplicity - Seven Step to Clearing out the Clutter in Your Heart and Home over at Lysa's site and also here!  Two chances to win! 

SO, let me know in the comments what part of your house, heart, schedule, day, even throw in things like vacation planning, play dates, or closets that seem to make your life crazy

We are in this together and we are going to find out what it really means to live a simplified life that gives us time to really enjoy it and bring glory to God!

I will pick one person to give a copy of my new book! Just tell me below one great tip on getting clutter free or what part is always a challenge!

May you be blessed with these MOMents you have!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Only Grace Words Today

My computer is not letting me add pictures to my posts.  And I think to myself, "Why even write if I cannot enhance the words with images of beauty, crisp lines of simplicity, or a giggle captured by the lens.

It is especially hard when some images capture the words in just a snapshot like this post on keeping the main thing, the main thing. Pure beauty.

But then a quiet whisper tells me that His Story had no photos, no tangible images of a baby's first smile, the mighty waters being stilled by a calm voice, the drips of sweat, pain, and the sin of a nation falling from the brow of our Savior.

Only words. Only Truth.

And so my challenge is to speak His words into my children's lives today. My desire is for my words to be a picture of joy, for that will lead them back to His beautiful story of grace and love.

Thankfully linking up here today. (I cannot use the cute little button.)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Finish the Sentence Friday - What am I Passionate About? My FRIENDS..

What am I passionate about?  Or who? (Spoiler Alert: Friends)

To say you are passionate about something means to spend time on it.  Even if it is gardening and you do not know it, people measure your passion by what you spend your time on.

SO what do I spend my time on?

It certainly is not my house, although I wish it were sometimes.  Not that I do not like a clean house.  In fact, I wrote a whole book on how I am trying to have a clutter free house and heart.  I really do like to have clean and welcoming home.  It sounds as if I spend a lot of time on my home with the amount of time I talk about doing stuff to my house to my sister, but am I really spending that much time on it? Hmm..

The first would be MY FRIENDS. I need to say my extended family is very much included in this bit of friends, because they were my first friends and they have been with me for life.  My mom, dad, sister, and brother, as well as all of their families and all of my husband's side have places in my heart that will never change. Now, if my blogger account or my goofy computer were working how they should, I could add some great pictures of my family and friends.  But for now, you will have to trust me, because they rock. They stick with me through more than I want to live through.  Through pain, questions, anxiety and fear.  And they are there to cheer, to laugh, and to say they like my new profile pic. They love me no matter what!

I would also say my husband (MY BEST FRIEND), because I adore my husband more than chocolate covered strawberries. I love our date nights.  I love watching him with our kids.  I love him, and I love how he makes me laugh, but do I really spend a lot of time planning for him, serving Him, and just being with him?  Not as much as I should or as I would like. Or as much as he would like I am sure...

My kids would be one that I would say, for sure, I am quite passionate about and I would have to put it right up there with time since I home school and am with them almost 24/7. And as far as love goes, it is never ending and always fillingThey are my sweetest friends who I love for life. Take tonight for example, when my little one prayed to Jesus and said, "Thank you for making my Mommy who never says, 'No," when I ask her to snuggle." It doesn't get much better than that! So I would have to say that my kids are my passion, although I reminded when I hear prayers like that that I have been created with a hole that can only be filled with my Jesus.

I know He should be my passion. MY VERY BEST FRIEND! My first love. My consuming thought.  And on those sweet days when I do come to Him and ask for His wisdom, patience, and strength. When He becomes not only my God, but my true passion...Ahhh, those can be some good days. Because some days can be hard.  Some days I get so tired.  When one hurtful comment is said to me. When one more person lets me down.  When I mess up the same way again and again. My body hurts. My spirit is weary. God should be my passion, for  I am His beloved. His daughter. His princess. I am His Friend. I am His passion.

And that makes me want to change the way I spend my time...

What is your passion?  Where do you spend your time? I would love to know...

Link up here with others and read some funny, some serious, but always real life stories from some great writers for Finish That Sentence Friday.

And here for Five Minute Friday for some amazing, authentic, and sweet stories on the topic of FRIENDS.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tacos in the Tub Equals Perfection

I am linking up with Finish the Sentence Friday from Kate's super funny blog.
Every Friday you finish the sentence with some humor, words of wisdom, or the first answer that your seven year old gives you and you find a good picture to go with it.
I think this is my first.  I was a little nervous. But, from a recent group that I just joined, I found a community where people are open, encouraging, and quick to be helpful.  They make you want to join in the fun and write!
And today's Finish the Sentence is...
If I could live anywhere, I'd live... my bathtub.
Is this one mine?  No, I totally wish it was, although I did look up other ones and there was another one I was wishing to make my the kitchen! 
How perfect would that be?!
A little sudsy time, a homemade pizza, more suds, and pie.
My bathtub is THE happiest place on earth, excluding Disneyworld.  Although one of the last times I was at The Magical Kingdom, I was nursing the ENTIRE time and
 missed almost everything good.
My glorious bathtub has sweet candles to set the mood for some fun in the tub
And by that, I mean a glass of Pepsi, some Twizzlers, and a really good magazine
that I just got from Costco.
And, I even have bath salts from Hawaii!  One of my girlfriends goes there with her family EVERY year.  I know...Who does that?!  She is a kind sweet mama whose kids are the only ones around who can ever finish the license plate game in less than a LIFETIME! 
My bath tub is a also bubbly one. A whirlpool one.  Funny how I have no problem sitting in a hot tub at some random hotel pool where fifteen thousand other people have done who knows what
and I get totally grossed out when my husband takes a bath and says,
 "You can use my water if you want."
My bath is where I dream, rest, read, and if I could pull of eating a late night snack of Taco Bell while watching The Office and still somehow remain in the tub, it would be as close to an earthly living place perfection as it could get.
Feel free to link up and read some other writers and all the places they would want to live!
Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted by:

Monday, April 8, 2013

iPad Giveaway and Lead, Momma Lead Webcast Event

Enter Today - 3/25- 4/16!
I have been blessed to be able to read, review, and share this AMAZING book!  
What would Jesus do is a question everyone asks.  But how about...
What Would Jesus Do with Your Kids?

This book will not only give practical suggestions to become the heart, hands, and feet of Jesus, but Lead Your Family Like Jesus will share twelve priceless parenting principles based on
 the Savior's life teachings.

I am taking one book challenge for the next fourteen days.
For those of you who know me well, you know I LOVE my sleep.  Yet, this book has encouraged me that solitude is not just a good idea, but needed for my relationship with God and for me to be refreshed in Him.  And along with that solitude comes a sacred time to pray.

So for the next fourteen days
I am taking the challenge to pray intentionally for my children
early in the morning.

I am going to get up just fifteen minutes earlier and pray for each of them 
with a specific verse for each.
Might you  you take the challenge with me?  Maybe it is praying for your child.  Maybe it is reading the Bible.  Maybe it is just getting quiet before God. 

Fifteen minutes.

I will keep you posted!

Now if you have not yet done it...please click on the icon above to enter in an awesome giveaway!

Be Still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Friday, April 5, 2013

After ~ The Best Part

A few of us love to write so much, we do it without thinking and with (little) editing.  Find out all about it here.
Here is my Five Minute Friday thoughts coming and my little fingers typing:
The topic for today: 

It was after the egg hunt.

After the little legs scurrying for colored pieces of love left by the Easter Bunny all over the yard.

It was after the lunch of too much ham and just the right amount of not-the-dense-kind of too-thick cheesecake, but the just-right-fluffy tasty kind that Grandma makes.

It was after the sliding down the slide and hugging Papa for a photo.

It was after all that, that I saw this.  This sweet face of contentment.  This sweet face, resting in the shade, weary from a day well spent.

Her white dress reminding me of the fresh life of grace that we get in every new day because of what came after those three days.

I thank God for the after.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Only Seven Things To Wear

"What's wrong with being pretty? I just want to look professional.  
I want others to take me seriously. I like fashion. 
How my family dresses is a reflection on me as a provider. 
I want to look good for my spouse.

Almost all of these arguments are rooted in someone else's opinion. 

Somehow the exterior dressing
 is elevated over the content of my character.

Jen Hatmaker, The 7 Experiment

 How often do we look to others for self actualization... for affirmation...for a "Well done" or "Nice job," and when it is coupled with a, "You look beautiful" while doing it, it somehow makes it even sweeter.

Is it possible that we care more about what we are wearing than the lives of others?  When one pair of jeans would fund three child sponsorships, and we shop as a habit? (Hatmaker, 60) What are we really saying about the state of our heart?

In Isaiah, God makes it pretty clear where he is looking or more so, where He is not :

3:16 - 23

16 The Lord said:
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty
    and walk with outstretched necks,
    glancing wantonly with their eyes,
mincing along as they go,
    tinkling with their feet,
17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab
    the heads of the daughters of Zion,
    and the Lord will lay bare their secret parts.
18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarves; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the mirrors, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils.

Oh man, why did he have to include scarves and handbags? I was fine with nose rings and amulets.

I am convicted.  I am guilty.  I have way more scarves than I need and one of my purses sold on ebay could feed a child for a year.  

This is not for the light hearted.  This really is not for me, but I have to do it. And He will help. In my quest for simplicity.  In my desire to not be a hypocrite with a book dealing with clearing out my heart and home, I will try this experiment.

I will dress simply this week.  Seven items.  That is it.  And make less of me and more of Him.

And I will pray for a heart to be clear with a closet a little less full, and hopefully find even more of me to give to others. 

What is one piece of clothing you think you could NOT live without?