Sunday, November 2, 2014


I've been making time to read a little bit lately.  When I do it, I'm not sure, but I find little snippets of time to do something I really love to do.  I suppose it's my "TV" time, as I hardly watch any TV.

I've been reading "God's Whisper in a Mother's Chaos" by Keri Kent.  One of the best books I've read so far.  A must read for all you young moms out there.  She writes from in the trenches.  She has two young kids, and writes about real life, happening now.  Not as an older woman "looking back" at her "raising up kids" years. There is wisdom to be gleaned from those women too, but I just appreciate a different perspective! 

I so appreciate her brutal honesty.  It reminds me that I'm not alone in this often so lonely time of life.  It's crazy how I can be surrounded by so much noise, and yet feel like I am drowning in my own piles of laundry, dishes, to do lists, and whining children. 

I LOVE MY JOB!  Don't get me wrong.  My children bring me such joy.  They have taught me more about unconditional love than anything else.  I think I have a better understanding of how much Christ truly loves us now that I have kids.  There is nothing they can do that will make me love them less.  Like, maybe, but love, no.  :) 

A chapter I read recently was on simplicity. So often I think of this as physically cleaning out the closets and bins of "stuff" that seem to accumulate.  I LOVE doing this.  There is something freeing about getting rid of "stuff."  I think the simplicity God desires of us is much more than just "getting rid" of stuff, but the willingness to have an open hand with the things/people he has given us. 

It's more about contentment than about the number of pairs of pants in my closet.  He desires that I hold ALL He has given me with a grateful and open heart and hand. 

There are times when He DOES ask us to give up things, or people.  I believe it's much easier to do that when we have practiced the discipline of contentment.  Like Paul says "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation."  He wrote this from prison.

Back to simplicity.  I don't have a hard time simplifying my possessions.  We live in a small home, drive simple cars, and I don't require a lot of expensive things.  (Although I do love me a good pair of UGG boots and a North Face jackets, I won't deny!)

But it's not a hard thing for me to hold those with an "open hand." 

It's much harder for my to simplify the activities that fight for the quiet places in my soul.    It is the day to day busyness that creates spiritual barriers that keep me from slowing down and hearing God's voice in the chaos of life. 

For me, simplicity is making less of me, so that He can increase.  (John 3:30) 

It's about carving out time and places in my life for that to happen. 

How can I focus on God when everyone around me is jumping (literally--Kayla right now...) up and down, fighting for my attention, waving their needs in my face?

Focusing on the simple truth that Jesus is Enough.  I am enough when I focus on becoming like Him.  Keeping my perspective. 

Everything I do, I do for Him.  This makes the mundane tasks, even the ones I enjoy have purpose.  Simplifying life by focusing on doing it all for His glory.

It's about slowing down for me.  Stopping, turning off the mixer to do my next task.  Not just putting it on the slow speed while I try to do three other things at the same time.  Meanwhile, over-mixing whatever is in the bowl because I couldn't slow down enough to focus on the present task at hand.  Actually turning off the beaters of the to do lists, friends to meet, appointments to keep.  Focusing on what is in front of me.   Becoming more deliberate of living in Jesus' presence moment by moment. 

I might have more patience with my husband and kids. I might have more joy in folding laundry.  I might not worry so much about my "to do" list. 

I might just experience the blessings of simplicity. 

When I begin to let go of living the impossible standards I place on myself, I experience God's presence in a more real and tangible way. 

Isn't this what I wish for my daughters to learn?  To enjoy the life that God has given us?  To not let society drive the decisions we make?  To become confident daughters of The King.  To desire to live our lives through His filter. 

To live a life of thankfulness.  Of contentment.  Of Joy.  Of Peace.

This is my prayer.  I encourage you to find whatever "simplifying" means in your life. 

Focusing on Christ.  Moment by Moment.  This is mine. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer, Storms and Strange Happenings

This is my favorite time of year!

Warm summer days with hours of play outdoors
Filling the small pink pool for the girls to splash around in
Taking the camper and making memories with our family
Walks outside
Boating on the river
Seeing the excitement in the girls' eyes as they tube behind the boat
Swimming lessons with Kayla
Seeing her becoming more brave during those lessons
Amber waves of grain rustling in the wind
The smell of harvest (one of my favorites!)
Watching the combines bring in the fruits of the year long labors
Bike rides
Listening to the sound of water running in my water fountain
Watching our own little crops grow in the garden
Canning with my mom
Pickling beets like my grandma taught me
The sounds of popping lids signaling success in a day of canning
Fresh raspberries over ice cream
Summer BBQs with family and friends
Lots of birthday celebrations in our family
Summer Bible Study
Play dates with friends

We started the summer by taking a trip to Maui to celebrate my parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  Just the adults went!  We left all the "grandkids" home!  We all had the time of our life.  What a huge blessing to spend concentrated time just as adults.  Our kids also had a fabulous time as they spent concentrated time with Ben's parents.  That was a first (for the both of them), and they made such special memories.

We also have the privilege of celebrating Ben's parent's 40th wedding anniversary.  We will spend 10 days in Montana.

We told both of our parents they got to choose what they wanted to do to celebrate this special occasion.  It's it interesting that neither one of them wanted a big "party?"  They just want/wanted to spend time with their family.  What a special heritage we have the privilege of being a part of. 

With these big "highs", there has been some very interesting "lows" so far.

In the past month:

This dishwasher went out and I was without one for a week (something I realize I completely take for granted)

My garden started developing some leaf turning yellow disease and started dieing

Two days later, we had the craziest hail storm anyone has ever experienced and we happen to be the heart of the storm:  The camper got severely damaged, some house window casings were broken, the hail damaged most of our rain gutters by putting huge holes in them, the garden pretty much got flattened  (some had recovered, thankfully, until the storm last night), and the hail threw gravel 4-5 feet INTO the yard and flower beds.  If you know where I live, and my house, you know what a mess this is.  I had to pick (still picking...) gravel out by hand.  One little piece at a time.

Ben's pickup got struck by lightening

Ben developed an infection in his lung and was completely down for almost 3 days during the busiest time of the year

We had another storm come through last night that made another mess, and flattened what was left of the garden.  Needless to say, I think I have received my three signs that I am NOT supposed to be doing a garden this year.  :) 

My hubby is gone a lot because of work since it's the super busy time, so I am often completely worn out at the end of each day

So what is one to learn through all of this?  That is the question I have been asking myself daily.  It can be easy to look at your circumstances and try to gain truth from that.  One must be careful in that though.  Truth shouldn't come from our circumstances.  They can be so up and down.  Truth is The Lord, so He is where we should gain our "truth." 

In comparison (I know, we aren't supposed to compare) to so many others around the world, and even in this state, I am BLESSED.  I have been given SO MUCH!  But Satan knows where I am weak, and what will best tempt me.  I pride myself on having and acting on so many GOOD ideas, that I sometimes wonder if they are a GOD idea. 

I am in an Experiencing God class at our church, and it has been a great/challenging study.  It's about knowing the doing the will of God.  I have been doing the homework, and spending time with Him, working on my relationships with Him, but honestly, I am sensing some serious silence.  I can't even explain it, but I sense I'm on the verge of hearing something important from Him.  He always speaks to us, it's just a matter of if we choose to hear what He is saying. 

It's been an interesting summer to say the least.  So now I wait.  I trust God that He is the orchestrator of all, and ask Him to give me His perspective on my "circumstances" and for Him to reveal Himself and what He has to teach me (us) through this. 

Have a great rest of summer!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Grace Upon Grace

If you haven't heard of Ann Voskamp, it is well worth your time to check her out.  Here is a link to her blog: 

Today she talked about how there is and always will be more grace to have.  I was reminded of a verse I actually based a devotional on that I shared a couple years ago. 

John 1:16 says, "For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." 

Another version says "Because he was full of grace and truth, from Him we all received one gift after another." 

This gift is GRACE.  Something not one of us deserves, yet something we are delt.  Over and over again.   It doesn't stop. 

If He can save me so esaily, then why don't I rest my weary head in His hands?  Why do I think I can get through it if I just congure up enough strength to get through the next task?  I can do this until I have nothing left.  Why do I wait until I reach this point? 

I can believe that he gives this grace, but I don't really start living until I believe in this grace alone.  I must rest my weary heart and take hold of this glorious grace. 

How do I get through the every day?  What happens when I feel like this grace has run out?  It won't.  That is the beauty.  More grace will be given in the moment that it is needed. 

More grace will be given. 

Grace upon Grace. 

One gift after another.

There will always be...

-Piles of laundrey that don't get folded
-Moments of impatience with my 3 year old
-Arguments with my husband
-Hurtful words exchanged
-Meals that have to be cooked
-Dishes that have to be done
-Children demanding every ounce of energy I have (and even onces I don't)
-Children's naps being too short
-Sickness, sickness and more sickness
-Feelings of being trapped in my own home with the incredible blessings I have been given
-Feelings of guilt for having those feelings of being trapped
-A questioning of my purpose during this season
-People needing help
-People who let me down
-The horrible beast of expectations on myself and others
-The many times when I fall short
-Bills to be paid
-Not enough sleep
-Did I mention sickness?

Yet more grace will be given each day.  Just when I don't have the strength in me.  I can fall into his arms of grace. 

"He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youth (Rachel) grow weary and tired and vigorous young men (Rachel) stumble badly, yet those (Rachel) who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they (Rachel) will mount up with wings like eagles, they (Rachel) will run and not get tired, they (Rachel) will walk and not become weary." 
Isaiah 40:29-31

I'm so thankful for this grace.  I'll be honest.  It has been a long winter for me.  In many of the ways expressed above.  Yet I have this Grace.  Given so freely.  Why would I not simply accept it?

Thank you for this Grace.  This gift.  Poured out over and over and over again!