Friday, March 30, 2012

friday faves :: fridays

on fridays i drink my coffee out of this cup and laugh at how far from my reality it is...
...and the truth is - i'm glad.  my life is full.  no time for slacking.  so full in fact that i rarely drink the entire cup of coffee and actually reheat it an average of 3 times over a two hour period and still have some left over.  


but on fridays we intentionally slow down.  we wear our pj's a little longer.  we lay in bed and read books or watch curious george.  we attempt projects that could take a while and might get messy {i'm loving some of the ideas i am finding on this site lately}.  
so many favorites about fridays...here are a few more...


:: hanging out with these monkeys without the pressure of being anywhere or doing anything in particular {isn't it amazing how much more easily we connect with our kids when we're not yelling 'hurry! hurry! if you don't get moving right now!'...
check out the inch worm!
'hey - i'm mommy!'
 :: making homemade pancakes or waffles {check my yum yum board for the recipes...and a few other special breakfast treats we try from time to time}
{recipe HERE - we sub 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and throw in some flaxseed meal and chia seeds...top it with warm fruit jam or maple-agave syrup...yum!}
:: enjoying guilt-free porch time.  this is the one day during the week when i give myself permission to sit on my porch and watch my kids play and listen to the familiar melody of the songbirds.  sometimes i read.  sometimes i listen to music. sometimes i get in the playhouse with the monkeys.  sometimes i just stare at whatever gifts of beauty are gracing my yard at the moment...
my favorite thing growing in my yard right now...
peonies.
sometimes i close my eyes and think of all the days before that got me to this friday...i hold them all in my heart and give thanks.


as i write this post there is a song playing that has spoken to the deep part of me lately.  i listen to the words and i know it's true.  through all the mess of my life...all this time...i never walked {or on the worst days crawled} alone.  and on a day like today i see these gifts given in abundance surrounding me and i know it will be true forevermore...in every tear cried, in every sunrise...
i'm not the same me and that's all the proof i need...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

finding joy in fields of clover {and piles of poop}

sometimes we literally hold hands through fields of clover...
and delight in the beauty and wonder of the world around us...
sometimes i gladly let my kids ride horses in their pj's...

and laugh when they wind up climbing on piles of poop in their bare feet.


but then sometimes my life just ain't that pretty...that's the reality.  



 sometimes {ok...a lot of times} my house looks like this...
this was not staged...trust me... 
{have you ever seen a kitchen counter covered with yarn, thomas underwear, a Bible, homemade cards, and dozens of other random things??}

   sometimes hands are used for hitting instead of holding and the nasty fights i break up result in wounded bodies and hearts.
  sometimes i look at the world around me through eyes of stress and anxiety rather than delight and wonder.
  sometimes the simplest request to do something inconvenient or out of the ordinary {or heaven forbid - dirty} sends me into a tailspin.
  sometimes the weight of my responsibilities leads me to speak in anger instead of love, to respond out of stress rather than peace.  
  sometimes i'm so far off the mark that my actions are based on desperation rather than faith.


but here's what i'm learning...  
the way i experience each day isn't so much about the situations i face as it is the posture of my heart when i face them.  


today i forgot to pack my kids' lunch for school {who can keep these preschool party schedules straight anyway?!?}.  and i had to discipline my 3 year old for shoving her brother's head into the cabinets over a plastic egg.  and i peeled my screaming 2 year old up off of the driveway with bloody knees.  and i found out that my husband won't be making it home in time for dinner with us...again.  and i didn't have enough time to tackle even half of my to-do list.  and my house actually does look like those pictures you just saw.


some days any one of those things would break me.  today i'm still whole.


i think it has something to do with the fact that my heart is still carrying these words that i read during my quiet time this morning {which, by the way, typically happens on the floor of my bedroom closet at 6 a.m. where i am trying to be as silent as possible so i can squeeze in a few reflective moments before my kids wake up and find me}...


...letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death.  but letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace...
...the spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.  and just as God raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you...
{romans 8:6 & 11}

knowing that kind of power lives within me changes everything.  
knowing that the spirit of the most good and holy and loving Savior can control my mind and my heart gives me the strength to fight for joy {no matter what the day brings or how persistent my 'sinful nature' can be}.  

next sunday when people around the world come together to celebrate a risen King this is the truth that will make my heart sing {and probably my eyes weep}...
just as God raised Christ from the dead, he gives that life to little old me {and you}...
new...
every day. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

friday faves :: in living color

so i was without internet access over the weekend...thus the delay in my friday faves post.  
our little fam was cold chillin' on a mini vaca to the lake...
this was the kids' first chance to tag along with daddy for one of his golf tournaments {or as lucy calls them - 'sleepovers with the golf team'}.  we watched a total of 6 holes of golf over the 3 days.  we have to keep our appearances to a minimum since some little people are still working on their 'golf whisper' voices and refraining from screaming fits in the middle of someone's back swing.  all in all they did well and didn't get us kicked out.
see...perfect angels...
lucy with coach cabbage's boys
the two daddy coaches were pretty tied up actually doing their jobs all weekend but the mamas and kiddos had plenty of time for leisure activities...
i wish i had a picture of our entire s.u.v. full of kids and pool gear pulling up to the valet at the ritz on saturday {where we were not staying, by the way}.  the dapper gentleman who greeted us asked if we were arriving for lunch to which both mommies replied - 'why of course' - with our most polite 'we belong here' expressions.  our cover was quickly blown when all five of our collective kids started yelling 'where's the pool?!?!' from the backseat.  luckily our sweet smiles and adorable little ones were irresistible and we were allowed to proceed {with caution}.  score!  this was the 2nd place we did NOT get kicked out of and we certainly made the most of the opportunity...
if you have the chance...go to the ritz-carlton at reynolds plantation...it was beautiful and relaxing and fun for kids.  even if you can't afford to actually spend the night...try to sneak in...we'd be happy to share our secrets.  like how to get a free ride around the property on a train... 
{you will be your little kids' hero if you can swing this!}
shhh...please don't tell on us.


anyway...all of this was fabulous but my real 'fave' of the week is my favorite new pastime {which i happened to have a chance to work on during our lake getaway}...


watercolors.

i know it's not amazing artwork but the act of painting it actually is amazing.  you should try it.  seriously.  just go buy a $3 pad of watercolor paper, an $8 set of watercolors {not the crayola kind...just the cheap ones in the craft store}, and spend a few more dollars on 3 or 4 different size brushes.  that's it.  then watch this whole new world unfurl before your very eyes.  here's the one i worked on over the weekend...a birthday gift for my little brother...
he's taught me this.
and the really cool thing is that i have a partner in crime...
he seriously cries when i have to take his paints away
 


go grab a brush...i'd love to see what you're creating...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

shine

today was one of those days that was so busy i was talking to myself.  
do you do that?  maybe it's just me.  
when my to-do list is longer than the hours in the day i literally speak aloud instructions to myself to keep my distractible mind on track.  
'ok - 15 minutes until i pick up the kids...that gives me time to make the tea.  ok...got that going...let's wipe down the table...don't forget to send that e-mail before i go...' 
i swear it works wonders on those days when i don't have a moment to spare.


so here i sit on the barstool at my kitchen counter at the end of a busy day.  as wiped as i am i really want to scrounge up enough energy to tell you this quick story that i've kept tucked away for a few days until i could get it in writing.  forgive my not-so-polished post...i'm running on fumes.


lunch conversation over chips and salsa after church last week...
lucy:  hey oliver - i have jesus in my heart.
oliver: {chip in hand...looking up from his own personal bowl of salsa...you know it's serious if it pulls his attention away from his 'dips'} no wucy!  jesus is in MY heart!
lucy:  oliver, that's not nice.  you have to share jesus.
oliver:  THAT'S not very nice.  he's MY jesus.
lucy:  {sigh} ok buddy...i guess...well...i'll have miss kasey in my heart.


my sister haley and i had a pretty good laugh out of that one.  with each exchange we looked at each other with wide eyes and grins...the thoughts of a 2 and 3 year old continue to surprise me.


i've probably shared that story a dozen times over the past week...it was just too cute to keep to myself.  but it's just been the past couple of days that i've seen the lesson in it for me.  


the bible says this - 
you're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. we're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. if i make you light-bearers, you don't think i'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? i'm putting you on a light stand. now that i've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! keep open house; be generous with your lives. by opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous father in heaven. 
{matthew 5:14-16 MSG}


just like my little ones i can honestly say - jesus is in my heart.  he is precious to me.  my time with him is sacred...it is my lifeblood.  he has redeemed my broken life and set me free from captivity over and over again.  me and jesus...we been through some junk...we're tight.  we got a good thing going.


and sometimes - like oliver - i don't want to share.


i don't want to share him because sharing him means sharing my heart...
     and my heart isn't always in perfect condition.
i don't want to share him because sharing him means trying to explain the unexplainable...
     how do you do that?
i don't want to share him because sharing him means risking rejection...
     and i don't like how that feels.
and if i am completely honest...
     sometimes i don't want to share him because i am too busy keeping him all to myself in my own little quiet jesus-time bubble and i don't want someone else coming in there and bursting it.


and so there are days when i miss the opportunity to share jesus.  
i choose to keep to myself rather than sharing joy.  
i choose a hurried pace rather than sharing peace.  
i choose a spirit of aggravation rather than sharing grace.  i choose to harbor anger rather than sharing love.  
and those people that i fail to 'shine' on turn away.  there is no light to draw them in and so they go...looking elsewhere...when i had the answer to their own heart cry right there in my possession.  
    in my tightened grip...not my outstretched hand.


miss kasey is one of my dearest friends.  i love her.  she ministers to lucy and oliver and dozens of other children at our church every sunday morning.  i see jesus in her all the time but she's not him.  she could never be his perfect peace, grace, love, joy all wrapped up for us forever and ever amen.  nothing compares to that.  so after our little lunch time chat i started wondering.  
if we don't share jesus with others who or what will they fill their hearts with instead?  
the thought of that made me realize that i don't want to walk around with a bucket on my head.  
i want to be generous with my life.  
i want to shine.

Friday, March 16, 2012

friday faves :: mama blogs

well...if you read my tuesday post revealing my most recent mommy struggles you will know there are some days that i could use all the encouragement i can get.  outside of my amazing cheering section of friends and family i also turn to a few fellow mama bloggers who always have some wisdom to share.


i love the gypsy mama.  this post from her was my favorite blog read of the week.  it spoke straight to my hurried heart.
i have been trying out some of her suggestions...they work {sometimes...and that's all i ask}. last night i thanked my sweet husband for being so tolerant of our perpetually messy house.  on a day like yesterday leaving the dried up eggs glued to the floor was totally worth baking fresh bread {in my bread machine of course!} and covering the dining room table with watercolor masterpieces with the kids.


and one more favorite post of the week was from my newfound friend {actually i've never met her but based on her bio i think we could be B-F-F's}...flower patch farmgirl.


ya'll i am sorry...i can not stop laughing about this...
i am going to get right to work trying to make my own version of this!
happy weekend, friends!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

update on fatao

for those of you who read my post about fatao last week...here is an update that will make you smile...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

radiant

it's been a while since i've shared some ugly.  my weaknesses make themselves known to me on a regular basis but i know y'all just wouldn't want to read post after post of how wrecked my mind and heart {and house} can be at times.  so i try to limit these words...
:: the ones i spin full of hard truth and teeth gritted together.
:: the ones of battles lost and wounds slow to heal.
:: the ones that tell of heartsongs that die and need mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to be brought back to life.


my latest struggle has to do with motherhood {shocking, i know!}.  i feel sure i have said this at least once in previous posts but it's worth repeating...
parenting exposes your weaknesses
oh the little mirrors that follow me around all day...reflecting the truth of who i really am behind closed doors - once the niceties are stripped away and a raw, tired mama is exposed.


i've had a rough few weeks with my precious girl.  nothing catastrophic...just small daily battles that leave me feeling weary after awhile.  i've tried telling the fable of the boy who cried 'wolf'.  you know the one...kid keeps crying for help when he doesn't really need it and then when the time comes and he's face to face with a wolf no one comes to his rescue because they think it's just another whiny, annoying, ridiculous meltdown over absolutely nothing of value {ok...so that's not exactly the way it goes but - close enough}.  anyway - so far that hasn't worked.


here's the deal...my girl {like me} is full of passion.  it is her greatest strength and her greatest weakness.  at the moment it's also my greatest challenge.  she experiences life unfiltered and sometimes it leaves her singing and dancing like a broadway star...other times it leaves her red-faced on the floor flapping around like something out of a horror film.


maybe a couple of visuals would help...



a few days ago a late-night tantrum sent me over the edge.  she was inconsolable.  and although i maintained my cool and did my best to just get her in her pj's and in the bed {which, by the way, is not easy when you are being kicked and yelled at} the depths of my soul felt the crushing damage of that episode {and the cumulative effects of all the little ones leading up to it}.  once she finally settled down in bed i went back in...
cuddled up close, fingers run through curls, love promises whispered, songs sung, and prayers lifted...all for this child i adore.  
and she was redeemed...carried from restless to restful.


the trouble was - i couldn't shake the damage that had been done to me.  my head was spinning...
what kind of parent am i?
why can't i help her through this?
am i doing this all wrong?
what will happen if she can't get herself under control?
how is this kind of emotional behavior going to impact the rest of her life?


guilt, shame, worry...they started to creep in.


i was stopped short by a different question posed by a wise friend who is currently going through one of the darkest times of her life...
what happens when our suffering meets his glory?

with a heart full of helplessness i curled up on my bed and began to pray for my suffering and inadequacies to meet his glory and power so that...
generational sin would be broken
her restlessness would be replaced with peace
her discontent heart would fill with unspeakable joy 
burdens a tiny 3 year old should not have to bear would be lifted
her life would belong to Christ


the truth i have been engraving on my heart this lenten season gently revealed itself to me in new light.
david's words reminded me...
~ constantly speak His praises
~ the helpless can take heart
~ my prayers are answered
~ i am free from fear
if i look to him for help i will be radiant with joy and...
no shadow of shame will darken my face
~ in my desperation i am called to pray to a God who listens and saves
~ when my heart breaks he is close to me and will rescue my crushed spirit.


in that moment i began to realize the power of scripture memorization.  every bit of that wisdom and comfort was found wrapped up as a gift to me within one simple chapter of God's word.  all of a sudden my suffering meets his glory and the result?  
radiance
{more on my newfound love for watercolors coming soon!}

Friday, March 9, 2012

friday faves :: easter pins

today we chose quality time with sweet friends over an extensive, well-thought-out blog post...good decision on my part {if i do say so myself}.


so i'm keeping it simple and sharing with you some of my favorite pins to help us get ready for easter...
{if you have no idea what a 'pin' is and you think 'pinterest' is a misspelling...go HERE and check out the goodness for yourself}


you can go straight to my spring fever pinboard {which i am just getting started on...so come back later for more!} or you can peruse some of the pics below...


::lots of egg decorating options::



::deliciousness that also teaches an important lesson::

::art expressing the truth of this season::

::jellybeans always come in handy::

::egg garland...and lots of other fun stuff from martha::

::and...just for fun::

{for direct links to any of these items click on my spring fever pinboard}

would love to hear about some of your easter inspiration too!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

bearing one another's burdens...

imagine that you take your one-year-old child to the doctor and the diagnosis is a big scary word that you can't pronounce...
ventricular septal defect {more commonly known as a hole in the heart}

imagine that you try all treatments at your disposal only to learn five years later that the condition has worsened.

imagine that the doctors report that your child's heart is working at a rate 2-3 times faster than a normal heart and that it will not be able to keep up this pace forever.  your child is at risk for heart failure...at any time.

imagine that there are no doctors in your town - or even your country - who can do anything to help your child...he must be treated elsewhere.

imagine that you are faced with the reality that your 6 year old son my die of a heart defect and the only way for you to save him is to find $23,000 to fly him to india to be treated.

imagine that you are looking at that dollar amount as you sit in your home made of mud and rocks knowing that the fritters you sell each day and the meager income that your husband makes could never come close to being enough.
this is how fatao's mother must have felt...when she heard the news of her son...the one who loves to play soccer and dreams of being a mechanic like his big brother.  the one whose heart may not last through many more games.

as i sit here in my two-story house in suburbia USA with a mini-van in the garage and a refrigerator full of food in the kitchen, my two healthy children nap in their cozy beds upstairs...and i know that i am blessed.  blessed to be a blessing...

the rest of the world doesn't live like this.  and when i consider the needs that exist outside of the safe and secure walls of my home i sometimes feel helpless.  the world is so big and the needs are so great.  but i take andy stanley's advice and when i have the chance i 'do for one what i wish i could do for everyone'.

today i am reaching out across the ocean to a mother in africa who has a son just like me.  a son who, like my own, surely brings her great joy and delight.  a son who she fears may lose his life too young.  there are a lot of things i can not do...but this i can.

i can weave together these sentences to tell her story.  i can send money that i don't really need for new shoes or a dinner out...money that can be life-giving for them rather than just life-enhancing for me.  i can pray for that mother {i am a mother too}.  i can send my words of love in a letter to encourage a boy who is looking death in the face.

i am grateful for organizations like compassion who make it possible for me to do 'something'.  our sponsored child {christina} is from burkina faso, africa - just like fatao.  

maybe they know each other.  maybe their mamas bear one another's burdens together.  will you help me bear them too?




Friday, March 2, 2012

friday faves :: potty humor

if you are not a mother this next line of thought will probably seem incredibly lame to you {we all know i'm not above looking lame in order to preserve authenticity as a writer}.


less than an hour ago i was rounding up laundry, picking up random items that somehow manage to get scattered all over my house {like the piece of one of my kitchen appliances i found stashed in oliver's toy bin}...doing a general tidying of the house, when i walked into my kids' bathroom and this thought actually crossed my mind...


hey - it doesn't smell like pee in here 


and i was genuinely pleased about this...even took several intentional fresh air breaths to savor the moment.  
with these two potty-using hooligans... 
...having free run of our bathrooms {and one being a boy without the best aim} i have wiped down those walls and floors with clorox wipes so many times and scraped dried yellow trails off the sides of so many potties...not to mention the soaked overnight pull-ups that 'someone' inadvertently drops in the laundry basket instead of the trashcan {yuck!}.  


i truly can't remember the last time i walked in that room without wrinkling my nose in disgust...so today i noticed...and i was grateful.  grateful for a bathroom that didn't need my immediate attention.  it went in my gratitude journal.


sometimes the weight of everything that DOES need my attention leaves me feeling pinned down...unable to breathe...unable to move...unable to even begin to tackle the long list of demands reeling through my mind.  but...
if i look closely enough for it...
sometimes a gift breaks into that frantic heart of mine...
an awareness of someone or something that doesn't need me at the moment and instead has something simple and sweet to offer up.  some days it's a tiny flower bud unfolding, other days it's the encouraging words of a friend...today it was a bathroom.  ha...who would have thought...
i will never stop counting them ~ the unexpected gifts each day brings.


and that's what i should really be paying attention to.


this is not shaping up like my typical 'friday faves' but i just wanted to share my pee-free joy with you my dear friends.  


and it was all a pretty good set-up to my most ridiculous favorite phone pic of the week...
yes that is a toilet...and that blinding light you see just beyond the excessive amount of toilet paper that was used {this is an on-going battle in our house} is not the reflection of my flash but a FLASHLIGHT that a certain someone dropped while taking her morning potty break.  here's the culprit looking all innocent in her barbie gown...
we've seen a lot of items take a dive into our toilets {including baby...that's another story} but this may have been the craziest.


so...happy friday...i'm hoping that my 'potty humor' provided a little chuckle for you and that you will be blessed by all the little things that capture your attention this weekend...