Monday, December 22, 2014

the christmas song i dedicate to you

It was the darn Star Wars pajamas.
The only reason I entered into the holiday mall madness was for the Star Wars pajamas.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

the breathing room :: the music

Today's words are not my own.  They belong to my dear friend and Breathing Room partner, Emily.  You're gonna love her as much as I do...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

the breathing room :: the message {connect-the-dots}

Did you ever do connect-the-dots pictures as a kid?
Remember how the page was covered with all these seemingly random dots and then as you traced your pencil carefully along them in the proper order an image began to form?

Friday, December 5, 2014

the breathing room :: truth

You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.
Now that's a statement that opens up my lungs to find their breathing room again.  Ever wondered what the truth actually sets you free from?

Monday, December 1, 2014

every move you make

When the hot winds of September blew us out of summer and into a new school year I had a book's worth of words I wanted to share with you.

This past summer contained the same amount of days as every other one I've lived, but the contents of those days was something far greater than any I remember.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

the breathing room :: stories

Last October I reserved this blog space for sharing stories.  In the process I found myself and others beginning to breath strong and deep again.

Sharing our stories gives us breathing room.

On January 25, in a stunningly beautiful dairy barn nestled in the gardens of a 100 year old Victorian homestead Emily and I will show up to share some of our stories with you.  We will speak and sing ours into microphones but other brave souls will tell theirs
on a big screen or
across the dinner table or
in quiet corners.

The Breathing Room will be filled with stories.

There was a time when I wrote the stories of my life in a journal meant for no other eyes than mine.  There was value in writing hidden stories, but over the years I have found greater value in letting others take a peek inside.  Today one of the most valuable uses of my time is in speaking my stories out loud and inviting others to do the same.

This is why I believe stories are so important...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

an invitation to breathe

Have you ever given a gift that was half wrapped, or maybe not wrapped at all?
Maybe you ran out of wrapping paper and the gift was too big to fit in all those reused bags stashed in your closet.
Have you ever just hidden something behind your back, had the other person close their eyes and then shout - surprise! - as you pass it straight from your hands to theirs?

When I speak or write I like to think I have a gift to offer people.  I spend time tying the words up like a bow around my offering.  I want them to be neatly packaged and beautifully presented.  I want the gift to reflect a certain sentiment.  A sentiment that says - you are important to me and I wanted you to have this.

Sunday night I delivered a half wrapped gift to a room full of some of the most influential women in my life.  I just pulled it out from behind my back and held it in my hands for all to see.
   Here - I want to share this with you.

Monday, October 27, 2014

NEW {day 27} :: renew

Over the past several months I have been inundated with ‘re’ words.  
When I read, when I pray, when I take a shower, when I sit in the preschool pick-up line…
're’ words keep coming to mind and I keep jotting them down and taking them in.

Here’s what I know about ‘re'.
It is a prefix indicating
The return to a previous condition
Repetition of an activity

And if we dig a little deeper we find…
word-forming element meaning "back to the original place; again, anew, once more," also with a sense of "undoing" 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NEW {day 23} :: Lucy's diaversary

For you observant ones who have been following these 31 days closely you may have noticed there was no day 22.  So now you know - I'm not perfect.  I hope you enjoy 23...
Today marks one year.

I am terrible at remembering dates.  Actually, anything with numbers gets me all confused.

But I will never forget October 23, 2013.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NEW {day 21} :: the boo bag story

When we arrived home last night Lucy ran to the front porch to retrieve the package.  She had been waiting on it's contents for almost a week.  It wasn't a Halloween treat box from grandparents or something fun we ordered off of Amazon.  It was her new CGM - continuous glucose monitor.

A year ago we had no idea what a CGM was and we definitely wouldn't have seen Lucy bounding out of the car on flying feet to get her excited little hands on one.  A year ago we knew very little about Type 1 Diabetes.  Today we are close to being experts.

Monday, October 20, 2014

NEW {day 20} :: hide and seek

The first recorded incident of 'new gone wrong' took place in a garden.
A man and a woman stood amidst beauty and splendor freshly created.  Every single thing surrounding them was new, never before seen by human eyes.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

NEW {days 17 &18} :: the movie scene that started it all

Ten years ago in a movie theater in Scottsdale, my hardened heart broke wide open as I wept tears born of gratitude.
And so this 'new' journey began.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

NEW {day 16} :: better than better

Our God isn’t in the business of better.  He doesn’t do improved.  He specializes in one thing – new.  
We try so hard to get 'better' when God is standing there waiting to make us 'new'.
Isn't 'new' so much better than...well...better?

Has your car ever been totaled?  

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NEW {day 15} :: surgery

{you may like to read part one of this post}
Have you ever clung so tightly to something that it becomes an extension of you?

You may not even realize that letting go is an option.
Then, suddenly, it is taken from you, pried out of your fingers.  You've held it so long that it feels like someone is performing a surgical procedure without anesthesia.  It hurts so terribly bad that you think you might die.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

NEW {day 14} :: what i haven't told you

This is the part of our 31 days when I stop my song and dance to sit down across the table from you and look into your eyes.  I have something that can't go unspoken, unqualified, any longer.
Sometimes I tread cautiously around the truth that I have built my life upon.

Monday, October 13, 2014

NEW {day 13} :: the itch

The most important idea in advertising is ‘new’ – it creates an itch and then you put your product on it like calamine lotion.
{Donald Draper, Mad Men}
My 6 year old daughter, Lucy, gets eaten alive by mosquitos.  
It's unbelievable.  
A 10 minute jaunt in the backyard can leave her with a dozen bites up and down her legs.  She comes limping in the back door, bent over, scratching her legs furiously.  Sometimes she scratches so hard she bleeds.  I run her a warm bath with salt and baking soda and she can't get in there fast enough to finally experience relief.  She would do anything to stop the itch.

We will do anything to stop the itch...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

NEW {day 12}

I have this reminder of 'new' hanging in my house.
My talented friend, Arin, painted it.  You can find your own at her True Cotton Art website.

Friday, October 10, 2014

NEW :: {day 10} for the mamas

A few months ago I had such a deep and unusual pain on the left side of my head that I convinced myself it was a brain tumor.  Just as I was about to schedule a doctor's appointment a colossal zit showed it's head through my eyebrow.  Dodged a bullet.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

NEW {day 9} :: stop running

{for the beginning of this story click HERE}

My propensity towards relational perfectionism.
My inability to accept and offer grace completely.
My tendency towards running away instead of sticking it out.
My deep-rooted pride that kept me forever focused on what was best for myself.

As I turned my back on my marriage I had no idea that I would stand facing these and other dark places in my heart.  The damage there had been years in the making.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

NEW {day 8} :: drowning

{If you missed part 1 of this post, you can read it HERE.}

It felt different to be surrounded by so many new things but the newness only danced tauntingly around me, never penetrating skin and bone to make a real difference in my heart.  As it turns out, I hadn't left the mess behind, I was carrying it with me.
The mess was me.
And every new thing this world dangled in my face couldn't clean me up and set me free.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

NEW {day 7} :: face down on the floor

The moment I found myself face down on my closet floor avoiding the reflection of who I had become was days before I would literally walk out of the door on my husband.  I remember saying these words – ‘I don’t deserve to be loved.’
Everyone makes mistakes in marriage but I had never been good at messing up...especially when it came to relationships.

Monday, October 6, 2014

NEW {day 6} :: dig deep

The world conspires against our souls by blinding us to the depth and glory of their God-given design and tempting us to be satisfied with immediate gratification. 
{John Ortberg, Soul Keeping}
If we were to get quiet enough, still enough, humble enough to really listen to our souls this is what they might tell us…

Sunday, October 5, 2014

NEW {day 5} :: beautiful things

On Sundays I try to rest.
So - I will be relying on others to help me share 'new' with you this month.

Today it's Gungor.
If I could, I would send a sweet freckle-faced girl to each one of your front doors, Polaroid in hand, ready to capture you could be.

Today let's rest in the truth that we don't need to make anything new...we need to be made new by the One who can turn dust into a masterpiece.

Friday, October 3, 2014

NEW {day 3} looking for new in all the wrong places

When my son, Oliver, was 3 years old he would do this thing.  
He would cross his arms and purse his lips and say to me - Fine!  I’m getting a new family!

Guess when he would do that.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

NEW {day 2} :: pages

A few years ago my parents were in the process of moving and they were sick and tired of lugging around all my ‘stuff’.  We're talking boxes and boxes full of letters and photos and certificates for things like the presidential academic fitness award {I never understood…was that because I was smart or in good shape??}.  

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

NEW {day 1} :: inside out

Have you ever inadvertently trapped a cat in your car?
Saturday afternoon I pulled down a gravel drive in my husband's perfectly detailed car.  He says it's the only piece of his life remaining that he can keep clean and organized.  Everything else he shares with me and well...

Thursday, September 25, 2014

what to do with hate mail

Hate mail.
I received my fair share last week...but it wasn't in my mailbox or my inbox.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

for those who are tired and thirsty

Ever wandered through the desert?
It can be so lovely getting lost in among the cactus and tumbleweed, finding wildflowers and watching the sun set behind giant red rocks.  I lived in Arizona for almost seven years and I found beauty in the desert.  But...
there was also heat
and snakes
and coyotes
and scorpions
and dust storms
and dry, cracked earth.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

from chick-fil-a to dippin' dots: lessons in giving and receiving

I let them unbuckle and climb into the back seat to watch as I pulled slowly away from the drive-thru.

Wait mama!  I want to make sure they give her the picture I made!
For weeks the kids had been pestering me asking me about the 'drive thru difference'.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

first friday finds :: september

So it's First Friday Finds time...only it's not.
I was, but I missed it.  Today is Saturday and it's not called 'First Saturday Finds'.
My own blog series...totally missed it.

I could try to sneak this in on you and adjust the date/time label so that it would look like I actually wrote it yesterday, but...well...that might be dishonest.  And I want to be honest and say...
I forgot.
I was busy.
And I probably wouldn't have done it at all were it not for a friend's reminder.
So, here goes...

I dug something up in my quiet time yesterday that I wanted to share.  It's not going to run long but I hope it runs deep...I know it did for me.

Want to know if something you are doing {or thinking about doing} is right or wrong?  Check this out.

Or put another way...

Paul wrote that to the Roman church two thousand years ago but I needed to hear it today.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

when you just want to get better

Earlier this week I closed my head in the car door.
You read that head.
Not my finger or my arm or my HEAD.
For the record, this is not something that often happens to me.  In fact, of all the hundreds of times that I have gotten into a car this is the first time my head was injured in the process.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

what i learned the first day of school

Yesterday was my final staff meeting.

Today was my first official day of homeschooling.
It's a strange season blowing in over here.  I'm caught somewhere between identity crisis and identity clarity.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

what lies within you when there's a war around you

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. 
{Ralph Waldo Emerson}

She has never known darkness like the kind she is feeling her way hesitantly around in...lost...scared.
Sometimes life comes out of nowhere and knocks the breath right out of you.  Every attempt at filling your lungs is met with the feeling of suffocation.  Have you ever been there?  Watching events unfold that your brain can not process...that your heart can not possibly accept.

My friend is in that place.

Friday, August 1, 2014

first friday finds :: august 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  
Please share yours at the bottom too!  The link will be up all week.  Here's how.}
The first friday of the month is almost over and I am barreling down the racetrack, screaming in here on two wheels.  Fifteen minutes at 10pm is truly all I have today, but I have definitely uncovered some nuggets of truth in the passage I just read...{beeeeep...beeeeep...beeeeep} that's me backing up the truck...and here comes the dump...

Ever heard that crazy story about Jesus feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish

Friday, July 25, 2014

how to take your time

When we arrived last night the gray clouds hung like a veil over the mountains.  This morning the curtains have lifted and we have a front row seat to the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

learning to die {the painfully precious process}

The morning sun is breaking the sky open outside my window.
Indigo clouds drift slowly behind the trees, outlined with light.

Night is over.
Day has come.
We move from darkness to light...every day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

when you're looking for answers {chicago with lucy}

I have this blown glass Christmas ornament that is hand painted.  It is so fragile and beautiful that every year I hold my breath as I remove it from the red velvet box and display it on the tree for everyone to see. 
To hold it too loosely 
or too tightly 
would be to destroy it.

That's how I feel about the past few days... wrapping words around them for you might cause them to shatter into tiny unrecognizable pieces.
Here goes...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

first friday finds :: july 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  
Please share yours at the bottom too!  Here's how.}
It's the fourth of July and I don't think this post is going to be the least bit patriotic...I apologize.
I've only got 15 minutes so let's see where this goes...

I envy people who are not crazy.  I'm being serious.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

5 ways to reset your heart {and start your weekend off right}

Some mornings my hair dryer won't turn on.
I hit it on the palm of my hand.
Shake it a little bit.
Slide the power button up and down.
And then suddenly remember...duh...
the reset button...
...that little red button on the plug that you never really pay attention to until everything just quits working.
Sometimes life feels like it has just quit working.  No matter how many times you try to shake yourself out of it there is an oppressive feeling that won't let you turn your heart back on.  Some people call it depression or a 'funk'.  I call it a life that needs resetting.

There are all sorts of ways to reset your heart but here are five that helped me this week...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the girl at starbucks

Her freckled face was framed with curly red hair.  I noticed because as she walked past me her neck turned to allow her a longer look.  I lifted my head and smiled.  Her half-smile broke open wide and her eyes seemed to gaze longingly...taking in the whole scene of me.
It sounds strange, I think that a pre-teen girl following her father into Starbucks would long for my life.  A life of juggling motherhood and sick children and work and writing and the schedule that comes along with a busy family of four.  Maybe my hair was standing straight up or I had egg on my face...or maybe it really was a longing look.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

when your vacation isn't picture perfect

I am currently 'on vacation'.  It says so in the auto-response I set up on my email account.
I could show you pictures to give you an idea of what that vacation looks like...

...or I could use my words to tell you the real story.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

interior design: the sacred places in your child's heart

We had just gotten to the part of the story where Almanzo's mother was squeezing through the dining room door in her hoop skirt to present the platter of ham for family dinner.  I don't know if it was the idea of family being together under one roof or if her mind had already wandered back on its own.  Whatever led her there, she snuggled up close to me and whispered - Mommy?  Do you think that man is still there?
It took me only a moment to find my way onto her train of thought.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

first friday finds :: june 2014

{It's #firstfridayfinds time again and here's this month's unedited, 15 minutes worth of truth.  
Please share yours at the bottom too!  Here's how.}
This week I have worn out my fingers from typing and my knees from praying...
     all in search of answers.

Have you ever set out for answers and found yourself at the end of the road just holding more questions and confusion?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

a family mission that matters

It was seriously the best ice cream I have ever tasted...I'm not even exaggerating one little bit.
If you are ever visiting Holden Beach please do yourself a favor and stop by Beaches N Cream.

And here's how you can make the stop even better...
take along someone you care a whole lot about and sit on the colorful front porch in one of the well-worn chairs and talk about something important while savoring the deliciousness.

Joey and I have been talking about our family's mission for weeks now.  In fact, our entire church community has been having conversations on this topic which is pretty awesome when you think about it.  Our own conversation continued last night over a turtle sundae.

It began with Joey mentioning that our family mission should have something to do with glorifying God in everything we do.  I simultaneously delighted and cringed.