Wednesday, September 28, 2016

on heartache, grace and glory

The last of summer’s bounty.  

Summer, the season usually regarded as my favorite, was harsh to us this year.  We experienced loss on a few fronts - some relatively trivial, others more weighty.  I know that things could be much, much worse, but still my heart has ached over recent times.  There is so much to hurt for and so much to be thankful for and it’s sort of a strange and place to find oneself.  In my head I usually hold on to what I know to be true, but my heart doesn’t always want to follow suit.  And I think that’s ok.  It’s ok to feel all the feels.  It’s ok to acknowledge deep sorrow and pain.  

These past couple months, I’ve shed an awful lot of tears.  I’ve cried in the van while driving the girlies from place to place, I’ve wiped tears away while walking with the girls in the mornings, I’ve even had to pull out the tissues at the beach —my happy place!  And as awkward and uncomfortable as it has been (sorry to all you folks who stopped beside me at a red light, trying not to make eye contact with the crazy crying lady stopped next to you!), I believe the Lord has been working in my heart, despite the moments and days when I’ve dug my heels into the ground, quite literally pitching a fit like a toddler in my prayers.  (thank you, Jesus for your grace and patience with me!)  

I don’t understand the why and that’s really difficult for me, but as desperately as I want to, I know that I don’t have to know the why.  Just the what:  He is God, He is good and He’s asked me very clearly to trust Him.  

There have been so many moments when I’ve thought “I just can’t.” or “I’m so done."  And to be honest, I’ve been stuck in a bit of rut of these kinds of thoughts lately.  And there’s room for that.  His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in our weakness.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Last night we went to Bible study after a particularly rough day.  
It was the last thing I wanted to do, but I am so glad I went because something was shared that snapped me right out of my rut.  One of our group members talked about how we often view ourselves in relation to God as cups —when life is going well, our cups fill with blessing and overflow, but when things aren’t so dandy we feel like our cup has been drained.  In reality, we ought to view ourselves as mirrors that reflect the glory of God.  So when things are going well, we praise Him and recognize His goodness to us in that, and when things aren’t going well we can hold on to the fact that all things work together for our good to His glory (Romans 8:28), and rejoice in that too. 

Even in great tragedy and loss, this shift allows us to have not only a right understanding of His goodness regardless of our circumstance, but also allows us to ground our joy in Him, not in our circumstances.  Or as my devotional reading put it this morning (clearly, the Lord wants to make sure this point is driven home for me):  “The most precious truth in the Bible is that God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of his grace by making sinners happy in him - in him!  When we humble ourselves like little children and put on no airs of self-sufficiency, but run happily into the joy of our Father’s embrace, the glory of his grace is magnified and the longing of our soul is satisfied.  Our interest and his glory are one.” 

Amen.  Thank you, Jesus.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

that time we threw a tea party

grandmas make everything extra special
so it's no surprise that last time Daniel's mom was in town
she came up with the idea to have a backyard tea party with the girlies
needless to say, it was a hit
but rather than tell you about it, i'll just show you
well, if a picture is worth a thousand words,
i just told you quite the long winded story
but how can you go wrong with baby girls, sunshine and tea parties?
oh that's right, you can't.

Friday, June 24, 2016

everyday grace

it has been a long and busy couple weeks at our house

we hosted family and friends for 2 weeks straight
which was fun, of course, but also draining
(can i get an amen from all my fellow introverts?)

then, less than 24 hours after seeing our family off
i had to bring my house back into order
AND get everything that wasn't a large piece of furniture off the carpet

now, before you go thinking i like to create strange tasks for myself, 
i should mention that our landlord is selling our house
which means carpet cleaners (hence the pick up frenzy)
then photographers the next day 
(aka more pick up frenzy / stuffing half of our things into boxes and closets)
and now showings for the next 3 days
(try keeping a house showing ready with two toddlers in tow...i dare you)

and amidst all the busy,
there are moments of anxiety, if i'm being honest
about whether the next owner will want to keep us on as renters
or if we'll be out of a house in the next couple of months...

but the Lord has been faithful to remind me that anxiety is not from Him
and He used these verses to encourage me:

"4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
(Philippians 4:4-8)

i assure you, as a person who is no stranger to anxiety, i know these verses well
and yet, reading them in context as i read my way through Philippians, 
i was even more encouraged by them
for the first time, i noticed that the verses immediately following these 
talk about God's provision in Paul's life
and that subtle reminder was just what my heart needed that morning

then the next morning, as i faced my mountain of tasks
i decided i'd put some music on to help motivate me
so i searched one of my favorite worship artists and let youtube go to autoplay

and song after song, lyric after lyric
i realized that what my soul needed was to be reminded of Truth
how easily we loose sight of it when our world gets a little rocky
so i sang along and basked in the many evidences of grace in my life
feeling incredibly refreshed along the way

and yet again, this morning, as i read my devotional, 
these words leapt off the page at me:
"There is no misery that Jesus cannot turn into ministry, 
no brokenness He cannot transform into beauty"

our current situation is nowhere near misery or brokenness, 
let's be clear about that
i just loved that picture of restoration and the encouragement it brings
there's so much perseverance and standing firm involved in running this race we call life
it's such a blessing to be reminded of Jesus' work in our lives, especially when the going gets tough
there's evidence of grace everywhere - you just gotta look for it!
(lyrics from "Loyal" by Lauren Daigle)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wherever I'm With You {the first quarter}

k, so it's been a while (obviously)
i could go into all the reasons why 
and promise to try to be more present
but the truth of the matter is that
in this season of my life, that is a promise that i just can't make

i may not be terribly consistent these days, 
but i do still want to share what i can in this little corner of the internet
especially it's stuff that makes my heart super happy
like the photography challenge i decided to take up at the beginning of this year

the "project" is called wherever i'm with you 
i first heard about from another mama & photographer who i follow on instagram
and it struck a chord with me
so i decided to follow suit

the concept is simple:
once a month, the girlies and i make a point of taking a picture together
it doesn't have to be anything fancy or overly complicated
just a photo for my babies to have with me in the frame
instead of at my usual station behind the lens

so without further ado,
here are my first 4 images of my very own "wherever i'm with you - 2016"
- january
{bebes had a case of the giggles & the light was quickly fading
so after umpteen attempts, this is the one we settled for}

- february
{looking back at this photo shows me just how much these little people of mine reflect me, 
even in the simplest things, like the way i tuck our hand under my chin sometimes}

- march -
{one girlie's love language is touch, which is definitely NOT the case with her sister.  learning to love each of them in their own way has been both a challenge and a delight for me.  can you tell which one needs extra snuggles from mama? ;) }

april -
{this one captures a familiar early morning scene at our house - baked oatmeal, jammies & bedhead...a good reminder that the everyday stuff is worth documenting too}

and that's a wrap, folks
i hope you are well
and that we get to connect again sooner rather than later

until next time...

Monday, December 7, 2015

our newest house guest...

we recently set out on a cold, cold day
in search of the perfect tree
our first Christmas tree as a family, believe it or not
and my first real tree...ever (sad, but true)

*fun fact* #1:  this is the second time since we got married that a tree actually got put up

and it's not because we don't like Christmas
or decorations
or sparkly lights

all of that stuff is super fun, but i'm also super lazy...or busy...or something like that
and i struggle with saying no to all the Christmas happenings
in order to say yes to things like decorating
(plus that whole travelling every other Christmas thing...)

anyway, doesn't matter why we haven't decorated in past years
point is, we're trying to get better at it

because *fun fact* #2:  Christmas (and Easter, and birthdays, and any reason to celebrate, really)
is exponentially more exciting / fun / magical / awesome when there's kids involved
so we started at a garden center, 
but quickly realized that we weren't going to find the tree for us there
(without breaking the bank!)
we decided it would be way more fun anyway to head out to a farm
despite the glorious sun that broke through the clouds on our way over,
the air was crisp when we arrived
(which is a nice way of saying we couldn't feel our fingers, toes or noses
...or most of our faces, for that matter)
but we quickly forgot about the limbs we were losing to the cold
while playing hide and seek between the trees, 
discussing what types of leaves were our favorite,
running through the open space,
crunching through the frost with every step, 
and talking the girlies out of the ridiculously tiny trees
 as well as the gigantic trees that they were picking
(it was one extreme or the other - that is how they roll, after all)
we searched and searched
pointed out what we liked about each tree
aaaaand what we weren't so keen on
this was serious business, folks
then, finally, we saw it
the perfect tree for us

not too big
not too small
not too "bald"
not too thin
not too full

just right
so we cheered (first things first ;) )
and watched as Daniel chopped it down
then cheered again (because, why not?)
and finally, took our prize tree home!
such a fun adventure!

oh, and we named the tree bob
after Bob Ross
we like to think he is a happy little tree
so it seemed like a logical choice

what about you? 

Are you on the ball about Christmas decorating?  

tell me all your secrets!  don't leave anything out!  :)
Blogging tips