Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Good Things Come From Taking A Break

Last summer I didn’t feel like gardening. So I didn’t. (My gardener friend said I was letting the garden rest. I love people who see the best in me.) While I took a break, my strawberries did not. They crept past their given space. They took over where I usually grow beans and tomatoes. And now, they cover most of my garden. But, you know what? I love the TAKE OVER! Look at this bounty! I can’t even believe it. 

I am telling you this is a sign for ALL OF US...

 Rest. Unwind. Play instead of work. Refuel. Rejuvenate. 

Good things come from taking a break!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

For The Days You Feel Overwhelmingly Ordinary

Do you know what caught my eye the other morning?
The lists of genealogy in the Bible. (Odd. I know.)
I usually skip those sections because I prefer non-boring, but this time the name-after-name drew me in. And I felt something.
Let me explain.
So we love to read stories about the BIG PLAYERS in the Bible - brave people who did BIG THINGS in God’s name. We want to be like these all-stars.
But tucked in and around these big stories are lists. Names. Descendants. Aunts and uncles and cousins. Parents and sons and daughters. Families. Lineage. Heritage.
I know these lists have historical value, but they spoke differently to me.
Who were these people mentioned briefly only by name? What were their jobs? Or hobbies? How many hours did they spend washing clothes, cooking meals, or chasing little ones? Take Moses - a man who found the courage to follow God, oppose a powerful leader, and walk a nation of slaves through a parted sea to freedom. Gargantuan stuff. But I wondered about his lineage. How many people with a lifetime of ordinary played a part in his big story? Did courage run in his family? We know his mom had the strength to put baby Moses in a basket and floated him down the Nile River to save his life. His sister followed the basket and when Moses was found and adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter, boldly offered to find a nursemaid. (His own mom.) Did those stories build courage in Moses? Were Moses’ mom and sister brave because of their lineage? Did Moses have a great-great-grandma who prayed incessantly for a strong family? Was his great-grandpa a good man who worked hard, loved his family, and sheltered his home with stability? Was his grandma a kind, loving mother? Did her kids feel strength to be bold because they always knew they could come home to her quiet force, encouragement and comfort food? Did a lineage of everyday strength and consistency lead to a mom bold enough to hide her son, a sister strong enough to speak up, and a man who freed a nation?
Perhaps a secret to seeing God move is to look past the glory moments to the lineage of ordinary people. Generations passing down traits, learning from each other, cultivating positivity and growing from the hard stuff. In this rhythm of genealogy, the everyday feels vital. And intentional. Like God placed each person in their line with great care. He wants certain characteristics and qualities passed from one generation to the next. 
The lists make me feel God’s words: “I am.” (Exodus 3:14)
I am the creator.
I am the orchestrator of life.
I am purposeful.
I am all-knowing.
I specifically placed you right here, right now with your unique characteristics, gifts and talents. It was purposeful, so go. Spread my love. Be my image bearer here on earth. Do ordinary well. Walk today knowing who you are and what you are called to do.
Be faithful in the little things, because…
…you never know what big things I might do in your life...
...or the daily impact I am making through you…
…on the people around you…
...and on the generations who will follow.
Because, I am here everyday - moving and working in the incredibly significant ordinary.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Photography - The Beach {THAT PLACE for us.}

Everyone needs THAT PLACE. Mine can be a few minutes of sitting underneath the evening sky. (Often, simply on my front porch step.) The forever expanse of stars reminds me: God is so big. The beauty: God is good. Obstacles seem a tad bit lower, hope brighter and I feel myself exhale. I'm drawn in by creation to be in awe of the Creator. The beach does that for me too. Getting here can be so #TheStuggleIsReal, but look at us once we've made it: two playing, one trying to hold the sun...my heart overflows. 
Where's THAT PLACE for you?
Pictures taken with my phone and edited on Photoshop. (Specifically, a few swimmers out of the background. I'm telling you photo editing software is a mom's best friend. It's impossible to get the same picture twice of our moving targets so good enough works; editing can do the rest. Bless you Photoshop.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

All Roads Lead to Summer

This past Friday morning my 3rd grade son factually stated he was sick and couldn’t go to school. He took his own temperature, sighed in exasperation then crawled back into bed declaring he was done. (“My fever is 89.1 degrees, mom!”) Then my preschool age son - who slept in his swimsuit because summer is so near - had a strong aversion to putting real clothes on. Next, my fourth grade son insisted I read to him. (Which I did – he knows how to pull my heartstrings.) It was a book about volcanoes and magma and tectonic plates where the number of words grew and the pages expanded with each turn and since he CAN READ himself, I couldn’t summarize it. And that was only Stall Tactics #1-3. We were on Stall Tactic #1,000,000 by the time we actually got ourselves out the door, running late – of course. Friday morning was like herding cats. But this Tuesday after Memorial Day morning…it will be different. My kids haven’t completely forgotten school exists after the lovely, long weekend filled with friends and family. My sweet boys will pop out of bed, see the beckoning sunlight and declare, “Mom…let’s hurry and get to school! We can’t wait to be inside!” Yup. That’s how it’s going to play out. A smooth, seamless beginning to our day. I’m all full of summer-is-within-reach optimism, so let’s do this. Let’s get today started. #AllRoadsLeadToSummer  #Motherhood #NeverADullMoment #LifeIsGood

Sunday, May 22, 2016

End of School Year Thoughts for Moms

Hey moms, we’re ALMOST done! School is almost over, and this is how I feel about it.

Just a handful of lunches still to make. (And a handful of times to unpack the returned lunchbox and see your child took one bite of the yogurt cup, two bites of the sandwich, ignored the carrots, yet devoured every last morsel of the cookie.) Just a few more days of “Mom, I need – insert some item you currently do not have – for school today.” (It’s 8:10; you leave at 8:20.) Almost done trying to fit things like a dentist appointment into an already full week. I can’t wait for the reduction in my “go to” phrases: “can I look at your school folder;” “did you do your homework;” and “we need to be out the door right now.” Don’t read me wrong, we’re all grateful for education. We love our schools and teachers, but holy hectic schedule – we all need a break.
Moms, that blessed gift is almost here.
Sweet summer.
Reduced commitments and a slower pace, more time to pause and breathe in life and blessings and all the people we love so much. Unhurried moments to enjoy our children while they are still in our homes, these sacred years disappear so quickly. (My oldest is one school year away from middle school. How can that even be?) Space for our favorite things: swimming pools, good books, bike rides, gardens, evening bonfires, camping, road trips, leisurely morning snuggles, relaxed conversations, ice cream on the porch, and sunshine…so much sunshine.
And it’s just around the corner.
So we can do this, moms – finish strong.  Or just finish.  All roads lead to summer!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Grateful for Ordinary

I wonder if the woman who handed me coffee this morning with her enthusiastic good-morning-and-happy-to-see-you greeting realized I drove away with a big smile on my face because of her. Her delivery was masterful. Thank you, lovely woman. You passed me steamy deliciousness and some of your energy, as well. I needed that today. I wonder how often we think that we are just doing us – ordinary us – and that doesn’t matter so much.  And yet other people – like me today – are so grateful for our ordinary.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

To Moms on Mother's Day

Happy Women-with-Super-Powers Day! (Also known as Mother’s Day!)

I’m so grateful for my mom, grandmothers, and mother-in-law. I won’t get started on how amazing they are and the immeasurable impact they’ve made and continue to make on my life. Because that would lead me to also gush about my mom-friends and other-mom-family-members and how much I admire them. Then, I would go on about acquaintances, or women I don't know but follow on social media, or have read their books, or heard their stories, and how much I learn from them or how they move me.

So instead, let me just say this…

To all moms – know what a gift you are! Every day you love generously and give unselfishly. Your words guide, encourage and build confidence. Your resourcefulness problem solves. Your arms comfort and kisses heal. Your genuineness creates a safe place. Your actions teach. Your talents inspire. You are strong, creative and wise. Every day you make an impact. You wear your cape well. Know how cherished and loved you are. You are a superhero and you make EVERYWHERE a better place!