Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A cute room and a cool free printable scripture art link.

I am down here visiting my sister and I have to share a photo of the room she homeschools in.  Her and her husband did everything themselves: flooring, walls, paint, trim and finding that awesome map in a dumpster and giving it new life.

Oh my goodness, isn't it cute? Doesn't it just make you want to drop everything and homeschool with her there?

I want to leave a note on my classroom door for my high school students that we will meet down here for class. My high school students, my kids, my sister's kids...it could work, right? I don't think it would be awkward. Because, really...it seems like only brilliant learning should happen in a space so pretty.
If you like me and are admiring her awesome decorative printables like the ones shown below, then here is where she got the free printable scripture word art: Home Life Blog. That blog has a big selection and I had fun going through and picking some art to print out for myself.
I want to also wish you a Happy New Year!  We are planning on bringing in the New Year in style with a big cousin sleep over. Hello, beautiful 2015! A new year. A fresh start. It always holds HOPE.

I am always grateful to link to Remodelaholic and these lovely blogs.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Decorating and Jesus Knocking

Decorating for Christmas always seems magical.

It doesn't matter how many ornaments are broken in the excitement of decorating or are pulled out of the box broken from not packing them well enough last year.  It doesn't matter if the Christmas lights work or not.  It doesn't matter if some of our decorations are lost in the abyss of our garage, so we don't put them up. It doesn't matter how many times my boys get distracted and wrestle by the tree, threatening to knock it over.  It doesn't matter when my boys decide to army crawl under the tree just for fun, really threatening to knock the tree over.

It always feel magical.

It is a place where Jesus shows up in our lives.  We feel the Holy Spirit in the room reminding us of how important the true reason for the season is. 

I don't know why it is a moment in our lives when Jesus' presence feels strong. After one really stressful Christmas, my husband and I learned to say no and made some decisions to take the holiday stress out of the season. Maybe that decision made room in our hearts where the stress used to be for us to better notice the One whom we are celebrating.

Because we see Jesus show up in the holidays. He shows up big.  Through giving. Through all the big love. Through celebrations. Through joy.

Jesus promises to get our attention in life.  He says: "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me"  (Revelation 3:20, NIV).

I love that the verse says He stands.  He doesn't leave.  He waits for us to notice and invite him in. He wants an invitation in to our lives. 

I gave my life to Jesus as a little girl and have walked with Him since, but I still need reminders that He is there.  I need reminders that He is the Lord over my life and He loves me more deeply that I could ever imagine. I need reminders that Jesus can speak to me daily, in ordinary moments.

Because sometimes I think for Jesus to speak to me, it has to be through something big. Like how God used a burning bush to get Moses' attention.  (I love God's reply to Moses once He gets his attention. “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5, NIV). To feel God so strongly that you take off your shoes. Breathtaking.)

When God shows up in the big moments it is heart-stopping, but His presence is not reserved for only the big moments.

In the ordinary, Jesus shows up.

He daily knocks on the door of my heart and reminds me He is there: through a pressing on my heart; through a stirring thought in my mind; through a conversation with friends; through joy; through the grace that people show me; through the wisdom people share with me; through a good book; through scripture; through working out a situation I thought impossible to work out; through restored relationships; through the consistent support and unconditional love of family and friends; through seeing His strength in other people; through watching other people freely give their talents in service of Jesus; through a moments where I am able to let go of the stress; through comfort in the hard; through looking back on my life and seeing how God guided me despite feeling like He was silent when I was in the moment; through church; through gratitude; through a whisper to my heart; through a belief that He can use my life and the lives of those around me to do big things for Him....

Jesus shows up in big moments, but He also shows up in the monotony of our daily lives. He is always there. I often just need to pause and notice. 

May you also see Jesus and feel His crazy deep love and joy this Christmas season. 

And for those who follow my blog, thank you.  You show big love to me.  I don't know when this blog became so important to me, but it is. So, thank you for being a part of it.  From the bottom of my heart, Merry Christmas. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bathroom Remodel


My husband and I bought an older home that needed updated.  Fixing up an old house has been a bucket list thing for us.  My favorite thing about this whole DIY remodeling our home thing is how fun it is to see what my husband comes up with.  Carpentry is my husband's hobby and stress reliever and I had no idea how good at it he was until we started on this house.  He amazes me.  Here is what he did to our downstairs bathroom.

Before pictures:  I am so terrible at before pictures.  We just jump into the project and totally forget.  I had to dig up an old photo of the bathroom.  That kid is awful cute, but the bathroom really isn't.  It doesn't look too bad in the photo but the sink leaked so the vanity had water damage.  The tile is broken and outdated - gold flecks.  The mirror window thing was just a waste of space. The floor was hard to get clean and had paint all over it.  Everything was old - it needed updating


Here are the after photos:

Linked to: Remodelaholic

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving

Our fall has been unusually busy and it has left me feeling tired and drained. 
 
My parents came into town for Thanksgiving and declared themselves the support staff.  They stayed for over a week and were totally amazing. They cleaned my refrigerator, cleaned out the vents of my dryer, did laundry, dusted, vacuumed, organized closets, organized the playroom, baked, entertained my children, babysat while I went to work, and continually told me they were proud of me and I was doing a good job as a mom.
 
I enjoyed a week of less responsibilities. I relaxed more and spent a lot of time doing nothing. It was heavenly.  I felt rested and refreshed. 
 
After break, I was ready for the Monday morning try-and-get-everyone-out-the-door-in-a-somewhat-sane-manner chaos. One son decided to forgo getting dressed in order to play and had to be reminded multiple times to get real clothes on. When it was time to leave, my other son couldn't find his gloves and was crossing his fingers that he left his boots at school over the long break because there were also no where to be found. Then my youngest son decided that he needed to pack about fifteen extra things in his backpack.  Okay, maybe just one extra thing but he totally could have packed fifteen extra things in the time it took him to pack the one.  Then once his backpack was ready, he took a firm stance against going to daycare. He wanted Nana and Papa come back into town and take him to Chuck-e-Cheese again.  Please help me because we do not have time for these negotiations.  But, I handled it all with the calmness of a rested and refreshed woman.
 
I didn't ask for my parents help.  They just noticed that I could use a break.
 
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the people in my life who notice. My beautiful family and friends who make me feel loved and encouraged by noticing. My heart is deeply grateful for you all.
 
 
And speaking of noticing, the lovely Cindy from Inspire Me Mama featured my post on Let Your Faith be Bigger Than Your Fear.  Her blog is a good one to put on your reading list.  I would love it if you would check out her blog and my guest post. Thank you Cindy for noticing my blog.  I also have noticed yours!
 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

photography

Friends. 
Beautiful souls who get me. 
My writing club. Amazing women who understand my need to have a creative outlet through writing and photography. They understand that I better see how God’s beauty surrounds me through words and pictures and reflection on how Jesus daily shows up in my life.
This group has enriched my life. We are all so different. We have such different personalities and write completely different genres. But our differences create a place where I always learn and receive quality feedback on my writing.  The women believe in me, encourage me, and challenge me.  Every month I look forward to meeting with these wonderful women.
One of my writing club friends needed pictures for a project she is working on.  Of course, I wanted to take them.  Just for fun and as a reminder to myself of how blessed I am to have these women in my life, I posted a few of the pictures I took here.
Good friends.  The people in your life who make you feel smart, funny, connected, understood, and beautifully happy.  Totally priceless.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Let your faith be bigger than your fear.

I recently spoke at MOPS.  My first official Mother of Preschoolers speaking engagement.
 
I felt led to speak at MOPS and loved every minute of it. I continue to feel led to speak and share my faith journey and how God has come alive to me in my everyday life through motherhood. 
 
But…
 
Alongside the strong feeling of being led to do something, often comes a feeling of fear.
 
Because, what if I cannot do what God has called me to do well enough? God is awesome, so isn’t everything He leads equal to His awesomeness? This thought can immobilize me and make me talk myself out of His leading.
 
But, doesn’t God sometimes call us to do things that are average or mundane: to get up every day to go to work; to help your kids with their homework; to text someone encouragement; to buy a friend a cup of coffee; to listen to your son tell you why he chose every single Lego he did to make his creation; to assistant-coach your son’s basketball team because they needed someone, even though you got cut from your 6th grade basketball team; to show up daily , even when you don’t feel like it…. 
 
Awesome is good, but sometimes so is the average, mundane and just okay.  So how come I can hesitate because I fear that what God has called me to do, I might not be able to do awesome enough? God can move through moments that seem mundane and insignificant and simply not amazing.  God is bigger than the idea that everything has to be awesome. 
 
And how do I know what I am called to do won’t be good enough unless I try?

So fear can crawl back into the shadows. I don't need it.  None of us do.
 
Let’s be done worrying that we will fall short of what God has called us to do. Let’s not let fear hold us back. Whatever is on our heart – whether it is little or big or tough or easy – let’s listen to God’s leading. 
 
Let’s let our faith be bigger than our fear.
As a side note: I took this picture of this twisty tree in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  Heaven just might look like Colorado.

Linked to: these blogs and Christian Mommy Blogger

Saturday, November 8, 2014

fall photography

Fall.
A transition season. 
My favorite season.
I don't always love change - it can be hard and uncomfortable.
But, fall...
...fall reminds me that change can be beautiful.