Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mom Life

I think I've been watching too much Downton Abbey because my kindergartner asked for his snack on a tray.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wear Today Differently

There is something so lovely about being called God’s masterpiece. God-an-artist resonates with me. 

My sister-in-law is an artist. She knits, slipstitches and purls skeins into hats, scarves and shawls. She took me to a trendy downtown yarn shop. I followed her around nursing a Starbucks that made me feel like I was artistic and trendy, too. I watched her finger yarn types, match colors, skim through patterns, examine examples, carry around skeins and then return some until her chosen materials matched her vision. Then, on Christmas morning, I opened the loveliest of boot stockings, a hat and a scarf. I could envision her carefully knitting and pulling out uncooperative loops with an artist’s eye that sees the path to her masterpiece. I wear this homemade gift differently, with more sacredness then my machine-made-impersonal-cookie-cutter hat. 

As daughters of God, we are His masterpieces; knitted together by His hands.


“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT)

Often, we wake up to ordinary life and don’t think of ourselves as a masterpiece. Yet, what if we do? What if we look at the same hands that poured the bowl of cereal as a tool to bring good to this world? What if we are aware of the impact God can make through us at our jobs, in our homes, with our friends, in the ordinary? What if we wear our average day differently? We see it as holy, full of sacred moments. Not necessarily in-a-package-with-a-bow sort of way, but as unique people created by an artistic God who can use all of us (even our quirks) to shine His light in the dark.

God’s masterpiece, created to do good.

Every day.

Who said the ordinary wasn’t extraordinary?


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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Conversation From Our Winter Walk Around the Lake

“This would be a great walking stick.” (Tugging at a large branch on a live tree that shows no sign of releasing.)
“Look, there’s a beaver dam. I had no idea a beaver lived here!”
“Watch me crunch this ice.”
“Is that Yeti footprints? Or Big Foot? Nawwww…it’s probably a wolf.”(But definitely not a dog.)
“I wonder if I can break this ice with my boots. Don’t worry mom! I’m at the edge of the lake where the water is really shallow.” (Don’t care. No trying to break the frozen lake beneath you. Come back to the path.)
“I need to take home this birds nest.” (Let’s leave it – the bird might come back.)
“Mom, my brother just hit me with a stick.”
“Mom, it wasn’t on purpose. I was practicing warrior moves. I didn’t see him behind me.”
“Look at that dog. Mom, you’re letting us get a dog right?”
“Mom, I love wearing my ski goggles on this walk.” 
 "Hey where’d you get that? I need a cattail plant too.”
“Look over here!”
“Let’s go over there!”

Straight-ahead distance traveled = .25 miles
Total-zig-zagged distance traveled = 4.25 miles
I'm sharing what we buy for winter gear. Which is very important to us, because we live in a place that snows 10 months of the year. I exaggerate, I mean 9 months. 

Here are the links:
Photography tips - I played with angles when photographing my boys. I set my camera almost on the ground to photograph them walking on the path. I laid on the ground and pointed it up catching my son's snow covered gloves. I tried to take an ordinary moment and capture it from an unordinary angle. 


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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Thorn-In-My-Side-Brain #GoAway

Often I have Normal-Brain with normal thoughts enjoying a normal day. But then there’s Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain. She shows up unannounced, uninvited and always overstays her welcome. Let me tell you how Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain thinks:

Enter any difficult situation with my child and Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain reminds me of how ill-equipped I am at parenting. She confirms my child will never come home for Christmas in adulthood. He’s ruined. Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain also points out all the other moms and their kids who have it together better than us. I only need to open Instagram to see the pictures.

She reminds me of commitments but only after it’s too late. (As I’m dropping my 11-year-old son off at school, “Why is your crossing guard partner out this morning? Oh wait, you’re suppose to be out there too!”) Then berates me for forgetting and reminds me how simple it is to actually use the calendar on my phone.

She nudges me to fly off the handle – and so I do – then instantly cues guilt. Awesome.

Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain reminds me I’m not “in the know.” My friend whose kid is brilliant in chess? She’s got it going on. Because, the future’s in chess. My kids won’t be smart because I’m not signing them up for the right activities. Checkmate. I lost.  

Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain reminds me I can’t do everything, but in a mean way. I’m at a friend’s home who’s gifted at maintaining a spotless space. Always. And she HAS kids. And she works full time. I won’t feel jealous…I won’t feel jealous…then here it comes…jealousy.

Or I put on jeans that fit a year ago and I can’t button them. Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain is unkind.  She urges me to give up my lattes. (Slow motion: No!) She criticizes me for not exercising more and eating better. Then, ten minutes later she tells me it’s okay to steal Halloween candy from my kids’ bags. (Pick a lane, woman.)

Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain comes for everyone; life is tricky and weird and does that to us. But, I don’t know that all hope is lost.

Maybe – just maybe – we can make Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain work FOR US instead of AGAINST US. 

When thoughts dish out negative, we can remind ourselves there’s another voice waiting to speak positive. We can see it as an invitation – a guilt-free, I-clearly-need-a-moment-for-me-because-of-all-this-negativity invitation – to create space to hear the encouraging voice. We let God nudge our heart: My dear child, let’s spend time together. Let’s visit what’s bothering you. Let me remind you how big and sovereign, yet intimately intentional I am in your life. Know how loved, loved, loved you are. I created you with purpose; your unique contributions to this world are irreplaceable. I will use them to share my hope. Can I remind you I’m always here, walking before you, behind you and beside you?

And then WITHOUT GUILT, we can accept this invitation. We can pause hectic life and do something soul-filling, reconnecting us to our Creator. Whatever that looks like to you. For me, lately, it’s been making space daily to read scripture, think, pray and write. Sometimes it’s a reflective walk (bonus if it’s through pretty nature), leisurely reading Christian authors, or hanging out with uplifting, faith-filled friends. Then in these refueling moments, I do my best to be fully present and let God’s truths sink in. As we focus on our Creator, we refocus on the important things – which is not my pants size or punctuality. (The lattes, on the other hand…)

Thorn-in-my-Side-Brain doesn’t like this reflective practice. It takes up space in my mind she’d rather occupy.

But she’s going to have to deal, because God’s voice in my life draws out my happiness.  And happiness is always invited.  


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