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I feel like a different person. Maybe it’s the (almost) summer weather. Maybe it’s the new house. Maybe it’s God working on me. Maybe it’s all of the above. But suddenly, my kids are taking naps at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, and bedtimes, naturally, have been pushed back until 9:30 or (gasp!!!!) 10 and I don’t. care. In fact, I’m thrilled. All of a sudden, I’m realizing that I’ve been trying to fit my kids into my own ideal schedule for the day, and we were always *fighting* to make that schedule actually happen.


“C’mon, kids! Chop, chop! Time for lunch! Time for naps. And I don’t care that you just woke up from a nap 3 hours ago, it’s 8:00 and it’s time for bed! Spit spot!”


Yep. That was me. And I’m not really sure why. And yes, they’re up later in the evenings now, but they’re actually going to sleep when they’re tucked into bed and I’m not all stressed out that they’re still fidgeting in their beds while the hubby and I are trying to catch our latest flick on Netflix. And instead, they’re *sleeping* in in the mornings. I’m actually getting a shower in the mornings, and working in the yard and even sometimes getting a “quiet” time in before the stairs ever even creak with little, sleeper-pajama’d feet. In the evenings, when I would have normally been “forcing” her to sleep, Firefly now rides her new bike as her buzzing namesakes blink around her.


Suddenly, I feel much more in tune with what we need and not with what I thought I wanted us to need. And yes, we’re still busy and there are still chores and obligations and responsibilities. But in the midst, I feel my heart yearning and I go with it. I play in the dirt and clean out flowerbeds and actually revel in earthworms and bumblebees. I need a really deep, afternoon breath and I stop in front of my picture windows and just stand in the stillness. A butterfly flits by and sips. The majestic, spotted hawk glides on the wind, wings beating strong through the trees. And all of a sudden, I realize that I’m drinking small sips of satisfaction in my God again.

The New Horizon

Part of me wants to discard 2011 like a dirty, ol’ rag. It was a let’s-get-down-and-get-dirty kind of year for us. The kind of year where you evaluate every aspect of your life and make some difficult decisions to, hopefully, make things better. The kind of year where your heart gets tangled in a million different emotions and leaves life feeling like one, big, tangled web that somehow swirled and weaved your last bit of girlhood naiveté into a mortal cocoon. The kind of year where friends’ homes and neighborhoods are ripped to shreds by tornadoes and you read stories about riots all over the world, and those earthquakes and tsunamis that hit  so hard and you’re left trying to explain crazy things like that to your wide-eyed, inquisitive four-year-old daughter. The kind of year where your heart brims in fullness, readying to welcome your third child, only for that baby to be taken away from you. The kind of year where your life’s lens zooms in and out as you lie on a stretcher wondering if you’re going to be able to hug your living babies in the morning as that pregnancy loss gushes from your body.


It has been a hard year.


And yet.


Ironically, it has been one of the best.


It’s been the year that my husband and I learned to (mostly) stop dancing that passive-aggressive tango we’ve done all these married years and begun to truly learn one another’s steps. It’s been the year where we’ve truly listened to one another’s dreams and desires and haven’t been afraid to share them. The year that we weren’t afraid to let go of certain things in our lives that we’d held onto for so. long. simply because they felt comfortable and safe. The year that my humanity was made crystal clear. The year where the outpouring of love and support from friends was humbly overwhelming and wonderfully healing.

It is truly stupefying how God places things in your hands which sometimes feel like squirming snakes or abrasive stones, but in opening your hands, you quickly realize that they are, in reality, loaves of bread and nourishing fish.


So I know that when I trust the Good Father, I can trust that a year like 2011 is a gift. Whether our 2011’s were good or bad, or just plain boring, it is a full, written chapter in each of our life’s stories and not something to wipe clean off the slate, or something to desperately try to erase from our memories. Let’s find the gifts. Let’s find all the fish and the bread of 2011 and learn to be thankful for them in our new 2012. And even better, maybe we can learn from all those seemingly snarly snakes and rough stones and help others with their own confusingly full hands.


Today, as my eyes linger over the ornaments and stockings and twinkling lights, just for one more day,  my heart lingers over days and moments that made up my own 2011. And I am finding that those gifts walk with me into the fresh horizon of 2012.


Let’s have a happy, bright and hopeful New Year, everyone.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. ~Plato

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Hope and Stay

Sometimes discontent and discouragement come barging in through all your long-closed (or so you thought), barricaded doors and they tear you down and they beat you up and your bruises affect the way you love. And you wonder how these not-so-very-nice guests ever came in at all til you realize that you secretly invited them in. And of course, they eagerly and voraciously took you up on your whispered invitation.


Light the candles, wipe the counters, fill up every corner of your house with vicarious worship via Pandora. Some days you have to fight the discontent, the ugly, ungrateful, peering-over-the-fence heart with every dusty weapon you can possibly pull out from your arsenal. It doesn’t have to be like this.

It can’t go on like this. It has to stop.


Just to be still in all He’s given. In all He’s giving. In all this right-here, around-me beauty.

#729 matches aflame

#730 flickering light, reflecting in the dirty panes

#731 mulled cider, pumpkin spice

#732 golden leaf, fluttering in the cold wind, clinging to the life it knows

#733 letting go

#734 The solid Rock on which I can stand

#735 my neediness and how He can fill it, if I just wait and seek

#736 two little girls pretend-fighting over whose mama I am

#737 clean tubs

#738 sweet, though unnecessary, thank-you notes

#739 truth-filled lyrics

#740 not getting everything I want, when I want it

#741 waiting for his leading

#742 that He knows how to live the in-between

#743 new words

#744 honesty and forgiveness

#745 a reflection, realizing what I’ve been

#746 a Helper, to restore

#747 surrounded family

#748 learning to truly love

#749 that I have One I can follow


Apparently, one of our pastors has been known to say something to the effect of,

“True brokenness is when you no longer have any possible plan in your head of how God could possibly work out a particular circumstance.”


I think that the Lord has *finally* taken me there over the course of the last couple weeks. You see, for the last 8 months or so, I have been striving and wrestling to work out my own desires (the ironic thing is, I don’t even really know what those true desires are). Not only that, but I’ve been rebelling at the mere thought that His plan could possibly be the one thing that I didn’t think I wanted.


It’s taken a full 8 months, and maybe really longer than that, but I think I am finally at peace for whatever might be around the bends in our road.


I have taken His silence – His seeming lack of direction – as a hard case of discipline. It’s even made me wonder if I’m truly following Jesus.


Short story:

My striving – even at the thought – against certain possibilities in our lives, sent me into a frantic searching. A spiraling depression. Doubts.

But He sends truth-filled words and He helps me develop an eye for Him in my life. He allows me to groan through nights of insomnia.  Until, I just can’t do it anymore. Like a young toddler, my temper-tantrums and wrestling against the waiting . . . the possibilities . . . did nothing but lead me into sheer exhaustion. He held me through my fighting, lovingly waiting for me to surrender.

I’m done striving.

I’m letting go.

I’m done trying to figure out what He wants.

I don’t even know what I want.

But, of course, it’s not about what I want, now, is it?

It’s all about bringing glory to Him.

In the waiting.

The not knowing.

The surrendering.

I know nothing better

than to

rest peacefully in His arms.

Where He leads, I will follow.

By grace.


Tucked in the Cleft

I have hinted in previous posts about our family’s current state of limbo. I am not trying to be vague, but rather, quiet, as we seek the Lord for our lives, in basically, every aspect of our lives. We sense Him leading, calling us out of something, to something, but we don’t know where, or how, or what.


I’m sure you’ve been there too? Personally, I feel a bit like we’re treading water in the middle of a huge lake and can’t see what direction to swim because of the dense, dark fog. For all we know, we could be right next to the shoreline and not even know it. It feels like He is purposefully keeping us in the middle of the lake. Right now? He’s apparently calling us to wait. And I know He can be trusted and that He has a plan, but honestly, I’m ready for the fog to lift, or a confirmed direction to begin some progressive strokes.


I needed to hear these words again today, which I heard here at (in)courage (by Ann Voskamp):


Is that it? When it gets dark, it’s only because God has tucked me in the cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand? In the pitch, I feel like I’m falling, sense the bridge giving way, God long absent…. But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is passing by…. Dark is the holiest ground, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will. Though it is black and we can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake. Then He will remove His hand. Then we will look.

Then we look back and see His back.



Oh, I needed these words today. Because isn’t this just what I asked of Him? That He would not send us somewhere that He has not already gone before?


May we be in His shadow.

Like Moses,

I want to see His back.


I woke up in a funk. I woke up, simply put, feeling like a loser. It took everything within me and several prayers before I could even flip back the covers.


Why are there certain days that we just . . . open our eyes and there we are? We’re not even out of the bed and we’ve somehow already placed our feet on the wrong side of it.


I’m okay, no need to comment to try to make me feel better. In my pit of despair (as my good ol’ friend, Anne of Green Gables would likely lament) and grumbling and constant scrambling to be better, I can almost feel Him reach down to me, place His Beautiful finger to my lips and say,


“Shhhh . . . Be still. Know me. I am God.”


Why is he mindful of me? Of us? How little I love Him.

And yet. I love Him so much.


What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8:4



Eyes Shining

Another snow day here in the southern state of Georgia. The second of its kind in two weeks! Being a girl with a mix of Floridian, Georgian and Tennessean blood, I am thoroughly enjoying all of the breathtaking amounts of snow we’ve been getting here lately!


Our small corner of the world is overlayed with a veil of white, and all the week’s worth of unearthed  what-ifs – past, present and future – are hushed.


Like the comfort of a warm blanket and a cozy fire on a day splashed all white, the knowledge that His goodness covers all, brings peace to the past, and quiet-calm for the future.


No more words.


Like a little girl – hands clasped, eyes shining – I can only take in the beauty of all He has done and all He is making us….


Just thanks:

#132 hot water on sore muscles

#133 the grace-filled end of babyhood

#134 coupon-savings . . . however small

#135 dinner candles lit for hot dogs and mac n’ cheese =D

#136 little, baby-friends

#137 words of encouragement via a text

#138 the daily gathering of a budding artist’s watercolors and crayon drawings

#139 a call to nestle

#140 watching grown brothers enjoy one another’s company

#141 a spontaneous date and a babysitter’s willingness at the last-minute

#142 that I get to be his wife

#143 A stone church echoing, There is a Fountain Filled with Blood

#144 friends – back together after a holiday hiatus

#145 that I see him coming alive

#146 hot cocoa together

#147 9 inches of  snowflake upon snowflake!

Joining the Gratitude Community….


He calls me and beckons me to come.


Come nestle under His wings.


For He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4a


Like a young toddler wrestles sleep, I struggle against His rest.


My husband would rather I let the dishes crust, let the laundry wrinkle, and let the crumbs sit awhile, if it would simply mean that I would have more of me to give him. And I wonder if in all my meager attempts to live for Jesus – to seek Him and find Him and do for Him – if He would rather that I simply rest in Him.



I wonder if in all my supposed doing for Him, if I’m actually running from Him.


How do you simply BE with Him in the midst of all the tedium and glory of every day life? I certainly don’t know, but I long to find out.


Maybe the rest is found in the stopping the perpetual-raising-two-kids-craziness . . . just to sing.


Maybe it’s in the continual everyday reminders of what is truly important….


Because it’s really easy for this heart of mine to get so caught up in the commotion of this life. The attempts to raise two kids, the striving to be a loving wife, the hoping and dreaming and wrestling the what-ifs.


I just want to rest in Him. I just want to see His fingerprints on my life. I just want to tangibly feel His loving arms around me.


Because He is our Beloved.


Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art;

I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.

Thou has bid me gaze upon thee,

as thy beauty fills my soul,

for by thy transforming power, thou hast made me whole.


O how great thy lovingkindness, vaster, broader than the sea!

O how marvelous thy goodness lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved, know what wealth of grace is thine,

know thy certainty of promise and have made it mine.


Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus, I behold thee as thou art,

and thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart;

satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its ev’ry need,

compasseth me round with blessings:

thine is love indeed.


Ever lift thy face upon me as I work and wait for thee;

resting ‘neath they smile, Lord Jesus earth’s dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face,

keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace.


Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art;

I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.

~Jean Sophia Pigott

In Grateful Chorus Raise We

He brings up the subject, the one that has me on pins and needles with hope and expectation, and all I hear is his saying, “No.” Tears burst and heart aches, desires feel impeded.


More waiting. More stamina for the waiting necessitated. I am weary with the waiting.


Then the window of his soul opens and thoughts and conviction tumble out and things I used to pray for . . . things I had given up on . . . make themselves known.


And I didn’t know it until he voiced it, but I had lost hope for this. But when least expected, a coursing hope sweeps away the pining tears and my weariness turns to joy.


They thought Jesus was coming to rescue them from the tyranny of the Romans. He rescued them from something much greater, much more sinister.


I thought He was readying to rescue me from my waiting. He stirs and chains much more strangling are beginning to loose. He rescues us from our inky-black apathy. The Star is brightly shining and He leads us to Himself, the Great Rescuer.



Hearts, be still

“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”


It stood in the very front of the store. Just resting. Hurried shoppers all raced by, hardly giving it a glance, and I did too. My girls and I, we trekked up and down the aisles full of glitter, artificial evergreen and “50% off “sale signs. I paid for our things, bundled the girls’ coats, and walked through the automatic doors to head out to the car. And then I stopped. There was a creche, nearly as big as life.


“Come, look!” I called to my oldest as she was running toward the last set of doors before the parking lot. We had almost missed it.


For maybe all of thirty seconds, we stood still and thirstily took in the scene before us. The wise men, oxen, and Mary kneeling over the Manger-boy . . . they were all there. It took my breath away. Oh, let me remain here.


Dear sisters, in the midst of a North American Christmas season, in the hustle and bustle of shopping and baking and partying, may we be like Mary in all the flurry of Jesus’ birth. In the midst of the hurrying shepherds, the rejoicing angels and resplendent wise men, she pondered. Let our hearts be as still.