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Rejoicing Always

It’s been a crazy week and I’ve been busy and not given Him much of my heart’s energy. But He is so faithful. And sometimes, I wonder if instead of worrying about how little time I’ve had for Him, if He’d rather I just rejoiced in the gifts and life He’s given me. We’ve been singing a lot of “Rejoice in the Lord Always” around here lately. My heart buoys and the girls clap and we search for Him and thank Him for our cups overflowing.


Continuing to count the ways . . . His gifts . . . His presence in our little, everyday lives….


#226 “let’s just veg” nights, cuddled on the couch

#227 holding a newborn baby . . . that wonderful, new-life smell

#228 that he would gobble up, even my over-baked lasagna.

#229 two unexpected mornings at home . . . the opportunity to exemplify flexibility

#230 little boy falling sound asleep in my arms

#231 the waiting for (I hope) a someday-coming little boy of my own

#232 the way her voice lilts when she says “Mama”

#233 the way his aftershave lingers on our skin, long after he’s kissed us each good-bye

#234 sunlight, shining through peace lily leaves

#235 little fingerprints on glass

#236 clean floors

#237 that he came with me

#238 family around the table

#239 a working vacuum cleaner

#240 watching her arabesque

#241 her little dancer’s excitement

#242 a warm, cinnamon dolce latte

#243 an ever-present second father

#244 hugging Dad

#245 Dove’s loving exuberance for others

#246 the way they both touch the ceiling by the strength of their father’s arms

#247 a full house

#248 a teenage boy and his sweet heart’s soft spot . . . the real him shining through

#249 snake-in-my-bed pranks (yes, especially this)

#250 seeking direction and that we get to do it together

#251 3 1/2 years . . . nearly every Sunday night, all gathered

#252 goodbye tears

#253 that He is in the winds of change

#254 He is more than worthy of my trust

#255 resting in His goodness



Joining others in offering gift-thanks




Finger Tracings

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much of my own desperate need for Jesus as I have this week. I. am. finished. Weary. Emotionally, paper-thin. And you know what? I’m mad at myself for feeling this way so darn easily.


Yes, the stomach virus hit our house this past week. I’m not sure that it has completely vanished yet as the hubby began feeling its effects late last night. Between the great snow storm (let me rephrase that: The Great *Southern* snow storm) the week before last, and sickness, we have been quarantined in the house for the better part of two weeks now. Everyone is feeling the effects of that too.


Yesterday, I think I cried for three-fourths of the day. That could possibly be due to some, ahem, feminine hormones, maybe? 🙂 But really, things have just piled, one on top of another until I feel like I’m under one big pile of dirty, stinky clothes and I can’t tunnel my way out. Hmmmm . . . maybe this is due to the 50 bazillion loads of laundry I’ve done in the last two days.


See? I am complainey, whiney, and just plain glum.


My parenting skills are what really have me upset with myself. Or should I say, my *lack* of parenting skills…. It is hard to balance the tightrope of grace vs. discipline for a whiney, disobeying, mouthy three-year-old when she’s been sick as a dog.


I simply have nothing left in me to give. Nothing. All that is coming out in my words and attitude is . . .


Leave me alone. Make my life easy. Don’t cross me. Don’t give me one more thing to fight over or pray for or make me smile through my teeth. I am done.


And over what? A few squabbles over who the real Mama in this house is? A few days of sickness? A couple hurt feelings? A few days of snow? A few piles of laundry?


Oh, God, it’s so easy to lose the big picture of life when you’re stuck trying to brush out life’s gritty details. But You see.


I know that You see.


And maybe that’s sometimes all we can do, but maybe it’s the best thing we can do.


Just roll ours heads back to the sky (or the ceiling, in my case) open our tense, tightly-clenched hands and say,


“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t see or feel or think clearly. I am hard-pressed with everyday grit and grime. Take my despair. Let me dance in the mud.”


Counting His graces . . . I need to see His hand tracing in the dirt:


#161 welcoming, wiser women

#162 that the sickness didn’t hit until the little one was in bed and the hubby was home – grace in the timing

#163 ginger ale

#164 he slept on the bare floor by her side . . . all night

#165 teamwork – even when I want to be the one to comfort – grace in the humbling, grace in the letting go, grace in the letting him

#166 the sanitary cycle on a well-working (given to us!) washer

#167 Netflix

#168 One Thousand Gifts – right when I’d have time to read it

#169 that sickness slows me down

#170 Pedialyte

#171 the way food tastes so good when you finally have an appetite again

#172 a patient, self-entertaining baby

#173 being humbled in my brokenness

#174 that I can ask forgiveness

#175 the forgiveness of a daughter

#176 simultaneous little-girl naps and a chance for a heart-to-heart

#177 Kleenex

#178  no need to hide

#179 Ancient Words that hold true in my humble, ordinary, everyday moments

#180 that Love washes over my self-made messes

#181 a little girl actually napping in my arms

#182 that I actually stopped to rest with her

#183 that He can move in my realization of my own insufficiency

#184 that He equips me for whatever He calls me to do or be



It is a bit humbling to write this. But it is me  . . . it is where I am today and writing anything else would leave me feeling like a hypocrite.


Because the knot is forming in the pit of my stomach again. Insecurities I’ve fought for years, resurfacing. I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’m getting past them. And then there they are again, like the Loch Ness Monster arching his head out of the lake.


And that monster feeds me lies. I fight, my head shaking back and forth, refusing to open myself to his offerings. But his lies can slip in through the skin, right to the heart.


You are not enough for your husband.

You’re only half a mother.

You can’t get your act together.

What do you think you’re doing writing in a public space?


He’s a crafty monster. You can pretty much bet that his lies will always carry a bit of truth. Why else would we be tempted to believe them?  Because he’s right.


I am not enough.


But I am.


Because He, the God of all light and truth, is the Limit-Breaker. He can defy our weakness with all the power of His strength.


It is not enough to simply ignore the lies of the Accuser. One cannot take an isolationist viewpoint with him. No. The sword of truth must be unsheathed.


One stronger than I helps me wield it.


Today, I must, simply must, be thankful for truth.


Numbering the ways I am thankful . . . He is our Victory:


#148  That he is crushed by His heel

#149 That if I am resting in Him, finding my strength in Him . . . He is enough and therefore, I am more than enough.

#150 It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. Psalm 18:32

#151 The Lord is my strength and my shield…. Ps. 28:7

#152 He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

#153 That He invites me to be strong in Him and in His mighty power. Eph. 6

#154 That He makes me stand. Eph. 6

#154 That I am God’s special possession. 1 Pet. 2:9

#155 That His mercies are new every morning.

#156 That He is making all things new.

#157 That He transforms by the renewing of the mind. Rom. 12:2

#158 That He is Light. In Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 4:5

#159 That He who began a good work, will be sure to complete it. Phil. 1:6

#160 That He can be trusted. His word, His work in me, is truth.

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….

Maybe the Way to Rewrite Your Past, is to Simply Turn the Page

2011. Twen-ty-e-lev-en. I like the way it slips off the tongue, like a smooth wine suspends in the mouth. I think I’m going to like this year. At least, I have an unexplained, insistent hope for it.


After certain little girls had eyelashes to cheek, their little chests bobbing softly in the night, the hubby and I had one of those talks that will live on in the memory. One of those talks where the gate of honesty is unlatched and its hinges rotate to wide-open. We talked of dreams, some new, some that have been buried deep, assumed to be impossible. We talked of our life story and how we wish we could go back and rewrite so many of its chapters. We talked a lot about  “what-ifs”. What if this hadn’t happened, or what if we had made this decision, or what if so-and-so hadn’t done such-and-such, or what if the timing had been just a tad different, or what if, what if, what if?


I’m not really sure what to do with the what-ifs.


I don’t think you can stash them away in hopes that they’ll be forgotten. I think they’d always lurk at your door and barge in when least invited.


I think that maybe we have to look them straight in the face. Unblinkingly. And we either have to come to grips with the fact that things happened a certain way, or we have to ask God to redeem them through us. Or maybe both?


We don’t have the power to change the past, but we do have the power to change the present and the future. And even more than that, we know One who either wrote our past to lead up to a certain future, or He allowed our past and is in the process of working it out for good. Either way, I refuse to let the what-ifs paralyze us.


And while I struggle in understanding the ideas of free will verses God-ordained-destiny and wondering how they package up -nicely and neatly – I know that I can trust Him. As C.S. Lewis said about Aslan, God is not always safe. He does not always allow things to be as I would wish them to be. But, he is good. And I believe that with all my heart.


Maybe we need to stop dwelling on the what-ifs of the past, and begin thinking about the what-ifs of the present.


What if God is calling us to do this? What if God wants us to do that? What if He’s paving the way for this?


What if????


And our eyes open wide as the what-ifs of the past give way to new roads for our future.


So, as 2011 begins, I am more thankful than ever for my life. And I don’t just mean my living and breathing and moving body and mind. I mean that I am thankful for the story He is writing and that I am a part of it. And so are you, my friend.


So are you.


Fresh thanks….

#115 no fear in honesty with him or from him

#116 awakened dreams at the beginning of a new year

#117 while viewing Tangled at the theater, at the part where Rapunzel escapes the tower for the first time, hearing Firefly  frantically and loudly say , “But her mama said ‘no’!” =D

#118 a little girl asleep in their daddy’s arms

#119 laughing with girlfriends

#120 brand new, fluffy, blue and white pillows

#121 one last hurrah

#122  falling in love with where we are

#123 bath-crayon drawings

#124 Dove’s love for bears

#125 a rock garden of Christmas lights

#126 time alone

#127 that I miss seeing the red buckets

#128 lingering, simply to cuddle

#129 fresh motivation

#130 that there is One who knows our what-ifs, past and present

#131 that He closes doors and opens windows

Heart Full

What a fun, beautiful week! The fun and Christmasing still goes on here as the hubby is off of work all week (I feel so spoiled!), so the posts may be few and far between (just in case you’re on the edge of your seat waiting for them, heh heh).


This is the first Christmas that I was not completely depressed by the time I slipped under the covers. I’ve mentioned before that I *love* the Christmas season and that I’m usually “down” after it’s all over. This year, all that has changed and I think it has a lot to do with the mindset that has finally been clicking with me and seems to be in the blogosphere as well.


Christmas is just the beginning.


This year, in the midst of all the partying and baking and shopping, I just could not get the Cross off of my mind, as evidenced in the last post. And the Lord just kept giving me glimpses of His whole Redemptive story at a time when I oftentimes get stuck in the first chapter.


I found this picture from Easter of this year:


Notice what the little one is wearing on Easter morning? Her Christmas pajamas. Not planned. I just noticed it a few days ago when I was looking through the year’s pictures.


And then my sister made hard-boiled eggs for Christmas Eve brunch:


And simple things like that.


So now, I feel like the season has just begun! He has come! He is with us! I am anticipating His work in me . . . in you.


So, I am just sitting here, bursting at the seams in gratefulness:


#82 little sister hugs

#83 thoughtful birthday wishes before I’d even pulled back the covers

#84 a new piano book – music to feed the soul

#85 hydrangeas in December

#86 a friend who knows me so well

#87 a delicious Italian dinner, celebrating with My Man

#88 unexpected drop-ins from friends!

#89 a belated card

#90 a new, healthy baby girl on the street

#91 the Christmas errands, FINISHED!

#92 the hubby, home for the holidays

#93 the weaving of the Resurrection in the Birth

#94 a heart and life transformed through the years – pure joy before my eyes!

#95 a basket of bread to give away in the moonlight

#96 that sextupling instead of tripling the batch by mistake was actually His provision

#97 grown men reading the Jesus Storybook Bible around the table

#98 a confidence, not my own

#99 matching Christmas Eve pajamas

#100 family togetherness

#101 six to seven inches of snow on Christmas morning!

#102 the best Christmas gift ever:

#103 finding each other in the chaos

#104 a snow plow to rescue us!

#105 being with my brothers and sisters despite the snow

#106 cell-phone lights, waving in the night

#107 making it home safely

#108 a quiet, lazy Sunday morning

#109 arms full of little girls

#110 answered prayer

#111 blossoming sister-love

#112 building my first snowman on Christmas Day

#113 memories captured

#114 He came, He will not leave, and He is coming again

From the Realms of Glory

Making last-minute menu, grocery, and to-do lists and checking them twice. It is almost here!


And thanking Him, that He came to do away with any checklists that could ever earn His love or favor.


For His Law is Love.


Dear friends, may your Christmas be filled with the Spirit of our Rescuer, who leaving Glory, came down to the musty smell of hay and bleating sheep, to reclaim us for His own.


Our Emmanuel.


He came.


And He never leaves.


“And I will never again turn my back on them, for I will pour out my Spirit upon them,” says the Sovereign LORD. Ezekiel 39:29


Let us rejoice – louder than the angels!!!!