Thursday, July 19, 2012

Toddling & Tears

Baby girl is walking.

It started a few weeks ago with a few free bird steps. She would attempt a few times a day. A few steps and a stumble-trip. 

A week later she got brave enough to take 8 baby steps into Sam's arms stretched wide.

Then, on her 11 mo bday, I noticed as I was finishing up after dinner that her attempts were constant. Walk 5 steps. Fall down. Get back up and walk 3 more, stumble-trip. I just watched and observed, and reflected on my baby turning toddler.

And I cried.

Toddler-baby. I have to use those words together to keep from tearing up. It's a transition in my mind. What is it about motherhood that has you cry for joy and sadness at the same time?

I'm so sentimental.

And she. She's so adventurous:)

Monday, June 25, 2012

soul whisperer

my savior is speaking life into me. here are some of the resounding themes born out of a place where desperation and hope meet. me being the desperate one. him being the hope.

what if you forsake your ways
your safety, comforts
in habit and thought?
what if you jump in the water headfirst,
only to be resurrected anew?
what if you go into that dark cacoon 
feel trapped, wrecked
only to emerge a beautiful butterfly,
free and fully alive?


 let your fear fall to the ground.
give in.
let go. 
die to the old.
embrace the new.

His whispers are changing me..
"Oh, you're bringing me to life.
I'm finding who I am in you, who I am in you.
Oh, you're changing me inside, 
I'm finding who i am in You." -Addison Road 

Grace Laced Mondays

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Crazy Girl {An Olive Update!}

When my foot gets a wet sensation, I look down and realize it's my almost 10 mo old, licking it or biting at my toe. That girl, she's a feisty one, but sweet as a sugar snap pea at the very same time! Her little big personality has been emerging more and more these last few weeks. She kisses us on the mouth at times and makes kissy sounds via fishy faces other times..all depending on her mood. She knows what she wants and goes after it. And when you try to stop her, she doesn't cry or feel wounded, she doesn't really even seem bothered, she just tries harder! Whether it's pulling the blinds or pulling the Culligan nozzle till she's drenched in filtered h20, she eyes it, and sets her sights on it until her full on hands and knees crawl arrives her at her destination. Other times she comes upon trouble as she's cruising the room, holding on with barely one hand to the couch or other piece of furniture. She babbles in full sentences. Says mama, dada, nigh-nigh (night) and has started imitating our every face and syllable like a little echo. When she gets sleepy she starts sucking her pointer finger backwards and playing with her forming curls. Then she finds me wherever I am (this is new) and crawls up on me or holds onto my leg until I respond and finally, offers me her wet finger. How kind of her to share:-) She twirls my hair  yanks it when nursing, just out of curiosity, and repeatedly pushes her toes against the rocking chair till she's all tuckered out.

 This girl stops at nothing, sticking dog food, pebbles, and wood chips in her mouth and clenching down when we try to fish them out. She does a happy little jig to every song that she hears, especially "Watermelon Juice" And as soon as she hears any tune, even my voice singing in the shower, you can guarantee she'll be raising up one chubby little hand straight to the sky.  I used to do this while holding her dancing and it just sorta stuck;-) Ducky is her new best friend, "Maxipoo" the poodle and Daddy are probably tied for second favorites. Although with ducky, it started out as a love/hate relationship. She couldn't stand to see his yellow cuteness and not hold him, but every time I would hand him off she would start by eating his face and then proceed to yell loudly at him and beat him against the bottom of the tub!

 She loves the outdoors and birdie watching, as well as any kind of thrill. Scarier the better, so Sam likes to throw her as high as he can into the air and watch the resulting lively expressions. One of the most popular one being a big "o" face where she drops her jaw as far as it'll go and tucks the top lip under to show surprise. Her bottom teeth and crinkled nose are the essence of every smile these days. And a new top tooth is poking through, but you'd never know it. Either her magic rock (amber) necklace is really aiding or she's a trooper, or maybe a little of both. We can't get enough of our girl and her chubby knees, sausage toes, and chunky thighs hanging out of bloomers. The word "pink" makes her giggle. She waves hi and bye-bye at the oddest times (rarely on command) She lets us read to her and even picks out the book. Often it's God's Noisy 123's or my childhood favorite, The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear-especially the BOOM BOOM part:)

We asked God for a sweet baby girl and he gave us a wild woman with just enough sweetness as a bonus. She's the perfect addition to our family, lighting up a room, an airplane (did I mention that she wooed half an airplane with her antics until they were all cheering during the landing?), a checkout line, even the darkest of our days. We love our crazy girl!

P.S. If you want to see how much she's changed since her first 4 months of life click here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The House You're Building

The building of a house analogy. An explanation for the leading up to, execution of, and aftermath of my vomit-of-a-confession. Honestly, confession and repentance need be a regular thing. Repentance, I'm learning, is not so much turning away from your sin as it is turning back to your loving Father. And it's a gift, not a duty?! Why have I always felt as though I need to repent...for God? In reality, I GET to repent. It it cleansing for me! I'm no longer bound to my sin in chains! I no longer have to stay miserable in my filth! He makes it so I receive freedom as he receives glory!  What a beautiful soul I serve. What is grace if not the undeserved opportunity to enter into the presence of a beautifully perfect God with all our yuck, and find that we don't have to continue in it, carry it, or be identified by it!? We are not defined by it, we have a new name according to his goodness! We are freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

My blog confession was the place of disgust that I got to as the "knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense" feeling rose up in me. But since then repentance has become something I've started to long for instead of dread. In turning back to Him there is no. shame. Just loving arms and reaffirmed identity that is NOT based on what I do/don't do, but on my infinite worth to Him. I want repentance to be regular; I will choose repent and turn back to my loving Savior again and again! but only as the Holy Spirit chips away at my pride. As he re-extends the invitation to come into the house He's building and residing in (in me), I'll have the power to see repentance as a blessing, not a curse.

Read C.S. Lewis in his explanation of this phenomenon..

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

This song goes so well with this analogy..

Beautiful house he is building, amen? In me. For Him. A place for us to reside, together.

He wants to build that house in each of our souls. Will we let him? Better is ONE DAY in Your house, than thousands elsewhere..

Grace Laced Mondays

Monday, April 16, 2012

I'm not alright

What am I doing here. I sit, second guessing myself. Knowing I desperately need to be honest here & now. But dreading the exposure of my jumbled head-space and yucky hardness of heart.

This is not a pretty, feel-good post. But I think it can be a beautiful one. Not because life is as wonderful as a storybook and I'm excelling & thriving. Ha! In fact the Growth Angel looks like it has passed me by and moved on to my worthier blogging friends. But in truth, that's not how our God works. Not one of us is deserving of the beautiful work He does in us! Perhaps that is evidenced in the times of my life that I've been the most needy, lost & in rebellion, all but given up. And my good Father has swooped down and turned that indifference to brokenness, and then traded my brokenness for His beauty, His forgiveness, His hope. And spoken to me oh so tenderly.

Yes, sometimes growth looks like recognition. Of just how broken you really are. How much you can't fix yourself. How you're SO not okay, you need a Savior, a healer, a heart-changer to intervene.

I guess that's where I'm at today. Recognizing that I'm not alright. I'm really broken inside. God has seen my efforts to strive harder, control my environment, fix myself.  And in His mercy, He's showing me that it's incredibly unhealthy. It's harming me. It's harming my family and other relationships. I don't write much on my blog because I fill my head all day with the things I could be writing here until it's spinning in confusion and defeat. I internalize it all, all of life, and somehow think I can figure it out all by myself and come out on top. Pride, anyone?

He is jealous for me. My amazing husband isn't enough to fix my broken heart. My beautiful daughter brings great joy, but it only goes so deep. I love being a part of our clinic and the leadership that flows out into service in our community. But no, that's not enough to fulfill me. I can strive and strive some more. I can analyze things to death, but that will never bring rest to my soul.

There's only one who can do all of these things and more. He alone deserves my heart and all the glory from the redemptive story of my life. I must surrender, give up, let go of all I've been trying because it's. not. working, folks! I'm being called to stop managing my sin, and start repenting {turning from, running the opposite direction} of it. The pride, distrust, control, fear, panic, and anger. But that seems sooooooo hard and overwhelming right now. I'm not feeling much hope. Yet.

So, grace to me today looks like a constant, consistent, never-changing Love. The love of the Father. While I go through seasons of joy and sorrow, growing at times, stubborn as a mule in other times. Though I run from Him, and make an idol of myself. Though I feel like I'm hanging on by a thread.

He never lets me go.

And right now until forever, that's all the hope I've got.

Grace Laced Mondays

Monday, March 12, 2012

grace to see

The scene was familiar. Anxious wife pulls away from faithful husband, choosing control and manipulation instead of trust. The day is getting away. Things aren't going according to (her) plan. So it's time to take things into her own hands, she decides. She doesn't remember consciously thinking that or even know how she came to that conclusion at all.  But it's obvious in the cold, angry tone of her voice. A coverup for raging fear.  As Eve decided God was holding out on her in the garden. She decides her husband is not for her. Hubby proceeds to beckon her let. him. lead. and trust him. But she fights it determining that he doesn't love her, know her, couldn't possibly know how to lead her. She is quite unruly, after all. She knows that much about herself. He tries some more to convince her to trust. And then, he comes to his own conclusion that strikes a cord deep in her heart. One that sends her reeling back in time. He says "Didn't you marry me because you trusted me-that I would take care of you and love you to the end?" She replies "I hoped you would." To which he says, "See, that's just it. you hoped. but you never decided to actually place that trust. Not in almost 6 years of marraige. You never gave it. And there's nothing I can do to earn it. Nothing. It's like trying to buy something that's not for sale." Silence. Tears were streaming down her face as she faced the kitchen stove, pretending to busy herself. His words meant a decision was looming. One she assumed she made long ago when they said "I do". but never said yes to in her heart of hearts. Would she deem him trustworthy, as God's perfect provision for her? Grace to see. Grace to see her lack of trust and desperate need to choose it.                                                                                                
Grace Laced Mondays

Saturday, February 18, 2012

our favorite 'pick-me-up'

Mmmm, just came from the kitchen after a shot of some energizing goodness! Sam recently reminded me of this concoction for healthy living and it's also my favorite daily pick-me-up, especially after long nights of choppy sleep with our little teether:) Ready for it? Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) with honey. That's all. But don't let the vinegar part throw you off. Sam also taught me his trick for yummy consumption. It's actually quite invigorating! Squeeze some raw local honey (great for combating allergies, too!) into your mouth straight from the bottle. And while your taste buds are relishing the taste of sweet--before you swallow the honey--, strike them with a swig (teaspoon-ish) of raw, unfiltered ACV. And then swallow down together. YUM! Kind of bubbly in your mouth and throat and makes you do the tip toe dance.. just a quick, excited toe point on the hardwood kitchen floor.

This daily habit, combined with my morning green smoothie, makes for some great nourishment and literally feeds the brain so I can think more clearly. It goes like this, wake up groggy from fitful sleep, nurse, change baby and set her up with some toys for tummy time, head to the kitchen for some smoothie blending, egg making, and a little ACV/honey squirting. Go back to the living room and get some upbeat music on (cause you feel sooo good) and dance with your little girl in your arms. She giggles. You both giggle. And from there you're eager to play on Pinterest get in God's Word, to chew His promises and get instruction for the day ahead. Yes! Great way to start your morning!

Oh, and when that afternoon lull comes, take another shot, and then another around dinner if you need a boost. All good for you. Can't keep you up all night like coffee, either:)

Monday, February 6, 2012

grace in the going

Our family has news.

We're moving on from here. God is calling us elsewhere. Omaha & Family First Chiropractic to be exact. And, after careful consideration, much prayer, oodles of counsel from loved ones over the phone, skype, and dinner, and endless hours of conversation between me and Sam, we are sure of that fact. Wisdom we have asked for, and wisdom He has granted. through all of these avenues and more. His hand has been in it all. In our journey of being here. In the process of going there. And in the past three years of what has felt like constant transition.

The process of becoming.

This wasn't "the plan". You know, THEE PLAN. But when is it ever when you're following an incredibly creative and thoughtful God, whose thoughts no one can comprehend? These three years of unknown after unknown have taught us many things, one of which is this: You can't tame God. And why would we want to? He uses one thing in our life to lead us to another and then another. To perfect us and make us more like his Son. And often he eventually does put the pieces together for us to get a glimpse of his redemptive plan in it all.

It doesn't have to mean moving or changing jobs, or adding a baby to the mix necessarily. But it sure can include those kinds of things. Perhaps it's changes in relationships, or the blocks of spiritual formation that he's building upon in your life currently. Each part of the journey is vital. Not one do we regret. Not one single stop on the map. Because it's his intentional work in us, not our own failures, successes, or plan for our life apart from him, that causes our change, growth, & refinement. Regardless of what chain of events we may face along the way, the adventure and the story, {my story within His overall story} is joyous to watch unfold.

I received the following message from a fellow leader in our community today. So encouraging & quite timely, as I was feeling a mix of emotions in telling our patients and town the news. When and where He leads we must go. We get to go. And in our case we go soon.

There is a passage in His Word that states He does some things suddenly and when He moves, thing fall into place in short order and it appears that is the case in your lives.  I know my wife is going to miss Dr. Sam and his health ministry to her life but we know that Romans 8:28 is for all of us and this move is going to work out for the good of us all, regardless of what it says to people in town.
We have loved having you in our community and God knows what is best for us so our job is to pray blessing on your lives and release you three to do His will in whatever capacity He has called.  When the doors open, we go through them and trust Him for every step we make.
Thanks for touching our lives in a very positive way and we wish you well.  Great to know you may get involved in the community there in Omaha...and in that too He will guide you in every step.  Go in His Grace and Power.....that's the only way to go.

When you decide to follow Jesus you better hold on tight. People get ready. Change is good. Change is necessary if we are ever to grow. And so we go..


Grace Laced Mondays

Monday, January 23, 2012

place {emphasis} where it belongs

I'm terribly sick today. This is day 8. And along with that, my baby is sick. And before that my husband was sick. And we have a lot going on in life right now in the way of stress. How will I get everything done by it's deadline? What will so & so think if I say I'm unavailable (the dreaded reply of 'no' for a people pleaser) Needless to is tempting to give in to fear and anxiety these days. But I want to briefly share how God is encouraging me in this time.

For the third time I listened to Mark Driscoll's message titled "Jesus & Anxiety". Yeah, it was like I maybe had heard it some time loooong past {1 month ago, really}. This topic doesn't get old. Because it's message feels new to me every single time. The life-giving, hope has come, kind of new.

He bases the message on the passage in Luke12:22-34
Do Not Be Anxious
 22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,[b] yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his[c] kingdom, and these things will be added to you.    32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Pastor Mark makes so many great points about this amazing passage. He shares how everyone fears. Everyone fears something, some fear many things. It begins in the mind and can easily be an irrational fear. But as long as the person perceives it to be real, it's real to them. And then he shared something that stood out to me most. Something that led me to part of the solution to my fear issue. He talked about the importance of placing emphasis on the right thing in a passage. As an example he shared a story of a guy he ran into that's on a performance treadmill trying to earn God's love.

This man confided in Mark that he struggles with anxiety constantly. Mark proceeded to tell him that the most common command in the Bible is "fear not". And his response was "I know, and every time I read it I just hear FEAR NOT FEAR NOT FEAR NOT and it makes me more afraid." So Mark put his hand on this man's shoulder, looked him in the eye and said, "God wants me to tell you that He loves you" and he's whispering it like this "fear not, I'm your dad, i love ya, you're not alone, fear not, it's gonna be alright." And this grown man started to cry. And I realized I was already crying. Cause I felt like I was the person whose shoulder he had touched.

I have been the woman who reads that passage and hears FEAR NOT and it sends me inside myself where I determine that I can't stop fearing (on my own strength, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, yes) But God is telling me to. And if I can't stop fearing I won't ever be free. And I despair that I struggle with fear so much to begin with. And I fear that I'll never stop being ruled by fear.

But because God is a loving Father, His children start with his affection.. They don't have to earn it, they start with it. "Whoever you are, whatever you do, i love you." That's the place these words come from. {Emphasis}You can read the words "fear not" and take it as a command. FEAR NOT, little flock. Or you can read it as an invitation. Fear not, l LOVE YOU. Fear not, I'm FOR you.

Wow, placing the emphasis in the right place can make all the difference.

If you relate to this in any way, or if you too struggle with fear & anxiety, I encourage you to consider downloading the free podcast on iTunes using the search "mars hill church, mark driscoll, jesus & anxiety".

And since I know you are likely a busy bee, try doing what I did and put in on your iPod so you can listen with headphones while doing the dishes and laundry. It's worth your time to fill your mind with truth. :)

photo from

Grace Laced Mondays