Wednesday, May 16, 2012

we're moving...

... with thankful hearts... is moving!  

Much like real life, this is a process.  Imagine boxes partially unpacked, things not yet moved, and finding forgotten items under the recliner.  I'm in that process... only virtually.  No boxes clutter my living room but I'm still partially unpacking, still moving things and still finding forgotten items buried.  

I'm moving over to wordpress... and I hope you'll come with me.  When all is said and done, all of this blog will reside there.  As well as new posts, reviews, thoughts and pictures.  This blog here will become a stagnant pond out in the wide expanse of cyberspace with no new water moving through and nothing going on.

Instead of titling this "I'm moving," I chose to say "we" because I hope you'll come too!  It's kinda like bringing your best friends with you to when you move to your new neighborhood. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

when you know you are loved...

I often forget.  I get caught up... caught up in the the things of this world that don't matter and I forget those that do.  I get wrapped up in the worries of life... trying desperately to please people and I forget those who are already pleased.  I find myself struggling... attempting to make sense of the pain and disappointment of this journey and forgetting the joy that sits before me.

Sometimes I need to be reminded.  I need the reminder that I am loved... I am cherished... I am adored... by four.  And, if there were only four, that would be enough.  However, I am blessed much more than that.

I'm learning... learning to take the gifts set before me.  To take a day of rest... to park the taxi in the garage and take up a book instead.  I'm learning to set my book aside... to pick up The Boxcar Children instead.  I'm learning to rest... to take myself to bed early, if need be, so that I can be a better wife, mother, and friend.

I'm learning... anew... that I am loved by those who matter most.

joining in with the gratitude community again this week... counting the gifts that grace my days with a heart of gratitude...

for these things and many more, I am grateful...

... for Sabbath rest
... for a garage
... for finding incredible books to read at my favorite library

... for a new mug
... and Guatemalan coffee in it
.... with creme brulee creamer

... for the not so little one who still wants me to read Boxcar Children books to her
... for back rubs from smallish hands
... for giggles

... for sibling love
... for the calm of her daddy
... for protection
... for his hand and wisdom to put her back together again

... for a day as a family
... for the joy of being together
... knowing my family wants to be with me

... for the peace of knowing a mother is celebrating in heaven
... for prayer for her family
... for a celebration of her life yesterday

... for a God who always sees
... and always knows
... and never fails to love completely

what gifts has He bestowed on you this week?
join us in counting 1000 gifts and beyond!

Friday, May 11, 2012

this mom's identity...

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind 
and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. 
Just five minutes. 
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
Your words. 
This shared feast.

Those are Lisa Jo's words... joining with her and her writing community at Gypsy Mama for five minute Friday.   
Today's topic: identity
I wrote of this yesterday... this sense of finding my identity now that my children need me less and less.  A decade and a half of my life spent as Mama, Mommy, Mom.  A decade spent educating at home... gathering around great books, exploring together through field trips, and living life together.  I would do it all again.. over and over and over.
I wouldn't have spent this time in my life any other way.  I'm now wondering though, what do I do next?  In investing that much of my life, I also invested my identity.  I laugh because I meet people in my area now who say to me, "oh, you're that homeschool mom." To my children's friends, I am "Eric's mom" or "Emily's mom" or "Ellen's mom."  Perhaps to the neighborhood dogs, I am even "Ebony's mom."
I knew parenting wasn't for the faint of heart before I jumped in.  I did not know, though, that I would willingly invest myself to my very core into the lives of these 3 Es.  I didn't know that I would want to give up my individual identity in order to help them form theirs.  I didn't know they would become so much of who I am.
Even in the midst of a new school this year... a broken arm and a 3 hour surgery... a trip to another country... writing a novel... and another year of homeschooling my youngest, I've spent this year re-evaluating.  
Who am I?  What will I do next?  What is my purpose?  My worth?  My identity?
I don't have all the answers yet... and I may never.  However, I do know the One who knows.  And... I know that my true identity belongs in Him.  
I also know that my children will always need me.  
They have their own identities now... I don't need to give them mine.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

YES, Ma'am... you are amazing!

Do you know that you are amazing?

Yes... YOU!
and YOU...
and me...

we are all amazing!

I don't know about you, but I'm a middle-aged mom.  I've invested fifteen years into my offspring, eighteen years into my teammate.  I've done more loads of laundry than the sum total of the population of the state of Indiana... and I've probably done more dishes than that.   I've homeschooled for a decade and I changed diapers for almost that many years.  And, I've fallen into bed exhausted night after night wondering if I managed to accomplish anything in my day.

For all this time, mothering is how I've defined myself.  It's where I found my spot in this world and it fulfilled a deep need in me that I didn't even know existed.

What do I do now?

What do you do when your family needs you less and less?  
What do you do when you're no longer sure of your place because your place is fading?  What do you do when you find yourself a middle-aged mom 
whose children need her less and less?

Instead of putting myself out to pasture, I want to encourage you... and you... and me.  Though we may be middle-aged mothers with increasingly independent children, we are still amazing women.  We have been created in the image of the Creator with specific gifts and abilities personally designed for each of us.

Take a moment this weekend as your family celebrates you (and if they don't celebrate you, call me and I will!).  Look at what you've done!  You are an expert in managing, multi-tasking, event planning, transporting, training, educating, task completing, and the list goes on and on.  You had "real-life" training... you excelled... you have much to offer... you are the expert!

Join me this weekend in celebrating our accomplishments as Middle-Aged Amazing Moms (MA'AM)... YES, Ma'am... you are amazing!

I'd love a comment hearing of 
what makes you amazing...

joining with my sister
and the community at 
imperfect prose

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

don't lose heart...

I'm quick to give up... to give in... to lose heart.  
And... I'm not alone.

So many of us struggle to get out of bed in the morning.  We fight to stay in the fight when we'd rather walk away.  We argue with God... making demands that are not ours to dictate.  We become disillusioned and we lose heart.

Life is pain.  I know this... why am I so quick to forget?  Why does giving up seem easier than going on?  

I don't know for anyone else... but, I do know for me.  I give up, give in, and lose heart when I take my eyes off the goal.  Much like Peter walking on the water to Jesus, it's when I start looking at the storm around me rather than gazing at Jesus that I begin to sink.  Of course, then I begin to look at the fact that I'm sinking, and go further under...  


I know this because I do this... often.  And, equally as often, a nail-scarred hand reaches out and pulls me up and sets my feet on solid ground.  He does this simply because He loves me. He calls me His child and He promises He has a plan for my future... one of good and of hope.  

I often forget... He never fails.  
I am quick to sink... He is quicker to rescue. 
look at the storm, the waves, the water, 
anywhere but at Him... His gaze never waivers.

This week, I threw in the towel on this God-sized dream I have.  I told Him I don't have what it takes... I forgot that He does, though.  The very next day, He sent me a book to review, a community to join, and wisdom and creativity from some of the best in the business. 

I will post a review soon.  I have to say tonight, though, that Michael Hyatt's newest release, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, is speaking volumes to this heart that almost gave up.... and, it came the morning after I gave up.  My Redeemer redeemed.  He felt my tears and heard my heart's cry and reached out with what I needed for the moment.

If you've almost lost heart tonight, don't.  Please don't.  I promise His hand is waiting for you to take it.  

...take it from someone who loses heart often.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

craving bread...

I've been craving bread lately...

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. 
Whoever comes to me will never go hungry"
John 6:35 (NIV)

 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; 
yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Luke 22:42 (NIV)

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

Jesus said to them, 
“Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you 
the bread from heaven, 
but it is my Father who gives you the true bread
 from heaven. 
For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven 
and gives life to the world.”
John 6:32-33 (NIV)

 The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, 
took bread, and when he had given thanks, 
he broke it and said,“This is my body, which is for you; 
do this in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (NIV)

Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb
Psalm 19:9-10 (NKJV)

Is there any greater thanks
than to thank Him for what He has done?

Is there any greater way
than to give thanks?

eucharist = eucharisteo 

giving thanks again today
even when it's hard to make sense of life

Sweeter than Honeycomb Unleavened Bread Recipe:
3/4 c. scaled milk
1 egg
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. butter, melted
2 1/2 c. flour
mix together milk, egg, honey, and butter.  Stir in flour until well mixed.  Knead on floured board or counter until smooth.  Cut in half.  Roll each half out and cut into desired shapes/pieces.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 8-10 min at 375 or until lightly browned.

Monday, May 07, 2012

when life disappoints...

What do you do when life serves you a great big dose of disappointment?  When you realize that these trips around the sun... they're really meaningless, and you can't find hope or joy or peace.  What do you do when you feel as if you are barely hanging on and you can hardly find the gifts in the day?

hold on

Hold on to truth and let go of the lies you've believed for so long go.  

Somewhere in these 43 trips around the sun, I've bought the lie that health, wealth, and happiness equal God's blessing.  Which means I've also believed the flip-side... that when you don't have health, wealth, or happiness you are not blessed.  Lies from my enemy.  Lies that I have believed for so long.

I didn't think I believed those lies.  I thought I knew.  I was sure that my heart knew all the right answers... I guess I just didn't have the test yet.

Yesterday, I felt my heart ache, my stomach churn, my mind buzz... and my eyes leak.  I stood around the campfire yesterday as my man held me and let me question the meaning of life and the goodness of God in the land of the living.  He said little and listened much.

And, in the end, I came around... around to the fact that when life dishes me a great big dose of disappointment, I counter it by counting.  Some days it's easy to count, to see the gifts all around... yesterday, I struggled to count but in the struggle to find even ten things for which I was thankful, I felt my heart realign with His and I recognized the lies for what they were.   

and, I held on


Feeling gloomy on a gloomy Monday morning but still joining with the gratitude community at Ann's... where we all come together to count the gifts of grace from the Giver of grace.

Today I am grateful for...

... the fact that I was blessed to know Peggy
... and how she encouraged those around her
... for how she came alongside this newbie homeschooler and walked with me
... for the fact that she is with Jesus today

... for the arms that wrapped around me yesterday
... for the comfort of silence grown over 18 years
... for seasoned love

... for my 3 Es who convinced me to have friends over for a cookout last night
... for renewed friendships
... for wisdom shared in the firelight

... for the blessings that do indeed abound
... for the fact that we have food in abundance
... even Guatemalan coffee!

... for the fact that simple personal accounting mistakes that result in "insufficient funds" are easily fixed and not the end of the world

... for an incredible day of worship yesterday
... for tears that flowed freely at church
... for a God that came and met the rag-tag group that meets in a gymnasium and sits on simple folding chairs

... for watching my girl take leadership in worship yesterday
... for the answered prayer that my children would love Jesus
... and the answered prayer that we would find a church that is their home too
... for knowing we all have a place in our church family

... for a God who blesses more than I can count
... and lets me ask the hard questions
... and comforts me in the asking
... and then reveals the answers

Friday, May 04, 2012

velveteen real... 5 minute Friday

It's Friday... well, just barely... but Friday, nonetheless... thus, it is 5 minute Friday time!!

It's that time, where, to quote Lisa Jo, aka the gypsy mama, we write...

On Fridays over here a group of people who love to go all out buck wild for the fun of the written word gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Today's topic... real...


What is real?  It's a question a soft and smooth bunny once asked.  He asked the old and worn and well played with horse this question.  Perhaps the rabbit was simply making conversation... or, perhaps, he was seeking.  Seeking something that seemed unattainable.

Real.  I want it.  I seek it.  It often alludes me.  

I think I want it.  I think I want to be real... to show the real me... until I look in a mirror.  What looks back is not what I want to be seen.  Just as when I reveal the "real" me, what comes out is not what I want others to see.

Being real is a great catch phrase.  It's a great excuse.   It's not for the faint of heart.  For being real requires courage... being authentic requires strength.  Revealing the "real" me requires me to strip of the pride, self-righteousness, and arrogance that I clothe myself in to hide the naked truth... I am a mess.

What is real?  For me... for such a time as this... real is the opposite of having it all together and acting as such.  

It's much easier to pretend than to be real.  Perhaps someone should have told the Velveteen Rabbit that all those years ago.  

...but, then again, the old horse might have been on to something when he told the little bunny that though being real hurt, it was worth it because when you are real, you are loved.


Thursday, May 03, 2012

anything... a review

What would happen if I surrendered it ALL?

What would happen if I would pray, "God, I will do anything.  Anything."

Jennie Allen and her husband, Zac, did just that a few years ago.  Tired of empty pursuits, they offered all that they had... their very lives... to God.  In a simple prayer of "God we will do anything. Anything" their life, as they knew it, radically changed.

Anything chronicles Zac and Jennie's journey of reckless abandon and heart-wrenching surrender of their earthly lives, through Jennie's lens.  Deep and raw are Jennie's words as she shares her heart's struggle to live out the prayer that she prayed.  She neither sugar-coats her struggles nor does she take herself too seriously as she allows her reader to see into her struggles to discover the joy that she uncovered in her quest for anything.

Praying the prayer of anything changed Jennie's perspective on everything.  No longer content to coast through life, God brought her to the place of recklessly living for Him... daily surrendering to His desires, His will, His plan for her life.  

In Jennie's words...

All my life I thought I had God's stamp of approval because my life wasn't going badly.  Now I was faced with the fear that it might actually be the opposite.  What if my life was going so beautifully because I wasn't chasing after God?

Even though the thousand problems in my soul had shifted toward one goal and one hope and I felt free, I had one new problem:  life was getting hard, the pace was picking up, and I felt reluctant. (Anything, pg 108)

Last fall, I reviewed Jennie's first Bible study, Stuck, through my affiliation with BookSneeze.  While I enjoyed that study, and have since suggested to several others, Stuck doesn't even come close to Anything... Anything is just that good.

Jennie Allen's words, her struggle, her desire for more resonate deep within me.  I understand her discontentment with the mundane... I can relate to her questions of the purpose of her life... I know the feeling of craving more.  I've been there.  I am there.  

Do I have the courage to pray "God I will do anything. Anything?"  

I don't know yet...

Anything is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, ChristianBook Distributors and other major retailers.  
disclaimer... I was sent a complimentary copy of Anything through Shelton Interactive for my honest review of this book.  I received no other compensation.

my happy place... Crazy Day Gourmet

two hours this afternoon
and no children...

I run to my happy place...

especially on a hot May day

for some amazing organic white peony iced tea
(although I really wanted Iron Goddess of Mercy iced tea)

This is my new favorite place!!

opened last year
serving ready made meals
to pick up and take home 
bringing families back together around their tables

last week
I met my friend, Stephanie 
(the goddess of all things allergen and gluten-free)
here for coffee and catching up
and discovered more than
ready made meals at Crazy Day!

besides meals to go,
Crazy Day is also the home of...
Intelligentsia coffee, Intelligentsia tea 
and incredible homemade sweets

is it any wonder
this is my happy place?

I can sit and write 
while the sights and smells
assail my senses