When my heart is overwhelmed, I find I have a strange desire to see that blinking cursor on the screen.  A fresh, clean page waiting for my thoughts.

It's literally been years since I have written a post.  I have considered it, longed for it, even, but have yet to write.  The last two years have been an adjustment, and perhaps I will write more on that later.

Today, what brings me here, is grief.

All of us have experienced grief, and it is unique for each of us--yet there is an experience of loss that is similar in much of our grief.

Death is not easy; it is not simple.
It is hard and complex.
But, it is not the end.

Our culture is so unfamiliar with death, we stay as far away from it as we possibly can, yet it is so near.  We find it difficult to even speak of death in final terms, we say someone has "passed" because to say anyone that we love or cared about has died...well, it's hard.  Not one of us is promised tomorrow, but we live as though we are.  We forget this life is not all there is, we forget to appreciate those in our lives that are the hardest to love, we forget tomorrow is not a guarantee.  

A friend of ours died last Thursday.

In moments when death comes so near that it touches my heart, I remember.  This world we live in, it is so broken.  So, loss is a reality for each and everyone of us--no one will escape.  And grief is absolutely necessary.  Our hearts, our minds, and our emotions need to process the loss we experience.

But, it is not the end.

There is a hope that does not disappoint.  And it's a glorious one.  At times, it is the next breath, at others, a warm blanket. But never, ever, disappointing. 


Kept Promises

I cannot count the times that I have broken promises.  To my husband, to my parents, to my children.  From tiny insignificant ones to big nasty ones.  Sometimes it crushes my heart, and deeply grieves me that I have broken trust; other times…it doesn’t.  The devastating thing is that this will keep on happening, hopefully less frequent, but it is a guarantee that I will continue to fail, either by forgetfulness or selfishness. 

Strangely, even though I have this great ability to break promises; I am offended when others break their promises to me.  Observation has shown me I’m not alone in this.

There is one.  One who has never broken a single promise, whether tiny or massive, he has kept his word Every. Single. Time.  You probably know him, or at least you’ve heard of him.   
Difficulty mounts in my heart when he beckons me to trust him with the lives of my children.  When a little voice on the other end of the phone cries because of the pain he feels from the words and actions of another.

It is so hard for our human hearts not to assume God will break his promises just like everyone else we know.  But the absolute truth he keeps pressing in on my heart is that he is just as faithful to my children as he is to me.  He will keep Every.  Single.  Promise.  I can bank on it. 


It's Not Easy Being Green

A friend on Facebook said to me a few weeks ago, "You make being a mom seem so easy. What is your secret?"  I replied to her, but the question just keeps eating at me.

First of all, because there are no real secrets.  Sure, there are things I do and don't do differently, but I don't have an MLM going with an inner circle that receives my strategies and tips in a weekly email. Secondly, I know a lot of moms, and it seems very typical of these mothers to question themselves, or second guess their methods, even if they aren't posting it on Facebook.

I typically just tell my story, because I'm pretty overwhelmed and fascinated at the beautiful threads the God of the Universe is weaving. He has graciously written me into His magnificent story, and I do not want to forget that, ever, so, I tell my stories; but like I said, this question just keeps itching a certain spot on my heart.

So I started thinking practically about how I mother.  Much of how I mother comes from how I was mothered (bless my mother's soul, I owe so much to her), but there is also so much (heavy sigh, so much) that is different in the world while I am embarking on this same journey.  I wondered if I could possibly offer any valuable insight or information to other mothers.  Because, let's be honest there's a bajillion mom-blogs out there and you probably don't need another one of those to read.

As I would say to my friend Jina, high five for new experiences; if none of this helps you, find a different mom blog, but if it does, praise Jesus.

look ahead of you, not beside you
Facebook can be a good thing, but it is a thorn in every mother's side.  Why?  Because you are constantly comparing yourself to every other mother in your news feed.  We have to get our faces away from the screens in our lives and onto the children at our feet. God gave you the child(ren) you have, He has entrusted them to you, so trust Him.  He gives better feedback, and no amount of likes will ever compare to how much He loves you.

I'll be really honest, this one is hard.  Laughing is critical, though.  The reality is you have very little control of what happens during your day, what you do have control of, is how you respond.  Will you let the little inconsistencies drive you crazy, or let the constant mess get under your skin, or let the disobedience determine your self-worth?  Your children are (wait for it.....) children.  And they are supposed to be exactly that.  If the day becomes too much of an endurance race, I find dance parties are really helpful.

be loved
If you feel that it is difficult to love your kid(s), I'd be willing to bet, you feel unloved.  The God of the Universe really did send His only Son to the earth in the form of a baby boy to live a perfect life and die the worst death, then live again so that you and I can have life....because He loves us. He gets so much glory when you will be filled up with His love so you can love your little ones.

and lean....
You are not alone, and you cannot do this mothering thing alone.  You need Jesus (I need Jesus).  The crazy amazing thing is that He will be enough for you every. single. time.  Failure is inevitable, but it does not define you.  When you do something wrong, say I'm sorry.  Jesus never said life would be easy, what He said was, "I will be with you."

Often, when I read the Old Testament, I am awestruck at how quickly God's people forget what He did for them.  But, I find this true of myself far too often, which is why in Psalm 77, David even tells himself, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord...and therefore I will have hope."  So when you wake up to the sound of a baby crying or a toddler whining or a child begging for breakfast, remember what the Lord has done.  


a Mother's Day poem

I was showered with love and wonderful homemade cards for Mother's Day, a few have requested I post the poem my husband wrote, so I felt this was the best place to do it.  His words were and will continue to be such a blessing to me; hopefully they give you a glimpse into our world from his point of view.

From the time you were young you heeded the call,
"Come follow me and give me your all."
Obediently you came ready to Go,
Excited to be spent, ready to grow.

India on your mind you studied and read
Mild confusion when you heard, "Stay" instead
Just as before you were obedient to His voice
Submission to your Father your only choice.

Then came your first and second eclipsed by the Army
Your husband came back wounded, whom you loved abundantly.
The twins what a roller coaster, them you almost lost
you were ready to give them to Him, no matter what the cost.

And then your girl who has been a blessing
He knew what to give you even if you weren't asking
And now I salute you and praise the Almighty
For heeding the call to be a missionary to your family.


Selfies might not be so bad

I am not of this current generation obsessed with taking pictures of themselves.  In fact, most of the time, when I look at a young person's profile on Instagram and see most of the pictures are of themselves, I decide almost immediately: do not follow.  So this selfie-insanity that goes on, well, I'll be really blunt, irritates me. 

It seems to just bring to the surface that our society, our culture, is becoming more and more narcissistic.  An "all about me" attitude saturates our society.  It's so acceptable and normal that even as Christians we start to normalize this infatuation with ourselves and deem it appropriate at times.

There's a video that has gone viral on Facebook about the worth of women done by an attractive guy on an empty stage.  He preaches a false gospel to all women of their innate worth, strength, power, beauty, etc.  The problem is, he pulls directly from the Bible to help us all believe the lie that we have value in and of ourselves.  

I do have worth.  I do have value.  I am even beautiful.  But only, only, only because the Creator of the Universe, the Maker of all things, has made me.  My worth, value, and beauty would be the same if I had a deformed face--He still made me.  And what's more than all this, is that when I became a child of God, (when I became a Christian), He attributed more value to me than I could ever achieve on my own, because He named me His own.  The blood of Jesus covered up every sin and inch of darkness in my heart and made me beautiful to look at, where once God's eyes only looked upon me and saw wrath and death. 

So, yes, women of the earth, you are beautiful, just as men, sunsets, and babies are; because the Almighty God who reigns over the entire earth made you.  That beauty however, comes from Him, and exists to draw you to Him and adore Him and worship Him and see His infinite value and beauty. 

Because I'm a mother, I am always on the other side of the camera, trying to capture those precious moments.  I have very few pictures of me with any of our children, even during the years Kevin was deployed, there are more photos of him with the kids than with me.  

The iPhone has enabled all of us to be on both sides of the camera.  Now I am finally able to be in pictures with my children.  Yet, I still hesitate because I want to fight the self-absorbed inclination that all of our hearts have.

I have this beautiful new daughter, who I love dearly, and has captured my heart in a way different than any of her brothers did.  I was, indeed, attempting a "selfie" with her to send to my mom.  

She could see herself, but what did she look at?  Me.  She turned to look at me.  Our Savior sits near us, and holds up the mirror to our hearts to show us we have been made clean and are more beautiful than ever, but the Spirit moves that gaze from ourselves to the Father.  Only in being justified by the blood of Jesus can we see all along it was because of what He has done.


Biggest dandelion ever

And letting the little seeds spread was even bigger fun


Full Bellies and Full Hearts

When we see Kevin’s parents, our kids enjoy days full of adventure; exploring in the woods, driving motorized mini jeeps, building forts of real wood, hunting for turtles and lizards, going on ranger rides, and taking hikes.  Not only do we enjoy adventure, but the beauty of nature, and my mother-in-law’s wonderful cooking. 

By the time we are in the car on our way home, our bellies are full, our hearts are full, our legs are tired, and our imaginations expanded. 

In this place, I looked back and Evan’s eyes were fighting the sleep that was seducing him.  I reached out to hold his hand, and we were caught in a gaze together, and that’s when he asked, “Can I have some friends?”

I had to turn my face from laughter, and my giggles almost immediately turned to tears when I answered him and said, “I can’t give you friends, but I’ll be your friend.”

Hasn’t this happened to each of us?  We experience some aspect of life in a measure so full, and then find ourselves wanting even more.  The fullness only whet our appetite for more. 

More what?  At times, our own hearts cannot put words to what it is we want.  Yet, my three year old was able to articulate his heart.

This is exactly how we come to Jesus.  We look at Him and ask for Him to fill our bellies, to give us adventure, to give us aesthetic pleasure, and He says, “You can have me, that appetite that seems unquenchable, it’s for me; and I satisfy.”