Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Son

Once upon a time, there was a young girl filled with dreams and ambition and concern. She was married to her soulmate and the love of her life. Their life was far from perfect but that was okay, because they learned and grew and suffered and cared together. And they worshiped the one God that delighted in them and quieted them with his love. The one God that understood. The one God that became a servant. The one God who creates something from nothing, created something from them. A young warrior-poet-prince, a child created in His image and likeness.
Just over three years ago, our son Elliot was born. My relationship with him is uniquely treasured and special to me, and I don't think I could fully express what a joy and delight he has been to my soul. 
We were talking in the car today and I was telling him that I loved him and that he was my little warrior-poet-prince. Here's the conversation that followed:

Elliot: What did you say?
"I said that you are my little warrior-poet-prince."
Elliot: Mommy, what is a warrior-poet-prince mean?
"Well, a warrior is someone who fights for what is right and a poet makes beautiful things with words and letters and a prince is a very special boy that is the son of a King. Does that sound like something you would like to be?"
Elliot: (grinning) Oh yes! I WOULD!

Feeling especially grateful for my beautiful son and all the ways he changed my life!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Some Elliot Cuteness...

I realized that I haven't been on here for awhile, because it's been summer and I've just been having so much fun. I also realized that my last few posts seemed a bit...well, out of sorts in some parts. As an addendum to that, I am doing very well and enjoying where God has me and where He's leading me. I am also ever so much more grateful for my husband and his leadership of me and our family.
And NOW, I sit at the computer and type you an Elliot story, because everything else (studying for addictions licensure exam, making salsa, making dinner, folding mounds of laundry, etc.) is a bit too intimidating for the moment.
This morning, Ev had a really bad headache and was nauseated so I drove him to work and on the way we stopped at McDonalds to get him a coke. He's the discussion that transpired with Elliot.
Me: Elliot, we need to use our quiet voice because Daddy's head hurts really bad.
Elliot: But I don't want to use my quiet voice
(Drive up to drive thru at 9:30 AM)
Elliot: OH! Can I get chicken nuggets and french fries?!?
Me: No buddy, we're just getting daddy a drink.
Elliot: OH! Can I get a drink?
Me: Oh sure. What would you like? (thinking the boy will say "apple juice" like he usually does or maybe the less preferred "sprite")
Elliot (if you know how he talks please read this with his little speech impediments in mind): I would like a vanilla ice cream drink WITH SAUCE!

.....really? Yes really!
Elliot enjoyed his little milkshake for quite sometime this morning.

I'm now off to make salsa. If I don't get too scared first.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Not Without Love

I am finding that I love almost everything that this artist writes. I was listening to two of his albums today and in both he had a track that was just spoken word poetry. This was one of those poems. I'd encourage you to read it aloud. It's beautiful, especially as we consider celebrating freedom tomorrow.

Not Without Love (Benediction)
By Jimmy Needham

I tried Lord
I tried Lord
I tried hard to be Your good little boy
Chin up, head high
All zeal and no joy
Thinking all my good deeds could please Jesus
Boy, was I wrong
Though I knew the right songs, all my cymbals and gongs played the melodies wrong
And it wasn’t long ‘til I saw my disease
A life spent wanting to please
On hands and knees
To make right, to appease
God help me please
This can’t be Christianity, it can’t be
The whole thing’s like insanity
Where’s the rest of eternal security?
Where’s the hope of a God big enough to cope with all my hang-ups and insecurities?
Certainly this isn’t breathing
My chest burning and heaving
It’s like my pulse is ceasing
Like my heart quits beating
Yet this I recall to mind and therefore I have hope:
You died, Lord
You died, Lord
Assuredly, like the coming of the dawn, the Father’s love song goes on
Drowning out my bitter songs
And breaking through walls and barriers
Christ swoops in, removes sin, picks up His bride and carries her
So I can sing in agreement with the King this thing:
There’s only one thing that pleases the Father
The God-man on the tree in the midst of the scoffers
Now I finally see that Christ is what Christ offers
And I’m finally free in the love of the Father

Friday, July 1, 2011

Catching Up

My last post was quite awhile ago, because my BROTHER GOT MARRIED!!! :) It was a beautiful God-filled wedding that impacted many lives with the power of truth and love. I am so thankful for my new sister!
I am also refreshed in my own marriage as Ev and I review the last four years, and what God has done in and through us during that time. I LOVE being married! Sometimes, my husband can be a selfish butthead, sometimes I can be the worst person in the world to live with. But most of the time, he is a wonderful reflection of Christ's love for me in the grace he shows me every day.
I have also been TRYING desperately to make my home into an environment that can foster a healthy family lifestyle. I'm about halfway there, but every couple days, I feel like I'm taking one step forward and two steps back.
ALSO, I have been reading Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. This is a book that I've heard recommended by many people and started reading probably five or more times, but I just could get past the first chapter. I'm happy to report I am now on Chapter 2!!! Pretty cool, huh? And it is very good! I think that I haven't gotten through it before because I needed to read it now.
I think it's amazing that in our families God has given us such a powerful microcosm of his love for and relationship with us. In a marriage, we can see Christ's undying, pursuing, warrior/poet/kinsman-redeemer LOVE for the church and with our children we are faced on a daily basis with God's love as a father and our curious ridiculousness as His children. It's so amazing to me that regardless of your family's religious beliefs or affiliation, the way you treat each other will forever impact the way that the others in your family view God.
I had a mentor. Her son was about 7, her daughter was about 4. The daughter was being irritating and attention-seeking which annoyed the son, so he responded by calling her a name and storming out. My mentor followed him, looked him square in the eye and told him that he could never do that to his sister again because the way he treated her would impact how she viewed herself, other men, and God for the rest of her life. I thought "WOW! That's quite a burden for a 7 year old to bear!" But then I thought about all the research I had read about attachment and views on God and the like and then I thought, "WOW! I'm so glad she told him that."
I'm still working on courage, gracefulness, and endurance, but it's funny how those mean different things to me now than they did in January when I committed to growing in them.
If you're reading this...thanks! :) I'd like to hear from you and what you're learning this summer, what's challenging you and what is just plain silly. Thanks for bearing with the ramblings!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies

Healthier Oatmeal Cookies:
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (I used walnuts in yours)
3/4 cup Coconut oil, room temperature
1 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (I grind 1/3 of these and leave the rest of them whole)
1/2 cup goji berries, 1/2 cup dried cranberries (could be substituted with any dried fruit), 1/2 cup ground dark chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil. 
Beat the coconut oil and honey until creamy and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat to combine. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat until incorporated. Stir in the nuts, oats, and dried fruit and/or chocolate chips. 
Use an ice cream scoop to scoop and mold dough and space the cookies about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Then wet your hand and flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers so they are about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. Bake the cookies for about 12 - 15 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges but still soft and a little wet in the centers. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.

Makes about 20 ish large cookies

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Couples Wedding Shower

I have not been posting on here for awhile because I've been working on preparing for my little brother's wedding and wedding shower. The shower was this weekend and it was delightful. Apart from a bit of rain toward the end, everything went very well. I wish I could give a start to finish of what we did and how each thing was made...but honestly, that would just take too long and I doubt any of my 20 readers would care. :) So instead, I'll just give you a synopsis and show you some pictures from the day.

Synopsis: Will and Bethany Joy are getting married, and Evan and I hosted a shower to make sure they felt loved, special, and celebrated! The invites went out a little late, but they were pretty cool.

In the invite, everyone was made aware that they should where their "most splendid hat" to the shower. It was very fun to see all the different hats and personalities! Evan was in charge of food and we had lavender lemonade, sparkling peach tea, mini spice and brownie cupcakes with cute cream cheese frosting on top, veggies with dip and hummus, cream puffs, pinwheels, and PB&J sandwiches. My parents were gracious enough to let us have the shower in their yard (and house). Friends and family were invited and we had a grand total of 104 people come to the shower. It was lovely!

The Groom and Bride

Opening gifts

My mother and father-in-law....I love them! :)

Chalkboard A-frame sign to greet the guests as they arrived - decorated by Emily!

Centerpieces/prizes for game winners - snapdragons in biodegradable pots with excerpts from Isaiah 62.

Juggling Jesse...probably Elliot's favorite part!
Grandma and Elliot - I think this looks like a Norman Rockwell painting or something.

3 beautiful and very helpful bridesmaids

Pin the Boutonniere on the Groom (flags made by yours truly).
The groom with some groomsmen.

Grabbing a bite of the great food!
The bride trying her luck at this crazy thing.

Groom, bridesmaid, and ring bearer.

Elliot and his "Joyee"

Yay...more beautiful gifts!

Collecting the "He Said...She Said" game. You can find a tutorial here.
"Grading" He Said...She Said with Caleb the Cheater

"The Bouquet Toss"

Guests in their splendid hats.

The HOSTS! :)....I love my husband!!!

**NOTE: Most of these lovely pictures were taken by Emily Rose Brookshire. The rest were taken by some bridesmaids and groomsmen.**

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Things to Check Out...

...because they are AWESOME!!!

1) Sherwin Williams ColorSnap app for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. This app takes a picture of anything, matches it, gives you a color palette of similar, contrasting or coordinating colors, then allows you to save your color palette. Very cool!

2)The Academy for Global Citizenship is probably the coolest elementary school I have seen or heard of. On the south side of Chicago. These kids learn about science, math, art, nutrition, etc by growing their own food and plants, plus so much more.

3) If you haven't checked this out already...GO NOW! You can look up just about anything and see a bunch of pictures and ideas that other people have "pinned" that are interested in the same thing. I think it is awesome for brainstorming and finding new interesting sites and such. Lots of DIY, vintage, and just plain pretty stuff.

4) EarthEats is a weekly podcast with a website about the latest in sustainable agriculture and local food. It has great recipes, resources and local and national food news. Their most recent episode was about summer grilling with some great herby drinks. Taking center stage?...Lavender lemonade, Sage Apple Infusion, and Sour Cherry Fizz! YUM!

Yeah. I think that's it for now! :)
OH...except, Thursday is my last full-time day at IWU! Then I get to spend 3 months with this little man. SO EXCITED! We're going to learn to read and swim and speak Spanish...and we're going to play a LOT!

Monday, May 16, 2011

A New Name

The nations will see your vindication, 
   and all kings your glory; 
you will be called by a new name 
   that the mouth of the LORD will bestow. 
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, 
   a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 
No longer will they call you Deserted, 
   or name your land Desolate. 
But you will be called Hephzibah (“my delight is in her”),
   and your land Beulah
for the LORD will take delight in you, 
   and your land will be married. 
As a young man marries a young woman, 
   so will your Builder marry you

Isaiah 62:2-5a

I am not a biblical scholar, but I do study the Bible and while I know that scripture was written to a specific people, in a specific time, by a specific hand. I also know that it is God’s Word – living and active and relevant to me, and sometimes I think that God stepped outside of the box of time and chronology and knew that while those words needed to mean something specific at certain times to a very specific people, He also thought of me…specifically. And He knew that the words He spoke then, whether through His own mouth or the mouth of one of His prophets would speak truth to my mind, light to my soul and love to my heart.

Such is the passage above. I have been meditating on it for about two weeks now, and each time I read it, it becomes more beautiful and full of meaning.

I remember the first time that Ev called me “my Love.” It was magical. I felt like I belonged, like I was known, like I was valued. I remember the first time that Elliot called me “Momomom.” It was magical too. Someone that knew me specifically in one role that was more than enough for him. I felt special, I felt irreplaceable, I felt loved.

These names are two of the most treasured that I have been given by those that I love and that love me. I’ve had many other names as well. Some make me feel special, some make me feel inadequate. Some make me think I’m stupid or worthless, some make me think I couldn’t be worth more. But there is one that I have never heard that I know God has in store to bestow on me when we meet face to face. When I then know as I am fully known (1 Cor 13:12). The name will make me feel delighted in, joined together with a God who takes pleasure in knowing me, and in me knowing Him, clothed in the righteousness of Christ – splendid, radiant, distinct. One new name!

At a time in my life when I’m not sure what my next names will be, it gives me great joy to read this passage and delight in it. I think about the times that God shows us examples of him bestowing new names on his followers, Abraham, Sarah, Israel. It was perfect every time. It made sense for who they were, what their story was and how God redeemed them and set them apart. Another great piece of all this is that the name that God gives people isn’t just between Him and them. No longer are they called Abram, Sarai, or Jacob. No longer will we be called “desolate” or “deserted” or any other name that displays a gross misunderstanding of a heavenly Father’s love and grace or the value of His child. Instead, I will be given a new name that is known by all. How beautiful is that?! What a wonderful, merciful Saviour! What a gracious redeemer and friend! I love Him, my Yahweh!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Do you ever feel like you just pick up other people's socks? What is it with socks anyway? There are socks all over my house. In the hamper? Yes! On the floor? Yes! In the car? Yes! On my kitchen counter? Yes!....Wait! What?!....Yes! Yes, I picked up an athletic sock off of my kitchen counter this morning. Granted, it was used to wrap an ice pack and not a foot, but still, right? It's at points like these that I think, "what in the world is going on?" And then I think, "what else do you expect? hasn't it been this way since you got married?" And isn't insanity doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result?
In the midst of the socks there is a lot of change going on in my life and while it might be dysfunctional and weird, the stability and predictability of knowing that I will come home or wake up and have to pick up at least three pairs of socks from random places makes me smile. Because I can also know and predict that the boys that stand on the extra wide feet that those socks belong to, whether large or small, love me despite the change and that just makes me feel content, for the moment! Which is a lovely gift from God in the middle of all my internal clashings.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What Every Child Needs to Hear

When I found out was pregnant with Elliot, I was scared out of my mind! I wasn't scared that I would be a bad mother or that I would make mistakes sometimes or that he wouldn't turn out the way I hoped or anything like that. I was scared that I would just kind of be an okay mom, that he would know he was loved but he would have to remind himself of that, that I wouldn't understand what he needed from me so I wouldn't be able to give it to him. Things like that.
It scared me even more when I found out he was a boy! I knew what truth a little girl needed spoken into her life, I knew how and what I would teach her about strength and faith and femininity, I knew what to tell Evan to do too (at least I thought I did). But...a boy? What truth does a boy need to hear spoken by his mother into his life? What do I need to teach him about strength and faith and masculinity? I was so scared I would fail. Not fail miserably, but fail by just kind of making it work.
I've learned a lot in the last 2 1/2 years and God has provided me with the knowledge I need to raise my son one step at a time, consistently showing His ever-present grace in my life. I know now the truth that he needs spoken into his life. He is loved, special, valuable, handsome, brave, strong, and smart. He is a little warrior and poet and prince. "God is love (1 John 4:8)" and he is a "fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)."
Confession - I'm not good with kids. I haven't really ever been. At least not children under the age of like 16. However, having Elliot in has changed a few things in me. I'm still a bit awkward around other children, but I pay attention to them more. I pay attention to their body language and their spirit and their needs. I am especially observant of little boys. How society and parents and other influences shape them, encourage them, or scold them with their expectations. And can I tell you? Most of the time it breaks my heart!
I was in line today at Walmart and in front of me was a mom with a baby in the cart that was maybe 9 months old and she had a little boy that looked like he was about 3 1/2 or 4. He was sitting on the floor playing with an Etch-a-Sketch and his mom gently told him to come over by her. He set the toy down, willingly obeyed and stood next to her cart. He asked her a question, something like, "Mommy, can I have some of that food?" She laughed and said to the cashier, "Such a typical male isn't he?" They laughed together. The little boy just looked away. Not particularly hurt, but not really feeling anything else either. His mom continued, "Yeah, he's already got the selective hearing going too. Men!" Chuckles ensued and the boy waited patiently for his mother to check out.
I wanted to shout so everyone could hear and at the same time look intently into the little boy's eyes so he knew I was talking just to him and tell him, "You are special and loved and valuable!"
I don't think the mother had a poor relationship with her son. I could tell they loved each other very much. And I know that there are times, whatever the reason, that I find my son has tried to say the same thing to me seven times just trying to get my attention and interaction, and I only catch it on time number 8 with a minimal response. I know that I fail at times and that is okay, but I also know that regardless of my limitations or shortcomings, God is using me in my son's life and I am honored and blessed by that.
Children don't need to hear how typical they are, they don't need to be bound by societal expectations (whether positive or negative) of how different descriptive characteristics limit them or make them difficult to be around, whether that difference be gender or  race or something else.
Every child needs to be heard and recognized and known. Every child should know that their life is valuable beyond measure, that their uniqueness is intentional, and that they are loved without limits.
I need to hear that, and you need to hear that!
I'm not scared anymore, and I haven't been for awhile. Not because I feel a lightened weight of responsibility toward my son, but because he knows and he has heard and he will continue to hear that he is more valuable than any treasure that any pirate could ever dig up, that he is so a dearly loved child of God (1 John 3:1), that I will gladly dance with my little prince any time he asks (even if it's when he should be sleeping), that playing with new friends in the nursery is brave because he says it is and so is climbing rocks that are really big and so is living life so beautifully in such a big world, that even if and when his mommy and daddy cannot be there with him, God always ALWAYS is, and that he is so special and so SO loved!
I also know that I will fail. Sometimes I'll be a great mom and sometimes I'll just be okay, but thankfully when I'm just okay (or even when I'm downright lousy), I have a heavenly Father that is always paying attention, never saying "what a typical woman!" and just waiting to tell me how valuable I am to Him.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So...we went to Utah!

My beautiful sister and Elliot

My love and me!

Climbing "Mount Elliot"

Looking across the mountains and canyon, just 5 miles "up" from Ephraim, UT

Friday, February 18, 2011

Elmo Worship?...Oh yikes!

For the past two Friday afternoons, I've had the privilege of going through some training in Strategic Futuring (yes, it's a word) and in StrengthsQuest. The first is a process by which you envision your life 15 years in the future and then outline strategic steps to make that future a reality, and let me tell you, the next 15 years look amazing! :) The second is an assessment tool developed by the Gallup organization to identify key talent themes in your life. For example, my themes are activator, achiever, individualization, futuristic, and learner....I know, surprise, surprise, right?
Anyway, it's been awhile since I've pushed myself to do this sort of intentional reflection and envisioning and it is making me incredibly thankful for the blessings in my life and excited about what the future holds. It is also giving me little bits of courage to take steps to explore and create.
One of the things I've been exploring is some different music. Just taking time to sit and listen or have it intentionally playing in the background. It makes a big difference in my mood and meditation, etc. I've been creating a playlist on Grooveshark of my favorite worship songs, which might not be a big deal for most people, but for me each of the songs are especially beautiful or touching so I only have about 10 right now.
I've been listening to these about every other day on my way to work. After dropping Elliot off two days ago, I was driving to work, listening to "Megan's God Tunes" and singing along. "You're Beautiful", "Dearly Loved", "Emphasis", "My Redeemer Lives", "In Christ Alone." I'm having a beautiful time of worship and then I catch myself in the middle of "la la la la, la la la la, Elmo's Song." Yes, singing out loud! I was brainlessly singing Elmo's Song on my way to work.
Grooveshark had just automatically gone on to the next playlist, "Elliot's Songs." I sat and laughed at myself for awhile. Then I called Evan and he laughed at me.
I think that sometimes in life, we just drift into this space that isn't really ours but we keep living right along with it and then all of a sudden we realize, "What am I doing here? Whose song is this? Why am I living this way?"
I guess what I'm trying to say is that no matter how funny it is, Elmo worship, just isn't all! And neither is singing anyone else's life song or unconsciously drifting into a space where you don't have to live intentionally anymore.
So if you had to envision your life in 15 years what would it look like? What are you doing now to make that happen? Cause I'm pretty sure you don't want to drift into 2026 and wonder "What am I doing here? Whose song is this?"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Of breath and dust

Broken then separated by shoots of green
that push through you and grow toward the sun
Lifeless and brown and spoken to be
You lie under the sky and beside the sea

OH breathless dust - unfashioned, unformed

Transformed by hands with care and intention
Animated to live and love and explore
Breath-filled and whole with imagination
Running, laughing, singing, dancing on a beautiful sphere
with a God who came near

OH breath-filled - dust rebellious, so proud

Do you ever dream about where you came from?
And know someday you will return?
Because of a choice and a curse and a lie,
Brown and breathless on the ground
Unnoticed - clinging to feet, sandals, and boots

OH breathless dust - judged wanting and lost

But dream again with eyes open this time
And you'll see your God who came near
All you notice at first are His fleshy two feet
They're blood-stained and scarred and breathless dust-caked
And you hurry to wash them with tear after tear after tear

You know what He did and you know what it cost
To breathe life again into dust that was judged wanting and lost
"Does He resent me?" you wonder "Surely the cost was too much
For my sin and my shame, my death and my dust!"

Then His transforming hands, familiar and strong
Hold you close with care and intention
And you hear Him speak with His voice and his breath
In your ear, "You're lavishly loved!
You're special to me!
Dear one, you're forgiven. I've redeemed you.
You're free!"

Life bursts through your soul
When His breath hits your being.
You go running and laughing,
Dancing and singing, with Yahweh, your Yahweh
Your breath-filling King
All through the sky and on top of the sea

OH plank-filled eye
OH sin-filled self
Forgotten, covered, rescued
OH breath-filled life and dustless you
Alive and radiant and free

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dearly Loved

Dearly Loved
Jimmy Needham

Please lay down your arrows
For they're sure to pierce the skin
And water from a broken well
Will make you thirst again
When all things you've acquired
Are tested by the flames
And you can see them melting
Then will you call his name

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sin
Did you know that you are dearly loved

To the slaughters you are being led
Being told that it's a party
That this God is in your head
And every single lie
Sounds just like the greatest truth
But the one truth you're not hearing
Is that he died for you

No greater joy
No greater peace
No greater love than this

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sin
Did you know that you are dearly loved

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.
Ephesians 2:4-5

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:3-4

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
1 John 3:1a

"When I hear people talking about love like it's the latest, greatest flavor of cotton candy, I get very nervous and suspect we are not talking about the same thing."
Jen Lee

This is a new favorite song of mine, moving me to tears because of the reality of its truth. My dear sister Sarah sent me this last quote a couple weeks ago and it deeply resonated with my heart. I feel that love is one of the most misunderstood and shallowly represented constructs within our world. And the thing that astonishes me the most is that people seem to be okay with that. The devasting thing is that when I try to describe love to other people, I find that my proclamation of this truth leaves much to be desired. Yet I look around me as see people, as C.S. Lewis did, happy to be playing with "love mud pies" when a holiday in a sea of love is afforded to them. And I have to conclude with him that we are "far too easily pleased."
Recently the university I work at had an essay contest among the faculty called, "Why I Teach." As I pondered when or not to submit something I thought back and forth about why I teach, why I lead, etc. It's not because I have vast amounts of knowledge to impart or am even close to being able to use my life experiences as vicarious sources of learning. It is because I believe that the greatest, sweetest truth that everyone needs to learn is that they are DEARLY LOVED - specifically, intentionally, uniquely, dearly loved by God. And I believe so strongly that anything that is truth will point to this life altering, soul filling reality. So I teach the truth I know and I lead for change that eliminates lies and darkness because people must know that they are dearly loved.
My life has been a learning laboratory for love, and I hope that it continues to be. One reason that the truth of love is so difficult to articulate is because it's often deeply felt rather than only cognitively processed. The limbic system in our brains (bear with me here) is the physical seat of our emotions and drives. It is full of feeling and not rationality, passion and not logic. And it isn't anywhere near our brain's cortex (where cognition is processed) or Broca & Wernicke's areas (where we develop language and the articulation of our ideas). And so in my little life laboratory, when I see or hear or read or look at something that can connect the all of those areas in my head and empower passion with knowledge and ignite logical truth with fervor, I most often just start crying. Because what my heart felt as true and my mind knew as true connect and fill my soul with the light of truth. And almost always that truth is that I am dearly loved, incredibly unworthy, and miraculously redeemed.
Last night, Pat Terenzini in his opening remarks at our conference said that learning or education is "not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." So while I still feel that my words above are shallow and disjointed, I guess my observation and question to you is this. We are all learning and teaching and following and leading, but what fire are you spreading? Because, in case you didn't know my brothers and sisters... are SO DEARLY LOVED! 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Pretty Pretty Song

"Yahweh" by Tal & Acacia. One of my students shared this with me and I absolutely love it. I want to wake up to it! :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fun & Pretty

I recently made some super cute herb coffee/tea cup sleeves that I LOVE (I'll try to post a tutorial and pics soon)! After this, I started getting a bit of a crafty bug. I am looking forward to painting a set of canvases with the 5 freedoms (as soon as I find my paintbrushes). But here are a couple things I stumbled upon when surfing my bloggity-blogs today that I'd like to make get. I think they're fun and pretty.

1. First Aid to Go

I realized earlier this week that if Elliot got hurt when I was gone, no one else would know where anything was. So I gathered some supplies and made a first-aid kit for our house, which is now sitting on our dryer (random, I know but it's a central location). Then I realized how many extra supplies we had. I have a first-aid kit in each car but it's somewhat limited. I'd also like to have one for my, Ev's and Elliot's bags. I also thought these would make super-cute momma gifts. Find instructions at Fireflies & Jellybeans.

2. Spa Headband
I think this one pretty much speaks for itself. I think I'd want to make mine with some green ribbon or some cool embroidered fabric strip, instead of the lace. But I would just feel pretty using one of these when I get ready in the morning. Find it at Flamingo Toes. She has a fun oatmeal scrub on this post too.

I think these are SOOOOOO COOL!!!!! I think I can figure out how to make them, but I'm pretty sure they wouldn't turn out as well as these and that it would cost just as much to get the supplies each time to make the notes. They are encouragement notes that bloom into wildflowers!!! What a cool cool idea huh? LOVE it! Find them at I Love Bloomies.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


When it snowed in December Elliot wanted to go play in it very badly, but he was sick. My excuse for January was that he didn't have the appropriate attire. Thanks to Goodwill and Walmart, we have the attire covered. For a grand total of $32 we were able to purchase snow boots, pants, and a new coat. Definitely better than the $100+ mentioned everywhere else for a 3T snowsuit. This weekend one of our friends invited us over to their house for sledding with a few other friends. Sledding followed by soup, chili, and conversation was LOVELY! And so stinkin fun!
Elliot told me he was "too scared" to go sledding when he saw everyone else do it. So I told him we would just try it once together and then if he wanted to go back inside we could. As soon as we got to the bottom of the hill, he had a big smile on his face and said, "Oh! Dat was fun! We do da sledding again, mommy?" So we did...lots of times. I was eventually the one asking to go inside. :) 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I want...

I want to be able to sit and write and know that I am expressing the message in my head and my heart clearly on a page. In order to do that, I personally have to know what that message is, which has been increasingly difficult for me to figure out with any measure of clarity lately.
I was thinking about the moon as I was reading a book to Elliot the other night. I want to write a poem about the moon watching things happen on earth. An object that has "seen" the creation of the world, its fall, its redemption, my Savior's birth and life, beauty of souls saved and the devastation of hideous sins performed. The precious moments in my life of love and life and light and truth. I don't know how to write the poem, but I want to.
I want to spend more time with my friends - listening and laughing and being silly. This is also increasingly hard with a families and schedules and distance.
I want to dance....beautifully and gracefully.
I want to live purposefully. Knowing that what I do today will make a meaningful difference for tomorrow. Considering the ever present factors of practicality, physical limitations, and the roles I must play, I sometimes wonder if I've lost the drive and courage I used to have to see a task through to completion or a vision from concept to reality.
I want to travel. I want to see and experience new things and new people with those that I love. I want to speak other languages.
I want to be the best wife and mother in the history of the world! I want my husband and my children to always know that they are loved and treasured beyond any earthly thing or any lofty idea. I want them to know that they are beautiful to me and to God. I want them to know that they are interesting to me and that I am curious to know them better.
I want to be vulnerable without being scared. I want to heal those that are hurting. I want to be light where there is darkness.
I want to know Jesus' words and heart and life well enough that they become my words and heart and life.

These are all things that I want, but I often wonder if I can have them. And I struggle with what to pursue. And when and where and how.

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD; 
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.
Psalm 37:4-7a

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Endurance, Gracefulness, and Courage

Me, Elliot & Ev (what joys they are to my heart) at Butterfly World on our Family Summer Vacation
The most sacred place dwells within our heart, where dreams are born & secrets sleep, a mystical refuge of darkness & light, fear & conquest, adventure & discovery, challenge & transformation. 
Our heart speaks for our soul every moment while we are alive. Listen... as the whispering beat repeats: be...gin, be...gin, be...gin. It's really that simple.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Just begin... again.
Royce Addington

It was January 2004, my sophomore year of college, when my dad called each of us kids individually to talk with him. No warning. I figured he liked to shroud these sorts of encounters in mystery, which always made me anxious. Like most people, we did not have family meetings because things were going well and we just wanted to sit down and talk about how grateful we were for each other, eat lollipops and put roses in our hair. Nope. We had family meetings because something was wrong and it needed to be fixed. 
However, this was different. This was an occasion that made a mark on my spirit and life and made me feel incredibly loved, especially as I think about it now. During our time together my dad shared that each year he would personally and privately reflect on his own character and pick three character qualities to work on in the coming year. (He used the list developed by the Character Training Institute, found here) That year he had also reflected on each of his children and three character qualities he saw could be developed in them. He wrote those on a piece of paper, along with some Bible verses to memorize and meditate on. We sat and talked about different practical ways that these underdeveloped areas could become stronger. 
I don't know if my dad thought this was very effective because we never did it again as a family, but I asked for my own copy of the little Seven Leadership Perspectives card and their character qualities. He gave one to me and I still have it in my Bible, next to my Lifting My Husband through Prayer card.
Each year, now I go through my own reflection time, thinking about last year and the year ahead. This year only one of my "character resolutions" comes directly from my card, and I'm trying my hand at creating the other two. Here they are...

Endurance vs. Giving Up
The inward strength to withstand stress and do my best.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."
Colossians 3:23
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:8-10

Gracefulness vs. Carelessness
Having beauty of form, composition, movement, or expression in daily words and actions.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her househol and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her."
Proverbs 31:25-28
"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
1 Peter 3:3-4

Courage vs. Cowardice
The ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation and act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, or discouragement.

"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life."
Deuteronomy 30:19-20a

And so I begin again! Though my heart is more fearful than inspired, my body is tired and my mind is dull, that is often the way things have to be in the beginning for transformation to actually take place. 
I am grateful for 2011 and the love and blessing it has already brought, and I look forward with hope to what it will bring in the days to come.


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