Made it Monday (with a twist)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Well today's made it Monday post is mostly just me saying I made it to Monday. The craft we made this week got eaten by the dog. (Note to self: salt dough ornaments are good dog treats... Not sure if they're actually healthy or if acrylic paint is recommended for ingestion though...) 

We have had a crazy week. A lot of highs as we get to spend time with Amy who is home from Uganda. And a lot of lows as we have dealt with sickness, sleepless nights and new discipline issues. But in the midst of it all I have had some sweet moments with my kids this week. 

Matthias is getting so fun and interactive. He is sitting(ish) and rolling and wiggling everywhere and laughs all the time. I feel a little overwhelmed by how fast time has gone and can't believe he is about to be 6 months old! It doesn't help that tonight I put him in 12 month pajamas and he completely filled them out.

(I love this sweet boy!)

Riley got to make some sweet ornaments to give as gifts this week. And even though most of them have been ingested the memory was still sweet. This girl loves to get her hands dirty and create. She also loves to make things for people. I want to continue to encourage this and it gave us a great chance to talk about what we are celebrating this week. 

(My little creator hard at work!)

I shared with her about why we give gifts and are given gifts this time of year. I reminded her that on Christmas we will celebrate Jesus' birthday and that God gave us Jesus and that He is the greatest gift we've ever been given. I told her that we give gifts to people to help them and ourselves remember how much God loves us. 

I know her understanding is limited but I am thankful that when I look for opportunities to share this message with her they are easy to find. God has surrounded us with Himself and I want to teach my children, and myself to see Him more. 

(We did have a survivor that was hanging on our tree.)

We found the tutorial to make these at Mommypotamus.

Made it Monday (On a Tuesday)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kind of lame to miss this on the second week but better late than never. I did think about this at like 9:30 last night but I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my sister and she does live in Africa so that's a good excuse right? And I also was, ironically, crocheting a Christmas present so at least I was still making something... :)

Anyway, I thought I would share about something that riley really made. And when I say that I mean it.

I think control is something we all struggle with to one degree or another. And being a parent seems to reveal how much. I also believe that it is probably a little bit specific to our own gifts, likes, and talents. So my tone-deaf self will probably not struggle with being controlling over my children's musical talents, if they happen to have any. But I love to craft. And Riley loves when we make things together. And it is a struggle for me to help her when needed (like with the hot glue gun) but not with the things she can do herself.

So about a week or so ago we were talking with G-ma and Riley found out that G-ma didn't have a Christmas tree. Riley found that completely unacceptable so I thought we should make her one. I had seen some made out of popsicle sticks on pinterest and had everything we needed on hand so we went for it.

Step one was to paint the sticks green. And this is what we got:

It took a lot of self-control to not try to "help" more than I did and have them all perfectly painted green. And same thing with my mind wanting to evenly space the "ornaments" and bring a bit of order to the color pattern. But I managed and I think it is way better this way. My guess is my mom is over getting crafts made by me (at least on this level) and she probably loves it all the more knowing that it was Riley's creativity and not my control that made it look the way it does.

And it's beautiful!

6in7 (7in7: Day 7)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I am really good at making plans and strategies to do things. I can't even count the number of cleaning schedules I have laid out to keep up with my house and then end up quitting. Same thing with meal planning. Same thing with reading. Same thing with exercise. Same thing with bible study.

I think that I have an expectation of perfection and when I fall even slightly short I just throw my hands in the air and quit. It seems like it would be better if it just looked like I wasn't even trying something than if I was trying and not excelling.

So I got this crazy idea to do 7in7. And even when I signed up I knew I was stepping outside of my comfort zone.  And it has by no means been easy but yesterday was a long and busy day, and a late night, following what has been a long and emotional week. And I just couldn't do it. 

And I think that was good. It was good to fail. I wouldn't even really call it a failure but it was good for me to feel the freedom to not do it perfectly. Because for me writing 6 things in 7 days is crazy good. And the challenge of it has done some good things in me. 

I am a creative person that has, for a lot of reasons, failed to have a consistent creative outlet. And this week of writing has given me a hunger and desire to express my creativity consistently. I think that will look differently every day but I think that it is a gift that I have failed to use. And it is also a means of worship and communion with God that strengthens my faith. It helps me to see him and I need to see him more. 

It also pushed me to process some things "out loud" that I have been holding onto. I am in a place where a lot is being surfaced and I need a means to work through it.  I don't think that writing is the only means to do that. I don't know that when I do write that it will always be done publicly but this has taught me that I need a tool to get out the things I am wrestling with.

It has also helped me realize that I have a voice. That there are things that I am learning and wrestling through that would help others to hear. There are truths that God is speaking to me that could be an encouragement to someone else. And the things I am learning even have a greater impact on me when I articulate them to someone else. Whether through writing them in a blog or sharing them over coffee. 

I have also realized that I thought 7in7 needed to involve something profound and artsy and unique. And I think I am coming to understand that there are times that my writing may be those things. But before what I write is for someone else, it is for me. It is for me to learn and process and grow. 

So I am glad I did 7in7.... or I guess 6in7. Because the goal really wasn't perfection. It was to let go of my fear and try something that scared me. And it feels good knowing I did that. It has also made me want to do 2 things more. I want to more consistently create. To not let the inspiration that surrounds me everyday sneak by without capturing it. And it makes me want to continue to step out of my comfort zone and overcome my fears. So whats next? Cooking class, karaoke, dance lessons... Stay tuned! 

It has also kickstarted the habit of regularly creating, of not letting inspiration sneak by without capturing it. 

Ronnie (7in7: Day 5)

Monday, December 9, 2013

I got home from Ronnie's memorial and got the kids fed and put to bed. I have been sitting in front of my computer for over an hour since then trying to find words to say. I feel incredibly heavy. I ache for Ronnie's family and for my pastors and my friends. I feel hope in the truth that was taught tonight, both about Ronnie's present and my future. I feel thankful for my church and that I have pastors who, in the midst of their pain, are teaching us to grieve with hope. I feel challenged by Ronnie's life. Challenged to loosen my grasp on the things of this world and live as a stranger like he did, longing for heaven. Challenged to love the word and hide it deep in my heart. 

Everyone who spoke tonight shared precious stories of our brother and powerful truth. Fabs shared a beautiful passage of scripture that I found so comforting. There isn't anything better I could say after a day like today. 

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom heforeknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
    we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 8: 18-39

Made it Monday: Mini Christmas Banner

Okay because 7in7 wasn't enough I am going to try another blog challenge. Made it Mondays.  I am going to try to do a weekly post about something I have made. I love to create. To take something that is basically nothing and make it beautiful. To make something warm to be worn, or a toy to be played with, or a decoration to create a place of peace and beauty. It is cathartic for me. And I don't do it enough. So this will help with that. Although I, luckily, have a stockpile of stuff I have made lying around in case I fall behind. 

So here goes, I will start with Christmas!

I am tradition obsessed.  I think that because my parents weren't together and traditions were at most an every other year thing I tend to go a little over the top with trying to make traditions, especially now that we have kids. Luckily Matthew is my realistic anchor who keeps me from going too overboard. 

But we do have a tradition of putting our Christmas tree up the weekend after Thanksgiving.  I would even do it right after the meal but that is the non-football fan in me so we hold off until Friday. Then I spend the rest of the month adding creations little by little to make it homey. And every year I have to buy more storage bins for our Christmas decor. And every year our house gets a little more spirited.  

In the summer of 2012 we went to Indiana to visit Matthew's parents.  We had fun doing some antiquing (which I totally loved and want to do more of!). We bought some antique windows that have since been wrapped up in a box and left in the garage but I finally convinced Matthew to bring one in for our entry table. It felt like a grand reunion when I saw how perfectly shabby it is with its chipped paint and rustic feel. But it needed a little help getting into the spirit so I decided to make a little banner. 

I wish I could get a better picture but our entry way is super narrow so this is me standing with my back against the wall and the phone pulled back next to me as far as I could get it so it will have to do!

So simple and I had everything on hand so it was also free. WOOT! I cut out the burlap triangles. I did it freehanded and just used one I cut as a loose template. I kind of like that they aren't identical though. It adds to the charm. I had an alphabet template on hand and used paint pens to add the letters. Then just my good ole hot glue gun and some twine to finish her up! And I only burnt myself once!

I had this idea on a whim and can't even give credit to pinterest (not to say I haven't seen something similar on there before but whatevs!). I think it is a charming touch to our entryway and it finally made me put one of our awesome windows to use! Now just to figure out what to do with the other 3 that are still in the garage...

Broken- Part 2 (7in7: Day 4)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

This is part 2 to yesterdays post, so if you haven't yet, read that!  My thoughts were still rambling but I just felt like it needed to stop where it did. But it definitely wasn't the end so here is the rest! 

In the darkness He came.  He met her there and took her hand.  He turned her head to look back into the mirror and spoke His love to her.  In her broken place. When she felt ugly and worthless and unfixable. He held her. Just as she was. Infected. Wounded. Broken. In that place He paused and He loved her. 

"My daughter, you were made in my image. I knew you before you existed. I created you beautifully and wonderfully. I carefully and precisely knit you together to be just who you are. And you are lovely. You are always on my mind. I love you deeply. I want to share with you great and mysterious things. Look for me, my darling, and you will find me. Rest in my love and do not be afraid."

Her fear had kept her wounds covered. But now love would uncover them. She had known He loved her. But the belief hadn't penetrated her heart. She deep down believed the lie that she had to earn it. That she had to be enough. That is what life had taught her. That the love  she needed wasn't there because she wasn't enough for it. So she strived. She strived to be what she thought He needed her to be.

But in this moment, where she saw the gravity of her brokenness like never before. He paused. And the pause mattered. He didn't wait for her change or be fixed. He just whispered His love to her.

Then He, still holding her hand, gently and graciously removed the first bandage. It ripped her flesh and reopened the wound. But there he tenderly and carefully treated it. He continued to speak His gentle words as He did this. Speaking truth over the lie that created each wound. 

This wasn't a moment that marked the end of her brokenness. It was instead a beginning.  A beginning of a journey that He was inviting her on. To more deeply understand the height and depth of His love for her and to enable her to be a reflection of that love.

Broken (7in7: Day 3)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

She has moved forward. Years have passed. Many would say to leave everything behind. To live now and let go of anything from before. In some ways she does. But under the surface she is still plagued with the effects. She has identified some tendencies. She picks fights to keep him close. Because anything is better than feeling like he is gone. She avoids the depth because its dark there. So when people get close she only lets them so far in. She would rather sting than be stung so she will hurt before she allows herself to be. She knew there were scars. She even knew she needed healing. But life kept moving and she kept pushing down the feelings that were swelling up. 

She didn't even know him. She couldn't know him. He should have been the man that she loved to visit. Whose lap she could climb up on and listen to him tell stories. But he wasn't safe. She had to be protected from him but still pretend that everything was normal and ok. Over twelve years had passed since seeing him. He was very sick. Not even really there any more. And she felt nothing. 

But then he died. 

He was a crack in the wall that she had built to protect her from everything. Suppressed memories rushed over her like a flood. Anger and hurt overwhelmed her. She couldn't even identify what was wrong until a few awful days passed. 

Suddenly it was as if she stood before a mirror for the first time.  She saw the truth. The ugliness of the wounds. Every hurt. Every feeling of abandonment. Every hurtful word. Every time words that were needed went unsaid. Every time she needed love and couldn't find it. 

No one taught her how to treat these wounds. So they were hidden. Infection grew and these bandages didn't just cover her. Her flesh attempted to heal around them. The pain stopped.

But the bandages became her. They became her identity. They hid the reality of her brokenness. She was deeply broken. 

Thankful for a Life (7in7: Day 2)

Friday, December 6, 2013

I feel at a loss for words today. Emotions come in waves. I hug my husband a little tighter and he pauses to say goodbye to our daughter. We didn't know him as well as others but we were still deeply touched by his life. And his death brings on so many feelings. We mourn this loss and ache for his family and those that were close like family. We do ministry and live life with these people and they are hurting.  But we also rejoice, along with them.  We rejoice because he is home. And we give thanks for a legacy that was greater than I think anyone realized. 

Trying to put "pen to paper" this morning was hard. All the ideas I have had seem unimportant after a day like yesterday. As I sat at the coffee table thinking my daughter came and picked up the book that we keep there and asked me to read. 

I sat back with her and started to read. But instead decided to pull up his sermon. And we listened to him while we flipped through the pages. 

This will be the third year we celebrate Christmas with the tradition of reading The History of Redemption. We eat breakfast together and before we open a single present we use this book to usher us into worship of all that this holiday means. And we find hope there. I remember reading it on the Christmas after Sandy Hook and when there were still so many questions and so much grief, we were reminded of the incredible hope that we find in Jesus. 

We have been working on the habit of memorizing scripture with our daughter. She has memorized songs so easily and parts of her books that it just seems silly not to work with her on this. And, in reality, it has been good for Matthew and I too cause even some of these basic verses aren't committed to memory. 

I was touched and challenged by the words written in his introduction to The History of Redemption. 

"Scripture memory is a waning discipline in the Western church, and it is my desire that you too feel compelled to commit this epic story to memory or at least begin making scripture memorization a part of your daily routine."

This placed it on our hearts to memorize this book and commit this story of redemption to memory. Our hope is that this will honor his life and death. And we would encourage and invite anyone else to join us in this endeavor. 

(if you would like to memorize this with us, please comment or message me, we would love to do this as a community and be able to encourage and hold each other accountable)

Torn (7in7: Day 1)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Her memories are lacking. The few she has are blurred. This helped her cope. But it gave a false sense of healing. The hurt was buried so deep that she couldn't recognize the lingering effects. Though buried deep and not recalled often, the memories are still wounds that sting. It's like a deep bruise that stays forgotten until it is bumped. And then the pain comes on quick. 

She remembers little about the day. What caused the fight. What they wanted. Why she was in the middle. But she remembers the moment. The two people who should have given her the most security stood on either side. Each took a hand. She was old enough to remember but young enough to distort the memory. It likely only lasted a few seconds but felt like it never ended. They pulled. She was afraid. She felt unsafe. She didn't know who to turn to because she should have been turning to them both. Each wanted something different and trapped her in between. She never left this place. It never happened again-- but this feeling stayed with her the rest of her life. The safe became unsafe. The known became unknown. And a little girl stood alone in the middle. 


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I love this picture of Riley. I snapped it at a wedding we went to last month. She had the time of her life. She danced, tumbled, jumped and laughed across this field. So carefree. 

Every time I have looked back through my pictures and seen the pictures from this night I have been overwhelmed by how I feel. I couldn't pin point the emotion at first. 


I am envious of my daughter's fearless freedom.

She fearlessly paraded around this lawn. Just like she does anywhere we go. She desires to be delighted in... and she knows that she is. She desires to be protected.... and she knows that she is. She is oblivious to any judgement (to the degree that her tights fell down and she didn't care).

I am afraid. 


It is embarrassing and almost comical. I would rather not try and feel safe than try and risk failure. Trying new things make me feel exposed. 

And I am not even talking about things that seem understandable. Like singing before a crowd, or dancing on a stage. 

I am talking about cooking a new meal for my family. 

I would rather eat beans and rice or the same old chicken dish than risk buying everything, taking all the time to make it, and it being horrible... or burnt... or ruined. 

I have realized this for a while. And hated it. I feel stupid. I want to shake it but I feel trapped.  And I feel like it is a reflection of me. I let that fearfulness define me. 

But it's being stripped away. 

And I feel a little bit naked.   

I have been stepping out more over the last couple years. Cooking more. Crafting more. But I have felt like it was time to get drastic. And to be okay with the fact that what is drastic for me is easy for someone else. To give myself the grace that, as my sister said, my experience has taught me that I am only loved for doing good, and that risking failure is risking being unloved. I know in my head that isn't truth. That God loved me deeply and intimately before I ever existed, let alone did anything good. But I am realizing that I have to risk that kind of failure in order to move that belief from my head to my heart. 

So here I go. 

I am going to write. 

Me, who fought to pass English classes. With a sister who is an amazingly gifted writer. A mom who published a book. And another sister with stories that will bring you to tears and challenge your faith. 

It is far from my gifting but as I have been working through some trials I have found it an amazing tool to help me process and heal. But I have remained private. In the safety of a journal, occasionally shared with my husband or sisters, but never made public. Cause that is safe. But it is time to let go of feeling safe. 

I am doing 7 in 7

In short that means that I will be writing 7 complete posts in 7 days. 

I am terrified and excited to see what this turns into and praying that this is just the beginning of a season of God stripping away my fears and giving me a boldness that honors him.