16 March 2018

thankful friday...changing it up this week.

  • the unending faithfulness and kindness of God.
  • timely texts from lovely friends
  • fabulous church signs
  • God's got good plans. 
  • walking around lamb's lake with my best friend
  • celebrating eli with waffles, boiled peanuts, cinnamon streusel muffins, games and friends

  • comfort of avett brothers music
  • getting the trampoline springs on!
  • splendor!

  • 5 for the price of 3 at the aquarium
  • intentional community around the walls' table
  • cookie cake (and another year with these guys)

  • honest questions. 
  • tuesday morning naps
  • beautiful quotes from bob goff
  • those cats.  they are gifts. 
  • thankful lists can be published on friday just as easily as thursday
  • teen advisor dinner.  goodness we love that organization. 

09 March 2018

thankfulness changes things.

  • beautiful morning for soccer (my toes didn't freeze)
  • cooler temperatures (hanging on to them cause i know summer will be HOT)
  • "i'm happy ya'll are home." - yaya
  • easy breezy car ride to amelia island
  • how easy it is to be with sam and christy
  • beach + sunset + pizza
  • "this is where i am.  if i am here that means God is here with me..." -amena brown
  • driftwood beach and sunday afternoon adventures

  • beautiful breakfast -- eggs, bacon, fruit, toast, coffee
  • webmunity gathering
  • the continued gift of pizza coupons
  • tiffany was willing to cover the lifeschool class (and hearing from a parent how God used her in the lives of the kiddos!)
  • real questions and ears that listen to the real answers
  • early morning sam's club run - made complete by the complimentary coffee and muffin
  • enjoyable, remarkable, refreshing "test run/trial/preview" community group meeting
  • date night.  always thankful. 

03 March 2018

in the middle (and outskirts) of difficult...aka "I'm not ok"

First off, it's difficult to write about difficult when you're in the middle of it.
Let me interrupt myself -- I wrote most of this post in early December (which you're going to find ironic when you read the rest of this).  And there's nothing in me that really wants to hit "publish" on this particular post.  But then there's something in me that knows this is significant....and this whole blog has always been about obedience.  So when He asks me to hit publish, hit publish I shall...

Interruption over, back to what I wrote in December....
I've decided it's human nature to wait until you're "better" to write/share/tell about the tough time you were having...maybe we don't like to not be doing so well - or maybe the "not doing so well" takes so much out of us that we don't have much leftover for sharing.  Or maybe it's just scary to not be doing well. Or maybe there's fear that if I admit to struggling, the struggle will just come exploding out like those little trick springy snake things that we used to stuff into cans as kids (and maybe, definitely, all of those things are true for me right now).

But I'm in the middle of it.  And I want to write about it.  But I don't know what to say.

It baffles me a bit because I love authenticity and I'm more than willing to admit that I struggle...

(sidenote: in a conversation with a friend we were talking about not having it all together - and i said that those are my favorite kind of people...those that don't have it all together - and some of my least favorite are those that pretend to have it all together when we really know no one has it all together.)

But it's not easy to say....
  • I am struggling.
  • I am not doing well.
  • I don't have it all together.
  • I am hurting.
  • I am sad.
  • I am dissatisfied and selfish and discontent.
  • I am disappointed.
  • I am dealing with feeling anxious more than ever before.
  • I miss the ship more than I ever thought I would.
  • I am frustrated. 
Not easy to say...and hard to look at in list form...But that's what I'm feeling.

Now comes the part when I should write about how I am satisfied in Jesus and He's all I need and He gives me joy and peace and purpose.  And, while all these things are true - so very true - and I really do believe them...I don't want to slap a Holy band-aid on something that needs a better solution.

The kittens are a good distraction.
Christmas preparations, another good distraction.

But ultimately I don't know that I'm ok or how to be ok.  And putting this out in a blog post feels like a cry for help...which it is not.  If you want to pray for me, feel free.  If you want to offer words of encouragement, those are always welcome.  But please don't feel like you are "supposed" to say anything...or that you "should" say something (life goal:  don't should on yourself and don't should on others).  Just be with me in this.  And for those of you reading this that are "with me" - thank you (and don't beat yourself up if you didn't realize that I'm not doing ok...it's ok!).

Really, so much is ok that we may not be sure is ok...
So now here it is March 2 and life feels better....and I'm close to hitting publish on this post...but I'm wondering what "ok" really even looks like...and realizing it may just be ok to not be ok....
In the past few weeks God has been grounding me (again...deeper...further...) in His love.  He has been so kind to remind me of His love - and my identity as His beloved.  He has been reminding me that He is faithful and trustworthy - and I can truly put my trust in Him (not in myself...not in Nick...not in the church...not in "ministry"...not even in my relationship with Him - ONLY IN HIM).

One song has especially been significant:

especially these lyrics:
I will build my life upon Your love. It is a firm foundation.  I will put my trust in You alone and I will not be shaken.  
So maybe i'm not ok...but that's ok. I am loved by a never-failing, always faithful, trustworthy God. And that's more than ok.  Even when those words have an empty feel to them, they aren't empty.  They are Truth...Cause it's not about my feelings....it's about His love and faithfulness.

I've yet to figure out how to fully share when I'm in the middle of difficult...maybe someday.  For now, thoughts from in the middle of it with some follow-up thoughts must be sufficient.

02 March 2018

the gifts keep on coming.

  • cartwheel app saved us $12 just like that
  • fresh bread delivered by katie
  • celebrating 20 years of CCC (and being reminded of who CCC is in Him)

  • cinnabon things from the dollar store
  • skyping with nick and suzanne
  • beautiful friendships on a beautiful day

  • jon white's extreme generosity
  • shea came for the weekend!!
  • hearing about seneca and seeing the mural that is on the side of their building
  • sweet time of crave
  • zoe's kitchen with my lovely friend molly 
  • date night at the driving range

  • time with BEAN.  being around someone who loves so deeply and intentionally is good for my soul. 
  • clarity and direction 
  • quotes that resonate
  • life and hearts shared on the african fabric picnic blanket
  • being married to such an incredible man
  • eli's service through CRS and tech team

22 February 2018

memes and desserts and sunsets and daffodils

  • fit bit hand-me-over
  • a friend got a job that sounds like a great fit
  • spot on memes

  • figuring that the dishwasher does indeed match the fridge (the gray blue shade was from the protective film that we never took off)
  • beautiful day for a bike ride 
  • date night desserts

  • 100% positive RSVP for eli's birthday plans 
  • taco tuesday with the callows (goodness...setting the bar high for taco tuesday) 
  • incredible spot for viewing the sunset

  • doughnuts and coffee
  • how much sam makes nick laugh
  • finding daffodils in our yard..

  • doing the right thing (disobedience is not worth $40)
  • "he loved so intimately and served so effectively." - inspiring words about Charles Wesley
  • sweet time with sweet friends at the playground

  • "put your faith in God's faithfulness." - nic
  • magic tricks by "emma-gician"
  • selah's honesty about losing sugar

16 February 2018

love and muffins and girls working together.

  • sweet, sweet week of vacation
  • how much caroline loves her bed (and home!)
  • TA projects
  • how very, very, very much God loves us
  • reckless love song
  • cookies and milk (and ridiculously amazing friendship) with shea 

  • silly messaging with shelley
  • josh and katie are here!!!
  • andrea and her "hey girl hey"
  • rice & soy sauce
  • eli's bluberry muffin making
  • 4 words of affirmation for nick

  • girls playing soccer in the mud
  • coffee with katie (coffee = amazing; company = even better)
  • vacation moments that are REALLY REST because my husband is thoughtful and generous and incredible
  • caroline helping emma organize her room (thankful for the cooperation and the organization!)
  • homeschooling = emma can get the sleep she needs
  • goggles and bubbles and curly girly (and alllll the other white kids)(nope...not a racial statement) 
  • familiar and sacred ash wednesday service
  • when the heaviness lifts a bit
  • microwaves and electric kettles and all the conveniences of life
  • nick's lunch on monday

11 February 2018

Abba's Child - quotes from chapters 4-6

Second installment of quotes from "Abba's Child" - all quotes from Brennan Manning unless otherwise noted!  

Chapter 4

It is important to recognize these self-commentaries for the mind tricks they are.  They have nothing to do with our real dignity.  How we view ourselves at any given moment may have very little to do with who we really are. - Gerald May

Only reckless confidence in a Source greater than ourselves can empower us to forgive the wounds inflicted by others.

I am reluctant to push God off His judgement seat and take my place there to pronounce on others when I have neither the knowledge nor the authority to judge anyone.  No one at this table has ever seen a motive.  Therefore, we cannot suspect what inspired the action of another.

We are sons and daughters of the Most High and maturing in tenderness to the extent that we are for others - all others - to the extent that no human flesh is strange to us, to the extent that we can touch the hand of another in love, to the extent that for us there are no "others."

The compassion of God in our hearts opens our eyes to the unique worth of each person.

I felt that to acknowledge their [prejudices] existence would give them power.  Ironically, denial and repression are in fact what gives them power.

What makes the Kingdom come is heartfelt compassion:  a way of tenderness that knows no frontiers, no labels, no compartmentalizing, and no sectarian divisions.  Jesus, the human Face of God, invites us to deep reflection on the nature of true discipleship and the radical lifestyle of Abba's child.

Chapter 5

As systematic theology advances, the sense of wonder declines.

Jesus did not die at the hands of muggers, rapists or thugs.  He fell into the well-scrubbed hands of deeply religious people...

Obedience was the expression of the love of God and neighbor, and therefore any form of piety that stood in the way of love stood in the way of God Himself.

...safe in the shadow of God's love.

Being accepted, enamored, and loved by God comes first, motivating the disciple to live the law of love.

Chapter 6

Without deliberate awareness of the present risenness of Jesus, life is nonsense, all activity useless, all relationships in vain.  - Don Watkins

All day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ...nothing is irrelevant to it, nothing is without significance in it.

Jesus...the incarnation of all the Father's feelings and attitudes toward human kind.

The miracle of the gospel is Christ, risen and glorified, who this very moment tracks us, pursues us, abides in us, and offers HImself to us as companion for the journey!

Contemplative awareness of the risen Jesus shapes our resemblance to Him and turns us into the person God intended us to be.

Jesus, rather than self, is always the indispensable core of ministry...the moment we acknowledge that we are powerless, we enter into the liberating sphere of the risen One and we are freed from anxiety over the outcome.

This book is significant for me. I feel like I'm on the edge of something beautiful...like I've been circling around it and tasting of the goodness...and now He's inviting me to jump - free falling in His perfect love.  (which sounds pretty but is really a scary, scary picture...but that's just where I want to be - entirely surrounded, controlled, lost in His Love...want to jump with me?)