Sunday, April 27, 2014

The beauty of what will be

This is our first Spring at our home which means we get to see all sorts of beautiful plants blooming that we haven't got to experience before. Never have I studied lilacs in bloom. The flowers were gone last June when we moved in. Now we have seen the full process. Greenery to twigs to new shoots to buds to blooming purple flowers! It's so beautiful to watch as day by day they do their thing! 

We are all beauty in the making. We may start out as little twigs, but sure enough day by day and season by season, we bud and bloom and before we know it, the fruits of all that labor of growth and work are set out for all the world to see. Or at least those around you. :) 

It's a process and not an easy one at times. But it is so worth it. Every second. 

Do you know how you've caught my eye? In the secret place where you chose to die? 

The small things we do, dying to self, God sees and it pleases Him. 

Do you know the way you move Me? 

I see fields of people swaying like flowers in a gentle summer breeze.  Praising their God; hands raised, hearts humble, laying down their lives to glorify their Father. A beautiful sight and act of obedience and worship. Recognizing our need to worship Him. To thank Him for the life He's given. The hope of our lives. The love He pours out, so we can pour out and give again. 

Do you know the way you move Me? 

Christ is delighted in our worship. Our obedience. Our service. Our dying to self. He loves you. He loves our movement, however small or difficult, directed toward Him. 

Christ covers His people. His precious flowers. He gives us the light to grow. The soil. The water. He gives and we move and live because of Him. Only because of Him and His love for us. 

The Great Exchange. He gives life. We give praise and glory back to Him. 

Enter in Beloved, to the blessed covenant with our Lord and Savior. 

He welcomes all! He desires full fields of flowers blooming for His glory! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


This was probably the best week of 2014 yet. It was full and busy and yet relaxing also. It required hard physical work and some quiet meditating on life; where we are and where we are going. 

The weather was optimal for outdoor living. We poured our patio, cleaned up our yard, shot bb guns, took walks and bike rides, met neighbor kids, went to the park and read books outside. 

It was full and fun! 

We also rested. The new bedtime routine puts the kids to bed at 8:30. They weren't so happy at first but we did this so Micheal and I could have time together, just us two. It has been a great change of schedule. No matter how awesome of parents we want to be, we must make time to be a great husband and wife first. Fact. 

This week has been a fun filled week of projects and has also been filled with conversation about how we are doing as a family, what our dreams are, how to make those dreams happen and how to continue learning. 

I see growth in each of my children this week. Maybe it was the sunshine. Maybe it's because we needed them to step up and help in some way. And maybe it was because I was living fully aware of how fast this life goes and trying to appreciate every second with them that I get. 

Yep! This was the best week so far! But maybe next week will top it! ;)

Monday, April 21, 2014


This is the only picture I took on Easter. We got ready for church and hustled out the door, all the while this boy wasn't feeling too well. We arrived at church and he promptly threw up into a coffee cup and he and I went home. We watched a movie and I read as baby took a nap. 

It felt a bit weird to miss church on Easter but I enjoyed our laid back day together. August felt better almost immediately after he threw up. Side note: Someone almost always gets sick if we eat canned tomatoes. 

Toward the end of the afternoon, August sat down at the piano and started playing a beautiful song. He went on for a long time. He would pause and say, "This is my God song." And then he went through a lot of the scenes of the Easter story: the garden of Gethsemene, Peter cutting off the ear of the soldier, Jesus healing his ear, Jesus dying on the cross and rising again. 

I sat with a few tears running down my cheeks, soaked it all in and prayed. 

He said that he wanted to do church since he had to miss it so he led us in worship and quiet contemplation of what Christ has done for us.  

Christ is alive! He continues to fill up His people with His Holy Spirit and will do so until He comes again. I for one want to be filled to overflowing, never deviating from His plan for my life until that glorious day comes, when we will forever be in His presence. 

My heart is happy today. I have a wonderFULL life and I am thankful. 

I hope your Easter was full of love and time with family and I hope you took some time to praise the One to whom it is due and to work out your own salvation. 

To God be the glory forever and ever!  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The cross

Naturally we have been reading the story of Easter. The story of Jesus dying on a cross for us. The best story ever told. 

Without this story I feel like no other story matters. Without the relationship I have with God because of the sacrifice of His Son, I feel like no other relationship would be what it is. 

I was reading about Peter's denial of Christ and I couldn't help but sob. The kids' ears perked right up! Mom's crying, this must be good! Oh the beauty of Christ's words and works. His life is so inspiring. If ever you need an example of how to live, look to Christ. Not other people proclaiming to walk with the LORD, although there are definitely people who do live a holy life, but Christ ultimately is our BEST example. 

The fact that Jesus looks back at Peter after the rooster crows. Oh my Good Gracious Lord! You are so amazing! Jesus was going through quite a bit at the time and yet He is fully aware of what Peter, His close friend, is going through at the same time. He takes the time and energy to look at Peter and I imagine that look was not of shame or anger. He knew what was going to happen already. He experiences that moment with Peter. He shows Peter grace. The glorious grace that never ends and is available for every soul that has ever walked this broken world. God you are just too much for me sometimes! In a good way of course! 

I have been saved since I was 8 and the story of the cross never gets old for me. In fact, it gets me more and more the older I get. I mean, who am I, that the God of this world would count it a worthy cause to send His only Son to come walk on earth, perfectly, and then take my sin upon Him and conquer it once and for all! Seriously?! Nothing else has made sense to me like the story and life of Jesus. I fully believe this with all of my heart and while I don't understand all of what the Bible says, like I said, I can't put the pieces together to make sense in any other way people say to get to heaven. It's not only believing in heaven and hell though. Yes, that's big, but it is so much more and it is what heaven and hell represent. 

If God is light and there is no darkness in Him, and if sin is darkness, then that means I can't have a close relationship with God, who again is light and LOVE. I am a sinner. I fully recognize that I do things wrong. I go against Him is some ways and that is sin. So, in order to fix my huge problem of not being able to have a relationship with Him because of my sin He says, "Hey, I got ya covered!" He sends His Son and makes a way for me to have a relationship with Him. And God is not just an acquaintance. He is my Father. My Friend. My Savior! 

I know that I cannot be "good enough" to get to heaven without Him. I know I must do things His way, because He created all of this anyhow. It takes being humble. And it takes submitting to Him. Everyday and in all ways. 

But I wouldn't trade this life for anything else. We have talked about how Peter felt so terrible about denying Christ and also how Pastor Saeed might even be freed if he would just deny Christ as his Savior. But in light of eternity, what is a little time in prison? What is a terrible time on earth compared to eternity with the most loving and kind God? 

I choose Christ and I'm so thankful and overwhelmingly glad that He chose us too. 

We can love Him because He first has loved us. And oh, what a love it is! 

Happy Easter! May we live everyday with the attitude of love and forgiveness. A life full of victory over sin and death. A life of abundance through what Christ has done for us all on the cross some 2000 years ago. 

Go in peace for He has given you peace. We have been redeemed from the depths of Hell.  He has given us everything! We lack nothing if indeed we walk in the Spirit of God. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Our patio!

Last Fall we ripped out our wooden deck and dreamt of replacing it with concrete. All Winter we have waited and today we finally poured a patio! 

It must be said that this is a huge undertaking for us NON DIYers. We bought this house last Summer and it was lovely to not have to do anything at all to it. A contractor had bought it 2 years before and redone the whole thing. I have enjoyed this new home of ours immensely! 

The only thing for us to do is work on our backyard which we are both really excited about.  We have made some garden beds and now have the patio finished. We planted blackberries, raspberries, grapes and a trumpet vine last Summer and the berry plants are just starting to sprout! Our back fence is a hideous chain link with barbed wire on the top because of having the city water tower right behind us so we are hoping all the vines will cover the fence all across the back. 

The concrete truck driver asked if the kids were out of school for the day and I told him this was our school for the day! 

Grace couldn't help but get in there! She and the boys poured a little extra pad since we had a bit extra. She worked so diligently on this for most of the afternoon. They helped clean up too. Family work project! 

It is not perfect but we had a great time working together and learned a lot. We should have poured it more wet and we should have finished the stairs before moving on to the rest of the patio so there would have been less "rough spots". Micheal was pretty disappointed at first but I was just thrilled that WE DID IT! The plan was to stamp and stain it but by the time we got to finishing it, the concrete was too dry. We ended up with a broom finish.  Oh, well! You live and learn right?! 

You can see the two small garden beds in the back left of the picture and then behind that is the kids' fort. :) 

Progress! I am so excited to pull the forms off tomorrow, make strawberry lemonade and relax all Summer! 

Cheers to fun home projects! 

Spring senses

I hear: the humming of our neighbor's lawn mower.

I see: small sprouts coming out of the earth. Bloom, my friends! Bloom!

I smell: the dirt as I crouch down and pull weeds.

I feel: the rocks on my tender feet. Go get shoes on I say to myself. But it feels so nice to have the sun's warmth on my body I don't want to go inside. 

I taste: A fresh salad with strawberries and pecans.

It's Spring! The sun shines down and beckons us all to come outside! To enjoy her company. To set the seedlings out and pray they don't die. To pull another weed and pray they do die! To put the sprinkler under the trampoline. To watch as one child is hesitant to get soaked while the other jumps right in, not a thought otherwise. To make forts of tarps and random objects found. 

Get outside! Enjoy this new season upon us! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I just turned on our computer after it being off since last Wednesday. Seriously what a fantastic week of not having the distraction of a glowing screen. :) 

Sister got a much needed bigger bike. She added a plastic water bottle to it to make it sound like a motorcycle. The 3 oldest cruised around the block as a motorcycle gang. 

We stayed home on Sunday because of sick kids and studied together as a family. Nothing makes my heart more happy.

While cleaning out the garage, August found the Bob books. He now memorizes books. ;) It has been adorable to listen to. 

Dinner alfresco style! 

And that's all folks! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


This week flew right on by! I barely had the camera out but managed to get a couple "group" shots. Not full groups, but I don't know if many moments go by without at least 2 of them joined up for something.  

August is the most wild, everywhere, energetic kid I have! Plus he loves to get his photo taken so it's like his antennas are up and if there is a camera anywhere in sight, he's getting in on that picture taking action! Usually adding a funny face or in this case, just plain nuts! Such a silly and fun boy. 

Sometimes in life we need a little nudge to just go for it! Big sister doesn't have a problem helping her little bro out a bit. ;) 

Once again, August was the one that stuck with this the longest. He can hang with the best of them or be all by himself. He is so much like his father. Can't wait to see what this boy does in his life. 

P.S. I honestly can't believe we are in week 15 of 2014!!

I have been meditating on this verse today:

Psalm 90:12
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Trust the process

Last Spring I started to think toward the next "school year" and therefore was contemplating, more than anything, what curriculum to buy and use. 

The Lord prompted me to pray about it, so I did. 

He ended up leading us in a completely different direction than I had anticipated and what a great year it has been! 

First off, I didn't buy a curriculum. What??!! Yep, you read that right. We didn't follow someone else's idea of what to do in a year of school. We did our own thing. 

Next, the Lord quietly spoke that we were not to do any extras. No sports. No gymnastics. No music class. No co op. Nothing that put me behind the wheel, driving the kids to and fro to this and that activity.  

It has been a quiet year at home with my children. We continued in our studies of U.S. History; presidents, events, wars, people, states, capitols, etc. 

I found that I kept coming across unschooling or life learning articles and books to read. I especially loved the book, Free to Learn by Peter Gray. There were times that I felt the kids had more freedom than the regular idea of school permits and that I was alright with in the past, but I saw and kept track by journaling that they were indeed reading books, studying numbers and by all accounts.... learning!! I have felt the need to continue in my own learning more and more too. Not only for the fact that it is just fun to learn, but I want to have more wisdom and thoughts to share with them too! 

We have gone to a couple of plays, with another one this month. Culture is good! We have gone swimming and skating and to the movies all as a family. We have enjoyed time at home building, cooking, baking, cleaning, organizing, playing music, taking pictures (kids and me), gardening, and being free to play how we all wanted. The kids are in our van right now, playing that that is their home. I have mentioned I would like to sell it so they are getting as much time playing in it as they can!

We have read books aloud and read alone in bed at night. The kids have stayed up late some nights with an idea of a restaurant, cooking and making signs and menus. They have stayed up late watching movies and whispering to each other.  Most of us are night owls and it has worked out well for us to "do school" later in the evening when they have all their wiggles out and the cooking and cleaning are done and baby is asleep. 

All this to say..... trust the process. I see my kids reading, interested in numbers and life and how things work. They are not "broken". We have learned and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We have grown. We have seen new things. Met new people. Learned new concepts. Figured out new ways of doing life. And we are all the better for it! 

It has been a fantastic year! 

Now, I realize that the traditional school year is not over but I feel a transition in our own home right now.  We are out and about more. Going on field trips. Thinking about signing up for t-ball or soccer. Serving in ministries. And it all feels right. I see that we are moving out of one season of life and right into a new one. God is like that. It is not always BIG transitions but small ones that keep life moving along. 

I have been praying that God would show us what this new season or school year will look like. Do I buy a curriculum? Do we sign up for activities? Do we keep going with what we were doing last year? 

I feel like He wants to do something new this year. Something different than last year. I feel a push to really be apart of our community and serve others. I feel a need for a little more structure for our studies. I feel a need to get my kids into activities that will encourage and stretch them. To have them learn from others. To get outside of their comfort zones. To get me out of my comfort zone! 

But in all this, I know that whatever it is that God guides us to and through, it will be good, because He is good and desires more for us. More love. More living in His Spirit. More service. More growth. So much MORE! 

God says that He came that we may have life, and that we may have it more abundantly! Well, by golly I want some abundant life! 

I pray we all take some time to search and know what it is that God is calling and leading us into. 

Staying with what He has been doing through you? Moving you onto something new? Something challenging? Something you may not want to do? Something you have been itchin' to do for ages now?! 

Lean into God. He will direct you. It may look different than what you have planned but trust Him and in that process of learning to trust Him you will have grown and who doesn't want a little growth in their life? He will give you peace with what He calls you to. 

I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
.... and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth - Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust.... 

~ Psalm 40: 2-4a 

I have learned that although I love hearing from other people; their opinions and experiences, the most guidance and peace I have received for my own circumstances have come from God.  He loves when we ask of Him! He loves to share His wisdom and ways with us! We just need to go to Him....