A Year of Rest – Join me?

Welcome back!

Last week I wrote about how my soul has been longing for REST, and at the end I invited you to join me in this endeavor. I’m so glad that you came back so we could talk a little bit about what that might look like in the upcoming year.

I’ve been thinking and praying about this for the last couple of weeks and have had ideas percolating. I’ve really felt the Lord leading to work on one thing a month  – one area in which we can implement REST. So each month I or a guest writer will be talking about REST and what that means in our lives.

And, though this is an introductory post into this foray of REST, I’ve picked an area for this month – Media. Specifically social media and talk radio. I love knowing what’s going on in the world – hearing opinions and keeping up with events. I love reading the articles that people link to. But I’ve noticed that talk radio, especially, stresses me out because I’ve found that there isn’t much of a balance. The ‘gloom and doom’ isn’t ever balanced by HOPE. And if I’m leaving a program or discussion depressed and worried, it isn’t worth it. God says to trust in Him and these two mediums aren’t helping me in that task.

So, this month I’m turning off talk radio and limiting social media. That pains me to say, just so you know, but it must be done in this pursuit of rest.

Recently I was reading a blog post by Emily Freeman over at Chatting at the Sky and she mentioned an app that she installed that keeps track of her time online. It’s called Rescue Time. It tracks the time that you spend and shows you where you’re spending it. I’m excited to see where I’m spending my days. Hopefully this will help me be more disciplined in my time in social-media-land.

It’s fun to see what’s going on in other’s lives, but more often than not, it means that we’re not living our lives to the fullest.

I’ll be checking back in with you throughout the month to share what progress is being made in the area of the month. I hope you’ll join me in this journey.My heart is to encourage you in the many facets of REST as we explore some of the practical applications and abstract ideas behind the idea of REST.

Be sure to let me know what you’re doing in your pursuit of REST!





Rest 2015 – A Word to define a Year

It’s been quiet here lately in this little corner of the web. The words haven’t come as easily lately because I’ve been struggling. Between all the outer turmoil in the world, the trying to process it all, and trying to manage my own crazy, I’m just plain tired.

I’ve been yearning for REST.

And though the striving for approval is less, there has still been this disquiet, an unsettling in my soul.

Last year I chose the word Intentional as my ‘word of 2014’. I kept coming back to it when my mind needed to be centered. How could I be intentional in home management, homeschooling, writing … So many things to do and implement.

Toward the end of the year I lost steam and my soul started getting restless. I needed something.

Finally, it came to me. I needed rest.

So, that is the word that I’ve chosen for 2015. It’s a word of inaction, which totally rubs me the wrong way. Who wants to be know for inactivity?


When I first started to think this through, the question I asked myself, was,                        ‘what can I do to pursue rest?’ But that’s the wrong question.

The question that needs to be asked is,

What do I need to stop doing in order to pursue rest?

I wonder if our pursuit of activity is a need to fill the space because                             we’ve forgotten how to rest?

There is no standing ovation for resting. Few people clamor to read about a person who does little.

But I’ve never been one to go with the flow. My drive goes in the opposite direction most of the time – against what’s typically popular.

So, will you join me this year? Will you pursue REST with me?

Come back Monday and I would love to share some thoughts with you on how we can walk this year of REST together.



Allume – Come and Dine

For several months I prayed for this year’s Allume Conference. Every month I picked a different area to pray for – the worship, sponsors, speakers, staff – you get the idea. And for October, I picked “Unity”. I prayed that all of us there would put aside our differences, what’ere  they may be, and come together to learn how to better glorify our King.

This was my second year to attend and I had been looking forward to going for several months. I expected to grow and learn. What I never planned on was to come away feeling raw.

The verse for this year’s conference was Revelation 3:20

rev 320

As the director gave the keynote my eyes kept wandering to the easel that held the verse. I grew up with those words, we even sang a song about it, how many dozens of times, I don’t remember. But it’s there, etched on my mind. Though I never understood them until now.

This year’s theme was Hospitality. We were admonished to open our hearts and online spaces to everyone. We were encouraged to be a people of heart hospitality, leaving people feeling better about themselves than before they encountered us.

But I want to ask you this, how can we be hospitable when we don’t realize that God is a God of hospitality?

I never really felt that verse was for me. For everyone else, sure. But not me. I always pictured myself opening the door, serving Him His food, and then hanging back as He ate in silence, never feeling worthy to sit and eat with Him.

As I sat there reading those words over and over, the truth hit me.

“I will come in to him and dine with him and he with Me.” Then I looked around at all of us at the table. Every  meal consisted of friends and strangers sitting together over a meal and communing.

We were sharing something intimate with one another – we were getting to know each other over bread, laughter, and tears.

He showed me that weekend, in late October, that no matter the shame, no matter the sin struggles, He wants to eat with me – with you.

And that humbles me because I know that we don’t deserve it. But He calls to us, comes to us, and communes with us because He wants to.

He wants to.

I’ve always know Him as God, Creator, Lord, and even Father. But now, He’s offered me a seat at His table and I know Him as Friend.

Smokey Cheese Spread

This is a fun appetizer, compliments of Better Homes and Gardens, that can be made ahead either hours or even a day before you need it. Typically I’ve used the smoked Gouda option and haven’t tried the other two. There have been times  when I’ve not had enough time to make a ‘cheese ball’, so have made this into a spread.

Which just means that I put it into a container for later use.

I hope you enjoy this – it’s really yummy!


Smoky Cheese Ball


  • 2   8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 2 cups finely shredded smoked cheddar, Swiss, or Gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons steak sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped nuts, toasted
Assorted crackers


  1. Let cream cheese, shredded cheese, and butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add milk and steak sauce; beat until fluffy. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
  2. Shape mixture into a ball; roll in nuts. Let stand for 15 minutes. Serve with crackers. Makes 3-1/2 cups spread (56, 1-tablespoon servings).

Communication, or the lack thereof

My husband looks at me and asks me what’s wrong. Did he offend me? Did he do something wrong? And, instead of being honest, I swallow my hurt and frustration, tell him no, and continue to fold laundry. I tell him I have a headache and I’m tired. He gets me some water and aspirin – the lie having caused the headache and the lack of communication causing a rift.

Communication is such a murky subject. There are numerous levels. There’s the ‘survival communication‘. The “did you get the clothes out of the dryer? S is out of underwear!” Then there’s the surface talk’ The “How was your day? Rough, yours? Kids were crazy, cute, then crazy again.”

It’s the deep talk, the heart talk, that is difficult to get to. Between the busyness of the day and the weariness in the evening, sometimes there’s nothing left to give.

How many times have we had to peel back the layers of life to get back to the ‘us’ – the couple that used to talk for hours? We have to make the time to communicate. We have to take it and put that time to good use.

My husband and I live in the same house together, we live life together, but communicating what’s on our hearts is sometimes difficult. After mulling this over and trying to get to the root cause of our lack of communication, I’ve come up with a couple of things. They may not be your reasons but perhaps they’ll help you figure out yours.

The first is complacency. Sometimes talking takes too much effort (there, I said it and my husband admitted this too). Much to my chagrin, sometimes I’m okay with not making that effort. It’s sort of like when you know you should be spending time with your kids but you know that pile of dishes won’t clean itself and you choose the dishes over love (please tell me I’m not the only one doing this!) You’ve lost that moment, to what, housework? But the times that you’ve chosen play over work have been so sweet.

That’s the way it is with talking with my man. When I choose talking over the 25 tasks on my ‘to-do’ list, it reaps so many more rewards. The dishes will always be there but the opportunity to build that relationship might not be.

Okay, so I told you that there were a couple of things – here’s the second. FEAR. One word, but such a big one. I’m afraid sometimes to tell that man that I love with all my heart, what is going on inside my brain. I’m afraid because with love comes the power to hurt, and if I don’t talk, I don’t give him that power, right?


But how many times have I been surprised when I do bear my heart and we have had a wonderful conversation?

Fear will do that to you. It’ll creep in and tell you things that aren’t true. Lies that will keep your relationship from growing because you believe them over what you know to be true. And the truth is my husband loves me and  wants to talk too. The truth is, he holds my heart protectively.

Do you know something wonderful? God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)

When I am fearful, I am weak, undisciplined, and selfish. These character traits don’t build relationships but rather tear them down.

The love of God is amazing and more powerful than we could ever fathom. He can give us the strength to have genuine heart conversations. And, He alone can conquer the fear that holds us back from becoming a couple who brings Him glory in our relationships.

He can give us the strength to make the

5 Tips for Getting Ready for Date Night

Over the years I’ve learned some things when it comes to planning Date Nights. These 5 things have really helped when I’ve wanted to do something extra special for us.

Here they are 🙂

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 Photo credit Jolly Voyager

1. Plan your theme – This may sound silly and you might be wondering “what theme, it’s just date night”. But sometimes a theme really comes in handy. What if you want to do “movie night” or “game night”. Pick your activities, food, etc. around that theme.

2. Gather your needed ingredients/items the day or two before – Sometimes I’m a procrastinator, and then things come up, and the date night I had planned doesn’t turn out so ‘romantical’. It always works out better if you gather your things at least the day before – you’ll be more relaxed and it’ll lead to a better evening.

3. Plan an easy supper for the kiddos – So, it’s not a sin to feed your kids PB and J or hotdogs for supper on an evening that you’ve got a date planned – especially if you’re planning on making a special meal or snack for you and your man. Be easy on yourself! (It’s not a sin to feed them these things even if you don’t have a date night planned, not that I know anything about this)

4. Don’t feel guilty for letting the kids watch a video while you get ready for ‘date night’ – There is going to be some prep that will need your undivided attention. The food, yourself, all takes time to get ready. If you need/or want to take a shower before your husband comes home, take the time to do it! No matter what catches his eye – high heels or a baseball cap – he’ll notice that you made an effort.

5. Think ‘happy thoughts’ about your man all day long 🙂 – And, yes, by ‘happy’ I mean sexual. Let’s face it, there are all sorts of things clamoring for our attention as wives and mothers. If we don’t intentionally fix our minds on our men, we might miss out on a spectacular evening 😉

We’re living the Dream

The days seem to go by in a repetitive blur – get up, shower, squeeze in some time in the Word before the kiddos greet me at 6:30, make the bed, see my husband off to work, make breakfast, do laundry, dishes, lunch, sweep, breathe, snack, supper, dishes, bedtime, REPEAT.

Doesn’t sound like much of a life, does it? Sure we go to the park, the museum, or the zoo every now and then. We play with friends and eat popsicles ( I make a mean fudgsicle).

But nothing really grand or glorious, or so it seems. 

Most of my friends lives seem this way as well – the Rinse and Repeat of raising babies. Sometimes we wish that we could do more, be more than what we perceive ourselves          to be – ‘just’ the mom, the woman who gives her life blood for her family.

All I wanted when I was a little girl was to get married and have a passel of children. That’s it – plain and oh, so simple. Right now, I’m living out that dream.

But there’s a restlessness, a discontent, a lie, that I’ve embraced.

One that tells me that this is not enough.

We don’t believe that we are actually living the Dream.

Recently a group of 4 blogger went on a trip with the Exodus Road. They wrote about what they saw and the impact watching trafficking in action has had on them.

One post in particular from Heather Armstrong at Dooce.com has had such an impact on me and continues to leave me in tears. The setting is a brothel, and she and an undercover investigator have just sat down with a 19 year old sex-worker.

Here’s an excerpt from Heather’s words:

“Can you ask her what she would love to do with her life if she didn’t have to work here? Would that make sense?”

He didn’t answer me and instead turned to her with a look of curiosity and began speaking in her native tongue. When he was done, she sat there for a very long time in complete silence. I didn’t know if it was because she had never been asked that question, never been given the chance to consider something else. Then she bit her lip in what I think is a universally spoken way of trying to dam up an emotion you might not want someone else to see.

Her answer was spoken much more softly than anything else in our conversation up to that point, and I could hear her voice trembling. The investigator translated:

“She says she would like to have children of her own and wishes she could have enough money to be there and watch them as they grow. But she knows that won’t happen. That’s why she stays here.”
Read more: http://dooce.com/2014/06/24/some-initial-thoughts-from-a-travel-addled-brain/#ixzz38FlaXKsx


I’m living her dream. She’s living a nightmare and I’m living her dream.

When I read this and let the gravity of it sink in, I realize a couple of things. First, for me to be ungrateful and discontent is a contemptible affront to the God who gifted me with this Rinse and Repeat life. And secondly, in a sense, I’m dishonoring that girl when I say, that dream may be good enough for you- but not for me.

We need to be so grateful for what God has gifted us with – this life that may seem so mundane, but in reality is truly a dream.

So, I’m going to ask you to do two things with me today. First, pause and thank God for the life that He has blessed you with, and second, pray for those girls whose dreams we’re living.