Common Ground

It was hot  and the zoo was teeming with people. Between our two families there were 7 children under 7. We’d left the campsite earlier that morning to enjoy the zoo that was 3 times the size of ours back home.

Now I’m the type of girl who gets up everyday, like clockwork, showers, puts on makeup and  gets dressed. Normally I don’t go out without those three things happening. So to go to the zoo with only 1 thing marked off my check-list was totally out of the norm.

But you know, something interesting happened when I set aside my self-consciousness. I saw other women simply as other women. I saw them as moms and grandmothers, sisters and wives.

Not as competition.

When we look past ourselves, past the clothes and the hair,

we see people – we see souls.

I saw the furtive glances, hands tugging at shirts, and arms crossed over bellies baring the marks of motherhood. I saw that most of us at some point are ashamed of who we are.

So, I set that shame aside, looked them in the eye, and offered a smile. In that moment, though we looked rather different, we were on common ground.

We were mothers and we loved.



An Unraveled Life

The yarn sits in a jumble by my feet. Ivory yarn that was once a scarf for my sister-in-law. I’ve started to unravel it to turn it into something else.

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You see, she never really got a chance to wear it – she died the winter after I made it for her.

And now, 4 years later, I’m taking apart the gift I once stitched and can’t help compare it to the unraveling of life as we once knew. The unraveling of familial relationships –   relationships that will never be the same.

And I’ve felt the pulling and the yanking as the stitches have been undone. I’ve even felt the severing as the knots have been cut away.

I’ve been living with this process for years now and I’m reaping the fallout. The escape into mind-numbing pursuits, pushing sleep away, trying to be all, and carrying the weight of family strain. All the stitches being yanked and undone.

As I hold the yarn, I’m reliving the last few years, all the pain and weight felt again.

But I know that the pulling of the yarn has a greater purpose than just a meaningless pile on the floor. Soon, I’ll gather it up and roll it into a skein. Once that’s done the stitches will be cast on and something beautiful, useful, will begin to take shape.

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So, I beg the Father, do this in the unraveled mess of my heart and life.

Please, to the One who makes all things new,          take my life and knit something beautiful.

With hope, and a glimmer of anticipation, I take up the needles and will turn a dead      woman’s yarn into something useful again.


God’s Orchestra

We all have a part to play.

I’m just now embracing that we all contribute to the body of Christ. Some sing, some teach, some travel the globe giving aid.

But there are those of us who stand in their shadow and we wonder what light we shine compared to theirs.

Just think of an orchestra. Only a handful of people sit on stage, blending their talents to make exquisite music for us to enjoy.

But have you ever wondered about who makes their instruments? Who makes their bows and keys? Who puts the music stands together to hold their pieces? We never see them but someone did and even if they can play, they aren’t on stage.

What if we took away the audience? Who would be left to appreciate the music – the  grandeur?

We need to come out of the shadows – we all have a part to play.

Instead of bemoaning what we aren’t doing, let’s work on what we can. You may not be able to sing, but you can pray for those who do. And what about where you live? Where you work, shop? No one else has been called to minister to those around you like you have.

You are unique and you have something to offer.

Can you mow your neighbor’s lawn? Pick up their newspaper? Take them a meal? These are all things that we can do in the here and now, right where we are. If we can just get this thought embedded in our brains – every encounter has a purpose and that is to share the Gospel of Christ in some tangible way.

Maybe someday we might shine a light that will be seen by many and may be considered bright in the eyes of men. However, think about this, you and the world may think your light is small, but what does your neighbor, your co-worker, that stranger on the bus think when you love him for Christ’s sake?

We all have a part to play in the body of Christ.


Putting His Interests Before Mine

Last year a friend of mine, Melissa at QuietGraces Photography, asked me to write for her     series “Construction School for Wivesand this is what God laid on my heart for that month of July.

This month I’m going to be working on putting Adam’s interests before mine. There are so many areas that I thought I was doing this in, but realize that I’m not. So, for the next few weeks I’ll be chronicling this in a journal style. Here goes.


12 July 2013, Wednesday

Adam got up before I did and I was grumpy that he didn’t let me shower first. This meant that I came out later and that the kids were up – translating to, ‘no  quiet time’. But God caused me to think. Maybe he needed to get to work early  today, and wouldn’t I have been selfish to cause him to be late just because I wanted my time.


13 June 2013, Thursday

I received an e-mail from Starbucks today for 50% off an espresso beverage. There, larger than life, was a white chocolate mocha – my all time favorite drink. The first thought that came to mind was  “I know what I’m getting this week!”. But then I stopped because Adam loves toffee nut lattes. So, as much as it pained me, (I admit it, I AM SELFISH) I forwarded him the e-mail so that he could enjoy the treat.

Phil 2:3

                   … In humility count others more significant than yourselves.


17 June 2013, Monday

I got up before Adam and was able to get to my quiet time today. But in order to  love him and put his interests first, I put the coffee on before I sat down to read and write. This sounds so simple, but the desire for my wants is strong. I admit I glanced at my journal longingly a couple of times.DSCN09512.jpg


18 June 2012, Tuesday

Today my mentor brought by a dozen doughnuts- 3 of which had chocolate frosting. I split two for the kids and left the others in the box. Let me mention two things  – I’m undisciplined and I love chocolate. My husband also likes chocolate. I ate the last chocolate frosted doughnut. I gave in to selfishness. It won out and I gave into sin over a chocolate doughnut. When I put it that way, I want to hang my head in shame. Because isn’t that what sin is, sweet at first, but then leaves a horribly bitter taste on your tongue and a heavy ache in your stomach?


21 June 2013, Friday

Today is Friday! Tonight I actually got the dishes done before the kids went down for the night – an amazing feat all in itself. So, I sat down with Adam after some quiet time to watch something. Hadn’t quite planned on what he picked – clips from different late night shows. I admit, they were funny, but not on my top 10 things to watch (come on, what is really wrong with Downton Abbey?)

But, I had to stop and think. Maybe watching Jimmy Fallon’s ” Hashtags”  is relaxing to him. Maybe he needs the levity. So, I didn’t say anything. By God’s grace, I put my silly selfishness aside and sat with my husband and enjoyed the Roots rendition of Simon and Garfunkel.


2 July 2013, Tuesday

For weeks now the desire of my heart has been to go to a business conference at the end of this month. I’ve prayed a lot about it, repeatedly laying the decision in God’s hands. My husband and I talked extensively about it because it would mean his involvement on a large scale. In the end he didn’t want me to go. And though I was disappointed, I agreed.

His interests were more important in that moment. I wasn’t thinking about him in my desire to go. Just my wants.

But the surrender wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. God’s grace is sufficient, isn’t it?

And this morning, after the alarm went off, my husband took me in his arms and whispered to me that there was no one else he’d rather wake up with, that I was his favorite person.

The tension that this desire was creating between us was gone. God had restored unity.

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I won’t pretend that this month was easy or that I have this lesson of putting my husband before myself figured out. But I do know that God has done a work in me that has spilled over into my relationship with others. The extent of our selfishness is great, but God’s grace is greater.

He has promised us that we can do all things through Him and that even means that you and I can put our Husband’s wants and desires before our own.



Everyday Moments of Glory

I know a girl who is in the throes of wedding planning. She’s tall, thin, and beautiful. Pretty much my opposite. And, Lately I’ve found myself looking at the pictures she’s been posting on FB, longing for those days when I was 10+ years younger and planning a wedding. I remember being tireless, and wide-eyed with what was to come. Now, 4 children under seven and 13 years later, I feel more tired than not, and you’ll often catch me dreaming of sleep, rather than dreaming of love.

I was cleaning the kitchen this afternoon and reflecting on life. I got to wondering, am I living vicariously through her life in those moments because I’m not seeing the glory in the everyday moments of the present?

This morning I stopped and took a snapshot. My son was sitting (once again) on the table against the wall. Instead of scolding him, I stopped, grabbed the camera and caught the moment. The moment of my pausing to think, “That’s my son”.

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So, I will be happy for that young girl who is enthusiastically planning her wedding. But I think that I will camp out in the here and now, looking for and reveling in those everyday moments of glory.


When your Past collides with your Present

Thursday night my past and my present collided and I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it.

As I stood next to my husband in conversation with others, I almost lost it. Hysterical laughter was pushing its way out and I had to do everything in my power to push it back.

Le me set the stage. Adam and I had been on our 13th Anniversary ‘stay-cation’ and decided to end our evening at a craft-beer establishment. We weren’t sure what we’d find – a coffee-shop like atmosphere or a seedy bar. We walked through the door and to my pleasant surprise there were picnic tables, board games, and shuffle board. None of which screamed ‘Run for the Hills!’.

We looked to our right, and who should we see but our very own Pastor of Community Connection and a local church planter. As we shook hands and introductions were made, my mind was reeling. Our pastor even introduced us to one of the employees and said that he’d visited our church the prior Sunday.

Lord, how do I reconcile all this?

First, how do I reconcile a pastor being in a craft-beer joint? Which leads me to the second question,  is it okay for us to be there?

But if it’s not okay for him, why is it okay for us?

And now you’ve peeked at the paradox that my brain has been stuck in and it isn’t very pretty.

Now I’m wondering if this is what the Pharisees sounded like when they bad-mouthed Jesus for associating with tax collectors and sinners.

Whose side would I have been standing on?

My mind goes back to the employee that our pastor introduced us to. Who would have invited him to church if he hadn’t gone there?

Now, I’m not saying we should all run down to the nearest dance club or pick-up bar to witness. I’m not even saying that we shouldn’t.  We need to use discernment as to where we go. But for all practical purposes, we couldn’t find anything wrong with that establishment.

What I am saying is, my husband and I would never have met Matt had we not gone there and been introduced to him by our Pastor.

I’m 35, been raised in church, and am still such a novice when it comes to reaching the lost.

Reaching the lost isn’t about supporting missionaries, going ‘door-knocking’ or having a bus ministry.

Slowly, God is teaching me that it’s about loving those around you and sharing the Gospel on a daily basis wherever you are.

I’m turning 35 and giving you the gifts! A Sak Saum Giveaway!

Turning 30 is big. Really BIG. It can be scary because you’re saying goodbye to your twenties. You have to officially grow up.

For my 30th birthday, 5 years ago, I decided to look forward and to not mourn my twenties. My 3rd decade was going to be my best yet. It was going to be the decade that I found out who I really was and who God made me to be. So I decided to start it off with a piercing and another baby.

5 years in and the decade is half over. I’m turning 35 and there are no regrets. God  has used these last several years to reveal the passions and talents He’s instilled in me.

One of these passions is helping those who have been enslaved in various forms and fashions. In the past year I’ve found out about a ministry whose mission is the restoration and rehabilitation of exploited men and women.

I’m pleased to introduce to you, Sak Saum. They are in Phnom Penh and the Saang district of Cambodia. Everyday they help the men and women of their community build a new life. Through their Vocational Training Center they’re offering job opportunities and fair trade wages – things we often take for granted.


If you haven’t visited the Sak Saum website yet, don’t wait any longer. You’ll get to ‘meet’ the men and women who make up Sak Saum, and I hope that your heart will be touched as much as mine has. You’ll also get to see their beautiful line of bags and purses. I love their products!  As well as some amazing accessories (infinity scarves and hammered jewelry) and even some baby items.



Will you join me in the fight against human trafficking by supporting Sak Saum?

We can volunteer, raise support, and most importantly – pray. This is Kingdom work and we get to be a part of it!

And for my birthday, I’ve decided to give you all a little something – a couple of little somethings from Sak Saum.

First is the New York Tote Scarf and the second is the For Freedom Bracelet. Just enter the giveaway to win.




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What if’s and God-Sized Dreams

 What if God-sized dreams aren’t big at all?

What if these ‘big’ dreams don’t include going to Cambodia?

What if my God-sized dream isn’t really about me?

What if this dream is one God has for me instead of me having it for me?

What if this Dream is simply to love my neighbor?

And, what if, that dream ends up being a loaf of bread to the woman down the street              who’s lost her job?

Maybe, before we can get a hold of our dreams, we have to get a hold of the Dream that God has for us.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is(1)


What I want for Mother’s Day…

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are both approaching quickly which means thoughts of gifts for respective parents and spouses. This afternoon Mr. C wanted me to take a picture of him and his siblings out by the tree in the backyard. We had done this last year for Father’s Day and plan to do it again this year. After the picture was taken Miss E wanted me to do handprints again as well – another part of last year’s Father’s Day gift. Paint is not part of the plan for this afternoon, so the answer was ‘no’. My seven year old asked me what we would do then for Mother’s Day and what I wanted. That got me to thinking, because I don’t really know. But the more I thought the more I realize that I want two very different days.DSCN09512.jpg

The first day would be spent in solitude, whiling away the time at a coffee shop and then a hike in the woods. Perhaps a movie, or a bath. Oh, and planning would be thrown into there too ;). All of this would be done with quiet as my Friend.



My other day would look like this: I would spend the day with those who, by God’s willing, have made me a Mother. We would go to the park, perhaps ride bikes along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Eat ice cream. Read books. Run through a sprinkler. The whole time spent in wonder of the fact that God made me a Mother to these 4 precious little people, who, are currently outside playing very quietly. That means I need to go investigate!

What would your perfect Mother’s Day look like?

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day and enjoy your kids through the quiet and the chaos.

Removing the Chick-fil-A bumper sticker

It might be time to remove the Chick-fil-A bumper sticker from the back of our van.

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You see, a friend and I were talking yesterday about last year’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day and the boycott that occurred as a result. She was saying that it was more than just about freedom of speech – it was really about people. People like her sister and mine.

That sticker has been on the back of our van for, I don’t know how long, way before the whole debacle to be sure. And, removing it wouldn’t mean that we wouldn’t eat there again. It just means that we won’t inadvertently hurt someone. We won’t be getting out of the car at Target or Trader Joes, smile at someone, only to have them glace at the back of our car and wonder if we hate them. The love of Christ isn’t that.

I started thinking about my sister. I wondered if she ever came to visit us what she would think if she saw it.

Would she think that ‘we ♥ chick-fil-a’ meant that we like their food, or that we hate her?

I LOVE MY SISTER. I want her to see that she has value and that her value comes straight from the God who made her. I want her to feel His presence and know that her soul has been redeemed. But all the words that would be said, could be nullified in one moment by what she thought a few other words meant.