Tuesday, July 28, 2015

bullet journaling

flashback to may: School was winding down, summer vacation was coming up and I wondered about the direction of my life...how I would balance my creative bent that refuses to be ignored with raising four arrows.

And then an email popped up from Crystal at Money Saving Mom with an announcement for a "Make Over Your Mornings" online course. It seemed like an answer to prayer.

Truth: I still have a few days to go before I finish this two-week course (and I started it at the end of May!), but one of my favorite suggestions Crystal shared is to use a bullet journal to set goals and write them down.

Where has this been all my life?

snapshot of a couple pages from my journal

I've used calendars and Franklin planners and so many notebooks and random paper scraps, but the bullet journal pulls all of it together in one place. Not perfectly (I'll probably still keep a calendar for planning out appointments for the year), but finally I have one place where I can keep my goals and to dos with books I want to read, movies worth watching again and recipe ideas for my food blog.

And since I began to write down my goals and the projects I want to accomplish and plan out my day, I find I work my way toward balancing the creative with the everyday practical.

It's my way of running into time.

Friday, July 24, 2015

running into time

view from the cottage, Goderich 2014

Remember when summer seemed to stretch long and endlessly and when summer vacation wound down you were *almost* ready to return to school? Or when one year felt like a thousand?

And suddenly, you are an adult with responsibilities and priorities and projects and time won't slow down long enough to let you catch you breath.

boardwalk on Assateague Island

I've been thinking about time lately. It's the constant reminder of death pressing in that does it, the cancer diagnoses and deaths of friends and family and acquaintances that roll in, one after another, washing time away.

in the River, summer 2014

I ache for eternity.

The time out of time when rush is a distant memory and the tyrant urgent is squashed under the feet of our Eternal King and we, all His saints, all the believers in Christ that we loved and lost on this earth, can linger at His feet without concern for dirty dishes and bills that need paying looming in the backs of our minds.

seagulls on Assateague Island, VA

But until then...

Until then, I pray for the ability to be fully present in the moments I am given. I pray for the grace to listen without distraction to very. detailed. monologues. about Star Wars characters and ships or Wii game action or both combined. I pray for the slowing down required for compassion and mercy to bloom when I'd rather rush to the resolution.

I pray for these things because I want to run into time. To know I have poured myself out for every moment the Lord has given me. To not fritter it away on impatience, annoyance and resentment at having "my" time interrupted. Because it is not my time after all. It's His.

Goderich 2012

Thursday, July 16, 2015

birthing the beautiful

When you've only posted twice in the past year, there's so much say and where do I start, really?

I've wanted to post something, often, but either don't have the time or talk myself out of taking the time because when you've neglected something for this long, it's easier to believe there is no point in picking up where you left off and why not focus on something new and hope it sticks.

I've gotten really good at that...starting and not finishing.

Perhaps it's the thrill of beginning that gets me every time. The excitement, the anticipation, the dreaming of where *this* could take me. ("This" being any new endeavor that requires a commitment longer than a few months.) Then reality sets in...things don't go as I envisioned, challenges present themselves, other life priorities begin screaming for attention, it doesn't seem to make a difference anyway. And the list of reasons to quit goes on.

Yet the desire to write is written within my soul, and so I plunge back in...
Ben's Red Swings playground in Salisbury, Maryland - check it out if you're in the area!

In a little over a month, when school begins, a new season begins for me. One where all four children are in school and there are six hours a day at my avail. Many of these hours are already earmarked and I have no illusions that these hours will mean I suddenly have time to accomplish every project on my never-ending list of things to do.

However, I'm praying these hours will be enough to fortify the places where I feel worn thin in this 12-year battle of laboring through motherhood.

You see, everyone talks about the painful labor, but no one tells you in the bloom of pregnancy that motherhood itself is a painful. Because it is.

It is a pain born of questioning whether the decisions you make for your children and your family are the "right" ones and the pain of crumbled illusions and dreams of what you thought parenthood might be and what you thought your children would be like. There is a pain in the battle of wills which are bound to happen between two sinful human beings. And then there is the pain of seeing the sins, the ones you never knew were there but the ones God saw all the time, bubble to the surface and suddenly you have to deal with the ugly when you'd much rather have the beautiful.

on Assateague Island, VA - bring the bug spray if you go!

In the pain it is easy to blame God, rail against Him, question His wisdom in allowing such stinging wounds.

Without God, this pain would seem cruel and unnecessary.

Yet, this is exactly what He told us would happen. It is exactly what He put Himself through, for us. For the love of us.

And there are so many more verses and stories in His Words-that-are-not-idle-but-are-our-life that warn of us pruning and refining and His faithfulness in growing us to be like Him.

So I press on with hope that there is purpose in the pain and by exposing the ugly, my Creator is birthing the beautiful.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

december gifts

  • walk 2 Elmwood
  • sun after gloom
  • frisbee in the woods
  • kids testing strength and balance

wasp's nest

fallen log

Monday, July 14, 2014

breaking the birthday rule

A few months ago, Ben was with me on our usual run of errands when he spotted some birthday candles in the discount store. With his big brown eyes, long lashes and sweet, pleading look, I broke down and broke the "birthday rule." (The very rule I put in place after a particularly maddening season of hearing the kids talk about and plan for their birthdays all. the. time. Even while their current birthday was happening. Or someone else's. Or at the mention of the word.)

So we bought the candles and I tucked them away until July. Except Ben's birthday was in June.

And we did the cake I made at lunch and thought we were going to have a second cake for the family birthday the following day, only we never did have the second cake and so the candles never got put on the first one.

Besides, I completely forgot about the candles anyway until a few days before the Fourth of July.

I remembered, then, Ben gentle, hopeful look as I considered his candle question, and even though it was one month late, I decided to put the candles on the tarts I made for the Fourth.

So we celebrated and sang and he blew out his candles.

And I was glad I didn't talk myself out of putting those candles on the tarts just because they weren't a cake and it wasn't his birthday and he was already five.

Some rules, the silly man-made Pharisaical ones we make up to order and control what only God can order and control, those rules are meant to be broken. 


And a few other memories from the Fourth...

Beautiful weather for eating dinner outside.

Luke looking forward to celebrating. And the shirt I made for the parade a few years ago still fits him!

Funny faces awaiting fireworks..

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

fireworks eternal

"Is this the grand finale?" Reese kept asking.

Because it's the grand finale we're really waiting for. The other fireworks? They're just leading up to the main event. Sure we ooh and aah at them, but they're not really what we came to see.

We're waiting for the moment when light and sound go crazy sparking the night sky and reverberating deep in our souls.

Last year as we thrilled to the rapid fire fire-light's, the Holy Spirit nudged me..."And God is greater."

Think on that...

We applaud what burns and fizzles in seconds, what lights the sky but a breath and an echo that fades.

But God is greater!

For surely He spoke to me in that moment to remind me that His glory will far surpass the grand finale of human-made pyrotechnics. He will be brighter, more dazzling of color and His voice will thunder. And He will not fizzle or fade. God is our fireworks eternal.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June was...

birthdays & milestones
waved goodbye to grades five, three and one, Brie graduated from elementary school, Ben turned five, Jack turned 4, Ben at five as tall as Luke was at six, started to earn his allowance and learned to ride a two-wheeler, Reese started guitar lessons, Brie got her ears pierced, Brie & Luke passed their white belt tests in Tai Kwon Do
  a birthday banner, opening gifts, @the Science Center, birthday picnic

our astronauts @ the Science Center

 how old are you Jack?, pool fun, pizza party, camel ride @ the zoo

despite a few close calls, the pinata was the only thing that ended up being hit. whew!

from white to yellow belt


Wilmington for Casey's grad party...
fountain in downtown Wilmington, washing feet at travel center, looking at the harbor, eating pizza in the hotel room, learning how to save the turtles, backyard antics at the graduation party and that may or may not have been an ice cube being put down the back of a shirt!

 ...then a stop in DC on our way home
washing feet in another fountain, the view from the bottom of the Washington monument, a popsicle on the Mall, looking up at the monument

and in the everyday...

sun & hot temperatures, gardening, having the kids meet the refugee family we're mentoring, learning how to have grace with a pre-teen, Children of the Day Bible study, firefly spotting, rain pouring in the basement, spring cleaning mid-summer and rearranging the living room and our room, discovering vegan milkshakes,
three offers on the house, one more than $5,000 above our asking price, but more than that we have a God who answers prayers and places desires on our heart and is so good, girls night out with Brie, sleepover at Mom's, God's hand on Dad and Lauren's health, cleaning pee off of Lego, J.D., Hilary and the boys coming to visit, starting swim lessons again