20 October 2016

Write 31 Days: weekend

I heard an interesting comment the other day. It was something to the effect that most Christians see church as a habit of convenience. 
"If nothing else is going on, then I will make it to church."
Church, gathering with other believers, is something that is not generally prioritized by most in the scheduling of the week, month or year, etc.

This is something I am just as guilty of as anyone else. I remember when I first was really on my own, not just out of the house but still in Bible school. I had no-one who was dictating my behavior or habits. I could make my own choices about my time.
This was liberating. Intoxicating? 
And, as most "kids" do, I used my liberty to serve my selfish desires.
I told myself, "You don't lose your salvation over not going to Sunday school (or whatever other service I wanted to skip)."
And I was right. I didn't. You don't. 
But what I failed to see, or just refused to acknowledge, was that I was neglecting one of the most vital and important things that God has created for anyone who has a relationship with him: Church. The Body.

When I let myself prioritize other things over time with other Christians, I neglected accountability, encouragement, comfort, growth, love, forgiveness... the list could go on!

It takes a perspective shift to turn aside from what the culture says around me (put yourself first! Treat yo' self! Do what makes you happy! Seek affirmation from _____ at all costs!), to make meeting with the Body of Christ a priority. Above sports, above concerts, above "I stayed out too late last night", above whatever other excuses and activities going on. 

Because I believe that when I miss meeting with other believers at my local church in my community, I miss one of the most important ministries and places for me to serve and love that there is. 

So, by the grace of God, we are making church more of a priority intentionally, not just habitually, around here...  even if it means missing out on some of my beloved morning snoozes. 

ps, you can find out more about my fantastic local church here.

19 October 2016

Write 31 Days: notice

Squawking and squealing and "talking". 
Laughing and rolling and whining.
Drooling and chewing and thumb-sucking.

Dark blue eyes. Or are they grey?
Soft blonde fuzz. Or is it brown? 
Copy-cat faces. Or was it an accident?

Grabbing and holding.
Careful balance.
Writhing in joy.

Notice me, mamma. 

I see you, baby.

And my heart is bursting with love for you. 

More than you will ever know.

04 October 2016

Write 31 Days: Brew

Something terrible happened in my house today. 
I ran out of coffee beans. 
Now, I have an entire drawer full of boxes and bags and bins of tea, but I am a coffee girl through and through, so this thing of having no beans is kind of a big deal. 
I remember being in Johannesburg and surrounded by the choice of either instant coffee or tea. And most of the time, I chose tea. My brother Arnie and I tease each other about all of the nasty coffee substitutes to be found in that part of the world.
One morning in the office at Lambano Sanctuary, the volunteers and I were taking our morning cuppa' and I was lamenting the fact of no real coffee. "You sound like you're describing a boyfriend!" they laughed.
They weren't far off, I suppose.
For me, coffee is more than just a warm caffeine or sugary drink to be enjoyed. It's about the ritual of heating the water, taking time to smell the aroma of the beans as I measure and grind them. It's about taking those few minutes out of the "to do" lists of the morning or day to stop and sip, fingers wrapped around the mug, nose close to the steam. 
Slow down. Time out. Just be.

02 October 2016

Write 31 Days: Paint

It was sometime when I was in high school (along with my twin brothers), when we got "adopted" by an elderly couple in town. By adopted, I mean, they hired us to work on projects around the house and the yard. And by work, I mean that we spent some time doing actual work and a lot of other time sitting on the back porch with a pop (soda, for you other people), listening to stories from Mr. R's childhood and time in the military. 
We had a lot of laughs that summer as we stained and built and mowed and painted. Like the time that we were trying to fix the hot tub, and ended up with soaking wet pants. I hadn't brought a change of clothes, so I cycled home wearing pants approximately 10x too big for me. And then there was the day when I was left to paint the brand new shed with some oil based paint. It ended up in my hair and all the way to the bottom of my feet. 
They were patient, those two. They were gracious as we made mistakes and slowed progress. But we both benefited from the relationship; both lives were made richer as we slapped that old paint onto the side of the new shed. 
I hope I always work to invest in young people's lives the way
those two invested in mine.

01 October 2016

Write 31 Days (what am I getting myself into?)

I have been missing this creative outlet, and after five months of being home with the little dude (and several frustrating months of computer problems), I am more than ready to get back into this space. How better to do that than to jump into the deep end commit to a Write 31 days challenge? You're right, THERE IS NO BETTER WAY. Since I will be traveling for a good portion of the beginning of October, this could be interesting, but ya know, I'm all about adventures! 

When I was single, (and not ready to mingle) I would spend a lot of afternoons or evenings on lone walks. Sometimes I would have a book. Sometimes I would bring a journal. Sometimes, I would just go. Almost always, I had a camera. 
Since this was before the time of my life when I had a smart phone, it was such a fantastic time to be alone with my thoughts. To be bored. To people watch. To let my imagination run. 
These days, it's much harder for me to be alone with my thoughts when I walk. Partially because I am married and have a small human, and also because I have a really bad tendency to let my boredom and attention span turn immediately to my phone. It has become uncomfortable to let my eyes and mind be undistracted. I have found, however, that sunset, with my two boys and a camera is the perfect scenario I need to let my feet and my mind walk together. 
Here's to more wandering evenings to exercise the habit of being bored. 

29 September 2016

Reading Challenge: a lot late to the game

I am pretty good at going through waves of enthusiasm about reading. I can either plow through a few books a week or not finish one for months. I don't seem to have a happy medium. 
Well, I discovered Tim Challie's reading challenge a couple weeks ago, and thought "why not?". I mean, it says it's for 2016, but it's whatever, man. No worries, and all that. I am shooting for the "Light" reader section first, and see where we go from there (By "we" I mean "me").  

Here's my picks so far for the Light reader section:
(It should be noted that I am going to try to read as many books that have been waiting on my shelf as possible)

A book about Christian living:

A book that has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Working on this one now.

A biography:

I am having a hard time with this choice, because I keep wanting to choose auto-biographies, instead!

A classic novel:

Hard to narrow this one down! 

A book someone tells you "changed my life" :

Choices, choices. I took a poll on Facebook, and there were lots of good suggestions.. I am not committing yet. 

A commentary on a book of the Bible:

A book about theology:

Ecclesiology -the doctrine of the church. Another from the bookshelf.

A book with the word "gospel" in the title or subtitle:

Book by some ROOTED peeps! (Haven't read it yet, sorry guys!)

A book your pastor recommends: 

A book more than 100 years old:

A book for children:

Kids books are my fave! Also from the shelf. I think Caddie Woodlawn is me as a child.

A mystery or detective novel:

A book published in 2016:

Cuz, I am parent now, apPARENTly (get it?). 

A book about a current issue 

(Gracious, straightforward, easy-reading. I especially appreciated the "It's not Fair" chapter. Taken from my bookshelf.)

This list will continue to be updated :) In the meantime, I welcome any and all category suggestions! I am excited for this. 

27 September 2016

Hello there. It's been a while.

Where to begin? Since I last posted in January, a whole world of change has happened -both in the actual world, and in my little world. 

I began this year with a real world reminder to hug the ones you love as one of my friends died. His daughter reminded me to tell my dad that I love him; to treasure time with him, while I still could. 
My dad came to visit me in February. He slept on my couch and I forgot to make him coffee. We went out to dinner before he left and as I hugged him and told him goodbye, a little thought in the back of my mind whispered "this could be the last time you see your dad."
I was 8 months pregnant at the time. I barely fit in the booth at the restaurant. 

A month later, my husband and I drove to the sand hills of Nebraska to get some maternity pictures and spend time with our family. On March 22, 2016, at the golden hour of sunset, we celebrated the life of the baby inside of me. A few hours later, we got the news that my dad died. 

God's timing is perfect, and his faithfulness was shown in a thousand little (and big) ways over the hours, days, and weeks to come. The Body of Christ, the Family of God, the Church -what a gift to see the love of Jesus poured out on my family. 

Those are days that I waffle between talking matter of factly about, and having an emotional break down about. Certain moments and details will take my breath away and make me want to cry when I think about them still. Maybe it will be that way forever. Maybe I will eventually forget. 

A month later, my son was born. 

Joy and Sorrow. Laughter and Tears. One goes out, one comes in.

I am fatherless. 

I am a mother. 

I am both of those things, but I don't want those things to define me. 

I want love for Jesus to define me, to shape me, to direct me. What exactly that looks like is a whole different blog post. 

But for now, I am daily learning what it looks like to be faithful and thankful with what God gives me, where God has me. 

"In all my sorrows, Jesus is better -make my heart believe.In all my victories, Jesus is better -make my heart believe.Than any comfort, Jesus is better -make my heart believe.More than all riches, Jesus is better -make my heart believe.Our souls declaring, Jesus is better -make my heart believe.Our song eternal, Jesus is better -make my heart believe."

18 January 2016

Music Monday: Sandra McCracken

I went to bed with these two songs playing over and over in my mind and woke up with (surprise) these two songs stuck in my head.

In a world of instability and heartbreak and struggle and sin and broken people, I am glad that I can trust the God who is always good and who is always available.

PS, if you want a couple of encouraging albums, I highly recommend Psalms by Sandra McCracken and The Hymn Sing: Live in Nashville by Indelible Grace Music.

12 December 2015

Adventures in the Windy City

Ah, Chicago.

We loved you for your doughnuts and coffee.
We loved you for your churches and community.
We loved you for your skyline and tall, tall buildings. 
We loved you for your incredible Chinese and Italian food.
We loved you for your people watching.
We loved you for Cloud Gate/The Bean.
We loved you for your friendly metro workers.
We loved you for your fancy fall colors.
We loved you because there's still so much more to go do/see, which means we'll be baaaack ;) 

Things we learned: 
Deep dish is indeed, all it is cracked up to be. I dream about that pizza.
You absolutely must get an ice cream doughnut sandwich at Firecakes Doughnuts and a Nutella pocket at Stan's Doughnuts.
Metro workers are much more helpful/nice than in New York City. 
Cannolis are NOT as good as good as any we found in New York City (work on that, Chicago, mmkay?). BUT. Eataly is a place of Italian food heaven.
Fatso's Last Stand is where you can find an amazing dog (make sure to get a lot of napkins because it gets everywhere).
The John Hancock Tower is just as high, with shorter lines than the Wilson Tower. And they have The Tilt.
China Town. Yes.
Airbnb for the win! (Although you might want to check the neighborhood for crime prior to your commitment). 

Have you been to Chicago? Did we miss a must-see? 

28 November 2015

Belated Anniversary Shenanigans

We went to Denver and I stood front and center to fangirl over The Lone Bellow in real life. Let me tell you that their voices only get better live, incase you had any doubts. And I only took pictures on my phone, so yeah. They didn't make it onto this blog post (but that's what Instagram is for, right?).

After that, we took a quick trip into the mountains to find fall colors and noodles (because Asian noodles is what I want all of the time. so I guess we can blame it on the bebe) and our favorite coffee shops (here and here). 

Short and sweet. How we do.