07 November 2016

October Photo Challenge: days 22-31

22. up and over
while the babes wait for music practice to be over... 

23. get real
real talk right here. #bedroomstruggles

24. days end
smokey skies at sunset

25. first thing
coffee and wake up snuggles.

26. think about it

27. bite size

28. dress up

29. candy
...or something like that... 

30. pretend
if I can't see you, you can't see me.

31. trick or treat
we party hard around here...

04 November 2016

October photo challenge: days 11-21

I did a bit more "cheating" for this week of pictures. I prefer to call it "borrowing" from other days. ;) 

11. create
my sister is really great at creating teachable experiences that are woven into every day moments.

12. night life
technically, this was sunrise. but in my mind, same same.

13. musical
the baby cousins. also, my focusing skills are lacking.

14. happy day
Uncle Jon is the best.

15. cuddle

16. discover

17. the boss
good thing he's cute.

18. oops
don't worry, I helped her up.

19. special
all of my plant babies come from special people in my life and from special times in my life. 

20. silliness
singing songs during missionary conference brings out the silliness in the adults, as these kids soon discovered.

21. favorite photo
this is not a picture of my favorite photo (how would I ever choose?), but it is my favorite photo that I took that day.

02 November 2016

October photo challenge: days 1-10ish

Taking pictures every day helps me learn and grow. So, I took these prompts for the month of October. Sometimes I missed a day. Some days I took pictures for more than one category. It all evens out eventually. I think. 

1. weekend
fall weekends are for fires and tending to the plant babies.

2. chilly
love the fall chill that comes along with the changing leaves

3. symmetrical
I tried.

4. around
not sure what this has to do with "around", but it's open to interpretation.

5. prepare
there's only 3 of us, and we already pack way too much. 

6. travel
road construction and rain. the worst.

7. friends
my family has a problem with talking while getting their picture taken.

8. educate
not sure what is happening in the flower girl squad, but it is bound to be good times.

9. farewell
one last night of adventures in KC.

10. exploring
coffee shops. always coffee shops.


27 October 2016

Write 31 Days: bouquet

[I wrote this post several months ago after the death of my dad. It's cheating, I know. But it is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of "bouquet".]

Like my dad, I am a sucker for fresh flowers.
Like my dad, I have a stubborn streak.
Like my dad, I love to laugh.
Like my dad, I adore my siblings' kids.
Like my dad, I can be ornery.
Like my dad, I know that exaggeration gets the point across.
Like my dad, I work on an ambulance because I care about people.
Like my dad, I have a January 31 birthday.
Like my dad, I like to bundle up and go find adventures in the snow.
Like my dad, I like to cheer for the Nebraska Huskers.
Like my dad, I love to camp and hike and sit around a campfire.
Like my dad, I love me some good harmonies and guitar.
Like my dad, I have tasted and seen that God is good to us.
Like my dad, I am a sucker for fresh flowers.

23 October 2016

Write 31 Days: Blowout

There came a point in my life where I realized that I was no longer able to physically beat my younger brothers, so I turned to my next best weapon: my words.
Now, there's something you need to understand about my family: we thrive a little bit on the argument; the "discussion". Having a constant verbal battle was no strange thing in my house.
However, when I decided to prove my dominance over the younger siblings through my words, I wasn't doing it just for the joy of discussing the finer points of Whatever We Were Discussing, it was to wound. I took satisfaction in those first few seconds of seeing that my words had hit their mark. Hey mom, at least we aren't physically beating each other up, right?
To this day I cringe at the thought of how thoughtless and careless I was with my words.
The proverbial blowout of my anger and pride and selfishness, however well crafted, was never worth the victory of the moment.
I hated it when my dad made us do word studies on our speech, but I am very thankful that I had a dad who loved us enough to make us deal with our problems. 

"Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person" -Colossians 4:6
(And, of course, James 3)

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.