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10 Ways I Plan To Thrive As A Homeschoolin' Momma This Year

I entered into this year of homeschooling, knowing that I wanted to enjoy every ounce that I could. (I've got a second grader and a first grader and a rascally three year old and one more kiddo on the way, come this winter.) I want to enjoy my life and my children and grow and learn and explore and thrive along with them. I knew this would mean that I would need a plan. I consider myself a writer and an artist, so making plans is new to me. But, these days, if I'm going to have any time to create, then I have to make plans so I don't squander all my energy on all the other harder, more mundane things in life, that are necessary, but don't exactly fill me up. This semester, I knew that I would need to be thoughtful about the whole process. I also knew that it would mean I would fl[...]

When You Want To Start Over New Again

The week is new again. There's clothes strewn all over our bedroom floor, clean ones at least, because we were too tired to unpack from our "vacation." Brent and I took the kids to family camp for a week and so we camped in an RV. A really nice one, so there was no suffering involved. Running water. Soft covers. Comfy beds. Three square meals a day. I'm a wimp, I admit it. This is my kind of camping. Then we stayed an extra week, because we had meetings every morning out at the camp and Brent and I were the emcee's. We figured there was no way we could emcee the event and arrive there punctually with three kids and my pregnant self,  so when Brent offered to sign us up for another week of lodging and meals, I thought that sounded pretty nice. But, now we're back. We're bac[...]

On Marriage and the Love that Holds Us Together

Matt Maher sings this song, “Love will hold us together, build us a shelter to weather the storm. And I'll be my brother's keeper, so the whole world will see that we're not alone.” So, what does this mean, that love has the ability to hold us together? Do we really believe that love can keep us reaching out and finding one another’s hand in the dark? Can love hold keep us in proximity to each other, even through storms? Storms like uncertainty and loss, disappointment, frustration, and just the everyday plodding along that we have to do, to get through the grueling and mundane parts of life? How is that kind of love possible? This week, a friend called me. She’s got a daughter who’s only been married a few months and turns out, this newly married couple doesn't get along al[...]

On Getting Some Soul Rest

Each of us walks around each day, with quite a bit going on inside our chests. We relentlessly criticize ourselves for the things we haven't managed well. (Our home, our marriage, our kids, our relationships, our work, our spiritual life, our finances....it's exhausting.) We have these pestering fears that go everywhere with us, and these regrets that linger long after the lights are out. We feel the daily demands of life pressing in, and the steady expectations of others. We wake up with maybe a smidgen of hope and open up the blinds to let the light in, but before we've gotten too far along in the day, we're already worn out. Somewhere, we have to find some peace and rest. We go looking for this in food and sports and sex and tv shows, in beverages and the beach--there [...]

On Jesus and Marriage and Hard Things

I have to tell you something about Jesus and marriage. There will be nights when you will go to bed and you will think that your spouse is your enemy. They'll do something stupid (or you'll do something stupid) and man, it'll be hard and one of you will want to scratch the other's eyes out. You'll feel your heart callous up and fortify itself in some kind of concrete barricade. You will think that change is not even possible. Even if you're a Christian, you'll start to question if there's enough power in Jesus to really help you, or them, overcome this particular sin and selfishness. Listen, my loves. Jesus is a very present Help in time of trouble. It's true. I know because I felt Him last night and this morning after Brent and I had a massively hard time working through some[...]

It's Hard To Be A Human--Why You Can Reach Out For Help

I'm gonna say something to us, because it's sort of important. And it doesn't get said often enough, especially in Christian circles. If you're a human being, then at some point, you're most likely gonna need some counseling. Some of you have been fed this notion and you've believed it. (I used to believe it, too.) Goes like this: "You have Jesus. He's enough. You don't need counseling. You don't need meds, ever. Pretty much, you can't possibly need anything because HELLO. You've got JESUS! Now, just be a good enough Christian and it'll all work out." My friends. This just isn't at all good or true. Life is ridiculously hard. Sometimes we get these sore hearts that don't seem to heal. That's why God made people. Lots of people. We need each other. It doesn't mean you're[...]

Cheetahs, Laser beams, And Jesus (A Bed-time Theology)

Gideon, (my seven year old) asked if I'd lay by him tonight. I'm always super tired at the end of the day and I just want to go to my own bed, but humans need a lot of comfort, so I curled up next to him and pat his back. He still had lots of words left, and I found myself being ministered to by his little boy thoughts and the way he processes life, "Momma, Jesus didn't want to hurt people. I've probably hurt people about 5,000 times, but there wasn't anything in Jesus that wanted to ever hurt someone. Even when mean bad guys were hurting Him, He STILL didn't hurt them back. I mean, He could have called all the cheetahs to come and attack the bad guys but He didn't. He could even have made laser beams come out of His eyes or turned His eyes so bright that people would just pass[...]

On A Summery Day In June

On a summery day in June, we found a toad. This momma taught her boy how to hold it--not upside down, not too squeezy around the tummy--but just like this so as not to traumatize the critter. And the momma taught the boy that you have to let the toad go if you want it to live. Toads are not so happy in your pocket or in a bucket for a week, though it's hard for you to let them go. You might tell your momma afterwards, "I miss that toad." On a summery night in June, we all looked for fireflies. We smelled the honeysuckle. We found a nest of baby bunnies. This momma prayed and she asked God lots of things like, "Please help us. How are we supposed to live this hard life?" On a brand new morning in June, this momma looked up at the sky. She caught a glimpse of God-glory, shouti[...]

When You Wake Up With A Rebel's Heart

This morning I woke up with a rebel's heart. Does that ever happen to you? As a Christ-follower, I want to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And I want to love my neighbor as much as I love myself. According to Jesus, these are the two greatest commandments. But, some days temptation comes and I go all rogue on Him. Temptation is very tricky. I know you already knew that. But, temptation dangles the thing we crave out in front, without showing us the hook that will catch in the back of our throat. There are a million different ways to run away from God and rebel against Him, bringing death--the spiritual kind-- every time.  But it sure feels good at the moment. This morning, when I was struggling along, and realizing this particular temptation could easil[...]

How I'm Blessing My Baby (Before I Know Their Name)

When I found out I was expecting a fourth child, (and even though we were planning and hoping for another little one) I still groaned. I groaned because I don't like having a big belly. I just don't like the way I look or feel, at all, with a big-o belly. A couple weeks went by, and every time I looked in the mirror, I felt disappointed. Disappointed in myself for never losing the weight from the second kiddo. And somehow I let that disappointment turn into regret for this new life. There's something in our culture that seeps into our thought process, without us being aware that it's happening. It's this notion that children are an inconvenience. An unwanted burden. It pervades our society and even when we don't want to buy into it, even when we know better, somehow we still l[...]

Dear Tired, Wandering Heart

Dear tired, wandering heart, Jesus is your Refuge. When you wake up in the night, with the weight of the world on your chest, you can make your way to Him. He's not too far. When you've sinned, again, and your heart condemns you, you can make your way to Jesus. He isn't crossing His arms and scowling at you. He's waiting for you to come running. When you're confused about some things, and you need answers or direction, you can make your way to Jesus. In Him, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge can be found. Whatever your day demands of you, Jesus is your Strength. When your knees are wobbly, He'll help you to stand. Whatever troubles are just up ahead, Jesus is already there. Remember how He got you through those last turbulent waters and He kept you from sinkin[...]

What All The Green and Growing Things Are Really Saying

The other day, I slid open the glass door, stared out into the backyard and cried a little. I cried because the winter had felt long and cold and bleak but it was clearly over now and I was overcome by all the green and growing things. I was overcome by a God who could wake sleeping things back up again. And make seemingly dead things burst back to life. I'm daily moved by a Kingdom that is full of light. And love. And vibrant life. Our days here can be awfully hard. We've got these pestering fears. Our hearts fracture. Our hopes get trampled on. There are difficult relationships to work through. Questions that we don't have answers for. And sometimes we're moving along just fine, and then someone else interjects their fears and we feel like we should just go ahead and be sc[...]

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