Friday, July 15, 2016

dear joanna,

{via pinterest from southern living}

this seems like a really silly note to write. so silly in fact that it has tumbled around in my head for about a month, and i don't really even want to write it, but it's nagging me and won't leave me alone. so, here it is.

i am not writing it because i think i have anything helpful to tell you. i don't think there's much wisdom that i can provide for you that you haven't heard before.

i am not writing to tell you that i love fixer upper, or you and chip together, or that i love your style, and think we could actually be friends in real life. all of those things are true, but i'm not writing this because of any of those reasons.

i am writing this because i want to tell you that i pray for you regularly.
that probably sounds a little strange.
let me explain.

you guys are a great couple as far as i can tell. you are a godly example of what it means to live in the spotlight, but in a way that is not specifically and obviously ministry. you are in the spotlight though, and that means you have a target on your back.

i don't know what it's like to be in your position, and i won't pretend i do. but i'm guessing that the spotlight can blind at times. if it hasn't yet, it may tomorrow.
and that is why i pray for you.

i pray that you and chip will continue to have a strong marriage. that you will have strong accountability. i pray for your family. i pray that you will continue to be yourselves, and not feel like you constantly need to be your personas. i pray that you will get regular time away with your husband, and with your family.

you guys seem like you strike a really good balance. i pray that is not a façade, but continues to be true as your endeavors continue.

i pray that you will be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves.

God bless you both.
may you be able to find time to rest in him.
may he continue to use you for his good.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

heavy hearted

we've traveled through a few different states over the course of the past week. we had a great time visiting with both my extended family, and peter's extended family. we knew it'd be tiring with a lot of driving, but it was good for the soul to see so many people we love in the span of a week.

for all of those people, for that time, i am grateful.

but as i see and hear about all of the horrible deaths in this country it makes my heart really heavy. hearing about the shootings, and the unrest took me back to an adoption conference i went to last spring. i went to a session that was essentially a first-person account of what it was like for the speaker to be a different race than her adoptive parents.

it was eye-opening in many ways. but at one point i found myself crying, and the tears wouldn't stop.

you see, the spring of last year is when ferguson, mo was in the news every day because of the demonstrations there after the shooting of michael brown.

and given that the session we were in centered on race, our speaker thought it fitting to spend some time talking about race relations in this country. she shared with us a story from a conference she had recently been to when she had started the same discussion. she shared about how the people of color {as she put it} were the ones who were speaking up, and she asked why.
one white woman paused as she spoke, but said "i don't feel like i have permission to talk about race."
and a black woman stood up, and told her, "i give you permission."

that tore me up for a few different reasons, but mostly because i recognized how ignorant i am. it's not that i don't think racism exists in this country. i'm not that naive. i know it's there, but i don't notice it because it's not aimed at me. but i also don't know how to talk about it.

everything has become so p.c.

i don't know if i'm allowed to ask questions to try to understand. i certainly don't feel like i can ask real, honest questions because being real and honest is generally not p.c.

but we need that space. we need space to have real, honest discourse. not debate. not argument. but real honest q&a discourse to understand what our brothers & sisters are going through.

we are all created in God's image.
all created in God's image.
regardless of race.

but that's not all that's packed up in these super-charged events.

because every one of us is also broken. none of us are perfect. and that brokenness plays out in various ways.

{via pinterest}

on top of seeing and knowing that there is definitely major racism and there are major racial divides in this country the police are at the center of this issue right now. i know there are many problems that need to be fixed. there are a lot of prejudices that only seem to go skin deep.

and yet i know the police cannot be lumped into a group and stereotyped any more than any other group.

my dad is a retired police officer. and i have so much respect for those civil servants who risk their lives to protect others day in and day out.

that's not to say that there aren't dirty cops out there, or that there's nowhere in the country where race plays a large part in how the police conduct their business. saying that would be the equivalent naïveté of saying racism doesn't exist.

we have to stop thinking about this as an all or nothing. saying there are dirty cops out there doesn't mean that a ton of police officers out there aren't risking their lives for the good of those they are protecting. it doesn't mean that most cops aren't selfless in their work, and worthy of our thanks and admiration.

but there is still a problem.

i also sit here as a parent of two kids. i sit here as a parent wanting to adopt another child. and we have always said that we are completely open to adopting a child of a different race, culture, ethnicity, etc.

and i think - if we end up having a black son one day will i need to advise him to behave differently than my white son in the same situation?

i think - do we have enough education about the stereotypes of what it's like to grow up black in america to raise a black child?

these are the things on my mind and on my heart as of late. we need space to talk openly and candidly about what we don't know and don't understand, and in that same space to try to understand. to keep asking questions until we understand as best we can.

we all have different perspectives. but we need to stop pretending that we're not ignorant of other perspectives. we need to try to understand each other by having open and candid conversations. none of us will do this perfectly, but that's not an excuse not to try.

do you know of spaces and places out there where this type of conversation happens? i'd love to hear about them.


p.s. i haven't listened to this yet, but it's on my list for the day. it is a discussion about race and the church put together by north point in atlanta. it was recommended by a friend of mine, and i hope that it is as enlightening for me as it was for her. from what i've heard it gets at some of the things that i've been wondering about here.
have a listen if you'd like.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

c'est la vie

{taken on our trip to france, 2008}

i want to learn french.
i know bits and pieces from the time i put in before we went to france eight years ago. i can read it better than i can speak it though. and i haven't put in much time since then.

the thing is - i've said that for a really long time. i want to learn french. and it has always been true. but it hasn't really made it above the line. because there are always lots of things i want to do. and i don't have time for all of them. that one always gets pushed to "someday."

recently peter and i have talked a lot about priorities. what is above the line? what are we making time for, and what are we doing only if we have extra time?

time really is our most precious resource. once it's lost we can never get it back. once it passes, it's gone.
and it will pass.

i get antsy when i think about wasting time. i still waste time far more often than i'd like to admit. but i hate the thought of it.

we only get a finite number of minutes. and we don't know how many it will turn out to be.

i've been humbled a bit recently by realizing that i really want to feel like i matter outside of being a wife and mom. right now, i don't feel that way much of the time. but if i pursued anything to "make a name for myself" outside of that right now? i'd be doing it to try to bring glory to my own name. not God's.

despite the fact that i want to make a difference in the world, if it's not from God it's not worth it. and right now i feel like he has called me to small things. he may only ever call me to small things. and i'm learning to be okay with that. i'm not there yet, but i'm learning.

i need to hold my life up with an open hand. because there are areas i hold on to, and don't want to let go. but it seems to me that God likes to work things out in such a way that we cannot take credit for them.

he likes to do things in such a way that we cannot look at it, and say - that was me. little things. big things. all of it. every time i try to take it into my own hands and force something to happen, i fall on my face. time and time and time again.

right now i want to be there for my kids. day in, day out, be there.
i also want to have adventures.
i want them to learn that it's okay to be curious.

there are many things i want to do. it's a matter of priorities, and knowing what to let go.
{i've never been the best at letting go.}

in many ways i hate the decision to not pursue any other big thing right now. i dislike the idea of just being at home.

i don't know if i dislike it so much because i feel like sometimes {sometimes} being a housewife is used as a cop-out. or maybe it's the disdain with which many people look on the role.
maybe it's because i see myself as more than that, and even though i know it's not me "giving up" it kind of feels like i am.

{trip to pittsburgh, 2011}

but what am i after? the praise of God? or the praise of mankind?
it's hard to sit amongst my fellow man day in and day out, and not put any stock in what they say.

in our culture your job is who you are. certain professions are respected. but in the eyes of many your profession is directly tied to your worth.

that is not how God operates.

all too often, i forget that. i forget what really matters.

i am not simply a wife and mom. what i "do for work" may be summed up in a sentence, but a person cannot be.
i need to remember that about myself.
i need to remember that about others.

a person cannot be summed up in one sentence.

we often interact with others like they can be.
we interact with others like they are just what we can see.
we get upset because they treat us the same way.

but each of us has a whole life and a whole story.

we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt all the time.
we give our friends the benefit of the doubt because we know them.
how often do i give the benefit of the doubt to strangers?

so much to ponder for a tuesday...

how was your holiday weekend?


Thursday, June 30, 2016

gratitude. take #3

i know i've had at least two other gratitude posts lately. so this is at least take #3. 

i've talked and thought about noticing, paying attention. being grateful.

right now i'm grateful for my sleeping daughter. for my son who will play by himself, but also wants me to play with him. i'm thankful that they're starting to actually play together - not just fight together.

i'm thankful that daddy was still willing to take his boy for a late evening walk even after a crazy day at the office, and a bit of a headache to boot.

i'm thankful for the glass of wine i'm enjoying. 
thankful for two healthy kids who love life.
thankful for time spent adventuring with them today.
thankful for my husband who's a great husband and father, but isn't satisfied with just being great because we never need to stop growing.
thankful for time and space to grow. 
thankful because i have life, and i have breath. 

thankful for the delicious recipe i found for tonight's dinner.
thankful for the books that challenge me to shift my perspective. 

i am grateful. 

what about you?


Saturday, June 25, 2016

a taste of this evening. 6.20.16.

{via pinterest from tumblr}

i never write at night anymore. i rarely have the time, and when i do, i basically want to collapse on the couch, talk with my husband, eat some sugar, drink a glass of wine, and relax until i need to head to bed.

tonight peter went out to dinner with a bunch of his former small group kids {who are now seniors in college...}, and i have some time to sit and write.

i haven't had time in many of the mornings as of late because a couple little munchkins have decided to set their circadian clocks by the sun. and the sun rises by 6:00 right now.

this morning they were both awake by 6:10. and i was smack dab in the middle of a jump rope session with a side of friends.

but now.
now they are both in their rooms. one is sleeping, the other quietly fights it.

and i sit in the living room next to a half eaten quarter of a key lime pie {yes. a quarter of a pie. really. it's that good}. i can smell the bread wafting in from the bread maker in the kitchen.

we've only been baking our own bread for a couple of weeks now, but homemade bread - even the kind from a bread maker - is just so much better than the store bought stuff. plus, it makes our house smell divine.

anyway. i'm trying to "just be" more. i suck at it, but i'm trying.

i feel like i always have to be doing something. usually multiple things at one time. i sit down to write because i crave this time, but i'm getting worse and worse at focusing, and just putting my thoughts down on the page.

i crave writing like i crave coffee in the morning. like i crave exercise. like i crave a little something sweet at the end of the day. {or a lot of something sweet in the case of this evening.}

sometimes i need to just be. i need to stop trying to do a million things and relax all at the same time.

i need to sit and be. and be thankful.
instead of a to-do list {which always, always, always fills itself back up} i need to make a grateful list.

this evening i will be grateful.
i will be grateful for the much i have been given.
i will not get lost in the grass i think is on the other side.

i will recognize that no picture captures real life - just a snapshot of a fleeting moment in time.

i will be grateful for late evenings and early mornings.
i will be grateful for pie. and for bread.
for coffee in the morning. for a comfortable place to lay my head until then.

i will be grateful for all of this life i've been given.
i did not earn it.
i work for it, yes, but i did not earn it.

i did not make myself athletic. i did not make myself decently smart. i did not decide where i would be born, or what family i would be born into.

i like to think i should get all the credit for the things i do, but i did not get here by my bootstraps. i like to think that i've done my part, but i didn't start out where i started because of any merit on my own part.

that's hard to swallow in a world where a self-made man is everything. but we don't really make ourselves. not completely. yes, we need a heckuva lot of hard work to get most places worth going. but sometimes circumstances line up alongside our personality, and our station in life, and a whole host of other things to get us where we are.

if anything had been different - my parents, my circumstances, my personality, my house, my school, my siblings... anything at all, i would be a completely different person. and the same is true of you.

we can only do so much on our own.

we all need a little help. but we all have value.
too often we think it's one or the other - we are the type of people who don't need help. or we are the type of people who don't have value.

it's a both, and.
too often we wear blinders to the other side of the coin. we only show a tiny sliver of ourselves to most people we meet. that means they only show a small sliver to us too.
i need to remember that.
maybe you do too?


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

going small

{via pinterest from amazon}

last week i finished a book that peter got me for my birthday. it's called go small. the author is craig gross who heads up xxxchurch among other things.

the title references the idea that we all have to do something huge for Jesus. it's doesn't say we shouldn't do something huge for Jesus, but that it is not up to us. we need to see the small God-ordained moments all around us. because they matter too.

God doesn't just care about the big things that are done in his name. he cares about the small things too. and sometimes he takes the seemingly insignificant things, and turns them into something much bigger. if we ignore the promptings to do something though, then we'll never know what might have happened - big or small.

but the biggest "BOOM. mind-blown." moment for me came with an illustration he used about God being a parent.

many people have heard this illustration in some form or another before. i had heard it before too. before i was a parent myself.

as a parent of young kids they request to "help" an awful lot. i love that my kids want to help, and i don't want to discourage them helping, so i try to employ their helpfulness whenever i can.

for instance - adele loves to "help" sweep the kitchen floor. and as craig said in the book, her helping results in it taking far longer, with a few scatterings of the pile i'm sweeping. sometimes she even likes to purposefully scatter the pile {presumably because the pile makes the floor appear less clean}.

despite all of the drawbacks i still allow her to help sometimes. and at the end of her "helping" i'm generally smiling because she worked so hard. and we accomplished it together.

keane likes to help cook. he's turning into an excellent sous-chef, but right now it still takes longer having him help.

you get the idea.

this is basically true about God and us. God can accomplish his plan without us. his plan does not hinge on us. but he allows us to take part in it. he allows us to "help." we get to take part in it. he is never not in control of it. but he allows us to take part in it and to grow through it.

and if we do it with a heart for him, i imagine he's smiling ear to ear when we accomplish the task together.

if we ignore his prompting to do something, or say something, he doesn't come beg for us to come back and do it so his plan can go forth. if i don't do what he prompts me to do he will bring about his will through someone else. he is in control.

{via pinterest from twitter}

we all have a part to play. some of us have a large part to play - though it may not always seem large in the midst of it. some of us have a minuscule part to play. but we're all given a part to play. God has allowed us to partake in his greater story.

going small is not definitive. God does call people to big things. but he does not call everyone to big things. and we are called to be faithful in the small things just as much as we are called to be faithful in the big ones. faithfulness all looks the same to God.

i am constantly striving to matter. i think we all are. it's embedded in us. but if God calls us to small seemingly insignificant things, and we do them to his glory, then we matter to him. then that means those things that seem insignificant are not insignificant.

our fellow man doesn't get the final say. God does.
remember that the next time you question whether or not you matter.

if we're not faithful with little, we will not be asked to handle much.
and we may not be asked to handle much anyway.
it's not up to me. it's up to God.

{just a few thoughts for your wednesday *wink*}


Sunday, June 19, 2016

kitchen reveal...

...sort of. mostly because i just can't wait any longer!

peter worked his tail off yesterday building my shelves and putting them up, and stayed up until all hours of the night working on them because he loves me and he's good to me {even when it's father's day weekend, and i really don't deserve it}.

and while we still have a few small things to do to officially check all things "kitchen" off of our to-do list, it's fully functional, and basically completed.

this post is going to be short and sweet because i'm about to go add as much sleep as possible to the barely five hours i got last night.

anyway, here she is 11 months later!

from this:

and this:


goodness knows i'm in love with this space!
i'm so thankful for my husband anyway, and when he works for practically a year to give me the kitchen i really really want?

mind-blown gratefulness right now.

i hope you and yours have had a fantastic weekend!