Less Words…

This might be the kind of day when I heart-spill a little too much.

So if I do, forgive me. :)

It’s 5:45 in the morning, and I’m up early because…well, because I’m trying to get into a good routine, and as much as I’d love to sleep much, much longer, this is my time to get things done.

I have to admit to you that I wish I were drinking coffee right now. We’ve got a big ‘ol container of Bailey’s Mudslide Coffee Creamer in our fridge right now (it was the only size they had) and OH. Yes, it DOES make me want to drink coffee all day. (As if it takes creamer to do that…) 😉 But, alas, I am not drinking coffee.

YET.

See, I’m also trying to be better about getting up to run early in the morning. I’ve been good during the last few months about doing lots of strength training and cardio/strength, but I need to get back to running more often. And my rule? No coffee til the run is over.

I know. Oh, I know. ‘Tis a bit brutal. 😉

I’m pondering life and love and the fact that my sweet three, almost-four, year-old finishes PK3 today. It has been such a good year for her, and I’m finding myself thinking back to the times when I would finish a year of school; especially when I was younger, I would always be devastated to say goodbye to my teacher. Clearly that emotion has been passed, straight on, to my girlie.

She cried yesterday when she told me she had one more day. I don’t WANNA leave Mrs. H! Or Mrs. B!

And, oh, how there is that piece of me that would gladly let her remain there forever…but we go forward anyway.

And with a few tears because that’s how a lot of us roll, I think, whether we’ll admit it or not.

And along with the whole finishing PK3 thing comes other milestones to remind me that my little girl is growing up so fast. A ballet recital on Sunday in a sparkly costume with her hair all pretty and MAKEUP. So not ready for this one…

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A real, kid birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate the BIG FOUR. Not ready for that one in a completely different way…

Swimming lessons to come. That one I’m excited for…she’s been asking, and I want it for her.

So many changes every day…the pants get shorter and the cute little shirts don’t cover her belly anymore. Her aqua toenails peek over the edge of he flip flops, and I realize it…

…I wasn’t looking, and she grew up.

So time marches on, and while the snuggles and kisses remain, the I-love-you’s are a daily thing, and we laugh and dance together because it’s just what we do, I know it’s going to change.

That’s the part I don’t want to come.

I think back to the things I’ve always wanted so much for her…

To know that she’s loved so much…

…accepted as she is…

…and beautiful. SO beautiful.

Those things…they start with me.

And God has been doing some things in my heart when it comes to my daughter.

I was in Houston a few weeks ago with some pretty awesome sisters, and during our time there, a friend and I took a little break outside for a bit to sit by the pool in the glorious, Texas sunshine. (You know, that thing we haven’t seen much of in FOREVER here? Yep.) 😉 We were chatting up life…the two of us are in different parenting seasons…and I was soaking in all she had to say. The mama of four daughters, she gets this…

And I admitted to her that I felt like the blog was wearing me down and all I wanted to do was just be mommy. (But please, my readers, don’t run away.) 😉

As we continued to talk, I confessed that I felt like the time and energy I’d spent trying to build and comment and connect had depleted me more than filled me. That was a hard confession because I love…LOVE…this community. I want to be here…writing, sharing, doing life together.

And God isn’t saying to give that up…but He IS saying to step back a little.

That’s why it’s been so quiet in this space. It’s been a word battle anyway lately, but I also haven’t spent as much time at the computer. The majority of my day is spent with my girl…how it should be anyway. And nights are a little different, too…I used to spend them commenting and answering comments and reading blogs…and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But you see, I have a husband, too. He and I are desperately trying to find our dance again. We’ve both kind of forgotten how that looks, but it definitely doesn’t involve computer screens.

It’s such a confusing place to be…knowing I’m meant to be a writer, but being aware that to everything there is a season. And I think it’s my season to write less. A lot less.

I miss connecting with my community as often. I miss the twitter parties and late nights…and while I may show up once in awhile, it’s no longer the commitment I sprint out of praise team for. It’s an added blessing when my day allows it.

And so, for this season, the rough draft still sits. The blog is a bit quieter. And the words flow through my heart more than they do through my fingertips.

But I’m good with that because it’s where I need to be.

And now I need to go…because four miles, a pot of coffee, and a sweet, three year-old princess await me.

Life is so incredibly beautiful…and I don’t want to miss any of it.

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2014: Restore

Warning: This turned into an intense, heart-spill. Thanks for reading.

Hi, friends! Happy New Year!

And, yes, I’m blogging three days in a row…which hasn’t happened since, like, 2012.

And now that you’ve picked yourselves up off the floor… 😉

Restore. My word for 2014.

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I’ll get to that in a minute. It’s one that has caused more wrestling and wondering and tears before I even chose it as my word for the year.

But let’s back up and talk about Dream for a minute.

It was my word for 2013…and, in every way, the safe choice for the year.

I was already part of the God-Sized Dream Team.

Already in the thick of dreaming and surrounded by so many other dreamers.

It just made sense.

Oh, there were parts of it that were challenging, definitely, and I don’t regret my choice at all. In all of the dreaming, and the hard part…doing, God did incredible things…opened doors and opportunities. 2013 was definitely a dreaming journey, one that has changed my life forever.

But, today…and this year, Restore.

It was supposed to be Create.

You see, that’s the word I wanted. It’s something I love. A word I had planned on making my focus for the year because it’s so easy for me.

To pull out the paint and a canvas and splash art.

To pick up my hook and yarn and make something cute that I’d rather not pay $30 for in a store. Or to make a cute hat for a friend. :)

To frustrate myself through the roof with my Rainbow Loom, but somehow make a cute bracelet. Yes, I bought one. It’s fun. And completely addicting…and, yes, I promise I am 35 years old. 😉

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Creating…it comes naturally. And it’s easy.

But God said something different this time…and, ironically, He said it through a painting. (And a whole series of events that make up an incredible account…I’ll be sharing that soon, but not today.) 😉

He said it through this.

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Restore.

I will restore you. Your marriage, your heart, your emotions, your confidence, ALL of it.

You see, I paint a word mural in this space.

While I keep it real most days, unless you know me intimately, you don’t know the brokenness that resides in this heart.

Some of it is my own doing, some of it isn’t.

But regardless of the source, there are pieces of me that need to be restored. Not fixed completelybut at least brought back to a place of being able to shine Him again, even if it’s through cracks.

Our marriage…it’s hard. We are night and day, sunshine and rain…and looking for the rainbow. I know it’s there, and I remind myself of that daily as, sometimes, we try desperately to hold on. The Truth is that we are working to make Him first again. I’m not sure how it happened, but somewhere in the last eleven plus years, we became more me-me-me, and less Him-Him-Him.

Pray for us? Please?

My mommy heart needs to be restored and reminded daily of the blessing I have in my precious daughter. Most days I know it and feel it and the two of us dance it out like the crazy, fun girls we are. 😉 And others…the ones when my period is late or I’m cramping horribly…well, I focus on what I don’t have. Will you pray that God will restore my heart? And because I believe in being real…and also because so many of you are my family…here’s the deal. Really.

And I want you to know it.

We’re focusing on us and our sweet girl. There’s no trying right now, and I’m ok with that. We are hoping a few months down the road that we’ll be in that place again, but today, we’re not there. It’s been a source of me needing to let go of my perfect family ideal…which didn’t include kiddos who were four or five years apart. (If that.) And yet, here we are.

And I long to be ok.

And there’s also a deep desire for freedom and restoration of my past…situations that left me broken, empty, and almost unable to go back to the place that was my home for so many years.

The truth is that, right now, I can’t go back without a pit in my stomach, a hardness to my heart, and tears brimming on my eyelids.

I hate that it’s that way. Hate it.

And I know that ONLY HE can Restore it and somehow glue back together the pieces that fell apart so long ago.

I mean it when I say that it’s almost become easier to live broken than to live Restored.

But I long for it…and He has spoken it.

Now, I need to obey it.

So, Father, please Restore…whatever it is that needs to be restored in me. Make my heart new, make it long for You, make it shine You again. I know You can and You will.

God gave me a verse recently…and, ironically, it popped up as the verse of the day yesterday. But maybe it’s just another little whisper from Him that He’s got this.

This…THIS…it’s my prayer.

My hope.

My promise from Him for 2014.

See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)

Restore 2014. He Will.

And, thank you…to each of you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being willing to walk this journey with me.

That makes you my friend, and I love you for it.

***Linking up at Circles of Faith and the One Word 365 community today.

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Behind the Scenes: My Heart and an Invitation

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This picture has popped up on my blog a few times lately.

Yeah, I think she’s pretty adorable. :)

A couple months ago, we took advantage of a Groupon deal and hired a photographer to come out to our C’ville stomping grounds and take some family pictures.

Let me tell you, friends…with a spunky toddler like we have, this was a tall order to fill.

But he rocked it, despite the fact that she was constantly on the move.

And? He managed to capture this gem.

To say that I. Completely. Love. It. is just scratching the surface.

Because what this is…it’s me and my girl and my passion and my heart all miraculously captured in one, beautiful photo.

For years, I have dreamed of writing. Of blogging, of publishing, of making a name for myself. (I didn’t say all of these were noble aspirations.) 😉

And during those years, another dream of mine has been dancing around my feet, sometimes holding my hand, sometimes spinning on her own.

This girl.

Maelie girl.

She’s fabulous.

And she’s my calling, my dream, my heart.

She is who I want to be my priority every second of the day.

Even over writing and blogging and publishing and being all that those things bring.

And so this picture…this snapshot of our moments…it represents so much.

Because I love my daughter to the moon and back. (Plus infinity…just ask her. ;))

I still love to write…

I still want to publish a book…

I still dream of being a contributor on a blogand that one is happening soon, so stay tuned!

But my point?

Is that I want moments like the one in this photo all the time.

I want her all the time.

And so…I’m redefining.

Making mommyhood, marriage, a follower of my Father, a friend…priorities.

Oh, I’ll still write…’cause a writer still needs air sometimes. Plus, I just love to write…I can’t give it up.

But I’ll do that when she’s in bed. Or having her quiet time. Or watching her hour of tv (hour, not hourS).

😉

And I’m not perfect. I’ll fumble, I’ll fail, I’ll write a blog post while she watches yet another episode of Sofia the First or Doc McStuffins.

But where my heart is now?

It’s in that place where I don’t want to miss a single moment.

Ever.

And, friends?

I’ve been given a great opportunity, one I am incredibly thankful for, one I didn’t plan on…but one that God was weaving into His plan all along.

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I am completely blown away by the opportunity to be an (in)courager.

Squeeeeeeeee! 😉 (Plus, imagine a little happy dancing, too.)

I am so excited to encourage and invest in the lives of other stay-at-home mommas like me…ones who, I have a feeling, struggle with many of the same things I do.

(In)courage has a new session of (in)courager groups kicking off this week, and registration is open! If you’re looking for a small group, a place to connect with women in the same season of life, a place to be encouraged…this is exactly for you.

You can go here to read the heart behind (in)courager groups AND to find one that is the perfect fit for you. Of course, I’d love it if you joined my group, but look for the one that best meets you in your current season. (And as of tonight, my group is full…but there are TONS of groups…go find one! ;))

You will love it. I promise. :)

It makes me smile to look back at the last few weeks…to see how He is weaving together pieces of my heart and writing another part of my story. Pulling back on a few things, but still filling my life with amazing blessings.

And reminding me of the ones I already have.

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Happy Tuesday, friends! Today is the day when I join some sweet friends at Crystal’s space for Behind the Scenes.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.

I hope you’ll take some time to pop over and read the sometimes-hilarious, sometimes-tear-jerking, just-fun stories that go on behind the actual photos. :)

crystalstine.me

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Behind the Scenes: On Anniversaries and Selfies

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Just throwing this out there…

I’m not a selfie taker, typically.

I’ve got nothing against those of you who can magically hold out your iPhone and, almost instantaneously, snap the most perfect, flattering, photo of your gorgeous face and hair and then post it to facebook for all the world to see.

I’m just not that person, usually, but it’s all good.

I can appreciate your gifts.

Anyway. 😉

So we went out on a date to celebrate our 11th anniversary on Sunday night. (A day late…BOO on migraines. Yay for babysitters who can do a last-minute switch on nights.) 😉

As most of our anniversary dates tend to be, this one didn’t turn out quite like we envisioned. (If I told you some of the unique ways we’ve spent our anniversary…let’s just say it would be an entertaining series of blog posts. ;))

However, that’s ok…we’re learning to embrace the surprises that come along.

So we started our big night out at Costco.

Yes, we did.

We got ice cream and then walked around and bought some cleaning supplies that we needed because, let’s face it, the key to a happy marriage is making sure the bathrooms are clean, right? 😉

Then we made our way over to a restaurant we’ve driven by a hundred times. And every time we’ve driven by, I’ve said, We need to go there for dinner sometime.

So we did.

It was this little Mexican place, El Molino, and while it’s not in my top ten, the green salsa was pretty awesome, as were the enchiladas. I’d go back. :)

The service was super fast, and after dinner, we were faced with almost two hours before we told the babysitter we’d be home.

What to do, what to do?

Hmmmm…remember that time three years ago when we had a four week-old and were looking for a place to live and we saw a bunch of houses, some that were in slightly sketchy areas of town? Let’s go find them!

Guys, we totally did.

Pulled the GPS up on the phone and drove all over town. (Technically, all over two towns.)

We managed to find the first house we looked at, and the sight of that one only made me breathe thanks over and over that God had other plans for us.

We think we found another one (but the new owners had painted it rusty-icky-brown…really?!), and we’d liked this one a lot, but it didn’t work out. That’s more than ok…we love where we are. :)

And after that we were kind of over the whole, let’s-go-find-the-houses-we-didn’t-end-up-renting, thing. (Especially because I felt like a total creeper… ;))

So we went to Dunkin’ Donuts. We wanted coffee because we just did.

Or, maybe I did.

That’s because I’m breathing. 😉

Our mistake was that we went INTO the store instead of just doing drive-thru. So, of course, we walked out with donuts, which we totally needed after ice cream and too many chips-and-salsa-plus-dinner.

It is a good thing we went in, though, because it gave us the perfect opportunity to document our adventure-filled, so-not-predictable, anniversary date With. A. Selfie.

Complete with a very-slight, sneak peek of my, in-my-husband’s-words, psychodelic vest.

The same vest he went practically-to-the-moon-and-back to get for me. (Thinking that might be another post in itself, though…come back next week?  Trust me, it’s worth it. ;))

In all of this, selfie-pic-taking-included, I smiled.

We haven’t had an easy road. This marriage thing has been a lot of things…and easy hasn’t been one of them.

But the smiles in this selfie? They’re real.

For all of the hard moments, the days when we wondered whether we should even keep doing this anymore…this year.

This moment.

I’m thankful.

We know it’s worth it and that it always will be.

I love this guy, I do.

I’m so blessed to walk this thing called life with him by my side.

And I could gush and gush here, but I hope the smiles say it all instead.

Here’s to selfies that document what words often can’t.

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On Tuesdays, I link up at my friend, Crystal’s place, for Behind the Scenes.

Social media and online relationships can make us feel like everyone else has it all together. We’re edited, proof-read, Pinterest-perfect versions of ourselves (or so some might think!) when – in reality? There is an unfinished pile of laundry around the corner. That cute toddler smiling for the camera just had a massive meltdown seconds ago. That yummy breakfast-for-dinner you just showed us on Instagram? It’s because the cat licked the chicken that was supposed to be for dinner.

“Behind the Scenes” is a fun link up where we show those photos – but tell the real story behind them. The sneak peek behind the scenes, a look past the edges of the photo to the real life behind it.

Take some time and stop by for some of my favorite reads of the week written by my sweet, blogging sisters. They’ll make you laugh, cry, and remind you of how good life is and how fun the stories can be behind the camera lens. :)

Thanks for stopping by today, friends!

crystalstine.me

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My God-Sized Dream: How I Live

What’s a typical day in your life like right now? How can you see God’s hand in the middle of the “small” and ordinary too?

When I first saw the topic for this week, I smiled and started singing a song.

One that, for reasons unknown to me, somehow made it onto my running playlist about a year ago and became a favorite. I especially love the chorus.

Turn up the music, turn it up loud
Take a few chances, let it all out
‘Cause you won’t regret it
Looking back from where you have been
‘Cause it’s not who you knew
And it’s not what you did, it’s how you live

“How You Live” Point of Grace

Though it may sound a bit flaky, I try to live my life in this way…with the music cranked up (sometimes literally), looking for the adventure in every step, and dancing throughout my days, too. (As long as there’s coffee. ;))

On a perfect day, I start with a run.  I usually do between three and four miles, but  I only did 2.4 this morning…on Monday nights I work out with friends, and our workout went late last night and was topped off by a frappuccino and a chat with my dear friend :), so I didn’t push it. I’m not Super-runner Woman, either (though I would look good with a cape, huh?!)…it’s something I became intentional about in order to shed those baby pounds and turned into something I enjoy.

When I get home from running (before 7 am) I get the coffee going and get ready for the day.

Key word here = coffee. I drink a ton of the stuff. True confession. But not black…always with creamer. Bailey’s Creme Brulee is my favorite. Mmmmm.

I’m a stay-at-home-mom, and it’s the job title I wear most proudly.

I’m mama to the most incredibly wonderful, spirited, sweet girl, Mae. Ever the non-napper, she almost always gives me a wonderful night’s sleep, so she usually isn’t awake before 7:30. (Unless we’re in time change mode. Ugh.) I love that it gives me time to hop through the shower and get ready somewhat before she’s up.

Once Mae is up, it’s the usual. Breakfast, sometimes-playtime, sometimes-Sesame Street. If she goes the tv route, I use that time to do some Bible reading and blogging. It’s when most of my daytime writing gets done. A lot of people start their mornings early. early. early. with spending time with God. I have found  that it  simply doesn’t work well for me.

I love Him.

But my mind is not coherent enough before my run to focus. Instead, I crank up a pretty sweet playlist of praise songs for my run and worship Him in that way. I love it, and I usually sing along. 😉

The  rest of our day varies, depending on the day. Some days we head to church for Bible study or to help with Feed My Lambs; the other days we’ll chill at home and  do art projects or read stories or play princesses or bake. (She’s a huge play doh fan right now, too.) We save errands for the afternoon, usually, because my ever-so-sweet girl mostly-dropped her afternoon nap last summer. (She takes about one a month.)

It’s a simple day, usually, and sometimes there will be more writing or catching up online interspersed with what we do.

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My main goal as a stay-at-home mama  is to simply enjoy her and be the best mommy to her that I can be. The days are already passing too quickly, and she’ll be off to preschool in just five short months. Tear. 

My hubby usually gets home around 5:30, and  we’ll spend a little time together as a family,  eat dinner, and then it’s off to bathtime and bed for the non-napper girl we have. :) She’s usually in bed and asleep before 7:30 which gives us some time to unwind. Sometimes T and I will play a game or watch a movie; sometimes we’ll do our own thing…me, usually write; him, catch up with his favorite blogs or watch a TV show. Fun fact: we really love playing cribbage. I know it’s an old-people game, but it’s fun! You should try it. 😉

Being a SAHM was not something I ever thought I’d be, but I love it. I’ve realized, too, that it’s something I should never take for granted. My husband works hard so I can be with my girl, and I know there are a lot of mamas who wish with everything in them that they could be home with their kids, too. I am extremely blessed, and so thankful I can spend my days with Mae. :)

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One of the things God has over-and-over convicted me about is my prayer life. I grew up always thinking that to pray, I needed to stop what I was doing, fold my hands, close my eyes, and talk to Him in that way. And while there are times for that, I try to make prayer part of my lifestyle…and I talk to Him throughout the day. Sometimes in a sentence, sometimes longer. While I’m washing dishes, vacuuming, or even changing a diaper.

I love that He hears me…and that He listens no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

I also love that my daughter is learning the value of speaking to her Father, too, no matter where she is in her day. Often, we’ll pray for Putra, our Compassion child…his picture is on our wall in the kitchen, and she likes to look at it. Mae knows that we can talk to God about him, and that we can do it while we’re playing princesses, too. :)

In relation to my dream(s) and pursuing them in daily life, my biggest goal is to place them in His hands each day and pray for opportunities. Right now, my sweet friend is reading through my book, and I’m good with that…in some ways, it’s a break I can use to reflect on what He’s asking of me and what could potentially be next. As for my other dream of writing for a bigger blog, I talk to Him about it…and just keep doing my thing…

…writing  in this space, which I truly love. I really do, even if the number of blog posts a week has dwindled a bit. (I’m trying to focus on content more instead of word count. Please don’t count the number of words in this post. ;))

I’m trying to be faithful with the smaller things…and trust that He’ll bring the big things when it’s time. His time.

More than ever, right now, I’m content with that, and it’s a good place to be.

Just living the life He’s created for me, following Him in obedience, and trusting that His plan will happen.

And it’s Tuesday! Hop over to the lovely Holley Gerth’s place to read more stories of what God is doing in the lives of my dreaming sisters! We’d love for you to join us. :)

God-Sized Dreams

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My God-Sized Dream: Joy Surrounding Me

JOY

What brings you joy, especially when it comes to your God-Sized Dream?

I love this question and am so very overwhelmed by it all at the same time.

Joy.

JOY.

JOY.

The word has such a different meaning now than it did just two years ago.

My husband and I were in the midst of one of the hardest seasons of our marriage. It was a daily struggle to move forward and to choose love and joy in spite of the challenges that seemed to overtake our days.

Around this time, I had gotten into the groove of blogging, and my writing was definitely something that brought joy…a place to release and be…no matter what I was feeling that particular day.

As I slowly started to become connected online with some different bloggers and friends, I came across a blog.

The writer is someone many of you may know at least through her words. And I became privileged to know her through them, too, even if we never exchanged an in-real-life, friend hug.

During those days of wondering and waiting and unknown, I found myself drawn into her story, inspired by her words, and taken by her heart for our Father.

Someone asked her the question, “How do you manage to stay so positive? So happy? Don’t you ever just get really mad?”

And her reply, specifically this part of it, changed me.

The thing I try to remind myself of, as I am without all the things that I wish I had to make me happy, is that my biggest need is Him. More than I need to be outside in the fresh air, more than I need to move without pain, more than I even need Dad… I need His will to be done in my life whether it is comfortable or not. There is not one thing that feels comfortable about my world right now, but I need Him more than I need to change my circumstances.

It’s still brutally hard. I have to remind myself of these facts every day. It doesn’t always come easily.

But it doesn’t make the truth any less true.

And the truth is that I can choose the joy.

So I do.

From this post at Sara’s blog.

Knowing Sara for the few months I did changed my perspective. Reading her words taught me how to Choose Joy, even on the days that were hard.  (Hard to me, nothing compared to what she endured.)

And I share this with you to tie it back into my answer to the question…

What brings you joy, especially when it comes to your God-Sized Dream?

Honestly, it’s the beauty He brings to each of my days.

Sunshine in the form of a little girl I am privileged to love and raise and spend my days with. I love her so much it brings tears to my eyes.

My husband and the way he loves me through each day, never settling and always striving for something more.

Heart friends…those near me and those so far away that heaven will be our reunion…who bless me with love and laughs, encouragement and prayer.

A new community of women who have inspired and blessed me along the journey to a dream.

Words…and the little gift He has given me in being able to use them to encourage others.

The sunshine streaming through the windows today.

A text or prayer of encouragement from a friend.

Printing off my rough draft and giving it to a friend. :)

A cup of coffee on a cold winter morning.

What I learned, and am continually learning, through my friend’s life is that there is JOY surrounding me.

It’s everywhere.

And it’s my choice…despite my circumstances, I can choose to find it in each day.

Maybe this is somewhat of a generic answer…I hope you don’t see it that way.

I hope that, whatever the dream God has rooted deeply in your heart, you’ll always find joy along the journey of realizing that dream.

I truly can’t wait for the day when my book is in print and I hold it in my hands.

Or for the day that I’ll hopefully have the chance to write for one of my favorite spaces.

But, today, I am embracing the joys God has given along the journey to those dreams.

For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I will sing for joy.
Psalm 63:7 (ESV)

As we do each Tuesday, a bunch of us are linking up with Holley Gerth and sharing all God is doing when it comes to our God-Sized Dreams! We’d love to have you join us!

God-Sized Dreams

Sig

Five-Minute Friday: What Mama Did

Today I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo at The Gypsy Mama for Five-Minute Friday.

Join me!

The rules: Write for five minutes. No editing, revising, overthinking, or backtracking. Just write.

Today’s Topic: What Mama Did

It’s a day I have waited for…and dreaded at the same time.

That day when I cross the line, officially, from child to adult. No, not my eighteenth birthday, but I rang that in a few weeks ago.

I’m leaving for college.

It’s time to go…time to get out of here, or more like high speed it out of here on I-35 in my awesome ’85 Olds.

And I know I don’t do goodbye well…or see ya later…or even hello, but what the future holds for me is bright. I just know it.

And I leave behind the place that started me…and the people who were the pieces of that beginning, too.

She was one of my biggest influences, my mom…and life turned out much differently than any of us had ever planned. Circumstances were unfair, the consequences of decisions affected us to the core, and when I packed my bags on that sweltering August day, we knew that I was leaving as a much different person than I had been before they ended.

Her and my daddy.

And my last two years there, it was just me and her. She was strong and did what she had to do, but the situation changed us all forever.

And now I’m me…not the same as I was, but still pieces of it.

Sometimes stumbling, faltering…and I learn again to rest in His grace and remember that there is always a brand new day coming where His new mercies abound.

Almost seventeen years later, I think about the new journey that day began.

I kiss my husband.

I love on my daughter.

I thank God for the many, many blessings He has so graciously given.

Included in those blessings, are those pieces from my beginning. My daddy. My mama.

And now, I continue on in her shoes.

And I hope that, one day, when my daughter is asked to reflect, she will write of me with thankfulness and love for all we shared.

Five Minute Friday

Sig

More of the Still

It has been one of those seasons…over and over, there have been reminders from Him.

Sometimes quiet whispers, sometimes not-so-quiet, and a few in-my-face. 😉

For some reason, God keeps bringing this verse into my life…literally. I can’t even count the number of times it’s come up on the radio, in sermons, in reading…in the past few weeks.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)

At first it was a little weird to me that this verse, one that spent most of my life hidden away in the sometimes-elusive Old Testament, has now become such a precious promise to me…but I’m so amazed at all that He’s teaching me through these twelve words.

So it’s probably not news to most of you that I’m an open person…and I’m well aware of the amount of heart-spill that happens on these pages. It may surprise you, though, that I do have a filter, though it’s not always in the proper place while I’m doing that heart-spill. 😉

I have struggled with this for a long time…and, combined with my sheer love of words and talking and sharing, I’ve almost exhausted myself.

And probably shared too much.

So this verse is more than a promise to me from God…it’s also a challenge.

You see, friends, He is fighting for me. He’s fighting for all of us…and He’s fighting for the good.

Always the good.

He just asks that we be stilland that involves so much more than physical stillness, which I believe is an important part of choosing to sit and be, too.

It’s learning to have a quiet heart…one that can be silent enough that when He speaks…I can actually listen. I have to admit that I’m not so good at that. Some people are internal processors, and I am anything but…I always feel the need to talk and share and bounce my thoughts off of those closest to me.

Right now, He’s asking one thing of this heart…

To be still.

And what He’s asking of me means a lot of things.

Rest. (I need to stop my literal burning of the midnight oil. My new goal is in bed by 11, up at 6:30. Yes, seven-ish hours. Ambitious, I know…honestly I’ll be happy with seven good hours, but that extra 30 minutes would sure be nice.) 😉

Quiet. I have got to learn the art of thought before words, of consideration before expressing. It’s not my strength, and I think I have gotten better, but there’s room for improvement. :)

Less Words. This place is going to be quieter for a few weeks. I have to admit to you that it just about kills me to only visit here a few times a week…as in three, maybe four. (No more.) Tuesdays, Fridays, and another day in there. And it’s not permanent…but for a season, I need to step back.

Not walk away…just distance myself a bit. For lots of reasons.

For one thing, my rough draft is getting so close…and while I don’t want to force the words out, it does feel as if it’s coming more easily, and I’m SO excited to see this dream continue to grow.

More importantly, my daughter is growing up WAY. TOO. FAST. She is at the most amazing age…and we are truly having the best days together. I want to soak up each and every one completely. :)

As I’ve gotten busier during the past two months, I’ve noticed a decrease in the time I spend encouraging others. I want to intentionally make time for coffee or a chat, for writing a note or having a text conversation, and even for prayer. Relationships are huge part of my life.

Which brings me to my hubby. Since beginning his new job, it feels like we see much less of each other…and I want to be able to give him quality time together…not time that is spent distracted by what I feel needs to be written.

I also want to really focus on filling at this point.

As a writer, I often feel like I spend so much time pouring…and it’s time to fill up.

I’m blessed. Through connections and some amazing women in my life, both in-real-life and online, I’m part of two different studies and have three incredible books to read, books that are speaking Truth to me in ways that are so needed and such blessings.

I love how He knows and meets me exactly where I need to be met…without me even asking.

So please be patient with me for the next few weeks, friends. There won’t be new thoughts every day…though I will still be here at least a few times a week…but I’m not going to push it. Just take the opportunity if it’s there and I can. :)

I want you to know that you truly bless me just by being here, reading my words, and allowing me to share part of my heart with you.

Please pray that during this time of stillness I will really learn to be still.

Thanks so much…love you all!

Sig

10 Years!

From this…

…to this…

…I. LOVE. IT.

Special thanks to our friend, Kelly, at Stick People Productions for the awesome family photos! :)

Sig

Little Blessings (Pt. 45)

:) Olympics!!! Love me some gymnastics. (And swimming and diving and water polo and volleyball and…)

:) Almond Joy coffee creamer. Mmmmm…

:) Complete-sentence conversations with my girl.

:) Coffee drinking and playtime in the backyard in the morning.

:) Time (and motivation) to work on my book. Thinkin’ there was some progress yesterday!

:) A stinkin’ scary moment that turned into something we could laugh about a few minutes later.

:) Truth spoken in love.

:) Guitar-strumming and tune-belting.

:) Bedtime giggles, songs, and prayers with my favorite little girl. Hearing her say, Amen, is the best part.

:) Ten years on Friday.

Sig