Monday Talk

Hi friends…happy Monday!

The day of the week that I used to not love, but gotta be honest…it’s growing on me. But that could also be because coffee tends to make any day look a little better.


I am incredibly blessed.

For so many reasons, but in the past few days, it has been almost overwhelming (but the good kind of that) to see how God is speaking Truth into my life.

Amazing concept that if I will be still and listen, I might actually hear! πŸ˜‰

It humbles and amazes me that He knows this heart…the one that can beat with a hundred different emotions at once, and He can still decipher those and know exactly what I need.






Just a few of the ways He has met me since Thursday. You know, that day when I truly vowed to find bloggy-balance. (Hee hee…do you think they would coin that term and give me credit?!) πŸ˜‰

And for those of you who read that post, I thought you might be interested to know that God brought up that verse Saturday AND Sunday, in separate contexts from different people.

He speaks. Loudly…and it’s amazing what happens when we turn off the noise.Β 

So on Friday’s I participate in Lisa-Jo‘s Five-Minute Friday. It’s become sort of a tradition for me in ending my week, one that I truly love. It’s also given me the chance to connect with some beautiful, amazing friends out there who heart-write, just like I do. :)

Last week, as I mentioned in my post, her topic scared the begeebies out of me. I may or may not have mentioned wanting to run away from the computer?! πŸ˜‰

And then, this past Friday’s word did the same thing to me.

I wrestled with those topics on the days I wrote of them and the days following.

And then I realized that half of that was the fact that He’s stretching me…growing me. He tends to do that, I guess, when we grow tired of complacency and desire to, instead, be what He’s called us to be.

Thanks to my (mostly) non-TV Lent, too, I’ve been doing a lot more reading.

I’ve just started Angie Smith’s book, Mended: Pieces of a Life Made Whole. Angie speaks such truth in a way that anyone can relate to…and I am (intentionally) slowly soaking in each sentence. I have been somewhat guarded with the topic of this book, but within the first few sentences, I knew that God had brought a group of women (and the study they are doing on this particular book) into my life for a reason. Will you pray I will find the courage to connect with them this week? :)

My Bible study at church is also starting a new book. I’m looking forward to going through it in-real-life with some of the sweetest friends ever and praying that God will show me Truth…and with this particular topic, I’m expecting some of that Truth to be tough. I’m praying He’ll keep my heart open.

And I’ve been reading through Holley Gerth’s book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You.

Friends, just WOW…the good kind. So Holley has the gift of writing to begin with, but Truth and beauty just ooze from her grace-filled words. It’s a book that is hard to put down because I just can’t wait for what she’s going to say next, but once again, I am intentionally soaking in the words and praying God will use them in the journey to be more like His Son.

Oh, and guess what?!

Her book officially releases on Friday, and I’m giving away a copy. :)

So, a hint for y’all…stop back by here on Wednesday or Thursday to enter for a chance to win the book and some other fun stuff. Chocolate may or may not be included. And by may-or-may-not, I mean most definitely. Just in case you weren’t sure. πŸ˜‰

Hope you all had a fantastic Monday. :)


How Quiet It Is…

It’s a quiet night.

Really quiet.

I’m sitting in our family room, snuggled under my favorite blanket, pounding on the laptop keys…and the only sound I’m hearing is the keys.

I am such a noise girl. I thrive best when surrounded by it; I often intentionally create it; heck, I even sleep better when there’s some. :)

And most nights when there’s writing happening, that writing coexists with noise, and we’re not talking about the toddler kind. I can’t tell you how often I’ll flip on the TV or put a in a DVD just to fill what I term as empty space. I am always convinced that this helps me be more productive.

But guess what?

In thinking about what to give up for Lent, I landed on two options. Coffee. Or TV.

IΒ  could have chosen coffee, but if we’re being real, I am a much more pleasant person to be around when I’ve had my six cups of coffee. (Kidding. That was a joke…I promise.) I was truly thinking of others…and maybe a teeny-tiny bit about my love for this beverage. πŸ˜‰

Maybe it sounds like a cop-out, but I chose TV. (And my hubby is enthusiastically(?) going along for the ride with me.) We do have one amendment to it…we’re allowed to watch movies on weekend nights.

We began the non-watching yesterday, and I barely noticed it. (By the way, Maelie is not participating. It isn’t as if my daughter watches hours a day, but with a non-napping sweetheart of a two year-old, mama needs a bit of down time.)

However, last night I went to work out, and immediately realized I couldn’t flip Netflix on and find something to occupy my brain while I crunched and planked and burpeed (that word just seems wrong) and squatted (even more wrong). πŸ˜‰ I had to settle for some music instead.

You know what? It wasn’t bad. And I might argue that singing along burns a few extra calories. πŸ˜‰

But here I sit, tonight, heading to the rough draft for an hour or so after this, and I’m more-than-well aware that the familiar sounds of Little House will not be the soundtrack to my writing moments for quite awhile.

It’s a new kind of focus, a reminder that sometimes He just asks me to be Still.

To throw away the noise and rest in Him…in His goodness, in His grace, in His love.

Thank you, God, for quiet…for still. Please teach me to thrive in it.


What She Treasured

I have to admit that often, especially around this time of year, the passage from Luke 2 tends to become habitual routine.

I hear it read and will mentally recite the words along with the speaker, allowing them to scatter to the far corners of my brain rather than collect in the center of my heart.

You know, where I could ponder them. Treasure them. Let them fully sink in as they were, and still are, intended.

As I heard the oh-so-familiar but no-less-beautiful account of the birth of my Savior recited once again last week, I was reminded of that girl.

You know, Mary.

Though her circumstances deemed her a woman by all accounts, she was a girl. A girl handed some things that I’m not sure anyone else on the planet would have handled so graciously or obediently.

And so I had to go back and read about her again.

Mary listened. She obeyed. She did those with a heart for her Father with complete trust. That amazes me.

But I also think about how she experienced so much that was completely out of the ordinary. Not only was she a virgin giving birth, but she gave birth to a King. How overwhelmed, awestruck, in disbelief, and inadequate…she must have felt sometimes.

Yet she cradled the King in her arms and continued her faithful obedience to the path God had planned for her.

And in all of that, she took time to ponder those things and treasure them in her heart.

So I was thinking about all of this during the sermon this morning, and it stayed with me throughout the day.

I think about what God asks of me. Some days, it’s easy to be joyful and obedient. Other days not so much…because what He’s asking me to do, I don’t want to take and TREASURE or PONDER.

At times I would rather pitch them out the window.

And I’ll argue with Him.

God, I’m not the one who’s wrong! Why should I be the one to apologize?

Ok, God…I’m not really understanding this latest medical issue. Why me?

God, no. This wasn’t what I’d planned. My timing is better.

Instead of just taking my situations and what they bring…and pondering them and treasuring them as what He’s planned for me.

When I thought back to Mary again, I was pretty much blown away. (again ;)) She took it all…trusting that God had His very best for her…and treasured it.


Father, forgive the many times I don’t trust. Lack faith. Refuse to believe You are good. I have so much to learn. May each mountaintop, valley, circumstance, and situation bring an opportunity to praise You…and may I take each one and ponder it. Treasure it.


The Funny Things She Says

Maelie is always full of words…and she says some pretty hilarious things. Today was especially funny.

Here are a few memorable scenes from our day…humor me. :)

So Mae woke up pretty early this morning, and it was still dark out. I moved her downstairs and put her on the couch with her “special pillow” and her purple blanket. As I was tucking her in, she looked up at me, smiled, and whispered, You’re so kind to me.

Oh, melt my heart and make me laugh my head off all at the same time! πŸ˜€

After church today, Maelie and I stayed to eat lunch there. (Octoberfest…bring on the brats and kraut! :)) Since Tobin was home sick, we sat with our friends, Jonny and Kris. At one point toward the end of the music (read: live, German, pretty stinkin’ cool music), Kris got up and left. Maelie didn’t notice that she was gone right away, and a few minutes later, looked at me. Do you know where Aunt Kris went?

I told her I didn’t.

Completely dissatisfied with my answer, she ran over to the next table, got Pastor Y’s attention, and said, again, Do you know where Aunt Kris went? I can’t find her!

Good golly…complete sentences like that already…she doesn’t miss a thing! πŸ˜‰

Perhaps my favorite…and, thus, worthy of being properly documented on the blog was later this afternoon. Tobin went to pick up dinner, and while he was gone, Mae and I were playing upstairs in her room.

Her pretend phone rang. (Ok, ok, so I made it ring. ;)) I answered it, handed it to her, and said, Maelie, who do you think is calling?

She looked at me, gave me that I-know-exactly-who-it-is look, and answered, It’s Jesus! Hi, Jesus!

She then proceeded to have an entire conversation with him, Disney Princesses included.

Oh, I love my girl.

And she will completely love me back one day for this post. HA!



Just What’s Up

Gonna be short-ish tonight.

I can’t believe how tired I’ve been this week, and I have the best of intentions to actually get up and run tomorrow morning. 6:30ish early because if I go any later, then I see too many people. And though I’m sure I impress people with my astounding speed and form?

HA. HA. (Just clarifying.) πŸ˜‰

Pretty during my morning run, I am not. :)

But I really need to get myself up and do a few miles. Because of this.

Yeah, it’s a whopping two weeks away, and I’ve slacked so much lately that I’m only pulling about a 28/29 5k. Would really like to run this one in the 27’s or even the 26’s, so we shall see. I’ll be bonding with early mornings until then. (And downing copious amounts of caffeine to make up for the lost sleep.) πŸ˜‰

My awesome Bible study group…I seriously love these women. And I finally have a picture of us, so here y’all go. (Well, it’s most of us…the group has changed some.) And I don’t own the picture but pretty sure no one’s going to care if I post it here. Anyway, we started a new book today, Unglued. I love it…the author is just so good. So REAL…which I need right now. Plus, she writes like a blogger and tells funny stories that make me say, Hey, I’m totally there with you. (Admits the girl who had an “unglued” moment right before she walked out the door for Bible study this morning. Oy…)

All that to say, I’m really looking forward to it. :)

So Maelie watches Veggie Tales before she goes to bed. She loves them, and I still find them entertaining. (A few, I even really love.) This particular silly song is SO me and Mae…already. Cracks me up every time. πŸ˜€

Enjoy! And, g’nite, all! (No pun intended.) πŸ˜‰


Serve MORE

I really love my church.

I think I’ve talked about that here and there. :)Β 

About a week ago, Tobin, Maelie, and I participated in an outreach called Serve MORE. It was really, really great. And I love Immanuel even MORE after it…what a beautiful picture of the body of Christ coming together to be his hands and feet.

A man from our church put this video together. I really wanted to embed it onto my blog, but for whatever reason, Tobin and I couldn’t figure out how. So you’ll have to click here…but that’s ok. It’s worth it. :)

And here’s a pic of us at the nursing home. (Mae was a bit wiggly by that point, but we did get her to sing Jesus Loves Me…right into the microphone. ;))



So, we’ll see how long this virtual coffee date (without the coffee) lasts tonight.

For now, it just feels good to sit down.

But, Happy Friday, friends!

I saw the BEST quote on facebook the other day. Something to the effect of…

Yay! It’s Friday! Oh, wait…I’m a mom.

So stinkin’ true. Most of the time I really don’t mind that, for the most part, my days get all mashed together and the general routine of them is the same, but about a week ago…

Well, this is tough to admit. Really.

My eyes filled up with tears, and I looked at my husband when he got home from work, and I told him I wanted to walk away from my life for the night.

Just a few hours.

I couldn’t believe how completely glorious it sounded to take a book to a coffee shop, order a steaming latte, crawl into a comfy chair (and probably cover up with a blanket…yes, IN the coffee shop ;)) and disappear into another world for a couple hours.

I didn’t do it…but it was a wonderful dream. One that I plan to make a reality soon. Blanket and all. πŸ˜‰

But I did get somewhat of a break earlier in the week.

Mae had some awesome grandma time in Iowa, and I?

I had two days with my best friends. You know, those girls who know every single detail about me. It was wonderful and bittersweet and memorable and sad all rolled into a short 30ish hours. One of them is going through a valley so dark that I can’t even begin to imagine.

Yet, she shines.

She inspires.

She’s one of those people who reminds me, on days when I feel that there is no hope, that there is.


In every circumstance, no matter what. Will you pray for her? I know she’d be so thankful.

We had some good time together, complete with the misadventure of my van briefly going kaput, and as always, our time together was way too short.

But I always leave thankful for the time we do have. :)

Mae and I made the trek back yesterday, and she really was a very good traveler. The poor girl doesn’t like to be restrained, but she managed well despite being strapped into the evil confines of her carseat…she played with her toys, dolls, books, sang, talked, ate. It was good mommy/daughter bonding time, and I’m so thankful for her. What a sweetie pie. :)

It’s a busy weekend. Our church has a big day of serving in the community tomorrow. After six hours of my own personal concert (aka: the drive home) πŸ˜‰ and two music rehearsals (last night and tonight), I somehow need to find my voice for tomorrow morning and Sunday morning. Hopin’ it’s there. :)

People from our church will be doing all kinds of things for people in the community…fixing up houses, cleaning yards, collecting food, making blankets and hats, putting together care packages for soldiers and shoe boxes of Christmas gifts for kids in need.

It’s so incredible to see the body of Christ at work in such a tangible way…really looking forward to tomorrow! :)

And even though there’s probably a lot more that I could go on (and on and on) about, I should probably end this for the night. My morning starts early, and life is just easier with a full eight hours. Ya know? :)

Hope you’ve all had a good week…have a happy weekend! Love you all.


The Difference of a Few Words

Several years ago when the book, The Five Love Languages, became popular, I read it.

As any emotional, feel-y female would be, I connected with the fact that Gifts was my love language. (Who doesn’t love a good gift?!?!)

But as I’ve spent much more of my time in the past few years writing and hanging with people, I’ve realized that Gifts actually comes further down the list than I once thought. My two love languages? Are really Words of Encouragement/Affirmation and Quality Time.

Especially words. We ALL need them, whether we admit it or not.

God has been challenging me in the last year or so to be intentional about using my words to build others up. That can be done in many ways…a blog post, a simple face-to-face conversation, a text, a phone call, a card.

In fact, I will shamelessly admit that I keep cards. So if you’ve ever sent me a little note or a card, I probably have it saved somewhere. :)

Words of encouragement have such a healing, uplifting power…at least for me. And for probably a lot of other people, too. :)

Dayspring recently sent me a free packet of cards…which I LOVE! (Thanks, guys! :)) They sent me the Colors of Compassion set, and as I looked through each one, I actually thought of several people that those cards were a perfect fit for. Someday…when a little word love is needed. :)

But there was one that caught my eye and challenged me to step out of my box. So, pardon me while I do a little storytelling. πŸ˜‰

Two years ago, my family and I moved to Illinois from Indonesia. But between those two places, we had a quick six weeks in Minnesota and a teeny-bit of time to reconnect with our church from pre-overseas life. The church had changed quite a bit in fiveΒ  years, though we still had several friends there. There was a woman there that I literally met in passing, and we had a few conversations during those weeks, but when we moved, I didn’t really keep in touch with her.

But I did read her blog.

And about a month ago, I caught up on it, and it made my heart bleed. She was going through some really tough things and was so open and honest about her struggles. I admired her courage for sharing the difficult and realized that, though I barely knew her, I could relate to a lot of what she wrote through the different seasons I’ve had in life.

But I had no idea what I could do. I said a prayer for her when I thought of her, and that was that…or at least I thought it was. Maybe our paths would cross again someday.

And then a few days ago I got a card in the mail. It was a completely unexpected, simple, I’m thinking of you note from a friend, and it made my day.

I thought about how much those few words meant to me at this particular time…and asked myself, Why don’t you just send her a note? The worst that can happen is she’ll never reply.

As I flipped through the stack of cards that I’d stashed in a drawer, I found the right one, wrote her a note, addressed it, and mailed it before I had time to chicken out.

I don’t know what will come of it, honestly, and that’s ok.. When I went back and thought about all she’d processed and shared with those who read her space, I realized she just needed some encouragement. Someone to let her know that there were prayers being said for her. Maybe a friendship will come of it, and maybe not, but either way…it’s all ok.

It was a chance to build up a sister-in-Christ.

I really hope it makes her smile. And reminds her she is Loved.

What about you? Is there someone you can encourage? Pull out your phone and send a text to a friend you know is struggling. Take time to jot a note to that friend you haven’t seen in ages but wish you could gab for hours over coffee with. Leave a comment on a friend’s blog just to say hey. (No subtle hints here, I promise. ;))

There are so many ways to make a difference with just a few words

Be blessed today, my friends. Love you all. :)



It was one of those days that I didn’t intend to be a day for sanity, but it turned into one. I have my wonderful, lengthy-nap-taking (today, anyway) daughter to thank for a lot of it. πŸ˜‰ And the rain, ’cause I LOVE a rainy day. Pretty sure if it was relaxing, it was part of my Sunday.

I slept ’til 8. I never do that. It’s kind of my own fault, but maybe more of the fault lies with the author of the book I started at 10 pm last night. Yeah. After one, I made myself turn off my Kindle and go to bed. (Guess what I’m doing as soon as I’m done writing tonight????) πŸ˜‰

I went to 10:45. Well, we do that every Sunday. But I really love my church family and friends. So it was definitely relaxing. And we sang a few of my favorites today…always a plus for this music lovin’ girl.

I ate a burrito. I guess this was relaxing in that I can nix Taco Bell from my I-can-eat-this-after-having-my-gallbladder-out list. Bummer, kind of. At least pizza seems to be ok. THAT would be devastating. I should point out that I ate On the Border the other night and was just fine…so it’s clearly Taco Bell. Clearly. πŸ˜‰

It rained. Like, not pouring-so-much-there’s-an-extra-pool-in-our-backyard kind of rain, but it was still gray and drizzly enough to be the perfect Sunday afternoon. I wore a hoodie and sat on the back porch and drank coffee while…

Maelie slept. Oh, yes she did. (Thank you, rain.) And while she slept…

I created. One of my favorite craft-y things to do, besides painting, is make jewelry. I fixed a bracelet for a friend first, and then I started playing with wire to see what I could come up with. I made a ring that turned out ok…and daisy earrings that are pretty sweet. They still need a bit of perfecting, but daisies out of wire that are worthy to wear as jewelry? I think they’re one of my favorite creations so far. :) Oh, and I worked on a painting a little, but painting on the back porch when it’s raining doesn’t really work. The air was too wet, and the paint wouldn’t dry. I’ll finish tomorrow. :)

I took dinner to our neighbors. Grandpa S (as Mae calls him) is having surgery tomorrow, so we figured they didn’t need to worry about dinner tomorrow night on top of that. Plus, it’s always nice to go over and chat with them. We are pretty blessed with our neighbors. :)

We hung out with Mae and each other. Minus the part about Tobin completely skunking me at cribbage, it was a good family night. Nothing big or exciting…just us. It was nice. :)

I sang to my girl. Still one of my favorite parts of the day. I love that she’s now starting to sing along and even match pitch. Scary, I know. But also cool. She’s out for the night…

And I’m gonna go finish my book.


G’nite, friends!


Still (Part 2)

So last night I shared a song. :)

Tonight I’ll talk a little more and attempt to tie together my very scattered thoughts. :)

I’ve known for a long time that we’re blessed. Though Tobin and I don’t have a lot of extra money, whenever I take the time to sit down and look around me, I know we’ve been given so much.

I see it everywhere.

And I’m not talking about material possessions.

We moved to Illinois with a teeny-tiny, baby girl on a hot, July day in 2010. I remember that day, as we sat on the front porch waiting for our realtor to arrive with a key, how completely unsure I was of the life that swirled around me. I was scared of what it might take to find friends, worried about being accepted into a community.

I specifically remember, that day, being so fidgety and nervous to the point of feeling like I needed to sprint a few laps around our new house. (I didn’t, though, because who runs laps six weeks after a C-section? ;)) No, I just needed to move and shake out some of the uncertainty that plagued me.

Because I truly wondered what kind of chapter God was writing for us.

Most of you know the story…in almost-two years, we’ve seen just about every emotion multiple times. There have been some pretty high mountains and some pretty low valleys. Many amazing blessings and a few I didn’t view as such. Times when we anticipated the future with excitement and other moments when we had no idea how to move forward.

And, yet, when I think of these words…

Hide me now, under Your wings. Cover me within Your mighty hand…
When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm.
Father, you are King over the flood, and I will be still and know You are God.

Perhaps being still…those lessons in silence and waiting and wondering and praying, those things which all lead to TRUST…is what He had for me in these years.

And? What He is still teaching me through situations that don’t go as I expect. Perhaps, that JOY is given regardless of circumstances if I’m willing to surrender to His will.

This past Monday afternoon, we were hanging around church after VBS had ended. I stood there chatting with a friend and was amazed…COMPLETELY…by the number of people surrounding my daughter. Hugging her, talking to her, playing with her, chasing her up and down the aisles, (…ahem) showering love on her.


On that July afternoon, as I fed Maelie her bottle and let my tears drip down onto her onesie, I never even dreamed we’d be given something so precious.

A community of believers who have become family.

As I processed that thought and continued to watch people love my girl, my heart felt like it was going to burst from complete JOY.

And when I stop to think about those moments of unknown two summers ago, I am reminded that there will be more. And, just as He has given so many blessings, there’s no reason for me to think that He won’t continue doing just that if I keep walking with Him.



And taking time to be still and know that He is God.

He’s SO Good.

And I pray that He will remind me of that every day of my life.