The world’s not in charge of me. 

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 It’s amazing how much a two day conference can wear you out. I took a long nap yesterday. Plus a short nap actually. And a long nap again today. I finally feel back to normal energy levels. 

 Also: coming home from two days without your kids is hard. Reentry can be killer. We resorted to netflix. 

That being said, I had an amazing time at the Faith and Culture Writers Conference in Portland. I will most likely be sharing about it for a time from now. But for the moment, it’s just this. 

      I met a friend in real life and made some new ones. 

      I was inspired by other writers and encouraged in this craft I am only now beginning to claim as my own.

      I write. Writing is what I can do right now without further qualifications. I am a writer. 

      I had a short chat with Karen Zacharias about where I was going in my writing. Among other things, she pointed out that writing is a profession and we write whether we feel like it or not.

We write whether or not we feel like it. 

I was immediately confronted with that yesterday as I was dealing with my children whose volumes were amped to loud and my head which seemed unable to handle even the slightest bit of extra noise (i might call it a social hangover?). I did not feel like writing in the least. I did, but I didn’t.

I knew I really should feel like writing, but it was the opposite of what I had felt the last two days. Two days of feeling completely inspired and empowered met by a day of feeling down, disappointed and unable to meet my dreams. I had felt released to write and was being met again with my own insecurities. 

Reentry.

Like those days in middle school when I had a sleepover at a friends house, a day of freedom from real life, and was met by chores and the same everyday. 

 It was the same yesterday, but thanks to the sleepovers I knew what was happening: letdown. 

    I still live in the same place. 

       I still live in the same way.  

          My children have the same amount of maturity. 

             I have the same level of maturity. 

               Even after two days of learning and inspiring, I am met with my same struggles. 

The only difference is now I want, feel inspired, need, and feel led to treat my writing differently. 

                I want to get to where I need to be and to get there I know I need to write. 

             I want to figure out where I need to be and I know I need to write.

         I want to be a writer and to get there I know I need to write. 

       I want a professional outlet and I need to write. 

    I want to be a a published author and I need to write. 

Even if I don’t get paid for what I do I know I need to write. 

Because that’s what I get to do right now. Besides my mundane and everyday, I’ve been gifted with a dream to write. And I can do that now. Amidst the babies and other responsibilities, I am privileged to be here and home, supported, able to write, and have writing bring me some joy and purpose. 

Someday my life might look like more education and higher qualified letters behind my name. Someday I might have a mainstream job and make money that is visible as money earned of simply money saved. Someday I mught have a more known job and accomplishments to list. But right now I get to be faithful where I am in the little things and big. 

I know right here and now is where I need to be 

      mothering my little ones 

           washing dishes 

                making meals 

                     folding endless laundry. 

Inspired and uninspired, this is what I do. And writing will join the list as something I need to be faithful in. I can write right now.  And I can learn to do it well along the way. Same as my other jobs. Because to write well I have to do the work. 

 So I’m throwing off the doubts and saying “be gone!” to the things that keep me from living full and called and brave. 

I will do the work.

I will recognize the things thrown in my way as obstacles to be surmounted instead of signs against my own ability, calling or status as a writer. It will probably just get harder as I keep living into the brave instead of retreating to the safety of small living. 

Because that is how it is when we stretch to bigger things and speak of a bigger God. 

The world fights back. 

But the world’s not in charge of me. 

 —– 

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Relief {Five Minute Friday}

Relief. 

Relief is the sigh that says: “They know me here. At lest part of me. These are my people.”

Relief is not needing to tlk because silences are given the grace to be good things instead of pauses to be filled by inane words. 

Relief is not being the one to fill the pauses because my soul has taken a break. A retreat. A sigh. Relief. 

Who can know how something will effect them or what will be the reaction of the room when your words turn loud and bold and funny. Who can know?

Who can know the relief you’ll feel when you ralize you’ve found  circle where large amounts of introspection and pointed reflection is normal? And a viable way to get from A to B. Relief – that other people make decisions out of themselves instead of outside sources; impulses and feelings instead of facts you can put a finger on. 

Relief is realizing the path you’re on leads somewhere. 

And it might just be similar to where you want to go. 

Relief.  

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Writing from the Faith and Culture Writer’s conference tonight. Enjoying the time! 

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Listening to the Loud {imperfect musings on parenting, learning, and earning}

I just told my three year old to hush a third time this nap/quiet time. Apparently naps are for the weak and he is of the shouting for amusement age so he’s exempt. 

Ahem.

“These are the times that try men’s souls.” (Thomas Paine)

Or mom’s souls. 

Yes, i would venture to say this is where my soul is being melted and remelted, refined, and yep, simply tried. 

So much screaming. And shouting. And noise. And whining. And shrieking. 

And teasing and screaming. 

Basically I have the loud kids. 

If they are quiet around you. Well..I guess you get to keep your eardrums!

—–

This morning was one or those rough mornings where they did everything childish and I gradually wound myself up to a dull roar. It boiled over in a loud, harsh “shhhhhh” directed at the youngest and, indirectly, the father playing chase all suddenly and loudly and towards me in an echoing hallway.

I snapped. 

That moment when you realize you’re a little out of control. Or a lot. 

Or you realize it a few hours after the children begin exhibiting their newest talent of playing nicely together and you manage to breathe enough to calm down so your ears no longer feel the pressure of imminent  explosion. 

—–

What if we got to choose the quirks our kids might have? Those little things they eventually gain control or awareness of but right now are untrained and drive us towards the brink gradually and surely. 

What if we could choose the mostly quiet kids, or the ones who mostly slept, or the ones that were mostly always nice, or articulated their needs without whining most of the time? 

What if we chose the kids that would be easy for us instead of the ones that brought us loads of joy, but also managed to kill any sense of patience we might feel we should or did have priorly? 

What if we got the easy kids and didn’t learn anything in the process? 

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These little quirks and crazy driving moments are growing us too. Just as they are learning the art of inside voices or controlling their violent impulses, we get to learn how to communicate love with our discipline and control our own less than awesome impulses.  

The thing we don’t really get about parenting beforehand is that childbirth isn’t really the hardest part. 

Nor are toddlerhood or teenage years. 

Or the fact that the game is always changing. 

The hardest part is being so blatantly shown our own misguided needs and impulses with a finely delineated, but impossible, list of what we need to change to be the A-plus parents we want to be.

All the time. 

That’s the humbling part. 

It’s not that we don’t know how to do this parenting gig every step of the way. We have books and the internet and parents for that. And no one expects you to know it all anyway. 

No. 

The humbling part is that we will never be as fully formed or as perfect as we’d like to be as parents.

We are always growing and always need to be growing.  Our kids gain ounces and pounds and grades and social skills and hopefully we will gain patience, and love, and hope, and tact. And all the fruit of the spirit we thought we had down already. Or think we should really have had down by now. 

We are always waiting to make the grade so we can finally say: “Now, I’m a good parent.”

But the truth is we won’t ever arrive. And we don’t have to. 

Part of helping our kids adapt to real life is showing them a healthy vision of what a grown up is and can be. Are we finally perfect as adults? No. Are we fully formed individuals, perfectly balanced, etc? No. We make mistakes, and letting them see that is more important than the perfect facade I am likely to pursue. 

My impulse is to try to learn the patience (but no praying for it! now, don’t be crazy) even though I’m disinclined and uncomfortable. Because that has to be part of the point of raising kids being so hard. It teaches us too. Maybe I’ll learn patience. Oh I will. I can decide that… Righht? 

But maybe not.. 

Maybe I’m supposed to learn grace a little better first or at least along the way. Grace for me, grace for them, grace as a better understanding of why it really doesn’t matter what I do here. 

Because God has already shown us true patience and grace. And we don’t get to do anything to earn it. 

It won’t make me more holy if I’m more patient. 

Jesus was already perfectly patient and that’s the only place I have any claim to holy. And He is where God looks when he’s looking for my holy. 

Not to say I won’t try to be more patient, I will and do. 

But when I mess up, like I did this morning, I can remind myself of what is true (forgiven, covered, precious) instead of defining myself by what I can’t do (patience) or what I don’t seem to be good at (parenting) in that moment. 

Because I don’t get to earn God’s love and should therefore stop trying to. 

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A Trivial Twelve for Tuesday

  1. I’m freaking out excited about going to the Faith and Culture Writing Conference this weekend. It will be interesting and different. And hopefully inspiring and fun.
  2. I am making this to freeze and eat tonight. Molly’s 10 Minute Chicken is ridiculously simple, tasty, freezable, and husband approved. Definite winner in my imaginary cookbook. Or the virtual cookbook on my mom’s blog :) Thanks for posting or curating all my favorite recipes, mom! :) 
  3. I’ve been Pinteresting recently and have loved a bunch words recently. Here are a couple batches:     
  4. Also I am loving these colorful inspirations for decorating:   
  5. And my style board has been fun to curate. I will allow it to lead me a little more in my thrift store browsing:     
  6. Eventually my garden will look like this:   
  7. And my impulsiveness is contemplating shorter hair (that might be an oxymoron, ah well. The state of my impulsiveness is that it contemplates things first sometimes:) :  
  8. I’m letting myself dream about all sorts of things these days. In my writing I am prioritizing more and even trying to work up a few guest posts to submit in other places. We’ll see how that goes. 
  9. I’ve been expirimenting with talking about things while recording myself. It is interesting. And surprisingly fun. You might see some of that eventually, too.
  10. I have so many ideas for posts. I need to just write and post as I think of them, but I suppose and endless list of things to write about is a fairly writerly thing to do. 
  11. Right now, though, I should get off the couch and freeze/cook the meat I collected at the grocery store. Oh and I’m excited because I downloaded a list app for my android phone. I will henceforth speak my list into existance and carry it with me everywhere. *Insert evil laugh here* you’re welcome for that sidenote. Ha.
  12. Finally, to send you on your way, two less trivial, more informational/inspirational places to spend your time if you ever feel stuck or disempowered as a woman: Girl Rising on Netflix (this will remind you just how privileged you are and inspire you to use it if you’re anything like me) and Playing Big by Tara Mohr (this will help you with strategies for using that advantage more effectively and bravely). 

The End. 

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Tell me something trivial about your Tuesday? 

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Quote: Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

I just picked up this book from the libary and this quote got me: 

“We are like Moses. The Bible is our burning bush – a faithful declaration of the presence and holiness of God. We ask it to tell us about ourselves, and all the while it is telling us about “I AM.” We think that if it would just tell us who we are and what we should do, then our insecurities, fears, and doubts would vanish. But our insecurities, fears, and doubts can never be banished by knowledge of who we are. They can only be banished by the knowledge of “I AM.” We must read and study the Bible with our ears trained on hearing God’s declaration of himself.” Jen Wilkin, Women of the Word, p. 26

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What I’m Into | March 2015

March just soared on by in a mix of blue skies, warm afternoons, and chilly mornings. I love having the warmer weather back as it is always good for my spirit and sense of well-being.

 It was a fun and good month. I’ve been reassessing, rearranging and reprioritizing so many things and ideas. Spring is here for sure! 

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Pictures:

(I’ve moved to posting more on Instagram.. and I do have it set on private…so if you want to follow me, just be someone I’ve seen here before or have an instagram of your own that seems like it’s from a real person. And most likely you’ll make the cut :) )

 Books I’m reading or plan to begin soon:

 
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Books I read: 

  1. Three Daughters: A Novel by Consuelo Saah Baehr – I loved learning  from the rich historical and cultural details in this book. A lovely 700 page read. Good for actually learning the characters. 
  2. Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin – agreat base book for getting down to the business of studying (not just skimming!) the Bible. Very information-based critical reading style of studying, 
  3. Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg – this was such an inspiring book on writing. The stories were focused and well-told, the writing prompts thoughtprovoking and full of guidance. I alternated between wanting to inhale the whole thing or to just sit down and write a book then and there. 
  4. The Postage-Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb – now I need bunnies and a compost bin for my garden supplies! Handy guide for beginning gardeners of small spaces. 

—–

 Other People’s words:

 My friend Liz  ( I get to meet her in real life next week!) who writes at So I Married a Youth Pastor wrote this post about feeling like a misfit and it really encouraged me.

“We are made not to fit in because there is no such thing.
We are the women who kick down walls. There is no box for us to live in, and we cannot be contained.
We refuse to be labeled.” – Liz Ehrenkrook, in Real Talk

I feel like Rachel is my friend too even though we’ve never met or spoken past our blogs. She writes so many things that resonate with me. Here is her piece on our post baby bodies and what being beautiful really feels like:

Every day we are offered the choice to look in that mirror and shake our fists at those living-again lies and say, No. I don’t believe you. This body is not unbeautiful. It is strong. It is amazing. It is the loveliest beautiful there ever, ever was.

Because this is the truth.” – Rachel Toalson, in This is What Beautiful Feels Like

And Esther lives in Idaho and I feel like we should be friends at least :) Here she writes about not feeling at ease in the Christian ladies groups, but why staying is important and vital, but also unavoidable:

“For better or for worse, I’m stuck right in. Whatever “Christian woman” means, it means me, too. I can’t and won’t let go of my identity in Christ”. – Esther Emery, in The Christian Sisterhood, for Better and for Worse

Please do go and visit these women! They are writing many worthwhile things to read and consider. 

 (I’m also switching most of my link sharing to a different location as it seems like I end up sharing more than I have time to promote properly. That being said, I’ll probably keep sharing 3-4 of my favorites in this post each month and then share the rest on my facebook page as I come across them. I hope you’ll join me there if these links are something you’ve enjoyed in the past.) 

 

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In Retrospect and Beyond

  • A weekend ago we got to get away without our children for a night in honor of our fourth anniversary. It was so very strange to have so much uninterrupted quiet but also amazing to be able to actually finish our conversations. Not to mention only having one person to pay attention to at any given time! A lovely break.
  • March was slightly afflicted with illness and poor Ranger’s birthday party got canceled. Luckily he’s young enough he survived without too much fussing. And we are all finally mostly recovered. Hurray! 
  • I finally figured out that if I don’t prioritize and pursue things that are importnat to me no one else will. 
  • I’ve decided that since writing seems to be wha I can do right now outside of having kids, I need to start now and get a little more serious. Even if only for my sanity. It was a happy change.
  • That being said: I am going to the faith anf culture writer’s conference in Portand next week. I’m excited to meet friends and new people, take my writing a bit more seriously, and let’s face it, to go somewhere by myself. I’m so very thankful for the people who are helping me get there. 
  • I chopped my hair a bit shorter. It has been fun and surprisingly insightful and inspiring. I’m planning to write a post about it in the next week or two. Pictures eventually too. Yesyes. :) 
  • I ordered a Blue apron box for me to gift good food to Israel for his birthday. I had so much fun making delicious things. I might be inspired to try harder in the future. And I might be inspired to order another box every now and then to make my life easier. It is somewhat spendy, but much cheaper than going out. And fun to try new things. 

—–

On my blog: 

I reviewed too many books. One I absolutely loved. The rest varied. 

I wrote about wanting to be brave and bold. And then also started particpating in five minute friday and two more brief musings on being brave ensued: Real and Break.

Besides these themes I managed a reflection on the significance of responsibility, birthday posts for my two munchkins, and a record of a random day in my life, plus a random few others. 

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I’d love to hear from you here or anywhere else! :) Find me on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Goodreads!

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What I'm Into

Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden {book review}

Last year my garden was pitiful. I think it was just in drought mode. We turned off our automatic sprinklers and used an independent sprinkler with a hose instead because our system is not installed right and seems to like to throw 40-50 dollars of water a month right out the door.

Soo. The sprinklers and my elbow grease kept the grass green…ish..ha. But my garden suffered and was quite different from the plentiful stores it put out the year before. And our oak tree in the front yard gave the squirrels absolutely zero acorns. I would feel guilty, but the winter was decidedly unimpressive on this coast so the squirrels are still quite fat. Crisis averted.

But.

I’d like to have the lush and plentiful look back in my garden this year!

I was especially inspired by the cover of this book:The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden: Grow Tons of Organic Vegetables in Tiny Spaces and Containers and would absolutely love my garden to be that lush and beautiful.

I’m not sure if I’ll get to try out many of the ideas this year, but the main message of the book is that you can grow lots of veggies in a small space given properly ferilized soil (they tell you exactly how!), crop rotation, and planting things in specific way so as to utilize shady spaces and different lengths of growing periods. If it works it would be so much fun! And so many veggies. :)

This book is great because it gives very specific directions and ideas for laying out, preparing, planting, watering, harvesting, and revamping your garden. As well as tons of information about specific plants, how they work together, and what types of veggies might serve you best.

I’d like to think of it ws a newbie gardener’s handbook and will probably keep it around to build on my half a green thumb.

This year I’ll probably out an extra bit of fertilizer in my garden’s dirt, follow some of the close planting ideas, and then make sure not to induce a mini drought on my pet greenerys!

Depending on the results this year, I have plans for changing up my space and making the dirt a little better next year. Probably with the help of this book…and my husband’s back… :)

It should be fun!

I’m hoping for pictures more like this in the summer:

 

How does your garden grow? And how do you grow your garden? 

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((I received a complimentary copy of The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden from BloggingForBooks.org in exchange for my honest review.))


Same Mindset.

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Philippians 2:1-7


 
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 


Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. 



Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:


Who, being in very nature God, 
did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

 

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Busy Zoo, One Car, and Good Food {a day in the life}

We’ve been in an interesting scheduling time. Israel’s been getting up early to work on a side project and to run in the morning, we’ve only been using one of our cars since the government decided to hijack the other (failed emissions test/not fixing it in time/revoked registration til we cooperate. Ha. Decisions have yet to be made about that car. Silly Gov.) 

Anyway that complicates the schedule on days we home people want to go anywhere further than a mile or two away and simplifies things on other days. 

So this is how it’s been going. 

Yesterday – a Friday:

6:20 – Israel wakes up and heads to a coffee shop to work on his project and then run a million ..okay 9… Miles in our beautiful foothills. I tell myself I’ll just go back to sleep, but, since I seem to have gained an internal alrm of about 6 AM, don’t.

6:45 – Ali is awake. She watches preschool and eats cheeries next to me on the couch while I read blogs.

 7:15  – Preschool is done, wandering, chasing cats, and climbing ensue.

7:30 – Ranger wakes up and we head to the dining table for our breakfast of cereal. 

8ish  – I sit around and read while the kids play a bit. Change a diaper, get that kid dressed. 

8:30ish – get myself ready for the day, change another diaper, get the other kid dressed. 

8:45 – Make israel’s lunch: Pbj, chips, oranges, and a fig bar. Somehow he’s not worn out on peanut butter sandwiches yet. Thankfully for me :) 

9ish. Gather books to go to the library and snacks for to hit up the zoo after we drop  israel off at work. 

9:30 – Israel dashes in the door, grimy from running. He showers while I get everyone’s shoes on and find sippy cups. 

9:45 – we hop in the car and are on our way. We drop israel off at work and make our way to the zoo. I opt to park halfway between the zoo and the library since the zoo parking looked busy.. And sure enough it was a madhouse. I forgot it was spring break. Blech for busy.

10:30 – wait in the zoo members line for 20 minutes while watching the other line go so much more quickly….turns out they sent the cash and check people through the members line too…thanks guys. 

10:40- wander around the zoo for a while, give the kids banana muffins (amazing gluten free recipe here!).  i end up feeding the animals at the petting zoo because my children can’t get that close to sheep yet. Apparently. Also Ali freaked when she tripped walking towards a goat and thought it was going to eat her…her fling sent her her headlong very quickly in a large animal’s direction….understandably scary.  

11:30 – I beg off the rest of the zoo, buy a pretzel and we go eat it in the park. The saltiest 4 dollars you ever saw. Never again..lol. 

11:50 We stroller over to the library, get a few books, and then back to the car.

12:50 – We make it  back home finally. Stick Ali in her bed. Asleep. Change Ranger’s stinky bum. Warm up a quesadilla and wash an apple for him. Stick him in his bed. 

1:10 – eat my apple, prowl the internet, listen to Ranger munching his apple in his bed, write this post. 

1:32 – current. 

1:40 – find lunch. 

2:30 – hear ranger rustling around, let him know he can get up and play quietly if he wants to, he says he needs to sleep. But doesn’t. 

2:45 – I scrawl out a five minute friday post, transcribe and post it. And then hang out in the fmf community a while. 

3:25 – Ali wakes up from her nap so I get them both up at the table for some eggs and banana muffin. (Good lunch right?)

3:35 – put everyone’s shoes back on.

3:45 – and hustle out to the car to pick up Israel before traffic strikes. 

4:00 – arrive, text Israel to let him know we’re there, catch up on texts, hand out suckers to the backseat babies, and settle down on twitter to wait for Israel to be free from work. We had to turn on the AC because it warmed up to 78*! 

4:20 – Israel is finally free and we drive home. Wash the sticky blue off little fingers, admire blue tongues, and send them outside with their leftover eggs at the picnic table to run off the sugar before the evening’s activity. 

5:00 catch up post. 

[sidenote: we usually pick Israel up closer to 5 or 5:30. Also: we don’t always do this much in a day! I have just been packing it in the days we get the car at home! :) ]

5:45 – leave to meet a friend for a dinner of amazing ethiopian food (Boise International Market, folks. It’s where the cool kids go.). Yum. Delicious injera, doro wat, zilzil, and shiro with Amazing a tually real chai tea for dessert. Yums. Oh and baclava. Mhmm, be jealous. Oh and my kids like spicy food. We had fun chatting and laughing with each other at our crazy chldren. 

7:45 – get home, chat with the neighbors who are moving. Ali gets kissed by their golden retriever. Old dogs are the best. . 

8:00 – let the kids play outside a little more.

8:15 – Apply jammies, toothbrushing and bed!   

8:40 – catch up this post and eavesdrop on Israel and Ranger’s conversation about how bears aren’t actually that scary and definitely aren’t anywhere near his dark bedroom…poor kid.

8:46 – current. And we’ll probably just finish out the evening with a movie and the rest of our chai tea which has just finally cooled off! :) and some nerd conversation to round it out, actually. 

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What were some highlights from your yesterday? 

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Break // Five Minute Friday

 

 Break. 

Break away from whatever holds you back. 

Break up with fear. 

Break norms. 

Give freedom an upper hand and let the breakaway chains of faith and family be your only anchors as your soar. 

     | You never know how far you fly until you fall and test your wings. |

Break away from fear and expectations. 

Break away with time to spare. 

Break and let your freedom lead you closer to the love that never ends from the One whose beginning we cannot know. 

Don’t let fear of finding the edge of Jesus hold you back. His boundless love will pull you in before the broken world can even test the strength of your rebellion. 

Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions. 

You can’t break God. 

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As always Five Minute Friday leaves more questions about possible meaning than answers about what I may have actually meant. Interesting. 

It feels more like an exercise in poetry since my words flow slower in this setting than maybe elsewhere. 

My perfectionism reigns and I want to edit everything til it says what I want it to, but part of the exercise is to leave it to be as it wants. Let the questions rest and be questions as they will. 

Click the picture above to join!