"What's Your Capacity?"... and the First Giveaway Winner

This morning, I woke up, ate my Cheerios, drank my coffee, and then plugged in the numbers to my first ever giveaway. (Actually, I think it would be more accurate to say I drank my coffee and then woke up.)

And the 22nd Comment belongs to:


Who said...
You Rock! I haven't read the book either, but it seems like a great one. I'm thankful for a certain 2 year old running around the house at 7:30 screaming "Morning Daddy! Morning Bru-Bru!" Too cute...
 Yeah Katie! You win! Happy for you! Expect a forthcoming email with all the details.

And now for today's post: It's not a "Made Monday" because, to be quite honest, I haven't had time for recipe experiments or crafts lately. I don't want to post something just to post something. But I have had a whole lot of inspiration going on in the way of encouragement. It's time to start posting them.

So, here it is:

I got a word for you that I have been thinking on a lot lately.


I have a BA in English. I graduated with honors. I taught 5th and 6th grade for 2 years. I left my teaching post and worked part-time as a substitute so I could pursue full-time ministry. I was a children's pastor for 5 years. I led a thriving midweek program that reached out to kids in the community. I mentored up-and-coming leaders in the church and helped run an intern program. I was important. 

I am now a stay-at-home mom. My big accomplishments are when I manage to get the laundry cleaned, folded and put away on the same day or when I get my husband fed and out the door on time for college. My days consist of cleaning juice spills, picking up toys only to pick them up all over again, answering the constant cry for more... more snuggles, more milk, more attention, more snacks. I rarely wear make-up anymore. 

It's been my dream for as long as I can remember to raise children and to stay home with them. I wouldn't have it any other way. BUT... It's an almost thankless job. My great passion in life has nothing to do with cleaning toilets, picking up toys, folding laundry, meal planning or grocery shopping, yet that's how I spend most of my days. I led children to Christ on a weekly basis, I ran a thriving ministry, I was "on top of things," I raised up leaders, I was important! And now I cook, clean, wipe dirty bottoms, remind a little girl to put her toys away, and somehow find time to write a little.

I have a feeling I am not the only one who's ever felt like this. 

So here's where the word capacity comes in.

You are still you. Your talents haven't changed, though you can probably add "able to feed a baby, dice your preschooler's food, and get food into your own mouth all at the same time" to your list of talents.  Your call hasn't changed either, though it now entails motherhood.

Who you are and what you were made for hasn't changed.

It's been added to.

And because of that, your capacity has changed.

Every person has a fire-marshall required sign posted over their abilities.

God is that Fire Marshall who determined long ago what your capacity would be. Everyone came with a unique capacity (so don't compare). And each person came with a maximum capacity (so don't overload yourself). You can only do so much. And when you enter into motherhood, you are adding more weight to your metaphorical elevator. You may have to let some things off the elevator.

As your kids get older and more independent, they will get "lighter" and your capacity will increase. (Though I think it should be important to note, they will be seasons in your life that are "weightier" and will shift your capacity).

So, when you are up to your eyeballs in mundane laundry to fold; when your are tired of your constant nagging to lift the lid and aim straight, to pick up the toys, to eat the vegetables, to do the homework; when you feel seriously under-appreciated and not so very important... know you are doing the most important job in the world. And you are still you. And your capacity to do the other things will return.

So, if I follow with my analogy, there is a certain order to what takes up our capacity:

1. God (Time with Him. You were made for relationship with him.)

2. Husband (You want your marriage to last through the crazy child-raising years, keep him before your kids. This may mean, putting a baby safely in the crib, a movie on for the kiddos, and locking the bedroom door for a short while.)

3. Children

4. Your Job (If you stay home, this is your job)

5. You! (Time to yourself, time for soul refreshing... i.e. friendship)

6. Your Ministry (This is often the thing that you most enjoy and is definitely not limited to something inside of church. For me, THIS is it. It may even be the job you left to start a family.)

It is important to know, the weight of each of the items on the list is in a constant flux and there is often a fluidity to their order... like keeping up your house is actually a way of serving your husband and children. I am finding that for whatever reason, I am starved for friendship so I am currently adding more weight to that item. You can best love your children when you are at your best, so sometimes you need to add weight to the things that refresh you. This list is not exact or perfect, but it definitely helps me keep the most important things, the most important things.

And here's the thing I learned from doing children's ministry for 5 years: I could build a team of teenagers and young adults. I could bring in bouncers and games and slime and water fights. I could put together the most interactive lesson that eloquently broke down the deep things of God for a child. I could lead children in the sinner's prayer. But I could never be the most important influence in a child's life. That's YOU. YOU have THE MOST IMPORTANT JOB. YOU have the greatest impact on your child. You might feel under-appreciated, insignificant, and like you used to do important things that mattered. That couldn't be farther from the truth.

You have the most important job. Right now.


It's time for me to hop to that important job. Right now.

Wishing you wonderful weeks!


I would love to hear from you! Do you ever feel this way? How do you deal with it?

Holy Week: "Spring Cleaning"

It's Holy Week...

I know, no shocking news there.

But it always makes me think of the obvious things: the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, the Cross, and the Resurrection...

but especially the Last Supper.

The Passover Meal.

The first Passover marked the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery, from Egypt. They were instructed to pack their bags and eat with their shoes on their feet. They placed the blood of a spotless lamb over their doorposts and ate the lamb. Then the angel of death passed over them and wiped out the first born sons in Egypt.

After that first Passover, the Israelites were instructed to observe the Passover every year as a memorial of what God had done for them. They were instructed in the days leading up to the Passover to rid their homes of "chametz" (leaven). They were to search their home from top to bottom and get rid of anything that could potentially have the presence of leaven. For seven days the Israelites were commanded to not have leaven... no where with in their borders. Then they were to partake in a special meal called the Seder, each bit of the meal reminding them of some part of their time in Egypt. They were to retell the story of the first Passover. They were told to remember. They were told to celebrate. I was curious as to what this looked like today in the Jewish community. If you are curious too, here is a link to an article I read.

Leaven represents sin. Just as the smallest bit of leaven can cause an entire batch of dough to rise, the tiniest bit of impurity can skew the way we think, the way we talk, and the way we live. "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened" (1 Corithians 5: 6-7, NASB). 

In reading up on the Jewish customs for getting rid of "chametz" in preparation for the Passover, I was struck by the thoroughness of the search. Homes are to be "spot-free" from leaven. Not a trace. Do I even have a measure of that fervency in seeking out sin in my life? I realize Jesus gives me Grace that is sufficient to cover my sins and shortcomings. But doesn't He call me to a life of Holiness? (1 Pet. 1:16) I think of John 3:16 and Ephesians 3:18-19 and know that I am loved by God with such a great fervency...especially in the light of the approaching Good Friday. I need to take time to be fervent.

Since it is Spring (spring cleaning) and Holy week this week, I am doing some cleaning in my own heart.

It is long past time to clean out my heart. I need to find the unforgiveness I might hold against another that creeps out when I feel overcome by the urge to share with someone who has no business knowing what kind of wrong was done to me (gossip). I need to find the selfishness that causes a volcano of yelling and snappy words to erupt when people (namely my kids and my husband) don't do what I want them to. I need to find the pride that causes me to think I deserve more... Hmmm... I think I could go on a while... Spring cleaning in this temple is definitely past due!

My Prayers this week:

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. 

                                 -Psalm 139:23-24, NASB

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.

Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You are justified when You speak
And blameless when You judge.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. 

                              -Psalm 51:1-17, NASB

By the way, I have some other stuff on my heart to share this Holy Week. So do look forward to more tomorrow.

Appropriate Worship

Have you ever had something that someone said just stick in your head. It replays over and over again. It lingers in the space of your mind waiting for the opportunity to be applied to your life. It's like your kid's jacket that you keep finding on the floor, and it just needs you to find it a hook to hang it on.

Last week, one of those things got spoken, and, after one week, I finally found the hook to stick it on.

Jesus shows up for the inappropriate.
                                               -My Pastor

I don't know if you are like me. I could be one of a few. I have a feeling I am one of many.

I care about what people think.


I know that there is a serious down side to this quality of mine, but I know that sometimes our greatest weakness is our greatness strength as well. I am attentive. I can sense others' discomfort. I like to think it makes me a good hostess--always aware of drink refills, who is not engaged and could use some introducing, and when to serve the next course. This "gift" has been useful and helps me be all about others. On the other hand though, it can inhibit me because I worry what people will think of me. My mind is constantly thinking through how what I am doing will be perceived. I feel like I am getting better everyday. I am becoming more okay with who I am. The more I like who I am, the less I require other people to like who I am.


I have found this issue popping up in worship and church and the way I respond to God.

There is a hunger and a desire inside this girl for God. I want to know Him. I want His touch. I even feel desperate. But something seems to stand in my way:

The fear of what others will think.

I want to be proper. I don't really care to be judged. I definitely don't want to be seem weird. I find myself conflicted as I try to operate inside some kind of set guidelines.


The Bible is full of inappropriate people, people who were in the wrong place, at the wrong time, doing the wrong thing.

The woman with the issue of blood: She should not have been in that crowd of people. She was marked unclean. She shouldn't have touched anyone, least of all a teacher. But she was desperate. She knew Jesus was her answer. She knew if she could just touch Jesus's clothes her problem would cease. She would be healed, changed, better. Her desperation was greater than her desire to be "appropriate."

The woman who washed Jesus's feet: She should not have been at that dinner with religious leaders. She was a prostitute. She shouldn't have bought a gift from her pro money for the Son of God. But she was desperate. She wanted to express her love. She poured out her tears and her costly perfume on the feet of Jesus. She used her hair (a woman's mark of beauty especially at that time) to clean his feet (the dirtiest part of a person's body at that time. Think: heat, dirt and sandals...ew!). She was inappropriate. She was offensive (to the Pharisees). She knew that if she could just express her love for Jesus everything would be alright. He could heal her heart. Her desperation was greater than her desire to be "appropriate."

The short-statured, ruthless tax collector. He should not have been in a tree. He should not have been amongst people whom he had cheated. The people hated him. But he was desperate. Something in him said that if he could just see this man called Jesus, maybe something would change. Jesus should not have picked him out of the crowd. He should not have gone to his house. Zacchaeus was a lying cheater who had become rich on the backs of the already down and out. But Zacchaeus had a desire for something different... a desire to see if he too could be changed. His desperation was greater than his desire to be "appropriate."

The men who lowered their sick friend through a roof. They should not have cut a hole into someone else's roof. They should have waited in line... waited outside... waited for a different opportunity. They cut a hole into a roof! Of someone else's house! But their friend needed a touch from Jesus. They knew if they could just somehow get him to Jesus, he would be healed. They were desperate, and they used desperate measures. Jesus didn't condemn them for ruining the house. He healed their friend and saved him from his sins. The desperation of these men was greater than their need to be "appropriate."

These people were inappropriate. The stood outside of what was acceptable. But Jesus saw their hearts. He looked at them, and He saw the desperation of their need and the desperation of their desire to have that need met, and He went to them. He met their need. He forgave their sins.

Sometimes I feel inhibited by what's expected of me. It could be the first-born child in me, but sometimes I feel I live under this weight of expectation. I try so hard to get it all right. I worry what my behavior should look like when I am at church, and not really in a way that I always recognize. It's subtle. Sometimes it's really simple things like not going to the altar to pray because people on either side of me are already in prayer, and I would risk interrupting their God-moment (that would be rude, right? Isn't "thou shalt not interrupt the ones in deep prayer" somewhere in the Bible?). Or not wanting to kneel because even though God is dealing with me, I worry that I will draw attention to myself (That would be making a show, right? Aren't we supposed to not do that?). I worry I might offend someone who is a "non-believer" (Is that not the greatest offense of all? Shouldn't we be "seeker friendly?"). I know. I think way too much. I worry way too much. And you know, not only can worrying what other people think be unhealthy, not only is it a form of pride, it can also be a form of idolatry! It is setting the thoughts and opinions of man ABOVE God. It is setting religion and appearances as more important than what God is doing in the heart. It is limiting God. Ouch!

I was thinking on this, and it reminded me of a particular time in my life. I was a teenager. I was naive. I began a relationship with a super hot, super popular guy. Only problem, he already had a girlfriend. Oh, he led me to believe that we had this deep and great connection. I don't really care to go into the story because it's really not the point. I bring it up because I remember what it felt like when I would see this guy in halls and he'd wink at me... when no one else was looking. He'd call me or talk to me... when no one else was around. He'd take me to a party... that only the adherers to the sacred "bro-code" were at. What I thought was a great friendship that was leading to a great relationship, was a sham. I was the notorious "girl on the side." I was a thing best kept hidden. I wasn't worth being the real deal. It was painful, hurtful.

I think, perhaps, this is a glimpse of what God feels when we hold back out of fear of what others will think, when we hold back because of what the "church norm" is or out of fear of being "inappropriate." God doesn't want to be our "god on the side." He doesn't want to take the back seat to appearances or what is "the right thing to do." He wants to be claimed. Recognized. Pointed to and pointed out like in my relationship with my handsome prince for a husband who, in stark contrast to my secret high school affair, loves and cherishes me. He makes an effort to say in all kinds of different ways, "This right here is my woman. She is a priceless treasure. And I love her."

God honored the inappropriate not because they were inappropriate. He honored them because He saw their hearts. He saw their need. He saw their desperation. He was deeply moved by their willingness to look ridiculous just to get his attention. I think of the movie Ten Things I Hate About You when Heath Ledger's character plays the song, "I need you baby, and if it's quite alright, I need you baby for all the lonely nights..." over the loud speakers as he dances in the bleachers for the one he loves. It's ridiculous. But it's moving because he made himself so vulnerable.

God isn't looking for weird for weird's sake. He is looking for hearts that are fully towards Him. He is looking for actions that match the desperation of the need and the belief that He is the only Way, Truth and Life. He is looking for demonstrations that match a heart of love for Him. "This right here is my God. He is a priceless treasure. And I love Him."

God doesn't want to take a back seat to religion.

So what is the proper way to worship or express one's love of and need for God. I don't know. And I think that's the point. The Bible does talk about crying out, musical instruments, singing, raised hands and falling to one's knees... but I don't think a set of rules can be made for it. In following hard after Christ, there isn't really room for religion and rules. "It was for freedom that Christ set you free" (Gal 5:1). "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom" (2 Cor 3:17).

The Way doesn't make sense to the wise, only to the foolish (1 Cor 1:20-21). It is offensive (Matt 10:34-37). The Way looks strange--not of this world (John 15:19).

Jesus was improper. He was judged. He was considered weird. He definitely operated outside of the religious guidelines that were in place. He offended many, but He came to save the world. He brought life and life abundant. He left behind his Spirit to guide us into truth and to allow us to operate in the same power that He walked in. Jesus even warned his disciples to not be surprised when the world thinks you are strange and when it hates you (John 15:18-20). And I can't be so naive as to think that "the world" doesn't live in the church, that Pharisee's aren't present in the church, and that I myself don't struggle with the same spirit that was on the religious leaders that Jesus spoke out against (Matt 23).


But oh God! How I long for you! How I long to see you move. How I long to see the needs of the desperate met by the power of God working through his people. How I long for miracles. How I long to worship you in spirit and in truth.

I am desperate. I am a housewife in need of my Savior. I am in desperate need of a touch from God... of the patience, perseverance, faith and love that comes from walking in the Spirit... following hard after God and His Ways. I long for freedom. I long to cut loose

I can't help but think of David in all this. I want to be like David when people scoff at my response to God. "Yes, and I will come even more undignified than this..." (2 Sam 6:22).

"Letting go of every mistake
Throwing off the chains of restraint
All that will remain
A passion for Your name
Running as we run this race"

                     -Hillsong United "Running"

Watch out world, this girl is throwing off the chains of restraint and running after Jesus. It might just get all undignified up in here. Haha!

"... As Yourself"

I am still alive!

I have been working on a bunch of projects for the last 2 weeks. I made 4 pillow covers, one bench cushion, finished my bench/toy storage, and completed my beautiful-enough-to-sit-in-my-dining-area-but-full-of-all-my-crafting-sewing-and-preschool-stuff-and-best-thing-I-have-done-since-birthing-my-kids cabinet (um, I have no idea what to call it. Cabinet all by itself just doesn't say enough... and after 5 weeks of hard work and a wrecked house, cabinet all by itself might just offend me. Ha! It's awesome!). I have also been studying 2 topics that I need God to speak to me about. I can't wait to share all this stuff with you!

Today, though... I just wanted to share a simple thought.

I had a rough week and a half. I think I shall share main reason why another time, but also because my husband's schooling is in full-swing and I am tired. Exhausted. I have gotten the hang of the routine, the ironing, the extra laundry from his extra uniforms, the rushed dinners during the week, the "I am really tired from the week and need easy dinners" during the weekend. In spite of the adjusting, I suppose some weeks are just simply going to be harder than others. This is a harder one.

Last night, I went to a women's Bible study. It was led by a pastor's wife of another church in town. I adore her. I got to work with her for a couple of years doing community vacation bible schools and I fell in love with her and her husband's passion for the church, for unity, and their "life of action." They don't just talk about it... they do it.

She had a fairly simple point that was simply something I really needed to hear. Christian has become a ugly word with negative connotations. It has become synonymous with the words hypocrite, bigot, and occasionally self-entitled jerk. I sometimes hesitate to call myself one. Not because I am ashamed of Christ. I will gladly claim Him... it's just all the people walking around pretending to follow Him that I don't want to claim. I could probably trail off here, but I shall attempt to stay on topic and share the simple point.

The Bible sums up what we are to do in 2 simple commandments: Love God. Love others as yourself.

As yourself.
Love others as yourself.

Perhaps it is, and as my friend pointed out last night, that many Christians simply don't love themselves enough. For how can you love others well, if you don't at all love yourself?

When you don't love yourself, your reaction to someone's good news looks more like jealousy than true rejoicing and your response to someone's talent looks more like competition than appreciation of diversity. We become the notorious middle-child in the family, acting out because we are completely unsure of our role in the family and our parents love for us.

As a reminder, God loves you. All of you! You are his creation. You are beautiful. You need to take care of you. You are worth it. You are worth the agonizing death of His son so you could know Him. You don't have to wonder if He loves you... HE DOES! You don't have to wonder if you have a reason for being on this planet... YOU DO!

Perhaps it sometimes takes great faith to see that you are beautiful and that God loves you. Perhaps it sometimes takes great faith to know that God could use a flawed person and to know that those flaws are perfect for what He has in mind.

Pray for an increase in faith. And dang it, woman, love yourself.

This world, your family, your husband, NEEDS you to!

Confidence is attractive, confidence draws people, a confident person can offer the best kind of love because a confident person isn't worried about being replaced. They can show the love of the Father to others--without holding back--because they know how much the Father loves them. They are secure in His Love.

Love others... AS YOURSELF

Start by loving yourself better.

That's my pep talk for the day. (If you need a little more pepping up on this matter, see this peptalk from a few months ago. I know I am the one that wrote it, but I totally pull it out every now and again because it totally boosts my confidence.) And after this demanding week, this girl is in need of some love. I think I shall do my make-up. Ha!

Some Updates before Christmas


Since most of my family, save but maybe those down under, has gotten my Christmas cards, here are our family pictures:
 The men are a wee bit serious...
 And the girls are a wee bit silly...
Very appropriate!

I got my ear warmers for Kerrington's Christmas completed! This makes me happy. My friend is headed out tonight to give homeless the gift of warmth... praying they feel the warmth not only from the keep-you-warm items like gloves, hats and scarfs, but also in their hearts by the love of all who donated and/or are spending their time tonight handing gifts out. A big "thank you" and "good job" to all the real warmth-givers everywhere!

Some pictures:

 The purple rose seemed special and pretty, so I gave this one to my friend. She needs one too! :)
 I put 2 buttons on these ones so that they could be adjustable.
Can you guess my favorite? The giant yellow double bow! I have been in love with it since I first saw it on deliacreates. Didn't think yellow could work with my white skin tone, but I think it does. Score! I feel like you can help but smile when you see this (if from nothing else, then from the sheer audacity it takes to wear a giant yellow bow atop one's head). I like making people smile.
Guess who has her fingers crossed for enough time to make one for herself for Christmas? Hey, I need a Christmas gift too! Ha!

My son is officially a sitter.
Isn't my son a looker?! I so LOVE my little man. By the way, "I am the walrus. CooCooKaChoo" That caricature of a walrus on his one piece makes me sing that song every time. Your welcome for getting that one stuck in your head. Ha!

And hopefully most obviously,
It's almost Christmas! Yay! I will see you after the holiday.
Wishing you a seriously wonderful Christmas!

Making Christmas "Monumental"

Read a couple chapters from Exodus through Deuteronomy in the Bible (or the Torah) and keep a look out for the words like monument, memorial, sign and the like and you may notice that God has a whole lot to say to the Israelites about doing things for a sign or as a memorial. Maybe you aren't to keen on the Bible or at least not what many consider to be the driest passages in the Bible, but I think there is a principle to be learned here. So track with me for a moment.

If you read this passage of Scripture, in addition to words synonymous with memorial, you will also find that the Israelites complain A LOT. God does something major for them like miraculously part the Red Sea and obliterate their enemy and two chapters later they are complaining to the same God. To their credit, while they may sound like major complainers, those two chapters contains the span of 30 days. Not long, but having had terrible bouts of morning sickness, it can definitely take me less than 30 days to get over the miracle of conception and the wonder and awe of holding life in my belly to the point where I loathe pregnancy, my husband, and all the putrid smells that surround me (I exaggerate, but I do definitely begin to complain after 30 days straight of puking.). I suppose I imagine this to be somewhat equivalent to life in the wilderness with limited resources and with the same people day in and day out. However, it seems that in most circumstances the better I remember the blessings and the overcoming of past obstacles, the easier time I have getting through my present circumstances and the easier time I have holding on to Joy. Complaining, in addition to making you terrible company to be around, sucks the life and Joy right out of you.

I think God knew how difficult it would be to not complain when He numerous times tells the Israelites to make monuments, turn a day into a celebration and do things as a sign or for a memorial. He knew they would want to complain. He knew they would need to remember. 

My Christmas tree has become my Monument. When I first got married, I wanted a Christmas tradition that was all my family's own. I decided that every year we would pick out one ornament as a family. It's really a simple tradition, but I love it. Every year, we set out to find THE ornament that best says what the year has been about. Sometimes it's a day trip, sometimes it's just during a mall trip, and sometimes it's found on a family vacation. While the finding is fun, my favorite part is pulling out the ornaments from past years and remembering and sharing with my daughter what each ornament is from. Each ornament has a story. Each ornament is a monument of what God has done for us.

Our first Christmas together, we found our ornament on our honeymoon. It reminds me of the beginning, the first, and my love for my husband. I remember the memories my husband and I made on our honeymoon.

This year's ornament celebrates the biggest event of 2011, the birth our son. We call him Jedi sometimes so Yoda seemed very appropriate. "When 900 years old you reach, look as good, you will not." --Yoda
Everytime I see this ornament I can't help but burst into song "There can be miracles, when you believe... Who knows what miracles you can achieve..." Not the biggest fan of Mariah Carey so this ornament drives me slightly crazy (actually to be more accurate it drives my husband a little crazy, don't know of many men that want Mariah stuck in their head), but it so says what our 2010 was all about. We had wanted a second child so badly but knew we couldn't afford it, nor had much room for it in our tiny studio apartment. God got onto me for not trusting Him with my life, my husband and I prayed and felt like God wanted us to try even though we had no idea how we would afford another child, and a month after the "plus" sign appeared on the stick, my husband got a great job flung onto his lap out of the blue and a month after that the perfect apartment became available. We trusted God not knowing what the future would hold and God did a miracle for us. I think keeping this in mind is what kept me full of joy during the second pregnancy as the toilet and I became close companions for the second time.

I think its so easy to get caught up in life happening: juice stains in carpet, birthday parties, meal planning, and the debate of how to best discipline your child to name a few. I think it's important for our kids and for our own sanity to pause and reflect every now and again. I know I want my kids to know me and who I am day in and day out and the Joy and Love that I attempt to carry with me at all times (or at least most of the time), but I also want them to get that the art of gratitude isn't a just a daily desicion it is also found in the monuments I make... the ways that I set time and items aside for God and His Glory. I have a much easier time keeping keeping Joy and Gratefulness a way of life when I pause every now and again and reflect on the many things I have to be grateful for.

I love that Christmas falls so close to the New Year. For me, it ends up being a season of reflection and gratitude. I love looking back and remembering just as much as I love looking forward to the next year. Perhaps you haven't experienced God like I have, but this girl knows with every fiber of her being that God has been good to her and with much or with less in good times or bad I will be Joyful. I will make monuments of the obstacles I and my family has overcome, the blessings we have received, and pray God gives me a tree with 55 ornaments and great grand kids to tell of God's goodness throughout my life.

Wishing you a MONUMENTAL Christmas!

Kerrington's Christmas

I have a friend. She is one of those people that are instantly disarming. You don't want to put on airs, you don't want to fake it, you can just be yourself. I love people like that. I love my friend!

My friend and me at a women's conference
She is a Champion. Last year I received an email from her. It made me cry. I don't have the email anymore, and she wasn't able to resend it to me. But, I do have her permission to convey the overall message of her email in my own words. (By the way, to avoid confusion, I am writing in my own voice.)

On September 11, 2003, my friend experienced the worst day of her life. She lost her precious baby, Kerrington, only a couple of days old. My friend had and has always wondered what birthdays and Christmases would be like if Kerrington were here. I am sure that more than anything her heart cries out to spend a Christmas with her Kerrington, to experience the warmth, wonder, and love a child brings to this holiday.

Instead of spending her Christmas just missing and just wondering, last year she decided to do something. She realized that, while she may be missing the warmth and love of her daughter, there are those living on the streets who have absolutely no warmth and no love for Christmas. In honor of her daughter, she started "Kerrington's Christmas." Last year, and again this year, she collects blankets, hats, and gloves and then heads out to give them to the homeless.

I don't know if this moves you, but it surely pulls at my heart strings. I love that even though Kerrington's life was short, she gets to make an impact, she gets to love others. I know her momma is missing her love and her touch, but how inspiring is it that my friend is making a way for Kerrington and herself to love and touch the lives of the broken and the down-and-out!? I am proud of you, friend, and inspired by your strength!

In the midst of falling in love with some very fashionable ear warmers and discovering how easy and inexpensive they are to make, I decided to make some for Kerrington's Christmas. I plan on making a batch and then going back and embellishing as many as I have time for. Practical thinking: the homeless need warmth more than fashion. This girl's thinking: How fun would it be to pour love into each piece and let some homeless women feel beautiful and more current than their salvation-army finds?! (By the way, I am not knocking the Salvation Army! They are awesome!) I know after spending time with the homeless that, yes, they need food, shelter and clothing, but they also somehow missed the message of hope that they too are beautiful through the lens of Christ's love.

If you want to see the couple of ear warmers I have made thus far, click here. If you want to help Kerrington's Christmas by way of monetary donation or by way of blankets, ear warmers, hats or gloves, please contact me via email and I will send you the information.

Wishing us opportunities to Love during this season! xoxo