To Read on the Journey

Monday, June 23, 2014

Brighter than a shooting star

My girls...
they are the cutest.
Ever.

The way they love each other...
it's my favorite.
MY. ALL. TIME. FAVORITE! 

They make their own summer fun.
They're so glad to be together (it was hard on Josie having her bestie gone every day at high school this past school year), and are intentional about making memories together. 

They're so sweet... I could eat them up!

One day last week they spent an entire day in Josie's room creating...
they surprised us with this!
 


Told you! 
THE CUTEST!  
EVER!
 

Some of the lyrics to the song, "Shooting Star" ~
 
"Fill the darkest night with a brilliant light
'Cause it's time for you to shine 
Brighter than a shooting star
So shine no matter where you are

Let your colors burn and brightly burst
Into a million sparks that all disperse
And illuminate a world that'll try to bring you down
But not this time

Brighter than a shooting star
Shine no matter where you are
they suit my girls. 

Every day they shine so much light into my life... 
And I can't afford it, but it's mine! 


 Live in Peace,

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tell

I love to tell stories.

There is one story I have told more times than I can count.  I've told it to waiters and waitresses, in the grocery line, at Target, while waiting for a prescription, to our old neighbors and our new ones, to my kids' friends, to their parents... to anybody and to everybody

It's my But God story.


It's when I realized that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, was pursuing me.  It's the story of how at 14, I heard and saw God with my own ears and my own eyes.  It's not a made-up story.  It's for real.  God. is. for. real.  

At the time my dad was a drug user.  He did not claim me as his daughter (he acknowledged my younger sister and half-brother as his).  He was mean.  Awful.  I wanted him to want me so badly that whenever I saw him I'd approach him. I hoped he'd want me. Instead he called me  "the daughter of a whore" or a "little  #&*@ing whore." Instead,  he made it clear that he did. not. want. me.
(He was a drug user for 27 years, until 1998, when he was arrested.  He currently resides in a state hospital, where he is being treated for Bipolar schizo-effective disorder). 

When I was almost 3 my teenage mother left my younger sister and I, a routine visit to my paternal-grandparents turned into a 3 year stay.  When I was 6 she returned.  I think she wanted to be ready to be a mom, but she wasn't.  In the 12 years I lived with her she was preoccupied with men, and payed little attention to my sister and I.  She was married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, engaged, separated, married, divorced, married.  I've had 7 "dads."

So by the time I was 14 I was certain something was lacking in me.  I was sure my parents had rejected and abandoned and continued to leave because I wasn't pretty, lovely or good enough... because I wasn't deserving.   I was miserable, and in my 14 year old mind had concluded that my life would always be this way.  At that point I considered taking my life regularly.  I tried once. 

I see now that at the time God had intentionally placed classmates in my life to draw me to Him (in fact, I can see that He had thoughtfully placed individuals in my life from day one who would draw me to Him).  At the end of my freshman year of high school one of those classmates invited me to join her that summer for a week at Hume Lake Christian. 

By that point I wanted nothing to do with God.  If  there was a God I had one question for Him, "Why did you give me this life?  I've done nothing to deserve it."

Still, the thought of being away from my chaotic life for a week caused me to pursue that week vacation; however, that pursuit was short lived as camp was too costly for the daughter of a waitress.

But God.

One week before camp I received a call from my friend, who excitedly informed me that another girl had cancelled, her spot was paid-in-full, and her church wanted me to go in her place.

I know now why God wooed me to a camp in the mountains.  At camp my vision wouldn't be obstructed by the lies that plagued me in my home in the valley (both literally and emotionally).  At camp I would see that God wanted me.

So I went.

Hume Lake was breathtaking. The camp experience was like no other, and I was invigorated by the activities, games, being part of community, 3 meals a day, the singing (my favorite), and especially by the people who poured into me.
 
That week the speaker shared that "God is a father who will never leave or forsake us." Psalm 27:10

He also shared Romans 8:38-39  "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
 

He shared how God gave His son, Jesus, to take on Himself man's sin which separates us from perfect God. Jesus was punished in our place through a painful death on a cross.  But God.  3 days later Jesus came back to life! And by believing in Him we can have a new and whole life, too! 

I wanted that.
All of it.

I longed to be wanted.
I begged to be permanently and unconditionally loved.
I wanted a whole life.
And here was the God of heaven and earth so intimately telling me 'I want that for you, and you will find it in me.'
And on June 19, 1988 I expressed that I believed Him.

 

Fast forward to 15 years later.   I wanted to go back to Hume Lake to celebrate my 15th "birthday" with my husband and 3 young children; to take them to the mountain where my life began.

We hadn't told anyone of our plans.  We were financially strapped and our plan was to camp there for a couple of days.

BUT GOD. 

I was approached by a couple from our church, who mentioned that they had a cabin at Hume Lake, a cabin that they wanted us to use for free!

God wanted me at Hume Lake. With Him. Again.
 
One morning while there I took a long morning walk.  During my walk around Hume, I looked back and thanked God for 15 years earlier- for the rescuing, lavished love, healing and blessing He had generously poured into me over the years.  

And as I talked with Him I recalled the question I'd had for Him 15 years earlier and said, "15 years ago I came here with one question, 'Why did you give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it?' And today, today, I have the same question for You, 'Why did you give me this life, I've done nothing to deserve it!'

*********************************************************************************


We did not tell you cleverly invented stories 
when we told you about the power and coming of our LORD Jesus Christ, 
but we were eye witnesses of his majesty.  
II Peter 1:16

And that is why I tell stories.  

My stories aren't cleverly invented stories, they're my firsthand account of how the GOD of heaven and earth pursued and continues to pursue me! 

I tell stories because I have to...

Because I want so much for you to know Him; to know what it is like to belong to the One who made you and knows you and wants you... Who is wild about YOU!

Because I want so much for you to live in the love of One True God, Who loves you higher and wider and longer and deeper than you can grasp or image. Seriously, His love is the best ever! 
And because I want so much for you to live a whole life.
 
  Live in Peace,

 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

726 Days









Noah graduates from high school in less than 2 years... 
in 726 days.

I'm counting. 

Not counting down the days until he can go.  
I'm counting the days I have left- 

  the 726 days that are mine.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Stitch Fix #1

Hi all!

Today I'm sharing something fun that you may or may not have heard of Stitch Fix. 
Stitch Fix is a styling service that sends you 5 pieces of clothing, which are picked out especially for you by your own personal stylist!

To get started all you do is complete your style profile and schedule a fix. The cost is $20. $20 covers your styling fee AND covers ALL shipping fees! 

Personally, I don't love shopping for myself.  I tend to be a hunter- I want to get in, find what I'm looking for, and get out!  I think that's why Stitch Fix appealed to me. 

I hinted to my husband that getting "a fix" would be a great Christmas gift.  He took the hint and gifted me with a certificate!

Because my summer wardrobe is lacking I held onto my certificate until spring.

Here are the pieces that were in my first fix~ 
This creamy top, jeans, and a necklace (you can opt to get a piece of jewelry instead of an article of clothing).

The detail in this top were sweet.

If you know me, than you know I wear simple jewelry. This piece was a bit too wild for me... but that is the fun part of Stitch Fix, your personal stylist can help you branch out. 

I also received this color-block top.  It was cute, but a bit too broad for my taste. 

This shirt was probably my favorite, BUT everyone in my family nixed it because of the keyholes in the front and the back.
These jeans are the same ones pictured in the other pix.  I didn't care for the stripe down the backside or the length; HOWEVER, I could not believe how well they fit! I saw jeans in the box, and immediately thought "ugh, why bother, they're not going to fit," (trying on jeans is often more painful than labor & delivery ;) but the fit was perfect! 
My stylist also included examples of how to style the pieces sent with other items
...I wish I could send her everything in my closet, and have her send me an entire booklet of outfit ideas!
With Stitch Fix, If you keep something from your fix, the $20 styling fee goes directly toward your purchase. Additionally, If you keep everything in your box you receive $25% off the entire purchase. One more thing, as a bonus, if you refer a friend who orders a fix you receive a $25 credit. How fun is that!?

I was really impressed with how well my stylist did choosing pieces for me the first time around; however,  I chose not to keep any of the items in this Fix (I think I'm going to regret sending back the keyhole top).  I simply returned everything in the easy peasy return shipping bag (remember ALL shipping fees are included in the $20 fee), then went online to give my reasons why, AND to schedule my next fix! I can't wait to see what my stylist sends me next time around!

To learn more about Stitch Fix, pop over here for details. 

If you choose to get your own fix, tell them I referred you by using the following referral link. 
https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3328539

If any husbands are reading this go now and get your wife a gift certificate for her own Fix! She'll think you're more fantastic than she already does! 
(My certificate won't cover my entire Fix, but it sure put a nice dent in it).  

Lastly, if you're like me, you're probably wondering how much each piece cost. With Stitch fix you can determine your budget.  I'm CHEAP, and requested my pieces be at the lowest price point. Honestly, this was still a bit steep for me, BUT I also know I'd be willing to pay a little more for something if it's well made and will be in my wardrobe for years to come.

Tops- $48
Necklace- $38
Jeans- $88
(Remember, had I chosen to keep everything in the box I would have received $25 off the entire order).


 
 Live in Peace,


Special thanks to my cutie pie photographer, Josie, watch out  Michael, she's gonna give you a run for your money! ;)

Linking up with my S.I.L., Lindsey, at The Pleated Poppy, for WIWW

pleated poppy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tucked In

In January, after almost 3 years, the kids and I finished reading the Chronicles of Narnia series together.  I sobbed the entire last chapter of the final book, The Last Battle. Words are my love language; read, written, spoken, sung, lived.  Having my kids lean in close to hear  Lewis' words was such a delicious time. I didn't want it to end, ever.  
I read to them most mornings before school.  

I read to them because I need them to be all mine 
before heading out for the day into their little parts of the world.  
Before the Narnia series, we'd read a handful of books together, so naturally we tossed out a few options for our next book; however, as we tossed out ideas, I couldn't escape one thought- Noah graduates from high school in less than 2.5 years {gulp}. 

2.5 years.
He'll be gone soon...
in a blink.

And because of that, I knew which book had to be read before he left; before they leave our home- The Bible. 

The Bible is God's love language, and He wants His children to lean in close to hear every word.

"And I pray that you being rooted and established in Love, would have power 
together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God, 
and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled 
to the measure of all the fullness of God." 
Ephesians 3:17-19

He wants us to cuddle up close to Him everyday; to be all His for a while, before we go out into our little pieces of the world.


"I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.  
I will be their God, and they will be my people." 
Hebrews 8:10b

Throughout the years we have read parts of the Bible to the kids. We want the word  of God to be tucked in their hearts, minds, souls.  

When they were younger this Children's Bible was how we began our home-schooling days.  I'm 100% sure I learned more from that time than they did; learned from my children how to listen to the Word like a child; learned from what the Spirit was revealing to them. 

"The same Spirit of God that fills you as a believer is the same Spirit of God that inspired the text. 
So trust that when you read it, He's going to show you something or do something in you." 
Walking with a Limp. 


"Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." 
Psalm 119:105


As they got older Michael would choose a book from the Bible and read it to us. This time typically began cuddling close together on the couches to read and pray, and ended in wrestling matches or the kids entertaining us. Good times. I'd give anything to be there with them again.

"The word of God is living and active!" 
Hebrews 4:12

A few years ago we all joined Bible Study Fellowship , and studied the book of Isaiah.  It was powerful.  With BSF there are 5 days of homework per week.  I cheated off the kid's worksheets a lot.  Isaiah was tough, and well, my kids are a million times smarter than me. 

"The grass withers, the flowers fade, 
but the word of our God will stand forever." 
Isaiah 40:8
For the last few years Michael has been leading us after dinner using the youth version of Jesus Calling.  The daily devotionals always seem to be relevant with what one of us is experiencing that day. I especially love when He has one of the kids leads, which is often.
This mommy's heart swells with all kinds of "And I can't afford it, but it's mine," when they teach me from God's word. 

"He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; 
he who cherishes understanding prospers." 
Proverbs 19:8

A while back a mama, who is a few seasons ahead of me, pointed out that we'll be parents to adult children much longer than we'll be parents of adolescents. 

Hmmm...
Her words were a wake-up call, causing me to realize that this time with our children in our home is brief 
(though I'm sure those of you with littles would beg to differ). 

Too soon they'll be going out into their parts of the world, permanently.  

"All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, 
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 
that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 
II Timothy 3:16-17
And more than my need for them to be "all mine" before they go, what is of utmost importance is that each one of them 
be  
ALL HIS.



 "Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us 
by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who has invited us to God. 
The best invitation we ever received!" 
II Peter 1:3 (MSG)
 
 2.5 years might be just enough time to get the word tucked in my children's hearts; every single God-breathed word (even the ones we can't pronounce... and there are quiet a few).   And if we aren't finished Noah will just have to stay around until the last chapter, when I'll be sobbing as I read, with my three close, never ever wanting this time to end. :) 


"When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my hearts delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty." 
Jeremiah 15:16 


 Live in Peace,


photos from the kids rooms.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

I blinked and 16

On the eve of Noah's first birthday I sat on the edge of my bed sobbing, "I only have 17 years left!"
I cried like my world was falling apart.
It didn't help that I was 4+ months pregnant with Emilie. 
Poor Michael. 
He had no idea what to do with me.

I blinked and Noah was 1.
And on the eve of his first birthday I knew, knew this time, it's sacred.

Sacred- 
Highly valued and important: deserving great respect
Devoted exclusively to one service or purpose 
Dedicated or set apart for the service of worship

What we parents do is sacred.
It's highly valuable, AND it is "set apart for the service of worship."

Last week, I blinked and Noah was 16.
Seriously, blinked and *snap,* 16!


On his birthday I was reading Proverbs 2, reading in the first few verses about gaining wisdom and instruction, understanding words of insight, learning discretion, and then verse 8 caught my attention- 
"Listen, my son, to your father's instruction, and do not forsake your mother's teaching." 

And as I read I thought about this sacred, and that Michael and I are to instruct and teach our children to be wise, to understand words of insight, to use discretion; that that is our "service of worship" to the Lord our God.  

Next to my marriage, I don't think anything else I do (Michael and I do) this side of Heaven matters more.

Other things use to matter more, though.  A lot of other things.

The one reoccurring thing was this thought that I needed to be somebody, which meant that in other people's eyes which meant that in my own eyes, I had to amount to something; be successful.  

The honest truth is that more times than I care to count I've put my kids (my marriage, too) on the back-burner so that I could pursue those things, so that I could think and feel for a nanosecond that I had value.

But God.

Thankfully, He is my parent, who instructs and teaches me... and oh, do I need parenting!

And just like our kids need us to steer them in the right direction, I desperately need my Father to redirect me to wisdom, insight, and discretion, too.
 

Because the Lord God loves me so wildly, He brings me back to where my desire truly is- 
here in my home, 
to the "right before my eyes," 
so that I won't blink and miss this, 
His sacred.

video

   
(Video originally posted Mother's Day, 2009) 

"Sacred" by Caedmon's Call

this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime

I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine,rise and shine
rise and shine cause

everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes


Happy Mothers Day! 

 Live in Peace,