In the Place of Practicing Grace

In a little over a week, my world will consist of highways, cooler-food and hours of time with five people I love.  We are venturing out for time away and dropping off our first-born at college.

I’m practicing grace.

I have lists of to-do… to-pack… and don’t-forget.  These lists, if allowed, can fill my days because I’m a list-completer.  I like marking it off and checking the box.  There’s a sense of accomplishment in the check mark and line drawn through, yet that is where I’m learning grace.

Grace found in being more than doing.

Grace in learning I don’t have to do it all.

Grace in being 2

Yes, we have packing.  And yes, I have things to organize, delegate and file away.  But it’s not in checking all the boxes or marking through the lines that I find grace.  I find grace in checking what’s important and marking out time.  Some things on the list can wait and others don’t need to be done.

This place, where I lay out thoughts and pound out words on the keyboard, this place waits.  Because the place where I lay my head and live day-to-day, that place needs me.

That place…

  • Where books from one school year are put away and the next year’s brought out.
  • Where clothes are given away and boxes are packed.
  • Where we dunk Oreo’s with forks and eat Cheetos by the bag-full.
  • Where we’re smacking the ball across the court and learning “Love All” together.

In that place, roles are shifting and one is packing up.  That place needs my attention and I crave that attention, too.  We are checking what’s important and marking out moments, packing them away in our memory bank.

And because I’m there with them, I’m not here with you and time with them can’t wait.

So don’t worry about this writing thing.  I’m writing — It’s how God wired me.  Journals are filling and ink is spilling out all over…it’s just not here where all of you can see… because sometimes it’s good to be quiet and pack moments in just for us… just for our family right now.

I’ll be back and I’ll pound away with thoughts that I’ve pondered and grace that I’ve practiced but for right now I’m practicing grace with myself and grace with this place. I haven’t forgotten this place or forgotten you, instead I’m finding grace in the being and not in the doing.

I’ll keep practicing grace and catching up with you soon!

 

 

Blooming Through the Distractions- Five Minute Friday

I’m late to the game today…distracted by really nothing and yet everything all at the same time…if you can relate at all.

We are linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the girls from Five-Minute Friday.  Lisa-Jo gives us all a word prompt and we write for 5 minutes…no real over thinking, over-editing, or over-doing…just write…bravely writing!  Then we link back up and encourage one other with words and high-fives for being brave.

Our word-prompt today:  Bloom

GO:

Nestled in the yard of my childhood home, a row of bright pink peonies grew between our house and our neighbors.

I was never really sure if they belonged to us or our neighbor since both households enjoyed their beauty and bounty.

The peony is one of my favorite flowers, not only for the way their large blossoms fill a bouquet quickly but also how their fragrance fills the room with the smell of summer.

If you’ve ever watched a peony grow and bloom, one cannot help but notice ants crawling all over the bud of the flower.  They scurry about moving quickly…almost like an invasion.

I was always told that peonies needed the ants to bloom…they somehow helped the peony open.  The science community now says, this is an old wives tale and the ants really do nothing to help the flower bloom.  The ants are just there for the sweet nectar produced by the flower bud scale.

peony1ed

Life scurries around me.  Situations, appointments and interruptions invade my life pretty effectively…just like ants on the bud. They’re not really helpful to the cause just something else to do.

Right on the edge of opening up and blooming into the fullness Christ has for me, I feel the pull.  The pull of time stealers…those things that don’t really help me accomplish the goals of the day but instead become one more thing distracting and pulling me off course.

It takes my own choosing and focus to put my energies into what matters instead of the time stealers and distractions all around me.

I would like to think those ants help in some way in opening up the peony and helping it bloom…it makes a pretty story and we like useful things…but instead they are serving their own purpose of gathering the sweet things and satisfying their own desires…just as time stealers for us.

Yet I can learn from the peony…that beautiful one in bloom.  It is not distracted by the scurry around, about and through…instead it is focused on its purpose…its purpose in blooming.

I don’t have this whole focus thing down perfectly.  I get distracted and am pulled off course yet I keep pressing on…pressing on toward His purpose for me.

One thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me… Philippians 3:13-14

 

STOP

Stretching to Be Long ~ Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday Today, we are joining up with Five-Minute-Friday, where we write on a one word prompt for 5 minutes. Today’s word prompt is: BELONG.

If you’d like to link up or read others with the same word prompt, click here!

GO:

“Mommy, can I be long here?”

I was curled up on the one end of the couch I call my own in the morning hours. My coffee in hand and my pen in the other, my knees curled up and my journal resting with thoughts scribbled out and moments jotted down.

I look down to the other end of the red couch and there he lies all stretched out.

“See how long I am?”

“Yes, Matt-ey, you are getting so long!!”

“I can reach from here to here.” as he points his toes into mine.

He’s so proud to be growing big and I’m proud as well.

We’re now in the fun stage where A’s, B’s, and C’s just aren’t letters but they make sounds and form words…words to be sounded out and read on the page.

We’re in the days when there’s something new to discover each day…a baby toad jumping across the gravel and worms under the wood.

Every day holds adventure. Every day is play.

He leaves his laying-out-long and comes to my end of the couch.

“Mom, can I be here?”

“Absolutely!”

It’s my turn to uncurl legs and be long. I stretch out and make room on my lap for this little guy growing big.

Together we curl up on my end of the couch, I slow down to his pace and cradle him in with arms wrapped tight.

The coffee waits and the pen gets put away because right now something else belongs here on my lap…some one who stretches out long and reaches right into my heart.

STOP

Encouraging you to stretch-out-long this weekend and spend some time belonging with those you love.  Happy Friday, everyone!

 

Summer Reading List

To be completely honest, I wish I could spend more time reading!  I love curling up with good books and taking words in…but in my life those times just don’t happen enough.

Time is limited and I’m trying to manage it better.  My reading goal is a minimum one hour a day even if it’s just moments snuck in here and there…even while waiting in the car.  I’m also attempting the whole slow down earlier at night and read before falling asleep method.

My friend, Lori Harris, who is an amazing writer/blogger, inspired me with this post.  She is a homeschooling mama of 6, church-planter and one grace-filled chick.  Last week, she wrote out her reading list and I was inspired!  This girlfriend sneaks in reading time while doing her hair!

What a time-saving, multi-tasking idea!

I tried it today but since my hair is short and I pretty much let my hair decide its own style, I only took in a paragraph or two before ‘the do’ was done.  {I love the idea yet this might not work for me!}

Now in sharing this I want you to understand… this is my wish-list goal.  It might not get done this summer… but maybe….if through some kind of genie wish system I gain a maid, cook, chauffeur and all-around do-er of all things!

So here’s the list:

Inspire

Life Inspiring

Surprised by Motherhood  by Lisa-Jo Baker –  I am half-way through this book and I love it.  Be warned there are lovely, teary moments in this read.  It’s a wonderful story of growing, unselfish living and being okay with not having it all-together.

Don’t Waste Your Life  by John Piper – I started this book last year and I’m picking it up again because this is a real desire of mine…to not waste this one life I’ve been given.

You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth – Again…I’m about half-way through this book.  I printed out the free study guide and I’m working through it as I have time.  I enjoy the evaluation part and dreaming with God about this one life.

Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst – I’m walking through this with a group of local ladies here in my church.  For the whole month of July we are learning together how to make wise choices in the midst of raw emotions.  I love the way Lysa communicates and writes.  She has a way of filling us all with hope as we walk in grace towards imperfect progress.

ministry books

Ministry

The Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allender –  This book was recommended to me by a good friend who is a licensed counselor.  In this ministry life, we journey with many who have been wounded by past sexual abuse.  This book is full of wisdom and encouragement.  Through this book, I hope to gain a better understanding in how to walk with those living with wounds that need God’s healing.

Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge – My heart hurts for women who are living a life of duty and drudgery more than a journey of purpose, grace and love.  “The message of Captivating is this:  Your heart matters more than anything else in all creation.  The desires you had as a little girl and the longings you still feel as a woman are telling you of the life God created you to live.  He offers to come now as the Hero of your story, to rescue your heart and release you to live as a fully alive and feminine woman.  A woman who is truly captivating.”

Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home by Waddell & Orr – There are many men and women who defend our freedom and then return home to fight their own inner battles.  Through this book I’m looking for insight in helping others as they battle here at home.

Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley – I’m more than half-way done with this book and loving it!  If you are a writer, speaker, teacher, or any kind of communicator, this is a great resource with many practical lessons in becoming a better communicator.  I highly recommend this book!

fiction2

Just for fun

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford – I finished this book while putting together this post and I simply loved it.  It’s a sweet story of first love, loyalty and forgiveness.  I so enjoyed Jamie’s writing and story-telling that as soon as I finished this book I immediately went to his website and began reading his second novel, Songs of Willow Frost.  I downloaded and read the first two chapters for free from his website this morning and I’m picking up the book from my local library when they reopen after the holiday weekend.  Yes, it’s that good!

Letter to My Daughter  and Mom & Me & Mom both by Maya Angelou –   I’m sad to say I have just discovered her writing.  These will be my first books of her writings.  I’m very much looking forward to taking them all in.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok – As I was writing up this post, hubby came in and was viewing my pile of books.  He grabbed this book off his shelf and asked, “Have you read this one?  It’s a great book!”  I replied, “Throw it on the pile!”  — a recommendation of Hubby’s!

Again, I might not finish them all this summer but I’m chipping away at them slowly!  I hope you join me in taking in some good reads this summer.

Please share with us…

  • What are you reading?
  • Have you read any of the above and what did you think?
  • Do you have any recommendations for me to throw on the pile?

Please share…I’d love to hear from you!

 

Laughter’s Not Lost – Five Minute Friday

Some days laughter just feels lost.

Lost in the loading and unloading of laundry.

Lost in the sweeping up of endless dog hair, random toys and stray socks.

It was looking like one of those weeks when the mundane and monotonous would rule.

And then Matt, our 5-year-old, had the brilliant idea of inviting friends over for a playdate.

What an excellent way for him to get lost in his own room while I hunted down some sanity.

So while they played and I folded laundry, I overheard one friend plead,  “Matt, can we please play with Lego’s….pretty please Matt???” 

There was a long pause followed by belly-splittin’ laughter

“Matt!!!  You’re not pretty…cause if you were pretty you’d be a girl! …. Eeewww!”

And there it was… laughter wasn’t lost after all!

Happy Friday all!

 

Five Minute Friday Today we are joining up with Lisa-Jo Baker and the girls at Five Minute Friday.  Where we all write for 5 minutes on the same word prompt.  No real editing, over-thinking, or stress…just write and enjoy!  If you’d like to join us, you’ll find the details here.

Today’s word prompt:  LOST

 

 

 

Raised to Release – Five Minute Friday

My hubby and I planned it this way.

“Let’s have our kids close so we go through everything at the same time…diapers, potty-training, car seats, amusement park rides…”

When we had our first, life became crazy and our normal was out the window. We had to find a new normal or go crazy forcing everything into our old normal.

And with each new baby born, a new normal was adopted.

Now with 3 teenagers and one of them getting ready for college. I find myself having to seriously consider that this is a new normal.

A normal where my kids drive themselves around…where they fill in my iPad calendar with their own work schedules, activities with friends and appointments.

When did this happen?

This weekend is my daughter’s open house for her high school graduation.

We have been planning, shopping and preparing for this event for a while now.

Today we picked up the final items.  And as my daughters and I were jammin’ down the road with Jamie Grace, my mind whispered again, “When did this happen?”

Jamie and the girls kept jammin’ while I became a bit melancholy because it hit me… “We raised them this way… We raised them to release them.”

It’s true when they say, “You only have them for a little while.” And that little while seems to be slipping by faster lately.

In the last seven days, our first-born graduated, our second-born passed the test for his driving permit and our 3rd was hired for another summer job.

In a few more blinks of time they’ll be off on their own… yet we did raise them for this.

We raised them to release them…yet sometimes… it would be nice to hold onto that old normal for just a little while longer.

 

 

Five Minute FridayToday we link up with Lisa-Jo for Five-Minute-Friday.  We write on the same word prompt for 5 minutes.  (All the details are here if you want to join us!)  The word prompt for this week is: RELEASE.

 

Five Minute Friday ~ Messenger

I remember, as a little girl, sitting at my small metal folding table with the red-flowered top, writing short stories and taping them to my mother’s dining room wall. I was play-writing, or writing for play, whichever way… I just wanted to write.

Writing down thoughts has a way of clearing my mind. If it’s written down somewhere, it is now a printed word and not just a thought in my head.

My Grandpa Desh was a printer by trade. In the early 1930’s, with his own hands, he built his print shop, “The Gospel Messenger”. He ran those printing presses for 53 years.

printdoor

I still remember the thundering noise of the press; the smell of ink and the thrill of watching the roller press over the paper as it left the ink behind.

Grandpa was an expert at setting the type. Pictures and images were placed to make a near-perfect image.

In my young eyes, nothing seemed to trip him up. He could smoothly move the paper into and out of the press with seemingly little effort.

Even today as I think about the message I share in this little part of my world, I sometimes trip up and don’t always set the type and place the images perfectly but I’ve learned perfection isn’t the goal.  The goal is to simply share His message.

I want His message to move in and out of these printed words  ~  His message typed through this simple messenger.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Five Minute Friday Today we are meeting up  with Lisa-Jo and the ladies of Five Minute Friday.  Lisa-Jo gives us a word prompt for the day and we write for 5 minutes.

I am crazy busy with family in town and my daughter’s high school graduation tonight so I was not planning on writing today but then I saw the word prompt of Messenger and I couldn’t pass it up.  That word has a special place in my heart because of my grandpa…and this being Father’s Day weekend, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to honor him.

Happy Friday all!