31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered Living– Day #7: What My Faith Rests Upon…

The beginning to this story is here

I look up, rain pouring in my face, and I cannot see well.

It’s dark and all I can see is Him. But I don’t know what He’s trying to say.

So many voices, and at times like this, I just want to draw my family close, my little ones under my wing, Husband over me, covering, and I want to just shut out the world because the cold winds, they blow right through, and how to make it stop?

Can I buy a window to keep that kind of force-gale wind out? But I know God said to us in His word, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

So I know that I’m not meant to stay this way, cocooned up, wrapped warm, no matter how much I think I need the comfort, for His children are hurting.

He has only allowed me to draw close like this, because He is about to branch me out, open, like bare oak tree branches, hands naked, reaching up, raised high in the sky in worship.

And when I can’t make sense of all the hurt, pain, and rejection, and when I don’t understand why I am not accepted in some circles, why things feel awkward and hard with those loved ones when I want things to be fluid and loving, and my world feels off-kilter, like it’s great big orb has fallen clumsily off it’s axis and everything is sliding…then what does my faith rest upon?

Because really, when I am slammed with reality, the truth is, it isn’t about me, and my hurt, and my pain, or even needing to keep my world on it’s axis, yes, even, for the sake of my family.

When we find things like this blog on the interwebs, and we sit, lump in throat, and tears in eyes, and we realize that this world does not contain just us, as hard as we try to wrap cocoon ourselves in our comfortable home, candles, bible reading, and happy stories–we are somehow pulled out of our cocoon, out of skin, and we are asked to die on that cross with our Savior.

And we keep coming back to this place, which forces us to ask WHAT does this all mean? This journey, what does it mean? Here, where we are now–why are we here yet again, not in a church?

When we would love to indulge in just sitting in the pew, and be unseen, hardly noticed by anyone, God uproots us yet again, and has used this illness to do it. WHY do we have no desire to continue going to church to play the game–the game of social groups and accepted statuses?

Why do we shy away from church and steely sharp steeples, but want to run into the arms of God and homeless people and little children–orphans who need our help–orphans who just need someone to hold them, them sitting all alone, simply because there arent enough hands?

And yet, why havent we done something? Why are we still here? Is this called incubation? If that is what this is, it is pretty miserable.

But im learning to hate it less and less, to be angry with God less and less, and to give thanks for my circumstances more and more. Truly, this is a miracle straight from the throne room of Heaven. This is not something I can do on my own.

So I pick up the cross, bent low, and I carry it like He did, bent and broken for me, and I find my faith resting on that rugged, splintery cross. And where my faith has seemed more like doubt, and where it has been splintery and where winter has blown straight cold through, it rests on that heavy beamed cross–because that saving tree, it can take it all. And my redemptive God, He can make all whole. How I love Him! How He is my only rock, my only fortress, my only Hope, my only true joy!

When my faith is resting upon that cross, that sure rock, that strong foundation, I really can count it–all the suffering–every last hard blast of it–and call it joy.

And maybe joy looks like my bare oak arms branched out, roots deep in the ground, surging straight to the well of God and the gospel of grace and arms stretching to touch a little child in need of Him? Maybe this is how I worship? Maybe this is my only right response to the suffering on that sacred tree?

Maybe this is what my faith really looks like when it’s resting there.

I think there is definitely more to this that I would like to explore. I hope to write more tomorrow at Ann’s on Walk With Him Wednesday, so please come back.

Join me, if you like, at Ann’s for last week’s post on faith–im joining late!

And please join me as I follow the Compassion bloggers in Equador this week!

Compassion Bloggers: Ecuador 2011

31 Days to Holistic Christ-Centered Living: Day#4: What does my faith rest upon?

Water hits the dry soil and puffed faces of lavendar mums, and I tilt the basket at the mailbox so that the water seeps and doesn’t spill off onto the ground. Leaves shake and shudder, high and naked on their branches in the early morning dew and northern wind blowing south. They are strong, but even they will have to loosen their tightly clenched fist and give way to nature and God’s timing. The brown ones, already dead, a warm blanket for dormant hope, seeds of faith lying deep, they crunch underneath my feet, signaling the passage of time and it hits me. That Fall is already here and before I can really grasp it and hold it firm, winter will have blown in on an arctic gale and clutched my bones and these dying leaves with it’s icy grip, them just trying to hang on, me just trying to hang on.

I water, force-nourish, and I notice how the flowers refuse to drink, how they stand defiant, soil all clotted hard, and the water just slips right off, falls to the ground below, missing it’s purposeful mark. So I, persistent that the plants will drink, keep pouring, slowly, until the soil is softened enough to receive.

This is the way with me. I harden in my selfish desires and unbelief.

But He continues to lay my heart bare, to rip off the scales that blind me. He causes me to be in the pit-place that I loathe being in, but I am here, and I realize I have been ungrateful for what He has given. He uses this dark place to make me see.

I bow head and weep confession for my sin. When I’m ungrateful, when I complain and allow myself to be bitter, and I don’t give thanks, I’m saying to God everything He’s given isn’t enough. When bad things happen-when I am sick for two years and beyond, not knowing when I will get well–and I refuse to praise with grateful lips, when I refuse to worship with serving hands, then I stop the hoping and begin the hardening, and the refusing to receive His nourishing rain.

The rain may seem inconvenient with it’s downpour, and unrelenting, uncomfortable drenching, my soul shuddering cold, and how it makes everything spill over and I can’t control it’s containment, can’t restrain it.

It’s water washes out the hardened surface, carves new paths in my heart, forms the grand canyon in me, pushes out the impurities and guts the ugly and I ache–a cold wind blowing right through the gaping hole of me.

This is when my faith wanes. I callous up, and I clot my soil dry, make it so hard that no one can see what’s inside, and they can’t prod and pick at me.

This doesn’t allow His life-giving water in, the water that I will never thirst again by, but at least, my fearful mind rationalizes, they won’t get to the roots of me, laid bare for them to crush and eat away at my very core.

What does my faith rest upon in this dry, wintry gale season, blowing hard, blowing right through me? What does faith look like when I’m too cold to receive His rain? His grace?

I look up.

Come back for the ending here tomorrow?

Linking up with Emily at Imperfect Prose:

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered Living: Capturing Time In A Bottle

Bella calls to me in her four year old lisp, “Mama, look! I found a wasthp nesth!”

“Bella, just stop, not right now,” I shoo her away with my words, having barely glanced her way. I’m intensely focused on helping one of her older sisters with schoolwork.

But something stops me this time: this is my moment to not repeat yesterday’s failings.

Dust yourself off. Try again. Repeat.

And they grow the fastest while I’m standing at the drier folding towels.

I know I do this too often, shoo them away when I’m doing something that I deem more important than their story, or question, or just their wanting to be with me–to have my full attention.

I ask her again to show me what she found. She holds out her hand and shows me the dormant wasp nest. I tell her how neat it is. A few minutes later when she comes running, exclaiming she caught a butterfly, my interest is definitely peaked.

“Wait! Don’t move! I’m going to grab my camera.” I gazelle-sprint for the camera, and dive back to the front yard, just in time to capture her holding the butterfly.

How do I capture time? Can I really put it in a bottle, make it stop just for me? They grow so fast. How can I be sure that I’m not carried away with daily demands so much that I’m ignoring the most glorious command–investing in these precious lives that God has given me?

They look up at me, light in their eyes as they hold the butterfly with broken wing, and I shoot the moment away, shutter clicking.

We go inside and eldest daughter and I google search how to fix a broken Monarch butterfly’s wing. Our butterfly prances around on our hands, drinking from a coca-cola bottle cap. It takes a while, but I find instructions and courage enough to fix the little guy.

Lorna and Bella watch intently as I feed the winged creature by gently putting a needle dipped in sugar water up to his curled tongue, and it rolls out straight–long, thin, and straw-like. We watch in amazement. We are quiet in the moment–really present with one another.

Then I tell Lorna that her Father will be home soon, so we need to put him away and begin supper–I tell her to put the little guy–who she says is Albert if it’s a boy, and Flutter Shy if it’s a girl–into a jar with lots of large holes in the lid.

And my mind starts doing that spinning thing again–how to do it all? Pour into four little ones, clean messes, serve Husband, take the time to share a broken-butterfly-wing-moment with my daughter?

Isn’t a clean, peaceful home part of living holistically? Isn’t that part of my job description? And time with my Lord went out the window today–how did that
happen? Isn’t that part of the recipe for peace and joy also?

I look over and see the butterfly, Albert, in his jar, lying on his side. I dash over and rip the hole pricked lid off, and pull him out. The holes weren’t large enough and he is dying. Eldest daughter is really, really sad. So am I.

I know that all the messes will not be gotten up and the supper will not be nearly done when he walks in the door, but I let it go. It doesn’t matter as much as this moment with this precious one and her butterfly.

This is the sacrifice for spending time with them, investing in them, being interested in what they’re interested in: everything will not be perfect.

I cannot capture time and imprison it in a bottle, and it does not wait just for me, just for little me. I begin to see, and the glass that I see through darkly gets a little brighter and I see that this is the theme of living holistically, to putting my faith to action–yes, everyday there will be messes, none of it will ever be perfect, and time will never slow down for me–so the most important thing is that these precious ones have their rightful place in my heart–coming only after God and Husband.

And nothing–nothing–comes before. Not laundry, not supper strictly held to the clock, not writing or blogging, not answering emails, not sweeping floors. At the end of my life, I will not wish that I had folded more laundry or answered more blinking lights and buzzing screens.

I will want more broken butterfly wing days.

I look at my daughter’s sad eyes, and I look around at all the things to be done–all the demands–they stare me in the face–but I stare right back and I courageously choose the right thing.

I let the rhythm of them carry me, these precious ones, their smiles, their sweet dimples that beg to be kissed, their inquisitive, trusting eyes asking questions, needing me and I let the rhythm carry me into the night until I sigh a contented sigh of having given all and lay head on pillow.


#345 light streaming in, light in daughter’s eyes, a moment realizing how priceless she is

#346 baking cookies from scratch with my girls–eldest daughter learning how to do it on her own

#347 my relief at planning and knowing we will be done with schoolwork by Christmas with a long break

#348 folding laundry by drier, heater, and 1000 Gifts on audio and my wonderful friend who sent it to me

#349 hot cocoa and the conversation i have with the girls about how some children in the world would love to fill their bellies with these things–how it is sobering to us all

#350 hot tea at bedtime and reading 1000 Gifts

#351 a close friend that sticks by me, forgives all my failings, and in the midst of her crazy schedule, she needs me enough to anticipate carving out time to run with me and talk until it’s much later than we intended to stay

#352 hot chai tea and a table at the book store–me springing to buy her tea, her springing to buy us both muffins and this verse of scripture: “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.”

#353 this verse: “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one’s friend springs from his earnest counsel.”

#354 Husband saying, “Go!” and him tenderly caring for me

#355 staying at home instead of going out and all of us finding plenty to be content with right at home

#356 telling Husband over airways as he drives home that I was lonely without him and the girls missed him too on this Saturday, and him sounding so happy to know that he is a priceless piece to this family puzzle

#357 hard eucharisteo–not going on our anniversary trip that we had planned, but instead going on a string of small dates to the movies or to get coffee–being at home with the kids 24/7 and this stubborn heart that longs to escape learning to be thankful for my context

Please join me at Ann’s site for more gratitude lists and thanks to God:

Also, linking up with Jen at Soli Deo Gloria:

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered Living: Jesus Saves!

I am trying to make supper, but do not have the ingredients I need, Little one keeps jumping out of the tub and running into the kitchen, sopping wet, and I know that Husband will walk in the door soon, and being the first day of the new schedule, I want to prove to him that I can do it. I glance sharply at the clock, wound tight with my endeavors to keep to the hands that race so quickly around the numbered face.

I break, sinful, weak creature that I am, and raise my voice to my daughter and scold her for almost burning the cookies–her love project.

I immediately see my fault. We’ve been here too many times before–I know this scene–I’ve messed up over and over–too much to not recognize myself in the mirror of her sad eyes.

She had gotten everything down, mixed it all up, determined, and when I came to help, she had proudly held it up to me, beaming, wanting my approval. She had done this, this love-serving, to please me. Why would I scold her when something in the plan goes off course?

I go over to her, try to drum up some emotion, try to feel this remorse, to be connected to the moment with her, but it’s too painful, and she knows, and I put my arm around her and say, “I’m sorry for yelling and being mean to you, you know?”

I know that I should open up more, let the emotion flow, share the gospel with her like I have before, about how this wretched mama needs the cross, but I don’t. Time demands of us to continue our tasks.

My eyes snap to the stove’s clock again. My head is spinning, like Earth rotating so wildly fast that it feels as if it’s standing still, the thoughts running fierce and intense like an ultra-marathoner.

“Didn’t I say I wanted to learn to live this holistic, Christ-centered life? Didn’t I say I wanted to learn and didn’t we make a schedule, Husband and I, to help me sleep better, wake earlier, be more present with the children, and didn’t we say reading time for everyone, Bible at the supper table every night and I want to nurture and I have desires deep down to please my family and make them happy.

Isn’t this what I’ve wanted since I first read “Stepping Heavenward” years ago and an idea came into my head?

That everything doesn’t have to be blinking lights, screens, and fast food–that we can really be present with one another, really talk, really serve–offering it all up to God as a whole–every intricate part of our lives–this is what holistic living means. That we can live slow.

What did it say–the quote I read in Ann’s book by bedside’s soft light?

“I slept and dreamt life was joy, I awoke and saw life was service, I acted and, behold, service was joy!”–Tagore

When my fourth was born, the milk would not nourish her and she was losing weight and it about drove this mama mad and the post-partum depression went untreated, and has caused stress-disorder in my body, says the doctor. So now I swallow down a pill every day to get back on track.

I stand there feeling like the schedule is on a runaway frieght train, and I will cave under all the pressure. My neck tightens and my throat begins to close in.

This is why I stay in the room, closed off all the time, the voice tells me. “May as well give up; you can’t do it,” the black angel says from his perch on my shoulder. “No point in making yourself this frustrated and causing a panic attack and causing everyone to be unhappy too–you should just throw in the towel.” His voice sounds like reason, like wisdom. It is true that if I continue like this, I will just get more ill.

I say out loud, “Oh God, help me.” Shane and Shane sings “Burn us up” on the little player next to the stove and I stare at the flame burning in the lit candle, how it dances furiously and licks the side of the glass.

I drop my head, in hand, rub temples and talk to Him, thinking of those three brave in the fire, when the King told them to bow to the idol, to reject their God, how they stood in the face of imminent death and said,

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:16-18 NIV(emphasis added)

I want that kind of faith-to be brave in the face of death, to stare unmoving at the enemy of my soul, to say, “Burn me up” when I fear the destruction of my flesh, to not flinch in the storm of all the gospel might demand of me, what circumstances it might require me to continue to believe in the midst of.

There are martyrs who are dying for the cause of Christ overseas, there are orphans dying with no one to hold them while they are dying–they die alone. There is a child alone in the desert right now, wasting away with starvation. This makes me wonder why I can’t have faith in the middle of my daily struggles.

Why do I listen to the deciever when I know that Christ has already conquered him for me?

As I talk to God, head in hands, the miracle happens: His presence comes and breaks me.

I sob surrender to Him.

And I know at that moment that this is how I start living this holistic, Christ-centered, offering unto Him life: It is only through the cross of Christ that has conquered my enemy, Satan, and because not only did He conquer him, but Jesus is here, with me, right here in my need, clutching my hand in the fire, in my desperate moment.

All I have to do is cry out and surrender to the grace pouring over me. To the cross I cling…moment by moment.

I cannot comment back on my site–Google has denied access– in the meantime, please know that I read and bask in every encouraging word! Thank you for being here!

Please join me at Ann’s site for more reflections, ponderings on faith:

31 Days to Holistic, Christ-Centered living: The Key to Change

The eyes snap open, and an overwhelming feeling like child lost in the tumultuous crashing of waves, blood churning, heart pounding, remembering yesterday’s failure and not wanting to repeat it.

I’m already arguing with myself–and it’s all in my head–I don’t say it out loud–the mind bends and whirls–what I will do first–which hat to take down, which to leave on the shelf?

Part of me gearing up, a loud, “Yes!”, the other half of me screaming, dreading, “No!” I pull the covers over my head, ignore the tiny footsteps pounding on pine floors, shrieks and squeals echoing off of morning sun splashed ceilings, slamming of doors–they are my shrill, body-bolting, repetitive alarm.

Can I handle it? Today’s driving demands, they harass me, their nails go deep, they keep pounding and my body feels the weight, and the overflow of adrenaline, all of the reserves–too much of it released, surges and seeps into every part of me.

The neck begins to tense, immediate pain shooting down the jugular veins, through my frail shoulders and the head aches, and I feel as though I will break, small and helpless.

I find strength to touch the floor with feet anyway. And some days, I just say, “Lord, help me,” as I gaze at curtain shrouded sky, wanting to really see, not having much to say, knowing my prayer reaches Him, but stilling myself for what comes next.

The little one has crawled out of her crib, and is running around chasing her sisters, and my nerves are at bursting pressure-point, and I know they will run ahead of me all day, and I will grasp at trying to keep up.

So we start the gentle rhythm of the day–as gently as a team of wild horses gone off course, and I’m the one that’s supposed to be steering–we go outside to do work and to teach and to learn, because stress can always melt in sunshine and those faces are more endearing.

And just as if there was never anything holding it all together in the first place, like dominoes all lined in a row, just waiting for that first, airy brush of a fingertip, all caves in.

I yell at a child to just stop screaming, and I rant at another child to never, ever, hit her sister with the broom again. Teeming with impatience, I am wanting some time alone to write, to let my mind rest, and I am intently focused on helping one child with schoolwork, thinking, “If we can just get this one page done.”

And I know the clothes await folding in the drier, mocking me with their very existence, crumbs and dirt tracked in the mud room collect and call out to me from their dark hiding places, and all has gone awry and I have not been the steer-er, gentle guide that I should be.

How exactly do I do this holistic living, this peaceful home, this joy-giving life, this gratefulness, the gospel mine to tell, Christ at the center always, and how do I live this out–all these responsibilities, all these gifts He’s placed in my hands, these precious ones–how do I make sure I mother them well?

And my soul-mate, the man that God has given me the power to make or break? Oh, what a sobering thing–how do I nurture respect, love and submissiveness–oh so much at stake here–how do I make sure to bring him good, and not harm, all the days of my life?

And Satan tries to pound and drive it into my skull–that I’m not good enough. He tries again and again to let it seep down deep. That I have failed them. I feel the weight of my sin creeping over me like a heavy cloak. I am an empty hull, a broken shell, crushed under his devouring mouth.

But that’s just the first verse. Then I remember the refrain.

Jesus saves.

There is more to this gospel story–this story that God has allowed me to be apart of–and I’m so grateful. Come back tomorrow for the ending?

For now, please watch the video for a taste of how powerful a mystery God has revealed to us through the law and the fulfillment of that law–his Son, Christ Jesus. The beginning of the song is very different–it will perplex you no doubt,

but please wait for the ending–you will not be disappointed–I promise!


#328 the damp coolness in the air when rain is coming

#329 Husband telling me he is proud of my work with the girls

#330 Ivy’s assessment: “C’mon, Everyone is good at something: Lorna is good at making people laugh, Daddy is good at art, Bella is good at smiling and dimples, Mama is good at reading, Lilly is good at being cute, and I’m good at eating and making messes!” and the spontaneous laughter of everyone at the table.

#331 Husband who knows just how to settle the raging storm within by being a strong, quiet anchor

#332 missing them as soon as they are fastened in Papa’s truck

#333 my little Lilly’s sweet pursing of lips into heart-shaped smile–eyes twinkling mischievously, so much life in her

#334 this post: my heart’s desire–and for Katie Davis, and for Husband and i reading together, me barely able to say the words through gut-wrenching emotion

#335 how God uses people thousands of miles away, unbeknown to them, to preach the gospel to us, just by their lives

#336 how we both get emotional reading together–how it hits at the very core of us

#337 this blog: how it slays me, how it just cuts right through the fat, all the unnecessary indulgences and whispers to me what is important: the gospel.

#338 a whole weekend of quiet while children are with grandparents and we nurture marriage, we go out, nap in hammock, cuddle and watch movies, talk and talk and talk, smiling into each other’s eyes like love-sick puppies

#339 that my favorite part of the whole weekend was us confessing what God has been doing in our hearts–an outpouring, a cleansing, a healing, hope and Husband’s leading

#340 friend who texts yes, they would love to–they have been looking forward to fellowship–friendships once broken and where forgiveness and reconciliation was humanly impossible, God restored, redeemed, fused together such a strong bond that none could break, and He called His creation good

#341 the fellowship of the body of Christ found through a friendship bonded through years of suffering and rejoicing together, found through the writings of missionaries and the supporting of those love-projects, found in the eyes of a widow, the smile of an orphan

#342 amazement at God’s great grace and favor upon me–me just a sinner–not just any sinner, but a wretched one, and the great hope of salvation and redemption

#343 this suffering that is the only way to true beauty

#344 for Ann, and her blog –one of the first posts I ever read that shook me to the core, faces hot and wet as Husband and i both read, her book, that set me on a journey that I never expected, how when they played this video in church service one morning, it would challenge my heart, and change the course of my life forever–thank you, Ann!


Lorna tells me while I’m churning the cream in my coffee with a spoon, watching the white swirls disappear, “You know last night when we were lying in bed, we saw so much lightening–and it never did thunder–just kept flashing over and over really fast. It was scary.”

“Yeah,” I say, “the lightening was right over us.” Thinking the conversation is over, I’m surprised to hear her next question.

“Mama, are we EVER gonna get hurt? In a hurricane, or lightening storm, or car wreck or something? I mean, God is watching over us and protecting us with His angels ALL the time!”

I look at her, caught not as grateful as she, but thankful that I have this angelic being to remind me, because she is not yet affected by this sinning, God-doubting world, I lean in close, kiss her cheek and smile against curls, “Yes, isn’t that wonderful? He IS protecting us all the time.”

And we hold each other’s faces for a moment of gratefulness, our eyes saying everything.

::: ::: :::

All in a spin, a cleaning whirl, Lorna sweeps, the plastic straw brushing across the child-battered wood floor, Ivy picking up toys, trudging back and forth, her feet sounding out a beating drum. And Bella and I are at the buffet table, scrubbing–I’m helping her learn about the methodical steps of wiping and dusting and placing things back where they belong. She wipes along the frame of the painting her father made for me, and pointing to a still-frame, she asks in her four year old voice, “Mama, why you a princess?”

I laugh-speak it, my rag frozen mid-swipe, surprise’s grip on my throat (me, a princess?), and I let the sound escape into the air between us, captivated by her perspective: “Well, because,” I studder, “I was a bride, and it was my wedding day.”

I look at the stroked lines, the veil and pearl tiara, the cathedral train of white and I understand her definition of a princess. She catches me off guard again.

“And Daddy was a prince?”

I giddily smile wide, “Yes, he was.”


I’m captured by her musical tones, white halo of hair, blue eyes searching, “Because we got married that day, and Daddy was my prince, come to save me and to have me forever and ever.”


“And you know what? One day God will send your prince to you, just like He sent Daddy to me, and you will be a princess too, when you get married.”

I marvel at how her eyes light up and her cheeks blush red excitement at the thought of being a princess one day like Mommy.

“Mama, I’m gonna be a princess tonight?”

Lorna giggles at the four year old reasoning, and tells her, “No, Bella, you have to grow up first.”

I look at her big eyes, taking it all in, and I scrub, place the painting back where it belongs, thinking about the spinning whirl of life and how God holds us, how He plans, how He writes out our days in His book, how we will hope and we will be disappointed and we will experience the rich blessings of His grace, how she is too young to understand it now, that she is a princess of her Heavenly Father, King of all Kings, and no matter life’s disappointments, future failed relationships, or how hard the waiting years are, for it isn’t going to happen tonight, but one day–one day, she will really know what it’s like to be truly held–in the arms of her lover–and in the arms of God.

::: ::: :::

This week’s dose of honesty: Every Monday is hard, every time I write down the list, it is drawing things out of me that need to come to the surface. I try to remember the week’s graces, I try to type them down, realizing that I haven’t savored and been near thankful enough to even take the time to just stop and pen them down–but I’m getting closer and closer to writing it down on that free printable that lies on my desk. And I’m still here, I’m not good at this list-making, but I’m still going forward, hoping for God to do something earth-quaking in me.


#310 that even if i didn’t notice much, I’m seeing now, that He takes care of us constantly and that we daughters are princesses of our Heavenly Father, the King of kings

#311 a fall day spent doing schooling on the porch

#312 laughs and tickles, dimpled faces

#313 beautiful red and golden leaves, colors ablaze in sunset

#314 the natural God-given lens of my eye much better than any camera lens

#315 that i can see to behold all this goodness

#316 my baby always looking back at me when she runs off, tests out her wings, needing that Mama-grounding

#317 neat nursery, shiny wood floor, toys all put away

#318 rocking my baby in the dark

#319 loving her when she is unloveable, when she screams and demands–the way God loves me

#320 how she instantly calms and stops snubbing when I hold her

#321 this season that I don’t understand, that it is only because I’m in this flesh-skin that I’m confused, and that God isn’t confused–He knows exactly what He is doing

#322 how this gratitude focus and list-making makes me a beauty hunter, camera in hand, lying on the ground, feeling silly, neighbors around, not really caring because this is living

#323 how this grace-counting slows me down to see, and I feel His peace, His joy

#324 a moment at the dinner table, completely ruined by me, how much easier repentance and confession comes now

#325 husband’s forgiveness in my failings reflecting God’s goodness

#326 how I can have peace in this chaotic time because of God’s and husband’s shepharding–I marvel

#327 less and less anxiety every day

How are you doing at the list-making? Do you find it an easy discipline or a hard one?

Friends, I ask for your grace and forgiveness as I cannot reply back to any of your kind comments right now–Google has gone haywire on my computer and isn’t allowing me access. This has me thinking, though…like another friend said, maybe a quieter blog, a thoughtful, silent post that offers reflection is better? What do you think?

Joining with Ann at A Holy Experience today. Count the graces with us? You can get a free printable to join in and write down your own thanks to God!


slow creaking, creaking of the oak swing…sun playing brightly, children riding, laughing, spokes whirring, hair flying, country song playing, crooning memory lane, and he is telling us about our life, telling…paintbrush coating up and down, up and down, breeze blowing through trees, leaves’ hush settling me, settling, rousing my senses, awakening the dead man from his grave on Sunday morning, bringing worship forth in the morning. i call out to children, “watch your sister, stay close, watch her while you are playing, precious children, while you are playing.” man and wife chug by in Sunday best, driving, driving on the Sabbath. we wave, glad they are going, glad we are staying, mind at ease, us doing the Sabbath rest. setting fried chicken on table, all gathering, gathering ’round, and thankful for this filling, for this filling. after all the painting, and preparing for winter’s chill, husband looks at me, says he is tired from all the preparing, all the preparing. there is always more to do, he says. laying suspended together, laying under the trees, the wind stirs, stirring the leaves, and i tell him, “stay with me please”. i need to rest, i say, and i can always fall asleep laying on him, listening to the drumming beat. me lying with him, blanket comes parachuting over us, daughter smiling, enveloping, i see the laugh in her eye, and i lean into him where i feel safe on Sunday afternoon, littles playing in the distance on Sunday afternoon. the children come and waken us with their banter, and i say “children go away, children go play, i was napping, napping.” Daughter cries softly…her pants won’t stay up she says, and husband is shaking, shaking. opening eyes, i ask why and he starts, eyes twinkling and creasing, and it comes, the deep, baratone depths of it, ringing out, ringing out. we lay and shake together, the ringing carrying on the wind, on the wind. littlest one comes, having wakened from her rest on Sunday afternoon, and she comes out to me in the golden afternoon, the gold splayed by light dancing on leaves, the leaves shaking, shaking. we will stay, they say, until winter’s first frost. daughter calls, “Mama, can you play?” and we toss the spinning orb and it slices the air, spinning, us doing cartwheels while he is saucing and grilling. he joins us in our spinning dance and night’s falling shoos us inside, falling, falling on us. babies bathing and towels wrapping, water dripping as they find pajamas, a story and slumber, we hurdle towards sleep as fast as we can. we climb to the peak and then children finally sleeping, heads on pillows sleeping, we fall towards rest with sweet cream and strawberries, huddling in the silence, cuddling. we watch our sad indian story and then eyelashes fluttering closed, his arm wrapping around me warmth, fluttering, eyelashes flutter and then finally close on Sunday.


#286 Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk brought to me by husband after a bad day

#287 husband watching with me on the couch just to give me some calm after a day of not being able to breathe and he calms the raging waters within like Jesus saying “peace be still”

#288 crisp, cool mornings–inhaling fresh air

#289 Sunday afternoon nap in hammock with husband

#290 Sabbath–rest

#291 friend texting me, asking to meet to run

#292 not a crowd, but a few faithful, loyal friends

#293 husband’s announcement–“I’m going to finish the kitchen floor and countertops to cheer you up” and him marching off to the shed for supplies and tools

#294 us all walking the plank over shiny wet floor to get to food

#295 my husband, my hero

#296 a father who comes when i need him

#297 a van that finally cranked and took me to an appointment

#298 my father, my hero

#299 how Bella calls to her sisters, “Mama’s home!” and rushes out to meet me

#300 husband telling children to play outside until he gets home so Mama can have quiet

#301 finding energy and organization of thoughts enough after these months to serve my home again–and the resulting clean neatness and sanity

#302 a quiet, simple life

#303 contentment

#304 kindness of strangers

#305 opening myself up to be completely led and the resulting joy and satisfaction

#306 the Shephard of my soul makes me to lie down in green pastures

#307 the way husband fills bellies with the word and wraps us in the warmth of his constant care and protection

#308 reading this story and this post as well on our 11th wedding anniversary together

#309 this video i found on a friend’s blog about a lady who asks the question–what am i living for when i’m dying? powerful.