my baby likes soap

Joel found this under the sink the other day!

We have a hunch who the culprit is.
And he must have liked it, too,
because we found two more soap bars with missing chunks!


He loves me

A walk in the woods and it was there
A lover's message
He knows how to catch my eye
and hug my soul

Linking up with:

what it's all about:


thrifting: a family thing

It's no small secret that I love to thrift.  But it's also no small secret that I have a bunch of kids.  Kids + thrifting can be challenging.  LOTS of breakables.  LOTS of clothing racks.  Four kids + one mommy = Outnumbered.  I've learned (painfully) to avoid the smaller stores when I'm carting the crew.  I stick to wide aisles and fenced off ceramics (ok, so I wish that last part was an option).  

I've also learned to make a beeline for the book section as soon as we enter the store.  Each kid gets to pick out a couple books and they are responsible for carrying their books around the store until we checkout.  No more free hands.  No more grabbing random strange objects that look cool to a kid but freak mommy out and then proceeding to throw them in her cart where they get hidden underneath the rest of the goods and end up coming home with us.  Nope.  No more.  Even Legend is distracted by a book in his hands and gives me at least 15 minutes to stake out the store, grab what I've been looking for, and get outta Dodge.  

I'm also not above promising them ice cream for an incident free shopping spree.  Some call it bribery.  I like to think of it as a reward well earned.  Icing on the cake.

The secret to thrifting is that you have to go often.  The early bird gets the worm and the faithful thrifter get the treasure.  I usually make it my business to know when more merchandise is re-stocked  (some smaller thrift stores are continually bringing out merchandise, but larger chains like Goodwill often re-stock at the beginning of every week).  Most of the time it's fun.  I tell them we're going on a treasure hunt and I list what "treasures"  I need them to help me find.  

"Treasures" I'm always on the look-out for:

>>>> Old children's books
<<<< Vintage suitcases
>>>> Artwork
>>>> Frames
<<<< Vintage linens and fabric
>>>> Vintage children's toys
<<<< Vintage clothing
>>>>  Mid century Furniture
<<<<  Retro desk lamps
>>>>  Retro shoes
>>>>  Old maps
<<<<  Typewriters
>>>>  Quilts/ Afghans
<<<<  Fine china
>>>>  Retro clocks and radios
>>>>  Vintage handkerchiefs
<<<<  Tea cups and saucers
>>>>  Vintage sewing patterns
<<<<  Vintage kitchen utensils
>>>>  Vintage sewing supplies/craft supplies
>>>>  Vintage paper ephemera

I'm pretty selective and I like things for cheap so most of my best finds have been at little hole in the wall thrift stores in small towns.  The bigger chains have been raising their prices (grrrrrrr....) and I have a love/hate relationship with Goodwill (where's the good?  Goodwill doesn't really give anything to charity, their CEO is a billionaire, and they only "say" that they employ the handicapped but I've rarely seen that).  I have the utmost respect for Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and other ministry related thrift stores that have a proven track record of giving.  Most of these smaller stores will let you haggle on prices if you truly think the asking price is unfair, which I have on only a few occasions.  Goodwill doesn't do this anymore.  Another strike, in my opinion.   So, for the most part, shopping at the small stores is a win/win.

Now, if only their aisles were bigger and those ceramics were in a locked room....


learning to trust

Saturday, February 18

Today, Lord, was tough.
I yelled.  A lot.
I worried even more.
I fed my kids bologna for lunch.
I cried over feeding them bologna.
I felt like the worst mom in history.
I needed to get away and I felt guilty for even wanting to.
I ignored my laundry pile.
I forgot where I put an important tax document.
I erupted on my sick husband.
That's where my problem lies, isn't it?
My focus is on myself.
My problems.
My feelings.
My circumstances.

You whispered through the winds of myself,
"Trust me.  My heart is for you."

Lift my eyes, Lord.
And show me how to lay my life down
and pick up your life of love.
Show me how to lay my fears down
and place all my trust in you.
For what are fears and worry and selfishness?
What are anger and depression?
Aren't they all mistrust?

"The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn't believe his promise to care for them."
Psalm 106: 24


Elizabeth's Story

This is a story about faith that I wrestled with and wrote in 2009.  This year, this season, it's been revisiting my heart, reminding me that dreams are worth the wait and hope is worth the heartache...

From Luke 1:5-23:

She blinked in the darkness, fuzzy images receding from her mind even as her heart grasped for them.

It was the second time the dream had visited her.  Her husband had been standing before her, his face alight with excitement and his hands waving wildly towards her.  He was cradling his arms much like he was holding an infant.  She was trying desperately to hear what he was saying, but the dream was strangely quiet.  Too quiet.  

Much like her home, she thought wryly, as she stared at the empty space beside her.  There were no sounds of children laughing, no babies whimpering, no hushed lullabies.  Her home was lonely.  She was lonely.  They were lonley.  Zechariah had been gone for eight days, serving with his division in the Temple of the Lord.  This was the usual custom of a priest and Zechariah had been a faithful one for nearly thirty years.  Thirty years of following the Lord's commands in steadfast obedience, of observing every regulation.  Thirty years of asking God for a child.

Elizabeth realized she no longer asked.  Something inside her had given up on the dream.  She had resigned herself to barrenness.  Years ago the whispers behind furtive glances had marred her soul and bruised her joy.  "God must be displeased with her", the whispers would taunt, "What secret sin has she committed", they would murmur.  She had tried to ignore the speculations and go about her roles as the wife of a priest and a descendant of Aaron with a pure heart and sincere devotion.  But there were many nights her tears would fall in the dark and she would beg God for revelation.  

Was He really displeased with her?  What could she do to earn His favor? 

Her faith was her only answer.  There on her knees she would recount the faithfulness of her Lord and find rest in the knowledge of His lovingkindness.

Time's passing had convinced her heart that her dream would never happen.  And now these unsettling visions were awakening things inside her she would rather let lie, scattering dust from old heartbreak, uncovering wounds she had learned to live with.  They were threatening her carefully constructed peace.

The night had been fitful and Elizabeth woke early to ready her home for her husband's return.  Though the meaning of her dreams still eluded her, she felt an air of expectancy, a quickening in her heart.   A noise outside drew her to the window and the sight she saw made her tremble.  A loud group of people were jostling toward her home, her husband in the middle.  His face exuded serenity and his step was light.  The crowd was calling to him, excitedly asking questions, begging for a response, but he was silent and his eyes anxiously sought hers.

It was then she knew.  God was up to something great.

In only a few short weeks her hopes were confirmed and her soul soared to new heights.

Elizabeth would give birth to her dream.  And she would name him John.

"The Lord has done this for me," she rejoiced.

(the full story of Elizabeth, Zechariah, and the foretold birth of John the Baptist is in Luke 1:5-23)

I realize that sometimes I give up on them too easily.
God-given dreams require God-given miracles.
In His time.  In His way.

After years of faithfulness, Elizabeth finally raised a son who would prepare the way for our Savior.

Her dream was delayed only because of its greatness.


A new website for women and a Happy Valentine's Day

I've been dying to share this news with you:

There's a brand NEW, amazing, and just downright LOVELY
and today is it's LAUNCH DAY!

Will you visit me over there?
I'm sharing what's on my heart along with
many other inspired women and
our prayer is that God will use us, you, me-- 
His daughters--
to bring Him glory
in every unique way.


I love everything about this site.
It feels like a warm hug,
a conversation over coffee,
a faith-filled, inviting, and creative home
where we can inspire and encourage one another.

It's pretty wonderful.

Have a Lovely Valentine's Day, friends!
In all mushiness, I heart you.

We have grand plans today to make red velvet cupcakes
and swap valentine's cards,
eat lots of candy hearts 
and sip on strawberry milk.


we went on a thrifting date

my fave thrift finds from the weekend
There is no faster way into this gal's heart than to take her thrifting.  For a date.  
Cranking up Larry Norman and trying to sing "If the bombs fall, baby I love you" with a straight face.  Cruising around in our swagger wagon in the pouring rain.
Stealing kisses at stoplights.
Remembering why we like each other so much.

Spending an hour in the books section.
He gets me.
He even mapped out our route.
He really loves me.

It was bliss.
A heavenly dessert of a day.
Dinner at rock-n-sake sushi was a big fat cherry on top.

He's a dream.


our learning journey

Almost six months ago, our house became a school.  It feels like the most natural transformation, really.
Like a comfortable memory now reborn...  

I was nearly eight years old when we left the city for the country.  We drove all through the night, down winding dirt trails and over rusted cattle guards, not a single flicker of light but our own front beams and a sky so full of stars it looked like a bowl full of glitter.  The ten mile driveway off the main highway ended at our ranch.  The ranch we've always owned, the land that's only ever run through our blood--  our homestead.

The big white ranch house was a mausoleum of artifacts (still is, in fact).  The six bedrooms in the house were all piled high with books and boxes and antique furniture.  It looked like an old abandoned castle from the fairy tales I loved.  I remember choosing the upstairs bedroom in the northeast corner.  The room was full of old books and it even smelled like a library.  I loved it.  It was years later that I was told the room used to be a schoolroom.  My aunt and my cousin along with a few others from neighboring ranches were taught in that very room.

That fall I would attend school in a two room schoolhouse where I would eventually become the only student in my grade from fifth to eighth.  One teacher taught K-4 and the other taught 5-8.  Kind of reminds me of homeschooling in that respect.  That little country school provided me with a great education.  And the dust from those schoolbooks in my bedroom must still be lingering in my brain, because to this day I love the smell of old books, and transforming my house into a classroom feels like a coming home to me.

There's something so miraculous about teaching and opening up the mysteries of God's world to our children, hearing them read, helping them write, going on nature walks and discovering science in the everyday, reading Bible maps and learning about the early church, the great commission, and the spread of the gospel.  I never thought it would be this exhilarating or even this challenging, because it is both.   Most days I feel overwhelmed by the huge responsibility of my child's education.  But even on those days, I'm left feeling so grateful for this experience together.  I want my kids to love to learn, to be lifelong learners.  And we're on this learning journey together, he and I.  I'm learning how to teach and he's learning how to be teachable.  Either way, it takes a bending of our will, positioning ourselves at the feet of The Greatest Teacher of all.


always just enough...and why money isn't the most important thing

>>>>>-------->  sunday family bike ride

I told him he looked like a circus performer on that old rusty bike with the seat so high and the handlebars bent upwards.  I married adventure.  Excitement.  A mold breaker.  There are no stereotypes for this one.  He surprises me.  Just when I think I have him figured out, he dashes all my theories and is more than even I knew him to be.  He's just so stinkin' honest and unashamedly real.   Exasperating?  Sometimes.  Inspiring?  All the time.

We're two adventure seekers and our house is never dull and life is certainly not boring.  We're thankful for each other.  Thankful for our crazy kids.  But sometimes we get restless.  Call it immature, call it whatever you will, but we are fanatical dreamers.  I remember those early days of our young love when we shared our dream of being missionaries, our lack of desire for worldly wealth.  We just wanted to live simply, live radically, dare to love boldly.  Money never held much appeal to us.  Now we have kids (many of them) and we appreciate what money can buy.   We've lived with little and we've lived with much.  It's not the most important thing.  It's not what I want to spend my life chasing after.

What is the most important thing to me?  Jesus himself.  He's my life.  

And loving him has become my greatest adventure.  

In Jesus' own words, all of life hangs on these two tenets:  Loving God and Loving people.  Right here.  In the right now.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.  I can do all things through him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4: 12-13

Christ in me.  Giving me strength.

Strength to give more and want less.

Strength to live like money isn't the most important thing in a society where it is.

Strength to change my thought patterns from "if I only had the money, I would..." to "if it's what you want, God, I will..."

Strength to resist the selfish act of hoarding and embrace the scriptural practice of sharing.

Strength to be content with what I have.

Because it is always enough.


flood of glory

 I feel like a leaky faucet, I've been crying so much lately...for the orphans in need of loving arms that never leave, for the hungry, for the homeless, for the hurting.  For vision, for a world mission, for those that have never heard the name of Jesus, for God to do the impossible in me and through me.

My heart feels like a dam that's burst and I can't repair the walls, I can only let it flood.

I just feel so disillusioned with a society that values possessions over people, selfishness over true servanthood.  I feel the tug of war in my own soul.

And the prayer my tears are wrenching from that place so deep where my soul lies:

God, please, don't let me live only for myself.  Somehow, some way, Lord, let me bring you glory.

And then there's a letting go.  Letting go of that one thing that vies with heaven for the glory.  The only thing that has ever and will ever stand between me and God glorified alone.  And it's me.  My plans, my will, my pride, my self, my own preservation.

Lord Jesus, make me less, so that you can become so much more...


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