Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fleurs for France

As you may have read... we are raising money to go on a mission trip to France.
In order to help our fundraising efforts I am making all types of flower accessories for you to purchase.
Headbands are $12 or 2 for $20 (get it while it lasts)
Pins are $5
Gloves are $10
If you live in the area, there is no shipping... we'll just figure out a way to meet up.
If you aren't in the area, feel free to get a group together and make one large order b/c the shipping will be cheaper for you that way. I'm estimating $2 for small orders.
We really appreciate every one who has given to our trip and every one who is praying for our trip.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bonjour et Joyeux Noël

Hello and Merry Christmas from the Lewis family.
This is our very first Christmas letter and we are excited to let you in on all the Lord has been and is continuing to do in our lives.
This past year we were blessed to celebrate our fifth anniversary and the second anniversary of the birth of our Stella Jane. Yes, that’s right, we have a two-year-old on our hands.
We are still living in Louisville, KY and serving in Group Life and worship at Sojourn Community Church.
One thing we have learned over the last five years in Louisville is that our plans are not God’s plans. We have made many wonderful friendships over the past years and sadly for us, we have seen most of those friends move away to become missionaries and church planters. We had never considered this as a real option for our family but as God has continued to close doors for Drew on his career path and open completely different doors in our hearts, we decided to let ourselves dream big dreams and allow God to do whatever he desires with our lives… big or small. We want to glorify Him! A verse that encompasses this conviction is Romans 10:13-15
13 For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"
As we have made new friends over the past year we began to hear about a small group of people looking to move, long term, to Southern France, in order to minister to the French and North African populations living there. Like before, we never seriously thought we could do something like this but then God. That’s how all, good stories begin. Then God opened a way for us to go on a short-term mission trip to France.
On this trip we will be connecting with Sojourn’s missionary partners in Marseille, France to assist them with their work among Muslims and to help them expand their ministry into other cities in the area. It may be hard to believe but there are hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Southern France that have no knowledge of the Gospel. We will also be on a team going to other cities to do research on how people live, think and interact so that our partner missionaries will know how best to engage these unreached cities after we leave. The vision for the future is to send a team of long-term missionaries from Sojourn to plant churches in Southern France. We are prayerful that as we serve alongside the missionaries in France, God will make it clear if this is where He would have us serve long term.
We ask that you would partner with us in the Gospel. Please help send us to France by donating of your resources. Together, we need to raise $6000 and we long for the Church to rise up and send us in the name of the One we call Savior and Lord! Please click here to give online and select France 724.*
We also need your prayers. France is one of the most forgotten and unreached countries in Western Europe. We need a team of support on their knees with us before we go, while we are there and even once we return. Will you join our team?
For updates on our family and our trip you can visit drewandlindsey@blogspot.com.

We are thankful for your partnership in the Gospel here and abroad!

Drew and Lindsey Lewis

*“Gifts to the church, with an expression of a preference for my trip expenses (France 724), are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. If you are able to make a gift to the church, helping to fund my portion of the trip expenses, please give online or make your check payable to Sojourn Community Church. If I am unable to participate in the trip, your gifts will be used to support the short-term mission program of Sojourn.”

We realize that the people reading this letter have different means. Every gift is precious in our sight and in the sight of the Lord. To emphasize this, here are a couple of charts to help break down the cost and ways different partners can come together to help us reach our goal!

Giving Chart Examples:

Five ways to reach $6000….
10 Partners giving $600 each
20 Partners giving $300 each
40 Partners giving $150 each
60 Partners giving $100 each
120 Partners giving $50 each

Combined effort to reach $6000…
2 Partners giving $600 each (plus)
4 Partners giving $300 each (plus)
8 Partners giving $150 each (plus)
14 Partners giving $100 each (plus)
20 Partners giving $50 each

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happy Two

We officially have a two year old on our hands.

I wonder when there will be a birthday for SJ that I will not think about her very first debut.
I still remember exactly how I felt the morning I discovered SJ existed in this world. I remember where I sat and what I did step by step through the day.
I remember details about my pregnancy and how I craved sour candy and developed a dislike for dark chocolate. And being very very sleepy.
I was so proud then to be a mama to a very special, even if unknown, someone.
I couldn't even wrap my mind around having a little girl.
Today, words cannot express the love I feel for this little one.

Stella Jane,

You are only two years old and yet you have already lived up to your name. We prayed that you would be a light to the world, like a shining star in a dark sky and you are. You make us laugh on a daily basis and bring joy to every one around you.
I pray that as you grow older you would begin to know the true Light and that His Light would penetrate your heart and cause you to shine even brighter and truer than you already do. His light is the only one worth having in the end.

We knew that the Lord had been very gracious to us in giving us a chance to know and love you in this life and that is part of why we gave you the name Jane (God is Gracious). However, as we learn to shepherd you and love you, we are seeing more and more the depths of that grace and are so thankful to be able to see your face and heart and personality first thing in the morning and through out each day. We also pray that you would see and understand God's grace in your life and begin to place your trust and hope in Jesus.

I love the way you have grown into snuggling and reading books but still retain your love for action and play. It is so fun to watch you mimic every move we make as you play in your kitchen and take care of your babies. You are such a natural with babies (the real and the plastic variety) and you love to clean and work at whatever I am doing right along side me.
You are a joy.

I pray the the Lord would continue to grow you and speak tenderly to your little heart. I pray that He would protect you and teach you, as only He can. I pray that He would unite our family and give your mom and dad grace for the journey ahead.

We love you Stella Jane, Happy Birthday.

For those interested in a glimpse into the life of a two year old Stella Jane... read on.

At two years old Stella Jane.....

Started to say "Not yet" and "later" and understand and use the term "him and her"
Can sing the ABCs and count to 10 but only when SHE wants to
Has had her first few out right screaming fits
Fully understands and uses the phrase, "I don't like it"
Can sing most of Jesus Loves Me (when no one is looking)
Knows the motions to Wheels on the Bus and Itsy Bitsy Spider and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
Is developing a love for Elmo (despite her parents' best efforts otherwise)
Loves babies...changing, burping, feeding, rocking, singing to, putting to bed, pushing in stroller and holding
Wants to "Help me" or "Help you"... it's hard to figure out. Often clarifies by saying "Stella help you?"
Can identify most primary and common colors when distracted but if you ask her when she is paying attention, all colors are PINK!
Says "cheese" when she sees a phone or camera and then wants to "see it"
"Call Daddy" a lot
Says "Lub You" and "Lub you too"... but mostly to her babies
Loves to play with balls
Learning to love puzzles and coloring
Frequently tells us she will be "right back", often accompanied by a goodbye hug and kiss
Likes to relive the events of the day and major events of the past and recite family member names.
Is just getting too big and too cute with every passing day...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Baking Day!

I love to cook and bake. I especially like to cook something and watch people close their eyes and say mmmmmm as they take bite after bite of what I've made. It's a good feeling and it makes me feel like there is some small way I can bless people with my hands even in the midst of toddlers and busy-ness. That's the pretty part of my soul.
However, part of that feel-good-ness is a selfish desire to be accepted and liked and appreciated. Just sayin. It's nasty but true. We all like to know that people think we are good or cool or smart etc etc... So sometimes it is difficult for me to share certain recipes b/c I know if every woman I know makes my cookies or my bread... then it won't be special and then I won't be special... or so goes the lie.
So a few years ago I challenged myself on this here blog to start sharing. I think I shared my favorite cookie recipe and maybe a few others and then forgot all about it. Lately I've been making TONS of bread and people have been oohing and aaahing and I hate to tell them... it's SO easy! So, several women had asked me this and that about bread but were too timid and afraid of yeast to try.
I've wanted to start having baking days with friends, where we bake a lot of goodies for our families to eat and freeze (for later eating) but also get to enjoy each other's company and let our kiddos play. So, I got the idea that I could do a bread tutorial to introduce every one to bread making. I was a little afraid to jump out there and fail but since I was going to be baking any way I figured it wouldn't hurt to branch out.
Six women came and there were four two-ish year olds, a five month old, a two month old and a baby still cookin' with his mama. So we brought down the play kitchen and the little ones played their hearts out cooking and playing with baby dolls and the mamas all learned to bake bread and traded recipes. It was a blast!

I made a double batch of bread an hour before every one came, so they could see what it looked like after the first rise and get it started on the second rise while we started another double batch so they could see the first process too. Every one touched and looked and went home with a loaf of bread. I also made healthy zucchini/banana muffins and printed the recipe for every one to take. I made little recipe cards in different color card stock and a few of the women brought their own baked-good recipes to share.
We talked and laughed and ate a lot of carbs. I think I am going to start hosting a bake day every other Friday and we will try old favorites and new feats! I know granola bars and pasta are coming soon!
If you want in, just send me a facebook message, email or comment here on the blog!

(before and after)


(Just for fun... our big helper)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Speaking of Elementary School...

Memories... oh memories.
Some of the most vivid memories I have from childhood involve the books that I read... and reread.
I don't like to read books twice or see movies twice or watch rerun on TV. I have a pretty good memory (or I did before giving birth) and thus there is little joy in redoing what is already permanently done in my brain.
There are however, a few exceptions.
A few such exceptions have stuck with me all of these many (almost two decades) years later.
I'm not sure which came first but I am pretty sure it was
Sarah, Plain and Tall.

I thought her name was Sarahplainandtall... that's what happens when you are young and very literal. ha! This is the story of a poor family in the country and their mama dies. The dad knows that he cannot take care of the farm and all the work while also providing stability and education for his children (a boy and a girl I think) and so he puts an add in the newspaper for a woman to come and live with them to take care of the kids.
Sarah, from Maine, responds and comes all the way down to a completely different culture to help with the children.
The children instantly love her and I did too. She was patient and kind and knew how to soothe their pain. She sacrificed and brought joy and nourishment to their bodies and souls. In the end the Dad realizes that he too loves Sara.
I read and reread this book through out elementary school and I specifically remember the night my mom let me stay up WAY past my bedtime to watch, I think, Glenn Close (though I was told by my all-wise older sister that she was not a very good lady and was in some really bad movies that I would never be allowed to watch) play Sarah in a made for TV movie based on the book. I was enthralled.
When I think of this book I still feel the hot dry wind blowing through the dust and whizzing around my long, prairie skirt... it was all too real to me then.

The second book was Turn Homeward Hannalee.
I have only met one other person who has even heard of this book! This was the most traumatizing and suspenseful book I had ever read to that point in my life and I think it was also the first book I ever cried in or at least wanted to cry for.
Hannalee is a poor Southern girl working in a mill during the civil war and she gets kidnapped by Yankee soldiers and take north, away from her mother and eventually separated from her brother and made a servant for the Union and eventually a northern family.
She knows from the beginning that she MUST return to her mama and when she is finally overcome in her circustances as a servant, she runs away and tries to find her way home. She comes across war and the aftermath of war. She meets with hunger and fear but in the end... she is embraced in her mother's arms again.
I specifically remember sitting in the back seat of our maroon suburban, driving on a fall day from the library to the playground with the windows down. Every one was happy and getting along and I was reading my book. I read in the car and at the park and the air was crisp and cool (rare for Texas) and it smelled like leaves and burning fires.
Back then the world was simple and yet I was slowly coming to know that it was also complex. I was/am so serious, so interested and intense about everything and I labored with Hannalee through every step of her arduous journey!

Finally, a book I only read once (maybe twice) but soaked in to my very heart was On the Banks of Plum Creek. I actually remember very little about this book because I read the whole series in a row (I think I did at least). However, I remember the feeling I had through out the whole book.

It's the same feeling you might get when you are walking on a slightly warm and yet cool spring day with out any shoes on and the grass is cool (not yet itchy from summer sun and bugs) and you stick your feet into a perfectly clear stream of water. The rocks are smooth and cool and the water bubbles around you ankles and toes and it is too cold to want to immerse yourself in but just perfect for your feet. The whole world smells fresh and clean and the sun is bright and friendly (not sleepy like fall and winter or angry like summer). There is nothing weighing on your mind or your heart and you know that God is good, you are loved and good things lie ahead.
I remember finishing this book with a sigh and simply closing the book and flipping it over to just gaze at the cover and that cool spring rushing along the banks of Plum Creek. I wanted to be Laura and live there in that simplicity. I wanted to breathe it in.
Of all these books this is the one I remember the least and reread the least and yet look forward to reading aloud to Stella the most. I can't wait to crawl up together on the couch before bed time and read her a chapter or two and see her dissolve into the world of wagons and candy stores and long dresses and braids.
The other two, I hope she will read on her own as she discovers herself and a little about the world around her. But this is one of the only books I intensely hope she will let me read with her.
We'll see. Mamas can't hold those dreams too tight or they will break...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Third Grade...

I was just reading an article about writing and being a writer. It talked about making a sweetheart in your mind to counteract the critic. The sweetheart is sweet and simple. When the critic says you are dumb and your writing stinks, your sweetheart just says, keep trying. At the end of the article there were several prompts given to promote writing. The first one said, "tell me everything you remember about the third grade". This made me smirk to myself because I remember EVERYTHING about third grade. Here are the highlights:

Before I entered the third grade I knew who I wanted my teacher to be. She was young and pretty with pouffy curly hair and red nails. Her name was Mrs. C--. I also knew exactly who I didn't want and that was Mrs. Smith. My sister had her and they didn't get along and I didn't want to get caught up in that mess. So I waited and begged my mom to put in a word with the principle and waited some more. Then I got a letter with a picture of all the third grade teachers and I got Mrs. Wyatt and the first thing I noticed was that she had a lot of frown lines. Some one had just taught me about frown lines on the brow and so I was sure this lady must be terrible to have frown lines (I didn't know anything about natural age lines). It gave me nightmares.
So I went into third grade with much trepidation.
In third grade I was growing out my hair and bangs and so it was always in a half pony-tail sticking straight up in the air (pebbles style). I also had a mouth appliance that expanded my top teeth and connected down to a retainer that completely encased all my lower teeth. The connector was metal and got stuck if you opened your mouth too wide... and it squeaked.
We were a class of misfits.
The boy next to me walked on his tip toes and couldn't tie his shoes. The girl a few desks over had an absurd amount of weird animals living in her house and her head was always in a fantasy world that involved lots of cats. I am very allergic to cats.
There was also a girl twice as tall as any one in the class and she bullied every one and was really mean. One day her mom came to class and made her recite the "brownie pledge" and bought the whole class bluebell ice cream in the little containers with wooden scooper things as an apology.
Another boy kept a mini air force base under his chair and worked on it at every possible free moment.
This was my class. (I actually even remember most of their names)
I remember knowing it was a little strange at the time and the room was a little dim but there was one shining light in the room and it was Mrs. Wyatt. It turns out those frown lines were completely misleading. She had a way of connecting to her students and loving them despite their strangeness or intelligence. She never gave demerits or marks of any kind but if you misbehaved you got ZAPPED! She would be talking and all the sudden say ZAP and point to the offender. It worked.
She brought in an extra teacher's desk and set it at the front/middle of the room and each student got to sit in the desk for a week at a time and be the star student of the week. I loved organizing all those drawers in that desk during my week.
She also had us write a biography and I did Princes Diana and came all dressed up and presented my biography to the class.
Midway through the year a handicapped (mentally and physically) girl was put in our class and I was assigned to be her guide and helper. I loved this girl. I gave her my school supplies and even brought her a backpack from home. It was my favorite pack but I had still gotten a new one for a new year. So I colored in any faded spots with marker and brought it to her. I cried when her sister stole it and tore it up. One day she was gone and I have never forgotten her. I worried about her a lot... especially b/c she had such a mean big sister. I still wonder what happened to her.
During the second half of my third grade year the unimaginable happened... we lost our principle (who was a family friend of sorts and had been principle for my older sister and me). If that wasn't enough... he wanted to take my precious teacher with him. I had a special bond with my teacher and loved to stay after school and talk to her and help out around the class. I thought she was amazing. Well, so did my principle. She was to be the new librarian at the new middle school they had just built that he would be principle at. She decided to take the job and thus we got a new teacher with only a little bit left in the school year. I was devastated.
Mrs. Reynolds.
I recognize now that she was probably a nice person and that I probably wouldn't have liked any teacher that took Mrs. W's place... but then... I felt the injustice of it all so acutely.
Mrs. Reynolds had black hair with a grey streak and only wore black, white and red and she raised her voice... a lot. She couldn't handle our misfit class and had a completely different style than what we were used to. The more she yelled and lost her patience the more out of control the class got. She made so many rules, we could barely breath. There were two offenses though that really stood out and drew a line in the sand between us. First, field day is supposed to be a fun day for every one... basically a holiday at school. She made us all stay together as a class and we could only leave to participate in our sport. And when my mom came to see me, she wouldn't even let my mom take me to get a snow cone (they had sno cones on campus FOR field day). I think my mom eventually convinced her but I couldn't believe it... we always got to go with our parents, no matter what they were doing if they came up to the school. Secondly, Mrs. W had promised on the first day of school that all the students who never got zapped and had all Es for the year would get a pizza party. When I asked Mrs. R about it at the end of the year she basically scoffed at me and said there was no way she was going to do that. I have always had a heart for "justice" and to my third grade mind this was an injustice to the highest degree.
I never said anything to any one about all of this... I knew my place. I knew I was to obey and respect my teachers and elders and so I made it through the year with good grades and all Es and never a bad word from the teacher.
But like a good western, high noon was fast approaching... the shoot out.
At the end of the year Mrs. R asked us to write a letter to the upcoming third graders (current 2nd graders). It would be a letter that they would read at their desk on the first day of school in order to give them some encouragement and motivation to do well in third grade. She emphasized being HONEST and giving them a REALISTIC perspective on the challenges of third grade. So I did... I obeyed. In my heart I remember having a completely clear conscience that I was doing the right thing... being honest.
I wrote... I wrote that Mrs. R was very mean and yelled a lot and that they should ask their mom to call the office and ask for a different teacher if at all possible. If that wasn't possible I suggested keeping your head down and just getting through. I don't remember anything else but basically it never occurred to my third grade brain that the teacher would read these before she gave them to the new students.
I went to brownies that night and when I got home my parents did not have smiles on their faces. There was a conversation that involved "you know what you did" and I really DIDNT KNOW! I had no clue what I was in trouble for. Then they told me how my teacher had called CRYING and was so hurt and completely confused about why I would write such terrible things. So then I bluntly explained that it was all true. My parents strongly "encouraged" me to write a new letter to turn in the next day. I remember sitting on the floor with my paper on the seat of a chair and just staring... not knowing how to be nice to my teacher and honest at the same time. That's when I learned to write fluff.
I turned it in the next day and apologized and was so thankful the year was almost over so I wouldn't have to sit and feel the guilt of having hurt her feelings. I truly felt terrible for hurting her, it had just never crossed my mind that she could be hurt b/c I thought she knew how mean she was. That day she sent me on an errand in the school and when I came back she was waiting outside the room to talk to me (wah wah). I remember her asking me what she had ever done to me to deserve those comments (I remember thinking that the letter wasn't even written to her). So I tried to nicely tell her how she yelled at us all the time and how Mrs. W NEVER yelled. I'm sure I said more but at the end I looked right at her and told her that the worst thing was that I had worked so hard for that pizza party and now she wasn't going to do it.
Oh the simplicity of a third grader.
I could never look at her in the face even when I graduated elementary school... I avoided her like the plague. I really really hope that one day she realized not to take everything a third grader says so personally and also not to yell so much. Like I said, I'm sure she was actually a really nice person.
And to this day I struggle with the balance between honest and loving and might tend to still make "honest" blunders from time to time.

post-script: Mrs. Wyatt later became my middle school and high school librarian and I loved her from afar the whole time and finally told her my senior year in high school how much she had meant to me back in third grade.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

22 Months

People are always asking me, "how old is she?". Before this month I was fairly confident in simply saying, "one and a half" or "a little over one and a half". Now however, that seems so long ago, so young, so baby. I stopped counting months though and thus it now takes me an inappropriate amount of time to answer that simple question. I've settled on, "she'll be two in the fall" and that seems easy enough for every one involved. When I got inspired to write on this here blog again I decided I might as well use a little brain power to figure out the months... my baby is 22 months. Seeing the number makes it all too real that she is really more of a two year old and anything with a one involved. October seems so far away and yet that 22 tells me that really, it is so close, it's practically already here!

A few of my favorite SJ-isms:

When she lifts big things or awkward things she says "mommy, heby!" I would be perfectly fine if she said "heby" instead of heavy for her whole life.

"blankie" some how became "baby" and so when I get her up in the mornings or after nap she has her blankie all wadded up and cradled in her arm taking a "nap" or "cryin"... both of which prompt her to then sing "G,G,G,G" which is her rendition of "Jesus Loves Me".
this morning when I went to get her up she had her blankie all cradled in her arms and said, "Mommy...BABY JESUS!!". I laughed out loud... every baby is "baby Jesus" these days. It's hard to know if you should encourage that or be realistic with a two year old so I always simply say,"we love baby Jesus".

she regularly finds a bag and some keys and her fake/real phone and the stroller and says "bye bye" and when I say bye back she comes and says "kiss....hug....yuv you". She is the cutest mimic.

I frequently say, "GUESS WHAT?" and she makes a big surprised face and then I say, "I LOVE YOU!". This week, every time I say "Guess what?" she says YUV YOU!

She LOVES to sing songs and dance and she can do all the motions to Wheels on the Bus and Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. She also loves "He's got the whole world in His hands" (especially in the car). When we do other verses we put people we know in the "whole world" part and she always wants to do KK and Pete and then Wis and Ellieli, CC and Cal (moo), Shell, Gigi and Papa and Susie and Zinnia!

Zinnia is her BFF and is often the first and most frequent thought and request during the day.

(can you believe they are only 2 months apart? so sweet together)

She loves airplanes in the sky and always says "fast, fly, MORE". She also mimics the airplane by running in circles with one elbow up in the air... I have no idea how she equates that with airplane but it is hilarious.

She loves to run "fast" and will run and then say "FAST" or "CRASH"

She love to "jump" which is squatting and flailing her arms in circles or up and down at the same time

She knows most of the mommies of her friends and when we see people at church she will point to a woman and say "JUDE, SILAS...etc etc." I have no idea how she learned that.

Randomly at the dinner table the other night she said "one, two, three, four five!" ok then smarty pants. She also says ABC followed by her letters of choice, which are usually "I, D, O, B (again) and ending on A".

Signs of the toddler:

(toes and tan lines like mommy)

sudden dislike of most fruits and vegetables. She will eat most fruit if it is cooked into something or made into something like applesauce but nothing raw suites her most days.
when it comes to veggies it's about the same. If it is in something with a saucy consistency, she will eat it but if she can pick out a lump or a shade of green or red...she's out and will take whatever punishment (if you are new to this blog... no, we do not harm our child for not eating her veggies)... she will not eat it.

when she gets something she knows she shouldn't have and knows you have caught her she still grabs it but then throws it to the ground and runs. apparently just touching the forbidden fruit is a thrill worth the risk

the look... even if I am offering her a treat or a trip to the park or something really really fun and her usual favorite... if she's in the mood to be defiant, she has that look and we are going to throw down no matter how fun of a day I had planned. We've been late to a lot of fun activities because some one didn't want to get her shoes on or grab her water bottle or walk to the car etc etc. we've also ended a lot of dinners that were made especially with her taste in mind with both mom and dad a little more bald and a little more grey and SJ fully touting the look.

All in all, she is such a blessing and I am so thankful for every day the Lord has given us with her. I love seeing life through her eyes and with her fire.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Wonder

Don't you wish you could experience life through the eyes of a child forever?
A world where magical air randomly blows through tiny windows in the floor all over your house.
Where a sparkle from your mommy's eye makes you laugh and produces a picture of a baby on the other side. And, oh what a cute baby at that!
Where blueberries make your eyes big and peanut butter and honey are so tantalizing to your tongue you can't help but giggle.
A place that is so full of fun you have to run everywhere just to get to it all before bed.
Sitting in a chair at the table is a major accomplishment and even going potty is a treat!
Every body is a friend and every animal a blessing in the day.
To live in a way that doesn't involve one second of TV, junk food, caffeine or sex and is still so amazing that you just wake up laughing and go to sleep singing.
What a wonderful life!

Sunday, May 8, 2011


What was the original "mother-load" that now causes eyes to bulge and hands to spread to show the magnitude, the intensity? This Mothers' Day I think I have found it, this load on mothers that is so extreme and so weighty and so universal that it has made it's way into pop culture jargon... mother-guilt.
I have yet to find a woman, no matter how old or young, who has grown eyes and skin and bones inside her being or agonized over months of paper work and meticulous training, who is not plagued by the hissing in their ears.
I can't believe you let your child cry in his bed... you are a selfish mother.
I can't believe you let your child sleep in your bed... you aren't tough enough.
You started food to early... or too late.
Your schedule is too lax... or too rigid.
You spank.
You don't spank.
When our children begin to sin, look us in the eye and say NO to God's way...we think... what have we done wrong? What could we have done different?
When a toddler hits you in the face, spits out his dinner and whines through out the store you feel the eyes of others burning into your back... even the eyes of God seem to weigh you down until you collapse, throw up your hands and cry out for HELP!
When children grow and are angry, distant, ungrateful or simply lost a mother looks back... did I spank enough or too much? What about that one time I got angry and had to leave the room... or raised my voice... or gave that look... if I had not done that one thing, would it be different today, this moment?
A mother makes a million decisions a day... what time to get the children up, what should they wear and what's to eat? How do you educate them and love them and discipline them and teach them all the things they need to know before life deals them a hard blow. What day to do the laundry and the shopping and when to play outside and how to stay safe and clean and socialized... what's for dinner and how many veggies have they had today? What about sleep overs and girl friends and boyfriends and church? Family worship, devotionals, bible memorization? What is enough and when is it too much. When to push and when to give? It's exhausting... and when so many decisions are made, it is impossible to feel secure you made them ALL right in any given day. Add to that multiple children and other people's children and then the clincher... SIN!
In the midst of this chaos of mind, it's easy to lose sight of God.
That God who is working all things for your good and His glory.
That God who is making you look more and more like his Son.
That God who knows your child more intimately than you and knows the trials they need to come to Him.
It's not all about you, or them or right now... it's about Him and this plan He has and IS working out... even when dishes lie dirty and laundry mildews in the washer and mom almost loses her cool, again...
His plan is working, molding, sanctifying... and it is good.
So, my present to you moms today and a present to myself... let it go. Work hard for the glory of God and raise open palms to the Lord with the rest and look your children in the eye and say, "I did my best, I was faithful... though a sinner and God has a plan for you!".
God doesn't ask us to save our children or give them a perfect life... he asks us to be faithful to Him
To glorify Him as we shepherd, train, discipline, love and give to God.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love Him and him!

(Mirroring his heavenly Father, Drew is patient, kind, serving, loving, humble, compassionate, bold, teachable, flexible, adventurous, gentle, strong, wise... and very outdoorsy =) )

I am rereading a very special book for my Marriage and Family Counseling Class.
The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace.
I participated in a young, single girls bible study the last semester of my senior year in college and we went through this book (under the amazing Heather Hendrick...you should read her blog).
Martha and Heather worked together with Scripture to show us young ladies that we had it all wrong. We were on the hunt for "the one" and settling for less than God's best. God created "Adam" to lead and initiate and yet we "Eve"s were jumping the gun. It exposed so much sin in my life of selfishness and unbelief.
When Drew first told me he wanted to pursue me for marriage I said something like, "no thanks".
I was emotionally scarred and wounded from a long, recently ended relationship.
I was ready to be single... forever.
Going to seminary. etc etc
Then, it hit me that this might be the very thing I was learning about in class... not to pursue but to be pursued and see what the Lord had in store.
So I committed to "pray about it". Hoping nothing would come of it all.
As you all know by now...a couple of months later we were engaged and a few after that we were married and it has been the richest blessing (apart from salvation) I have ever received. It was also the time when I saw the Lord's hand move in amazing and tangible ways.
So, now I am rereading this book for class and I found this prayer at the end of the very first chapter, which covers what the Bible says on being an excellent wife. Drew was not on my radar and I was just beginning to hope I might have a chance at love again one day....
"Lord, please give me an open and willing heart to hear/read these words and understand your truths. I want to glorify you with my life and be broken of my sin. Please bring me a husband and prepare us to love each other and bring you glory in our relationship and our lives..."
Now I say... Yes and Amen to the first part and THANK YOU GOD for answering my prayer! How little did I believe God would actually answer this prayer when I first wrote it... but I dared hope in Him.
God showed up. (or maybe he was there all along and I finally had eyes to see and ears to hear!)
Here today I sit blessed by a wonderful husband, who is a wonderful father and faithful brother in Christ. He is the greatest gift and I am so thankful for him and proud of all that he is.
I pray the Lord will use this book again to challenge and change me into an excellent wife for Drew and for the Lord's glory and honor!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Here Lately

(the new "cheese" face)

It's been a flurry of activity around this place lately.
In case you didn't know, Drew got fired. I can't tell you what a wind of relief swept through this house and this soul when this happened. Enterprise has been like a stink stuck in the house or a weighty hand, always present on my shoulder. I felt physical relief when the Lord released us from that grip.
Drew did nothing wrong and neither did the handful of other people that got fired but that's Enterprise for you. They got scammed and instead of fixing a corporate problem, they shift blame and put themselves in a worse position... no manager, no assistant manager, no salesmen, no one to do titles and no boss over them all... good riddance.
We have been praying that God would provide a way out of erac for over three years now and though it is not the way we would have planned it, we are thankful. Thankful for time to get our other house on the market. Time to love on one another. Time to rest.
There is already another job lined up and dreams of jobs to come and time to think about vision and desire for the future.
SJ is loving her daddy being around!
She's also been practicing her mommy skills, she's quite good!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Tomorrow is Valentine's day and many of us are tempted to pout.
Men and women crowd around candle lit tables and whisper to each other their love and devotion. Sparkly trinkets glitter and boast from the necks, wrists, fingers and ears of each lady and truck loads of flowers are delivered into the open arms of love lit faces.
Is this the picture of you this Valentine's weekend or is you face a stone fortress begging for a battle, or a squinted eye blazing with jealousy or does the sun lack enough rays to dry your dew strewn face?
I will admit, I have been each of these things in turn and wonder today if there is More for our hearts to seek and find and dwell within.
A Lover who does not fail and who empowers us to be a selfless love-giver too.
Many a man (and woman) I know protest this holiday as consumerific and trite and yet this noble stance seems to fall from its lofty steed when we glimpse on the Creator of Love and how lavishly He continually refills our love-cups, even to overflowing.
So, when I am disappointed by a lack of effort... am I loving others first?
When I heap expectations on another... am I giving them the gift they would ask for?
When I withhold a word, a deed, a gift, to build my box of suds... am I honoring the architect of one flesh?
So this year, let us give love freely with out requiring a fee from those we cherish.
Let us give out of the abundance we have received from the true Giver.
May our children rejoice that they are known and loved and that their parents are known and loved whether or not pennies are pinched or spent by the pound.

My #1 received two batches of homemade granola and some yummy treats for work and my love bucket will wake up to heart shaped oatmeal bars.
My greatest gift was a three day weekend at home with the two greatest loves the Lord has blessed me with!
I love you Drew (and SJ too)!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

PJ Magic

There is something magical about a toddler first thing in the morning.
Maybe it's the way her hair whisps about in all directions or the perky pajamas that seem to embody her personality so well.
Or maybe it's the kisses she gives her favorite babies, knowing the night has been too long to go with out such treats.
I think it is the lack of fog and the joy in the mundane.
When I wake up in the morning I assess all my aching bones and wind up the clock to tick through another day. The first few moments are hazy and wordless. Fuel is needed to plow ahead.
But for this little morning ray there is no haze to be cleared but bright beams ready for business, adventure and exploration.
There is love to be poured out that was stored away and there are treasures to be found out (despite the spankings they might earn)!
So I snapped some pics of your favorite blessing since it seems selfish to keep all her smiles for myself.
How did she get so big?

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Do you ever feel defeated? Like your spirit echoes the grayness in the continually cloudy sky?
Every January I seem to go through the same valley and though I look in the mirror and recognize the scenery, it is still a battle each and every time.
A battle for joy.
I love Christmas and thinking on the birth of Christ and how the entire world was holding its breath and waiting for his entrance.
And then the angels sang and he was heralded into the count down to save the world. Time was ticking and the universe was transformed and because of that first breath, we celebrate.
I love trying to find special gifts for those I love. I love the music and the lights and the tree. I love being reunited with our family and eating until I bust.
It's a wonderful season.
New Year's is always anticlimatical, though thought provoking. Basically New Year's is just another step in the right direction... my birthday. I'll admit, I love to have a birthday!
I have this complex where I continually doubt people's love for me and this is just a small reflection of a deeper heart issue. I am realizing more and more how little I accept God's love for me and the worth he has spoken into me through his son. I am always beating on the door of achievement to reassure myself I am worth love and acceptance.
It causes problems.
So a birthday is a relief, a day when I am bombarded with messages of love and friendship and reminded that maybe I am okay.
There is also the fact that I have always... always looked forward to being 27. Don't know why but it's my favorite number and I always knew if I wasn't married, I would marry at 27. If I didn't have kids, I would do so at 27. Life would begin at 27... thankfully my life has already been full and thus I don't have to make any hasty decisions this year (except to get bangs or not.. which I did).
Then comes the 8th. And the 9th. And the 24th.
Then I get the blahs.
I've read a book a week since December.
I'm ready for classes to start.
SJ starts to break in four teeth.
Job issues arise.
It's back to real life and the real sins that are always a part of that life.
Then I find myself doubting.
Why am I still struggling with these things? Why do I always fall into the same trap? Why do I love ease? Why can't I love others better? Why.. Why...Why?
Who am I?
Where is the Spirit of God in me?
And there's his foothold. That sly snake and roaring lion steps right in to my self love and self doubt and starts his whispering. The problem is, the secrets he whispers about my identity are so loud, they beat out truth. They make me dizzy and sick until I find myself crying out... SAVE ME JESUS!
And I am falling.
I disbelieve Jesus' sacrifice was enough for a sinner like me. I disbelieve that I am accepted and loved by a God of truth and justice.
But every January, He hears my cry.
He picks up this broken and lost lamb from the very pit.
He dusts me off and speaks His Truth into my very soul.
You are loved.
You are accepted.
This world will be a struggle... but you. are. MINE.

Saturday, January 1, 2011