Master Bedroom Remodel

Spring Always Comes Again

Earlier this week a thunderstorm blew through chasing out the last of winter and leaving drops of spring scattered in her wake. It’s still cool — this is New England after all. But evidence of the world waking is sprinkled all around. Daffodils bloom and the tiniest buds blush deeply in crimson — a bit nervous about what they’ll soon reveal. The birds are beside themselves with song — singing wildly even in the rain. Everything feels giddy, bursting, on the cusp of life and warmth and newness.

This was my 11th winter in Massachusetts. Though it has taken me all eleven years to figure it out, I do believe I’m finding my way through the cold at last. Winter for me has always been about surviving, holding on, and keeping my eyes firmly shut until June. But little by little I’ve begun to understand the purpose of this necessary season.

For one thing, by summer’s end we fail to still notice the bird’s song or the shades of green or the beauty of flowers all around. We get accustomed to lovely things and winter is the perfect remedy to such lazy assumptions of unending comfort. I learn my lesson every January as I layer on my coat, gloves, hat and boots just to check the mail. I repent of taking any good thing for granted and promise to notice every leaf and bloom if spring ever comes again.

And here’s the thing I’m learning most of all — spring does always come again. However brutal and unfeeling winter may be, somehow by June you hardly remember it happened at all. What just a few weeks ago appeared dead forever now reveals life hidden and resting all along. And with all the metaphors this lively season offers, I’m reminded the same is true of hearts and lives too. Cold, barren seasons of life will eventually transition from roots deeply hidden to life bursting in blooms. What seems dead and wasted almost never is — spring always comes again.

I read recently that

The greatest pleasures are those born of labor and investment.

Karen Swallow Prior

Indeed, if we never walk through winter, we will never truly appreciate the sweet antithesis of such barren seasons. I notice spring because I have walked through winter. We best notice life after we have tasted death.

Today I walked around outside with my kids soaking up the warmth of sunshine on my back. I’m thankful for spring, but most of all I’m thankful that seasons change and hope buoys us ever on. We often say that nothing lasts forever in reference to the good but the same can be said of the hard stuff too. Nothing lasts forever, not even a New England winter.

Winter Reads: 2019

At the beginning of the year I realized I had lost my love for reading — mostly from burning myself out on parenting books I felt obligated to read. Many of these are helpful but I noticed when I wanted to burn every parenting book I saw that it was probably time for a break from all the “do this to be a better that” stuff.

I declared 2019 the year in which I read whatever the heck I feel like and behold, I fell in love with stories and words all over again. Now that I’m enjoying books once more I thought it would be fun to do a seasonal recap sharing what I read. Here’s a quick look at the books I read from December to February.

Escape to Vindor by Emily Golus

Fantasy, 354 pages

This was a fun book to read in part because the author, Emily, was also my college roommate. Writing is hard work so it’s pretty cool to see someone I know who studied to be a writer actually doing the work and following through with her dream.

Vindor was a fun break from my normal book genres. I haven’t read anything like this since I finished The Lord of the Ring series. Think Lord of the Rings meets The Chronicles of Narnia and you have an idea of the fun and adventure you’ll be diving into with this story. Find it here.

At Home in the World by Tsh Oxenreider

Travel Memoir, 268 pages

My sister-in-law gave me this book for my birthday last year and as soon as I cracked it open I couldn’t put it back down. I loved both the writing style and getting to travel with the author through different countries and adventures. It did no good for my own wanderlust as I now have a bunch more places on my list I must see 😉 Find it here.

Wanderlust and my longing for home are birthed from the same place: a desire to find the ultimate spot this side of heaven. When I stir soup at my stove, I drift to a distant island. When I’m on the road with my backpack, my heart wanders back to my couch, my favorite coffee cup. My equal pull between both are fueled by my hardwired desire for heaven on earth. And I know I’ll never find it.

Tsh Oxenreider

The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Timothy Keller

Christian Living, 46 pages

This was a super short read at under 50 pages but it packs a punch. I marked all over the pages and plan on re-reading this at least once a year. Highly recommend. Find it here.

The thing we would remember from meeting a truly gospel-humble person is how much they seemed to be totally interested in us. Because the essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.

Timothy Keller

Come To Jesus by Christa Threlfall

Christian Living, 92 pages

Christa, like Emily, is someone I went to college with so when I saw she was publishing a book, I signed up for the launch team to read the book and cheer her on. Like The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, this is a short book with big impact. Christa did a great job reminding readers that true hope and help are not found in a change of circumstances but in Jesus alone. I was encouraged to look at hard things as opportunities to grow and draw closer to the Lord rather than seeing them simply as things to get through. Find it here.

Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman

Historical Nonfiction, 330 pages

This is the first book I purchased after I decided to read whatever I wanted. Before, reading a whole book about Alexander the Great just for fun didn’t seem like the best use of my time. I was wrong. Not only did this book improve my understanding of history and culture, there were stories that made me question my motives and character and interesting parallels to Christianity and the spread of the gospel — so how’s that for a waste of time 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading more books in this genre as it ended up being something I really enjoyed. Find it here.

So tell me, what are you reading/recommend? I’m always looking for ideas so share away!

Hope for the Overwhelmed Parent

I’m sorry for my long absence; I always seem to lose inspiration by winter’s end. But I wanted to stop in and share an article I wrote for FortheFamily.org. I hope it will be an encouragement to any other parent feeling overwhelmed today. Read the full article by following the link below. And I promise I’ll be back on a regular basis soon–I’ve got lots of words rolling around in my head as spring begins to push in around us even here in New England ❤

Parenting is Intense

Even on the best days, all the needs and demands can feel like a whirlpool sucking us down the drain. How do we keep up, and better yet, thrive in this wild role we call parenthood? … read the full article here

Your Day Planner Won’t Save You

I love new beginnings. Especially after becoming a mom, I’ve learned to savor each new morning and the few minutes of quiet that (usually) come with peeling out of bed early in the still-dark morning. I tiptoe to the living room and sit under a cozy blanket in an arm chair like a hobbit — I lack only a pipe 😉 I sit here preparing for the day ahead, soaking up the slowness and stillness of it all before my kiddos wake and need all the things all at once.

I love a new year too — the ultimate new beginning as it were. After wrestling through a whole year of victories and losses, it’s nice standing at Day One with a shiny blank canvas to be filled.

And you guys, I love day planners. Don’t believe me? The picture above shows all three of the planners I’m currently using. One specifically for setting and tracking goals, one for big picture yearly and monthly overviews and the other for the every day don’t-forget-to-take-the-trash-out kind of stuff. Also, stickers… I really love peppering my planners with stickers. Basically I’m 12 but I need to remember to take the trash out and raise other humans so this is how we get it done.

But I’m noticing something about myself and my love of planning, organizing and well —  controlling all the things. It’s easy to believe that if I just plan carefully enough and have my day plotted out just so, then everything will be fine. Meaning, the success of the day depends almost entirely on myself (my planning and ability to execute said plan) and little on the grace and help of God — His enabling, directing and even His throwing a wrench in my carefully laid out plans in order to test my heart reaction and not just my ability to get stuff done.

There is a lesson about balance and surrender here. Obviously there is nothing wrong with having a plan and trying to stay on top of things. In fact, it is this very practice that helps me chisel out time each day to dig into God’s word and fellowship with Him in prayer. Discipline and order are both Biblical and practical tools to living as we ought. But like so many good and right things, just about anything can become a god if you let it.

I noticed this first when I found myself irritable and short-tempered every single Friday and often through the rest of the weekend. Why Friday? Because my husband, Darren, works 10 hour days Monday through Thursday and is home on Fridays. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fabulous. But it also means that the kids and I go from our normal day planner routine to a hodge podge day of working around the house and nothing is very predictable. I never realized how much I idolized my plan, my routine and my being in control of things until I persistently struggled with my attitude every time those things were taken away.

I find myself too believing that if I have a super productive week where all the little boxes get checked and all my carefully planned activity is accomplished then that can easily be equated as a “good” week — even if I was grumpy with my family, selfish with my time or whatever else the case may be.

My point is this: Sometimes the most “successful” days and weeks are the ones that don’t go according to my plan at all but where I learned to let go, surrender and obey as God led. Sometimes I learn more by a frustrating day dealing with heart issues (my own and those of my children) than I ever will by writing all the posts, submitting all the work or getting the whole house clean top to bottom. Those things are fine and well, but not if I’m idolizing them or sacrificing what really matters most for the sake of check boxes and productivity.

We are only two weeks into this shiny new year and in that, I wanted to stop and remind myself today of what really matters most and where success really lies. All the planning and accomplishing is fine, but only if done with the right heart attitude, enabled by the Lord and done for His glory and not my own.

5 Favorite Beauty Finds from 2018

I love makeup and I love trying new makeup and beauty products to see what’s out there. Over the last several years I’ve noticed that my skin is really starting to change thanks to age and the hormonal changes that come with having babies. 

My skincare concerns this year were: Fine lines around my eyes, dry skin, and dark spots. I get melasma during pregnancy (dark, freckly patches on the face that never completely go away) so one of my biggest concerns was finding something that could conceal dark spots without being too heavy or sinking into fine lines. A surprisingly difficult thing to find! I want my makeup to look fairly natural and be as good for my skin as possible.

So all that being said, I thought I’d share five of the products I really ended up loving this year.

Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Color Correcting  Treatment and Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.Pair Serum

I got little samples of these products when I purchased something else from Sephora and I ended up loving them right away. I had tried all kinds of foundations and concealers trying to cover those dark spots and everything ended up being too thick and very made-up looking or not heavy enough to actually cover anything. The thing I love about the Tiger Grass is it goes on green (which works wonders for concealing) and dries beige. It has the texture of a moisturizer and goes on smooth and natural. The serum adds an extra layer of moisture and gives a really nice glow.

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

I love Tarte overall so when I was trying all those foundations and concealers Tarte was where I started (and ended lol). I like this BB cream because it does the work of several products all in one (moisturizer, SPF and color) while still feeling light and looking natural. I apply the Tiger Grass products first and then a few dots of this over top (followed by a loose finishing powder, blush, and highlighting powder on the cheek bones). My only complaint (and the reason I kept trying other products for a while) — this doesn’t offer full coverage so I do need something else in addition to help with the dark spots. 

Milk Makeup Kush High Volume Mascara

I’m a total mascara junkie. For years during high school and college I was obsessed with Max Factor 1000 Calorie mascara and then they stopped selling it in the US and crushed my little soul 😉 It literally took me until this year to find something I like just as well. This mascara is awesome because it’s super buildable without being cakey. The only thing I don’t like about it is it does flake off some throughout the day. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

Eyebrows are hard…at least mine are. I like this pomade because it fills really well and using it with the brush designed for it makes it really easy to shape your brows without looking like Groucho Marx. The thing I don’t like about it is it doesn’t really set your brows so if anyone has a setting gel or whatever you love, let me know! Oh, and unrelated fun fact, my son calls eyebrows “eye-brellas” because they’re umbrellas for your eyes 🙂

Tarte Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner

I just started using this this week and absolutely love it. I’ve always used a crayon liner on my eyelid and a separate liquid liner on the bottom. But this has both in one — a crayon on one end and liquid on the other. Both go on beautifully too. Again, Tarte is good stuff. 

Anyway, I hope if you are trying to weed through the plethora of products out there or just want to try something new that these will give you some helpful ideas. And I’m always open to suggestions and trying something new myself so let me know what your favorite products are in the comments!

All the Lives We Live

I turn 33 this week. Lately, I’ve thought a lot about how life, and we, change over time. Darren and I have said many times how we feel like completely different people from the ones we were before our children were born. I can think of many breaks in life where it feels, though I didn’t recognize it at the time, like I moved from being one person to another during a time of change.

From the scrappy, resourceful, dreaming tomboy I was growing up, to the still dreaming but much more girly teenager I grew into. I was outgoing and adventurous when I started college but much quieter and reserved by the time I finished. I was one girl before I fell in love with Darren, left my parent’s home and moved across the country to begin a new life married and working. And certainly the greatest break and change in person came when my son was born and I became not just myself, but a mother also.

So, looking back, it feels as though I’ve been many different people in my life. As though different seasons and circumstances have revealed many different facets of the same complicated soul. A line I’ve always loved from the movie Little Women comes to mind. Jo March is told she should have been a lawyer and she responds with:

I should have been a great many things.

Indeed, Ms. March, we all should and could have been a great many things were the circumstances and timing of our lives different. But as Jane Austen once said:

It could have turned out differently, I suppose. But it didn’t.

It seems much of my growing up and becoming happened quite young — in hard circumstances, in soil that allowed only for survival and not for petty or silly things to grow. I was scrappy because I needed to be. I was a dreamer because sometimes those dreams of something else were the only thing holding my head above water until the tide changed and landed my feet on more solid ground.

When life became more comfortable, I became more petty. Sometimes, I walk though the house I live in now, my house, filled with comfort and nice things, and I have to ask what the twelve-year-old version of myself might think. Why? Because at 12 I knew well what life was and was not about. I could separate the wheat from the chaff with a discerning eye because I had lived with only what I needed to survive and knew exactly how much I could do without. It’s a lesson I need to be reminded of often now that I have so much more and can easily get carried away in the currents of comfort and convenience.

Though we grow through many selves in our lives, sometimes our younger selves knew more and lived wiser than the older selves we’ve grown into. Age does not guarantee wisdom.

I believe now that our souls are ageless. The bodies in which our souls are housed grow, change, decay, pass away. But the soul is born with a certain depth beyond years and maintains a certain childishness it never grows out of. That is why children sometimes say and understand such profound things beyond their years. And why, I at 33, would gladly climb a tree or build a treehouse to play in if being an adult didn’t keep me too busy and proud to do such things. The soul is as it was — outside the restraint of years. The mind and heart grow and change as does the body but our soul remains the same — ageless, eternal.

So I reflect and wonder today about who I’ve been, become, and who I am yet to be. There is a thread of the soul, of my truest self, that has remained throughout each change. The dreamer. The romantic. The adventurer. The writer. The tender-hearted. The short-tempered. The restless. For all that has changed, these have remained. 

Each season, a different apparition of the soul. Spritely, fleeting visions of ourselves hidden and unearthed as we move and change through life. Our true self only to be fully known and understood on the other side of heaven. For now, we are each of us, sojourners in a strange land. Sojourners at times even in our own hearts and minds. Traveling ever onward until we find our way back Home. 


The Second Time Around

I found out I was expecting each of my children on the 9th of November… two years apart. This wasn’t on purpose — I had taken several false negative pregnancy tests with my daughter before finally confirming what I had expected all along — that I really was pregnant again.

Their due dates were three years and two days apart on — July 9th and July 11th. And they were born three years and one week apart on July 14th and July 21st. Both of them decided to come after their due dates — Roman five days “late” and Aletheia had to be willfully ushered into the world by induction a full ten days after we had expected her. If I have any more children I’m going to add like a month to their expected due date 😉
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On this day, the day I found out each of them was coming, I have been thinking over the last 15 months of life with two. Having babies is one of those odd situations where you know your life is about to change profoundly but because you’ve never done it before, you don’t exactly know how. Life seemed busy and full before we had our son so it was hard to imagine adding a baby to the mix. But then we did and it was hard to remember what life was like before we were a family of three.
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Then, when we knew we wanted another baby, it was hard to imagine how we’d love and care for two. Again, life seemed brimming and it felt impossible to split our affection between two babies instead of one. I’m not going to say that has always been easy; the second time around has felt much harder to give enough time and attention to every relationship individually. But in other ways, it’s hard to imagine it was ever any other way and we wouldn’t want it to be either.

Here are some of the things I have learned or enjoyed along the way about having two kiddos:

Grace Upon Grace and More Grace //

Once the dust settled after bringing my daughter home, I wanted to get right to it and tackle all the things. I remember trying to carry heavy baskets of laundry across the house and needing to sit down half-way across a room because my body was too fragile to be doing such a thing. But at the time, it all felt so urgent. I can’t not do the laundry — we need clean clothes! I can’t not sweep and mop — the house is a mess!

I remember looking at my post baby body (which is a whole other thing the second time around) and thinking I’d never have my body back again. This was days and weeks after delivering. I remember crying into Darren’s arms, thinking he would never find me attractive again. I went to the ocean with friends a mere six weeks after my daughter was born, saw all the girls in swimsuits, and thought I’d never wear a swimsuit again.

I was way too hard on myself. Too hard on myself in all I thought I needed to accomplish. Too hard on my body in what I demanded it do and how I thought it should look. I think back to those weeks and months and wish I would have given myself and my family more grace. I wish I would have sat on the couch, turned Netflix on, and enjoyed slow, lazy days with my kids. I realize now that no matter how much laundry or sweeping you do when you have a young family, there will always be more dirty clothes and the floor will never not be sticky — and that’s ok for a while.IMG_20171107_090720_562.jpg

I look at my body now, and realize (as I did after my first pregnancy too) that though things are different, there was no need to worry or be so hard on myself. I lost the weight and feel like myself again — howbeit with stretchmarks, but myself all the same. There is nothing (including a swimsuit) that I can’t wear now that I wore before my babies.

Having a child, and then having another child — these are huge, life-altering changes. And if I could do it all again, I’d do my best to relax and enjoy as much of it as possible. And the parts you really can’t enjoy (because there’s plenty of that too), I’d give myself grace to not have it all together for a while. I’d let my body heal slowly and well rather than trying to push it hard after having done such a hard thing already. And I’d have grace on my family rather than trying to keep everything under control and make everything perfect right away. IMG_20180408_192924_294.jpg

Trusting and Letting Go //

Maybe you’ve noticed — I like to control things. But a funny thing happens when you have two kids: you can’t control everyone or everything all the time anymore. I’ve had to learn to let go and trust other people — including my four-year-old son. When I need to lay his sister down for a nap, I have to leave him with instructions not to do anything crazy until I get back and trust that he will listen. For the most part, he does 😉

I suppose one of the hardest things about motherhood is the letting go part. Essentially, if we’re doing a good job with our kids, we’re raising them to leave us. We’re teaching them how to do life well on their own. As my son gets older and my hands get fuller with his sister and other responsibilities, I have to learn to let him grow more and more independent. And I’m learning this with my daughter too. She’s not a baby anymore — she walks and climbs and is learning to talk. I have to fight the urge everyday to bubble wrap my kids and keep them inside so nothing bad can happen. Instead I have to let them go outside to climb and explore and test their own limitations and abilities. It’s hard to watch and it’s hard to let go but I must. 20181001_193529.jpg

They Are Good For Each Other //

We want to give our kids everything and don’t want to see them struggle or do without. This is good to a point but beyond that point, it’s easy to raise kids who are spoiled and entitled. As I watch my kids play together and get into scrapes with each other, I’m realizing just how good that friction is for both of them. They’re learning to share, to work together, to say “I’m sorry.” They’re learning how to navigate life and relationships as they do life together day by day. IMG_20180903_125919_996.jpg

I worried about how hard it would be on our son to share us and everything else in his world with someone else — and it has been hard. But I’m glad he’s learning these lessons as a preschooler instead of a grownup trying to navigate life and relationships. Not to mention, they really do love each other and have a lot of fun together. We always joke that Aletheia will do anything — so long as Roman is the one asking and not us. The sun rises and sets around her big brother. And when they’re not together for some reason, Roman worries about his sister and is always asking where she is ❤

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Its been a wild fifteen months, for sure. But the only thing I’d change about any of it is learning to relax, love, and let go more. Life with two is good and I’m so thankful for each of them ❤

The Years the Locusts Ate

There’s a passage tucked away in the book of Joel that goes like this:

So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,

The crawling locust,

The consuming locust,

And the chewing locust,

My great army which I sent among you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; And My people shall never be put to shame.

Joel 2:25-26 NKJV

These verses weren’t written for me; they were written for the Israelites. But like so many passages of Scripture that were contextually intended for a different time, place, and people — I find comfort none the less in the heart of God portrayed to all people regardless of time or place — including me.

I often find myself looking around at other women, some a few years ahead, some a few years behind. I see women with more children than me or children who are older than mine. I see women deeply rooted in their faith and living out well what they believe. I see women growing businesses and ministries and impacting people for good. I see a lot of things I’m not doing or if I am doing them, I feel years and miles behind the women I’m watching.
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I tend to puzzle things out. If something gets in my head, I don’t stop thinking about it until I’ve reached a satisfying end. So this whole thing about why some people seem to be so much further ahead in life — well, it’s really bothered me for a while now.

Are some people just naturally better at life than others? Were they born into better circumstances and opportunity or did they simply do more with what they were given? Does it matter how hard I work or will I always fall short of what I see?

I believe the answer to any of these questions could be yes — yes, some people are better at life than others, some are more talented and gifted, some are born into better circumstances and with that have more opportunity readily available to them. Though it’s hard to swallow, life really is not fair.

But still, there are plenty of examples of people who had nothing going for them and managed to make something of their life anyway. Sometimes the most successful people are those who’ve had to fight the hardest for what they want. So why do I flounder in comparison to those around me? Why are some women so capable and I always feel like I’m drowning in half the water they manage to swim in? 20181019_131947.jpg

Sometimes I don’t like the conclusions my puzzling reaches. But sometimes, when you’ve thought something out to all its various ends, you have to accept hard answers you might not like and one part of that for me is accepting this:

You’re not where you want to be because you’ve wasted a lot of time. 

You quit as quickly as you start. 

You’d rather plan and dream and begin than work and continue and finish. 

I was hoping for a different answer — like maybe one that didn’t lay the responsibility so squarely on my drooping shoulders. But here we are, puzzle solved and I’m the missing link to much of my own happiness and success.

Now don’t get me wrong — I don’t intend to leave God out of the equation and I don’t mean to say that my happiness and success are completely in my hands or the highest aim in my life regardless. Sometimes, you can be doing everything God is asking you to do by his grace and help and the road is still hard and the answer is still no. We grow by this and we get to find out if our relationship with God is actually with a genie who grants our wishes or a sovereign, loving God who has our best interest and his own glory at heart.

What I am saying is this: sometimes we are responsible for our own failures. We reap what we sow and sometimes that means a lean harvest. That’s kind of where I’m at right now and it’s a sobering reality to look in the eyes.

When you plant something, you don’t get to harvest fruit right away. Nothing blossoms or blooms and you are asked to trust that that seemingly dead seed splitting apart in the soil — hidden and unsure — is actually putting down lively roots that will bring forth life and beauty we can taste and see above ground.

I’m the kind of person who likes to go to the store and look at all the colorful images on the seed packets and dream about how they might look in my garden. I buy the seeds and draw up a plan for where the garden will be and probably post something on social media about this inspiring little endeavor.

And then I get bored with the work and the waiting and the process that goes into actually watching those seeds blossom into life. I fail to plant them all-together or neglect the work required to keep them alive once they’re in the ground. And here lies the analogy of so many of my hopes and dreams — seedlings, shallow roots, boredom that leads to neglect, a life perpetually distracted by the next shiniest thing.

And then I wonder why some women around me seem to have so much bounty and so much visible fruit for their labor. Are they just luckier than me or did they daily tend to deep roots even when no harvest could be seen?
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Here’s where the locusts come in. I see all the time I’ve wasted and it feels like the years the locusts ate. The years I gave away to distraction and laziness and quitting half way. Sometimes it feels like I’m so far behind now that no matter what I plant or how faithfully I tend, I’ll never get my roots deep enough to make up for the lost time. I’m almost 33, ten years into my marriage and two children at my side.

But that passage doesn’t end with all the Israelites lost; it ends with a faithful God redeeming broken things as he does best. So when I’m discouraged and feel a failure, I speak this truth to myself:

God will meet with me today, where I am, through prayer and his word //

I wish I had dug deeply into God’s word years ago. I wish I had prayed and drawn close to the heart of God. But a failure to do these things in the past does not doom me to continued failure in the future. I can start right where I am today and God will meet me here.

God is the one who makes all things new // 

Yes, you reap what you sow (Gal. 6:7-9). We are responsible for our actions and God requires that we be faithful stewards of what he entrusts (Matt. 25:14-30). But it is God — good, loving, sovereign God — who gives the harvest (1 Cor. 3:6-8). All my striving is not what propels me forward so much as the grace of God that takes my weak and failed attempts and offers all I can not create or deserve in return.

To be defeated is to doubt God; we must always be doing the next right thing and trust him with the results (Job 1:21). So yes, it’s disheartening to think about the years I’ve wasted. I see the fruit being harvested in other people’s lives and wish I had tended my own garden better over the years. But I’m thankful that “the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is his faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23).

The familiar chapter of Proverbs 31 ends with this verse:

Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates (Prov. 31:31).

But this conclusion comes only after the thirty verses prior describing all the diligent and disciplined work she does each day throughout her life. So today I learn to keep my eye on the prize but first to dig deep and plant seeds. To tend and wait for fruit I cannot see. To be faithful in all the moments in between the exciting beginnings and slow ends.

May the Lord find me faithful.

 

A Weekend in Maine

We celebrated the Labor Day weekend up in Maine with Darren’s family. It’s fun watching all the cousins playing together and letting them run a little wild outside at Grammie and Papa’s house in the woods. We live off a busy road here so even though I let my kids play outside a lot, it’s just a different feel up in Maine among the woods and pastures, mountains and lakes. Everything feels slower and quieter (helped I’m sure, by the fact that my phone doesn’t even really work up there).
IMG_20180903_125357_582.jpgNow we are home and I was tempted not to post anything about our trip at all. We have spent most of the day in post-travel meltdowns and tears. I have a mound of dirty laundry to unpack and wash. Everyone is just a bit tired and out of sorts and it didn’t feel genuine at first to share a bunch of photos of smiling faces when that is not at all how things look today.IMG_20180903_131137_453.jpg

IMG_20180903_130132_273.jpgBut that is life—this mixture of happy memories photographed and cherished combined with all the headache and frustration that comes with leaving and trying to come back into your routine (especially with little kids). IMG_20180903_125919_996.jpgSo here are some of my favorite photos from our weekend, mostly of my kids’ faces while they watched the Labor Day parade 🙂IMG_20180903_130237_763.jpg

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