life giving home . june

Play. A word that I love but an action that I don’t feel like I’m very good at.

As I read through Sally’s chapter on the month of June I was so inspired. The chapter centered on the theme of play.
She writes, “Ultimately, play is a process that, though most commonly practiced in childhood, can be enacted throughout the entirety of life.” (136)
I wanted to play! I wanted to be good at it! I want my sons to play and to enjoy.
Now, I do think they are pretty good at play. They have big imaginations fuels by good stories and equipped with bins full of costumes.
But today is Monday. And all I see is to-do’s up to my nose and I see my children.
As I fed Haddon his breakfast this morning I asked the Lord how to do it – I asked Him for wisdom.
Here’s how he answered.
I created a game for all 3 of us to engage. I wrote out a name of a room in our house and a time on each strip; one strip read “play room – 5 minutes” and another strip “kitchen- 7 minutes.” There were 8 strips, each with a room and a time limit. I folded the strips and put them in a bowl. On our chalkboard wall I drew a simple progress path checklist. I told the boys that we were going to play a game and that if they won – we have to cooperate! – they could watch a TV show. So, one boy draws a slip of paper. We read it; we take that room to clean. We divide the tasks (Grafton, you pick up the costumes; Leland, you pick up the cars, and I’ll do the rest… 😉 and I set the timer. I also played some fun music!
The object of the game is to clean the room happily in the amount of time on the timer. If we all did that we got a piece of candy (a jelly bean). If they didn’t work happily, no jelly bean.
The timer was mostly to keep this activity a game and keep us moving, instead of me gettting focused on the details and and ending up spending too much time cleaning any one room. When we finished with the room, whoever didn’t chose the slip crossed out the box on the chalkboard wall,  we all ate a piece of candy, and the other boy drew a slip of paper. Throughout the game, we encouraged each other – finish well!! stay strong!! instead of the typical mom-reminder ‘keep doing your job.’
Now candy and TV may not be your kind of motivation, so you do you. But it is ours and I loved the dark chocolate kiss I ate when I was finished with the room. They loved their jelly beans, too!
Thankfully, the game worked! We had fun and the house got clean-er. Every room was touched, and nothing was “perfect” or “pristine” but it was much better. Clothes were hung, beds were made, toys were back in their bins. I even wiped down the bathrooms!
The boys earned their show and while they watched The Magic School Bus and ate a healthy snack to compensate for the sugary treat, I finished my tasks and got dressed.  Win win!
Y’all – the tension of the to do list and play is such a real thing for me. And today by the Lord’s great grace I thought of a creative way to play and work. I didn’t micromanage or lose my cool. Instead we encouraged each other to work well, we moved quickly, and in the end, both boys loved the game. and I got dressed today!
Now I might not be able to use that every time but hey! Today :).
Sally ends the chapter, “Play is not frivolous. Far from it. Having fun and finding pleasure in games, make-believe, and various forms of recreation is beneficial to our brains, our bodies, and our emotional well-being – and thats true for every member of the family, moms and dads included. … June is a perfect time to make play a priority of your family…. You will create memories that will be cherished and remembered at every family gathering – a wonderful legacy of fun, growth, and friendship.” (148)
Before the boys drifted off to sleep at nap time, they both said, “That game was fun.” Praise the Lord.

life giving home . may

May is the month of celebration – this is the running theme in the book, The Life Giving Home. One of the significant celebrations this month is Mother’s Day – only a week away! And as I celebrate my mom, all of the spiritual mothers in my life, and the reality that I have joined their ranks, I am asking myself this question : What kind of mom do I want to be? … today? for the next season of life while my sons live under my roof? What kind of mom-legacy do I want to give my children? What kind of mom do I want to be remembered as? This question “What kind of mom do I want to be?” motivates me to seek Scripture, to talk it out the Lord, to think back through the models I have been gifted with, including the ultimate example and ideal, Jesus Christ; to think about my own personality and gifts… and to ask the Lord to weave all of these aspects together into an inspiring image of the kind of mom He desires I be and become.

I want to be a mom who is godly.
I want to be a mom who laughs without fear at the future.
I want to be a mom who in everything glorifies the Lord and seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.
I want to be a mom who fully loves Jesus with all of her being and that love within just pours over and into my sons.
I want to be a mom who both nurtures her sons and calls her sons up to manhood.
I want to be a mom who inspires and challenges her sons to live for God, fearing Him and fully following Him in all of His ways,… because I do.
I want to be a mom who serves yummy suppers and gladly welcomes hungry little men to the table to enjoy a good meal, the good gifts the Lord has presented to us.
I want to be a mom who listens.
I want to be a mom who holds his hand… and lets him go.
I want to be a mom who goes outside with her boys. And does whatever outside activities we are doing today!
I want to be a mom who is just. so. proud. of her men.
I want to be a mom who serves up grace, and love, and admonition, and wisdom because they are the meat and potatoes, the chocolate cake and the wine of the Good News.
I want to be a mom who smiles into their eyes, into their hearts.
I want to be a mom who knows when it is loving to remind and when it is loving to forget.
I want to be a mom who knows when it is loving my son to sweep the floor, readying the space for the next thing, and when it is loving to put the broom down and go play.
I want to be a mom who is there. And who puts my sons’ hearts to the God who is Always Present.
I want to be a mom who puts the world in front of her sons, who  puts God Almighty in front of her sons, who repeats the sounding joy of the gospel to their hearts and repeatedly states the great commission for the glory of God to the ends of the earth.
How do I go about getting all of my I wants? How do I become the kind of mom I dream of being?
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will gives you the desires of your hearts.” Psalm 37:4
When I delight myself in the Lord – come under the mighty salvation of the Lord our God, come under His Way, His Truth, His Life, when I submit to the Scripture, to reading it and living it, when I submit to a life of prayer (because prayer is the work), when I listen and obey Him – He becomes my Desire. and He becomes my Dream, and my Dream Come True.
It is in the day to day – the thoughts I think, the choices I make, the attitudes I put on – it is in the small things, the early morning walks. time in the Word. prayer. church and community. learning cook and learning to serve. living and fighting and breathing and sleeping and loving. These day to day add up. And one day, I pray I will look back and see how frustration was turned into determination; how fear repented into faith; how fitfulness transformed into freedom… how all of my wants are granted for the glory of God and the good of my sons, my husband, and me.
For you, sister friend… whoever you are and wherever you are; whatever season of life you find yourself… Today is the Day of Salvation. Jesus offers salvation to all who believe – so believe Him. Confess your sin. Come under His salvation. and Live. Be all of who He’s made you to be, all of who you dream of becoming… and whether you have children with your last name or not, as you receive His life, you can gift life to all who you hold dear.
Oh Jesus, be my Delight and my Desire, my Dream, and my Dream Come True. Be ours. Be my All in All and be in my the kind of mom I want to be, the kind of mom you designed and redeemed me to be. Make us New in You; make us all You want us to be. May I enter in to Your Redemption. May I come under your Design. May I delight myself in the the Lord… Be my Desire. I pray this for me, for my sister friend… and in your precious, holy name… Amen.

life giving home . april 

Lessons Learned in April . A List :

1. To remember to do the Life Giving Home live meet up earlier in the month (😏)

2. No, really. 

3. When I get to a spot in life where I need to stare the problem in the face and solve it, instead of trying to solve it while engaging my children, which too quickly falls apart with a short tempered, hangry mom (me) and discouraged, terry eyed children(them😥), ask a grandparent to take my boys to Marbles (or really wherever)… and everyone would be MUCH happier + the problem might actually get solved. 

4. Recieve all of the grace given to me in Christ,… and share it. generously. 

5. I’m gladder than I can speak or know for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. THE monumental event in history means everything to me – is the reason I can realize any of these other lessons and provides the space to be loved, to love others; to give and to recieve forgiveness and grace. He is the Way & He is Freedom. The best way out is through the Cross and as we’ve walked through Easter this year, I’m happier than ever – a serious kind of happy – for the Cross. 

“The best way out is always through*”… the CROSS. – *Robert Frost

☀️ enjoy the quick LIVE update on Facebook

life-giving home . march

In one of my all-time favorite movies, Steel Magnolias, one of my all-time favorite characters, Truvy, declares, “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”*

Ten years ago at the very end of this month, Tyler and I were married. Golly – I remember it like yesterday. And when I think back I tear up and swell with smiles all at the same time. Laughing + crying at the same time is my favorite emotion, like raining and sunshine is my favorite weather – uncontainable, your heart, the sky, smiles and weeps simultaneously. The glory and the gravity of life, overwhelming.

Rachel and Tyler Wedding - 22

Between days of celebration and sunshine, days of storms, dry spells, quiet snowflakes, flashing thunder, rainy downpours, seasons changing, years passing… all of these days connect and cause and string together the days of sunshine + raining, the moments of weeping celebration.

Nothing is any longer ordinary; all of the mundane works itself into the miracle.

And in the march of time, in the month of March, each day, all thirty-one of them, together. Enjoyed and forgotten; embraced and remembered.

When Tyler and I walked down the aisle to the Doxology, married, I jumped up and hugged him with all of my might. Praise God from whom all blessings flow

… these same words introduce each one of us to the Lord around the table as we hold hands and sing them before we once again sit to eat supper, jump up and down “let me get that for you, honey,” serving each other, enjoying life together, as the sun sets, the stars shine, later that night we settle into sleep, jumping up in the dark to answer the baby alive crying, settling once more, slipping back into bed, warming up with each other,.. time marching on.

And as we look at who we are today – Tyler, stronger, Rachel, much more gracious; Leland, our lion-hearted leader, Grafton, our kind and tender hearted good brother, Strength and Grace our heaven babies who tilt our chins to the sky, Haddon, our abundant gift, who already lives life to the full, hungry and happy and wholly alive (all of us, new creations)… I watch time march on,… I look in the mirror and see happy smile lines wide and cheeks tears have crashed down, one after the other, unstoppable. I see blue eyes that See – see Jesus, fixed on Him, see how Jesus sees, set on things above, see that we see dimly now, but one day, fully! glory and gravity, grace and glory.

I see that time is marching across my face, and I welcome the blessing of a new day, new lines, new wisdom, mercies new every morning.

In the ordinary-ness of life, in the all is a miracle and a grace, in the sunshine and the rain, in the laughing and crying all at the same time, The Lord is ushering His Kingdom into our hearts, ushering us into His Kingdom.

As we walk, as we march, as we are carried into the next day, the next minute, our next emotion, the next season, our next relationships, let us seek first the kingdom of God that we may See Him high and lifted up, our Righteousness, and the rest of these days will be added to us as well…celebrating and connecting and causing our path to lead us straight into Heaven, straight into His holy home.

“May your mundane March realities be the ground in which you plant the seeds of faith, beauty, and hope that sprout into a life mart by the goodness of God.” (100)

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monday . needy

I woke up with a feeling of neediness that seemed strapped to my chest. As I unloaded my burden to the Lord, nervous and not sure, He answered me. 

Yep, girlfriend, you are needy. And yep, I’ve got you.

Isaiah 57:15 

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,

who inhabits eternitywhose name is Holy:

I dwell in the high and holy place,

and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,

to revive the spirit of the lowly,

and to revive the heart of the contrite.

— We don’t want to admit that we live lowly, but the High and Holy One says He lives with us… and don’t we want to live with Him?

Then I read this

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read the post by clicking the picture
“God has given you so many limitations because he loves you. He wants you to experience as much of his love, in as many ways as possible. And for that to happen, he must provide you a never-ending river of reasons, and an enormous range of diverse ways, to receive and give love.⠀


And this is just what he’s done! He has made you a very limited part of his body, the church, and he places you with other parts that are also very limited in different ways (1 Corinthians 12:18, 27). As the interdependent parts work together, the whole body functions (Romans 12:4–5) and it displays the love of God (John 13:34–35). Your unique strengths and weaknesses are indispensable gifts to this body. Without them the whole body suffers because unique expressions of God’s gracious love will be missed.⠀

If you’re frequently discouraged over your limitations, it’s an indicator that you’re looking at yourself from the wrong perspective, and looking at yourself too much. You’re not seeing what God sees; you’re likely feeling discontent from comparing yourself to other people, other parts of the body.⠀

A wonderful treatment for such discouragement is prayerfully meditating on 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. And also it’s likely time to reframe the question from ‘Why can’t I be more like that?’ to ‘What opportunities is God giving me in my limitations to experience more of his gracious love?’⠀

Because the truth is, you are so limited because you are so loved.”⠀

— Jesus, thank you for loving me.

I heard Him singing this song to and over me… Lord, I need You by Matt Maher

 

The Lord spoke to me

 “‘My grace is sufficient for youfor my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknessesso that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of ChristthenI am content with weaknessesinsultshardshipspersecutionsand calamitiesFor when I am weakthen I am strong.'” – 2 Cor 12:9

Your greatest need, forgiveness + life, was met in the greatest act of history, the Cross, by the greatest person ever, Jesus Christ. I am your Need-Meet. 

 

life-giving home . february

One of the things I value in conversation is the sharing of resources. I so appreciate it when a friend exclaims, “Hey I think you would love this” and recommends a book, shares a recipe, or gives me new insight on how to get something done that i do every day.

So in an effort to love you in this month of love + in an attempt to engage homemaking together – I am going to share a few of my favorite resources with you.

  1. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

2. Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Books, girlfriend, are life-givers. And a good book gives good life. Francine Rivers fictionalizes the story of Hosea in such a compelling, tender way… you don’t want to miss this treasure. Sally’s book is for children, but every time we read it to our sons, I come away misty-eyed and full-hearted. She sings the good news of Jesus over my soul in such a precious way. In both of these fantastic reads, you hear “Jesus loves you”… Like we talked about in  our LIVE time together. For all of the every day time and each special time you need to hear that truth, go to these books.

3. barkThins  dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt snacking chocolate

4. helloFresh meal plan and delivery service

Need I say more? 🙂 Chocolate is one of those common graces from the Lord that I am so glad I get to enjoy and share. barkThins is a bag of “snacking” chocolate, thin slivers of the good stuff that is (a little too) easy to access. I love to share a piece with my boys after lunch and then savor another bite with some coffee in the afternoon. (Not to mention all of the other times…)

I am only just stepping into the world of meal plan+delivery service but the concept is strong to me. Hello Fresh offered $40 off of my first delivery and I took them up on it! It’s a referral based business, so my sister, who referred it to me, also got $20 off of her next box. I chose the family plan with three meals. In a typical week I plan three meals, so this was a plug and play decision. I am excited to receive my first box this coming Monday and get cooking. The time saved not planning and purchasing the groceries seems like a win! Plus Hello Fresh has an iPhone app, which I appreciate, because I utilize my phone at any point that I can (groceries; to do lists; email; writing blog posts… 😉

5. this quote and idea from the book : Sally writes in Life Giving Home, “I have realized over many years that crafting a culture of love – gracious, sacrificial, validating, forgiving love – requires a loving and generous heart… It also means choosing, again and again, to focus on what really matters in life.” (65)

Who is Love? Jesus Christ. And whoever we are, we are to fix our focus on Jesus Christ. He will gift us with a new heart, a heart like His, loving, gracious, sacrificial, validating, and forgiving…and in Him, we will live out love wherever we are, to whomever the Lord has placed in our lives. Sally writes in the chapter on month of February that loving one another looks like taking special time, celebrating special days, enjoying the every day together with your special people. She shows her reader that incarnational love is in all of these things as well as “keeping house – picking up those messes one more time – is a service of worship to God as we craft a place of beauty and comfort for all who enter our sanctuary of His very presence.” It encourages me so much that picking up toys, wiping down the counter over and over again, pulling up the sheets… all, worship, all praise to the Lord, our Dwelling Place. As she ends her chapter, I wrap up this post, “I can trust Him to transform (LOVE THIS!) all my efforts into the stuff of eternity. Love wins. Love always wins.”

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O Lord, bless the work of my hands, and of my sisters’ hands, as they hold their hands high to worship You, as they hold their hands cupped on precious littles, as their hands hold their husband’s… picking up, putting down, pulling together, putting back into place…. Jesus establish the work of our hands and heart in eternity, that what we do in the here and now might be heaven-worthy. In your Holy Name, Amen.

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“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony…” – Colossians 3:14 ESV

 

 

 

life-giving home . winter time rhythm

“Our rejoicing is this, … that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.—We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” – daily light, January 19, AM / 2 Cor 1:12; 2 Cor 4:7


early morning – I wake up to nurse Haddon. I wake up to begin my quiet time with the Lord. Sometimes I crawl back into bed… but most mornings I continue my quiet time and bible study after laying Haddon back down to sleep.

My men and I begin our day around 7AM. I love listening to them coming down the stairs, and hugging them the first second I see them! I like to cook breakfast, but sometimes they only want cereal. We eat together and read the Daily Light. Coffee is a must.

After Tyler leaves for work, we begin our team work. We clean off the table, empty the dishwasher that washed the dishes the night before, and move the wet clothes into the dryer. We take turns getting dressed for the day. I like it when I remember to play music, and sometimes the music is the boys pretending and laughing.

We begin school with a prayer, thanking the Lord for the privilege to love Him with our mind, heart, soul, and strength because He first loved us. We read books, color pictures, listen to stories, complete our work book pages, and at the end of our almost-hour of formal school, we thank the Lord for a good school day.

It’s only mid-morning … and of course we have a snack! We put on coats and go outside. We might meet friends or run errands.

I like it when we play until lunch time, break for lunch, and then go back to playing. The boys are always re-energized after a good lunch. We pick up our toys + I fold the load of laundry… usually, maybe… we read a story, we slip into bed for a nap. Leland likes to read a big stack of books. I like to rest. or have some dark chocolate. or both. Grafton’s hair curls as he sleeps. My favorite is when I get a nap with Haddon.

Once rest is over, we play! we prep supper! we pace with the baby and greet daddy in the driveway.

Dinner and devotion time is next.. then maybe movie night! perhaps game night! bikes! friends! camp fire! dance party! play and talk and read and color and paint and all of the things we love to do together. We clean up… bath. brush teeth. books. bed our knees in prayer. bed.

whew. we breathe. we smile. we have a couple more hours… of readying for tomorrow. of talking the entire time. of sipping wine and sharing chocolate and being bestest friends. playing guitar and reading the next chapter.

sure – arguments and disagreements, discipline and more arguing are scattered through the schedule. we stray from it and we wrestle with it and we come back together no matter what. messes overwhelm me. I don’t respond to my children the way I know Jesus responds in love to me. I forget the Design; I forfeit His desire. We sin, we confess, we come clean, we start again. Sometimes the entire day is one we are glad to just get through.

but, these are the days. these are them,… and i hope i steward them well… cherish the lives that fill them… glorify the Lord in whatever we are doing… these are the days the Lord has made. we rejoice and we are glad, praising God from whom all blessings flow.

“This is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalm 118:24