the turn from 31 to 32

This year has been one for the books. It has been one of the fastest, fullest, craziest, most wonderful, best, sweetest, difficult, slow, relaxed, and contented years I have known.

  1. We welcomed Haddon soon after my birthday, and our lives have changed in all of the wonderful ways life does when you welcome a whole person into your home, into your family. We are so appreciative to the person who invented the pacifier, and we are so glad that Haddon is the hungriest, happiest, humblest, handsomest Haddon we have ever known.IMG_1356
  2. We transitioned local churches. This transition is something we have done/are doing in full confidence before the Lord, and has been frustrating and difficult in ways I didn’t expect and still don’t remember to prepare for. It’s an undoing and a remaking, and for it I am so glad, and over it I have cried so much.
  3. Tyler has traveled less this year, which affects all sorts of things. We are not glad about it but we do like him, so there’s that. I generally hate when someone replies “oh well now that you have three kids…” or “well isn’t that nice!”…. y’all, that’s dumb. We like going out there for the gospel and His Glory and we love it when Tyler gets to play the guitar and be a small part of this massive movement of God called the sharing the gospel with people. But the cool thing is – it’s one on one relationships that Jesus uses to spread His kingdom and we have three young men who need the gospel and their daddy has been home to share it with them and to show it to them, and for that, we are so. glad. 
  4. We are homeschooling – for real. And honestly, I love it. Y’all are crazy for sitting in carpool and for doing all the homework and for making all of the lunches and doing parent/teacher conferences and all. of. that. stuff. but hey! you be you, and I’ll be me. 😉 at home, with my children, comfortable, drinking coffee, sitting in the sunshine.
  5. At the end of the summer, I did whole30, which I probably at some point said I would never do, and realized I have a gluten intolerance (due to severe joint paint in my hands, knees, and feet which goes totally away when I do not eat gluten) which I am sure I hoped I would never have (I didn’t want to be one of those people) but the pain isn’t worth the bread or the pasta, so I’m a gluten-free girl – what can I say (but HELP!).
  6. Noelle cut my hair. and I was soooo nervous but now I love it! What was I waiting for!? It’s not that short hair = perfect hair, but it is that short hair = great for me now hair!IMG_1319
  7. I have realized sometimes done is better than perfect and perfect – like what you and I both know I mean here – is retarded. Life is dynamic, not static, and in heaven, where we who believe in Christ will be most alive, life will be most dynamic, and nothing will stay still and be perfect (like what we both know I mean about perfect ((think, model-home)). the thing is with model homes – nobody lives there. And if you start looking past the perfect plush furniture and on point paint colors you will realize it’s not comfortable, and it’s nobody’s favorite. which takes away from the immediate shiny-star appeal and makes you realize you want to go home. to your home with your stuff and your dust and your dishes and your laundry and your people. and basically life is made of relationships that are not perfect but definitely alive and unconditionally loved, and also cozy and lived in and loved and (sometimes barely) done stuff.
  8. I am in the middle of writing a bible study. Goodness, just typing that makes me question all of my merit. But!, I am so glad to be writing it. I am so happy that the Lord gave me the space, and gave me the girls to do it with me. The whole undertaking is a lot like doing homework. I just do the little bit that I can, when I can, and I just plod through it. I thought – before I started – that it would be a lot more like floating through, magically writing a gleaming glittery bible study. But it’s a lot more like digging in the dirt work. And I am so happy about that, too.
  9. As of the beginning of October, I have a four year old and a 6 year old. I am in this thing. I am a momma. For realz. There is no talking about how I am brand-new at this; no hiding behind some sort of ignorance or naivety. Nope. I am a momma. and not any momma, but one to three little men. I read an article in the latest Magnolia Journal with a question that asked “What sort of mom do you want to be?”… and then encouraged the reader to go be that mom. This is a question I have been asking myself and answering with the Lord over the last little bit. As much as I so admire my friends who are free-falling, driving to the beach without a plan or a care in the world, eating all of the ice-cream and about to fall over with laughter and amazing spontaneity, I am just not her. Because holy moly what if she runs out of gas on the way!? A plan would have helped. And besides that, my plan falls under my principled convictions and fierce passion to live up to those. And my principled convictions are not some trite self-realized, self-identified, self-fulfillment sort of list I have created. They are the very Word of God as the Holy Spirit helps me to understand and apply His Word in my context, and by His upholding grace, I will come under and I will live out of them. This is what I am talking about – I want to be a momma, a woman!, who, if my boys get to decide what gets etched as my epitaph would choose “she sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of the rest was just added on as well”… I want my life, each of my roles and tasks to be about seeking first His kingdom. So I cannot! and pray I will not! be about trite, stupid, and otherwise ridiculous sinful ways and selfish ambition. I want my sons to know I have laid down my life for the cause of Christ, and for His Life to be made manifest in each one of them, little men, big man. I want them to know I did this happily, out of the joy set before me, for their good, and for His great glory. I want them to know with every hug, kiss, hot meal, chocolate chip cookie, and set of clean sheets, that Jesus Jesus and ONLY Jesus is who I want for them. If I haven’t made this clear yet in this paragraph, my face and my heart, my mind and my day in and day out ways are set like a flint toward this desire. Oh God, please, let it be so.IMG_1289
  10. It’s fun fun fun to be married to Tyler. We have been married for ten and a half years and we are realizing one. We are not newlyweds. and two. We are still so young. Ha! It’s fun and funny and the bestest thing ever 🙂 Since we were dating I have been reminding Tyler of my birthday this way : when the clock says 11:06 I tell him it’s my birthday. Thankfully this ridiculous reminder has worked for the last several years; he has not forgotten my birthday yet. IMG_1231
  11. Turning into thirty-two I realize I have only begun, but in all of the ways that I have started to begin, I have set patterns and habits that are forming who I am. Some patterns and habits must be repented of and abandoned, and others must be steadfastly continued. I have begun to realize not only am I not invincible like I felt before I had children, but I am also fragile, fallible, and finite. I am the weaker vessel, and I am a weak vessel. I sin easily; I forget all too often. I am flesh, covered in sun spots and freckles, the beginnings of wrinkles… soft, stretched, and gluten gives me pain. When I haven’t eaten enough or slept enough, I get upset and impatient too fast. And I cannot always control whether or not I have slept enough or… well, I cannot control. I cannot make up the perfect world. Ha. not even the perfect moment. or perfect me. But… I have also realized that if I say I believe that this world is the best of all possible worlds, and I do; and if I say I believe in His meticulous Providence, and I do, then I don’t always have to be on the hunt for the best, and the better, as if it is something to accomplish and gain on my own… I can rest and relax, I can simply wake up today – and see His best, His good, His care, His providence, all around me, for me. So happy birthday to me, and heres to 32.

 

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life-giving home . how to host your own

What started as a “How can I do this?” has turned into a “We can do this in so many ways!” for me, and I want to share with you a few ways you can host your own Life-Giving Home experience.

—> After I read Life Giving Home last spring, I had an aha! moment. The women’s ministry at our church wanted to revive our book club, desired decentralized small groups, and prayed to connect organically the seasoned and younger women at our church. I thought – this book would be perfect!

So with the pastor’s wife and the women’s ministry coordinator we worked out my dream. Through our life classes and the church worship folder we advertised and personally invited all of the church women to sign up for this experience. It was something like we had never done before, so plenty of people had plenty of questions. And once we began to answer them, everyone wanted to be apart of it!

We began in January … we met at the pastor’s wife’s house for a big ole lasagna supper over happy conversation and meeting the ladies who would be our small group throughout the year.

When the ladies signed up, the trio-team got together and prayerfully divided the women into small groups. We tried to have a couple of seasoned women and a few younger girls. These ladies were put together at the January supper, and then went from there – with introductions, discussing when would work best for them to meet next month, and all around chatting excitedly about the new endeavor.

Now, each small groups meets once a month when they want to and where they choose. The month’s chapter serves as a springboard for discussion.

This idea created Titus 2 – style small groups. It’s neat to be able to have a collection of ages, experience, and life stage. Everyone can open their homes so their friends can peek inside. (It’s such a treasure to see how other people live!)

That’s just one of the ways.

I wanted to host a book club with friends and neighbors, and just all of the girls who had taken interest in the Life Giving Home book, but I only saw all of the obstacles. Tyler said “utilize Facebook Live!” I’m so glad I said YES! It’s turned into a fun way to connect with family, friends, and people I am just getting to know, over a great topic – God’s vision of home + homemaking. You can join our Life Giving Home Facebook group here. Invite friends who live in another state to join you for our Facebook Live event — it will be their event, too!

Share the book with a small group of neighbors or friends. Y’all could go on a walk or chat about the book while the kids play.

Another good idea —> Host a “soup and a story” supper in your home and invite neighbors to come enjoy soup together and share their story of how they purchased their home, memories they’ve made, and what their dreams are for the future. Then you can see if there’s interest to continue to get together and use the book as a conversation starter for your get togethers.

Open your heart and open your home! Engage whatever the Lord shows you as you enjoy our book this year.

 

 

 

homeschool, honestly : one-piece life

This school year, I have felt the difference.
Leland, if we were going the public school route, would be up our backyard’s hill at the neighborhood school. I watch, washing the dishes and listening to my boys playing, as parents drop off their littles ones in the morning. I see moms pull up the carpool to collect their small students as I cuddle with my sons on the couch, reading a book. All of these sights, just up the hill.
It’s a difference I’m aware of when all four of us, Haddon tucked into the ergo, a boy on each elbow, walk into the grocery store – the library – the indoor pool – the playground – in the middle of the day. Others’ eyes ask.
I’m happy with our decision and ok with the difference. I’ve heard from other seasoned homeschool moms that we homeschoolers are actually among the majority in North Carolina.
I’m not upset by it, or uncomfortable with it, but it is something.
On the other hand, I grow more happily confident in the rhythm of homeschooling each week. We do, as Ann writes, live one-piece lives. The line between learning and living is a hard one to trace; we can barely make it out. And I like that so much. I want our sons to be life-long learners, and learners who live life well. I have the opportunity personally to cultivate this lifestyle, and to erase the line.
At the same time, I understand that education is a discipline, and subtly but surely, it is one I am almost daily working into the habit of my children. Most days, we get out our school box and go through the pages of math, reading, and writing. And each day, we go through the pages of history, science, literature, poetry, and Scripture and soak in whatever we are able to absorb. Sometimes we draw; sometimes we imagine. Sometimes we ask questions and find answers in another book we’ve been reading. We ask, and listen, we learn and we laugh. We work and we play and we live, together.
Learning. – Living. – Home.
This is our one-piece life rhythm, one I’m realizing is different, one I’m growing in, appreciative and content.
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Leland’s 6th Birthday . the story of his psalm

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I don’t really remember how I thought to choose a psalm for him. But I do remember that once I did choose one – we have prayed it over him, read it over him, and so desire for him to live under the banner of psalm one.

The canvas hung in his nursery before he was even born – the words a prophecy and a prayer over and for him.

And now, after this past year of growing as a young boy and also coming under Christ in new life , our prayer was answered!!, this psalm is our charge and challenge to Leland.

Psalm 1 . The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked

Blessed is the man

who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

nor stands in the way of sinners,

nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

but his delight is in the lawof the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.

 

He is like a tree

planted by streams of water

that yields its fruit in its season,

and its leaf does not wither.

In all that he doeshe prospers.

The wicked are not so,

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

 

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,

but the way of the wicked will perish.

Oh this psalm – the way we pray these holy words for Leland goes something like this – 

We pray Leland is a man who delights in the law of the Lord, day and night. This is the primary reason we teach him to read, to read the Word.

Be assiduous in reading the holy Scriptures. This is the fountain whence all knowledge in divinity must be derived. Therefore let not this treasure lie by you neglected. Every man of common understanding who can read, may, if he please, become well acquainted with the Scriptures. And what an excellent attainment would this be!” – Jonathan Edwards, “The Importance and Advantage of a Thorough Knowledge of Divine Truth,” in Sermons and Discources 1739-1742, 101.

We pray Leland walks in the Way, who is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). 

Oh, when I see a strong tree, a mighty oak… I think of my sons, I think of Leland. I pray deep roots in the banks of God’s life giving Word for his soul, mind, strength; I pray a strong trunk to withstand and stand firm; I pray for lots of long branches full of life, leaves, fruit, shade to provide rest and comfort for others. 

This idea that in all of his activity, his doings, he would prosper… an idea that’s been awfully thwarted by american-pragmatic-progress/health-wealth-and-prosperity-pseudo.gospel… Psalm 90 records a prayer for all of the work of Moses’ hands to prosper… the word connotes that the work would last into eternity and for all of eternity… that the work would be worth it work, work that goes through the fire and remains, pure work, good work, work for the glory of the Lord. work that prospers. This is the kind of, the real kind of, prosperity that we pray for Leland. 

The last part of the psalm reads “the Lord knows the way of the righteous” oh that Leland would be deeply, intimately, always known by the Lord… I pray Leland will be a righteous man. I pray that he will live forever in the presence of the Lord.

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All of this for our six-year old son. All of this for our Leland, who made us parents, who already shows up and proves to be a lion-hearted leader. OH Jesus, all of You for all of our little man… this is our prayer, our gift, for our birthday boy, Leland.

 

{ photo credit – amy noon free photography }

 

 

Tyler’s Birthday . the celebration of our leader

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Praise God from whom all blessings flow – and you, Tyler, are one of my, one of our, deepest, most significant, eternal blessings. You are our fearless, loving, gracious, kind, patient, long-suffering, leader. You answer for us before the throne of God, in confidence of Christ, with wisdom and salvation. You protect, provide, and purpose for us God’s glory and good. So we thank the Lord for you, and we thank the Lord for sustaining your life, for gifting us with you for one more year, and we pray for many, many, many more years. Happy birthday, my love, my leader, my Tyler.

homeschool, honestly : a quick note

One homeschool-mama who significantly inspires me is Ann Voskamp. I mean, she inspires several (million) people, and I am one of them. A few years ago I read this blog post by her and she filled my soul with vision for what our home+school could be like.

She is a homeschool-mama and this year, for her “first day” Instagram post, she included a “happy mama manifesto” that as soon as I could, I copied and pasted and printed and slipped into the front clear part of my homeschool planner-binder.

I wanted to tag each and every mama-friend of mine, homeschooling or not, because the manifesto is for every one of them out there (all the billion of them).

I decided it might be better to share the manifesto-document on my blog – so here it is. Enjoy! (maybe you’ll print it too!)

Happy Mama Manifesto:
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1. Today, even if everything goes wrong, love is always right. There is ridiculous hope in this.
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2. Today, the only thing that has to be written in stone is when to pray. We will just pray at set times & make our home a house of prayer. What else really matters?
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3. Today, there are no emergencies. Life is a GIFT — not an emergency! Only amateurs hurry. So: Say yes to one game every day and laugh loud. No empty-nest mama looks around and wishes she did one more load of laundry.
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4. Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude. My stress management plan will be simple: all stress will have an intervention of giving thanks for one thing out loud. I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times.
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5. Today, I will pray to speak words that make souls stronger. Grace is the only non-toxic air.
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6. Today, I will pray to just be: Consistently consistent. Make rhythms, live routines, wear good habits. Do the same thing at the same time every day — and you kinda change your life.
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7. Today, THIS: The moment when I am most repelled by a child’s behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.
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8. Today, I will hug each of my children as many times as I serve them meals — because children’s hearts feed on touch. I’ll look for as many opportunities to touch my children today as possible — the taller they are, the more so.
Whenever I want to throw hands up, I’ll throw them around someone instead. Holding someone always helps holds things together.
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9. Love is a roof.

Be a shelter, a safe place, just be a roof for your people today.
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10. Today, I will laugh! And I will create a culture of JOY! The only life worth living is a scandalous one: scandalous love, offensive mercy, foolish faith. Let joy live loud in your soul.
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PS I am currently, finally reading her book, The Broken Way: A Daring Path into the Abundant Life, and I have only just begun. Friends, and even my sister, have recommended it to me, and the other day I decided it was time to read it. If you’d like, we can read it together. Just let me know you want to! ❤

 

life giving home . end of summer break

Hi friends!

I just posted a facebookLIVE to end my own sweet summer break. It’s a quick just over ten-minute video that I invite you to watch.

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I mention a few resources that I want to share with you … 

The first one is a beautiful picture book for both children and their parents called Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn

goodbye summer, hello autumn
The hardcover version of this book is $7.49 on amazon right now – pretty great price! for such a good book!

Ok the next resource I shared with you is Sally Clarkson’s upcoming book, Life Giving Table:Nurturing Faith through Feasting, One Meal at a Time (you can pre-order it on Amazon for $10.99 right now) What a great read to ready your heart for the upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas?!

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Third, I mentioned Magnolia Journal – Fall 2017, which is wonderful, and after have receiving the entire year, I completely recommend the annual subscription. In this edition, the theme is gratefulness and one of the articles outlines how to host friends and enjoy table-time together. How great is that!?

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So already you can tell I love a good read – whether a children’s book, a book for me, or a magazine.

If you haven’t grabbed the study guide that partners with Sally’s book, here is a link for that – I have found reading through this and at least thinking about the questions is really helpful for me to take in the information and actually apply it to where I am in life.

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…Will we take time to “taste and see that the Lord is good?” …

Heroism blossoms from roots of humility… and this book convicted me to be brave right where I am.

 

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This worth-it read encouraged me to hunker down, be humble, and be home.
IF you can go to Houston, GO! and I (almost) KNOW you can give – and this is one of the many good ways to give – click here for the full link 

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Ok so we are rolling and you are enjoying the video I made to end our summer break, to get back into our book, and to continue on to the finish line with this book, with living intentionally in your space, with the people God has graced you with – whether that be a college dorm room with some room mate and hall mates or whether you live in a sprawling home by the sea (what my dreams this side of heaven are made of… 😉 … we can live seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and let Him take care of the rest.

I talk about our home’s birthday season, and how we want to celebrate Mount Family Day in March, which is our wedding anniversary month and the Month that the Mount family began… almost eleven years ago! Woohoo! There are a few blog posts throughout this blog about birthdays and about our anniversary that I invite you to read as you have time.

All of the mentioned resources are to serve you and to help you. They are not to overwhelm you or to pressure you into something that isn’t for you in this season. Again, we seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and by the Power of His Spirit and under the holy authority of His all sufficient Word, we seek HIM and we let in whatever the Lord would have for us and we don’t engage what the Lord wouldn’t have for us. This is freedom that the Lord gifts us with and by His grace and for His glory we go for it, girlfriend!

For the last resource, I mentioned how Ann Voskamp’s recent post, which has come out of a crisis time for her, and she, a heroine, is responding in the gospel and sharing it with us, praise the Lord.

Here is a link to her Instagram account and here is a link to the full blog post.

 

“Most of this might ever have been at all, so why blithely miss the miracle of it all?”

– Ann Voskamp 

Goodbye, summer – Hello, autumn. We welcome this season seeing His goodness and savoring His glory, with eyes fixed on Him, with hearts resolved by His grace to be grateful. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.