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Singing + Celebrating : Grafton’s 3rd Birthday

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday to you!

Happy birthday dear Grafton —

Happy birthday to you!

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Praise God from whom all blessings flow. • Jesus, thank you for our precious Grafton, who is a blessing, a gift, our heritage, our son, brother, and friend.

Praise Him all creatures here below. • Lord God, we as Yours praise You for G’s life and we pray He will soon join us in pure praise of You. May He soon fully fear and follow You, not straying, but sticking to Your Way all of his days. Already he ends his prayers “Hallelujah! Amen.” And we pray he lives Your praise, a strong and mighty praise warrior for God.

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. • Truly Grafton is a gift from You, a gift protected by Your heavenly host. Thank you! Let’s all on heaven and on earth sing together today.

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! • May we raise him well, steward him well in the Gospel, that our son may know You fully and deeply, that Grafton may live for Your Great Name.

Amen! 

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Today we praise God for Grafton, for his precious life, and we praise God for all He has made Grafton, and is making him.

Grafton is instantly sweet and kind, quiet and relationally intuitive. He watches to learn. He continues to be gentle and diplomatic, a good team player. He has best friends “Leland and Samuel” and has a peice of himself missing whenever he is without his brother. He was born a brother, and what a precious God-given position “brother” is. He takes care of Leland, and often that is my charge to him. Instead of simply saying “I love you” which often doesn’t cross his lips, he gives warm kisses and long hugs with his little arms stretched out, wrapped around you. And those blue eyes. And curly white-blonde locks. And pure skin. I would understand if you mistook him for an angel. I was under the same impression when I saw him resting quietly, breathing deeply, in the clear crib at the hospital. And in only a few blinks, a few sleeps, a few steps, many memories  made and much, much laughter, he’s turned three and by God’s grace, we are here to celebrate.

When we celebrate a birthday, we celebrate God’s grace, the gift of life, the person preserved and promised future by Him and in Him. This is why we celebrate so deeply, so joyfully.

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I love this quote from G K Chesterton —

“The first fact about the celebration of a birthday is that it is a way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive. . . . But there is a second fact about Birthdays, and the birth-song of all creation, a fact which really follows on this; but which, as it seems to me, the other school of thought almost refuses to recognize. The point of that fact is simply that it is a fact. In being glad about my Birthday, I am being glad about something which I did not myself bring about.” (G K’s Weekly, 1935)

In being glad, so so glad, for Grafton and his birthday, we celebrate life and something big that we didn’t bring about ourselves.

And we humbly and gladly and loudly sing —

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

And Happy Birthday to you!!!!!

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life giving home . august

29 days ago I began whole30. IF you had asked me 62 days ago the likelihood that I would “do whole30” I would have told you, no… probably not… no. And, if you would have asked me about whether or not I listen to podcasts or sermons or really if I listen to anything other than music, I would have told you “I’m not a good listener; I’m not that cool…

well. give it (almost) 30 days, I suppose.

As I shared with you in my last post, on that long (or maybe to you, short) list of books I recently read through, I read one book about Lent. And as I read it I wanted to figure out a way to engage Lent even though clearly I am behind, calendar year – wise. I was sharing about this book and some of its wealth with my sister, Noelle, and sharing with her specifically that I wanted to try to fast in some way but I really did not know how.

I mean, I am a mom of three little boys, I reasoned. How does one fast?!

She offered up whole30. She said, “Rachel, you can do it.”

And honestly I felt like, well golly, if she thinks I can, well, I think I can. Noelle knows me. and she has done whole30 before. And if she can do it, and she thinks I can do it, well, then, I think maybe she is right.

The other person who motivated me toward whole30 is my mom. A lady who doesn’t typically like a salad, she had just finished a whole30-like re-set diet plan with a coach. Seriously – if she can do it – a person who isn’t into lettuce and doesn’t usually cook, well, I can 😀

Challenge accepted 🙋🏼

I borrowed her book and I made a plan.

I was very motivated because my WHY was not to figure out if  gluten bothered me or if I have a hidden allergy to dairy, but to recalibrate.

recalibrate – to make small changes to an instrument so that it measures / works correctly

We have engaged a couple of major transitions in our life this year and I felt the tug of the Holy Spirit to consider my life. Now my life is not just “having babies” but raising little men. My life is not just “we travel” but we are ministers of the gospel.

The heart, the mind, and the body are inextricably connected, and at all levels I desired recalibration.

Sure, we are already a healthy family. And I was not living in any major, known sin. I didn’t know of any – and still don’t – upsettingly primary theological error in my thinking.

But I needed – and still need – some fine tuning.

Not only have we been through transition, but through His Word and Spirit I sense that we are moving into new seasons of life. And I want to be ready.

I pray for an undivided heart that fears His name. I pray that I actually mean it when I pray for His glory and not my own. I want to sing and say and speak and share the gospel in ways that I have been too afraid, too complacent, too disconnected, caught up into too much sin, self, and stupid to do in the past.

So, I needed recalibrating. It’s funny, because in so many of the books I was reading, the word “recalibrate” would show up. It’s a good verb, after all. And it was the Lord speaking to me through every little jot and tittle. The more-funny thing is that about a year and a half ago I went with a friend to a Beth Moore conference and the theme of the time was “Recalibrate.” It was a powerful event and I can vividly remember many of the scenes from the sessions. However, at the time, a little over a year ago, the message did not deeply resonate with me. To the point, I am pretty sure, because I went looking for them and couldn’t find them, that I tossed my notes (which  now I am sad about, and wish I hadn’t done,..).

But the thematic word stuck with me and here I am a year and a half later, in need of a recalibration, and the Lord is giving it to me in His own way, through other means than my saved notes.

OK so I planned and prepared and entered whole30 day one.

Well, days one through the first weekend were pretty rough. I knew to relax, to not plan to do a lot outside of our home, and I knew that I might feel bad. I did, but not too bad. The hard part were  Tyler’s and my own personal misgivings about whole30 at large.

The thing is – though I was, and still am, happy to employ their method to my own end, we don’t agree with their overall philosophy and this makes it tricky waters.

There’s also the fact that I was tired and grouchy, that I was cooking every complicated recipe I could find, and that my boys watched ALOT of TV in those first four days.

Now, you know what kids and the TV look like, but you may be wondering about our misgivings. or maybe not. But I am going to share them anyways.

In short, the program offers a way to get out of food-enslavement into food-freedom. The pages spell out physiological issues that many people face with food and then propose that one uses food to get themselves out of the problem, out of the enslavement. Well, here’s the thing. Some food cannot save you from other food. You are bigger and better than food and your problems run deeper and are much graver than food. You need something outside of yourself – something amazingly bigger and deeper and grander and something far-better than you are. You don’t need food to save you from food. You need Jesus to save you from sin, self, and Satan… sometimes which emanates itself in psychological food issues and even in being overweight, or too thin. You need the spotless Lamb sent from the Good Father, who Created and who Sustains the Universe. You need someone not to give you a good meal, but to die of your dead soul,… and to come back to life. and that Someone you need is Jesus. Not whole30.

It’s not that you need to stop eating donuts and start eating carrots.

It’s that you need to be saved.

And I needed some soul-sanctification and in order to put my face like a flint to the Lord’s, in order to recalibrate before the Lord, I employed the whole30 method to fast.

Because I don’t not need donuts. I do. not. need. idols. I need the one true God to be The One True God in my life.

and that means me owning up to Reality and bowing down to the Real God.

and this time that means fasting. and this time that means with whole30.

So, like I said. the first few days were rough. rough rough rough. But then I stopped cooking complicated dishes that kept my in the kitchen all day, and I found this helpful blog post – The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Whole30. A nursing mom with a little newborn, she offers up her helpful advice. And I thought, thanks for the advice… and from you. Because, if you can do it, maybe I can, too.

I got through the initial system shock of no sugar and praised God because I actually did have more energy. And when I get hungry, it doesn’t show up in the tunnel-visioned sugar crash of the past (a few weeks ago), but a more “normal” feeling that told me ‘you should eat’. I like water. I like apples. I like almond butter. I don’t miss Coke; I don’t miss pasta. I do miss donuts. Honestly. donuts.

And I understand that in Christ there is freedom to enjoy all food. And I understand that food is a gift to be stewarded, to engage temperately typically, and on occasion, special occasions like birthdays and Christmas, with all of the gusto that the Lord says is only a foretaste of heaven itself! Golly I love a birthday – for celebrating a life and for savoring the cake!

The other practical resource that helped me is the timeline that whole30 provides. I referred to this article so many times in the first two weeks. it’s sort of like having a map for the first time you go somewhere. It’s nice to know that the headache and no-energy will pass and whatever comes next is only for a day… and then hopefully smooth sailing. Even knowing that day 21 can be a time of “food boredom” was helpful, and I planned an extra yummy supper that night. Now, on day 29, I have a gritted-teeth mentality to finish. and to finish strong. and then eat a donut!

(I do want to do the re-introduction, and my plan is to eat a donut, go on a bonafide date with my husband, return to whole30 for a few days, and then do a proper re-introduction like the book outlines.)

Two side notes in my experience with whole30.

  1. girlweek was better this month than the last two months of postpartum girl week. seriously, praise the Lord.
  2. because of girlweek falling right on top of when I was supposed to begin to feel ah-mazing! (According to the timeline) I was tired. but not horribly tired and horribly ornery and hoping to hide in a hole until I was all better. … like I had been the last month. And the month before.
  3. Ok one more. this makes three side notes. once girlweek was over, my energy level (is there a scale?)  was super HIGH! I mean not weird. I was not bouncing off the wall. But I have better, and better sustained, energy throughout the day.
  4. For me, weekends were the hardest. I think it’s mental, and I think there’s in me a deeeeeeply ingrained idea that the weekend is for relaxing, and for treats. Self-indulgent treats.  I have a few thoughts on this. One, that food is a gift, meant yes for nutritional benefit, and also to taste and see that the Lord is good – through wine and chocolate and cake and pasta 🙂 – and I think that self indulgence shouldn’t have a place in the life one confessing to live for Christ. Lord, I confess this to You. Help!

There have been a few helpful products that I have loved to eat during whole30.

  • nut pods unsweetened creamer from amazon . this was a game changer as i planned for whole30. i thought i was going to give up coffee altogether for this month. i cannot think about drinking it black. i am too committed to the creaminess of coffee with cream. So nutpods was grace.
  • trader joes almond butter . i eat an apple with almond butter almost every day.
  • la croix sparkling water . maybe this is why i don’t miss coke. it’s not like coke, for sure, but maybe it’s why.
  • peppers and onions in my scrambled eggs. yum.
  • RXBars. bless you who did whole30 pre-RX bars.

The one big con with whole30 = it’s expensive. so expensive.

maybe not compared to the months before when we were getting food out and grabbing starbucks and eating donuts. 🙂 but it feels so expensive when i go to the grocery store. on the other hand, you can argue the cost benefit, and so i get it and i can, too. but seriously. nutpods and whole30 approved bacon will not be part of our day to day post-whole30 lifestyle because… money.

As I am coming to the end of the 30 days, I want to say to the first four rough ones – it was  worth it. Through misgivings and the weekend, and even through the headache and tired-ness, I am so glad I did it.

I am glad because:

… I do before the Lord sense I am beginning to be recalibrated and set up for the next season the Lord has for my family and me. – to be Home. To be Home in Him. To be in His Word. With His people. Raising my sons. Loving my husband!! Shining brightly His life and love in our home, that it may shine far to the ends of the earth.

… I swelled a lot during my pregnancy with Haddon and ever since, my feet have ached when I get out of bed. The ache is GONE! That is practical reason enough. Praise the Lord.

… My sustained energy level is better. I don’t sugar crash if I am not maintaining my strung out sugar addiction. I think I sleep more deeply … (at first, I slept worse. I don’t know why or if it is related. But it’s true. I was like “huh?!”)

… Because since I started I am glad to finish well.

There is a whole host of tiny and big other reasons I am glad, some I’m sure to find out even through August as I engage the reintroduction.

So in a long post but also in a quick photograph of the last (almost) 30 days, there you go.

As to the “listening to podcasts and sermons” in the first words of this lengthy conversation, I am walking (most) mornings. And when my great neighbor friend Emily isn’t walking with me, I listen to a sermon or lecture. Can you believe it?! Me!! – cool enough to listen to a sermon.

Seriously, who would have thought!? #neversaynever #glorytoGod 💕💕💕

life giving home . july . read

 

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y’all know I am a reader. and I love when someone recommends a good book to me. I want to share with you the books I have been recently reading …

(in the order that I have read / am reading them)
  1. the bible. I am not finished; this is a book cannot be finished. After all, it’s the book of books written by the Living God. With our boys before bed, we are reading with our church’s bible reading plan through the entire bible. It has been great. Sometimes it’s tough; sometimes they fall asleep while we are reading… sometimes we have trouble keeping our own eyes opened. But to read… with grace and the glory that it is, is so good. Think the elephant is too big? That’s why the bible reading plan is so helpful – we read “small bites” each night.
  2. Life Giving Home by Sally Clarkson. I am re-reading this book and am in a small group of girls with whom I meet each month; plus, I have created a Facebook group and a get together once a month on Live. (I know I missed June; we will catch up this week, Lord-willing!)
  3. True Spirituality by Francis Shaeffer. This book is a “filet mignon” of books. When I read Francis, I don’t reply; I just listen and soak in all that I can. The Lord spoke through and used mightily this man and for his work I am eternally grateful. You’ve got to get your eyes on these words. If you read them and ask the Lord to help you understand them, you will be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Praise the Lord.
  4. Ok next – These books I sort of read on top of each other, but I will try to have them in the order that I started them. One of the reasons I love to read books in pairs or even trios is because each of them sort of “speak” to the other… it’s like being in a really really good group conversation.
(((book not pictured, because I cannot find it)))—One in a Million by Priscilla Shirer. I read this book with a friend and did not expect to be blown away, but the Lord used it to speak to me particularly about a big transition Tyler and I were making, and still are making, and I am grateful to the Lord for using this book in my life to confirm the transition He called us into. Confirmation is such a comfort.
  1. Somewhere in here I started to read 7 Women by Eric Metaxes. I read it with the same lady who I read “One in a Million” with. Reading spiritual biographies is so. humbling. so convicting. and so inspiring. I want to be brave and feminine and wonderful and diligent and humble like these great woman… who did not have awesome circumstances or stellar husbands, necessarily, or who got sick and dealt with illness all of their life… but they shared Jesus mightily in their context, and were the hands and feet and heart of Jesus to all of those around them.
  2. … not a book. but we also watched the movie, Zoo Keeper’s Wife and BOOM! this movie is a winner! We left the theater asking the Lord, “Who would you want us to help save?” OH Jesus Make Us Brave!!!!!!
  3. Rooted by Banning Leibsher – not pictured, because I cannot find it. 🙂 Right after I finished One in a Million I picked this book up, thinking Banning was some dead german guy. HAH! Come to find out, He’s the pastor of Jesus Culture. again… so funny to me. So, I read it and the Lord spoke clearly to me, again confirming our transition and building me up in Him, rooting me in Him. This book spoke to me in my season of life in so many ways.
  4. Before I finished Rooted, I began The Good of Giving Up. This book is on Lent, so clearly I am a little behind the game. Only last month did I decide on my “word of the year,” which is something else I hope to share on my blog with you soon. #Lordwilling So, this book is a 100% recommend – it will rock your world in the worst way for Jesus and make you taste and see transformation in Christ, by His grace and for His glory. I want to share with you more about that, too, but again… Lord willing.
  5. Ok then as I was reading those two books, I stacked up Alive in Him by Gloria Furman. I read through her book Missional Motherhood this summer too, which is also not pictured, and I have read Word-Filled Women’s Ministry which she helped to write, and after Christianne, my sister, told me more of her story, and after learning that we are walking through Ephesians this Fall in church, I decided to read Alive in Him. I am not finished with this book, but so far, so weighty. and so good. Gloria Furman exemplifies to me so much of what I have read and been inspired towards… she is a living Christian woman who is BRAVE, who is IN CHRIST, and who is the HEART of JESUS to all of those around her. Plus, she is a writer… so YES!
  6. Unhurried Homeschooler. This is a quick read, a good conversation with a seasoned mom and homeschooler who encouraged me to be unhurried. Which honestly I needed help with way before social media and mom-worry, so having her speak to me through her book in a gracious voice was really nice. I purchased it for a friend, and as we talked about it, we agreed not everything advised in the book is for us, and that’s ok. She’s not Jesus. and her Word is not the gospel. But she is gracious, seasoned, and the book was well-worth it. I follow her on IG now 🙂
  7. Humble Roots. Also I am currently reading this book, only through part one. But let me tell you, girlfriend. IF you have read through all of this other descriptive list of good-reads, this is SUCH A GOOD ONE. She starts out and you are like, are you sure you don’t know me!? She is one of us… she is just like me. And she writes the gospel through creation and through scripture with such… humility… that it is healing and soothing and nutritious. My growing roots need this right now, and again, thank you sister-in-Christ for writing. May I be this brave one day, too.
SO that’s it for now, many of these I am through and I have another stack waiting for me. Again, I share this with you because I love when a friend shares with me a good book. Don’t feel weighed down or tipped over by this big pile of books. (Or, please, if you are also an avid reader, don’t scorn me because your pile is bigger.) The point is not the pile, short or tall. The point is …. books are life giving. You meet people, have one of the best conversations you could because they’ve actually written our and edited their thoughts, and go around the world in a way you just cannot do every day… this is only some of what a book does. In each book, a world, and in each page, so many good gifts from the Good Father. His book is the best… if any book you read, it should be His.

for me, for life

Colossians 3:1-4 . The Message

He Is Your Life

1-2 So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from hisperspective.

3-4 Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

oh yes Lord. yes yes yes. When I say no, I repent, and help me, in Your great mercy, to say  yes. You are Life.

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.

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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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