turn all the way

It’s February and it’s the month of love and it’s the longest-shortest month of the year and I want to write about love but I realize maybe I don’t know anything about love and what can I learn in only a few long-short weeks?

Really, what is love? really… love is….

and I think 1 Corinthians 13.

But I don’t know what it’s talking about and I can’t recite the verses and I may just be the opposite of love and I can’t take it so I don’t look . I don’t read . I don’t memorize . I don’t recite . How in the world – the months – these weeks – for this special day can I  live out these scriptures?

I must turn.

I must turn all the way.

I’ve gotta turn all the way away from my sin all the way to the Savior and re.pent.

Repent… repentance isn’t only turning away from sin but it’s turning to the Savior.

I’ve gotta remember…

I’ve got to remember He preached “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Remember He called “Follow me…”

Remember the disciples immediately left their nets, their boats, their work, their father, and followed him (These grown men left everything).

Remember He commands “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

Remember He answers “The greatest command is this: love God with all of who you are and love your neighbors as yourself….”

Remember He gives Himself so that they and you and me could have everything.

This is the way . the truth . the life . of love.

Jesus loves you and me this I know.

He loves you and me so much in this way that He gives His life so that you and me sinners dead can have life abundant and eternal.

Maybe that’s when I can know love…. when I seek first the Kingdom of God and I follow Him,  I turn all the way to Him, maybe then the Way the Truth and the Life leads me into His love?

Maybe this is when I love Him with my all and I am able to love others the way I love myself…

Maybe love is wiping off shelves and wiping away tears and putting everything back in its place. Maybe love is hot coffee and sweet chocolate and strong words and sweet compassion. Maybe love is looking into his eyes; hugging her neck; choosing to turn all the way so that you can hold that person’s hand and help them into the kingdom of Heaven with you, into abundant and eternal life together.

Love is this. Love is not pink and purple construction paper and red and white candies. I might like those things but they are not love.

Love is this. Love is not pretty and polite and polished and put together but ugly and painful and messy and unraveled and falling to pieces, and being made whole again by Love Himself.

Love is this. Love is not sitting on a throne beside Him but coming under the Cross with Him. Love is the death burial and resurrection of Christ for you and Love is taking up your Cross and following Him.

Love is not a set aside day for a dinner date but all personal preferences set aside so that my minutes, days, weeks, months, years and life prefer someone else besides me, so that my life turns you and her and every person I hug all the way around to Jesus.

Jesus loves you this I know

and Jesus is love this I know

for the Bible tells me so.

When we are little and sinful and silly and weak

He is lovely and Sovereign and Good and strong

and Jesus is Love.

And maybe this year I will lean in a little more and turn all the way around to Love and hug your neck in a way that turns you all the way around in love to Him… and maybe we will be transformed by Love that casts out fear and cares for all of our burdens and why not now?

Love Came Down

written a couple of years ago for the devotion I gave at my church’s women’s ministry Christmas party, I share this with you today…

Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year! Jesus’ birthday is worth celebrating all month – all year – for our entire lifetime, and on into all of eternity! We celebrate Christ. We celebrate our family, our friends, our dreams come true throughout the past year. We celebrate that our hope rests in Christ, that Christ is our family, He is our friend, He is our dream come true. Christmas is the holiday where we celebrate the immaterial becoming material. John 1 declares, “The Word became flesh,” and aren’t we so humbly grateful!? He dwelt among us; He sympathizes with us. The real magic of Christmas lies in the great reality that this holiday is when we celebrate that IN Christ, the spiritual and material MEET.

This is the joy of the season, this is the good news, this is the laughter and the paradox and the earth-shaking magic of Christmas. The infinite Word became a physical baby. We celebrate the immaterial becoming material as we decorate our trees, as we hang garland. We celebrate the greatest Gift as we give gifts to each other. We celebrate that He is our favorite as we share our favorites with each other. We celebrate that He is our family and our friend as we share meals and mugs of hot chocolate with friends and family. We celebrate because He is worthy of our celebration. He is our Christ. He is our celebration. He is our holiday. He is the Savior of the World!

You know, I was thinking, as I asked the Lord what He wanted to share with you at this special Christmas party, what is it that brings these women together? I mean, we are each so different in so many ways. Some of us are tall; some of us are short. There are older women here and there are younger women here. There are women with boisterous personalities and women with quiet dispositions. There are women gathered here that are interested in cooking, and women that are interested in going out for dinner (and probably all of us enjoy a little of both!). There are women here who have a love for fashion; there are women here who have a love for the outdoors. We are showing our individuality tonight as each one of us brought a different gift to exchange. I think it unlikely, and truly remarkable, if any one of us brought something that someone else brought too. Truly, we are all individuals unique from each other.

The unity of the Spirit and His special bond of peace and our Savior IS our common ground. We are equal at the Cross. If you are a believer, then you are a child of the Father of lights. And all of us who are believers are His children. We each have been made and have been redeemed to the glory of God the Father. And His glory is what brings us together.

His glory is what unites our hearts and enlivens our conversation. His glory is what ignites and sweetens our friendships. His glory is what ultimately crossed the bridge and closed the gap between heaven and earth. Christ is the Bridge. Christ offers us His loving salvation, closing the divide between God and humanity. Christ pours His love into our hearts, bringing close together everyone who believes. The glory of God, the sweet love of Jesus, the unity of the Spirit is who brings each one of us together with each other tonight.

We each admit that in no way does anything else or anyone else save. We confess that Christ is the only and the best Savior. We believe in our hearts and proclaim with our lives that Jesus Christ is Lord – Our personalities are not lord; our dispositions and our interests are not lord, but Christ is our Lord. And under the banner of Christ, we are sweet sisters.

I pray that tonight the Lord will root us and ground us in a special way in the love of the Lord. I pray that we will know, because we have believed, because we have tasted and seen, the love of our Savior. I pray this to Him who is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine or think or hope.

Colossians three verse fourteen reads, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” As we dress ourselves this Christmas in fancy dresses and red polished fingernails, as we engage with family and friends and neighbors and the post office workers, let’s put on love. Let’s allow Christ to bind everything together in perfect harmony. Let’s open ourselves up so that the Lord can pour in and shine forth His glory in our lives.

Maybe you are wondering, “How I am supposed to practically ‘let the glory of the Lord shine’ in my life? How should this really look in my own day to day?”

Girls, how are we to put on love if we do not simply let Christ dress us in His love?

So, let’s sit back. Perhaps you like to close your eyes and rest, perhaps you would like to sip your hot drink or snack on a cookie – just relax, girl, and soak in His sweet love for each one of us, for me, for you. Let’s sit back and listen as I read over you and to you Scripture that tells us who He is and who we are in Him.

Let’s begin in one of my personal favorites, Colossians.

Paul tells us of Christ in Colossians :

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the Head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

And then, in John, Scripture reads :

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

To the church of Ephesus, Paul declares – and the Holy Spirit declares to us today:

That you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—AND AS IF THIS WERE NOT ENOUGH – and [He] raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Oh how He loves us, girls! We were completely worse off than we ever could imagine AND His love is greater and better and fuller and wider and deeper and higher and more wonderful than we could ever dared to hope!

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

He calls us His children!

And when our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts.

And whenever your heart condemns you, God is greater than your heart!

Let’s turn our ears and our hearts to hear the song of love that the Lord sings over us:

The LORD your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.

Sweet sisters, let’s rejoice in Lord! :

At this truth, I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,

Let’s respond to His love, like Mary, mother of Jesus, did after she received the message from the angel announcing the soon coming of the Son of God:

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

This is the truth, this is the Good News for our hearts:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Jesus is our Savior. He is our Love. Let’s live this simple song in our day to day “Jesus loves me, this I know.” This is the reality, women, that Jesus loves us – not that we love Him. Romans tells us that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. John 3 tells us that He loved us so much in this way that He died on the cross for us.

He has taken on the wrath of God against our sin. Our iniquity, our shame, our sin was laid on the Savior of the World, on Christ, on God who became flesh.

And in Him we live, love, move, and have our being.

In Him, we put on Love.

In Him, we dress in Righteousness.

In Him, we are united.

In Him, we celebrate.

In Him, we wish each other a Merry Christmas!

Lord, we pray that you will suspend our disbelief. We pray that like little children on Christmas morning excited and glowing over their new gifts, that we will be excited and glowing and bubbling over with happiness at the magic of Christmas, over the gift of Christ. We pray that we will take in and know, we will believe and respond in and to your Love for us. We pray that we will rejoice in Your love. We are just falling in love with You as we ponder that while we were children of wrath, while we were still sinners, while we were in the grave, You died FOR us, in our place; you took on the wrath; you made us children of your precious Father; you gave us New Life, your Life, you are Life.

Let us sensibly respond to the fact that You love us by loving You back. Thank you for your intervening love, for your restraining love, for your lavish love, for your saving love, for your amazing love. And we are falling in love with you, Father. We are putting on your love. We are letting you dress us in your Love. We are realizing that we are more loved than we ever dared hope. And as we awaken to You, Lord, we celebrate You, Son of God and Son of Man, Savior of the World, truly our Holiday, truly our Christmas. – Amen.

learning : celebrate life

 

 

Trembling, I brought Tyler the pregnancy test and the instructions to prove to him, yes, I did it right. The test read ‘positive.’ I was only weeks into our first pregnancy. We had waited and prayed and prayed some more, and January 2011, the Lord revealed His answer to us. Our child, prayed for.

The very same day, we announced the news to our family. Like the super bowl had been won by their favorite team, our family exploded into cheering and congratulations.

I was 6 weeks pregnant.

The first lesson I remember the Lord teaching me is this – celebrate life. This life, this teensy baby, is a precious gift from me, who is Life. So, celebrate life.

For us, we celebrated this baby’s life through sharing the wonderful news with our family and friends. We prayed in earnest for this little love. We prepared for the baby’s arrival, even only weeks in, before we knew the baby’s gender.

And we celebrated life as I was laid out on the couch, sick sick sick with life filling my body. There were many days when Tyler would come home to me in the same place he had left me, the couch. When he asked what I had done that day, I replied, “Kept our baby alive!”

Showers were hosted; presents waited on the little. Walls were painted and bedding covered the crib.

I remember sitting outside of Starbucks, decaf (first child,… 😉 latte in hand, talking with Tyler about what we would name the child if she was a girl; what we would name the child if he was a boy.

And the next day we found out – boy! and we celebrated some more.

We shared his name, Leland Tyler, with our family and friends, and strangers for that matter, inviting everyone who would to join in our celebration, to join us in praying for this life growing inside.

9 steady months later, our 9lb 1oz 22in big little newborn baby arrived. And we celebrated! We shared meals with family, we took turns holding cuddly dollbaby. We rocked and fussed and cooed and snapped pictures with our iPhones.

At one week old, we had a mini-birthday party. For heaven’s sakes, by God’s grace, we had made it a whole week!

And even today, we celebrate, the Lord of life, Life Himself, and Leland’s life and now sweet Grafton’s life, because life is a gift. Life is the gift.

 

Happy Easter Monday!
Happy Easter Monday!

 

 

remembering & living

This is my boys - moving - and me from Palm Sunday - we are happy and we are dressed and we made it to to church sort of on time :) to celebrate Jesus
(I borrowed this snapshot from my Instagram account ) // my boys – moving – and me from Palm Sunday – we are happy and we are dressed and we made it to to church sort of on time 🙂 to celebrate Jesus

 

One of the most difficult challenges that I daily face is forgetting – forgetting the good, forgetting the sweet and pleasant and purposed – and then I am all the of the sudden derailed by the bad, bitter, unpleasant, and thwarted.

The Lord calls us to remember, remember that He is the Lord your God, remember His commands and obey them, remember in order to LIVE.

With Mother’s Day soon, I want to chronicle some of the lessons the Lord has taught me over the past 40 months that I have been a mommy. I want to remember the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord in my life through this new-life that I am living. I want to remember all that the Lord is making me – NEW – and all that He has given me in Christ and through my sons. I want to remember, and to live.

I chronicle some of my lessons learned because I want my children, as they grow, to know their mommy loves them and loves that being a mommy is a life for a life. I want this to be for the day when each one of them hopefully walk through the threshold of parenthood. And I want this is for you – to encourage you, to remind you of the Lord and His goodness, His faithfulness, His providence — to Him be all the glory and praise and adoration.

 

That [our lives ] may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. –  1 Peter 1:7

Worth Celebrating

The board, with chalk lettering done by our close friend, Christin (check her out at Southern Sugar Bakery), welcomed everyone to our party!
The board, with chalk lettering done by our close friend, Christin (check her out at Southern Sugar Bakery), welcomed everyone to our party! {photo – always autumn studios}

Happy Birthday, Leland! — With gratitude we remember, and with great anticipation we look forward to all of the days to come.

I must say, this is the foremost reason we LOVE to celebrate birthdays – we celebrate the Lord, who is Life, who is the Giver and Sustainer, the Savior and Sanctifier, the Healer and Lover of life.

And along with that, life can get crazy sometimes. And be mundane on other days. Raising children is about the hardest thing. SoI think it’s vitally important – to give and to get a glimpse of heaven and all that the Lord has for us in abundant life here and eternal life on the other side of the sun – to set aside days, to plan and to execute a CELEBRATION, a special day, a party. I think the Bible shows us this way, I think Jesus exemplifies it at the wedding reception where He turns water into wine, that we need to enjoy, to celebrate, to party.

When we celebrated Leland’s birthday with our family and friends a couple of Sundays ago, we celebrated each day the Lord has preserved his life; the reality that the Lord has grown Leland in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man (which is also our prayer for him as we enter the third year of his life).
We celebrated the hope that we have in Christ that Leland will be saved, that he will live to the glory of the Lord, and that he will enjoy many days this side of heaven, and all eternity on the other side.

God uses simple bread and wine to show us Christ’s precious body broken and blood spilled; God tells us to look at the flowers to display the way in which He will provide for us. Again and again in Scripture, we are shown BIG realities in bite-sized portions.

Which is why I think a simple party with family and friends is the perfect way to celebrate life so grand.

Inspiration for the theme of our party was simple – Leland loves his moo-cow. So, naturally, I decided we would have a farm party.

I started with the invitations and the place.

I found this invitation through Pinterest on Etsy - It was simple to order it and I loved working with the lady (I hope to order Christmas cards through her). I had them printed on 100 lb cardstock at a local copy place. It is definitely a  less expensive way to get great looking invitations.
I found this invitation through Pinterest on Etsy – It was simple to order it and I loved working with the lady (I hope to order Christmas cards through her). I had them printed on 100 lb cardstock at a local copy place. It is definitely a less expensive way to get great looking invitations.

Leland is 100% boy and loves to be outside. So, with the farm-theme in mind and the fact that anything at a park is better, we chose to do our party at a property complete with a playground, big open green grass and blue sky, a picnic pavilion, and a horse pasture.

The Pavilion {photo - always autumn studios}
The Pavilion {photo – always autumn studios} :: When I start a guest list, it doesn’t take long to come up with a great group of people. Our big family plus friends and babies makes for a fun gathering!

With a date and place decided, I mailed invitations to family and friends.

Then, I started to think about food and fun. Let me say this :: At this point in party planning, I get all of the girls in my family involved. I cannot – nor do I like! – to do anything by myself. DIY = waaaaaay overrated. But everyone doing it together? = that’s my kind of fun. Plus, I’m great with seeing the big picture, but not so wonderful with implementing every little tee-niny detail.

Wanting to do easy-to-grab snacks, I looked to Pinterest for inspiration (click here and you can see my inspiration board).

Here’s what I – well, we – came up with. {photos – always autumn studios}

Pigs in a Blanket :: we decided to use galvanized trays and buckets in keeping with our farm theme to serve the food
Pigs in a Blanket :: we decided to use galvanized trays and buckets in keeping with our farm theme to serve the food and we covered the tables in red & white gingham table cloths
When I asked Tyler’s grandmother to make a birthday cake, all I said is, ” think I would like it to be white.” Well, Grandmom OUTDID herself! She searched all over for the farmer figurines, drew and cut out the red tractors with inspiration from the invitation, and even wrote “Happy Birthday Leland” on the top. Plus, it tasted good! 😉
Cow Krispies :: My sister made these delicious treats, which were quickly devoured // I asked the etsy shop owner if she would make food labels that coordinated with the invitation – didn’t she do a great job!? I just loved working with her and the graphic designs that she produced.
I think these little party plates are just so fun!
I think these little party plates are just so fun!
The Watering Hole
The Watering Hole :: We served simple Country Time lemonade and water. I brought gallons of water and daddy mixed the lemonade in the serving pitcher. Below the table sat a cooler with water bottles on ice.

We also served…

Scarecrow Crunch trail mix

Pretzel rods or “lumber”

Haystacks

Oreos, better known as “tractor wheels”

*

Now for the fun. Since a playground, plenty of wide open space and green grass, plus a horse pasture right next door with friendly ponies coming up to the fence wasn’t enough, I mentioned to Stephen, my brother in law, “Wouldn’t it be neat if we could do tractor rides at Leland’s party?”

And the next thing I knew… we had a tractor for tractor rides!! (Thank you Stephen for saying “why not!?”, Jim for asking Bob, and Bob for having a tractor!!)

A vintage Farmall tractor, the children were pulled along on a trailer bed
A vintage Farmall tractor, the children were pulled along on a trailer bed
The children loved just looking at it and comparing their height with the height of the big tires.
The children loved just looking at it and comparing their height with the height of the big tires.

a farmall tractor

The experience was complete with tickets, also made by the sweet lady at papernoted.
The experience was complete with tickets, also made by the sweet lady at papernoted.
tractor ride
Tractor Rides!! :: Poppop (Tyler’s dad) driving the tractor
we have a philosophy -- the more the merrier! -- so we piled on as many as we could to sit and ride and enjoy together the tractor ride!
we have a philosophy — the more the merrier! — so we piled on as many as we could to sit and ride and enjoy together the tractor ride!

And if all of that fun wasn’t enough, we had a piñata, too! It’s cute because Leland was watching Curious George one day, which is his fav, and the little children were having a birthday party. Leland was cracking up laughing at the kids hitting at the piñata. When I asked him if he would like a piñata at his birthday party, which I hadn’t really mentioned anything to him about it otherwise, he said with great enthusiasm, YES! So, we did 🙂

Gotta Love Amazon :: This little fella came to my doorstep, and then we filled him with confetti and candy. The children loved it and the sweet treats served as our party favor :)
Gotta Love Amazon :: This little fella came to my doorstep, and then we filled him with confetti and candy. The children loved it and the sweet treats served as our party favor 🙂 (link to amazon)

We also enjoyed …

big bubbles with big bubble wands

swinging, sliding, and the sandbox

tossing bath and forth a football and frisbees

seeing the horses

I really hoped that the horsies would come say hey to the children, and the friendly guys didn't dissapoint!
I really hoped that the horsies would come say hey to the children, and the friendly guys didn’t dissapoint!
Leland, climbing the fence to visit the horses
Leland, climbing the fence to visit the horses

*

Decor helps us to taste and see that the Lord is good, y’all, so we didn’t forget about that!

table decor
the table decor came together with much heartful help from the ladies in my family
IMG_8770
happy birthday!!
we even had a mini tractor!
we even had a mini tractor!
Centerpiece
southern cotton in a mason jar on picnic check tablecloths
table decor
i really wanted farm – not autumn – and i think we accomplished it

There are a couple of other detail-ish things that we did for the party…

outhouse
it [almost] seems better to use a port-a-potty when you have a cute sign on the door 😉
IMG_0501
with kids you never know what you’ll need, so i packed full a tin of supplies and let everyone have at it

Whether you celebrate with a big ole party like we had, or a cupcake and a candle, it’s important to celebrate. It’s good for our souls; the Lord made us for celebrations. That’s why we like them so much! And we certainly have reason to celebrate – Christ. in us. the hope of glory.

the birthday boy!
the birthday boy!! happy Birthday, my Leland-love

new mommyhood

a friend of mine who watched me grow up just had her first baby, a boy. and what a world of new it is! don’t we all know it, mommies?

i asked her what she had been learning in the last two and a half months, and i don’t know what i expected, but i so loved her reply that i wanted to share it with you.

i remember feeling and thinking these things along with her and i am sure you are familiar with these truths that she shares, too. as we do become familiar with the truth of the Lord, let His Word transform, train, and teach us how to be the godly women He so dreams of us being.

Here is her reply …

You asked what I have learned, and so far this is what God has revealed to me…

  • I am a great sinner who is in desperate need of a Savior.  I am human and frail and very prone to selfishness.  But despite all of that, He has chosen to bless me with an amazing husband and beautiful son.  I am so undeserving but yet incredibly grateful.  I look at both of them and the life we have and I’m overcome with emotion and love.  He is truly faithful to His children.
  • I find the most joy and fulfillment in caring for my family.  I enjoy meeting their needs and thinking of ways to bring a smile to their faces.  Caring for them gives me a sense of purpose that I’ve never experienced before.  Dendy and I have spent a lot of time talking about my role and what we want the next few years to look like.  We’ve come to the conclusion that my part is better served in our home and not as much in the workforce.  So, we have made some financial goals that we want to achieve in the coming months, but when those are met, I will be staying home with Mason.  I can’t express how thrilled I am to write that.  I will plan to pick up a few hours a week with interior design/kitchen and bath consulting but ultimately Mason and our home will be my priority.  I am already seeing how God is honoring that decision with bringing in additional financial resources for us to accomplish our goal quickly.
  • Being a mother has taught me that I am limited in what I can accomplish and I can’t do it all, so I must do what is most important.  I’m arranging my time differently and I’m able to clearly see what is most necessary.  Small tasks can wait but Mason’s care, and serving my husband are what matter most.  And, I LOVE it!
  • My greatest calling is to pray for them.  For Mason to grow in wisdom and to be a man of honor, integrity, and to have God’s favor.  For Dendy to become the man that God intends him to be and to come to a saving knowledge of His Heavenly Father’s love for him.  It’s an honor and privilege to pray for them and one I don’t take lightly.  You wrote in one of your blog posts that the people in our home are our greatest mission and I think that is so true.

 

CSLEWIS

precious life lives here

precious life

I was in a woman’s home this morning – a wife of one, a mommy to five almost grown children. She commented, “Just look at all of these things!” – lying around here, cluttering the counter, filling the floor, and otherwise basically taking over the home.

I told her not to worry. I mean, I’m the oldest of five. Certainly I understand.

And then I remembered a time when I adamantly announced to Tyler that we were going straight home from church to de-clutter our home. He looked at me like I had three eyes. With a calm, loving-patience voice he told me, ‘Rachel, we have three people who live in our home.’

Wise man. Wise words.

Now, listen, you may at this point be thinking – both of these women are crazy. Of course in a house filled with seven people plus and dog and it’s Christmas this month, things are going to be taking over the home.

And this young mom who thinks her husband is wise informing her that there are in fact three people not only two (like it had happened a day ago) living in her house must be a very simple, stupid little one.

But the thing is! ….things represent people. When a house becomes a home, it’s because people live there and clutter it with their things. When life starts multiplying and baby grows, things grow in the corner, too.

And those things indicate that precious life lives here.

I know that people have a tendency to love things more than other people; I know people have a tendency to make anything that sits still for seven second their god. Now that’s a problem. But it’s not the things’ fault. It’s the person’s idolatry-problem’s fault.

For the beautiful side of it all, things show that life is on the move. Piles and baskets and trashcans and shopping bags show that movement is all about us.

I for one think this is funny and ironic and even weird that I am the one writing this – and even embracing THINGS – because I have a no junk drawer policy, I LOVE to throw the things away, and I am not a huge lover of things.

But I do love family. And I really like the big ones. Because they’re funnier and remind me that my big family wasn’t totally crazy. When I plan a party, I have a more-the-merrier policy, always wanting to invite everyone I can think of. And I do love people going in and out and life happening all around me. So I suppose if all of that life requires things, then I’m ok with it. Maybe even a little happy.

Now when I step on a toy, pick up socks, clear plates, throw out candy wrappers, or twist not to bump into someTHING, I hope a smile and a prayer for whoever’s thing that is will be my response.

Because precious life lives here.