children may just teach you your own childishness

and we are all just children. the all of us here.

children.

yes, there’s a reason we’re not called God’s “adult-children.” and having children of your very own will teach that better than any writings or vocalizing on the subject.

children scream

because when those days come we get to hear God’s words through our mouths and watch our reactions in the faces of our children.

we question their refusals and rebuttals.

their disobedient acts and their flagrant disregard.

and disrespect.

their wandering hearts and their fickle emotions.

pirate tuck

we see it all.

i see it all.

i feel the hurt of it and the anguish. the desperation to get them to understand that what i ask of them is ultimately for. their. good. 

they don’t see the tomorrow that we see. a day filled with adventures and plans – which in turn requires a good rest the day prior in order to enjoy the activities of the next to their fullest.

and there is no reasoning  with a toddler.

we are asking them for something that is severely precious. anguishing to relinquish. and guarded ferociously.

their trust.

i am honestly not quite sure why we haven’t obtained it yet.

you’d think after all of the middle of the night feedings and diaper changes… the stroking of sick backs… the cleaning of sheets and clothes… and the fact that no matter how long it takes to get a meal made, they will still get fed… that we would have earned the right to be trusted by our children on all accounts.

without question.

despite all of the provisions and all of the gifting. there is a lack of trust.

of complete trust.

perfect trust.

and the belief that the child’s way will yield the best results. better than those of the parent. yes, that.

Tuck leap

you’ve seen a tired child. i’ve seen a tired child. that middle of the day meltdown where it’s so ridiculously obvious that poor kid is exhausted out of its mind- trying to control the laughter- while at the same time running down how to actually convince that child of the fact. you as the parent, or caretaker, or just keen adult observer, know this child’s needs.

most children don’t think they need sleep though. most fight it. i have one who viciously fights it.

i’m talking this kid gave up morning naps when he started to crawl. at five months.

he gave up afternoon naps when he started to walk. at eleven months.

and we did cry it out. sleeping in bed with me for nap-time. you name it, i most likely tried it.

he would scream for fifteen minutes. pause for one. then scream for fifteen more. and repeat.

for over an hour. 

he probably could have gone longer. but i couldn’t.

daddy Liam snuggle

there’s no reasoning with a baby. or a toddler. my kids aren’t at the other ages yet. but i don’t hold out much hope. because when i reflect back at my own actions with my own Heavenly Father, how much worse am i than them?

because i can understand not fully trusting another fallible human being.

but the Creator of the Universe? the One knitting together of DNA into marvels? miracles and life abounding from His touch? and my very breath evidence of His very Grace? what is the reason for not putting my trust wholly in Him and His Holiness?

why haven’t i been able to teach my heart that the more i seek the Joy in Christ, the more i will be in-Joy. en-joy my life. my children. this grace gift given at highest cost?

mirroring my attitude of child to the King back in my mind- i see all too well the screaming for my longings and fleeting desires. all the while He stands bent over stove and agonizing over what He is making for my life to become.

with calm voice and gentle hand, He repeats to me, “I am working all these things together for your good. for My purpose.” (Romans 8:28 paraphrased)

Liam toss

we teach our children to ride a bike with training wheels. looking to the day when the training wheels come off and the child flies off on two wheels and a grande feat accomplished.

one of the firsts.

and not the lasts.

us parents are already looking to the next.

we labor over the learning of letters and numbers. singing alphabets and counting to ten… so they can write their names and count their ages. for starters. 

why then do we not believe that Christ is working in us? that every refining moment has a purpose-  equipping us- readying us- for when we need those tools we will also need to know how to use them.

that is what this life is.

all moments that lead to deeper and more. all purposed and planned. diligently. intricately.

and we are meant to enjoy it all.

trusting in Him. naming the grace-gift of this life. and its moments.

even when our children are red-faced and refusing to rest their weary selves. even those moments can be a refining fire.

 

tuck's lashes

so may i encourage you as i remind myself- to not miss the opportunity to be refined. it may not be what you are wanting. but it may be what you are needing.

(a good way to tell when you are in the midst of this? when you feel like throwing a tantrum yourself. generally that means you are being told to obey a Father who isn’t acquiescing to your requests. and instead insisting that He knows what is for your best. And isn’t that just so incredibly good? Hard, yes. but GOOD.) 

where vision and passion mix

i dream big. it’s true.

some may say i dream too big.

that i catch a vision for something and before you know it i’ve made it something entirely too unattainable.

yes, some may say that…

call me crazy but i’m under the impression that where God gives passion, He provides a path, and will enable the impossible.

 

i have a list of “unattainable”s.

i have a vision of being a part of the ending of human trafficking. the abolition of slavery. everywhere.

for it to be done. finished. over.

… of witnessing the end of abortion. on a global scale.

and i know that there will come a day where evil and sin will be no more. the last breath of Satan will be taken and God, His truth, His love, His mercy, His justice will be all that exists.

oh sweet GLORY. knowing that brings peace.

but it doesn’t bring complacency. because His Kingdom is now, here, and we are the church.

so we are called to action.

we are called to “Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.” (Micah6:8)

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and God loves to make the unattainable attainable. by His power. working all things together for our good and His glory.

so why not dream big?

as a body we have dreamt of serving the impoverished. we are making clean water attainable, providing shoes for children’s feet, coming along side of people groups and helping them learn how to care for their children, how to make businesses that thrive and provide. we have built orphanages and adopted children. reunited children with their parents. brought them to forever homes. we are setting captives free and giving clothes and food to the homeless. providing for the widows. all. through. HIM.

so why not dream big?

why not see the places that have now been given access to clean water and dream about bringing them a system in which they can grow gardens for their communities in towers of water? towers that use 10% of water the produce would normally use to grow… saving water, providing food.

okay so maybe that’s a big leap to make right now…

but what if these same towers could be used to cripple the mega markets? because we have problems in this country too. children are facing health issues like never before and the majority of those issues can be linked back directly with what they are putting into their bodies. food off the shelves of stores that shouldn’t even be there.

foods that are illegal in other countries because of their ingredients, our children are pumping into their bodies on a regular basis.

and even when you find a product that is “good,” it turns out to be produced by a morally and ethically corrupt company.

i recently looked up my laundry detergent. ALL “free and clear” and what i found was this: the product itself was not harmful. it was actually a “10” on the scale of unsafe to completely safe to use. but then there were the moral and ethical scales of the company that it was produced by. those numbers were much lower. much lower.

it’s purchasing consciously. purchasing with a purpose. caring enough to not support a morally and ethically corrupt company that you are okay with paying a couple dollars more for laundry detergent.

so what if we decide to purchase purposefully?

 

jaymartin quote

what i learned about these “tower gardens” though is that they don’t cost more. you actually save money the first year (when you’re paying off the garden) and then you continue to save hundreds of dollars each subsequent year…

so you get to better your family’s health and the health of others’ (because let’s be honest, those babies grow a ton)- all while supporting a company whose goal is to better the health of this world.

so here’s my vision.

to start small.

to start in my own home.

to grow outwards…

to partner with schools. because how awesome would it be for pizza sauce with red40 to stop being considered a vegetable- replacing it with actual vegetables that the children have spent their time nurturing and growing?? 

and then to take a step and incorporate a way where you could “buy one, gift one” and help others around the globe live full, nurtured lives.

i think it’s a step worth taking. and an impact this world desperately needs.

access to whole foods and good nutrition. outside your door. and across the globe.

for the love of passion and fear

and y’all.

and can i just say “wow.”

yeah, the way that new NMD said it in her acceptance speech today.

“wow.”

 

And “God is Good. All the Time.

All the Time. God is Good.”

 

when you start your morning with those words? yeah, you know something’s coming and you best get ready for it. things are about to get messed. up…. in the absolute bestest way possible. yup i said bestest; go with it.

 

you know that “dream job?” that elusive, one in a million, can’t find it because i swear it doesn’t exist? yeah, that one…

 

where passion meets gifts and culminates with what someone will actually pay you to do? …there might not be much in that little overlap of groups. but there will be something. even if you can’t see it… yet.

 

Oh, the “yet,” don’t you just LOVE the “yet?”

it’s very possible you don’t.

at least, not yet.

 

And that is A-Okay. because so long as you keep looking for the window, God will lead you through one. sometimes… most times… in the unexpected kinds of ways. maybe it will feel like He wrapped you tight around a rock and through you through that window.

He actually probably will. if He hasn’t already.

 

the “i’m not expecting anything more than this to happen here,” ways…

the too low expectations ways. those times where you go into something- an event, a day, a job- with little to no expectations and He gets to just blow it up geiser-style in your face!

…in a good way.

 

always a good way.

 

that is this. that is here.

you see, for what seems like forever i have been FLOUNDERING. no seriously, F–L–O–U–N–D–E–R–I–N–G.  that fish out of water, suffocating on the driest of ground? That. has. been. ME.

 

i have been perpetuating the dry ground. living in the desert i have created for myself. trying to thrive there… and, on many occasions- let’s just be honest, they are more than i would like to admit- have found myself just plum trying to cry an oasis into existence. yes, i have been there.

 

and i am leaving there.

here. now. gone. done.

first steps

i found passion for something that is multi-purposeful. it feeds directly into the huge key areas i am so desperately restless to be a part of actively doing something for. it is something i already have a foot in and have been wading in the water debating on whether or not i actually want in.

 

i kinda was wanting that writing on the wall, moment of epiphany, “ahah” moment. waiting to see if interests and talents can turn into passions and if those in turn can become something i could actually develop into a legitimate career. the kind that could support a family. give financial freedom. enable some of these bigger dreams i’ve been dreaming to come to fruition…

 

yup. got my writing.

on a jumbo screen.

in computer print and colored slides.

in watching rerun of an Olympian break a world record.

in women. women of all ages with all stories talking about a journey they have taken that, let’s face it, is doable. hard. but doable.

 

empowered women will stir emotion you didn’t know resided in you. strangers stories resonate so deeply and we react so strongly. why? because it’s real. and oh so good to hear. it’s encouragement and joy and beauty.

strength.

 

i kinda don’t want to tell you all of my revelations. not just yet. i don’t want to unleash the floodgates of facts and passions and the little dreams and visions i have- of how they could come together to impact cultures. globally. profoundly.

 

if you have any sort of insight into what i’m doing in my life right now, this weekend, then you probably know where this is headed.

but here’s what i want you to do: lose your expectations.

i just found passion. here. in learning and being educated. in researching and listening. flood waters have been unleashed. there’s a stirring that i can direct to something and somewhere and it’s exciting.

scaring the guts right out of me exciting.

do-one-thing-every-day

but Jennie Allen spoke truth and encouragement the other day. i knew i needed to hear this. i just didn’t know how much:

“here is the thing about leading something…. you will be loved and hated.

So, as one facing her two worst fears, being hated and/or humiliated, let me tell you what I have learned:

Receive criticism. If you want to lead well, just never defend yourself again. Take it. Jesus actually meant it when He said, “To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” Luke 2:28 Because it is the very most freeing way to live. (Note: I did not say easy). I learned this one the hard way, and let’s just say it led me to my next lesson.

Humility is often closely connected to humiliation. Because we can only fake humility alone in the dark on back rows.Humility is built in battle, in the moments you are running and fighting and leading, and you fall, and people see and then they know you aren’t God and you remember you desperately need God.

Love the fear. As a child, I hated feeling nervous. My mom used to say, “It’s just butterflies.” So I sat in the back of life for decades, avoiding “butterflies.” I successfully avoided nausea and the very best parts of life. If you ever want to do anything of significance, you have to learn to love the sick, tense feeling in your belly instead of hate it. It doesn’t seem to ever leave me these days. So I am making the butterflies my friends.

People liking you is overrated.  If you love being liked by everyone, you are living a boring life. So just quit. Get over it. Let pleasing God become bigger than pleasing people.”

a daddy’s day

from father’s day to father’s day- and everything that has passed from then to now.

see he became “Daddy” when i became real… and you never understand what it means to not have something real until you’re losing it.

when “cancer,” “masses,” “chemo,” “radiation,” and “tired” – worn to and through those bones of dust tired– become the family vernacular… when anytime before this time seems a distant dream… 

yes, you find yourself with face pressed close to floor

and the only words are wept to the Father who knows.

The One who Comforts fully.

and it’s a drawing of self to Him, of clenching tight to His robes, and of realizing that- though it is dark- and the light seems to never be coming-

this suffering.

this aching.

this just may be holy ground. 

so we bend down low to undo dirt encrusted sandals

and we open our hardened palms to receiving – when all we really want to do is clench white knuckled tight to these things of this life that are good … and ache us raw to think of losing – to open the hands and maybe to be able to see this, the hard eucharisteo.

this life of mine began with my Heavenly Father’s plan who gave me to this Daddy of mine.

He gave me to the man who loves to sail the untamable oceans- because He knew how important it would be for me, to have a Daddy to teach me to love the untamable times of this life. 

He gave me to the man who cares more for his Heavenly Father’s opinions than those of any others.

to the man who wakes early to steep his soul long in his Father’s Word- how life-altering that can be for a child to witness in her daddy’s life. 

He gave me to the man who loves and serves deeply and diligently.

the man who is slow to anger, and the most patient i have ever known. – because, yes, God knew i needed a man like that to be my daddy – one that would love me and suffer with me – because patience is suffering, and it takes truly patient people to always truly love and like their child. 

a man who would walk through the all of this life with me as all as he could… all the while teaching me that the One I needed more than anyone or anything else was Christ, and that when he would fall short, Christ never would.

a daddy to point his child back to her Father, knowing his imperfections enough to not take on the trials of this world without fully leaning into the One who has overcome the world. 

one who blesses me and believes in me.

and maybe he isn’t the world’s perfection of “Daddy,” but he was created to be the perfect Dad for me, and I was created to be his.

that, to me, is enough.

so, “Happy Daddy Day” to a truly wonderful man

– i have been extra ordinarily blessed to have you as mine.

 

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provision in the everyday life

the rains came in the morning.

that downpour of freshness, quenching the earth, and bringing rest to the soul. Because the soul was in need of the watering. those deserts needed to be drained so the cup could fill to overflowing.

“funder! Funder mommy, funder!! Funder SCARE me!!” 

and when the storm turns violent and the pulse quickens in the veins, the fear rises, and the child clings tight to those she trusts most. snuggling deep in this lap made just for her little perfectness- all to watch a monkey be exceptionally curious.

and the fear subsides.

and she nestles deep into me.

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in that state of complete and perfect peace.

the faith of a child… that a mother can protect from thunderstorms- the belief that as long as this hug is tight enough, the truly scary things of this world cannot get close enough to do any harm. 

and what if we held to that relationship with our Father? to clench Him when the fear is at our necks like a rabid dog or creeping quietly and steadily across the floors to just up and drink us completely dry of all Faith?

and maybe it isn’t a terrifying thing when the husband comes in on Sunday morning saying he feels miserably sick- maybe to people without 3 kids aged four, two and a half, and almost one- but to this momma, with teething baby, and crazed toddlers… it may as well be a death sentence.

and the relief? it came in the form of some little inconsequential bottles.

bottles full of these natural, “essential,” oils. and the provision that they had come a day before? yeah, that fact has not gone unnoticed. to the momma who wants to “detox” the house- who is trying not to buy over the counter drugs if she can help it- to be able to take care of her husband with products that help-with-no-fear-attached?

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God gave us this earth, and made our bodies so that basic needs would be provided for- that we can trust Him to take care of even the smallest things (like excruciating sore throats, and stiffening-headed-to-sickness-overload muscles).  it just makes me so happy to know that there are ways we can take care of our bodies- to prevent disease, or to help combat illnesses- ways that our Father has made possible through His creation.

gaaaaalory!

It’s so complex, and yet so intricately simplistic- this natural way of living the life God has given to us. He really has provided for our needs!

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? -Matthew 6:25-27

do we trust in a faithfulness that we cannot fully comprehend?

to be able to see His goodness, His constance, His truth- in the midst of any and all uncertainties? 

To find that peace that is complete in Him…

to trust His purposed and provisioned plans

and to rest in His perfectly-tightened embrace

when we are gifted the waters we have been begging for are we able to receive them?

What IF: we became a generation willing to suffer…

So- What IF?

what if every single person cared so much about every. other. person. in this world and those to come that they wanted to come along side the poor. the hungry. the homeless. the orphaned

 and gather everyone up into this same. standard. of. living: 

…mentally?

…physically? 

spiritually?

when it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of Heaven- and maybe that man is in reference to us? – that the standard of life we live here in first world countries is considered the wealthiest in the world-

and, yes, that does in fact make us the “rich” of the world. 

And then does it start? Those immediate defenses that spring like geysers – those mental images of that handful or group of others who have more or do more or spend more than you ever could or would or do– spring to mind?

and that makes you any. less. wealthy. ? 

And what if wealth had no actual meaning in regards to earthly endeavors and possessions but solely those that are for eternity and His glory? … And are we wealthy then?

Are we being the true last?

Are we serving the orphaned?

… the widowed?

… the sick?

… the lost

And when the preacher is standing at the pulpit on Sunday morning and your blood starts to surge through all of those depths, because just YES that is where you want to go- those unreached people groups– that your heart is so pulled for that that you end up ignoring the fact that you are where you are in this season for this time- that His reason for keeping you somewhere will be the same as His reason for sending you over oceans.

That calling to live the Gospel- waiting until His plan and timing reaches utmost perfection– and you may just board that plane with a solitary one-way ticket – the lost just as much there as they are here. 

And we are living in His timing now

And if God provides all the needs for His people, why do we not see ourselves as being a part of His body as a provision?

That He has provided us to do His work.

That His work may in fact be something that puts us right in the middle of suffering?- 

That despite the friend, the parent, or even the stranger who looks at the sacrifices and the sufferings of your life and declares “Enough!” – they are in fact not God? – That you are in fact NOT here to do their will, but rather you are here to do His will and obey His commands? 

And oh are we missing this!

For those who look at the orphan crisis, human trafficking, or even just the general third world conditions that exist today- and sit back, “broken hearted” and. do. nothing.- 

 

My son recently opened a fortune cookie. Delighting in ever crisp piece he placed between his lips- humming to himself that song of lovely contentment…. when he handed me the little rolled up white piece of paper.

Tiny printed black words, which I was expecting would read something along the lines of: 

“Fame and fortune will soon be yours.” 

“Something lost will soon be found.” 

“The sun always shines after the downpour.” 

“The star of riches is shining on you.” 

But instead read:

“No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he only had good intentions.”

After researching this fortune I discovered it to be a Margaret Thatcher quote, the second part of which is “He had money too.” But we do have wealth, in abundance, both in the Gospel and in this first world life-style of ours! … so what is our excuse for not #endingitALL –

All the abortions?

the deaths

the lies?

the poverty?

the starvation?

the sickness

the thirst

the abandments?

the slavery?

the brokenness?

the abusing?

the unreached

So how do we sit here, in our air conditioned 21st century lives, and be just plum okay with Satan having a freaking playdate with all the lives of all the lost? 

And what if we weren’t

What if we lived, actually lived, the Gospel?

What if we lived in submission to God’s will for our lives, instead of our loved ones’ wills for our lives?

What if we up and stopped trying to please others and rather focused solely on pleasing Him?

What if we actually loved the Gospel so much we were willing to suffer for it?

What if we did something to #enditALL that required more from us than just clickinglike?”

 

God’s Provisions in Nature… Part 2

I am in the process of “detoxing” our house…. Of learning the balance of natural solutions as opposed to synthetic (or other toxin-riddled) solutions- pharmaceuticals have always freaked me out, mentally AND physically- and I don’t trust that the motives behind drugs that are cranked out and sold to general public like candy are necessarily good, or best. With studies coming out on child obesity and the rise of autoimmune disease, etc., is just making me re-think what all I am putting into mine and my family’s diet.

This train of thought may cause one to look at the food pyramid, and how in this wondrous world does a person ensure they get 9+ servings per day of fruits/vegetables, while still guaranteeing that their loved ones do as well?? Umm, that doesn’t happen in my houseEver.

So what IS Juice Plus+?

Excellent question! 

Juice Plus+ is whole food based nutrition, including juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables and grains. Juice Plus+ helps bridge the gap between what you should eat and what you do eat every day. Not a multivitamin, medicine, treatment or cure for any disease, Juice Plus+ is made from quality ingredients carefully monitored from farm to capsule to provide natural nutrients your body needs to be at its best.”

I was first introduced to Juice Plus+ back when I was in middle school and my family lived in Colorado. A friend’s mom was a distributor and most if not all the staff at the camp we lived at started to take Juice Plus+ on a regular basis.

Since heading off to college, and then getting married and having children, I have not been on Juice Plus+ and I have also been battling quite a few different health issues, skin issues, and just have felt an overall dullness.

One of my fellow mommy friends got on Juice Plus+ at the beginning of the year and began to share her journey with me… And when I began to think back about the years I had been on Juice Plus+ I realized that those were the times where I was much healthier, never really got sick, had relatively no skin issues, and had energy. Granted, it was also pre-kids, so there is that. But I started looking into it… and went to a couple of information sessions….

And the facts are just so amazing! When I was originally taking Juice Plus+ I had been on the Orchard and Garden Blends and none of the other products- and I highly recommend them for people who are able to get healthy breakfasts and snacks most days in an average week… for me though, I need something more– I need the additional shakes to make for busy mornings, or when my energy is just plain gone in the afternoons. I am also adding the Vineyard blend (I tend to refer to it as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory blend) because so many people who have struggled, really struggled, with autoimmune diseases, or recoveries from surgeries, and other blood regulation needs have had such amazing results with it- so it’s kind of a no-brainer for me!

And what about our kiddos?? With all us mommies gathered together, our concern for the health of the people we love most, and on wanting to change the studies that are saying our generation of children will be among the first to NOT outlive their parents (I mean just up and right feed that anxiety of mine why don’t you?!)- but for my friends and friends of friends adopting their little ones internationally? When children don’t want to eat veggies or aren’t used to textures? If they will eat the gummies that is GREAT! And those gummies will be giving them all sorts of nutrients that they may not be getting much of!

But what if they don’t? What if textures or taste is too different for them to be comfortable with?

You can just break open the capsules and add the fruit and vegetables directly to whatever they will drink or eat! And same with any child who is too young to really chew the gummies!

And oh my how great is that?!

By ingesting these foods, their bodies will begin to recognize and crave the fruits/vegetables and change a child’s tastes and bodies so that when they DO try new foods, it’s something recognizable and even enjoyable!

And an extra awesome factor? A child age 4-18 can be placed on the “Children’s Health Study,” in which you fill out a survey once a year or so, and so long as a parent/grandparent also gets on Juice Plus+ the child gets theirs for FREE!

So this is my “introduction.” I am not a salesperson, I would actually be completely horrible at that because I can only recommend something that I am really passionate about. I believe in being purposeful with the things I purchase– whether that be spending a little extra to bypass any and all affiliation with human trafficking to making sure the things going in and on mine and my loved one’s bodies are natural, beneficial products. And I believe Juice Plus+ is one of these natural, all aroudn good products- one of the little things you can do for yourself, your children, and even recommend to extended family and friends if you see a need in their diets for some added nutrition!

It really is amazing what the right nutrients can do for your body!