Tuesday, January 12, 2016

for when you feel like your half-bathroom

There's a little room in our house that gets used frequently. It's not our kitchen. Or our den. Not our bedrooms or the playroom. It's tucked away. You have to go through our laundry room to get there.

It's our half-bathroom.


This little tucked away space provides so much more than the obvious reasons one would use a bathroom. It's a place for experiments for the boys. The sink comes in handy for those! The boys tell me the bathroom is a wonderful place to read as well! ;) The boys use it to fill Glory's water bowl and to wash their hands after school and before dinner.

I use it, to retreat. If only for a few minutes. I head there to talk to my sister on the phone when our house is so loud and I can't hear her. I head there to discuss plans with Hubby that we aren't ready for the littles to hear. Or, for those times I call him at work and tell him that one little did such and such and I don't know how to handle it! Sometimes it's a place to cry. Sometimes it's a place to breathe. Sometimes it's a place to simply check Instagram!

And I was thinking yesterday, that this bathroom reminds me of myself. And maybe you too? Just take a look. . . Towels are, often, barely hanging on, there are footprints or smudge prints on the cabinets from when a boy tries to jump up to the sink instead of using the stool. There are footprints or smudge prints on the stool from when it does get used. The trash can is often used and often forgotten. Books are strewn across the floor. Random toys get left on the counter. And the paint on the walls is in desperate need of a touch up.

You know those days or months or maybe even years when you feel like you are barely hanging on? Does it sound familiar to walk around with smudge marks on your clothes or maybe on your heart? Sometimes you feel used or forgotten or never really noticed. Often times you find that random things clutter your mind taking your focus off of your purpose in life. And wow, don't we all need a new coat of paint?

Well, that new coat of paint for us, is grace from the Lord. He doesn't need us. He can do His plan on His own. But he loves us and uses us despite our smudges and shortcomings. Even when we are hanging on for dear life, and probably especially when we are hanging on for dear life, He extends grace to us. We can head to the hardware store in hopes of making ourselves fresh and shiny and new. We can treat ourselves like a DIY project. But only His love and grace and forgiveness can provide us with that new coat of paint we are all longing for!

Amen!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

for the love of a book list

I love that the New Year starts during a winter month! The cold weather gives us the perfect reason to snuggle up in front of the fire with a good book. Of course, the summer and beach trips also give us those wonderful opportunities to knock out several books, but I'm not a fan of hot weather, so I prefer starting fresh in the cold! It's actually one of the main reasons I never really started All the Light We Cannot See. I picked it up during the summer, after I'd heard 5,976 people say it's the best book ever. It was definitely a snuggle up type book, not one I could read on the beach. So I dropped it.

That being said, it's only just started staying cold, so we've had one fire in our fireplace so far. I haven't yet opened one of the new books on my reading list for the year, but I've made my list and I'm ready to get to it!

As usual, I make my list based on new books I received for Christmas or from recent recommendations. And as usual, I add to my list as the year progresses. Oh, and one more as usual, I'm confident that some of these books will be abandoned for newer must read books that catch my eye later in the year. It happens every year. I remember starting Surprised by Oxford last year, which wasn't on my book list, and a friend commented to me that it seemed unfair to the other books on my initial list. Of course she was playing, but that's how book lists happen for me!


The two books at the top of my stack, The Songs of Jesus and New Morning Mercies are devotionals. I've already started and actually read both of them each morning. So very good!

The Giver and Wonder are both books that Luke is able to read at this point, but I want to read them before he does for once!

Nobody's Cuter Than You and For the Love are from authors/bloggers, Melanie Shankle and Jen Hatmaker. I adore them. They are some of the funniest writers around! I cannot wait to laugh out loud!!

Just Show Up is by Kara Tippetts who wrote The Hardest Peace. She died last year, but wrote the most beautiful blog, Mundane Faithfulness, along with her first book, pointing so many to Jesus with her grace-filled walk of life!

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and The History of Love are from recommendations. Excited to read these!

Seeking Allah Finding Jesus is something I've wanted to read for a while based on our church recommending it, as well as friends who've read it to!

What are you planning to read this year? Anything I should add to my list?

Monday, January 4, 2016

2016 Word of the Year

Happy New Year! I'm hoping to start out strong and stay strong in this little space this year!

And since it's the New Year, it's time to talk Word of the Year!

I've chosen a Word of the Year for 6 years. This will be my 7th word. My 7th year. I love the little tradition it has become and the exercise of choosing my word. Much easier than making exercise a resolution! See what I did there? ;) Seriously though, I do have a process! I ponder words that pop into mind, reflect on the last year, think about what's ahead and then pray! Choosing last year's word was a breeze. My word had been simmering for 6 months--since my first mission trip to Kazakhstan the summer before.

Landing on this year's word has been an entirely different experience. I didn't have one lingering around. I "tested" a few words, praying about how each word would apply and thinking about what each word would mean in the year ahead. I thought I narrowed it down, with Hubby's help, but the words just didn't fit. Back to the drawing board, I went. And then, finally, my word chose me!

From illuminate, to intention, to focus, to expectation, to brave, to abide,

My 2016 Word of the Year . . .

  hope
as defined by Merriam-Webster
intransitive verb
1 :  to cherish a desire with anticipation 
2 archaic :  trust
transitive verb
1 :  to desire with expectation of obtainment
2 :  to expect with confidence :  trust



I'm facing a year that's fairly wide open. And I am filled with hope! I'm hopeful that Waybe will learn to walk this year! I'm hopeful for growth in relationships! I'm hopeful as I enter into a new decade this year! I'm hopeful in my relationship with the Lord! I'm hopeful in pursuing creative passions! And more. Not because I believe all the things will turn out the way I would like. I'm certain they will not. I'm certain I will disappoint people and they will disappoint me. But, instead, I have hope because of my future in the Lord!

Do you have a Word for the Year? What are your hopes for 2016? I'd love for you to share them!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the 
Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." --Romans 15:13 


Thursday, December 31, 2015

blog header year in review!

It's New Year's Eve, which means, in this little spot, it's time for my blog header year in review! My posts were spotty at the end of the year, and I only managed to have 9 new headers, missing March, August and October. Still love doing these headers, and hoping to make a change to the ol' blog in 2016! Stay tuned and thanks for reading along with us!










Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

We wish you a Merry Christmas!

And let the Christmas season. . .be enjoyed! What a joyful Christmas season we had! We, of course, soaked up our family traditions. . .opening our Advent house doors each morning, family devotions, Festival of Carols, Starry Nights, Snowy Nights, the Alpine Village, Christmas crafts, movie nights at home, decorating our tree, putting up Christmas cards, making and delivering cookies/candy, reading Christmas books, our Candlelight Service at church and Christmas morning!










It's Christmas morning! Luke 2 has been read, it's time to go out and see . . .











There is always so much fun to be had in December! And so much good! But in all of it, we are thankful for the true meaning of this season, of Christmas Day. . .and that is the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is our biggest gift!


May the God of Hope fill you with Joy and Peace this season! 
Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

a final fall recap!

It truly was a fun-filled Fall! This was Way's first year to recognize and learn what a pumpkin was! Perfect, since he's such a cute little pumpkin!

 It was Miles' special JK year, so we had our first field trip together (though this was my 3rd time to attend the JK pumpkin patch field trip)! I was so excited to go with Miles! We had a blast!

  James, Miller and Miles and then Miles and Walker

Thanks for having me, Miles! I love you!

And of course, Halloween comes with pumpkins! The boys and I were so proud of Daddy carving our Baylor and "Wink" pumpkins! You did a great job, Daddy!



And this year, we had a ninja, Harry Potter, a punkin' and Spiderman! We went out trick or treating with our neighbors and had a fun evening together!

Finally to wrap up Fall in one fell swoop (or blog post). . .Thanksgiving!! Again, JK is a big year and in JK, they also have their big Thanksgiving Feast! So before Thanksgiving break, Miles invited us to his classroom where he and his friends, sang songs, told us what they had been learning about the Native Americans and Pilgrims and then served us beef stew they had made!!!
Flying Eagle, we loved the Thanksgiving Feast, and love you even more!!



Then, we were off and headed to South Carolina for Thanksgiving! This year we were particularly thankful that Chad was okay. He had just suffered a severe ear trauma incident on a plane ride to NYC. He was incapacitated for over 2 weeks suffering from hearing loss and extreme vertigo! But praise the Lord, he has been restored to full health!

It was wonderful to be together with Mimi & Grandpa and Mary and Kevin! We made s'mores, played spy outside, had a big family photo shoot, watched lots of football (even if the games ended poorly), ate and just spent time together. We are thankful!






 Happy Fall, Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! ;)

goooalll!!!!

 Soccer season is now over, but what a fun ride it was this year! We had 2 boys playing soccer this fall and it was a treat! Chad and I both talked about how much fun we had being entertained by them! This was Miles' first experience at trying a sport! I think he had fun. Not completely aware of what is going on at the age of 5, but eager to get his uniform on and go out and kick the ball!! He did a great job!


Chuckles was ready to play! He's been playing a few seasons now and soccer is his thing!! He's fiercely defensive and so very fast! Charlie can weave through competitors like you've never seen and his confidence on the field grew leaps and bounds this year! Gooooalll!!





 Way to go, Miles and Charlie! We enjoyed your soccer season so very much!





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