3.29.2016

Blanket Statements


Some days it hits me...I'm supposed to be pregnant right now.  I should be feeling flutters in my rounding belly, Dave and I should be giggling that we just got rid of all our newborn things, caught up in the excitement of buying new wee baby clothes.  My sweet friend and I should be walking through pregnancy together and swapping food craving stories.

I'm not at all ungrateful for life right now. I'm thankful to be alive. After all surgery held, this truth has not been lost on me. I'm thankful for my people that God so generously placed in my life who I get to love on and journey along side.  I'm truly thankful for so much.

But this blanket. This blasted blanket.

The one I love and the one I want to pretend doesn't exist.

This blanket that was a tangible feeling of comfort and warmth in a season of grief.  The newly warmed one I was so thankful that they sent me home from the hospital with in the wee hours of a cold December night.

This blanket that has brought me so much comfort is the one that constantly reminds me every time I see it that I brought this blanket home without a baby wrapped in it.

This blanket that was wrapped around me for weeks as my body temperature struggled to regulate after surgery did not come home to swaddle a baby.

Why is this so hard?  Why do some days I forget and some days I still grieve?

When someone asks how I am...I don't know what to respond.  I respond with a blanket statement that while true, is not complete.  A blanket statement that says I'm thankful and I'm physically feeling better.

But underneath, my blanket statement is that some days are still hard and some days I'm just sad.  A statement that says I want you to ask about my journey and be ok with my hurt.  I want you to ask what we named him and what I will miss about not having met him.  I want you to ask about how God showed up in the hard and how even weeks prior to all of this unfolding he was preparing my heart.

So this blanket I hold tenderly and I want to tear it to pieces.  This blanket of thanks and of a grief I never wanted to claim as mine.  This story I'm learning to embrace as my own in all it's unexpected turns.  This is not what I planned but the Author of my story is the giver of good, good things and this story of mine is mine and I'm determined to celebrate it in all of it's messiness.


3.27.2016

Easter

A reminder for myself today. 
I went to bed last night with a nagging feeling of failure.  We didn't have Easter baskets, or an egg hunt, we didn't make any resurrection cookies or even go to an Easter service.  I had a humble breakfast planned and a dinner for the evening. But it didn't seem very Easter-esque.  It was easy to be consumed with not feeling like I'm measuring up.
 Worried that we don't have any fun or meaningful Easter traditions and that because of it our kids may miss the message of Easter this year because of this.  How short sighted I can be sometimes.

Then I read this reminder last night:

Too often we seek a perfect Easter experience. This Sunday, in whatever you do, may you seek a perfect Savior. #SeekAndYouShallFind
Posted by Brandon Hatmaker on Saturday, March 26, 2016

 Yes, it's not about the perfect Easter or even the semi-perfect Easter.  It's about the perfect Savior.  So today I pray my kids see a glimpse of the perfect Savior.  That when the day ends that they will be more pointed towards him.

Happy Easter, friends.  

3.14.2016

And It Was Beautiful.



This book was not my first introduction to Kara and her story, but this journey was different.  As I read And It Was Beautiful, I felt like I was reading short snippets from Kara's journal.  Snippets that were real, raw, honest and vulnerable, bringing with it celebration of life to the full and seeing grace in the midst of hard.


With each new chapter, something new is tugged on my heart. A conviction, a heartstrings, a "yes I feel that way too".  Like sitting down for coffee with an old friend, Kara shares the reality of not just walking with cancer but journeying in life.  How to do it well, how to love life and celebrate even when it's hard, how to remember the faithfulness of God in simple moments.

This book contains so much I can learn from, but this book is not a lecture but a learning from an honest heart.

What perhaps I love most about Kara as I get a window glimpse of her life in this hard is that she didn't quit.  Despite the ups and the downs she kept pursuing the Father, she kept searching for grace in the midst of hard, she continued to celebrate life in this long good-bye.

"How do you live well when the living your living isn't the living you expected?"  This may be the biggest lesson I learned from Kara's story.  Wrestling with this question and reading how that looked for Kara, I am challenged to embrace this life in front of me to the full.  That process of embracing this life I didn't expect, the unexpected good and the unexpected grief, it seldom seems comfortable and often seems messy but always worth celebrating.

Oh how I have learned from her journey.


"The big moments matter, and they do await you, but the brilliant part of your story is awaiting you on the boring mundane days sitting beside a fire on a rainy day."


I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

3.12.2016

A Good Reminder


Two years ago we signed a contract on this home.


This house, this home, has been healing for our family. Giving us space to create, to play, to grieve, to laugh, to share and to grow.


Over the last two years, especially in the last year, I've been humbled to see God use these walls as a safe place not only for our family but those who have become like our family.  To celebrate, to grieve, to discuss and to journey through this messy beautiful life.  I'm in awe of how God works and so thankful.

Looking back on this old post I had forgotten how distant a dream having a house had become and am thankful today for the reminder of how God can redeem a broken story and how I have continued to see that play out in our lives and the lives of those around me.

2.23.2016

Spark Joy : Tidying Clothes

More Spark Joy today. If you haven't read my full review you can see it here.

I Periscoped last week when I started my clothes tidying. Here is the replay if you missed it.

Following Marie's method was really pretty easy, especially once I identified what did spark joy. After that, comparing how I felt about something to the things that I knew sparked joy became easier.
Through the process, I uncovered things that I really love that had been hidden under things that I didn't love and never used.






It's easy to get sucked into feeling like you need to get rid of something. I love cardigans. I wear them all. the. time. At first I felt like I needed to get rid of them because I have more than one. That's where Marie's book is so different. It's not about just simplifying and getting rid of stuff. It's really not about stuff. It's about the joy you feel--or don't feel--about something. So I kept my beloved cardigans, and I'm happy about that.







 The Results. 





In the Scope I mentioned dresser space being a major issue. We hang nearly everything. I was surprised, however, when--following the ways Marie suggests for folding and storing items--I had so much more room than my previous method (tossing in the drawer and hoping it closes). I also got creative with an old guitar case. I love this guitar case as it was a gift from some very special people in my life. However, it's not used, as the guitar hangs downstairs. So the empty guitar case has now become a makeshift dresser. #winning



This seems so silly, but I feel like I breath easier when I walk into my closet now. I see things that spark joy, my closet is tidier, there is an order to things and I want to work to keep it that way. Will it stay this way? I'm not sure. Consistency in keeping things tidy is difficult for me. Ask me in another month. But it seems doable and so far so good.

I've walked with the kids through tidying their clothes and we all worked on tidying books, which was next in the order of tidying. Now it's on to papers. I'm not sure I'll come out of those as quickly or as unscathed. I'll let you know.

 received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

2.14.2016

A Fresh Perspective



If you've caught me on Periscope lately you know I have been loving the book Spark Joy by Marie Kondo. 

Friends, this book is a fresh perspective on our stuff. This is not your average "simplify and de-clutter" book in the slightest. 

The reason I love this book so much is it's not really about our stuff at all. It's about how we feel about our stuff.  It's about surrounding ourselves with things that bring us joy.  Our stuff should not control us or make us feel chaotic. It can actually bring us joy and allow us to be the best us we can be.

The book is illustrated and broken down into three sections.  In the first section, Marie explains master tips on the KonMari method.  If you have not read Marie's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, this first section is a great overview of what the KonMari method is and how to start implementing it.  The KonMari method is really pretty simple. Ask yourself: "Does this item make me feel joyful?"  Spark Joy is like having Marie as your coach as you walk through simple steps for discovering the things that you own that bring you joy, what to do with them once you've discovered them, and in the process how to create a home that sparks joy.

Then the tidying begins, Marie breaks down the steps to tidying our things.  Each of these chapters speaks to specific items, and difficulties that may arise when tidying each kind of item.  Cute illustrations are scattered throughout the book, perfect for a girl like me who is a visual learner.  The drawings in the clothing chapter were especially helpful as she diagrams folding certain items and ways to store them.  I was reminded of several things that I have kept a hold of simply because I got them on sale or I have had them for a long time, things that didn't bring me joy at all but was keeping "just in case".  As I started the process of using the "joy check" with my items I discovered things that truly did spark joy that were hidden under things that no longer sparked joy or maybe never did. By letting go of items that don't spark joy, it allows the items that do bring joy to shine.

Part three dives into the life changing magic of this process. After you complete tidying up, Marie includes inspiration on creating rooms that spark joy and changes you may notice when you are done tidying up.  Marie's creative ideas on storing and displaying items that spark joy inspired me to look at my things in a different way.  For example, a beloved guitar case has now become a makeshift dresser, and it makes me smile every time I see it.

I highly recommend this book. I'm going to continue to walk through the tidying up process. I'll be Periscoping my adventures and will share some before and after pics as well.  Watch for my clothes tidying up post soon!

So tell me: have you read Marie's book?  What are your thoughts? 

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.



2.13.2016

God Sees.


Even weeks after, when I still have days of exhaustion and am hit with overwhelming emotion, I am reminded that God knows and that I don't walk alone.

He sees, and he knows.



A random message from a friend.


A fruit bouquet on a hard day.


A call saying I know your healing isn't done and I'm thinking of you.


It's hard to reach out some days. Especially when I'm not used to it. To asking for help.

It's hard to reach out when I feel needy. When I feel like I can't pull myself up by my bootstraps like I always have and just get on with the day.


It's those days when it's so hard but friends show up even when I'm too tired to reach out.

Those days I'm especially reminded God sees and he knows. 


And I'm thankful.


We are not made to walk alone. 
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