Jan 172016
 

Sitting at the dining table reading old Robert Munsch books with my daughter who is 13 and laughing at how silly the stories really are and enjoying the moments and having fun with crazy voices and her reading to me like she was 3 again instead of a young lady who found some old books while cleaning her room without needing to be asked.

I realize how much I miss her. I mean, I see her everyday. I see both the kids everyday, after all, I am their mom and we do live together, but we also live with my parents and in a lot of ways I often feel robbed of being “mom” so when these days come they are bittersweet, reminding me of the past and of what I am missing out on in the daily because we really are a family of five with 3 adults instead of a mama and her two kids.

It really is in the mundane that I find the most joy. So many people think I am boring. Maybe I am. No, I definitely am. The highlight of my day today was battling the cupboard to fit the mixing bowls in because my mom seems to be addicted to them and has like 30. It was mixing bowl Tetris here and when I couldn’t figure it out my daughter climbed up on the chair and took on the challenge until those bowls fit, and we laughed.

We laughed while I was on the floor cleaning behind the toilet. We laughed while dishes were being done. We laughed while eating dinner that my brother lovingly bought and brought over to us in the minus 40 cold. We laughed while sweeping when the pile got dropped after meticulously getting it all into the dust pan. We giggled while watching movies past bedtime and found that there simply is NO cupcake emoticon to be found, and my daughter pointed out that if you put a cup and a slice of cake together you get a cupcake.

So maybe, life isn’t perfect. No actually it definitely isn’t perfect. BUT, it is glorious and exactly how it should be. God is amazing and His presence is always known. I could have counted 1000 things today to add to my Joy Dare, my One Thousand Gifts.

I am blessed to be a mama. Blessed to have a bathroom to clean, laundry to do, dishes in the sink, too many bowls, and love beyond measure. Even that dog who talks back and argues over his need for a bone is a blessing that must be counted.

I am grateful for today, yesterday and for whatever tomorrow brings. And, when things need a little bit of color we have a purple vacuum upstairs and a pink one down, because life should be fun, regardless of what we are actually doing! God is good everyday and everyday God is good!!

Jan 072016
 

We have a lot of firsts in life and we don’t even realize it until we are thinking back. It’s amazing how our memories work, especially once you’re a mama. A ton of firsts that bring you so much joy and worry. The kids went back to school this week and my daughter has been falling asleep after getting home. I have been doing her hair while she is half conscious and her not remembering in the morning. It cracks me up and even though she is 13 this is a first for her. I suppose she partied too hard on her break and by party I mean she stayed up way too late chatting (I have no clue where she may have got that from).

She does a lot of the cooking now which is nice and we get to spend more time together in the kitchen. It reminds me of when she was a toddler standing on a chair to help me, only now I am often sitting in a chair while she does her thing and we talk. First boyfriends, first breakups, first real love for music, a ton of firsts this year and it in a lot of ways breaks my heart that she is maturing so quickly before my eyes. She will be traveling to Toronto for her school trip just before her 14th birthday and I am thinking to myself “does she even know how to cross the road and look without me reminding her?”

I am definitely NOT a helicopter mom but we live on 90 acres and she doesn’t do a whole lot of road crossing, she has never even been to a city so the Toronto thing has me anxious even though I went on the same trip at the same age. Somehow I was more mature than she is back then, right?

I suppose in the next week I will have to go out for the first time since December 23rd and pick up some groceries because we are seriously running low on everything. Tonight was a choice of boxed mac and cheese and soup, naturally we went for the mac and cheese, while my son had a sandwich that he announced did not have enough lettuce and then proceeded to add about two inches of the leafy green. Cracks me up to see him all over vegetables when it was like a minute ago that I was bribing him to eat.

A ton of firsts on this mama’s heart as we enter the new year and I am excited to experience even more! I think we forget once our child learns to talk and walk and eat that there are a billion firsts yet to come. I am happily surprised every day, though, I must admit, I would prefer if they slowed down on the aging thing!

Nov 202015
 


It had been a long time since I felt safe, too long, maybe even a lifetime, and then I was wrapped up in blankets on a hard mattress being checked every 20 mins through a little window on the door and all I did was sleep. It was a Friday when I went in. A Friday morning and I never felt safer because like the character, Spencer, says on Pretty Little Liars, “I feel safe here. Those bars don’t just keep you from getting out, they keep other people from getting in.”

He wouldn’t be getting in. He wouldn’t be torturing me, raping me. My thoughts were my own and I could do whatever I wanted and what I wanted was to rest. It was the Monday morning when I walked out the doors. I had slept the entire time, other than a few showers. They were worried because I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t eating because I was tired. Oh so very tired.

I never knew how much stress I had been under all of those years until the pressure was alleviated for those brief moments and honestly, I didn’t want to go home and out of my safe cocoon.

Years later and I still struggle to feel safe. I still crave those moments of reprieve that I had experienced. The weight of the world off my shoulder and no one to walk by my window to steal me in the night, no one to kill me like he has promised.

I didn’t know then that I would spiral down into an abyss that I would barely survive, I didn’t know that the god who I had believed was the reason for my abuse was the one who would reach down deep into the pits of my own hell and offer me a saving hand. I didn’t know to not be afraid of the light because the darkness was all that I knew.

Almost 11 years later and I still struggle with feeling safe. With being me. With not panicking at every dog bark or knock in the night. I have come out of hiding and I have placed my trust in the God that saves because this is the only way for me to actually have a life and I try to focus on the Word of God, the Words that tell me to not worry about tomorrow.

So each day when I feel myself falling into worry or panic or stress I have to treat myself like I am a toddler and give it back to God and if I have to do that 1000 times a day I will because if I don’t I am giving evil a foothold on my life and we all know that one step leads to the next and I would rather be making godly steps then allowing Satan to step all over me.

It will be my heel to crush his skull and not him who stomps me down.

27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
~Matthew 6:27~

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Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Five Minute Friday Friend Asheritah CiuCiu!! Available NOW!!

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Nov 192015
 

I didn’t just dwell on the past, I lived there, for years and years and even more years and sometimes when I am not careful to be present my mind slips right on back into the black and abusive abyss, haunting my thoughts both day and night.

There is no one way to move forward though, no way to get over the PTSD. I take meds, a LOT of meds. I have actually posted pictures of my meds on Instagram because of how disgusted I am in having to take them, but they are what allows for me to be focused enough on the present and the future that I can actually live with my past. They free me from the phantom chains and release me into the loving arms of God.

For a long time I would dwell on the fact that suicide attempts never worked and “God never wanted me back” or “God won’t even take me, nobody wants me”. Somewhere along the jagged, slippery road I have realized that He is the only One who ALWAYS wants me. ALWAYS loves me. Even at my worst. Even when I have sat there bleeding out and overdosed He breathed life into my lungs and told me it wasn’t my time and He planted seeds of purpose that the meds have allowed to finally grow!

I was raised Catholic. I always had at least a Bible or two around and I had read through it in it’s entirety several times before I was done middle school. Yet, I didn’t dwell on the words or let the Word dwell in me. I didn’t allow God’s love to flow into me even though I had accepted Him as my Lord and Saviour. I knew the words on the pages, and the pages knew me, but we had little connection.

I look back now and I see that hell on earth and I know without a doubt that had I not went through all of that I wouldn’t be where I am spiritually today. I wouldn’t be blessed to be able to say “I understand”. I wouldn’t be able to listen with an emphatic ear or pray from my heart words that bring a world of welled up tears.

I have felt like Job and even used Job 3 as a suicide note. You see how distorted the Bible can become in the mind of someone who is completely undone? Now I feel more like those who were in the lineage of Jesus, right back to Genesis –the Beginning. Where polygamy and sin ultimately led to David and from the stump of Jesse we received Jesus!! I feel like that, like all of my ugly-sin is sending out shoots and new life and growth.

I am not healed, but I am whole.

When I feel like my life is less than, I know that God will use those moments to give me a more than opportunity. Will I go down in some great book centuries old? Not likely, BUT that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t turn life around and be an example to the people I interact with and impact every day.

I will not only dwell in His home forever, but forever He will dwell in me!

Nov 052015
 

Yeah, I fall short of the Proverbs 31 woman and sometimes (a lot of the time) my perfectionism gets in the way and instead of trying I give up before I even start because I know I won’t complete the task to my own standard. The laundry clean in baskets waiting to be hung, the empty dresser needing wiped clean after a mouse decided to call it home. I can do this. I can do these things in under 15 minutes but the chaos in my head paralyzes me and the task list gets moved week to week until it’s so long I feel like it won’t get done unless I come undone.

My kids don’t help. At all. Ever. Okay, that’s not totally true, my son will help when he is told to, but if I ask I may as well be fighting a shark over a blood-raw steak because it just isn’t going to happen. So I feel like I am either snapping orders or snapping because I have no help and the truth is no one wants to snap and no one wants to do it alone and that picture perfect “yes mom” world we dream of when we are holding infants in arms makes us wonder where we went wrong because after all, my kid is going to do chores, is going to get straight A’s, is going to be in sports, never talk back, be helpful, courteous, well-mannered and never throw a fit in the store –ever.

But, after the first few weeks of their lives you realize that you aren’t perfect. Getting your body back isn’t happening the way you had planned, they aren’t sleeping through the night or eating enough and you realize that it’s all in His control because SOMEONE has to have control and it certainly isn’t me or you.

Now that the kids are older I still find myself reminding them to say please and thank you. A week or so ago I thanked someone and one of my children asked me why I always say “thank you”. Maybe leading by example also means that they need to know the why behind it. Why are you thanking the youth pastor or the pizza guy or the mail clerk for doing their jobs? Isn’t getting paid enough?


No… Child, it’s not enough to throw a tip at someone when you can throw a smile and offer your sincere thanks and praise. It’s not enough to think that they have enough since they are being paid.

We give thanks because Jesus gave thanks. That sweet eucharisteo spoken as He thanked His Father God for the wine, the food, the friends and family and strangers and everyone who could and would ever be saved.

I can order my child to do dishes and thank him for it because he did them, even if the attitude stinks, and show him that what he did was helpful and appreciated and that he is an asset to the family and the house instead of someone who simply lives here. I can thank my daughter for cleaning her own room even though she is 13 because it looks nice, she did a great job, I am happy she took initiative and I want her to know that her good works don’t go unnoticed and later on in the day, or while standing right there in her doorway I can say a thank-you to God for them being compliant, eager, willing and independent.


A lot of people have been talking lately about this book that’s name slips my mind right now, it’s a book about decluttering your house and living simply and in it the author speaks about thanking the items in your house and allowing them to rest. Thanking your socks for being walked on and serving your feet, thanking papers and dried out pens as you toss them out for making your life easier while they lasted. While I personally don’t talk to my objects I can understand where the author comes from.


If we are going to give thanks to everything we have and even to things that we don’t have, then we are going to be more content in our space, more caring of our objects, our lives and as a result happier because we are counting our blessings. You know, not everyone has socks to warm their feet, let alone put away. Not everyone has a dried out pen, or has ever held or seen a pen. People minister around the world without ever having held a Bible and I have 6. Keeping the gratitude journal alive and truly being grateful keeps me on track. It keeps me feeling real and it makes me realize what others lack.


Going forward I will continue to give thanks and be grateful for the opportunity to teach my kids (and myself) especially when they feel entitled and ungrateful because gratitude when given and received is wrapped up in heart and the heart is full of His unconditional love.

Oct 162015
 

The green fields of hay have been long brown and the frost and the cold each night threatens the green grass covered in leaves colored in reds, browns and orange. It won’t be long now until the snow comes and while I love the snow and the blanketed earth made new and fresh I can’t help but also feel a nudge of grief and loss because once the snow comes navigating through the cemetery becomes more than tough. I feel like I am either stepping on someone’s head or talking to the wrong person all while up to my knees in the frozen white.

Winter does have its own green though, at least here. When you look up at night at the right time you can see the northern lights dancing in shades of gold, yellow and green and sometimes on the coldest nights you will see other colors like pinks and purples too and you can’t help but want to dance right along with the sky that God has painted, is painting.


My love has seen the southern lights, which I didn’t know even existed, but apparently they do and they do a similar dance and make you feel one with the whole universe while also feeling small.

It’s okay to feel small.

There is magic up in the sky from the stars to the lights to the who knows what is and why, because God, He created everything and my son reminds me all the time on our drives home from youth that the star I am looking at has long been burned out and I realize just how far away that star really is that it’s light lingers on in my personal here and now.

Back at the cemetery are the ones I love and I love to think of them as those burnt out stars, there vessels no longer alive yet their lights still shining bright, impacting the darkness, and changing life.

I don’t have much to say on the topic of green. It was fun watching Holly and Mary and Ashertiah ponder out loud on this and I am reminded that this FMF Party is really a FMF FAMILY and I am so blessed by y’all to be a part of it. While we pray for Jen who is moving to her tiny house and then traveling with her church to Cambodia, while we pray for mental health and Valerie’s current struggle, while we pray for Asheritah’s pregnancy and friends who are in new seasons with new jobs or retiring… we grow fresh and new like the grass after a long melt.

We thank the Lord for the community and the friendship and the bacon and the chocolate and the periscope popins and so much more and I have to remember that God is the great Conductor of the Orchestra that we all know and love. Some of us are green with morning sickness, while others are green with envy and others are looking on and thinking the grass is greener on the other side and that’s what makes each and every one of us a critical part of this ministry, of this symphony that imperfectly-perfectly combines.

Oct 152015
 

Wandered up the stairs cold and only getting colder after leaving the warmth of the down comforters on the bed. The dogs out in the cold fall rain and I look across the marsh and see cattails that have burst into fluff and the colors of golden browns are soaked in as I wonder how long it will be until I open that door and see the marsh blanketed in a layer of frost.

I know we have had frost already several times because I have seen it in the driveway and on the car, but there is something special about seeing the dead covered anew. When that virgin blanket of snow falls for the first time each year and I love to hate it and hate to love it I know that spring is only a few short months ahead.


Jesus was the fall. Our autumnal abundance harvested just right.

He knew that in order for there to be life that there had to be sacrifice through His death. He knew He had to be a fallen leaf lying on the bitter-cold ground and He knew that the snow had to fly and that all of that mess would melt away in the spring with the rising of the Son.

Because, you can’t have new life if the old one carries on. If a tree never lost it’s leaves there would be no room for growth.

So while Jesus life represents the seasons and the needs we have this seasonal reminder is really filled with hope!

The winter months will pull us inside and together, for love, for meals and warmth. For belly laughs and board games played with our own sets of rules. Hot chocolate will be made and made again and again and apple cider with cinnamon sticks will be a fragrant (and tasty) reminder of the crisp apples that will blossom and grow in the seasons to come.


Throw cushions and blankets will be lovingly folded and placed on the couches and we will bend down a million times to pick them from the floor.

As a mama the monotony of it all will grow old fast yet I know that at the end of each day I will pull out my planner and my journal and write down the days gifts because there is a gift in everything if you look hard enough and instead of counting to 1000 I know that I will be in the millions come the end of my life. A million little things, a million blessings that most overlook and the only regret I have is that I didn’t start counting sooner, that I didn’t praise the Lord for each diaper changed, the hiccups in the night, the overtired toddler saying no to everything, the wails and crying fits in stores over senseless things that made perfect sense to the toddlers eyes.

When we count our blessings and count them all, it is hard to not see the silver lining in every moment and while I may write in my journal or blog each day, I know that He is the Author of my life!

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