Oct 022016
 

The strawberry plants in pots on the deck didn’t have much of a yield this year and now their leaves are vibrant reds against the greens and yellows with feelers reaching across the wood of the deck and towards the table where we didn’t eat outside because some people are afraid of bugs, but where I enjoyed my morning coffee and fetch with the dogs just the same.

The air crisp and cold this week unlike last week when the fans were all on and the air conditioning tempting. The sky has been painted in hues of blue, green and grey as the atmosphere tries to decide if the rain is the story it wants to paint of if its that of the sun setting golden behind golden leaved trees.

The wind whistles and whips and tears many of those leaves off all in a matter of a few hours and yet while out for a drive I am surprised to see that some trees stand naked and stark, a grey that is reminiscent of one who is dying -that pale colorless flesh reserved just for those who are extremely ill. And the backdrop is vibrant yellow, green and the sun pokes through just long enough for the next batch of clouds to roll in filled with the water of life that will supply these trees through their roots for the months that winter will provide.

Keeping the natural spring that all the animals congregate around, regardless of the mercury, spewing naturally warmed water into a pool for them to drink from. And I am reminded that God takes care of the Raven and I can pass my worries and anxieties and fears to Him because that Raven was an animal created for us {wo}men to care for while He cares for me directly!

“Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions
40 when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?
41 Who provides food for the raven
when its young cry out to God
and wander about for lack of food?
~Job 38:39-41~

A compilation of 150 blog posts from the Five Minute Friday Community. The stories found in these pages span a diverse range of experiences, but share a common thread: A Love For the Bravely Written Word.
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Jun 252016
 

Tears are the pain my soul displays when it has nowhere else to go

Pain are the words my soul speaks, the black shroud that makes the dimmest of stars blindingly bright

I’ve needed a rest from words lately. A lot of rest. I don’t know why, maybe because I was diving deep in search of words for so much of the winter and spring.

It is exhausting to go into yourself, into the darkened depths where you have everything chaotically stashed away in mounds that would give a librarian a heart attack. Much like the wall of post-it notes that only an author can decipher and turn into a grand story.

Only life isn’t a post-it and no matter how big they decide to make those sticky sheets it won’t all fit and the darkness will creep over like fog over a marsh when the mercury rises, blanketing over the muck with a reflective dew that disappears with the rising sun and somewhere along the broken road you place your hand in the palm of the Son who has risen and you simply rest.


And yet here I am with the thunder booming in the background and the lightening flashing down on a blackened earth and my fingers are tapping away the thoughts that linger in my head and fear greets me in places I had forgot existed and I wonder who I really am?

Am I the child that hopped from rock to rock over snail infested ponds to find a place to sit and soak up the sun, the child who looked at metal barrels laying in the water 20 years ago and wondered why someone would do that to the earth?

Am I the adult who see’s a saltwater tank and grieves the loss of corals and anemones and secretly blames Finding Nemo for the tang’s and clown fish being stolen from our oceans just to beautify someone’s home?

Am I the girl who prays for the whales and the dolphins and has considered jumping ship just to land in the Antarctic whale sanctuary to protest, protect and fight for the whales whose song often falls on the ears of poachers?

Am I the 16-year-old girl who found herself pregnant and madly in love with a child growing within or am I the mother of that child whose smile is enough to light up any room and whose tears threaten to drown me because her pain are the nails through my hands and feet, the spear in my side. The pain a parent must bare in a twisted way so that their child can be fully alive?

Is that how my parents felt? Is that what Jesus told Himself as He felt the weight of His flesh tearing him apart, the sweat stinging into deepened wounds as the sins of the world separated the darkness and the light causing Him to cry out to God, “Father, why have You forsaken me?” before the sky turned angry and His flesh became Spirit?

And then there is my son, the child who nearly drowned drinking water because his laughter got the best of him and the water rushed into his lungs and sent those watching into a near panic and as he told the story he tells me “I wondered if Darin knew the Heimlich, when he pushed on my belly I knew he didn’t.” And I wonder why I worry more about the girl then I do my boy. Is that how it’s meant to be? That the boys can brave this broken world in a brotherly solidarity where the desire to protect outweighs their fear?



A world where your lungs fill with water and moments later you are playing football in the grass with a fire burning down in the background and your laughter and the sounds of your mother and your sister chatting are what fills your world because the moment you drowned you were also resurrected with a lesson learned?

Did my child really have me in stitches on the clouded, stormy ride home and did we almost hit that blur of a deer that for all I know could have been a golden shrub? Did he really just tell me that 50,000 of my cells die every day and that over the course of 7 years every cell in my body passes and has been replaced with one that is new and fresh? Did he just tell me that a sunburn hurts because the cells are protecting us from cancer and committing suicide so they don’t mutate?

How did you become so wise young children? Where did you learn these things and when? Why is it that I see so much of myself in your love for everything and then sometimes I look at you and don’t see me at all?


I am proud of you, both of you. Because you aren’t me and because you are pieces of me that I never allowed to develop and grow. You take big leaps and tiny steps and go where the wind blows, color outside of the lines and walk against the grain all at the same time. You are far more brave than I ever was or ever will be and I am so happy that you aren’t me. That you walk your own paths.

I love that you embrace conflict and hurt and pain because as the saying goes “no pain no gain” and I want you to gain. I want to see you suffer because that leads to growth. I want you to fear because that leads you to cling to the One who alleviates the need. I want you to love fully and be passionate and chase your calling, whatever it may be, whether it’s the Antarctic whale sanctuary where you take on the poachers of the world, or into a mission field learning a new culture and language and sharing your own journey with the world in the name of the One who saves you each and every day. Maybe your dream is to be a mom or a dad and never leave this small town and you want to plant your roots down deep and firm.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, I will be in the cheering section while simultaneously handing you to God, because while this may be your journey, He is the one who holds the map.

Mar 022016
 

Exhaustion set in hard and fast in February. The flu wore me down and the exhaustion took me out. Napping a few times today leaves me with a to-do list that seems to never be to-do{ne}. As many people know I have been dealing with a ton of eye pain, like someone decided to give me a good punch. If you have ever had a sore eye you know how little you want to do and how sensitive you are to pretty much anything. It really is a new level of discomfort that comes in like a thief in the night and robs you of joy.

I saw the optometrist yesterday and he said my eye likely had something viral associated with my having had the flu last month but there was no inflammation or signs of anything wrong now, just discomfort that would have to go away on it’s own. A blessing to know that my eye pain is simply pain and not something threatening my vision, or a rampant infection of some sort that would require antibiotics to mess up my gut health.

Having spent so much time in bed over the past month I have watched several complete series on Netflix and have now restarted watching The X-Files and by, “restarted” I mean I watched season one when it first came out when I was like 8. It was something my grandma and I watched each week on her 13-inch TV set across from the table in her kitchen. We would watch it and play rummy and her heavy smoke would blow into my face. She would brush out my long hair and I would brush out hers. Amazing how a show like the X-Files can bring back memories of a time so long ago, when I was a simple child just chilling with her grandma as much as she could.

Another leaf just fell from the poinsettias set out from Christmas and I am reminded that spring is on it’s way. The plants dropping their bracts are also putting out new leaves, because where there is old, there will be new. New life.

I know this is me rambling away, but honestly, putting together a bunch of thoughts on one thing sounds tedious at the moment. Definitely thinking I should perhaps use a prompt instead of doing this journal style. Oh well. Not today. Tomorrow is our five-minute free write though and that is awesome, something to look forward too, to focus on for that short amount of time. And the chat before it, the FMFParty where we talk about chocolate and books and boyfriends and husbands and kids and chores and sleeping babies and babies that won’t sleep and so much more, because that’s what community is, that’s what friends are for and the best part is that we are on Twitter inviting the world in, because in Christ there is always room for more.

Hello Mornings also started this week and we are focusing on 1 Corinthians 13 and it truly amazes me how when we focus on a verse how quickly things pop out at you in such an amazing way, a way that I had not seen before. I am using Scripture Typer to practise memorizing the chapter and so far I have memorized verses 1-2. Doesn’t seem like much, but it is more than I knew last week and the message is so much more clear.

“But if I have not love, I am nothing” v2

Such a profound statement and so true, especially when myself and many Christians consider Jesus to be LOVE. I can easily read this as “but if I don’t have Jesus, I am nothing.” I love when the Bible speaks to my heart and explains itself to me in such a jolting way. God doesn’t always cause a personal earthquake to get His point across, but when He speaks, it is impossible to not hear!

I serve an awesome God. Enough said?

Feb 192016
 

I clean the bathroom on Thursdays unless it needs it otherwise. Call me crazy for leaving it a full week before doing it again but Thursday seems to be what works for our family so that’s what I do. This week though I have been feeling sick still from the flu I had last week. Exhaustion comes simply from thinking and naps have been a must for the past 10 days or so. I did clean the bathroom last week so I wasn’t really behind. Yet yesterday I just slept most of the day and had no energy so it got moved over to the to-do list for Friday.

Isn’t that how everyone wants to spend their Friday evening?

I woke up from my long nap around dinner time, everyone had eaten and I had no appetite yet again. I sat on the bed contemplating whether or not being awake was a good thing and I wondered how babies sleep in such awkward positions without being stiff. This extremely deep thought forced me to conclude that that is why babies cry -stiff joints after a good nap.

I pulled out my planner to see what I hadn’t done this week and the list was a mile long and the bathroom stood out to me like a sore thumb. After some deep Biblical talk (yes seriously) with myself about cleaning the bathroom to serve the Lord I got off my butt and went upstairs and used that highly toxic mint scented toilet bowl cleaner and wondered to myself how on earth getting cancer was godly, then, I noted that I am only going to use natural cleaners once that bottle is gone.

I removed everything from the counters and wiped away, got mold out of the window, finished with the 7 toothbrushes and toothpastes, refilled the soap dispenser and then pulled out my trusty and equally toxic Lysol wipes and quickly gave the outside of the toilet a once over. Then, it hit me.

I was cleaning the bathroom to serve God and my family BUT I wasn’t doing it with a servants heart. Revelation right there on the floor. I pulled out a few more wipes and torqued my body around the toilet and wiped it properly, I was actually pretty grossed out by how much my once over missed and continued to clean. This time while talking to God about how I need Him to continue to work in my heart to help me make the mundane into something that can bring Him glory. Yes, I want my toilet to shine, not just for me, but to show God how grateful I am to have a toilet to clean, a family to mess it up and the cleaning supplies to get the task done.

I grabbed the toilet brush and scrubbed away while humming some of my favorite worship songs and for the first time in awhile it felt like cleaning the bathroom wasn’t a chore, but a duty asked of me by God.

When I was done with that I cleaned the mirrors in the rest of the house that didn’t have a streak free shine despite having just been done, because I wanted them to sparkle for God instead of just being half-done or done incorrectly just so they could get a check mark. I swept the floor around the dog crates, put 2 gallons of water in the fish tank and wiped down their glass.

I am still behind on my chores for the week, but I am excited to be approaching them with the mindset that I am serving not only my family, but the One who has gifted me all that I have.

Growing up I often heard that cleanliness was next to Godliness, and while I don’t believe that to be true because we all have different standards and ideas of what clean is, I feel that God is moving in my heart to do the job to the best of my ability whether I am wiping up crumbs, scrubbing a toilet, or simply taking care of myself. He isn’t calling me to be perfect, He is calling me to serve.

Feb 112016
 

My goosebumps had stood tall so long that my skin felt as if it was covered in a million needles and the thought of air brushing over was enough to cause me pain. My fever was at 102.9 and Tylenol and Advil combined weren’t making it budge. Room temperature water felt like swallowing rocks that just wouldn’t stay down. I was in agony and for a few hours I wasn’t sure I was going to survive. I laid in my bed shivering cold with beads of sweat soaking my brow and matting my hair and my lips were moving on their own speaking to the One who created me. The One who had bore my sins on the cross and had already healed me.

By your stripes I am already healed…” rolled from my tongue between body aches and for the first time in a long time I was excited. Excited to be able to fight the flu with scriptural truth without needing to pull out a Bible or an app or a search engine. The Word just flowed from my tongue and prayer was spoken to God without second thought and I was amazed.

Amazed that how I was in such a limited place physically, barely strong enough to stand, while the Word of the Lord came out of my mouth as though it had been there forever. Maybe it had been. After all, He created me. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” As part of His creation and His divine plan maybe His Word has been planted deep in me since the beginning and it just takes a little bit (okay a lot) of practice to get it to overcome the often easier sins that the world has to offer.

I never prayed like this before. I never knew that I knew as much as I did, and yet there it was and here I am less than 48 hours out with a sore throat and a fever that left hours after the prayers began. Atheists call it science. I call it God. Whatever the case, I learned that my knowledge of the Word isn’t limited by what I think I know or what I willingly acknowledge that I know. I learned that my knowledge has no bounds and that speaking to God without thinking about it was an awesome experience that I can only pray that others will get to share.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
~John 10:10~

Feb 042016
 

The days are creeping into each other and I am losing track of time. I really hate things being hectic. By hectic I suppose I mean what normal people would consider an easy day. For me though, my anxiety creeps in when I don’t get enough time for me. Feelings of doubt, frustration, and an odd type of grief settle in and they land hard.

I pull back the drapes or curtains or whatever you want to call them and I allow the bright winter light in but the sky is still grey and my glass is becoming perpetually half empty rather than half full. Holding on to sanity seems hopeless and at times it’s something I don’t even want to do, sanity comes with responsibility. I don’t like that. I don’t like living in this grown up world. I would rather laugh like a child, sneak cookies and be overly dramatic -because it’s fun.

The sun has been hidden for so long and having been cooped up is a struggle, even though I am a homebody I love to go for hikes, sit out on the deck and read or write, lay on the trampoline and bask in the sun (or let’s face it, JUMP) and come this time of year having been able to do so little of that is simply hard. I miss nature. I miss the grass between my toes, climbing up a jagged hill just to see the other side.

Hope is definitely hiding on me right now. Its absence has me down. I know I am beyond blessed and I have no right to complain. My prayers keep being answered, Bible study’s are being done, and I know God has this and that He has me.

It is in the struggling to keep the demons out of my mind and life that steal my hope. I have to learn how to hope in the Lord and the Lord alone because He does not disappoint, He remains faithful -Always.

Those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

~Isaiah 40:31~

My word for 2016 is FOCUS and I feel like God definitely placed that word on my heart. I have been needing to focus on Him, on prayer, and on getting a schedule and staying on track, because when I don’t have FOCUS Satan sweeps in like a thief in the night and blindsides me.

Jan 302016
 

I woke up this morning and within an hour I had made tea, had a banana, washed the dishes from yesterday (wasn’t feeling well) and put them away, moved everything off the counter and wiped it down, cleaned the stove top, changed the trash bag and swept the floor and was working up a little bit of a sweat.

My muscles started to scream at me for water. I drank 32 ounces within a few seconds and remembered that I keep forgetting about me.

More importantly though, where was God?

As I guzzled water down fast the thought that God was searching for me when I wasn’t seeking Him was crossing my mind. Then, the words, “man cannot live off bread alone” slid into my head rapidly followed by fueling my aching soul with water from God’s well instead of my own.

It was definitely one of those moments where you are like “okay God, I am listening, I get the point. Slow down, take care of myself physically AND spiritually!”

As mama’s we forget to take care of ourselves and as children of God we tend to put our Bible studies at the end of our to-do lists instead of as part of our daily routine.

I have been studying the book of Ruth with Hello Mornings the past few weeks and it has been great, but today is Saturday and there was no reading for today, but God beckoned me anyway.

“Make ME a habit. Not a chore!”

So, I am going to focus on giving God the best of my day instead of fitting Him in.

How do you keep His Word on your tongue and have you heard God speak to you without any doubt before?

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