Monday, December 14, 2015

Far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.

On Saturday morning, my husband woke me up at a little before 7. He let me know he was going to hop in the shower, and then I could go. (The house was gloriously quiet with both girls sweetly asleep, which we still can't get over!) It has been a while since I'd done it, but we were trying to get back into our old practice of my going out on Saturday mornings while he watches the girls.

 I used to love these mornings! Leisurely mornings starting at a coffee shop with my Bible and notebook, and then perhaps going to "Market", as we call our Farmer's Market in Lancaster. Depending on the amount of time my husband was able to give me that Saturday, maybe some thrift-store shopping would occur, a favorite past time of mine. 

I am definitely an introvert, needing my time alone- which of course is not easy to come by in this season of life. (As we've been over on almost every blog post I've written so far!) The times when I've been able to make it happen this year have been sweet. So, I was rather excited to wake that morning.

"So when would you like me home?", I asked, in a very typical-wife moment of already having the answer in my mind which I would like him to tell me. "9:30?", he gracious replied. And then I replied, not so graciously, how I was hoping it would be more like noon! He kindly reminded me of all the things we really needed to use the day for, and how a whole morning with me gone would not work so well. I told him it was hardly worth going out for just two hours! And then he took his shower.

I complained in my heart for a while, and laid in our bed instead of making it. With half a mustard seed of faith I prayed that God would help my bad attitude. But I also let Him know how annoyed and disappointed I was!-having all week daydreamed about a morning away and alone.

Then, I heard little footprints. Emmylou's. She opened the door quietly and smiled her sleepy smile and crawled into bed with her cranky/searching-for-grace Mother. She snuggled into me carefully and quietly for a moment, then sat up and said, "Is it morning or is it night?" I told her it was morning, but it was still dark out. And curiously, she hopped out of bed and pulled back the shade. "You're right, it's still dark.", she said in such a big-girl way, and cheerfully climbed back into bed with me.

It was one of those moments I have often as a Mom. I am set on being miserable and cranky and selfish, knowing it's wrong. And I half heartedly pray about it, not really expecting anything to change. But suddenly ,the simple sweetness of one of my children brings me back to reality. Their innocence melts my heart. The answer to my half-hearted prayers for help! I can't help but smile as I think/pray: "She is so darn cute. I love being her Mom. I wouldn't have life any other way. All the little sacrifices are so worth it." You just see it so clearly for a moment. And strength and joy comes for the next task of the day.

With the sound of my husband's shower in the background,and the darkness still outside,(and Emmy not knowing what was going on in my heart at all)-I asked her,"Do you want to go to a coffee shop with Mommy this morning?" In her Emmy way, she cheerfully/nonchalantly said,"Oh. Sure!" We went to her room and got dressed. I took a couple pictures of her being cute with her little stuffed bunnies and I let Bron know she was coming with me. He smiled at me, his crazy wife.

We packed a bag full of stickers and notebooks and things for her to do while I worked on a couple things, and off we went. Emmy commented on "the lovely sunrise", and I was instantly so glad I brought her with me. I drove the short drive to the coffee shop downtown, and she squealed with delight over the houses with Christmas lights, and the sparkly wreaths on the lampposts lining the streets.

She did so well at the coffee shop! She chose baked oatmeal with blueberries, and picked from the basket of toys they had there to play with. She barely made a peep! She just smiled and enjoyed herself immensely. I couldn't help but turn away from my work to interject a few questions into her concentrated-play ,"How do you like being a big sister? "What do you think Daddy wants for Christmas?" She answered me politely, and probably thought I was being weird. ;}

It was our first Just-Emmy-and-Mommy-Date, and I think it might have to become more of a regular thing. I couldn't imagine time alone at the coffee shop, even a whole morning alone, being any better than that time together. I truly just felt so blessed by my sweet daughter!

After some time there, we walked right next door to Market. She put change in the red Salvation Army bucket. She helped pick a donut for Daddy, and waved shyly to the lady at the flower stand who goes to our church. We bought a chicken and some sausage from the meat stand, and two lovely mini poinsettias for the windowsill.

 She held a dollar in her hand to pick a Christmas cookie. But before our last stop for that, we swung by the Amish stand that sells all sorts of Amish handmade things, and a random pile of used Little Golden Books. Much to my surprise and delight, I found one I've been dreaming of adding to our collection!
Eloise Wilkin's "Baby's Christmas".  I am always trying to hunt down books of hers- her illustrations are so detailed and beautiful and filled with simple home-life things. When I saw this book, I snatched it up with an audible gasp. I couldn't believe my eyes! This stand usually has lots of character books- Mickey Mouse and Big Bird and such. It just felt like such a specific and tangible blessing for me, from a God who knows and loves His children. I couldn't help but smile, inside and out.

We got home, and  put our poinsettias in their spot. We read our new book quite a few times. Little sister Sadie especially loved it. And then, we got to work- as my husband had planned. What did we need to work on? Well, among other things- Saturday was the day we set aside to officially organize my art area!
It is no Pinterest-worthy art room, but all those things in the corner-shelf had been hidden, rather symbolically,
in boxes since we moved into our home two summers ago. And now, all of my creative supplies are set out and ready for time to start making things again, as the Lord allows. Such a happy thought for me.

I was super excited to find two of the last things I've ever made. An unfinished girl, waiting to be placed in some kind of background with some kind of Scripture around her. And a very unprofessional embroidery of a favorite line from a Johnny Cash song. The song my husband and I walked down the aisle to together after saying our wedding vows.

On Saturday morning, I woke thinking that all I want to do is be alone for a few hours- and giving that up brought about such sweeter fruit. That happens so often in the Christian Life, doesn't it? Most days, we feel like we are just searching and praying and trying to get through. Then one day you are just so aware of the goodness of God, and you wonder how you could ever forget. You know you did :nothing: to deserve it. The end of the book of Ephesians comes to mind.

"That according to the riches of His glory

He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit

in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—

that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

may have strength to comprehend with all the saints

what is the breadth and length and height and depth,

and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,

that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,

according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory.."

Ephesians 3:16-21


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"Those wonderful ruby windows"

A quick update:We decided this month to not continue with preschool for our 3 year old. I thought it would be a lot harder of an adjustment, but really it's been rather wonderful! I genuinely have been enjoying these last ten days. Just two months in preschool really has sent her into the ranks of being such a "big girl". She just seems to have matured, and having her home has been sweet.

 My husband and I don't feel at all like we regret the decision to try preschool, we do feel like those two months were a blessing! But we realized as the weeks went on that it wasn't the best fit for Emmy. She just needs to be home, playing with her Little People, and her little sister, and reading lots of books with her mom.

So we are experimenting with some *very light* homeschooling things and enjoying staying inside on cozy Fall days like today. Most of all, I feel like I am just figuring out a new rhythm for our days.

So, that's why I've only written two blog posts so far! I like knowing it is sitting here on my computer, waiting for inspiration and time for writing. This blog started with the mind-set of being a place to record the details of my quest to make things again, and I do still hope for that! But for a while, it will just be motherly ramblings. So, here I go;) -

One main thing that has been a hard adjustment for me in motherhood, (especially when a second child arrived!) has been figuring out what it looks like to have time with God. My favorite way to start the day since my early adult days, is with a hot mug of something and my Bible open. I have struggled with anxiety and depression through the years and I can remember as a single girl how my first waking thought was to run to the Lord who speaks to His children through His Word. I have found such solace there.

Fast-forward 6 years!

While I had been able to make Bible reading in the mornings and naptimes work for my oldest's first two years of infant's (not)sleeping schedule was added to our life, and then Big Sister dropped her nap soon after...together, these things made it seem impossible to rise early, before my children. To make a very long story short- I have felt so lost without my morning time with the Lord!

I'd been pretty discouraged about this until recently, when I've heard from some other Moms -who have survived been through these first little years with children- that this is a pretty normal thing. Time with the Lord just looks different in this season of life.

So, this week, I've been attempting to have my "quiet" time right there in the middle of the chaos of our mornings. I have even been able to tell my oldest daughter that Mommy *needs* to read her Bible, and how great it would be if she could play nicely with her sister while I do that! Once this week, I overheard her pretending with her dolls, telling them that she was "having some time with Jesus." :}

I have memories of waking up in the morning as a teenager, and seeing my Mom's Bible wide open on the kitchen table.  It really meant a lot to me! I can remember thinking "This is how my Mom begins her day." And now that I'm a Mom, I wonder how much time she actually had to read it! But just the fact that it was open each morning spoke volumes to my teenage heart.

God used my Mom's open Bible! That encourages me for this season. I want my Bible to be open, even if I don't have as much time and brain-space to pour over it's pages as I have in season's past.

While I do miss having a longer stretch of time, I am reminded of the loaves and fish! Jesus can multiply a mother's rest, and a mother's alone time in His Word, and make it enough to serve her family.And what a difference it has made in my day!

Really, it hasn't been anything too exciting. I am reading through the book of Psalms, usually with at least one child in my lap or on my leg, and I usually have forgotten exactly what I read by lunch time;)

,But there is just the awareness that I've begun my day with the Lord. Opening my Bible sets my face towards Him, and directs my thoughts toward His. Even if it was just 4 minutes(!) ,the day has begun with a fresh awareness of God's eternal truths, and of His involvement in my day. And what could be an overwhelming and stressful day of child-rearing, now can be filled with "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,"

In Eternity, I'll have all the time in the world to bask in His presence. And because of Jesus, I can experience that in a small measure now, even as I wash dishes and sweep up millions of crumbs.

As I read this morning from Susannah Spurgeon
 in her meditations on Psalm 139 a couple hundred years ago: 
[Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, 
thou understands my thoughts afar off. 
Psalm 139:2]

 " Happy are you, my soul , if you know that God looks through Jesu's wounds' on you, and through those wonderful ruby windows sees you so changed and beautiful that He can say 'Thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee.' 

'My downsitting and mine uprising', Lord, do you love me so much as to watch tenderly over me in such small matters? How the thought comforts me!

We do not care about the details of the everyday life of strangers: but when we love anyone very dearly, we take great interest in all that concerns them; and even so, my God, this searching, knowing, understanding, compassion, besetting, laying of your hand upon me, are all most precious tokens to me of your indescribable love. "

& Psalm 25, 
the perfect morning prayer for a Mother of little ones.
" Make me to know your ways, O Lord;teach me your paths. 
Lead me in your truth and teach me, 
for you are the God of my salvation; 
 for you I wait all the day long. 

 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love, 
 for they have been from of old. 
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; 
according to your steadfast love remember me, 
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

Good and upright is the Lord;therefore he instructs sinners in the way. 
He leads the humble in what is right,and teaches the humble his way. 

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, "

Friday, October 30, 2015

He's always been faithful to me.

The expression "The days are long, but the years are short" comes to mind often.I know it's true in raising children, (and I am so thankful to older Mothers who have reminded me of this truth often. How I need it!)
I think a more fitting summary of my days right now would be: the days are long, but the :weeks: are short! Can other Moms relate? As I sit here at my computer this afternoon, I look back on this week...and it is hard to be satisfied with anything my hands have done! "Is there anything to show for what I accomplished this week??", so grumbles my heart.

For me, these days usually begin with waking up squished between my two daughters, who have ended up in bed with me in the course of the night. Not one sticker this week on the (Please!)Stay-in-your-bed-all-night-chart ,for a certain three year old I know.

And there is usually a backlog of dishes from the night before,( -clean ones in the dishwasher to unload that should have been dealt with before starting on dinner!, and so there's a dirty pile from dinner by the sink to scrub) and breakfast will soon add more.

Waking up before my children, with time to drink my tea
(-which has now been desperately switched out by coffee!-)
 is but a faint memory.

Sleeping all through the night is but a dream...
A whole year's "unanswered" prayer would be more accurate!
I know it's a heard prayer and an answered prayer,but not answered as I would prefer! But, thankfully,I can keep asking for it, and so I do!

Along with time to read my Bible for a long stretch- oh how I miss that!
Not to mention, time to exercise,
or make art (!),
or to just sit quietly and stare at the wall.

This morning, as I stood before a massive pile of breakfast dishes, ( as Emmy was at preschool, and Sadie was taking her morning nap-) I felt like it was as good a time as any to talk to the Lord about my plight. And I want to share how He met me there!

All too often at 9:45am, I am foggy-headed and grumbly in my heart; overwhelmed with the tasks of the day ahead of me. Tired, and allowing that to steal my joy. I always feel like if I weren't so tired, everything would be so much easier!

But, it was one of those mustard-seed of faith moments. And I set before the Lord all of those things I listed above, along with a few others.

Nothing too amazing happened, but I did feel renewed strength to just face the task at hand. And fresh faith to not give into my strong desire to spend the rest of the morning on the couch watching Parks and Recreation, instead of attending to the various duties around the house. ;}

So, as I washed the dishes in my rarely quiet kitchen, I suddenly was in the mood to listen to Sara Groves. I hadn't listened to her in such a long time, but I found her on my ipad. And without really thinking, mostly because I couldn't remember the last time I listened to it- I tapped onto my favorite song of hers - He's Always Been Faithful.

And it was like a slideshow of the past mundane moments of the week were on display before me, and God was giving me grace to see beauty and purpose in them. Dishsoap bubbles on my hands, tears in my eyes. Joy in my heart. (All 3, gifts from the Lord.)

"Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God's hand in mine.

Season by season I watch Him, amazed; :in awe of the mystery: of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me.

I can't remember a trial or a pain- He did not recycle to bring me gain.

I can't remember one single regret in serving God only, and trusting His hand.

All I have need of, His hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me.
This is my anthem, this is my song; the theme of the stories I've heard for so long:
God has been faithful, He will be again.
His loving compassion- it knows no end.
All I have need of - His hand will provide.
He's always been faithful to me.

I just felt like the Lord was reaching out to me. All the issues in my heart can see so insignificant. Dishes, and sticker charts, a year of inadequate sleep, dreams of time alone to make things and be creative; post-pregnancy pounds.

 I think that's why it can be easy for Moms to not bring these kinds of things to the Lord, and to just wallow in self-pity.

I was tired, and frustrated, and feeling like this is how life is always going to be for the rest of my motherhood! But God was opening my eyes to see how He's been with me, morning by morning. He has sustained me till now, and will continue to.

It was like a theologically magic wand was waved over my situation, and I was able to see clearly. He made an unlovely everyday moment into something beautiful. He helped me remember the meaning and purpose in my daily lot, and strength for it- comes from Him.

I wanted to share this song with other ladies out there. I hope God will use it to encourage you too; to restore to you the joy of salvation, like He did for me in an everyday moment.

Psalm 16 comes to mind,

"Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. 
 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
 surely I have a delightful inheritance. 

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. 

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. 
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 
 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;my body also will rest secure, 
because you will not abandon me...

You make known to me the path of life; 
 you will fill me with joy in your presence,
    with eternal pleasures at your right hand."

Saturday, October 24, 2015

the first post.

Once upon a time, I would have described myself as a girl who loved to be creative. My favorite thing to do, ever since I was little, was to create. I would just sit and start making, without really being sure what I would come up with. It was truly therapeutic for me; a prayerful, joyful, satisfying kind of thing.

Of course, back then, I also would have also said that I desired to be a wife and a mother. I always pictured that those two things would go well together! But, I now find myself in my early years of being a wife and a mother. And while, of course, there is much joy to be creative energy seems to be seriously lacking!

 It takes some major effort for my mommy-brain to even figure out how to set aside time in the day for making things and being creative,  let alone the effort of getting out supplies and just starting on something. The few times I've sat to work on something, I have found myself just kind of staring at my desk, not sure where to begin. Then, Sadie wakes from her nap, or it's time to pick Emmylou up from preschool.

There are lots of ways a mother can use her creativity each day, but the actual act of sitting down and making something on purpose - that I miss. I am a Christian, and I do trust God for this. I truly do believe He has had a purpose in me setting this part of my life aside for a few years. But now, it seems I am sort of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel- no comparing motherhood to death intended!- and I'm ready to start trying to make things again.

And so, that is kind of why I want to try blogging again. I thought this little blog could be a way to help me to be more intentional in pursuing creativity in this season of life. I was so excited when my friend Heather emailed me a month or two ago , asking if I would be interested in blogging ! I've always had the idea in the back of my mind, and her email helped convince me to try.  ;)

A desire of mine with this blog is not only to encourage other mothers who find themselves in a similar place -figuring out how to find time to be creative, with all sorts of children and toys and mess underfoot!- but also ,

figuring out how to be okay with :not: being able to find as much time to be creative as we'd like!! We can find joy and contentment there too, if it's where God has us. There are dishes to be scrubbed, little mouths to feed and wipe, curls to comb and little hands to hold. There is beauty and purpose in these mundane moments -that often crowd out alone-with-our-own-thoughts time. I need this reminder daily.

I also will just talk about some of my favorite things, like vintage children's books and lace curtains and floral wallpaper and such- hope you don’t mind! Maybe I'll share a recipe here and there, and little tricks and happy things that have been a help in my motherhood lately.

Mostly, I will probably be talking about what God is teaching me in this season of life in which He has placed me-specifically learning to be thankful and intentional in motherhood. This is where everything makes sense for me, and finds its proper place.

Also, a warning - I am feeling very dumb and silly with layouts and blogging technique and such, so please be patient with me! Ok, that's all for now. Thanks for stopping by! And bearing with this rambly first post. :)

Until next time, and hopefully soon !,


This photo was taken one Fall ago, when Emmy and Sadie were first getting to know each other.