An Explanation

Sunday, January 29, 2012 7 Comments A+ a-

Lately I've been wondering if I need to disconnect my private blog from my design site.  You know, to keep things separate. And not offend potential clients if their beliefs differ from mine.  I haven't decided yet, Jon and I are still discussing it. And if you have any advice or insight to share, I'd love to hear it.

But it does bring me to another point.  This blog is about my life. Its a journal of events, feelings, lessons, stories. Its my journey. As I read through the archives, I can see where I was walking close with God, and the times I struggled. I see posts that were written in love, or fear, or hope. This blog, like me, ebbs and flows with spiritual growth and yes, even drought.

As I am coming out of the desert, I feel God working in my soul, in my life. I know that He's awakening my spirit and as such, this blog will reflect that. I imagine the number of posts about God, the Bible, and the things I'm learning will increase. I'd apologize but truth be told, I'm not sorry. I write what I'm passionate about and I'm passionate about my Lord.

I will say that it is never my intent to cast judgment or heap shame on anyone. There's a freaking oar in my own eye, so there's no room to pick out the splinter in yours. Any number of these posts are simply what I am learning, what I believe, what I am passionate about. This is my journal.

I am both excited and nervous as I know I'm on the precipice of some new things. Hard things. But I know it is no accident that I'm starting Beth Moore's James study, at the same time that Jon and I are starting Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. And whenever God has a word for me, I know I better sit up and pay attention. Growing in Christ usually means some growing pains, and while I know that the end result will be good, the fire is never fun.

Chapter 5

Friday, January 27, 2012 4 Comments A+ a-

Aubrey hit the End button on the phone, thus ending her conversation with Brooke. She chewed on her lower lip, wondering if Thomas would be up for a trip to the university campus. Brooke mentioned that she would love a visit but didn’t feel like she could drive home because she had several papers to write and a few mid-term tests to study for. The thought of the two-hour drive appealed to Aubrey, not to mention the joy of an afternoon with her youngest girl. She hadn’t seen Brooke since Easter Sunday almost three weeks ago, and even though they’d had numerous phone conversations, it just wasn’t the same as sitting in each other’s company.

Aubrey bounded down the stairs and out the back door. She paused as the sunlight of early morning filtered through the trees lining her sidewalk. She breathed in the smell of early spring, the smell of rebirth and new growth; the smell of dirt and fresh air. Far off she could hear the sound of a mower going, apparently one of her neighbors felt the urge to dig their heels into spring too. She loved this time of year, the time when everything was eager for revival.

She continued along the brick path to the unattached garage that sat to the back and the side of their sprawling home. She knew that Thomas was tinkering around in the garage; Thomas enjoyed any morning that allowed him time with his tools. Unfortunately, mechanics was not one of his strong suits. While he enjoyed the look and feel of his tools, they were rarely put to use. Often Rob or Kyle would come over to lend a “helping hand” only to take over and complete the repairs themselves. It was a familial joke that Thomas wouldn’t be able to find the gas tank if it wasn’t clearly marked in the owner’s manual, but it never stopped him from trying.

Aubrey opened the garage door and came up short at the sight of the beloved convertible with its hood opened. She stepped to the side of the car to see Thomas hovered over the engine, wrenches and screwdrivers lying helter-skelter on the engine. “Tommy,” she asked cautiously. “What are you doing?” He lifted his head and flashed a boyish smile; dirt or grease smeared across his cheek and forehead. She chuckled; her husband was the very image of a young boy playing with his toys.

“You mentioned that it was making a funny knocking noise last week, so I thought I’d check it out.” He grinned impishly; it was the grin that always managed to keep him out of trouble. Aubrey groaned inwardly as she took in the sight of disconnected parts and hoses; there was no chance she’d be able to take the convertible today.

“And did you find the problem?” she asked, knowing full well that Thomas could take things apart but rarely put them back together.

He shook his head slowly, and with all seriousness said, “No, but I’m sure it’s this part right here, behind the engine block.” He urged Aubrey closer, wanting to show off his knowledge of the various car parts. She nodded her head as he rambled on, wondering who she was going to have to call this time to help fix the mess that Thomas had made. She loved her husband but fixing cars was definitely not one of his strong suits.
As he wound down from his explanations, he reached for a towel sitting on the bench behind Aubrey. Once his hands were cleans, he leaned against the hood of the car and pulled her into his arms until she was resting comfortably against his hips. He nuzzled the skin behind her ear, “What’s up Aubrey-girl? What’s the plan for today?”

She snuggled in closer, content to stay in his arms a while longer. “I just got off the phone with Brooke,” she answered.

Thomas lifted an eyebrow, “And…”

“And we thought it would be fun for me to run up there for the afternoon,” she said. “Want to come?”

He laughed the deep, rumbling laugh of a man who knew that the afternoon would likely involve shopping, girl talk, and giggles, an afternoon that would probably be a little stilted if Dad came along. “No thanks, love.” He gestured to the car with its various parts spilling out over the top. “I have plenty to do here, but go, have a wonderful time.”

She smiled in response; it was the answer she’d expected from the moment she’d walked into the garage. She bumped his hips with her own, “All right then, I’m outta here.” She pulled his head down for a passionate, theatrical kiss and ended it with a smack. When she would have pulled out of his arms to make her way to the Honda, Thomas tightened his grip. She looked up in surprise, a little alarmed at the serious look on his face.
Thomas couldn’t explain it, something within him was refusing to let go. Suddenly everything within his body was hesitant about letting her drive the two hours to see Brooke. When he felt her tense at his uncertainty, he pulled her even closer. And there they stood for about five minutes, locked in a tight embrace, her head cupped against his chest, the smell of her perfume drifting up and clouding his senses. He relished each curve that fit so perfectly against his own hard angles; he cherished each contented sigh as she allowed herself to relax against him. And finally, after all his senses had been filled, he released her with a kiss to her temple.

Aubrey flashed him a grin, tossed the keys in the air, and made her way to the sedan. She climbed in and started the car; she adjusted the mirrors and found her sunglasses; she fiddled with the radio, searching for the light-rock station she loved; and blew Thomas a kiss as she made her way out of the driveway. He felt the hair on the back of his neck stood up, he was uneasy with his wife making the trip but he couldn’t understand why. He wanted to run after her, to beg her to stay with him for the day. Unused to these feelings, he shook them off, returned to the garage, and reassured himself that they’d go on a date when she returned.

----------------------------------------------- 

She tapped her fingers against the steering wheel in tempo with the Celine Dion song that was blaring from the radio. She waited at the red light, willing it to turn green. She wondered how Thomas was going to put the convertible back together and decided to call Jessica and see if Rob could stop by and help him. She rummaged through her big, black purse, scattering contents all over the passenger seat. She found two different colored lipsticks, a napkin used for blotting, several earrings, none of which made a complete pair, and finally found the small cell phone. She pressed 3 just as the light turned green; she waited for Jessica to answer while trying to figure out how to pass the slow-going semi in front of her.

Jessica answered on the third ring; Aubrey could hear the kids playing in the background and the sound brought a smile to her face. “Hello?” Jessica answered in a tired voice.

“Oh, Jessie, honey, you sound terrible!” Aubrey tried to keep her tone light and carefree, but a bit of worry managed to sneak its way into her voice.

Jessica sighed an audibly deep sigh, the sigh of a woman who was both physically and emotionally exhausted. “Thanks,” she answered sarcastically. She cringed, sarcasm was coming too easily nowadays; it seemed to be the only way she could communicate with anyone. “Things are a little crazy around here; I can’t find anything in these packed boxes, not to mention it’s so chaotic that I can barely think!”

Aubrey clucked her tongue, remembering the trying and tiring times of parenting toddlers and trying to maintain a household as though they were yesterday. “Hang in there, honey!” she encouraged. “How did the showing go yesterday?”

“We got an offer on the house but the couple wanted us to pay all closing costs, their down payment, and throw in the washer and dryer! We’ve counter-offered.” Jessica rubbed the bridge of her nose, remembering the knock-down, drag-out fight she and Rob had over the offer and whether or not they should take it. He felt that they should have taken it without any qualms; accusing her of sabotaging their move. She thought they should hold out for more and accused him of uprooting their family at any cost. The fight had ended with Rob yelling at her to do whatever she wanted and slamming the door shut on his way out to the garage.

Audrey tried to sound as positive as possible, even though her heart fell to the bottom of her stomach. She just couldn’t imagine living that far away from her grandbabies and eldest daughter. Please, Lord, give me your peace and strength during this change. “Well, that’s promising. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be moving with Rob, instead of waiting here.”

There was another deep sigh, “Yea, I guess its good news.” Just then the sound of breaking glass reverberated through the receivers.

“What was that?” Aubrey asked alarmingly. She swerved into the left lane; the traffic was finally starting to move forward.

“That,” Jessica explained, “was the sound of Wyatt knocking a lamp onto the wood floor.” Jessica was already holding the phone between her shoulder and ear and with her free hands was cleaning up the broken pieces of glass.

“Well, it sounds as though you’ve got your hands full, so I’ll hurry up. Do you think Rob would be willing to stop by our place this afternoon? Dad decided to open up the convertible and I fear it may never be back in once piece if Rob doesn’t get over there.” She heard the slight pause on Jessica’s end and hurried on, “Please Jess? I’d call Kyle but he and Abby are still in Mexico until Monday.”

“I don’t know Mom; we aren’t exactly talking to each other right now. In fact, to be honest, I don’t have a clue what his plans are for the day.”

“Oh Jessie,” Aubrey breathed, her heart sinking at the news that they were still struggling. “Things aren’t getting better, huh? Is there anything your father and I can do?”

In a barely audible whisper, Jessica responded, “Pray.” She paused, feeling the ache deep within her soul. She continued, “For the first time in our marriage, I see cracks and I don’t know how to fix them.”

Aubrey tapped on her horn as a driver cut her off to pass the same semi; she turned her attention back to Jessica. “Jessica, get out my letter. Please. I’m sure there’s advice in there you can use, scriptures to rely on. Reread it, pray on it, and listen to God.”

Jessica knew an order when she heard one, “Yes ma’am.” Just then, she heard the garage door open and knew that Rob had returned home, from wherever he had been. “Well, Mom, Rob’s home now and I’ll make sure he gets over to help Dad.”

“Thanks honey, tell Rob we owe him a dinner if he can undo whatever your father did.” The stop-and-go traffic was driving Aubrey a little crazy; she didn’t mind going slow as long as it remained consistent. Again the traffic picked up and the Honda responded to the pressure on the gas. “Well, I’d better go; I need to concentrate on driving. At this rate, I won’t get to Brooke’s until after lunch.”

Jessica laughed and longingly wished for the days when her mother would come visit her at school. In moments like these, those days seemed so carefree and easy. “Have fun! Give Brooke a kiss from me.” And the two hung up.

The station was now playing Jack Johnson and Aubrey sang along with the mellow voice, trying to relish her alone time in the car. Her foot was itching to go faster, the slow pace killing her, but she knew that once they passed this last exit, traffic would be sparse enough to allow Aubrey the speed she craved.

Just then, Aubrey looked up as she noticed the semi starting to come into her lane. She could see the blinking lights on the side of the semi out of the corner of her eye, further proof that the driver intended to switch lanes. She could hear horns blasting behind her and a quick glance in the rearview mirror showed the horror on the other drivers’ faces. As Aubrey laid on her own horn, she sped up, trying desperately to get out of the way. She watched in dismay as the semi crept closer and closer to her car. The fear rose in her throat, almost choking her. A million thoughts and memories raced through her mind; facing Thomas on her wedding day, barely making his face through the cloud of the veil; the red, squalling face of each newborn daughter as they came out of her womb; the hope and optimism evident on each daughter’s face on their wedding day. Aubrey looked around her wildly, wondering where to go or what to do; racking her brain for any possible solution to avert the crash that was sure to happen. Seconds before impact Aubrey sent up one anguished plea, “Dear Father, no!”

The semi completed the lane change, bringing the inevitable collision. It tore off the top of the Honda and sent it end-over-end down the embankment, on the side of the highway. Other drivers watched in dismay as the car came to a rest on its hood, or what was left of the hood. Some of the other drivers on the highway pulled out cell phones and immediately dialed for help; others quickly pulled to the side of the road, anxious to assist in any way they could.

Once the crash had registered in his mind, the semi-driver shook in fear and regret as he pulled the semi to a stop. Hopping down from his seat, he ran back to where the Honda had been knocked off the road and the crowd that gathered there. He watched in disbelief as two men made their way down the embankment, trying to get to the wreckage as fast as possible. In the distance the sound of wailing sirens could be heard and grew louder with each passing second. Shaking uncontrollably, the driver sank to his knees. He’d never been a praying man but he prayed now, hoping against hope that the other driver would show some kind of life, some indication that they were all right. He buried his face in his hands and wept like a baby.

Its tricky being a Christian these days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 14 Comments A+ a-

I don’t have answers for everything. There are so many issues facing us as individual Christians and the Christian church in this day and age, and I can’t say with 100% certainty that I KNOW what God’s stance would be on every issue. Some are crystal clear, some are murky. I just don’t know.
But I do know these things to be true:
  • The Bible is the living, breathing Word of God. It is God-breathed, Holy Spirit inspired, and His merciful gift to us.
  • That God is the same today, as He was yesterday, and will be tomorrow. The God of Abraham is the same God of today. He is unchanging.
  • And because of that, God, like His word, is unable to evolve. God IS Love. He is PERFECT Love. Therefore He is incapable of evolving into more love. There is no room for God to love us any more than He already does.
  • A lot of sins, including the very first sin, started because the question was asked.  “Did God REALLY say that? Did He REALLY mean you can’t do that?” So when those questions start getting thrown around, I want to duck and cover.
Like I said, I don’t have all the answers. And seeing as how I’m human and God’s God, I’m not supposed to have all the answers. I do know that with my limited, finite vocabulary, I am unable to explain an infinite God, His ways, or interpret His laws.
“In Essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
credited to St. Augustine.
PS  I’ll be back later tonight with my thoughts on Chapter 7 of the Sacred Marriage study.

I Miss This

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 5 Comments A+ a-

I miss this place… As my design load picks up, I’m finding less and less time to get on here and post about the goings-on in my life.  Or my thoughts on various subjects.  Or random pictures.  And recipes.  And new ideas.

If I could just find another hour or two in the day, I could tell you…

…about Reagan’s first night at Cubbies.  And how Hudson came home and said he protected his baby sister by telling “all the boys not to touch Reagan’s p*e-pee.”  (Oh sweet lord.)

…what I thought about the Revelation study we just finished.

…or how excited I am to start James.

…how weaning Ashlynn is going.  I have no clue what I’m doing since all the others had weaned themselves by now.  And I have a conference coming up next month.  Oh, how my heart is breaking over the end of this phase in my life.

…the post I’m writing in my head on Christianity and how common it is to hear, and easier to live out, a watered down Gospel.  But I’m fairly certain that post will never see the light of day because I’m too scared to actually write it.

…that I’ve fallen in love with a new-to-me blogger and I check my Google Reader at least 3-4 times a day to see if she’s written a new post.

…how much I’m enjoying Hudson right now and how he’s blooming in preschool.  He’s writing his name, recognizing letters, sounding out words.  And how I’m soaking in these moments as his one and his only girl while I can.

…that the average life of most of our wedding presents seems to be 10 years.  Our everyday dishes finally whittled down to one set and were replaced.  The electric can opener took a dive off our counter and now needs to be replaced.

…as I look back on these past ten years with Jon, I can see the curves, hills, and valleys that this journey has taken us on. I am so in love with that man, and thanking God that every day I get to do life with my best friend.

…that Devyn is looking older and maturing faster than I care to admit.  As I watch, listen, and interact with her, I’m seeing hints of the person she’ll become. And what an amazing woman she is going to be.

I miss this place. A lot.

Eeek! What have I done?!

Thursday, January 12, 2012 10 Comments A+ a-

If you follow me on Twitter, then you already know what I’m about to talk about.  If not, then this is BRAND-NEW INFORMATION.  (Sorry, borrowing Phoebe’s phrase from Friends. Is anyone else loving Friends on Nick at Night as much as I am?!)

Last year, I started hearing about this blogging conference called Blissdom.  But since I had a newborn, it was pretty much out of the question.  Not to mention that finances were tight.  However, the idea has firmly implanted itself in my head.

When Blissdom started releasing more information this past fall, Jon and I started having some serious conversations about whether I should, or could, attend.  And with utter shock, I pressed the purchase button for my Blissdom ticket last month.

This last week has been a flurry of finding airline tickets, child care (thank you family!), designing my business cards, anxiety and panic attacks, and deep breaths.  I am going on a trip.  Alone.  B y myself.  Knowing not a single person.

I have very mixed emotions about this trip.  I have no desire to grow my personal blog.  None.  In fact, the very idea of becoming a bigger blogger makes me anxious.  I have turned down every offer to earn any revenue off this blog, for the simple fact that this is MY space.  My own personal story.  Its never been a desire of mine to become bigger than the audience I’ve been given.  Does that make any sense?

My business blog is another story.  And that is why I’m going to Blissdom.

Blissdom has a number of business sessions that I’m really excited to sit in on.  I can’t wait to hear what I’m doing right or wrong, or what I can do better.  I think it’ll be an amazing networking opportunity.  There are some other sessions that I’m interested in too.

And?

I’m SO excited to meet so many of the wonderful ladies I’ve met through Twitter and designing.  Those that know me in real life, know that I’m a hugger.  A BIG hugger.  I’ve worked with a lot of these ladies for a long time, they’ve become special to me.  And I can’t wait to hug them in person.

So there you have it.  I’ll be in Nashville, Tennessee next month.  And I’m both utterly terrified (what if they don’t like me) and extremely excited!  Dear lord, what I have I gotten myself into?!

Sacred Marriage, Chapter 6

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

This chapter was one of the most convicting chapters I’ve read so far.  And so many highlighted sections that I’m having a hard time deciding where to focus this post.

I have a theory: Behind virtually every case of marital dissatisfaction lies unrepented sin.  Couples don’t fall out of love, so much as they fall out of repentance.

He goes on to give an example of a married couple who have drifted far apart in their marriage.  As he counsels them, the husband blames a lot of the distance on the fact that they have nothing in common anymore, that he is no longer challenged by her emotionally or intellectually.  As the counselor digs deeper…

The truth is, he did value writing computer code over spending time with his family – but instead of admitting and reevaluating that attitude, he blamed everything on his wife.

This made me pause and look at my own marriage through these new lenses.  Could it be true?  Are my disappointments in our marriage, in Jon, because of an unconfessed sin in my own life?  When I find myself getting annoyed at the things he does, or doesn’t do, what sin in my own life have I not recognized, confessed, and sought forgiveness for?

And just as that thought sunk in, and a list formulated in my head of things that needed confession, I was given another revelation.

…go to the next step and adopt the positive virtue that corresponds to the sin you are renouncing… If you’ve been quick to ridicule your husband, practice giving him encouragement and praise.

Wow.  I instantly thought of our situation with Devyn, lying, and hot sauce.  A hard lesson for her to learn, but hopefully a punishment that corresponded with the crime.  How similar is this idea?!  And a great idea that I most certainly want to implement.  Not only am I to seek forgiveness, I’m to create a new positive behavior in its place. 

The times that I am happiest and most fulfilled in my marriage are the times when I am intent on drawing meaning and fulfillment from becoming a better [wife] rather than demanding a “better” [husband].

Truer words were never spoken, I can attest that this has been true of my marriage.  Now I’m off to do some soul-searching… 

A Heart So Full

Sunday, January 08, 2012 9 Comments A+ a-


This week has been hard. HARD. Hard in a way that makes you want to wave a white flag and surrender.  I'm not sure to whom I'd have surrendered, but I just wanted to let someone know that I give up.  Hard in a way that makes me want to hand in my name badge and keys, because I don't want to do this anymore.

Every time we thought someone was over the crud, it would come back. With a vengeance. Over these past 8+ days, I'd say we've spent 65-75% of it in the bathroom, either being sick ourselves or cleaning up after the kids.

Yesterday I took my frustration with this virus out on the kitchen floor. I even used bleach to mop it. And I never use bleach in the kitchen. I also Lyesoled (What? You didn't know it was a verb?) every single surface in our house. I don't know if it worked, but no one's gotten sick in the past 24 hours. (Knocking on wood!)

All of that to say, that while it was a hard week, one that I don't care to repeat any time soon, it made me realize how very much I love my life.

I was laying Ashlynn down for a nap, rocking back and forth on my heels, running my fingers through her growing curls, and feeling her body get more relaxed. I laid her down and stroked her face a little when a feeling of overwhelming joy and peace filled my body.

I stared down at this precious girl, an amazing gift, and realized she has never known another caretaker in her life. The realization almost brought me to my knees.

All of my others had been cared for by my sisters and mom. And while I'm eternally thankful for that and for them, none of the older three had ever known me as a sole provider.  Something I'd mourned each time my maternity leave came to an end.  But not Ashlynn. She has had me since day one of her life.

I whispered a thank you to my God and went back into the living room where a sick Reagan wanted to be held.  And it was during that time that another thought came to me.

This was one of the first times that Jon and I hadn't argued who needed to call in sick the next day. There was no guilty feeling. No guilt in feeling like I should be at work, no guilt in wishing I was home. I was exactly where I was needed.

I worked outside the home the first six years I was a mom. It was hard, in a different way. But mostly, it was hard on my heart. I never knew how much I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom until they laid Devyn in my arms. The ache grew with the birth of each child. And I had no idea if that desire would ever be fulfilled. But He did. And I am all the more blessed because of it.

Yes, this week was hard. But I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am for it. I'm grateful for the little insights I was given because they sustained me this week. I've waited a long time to be home with my babies, and every so often, I need to be reminded of that.

She’s an old soul in a girl’s body.

Friday, January 06, 2012 9 Comments A+ a-

Devyn and I were discussing my tattoos today during lunch.  (Yes, I have two tattoos.  Someday I’ll tell you about them and why they mean so much to me!)  She was asking questions and I was answering them as candidly as possible.

“I don’t want any tattoos when I get older,” she told me.

I smiled inside where she couldn’t see it.  I’ve quickly learned that saying never as a child just comes back to bite you when you’re an adult.

“That’s fine, Devyn.  You should never get a tattoo unless you’re 100% sure you want it forever.” I told her.

“Forever?! It doesn’t go away? Even when you’re old?” She was shocked.

“Never, ever,” I told her.  “Even when I’m old, I’ll still have my tattoos.”

She paused for a minute.

“I don’t think you’re going to like them when you’re old.”

Bahahaha.  Oh child, that one sentence explains so much about our relationship, and why I often wonder who is parenting whom.

A Woman of Few Words

Tuesday, January 03, 2012 4 Comments A+ a-



I'm a woman of few words these days. Mostly because of the virus that has taken up residence in our house. Its a bad one folks, straight from the devil himself.

Hoping to feel more like ourselves in a few days.

2011 Review, Wordless Style

Sunday, January 01, 2012 5 Comments A+ a-

 

2011Review