Saturday, October 26, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

One blessed baby.

You know what I realized today while walking around the library with my sweet boys?

Ari has something half the kids around the world don't have. He's blessed in a way that lots of little boys aren't.

He gets to live under the same roof as his daddy. And, even better, his daddy is still married to his mom.

I have no idea the of the full impact our relationship as present parents and our marriage makes on this kid. I think God is the only one that truly gets the importance since He designed us that way. I totally understand that God works in spite of broken families, acting as a perfect heavenly Father to children who never get to see their father. But man, what a special blessing God has already poured out on Ari by giving him to a family living together under one roof, while attempting to glorify Him. I feel very thankful for this today. Thank you, B, for sticking it out with us. ;) We love you, daddy!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Psalm 37:4

"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

I've held on to this verse over the last few years as God has taken me in several different directions with my love of writing. Since I was first learning to write in kindergarten I truly, truly loved the art. I still communicate much better through pen and paper than I do verbally.

My senior year in college I really explored what it looked like to be an artist in the realm of writing, but being a Christian first. I think so many artists identify with their artistic side before identifying with Christ, and I honestly didn't want to do that. As weird as it may sound to some, writing (or art in general) can totally be an idol. It also puts you in a vulnerable spot when you share essays, poems, and thoughts about what God's teaching you. It's a love hate relationship, as anything worth pursuing is. So, when I decided to blog, I really wanted God to do His work through words He gives me. And I've been encouraged to hear some of you over the last year or so talk about how this blog has changed you in some way, usually, hopefully, prayerfully, for good. This blog is meeting God's purposes and plans if it's making my readers more like Him in some way.

With all that to be said, God shows me over and over again that if I continue to delight myself in Him, HE - the Holy Spirit - inspires more words, more creativity, more ideas. God is my muse. His Word fuels my ideas. If anyone would ask me these last few years what my dream job would be, I would say something like, "Being a stay at home mom and getting to write about what God shows me in my life and family."

And guess what? As I've really tried to pursue God's purposes for how writing should fit into my life, and not shying away from using the gifts He's given me, He's dropping the coolest opportunity right in my lap!

Dianne Jago is a blogging friend I've gotten to know over the last year. We were both pregnant at the same time and I know God used both of our blogs in each other's life to encourage and teach one another. As much as I act like I despise technology at times, her blog is one reason I KNOW God uses modern technology to teach others, and one reason I see hope in continuing on with my own blog.

So, this opportunity I'm talking about? I'm getting there. haha

A few weeks ago I got a message from Dianne asking if I'd like to contribute to her new project, Deeply Rooted Magazine. As I read her thoughts and descriptions of what she was feeling God call her to do with this publication, I was bursting with excitement! Seriously, ask B. I don't think I've stopped talking about it since then. ;) haha I was up all night thinking about how cool it is that God allowed me to meet this friend through the internet, form this encouraging relationship, and then get to create art in a way that glorifies HIM through it! It truly is a desire of mine to encourage other women, moms, and wives through God's divine words and what He's taught me, in a vibrant and creative way. And now I get to!

Check out the above link to get more info on the publication. Please be in prayer for us as we work on this project. Pray that God would be shown in each article. Pray that the group of artists working on this publication are about HIS glory, and not our own. Also, pray that God would bring another great, Christian photographer to Utah to work with me, since Gregory Woodman is peacing out pretty soon. :( haha

Again, I am just so thankful that we have a creative God who WANTS us to create out of worship of Him!! So fun!! I hope this encourages some of you to delight in Him through whatever means of creativity He has gifted you with. :)


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Where have I been?

I've caught a cold most recently. Usually when you catch a cold that means you spend some time laying low. Drinking tea, not leaving the couch, making soups of various kinds...we all have fallen bodies, so everyone knows what this looks like.

On a more spiritual level, I feel like I'm caught a cold. Or maybe my eyes have just finally been opened to the disease, the sin, the sickness I've still got to deal with inside of my heart, and the grace God gives to cure and soothe.

So where have I been? Literally, spiritually, and emotionally?

Laying low. Spending lots of time talking to God. Listening to (and I won't lie, often arguing with) God. Reading the Word. Lots of time at home relearning and learning for the first time about lots of things. Grace. Being a mom. Still being a wife. Being human. Being broken, but made new.

Photo of me taken by my talented husband. :) I thought it was appropriate given the topic. ;)

With all this reflecting in my life comes a very relevant question to think about when you write publically.

How much is too much? What's okay to share for the sake of encouraging others? (which I hope you know is the goal of this blog, to push you towards holiness and Jesus) And what is just too much? How much honesty really is just gossip and breaks trust in relationships? What are the secret things God shows just me? Just my husband and me? Just my family?

These are all things I've been thinking about and trying to sort out, so be patient with me as I go. :)

I remember pondering this question about honesty in a memoir writing class I took in college. I've since seen other bloggers happen upon the same struggle. And here I am. Silent out of fear? Or respect? I'm still not sure. Yet again, like every single day these days, I find myself falling short of being able to find the answer to this question, among many others. I find my words falling short as I realize how little answers I actually have to things. But God's got something in the works. :) Like He always does.

I think He's providing an outlet for me to share with gentle honesty many of these things in an even more public way. A fellow blogger friend of mine, Dianne, has asked me to be a part of a collaborative team for a project she feels like God has been calling her to create. I don't want to give too many details just yet, but I'm excited that God is opening up yet another outlet for me to write and share the things He's teaching me.


With all of this to be say, pray for me as I'm in a deeeeep, but gooood season of reflecting. :)


Friday, August 30, 2013

My reason to write.

God told me to stop all the organizing for our garage sale and instead sit down with my laptop and write. Why? Because of this verse I've been pondering all week.

"'Go...tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.'" Mark 5:19
I keep this in my commonplace to remind myself of why I keep notes, why I journal, why I write down most of my prayers. There are several verses where God charges His people to tell the next generation about His faithfulness to them. I guess that's what I'm doing with all my journals. But today I just want to share how God's been faithful to me in my prayers for my husband and marriage.
A few months before I got married I bought a prayer journal. This has been the single most important tool in my life and marriage, next to the Bible. Every day of the month it gives you something different to pray for your husband, children, and yourself. The morning is my favorite time of the day, as I'm sure most of you know. I loooove getting up extra early before everyone else to sip on some coffee, read my Bible, and journal in the quiet. I covet this quiet time. I'm a creature of habit, and I believe God at His word when He says He shows Himself to those who seek Him. As a new mom, I've really been having to fight against my flesh and get up extra early before Ari to do this. But God has been faithful to me. And that's more of what I want to write about today.
Wives, do you realize how important prayer is to your marriage? Do you BELIEVE it is the weapon of choice God has given you in the battleground that our families and relationships sometimes turn into?
" Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening." 1 Peter 3:6
This verse has often used comforted me in my marriage. The context of this verse is dealing with submission in marriage. Submission is scary. God never says it's easy. That's why the Holy Spirit is saying "do not fear anything that is frightening" right here.  Pastor Jeremy taught on this the week before we were married, and it has always stuck with me. Submission can be frightening when you watch your spouse screw up, lie, confess a sin they struggle with over, and over again, are not good stewards of different aspects of their life, and yet ask you to to come alongside the decisions and leadings they feel is appropriate for your lives and family. Submitting to another sinner really is one of the most terrifying things you can do, and it's something I've not always (if ever have) been good at doing.
So, what do we use in battle against our fears as a wife?
Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray! Pray! I really can't stress this enough.
I have a note at the bottom of one of the pages in my prayer journal that says something along the lines of, "I need to stop nagging, start praying, and let the Holy Spirit do the nagging."
Wives, don't stop praying for that specific area of weakness that you see and nobody else does in your husband's life. Go to God in your moments of fear and keep on praying. Pray for his mind, body, and heart. Pray the reflection of Jesus into his life. Pray, pray, pray until you see the future glory of your husband (which you won't ever see on this side of heaven, so...pray some more). Pray for the Holy Spirit to empower him to be more like Christ in every single area of his life. Pray that you keep your mouth shut and entrust your husband to the Lord.
I know how hard this is. I've been so fearful lately in some specific areas of our marriage. I know I've failed to pray about it as much as I should, but God's given me a taste of the sweet fruit of my feeble prayers these last few days. And what reaction has it caused in my heart?
I rejoice at wanting to submit to a husband that God I see God working in! I find the future, Christ-likeness the Holy Spirit is cultivating in my husband as the most attractive thing about him, and it makes me want to be more conformed into the image of Christ too!
(Here's a little secret for husbands: admiting your need for a Savior verbally to your wife, in private, often, and as a normal part of your relationships is one of the most attractive things you can do. Why? Because it shows humility, and we desire to follow a humble leader we see the evidence of Christ in. You don't have to act like you have it all together and don't need someone to lead you. We know that's not true. If it were, there probably wouldn't be as many dirty dishes and laundry left around my house. There wouldn't be the silence and fear a wife feels after her husband makes a final decision.)
So ladies, where's your hope? Is it in your nagging voice that makes your husband want to campout on the roof (Proverbs 21:9)? Or is it in Jesus Christ, who's voice commands even the wind and waves (Luke 8:24)? Call on our Helper, the Holy Spirit, to help make you a better helper for your husband, the helper God is calling you to be, always giving your husband strength through your prayers. This is the best gift a wife can ever give to her husband. Ask God to renew your mind to believe this truth. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Prepping for winter.

Yep. I'm looking forward to winter already. I always do this...wish away the current season in hopes of the next one. While I'm enjoying all the iced coffee and reading outside in the warm mornings, I'm making the most of my baking and fresh produce from my bountiful basket to stock up some food for the winter. I have a feeling I'm going to be even more homebound than usual with a baby on the brink of crawling/walking.  

I made some molasses bread today, one for B to have during my upcoming trip to Colorado. (I'm attempting to bake some extra food for him to have on hand that week so he doesn't eat like a bachelor.)
I'm storing one for much later to break out and toast with some winter soup this year. This stuff is so easy to make, it's healthy, smells delicious when it's baking, and I pretty much always have the ingredients on hand.
I'm using my grapes fro this last basket to make a grape salad for a birthday party Ari and I are attending tonight.
I really feel like I let tons of food go to waste last year when I was getting my baskets because I didn't make myself get creative enough with my cooking. This year I plan on using every last piece of those fruits and veggies! Pear muffins for winter. Leek and potato soup all around. Every sort of veggie pasta you can think of. Pumpkin bread out of our ears! It's also going to make some great baby food for Ari bug. It really is a great deal, but not when I get lazy and reach for premade food first. Maybe I'll have to share some of the crazy recipes I come up with. ;)
My grandparents are in town and we are having a blast. This is the first great-grandchild on both sides of our family. It's been fun to watch the different generations interact. So they will be here for the next two weeks, and then Ari and I are off to Colorado with them to see my parents for a week. B is so, so busy these days. I'm sad that he won't get to go with us, but God's got some stuff in the works for him here. :)
Ari always steals a few kisses before daddy heads to work. :) I love these two boys.
P.S. I got to be a guest blogger over at The Breastfeeding Cafe today! Check out everything Ari and I have learned so far on our adventures with breastfeeding! ;) haha And please ignore all the grammar mistakes. That's the downside to not being able to get back in to the dashboard to edit, and the downside of having mom-brain all the time. ;) haha

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A command.

"Be still, and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10

If you're like me (which you are), then you're work oriented. You tend to either view this verse as a command that must be followed, or you view it as an excuse to make guilt free quiet time while the dishes and laundry pile up. Tonight B is out, and it's just me and Ari at home, so I took some quiet time to reflect, read, and write. This is an excerpt taken from my notebook:

"I feel like I finally started paying attention more when I became a mom. I don't even want to take my eyes off the yellow-white light flickering through the papery tree leaves long enough to write this.

I guess I want to redeem every fleeting second I have with Ari. I want to remember every facial expression, memorize each movement of his eye brows, each new sound he delights in making. I feel like I want to immortalize each moment I spend with him.

I remember reading some trascendentalist in college who talked about seeing the world the way Adam did, everything captivating and so new for the very first time. I watch Ari look at the world that way amd it fills me with longing. It's almost like he sees the shards of perfection left in the world from the Fall. He's still amazed by the aspen's leaves in our yard each time we come out here. For two years now I've acted like this thing doesn't even exist anymore. That's how little I pay attention to it.

Seeing the way my little boy is exploring the world for the very first time gives me a desire to look at it with renewed eyes. Ari sees the genius of the Creator of the different textures of leaves, the very Creator who I seem to have forgotten about."

"It is my own believe (and here I shall not feel bad if no one follows me) that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth. The moral philosophers who dreamed their high dreams of virtue, the religious thinkers who speculated about God and immortality, the poets and artists who created out of common stuff pure and lasting beauty: How can we explain them? It is not enough to say simply, 'It was genius.'

What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands? "

-A.W. Tozer in 'The Pursuit of God' (pgs 74-5)

 It's a heavenly perspective that gives us a greater appreciation for any creation or art.

Maybe Ari is still young enough, "sheltered" enough, or set apart from the world in such a way that he's being allowed time to cultivate this heavenly perspective. I don't know what it is, but almost every single time I pluck up any energy to pursue creative writing and cultivating inspiration for creating I get sucked into this thought that it's all vanity. That immediately kills any creative juices I got flowing.

After a quick conversation with a fellow artist this evening, I was reminded that it's actually selfish to not put time and effort into cultivating creativity so I have something to share with others. I totally view writing, music, art, and any other medium as creative gifts given straight from God. If that's the case, then it's my job to cultivate that gift in such a way that builds others up. I'd really be bummed today if I didn't have all the books C.S. Lewis wrote on my shelves because he put down the pen after hearing, "It's all vanity!" whispered in his ear. I know of a few people off the top of my head that wouldn't be Christians if he had never picked up a pen! How crazy is that!? It's heavy, actually. It means my words can actually make an impact for the Kingdom. Heavy stuff.

And with those thoughts, I post this piece in faith that God is using this blog to speak to someone tonight.


P.S. I find it helpful to find out what another writer or artist has been reading, watching, eating, listening to, etc to be creatively filled up, so I think I'll start sharing that with you guys. Tonight I was thumbing through an old favorite on art and faith, Walking on Water, as well as The Pursuit of God, which I can honestly say is one of the most challenging books I have ever read. And I read lots of books.

On the menu for this evening: whole wheat crackers, provolone cheese, and homemade nutter butters. Happy snacking and writing! ;)