motherhood and the gospel

Jan 20, 2016

If I could sum up the last year of my life in one word it would be growth. Er, well...and grace. Because goodness have I ever learned just what that means for me. I have seen God's hand in my life more clearly than I ever have before. I have been the recipient of much grace, not only through opened eyes, but by way of friendships, a beautiful church family, and even the deep challenges of motherhood. 

It wasn't until this year that I learned to be thankful for challenges, for days when I feel weaker than I ever have, for days when I blow it big time. Paul Tripp calls it "uncomfortable grace", and that is the opportunity for trials that allow the Holy Spirit to turn my eyes upward, away from myself and my circumstances, and onto the only One who can satisfy in the midst of it all.  He could have left me where I was, where I am, but his kindness and grace brings me along. They are opportunities to realize and submit to the fact that I am incapable in and of myself, and that it is only by the Spirit within me that I am able to do anything. Opportunities to remember my standing before the Father, made right by the cross. Opportunities to see my worth not from what I do, because I will fail, and not what I succeed in, but from the finished work of Jesus on my behalf. 

The glorious gospel. It's transformed my life, my perspective. In the middle of my weakness as a mother adjusting to life with two, figuring out how to juggle responsibilities of home, trying to love my husband well, learning what it means to live in community, I am learning what it is to live out what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9..."I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me". 

Motherhood is simultaneously the best and hardest thing I've ever done. Most days we're a hot mess over here. Just yesterday I bundled the boys up to get out of the house before we all, and by we I mean me, had a meltdown. We drove to Chickfila (of course) and as I parked to dole out chicken nuggets, I sobbed. I wasn't doing anything right, I've been yelling more times than not, my patience has been thin, my temper flaring, my words harsh and biting and blaming. I was broken over the sinfulness of all that, but also broken because I was reminded of my need for Christ's sacrifice on my behalf and of the gift that has been so graciously given to me, in which lies no condemnation, but new mercies. New life.  When I am reminded of that, I can be thankful, not only for grace, but for the trial that helped me see. I can also depend on the Spirit to change my heart to make me more like Him. 

It's a daily process, one I'm thankful I'm even able to journey. It helps me look back at the sovereign hand of God in every single circumstance that led me to this moment, and then trust. That's how joy is possible, even in sorrow, frustration, and pain - to trust in a God who works all things to His glory and for our sanctification and to find our satisfaction and worth in Him alone. 

pen to paper

Jan 18, 2016

It's been awhile since I've done anything with my hands that hasn't involved changing diapers,  doling out snacks, loading up the boys in the van, playing with monster trucks, or rubbing their backs as they fall asleep. All wonderful things, no doubt, but I didn't realize how much I missed creating something, anything, until I sat down to handwrite two lines from hymns for a friend. 

If the timing is right, usually after bed or while they're occupied with daddy, I can sit down and get a few sheets of practice in before someone comes tugging on my sleeve needing my lap, or a snack. I've been enjoying writing mostly lines from hymns or scripture, partly because I'm working on putting it to memory and meticulously swirling each word helps me remember. 

It's nothing fancy, and some of them I've copied from pages I've found online. It's fun trying to copy at first to figure out how I want to style my letters, and then I practice a bit more and they take shapes of their own. It's a little glimmer of "me time" that doesn't take long and feels somewhat productive. I've got two pages to frame in Abe's nursery and I'm excited to share the finished product once everything is in its place. 

The Davis Family

I was so honored to be asked to snap some family pictures for my sister and her beautiful family. Anytime you throw in colorful leaves, the cutest baby niece ever, and the golden hour, you know it's going to be a gorgeous shoot. 

Sleep, wellness, and changes

Jun 19, 2015

Making changes isn't easy. But it's also hard not really feeling good about yourself and wishing you felt better physically every day. Which one wins out in the end is up to me. Patience to change is hard. I'm a do-it-now and quick-results kind of girl, so implementing small changes over a long period of time is almost like torture at times. 

The changes I need to make regarding physical wellness have been more evident these past few weeks. What started as an opportunity to review a Jawbone UPMOVE has turned into a jumpstart to getting back on a path of wellness. This week, it has helped me see how little sleep I'm getting. I enjoy checking in on my stats in the morning to see how the night went. The average amount of sleep for the last two weeks has been 5 hours. 5 hours! Many nights it's been less time and I'm feeling it! 

Now let's face it, I'm a mom of a toddler and infant. Sleep is finicky around here. While I can't help what happens between bedtime and the morning, there are a few variables I can control. 

1. Start my routine early.
A lot of times I skip my bedtime routine and get straight under the sheets. Taking time to wind down and take care of my skin in the process would contribute to wellness. 

2. Getting to bed at a reasonable time
Hard to do some nights, but most nights I choose chores over getting into bed earlier. My goal now is to try to get in bed by ten. 

3. Putting down the electronics.
There is study after study talking about the negative health impacts going to sleep browsing your phone. I'm so guilty! I end up staying up way later than I actually get into bed. My goal now is to limit my time on my phone and leave it on the nightstand instead of on the bed/under my pillow. 

4. Take a magnesium supplement
Magnesium is vital to the functions of the body, one of those being sleep! 

My type-A personality needs somewhere to log all of that, and my Upmove is the perfect place. One of my favorite features of the racker allows me to keep track of sleeping and waking times, as well as light and heavy sleeping through the night. Also, the Smart Coach feature gives me suggestions, like what time to go to bed to meet my goals or how many hours I would need to sleep to beat my time from the previous day. 

I used to be able to sleep on mere hours a day, but lately I've suffered at the hand of sleep depravity and I'm going to do what I can to change that. Habits can be changed and change starts with awareness. I think the hardest part will be putting my phone down instead of browsing late into the night. I'm motivated to move towards physical wellness and I'm glad I've got the resources to help me with that. 

In what ways could you improve your sleep habits? What resources do you use to help keep track of your goals and accomplishments?

This blog post was sponsored by Jawbone, but all experiences were genuine. 

10 Father's Day Gifts for the Crunchy Dad

Jun 16, 2015

Father's Day has always been special to celebrate with my own dad, but now that we get to celebrate Michael it's even extra special. He's an amazing dad and we'd be here all day if I listed all the things we love about him. I often look online for gift ideas, but there aren't many suggestions for the hobbies and lifestyle the dad in our house might enjoy. Have a guy who loves the outdoors or lives a more natural lifestyle? Here are a few ideas under $100! 
1. Coffee Grinder - nothing like a cup of coffee with fresh ground coffee that you put some love into! If your guy is as picky about his coffee as ours is, he'll enjoy grinding his own quality beans. 

2. A monthly subscription to Dollar Shave Club - affordable 4 or 5 blade razors delivered every month to keep a close shave and ensure he won't run out when he needs them! 

3. Fermentation Crock and The Art of Fermentation Guide - he can start a huge batch of Kombucha in his own kitchen! 

4. Rite in the Rain waterproof notebooks are awesome for journaling or observation notes while in the elements. 

5. Wisdom Woodsy Beard Oil, to keep his beard maintained and moisturized. 

6. Beer Making Kit for getting creative at home. 

7. Hydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel water bottle, for chemical free drinking with a lightweight bottle.

8. Chaco Sandals - perfect for warmer summer weather! 

9. Local gift cards - coffee shops, restaurants for a future date night, or even activity vouchers! 

10. Outdoor date - grab your guy and surprise him with a couples' row down the river or a hike to a local waterfall. 

I hope some of these are inspiration for you for the crunchy dad in your life. We're thankful for all the awesome dads we know and are excited to celebrate them. What are you doing for the awesome dads in your life this Father's Day?