Monthly Archives: April 2012

Brushing Dreams

Caramel-colored strands of hair cascade down a back clothed in pink. With long, smooth strokes I brush. The tangles are long gone, but she is engrossed in her book and I can’t will myself to move, so still I brush.

Breathing in the fresh scent of strawberry shampoo and reveling in this quiet moment together. Well, it would be quiet but for the soothing whir of the hair dryer. Again and again I brush, sweep, tousle, dry and in my heart I am transported back in time.

Sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce (at a time when we called it something else and that was ok), on a matted, semi-shag green rug. The mustard-yellow hair dryer whirring about my head as I twist the ouchie-comb with the long, thin handle around in my fingers.

Then its the king-sized bed in the room with the floor-to-ceiling fabric “wallpaper” as I sit and talk with mom for hours on end asking question after question about how daddy proposed; how did you know he was the one; how do you shave your legs; did you always want kids.

Then its the cold, paper-covered table in the darkened doctor’s office. There’s whirring here, too, but this time its a softer hum more akin to a kitten’s purr than a freight train. And the bubbling brook of laughter that spilled from my heart and out my mouth as the sonogram technician slowly typed G – I – R – L on the screen.

I had always, always wanted a daughter.

And had always expected sons.

Now, here I sit bookended by my daughters. One with caramel hair, deep thoughts, and soft heart. The other with golden sunshine for hair, a song in her heart, and a joy for others’ happiness I’ve not seen before.

How on earth am I so blessed?

Photo by Deibel Photography

And how on earth do I take this for granted nearly every minute of everyday?

This moment, however, I will not give in to guilt. Or sorrow. Or should haves. This moment I will breathe it in. Run my fingers through it. Snuggle it close. And bask in the warmth of my sweet girls. And my heart will shout to the rafters a thank you only the heart of a mother could voice – no words could do justice – and only the Heart of a Father could understand.

I’m linking up with The Better Mom, The Miss Elaine-ous Life, Growing Home, Time Warp Wife, Lessons From Ivy, Women Living Well, Intentional Me

The Rock in My Garden

Our house has several distinctive features. The bright red door contrasted against the white exterior to name one.

The biggest sign you’ve found our house however is this: A giant rock boulder smack in the middle of our front garden.

Our daughters, ages 6 and 4 at the time, last Halloween. You can see the size of the rock!

There are many things I love about that rock. It provides an easy landmark when giving directions to our house (and in an area where everyone within a half mile radius has the exact same address, a good landmark is no small thing!). It also is really lovely to look at. The colors change in the different seasons, time of day, and types of weather. And it just adds a bit of character, and really fits with the “theme” of our area – rocks, rock walls, and more rocks. :)

As lovely as our boulder is, it does cause of bit of inconvenience. Take mowing the lawn, for example. It’s not easy to maneuver around and get all the surrounding grass cut and looking nice and tidy (or so Hubs tells me, hehe). It also makes it hard to get a good game of tag, soccer, or tball going in the front yard. And, with our back yard made up of…rocks…the front is the preferred area of play. And, imagine the heart attack that ensued the first time I looked out the window just in time to see my 6 year old daughter standing on top of said boulder, and jump off. Yeah.

We’ve been asked many times why we don’t just remove it (or ask our landlords to remove it). We’ve actually talked about that with our landlords and it turns out the rock goes so far underground, and gets even bigger (kinda like an iceberg) under there, that to remove it would actually damage the foundation to our house, and could actually cause the entire thing to collapse.

Needless to say, we all agree the rock should stay put.

One day, however, a comparison struck me like a ton of bricks. I can’t help but think how that huge boulder is a bit like…wait for it…Jesus. Yeah, I said it.

I think we’re all familiar with the idea of Jesus as The Rock, the Cornerstone of our faith, etc.

I love Jesus. He’s the best thing that has ever happened to me – and continues to happen to me daily. He has brought a strength, peace and joy to my life that words often fail to express. He has my back in every situation, and He’s perfectly willing to sit while I wail on about the worries, stresses, and scary things in my life. He also is there and rejoices along with me when I talk with Him about the amazing, wonderful, joy-filled things.

But, just like that ginormous boulder in my yard, sometime Jesus is just a bit…annoying. (Don’t worry, I’ve had this conversation with Him many times. He can take it.) He stands there, right in the center of my life. He wants to be that landmark everyone can point to – a way to identify me. He’s also lovely to look at, and be around. But, like that rock, He sometimes just gets in the way. I’m trying to go along my life the way I have planned in my head when I bump head-first into Him. I try to go around Him, but there He stays.

He also tends to bring an element of danger to my life. Just like my daughter felt drawn to that rock to climb on and subsequently jump off, He often asks me to do things – or say things – that scare the living daylights out of me. Things I would never think to do or say on my own.

I have been asked many times why I don’t just take that Rock out of my life. Wouldn’t things be so much easier, simpler, without all the things He asks of me? Well, yes, it probably would be simpler. But easier? I’m not so sure.

You see, there’s one other similarity between Jesus and that rock in my front garden. There is so much more to Him and His part in my life than what you can see on the surface. To remove Him from my life would shake the core of the foundation of my being – my heart – so much that it would irrevocably damage this “house”. His presence, unseen though it may seem, provides such stability and strength to my very being it cannot be removed without causing this entire structure of my heart to crumble.

There is no doubt in my mind, or any other part of me, that I am so much stronger because of His presence and involvement in my life. Just like I’m not entirely unconvinced that our real house is on a firmer, stronger foundation because of that boulder in the garden. Sometimes the very things that seem to cause the most inconvenience in our life, also cause the greatest, and strongest, growth.

So, do you have a Rock in your garden?

I’m linking up with The Better Mom, The Miss Elaine-ous Life, Time Warp Wife, Growing Home, Intentional.Me, Pieces of Amy

Irish Teens Need Your Help

**UPDATE: See the videos and read about the night here!**

When you think of rural Ireland, you likely think of rolling, verdant hills, sheep, and rock walls. And you wouldn’t be far from the truth! We live in a stunningly beautiful, rugged area of the country that is home to an unimaginable combination of rocks, hills, bog land, mountains and shoreline. Just a quick glance out the windows of our house gives us a view of at least one of those things. And it is breathtaking. The natural beauty of this place is unequaled. 

However, in these quaint mental pictures, you likely don’t see the modern conveniences, hip clothing, and drag-racing cars filled with young lads eager to test their metal. On any given Friday night, in any given Irish town or village, you will see those rock walls laden with groups of teenagers with nothing better to do than sit there and hang out, drink, talk, etc.

With rural life comes…well…rural life. Most young people (teens) don’t have their own transportation, as the legal driving age is 18. With public transport being extremely not-affordable (ex. a bus trip to the city can cost up to $10 one way) the teens are left with very little to do.

Underage drinking, drugs, promiscuity, and general mischief-making are on the rise as these kids strive to make some kind of mark on the world.

Most villages have implemented Youth Clubs to help provide safe, fun places for the teenagers to hang out. They provide work-skills training, games, disco dances, all fully supervised and alcohol free. Many of these clubs receive some kind of funding from the government, but if you know anything about the global economy these days….those funds are drying up fast. Many of these clubs are forced to try to raise funds for themselves.

Hubs and I have helped out the Youth Club in our own village since we arrived here (although, it has drastically dwindled since the Man Cub’s arrival). Well, the Youth Club that services two villages down the road from us needs help. Their youth club needs a place to meet, and they are in the process of building it. However, they have fallen vastly short on the finances.

I am so excited, and honored, to be taking part in a super fun way to help this Youth Club raise some much needed funds to give the teens in the area a safe place to hang out.

I will be participating in a Strictly Come Dancing competition!

If you’re not familiar with the TV show by the same name, its similar to Dancing With the Stars, only there’s no celebrities and each couple is comprised of two non-professional dancers. A friend of ours has been participating from the start, and when his partner had to unfortunately drop out of the event, I was given the opportunity to step in and help out!

Each couple will compete in two dances. Myself and my super awesome dance partner, Richard, will be performing a waltz and a ’50’s swing/jive. The entire group – 12 couples – will be participating in 2 group dance numbers: a cha-cha and a Gospel-style routine.

The couple who receives the most votes wins, and the proceeds go straight to the Youth Club!

***The Competition is this Sunday, May 6! Stay tuned for a full report of the night!***

I’m linking up with Growing Home, Time Warp Wife, Women Living Well, We are THAT Family, Some Girl’s Website, Pieces of Amy, The Better Mom, Your Thriving Family

Titanic: Guest Post by Tricia Goyer

I can’t tell you how excited I am about today’s guest poster! I “met” Tricia Goyer through The Better Mom, as we both contribute there. I have since started following her blog and reading her books and, guys, I’m hooked! I’m honored to have her here today – the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic sinking – sharing about how the idea for her latest novel, By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, came together. Be on the lookout for a review of it here soon! Without further ado, here’s best-selling author, Tricia Goyer!

I never thought I’d have the chance to write a novel about the Titanic. I’d read many books about it, and I wasn’t sure why I never considered following that passion. Then an editor approached my literary agent with a question: “April 15, 2012 will be the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic disaster–would Tricia like to submit a novel idea for consideration? ”

Of course! I was excited about the idea, but there were so many possibilities. I wanted an idea that was fresh, unique, and faith-filled…where to start???
One morning I was laying in bed praying about an “Titanic idea” when the prodigal son story popped into my mind. The story of a younger son, an older son, a woman who cared for them both and a loving father played out in my mind. That’s it!

The proposal came together, and in a few weeks I learned that Barbour wanted to publish my idea! When I hold By the Light of the Silvery Moon in my mind I’m still amazed that I was given the honor of writing this novel. It goes to show that some God-given ideas take years until they see the light of day while other bloom overnight. It’s impossible to know which is which, that’s why it’s so important to cling to God, and to listen to Him. We all need to trust He’s set a true course for our lives–a future that’s held in His hand. One that’s unsinkable.

Interesting facts about the Titanic:
Price of a single first-class ticket was $4,700. (Equals $50,000 in today’s economy)
After leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, Titanic called at Cherbourg in France and Queenstown, Ireland before heading westwards towards New York.
The gash that the iceberg cut into the hull of the Titanic was between 220 to 245 feet long. The total length of the ship was approximately 882 feet.
One of the first lifeboats to leave the Titanic carried only 28 people; it could have held 64 people. There were 472 lifeboat seats not used.
The band played music up to the last few minutes before the ship went under. None survived.

The Titanic was rediscovered on July 14th, 1986. 74 years after it sank.

Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author of 33 novels and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights).  She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible.  Tricia is the host of a weekly radio show, Living Inspired.  Also, a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas.  You can join her, on Facebook and Twitter.

Praying With Our Kids

Photo by caddy_corner (creative commons)

One of the things I have spent a large portion of my time with Lord on my face begging for wisdom about is how to teach our kids to really love Him deeply, to follow hard after Him because of that love, and enter into an intimate, personal relationship with Him. I don’t want them to do things out of sheer duty, or fear of what will happen if they don’t. That kind of “faith” is empty and meaningless, and isn’t faith at all.

I’m always on the lookout for what other moms striving to raise their families in Godly wisdom are seeking in terms of what they’d like help/advice on (of which I feel I have very little to offer, Ha!!), what they’d like to dialgogue about, or what they’d like to know is done in other families as a point of reference.

One theme I see popping up a lot is the topic of teaching our kids how to pray, really pray. As in, meaningful conversation with God. I am far from having all the answers, but today
I’m delighted to be over at The Better Mom sharing a few things we do to help teach our kids true prayer. I’d love for you to join me!
I read each and every comment, so I’d really love to hear your thoughts, how you do things in your family, etc!

And céad míle fáilte (One Hundred Thousand Welcomes) to my new friends clicking over from The Better Mom! I’m glad you’re here, and I look forward to hanging out!

I’m linking up with Growing Home, Time Warp Wife, Lessons From Ivy, Women Living Well

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