On Home.

Here are some thoughts that I wrote over a year ago while we were in what we call “Our year of moving” in 2017.  We moved three times in 2017 and that of course was not our plan.  This was written after our first move, after we found out that our landlord has sold the house, even though we had a year lease.  It is not fully fleshed out ideas, but we are all on a journey and why can’t we share when we are in the messy middle?  On this Mother’s Day, let’s think about homes, where we do most of our mothering…

 

I love the moment when both kids are in their rooms for naptime and it is only me and quiet, well sometimes.  Sometimes there is a child upstairs singing or talking.  So, I love the moment when its only me.  Then, I hear the dryer going downstairs.  There is something calming to hearing the washer or dryer work and know you are getting things done without actually having to do them.  In this moment, after our first real homeschool day in the new house, I finally feel at  home since moving from Cairo.  My mind wants to rush to the future, to the plans up ahead, but when you do know where your home will be in two months, you cannot really plan.  You have to be in the present, the place where I have been working to be, in the right now.  So, this is a great time to practice being present.  Right now we have a home and I am grateful.  We do not have everything unpacked, yet we have everything we need.

 

As we did school today, and played outside in the snow, I saw how this house felt even more like a home.  It is time that makes a home.  It is shared time and memories that make a home.  Then anywhere, a tent, an RV or a whole house could all be homes….and so could cardboard boxes, right?  Not that I want to live in one of those this summer…

 

It is interesting that we often think HOME as a stationary place as in a house, that has a foundation,and trees around it.  We think of that classic picture that children draw.  It is what I have thought.  It is what I have desired.  I have desired a house more often than a home.  As I have been growing in my love for cultivating a home, a place where we all feel freedom, rest and nourishment, I see it’s about freedom, intentionality but also letting go.  This season feels like letting go.  We let go of our home, but really, our house in Cairo.  We do not have that shell that held our home, but we have our home.  We have each other.  Yes, it is true in one sense that things, like candles, pictures and your favorite chair make a home but really people make a home.  We make our home.  The four of us make our home.  Wherever WE are, we are home.

 

This feels a little crazy to even type, these are new waters of thought that I am stepping out in but it’s what I am beginning to realize.  I love looking at houses and I love decorating houses, even though most of the time it is decorating in my mind.  When I was in middle school my goal was to be an interior designer (Hmm, side thought, what if I was to be an interior designer for the soul, for the heart?).  I have always watched home shows whenever I would be near cable or look at house magazines.  I love houses in other words.  I do not think there  is anything wrong with houses.  I have a dream for a house and some land that we could really call ours and that we could dig our roots deeply in.  But perhaps as much as this isn’t my favorite, maybe I needed this unrooted season.  The sale of this house was a complete surprize but with the overall peace we have had, I sense God with us.  By letting go of our old house, which was a journey of its own, I am not attached to this new house in the same way.  We haven’t  found any rented house.  We are waiting.  I am unable to say where we will lay our heads after May 14th but I am convinced that God is and will be faithful to us.(And He has been!)

 

Wherever we will be, we will be home if we are together.  When we have traveled we would be at a new place often but we learned to make that place home for as long as we were there, whether that is a night or a week.  Our home, was essentially our car, as the four of us were doing our thing on the road, it was my favorite place to be.  As we shut the doors to the car, I felt that feeling that we were home.  It was not beautiful or even  decorated at all.  Since we learned that we were moving, I stopped unpacking.  I had unpacked some pictures before then but this home is so much more bare than our old house.   I am not even sure that I remember it all the things we have packed away.

 

After being in the new house for two months now I feel much more at home here.  At the beginning I had a lot of reasons why I did not like it.  I see now that time is a beautiful teacher.  In time, the parts of the house become more normal because you have been around them.  Yes, it is still not the most effective house but we have adjusted.  This is such an important lesson.  We can adjust.  I just realized that in total we will only have lived here for three months and it is amazing that it already feels like we have been here so much longer.  When you live daily life in a place, it becomes home much more quickly than you would think.

 

Everything within me wants to set up all the nooks and crannies, have a place for art, and a place for everything.  I want to be incredibly efficient and have systems within our home for everything.  A place for shoes, a place for jackets, this is all great.  Underneath this fine desire, is one that is not so fine.  I want security.  I actually want to create my OWN security through my wonderful organization plans.  Oh, these systems can be helpful but they are not my security.  My security is in God, who made the entire world.  I cannot make the world or keep it spinning and tonight I was reminded I cannot even do it with my own life either.

 

But, why not make a place for now?  Why not make a place feel like HOME for today?  The children make places for now, with no thought in planning forever.  They made a place in the little cubby underneath the stairs with only two unpacked boxes that they call a computer.  It is what they call their office.  They made a place that they enjoy for right now.  I can do the same.

contentment + the simple life

The rhythm of official schoolwork has been lessening as the springtime weather has truly begun. We’ve begun our days outside. Bare feet in the grass and allowing the sun to kiss our cheeks. Yoga in the open air for me and a place for my kids to run and make believe. We meander back inside for nourishment, a bit of conversation, reading books and before I know it, if I pause for a moment too long, my kids are outside before I can say STOP. But really, do I want to say STOP?

 

I am learning that our rhythms of a family work best when they mirror the season of the year. We want to be close and cozy in the winter. There is plenty of time for schoolwork because our days are largely spent indoors. But, now in the spring we want to wander, explore and spread our wings. We need wiggle room in our schedules to sit and stare. I am feeling that more lately as the pace of our life has sped up with the finishing up of things before the summer.
Watching my children, there’s nothing like spring contentment. The contentment of simply being. The contentment of play, of exploring, of being outside after the “confinement” of winter.

Contentment has come to my mind recently. Honestly, its not something I think about often. Overall, I am so very content. I have a husband I love, we have been blessed with two amazing and sometimes challenging children who fill up my days and I am doing what I have always wanted to do. I get to be a wife, mom and teacher. I write a little. I dabble in creative endeavors when possible. These are all things I love.  So, I am content now, right? I used to really struggle with the lack of it back in college though.

As this thought of contentment has pushed its way back into my awareness, I have realized that I may not be thinking about it but it may come to play in my life. I do think often how I want more clothes, a particular pair of shoes, an art supply item or something I think my kids would really enjoy. Most of these items are not things that I REALLY need. I love beauty and I am attracted to beautiful items. I will think about the item, find it on amazon or a website and put it on my mental list to purchase when and if we have the funds. We have had to make choices with being a one income family and this is not always very easy for me to keep up with.  Amazon most certainly does not help.

I have thought of it from the perspective of worry but not in terms of contentment.  I tend to fixate on something for a bit until maybe something else more pressing comes to mind.

If I am content with what I have, would I want more?

Why do I want more?

We have been on a journey to simplicity both physically and internally for years. It isn’t until today that I have connected the idea of having more with less or having a simple life with contentment.

Yet, I have what I need. Actually, I have more than I need.

This week I have seen God provide very specifically. I do not have to worry.

Can I be content with what God has given me in this season? There will be other seasons of life just like there are different weather seasons. But I have what I need for this season. He will give me what I need in other seasons too. He really will. Often, He gives me more.

What if I wake up each day, thanking him that I have what I need and putting into his hands what I do need?

I am processing this while I am writing friends. Therefore, there is no huge conclusion except perhaps this has been the missing puzzle peace in our living simply. I have no need to buy more if I am content and therefore our houses and our lives stay simple. I tend to want the most I can pack in. The most library books I can carry. Packing  the most into our day that I think I can handle, but I really can’t. I have made progress. But something with this realization really strikes close to my heart.

Tonight, I stay open to hear the voice of my Father in this. I am here. I am present. And so is He. We are in this together. And that is all I need to know.

Sitting with Jesus for normal people

A few weeks ago I wrote on Habits and I thought I would delve deeper into my habit of spending time with Jesus today….

Most mornings one of the first things that I do is to sit up in bed and sit with God.   I need his presence.  I need to know that I am not alone and by sitting with him I remember that He is with me.  I slowly wake up, allowing myself to stay under my covers probably too long, and then after a trip to the potty(as quietly as I can tip toe so I don’t wake up my kiddos),  I sit up in bed.  I slowly allow my mind to wake up as I stare out the window in front of me.  Sometimes I have an hour (these are my favorite times) and other times I have five minutes because my children are already awake and I have told them that Mommy needs at least five minutes with Jesus.

 

This morning, I finished my time with both of my children on my lap.  I say this to let you know that this is not a perfect process.  Far from it.  I am not the devotion Queen.  Actually,  I don’t even like calling it that.  I am a quality time and words of affirmation in the love languages that most fill me up.  Spending time with Jesus covers both of those love languages.  It is something I have decided is important so I try to do it everyday.

 

It now feels like a special time that is just mine and His.  Sometimes I feel a smile come to my face simply sitting up and doing nothing for a few minutes.  It can be hard to just sit, but even if it’s for a moment, its powerful.  Honestly, I can get more from letting Him be God by sitting, its as if He is infusing me with strength.  “Be still and know He is God” this is how I begin.

 

Then, I usually have a book or a bible study to go through.  I am better with a loose plan because then I stay with it.  I have something to tangibly hold.  I have something that might even have fill in the blanks and being a natural student this works for me.  There usually is a scripture within the material that jumps off the page to me and then I will stay with it longer.

 

Last week I remembered how much I have liked meditating on scripture in the past.  I haven’t done it in a while so why not return to it?  I wondered what to meditate on.  I always seem to return to John 15.  I get the basic gist of the passage but the details are still a mystery to me.   John 15 it was.

 

He says, “Abide in me and I will abide in you.”  I have tried to wrap my mind around this for awhile to no avail.  Then, I came to this version, “Live in me, as I live in you.”  This is more relatable to me.

 

Live in me.

 

Generally, I wonder, how in the world can I live in God?  Live in me.  I have repeated this phrase when I remember it through the day.  Often, it is when I am on the toilet!  Being honest here.  I am a mom and sometimes the bathroom is a quiet place, where I stop and actually remember to meditate on this verse!  As I have, it has become less overwhelming or impossible feeling.  Live in me as I teach my kids.  Live in me as I wash the dishes.  Live with me.  Allow your Father God to join you as you do your daily things and you are with your people.  Give your Father permission to be your homebase.  He is your beginning place and your end.  He is your all.  Live in me.

 

As I live in you.  The God of the universe lives IN me.  I believe this is something we are never meant to wrap my mind around.  It is something to sit in awe with.  It is something to figuratively hold hands with and take comfort in.  He lives in me.  This is why I am never alone, because I really am not.  As I live in you.  As I try to new things or walk through new territory for me, He is with me.  I have his power in me.  The other day was one of those overwhelming days with my kids where I had to remember this parenting gig is a process, and not done in a day.  It was during this day that I remembered God has patience as one of his fruit and since He is in me, I have it too.  His patience is in me.  As I live in you.

 

The crazy thing is the more I live in God, such as meditating on this verse, the more He lives in me, because His words, His heart is in me.   I am not here to talk theology, my mind is not wired that way but more in relationship.  What I do know is the more of me, the more time I spend with God, the more He is realized in me.

 

This relationship is worth pursuing is basically what I am using all of these words to tell you.

 

Wondering how you can fit time in your day to sit with God?

 

Begin small.  Give what time you have.  I have sat with God during my first child’s naptime.  At that time I had never had a regular morning habit.  When I had my second child, that time disappeared, so in one stage I would put my baby in her baby swing while my older one napped so I could have that time.  When the kids are eating breakfast or right after you put the kids in bed could be other times.  Do you commute?  Listen to a audio Bible, then stop it and meditate on it.  Pray from it.  See where there is a crack in your day and begin with five minutes for a month.  Then move on from there.  Try different times until one sticks.

 

Be You.  You may not be a sitting type of person.  Go on a walk with worship music or an audio bible and stop it when a line or verse feels like what you need right now.  Turn it off and as you walk or run meditate on it.  Then, pray it.  Perhaps you like using your hands.  Have a Bible close by to your craft project or your kitchen sink.  As you are washing dishes or knitting that line, read a verse, meditate on it and pray.  Remember who you are, what you love and meet with God right there.

 

Be forgiving. There will be days you sleep too late.  That is me.  There will be days you may forget or days that are so very full.  Forgive yourself.  Do not linger in shame but wrap yourself in grace.  You are ok.  You are still loved by your Father.  It’s not about performance or accomplishment but about being present with God.  So, right when you feel the yuck of shame, begin again right there.  You can always begin again.

 

I will say that again, you can always begin again.

Live in me, and I live with you.  There, that is your invitation.

Spring is Here!

My children have been asking during every warm or sunny day whether it was spring yet.  My answer kept being no, until today.  Today, my first words to them as we got up were, “It’s Spring!”  I was rejoicing right along with them.

I am not sure if I have ever been so happy to see the first day of spring as I have been today.  I have been waiting for you spring.  This winter I have been more sick, more often, than I can remember.  It began with sinus yuck right after the new year, followed by a horrible stomach bug that we all passed around and the month ended up with what we called the flu, but honestly I am not sure what it was.  February we were recovering, still had gunk, but we were able to celebrate birthdays and Valentine’s Day fairly germ free.  I have had to remember that,  this past few weeks, we have not been sick for months straight.  Your perspective can get seriously swayed when you are suffering.  At the end of February I woke up one Saturday with a cold, went to a wedding a week later and came back with a fever and a horrible sore throat.  I will leave out the details but a week and half later I was no better and finally was told I had a sinus infection and I humbly received the antibiotics that I had fought against receiving. But by this step in the sickness journey I was ready to be well.  As I am typing, I feel much more like a person, and I have never been so grateful for modern medicine as I am now.  The pain and the unknown was hard.  The not being able to live or care for my kids and husband as I normally do was hard.  And I know many experience much more pain and suffering than I did.

Even saying the word spring breathes hope into my very being.  As the birds have begun their songs these last few weeks and as the daffodils have opened up their yellow for the world to see, hope has been rising in me.  Spring will be here.  Spring will be here.  Everything will be okay.  We will see green again.  The trees and bushes will bud once more.  We will see color where we have only seen dull.  New life is on its way.  New life is possible with me and around me.  This is what the bird songs seem to speak to us.

Oh, new life.  Oh, new possibilities.  We all need them.  We all need hope.

These birds and springtime breathes seem to all point to the truth of Jesus in our midst.  There is no hiding the flowers that bloom and boldly stretch their faces to the sun.  There is new life available through Jesus.  He is the author of life itself.  Open your mouth and ask for this life, for this hope and He will answer.

May we awake in every fiber of our being to the hope of Christ.  May we awake to the limitless possibilities that exist within Him and His Kingdom.  We open our hands to receive this new song our souls are crying out for.

Yes spring, we welcome you!  Spring is Here!  Hope is here for our weary souls.  Praise you Lord for Spring.

 

to lead a quiet life.

“And He gave them this surprising charge, “Make it your ambition TO LEAD A QUIET LIFE. (1 Thess 4:11)…but I am sure its the ONE THING worthy of my ambition.  The quiet life shares the good news the loudest, perhaps because only the quiet life is FIRST able to HEAR the good news. ”

-Christie Purifoy, from ROOTS + SKY