Thursday, June 27, 2013

My Paper Heart is Thankful this Thursday

Summer is in full swing in this house and we are loving it. Last night the kiddos and I headed to the county fair to catch a concert by an awesome Christian artist, Francesca Battistelli, ride a few rides and eat some yummy (although absolutely not healthy) fair food. We had a blast! What made it even better was that it was $1 rides night, so it didn't cost me the kids' college fund to enjoy a couple of hours at the fair. A big WIN for this mom!

I wasn't sure how long the kids would patiently listen through the concert, but they did great and little girl enjoyed it so much she was up and dancing around.  As the artist sang her one song, My Paper Heart, and I listened to these lyrics float through the warm summer evening air, my heart was bursting with thankfulness for how far God has brought me and this little family of mine:

"I’m a fragile girl
In a crazy careless world
My dreams were torn and scattered on the floor
But You’ve been picking up the pieces, Lord
‘Cause Your love is real
The only hope to heal.
My paper heart is Yours now
I have landed in Your hands
Come so far to find out
My life will never be the same
Since you wrote Your name
On my paper heart.
I had been so terrified to trust
So many times I’d been reduced to dust
But You keep showing me
You’re the safest place to be."
So today I am truly and utterly thankful that the Lord's name is written on my heart, that He heals and that I am safe in His arms.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Imagination and Dreaming Big

She plays in the tub, splashing, laughing and smiling. There aren't any bath toys keeping her company; they are one of the last items still tucked away in a moving box. But that doesn't damper her spirits as she is busy playing with a shampoo bottle.  I listen to her play talk; in her little world the shampoo bottle has become her baby and she is catching her on the slide. She jibber jabbers away, telling her baby to come here, to be careful, etc. as she cuddles the shampoo bottle.

I absolutely love catching these glimpses into her toddler world. Her imagination is so active and she doesn't allow anything to stand in the way of her having fun. For her, there are no limits, no can'ts, no realities that make big life dreams seem impossible. Instead there is freedom, wild abandonment and the ability to dream big.  Later that night after my two were tucked safely in bed; I smiled to myself as I recalled her bath time. I also began to wonder at what point does that limitless imagination and ability to see your life as whatever you want it to be, fade away? At what age do we begin to feel we aren't capable of being whatever we want to be or begin to doubt that the sky is the limit?

I see the doses of "reality" in my oldest already. But the dreams and imagination are still there. Ask him what he is going to be when he grows up and he will reply without hesitation, "basketball player, baseball player and police officer." He believes that he can do it all and I love that. As adults we may smile sweetly at his ambition while silently "knowing" it would be impossible to be all three. And maybe it is impossible, but maybe it isn't.

Today I see so many people who are afraid to dream the big dreams for their own lives; myself included. I believe that we all at one point have had those dreams placed on our hearts of what our life could look like, should look like, would look like if only. . . But then the obstacles of daily life can start to obstruct those visions. The difficulties of not having the time, the money, the skill level, etc. seem to stand in the way of making our dreams a reality.

Three years ago my life was turned upside down in many ways and how I had envisioned my future was forever altered. Many of the dreams I had seemed to now be unattainable. I mourned the losses and questioned where God was in all of this. Through it all, He lovingly reminded me again and again He was walking through this valley with me.

During these past few years I've also felt a tugging on my heart; a belief and conviction that the Lord is calling me to more. He is using what initially looked like destruction to continue to weave together His plan for my life. I've taken notice of the things that make me feel alive, the abilities I have been given that I believe God wants to use. I don't know yet how this will all play out or what it will look like exactly, but I feel a new God sized dream placed on my heart and I am trusting that God will continue to work this out in my life.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us." Ephesians 3:20

I look at my little ones and I want that child like ability to see my life as a blank canvas ready for God to paint something beautiful. I desire to have the faith that can take something ordinary and imagine it into something wonderful.

I am going to continue to pray over these dreams and I am excited to see how it will all unfold. What dream has God placed on your heart?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sun-Kissed Cheeks and the Golden Hour

Summer officially begins tomorrow; but in our home summer began last Friday with the final day of school for my oldest.  I absolutely love summertime; the warm weather, long days, weekends at the pool, the little ones' cheeks tanned and kissed by the sun.

We are now reveling in the evenings filled with movies, reading, playing, walks to the park and more importantly, those not filled with homework! Can I get a collective sigh of relief, because I think we all as parents recognize that it's homework for us too.

This evening after dinner we walked down to the park below our place and the kids ran off some of their excess energy. I love this last hour of the evening before the sun sets, "the golden hour." The lighting is beautiful, casting a warm glow over everything.

In this last hour of sunlight, I can't help but see the beauty in God's creation and feel that peace of recognizing everything is going to be alright.  I imagine heaven to always have this same lovely glow that is cast during the golden hour.

(Taking pictures of these two holding hands is one of my favorite shots to get)

I watched my two walk hand in hand ahead of me. Their care and love for each other never ceases to make me smile. These two small ones always remind me of what I have to be thankful for. So on this last Thursday before summer, these are a few of my blessings:
  1. My kiddos and how close they are to each other.
  2. Summer days filled with laughter, fun and warm weather.
  3. Little ones' skin kissed by the sun, evidence of carefree days spent playing and enjoying life.
  4. A break from homework for a few months, woohoo! (I'm not sure who's more excited in this house, me or the little man).
What are you thankful for as you gear up for summer?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Being Home

“Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave,
but not our hearts.” 
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

We spent our first night in the new place this week. Even with all of the boxes and mess that come with moving, I absolutely love this little apartment we are now calling home.  The kids were excited and have been tearing through the boxes that house their belongings, squealing with excitement as if they haven't seen these items in years, when in reality it's only been a few days.  These two crack me up!

As it came time to get ready for bed the first night, my littlest looked at me and said, "I want to go home now mama." I told her that we are home and she didn't appear to like that answer, frowned a bit and replied, "no I want to go to your home." I tried to explain it as best as I can to a two year old and she soon seemed content with the fact that we were going to be sleeping in this unfamiliar place.

I've been thinking a lot about the idea of home over the last few weeks as I packed up most of my belongings again and moved. This little family of ours has been through a lot of transition in the last few years. We've had a lot of life changes; new jobs, new homes, new people entering our lives and more.

My little ones go back and forth between houses, which I know can be difficult.  While I cannot control this aspect of our lives, I am trying to show them and teach them that "home" means more than the walls we live within.

I want to teach them that home is a place where you feel a sense of belonging; where you know that you are loved no matter what; where you are accepted just as you are; where you feel a sense of security. Home is where there is love, joy, laughter, hope, grace and faith. Where there are those things, then you are home.

What is home to you?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

It's Been A Little While

Life has seemed a bit on overdrive the last few weeks: little ones sick, work, preparing to move, end of the school year, celebrations, birthdays, and the list goes on and on.

I fall into bed most nights exhausted and it feels as if I have only just closed my eyes when the alarm goes off the next morning. In the chaos of these few weeks, I've noticed it's been far too easy to let the important things that keep me spiritually grounded fall to the way side. It's also been a bit too easy to begin to feel overwhelmed and stressed by everything going on.

Today has been another day where the hours feel like they are running by me and I cannot keep up. I told myself it will have to be another day where I'm not going to blog or write - I just don't have the time or the energy to think.

But the thing that keeps coming back to me is that even in the midst of the whirlwind of life, I have so much to be thankful for, and today on this Thursday I need to pause and remember that.

I am thankful for God's patience and grace. I am thankful for His loving kindness even when I have taken my eyes off of Him and allowed the worries of the day to fill my thoughts instead.

I am thankful for friends and family. I am thankful for my two little ones, who even when sick or whiny or throwing a tantrum, delight my heart. I am thankful for those who are willing to take time out of their day to help me out with things like moving or watching the kids.

I am thankful that God's mercies are new every morning and that He loves me.