Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Embers of the Divine

Sometimes you can almost taste God. You are going about your business and then somebody near you dives into this delectable juicy steak (or whatever your meal of choice) and your mouth starts to water. You smell it, you see it, and it is almost like you can taste that steak and it just makes you long for a bite. Oh may he bring us to a place of longing for more of him.

Lately I have felt him stirring up something within me...these embers that have been smoldering but not doing much else. I know he wants to light this fire and use my life for his glory, but it seems that instead of stoking the embers into flame I have been content to just watch them glow dimly. There is something beautiful about the embers though, isn't there? It is like this potential...it could be a big, roaring, warm and toasty fire, if we just gave it a little prodding and a little fuel.

I am ready for that moment. My heart is pounding in my chest ready for more. More Jesus, more love, more passion, more depth and fire and life. When did I start living this life as if it was the thing? When did I forget that HE IS THE THING?! There is nothing else. It all pales in comparison to him and every last thing in this world we hold onto is like dust compared to the surpassing glory of knowing and living for the one who created all of it.

There is so much beauty and wonder in the world...I love admiring it. I love warm fall days and the first snowfall and spring flowers and summer break. I love a full moon and crisp leaves and sun-kissed cheeks. I even love hot showers, funny movies, and steaming cups of coffee. And all of this is okay--even good because he created beauty and warmth and tastebuds and laughter. But when did all the gifts replace the place in my heart that was meant for the Giver? When did I become content with the stuff when I've known that all of it is meant to bring me back to the Creator of it all? Adoration, worship, surrender...these should be my response to him--and not out of obligation, but out of an overflow of thankfulness and worship because HE IS GOOD.

God, forgive me for all the ways I have failed to live my life as a passionate dance for you. I love the gifts you have given me--my family and friends and community are dear to me. My home is cozy and wonderful. My life is full of your blessings. But God...I give all these things back to you. I know that likely, you will not keep them. Likely, you will return many them to me but I will no longer see them the same. I confess that I have so many gifts that I have begun to take them for granted. I don't want to live that way anymore. I want to live open-handed to you with my whole life. All of it, holding nothing back. So God, stoke the fire in my soul. Prod the embers and add the kindling that what has been smoldering quietly will burst forth as a phoenix from the flame. This is my prayer and my passion.

May it be so~

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Some Weekly Dinner Inspiration

Some days I just need somebody else to decide what is for dinner. I have been feeling that lately and after having almost two weeks of a meal train from generous friends and family after having a baby, I got a little spoiled and now it's like I've forgotten how to cook or decide what to eat! So here is a meal plan I made for my own sanity and I thought I would share it in case you have dinner-making block like I do! ;) You are welcome!

Monday- This wonderful Loaded Baked-Potato Soup from The Wicked Noodle. So good, my friends. Add in a loaf of toasty garlic bread and your taste-buds will sing.

Tuesday- Pizza. I cheated here, because I did plan on making dinner Tuesday but Papa Murphy's has a deal where you can get any pizza your heart desires for $10 on Tuesdays and I did not want to tote three children to the grocery store yesterday so The Murph won out. And when pizza is dinner, really everybody wins! 

Wednesday-These Baked Chicken Legs from Bless This Mess, Broccoli, Rice

Thursday- This fantastic and easy Cheesy Bacon Chicken from Joy-Filled Eats and a hearty salad. (One of my favorite meals, and seriously one of the easiest I make too. Win!)

Friday- Taco Soup w/ Chips. (I'll try and share this recipe soon!)

Saturday- Steak Salad and Bread

Sunday- Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Chips, & Fruit

Well, hope some of this inspires you and perhaps next time I'll have pictures to go with my dinner inspiration (but if I try that today I will never get this post up). ;) Happy Wednesday to you all and have a joy-filled rest of your week!

~Blessings to you my friends!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Happy September (aka the unofficial first day of fall and here's why) ;)

September is here people...it is FINALLY HERE!!! September, for me, is like the start of something brand new and very exciting. For starters, I am a fall lover, people. Like, I start dreaming about fall in early August and by the time school rolls around I am all-in ready! So September 1st is like, fall kickoff celebration for my heart (even though I am well aware that fall doesn't officially start for twenty-one more days) and today I celebrated with a pumpkin/hazelnut breve! Oh yes! And not a medium but the biggest one I could find! Delightful to my tongue and soul I tell you. Delightful!

My husband is well-aware of my obsession with pumpkin spice lattes (aka: The Drink That Represents All Things Autumn) and so he posted this hilarious picture to my Facebook page the other day. This basically sums up my whole life. ---->

I have another reason for considering September 1st the unofficial first day of fall and that is this: There is simply not enough time in autumn to do all the autumny things I want to do! Football games, marshmallow-roasts, apple-picking (and applesauce-making...mmm!), nature walks, pumpkin-patch visits, gathering with friends and family for still-warm-but-not-hot evenings outside, jumping in leaf-piles, getting family pictures done, observing the stars, making a scarecrow (on my bucket-list for three years running and I have yet to do this one!), baking a cobbler (or pie...but I have my heart set on a peach-cobbler this year), reading a good book (When is it not a good season to do this, I mean really? My pick this fall is Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman), having a soup-salad-and-bread night with friends, focusing on thankfulness, and the list could go on! Not to mention the fun, feasting, and family of Halloween and Thanksgiving! Oh fall, you have so much to celebrate!

This year is especially great because my oldest two are finally able to get into celebrating with me. Last year my two-year-old had a blast but my one-year-old didn't really care. This year at two and three they will likely have as much fun as I do with all the festivities. Hooray! And so far my newborn is a champ at going-along-for-the-ride and I am less sleep-deprived than I was with my first two so I count that as another spectacular win! I could go on, but naptime is almost over and I am feeling a little crafty so I'm going to attempt a project in the next fifteen minutes. Wish me luck and happy unofficial first day of fall to you and yours! ;)

Blessings to you and a whole lotta love!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

New Beginnings

As I sit here in a moment of quiet and type this with only one hand (my 7th-grade typing teacher would be appalled) my other arm envelops my newest wonder...a sweet 8-pound-4-ounce girl and a delight to my heart. Perhaps I'm just a slow learner but even the third time around I am amazed at how much love our hearts are truly capable of. We can be a selfish, arrogant lot and yet when it comes down to it our hearts were designed by Love Himself...and it seems He has created them with hidden spaces to be found and filled as He brings gifts (like my precious children) into our lives.

Perhaps in a future post I will share more detail, but the last few weeks of my pregnancy I struggled
Tired Baby, Tired Daddy
with doubt and anger and frustration at all the unknowns around labor and delivery and what our family would look like with our new addition. I was anxious and moody and worried and then...she was born. And as they placed her warm, squirmy body on my chest I was reminded of how big God is and how often my perspective is so small. Over the course of 9-and-a-half months God created this amazing human being right inside of my own body...and once she was done being formed and grown in my womb she was released into the world.

It reminds me of some impressionist art I saw at a gallery a long time ago. When you stood close-up the colors were beautiful but you couldn't always tell what they were supposed to be--they looked almost blurry. When you stepped back, however, it was clear that each stroke of the brush and choice of pallet was intentional and, when seen as a whole, created a breathtaking masterpiece.

How like life. Just like Jesus' friend Martha, who got caught up in her to-do list and wasn't able to see the beauty right under her nose, we get anxious and worried about many things...and we often miss the big picture. May we learn (and re-learn) to trust in the goodness of God, no matter our circumstances. And may we purpose to seek out the joy and love that is hidden deep within our hearts, waiting to be found.


 From my heart to yours~