The Thanksgiving Tree

The Thanksgiving Tree

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ring Loud the Bells of Hope

"Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under....Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah,
"A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation.
Rachel weeping for her children.
She refused to be comforted because they are no more" Matthew 2:16-18

I was rocking Thomas to sleep for his nap. He asked me for his favorite song. I begin...

"He's got the whole world in His hands... He's got the..whole world...." I struggled to get it out. My mortal mind... my finite reasoning is struggling to sing these words this afternoon.

Really, God? You have the WHOLE world in your hands.... even Newton? How? How can this be? Why would you allow this to happen to innocent children?

".. in His Hands...He's got the whole world in His hands..."

again, Mommy.
(I sigh) I sing again. In tears I speak the truth. Maybe my heart will listen because my mind is elsewhere. I pray for the Holy Spirit to search my soul for the Truth that I know is in there. And then I was reminded of the weeping and killing of innocent children soon after Christ's birth. Children murdered just because they were male and infants. It is no different than children murdered just because they went to school. Soldiers barged into homes... into HOMES... and killed the baby boys. I have three sons. My youngest is 2.

There is nothing new under the sun. The Bible reminds us of this over and over again that this world offers suffering and only glimpses of our promised joy. There has always been the shedding of innocent blood. It hurts. Sin brings pain... but this why He came.

"She will bear a son and you shall call his name, Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21

As I celebrate the season of Advent... I long for the Advent which is to come... when all will be restored... when all will be well.... when we will take hold of our promise. Until then, I grieve with the hope of that promise. I rejoice in the songs of Christmas because this season marks the beginning of this fulfillment. May the bells of hope ring loud until the trumpet is blown. Truth is everything. You DO hold the WHOLE world, Jesus... and you are coming. You are coming to take captive that which you have set free.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The "Real" Treasures

I just love how the most heartfelt Little House on the Prairie episodes seem to open with Laura narrating these words, "If I had a remembrance book, I would write this down...".  As I was packing boxes late last night watching an old episode, I thought about that statement as I reflected over these past few months.

God is so good.  If I had a remembrance book, I would record all of the ways The Lord has been faithful and good to us during this season.

We are moving to a little house not far from our home now.  A "temporary" home as we have called it, although I am learning that everything on this earth is our temporary home.  As I pack and purge all of the "stuff" we have acquired, I am reminded of true treasures.... the pictures.  Not the ones we paid for that hang on our walls and decorate our Facebook pages; bought all the matching outfits for.  No, I am speaking of the snapshots.  The ones in little picture frames, or hanging on our fridge by a magnet.  The ones thrown in a drawer.  The real smiles.  The dirty clothes.  The real life  ones.  Then there are the memories. The conversations like, "Mommy, I am going to miss our water puddle after it rains."  or "Mommy, remember when this room used to be yellow?"  "Remember when I used to sleep in a crib, and now Thomas uses it?"  Touching up a wall and hearing my precious little girl saying she is sorry for writing on it.  life.

I struggle with wanting a Home.  Moving around is so hard for me.  I just want a "forever home"...whatever that means.  I am realizing that I actually DO have a home.  Because a home isn't walls and windows.   It isn't furniture or dishes.  It isn't paintings and yards.  It isn't pets and toys.  A home is life.

Jesus says that He is the way, the truth and the life.  He says for those willing to lose their own lives, will gain one;  an eternal one... a forever home.  I HAVE a forever home in Him.  A house isn't a home.  He is.  He speaks of storing up treasures in heaven... eternal treasures; those that are life-giving.

You can't pack life in a box.  But you can take it with you.  It can be stored.  If we invest in that which is most life-giving.  When we pause and make a memory.  When it becomes about the heart and not about the stuff and activities.  As I consume rolls and rolls of bubble wrap to protect the "precious" items, I realize that which I treasure most is already permanently sealed and stored for eternity.  In Christ, life, goes with us.  Life is our home both now and forever when Christ is our life.

This move is already sweet.   I have many boxes resting in our garage, ready to be transported, but much much more resting within my heart.  And I am glad for that.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Less like scars and more like character.

It's been a hard year 
But I'm climbing out of the rubble 

These lessons are hard 
Healing changes are subtle 
But every day it's

Less like tearing, more like building 
Less like captive, more like willing 
Less like breakdown, more like surrender 
Less like haunting, more like remember

And I feel you here 
And you're picking up the pieces 
Forever faithful 
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation 
But you are able 
And in your hands the pain and hurt 

Look less like scars and more like 
- Sarah Groves lyrics "Less Like Scars"

I hadn't heard this song in a LONG time and it came on my Pandora station the other morning during my run.  It was timely and quite the response I wish to give those who ask, "how's your summer been?"  It's just been that kind of summer.  Lots of tearing apart.. but MORE building anew.  Subtle changes; but changes none the less in my journey toward holiness... a broken road full of humility and grace.  Broken isn't bad, though.  Broken is beautiful.  Broken exposes our need for Christ... cries out to Christ... breathes Christ.  Yes, I am learning to be quite comfortable in my brokenness.  There is no shame in needing a Savior.  There is no shame in not being able to do.  THIS is why Jesus came.  Brokenness precedes the building.  I am but bones, but HE will cover me and clothe me in HIM.. and in Him, I become NEW.

The kids and I have LOVED going to the pool this summer.  We've spent much time up there and FINALLY Thomas joined our joyful troop of pool goers.  This took a while.  See, at first, Thomas was fearful of the water.  I would hold him and say, "I've got you, it's ok... I've got you.."  He would cling for dear life to me as I waded around the shallow end only letting his toes dip into the water... then his legs... then we would bob up and down.. up and down until I would see a smirk on his face followed by, "again, mommy.. again!"  Eventually he warmed up and wasn't fearful.. but every time we got in the water he immediately began saying, "I got you.  I got you."  I would repeat, "yes, I got you.  I got you."  We would walk around the pool together and in a loud confident voice, he repeated, "I got you.  I got you."

One morning, my eyes became a pool of their own.  I realized what Thomas was speaking.  In his fear, in his need of assurance.. he didn't speak HIS words:  "You have me.  Mommy has me."... he spoke MINE.  I GOT YOU.  

I thought about all of the times I have begun to fear.. all of the times I fight my doubt that God is in this... What would it mean for me to repeat the TRUTH Christ speaks over me!  YOU ARE MINE.  I LOVE YOU.  YOU ARE PRECIOUS.  DO NOT FEAR.  I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU.  I HAVE PLANS FOR YOU..PLANS TO PROSPER YOU... PLANS FOR HOPE AND FUTURE.  Not to question it... but to STATE it.  To speak it out loud in HIS own words.

This has profoundly affected me.  Through the lens of God's goodness, the trials are bearable... they have purpose...they are a part of the great story of my life HE has written.  Covered and cared for in the hands of Christ, that which wounds actually strengthens.  And in time.. according to His will... those wounds do indeed become less like scars, and more like character.

Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you for the work you did on the cross.  Thank you for the suffering you endured for me.  Thank you that you are always at work for our good.  May I speak your truth to myself as You speak it over me on my behalf to my Heavenly Father.  You are GOOD.  You ARE good!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

STOP living in the Now!!

I read what I thought to be one of the saddest blog posts from a young mother of four a few days ago.  It was written in a Voskamp-esque fashion in which she described this intense romantic love affair with a city.  Yes, a city.  She described all the things this city had taught "he" (the city) had loved her well..inspired her... gave her peace..and understanding as to who she was... most importantly, "how to live in the NOW."  This, from a woman whose "living in the now" philosophy ended her with a divorce.  My heart grieves still.

Oh, how I cringe at that phrase.  I want to scream from the rooftops:

Oh believing women of faith, STOP LIVING IN THE NOW!!!!

Stop examining bubbles and butterflies and taking pictures and posting and blogging and tweeting and texting and everything else we do to worship our "now".. our "immediate moment."  Live for the Not Yet.

I know it's hard.  I know we come wired to "feel".  We are emotional.  We are fueled by deeply relating to one another.  We long to nurture and care. I am the FIRST to admit, when not in check, I am an emotional roller coaster. Emotions and passions are good qualities that can catapult us bravely into the Lord's work, but they can also be paralyzing.  Living in the Now and responding to immediate feelings that are driving our NOW can destroy our future.  They lead us astray.  There is little hope in the Now.  Have you ever thought about that?  The Now is of this earth.  The Now is decaying.  Anything that is beautiful and precious in our immediate Now, is only because it is a glimpse of the Not Yet.  Everything that is filled with beauty on this earth is but a dim, faded, eroded image, or emotion of that to come.

As C.S. Lewis so perfectly pens in The Great Divorce: "When you painted on earth- at least in your earlier days- it was because you caught glimpses of Heaven in the earthly landscape.  The success of your painting was that it enabled others to see the glimpses too."

Living in the Now only grants me my current feelings and circumstances in which to hope.  THAT in itself is hopeless enough.  Living for the Not Yet propels me to draw from a another well... a deeper well.. one that NEVER runs dry.  I drink.  I am supernaturally satisfied.  Nothing of this world can satiate quite like placing complete trust in Christ... and nothing of this world can remove it.  Here is the joy of living for the Not Yet.

I was awakened  yesterday morning to Psalm 130 being recited in my mind.  Yes, recited.  The words were audibly heard and I was grateful for the Spirit giving me this word from the Lord.

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord;
Lord, hear my voice!  Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications....
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.  My soul waits for the Lord 
more than those who watch from the morning---yes, more than those who watch for the morning.

O, Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption.

I don't know where you find yourself today.  Are you living in your Now?  Hope in the Lord.  Wait for the Lord.  It's hard isn't it?--the waiting.  Hosea 6:3 states:

Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”

"As surely as the run rises, he will appear."  THIS is why we wait for the Lord as those who watch for the morning.  Another translation says.. "as watchmen for the morning."  We stand on our wall, on guard.. waiting and looking NOT down at our feet and fearing- not distracted by our feelings of being exhausted or how we feel emotionally.. or how cold or hungry we are... NO!  We look out--to the horizon--waiting for the the DAWN!  Because unless the Lord returns, we can be assured that the sun is rising.  It rises EVERYDAY.  Completely reliable.  So it is with our great and awesome God!  We look out from our wall of darkness towards the HOPE that WILL appear.  Because He is coming.  The sun is rising.  The dawn is almost here.  We need not question.  He will appear and He will rain on us and water us.... soon!  but Now...we need to start living for more than this minute.  We need begin living beyond our own strength.  We need to begin living for the Not Yet!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Everything I needed to know in life I have learned from the song Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so....

I am loved.  I am dearly loved.  My Savior loves me.  I can KNOW this.  I don't have to wonder.  I don't have to think.  I don't have to "feel" loved.  I KNOW.. why?  Because scripture TELLS me so!  The Bible is truth and if it says it is so... it is.  I AM loved by my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Little ones to Him belong....

"My beloved is mine and I am his"  Song of Solomon 2:16

"But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; your are MINE!"  Isaiah 43:1

"And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."  Matt. 18:2

I am a little one.  I am HIS little one... whom He has knit together.. whom He has created and known.. whom He loves... whom He guides and watches over... while I sleep.. when I my comings and goings of my day (Psalm 139)...whom He gives GOOD gifts..

"or what is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?  or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"  Matt. 7:9-11

..because a child I am dependent upon HIM.. for food.. for water.. for ALL things!  There is NOTHING I have that hasn't been given to me FIRST from HIM.  All is HIS!  He has shared them with me.
..because I am a child, I trust Him.  I look to Him.  I obey Him.  He trains me in obedience.  He is always looking after my GOOD.

..they are weak, but He is STRONG.

Amen!  I am weak.  I am unable.  I am not equipped.  I can not.  I won't be able to.  I am feeble.  I am fearful.  HE is strong.  He is able.  He will equip me.  He CAN!  He is the Great I AM!  He strengthens feeble hands.  He gives courage to the fearful.  He gives wings to those who can't fly.  He carries those who can't walk.  He causes the blind to see.. and the lame to leap!  He heals.. He mends... He redeems... He repairs.  At our weakest... in HIM we become strong.  (2nd Corinthians 12:10).

Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Yes, Jesus loves me.

"Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help me in my unbelief."  Mark 9:24

I will need this drilled into my heart over and over again.  I AM loved.  Yes.. He DOES love me... in difficult circumstances... in hard times.. in suffering.. in betrayal.  Yes, Jesus loves me.  Over and Over I need this reminder.  I am forgetful.  Does His love for me change?  NO!

....the Bible tells me so.

How do I know Jesus loves me?  Because I feel it?  Because everything in my life is working out?  Because my children are perfect?  Because my husband is perfect?  Because my body is well?  Because my relationships are thriving?  Because people like me?  Because I am wealthy?  Because I have everything I want?  Does this give me insight into exactly how deep His love is for me?  NO!  Because scripture TELLS ME.  Despite everything.. suffering.. hardship.. sickness... I am loved.  I love because He loved FIRST and foremost! (1 John 4:10)

This is all I need to know in life.  All trials are minimized first and foremost when filtered through the light of His love for me.  It's the simplest song.  It's the simplest Truth.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I set out on my run tonight.  Full of joy from this weekend; a wonderful time spent with family.  Heavy already from the load of the week.  and the laundry.  and the groceries.  and the sleep deprivation.  and it's only Tuesday!  My legs resist.  I make it a mile and a half and walk.  Just two weeks ago, I ran a half marathon.  I am amazed by the power of the mind over the body.  I told myself I was going to keep running no matter what.  and I did.  and it was so hard.  I wanted to cry, but I kept going.  I kept running.  I couldn't breathe, so I forced myself to stop crying.  I suppressed my emotions and focused all energy into continuing that long gruesome trek to the finish.  and I finished.

But tonight, I don't have it in me.  or, I'll say, I've decided to allow my mind to ease up on the body.  to give up.  to give in. to give over to emotions.  I rest.  and I cry.  I notice the beautiful purple orange sky; the swirls of puffy white dancing between scarves of pink and I lift up my eyes.  I breathe in His glory.  The question arises.  The same question David asked long ago, "From where shall my help come?"

I am so tired, Lord.  I am so tired.  I am always running.  Running everywhere.  Where is my rest?  I just want to stop sometimes and catch a breath.  I question my strength.  I question my stamina.  I need help.

My help comes from the Lord.

I am reminded of the story of King Asa in 2 Chronicles.  When he looked out over the valley and saw enemies drawing together in battle formation.  "Then Asa called to the Lord his God and said, "Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O Lord, You are our God, for we trust in you, and in Your name have come against this multitude." (2 Chronicles 14:11)

...the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength...  There is NO ONE besides YOU to help.....

This is me tonight.  So many seemingly powerful forces pressing in on a woman who feels she has no strength.  Not even enough strength to complete a run.  Not even enough to complete a walk, for I have stopped and now sit.  Then again, rest is good.  Rest is remembrance.  I need to stop and remember I am HIS daughter.

My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.

You need no sleep Lord, so I may rest.  You stay awake and alert, guarding your daughter.  You and you alone are my HELP;  my help in ALL things.  I can rest because you fight for me in the battle between all of those powerful forces and my weary state.  You strengthen me.

I glance to my right and gasp in awe.  My path brings me to an open space among trees.  Fireflies sprinkle illuminated glitter low above the grass.  Is it already time for them?  Who knows how they know.  How they know it's warm enough.  How they know when to bring the light into darkness.  Perhaps they are always there, glowing in and out, and only when our day darkens are we able to see this gift.

Hmm.  I smile.  A tear pools.  As the blinking yellow glow of fireflies whisper "summer's coming...summer's coming....", my Heavenly Father reminds me my help isn't just on the way.  It's always been here.  Sometimes, I haven't seen it.  Sometimes, I've had to go looking for it.  Sometimes, I've had to wait for it.  And sometimes, I've been surprised to find it glowing in breathtaking beauty in the midst of darkness.  And it has taken my breath away.

My help comes from the Lord.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Through the Pain... we find the Promise

I was driving through Charleston one beautiful day last week preparing to lead worship for a Women's event.  It was one of those days when the beauty of that city absolutely took your breath away.  The sky couldn't have been bluer.. full of white puffy clouds.  Clouds I could jump in.  Clouds I could snuggle in to.  Crossing over bridge after bridge.. the water sparkling.  The water fluttering.  The water waving.  Waving up to me.  "See how beautiful!"  I am moved to speak aloud, "Thank you Lord, for this beautiful, beautiful day."

Then little rain drops out of nowhere begin to sprinkle.  Not pelting rain.  Not even a shower... a sprinkle here and there.  As if someone were casting seeds of rain from high.  The sun is shinning brighter than ever.  There isn't a gray cloud in the sky.  So I begin searching hard.  It's what I always do when there is rain and sun together.  I look for the rainbow.  I know it's somewhere.. and it usually is.  And when I find it on these rare occasions I think, And there is the Promise.  A covenant the Lord has made with His people... to never destroy His world by water.

I glance underneath to the oceans of river I am crossing.  This will never rise too high and swallow me up because you said so, Lord.  Your promises are true and forever.  I think on His other promises.  True and Forever.

Why in the rain of our lives do we not begin searching for the rainbow?  The Son is ALWAYS shinning.  His light is always penetrating the darkness... He is bringing the darkness to the light.  Why in the pain of our lives do we run toward fear.. and feelings of abandonment...our idols for comfort?  We LEAVE our Comforter.  We flee our Father and Defender.

Only through the rain do we grab glimpse of the rainbow.  It is the pain that draws us to the Promise.

So in the pain.. seek hard, my friends.  It's there.  It's written deep on and in our hearts... the Promise.  He is faithful.  He is good.  He is love.  Real love.  Love that pursues and fights and never settles.  Never changes its mind.  Love that is never conditional... quite the opposite.  Love we can't comprehend... but it's there.  It's here.  Calling our names.  Our names which have been written on His hands before we even came into being.  We are His... forever.

Look!  I almost reach my destination and there it was:  His bow...the Promise.

"Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass."
Joshua 21:45 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Give me the hills!

I operate through life with a default desire for ease.  I want peace.  I want harmony.  I want easy.  I want the weight loss without the diet.  I want "delicious" without the calories.  I want great payback with little or no effort.

Like I said, this is my default.  This is where I instinctively begin.  Only Christ has the power to go into my "control panel" and alter that setting.

So, it would be to no surprise, that as I have been training for an upcoming half-marathon, I would begin to seek out easier running routes.  There are SO many hills in and around my neighborhood.  It's grueling.  It's tiresome.  Feeling fatigued one morning, I set out to run, but this time I went to an outdoor track.   

Ah, no hills... just stay in the lines and run the circle.. no thinking.... easy. I thought.

As I got only about a half mile into my run, I felt nearly paralyzed.  It was torture!  The same thing over and over.  Nothing new.  Just round and round.  There was no shade.  The sun beat down hard.  Equal distance each time... ground equally leveled.  The minutes couldn't have moved any slower.  I almost quit!

While I agonized, Christ moved in and did a little work on my settings.

I so often have such a misplaced ideal.  I think easy and predictable is the goal.  If life were only less chaotic.  No surprise detours.  No muddy patches.  No ups and downs.  No rain.  Or wind.  Just give me round and round.. level ground within the confines of a perfectly erected arena... life would work.  Then I could keep running.. and I could run well!  But it's in the hills that builds strength in our muscles.  We acquire the stamina to continue longer..  run further.  The gentle downward slopes allow us rest and recovery.  The twist and turns of unknown terrain provide motivation to continue on... to see what's around the corner.  The track makes me want to quit.  I see where I'm going.  I see I'm accomplishing nothing in particular, but filling time and adding miles.  So many people live life running the track.  Life is the race and we are His athletes.  How are you training?  

There is so much beauty in the work; in the preparation.  Our race is longer than 13.1 miles.  It is ongoing.  But we have a Coach who is interceding ALWAYS on our behalf.. who has designed a training program specifically for each one of our needs so we may run our best and finish well.  He is building into our program faith strengthening climbs, recovery slopes, hope distances.  Where there is rain... He is on the sidelines extending to us a poncho.  Where we are dry.. He is bringing cups of water.  Where we are weak... He provides the Powerbar.  And HE IS WAITING FOR US AT THE FINISH LINE!

I left that track as fast as I could.  I ran the park.  With each hill I trudged, I thanked the Lord for the hardships in my life...because I was still running... because I am stronger because of them...because HE is the strongest over all.  Quit?  Never.  Not now.  I don't want predictable and easy.  Predictability paralyzes.  It's the hard stuff that keeps us running.

Give me the hills!  My body is better for it.  My soul is strengthened by it.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, 
let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, 
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, 
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, 
and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, 
so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
Hebrews 12:1-3

Friday, February 3, 2012

I love you dot. dot. dot.

"Mommy, do you know how much I love you?  I love you really, really, really, dot. dot. dot." Emma Faye shared with me in our car ride to the mall.  I needed to pick up a few things and, to be honest, I can't remember the last time I actually took advantage of spending time with my two youngest.  Thomas was happily gazing out the window, pointing every few minutes in exclamation "SKY!!!!!"  "SKY!!!!"  (One of his favorite new words).

I used to do fun activities with Will and Josh ALL the time when they were young.  I would go for long walks through downtown Charleston.  We would meet friends at parks or the children's museum.  AND I would go to the mall.  Run a few errands and we would have lunch out.  I thought to myself, "Why don't I do this anymore?"  So, this particular day, I left the cereal bowls, the laundry, the UNmopped kitchen floor, the UNvaccummed den, and set out for a day with my babies.  Off to the mall, and then lunch at the food court, THEN a ride on the carousel in said food court.  :)

Emma Faye said it again, "I love you. dot. dot. dot."

"Emma Faye, what does '' mean?"  I questioned.

"Will told me that '' means it goes on and on and on.  SO, that's how much I love you," she quickly answered.

My heart melted.  This is why I need to do more of this.  Thank you, Lord for bringing my heart BACK to my children. From the distractions.... From self-absorption....oh, THANK YOU, Jesus.

We proceeded with our errands.  We ate lunch and then mounted our ponies on the carousel.  What joy my little girl and baby boy wore on their faces.  We went round and round... up and down.  And I was full of joy.  I savored those minutes.  So simple.  So beautiful.  So precious.

So often, culture presents mothering as an empty cart going nowhere, but around and around in the same circle... up and down.. in the SAME circle ~ fruitless.  waste of time.  But are you watching your children?  Their life is a carousel.  The round and round and up and down is magical.  It's a gift.  The sky is to be applauded.  Colors and textures are fascinating.  Errands are more than errands. 

From the minute a child enters into our lives, the clock begins ticking when they will enter out.  This is but a short season.  I have been given a charge to raise them to the best of my ability.  I have been duped over and over by what I think I NEED in order to mother them well.  I need only a heart open to God's word.  I don't need an enormous house. I don't need a huge yard. I don't need to throw the best birthday parties.  I don't need to take them on extravagant vacations.  I don't for them to have extra-curricular activities.  I don't need to have all the cool toys and video games.  I need MY heart to be filled with Christ.  Christ must pour into me, so I may then pour into them. 

{I breathe deep.  This is balm to my soul today. }

Jesus, you are SO SO good.  Keep my life simple and small.  Keep my heart large for you and needing you.  Keep distractions from me.  Keep me unsatisfied with this world so I will rely on YOU for everything.

The ride was over, but my day.. my week.. had just begun.  Refreshed, I placed Thomas in his stroller.  Emma Faye clasped my hand as we headed out toward the parking lot.  I leaned down near my precious, beautiful daughter and in blurry-eyes whispered, I love you dot. dot. dot.

A smile causing her eyes to almost close enveloped her face. 

"I know what that means," she giggled.

Thank you for this day, Lord.  I love you...

What a beautiful day.  My life is full of the simple.

"SKY!!!"  Thomas continued all the way home.  :)