Category Faith

Halloween 2013

Oh hello again. I think I’m back once more. I think. Now that I’ve survived the months of September and October. 🙂

We had a great Halloween this year – Jude actually wanted to dress up as a fox (thanks pop culture)! There was no way the costume was going to be homemade this year, not with the schedule I was trying to maintain! But he’s cute as a little fox!

Jude and Anne Halloween2 2013

He went around trick or treating with his neighborhood buddies and had so much fun. So stinking cute.

Jude and Anne Halloween 2013

 

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still here

Well hello there. Two months have passed and I bet you thought I abandoned this little space that I have here. Part of me thought I abandoned it too. I’ve questioned my use of this space in a season of such little free time. But somehow, a bit of a myself feels missing, not sharing. What a quandary for this introvert – being around people all the time and still not feeling like I’ve shared enough, emptied myself of what is most valuable. Ah so many paradoxes in life.

I’ve felt stretched thin and taut in the past months. Things have torn and required time to stitch back together. Everything is always so much harder than I think it should be – parenting, marriage, family, friendships, faith. I’ve allowed the weight to feel heavy on my heart, I’ve struggled to know how to rest, to take pleasure in the things I’ve completed or done well.

But here we are. Life struggling along as always, the beautiful alongside the ugly, just as it always will. I always find myself back in this place – calling out to God, telling him I don’t believe in Him and yet, I do. I don’t want to but I do. I will never make sense of it, this dance of belief and unbelief. And yet I rest my life in the place of belief, pushing forward with trust (of all things).

What is there to do but keep moving onward?

 

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Happy 4th Jude!

Happy 4th Birthday Jude!

Jude at 4-01

See last year’s photo mosaic…

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this whole marriage thing

I’ve been watching this week’s marriage drama unfold on my facebook feed. It has been deeply disturbing to me as people I love on both sides take hard definitive stances – some advocating love, some hate, some religion. So much division.

If America truly were a ‘Christian nation’, as so many would like to think it is, would the American dream not be reflective of the gospel instead of self-indulgence? Would the church not love others deeply (especially through our differences as Jesus modeled for us) and act out of that love instead of building yet another building? What about the separation of church and state? Our faith doesn’t get to make the laws. If it did (as many seem to believe it should), wouldn’t there be a laws against divorce since the Bible so clearly says ‘God hates divorce?’ (Malachi 2:16). Shouldn’t we be focused on fixing the marriages in the church? Isn’t there something in the Bible about about removing the plank out of our own eye (Matt. 7:3-5)?

The deeper I’ve dug, the more I’ve read (Torn, Love is an Orientation and Washed and Waiting), the more unsure I’ve become on what the Bible actually says and I’m learning to live in the uncertainty. It is not as cut and dry as people would like to believe – there are a myriad of complexities. Different translations. Debates on what some very important words actually mean. Cultural background, both current and past. Bibliscism says that the Bible only says one thing and that is definitive but I feel that the idea that you can know what is truly ‘Biblical’ is not wholly possible (and I’m not the only one that thinks this) – we will all get something wrong even with the best intentions in place. Being wrong is an inescapable part of the human experience. God is big and he is bigger than our understanding.

I do know that I love my gay friends and that is where I am going to live. And to those dear friends, I am sorry for the hatred that you feel from the conservative religious community. It is wrong. I love you. Jesus loves you exactly as you are and He will love you no matter what the supreme court rules.

“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandments there may be are summed up in one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

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‘flu’-pocalypse

Nothing like a bout of sickness to reveal the true contents of your heart. Man, the past week with the flu was terrible. I haven’t been that sick since college. I hate being sick because I can’t DO anything and if you know me, you know I have a hard time with being still. I always want to be working on something: laundry, work, knitting, cooking, reading, blogging, cleaning, sewing. Busy is my drug. It makes me feel like I’m going somewhere in my life. (Sidenote: yes, I realize this is a total lie.) There’s gotta be some sort of pleasure wiring in my brain for accomplishing things. It’s the best high ever.

Being still is about all I could handle with this flu and I’m sure everyone knows how much 3.5 year old boys like being still. Right? Right. On top of that, since we were quarantined from all human interaction to prevent further infection, the kiddo was acting out. I get it, he was stir crazy. But oh. My. Gosh. I was spit on, hit, kicked, bit, smacked, talked back to, scratched, pinched. . . And the fits. My kid can scream. And scream. And scream.

Y’all, sometimes being a mom is my least favorite job. There. I said it. My patience runs out and I want to auction my child off to the highest bidder. Another time out. More discipline. Take another deep breath. Swallow those unkind words. And I was struggling this past week. It was so hard to be the adult. I wanted to throw my own childish temper tantrum (and I may have once or twice – sorry about that Jason).

But it’s finally over. And we are settling back in to our normal routine. My monster child is slowly being coaxed away and getting replaced by my sweet child. I’m left to look back over the week of my raw actions and thoughts and I am sad. So many harsh words.

It’s humbling to realize what a total mess I am. I don’t have it all together. I make tons of mistakes. I have to apologize and ask forgiveness from my child (and husband too) and explain to him that I make bad decisions just like he does. And just like a child, he instantly forgives and offers love.

Thank goodness for grace. Thank goodness each day is new.

My prayer for the rest of the week is something I read on Monday: let every person [me] be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. James 1:19

In light of who my heart revealed me to my own self to be this past week, I want this more than ever. I want a changed heart.

 

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word of the year 2013

I’ve been spending some time thinking and praying about what my word of the year would be for 2013 (see past years here). Gratitude was my word last year and I had no idea how appropriate it would be – I have come out the other side and processed post partum depression, we have a new house, a new adventure, a three year old, a great job, even a new business and I am so filled with gratitude for all of it. I am so thankful for my life.

This year, as I was pondering my new word, I went through a lot of ideas: enduring, diligent, focused but they all sounded so . . . negative. And then I was reading a sweet friend’s blog and it clicked. My word for 2013 was deliberate.

Word of the Year Block 2013

Carefully weighed, studied, intentional, slow in deciding, leisurely and steady, slow and even, to weigh in the mind, to think carefully or attentively, reflect. Yes, that sounds like what this year needs to be about. We want to be deliberate in how we build community, how we serve others, parent Jude, build this business, how we spend our time, our money.

Word of the Year Block 2013

I decided to try and tackle a block I had admired for awhile and several friends had already done: the ET Phone Home block. It was my first time to give paper piecing a try and it was a lot of fun! It was an appropriate block to coincide with the word deliberate because I had to be deliberate in getting it finished! This is certainly the longest I have spent creating a quilt block. The center is a little more bunchy than I would like but overall it turned out pretty good.

I’m looking forward to being deliberate this year.

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For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

Today is certainly one of the days when the meaningless of life resonates deeply with me. All of us caught up in our rat races, whether it’s a ‘butt wiping, disciplining’ rat race or a ‘climbing to the top of the corporate ladder’ rat race. I’m tired of the arguing. I’m fed up with the division. Can’t handle the anger. None of it matters. It just doesn’t. I feel burdened watching everyone turn on each other. Exhausted by people demanding I pick a side. I’m having a hard time finding hope in all this madness.

What really matters? Because whatever that is, we should be spending our energy there. Creating beauty, hope, love. But I’m not certain that much of that exists anymore. I haven’t witnessed much of it lately. Meaningless, meaningless. Where do we go from here?

Life feels heavy right now and I know ‘cast your burdens . . . .’ but at the moment I’m not sure what that means. The answer is always ‘Jesus’, right? How his heart must break.

 

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monday musings: a hug and kiss

It’s been one of those weekends where I have become acutely aware of my own shortcomings and time after time admit I was wrong and ask for forgiveness. Those times are never fun – they hurt like heck for one thing but then you have to choose what you’re going to do with the knowledge. My general leaning is to let myself wallow, lose hope and then eventually get on like it never happened.

This time, as Jude and I played at a nearby park, he came over to me and gave me a hug and a kiss, and spoke in his sweet boy voice as he looked up at me, “I love you momma” and then went on continuing to filling his pockets with rocks.

For all the moments that he makes me want to pull out my hair because of his disobedience, there is at least one moment like this, where the simplicity of childhood momentarily bleeds into my chaos of adulthood and everything is put in perspective. At least for a short time.

 

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Monday Musings: bigger isn’t better

Again and again we have been telling the story of our move. Central Austin. New house. New business. Planting a church. How God has surpassingly continued to meet us in each circumstance. And again and again I have people lament for me the fact that we are moving to a small(er) house.

Sometimes I just bite my tongue and change the subject. And other times I wax poetic about the virtues of living with less, smaller environmental footprint, less to clean, the character and charm of older homes, the proximity to my job/downtown/yummy food and how I just love small homes.

But most of the time I mourn that the focus of our society is bigger is better. Why oh why would I want to live in a smaller home if I could take that same money, move out to the suburbs and have a brand spanking new house that has 5 rooms and 4 bathrooms and two play areas? I don’t need more space. We wouldn’t need more space even if we had a bigger family.

I don’t buy into the ‘American Dream’. Bigger is not better – in fact it may be worse because it can distract us from the true meaningful task at hand – loving like Jesus loved. More (whether it’s ‘bigger’ or just ‘things’) can shackle us to the cares of this world so that we are distracted – unable to love the way we are called.

The truth is we value the mission that we have been placed on, this story that we are creating much more than a large house. We believe that living in central Austin in a smaller home is going to impact eternity through the people we will meet and live life among. None of it feels like a sacrifice to me.

 

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monday musings: the house story

Are you guys wondering where we are in all the housing stuff? We are certainly still on our adventure, even through this process of buying and selling a home.

I’ve talked about it before and even though you think I would learn my lesson, in the back of my head, I still don’t believe that God wants to take care of me. Why would he want to give me good things? And why do I want stuff anyways? Jeez consumeristic self, can’t you get a hold on your wants? So many people don’t have a home to live in, where do I get off wanting?

I knew we were selling our house and moving to an area of town I desired to live in – I couldn’t really ask for more than that, right? I knew that we weren’t going to be able to afford much because the homes are much smaller and much more expensive. Honestly, I just thought we would live in a two-bedroom dump and have to struggle to fix it up.

Yeah. I’m still struggling to wrap my head around what actually happened.

We found our dream home.

Well, actually, our friends tripped over our dream home. The short story is that their dog ended up in this yard and the families ended up talking. Turns out they needed to move and were looking to sell the home without a realtor to save a little money. Was anyone they knew interested in moving to central Austin? Um, yes, we were.

We viewed the home and fell in love. I couldn’t get over the little touches that were throughout the house that seemed like they were custom designed for our family. But then there was the money. Things always seem to get hung up on money, eh?

It was going to be too much for our family in this season of our lives. In case you didn’t know, Jason is starting a business so much of our savings (make that all, actually) is going towards this start up. That doesn’t leave us with much to go towards a new home, especially in this more expensive part of town.

Turns out, if you ask people to help, sometimes they actually can. Oh and it is humbling to ask for help with money. Jason’s dad agreed to help us out by doing a lease-to-own on this house.

See why I’m struggling to wrap my mind around it?

Sometimes I feel like God gives us good things that are just too much. Too awesome. Too amazing. I still feel a bit like puking when I think about it. I may actually puke when we move because then it will be overwhelmingly real.

After all of this, we put our house on the market. And it sold the second day.

To be honest, I worried about sharing all of this. It’s sometimes easier to share the messy, the difficult and the struggles – everyone can identify because we all struggle to make sense of the crazy. But what do you do with the blessings, the rejoicing and the too awesome? I feel like it should be shared too.

But I don’t share to brag – we did nothing. I have to keep reminding myself that the glory goes to God in all of this. I struggle to understand why we are recipients of his grace but I am grateful.

 

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