Slow Down…

My son and I pray together every night before bed. Our prayers are often unconventional in that our bedtime prayers occur in multiple locations.

Last night I was squeezing in my walk. My son came into our office area and asked that I pause the treadmill.

Sometimes, we need to get off the treadmill of life and take a moment to pray.”

I paused the treadmill and my mind for a moment…when had my teenage son become so wise? 


We prayed, standing on that treadmill, and then, he ran upstairs to bed. It’s that age… Fourteen…not an adult ready to navigate the world but becoming one’s own person forming beliefs about the world.
And this son of mine has enough wisdom to know that sometimes, we just need to get off the treadmill of life and pause in a moment with our Heavenly Father.

How did I ever get so lucky?

I smile, knowing in this quiet stillness of the morning, that there is no luck. God knew this child halfway around the world was to be my son and I was to be his mom.

So, here’s a little shout out during this National Adoption Awareness Month… adoption is an amazing blessing from God.

Sometimes, you just need to pause from the craziness of everything and be still with Your Father. He has an amazing plan for you. It may not be adoption, but He may be trying to whisper into the deep places of your soul to those unspoken hopes and dreams.

Slow down…listen…and step in faith.

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Extend Grace

“Extend grace, mom. Extend grace.”

I looked at my thirteen year old son. He was right, but I wasn’t quite ready to admit it. That vicious thing called pride was still hovering in my heart.

 It had been a conversation…me sharing about my day, and my husband looking down at his phone absorbed in something and not fully listening to me. He claimed he had been listening, but hearing is not the same as listening. 

My son’s sweet voice chimed in again. “Mom, you’re not perfect, either.” 

The wisdom of an almost 14 year old…such a perceptive child. 

Extend grace. These were the same words that I had heard from my friend over the weekend. 

 Deep breath. Pride swallowed. I accepted my husband’s apology and extended grace. 

I have much to learn from my son.  I am amazed and reassured that he does listen to me. It is always humbling to hear your words returned back to you. He reminded me of exactly what I needed to hear that night. Extend grace.

Who do you need to extend grace to?

Sometimes, we need to consider  things from a different perspective. I took this picture while writing from a view that overlooked the pond. 

The view was inspiring for writing, but I noticed the imperfection in my photo. Droppings from a bird stained the window. Would I choose to focus on the imperfection or the beauty in the view?

It’s like that with life. Do we choose to focus on the imperfection of the person or situation or do we choose to extend grace?

Our perspective makes all the difference.

31 Days of Grace…

Grace. As Christians, we hear this word, but do we fully grasp what it really means?

Grace is the free and undeserving favor of God.
It means I can quit striving for perfection. I can quit holding myself to these unattainable expectations of being all things to all people.

He is enough.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Grace is God’s gift to us. I believe moments of grace can be found everyday if we are watchful, expectant, and open to God’s blessings. 

This is my 31 day journey of being expectant and watchful of His grace. Thank you for joining me as I share my experiences and thoughts on everyday grace.

Today, I want to share this…

These shoes belong to a kid who time after time demonstrates the meaning of grace in my life. He is my son, chosen for us. In 2009, he joined our family as an energetic yet timid and scared five year boy. Through the years, our bond has grown and strengthened.

I was talking with a trusted friend this weekend about my anxiety struggles, and we talked about my son and his love for me. She told me that she believes God gave me this child and He is speaking to me through him.

I responded, “My son has taught me far more about life than I have taught him.

The love, the forgiveness, the hugs, the time spent 1-1…he loves me for who I am. He doesn’t expect perfection from me. 

Sometimes, it’s just comforting knowing someone wants nothing more from you than to just be with you as you are.

Today, don’t miss God’s grace in the love of others. God places people in our lives to love us and teach us.

Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. John 1:16

Don’t be so busy you miss the blessings of relationship with others.

 

Be Someone’s Waffle Maker

Life has been incredibly busy and non-stop lately, but I was reminded of something very important yesterday.

The smallest things make the greatest impact. Dinner with a dear friend, an employee telling you how much they appreciate you, and coming home to a homemade waffle.

My son decided to make me a homemade waffle. When I came home after a long day, a homemade gluten free waffle with real maple syrup was waiting for me. I’m not sure what possessed him to do this but I know it was an expression of his love.

The simplest, smallest acts make all the difference. Sometimes, these little things are exactly what someone needs to keep moving forward.

My Wednesday thought for you today…be someone’s waffle maker today.

Have a great day!

Tears of Transparency

My heart is sad this morning. It has been a restless, short night of sleep. We learned of my husband’s uncle’s completely unexpected death last night. We are devastated. The hardest part of being a parent is seeing your children cry and to know they are hurting. It is our son’s first experience losing someone close. Our daughter is in another state and unable to come home for a few days. It is hard to not be present to console her.

Knowing your children are hurting is so difficult as a parent. As much as you hurt, seeing the tears of your child is that much more heart wrenching. We have always tried to encourage our children to share their feelings with us and to be open.

Transparency in my feelings… something I am not always so great at. Being willing to be transparent and vulnerable in your feelings with someone you trust can open the floodgates to understanding. Yes, it feels risky and uncomfortable especially if you are like me and not used to talking about feelings. I would rather suffer in silence, but I know God doesn’t desire that for us. And, I certainly don’t want to model that behavior for my children.

So, through this difficult time right now, we will pull together and comfort one another. Tears are the unspoken language of transparency and vulnerability. They are a bridge to understanding.

Life is often not easy, but with God and the support of those we love and trust, we can walk through the valleys and know we are not alone.

Faith Lessons in the Kitchen Sink

This past weekend, I prayed over the question Jesus asked the blind men…what do You want me to do for you?

I realized I needed discernment to something I was struggling with. I needed​ affirmation. Today, God revealed the discernment that I needed to me through the words of another and a clear sense of peace in my heart.

It was a good day.

And tonight, I found this in my sink.

Just when you think they aren’t listening, you turn and see something that makes you pause and smile. He rinsed his milkshake glass without being told. Small victories. Simple things. Mom moments that remind me this balance thing I am striving for might just be attainable.

God uses everyday people, everyday simple things to grab our attention. The affirming words from your boss. Your son’s rinsed glass without being told. A listening ear from your best friend. Shared dreams with your spouse.

Sometimes, I overcomplicate things, and then a simple act of obedience from my son reminds me he is listening to me. I think how pleased our Father must feel when His children obey. It may be a simple act of stepping out in faith or a huge leap of faith. 

I challenge you to pray for courage to obey this week. May we all be free to laugh without fear of the future.

The Illusion of Perfection

I fight the thoughts of perfection as chocolate smoothie falls onto my white top. I try to remind myself of how far I have come from the grips of anxiety, self doubt, and the second guessing. Those reminders can seem like mere whispers among the shouts of the world… You’re not good enough!!

As I listened to another woman’s fears and saw her tears earlier this week, I saw my own fears through her words. I was reminded that we are all broken people fighting a battle of some sort.

I attended another Casting Crowns concert this past weekend, and as I listened to the lyrics of the songs, I did reflect just how far I have come in just a few months since I heard them in concert in October. 

From their song God of All my Days…My seasons change, You stay the same.

Despite my circumstances and feelings, God is the constant in my life. When the anxieties of not being good enough creep up, God is constant. When the fears of failure knock at my heart, God is constant. He stays the same through all my changing seasons.

The illusion that everyone else has it together but me is just that…An illusion. I remember the first time I visited one of the other soccer mom’s homes. You couldn’t see her kitchen table. She had a stack of reading books by her bed. A huge stack. Her kitchen counters were filled with packages of food and a sink with dirty dishes. I remember sighing a huge sigh of relief inside…I wasn’t the only mom who didn’t have it all together. It really was OK.

I have been really reflective the past few weeks. Perhaps it is related to the passing of my dear 95 year old friend. Her life left such a legacy.

As I think about success and what it means, it is not about having it all together. How do I define success? What do I do well?

I would like to believe that I love people well. 

Instead of cleaning the stacked mail and clutter off the table last night, I spent some quality time with my son. He will remember that much longer than he will a clean table.

A few things to remind you mid-week…

Perfection is an illusion.

Success is defined individually by what matters most to us.

We are all broken people in need of each other.

God is constant. He never changes.