Today, you had your birthday cake. One day late. Just us at home on the back porch. You loved your cake so much. I think chocolate must be your favorite. After having your cake, we spent some time by the lake. Love these simple moments, watching you explore.
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A good friend will see things in us that we can't see about ourselves - Bob Goff
We all need a friend like this. Someone to affirm us, when we can't see our true gifts and talents. To tell us that we CAN do it, when fear has overcome us. We need a friend to remind us gently of grace. Grace for ourselves. Grace for others. When it feels like we just aren't getting anything right.
We need people who are our true fans. Who cheer us on without any jealousy or envy.
Likewise, we need someone to look us straight in the eye and tell us when we need correction. When we are losing our way. We need people that can be honest and tell it like it is.
We need someone to pray for us. To hear us without judgement. To love us without conditions.
And we need to be this friend to others. In a world that is so "connected" through social media and technology, it is hard to find friends that are truly connected through the heart. But, the effort and time it takes to truly connect with people wins every single time.
Kylo Ren and the decade girls. Happy Halloween
Yesterday, I celebrated 41 years of life. We spent the afternoon at the Gulf, at one of my most favorite places. As we drove home last night, my eyes filled with tears. There was a sense of joy and peace I felt. I realize so often in life we are living in "waiting". Waiting for the next thing. Whatever that may be. All I could think about was how right now feels. How grateful I am to be here and to know love like I do. At 41, I wish for nothing more, but to be here, aware and present in all God has given me. To truly soak in each of these moments. I'm grateful for every year that has brought me to today. Grateful for lessons learned and abundant grace. Most of all, I'm grateful for the story Christ continues to write for me. Without Him and His love, nothing would be the same.
Today, I got to spend my birthday at one of my most favorite places. So grateful for 41 years of life. Thankful for the lessons God has taught me each day. Thankful for the love He has given me. Thankful for his abundant and never ending grace.
Afternoons on the lake with our cousins are always fun.
In Florida, the transition from Summer to Fall is definitely more subtle than in other areas in the country. Sports and holidays are more indications of the season change than the weather. We are always grateful for the drop in humidity and look forward to the few cool fronts we will see in the months ahead.
Today, we welcomed Fall with a high of 89 instead of 99. We will live vicariously through everyone else's pictures of fall leaves and cute boots; while we spend more days in the sun with bare feet waiting for the cooler days to arrive.
The worries of life could be infinite; our health, our finances, our family, our relationships, our future. Through the years God has definitely shown me time and time again that He is in control, that I need to let go of worry and fear and trust solely in Him and His plan.
At 39 and pregnant with number four, there is a lot on my heart and mind. During our 3rd pregnancy I got really sick and our daughter was born almost 8 weeks premature. Those frightening hours have been making their way to the forefront of my mind; yet, I keep finding His peace amidst all the fears that want to take over. Life may not always go the way we envision. It will have its detours, but if we keep our eyes on Him, He will always point us to where we need to be.
I can’t stop thinking about the lyrics to the song called Captain by Hillsong United. Typically, I only share a portion of a song that is speaking to me, but today, there wasn’t a part I felt I could NOT share. I hope these words will speak to your heart as well. No matter what uncharted waters you are going through, always know, you are not alone.
Through waters uncharted my soul will embark
I'll follow Your voice straight into the dark
And if from the course You intend
Speak to the sails of my wandering heart
Like the wind
Clear the skies before me
And I'll glide this open sea
Like the stars
Will align my voyage
And remind me where I've been
And where I am going
Lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog
Your truth is the compass that points me back north
My soul's trusted Lord
All my allegiance is rightfully Yours
There always seems to be a subtle shift in our home with daylight savings time. Clothes are traded for bathing suits, lunches begin to take place at the pool, outdoor play continues until the sun sets in the evening hours, and daily baths seem to happen in the lake, pool, or hose.
I am so grateful for this slow and simple rhythm that continues into the summer days. It's such a special time of childhood; of motherhood. I wish I could bottle these memories somehow. This image does that for me in some crazy way. This scene I walk into throughout each day is a quiet reminder of all there is to be grateful for.
It isn't the "stuff" of life that makes my heart race; it is the everyday living. It is the everyday beauty.
Only four months apart, these girls are such a gift to one another. I remember the day they met almost 11 years ago. Our daughter, only 8 weeks old, meeting her "big cousin" for the first time.
They would continue for years, seeing each other during the summer and at Christmas; growing closer with each visit. Tears were shed every time we said goodbye. They dreamed about one day being neighbors and getting to see each other every day. We all dreamed about one day moving "home".
In 2011, this dream became a reality. It has been such a blessing to watch them grow the past four years, together and independently; each with hearts full of love for others and God. They are on the brink of so much change and it is something special to have one another to share these un-navigated waters.
As I look at both of them, I can't help but think back to all the years we waited. We dreamed of these days surrounded by family. A vision I thought would always be a dream, yet here we are. I am forever thankful for God's provision in our life. For His plans, in His time, always. And it is a reminder to wait on Him.
“We have a choice today.
We can look out and see the unlimited, abundant opportunities God has placed before us.
To create. To write. To serve. To sing. To be and become.
Or we can stare at the opportunity of another person and get entangled in the enemy’s lie that everything is scarce. Scarce opportunities. Scarce supply. Scarce possibilities.
And we start seeing another person’s creations as a threat to our own opportunities.”
I read these powerful words from Lysa Terkeurst last week. Honestly, they were a bit convicting. As an artist and mother myself, there have been times I have felt this threat; this underlying feeling of insecurity.
We live in a world where social media makes it easy to see others' accomplishments and recognition. This can be professionally, artistically, or even on the home front through our children’s achievements. Some refer to this as noise. Some may say they tune out the noise, but each one of us is susceptible to it at some point. We all have days where we face self-doubt. Days we wonder when our turn will come. Days we want to quit. Days that we let the noise into our lives.
My prayer is that we will use these times, to search within ourselves. To seek God more. To follow Him. To use the times of waiting for growth. God’s plan for each of us is unique and so intricate. In knowing this, we can rejoice with others. We SHOULD rejoice with others. We should be able to genuinely encourage those around us, while we patiently wait for God’s provision in our own life.
I pray our little artist and her siblings will have the confidence to know that God has given them each bountiful opportunities. As Lysa says, “there is an abundant need in this world for your contributions to the Kingdom . . . your thoughts and words and artistic expressions . . . your exact brand of beautiful. Know it. Believe it. Live it.”