You all were super excited to go to Mimi and Popi's annual New Year's day Parade and Kickball game. It is always a fun way to start the new year with family and friends. Having your grandparents and cousins living so close is such a gift. I hope you never take it for granted.
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When you get a snowcone machine for Christmas, you invite the street over.
The life of soccer siblings.
This photo captures the life our children have grown to love during soccer season. Our team families have spent countless practices and matches together at soccer complexes around our state. The siblings, who are not playing soccer, have become the best of friends as they wait for practices or games to finish. The kids play on the field sidelines, play-park sets, or wherever they can find room to run. These team families have become like family to each of us. It is something special. I am so grateful that our younger children enjoy this time at the fields. They may never know if Big Sissy won or lost; but they have a great time while waiting and always ask when is the next game.
I was sitting by the lake today with a friend while our children played. We spent the afternoon talking about our dreams and passions. I've thought about this a lot lately and realize how often we are held back by fear. Fear of judgment, fear of disappointment, and fear of failure. Many people have stopped dreaming altogether. Past hurts have them paralyzed. Dreams have been traded in for reality and responsibility.
We all feel the pressures of a full life as parents who stay at home, parents who work outside the home, newlyweds, grandparents, or students in school. We all fill unique roles and it seems we are all busy. Our days are filled and often times, we don’t stop to dream. We go from one day into the next and life seems to be going okay. But, are we living with purpose? Are we living with passion? Are we using our passions to live a life for God? Do we even remember what makes us feel alive?
This week in the car, I heard this quote from Francis Chan, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.” These words rang loud in my ears.
Our time here on earth is so short. I want my dreams, my time, and my decisions to be made in light of eternity. So often, we focus on things that don’t really matter. We get caught up in the today of our life and lose sight of important truths. I know I've spent too much time worrying about insignificant things. If the truth be told, I will likely waste time in my future as well. We fear failure and we let others opinions hold us back, but our most important question should be if we are living for what matters. We all need to take time to dream. We need to seek what God has planned for our life. We must let go of the world’s opinions and standards and live in His glory.
In Jennie Allen’s book Restless, she shares the following, “Paul wrote, “If I were still trying to please men I would not be a servant of Christ” ( Gal. 1: 10) . Western mentality has shaped our views of work and success and calling so deeply that it is difficult to shake the idea of pleasing and impressing other people. God is asking us to get over it.”
As we head into a new year, let’s make time to dream and to live passionately for Him. Let's not allow fear to paralyze us anymore. Let's dare to live for what matters, even when it's hard.
I thought for a few minutes and then I had my own question. Why do I strive to be authentic with others? Why do I crave authenticity? I really want to know the heart and soul of the people I am around. I prefer meaningful conversations over small talk always. It is so important to me to teach this quality to all of you, especially Big sissy and Baby sissy.
As our group discussed this in depth, I began to realize how many women struggle with being authentic. We often wear masks, as we try to cover hurts or struggles in our lives. Many fear judgment and keep guarded in our relationships. Decisions are sometimes made based on what others think, instead of true desires. I have noticed this struggle even in Big Sissy. I continue to tell her to be the unique person God created her to be.
Each of us struggle with something in life; motherhood, marriage, our family, our past, our health, our weight, our fears. The list goes on. We all have weaknesses that accompany our strengths. But, the more we live authentically, the more it will inspire others to do the same. This kind of living takes courage, but I believe that the more people see us with our flaws, our imperfect, our real; the more beautiful we become.
"We're not here to be perfect. We are here to be real – to let Christ be real in us." –Ann Voskamp
We had a fun night of dinner and fireworks on the beach with some very special friends last night. I love how God has used our friendship to encourage and inspire us. So grateful for this special family.
The local schools started back today. You were all a little sad knowing some of your friends would be off at school all day. 3:00 came and you were ready to play. It felt like 100 degrees, so you created your own backyard water park.
When I began studying photography, Stacey was one of the first photographers I started to follow. Her work always had something special about it that I admired. Over the years we began talking online through email and social media. Today, we finally met in person. It is such a blessing to see how God really had a hand in our friendship. We are such kindred spirits.
You guys enjoyed her children as well. Dock jumping, kayaking, swimming, tree climbing, soccer, barbies, movies....you had a blast together. My heart is full and I will cherish the memories of today always. As you grow up, never take true friends for granted. God gives us friends to help us through the good and bad times of life. Love and nurture the relationships always.
(You can see more images from our fun play date here)
Yesterday was one of those days that my heart overflowed with gratitude. I remember the anxiety I experienced moving home just over three years ago. We left our comfort zone; friends that were family and a life that was very special. I worried nonstop in the months leading to our move. Where would we live? Where would we go to church? Who would we have as friends? Who would y'all play with? Would homeschooling really be a good fit for us? (And so many other questions.)
I prayed a lot and I slowly learned to "let go and let Him".
I am so glad we do not see God’s plans for our life all at once. Sometimes it involves growing pains, sometimes it means letting go of something, and often His plan is so different from ours. I was reminded in so many ways of God's Provision as I watched you in the lake yesterday.
Look at the birds! They don’t worry about what to eat—they don’t need to sow or reap or store up food—for your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. -Mathew 6:26
Childhood is fleeting. I sat poolside and watched you play games, build inner-tube forts, and squirt one another in the pool as you yelled, laughed and just enjoyed being together. I can remember doing the same thing with my siblings and friends as a child. As I watched you, I kept thinking how fleeting childhood really is. Savor this precious time. I pray you will look back on this time and cherish it the way I cherish my own childhood.
Today we spent the day with our friends at their home....hiking in the pastures, a picnic lunch, riding horses, and whip popping. Lots of sunshine and dirt and fun for all of us. It was such a great way to spend the day.