"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

A Winter's Ramble // Images of Home

“God wants us to step out in faith and follow His leading, but rest assured, He never rushes. We have to stay in our pasture, doing what we know to do, even if what we are doing isn’t exciting or doesn’t seem to be effective. Our soul is most satisfied and our life is most effective when we are where God wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do.” -Wendy Pope, Wait and See

I always do a little bit of internal celebrating when January comes to an end. It's that month after all the holiday excitement - after the full and beautiful season of Fall - with seemingly nothing stretched out before us but winter and cold - work and school - mundane routines. It also always seems to be a period of waiting. Waiting for warmth, for sunlight, for plans to unfold, for adventures in the making, for the new year and all its blessings to really show its face. It's a blessing that February comes with its slightly longer days, it shorter month and its promise of spring just around the corner. We've been given glimpses - and we've been given what we need just when we need it. That 50 degree day full of sunshine when I picked the boys up from school with the windows cracked, and Brandon got in the car stating "it smells like spring!" When the sun sets a minute later each day, allowing all the neighborhood boys the chance to play hockey and basketball in the driveway without their coats on. These days are sandwiched between snow flurries and 20 degrees and clouds, but He gives us what we need when we need it and nothing more because then we wouldn't need Him.

I am anxious for these next several months - with so many question marks and uncertainties and so much to do. Sometimes I think about the journey ahead and feel incredibly overwhelmed. We've been down this road before and ended up right back where we started and so I'm apprehensive to trek this road again. But life doesn't stand still while we try to chart our course - it keeps moving and brings unexpected blessings and lessons along the way. Jaden's basketball team and all its new friendships. Brandon's love of all things Star Wars and just how cute his obsession is. My desire to continue to make this house a home with little touches here and there that reflect who we are and what we love. Brandon and I have been having so much fun transforming his bedroom into a Star Wars hideaway. Little additions here and there over time, but his room suits him so well, and when he walks into it, he feels happy.

My camera has not seen much action lately - mostly action shots of our favorite little basketball team. I'm excited to start putting it to use again - especially as I begin working on our next Shutterfly photo book. It sounds cheesy, but I love slowly putting our yearly books together page by page - wondering what these pages will look like when they're filled by the end of the year. But while my camera rests, and this blog space has been a little quieter, I've still been mentally taking notice of the little blessings this past month has brought us. I have a wonderful little app on my phone that allows me to type in quick memories I don't want to forget - even while I'm on the fly. I also use it for shopping lists and addresses, but that's besides the point. ;) And periodically I look back at my list - in moments when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

Currently on my list of blessings:
//French vanilla coffee in new mugs
//How cute Brandon looks in his Chewbacca onesie pajamas
//Catching the boys in a loving moment.
//Pete's Dragon movie night - and how mommy couldn't stop crying at the end!
//Fuller House episodes over dinner - the one family sitcom we all enjoy together.
//Watching Jack's arm around Jaden's waste as the two walk together through the AirFx parking lot.
//My bookmarked Fireplace YouTube channel piping through the speakers of my computer while I work
//Curling up in bed with Brandon reading a really awesome nonfiction space book, fascinated by the questions he asks and the conversations it brings.
//The next night - introducing the boys to Apollo 13 - with Friday night hot chocolate.
//Spur of the moment 8:00 dinners out for pizza and games with the Outlaws and all their families. Our gratitude for this group increases on a weekly basis. 
//A brand spanking new van with its movie screens and fresh car smell.
//Messages with girlfriends to plan a ladies shopping day coupled with drinks and a meal out when that new Homegoods finally opens.
//So many family game nights and light saber fights and brothers bonding over the Star Wars Infinity in the basement.
//Lavender bubble baths and vanilla chamomile tea
//A date and a deadline for our next Disney trip. Two years will go fast, and our family loves anticipating Disney World.
//My return to reading and my commitment to a little less TV after 8:30 at night.
//Adding Netflix to our bedroom for those nights I just want to crawl into bed at the same time the boys do. I've finished Mad Men and am now onto The West Wing - much to my dad's delight.
//My renewed commitment to reading. It feels so good to make time for this again.

What am I reading these days? I'm re-dedicating myself to reading the whole Bible in a year, reconnecting with The Message - a gift given to me by my friend Becky the year I graduated from UNI. I look forward to these 10 minutes every single day. The boys and I have been reading a chapter out of Book 1 of the 39 Clues series most nights before bed. We're all enjoying it. I've downloaded the Holy Bible app to my phone and am finding so much encouragement in its small five-minute daily reading plans - plans that I can pick and choose and gear towards whatever's on my heart and mind that week. This daily reading plan through my phone is usually how I end my night, and I love being able to highlight and bookmark passages and scriptures right there on my phone for easy accessibility later. I'm inserting time every few days or so to reconnect with my favorite fiction author Nora Roberts. And I am absolutely loving Wait and See by Wendy Pope. I have dog-eared so many pages, underlined so many sentences, and prayed over so many of its teachings. It is perfect for the season of life I'm in, but I know it's a book I will return to throughout the years when I need reminders of how God works and how we can work right alongside Him, from whatever pasture He has us in. 

"A spirit of fear is not of God. Rather, it is a tool in the enemy's arsenal he uses to achieve his agenda for our life... Our enemy will present false evidence to invoke fear, and that fear will cause us to doubt God's love and protection. Our enemy is the master of making evidence appear real. Fear distorts what is true in an attempt to weaken our faith." -Wendy Pope.
She's so good you guys.

It's February and spring is coming and who knows what else awaits us. I do hope we can get one good snowfall perfect for a sledding day. We've missed our sleds this winter, and our snow pants have not gotten enough use!

Anxious but hopeful and learning to take it all one day at a time. Welcoming February and keeping my eyes fixed on Him. Staying in my pasture and letting Him do his work. Looking forward to more basketball and perfectly hand picked Valentine's gifts and shamrock shakes on the McDonald's menu and pictures outside in the sunshine and steaks on the grill - and a lot more than all that in the months ahead.

"When we start focusing on the end results and the what-ifs, it scares us and can even consume us. It can make our motives impure, causing us to run after the promise instead of the Promisor. Instead of focusing on the end results, we have to learn how to take one step at a time."
-Holy Bible App Devotional: Worry - Finding Peace, Markey Motsinger