Messy faith

Embracing My Messy Faith (31Days – 2014)

There was a time when I thought that faith cleaned things up. Faith was a straight line to Eternity. As my life is unfolding, God continues to grow me and the messier and sometimes ugly, my faith gets.

But the messy and ugly are good…

Messy faith

I don’t want to go back to my untested faith.

It was ignorant. It was prideful. It didn’t bring glory to the God who saved me.

FAITH is not a sweet hymn sung softly.

It is the reckless abandon of turning a life outside of my own control into His hands.

FAITH is not my Sunday morning church attendance.

It’s shining Christ through the ugly, broken pieces of my everyday.

FAITH isn’t planting a copy of your white-bread church in a foreign land.

It’s building up the people of that nation and empowering to minister to their neighbors knowing that they are fully equipped by the one who created them.

FAITH isn’t a pristine bible sitting in it’s appointed place on a bookshelf.

It’s a life manual, falling apart at the seams while you use it’s life-giving words to hold together your broken life.

FAITH isn’t a formula for a pain-free life.

It’s the hope you cling to when you’re completely unglued.

FAITH isn’t looking like a Christian by your deeds or your dress.

It’s looking towards Christ to make beauty from your ashes and turn the filthy rags of your good deeds into something for His glory.

FAITH isn’t waiting for the sinner to clean up and fly straight.

It’s rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty as you stand shoulder to shoulder helping them rake out the muck. Because you are also a sinner, made holy and clean ONLY through Him.

FAITH isn’t just the peaceful baby in the manger.

It’s the same Jesus that dined with sinners, forgave the adulteress, welcomed the children, threw over the tables in the temple, called the decaying back to life, turned away from those making passionless sacrifices, and spilled His blood on a cross, between two criminals…

A L L . F O R . U S

Life is messy

31 day series October 2014

Unveiling grief. Our lives three years after loss

Unveiling Grief… (31Days – 2014)

It’s been three years, surely things are better.

Some people say it out loud. Some say it with their actions. Some say it by their silence.

Unveiling grief. Our lives three years after loss

Three years have passed since Miranda died.

No, I am not over it.

I’m not sure who perpetuates these beliefs, but there is a notion in our society that there is an acceptable timeline and path for grief and loss. An idea that there is a point in time when you must move on.

There isn’t.

I know that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to grieve. But I only know how those definitions apply to me. To have someone else’s expectations and beliefs define my life after loss is suffocating. Especially when those that place those expectations have no personal understanding of what my loss was. You can’t compare grief. You can’t compare loss. You can be sympathetic, but any one who says, “I know how you feel” has immediately lost my attention (and will take an enormous amount of grace to listen to).

That may sound cold, but it is my truth.

Snapshot of grief three years later

Three years later I still miss her. E V E R Y D A Y

When I take a candid picture of a moment with all of my children, I miss the one who is not there.

When I’m asked, “Are they all yours? Six?” I struggle with how to answer.

When I’m asked how old my children are, I despise the ‘gap’.

When I’m brainstorming Christmas presents, I miss the wishlist I’ll never read.

When I see her peers, I long for her presence with them.

When I traveled to Peru, I missed the one I didn’t kiss goodbye.

When I look through the hand-me-down clothes that all of my babies wore, I’m sad that she never wore them.

When I see the bassinet that held each of my babies, I know instantly that it never held her.

It isn’t the milestones that break my heart. It is the million little pieces of every day that she’ll never be a part of.

Yes, we carry her memory with us into each new turn we take.

But it is not the same.

Those on the outside will look and think that we must be okay.

But your life looks ‘normal’…

But you’ve gone on vacation…

But you don’t look like you’re grieving…

But you have other children to care for…

But you’ve had another baby…

Don’t let the surface guide your perception.

Loss cuts deep. The wounds are not superficial.

When your faith is rocked

Loss is an injury to the soul. There is no complete recovery, only adaptation.

When does an amputee move past a lost limb? I don’t believe they do, instead they adapt to the life they’ll lead without it.

A piece of my heart has gone on to eternity. I won’t recover it in this lifetime.

I’m just learning to adapt to the life it has left me with.


31 day series October 2014



Wave of Light

Wave of Light for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness (31Days – 2014)

On October 15th each year there is a wave of light to remember babies gone too soon.

Wave of Light

At 7PM, around the globe, candles are lit to honor tiny lives lost. For many years our culture has shrouded death and grief as things we do not speak of, especially miscarriage and infant loss. Many generations have asked parents to grieve in silence, the Wave of Light seeks to shatter the silence and bring light into the depths of grief.

Wave of Light for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

 I light my candle to honor my daughter, Miranda. To honor the precious one I will not know until Heaven. To honor the siblings I’ll meet in Eternity. To honor the sweet blessings lost by my friends and family members. To honor the babies lost by choice, and I pray for those mothers who grieve both loss and regret, you are not alone and your grief is valid. My heart is grateful for a merciful God who can restore all brokenness.

Every life has value.

October Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness

The sunset on October 15, 2014. Beautifully reflecting the colors of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.

Please join the Wave of Light.

homeschooling with a toddler

Homeschooling With A Toddler (31Days – 2014)

A priority in preparing for our school year was getting an adequate arsenal ready to keep Annalise, our (almost)20 month-old toddler, busy. Like most of my children, she isn’t a napper (unless she’s on my lap or shoulder), so waiting until her rest time to instruct the older children just isn’t an option. We have to incorporate her into our day.

Here is an overview of how we’re keeping a toddler busy during the homeschool day.

homeschooling with a toddler

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Of course the best place to start was Pinterest.

Follow Lisa’s board because home’school (with a toddler) on Pinterest.

However, don’t get bogged down thinking that you need to try every one of the great ideas you’ll find. Your toddler will turn out fine even if you don’t make every single seasonal sensory bin. Look through the pins for what they are, options, not necessities. If a quick glance has you feeling overwhelmed by what needs to be purchased, or what kind of a mess it makes, don’t feel compelled to make it work in your household. Pick a few ideas that seem realistic to your budget and the way your household runs.

My first investment was at the end of (last) summer. I purchased a plastic kiddie pool. My friend Becky, of For This Season, has shared lots of great tot-school tips on her blog and her Instagram feed, and she often made use of a pool for her little one. I was intrigued. Since Annalise was getting into the busy stage I plopped the pool into the homeschool room along with some of her toys. It was a great way to keep her Lego-free. Once she was able to get in and out herself it still worked well. She knew that was her space and climbs in and out without any problem.

As I started to prepare for this school year I knew I’d use the pool as an integral part. We purged her infant toys and I went on a Dollar Tree shopping spree for items she would like. I know she likes to carry bags and collect things in bowls, cups, and bins. I grabbed a couple of baskets, measuring cups and spoons, bowls of various colors and sizes, a couple of dish pans, and funnels.

Then Vince built me a play table from this pin (I’m so sorry the link is no longer working, I’ll try to find proper instructions.) It fits in it’s own bin and goes on a shelf in my art table.

Then I spent a small fortune (okay, not really, but it seemed like it at the time. I’d suggest doing one item at a time unless you’ve already budgeted for these supplies) on rice, beans, pasta, and food coloring. I colored each of them using the methods found here.

The table gets set up in her pool and most of the mess is easily contained. There are always a few scattered beans or rice, but nothing a quick pass of the vacuum doesn’t fix.

Toddler sensory table in kiddie pool

My favorites are the mixed beans, the pasta, and the rice. The dyed beans are not color fast. At. All.

Lots of colored sensory fun

I also made a bin of pom poms and pipe cleaners.

She only gets one bin a day, and only during school. It only takes a few minutes to pack it away and keeps them fresh and exciting for her. Yes, I am always chasing the older children out of her play area!

All ages enjoy sensory play

The other thing I created for her was a notebook like her older siblings. I used a Sharpie and Bristol paper to doodle some pages for her and then I laminated them so that she could use our dry erase markers and pencils. They’re in a binder that she uses when the older children do their daily morning work.

I’m offering my doodle pages for you to download for free.

Doodle coloring pages

Doodle Pages to Color

She loves her notebook. Just like a big girl at her own desk.

Annalise morning work

So there are some of my strategies for keeping my toddler busy during school. The reality is that sometimes it doesn’t matter which activities I have for her, she just wants to be on momma’s lap, and for this season, I’m totally fine with that.

What are some of your homeschooling with a toddler tips?