• Ability vs Capacity: Joyfully Embracing Your Season of Life

    “I’m just not sure who I am anymore.” “I can’t seem to find my place.” “Before kids there were so many ways that I was able to serve and now I feel like my life is only about wiping bottoms, feeding people and trying to keep my children alive.” “If I could just get beyond this stage of parenting, then I’ll be able to get back into ministry.”   These statements are just a sampling of ones I have heard, either from people in my real life, from women online, or from my own soul through the years of raising little ones.     It’s easy to fall into the…

  • Reflecting on a Year of Practicing Sabbath

      “I’m prescribing rest for you.” Words I never would have expected to hear from my Doctor  had me fighting tears in the examining room.  I’m not sick, in fact my health is stellar with low blood pressure, no abnormalities in this pregnancy, and minimal discomfort at this phase.  But I think she could tell from our conversation that I was tired and possibly trying to do too much. Rest doesn’t come easily to me.  “There will always be something else that needs to be done,” were her words to me that day and that has always been the battle in my mind when I try to take a few…

  • 4 Creative Ways to Re-engage Your Heart in Your Study of the Bible

      About three years ago, we had just moved to a new city, and I was in the midst of unpacking our belongings, homeschooling our oldest, adjusting to a very cold Virginia winter, and eager to get settled and make friends.  I was reading my Bible, trying to maintain as much normalcy as possible and longing for connection with the Lord, but it felt empty.  I would open my journal, write down some thoughts, and then open my Bible, hoping for some fresh insights to guide me through my day.  Each time, though, I walked away feeling as if nothing was happening in my heart. I guess I would liken…

  • 9 Things I Learned This Summer

        We are closing in on the final days of Summer here, with just four full days of no schedule remaining.  I find myself both sad to lose the carefree nature of no school, but also ready to get back into the regular rhythm of all the things.  The kids are very eager for Tuesday to come, but it’s going to be a lot quieter this year with FOUR kids in school, and just Cooper to hang out with me all day. Once again I’m joining in with Emily in sharing “What We Learned”, a practice I enjoy participating in at the end of each season.  In no particular…

  • The Spiritual Discipline of Remembering

      They say nothing really prepares you for motherhood.  Almost nine years in, and five kids later, I agree.  I read the books, I asked the questions, I watched those ahead of me on the path. And yet when I started having babies I had to figure everything out.  The nursing, the quieting down a screaming infant, learning how each child responds differently to structures, their own emotions, and the people around them.   One milestone is reached, one routine established, one question answered, and the next day you find yourself starting all over again.   If you like order, routine, and predictably, motherhood will throw you off your game in…

  • Natali’s Bohemian Style!

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  • Start Day Positive

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  • The Secret to a Loving Family

        Bradley and I have a recurring conversation about raising our family, and it usually takes place after watching an episode of Parenthood, or when all of our children are playing together, having fun and getting along.  We’ll look at one another and say, “This is great.  I hope these kids stay friends like this forever.  What can we do to make sure this happens?”   In other words, what will make the seven of us always live in perfect peace with one another?   We try to pay attention to the relationships of other families, noting the good and the bad, especially in adult sibling relationships.  Is there mutual…

  • 9 Things I Learned this Spring

        Spring is winding down and with it comes another round-up of things we learned with Emily.  The silly, the serious, and whatever those things are that leave a mark on life is a practice that I enjoy and has taught me to pay attention to every aspect of my life.  I hope that these lessons I share here will ignite something in you to join into this art of paying attention. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   The sound of emergency vehicle sirens when I’m driving make me panic.  Even as I’m typing this my heart is beginning to race because sirens=complete anxiety.  I never know what to do–move to the left or…

  • How to Study Your Bible Using a Notebook & a Pen

        When I entered sixth grade, I began attending the youth group at our church and started learning about this thing called “Daily Quiet Time”.  At the beginning of the school year we were given a quiet time diary which contained a Bible reading plan for the entire year.  Each day had a passage of Scripture and then lined spaces to fill in the answers to two questions:   What is the writer saying? How can I apply this to my life?   We were encouraged to spend about 30 minutes every day reading our Bibles and praying, using this notebook as we went.   I followed this method and it…