• When your soul becomes exposed (& why this is good)

      Our little home sits on a fairly busy corner, surrounded by fences on all sides.  The front yard is enclosed with a short white picket fence,  the kind that has that small-town American feel.  The side yard has several wooden gates giving it a quaint and somewhat secret English garden feel.  And then our backyard has a fence which not only provides safety for the kids, but privacy from the neighbors.  The kids’ elementary school sits about 100 yards away from the back of our house, so every morning and afternoon buses and frantic parents whiz by our little corner.   It can feel busy and hurried, but our backyard has been a quiet and peaceful…

  • The Mysterious Gift of Shattered Dreams

        What would be the greatest gift you could ever receive?     This question was posed to us during a Sunday School lesson a few weeks ago.  Most of us at the table knew the ‘right’ answer, but for the sake of discussion and getting to the heart of the matter, we began to share our desires.  Someone mentioned the salvation of their children, another the ability to know the future.  But what has stayed with me these weeks later is the answer from a friend at the table:     “Whatever it is that I don’t want.”   Strange response, right?  The greatest gift you could receive is that…

  • All you need is love.

    John Lennon

    Jeans is Always Trendy

    Cras eget elit convallis est condimentum congue non id sem. Proin metus dui, eleifend id mollis quis, pulvinar in metus. Nulla pharetra sapien ultricies dui blandit, eget condimentum tortor rhoncus. Donec gravida leo neque, ac consequat diam dignissim ut. In ligula felis, tempus vel est ut, pellentesque fermentum ligula. Proin at dui sagittis, rutrum velit in, fermentum nisl. Donec sagittis, risus vitae mollis pretium, tellus turpis feugiat mi, ac cursus nibh metus quis tortor. Integer ultricies ullamcorper nulla, nec consectetur mi hendrerit eget. Donec at elit vel ex pulvinar vestibulum. Cras tristique molestie leo malesuada sollicitudin. Nunc nec lorem id mi consequat rhoncus ac eget purus. Sed massa orci, volutpat…

  • Weekend Links

      Last Saturday night a thunderstorm rolled in while I was putting the finishing touches on dinner.  It’s not often that we experience this in February, but lately the temperature has felt more like late spring/early summer, and with the warmer temps we’ve been able to watch some non-winter-like weather patterns.  I snatched Cooper up and took my phone outside to capture what was happening in the sky.  It was truly stunning.  The clouds were  highlighted in brilliant orange hues and you could see the lightning flashing behind the black darkened clouds.  We never did get the rain and severe thunderstorm that was forecasted–it rolled away–but we had the privilege of experiencing…

  • 3 Helpful Ways to Acknowledge the War in Your Soul

      The church service had just started and my three year old daughter was already causing problems.  She wouldn’t be still or quiet and her eyes begged me to hold her during each song.  I could tell the whining was about to start when she scrunched up her face at my refusal of the gum she requested, and by the time the children were dismissed for the sermon, anger and impatience had taken over my spirit. She refused to stay in children’s church, so I grudgingly carried her back to the service with strict warnings to ‘be quiet, sit still and don’t bother me because I want to listen’.  About…

  • 12 Things I Learned this Winter

        Winter is coming to an end, just as it does every year, and I find myself stepping a little bit lighter and feeling energized by the fresh air, the warm sunshine and the hope that’s springing up from the ground.   It’s time for another round up of What We Learned with Emily.  In no particular order, here are 12 things I learned this winter.   1. House plants are life-giving.  I’m hesitant to put too many plants around our home because I think some of our children will play with the dirt and rip them to pieces, but slowly we’re bringing some in.  This post by Jones Design…

  • For Your Weekend

      My favorite tree in our yard is about to burst into pink blooms and I keep walking outside to check on its progress.  It’s also that time in winter when I start to feel kind of antsy for Spring, but also still somewhat hoping for another snow day.  Just another one of the tensions of this life, and I’m slowly learning how to embrace each one.   Praise the Lord that one day we will experience complete peace when Jesus returns and sets everything right again.  Oh, how I long for that day!   In the meantime, may we know Jesus more fully as we embrace the mix of…

  • What to believe when you feel like there’s nothing left to give

      We didn’t register for a lot of fancy things when we got married.  I picked out a china pattern and some flatware, but we didn’t place crystal, silver pieces, or cut glass on our registry.  However, I married a man from the South and one of the sweet ladies from the church where he grew up gave us a beautiful pitcher.  It was lovely, but what was most significant about this gift was the note included on the package.  She wrote to us explaining how this pitcher represented what she prayed for our family.   It was her hope that we would invite people into our home and show love, acceptance, welcome…

  • Weekend Links for Your Soul

      As we begin this weekend, I’m thinking on these words from Emily in her book,  Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World:   What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them.   May your moments hold the right kind of meaning this weekend.   ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   A few posts from around the web for you today.   Called Here, A Devotional Invitation — Crystal Stine:  “7 daily devotionals to encourage you to discover the small ways God is calling you to serve Him, right where you are with exactly what He’s given you.”  If this…

  • When your soul feels dry and empty

      I used to picture deserts as endless rolling hills of sand.  Hot, dry, the blazing sun,  no people or cities in sight, maybe a camel or two ambling along.  My visions had been shaped by movies, I’m sure, and there was an almost romantic feeling to it.  Then I moved to the Middle East and experienced the desert.  Yes, those romanticized parts do exist; the sand is red and goes on forever, the nighttime sky is brilliant with stars that are unhindered by any kind of man-made light, and it truly is as beautiful as I had imagined.  But there is also a desert that looks like this.     Cracked, dried…