• For Your Weekend

      May you remember that the power of Christ is made perfect in your weakness, May you be reminded that your life has a purpose because you are made in the image of God and created by him to do good works. May the work of the Holy Spirit in your life to convict, instruct, remind and enable be a comfort, a gentle reminder that God is with you. May your heart be full of the knowledge of God’s immeasurable love for you.   Some encouraging reads for you:   When You Don’t Want to do the Dishes — Kimberly Coyle   Psst, Mama: You Do So Many Things Right —…

  • When you feel like the noise of the world has affected your soul

      Two years ago this week we closed on our home here in Norfolk.  I loved the house we had found with its quirky layout, huge front porch and large mudroom, but I didn’t want to live here.  We had been hoping for an assignment in Hawaii or San Diego, but that didn’t pan out so we found ourselves setting up life in what many had called ‘the armpit of the Navy’.     That’s not exactly the kind of description you want to hear about your new city.  But I had listened to their comments and while I learned my way around town I would grumble.  The traffic is so…

  • Weekend Links to Encourage your Everyday Life

        May your weekend be filled with regular moments that remind you to celebrate the ordinary and embrace the gift of Jesus in your everyday life.     I Returned My Instant Pot and I’m Not Even Sad About It  — Mary Carver   The Everyday Mundane and the Favor It’s Doing Us — Amanda Bacon, for the Masterpiece Mom   Secure in His Love — Glenna Marshall   A Prayer for the Anxious Heart — Faith Gibson   On Making Plans and Hearing God’s Voice — Emily P. Freeman   Living Within the Tension — Kristen Strong   And finally, because sometimes a space just isn’t working in your…

  • From the Bookshelf: 18 Books on Parenting

        “What kinds of books do you read, Lauren?”   We were sitting in the living room of a group of people from church and everyone was going around sharing the latest book they had read.  Books were being rattled off that I had never heard of but everyone else was not only familiar with them, but had either read them or knew enough to engage in a discussion.  I nodded and was intrigued by their conversation, but was secretly hoping that no one would ask me to divulge my reading habits.   Sure enough, someone turned to me, and asked me the dreaded question.  I sort of gulped back and shyly responded, “Um,…

  • How to feel your pain when life goes on

      People said some lovely things to us when we first learned that Mason had Down syndrome.  I know their intentions were good and they wanted to encourage us with comments like, “God only gives special kids to really special people,” and “It takes such wonderfully kind people to raise kids like this, so it’s obvious why God chose you.”  “What a gift you’ve been given and how great it is that God chose you to be Mason’s mom and dad.”   Yes!  Absolutely we were given a gift in Mason, a great one, and I have always loved him in more ways than he’ll ever know.  I felt that…

  • Weekend Links for the New Year

        There is what the weather folks are referring to as a BLIZZARD happening outside right now.  We braved the cold and I think lasted all of 25 minutes.  The clothes are drying and the kids are warming up for another round at some point today.  Like all unseasoned snow people, we have milk and bread, plenty of toilet paper, and we rushed to the library the other night so everyone could stock up on books.  But mostly I have supplies for baking–homemade pizza, cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies–and a box of Starbucks hot chocolate that I’ve been hoarding for such an occasion.  Some might say I have a romanticized…

  • What worked & what didn’t work in 2016

        Last year I joined my friend Julie and wrote a post on what worked and what didn’t work.  Reflecting on the past year in this way proved to be extremely helpful in evaluating the past and projecting things that would best suit the needs of our family in the coming year.  I read through Julie’s 2016 list the other day and it reminded me that I needed to take the time to do this again, and it also opened my eyes to some things in our family.     Emily refers to this as a Life-Energy List.  The idea is the same, and she also recommends making this list throughout the…

  • A Prayer for 2017

      Looking back on this past year, we feel a mix of emotions.  Some of us are rejoicing that 2016 is behind us; some of us are fighting fear in the face of a new beginning.  There were challenging seasons and moments of great joy.  But through it all, You never changed, Lord.   Your character remains the same and so regardless of the shifting nature of this world, we rejoice in Your faithfulness.   When life gave us hard things that we didn’t understand, we knew the depth of your goodness. When our bank account was low we knew the generosity of your provision. When the grief blindsided us with tears we…

  • For those who feel the tension of grief and joy

      This is our seventh Christmas without my brother.  He would be 26 now, probably married, and as much as he loved kids, he most likely would have been trying to keep up with the size of our family.  Christmas is always bittersweet; all the holidays and family gatherings are.  There will always be a void, an empty seat, painful reminders of his absence.     I’m not an expert on grief, but if there’s anything I’ve learned through loss, it’s that somehow grief and joy can coexist.     This used to make me feel guilty.  I remember clearly the day I arrived at my parents’ house, the day…

  • It’s Never Too Late

      Yesterday was the warmest day we’ve had, by far, all month.  The thermometer hit a whopping 79 degrees at its highest point, we had the windows open, and the kids were wearing t-shirts and shorts while playing outside.  We’ve been battling an odd combination of strep throat and mild flu in our home, so I stayed home with three of the kids while Bradley took the other two to church.  Once the baby was down for his morning nap, I sent the other two out back for some fresh air and I curled up on the couch with my kindle.  Not one to typically purchase books, I had recently…