Friday, January 31, 2014

that old loom

Can't you just see it now?   In 25 years, people everywhere born between 2008-2003 will be in some sort of social forum (who knows what that will look like) and there will be some sort of "Remember When?" quiz or photo and they will collectively sigh and remember the Rainbow Loom as part of their childhood.  I don't think I'm overstating this.  Boys and girls all across America have poured over their plastic looms for hours with those tiny rubber bands and have weaved all kinds of colorful plastic creations.  It is THE thing. 

And I'm not complaining.  How can I when I find sweet notes by my bed and when even little brother gets a "get well soon" bracelet? 

I've seen the activity foster diligence, problem-solving, and generosity.  It might even be worth the little rubber bands turning up in nooks and crannies. 

And in 25 years, I don't think it will only be people like Anna Grace who look back at the Rainbow Loom with nostalgia.  I think maybe older people like me will remember the looming days as the golden days of our child's life. 

We, too, will remember the ol' Rainbow Loom and smile. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zephaniah 3:17

Asher and I have been laying low this week.... really low.  We're waiting for a virus to pass and until then, we are waiting it out with lots of togetherness- day and night.

The other day he told me, "When you're sick and God sings to you, God holds you."  I'm not sure where he came up with that, but it sure does make me think of Zephaniah 3:17:

"The Lord your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
We may be sick, but we're held and we're sung over and that is awesome truth.

Thanks, Ash. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

something I did today


I'm a far, far cry from proficiency in graphic design- this was just a little play with Photoshop, but I sure did have fun with this today.   So much. 

And dear stranger dude in the orange hat, I hope you're okay with being forever immortalized on our 3rd annual silent auction invitation.   It just wouldn't be the same without you. 


Friday, January 24, 2014

a snowflake gift

When I pick the kids up from school everyday, the first words out of Anna Grace's mouth always come together to form the same question she asks every single day:

"What are we doing tonight?"

I guess she feels like life is or should be an exciting adventure and I like her enthusiasm.  On Mondays, Family Dinner Night with my extended family is a good answer- she always looks forward to that for sure.  Tuesdays, it's guitar practice.  Wednesday has become a more regular date night (PTL), so a babysitter is the anticipated treat of the evening.  Thursdays are a bit of a lull for Anna Grace until running club starts up in warmer weather. There's not a really good answer for her on Thursday afternoons.   So yesterday, Thursday, when I was in the kitchen making lentil stew*, I noticed the swirl of big snowflakes in the backyard and called her to come take a gander.  She stayed out way longer than I could stand, singing and (literally) running and jumping around in the midst of it.  Whether she knew it or not, this was her Thursday night excitement, a gift from the Giver who gives all good things.  

And oh, how He loves her.  

*I thought the stew was quite good- I used sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes and carrots.  It wasn't a hit for the rest of the crew, however.   Always a problem.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

mission possible

John Piper has this idea in his book, Desiring God, that the catechismal manifesto of our purpose being "to glorify God and enjoy him forever" might be better stated by saying that we should "glorify God BY enjoying him forever."  One little word can change a lot.   Could it be true that this can also be the way that we parents can love our children?  By enjoying them?

That's the idea I had on Monday when we were on holiday from school and it was just me and them.  We took a day trip- an adventure day to Natchitoches, LA- and made great memories.  The day to day discipline can take its toll so for me, enjoying them on our little adventure was a good way for me to love them well. 

Loving them by enjoying them.  Mission accomplished. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014


When that pregnancy test come backs positive*, you're just never the same.  A mother is born.  And this is a good one, friends, already going to great lengths to do right by her baby girl.  Caroline is no doubt going to rise up and call her blessed one day.  It's an incredible thing- nothing quite like it in all the world.

Now to get moving so that I can go hold that sweet baby girl, my first, most beautiful red headed neice, again...

*My friends Kayla, Lydia, and Kathy could tell you about other ways to become a mom, too.  

my little padnuh

This kid is somethin' else....

Sunday, January 12, 2014

a reason to rise

"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you."
Isaiah 60:1

Friday, January 10, 2014

a beautiful night

I didn't necessarily feel like wearing anything but pajamas and being anywhere other than bed last night, but Jack bought George Strait tickets for me for Christmas, so to George Strait's performance we went.  And I've said it before, beauty comforts and it was everywhere last night.  Friendship, great songs, a legendary voice (that sang an awesome Johnny Cash cover mind you), lights lights everywhere. It was good for my heart- like breathing fresh air deeply and on purpose. 


Thursday, January 9, 2014

a joy not our own

"The thing about me is that I hate being sad.  It's like being sick on a beautiful day."   Anna Grace 

My little girl feels emotions deeply- always has.  Her happy is a very happy and her sad is a very sad.  And I can't protect her from it- I can only remind her that even on the dreariest of days when our heart dries up of all hope, a joy that is not our own can make us strong.  Nehemiah's one-liner truth is profound in its application: The joy of the Lord is our strength.  Even as tears fall and even though it may not make complete sense, we can know this strength, this joy of the Lord, in moments of trial or grief or pain.  It's a contradictory experience, but isn't Jesus always turning things upside down and inside out? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

on mothering well

my opinionated, passionate, adorable little puppy... I mean baby rhino

"Women are such great civilizers... Remember that the consequences of mothering well are truly great.  You have this opportunity to ingrain love, righteousness, and faith into the very depths of your children's souls.  Such potential influence is in your hands.  God's Spirit will give wind to your wings and He will bless you as you embrace these ideals for His glory."  Sally Clarkson

Somehow Jack knew to buy this book for me for Christmas.  All of us who are entrenched in the highs and lows of motherhood could benefit from the encouragement that Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson provide. It's sort of a manifesto of living and breathing in Jesus to sustain us for the high calling of motherhood.  

Jack found it, I highly recommend it. 

Breathing deeply. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Here he is: Paul Hardison, baking his very last batch of Aidan's Place granola as the owner of Aidan's Place. 

It's all so bittersweet.

For a lot of years now, we have loved the Hardisons and Adian's Place granola and the ministry of Blessing in Bag.  We have gathered in their shop with its scripture wallpaper and its cloud of cinnamon-honey-butter smell and we have bagged granola and chatted and laughed and eaten and prayed together.

All of us have been on the receiving end of Bethany's cookies or soups or breads or whatever else deliciousness and we have savored it.   All of us have been on the receiving end of Paul's smiles and hugs and overwhelming kindness. 

Our children have grown up together- Anna Grace and Aidan now watch and herd the little ones they used to be.  

But now, the business has been sold.  It's been sold to WONDERFUL people with whom we look forward to forging a new relationship.  They will no doubt do a beautiful job maintaining and growing the business, but it's been sold nonetheless.  The Hardisons have felt the Lord calling them to serve Him in Guatemala and they are preparing for the impending move and all that goes along with that.   Their calling and their new adventure are joyful, wonderful things.  The loss of their presence in Shreveport is a thing that just might be ok to grieve.  

 It's a theme that has run through several situations in my life lately.  One chapter closes, a new chapter opens and I feel deep emotions- some seemingly contradicting emotions- but in reality, grief and fear and joy and hope can actually co-exist in our hearts quite powerfully.  It's important, I've learned, to sort them all out not by ourselves but together so that we can root out the fear, accept and feel grief, rejoice in our hope TOGETHER and in doing so, the bonds we already share will be strengthened across the miles.

So yes, I'm so happy for my friends who are moving to Guatemala.  What adventure!  I'm so sad that she won't be around to make my favorite sundried tomato bread and vegetable soup or to pray with us on Wednesday mornings.  I KNOW the Lord will do great things in and through them as they embark on this next leg of their journey.  I'm afraid that life will be busy and distance will eventually seem wide and far, but I hope that we can visit them over the years and continue in ministry with them for the long haul. 

At the end of the day, we can hang our hat on the Lord being good, the Lord loving us, the Lord being with us- even in the midst of all the emotions.  He rejoices with us and He comforts us and He leads us well as we listen to His call on our lives.

This much we know. 

Thank you, Lord, for the Hardison family and thank you for being in the midst of our relationships.  I'm so thankful for your comfort and love even at bittersweet times like this when we might just need to grieve and rejoice all at once.  

 "You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me. 
 You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar. 
 You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways. 
 Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. 
 You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me. 
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence? 
 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast."  Psalm 139:1-10

Whether we're in our hometown or on the other side of the world, You are with us, Lord.  Your right hand holds us fast.  Thank you and Amen.