I can’t believe summer is coming to a close! It went by faster than any summer I can remember and when I think of why, a big smile comes across my face. This summer I was up and out of bed and did more than I have in probably the last 5 or so summers and when you’re busy, time flies. Last summer the kids logged over 100 hours in their reading log – this summer they logged a little over 40. The reason it was so much less this year is that we were out doing more things together! It’s easy to look at how far I have to go – the symptoms still present or the mindset that seems to stick so persistently but isn’t that just what the enemy likes to do? He wants our focus to be on what we don’t have – he wants it focused on the negative and the weakness. But when I look back and see how much has changed, I am just filled with thankfulness. Things are so different from they were just a short while ago and I have so much. I am moving forward and I am thankful.
I’ve been thinking about this blog and what direction to go for a while now. I started it to share my testimony (which I have yet to do) and write more (which I’ve done a little). I keep getting stuck on this:
There is a huge part of me that thinks it is pointless and shallow to have a compilation of all things me for others to read. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading others’ blogs! The few that I follow have drawn me in because they call me higher, remind me of what is true, or I just love the skill and spirit displayed in them. So me saying it feels self-centered isn’t a judgment on anyone else’s work, it’s just how I’ve felt personally. I am just me and by myself, I have nothing to offer of any lasting value. But, I am not just meI have Jesus, I have a testimony, and I love to write so with that in mind, here I am. I want to tell others who are in the darkest season they’ve ever been through that there is hope. I want to tell the person who is questioning whether God wants them well that YES, He does, and share how I came to that conclusion. I want to tell the person starting over and questioning everything that they are not alone. I know what doubt, despair, and hopelessness feels like and I know what freedom and hope and confidence feels like. Many days I totter between the two, but I know too much and have seen and experienced too much to turn back now. I’m pressing onward for more freedom and more confidence!
So, you are invited along for the ride and peeks into everyday life, which I’m sure will include food and things we are loving and learning from.
I’ve decided to branch out a little to include an occasional everyday life post so you will be seeing some new names. You may know them by a different name, but for the blog, I’ve chosen a name that reflects each one’s uniqueness. These people are my “why”, my heartbeat, and my greatest joys. This is my family:
Cowboy– My husband, boyfriend, best friend. We met in high school and in many ways, have grown up together. I had no idea how much work it would take to build a strong marriage when we got married but I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn with him. There have been seasons where I wasn’t sure about us, but he always was. He is faithful and steadfast, no matter what, and he would do anything for those he loves. He is a cowboy at heart, hence the name, and if he could, he would live and die outside. He is a business owner and for those who are into color personalities, he’s pretty darn red. I adore him.
Ro – Our 10-year-old golden-haired daughter who lives in a musical and loves deeper and more freely than anyone I know. She loves nature and people and creating and she is like crack to babies (that’s a horrible analogy but it describes the effect she has really well). They ALL love her and she has endless patience with them that I’m not sure I ever had or am capable of having. She is creative and passionate… and incredibly messy. I’m learning these often go together.
Little Stet – I was trying to think of a name that embodied who he is and when I talked to him he said without pause, “I’m Little Stet”. It’s been a nickname of his for a long time so it seems fitting to use it here (besides, he didn’t go for “valiant” and now that I think about it, maybe it is a little cheesy). Give him a task and he will be fully focused on it and work at it until it’s done. He has a penchant for tedious tasks that would make my eyes cross but he’s great at them. He is hard-working, loves to be outside, and does his very best to always be just like his dad (including dressing like him whenever he can). His big brown eyes and the way his hair is always mussed melt my heart.
Sunshine – Our youngest, a shining light in our lives, so named because she is always smiling and I’ve always felt warmth and healing in her touch. She is independent, incredibly expressive, and bursting with personality. She keeps me on my toes and makes me laugh nearly every day. God knew we needed some sunshine.
And that’s us!
Here are a few of our favorite things this summer:
Reading: I’m finishing up Present Over Perfect and God’s Crime Scene. I don’t remember ever taking as long to read a book as I have Present Over Perfect but Shauna’s style of writing and the way it resonates with
my heart in this season makes me want to take it slow and savor it. I’m still reading God’s Crime Scene but it’s pretty neat. As I read about how the entire universe is so incredibly and intricately balanced to sustain life, it has been so clear to me that life and flourishing is part of God’s design. Anything contrary to that is a distortion of what He made. Little Stet has been reading this series by Priscilla Shirer and loving it and Light Giver is reading Little House on the Prairie for the umpteenth time. Sunshine is working her way through her Bob books and spends long hours “reading” thick books like the Chronicles of Narnia. I say “reading” because she can’t actually read it yet but she acts like she does and it makes me smile so big. I’ve also been enjoying the Life for Today study Bible book of Romans. It is incredible to me how something written so long ago is still every bit as applicable today. This is one of the verses in the forefront of my mind when writing this blog:
I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of salvation for those who believe – first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
That word “salvation” is sozo in Greek, which means healing, wholeness, deliverance, prosperity. Need healing? It’s in the Bible. Need wholeness? You’ll find it in God’s Word. I want to never be held back by what people might think from sharing the truth that sets free. Lord, may it always be so.
Eating: We made this chocolate zucchini bread last week and it was delicious! We used coconut sugar and it was still plenty sweet and the kids are amazed that zucchini can “taste like that”. This week we made this Indian Butter Chicken in the Instant Pot and I was so proud of myself for making an ethnic meal. I have no way of telling if it’s truly ethnic but it was delicious (we did the coconut milk suggestion)! I did 4 frozen bone-in chicken thighs and it took 18 minutes in the Instant Pot. We served it with Naan, cucumber salad, and rice. Paper bowls rock.
Wearing: These earrings are one of my new favorite things! They are leather so not only are they stylish and can be used as diffuser earrings when you put a drop of essential oil on the back, but they are incredibly lightweight! The shop owner is wonderful and has excellent customer service (a HUGE bonus to me!). I find these are my go-to earrings every day because they are so pretty and I can’t even tell I’m wearing them. They’d make a great gift! This oil is pretty amazing, too. I’ve been savoring this bottle for a long time – it always reminds me to live in the present and it smells absolutely WONDERFUL! It’s most cost effective to get in the Feelings Kit with a wholesale discount (which you can get here if you don’t have one yet).
Thinking: About building a house. Now wouldn’t that be cool? So much to think about there.
Also, about labels. You can read more here (yes, I’m STILL thinking about them).
And that putting our bedroom mattress in the travel trailer, hanging a teal framed mirror, and putting new bright LED lights in it (thanks, Cowboy) make it feel like a luxurious little condo.
That I am so thankful to be with Young Living and feel so thankful to see how loving others and putting God first go with business – they are not separate things.
You know what, this is going to get WAY too long if I keep going on this thread. If you’re still with me, I’m glad you’re here. And I’m looking forward to what the future holds!
Bye for now,
PS- Is signing your name at the end of a blog post weird? I feel like I just wrote a journal entry. It just felt like it needed a sign off.