Finding God Through a Lens

As I prepare for the upcoming spiritual retreat, 48 hours of which will be spent in silence and relative solitude I am once again thinking of how I personally see God in my daily life. I see Him at work in my children, in my home, and in nature. I instincly know He is here surrounding me in all things and in every person I encounter, yet I don’t take the time to stop and listen as much as I should. This weekend at the retreat I will have the opportunity to slow down and really observe the God around me.

I have a few books to take with me and my journal to write in, but I have been really trying to figure out how to force myself to slow down and to really appreciate the God in nature while at the Abbey. The most absolute for me is photography. I was trained as a film purest. I love creating photographs that do not need editing or manipulation and shooting on film is a love language that speaks to my soul.

I have packed my camera and just one roll of film. 12 exposures in 48 hours to sooth my soul and let the God in through nature, patience, and the practice of slow creativity.

Being busy in a time of peace

Our CATS kids made this for the Palm Sunday worship guide cover and it is making me so very happy.

We are entering Holy Week, This is one of my most favorite times of the year, yet for some reason it seems more busy than centering this year. Even with the added meetings, events, homework, and just life things going on this week, I am going to make a conscious effort to slow down and focus on the truly important parts of life.

In other news, Emily and I have embarked on a new adventure in Bible study: We are going through The New City Catechism for Kids: Children’s Edition. So far we are loving it. We are tackling the questions one each week and really talking about what they mean. She gets to watch me as I look up bits of the Bible, hopefully learning how I find things, then we read them in context in response to our question of the week. It is a lot of fun, and there is an app that goes a long with it. And for $2 it is an amazing deal!

In the spirit of Easter, I am going to leave you with this thought from my Sunday…

Choosing to love, trust, and obey God is easy on days like Palm Sunday. It’s a celebration, it’s easy to choose Jesus on Easter, and Christmas, and even on Sunday mornings, but loving, trusting, and obeying God is a choice we as Christians have to make all the days of our lives, not just when it is easy, popular, or when we feel like it. We show our trust and obey our Lord by loving Him and all of His creations all the time, every day. Remember, everyone was welcome at the table with Jesus, even the ones who turned their backs on Him. Let’s love one another as Christ loves us. Unconditionally. Eternally.

Kid questions are getting real…

When your kid comes downstairs well after bedtime and asks you, “Mom, what makes a person illegal? How do we know if a person is against the law?”

My response (while being heartbroken that my baby is trying desperately to figure out how she can quickly tell just by looking at someone whether or not they have broken a law): A person is never ever illegal. No person is ever against the law. Some people might make mistakes and break the rules but that doesn’t make them illegal it just means they have broken the rules. Some people don’t know the rules, though, and are just trying to keep their families safe, and fed, and happy. Just like me, I am a momma bear who would do anything to keep my kids safe, anything at all…even if it meant breaking a rule or two. That doesn’t make me against the law, because no person is illegal…actions are illegal not people. 

Let’s practice love and kindness to all who are just trying to keep their kids safe, fed and happy. We are all God’s people and no person is illegal. 

When things overwhelm…

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4
Looking around lately I feel like I am not the only person overwhelmed by life. We are all busy people who read the news, go to work, feel pain, and want more for our children. I am not the only mom who gets overwhelmed by the amount of homework our kids come home with, or the amount of laundry that needs to get done. I am not the only woman who feels the pressure of being beautiful and perfect all the time. I am not the only wife who feels like she is neglecting her husband because of a to do list a mile long. I am not the only grad student struggling to maintain a high GPA while working. I am not the only person who is drowning in a world filled with people who seem like they don’t care about humanity, faith, and the environment we are providing for our kids.
More often than not when I feel overwhelmed these days I break down and cry. I cry big ugly tears of sorrow, of pain, of hurt for others. I cry out of self pity and out of selfishness. I cry because of the hurt I see others causing, I cry because I feel hurt by others, and I cry because it is all just too much sometimes.
Remember, though, Jesus to wept. We are not alone in our tears. We are never alone.
Remember also, that this world we are living in at this moment is not our all, it is just our now.
So after I cry, I pray. I pray that those who feel overwhelmed and hurt and sad and small will feel God with them. That they will feel relief and love. That they will know they are not alone.
This is our now, not our forever.

Home Sweet Home

So, y’all know I am a mom, a full time grad student, and work as a youth ministries coordinator. Keeping my house in tip top shape falls to the back burner almost always. So the photos I am about to post of our living space may shock you if you are used to Pinterest perfect, but it is real life and I am going to talk about it for a minute.

This is our front room, the front door opens right onto this dining room table. We have a table in the kitchen where we eat, so as you can see this one gets used mostly for homework, puzzles, and crafts. There is a new to us desk by the piano that will be going into our family room soon, but for the moment it is piled with laundry to fold, because I am busy. The coat tree is crazy and the hat basket is overflowing (I like to knit). Also, this wool rug shows everything!

I have been dreaming of hosting a small group at my house, but there is absolutely no place for anymore than a few people to sit. See that one couch…that is all the seating we have. Aside from dreaming of small group I am hosting a small gathering of folks after my graduation. It is time to rearrange some things!

First things first, we moved the big table into the kitchen and the kitchen table to the attic. We bought some new to us, pretty rad I think, chairs on the facebook market place. This is not where all of these things are going, but Brad was a trooper and moved all of this stuff while I was dealing with kidney stones and a migraine this weekend (I am doing so much better now)! I so appreciate him! The girls and Princess have put their stamp of approval on the new furniture and have begun jumping on it and building chair forts already.

My parents ordered us a little electric fireplace, it heats up the living room pretty well and I think it looks pretty cool. The  girls have been digging it today too. We still have a long way to go and a ton of things to move, but we are getting there. We have a loveseat that will make its home to the right of the bricks and electric fireplace, the chairs will face it on the left. My S wall will probably be moved over here too…or maybe some Brad art…I will just have to play around.

Our house is small, and wonky, and lived in. Nothing is perfect or fancy at all, but it is our home and I really want it to be a place where real people can gather without judgment, pray without fear, and to feel safe in a world that sometimes seems uncertain.

It is going to be very much “grandma chic” when we are all done because that is what we can afford, what we have, and what we have been given. I am pretty ok with that. I will post updates as our perfectly unperfected non Pinterest worthy home comest together.