A Child-Like New Year’s

fullsizeoutput_abfMy kids are newly four and almost seven. Do you know what their New Year’s resolutions are?


Their goals for this coming year are no different from their every day goals. Eat. Learn. Play. Have Fun. Ask. Ask for candy. Grow. Love. Be Loved. And also have a birthday. They are big fans of birthdays.

Now, of course, they wouldn’t call those goals. That’s just life for them. They haven’t really grasped the concept of a year or goals in the sense we grownups steeped in Western cultures make such a to-do over.

Seeing New Year’s Day as a vehicle for new goals and resolutions, making promises to ourselves and others is something we learn.  It can be helpful to some. It’s surely profitable for others, calendar and planner makers, life coaches, self-help authors to name a few.

Where I get heartburn is that it’s also become another day or season to make something that it doesn’t have to be. We have to pick a “one word” and the perfect new planner. We do fasts of all kinds and start diets and join gyms. We make lists and plans and dream of ways we can be more organized. None of these things are bad, I’ve absolutely done all of them and probably will this year too.

But the whole of it, the social media feeds full of it, the advertising, the radio DJs comments, it’s just a lot of build up for one day! There’s an awful lot of hope being pinned on effort and things.

These well-known Scriptures kept bubbling up as I thought about this new year.

“Behold I will do a new thing.” Isaiah 43:19a

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Behold, I make all things new.” Revelations 21:5

Though they’re not about New Year’s per se, they are about God doing new things. So the culture I live in says this is the time of year for me to do new things, but the Scriptures I live out say that God has made me new and is the One who does the new things.

My pastor used Philippians 2:13 this week as the reminder to us that it’s God’s work in us that we join (with fear and trembling, no less!), not our own work.

Photo by millionphotos.org

This simplifies the day and season for me. There is work to do for sure, but it doesn’t have to be my (or anyone else’s) idea or design. My Father is doing the new thing and I get to join Him. And it’s a continual work that He is faithful to complete. Whew! My hopes for newness aren’t bound to a calendar or human timeline!

With the pressure off, I can approach the new year like a child does- just like every day.  Eat. Learn. Play. Have Fun. Ask. Love. Be Loved.

(And throw a birthday in there, just for fun!)


When Giving Thanks Doesn’t Work

dark flower

My problem started last year on the day I moved into my current house. That’s not true, my problem didn’t actually start then, it’s just when it became very apparent. I had found the house online, and though I’d  been on a virtual walk-through, I wasn’t prepared to move into an empty house that day.

My heart sank as soon as I opened the door. I mean, the house was empty. I knew it would be, I just didn’t know what empty would feel like.

For perspective, most of the places we’re posted abroad come furnished and with at least some sort of welcome kit; dishes, towels and even some basic groceries in the fridge to tide you over until your own things arrive. Travel took us to furnished hotels, AirBnBs, and friends’ home. Not once in five years had I entered a completely empty room and expected to live there.

That first day, I bought the kids happy meals to have a “floor picnic” while we waited for friends to bring us a table and some beds to borrow. Judson spilled his milk and I realized I didn’t even have anything to clean it up with. I felt as helpless as the thin, greasy fast food napkins. I felt stupid for not having stopped at Target for a few necessities first. My heart sunk further and I second-guessed renting this place sight unseen and coming to it empty, rather than stay at a hotel for a few days while I filled it.

I thought, “I should be thankful, that will help these bad feelings go away.” Count your blessings, you know. Name them one by one. Name one thousand of them.

I was thankful for the house. Over the next few months I wrote here and posted plenty about how wonderful this neighborhood is and the kids’ schools and my awesome friends, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera (The King and I, anyone?). These were genuine expressions, to be sure, but I couldn’t get it to work.

I couldn’t get rid of that heart-sunk feeling. Though I couldn’t enunciate at the time, I was struggling with the stress of moving back to the States from overseas and setting up a new life here, grieving the loss of sweet community there, processing the hardships we had just come through, and striving to be a solid base for my kids who were going through all of this too.

But had you asked me then how I was doing, I would have told you how thankful I was. Yes, it’s frustrating to not have all my stuff (or any of it) (our worldly possessions were delivered in three shipments over the course of the first three months we moved in), but this is such a great area and we can go pick up anything we need from the store or, better yet, have it delivered.

If you asked me how our time in the Middle East was, I would have told you how thankful I was for every thing that was a challenge. Yes, it was hard to be a woman there, but I had it so much better as a Western, American woman than any other woman. Yes, it was hard to not be able to drive, but our drivers employed by the Embassy were wonderful and became family to us.

My gratitude was all true, but it wasn’t working for me.

Happiness was easy, but fleeting. I filled my house with furniture and decorated it.  I was thankful, my life was so good, but I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I thought I should be.

In the course of about a week, three different people in different conversations about this struggle told me in almost the exact same words, “You can’t thank away pain.”

Do you need to hear that again? Because apparently I did.

You can’t thank away pain.

You can wait for it to go away. That doesn’t always work, but time does heal some things.

Better yet, you can seek help for it. You have to identify what caused the pain and make necessary changes. Not all of us can do this on our own. I couldn’t.

Help can take many forms; Books, spiritual guidance, prayer, licensed counselors, groups, or even therapy pigs (I wish I was making this up). I used all of these (except the pig!).

Thankfulness wasn’t working because I was confusing identifying pain with complaining. I wanted to be thankful as opposed to complaining. I didn’t want to say anything was wrong with my life because I have so many wonderful people who make it beautiful.

But I wouldn’t walk around with a twisted ankle, refusing to seek medical attention, thankful that all the other parts of my body worked fine. Nobody at a medical facility would think I was just complaining if I came to them with an infected wound. Treating my mental and spiritual health as important as my physical health started me on the path towards true healing. Identifying pain isn’t complaining.

I was being thankful for all the things, and though thankfulness is good for many things, it wasn’t the remedy I needed.

I’m thankful to have learned this. I’m thankful to be learning about other actions that help with pain, like lamenting, grieving, mourning, and releasing, and that these are among the “all things” I can do through Christ who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)

It takes as much grace to say, “this is hard/painful/unbearable,” as it does to name what is beautiful and precious (because some things are all of these).

The God who pulls us out of our pits does not despise us for our cries for help, and for this, I am thankful.


Love, the Magnet (a guest post)

My goal in having all these guest posts for the month of October was to refocus my own mindset towards this month. I wanted posts that made me smile and shared joy, beauty and celebration, and it worked. It’s the end of the month and I didn’t even hate it!

My friend, Maria Keffler, (I’ve known her long before the oft-mentioned launch team) sent me her submission right away, but I held off sharing it, partly because I’m a procrastinator, but mostly because her words seemed like the perfect way to wrap up the month.

Maria is one of the smartest, funniest, most creative and actually productive women I know. She’s written several books, is an amazing knitter, and I’d go over to her house for dinner anytime (just saying, Maria, eh hem). She is so faithful to let God pour His gifts through her and isn’t afraid to speak out for justice and common sense.

Here she shares about just that: how to let what God put in us come out, which starts with believing what He says. And there is nothing, not even the most beautiful, picturesque fall in all its glory, that compares to knowing the love of God.


Love, the Magnet

By Maria Keffler

My nine-year-old daughter made me cry yesterday.

I was prepping dinner when she came into the kitchen with a stack of cards she’d pulled from the new Apples to Apples game our friends gave us.

“Mom, here are all the adjectives I found that describe you!” she said, and she began to flip through the words:





My eyes couldn’t have swamped more if my dog dropped dead while I was chopping Vidalia onions, reading Where the Red Fern Grows, and listening to Ne Me Quitte Pas.

See, my daughter’s list of descriptors were not ones I tend to associate with myself.

(Except funny. I am way funny. No matter how many blank stares my jokes get.)

The world, other people, and likely the spreading darkness of the kingdom of the Liar have done effective work toward convincing me that I’m anything but beautiful, I’m more insipid than interesting, and I’m about as important as last week’s newspaper lining the hamsters’ cage.

Intellectually and as a follower of Jesus, I know that I’m a creation of God, and therefore I’m beautiful, interesting, important, et. al., in God’s estimation. And I know that God’s opinion is the only one that matters.

I also know I’m not alone in struggling to let my life manifest what God says about me.

A few years ago, a friend told me that she felt God telling her she was a prophet.

She wanted no part of it. “I’m not a prophet,” she argued. “And I don’t want to be a prophet.”

But then someone told her, “You’re already a prophet. You tell people what they already know about God and themselves, but which they’ve either forgotten or are doubting.”

It’s true. My friend faithfully speaks God’s truth into others’ lives. In the same way, my daughter prophesied over me yesterday at the kitchen sink. She reminded me who I am.

Some years ago I noticed that I’d become a people magnet. As a goal-oriented introvert this alarmed me. I’ll never forget the older man at the grocery store who launched into story after story about his life and his travels and his grandchildren, when all I wanted was to get a jar of pasta sauce off the shelf behind him and escort my fidgety toddler out of the store and home for her nap.

Stuff like that happens entirely too much for me when I’m out and about. Strangers just start chatting me up.

One afternoon I muttered to God about it as I unloaded the car. “I’m busy. Why can’t people leave me alone?” I groused. “What is so appealing about yammering at me?”

He answered: The love of God in you.

Uh, beg pardon?

My life’s goal is to emulate Christ and be the person God created me to be. I fail every single day, but I strive to evict sin from my behavior and to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—that Jesus-people should embody.

So, it follows that the closer I get to God the more inviting I become to others. (If I think I’m super close to God but I’m actually repelling others, it might be time to re-examine my words and demeanor.)

There’s a colossal dearth of love in the world. I don’t know of anyone who feels like they get enough, unless they’re truly saturated in the light and life of heaven. How awesome is it that others are drawn to us, not because of anything about ourselves, but because of the presence, or the incense, or the aura of God’s love that resides in us?

mkgraphicWhat a gift. I am to be nothing more (or less) than a vessel for that, a clay jar that carries God with me into the world, wherever I go.

I, too, am to be a prophet to others of God’s love, truth, and mercy.

If a fourth-grader can do it with a stack of Apples to Apples cards, I guess I can too.

Photo on 2-17-14 at 3.49 PMMaria Keffler lives in Arlington, VA, near (but not in) the cemetery, with her STEM-y Hubs and three darling cherubs. She blogs at www.wastingmyeducation.blogspot.com about living, and parenting, and spousing, and childing, and work, and life, and cats taking Prozac, and lawyers being like tarantulas, and skiing, and running, and drinking coffee, and occasionally saying bad words, and mixing too many of the above things together, sometimes while swilling a glass of wine and popping Hershey’s Kisses with both hands . Maria also likes to novel novel novels, and is working on a simple formula that can predict prime numbers to infinity. Find her at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WastingMyEducation/ and Instagram @mariakeffler.

How to HalloWIN (a guest post)

It’s 10:30pm the night before Halloween and I’ve just finished making my kids’ costumes. Let that sink in a minute. I could be continuing my binge of {insert non-offensive yet culturally relevant Netflix show}, because as I have stated, I don’t like Halloween. But no, I’m burning my fingers with hot glue and we’ve been picking feathers and glitter out of our dinners because I needed to salvage my pride and not go with simple store-bought costumes.

I blame Allison Pickett. She sent me this piece and it really convicted me to say Yes to the Dress Fun. I know at this point you think all my friends are from some imaginary book club, but I promise they’re the real deal. At least Allison is, and I know because I stole her baby for a night and she didn’t even get mad.

One day you will read a book or watch a show she wrote and you’ll remember that you first heard of her through this little blog and my mission in life will be complete.

How to HalloWIN

By Allison Pickett

Our family loves Halloween. My kids love staying up past dark, dressing crazy, and eating SUGAR (which is a rare treat unless the grandparents are around). My husband loves Reese’s pumpkins and wearing whatever ensemble I choose for his humiliation. This year, his costume involves a crop top. He’s over the moon.

I love eating my kids’ candy haul until Thanksgiving, but mainly, I’m happy to be a Yes Mom for the evening. “Yes, you may have that Tootsie Roll.” “Yes, you may stay up late on a sugar high.” “Yes, you may put paint on your face and talk to strangers.” It’s a relief!


By this time of the year, Drill Sergeant Mom is in full swing. We have school mornings, breakfast, folders to sign, field trip reminders, snack days, bath times, sight words, lunches to pack, dinners to make, story time, library books, prayers, bed time, etc. Somewhere in there, I have to find time to be a Cool Mom, Fun Mom, Happy Mom, Forehead Unfurled Mom. It’s hard for a woman who prides herself on being goofy to find the right balance.

But Halloween throws all of that out the window and we get to let loose as a family. It’s magical.

One night, we throw out all the regular rules and we are a band of six children instead of four.

We haven’t always done family costumes, but it’s our goal every year until they go off to college. Even if it makes them weep and gnash their teeth as teenagers. They’ll learn to love this tradition, right?

Here was last year:


And before we had all the children:


And here’s a sneak peek at this year:


I know you’re stumped about what cast of characters we’re imitating. Believe me, it’s original and you certainly won’t see anyone dressed like us on the sidewalks (jk, your eyes will be burning from all the hot pink trolls.)

The idea for family costumes wasn’t something my husband and I sat down and discussed. It bloomed out of my passion for the ridiculous and our desire to do things as a family team. We do Work and Boring together, then we do Silly and Exciting together.

Our kids have enough rules the rest of the time. School rules, playground rules, hallway rules, lunchroom rules, bathroom rules, dinner time rules, bed time rules, rules about messes and rules about cleaning. Let’s give the kids a breather this Halloween. Let our kids dress up, be wild, eat candy, laugh and make a few messes.

How could Halloween possibly be more momentous? If we join the fun with them!

I’m trying to make memories that my kids can take with them into their adulthood and share with their kiddos. I guarantee my kids won’t remember many of the rules, but they will remember Mom and Dad dressing up with them on Halloween. Here’s to hoping they won’t harbor any bitterness when they remember us stealing their candy.

“Our family is fun. My mom and dad are crazy! Like, my dad wore a crop top one Halloween.” – what I hope my kids say to their future spouses and/or therapists.

image1Allison Pickett is a Christ Follower who married a man with a Biblical beard, wishes LOST had never ended, mother of four, and a Lemon Oreo expert. Find her funny, funny words at allisonpickett.wordpress.com and follow her on all Social sites @allisonpickett.

Losing (that) October (a guest post)

I’m so grateful for all my guest contributors.  I love that everyone has her own take on the themes I suggested. Where Lindsay learned about changing seasons through her move, and Heather is learning to welcome the Real fall when it comes, Harmony Harkema offers us a taste of what losing a certain kind of October is like. Anyone who has felt lost in a different climate from the one you grew up in will understand this struggle and the gift that might actually come from it.

Harmony is another treasure I’ve found through Jen Hatmaker’s launch team. We have met in person, which isn’t a requirement for our tribe, but definitely a bonus. She lives and breathes the writing world, and the fact that she is sharing her words here gives me almost as much joy as the words themselves.

Oh, you’ll probably get hungry after reading this, so she shares a recipe too! Enjoy!


HHgraphicLosing (that) October

By Harmony Harkema

I grew up in the heart of the Midwest, where October is the showiest month. To this day, when I close my eyes and think of October, I see an empty highway stretching before me and beyond it, a sweep of harvested fields backed by a flaming red, orange, and gold tree line, the colors so vibrant that they rival the best of sunsets.


When I think of October, I can almost feel the crisp afternoon air contrasting with the warmth of the sun under a brilliant blue sky.

When I think of October, I can just about smell the morning-damp scent of fallen leaves, reminiscent of school bus stops and the first days I see my breath leave my lips like a puff of smoke.

When I think of October, I think of Friday night football games under the lights spent bundled up in a hooded sweatshirt with a Styrofoam cup of hot cocoa cupped between my palms.

I cling to these images, this almost-perceptible sense of October. Where I live now, those Octobers seem far away. Yesterday it was ninety-three degrees, and I broke a sweat on my way out to the mailbox.

October in the Mid-South is still hot and rather dismal, at least some of the time. It’s a month that likes to tease, giving me a short string of cooler, blue-skied days and then submitting again to the insistent heat. Leaves begin to turn, but the trees are far less bold—it’s rare to see one wearing a cap of red leaves. Softer oranges and golds line the streets instead, as if autumn is welcomed oh-so-reluctantly. My daughters wear shorts and t-shirts under their Halloween costumes.

Every morning at sunrise in October, I open the front door and step out, cup of coffee in hand, to see what the air feels like. As my hand reaches out to grasp the doorknob, I pray silently for cold, for chill, for that damp smell to fill my nostrils. Most days I’m disappointed.

On hot days we stay indoors, and I ignore the fact that the air conditioning still kicks on every twenty minutes or so. I buy apple cider from Ohio and apples from Michigan at the grocery store, which I turn into apple betty* on a seventy-five-degree day. (*Recipe here and also below)

I’ve learned that if I wait until it’s cool to do these things, I may miss out on them completely. At the same time, I have learned not to let my children carve pumpkins more than a few days before Halloween, or they will be nothing more than lumps of mold on our front porch by the time we go trick-or-treating.

When I read something seasonal—a book of activities to do with your kids year ‘round, for example—it’s always clear to me that the writer thinks of October the way I do, as deep autumn and not the stubborn tail of too-long summers. Sometimes I sigh and nod in understanding, but other times this approach makes me want to scream.

People who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line seem to assume that we all experience the same October. Losing that October has been one of the hardest parts of my transient life.

I’ve wrestled with God over the transplanting of my body and soul to a place where people hibernate in summer to escape the incessant heat and where Christmas is never white. “Send me to Narnia,” I think. “I’d love to see some snow.” But the truth is that these southern Octobers have stretched me into newness, into deeper understanding of the apostle Paul’s exhortation to be contented no matter the circumstances.

What do I really need to feel rooted? Can I turn my mind away from longing for different weather and see instead the richness of what I do have—a cozy home strewn with the mess and laughter of children, a husband who is my best friend, an adventure we are all on together?

I can. Even in this October.


Apple Betty Recipe

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel, core, and slice enough apples to fill a deep pie plate or round casserole (8-10 apples).
Toss with 1/4 cup orange juice or 2 tablespoons lemon juice, whichever you have on hand. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk together 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
Using a pastry blender or two sharp knives, cut one stick (8 tablespoons) of chilled sweet cream butter into the dry mixture until it resembles crumbs. Spoon over the apples, being careful to cover them completely.
Bake 50-60 minutes, until the topping has turned golden brown, the filling is starting to bubble up through it, and the inside is very soft when pierced with a knife.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool; the top will collapse a bit.
Serve warm with milk, cream, or vanilla ice cream.

portrait_harmony-1Harmony Harkema has loved the written word for as long as she can remember. A former journalist and English teacher turned editor, she has spent the past seven years in the publishing industry. A novelist and blogger in the fringe hours of her working-mom life, Harmony also has a heart for leading and coaching aspiring writers, and The Glorious Table is the culmination of those passions. She has more books than her shelves can hold, drinks more coffee than is probably good for her, and likes to unwind her brain at the end of the day by stirring something on the stove or baking whatever sounds good in the moment. A Michigan native who dreams ceaselessly about the Great Lakes shoreline, Harmony currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her husband and two small daughters.

Really, Fall? Really? (a guest post)

There’s so much about my guest writer and her words today to make me smile. You’ll relate to her, too, if you share a slightly less-enthusiastic view of untimely holiday preparation. Namely, how it seems every season and holiday seems to demand full-out celebrations bigger and earlier every year. She shares with us that even if fall isn’t your favorite season, it has its perks.

Heather Gerwing is a good friend, who- surprise, surprise- I met through Jen Hatmaker’s launch team. Even though she lives in Michigan, I’ve been able to hang out with her a few times and cherish every minute to soak up the joy she exudes.

As with my other guests, please go check out more of her writing at http://www.heathergerwing.com!

Really, Fall? Really?

By Heather Gerwing

The Midwest rocks fall better than anywhere else.  The brisk air, the changing leaves, and the plethora of cider mills make fall enjoyable in the Midwest.

However, I find myself becoming annoyed with the onslaught of everything “fall” starting as early as the first day of September. You see, I grew up on the East Coast within an hour from a great beach town and summer is my jam. I don’t ever want summer to end.

Until I do.

Summer is pure fun and excitement: Ice cream and popsicles, outdoor movies and picnics in the park, fairs and carnivals, days at the lake and swimming in the pool are all things that I enjoy in the warm summer months. Summer is filled with fun, and my family of six even makes bucket lists of all the things we want to do. We’re constantly going…moving…doing.

HGgraphicStill, about mid-July, I start to get this yearning for fall to come. It’s not that I want the cooler air or changing leaves, but I crave the steadiness and simplicity that comes with fall. I start to miss the predictability, the routine of everyday life that fall brings back.

Along with all the extra-curricular activities that start back up in fall, I find that my spiritual life takes a reboot as well.

While summer is full of fun, I find that my time with God, although still regular, becomes light and laidback. In the midst of summer, my brain barely slows down to figure out what my next meal will be, let alone what I am expecting God to do in my life.

In Ecclesiastes Chapter 1 the author writes about how there is a season for everything. From living to dying, to crying to laughing, there is a time or a season for that.

This is where my appreciation for true autumn kicks in and overcomes my annoyance at it’s too-early imposter. When fall arrives and our daily pace slows, my soul slows down too. I desire to linger in God’s Word longer over a hot cup of coffee, to dig deeper into my studies, and to be more expectant of what God can do.

The Midwest displays the seasons so well. Each of them is distinct and beautiful in its own way. My soul craves the sun and fun of summer after a sheltered winter, and I also yearn for the beauty and peacefulness of the real fall.

Fall, I owe you an apology. I have shunned you and spoken harsh words about you. I do love you when you are really here, just not the rush to speed the end of summer when you’re still months away. Forgive me?

I am ready for you now -and all things Salted Carmel Mocha! (Because Pumpkin Spice – I just can’t!)

Heather GerwingHeather Gerwing lives in MI with her husband Jeff and their kids. She is passionate about her family and living this life, which God has blessed her with, to the full. You can find her at www.heathergerwing.com and www.facebook.com/livingthefulllife.

Embracing Changing Seasons (a guest post)

I love to read things that make me smile, remember, think and then give me good, practical advice. Today’s guest post does just that. I haven’t met my friend Lindsay Hufford in person yet, but her writing makes me feel like we’ve been hanging out for ages. After you’re done here, please go visit her home page at http://www.searchforthesimple.com. The simplicity she writes so beautifully about is addicting and good for you!

Lindsay is first up in what turned out to be three different views on seasonal change.  She encourages us to do for our souls in life seasons what comes natural to do when the weather changes. Enjoy!

Embracing Changing Seasons

by Lindsay Hufford

One of my favorite pictures from my childhood features my sister and me right before Christmas time.  The photo was taken just after our family went to pick out our Christmas tree that year.  We’re wearing matching loud sweaters from the 80s with a big panda on the front.  The shirts are the only clue to what season it was in the image.  In the background, you can see lush green grass and palm trees.  This is Christmas in South Florida where the seasons don’t change but shift from unbearably hot to slightly less warm.

I lived in Florida for the first six years of my life, then my family moved North.  The change of seasons was well, a significant change.  I’ve now lived most of my life in areas with definitive seasonal variation, and I have come to anticipate and love what each season will bring.  We snuggle up on January mornings under mountains of blankets drinking pots of tea and watching crystals of frost melt off the windows.  As spring approaches, I begin obsessively checking my flowerbeds to see the first green shoots from bulbs emerge from the still cold ground.  We mark summer with the opening of a favorite lake.

I love all the seasons, but there is something almost magical about fall.  In September the mornings become crisp, and fog settles over the fields near our home. October is when Michigan truly shines.  Trees put on their best and brightest hues ranging from fire red sugar maples to golden aspens.  The world glows in October.The world glows in October.

The seasons in our lives rarely have such delineated markers of beginnings and endings as do the seasons of the natural world.  One day we are bright-eyed high school graduates ready to take on the world.  Then, in a flash, we are middle-aged adults with more wisdom, wrinkles, and cellulite then we ever thought possible.

The seasons of life can be challenging to embrace.  Some seasons prove exhausting. Others have challenges and anxieties we would never have wanted.  So how do we embrace the changing seasons of life?

We count our blessings.  More wrinkles mean we have shared a thousand laughs.   When your preschooler calls you up to their bed for the fourth time that night, hold them close remembering that soon you will be fighting for their time and attention.

Mark your seasons.  Keep a short journal to record the blessings and the challenges of the periods of your life.  Make a note of the first teeth lost and the day they realize the tooth fairy isn’t real.  Record your thoughts and feelings on aging, marriage, friendships, especially in the difficult seasons.  Your journal entries become your battle scars, proof that you made it through the hardest things and you are still going strong.

LHgraphicIf you’re in a hard season, keep your chin up and your eyes open to the beauty around you.  We only see the manifestations of the seasons in nature. Remember that tiny shoots struggle to break through the cold spring ground to become vibrant plants bearing fruit.  The trees know when it’s time to change and when it’s time to let those beautiful leaves drift away as they prepare for a season of rest and quiet.  You will make it through this season.  Don’t miss what it’s teaching you.

Wow, thank you Lindsay! I’m finding this season more beautiful every day!

IMG_6071.JPGLindsay is a happy wife and homeschooling mom to three kids.  Whether she is reading, running, gardening, teaching, cooking, dancing, writing, or chasing hens, she counts it all as joy.  Lindsay writes about this beautiful life at www.searchforthesimple.com.