Settling Into Trust

Esther is a pretty cool book in the Bible and I seem to find myself opening up to it here and there. I enjoy reading through specific parts of it, recapping all that Esther went through and her bravery and faithfulness to God and her people. However, a few days ago, there was something that stuck out to me in the book of Esther that I had never noticed before.

Many of us know the story of Esther, in some form or other, and we often focus on her bravery to save her people by going before the king uninvited. After all, most of us are drawn to bravery and courage, so I’m not surprised. But, what I found is that there’s another part of this story that shows bravery. It’s more subtle and less climactic, but I am discovering that it’s truly just as important as the end of the story.

I guess I always sorta skimmed over the beginning of the book of Esther. It talks about how King Ahasuerus is reigning over twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia (Esther 1:1), that his queen would not come to his party when he commanded her to do so (Esther 1:12), how then the queen’s royal position was to be given away to another (Esther 1:19), and so all the young maidens of the land were brought to “the citadel, under the custody of Hegai, that Esther also was taken to the king’s palace, into the care of Hegai the custodian of the woman” (Esther 2:2). So, here is where I normally just read on and don’t pay much attention, but for some reason the upcoming verses stuck out:

“Now the young woman (Esther) pleased him (Hegai), and she obtained his favor, so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance. Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king’s palace, and he moved her and her maidservants to the best place in the house of the women. Esther had not revealed her people or family, for Mordecai (her uncle and guardian) had charged her not to reveal it. And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the womens quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her. Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus… Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, and she was given whatever she desired to take with her from the women’s quarters to the king’s palace… Now when the turn came for Esther… to go in to the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai the king’s eunuch, the custodian of the women, advised. And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her… The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight… so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen…”

Esther 2:9-17 (I jumped around in these verses and added some of my own description. Feel free to read the full version in your Bible.)

Ok, so let’s talk about what I found so interesting. I had never noticed before how obedient, respectful and trusting Esther was. We don’t know a lot about Esther’s relationship with Mordecai, aside from the fact that he is her uncle and guardian; but it’s incredibly apparent that Esther heeds his guidance without hesitation. He told Esther to not reveal her people to anyone and she trusted that request. Also, Hegai, the custodian of the women, took Esther under his wing and she willingly followed his expertise on how to go before the king.

Both of these individual moments are what bring forth the ending of the book of Esther. Had she not been brave enough to place herself under the guidance of other indivuals, she may have revealed who her people were and perhaps would have presented herself unpleasingly to the king. She knew the best thing to do was to submit to her guardian, Mordecai, and to trust the man, Hegai, whose sole job was to prepare her to go before the king. She didn’t try to do things her own way or be a rebel. She settled into trust.

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Whew. Settled into trust. This is it! This is what got to me when I was reading about Esther… she was so willing to trust! And, I know that doesn’t mean it was easy for her. I know if you go on to read you’ll see that she fasts and prays to try to decide if she really should go before the king to save her people… I’m sure it was terrifying. But, you can see from the very beginning of the book that Esther knows how to trust someone else!

And that’s what really got me thinking. Esther put faith in the man that was her guardian. Esther put faith in the man whose expertise would help her win the favor of the king. And here’s where I put the pieces together: Esther trusted her guardian and the individual who had the knowledge of how she needed to present herself at that moment in time. So, if I turn this lens on my life; if I look at how this translates to something I can learn from, here’s what I got: God is my guardian. God is the expertise on how I should be presenting myself in life right now…

God is the guardian of my life and the expert on my life. If that’s true, then here’s the real kicker… shouldn’t I be putting more faith and trust in God about how to live my life than in my own ideas and desires? Esther knew how to submit to another’s decisions, and I want to be able to do the same with God! I want to be able to say to God: “Your heart for me as your daughter is real, and I want to trust the way you protect me. You are my guardian, so I submit to step into or out of situations that you see fit. You, God, are the expert on how to live life, so I want to trust your knowledge in even the smallest parts of my existence.”

I really want to be like Esther! I want to submit to my guardian, God! I want to put my faith in the expertise of the man upstairs! I know this might seem like simple stuff, but it’s funny how often it isn’t. If we were chatting face to face right now, I’m sure we could both share with each other of times in our lives when it was really hard to believe God was doing the best thing for us. I’m sure we could both bring up times that we didn’t like the things God was asking us to leave behind. But, that’s exactly what Esther did. from the beginning of her story we see her trusting Mordecai’s direction, and then not taking anymore with her than that which the expert, Hagai, recommended to please the king. And, because she trusted from the start, she was able to trust when the stakes were higher; when her guardian asked her to reveal her family background to save a nation! It was hard, and she didn’t do that without a lot of prayer and fasting, but she did heed the proper direction, because she had a heart ready and willing to submit and trust.

God’s not surprised by the things that come up in my life. I may be, but He isn’t. I’ve been caught off guard more than once by life events, both good and bad, as I’m sure Esther was becoming queen and later having the power and opportunity to save her people. But, the thing is, the more we practice submitting and trusting God, the less shocked we may become by life’s happenings; because the more we practice, the more we’ll learn that God knows exactly what He’s doing. God has a plan for each and every one of us, and there are steps of faith we’ll have to take to get there. Esther didn’t become queen overnight. Heck, she had to have twelve months of beauty treatments, and then it wasn’t even until after she became queen that the realization of the bigger picture of being able to save her people came to light.

In the very same way, there may be many chapters of our life that we don’t yet see how all the pieces fit together, and that is our biggest test of submission and trust. I want to practice, I want to get good at this. I want to get good at this trust thing. ‘Cause when it comes to God, I promise, he knows what He’s doing.

 

A Decade of Marriage

My husband and I got married young. I mean, really young. We’re talking nineteen and twenty-three. I know that’s not for everyone, and I do believe my husband and I to be somewhat old souls, but for us the whole marrying young thing totally worked out. Actually, better than just worked out. For us, it’s been the bomb! The bomb- you know… rad, legit, totally awesome. You feel me.

So, we’ve been married ten years, and a lot has transpired in that amount of time; a lot that I will most likely get into in further posts, but for the moment I’m going to try to stay focused on where I wanted to go with this post.

The subject of my marriage recently came up with a co-worker, because I had mentioned being married ten years. She looked at me and said: “I didn’t know you’ve been married that long!” As we chatted about myself and my husbands story, she replied:  “I just think that’s amazing, because a lot of people don’t really value marriage anymore, you know?” Maybe it was hearing it from someone outside of my normal circle, maybe it was the magnitude of ten years settling on my shoulders, but for whatever reason that statement stuck with me. It rung in my ears for the rest of the night, into the next several days.

I think the reason that remark gnawed at me was because I really didn’t want to admit that was true. I don’t like the idea of thinking that people may view marriage as old-fashioned or not that big of a deal, but really, I think what was sinking in even deeper was the realization of how much my marriage can be a huge testimony… to anyone. I didn’t think much of sharing about my anniversary with my co-worker, but it obviously struck a chord with her, and who knows who else may be taken by surprise, in a good way, to hear of someone happily acknowledging their marriage.

Because the thing is, my husband and I aren’t just married… we are happily married. We don’t view our marriage as drudgery. We don’t feel miserable or trapped. We truly love each other and love being married to each other, and I guess I feel people should know that! People should know that really happy, committed marriages don’t have to be rare.

Now, I do want to say quickly that this is not an anti-divorce post. This is not a post to try to make anyone feel like a failure in their relationships or to point the finger or tell you what you’re doing wrong. I have plenty of close people in my life, who have lived through divorce, but have found committed love again. I believe in God, so I know that He can redeem relationships and build new ones in His grace. So, please don’t read this and think I’m telling you your story has to look like myself and my husbands.

The main goal I wanted to accomplish in writing this was to encourage those of you reading, that real, genuine, joyful love does exist. My husband and I have gone through a lot together in our marriage, but we’ve never faced doubt in our feelings for one another. We have been faithful to each other and still feel giddy about one another… and that does exist.

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If you’ve found yourself thinking the same way as my co-worker, that people just don’t value marriage anymore, please be encouraged. Be encouraged that you don’t have to fall into that category. You can, through God (because yes, I don’t think anything of this magnitude can be lived out in our own strength), have a butt-rockin’ (oh yes, I did!) marriage! It does take work, and a lot of servanthood and commitment, but all that can coincide with a lot of fun, passion and joy!

Happy Anniversary, babe! Ten years down, eternity to go.

 

Because You’re A Mother

So, I’m not sure where you are with your feelings about Mother’s Day. To be honest, I’m not sure where my feelings are in regards to this sentimental holiday. I know how I feel when my daughter looks at me with her beautiful, big brown eyes and asks me: “Are you so excited to go to sleep tonight, because tomorrow you will wake up and it will be Mother’s Day?” Heart. Melt. And, the truth is, I am excited. I’m looking forward to it, because I will wake up and enjoy the day with my loving husband and two super rad girls. I’ll also have the joy of seeing my own Mama and spend time with her and my siblings. These are true treasures, and I refuse to take them for granted.

This is because I know how it feels to not have it this comfortable. Yes, comfortable. I am surrounded by comfort in the realm of motherhood this year, and I know well enough to treasure that. I know this, because not every year has been this easy. There were many years filled with the loss of a baby and an aching womb, adoptions that fell through; all making that holiday Sunday at times feel like a day I wanted to mourn instead of celebrate.

I don’t know if that’s you. I don’t know if you have suffered miscarriage, if you’ve been unable to conceive. I’m not there with you to see you holding the hand of your dying mother or grandmother. You may have lost a child recently or years ago, and the pain is unbearable. I am not there to see you. But, GOD IS. He has seen every moment of your dear and precious life. He has seen every second, day, year of our children’s lives, our babies lives, and of the children we have not even yet brought into existence. And yes, He sees our treasured ones that journeyed the shortest time with us and were perhaps never held in our arms, our hearts ache with the pain of losing our faithful mother and friend and our taxed bodies that yearn for the joy of life in our womb. There is nothing that goes beyond His watchful eye!

God sees the mother in all her parts. The giver, the nurturer, the fighter, the friend, the visionary, the teacher, the lover, the sacrificial being who longs to love and raise another. God sees you, sweet mama! Whether you’ve been a mom for years, are just beginning the journey, have been fostering children or are longing for the day of motherhood to arrive, God sees your mothering heart. He knows you have that in you, because He placed that gifting inside of you. And, if you’re like me and the process has felt at times like navigating through a minefield of hurt and loss, please believe me when I say that God can carry you through.

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I am not saying the pain of loss as a mother ever goes away. In fact, I think that’s what can make Mother’s day so difficult to process at times, because the pain does not go away. It stays, and it stings and reminds us of horrible times. Its not something we just shake off. But, indeed, as Anne Shirley quotes, and as our precious Bible tells us, “The truth will set you free,” and can I tell you that’s true? Would you believe me when I tell you the more you place yourself in the grace of God’s truth, the more you’ll be able to face tomorrow; to bear the days that hurt.

God’s Word invites us into a realm of grace, healing and strength, which translate to key ingredients for survival as a mother, at least in my life. Psalm 23:4 tells us:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Do you think we could believe that truth? Do you think we could trust that God really is going to remain with us, even when we walk through death; that God really will somehow bring us comfort, even if that seems like the most unattainable thing in our lives right now. I think we can. I think we can cling to that truth. I think we can walk through the highest high and the lowest low, because we have God on our side, and I just happen to think He believes in us mothers.

Happy Mother’s Day, friend. Truly, Mother, truly.

It’s Not Always About Me (Part 2)

For quite some time, I’ve been putting together my thoughts for Part 2 of It’s Not Always About Me (Part 1). I’ve been researching and reading and have pretty well gotten my outline ready, but based upon what I’ve personally been struggling with the past several days, I knew I had to go a different direction with it. Maybe it’s my desire to keep things real and maybe it’s the knowledge that I’m probably not the only one that needs to hear this. So, here’s some different thoughts on why it’s not always about me:

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Where do you land with your thoughts on self? The last couple days my thoughts really haven’t been my friend. I’ve had lots of overwhelming thoughts that seem to hone in on the particular area of myself. Myself as a human, myself as a mother, myself as a wife, as a Jesus-follower. Why am I not better at physical fitness? Why I am I not more organized? Why do I get stressed? I allow these thoughts to seep in until I am questioning everything I do, questioning my very life-rhythm. I start down the road of self-fulfillment. I start believing that the key to my life is found within myself. MY self-control. MY habits. MY thought process.

Now, before I go any further, I have to take a moment to say I am a huge fan of processing emotions and thoughts on self. I think counseling is amazing, as well as meditation and self-analysis. We can discover so much about ourselves and I do believe our habits and decisions are the starting point to a really great life, but it doesn’t stop there.

The reason it gets dangerous to stop at self-exploration and self-fulfillment is that it puts all the pressure for a joyful and meaningful life upon myself, and the downfall in that is that I alone will never be enough.

Psalm 73:21-28a (The VOICE version) tells us:

You see, my heart overflowed with bitterness and cynicism; I felt as if someone stabbed me in the back. But I didn’t know the truth; I have been acting like a stupid animal toward You. But look at this: You are still holding my right hand; You have been all along. Even though I was angry and hard-hearted, You gave me good advice; when it’s all over, You will receive me into Your glory. For all my wanting, I don’t have anyone but You in heaven. There is nothing on earth that I desire other than You. I admit how broken I am in body and spirit, but God is my strength, and He will be mine forever. It will happen: whoever shuns You will be silenced forever; You will bring an end to all who refuse to be true to You. But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good.

OK. I feel like I just need to pause here for a moment. Let this speak into the deep parts of who I am.

Here’s the secret, friends: Jesus is the answer. When I am stressed. When I am sad. When I am acting like a stupid animal (that one got your attention, didn’t it? I honestly had to laugh when I read that in the scripture, because well, it’s true sometimes isn’t it?!). When I don’t want my thoughts to rule over me. When I am burdened. When I am broken. Jesus is the answer.

It’s not always about me. I am not always going to be capable of being the “enough” that I need, in fact more often than not, I won’t be. I am not my own answer to a joyful and fulfilled life. Sure, I can start the process, but when my own efforts fail, as the scripture states, God is my strength! He is the one who brings me further than I can go on my own. Isn’t that the beauty of the message of the gospel? The answers and help my heart so desperately needs to hear don’t have to come from within me, but from the constant, faithful, strong Savior who lives within me.

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good.

Take a breather, friends. God’s got this. Let Him help you. Let Him be your strength. I’ll be over here trying to do the same.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Always About Me (Part 1)

It’s not always about me.

That’s a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it?

As a Christian, I want to say to that: “No way, I’m fine with it not being about me. I’m always happy to serve and have Christ first and myself last.” But, if I’m truly honest, those aren’t always the thoughts that come rushing into my mind when God takes uncomfortable situations in my life to bless someone else or bring glory unto Himself. I’m usually thinking how frustrated I am and wondering where God was in that moment.

I’ll give you an example. I’m being super candid here, so don’t unfollow me after this, ok? I found myself in a waiting room the other day and I got the chance to connect with someone in regards to some difficulty they had been facing in their life. They mentioned they had read one of my blogs and that it had encouraged them, however they were still on a journey of trusting God to take them through this difficult season. I tried to be an encouragement. I hope I was. Sometimes we question everything we say to someone after they leave, but I’m gonna hope God helped my words to make sense to them.

Not five minutes later I found myself in a very stressful conversation in regards to the appointment I had, and let’s just say I got rather intense. I did not yell, but it was an uncomfortable conversation. There had been quite the misunderstanding, and I was feeling completely justified that I had been wronged. I left an emotional wreck and called my husband to vent.

I didn’t make it very far in my car before I began to calm down and realized I could have handled the situation differently. I knew I had to call the establishment back and apologize. The conversation honestly went really well, but I was still really stressed about it all as some things still needed to be sorted out.

I was dwelling on all this when God gently spoke to my heart: “It was not about you. What if I placed you at that establishment today to be a listening ear to the person that was in a painful season of life. What if it was just for me to use you to bless them. Doesn’t Me using you for My purposes trump what you went through to be there?”

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“Wow. Ok, God. Hearing you loud and clear!” When I was wrapped up in the confrontation that had transpired that day, I had wished I just would have never gone there. If hadn’t gone then none of that would have transpired… but oh, now I see: “God, it was at that place that You spoke to a hurting soul through me. Ok, the uncomfortable doesn’t seem that way now. Now, it seems useful. Useful in Your plan and Your purposes. Ok God, I hear you. It’s not about me!”

Now, don’t think this is how I always feel. I still miss focusing on the big picture so often. I get trapped in my own little world and prioritizing myself A LOT! And also, I truly don’t know if I blessed that person or not. I’m no hero. God is. But, hopefully I was able to remind them that they are not alone in their suffering. That life is not always easy and everyone has their share of troubles.

But really, that day, those events, were not about me. It was about someone else, and that really is the point I’m trying to convey. The life of a Christ-follower isn’t about prioritizing self. It’s about prioritizing Christ’s agenda, whether it has to do with me or not. When God’s will is my focus it truly puts things, struggles, discomforts into perspective. It helps me to move outside myself and begin to see the glory of God’s kingdom, which is all about people. People. People that God loves. His heart is for this world, for building His kingdom, and if I can get myself out of the way, maybe I’ll see that He’s trying to do just that, in some small way, through me.

”  ‘And you shall love ADONAI your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30-31 Tree of Life Version

Build On

I found myself reading in the book of Ezra the other day, and was super challenged and inspired by what I read there, so I thought I’d take a few moments to share it with you guys.

I’d love to give you loads of background on the history and specifics of the book of Ezra and the chapters proceeding in the book of 2nd Chronicles, but I actually tried to write this blog yesterday and as soon as I sat down to do some research, my one year old needed a snack followed by my seven year old needing a snack. One thing led to another and I never got back to my writing. Even as I’m writing, I have my littlest one climbing on me and I’ve gotten up for grapes twice now. Seriously, wouldn’t have it any other way, but in an effort to just get this thought out there, you’re going to get the very basic version. (Side note: in your own time, you could totally read the description of the book of Ezra or the book itself, and you’ll be completely filled in on what I’m gonna talk about.)

When we jump into the book of Ezra, we find that the Israelites have just returned to Jerusalem, the land God has promised them, after seventy years of exile in Babylon. The former temple that had been built for the Lord by King Solomon has fallen into rubble and it is now time for the Israelites to rebuild, not just a temple, but also “the spiritual condition of the people,” as my Bible states. So, here what happens…

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing saying, ‘Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.’ ” -Ezra 1:1-3

So, now we see that the people of God have returned and not only do they have permission of the king of Persia, but his support as well, and so after supplies are collected and everyone knows their jobs, they begin to build. What stuck out to me when I was reading through this was how quickly resistance shows up after they begin. In chapter 4:4-5 we read:

“Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.” (emphasis mine)

Well now, the building has begun, quickly resistance shows up, and if you read further you’ll find that opposition comes and building stops altogether. In fact, by the time King Darius comes to reign, gives permission for building to continue and the temple is indeed finished, it extends over a twenty year period. Let me say that again… from the time the Israelites began to build the temple to the time they finished was twenty years!

“Now the temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.” -Ezra 6:15-16

I’ve pretty much now walked you through what I read the other day, and so here are the thoughts that I had on this:

1. God will stir your spirit when there is something he wants you to do. From something as simple as needing to work on having more patience (ok, maybe that’s not so little) to developing a specific gift or calling God has placed inside of you, the Lord will stir your heart towards that thing just like he stirred King Cyrus’ spirit.

2. God will clear the way for that specific thing to happen. God used the specific man he needed, a king, to not only give permission to the people of Israel to rebuild the temple, but also to give the provisions needed to do so. In my own personal experience, I have found that if God stirrs my heart to pray for something specific, like more patience in my life, He then provides lots of opportunities throughout my day to practice that very thing. The catch, though, is that God may have provided the Israelites with the tools they need to build the temple, but it was up to them to build it! And so….

3. We have to do the building. It’s up to me to practice patience when things don’t go as planned throughout my day, instead of resorting back to old old habits of getting all worked up over it. It’s up to me to make time to develop the gifts God has given me. If I feel God has called me to a specific vocation, and He has set up the tools to do so (school, job, etc.), it’s still up to me to put in the work. I have to be willing to sacrifice years of schooling or experience to reach the goal of that job. When the Lord stirs my heart to do something and has provided all that’s needed to do it, I must follow up by doing the hard building.


4. Resistance and delays will come. The people of Israel very quickly learned that they were going to have opposition to the building of the temple, but I’m sure they never imagined it would take a total of twenty years because of it. Resistance comes in all forms and at times can even produce long delays. Maybe you’ve finally opened up to a friend about how you feel God has led you to start a photography business, but that friend quickly squashes your excitement by belittling your dream, and now you hit the pause button, second guessing yourself and feeling unsure if you should move forward in this pursuit. You’re delayed. Sometimes people just nonchalantly blurt something out, and other times, like with the Israelites, they come purposefully to create resistance. People won’t always like what God is doing in you and through you, so it’s important for us to remember whose voice is the most important to listen to, and that’s Gods! I have to remind myself to allow what God speaks over my life to be louder than what anyone else says about me or my life.

5. Keep building. There certainly are far more forms of resistance and delay than what I covered, but when resistance and delays do come it’s important to remember to keep building. When the Israelites had people show up specifically to discourage them from building, they continued to build. Even after their long delay from building, they picked back up and started to build yet again. We’ve never been promised that this process of life and the building of our dreams and character would be easy, and so if we were to give up at the very first sign of opposition, we wouldn’t get very far would we? It takes hard work, sacrifice and time to build on any facet of our lives. God stirs our hearts to begin the work, provides the opportunity and tools necessary to complete the work, but then we build. And we keep building, and keep building until we start to see the fruit of our labor. When at last the Israelites had completed the Temple of the Lord, they…

6. Celebrate with joy. Why follow Gods stirring? Why push through the resistance? Why put in the hard work? It leads to joy. When our spirit follows what God is doing, it will always lead to joy. Working on my character, like patience, will lead to joy. Stepping into Gods calling on my life leads to joy. Whenever we are in Gods will, whenever we are working on the things He has shown us to build, it will always lead to joy. Not just a simple happy feeling, but a true, genuine joy that only comes from bringing glory to God! After all, wasn’t that the goal of the Temple in Jerusalem? A place to bring worship and glory to God? Yes! And in the same way, all that I build, I pray will be used to bring glory to God.

So, keep building, my friend. Keep building.

Fresh Air & Sunshine

Last week I had the awesome opportunity to get out for the day, and by out, I mean OUT! Three other moms, myself and our kiddos spent a gorgeous day in the great outdoors. It truly could not have been more perfect, and as I drove home from our day excursion at a local State Park, I couldn’t help but think: “Why in the world don’t I do this more?”

Believe me, I get outside. My girls and I are outside every single day, but I’m talking about really immersing myself in nature. A friend of mine posted a quote on social media, several years ago now, but it’s stuck with me. It’s an old Zen saying that goes:

“You should sit in nature for twenty minutes a day. Unless you are too busy, then you should sit for an hour.”

I love that. It’s really easy to brush off things like drinking in the beauty and serenity of nature in this fast paced lifestyle we seem to get sucked into, isn’t it? I for one couldn’t believe that it took my friends inviting me out for a day to be reminded of it. Shout out to my awesome mom friends! It was exactly what I needed to feel recharged and inspired about life. And, it was so easy. It was a simple hike (that all of our kids could handle), playground romping and sitting under a pavilion, with our packed lunch, as our kids played in the grass and made a home for a slug. Yes, they found that slug to be very precious. Haha.

My point? I guess I’m really just sharing a gentle whisper from those woods, that lake, the beautiful bike trail that you always say you’re going to go take advantage of, but you never do. It’s good to put other things on hold and let time stand still outside.

I went for a walk with my girls today. We started out on our regular route, but then I decided to go down a road we never do that leads to a hiking trail. I let my oldest truck on ahead of myself and my little one in the stroller. I loved watching her face relax and look around at the beauty of the woods. You could see this carefree posture to her as she took her time among the trees. Again, simple. However, normally I would have rushed us on. For no particular reason, I usually would have said we needed to get home. My mind often triggers the need to accomplish and be ruled by the tick tock of the clock. Oh boy, that rhymed! Haha. But really, you know what I’m saying. As my husband has said many times over: “Life is not an emergency!” And surely, I have time for another ten minutes in the woods with my girls!

As one of my favorite authors, Laura Ingalls Wilder, would say: “Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.”

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