Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Encouraging Read by Emily Freeman

I was blessed by this article by Emily Freeman and wanted to share it with you.  I love her words and how she writes.  God uses her to speak to me.  I crave times to be still, giving myself the chance to hear that still small voice.  Yet, time to be still is not always an option but stillness in my soul is.  

Becoming a Soul Minimalist

After a weekend out of town, I head to the gym to work off pent-up energy from van riding, airplane sitting, and waiting through flight delays.
As I approach the elliptical, I look forward to the exercise as well as the chance to catch up on the Art of Simple podcast hosted by my friend, Tsh. I choose one called Freedom From Stuff, an interview with author and blogger Joshua Becker.

I’ve enjoyed Joshua’s blog, Becoming Minimalist, for a while now but I’ve never heard an interview with him. He and Tsh have an easy conversation about stuff, simplicity, and the difference between too much and enough. I immediately warm to Joshua’s perspective of becoming minimalist, emphasizing how the journey is important even if we never quite arrive at the destination, something he is careful to acknowledge.
At some point in their conversation, Joshua says we have regular, seasonal input of stuff into our homes – Christmas and birthday gifts, school papers, various decorations depending on the celebration – but we don’t often have regular output. As a result, the clutter builds up in our homes.
When he says this, a thought comes to my mind and I pause their conversation to let it fill out.
Just like my home, my soul receives frequent input with infrequent output.
Even in this moment, I am listening to a podcast while exercising in a crowded gym with not just one TV in front of me, but eight all in a row – FOX News, NBC, QVC – the works. (QVC! I mean really, nothing says motivate me while I work out like cubic zirconia). Meanwhile, a woman in front of me pedals fast on a stationary bike, two men to my left work with those giant rubber band things I never know what to do with, and behind me I’m aware of movement in the pool on the other side of the glass.
Input, input, input.
In the midst of this highly stimulated exterior world, I make a discovery about my interior world – the input is automatic. Where is the output? How am I regularly getting rid of the soul clutter I no longer need?
“If your life is a constant blur of activity, focus, and obligation, you are likely to miss critical breakthroughs because you won’t have the benefit of pacing and negative space. What’s not there will impact your life as much or more than what is.”
Todd Henry, The Accidental Creative
What would a de-cluttered soul look like? Maybe something like this:
  • courage to move toward others in love without a complicated agenda.
  • wisdom to begin to give up what we no longer need, like fear about the future or regret over the past.
  • willingness to face the silence within and not worry so much what we may (or may not) hear.
  • energy to be fully myself in the presence of others without fear, pretense, or defensiveness.
I don’t know if it’s realistic to live in a constant state of simplicity. After all, we are naturally complex creatures – nervous system, circulatory system, digestive system, not to mention relationships, emotions, dreams, hurts, and desires. All these are all part of our human existence and not one of them are simple.
Complex has its place, to be sure.
But when our souls are filled with clutter, what is meant to be complex and awe-inspiring can become complicated and exhausting. When that happens, I crave simple.
I have to be careful not to glorify simplicity, to worship it by itself, to try to carve out a simple way in life and call that peace when really it’s just the outcome of my own effort toward order and control.
When my soul feels like this crowded gym, lots of movement, hurry and input, perhaps it will bring a bit of peace to embrace minimalism in my soul when I become overwhelmed on the inside.
I can’t say what the result of this might be for you, but I can tell you for me, the best way to uncover a bit of whitespace in my own soul is to be still.
Stillness is to the soul as de-cluttering is to the home.
It’s how the soul sifts through the day’s input, holding on to what we need and releasing what we don’t, making space to access courage and creativity, quieting to hear the voice of God.
There is no wrong with this – simply find a few minutes to sit, relax, close your eyes, and listen.
Are you able to be still long enough to let the chatter grow quiet, the whirring in your chest start to slow?
This post, Becoming a Soul Minimalist, was originally published in Hope*ologie, a membership site I co-created with my family to help you turn towards hope no matter how things appear in your family, in your home, or in your soul.
Become a Hope*ologist today and receive immediate access to eleven months of content, including posts like this one as well as this month’s printable by Annie Barnett, videos, DIYs and a special Sister*ologie podcast. Visit Hope*ologie to learn more.
I hope you’ll find a little soul space today. Maybe we can help.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March.....from Misty to White, Overnight!

Just a few photos....from mist to white, overnight! It was so misty, and beautiful last night but today, we are covered in white.  They say the temps will warm up soon, I sure hope so.......

 Spring shoots, peaking through! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Winter Fun

Normally, I like winter, but I have discovered I like it a lot more when it doesn't hang around so long with such low temperatures!
I can hear some say, God is the one that orders the weather and yes, yes He does, so I am asking Him if we could have some warmer temperatures soon.  He may say yes, and He may say no, but I trust Him either way.

I have been thinking lately that there is an awful lot of "ugly" happening right now.  Sad, hard things.  We had a beautiful time in prayer at our bible study this morning.  Prayer has a way of calming a heart, and bringing our thoughts into alignment with God.  I am remembering our brothers and sisters in bonds, those who have lost their lives, no, correction, given their lives rather than denounce their Savior.  Humbling, encouraging, exhorting, terrifying, and the list of what can rise up in my soul could go on and on.  With those sobering thoughts, may we be watchful, praying for all men.  We serve a God that is all mighty, all knowing, the one true and living God, who is in control when things seem so out of control. 

I am so thankful that God can bring beauty out of ashes.

Some photos of some simple, beautiful things in my life right now that I am thankful for, amongst the ugly.  The irony does not escape me of how much life can be so vastly different. 

 Hot chocolate with homemade marshmallows.

 A snowman that Jonathan built; as we were driving out of the driveway he said, " How do you like my snowman, he's praising the Lord?" Gotta love that!

Beautiful sky just before sunrise on a very brisk morning. 

Love this covered bridge.  Serenity.

An incredible concert that Jacob was so sweet to invite me to go and hear.  Mrs. Goranson was his music professor and she is amazing! 

A lovely night with my guys! 

Determination on that face :-) Justin took Jon ice skating and they had a nice time and both did very well considering this is a new thing for us :-) (above ) 

Working on an art project.

Our wonderful tutor at CC.  

Another day of ice skating with friends.  ( and enemies, chuckle chuckle...there seems to be mean children lurking in shadows everywhere, thankful he didn't loose his temper and kept smiling, progress.   Also, thankful for the young tender hearts that are kind. ) 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Proof of Newton's Law

I am thinking that I for one, am scientific proof of Newton's first law of motion.  

 It is so hard to get back into the swing of things after a break in our normal schedule!  This "object" at rest really wants to stay there.  So, if you are like me, remember it takes much more force to overcome the friction and get moving.   Definitely speaking to myself here, as the wee one goes to feed the ducks.  I cannot tell you how many times I have had to draw him back this morning.  "No, we cannot build legos this morning, no please put the puzzle down, yes we have a full day, yes we really need to work hard, yes I love break too."    

Reminds me of a book that I read over and over to the children when they were much younger, "Goofy's Big Race ". It was a family favorite and everyone loved the horn...aooohgah! They would giggle with glee.  In this book, Goofy has a phrase that he repeats over and over, ....

Slow and steady, steady and slow, that's the way we always go!  Aoohgah.  Love that phrase.  It is a good reminder to me that no matter how many leaps I want to make, slow and steady accomplishes so much.  Baby steps really are important to reach the goals.  Caution, book spoiler...Goofy won the race against Donald.  Boy was Donald surprised because he was equipped with everything that made it possible to win the race but he did not use it wisely, he wasn't very disciplined.  What an incredible lesson...we have been give everything to run our race too.  The question is how are we going to run it?  Am I willing to lay aside every weight, every sin, that besets me?  Some good thoughts to ponder. 

Time to sign off,,,,the boy is back from the ducks, and the watch he was given, to help keep track of is a huge 
help......he came back early!   

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Happy Birthday, Justin!  

Love, love, love celebrating the birth of the children God so graciously bestowed upon us!  I know I haven't had time to post in a loooooong while but today is a special day! 
A day that we remember when Justin arrived, celebrate him and the life that God has given.   Justin, can it be?  Time flies!  You are a wonderful young man.  It has been a joy, most of the time ;-), and then there are those times when I have won " mean mom" title, which of course I consider an honor.  Haha!  But now, now, you are a man.  I will hold that little boy in my heart forever. However, now I support the young man that God is molding into a vessel that belongs to Him. 

I know we tell you this, but probably not enough, so it is worth repeating, "We are proud of you!" Don't let the everyday instruction of please clean your room, pick up your things, how are your long term goals, and on and on distract you from the fact that we are very proud of you and the man you have become!  

You are such a sensitive, deep, young man.  When I see you grieve for people that are hurting, or reach out to encourage,  I am so thankful.  You feel very deeply and passionately about life.   It blesses me to see your desire for people to either know Christ, or know who they are in Christ.  Your calming presence is a blessing to our home.  You keep us accountable to things you see.  I appreciate that!

Not only that, you are goofy....and make us laugh....

You are talented, you make beautiful music, may it continue to be used to glorify Jesus Christ.  We love to hear you play. 

You are fiercely loyal to your brothers, as well as their truest friend other than Jesus......they love you!

 You love ice cream...... 
.....and your Subaru!  

Thank you for being so helpful in maintaining our cars.  It has been so great to be blessed by your willingness to use your talents to bless us and others.  

If the Lord tarries, may your upcoming year be filled with special blessings from above.  

May you continue to seek God for all things and follow Him. No matter what, He is always faithful and your truest friend!  With all my love, Mom

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


A few photo ramblings from our son Jonathan.  As my mom and I sat enjoying the evening, and waiting on the super moon to rise, I sent Jonathan, armed with my camera to enjoy some creative moments.  God has given him a wonderful artistic side.   I love to see how he views things through the lens of a camera.  Thought it would be fun to share a few.  Enjoy :) 

Jonathan  called this one " a rose amongst the thorns" 
He thought this would be fitting for the verse " A wise man builds his house upon the rock." 

This is one of his favorites :) He likes the black and white with a touch of color.

He liked the texture in this one.  He thought it was " neat".

I liked this one :-)  Love the contrast.