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Feeling afraid and what lies ahead

I know, it’s been awhile. Writing ebbs and flows, and there are many times I become discouraged, or simply out of practice. It’s only when the words and thoughts build up in my brain to the point that I have to move my fingers to release the mental pressure that I finally find the time to sit down and do something that’s not absently staring at social media.

I’m writing to admit something to you (and me).

I’ve spent the last several days in sadness and fear. Unfortunately (or fortunately), I tend to deliberately remain ignorant of the world around me. I fix my eyes on the things of my everyday mundane–cleaning the house, taking care of the children, feeding and washing and everything in between–that I deliberately stay away from things that interfere with it.

The truth is, my spirit can’t handle it. I am a person who has a hard time with things outside of my control. ISIS is way outside my control. The Paris attacks. The crime and all these road rage shootings here in DFW. The stories that pop up on my news app — they are so far beyond my control.

All this talk of Syrian refugees and ISIS threats and people coming into the US, well, it’s scary. There are so many days it feels like the end is near, and here I am, a young mother raising her babies and scared to think about how I can protect them. There are days I wish the Lord would just scoop all of us up and take us safely to His kingdom so we could escape this world. The truth is there are times I ask God why I had to be born in THIS age, where it feels like I won’t be able to live to see my children full grown and children of their own. How can I think to bring any more into this world when I doubt my ability to fully protect the two I have?

Then I think about the people who have gone before us. I wonder if they also felt like their generation was the last generation. I’m almost positive they did. Yet this feeling feels singular and isolating and it makes me want to move off the grid entirely. Perhaps being an adult is mainly about looking put together and mostly feeling like a helpless child in a grown up body.

This morning, I was turned towards John 16. Jesus is talking to his disciples, telling them of his coming departure. He does not sugar coat the conversation, but instead warns the disciples of the trials and difficulties that lie ahead. Verse 33 sums up his speech:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

I know it’s perfectly normal to be afraid and as much as I want to pretend that this world is going to be uneventful and safe for the duration of my life and the lives of my children and grandchildren, I know that I can’t give or get that guarantee. As much as I would like to crawl in a hole and wait for things to be my own brand of perfect, I can’t let my fear rob me of the joys I get to experience every day.

I think about the fear I feel now, and I hold it alongside the families trying to live in the midst of these atrocities. I’m not going to tell you what to believe, but I would hope that we do what we would want done for us. And I hope we have the strength to do the right thing, even if it is not popular, even without the guarantee of return.

For me, I am leaning into the fact that I don’t have to know all the answers, but I know the ultimate outcome.

He has overcome.

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I just wanted to share my favorite photos with you a little bit this morning. These photos are a glimpse into the last few weeks in our little household. We’ve went to Legoland and the aquarium with the kids, and little miss Bluebelle has started kindergarten. She’s a week in now and she loves it so much. According to her she has the best teacher ever and has no problem getting to sleep every night!

Enjoy the photo dump!

This was a picture before we went to Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium two weeks ago. I love how happy and excited they all are!

August 2015 (2 of 8)

This was little man watching his sister sing karaoke at the “princess” part of Legoland. It was very…pink in there.
August 2015 (3 of 8)

We loved the mini Lego city of Dallas! It was so cool to see it all in a smaller scale. Of course, we had to take a picture of Bluebelle at the Ballpark because it’s one of our favorite places!

August 2015 (4 of 8)

I didn’t get a lot of photos from the aquarium, due to lighting and such. It was a really cool experience, but pretty small. I don’t know if we’d pay to go there again. Thankfully, Todd had gotten us complimentary tickets to both. The sharks and the sting rays were pretty amazing to see!

August 2015 (5 of 8) August 2015 (6 of 8)

Finally, here’s a few quick back to school photos for both Bluebelle and Dean Bean! I had the hardest time preparing for Belle to go to school, but once the day was there, it was time to send her off without a tear. I just like to bawl for the weeks beforehand! haha! We’re already in love with her school and I don’t think she could have gotten a better teacher! I signed up to be a room mom… we’ll find out if that’s “on my beam” or not!

August 2015 (7 of 8) August 2015 (8 of 8)

Today was Dean Bean’s first day of Mother’s Day Out. I’ve actually never done that before. I’ve had the kids with me all day every day since 2010… but since we’re away from family and with Todd’s schedule, we decided that 10 hours a week for me to write and do anything I need to do sans kids was a pretty good idea. I wasn’t sad about this at all — I might have squealed “Dobby is FREE!” on my way to Starbucks. Maybe. I make no promises.

Since he’s the second kid and we were running fast and frantic this morning, I snapped a quick phone pic or two. No sign… because, well, it still says Kindergarten on it. He’s already playing and having fun and he has been wearing his backpack since 7 am.

…And they won’t upload right now. You can just check my Instagram. :)

This is quickly becoming a beautiful season of our lives. I’m thankful for it.

Have a great Tuesday!



Towels of gratitude.


Today as I was folding the laundry, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. You see, I have the same chores every single day. The same routine, the same house to clean, the same long list of things that need to be done. It never ends because as I finish one task, there is another to begin.

As I was folding that towel, I thanked God for the little bodies that use it. I inhaled its sweet fragrance and I was wrapped up in gratitude for the laundry soap I can afford and the washer and dryer I have to use every day. The laundry list of things I have to do every day are things that have to be done because I have the precious opportunity to have a family. I know that’s not something everyone gets to have.

When I think of giving thanks, I often think about Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. That book changed my life. The daily practice of giving thanks should be something everyone tries to do. To practice gratitude is to look through like with a tiny glimpse of God’s vision, it’s a humbling and completely fulfilling task – and it’s not always easy.

Yet long before I think of Ann, I am most often drawn to one of my favorite heroes of the faith, Brother Lawrence. He lived in a Carmelite monastery from 1611-1691. Was he a great theologian? Was he a preacher? An author? A person of high ranking?

He was a dishwasher.

He was a dishwasher, and yet he left behind one of the most significant pieces of literature about practicing the presence of God. You see, he spent every day of his life in an attempt to remain in constant communication with God. No task was too trivial for him. His daily life in the kitchens of his monastery was simple, but his revolutionary faith drew people from everywhere to him. After his death, his abbot collected the letters and notes from his life and compiled a book.

He wrote, “But when we are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us, this not only prevents our offending him or doing something displeasing in his sight (at least willfully), but it also brings to us a holy freedom, and if I may say so, a familiarity with God wherein we may ask and receive the graces we are so desperately in need of.”

Brother Lawrence encourages me because he shows me that there is no task that is too trivial for the presence of God. He is with me when I wash the dishes, when I fold the clothes, when I sweep the floor or wipe the countertops for the hundredth time. He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my thoughts. He knows me. (Psalm 139:2-4)

I may never be anyone beyond daily chores or wiping baby bottoms. This home is my mission field and I live among the natives. I may never hold a place of importance in the outside world. But if a 17th century dishwasher can revolutionize the way we practice our daily worship of God, there is no limit to what He can do when I submit myself to His will.

In case you think that this was easy for him, Brother Lawrence wrote that, “When I finally reached a point where I wanted to quit, I found myself changed all at once. In my soul, which until that time was in distress, I suddenly felt a profound inward peace as it it were in its true place of rest.”

It’s not until we give up trying to make things happen on our own accord and we relax in our own efforts and rest in the strength of God that we begin to feel His presence.

Be encouraged today. You don’t have to be the best, or the biggest, or anything that you think you have to be. You just have to rest in the knowledge that you are loved. “I considered that he was always with me, that he was even within me.” (Lawrence)

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” Colossians 3:23

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” (Col. 3:15)

You. are. loved.

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