Aug 16 2016

Adorned

Published by under Beauty,Blogs,Thoughts

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Last month, I had the sweet opportunity to host a little online party for LillaRose hair accessories, with my friend (and LR consultant) Kristi. To kick it off, we pulled together a small GoogleHangout time where half a dozen ladies from all three major US time zones got to laugh together, talk about hair, and watch Kristi demonstrate some fun hairstyles and products. In the midst of it, I actually got to hear the voice of a long-time penpal of mine… I wish I could remember when we actually began communicating… but I am certain we have written each other since I was about 15… so, we’ve known each other to some extent for 17 years, only ever through writing, until a few weeks ago. (((Samantha, you bless me.))) There were a couple other ladies that I had only communicated with online as well. Plus, Kristi is someone that I met online in 2009, but have visited in person twice in those seven years.

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At any rate, this was a unique little group and reminds me once again what some of the blessings are from living in this modern era. If someone like Martha Washington or Laura Ingalls Wilder or even my own Great Great Grandma Martha were to peek through the veil of time & peel back the mists of heaven, their eyes would grow big with wonder at what magic I was conducting:
Faces, live with movement on a screen.
Voices, clearly heard and easily conversing.
Miles and miles of distance between each one.
Invisible technology making the impossible possible.

But what else they would see would be familiar:
Women gathering together to encourage one another, to pursue feminine loveliness, to laugh joyfully, to connect with words and facial expressions what our hearts and emotions long to communicate.

As women, we long to be adorned.
As Christian women, we specifically long to reflect beauty in being Christ’s bride.
We long to be like Queen Esther, like the Proverbs 31 woman, like the faithful laboring women Paul commends.
We want to be fruitful, make an impact, leave an imprint.
We also want to be loved, needed, useful, fulfilled & fulfilling.
And deep down we even have a need to be beautiful, lovely, adorned.

Now. Hear me.
I’m not saying we need to conform to any specific definition or description of beauty.
But I think it is a very godly thing to pursue beauty and loveliness in the realm of femininity, of a physical nature and also of a spiritual nature.

Of course we can not put our trust or our hope in physical beauty.
Scripture tells us very plainly that beauty is fleeting, coupled with the vanity of charm.
But Scripture is also very plain about speaking admirably of beauty, and the way God created women to be attractive for His glory. He is enthralled with the beauty of His beloved.
Did you get that? Enthralled!! With BEAUTY!

I don’t know about you, but that is something that I should put up on my bathroom wall.
Or tape on the mirror.
Or tattoo on my eyelids. (Okay, maybe not.)

But this is turning into the long version, which is clearly my normal realm of comfort when it comes to words.
The short of it is this:
God loves beauty.
He gave us beauty.
There is nothing wrong with pursuing, enhancing, or highlighting the feminine loveliness that He gave us when He knit us as individuals.

 

So while you focus on beautifying your inner self (first things first, right?),
seeking a gentle and quiet spirit whose beauty is not fleeting but eternal…
Do not be afraid or ashamed to pursue physical loveliness.
While you are outwardly wasting away, inwardly you are being daily renewed (2 Cor. 4:16)
so remember that your King is enthralled with your beauty.
Beauty of all sorts.
You are altogether beautiful in His eyes, with no flaws (Song of Solomon 4:7).

Do not rest solely (1 Tim. 2:9-10) upon things like gold, jewels, expensive frocks and finery (or Lilla Rose hair clips!),
but be at peace in your heart, knowing that both inner & outer beauty is… well… lovely.

Think on these things.

You are more precious than rubies.
You are a tree of life to those who hold onto you.

Fear the Lord faithfully.
And be beautifully adorned.

One response so far

Aug 15 2016

He Makes All Things New

Acts 14:15

“…we bring you good news, that you should turn from vain things to the living God
who made the heaven and the earth and the sea
and all that is in them.”

Revelation 21:5

“And He who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I am making all things new.

Last month, I had the pleasure of participating in a webinar that focused on motherhood & building culture. One of the first things that really struck me in the conversations was when the presenter made the statement that this has never been done before. As a mom, as a homemaker, as a housekeeper ~ I can wonder sometimes why my job description feels so hard, so complicated, so downright daunting. I mean, really: this has been done for centuries. There is nothing new under the sun. Meals have been cooked, houses have been cleaned, homes have been made lovely havens, laundry has been endlessly done, hearts have been trained in the nurture & admonition of the Lord, brains have been educated, skills have been taught, books have been read, catechisms & Scriptures & musical pieces & multiplication tables have all been memorized… over and over and over again, generation upon generation, for centuries.

And living in the modern era of computers, washing machines, microwaves, riding lawn mowers (we do have 10,000 sq of thick grass!), and 2-day delivery of a thousand sundry items from dear old Amazon Prime, I should really have a heck of a lot easier time than many of my predecessors. In fact with reference to homeschooling, I should even have an easier time than my own mama did, who was something of a pioneer in the homeschooling world back in the 1980’s Silicon Valley. There were not the options of tutors, co ops, curriculum abundance, and things like the Homeschool Legal Defense Association were pretty cutting edge.

This can all make me easily wonder, So what’s MY problem?

And this brings me back to a little conversation from the webinar last month, where the idea was posited that this has never been done before.

Hm.

I am doing something new and groundbreaking and fresh and never-been-done-before.

Really???

Well. Yes. In a manner of speaking, with a certain perspective.

I have never done this before.
These particular kids have never done this before.
This specific family with these specific goals & ideals & worldview have never traveled this journey before.

Every day, I face a new phase of my calling.
Each morning when I wake up, not only am I older, but my children are older.
We break new ground every morning.
I have never parented an eight year old before.
I have never taught preschool and ladylike lessons to a daughter before.
I have never taught a child to cook before.
I have never managed a budget for a family of six before.

This is new. Every day. For each one of us.
I need to remember to keep this in my perspective.
Neither I nor my children know what we’re doing, have it all down pat, and know it all by memory.
We learn as we go.
Just like every other woman before me.

And sure, I have amazing modern assistance at my aid (hello, Google!) for everything from laundry scrubbing to coupon clipping to crockpot cooking to finding any answer to just about every question my curious little people could ever ask me (and I don’t even have to drive to the library anymore to figure out the dewey decimal system and pore over volumes to locate mediocre answers).
But I also have modern distractions, and unrealistic levels of comparison & expectations right at my fingertips.

Even when it comes to the grand blessing of living in this modern world and having practically the universe at my fingertips has both its pros and its cons.

It is okay to feel like these things are new.
I am made in God’s image.
And just like He once created the world, and all that therein is,
He continues to make all things new.
So while there was a time of beginning and firsts for me,
I too reflect Him when I realize & acknowledge & embrace
that I am also in the lifelong business of making all things new.

Creating precedes recreating.
And until my King stops time by His ultimate renewal,
this cycle will continue.

This is good.
It glorifies Him.
He continues to create and recreate (to once again make new)
even through my weary hands and often feeble attempts.
And I am thankful that He has chosen me, and my little people, for this good and hard journey.
I am thankful for simple words from other women in the trenches.
Simple reminders of basic truth.
Reminders like, “while it feels like this has been done before, it really hasn’t been.
You are breaking new ground every single day.
And groundbreaking things can sometimes break your back and strain the muscles.
It’s part of your calling.
Simply be faithful.”

Amen.

One response so far

Jul 28 2016

Beauty for your covering

Published by under Beauty,Links

Okay friends… this is outside my norm. Outside my comfort zone. But I love to share things I love. And these things called LillaRose FlexiClips fall broadly into that category. I love these. They get my hair to look gorgeous (whoa- that might have been said all too confidently, haha!) in two minutes flat, and are super versatile. I’ve only had three clips since April, but I am addicted to them.

So since I am buying a few more this week, I wondered if anyone else wanted to join me in some mid-summer shopping to help get our hair off our necks during this heatwave!
    
Aren’t they pretty? They are seriously the best hair things ever. Long hair, short hair, thin hair, thick hair… the special FlexiClip things are life-changing. You can see how to figure out your size and some hairstyles online. And since I “need” a couple new ones for Evangeline and me (with the heat, we like our hair up every day!), I just thought I would share the love with one of these online party things. 😉
Those three pics above are a couple of the ones that I want to get… clearly, the ballet slipper is for my 3 year old daughter who loves all things pink and frilly. The other two are for me, because I want to add some variety to my hair accessories.
I have a silver celtic knot one, Evangeline has a pink daisy, I also have an emerald one (I don’t think it’s a current style anymore) and a really pretty crystal one that is also discontinued. I am hoping to get the ballet slipper and the ladybug for Evangeline. :) And I also want to get myself one of the leather ones, and either the Keeya or the Roman Stone for myself as well. I wear them almost every day… so variety is nice. 😉
At any rate, this is kind of last minute… :) But I’m hosting a little online ordering party to share the love. LillaRose sells other things besides these clips, like head bands and bobby pins – and they are beautiful too, but it is the FlexiClip that is just amazing in my book. I can do without the other things, but the FlexiClips are now an indispensible part of my daily routine. I was hard to convince that my thick, unwieldy hair could be used in these successfully. But they can! They don’t fall out, they don’t break my hair, they don’t give me a headache. Amazing. People are constantly asking me how I fix my hair, or what the clips are, and it is so fun to take it out of my hair in order to try it out on someone else – and then the happiness I see in their eyes when they realize they can quickly & easily have a pretty hairdo too?! It gives me goosebumps.

So click here if you want to browse around and see some of the pretty things you can get. You can order things through this link for the next few days – through Monday night 8/1 (although I can extend that if you need).
So if you order through Sunday, you will get to use the July special… if you order on Monday, you can get the August special. Or if you’re like me, you may just want to do one of each! 😀

I have to deal with my hair every day of my life.
God gave it to me for a glory & a covering (just ask my 3 year old daughter why God gave her such beautiful hair, and she will tell you that!).

So spending a little extra money on something like this that will help me to enjoy the gift of my hair, and lift my spirits about this golden crown of locks each day, without me needing to spend much time on it… because let’s be honest, my entire “getting ready for the day” routine simply can’t take more than ten minutes (maybe 15 on a Sunday)… it’s worth it. I hope you enjoy pursuing beauty, too, as you embrace your glory & your covering for the praise of God our Creator!

Peace, love, joy, and beauty! :)
Melissa

2 responses so far

Jul 26 2016

Simeon James… seventy-five cents…

When I mentioned to the boys that Simeon was 9 months old yesterday, I added that it means he is 3/4 of a year old.
That seemed to confuse them until I explained that I meant it like if a year were a dollar, or a hundred pennies, he had reached three quarters’ worth, or seventy-five cents.

Asher was kind of troubled though… he said that Simeon is worth way more than $00.75!

And he’s totally right. LOL.
This little miracle is totally priceless.

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One response so far

Jun 29 2016

Lenses

It never ceases to amaze me how our experiences shape and color the lenses through which we look.

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Even something as simple as a devotional title this morning… it struck me…
My eyes read “Riding the Rollercoaster of Miscarriage.”
I was surprised to find, upon reading it & then going back to the top to double-check the title, that it was called “Riding the Rollercoaster of Marriage.”

Oh.
Whoops.
My bad.

Yesterday when I was picking my two big boys up from VBS, someone who I have known casually for over a dozen years made a comment about how perfectly spaced my children are. She seemed to be congratulating me for the beautifully placed stairsteps… and then she asked when the next baby would be on the way (to which my eyes stung and my heart silently cried oh, I wish).

Gulp.

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I breathed deeply to keep myself from breaking out into a sweat and allowing my heartrate to rise in anxiety.

I told myself quickly and quietly, she sees my family & me through different lenses.

Another deep breath, a squeeze of my little baby in my left arm & squeeze of my daughter’s hand in my right hand…
They do look stunningly like little stairsteps, I guess, was my reply with a smile.
I continued, Maybe you’d never know that there were nine other babies in there along the way.

I kept smiling, and the woman seemed to try processing my words.
She was blinking.
It’s like I was trying to share my lenses with her, but the glasses didn’t quite fit and the prescription was made for my eyes rather than hers.

Since it didn’t work well to share my lenses,
I just put them back on myself and let her keep her own.
Instead, I briefly explained what my view showed.
I described the picture’s colors to her, since she could not see their variety herself.

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We have nine little ones in heaven already. One before Gabriel, six between the big boys, and two between my youngest children.

When she commented that she “hoped I lost them early on,” rather than bristling that her lenses didn’t show her the colors & shadows & silhouettes & nuances more clearly,
once again I just described to her what my lenses show me.
They were young, yes, but they had beautiful little arms, legs, eyes, umbilical cords. I got to hold most of them. They have names. They are my children too, and I love them dearly. Honestly, I can’t wait to meet them in heaven. But until then, I sure am thankful for these four little miracle million-dollar-babies God has given us to raise.

It’s enough.
It is enough to realize that I see things differently than other folks. It goes both ways.
And I praise God that He is giving me peace with my lenses.
He continues teaching me how to see, how to share what I see, and how to learn what others see too.
With thankfulness, grace, contentment, joy.

I pray that He will continue to work on my eyes to better focus
on what He wants me to see in this world
and in the particular life He has given me.

One response so far

Jun 27 2016

Time’s Passage

Nine Years

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Eight Years

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Eight Months

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2 responses so far

Jun 27 2016

Photography Challenge, Weeks 21-24

Published by under Photography

Week 21: Artistic, Fantasy

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Week 22: Portrait, Focus on Hands

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Week 23: Landscape, Weather

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Week 24: Artistic, Sparkle

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Since I am so behind on these, I am giving you two peeks
for each week’s inspiration.
I can’t say I really felt like I hit any of them
nail-on-the-head…
But I had fun trying different things,
so it’s fun to share them anyway. :)

One response so far

Jun 22 2016

There are Days…

There are days when I am THAT mom.

When I bring my daughter to storytime at the library even though she is coughing with a bark like a seal. When she sits in the front row, squished between total stranger toddlers, and proceeds to loudly make friends between conversations, giggles, coughs, and interacting with the storytime leader. Not a wall-flower, this one. She made her presence known. Hand on hip. Ponytail flip. Giggle, cough, hack-up-a-lung.
Not only that, though: it’s also a day when I have baby poop on my fingers because I was dumb enough to see if the baby had filled his diaper, checking by feel rather than by sight or smell.

This was one of those days where I kind of felt like half the people, everywhere I went, must have been staring at me with wide eyes, wild cynicism brewing in their heads, stifled giggles behind their hands.

But instead of getting frustrated and focusing on what could be seen as mistakes, oversights, or faux paux… I just embraced it and smiled at myself. I giggled inwardly at my half-baked, tired little crew. Sick and poopy, to boot.

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I’m happy.
I’m blessed.
I have way more goodness and God’s grace in my life than I can describe or deserve. (which is why it is called GRACE, after all)
Nobody fell into a gorilla cage.
Nobody was dragged into a lagoon by an alligator.
I didn’t forget a child, strapped in a hot car while I went shopping.
There was no pickpocket, carjacker, or insane gunman on the scene.

It has been “one of those days.”
Where things are imperfect. And everybody seems to need a nap & an attitude adjustment.
But there are days, like today, where the imperfections just add to my joy and up my daily giggle quota.

There are days where I’m THAT mom.
And I couldn’t be more thankful that God has given me a girl (even when she’s sick), a baby (even when his poop gets all over me), a car to drive us around, provision to fill up the grocery cart again today (even though I already did it yesterday too), two big boys who are exhausted & sun-crisped from soccer camp, and a messy home (laundry room has a mountain in it, and please don’t check the kitchen sink out today)…

There are days where it’s just THAT good.
And I love it when I have the eyes to see it.

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3 responses so far

Jun 21 2016

Be Encouraged, Mamas!

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I recorded a little voice memo for myself not long after my husband bought me an iPhone.
“Be encouraged. The work you are doing may be hard, and you’re in the thick of it.
But you are doing GOOD WORK.”

I often think about the good works God planned long ago for me to walk in.
Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Good work of doling out cough medicine when little chests are croupy.
Good work of a shopping trip through the grocery store with four little ones in tow right at naptime.
Good work of getting everyone up, dressed, fed, pottied, and out the door by 8am for sports camp or VBS.
Good work of saying yes to park playdates with Auntie & cousins.
Good work of saying no to too many other playdates or too much martial arts practice.
Good work of washing diapers, wiping bums, changing sheets, washing towels, serving Goldfish & blueberries for afternoon snack.
Good work of disciplining little wayward hearts.
Good work of practicing self-denial and self-control on my own part.
Good work of admitting faults and asking forgiveness when I too give in to my own wayward heart.
Good work of planning dinner for tonight, even if fruit salad and tortellini is as far as I’ve gotten so far.
Good work of kissing booboos and covering owies with bandaids.
Good work of providing reading material, piano books, math facts worksheets, and audio books.
Good work of praying with my children, even if I feel like it is a wrestling match just to quiet them for giving thanks.
Good work of running errands, driving kids to events, fellowshipping with others, washing dishes, unloading groceries, and having an afternoon cup of coffee to ensure I make it through playtime, dinnertime, and bedtime with open eyelids.

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I may not be on a short term mission trip in Africa, evangelizing people who have never met King Jesus.
But I am on a long term evangelical mission right here in my own home, discipling little people who do know King Jesus and who desperately want to serve & love Him better.
I am in the business of Good News sharing, Gospel living, Kingdom expanding work.

I am in this for the long haul.
I’m doing my best.
My little disciples spend some days as faltering as Peter
and other days as unassuming as James.
I try not to spend too many days as doubtful as Thomas.

This is the work God has given me to do.
Right now.
Right here.
For this is the time and the season for it.

Oh! It is hard work. But it is GOOD.
And sometimes, I just have to remind myself of that.
God Himself prepared these works for me to walk in.

I spend a lot of time and energy and heart being an encourager.
I write notes of encouragement all the time.
It’s something I am known for, and it’s just because of Jesus’ grace.
Being an encourager-of-others is a good work God has called me to.
Of course my children are one of the main groups where I pour myself out in encouragement.
My husband also needs my encouragement, and I seek to find the ways that best encourage him.
I am continuing to grow in this skill.
I want to hone this good work to which God has called me!

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But I admit that there are too-often times where I feel a lack of encouragement myself.
Where is my report card?
Where is my annual review?
Where is my own to-do list all neatly checked off & squared away?

There are days when nothing is as sweet as a kind word of encouragement while maneuvering a large unwieldy grocery cart…
You know the moment…
The moment when I think the cart is so top-heavy and overloaded that it might topple over at the next aisle corner…
The moment with one on my back, one in the cart seat, and one on either side of me (“at their station” ~ which phrase may only make sense to those other young mamas who have read much Rachel Jankovic!), but all four making conversation with me in a simultaneous cacophony…
The moment where I’m so hungry I might pass out, the baby smells strongly of spit-up, the big kids ask if they can break into the container of blueberries, and suddenly the three year old declares they are in imminent need of a potty break.

That is the moment when, recently in my experience, an older woman with grace and joy and kindness (and smile lines!) simply said to me, “you’re doing a good job, mama.” I thought I heard the angels singing.
She smiled, I said thank you, my kids smiled at her and tried quickly introducing themselves all in the same breath, and we continued on.
Not four aisles over, an older gentleman with life-worn hands and the passage of time spilling from his eyes touched my arm gently with his hand, saying, “you’ve got good kids. They must be loved very much.”
I responded, “oh yes I do and yes they are! I can not even tell you.”

Like a cup of cool water.
The reminder from been-there-done-that perspective of older, wiser folks.
The encouragement that this is good stuff.
It may be hard, it may be heavy, and there may be moments where I wonder if it’s all truly going well.

Weeks later, I am still lifted up and encouraged by the words of those two people that day.
In the interim, I have been able to dip my own ladle in and share some of that cool water with others.
A cranky looking pregnant girl who had that familiar look of large discomfort – I simply told her she was beautiful.
A mom with little children acting like monkeys, who looked like she was about to totally lose her cool – I smiled at her understandingly and said, “I get it. I would offer you some chocolate, but I don’t have any! I’ve got gum!” She didn’t want the gum, but she appreciated the laugh and the moment to catch her breath.

Be encouraged, mamas.
Encourage one another, too.
Walk in the good works God prepared for you.
And when you can’t see the goodness, just believe it.
It takes faith.
But that’s encouraging too.

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3 responses so far

Jun 02 2016

A Child’s World

I set my children up with some map puzzles this morning.
The eight year old with one of the world…
The four year old with one of the United States…

But apparently it has been a little while since we’ve done geography on this level,
because the younger one suddenly bursts out,
“Mommy!! Mommy!! Neverland!! I found Neverland!! I found it!!”
and then the older one gets a puzzled look on his face and responds,
“But I thought I had it…”

What puzzle pieces are they holding?
Gabriel is holding the Netherlands
while Asher holds Nevada

Yep. I live in a child’s world.
Where reality and imagination mingle and blend.
Where the idea of Neverland being found on a real map
is as reasonable as a stop in America or Europe.

It is full of wonder and beauty.
As it should be.
Because, after all, our world was made with simple words.
Magic.
God’s best magic.
“Let there be….”

We do live in a magical world,
made by our Father’s spoken command.
If we have the eyes to see it,
we can embrace the fact that fiction is simply a reflection of nonfiction,
imaginary lands a reflection of the magical world in which we actually dwell.

May we have the eyes to see the glory of the world we live in,
a world created by a loving Father for His children to cultivate.

3 responses so far

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