Friday, June 30, 2017

Just Bein' Kinda Choosy

Today, I'm sharing a few snapshots from our Memorial Day parade.  My parents drove the the girlies' 4H club float.  We even got to sit on the back of the truck and throw candy to all the locals.  It was so much fun, that I decided I want to throw candy every year!  Besides, we got to pick out all the good stuff and sample it to make sure it was "safe."  Good times!  

My heart is so full on this journey for joy.  The way the Lord has spoken to me and changed me over the last month has been like a breath of fresh air.  I feel like I've had a glimpse into the joy-filled life that God intends.  

When I try to sum it all up in one conversation, I walk away wondering what I really said and if I even managed to convey one-tenth of the good things that are happening in me.  Can I summarize it?  Can I give the ten second version?  Hardly, but I'll give a good shot at sharing some more with you anyway.

My dad used to remind me often that "you choose your attitude." 

Even though that was drilled into me at a young age, I still think maybe I needed an attitude adjustment in this area of late.  My attitude choices haven't been so great recently.  Motherhood is a like a giant minefield of ways to get grumpy, if you're not careful... or choosy.

Mamas, we really do choose our attitude. 

After a particularly busy day today, I strode through our home, reflecting on the Source of our joy.  It is an unspeakable joy, a joy full of glory, since it stems from so great a salvation.  

That's a joy that is dependent on nothing.  Yes, absolutely NOTHING.

I was "chewing" on this today.  

My joy doesn't come from a tidy home.  
My joy doesn't come from order.
My joy doesn't come from quiet.
My joy doesn't come from a good or decent night's sleep.
My joy doesn't come from kids who always behave.
My joy doesn't come from sunshine.

My joy doesn't come from green mountains and blue skies.
My joy doesn't come from being appreciated.
My joy doesn't come from being treasured.
My joy doesn't come from relaxation.
My joy doesn't come from good times.

My joy doesn't come from my to-do list being done.
My joy doesn't come from chocolate.  
My joy doesn't come from eating out.
My joy doesn't come from getting away.
My joy doesn't come from perfection.

My joy comes from Jesus.  

Most of the above things are good and right in their place, but that's not where my joy comes from.  

Because of where my joy comes from, I can choose joy at any moment and in any moment.  

When the whining starts, choose joy.

When the bickering is more confusing than ever, choose joy.

When you feel like all you do is "fetch things," choose joy.

When the stress increases, choose joy.  

Even amidst the million nothings and somethings that I do every day, during every circumstance and situation, I can be full of joy.  

Join me in making that good choice today, choosing the joy that Jesus made a way for, the joy that never fades, that transcends all circumstances.  Your joy.


Check out other posts in this series:
Cry Out For It
About Those Bags

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Blossoming Unhurriedly

Quite often, you all get to enjoy my hobbyist approach to photography, but there is a retired wedding photographer in our family.  I love utilizing my sister's amazing skills and today, I'm sharing some of those skills with you.

Blossom4 turned four this April, but due to a rash on her face and what seem to have become her trademark facial scrapes, we put off her photo shoot for well-nigh a month.  

I gained permission from a friend of mine, and we trekked down the hill to a charmingly dilapidated barn foundation, which I'd noticed during an egg hunt earlier this year.  We pressed through the weeds and did what busy creative mamas do ~ wrangled six children for five minutes, to get picturesque shots of a Colonially dressed sweetheart.  

Impressively enough, we did all that while managing to keep all the little people and ourselves out of any "itchy" weeds.  #realsuccess

Blossom4 is an immense blessing to this family in so many ways.  

Her fiery personality fits right in with all the rest of the zest and zeal here.  

She has no problem being heard in her "herd."

She relishes attempting inventive escapades.  

Her tiny frame and delicate blond locks evoke "pixie" references often.  

I'm so glad she still enjoys a good snuggle.  This little one ministers love to our hearts every day.

Afterward, I grabbed my barefoot pixie so we could journey to the creek for a little rustic fun.  

My nephew, aka Huck Finn, and I got some "Aunt Domi" time too.  Secretly, I think he likes me because my snack cupboard is buffet style and because I closely resemble his mother.  But, I'm pretty okay with that.  He is as chary with his affections as my little girls are and were.  

They too blossomed unhurriedly, in much the same wholesome way a brook doesn't seem to hurry along.  What a treasure to have this verdure so close to our place.  

And, hey, do you recognize that bridge?  

Yep, it's still standing.  Huck Finn is clearly impressed with its engineering.

Happy Tuesday, friends!


Friday, June 23, 2017

Walking With Family

I guess we're a "hound" family, as the Rugged Mountain Man would say.  After a delectable Memorial Day meal, we set off on a jaunt up the Hollow with four canine family members in tow.  

Yes, FOUR.  

Jake, the golden retriever
Rory, the Bernese mountain dog
Boomer, the labradoodle
Eliza, the mini golden doodle, who the girls have now dubbed, Rory's girlfriend.  The latter two "hounds" are my mother and father-in-law's doggies.  

With that many hounds, at least we knew there'd be enough hands to go around.  The only problem was how to decide who was going to hold Grammie's hand and who got to hold which leash.  Not that we had a discussion about those things or anything.  I definitely wouldn't know that from experience.

The weather was divine and I adore country road traffic.  

Read: There was NONE.

May is wildflower month around here and we soak it up slowly and thoroughly.

Dame's rockets are some of my favorites, and combined with the dusky rays of magical sunlight, something in my heart heaves a small sigh of satisfaction.  

It's the same sigh that whispers, "Life is good."  

Not that wildflowers, scenic country roads or good company can really and truly make life good, but they are some of the intangible riches I have in this world.

They are a few of the things that can be conduits of peace in my little existence.  

Holding hands, smiling at little things and capturing the memories in my heart to put away and savor later are sources of joy for me.  

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, 
coming down from the Father of lights..."  

James 1:17


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

About Those Bags

There are so many hard seasons of motherhood.  The times they don't sleep at night, potty-training, bad attitudes and baffling phases, plus all the outside stressors.  There are family commitments, volunteer commitments and children's extra-curricular activities. 

Motherhood can just be hard.  Add in the fact that your sleep patterns are so different than the pre-children era.  I've thought sometimes that I'd be a much nicer mama, if I wasn't so stinkin' tired!

I'm not an excuses type of person, so I don't actually think that fatigue is a legit excuse for being cranky with the Blossoms or responding in anything less than a Godly manner. 

With all the hard seasons behind and ahead, I felt like maybe I dreaded the especially busy, stressful times. 

That's the thing though.  There will be hard seasons. 

I love what Bonnie Greiner said. 

"Unpack your bags." 


Yes, "unpack your bags" and get happy here. 

It isn't really living to yearn for your one week vacation all year long, instead of savoring the other fifty-one weeks of your real, every day life.

This is life.  Hard seasons, busy seasons, sweet seasons, fun seasons, gorgeous seasons, baffling seasons, easier seasons, just-take-another-breath seasons.  All of it.  It's all of the daily-daily that the Lord has called me to. 

This is what I've wanted ever since I can remember.  Instead of wishing for an easier tomorrow, 
I'm choosing to embrace the hard today... with joy. 


We discovered these butterflies on a jaunt by the creek during a recent over-nighter to our beloved cabin. Maybe God knew I wanted to go to a butterfly exhibit really bad. Blossom4 was mesmerized by their fluttering, feathery wings.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Cry Out For It

I was standing in the yard barely two weeks ago.  I paused there, looking around at the good, good life the Lord has given me, when I realized it. 

"I need more joy." 

I'm going through the motions, the good motions, but the motions nonetheless.  I know the right thing and I try my hardest to do it.  I spend time every morning with the Lord.  What I do, I do unto the Lord.  

I'm just a little tired.  Actually, I've been tired for the last eleven years and I feel like maybe it has caught up with me. 

I told the Lord, "I need you to show me what to do, to show me how to get more joy." 

One week later I was at the convention, standing in front of a table with stacks of books.  I stopped at her stand because her sign graphics were pretty.  I like pretty graphics, they inspire me.  Then, this title caught my eye. 

by Bonnie Greiner

Being naturally skeptical of most fix it type books, I began leafing through it while nonchalantly eavesdropping on the conversations around me.  After noting at least five things in the book that applied to me and spoke to my need, I handed her the five bucks and started to cry. 

I've cried at the convention before.  It's a place of inspiration, a place where God reinforces the vision of parenting and discipleship in my heart.  I've come to enjoy this annual working retreat.

I need answers.  I need Truth.  I want to grow, always, always grow. 

I devoured my new book in two days and then, I soaked in it for the next week and a half, letting God assimilate the changes into my life.  I spent one more day reveling in God's great care for me, one small woman on this big Earth.  He took the time to make sure I stumbled on this book.  One woman's testimony of finding joy in serving her family members and choosing joy every day blessed me exponentially. 

In my time of need, He sent me a word. 

Our God is not partial; He has no favorites.  Cry out to Him in your time of need.  He will answer the pleas of a humble heart.

And, mamas, if you're just plain tired, cry out for joy.

All photos snapped on our recent date night jaunt out on the lake.  It was divine!