On How I Write…Some Blog Hop Fun

I don’t participate in many blog hops, but when I got an email from sweet Jennifer over at A Girl on the Doorstep, I was honored that she asked me to join in so here I am! :) Jennifer, if you don’t already know her, is a amazing writer and she recently released her new book “Nothing to Hold but Hope.”  Jennifer understands all too well the pain of infertility, stillbirth and loss and yet she has walked through those moments with faith. An inspiration for anyone going through a difficult situation. Thank you Jennifer for thinking of me to be a part of this blog hop!  ***An update this week and a prayer request. Last week Jennifer suddenly lost her step-father to a heart attack. It has been a huge blow to her and she wrote a beautiful post about how she is today. Would you please be in prayer for her and her mother as this is a time of incredible loss for their entire family!***

Writing

So for this challenge we were given 4 questions and then asked to share 3 more women who will be doing the same on their blogs next week. So first the questions and then the real fun will come! ;)

1.  What am I writing or working on?

When I first saw this question I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be doing this because I haven’t written a lot lately. No book on the horizon, no blog post gone viral…just me and my words here a few times a week.  But that is ok. I think at times I diminish what I do if it doesn’t seem “big” enough. But I was encouraged this past Sunday when one of the missionary families that our church supports came to speak. Sammy reminded us to be a light in the darkness. If we have a talent for speaking, speak light. If writing is our gift, be a light there. So while I don’t have anything really specific that I am working on, I hope that for the most part, the posts that you will find here are filled with hope and light!

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

While there are a TON of Christian writers out there, each of us offers a unique voice, a story that is each our own, don’t you think? While other woman may know the pain of infertility or miscarriage and can relate to that part of my story…we each experience it in a different way. Marriage is tough and I share my struggles here at times to offer hope (and as a “this is how NOT to do things” kind of perspective) :)  but no 2 couples go through the exact same struggles.  That is one thing I love about the blogging community. We find commonality and yet each of us, working at being that light, has a very personal twist on those similar themes. When I started blogging in 2008 I felt like I had finally found a place where I belonged! A place where I could be me, and yet find hope and encouragement from other women who had been there as well.

3. Why do I write what I write?

Typically I write as I feel God leads me. I share stories about marriage and parenting and my faith life and walk. My life hasn’t been easy. I have made a LOT of mistakes over the past almost 40 years, and yet God has been so faithful to me. I don’t want to keep quiet about that! I think that my mistakes and experiences can offer hope, because there is so much hope found through Christ. It isn’t anything that I have done, but rather the life changing work that has been done through me because I trusted God even the littlest bit to lead me down His path. I want other women who stop here to know that they are not alone! There is hope, even in the darkest of times. That they should seek after and follow their crazy God-sized dreams because it is worth it! I started blogging as a result of a miscarriage that I needed to process. For a time I thought I would make blogging my money-making career (insert snort) and I focused on trying to be the next “it” blogger. Today I write because God has given me the words to share about His redemption in my life. Hopefully my writing will be a reflection of His grace and mercy and bring Him glory. It is just so not about me…but about all God continues to do through me that I write today.

4. How does my writing process work?

Well if this were blogging 101 I would tell you that if you want to be a writer, you should write even when you don’t have the words. Just write. The reality for me is that I write when I feel inspired. I pray in the shower in the mornings and will listen for the Spirit’s leadings, sometimes I write as a result of that. Other times I will see or hear something and the idea for a post will come to mind. I have several from my vacation a few weeks ago. I haven’t written a single post but I have notes written in the Notes section of my phone. At the time writing the posts wasn’t possible, mostly because I didn’t want to take time away from my family, so I jot down notes or a theme and hopefully can write a post later. I usually try to write early in the mornings so I am not taking time away from other people/things…but there are times that I really feel like I just HAVE to write and those I will just do as soon as possible, regardless of the time of day. I am the kind of writer that, when I feel God’s leading, can write a fairly long post in less than 15 minutes. So if you stop here and it has been awhile since I have posted…well I am not “forcing” the words I am probably working through some things with God…learning a few heart lessons, and will share those as He leads!

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Ok so enough about me and now on to the really fun part!! I have been so blessed by blogging and the women I have met. They encourage and inspire, they “get” why I do this and it is my pleasure to introduce you to 3 women I have “met” because of blogging. Next week they are going to join in the fun and answer these questions themselves so please jump over and read those as well! I know you will love them like I do! :)

Sarah

I have been reading Sarah’s blog the longest. She writes at The Teacher’s Wife and has posts each week that focus on family, saving money and shopping with a budget etc. She is a SAHM to 2 adorable kiddos and is expecting another – her daughter is only 10 days older than my girl too!! I found Sarah’s site after she lost her precious son Andrew to stillbirth. He would be 5 this August. Sarah has such a wisdom and grace about her and even though she has faced incredible loss she has a strong faith. It is an honor to know her!

“Sarah is the wife of a handsome history teacher and mom to 5 children {Savannah is 3.5 yrs, Brady is 21 months, she has 2 babies waiting on her in heaven, and 1 more due to arrive in the fall}. When she’s not spending time with her kids and husband, she’s blogging, couponing, drinking Diet Coke, and eating chips and salsa with her girlfriends. She’s living out her lifelong dream of being a stay-at-home mom, but learning so much more from her kids than she could ever teach them. She is living one blessed life and thankful to for God’s daily dose of grace.”

 

Maria

Maria has been leaving me the sweetest, most encouraging comments over the past year here in my space. She is a natural encourager, she shares posts and tweets them. She is a woman that you want in her corner. I don’t write posts for the comments, but I can tell you that they are always such a blessing to me, it is affirming to know that someone else gets where you are coming from! :) Maria has also been participating in Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart Encouragement Challenge this year  - run to her blog and check out more of her posts like this one! You will be blessed!

“Maria is an entrepreneur-project manager who delights in having creative fun with a team while making things happen efficiently. Her God-sized dream is about designing works of heART that touch, tickle and inspire. She has produced segments for TV and loves to play with technology in real life.

People will tell you the first thing they see in her is bubbly energy and enthusiasm. That’s true. Then they’ll likely shake their heads recalling how she’s also soft and gentle. Someone who’s easily moved to tears and laughs a whole lot too. Like Eric Liddell when she runs, she feels God’s pleasure and enjoys playing volleyball every week with the most awesome friends on earth.

She exists to bring joy to life. A woman of faith, Maria is the eternal optimist who loves people more than anything. And, oh yes, she’s all for sharing, On line and in real life!”

 

 Heather

My final introduction is fellow God-sized Dream Chaser Heather! Heather blogs over at 40YearWanderer. We are in an (in)courage group together for God-sized Dreamers and encouragement is her super-power! She recently started an online community to do just that. What a blessing to find such beautiful women online who want to pour into others! Head on over to her site and I know you will want to grab a cup of your favorite drink and stay awhile! :)

“Heather, self-appointed “Ellipses Queen”, is a Super Race-Runner after Jesus’ own heart. She loves to live #ALLIN for Him as a loved wife, proud mom, encourager to many, deep soul lover, big time laugher, and freelance writer. She is currently writing two books – an autobiographical devotional and a Q&A book, with a panel of nearly 50 people from around the globe, about how God and faith factor into our lives.

Heather writes at 40YearWanderer where she welcomes you to share soul-deep. She has wandered through a life full of some incredible {hard and wonderful!} things… all of which God has laid on her heart to share. She can also be found sharing whimsical funnies on Facebook. She’d love to connect with you!”

Please jump over and give all of these women some encouragement today, I know you will be blessed in return by each of them! 

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver

A South Dakota “Bacation” (goes to Wyoming) – Part Six

Alright, last but not least I have to share about our South Dakota, turned Wyoming, vacation stop! I haven’t ever been to Devil’s Tower, I have seen pictures, but it was another few hours farther West.

We decided that if we got going on our last full day at a reasonable time, it would be worth it to make the drive over the border to Wyoming because we were already so close.

Man was it worth it! What a site!

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It is pretty amazing seeing these rolling hills and then this tower of rock dominating the landscape!

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Once we parked there was a trail that some of us decided to hike around the base of the tower.

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You almost can’t see it, but at the far left of the tower (picture above) a little more than halfway down, there was a climber. There were several actually and they need permission to go up! I am sure Isaac is planning a trip back there some day to do just that!

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Apparently there is a wooden ladder on one side of the tower…you could look through these spyglass deals and see it. Karlena didn’t fully understand she needed her eye open though! :)

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Birds circling the top.

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This tree was so interesting and unique I had to take a picture!

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Here are the prayer bundles that they warned about touching!

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The hike around the tower was a little over a mile. Karlena led the way most of the time.

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It was a wonderful way to spend our last day of vacation!

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Have you ever been to Devil’s Tower?

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Five

I don’t know that you can take a trip to South Dakota without stopping through Custer State Park. What a beautiful part of the State!

After our pontoon ride on Thursday we were only an hour or so away from Custer so we headed down that way. Our first stop was the Needles Highway.

Custer State Park 3

HUGE rock formations and narrow driving paths make this a fun adventure. Unless you are a over sized motor home who has come to a narrow, one-way tunnel and you have a line of traffic behind you and you can’t go forward, and you can’t turn around. It was a bad day for that family!! (I wish I had taken a picture – they had to close that section of the Needles Highway for a time!)

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There were several spots to get out and climb (this mama’s worst nightmare as my kids scaled up the sides of the rocks)

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Karlena would have loved to do this on her own!! I on the other hand thought Dominic had to go with her!

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The we decided to head to the Custer Wildlife Loop in hopes to see some Bison.

It was HOT and sunny and I think all of the animals were hiding in caves somewhere….thus no wildlife, and no pictures…

Oh wait we saw a smooshed snake in the middle of the road. I didn’t take a picture ;)

On our way back home we were heading through Custer (the town) and saw Scott’s Rock Shop. It was a find after a disappointing bison search. We were probably there over an hour and we spent WAAAAY too much money on rocks and treasures but the kids loved it and if I am honest the adults did too!!

If you head to South Dakota, Custer State Park is a MUST stop!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Four

In the middle of the week we took a morning and Dominic, Isaac and I went into Rapid City and had a tour of a potential college choice, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. It was a small campus, but we got a nice tour and if Isaac decides to pursue Engineering it will likely be a top contender. So crazy that we are having to makes these kinds of decisions already!

One thing I would say about vacations is to schedule in a down day. For almost every day we were in the Hills we were going, going, going. By Friday Gabriel asked if we could not drive somewhere and just stay home. So next year we are going to try and do that.

On Thursday morning we did something pretty fun, we rented a 22ft pontoon boat at Lake Sheridan. Gabriel really wanted to do some fishing, and my parents had done this with us last year when we were out there and it was a lot of fun, so we thought it would be fun again!

Lake Sheridan

We didn’t think of the idea until Tuesday so finding a place that had boats large enough for our group was difficult. The only boat we could find during a 3-day period was Thursday from 8am-1pm. It seemed early in the morning and I was worried it would be cold, but the day ended up being perfect!

Karlena fishing

Karlena caught the first of 4 fish. It was the cutest thing ever! Once it got in the boat she wanted to look at it but didn’t want to touch it! :)

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I even caught a fish, we got 4 rainbow trout. It was awesome. Elijah posed with the one I caught!  I felt bad because Gabriel didn’t catch anything that day but it was still a blast.  The boat had a fish finder on it so the kids would watch that and then yell that a “big one” was coming!

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It was perfect weather, got a little warm even. But we had snacks and juice pouches etc. with us so it was a wonderful time on the water…even wore Karlena out completly!

Lake Sheridan

If we ever go back out there we will definitely do this again. It was only $165 for the 5 hours, the pontoon was plenty big for our group and the lake was beautiful! Fishing in a pontoon is so much easier than a small fishing boat because the kids had plenty of room to walk around and it didn’t sway the boat any.

We even did some swimming, well the bigger kids did. But the water was ice cold so they stuck really close to the boat. Karlena even wanted to go in so Isaac helped her a little, but once her legs got in that cold water she was over it! :)

Have you ever rented a boat like this? What was your favorite part?!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Three

For those of you sticking along with all the vacation posts, thanks! :) I know it can get boring to read about someone else’s vacation…but I wanted to post these so that I don’t forget everything we did. I didn’t do this last year, I did 1 big post I think and there were so many things I wished I had written down. So this is all about me! ;)

The only tough thing about vacationing with a large group is deciding what we should do each day! We had a range of ages between adults and kids and so tried to find things that we could do that worked for everyone.

We decided to check out Wonderland Cave on Tuesday.

Wonderland Cave

There are several caves in South Dakota that you can explore. This cave was about 30 minutes from our rental home and had the least amount of steps…so we thought it was the best bet for everyone.

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Gabriel and Elijah waiting for our tour to begin.

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Karlena loved this covered wagon…it would have been even better with real horses. She wants to ride a horse SO bad!

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After a short hike down a trail we came to the entrance of the cave. Our tour guide Kyle was quite a character…he made the tour interesting to say the least! :)

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Caves are pretty cool. Have you ever been in one? The only downfall was the steps were pretty steep and because of all the rain they had had the week before we came the steps were wet. A little scary at times, especially with the little ones!

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They called those formations bacon! :)

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The tour was about 45 minutes long and the kids loved it (well all except our niece Ari…she just turned 2 and wanted to walk on her own, but because of the slippery steps she couldn’t so she was upset about that! :(  But I think all in all it was a fun experience for everyone.

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A random picture of Isaac that he actually let me take of him! :) Have to have something for his senior graduation party!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Two

The first full day we spent in South Dakota was a little cold and windy. We decided to take a drive out to Spearfish Canyon. I wasn’t a smart mama and didn’t pack a jacket for anyone…it was sunny and warm when we left the house and after we drove for awhile, the weather got much cooler! Lesson learned – always pack a sweatshirt/jacket even if it seems we won’t need one!

Road Selfie

My only South Dakota Selfie! :)

Spearfish Canyon is really beautiful. You drive through and there are so many beautiful things to look at and these little pull-off areas where you can park, hike and explore.  Even though it was colder, because we were down in the canyon it wasn’t windy like it had been in Deadwood when we had driven through there earlier that morning.

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon

When we planned to be out for the full day we would pack lunches and bring them with us. Saves money and time, and we could eat whenever we wanted to without having to find a restaurant for 16 people!

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The kids loved being able to explore for “treasures”…searching for cool rocks with different colors kept them busy for a long time!

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Karlena Rock Hunter

Throughout the canyon there are a couple of different waterfalls to stop and take pictures of.

Spearfish Canyon Waterfall

We had lunch by this one!

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Elijah was REALLY excited about seeing this waterfall!

Elijah Waterfall Celebration

He was running around and celebrating, it was hillarious!

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Isaac enjoyed the climbing the most. Any place we stopped he looked for places to climb. Once again this mama’s heart skipped many a beat watching him scale the rocks!

We had a fun day in Spearfish Canyon – have you ever been there? Dominic and I were there in late October one year and hoped to see the colors changing, but we were about a week late and  it snowed that weekend so all the leaves were falling! :)

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part One

Our family was blessed to be able to spend over a week away from home, vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I wanted to post while we were there, but I have read that one needs to be careful about blogging about a vacation during a vacation for security reasons…so I kept it quiet until we got back.

Karlena kept calling it our “bacation”…and the name stuck!

It is a LOT of work getting ready for vacation isn’t it? I was stressed before we left, but when we hit the road on Saturday afternoon we were all excited to go. It is fun to see the changes in scenery and one of the first things we noticed were fields and fields full of this yellow plant.

Fields of "moo-stard"

I asked Dominic what it was and he said it was “moo-stard” plants. Later in the week we were told it was sweet clover (boo)…fields of moo-stard (the Grey Poupon type) is a much more fun thought!

We decided to drive only 1/2 way the first day. Our kids don’t love being in the car for long drives…and staying in a hotel with a pool is a rare treat…so we did that. On Sunday morning we got up early and drove through the Badlands. Karlena wanted to go through the “Goodlands” instead….she was afraid of the Badlands.

Until she got there and we got out so the kids could climb around.

Climbing in the Badlands

Karlena has AMAZING skills when it comes to scaling rocks with no help. I had near heart attacks multiple times that week. She has NO fear! Dominic said it is as though she can look at the rocks and visualize the path she needs to take and she does that. I would have felt better if she were wearing a harness!

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Gabriel climbing as well!

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The only picture Dominic and I took together and I don’t think we got a single family picture…although I took over 100 pictures every day!

We went on to Wall Drug, which was crowded and overpriced…but it was fun to walk through for an hour or so. Riding the horse was the most fun Karlena had! She is obsessed with riding a horse! :)

Wall Drug

We rented a home near Nemo, SD. Dominic’s parents, his brothers and their families joined us as well. The house was in a remote, yet great location for us to travel throughout the Hills every day. We saw a deer each night around 7pm and on our final morning there we had a flock of wild turkeys. (Neither of which I was able to get pictures of!)

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When I hiked out from the back of our house I came to a clearing and this was my view. It was beautiful. I got some great videos of the wind and the grass and trees…I have a post idea just for that and will hopefully share soon!

God’s majesty was just so evident here. I know that it is all around us, but here, in a place with little cell service and no distractions…I just was more aware than ever of how amazing this planet of ours is!

I have lots more to share with you….but want to break this up for my families sake…so we can remember everything. So be back with more soon! :)

Where have you vacationed recently? I am looking for ideas for next summer already! :)

 

 

Even in the Middle of a Long, Dark Night

Praise and Worship

It has been relatively silent around these parts for a week now. My family and Dominic’s extended family went on a vacation. 10 days away from work was wonderful and while I learned some good lessons, and experienced God’s beauty in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I haven’t had the time to process and write all that I would like to. Hopefully I will make some time soon!

But for now I need to share a story with you.

One of the things that I learned this past week was that God is always making time for me. There is opportunities to see His beauty, feel His presence all around me if I am open to seeing and receiving it. And while He was faithful to me, I admittedly, didn’t take much time for Him this past week.

I had big plans of setting an early alarm and going for a walk by myself for quiet time and listening to that mornings Bible verses for my group study of Acts right now.  The reality was I was exhausted and needed mornings with no alarm. I slept most days 2 hrs longer than I usually do. And while the catch up was wonderful, as the week went on I could see the reflection of my missed time with God in my attitude and behavior.

Apparently the longer I spend NOT in prayer with God, or learning about Him the more self righteous and indignant I get. Ugh.

An argument with my husband and hurt words said at the end of the week was not how I wanted things to end, and honestly, I wasn’t too happy with God about it either (I’d rather blame anyone else then take responsibility for myself! ahem)….All that to say it is good to be back home and in my routine (well everything except the early morning exercise…that will come next week, I hope!)

Yesterday I was back at it though and we read Acts 16. Or in my case I listened to it on my Biblegateway app which is AWESOME. Seriously listening to the Word being read aloud has opened my ears to things I think I would have skimmed over if I had been reading it!

A lot happens in Acts 16. Paul and Silas meet, they want to go 1 direction but clearly feel the Spirit of Jesus stopping them so they follow His leading and go another way. (How awesome is that by the way?!)

They meet Lydia, who we are told is a woman of God and because of her faith her whole household is baptized. So encouraging for any woman who may be in a situation where the husband is not the spiritual leader of the home (a whole different blog post!)

And then they do some demon casting out and get arrested, charged, beaten with rods and thrown in prison.

Um, hello God!! What is this?!

But you know what Paul and Silas do?

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 

Yep, that’s right. In the midst of a trial – a real one…not just a silly argument with a spouse, but a big, yucky, knock you down trial, they are praising God. Singing to Him and the prisoners hear.

And then there is an earthquake, they are freed, they lead the jailer to Christ, baptize him and then his entire household rejoiced with the jailer that he was saved.

Even in the midst of a long, dark night they praised the Lord! (<====Click to Tweet) And because of their faithfulness some amazing things happen!

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I am on the worship team at church and one of the songs our leader chose for us this week is called Praise the Lord.

I love the song, because it is a reminder that we always need to be praising God because Jesus is Lord.

Tonight we were getting ready to start and our leader read us a devotional about Job. Another story of a man who lost everything. I mean EVERYTHING. His children, his servants, his livestock…all of it gone.

And what was Job’s response?

He stripped off his sack cloth, shaved his head and fell to his knees and praised the Lord.

I felt like once again this must be a lesson for me.

In ALL things, am I willing to praise the Lord? And if not – why?

As we got started the leaders phone rang, and she left the sanctuary for a few minutes. When she came back she was sobbing. She had just been given word that her grandma had passed away suddenly.

Here stood a woman, a friend, in a moment of amazing grief. She wanted to go on and practice but she wasn’t sure she could. I made some poor joke about getting naked and shaving our heads and praising God, which made her laugh a little and she said she wanted to go on and try and practice.

What I experienced next was so profound to me.

There she stood, praising God, the middle of her long, dark night. In the midst of her sadness, she sang.

It takes your breath away when you witness someone display such faith. I don’t know that she realized it but in those moments I saw Paul…I saw Job.

As she stood on that stage and sang, I imagined her grandma, now at the feet of Jesus in complete worship to the same God we were singing for as well.

When Karlena died a friend told me that she loved the idea that her last breath on earth was followed by her first sight of God….standing at His feet. I like that…the same God I praise when I sing will be the One I see on my return home.

It doesn’t make the grief and the pain of our losses any less, but it is comforting to know that the story never has to end here if we are one with Christ.

And while we are here, we have an opportunity to be an example. To praise God despite our circumstances, and how we feel. God is still God and we should Praise Him.

When it comes out easy, Praise the Lord….

Because in EVERY moment, Jesus Christ is Lord.

When it seems to hard, Praise the Lord…

Because in EVERY moment, Jesus Christ is Lord.

Her example tonight will stick with me. I want to be that example for others myself. To stand and worship, even when I don’t feel I have the strength. Because there is grace for today, so praise the Lord.

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Photo Credit: mort’n

The Layers and In Between

Layers

The take-off began in the haze that had settled over Houston. The higher we climbed the cloudier it got.

It was bumpy at the onset, so my eyes were closed for a few minutes, and as I opened them we were just rising above the cloud line. Land was visible below in small spaces between the fluffy white clouds. I had a strong sense of the emerging that had just occurred. The layer that just minutes before been hazy and difficult to see through, was now clear and beautiful.

I started taking pictures with my phone, it may or may not have been “legal” at that point, but I couldn’t stop taking in Gods beauty.

The tops of the clouds looked like cotton balls that had been stretched apart for the beard of a Kindergarten Santa project. Soft and inviting, comfortable even!

As the plane rose, the skyline changed once again. I am not a meteorologist (BIG shocker I know!!) so I don’t know the technical term, but the next layer of clouds was flat, like fog almost. But off in the distance were spots where clouds were shooting up into the sky above in billowy formations.

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I wondered if storms were brewing below them.

Have you ever been in a place that right where you are is flat and calm but you were able to see the storms on the horizon? You are sure something is happening just below the surface but you aren’t positive what it is. Will it bring a difficulty? A time of testing? Maybe an opportunity to trust in God?

Would you join me over at God-sized Dreams to read the rest of the post?!

A Journey to Finding Home – #AtlasGirl

This post is part of the Atlas Girl Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!

Family Vacation

My beautiful family on vacation last summer!

When I was growing up my parents took us on a family vacation each summer. We would load up the van with all of our camping gear, some food staples and head out on our adventure.

We would have rented some family friendly cassette tapes from the library and sing along to “C is for cookie”. And we would work on a new latch-hook project (does anyone else remember those?!) It was a time of innocence and something that we all looked forward to.

We tent-camped, cooked our meals on a little Coleman stove and made smores almost every night. When we would get to the camp site we would drive around and look for the best site to put up our tent and then once that was done we would go exploring.

One vacation was to Yellowstone National Park. We had been there a day when the spot next to ours was filled with this HUGE pull behind camper. And out came this girl who was just about my age. I honestly can’t remember her name right now, but I am going to call her Cindy.

Cindy was from California and she was surely rich. I hadn’t ever been inside a pull behind camper before and it was AMAZING. Put our 5 man tent to shame and I instantly felt a little twinge of jealousy.

She had pegged-rolled jeans (something those of us from the midwest hadn’t experienced yet) and she just seemed to be so wise about the world at the young age of twelve. I wanted to be just like her.

We became fast friends and when we were at the campsite together we would explore and she would tell me stories of this wonderland called California. I was pretty sure that I needed to go there when I “grew up”, because it was THE place to be.

We exchanged addresses and maybe even a couple of letters after that first summer, but the friendship with Cindy didn’t last. What stuck with me though was that feeling that what I had in front of me wasn’t “good enough” and if I wanted better I would have to go far away to find it.

I graduated from high school, and my dreams of living in sunny California had long since passed. Staying close to home was comfortable, safe. And I like those feelings. I can talk big about wanting to travel but the reality is that where I am most at home IS at home. (<====Click to Tweet)

I didn’t value family when I was growing up. I wasn’t able to see all of the wonderful things that my parents did for us. I just felt like because I didn’t have what someone else did, that I didn’t measure up.

But becoming a parent myself has changed that vision. 

I know how hard my parent’s worked to provide for us and  especially when they planned these trips each summer, I am well aware of how much went into making these memory-filled experiences. And I am grateful for them. I hope that I can do the same for my own family.

Emily Weirenga went on a journey of her own to find herself. Today her new book Atlas Girl – Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look is released and it is a beautiful memoir of her finding home in the most unlikely of places. Emily left home believing that she wouldn’t return and yet God sought her in each place that she travelled. As she did some exploring of her own she found His healing hand, redemption from the hurts of her past and the road leading her back home.

Each of us are on a journey to finding home, this book will encourage and inspire you to trust God in the midst of trials and darkness, to seek His light in this dark world and find to home in Him, wherever that leads you.

Thank you for your beautiful words Emily, what a treasure this book of yours is!

 

Emily T. Wierenga, award-winning journalist and author of 4 books, has released her first memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look. They say the book is like “Girl Meets God” meets “Wild” meets “Eat, Pray, Love.” I say the book is inspiring. You can grab a copy here. I was given a copy of Emily’s book to read and review, from Baker Publishing Group, all opinions are my own.

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