Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Startling Graces of God...

In my life, God shows himself daily. I am given small glimpses of grace and forgiveness and purpose...and sometimes I forget to notice these gifts as what they are. It is always a good idea to stop and take inventory of the little as not to take them for granted on the way to bigger things.

I am constantly in awe of the way God provides for us. We have faced difficulties, to be sure. Through everything though, I am reminded that things will work out...that we will overcome...that we need only have patience and faith. We are blessed to live in our sweet home, a home full of memories and life and love. We struggle financially, but manage to always stay current on our bills and have enough to eat. Our mode of transportation recently became a little more unreliable, and we were covered by family. In these ways, God shows His grace.

I am amazed at the grace in my heart. Though it would be easier to hate, to harden, to neglect...I am shown how to forgive, to love, to grow. For many years I battled with this. I was unforgiving. I held on to hurts, even self inflicted ones. I was unable to let go of others' cruelty and mistreatment. I lived constantly feeling under attack and misunderstood. I struggled with comparisons, jealousy, want, and regret. But, by accepting Gods grace and forgiveness, I was able to offer grace and forgiveness to others. And to myself. I was able to recognize hurtful myself and in the people I love. I was able to let go of what I thought I wanted in favor of what I actually needed. And I was able to accept responsibility for hurts I have caused and ask for patience, forgiveness, and healing.

Mostly, I see startling grace in the everyday moments. When my husband makes me coffee in the morning. When I wake up holding his hand. When my daughter hugs me and tells me goodnight. When he drives me to doctors appointments, or to the grocery, or to the library. When my dogs snuggle me. When I'm doing dishes, or laundry, or homework. When life is mundane and normal and ordinary and extraordinary. In these moments, Gods grace is evident. In these moments.

The trick is in noticing YOUR moments. And being thankful for them.

Love, Blessings, & Peace.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Three Things About Yourself You Are Grateful For...

Talk about challenging. I am my own worst enemy and my harshest critic. I struggle with my weight, my insecurities, my health, my neediness, my desire to be perfect. I suppose, as women, we all share the same self loathing and self defeating talk. Inevitably, I hope we all survive and overcome.

But to find, and document, what I am grateful for about myself (despite it being easier to find and document the negatives) is what today asks for. So....I did some thinking.

Firstly, I have a great daughter. And, I have learned how to be a great mom. I learned much from my own mother...and feel that I have raised a girl that is caring, smart, empathetic, joyful, loving, and full of life. All the things that I strive to be myself. I can only hope that she learned how to be all these things by watching me. She is, by far, the greatest thing I have ever done, my most challenging adventure, and my most beautiful blessing.

Secondly, I have a great relationship with my husband. I have had to learn how to be a wife...and at times it was difficult. I have learned how to love and accept love in return. I have turned down the negative voice in the back of my order to listen to the positive voice of my spouse. I have accepted my role in our family, adjusted to our lifestyle, and welcomed comfort. I have allowed for my limitations...and worked to overcome my own doubts. I have created a welcoming and peaceful home, allowed calm to settle here, and encouraged my husband to grow. I am proud of the man he has become and I am thankful and grateful for our marriage.

Lastly, I am grateful for my faith. I have developed a routine to celebrate my relationship with Christ, and am learning how to express that faith creatively. I have tested my own borders, surpassed my own expectations, and continued to teach myself how to trust the process. I have certainly made mistakes, I am far from perfect or complete, but I am enjoying the journey and trusting in the outcome. I have pushed the envelope of my own creativity and have challenged myself to be greater.

I don't know if that was a successful response to the prompt (there I go with the doubts again)...but, I am grateful for these things. I want to add one more...only because it bears mentioning...I am beyond grateful for the relationships I have with my family and friends. My circle is small, without a doubt, but it is powerful. I know that I am cared for, taken care of, and covered in love.

And that is a testament to how I am choosing to live. Accepting love. Giving love. Praising and uplifting each other. But, mostly, trying to live a worthy that does not require explanation or forgiveness.

See you tomorrow.
Love, Blessings, & Peace.

One Thousand Gifts...

Blessed New Year! Since it has been so very long since we've talked, please allow me a moment to reflect on the year now spent.

In September, I promised you I was going to write more. And I did. It was a difficult decision to not post here, but it was made because I didn't feel that I had anything substantial or worthwhile to share. It is possible, in retrospect, that I was mistaken. I have made some very meaningful and significant changes in my life...I have learned how to practice mindful meditation, learned to share (and express) love and gratitude, and learned how to creatively channel my faith. It has been a year of slowing down, absorbing all the moments, and taking absolutely nothing for granted.

Which brings us to today! I, I embark on a journey of writing, witnessing, and wishing. And the best way I know to do all of that is to challenge myself to do all of that. So, I invited my dear cousin...the most wonderful, beautiful, gifted, and authentic person I join me on a year long blogging journey.

Because we are both fans of Ann Voskamp, we felt it only appropriate to follow her One Thousand Gifts joy dare. (I dare YOU to read her book if you haven't already. It, without a doubt, changed my life.) It's pretty simple really...every day for the year, we find and share 3 things that bring us joy. Three God given blessings. Whatever they are, however silly or simple or insignificant. And, lucky for us, there just happens to be daily prompts...

Now, we chose to begin it 11 days in...rather than overwhelming ourselves trying to catch up. We discussed it, made a plan, and then I promptly forgot to log in the post. It happens. So...I bring you my one day at a time. (And PLEASE follow my sweet girl on HER journey as well....Sheila at Saturday Morning Confusion. You'll be glad you did!)

Day 11: 3 Yellow Gifts of Fresh Mercy
Sunshine. Easy right?
Lemons. Because, lemonade.
Daffodils. No more winter! On to spring! Bring me sunshine!

Day 12: Something Above, Below, Beside
Above me is magic. Heaven, the Creator, clouds, possibility, promise, hope. Written here, that sounds much more poetic and romantic versus saying above me hangs my ever daunting to do lists.
Below me is snow. The ground, the trees, the air. Truth be told, the snow is OUTSIDE...and below me is actually a cold hardwood floor and the pair of fuzzy socks I just smooshed off my feet.
Beside me...weenie dogs. No really. Two of the three. Curled up, staying warm, one snoring. Objecting to the cold, snowy reality. And probably waiting to run off with one of my fuzzy socks.

And so it begins. And don't forget to follow my girl, Sheila. She's doing much better at this than me!

Love, Blessings, & Peace.

Friday, September 11, 2015


My life has changed.
That's a pretty powerful first sentence. I mean, of course things are different. Everyone goes through moments and seasons and life. If we never changed because of that..well, I suppose we would be doomed to repeat all of our past mistakes and relive all of our failed chances.
That sounds depressing.
Here's when it happened for me.
I made a mindful decision to stop. To stop living in anger. To stop welcoming fear. To stop worrying and wondering and waiting. To stop the cycle of emotional abuse I was inflicting upon myself. I stopped trying to "keep up with the Joneses". I stopped explaining. I stopped making excuses. I just stopped.
I practiced a mindful routine of peace. I participated in a daily ritual of calm meditation. I let life happen. I released my need to conspire for control. I accepted who I have become. I made allowances for my imperfections.  I stopped sweating the small stuff.
Because it's ALL small stuff.
And, somewhere along the way, I realized that I was writing here less and less. The reason why? Because I didn't need the world to participate in all the little things that had hurt me. Because they STOPPED hurting me.
Of course that doesn't mean that I have nothing else to say to the world.
I want to share my journey with all of you. I want to give you the tools to stop floundering in the world and start LIVING in it. I want to experience this NEW season of my life out in the open...completely raw and exposed. I want you to celebrate success with me...and dust off the stumbles with grace. I want a different ending to my story, and I want YOU to want that too.
So we carry on. I will dedicate myself anew to this small corner of cyberspace. I will make it a daily habit to write, to create, to study, to live, to share and to love.
Will I make mistakes? Of course. Will I get caught up in the hustle of the everyday? Probably. Will I forget the way from time to time? Yes. Will I give you all the ugly, inconvenient, painful truths that I encounter? Always.
A new season of mindfulness. Because it's time.

Namaste and Blessings.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Yo, Winter..

I am SO over you. Move along.
I really want to blog...but I'm just too cold to form words.
Wait for it.....


Saturday, January 17, 2015

A New Year and Other Nonsense...

Sweet Fancy Moses...what happened to the last year? How is it possible that not only is it a NEW's already 16 days in?! No matter, I will fill you in.
Last we spoke, I had moved into a new home (which I LOVE...finally starting to feel like we LIVE here.), had started school (which right now I DO NOT love...), and were preparing for the holiday season. Well, the holidays are over (thank goodness!) and I think it's safe to say that everyone was pleased with the outcome. We scaled back quite a bit this year (minus a super expensive..but so very thoughtful new Mac computer from my husband.) and supplemented with homemade gifts and such...but everyone was together and warm and happy. And that's really what it's all about. We went to the candlelight service at church and I felt renewed and ready to take on a new year.
I received a beautiful journaling Bible for Christmas and have been so immersed and engrossed in it ever since. I started a year long study on January first...and have been doodling and lettering my little heart out! Funny the things you think you aren't very good at are the very things you find enjoyment in. I don't pretend to be artistically inclined...but I am learning and loving the journey.

I've also been hard at work on setting up my new planner for the new year. It's full of inspiration, words of encouragement, oh...and appointments. There's always plenty of those. I don't feel the need to be quite as forthcoming with it as I was last year..mainly because this year is a little more personal and low key. Remember that comment about scaling back? Well that has applied to the rest of our lives as well. We are living a much quieter, simpler, family oriented way of life....and I, personally, am loving it.
But I might share a FEW things with you. You know, the important stuff.
I'm hard at work on my Bachelors degree. Just started a new semester with an invitation to join the Honor Society. I'd say that I'm on the right track. Motivation has been a little lax...because it's cold and wintery outside and I really just want to hunker down and read lots of books. But, I'm getting there. Psychology is completely fascinating and excruciatingly the same time.
We have a new puppy addition here. Tobias. He's an adorable nugget of evil. Having a puppy is much like living with a toddler, a tsunami, and a speeding bullet train all at once. Everything important (read pretty, valuable, or just likable) has been relocated, removed, or replaced. And he loves his hooman I guess we'll keep him.

How could you not?
So there you go. I don't know what else to say. I started working on some really deep enlightened posts...guess I'll get back to encouraging the universe and imparting my immense wisdom. HA! But seriously, be on the lookout for those posts coming soon. And I promise to update you with new house soon as I tackle the sink full of dishes and the basket full of dirty laundry.
Let's chat again soon.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I suppose that when my snarky teenage daughter brings my lack of blogging to the table, that it's time for me to update you all. Funny how that works.
I have been CRAZY busy. I know I say that a lot....but in this case it's actually TRUE! I wouldn't even know where to begin to fill you in, so for tonight let's just start with a teaser.
We bought a house! And now the months and months and months of renovation projects have ceased and we have started settling in. I will update you all with pictures very soon!
And in the middle of all that renovating I decided to go back to school. Actually, I've been thinking about it for awhile now...just needed to take the plunge. Bad timing aside, I am working hard to complete Bachelors number 2 and start on Masters number 1.
More on that later as well.
For now, know that we are alive and well, living and loving, and faithfully serving.
Oh, and remind me to update you on our newest family member....Tobias. An adorable little nugget of awesomeness. Weenie dogs abound here at The Cottage.
And now, I'm off to join my handsome husband in our super snuggly bed. Sweet dreams, lots of love, prayers and peace.