plant hunting

These are just a few pictures from one of our plant hunting adventures a couple weeks ago. Once can never have too many plants!

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real life messes

Don’t look at the previous post and think my whole house is that neat because it certainly isn’t. Here is the proof. This is pretty much what the girls’ rooms look like most of the time. Currently, our guest room is in a state of disarray as it has been a catch all for furniture pieces I need to list on craigslist. I’m itching for the summer, so that I can start our big purge. I need to go through clothes that don’t fit and toys that don’t get played with. We also need to build a bookshelf somewhere because we have tons of books that need a place. With homeschooling and having girls that love to read, our book collection keeps growing, and we have no proper shelves to house them.

Soul and Glow are excited to deep clean their room because they want it to look like “Airbnb.” Soul has also requested to have a white duvet (it’s currently light pink) and I need to figure out how to decorate the rest of their room. True has the hardest time letting things go because she is super sentimental, which is probably more like Ben since he still has orange juice containers that I gave him when we were dating. I need to make sure he gets rid of some of that stuff this summer too. Also, I have two rooms downstairs that I never finished painting, so I’m going to attempt to get that done soon. Summer hasn’t even started and my to-do list is pretty long.

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firstborn turns 11

Today is True’s birthday and I can’t believe she is 11 years old! I want to share 11 ways to she is a blessing to our family:
1. She rallies the sisters to get things done.
2. Most of the time, she puts away all the dishes without being told.
3. She will call me out when I’m doing something wrong, which is a lot.
4. She’s quick to forgive.
5. Every morning and right before bed, she consistently will come to us to give us a hug.
6. Her enthusiasm in making things for the family.
7. She is the best kidtographer around (she takes a lot of my photos)!
8. Her helpfulness in putting away groceries without me asking.
9. Her love for being a kid. No tweenager yet. Thankfully.
10. Sometimes, she surprises us and makes our bed.
11. Her eagerness to serve our church family by helping take care of the babies.

Happy Birthday True! We love you so much!

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see all the rays

Something I’ve totally missed the mark in (well, I miss lots of marks actually) is seeing my girls, and Ben, as rays that point me to the Son. For those who know me, they know how much I swoon and get all googly-eyed about Ben all the time. I’m very verbal and physical in my affection for him. For whatever reason, I’m not as swoony with the girls. Maybe it’s because I’m with them all day every day. I definitely love them and love serving them, but I do notice it is harder for me to be super affectionate with them. It might sound like I don’t cuddle at all, and that’s not the case, but I think maybe it’s because I’m way overly (borderline crazy) mushy with Ben, so my outward verbal/physical affectionate probably pale in comparison with the girls. I think my love for them comes out in the daily acts of service, but I do need to work on being more affectionate. Maybe if I were with Ben all day long, I wouldn’t be as mushy, but him going to work definitely does make my heart grow fonder.

A few Sundays ago, our pastor taught a sermon on the goodness of God. It made me do a mental check of all the blessings in my life and how far often my awe-ing stops at the blessing. I only see the rays. What needs to be happening more so are seeing the source of the rays, the Son. I ought to stand in that glorious Son light instead of merely looking at the rays. The warmth comes from the Son and not the rays. The rays are the result of the bright Son. So when I get all mushy with Ben, instead of idolizing him and loving him, that needs to be done in a lens that gives glory to the Son. When feeling all super proud about the girls, that needs to be done in a way that moves my heart from just seeing them, but seeing the Son. Enjoying vacations, kicking my feet up at the end of the day, delighting in a good meal… all those things are about Jesus. The excitement and joy stirred in my heart is made to give back the glory to God and to delight in Him. It is not because He needs my adoration, but because He is due it, and that is what’s best for my soul. To find satisfaction ultimately in God alone is what my heart needs most; that’s when I’m most satisfied.

God is the ultimate gift giver. I love when Ben surprises me, but God gave me something far exceedingly greater than anything Ben (or anyone) could ever give and that gift was through His Son on the cross. It’s through that gift that I can freely bask in the Son light and enjoy all the rays of goodness given through and from Him. This alone should stir my heart to swoon over all good and perfect gifts because they come from a perfect Father, who is good. Ben, the girls (even with how overwhelming mothering can get), vacations, family time, my favorite dish, adventures out, ice cream, pretty shoes, all blessings I get to experience day in and day out… all these are rays that ought to stir my heart to see and savor the Son. This is why Ben and the girls make my heart swoon because they stir my heart to fall in love with my Savior more. They are the rays that point me to the Son.

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life lately

This week felt really long. I’ve been working on taxes (ugh!) and feeling really tired (in case you’re wondering, I’m not pregnant), so things have been kind of off here. There were no fun adventures under the glorious spring sun. There also hasn’t been much cleaning either, so my house is upside down. The girls have been researching their favorite artists from our trip to The Broad and working on reports about them. I’m hoping next week we can actually create art inspired by our visit. Also, I have plans this coming week to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Taxes are almost done (should be turned in by the end of the weekend) and I will have a weight lifted off my chest. It definitely is a lesson to my girls that life isn’t always fun and adventure, sometimes you have to hunker down and do the grown up stuff. Through the craziness of this week, I’ve had these couple lines of a hymn stuck in my head…”Come thou font of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” My heart needs major calibrating every day, so I’ve been letting those words really ruminate in my heart, so that hopefully it will come out in my action. In the fun and chaos, may my heart always be in tune to sing His grace.

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seasons change

Life has many seasons and it’s all about change, seasons changing constantly. I may live in Southern California, where we pretty much have spring and summer (though we did get somewhat of a winter this year), but life definitely has way more than four seasons. I can remember being a teenager so vividly, pretty much like it was yesterday, but now I’m not too far off from having my own teenager. In my teens, life seemed to go slow and I wanted to go faster. Now, life seems to go fast, but I want it to go slower.

A week ago, it just hit Ben and me that we were officially out of the baby stage. We were watching two little ones (3 and 1 yo) and we had no clue what to do with them. We had forgotten! We’ve been so used to the independence our girls have that we had no clue how to engage two little ones (and it was only about an hour!). I put something on for them to watch, but that only lasted about 20 minutes, so I gave them some crafts to play with, and once they tore those up, I was stuck. Once they left, Ben and I looked at each other and said, “We totally aren’t in the baby stage anymore.” That season is long gone for us. I did press him a bit to see if he was interested in fostering/adopting, maybe we could bring that baby stage back, but he said, “We’re done.” and I agreed. We definitely feel done too.

Another season I see ending soon is teaching them how to read. That might have been the thing I was most afraid of when we began our homeschool journey, but now I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll be out of the tunnel soon. Soul has picked it up and it’s all starting to click for her. Words are coming alive and she’s doing lots of decoding and deciphering all on her own, and Glow’s not too far behind. I was terrified of homeschooling because I didn’t think I could teach them how to read, or rather, I didn’t think I had the patience to teach them. Little did I know, my real challenge would be math. Oh math! How peaceful our home would be if that subject didn’t exist, but maybe we wouldn’t have a home if we couldn’t do math right. Math is where a I need a whole ocean full of patience, but really, it’s probably more accurately said that math is where the girls need the patience to deal with me.

Since we homeschool, I think we get to hold on to certain seasons just a tad longer. I’ve always thought of homeschooling as a way to hold their hearts a little longer and I think it’s definitely true. I can’t say I’ve always been present as a mother. It’s my nature to move fast, get things done quick, then move on to the next task, so I think I have trouble being intentional in the present. It’s an area I need to work on. I want to be intentional in holding their hearts, live each season to its fullest before it passes me by, and look forward to the next season with joy.

My parents are going through the empty nesting phase. I have one sibling left at home, but he’ll probably be out soon, and my mom goes on and on about how she misses all of us being little. Ben and I will be in that season soon enough, but before we get there, there is still much work to do now. Also, there will still be much work to do as empty nesters; our job will simply look different. I’m not sure what season of life you’re in right now… maybe it’s the sleepless nights with little ones, potty training, teenagers (or threenagers), sending kids off to college, or empty nesting, but whatever it is though, let’s all work on being present. If you’re the type that despises change, instead of seeing it as seasons as ending, look at it as a season transitioning. Life is all about transitioning. Your new season might be different than before (and may take getting used to), but still something to be embraced and lived out intentionally.

See. Savor. Rest. That’s what I’ll be learning to do this season and will probably continue to work on in the seasons to come. I want to see, savor, and rest in Christ in all the mundane and extraordinary things of our every day.

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