i don’t always smile big

life with this man Sometimes my face expresses contempt, and I’m not talking about this not smiling type, but the “I’m-so-frustrated-and-mad-at-everybody” type. Two days this week I expressed that same contemptuousness; rather, my heart held onto it. There was a lot of not listening, disobedience, and broken things by the girls, which isn’t unusual considering they’re kids, but all of that put my heart in the wrong place. Actually, now that I’m looking back upon it, my heart was in the wrong place to begin with and it’s not their fault at all. My heart loves material things and having obedient children too much, and when those things are shattered, my heart crumbles. That’s because my hope isn’t meant to be put in those things and those things aren’t meant to last. I know earthly goods really are just a bunch of crap, I know I can’t take them with me when I die, but in that moment, I treasured it (more like hoarded it) in my heart. And kids, well, they don’t listen all the time, just like I don’t, and I’m constantly battling and praying for more patience. I even read this verse earlier this week… Proverbs 16:22 “Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.”

Thankfully, my story doesn’t stop there. I didn’t stay in my state of selfishness forever. Repentance happened, forgiveness happened, and I’m not defined by what I’ve done (or failed at doing, I even yelled “I suck at being a mom.”) because Jesus is my righteousness. Yeah, I’m a total screw up, but that’s why I know I need Jesus. He lived the life I should have lived, and died the death I deserved, and while I still screw up a lot (and will continue to), He covers all my screw ups with his blood. This probably sounds like the #storyofmylife over here, but it really is. My heart still wrestles with understanding grace and the cross, but each day, even through the screw-ups, God is giving me a clearer picture of what living a life of grace looks like… it’s never about me, it’s always about Jesus. When it becomes about me, that’s when trouble always starts, so I’m praying that my heart keeps battling to make it about Jesus. #endheartrant

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slow growth

prune and grow I’ve felt a little foggy this week, but I guess I’m kind of mentally checked out and ready for summer. Anyone else?! As I was watering my plants the other night, I was thinking about how I’ve grown (or my lack of growth) these past few years. I even texted with our former pastor to let him know how much I appreciated that he still loved us well despite how slowly Ben and I grow. I’m thankful that my standing before God isn’t dependent on the speed of my growth. What matters is that my dead root was made new because of Jesus. Jesus is my righteousness and I praise Him for that!

I guess we match the pace of our garden, although, even that probably grows a lot of faster than Ben and me. We added some avocado trees over the weekend, more citrus trees will go in this weekend (and I think one more avocado). I’ve been having fun taking colorful pictures of things in our garden (see here). There are so many things growing right now and it makes us so excited to see the various trees fruiting. I’ve mentioned it before, but there are about 60 different trees in our backyard (and he still plans on adding more!). It’s insane! We have a regular, suburban Californian yard, so there really isn’t much space. Ben’s been really creative in how he has planned everything out, and after a few gardening blunders (and lots of dollars later), things are starting to take shape. Whew!

This weekend so many fun things are going on! The biggest thing is that my baby sister comes home on Sunday!!! I’m. So. Freaking. Excited!!! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since she left us. In the countries she has had access to wi-fi, we texted each other often, but those 3 months in South Africa, we barely heard from her at all. I can’t wait to touch her, hug her, and see her face to face again.

I known she’s grown so much, and she’s coming back a completely different person from when she left. Her love for Jesus and people has undoubtedly multiplied and I can’t wait to hear all her stories and learn from her. She is 10 years younger than me, but she definitely understood grace much sooner than I did (like I said, slow grower over here!). I think I spent a good chunk of my teen and college years trying to look and play the part of the “good Christian girl,” scared of what other people would think of me if they knew the things that were really going on in my heart. My baby sister on the other hand, she understood grace and forgiveness well at such a young age, that she was quick to admit her shortcomings and cling to Jesus. She didn’t trust in herself, but she trusted the cross. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for her here at home! If you want to read some of her posts while on her year long trip, check it out here. Every post of hers makes me weep and encourages my heart to seek God’s kingdom more.

 

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testing week is almost done

benny and me The school year is winding down, and I’m so ready to be done. This week was True’s first experience with standardized state testing, and oh boy was I feeling all sorts of anxiety. I asked her how her first day went, and she said, “It was easy and I was the first one done!” That could have meant something totally great or totally not. I don’t know, either way, it made me nervous. I know these scores don’t really measure all that she knows, but I still feel the stress and pressure of it. Probably because I feel responsible for areas she is weak in, and well, I am responsible. The BFF reminded me that she is a well-rounded child (and if they tested her creative abilities, she would blow that thing out of the water). And I know she is, but I still get worked up over this testing thing. Later on today, we are going to do something fun to celebrate surviving standardized testing week! Sounds like that would make a cute t-shirt slogan, maybe we should make one.

The words from “Brokeness Aside” by All Sons & Daughters captures well what I’ve been feeling this week…
‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful

I’m a person who likes things to go fast paced, and I fill up my schedule with to-dos. I feel crazy from everything (and probably complain about it), but I totally do it to myself. I enjoy making myself busy, but too much busy isn’t always a good thing. I see how I often try to find my happiness in something fleeting (projects, social media, obedient kids, everything to go as planned, etc.), but I really am just tangled in lies. The good news is that I know I’m not stuck there! God takes my messiness, covers it with Jesus, and makes it beautiful.

 

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celebrating resurrection sunday

resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 resurrection day 2015 We had a wonderful resurrection Sunday. It was filled with lots of Jesus and grace (Ben and I had a couple of small spats), food, gospel-centered conversations, family, friends, and lots of dessert. Of course, there was also an easter egg hunt. The eggs were filled with chocolate, cookies, and dollar bills! The adults so wanted to join in. Soul gathered the most eggs, and she was so sweet and selfless by giving some of her eggs to her sisters.

All the girls’ dresses were sewn by me, but they picked out their own fabric combinations (well, not Glow). True’s is from a pattern that can be found in my book. I don’t have a pattern to share for the others.

After such a fun spring break week last week, it was hard having to get back into our regular homeschooling routine. We sucked it up and got back at it though (we are totally counting down until summer). Something good that Monday brought: we officially started remodeling our downstairs bathrooms (see here). I’m excited to see it all come together!

 

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there are crumbs on my floor

there are crumbs on my floor there are crumbs on my floor There are crumbs on my floor. Almost always. We do try to sweep up under the breakfast table daily (it’s on their chore chart), but it doesn’t always happen. If I cropped out the floor, you wouldn’t see the crumbs. The verse Proverbs 31:30 comes to mind, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Which led me to think of it like this, “Instagram is deceptive, and blogs are fleeting…” I enjoy capturing and sharing a pretty picture, but don’t forget there’s always real life behind the lens, lots of things you don’t see.

For me, behind my lens this week has been a lot of crazy. There’s not a particular project or anything going on, but I think it’s a combination of me PMS-ing and Ben working three late nights in a row (kudos to you who have to do some sort of single parenting gig). Basically, I’m the crazy one. I feel like the Israelites in the book of Judges, continually messing up, asking forgiveness, things are going well, and then bam, I’m deep into loving myself a whole lot (which isn’t a good thing). Lots of sinning on my part, and having to ask the girls and God for forgiveness. Thankfully, no f-bombs have been dropped (at least not that I remember) when recounting my day back to Ben, but I sure was barking out orders like a military sergeant to the girls all day long. Then, when I’m thinking clearly, I’m like, “Ruby! Come on, a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Duh! You know that!” Oh, it’s such a vicious cycle within my heart. I’m totally not a Christian because I’m naturally good, I’m a Christian because I just plain suck and I know I need Jesus. I’m so thankful that it’s about grace, and not what I’ve done because if that were the case, like I said here, I’d totally be doomed.

There was a sweet moment that came from this #momlife I’m living. It was after dinner Tuesday night, the girls were still working on math, and I was just exhausted. I was sitting on the sofa, singing along with some worship music, and the girls came down to ask me a math question. I said, “Come on, let’s sing together.” This doesn’t happen often (more like never), but there we were, my girls and I were singing to Jesus together. I had my eyes closed, but I could hear Brave clearly (she sings loud like me), and it was just such a special moment. I need to make sure moments like that happen more often, so I guess if it takes us having to go through chaotic days to get there, so be it. I will gladly take the chaos and the sweet, it’s only by God’s grace and for his glory.

 

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hello there again

life life Life was insanely busy and so I disappeared. From time to time, I will work as a craft stylist and my most recent job was for Family Fun Magazine. It was two weeks of prepping for our upcoming shoot and just normal busy life with my family. Something had to go, so updating the blog did, and all my free time went towards prepping for the shoot. Don’t worry, I’m made sure to carve out rest time for me and fun activities for the girls. The shoot was this past Wednesday, and I was so tired on Thursday, but finally felt back to normal on Friday.

I hadn’t felt that busy since I was writing my book, but while I love the challenge and rush of having to prep for a big project, I definitely enjoy not being so busy too. You just never know the different things life will throw at you. Sometimes it’s good, bad, sad, and just plain crazy, but it’s life. I’m thankful for all of it!

We are taking the girls to see a play this weekend and my parents come back from their 3 week tour of Europe, so we get to see them tomorrow. Also, excited about getting to gather with church family on Sunday and get refreshed with the word of God. There’s so much more I want to share and other good things I found around the internet, but taking care of taxes is on today’s agenda too. Ugh. Happy weekend friends!

 

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