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Thursday, April 27, 2017

New Website

Hello there! You have reached an old blog, but you can find me by clicking here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Change and BIG News

I don't welcome change.

Let the groundhog allude to more snow because even though spring is my favorite, the reality of time passing and buds blooming while my closet is filled with warm sweaters, tall boots, and pretty scarves, items representing the season when I gave birth to my youngest girl, leaves me longing for sameness.

And yet, flower buds were noticed when I stepped off my porch on this warmish, windy day. Why exactly do we let groundhogs determine change?

Season after season and year after year, I must come to terms with change. I suppose moving to Hawaii could be beneficial, but I would eventually long for the four seasons again, because while consistency is my happy place, inconsistency brings an array of beauty that I do enjoy once I've come to terms.

Just as seasons bring change, so does life.

And so, how exactly do we choose contentment when a war chock-full of change takes over our very lives?

How does the new mom rest when rest is an unknown word in her new position?

Where does a girl turn when the actions of others leaves her longing for a blanket to hide beneath?

Why must the medical condition rule her body when life was just feeling normal?

When can mourning be turned to joy for the wife who lost her husband?

What will it take to reach a place where wholeness can encircle weakened hearts and souls?

Change will take place in all of our lives, some change in the form of precious babies and dream jobs and honorable husbands, and other change in the form of a scary diagnosis, a tragic death, or a job loss.

We all want to know contentment, but first we must conquer change.

While I don't always welcome change, change welcomes me, and God is involved in every beautiful and frustrating change that we face.

A few years ago, I created a blog called "The Content Mom." It moved from that to "The Content Mom: rejoicing, learning, and resting in grace." I needed this space to learn how to be content while taking on motherhood and the intense change involved with such a significant title, and many of you joined me on the journey, but now it's time to write for you, especially those of you experiencing an intense change, the kind that leaves you barely holding a single thread of hope.

In order to reach a place of contentment, we must first conquer the cyclone of change in our lives.

This is the mission: Though life doesn't go as planned, there are CONSTANTS found at the foot of the cross and in the beauty of holiness and that these changes, these different plants, these unfamiliar places, become tapestries of trust when we place our hope in an unchanging God.

You can expect to see changes on my website in one month. I'm sure that navigating your way around will be fairly straightforward.

And finally, I saved the super exciting news for last (drum-roll please)...a FREE ebook will be offered to every single person who'd like a copy. There will also be a giveaway for one lucky someone. Keep in touch via Instagram & Facebook for details at the end of February or beginning of March.

Friends, while I don't always welcome change, I've come to terms with this change, and I'm excited to serve you. Let's conquer change together.

" all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." Romans 8:37

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

An Anology and Prayer For When You Feel Weary

After rest comes restoration, a wholeness that penetrates our weakened souls and brings us life. Life. John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the life. Jesus restores, makes us whole, and gives us life.

We need restored.

Life is difficult. The daily hour to hour is hard without considering the whole of life. I wake, attempt stillness, but all too soon the routine begins. Children need tending, breakfast needs made, counters need cleaned, laundry needs washed, and words need written. Let the children nap only to begin phase two of the day.

The other day, my mom spoke an analogy into my weary and worn soul. I share it now with you, because I can't think of a woman who'd disagree. Sometimes you feel like you're in an automatic car-wash without a car. The brushes scrape against you, soap stains your clothes, and the water sprays forcefully. We have little time to catch our breath before the next event hits. 

How true. The car-wash is our life and it never ends, but at times stillness permeates, allowing us to breathe. The brushes stop while the water prepares to rinse. This is the time for restoration. Our souls and our bodies need prepared before we navigate through the next big event, and this is when we cry out to God.


Restore me, God.

Restore us, God.

Restore us from:

  • the mundane
  • the heartache 
  • the exhaustion 
  • the changes
Restore our souls. 

Build us like the child who methodically places one block above the other with concentration and fervor. 

Heal us like the doctor who performs surgery to remove the tumor that keeps us from performing simple, daily tasks. 

Mend us like the seamstress who binds a tear by hand, one stitch at a time.

Refresh us like the sweet tea grandmother used to make, the tea that required boiling, steeping, and cooling. 

Renew us like a slow soak in hot water, the fragrance of rose petals and the melody of music calming us. 

Repair us like the mechanic who spends hours to reach and replace one piece on a vehicle so that it will perform perfectly again. 

Restore us, for we need you.

When the world brings change upon change,
when our hard and chaotic lives keep us from breathing,
when our lives skirt and shadow death itself,
we need you.

When our lives foreshadow death over life,
when fear settles deep into our soul,
when we are lost and afraid and alone,
we need you.

Make us rest, and then lead us. Restore out souls, and then lead us.

Let the words from Psalmist David penetrate our hearts.

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake." Psalm 23: 2-3

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Reminder to Rest

When I slow down to enjoy every mundane moment, my soul feels better rested. I may be a mess physically. I WILL be a mess physically. As I sit here typing these words, I wear sweat pants, a t-shirt stained with spit-up, and the messiest hair bun "unknown" to man.

Physically, I'm a mess and so is the living room and kitchen hiding behind me. We won't even talk about the mountain of dishes covered in chocolate and soaking in water. After waking to feed my baby twice through the night combined with the trouble of going back to sleep, I could certainly use a nap.

But in this mess, I pause, because when both children are napping, I MUST spend time with Jesus and give you these words. I desire to bring hope into your situation today. Today, I hope that you'll attain the same rest my soul experiences though chaos screams behind me, chaos that must be taken care of in a bit, but for now, this is where we both need to be. 

I think Jesus was thinking of the exhausted soul burned out on the daily and mundane when he said, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

In this passage, Jesus isn't saying, "kick up your feet, chill, and do as little work as possible all day long." I mean, who has the luxury of doing that on the daily, right? Rather, Jesus is speaking to the one racing around, burned out on the daily, and he offers rest. He's speaking to the one jumping from one fiery hoop to another while onlookers gaze at her nonstop life and the concerned look on her face as she wonders when the circus will end so she can breathe. And breathe, free from the hectic, the routine, the life.

I've read this passage of scripture a thousand times, have heard it preached from pulpits on multiple occasions. This is one I know by heart, but had never fully digested until now. Perhaps that's because in this season of raising little ones with little time to breathe, I desperately NEED rest more than ever before. But this rest needed is not in the form of relaxation, though I could certainly use any kind of rest afforded. The rest needed is in the form of fulfillment. Hear it again. Fulfillment. It's where my soul receives rest, not necessarily my body. Are you with me? You'll want to remember this next sentence even if the others fly out of your mind.

Jesus offers soul rest, and it's fulfilling. No amount of physical rest, from spa days to couch potato days to sleeping away the days, will ever bring the best rest that comes by way of Jesus.

This is what he's saying to our worn out bodies and worn out souls: "Side with me by taking on the same yoke that I am in, this same harness used for working. The load will be light because I will be right beside you, and you can learn more than you ever have about me in the process, finding the rest that your soul needs to continue on with the difficulty that life brings. Go ahead. Take off the yoke of stress, the yoke of anxiety, the yoke of pressure, the yoke of bondage, etcetera, etcetera. Be meek and lowly with me. Learn what it means to come to the end of yourself physically but be fully rested spiritually. Let's work together, because in doing so, I promise that you will receive rest. Soul rest."

Take a moment, here and now, to consider which yoke you live under. If you're not under a yoke with Jesus, you'll never experience the fulfilling rest that only he offers. And friends, I desperately long for you to experience this rest. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Scary Truth of Becoming a Parent

My days blurred together when my first child was born, and the first month of her life was one of the single most difficult months of mine. It required coming to the end of myself in so many ways and in ways I had never experienced before. Those painful feedings throughout the night mixed with the desire to impress my husband with a spotless house, folded laundry, a home-cooked meal, and otherwise left me drained and exhausted. I lived under the false pretense that I could have it all together if everything was all together around me, but instead I suffered burn-out.

I truly wanted to bring joy and rest to my husband, my firstborn, and myself. Instead, my offering became a burden and my attitude became negative. Emotions swirled around me and my husband received the brunt as soon as he made it through the door. Every evening showed my ugly self in some form-the tears, the rants, the throwing myself on the couch, and I'll just leave you with those few details. It was a full on temper-tantrum. Life as I knew it had changed by bringing new life into the world and the change couldn't be described in any amount of words or emotions.

In full attempts to give my best, I gave my worst.

Oh friends, how I wish I would've taken the message so often repeated by loved ones for a season they remembered all too well. "Make sure you rest." Our greatest offering comes when we have allowed ourselves to rest. God himself rested on the seventh day for the greatest offering of all: creation. Yet, I failed to nap when the baby napped because of my running list meant to bring joy and rest.

Our second child later, and we've recently left the newborn phase again. What a difference it has made to carve out intentional time for resting! As soon as my toddler went down for a nap, I fed our baby and then settled in for a nap myself. Dishes piled high, toys spewed on the floor, and laundry sat in the closet. Those things would have to wait. When my husband returned from work, he either brought dinner home or made dinner for us. Afterward, he washed the dishes with our oldest while I fed the baby, and never once with complaint.  I have tears in my eyes as I unfold the beauty of a man who cares for his wife, who loves her without conditions, and who rises to the occasion to offer rest to the one he is one with, the one his soul loves, tenderly cared for as though he were caring for himself (Eph 5: 25-30). Difficult moments occurred, of course, but we were much less stressed and able to enjoy the first month with our sweet second, all because of a little rest and a few tasks left untouched. 

So how do we bring joy and rest to others? First, we recognize the joy in our own lives and we give ourselves time to rest. After that, we ask ourselves how we might bless a friend, a coworker, or a stranger, and we do the thing that brings them the joy and rest that we all need. 

Before you take on the next task in your day, here are some verses to remind you that it's okay to rest. In fact, if you are feeling a bit burned out, I recommend that you forfeit from trying to bring joy and rest to others and carve out a little time to rest yourself. God rested. Jesus offered rest. This rest is critical in every season, especially the ones that bring you to the end of yourself. And now, the scripture as promised on my Facebook video yesterday:

Genesis 2:2-3: God rested on the seventh day and sanctified the day of rest.

Genesis 8:9: A beautiful illustration of Noah offering rest and a safe place for the dove just as Jesus offers us.

Ruth 1:9: Naomi prayerfully offering rest for her daughter-in-laws in their future homes.

Psalm 37:7: A reminder to rest in the Lord.

Isaiah 30:15: Rest is critical.

Matthew 11:28-30: Jesus offers us rest with him.

Luke 23:55-56: The women who prepared the spices for Jesus' body rested.

Revelation 4:8: A powerful image of heavenly beasts who never rest because they are continuously worshiping God. That's a hard one to even picture.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Slowing Down: Creating Art

What if I told you that the mundane tasks in your life were instead paintings in the making, every brushstroke on canvas creating a masterpiece? Would you attempt to slow your pace, giving each task your undivided attention, allowing the painting of your day to unfold beauty, to reach the deepest parts of your soul?

Washing a plate, a stroke of pink. 

Folding a towel, a stroke of blue. 

Walking the dog, a stroke of brown.

Changing a diaper, a stroke of purple. 

Cooking a meal, a stroke of yellow. 

Making the bed, a stroke of green. 

Instead of rushing from one agenda to another, fretting about what you want to do instead of what you NEED to do, could I beckon you to stop? Breathe. Slow your pace. Start again. Command the anxiety wreaking havoc to dissipate. Realize that you were created on purpose, with a purpose, and that the purpose will not prosper with truth until you rid yourself of the belief that the seemingly insignificant, daunting, repetitive, and small is not worth your time. Dear friend, it's worth your time. Slowing down to the things that require your attention from week to week are meant to be lived fully, are meant as displays of art in the center of God's eye. 

God sees you. He sees your painting emerging as you tidy your home. He hears the melody as you hush and hum your infant to sleep for the umpteenth time. He sees the dance of you working frantically to appease both boss and customer. He sees as you sob behind closed doors, later choosing to wipe the tears, continuing the painting, the song, and the dance that is your life.

How I wish I could open up a portal that would allow for you to see him seeing you, his eyes looking lovingly on you, his heart feeling with you, his ears readily listening for you, and his arms always holding you. Instead, I remind you of the intimate words written in Psalm 139 detailing a holy God who knows you on such a personal level, and that you, yes you, are fearfully and wonderfully created and so very precious to him. He's constantly thinking of you. 

So I challenge you to slow down today. Let your next task be an intentional brushstroke, refrain, and curtsy to the Creator of this universe. You were made for this next thing, even in its smallness. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Prepping for Christmas: A Great Gift for Children Under 5

Christmas decorations are coming out of storage today in preparation for the decorating we will do this evening. This year, there was one box I was most excited to pull the items from and my oldest has already helped me set it up. We bought a Fisher Price Nativity Set for her first Christmas instead of a barn set with animals. Below are two lists. One explains why I love this product and the other describes why my daughter may love this product as well. She's played with it for hours since we set it up, so I think that's a sign that it was a great purchase!

Why do I love this product so much? Here is my list:

1. In keeping with the true meaning of Christmas, having a nativity set somewhere in the house to serve as a reminder is better than the stockings, bells, and mistletoe. 

2. We didn't have a nativity set when we bought this for our daughter last Christmas, but if we did, it likely would have been a "look but don't touch" situation as most are breakable when dropped. 

3. A typical nativity set, while beautiful to display, doesn't offer a hands-on approach. Children under five are all about activities that involve their fine motor skills. Every item is new and exciting, exploration and learning top priorities! 

4. I don't want my child to grow up hearing "there's Jesus," but don't touch him. No. I want my children to understand that there is a place for them involving Jesus, and that he knows them by name and could identify them and their need among those crowded around him like we read in Luke 8. Playing with the nativity set while hearing mommy explain the BEST and TRUE Christmas story might be that touching-the-hem-of-his-garment moment in her life as a little one. 

5. Bonus: If you have more than one kid or plan to have more than one kid, this nativity set will get more than just five years of use! Our second child will enjoy it with her sister come next year.

Why does my daughter love this product so much? If she could form the words, she might say: 

1. Mommy gave me something "new" to play with today. How exciting!

2. The toy comes with a few animals, and I love to emulate the sounds they make. I even made up my own sound for the camel.

3. There's a  button at the top that plays "Away In A Manger" every time I push it, and the star lights up.

4. A song I know how to sing is "Twinkle, Twinkle," and I sing that to mommy when the star lights up.

5. Mommy put the nativity set on its own shelf  in the living room, and I am allowed to grab the nativity set and play with it wherever I would like and then set it back up when I'm finished. I'm such a big kid!

Note: You can purchase this product by clicking on the Amazon link above or by clicking on the picture in this post. Both will take you to the same place. If you make a purchase using my link, I will make a bit of money, but the main purpose of this post is to recommend a product that you and your children will love for years to come. I know we will.

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