Thursday, October 31, 2013

Little.Fish. signing off

Thank you for reading as I have been working out my thoughts, dreams, desires, struggles, conflictions, hopes, goals, failures.  It has meant something to me & in whatever part, I'm glad to have shared it with you. (to see all the posts for Little.Fish. please click here)

story time with daddy & super Hayden

talking to preschool friends on his phone in the driveway & followed closely by his #2

this one that I can't keep up with ;-)

waiting on the rain with an umbrella & rubber ducky

hiding from mommy, I can't see him behind this book.

passing down of the rain boots to Hayden + sunrise = bliss

playing with baby bro - 3 in a frame

teamwork & undies!!

crazy crazy crazy & our target fiasco

neighbors & puppy chasing & jeep riding


My spirit feels like its already done the 'wrap up' in the last couple days.  And I'm so grateful for the Lord's gift of clarity over how torn I was feeling about what to do with the talents I've been given.  I am confident now that as I focus my eyes on Christ, serving & loving my family, serving & loving my community, that I will find plenty of places to use the talents I've been given.  right here, in my own home, my own church, my own blog space/instagrams.

as Emily P. Freeman says in her book, I can be my true self & give away bits of my creator reflected in my own unique personality & in my 'art'

as Ann Voskamp says in her book, I can recognize the blessings of the Lord in what feels good & what feels bad.  all is gift & I am grateful He's in charge.

I laughed a few weeks ago when a sweet friend of mine asked me, "how's it going, the 31 days writing?"  I couldn't find an answer, I stumbled, stuttered.  Well, how did it go?  haha, I suppose I was hoping to have some kind of goal or assessment for this activity, but I don't.  I do think the Lord has worked out many of my own questions, almost like therapy, through the words on this screen.  In that way, I suppose I can say, it went well.  it gave me life.  it challenged me.  it made me afraid.  it made my head&heart happy.  it meant something to me.

Thank you Lord, for the million little ways you show your glory through me.  Thank you Lord for the one thousand gifts you give and more.  Thank you Lord for the ways your teach me through others & Thank you Lord for letting me pass on some of those words you've given me to do the same.  that is blessing.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Little.Fish. in a maze

I am continually reminded throughout this #31days writing challenge, that I am given moments of clarity & then fall back into the similar patterns, action & thought.  I am so grateful for the little epiphanies, the 'ah-ha' moments, similarities in my own struggles with those around me & what I can learn from them.  The eb & flow of this life can truly wear me out, build me up, undo me, transform me.

It can be discouraging.  It can make me feel like I'm not making progress.  (What is progress?)  I can forget how much I have really learned, grown, changed.  How do I 'grade' myself, my life, my work?  Should I get caught up in the progress, the assessment of my days, whether or not I'm meeting my own goals, my own expectations?

As I embrace choosing to be a diligent worker, a cheerful giver, a kind boss.  I am struck by how simple, and hard that can be.

But the encouragement found in the journey, through any maze, is life giving.  remembering the faithfulness of the Lord, in any & everything.  the maze can itself, become blessing, through the right eyes.

heading into the maze!  y'all it was LONG, haha.
little loves.

Blessing:  my sweet family getting out & enjoying each other & enjoying the season.  my little boys' smiles, tears, tantrums, triumphs.  the beauty of the colors.  the heat even in the Fall.  the BBQ & hot dogs & my patient hubs sitting at the kid size picnic table cause they want to.  my sweet babe on my hip snuggled in close.  the sun coming through in that shade of yellow.  the little boy joy that tractors, dirt, corn, swings, play bring.

some blessings from the Lord are just simple life.

"Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven.  
The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light."
James 1:17 (the Message)

"So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. 
In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, 
making a salvation-garden of your life."
James 1:21 (the Message)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

a Little.Fish. with gifts

I have recently started participating in the Bloom Book Club at (in)courage & their current study is Emily P. Freeman's A Million Little Ways (you can check her out at

This book has come at a really perfect time for me as I have been walking through this idea of being a Little.Fish. & how truly conflicted I am about it.  Whether I feel the desire to become a big fish for my own fame or vanity, & whether or not the Lord really has made me to be anything other than a Little.Fish.

The main idea of the book is that we are all image bearers of the Lord, and therefore, if he created the world full of beauty & living art, then we as his image bearers are art.  He gave us the job to do & we are a reflection of him in all we give of true selves.

I was amazed to see one of my last posts as a topic in the beginning of her book.  She discusses the desires of our hearts & how we fight ourselves.  We wrestle with whether or not a 'gift' is from the Lord, and what he wants to do with it.  I feel that - conflicted with what I know in my heart is a passion of mine & how it brings me great joy, but also pride.

So what was her answer??

The 'gifts' that we have, change with the seasons she says. (!)  We don't have to 'arrive' or 'find' it and from then on be static.  Maybe I can have a different seasons, the Lord can show himself through different 'art' of my own life & what I give away.  The idea is that you must give away what the Lord gives you (=gift) & be brave enough to do it. (!!)

I kind of laugh.  Because I have struggled to be brave in this writing experiment.  I haven't always shared the posts because of how they made me feel exposed, but in truth, they praise God for what he has done!  Past, present, future.  I can be brave & rest in the truth that he may bless this 'gift' for now, but the next may be totally different.

I'm excited to start mentoring & discipling high school girls at our church.  I'm sure that I can either give away myself & bless, or I can be afraid & keep to myself.  The Lord can glorify himself through the small (what seems small to me) & bring joy, healing, wholeness, life.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book, but more so really being free to live into whatever new season, whatever 'gifts', without wishing I could be living in a different one.

I would love for the Lord to bless me with a 'small' life & be able to give & love & serve those in my community.  If at the end of my days, it could be said of me, I don't think being a Little.Fish. could be considered a regret.

Monday, October 28, 2013

an imperfect Little.Fish.

I have now joined the ranks of those who started out the #31days challenge intending to write for all 31 days, & I have now missed two.

What a perfect time to talk about imperfection.

"...and then he told me, 
"My grace is enough; it's all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

my 3 boys

our baby

I adore these little guys.
I am weak, but He is strong.  I'm imperfect, but He is perfect.  I'm unworthy, but He is worthy.

Can I remember to invite him in when I feel weak?  when I fail, when I struggle?  when I get angry, when I am tired?

I'm so glad I don't have to do it all in my own strength, because I couldn't ever do it all in my own strength.

Thank you Lord for pushing me to be imperfect, even in the little things that I probably could have controlled, like blogging.  Thank you for your freedom to strive & the freedom from guilt when striving only creates strife.  Thank you for the time with my family.

Friday, October 25, 2013

a Little.Fish. in a little pond

I'm jumping off from the blog this morning by Emily P. Freeman  today.

I feel so conflicted about the motivation to pursue my 'talents'.  That is one of my main desires for exploring why I feel like a Little.Fish. and if the Lord wants me to remain one, or if I should strive to become a Little.Fish. in a bigger pond, so to speak?

Why?  Do I want to sing with the praise band?  Why?  Do I want to develop a big 'following' for this blog?  Why?  Do I really just want fame?  our culture is OBSESSED with fame, and that is so.ugly. ((let's be honest)).  Do I really want to write a book?  To speak at conferences, to lead others?

The answer is really yes & no.

Yes, I would love to sing for a big crowd - to feel what that is like.  To be praised for the talent the Lord has given to me.  But, do I really want to be famous? nope.  Do I really want to travel, tour, be away from my family, be criticized?  Do I want the hard work?  Nope.  I really don't.

Yes, I would love to have people, friends & strangers, read my words & be encouraged.  Yes, it would really boost my ego & I would feel important.  But is that all?  Nope.  There is hard work there too.  There is criticism, rejection.  There is exposure - Do I really want my family opened up to that?  Nope, I really don't.

Yes, I would love to become an author - to write words of life & encouragement - to use what encourages me to bless others as well.  That would be wonderful.  But, really??  There is a TON of hard work for that too.  CRITICISM! REJECTION!  Touring, time away from my family.  I really can only imagine what that would be like.

Yes, speaking.  I am a teacher still at heart & I would love to continue to teach.  I would love to teach more of what I'm passionate about, which wasn't ever the subject of History.  I would be honored to use my skill set in a way that would honor my Lord & serve his body, the Church.  And this one??  I know the response is the same!  Hard work, criticism, rejection, time away, touring.

Am I really ready or willing for any of that?

The answer is no.  I'm happy to be a Little.Fish. in a little pond for now.  I'll jump into a big pond if the Lord makes that clear - willingly, happily, fearfully, joyfully.

But for now, I'm grateful for all that I'm learning.  I'm grateful to learn from others. to be molded & made more like my savior.  I'm grateful for all the writing that has spurred me on.  It has been powerful & life changing & the Lord has made it life giving.  I'm a better mother, friend, wife, and follower of Christ because of those that have poured out their lives, and that is why I want to do the same.  Thank you Lord for the mantel, the torch we carry, and thank you for any opportunities to pass it on.  big or small.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Happy 6.months.old to my precious baby Calvin Dean!!

chats with Daddy

learning to sit up

hello push up!

Daddy came to the rescue & found the 'lost' lovie!!

chats with his brothers.  they love to laugh!

"this spoon is empty??"

in good company.
Oh.My. little fella you are such a delight.  You are still not a great sleeper, but I'm grateful for the longer stretches of sleep at night (which are intermittent).  You are getting more & more curious on your belly, but no army crawls yet.  Learning to sit up - getting the tri pod move down!  You are VERY alert & keep a close eye on us all.  That is something that people comment on.  ;-)  besides how adorable your dimples are, haha.  You love to go up in the air & ride horsey on mommy's knees.  You love to be held, but play so nice in your jumper & on the floor.  Getting ready for your first foods soon to come!  Still nursing great.  I love you more than I can say.  We are so blessed to have you in our family.

my happy baby

Your 6 month check-up went great!  You were 17 lbs, 7 oz & 29 in long (??!!)  I told your daddy that we were lucky your infant car seat goes to 32 in vs. 30 in, or you'd be out by next month for sure. haha.  You are skinny for your height, but you did great with your first foods this past week.  I'm sure glad you are growing so well!  my precious baby boy.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

an anxious Little.Fish.

Oddly, this is a post that I've been wanting to write since the beginning of my #31days challenge.  On the anxiety that sometimes can stop me in my tracks.  This is a very difficult topic to put into words properly, so please read with grace.

Now, again, this may sound extreme.  It's not.  I do not, at all, in any way, seek to convey that I am crippled by anxiety.  I do not intend to compare my feelings of anxiety to another's, and as far as seeking counseling or other measures for support, I think that is the right step for many who battle anxiety.  I don't think that is the step for me, but...

My own personal bubble can run out of oxygen some days.

Sometimes the circumstances we are 'swimming' in can truly overwhelm.

chaos: I can feel overwhelmed by chaos & sometimes, I will try to take control of the chaos.  organize it, strategize it, physically control it.  Most often, when the scales tip & I cannot maintain control of the chaos, I struggle to compose.  But the Lord can redeem chaos & give good gifts in the midst if I LET.GO. of controlling it.

money: I am the 'nerd' by Dave Ramsey's standards.  I like to make a budget.  I like to fill out the charts, punch the numbers, try to balance.  But, we struggle.  Our hearts have so many desires & dreams, and those things are easy(not really, but relatively) to put on the back burner.  But when repairs pop & things seem a bit out of our control, when I can't make the numbers match, I really lose it.  This one even makes me sick to my stomach & torments my mind with guilt over decisions made.  plus, money is hard to discuss.  And trusting this one to the Lord, and LETTING.GO of control doesn't make sense to me.  So I just pray anyways, for wisdom & healing & deliverance.

people: can people just 'eat my lunch' as my father-in-law likes to say.  I have tried to play the 'easy-going' card about my personality.  The Lord is so gracious to me, most of my friends probably wouldn't describe me as judgmental, hot-tempered, or anxious. but I totally am in my heart of hearts.  God brings victory & redemption over those to the degree that only me & my sweet hubs & my closest girlfriends truly hear those thoughts & words.  Some interactions with people, especially when someone has hurt me or my child, just put real knots in my stomach - it physically hurts.

But- I think I've experienced the greatest healing & renewal in this arena.  I'd like to share an old post, that I never published because of how painful it was for me. Palm Sunday

I had a very wise mentor who told me how to deal with seeing this woman and feeling consumed with anxiety.  Thanks Bobbi. ;-)  She told me: my children are not pawns, and I don't have to put them in anyone's hands if I don't feel that's best for them.  But, I can separate the past from the present & give grace to a woman who stands in front of me - the grace of forgiveness.  the grace of kindness.  ((so simple, but made an incredible difference to me as I am able to interact & practice forgiveness))

vulnerabilty: posting this gives me anxiety.  To be known really is painful, and in many ways I'm still not ready.  But how could I not share what has given me such strength?? peace & hope?? and freedom??

thank you Lord for your REDEMPTION!!  You take all that physically feels bad & painful, and you can HEAL.  You can RENEW.  You can bring your peace & your joy and pour it all over these circumstances that put me in knots.  If I &  Forgive when I still hold on tight.  Lord it's yours.  Thank you for taking it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

a Little.Fish, on assignment

I truly believe that in as much as I may feel desire to be a, that until the Lord presents a door, I am called to be a Little.Fish.

I am called to love the Lord with all my heart, soul & mind.  to love my husband.  to serve my family.  to make a home.  to contribute towards feeding & clothing the 'hungry & naked' in my own house first.  to serve those in my community & to love them well.

I don't, specifically, feel called to minister to women online. (which may seem an odd statement, but I examined this idea as I saw others doing so).  I do, unintentionally, find myself loving this process of writing & how much it ministers to me.  I am continually humbled by how the Lord teaches me, works it out uniquely through blogging, and can minister to others through it as well.  I am, however, still embarrassed a bit by the vulnerability of it all.

I was reading today a blog post by Emily Freeman (hosted by Lysa Terkurst's site) & what she said just resonated with me- about having an assignment.  and what I heard, was about being a! haha.  So, read her if you have a moment.  I loved how she said that the Lord uses boundaries & limitations in our lives.  It may feel like constraint, but in reality, it is freedom to do your one job well. !  Check it out... Emily P. Freeman - art taught by lifeguards.  This Little.Fish. is gonna try to remember my assignment, my 8 ft. of the pool to keep my eyes ;-)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Little.Fish. swimming in a school [part 2]

I wanted to share just a bit more on this topic.  1. because it hurts a lot  2.  because I think it can be healed

If it wasn't very clear from yesterday's post, I am not good at really living life, sharing life together, in community. (in the past I was just downright bad at it)  I think the gospel has so much power when it exists outside the church, in life, in those moments where our fallen nature looms big & our brokenness, our flaws are so obvious.

My pastor likes to joke, that 'if you don't come to church because of the hypocrites, that's ok, there's always room for one more.'  We are all hypocrites.  None of us is without sin, and therefore; none perfectly living this life.

Being known is a scary thing.  It's vulnerable.  It exposes us who like to hide behind the mask of pride. "I'm smart, funny, well-travelled, educated, not bad to look at, ((look at me!!))"  As I've grown up, I've come to really dislike that 'me-monster' that comes out.  Y'all remember Brian Regan, the comedian?  He did a really funny bit about the 'me-monster'.  I'm grateful that those 'accolades' don't apply to me, and are pretty laughable at this point in my life.  I'm seriously laughing out loud.

Letting people in, loving people, sets you up for pain.  If you love a lot, you may end up hurting over those same relationships.  As a mom of little kids, I feel this in a whole new way as my kids age.  I love them fiercely, but they have very little room, very little freedom at this age to truly hurt me.  I know those days are coming... (!)  But how much did my Lord suffer for me.!.??  He gave, & he knew pain, more than I'll ever know.  because he loved me.

In friendship, in fellowship, can I really see people differently?  Not just as passers-by for this time being, but really see the people?  hear their hearts?  Even people who are different from me?  Not everyone may be a kindred spirit, best friend material.  But I am called to love, more than just those who are easy to love.  those who are hard to love & even enemies.

It doesn't help that I'm really not good with names.  When I taught high school, I would tell the kids, and I would try hard, but it took me weeks (and weeks for some) to learn their names.  I need a meaningful connection, or I never get it - it doesn't ever stick.

We have a community that we exist in, right now.  I need to be a part, give more of myself & remember that I NEED them too.  Try not to get my feelings hurt when my 'serves' don't get returned, so to speak.  I don't have thick skin, but I'm going to ask the Lord to stretch me & make me better for those I am around.  I don't really want to meet any more new people (and the idea makes me a bit queasy- me who has lived 5 homes in 7 years of marriage), but if our paths cross, you should matter to me.

Lord, teach me how to give & serve & love those in my life.  Help me to live that verse, to share your gospel & my life as well - to be delighted to give it away.  Thank you Lord for giving me new eyes to see.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Little.Fish. swimming in a school

I love watching fish at the aquarium who demonstrate the 'school'.  A school of fish is a noun but also a verb, as you watch these fish turn & move in unison as they 'school'.

I've had some strange reflections as a post-college-newly-married-and-relocated person.  Why didn't my friendships from college seem to persist?  I had known that every summer break, I'd gone the whole time without hardly hearing from friends, but for some reason I was really heart broken that I ended up with no close friends at the end of my college career, outside of my best friend, my husband.

This conclusion led me down an interesting stretch of questions: was I a bad friend?  Did I know how to be a good one?  How could I change & be a friend worth having?

I've wrestled with those questions for years now, as a no-longer-post-college-or-newly-married person. I'm now a mom of 3, 3 years & under.  And I can exist on an island, so to speak.  But my life is just.plain.better. when I let people in it.

I look back at college & before.  When I was growing up, I thought that I needed to become independent, to be able to stand on my own two feet, to be ok on my own.  (this has never been a reality for me, I'm certainly BLESSED to say the least).  We moved often when I was little, and it became very easy for me to make new friends, but I didn't keep friends for more than a year or so, before another move necessitated new ones.  My high school years were divided between two different cities as well.  On to college.  I saw others & how they existed in groups.  I saw that as weakness.  I didn't 'need' someone else to go with me to eat; I was very capable to go alone.  I didn't need anyone to help me do almost anything.  I wanted friendship, but I missed the blessing of 'swimming in a school' with those around me.

Our church has a really beautiful vision statement.  I love our church.

"Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you 
not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."  
1 Thessalonians 2:8 NIV

How strange that the answer to my questions from college hits me: I didn't need anyone, & in turn I wasn't needed.  No give, and no take.  I was closed off to really building friendship because I wasn't participating in community.  and what a beautiful picture of the church, the body, the bride of Christ, as a group of schooling fish - reactive, responsive to one another.

I think swimming in a school is hard.  I think the vulnerability of 'needing' others is hard.  I NEED OTHERS!  I need to share my life with others, and I need them to share with me.  It is really easy to see on a day when I'm just about to be crushed by the weight of my day, and my sweet neighbor stops by, on a whim, and just the friendship & relief from my circumstance is healing.  

The instagrams, the cell phone chats, the rushed-2-sec conversation.  All so good & encouraging for me.  But, TIME & FACE to FACE just cannot be replaced.

Thank you Lord for teaching me & showing me the strength in weakness, the value of needing others, and how you minister to me even in stay-at-home-toddler-isolation.  Thank you.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

my Little.Fish. growing big&big

My little boys.  They love to talk about growing big&big - as we like to call it.  It comes up at dinner time, when we're encouraging them to try new foods, cause they might taste good & help them grow big&big.  It comes up when they ask to go to work like Daddy.  It comes up when they want to watch Batman cartoons (which I can't find any suitable ones for a 3 yr old).  It comes up when they talk about going hunting with Daddy & Papa.  It comes up at bed time when I tell them their bodies need to sleep so they can get big&big.

My little boys are already big&big for their ages, and it never ceases to amaze me.  My just-over-two year old is already the height & weight of a 3 year old, at over 36 inches & just shy of 33 lbs.  My just-over 3.5 year old is already at least 42 inches & not yet 40 lbs.  He has moved up to 5T pjs!

I truly do love these days that they are little. (so to speak)  The sweet way that James talks to Hayden about what he'll do when he gets big&big is one of my favorite things.  I know that he's going to get too big for me to carry him sooner than I'd like.  But, I'm thankful not to rush.  Gotta soak in my *little* guys while I can. ;-)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Little.Fish, who drags her feet

On this post, I've drug my feet.  waited till the last possible hour of the day to write it & get it posted in time for the #31days.

After my boys went to bed, I drug my feet.  We had picked up all the toys, but the kitchen was a mess, fall decorations were a mess, and even Hayden noticed there were crumbs all over the floor.  So I sat.  started to work on Halloween costumes.  watched jeopardy.  ate ice cream.  Then, the, moment of truth.  Would I leave it all or jump in & get it sorted out?

Some days the answer is no.  No, I'm too tired. no this other thing is more important, which is not always bad.  no, it just feels too heavy.  no, I just don't want to.

"The diligent find freedom in their work; 
the lazy are oppressed by work."
Proverbs 12:24 (the Message)

I totally relate to this particular verbiage.  Tonight, I was angry at myself, scolding myself, beating myself up (stuck in my own head).  Once I decided to go ahead and do it: freedom.  I jumped in.  quit whining. quit fussing.  &  FREEDOM!  and...I get to wake up to a clean kitchen. :-)

Isn't it ironic that those behaviors are ones I correct in my boys, but fail to recognize in myself?

How many days, does it turn out the same way, but doesn't haunt, or mock, or scold?  I love the freedom of finding balance.  Of not seeking perfection, but seeking to serve.  That beauty doesn't always come as perfection.  and I hope my boys don't remember me serving them begrudgingly. 

I do.  I drag my feet sometimes.  I hesitate to start.  I get intimidated.  But I'm learning to be brave & I'm learning to trust & I'm learning that it doesn't have to be perfect.

I'd also like to point out: lack of perfection DOES NOT equal failure.

For me, it has always felt that way.  But that's not truth.

So jump in, be a diligent worker.  and be cheerful.  if not for yourself, then for you family.

"A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day."
Proverbs 15:13 (the Message)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

a Little.Fish. in a world of beauty

One thing that strikes me most about daily crazy-chaos are the moments of still.  I love to look back over some of my snap-shots of life & see

It is so EASY to miss.

Beauty found in the tender embraces of those you love & those who love you.  Nothing is more precious than to have a memory immortalized in frame of hands-on-expressions of affection & care.  Photos like these will never lose their value & it will only grow as the years pass.

This world we live in provides us endless opportunities to reach out & touch (figuratively for my example of this zoo picture, haha) what is in front of us.  So many different views, landscapes, flowers, animals, rays of light, unfathomable glimpses of beauty in every arena of life.  If we pay attention.

I was reading a blog of The Nester or maybe it was Chatting at the Sky (forgive my faulty memory), and she made such an amazing point.  I suppose I've always thought of our Lord as an incredible creator, but not ever really as an artist.  Obviously, if you asked me, I'd figure it out.  But it was never an 'understood' idea for me.  As an artist, he is amazing.  I am a fan of art that displays nature most of the time, but none ever compare to the original.  even in all the beauty one is endowed, which is to be celebrated, our Lord is matchless.

A favorite daily activity of mine is still counting gifts, which is itself a gift from Ann Voskamp.  I love seeing little hands waving to their Daddy.  The affection given freely by my boys is precious.  I don't want to become callous to moments that happen frequently but are special, gift.

Beauty is found in the celebration of life, especially a life lived well with hope in the Lord.  Pain is not absent.  But peace is present.

Celebrating a life lived well by Johnnie Myers, 86 years young.
Thank you for the glimpses of beauty in this world - gifts - glimpses of you - given to me.  Help me never stop taking the snap-shots, counting the graces, seeing you.  pain is not absent in this life, but you are present. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Little.Fish, washed by the water

My little fishes love to take a bath.  They all, always have.  Very rarely, do they ever throw a tantrum about taking a bath.  Very often, they throw a tantrum about getting.out. of their bath.

This past week, big bro helped me give our little guy his bath.  It.was.precious.  He was so happy to help & just lit up the whole room.  Baby Calvin was just as pleased.  pleased as punch.  I think these two are going to have a special bond.  It makes me so happy & brings me so much joy.

scrub a dub!

I know for me, it feels like such.bliss. to have an un-interrupted shower.  I have fondly even called it my hydro-therapy some days!  Something about being washed by the water.

I think it's the same when our Lord forgives us - takes burdens off when I've been worrying.  It is so freeing. refreshing. cleansing. renewing.

Even in the small.  even in something as simple as bath time.  We can be cleansed & given a fresh start.

spike-y baby hair!

Thank you Lord, for the simple ways you bring renewal.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

this Little.Fish. loves to sing

Can fish sing?  anyways...

SO:  I have since I was little.  I remember writing songs as a little girl about nonsense, and I can even remember some of them to this day!

In college, I sang in the Clemson University singers, audition only, as an alto.  I took voice lessons.  I sang with the Women's choir.  I sang with the FCA praise band as their female vocal.  I sang at my church & at various church events, and even at my brother's wedding.

But as I already confessed, I kinda wish I knew if I was really 'good' or not.  I've concluded that maybe it would have come easier if I had been better?  I've even day dreamed about trying out for American Idol or X-factor because Simon Cowl is honest; he'd tell me straight.

I've always had major insecurities about whether or not I was good enough.  I remember in high school, wishing they'd invite me to sing in the 'big' church praise band, when I was singing with my youth one most evenings.  I remember sitting in my Dad's church & my father-in-law's church, and wishing they'd invite me to sing one week.  Cause it would be an ego boost for someone to want me, like me, request me.  Cause I love the space of being 'alone' on stage.

That may sound absurd.  'Alone' on stage??  If you sit in the service, and really, truly sing with abandon, people think you're a bit strange, no?  people do not sing loudly, most of the time, but I do.  Especially when I'm really lost in the song.  It actually makes me self conscious to sing in the audience like I would at home alone, or up on stage.  On stage, everyone sort of expects you to sing with abandon, and it is accepted as passion.

I do struggle - wrestle - with the fight between pride in my ability & insecurity in my ability.  How to find balance??

That has been a question that has been unanswered for me for years.  I have volunteered only once to sing in the past 4 years since having children, and it has felt like something I gave up, lost. some distant love of my past, singing.  That one time, I received some tough criticism, and I decided not to pursue it for a while.

and I was content that the Lord had a season for singing in my life.  I trust that & I believe it's true.  I sing to my boys & most of the time they like it, haha. ;-) but seasons change, and I don't want to miss the blessing in each one.

the best compliment I've ever received was from my sister, Christina.  She said, "your voice is like an old, wooden handrail.  smooth & even."  (or something like that - those of you can attest my memory for non-movie quotes is not as accurate).

I've been so intrigued this #31days series by the posts of Reeve Coobs at  She is a friend of a friend who happens to be doing a give away of her new CD today at!  I'm excited.  Anyway- Reeve wrote a post about 'scratch tracks' & how she recorded one, thinking it would be bad, but it turned out perfect.  I have been so encouraged by her view of the imperfect in a voice as beauty.  I've always wanted such perfection in my own singing, that I've just about given it up for lack of perfection.  But the Lord didn't make us all with auto tune, as she points out.  and you miss out when you fake perfection.

Will the Lord bring back a place in my life for me to sing, in worship, on stage, as a lead or a harmony?  I don't know.  But if not... he is still good.  ;-)  I'm so dumbfounded that I am now just really hearing that perfection doesn't equal beauty in a voice.

I can be so critical (again, judger anyone?) of others, and even competitive if I begin to see a need to 'make my myself heard' or 'make my place'.  I know my rebellious heart has cropped up during times when I didn't want to sing only one part, I felt that the song just made me want to change, do different, be bolder, be louder, BUILD to a different place... but I wasn't a good follower in those cases.  I should have just asked if it would be ok to change it up.  instead?  I sometimes just did it my way.

Oh.the.faults. flaws. sins.

But, maybe the Lord will give a new opportunity.  I should just ask.  ;-)

maybe if I do sing again, in that capacity, maybe the Lord will teach me something new in that arena.  But if not... he is still good.  and I am still loved.  (thanks annVoskamp)

Monday, October 14, 2013

this Little.Fish. likes to dance

our 'dance break' time in the kitchen

Our love to dance!  They call it 'dance break' and whenever they hear music they like, they break out!!  James like to do more crazy dance moves, and Hayden likes to do run in circles, spin around, or watch me dance.

I love dancing.

When I was in high school, my favorite dance was the Carolina shag.  It's the state dance, and our little school would hold 'shag dances' when I was maybe 7th or 8th grade.  When I was at Clemson, I took shag class & learned all kinds of special moves & partner work in shag.  We had swing/shag nights on campus, & it was just about one of the most fun things you could do.  I never actually took swing class, but lindy hop was one of my favorites!!  The swing out...  Just plain fun.  We actually had my dance professor come & DJ our wedding reception.  He taught a beginner lesson on swing dancing & our guests were able to dance along with us & enjoy the fun.  (just in case that sound like it's up your alley... Paul Hoke, Greenville, SC.  Upstate Swing)

Can I say that I love the show, So You Think You Can Dance? haha

I would like to declare: dancing is a gift.  dancing, the good old fashioned kind, is almost a lost art for some these days.  It may seem silly, but dancing is freedom.  dancing is art.  dancing is for everyone.  dancing is great exercise.  dancing with someone you love is bliss.  dancing with a friend is brings cheer.

anyone (besides me) love how early Gray's anatomy had their dance parties when they had a bad day??

If you need it, like I do most days, have a dance break.  Happy Monday.  ;-)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

a strong Little.Fish.

Nothing says 'strength' like a muscle-man pose & competition with your brother.


I am not surprised that many of my days (&blog posts) end up sharing about my weakness.  It is true- most of the time, I do feel.weak.  inadequate.  unable.  But, then I can open my mouth, get out of my own head, and say 'thanks'.  to my creator- for giving me this day & time & place.  However CRAZY it may feel in the moment.  and in that act of choosing to be grateful, thankful- I can become joyful, strong, girded up, buoyed.  haha, I love that last one - hoisted up & kept afloat!!

Thank you Lord for giving me strength.  Not the kind that comes from proving myself, but the kind that comes from submitting myself.  THY will be done, not mine.  and I can rejoice!  anyway.  no matter what.  Because, on the other side?  (of whatever is happening, big or small)  He will always be there.  He is faithful.  He makes me strong.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Little.Fish; humbled.

One of my most treasured blessings in this life: my family.  Our family is diverse, wide spread over many states, varied in background & pursuits.  Life has has not afforded us as much time together as some extended families - but the times together, correspondences, & love for each other has kept a special fondness & joy when our paths cross!

I have been so.very.humbled. that some of my family has taken the time to read my blog for my #31days posts.  It has been an exercise for me- building discipline, stretching my creativity, and pulling inspiration from my daily life & faith.  It has felt blessed- both for how I feel when I write & what I'm able to create.  

To have friends, acquaintances, or strangers read my words has been humbling, but to have Who knows me.  whom I see face to face.  who probably already knows my faults & loves me still.  To have them read my words - the outpouring of my heart really - has really been more of a challenge.  I didn't anticipate being a bit self conscious about my writing, but I have been.

I am grateful.  for those who care to read what I write (because it does mean something to me).  for those who may find encouragement because we struggle similarly.  and I am grateful for those who know me well.  and love me.  and still read what I write & love me.  ;-)

My sweet Aunt Linda has been so generous to send us some more handmade outfits for Calvin.  She knows about his heat rash problems, and thought these 'diaper shirt' outfits would be nice & cool for him.  They.are.precious & beautiful!  and best of all, special.  made with love.

I love the handmade pressed flowers on her cards.

I am humbled that out of anyone, of everyone, my family would hear my heart in my words & know me better.  Love me despite.  Thank you Lord for my sweet family, near & far.

Friday, October 11, 2013

a Little.Fish, all dried up


Why is it so easy to know the good I ought to do but be unable to succeed in doing it?  and then I wallow.  I am undone over my sinful behavior, and I seek forgiveness, I repent!  But do I turn away?  when those old habits die slowly & I stumble again, and again.  I am crying for relief, solace, peace, comfort for my sadness & failure.

overdramatic?  nope, just stuck in my own head.

The only idea I could muster for writing today was the feeling of being all.dried.up.  squeezed out & dehydrated & sucked dry.  I am parched, cracked & needy.

I am waiting for the Lord to wash over me, revive me, refresh me.  This refining fire of motherhood is burning so hot & I feel wrecked.

I step back and tell myself, my kids are not going to be perfect, and neither am I, but I step forward into life & I am still so hurt by their disobedience, embarrassed by their tantrums, angry by their sin against each other.  Their sins are so hard to forgive when they fly in my face & against my directions.

Lord, I need you.  I fall flat on my face.  You forgive my sins against you, and yet I, forgiven much, struggle to forgive.  Lord teach me how to discipline myself & my boys.  How I wish I could 'get it right' but Lord help me to get you.  To find a solution where you are in the middle.  Would you come?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

a Little.Fish. with a big mouth.

I should have saved my 'tired fish' post for today.  My boys were all up last night at various times & I am plum worn out this morning.  an hour or two of sleep is just devastating for me.  Coincidently, another of the #31days bloggers, Jessi at Naptime Diaries wrote on being Wild & Free to rest.  It makes me smile to see how Meredith, myself, and Jessi all wrote on the same topic back-to-back-to-back days.  But the Lord gave each one of us a different bit to say, and I was better off for reading theirs!

My point being: rest is so important to give your family your best.  This morning, my potty-trained boy randomly peed all over my kitchen.  My 1 or 2 hours of sleep last night left me so vulnerable for my big.mouth. to get in the way.  I was surprised at the sounds screaming from my mouth.  I knew the words weren't the problem, he needed to go right to the bathroom, potty & change.  But how they came out?? yiiikes.

But failure gives the opportunity to admit it, ask for forgiveness, and move forward together.  I sat my boy down, after all was cleaned up & done, and we talked about it.  Was it good to pee pee on the kitchen floor?  nope.  When he wakes up in the morning, he needs to remember to potty & not forget.  yes.  But mommy shouldn't have yelled, that wasn't nice.  nope.  Do you forgive me?  yes.  Do you have anything to say to mommy too?  Sorry mommy, and I forgive you too.

Mommy has a big mouth.  and these little guys see it & hear it & copy it.  After my outburst this am, I had to sit down with Hayden to discuss the yelling again, and yet again.  monkey see, monkey do.

This Little.Fish. has a hard time taming my tongue.  I can be swept away by the injustice I see in this world - politically, socially, locally, nationally, personally.  There are a few things that really get my heart pumping & strike that chord in my spirit.  Why do I take my thoughts to friends or even facebook for all to see?  Is it a cry to be heard?  for understanding in the midst of so much confusion & frustration?  What do I accomplish by venting frustrations; do I become 'justified' in my outrage when someone else agrees with me?  May I then continue on in that frame of mind?

Can I stop there?  

"Finally, brothers and sisters,  whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."  Philippians 4:8

I'm grateful that our Lord is in charge.  I should take my hurts & worry & burdens & cares and cast them on Him.  I should pray first, and not seek my own wisdom first.

"Praise be to the name of God forever and ever;
wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
he deposes kings and raises others up.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning."  Daniel 2:20-21

My God is a righteous judge.  I am not.  My God is in control of all that happens.  I am not.  Do I feel I am adding anything to my life by worry?  certainly not.  If my God is in charge, and he will call all into account in the end, then who am I to play judge?  Is my God not big enough to handle it?

Lord forgive me for running my mouth.  Help me to seek your discernment more when sharing my thoughts with others.  Tame my tongue & use it for your glory, to give thanks in all circumstances.  In spite of injustice.  Show me what I can DO for others where words fall flat.  Give me vision & mission to fight injustice for your name's sake.  and if not, then help me give it up to you.  You are in charge, I am not.  Let me seek & serve, and not just talk.  amen.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

this Little.Fish. is TIRED

I am tired.  Today, my brain just hurts as I type this.  Why?  I'm not really sure, but it probably has something to do with not sleeping a full 8 hours in who knows how long.  But I'm not going to complain; my 3 boy are worth every sleepless night.

These little guys have kept me on my toes lately.  I love these different stages, but the challenge of discipline for a 3.5 year old & a 2 year old is DAUNTING to say the least.   There have been those days recently when my hubs & I look at each other at the end of the day and without a word understand the expression on the other's face: EXHAUSTED.

**Do not worry, he did NOT fall. although I know this looks precarious**

We are able to get out for an adventure every now & again.  It is our favorite thing to do as a family.  Since my hubs & I rarely go on dates alone anymore, I like to call these 'family dates' where we go & do & eat out.  The car is a magical zone for us where the boys are almost always quiet & content.  I know that's not always the case, but for the majority of the time, especially when we are tired, going on a drive is a gift.

Ft. Clinch, Fernandina Beach, FL

I think that being tried makes all of life harder.  I know for my boys, my number 1 go-to for how to fix toddler tantrums is sleep.  early bedtimes.  in James' case, naptime is a battle I'm willing to fight for our sanity's sake.  I know they struggle to have any emotional capacity at all when they are tired or hungry. They are 'normally' very sweet boys.  wild & crazy.  but absolutely the apple of my eye!  If you see or hear them when they are tired or hungry, you would never.guess. how sweet their temperaments truly are.

telling each other secrets.  Hayden hasn't quite understood how this works.

For myself, running around tired makes my life fodder for the smallest spark to set it on fire.  Suddenly, everything is a BIG DEAL and all my reactions are extreme.  It is such an exercise in patience & the Lord's refining fire for me to go through my day bone-tired and still be kind & encouraging & willing to enter into their play.  It's easy to skip story time or rush through lunch so I can have a break.  It's hard to feel the burn in your eyes & not give into anger - but remain quick to listen & slow to speak.

"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."  James 1:19

favorite part: secret passage!

One thing that I that I have learned from Ann Voskamp is that, "Life is not an emergency."  I laugh at myself for living my life like it WAS an emergency when James was a baby.  Every immediate need could be considered 'crisis' and I think how much I've been challenged there.  I know now, after having more kids, that needs can only be met  Life is not an emergency. Meet each need, with a cheerful heart, without expectation of perfection.

watching the ships come in

Isn't it beautiful how in our weakness, His strength can shine through better?  Maybe in my own tired state, I am able to lean on Jesus more.  Maybe it is blessing disguised as curse.  Thank you Lord for absolutely  Fill me up with more of you?!