Revisiting Plans & Priorities

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I have to remind myself of goals and priorities constantly so I don’t forget. In January, I set out to make a list of plans & priorities for the year. Now that it is spring and no longer winter, I thought I should revisit and see how things are going for me so far. This is not a checklist of things I have to mark to validate me as a person but a guide for the type of life I want to create this year.

My categories where Faith, Family, Home, Homeschool, Mother Culture, Art, Writing/Blogging and I just wanted to check in on these things for growth and accountability. Blog friends or Real Life friends I encourage you to ask me how these things are going, I am encouraged when others take interest and likewise take interest in the progress your friends that set priorities this year.

So I’ll go down the list (with excerpts from the Plans and Priorities Post):

Faith

“This is a primary priority because without Faith I am hopeless. 2013 was a year that God helped me begin to unravel from depression and hopelessness and show me to delight in my circumstances, so 2014 will be even more so a testament to what He is doing. I will continue to study and trust more. I want to be more thankful as well this year.”

I have been trying to study more and trust more and grow in contentment and joy. I can say it isn’t an easy battle when a history of depression rears it’s head and you forget truth, but it isn’t my fight really, I am trying to remember to give it up. I just pray I continue to do so. I have been reading a few things for personal study, I read “Keep a Quiet Heart” by Elisabeth Eliott which is helping me to examine my heart. I also stick with my old steady “Morning & Evening” by Charles Spurgeon. I learn so much from this beautiful and encouraging devotion and Spurgeon has a way of putting things to my brain that are equal parts inspiringly truthful, achingly beautiful, and simply revelatory.

We are also very happy to be in a church home for the past year after a very long church search that lasted almost a year prior to that. It is a sweet community of believers and biblical learning that we are happy to take part in.  I am very thankful for the teaching that is really good and encourages me in Faith, this is a recent sermon that blew my mind: Behold I see the Heavens Opened. I encourage you if you live in Augusta, Ga and do not have a church home to join us this Week for our Easter Series.

Family

“Instead of busy-ness, instead of this activity or that event, instead of every kind of distraction I want my family to be a priority and for us to find peacefulness in our home and with each other. This means we will continue in traditions like Sunday Radio Day, no media except music or talk radio. Also, we will make more intentional time together and less sitting around the tv.”

On the busy-ness front this is an ongoing battle that I am hitting with full force daily. It is so easy for our Yeses to become full schedules and stress inducing weeks. I’m not for that. I am not saying this is hermit time for us, -even though sometimes I think I’d like that- I mean that is time to be intentional with our time. Say maybe in your mind, evaluate and answer back with a definite “yes” or “no” when it comes to events that draw you from the home. We have succeeded in doing Sunday Radio Day and trying to reduce the media intake on school days, so I think we are getting somewhere. I can tell the difference between the character of my six year old that plays outside all day versus a little six year old that watches tv all day. We are definitely not an anti-tv house, just trying to reign it in.

We are also being more intentional with family devotions and going through this book together at night time storytime. I wrote a review this month and highly recommend it.

Home

“This is related to the care and cultivating of the home. I want my home to be simple, beautiful and help my family to thrive, so I am making an effort to make it so through the simplest of measures.”

Soooo…. this has been a big struggle for me, for like, always. I am learning to enjoy the day to day maintenance that comes with making a happy home, knowing that real life looks most days like this and it’s ok as long as I am helping my family to thrive and be happy…also coffee….coffee is my new friend.

Homeschool

“The past ten months we’ve had a new baby in the house and now that that new baby is somewhat an old baby we have gotten into better rhythms at home, especially in regards to school for Emma. As long as she’s learning truth, beauty, and goodness through her schooling we are doing something right.”

We are back on track with school and even though we are a bit behind on the schedule we are trucking through and happily making education a priority again. Emma ( our almost seven year old) is enjoying school time and I am loving this time together, sometimes school is interrupted by Alice’s (our 1 year old) needs  and that’s ok we resign to Mom’s bed to put Alice asleep while I read aloud from “Little House in the Big Woods”.

Mother Culture

“Mother Culture (Self Care and Interests ex. staying healthy-eating healthy, gym time and reading for pleasure and knowledge)- It is helping me to think of getting healthy as a thing I am doing to help myself and my children in the context of being a Mother opposed to some arbitrary goal I set for myself. My goal for this is more health, more wisdom.”

I’ve had a slow start and have started back working out and eating healthier. Thankful that one of my gifts recently was a Fitbit so I can track steps and progress. I am continuing to read and am always adding to my “to-read” list.

Art

“I never completed art school and I am down on myself a lot about it, in 2013 both Kenny started actively pursuing Art making more in our lives and this year I want that to ripen even more. Whether it’s photography or printmaking, I want to see more art making this year. I’ve started making plans based on this and am just praying for the occasional quiet times to work on these.”

I’m getting there, it’s hard to be motivated to make art after a long day of kid wrangling but I just need to be intentional with the time I do have.

Writing/Blogging

“I want to be more consistent with my writing and blogging without being overly ambitious. One plan that I am thinking of is setting a manageable schedule for me to work on this. Something easy-like twice a week, just to write out some of the things I have rolling around in my head.”

I haven’t done much writing lately but have been trying to post frequently and this is something I want to make a priority. It helps to sometimes get mangled thoughts on to “paper”.

I guess to some all of these things up the key word is Intentionality and just being mindful of the details.

So how are you doing with your plans & priorities this year?  Do you need encouragement for plans ahead? I hope to revisit this often and please share what you have going on in your lives.

No Comments // Categories: Faith, Intentional Living

Posted on April 17, 2014 by Ellie

Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson; A Review

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How important is it to learn about Grace at an early Age? It is of the utmost importance, in my opinion,  just as it is equally important to learn as an Adult as I am doing now. Grace colors the way we interact with others and even ourselves in all of life. Grace, simply put, the In Faith,Grace that is undeserved comes from God and is the antithesis to working to no avail to pay your for your own debts, for your own righteousness. It just doesn’t work that way. Grace is transforming and refining because it is difficult to extend Grace if you don’t understand Grace and once God’s grace is understood it can change everything that you think you know about Him and what that means for your faith.

Are we teaching our children about Grace? Are we learning about Grace? How do we bring up conversations about Grace in the everyday, ordinary moments of life? Sometimes you need a starting place. That’s what I feel Jessica Thompson’s book is, a tool for conversations about God, Grace, and remarkable Love.

It is no secret that we homeschool (Charlotte Mason style) and as a part of that we do daily bible studies, I love that time where we talk about scripture and what it means to us. We discuss Gospel things and what they mean in our day-to-day.  Emma who is six-almost-seven is not always interested to be truthful, but we do get a lot out of it and it is a great way to point to the Gospel then and later when things happen in life and she loves to listen to the stories. We also do something called Character Training, we learn about biblical character that we should embody.  Most people do more than one Character in a year and we started the year that way but since we were struggling with Obedience with the mini teenager (that’s what it’s felt like) in our home we decided to stick with Obedience as our  character for the entire year. If you ask Emma what Obedience is she will tell you that it is “doing what you are told with a happy, submissive heart”. The expectation in our home is “First-Time Obedience”, meaning that you do the previous the first time you are told. In this we are all learning about obedience al-together because I also tend toward the opposite. The apple does not fall far from the tree. We can see how teaching this way does work on hearts little by little with God’s help.

I say all of the above to say if those things are not learned along side Grace and Love then it completely defeats the purpose in my mind. Bible Stories and learning about how we should live can mean nothing if we aren’t connecting it to the Love Story we’ve been given. Without learning Grace, we will tend toward moralism or legalism. That’s why Grace is important. So, I was very excited to get the happy mail that contained my copy of “Exploring Grace Together” by Jessica Thompson. Thank you, Jessica! I treasure “Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus” written by Jessica and her Mother, Elyse Fitzpatrick. It has truly been a wonderful resource for our family. I was very excited to dive in this devotional with Emma and our family.

We have done a week’s worth of devotions from the book to date and we enjoy them very much so far. I of course have read ahead and am excited to discuss all the things inside with my daughter. My praise is that it brings to light everyday issues children and yes, adults struggle with and shines that Gospel light on them so we can see them with new eyes.

For example in Chapter 1 “The Good One” we discussed how all fall short and following the rules does not win you what is given freely. This is so important for us to discuss because Emma in most cases is a “follow the rules to the letter” and has what I like to call a high sense of justice when it comes to herself and others. She is the first to point out among friends that they aren’t following the rules so it was a really great discussion for us.

In Chapter 4 “Just Not Sure” Emma shared that sometimes she doesn’t understand Faith as well just like Sam in the story but that she still wanted to have Faith and thought it was very important. It was a great way to tell her that she is always welcome to talk with us about her thoughts and doubts and we will examine them together, because she isn’t alone in this. Then prompted from the questions we prayed for the special Gift of Faith.

Bullies are a new thing for us this year, I’m not sure if it’s because of the age of her peers or what but we had never experienced it. Emma is a very sensitive child and is really affected by “name calling” or unkindness but she also is not always aware when she is the one being unkind to others as well. Chapter 6 “I Can’t Be Nice” was a great devotion to discuss what we are to do in these scenarios, when we feel like we can’t be nice to others regardless the circumstance. We were able to bring out some situations that have happened to and by Emma and discuss what we can do about them. It is a great way for Mom as well to talk about how she struggles with this.

I really have enjoyed the devotions so far and we will continue with them with our family in hopes that the Gospel conversations continue. The only thing we have done differently in the devotions is that in our Charlotte Mason tradition Emma will narrate the story back to me before we discuss it. We do this for retention in our home and it seems to work for us. Anyone can do this as well but it isn’t necessary for the material. Here are some thoughts on Narration, if interested.

I completely recommend this book. It will become another invaluable resource for us as we raise young children’s hearts and also examine our own hearts. Do it with your families knowing both you and your children will benefit from it. I can’t wait to see what else Jessica has in store in the future, I am totally fangirling her on Instagram and Twitter and almost referred to her as @thejesslou in most of this post. Anyways, go and give her a follow https://twitter.com/Thejesslou and http://instagram.com/thejesslou.

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What are your thoughts on this book? Was this review helpful? I love posts to start a dialog for more conversation.

 

 

2 Comments // Categories: Faith, Homeschool- Charlotte Mason, Reviews

Posted on April 4, 2014 by Ellie

Real Life on Mondays

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“be yourself- not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be.”
― Henry David Thoreau

This life is full of illusion. Our modern world tells us that everyone’s homes look like magazine homes and everyone’s lives look like magazine lives. How much farther from the truth can it be? I read a funny post from White House, Black Shutters last week that made me laugh, titled “How to have a Perfectly Clean House”. It was sarcastic to say the least because we know it is impossible to maintain a perfectly clean house every minute unless you sacrifice other things.

On this blog I have said I want to be transparent and real, so before I show any pretty pictures (possible virtual house tour, in the near future) of my home when it’s clean, I want to show real pictures of real life. We love our house it is small and compact and gets cluttered or messy very easily, but we love it and make attempts to keep it tidy for ourselves and for our visitors. Some days that all goes out the window, most days actually.

A friend called our home “bright and cozy”and that’s exactly what we want it to feel like. Our aim is “bright and cozy” and you know what it’s totally ok to see the above picture on the Dining Room table on a Monday after a long week of art and projects. It is also ok to have loads of clean laundry just sitting in baskets waiting to find a home. Seriously though, don’t worry what I think or others, I’ll try not to worry what you think and we’ll be the best of friends. Real life isn’t always pretty but it’s very rewarding. Let’s throw illusion out the door and just be real.

 

As I start this series, Matthew 11 (specifically 25-30) is a good read for Real Life Mondays

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I also wanted to do a quick tutorial for those wanting to stay in touch with this blog, I’ve had a few people say they can’t always see the links on facebook or twitter and would like to get notifications in other ways. There are a few things you can do.

1. The easiest is to get email notifications, there is a box title “Subscribe to Blog via Email” to sign up for email in the sidebar. ->

2. Use your own feed reader and subscribe to the Blog feed by clicking the FeedBurner Rss Feed button in the side bar or clicking here: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ellieeugenia.

3. This is the one I do since Google Reader became a thing of the past. It’s called Feedly.com and it is a great alternative to Google Reader. There is also a smart app for Feedly so it’s great for waiting room reading or just anytime reading. You have to sign up and then enter in the blog address to subscribe but it’s a great way to stay in touch with blogging friends.

Let me know if you have any questions or need help at all, I’m happy to help walk anyone through the process.

<3 Ellie

2 Comments // Categories: Intentional Living

Posted on March 31, 2014 by Ellie

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The face is a picture of the mind with the eyes as its interpreter.
Cicero

No Comments // Categories: Uncategorized

Posted on March 27, 2014 by Ellie

What are you Reading?

IMG_0086-2Ok, so confession time, I started my birthday year with a 200 book challenge, well let’s talking about failing miserably. I read a lot of books probably way over the human average and the year isn’t over but I know I was too ambitious -like usual- and it aint going to happen.  With a new baby, a kid etc. at the time I really over estimated reading time and burn out from trying to keep up. It’s all good though because I am still reading and reading for fun is enjoyable. So now I am just trying to make sure I am really reading for enjoyment and furthering knowledge. I am not going to worry about unachievable goals. So #200challenge becomes #elliesreadinglist and as I just have fun with it.

So what are you reading this Month? What’s next on your to-read list?

This is what I am reading right now:

“A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness (His Chaos Walking series blew my mind)

“Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow (This was highly reviewed by Neil Gaiman so of course I’ll read it)

“Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking” by David Bayles and Ted Orland

“Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card (My Book before Movie rule)

“Everyday Church” by Tim Chester and Steve Timmis

“Gospel Amnesia” by Luma Simms

As a family we are going through “Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family” by Jessica Thompson (I am going to write a in depth review of this book but I’ll let you know a few pages in we are really enjoying it.)

Most days I am also reading  ”Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon and “Keep a Quiet Heart” by Elisabeth Elliot

My next to-read books are:

“Maddaddam” by Margaret Atwood (I want to finish this series, fascinated)

“The Fault in our Stars” by John Green

“Summerland” by Michael Chabon

“The Circle” by David Eggers (looks interesting and ashamedly I have not read anything from Eggers so it would be my first)

“Christ in the Chaos: How the Gospel Changes Motherhood” by Kimm Crandall

“Glimpses of Grace: Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home” by Gloria Furman

 

8 Comments // Categories: reading list

Posted on March 26, 2014 by Ellie

The Growing Years

imageIt seemed like only yesterday she was born, my little Alice. Life is so temporal and it quickly moves on without a listen to our pleas to slow down for just one minute more. Time is moving so fast yet there are times it feels like we are stuck in place. It’s like that old Jewel song, “Or am I standing still  With the scenery flying by”, truly truly. You’ll remember that one if you are as old as me.

I am so thankful for the big and little joys and blessings we’ve experienced and are experiencing in our lives. Let me tell you how it has been a rough couple of years with many struggles such as depression, debilitating anxiety, financial burdens, things much darker etc. you name it, and how we are being delivered slowly and surely into Provision and Grace from that stuck in placeness. I know I’ve talked some about these things and don’t want to delve in this post -in another post soon- but just know God is so big, bigger than all these things by unfathomable lengths that it puts my mind at ease when the darkness beckons. I am so happy and there is Joy here, all year round and this past weekend beautiful little birthday joys.

Birthdays celebrate anniversaries of new life, Alice’s birthday is on the 23rd of March, Emma’s in two months, Kenny and I also in the Summer.We just love them, we love birthdays here, we love those days where we can smile and know another year has passed and we are the better for it. I am thankful for Alice’s first year that has been such a gift for me. My life changed after Emma and again more and more after Alice. Isn’t it funny how God uses children to change and grow us? I am so truly undeserving, you don’t even know (maybe if you knew you wouldn’t be reading this right now, but it is so ok, more than ok) and I am so thankful.

I am so happy to celebrate in this Easter season celebrate spiritual new life as well. It’s a birthday for souls, hearts and minds. It’s not about me, this life is not about me. There is so much more, so let us rejoice in the knowledge that we can never deserve new life freely given on our own but can revel in it none the less and be transformed by it. I am happy He chose me and is revealing Himself to me and I am being changed.

For Alice and for the rest of My Family for that matter I am never perfect and I fail a lot,- You know those Human flaws and all- in my humaness I pray that each year I can grow in wisdom to be a better Wife and Mother, I need so much of the growing. I pray for my children as they age that they would know true Love and Joy from above. So we are thankful for the birthdays and new life. These are the growing years and we pray they never end.

Not In Me

…No list of sins I have not done, no list of virtues I pursue,
No list of those I am not like can earn myself a place with you.
O God! Be merciful to me. I am a sinner through and through.
My only hope of righteousness is not in me, but only you…

Enjoy a lovely montage of Alice’s party, also the top Image is our wonderful family in wood from our friend Jennifer over at Minnie and the Monster. You may remember she did a Nativity for us as well. Go buy some stuff and tell her I sent you. :)

p.s. now that the house is clean because of the party, seriously- it definitely wasn’t before, I’ve had some friends and followers ask about posting a house tour. Im not sure if it’s house tour worthy but Ill definitely get on it soon.

2 Comments // Categories: Faith, Happy Things, Intentional Living, Words & Meditations

Posted on March 24, 2014 by Ellie

Intentionality and Lent

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ashes to ashes, dust to dust

 

Today is the 2nd day of Lent, yesterday was Ash Wednesday. In recent years we have started to organically observe in our family a few religious holidays that my husband and I were not familiar with growing up. We marvel at how advent and lent are ways for us to point to Him and how we learn so much in the journey to the cross leading up to Easter Sunday or to Christmas. Not only has it been a healthy experience for our family, we are more thoughtful during the seasons and it helps to reflect and remember Grace in our lives.

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As we are more reflective of our lives we reexamine the ways we live in the day to day. Instead of doing a traditional sacrifice of some sort during Lent this year I am reflecting on how I can be more intentional- My goal for 2014-with my Family and what are things we can do to implement intentionality in our daily lives. When I say intentionality I mean that We are being mindful of every little thing. Being intentional to me is just examining our hearts and motives in the every day and changing the things we feel led to change. For example, Why do I spend so much time on Social Media? or Do I feel like I am benefitted by the time spent? Probably not for the most part, there are groups that do encourage me and I would be sad to part with but most of the time spent is just browsing mindlessly. So, What are ways I can modify this? I could only check at certain times of the day and especially not this constant checking I do now. I need to think on that more. It’s a journey.

I am trying to be more intentional in my home with the daily activities and tasks like the keeping up of the home. Honestly so far it’s been a wonderful learning experience and am surprised at how much our Family is changing in these things. Sometimes with young kids things get forgotten and put to the side and then your house ends up looking like something out of Hoarders. I can’t really use kids as an excuse though, my house always looked that way, ha. But now, guys, the house is in a state where I’m not embarrassed to have last minute guests like I have in the past. Woohoo, so I m expecting texts and phone calls for visitors any minute, right? Getting the house presentable has never been about keeping up appearances for me but an honest desire to make a comfortable home for my Family and for guests in our home. I think we are one step forward because of prayer and prompting. Thank you God.

There are so so many ways I want to be more intentional, whether it’s playing with my 6 -almost 7- year old more (We broke out the cards yesterday for some War and Slapjack, not to mention trying to do tea times daily, just sweet time together) or making a homemade breakfast for my husband on a week day (this is very rare and does not happen often, so don’t think it does), I am trying with His help to love my family in the little spaces. I know I fail at this time and again but with the help of the Spirit, I want to try.

What are you doing for Lent in your homes? How are you being more Intentional this year during Lent and throughout the year?

No Comments // Categories: Faith, Intentional Living

Posted on March 6, 2014 by Ellie

When Songs Give Place to Sighing

 

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I’m free,

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.

 

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

 

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,

When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me

Written by Civilla Martin

 

This is an old familiar hymn, most of you may know it or have heard it at some point, perhaps in a movie about singing nuns. Still there is so much truth in it. Hymns have a curious way of transcending time with words that pierce through darkness. Perhaps when truth is truth with no filler or substitutions you cannot question it’s authority.  Hymns remind me of truth when I need to hear it, they speak truth when I most need it.

 

Sometimes you may be discouraged, your heart troubled, I have been very recently and am still battling it daily. Words people say or actions done are hurtful at times. I’m dealing with this mind battle of words and actions myself. You may be discouraged by words and actions or by your circumstance or by your perceived shortcomings. Whatever it is, let us together take comfort in this old hymn, remember the words “I know He watches me”. This is a reminder for myself when I feel the swirl of discouragement and doubt because I want to rest on His Goodness knowing His comfort. I want to know I am like one little sparrow in a great world of them and he is still mindful of me, watches me, comforts me, delivers me.

 

Don’t let the words of people discourage you or your circumstances (I’m with you in struggling with these things) because this is such a beautiful observation “when songs give place to sighing”, and think how much more beautiful the song in these times than the sighing. I want this to be my life motto instead “When Songs take place of sighings”. I know so much about the sighing and not so much about the Song. Let us not forget the song and sing it once again.

 

I don’t know this truth, the truth of resting on Goodness, yet, well I know it but I don’t act upon the knowing and I am praying for a heart change that allows me to weather discouragement, fear and doubt. In a culture of “sighings”, where we share each and every disappointment and groaning so publicly and immediately, there is an alternative. I want to sing the Song rather than think of my sighings because I do know He watches me, this is truth for me and truth for you.

1 Comment // Categories: Faith

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Ellie

Busy-ness

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I’m opting out the busy-ness cycle. The one where I spend more time away from home than at it. The one where there is always something scribbled in on the calendar, a place to be at, something to do, something to be running from and to.  I am not saying “Let’s all be hermits”, even though sometimes that sounds so alluring. I am saying that I am only human and it’s too much for me, is it too much for you?

Americans seem to be the busiest of people, bustling here and there every minute of the day. It is an epidemic in our culture that we don’t seem to think is a problem. and why are we so busy? Does busy-ness prove our worth to others because only important people have places to go? Or are we trying to prove our worth to ourselves? I fall into this trap too, we all do, I think. Maybe we think that if we are busy we are being productive, but studies show that busy-ness is not productivity either. I’d like to boycott busy-ness, no thank you.

I never thought of myself has a homebody really, I love company and people, I love chatting and laughter more than anyone else. But I am finding as I get older busy-ness takes time away from my family, and how well I can take care of them. I don’t have to explain the particulars but know the house takes a hit, like a bomb of “got no time” went off and I overwhelmingly can’t tackle it. Time at home, non busy-ness helps me to begin reversing that. No to mention that we as Humans need rest. I can’t imagine it is good for our spirit to be restless all the days. We know from a spiritual aspect God rested and encourages rest. I want to be home more, take care of my family well. I want my kids to be bored, yes bored. I want them to create their own fun like we did when we were kids, or we create it as a family. (and before anyone says I’m a mean mom we do co-op and ballet and soccer in the fall, its not all staring at walls, but it is plenty) I want us to create moments out of rest. You can argue that I am wrong but I don’t think kids need too much and I believe that it is not beneficial for them, the studies seem to uphold that as well. I think kids the most are affected by busy-ness in their character and how they behave. Life is a balance, when things are out balance we may act out of balance. This is purely what I have seen with own child but smooth and easy days that I can invest in her and in her character make for a happier child and a happier Mother. I’ve seen the behavior a rushed week makes and the behavior a smooth and easy week makes and I’ll take the latter. It affects me too, a harried Mother is not a nice Mother. If you are my neighbor, you may already know this.

I will tell you I am the worst at this and I am learning. Scaling back on the busy-ness of life means sweet moments like our Olympics Party and tea times in the afternoon, which I couldn’t ever do in years past because of busy-ness or I was too tired at the end of the week. Busy-ness steals time away from the family. When your car is more your home than your home, like it has been for us in the past, it makes life more difficult. It’s already working for us. All I can do is pray for my rest and ways my family can relax together. Are you finding times for rest in your home or do you desire that as well?

 

1 Comment // Categories: Faith, Intentional Living

Posted on February 11, 2014 by Ellie

From all tribes and peoples and languages

Young children hold up an America flag a

“If you had a problem with the coke commercial at the super bowl, lets not be friends.”

That was my status on Facebook last night. While I wouldn’t really stop being friends based on the like or dislike of a commercial, I was issuing my disapproval of an awful reaction to a beautiful -in my opinion- view of our country. I was very disappointed to hear the Internet din that seemed to take issue with the portrayal of diversity in the Commercial.

Here is the Commercial:

 

I honestly don’t understand the controversy. I don’t understand people most days but this was something that really made me marvel. People are saying things like “Speak English or Go Home” or people are verbalizing their disapproval of the diversity shown. It is enough to make your jaw drop and say “what?” to the naysayers. And since I’m mostly at a loss, I just wanted to share a few simple thoughts in regards to my country and the Gospel.

The United States of America is a Nation of Immigrants, a Nation of cultures from every country on the planet, a Nation of individuals regardless of race or creed or religion desiring the solidarity and joy that Freedom gives us. I am proud to live in a country that looks so diverse and beautiful in the eyes of God and I happy to embrace and love all tongues and tribes here in this country. I am multi-cultural, My father is White and my Mother is from El Salvador, so when I heard “America the Beautiful” in spanish it brought a tear to my eye a little. My Multicultural family is beautiful and so is the multiculturalism in America. It was this feeling like “yes” this is what America is about, the great melting pot where our common ground is freedom. “The Speak English or Go Home” crowd seem to be the same ones that took offense to a little boy singing the Nation Anthem in his culture’s dress, another appalling reaction, in my opinion. I am mostly at a loss for words because I find it hurtful, unloving and ungracious. We seem to have forgotten our History as a nation as well, forgotten those that came from distant shores to New Land, those that had always called this country home, those that were brought here not by choice but have embraced this country as home, those that sailed like so many sardines into Ellis Island in search of a better life. Don’t forget these people….my Ancestors, your Ancestors and smile at the beauty of it.

Yes, America is Beautiful, all the colors of Her people are beautiful, every language that She speaks is beautiful because these people are beautiful in the eyes of God, these are all lovely and wonderfully made. How can we forget that? I pray that we as a Nation learn to embrace instead of chastise. I pray we learn to see the beauty in cultures of different tongues desiring so much to be a part of this country that they would sacrifice everything to make it here to the home of free and the brave. Remember that God is not the God of the White English-Speaking Anglo-Saxon Protestants but to all. Even though this commercial was not about God outright, isn’t it wonderful that a simple commercial can be a tiny glimpse into the diversity of His Kingdom and what is yet to come.

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands” -Rev.7:9

2 Comments // Categories: Faith, Words & Meditations

Posted on February 4, 2014 by Ellie

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