wonderment.

wonderOnce a week my smallest person and I hurry home to eat lunch at the dining room table. We sit across that wide oval expanse and he sings, talks, tells me he was the leader today. Except it’s “weader.” His eyes are a sea of smooth caramel brown lit with joy, wonder and mischief. He got them from my husband and I’m ever so glad it’s a heritage that continues. His eyebrows dance up and down over his forehead as he sings about Rudolph with so much gusto and expression.

I am tired and this is the moment when I decide that I am not going to try to manufacture Christmas this year. It’s a weight I’ve carried over and over each year as my heart strains to make this season magical for my children. To rediscover the wonderment I felt when I was a child.

There is nothing more magical than God made flesh, than a warm little Christ baby carrying the full weight of redemption and rescue in every coo and every baby mew. It’s the only magic that fills full and doesn’t leave dried up desperation.

We still have twinkle lights and paper garlands. We cut snowflakes out of rationed computer paper just the other day. Santa will still come. We even got our children a dog. A dog. But all these things? I am choosing to do out of love and because He first loved me. Not because it is a race to fill up their cups with as much magic and wonder as possible before December 25th.

And when that soft and beautiful and strong night comes? I am praying that my heart will be still instead of busy and that I will know wonder like never before, trusting that God will work His eternal, not my ways, faithful, real and wonderful magic in my children’s hearts, too.

Merry Christmas, friends.

christmas here.

I wish I could invite all of you over. Last week, you took a post about my friend’s ebook and made encouragement for me. I like y’all. It’s a hard turn after such a heavy weekend but today I’d like to welcome you in to how we do Christmas here at our home.

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After the conversations we had in October, I trust you know that the celebration of making a home comes from the work God has done in my heart. You can read all about how to make the wax paper candleholders right here.

I’m linking up today with my friend, Nester. I’ve also passed more than a few minutes browsing all the creativity over there.

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I’ve got another post up at Beautifully Rooted today. Won’t you come over and celebrate the Coming King with me?

the no brainer blog.

A handful of years ago I decided to be brave and go to a regional meet-up that included bloggers and a few blog reading non-bloggers. I didn’t know one person. When I walked up to the door, I felt all those cliche type things you feel when you do something new and outside of what is comfortable.

It turns out that I made some really dear friendships that day. Among them is my friendship with Hayley Morgan, otherwise known as The Tiny Twig. Hayley has been the best kind of sharpening friend. We always cut right to the meat of our lives when we talk and she never lets me get away with hazy nebulous type things for long. Hayley helps me bring everything down out of the clouds and figure out what my next steps should be every time.

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It’s been a joy to cheer her on as she’s ventured into planning conferences and networks and writing books. Last month Hayley released her latest ebook, a practical and inspiring note on blogging called The No Brainer Blog. In her book, Hayley walks you through vision, voice and space. It’s a start to finish guideline filled with all kinds of rich treasure.

I have to admit that there were many, many useful nuggets in The No Brainer Blog; things I rarely take the time to be intentional about like color stories and social media purposes and photography. My favorite part? The section on voice. It’s what I struggle with the most. Finding my voice. Trusting that I am enough. Believing that I can say something important. Knowing why I want to write. All of those things. Hayley writes that “the process of writing is more important than the product.” I love the grace in that.

So. We’re about to be facing a brand new year straight in the eyes. If you’re like me, you’ll become obsessed with being intentional and making lists and allotting time. If blogging is on your plate or your plan for next year, I know you’d benefit from this well thought out ebook.

And! Hooray! Hayley is graciously offering one free ebook to a commenter today. Leave one comment on this post to be entered.

baseball socks and other things.

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Here’s something true. I got my beautiful advent calendar all hung but we haven’t done any real activities in any sort of organized fashion like we have in years past. It’s just for looking at this year.

We’re woefully behind but we’ve been doing that Jesus Storybook Bible Advent reading plan from Pinterest. Every night we read at least a couple of days worth so that maybe we’ll catch up this week. I have to tell you something. I have fought for my children over the last couple of years. There have been some hard moments. But. Listening to them read those beautiful words by tree light is grace rubbed in good. I especially wish you could hear our girl read with her chirrupy voice and sky high eyebrows. It’s something sweet. (Right here you can print a pretty little chain for the reading plan). Afterwards we’ve been singing a Christmas carol or two.

It’s very simple and sweet and I think I’ve just decided that we won’t be DOing a whole lot for Christmas. I’m interested in a whole lot of BEing. Except for paper garlands. I went a little crazy with those this year. I’m sure that next year I”ll go back to planning all the fun things but for today we’re going to draw close and anticipate Christ together in a different way.

This is just the right season to revisit belonging. Last week, I was all jazzed up about it. Here’s why. God told Jeremiah that He knew him before He even formed him. Do you know what that means? It means that He perceives us even though we might feel like a blurry blip in an ocean of more important. He sees us. He stops and takes all of us in. He notices us. All of who we are stands out to Him. All of it. He knows our hearts and minds and faults and failings and victories by experience. He shows up and loves us. We belong to Him, to His heart.

Jesus submitted  to come as a pink cheeked, warm skinned baby one night in Bethlehem and we were on His mind because we belong to Him. Our hearts are meant to be His and He came to buy back what we’d sold.

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In November I won a giveaway on my friend Caroline’s blog. I got $100 with the promise that I would use it for rest or risk. I did. And you can read about what happened right over here.

ordinary faith.

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Sometimes daily life stuff doesn’t seem like much to write about.

But that is what I am doing over here. Just daily life.

I forgot to buy applesauce at the grocery store. Everyone wants to play something totally different in the exact same spot in the backyard. I can’t find the 1/2 cup measuring cup. Anywhere. Right now my 10 year old is shooting tennis ball rim shots into a big blue bucket right outside the window.

I’ve been teaching my abide series to a group of women at our church. It’s been good but my brain is swimming. I didn’t want to just stand up at the front of a room and read what I wrote so I’ve been studying verses and fleshing that whole idea out. God’s Word is full of never ending layers. I like that part.

Sometimes, though, when I am standing up there looking into those faces I feel awful ordinary. I’m not living some kind of extraordinary life full of huge moments and profound faith steps with swelling music playing in the background. I live my life. I shake my fists. I do my best to surrender my doubts and keep taking the next step. Sometimes I fight too hard.

But I’m just the sort of person Jesus chose to walk on Earth for. You are, too. The kind that is extremely ordinary and fighting doubts and sometimes surrendering. We need the gentle reminder of how He chose to begin freedom and victory.

In the end, faith is fed just as much in the fields of the ordinary.