Fallen branches

Every day around here is pretty much the same. Get the girls up, help them get breakfast, wipe their faces (although, I admit, sometimes I forget about this step and I find myself frantically rubbing their faces as they get on the bus), pack up their backpacks, making sure they got their lunches, shoes on, jackets on, and head down to the bus stop.

On the way down to the bus stop each morning I notice many fallen branches. Some small, some really big. Unfortunately, that means some of our street trees are nearing the end of their lives, but other times, it means the branch was dead, barely hanging on, and they fell. They needed to be released from the tree firmly planted, because otherwise that dead branch would continue sucking life nutrients that the still alive tree needed. It could eventually hinder the growth of the healthy tree, causing it to become unhealthy. This reminded me of something gardeners do to keep plants and trees healthy and beautiful:


Just as beautiful trees, rosebushes, plants, etc need pruning from time to time, so do we as God’s most beautiful creation. Sometimes, we have things we are holding onto that are sucking life out of us. They are taking the nutrients our hearts, souls, and minds so desperately need. We all will have times in our lives that require pruning. It may look like stepping back from a relationship that is toxic. It may look like getting rid of certain environmental factors that are causing unnecessary stress.

Sometimes, however, it will be reaching into the deepest, darkest, most secretive places in your soul to finally release control of that area of life you have so desperately clung to. You know it is causing your soul to be sick, but you are afraid to let it go. You are afraid to prune it back for fear of what it will expose underneath. You are afraid if you prune that part, it will leave other parts vulnerable.

But, you see, by pruning your heart, you leave room for growth. Beautiful growth. Fruit bearing growth. Pruning prepares your heart for something more beautiful to come. Pruning allows the life giving nutrients to reach those places that used to be covered by the tangled mess of dead branches. Pruning allows the sun to finally shine on those cavernous places in your soul, bringing with it all the warmth, beauty, and light it was starving for.

Pruning, though painful and hard at the time, gives life.

I realized that I have a place like that. I have a place in my soul, in my life, that I am holding onto so tight you couldn’t break into it with the jaws of life. I need to uncurl my fingers and unclench my fist. I need to allow God to prune this area in my life. I need to cut off this diseased portion so that the beautiful parts can grow and be used.

Do you have a place in your soul that needs pruning? Will you release that today? Allow God to prune the dead so your beautiful shows even more? So that God can use you to bear even MORE fruit?

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!” John 15:1-7





on being an outgoing introvert

Hello. My name is Emily. I am what one would call an outgoing introvert. I am outgoing around those I trust, places I am comfortable in. I can be silly and fun, maybe even bust a few dance moves, or belt a few opera notes, but my heart needs quiet and alone time. At my core I am still an introvert. When I get nervous around people, feel out of place, or like I don’t truly fit in, I tend to act like a crazy person who snorted one too many pixie sticks.

It’s true. I get babbly, rambly, and overly chattery. I am sure I have annoyed embarrassed my poor husband a few times. We are complete opposites. He is full of confidence. He knows where his value comes from and doesn’t struggle with people pleasing. I, on the other hand, do. I tend to over-think, over-worry, and over-analyze things to a fault.

I have this vision in my head of what I should be like at whatever event, gathering, or party I am at, and then get way too nervous, therefore trying way too hard to be that person I think I should be. If I am at a party, I should be super smiley and full of fun (even if inside I am peopled out, talked out, and just want to be home in my PJ’s watching Beat Bobby Flay or Doctor Who, it’s a toss up). If I am at a church small group, I should give input and answers to ALL the questions (even if I don’t really feel like answering them, and to be honest, sometimes I don’t even feel like being there). If I am at one of my husbands work or community events, I should act proper, put together, have on makeup and a dress, and wave like a queen (ok, so maybe not that last one, but this mama is the FARTHEST thing from put together, and I don’t really like getting that fancy or wearing makeup).

It. Is. Exhausting.

This is what leads people to be confused by my personality, which really, I don’t blame them. I confuse myself much of the time (that could be a WHOLE other blog post). This also leads to burnout from not being myself. This leads to possibly making a fool of myself, talking too much or out of place, or trying so hard to say it “the right way” when I do want to answer something, my words get all jumbled.

That is no way to live. It definitely isn’t being authentic. It isn’t being the person God created me to be, and it definitely isn’t helping anyone. It is mostly hurting myself.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

The above was the verse of the day on my phone Bible app. It really hit me. As much as I want to say I do this verse well, that what I do, and why I do it, is to help others and share the love and light of Jesus…

It just isn’t true a lot of the time.


If it were, I wouldn’t be trying to be someone I am not. I would be the same Emily regardless of where I went or who I was with. I would be confident in being quiet if I didn’t feel like talking. I wouldn’t feel pressure to answer all the things or participate in all the activities if I just wanted to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying to be rude, or have the resting you know what face look, I only mean I should strive to be REAL. AUTHENTIC. and the Emily God created me to be. Despite my circumstances or circle. 

We can act appropriately for WHERE we are, while still being WHO we are. We can be understanding and still be authentic. (I think that is more what Paul was referring to when he was talking about being all things to all people: 1 Corinthians 9:19-23)

How often do we, especially as women, try and be something we aren’t? Do too much? Get involved in too much? Be everything to everyone, all the time, because we THINK we should?

This culture praises extroverts more than introverts, and that is a problem that needs to change, because I think it plays a big part in the issue I, and other introverts, struggle with. Jesus needs introverts too. We cannot all be in the forefront, or there would be no one to do the background, but important, work. We cannot have all pastors and no flock. We cannot have all party planners, or there would be no one to plan for. This world needs both. God needs both.

And He needs you and me, regardless of personality, to be ourselves; because being ourselves is the best way to make a difference for the kingdom.



Why I like living small

You don’t have to look very far to see that America is obsessed with MORE.

MORE house
MORE car
MORE money
MORE stuff
MORE shoes
MORE clothes
MORE closet space
MORE bathrooms


The disease of MORE is a growing epidemic and I truly believe it causes destruction and robs people of joy that the Lord wants so desperately for us to have.

You can turn on the TV and see that couples seeking to purchase a house are complaining that 5000 square feet just is NOT enough room for them and their 1.5 children and 2 dogs.

You see people freaking out that their children may have to actually SHARE a bedroom!? Because ya know, children are entitled to and “need” their own bedroom. Oh, and every person in the house, pets included, need their own bathroom. We can’t have people sharing sinks, toilets, or tubs. That would just be cruel and inhumane! Forcing a husband and wife to share a sink is just evil and should only be used as forms of torture. And guests using the same bathroom YOU use!? No. That is just wrong.

Closets must be as big as my garage, because I NEED all of my 5000 pairs of shoes and 8945 shirts and 4560 pairs of paints. And don’t forget the handbags and scarves!

I see these attitudes EVERY.WHERE. And honestly? I see it among friends and people I know. Even Christians. Some of what we say and complain about with our homes is pretty embarrassing if you get right down to it.

Now the Lord knows I am not perfect. I kinda do love decorating. We all buy things we don’t need sometimes. That really isn’t the issue here.

Have any of you seen any of the shows about the Tiny House Movement? I think it is pretty cool. I watch those shows and am amazed. You watch those and kinda start feeling a tad bit guilty. At least I do. Or the sudden urge to purge everything. These people, some with 2, even 3, children are selling their homes, more than half of what they own, and vowing to live a simpler life. When moving, it makes them REALLY have to think about what they truly NEED, because in a Tiny House, you cannot take every magnet and salad bowl with you.

Those moving into less space are realizing that media and culture is making you think you need more more more, when really? You don’t. So many others live with so much less, and you know what?

They are happier.

Without the constant need to keep up with the Joneses, I think you really realize HOW blessed you are. And trust me. We are abundantly blessed. Like A lot.

Now, our family doesn’t have a “tiny house”, but it is less than 1200 sq feet (however, by the worlds standards, we have a mansion). We have 3 children and a dog. My husband and I don’t have a master suite. We have 3 bedrooms, our daughters share. We don’t have our own master bathroom. We all share one bathroom. Our closets are tiny, only about 3 feet wide. No walk in closets. We don’t have a garage, or even a driveway. Our kitchen has a grand total of 7 cupboards, and 2 really useless ones, as they are only about 4 inches across. We don’t have a pantry. We don’t have a formal dining room and a breakfast nook. We have ONE room for eating. We don’t have a laundry room, but I am thankful we have a washer and dryer in the basement. Our sons room is not much bigger than a box. Literally.

But you know what? I am happier here than ANYWHERE I have ever lived. This has been a tremendous blessing. I think my husband will agree. Here are some reasons I love living small

1) I love that my girls share a room. This whole belief that each child NEEDS their own space is a lie. Many other cultures share a one room HUT. The fact my girls even HAVE a bedroom is amazing and a tremendous gift. I love that they keep each other company. I love that they watch out for each other. I love that they learn to share and get along, because ya know? They kinda have to learn to do that at some point, and sharing space has been an amazing way for them to learn that AND to grow closer.

2) Who wants to clean more than 1 or 2 toilets?! Most of us have guests once or twice a year. I think we can manage sharing our bathroom for those little amounts of time, yes?

3) I truly believe living in smaller spaces opens up the door for more communication, more grace, more patience, more understanding, more support… MORE of the things that TRULY matter.

4) Your body can only be in a small amount of space at one time, so why do we think we need 5000 or more square feet, when I can only be in one tiny space at a time?

5) Living small forces you to focus on what really matters. It helps you think about any and all purchases.

6) Living small helps keep your heart and mind in check. I cannot explain it, but it is very freeing.

These are just some of the reasons I like living small. What about you? Can you live smaller?

The only things we should be striving to have MORE of is Jesus, and all things that encompass him.


Cleaning out the (social networking) Clutter

There are a lot of social networking sites out there today.

Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Reddit. Linkedin. Tumblr. Snapchat. Google+. I am sure I am missing some…

It gives me a headache just thinking about it all. These can be an amazing tool. I use mine to keep in touch with loved ones who are states away. I also think these can become a crutch. They become a tool Satan uses to make us fall into the comparison game, gossip, anxiety, depression, and stay “friended” with people we may not really “like”, who are unhealthy for us, or who just plum annoy us (no offense haha) for fear of them knowing we un-friended them or whatnot.

Social media conceptI do have Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is very limited, mainly so family and friends who live elsewhere can see pictures. I have Instagram because I love photography, travel, and nature, and it calms me to follow pages with beautiful photos. Also. Less drama. LOL. Many people are on BOTH Facebook and Instagram. Do I really NEED everyone on BOTH accounts?

I have decided to clean out the clutter. I have decided that I should not let my fear of doing so make me have to delete the account I WANT to keep. About twice a year, I go through my newsfeed, pages, and friends list. It is so easy to change my newsfeed or unlike pages. But people? That is scary for me. I often have unfriending anxiety.

What will they think!?
Will they notice!?
Will they hate me?
I don’t want to be mean
I don’t want them to think I hate them
I don’t want them to take it personally

I mean come on, Em. Reall? Most WON’T care. If they do, they will ask about it

I have come up with some guidelines to help me decide who stays and who goes:

1) Facebook needs to be more personal. Instagram is more open. This means I need to clean out my friends list on FB and make it minimal. Keep it personal.

2) Do I know them in person? Did I go to school with them? If I only know them through online groups, have I kept in contact with them for a long period of time? These are all good questions to ask yourself when going through your social networking site feeds/lists

3) Would I tell them Happy Birthday? There are people who when FB tells me it is their birthday, and I am kinda like ehh so? That may sound rude, but if I don’t care enough to tell someone Happy Birthday, do I REALLY consider them a “friend?”

4) Have I considered letting them go before? Does things they say or post frustrate, annoy, or bother me? Even unfollowing someone, my mind knows they are still there, and it can wear on me.

5) Do they share any of the passions and values I share? Do they treat others with love and respect, even if views differ?

6) How do they talk about their children? This is a BIG one for me lately. I cannot stand the things I see some mothers say about their children. Name calling. Constantly complaining about them. Negative talk about them. Calling them things such as little shits or nasty or whatnot. Yes, children frustrate us sometimes. They are draining. They are still a blessing. I cannot see Christ calling the children who came to Him that, or constantly complaining about them. Can you?

7) The Bible says to guard our hearts. Part of doing that is making sure all we do brings glory to Him. Sometimes, in order to do this, we need to clean out the clutter in our lives. That means letting certain relationships, or things, go.

8) We are to please God, NOT man. If we are worrying what someone will think of us if we unfriend them, that’s worrying what they think over God. Pray and listen. God will direct us in the way you should go, and this includes relationships.

9) Real love doesn’t act out of insecurity. If you are worrying too much about what someone would think of you for letting them go (when you know it really IS the best thing to do), that isn’t love. If it isn’t love, it isn’t true friendship.

10) Clearing out social networking will make me focus more on the here and now. Enjoy the little moments. The people around me in my community. My children. My husband. My neighbors. My family.

My God.

Do you need to do some social network de-cluttering?


Soul Searching

There always comes a time (or times) in a person’s life where they have to REALLY sit down and do some good ole’ fashioned soul searching.

I am in that time.

What type of soul searching am I doing?


We all need friends. No matter if you are introverted, like myself, or extroverted. We all need TRUE friends. REAL friends. Not just people we talk to about the weather or what they did last weekend. But friends we can confide in. Friends we can be real with without fear of judgement. Friends who will hold us accountable. Friends who ain’t afraid to smack us on the head when needed. Friends who will tell us the truth, even if it’s hard. Friends who share our values, our faith, our passion.

When I sit and think of my biggest passion, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, my BIGGEST passion is:

CHRIST. Jesus Christ… and loving others unto Himself.

I love Jesus more than words can describe. He has done SO much for me. So much more than I deserve.

Jesus Christ is the string that binds every other thing I love together.

My husband. My children. Church. Reading. Decorating. Singing. Painting. Music. Cooking. Photography.

Everything I love and do, I love and do because of Him.

Because of Jesus.

My most recent thing I have been asking myself is:

Do the friends I keep reflect how thankful I am for Christ? Does the closest company I keep mock the reason I know I am alive? Do they mock Christians?

Do they mock Christ?

I have no issues being friends with those who do not know Christ. I desperately want them to come to the saving knowledge of His grace.

I read the Gospels and see that Jesus himself hung out with those others thought were “too bad” or “too messed up,” because He was love. He was Truth. He was Grace.

But I also read of times where Jesus let people walk away. He presented His life changing grace. The bread of life. Eternal life.

And they laughed in his face. They wanted nothing to do with it.

I am beginning to realize there’s a huge difference in having a friend who may not know Christ YET, than continuing a relationship with someone who mocks Christ.

There is a huge difference between friends and CLOSEST friends. Jesus hung with those far from Him, yes, but his closest group, his most intimate friendships were a group of disciples who desperately loved him and wanted to make his name known. Even among those 12, Jesus had a select few that he was closest with.

How can someone tell you that you can still be friends when they mock the biggest part of your life?

I don’t think they can.

The Bible tells us that we need to watch who we surround ourselves with. Bad company corrupts good morals, it says.
A pastor I love says it awesome:

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.”

The Bible talks of not being unequally yolked with people. Most think this is in a marriage relationship. While that is a huge truth, I believe it also applies to friendships. It can mean Christian and a hateful non Christian. I also think it can even apply to two believers.

I want all I do to bring glory to Christ, and that includes the company I keep.

What about you?


Things I am tired of as a mother

Motherhood is awesome. We can all pretty much agree there. Well, most of us anyway. We love our babies with a fierce passion and if anyone tries to mess with our little boogers we will pounce on them faster than you can say Kim Kardashian has a big booty.

However, there are a FEW things I could do without. There are a few things that if given oodles of money for the rest of my life, I may very well pay someone else to do, because frankly? After 3 kids I am growing a wee bit, little bit a lot tired of them.

1) Teething: Yup. Over it. I honestly don’t know how Michelle Duggar stands it. I mean seriously. She has probably dealt with straight teething for like 500 years by know. Yeesh. I am grateful that my children overall have not been (TOO) terrible. But frankly? I am tired of the crud that comes with it, and the sleep issues. And the early waking. Yup. I admit it. Teething sucks

2) Grunting and pointing like a crazed caveman: My children all have done this. My current “baby” is almost 18 months, and nothing frustrates me more than the frantic pointing and grunting toward something he wants, when I know he knows words. They point and flail, scream in frustration that we don’t speak grunt, point and flail, scream even louder in frustration. This continues until either a) the child gives up and finally uses their words or b) you have now spent over 2 hours picking up everything within finger pointing sight saying “this?” — Just to let you know, option b is far more common.

*warning: If they do not want said item you pick up and hand them, prepare to be a target for flying missiles that will hit you on some sensitive part of your body. It is probably best to wear armor daily until your child is over this “phase”.


3) Poop: enough said


4) Wiping butts: Their little baby cheeks may be adorably squishy… but the stuff that comes out of it? Not so much, especially when you have a poop machine child like I do. See #3.


5) Cleaning up after a toddler that decided to be Picasso with their food, rather than eating it, which, let’s be honest. Happens A LOT.


6) Picky Eating: So your toddler is an amazing eater and ate sauteed mushrooms wrapped in asparagus wrapped in lettuce wrapped covered with greek yogurt? Don’t get too cocky. In 5 minutes you will be wearing that food and getting a free yogurt facial.


I love my little babes though. Even with all the things I get tired of, being a mama is still worth it. But I will be honest, I would totally pay for a diaper changer…


To the mom who’s tired

I am tired. I am a mom.

I think if you were to look in the dictionary under the word tired, you would probably see “mom” as one of the definitions. Being tired is part of the job. Being tired seems to be a way of life for moms of young children.

I read something earlier this week that said being tired is not a sin. That was like chocolate for the soul. Rich, deep, dark chocolate. It’s warmth and sweetness sank into every crack and crevice of this  mama’s soul. This mama’s tired and worn out soul.

Being a mama isn’t always about just being physically tired either. We can be well rested, get plenty of sleep, feel awake and alert…yet still feel tired. Still feel that tiredness ache.

Being tired is SO much more than just physical.


I think as mom’s sometimes we let this voice creep in that tells us if we are tired we must not really LOVE our children. We must be tired because we are not enough, strong enough, doing enough, or a good enough mom… all the GOOD mom’s are never tired. I see them in their yoga pants and expensive hot pink sneakers. They are always so bright eyed and bushy tailed. They have make up on and their hair is actually brushed… and washed. They bounce around like they are the energy source for the sun.  I must not be GOOD enough. WHYYYYYYY am I so tired!? I SUCK at this motherhood thing. We look at these moms and think all these things. Let the enemy whisper lies into our emotionally tired, an extra vulnerable, hearts, when the truth is….

maybe they just drank a crap ton of coffee, and are trying to hide the fact that they TOO are tired (I think some of these moms must have a hidden IV somewhere under that perfectly styled outfit though. And maybe taking shots of 5 hour energy every 2.5 hours)


Being tired is something we ALL experience. At any given point in our mother journey we will experience:

Physical tiredness
Spiritual tiredness
Emotional tiredness
Mental tiredness

The sooner us mamas realize it is not wrong to feel tired, the less tired I think we will feel.

When we are physically tired, it is OK to let the dishes sit in the sink so you can sit down for a few minutes. It is OK to let the kids watch an extra show…. or two…

When we are spiritually tired, let the laundry wait and spend some time with Jesus, reading His word, or encouraging books. Anything that helps refill your spiritual soul

When we are emotionally tired, TELL someone. You don’t have to pretend you are not hurting. Tell a friend. Your spouse. Your own mother (because, truth is, she HAS been there done that, and could have some wisdom to give)

When you are mentally tired choose to focus on things that don’t take alot of brain power. It really is OK.

We ALL need rest. As long as we are in our physical bodies, tiredness comes with the territory. It isn’t a sign of weakness. It isn’t a sign that we are not strong enough. It isn’t a sign that we suck at motherhood. It isn’t something we need to stuff down and hide for fear of looking like a failure in front of others. In fact, that will just make our already tired soul even MORE tired (emotionally especially!)

Jesus himself grew tired and weary.

It isn’t a sin to be tired mamas. It isn’t a sign of weakness. It isn’t a sign that you are failing as a mom. It isn’t a sign that you are a bad mom… in fact…

I think being tired is a sign you are a GOOD one.


#tbt and my hashtag idea for Friday

Today is Thursday. If you get onto any social networking site, you are apt to see a lot of hashtags that looks like this:


ok ok minus good ole’ Abe. Wonder if he would participate in #tbt if he were around now. Probably not, seeing as he was called Honest Abe, and most of Facebook can be anything but…

I don’t often participate in the shenanigans of throw back Thursday. I have a few times. Like when I came across a picture of my now 4 year old when she was a preemie in the NICU. I got super teary. I remember there being a time when we thought she wouldn’t make it. God proved His awesomeness. That kind of “throw back Thursday” is important I think. We should reflect on all we have in Christ, and focus on all He has done for us.

But in doing that… don’t get stuck in the past. God doesn’t want you living in the past. No regret. No shame. No guilt. He sent His son to set us free from that. He also doesn’t want us living in the future. Worrying about tomorrow.

Facebook-Addiction1I think sometimes social networking sites suck time away that could be better applied elsewhere. Come on, you know it’s true. Facebook can become an addiction. Just like drugs. Just like alcohol. Just like many other things, and I think it can be as damaging, if not more so, than these things.

It causes self doubt. It cause us to fall prey to the dangerous comparison game. It causes us to only see people’s highlight reels, when we KNOW that everyone has struggles, yet it makes us feel like we are failures. It can feed arrogance, pride, and self-righteousness. It can be a festering pool of hate, judgement, and condemnation, because we think we can spew out viciousness and evil since we are hiding behind our screens.

So that is why I am hoping to get a NEW hashtag on the horizon. Friday mornings, I will be posting #FBFF. Anyone wanna guess what that means?

FaceBook Free Friday

I am going to really strive to have facebook free fridays. Whenever I feel the urge to check my newsfeed, drama on pages I follow on how terrible parents are who don’t feed their children kale and liver for breakfast, post a cute pic of my babes…

I will read a scripture instead. I will say a prayer. I will cuddle and squeeze my babies (for we know they grow up way to quick and I don’t want to waste that precious time staring at my phone screen). I will tickle little tootsies so I hear those intoxicating giggles. I will do SOMETHING else besides stare at a screen.

Who’s with me!?

#FBFF. Let’s DO this!







Can you believe it is already 2015!???! Insanity. Pure insanity. I feel like 2014 went both fast and slow at the same time. Have you ever felt that way? There were certain parts that I thought for sure would never end (like having a colicky baby haha) or a whiny 3 year old (well now she can be a whiny 4 year old 😉 but hey, she isn’t 3 anymore! HA!) but then there are parts that seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, like the super cute 8 month baby stage that I so love, or half of my oldest daughter’s first year of Kindergarten (say what!?) or Christmas (which I am kinda sad about because this year it didn’t ever fully FEEL like Christmas, which is not normal for me).

I hope that all of you had a fabulous Christmas and holiday season with your family. I hope that your children had a good break. Are you happy or sad they are back in school? Or yes to both? HA! 😛

oneI have heard a lot of things over the last few years that instead of making a whole list of new years resolutions, that, let’s be honest, we won’t follow anyway… choose ONE. WORD. to symbolize how you want your year to be. How you want to change. How you want to grow. How you want to live.

What will YOUR one word be? Have you thought about it? What word would you choose that can encompass EVERY.SINGLE.THING. you hope to achieve, accomplish, or do in this year?

I had 2 that I was going back and forth between.


Choosing Joy is something we must actively pursue in order to fulfill anything else in life really. We must CHOOSE to be joyful regardless of circumstances. It is the only true secret to contentment.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11

However, I think HOPE is an even MORE all encompassing word. It is through HOPE in Christ that we can have JOY in the first place. 

“The hope of the righteous brings joy…” Proverbs 10:28

Hope is what holds us together when everything is crashing around us.
Hope is what binds people together that may be struggling
Hope is what allows us to trust in our Father even when we don’t understand
Hope is what allows us to have joy
Hope is the catalyst for SO. MANY. THINGS.

We can survive a lot IF we have Hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul” Hebrews 6:19

And if you are a child of God, you ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. have Hope. Always. No matter what your circumstances. No matter what you are going through. No matter what you are feeling. No matter what you have done. No matter what consequences you may be suffering because of sins. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

Hope is what allowed Jesus’ disciples to be willing to die for their faith. Hope of MORE. Hope of eternal life. Hope that this life on THIS earth is not the end all. It isn’t our real home. Hope that we are made for greatness. Hope that God can, does, and WILL work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28)

My focus passage for this year will be Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” This passage sums up the word perfectly to me. We can rejoice in all circumstances, if we have hope, even IN tribulations. It is that hope which allows us to trust God and be patient THROUGH those times of tribulation. Constant in prayer is what will allow us the proper focus to remember where our hope lies. It is through constant conversation with God, which is what prayer is, that our minds can stay focused on Him. Focused on Hope. And that Hope will lead to SO. MUCH. MORE.

So this is my one word: HOPE

because with Hope, you can change everything


It isn’t about smarts.

Why are so many in such a hurry for their children to grow up?

Push and push. And push some more. We act like intelligence is the most important thing. Kids must be the smartest in the class, and the younger the better, because that just shows how much “smarter” they are.

We could have started Katie last year in K. She is smart. But we waited. I’m glad we did. Being the smartest isn’t the most important. Being kind, loving, compassionate, and many other things are. I am so proud of how Katie has been such a friend to everyone, she loves on others, and desires to help those in trouble or in need.

If someone is the smartest person in the class or college or their job, but has no love for others, or can relate to them, well, that intelligence is meaningless. If someone is super smart, ends up with an amazing job, makes a lot of money… even gives to charity (but for wrong reasons) but doesn’t know how to love others they think are unworthy or less important than themselves… all that means nothing.

Check out what the Bible says:

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Let-kids-flyI am all for encouraging kids. I am for helping them achieve goals. I am all for embracing what they love to learn. I am all for encouraging them in what they love to do (we do that for my oldest who loves all things science. And sharks. HAHA) I am for helping them be successful in school AND in life. BUT… that doesn’t mean my child has to be the youngest and smartest in their class. It doesn’t mean that unless my child can read by age 2 they are never going to amount to anything. It doesn’t mean that I have to force them to read, write, count, and all this other stuff because I *think* they have to. I see a lot of parents do this. I have even been guilty at times. If we are honest, I think it makes US, as the parents, feel good. We like bragging. We like the fact our kids look smarter than others. We think it makes US look smart and awesome and amazing. Our kids could probably care less if they read at 2 or when they start school. We squeal with delight when our 3 year old can read a 5 syllable word, count to 100, or do multiplication. We video it. We post it on Facebook. Do you think our kids really care that much!?

What is our motivation for pushing them? What is the true reason behind us wanting them to do everything the earliest, the youngest, and the best? Why do we think that in order for our children to be important and successful they have to be the smartest? Why do we push so hard? Why not allow them to develop into their own unique beings?

When you are a child of God, YOU matter. When you chose to believe in Christ and what He did for you upon that cross, you realize that there is so much more to life than success, because it isn’t about THIS life, or achieving things in THIS life. We can’t take anything with us when we leave this Earth. Things of eternal value are what are most important. Love. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. A relationship with Christ. Loving others into that same amazing relationship.

Intelligence is not all that matters. Being the best and the smartest isn’t what matters.

They are only children for a short short time. It is gone in the blink of an eye. Savor it. Soak it up like pancakes soaking up fresh maple syrup, because that sweetness will be gone in an instant.

I truly believe that kids just want to BE. KIDS. 

So let them.