There are lots of things we could be doing. Organizing that could or even should be happening. School supplies to buy. Clothes to sort and organize. Projects to be started, to be finished, to be worked on. Skills to improve. And yet, we are doing non of that these days. We are fully embracing summer and eating tons of ice cream and listening to the front screen door slam a hundred times a day. Switching from open windows, to air conditioning and back. Grapes are being eaten by the pound. Stickers are being collected. Trips are being taken to the farmers market. Pictures are being colored.

All in all it's been pretty quite. I am trying to embrace that rather than constantly rush onto the next thing. I am desperately trying to simply rest and abide in this place and this season.

I'm doing some daydreaming about the basement. We are painting all the wood paneling white. Setting up a long table with two computers. I have a beautiful roll top desk that I am picking up this week some time and I can't wait. I love roll top desks and have wanted one since I was a little girl. I've spent lots of time on pinterest day dreaming about what I want to set up down there.


Bitter Sweet Changes (Becoming a single family home again)

Life is full of changes. Over the past few years I feel like our life has been such a whirlwind of changes one after another. And now, we are faced with yet another one.

For the past 15 months my "baby" brother, his wife, and their baby boy have been living in our basement. This weekend they move into their own place.

As Abi said when she found out "I'll miss them, but it will be nice to get our basement back.

We have learned a lot the past few months. We have learned about hospitality and living in community. We have lived in an environment that daily pushes us consider other outside our immediate family and accommodate other. We have embraced the challenge of living an open life while still respecting healthy boundaries. 

I will desperately miss having some one around on those days when I am so overwhelmed I feel like crying. I remember one day when Tacy was about 3 weeks old Emily came up stairs to find me and all three girls in tears. Even though some one had dropped dinner off I hadn't even been able to eat yet. She promptly sent my two big kids to bed, fixed me a plate of food, and took tacy down stairs so I could eat a meal in peace. I have 15 months of stories like this. Some one there to pitch in, lend an egg when the groceries are low,  or swap babies with when we are both just exhausted with our own.

That being said, I know they are so excited to be in their own place. After so many months of living
 in a cramped basement I am sure they are looking forward to spreading out again, unpacking all their boxes and settling into their own home for the next few years.

I know my girls are looking forward to having their basement back. More room to run, spread out toys, and have dance parties. I will enjoy being able to set my sewing machine up full time and not having to put it on the dinning room table.

As I said, bitter sweet. We will miss them, but I know God is moving us both into a new season and has some exciting things in store for all of us. 

Stay tune for pictures of our basement as we paint and redecorate a little bit.


Notebook Stash

So, I mentioned in my last post that we are already buying school supplies. Honestly I have a soft spot for school/office supplies and there for tend to shop for it year round. The past few weeks though I have truly indulged my obsession and splurged on some fun new notebooks I found on clearance as well as some new highlighters. For a while I put myself on notebook restriction and was trying to fill all my books before a bought more, but eventually I just gave up on that. I have gone to just buying them when I find them for a great price and then when I need one I already have one on hand just waiting.

 All these pretty notebooks were either purchased from a clearance shelf or a $1.00 bin. I have no idea what each of these will hold. Maybe prayers, maybe grocery lists, maybe sketches little girls draw in the back seat of the car. Whatever they are going to hold it's nice to know that they were there, waiting on my bookshelf.

The other new office supply purchase this summer has been Gel-Hilighters. I bought these on a whim at Walmart in the school section. I am pretty sure they were the store brand and there were pretty inexpensive. They claimed that they wouldn't bleed to I bought them to use in books and my Bible but oh my goodness! They have great color, they don't bleed, and I know use them all the time. I use them in my planer, in my journals, in my art journals, in my quite time. They really are a perfect tool and I strongly recommend them.

What are you favorite office supplies? Anything you collect or just can't help but stock up on?


Here and There (a summer instagram recap)

It's been rather quiet in this space here this summer and I am ok with that. We are still here, or rather here and there. The girls especially have been traveling a lot this summer. We have had the chance to spend time with cousins from Ohio and the two big girls spent four days up north hanging out with my mom and sister.

The girls picked black berries and painted pottery and went swimming and all in all made special memories that they will carry with them forever. 

We celebrated Maddie Goose turning Five! I'm not sure how that happened. We have played out side and set off fire works and eaten probably gallons of ice cream.

We have spent hours in the swimming pool and almost as many hours day dreaming about some up coming projects.

We have started shopping for school supplies (yes SCHOOL supplies in July). We have talked about some up coming transitions for our family. It seems like we have moved from one major transition to the next for a few years now. I am interested to see where the next few months take us. We are home now for the rest of the summer and are looking forward to some lazy days and family sleep overs.

Hope your summer has been full of warm days and cool lemonade.


A Chair With a View

Tacy is napping, the dishes are done, the girls are playing quietly so this is where I am right now. In the corner of the dining room, in the chair Josh bought me for Valentine's Day, enjoying the view that I bought the house for.

This little corner has become quite my sanctuary already this summer. I am trying to make time to read both my Bible and the stack of books I have going as well as finding time to write and enjoy other creative things. As of right now this is my favorite place to do that. We have moved Tacy into the guestroom/office so my normal space is occupied by a pack and play.

It's actually nice to have such a small place. With the office it was easy to let it get run over with junk and stuff and piles of papers to sort and organize. This little corner is so mall it's pretty impossible for it to get too out of hand. In fact, I have to keep it some one what tidy if I want to be able to sit down.

God has been working on me a lot this summer when it comes to contentment and being at peace with where I am. This little corner definitely makes those lessons easier.


Little Girl Scrapbook Kit

A few weeks ago Josh and I went through the girls room and got rid of most of their toys. We took four black trash bags to the dump and another three to Good Will. So far we have been pretty good about not bringing a whole bunch of  new ones in and we hope to keep that trend up till at least Christmas.

This does present a challenge since all three of our girls have birthday's between now and Christmas, so I have been trying to keep treats and gifts things that can be consumed or inspire creativity.

This week we went shopping for a birthday party and since we are in a no toy mode the girls and I opted to get something creative for their friend.

This is what we came up with. We hit up the dollar store and Michael's and filled a cigar box with scrapbook supplies. Rather than an actual scrap book we bought a mini composition book and added colored pens, stickers, decorative tape, and glue sticks from the store. We also cut down a bunch of patterned papers from our home stash. I went through all of our pictures from the school year and pulled out pictures of her and the girls to add to it to get her started.

We added some flower stickers to the top and now have a inexpensive gift that doesn't take up a lot of space, encourages creativity, is self contained and doesn't require adult supervision. A win an all accounts!


What if THIS is Radical

You would think a generation raised watching Wizard of Oz would be more familiar with the concept of being content with where you are. And yet, as I look around at my peers I find over and over again in them, and in myself, a desire for the extreme. 

Browse through Amazon and you will see book after book with extreme titles.

The Radical Question

Crazy Love

The Explicit Gospel

Risk is Right

Reckless Faith

The Insanity of Obedience

Even the books about “contentment” and “intentional living” and “simplicity” seem like they are trying to tell us how to be content with where we are. And yet they all seem to spend a whole lot of time talking about the writer’s accomplishments, her speaking engagements, and her blog readership. 

I understand. I do. We were raised in the suburbs in evangelical churches where mediocrity and apathy were rampant. In an attempt to challenge us and motivate us were feed a steady diet of youth camps and conferences that called us to the mission field and exhorted us in our rolls as ambassadors and champions for Christ. We were called to be Jesus Freaks and change the world. We went to Christian colleges and spent our weekends study theology and doing VBS with kids in low income housing. 

If you were a college female in the early 2000s, chances are you wanted to do mission work in an inner city, work with teen moms, or start a magazine for teenage girls helping them “find their identity in Christ”. We went to small groups and talked about our passions and somewhere along the way we may have met a young man who was just as radical as we are. 

We graduated, we got married, we got jobs “for now” to pay of student loans and wait for God to call us where He “really” wanted us. And we woke up five years later with two or three kids thinking that it would have been easier to follow Christ being a missionary in the 10-40 window then is raising a family in the suburbs on one income. 

We fantasied about sacrificing for God but somehow this isn’t what we had in mind. When we thought about changing diapers day in and day out to further the kingdom it was in an orphanage in Uganda, not a two bedroom apartment in Virginia. When we dreamed about sharing the gospel with young minds it was during VBS in Mexico not in a minivan driving to the grocery store. 

Chances are I will never know what it is like to be a missionary in another country or to raise my own support so I further the Gospel in an inner city. But, I do know that the life I am living now takes a lot of courage and grace and commitment. To wake up every day and do the same thing, with little thanks; it may not be glamorous but it is the work put before me. I may not be saving orphans off of the street or writing for an audience of thousands, but I am providing safety and security to three little girls who depend on me to live this life with as much passion as I claimed to have in college. 

What if, the most radical thing I do is wake up and be fully committed to whatever task is in front of me?