A Beautiful Heart

I’m not the mom I wanted to be. I think she got lost somewhere along the way.

I have four children, spaced evenly apart by 22 months, each time. When the youngest was born, I also had a one year old, a three year old, and a five year old.

It’s okay.  Take a deep breath. Your reaction is totally normal. It’s an overwhelming thought, right?

In all honesty, it was a lot to handle. Now, don’t misunderstand me. All of my children are so very wonderfully loved and wanted. I would never go back and change God’s plan for our family. And if he had placed more sweet ones in my arms, I’m sure they would be ever so loved. But let’s be honest and real. It was a hard thing to care for so many littles at the same time.

Somewhere in the midst of just surviving the laundry and the nursing and the diapers, I got a little lost. When life throws a whole lot of wonderful crazy at you, sometimes you get a little turned backwards and upside down.  It’s hard to see past the overwhelming waves of joy and sorrow and love, isn’t it?

I blinked and, suddenly, here I am with four big kids. I survived the hard years of toddlers and preschoolers. My baby is a Kindergartener.

Here I am, with time to think. Here I am, realizing that my time as a momma is flying by fast. Here I am, wanting to make the years count and counting the years I have left to raise up some sweet little hearts.

And in all honesty, I want to find the mom I wanted to be. She was a lot more fun than this stressed out version that is always putting out a fire, going in circles, and never getting anything done.

I want to do more than just survive the day. I want to live each day.

Are you there, too? A survivor wanting to thrive…

Look up, sister friend.

You don’t have to live life like every day is an emergency. You don’t have to do it all. You don’t have to make everyone happy. You don’t even have to save the world. Sister friend, you don’t have to be Pinterest Perfection.

It’s time we remember who we were made to be, the woman God is nurturing us to become. What has He called us to?

The generic answer is pretty simple. We are to Love God and Love the Folks he places in our path.

How that looks for each of us is different. God didn’t create us to be flat, two-dimensional reflections of His Glory. He created us with all the variety of his infinite creativity.

You get to be the woman He Created.

You get to toss out the cookie cutter images of a wife, mother, sister, or friend and just be lovely you, loved by God.

God made you and He is bringing out the beauty of who he made you to be. You are beautiful, His Masterpiece.

What is He calling for from your heart?

How is He trying to make you shine?

I think it’s time to look past the dirty dishes and piles of laundry so we can remember… Look past the looming expectations and demands. It’s time to look up and listen, so we can hear His voice. So He can make us clean and lovely.

I want to be That Girl. I want to be the woman that shines with the loveliness that only God can paint. I want to live life beautifully and love great big.

Look up, sister friend. Look past all this crazy mess of living and find the life you were meant to live. Don’t let today’s craziness keep you from finding the woman He wants you to become.


What is God trying to do in your life, right now?

What is He calling you to do? What passions did He place in your beautiful heart?

What parts of your life need change? Where is He gently nudging your heart to soften?


Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4


He is working on my heart. He is working to help me to desire things that are good and pleasing. I want to be the woman He made me to be… More precious than rubies…







For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10


Lies are so easy to believe, aren’t they? Sometimes, they feel like an old friend, they are so well known by our heart. We wear those old lies just like we would a stretched out pair of old Levi’s. They become almost comfortable.

Then when the Truth comes along, it seems foreign and stiff. Too good to be true.

Truth can be so harsh and brash that it seems impossible. So wonderful and amazing that it just couldn’t be…

The first time I read the words, they painted a picture in my mind of such beauty. I wanted to believe, I really did.

Then the comfortable old lies taunted me, creeping in at first and then taking over. An escape of sorts, I suppose. Believing the lies can numb the heart so that the arrows don’t hurt so much anymore. So I cling to the lies, often repeating them to myself to remind my tender heart…

unattractive    useless    unloved    unwanted    unworthy

Maybe I am not the only one with a list of lies that are easier to believe than truth. Maybe your lies are different than mine.

The thing I do know, is these lies are debilitating. These lies paralyze with fear. These lies tear us until we are broken and bleeding.

And more and more, I am seeing these lies for what they are. A clever deception. A trick that keeps us selfish and sinful…

Sister friends… What is stealing your joy? Marring your beauty? Taking your strength?

What clever deceptions are you falling for, wearing, or using against yourself?


The TRUTH is, you… YES, YOU… You are GOD’s Masterpiece. His masterpiece. He has crafted you with great love and joy. He knit you together into a work of art. He makes you to shine and reflect His Glory. You are a beautiful masterpiece made by the most magnificent, glorious God.

So why, oh why, do you allow the lies to come in and mar the beauty HE created? Why do you cut yourself and hurt yourself and hide yourself away?

He is creating beauty and making you shine. He has a purpose for you. A way that little bitty YOU can shine His great big love to someone else.

It’s magnificent… If only we could see ourselves through eyes of truth.

Sister friends… It’s time to see, through the “lens of the word” (Ann Voskamp style), just what God sees when he looks at us.

He sees a masterpiece.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

He sees a beautiful reflection of Glory

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

You are praise worthy, because you KNOW the Lord.

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Proverbs 31:30

Throw away those comfortable old lies, the ones that chain you down and keep you from your TRUE purpose.

Rest in the Truth of who you are, sister friend.

You are worthy. Beautiful. A masterpiece.

Throw off the lies and SHINE His Light into this dark and crazy world.



What are your favorite Truth Verses to help you see yourself and others more clearly? Share them? I’d love to know your favorite truths, the ones you learn and see through.

The Artist

20140904-_DSC0339My high school art teacher, an amazing lady, taught with joy and passion. I loved her class best of all. I really wanted to be an artist, but I greatly lacked that something that makes an artist.

I was just a high school girl, trying so hard to just fit in and not stand out, who was afraid to be different.

It’s hard to create beauty when you are trying to hide.

I gave up on creating beauty for awhile, satisfied to cultivate it in other people. I taught reading and math, but especially tried to teach kids to “always do your very best work,” and to “never be afraid to fail if you learn something from it.”

Despite my brave words, my own fear kept me from creating my own crazy best work or wild failures. It’s so much easier to hide behind patterns and expectations. Fear of disappointing locked the better parts of me away so no one could see.

So many times, the bible says “do not fear.” Right? Do you get that? I mean, really “get” that?

God has been ever at work in my heart, taking me through good and lots of bad. There have been times when I could not lift my eyes, even in church. There have been times when I despise myself. Truth be told, I still get attacked by those ugly demons. God is faithful and good, and he has taught me… refined me.

Here’s the crazy thing. When you are His, I think it’s sweet Ann Voskamp who says, “He Loves you Lovely.”

Scripture says;

But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.  For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

I love that. I love that He is letting me become “more and more like him.” I love that it doesn’t say we will be just like him…

I used to think being a beautiful Christian meant being a mirror, reflecting in that two dimensional way. Kind of like cookies cut with the same shaped cutter… Or copies of the master original.

The last time I studied this verse, I saw something new. I saw the beauty of a diamond, reflecting glory. Sister, we are the facets of the diamond. We are each unique, polished over time with great care. We each have our own beautiful place and our own beautiful way of reflecting a little glimmer of his amazing glory.

Darling, we can SHINE in our very own God shaped way.

We don’t need to fear the demons of self doubt, the demons of condemnation, or the demons of public opinion. Do Not Fear. Do not fear, because fear locks your beauty away and keeps you from shining for Him.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

You have a light shining in your fragile, easy to break heart.

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[b] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7

No worries about falling… About shattering. It’s okay if you are a mess, like me. All those fractures just let more light out for the world to see.

Go shine. Create art. Fall on your face. Be a beautiful mess. It’s gorgeous to see God’s Glory working in your beautiful broken heart.


Lots of Love to my Shiny Sisters,


My Eden

applesI have a confession.

I suffer from house envy.

Pinterest and Better Homes and Gardens tempt me to look past my blessings and want something different.

Mostly, a farmhouse kitchen sink and butcher block counters.

And maybe some more flowers.

A planter made from a pallet…

And a new apron with ruffles along the bottom.

I have plans, ladies. BIG plans that involve crazy schemes like knocking out walls and putting in new flooring.

And paint. I love to paint.

Sometimes, I get frustrated. Progress moves too slow while life speeds past. My kids are growing up and my mothering years are ever numbered. Seven more years until my oldest is grown. Too little time. Too much undone. I beat myself up. Worse, I hurt my husband up with my impossible dreams.

Of course, God has a way of opening the eyes of His Beloved. Yes?

This verse knocked me to the ground last Sunday as we read it in Sunday school. It wasn’t the planned lesson, but it became the take-home lesson for me.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. ~Genesis 2:8-9

Eden must have been amazing. Temperatures that were just right, not a thorn or thistle in sight. I bet even Anthropologie couldn’t compare. The perfect home.

And the Lord God, He planted the trees himself. Perfectly wonderful trees with delicious fruit, planted by the perfect gardener. The perfect kitchen with everything the first couple could have needed.

Silly Eve. She didn’t see the perfection right before her. She didn’t recognize the gifts of remarkable worth. She was distracted from her blessings by something more.

She just had to have it all. The beautiful trees full of delicious fruit weren’t enough for her. All she could see was the one tree she didn’t have. It blinded her, and I follow in her footsteps.

Sometimes, I am just plain crazy and blind to all that I already have. Sometimes, I am an ungrateful wretch.

And so I look up from the lesson of Eve, my eyes open to the splendor.

God has granted me a home made lovely by the love that fills it.

~The crazy sounds of my four children playing, bickering, teasing, and encouraging each other.

~The hand-me-down furniture that keeps, ever present, the memories of those grandparents whose homes it graced before mine.

~The DIY projects my loving husband has helped me with, bonding us better than any date-night ever could.

~The handmade fireplace mantle my dad made so that my little loves would have a place for their stockings at Christmas.

~The smells of time-tested recipes that fill my kitchen, straight from the handwritten recipes my momma shared.

~The “distressed” kitchen chairs, complete with chocolate fingerprints.

~The half-done puzzle that waits on the floor.

~ The quilts with their passed down warmth…

Who needs Pinterest perfection? Eden was always there, I just needed to open my eyes.


Lots of love,


Mean Momma


I was talking to a “mean” momma the other day. She said something to her kids, something like this, “their mommas may let them, but they aren’t YOUR momma.” It’s so hard to be a “mean” momma in a world of well meaning mommas. In a world of lowered standards… In a world of crazy where sometimes, anything goes. I’m a “mean” momma, too.

I am the aspiring Proverbs momma… Striving to…

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it,” Proverbs 22:6. 

And it’s so hard.

My kids see the different standards. And why not just do the easy? Why not just go with the normal, societal standard? Why not?

She asks from the back seat of our car, “Mom, why can’t we listen to a lot of Pop music? Why is that station off limits?” And I search for an answer she will understand. I do my best to explain that some of the music is full of sin drenched lyrics. That our world is full of sin drenched misery. That sometimes, sin can be hard to spot. And how I don’t want her beautiful brain filled with such junk, dulling her senses or making sin familiarly unrecognizable.

Some of the kids at church camp were singing the songs, and she felt left out. The mean momma’s heart breaks for her.

This is a messy deal. How do we set high standards for our little loves without putting them in a bubble world? How do we help them learn to navigate this crazy, rocky terrain?

My oldest, only 11 years old, is not yet meant to be ready to face it all, to make her way on her own. I tell her again that I am preparing her for life in this big crazy world. And how, all too soon, she will be all grown up. She’ll have to know how to navigate the path all on her own. That all too soon, she will have to learn to recognize the sins this world offers for what they are.

Older and wiser, I have seen firsthand where sin leads. I have been hurt by others who have taken it’s treacherous path. I’ve hurt myself by exploring it’s valleys.

She has to navigate this world, knowing which paths lead to good places and which do not. It’s my job to “direct her to the right paths.”

We love to hike through the woods. When the kids were little, they held our hands and we kept them from danger. As they grew, they learned to go a bit on their own, walking close by our side. Now, they have learned much about the dangers of the terrain we travel. They run ahead on the trail, exploring together, still in our sight. Soon, they will go out hiking on their own. We have taught them well, and they will be ready for the challenge.

Mean mommas hold their little’s hand through the world, letting go a little at a time as knowledge and strength grows. We see where the path we are taking is leading us, and we know it is worth the effort.

I’m a mean momma, doing the hard work of training my children to navigate the world. I’m a mean momma, and proud of it.



Oh, Momma… You don’t have to be Enough.

It’s enough that you love them with all your heart.


Sweet Sister… You don’t have to Know-It-All.

Just let God’s wisdom guide your steps.


Beautiful Bride… You don’t have to be a perfect Facade.

You can be your lovely self, loved completely.


Darling Daughter… You don’t need to be Perfect.

You bring joy in your smile, dancing through the days.


Forever Friend… You don’t need to be Better.

You’re loved as you are, heart-to-heart.



Why do we strive, judging ourselves against standards of perfection… Unreachable.

Putting up fences and fake smiles to keep others from seeing our failings…

Oh, friend… Let your dirty dishes pile… Leave your make-up in it’s bag…


I don’t want to know your perfection. I want to know YOU!


Is it so hard to believe?


Lots of Love,


That Little Red Dress

I remember my sadness putting that little red dress away. It had been her favorite, with it’s matching hat. Her signature style was developed even at that early age of two years old.
Putting that dress away was a big step in letting her grow up. I won’t lie about the tears shed that day.
Seems silly, doesn’t it?
Now, at ten going on eleven, we put aside those elementary school years.

All of motherhood is putting away the too small to allow them to grow into the too big.


Ah, but middle school seems so very big.
And though I would prefer to keep her little…
Keep her so young…
Even a homeschooling family must face this jump to a new level.
She is raring to go. Confidence and pride shows in her eyes as she walks to her Sunday School classes all-by-herself.
She has this.

I wish I felt so sure.

How do we prepare our little ones who are growing big for this too big world?
How do we provide a shelter for tender hearts in a world full of hurt?
How do we let them step out into falls we won’t be there to catch?

And I thought it was hard to pack that little dress away…

But the verses give me strength, hope, and a confidence like hers.

Direct your children onto the right path,
and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Proverbs 22:6

We have taught her well, and we will continue teaching her well, guiding her along this new path.

I am confident she will face these new challenges, growing into them in her own beautiful, one of a kind, amazing style.


~Lots of Love~


Parched and Dry

hope 2His fever and sickness left him weak and tired, crashed out on his bedroom floor unwilling to even change into pajamas. I can’t blame him. We’ve all been there, sick and worn.

And I feel that final straw. For over six weeks, sickness has struck my family one person at a time. I’m not sure I can wash puke out of any more bed sheets. The last episode left me contemplating the cost of replacement. Had it not been for the special blankie in the mix…

These are the joys of a big family and a mom who is probably too good about disinfecting the bathroom. Maybe it would have been better for everyone to get sick at the same time instead of passing it so slowly. With one child still well, my prayers are for her to avoid this for everyone’s sake.

As it is, we are ditching (home)school today in favor of the five movies I checked out at the library yesterday. I’m drinking my fourth cup of coffee with some Hershey’s syrup added for the sake of my sanity. Sitting here to write ’cause I’m crazy lonely and need to get some thoughts out of my head.

I’ve washed and cleaned so much for the past several weeks, you’d think my house would shine. You mommas know better.

The water we have gone through…

We really take for granted the water in our pipes, rushing into the washing machine or out a faucet, swirling away a mess we don’t want to see.

Grandma’s house didn’t have any indoor plumbing. She had a cistern out back, an outhouse, and a spring a few miles away where we went to dip cold, clean, drinking water. You go dip water and see if you don’t use it more carefully. Appreciate it more fully.

Here I am in a drought of my own. I feel so dry and parched, like there is no more to give and no hope that I can possibly keep up with the demands or needs of my family, friends, and obligations. No matter how I work and push, there is just no more left of me to give.

This month’s theme at our church is Humility. I’m feeling mighty human and frail, humble and low. I’m feeling like Hagar in the desert, searching for water to quench the thirsty dryness. Hope for my situation.

I do know that my situation is not so hopeless… I know that in my head. (So many folks I know who are going through truly hard things…) Still, the circumstances have hidden the truth from my heart, lowered my eyes to trudging through the days. I’ve allowed these little trials of life to blind me with my own selfishness and plans lost. I’m a woman in the desert of the world, crying out for a drink of pure and clear hope.

And like Hagar, all I need to do is look up. God is there and He is providing.

So here I am this morning, looking up once again. Here I am seeing past the selfishness. Here I am seeing how I can LOVE my family. Here I am looking up and finding HOPE. Here I am finding the spring water bubbling. 

But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.  John 4:14

Here, I  am quenched… 

 Look up sisters. 


Lots of Love,



What Do You Do?



“Um… Could I just skip that one?”


“Well, um… I’m a stay-at-home mom.”

“A homemaker.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s right…”

And my ego shrunk about 10 sizes.

Us girls of the 80’s were supposed to grow up to do big things, be super-mom with a super-career. Anything less, and… It felt like a terrible blow to have to admit to being “just a homemaker.” Just a homemaker.

Truth is, a lot of folks don’t see a lot of value in making a home. They just take it for granted, like it just happens. It’s sometimes easy to mistake something of great value for something worthless.

Precious stones don’t start out with the sparkle we see in the jewelry store, do they?

A Master Craftsman has to work, cutting and polishing the stones into beauty.

My first months and years as a homemaker were awkward. From answering that question of occupation to figuring out how to manage my household, I was a mess. Eleven years later, the Master is still not finished with me.

My mom was in India a few years ago. A gentleman there spoke to her about the place, so different from the countryside where we live. He recognized something that is timeless wisdom and shared it with my momma.

He told her that some people only see the dust, while others see the diamonds in the dust.

Back in those early years, my definition of a homemaker was pretty narrow. She was a maker of the beds, cooker of the meals, do-er of the laundry, and scrubber of the toilets. It sure didn’t look very pretty. It looked a lot like dirty work.

As I have gained in knowledge and a bit of wisdom from Proverbs, I am crafting a new definition of homemaking. I’m beginning to see the glimmers of beauty that making a home brings to others.

I see how the warm cookies bring smiles to my children. I see gratefulness for a home cooked meal in my husband’s eyes. I enjoy the warmth of friendship when play-dates fill my kitchen with sister-friends and my yard with children’s laughter. I see the joy of time to relax when the work is done, the beauty a well planned living space. I see the produce of my hard work, filling up mason jars. I capture moments and preserve them in my pictures. I see the investment I am making in those who I love, the hard work to help them become…

The master has more refining to do, but the jewel is starting to glimmer with hope for all that can be.

Some people can’t see past the mess. The toys on the floor, the dinner that is late, or the responsibility that was failed. Some folks don’t want to look past the fussy baby, the toddler having a tantrum, or the tween with an attitude. All they see is the ugly.

It’s a hard thing, seeing this beauty that others are blind to… Accepting their low view of something so precious.

But sister-friends, I want YOU to see what the Master Craftsman is doing in your life. I want you to see the jewel that is ” more precious than rubies.”

He is laboring to bring out your best. He won’t stop until the work is completed.

The Master sees your value when the world only sees your dust.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. ~Ephesians 2:10

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. ~Ephesians 3:20

Sister-friend… You are beautiful. You have great value. You are His masterpiece.


Lots of Love,




Magic Eraser

20120319-beekeeping and farming 121 copy

It started to go on Monday and by Tuesday all I could do was whisper. This seems to happen to me, a lot. Laryngitis. It’s Saturday, and my voice still sounds like I gargled with gravel.

Quieted all week, my words float around in my head.

I sit at dinner and listen to my children and my husband talk, smiling at them and enjoying this odd sensation of being an observer. 

Words are so essential to getting things done around here. Homeschooling was on autopilot (with lots of help from teaching videos on YouTube) and calls to friends became mere text messages.

But life goes on, and I had things to do. Since painting requires no words, that’s what I’ve been doing.

We’ve raised up four toddlers in this house. Careless little fingers touching each wall. Rambunctious boys riding little toys up and down the hallway. Sippy-cups of milk were dropped, splattering little bits of milk on the paint.

There’s only so much a magic eraser can do.

I fill the holes, sand them down, and add a gentle, beige-brown paint to the walls. It’s a fresh, new start.

While I paint, the words bounce round in my head… No escape.

My bible reading, Proverbs 15, speaks to my thoughts in a crazy timeliness.

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable,
But the mouth of fools spouts folly. ~Proverbs 15:1-2

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
The Lord is far from the wicked,
But He hears the prayer of the righteous. ~Proverbs 15:28-29

My voice silenced, I contemplate my words carefully. The words are costly, taking everything I have to share. I think long before I speak.

If only I were always so wise as to bridle my tongue.

James 3 says the tongue is a fire, able to bring destruction.

My words, hasty and hurtful, have brought fire. Sometimes, my words burn the people I love most. I have played the part of the fool, far too many times.

As I paint, I realize that my words have left ugly marks on people’s lives. With each mark and hole I repair in my hallway, I am repenting of those careless words… I am remembering those passionate words that thought far too little of the hearts they were hurting, and the bridges they were burning. 

If only there were a special magic eraser for words.

My voice is returning today, and I am praying that God will help me bridle my words and open my eyes to the heart behind the ears that hear them. I pray he’ll make me more of a Proverbs 31 kind of wife.

She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. ~Proverbs 31:26

Words are powerful. They can bring destruction. Proverbs reminds us that they can also bring kindness and wisdom. I pray God will fill my heart with words that heal hearts, bring wisdom, and add beauty that reflect His great love.

A fresh start, newly painted and beautiful…

Lots of love,