It's my birthday eve. Tomorrow begins a sabbath year for me and I cannot wait to learn what God has in store.

In the Old Testament God tells His people to let the ground rest every seventh year. At first when I read that, and did the math, I was excited to think that maybe I too was entering a time of rest. I might not be a field, but we all know that humans also need periods of rest and it didn't seem a stretch to think that perhaps our productivity could cycle similar to the land. The more I pondered this idea though the more I realized that while a year of rest sounds wonderful, the land isn't really resting during the sabbath year. It is rebuilding and preparing for a time of growth. While it may look as if nothing is happening in the fields during the sabbath year, the fields, most likely, would beg to differ.

And that's when I became convinced that I was indeed entering a sabbath year.

These past six years has been a time of great planting in my life. Most importantly, I became a mother – twice! I also started my blog, took on significant new responsiblities in my career, and I've expanded my learning in photography. In the past six years, I have grown closer to my husband, matured in my relationships with my family, and I've lost my father. I've made peace with my past, fell in love with the bible, and answered God's call on my life (at least privately, so far -He's still revealing things). I've re-established old friendships, and created new ones that have changed who I am through their love and care. I've found a faith community that feeds me, stretches me, and makes me grow. This is, without doubt, the most productive season of my life thus far.

I feel slightly depleted, but also ready for the rebuilding. I am slightly de-constructed, if you will, and primed for God to replenish me with exactly the right combination of nutrients and building blocks to launch my next season of productivity. It's exciting. It's also not without its fears.

I've learned in these last few years that to actively follow Christ is going to be a lot like motherhood. I do not always feel prepared, the sheer magnitude of the job is overwhelming on a daily basis, and nothing has ever been so fulfilling, beautiful and rewarding. But I've learned that I can do both things. I am not always liked here at home, it's part of being a mom. No doubt I will not always be liked as a follower of Christ, that too is part of the deal. But I am convinced that with a sincere heart and a mind set on Christ, the path will be set before me and I cannot wait to see what the next season of planting will bring.


At the suggestion of one of my favorite blogs,, we decided to start a habit during Lent rather than giving something up. We began a family gratitude journal and while it's only been about two weeks now, it's really been a great exercise. Watching a four year old and (almost) six year old take hold of the concept of gratitude has been very revealing. One of the very first things Grace was thankful for was the fact that her cousin's were getting to go on a trip over Spring Break, I thought that was so sweet. Elijah took a bit more coaching. In the beginning he tended to be thankful for whatever his eye's landed on or whatever his big sister happened to be grateful for that day, but over the last week he has come into his own and was thankful for play time with Emily at church, and hearing the frogs outside, to name a few.

I've read many studies that explain the variety of health benefits and the general improved well-being of having an attitude of gratitude, so I'm excited to have found a way to help the kids 'learn' this important life skill. An unexpected benefit though is what a window into their sweet minds this is proving to be. Almost always, at least one thing listed each night is about time that someone spent with them. Whether it is reading time with an aunt, or play time with mommy and daddy, one-on-one time always makes the list. Often they also list something that happened that I would not have known about without the journal. Things that happened at school, like learning new math, or things that they appreciate but wouldn't necessarily have mentioned, like cracking an egg without being scared. (I guess Grace has been too scared to crack eggs up until this last weekend, who knew?)

And just as the studies on gratitude suggest would happen, I can sense a change in my attitude as well. I'm paying more attention to life, noticing when things go right, and thinking, 'This will go in the journal tonight!' I am appreciating when I reach my three before I even make it in the office in the mornings, and I'm more apt to find the silver lining in a difficult situation. It's also a great way to highlight special moments for the kids throughout the day by letting them know, 'I think this moment might be in my top three tonight.' They are learning to be mindful of the good so they can record it at the end of the day – and being mindful of the awesome things that happen each day is such a life changing skill!

And some days it is just a chance to remember the things that we may take for granted, like Elijah's a few days ago, 'I am thankful for my bones.' Me too, although I hadn't ever said those words…

I highly recommend this practice. We have been delighted and suprised every night with what they come up with, not to mention seeing their choices mature and grow in just two short weeks. This will be a habit that we continue even after this season of Lent. Oh, and also – because we started this during Lent – we use our journal time to talk about Lent and Easter and what they mean to our family. This has given us a great opportunity to remind them that it's about more than the Easter Bunny bringing eggs (although that's still something to anticipate!)

What are some other ways your families practice finding gratitude in life? Do you have any other traditions that you do as a family during this season?

Here is one of the things that made my list today when I opened Grace's backpack from school:

Dear Mommy, I love you You like owls.
Mommy (today) you like purple. From
You like purple


And so, from now on, I like purple. The picture is Grace, me, and a silly squirrel looking up at me :).

Hope you have a fantastic week!


It's been a while between posts and I'm rededicating myself to weekly blogs (again). Sometimes I just feel a little overwhelmed by life – ever feel that way? Between the weather this winter, the continuing polarization of our country, or the horrendous crimes that occur right in our backyard, it can all just get to be too much.

This is the second post in a mini-series looking at ways that we can make a difference in our communities. Specifically in the lives of the children in our communities. I am woefully ill equipped to address this. I'm researching as we go and I pray for your grace and assistance. The foster care system and child advocacy is not an area in which I am well versed. And that is the point of the series, to familiarize myself with the avenues available to get engaged and make a difference, and to share those findings with you.

Last time I posted was about respite care and you can find that post here. The genesis of that post was the tragedy that occurred here in Springfield when a young girl was kidnapped and murdered. Incidents like this leave us feeling so helpless and angry. I wanted to find a way to channel that energy into something that would make a difference. Two of the members of The Chapel are foster parents, and a close friend has spent the last year working diligently with neglected children in Georgia, they inspired the last post talking about respite care – and really, this series. As a reminder, respite care is a way of giving foster families a break and also connecting with a child that is currently in a foster care environment. While foster families can have babysitter's in their home for temporary breaks, respite care allows you to bring a foster child into your home for up to 72 hours, giving the foster families time to re-focus. Respite care is an important way that you can support foster families to avoid burn out, while also impacting the life of a child in foster care.

Tonight I want to highlight CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocates. CASA Volunteers are ordinary people who have gone through about 30 hours of training and are appointed by a judge to represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court. Based on the information available on the CASA Website advocates are typically assigned one to two cases at a time. Each case would require approximately 10 hours or research prior to the court date and the 10-15 hours per month until the case is closed. The special advocate does not replace the attorney or the social worker's in a case, but are specifically appointed to represent the children's best interest.

I would love to have a guest post from someone who is an active advocate today. Please send me a note via the contact me link on the blog or messag me via facebook if you are interested in helping us out, or know someone who is. I'm looking to either have someone write a post for us, or I can do an interview and write the post from that.

Fair warning – I'm going to be asking for a lot of help in this series. This is so important and I'm amazed by how little I know about how an ordinary citizen can work to protect a child. But – I have an awesome net of friends who do amazing things for our kids and I'm counting on you to help educate the rest of us.

So calling all social workers, CASA volunteers, foster parents, adoptive parents, and anyone else who wants to highlight how we can help our hurting kids – help me get the word out!

And finally – I would encourage everyone to check out this blog post about foster care. I know I've thought, and still do, “I just don't think I have it in me to do this. I just don't think I could handle it.” This is a gentle post that confronts that thinking. Take a few minutes, it's worth it.

As a christian I can be disheartened by the lack of unity in the body – but this is something we can all do together. This is a place where we can stand as directed by Jesus and take care of the least. This is my heartfelt hope and prayer. Thanks for walking with me.

Here is the information for the Greene county CASA program:

CASA of Southwest MO

Director: Pat Reiser

1111 S. Glenstone Ave. Ste. 2-100 Springfield, MO 65804

(417) 864-6202 x 252

(417) 864-6280 (fax) (email)

In honor of my own littles.
I wish all were loved as these two are.


I was traveling away from my family yesterday when I heard the news about the abduction in Springfield. I, along with so many others, kept refreshing my facebook page and checking news sources to see if anyone had located her. Just before going to sleep I saw that they had arrested a suspect…but they had not found the cherished little girl. I went to bed with a heavy heart but still hoping for a miracle. When I woke this morning, the first thing on my mind was Hailey. I said a prayer and reached for my phone, hoping beyond hope to see a happy ending. But there was no happy ending to this unfolding drama.

I've thought all day about her family, the witnesses, the police, the schools, and the hundreds of people directly touched by this event. I've prayed for all those 'what if' scenarious to be silenced. I've prayed for peace and comfort. This is unimaginable. It's a blessedly rare thing, a stranger abduction. But statistics are cold comfort in the light of fresh grief and tangible fear.

These tragedies leave us all feeling so helpless. They invoke our fear, our anger, but also our desire to reach out to help. I take some comfort in the fact that when one person commits such atrocious evil, thousands more respond with such amazing and profound love.

But despite that comfort, if I am honest, I am mostly overcome by anger and fear. It is in situations such as these that we can become overwhelmed by our more base desires, and crippled by our fears. I needed to find some way to channel all of this emotion and energy away from the cause of revenge, and into the cause of restoration.

So I reached out tonight to a couple of my friends that work with abused children. I knew that they would be processing this situation differently than those of us who are not used to confronting evil so directly. There is a heroic segment of our population who confront horrific stories on a daily basis. They step into the chaos and work tirelessly to restore order for children. One child at a time, day after day. So I asked them – what can we do? What is a tangible, concrete way that I and other's who are struggling with this tragedy, can make a difference in the life of a child? They had several suggestions but I'll focus on just one of their suggestions this evening – respite care for foster families.

Respite care is designed to provide relief from the stresses of the constant responsibilities that foster families face. Maybe you are not able to be a full time foster family but you have a heart to help kids. Respite care allows you to connect with children in a more temporary setting and not only provide them with healthy relationships, but also give some relief to those amazing families who are fostering full time. You do have to be licensed which means you have to submit an application and go through the different background checks. That process is described in full (for Missouri) here. What a fantastic way to support children and families! Do take note though, the process to get licensed takes some time and you need to be tenacious in the process, but what a wonderful way to channel all of our need and desire to help!

If you feel like respite care is also more than you are able to provide right now, you can reach out to the various organizations that support foster kids. I'll provide a link to several of them below. They are always on the lookout for new and used items, and monetary support is always needed as well.

Family Matters Resourse Center: Strengthening families, children, and youth touched by foster care or adoption through training, support, community collaboration and advocacy. This is a local organization providing support for our great foster and adoptive families. is a great resource for both adopting and fostering families. is the new site for Boys & Girls Town of Missouri – another great organization that helps our at risk kids.

The impact that we could have, as a community, to positively impact the lives of children cannot be under estimated. I will find a way to connect with the foster and adoption community in Springfield and I will do this in honor of that young life taken so tragically. I hope you will, too.


“He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalms 18:19

He delighted in me.

God delights in me. This means I give him great pleasure and I please him greatly. That just makes me giggle with joy.

But surely not every day – he doesn't delight in me every day. Sometimes I just wear him out, right? Well, there are days that my children wear me out but you know what, I delight in them even then. So I'm thinking the answer is, yes, every day my God delights in me. Through all my junk, delight. Through my judgement of judgemental people, through my pain, through my faults, God delights in me through it all. Just like my littles are not their actions, their maddening actions. I am not my actions, my maddening actions, either. And that is how God can delight in me on my worse days, as well as my best.

And I've learned that he brings me into spacious places so that I can hold my arms wide open and spin with uncontained joy. He brings me into a spacious place so that I can feel alive in ways that I don't always feel alive. God wants to give me room to run. Room to impact other people. Room to lift my head up out of my own circumstance and notice the hurt of others. Room to dance with the people that are dancing and weep with those who weep. Room to pull others into the spaciousness. Room to see God delighting in them, too.

It's easy to forget “ yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30). Life is heavy. I go through periods in life where I feel the full weight of this world. And it is not easy or light. But then I read John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I remember, I don't have to carry the weight of this world. I don't have to make sure Truth wins – because Truth has already won. I just need to “Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” It's gonna happen. Not my job to make it happen. Sometimes my job is to just. be. still.

I need to rest in the spaciousness of God, love my neighbor as myself, set down the heaviness of my worldly burdens and bask in the delight of my God. And when I do that, I'm better for it. I'm more open, effective, loving, and peaceful.

God is doing a mighty work in me and I feel like I'm just watching it happen. He is taking my pain and weaving it into a precious fabric. The more I let go of worrying about what other people think of me, the more effective I become. The more I recognize in others the flaws I know are in me, the more generous I become. The more I see that we are all just flawed children of a delighted God, the more I space I have to breath deeply and make a change in my corner of the world. For who am I to withhold my delight, when you are delighted in by God?

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

This is Bob Goff. I realize this is not God. But, I think Bob does the best job of anyone on earth in delighting in everyone he meets. When I think of God delighting in me, I think of meeting Bob Goff.

God delights in you. Rest in that. Take your pain, your fear, your stress and for just a moment set them to the side and stand in front of God, knowing that He delights in the you that only you and he know.



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