Monday, June 25, 2018

Calm and Free.

Good morning friends!

It's a new week and I have a new friend who is going to bless you with a new perspective on Calm. Hop on over to meet my friend Gelly May. She has a colorful and encouraging Instagram account, as well as a Facebook page. Be sure to follow here in those places so you can get doses of encouragement straight from her :)

Her contribution to our Calm loop is really valuable, and I hope you walk away from what she shares looking at your life and seeing where Jesus wants you to let go of crazy and grab ahold of Calm.

I used to be completely unafraid of the ocean.

I would swim far from shore, hardly looking back to spot my bags on the sand. It didn't matter how deep the water was or how far I got; I floated in peace.

Be sure to read the rest of Gelly's post and follow her all the places! And come back for some more updates later this week. I'm going to try and keep posting about my regular life; it seems like that's what all of you love to read about most! Have a great Monday and we'll see you soon. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The House Situation.

A lot of you have been asking me lately about what is going on with our house, so I figured I would give a little update on the blog and fill everyone in at once.

At the end of March, we had a toilet with a tank-flowing, flap-sealing problem. Every once in a while it would not seal all the way and a small stream of water would just continually flow from the tank to the bowl until we went in and wiggled it. Well, when a certain child tried to flush their poo down, it clogged and said child went on with their bedtime routine without noticing. The toilet flap didn't seal and water continued to flow from the tank, into the clogged bowl, and over the precipice onto our bathroom floor. It kept going for several minutes (or maybe 10? 15?) and long-story short, we discovered it after "black-water" was covering the bathroom floor and running down a light fixture through the ceiling beneath it, onto the downstairs floor.

Black-water is just water with human waste, so don't fret, it was all very clear-looking. But anything black-water touches has to go. And anything that gets damaged by replacing those surfaces also needs repaired too. Mark has worked with a disaster restoration company in the past, so we knew who to call ASAP.

This was our immediate solution...

This is how it looked after taking out all the damaged materials. Sorry, no pics of the bathroom - it's small and there is a lot of stuff in the way.

Because of where the water damage was, insurance will cover new floors in most of our home. We chose to go ahead and have them re-carpet the other two bedrooms and office, plus make the other two bathrooms match (new floors in one and counter tops in both). Because the damage touched surfaces that connect to around 2200 sq ft of the house, it requires all our furniture to be moved out, which also required us to move out. Thankfully, insurance will pay for our hotel stay too!

You can see our paint color experiments!

Looking empty.

So far, we have been in the hotel a week. The house was fully packed out by Tuesday, and hopefully some demo and potentially some of the new carpet will already be done by Saturday. They have a bunch of drywall to repair, paint to do in much of the house, some trim and then LOTS of carpet and a bunch of hardwood floors. We are praying it will only be three weeks, but it could be up to six if there are too many scheduling issues or other problems that come up.

I cannot wait to see how it will all look! We picked out some great new surface materials and will likely get a few new light fixtures as well. We also chose to repaint with a better shade of grey, something more "greige" than the blue-tinted grey we originally chose.

Main wood flooring plus carpet, counter surface, and backsplash. So nice!

This is the countertop surface plus the laminate that will go in the upstairs bathrooms (don't worry, none of the laminate will be in proximity to the wood floors). 

We have debated selling the house afterwards, but I don't think we will, even though it's tempting since the market is hot and most of what we own is in boxes! It's hard to pack almost everything you own, knowing you will just be unpacking it in the same exact place. It was a great excuse to purge though, and we hope to really get rid of our excess stuff and only unpack things into real places. At first we were going to use our tax return for new kitchen counters, but have since decided the risk of having cabinets damaged was too big (for our sanity and our budget) and instead we will make sure we get things like bookshelves, homeschool organization, and closet storage all figured out when we move back in.

So, ask me again in a week or two how we are doing. And PLEASE pray for me. The last few days have been good, but today I am weary (which I always am on laundry day). Some of the things I am weary over are not new (never being able to just leave my kids to pursue something on my own) and other issues are because of being in this small space and not being able to just turn the kids outside while I work or read. I feel the familiar spiral of my thoughts beginning to compound and make me long for a different life, but I am fighting hard to trust this path of mine to God. He knows. He sees me. He has good things for me (which are usually borne through challenges and struggles). It sure it a battle!

Thanks for stopping in and hearing me out. And if you're local, invite us over for dinner ;)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Calm Down by Keysha Edwards Taylor

Good afternoon friends!

I have another Calm Down post for you, but this format will be a little different. This week, our guest is Keysha Edwards Taylor and since she doesn't have her post on a separate blog, I will link you to her Facebook page and you can friend and follow her there. She is a musician and you can take a look at her website and enjoy the blessings of her gift here! Take a few minutes to read her words, to relate to her experience, and to remember that God is with you, even in the crazy, hectic, frantic moments of your life.


The unknown and the unexpected can raise our pulse rate to exuberant levels. So much can happen in a twinkling of an eye. 

It’s 3 a.m. and I’m startled awake by the house alarm. As I frantically sit up in bed, I pray “O, God, what is this!!?” My mind starts thinking of the activities of the day. Did I close the back sliding door and lock it? Is the garage door down? My heart rate increases as I remember that I left it open the other night? The kitchen window used to be the only window without an alarm device with screws to keep it locked. Thank God we upgraded that five years ago, whew! The house was secure. But now my heart’s beat is pounding in my ear, my throat is dry, and I have my birthday suit on and can’t find the stupid lamp by my bed. My hubby, drunk with sleep, bolts from the bed, grabs his machete from behind our bedroom door and stumbles his way into the hallway. I’m frozen in the rhythmic session with my heart and rapid breaths as I try to remember where my clothes are.... and the stupid lamp. My husband returns after checking everything and reports that we had a faulty connection on one of the doors. “E’en no tief in duh ‘ouse t’night!” (My island dialect for “There’s not a thief is in the house!”). I say to myself, “Deep breath in....deep breath out”. My heart rate is still pounding, but my mind is entering it’s calm again. I’m sure the frantic dance in my chest will evolve into a sweet cadence of rest....soon. Now, we’re calm.

Surprises like a house alarm going off unexpectedly, can influence us to know? We pray “O, God, what is this?” I believe God is right there with a normal solution to a crazy situation. Our ability to remain calm during these moments falls to pieces sometimes, but the Lord is not bothered at all. Its similar to story of Jesus calming the storm when the disciples were freaking out. Trusting in the “Calm” of the Lord is my life long lesson. I must see with Spirit eyes.

When I focus on the reality of my powerful God, who’s behind the scenes working it out, I can finally breathe. He holds my hand during the hurricane forced winds of life. He speaks His calming word and my situation must yield. Jesus promised we would have struggles and problems and times when life is not calm at all. He says, “Do not fear, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD!” and, “PEACE, BE STILL!” boldly. He said it emphatically because His eyes are fixed on Heavenly Father. In my journey with the Lord, my life has been littered with horrific surprises, however, I’m learning to endure with my eyes focused on the Calm that resolves, the Calm that is present at all times. It's just a heartbeat away.

Focus on the Calm of the Lord. Trust that, and say, “No tief gern tief dat from me!” (No thief can steal that away from me!”)

See you back here next week for another post on Calm :)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Learn the CALM Technique.

Hi friends!

It's Monday again, or as my husband and children say, the New Years of the Week, and that means it's time for another Calm link-up. Yay!

This week you get to hear from Barb Roose about how she works to grab some calm during stressful times and seasons. You can follow her on Facebook here and be sure to go over to her website and see what else she has to offer. She is a woman willing to go through all sorts of crazy to find the Calm God can give, and I know you will benefit and grow from reading her words. Here we go!

by Barb Noose

Do you remember that 90’s song, “Y’all gonna make me lose my mind / Up in here, Up in here”?
While a hugely popular rap song, it’s also the unofficial anthem of the super-stressed out or anxious person. It’s the kind of song you’re tempted to spit out when the unexpected or uninvited chaos pushes you mentally, emotionally or financially toward the edge. Have you ever felt like you might lose your mind over the following:
·      …Your car repair cost may require listing your kidney on Ebay;*
·      …You have to wait all weekend to call the doctor for test results on Monday morning;
·      …Your boss asks you to drop by her office before you leave for the day…and you’ve been hearing rumors of layoffs.
When uncertainty or chaos lands in our lives, our bodies feel the stress and we experience symptoms like: a racing heartbeat, nausea, sweaty palms, numbness or the inability to sleep. And it’s so hard to pray when we’re feeling stressed out!  Yet, connecting with God is our best chance to find help and hope in our chaotic or uncertainty situations...

Read the rest of Barb's Post here:

And be sure to come back next Monday to hear from another brave woman about how to grab some more Calm in your dady-to-day life. Thanks, and Happy New Year of the Week!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Calm Down

Are you friends ready for some weekly Calm? I know I am!

First up we have my friend Amy :) She wrote a book that came out this Fall and it is fabulous. If you are a mom, you really need to read it. It will encourage you and point you to what Christ can do in your motherhood, not what you can do for yourself. It's called Chin Up and you can go buy it here (aff link)!

You can also follow Amy on Instagram here, and Facebook here.

Now, for the good stuff.

Image by Lucija Ros on

Calm Down: by Amy Seiffert

Carefully, ever so slowly, draw a long breath in.

And then exhale just as deliberately as you can.

Good work.

When was the last time you did that?
When was the last time you paid attention to your incoming breath and your outgoing air?
The last time you noticed what was coming in and what was going out?

And let’s not just stick to the air around you. Let’s get below the surface. Let’s look at the content of our souls.

What have we allowed to take up residence, and now, like the air we breathe, freely comes and goes?

Because the company you keep, most often keeps you.

(Read the rest of her post at

Be sure to come back next week for another dose of Calm!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Called to Work.

I hope it's no surprise to you that you are Called to Work. The idea that working hard at something came as a result of the fall used to be more commonplace than it is now, but we still live in that world a little bit. We still think hard work is a negative. We assume that we have it made if we have to work less, or if our work is not too challenging.

Difficult work comes in many forms. There is work that is physically hard and work that is mentally hard. Some jobs take a severe emotional toll on a person and others insight an ungodly amount of stress. And while all jobs probably have some aspect to them that is hard, most jobs still have a root of goodness in them. And most of the jobs you readers likely have can be used to glorify God.

Working was something God ordained, after all. He gave Adam dominion and authority over all the animals on the earth and commanded him and Eve to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth. That phrase "to subdue it" in Hebrew means to bring into subjection, or to bring into bondage. The earth was theirs to control, to maintain, and can you imagine what a job that would be? Genesis 2:15 says that after God created Adam He put him in the garden to work it and keep it. The first job in history!

It's easy to get caught up in thinking about which specific job we are called to and which jobs have a more honorable, holy calling. That is not only a false way to segregate work, but it is a dangerous route and often leads to procrastination, inaction, and judgement between believers. I've mentioned a few times during this series my goal of encouraging people to take their eyes off big life choices like where to live, what job to take, who to marry, etc., and instead focus on what the bible specifically calls us to. And working is just another one of those things.

It is true that some jobs are simply necessary, and not usually very glamorous, but they just need to be done. Pumping gas, doing laundry, cleaning toilets, cooking food: they have the likelihood of being simple, boring, easy, and monotonous. But what happens when no one does them? These types of jobs bless others in pivotal ways even though they are not highly-esteemed or sought-after positions. However, as a Christian, we can choose to do these jobs and infuse them with the joy of the Lord, which makes an incalculable difference in the lives of others.

Let's look at what the bible says about work. Here are a few verses that give us some good information...

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

"But if anyone does not provide for this relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 1 Timothy 5:8

"But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." 1 Thessalonians 4:10b-12

"Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need." Ephesians 4:28

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven." Matthew 5:16

Some of these verses talk about working as in earning an income, or having a job. Others speak to actions that seem unassociated with money, like acts of kindness or service. I assure you, they all fall under the same umbrella. Why? Because money should not change the way we act toward others. It shouldn't change our disposition, our eagerness to do well, or our willingness to work without complaining. Money is simply a tool to use but it is the actual work we do that has a purpose.

What is that purpose? I see two things popping out from these scriptures, but the second idea supports the first.

1- to glorify God and show His goodness to others

2- to provide for the needs of others

When we work with happy hearts, as unto Christ, we demonstrate the goodness of God to unbelievers. They see us doing good for others and can see the reality of God! Without these works, we are just another person spouting off what we think is true or right. But with these works, people actually experience God. Genuine faith in God requires that we take action, as James talks about in James 2:14-26. Not only does our action show God to others, it reveals what we truly believe in our hearts.

Providing for the needs of others is the other main point of working that I see in all these verses. James also talks about this in the same passage referenced above, primarily that if we are only saying nice things to those who are suffering and simply offering prayer for others without any actual action, our faith is not real. He basically says that if we believe in God's gift of Jesus Christ, it will move us to action, to doing good works unto others. Paul emphasizes this in several of his epistles too. The thief ought to work not just so he won't steal, but so that he can give. The husband or leader of the home works to provide for those in his care, and in Titus 3:8 he says that the people in the church ought to devote themselves to good works for the benefit of other people.

It's really easy to look at our jobs (if you have one) and see how it benefits your family. But it's a lot harder to look at your entire day, week, year, or life and wonder if you are truly committing yourself to the kind of work God would have you do. Not in your career necessarily, but in your day-to-day actions. How devoted are you to working on behalf of your unbelieving neighbor? How committed are you to making life easier or better for your spouse or children? How likely are you to work with or without pay so that the unbelieving around you would see God in your sacrifice?

These are direct, pointed questions, and you should expect them to make you wiggle a bit in your chair (don't worry, they make me squirm too). I tend to be stingy with my time and my kids are rather demanding with much of my time, so every day I feel like I am constantly evaluating and navigating this type of question and response routine. It's hard to give so much of yourself, with or without pay. It's hard to make all of your work about something other that you!

But really, our entire existence is about far more than ourselves. When we deny it, we are living a lie. When we think our work is for us, for our personal gratification or benefit, we are trying to grasp and hang on to what God meant to be given to others. Don't get me wrong, there is often deep personal satisfaction in doing our job well and feeling like we were made for it, but we were made for God's work, not our own. When our work is glorifying to God, and for the benefit of others, and when we are happy to have it be so, we gain a peace that cannot be compromised. Don't you want that? I know I do! A peace that interruptions, disappointment, sorrow, and pain cannot take away... that's what Jesus offers. And when our work is centered on Jesus' work, on the goodness it does for others and the testimony it is for God, our work becomes fulfilling and life-giving.

So, what does that mean for my habits and routines this month? I'm not totally sure yet (what's new)! I am going to be participating in a blog-hop series with some writer friends revolving around the word Calm next week, so be looking for that. I hope to post some more though-provoking questions in the 12 Months of Called Facebook group I've set up and I hope that will bless your thought-life, your intentions, and your actual work. I have a lot of other books to catch up on so I think I will just work through those and see what comes from all of it.

The one thing I know I will do is fight discouragement with these two purposes in my work. If I know it helps others and I know it can glorify God, I will tell myself it matters and will fight to do it with joy. I'm sure this will put a target on my back, but I feel like I am at a turning point in my life where I need to combat the lies that make me feel fruitless and wasteful in what I do. I think we can all stand to question what we are pursuing and ask God whether it is glorifying to Him and others-minded. If it is, we can take a firm stand in knowing that our selfless living is more than worth it. Are you going to stand with me? Are you willing to give, to work, to sacrifice and strive for God and others?

Let's be renewed every day in this choice we are making. Be sure to join the Facebook group to get your free phone wallpaper to remind you of this beautiful, challenging, important endeavor. God is with you, and so am I.