What Inspires Me

Last week’s photography theme caused me no little problem.

So much so that I didn’t do it. Usually I may be late in just posting but I try really really hard to take the picture during the specified time frame. But last week I just could not make it happen.

The theme was inspiration and for the life of me I couldn’t nail down an image that would reflect what inspires me. Bits and pieces of an answer would waft through my brain but nothing felt right or had any real substance.

Then yesterday, Claire came running inside to announce “The world’s most beautiful rainbow, Mom!” And it was one of the brightest and fullest rainbows we’ve ever seen. Even the double was pretty visible.

As I took a picture, because of  course I ran inside for my camera, I realized it perfectly represented what inspires me.

It’s life itself showing evidence of both light and shadows, the rain and the sunshine, color and clarity, faithfulness and hope…the promise of God that He has not forgotten His people despite what the news would have us believe. We are not winning or losing because He has won. We are bold and fierce as we declare His goodness through our worship, our families and the art we create. His faithfulness to us is my inspiration be it found in the face of a newborn baby, the kiss of my beloved, or a bow flung across the sky.

Think on God. Dwell on His attributes. Let it inspire you to create beauty…the tangible kind with cameras or paintbrushes or clay, or whatever. But above all let it inspire you to live beautifully…to love beautifully in the midst of the light and shadows of your life, when it rains or when the sun shines.


Happy Monday

What a great weekend! Beautiful weather, a wonderful double date on Friday night with some special friends to celebrate their anniversary, family time on Saturday and the opportunity to photograph an incredibly strong and precious preemie baby, and a Sabbath blessed with sweet worship and fellowship.

It was great, I tell ya!

In my previous post I mentioned the app I use while walking. It tracks my distance, calories used, and number of steps taken. Like any normal woman I have often wondered just how much distance I cover and how many steps I take on a typical day of grocery shopping in Walmart. So, on Saturday when Claire and I went to do our weekly shopping, I turned the app on as I went into the store. Yep, I walk almost two miles and take over four thousand steps. I knew that trip was a mini work out! And the app doesn’t even factor in the the constant lifting and picking up of items or the pushing of the weighted cart as I go along. I figure that can get filed under resistance training 🙂

The picture of the map of our actual trek around the store gave a us a good laugh too. Normally I go early on Saturday morning before it gets to crowded but we ended up going late afternoon when it was a little more hectic. Yes, I do have a list but you can still see where I had to back track a few times. Plus there are some people behind a buggy that makes you wish there was some kind of competency test you had to take before they allowed you to take one off by yourself.

Things I Saw

I’ve been walking a lot lately, mainly at the gym, but with the weather so nice I just hate the idea of doing my exercising indoors, you know?

Yesterday, for the first time in weeks, I didn’t have somewhere pressing to be first thing in the morning so I headed downtown for my walk.

It was such a beautiful day and before I knew it I had walked five miles. My time was a little slower per mile than usual but I am chalking that up to a rougher terrain. At least that’s my story and I am sticking to it!


No idea what these are but their cheerful red caught my eye.

Poor confused crepe myrtle…is it still summer?

I love the beautiful greenery that grows up so many walls and fences downtown.

This hill is much steeper in person, trust me. Especially at the end of the five mile walk.

Technology is an amazing thing. This little app on my phone tracks distance, how many steps and how long I walked, and calories used. Pretty useful for a gal trying to be all healthy, isn’t it?

For the record I took all of these pictures with my phone. Rob thought I had taken my camera camera with me. I didn’t because
1.) It’s kind of bulky and heavy and 
2.) I was exercising, people. Maybe a little slower than some but I was booking it as fast as this forty four year old new to physical exertion woman could book. One day I will be faster. One day I might even be a runner I think.

Our Weekend

Autumn is my most favorite time of the year but I do so enjoy days like this…

With treasures from the sea…

Along shores that look like this…

After exercise on beautiful days on sidewalks…

And getting to meet pen pals in person…

We even had a surprise half birthday party for a sweet friend and ended it all with a peaceful evening at home. Which enabled me to get this week’s picture in time to actually be current in the weekly photography group I participate in.

All in all it was a really nice weekend.

I hope yours was as well.

I Am His, He Is Mine

It was an article that briefly trended in facebook news yesterday that caught my eye.

Some actress, I sort of recognized her face but didn’t know her name at all and can’t even remember it today, was all in a dither during an interview about how much she hated to see a man put his arm around a woman. It was some kind of show of ownership and made her furiously angry every time she saw it.

And I thought, how stupid. It does not.

But then I thought about it for a little longer and realized I totally agreed with her even though my response is obviously completely different from hers.

When Rob places his arm around me he is making a declaration to friend and foe alike.

He is saying that I belong to him.

That I am under his care and protection.

That he makes provision for me and will keep me,as much as humanly possible, free from harm.

And I love it. It thrills me when he slips his arm around my shoulders and pulls me to his side or puts his arm around my waist. I delight in feeling his hand at the small of my back when we’re walking somewhere. It’s gives me a sense of well being.

It is a declaration of ownership but not that of a slave owner. Rather it is of a man who would willingly lay his life down for the woman he loves. It’s the,  “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,” kind of declaration.

I’ve only ever entertained the idea of one tattoo…his name on my ring finger. But since I can’t quiet convince myself to do it (and he would hate it if I did) I will take the statement that his arm around me apparently makes, the assertion that his ring on my finger makes, and the mark that his love leaves on my soul.

I’ll take all of that, however much it is disdained and held in contempt by the world, over the empty promises of self ownership that lead to a culture where woman can possibly believe that the baby in her womb should die for the freedom to not be “owned” by a man.

If ownership is this thing that he and I have, then I am all in. Shackle me close because what she holds in derision I have found to be a glorious delight…and as much as I belong to him…he belongs to me.

It is fitting, good, and right.

Back To School

It’s paper and pencils.

New shoes and socks.

Early bed times and afternoon snacks.

Homework, quizzes and tests.

Field trips and projects; PE and recess.

We are in our third week of school already. Also, our first year with a college student. That alone has been an adjustment and has prompted discussions and lots of stories. On her second morning of class Sam bombarded Sarah with questions with no pause for her to actually answer him.

“How is UWF?Do you like your teacher?Have you made any new friends?”

I’m happy to say that she is doing just fine and handling this new world just fine

Our sophomore is doing great. So happy to be done with Latin and diving right into Greek and just overall doing really well with her studies. She is steady and sure as she transitions into the Rhetoric stage of school.


Sam is once again proving that autism is a gift in our lives…a gift heavy at times for sure, but a gift nonetheless. How he interacts and processes information is so different from “typical” people that it forces us to interact with information that isn’t new to us in a way that makes it fresh. It causes us to find new ways and new words to explain things long understood and almost made boring by that long held understanding. When he is working through reading and hearing lectures on Eusebius and wants to know how the new man is different from the old man just quipping about the old man being dead and all things being made new really isn’t going to cut it. Talking about being a Christian in light of that death and resurrection in a way that he will begin to grasp enlivens the conversation and makes you continue to ponder the grace of God and what He has actually done to us long after Samuel has closed his books and headed to bed.

Abby is new to logic school and if you know much about classical education then you understand that is a significant shift. She had a great summer and really stepped up to some new and more mature responsibilities though so I am confident she will find her feet soon and be just fine. The sweet child will serve you in any way that you need. She will love you to pieces and make you as comfortable as she can possibly make you. But taking notes and keeping up with assignments and studying abstract concepts requires a lot more than she is used to giving. I am reasonably sure that I will have more gray hair at the end of this year then I am starting with. I think seventh grade is one of the hardest transitions in life…especially for girls. But she will be fine. I will be fine. At least that is what Rob keeps telling me.

Our little third grader is doing just fine and dandy and about what you’d expect. Her teacher has already told her that if she ever needs a substitute then she will be sure to give Claire a call since she thinks she can tend everybody’s business anyway. I’m so thankful for a teacher that will love my child in spite of her bossiness. It’s going to be a great year for her and I am excited for her.

All in all back to school is going just fine for all of us. We’re feeling our way along, seeing what needs to be tweaked and changed to meet the needs of each and bed time is a welcome friend in the evenings after doing Latin and science and Bible history.

Speaking of Bible history…Claire is learning about various Old Testament stories and the book of Judges. Without fail whenever we are studying her card about wicked King Eglon and how Ehud defeated him I find myself humming the theme song from Ghost Busters…Eglon gets jumbled in my head to Egon. Every single time.

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

This post is part of a blog circle that I participate in once a month with some fabulous friends literally from all over the world. Be sure to take a minute to click through the links tot heir posts on being back in school. You’ll be blessed and encouraged and get to see some really great pictures.

Julie   Tim  Connie  Patricia

The First Week of September

The first week of September was fine but apparently the second week was super busy because even though I had the blog post ready I forgot to share it.  Wonder if the rest of the month will be as busy?

The first day ~

The second day ~
The third day ~ 
The fourth day ~
The fifth day ~ (Photo credit belongs to Claire)
The sixth day ~ (Photo credit goes to Abby)
The seventh day ~ (Photo credit is mine but the messy floor credit is all Sam’s!)

Walking The Hard Path

Yesterday I was sitting around my kitchen table sharing a meal with some women who have gone through some pretty difficult situations over the last year or so.  I was encouraged to hear their thoughts on the various struggles because I’d been thinking a lot lately about what it means to deal with difficult circumstances in our lives.

Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of difficulties that are no fault of our own.

Other times we may find ourselves in the middle of a hard situation and dealing with consequences that are a direct result of some bone headed decision we made. Or maybe not boneheaded  but still we find ourselves on a difficult path because we made choices, right ones even, that put us there.

What I’ve been thinking about is regardless of how we end up in that hard minute, the way we walk through it is what matters. The way we think and talk about the hard situation reveals what is truly inside of us.

If it is a constant complaining or venting of frustration then it is easy to see that we are filled with discontentment. If, no matter how many kindnesses are shown us, we can still only see how hard everything is, then we are quite possibly missing a lesson in learning to bear burdens with grace and dignity. It is quite easy to find ourselves throwing a rousing pity party and trying to get everyone we talk to to dance with us by playing our sad, sad song.

The hand of God and what flows from it to us is sometimes a thing not easily grasped. We are not a people to suffer well and those around us who do so are either somehow more spiritual than us (which we can easily resent) or they just don’t have it as bad as we do, which allows us to be even more of a victim.

But Scripture tells us that we are to handle adversity in a different way…one contrary to our nature. God calls us to rejoice in our sufferings because it will produce something in us.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings,
 knowing that suffering produces endurance, 
and endurance produces character, 
and character produces hope, 
and hope does not put us to shame, 
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts 
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5
That’s a pretty amazing list of things that will result from our suffering if we are willing to suffer with gladness. And if what it will produce in us isn’t beautiful enough just look at what we avoid when we rejoice in our suffering…we are not put to shame.
It would seem that our way of bearing burdens and walking through our hard minutes has some pretty serious results in our lives. May we walk worthy of the One who has called us no matter how hard the path or how we got there.

His Mercies Are New

A few weeks ago I grabbed a quick cell phone picture of a clump of flowers that grow along one corner of our house and posted it to facebook. They’re pretty and purple and I was curious if anyone could tell me what they were. Sure enough a friend with a green thumb quickly identified them as Mexican petunias. She said they are pretty aggressive and will overtake a space if not kept in check.
We didn’t know that but automatically cut them pretty far back each year.

The flowers fascinate us. For a little while we were each thinking that someone or something was coming along and pulling the blooms off everyday. Each morning we’d see the delicate deep purple blooms open and looking delightful but by the afternoon they’d be on the ground. We’ve thankfully learned that we don’t have any garden vandals (either two legged or four legged) wreaking havoc but it’s just part of the life of this plant.

Early morning we see this.

By late afternoon we have this.
And then the next morning we have this again.
Everyday for weeks now. Crazy, isn’t it? I know it will do this for a season and then go dormant until next year. But I still can’t help but look at it as a reminder of God’s mercies being new and fresh for us each day.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
His mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in Him.”

What Am I Going To Do?

It’s the second day of school and my Mother asked me that question.

What am I going to do with my day?

I am going to sip on a cup of hot tea.

I am going to blog  a little so I can get back into a regular habit of writing.

I’m going to mop my floors and clean bathrooms.

And if you don’t think the idea of those two things thrills my soul than you have obviously not had the pleasure of trying to do those two simple chores while children are in the house all day. Today I will do those two things and both will remain clean and shiny for longer than two seconds and something within me will sigh with peace as I look out over my domain and I will announce it to be good, very good.

I do this knowing full well that at around four-ish this afternoon an explosion of sorts will occur. Socks, shoes, lunch boxes, backpacks, textbooks, notebook paper, pencils and erasers will fly out like shrapnel from a gun and there will be an eruption of sound as stories are told and lessons are shared from today.

Dinner will have to be cooked and tomorrow’s lunch prep will need to be done along with the nightly task of getting uniforms ready.

It will be a noisy controlled chaos that will rush through the afternoon and evening like a wave crashing onto the shore. And then hugs and kisses will be given out with bedtime prayers and the waters will recede as lights go out.

And for a moment I will stand in the darkness and quiet of my living room and I will remember this moment, this cup of tea, and know that we’re back to normal.