Tag Archives: joy

Risk and Reward

In April, 2014, I took a risk.

I risked writing and submitting my thoughts to a blog written by women I admire, following their guest post submission guidelines.

The seed of this desire was planted last summer, when I first discovered the blog Red Tent Living. Each month I thought, next month I will try to get something submitted by the first, but each very full month came and went with no post.

It was an exercise in kindness and grace for my heart, since I was the only one who knew this desire and the only one allowing the voice of contempt and failure in when I fell short.

I spent much time this year, over these months, learning to quiet that voice.

One April Saturday, working in the yard with my husband, our quiet space in the bigness of life, it came to me that now is the time. I needed to just do it and go to my room and write about the strawberries.

I did it.

I sat in my Pinterest Corner and wrote and figured out how to submit the words.

Then I waited.

I knew that the post may or may not be accepted. I knew that taking the risk of putting myself out there might mean rejection. I knew that rejection of a post does not equal rejection of a person.

I’m telling you, there was a lot I had to learn in life to get to the place of even trying!

Having set a goal and now trying for it, all I could do was wait. The waiting process was a challenge in itself to one who has many voices to settle in her head.

Then it came.

The email thanked me for my submission and said that while May’s schedule was full, my post would fit June’s themes, as well. It would be published the first week of June.

All along, I had told myself, and come to terms with, whatever happened was the right thing and time. Even rejection would be right. To find out that my first real published work would take place the week of my birthday was a huge hug for my heart.

Those strawberry pots? They looked like this last Friday. . .

strawberry pots

And like this on Saturday. . .

empty space

. . .when my girl and boy returned from their honeymoon and took them to their new home.




And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Matthew 6:28-29

A big part of planning a wedding is deciding what everyone will wear. In this family that meant not only the bride but seven other siblings, a mother, and father.

The boys were easy. They got measured for tuxedos.

The bride went shopping last fall with her sister, maid of honor. They found a beautiful dress that I didn’t see on my girl until the fitting in March. It was stunning and part of the wedding budget, so it didn’t count towards our family out-of-pocket expense.

The bridesmaids wore gray dresses and yellow Toms chosen online, so daughter two had her own one size fits all adventure. She looked beautiful. She also covered her own cost being an adult and everything.

The three little sisters were junior bridesmaids and flower girl. This is where I had to become more involved, shopping and choosing clothes that would fit in our family budget as opposed to our wedding one.

Coco’s turquoise sparkly dress was an after Easter find at Belk for under $20. The shoes were a measure of grace from Target, because she has hard-to-fit feet.

Roo’s yellow dress was found, surprisingly enough, at Costco for under $30. Her shoes were a Target find.

Little Mae’s flower girl dress was discovered after Easter at Kohl’s. It was a bargain at $25. Such mercy. I had tried a dress for her from Costco, but after seeing the bride’s gown, I realized it was too bright of a white. It became Mae’s Easter dress. Her sparkly shoes were on sale at Target. 

I think we clothed our three little maids for under $120. Not bad for wedding attire.

Which leaves the Mother of the Bride. I’m sure you are just on the edge of your seat wondering where I found such a perfect dress.

Of course there is a story.

I’m recognizing this tendency in myself to put big things off in denial fashion. This happened with dress shopping for my MOB dress.

I didn’t even begin looking for one until late spring when I poked around some online stores, narrowing options and studying styles. I don’t exactly live in a fashionable city. At least that’s what I told myself. It hasn’t really stopped me from clothes shopping before.

Originally I wanted a purple gown, but my slowness and hesitancy caused me to miss the boat when the groom’s mom chose her own lovely purple dress. Time for plan B.

An over the mountain shopping day was planned with my big girls, and it was to be the day that I found the dress. This was late April, and I became so, so sick, that we had to cancel. Things were not looking good. The mother of the bride is expected to have a dress.

One day an email came from my sister across the country who had come out to visit for the shower but was unable to attend the wedding. In it were links to three different dresses.

The first link has 3 different shades of purple!
wish we could shop for a weekend!!!
i miss you and sorry to miss this precious time with you.
hugs, D

The dress in the first link was perfect. Instead of purple, I chose it in reef, and a few days later a dress arrived in the mail.

The denial thing was still going on, as it hung on the back of my bedroom door, still encased in a plastic bag, not tried on for several days. Finally, I worked up the nerve to unwrap it and pull it over my head, and it fit perfectly! The only thing needed were high heeled shoes, it was that long.

I never wear heels; my sister has amazing style with them, so I channeled her during a special shoe shopping trip with my daughter. We picked a pair of sparkly sandals.

After the purchase, Katie asked if I was okay. You just got really quiet.

I think it was the finality of it all. I had my dress, shoes, and a passable necklace (I ended up purchasing a different one the day before the wedding). It was really time for this wedding to happen.

It was even more special to me that my sister had been part of the dress and shoe selection process from afar. And for inquiring minds, the MOB was outfitted for under $250. I think she was worth it.

Jump Rope, Anyone?

Anybody need some new jump rope rhymes? Here are some composed by the clever students in my class.


Chipmunk, Chipmunk in a tree
How many acorns do you see?
One, two, three…

Jaguar, Jaguar in the zoo
How many meals do they feed you?
One, two, three…

One, two…blue chippoo
Three, four…The-o-dore
Five, six…chocolate sticks
Seven, eight…tummyache
Nine, ten…do it again.

Cheddar cheese, cheddar cheese in a dish
How many chipmunks will eat the dish?
One, two, three…

(Child’s name, child’s name) took a sprocket
And with it he built a rocket
How long did the countdown take?
One, two, three…

Did you have a favorite jump rope rhyme as a child? Do share!

From the Compost Pile ~ Combating the Fallback Lie

You are a fallback friend.

It’s a lie that has been whispered to me by the enemy since I was young.

No one would CHOOSE to be friends with you.

I still struggle with believing this.

You are okay to hang around if there is no one better to spend time with.

What lies have you believed about yourself? This is one of many that I have believed. It has taken a long time to combat with truth. I am NOT a fallback friend, and there actually ARE people who would CHOOSE me.

God was so kind to me this week to send my friend, Aisha, to Massanutten for a getaway with her husband and six-month-old baby (of six!). She messaged asking if we could get together, and in the midst of preparing for this school year, I was able to take some time off for a lunch date at Bowl of Good on Pt. Republic (go there!).

I am so glad that I fought for that time together. It would have been incredibly easy for me to come up with all kinds of reasons why it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t work out, when the truth was I NEEDED that time with a fellow sister in the trenches to process where we are, have been, are going.

Our backstory…

We met over two years ago when we were part of a team of women traveling to China to minister. Nothing bonds you like watermelon and wheatgrass shooters in a foreign country! We both mother many children (14 between us), and she is a holistic, homeschooling, amazing mom. We had many conversations and overcame quite a few obstacles (like the case of the missing money!), and lived to tell about it.

Some people come into your life for a small season and remain to give you a taste of heaven. Aisha is one of several of these women in my life. The kind that call or text and say Can you meet me tomorrow? When they live hours or days away.

During this time of transition and change, when I am struggling with feeling gotten, God has sent me several reminders that I am loved and people get me and would actually choose to be my friend.

And I am humbled and incredibly grateful.

(And yes, this looks like we are at Panera, because that is where we met up with her husband. For the record.)

The Gift of These Days


I can’t see what you are doing right now. I grow anxious with thoughts of what might be rather than what is…for now. A cacophony of voices fills my head with everything from open mocking and condemnation to subtle doubt and fear. This may be…that may be…what about…

My children…you love them and are at work. But since I can’t see instantly or easily, I fear. I take on everything as fault rather than seeing work and growth and decision making by individuals.

This day, would you give me grace to let go and to experience joy with my family? To release expectation and responsibility and just accept your work in each of our lives? To embrace my husband as the love of my life and constant friend when our child~rearing days end?

Help me to enjoy these days as the gift from you that they are.


Peeking at Joy

Joy came in stepping out of familiar
In fighting the urge to stay back and hide
Absorbed in a multitude of tasks presenting
All good and legitimate
All isolating my heart

Saying yes to connection
To time spent with a friend
To check on our hearts
And sort through the struggles
To remind and speak truth
And remember and share

When I could have been mopping
And folding and cleaning
And all of that is good
But just not for this day

And then as a bonus
A facebook connection
A friend whose young daughter is selling some clothes
The size of my girls
And a doll bed as well
And wouldn’t you know
I’m in the market for both

She sends the address
It’s right on the way
A mile or so up from my friend’s country home
I’m shocked and surprised
At God’s care in this day
As I stop, talk, and shop
Continue on to my friend’s
And wrap it all up
With a trip out of town