Tag Archives: breathe


You’re astounding.
You are humble.
You are wise.

Your heart has been trustworthy.
There is kindness in your eyes.

You have studied
to give counsel
and to bless.

Your words have guided many
safely through their painful mess.

You’ve been steadfast
to speak truth and
to be kind.

You’ve often given freely
of your treasure and your time.

You are weary.
You’ve served others.
You have blessed.

You’ve come upon a season
where your own heart feels pressed.

Please be watered.
Please be cared for.
Please take time

To let your loved ones serve you
when your heart does not feel fine.

You are precious.
You have flourished.
You’ve borne fruit.

It’s time to step aside to breathe
and rest upon your route.

~inspired by Proverbs 11 and the wise women who have inspired me~

Opening Up

This isn’t about opening up my heart and pouring out deep feelings. It’s about opening up my space and rearranging.

Sometimes I get stuck in a physical or emotional place where I feel there are no options. No choices. It’s like that in many areas of life right now and feels suffocating. It’s a backed into a corner being poked at with sticks feeling. Not a favorite.

I began to feel that way about my room. My space. My corner. It seemed there was only one way for it to be. I had tried many others in the past and always came back to this.

Pinterest Corner

It’s a good way. I love it this way. It is my own cozy corner.

However, it began to feel closed in and cluttered, and, more often than not, the bench became a catch-all for all manner of clothing and such. I was starting to feel backed in.

The carpet needed a good vacuuming, and when I am in this place of emotional turmoil, I like what I can clean and control. I began pulling furniture aside.

The space opened up. I saw possibility and potential.

Calling Coco to come help with the carpet, we pulled and slid and vacuumed and shoved and rearranged.

In the end there was this.

open space

And this.


I love the new open space. I love what it says to me about possibility and change in a small, simple way on the outside, when inside my head is crammed and cluttered and stuck.

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces. ~ Sara Groves

Status Update

I’m taking some time off of Facebook.

My need to even post this shows how caught up and bound I feel, because in the long run, who really cares?

But you might care if you notice we are no longer friends or if your page that I once liked has gone down a like because I am not there to like it right now.

Please know that I still like you.

All I know is that I am in a difficult season and the constant feed of information and quasi-relational contact and alarmist news and links and requests have caused me to reach my social media tipping point.

I will continue to write here for those who care to read while bidding adieu to my #1 referrer. Facebook has been good to me that way. Numbers. You have been good to me, too, Readers.

It is for you faithful readers that I offer this vignette from my life.

I am in the car with my three not-so-little girls on the way home from the dollar movie. Boxtrolls.

Me ~ Later today I will be dropping you off at Grandma and Grandpa’s for about an hour. I have an appointment.

Roo ~ Like with a therapist?

Me ~ (shocked and surprised but playing it cool) Yes. You are exactly right. With a therapist.

Roo~ Yeah. So you’ll probably talk about stress and stuff?

Me~ (still caught off guard by how this conversation is playing out) You’ve got it! That’s what I will be doing.

So there you have it. When my kids grow up and people ask how their mom did it with eight kids, I don’t have to worry about them sugar-coating anything.

Lots of hard work. Many meltdowns. And therapy.

Feel free to use this contact form should you need to be in touch. Hugs!

In the Drowning

It is a rare afternoon that I am home by 3:30 with no agenda stretching into the evening.

This is one of those afternoons, and yet, it has come with a cost. It cost me much pride, as I admitted to a group of people who were counting on me that I needed space tonight. Space to care for my family. Space to care for my heart. Space to breathe and reflect on where I am in the overwhelmingness of life right now.

I am grateful that this group is safe enough for me to share honestly. They heard me with much grace. It feels shameful and embarrassing to admit my struggle. I am trying to be kind to myself in acknowledging this need.

My heart has been in a difficult place these past few weeks months, and I have kept on. I haven’t spent much time reflecting, figuring out, processing or caring for myself and those closest to me. I have done the next thing and the next and the one after that.

This is all well and good. We need to do the next thing. We need to keep commitments and obligations and feed our family and provide clean clothes for everyone to wear. We need to be able to be counted on.

Somewhere in there, though, I started to drown. Rather than reach out and speak up, I tried to manage. In all honesty, I don’t even know if I recognize well when I am drowning.

There is an article that surfaces in the summer about what it looks like when a child is drowning. I can relate to not being able to call out for help and not being able to move towards help. I know how it feels to focus all available energy on just trying to survive while quietly slipping away.

Emotional drowning and physical drowning feel eerily similar to me.

In this moment I am home from work. Three of the five at home kids are here doing after school stuff together. They are playing and romping and experiencing and resolving conflict. I can hear them through my closed bedroom door.

I sit on my bed in comfy clothes, laptop and blinds open, alternately tapping out words and thoughts and gazing up at the blue sky through the window. I try to be mindful in this space and not feel panic that it will end too soon.

Tonight I will be here for my husband and children. I will receive an evening of grace extended by those who had to make alternate plans because of me.

I can’t take it back and say never mind. Just kidding. I’m really fine.

I let them see.

We will meet together next week to process and discuss and figure out what’s next. I will have to face them in person in all of my broken vulnerability, not just through a group email.

I will choose to take this risk to reach out and be known.

To receive grace.

Sabbathing the Plants

I offered my plants rest today from the work they have been doing trying to grow in pots that are too small. All of the striving and pushing against and reaching for sun was exhausting them, causing drooping, yellowing, and general plant malaise.

Dumping the plant that hangs in my room to transfer it to a larger container, I almost heard an audible sigh as the roots loosened and stems separated from each other, stretching. Some of them asked to be moved to a completely different pot, and I obliged.

This is the plant in its larger hanging basket.

hanging plant

The plant in the bathroom needed some additional soil to cover exposed roots and invited one of the extra cuttings from my bedroom plant to come and reside with it.

bathroom plant

The rubber plant was bound in the pot that it came in last year. After searching around the yard, I found an empty container for its new home.

Much better.

rubber plant

Sabbathing the plants sabbathed my heart, as well, offering rest and refreshment on the heels of a busy, full season that doesn’t seem to want to slow down.

As I worked the song Healing Begins was running through my head. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because my plants needed attention, maybe it’s because my heart needed attention, maybe it’s because I’ve been walking through so much brokenness with so many of my loves, lately.

For whatever reason, I thought I would share, because maybe you need to hear these words, Dear Reader.

We’re here now.

Snow on a Saturday

It’s a change of perspective, this view from my bed, propped by pillows to gaze out the windows at the falling snow.

Snow on a Saturday is a rare, beautiful thing, removing the pressure of errands and running around; encouraging true stillness and rest.

Heart and mind try to rush ahead as I focus on falling flakes of white coating the ground and overgrown honeysuckle.

Be present. Be here. Breathe in the moment.

But even moments of snowy Saturday shalom shatter, as siblings argue over episodes, nerves fray, and plans change.

Quiet reflection and introspection last all of five minutes before knocks on the door interrupt asking for any number of things ranging from help reaching a cereal bowl to permission to open the new vitamins which I mindlessly grant and then become frustrated by the fact that there are two different kinds of vitamins now in use.

So in the rest, there is also disruption. In the stillness, there is noise. In the calm, there is chaos. In the falling snow, there is invitation.

Invitation to change. To engage. To rest. To be.

You are invited to enjoy your day! I am off to be present in mine, even though things USED to be FUN around here before all of these CHORES and having to put things AWAY that we are going to need later ANYWAY.

Because even in the midst of the rest, there is work to be done. Living in the tension, I tell ya!

Wrangled and Raining

It’s Sunday night as I write this. Superbowl Sunday at that.

This day has been long and challenging, and actually this season in our family life has been a long, challenging one. So much so that we made it to church this morning just in time to traipse down the far left side wall during the final before-sermon song and squish together in our usual second row.

To the casual observer this could say something about our devotion to God and to church. To what we prioritize. They can get up during the week for work and school and can’t even give God the time of day. tsk. tsk. They don’t even have babies. They should be able to get those kids out the door and to church on time.

Yes, we probably should. There are a lot of things we probably should be able to do. Feel free to leave the lists in the comments.

In our defense we were in the car waiting on our driver who gets his license tomorrow, so long as the rain holds up and temperatures don’t drop.

And waiting. And waiting. And listening to the disputes about who was sitting where and why and how unfair everything is. And waiting.

Our driver was inside tending to a nosebleed.

So we were even later than the late that I was deep breathing through.

That’s just how the day started, and it didn’t seem to improve much, save for the time I spent unconscious, napping.

We pushed through a family meeting with the four littles, because the bigs can’t be the only ones with the corner on family meeting memories. And not only that, but at the end we had to HOLD HANDS and PRAY! I didn’t mind the praying part, but I was NOT by Mom and Dad. I was between ~ and ~ who (insert gross kid habit here) and did NOT want to touch them . . .

Then it was time for the boys to hit their Super Bowl plans and the girls to remember that we always go to Grandma and Grandpa’s to watch the Super Bowl.

Not this year.

So the girls hung out for awhile before the bedtime wrangling began. Getting everyone to bed at their proper time is a huge deal. I’m sure we should be able to ~fill it in here ~ but we can’t. Not yet.

After all were in bed, but before Dad needed to leave to pick up the twelve-year-old from his event, one who could not sleep and had noticed snow falling outside came downstairs.

I see snow falling! She said in her excited, hopeful voice.

Fully aware that the weather report calls for temperatures in the upper 30’s and low 40’s overnight, I caution her that we can’t know what the morning will hold. I know her desire is for a snow day, and judging by facebook chatter, she is not the only one.

God knows what we need tomorrow, and we will trust Him to give it to us.

This is what I tell my girl, and this is what I needed to tell myself as Sunday ends and Monday dawns and whatever lies before, God knows what I need.

As it stands, all are wrangled into bed, asleep, and it sounds like it is raining from where I sit here in my corner.

Grace, Like Rain

It’s been a rainy couple of days, and a look at my phone’s weather app shows more in the forecast.

I was thankful that on my school docket were merit store and desk changing for Friday’s activities. Both were indoor and disruptive, but low-key.

My partner teacher did a great job of running a sale on stuffed animals, so that those who wanted a mini dog could purchase one in our classroom store.

One student brought a mini NFL helmet set from home, and indoor recess turned into teeny-beanies and mini dogs playing football. Shh. . .it might not be the coolest, but it was super-cute and a safe place to be uncool.

Is that helmet JMU?

No! These are NFL football teams.

Is this one VCU?

Do you know what the NFL is? These are NFL helmets.

I love the conversations that I overhear. Usually.

Last Friday, the students and I traipsed around outdoors at a pumpkin patch under threat of rain. It held off until evening. I was so thankful.

Last Friday’s rain soaked into the parched fields where my daughters play soccer, quenching the ground’s thirst. The Saturday sunshine allowed games to be played. This season’s games are not as early as in the past, but they still disrupt the day.

A rainy start to the week didn’t call off Wednesday’s practice, though mud was flying.

As yesterday’s rain steadily fell, I began to wonder what the weekend would hold. Would there be soccer games? Would I be bringing a snack for my youngest girl’s team?

She had it all planned out, I just hadn’t made a run to the store, yet.

The email cancellation came through to an internal sigh of relief from this mama.

It felt like such grace to be given respite from the routine and space to stretch my soul amidst the Saturday morning crazy.

Yes, today will continue to come at me, and I know there is a lot ahead, but for now I will bask in that disruptive grace.


My Restful Porch

This morning Steve and I sat on the porch drinking coffee and eating Honey Nut Cheerios. There were a few moments of peace before a minivan passed.

Was that (insert name of band parent here)? Is there band today? Is our son awake?

Peace interruptus ensued as Steve ran inside and upstairs to wake teenage boy. A friend who drives pulled up, and we waved him along.

We’ll drive him in. He just woke up. Thanks!

Risky move there on our part. That usually means said teenager will come running out of the house, fully ready to leave, fully annoyed with us for taking matters into our own hands and cramping his style.

It worked. This time. Small graces.

We sat together a few minutes longer, waiting for our boy to be ready. A neighbor walked by with her dog.

I’ve been meaning to tell you how nice the porch looks! So relaxing and restful.

In that instant, I tried to view through those eyes, because, honestly, life has been neither relaxing nor restful, lately. Writing is my outlet, and you see how much of that has been happening!

Seasons are changing again.

Returning to the present, I realized that for a few more minutes, my luvvah and I could drink coffee and eat cereal before the rest of the day took over. That moment was both relaxing and restful, and I chose to embrace it.

Embrace. I remember that word!