Category Archives: Faith

Attitude of Gratitude

ememby_bethankful
There are many phrases I’d like to cross stitch on a pillow… most are not child-friendly because it’s funny when you see something unexpected spelled out in prim and proper embroidery string Xs. But instead of being crass and embarrassing my mother, I graphic-designed a little cross stitch reminder that we can all use (well, maybe I should just speak for myself, but I have a sneaking suspicion that being more thankful is a universal goal to strive for).

Yes, it’s that time of year, with Thanksgiving looming for us in the States, that we turn to being thankful. Posting thankfulness updates on Facebook. Making thankfulness crafts/trees to do with our kids. Planning huge family gatherings focused on stuffing ourselves with turkey and taking turns sharing the things we are most thankful for with each other. And I love it, I love that autumn brings with it a new focus on gratitude, or perhaps a renewed focus. But I hope to let my own gratitude show year-round. Yes, I will make my lists for November and I will decorate trees with leaves of thanks with my family but after the fourth Thursday in November, I will continue to give things for my many blessings (and even the hardships). Don’t let gratitude be a seasonal phase, let it saturate your spirit and carry you through the whole year.

I think that finding the silver lining and appreciating the little things alongside the big things in life are part of the key to happiness. Gratitude doesn’t ensure that all will go your way or that you won’t have bad days (or weeks or even months) but it does give you some measure of defense against the bad in the world. It takes guts to have gratitude in the face things that could bring you down. Count your blessings. Name them every day. Appreciate what you have. Be thankful.

Be still…

The school year is quickly coming to a close – though not nearly quickly enough for my liking (see: I. Am. So. Done.). For the first time I’m weary of all the school stuff and thankfully it appears that so is Liam’s teacher – no more homework packets for the rest of the year! After he finished his last page of homework on Monday, I told Liam that he doesn’t have to do homework again until THIRD grade! We both cheered!

Summer brings less crazy and usually more fun since we have more time for play dates and no pressure to get anything done. It’s a different kind of busy. Work still needs to get done at the office. Projects need completing at home. And social activities abound. It’s busy but it’s also calming, I feel a time of reflection coming upon me. Thinking of everything that has happened in the past year – selling our first home, moving to our “new” home, continuing the slog of tag-team single parenting, friends moving away, discovering I’m not immune to depression and anxiety and confirming suspicions that Liam was not going to outgrow his lack of focus – it’s been a lot to take in, to manage and accept. But I have peace in knowing that God has it under control – that He reveals himself in the good and the bad – that His timing is perfect, while not always my own.

I’m eager to see what lessons He has awaiting me and to quiet my mind and be still.

ememby_bestill

Tuesday Grace Letters: You Are Beautiful

Mundane Faithfulness

The assignment: Next weeks grace letter is a free week. Share your heart. Write a love letter of grace of your choosing.

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image or the link to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.


“God doesn’t make mistakes.”

We say it. We hear it. We know it. But do we believe it deep down in our hearts? Do we believe it applies to us? Or that it applies ALL of the time? Do we give ourselves that much grace?

We falter. We are human after all, so far short of God’s perfection. And yet… yet, made in His image. His children. Beloved and wonderfully made. We are are precious and loved. We ARE beautiful. We are short, tall, skinny and fat. We have bad haircuts, shiny foreheads, adult acne, unflattering fashion choices, unwanted moles, gray hairs, hangnails, stubborn hearts, bad attitudes and mean spirits. We ARE beautiful.  No matter what our perceived imperfections or shortfalls, God doesn’t make mistakes, we are His workmanship. We need to feel that and believe it. We are His.

Let yourself feel it. Believe it. Know it. You are beautiful.

ememby_youarebeautiful
Click on the image above for a downloadable (and printable) PDF.

You are loved.

For many reasons I find it easy to forget that Easter is about love. The love that God had for us – how deep, wide and vast it was – and how that love prompted Him to sacrifice His one and only son for us. There is so much more that can be said, has been said, but I will leave it at that. Remember you are loved. We know this because of Easter.
ememby_youareloved


Click on the above to download a printable PDF (8″x10″).

Tuesday Grace Letters: Dear future self

I wrote this letter in response to the assignment from Kara at Mundane Faithfulness… click the image at the bottom of the post to read more letters from other bloggers and to learn more about Kara and her heartbreakingly amazing story.

The assignment: I want to you write a letter of grace to yourself 10 years from today. Include pictures of your life now, but hopes and dreams and fears you have for yourself, your loves, your life in ten years.


Dear 2024,
Ten years into the future doesn’t seem like a long time until I consider the ten years that have just passed – 2004 seems like a lifetime ago. So I think it is safe to say that another ten years will seem like another lifetime. Wow.
IMG_20140224_161740I will be fast-approaching 50 – likely more than halfway through life (Lord willing). I don’t know the heartaches that will have been felt and lived through, though I can imagine what they might be, I pray they don’t seem like too much to handle and that you remember to turn to God for strength – He will always carry you, especially when taking another step just doesn’t seem doable. He will also give you the best blessings and gifts you will ever know, be thankful for each and every thing. I pray you grow closer to Him, putting him ever first. I pray you love your family above all other people and serve them well. I pray that you are content with life – in spite of any challenges and that any area that feels like it is lacking is simply a blip on the screen, or an opportunity for growth and learning. May you be blessed with friendships to sustain you and love to surround you and a confidence in yourself and your abilities that allows you to let go of anxiety.
wpid-IMG_20131129_142600.jpg
My dear husband… you’ll be hitting 50 just before me. And we’ll be approaching almost 20 years of marriage – in fact,  I will have known you a greater part of my life than the part that came before I knew you. I often forget that you don’t know all the details of the time before you were around – not that I’ve kept anything from you, just simply that you weren’t already a part of it, you are so much a part of my life now, you fit perfectly and know me so well. I pray the years of working opposite shifts and single-parenting our kids are long behind us, that we will look to this current stage of our lives and know we are stronger for it, having made it through to the other side of this seemingly endless stretch that is having two younger BOYS and parenting in mostly single-shifts. I pray for good health and no knee replacements (darn rugby). I pray that you become the man that God wants you to be and grow in your faith and step into leading our family spiritually – setting the very best example of what a godly man can and should be for our two young men. I pray you feel loved most by God, then me and then our boys – that you know you are cherished, even when we humans fail at showing you that.
IMG_20130919_183317Liam – you will be turning 18 this year – practical adulthood by legal standards. You’ll be completing high school and heading out onto college (I sure hope) – leaving our home to launch into the real world (or as real as college gets). I am so excited to see the person you’re going to become – I get glimpses from time to time with the things you tell me and how you treat your friends. You have the potential to be so kind and generous, I pray that you lean in that direction and turn away from your impulses toward anger and frustration, that you train your heart to respond in love and empathy. You are a sponge for learning – about the world, about music, about God, about anything and everything – I pray you always absorb what the world has to offer you, discerning what is good and worth keeping and discarding the things that will hold you back. I pray you have someone to look to for guidance (whether myself, your dad or someone else), someone who is your voice of reason and sounding board. That you have built friendships that will last a lifetime and that make you a better man. I pray that you learn from your mistakes and never have to repeat them. I hope that you and Jack will be best friends, he’s the brother God gave you and you two will have each other no matter where you go in life. I’m excited for you to be starting a new stage in your life… heading out into the first step in adulthood, hopefully we have prepared you and you look to God first.
wpid-IMG_20130911_144247.jpgJack, Jack, Jack – you will be 15 and no doubt itching to be heading off the college like your brother but you’ll still have a few more years. At five, you’ve long felt that your life is just one long, unfair game of catch-up with your older brother – I hope that at 15, you’ve discovered the precious truth that playing catch-up is not the way to go and that there is a path set out just for you that has nothing to do with following along behind your brother. God put you second in the birth order for a reason, He has plans for you. You are on the cusp of adulthood, still dependent on us for rides to get you from place to place, straining to be just that little bit older. I pray for contentment for you, the same as with me, that you find happiness where you are, not where/who/what you think you ought to be. I pray that God safeguards your heart against frustration when it comes to your hand and gives you friends who make anyone who can’t see past that difference just not matter. I pray that just as you need strength, that you will also be given a gentleness that will allow you to love and let others in… your independence is a good thing but it should not keep you from needing others in your life.

I pray that both of my boys, nearly men, look to God for guidance, comfort and wisdom. That they are beacons of light in the world. That they will love us as parents and friends, and always delight in coming home.
wpid-IMG_20130821_172705.jpgGeorge (I’m not going to pretend he’ll be reading this but he is a part of our family)… our first “practice” child, born the day before we got married. Just the other day Jack started crying because Liam was talking about the dog we theoretically will get when George dies and my sweet youngest didn’t “want Georgie to die.” Me neither. But that heartache will come, through hopefully not for many more years. Our lives are better for having loved and cared for our neurotic little pet.

No matter what has happened, I pray we have no regrets, no worries that cannot be handled and lives warmed by friendships, laughter and faith.

We are never promised easy, but we are promised heaven and all the rest is part of the journey.
wpid-IMG_20130713_225343.jpgIMG_20140202_064647IMG_20131224_175358 IMG_20131226_082031


Mundane Faithfulness