6.23.2017

Blessings this Week: 06.23.2017

First and foremost, this week I've been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and well wishes about our exciting news-- thank you all so much for your prayers and excitement!

...   ...   ...



Distant rain brought us a double rainbow

6.20.2017

For this Child...



"For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him." - 1 Samuel 1:27

We are overwhelmed with God's love, and excited to announce that our little miracle will be arriving in November!

I know that there have been many of you who have prayed for us throughout our infertility journey. Thank you for your prayers, and we are so incredibly filled with joy as we now ask you to lift up prayers of thanksgiving for this amazing blessing!



DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging habit, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. You may see a full disclosure by clicking on my "About" page. I will only promote products that I use, enjoy, or take a shine to. All opinions and reviews are my own and are not influenced by any compensation I may receive.

6.16.2017

Blessings this Week: 06.16.2017

The past few busy months have been chock full of many things, but the one thing distinctly missing has been this practice of counting the blessings. There have been so many, but they flit in and out of my consciousness like the barn swallow that are swooping past my window as I write this. Barely recognized before my mind is on to something else... and I miss the opportunity to reach out and take hold of them, to claim the blessings as mind, to give thanks for them.

I have to be intentional about finding and naming the blessings, or I miss them.

...   ...   ...



Lazy Sunday afternoons, and a silly dog who makes us laugh (especially when he walked right off the side of the dock and plunged into the water.... he was so surprised!) 

5.10.2017

Shedding Season: A SleekEZ Dog Brush Review

The weather is warming up, the sun is shining, and this guy is shedding all over the place. 


(Good thing he's cute.)

I don't know if it's because Bear had his very first Colorado winter, or that he's getting a bit older, or maybe it's the altitude (I blame everything on the altitude), but it seems like this spring, our pooch is just exuding hair.

This is pretty inopportune, seeing as we'll be heading back to Iowa soon, and the idea of locking ourselves in a vehicle with Mr. Sheds-A-Lot for ten hours isn't really appealing. 

4.03.2017

Come to the Table: Enough



It's noon on a typical Saturday... one of those Saturdays that make me wish this wasn't typical.

Saturdays are demanding. And this Saturday in particular is one in the same. The phone is ringing, the little sleigh bells I put on the doors are jingling merrily as guests arrive, and I still don't have a single guide in the outpost to help contain the crazy, to help direct the crowds.

I feel a bit like sitting on the floor behind my desk so no one can see me.

A customer comes upstairs to alert me to the fact that there's no toilet paper in the bathroom (again), just as the first guide rounds the corner, frustrated because he worked hard and didn't get the tip he thought he'd earned, and I've just about had it.



For someone who struggles with people-pleasing as much as I do, this job has been.... stretching. Between conflicts with customers and disappointed (sometimes whiny) staff members, I feel like I'm not making anyone happy. No one at all.

I just don't have enough. 


I know in my head that this feeling isn't unique to this job or to this season of life... we all feel like this from time to time. Whether you're a teacher, parent, computer engineer... I think we all say it on those hard days. 

I don't have enough. 


I yell in my mind at all these people.

What do you want from me? I can't do everything!

And those words, repeated like a mantra, become my war chant. No more mercy, no more grace- I've given all I have to give.

3.27.2017

Come to the Table: Water for the Thirsty

lent devotion devotional reading short lenten ash wednesday water thirst bible christian devotion about being thirsty the woman at the well


I'm sitting at the bar that serves as my work desk, taking a moment to absent-mindedly trace the deep scars in the surface of the wood.

I'm replaying an imaginary conversation in which I respond to a customer's angry ranting online review. It's the same conversation I've been having in my mind and occasionally in my dreams for the past week.

My Trevor says I need to let it go.

I can't.

I just can't seem to release this feeling of indignation, of offense, that the best I could do was still not enough for this customer. Instead, the restless feeling of unresolved conflict winds its way around my thoughts and my heart and my stomach and makes it hard to find the waters of peace. It dries me out- I'm parched and rough, inflexible and brittle. Exposed.

It's a symptom. I know that this fire-in-my-veins restlessness comes from somewhere deeper, somewhere where my identity lies.

And I've spent long enough tracing the dry, old, worn out cattle paths in my mind to know where this trail comes from.

I have an unquenchable thirst for approval. 

Being liked, or needed, or valued by other people drives so many of my decisions, so many of my behaviors. I don't handle it well when they (whoever they are... it really doesn't matter) are unhappy with me.

3.24.2017

Blessings this Week: 03.24.2016

Just in case there was any denying the changing of seasons, this week was full of signs of Spring.


3.20.2017

Come to the Table: Sweetness

devotion devotional reading short God is good sweetness God's love for us marriage reflecting God's love


My fingers feel the almost painful cold as I dig through the chest freezer in the garage. I'm careful to try not to start an avalanche of frozen food, carefully jigsaw-stacked to fit as much as we can- roasts and chicken, mixed fruit and frozen pizza wedged in so tightly I can barely move them aside to get to what I'm looking for.

I'm pulling out ground beef to thaw for supper sometime this week, and that's when I see it.

Caramel Delight Girl Scout Cookie Ice Cream.

I gasp and quickly recover the container. I didn't know it was in here, and being that I'm typically the one putting groceries away, it's surprising.

And all at once, my fingers don't feel quite so cold and I smile because I know my husband loves me.

The ice cream told me so. 

3.17.2017

Blessings this Week: 03.10.17 and 03.17.17

So, I missed putting up my blessings post last week, which ended up being a good thing because this past week was busy and full of rushing around without time to take many pictures... so unless you like long wordy updates, it's better this way.

3.13.2017

Come to the Table: Hunger

lent devotions short working mother Christian post devotion about Lent Matthew 4 devotion


"Welcome back!" I call out to the group of snow-covered, rosy cheeked adventurers as they burst through the doors of the lodge.

They're talking all at once, smiling broadly, replaying the excursion with breathless excitement and laughter.

Another successful tour.

And I realize that this is already the last tour of the day- and somehow nine hours have sped by with me barely noticing, the din of constant, steady phone calls and credit card payments and waiver forms keeping me too busy to sit, too busy to notice the dark creeping into the sky.

My husband comes in, smelling like snow and two-stroke exhaust, as I return the goggles to their boxes, the forms to their drawer.

"Come eat with me," he says, and I remember the lunch I packed nearly ten hours before, sitting neglected under my desk in the corner.

3.06.2017

Come to the Table: The Invitation

devotion devotional Lent reading infertility struggling to conceive invitations friends
Original Image used with permission- thanks to The Accidental Nomad


I'm sitting at a barely big enough kitchen table, the toddler determined to get herself into precarious situations climbing on stools and stretching her chubby little legs to hop from one chair to the other, your boys offering up commentary and asking for second helpings.

It feels a lot like my own childhood, crammed into a little kitchen full of noise and laughter and an occasional reminder to chew with mouths closed. Familiar.

And I realize how much I missed this.

Infertility has stolen so much, touched so many places in my soul that I'm still recognizing just how much its affected me.

It has changed the way I do friendship.

My adult friendships often make me feel unimportant, immature, like I can't relate. I love Bible studies with these women and the opportunities we have to connect over the Word of God, but when it comes to talk of potty training or discipline or pregnancy pains, I have nothing to contribute.

I listen and learn and squirrel away the information for a someday I know may never come. I take in the grace and wisdom of their experiences, but I still feel the pain of the not knowing. Of being "other."

2.20.2017

Dirt

christian devotion parables dirt soil sower seeds


"Wouldn't it be nice," he said, looking over the mountain range stretching across the clear blue sky, "if we could get our acreage out here? Like, same set up and buildings, same house, same size, for the same price? And with the same soil, too."

It wasn't the first time I'd heard it.



We're really enjoying this Colorado adventure of ours- interesting jobs, the chance to meet people from all over, the beautiful views- but I do feel a little homesick for our little Iowa acreage.

I love our acreage. The pond, the long pasture grass, worn red barn wood, my yellow kitchen with the original hardwood floors... it's home.



And while I agree that it would be pretty awesome if we could find the same thing out here in Iowa, I can't help but be amused by my husband's way of thinking.

The soil. He'd want the same soil.

You can take the farm boy away from his dirt, but you can't take the dirt out of the mind of the farm boy, I suppose.

And it's just another one of those things that I'm now surprisingly familiar with... the city-girl inside of me shakes her head that I know exactly what he means. Soil is important.

As I write this, I'm looking out the window of our Colorado home, with snow melted away by the unusually warm weather this week, seeing the scrubby tufts of grass and the low lying shrubs in our yard. Nothing like the lush green of back in Iowa-- and it's because of the soil.

It's rocky here- dry, rocky, sandy-colored instead of the dark black richness of back in Iowa.

It makes a difference. There's a reason Iowa farmland produces so much and farms are few here where we are in Colorado. The soil.


2.17.2017

Blessings this Week: 02.17.2017

It's already time to recap the week!



The week started with a much-needed snowstorm. I answered calls and drank coffee in my nice cozy house and watched the snow fall.

...   ...   ...   ...   ...

2.13.2017

Unexpected



I'm beginning to believe that positive pregnancy tests are actually just a deep rooted myth.

Nobody actually gets those two pink lines, right? It's all just an elaborate fairy tale. Because after almost four years of this, I've certainly never seen it.

Without getting into too many details, this past month was pretty disappointing. All the signs pointed to the strong possibility that I actually ovulated (which doesn't usually happen), there was some personal significance of this particular month, and I was so, so hopeful.

But the month came and went with a garbage can full of stark white pregnancy tests, and once again I'm disappointed.

As I lay on my husband's arm feeling sorry for myself, I noticed that he didn't seem nearly as crestfallen. Two years ago, that would have made me angry... but in the past few years I'm understanding that my husband lacks something that I cling to so tightly-

Expectations. 

2.06.2017

Sheep without a Shepherd: Interrupted

christian devotion office interruptions and faith finding joy


If I had to describe my day today in two words, they would be "Constantly Interrupted."

Yep.

Just as soon as I was starting a project, the phone would ring. And then as soon as that call had ended... the phone would ring. In the middle of a super busy check in? Ring, ring, ring.

All. Day. Long.

And for even for someone with a personality like mine (people-pleasing perfectionist), there was only so much I could handle before I started getting seriously grouchy. Couldn't I get just one thing done today?? Why can't people call at convenient times?!?

And unfortunately, my frustration was becoming evident with the way I answered the phones. Short, direct answers, impatience... and it was my husband who called it to my attention.

"Smile," he said. "They can hear your smile through the phone."

I did not want to smile.

I wanted all these people to just leave me alone.

2.03.2017

Blessings this Week: 02.03.2017

This week, I watched the series finale of the TV show "The Office."

Now, to be fair, I've seen the entire series about three times (thanks to Netflix and a habit of watching an episode or two before bed every night), but I've never seen the finale. Ever. Because I'm strange like that.

I finally got over my weirdness and actually watched it this week. I did cry. I realize I'm still a weirdo.

But one line that I thought was especially profound was when the character Andy said, "I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you actually leave them."

How true.

And here I am, in the middle of all this busy and all the little tiny details of each day and I forget the big picture sometimes. I'm so focused in keeping my nose to the grindstone that I forget to look up and notice.





2.01.2017

Social Media and Boundaries: My 3 Don'ts and 2 Do's of Facebook

facebook limits boundaries dos and don'ts of using facebook for christians positive use of social media


The other night, as I settled into my flannel sheets (I may have a problem) and got ready for some much anticipated snoozin', I noticed that I was feeling... restless. And a little angry.

It wasn't a specific emotion, really... just a vague sense of tension and conflict and annoyance... and I was having trouble pinpointing it.

What was it that was irritating me?

And then I realized-- the comments section.

Yep.

Just moments before, right before I'd put my phone on its charger for the night, I'd quickly swiped into Facebook and found myself embroiled in a political discussion, and the comments my relative had made were so far off base... and while I didn't reply, I just knew she was wrong and boy did it get my ire up.

It seems to me (and maybe I'm just especially sensitive to it right now, I don't know) that tension and conflict and anger are reigning supreme these days. It certainly seems that way on my social media feeds. And it's affecting me.

I think it's time to admit that it's affecting me.

1.30.2017

Sheep without a Shepherd: Scattered Flocks

christian devotion short reading


"Okay, well... give me a call if you need me," he said, lifting his backpack by the strap to sling it over his shoulder.

"I will do that- and expect to put in some hours around Spring Break," I replied.

It was eerie. This was the third of these conversations I'd had in about ten minutes, and it was making me sad. Because while I was somewhat relieved that the insanely busy season had come to an end, it also meant saying goodbye.

I didn't have enough work anymore for ten young men (and one young woman)- didn't have hundreds of guests a day or dozens of tours to fill their time.

And that meant that these people I'd come to care about- these ones smelling of two stroke exhaust and gasoline and snow- were leaving to go back and find work somewhere else. Scattering.

1.27.2017

Blessings this Week: 01.27.2017



Going home while it's still light outside

...   ...   ...   ...   ...

1.24.2017

Introducing... The Notebook

why bullet journaling works notebook planner system planning with a bullet journal


If you've known me for any length of time, you know that I lug around a binder everywhere I go.

Even after getting a smartphone, the binder remained my planner of choice.

I love that thing.

But this Christmas, a mysterious package arrived under the tree... and by "mysterious," I mean "came in an Amazon shipping pouch."

It taunted me until December 25 finally arrived, and I opened the package to reveal....

My Future.

(Too dramatic? Probably too dramatic.)

1.23.2017

Sheep without a Shepherd: Leadership and Riding Behind the Guide



"So, there aren't any tours without a guide?"

It's one of the most common questions I hear since beginning my new job here at a snowmobile touring company, and it's the most interesting, in my opinion.

Our tours are all guided- meaning that when you make a reservation with us, we not only provide the gear and the snowmobile, but we also give you the most valuable thing of all-- a guide.

But so many people don't see it that way.

They want to be able to rip around on the trails on their own, unguided.

I'm not really sure why, in all actuality.

There are so many hazards out there- tree stumps and sharp turns and places where the snowdrifts are too deep to dig out of, should they happen to drive off the trail. A guide not only points out the trouble ahead, but also leads the way so the group doesn't get lost. They're there in case the guests forget the instructions or forget how to run the machine. They point out the cool stuff on the trails so the guests don't miss it. They're right there in case of trouble or a question about the machines.

The guides are the most important part of the tour.

1.20.2017

Blessings this Week: 01.20.2017

The "smartphone photos only" version.

You're welcome for the poor quality photography.


...   ...   ...   ...   ...

After weeks and weeks of all work and only a little play (because, let's be honest... our work is basically play, since we work at a snowmobile touring company... so...), we had Monday off. Off!

It was so wonderful.

1.18.2017

Why We Have to Do Hard Things {Guest Post}





I like things in life to remain at one setting: easy. I like slow mornings with multiple cups of coffee. I like to have a fuzzy blanket and a couch on standby at all times. I like Netflix binges, bubble baths that last for hours, and multiple days off in a row. I am addicted to the idea of "easy".



Don't get me wrong; when there's something that I am passionate about, I work hard and put time into it. But any time that something becomes difficult, my mind is a carousel of grumbling and complaining. I grab on to a sense of entitlement that tells me that life could be easier if I were more like ___, if I had more money, if I didn't have to deal with _____.


1.16.2017

Hope

christian devotion about grief, dry spells in spiritual life, busy


I come to this space, finally- a white space in my day that feels so familiar, and I'm rusty. My words aren't coming like they used to. I'm dry.

As I look at my hands on the keyboard just now, I notice a silver ring on my right thumb. She said it symbolizes "hope," and I can't help but think about a weekend only two short months ago.



My aunt was dying.

Trevor and I flew out to see her, to say goodbye. The cancer moved quickly, and I still didn't really believe that she would actually be gone. How can a part of what makes you who you are just cease to be?

I had no idea what to expect. My experience with death, especially the death of a loved one, is so limited yet. I'd never visited a deathbed, not like this.

And so we went, and I was afraid, and when we got there- to that sacred place- everything was different.

1.13.2017

1.11.2017

What I Read Instead

what i read in 2016 book list book review reviews


I am ridiculously, notoriously bad at reading the books on my reading list.

Like, seriously.

I envy the people who can put together a list of books to read and then actually get through the books on their lists. There are lots of people who do it. I am just not one of them.

Last year, I wrote out a list of books that I'd like to read in 2016, and I read exactly...

none.

None of them.

Nope.

I actually looked through that list again just now and went, "Ooooooh, yeah. I really want to read that!"

But just because I haven't gotten to any of the books I wanted to this year doesn't mean that I haven't been doing any reading. Its just, you know, none of the reading I planned on. Ha.

1.09.2017

Small Things



Today, smiled at him.

I laughed at her joke.

I asked how his night was, and then I really listened.



Over the past four years, we've lived and worked and been surrounded by Bible Camp. It was wonderful. The encouragement and connections and easy conversation about faith... it was like another world. A delightful Christian bubble.

Which is just one more reason why we came here.

Living in Colorado didn't just mean a change of scenery- from cornfields to mountains- or a change of job, or home.

It meant a change in the people we're around.

1.06.2017

Blessings these Weeks: 12.30.16 and 01.06.2017


Deep breaths and mountain air

...   ...   ...   ...   ...

These weeks have been busy, full, breathless. And in the middle of all the chaos, blessings emerge slowly, subtle. And in the busy, I have to fight to find them.

1.03.2017

White Space



I am just finishing up the busiest week of my entire life.

I'm being honest, here.

I thought working at a Bible Camp in the summer was crazy. Before that, I thought planning my wedding was crazy. I thought college, student teaching, and working overnight shifts all at the same time was crazy.

Nothing really prepared me for this kind of crazy.