Keeping the Peace: the practical things that keep me sane

I don't know about you, but it's not uncommon for me to feel like I'm treading water (... and in the summer, it feels a lot more like I'm just plain drowning).

I want to feel that Shalom- that perfect, complete wholeness and peace. I want to live it out every day.

It's hard to find that place of peace when I can't find a pair of clean socks, or when I don't know when that dentist appointment is, or when I'm unprepared and overwhelmed.

Of course, some of those panic-stricken moments are beyond my control- and that's why I need a firm foundation in the peace of God alone.

But really, a lot of those stressful, drowning times? They're because of me. It's my own darn fault.

If the laundry is piling up, it's because I haven't done it. If the dentist appointment gets missed, it's because I didn't write it down. Many of the peace-stealers in my life are the direct result of my own laziness or lack of preparation.

Really, now- don't we have enough going on without making it harder on ourselves?

I'm gonna say yes.

Now, some of you are reading this with amusement. You've got this down- your home is reasonably clean without making you an angry-crazy person. You have a plan for feeding your family. Missing an appointment? Never. Queens of juggling ninety-million things, these posts are not for you. You could teach me a thing or a hundred (and many of you have).

These posts are really for me- for the me of two years ago who had no idea how to keep the peace in my own home in practical ways.

And I'm still learning. I'm still struggling with the basics. And the way I do things may not be the way that works for you- and that's okay. I've learned everything I know from other people, and figured out the methods that work for me in this season of life.

In the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some of the things that keep the peace in my life- the stuff that's super-practical and probably pretty obvious- but keeps me sane, peaceful, and on track.


Blessings this Week: 01.31.2015

After a great time in Colorado, we had a safe trip home despite some slippery roads.


Fun new projects- and learning new things (check out the little circles to the right!--->
I learned how to do that this week!)



Phone calls with KK



The coffee maker was inaccessible at work this week (the maintenance guys are working on a project in the dining hall), and my darling hubby surprised me with some "liquid life" from home.


Encouraging friends


Being "greeted" in the morning by two huge turkeys right outside my front door (and I didn't even have my camera with me! I was so bummed!)


Happy Friday, friends! Have a great weekend! 


Splashing Out

(Okay, so it's a lake, not a puddle. But you get the idea.)

Being saved, finding our identity in Christ- it changes everything about us. Including how we deal with conflict.

Conflict is rather inevitable, after all.

We are humans, and humans deal with conflict. All of us.

And as Christians, we're called to deal with conflict in a way that's different from the rest of the world. The trouble is, before we can deal with it, we need to know where it's coming from. If the issue is with another person, a misunderstanding, or... worst of all... if the issue is really my own darn self. 

Read the rest at Blogs By Christian Women--->


Blessings this Week: 01.23.2015


Another snowy day


A safe and uneventful ride to Colorado


Incredible views

Good breakfasts


Snowmobiling with these guys...

And tubing, too


All in all, quite a week.


Blessings this Week: 1.16.2015

Productive/Lazy Saturdays (and that perfect balance between the two)


Lots of turkey prints right outside my front door


A busy week at work, preparing for the new year and new campers!



My Tucker Turtle, who keeps me so entertained


My grandfather- a veteran, father of 7, grandfather to... lots (18? 19?) and great-grandfather to... okay so I've lost count- but he's an inspiration to all of us. And is an awesome karaoke singer.

Just look at this dashing fella! (My wedding)

You'd think that after 91 years full of love and service, he'd be ready to take a well-deserved break. But not my Grandpa. He's still spreading the good. 


The chance to be an honorary "farm kid"- and coming to Trevor's folks' house to find this guy enjoying the sunshine (and not in the corral where he was supposed to be)


Have a great weekend!


Knowing an Unknowable God

Sometimes, I look at the man sleeping in bed next to me and think, I don't really know him at all. 

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that in a negative way. Our relationship is really good (and I say that with lots of humility and the knowledge that without God and tons of grace, it would be impossible). My marriage is a very close one. We spend a lot of time together, and we love it. 

It's just that knowing someone completely is kind of impossible. Trevor surprises me every day- either with some beautifully creative aspect to his soul, an incredibly insightful comment, or simply with the depths of his compassion for other people. (Yes, I know... I'm so blessed by him!) 

After over two years of marriage, I feel like I've barely scratched the surface. I claim this deep relationship with him, but the truth is, he's complex. I know him so little. I'm still surprised, I'm still learning. 

And as wonderful as he is, Trevor's just a human. 

I also try to lay claim to another relationship, one even closer than my marriage. 

But here's the problem. 

I can't know Him completely, either.

"Just as you do not know the path of the wind or how bones are formed in the womb, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things." - Ecclesiastes 11:5

"No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." - Matthew 11:27

"Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
              How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
              “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?”
              “Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
   For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen." - Romans 11:33-36

Even more than in my marriage, the complexities of God far outweigh what my very human mind can handle. I can't know Him completely. I'm too limited.

I'd like to know Him completely. I'd like to think that there's a formula for getting God to "work." That prayer + Bible reading = getting whatever I want. Or that Bible + service - complaining + remembering to send birthday cards = me being a good person.

And the problem's compounded by the fact that all of God's interactions with humanity include... humanity. And boy, we're messed up. We account things incorrectly, we miss the point, we look for the fire and the wind instead of the still small voice. Different faith traditions tell us different things, point to formulas that we've come up with  on our own so that we can handle the power and majesty that is God. (And then we fight about those traditions, which is an entirely different article). 

So, what am I supposed to do about it? 

I think throughout my spiritual walk, I've tried a lot of different things- putting God in a box, being overly mystical, trying to find absolute truth in what other people have written in spiritual self-help books...  but ultimately, I've found that, in getting to know God, I tend to follow the same sort of pattern as I do with getting to know my husband (with some very important exceptions, but you get it. Metaphor)

I follow Him around, try to take His words to heart. I see parts of His actions in my life and the lives of others. 
I read what He's said about Himself and try to learn His character. 
I plead when He seems quiet; "Tell me what You're thinking! Tell me how You're feeling! How can I make You happy?? Tell me what You want me to DO!" (Lucky Trevor, right?) 
And I try to find it in myself to be flexible, correctable. To continually change and grow to know my Unchanging God just a little deeper, just a little more. 

I think it was Ann Voskamp who wrote something about this process being like a spiral- around and around and re-learning and rediscovering and remembering and slowly, continually, getting to know Him in a deeper way.

That's what we're about, I think. Constantly learning, seeking a deeper relationship- even while acknowledging that our human minds are so limited and that we won't know Him in fullness until we get to be with Him. We strive to know an Unknowable God. 


Blessings this Week: 01.09.2015

First list of 2015!


New starts and clean sinks


A very creative husband- and this Christmas gift that he made for his folks!


All the little shoes and snow boots in the entryway at the farm, and the little ones to whom they belong


 A table full of family


Meeting this new little gift (our newest nephew!)


Lots of snowfall this week- reminding us of how Christ has made white as snow


{I warned you: lots of snow} Cleared off walkways...

... and those who did the clearing.


We've also had bitterly cold days this week (hello, everyone in the Midwest!), and I know that a warm home with a great fireplace and warm workplace and warm clothes are blessings that many don't have.


Happy Friday, everyone- may your weekend be filled with blessings!


Not Consumed

We've been consuming a lot of firewood here the past few weeks. There's just something about a cozy fireplace in the wintertime... and the extra heat in our living room is pretty nice, too.

I've also spent some time just watching the fire lick up the sides of the logs, slowly eating away at the pile of oak and turning solid wood into ash.

God's interactions with humanity are often represented in the form of fire. In Exodus, Moses was called by a burning bush, and the Israelite nation was guided by night by a pillar of fire.

Sacrifices were burned up in offering to God; humanity's way of atoning for sin to God of justice- and fire was often the sign that the sacrifice was accepted (like in Judges 6 and 1 Chronicles 21). The temple that Solomon built was consecrated by fire coming down from heaven.

God Himself is called a "consuming fire." His holiness is often portrayed as fire. There's lots of fire symbolism when it comes to God.

As I watched the logs in our little fireplace being consumed, I couldn't help but think of a favorite verse of mine:

Typically, I've focused on the part about God's love and His mercies.

But what about the consuming part?

Lamentations tells us that in His love, we are not consumed.

Unlike the chunks of oak in my fireplace, we're not burned up by God, by His holiness. We have the amazing honor of being able to draw near to Him; the One who is the ultimate power and purity and majesty, holiness itself; and not be consumed, not be destroyed.

God's fire has a different purpose in our lives.

To purify us.

That doesn't mean that being in the fire will be easy or painless. The path to finding true relationship, dependence, and maturity in faith is often paved in disappointment and hurt.

But coming near to God, inviting His holy fire into your life to purify and cleanse and refine, will never destroy us- in His love, we'll be made better in the end.

Want to read more about the symbolism of fire in the Bible? Try this article here. 

This article was featured on Blogs for Christian Women


5 Resources for 2015

Unrelated picture of deer running through my front yard.

Ah, the New Year. Now that the confetti has cleared, smooches have been swapped, and resolutions have been made (and maybe forgotten already...), the real work of starting new begins.

If one of your New Year's resolutions includes reading the Bible more regularly or improving your quiet time or doing devotions, you're in luck. Because I've got five things that have really helped me, and I'm here to share 'em with you!


Five Resources for 2015

Good Morning Girls: These Bible reading plans have been really great for me. My small group worked through the book of Ephesians last Spring, and we're going through James right now. Writing the verse down by hand really helps me to get it to stick in my brain.

Adorations: I really love Sara Hagerty's honesty and authenticity. I've been following her blog for a while now, and that's how I stumbled across her practice of Adoration.

Dan's Daily Dig: Okay, so I'm a little biased on this one because Dan is part of my Camp family... but his "daily digs" into the Bible are a great way to to spend time in the Bible, one chapter a day, and his reflections on the chapters are really great, too. And I'm not just saying that because I know the guy. =)

Proverbs 31 Devotions: I really like the devotions that are put out by this site- they're practical, quick, and inspiring. I try to read these devotions daily at the end of my lunch break. It's a good way to refocus.

Blogs by Christian Women: I stumbled across this blog by accident- a favorite blogger of mine just happened to be a featured writer on the site. Since then, I've checked out this website once a week or so. I like it not only because of the articles featured, but also because if you find a post you like a lot, you can follow the writer- because all the contributors have blogs- and then you can see all the other great posts she's written!

What are some of your favorite Bible reading resources?