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Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 days: The Start

I'm joining in with a mass of women who are committing to blog for 31 days on a certain topic that they choose.  The Nester is hosting, and I'm a little more than giddy to join with this community.

For 31 days, I will be blogging on submission.
Lately, I haven't been able to get past chapters of the Word for weeks at a time.
It's all been more real to me than ever before.  My thought life is being remolded.

I'm working on putting my mind, my will, my thoughts, my all into submission under the leadership of my Jesus.
What is more pleasing to the LORD:your burnt offerings and sacrificesor your obedience to his voice?Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
I'm going to be going through verses that are working on my heart, pushing me into submission, healing me.

This was Day 1.

Tomorrow, I'll be submitting again.  Bring on the change.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Autumnal Bliss

I've missed ushering in the start of fall with you guys.
(Actually, here in the South, I'd say ya'll, but the rhyming was just too much.)

I feel like I'm just coming up for air after a couple of weeks of full on, all encompassing parenting.
I've missed you, I've missed myself, but that teething, sick, newly-independent baby needed every one of my moments.
Yesterday, things started to turn around for my poor little guy, and we sat on the swings...
His head on my chest, my feet pumping.
Watching a Carolina sunset, reveling in the change of seasons, the crisp air tingling into my skin.

I am starting to love the fall more than I ever have.
The old is gone, making way for the new, the blooming, the reborn, every year.
And His grace is sufficient, and I am a new creature, my spirit refreshed.
And I lift my head to surrender to the giving and taking away, the endings and the beginnings.

My arms and my emotions and my eyelids are tired, but my heart is thankful for the reminder of the cycle, the process, the death, and the bringing of newness, of freshness, of life.


With the coming of fall, I've become kind of thrilled to decorate, since we are finally in a house all our own this year.
My sweet friend Chelsie is making some gorgeous wreaths just in time for the new season.
She's selling them HERE, and you should get in on the goods.


Happy, happy fall, lovely friends.
Let it happen... let the endings come, embrace the process.
New life is waiting on the other side.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Days

These are the days of tightening our belts.

Days of older couples across the restaurants seeing our little family and paying secretly for our meals, making me cry.

Days of friends loaning us their extra car at no expense, just because we need one.

Days that God gently holds our anxious hearts, reminding us to live in the moment, to not worry about tomorrow, to be thankful for the right now.

Days of teaching and training a child, days of God-given energy.

Days of my baby being my mirror, exposing me to myself...
Furrowing his brow, pushing forward beyond his capacity, motivated to try beyond his ability... Frustrated when he finds that it hurts sometimes when you rush things, even though you're learning.
He reminds me not to rush.  To try and bloom where I'm planted.  To realize that tomorrow will come, but today, today is where I want to be, and nowhere else.

Even though I'm a little more tired, budgeted, and not-all-together than I would've pictured myself at this stage...

These days are precious, cherished, and there's not a moment I'd change.

I'm discovering that I would not, even if I could, lay more time, more energy, more money, more security at our feet...
God knows just what we need, and I'm pretty sure He's having fun supplying us with our daily needs, surprising us with so many extra blessings, and overflowing us with all things good when we least expect it.

Sloppy kisses, soft cheeks, blue orbs that trust us implicitly, love us just because.
Holding hands on the couch, still glancing over, cuddling in, whispering, "I can't believe you're mine."
Hearts and words and support making up a community that teaches us, blesses us, makes our hearts beat with pure thanks and joy.

Yeah, these days, they're just good.  All kinds of good.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

And It's Not a Pretty Cry...

Yesterday, Emily Freeman's post got me thinking....
When she asked what things were making us weirdly emotional, I got emotional.
That's where I'm at right now.

I'm in a glorious moment of tears and thanks and Jesus presence.  I feel Him everywhere right now.
And I've been breaking down lots.

Things that have been making me choke up (this has been happening TONS, people):

1. One of my favorite friends moving oh so suddenly.
We expected this to come around the new year.  Instead, it's hitting us in 3 weeks.
I'm don't know if a friendship has ever made me question myself, figure out what sharing life looks like, and made me feel full to the brim like this one has.  How can something make me so thankful yet so exhaustingly emotional?
This is life, and though it hurts, I love it too.  God knew what I needed, and this friendship was a gift... There's never a doubt about it.

2. The Five Minute Friday Party (#FMFparty) on Twitter every Thursday evening.
Encouragement?  Check.
Fun?  Check.
Vulnerability? Check.
Virtual cookies and coffee?  Sometimes, but not always.
A bunch of ladies get together on twitter with the hashtag #FMFparty, and we anticipate Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday prompt.  It's a gorgeous smattering of women gathering to connect in the sweetest way.  And sweet, sweet relief it is.

3. Prepping to minister to the young families in our church.
You read where I was super nervous, shaking-in-my-Toms about this?  Still true.
What's also true?  God has confirmed again and again (like He does) in just the last week.
Example: More than one person telling me that they are desperate for community.  People, this should not be an unquenched need in the church.  I've been abundantly blessed to know many young moms and wives... it's often my saving grace.  We all need hands to hold, support, lift us up, and celebrate our little daily victories.

4. Linda Dillow's book: Calm My Anxious Heart.
Confession: I can be really anxious.  I have to fight daily for contentment.  Linda gets it, tells me I'm not alone, but she doesn't let it be ok.  Read what I've learned so far.

5. Washing dishes, nursing my baby, worship music, a hug from my mom, a hug from anyone...
It's true.  I'm a blubbering, blessed mess.  And it's been more than usual.
I can't even pinpoint why, except that I'm overflowing with gratefulness for it all.  The good, the bad, the community, the brokenness, the open wounds, the healed ones...

(Thanks, Emily, for inspiring this!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2000 for 25

I’m Leslie Buhler, a media artist inspired by God’s glorious creation and the beautiful people I share it with. I am 22 years old and I’m pursuing a dream that the Lord ingrained in my life at the age of 14. My first record of this dream reads “Europe has captured my heart”. I wrote this phrase on the opening page of my childhood scrapbook filled with European memories. I didn’t fully comprehend this heart cry yet, but with time it grew in clarity.

Years later, my love for Europe led me to a semester of studying abroad in Italy. While there, my heartbeat grew louder and more defined - Love for the people. Love for the culture. I knew that my life was somehow supposed to be in Europe, but How? When? Why? Through experience, relationships and countless traveling mercies, my heart became attune to the Lord’s lead in Europe’s spiritually treacherous territory.

“Today, more than 800 European people groups found all over the world are considered unreached (less than 2 percent of a people group population is evangelical Christian), and nearly 515 of these people groups are also unengaged (no church-planting methodology consistent with evangelical faith present among the people group)” IMB. As my heart became broken by this fact, God picked up the pieces. He redefined my heartbeat for sharing the gospel and the love of Christ with Europeans. For further reflections on God’s leading check out this previous post.

Currently, I am based in Charleston, SC working and raising support & prayer partners for ministry. In February 2012 I was appointed to serve with
 GemStone Media (the media branch of Greater Europe Mission). At GemStone Media I will be creating effective web, video and print communication tools that have eternal value – reflecting the love of Jesus. By April 2013 I aim to be fully funded, and by August 2013 I hope to make the big move to Germany. 
Taken from Leslie's website. 
A whisper of a dream made real by God's heartbeat.

You can play a part.

To pay for some one-time expenses she will have during her missionary journey, Leslie is selling gorgeous prints from her European travels.  The goal is to get 2000 people to buy prints for $25 - this includes shipping, handling, it all.

Please, please, please, friends.  I don't often share things like this, but I believe so much that you should have a part in this story.

I think I'm going to buy this one (it's so hard to decide)...
To support Leslie's journey by purchasing a print, go to her Etsy shop:

To share on Facebook, click here.

To share on Twitter:

Please, take a moment to at least share the cause.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I See Stars

My husband and baby just took the car to get gas for me this morning.
I'm sitting on the couch on the verge of tears, just soaking in the start of another day.

I feel blessings pressing in on every side.

In Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow, she talks about true, lasting contentment.  My favorite line so far:
Two women looked through the prison bars
One saw mud, the other saw stars.
My eyes flit from one thing to another in my precious house... precious because of the people I share it with, the blessing it meant to us, the family that lives and cries and makes messes in it.

I wait on my boys to get home, excited to see their faces even though it's only been ten minutes.

I feel the presence of Jesus in every hug, ever smile, every tender, frustrating moment we spend together.  I love the vision, the purpose, the goal we share here.  I hope people find love and comfort here.  I have.

I look at my life, and I see stars.

Beautiful, shimmering, glittery, make-the-dark-bright stars.
When you look around, take inventory.  Do you see mud, or do you see stars?
The stars are much more dazzling, I promise. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Graceful

Marriage really changed everything about my self-perception.

My husband is the most encouraging, loving, helpful man I have ever met.  He puts no expectations on me, he helps with laundry, he knows where all of the dishes go...
This isn't his problem.

It's mine, and it got even worse with motherhood.

Every action, every thought, every mistake, I hear the taunts, feel eyes on my back.  Waiting.

And the pressure, oh, the pressure.  I want to be right for my Jesus.  I love love love Him.  I need to be close to Him.

So I worked and I worked and I worked.  Submit to my husband.  Stop that anger.  Hush that worry.

Chiding myself for even making mistakes, even having a moment of not-put-togetherness.

And then I saw it.  The cross, and the shame that I was making of it all.

My efforts, my need to have my own version of perfection, it shames Him, it doesn't allow Him to do what He set out to do.

Instead of letting wife-hood and mommy-hood and friend-hood be accusers, I let them be illuminators.
Illuminators into my imperfections.

Oh, I love the imperfections.  My Jesus can work with those.  He can do something with those. 

He is grace.  I come every morning a mess, and I leave every moment renewed.

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Ungodly Comparison

God has given me the precious gift of being surrounded by a multitude of amazing women.
I have friends that I admire on a daily basis for the way that they exemplify His character, His hands, His mouth, His heart.

This special blessing is not hidden from the Enemy. He knows these things about my life.
He sees the treasures I’ve been given to come in contact with so many examples of godly women.
He also knows the burning desire I have to please God, to be the best me possible, to fully live out my potential…
And oh, how the Enemy can work to twist my best intentions into something ugly.

Somehow, a sense of admiration for another woman’s caring deed or a godly charcteristic can quickly turn to comparison...

To read the rest, come visit me at (in)courage, where I'm guest posting today!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Feeding Time Reflections

My little man screams, waking up from his nap earlier than usual, wanting me.

I inhale, free my hands and march upstairs to fulfill my duty.

We settle in because he's hungry, and only I can do this, and daddy's still at church leading worship because we went to the early service.

I slide my eyelids down and take in this moment.

Honest truth:  The first thought that comes into my brain is not, "Thank you Jesus for the blessings you've given me."
Sometimes, that is my thought.
Right now, it's not.

Right now, a prayer rises from the depths of my heart and I remind my God of His own Word:
The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.
I ask, He gives.  Just that quickly.  I am restored and watered and I am gifted with just enough grace for this moment, for this day.

Being ever aware of my cracked, weary parts means that I can always be quenched, that I can day-to-day, moment-to-moment, tap into the Spirit's restoration versus my own reminder to get myself together.  My perfectionism takes away from the grace of God.  My inabilities, my weaknesses, they allow it.

His grace restores me best when I'm able to admit that I'm dry, that I have need.

He's an ever-flowing spring, and He came to heal the sick.  He's more than aware that I will never get to the place where I don't need more watering, more healing, more restoring.

Liam pauses his eating and looks up at me, smiling, adoring.  God's grace, God's quenching.
I take another deep breath, and I smile back.  Fully restored, in just a moment.