Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Learning a New Language

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s life-changing One Thousand Gifts, and have become increasingly aware that my language is one of spoiled grumbling, thanklessness for the daily provision, rather than gratitude for the GIFTS that have been so generously bestowed. I am an Israelite, looking at the manna and sighing…again…and not recognizing it for the miracle it is.

So I’m begging for grace to change my grumbling into gratitude, thankful for the opportunity to learn a new language. Voskamp compares learning new habits to driving out old nails using new ones. HARD work, tedious, but SO worth it. A few thoughts of mine about learning a new language:

One has to continually practice the new language. Since I graduated from high school I’ve had at least 2 semesters of Spanish, Russian, and biblical Greek. And I can’t remember anything beyond the rudimentary basics of each, because I don’t ever use any of these languages, except maybe “Gracias” at a Tex-Mex restaurant. I have committed myself to learning Psalm 34, and am shocked at how difficult it is to remember I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. I’ve started muttering it over and over and over…and I’ve put printed copies in the bathroom, in the laundry room, and in our house on wheels (the car). I am determined to possess a mouth, a heart, of gratitude. I’ve also started looking for the blessings in the everyday – what Voskamp calls “One Thousand Gifts.” Last week that included my 6-year-old’s utter delight at hundreds of noisy starlings making a pit stop in our neighborhood, and a diapered baby plunging himself with abandon into the bathtub with his sister. I have to MAKE myself LOOK for the miracle in the everyday, and not just let the everyday wear me out.

It’s easiest to learn a new language when one is immersed in the culture, in the environment of the new language (ie, move to Paris, and you’ll learn French more easily than if you stay in Texas). I need to be surrounded by examples of those who live with grateful hearts. I need to seek out those who already have this practice instilled, in scripture, in life, in music, in books. And I need to imitate them, learn their secrets. I need to make a habit of sharing my new language with others – I must speak it aloud, in public, not just to myself in the laundry room.

One has to recognize the old language when it surfaces. It’s far too easy to slip back into old habits, old familiar patterns. I have to recognize warning signs that my grumbling-talk is surfacing: my complete and utter inability to say I Was Wrong, Please Forgive Me when I’ve done something that shouts loudly for it, and the inability to voice my thankfulness to Very Important Very Close People in my life, like my husband, for the GOOD GIFTS they give me. I’ve heard stories about people who’ve adopted a new language dreaming in the language that they grew up with. Typically they knew that they’d made their adopted language their own when they dreamed in it. I’m praying that I can get to the point where I dream not in grumbling, fear, or worry, but in gratitude.

Father, Luke 6:45 shows that our words echo the cry of our heart. I’m praying that my new language will reflect a heart that daily overflows with gratitude for the gifts You’ve so generously given. Thank you.

I finished this a few days ago – yesterday Voskamp had a beautiful post on her blog about the necessity of not just gratitude, but eucharisto, gratitude for even “that which is hard.” You really should go read that now…

Monday, January 30, 2012

thoughts for a sicky Monday

We've all been sick. I kept the girls home today, so we're all coughing and drinking tea. BUT I'm working on thinking things that are true... This poem has been stuck in my head for a few days, so here it is for me to look at too.

God's Grandeur

By Gerard Manley Hopkins
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Thinking about advent over at 5 minutes of kindness.

It's JOY Sunday! The pink candle!! (kinda my favorite). Blessings!

Monday, October 24, 2011


today I love these fabrics. with these patterns.

and this thought:

Psalm 127:2 (ESV)
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

or, from the Message:
It's useless to rise early and go to bed late,
and work your worried fingers to the bone.
Don't you know he enjoys
giving rest to those he loves?

BIG exhale.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


So a factor in the "lies that culture tells girls" involves (obviously) the way girls dress.

A few years ago, as the girls started to get BIG, Chris and I had to have conversations about what that should look like. His bottom line, "We need to dress them now the way we want them to dress when they're teenagers." In other words, no short skirts just because they're little. Nothing revealing, or risque (yeah, I'm appalled that they have risque, revealing clothes for little bitties, but it's just true).

So in the search and movement toward beautiful, modest clothing for our little girls that doesn't look too....uhrm...homeschoolerish (for lack of a better term, but I bet you know what I'm talking about), I'm starting to learn to do more on the ol' sewing machine than quilt. Three things help that tremendously: 1) I love fabric. WAY too much (see the SisBoom and Anna Maria Horner line on the left to see what I'm talking about. AMAZING stuff. 2) There is something incredibly satisfying about the creative process of sewing. I didn't think that would happen, but I absolutely LOVE it. 3) Sites like this one that have beautiful patterns for the fabulous aforementioned fabric (her blog is on the left, Olabelhe, btw).

Read the book 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter * and the author writes about how when clothes were made at home, they fit, and there wasn't an obsession with "What size am I??" How great would it be to grow up and not care what size you are? And to love dressing in clothes that are beautiful, modest and feminine? Excited to start this journey. By the way, I absolutely don't think you have to make clothes at home to help your girls avoid the lies culture tells about clothing - this is just my creative passion, at least today. ;o)

I'll post pics as I finish projects, and as the pumpkins let me take pics.

* I highly recommend this book to all in this search for how to teach our girls about the lies culture feeds us - it's a little wonky at times, but I think the principles the author, Vicki Courtney, presents are vital.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

that girl

Today I’m that girl. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t want to be. But…I am.

Because I invited everyone to my house on Sunday to celebrate my (how is it even possible?) 8 year old Katie, and 3 of them left with the stomach bug that mowed my family down earlier last week. But we were better. And the house had been disinfected. TWICE (at least. That’s not even counting the hundred times I ran Clorox wipes over the light switches, and doorknobs, and appliance handles when we were sick).

So I’m that girl. The one who hands off the horrible stomach bug to the people she loves, because she can’t bear the thought of postponing a party and breaking her 8-year-old’s heart. *sigh* And even when she calls the nurse to see WHAT THE HECK KINDA BUG IS GOING AROUND ANYWAY, DO I NEED TO CALL THE MEN IN THE WHITE SUITS LIKE IN ET?? gets told, “Nah, they couldn’t have gotten it from your house.” Tell that to Nana and Julie and Jenny. (And Mom & Dad, and Jonathan & Judah & Sharifa, and Aaron, cause it’s coming for them, too). Boo.

But maybe…I’m hoping…that the next time I’m not that girl, and someone else is…that I’ll remember today. And I’ll have a heart full of compassion instead of judgment. Because it stinks to be that girl (even when the only voice calling you that girl is your own).

Tons of well-wishes to and prayers for my dear loved ones for a speedy recovery.

Monday, August 29, 2011


So I’ve been quiet lately. Couple of reasons for that. The first is that school started 2 weeks ago. We had to soak up every minute of fun we could, and get geared up for school, and there’s just no time for writing when that’s happening. The second is that I have some things swirling around in my brain that are just so…BIG…and…confounding…that I just don’t quite know how to give them words on paper. Spoken words, I can do that just fine, because other people help me process… But written down. Well, humph.

So I’m just gonna start writing.

There’s a war on. One that I hardly ever think about. It’s the one that the Bible talks about when it talks about the enemy of our souls as a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” And for sure, he’s seeking to devour me, and you… But it hit me hard this summer that he’s seeking to devour my kids, too…

So I’m specifically thinking about my girls here.

Because there are lies that are so interwoven into the fabric of our culture, that I’m not even sure he has to seek anymore to devour the girls who grow up in it. I think the lies just completely eat them alive.

Lies like,

You’re only as good as you look

Your #1 goal is to be sexy

Fat is gross

Different is bad

You’re only worth something if you have a boyfriend

You’ve gotta have the latest & greatest or you suck

And so on (I bet you could add a few to this list, huh?)….

And I’m overwhelmed at the thought that as parents who want to raise girls who absolutely LOVE the Lord, heart, mind, soul, strength, we have to prepare them to FIGHT the current of culture that is coming at them like water from a fire hose. And we have to prepare them to not just walk against it, but to STAND TALL as they walk. To wear the badge of Christ proudly.

So, Chris and I are making some changes around here. I’ll write more about that later. I can tell you the TV is getting moved to our bedroom. The lies that thing tells makes me want to weep. But that’s for another day…

Father, all I can do is beg for wisdom. I don’t want to see the pumpkins chewed up and spit out like so many precious kids are in our culture…I don’t want them to know the pain my heart felt so often, feels still, because I chose, and still choose, to believe the lies that this culture, this world, tells me, instead of believing the absolute truth of Your Word. Mercy, Father, mercy…