Farmer Boy and Faith: two books that inspired me

I just finished reading two more books off my list: Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Faith by Chuck Smith. That makes 6 books done this year, but it doesn’t make my wish list of books to be read any smaller. Sigh…..  Though I’ve read more books this year so far than in years past, the stack by my chair keeps getting bigger, along with the stack upstairs, and my Amazon wish list…..while knowing that a dear friend from church also has a whole library with many books that are on my list.  If I could spend my days reading books, nature hiking, and gardening, while taking tea and pumpkin treat breaks that would be lovely!  But alas, real life beckons to me (it often sounds like the dryer buzzing or the toddler crying).  🙂

My kiddos and I read Farmer Boy for our book club, and next week we are going to a farm to visit the goats and chickens! We also get to make butter, plant seeds, do a potato relay race, and book discussion. I’m just hoping it doesn’t rain! It’s been so wet here.

Reading this book makes me dream of a life that’s more in touch with our roots and where things come from. In Almanzo’s time, you couldn’t buy a big bag of nuts from Costco.  You had to go rake the forest, load the wagon, carry them to the barn, and then separate the nut meat from the leaves and shell. Now let me be clear, there are many things I’m quite fine with not doing. I’m OK with buying my clothes instead of raising the sheep, sheering the sheep, preparing the wool, dying the wool, making the material, and making the clothes. I’m also quite thankful for all my kitchen appliances and household machines that make bread making, cooking,  laundry, cleaning etc much faster.

But I really respect their work ethic, family teamwork, self-sufficiency, lack of entitlement, and the character traits that were instilled in the children’s lives.  Almanzo and his siblings learned early on, that only through hard work were you able to have something. They learned delayed gratification, planning for the future (gathering resources for winter), care for others, how money represents work/earned income, and the need to spend their resources wisely.  They lived for something more than their immediate happiness. These character qualities are seriously lacking in our culture and more people should take notes from their way of life.   I hope that through reading good books, and living life together, our littles will develop similar habits.

A group of us are reading Faith in preparation for our church Ladies Retreat this summer. We’ve owned this book for several years, but it had just been collecting dust in our collection. There’s nothing like group peer pressure to motivate your reading! I don’t know how to describe it other than that it examines faith from multiple viewpoints and gives many Biblical examples of people who lived by faith. It’s divided into three sections: The Nature of Faith (what it is), The Look of Faith (Biblical examples), and The Walk of Faith (how to live it out).

These are some of my favorite quotes:

“You must never measure any problem by your ability to handle it. You must measure it by God’s ability to handle it, for He is the One in whom you trust. God is able to do whatever He has promised to do.”

“Your concept of God is limited because you are limited.”

“They were living in the land of promise, but when they looked at the power of the enemy rather than at the power of God, fear gripped their hearts.”

“The Lord did not appear again to Abram until he entered the land of Canaan. His disobedience stalled the work of God in his life.”

“Stepping out in faith may seem like foolishness to a host of skeptical observers, but if God is the One who has inspired your step of faith and you obeyed, you too will find grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

“God keeps His Word. Always.”

So much truth! Very easy to read!  I definitely recommend it!  I’m still torn between highlighting in books or taking notes from books. With this one, I took notes and recorded my favorite parts in my notebook.

What have you been reading lately? Send me a message or let me know in the comments! Remember…..one page at a time.

Sojourning with you,

 Felicia

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Book Review and Goals Update

Happy May! With all this wet weather, it’s hard to believe summer is just next month!

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

Update: I finished Cozy Minimalist HomePeter Pan, and Sacred Holidays, and  Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

I’m currently reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Faith by Chuck Smith, The Life Giving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson, and Mother Culture by Karen Andreola.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the story of one family’s experiment to only eat food from their county for one year (with the exception of coffee, olive oil etc).  It definitely makes you think about the source of your food, the benefits of organic and small farm raised meat and produce, the problems with the typical American diet, and how money (rather than nutrition) often casts the final vote in the food industry.

I liked how the authors emphasized community by gathering products raised by different people in their area and visiting the farmers market. I also appreciated how she encouraged the readers to start somewhere. Raising a tomato plant on your balcony is a step towards eating real food and knowing the quality of it. I don’t plan to only eat food from my county (we love bananas too much), but it did add fuel to some of my dreams that are waiting for the right season to bloom.

While the author clearly has a very different world view, and some parts I had to turn down real low so my kids wouldn’t hear, I appreciated the information provided in the book and the authors’ challenge to think about what we eat.

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons.

Update: We’ve been doing more nature walks, and paying attention to the flowers, birds, ants, etc we find around us. We are trying to learn the names of the trees and flowers we see in our area. She has also been thinking about what sounds she hears in words, and is able to write her name, mama, and papa.

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered some books to give me some clues.

Update:

After our walk today, I looked up some of the trees and flowers we saw. The crocuses, hyacinths, tulips and blue bells are in bloom now. Pictured above are the crocuses from down the street. I guess I should change my goal from learning 5 to learning “all of them”. 🙂

Our forsythia has been beautiful this year!  It is the first plant to bloom each year so it’s always a welcome ray of sunshine.

Even in the woods, there are early spring flowers. These are called snow drops, and were pointed out by some mamas in our hiking group. I just love God’s attention to detail, making beautiful flowers even in the woods where they are hardly seen by people.

4. Get rid of 50 things:

Update: We tossed 3 armloads in the trash and have two boxes full to donate.

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update:

At the end of this month, we are doing a book party for Farmer Boy, and I’ve been preparing activities connected to the book. Yesterday, we attempted butter making by shaking heavy whipping cream in a small bottle for 6ish minutes.  It separates into buttermilk (which you pour off) and butter.  The little one was excited and ate most of it on her muffins. It didn’t taste as good as store bought butter, but that was probably lack of salt, not rinsing enough butter milk out of it, temperature, etc.

We also made cauli-mash which is a newish (within the last couple years) recipe.  Think of it as healthy mashed potatoes. 🙂 We used riced cauliflower, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic, onion, smoked paprika or bacon salt, and the most important part….cream cheese. I dump it all together in the food processor and let it do the magic.

Not food related…..but I like using this recipe to make our laundry soap.  It’s very cost effective and it makes a lot at one time.

6. Prepare for secret project:  making progress

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

Update: At least I’m writing each week…mostly. It definitely is life giving to be able to write.

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book: no updates….just wishful thinking.

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

Update: nothing exciting to write here.

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

Update: Do our daily walks count? We find many “treasures” along our route.

This week I listened to a podcast about our information overload, and our lack of response/action to what we hear/read. It was called the “information-action ratio”.   How much information am I taking in from social media, the news, books, podcasts, etc vs what am I doing to act on it?   Often we allow so much input to come in that it overwhelms us to the point of doing nothing, it makes us numb to what we should be caring about, or we get frustrated trying to do everything we just learned/heard. The two main points were: 1. Be mindful of what input you choose and how much you take in. 2. Do something with your new information. Start small. Remember the way to big things is small steps!

Often in thinking about goals we get overwhelmed and never start. Other people’s projects seem so cool and far beyond anything we could do. But everyone starts somewhere. At the beginning of the year, my goal was learning 5 plants because I had to start somewhere with taking baby steps. But then I kept going and easily passed that goal.

Just wanted to encourage you as you think about your goals for this year. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by all that is left to do. Our focus needs to simply be on ‘what’s the next step?’.

How about you? How are you doing with your goals for this year? What’s your next baby step?

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

It’s OK to just show up.

You know how it goes…..

You’re walking into church, a store, a park….and inevitably someone greets you with “Hey, how are you?”.  Now this isn’t really a question, but more of a longer version of ‘hi’, and people don’t always stick around for the reply.  Sometimes it’s easy to avoid answering, as the person was only politely greeting you as they happened to pass you. But sometimes, they lock eyes and actually wait for the response. Then you have a choice….do you give the expected customary response back? “Great! How are you?” You could always switch it up with ‘Doing fine!’ or ‘Never been better!’.  Or do you actually answer the question?

After a series of Sunday mornings where we were not ‘fine’, I started thinking on this. My response many weeks when someone greets me is often not “Great!”….but “We made it!” Usually my response is received with puzzled looks. But at that moment what I’m most excited about is….we made it and on time!

When I heard their greeting, my mind went to the middle of the night feedings, the littles screaming and running around at 7:30 AM, the cat puking on the floor, the dog leaving muddy footprints across the dining room, changing poopy diapers, my son’s cheerios all over the floor, my daughter’s tantrums that we won’t let her wear summer clothes when it’s 28 degrees out, the frustration with finding an outfit to wear that looks fine after birthing 3 children, the baby crying before taking her mid-morning nap at 9:00 AM…then the rush to get everyone buckled in and in route by 9:45.

So when you ask, “Hello, how are you?” I’m going to answer, “We made it!”  And you’d better be as excited as I am. 🙂

Sometimes just showing up IS the victory.

One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 6:13 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Life, at times, feels like an escalator. Where unless you are making a constant effort to progress, you’ll inevitably go down. Unless I’m constantly mindful of the dishes and laundry, they will take over my house.  Unless I keep pulling out weeds, they will take over my garden. Many times, the victory is in maintaining. Because maintaining my place on an escalator (without going down) is work! Standing my ground when life throws everything at me is also a lot of work.

Sometimes just showing up IS the victory.

If greeting time were up to me at church, at the Walmart checkout, as you’re leaving the restaurant with the littles successfully in tow, or when you’ve just tucked the last child into bed, there would be a line of people clapping, high-fiving and rejoicing in your victory!

Next time you’re feeling discouraged, remember that standing your ground is a victory in itself. Just show up, do the next thing, and keep taking steps.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Your chapter is not the end of your book.

As I sit in my chair while literally everyone is my house is napping (even the cats), I start thinking about how exhausted I am. This last couple weeks have been tiring with the baby’s sleep schedule changing and her being more fussy, added to the increased energy level of the other two. I’m tired of being pooped on, the dog barking, kids crying over everything, and just plain sleep deprived. Thankfully everyone slept through the night until 6 AM this morning. (Place tired face emoji here).

It’s so easy to want to give up sometimes. Some days no matter what I do…the baby will cry, the kids won’t like the food unless it’s mac ‘n cheese, and everyone will be grumpy/crying (even the dog).  But I can’t toss out this book, just because this chapter is harder.

There’s more to the story.

I can’t help but think of what the disciples felt like on Saturday. Jesus was dead. Their book (so they thought) was over.  They had nothing else to hold on to, and nothing else to live for. But their book wasn’t over, they just hadn’t turned the page to Sunday yet.

I love reading anything put out by Elsie Ludicello, and a quote from one of her Instagram posts keeps flying through my thoughts. She wrote about creating a life that you don’t “want to run away from”. Life is too short to spend it miserable. Thinking on her post has motivated me to paint the bathroom, do creative activities with the kiddos, and to develop healthy rhythms. But creating that life requires work.  If I don’t like how something in my household is running, then I need to change it. It requires time spent listening, praying, thinking over changes to make, and elbow grease to make course corrections.  God is the author of my story, but the choices I make can either support or hinder the story He wants to write.

Small successes give hope that the story isn’t over yet, and the Author knows what he’s doing even if the chapter is hard. Little things like lunch with the kids while we read Farmer Boy, seeing them spot cardinals and robins, and listening to them sing church and school songs remind me that something is working. Listening to them retell the events from Jesus’ last week before the Crucifixion amazes me (check out our Instagram posts to see what we’ve been up to).

A couple weeks ago, I took my preschooler, toddler, and baby to go visit some friends in a hospice room for 1.5 hours. I packed books, games and snacks, but I honestly wasn’t sure if my little ones would last the visit. They did great and as we left our elderly friends, one of them said “You’ve got some great kids there”. All the time I’ve spent praying over and instructing their hearts became worth it when they could spend over an hour in a hospice room and leave our friends blessed by their company.

There’s more to the story.

Some chapters are rough. They are full of miscommunications, frustrations, missing people, loneliness….and yes……maybe even being pooped on by a baby. But a chapter is not the end of the book. Let’s think on that…..

A chapter is not the end of the book.

I paint bathrooms, reserve library books, and spend sleepless nights because I have dreams that the Author of my story has placed there, and because I trust Him to take the hard chapters and make them into His perfect story.

(our moss garden tomb)

It’s Saturday, and Jesus is still in the tomb. But tomorrow the disciples will turn the page to a new chapter. They’ll realize that hard chapter wasn’t the end of the book.  Jesus…..the author of hope, forgiveness, mercy, and new life will come back to life!  His victory gives proof to His ability to transform lives. and to make broken messes into something beautiful.

How about you? Is there a hard chapter you are going through now? Does it feel like the end of the book? Remember that Sunday is coming and ask the One who made you for help with your chapter.

Sojourning together,

 Felicia

PS. If there’s something you’d like me to pray for, please let me know in the comments. 🙂

Easter Plans and an Easter book review

The other day, my oldest told me she was going to scream out “Easter is here!” when it finally arrives. She said she would announce it to her siblings and then she listed off each pet by name. It’s fun to have kids so I’m not the only one all excited to celebrate the holidays. 🙂  I wish there was more non-bunny Easter decor available.   We go all out with decorating for Christmas…when He was born….but there are not many options available for decorating for Easter…..when He ROSE FROM THE DEAD. (Sorry, I just think that’s a much bigger deal!)

The little ones and I started our Easter readings and activities today.  We started with the Triumphal Entry, and will be reading a section of Scripture and doing an activity most days during the next two weeks. Today we made palm branches and used our Nativity figures and some toy soldiers to act out the Triumphal Entry. We also read The Colt and the King.

The kids loved acting out the story! I’ll be posting on Instagram as we go through the activities. You can follow there if you’d like.:-)

 

(Notice our disciples look strangely like Wise men!)

Our favorite mail around here is when new books arrive, so we were very excited to receive this beauty in the mail!

Easter is Coming! is a delightful board book with soft padding and bright colored pictures. It tells the story from Creation, to the prophets, Jesus’ birth and life, while pointing out that everything in Scripture leads us to the Resurrection. I love how it encompasses the whole story and not just Easter! Here’s my favorite part from the book:

“Because Jesus died, all our sins can be forgiven. And because He rose, we can live with Him in heaven! You see, God always knew, and now you know too…that’s why Easter is coming!”

How amazing that since before our world was created, God already knew He would need to send his Son and have him rise from the dead! In this book, God’s plan for Easter is emphasized on each page.

What are your plans for Easter? What traditions do you have? My daughter and I were eyeing all the pretty baskets, treats, eggs, etc that are filling the stores right now. Their bright colors looked way more cheery than the dreary “hunker down inside” rain that is coming.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

PS. I received Easter is Coming as a complimentary copy from BH Kids/Lifeway Publishing. The opinions are mine, and I would put this on a favorites list for kids. 🙂

PPS. There are affiliate links included in this post which make it easier for you to find the books listed if you so desire. 🙂

Spring and monthly goals

Hello! We are super excited that spring is finally here!  As soon as the sun started shining, we went outside to soak it up!  Today, we were out noticing where the tulips are starting to poke up their green shoots. It’s so fun, having kiddos who love nature too!

Here’s an update on my goals this year:

1. Read 12 books this year (honestly if I can make it to 10, I’ll consider it a win)

Update: I finished Cozy Minimalist HomePeter Pan, and Sacred Holidays.

I’m currently reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Faith by Chuck Smith, The Life Giving Parent by Clay and Sally Clarkson,  Mother Culture by Karen Andreola, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Kingsolver/Kingsolver/Hopp.

Wow, when I list them out….that sounds like a lot!  One is an audiobook that I can listen to while working in the kitchen, and Farmer Boy is our family read aloud.

2. Explore the alphabet with my preschooler: our “preschool” takes different forms through the seasons. Sometimes we do letters, but through the holiday season we’ve read a ton of books.

Update: She has loved doing the preschool books she received for Christmas from her aunts!  I’m amazed at what skills she is picking up!

3. Identify 5 plants/tracks: I think it would be amazing to be able to go on our nature hikes and …..gasp….name what I’m looking at. But, alas! I have no idea. So I ordered some books to give me some clues.

Update:

I was excited to try out my tree identification book at my parents’ place.  While I hadn’t used this book before, it was fairly simple to follow the steps to narrow down these trees. The top one is a Douglas Fir and the bottom one is a White/Blue Spruce.

From what I understood of the animal tracks book, these were rabbit tracks. But I found that section a little confusing. If you have any pointers or recommendations, please pass them this way! I’d like to be one of those smart nature people, but I’m just a mom with a book.  🙂

My husband and the internet had to help me identify this one…Juniperus Virginiana.  This was collected on our last nature hike.  I didn’t have time to figure it out before the group left me, so I had to grab a branch to research when I got home.

Again, if you have any pointers or recommendations….please let me know. I just want to be able to say more than…”And that’s a tree, and that’s another tree, and that’s a tree….”

4. Get rid of 50 things:

Update: I cleaned out 4 cupboards, and the kids’ books.  That’s progress, right?

5. Learn to make more things from scratch.

Update:

These buttermilk biscuits were amazing!!  The cast iron pan added a special toasted crunchiness to the outside layer. They were so flaky and just melted in your mouth! They were utterly moreish!

I found the recipe here.  They were perfect to go with our chicken pot pie.  Mmmmmm!

6. Prepare for secret project

7. Blog/writing (I have ideas…but life seems to take all my time)

Update: At least I’m writing each week…mostly. It definitely is life giving to be able to write.

8. Finish 2nd kids baby book and do the 3rd kid’s book

9. Clean out freezer and use up pantry (you know all those unmarked surprise dishes you find in the back of your freezer? yah….)

Update: There’s empty space in there!

10. Do 10 projects with the little ones.

Update: We made “guitars” with cereal boxes and rubber-bands.  You guys…..this was better than any store bought present!  The kiddos loved them, and they were utterly adorable ‘playing’ their guitars and singing Jesus Loves Me!

What have you been up to?  Share in the comments section.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Taking my little and making it enough

The thing about people is we make messes….a lot of them. Somehow, when we added the third little one to our family, the laundry doubled and the dishes tripled. I don’t know how, but somehow everything is dirty all the time. I hate dishes. They are like weeds in the garden…..no matter how many you pull there are some more waving at you in a matter of hours. I can never just mark it off the list, like I can vacuuming. Couple that with trying to keep the little ones healthy, fed, bathed, entertained, out of trouble, educated, and cuddled….and it feels like a lot.

One early morning, the baby decided that sleeping through the night wasn’t fun anymore, so the two of us headed downstairs to find her milk and hopefully not disturb the sleeping family members (admittedly, I was jealous of them being able to sleep). As I waited for her to eat, I started feeling the weight of raising these little ones and the work in caring for them. I knelt by my chair in the wee morning hours and told God I didn’t have much to offer. Try as I might, I was not super-woman. No matter how much I got done, there was always at least one more chore begging for my attention.

God began to remind me that he is the master of taking little and making it enough. In the gospels, we read of the little boy who willingly gave his lunch to Jesus. Clearly, he didn’t expect it to be sufficient to feed 5,000 people….but Jesus made it enough. (John 6)

In Luke, we read of the widow who gave a couple of coins while everyone else around her was giving bags of money. Jesus said her gift was worth more than the rest because she gave all she had out of her poverty. It was her heart, not her amount. Jesus made it enough. (Luke 21)

The prophet Elijah asked a widow for food during a famine, though she only had a little bit of flour and oil left for making their last meal. God blessed her offering, and neither the flour nor oil ran out during the whole famine. (1 Kings 17) God made it enough.

In my ‘to be read’ pile, is a book by Sarah Mackenzie called “Teaching from Rest”. In her book, she talks about offering our ‘little’ like the small boy offered his little lunch. There’s a lot of things I can’t do, but I can bake bread, I can read to my kids, and I can send encouraging text messages. I can offer up my “little.

God makes it enough.
What ‘little’ do you have to offer? He is sufficient. The house will never be completely clean, there will always be more I could teach the kiddos, and even while I’m marking off projects, there is more being added to the list. But……He is sufficient. He takes the little I have to offer and makes it enough.
Let’s offer Him our little together.
Sojourning with you,
Felicia

 

Sacred Holidays and tomato soup

Here we are dealing with flooding and waiting for our yards to be filled with mud as we await the promise of spring. Spring’s sunshine waves at us to tease us, then tosses more snow and ice our way. All this back and forth weather makes one want to huddle inside to finish a good book until the seasons finally make up their mind!

Speaking of books, I just finished Sacred Holidays:Less Chaos, More Jesus by Becky Kiser.  In her book, Becky calls us into intentional living throughout the year by taking some time to think through the holidays. She offers a range of ideas from simple journaling and reflecting, to more complex neighborhood parties. Becky covers New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Lent/Easter, Summer, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Advent/Christmas, and Birthdays. She also deals with the topics of personal expectations, family drama, budgets, grief and cultural expectations.

I appreciated her pretty well rounded approach to each holiday, and how her main focus was on loving people well and taking time to be still and enjoy each season. This is written as a workbook, with plenty of space given to create a mission statement, answer reflection questions, and make a tentative plan or bucket list for each holiday. Becky encourages the reader to take baby steps and not try changing everything at once.

This book is meant to be a resource guide, and not a how-to manual.  Since my kids are so young, they feel like it’s a special day if we just play board games or go to the park.  The point isn’t to ‘do, do, do’, or to have another thing to stress over.  Rather, the goal is to be intentional with our time so when the holiday/event is passed we can look back with fond memories at time well spent.

As you read the book, you can pick and choose which ideas are good fits for your family.  I liked the ideas of helping kids set goals for the New Year, having a thankful tree at Thanksgiving, having a summer bucket list, and reading through certain Scriptures at Advent.  With Easter/Resurrection Sunday coming next, I made a list as I read through that chapter. My kiddos would love having a “He is Risen!” party, as they love anything with special food, streamers, and where we ‘party’. 🙂 Time passes so fast, that Easter/Resurrection will be here before we know it!

Along with reading books, we’ve tried some new recipes while we wait for the seasons to fight it out. Last night, my husband made a yummy pineapple smoothie!  I’m hoping tomorrow to experiment with another tomato soup recipe.  The last one tasted too acidic on it’s own, but went well with mozzarella cheese. I’m hoping to try either this recipe or this recipe that calls for a bit of heavy cream. I have many canned tomatoes waiting to be experimented with.  Do you have any recommendations?  I’d love to learn to make a tomato soup that even my husband will eat. 😉 (He likes tomato soup, but homemade doesn’t always taste as good as the canned kind). This fits into my goals of learning to make ‘all the foods’ and of using up my pantry/freezer ingredients.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

PS. I was thankful to receive this book at no cost as part of the Bethany House Publishing book review program.  The review was my own reflection on the book.

Finding a quiet place

The last last couple weeks, we’ve hunkered down to hibernate. With crazy cold temperatures and lots of snow, we settled in (to the dismay of my social daughter) to our warm-ish house.  Usually I’m running around for errands and play dates, so it was a bit of a change for me.  Honestly, there were times I felt a bit like a prisoner as I would view the forecast for the rest of the week. Thankfully spring is just around the corner….according to the calendar anyway.

During that time, something changed in my mindset. I began to treasure days at home, and to view this place as more than a landing spot after adventures or as a place to clean. One of my favorite Instagram ladies wrote in one of her posts of the need to create a life a life you don’t want to run away from. That idea has echoed in my head over and over….creating a life you don’t want to run away from. A dear friend was just sharing how she had the same mental transition after her third child was born.

As you create quiet, you begin to notice the beauty the ordinary moments of life. (also it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts “Out of the Ordinary“) We’ve made forts, gone on imaginary trips to grandma’s house with our ‘dinner pail’ (our new vocabulary word from our read aloud Farmer Boy) and made “monster fighters” (cardboard rolls decorated with flames so they could go hunt for monsters).  We made memories.

The other day, a former coworker came to visit, and complemented the small tree we have on the counter. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed that plant before. It’s possible since this was only her 2nd recent visit to our house, that she simply hadn’t noticed it. But more likely is that I recently cleared off that catch-all place on the counter so the plant and salt lamp could be decoratively displayed instead of being part of the pile.  When you quiet down the space, you can notice the beauty around you.

It is said that Susanna Wesley who taught her 10 children between 1700 and 1720 would pull her apron over her head to make a personal tent space for two hours each day so she could read her Bible and pray. I find it hard to find quiet time with my three children, let alone 10 children. But in that calm space under her apron, she found the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus also often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Mark 1) and he brought his disciples away from the crowds to get some rest  (Mark 6). He understands our limitations and our need for quiet spaces in order to refocus, gain perspective, and appreciate the beauty around us.

When we left to go meet up with friends today, my daughter paused half-way down the sidewalk…”It’s so quiet.  I don’t hear anything”. So we listened together to the quietness of the winter wonderland.  Sometimes we are so used to the noise, that the quiet takes our breath away and makes us marvel.

This weekend, let’s cultivate some moments of quietness by saying no to an unnecessary  commitment, quieting down a space so sentimental decor can be noticed again, making quiet places to sit with Jesus, and make memories with those important to you. Let’s create a life that we ‘don’t want to run away from’.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia

Finding a quiet place

The last last couple weeks, we’ve hunkered down to hibernate. With crazy cold temperatures and lots of snow, we settled in (to the dismay of my social daughter) to our warm-ish house.  Usually I’m running around for errands and play dates, so it was a bit of a change for me.  Honestly, there were times I felt a bit like a prisoner as I would view the forecast for the rest of the week. Thankfully spring is just around the corner….according to the calendar anyway.

During that time, something changed in my mindset. I began to treasure days at home, and to view this place as more than a landing spot after adventures or as a place to clean. One of my favorite Instagram ladies wrote in one of her posts of the need to create a life a life you don’t want to run away from. That idea has echoed in my head over and over….creating a life you don’t want to run away from. A dear friend was just sharing how she had the same mental transition after her third child was born.

As you create quiet, you begin to notice the beauty the ordinary moments of life. (also it’s the name of one of my favorite podcasts “Out of the Ordinary“) We’ve made forts, gone on imaginary trips to grandma’s house with our ‘dinner pail’ (our new vocabulary word from our read aloud Farmer Boy) and made “monster fighters” (cardboard rolls decorated with flames so they could go hunt for monsters).  We made memories.

The other day, a former coworker came to visit, and complemented the small tree we have on the counter. She mentioned that she hadn’t noticed that plant before. It’s possible since this was only her 2nd recent visit to our house, that she simply hadn’t noticed it. But more likely is that I recently cleared off that catch-all place on the counter so the plant and salt lamp could be decoratively displayed instead of being part of the pile.  When you quiet down the space, you can notice the beauty around you.

It is said that Susanna Wesley who taught her 10 children between 1700 and 1720 would pull her apron over her head to make a personal tent space for two hours each day so she could read her Bible and pray. I find it hard to find quiet time with my three children, let alone 10 children. But in that calm space under her apron, she found the beauty of Jesus.

Jesus also often withdrew to quiet places to pray (Mark 1) and he brought his disciples away from the crowds to get some rest  (Mark 6). He understands our limitations and our need for quiet spaces in order to refocus, gain perspective, and appreciate the beauty around us.

When we left to go meet up with friends today, my daughter paused half-way down the sidewalk…”It’s so quiet.  I don’t hear anything”. So we listened together to the quietness of the winter wonderland.  Sometimes we are so used to the noise, that the quiet takes our breath away and makes us marvel.

This weekend, let’s cultivate some moments of quietness by saying no to an unnecessary  commitment, quieting down a space so sentimental decor can be noticed again, making quiet places to sit with Jesus, and make memories with those important to you. Let’s create a life that we ‘don’t want to run away from’.

Sojourning with you,

Felicia