So full.

Full of love. Full of peace. Full of thanksgiving.

Full of joy.

I don’t know where to begin. I started this blog 2 months ago as a way to stay focused on joy. Life’s troubles or mundane-ness can so easily bring me down. And like I said in this post from early February, in the days/weeks that bring the most trials, I need to work all the harder at thinking about the joyful moments and thanking God for them, because HE is the giver of all good things. Although I don’t write every day, I have daily spent time focusing on the joy that day brought. My outlook has changed. I am finding myself feeling more and more grateful. I have found myself spending more time each day – throughout the day – thanking God. Talking to Him. Praising Him. Slowing down to remain in His presence, because “In your presence there is fullness of joy…” from Psalm 16:11

And then I went to our church’s women’s retreat this weekend. I don’t even know what to say, except UH-MAZ-ING. Incredible from start to finish. I am so grateful to call this church my home and these people my family. And the topic? Joy. The focus verse? Psalm 16:11 “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

I couldn’t possibly sum up the wonderful things the speaker (our church’s very own Sandy C.) shared. But I can say this… God had a big message, and Sandy shared it perfectly. Interwoven within all of the sessions were so many thoughts that were right in line with what God has been working on in my heart. Confirmation. Ok, God. I’m listening. I hear you loud and clear!

Some points that stood out:

– God gives us these gifts because He LOVES us. In all my joy-focusing, I kinda missed that part. I know all good and perfect gifts are from Him. I have already been working on thanking Him for them. And I know God loves me. But I failed to tie the two together. Weird, maybe. But just the same… these gifts of joy – from God, the Creator of the universe – are because HE loves ME. What an amazing and humbling thought.

– I need to look for the joy in the hard. Because joy isn’t about the circumstance, it is about the love and presence of God. I have looked for the joy in the bad, but not in the same way. In my bad days/weeks, I’ve looked for the good moments and tried to focus on those rather than on the bad moments. But I need to look for the joy within the hard. Sandy shared some great examples that I can relate to – both being moms of two kids around the same ages… When a child is tantruming and I am at the end of my rope – and then she throws something at me, thank you God, for this reminder of the grace you show me each time I throw tantrums about my situation. (I am now working on finding joy in some of my toughest moments. Where is the joy in the moment when I’m aching for my two baby girls? The promise of Heaven? Maybe. But the ache is so deep. And Heaven can feel so far off. And they were twins. Someday I will blog about it. Maybe.)

There were other things. Lots of other moments, thoughts, people, that I loved this weekend. I left feeling full.

And then I went to church this morning. Palm Sunday. The sermon: Unveiling the Crucified King. I have heard lots of sermons about Jesus being crucified. L-O-T-S. It’s not that they get old, just that they are usually very similar. Always heart-wrenching and humbling just the same. But I’ve never heard one quite like this. I don’t know what to say, except, if you want to have a (new) glimpse into what Jesus was thinking about on the cross, you should have a listen. (That link will get you to the entire list of podcasts from this amazing sermon series. Listen to them all if you’d like. You won’t be disappointed.) Again, what a blessing to be a part of this church. I am so grateful.

So that’s it. My situation hasn’t changed, but my outlook has – yet again. And I’m now full.

Full of love. Full of peace. Full of thanksgiving.

Full of joy. Eucharisteo.


Wordless Wednesday – Not MY words anyway. Just my heart.

I Will Carry You

There were photographs I wanted to take

Things I wanted to show you

Sing sweet lullabies

Wipe your teary eyes

Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave, but I’m not

Truth is I’m barely hanging on

But there’s a greater story

Written long before me

Because He loves you like this

I will carry you

While your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

Through the coming years

I will carry you

All my life

And I will praise the ONE who’s chosen me

To carry you

Such a short time

Such a long road

All this madness, but I know

That the silence

Has brought me to HIS voice

And He says,

“I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning

Walked her through the parted sea

Angel lullabies

No more teary eyes

Who could love her like this?

I will carry you

While your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

Through the coming years

I will carry you

All your life

And I will praise the ONE who’s chosen me

To carry you.”


I was so gung-ho about a blog. I was excited, motivated, and had lots of things I wanted to write about. But then this week happened.

I will not go into details, but basically, this has been one of THE most challenging weeks I can remember: spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, parentally, vehicularly, worldly, and teacherly. And I’m certain I’m missing some other -ly in there. I can really only think of 2 or 3  weeks in my adult life that were harder. I am drained. Completely emptied. I have not felt joyful.

Talk about testing my “Lift my eyes to the hills” challenge. Finding my joy? Ummm…. we won’t go there.

So I’ve decided I need to write. Because I need to focus on the moments that did bring joy – even if there weren’t many and they were short lived. And as I am spending a lot of my week trying to remember where my help comes from – because I’ve needed that help sooo much – I also need to be thankful to Him who is the giver of all good things. So here are this week’s “good things” in no particular order:

1. My husband. Wow. What a rock he has been. I am so grateful.

2. Jacob. Oh man. I could go on and on about the joy this kid brings. But one of my favorites recently is when he gets super protective and tells off someone who touches me. Daddy, the chiropractor, you name it. He scowls. And with his furrowed brow, he says, “No do dat!” or “You no kiss my Mama!” (That second one was to daddy, just to be clear.) I also love when he bursts into song then pauses and says, “I singing, Mama! I singing! Sing too!”

3.  An unexpected visit at some family/church family/friends’ house. We laughed, were entertained by Jacob’s singing, and enjoyed our time immensely. Up until the last 5 minutes when  “Parentally Hard Act I” took place. But such is life.

4. Mom home from Indonesia! Phew! 3 cheers for being able to talk on the phone with my mom when I want to! (Which is daily. Sorry, Matt.)

5.  Our pastor’s wife bringing Jacob up front during church to help her make an announcement about the nursery expanding. I’m pretty sure he knows when he’s doing it, but he completely melted my heart when he waved and said, “Hi, Mommy!” Because in all the whole congregation, I’m the one he’d want to go to.

6.  Celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday. Because Tom is a cool guy and, well, chocolate cake is always good. But more importantly, it was nice to visit with Matt’s family. We haven’t done that in a while. And we got to see Matt’s mom’s new business. She is the new owner of Curves in Lynden. The remodel is astounding! It actually makes me want to work out. (If you haven’t seen it, you should like it on Facebook and check out the before/after pics!)

7. Valentine’s Day dinner. Not the whole day. Just the dinner. Well, the evening following the dinner was nice too. We just won’t discuss the earlier part of the day. It had something to do with “Parentally Hard Act II: And You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse.” But the dinner… pink heart-shaped pancakes (Leesie’s fav) and sausage (Jacob’s fav – and pretty much the only protein he likes) made for a pleasant meal with the people I love. No arguing about how many more bites needed to be eaten. No asking for something else to eat. No “I no like it. It YUCKY.” from Jacob. Ah. Peace.

8. Dinner was followed by my favorite moment of the week – singing with my girl. We rehearsed in the car all week and surprised daddy with a duet – her idea. If singing with an adorable and joyful girl  – a song about God’s faithfulness and love – doesn’t cheer you up, then what will? Am I right?

9. In one of my toughest moments – this time at work – my partner and friend showed up, on her day off, to help me get through it. She stepped in to the teacher role so I could step out. She brought Valentines to share. And she prayed for the hurt.  How wonderful to be cared for and to have a work partner be so kind-hearted. And what a blessing that she loves Jesus, too.

10. My students’ faces as they excitedly gave me my Valentine’s gifts and cards: Lindor truffles in a heart box, a single red rose, a stuffed dog, a note pad “because teachers like note pads and that kind of stuff,” a few hand-made cards, and a smashed homemade pink-frosted cookie from an adorable boy with a huge smile. There were other things as well. And each face was full of joy in the giving.

11. The Ferndale Levy Passed!!! WAHOO! I will have a job next year. Probably.

12. Twice today I received a text from someone I love. Each person said some encouraging words and ended the text with “Peace be with you.”  How much I needed that peace. I am so grateful for the love of family, friends, and Jesus. It is enough.

Peace be with YOU.

Oh yes. Some of you have asked how to follow the blog. (If you choose to, I promise they will not be as heavy-hearted. Lots of laughter to come from the kids.) But if you want to, click “Follow”  on the right side of this page.