measuring my days

My mothering days can be measured in a variety of ways. I’m learning that it’s usually best not to measure them by the number of times I’ve re-warmed my coffee in any given morning. Nor by how many socks come through the laundry without matches, nor by how many microscopic pieces of Playmobil are scattered all over the carpet, nor by the number of bottles sitting around with just one ounce of milk left in them.

I could measure my days by those standards, but it would leave me feeling unfulfilled, unproductive, and full of self-pity. And these days are far from pity-worthy.


The new year has been so good for me. I needed a fresh start, and I’m always so thankful for one in the middle of any given winter. I’m especially thankful this year because after Elijah was born in August, I felt like we never quite got back into routine. January 1 was perfect timing for us to start over with a solid morning routine and surprisingly, when I follow my own set schedule, I do have time to fit in everything I want to do with my days.

These days are precious. This very year, in August, I will be sending my firstborn off to kindergarten. What we do with these days matters, because they’re fleeting.

So, I’ll measure my days by the number of giggles at the lunch table (even though it would be great if they would spend more time eating and less time chatting). I’ll measure them by the smiles that fill up and overflow off of Elijah’s face any time someone even looks in his general direction. I’ll measure them by Ivory’s enthusiasm for reading lessons and Titus’s delight over taking apart his airplane and putting it back together. I’ll measure them by her little fingers dancing up and down the white and black keys, playing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in every octave. I’ll measure them by the sweet little sketches that come off of his pencil because he’s spent so many Sunday afternoons sitting with grandpa, learning to draw tractors and wagons and such like. I’ll measure them by the rare moments in the chair where I can just sit and thank God for His many gifts.


book review: almost there

411WciZ5ICL._AC_US218_I was next to positive I had already reviewed this book, but it turns out I hadn’t… I wish I had written this earlier so that I could have done the book full justice. It’s been a while since I read it. But all of that said, I’ll try to give you a decent idea of what it’s like with just a few bullet points.

  • I could really identify with the premise of author Bekah DiFelice’s writing, because I understand what it’s like to feel transient, like you’re always on the move and have no place to put down roots. Bekah is a military wife, so her situation isn’t just like mine, but there were many years in our lives where it felt like I was packing boxes and moving us around all the time… and so reading about someone else’s similar experience was refreshing.
  • I appreciated the way that Bekah paralleled these vagabond experiences with spiritual lessons. There are so many!
  • Almost There pointed me toward Home. Our times of feeling homeless here on earth always increase my longing for the never-ending Heaven we’re headed towards, and I’m thankful for that.

Almost There is all about interacting with your surroundings – attaching, un-attaching, moving, and the growth that takes place through it all. The autobiographical aspect of Bekah’s book was educational, and the spiritual aspect of it was very encouraging. I’d highly recommend Almost There – in fact, I already bought a copy for someone else! 🙂

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. 

book review: whole

41KnxO40-LL._AC_US218_“Whole: Restoring What is Broken in Me, You, and the Entire World” was my read during my twelve-day stay on the antepartum floor in the hospital before our little guy was born. Truly, God used this book in enormous ways in my life… it’s always fascinating to me how He provides the right book, the right message, at the right time. This book was part of a journey of healing for me in so many ways.

The essence of “Whole” is that in order to become complete and fully restored as people, we must first be vulnerable about our brokenness – accept it, admit it, and address it. It is a book about repentance, although I’m not sure if it ever uses that word.

Incidentally, I’m reading another book right now about that same topic – brokenness. Our Father is a God of redemption, and He delights in healing and re-building the things that are falling apart.

I’d definitely recommend “Whole”.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. 

book review: daring to hope

51Qw40WlOKL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_“Daring to Hope” is very aptly named. It is a story about learning to hope in all circumstances and trust in spite of trials.

Katie’s first book was “Kisses from Katie” and where that book left me a little discouraged and disillusioned (because my own ministry experience had been nothing like hers), this book, “Daring to Hope”, left me very inspired and filled. It is a book for the more mature believer, a recounting of God’s faithfulness and the ways He has spoken into and worked through Katie’s life and ministry. I saw many reflections of my own spiritual journey as she described the challenge of reconciling God’s goodness with the fact that many things she prayed for didn’t ultimately happen. But she also explained how God worked through those circumstances and brought her out of the wilderness into a season of rest. I think that most believers will find her story line familiar and inspiring.

I would highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. 


“Perhaps there is no way to discover joy but as surprise. Yes, the small even have a biblical nomenclature. Doesn’t God call them the humble? The humble live surprised. The humble live by joy. The humble are the laid-low and bowed ones, the surprised ones with hands open to receive whatever He gives.

He hands them the earth. The earth. But is it any wonder? That word humility itself comes from the Latin root humus – the kind of earth that grows good crops. God gives the earth to the humus-people: the humble ones. Humility is that good humus that grows gratitude that yields abundant joy. In the upside-down kingdom of heaven, down is up and up is down, and those who want to ascend higher must descend lower. To receive God’s gifts, to live exalted and joy-filled, isn’t a function of straining higher, harder, doing more. Receiving God’s gifts is a gentle movement of stooping lower

Ann Voskamp

I had intended to write more, to expound on this, and to explain how much it has meant to me to walk into the holiday season with this on my mind. Time and energy both fail me, so I’ll just leave it right here and hope it blesses you too. 🙂 Suffice to say, this Christmas season has given me much to reflect on, more to be thankful for, and a deeper love for God than ever before. More later, hopefully.

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days of grace

The windows are open and there’s laughter and clanking of tricycles outside. It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it? This moment actually is – but our morning was anything but that. I actually sent Grant a text around noon telling him to keep his expectations low – because all had done that morning was sit in the recliner with a fussy infant, and fight a control battle with my 3-yr-old. This day, in many ways, is a snapshot of all of our typical days in one. The struggle of the morning, the peacefulness of the afternoon – these are all part of our days.

On my kitchen counter, I still have a copy of Elijah’s birth report. I could pack it away for record-keeping later (but I’d probably forget where I put it), but part of me just isn’t ready to put it away yet, because it’s such a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness through that time of life. The night they decided to go ahead and do my c-section, my white blood cell count had spiked and they felt like there was potential risk of infection. I had also been feeling crummy, but it was hard to distinguish if it was really a problem or just the result of sitting in a hospital bed for over a week and half.

For some reason that I can’t clearly remember right now, I went under general anesthesia for the surgery. It was awful – being knocked out for his birth, and trying to manage the pain afterward – but that in and of itself was God’s mercy. I had prayed and prayed that Elijah would come out crying, and the report says he didn’t. In fact, he wasn’t even breathing. But if you keep reading the report, it tells about the various interventions by the medical team and how much better he was doing by his 5 minute APGAR, and that, too, was God’s mercy.

So were our days in the NICU after that, and so are our days now. Full of grace.

one day at a time

The past week has been a startling lesson, actually, in how quickly you can go from normal life…

… to a dead halt, and more than two weeks of nothing but waiting. I was in Peoria last Thursday evening,  August 10, when  my water broke and I was admitted to OSF – it’s kind of hard to believe that will be a week tomorrow! The little guy’s heartbeat is staying steady, and my contractions and fluid leakage are not super concerning, and the doctors say he does not seem to be under stress – we’re thankful for that. There is risk of infection, but that’s why I’m here until he reaches 34 weeks. Hopefully, on August 26th, he’ll be about 5 pounds and ready to join us! 🙂

I can choose to sit here and feel guilty (which I do sometimes) or I can choose to sit here and be thankful (which I do sometimes)… I feel the weight of not being able to fulfill my responsibilities at home, of relying extensively on Grant, on our parents, and on the many people who are feeding my family in my place. I am also thankful for this time of rest, for the relative safety of being here at OSF where there is excellent medical care, and for God’s peace that has been palpable through the entire thing. That is grace in action, and it is an answer to your (and our) many prayers.

We are blessed by each of you. Thank you so much for being here for us, for loving us, and for serving us during this time.