This Moment

It’s the little moments…
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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

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Naming the Beautiful, Finding Glory in Motherhood

I stayed up late last night pouring through old blog posts, searching, looking, reading, trying to remember what it was I felt when my daughter was small enough to hold between the palm of my hands and the crook of my elbow. For some reason, the memories that most often surface are the hard, long, dark lonely nights of holding a inconsolable newborn against my chest, against my heart, and wondering how the heck I even got here. How did I get here? She’s four now. Breathtakingly beautiful. I mean, the way her cute little cheeks frame her smile, her perfectly spaced little teeth, the twinkle in her eyes when they light up, and now her new bangs hanging imperfectly across her forehead. My heart skips a beat just looking at her, and I can’t believe she’s mine. Surely, there had to be some mistake somewhere. How could I have been entrusted with such a gift as her?

After those first few difficult months of life with a fussy newborn, the clouds really did part, and the sun really did shine, and I really did drink in all those perfect, warm-fuzzy, I-have-a-baby-and-its-heaven moments. I must have taken a thousand pictures before she even turned 6 months old. The first belly laughs, the wonder of bubbles, and bath time, the first steps and the melt-your-heart hand holding, her whole chubby hand to my one finger. Discovering caterpillars and cookies. The sleeping on my chest and the way her chubby thighs gave way to slender little legs and I knew she wouldn’t be my baby much longer.

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But then something happened.

I lost sight of something very important. Something changed in my mothering heart, and I stopped seeing the world through joy filled eyes. These past two years of her turning from a toddling babe to a sparkly 4 year old have been so different from her first years as my little baby. Ominous warnings from friends and strangers hung over my heart as my daughter entered her two’s and three’s. I didn’t want to agree with the idea that my daughter would become “terrible” when the sun rose on her second birthday. Of course, things did change in my mothering. A baby becomes a toddler. Cries for mama’s milk turn to temper tantrums in the toy store for meaningless stuffed animals. Falling asleep on my shoulder turns into not sleeping at all and protesting bedtime just because she can. And I stopped naming the beautiful. I started telling myself this was too hard and I didn’t think I could do it. As much as my newborn was dependent on me, I feel with every month and year that pass she actually needs me more than she did then. She needs me to teach her and to really accept her, to feel her hurts with her, to cheer her on, to really see when she begs me to watch her twirl on the living room rug just one more time. And it seems meaningless to me, but I know it’s not. And as she grows she’s going to need me even more. She’s going to need me to tell her about this invisible God, the one that loves her so much, but sometimes is really hard to understand. She’s going to need me to tell her how wonderful it is to be a woman, and how it is such a gift. And…I’m scared. Scared I will fail, and scared because I know in many ways I already have. The giving of myself, my heart every day to my little girls is sometimes beautiful, sometimes painful, sometimes gut-wrenching. But I keep going because it is the only thing to do.

But now I know. Just because the soft cotton sleepers are stored in the attic and no one is telling me “Congratulations!” and discipline is a reality every single day, and sometimes I want to walk out the door and just not be a mom for a little while, I know I don’t have to stop naming the beautiful. I don’t have to stop calling out the preciousness of each new day with them. and that is exactly how to have the beautiful, in seeing it, is to call it out from the places where it’s hiding. Because it really does hide. The beautiful hides in the back-breaking messiness of this existence. It’s all tangled up and if I leave the mess in search of the glory, I will absolutely miss it. The glory has been here all along, waiting for me to call it out…

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And so I will name…

 

 

 

 

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Healthy Valentine’s Day Breakfast~ Strawberry Banana Oat Heart Muffins! {Vegan, Fat Free, Wheat-Free, Egg & Dairy Free}

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These adorable heart muffins are going to do double duty come this Valentine’s Day! February is American Heart Month as well as home to my favorite love-filled day, February 14. But this year I’m doing things a little differently. Instead of fussing over special restaurants and fancy dresses, I’m dreaming of how I can surprise my littles with something sweet and fun on Valentine morning.

These oat muffins are a tried-and-true recipe of ours that I got from a good friend. They are slightly sweet, filling, full of fiber and free of fat (good things for the heart!). All they needed was a little Valentine flair- a heart shaped cookie cutter, pink sugar for dusting the top and some heart shaped sprinkles just for fun!

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If you’ve never done any vegan baking, it’s really not a stretch from regular baking with eggs and milk and oil. Here are some details about the ingredients used in this recipe.

- Oat flour is used exclusively. If you don’t have any, you can grind up whole grain oats in your (cleaned) coffee grinder to make a flour. (Look for gluten-free whole grain oats to make gluten free oat flour).

- 1 mashed ripe banana replaces the 2 eggs usually called for in muffins.

- Unsweetened applesauce replaces the oil. You can easily replace the oil in any recipe with applesauce with a ratio of 1:1.

- Any non-dairy milk replaces cow’s milk. I used soy milk. I like the thickness and creaminess of soy milk as opposed to almond milk. I don’t recommend coconut milk if you are trying to protect your heart. Even though coconut milk is vegan, coconuts are full of saturated fat. (I realize there are quite a bit of disagreement on the healthfulness of saturated fats, but I steer clear of them).

- One half cup of diced strawberries are included. You can omit them, but they add a wonderful pink color and added fruitiness!

- One quarter cup of white sugar is all this recipe calls for. Use whatever kind of sugar or sugar substitute (like honey) you prefer that would replace white sugar.

- Instead of greasing an 8 x 8 pan with oil I lined it with parchment paper and poured the batter right on top. When it’s done cooking and cooling, you can simply lift the parchment paper out of the pan and the muffins come right off.
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Strawberry Banana Oat Heart Muffins

Makes about 12 2″ heart muffins

Ingredients:

- 2 1/4 cup oat flour

- 1 TB baking powder

- 1/4 cup white sugar or honey

- 1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

- 1 mashed ripe banana

- 2 TB unsweetened applesauce

- 1/2 cup diced fresh strawberries

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.

2. In one bowl, combine the oat flour and baking powder. In another bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, except for the strawberries, making sure they are all incorporated well.

3. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and combine. Fold in the strawberries. Do not over mix.

4. Pour batter into prepared dish. Sprinkle top with pink sugar. Bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. When it is finished baking, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Carefully cut out the muffins with a heart shaped cookie cutter. (Save the scraps- it’s still yummy!) Arrange them on a plate and toss heart shaped sprinkles over them. Enjoy!

IMGP6088-001Be warned…you might have little muffin stealers sneaking bites before you are even done!

What are you baking this Valentine’s Day?

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Celebrations, Food & Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Want Life in My Life! {A Look at John 10:10}

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“The thief does not come except to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

We all want life. Abundant life. I think for many of us that means life without sickness, pain, or poverty. And while I believe God cares, sees and heals us in these earthly bodies, and I believe God loves and desires to lift up the lives of His beloved children that are hurting on planet earth, still I believe,

There’s more to the story…

Much more.

There’s so much more and it is thrilling, exciting and better than we could have ever imagined. I think it has gotten lost behind well meaning and God loving Christians, lost in the pages of Scripture that sit in so many homes, unread. If only we would pick it up, blow off the dust and see afresh the glorious hope meant for those who would believe in Jesus Christ now, and fan the flame meant to ignite the whole world with His glory and love, it would absolutely change the world. This hope is life more abundantly.

See, what I believe Jesus is telling us in this well known passage (John 10:10) is something altogether different than what we normally hear echoing through church walls today. Instead of promises of abundant things in this life, I believe Jesus is simply promising more of life itself. Real life. More aliveness than we could possibly experience in this broken world. I believe Jesus is promising an eternal resurrected life! And this life begins and continues only in the Spirit of God (John 6:63, Romans 8:6, 2 Corinthians 3:6).

“Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11: 25-26

Jesus is saying if you believe in Me and are in Me, when your body fails, your spirit will live on in a transformed, resurrected body, and if you are alive when I come again and believe in Me, your body will not die but be transformed into a new resurrected body. Here, Jesus was addressing a believer (John 11:27) and I believe He is asking believers today...do you believe this? With all that is said about Me in the world today, do you believe what I say?

Echoing Jesus words, Paul says:

“For we who are in this tent [our earthly bodies] groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.” 2 Corinthians 5:4 (brackets and emphasis mine)

Who isn’t burdened in these bodies at some point walking on this earth? And we are groaning. Not to attain more flesh, more earth, more mortality, but LIFE. And life is only found in Jesus. Life is Jesus. (John 14:6) When we believe in Jesus, the Spirit of God comes to live in our spirit, and that is where true, living, refreshing, life flows into our every situation and relationship. When we stop operating out of our own ideas about what we should do and how we can improve things, and when we humbly come to God and allow Him to do what He desires, obeying what He commands out of the power He supplies, that is where we find peace, love, joy, and goodness filling every one of our needs and desires.

We take up the life of Jesus when we yield to Truth: He is our salvation. We are sinners in need of a Savior and He is that Savior (Romans 3:23-24). And as we are being conformed to His image on this earth, we wait. We wait for our glorious hope- a truly resurrected life. We wait to see Him, for when we do we will be like Him and that is exactly what these bodies, bound for corruption, are aching for (1 John 3:2)

Our nature as sinners is to take spiritual realities and conform them to the images of earth. We take spiritual realities for life and make them to mean God wants us to have more things. We assume God is like us and He is not. We assume God wants what we want and He does not. We are the ones who must conform, by the power and grace of God, to His image, to His reality, based on Scripture alone.

Are you aching today for life? Are you finding this earthly life often disappoints and hurts? Self-improvement is not the answer, my friend, Jesus is the answer.

 

 

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Deeper faith | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Ocean of God’s Character {Part I}

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The sun shines bright in the new day’s sky. The salty air blows over white dunes, and the sand sparkles under your feet as you walk down the glistening clean beach. The wind blows gently, combing through tall beach grass, and rustling the towels of the patrons walking with you. Clutching your beach bag, you temporarily place your sunglasses on your head to take in the breathtaking view. It’s a beach like you’ve never seen in your life. The sea, in hues of bright bold blues, greens and turquoise shimmer underneath the yellow sun. Its clear water reveals silvery fish and gem-like shells in magenta, light blue and aqua green hidden in the sandy bottom. Harmless waves playfully toss to and fro across the surface, crests break and foam laps at the shoreline, licking the toes of the people gathered there. This ocean, stunning in beauty, bright in purity, goes on for miles and miles, as far as your eye can see until it sinks seamlessly into the horizon.

You breath in the clean fresh air letting it fill your lungs. The sun warms your skin, your feet sink into the sand with every step, and you make your way towards the shore. Remarkably absent is the resorts and buildings, noise and traffic, on other beaches you’ve visited. Here, all is peaceful. You carefully spread your beach towel near the water’s edge but not close enough to get wet, and sitting down you notice all the different people around you. Some people are sitting along the beach with you, sun bathing, reading, relaxing, even sleeping. It seems most of these people near you have no intention of going into the ocean. Others, mostly children, are playing in the shallows kicking their feet and splashing, tossing the water into the air and laughing, discovering the little fish that slip between their ankles and the shells which they carry like gems in their pockets. A few adults wade ankle-deep or even knee-deep with them, helping these younger ones to their feet when the salty water stings their eyes. But even when they fall, they get up again. You smile at them, they are certainly having fun in the safety of shallow waters. Then there are people farther out, shoulder deep, swimming in the ocean, still bright and sparkling as ever. They’re smiling too, playing in the water. Sometimes they dive beneath the surface, then bob back up holding larger, brighter shells. One carries a child in his arms, letting her delight in the deeper waters from the safety of his embrace.

But something else catches your eye. What could that be so far from the comfort of the beach?

Yes, there are people even farther out, where the blue colors deepen and the shadows of the clouds overhead sometimes hide the light reflecting off the waves. Yes, there are just a small handful of brave souls wading out in the deep where they cannot touch and they cannot feel anything except the rhythmic rocking of the water. There the ocean is all encompassing, the deep pressing into their bodies, the salty taste of the water saturating their mouth. They are all in and all wet. You can barely make out their expressions, you raise your hand to your forehead like a visor, shielding the sun’s rays from your eyes so you can see more clearly.

The waves are much bigger out there and you wonder why anyone would want to venture that far. Out there are people riding the waves on boards fitted for them. They fly through the air, hovering in perfect balance on top of powerful crashing waves. Thrilled with the joy of such adventure they quickly get back up from where they tumbled into the water. Others out in the deep are swimming and diving with protective gear. They sink under the ocean and much time passes before you can see them pop back up to the surface. You can only imagine the sights their eyes get to behold swimming near the ocean bottom, so far from land, things you’ve only read about in books. Perhaps coral big and small, in wondrous colors and fish beautiful, odd and curious living, sleeping and eating there, and a part of you begins to long to see what they see. The people swimming out in the deep are strong, you can tell. When a few come back to shore their confident shining faces tell you that their experience out in the deep provides them something others do not have- strength of character, a knowing, a joy, and a part of you begins to want what they have too.

You stand and walk toward the beckoning ocean. You call me out upon the waters… You reach the water’s edge and it tickles your feet. With closed eyes you breath in deep the warm air and take a sure step into the water. You pass the toddling children and the adults in the shallow. You wade out farther, the water now waist deep then shoulder deep. You stand on your tip-toes as the ocean rises and the bottom sinks farther away from you. It’s colder than you imagined but as you keep walking steadily into the sea it begins to envelope you and warmth surrounds your body like a blanket. You’re treading now and the gentle waves rock you back and forth with its current. 

A smile spreads across your face, “I’m here,” you think, and suddenly you realize just how far you are from the comfort of your spot on the beach. The moment seizes you and you begin to panic. Can I stay out here? Do I have what it takes to keep swimming? What if the waves overtake me? But then you raise your eyes to the sun. And keep my eyes above the waves…You realize out here you are closer to the sun, its warmth and its light. Out here you can see clearly. Out here the horizon doesn’t seem so far away and obscured. Your grace abounds in deepest waters…Out here a hundred dazzling fish dance around you in the water. Out here thousands of  undiscovered rocks and shells are waiting to be revealed. Out here ocean plants thrive and grow away from the traffic of people. Out here the once comfortable and beautiful beach now pales in comparison to the glory surrounding you.

Out here treading in the deep, you realize, is where you discover what you are made of. You discover your strength and your power. And it is here, only here, in the deep, that you find the real treasure you’ve been searching for.

There I find you in the mystery. In ocean’s deep, my faith will stand.

 

 

*Selected lyrics taken from “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” by Hillsong United

 

 

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Deeper faith | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

This Moment

Inspired by SouleMama

It’s the little (and big) moments…

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

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Our 2014 Holidays!

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What fun it is to celebrate the holidays with little children at home! This year was bustling with new activity. It was really Marlee’s (almost 4 years) first year to get into the fun of Christmas, the excitement and anticipation, and it was Hannah’s first birthday in November as well. IMGP5826-018First, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s house. Hannah’s birthday fell on the day before Thanksgiving so we combined the two into one day.

IMGP5793-012My sister went all out for Hannah’s birthday, which was so sweet! She decorated their breakfast room with a wall of streamers, balloons, and hanging decorations, pink Christmas lights and little homemade crowns for the girls to wear! Only Marlee could sit still long enough to keep hers on though!

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IMGP5846-019She loved her cake and loved her presents! Happy Birthday Hannah!

IMGP5894-001On to Christmas! Early in the month of December we went to library with a friend to visit Santa. It was so nice our local library had so many fun activities for the kids for free.

IMGP5899-002She even sat on Santa’s lap and loved it! She asked for a pony…

IMGP5931-007Christmas Eve Hannah really started taking many steps all at once. One day she even walked halfway across the room all by herself! Although we’re into January now and she still doesn’t walk more than a couple steps at a time. She has fun trying though!

IMGP5928-006Christmas morning the girls opened their stockings and played with the toys they received the night before. Marlee has yet to take her princess dress-up gown off (as well as all the accessories) and Hannah loved all her new interesting toys! We got ready for my husband’s family and a family my father in law invited to come over for Christmas lunch.

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IMGP5950-010Marlee got a pony! (Thanks Grandma J!)

IMGP5963-011After all the excitement the girls were pooped, but it was a fun Christmas at home with all the toys, food and candy anyone could ask for!

Happy New Year to all my family and friends!

 

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Christmas | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Resolutions, Only Eager Expectation

“God what do you have for me this year? What BIG things are you going to do in me and through me this new year? What adventures will we have together?”

These are questions I have excitedly asked myself at the close of each year for the last couple of years now. My birthday comes every December as well, so entering a new age and a new calender really are the start of a brand new year for me. A few years ago I determined that I would never be upset to celebrate my birthday. As the calender sweeps up our days and we get older I noticed it was becoming common for people to become depressed when another candle was added to their birthday cake, if they even have a birthday cake at all! Some people resolve to remove every trace of evidence that another birthday has passed- no presents, no gatherings, no sweet treats- as if somehow ignoring the day that witnessed their birth would somehow erase it. This is wrong, I kept thinking. My Father loves LIFE. Every baby embraced gets their own special day to celebrate a year of LIFE gone by, but more than that, a year of LIFE ahead. My Father loves celebrations, and He loves it when we adopt His passion for LIFE.

Also a couple of years ago, as December waned, I began telling the Lord that I expected BIG things from Him in the coming year (2012). I wanted to live life grand, expecting my abundant Father to fulfill every blessing and promise in my life. And do you know what? He did. That year, beyond what me or my husband could have ever orchestrated, we were able to spend a few weeks in Scotland, living there temporarily while my husband worked, and seeing the sights. But it was more than that. Because you see, before that I had vowed to avoid traveling as much as possible. I hated to travel. You see, the Lord did a BIG work in me. He gently loosed my tightened grip on my life- He even, in an amazing turn of events, had me go to Scotland, on a 10-hour flight, changing planes in London alone. If you know me at all, you know that that was a miraculous impossible work that only the Lord God Himself could have accomplished. And He did.

So the year after that, after the Christmas tree was put away, I told the Lord I was expecting NEW things from Him (2013). And do you know what? That year, God blessed us with a new baby girl and a new house in a new neighborhood in the country! Everything was new! While others were resolving to improve their life, jumping on the proverbial treadmill of self-improvement, I was on my knees, expecting, asking, thanking and…waiting. And I received!

You see, this makes all the difference in the world!

New Year’s resolutions are based on human nature and our desire to be good and do good, not on Scripture. There is no goodness in this world apart from the Lord God. Every blessing you desire, every adventure your heart longs for, every relationship you seek has already been procured for you by Jesus and is in fact in Jesus Christ Himself.

Having no resolutions means you are not trying to accomplish something that has already been accomplished for you. It means the difference between resolving to do something and expecting something that has already been done. It is the difference between striving for and waiting on, and the difference between trying and simply receiving. It means the difference between struggle and hardship and joy and peace!

As we throw away the last of the wrapping paper, toys strewn everywhere, Christmas candy now hidden (so we don’t eat every last piece!), I’m waiting on God to hear what He has to say to me for this new year. I’m expecting NEW things, new POWER, more LIFE, abundant FAITH made real, and ADVENTURE in the perfect will of God.

What are you expecting this new year from our BIG God?

 

 

 

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Celebrations | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

November Gifts

Thank you. Such simple but powerful words. It’s one of the things God desires most from us towards Him. Saying thank you requires an attitude of looking into your life through the lens of goodness. And what most of don’t realize, is that that requires a great deal of humility. To be small and empty is difficult, but it allows us to receive whatever the Father’s hand gives. Whatever He gives. To be small means pouring out of yourself your own evil disbelief, and your own prideful arrogance that you can even possibly know what is good apart from what is not. The thankfulness that the Bible speaks of is not a once-a-year thing. It’s not something we do when we get dressed up to see family sitting around a table with all the amazing food you can think of. The traditions of man seem to get all the attention while the everlasting words of God get repeated inside stale walls and received into stale hearts.

Right now, God is drawing me into deeper  understanding of His goodness and what it means to receive all from Him as gifts. The beautiful, the ugly, and what seems death to me, I receive with open hands and a humble heart because I know that I am not good. God alone is good. He deserves every thank, every praise. When His Son is revealed from heaven with all His glory, we will realize just how much thanks we failed to give. Let’s not wait.

Today I just want to share with you a few of the more simple, everyday things I really love. This isn’t a deeply profound list, but sometimes our thanks needs to begin there- in the everyday. I don’t think God will tire of our thanks, no matter how little.
IMGP5629-007This bunting I made always makes me smile. I made it last year with a cut apple and some paint while my daughter was stamping along with me. I finally finished it.

IMGP5658-005Yellow. My color of choice. These pillows instantly brighten my day, I love looking at them. And the quilt my sister made. Pieced together one by one, made from the shirts my dad used to wear. It has been used and now there stains on parts of it. It is perfect.

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Boots. I feel special in boots. Like a farmer, ready to immerse myself in whatever lay at my feet.

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A windowsill low enough, a perfect nook to display seasonal stories. My favorite ones for Fall.
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Books. I could spend a long time telling you how much I love books, but for now I’ll just tell you this book is getting me ready for the coming Spring. If the Lord wills, this coming Spring will mean chickens. It will mean learning and getting dirty, and hoping for the best and- eggs.

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My husband and our land. He’s begun the long process of clearing. Hand picking what to keep and what to burn. I love this picture because it reminds me of our heavenly Father’s care. We refuse to bring a big machine on our land to clear it out in a hurry. Instead we choose to be careful, loving, saving every tiny tree and only pulling what needs to go, sparing even the leaves on the floor. Just like our Father. Carefully choosing what to burn in our lives and what to keep. Sometimes the burning is painful or sad. Like when I saw my husband had thrown this worn and weathered wooden bench in the fire (photo below). I had a twinge of sadness, but I knew it was old and in bad condition. Now we can make room for new.

Just like our good Father. IMGP5597-012

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Blankets. But more importantly, the chilly Fall days that come for us to use them.

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Nature. Nature ever gives to us. And what nature gives to us is free and available for all to enjoy. Like this gift from a friend. Acorns from a Burr Oak, as many as I could carry home.
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Cowboy boots: forgotten, then found in a coat box in the attic. Passed down when they were too big for my little girl to wear, but now unearthed at just the time for all kinds of pretend horse play.

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IMGP5549-010And of course, my favorite of all- Christmas lights. The way they twinkle in the cold night air brings a smile to my face every time.

Take root in your own life. Be in it. See it with fresh eyes. Realize your incapacity to be good and give thanks.

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

James 1:17

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Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: My Faith | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

At Home in the Woods {An Update On Our House and Land}

IMGP4200-001A year ago I was a very pregnant mama hoping for a baby soon born and wondering when our house on two acres was going to be finished. We thought it might be done by the time our little girl arrived but clearly that wasn’t in the picture. Two days before Thanksgiving our little one joined us just two hours shy of being born on the same day of the month as her big sister. With a new little face to care for and mama (me) resting we wouldn’t be moving just yet. But then in the new year – providence. A new family joined our home fellowship and because of their circumstances we felt led to talk to them about moving into our home. We were planning on moving out anyway. So plans fell in to place perfectly, our new little home finished (sort of) at an alarming rate. In one weekend after Valentine’s Day we moved out of our Golden Meadow Dr house and the next weekend they moved in. And two weeks after that my husband began working out of state for 7 weeks.

There I was by myself with a little girl and a very little baby in a new house surrounded by cardboard boxes. It was February and very cold. We had no heater or central air system yet. No stove top, no oven, no kitchen sink, no washer or dryer, no closets and very little storage space. We relied upon our water well and got our drinking water from our bathroom sink. I used my trusty little toaster oven and the burner on the grill outside which I cooked on even in the cold and yes, the rain. What warmed me in those cold months were lendings from a friend and neighbor: an electric burner and a cast iron pot. I took all our dirty clothes over to my mom’s house and I had never appreciated clean clothes like I did then. When my husband came home on the weekends during those 7 weeks he installed whatever he had time for. One weekend I got a washer and dryer. The next weekend I finally got a kitchen sink. (Oh, for not having to wash dishes outside in a big bowl in the cold!) One day we had a magnificent ice storm and the neighborhood transformed into a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking. Except at 5 in the morning when the power went out- which means no heat (the little we had), no water (from electric water pump), no toilets, and no food even from my trusty toaster oven. Those first couple of months on our land proved to be memorable, challenging and interesting indeed!

Finally the icy Winter melted into soft Spring and warm Summer. We were able to enjoy the woods and their beauty for the first time, especially without having to worry about A/C or heat, ice storms and no supplies. Piece by piece our house slowly took shape and little by little it is now turning into a home.

IMGP4861-004Probably the most fun is all the creatures we’ve seen in and around our woods. This little turtle was quite a treat to see. We’ve also seen foxes, raccoons, deer in abundance, a roadrunner we’ve affectionately named “Bob”, snakes (yes venomous), Cardinals, hawks, hummingbirds, Tufted Titmice, birds of all kinds, skinks (a lizard-snake like creature), the most beautiful damselflies, and baby bunnies, which I absolutely wanted to take home with me…but didn’t.

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The beauty of the natural world around me here never ceases to take my breath away. Truly. I’ve seen spider webs more beautiful than precious gems, sunlight glittering the earth like rays of gold, the quiet of the woods, the rush of the wind through the trees, the stamp of deer feet, the familiar call of the owl every night. It is an endless symphony of sight and sound- music for the soul.

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Nine months after moving in, where are we now? Well, after 6 months of washing dishes by hand (by choice at first), we finally got a dishwasher. We had a new line dug so we could have internet access to our computer and even though it was a pleasantly mild Summer, my husband and his friends helped us install a central A/C and heating unit. My handy husband built us a beautiful tall bookcase for our one humble hallway, an outside stairway to our attic, and created more storage in our attic so we finally have room to spread some things out. I’ve unpacked almost every box, cleaned and organized and continued to give away many of our things to make space in our less than 1200 sq ft home. We have one “family closet” above our washer and dryer. I’m surprised at how well this serves us. Only the clothes that absolutely have to be hung up are, and everything else is in drawers.

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With all the construction our yard was quite a mess, but with our basic needs met we’ve finally been able to put some effort into creating a cleaner and more inviting outdoor space. First all the piles of construction debris had to go. Some we hauled off, most we burn in makeshift fire pit. Then, my husband began grading the land around the house, filling in holes, flattening slopes and making even ground. It doesn’t sound like much, but what a difference it makes.

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He even had a little help!

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And we got a cat. Her name is Kit. It’s short for Kit-Cat, and while we were a bit reluctant at first to take on another animal (I really thought I didn’t want anymore pets) I’m glad we did. She beautiful and when she’s not climbing our windows (literally) reminding us to feed her, she’s sweet and affectionate and even follows us on our walks.

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This house my husband built was supposed to be a garage one day. One day we’d build a larger home and turn this one into a garage or workshop for my husband. We still might one day. But everyday we’re letting that go a little bit more. Every day we’re adding comforting touches here and there: a rug, pictures on the wall, coffee table and hooks in the hallway for our jackets, and everyday this little house is looking more and more like our home.

So what’s on the horizon for our land? After much thought and debate, I think we have decided to clear a bit more of the underbrush only (sparing every tree) on our property. I love the dense wildness of this untouched acreage, but the woods are even too thick to take walks through in many places because of the Yaupons and vines and bushes all tangled over each other and it is not a very useful space. We’d like to try our hand at raising chickens in the Spring, and even maybe one day, a goat or two. If that’s to be in our future, we definitely need a little more useable space. And I can’t wait to see where that will take us next!

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We came here to live more simply. Our goal is to be completely debt-free, keep our expenses low and enjoy the beauty of this land, our children and each other. Every day we’re finding this more a reality. We’re learning that “things” don’t make us happy, but God satisfies with the work he gives us (even if it is difficult at times). There is grace here. Grace in going where God leads, grace in letting go, grace in working with our hands, and grace in quiet living.

Thanks for sharing!Share on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on YummlyPrint this pagePin on Pinterest

Welcome! I’m Brittany, wife and mama to two little girls Marlee and Hannah (3 yrs and 1 yr). This is where I tell you what I’m about and what I love, but honestly that always seems to change as time goes by. For the most part, I’m a mama just like you. My goal is to live as authentically, imperfectly, passionately and naturally as possible and to inspire you to do the same! I'm so glad you're here!

Categories: Our Home | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments