Friday, January 31, 2014

Join Me For First Fridays with Francis!

I'm starting what I hope will be a fun new link up here next Friday, a week from today. And I do hope you all will join in and help me spread the word. So consider yourselves invited and please invite everyone else you know to

First Fridays With Francis
here at Blessed Are The Feet.

What do you need to bring to this little First Friday party? It's simple. BYFF. Bring your favorite Francis. Simply share on your blog your favorite image, quote, or article about Francis that you've encountered this month. Or even your favorite of his tweets. And then come here and link up your post.

Not a blogger? No problem. Join in the fun in the comments below. Link your Favorite Francis of the month there.

The first link up will take place right here, next Friday, February 7! 

Please come on by and spread a little real love and appreciation for Pope Francis. See you next Friday. And send your friends!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

KNOWN 2014: Finding My Brave

So part of my commitment to living KNOWN in 2014 was to admit not to hide behind the excuse, "People think I am brave (or whatever other complimentary word you might want to put there -- or derogatory one, for that matter), but that is because they do not really know me." And instead to be brave about letting myself be known.

I took a big step today in finding a bit of that brave. My beautiful friend Cristi, from my college days in New Orleans, has a stunning blog called Motherhood Unadorned where she gets real about motherhood, life and mental health.

I have commended her bravery. And I have proclaimed over and over again that mental health is something we have to get comfortable talking about. And today, I accepted the challenge myself.

So I'm over at her place today finding my brave and talking about mental health after infant loss and miscarriage. Would you pop and over and thank Cristi for taking on this aspect of blogging, for being so courageous, and for letting me do the same?

Thanks. You're the best.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Letters to Emma: On Owning Your Voice

So Dear One,
There is a lot of attention being paid to your voice these days. And rightly, so, friend, because you have an extraordinary gift and you worked hard to be able to use that gift in a special way. But we all have a voice, Emma. Some of us sing with it and some of us preach with it and some of us mother with it and some of us silence it into the prayers of our hearts in the cloister and some of us just are who we are with it in the ordinary extraordinary of every day.

But the world, it cries out for our voices, Emma. It needs us to use them. And we, girls like me and you, we find that easy a lot of the time. Except when it's not. And then it is so not. Usually, that hard time comes when using our voice in whatever manner makes us feel vulnerable and raw and exposed to the world. When using our voices means letting our hearts hang out of our mouths all exposed to everyone's eyes. And suddenly, our once confident awareness of our own gift is gripped by fear.

And we begin to wonder what others hear when they hear our voices and what they see when they see our hearts. And we worry whether it sounds good to them and whether they like it. And we begin to wonder if maybe they don't. And then, sweet Emma, we turn a critical eye on ourselves.

We look at all the imperfections in the notes we hit and the words we spoke and the love we gave. We remind ourselves of all the imperfections of our sinful hearts and we consider that maybe we were wrong, crazy even, to think that we were gifted, that God wanted to use imperfect, broken, sinful us. And fear threatens to silence us.

Emma, let's make a pact that we won't let our voices be silenced by fear. That we won't listen to ourselves on playback over and over again and be our own harshest critics. That we won't nitpick our imperfections to the point that we start to doubt our worth. Emma, let's own our voices, imperfect though they, and we, may be. Let's own the fact that we were given a mission and a purpose by a God who was from the beginning of time and who brought life into the world that was a light in the darkness. That we have been given a voice to light the darkness by the God of Life. And that He gave us purpose and mission and voice to use for His glory.  Can we just be okay with that? Own it?

Even though sometimes it might be the humiliation of using it at the wrong time in the wrong way because we risked wrongly? Even though sometimes it might mean our own self-doubt strangles the good and sin spills out and we sound scratchy and screechy and all off key in our irritability and jealousy and anger? And even though many, many times it will have to be the voice of repentance with which speaks the million "I'm sorrys" and "Bless me Father for I have sinned" that must come out of a voice used often?

Can we just be okay with knowing that if we commit to using our voice and using it well that sometimes we will use it not so well? And that it is not the end of the world? Because, Emma, I never want you to be afraid of being vulnerable or embarrassed into silence by your brokenness. I want those moments to make you sing and shout from the mountaintops even louder--that it's from Him and for Him and through Him and we are a messy mush of gift and girl and woman and woe--but He has chosen to use us, so we will let ourselves be that.

And, Emma, there are going to be times too that you get it exactly right. Knowing you, there are going to be LOTS of times you get it exactly right. You are going to sing beautifully or say just the right thing or be just the mom you imagined you'd always be or pray a prayer that makes you believe in your God and your goodness just a little bit more. And one of two things will happen. No one will hear it or everyone will hear it.

Either way, it's going to try to sully the moment for you, Emma. The loneliness of getting it right in secret is hard to bear. And getting it right when everybody sees it? Oh my, how hard is that?

All these compliments and people telling you how beautiful your gift is and you not knowing where to draw the humble line and that false Catholic girl guilt telling you that you shouldn't enjoy it and yet, well, you kind of want to enjoy it. Emma, can I tell you something? Go ahead and enjoy it guilt free.

Don't sully the beauty of your voice feeling like you have to be self-deprecating every time someone pays you a compliment. It's one of Christian women's most unattractive tendencies. True humility is in letting the little girl blush creep into your cheeks and saying in all sincerity, "Thanks, that means a lot to me." And letting that be true. Because it does. And because no one pays you a compliment because they want to be accosted by your self-doubt. They want to encourage and build up. Be built up, sweet one. And be okay with the fact that it makes you feel good.

There is so much stuff out there about loving on and meeting the needs of an introvert. Well, Emma, we extroverts we like to be loved on to. And for us, we need a little lime light, a little positive attention and interaction, some good conversation and time to process out loud. God made us that way, and He says it is good. So let's be good with that, okay?

And you know what? After all that, when we have owned our voices, however we're called to use them in the moment, and learned to confess our sins and accepted our own imperfections and let it be good when we get it right. After all that, Em, comesthe fun part.

We can take those voices and use them to encourage and build up and bring life to others. To the vulnerable and the forgotten and those who do not know Him at the ends of the earth, but to our own sisters who are still gripped by that familiar fear we know all too well too. And, Emma, that part is always so, so good. But you must do the hard work on yourself first to be credible.

So let's promise we'll seek Him and work hard together on owning our gifts, our voices? Because, Emma, the world needs you. And me. And all of us girls with the songs in our hearts that are us in the daily living for Him. He knew that. He knitted us together with a purpose in mind. And owning that will make our songs sound that much more lovely, dear one, whether we sing them into a microphone or the ear of a child or the heart of a friend or from the mountaintops of Costa Rica or some other corner of the world. All of us, the women with the Light of God in our hearts, we have a song to sing to and a voice that is ours and unique and much needed and beloved to the Lord.

Let's live that, Emma. And help others do the same. Because that, my friend, can change the world.

Word prompt: Voice
Linking up at Velvet Ashes. Better late than never!
Who's Emma? I talked about that here: "A lot of people have asked me who Emma is. She is a real girl. A beautiful young soul who I am blessed to know. But she is also so many young ladies I know and love. My own nieces. Daughters of dear friends. And she is me. Much of what is in those letters is a message to my own soul. A moment of self-teaching to bring clarity and focus to a life that can often be overwhelming to process."

Monday, January 20, 2014

This Week: A Pinterest Daybook

Follow Colleen Mitchell's board This Week on Pinterest.

So I was right. This Pinterest planning idea is pure genius! Well, it's working anyway. The post has had a lot of hits, but more importantly, it inspired a great week in our house. I'm looking forward to seeing if it keeps us on track for the week ahead too. Here's where I hope we're headed this week based on the board above:

School Stuff:
I wanted to dig in a bit to how solar energy works with the kids and some of the amazingly cool products featured here but we just didn't quite get there last week. It is science that is pertinent to my kids since when we visit our Cabecar friends in their homes in the reserve, there is no electricity. A few friends have solar panels. I wanted my boys to understand how that works. Who knows maybe one day they'll be the ones coming up with an innovative solution for a need they see in their friends lives. I haven't found a video that I think is perfect to explain the concept yet, but I am digging more this morning and hopefully we can spend some time on this this week.

I'm writing lesson plans for a Survival School unit that will cover many subjects, so you'll start seeing lots of pins for that. I'm trying to take advantage of my boys obsession with those survivor shows and the fact that Daddy is willing to take this and run with it if I write the plans.

My boys thoroughly enjoyed our jaunt through Beowulf with H.E. Marshall, and were quite entertained by this reading of the Old English. We all were amazed at how much it reminded us of the native language our Cabecar friends speak. I want to get the Heaney version eventually, but I think we'll play around with Chaucer this week.

Some good math stuff happening here lately but I want to give it another week. I'll highlight next week.

Creative Stuff:
I have been trying to make some type of creative activity available to the boys most days. They have joined the Rainbow Loom craze so that and modeling clay (I just had to type that in Spanish and translate because I couldn't remember what it was called in English) worked well for daily creative fun.

For an art project, we tried a version of these foil owls but did it our own way. The end results were mixed but everyone really enjoyed the process and I think the boys benefited from a project that was done in stages and did not give them immediate gratification.  So for this week I think we'll try a version of this project that I found at the same blog when I went searching for the foil owl pin link.

Faith Stuff:
This Ordinary Time pin is chock full of good stuff. Like overwhelming kind if full. But I found the gem of the Acts of Faith, Hope and Love in there, and I think we will aim to memorize those during Ordinary Time.

I've been using the pin from Jessica's book list to remind myself what saints to read about from the volumes we have. St Thomas Aquinas' feast is around the corner and he is my Evan's patron, so I'll be searching for some pins to celebrate in a special but simple way.

I'm trying to decide whether to get the boys in on the Scripture memorization project or just let it be a "me" thing. I know that sounds terrible but a mom needs some stuff, even in the spiritual realm that is just for her, right? We'll see what I decide to do this week. Maybe I'll just invite but not insist on participation.

Home Stuff:
There are a few black bean recipes pinned there. I hope to try something new this week. We've been obsessing over butternut squash lately (finding something new in the grocery store is exciting) and our new missionary volunteers at the orphanage are vegetarians, so I think this soup would be great to cook on the day they come to hang out and have community time this week.

I really want to bake bread this week. Ditching an old pin that has been hanging around a while and hoping that one will provide the inspiration I need.

And maybe I'll finally get around the making a curtain for under my bathroom sink.

Me Stuff:
Finding a lot of richness for myself in this pin about mindful living and still going back to it often.

And it looks like we might be passing around a nasty cold for the duration so I'll be digging up some of those natural cold remedy pins this week.

A weekend internet outage kept me from posting about Voice at Velvet Ashes this week but I hope to get that post out tomorrow since it's taking up much needed space in my head.

Kid Stuff:
I didn't do much digging through boards this week as I had a lot pinned to go on, but I realize that I don't have much fresh inspiration there for just fun kid stuff. So I'll look around a bit and see if I can find something to bring a little playfulness to our house this week.

And maybe look for some other conversation starters as I'm not finding these grab my attention very much.

Other Stuff:
Still finding lots of good marriage building material in this pin.

708. Inspiration for mindful living
717. Friends I can count on for prayer
720. An American boy and a Cabecar boy sitting on the kitchen table painting a paper volcano
725. Ordinary Time
729. Feeling relaxed in my skin
730. MAIL!!!!
and a full seven gifts thankful for one variety of visit or visitor or another. Truly the thanks of an extorverted missionary's heart.

I'd love to hear about it if you started your own Pinterest board for planning! What's inspiring you for the week ahead? What are counting thanks for, feeling blessed by, friends?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Weekends With Chesterton: On Wonder and White

I have been battling a cold all weekend and I had to stay home from Mass this evening. So I brewed up a warm cup of chai with milk and honey and settled in with the The Chesterton Collection (I can't believe how cheap this great collection of his works is!)

There are 34 books total in this volume but I chose to start reading from Tremendous Trifles, which is a collection of column pieces Chesterton wrote for a periodical on finding something significant in ordinary things. I read the preface essay, from whence comes this well-loved Chesterton gem:

and then proceeded on to " A Piece of Chalk". This is my favorite part of the essay:

"...white is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black. When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars. And one of the two or three defiant verities of the best religious morality, of real Christianity, for example, is exactly this same thing; the chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color. Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell. Mercy does not mean not being cruel, or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen. Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc. In a word, God paints in many colors; but he never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white"
Chesterton's style makes me chuckle and it makes me think. And I can't think of a better cure for Sunday cold blues than a warm cup of tea and that. So, thanks, Sarah for inviting us along to your weekend Chesterton tea time.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

KNOWN 2014: The Word WAS


This has just chased me down all week. A new reading of a familiar verse.


He WAS. Just always. From the beginning. My Jesus. WAS. 


It is a familiar yet earth-shaking reality. My Salvation always WAS, with God. In God's mind, in the beginning, was saving me from myself with the Word that is Him. 

Just can't seem to digest that crazy wild reality this week. But have found it such a buoy to my days. It has made my heart sing with gratitude. 


In Spanish it reads, "In the beginning, the Word existed. And the Word was (form of be that indicates something changeable) with God, and the Word was (form of be that indicates something unchangeable).

He WAS the unchangeable God who comes to change, who exists in time and outside of it, in all that is eternal and all that is temporal. In all that is glorious and all that is ordinary.


And what He was was the Word that Love spoke into the world, the Spirit being His voice. 

And the three who always were, they have always KNOWN me. 


And that, friends, that is carrying me on eagle's wings and bringing me unbounded joy this week. Which was only amplified when I read this. You too, friend?

What great comfort are you finding in the Word this week, friends?

#oneword364 #memoryproject2014 #TheJesusProject

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

This Week: A Pinterest Plan

So, I hear all those friends of mine rally to make sure we all know that Pinterest perfection is not attainable, that the comparison kills and that we are enough. And I believe them. And I see the danger and want to avoid it. Only, there's one problem. I LIKE Pinterest. All the pretty stuff. Things organized and in their place. I have some people I connect with there more than anywhere else. Random funnies from my favorite cousin are too good to give up. But mostly, I really find it useful to be able to save things I want to come back to there in a systematic way.

It's that coming back to them thing that can get tricky though. Because now I have a lot of stuff pinned and I can get overwhelmed and distracted before I find the one little inspiration I need.

But I have been trying to figure out a way to bring a bit more creative inspiration to my life, to our family life in many areas for this new year. Life in the mission field can easily become long stretches of just surviving. I wanted to break out of that and bring fresh enjoyment to the kitchen, to schooling, to my writing, and so many other things.

I have also always wished I could find a Monday morning daybook style post that worked for me. It seems so nice to sort of frame the week ahead at its inception and move into with a sense of purpose. But I could never find anything that consistently did that for me. Most of the time it felt like I was trying to squeeze my life into someone else's. It just didn't feel right.

All this comes together in my most recent stroke of genius! (Look when most days you're just trying to get through multiplication tables and get the clothes off the line before it rains, a good idea makes you feel like a genius).

I created a new Pinterest board called THIS WEEK: 

Follow Colleen Mitchell's board This Week on Pinterest.

At some point Sunday evening, I take some time to think through the week ahead. Then I start browsing my Pinterest boards, starting with whatever my priority is for the week: school stuff, home, cooking, etc... I keep pins of book lists for that month of the liturgical year and choose a few pins for mindful living or habit formation pinned there. I just pin it to the new board without deleting it from its original board. That way, as I complete something during the week or decide that it's a lost cause, I can delete it from the THIS WEEK board without losing it all together.

Then during the week, if I find something I want to add, a blog link up I want to participate in or a recipe for a particular ingredient I have on hand, or a video I want to show the kids for school, I simply pin it to the board to have it handy.

I moved the board to show up first when I open my Pinterest page, so in the mornings, I open it up, choose anything that might pertain to that day and open up the tabs, print if I need to, then close out Pinterest and just keep the tabs I need for that day opened and handy.

It worked beautifully last week. And I can see how it would be easy to create a little daybook out it too.

So, top three pins from last week?

  1.  Going over these manners. I've left it pinned for this week (and probably for a while because we are going to keep reviewing it, and I might even make it part of copywork assignments this week).
  2. Enjoying these conversation starters while the kids worked on art of creative projects.
  3. We really enjoyed painting sticks together and I am hoping to make them into some kind of mobile to hang on our porch this week.
This week, here are some hopes:

  1. In the kitchen: Do something new with black beans, which are a major staple here.
  2. In the school room: A virtual field trip to see how gum is made and a bit of learning about how solar energy works. There are a few math pins in there too.
  3. In the creativity corner: Tin foil and glue prints
  4. For me: Keep using this daily. I started last week and am loving the way it frames my days.
  5. A little goodie for my marriage. It's always good to have a concrete way to be mindful about building your marriage during the busy-ness of the week.
So, there you have, my brilliant new plan to bring a creative spark to my duties, to use Pinterest in a meaningful way, and to have a plan to frame the week by that suits me.

What brilliant ideas are inspiring you this week?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Letter To Self: You Shall Not Perish

Dear You,

 Yeah, you. You with the brave word KNOWN tattooed on your heart for the year. You with the new commitment to sink deep into the Word and speak in tongues not your own. You who thought maybe John 3:16 might be an easy place to start.

I watched you this week. I know you found out it wasn't. You found out that familiar isn't the same thing as easy with the Word of God. I watched Love pierce deep in a dark place. Say a hard thing to you.

Because you, daughter of the King, child of Light, lover of Love, you've had a pretty messy year. A good one in so many ways. You counted more than 1000 gifts. Marked them out in pen. But even still, you were dogged by the darkness of anxiety more than ever before, felt the pain of loss open fresh old wounds, trusted and mistrusted yourself for the trusting then felt the guilt of unfounded mistrust. In the Word this week, you heard it. The hard word from Love itself. You have been living like you are perishing. Instead of living this:

You who lay down your life to help others believe, you have forgotten to believe yourself. Forgotten to live knowing no one is relying on your heroics to save the day, and that the dark villain chasing you has already been defeated by the only Superpower. You forgot that at the beginning of it all He WAS. And at the end, He will be. And right now, He is.

You have spent your days swirled in the dark mist of discontent, the bitter sting of hope dashed. And you have refused to believe in eternal life. Day after day, you lived like you were perishing, like any minute now, it was all going to fall apart.

You lived, dear one, in fear. In that unspoken and lonely fear of failure who is your worst enemy yet long-time companion. You courted her a bit this year, invited her in for coffee one too many times. And she wooed with quiet accusation. Made you believe you not only needed to fear the possibility of failing but that you had already failed, that you were a failure.

That the dishes left in the sink overnight said more about you that a God who put on skin to save you. That lack of routine and continuity and kids who went to bed too late and didn't do as much school as they should have said more about you than the miraculous fact that the God of the Universe trusted you enough to put eternity in your hands in the form of people who are His. That your body's betrayal, its inability to cup life safely in its womb, its bleeding out of hope said more about you than the Blood He shed so that your pain matters for something.

That the to-do list without the check marks and the so many days you made no lists whatsoever because you didn't care any more mattered more than the fact that it is done in eternity. That what people thought about you and their approval of your work made you who you were more than the knitting He did in your mother's womb.

You ran and raced within from the menacing threats, from mortal peril, from perishing, so many days. And more often than not, you still felt you had not run fast enough, that the darkness had caught you. But:

And as you have dug back in over the last month, heard Him say, "I know. Come out of hiding, sweet one. You are known. You are loved. Even with, even if, and even when. You are loved. And there is mercy and there is grace and there is light enough for all your dark battles. I put on skin for just this reason. So you would know. I laid my head in the meanness and cold of your cruel world so you would know. I held out my hands and embraced the tears of the woman who wept at my feet and the one who his at the well and the one who banged pots and pans in the kitchen in frustration so that you would know. I became incarnate in the womb of a woman that you would know. From the inside from forever until never-ending glory shines, I have known you. In the beginning, I WAS. And because I lived, I live in you. And you do not have to perish, only believe."

I hear the question forming before you ask. And I know that you know that you already know. All you have to believe is this one little thing: it doesn't matter if you are enough because He is. It doesn't matter what you know because you are known. It does't matter what you do, because it has already been done. So just live and breathe grateful. Keep counting. Live in the embrace of His Word.

You have chosen well, sweet soul sister. This is your year to remember that you are known. And to believe. And to live like you have eternal life in you. Because you are not in peril. You shall not perish, dear. So live in the light. Let it shine on your darkest places and let them be known. Because you cannot fail at what has already been won. And you cannot perish when you know you will live forever. So live lavishly and love long and let it go. He's got you. 

Velvet Ashes: encouragement for women serving overseas
Come link up with us at the Grove at Velvet Ashes  this week.
You don't want to miss the opportunity to be part of this space.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Stay Inspired: Twenty (or So) TED Talks for 2014

So I've been brewing a little love affair with TED talks lately. Well, actually, I've been brewing a love affair with the notion of TED talks, because, well, I never really seem to find time to actually listen to them. I just look wistfully at the link and think, "Oh, I want to hear that. That would be so good. I bet I could find so much inspiration there." And then I don't.

But I am vowing to bring my relationship with TED to the next level in 2014. Because I like to keep learning stuff. And I like to give and hear talks just about as much as I like to write and read stuff. Words inspire me, help me learn.

Because this relationship is in the crush phase and I have no idea how actually hard it is going to be to invest in it, I started all realistic with the title "12 Ted Talks for 2014". Then I found a link with ten all in one that I want to watch. So I changed the title to "20 Ted Talks...". Then a friend shared a link to another talk that she said was a must watch. So, I just cut myself a little slack and named it "Twenty or So...." So now I don't have to count and have all the liberty in the world to bite off more than I can chew. And I will.

I probably won't listen to all of these. I may find some others to listen to. I might only listen to one or two. But I know it will be good. So I'm going to go ahead with my growing list.

So, here's the list I'm starting with by category:

Brene Brown on Vulnerability
Glennon Doyle's Lessons From the Mental Hospital
Kristen Neff on Self-Compassion
Summer Beretsky on Anxiety

On Thinking Creatively:
Elizabeth Gilbert on Creative Genius
Arthur Benjamin on Mathemagic
The Creative Spark Playlist

Alternative Education:
Kevin Robinson: How Schools Kill Creativity
Ken Danford: School is Optional
Every Kid Needs a Champion
I already watched this one, but don't miss it.

Non-Profit Success and Leadership:
Chris Marlowe: What If Doing Good Was Simple?
This list of ten talks from the Stay Classy blog on philanthropy and leadership.
How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Culture and Global Issues:
The Danger of a Single Story
Jane Chen on the Embrace Baby Warmer
A Midwife's Story: How Midwives Can Save Lives From the Horn of Africa
Our Century's Greatest Injustice from the co-author of Half the Sky
Social Experiments to Eradicate Poverty
Invest in Africa's Own Solutions

Next week, I'll share the list I am making for my teenage son.

Do you have favorite TED talks that have inspired you? Ones that you think would be great for a teen list? From whom are you finding inspiration in the priority areas of your life right now? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Posted: Most Clicks of All Time

When I decided to link up with the lovely Sarah's new Posted. series, I wasn't realizing how much I would need to re-read the post she would choose. Sarah asked us to link to our post with the most clicks ever.

I had an inkling and I was right. It was this post about saying goodbye to the little one we lost to miscarriage just before we headed to the mission field. Clearly, the sadness and the hop in that post resonated with people. And today, after experiencing two more miscarriages in the last six months, I needed to hear that voice of hope, surrender, and resignation. 

As I seek to spend the year letting myself be KNOWN by God, these last few days I have realized how I have hidden the deep sadness and pain of those losses from Him. Of course He sees and knows all, but in my time with Him, I have not let myself go there, feel the hard feelings, say the sad things, wonder about His will. And I need to. Because on the other side of that lies reconnecting in intimacy with my Father, and that is the road to hope, the road to heaven.

The hope that will let me repeat these words again today:

For I realize, that even when my body is well past the age of bearing babies, even if I should live until I am 100, always, I will be an expectant mother, until the day I hold my babies for eternity. And the hope of that day makes the suffering and struggle and strength to do His will in the hard times all worth it.  For with every drawing near to His cross, we draw near to the glory of the Resurrection as well, and with every bowing low to His sovereignty, we come closer to bowing before His Holy Throne.

So I am thankful this little link-up let me re-visit a part of me I needed to be blessed by today. I hope it blesses you as well.

Monday, January 6, 2014


Humbled but grateful that my kind friends at Somebody's Mama have given the honor of being their Mom of the Month (M.O.M.).

Help me say thanks by helping us grow the Somebody's Mama tribe? Come hang out with us, mamas trying to make the world a better place for other mamas. It's good stuff, y'all.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

KNOWN 2014: The Word

One of the ways I am going to seek intimacy with the Lord this year, seek to be KNOWN by the Lover of my soul, is to dig into His love letter to us, His Word.

I have been longing to engage more with the Lord in His word. To make it a habit. To make it as valuable to me as my very breath. And to know the Word well so I can make it known.

Then the beautiful Ann Voskamp posts this today. A scripture memory program I can tailor to my own needs yet walk along side sisters. And the verses, from the very book on the Word made Flesh, from he who named God Love. A perfect fit.

And then I remembered that tucked away awaiting use, in addition to my bilingual Bible with verses in English alongside verse in Spanish, I have the Gospel of John, translated by a faithful pastor who has served here many years. You can hear some of the verses from John here.

And a crazy idea popped into my head which at first sounded like a fun brainstorm but soon become a weighty conviction from the One who most knows me. A challenge of obedience to memorize the Word in all three languages. To risk the humiliation of going a lot slower than everyone else. To risk the humiliation of not getting it right. To risk having to ask for help.

Because this is being known. The Lover of my soul knows where my fears lie, where my striving takes the place of true intimacy with His Word, where I make a game of what I should make a commitment, where I draw entertainment from what I should draw breath.

And He wants me to let that be known because He wants to transform. And I do so want to drop the facade of the over achiever and the participator and the one who can do it all. And just be known by Him and know Him in His Word.

So, I will take #TheJesusProject 2014 journey, and make God's Word a habit.


But I will likely limp along in embarrassment, way behind the crowd. I'm ready to fly, not is speed, but with wings not weighed down by expectation, by pretending, by trying to be more than I need to be. I'm ready to fly into the arms of the God who knows me and sit with Him in long, quiet stretches lumbering over His Word pronounced slowly and uncertainly in tongues that are not my own, but that I have been given to speak.

This is how KNOWN will be lived in the Word this year.

So this week, it is this week (and probably many more after) I will start in Scripture memorization preschool, with the all familiar John 3:16. A cop out for me in English, yes, but in Spanish and Cabecar? A challenge, I assure you.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him Should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

"Porque de tal manera amo Dios al mundo que dio su Hijo unigenito para que todo aquel que cree en El no se pierda mas tenga vida eterna." Juan 3:16

"Sakeklawa kajiskawa shkal bai s i. Jenek i ka ite iyaba eklaba patkate kajiska, yite ijeba biketsa jewa bena ka weikanachaklawa kuna, ata jewa senakla jekjeye." 

So here I go, friends. Come along on your own journey? How are you digging into the Word this year? How are finding intimacy with God in your life right now? What are your Scripture goals for the year ahead?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Known. 2014.

Word Prompt: One Word

That's it. That's the word. My One Word 365. There have been a thousand choices clamoring in my head. I kept kicking them around, tumbling layers of meaning. What spoke to me where I was now? What spoke to my hopes for this new year? What do I need this year.


They all wiggled their way in and out of my head and my heart over the last couple of weeks. I have itched for time to get to these questions and really think about them. I had hoped to have time to journal. To reflect. Life didn't allow it in these busy days of Christmas, a monumental baptism, house guests, the arrival of new missionaries, a birthday and the celebration of a new year.

But I have found this one word practice helpful in the past and I really wanted to play. Finally, known made its way to the front of the line to be examined. And it only took a quick turn around it to know this was my word. It could be applied to so many of the thoughts I've had over the last week.

I want to make Christ known by loving the people He has called to love.

I want His word to be known more in my heart. Not just heard. But known. Deeply. Owned and rooted in my heart.

I would love if He would make His will for us a little bit more known.

But most of all, I long to be known. 

I want to spend the year digging into my relationship with the Lord and being known by Him. And by others. So many times, I find the notion of being loved by God, and even by others, a little, I don't know, false? Like I always want to respond, "Yeah, that's because they don't really know me."

Of course, I know that is not true, especially as it applies to God. But I live and I pray and I breathe like it's true a lot of the time. Like I have to pretty myself up before I come to God. Like our relationship is more about what I do for Him than who I am. Like if I hide the ugly, He'll love me more.

And then there is just this whole issue of time. It times time to really get to know someone. To build intimacy. To build trust. And it takes consistency. And being alone with that person.

I have not done a good job of letting myself sit with my Lord very much lately. It's a chicken or egg kind of dilemma. Not sure if I gave in to the temptations mentioned above and so began to distance myself or if those temptations began to win more and more because I wasn't making time to be known.

Either way, it really doesn't matter.

What matters is that He does know me. And He wants to know me. And I am built with an innate need to be known by Him. 

And I have not tended to it as I should lately. And I am banking 2014 on it. On building intimacy with my God, and on letting that intimacy spill over into a few relationships I have picked to intentionally invest in, and into knowing His word and into making Him known.

But first and foremost, it is about me and Him. About laying myself bare before Him and knowing the one thing that matters most, that I am not only loved, but known.

I'd love to know what word you are clinging to in 2014, and I hope you'll join me on my journey as well.

This weekend baby Sabrina was baptized in our parish with my husband and I serving as godparents.
She was the first baby born to a St. Francis Emmaus Center mom and the first baby of an indigenous family baptized in the central church under our newly structured parish. It was beautiful, humbling, profound.