Take Heart, Daughter

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Photo by Kaique Rocha from Pexels

Social media has been a hard place lately. Between the news stories and political happenings and the responses of friends and family sharing their own stories and then the responses to the responses of friends and family, there is one thing that has been made so overwhelmingly clear.

It’s something that can’t be debated or doubted or downplayed and it’s this–there is so much hurt out there.

With each new secret shared, my heart is continually being brought to its knees.

But as a society, pain makes us uncomfortable so our first reaction is to discount it or rationalize it away. We tell ourselves there are ulterior motives or political manipulations.

I just want to stand on the roof of my house and shout.

STOP. EVERYONE JUST STOP FOR A HOT MINUTE.

Your neighbor. Your babysitter. Your mother. Your mail carrier. People are hurting.

And they are vulnerably and courageously bringing their broken pieces out into public view. With trembling hands, they are offering up their stories and holding their pain up to the light.

Just stop for a second and consider what you’ve been hearing from the people you pass on the street, in the grocery store aisle, in the halls at work.

So many people have been going about their lives, never letting on that they were carrying these heavy, heavy burdens.

But Jesus sees those broken places inside us and wants to heal more than just our bodies. He wants to heal our souls.

“Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, ‘If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.’ Jesus turned and saw her. ‘Take heart, daughter,’ he said, ‘your faith has healed you.’ And the woman was healed at that moment. (Matthew 9:20-22 NIV)”

This woman had suffered from a bleeding condition for twelve long years. Her physical pain must have been great. Her body must have been struggling with all sorts of issues resulting from continuous blood loss. This is what I’ve always tended to focus on when I read her story—the obvious need for physical healing.

It’s hard for me to imagine the modern-day equivalent of the crushing loneliness this woman must have lived with for the last dozen years. In a time when bleeding women were considered unclean and sequestered in isolation, the last twelve years of her life must have been a nightmare.

But Jesus knew. He not only addressed her physical healing, but with a single word, he addressed her emotional healing, as well.

Daughter.

With that single word, he banished loneliness and isolation and brought her into community. In the presence of so many witnesses, he deemed her wanted and welcomed. As far as I can tell from my limited knowledge and research, she is the only person Jesus referred to as “daughter,” and she just might have been the one whose heart needed to hear it most.

We all have our scars and broken places deep within us. Lately, more and more of those hidden wounds are being brought out into the light. It’s been overwhelmingly heartbreaking to see just how many have been carrying such heavy burdens of pain, often silently.

Take heart, daughter.

He sees the invisible and hears the silent. He heals the hidden hurts.

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Home Is Wherever I’m with You

 

Home is a fluid term.

It has meant so many different things to us over the years.

Whenever I smell salt air or hear seagulls, I feel at home. Those are some of my earliest memories from a childhood spent in a tiny coastal Florida town.

Home also meant Tallahassee. And for at least a decade, it meant the little blue house with the red front door. The place where we learned to adult and brought babies home and navigated some of the most brutal and some of the most beautiful times of our lives.

But then we moved and before we knew it, Atlanta felt like home. Our growing family bonded over a shared adventure. Parents and kids alike were on equal footing as we all faced new routines, new places, making new friends.

Home was our little rental house where Abby took her first steps and the big kids learned to ride bikes. Where I learned how far I could push my sleep-deprived body and where I also learned how to ask for help. Finally.

Home is the “unicorn house” we found together. Our answered prayer, a house that checked off so many boxes for an incredible bargain courtesy of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Home.

The one thing connecting all these places?

My people.

The grubby hands. The smiling eyes. The fussing and the laughing and the singing from the next room.

The smell of freshly washed toddler hair. The bear hugs from arms that are somewhere between man and boy. The gentle tugs of my hair while little fingers practice new braiding techniques.

This.

This is what home will always be.

And this is what we take with us. It is not limited to buildings or towns. And that’s a good thing. Because we are about to blow out the traditional limits of what home means.

In just three weeks, we will pack up a summer’s worth of daily life and begin a thousand-mile drive. Jake accepted a 13-week assignment as a travel nurse for Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital in Connecticut.

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Our inner gypsies are thrilled. We cannot wait to see and explore and do. We are already planning adventures in New York City, Boston, Plymouth, Montreal, Philadelphia, Washington, and so many places in between!

The inner Type A control freak is completely overwhelmed. Our calendar is insanely full before we leave.

Oh. And we don’t actually technically really have a place to live just yet. Cue absolute stress meltdown.

Remember that bit up there about me learning how to ask for help?

Well, friends, this is me asking for help.

Know anyone in the New Haven area who’d like to bring in some summer income on a garage apartment or an attic or a basement or a camper or a boat or a van down by the river? We’re nonsmokers. No pets with us. (April will be at summer camp with Nana and PopPop.)

We’re friendly people. I mean–we’re absolutely crazy–but we’re sweet. =)

Comment or email with any leads! If your tip leads to us finding a place to live, I’ll give you a handpainted wooden sign of your choice from my Etsy shop, Haven Creek!

home is wherever i'm with youSo, friends? We’re really doing this! We’re taking this show on the road. If you’re in the New England area, let me know. If you know of any awesome roadside stops between Atlanta and Connecticut, let me know that, too.

If you would like to follow along on our adventure, be sure to follow my Facebook and Instagram. I cannot even begin to imagine the ups and downs this summer will bring us.

I hope you’ll join us on our journey!

What Moms Really Want for Christmas

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In a recently conducted, extremely reliable, incredibly scientific poll done by–um–me on my social media, researchers (also me) have discovered what moms truly want for Christmas.

The question posed to moms was simple: “If Santa could bring you anything, real or imagined, what would you ask for?”

The responses came and a trend overwhelmingly presented itself. While Santa might have a hard time filling the requests exactly as hoped, I took the liberty of offering up a few, slightly more realistic, alternatives.

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Every evening around 6:00, these people who live in our houses want to eat. Again. Which means we’re supposed to feed these tiny humans. Again. There are only so many times we can get away with frozen nugget-shaped meat product and leftover shells and cheese. Believe me. I’ve tested those limits. So if Santa could bring moms a chef to do all your menu planning and shopping and cooking? Dream come true. A personal chef is sadly out of reach for most of us. But what about these alternatives to make mealtime a bit easier?
– Meal Subscription Service that could deliver fresh ingredients and detailed recipes right to your door. No thinking required. Which is great because I have zero brain cells left by dinnertime.
– Grocery Delivery or Curbside Pickup is now a thing at several major supermarkets. Not having to become the People of Walmart twice a week sounds heavenly to me.
– Menu Planning and List Making Service would at least cut down on the time it takes to plan the weekly menu and shopping lists. This would save us all from being stuck in a repetitive dinner rotation.

To discover the next four must-have gifts for mom, please click through to Atlanta Area Moms Blog. Because while Santa might have trouble gift wrapping a maid, there are some great alternatives waiting to go under the tree! http://atlanta.citymomsblog.com/mom/what-moms-really-want-for-christmas/

A Few Favorite Places to Get Back to Nature

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With the cooler temperatures and the gorgeous leaves, I find myself giving thanks daily to live in north Georgia. Especially during this time of year. I want to be outside all the time. For all the things. Hayrides, pumpkin patches, family hikes, bonfires, farm tours. Autumn is my jam.

If your family is like mine and you love being outdoors during this season, family camping trips are awesome adventures. Whether it’s a dream come true or your worst nightmare, memories are sure to be made and they will last a lifetime! I grew up in Florida and we would spend our vacations camping in north Georgia. Some of my earliest childhood memories include sleeping bags, mountain air, and grumpy geese.

So if you’re ready to add some solid points towards that “Mom of the Year” title, here are a few of my favorite campgrounds. They’re so much fun, you won’t even realize you’re roughing it.

Please click through to read about my top three choices at Atlanta Area Moms Blog. Offering tons of activities in gorgeous settings (along with some alternatives to roughing it in a tent), you’ll want to add these places to your list! http://atlanta.citymomsblog.com/mom/favorite-places-get-back-nature/

 

Do You Know the Power of Your Words?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on her face. As soon as the words rushed out of my mouth, I regretted saying them, but they tumbled out faster than I could pull them back. Once they were out there, the damage was done.

We were eleven years old that summer at church camp, and for the first time in my life, the “cool” girls were paying attention to me. Wanting to make myself more acceptable to them, I tried to distance myself from my closest friend. And when the line was drawn in the sand, I outright denied our friendship right to her face.

Even though we eventually reconciled, and she graciously forgave me, the shame of that moment still burns whenever it comes to mind. More than twenty-five years later, I still feel awful for the words I said.

I’m constantly in awe of the power of words. They can bring life and love and joy and peace. They can also bring utter destruction in a matter of seconds. “Sticks and stones can break your bones but words will never hurt”? I beg to differ.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV).

If I asked you to remember a time in your life when you said something you regret, I bet it wouldn’t be too difficult to think of several times. I’m also willing to wager you’ve had at least a handful of hurtful things said to you over the years…

I’d love for you to click through to The Glorious Table to read the remainder of this post. Join us in a conversation about the power of words and how we can speak life into one another.

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Finding God in the Middle of Your Mess

“Wait. When do you have to be out?”

My friend and I were sitting in my living room, and as she looked around, she was thinking she must have misheard me. My family had been living in our rental home for two years, and it was time to move on. We were scheduled to turn in the keys in just four days.

Not one thing had been packed. Not a book. Not a photo album. Not a single fork.

“You have help coming, right?”

I mumbled something about it all being fine and that we’d figure it out. We were moving just twenty minutes down the road and everything would be okay. I basically said everything but the one word I knew I needed to say—help.

Because we’ve been friends for almost twenty years, she knows me well. My protest went in one ear and out the other. Within the hour, she had lined up her husband and set aside Saturday to help us.

My friend spent countless hours over the next several days cleaning out bathroom drawers, pulling long-forgotten items from under beds, and battling giant dust bunnies behind the dryer…

Please click through to The Glorious Tableto continue reading about how accepting help with a move brought up all kinds of emotions but, most of all, pointed us back to Jesus.

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Facing Down Your Gorillas

One of the benefits of homeschooling my kids is that once I’ve recognized my sanity is at the breaking point, I can spontaneously declare a field trip day. On one such day, when nothing seemed to be going well, we ended up at the zoo for the afternoon. It seemed all the baby animals were also over it and the mamas were reaching their own breaking points.

When we came to the gorilla enclosure, we were treated to a show. Two juveniles were having the time of their lives. They wrestled, threw dirt at each other, and chased each other in circles around their mama. My kids loved this big game of mischief and could not be happier watching those two get into trouble.

After a few warnings, mama gorilla had finally had enough of their antics. (Solidarity, mama.) The big silverback jumped up from where she had been trying to get some peace and quiet and lunged after her rowdy kids. Everyone thought it was hilarious—except my two-year-old.

All Abby could see was this angry gorilla charging full speed right toward us. Terrified, she pointed and screamed, “IS COMIN’!” She called out for her daddy and instinctively reached for his hands, practically climbing up his legs, trying to get to the security of his arms.

To find out what happened next and read how we all have to face down our own gorillas sometimes, click through to The Glorious Table here:
http://theglorioustable.com/2017/05/facing-down-your-gorillas/.

 

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