Thursday, May 28, 2015

If I Can Craft . . . So Can You!

You guys . . . I totally MADE this wreath. With my hands. And no help.

Well . . . let's be honest. Me and Pinterest are like this (crosses fingers). It had every potential to turn into a Pinterest fail, but turned out pretty cute, right?!

I am certainly not a crafter—but when I saw how simple this wreath was to make, I thought I'd give it a shot. If you like it, and want to make one of your own, you'll find some very helpful tutorials here and here and also here from people who officially kick ass at crafts. If I can do it, you can, too!

Happy crafting!

Note: I'm thinking about making these for a Russia Mission fundraiser. Let me know if you'd be interested in one and we can work out price/colors, etc. I'll even let you take credit for the "craftiness"!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Elegy for Bennett's Baby Fat: A Poem

I was holding Bennett's little hands in mine the other day, and the realization that his pudgy wrists and fingers are thinning hit me. Hard. It won't be long until his deliciously fat little thighs officially grow into long, lanky legs. Months maybe.
The revelation made me want to bottle up this last piece of baby-ness in him and capture it in a way that later, I'll still be able to feel how his plump baby cheeks feel against my lips when I kiss him. For me, the only way to do that is in a poem:

Elegy for Bennett’s Baby Fat

The fat sausage feet I’ve snacked on
for months help you flee from my nibbles.

You say, Don’t get me and run circles
around our ottoman, dripping

baby fat from your thighs and giggles
from your mouth.  I fattened that face

with milk from my breasts, and now
it’s been swallowed up by a boy

I don’t recognize.  I scoop you up
and chomp on thinning forearms

that used to double over like rubber
bands encircled your wrists.

You say, Eat food, Mama,
and wriggle from my grasp

the same way the boy sneaks out
from the baby you used to be.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Telling stories before bed:
Bennett: "Once upon a time der were two budderfwies and they names were Mommy and Daddy and    
              Bennett and Bubby. Once upon a time they were friends. Dee end."

Using his manners:
Bennett: "Excuse me."
Me: "Did you toot?"
Bennett: "I just toot from my mouth."

On Daddy's baking skills:
Ryan: "I made a green swirl cake for St. Patrick's Day!"
Bennett: "I no like squirrel cake."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Breath

Take a deep breath.

Feel better?

Sometimes that's all it takes to slow down and realize the busy we've subscribed to is just that—busyness that we've added to our lives ourselves; busyness that threatens to drown what truly matters most in life.

So today . . . take a breath. Pause. Pray. Listen.

What does God have on your schedule for today?
Pausing at the top of Monte Tamaro, Switzerland in 2007.

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Peace

I'm not sure I've ever considered Jimi Hendrix to be a great theologian, but his quote about peace has always stood out to me:
Photo credit to Pinterest.
There is something about the big ideas of PEACE and POWER and LOVE being so intertwined that it seems illogical why we haven't figured it out yet. It seems so simple, doesn't it—the idea of peace?

Warring nations, disgruntled employees, hurting marriages, broken children . . . isn't love the missing piece in all of these injustices? Not enough love, forgotten love, too much self-love—that's what's breaking things, that's what's preventing the broken from being redeemed.

Friends, can we all just take a moment today to intentionally love on someone? Can't we just love without getting caught up in all the technicalities? Who cares if the other person has wronged us, or has different principles than we do, or that we want to be right, or that we just plain don't like them?

Today, let's just love each other and let the peace of that choice fall over us in waves.

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Monday, March 30, 2015

One Word, Five Voice: Live

This moment you're sitting in right now will never ever happen again, and frankly, I feel blessed that you chose it to read this blog entry. This moment you're living in is precious—we only get so many in this one beautiful life we're living.

I started today with that thought in mind, and already, so many moments have blessed my day: the soft, warm snuggle of a sleepy toddler, the giggle of a friend, shared prayers for my Monday night crew, the generous act of a co-worker, the taste of perfectly steeped tea . . . and this is only the beginning of the day!

There will be so many more moments to live in fully today—to be blessed by. Let's live in our blessings today instead of all the other crap that drags us down.

Look around and live as if you're blessed—you are.

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Seek

Paths Straight Proverbs 3:6 Watercolor Wall Art
Image credit from this Etsy shop.
 I'm so bad at this you guys. Seriously, THE WORST. Here's the story of my life:

     Me: "La di da . . . life is good. Yay for me."
     Problem: "I'm comin' at cha!"
     Me: "I've totally got this. I've mapped out the perfect plan to handle you measly little thing.
             Problem shmoblem."
     [Proceeds with "perfect" plan and fails miserably.]
     Problem: "Ha! You thought I was big then? Now you really better watch out!"
     Me: "Oh shit. What the hell am I supposed to do? My plan did not work. My plan was an epic
             fail. Hmmm . . . maybe I should pray about this?"

Aaaand scene.

Alright . . . clearly I'm being a little cavalier here, but sometimes when I look back on things, it's kind of amazing to me how easily my problem could've been handled had I just sought after what God's plan was first.

Because his plan for me is always good. It may not be what I want, it may not be easy, it may not come in the timing I'd prefer—but it is always good.

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Truth

There's an art to sharing truth—especially hard truth. It has to be done with grace, caution, and a shit-ton of love. When you know someone is struggling with something, but they won't admit the truth to themselves, the last thing that will help that struggle is bluntness, right?

That's because sharing the truth in love takes time. It means investing in someone, caring about them, and standing beside them in the tough stuff. It means being a loving supporter and encourager when that tough stuff threatens to tackle them. It means telling the truth when the truth is hard to tell.

Sharing the truth in love comes from true community.

When I know I'm loved and supported and someone has invested time in a relationship with me, I'm much more likely to listen to what they have to say, even if it's hard. Because those people—they're the ones who know me well enough to call me out when I need it.

And in case I haven't told those people enough . . . thanks for the occasional spiritual ass-kicking.   


 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Mercy

I've always thought about mercy as a benevolent act. It's not about pity—it's about showing love and compassion in a situation where none is expected or deserved. It's powerful stuff.

The last time I was in Russia, I got to sit with our older kids who were getting close to graduating out of the orphanage and have a pretty deep conversation with them. Truths were shared and trust extended like I'd never seen it before with these kids. They were sharing candidly, as was I, and at one point, one of the girls asked me why I come to see them in Russia. "Because I love you," I said without missing a beat. "You've become family to me."

I will never forget the look on her face as I looked into her eyes at that moment and truthfully told her she was family. She sat up straighter and beamed ear-to-ear. That declaration of love had been unexpected for her, and it changed how she felt about herself.

Mercy is powerful, friends. Let's not use it for pity's sake, but instead, learn to lift others up to see themselves as they were created to be.

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
    what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
    be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
    take God seriously.
 —Micah 6:8


 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Monday, March 23, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Forgive

What grudges are you currently holding?

I certainly have a few. At certain points in my life, I could have been an Olympic gold medalist in grudge-holding. Forgiving someone is hard, especially when you like to be right [raises hand slowly]. But forgiving someone means letting go of "rightness" to someone who was so clearly wrong. It's the opposite of how you feel, and yet, in the forgiving, there is this bitterness that leaves you instantly, and you realize that holding that grudge was really just you imprisoning yourself.

Forgiveness sets you free.

Still, we hold grudges. Remember those few I mentioned earlier? It's hard—and someone telling us to just "get over it" isn't fair. Sometimes it's not that easy. But you know what is?


That's how forgiveness starts—taking a deep breath and unclenching our angry little fists long enough to accept an apology, give someone the benefit of the doubt, give the person who's wronged us some grace. All it takes is that first deep breath . . . and eventually, forgiveness comes just as easily.

Take a breath . . . now who can you forgive today?

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Still

It's hard for me to be still—to just be.

I'm a doer, a fixer. If there's a problem, I want to start working on it immediately. I want to solve it, fix it, patch it up and make it right. For obvious reasons, this all becomes an issue when the problem isn't something I can solve on my own.

Occasionally I'll be forced to be still and rely on God to show me the answer. It's in those moments that I realize that's what I should've been doing all along. That's what I should always do first—be still. Let God's voice be heard.

Be still and know I am God.

a.k.a. . . . I've got this, Lindsay. Chill out. Just be.

The answer always comes when it's supposed to come. It's not always when I want it to come, and it's not always the answer I'd like it to be, but when I sit in the stillness knowing it's from God, how could I want anything else? 


 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Light

What has been your darkest hour? Perhaps it was a rough patch at work or struggle with depression. Maybe even a divorce or the loss of a loved one. In those dark places, what was the light that broke through?


In all the times I've been in a dark place in my life, the light that breaks through that darkness is always love. The kindness of a stranger, the support of a friend, the help of a neighbor. Love is the light that can reach through even in the darkest of nights.

How can you be the light to someone else today? 


 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Believe

I’ve always loved the quote “Believe there is good in the world,” but over the last couple of years, I’ve been seeing the quote pop up on Pinterest with “Be the good” highlighted within the phrase, and now I love it even more!

It’s such a simple thought, but so profound at the same time. If I want to believe there’s good in the world, I need to BE part of that good. The same holds true to other things I believe, right?

I believe bullying should come to an end means I will strive to raise boys who put others first, and stand up for those who are being bullied.

I believe marriage is forever means I will continue to love my husband even when it’s hard, and always stay committed to what we’ve built.

I believe human trafficking is appalling means I will work to fight the injustice of slavery through raising awareness and giving money and time to the cause.

I believe kindness matters means I will attempt to be kind to those who treat me poorly.

I believe orphaned children should feel loved means I will go out of my way to love on orphaned kids to fill that gap in their lives.

Believing something isn’t just about saying you believe it—it’s living, active, and full of motion in your life. Believing is doing.

This artwork available on Etsy.

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Endure

Endure is such a harsh word. When spoken properly, there's even a drawn-out length to the second syllable. Appropriate, I think, considering it means to hold out, tolerate, suffer patiently, or even . . .
to become hardened.

In life, we have to endure pain, unfairness, hardship and suffering. These are the things that make us who we are once we overcome them. But somewhere in the mess of all of that struggle, I think it's easy to just start enduring life itself.

Here's the thing . . . I don't want to just endure life. I want to live it! I don't want to just go through the motions every day—I want to feel and experience every bit of this life I've been given. Matthew West has a song called "The Motions," and the chorus speaks to this same idea:

I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything
instead of going through the motions?" 

We are made to be living—really living this messy life we've been handed. When my everyday starts to feel like a grind of work, feed kids, love husband, call friend, sleep, repeat . . . well, that's just me missing the point.

To quote Jen Hatmaker, I'm just going to "go ahead and live [my] one wild and beautiful and spectacular life." Simply enduring is not an option.
This print available on Etsy.

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Monday, March 16, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Wilderness

The wilderness and I do not get along. I like running water and air conditioning and Starbucks. I've even only been camping exactly once in my entire life, and when I woke up in the middle of the night to an ant army parading inside the tent, I quickly decided to forever loathe the out of doors.

Alright . . . maybe loathe is too harsh a term. Let's just say I'm not a fan.

Not ironically, I'm not too fond of metaphorical wilderness either. Being alone in a time of hardship seems terrifying. I need my people to hold me up, surround me with prayer, and show up at my doorstep with Ben & Jerry's if needed.

I need community like I need air in my lungs.

That's how we were created to go through life—together. None of us is all alone in the wilderness of life—we've got each other to lean on, thrive with, laugh with, love. Whatever is going on in your life today, I pray that you understand you are not alone in it . . . because no wilderness is a match for the community God has placed around you.
Italian Hydrangea

 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Search

Searching for something isn't all that hard these days, is it?

A few weeks ago, I was trying to remember the movie Ryan and I saw on our second date, and the name was escaping me. I remembered the actors, even the premiss, but could not pry the name of the film out of my brain. One 20-second Google search on my phone and success! (It was American Outlaws in case you were interested).

There's really no longer much struggle in searching—at least for little daily things. What was that recipe my kids loved so much last month? Google. How long would it take to drive to the beach? Google. What was that verse my friend shared with me about hardship? Google.

It's easy to find the answers we need to most things now, but is that always better? Recently, I heard a radio host cite some study where researchers said smart phones were making us bad problem-solvers. When all you have to do is pull out your phone for an answer, the study concluded that most people don't even try to think critically.

It made me wonder if the "easy search" is hurting us in other ways, too. When there's no struggle over searching for something, what do we really learn in the process? Sometimes, struggling through something can build character, make us stronger, help us learn, grow our faith.

Now I don't know how much searching through a cookbook for that recipe my kids loved would build character as opposed to doing a Google search, but I do know that searching through my bible for that verse from my friend is going to help me learn more than Googling it.

Sometimes, being made to search teaches us more than we even knew we needed to learn.


 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.

Friday, March 13, 2015

One Word, Five Voices: Practice

Practice what you preach.

That one sounds simple, doesn't it? But sometimes, putting into practice something you believe is harder than it sounds. It's why so many Christians get labeled as hypocrites. Love thy neighbor doesn't mean love only the neighbors who are nice to you, or only the neighbors you deem to be worthy. It means extending the same amount of love to those you truly love, and those jerks who treat you like crap.

That's hard. Who among us hasn't said one thing and done another at some point, right? But here's the thing . . . I don't want to be remembered as a hypocrite who couldn't really practice what I was preaching. I want to be the person, the wife, the mom, the friend that others look at and wonder, "What's different about her?" I want people to look at me and see the one I serve.

I sure as hell am not going to get it right all the time, but the willingness to try is also part of how I'll grow in my faith. That's essentially what practicing faith is. I'm never going to get it all right. I'm never going to be perfect. I can't—I'm only human. But that's okay, because I'm willing to try . . . and grace will cover the rest of it.  
This print can be purchased here.


 Check out what my friends think of today's word on their blogs: ShawnHeatherSteph and Brian.