I’m a big fan of journaling. In fact, I’ve been writing in a diary or journal since I was in the fifth grade, and I’ve kept each and every one of them. They’re precious to me—an integral part of my spiritual life and essential to my sanity. Writing things down helps me to remember not only where I’ve been, but also where I’m going.
A few weeks ago, we went to Starkville for Super Bulldog Weekend, and as I strolled through the bookstore on campus, I was smitten by this journal by Katie Daisy. I’ve long been a fan of Katie’s work, and her etsy shop is one of my favorites. When we get settled into a new home of our own, I fully intend to fill up my walls with some of her gorgeous and uplifting art.
But all of that’s beside the point.
There’s something about the blank pages in a brand new journal that makes me want to sit down and write for hours. I love the freshness and the newness—the blank slate—the clean start. It’s one of the simplest pleasures in life, and it’s one I enjoy immensely.
As for this particular journal, well, I chose it because I need the daily reminder to be filled with joy. If I’m not careful, I can skate my way through an entire day…or week…or month…without stopping to count my blessings or truly experience the joy of the little moments that make up my life.
I know that as far as resolutions go, the beginning of May is a little late to be making one, but oh well. Who says that resolutions are just for new years, anyway? I’m resolved that 2013 (the rest of it, anyway) will be a year of great joy.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
This verse is my anthem. I’m looking for wonder and praying for joy in the everyday moments that make up my life.
What about you?
Until next time, grace and peace.
Believe it or not, Kendall is 10 and a half months old. I haven’t written much about her on here, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to say. She’s a sweet and delightful little girl, and she’s entering a really fun stage of childhood—to her, everything is new and exciting, and she’s fascinated by the most ordinary of objects. Take those bubbles from the other day, for instance. She’s learning and growing and changing before my very eyes, and there are all sorts of things about her at this age that I don’t want to forget.
I don’t want to forget these luminous blue eyes.
I don’t want to forget the way she claps her hands in delight.
I don’t want to forget her little two-toothed grin.
I don’t want to forget these chubby little knees.
I don’t want to forget this wide-eyed sense of wonder.
More than anything, I want to remember just how darn sweet she is. She really is an easy-going, good-natured baby. She’s always smiling these days, and she’s getting pretty vocal. She babbles nonstop and waves with excitement when Dennis and Gran get home from work. She plays peek-a-boo, and I can’t help but laugh when she gets mixed up and covers her ears instead of her eyes. Her favorite part of Patty Cake is “throw ‘em in the pan!” And if you catch her at the right moment, she’ll laugh and laugh and laugh at the silliest things.
She’s a girl who loves to eat. Like her sister, she turned her nose up at baby food and dove right in to eating real food. She started out eating English peas and sweet potatoes, but these days she’ll eat anything and everything that we put in front of her. I honestly can’t think of anything that she’s refused to eat. She’s a good eater, and for that, I’m glad.
You may or may not remember that I had a really hard time adjusting to the idea of another baby. We weren’t exactly planning on having another child so soon, but God knew exactly what He was doing when He sent Kendall to us. I may not have been expecting her to arrive when she did, but I’m so very glad she did. I can’t imagine life without my little sweetheart, and now that we’re nearly through the first year and moving past the infant stage, life just gets better and better.
She has captured my heart.
I can’t wait to see what kind of little lady she will become in the years ahead. I pray that she never loses that wide-eyed sense of wonder, that God will protect and preserve her heart and save it for Himself. I pray that she will become a woman who chases after the Lord with single-minded devotion. And, of course, I pray that God will help me to be the kind of Mama that leads her children to Him.
She has brought such joy into my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this little sweetheart.
Until next time, grace and peace.
I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking over the past few months, and I’m just now starting to wake up. I mean, I’ve been here, going through the motions, feeding the girls and changing diapers and playing outside, but at the same time, I haven’t been here. I’ve been missing out on the wonder of everyday life.
The other day, I was reading through the first chapter of Margaret Feinberg’s Wonderstruck again, and her words resonated with me. They fit me like a glove – I very well could have written them myself.
“Faith invites us into an enchanting journey—one marked by mysteries of divine beauty, holy courage, irrepressible hope, unending love. But in my life, any sense of the splendor of God had faded. I knew I needed a fresh encounter with God to awaken me from my sleep, to disturb me from my slumber.
And so I prayed for wonder.”
I know I’m not alone here. As I played outside with the girls yesterday, Kendall was absolutely mesmerized by these bubbles. Something so simple and commonplace – and yet they were nothing of the sort to her. She was wonderstruck…and I was convicted. I’m afraid that I’ve stopped allowing myself to be wonderstruck, not just by God, but by anything at all.
I have stopped expecting to meet God in this everyday life. Instead of straining to hear His voice, I’ve all but tuned Him out. And that, my friends, has got to change. These days, I’m praying for wonder. I desperately need a fresh dose of it in my life. As a stay at home mom, it’s entirely too easy to get sucked into the monotony of wiping snotty noses and fixing peanut butter sandwiches…again.
It doesn’t have to be that way, y’all. We can choose to be awestruck instead of rundown, filled with wonder instead of running on empty. It’s a matter of perspective.
I don’t want to miss out on amazing things simply because I was too groggy to see them. I’m waking up and praying for wonder.
What are you praying for?
Until next time, grace and peace.
A few months ago (nearly four, to be exact), my family and I packed up, left our home in Iuka, drove five hours, and moved in with Dennis’ parents on the farm. It was a move that we had been planning for quite some time, but that somehow came all of a sudden. For years we had been talking about moving “back home,” but we didn’t think it would become a reality so soon. And then a job opportunity opened up, and before we knew it, we were packing boxes and putting a sign up in our yard.
Life changes fast, y’all.
I haven’t said much, or anything really, about it because it took me a while to process. In case you don’t know, I don’t handle change very gracefully. It takes time for new things to sink in with me and for me to adjust to the newness of it all.
That said, I’m so glad that we moved. Of course, I miss our friends. Very much, in fact. I miss being a short three hours away from my parents. I miss having lunch with my two best friends and their little girls. I miss spending afternoons at the park watching Micah play with her best friends. I miss pouring into “my girls” at church. I miss our home. I miss our church family. I miss all sorts of things about Iuka. It’s never easy to leave behind people and places that you love. Our life in Iuka changed me. The people there are very dear to me, even still. They won’t be forgotten.
But I’m very excited to be here. Micah and Kendall have been loved and doted on excessively since we moved here – both from Dennis’ parents and from my aunts and uncles. I’ve enjoyed spending time with family that I only got to see once or twice a year when we were in Iuka. It’s fun to know that my girls are making memories with some of my very favorite people in the world.
It’s also fun to know that my girls will grow up in the same place that I did. Interesting tidbit about Dennis and me: we grew up right down the road from each other and only met when we were in college. Our lives criscrossed more than once when we were kids. We have mutual friends and acquaintances. We participated in the same countywide quiz bowl tournaments. He went to prom with one of my softball teammates. Our world, it seems, is very small indeed. We moved to Franklin just before I started eighth grade, and I thought that was the end of my life in Brandon. I never would have guessed that I would move back 17 years later. And yet, here I am :)
This week, I’m (hopefully) going to lunch with one of my friends from middle school. We will (maybe) go look at a house. We have a (tentative) playdate with a little girl from church. Micah is signed up for preschool in the fall, and Dennis is really happy at his new job. In short, we’re moving on.
At least, we’re trying :)
Until next time, grace and peace.
When Dennis and I first moved into our house in Iuka, we were excited to be out of our cramped little apartment and have a little bit of space to move around. Then we started walking through the yard and noticed that where there should have been grass, there was a thick layer of dandelions. And, in case you didn’t know, dandelions are like the black plague of landscaping. They’re tough little boogers to get rid of.
Right now, I’m realizing that pride has taken root in my heart like a yard full of dandelions. It’s a sneaky thing, really, because you don’t realize how dangerous it is and how deeply its roots have burrowed until you start trying to rip them out.
My most recent battle with pride has to do with my girls. When others gush over my girls’ gorgeous blue eyes (they are stunning, if I do say so myself) and praise Micah’s smarts (because she’s a child genius, y’all) or Kendall’s laid-back personality (who doesn’t love an easy-going baby?), I swell with pride. And not just a little bit of pride. It’s a lot of it.
If it were just those things that I’m prideful over, it might not be so bad, but it goes deeper than that.
For three and a half years I’ve gloated over the relatively good health of my kids. As if I had anything to do with it. Seriously. Micah NEVER got an ear infection as a baby. She was rarely sick, and when she did come down with a cold, she bounced back quickly. Other people’s children suffered from chronic ear infections and were always sick, but not mine. My kids were perfect, and I was proud of it.
Until now. When Micah came home from preschool in early December with a nagging cough, I never dreamed that we would still be battling its lingering effects two months later. And yet, here we are. First it was Micah. Then it was me. We both hacked and sniffled for nearly a month before the antibiotics finally did their work and we got better.
But then Kendall started coughing. And then she got her first little ear infection and took her first round of antibiotics. Ever. And then the ear infection came back, so we stepped it up to the next level of antibiotics. Ten days of that, and I thought she’d be better (because my kids ALWAYS bounce back), but over the weekend, she started going downhill AGAIN, so I took her back to the doctor yesterday morning.
Guess what? The infection is back and worse than ever before. Her poor little eardrum is so swollen that it’s on the verge of rupture.
And I nearly cried. Especially when I realized that I was taking these ear infections personally. I’m ashamed to admit that they have seriously wounded my pride. Yes, I’m concerned about my daughter and her health, but I’m also concerned about my track record as a parent, and that’s shameful.
The crazy thing is, I know how ridiculous this all sounds. It’s stupid for me to be prideful of my daughters’ health because the truth is that their wellness has nothing to do with me and everything to do with the grace of God. The only reason that we have enjoyed three and a half years without any major issues is because the Lord has willed it so. Period.
As a mom, it’s far too easy to take credit for how great my kids are, even if I have nothing to do with whatever it is that people are praising. My greatest temptation is to pass off the work of the Lord as my own – to accept all the credit when really, all the glory is due to Him alone.
It’s no secret that the baby years are hard for me. When I see other mothers floating through the early months of their kids’ lives on a fluffy pink cloud of bliss, I want to gag. I always assume that they’re just pretending. The reason that I assume that? Well, in my experience, God has used both marriage and motherhood as chisels, chipping away at my character and removing anything that doesn’t reflect His likeness.
Apparently, there was a lot of junk that needed to be cleared away, and, in case you’re wondering, it’s not exactly fun. It’s painful. But hey, I’ve heard that the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. So this is my confession. My name is Leslie Ann Jones, and I’m a recovering pride-a-holic.
When stuff like this happens, I am reminded that God is still working on me. Right now He’s helping me realize that the pride that I have tolerated for so long has taken root in my heart, and it’s time to do something about it. Thankfully, He’s pretty good at wrenching out things that don’t belong.
Until next time, grace and peace.
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