All posts by Audra

White Noise

chillThere is an unconventional layer to a home that you may have never considered. It is the White Noise that plays as the background music to our lives. It is usually unspoken, but for our memories it is SO powerful. It’s worth taking a look at.

Songs have a way of mentally dropping you back to a certain event and time; so do the sounds of a home, and they are a layer to each of our lives.

Definition of White Noise: random frequencies with equal intensity

Here are a few of our families’ favorites:

A football game on TV Sunday afternoon signals that Dad is home; the best naps come with the low steady rhythm of a football game on.

Pots and pans clanking in the kitchen entice you to expect something delicious soon.

Children giggling in another room as they play are branding brotherhood onto their hearts.

The hum of the washer and dryer in the evening at bedtime lulls you to sleep and secures your spaces.

Lullabies and music calm children and invite them to linger longer.

Basketball games in the driveway are a beautiful noise to neighbors that are empty nesters.

The rustling of pages during family reading sessions…Everyone is absorbed in their own books yet this shared time itself is becoming a beloved chapter in the family’s own storyline.

The panting and giggling interwoven into the beat of “Just Dance” tunes during family Wii competitions evokes a sense of spirited togetherness.

The jingle of the dog’s collar rushing to greet the kids coming home from school is a joyous welcome.

The creaky sound of the garage door going up signifies family members returning home.

A Dad’s chuckle and a boy’s snort as they read the comics together is a bond of humor.

An instrument being practiced in a particularly diligent way just before a recital adds a vibrant undertone to other activities.

The loud clatter of Legos tumbling out of a bin and then the quieter clinks as little hands search for “just the right” pieces are echoes of boy happiness.

The signature clap of Papa’s hands as he greets his grandsons at the door provides a generational connection.

white noise

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music. Psalm 98:4tulips

God interweaves some beautiful White Noise into our settings as well. Just stop and quiet yourself to listen: the melody of a bird song, the katydids and tree frogs on a hot summer night, the wind that whips through the trees, the waves that crash to the shore, the rain that drizzles and sometimes pours, the crackling leaves underfoot a child that enjoys the “stomp”; all so intrinsic and beautiful.

This layer of White Noise has so much richness to it; it is a constant, steady rhythm in our days, wherever we go and whatever lies ahead of us, there is a steady beat in our background, a soundtrack that keeps our pace. I ask our Lord for forgiveness on the days that I have created the Noise that can be  ugly. My heart is sad on the close of a day that I may have produced sounds of irritation to a loved one, or harshness and impatience to a stranger, not knowing their story, and now considering the impact.

crackling fire

I relish the days that my ears hear the sweet sounds of a happy home, the gentle sway of nature and it’s seasons. These are the days that I am grounded in God; embracing His plans for the day ahead. There is peace that surrounds those day even in the midst of Noise. Stop and listen; not just with your ears, but also with your heart and soul. The White Noise is no accidental occurrence in our lives. We produce it and blend our sounds with the amazing soundtrack of the Lord. White Noise is an incredible layer to a home if you are aware of its presence. Enjoy the melody.childhood

House to Home

I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Isaiah 48:17

A Home means therthe pathe are people in it, and there is love, security and memories created within that structure.  A House transforms into a Home when layers are added.

When I walk through our Home, I add layers by what I do. As I grow older, I am more purposeful in my actions. There is no right from wrong, too much, too little, because our Lord made each of us uniquely. There should never be guilt associated either. However you choose to layer your Home will be perfect if it’s done with a pure heart.

Many of the layers I add to my Home are done simply because I like them. It’s what I’m drawn to and fits my personality. Other layers are added as I watch my family; their reactions and desires. Layers for a Home can be found in sight, sense, smell, touch, etc.

I light candles because I love the scent and the warm flicker.

I use lamps as indirect lighting because it creates a peaceful, calm atmosphere.

I open curtains to start our day, and then close them at dusk to signal rest for our Home.

I have either flowers, a plant, leaves and acorns or something”alive” from outside in the Home to bring nature in.

readingI hug each member of our family and tell them I love them daily.

I bake in our Home so the smells of yumminess drift through the rooms.

I lay books, journals, newspapers and magazines on table tops to encourage the refreshment of reading, writing and stillness.

I place pictures of special moments in sight so they can enrich our memories.

I set a basket of soft blankets in our living room so that everyone can snuggle and stay longer.

These are not amazing things that I have discovered. I never even thought about any of them until recently. But once I put some thought to them, it brought joy to my heart. Layering your Home isn’t about how long the checklist can be. You already have layers in your Home just by being you.

Layer for you; how God designed you. Then Layer for family; each one unique. This will create a Home that is rich and full of Life.

As our blog shares more about the layers we love, please note: some will speak to your heart more than others. And some will be that tug from our Lord, nudging you to try them for yourself. A few will be for remembrance of childhood or loved ones. And absolutely none of them are to make any of us feel inadequate. Layers are used to enrich our Homes; a few, or many, depends entirely on the family and God’s design.

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Shifting Seasons

We all have these shifting seasons throughout our lives. They are sometimes smooth, while rocky at other times. None of us are exempt from the effects of both. In each season, I find myself looking for ways to be grounded in the Lord. It’s quite easy when the forecast is sunny. The blessings are flowing, the schedules are clicking, the famicloudsly is in harmony and everyone’s health is stellar. This is when my devotional time comes easily and my prayers are full of thankfulness. In these moments I feel
very put together. I LOVE this time of year!

But as I reflect back a few years ago as I was rocking my first son, the feelings were of awe, but also exhaustion. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that my season was permanently shifting as I rocked that sweet boy. I went from a very contained and orderly lifestyle into unknown territory. So I struggled with how to stay close to God. I mourned my quiet-times with Him. This is something that doesn’t just happen with new mothers, this touches all women in differing seasons. I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I was “just me;” not attached to this new little one. I then realized this was the new normal and I was forever attached by heart.  So as this started to sink in, I thought that if I could just have some quiet-time once more with the Lord then I could hold it all together. This is when something peculiar happened. I didn’t get it right away, but I sure do now, and I want to pass it on to you

This voice of guilt and despair came crashing into my thoughts. When I felt broken and weary from late-night feedings, household chores, church activities, etc., that voice would grow louder and yell thoughts like: “Not trusting!” “You’re failing!” “This is too much for you!” I would be too tired some days to read a Bible verse, or look at a devotional book. Sleep always won, and the voice of failure would too. So I want you to hear me say that none of that is from the Lord. I found this spot so consky through structurefusing; I was in love with my new baby, but mourning my individuality. I wasn’t looking for a way out; I just wanted to go from survive to thrive again.

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

And so the Lord began to bring clarity to my thoughts…I began to sing praise songs out loud when holding my child. This calmed the baby, soothed my heart, and brought delight to my Heavenly Father. I placed scripture on the walls of our home, since I felt too weak to lift a Bible some days. I saw the Word of Life across my house (post-it notes totally count!). I reached out and asked some cherished friends for prayer support in this season. Please don’t listen to that voice of shame when you reflect on a way you may have behaved in the exhaustion. Don’t let the critical thoughts creep in and say you haven’t done enough. Our Lord will redeem and restore the time; He is not the voice of condemnation. And He will stand in those gaps that we cannot fill, that we are not meant to fill because we were not designed to be self-sufficient. We were made to walk beside Him, which is such a beautiful honor; such release if we can ever wrap our minds around it.sunset over house

The season shifted, and I now have my boys watching all that I do. I still may not have too many coherent thoughts in the noise of our home, but I have a Bible and that devo book by a chair in the living room. And I have given myself permission to not mentally record how often I read from them. However, I do find myself reading small glimpses in the middle of our crazy lifestyle. My children see me pick them up and look at them. Some days are so loud that I just hold that Bible while interacting with a son. I find myself returning more and more as I draw strength and peace from our Lord. I taped a prayer calendar inside my medicine cabinet, and I pray each day’s word over my family while brushing my teeth! This counts, and it works because there is power in prayer. A while back I also battled the voice of guilt on the topic of Bible Studies. If you have an opportunity and a desire, then by all means go! It will bless your socks off!! However, if you are in that season that makes it impossible, then don’t allow yourself to be labeled a failure; that is most assuredly not of our Lord. There is God-time in pushing a stroller through the neighborhood and taking in the beauty of the day. There is God-time in taking a nap with your young one and stopping to listen to them breathe in the silence. And there is God-time in Legos, coloring, story books and games.sky - golden streak

May we behold the beauty of this great King in the daily routines of our life.  (Meka)

Do not let the negative steal your days as you walk them out with Jesus. Or society invade your thoughts on right from wrong. Each day we have the opportunity to reach out to our God who is extending His hand for us always. Praise, pray, love, and honor;  personalize them for yourself  in each season that you walk into.

 

 

Feathers, Rocks, and Walking Sticks

Every one of us collects something — it may be a knickknacks or a journal of memories; it could be a shoe obsession or a box of treasured cards. flowers and burlap bottleOur children are no exception to this desire and are always bringing treasures into our homes. A smooth rock, a ruffled feather, a yarn necklace. What do we do with these things? Some are just passing through; headed quickly out the door, but others become cherished and meaningful. What looks like debris to one, may actually be the prized token in your child’s day. So how do we differentiate the useless from the priceless?

The artist side of me loves this layer in a home. But I also love order, so…I have given a patch of the kitchen counter over to our collections. Right as you walk in the door, where everyone can see, I’ve created a rotating gallery.

There is an unspoken love that radiates from a child seeing that you have highlighted what’s meaningful to them.

I may keep a leaf, an acorn or a feather for a while. But I know it’s all right to send it out as well. The object is not the main point of interest; it is that child who felt secure enough to share the beauty or awe and wonder with you. I don’t want to miss out on the blessings because they aren’t packaged the way I might expect.

We encounter God’s presence in moments of awe and wonder, in acts of justice and compassion, in loving relationships and in the experiences of everyday living.

painted handsEach Fall, my boys and I go on a nature walk. I adore this tradition that I stumbled into a few years back. What began as a walk to get some energy out of rambunctious boys, is now requested unanimously by all of us. On our way, we collect walking sticks: big, small, crooked and all! We spread newspaper on the patio table and paint them as many colors as we can find; with patterns galore. We laugh at all the paint we get on us in the process, and I snap pictures for our memory bank. Once we’ve had our fun, I collect them and bundle them somewhere in our home for the winter months to come.

Just when I think that I’m doing all this for the children, it dawns on me that it is also for me. Because later in those moments when I’m tired, impatient, thread-bare… I walk past those brilliant colors of sticks,  and it grounds me again. My focus is restored in that moment; the importance of my family is in front of me. These sticks have become treasures in our home, and when they are broken and gone, those beautiful colors will still be bold in my heart.

There are little bobelieve - acornswls tucked into table groupings for a child’s treasure to be showcased in our home. We have precious yarn weavings strung across a lamp or curtain rod from time-to-time. I will tape that picture on the hall mirror for all to see for a week or two. I will leave the birthday balloons hanging by their bed the whole month to remember the celebration of that child.

Take interest in the details of the heart when it comes to your family for this is a richly woven layer that they will carry with them forever.

“Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of YOUR heart.” Psalm 37:4

 

Words

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet for the soul;

healing for the bones.”  Proverbs 16:24


celebrate todayWe know that God created the universe with words, and Jesus healed with words. We learned in our upbringing that our words of prayer overcome evil. We were read scriptures about sowing words:  “the seed is the Word of God” Luke 8:11. We know by experience that words build faith or doubt; they are sometimes subtle, but so powerful. And of course they can bring joy or pain to our day in a split second, changing the course of how we feel or act.

Last week we decided to walk through our homes, just out of curiosity, and write down all the words we have on our walls, tables, frames, etc. Wow! This was a great exercise: you should try it! It took just a few minutes, but it showed us something interesting. We have wall art with words painted, small rocks with words etched in, pillows with words stamped, blankets with words stitched, letters that symbolize initials in our families. Once we had our lists of words constructed, we began to see themes emerge that we never recognized! In fact, we both gravitate toward this layer of our home, and some of our rooms were missing that layer. The dining room was void of any words. This was quickly remedied as we borrowed a few items from other spaces, and now, as we are sitting at that table, we see words of hope, of family, and of love. It is subtle, but it makes us smile.

peace

The word Peace is in a boys’ game room that is anything but peaceful!! It was hung during a season of raising 3 babies when it was desperately needed as a visual for the momma. It hangs a little crooked, yet there is no way we want it straightened. It still brings calmness to a crazy family space when we see it; and it reminds us of how faithful the Lord has been to us through thick and thin. One word can change an atmosphere. One word can adjust a momma’s attitude and that, dear friends, can make a difference for the whole family dynamic.

We build up our children each day with words of affirmation, pouring love into those sweet spirits.  We sometimes have to ask our family for a “do-over”  — for words that came out wrong. We pray out loud with them to etch those words on their hearts. We write them silly notes and tuck them places; only to discover they sometimes cherish them and place them under pillows or in special boxes to save and look at over and over. Words are full of Life.

If this is a layer of your home that seems meaningful to you, then take a stroll through your rooms and see what you discover. It is a thread that you weave throughout the spaces that your loved ones walk. Enjoy the journey.cropped-IMG_2607.jpg