Painting is fun. Painting is even MORE fun when it glows in the dark!! And so a new family favorite came to be…
The boys and I headed to the store to buy 3 yards of Solar System fabric. We have a bunk bed that we thought could be “pizazzed” up a bit. Our plan was to staple the fabric to the bottom of the top bunk, (sure beats staring up at slat boards!) But as we all watched the fabric being stretched and cut, the lady asked us what we were making. She loved our idea and then said, “You know, glow paint would be perfect to go with your project…” WHAT?!! Why Yes it would!!! We LOVED this idea and grabbed a bottle on the way out of the store.
So now our awesome Solar System has glowing rings around the planets, sparkle through the Milky Way and a spark flying with the shooting stars! The boys and I just love to lay under it all curled up and talking about the galaxy and how awesome it all is and how BIG our God is to have created such an amazing thing. Who knew 3 yards of fabric and some glow paint could be such a beautiful catalyst to rich time together in the unwind of our days. We are now looking around for more projects that could use some GLOW!
GLOW: A steady radiance of Light
I love the strong definition of the word GLOW. I love it even more when I apply it to time with Jesus. This is what we long for; a steady, constant of God’s anchoring presence each day. His GLOW to shine and direct us, cause us to pause and really see, pull others in to linger with us in these many beautiful moments that we would miss if His GLOW was not applied. Just let the Lord GLOW in our lives.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on a teeter-totter, but I have fond childhood memories spending time with a special friend, seesawing and giggling as we soared up and down on that creaky teeter-totter.
The seesaw is an example of one of the 6 simple machines that we learned about way back in elementary science class. The integral piece of a teeter totter is the fulcrum, the point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots.
A teeter-totter is one of those playground structures that requires a friend. It’s rather pointless to sit on a teeter-totter by yourself. It doesn’t get you anywhere. As soon as you’re joined by a friend, however, it becomes an interactive piece of equipment with “fun” potential.
Friends share each other’s ups and owns, balancing each other out. When one friend is down, the other often has a clearer perspective of the situation. You can help a friend shift back into neutral by leaning in or adjusting your own position.
Reciprocity is a beautiful part of friendship. This give-and-take between friends strengthens the relationship as friends buffer each other in the ups and downs of life.
We can soften the landing if we see a friend heading for a hard fall.
We can slow down the pace when the momentum gets too frenetic.
We can offset the load by grounding ourselves for a moment, standing firm to steady our friend.
To manage our end of the teeter totter, we need to maintain contact, being aware of our friend’s level of readiness for impact.
Most importantly we need to have a shared fulcrum that allows us to have some leverage when we need it. The fulcrum plays an essential role. We depend on it for support and stability. It bears our combined weight even as we gain momentum together.
When we lean on the Lord as the fulcrum in our relationships, we depend on Him for support to bear our emotional weight and to dissipate our shared burdens.
We all have a turn at the downs of life and may find ourselves on the receiving end of a friend’s kind gesture. During these tender times, we’re challenged to be open and receptive even though it feels a little vulnerable.
When we hear struggles that our friends are facing, sometimes it’s unclear how we can help. Although we can always offer to pray, sometimes we want to put our support into more tangible action.
It can be tricky knowing when to offer a word of encouragement or figuring out an action step to support a friend. We have some social norms that guide us in some situations, but otherwise this helping gig can seem pretty murky.
This year I’ve been working on releasing expectations and praying that I follow the Lord’s leading in each day as it unfolds. I’ve tried to be more intentional when I feel a #Godnudge to do an act of support for a friend. Sometimes these nudges seem small or random, but the obedience to follow through on them allows the Lord to do His work.
To connect with long-distance friends, sometimes I’ll call them while I’m taking a walk to catch up. It’s a double stress reliever…often for both of us.
Recently when I was chatting with an out-of-state friend, she offered prayer support for a family situation. Then she commented that she wished she could help me out in some way. I had a #Godnudge to ask her if she had some simple recipes she could send me to take the brainwork out of menu planning. Having something new to try helped me regain some momentum in the kitchen.
Last Tuesday, I stepped out of my comfort zone to reach out to someone I didn’t know concerning a sweet girl and a group of her friends. Within 24 hours, this same girl was acting on a #Godnudge to do something for me.
These little interactions reminded me that when we connect through Him and utilize Him as the pivot point in our relationship, He can bless us in many different ways.
Listen for that #Godnudge.
Be brave as you act on it…and gracious receiving.
“God is our REFUGE and STRENGTH, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Whatever you may be facing today, may the Lord be your fulcrum, resting in Him for your strength.
A Rainbow of colors is always what my heart has adored.When I was a little girl I spent many hours coloring and creating with the whole box of crayons. I’m looking at the color spectrum today through the lens of the home…here is what I saw. (I hope you try this exercise in your own home; you can’t help but smile!
Let’s start with RED! It’s my very favorite, and always has been! I carry or wear something RED every day if I can. My little RED pirate is a bit older now, but this is intuitive of his lively spirit! This other small sleeper reminds me that his RED winter blanket is out year round because he loves it so.
A garden is a dear piece of my heart reminding me of my grandparents and then my mom always digging in the soil. These RED tomatoes grown by my own kids also reminds me of tasty summer dinners! And when finishing an ocean adventure one summer, these treasures with the RED heart leaf were handed to me by a son to “keep safe” while he ran back into the calling waves.
ORANGE is another favorite of mine! The warmth that comes from this color, along with the liveliness it evokes, makes my heart happy. These ORANGEpumpkins are a snapshot I take every Fall after the boys have picked their carving pumpkins and thrown them all together in a wagon; I always love to see the collection! All the shades of ORANGE from bright to burnt are so beautiful mixed together. One of our family’s favorite Fall activities is nature walks and collecting colorful leaves to press. (It’s such a feast for the eyes.)
Oh! The orneriness that comes out of the color YELLOW!! It makes one feel bold and giggly! I walked in one evening after dinner was over and found this cutie playing on the counter in his footy jammies! We just exchanged smiles and kept going.
There was a season when all our babies were small and self-preservation kicked in for us; this inflatable YELLOW bounce house was one of the best purchases ever!! It stayed up in our living room for 4 months!
And after a Cinqo de Mayo many moons ago, we instituted the GREEN cactus chip and dip as the only acceptable thing to accompany salsa in the month of May! We crack ourselves up every time we set this up! There’s no need to ever deflate it.
There is no doubt in any of our minds who the firecracker is in our family. This little squirt is a bundle of energy always; and these GREEN pjs were paired with Santa hats, elf ears, gingerbread handbands…you name it, he danced with it on top of his head!
BLUE is an important color in all my boys lives. Many afternoons have been spent on a playground since children became a part of my heart. Their eyes always look up into the BLUE sky at some point of play and share what they see in the clouds…I love the imagination that comes from BLUE!
PURPLE is not a color that appears regularly in our home; no particular reason. It does show up in accents though. There are a few snippets that highlight other colors from time-to-time.
And as we come full circle from the rainbow, it’s very clear to my eye that any combo of these colors is what makes our seasons come to life! Take a look at the colors in your home and enjoy the memories that they help you make with one another. It’s a really fun exercise.
My Table was a housewarming gift from my sis-in-law when my family moved a year ago. My Table was painted by all the boys in my life. My Table was intended for the front yard…but My Table filled with life in my backyard. This is a 1 year glance with My Table:
Prep and Painting took several days in short bursts, but was done by both our families so that we would each have a Table. Turquoise was our color; modeled after the great Kristin Schell, who has a beautiful following with her #theturquoisetable phenomena. We both love all that she is doing with community across our country.
My heart knew that this Table needed to be in our backyard. We had moved based on the hunger my family had to have a backyard to play in, dream in, run and be still in. The previous 2 years we had hardly set foot in our yard because it was a large hill with mud slides. This new yard, this new table…it beckoned us to come outside.
One day I snuck outside and set up snacks on the Table while boys were playing. It wasn’t even 5 minutes before the table was covered in hungry boys and conversations.
I looked outside one morning and found my 9-year-old sitting at the Table whittling a stick. This was carried over from time spent with PawPaw.
We hosted our first pumpkin carving in the new house and set it all around the Table.
Even snowflakes enticed us out as the boys had fun “drawing” in them on the Table.
When Spring burst forth, we gathered all the chickadees and had egg hunts around the Table.
And with warm weather, came opportunities to invite friends and family over and do life outside. Coloring sessions, card games, checkers and eating took place regularly on the table. Kids lingered until dusk and generations linked in games at the Table.
On several occasions throughout the Summer there have been strategy meetings at the Table. Neighbor friends hashing out plans for attack in the latest battle in boys imaginations.
Our family raises turtles, and when we received a baby one from cousins, it happened to be at the Table.
My mom had a miraculous recovery from a horrendous incident this year, and this picture of her with my youngest son at the Table is more beautiful to my eyes than I can express.
3 generations of men in our family sit at the Tables during a Fathers Day brunch. (We pulled both families tables together for one long sitting for all)
Many Bible Quilt sessions have seen the Tables with friends, family, neighbors and guests. The table gave way for opening up our hearts to others and sharing our sacred space.
As all the seasons come full circle, quiet retreats call my boys to the Table one-by-one.
The last of Summer bubbles were danced through the yard while the Table held the treasured content.
This Table of mine is quite special. We celebrate a year with it, and our lives are richer for it. What a heartfelt gift given to me; what a priceless piece to store up memories on. I can hardly wait to take it for a spin this second year! I can see the Autumn leaves falling on it now!
Enjoy your spaces. Soak up your family. Invite your friends. Share it with guests. Rest and refresh at your Tables.
Are you familiar with the phrase, the liturgy of the ordinary?
How much do we pay attention to the daily practices that absorb our time and skew our perspective simply through their mundane repetition?
As I picked up my groceries the other day, I had a startling reminder that we can experience more joy and connectedness in our daily hustle, sowing seeds a little along the way, rather than resigning ourselves to the drudgery of repetitive chores or errands.
I pulled up into slot #7 & called the pick-up number to notify them of my arrival. Someone answered and yelled into the phone, “WALMART GROCERY PICKUP!” I was so startled I almost dropped the phone, noticing that I already had ringing in my ear from the loud screech.
Almost immediately, the voice on the other end of the line began to apologize, laughing nervously. I asked, “Is this Tanya?“ It was my turn to surprise her because I recognized her voice. “Uh, yeah” she replied somewhat sheepishly. I told her my name and she began laughing, saying “Oh, it’s you! I’m SO sorry! I’ll be right out!”
Typically I don’t call the number. I usually activate the app as I’m leaving my house to warn them of my impending arrival. In fact, I had never talked to Tanya on the phone before.
How did I know it was her?
Instinctively, I knew it was herbecause the two of us have been part of each other’s Liturgy of the Ordinary.
As part of her job, she rolls out my grocery order, informs me of substitutions, and cheerfully loads my groceries in the back of my well-lived-in cargo area. As part of my Momjob, I’m frequently in the waiting zone, rolling down my window and squiggling my autograph on her order phone.
Tanya and I have chatted over the course of the last few months as our mundane duties have bumped us together more often than I’d like to admit. (A household of teenaged appetites is my excuse for such frequent visits, not poor menu planning…surely not!)
We have become familiar with one another, often sharing a knowing smile of “here we go again!” as we move through our well-choreographed grocery dance.
What began as an ordinary Monday grocery pick-up this week turned into laughter and connection, giving us both a boost of positive energy to resume our rote routines. She hugged me spontaneously and said something along the lines of “Thanks for always being so great! You’re awesome!”
As I drove home with my grocery bags jostling each other, I was lighter in spirit and grateful for a little unexpected sparkle in my day.
The mundane task of putting all the food away and preparing the next meal still loomed, but my perspective shift was noticeably clearer.
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us.” Psalms 90:17
By the way, if you don’t know about grocery store pick-ups, do it! I wish it had been available when my kiddos were younger and in carseats… a game-changer, for sure!
Now, go discover the Sparkle in your Ordinary day, my friend!
As a certified “Boymom”, I have expertise in many things: preparing large quantities of food, all the top jokes on belching and farting, the technique of spitting and all the ways Nerf darts can get wedged in things.
I have lost touch with “cute and dainty” and colors like pink and purple faded out of my color palette long ago. Boymom’s know about Nerf Guns, Lego’s, Cars and games like Battleship, Risk, Monopoly, (with LOTS of Uno in-between). So when I had an opportunity to host a pool party for my cousin’s two girls, I of course said, “YES!” The theme was Unicorns, the colors were pink and turquoise…sounds simple, but then I remembered I live in a world of camo colors!!
So we put a Unicorn Float in the pool and I hunted, (to no avail), for pink decor in my home; why I don’t know, just ever hopeful. I imagine that girls would probably “float” on a Unicorn Float. Boys “ride” a Unicorn Float. And by “ride”, I definitely mean “grab it by its rainbow wings and yell”. So hence, this is how our first Unicorn Float lost its “float”, all before the girl’s themed party.
My sons, ever resourceful, spent two hours and half a roll of duct tape trying to find the leak. The bigger problem arose when they realized it was not just a one leak issue.
Let it be noted that when you leap with wild abandon onto a Unicorn Float all afternoon and scream at the top of your lungs,”giddy-up go, go, go!”, this is the end result.
By the time I saw all the tape around the Unicorns wing and neck, I said “enough”. This meant I had to get another Unicorn. And this is how the original float became just a Unicorn Head. The boys salvaged the head that had its own air supply. My first thought was, “well, alrighty we have the makings of a Halloween costume”, but my boys first thought was not even on the same level. I did not discover their grand plan until the night before the girl’s party…
Once we had another Unicorn Float in our possession that we deemed “Unicorn Island” because of its massive dominance over the pool, it was well-known to the boys that it was off-limits! They were told to not even walk near it. It must stay intact for the party.
The day of the party arrived and as I walked outside to survey our Unicorn, I gasped as I looked up in the tree fort and saw the Unicorn Head tied on a rope hanging off the decking! The boys thought this was hilarious; I imagined the horror that girls would have on sight. And so another difference in boys and girls!!
The Unicorn Party was a huge success in the end, and I must say the memories made in the process are priceless to me. I love the vast differences in boys and girls; and I now have a fun connection with Unicorns! (Ours is going to be spoiled, I can see it now…)