Tag Archives: transitions

My #onelittleword …a year later

My #onelittleword for 2018 was RELEASE.

graduation nightLast year my son was a senior and I needed some focused attention toward launching him well, so I settled on this RELEASE target, hoping to bypass a potential “momma meltdown” as our first son left home for college.

During a busy spring semester, we forged through each senior activity and marched toward our celebration of his graduation. Then we careened toward the milestone of his college move-in day.

Throughout this season, my son and I did this awkward little push-pull dance of me nudging him to stay on track and him side-stepping around me with his own confident stride. Slowly, the Lord allowed me to recognize the small ways I needed to let go so that he could propel forward into his new world.

#wordfortheyear 2018

I learned that when exploring your #wordfortheyear, it’s helpful to consider all of its various meanings and usages. You may discover some you didn’t anticipate!

Bible Quilt® JournalSomewhere along in March when I was knee-deep in the final editing phases before submitting the Bible Quilt® journal to our printer, it dawned on me that this, too, was a RELEASE. It was a culmination of two years of integrating this journaling technique into my personal devotions and then developing it into a workshop format with my sister-in-law to share it with other women.

Transforming the journal into a publication allowed us to release it to a wider circle. By holding it loosely in our hands, other women were empowered to share the #biblequiltjournal with their friends, sisters, and church families. Simply through this heart-to-heart sharing, the Bible Quilt journal has trickled its way into 28 states and we’re blessed by each story we hear!Bible Quilt map, Oct 2018

It’s true that the Lord’s purpose for our lives is on a scale drastically larger than our own. Although we can attempt to narrow our focus and plod along in our devotional time to pursue a particular theme for the year, God orchestrates the details in His own intricate way.

#wordfortheyear ReleaseI thought I had this whole #wordfortheyear perspective unfolding nicely, then I had a significant realization that the Lord had been preparing my heart for something dramatically different all along.

Last summer my mother was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and she passed away within 6 months. The big RELEASE for the year was actually letting go of my precious Mom – – – my prayer warrior and constant encourager.Mom at Christmas

During the last month of her life, I slipped out for neighborhood walks as much as I could and prayed tearfully over this final “release.” Some days I would pray for God to help me release my childhood Mom – the one who took my brother and me to the zoo; the nurturing Mom who made me gooey grilled cheese and steamy chicken noodle soup when I was sick; the adventurous one who ate my questionable concoctions from my Easy-Bake oven.

On other walks I’d pray to God for help releasing the mother of my teenaged and college self – – the one who struggled as a single mother and was emotionally tapped out, but allowed me to carve out my own path even though it was so very different from hers.

Some days I’d barely make it out for a walk due to the relentless pressures of caring for Mom’s increasing needs while trying to maintain my own household. I’d pray with gratitude that I was able to provide for her and surrendered to put her needs first as she had done for us kids for so many years.

These were some of the hardest days, releasing her from the role as a my maternal advocate and letting go of her future presence in my life as a cherished confidante and friend.

beloved Bible

We are still very fresh in our grief and I’ve released to the point of feeling untethered, but I’m trusting God with the timing of Mom’s homecoming and His continued Presence in each of our lives as we lean into His grace and mercy for comfort.flowers from friends

#wordfortheyear template for Bible Quilt journalMeanwhile, I’m tucking into my new #wordfortheyear with renewed intention and, hopefully, a touch of Mom’s grit!

For those of you joining us in Bible Quilting, I added a #wordfortheyear template into our shop to help further your own personal journey.

Have a blessed 2019, friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

#31daysof_____: Day Twenty

Day Twenty

Settle in for your devotional today with an awareness of what you need especially for THIS day. 

plant medley

Each day we need a little recharge to push through our day well…

Each week we may need to reboot in some way to stay on track with our goals…

Each new season we may need to freshen up our focus on what matters most…

After tough phases of our lives, we may need to do some more extensive rebuilding

Invite the Lord in to explore ways to infuse Sabbath rest for you today.

Chasing Quiet Day 20: Recharge

 

#31daysofquiet day 20 BQBible Quilt your selected verse:

Sometimes adding a verse to a page will spark an idea for another page.

For instance, this particular verse in Exodus compelled me to do a whole page on Sabbath Rest.

 

SABBATH WELL on Bloom template
Sabbath Well page in #biblequiltjournal on Bloom #template

 

Allow yourself to chase the threads the Lord weaves throughout your devotional time. Supplement with additional reading on particular topics to enhance your understanding of the concept.

I truly enjoyed Shelly Miller’s Rhythms of Rest while I was journeying through my season of Chasing Quiet a couple years ago.

Pray.  Lord, help us develop ways to Sabbath Well.  Refresh our spirits as we attempt to slow down our bodies and mute our racing thoughts to focus on Your Word for us this day.


 #31daysof_____ template set

How to Make the Most of Lasts & Firsts

“Big Transitions” has been the name of the game around here the past few weeks…

  • world travelerlaunching our oldest son to college
  • welcoming our Chinese exchange student back, tossing him into our busy family life, then sending him off to college too
  • preparing our other two sons for their return to middle school and high school

Throw in ongoing AC problems for a sweltering month, persistent internet malfunctions and a significant health diagnosis for a parent, and it has been a downright whirlwind.

end-of-summer flowersAs we’ve celebrated the Lasts of the Summer and stepped into the First inklings of Fall, I’ve been trying to hunker down and just breathe.

I’ve journaled and I’ve taken some fervently brisk walks around the neighborhood in an effort to soothe the restless yammerings inside my head.

Here’s a few things I’ve sifted out:

~ ~ Acknowledge all the shifting feelings. Edit later.

I told a friend recently I felt like a human pinball machine, ricocheting off one thing after another, alarms and dings constantly beeping around me.

Although I felt like I was managing pretty well with the expected parts of multiple transitions, I realized I was “emotionally leaky” when unexpected challenges arose again and again.

I might have been the tearfully quiet woman on the phone, trying not to sob out loud when the air conditioning company informed me that they would NOT be able to work us into their schedule the night before an event at my house!

Acknowledge the wide mix of feelings and their varying intensity as you’re caught up in a time of upheaval, yet give yourself grace to sift through them later.

~ ~ Savor one moment at a time

root beer floatsIt’s hard to have your feet in two worlds at one time.

Absorbing the current moment with both feet solidly planted in the Now helps you focus and soak in the atmosphere around you and connect with the person beside you.

Rootbeer floats on a hot afternoon with your favorite middle schooler is a double treat!

Then you take a deep breath and step forward into the next moment.

late august blooms

~ ~ Keep it Simple

Pray over the small details in a health crisis and identify snatches of gratitude along the way (e.g. timeliness of reports, an extra kindness of the receptionist, or the gesture of a physician providing his own cell phone number to you.)

odometer readingTackle the little things that you can accomplish during a whirlwind season of change. Match up the single socks floating around the laundry room. Clean out the refrigerator. Get your car washed. Lie back in that hammock a few minutes and allow the perspective shift to settle into your bones. Chase the Quiet in the midst of the chaos.

The long-term Big Picture can feel overwhelming. Keep focused on the tangibles of today rather than wallowing in the haze of tomorrow’s worries.

When my permit-only son drove me around on errands, I felt more grounded because my attention was on him and his experience…like watching the odometer roll 123,456 miles as he drove over the bridge to his cross country practice!

Times of crisis don’t have to steal our joy. We can lean into each other to appreciate these little moments shared in this particular season.

~ ~ Release

As parents we can’t hold too tightly to our children. We have to release them when they’re ready to spread their wings. As we celebrate each milestone, our momma’s hearts soar. Yet when we see them take flight, it’s a tender time for all of us. Embrace it all!

Bear Hug sandwich!
Bear Hug sandwich! #BU22

As we prepared for our firstborn to head off to college, I kept focusing on the simple phrase #launchwell to ground me during the flurry of sorting, packing, and loading.

As we neared the Countdown, I had a heightened awareness of Lasts with our son in our daily family life. Our last time at church together as a family. Our last meal together. Each day poignantly echoed the reality impending upon us. His spot at the dinner table would be empty. The light tread of his feet down the stairs would be absent.

#biblequiltjournal #standfirm

I had to recognize that many of our Lasts transformed quickly into his Firsts. Our Release became his time to Shine.

Big Transitions are messy and emotional yet they transform us in remarkable ways we cannot glimpse yet. We press on, standing firm in our faith. We move forward, knowing we are not alone.


“…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”        Isaiah 40:31


 

How to add a little Sparkle to your Ordinary

Are you familiar with the phrase, the liturgy of the ordinary?

walking the dog
Walking the dog

How much do we pay attention to the daily practices that absorb our time and skew our perspective simply through their mundane repetition?

watering the plants
Watering the plants

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 her because 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!”

full cartAs 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!

 

Squished In: Family Vacations for the Long Haul

Who remembers those long summer road trips when you were a kid, squished in beside your siblings and marking out your territory with imaginary lines? What memories are sharpest for you? What senses were most heightened?

flower marketWe rattled around in the backseat without seatbelts (gasp!) & looked forward to an ice cold Orange Crush from a pop machine at a gas station somewhere along the way. We often had to stop to clarify directions to supplement our well-worn, wrinkled state map that never seemed to fold back into its original shape. If we missed a turn, we could drive for miles completely unaware of our error because we didn’t have a computerized voice perkily “re-calculating” for us.

Recently, we logged hundreds of miles on a family vacation.  At the end of a busy day of touristing, we squished in tight into our hotel room each evening. Our boys had their nightly discussion re: who was sharing the foldout couch and who was bunking on the floor.

family selfie

Somewhere in the midst of traveling, we are reminded about our nucleus as a family. We make frequent eye contact as we’re plotting our course for the day. We track one another through noisy crowds. We squish in closely together in various modes of public transportation. During all these bumps and nudges, we’re reminded of our belongingness in this rugged little family of ours.

brothersWe amuse ourselves waiting in lines by messing with each other, cracking jokes that don’t make any sense to those around us.

We smooth out each other’s rough edges and finish each other’s sentences.

Although we’re out exploring new territory and mingling among strangers, we’re drawn back to one another to circle up for the next transition.

We move on together as a pack.

My husband and I are not big fans of selfies…and certainly don’t have “the knack” for taking them, especially if we’re trying to capture some scenic background, too. Something happens, though, when we huddle in together, squishing in to fit all of our faces into that little square. We claim each other. fam picWe recognize ourselves in each other’s expressions and features.

We identify as a unit, a lifelong team. famWe validate our sense of belonging to one another. We catch a glimpse of who we are together in this snap of time. This is Family.

In this moment, this is Us. familyWe reconnect in ways on trips that we don’t in our everyday routine. We aren’t distracted by our daily chores and pressing schedules. We focus in on one another.

coffee in the parkAs parents trailing along behind our children, we see with fresh eyes the ways they have grown since our last vacation. We observe how they assert themselves in new situations.

Independence lurks at this one’s fingertips and we feel a click of confirmation that he is ready to launch. I’m reminded that we have to hold him loosely, allowing him to stretch forward toward his new adventures.

treeSummer vacations are full of potential and opportunity. It’s a time to explore and be curious, lingering over new discoveries.

We can be carefree and silly with one another as we share new experiences. frisbee fun

We play frisbee in different parks and walk miles on unfamiliar streets, soaking in the sights and sounds.

We cultivate as many family memories as we can into these precious summer moments, unifying together for the long haul of our family story. . . SQUISHING IN for all we’re worth!



“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1



Summer Snippets

Summer has its own rhythm and we just sail along with it the best we can . . . enjoying family vacations, “dutifully” following packing checklists for kids’ various camps, having lazy dinners out on the patio…letting each day unfold in its unique way.

“Good Morning” template for Bible Quilt page

Our Quiet Times might slip into a different timeslot as we try to get outside chores down in the early morning hours before the heat of the day.

We might snatch some devotional time during the afternoon lull when everyone has soaked up enough sun or we may experiment with late  devotions when everyone is settled in for the night.

Dinner time may be a little different also. We eat later and “planning” is looser, typically more laidback. We might have more snack suppers or concoct some simple meals from what we find in the fridge. Breakfast dinners are always a win-win around here!

Occasionally, we’ll be motivated to do some batch cooking and stockpile some family favorites  (i.e. chicken packets) that we can pull out at the end of a long summer day.

I don’t know about you, but it takes me a little while to ease in to a summer rhythm, letting go of the patterns that have nudged us along during the school year. Each week has a different flavor, depending on who might be visiting us or which one of the kids might be away at a camp.  “Adaptability” is key. (at least that’s what I keep reminding myself when things are feeling a bit off-kilter)

So, we might be a little more sporadic sharing posts or offering workshops during this season. We’re allowing ourselves to “go with the flow” and give ourselves some margin for some spontaneous get-togethers along the way.

We plan on gathering at #theturquoisetable for some morning Bible Quilt journaling sessions before the heat becomes too oppressive. Check our Facebook group for some of these Simply Summer sessions!

Enjoy your own rhythm of summer, friends! 


“My Presence will go with you,

and I will give you rest.”   Exodus 33:14