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30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 30} The Greatest Gift of All

1 Dec The Reason For the Season

I was reading to Micah last night prior to our bedtime routine, in an attempt to settle his wild soul down.  So, of course we were reading, “Where the Wild Things Are.”  It was adorable to hear him repeat Max’s phrases, “Be Still!” and “Let the wild rumpus start.”

And as I sat tonight trying to settle my soul into this special season that is upon us, it instead felt like the world declaring, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

For many, the rumpus of the Christmas season began the very night we give thanks for all we have.  What better way to reflect on our abundance of blessings than to rush out and get more, right?  I don’t have a problem with those wanting to get a jump on giving and save while doing it, but the retailers pushing it earlier and earlier is just ridiculous.  I just avoid it all together!  Was the Dollar Tree even running a Black Friday special?  That’s where my DIY gifts will hail from!

We are in a consumer society that teaches us to want more, need more, and be satisfied with none.  Trying to teach little ones what Christmas really means is tough.

I am all for passing on Christmas traditions from childhood, Santa, gift giving, and The Grinch.

But I am all about the greatest and first Christmas gift, Christ.

To be cliche, He is the reason for the season, in this heart and hearth, and I hope in yours.  There is nothing better to give or to get than the FREE gift of God’s grace, wrapped beautifully in swaddling clothes, and delivered in the humble form of His son, Jesus Christ.

But I’ve been struggling on how best to deliver this message to my children’s hearts (and ours) without robbing them of simple, fun Christmas magic and joy that comes in many commercial forms ….

Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Days 19-23} Cousins

21 Nov

I’m cheating a bit this week by not posting every day, but it’s been a busy week and will just get busier with Thanksgiving on the way.  Hopefully I can get a little grace from you dear readers?!

When I started thinking about what I was grateful for this week, I was overwhelmed by the abundance of blessings in my life.

The boys and I took a quick day-trip in to Broken Arrow on Monday to visit family who arrived in town for Thanksgiving.  It was a wonderful day filled with lots of laughter, good food, and great company.  And it was a mere preview of what Thursday and Friday will bring.

This was one of the many reasons for laughter. Kasen was styling in the stache

I have a HUGE family, and so many people I am incredibly thankful for.  So, instead of doing a post for individuals (not enough days, what if I leave someone out?!) I am going to try and sum up the joy that my family brings to my life, specifically, cousins.  Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 13} Poetry and Prose

13 Nov

My poetry is not something I have shared as much on this blog.  I have used Allpoetry.com as the outlet for those words.

But I love poetry, prose, limericks, and the like.

Raw emotions harnessed within the lines of meter and sometimes rhyme; poetry is the world’s window to the soul.

I am grateful that God has gifted me in sharing written words, whether as story or metaphor, imagery or fact.

I pour my soul from pen to paper as if my blood is the very ink with which I write.  I convey that which I cannot speak.  I create from hope, tears, love, pain, and grace.

My life lines the paper and I am laid bare.

This was a poem I wrote for Allpoetry Continue reading

30 Days of a Thankful Heart {Day 1} To Good Health and Happiness

1 Nov Micah on his tree at three

November has long be regarded as the month in which we reflect on thankfulness.  Family, friends, and lots of delicious food.  What isn’t to be thankful about those things?

During this month, I will post everyday on at least one thing or person that I am thankful for.  The posts may be short or long, but they will all be straight from my heart.

Here we go….

Day 1~~Health and Happiness

We recently took a day trip in to Broken Arrow to surprise my mom for her birthday.  I made sure to pack the camera and come cute clothes for the boys because we were also going to try to swing by a pumpkin patch and capture some perfect pictures.  Right.  Do things ever go according to plan with children in tow? Continue reading

AAA of Marriage

30 Oct

I cannot claim credit for the catchy post title today.  I stole it directly from my morning devotion app, GIG, Girlfriends in God.  The very gifted Sharon Jaynes penned the devo, AAA Club of Marriage, and it really spoke to my heart today; my husband heart.

Marriage Survival Tool Kit
Photo courtesy of theweddinggals.net

Jayne states that the AAA of marriage is adoration, admiration, and appreciation.  While she does say that these things need to flow both ways, her focus is on how a wife can build up and love her husband by living those three principles on a daily basis.

Easy right?

Ephesians 5:33 has this to say:

33 However, let each man of you [without exception] love his wife as [being in a sense] his very own self; and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].” -Amplified Version

I’ll be honest, I have always chafed quite a bit under biblical directives to submit to the husband.  I come from a long-line of strong matriarchs and slide into the role of domineering wife easily.  I am letting God work on me in this area; softening the rough edges and sharpness of tongue.  However, this is not what this verse focuses on.  It is lifting up the virtues of adoration, admiration, and appreciation, for both husband and wife.  Continue reading

10 Scriptures to Soothe Mommy’s Soul

24 Sep Harried Heather at the end of my rope

(Fair Warning: This is a lengthy post.  My lack of posts has built up and is now overflowing.  Read it through…it’s worth it.  I’m also biased!)

Yesterday (Sunday) is often considered to be a day of rest.  Sabbath.

Not so in my world.

We are a ministry family.  My husband is the senior pastor of our church and that means Sunday is a work day, and not just for him.  I’m currently the children’s ministry director and even when I am not teaching on a Sunday, I am checking in with leaders, counting little heads, hands, and hearts, and collecting the change in our Children’s Change Jar.  By the time the service is over and we have fellowshipped with as many congregants as possible, chased our almost 3-yr old son  all over the sanctuary (altar rails, chairs, stage…), and consoled our now cranky almost 4-month old, we are wiped out.

But the day isn’t even over!

If it’s a good day, I will have a delicious crockpot meal simmering in the slow-cooker.  The scent will tantalize our tastebuds as we drag in through the front door.  We can sit and eat in relative relaxation for a little bit, but let’s be honest; we haven’t had a relaxing meal on a regular basis in almost 3 years.  Hmmm, why is that?

If it’s a fantastic day we will splurge and endure the craziness of eating out with two children under the age of 3 and indulge in Mexican food.  Pass the salsa and chips please!

Yesterday was a good day.

I had dinner on low and slow in the crockpot so we had gourmet turkey sandwiches for lunch.  Micah (the 3 yr. old) wanted PB crackers and squeeze fruit.  He ate the fruit and pushed the crackers around his plate.  He was hungry later.  Not surprised.  All was normal and even calm in the Tiger house.

Then it was time for naps.

It needs to be said that Sunday afternoon naps are a sacred and time-honored tradition that Aaron and I treasure and have made a priority in our relationship for the past ten years.  Come hell, high water, or a second kid, we will have our Sunday nap.

Unless there is a football game on.  Or a ministry meeting.  Or a family function.  Or a preschooler with a stubborn streak a mile long.

You get the picture though.  We don’t just like our rest.  We NEED our Sunday refueling nap to sustain us through small groups, meetings, and any other church event that might be scheduled.

Aaron took Micah back to his room to settle down for naptime.  I was nursing Kasen, ready to swaddle that little bug and get him drifting off ASAP so Mommy could settle in for a long Sunday snooze.

Both boys had other intentions.

Micah dug in his tenacious little heels and refused to settle, sleep, or even stay still.  I was tagged in to take over for Aaron.  Kasen was handed off smoothly with no fumble.  Micah cared for the change in coaches about as much as the NFL is loving the fill-in refs.  He yelled, he screamed, he kicked, and he flopped.  If the Emmy’s handed out an award for Best Dramatic Tantrum, he would have it in the bag.

We ignored him.  We talked calmly and soothingly to him.  We carried him back to his room and shut the door (that does not have a lock?!) I held him tightly in a loving hold to stop the flailing. We gave him options.  We attempted to reason, reward, cajole, and bribe the child to stop throwing the fit.  We FAILED!!!

I even attempted singing a new temper song we had learned just that morning watching PBS’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, even though I knew I was messing the words up.  “I’m so mad I could roar, but instead I’ll count to four.  One. Two. Three. Four.”  Something like that.  It even seemed like that was working.  Until it wasn’t.  The fit resumed in full force after a few calmer, shuddering breaths.  I should have sung the song to myself a few times.  After a slap in the face (my face), elbow to the stomach (yep, mine), and a scream in the ear (mine too), I lost all my patience and my mind for a moment.

Savage Mommy Tiger roared.  Right in the face of her little tiger cub.  Continue reading

From Storms to Smooth Sailing

7 Aug

Hello sweets!  I know that it has been an extended absence on my end, and while I apologize for no new posts, I desperately need some grace.  I’m struggling to find my place, rhythm, and routine since Kasen’s joyous arrival into our lives, and this blog has been a casualty of that wandering war.  When I have found moments where I might put my “pen to paper,” I find myself utterly lacking in inspiration, leaving my blog stagnant but my draft box burgeoning.

Even in the midst of the struggle there are great rays of light and I give thanks.  I am learning to embrace the content life, but in this I am not my usual fast learning self.  I have found a friend!  Yay!  I will fill in those details later.  She has been a true blessing and I am enjoying the moments of growing together.  We walk early in the morning 4-5 x’s a week and it is not only good for my body, it is water for a parched soul, just getting to spend that hour communing.

But there is still longing; still fixing, healing, restoring that needs to happen.  There is the discontent that I am trying to stare down.

Facing the storms of life head on

As I was making my way through my incredibly long list of blogs I read, I stopped by the ever-gifted Leanne Penny at leannepenny.com and was once again blown away at her words and the way she always seems to reach right in to my heart and pour in hope and grace.  She was writing today about connection of the husband and wife variety; the very kind I have been missing so much.  She threw down a connecting gauntlet and idea sharing challenge.  Read about that here and contribute your own connecting tips and insights.

This was my response…. Continue reading

Good to Grow

16 May

This was my Mother’s Day present.  My pretty little purple teacup orchid.  I love orchids and it may be one of the few plants I can actually keep alive and help flourish.  My husband had gotten me another purple orchid plant about four years ago, and it was a glorious beauty. When we moved home to Oklahoma from Kentucky I left my plant in the care of my good friend, Heather, as a sign that our friendship would continue to flourish after we left.  It has.

It was a Just Add Ice Orchid, meaning I literally only had to add 3 pieces of ice, one time a week and keep it in indirect sunlight, and it grew and grew.  While this new one is not the same “brand”, I am hoping that adding 2ish pieces of ice a week to hydrate my little lovely will produce similar results.

As I sat gazing at my pretty present that was meant to celebrate me as a mother, I started thinking of how my plant was not the only tender thing that I was responsible for nourishing and growing with care.

I sat, almost 37 wks pregnant with my second son, looking at a portrait of our oldest son as it hung behind the orchid, and the enormous responsibility and gift of these little lives struck me with such intensity that I lost my breath for a moment.

Am I a good enough mother?  Do I know enough?  What if I make mistakes?  What about my flaws?  Can I give them what they need?  Is my love enough?

Am I enough?

My gaze didn’t have to travel far from the flower to linger upon the cross nearby.  And I had my answer.

No.  I am not enough.  But God is.

His love and grace, poured out through me is enough.

When I am weak, He will be there.  When I fail, His plans will succeed.  When I stumble, He will pick me up.

He will be the guide for my journey as a mother, and a light for my boys to seek and follow.

His love will be enough to nourish and grow them even when mine may fall short.

I can tenderly care for my plant by keeping it watered just right and providing the right amount of sunlight for growth.  If I neglect it or accidentally leave it in the shadows it may wither.

By trusting my boys to God’s tender care, I can trust that I will know the right amount of love they need for their souls to be nourished, and the perfect place of the Son in their lives for ultimate growth.

Why?

Because God is enough.

 

(This will be my only post for a little while as I finish preparing for the parsonage open house during our church’s 10 yr celebration, and Kasen’s very soon impending arrival.  Have a great week!)

Gracefully~~Heather

Enough for Today

1 May

It’s May 1.  When I found out I was pregnant, Aaron and sat down and looked at all we would have going on near our due date.  It was a lot.  Our church’s 10-yr celebration weekend, including an open house, birthdays, our 7th anniversary, Mother’s Day, and our denomination’s annual conference, on top of all the daily work and tasks.  Not only were all these things on the horizon, there was a lot of preparation we had to do in order for these things to happen.  We decided that we needed to set a goal to have as much as possible prepared for Kasen’s arrival by the beginning of May, so that when the busyness really hit, we wouldn’t be in anxiety overdrive.

Guess what?

Didn’t happen.  Guess who is in anxiety overdrive?  This girl, and I know Aaron is just as overwhelmed by the church and also wanting to give his best at home. I know neither of us was planning on me being sick for much of the pregnancy, and it just has not helped.

I was up late last night for multiple reasons, like heartburn, uncomfortableness, and also I could not shut my mind down with all the things we still need to do to prepare for Kasen, get the house ready, and again, just stay on top on everyday tasks.

I’m still dealing with this sinus infection which has sidelined me for the past few days, and this morning was not looking bright.  The anxiety had not diminished overnight, so as I sat down to do my devotion, I simply prayed that God would give me a few moment’s peace.  He did that and more.  Ask and you shall receive, right?

Here are a few of the things God led me to either during my devotion or right after that have helped carry me through the day so far.  I turned on the satellite Christian station to let God sing over me, calm my soul, as I surfed the web of His grace.  It is truly enough for today.

 

From my devotion at Girlfriends in God by Sharon Jayne: “Her lamp does not go out at night…” (Proverbs 31:18 NIV). Continue reading

He is Risen! Day 40

8 Apr

5 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28: 5-7

Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

We no longer wait in anticipation, but we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

The cross is empty.

The grave could not contain him.

He is risen, and because of His grace we are restored!

His free gift of grace, bought and paid by his own blood, is for all.

Celebrate the risen Christ and accept the gift of life.

Alleluia!

I want to share the words from one of the great Christian hymns,

Continue reading