Slow it Down

Hi friends —

It’s been so busy around here lately, and I’m still trying to gather my thoughts and get a handle on household things; I hope to write more soon!  There’s a big project I’ve been working on that’s taking a good chunk of my free time… and it involves writing, so lots of days I’m kinda “written-out”.  (More on the project later, promise!)

As we get into the holidays it seems schedules get busier and more hectic.  Often filled with good things!  But it can be crazy.  So in case you also have had a busy last couple of weeks, I thought I’d share something that helps me take a quick breather: some photos of nature and its beauty.  And if you haven’t been super busy — yay!  Enjoy the photos as well.  :)

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Have a great rest of your day!

 

P.S.  All photos taken by me; Amy Originals.

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“If you believe in a God that controls the big things,

you must believe in a God that controls the small things.

It is we, of course, to whom things seem big or small.”

-Elisabeth Elliot

 

Happy Monday, friends.  :)

Dear Diary

We have a new trash can.  It’s big and it opens and closes and it’s really fun.  I like to play with it but I have to do it when Mommy’s not looking because she says no.  She says it’s really yucky and I shouldn’t touch it.  So I just give her a funny face and say “bleh” and then she nods and looks away and I play with it again.

There’s another trash bucket next to it and Mommy puts all the paper and cereal boxes and jars in it, and I reeeeeally like to play with all of those.  And Mommy says that’s not a good idea either, so I can’t get into it much.  This morning she put it on the counter where I couldn’t even reach it.  I just pulled out the big trash can and pushed it around the kitchen until she made me stop and do something else.

Most of the time the big one is closed and I can’t open it; I don’t know how Mommy and Daddy keep it closed without touching it — I need to figure that out.  Sometimes it opens when I try and sometimes it won’t.  But nothing looks different so I don’t know.  But I’ll figure it out.

Oh, and today is Wednesday and I usually write on Monday because everybody needs to smile on a Monday…  I think I can give you a smile today too though, right?

Sincerely,

Me

***

 

Mommy’s note:  If you’re new here, welcome!  Let me explain these “Dear Diary” posts.  I started them back in August 2016 from the perspective of my then-infant son, Levi.  He “writes” them almost every week as a way to give all of us a little smile and something lighthearted as we start another week.  Enjoy!  :)

An Unforeseen Lesson

“Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10

 

***

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My house is kept fairly orderly.  I like a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  Day in and day out I work to keep it clean; I do the dishes, put away the folded laundry, sweep the floors, scrub the toilets.

I go grocery shopping and make sure we have food (though meal planning is yet to be perfected).  It all goes to its rightful spot when it gets home from the store, and the bags are saved for later use.

When diapers or paper towels or dish soap or whatever else runs low, I make a list and bring it and Levi to Walmart to replenish our supplies.  The changing table and bathrooms get stocked, the dispensers refilled.

In my bathroom cleaning this morning I couldn’t help thinking — I do all of these things to maintain the household, and yet when Josh comes home he doesn’t see it.  Of course, he does see it; he sees the order or lack thereof, he sees that he doesn’t need to think about whether or not there’s enough toilet paper or soap.  And I know he’s genuinely grateful for all that I do each day.  But it doesn’t seem to make the impact I expect it to make.

He doesn’t see all these efforts as ways to his heart; they don’t seem to make a difference in how loved and respected he feels.  Rather, he lights up when I spend time with him.  He deeply appreciates my home- and family-keeping, but it makes him even happier when I put those things aside to focus on him.  To talk with him about what he’s been reading, to hold hands and walk through town, to get to know him better.

There are so many lessons in marriage, and this is one that I hadn’t been expecting or looking for… but as I thought more, there in the bathroom this morning — I heard that verse over and over.

Be still.

Be still and know that I am God.

The context of this verse is God’s power, Him being the Refuge for His people and the Conqueror of nations.  And in the midst of wars and the struggles of nations at that time, He tells His people to be still.  To rest in Him, to know that He is God and He is their refuge — He is powerful to break bows and cut spears in two, to bring about the outcome He wills despite how it looks to those in battle.

It fits with the rest of the Bible; there’s a theme God shows us of resting in Him.  Allowing Him to be enough, because He is.

Our salvation doesn’t come by works, nor do we keep it by works.  It’s a gift that we receive freely.  He desires our relationship and our knowledge of who He is and how He loves more than all the things we can do for Him.

Though it’s not an exact comparison, as Josh can’t be my everything — my relationship with my husband isn’t based on what I do any more than my relationship with God is.  The works are still important, both for my relationship with Josh and with God; but they aren’t what define the relationships or keep them together.

It’s so sweet, isn’t it?  To be loved not based on what you do, but for who you are and who you’re becoming.  What a picture God gives us through marriage!

***

I realize not everyone reading this has the same picture in their marriage.  If that’s you, pray you’re still able to see today that your relationship with Christ isn’t dependent on your works, that you’re deeply loved because He bought you for a high price and He calls you His child.  He desires for you to rest in Him and find Him to be your Refuge.

And if you don’t believe in God, if you don’t have a relationship with Him — I pray you grapple today with the fact that He is a just God who is all-powerful.  He is also a God of mercy, and He delights in taking sinners and making them whole.

Known More Than Sparrows

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We’ve moved six times over the last two and a half years, between apartments and condos and my parents’ house.

Our first apartment was on the second floor, squished in the city with buildings and cars surrounding it.  There was a flock of sparrows that perched on the wires that ran from our building to the one next door; every day they’d settle there and talk, and I’d smile as they gave me a glimpse of nature.  We made that apartment a sweet little place, despite my discomfort being in a city.

Our first and second condos were nestled off of a main highway, with trees and grass out the front and back.  A bit more space, and removed from downtown.  To my delight there were countless birds that lived in our neighborhood, including the little brown sparrows.  It felt a bit more homey, and the sparrows loved to sit on our roof and tell us about their day.

And now, at the home we’re settling into — the sparrows frequent our backyard tree and the puddles in our driveway.  Still the same, talkative and carefree, just enjoying the moment.

Every single place we’ve gone, including the stays at my parents’ in between, I’ve looked outside and seen the sparrows.  They make me smile every time; a sort of unexpected constant through all the change.

When I prayed for peace amidst the city life I wasn’t fond of, God reminded me through the sparrows.  When we moved on to the next step, He reminded me through the sparrows.  And again here, He reminds me through the sparrows:

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?  And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Matthew 10:29-31

God knows even the flights and ways of a sparrow; how much more does He know our days and lives?  How much more does He know us?

Moving has been of the changes in life that causes me the most stress.  I’ve learned bit by bit to be content with where I am, but I am by no means one who enjoys all the change.  I like to settle, to dig deep in where I am and know that I’ll most likely be there for a good while.

So He reminds me over and over (He’s so patient and consistent) that He cares, and that He provides for each step of the way.  And truly, He does.  He provides in the unknown and the known; He watches over me and knows what will happen in the future.  He goes before, and I’ve found such peace in that.

Since our first apartment, I see sparrows a little differently… a reminder of His care and love.  It’s been the neatest little surprise at each new place; I’m so thankful to have had the visible reminder.  They’re pretty cute too.  :)

***

The photo above is one I took recently (out of our bathroom window, actually).  We have a beautiful maple tree out back that’s frequently full of birds, and the sparrows always like to join in the fun.  I’m hoping to capture the birds more in days to come, but I love this shot of him looking right at the camera.  I’ve added it to my inventory online so you can also enjoy it through a print, canvas, or metal print.  See it here; hope it makes you smile like it does for me.

Dear Diary

This morning Mommy took me to a playground.  It’s really nice out and there are all kinds of leaves everywhere — they’re crunchy under my feet.

The playground is really fun and today there were a lot of other kids there too.  I sometimes don’t know what to do with other kids and Mommy has to help me.  I only see Mommy and Daddy and Grammie and Grandpa all the time so then when there’s somebody fun-sized like me I have to stand still for a little while and watch.

They talk kinda like me but kinda like Mommy and Daddy too.  And they can go up on all the things and I can’t really do that yet.  But they still need their mommies to help sometimes.

I followed them and tried to do what they did and it worked.  Cept a couple times I got scared and went back to Mommy and she helped me.  One big kid pressed a button and made a lot of water come out of the ground, and it was really cool!  I wanted to go touch it and play in it but Mommy said I needed to wait and not get all wet.  Then it just disappeared into the ground.  So I went and stomped in the puddles and tried to lick the water off my hands, until Mommy said no because it was yucky.  Blah.

Someday I’ll go back and play in the water though.  I did once — at a different thingy, not the water that came out of the ground — and I got really super wet but Mommy changed me in the car and it was okay.  I think she should do that again, cuz then there aren’t any problems.

Sincerely,

Me

***

Note from Mommy — we had a lot of fun this morning!  It’s so sweet to watch Levi start to interact with other kids.  You never know what the reactions will be from either kid!

Also, today is the launch of the book I reviewed not too long ago, Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors.  If you haven’t read my review on it, click here — I very highly encourage you to get a copy for yourself!  It’s fantastic and will encourage you deeply.  Katie shared a bit about the book on the Today Show this morning with Kathie Lee & Hoda; head over here to see that video clip.  Enjoy!