A Quick Read... and Recommendation.

Are you wondering what I've been reading lately?  

I need to confess that I've been going through a LOT of good books.  Some amazing books, actually.  And I really want to share some of the best ones I've had the time to read this past year.  

In the meantime, I've been meaning to make you a quick recommendation.  

A Prayer: An Invitation

Holy Spirit...
You are welcome here.
I'm ready to receive everything you have for me today.
I RECEIVE everything you have for me today.
The good you have for me.
May I see it.
Experience it.
Take time for it.
May I hear it.
Sense it.
And may I recognize that it is from You.
Guide my lips, eyes, mind.
Be my peace.
Holy Spirit... come and stay a while!

Letting The Words Flow... Inhaling & Exhaling

I recently heard that if you're a writer, a poet, a baker, a runner, or anything that requires consistent action and practice, you're also meant to do those things regardless of your audience.  Do it quietly.  Do it without accolade.  And more importantly, do it for yourself.  For the simple act of exercising your gift.

Learning To Listen and Praying with Eyes Wide Open

It's been a good Summer... and I have been unapologetically taking time "off" social media and writing for the sake of staying present with my family.  As the kids get older, I'm realizing their independence can easily turn into my excuse for independent parenting... meaning... I can let them play outside without close supervision, they can feed themselves and play with each other (rather than have Mama over here "entertaining" them).  Right?  So, as I set out to live a life of being present, in the moment, with my kids, I realized I had less and less time to listen to the Lord in the quietness of my days.  Seriously, though... Quiet?  What is quiet?

Reading, Reading, Reading... And a Surprise Find!

Can you believe it's already the END of Spring?
It's amazing what a little "break" does to you, though.
Since the kids have been out of school, I've been consistently trying to stay present.  In the moments of every day.  Emily Ley's "Grace Not Perfection" was a beautiful book I read at the beginning of this year, and Shauna Niequiest's "Present Over Perfection" keeps coming back to me after so many months.  After reading and hearing about so many books about the reality that we, as mamas, NEED to purposefully enjoy our days, I KNOW it must be a theme for me, for this season in my life.

All that to say... Yes, I've been enjoying a little break from the usual.  And I'm liking it.

And because of the change in pace in my routine, I've been able to READ a ton!  As you know, I love books and I've been really trying to pursue a more active and diverse reading life.  So, in my quest to balance reading non-fiction AND fiction books, I've come across some really good ones!  Some expected finds, and some really surprising finds.  It's apparent that I really DO need to get out of my literary comfort zone.  If plainly to experience a place and culture I wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity to do so.
Here's just some of the titles I finished these last couple of months and highly recommend:

Whispers of Rest - Not Your Typical Devotional Book

“Quiet isn’t the absence of movement.  Quiet is a movement to trust you were meant for more than striving.  You were meant to be fully alive.  When you give yourself permission to just breathe, you can just be.” 
- Bonnie Gray

I can’t remember the last time I chose to bring my laptop outside. 
The sounds are different.
The breeze is refreshing.
The birds sing, fly, and observe their surroundings… all trying to figure out why there’s a girl in a lawn chair... 
Even the chickens are out today… unusually calming, since on most days they’re locked inside their coop.

Garden Watering

As I was watering our garden this morning, the mist and fresh breeze reminded me of God’s grace.  Fresh.  Daily.  Soothing and awakening.  It was His provision for me. 
For anything to grow and flourish, the initial nurturing is essential. 
Our garden received the fresh watering with a smile. 
It didn’t take long for me to sense God’s presence, right there, in the midst of the ordinary.

Two of my children are home from school today, with that nasty flu bug. 

Mother's Day at the ER - A Letter to My Firstborn

My dearest firstborn son,

This year's Mother's Day was unlike any other... and yet, it was exactly what the Lord had planned for you.  I think you know what I mean...

Biblical Hospitality: A QUICK Book Review...

I’ll be honest…
Whenever the word “hospitality” is said, I cringe.  Not because I don’t like the sound of it, but because I feel guilty for not having scored high on hospitality in my Spiritual Gifts Inventory test.  It’s one of those expectations placed on women, on Christians, and especially on pastors’ wives.  Am I right? 

Meet My Friends: The Inspire Shop & A Giveaway!

Today you're in for a special treat!
I have been anticipated this post for a LONG time, as I've been parading around my house and secretly enjoying my "Write Your Heart Out" mug for the past few weeks.  (Hint... keep reading for an exclusive giveaway!)

Can I pray for you today?

I am fully aware that you might be going through some tough times right now.
And I'm also fully aware that we have a real enemy whose sole purpose for existing is to steal our joy, to kill, devour and destroy us.  

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."  John 10:10

A Few Things I Learned While On Spring Break

Oh... how I loved being on Spring Break this year!
As the kids get older and as I'm learning what it means to "rest" and to enjoy the small (but important) things in life, I can honestly say that taking a week to UNPLUG was GOOD.

My March Favorites

How is it already April!!??
March tends to be a long month, but I cannot believe how fast it came and went!  Am I the only one who feels like that?
Anyway... before I dive into all things April... Easter... Exciting giveaways (coming up soon, I promise!)... I am here to share the THREE THINGS I've been loving from the month of March!

A Different Kind of Grief

Grief is so thick.
While everyone grieves differently, and for different reasons, grief has a way of creeping in at different seasons in our lives.
I'm not an expert on grief.  Or on how people can and should grieve.  Goodness, I can't even claim to know and understand the levels of pain, suffering, and hurt that grief brings to someone's soul.  I recently wrote about how to enter into someone else's grief here, but I'm still aware of my limitations.

Loss is inevitable.
People lose people.
People lose jobs and careers.
People lose status.
People lose comfort & routines.

Loss is part of our lives.

What Does It Mean To Have Peace?

I'm pretty sure of a few things in life.
Coffee makes me happy.  
White IS a color.
And how I feel is actually a CHOICE...

What about coffee that is so comforting to me?  

(Taken at my beloved Main Street Coffee House in Nappanee, IN)

The Song Lyrics That Have Been Breaking Me Down

What is that ONE SONG that you've listened to lately that completely broke you down?  
Not just the "breaking down" that brings a tear or two, or even those watered eyes you fight to keep sealed behind your eyeballs?  I'm talking about that ONE SONG that grabs your heart and the insides of your soul, and has a ridiculous way of making your joints and muscles turn to jello!

Nourishing and Nurturing... One Feeding At a Time

I love my children.  And if you're a Mama, I know you do, too.  I have no doubt of that.  
We may doubt our ability to meet certain self-set standards on a daily basis, and we may, more than often, beg God for forgiveness and HELP.  But as a Mama of three strong-will children, my ability to see through their behavior gets cloudy when I choose to only focus on what's on the surface.  The tantrums, the whining, the endless fights or the mean words.  When I want to speak into their character, I fail to take the time.  To look into their eyes.  To hold them and speak into their soul.  

Am I taking the time to nurture them?

When Joshua was born almost 8 years ago, my heart exploded!  

My February Favorites

Today I am sitting down to catch up and put into words a few of my favorite things from the month of February.  Some other media sources call this their "monthly favorites", "February favorites", or "monthly loves (& hates)".  I love watching, reading, and listening to those posts, videos and podcasts.  And I've been absolutely mesmerized by what people choose to do with their time and resources.

So, here on this platform, I'm choosing to name THREE THINGS I'VE BEEN LOVING from the month of February.  

Shattering The Illusion of Perfection - Part 1: Devotional Life

This is a post that's been a long time coming.

I've been meaning to write about the topic of "perfection", or, better yet... the "illusion of perfection" for quite a while.  I've noticed an increased awareness among my peers, especially all you Mamas and married Ladies out there, that perfection is an illusion.  You can't reach it.  You can't define it.  You might think you see it on other people's Instagram profile and stories.  Beautiful Pinterest Boards. Amazing Facebook posts!  

"For Whatever Overcomes A Person, To That She Is Enslaved"

I have a confession to make.  I may not look like one, but I'm a complete rebel.  I am!

What Happens When I Get On The Treadmill In Tears...

Yesterday was one of those mornings...
The day before was a rough one, too.  And despite my consistent attempts to start my mornings with Jesus, my Bible and a colorful pen, I don't always succeed in listening to His "good morning" voice.  On the contrary, my week had been a silent culmination of moody days that led to the massive emotional (and hormonal) exchange I had with my children and my husband.

4 Secrets About Motherhood & The Truth That Set Me Free

Hey you.
The mama of a single child.  
The mama of twins.
The mama of boys.  
The mama of girls.
The new mama.
The seasoned mama.  
And every mama in between.

What Laundry Is Teaching Me...

Laundry can be overwhelming.  
Laundry can be strenuous.
Laundry can be endless.

English Is NOT My First Language

Growing up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I didn't know I was Asian.

Jesus In The Grief Of Others

Today marks the end of the very first week of 2017.  That's crazy!  I look around me and I can think of several people within my close community and family going through TOUGH situations.  

What's Wrong With A Peppermint Mocha?

Yesterday I learned that a Peppermint Mocha cannot heal my wounds.

That's right, friends.  I woke up with a crummy attitude yesterday...

2017 Focus: Daily Encounters With Jesus

Happy New Year!

Can you believe it's ALREADY January THIRD?  Wow!  
So here I am... I realized that last year I had only blogged twice... TWICE... all year!  And believe me, there were days I blogged in my head.  My thoughts flowed and flowed but never got to a blank page.  I felt guilty.  Then I felt freed.  Then I felt like it became forgotten.  But I always missed this... THIS... putting my thoughts on the screen.  

The Lord spoke very vividly with me as I was reading His Word at my kitchen table one afternoon...