Sunday

to have a week of rest

hey guys!
i hope your easter was awesome.
just wanted to let you know i'm gearing up for
a week of rest, focus and minimal distractions.
i'll be off here and facebook just this week,
but,
as always,
you can reach me by email.

here's a look at what i will be focusing on in
this week of rejuvination:

books:
1}finish peace like a river
2}mitten strings for god
3}1000 gifts
4}the practice of the presence of God

{these are all rereads numerous times over.  but they always lift me up and give me focus}

music:
1}the civil wars
2}ryan delmore {a good friend, awesome musician and worship leader}
3}alathea
4}jenny and tyler
5}the swell season
6}mumford and sons

tv:
gilmore girls

writing:
personal journal and writing project

outdoors:
play, read, sit, walk, lay in sunshine with kiddos
weed and plant garden
hang diapers
feed chickens, collect eggs, hold the ladies
breathe

so i'll be gone for the week.
i have such awesomeness planned and i'm really looking forward to it.
see you next week my friends!



Friday

to recap and dance... you can't touch this.

this week we...

read books;
a wrinkle in time,
farmer boy,
the 39 clues series.
Layla, still engulfed in the middle ages,
is reading through Henty's middle ages books...
she's on the third right now.
i am reading one of my favorites again,
peace like a river.
i.love.this.book.
i cannot state that enough.
if you haven't read it, you should.



knit:
layla is knitting a peach.
long story.
i am knitting blankets.  lots and lots of blankets.
it seems people are always having babies.
so they always need blankets.
because the world can not have enough knit blankets.
and that's the truth.

played:
outside in the sun.  oh yes.  spring weather is
absolutely perfect these days.
layla took so many photos of spring's arrival.
breathtaking.
games. last weekend we found a national geographic game
at a thrift store.  layla and i have been playing it daily.
so fun and great geography lessons!
toys
Moses has been obsessively playing legos.
like for hours.
it's pretty awesome.



danced:
mc hammer dance party.
and that's all i'm saying about that.



hope your weekend is filled with
love, light, peace, and mc hammer.

Thursday

to ramble about gay marriage and other light topics :)

This is a completely rambly post.
There is no flow or rhyme or reason.
Read it if you dare...

I'm a bit backwards in my days.
The husband has had Sundays off at work since before
we were married and now,
since we are out of the institution and
his work was begging for someone to work Sundays,
he has changed his schedule and now has Friday and Saturday off
instead of Sunday and Monday.
And this has completely screwed me up.
Completely.
But I think it's a good thing,
to shake things up a bit and
being the free spirits that we are,
it doesn't really matter what days he is home and
what days he works.
So for now I'm all screwed up, thinking it's later in the week
than it is. But I also feel a bit lighter,
because freedom will do that to you.

When I was 14 I was not yet a christian.
I met a boy.
He was an amazing musician and we clicked immediately.
He became one of my best friends.
He was gay.
We spent the next few years hanging out tons,
he went to some of my school dances with me as my date,
I was the number one "groupie" to his band.
We checked out guys together.
When I was 17 I became a christian. 
And I knew that christian's were supposed to think being gay was wrong.
And I was a baby christian and didn't know much about that.
But I was confused.Because see, I had this friend {and others, but him especially} and
what? Was I supposed to drop him?  Tell him he was wrong?
Act all better than him? Now I may have been new but
that didn't seem very Christ like.
So I didn't change anything.
I loved him still.
I hung out with him still.
He was still gay.
And I still love him.


So I guess I'll talk about this whole gay marriage thing.

I must be a glutton for punishment.
I am a christian.
I think gay marriage should be legal.
Why?
Well, first and foremost,
I don't actually believe that marriage is a government sanctioned thing.
Marriage is God ordained.
That being said, the marriage which the government sanctions is
completely different and is a right which our government grants.
If the government only grants a right to certain citizens who fit
a certain mold, shame on them.  The marriage which our government grants
should be granted to all. 
Not to mention I would like to attend the wedding of my aforementioned friend.

Now, you may ask,
what about those who say they are christian, gay and want to be married?
Well, just like anything else in life,
that is between them and God.
I will love them just the same and allow them to have
their own walk with God. And I pray God blesses their union,
just like for anyone else.

And here's one more thing to possibly get me blacklisted.
If you notice I said marriage is God ordained, not government.
So the logical conclusion of that is if two christians say they are married,
they are married.  Who cares if they had a ceremony and got a license?
It's between them and God.

Do you notice my theme here?  It's between them and God.
Let people have their own walk with God.
We are so not the judge.  And that is such a good thing.

Here's a cute picture of Pearl.
Just to help you remember you like me
now that you think I'm crazy :)


Love you guys {hope you still love me}!

Tuesday

to be awesome

Somedays I wake up and
I am a complete mess.
I just can't get it together.
Breakfast is a disaster,
house is thrashed and
kids have declared battle against everything and everyone.
By ten I already feel like an utter failure
and I just want to crawl under a rock and hide away until
someone comes and cleans the house and makes
a peace treaty with the little people.

But it's not going to happen and
if I don't get a grip and get down to business,
chaos will continue and grow and my
sense of failure will consume me.

And so I hit the bathroom,
the one place in the house I occasionally have to myself (but not usually)
and get a glimpse of my failed, worn and weary self in the mirror.

"Hey," I say to self in mirror.
"Get a grip. You are not a failure."

Then maybe I splash a little water on my face.
"Seriously. It's okay."

By now there's a bit of light breaking through.
"Hey! You're a child of God.
You are freaking awesome!"

And it's true.
I am.

You too weary mama.
Lonely, worn out, ready to quit.
You are freaking awesome.
Truly, and
don't forget it.


*my daughter layla cringed when taking this picture. she rolled her eyes a lot.  and my son josiah told me i should replace the awesome with dorky.  i am freaking dorky.  well, it's true.  i am.  but i don't care because even if i'm dorky i am still FREAKING AWESOME!*

Sunday

to have an awesome weekend

this weekend has been awesome.
seriously.
uneventful, slow, togetherness.
completely awesome.












hope yours has been awesome too.

*don't forget to enter my giveaway*

Thursday

to say thanks and give you something

three years ago,
i started this blog.
When I first started it, I titled it To Train Up a Child with Love,
in outcry to what seemed to me an epidemic of a whole lot of child training
on the internet but not a whole lot of love,
a lot of people following the Pearls,
the Ezzos, {even family following the Ezzos} and
to be honest,
it just kind of made me sick.
i didn't know of other blogs and websites 
that spent time teaching of another way
as i do now.
all i knew was i was disgusted by all of the advice out there,
telling people to force their children into first time obedience,
to hurt them for any disobedience,
and i wanted to be a voice for something different,
something that looked a bit more like Christ's grace and mercy and
less like authoritarianism and cruelty.

(The LORD is merciful and gracious,
         Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy).


and so i started the blog,
the name being a bit of a joke,
to train up a child with love ,
because you know, without love we are just a bunch of clanging cymbals.
over time i started posting about other things,
church, our family, learning at home, theology, justice,
really just living a life while attempting to love {God and everyone}
in general.
and so i changed the name, the url,
but still so much of what i have to say focuses on the children.
because hey,
did you know the children are our future? :)

so it's been three years and i have made some beautiful friendships and
even,
maybe,
helped and encouraged some.
in these three years we have moved back home to ca from wa state,
had miss pearl,
left the institutional church and
just grown closer to God and each other.
it's been a beautiful journey.
thank you for walking it with me.

to celebrate and say thank you i'm having a giveaway.
three of the things i talk about most on my blog are
books, coffee/tea, and photos.
so i'm going to give someone one of my favorite books,
an awesome coffee mug and any photo from my daughter layla's
etsy shop. 


if you want to enter you can leave a comment.
if you want to enter again you can follow me and leave another comment.
if you want to enter again you can "like" to love on the fb and leave a third comment.
i'll pick a winner tuesday the 26th.

thanks for being my friend and hanging out with me these three years.
love you guys.

*updated: winner of giveaway is Hannah, #7, picked by random.org*

Tuesday

to call it spring

spring is beginning and,
really,
has begun here, for us.








with books and ducklings,
flowers and seedlings,
days spent lying on quilts under trees,
children smiling and laughing,
i'm calling it spring.

we are waiting to hear from colleges,
drinking tea throughout the day,
rearranging, simplifying, organizing,
i'm calling it spring.

we are leaving windows down,
letting night's cool breeze touch our lips,
piling under quilts as we lay down too late at night,
i'm calling it spring.

it's a day away,
but for us it's been spring for weeks.
and a welcome spring it is.

Monday

to talk about sin and why we don't punish

i know, sin.
what a topic.
i'm sure half of my readers noticed the title and
decided to not even read it.
and probably half of my friends who aren't christian.
because sin is such an unpopular topic and a concept that
most people want nothing to do with.
but it goes along with my other topic,
from this post,
on why we don't punish.
and so i'm going to talk about sin.
read if you dare.

i don't think sin is as black and white as we make it out to be.
what i am really concerned with is the why's of sin.
why do we do what we do?

here's my lame example:
{disclaimer, i called it lame.
ergo, i know it's lame.  so don't fault it 
for it's lameness.}
a young girl who feels unloved.
desperate for attention, affection, love.
she starts sleeping around and begins a super
promiscuous lifestyle.
most in the church would call that sin.
and i'm not saying it's not.  that's pretty clear,
it's pretty contrary to the ten commandments and whatnot.
but what do we do about it?  do we tell her she's in sin?
do we teach her about std's and unplanned pregnancy?
so what if she stops sleeping around if
her heart is still hurt?

Christ made it pretty obvious that He is way
more interested in our hearts than in our outward appearances. 
so to focus more on fixing the symptom than the problem
is kind of like ignoring the leprosy and only trying to
repair each bit of damaged skin the leper acquires.
in the end you may have a bandaged body but
inside you are dying.

and so the sin {or action, or behavior if you like} is
merely a symptom of whatever is going on inside of us and
it takes real compassion and love to figure out the
real problem and find ointment which will soothe soul aches.

and just as i would gently take the hand of a sister who made
bad choices,
take their hand and not scold or belittle but
listen,
offer love and guidance and prayer,
so i do my children.

sometimes they behave in less than ideal ways,
doing things for which other parents would spank or
give time outs.
we refrain from using punishments and choose,
instead,
to focus on the heart issue, the soul aches.
we could punish and make them obey but
that would only be skin deep, merely putting
bandaid on a gash that needed surgical reparation. 

instead we choose to listen,
to offer love and guidance and prayer.
we choose to shepherd our children gently,
and in so doing, help them fix their soul aches, their leprosy. 
and when we heal the leprosy,
all that damaged skin heals too.
and when we help their heart's cries,
they start to make right choices.

and so when i say we don't punish our children,
i really mean it.
we don't punish.
we draw them near.
we take them into our arms and
love them.
we listen and give of ourselves.
we don't want perfect behavior.
we want children who are whole inside and
know they are loved.
no. matter. what.






Sunday

the church is not a business...

so i had this conversation recently about church.
because you know,
i've been writing about church a lot lately and
if you have read here long
you know we are not attending church currently and
we lean towards organic church but also
that we have not given up completely
on the institution.
we may return to a church building some day,
we may not.
but i am reposting this because it's on my mind as
i had basically this same talk the other day and
since i'm not getting ready for church this morning...

We struggle with the modern church,
there is so much that we cannot overlook and
i know,
it's people,
there's no perfection but
we are not looking for perfection,
just the opposite...
for family,
for honesty,
for a clashing of ideas and grace,
for discussion and truth and beauty,
for meals shared and family togetherness,
for no one to look down on anyone else and
for judgements to be non existent,
for people to talk and read and think for themselves,
not for programs and
counseling and
budgets and
if i wanted to be a part of a business i would
and it wouldn't be the church.

when we were church planting in washington a couple years back
my husband met with a young man,
early 20's,
who was interested in planting with us and
my husband walked away disheartened,
for this man,
eager to be a part of a church plant,
kept talking to my husband about how
"the church is a business" and
"needs to be run like a business."
and i don't understand why,
why would we
sell Christ's bride to the highest bidder?
she is beautiful,
she is loved,
He already paid for her,
and yet we want to restrict her and
regulate her and
program her and
fix her
for our purposes,
instead of lovingly, gently
care for her and ready her and
hand her over to the Bridegroom with
tenderness.

i'm not saying i have the answers.
if i did we would not be visiting churches,
looking for organic church,
doubled over in prayer for guidance and a
settling of the disturbed heart.
but i do know that so much change is needed,
that if we continue to view the church as a business and
just another piece of the american dream,
if we spend our thousands of dollars on redoing the parking lot
with delightful yet unused landscaping and
waste our time with every program imaginable,
if we appoint a committee to oversee the committee that
oversees the committee which oversees the pastor
who is in charge but
not really because
he is underneath the committee,
if we treat the bride like a business,
she will end up like a business...
abused, greedy, self seeking and diluted. 

but if we treat the bride as a bride,
and each member as our own family...
if we embrace each other and live life together,
if we give all we have and
open our arms
we are creating a place for Love to dwell and
dwell He will,
whether in an old church building or
on the faded cozy couches
of a living room.

  *hey, i want to thank you all for your kindness on my gentle parenting post.  like seriously.  i received the nicest comments and questions and i am really humbled by it all.  love you guys.

*oh, and i put the link to my fb page back up.  i'm going to try and maintain it , we'll see, so you can go like it if you want. 

Thursday

to comfort them {to be a gentle parent}

So I had a minor issue on facebook.
A friend made a comment about
how Christians must spank their children,
you know,
"for their sake" and I,
I just couldn't keep my mouth shut.
Although I was gracious and not condemning,
I ended up getting unfriended.



Now I know I have readers and friends
who do spank and so
I am treading lightly,
hoping to not offend.
I do not spank my children nor
do I punish them.



Even with my very first baby,
well meaning Christians would talk to me about
the importance of spanking,
of not "Sparing the rod"
and though I had nothing at the time
to back me up,
it just didn't sit well with me.

I would look at bright blue baby eyes,
eyes filled with awe and wonder,
with the beauty which came with newness,
and imagine causing pain to that little soul.


I would read of Christ,
His commands to love,
His gentleness with children, with people and
never could I see Him spanking or
desiring a child to be spanked.

It all fell into place when I saw
how Jesus is the gentle shepherd and
read (over and over) psalm 23:

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.[a]
    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness[b]
    for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,[c]
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

His rod and staff comforts us.
Comforts us.
His rod comforts, it doesn't hurt.
He leads, He guides, He comforts and
that is the use of the rod, not punishment.



With this knowledge the actual verse,
"He who spares the rod hates his son" prov. 13:24,
makes perfect sense.  If I fail to love, comfort,
guide my children then it is as if I do hate them.

And I could finally breathe because
I didn't feel like I was backwards.
That intuition I had to love and guide my children,
to shower grace upon them and
teach them with gentleness, was not wrong.



As a shepherd leads,
as The Shepherd leads.



And so these words fill my parenting...
grace, gentleness, guidance, love, hope.
Words which Christ, The Shepherd embodies.
I do not spank and I am not ashamed.
I think I'm in pretty good company.

Wednesday

to be an affirmation junkie

i am going to tell you one of my biggest faults.
i am an affirmation junkie.
i need encouragement and support or
i get anxious and feel like i suck.

it's ridiculous really.
i mean,
i am affirmed by Christ and
that should be enough.  and,
technically,
it is.
but then there's the flesh and
the emotions and
i have always worn my heart on my sleeves,
to be taken and loved or
stabbed repeatedly.

that's why i was a fraud as a teenager.
i was desperate for attention, for affirmation.
and though my motivations have changed and
i know that i have all i need,
i still get anxious over not being enough,
not doing enough,
not being accepted or loved.

and that's why i am a chronic deleter here on the blog.
i write things that kind of tear up my insides and
i don't want to offend,
i want to encourage and make people think and
if no one responds,
or the responses are anywhere near negative,
i delete.
i have deleted numerous posts and have had people
email me and ask where the posts have gone.
they tell me they loved it or needed it and
i up and chucked it.
because i was afraid due to lack of affirmation.

i'm not telling you to comment more or
tell me you love me.
i'm telling you my problem.
and i need to get over it.
i need to know that just because i'm not number one
or
being told how awesome i am
{and i know, i'm awesome :)}
or just because no one said they loved the dinner i made them or
anything else,
that doesn't mean i suck.
i need to get over this.

because my identity is in Christ.
and that makes me pretty cool.
and all i do is for Him,
and if it's not then it's crap anyway and
i shouldn't be doing it.

so i'm going to try not to be such an affirmation junkie.
and if you want to pray for peace for my heart,
that would be cool too.
and if you're an affirmation junkie like me,
i'll pray for you.

Tuesday

to take you on a tattour {ha}

after i mentioned being tattooed on
a post the other day,
i had some people asking about them.
so i'm posting a couple.
i have a couple more,
less inviting ones.

this was my first tattoo,
barely 18,
a teenage new christian "shoe gazer"
aka... emo and
a black star with an upside down rose
fit me perfectly at the time.


i got another,
"faith, hope, love" in
chinese characters on my lower back.


then i got this crazzzzzzzzzy one,
done by a childhood friend...


and so that's a semi-tour of my tattoos.
i've been wanting another for years but
haven't been able to justify the expense.
i want birds flying amongst the cattails on
the side of my right calf.
maybe one day...

in other news...
moses has been wearing this hat today.
he is incredibly adorable.


ruth fell and scratched up her legs.
we rubbed some tea tree oil on the scratches and
then she rested on the couch with a kindle and some dolly parton.
i've told you before of the twins love for dolly.
they discovered her on their own and
absolutely adore her.


it would appear pearl jean is
going to be the next dolly fan...



currently layla and josiah are reading
josiah is way into the 39 clues right now,
which goes along with his spy/detective interest and
layla is reading the lost years of merlin series by
t a barron.
it's like 80 degrees today and i am so not ready
for heat.
so it should go away.
for awhile.

i have some chai waiting for me and
some twins who have finished watching dolly and
are ready for me to continue reading
a wrinkle in time
to them.
oh my love for madeline.

i hope the rest of your day is peaceful and
beautiful.

Monday

to hang with a rocket scientist and some cool kids

these days i have been in love with
slow,
simple
joys.

 









my grandparents came to visit and
being with them makes my heart glad.
grandpa is 93,
he fought in world war 2 and
then worked for nasa {jpl},
helping to build the voyager.
he amazes me.
grandpa's name is kermit.
hence the hat.
and moses is named after him.
yes, moses' full name is
moses kermit.
he has certainly stolen his great grandpa's heart.

grandma raised ten kids.
and she is lovely.

the past few days we have been receiving
awesome gifts in the mail.
and i cannot thank you dear readers
enough.

and then there's pearl's new thing.
one arm out of the shirt,
one hand in the diaper.
it's pretty constant and
pretty cute.

now four littles are in bed,
daddy's watching some tv with ian and
layla and josiah are outside
scootering...
and yes it's dark and getting cold
but scootering they are.
and i am breathing.
that's good.