Tag Archives: My Journey

Final Thoughts on Mission Statements


In coming up with a mission statement, it’s good and easy to have one; yet, much more difficult to stick with it.  In Part 1, “what makes you unique?,” we address & answer that first, most vital question.  It’s the map that sets us on our journey.  In Part 2, “what’s your rally cry, your top priority?,” we address & answer how to eliminate stress by focusing on one area (rally cry) in our lives we can work on (& achieve in 2-6 months), which will help us stick to our journey.  Now, in Part 3, the final question remains.

Question #3: How do you talk about and use the answers to your questions?

It’s one thing to know what makes you unique.  It’s also another to know one area to focus on to eliminate stress & lack of vision/focus.  Yet, it’s another thing to know how you are going to accomplish it.  We could write a grandiose mission statements filled with our core values & strategic values.  We could have our rally cry that sings in unison with our soul & mind, creating a Zen-like space, free of clutter & distraction.  Better yet, picture yourself 50 lbs overweight.  You tell yourself, “I’m better than this.  I deserve more for my life!”  So, you go out and buy some exercise clothing, rid your house of the junk food and fill your fridge with clean, nutritious food.  You tell yourself, “By the end of the year, I’m going to be one hot mama/dude!”  You make the appointment with the gym and start your regime to better health.  After your first workout you think, “this is hard, I don’t know if I can do this.”  You look in your fridge and wonder, “salad with chicken doesn’t sound appetizing.” Your body says, “OH.MY.GOSH.  I didn’t know there were muscles here,” you’re in pain.  You go the next day to stick with the plan, because you remember your long-term goal.  Yet, by the second week, you sleep in…missing the gym.  You begin to buy a couple more food items away from what you intended.  You find yourself paying for a gym membership that isn’t being used.  Question 3 helps us continue going to the gym, eating healthily without letting the food rot and the exercise clothes sit clean in the drawer.  Here’s how…

1. Find a time every week to evaluate.

Spend 10 minutes every week (preferably on the same day) going over your ‘rally cry’ and the defining objectives & standard objectives.  Are you finding that your defining objectives might have been too vague (notice I redefined one of mine)?  Or did you try to over achieve?  Were the objectives too narrow that no one could fit through them?  If so, you might need to tweak it a bit.  If you find it hard doing this on your own, then maybe there is a trusted friend or spouse you could share your rally cry with and they can help you with accountability.

2. Keep it Visible

It’s one thing to have your mission statement, rally cry, & objectives written out.  It’s another thing to have them in clear view to see everyday.  Keep them posted for you to see and be reminded of who you are and where you are headed. Put them in a place you walk past every single day.

Kamille’s Scoreboard

1. What is my top priority right now?

My Rallying Cry: “Creating a gentle spirit that listens.”

Defining Objectives:

  1. Spend time in solitude every week (have scheduled internet times).
  2. Pray earnestly for the Spirit’s empowerment daily, begin with this each morning.
  3. Journal 3xs a week.
  4. Spend quality listening time with each family member everyday (start with five minutes).
  5. Cultivate a heart that allows interruptions, mess…play with the girls, embracing this daily.
  6. Update: Go to bed by 10:00, in order to have a well rested body & spirit.

Standard Objectives:

  1. Exercise & maintain health
  2. Marriage
  3. Home administration
  4. Girls & family fun (means our family of four)
  5. My Spiritual Life

2. What makes me unique?

I’ve been blessed with a sensitive spirit, which is moved into action by standing up for righteousness, especially for people. I value my relationship with Jesus and how he has imparted me with a storyteller’s heart and redeemed my story. Through this, I am called to encourage & empower my family & others to find their story and how to connect to others with it. I also value good, quality food and love creating nutritious & delicious food through cooking & baking. All of these have ignited a strong call to genuine hospitality within me.

3. How will I talk about and use the answers to this information?

I will spend time on Sunday afternoon evaluating how effective I have been in following the defining objectives.  I will include Ben on this conversation for accountability.  I will look over journal entries & track my sleep time as well for encouragement.


Where are you finding yourself among these questions?  Where in your life is asking to be your rally cry?  Which question seems the most discouraging or daunting?  Add to the conversation to impart your unique perspective.


Part 1, 2, & 3 have been influenced & inspired by Patrick Lencioni’s book The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family.
A Year Ago: Mascarpone Chocolate Cheesecake

A Mission Statement…Now What?

Part 1: What Makes You Unique?: Writing a Personal Mission Statement

Can I just say that I feel very “legit” and “organizational” writing up posts like this one and How to Write a Personal Mission Statement?  I’m a bit scared, not because it’s totally out of the ordinary, but how much I love this sort of thing and my nerdy side is coming out.  You might also be thinking, “how does writing a personal mission statement have anything to do with Evangitality?”  I would wage to say it has everything to do with it.  Whether, you are a free-spirit individual embracing spontaneity & labeled with a “P” on Myers-Briggs; or, you like a bit more structure, and direction of where you are headed with a “J” on Myers-Briggs…all of us need to have some element of intentionality in life.  We need to know what it is we value and who we are if we are going to show genuine love & hospitality to the many people we encounter.

So, maybe you finished your personal mission statement and are wondering what you do with it?  Or you haven’t started and you don’t know if you ever will, because let’s face it, there is still that box of old stories on tape that you promised your husband you would go through to declutter and bring order to your life (oops, maybe that’s just me?).  Either way, I believe having a mission statement is good for destination & keeping one on track.  However, a mission statement alone doesn’t help us navigate through the journey to get to the final destination, which is what question 2 of the Big 3 Questions addresses…

1. What is your rally cry?  What is your Top Priority?

It doesn’t take much to figure out your rally cry–really, it doesn’t.  Make a list of a couple things that you see right here and now as a hindrance to get to your destination.  It’s not a science.  Overthinkers need not apply.  Choose something that you can achieve within 2-6 months–that’s it.  It your rally cry can be fixed in a week, don’t choose it.  If it’s something that takes longer than 6 months…leave it alone.  Pick one thing to rally around.  Here was my list:

  1. Being gentle in my responses.
  2. Having an activity everyday for my girls.
  3. Do gross motor exercises with V everyday.
  4. Provide nutritious meals for my family.
  5. Provide spiritual growth opportunities for the girls.
  6. Develop storytelling curriculum.

As you can see, all of these happen to align with my personal mission statement.  And any of them would be good to pick.  I can stress (probably like others) about picking the best one, or wondering if I don’t pick the gross motor exercises for V then I’ll be throwing her further behind in her development.  Or if I don’t pick spiritual growth, then my girls might become spiritually destitute (a little dramatic flare thrown in for good measure).  But, when I boiled it down, I knew I wanted & needed a gentle spirit that listens above all else.  My rally cry is:

“Creating a gentle spirit that listens.”

2. Create Defining Objectives

Once you have picked your rally cry that can be accomplished in 2-6 months, write up five defining objectives on how you will get there.  These should be clear & concrete (and tangible).  Granted, my rally cry of creating a gentle spirit that listens isn’t as tangible (or even as measurable) as #2: Providing activities for my girls everyday; however, I think my rally cry is more essential to the person I desire to become.  Here are my Five Defining Objectives:

  1. Spend time in solitude every week (have scheduled internet times).
  2. Pray earnestly for the Spirit’s empowerment daily, begin with this each morning.
  3. Journal 3xs a week.
  4. Spend quality listening time with each family member everyday (start with five minutes).
  5. Cultivate a heart that allows interruptions, mess…play with the girls, embracing this daily.
  6. Update: Go to bed by 10:00, in order to have a well rested body & spirit.

Not easy, but doable.  Notice that I didn’t say I would journal everyday, or spend an hour (or even 1/2 hour) with each family member, it’s about scaling it to what I can do and building upon it.

3. Create Standard Objectives

Standard Objectives are those areas in your life that always need to get done while you focus on your rally cry.  Again, yours will look different from mine.

  1. Exercise & maintain health
  2. Marriage
  3. Home administration
  4. Girls & family fun (means our family of four)
  5. My Spiritual Life

Maybe after reading all of this you are feeling a bit overwhelmed?  I hope you give yourself grace as you walk through these steps.  Allow yourself the freedom to become intentional without legalism.  Look at your present, forgive yourself from your past failures and walk in freedom with your future.  When in doubt, watch What About Bob and begin chanting, “babysteps!”

A Year Ago: New Beginnings & Chockful Blondies and Homemade Graham Cracker Sandwiches

It’s a Birthday Week and a New Year!

I’ve adopted having a birthday week as of last year.  Too much stuff to cram in on one day.  V turns four on Sunday and it continues to blow my mind that she continues to grow & age and I cannot ever have yesterday back.  She’s a delightful kid with a crazy imagination, the kindest heart that you could encounter, tons of emotion (which she is getting under control with every year under her belt), and has me quite smitten.  Last year we went to the mall to get a charm bracelet, along with a charm.  We started the week by picking out a new charm (Hello Kitty was the charm of choice–I was hoping she went for the donut), which left Tayers in tears saying, “I want a bwaycwet, toooo!”

Birthday week means doing special little things everyday with anticipation for the “birth” day.  And since I get a bit nostalgic, I retell her of a mommy & daddy living in a little duplex awaiting the birth of their first child.  With a middle name like ‘Storey,’ it’s no wonder she sits absolutely quiet, staring intently, while her little mind is picturing how the story looks (it’s also no wonder she asks us to tell a story at least 10 times a day).

In honor of birthday week, we will also be doing some special food items.  I haven’t made scones or muffins in a while, and these are the times to celebrate (still eating paleo).  She has already planned on having Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes for her birthday cake of choice (by the way, this recipe is my number one recipe viewed here–it’s that good).  The difference is that I’m going to use GF ice cream cones and swap out the flour with almond flour, or coconut flour.  We will also be putting butterflies on top (a new V fad).

As for our family, Ben has initiated a technology black out starting at 5pm the whole week.  I’m looking forward to unplugging with a purpose.  He also initiated a little family retreat, which will be a couple of days next week. This year I’m going to embrace simplicity & contentment.  I see how this area has been blooming in my eating & exercise life.  I’ve found peace in feeding my body whole, clean food; as well as, learning how to find contentment when the stress waves hit me by not quenching it with a food “treat.”  I’m seeing this needing to be applied in our finances, our family time, and general interactions with others.  I’ve been asking questions, “Do I need to buy something to make me happy?  In order to make a meaningful time with my family (Ben, or a date with the girls), do I need to purchase something; whether, it be a hot cocoa for the girls, toy, trinket, etc?  How can we enjoy “being” together without the other stuff?

I’m reminded how music is so integral to who I am.  I love singing, creating music and listening to good music.  It’s something I’ve put on the back burner.  This 2011 is about me picking up my ole’ Washburn, that has not seen light more than five times in the past year, and creating with it.  But don’t despair, I will still be creating in the kitchen, too!  What’s been mulling around in your head about this coming year?

A Year Ago: Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Scones

Into the Unknown

This has been a year of working through this notion of forgiveness.  It’s so easy for me to hold onto the past events, conversations, mull over words of pay back to vindicate myself, my family or a messy situation.  As my dear mentor has told me, “pour coals of blessings over your enemy.”  This sounds like vindication, but it’s so different.  It’s being able to wholeheartedly not repay evil for evil, but pray blessings on the person’s life who has done wrong.

It’s interesting how we are all in need of a little grace.  How in Christian and non-Christian circles, we liken to Jesus’ teachings and his life.  Undeniable of his great love & grace.  To the Israelites, his birth meant one of nobility and justice for once–for the usurping hand of the Romans & King Herod.  They likened the coming king to that of the warrior King David, who defended & destroyed.  They wanted to see (what many modernists think) God’s justice & anger to scorn all those who harmed them (we might think of it as the God of the Old Testament).  However, God has always been the same in the Old and New Testament.  He didn’t bring them the warrior king.  He didn’t bring them a priestly, noble baby king born in a palace, wrapped in fine linens.  He turned their worlds upside down.

I read this today from the Apostle Paul,

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us…See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.”

There are people in my life who have betrayed me, and/or people I dearly love.  It’s far too easy to go down that road of devising a plan to repay evil for evil.  It feels good in the beginning to be the giver of justice.  It’s so much more difficult to choose the road of humility, praying blessings upon the evil doer.  Jesus came as a baby King born in a smelly stable, a feedbox bed, wrapped in less than fine linen, living the life of a vagrant.  And when he was falsely accused, he didn’t defend himself, justify his status–he knew who he was & is.  I’m in awe of this ability to love.

“not to pour out his anger on us.  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever…Hold onto what is good.  Stay away from every kind of evil.”

In Jesus’ last hours in the garden, the soldiers came with force to arrest this man who called himself the Christ.  Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, thinking he was doing good by protecting his master, pulled out a sword and cut off one of the soldier’s ears.  When we face blatant evil, wrong doing, our first instinct is to react like Peter.  It’s human.

Jesus stopped Peter, picked up the hacked off ear and healed the soldier to prior form.  This king was like none other and even his followers didn’t fully comprehend his greatness.

And here we are approaching 2011, still with the options before us to repay evil with Jesus’ style love, or with Peter’s vindication.  The Apostle Paul concludes,

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you to belong to Christ Jesus…Hold onto what is good.  Stay away from every kind of evil.

Happy New Year and may this year be more about true life-giving love, transforming your soul and all you encounter.

Finding Your Voice

There are those moments when I want to chase after my dream of performing vocally, buy a mandolin & join a band.  They are fleeting, meaning they only last a couple days.  But, I miss singing with other musicians.  I miss finding my voice.  My voice singing that perfect song lifting the melody up like a free flying bird in the blue sky.  Or my voice slowly melting like butter against the tongue as it accentuates the melody with it’s dear old friend called harmony.  It’s no wonder we chose the name Cadence for our youngest as she kicked twice as hard when I sang with the bass.  It’s seeped in our veins.  Every person, whether musician, vocalist, longs to find their voice.

Do you ever feel like your looking for your voice in all the wrong places?  It’s easy to do in our day of instant messaging & communication.  We forget how to find our original voice as it gets lost & muffled among so many others.  I have found myself searching for my voice; whether it be in the musical sense or life sense.  I wrote about something similar about comparison & living life looking through rose colored glasses.  And although I’ve written about it before, I’m reminded time & again how vital it is as a person to find the voice I was given and embrace it.

But like the beauty of life, seasons change the elements.  In this season of Advent & Christmas, I have purposed to not put any expectations of busyness on me or my family; while, I have purposed to say yes to rest & togetherness.  Today I was encouraged & reminded of just this…resting in the mercies I’ve been given.  Resting in the peaceful baby King born in a lonely stable.  Resting in knowing I do not need to fill my week with buying more presents, baking new cookies, writing a Christmas letter, or staying stagnant in hopelessness.  I’m filled with awe & wonder that this baby King has given me a voice of hope to sing.

And that’s why I haven’t been here lately.  I’ve been resting from any expectation to blog, to do what I feel someone else expects of me, but to listen.  This is critical in being hospitable, which the false hospitality world would make you think is anything but that.  In order to love, make room for the stranger/guest, we need to listen to find our voice amidst all the other voices.  We might need to take a backseat and say no.  We need to be more like Mary who took the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen.  We might need to neglect the duties, the expectations of tending or organizing all of life.  I would love to hear where you are finding your voice these days?  Where are you finding your voice being muted?  Where are you finding it come to life?

Have a restful week and embrace the hope!

Coming Up This WeekApricot Rosemary Bars…gluten-free, refined sugar-free and you wouldn’t even know it!  Get ready by having the ingredients:

  • blanched almond flour
  • raw honey
  • coconut oil
  • butter
  • pecans
  • California dried apricots
  • lemon
  • fresh rosemary

A Year Ago: Grandma’s No Bakes, Orange Cardamom Cookies, & French Lentil Soup

What if it’s not about you?

I wrote on my spiritual journey about the process of forgiveness, the road of grace & holiness.  I was just reading this & this today about Isaiah 6 & the unforgiving servant, which I wrote about earlier in the month.  The first post was talking about praying for our enemies, while the second one retold the story of Matthew 18:21-35.  Both go hand in hand revolving around this word we call mercy.

In our world of seeking justice, righting wrong with a slap back, cheering the protagonist on toward triumph in their plot against the antagonist, it’s no wonder we truly have no idea what mercy is really about.

Most of us don’t live on the front lines of hell, where true dictators are oppressing us & taking away our human dignity & happiness.  If you’re a church goer, you probably haven’t heard a congregational reading of Psalm 137 recently (or at all for that matter).  The psalmist is speaking of the oppressors who have come in and dashed their babies against rocks, killing them and they want justice in return.  It’s too easy to think that praying for our enemies only comes in these traumatic forms.  Or that enemy is the vilified stepparent, corporate bureaucrat, or conniving thief.  Yet, for the most part it’s not.

Jesus simply said this,

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

Sometimes an enemy is someone we love, but don’t respect.  Most times it’s someone who was put in a position to guard us, love us, and look after our well-being; but, they have scarred us, wounded us, and broken our trust.  The very people who some find easy to love is the very person others deem as enemy.  It could be a parent, a sibling, a spouse, a trusted adviser, teacher or friend.  For me, my enemies come in the form of people I have esteemed and loved dearly at one point, which makes it that much harder to love & show mercy.  Because they are the people who have turned on me in one form or another.

Yet today as I was thinking about one of my “enemies” and how much anger can rise up at them.  Jesus’ words remind me to pray for them.  Not because I pray words of justice to pour upon them like the unmerciful servant.  No, that would be accepting grace & mercy from the judge for myself, while calling for the law to be thrown upon them.  Instead, I pray that mercy & kindness would be poured out on them.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. –Matthew 5:7 & 8

I realized that in order to understand mercy, I have to give it.  And in order to see God, my arteries can’t be clogged with revenge & self advancement.  And maybe, just maybe, forgiveness really isn’t about me & my issues, but more about cutting the anchor of narcissism and showing God’s glory to advance his goodness, grace, mercy & love.  How much more freeing would our relationships & world be if we were able to free others from their debt “owed us?”

This cutting of the anchor, praying for our enemy business isn’t easy, but so freeing.  As I have chosen to “cut” (forgive) the anchor, I have seen how my heart for my enemy turns to genuine love & compassion.  I want what’s truly best for them.  I begin to see them as the person God does.  However, there are those days or weeks where the past creeps in and I begin to feel anything but love towards them.  It’s like exercising & good nutrition–it’s ongoing.  You can’t expect to stay fit & healthy by only exercising & eating well for two months out of the year.  So how do you exercise the health of your soul?  How do these words of Jesus in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ pertain to your current situation of blessing those who curse you & forgiving your enemies?  What is your story of cutting the anchor to further God’s glory?

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you…Do to others as you would have them do to you…If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that…But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”–Luke 6:27-37

To Delight

I have been in San Diego with Ben as the girls have been with his parents in WA. Our family got hit with sickness this past week ending with me. Today is our third day here in CA & my first day feeling the best I have since Monday morning.

I brought some books to read and have spent some time this morning reading a book from the author Karol Ladd. She aims to help mothers become ‘Positive Attitude Coordinators’ in their life, home & community. It’s basic stuff, not heady or overly involved. Yet although it’s simple & practical–“the proof is in the pudding,” so to speak.

Last week while my oldest was sick, I was tested time & again in patience. It was one of the harder weeks of being a mama. On Friday was my breaking point. I asked God lots of questions & began to wonder if I was doing anything right in raising these girls. Did I need to revamp the way I did things or read different parenting info or what?

Then, it hit me like a bag of bricks. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, yet it was. It was that aha moment even if we’ve heard it a million times before. God confirmed that I didn’t need to scour the parenting section in the bookstore.

As the girls napped, I wrote out a mission statement for my life. As I was answering questions, a few common themes appeared. I began to connect the dots and that’s when the light bulb appeared to my aha moment.

In college and for a big chunk of my post junior high life, I’ve been told of the importance of having a daily “quiet time” with the Lord. People/mentors would quote Scripture as to why it’s important. Heck, I was one of those mentors saying the same thing to the people I cared for; however, I don’t think I really, truly understood the full value of it.

There would be people who would say things like, “oh, I can’t survive without a quiet time with the Lord,” or “All I need is alone time with God.” I remember thinking, “seriously! Are you being honest with everyone or is this just for show?”. I think for me it was more like I waited till I was starving to spend time with God.

Psalm 63:5 says this, “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.” I had been depriving myself of the feast God prepares for me daily, in order that I would be sustained throughout the day. I would use verses like “pray without ceasing” to rectify my situation, or even feel like I was holy enough to not live within Christian imposed standards. But, what I really was neglecting to see was how God was inviting me to his wasting table to dine with him, to come to his inner courts to hear his words of delight as I danced freely within the safety of his arms.

Last Friday, I heard God say that I needed to come to him daily to hear him speak to me what my worth is & where my identity rests. I need that daily time, in order to fulfill the God-given roles he has placed before me. And when I try to do this mothering, wife, friend (fill I the blank with whatever role I am carrying) thing without hearing from my perfect Father daily…I end up depriving the stomach of my soul. It’s like starting my morning by eating skittles & Coke, as if any sustenance can come from that breakfast.

When I first started our families’ blog, I had the most ridiculous address, because it was long & complicated. It was ‘tellthestory-zeph317.blogspot.com’. I quickly changed it, but the verse was spoken & prayed over me when I was doing a mission trip in college. “The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”

This is the place where God invites me to rest and to be known. And in this day as I am able to reflect & hear from God without child interruptions, here is a quote that spoke to me, “Our delight comes in following God’s purpose & plan for our own families, not someone else’s.” I pray that you would be encouraged to feast at God’s table & find his words of delight in you as you follow him.

So Very Good

Painting found Chrissay Burn

I recall driving from Washington to Arizona one summer with a friend  listening to this CD, Shine Like the Sun by the group, Spiro & Furlan.  I loved one particular song on the album about Isaiah 6, because it spoke both of the holiness & grace of God.  What also seems fitting is that many years later I would be singing with the Furlan part of the band (Carlo became our worship pastor).  Back to the point, I’ve been reflecting of late on these two words, which are adequately portrayed in chapter six of Isaiah.

In the Message translation the prophet Isaiah cried,

“Doom! It’s Doomsday!  I’m as good as dead!  Every word I’ve ever spoken is tainted— blasphemous even!  And the people I live with talk the same way, using words that corrupt and desecrate.  And here I’ve looked God in the face!  The King! God-of-the-Angel-Armies!”

Holiness.  In the Lenten season our weather captured the essence of Spring & post-Easter.  And now, in our celebratory state of pronouncing a resurrected Lord, our weather echoes the cries of the lonely walk to Golgotha.  It’s mysterious and altogether frightening to think the 40 mile per hour wind is nothing to standing at the feet of God.

Forgiveness.  I knew there were obstacles lying in my path towards holiness, or wholeness before God.  One night after the girls went to bed, Ben and I were cleaning up the kitchen and I began speaking of people whom I still harbored an unforgiving heart towards.  I spoke of a person in authority in my days of youth who showed favoritism & walked unjustly towards some, while exalting others within the church.  I spoke of a person who really was quite an evil individual and I didn’t know if I could ever love him.  And then I spoke of a wounded, scarred friendship.  How my heart ached over the injustice of all three.  Ben in his gentle & compassionate wisdom reminded me of the parable of the unmerciful servant.  How the King forgave him his HUGE debt, while in return he wouldn’t forgive his servant of the little debt owed.  Then, Ben asked, how will you stand before God knowing he forgave your HUGE debt, while you don’t forgive these people of their little debts.

Intertwine.  I knew my inability to forgive these debts was inhibiting me to walk the journey of grace & holiness.  Just like Isaiah said, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips…and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  As a justice seeker, my heart was wanting it’s just reward.  All the while, my heart was far from being made holy.  I lacked eyes to see what Isaiah was seeing (and what I will see someday).  It’s what makes the Chronicles of Narnia so wonderful & beautiful.  As the children are sitting with Mr. & Mrs. Beaver listening to who this Aslan character really is, one of them asks if he’s “safe,” seeing as he’s a lion.  The response:

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

And that’s God.  He’s not safe in the comforting way when we only see him handing out grace, because he’s also holy.  Just like Aslan the Lion.  The children didn’t just run and jump on him.  They feared him for his great power & strength.  But….

“Look. This coal has touched your lips. Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.”

And then I heard the voice of the Master: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
I spoke up, “I’ll go.  Send me!”

Grace.  And then there was grace.  Isaiah sees his sin and sees the holiness of God.  Lucy, the iconic contemplative Mary figure, sees how little she is in comparison to Aslan’s “terrible, untamed” being, but he welcomes her to stroke his mane & ride on his back.  And Isaiah is made clean through the overarching grace God extends.  What I found is when I came before God knowing how little I am in comparison, he has welcomed me into his arms of grace making me clean.  I’ve also found in this journey that when I’m faced with a huge proverbial Evergreen tree laying in my path, I cannot keep on going in the journey.  I try and try different methods to maneuver it; yet, it’s still there.

It’s been in this season of Lent that I’ve seen how when we remove grace from holiness, we merely follow rules & become pharisaic in our heart.  And when we remove holiness from grace, we cheapen the cost of the Cross & make ourselves bigger than we actually are.  Thus, both inhibit us from loving with reckless abandon.  It’s not safe, but it’s so very good.

Avellinos ‘Unplugged’

I’m having what I call, “Kamille time.”  Kamille as in, “this is my name when I meet someone during Kamille time, not mama, mommy, wife–just Kamille please.”  Being a mom without children in tow is wonderful (distance makes the heart grow fonder) as I watch the parents walk past the window at my favorite coffee shop, Avellino’s, holding their children’s hands.  Yes, that is part of me, but at this present moment, I get to be known as Kamille.

As an extrovert, I think it can be more difficult saying you need your own space.  I mean, introverts can get away with that all the time, because, well…that’s how they roll.  While being an extrovert, people put expectations on you.  Like if I’m quiet, or just not wanting to be social, it must mean there’s something wrong.  But, really, even us extroverts need our alone time.  Our “finding ourselves” amidst the constant cries, conversations, telephone calls–life’s interruptions or simply happenings–is still needed among extroverts.  I would even argue that is equally important as it is for introverts.

It’s kind of like unplugging life to be.  To appreciate the cloud strewn sky, the people salivating over the cream puffs in the case, or the ability to think without the pressure of a child waking early from a nap.

Another thing I get to do on Kamille day is get my first professional haircut since before my youngest was born.  There are two reasons for the absence between haircuts.  One is I can’t stand paying the money to get my haircut.  It literally pains me.  Second, is it’s hard to find time, because I would really rather be doing so many other things with children-free time.

I think it’s also hard to make time for Kamille time.  For those mothers, I know you can relate to this.  There is that pull in finding time with your spouse, creating peace & tranquility within your home, giving your husband time away as well, and then working through any guilt you may have to give yourself time.  It’s a demon, sucking the very life out of you.  But, I can attest that no one wants to be around the selfless servant who is sitting in a pity party.  And that’s something I appreciate about Ben and our marriage.  We strive to give ourselves date nights, but even more…those Ben times & Kamille times.  Those unplugged from family times.  In order to strengthen ourselves, so we can come back feeling replenished and guided to steer again.

Well, my latte is finished and my split ends need to see their death.  Wherever you find yourself on this three day weekend, I hope you can see your glass half full.

a little girl’s heaven

In getting to know people, specifically females, I find it interesting to see who they are as grown women as a result of their father’s flourishing love or lack thereof in their formative years.  Regardless of where our father falls within the pendulum, I strongly believe there is a part within each of us that longs for our father’s approval (more than our mother’s I should say mom’s approval is definitely important) and affirming love.  We not only need to hear  the words, but see them played out in action…it sustains us.

As I see our daughters and who they can become as young women, I know Ben’s words and actions are foundational in becoming such stellar ladies.  More than anything, it is placing within them a confidence that says, “My daddy thinks I’m beautiful & capable–I’m worth it.”  Our oldest thrives on words of affirmation.  She is quick to say thank you and just as quick to let you know why you should be thankful for her.  It’s quite lovely and refreshing.  The hours when she’s in her slump (and so am I) are the minutes, which have ticked away with little to no affirmation or praise from my mouth.  It’s as if I have forgotten to delight in her.

And as a stay at home mom, I think that’s all too true.  What, with getting the dishes unloaded and loaded, responding to the many demands of up & down during meals, getting breakfast/lunch/dinner on the table (while barely eating something warm), changing diapers & helping with potty stuff, cleaning up spills, etc (minus the lunch & dinner & it’s only 11:00 am), it’s easy to forget about simply delighting in my children.  Forgetting to see the world through their eyes and realize it’s so very good.

And as I want to delight in my girls, so I want to delight in my perfect Father as he so lavishly delights in me.  He sings over me and in his presence I’m always safe.  Ben and I want to make it easy for our girl’s to walk in such a grace as a daughter of the most High.  I wrote this song describing just that while in college.

“a little girl’s heaven”

Dancing in the sunlight
Twirling in a sundress
The rays of light catch my eyes
And shine in my hair.
I chase after butterflies
And hop like the toad frogs
I always find you there.

For I know that this is love,
Cause I see it in your eyes.
For I know that this is love,
Cause its been there all my life.

Curiosity brought me
Into the garden,
Picking the daisies and
Climbing the oak tree.
I lay in the cold fountain water
With eyes sparklin’ like
Diamonds when I see my king.

For I know that this is love,
Cause I see it in your eyes.
For I know that this is love,
Cause its been there all my life.

Playing hopscotch and
Singing pretty,
Thinking of honey
And the bumblebee.
Oh how sweet the
Taste is of Jesus,
Father you’re lovely for making me.

For I know that this is love,
Cause I see it in your eyes.
For I know that this is love,
Cause its been there all my life.

Up on the dock: Chicken Tortilla Soup or Salted Caramel Cupcakes?