inspiredness TM

Copyright 2013


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Multitudes on Mondays: Two Simple Words

Thank you.

I have vivid memories of my parents telling me, “remember to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ Noell.” To that I would usually roll my eyes…I know, I know.  My father was {and is} pretty insistent on the thank you part of the message. He made sure to give me that stern, disapproving look when I would forget to express my gratitude. And even now, I’ll catch him doing this with my kids, his grandchildren.

After my parent’s divorce when I was about 7 years old and after seeing strangers stare at my developmentally disabled brother anywhere we went…I stopped being thankful for many things and I started being bitter and angry. What was it that I did that made my parents split up? Why can’t I have a “normal” brother? Why did God make me chubby? Why, when other kids’ parents are picking them up from school do I have to open the car door to see my grandpa…every.single.time? I would begin wallowing in my own self-pity and wishing my life to be different. Sitting in my room with the door closed I would read and read and read…taking in all the good things of others’ lives {fictional others} and wishing them to be my own.

What good has all this ingratitude given me? A life full of anger, regret and misery. The depression has always been floating under the surface and when I had my children it roiled up with a vengeance. It manifested itself in rage and hate {mainly for myself and for my ever-so innocent babies}…and really, things that I would never want to experience again. By this time I had been a believer for a good 3 years…why wasn’t I immune? I was constantly looking for answers.

Did I not pray enough? How much therapy and medication do I need before I feel “better”?  Maybe if I read every book on the topic of depression I would find the answer. It never happened and if it did it was a very temporary solution to a debilitating problem. I was willing to try anything at this point.

Gratitude.

When we stop seeing reasons to give thanks, we stop thinking there are reasons to live.

~Ann Voskamp

Oh, how true this is!

I can see the look on my father’s face when I thank him…for the cup of coffee he just bought me, for the time spent alone with him by the river fishing {and not catching a darn thing}, for just sitting there in silence while we have breakfast. His face softens, his eyes begin to sparkle a bit. And all I said was…thank you.

If this is the reaction of my earthly father what is the reaction of my heavenly Father when I thank Him?

 …[A] new study suggests that helping teens learn to count their blessings can actually play an important role in positive mental health. As gratitude increases, so do life satisfaction, happiness, positive attitudes, hope and even academic performance.

~U.S. News

Give thanks! When I fail to see and recognize all the ways that the Lord has blessed me I fail to glorify Him and my life begins to lose meaning. I’m not saying the cure for debilitating depression is to simply say “thank you” but I know that when I say it and mean it the light starts to shine through the dark, luminous cloud of despair.

Dark can give birth to life, suffering can deliver grace, the ugly can be beautiful. God transfigures everything for His glory

~Ann Voskamp

What I am thanking the Lord for today….

#52 the energy to get through 48 hours with my kids, without my husband

#53 a little girl dressed as a furry animal

#54 those amazing sleeping babies

#55 a big brother loving on his littlest sister

#56 an amazing smile

#57 a refreshing and very yummy breakfast

#58 endless lengths of railroad track on my craft room floor

What are you thankful for?


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An Inspiring Read

Gift #51

I have only known of Ann Voskamp for a few short months but I feel her impact on my life everyday.

I had never been to her amazing blog before, never heard of her book but happened across her blog link through a comment on an online article. Am I glad I clicked that link!

Her words flow from her heart so eloquently. She’s real, not ideal.

“…I wake to the discontent of life in my skin. I wake to self-hatred. To the wrestle to get it all done, the relentless anxiety that I am failing. Always, the failing. I yell at children, fester with bitterness, forget doctor appointments, lose library books, live selfishly, skip prayer, complain, go to bed too late, neglect cleaning the toilets. I live tired. Afraid. Anxious. Weary. Years, I feel it in the veins, the pulsing of ruptured hopes.” ~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

So of course I had to read her book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.

She had me in the first line…

“A glowing sun-orb fills an August sky the day this story begins, the day I am born, the day I begin to live.” ~Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

She had me crying the first chapter!

And by the end of the book I realize that, indeed, things miraculous and things mundane are beautiful gifts from God.

I don’t currently own the book {I borrowed it from a friend} but I will definitely be buying it so I can read it over and over!

Hence,

gift #51!


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Multitudes on Monday {March 5}

#51

Hearing my little sunshine hum along to a song in the car…the one that I listened to while pregnant with her

#52

Babes giggling while playing with their daddy

#53

Listening to Gracie roll play with her dolls

#54

A heating pad in bed warming me up when my husband cannot

#55

remnants of play, dolls well-loved

#56

sleeping in warm sunshine

#57

commotion in the house, kids laughing, fighting, playing…knowing one day it will be quiet

Your father’s blessings are greater
than the blessings of the ancient mountains,
than the bounty of the age-old hills.

~Genesis 49:26


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Multitudes on Monday (February 27)

#47

Hearing someone’s smile when you can’t see it **.

The voice rises, exudes excitement and warmth. This sound makes me well up with joy, makes me want to smile back.

#48

A glass of cool, refreshing water. Quenches the thirst, washes the body of impurities.

20120228-190910.jpg#49

Making my own soap! The smell of lemon verbena, stirring the creamy goodness.

Lovely!

**The person I specifically have in mind is a woman named Lisa Grace Byrne of WellGroundedLife. She has a wealth of information & inspiration for moms and non-moms alike. Every time I watch one of her videos or listen to an interview she’s conducted I can’t help but smile! Her voice expresses her emotions, you can really tell when she’s smiling…a gift that she gives to others.


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Joy Dare (from February 15)

In continuing on with Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare…counting 1000 gifts in 2012. She posts dares for everyday of the month…3 per day. Here is February’s.

a gift in losing something…

#33

Gracie held on tight to that mylar balloon, the whole way through the grocery store. She was patient while her siblings shed tears and screamed, and still she held on tight. The wind was blowing when we stepped outside, all five of us being blown by the gusts. Still she held on tight. We made it to the car, loaded ourselves in, buckled up. The minute she let go her heart floated out the door. My reaction time was way too slow, all I could do was watch as it taunted me and floated into the heavens. It’s with God now, I told her…wrong words! The tears began to roll down her face, devastated. In that instant I knew exactly how she felt, hopeless, sad, heart heavy…I’ve been there. All I could do was embrace her little body, give her my heart and wipe her salty tears. A gift.

a gift in finding something…

#34

The infamous “found” keys!! I had a mommy brain fart one afternoon while picking up Gracie from school. We were walking to the car, keys in hand, unlocked the car. Somewhere, somehow the keys had vanished! I honestly thought I was losing my mind (not the first time). I looked everywhere, scanned the parking lot multiple times, unloaded the whole car (and cleaned it!). It took me a couple months…one day while unloading the littlest one I happened to lift off the car seat cover and lo and behold….the keys!! This really shouldn’t have been cause for a breakdown those previous weeks but it was! God had a reason for this…to increase my trust in Him!

a gift in making something…

#35

A precious baby, only 17 weeks gestation, still enveloped in her mother’s womb left to be with the Lord. Her mother shed so many tears, tears dropping on her baby girl’s tiny fingers as she held her for the last time. Women that had known this mama (while only through an online support group of sorts) shed tears as well and out of those tears a beautiful quilt was born…a reminder to this mama of this precious angel…a gift to her and all those who touch that quilt.


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with Him Wednesdays: The Practice of Love

Walk with Him Wednesdays

“Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart.

(The Practice of Love How do we love in difficult places? Our husbands? Our children? How do we live out the greatest of commandments? We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….)”

(For the Next 3 weeks:  The Practice of Fasting What does it mean and what does it look like and how does God use it to change us? We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….)”–Ann Voskamp

Tell Him…

I’m going to take a guess at what my guy wants more than anything…

financial freedom?

a new house?

a vacation?

Probably all those things, but if I know his heart I would say that he wants me to tell him…

how much I love him,

that I still find him incredibly attractive,

my conversations with God,

my heart.

{I believe this is not only Mark’s desire but also the Lord’s…tell Him}

He holds the tiniest of hands, leads them to safety, gives them comfort, wipes the tears, embraces with tenderness, plays with reckless abandon, feeds them {body & soul}.

He holds them when they are tired of walking, he picks them up when they fall down.

He shows them the beauty around them, he marvels at the wonder with them, he tries his best to answer their questions.

He has delivered one of our babies with his own hands!

He does all this without a second thought, without expectations.

For all of these things I love him! Our heavenly Father does all these things too, and while Mark could never be as perfect {no one can} he is constantly striving. He is striving to know the Lord, striving to be more like Jesus. And for this I love him!

 I may not have the words all the time; my heart “thinks” in pictures, moments, memories, actions…these are the things that explain my love for him.


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with Him Wednesdays: The Practice of Love

Walk with Him Wednesdays

“Every Wednesday, we Walk with Him, posting a spiritual practice that draws us nearer to His heart.

(For the Next 3 Weeks: The Practice of Love How do we love in difficult places? Our husbands? Our children? How do we live out the greatest of commandments? We look forward to your thoughts, stories, ideas….)”–Ann Voskamp

Forgiveness…

something that has always been hard for me to do. I guess it doesn’t hold water under my bridge of hurt. The words hang heavy in the air with promise but fall to the ground with a thud when the same wounds are exposed again and again. It’s hard for me to ask for as well, fearful that I’ll disappoint again, not wanting to admit I was wrong. Why is it so easy for some people? For me, it might take a lifetime to learn.

Jesus forgave our sins by dying on the cross for us. We hurt far more than I have ever been hurt by any one person…and He forgave us!

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” ”

Matthew 18:21-22 (NIV)

I’m working on it. It’s easier for me to forgive silently, in my mind, than it is to forgive “publicly”. I find more love is released from my heart when I forgive, naturally. And now that I’m a mama, this act of mercy is far more important than ever. My children need to know that they are forgiven. They need to know that they have the capacity for forgiveness, even if it’s just for one of their siblings taking a toy. Forgive.

Most importantly for me in this season, I need to make an effort to ask for my husband’s forgiveness and forgive him when it’s warranted. Forgive me for taking things out on you. Forgive me for shutting down. Forgive me for the stupid things I say. Forgive me.