new home! new look! new name!

I’ve got a new home, a new look, and a new name!

This announcement has been over three months in the making and I’m excited for the big reveal!! Won’t you hop over and join me at my new place?

As of today {11.26.12}, I’ll no longer be posting on this site. If you’re subscribing in a reader, you’ll need to change to the new URL. And if you subscribe via an RSS feed {email}, well … I’m still working out a few kinks. Truth be told, I’m still working out a few kinks all over the site. But I just couldn’t wait no more! When the email feed is up and working, I’ll be sure to let you know!

In the meantime, come on over and celebrate with me … in fact, maybe a house warming party is in order? Hmmm … I’m thinking on that one! Stay tuned I just may have something fun planned for a little later this week. On the new site of course!

Posted in random | 17 Comments

gratitude is but a way of seeing {799-947}

If the heights of our joy are measured by the depths of our gratitude, and gratitude is but a way of seeing, a spiritual perspective of smallness might offer a vital way of seeing especially conducive to gratitude.

Ann Voskamp, one thousand gifts, page 166

799. putting my writing aside to spend the day with my girls
801. “It is finished.” John 19:30
803. the 6yo cleaning her room completely … vacuum usage involved!
807. cream cheese muffin + salted caramel mocha – to start my morning of writing
808. Ole Miss excitement
810. a cover designed
814. coming undone by lessons from the prodigal son
816. my snaggle tooth
821. (in)courager launch with her
832. dolphins in our wake
836. a swing in the middle of nowhere
839. an afternoon movie with my loves
847. HE loves me!
851. 100 on her math test
856. digging deep into God’s Word
862. after work chats with the teen
870. no concussion
872. my own private allume with her
876. freedom of prayer before 1st grade school programs
878. she bought a stack of SAT and college books
883. discernment
885. Emily’s brick at the Billy Graham Library
888. from my 9yo, “I don’t know how you take care of us – you’re a good parent.”
890. continued walk through Colossians
895. kids lounging like cats
910. praying birthday blessings over my new 9yo
926. remembering
930. “Thank you for encouraging mom, I had a really fun time.”
936. uneven bars and her enthusiasm
943. God’s chiseling – He sees me beautiful!

Posted in 1000 gifts | 19 Comments

god’s beautiful thing …

No one else will ever know the depth of my LOVE for you.
After all, you’re the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.
{quote source}

This girl amazes and surprises me almost everyday. Honestly, she always has.

Some of you may know I’d been homeschooling Taylor the last 2 years. She’s had some issues with learning in the past, so last summer I decided to have her academically tested. The results weren’t too far off base from what I’d already observed, but one finding had us quite shocked.

It’d been recommended Taylor not go to a four year college. Given the results of her testing and the fact that she’d missed key educational facts throughout her schooling years, there didn’t look to be anyway she’d thrive, let alone succeed, at a four year school.

Needless to say, we felt deflated and started thinking about other options.

After a school year of falling very far behind, much to my surprise, this past summer Taylor started talking about going back to “real school.” Given that she was very behind in her schoolwork {like still doing 10th grade work at the end of her 11th grade year}, I wasn’t too sure how realistic her request was. I told her if she buckled down {what a mom thing to say!} and got all her schoolwork done, that I’d look into it.

Wouldn’t you know? A few weeks later, she came down with stacks of books and schoolwork, she’d had it almost all completed! If you had any idea how much work I’m talking about, you’d think she’d hired someone to finish her work for her! With just a few other things to complete, I started calling the local high school to find out what we’d need to do to get her registered.

No easy feat.

But we did it.

Taylor started high school this past September and she is full-on loving it! Like loving. Like she’s a self-proclaimed nerd and loving it!

She works with a tutor four days a week, she’s working part-time at Justice, and she continues to ride her best-buddy Cozmo.

Taylor started the year as a junior {instead of a senior}, and will graduate a year behind “schedule.” But she’s completely focused and determined to get herself into a four year college of her choosing!

Although this kid continues to be stuck in the middle of adversity and stress, she takes it in stride … offers grace and forgiveness.

I continue to learn oodles from this love of mine. Namely, perseverance.

Not sure why, but a scene from Dirty Dancing comes to mind … it’s the final show, Baby’s stuck sitting with her parents, and in walks Johnny with his now famous line, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”

Others have wanted to put my baby in a corner … with labels, with lies, with negativity. But my baby in all her amazeball-ways consistently declares to herself, “Nobody will put me in a corner!”

I love, love, love the song, Beautiful Things by Gungor. It reminds me of my sweet babygirl every time I hear it.

Taylor … my sweet babygirl … you truly are God’s beautiful thing. I wub you with all my heart and soul.


Posted in family photos, movie, music, parenting, taylor | 36 Comments

(in)couraged to hope – unglued #6

I can decide now what I want to be known for — words that sum up my life, my impact, my influence, my contribution to this world. What will be my lingering words?

Lingering words are words that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy {Philippians 4:8}. Think about such things. Don’t get overwhelmed thinking about living these words for the rest of your life. Just think about waht words you want to live today, because today is a great day for some intentionally chosen words. ~ Lysa Terkeurst, Unglued DVD

As I continue this study of Lysa Terkeurst’s Unglued, I’m becoming so aware of my own unglued tendencies and what triggers them. Chapters nine and ten were like gold to me … especially chapter ten.

In chapter nine, we read about “The Empty Woman.” Lysa describes her as “the woman who drops seeds of comparison into the furrows of her soul.” And shares, “the more I compare, the emptier I become.”

I’m embarrassed to say how many times have I been guilty of this. I know jealousy is not life-giving and yet … sometimes I go there.

So then, how to switch those thoughts into something that is life-giving?

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. Galatians 6:4-5 MSG

Lysa encourages us to carry our own loads. To turn our jealous spirits into a giving spirit. The choice is ours.

And chapter ten? It’s got me undone.

Lysa warns, “toxic thoughts are so dangerous because they leave no room for truth to flourish. And lies are what reign in the absence of truth.”

We are to park our minds on constructive thoughts, not destructive thoughts … thoughts that breathe life into us, not suck life from us. ~ Lysa Terkeurst, Unglued, page 144

I posted the above quote to our Facebook group the other day and received comments saying, “We know this, but it’s so hard to do.” Oh friends don’t I know it?! I constantly struggle with negative chatter. I have to make a conscious effort not to spiral so far down in my own negative chatter that it’d take a rescue team to pull me out of my self-inflicted pit of negativity.

I have to consistently ask the Holy Spirit to quicken my thoughts when they dip into the pool of negativity.

Because ultimately, doesn’t it go back to Lysa’s wisdom at the top of this post? What I think relates to how I speak. And how I speak relates to how I live. What will be my lingering words? What will my life reflect?

Lysa ends chapter ten with these words, “How a woman thinks is often how she lives. May we think on and live out truth, and only truth, today.”

Praying I can always be that woman!

This next week we’ll be covering session six in our participant’s guide and chapters eleven and twelve in the book. Lysa calls this next session, “Imperfect Progress for the Unglued.” She’ll discuss taking time for our souls to exhale and taking an honest peek inside our souls … our “underbellies.”

Jacque and I continue to be thankful for each of you walking along side us on this journey of imperfect progress. I truly believe God has great things in store for each of us. Let’s not get discouraged with the “imperfect” and instead focus on the “progress.”

Posted in (in) courage | 32 Comments

lessons from a bounce house

Wynter’s birthday was this past weekend and to help her get “jiggy wit it,” we brought in a 40 foot obstacle-course-bouncy-thingy. Needless to say, the party-goers had a blast!

Until the injuries started.

The girls weren’t following the natural flow of the obstacle course. They’d sit on top of the slide. They’d attempt to climb up the slide. And run through the course from finish to start … which is why you can’t see any of the 15 party-goers at the starting point … they’re all climbing through backwards.

When I realized what was happening, I stepped in and told them they needed to follow the course the way it’s intended or injuries would continue to occur. And sure enough, wouldn’t you know? As someone was coming down the slide, the final step of the course … another girl standing at the exit decided to jump in, got hurt, and came out a bundle of tears!

As the party ended and we were cleaning up, it struck me again and again that rules are set for our protection.

How many times do I try to bypass the “entrance” and take a short cut through the exit … only to end up disappointed, injured, and in a bundle of tears?

God’s given us a rule book and guide to follow. And He gave it to us for a reason. For our own good.

This is an extreme example, but think about it … if those ten commandments hadn’t come down, and we had no moral compass … would we know it isn’t okay to kill people? To steal? To have sexual relations with whomever we pleased? Can you imagine that world?

God tells me to never stop praying. He tells me to put no idol’s before Him {that would be anything that takes my time and attention away from Him}. He tells me to love my neighbor as I love myself. He tells me not to worry or be anxious. He tells me to trust Him with the plans He has for my life.

Yet how many times do I try to skip the course He’s laid out for me and go through life jumping head-first into the exit?

Not cool Tracie, not cool.

Sometimes it takes that knock on the head and puddle of tears for me to remember I need to follow the course the way He’s intended or injuries will continue to occur.

Posted in faith, inspiration | 31 Comments