Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Month: August 2016

Loving My Actual House

Loving My Actual HouseYou guys, I’d be lying if I said I felt love for my house. This is something I struggle with a lot, and have for years. I spend a lot of time daydreaming about a nicer home, which I suppose is normal, but for me at times it’s gotten to the point of obsessive idolatry and coveting every nice home I ever see a picture of online and having to reign it in and repent. And it also feels ungrateful, which adds guilt to the whole equation.

It’s not like we live in a hovel. Let me give you a little background so you’ll know where I’m coming from. When we bought this home, we were in a bit of a rush. Offers on two different houses we really wanted fell through, and we were on a deadline that forced us to settle for something “good enough.” This house, though not really in a great location and lacking certain features we wanted, seemed to be the best of our remaining options. Since it was only supposed to be a starter home, we told ourselves we’d be just fine living here for five years, and put in an offer, which was, of course, accepted. So we started making plans on how we could fix up this house and really make it a home.

Fast forward to five months later when the economy went bust, I got laid off from a great job, our home value sank and our mortgage ended up deeply under water. Needless to say, all those plans for fixing this place up went out the window. It was then that I started freelancing, out of sheer desperation, and while that has had varying degrees of success over the years that have allowed us to make ends meet, home renovations and decorating have never made it back onto the priority list, plus you can’t fix location, which, over the years, has only gotten worse.

Fast forward again to 8 years later–almost to the day that we moved in as I write this–and we’re still here. By the grace of God, we’re still here, and I am truly grateful for that. But on the other hand . . . we’re still here. There are no prospects of moving elsewhere in the foreseeable future. So much for this only being a starter home.

The problem is, a starter home is exactly what we’ve treated this house like over the years–like something temporary, something to be endured until we’re led to our “real” home. And somewhere in there, I kind of started viewing life the same way. That these years of struggle and enduring aren’t my actual life–this is just a holding pattern we’re in until God finally decides it’s time for us to start our real life, whatever that looks like.

But this year God has been gently nudging me toward the realization that, guess what, pumpkin? This *is* your real life, and it’s high time you started actually living it instead of waiting until things are more ideal.

In the same vein, I’ve realized that as I embrace my current life, just as it is, with so many things still up in the air and the future still a great big question mark, part of that means learning to love the home we have and embracing it as the gracious gift from our Heavenly Father that it is.

I may not be able to force myself to feel love for this house, but I can still love on it by treating it like my dream home, giving it the same amount of TLC that I would give to our forever home.

That’s what I’ve been doing these last several weeks. If you came over right now you wouldn’t be able to tell much by looking, but I’ve been going through and “tidying up” via the KonMari method, gradually getting rid of clutter and stuff I’ve accumulated over the years that has just been making me feel weighted down. I’ve also been decorating the walls with posters and handmade art that makes me happy. It’s a long, long way from looking Pinterest-worthy, but already it’s starting to feel more like a true home, and I’m gradually feeling more content to be here.

I’ve also been praying over it regularly. At one point I even went outside and laid my hands on the brick and consecrated this house to God. This might sound a little nuts, but ever since I did that it’s felt more peaceful here, more like a refuge than a ball and chain.

The main thing is, we’ve finally begun seeing this home as the blessing that it is, and a stewardship that we need to take seriously, and I believe that as we do–as we take the best care of this house that we’re able to–God will honor that and make provision for us in this area. I’m not sure what that means or what it will look like, and I’m sure it will involve MORE waiting, because God clearly wants me to be a champion at the waiting. But I’ll spend the waiting time actively loving the home I’m in, for as long as we’re meant to be here.

How do you feel about your house, dear reader? Do you struggle to love it like I do, or are you in your dream house?

Love and blessings,



PS – You can scroll down to my footer or click here to go to my Instagram feed and see some of the changes I’ve made over the summer.

PPS – Find more encouragement here:

What I Learned in July


I think July is kind of like the Wednesday of months. It’s the hump month. Once we get over July, it’s kind of a downhill slide into the sweet Friday of fall and the weekend of the holidays. At any rate, this July was a productive one in which I discovered a few worthwhile lessons.

  1. The rest you get from a vacation tends to be shortlived. I’m already tired, y’all.
  2. I can live without Instagram (but I don’t like it). Around the middle of the month, Instagram stopped working on my old phone. I don’t know if it just stopped supporting the older Android OS I was using or what, but I couldn’t log in anymore. Of course, I could still go on the web version and look and comment, but without the app I couldn’t post, plus scrolling on a big computer at my desk isn’t nearly as gratifying as scrolling on my phone while lounging on the sofa. At any rate, last weekend I was finally able to upgrade to a new phone, so problem solved.
  3. Except without Instagram, I was way more productive. Since I couldn’t camp out on the sofa and scroll through all those tiny square adventures, I actually got up and did stuff. Namely, I Konmari’d my bedroom closet and filled about five large bags with stuff to either send in to ThredUp or give away. I also finished my novel, did some hoop embroidery and put some stuff on the walls.
  1. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I learned this from The Nester as I spent some time going through her blog and really thinking about our house and what kind of space I want it to be (which is a whole ‘nother post). At any rate, as I cleaned out the closet and came across some posters that I had been saving for “some day” when we would get them framed, I was inspired to stop waiting and go ahead and tack them up sans frames. And do you know what? They look fine.
  2. Grief is hard, but it’s a process you have to walk through slowly, and maybe just sit with for a while. This is not a new lesson, but I got a refresher course a week ago as we said goodbye to our 15 year old kitty, Nibblet. I have a tendency to try and rush through the grieving process, or get to a point where I want it to be over so I run from it, and the results are always disastrous. So I’m being intentional to just let myself miss my cat and be sad and allow these feelings to run their course and not worry about whether my sadness is bringing anybody else down or making them uncomfortable. It’s hard, and it means a lot of random crying, but it beats falling into a pit of depression next time something sad happens because I get overloaded by all the unprocessed grief it stirs up.
  3. I’m not in a season right now where I can give this blog the attention I want to give it. I wish I was, but I’m just not. I want to post more regularly, but between writing and editing my novels and running my freelance writing and editing biz, I don’t have a lot of energy left over for writing thoughtful blog posts. I’m praying that this will change some day and I’ll be able to move blogging higher up on the priority list, because I feel that this is important. It’s kind of the only avenue of ministry I have, and although it’s tiny, every time somebody leaves a comment to tell me that a post touched them or spoke to what they’re dealing with, even if it’s just one person, I know it’s worth it and I’m supposed to be here. I just can’t be here as much as I’d like. So I’m giving myself permission to not try to stick to a posting schedule just yet and only post when the Spirit moves me. Ditto sending out my newsletter.
  4. Hello Cocoa is awesome chocolate. I tend to think I never win anything, and that tends to be true when it comes to major prizes like TVs and computers and major cash, but sometimes I get lucky and win drawings for nice little gifts that are like little shots of joy into my life. This time around, I won a giveaway on Holley Gerth’s blog and got a lovely selection of chocolate from Hello Cocoa in nearby Fayetteville, AR. The prize package included not only five gourmet dark chocolate bars (I would take a picture but we’ve already eaten most of them), but also a big bag of premium cocoa nibs AND another big bag of premium cacao tea. You guys, I learned to love cacao tea years ago but the store where I bought it stopped carrying it after I finished that tin and I haven’t had any since. So now cacao tea and I are reunited and it is the highlight of my day. Well, one of them, anyway. So big thanks to both Holley Gerth and Hello Cocoa. The next time we pass through Fayetteville we’ll definitely be stopping in there.

What lessons did you learn in July? Tell us or link up your own list in the comments!




PS – Linking up with Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart and Missional Women’s Faith-Filled Friday.