Dehydration – The Word of the Week

 Fraternities and sororities have a version of it, the Navy SEALS have their version, in our house Monday morning ushered in our own version of Hell Week.  Football and volleyball conditioning began, effectively ending summer and ushering in the fall sports seasons where our lives and schedules no longer belong to us.  Gatorade has been flowing like the Nile River this week and our too often evening trips for Tofts Ice Cream and a walk to the beach have been curbed. Bodies that have been on summer vacation were pushed to their limits.  The very first workout of the week ended up in a trip to the ER for a cocktail of IV fluids, a little something for nausea, and a blue popsicle for good measure. Since then the week has passed quietly, albeit painfully (and with too little ice cream.)  
As we all push through these last few moments of summer it is easy to feel the effects of soul dehydration.  Summer starts out lazily enough with a bucket list of fun to be had and a string of unplanned days stretching out ahead of us.  But, come August we’re exhausted because we have been so busy checking it off, packing it in, and “vacationing” which for us was camping this year, a week’s worth of fun spawned at least 2 weeks of clean-up and we still have a pile of stuff in the garage to be sorted through and put back into it’s designed place. The pace we have been trying to keep to make sure that we pack in as much fun as we can is taking it’s toll.  As moms we have been pouring ourselves out all summer in an effort to meet everyone’s needs and our responsibilities.  And now there’s the whole “back-to-school” thing with list after list staring us in the face demanding more of our time and finances.  

Max Lucado writes, “Dehydrated hearts send desperate messages. Snarling tempers. Waves of worry. Growling mastodons of guilt and fear. You think God wants you to live with these? Hopelessness. Sleeplessness. Loneliness. Resentment. Irritability. Insecurity.

These are warnings. Symptoms of a dryness deep within. Perhaps you’ve never seen them as such. You’ve thought they, like speed bumps, are a necessary part of the journey. Anxiety, you assume, runs in your genes like eye color. Some people have bad ankles; others, high cholesterol or receding hairlines. And you? You fret. And moodiness? Everyone has gloomy days, sad Saturdays. Aren’t such emotions inevitable? Absolutely. But unquenchable? No way.

View the pains of your heart, not as struggles to endure, but as an inner thirst to slake-proof that something within you is starting to shrivel. Treat your soul as you treat your thirst. Take a gulp. Imbibe moisture. Flood your heart with a good swallow of water.”

Here is where the meaning lies in “Run and Be Still.” Run (literally or metaphorically,) be busy if you must, be crazy, but find some time, even (especially) “in the midst” to quiet your mind in the chaos. You don’t have to cease moving to “be still.” Drink deep from the Living Water.

  
Invite God into the crazy, into the chaos, into the summer fun. This is where something beautiful begins to happen…not just God with us…us with God. Include Him, weave Him into the fabric of your everyday life. I have found that with God’s calming presence, the overbooked and overstretched doesn’t have to result in a “snap.” Life becomes a little more fluid. 

Sometimes in our family we do get wound a little too tight which means we get to practice forgiveness (both giving and receiving.) We can use our failures as teachable moments for grace and mercy and humility. This is where faith intersects with life, where God gets taken off His Sunday shelf, and invited into the present. God with us…us with God. Here you will find refreshment, renewal. He does for your soul what water does for your body. 

Summer’s finish line is in sight. In our house it’s going to be an all out sprint to the finish. We are not going to let summer go gently into that good night! But after the way this week began we will be sure to stay hydrated while we do it! 

Stay thirsty (and hydrated) my friends!

Crab Legs And Christmas Make Doing Good Simple

I’ve got some great things for you today…

First a special invite to spend an evening together and share a meal with myself and my family. We have joined forces with Captain Montague’s Bed and Breakfast  and Love Runners for a great meal and a great cause! Join us for a traditional low country boil (that means crab legs, boiled shrimp, redskin potatoes, and corn on the cob-YUM!) live music, and lots of fun. I would love to have some of the Run and Be Still family there to celebrate with! There are a limited number of tickets available.  Get the details or purchase tickets for $30 at the Do Good Studio.

low country boil

100% of the proceeds are being used to fill the needs of the children at Casa Bernabé orphanage in Guatemala. Casa Bernabé Ministries is changing the way vulnerable children are handled in Guatemala.  Most children have come from broken homes, and are victims of abandonment, neglect or abuse. Casa Bernabé has the ability to provide care for up to 150 children. We are hoping to supply each child with a backpack, school supplies, and a pair of school shoes. 

Learn more about Casa Bernabé, their mission,  our involvement, and how you can help at Love Runners.

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Secondly, I have been reading a phenomenal, and timely, new book, Doing Good Is Simple by Chris Marlow, founder of Help One Now.  My copy is all marked up and colored in; there are so many ideas, quote-ables, and amen moments throughout it!

Doing good book

Here’s the party line for the book…We all want to do good, but often, we can be overwhelmed by our busy schedules, family commitments, and the feeling that we might not be making much of an impact anyway.

In Doing Good Is Simple, Chris Marlow gently challenges us with grace and humor to realize that we are both called and equipped to make a difference in the world and reminds us that doing good can be simple!

Here’s my take…This isn’t about religion, it’s about being a disciple. It’s about how the Good News can look like clean water, a hot meal, or a warm blanket.  It’s about how we can live on mission right where we are.  It’s about how ordinary is becoming the new radical.   It’s about how Christians should be know for what we stand for, love, compassion, and justice, not what we stand against.  Hope matters.  People matter.  Simple doesn’t mean easy.  Simple means we remove distractions and focus on making an impact. It doesn’t have to be big.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. We just need to begin taking steps in compassion, filled with grace, offering dignity.  Loving our neighbor will always cost us something.  However, it will always give us something far better in return: a deep sense of worth.

As part of the launch team for the book  I have some special things to offer to my tribe.  The book launches August 2 and if you pre-order through the following link you will get treated to all of these goodies! No matter where you are in your journey, I would wholeheartedly recommend this book!  I say that, not because I have to, I wouldn’t recommend a book I didn’t like and no one has time in their busy schedules to read a bad book.  I recommend dedicating some time to this book because its message is a huge catalyst for change in a world that so needs it right now.

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“Doing good is simple, but it is also significant.”  Chris Marlow    Pre-Order your copy now.

christmas in july

Finally, we are just days away from Christmas in July, and I am feeling a little festive .  My gift to all of you is free shipping on everything over at The Do Good Studio.  Let’s spread a little July-Christmas cheer with some gifts we can feel good about! There are some great new items available.  Use the code RUNANDBESTILL and get free shipping on everything you order through 7/26/2016! Happy Holidays!!

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.”  Please, if you are in the area, August 12, let’s get together, share life, enjoy a meal and do some good.

Together, with one small act, we can make a huge impact!

Hang on! I’m not ready yet!

be there

I feel like I have spent a good deal of my time as a mom counting…

I’ll time you…1,2,3…how long does it take to race around the house, put on shoes, or clean up toys.

58,59,60…Ready or not here I come. And in the meantime I have had to the count of 60 to do a few dishes, fold some growing clothing, or just sit for a blessed minute.

Timers have been set for multiplication tests, toy sharing, and discipline alike. The minutes have been counted for wake up calls and pick up times and curfews.

Paper chains have been made to count down to the last day of school, vacation, and 16th birthdays.

In the instant I became mom, my world was altered, immediately and eternally.  From the moment they placed each of my children in my arms our days have been wound together. And these wound-up, wound together days, that at one time seemed to stretch out to infinity before me, have suddenly, rapidly, began to shrink. When I think of that, there is a fluttering panic, deep inside, threatening and building. It’s like a storm that I can see approaching on the horizon, helpless to do anything about except batten down the hatches and prepare to ride it out.

And I know that this, the changing and the leaving, won’t kill me, it isn’t the end, really.  Parents have to let go but why does it have to hurt my heart like it does?  There is so much in parenting that you can’t know until you face it down.

Ann VosKamp’s words from a few days ago pierced my already hurting heart.

I want to go back. I didn’t know that would happen until I started letting you go.

I want to go back and pull that boy with that bowl hair cut up on my lap again. Feel your chub fingers help me turn one more page, reach for one more crayon, hold my hand one more moment, and you have no idea how much I don’t care if that makes me a fool.

I want to go back to your sleep breathing on my shoulder and the way I didn’t want to move, to your bows and arrows and slung-on tool belts and well-envisioned, yet  questionably-executed tree forts, to your buck teeth and big bravado and flipped up toilet lids and flipped out drive-me-mad attitude. I just want to go the whole ugly-beautiful way back and I want to get a do over.

Go back and shake up that 21 year old girl who brought you home and tell her that the best way to raise up a kid is to just loosen up. Nothing ever got raised up when held down tight.

You grew up — and I want to go back and I want to go with you, but I can’t do that either. That’s a hard thing to sit with.

You don’t get to keep. You get to witness.  If you don’t take it all as gift, you end up taking it all for granted.

So, I do the only thing I know how to do right now and that is soak up every moment we have together.  It took so long to get here, so many days spent looking forward and counting down, yet it’s passed in the blink of an eye. Our days are still wound together, just a little more loosely now. I am trying to free myself from the counting, from the pressures of the forward pressing of time,  to keep my eyes focused on today instead of what lies ahead.   I want my mind to stay inside my head for a little bit. I want my heart to dwell here, in the moments of my days.

mom maeThis growing up girl who is so strong and confidently knows who she is, blue hair tips and all. My sweet, funny, beautiful daughter who makes fun of my “old lady shorts,” yet I still seek out for “Does this look ok?” advice on clothing, hair, shoes.  She can just as quickly make me laugh or want to pull my hair out in teenage frustration.  I look at her and it seems just yesterday her brother was her age and she still playing with dolls.

zbb concertAnd this broad-shouldered man who used to be this skinny boy sang into the night with me last week, belting out our favorites with The Band. This big kid, who just wants a fishing pole in his hand,  is getting letters and calls from colleges already.  And while we still have time before any decisions have to be made about what he wants to be when he grows up,  the reality is here and the countdown is on. I know that as quickly as he changed our lives when he made us “a family” he will again change it when he leaves…

The clock that hangs on our kitchen wall is stuck. The second hand continues to pulse without moving forward at all, the hands frozen in time at 9:37. Oh how that I could do the same and just pause in the now!

No, no, I’m not ready for now to be over. Not even close. But the best way to prepare for what’s ahead is to be present to what is now. Eckhart Tolle said, “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.”

No matter where you are in your journey, it’s some of the best advice I have been given in face of change…Stay where your feet are. Be present to the gift of now.

Closeup of feet row lying in line at summer beach

 

 

 

There Goes My Life…

let me love

Being a mom is one of my very favorite thing to be. It really isn’t a secret, if you know me, this is one of the things you must know. For all of my fellow moms, step-moms, grandmas, aunts, surrogates, and “like-a-moms”out there, Happy Belated Mother’s Day!  This one is for you…

About a month ago I watched my kids head out the driveway together with my son at the wheel of his “new to him” wheels and that snippet of a thought, there goes my life, flashed through my mind as did the mom mantra prayer of safety. “Please Lord keep them safe and bring them back home to me.” There goes my life…these two growing up versions of the babies that I have been pouring myself into for the last decade and a half just had just flown from the nest for their first time, completely solo, unaccompanied, unsupervised, un-“momed.”  There goes my life…a sappy country song from way back about kids growing up that made my eyes leaky on this particular afternoon.

We are deep in the trenches of “in-between.” This is that place where all of the hard work of little ones is paying off but now, with the finish line in sight, we’re in an all out sprint to be our best parent-selves, creating as many memories, and imparting as much wisdom as we can to these pieces of our heart before we turn them out to their own-ness in the world.

Every stage of mothering is difficult. These days are harder in a different way than from when they were teenies. The days themselves pass easier than the little days. In fact, part of the problem I think, is that they pass too fast and easy. There is still so much I want to say, to teach, and to hold onto and it’s like trying to keep sand from slipping through your fingers. Looking back at the sleepless nights, crying jags, and hard discipline, and then ahead to what I am sure will hold sleepless nights, crying jags, and hard discipline I realize what a cycle mothering is. It’s shushing, and hand holding, and doing the hard things “for their own good” that make your heart break. And praying and praying and praying, for their soul, their safety, and your own sanity.

I love (and deeply identify) what AnnVosKamp had to say about mothering.  I think we all need to hear it, not just with our ears but with our hearts.  It’s not just a message for Mother’s Day but for everyday.

“Because I ain’t no Hallmark mother – and none of us are, if we’re being really truth-telling here. If we’re honest – and what else is there really – there were burnt dinners and yelling mornings, and neck strained words over lost shoes and scattered Legos and unfinished homework and there were crumpled tears behind bathroom doors.

Not to mention the frozen pizzas and no clean underwear and the wild words no one would want the camera rolling for.

And the realization – that a mother’s labor and delivery never ends and you never stop having to remember to breathe.

What you really want is to be extraordinary, obviously good at this.  At this mothering thing.

You wanted to be the best at this. You wanted to be more.

You wanted to be more patient – you wanted to never lose it, to always have it together, to keep calm and that is all, always, and yeah, take their tantrums with a grain of salt instead of throwing one of your own that turned out to be a first class tsunami and a tad bit more dramatic than theirs.  You wanted more flashes of wisdom in the heat of the moment when you had no bloody idea what was the best thing to do, when you flung up an S.O.S prayer and you crawled into bed feeling like a heel who always gets it wrong when everyone else gets it right.

You’d about give your eye teeth and your left arm for more time.  More time to get it more  right and less wrong.

More time so that you could leave that one more thing that ended up not mattering a hill of beans in the long run, so you could take the time to lay there in the dark with them after prayers and talk about the deep things that only come in the exhale of the last light out, and rub their back till they fall asleep.

More time to not hurry them, badger them, nag them, or manage them like some to-do list that needs to get stroked off, done and tossed before tomorrow’s start s again – but just more time to slow down, smile into them, simply enjoy being.

What you really want, desperately, wildly, in spite of everything – is for them to remember the goodto remember enough of the times you whispered, “I Love You”to know how many times you broke your heart and how hard you really tried.

What every mother wants, her most unspoken need – is a truckload of Grace. Grace that buries her fears that her faith wasn’t enough, and that her faults were too many.”

So what do we do?

“Find each other and hold onto each other and offer the hug of the broken who know the relief that homemaking is about making a home, not perfection, that motherhood is a hallowed space because children aren’t commonplace, that anyone who fosters dreams and labor prayers is a mother to the child in us all.

We’ll be the holding on broken who know that it’s not that we won’t blow it but it’s what we’ll do with it afterwards, whose priorities aren’t things that get us noticed, but priorities are all Things Unseen, who keep praying to only speak words that make souls stronger and keep getting up when we fall down because this is always how things just fall together.

And there will be tears and there will be laughter – because what messes our life up most – is the expectation of what our life is supposed to look like – and there will be a mess of dishes in the sink and a pile of laundry and the clock will just keep on ticking and we’ll grab onto someone right in the kitchen and just hold on and let go.”

We can do this…maybe not as well as we’d like, but with the gift of Grace, the release of our expectation of what it is supposed to be and the holding on broken hug of a commiserator, we can do this mothering thing. It takes a village!

Drip. Sip. Do Good. (I am giving away free coffee in exchange for your brain power.)

  Please help!  The Do Good Studio and Good Coffee (actually it’s fabulous) have two different single origin coffees (I may have mentioned them 😉) that we are excited to introduce but before we do they need a snappy new name. (I was just going to go with their “scientific” names, Caranavi and Muungano, but decided to do something a little more fun and easy to pronounce.) The problem is my creativity is overdrawn right now, there just isn’t anything left to draw from. What’s in it for you? FREE COFFEE! All you have to do is hop on over to the Love Runners Facebook page, like us (please) and add your suggested name(s) in the comments on the We Need Your Help Post. If we choose your suggested name for one of the blends, a freshly roasted, newly named, bag of unbelievable goodness will be on it’s way to you. You have until Monday to submit your ideas. On your mark. Get set. GO!

If you want to stay up to date with everything that is happening with Do Good and Love Runners please join the Do Good community or like Love Runners on Facebook.   All of our product information (including a members only sneak peak at the product line-up) will be transitioning over there. 

Do something Good today!

A Good Brew

We slipped away for a few days, taking a much needed breather from house projects and Wally, (he is still around making his presence known every night -unfortunately), work, school, and real life in general.  We traded in the hustle and bustle for the life of a beach bum. This is a trade I will make any day of the week! But, it couldn’t last, and Monday rolled around and brought with it everything we had been working hard to forget – and SNOW! Seriously, insult to injury! There was one thing I was looking forward to getting home to though…my new favorite coffee.

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This was one box I couldn’t wait to open when it arrived a few weeks ago. It was full of coffee samples from all over the world and we’ve been drinking pot after pot of unbelievably wonderful coffee, all in the name of research, of course.

 After all of our sampling, our two favorites are single source origins from Bolivia and the Congo. You can see the super scientific rating system that we used on the sample bags.  These will soon be available for you to try at The Do Good Studio.

In our continuing effort to Do Good in both our support of Love Runners as well as our product offering  we are excited to announce our partnership with Higher Grounds to offer these exceptional coffees from around the world. Higher Grounds is building lasting partnerships with small-scale growers, working directly with them to ensure a top-quality product. Through those close relationships and ongoing community projects both in our local area and globally, we are able to provide coffee drinkers with an excellent product and the opportunity to engage in a cycle that begins at, and returns to, our partners in coffee-growing regions. Bottom line, your morning cup of coffee (or afternoon or evening or all of the above) really will make ripple effects and Do Good, locally and internationally.

Now, without further ado, I would like to introduce you to the farmers who grow these fabulously, magical beans.

Bolivia

Like most coffee-producing countries, Bolivia has long been heavily impoverished. In order to successfully produce quality coffee and support their own economic and environmental sustainability, farmers need infrastructure and technology. Thankfully, the fair trade and organic coffee movement has provided support and opportunities to these farmers.

A vast majority of Bolivia’s coffee is grown in the rural Yungas areas, where organic Arabica varietals thrive on small plots that have been redistributed from larger landholdings back to farming families. The rugged terrain often presents a challenge, but the Bolivian farmers who grow our coffee are working hard to produce a very high quality product.

For my coffee geeks, the Bolivian Caranavi typically presents a clean cup with a rich body, notes of semi-sweet chocolate and cranberry, and a smooth, creamy finish. Along with notes of toasty hazelnut, the discerning palate will pick up hints of mango, lemon, and  honey in this dynamic brew.

Democratic Republic of the Congo
Our favorite, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is from the Muungano cooperative, located in Kalihi, South Kivu, on the shores of the expansive, volcanic Lake Kivu. “Muungano” means “togetherness” in Swahili, a perfect description of this emerging group of farmers who have joined together across communities after decades of conflict.

DR Congo is home to many of the economic slaves of the world, both historically and today. A country the size of Western Europe, it has a population of 70 million, an average life expectancy of just 51 years, and an average income of only $200.

Coffee represents a sliver of hope for the DR Congo, and we jumped at the opportunity to engage in a movement for peace through economic development not based on conflict or exploitation. Through coffee, it is hoped by many, local Congolese can begin to rebuild their communities.

For my coffee geeks, the DR Congo Muungano demonstrates a lively, balanced cup with nuances of Meyer lemon and sweet almond.

I am hoping you will love these brews too!  Meanwhile, in my hopped-up-on-caffeine state, the To Dos are getting done and we are growing closer to opening our virtual doors. If you haven’t yet checked out the new website, please do. Also, we are still looking for some local partners to “love on.” You can nominate your cause here.

Thanks for going on this journey with me!

Going Old School To Start

If you haven’t yet read In Love With Doing Good, please do, it will bring you up to speed.

  
I want to begin introducing you to The Goods that will soon be for sale in The Studio and I am starting in a most humble way with basic Red Thread…a simple friendship bracelet whose roots have really gotten to me. I have made many, many of these in my younger years and once again I have one adorning my wrist. But let me weave you a story and you will hopefully understand why.

In some villages in Nepal, the climate and soil conditions are so difficult that families can only grow enough food for two months of the year. Men from the villages go to India to find work while many women are left at home with their children, unable to support themselves because they lack skills and education.

The girls and young women in these villages are especially vulnerable to sex traffickers who deceive them into believing they will help them get a legitimate job. Eternal Threads is providing vocational training in tailoring to “at risk” girls in villages giving them the skills to earn an income that will protect them from exploitation and give them hope for a better life.

The statistics on trafficking are somewhat conflicting due to the covert nature of the crime, the invisibility of victims and are often simply unavailable due to under-reporting.   

I am not an expert on the subject but I can tell you this hit home with me as I looked at my beautiful young daughter who fits precisely within the demographic of what traffickers are looking for. It is physically sickening. If she were taken she would have 1% chance of being rescued and a 7 year life expectancy once she entered the trade. This criminal enterprise is second only to drugs bringing in an estimated $32 billion a year, $88 million a day. In the U.S. there are as many as 300,000 underage girls being sold.

In cooperation with our partners, Eternal Threads and the Red Thread Movement are able to help save over 2,000 girls a year from traffickers. Rescued girls, who live in the safe houses from six months to a year, are not only given counseling, but also receive vocational tailoring and beautician training.  

These hand woven bracelets from Nepal are made by rescued girls in the safe houses. Your purchase of their goods gives them lifesaving income that they can save to start their business when they leave the safe house. 

  

This is something that only cost a few dollars but hasn’t left my wrist since I got it. I can’t help but think of the very real person on the other end of this story when I look at my wrist and Thank God that she was rescued while at the same time offering a prayer for those who we have yet to save. 

 
Visit The Do Good Studio and be the first to know when these bracelets will be available. Please join me in the Red Thread Movement. 

  

In Love with Doing Good

red threads and coffee

UPDATE: The do Good Studio is now OPEN! You can check it out here or directly at http://www.LoveRunners.org

This morning I am being fueled by a new blend of fresh-roasted coffee and decorated in red thread and sparkly beads.  All in the name of research and development…

I have been back and forth on the best way and time to share All The Plans that have been uncontrollably overtaking my thoughts the last couple of weeks.  Today I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore.  I am hoping that you, my Run and Be Still family, will help be my Launch Team for this great big dream and Good idea. So, ready or not, here it is.

Love Runners and Do Good…

Here’s the thing. I have been working on these great, inspiring, succinct (this is my biggest struggle – I like words so much) mission statements that have lots of buzz words in them and wrap up my whole idea in a tidy little package but let me just lay it out like this for you today. The world sucks and my heart is breaking over the children who are caught in the crossfire of the myriad of ways that we’ve failed them. Kids sleeping on the streets, little ones digging through the trash for food, babies having babies, children forced into adulthood by the very fact that there is no adult there to take care of them. The kids on the fringes, outside our circle of our playdates and overnights and quiet neighborhood safety. But as my heart breaks over these things it is spilling out Mom Love.  It is getting all over my nice, comfortable, unmessy existence and really mucking things up. Enter the heart change and the move and all of the “adventures” we have lately found ourselves in.   Love in action has become the driving force in my day. I don’t want to continue living in apathy and indifference because we are not here to make an impression but instead to make a difference. I want to make a difference to these hurting, neglected, abused, sometimes prickly or troubled, often unnoticed kids. I just want them to know how much they are loved. 

Here is the Reader’s digest version of my dream.

It began with this picture…

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And from this Love Runners was born. The idea is to become a community resource dedicated to meeting the needs of others both locally and internationally.

We have been moved by compassion, to touch the lives of the marginalized and broken, giving what we can, in an effort to share The Love that has been poured out in our own lives. Wherever love is needed we seek to deliver it in whatever form we can.

This past Christmas it took the form of shoe boxes full of toothbrushes and pencils (and socks and toys and balls and dolls) shipped overseas through Operation Christmas Child. On the heels of that, we were informed of a need for blankets at an orphanage in Guatemala. (Babies were sleeping in their coats to keep them warm them at night!) Off the boxes went filled with blankets and Love in action…

We know the need is great, not only internationally but here in our own backyards as well! My pockets are not as deep as my heart is big though so the problem became how to fund this noble, often changing, cause…

Enter Do Good, the ever-evolving product of a sisterly brainstorming session. In a nutshell, Do Good is a not-for-profit store…shopping for a cause.  The proceeds from all of Do Good’s sales are funneled back into Love Runners to fund whatever the current project/cause might be and in this way, one small act or purchase can be combined into something much greater.

We have Big Plans for Do Good (because the world is full of Big Hurt) but before we can grow to Big we have to start small and from here, with your help and God’s blessing this will explode beyond anything we can imagine.

Step 1: Plans for today...we are preparing to launch Do Good’s online studio soon. (You can check it out here and be sure to visit us, like us, and share us on Facebook or sign up to get our emails and be one of the first to know when we officially open our “doors” for business.) We are currently scouring the globe, near and far, for fair-trade, up-cycled and unique Goods that we hope will become your new favorite things, perfect for gifting, or keeping for yourself! Thus, the new blend of coffee, the red thread and the sparkly beads…We have been shopping, tasting, trying, wearing, creating for a cause.

I am so excited to begin introducing you to our product line, and some of the artisan’s stories that make the Goods even greater!

Step 2: Dreams for tomorrow… What if? This is a great big question…What if? We have so many ideas but it all comes back to this… We dream about seeing tons of Good Done and having innumerable Love Stories to share.

Today, I am just so excited to finally be able to share this idea with you! Please check out Do Good and share our big news so we can begin to get some momentum going, and tell me, do you have a favorite blend of coffee, piece of jewelry, local artisan?

Is there a cause that is near and dear to your heart that has a need? We are going to begin the vetting process, building our portfolio of Love Runner partners.

And finally, as my launch team, would you consider praying for this mighty endeavor, that God’s hand would continue to guide and direct as we move forward?

All my Love Launch Team – let’s do this!

 

 

A Season of Transition and Milestones

My heart is a little bit in my throat tonight.  I knew this day was coming and yet I was no where close to ready or prepared.  After hours and hours spent in a car with my son over the last months, tonight, he took the keys and headed out on his own.  Dear Lord, there are just no words…

You see when I look at him this is what I see.  My heart has frozen him here in time.  My little tow-headed guy who had the funniest little smile.

my little man

The changes now are coming so hard and fast.  Blow after blow and every now and again my eyes are opened and I see him for who he is today and it is like a gut shot. He is this amazing person that makes me laugh, challenges my way of thinking, continually inspires me to be a better person and on nights like tonight makes me cry for the passing of time. He is such a good kid and I am so thankful God has blessed us with him!ty grown

The following letter was actually written by Nate Pyle and published on A Holy Experience.  Dear Hurting World: How We Need To Raise Our Sons To Be Man Enough, wonderfully powerful, a version of it is sitting on my son’s pillow for when he brings himself back home this evening. A must read for anyone with young men in their lives.

Hey Son,

If there’s one thing about being a man I can teach you, it is this:

You have nothing to prove. Christ has deemed you worthy.

Do you remember that I drove you to pre-school last year? Do you remember that I held your hand as we walked the hallway to the “parrot” classroom, and that I gave you a hug as your teacher met us at the door?

This year you walked me to the street corner, then you turned to talk with your friends, and finally you waved at me before climbing the steps on the big yellow bus.

You wouldn’t know this, but new parents are told to enjoy the early years of their kids’ lives because they grow so quickly. And wow, I’ve found that to be true with you.

This year you’re stepping onto a bus; before I’m ready, you’ll be stepping across the threshold into a dorm room.

I’m not sure I’ll be ready for that step when you are.

In my mind, it signals something important. It’s a transition to adulthood – at least one of them, anyway. I don’t think any parent is ready to recognize that their children have become adults. But if I can’t be ready for you to become a man, I want you to be fully aware of the pressure you’re going to face along the way.

Every boy making the transition into manhood is scrutinized, questioned, and challenged to prove they’re man enough.

In our culture, manhood is earned. Something has to be accomplished, some award achieved before the title ‘Man’ is hung around your neck. At least that’s what we’re taught.

Win the fight. Do it without crying. Earn lots of money. Get physical with a girl.

Please hear me on this:

Sex doesn’t make you man.

Fighting doesn’t make you man.

Earning lots of money doesn’t make you a man.

Mountain climbing, fixing a car, playing sports, driving fast – none of these things make you a man.

Being a man isn’t about what you do; it’s about who you are.

You are called into the image of Jesus, into the fully human, fully alive life. Be that man – the one who imitates Christ in all he does – not who others tell you to be.

Be that man – the one who imitates Christ in all he does – not who others tell you to be.

Do you remember that baseball game we went to a couple of years ago? We sat just beyond left field in the lawn on blankets, and we stretched out our legs. Do you remember that you began playing with the boys on the blanket next to us? You had brought a toy, the half dinosaur and half robot one, and the boy next to you just stared at it.

You gave it to him to play with and watched with generous pride as the boy played and wondered over it. That was you being you. You see, son, you’re more generous than I am.

I watched you give away your toy freely, but I bet you had no idea my stomach was twisted in knots. Was he going to break it? Was he going to take it?

You being you has taught me so much about me being me.

Generous, compassionate, tender. This is who you are.

You grow into a man when you grow into yourself in Christ. And when you find yourself in Christ, you’ll be a man.

You grow into a man when you grow into yourself in Christ. And when you find yourself in Christ, you’ll be a man.

It’s easy to say, “Be you.” But I’ve found it really hard to do.

You’re going to feel the pressure from every side to be something you’re not.

God gave you a gentle and sensitive heart. Gentleness is a fruit cultivated by the Spirit, but seen as weakness by men.

Our world does not seem to like men who appear weak. Unfortunately, men are often mocked for their weakness by being called women, as if being a woman is less than being a man. You don’t have to be afraid of women, and more than that, you don’t have to be afraid of being seen as weak.

Don’t be afraid of weakness.

Lots of men are afraid of being weak because I think they’re afraid of being less than a man.

Being afraid of weakness is like locking yourself in a prison. It keeps you from trying anything new, or doing anything that requires faith, or admitting your failures.

Here’s the secret, son. Being willing to be seen as weak means you are willing to be vulnerable.

And vulnerability requires an incredible amount of courage.

Men talk about running into burning buildings as courageous, and it is. But so is weakness, risking, and being honest. That’s the kind of courage we see Jesus model again and again. So what seems like weakness to others, is actually a sign of your strength in Christ.

So what seems like weakness to others, is actually a sign of your strength in Christ.

Every man has something they have to hold on to as they resist the pressure to be something they’re not.

Your challenge is to hold on to the characteristics God gave you.

You’ll want to trade them in and try to be like some other guy, but don’t.

Your gentleness is a gift this world needs. Do you know that?

We need more men who are willing to tenderly sit with people who are hurting, and fewer men telling them to shake it off.

We need more men who are willing to find strength in weakness, and fewer men who try to convince everybody that they’re physical strength makes them strong.

We need more men who are willing to leave behind the anxious pursuit to prove themselves as men in order to more fully imitate Jesus.

Take on the hard things of life. Be confident in who you are. Never give up. And when it gets hard and you’re weak and you feel like crying, it’s okay. You have nothing to prove. Jesus taught us that in our weakness we will find His strength.

Resist the temptation to convince your peers of your strength by bloodying someone’s nose. You have nothing to prove. Christ taught us true strength is found in making peace.

Speak the truth when it costs you to say what’s true. Friends may mock you, others may leave you. Stay close to who God made you to be. And when the mocking voices and loneliness set in, you can be sad. It’s okay. You have nothing to prove. Your identity is in Jesus.

Son, there’s nothing to prove because Christ proved it for you. I want nothing more than for you to rest in the grace of God. The Father’s grace that adopts us as sons despite the fact that we are not worthy of that title. Like the prodigal son who has returned home, the heavenly Father places his signet ring on our finger to tell us we belong in his household.

We belong.

Let this truth sink deep down into the recesses of your being: God does not require proof to accept you. All the needed proof comes through Jesus.

No longer is proof required to show that we belong, because we are already accepted. As one reborn in Christ, you are made new, already deemed worthy.

Don’t you see? You have nothing to prove.

God has declared in Christ: You’re already man enough.

There’s No Place Like Home

 Some fun renovation/”never house” facts:
Sweatpants are my new best friend. I live in the woods and can go days without seeing anyone other than my children and husband so sweatpants it is. (This may make me a hermit.)

Also, hats are a great substitute for a haircut. This happened because I had gone 12 weeks between cuts while we were living in moving/renovation mode. (At least it grew through the awkward growing out phase unnoticed.)

We have at least 5 different colored outlets and faceplate covers. I know you might think they only make 3 colors but you would be wrong! And also, they are apparently mix and match!

Finally, we have a new pet. His name is Wally – because that is where he lives. In the wall (or possibly ceiling) in my bedroom. He (or she, species unknown) introduced himself to us at 12:30 am on the first night we stayed in the house. Phil and I were scrambling for our phone flashlights as he scurried across what we then thought was our floor. Frantically whispering, “What was that?!” And the most important question “Where is it?!” That night we heard him run down the length of the room and then a little while later, just as sleep was becoming a possibility again, across above our heads. Not a lot of sleep to be had the first couple nights as he continued to visit. I think we may have gotten rid of him or he has holed up elsewhere in the cold. Either way, living surrounded by nature is really super fun!!

I have been getting asked quite a bit if it feels like home yet. That’s a tough question to answer. I was struggling with what home was supposed to feel like. How am I supposed to feel? When will it not be weird and awkward to talk about our old house and fumble with what to call it, accidentally calling it home, and what to call our new house.

I have spent way too long turning this over and over analyzing all the things home should or shouldn’t be in my head and the most intelligent and witty way to share it.  But in reality I have nothing profound and this really shouldn’t be this hard.(Too many quiet hours spent in my hermitage and sweatpants, I guess. Or possibly all the paint fumes…)

The problem is that home is so many different things at so many different times in our lives. Home starts off with Mom and Dad, it’s where the house shaped picture of home gets formed. One becomes two and a new family, a new home, is born. Home is full of both friends and laughter. The walls will bear witness to both heartbreak and joy. Home is arguments and tears and forgiveness. Home is sometimes far away from where we are currently living, a place our heart longs to return to. Home is both memories and dreams for the future. Home can be a place to launch from or crash into. Its where we start our best days and end our worst ones. It’s built on a foundation of trust and love. Home is a reflection of who we are, constantly being rebuilt with every life change no matter where we live.

This place is now full of our stuff. These walls, decorated with our memories. We have been working hard to put our fingerprints all over it. Earlier this week Mom came over and helped me continue in our quest to get settled. She hung pictures in just the right spot. Rearranged the furniture and decorations just a touch so that it all came together. I knew she would…I was waiting for her, needed her continued influence on my home. And that night when the kids got home Ty walked in and said, “It feels like home.”

So, to answer the question, does it feel like home yet? Yeah…I guess it does. But don’t ask me what that really means…

What does home mean to you?

I am betting you are a little curious about my “never house” and some of our projects here. (I would be. I am nosy like that.) I was awful at taking before pictures. I wouldn’t remember until it was way too late. So here is a little peek at a few afters…

  

Cease Striving…Be still…Know God (Ps 46:10) Sounds peaceful, right? Peace-filled is more accurate. "Still" has little to do with activity and everything to do with state of mind. Welcome to my crazy life!