Friday, July 15, 2016

Notes for 40: Be Alert ... But Don't Be Afraid

I'm sharing a few lessons that I'd like to carry on into my 40's .  You know how you hear something that resonates and you think, "That's good.  I want to be/do/live that".  Same.  Perhaps in writing them here, I will remember and reference them later on down the road.  Maybe something will resonate with you too.

Lesson #2

"Be alert and always keep on praying" (Ephesians 6:18)

I mentioned fear in my last post.  At some point we all kind of discover that life doesn't exactly turn out the way we had hoped or planned.  We live in a scary world that seems to be becoming more dangerous by the week.  From Orlando to Minnesota to Dallas to Nice and so on ... what kind of future are we facing?  On a personal level, I began to find it hard to look forward to the future because I was always waiting for the "other shoe to drop".  Then I found this verse:

This has become my prayer: Lord, let me be a woman who can find laughter and be joyful without fear of the future.  Scared people don't laugh. Let me be fearless, EVEN IF Even if the world we live in is unpredictable.  Even if I could be one phone call away from crisis.  Even if I am imperfect and broken.  Because EVEN IF ... God is still good.  I can find joy.  I MUST find joy. 

If I could trust a God who is always faithful; A God who is writing my story and has only my best interest at heart; a God who loves me extravagantly... If I can believe that God is always good, I CAN FACE TOMORROW WITH NO FEAR.  I'll be honest.  I'm still working on it; fear tries to creep in.  I don't believe that we should dig our heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that sometimes things really stink.  Sometimes life is unfair and bad things happen.  I don't want to just say positive things and hope that they will be true.  I want to live real. I want to be alert and always in prayer about everything.  I MUST be alert and always in prayer.  And what else am I to do, but cling to Jeremiah 29:11?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
There is always something to be joyful about.  We can always find a reason to laugh.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Notes for 40: About Circumstances

Well, it's happened.  I'm 40 now.  In all honesty, I'm not disappointed.  My 30's were full of all sorts of 'hard', and I don't want to go back there!  I have always felt that although 40 is not young, it's not old either, and I've hoped that I would have gained some wisdom by now.  HA!  While that is questionable, I have picked up on a few truths that I hope to bring into the next decade.  Instead of listing everything in one long, drawn-out post, I've decided to make it kind of a series.  I am hoping that this will get me writing more often.  Oh, how I've missed it - and you!  I noticed that today marks exactly 5 months since I last wrote here.  No good!

So here goes.  Lesson #1:

"Your circumstances don't make you, they simply reveal who you already are."

This was a hard one to hear.  I was reading the book, "Lies Women Believe" (Nancy Leigh DeMoss) with a friend, when we came across the quote above.  Can I just say one thing?  OUCH!  Nancy didn't hold back in this book, but I'm thankful for that because we all need someone who is willing to tell us the hard truth!  I can't blame anybody or any circumstance for how I behave or respond to adverse situations. 

For example, I might say, "I wouldn't have thrown that plate across the room if he hadn't made me so angry." This puts the blame on "him".  "He" made me do it.  Yet the truth is that I threw the plate (hypothetical, okay!) because I have an anger problem and I allowed it to get the best of me. 

Or, "I ate so much because I was stressed" (not hypothetical).  But really I ate so much (cake, cookies, ice cream, chocolate) because I am addicted to sugar and it makes me feel better for like 10 minutes until I start feeling guilty and then I feel even worse (too honest?).

Or, I might say, "I was never impatient before I had kids".  Actually, I was.  Having kids just gave that trait an opportunity to arise. 

On the other side of the coin, some situations have taught me that I am stronger than I knew.  While I never want to go 'back there', I am grateful for the hard things that have made me stronger.  Some lessons are only learned by experience.  And with experience comes maturity (hopefully!).
"...we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." -Romans 5:3-5
"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:2-5
I also discovered that I had some 'ugly' lurking beneath the surface.  Things like discontent, self-pity, un-forgiveness and one that took me by surprise - fear, especially when it comes to my children.  I never considered myself any of those things before.  But I love what Maya Angelou says:
"When you know better, you do better.
I don't know what kind of challenges are around the corner, but dear Jesus, please let me wear my circumstances well!  So here's to 40 and to living a "better broken"!

Friday, January 29, 2016


Hello, Five-Minute Friday!  I've missed you.  I've linked up over here with other bloggers, where we overlook mistakes and imperfection and just write for five minutes on the same prompt.
I'm stuck here in a quiet house, amidst Kleenix and cough drops and vapor rub.  Ick.  It's my day off and all I can do is rest.  I'm torn between wanting to take advantage of a good excuse to do nothing and that nagging voice in my head that tells me I need to be productive.  You'd think it'd be a no-brainer, huh.

Doing nothing has won out.  My pounding head has seen to that.  I've sat here on the couch while my sweet girl cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed, and made pancakes, all with her little one under foot.  I wished that I could at least scoop up my grandson so she could work more quickly (dumb sick germs).

I'm left to these thoughts in a clean, quiet house, as my loves head to the grocery store for weekend supplies.  I worry that she'll have a hard time juggling her wallet and bags and the baby, but then smile and remind myself that she can do it. She's a mom.  And God gave moms capes.

Quiet seasons can be hard.  I'm in the middle of one.  There is a nagging and a tugging that I should be doing more.  I want to do more.  But if having a baby in the house has taught me anything, it's to slow down.  One season at a time.  I think that's the gift of becoming a grandma.  We know by experience how quickly these baby days go by.  The gift of savor ...  I like that.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Before the Year Closes ...

WAIT!  I'm not finished with Christmas yet!! We have only hours left until the new year and I'm grasping the last few moments to share our Christmas with you! 
This little Joy Guru made the season especially bright!

Such silliness!
Hard core!

Doing a Jesse Tree has become one of my favorite traditions.  I use Ann Voskamp's Advent devotional,  The Greatest Gift to number the days and to stay mindful of the love story woven for us since the beginning of time.  Such a wonderful reminder of why I love Christmas!

Decorating for any season is a love of mine.  We kept things much simpler and baby friendly for our curious crawler!
We kept soft ornaments near the bottom of the tree ...

... and replaced the Willow Tree Nativity that normally sits on the bottom shelf with this Little People Nativity. 
It was magical watching my daughter introduce Jax to his first Christmas and I was so blessed to get to be a part of it! 
We bundled up for the Christmas parade ...
Grandpa's Star Wars float
... watched his mommy's first Pax de Duex ...  

... and turned 9 months old!
Christmas morning was as exciting as you can imagine!  Celebrating Jesus' birthday with family - what else could one ask for?  

Here, in the final hours of 2015, may we smile at this years victories and reflect on how we have grown from the hard things.  Let us look forward with hope and joy for the coming year and may it be so, so blessed!
Love, Liv

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Nostalgia and a Recipe!

What is it about Fall?

I think it's the coziness of it. Like falling into your own bed after being away for a while.  Like hugging your own pillow. 

It's familiar.  Comfortable.  Fall brings with it the longing for family and the making of memories.


Today feels especially Fallish.  It's cool out.  The house smells like pumpkin spiced candles.  And I'm missing my sister, Monica.  I'm missing the five of us siblings squishing together on a couch made for three, talking and laughing about things that make sense only to us.

The last time she was here for the holidays, we made a ton of Monica's honey cookies.  Can I tell you we at every last one?!  Yup.  They didn't make it past the cooling rack!   Don't judge.

I made the cookies today.  Celine and I had one with a cup of coffee during my lunch break.


Can you feel it?


Since I'm feeling so nostalgic and I love to share with those I like most, here is the recipe!

Monica's Honey Cookies

1 cup shortening                   2 & 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar            3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey                       1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg                                       1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla                 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream together shortening and brown sugar
Beat in honey, egg and vanilla
Gradually blend in dry ingredients, which have been sifted together
Chill the dough at least 3 hours
Roll to 1/8 - 1/4 " thickness on lightly floured surface
Cut with floured cookie cutters
Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 F for 8-10 minutes
*Yields about 2 1/2 dozen

Go ahead - eat them all.  I won't judge!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Still there?

Hello?  Is anyone still there?

I'm dusting off my keyboard and clearing a place for you to sit down and visit.  Go ahead and fix yourself a cuppa something yummy and then come put your feet up for a bit.  We've got some catching up to do!

So how are you?  I really want to know.  It's been a while since we've talked and I've missed you bunches.

I am doing well and I can't tell you how happy I am that it is today - the first day of October. 

I'm loving the tastes and smells of Fall, and especially the feeling that something good and new is around the corner. 

Growing is painful and scary. But it is good.  So good.  The past year has been all sorts of stretching and struggling to break out of my old skin and grow into this new one.  In all of the uncomfortable I felt that I should stay quiet - I didn't feel that I quite had my wits about me.  And then suddenly, the dark clouds parted and the first light of sunrise broke through.
The sunrise is most beautiful after the storm
"After a night of howling wind, pounding thunder, and pulling covers over your head, the morning wakes to stillness.  The earth is mushy; branches and washed up debris litter the ground.  But look up.  Always. Look. Up.  The sky is beautifully painted a mixture of oranges and pinks, promising the arrival of the sun.  Calm. The dark clouds are gone.  You close your eyes.  Birds are singing.  A gentle breeze kisses your face.  Inhale.  The ground smells fresh, ready for new growth.  It smells like hope.  You smile because you are still standing.  There is some rebuilding to do; things may never look the same - they are not supposed to.  It's a new beginning"

Nothing says 'new beginnings' like a baby.  This little guy is the delight of our home!  With new beginnings come miracles and I'm so grateful for the miracles that came along with this little boy.  More stories for another time! 

Our house is a whirlwind of diapers and paci's and laughter and drool.  So much silliness happening just to get a smile.  It's wonderfully ridiculous!  It is precious to see the love affair between my girl and her son.  He adores her.  The way he looks longingly after her when she leaves the room ... Or how he tenderly touches her face.  I die!! God's grace has been abundant during this huge change in our family.

Life doesn't stop, even for the birth of a first grandson.  My daughter entered her senior year and jumped, or shall I say pirouetted, her way back into ballet.  She may be a mommy herself, but she is still my girl and watching her dance fills up my momma heart.  You know the feeling - whether it's football or tennis or karate, or clogging or yodeling - it's a pleasure watching our kids do something they love.

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays have come as scheduled in the midst of all the change - imagine that!  Friendships have been strengthened and new ones have been forged.  We celebrated the one year anniversary of my mom's kidney transplant.  A nephew graduated from Air Force Basic Training.  We traveled to San Antonio (grueling drive!) to watch the ceremony.  And I left a piece of me there.  Literally.  We had to extend our trip because I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery.  Oy!  I was well taken care of and am recovering well.  Some people will do anything to get a few more days of vacation!  Obviously I'm not beneath donating an organ!

Through the challenges and changes in life, I am reminded of how very much I need Jesus.  Every. Single. Day.   I am learning what it means to rejoice always,  pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

God is still good.  I am still standing.  And it is well with my soul.

How has God been faithful in this season of your life?  I'd love it if you'd share in the comments, or just let me know that you're still here!

Let's talk again soon, yes?  We'll meet here - I'll save a seat for you!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On becoming a grandmother ...

 I miss meeting up with you here in this little corner of the Internet, so I'm poppin' in for a second to let you know I'm still here!  I can't wait to write more often, but I'm allowing myself time to adjust to the changes in our home and I'm giving all my spare moments to loving on my sweet grandson.
You guys.  I can still hardly believe it.  Me, a grandmother?!  Part of me - the part that is in love with this beautiful little guy - fully embraces it.  That's the easy part.  The other part - the part that doesn't want to be/feel/sound old yet - cringes when she hears the G-word. 

With the changes comes all sorts of emotions.  There is a lot of HARD in our situation.  There's the mourning of part of my daughter's childhood and of some of the plans for myself that I've had to put on the shelf for a little while longer. There's finding the balance of roles as I mother my daughter while she mother's her son.  Scotty and I have to be intentional about finding space for one another in our new routines.  I need to find space for myself and the things I love again. 

In the middle of the HARD there are many gifts. I get to snuggle with sweet Jax every day and breathe in his fresh-from-heaven baby scent.  And those smiles ... they melt my heart!  I am completely smitten!


So it's alright - call me granny!  I've decided that I am going to rock this gig!

Much love,