Awards

Blog Awards & Nominations!

IMG_1935 (1)

I’m stunned to write this just a few months into my blogging journey… I’ve been chosen for two blogging awards! I’m humbled, shocked, excited, and a bit intimidated, but going with it. Christ must have plans for this science girl and I missed the memo! I’m giving all the glory to Him!

And I’m also super grateful to fellow Christian blogger, Iris Ocampo, for nominating me for both awards! Click here to visit her blog!

The best part is getting to pay it forward! To nominate other blogs that have inspired me on this tumultuous journey – those that have motivated my weary fingers to keep typing.  And I even get the chance to spread the love to some newbie bloggers like me!

IMG_1933

What is the Liebster Award?

The Liebster Award 2017 is an award that exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. The earliest case of the award goes as far back as 2011. ‘Liebster’ in German means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging because I have a chaotic life that prevents me from working outside the home right now. I longed for a creative outlet that would also connect me to other Christian women and I wanted to share my blossoming faith as a “thank you” to Christ.

What does the name of your blog mean?
My tag line, Mom-ventures with Hope & Humility, emerged from an exhaustive list of potential candidates. It was just the right combination of fun and serious, which captures my personality. Also, I sought to draw my ideal reader – a mom who tackles each crazy day as an adventure, remembering that there’s always hope, regardless of how harrowing her day may have been. “Humility” is a constant reminder (to me) that mothering is perpetually humbling, not to take myself too seriously and that humility brings us back to Christ.

What is your biggest struggle about blogging?
Finding time to write and edit in a very noisy life and home! Wish I didn’t need uninterrupted quiet to produce a descent blog post!  I’m hoping to tolerate more noise with time!

What is your go to snack?
Chocolate, chocolate, and um, MORE CHOCOLATE! I’m attempting to quell my addiction with snack-sized treats to ward off re-gaining the seventy-five pounds I fought to lose a few years ago! The struggle is REAL!

What or who makes you laugh the most?
Our tween daughter! She’s the most ebullient child! Dramatically bent, wonderfully whimsical, and just plain hilarious (and sometimes infuriating for all the same reasons)!

What is your favorite quote to live by?
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is your favorite book and why?
This one’s an impossible question for this bibliophile! I can only narrow it down to anything by Jennie Allen, Holley Gerth, or Lisa-Jo Baker!

What is saving your life lately?
My faith! Christ has dredged this girl from the depths of despair more times than I can count and no earthly person or thing can ever compare!

Name your favorite aspect of each season.

WINTER:  Fluffy snowflakes, crisp morning air, and a warm bowl of anything under my softest and fuzziest blanket!

SPRING: Baby birds sweetly chirping, the perfect temperature for a walk, and fresh green everything against a pale blue sky.

SUMMER: The freedom that flows from a more relaxed schedule and vacation!

FALL: My favorite season!  Tired leaves fluttering to the ground, the return to quiet time during the day, and the anticipation of the holidays!

What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Watching a thriller series in a QUIET house while snuggled up with a fun-sized pack (or two!) of peanut M&M’s!

My favorite blogs

Hands down, my three favorite blogs are Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart, Suzie Eller’s Living Free Together, and Jennifer Renee Watson’s Soul-Full, Grace-Filled Space Your Soul Needs. Their posts always speak directly to my heart on any given day, their personalities align with mine, and their words heal me every time! If you’re looking for a laugh through your tears, these three won’t disappoint!

To enjoy this adorable trio’s unique blend of steadfast faith, humility, vulnerability, and endearing girl humor, check out their Facebook Lives at #MoreThanSmallTalk! They’re the deepest group of gals who will leave you in stitches!

10 Random Facts about You…

1. Don’t give me anything sweet, because I’ll eat it!

2. My reaction to housework: “First, rip off my fingernails… slowly, please!”

3. I love to take on new challenges!

4. Give me a good book, and you might not see me for a few days!

5. TV is my retreat when I should be seeking Christ.

6. I’m an extroverted introvert. I’m generally friendly, but need to retreat to rest alone after a few hours of socializing. Otherwise, “mean mommy” emerges from her evil lair!

7. I’m a recovering (?) over-achiever and perfectionist.

8. Tragedy has visited me more often than I thought I could bear, but Christ has seen me to victory through it all!

9. I’ve struggled with my weight since gaining the freshman fifteen!

10. Lesson I’m still learning: Victory is in the TRYING, not the TRIUMPH!

My NominationsI love this part because I love encouraging and acknowledging others!It just makes me feel warm and fuzzy!Check out these blogs with smaller followings like mine! They’re gems and deserve your attention!Listed IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER.Walking Together – Encouragement to Grow Your Faith (Jennifer Andes)Gospel-Centred Parenting – Good News for Family Life (Scott & Cathy Thomson)Helping  People Reach Their Potential (Michelle Lazurek)Cultivating Creativity (Cathy Baker)Simply Living Love (Melissa T.)Building Grateful Nests – Rooted in Him (Robin Evans)Field Notes on Digging for the Divine in the Everyday (Tia McNelly) 

The Rules

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you should do the following:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog. Try to include a little promotion for the person who nominated you.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. You can download images for the award here.
3. Write a 150-300 word post about your favorite blog that is not your own. Explain why you like the blog, provide links.
4. Answer your questions and provide 10 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have less than 200 followers and ask them your own questions.
6. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here or from this site).
7. Don’t forget to inform the people/blogs you nominated about it!

Answer these questions!

Why did you start blogging?
What does the name of your blog mean?
What is your biggest struggle about blogging?
What is your go to snack?
What or who makes you laugh the most?
What is your favorite quote to live by?
What is your favorite book and why?
What is saving your life lately?
Name your favorite aspect of each season.
What is your favorite guilty pleasure?


Sunshine Blogger Award

IMG_1934

About the Award
The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by other bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring. Once nominated, the blogger is required to write a post in which he/she does the following:

Thank the blogger who nominated them and link back to their blog.
Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated them.
Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 new questions to answer.
Notify your nominees and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post.

Questions

What is the toughest part about blogging for you?
Finding time to write and edit in a very noisy life and home! Wish I didn’t need uninterrupted quiet to produce a descent blog post!  I’m hoping to tolerate more noise with time!

What is the most enjoyable part?
Being creative, connecting with others, and honoring Christ.

Is there something that always keeps you going during tough times?
Prayer, bible studies, devotionals, and supportive friends and family.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Goat cheese. I’ve got a squeamish palate!

Besides blogging, what else do you enjoy?
Reading, walking on a clear day, bible studies, warm chocolate chip cookies, the caress of sunshine on my face, and seeing our children in side-splitting giggles.

Would you rather fly or sail somewhere? Why?
Flying, for sure! Dramamine is my constant companion on choppy waters!

Who do you most admire, and why?
Jesus, because He is my role model! God’s manifestation on earth and perfection embodied!

Are you an Apple or an Android person?
Apple ADDICT!

What inspires you?

My faith, plus collective creativity and encouragement. Sharing ideas and creating with others.

Is this your first blogging award?
These two awards are my first!  I’m so humbled that the blogging community has seen something in my little musings here! I can’t wait to spread the love!

My Nominees

Each of these blogs has filled my soul to the brim with Christ’s goodness. Some are serious, some are lyrical, and some just deliver a belly laugh through your tears!

Thanks to each lady who has poured herself into each carefully-crafted blog! You’re all an inspiration to me! Consider this my thank you note to you from my grateful heart.

Listed IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

Encountering God in My Ordinary Life (Stacey Pardoe)

Debbie Wilkins Baisden

Glenna Marshall

Finding Peace in God’s Word (Sarah Geringer)

Created to Sparkle – Matthew 5:16 (Erin Whitmer)

Walk With Me (Lisa Barrickman)

Loving the Wounded Child (Lindsey Z.)

Stuff of Heaven (Julie Holmquist)

Blossom in Faith (Kelly Basham)

Making Much of Him 365 – Psalm 36:5 (Sarah Farish)

An Invitation to Study God’s Word During the Ordinary Days (Sara E. Frazer)

 

And the Questions are…

What was your favorite subject in school?

What is your greatest temptation?

Who do you call when you can’t sleep?

What do you love most about your oldest friend?

What’s your favorite act of random kindness to give?

What have life’s struggles taught you?

What’s the best advice you’ve received about life?

Do you have a background in writing?

What’s the most daring challenge you’ve accepted?

Do you prefer school or work?

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Whew! That was fun and exhausting! Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Again, I’m super grateful to have been nominated. Blessings to each of the new nominees, all my blogger friends who offered their blogs for nomination, and all you precious readers!

 

 

GIVEAWAY!

FullSizeRender

Leave a comment by September 30th to be entered to win your very own copy of  Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World by Micah Maddox (*THIS IS A CHANGE*)! Winner will be emailed in early October.  Bonus for bloggers: If you’re the winner, I’ll feature your blog on mine and on social media during October!

Congrats to our August giveaway winner, Maureen B! Since she’s also a blogger, I’ll be featuring her blog this month! Click here to enjoy!

FOR READERS: September Inspiration!

Be inspired by other moms braving back to school and new beginnings! Click here to read their stories!

FOR BLOGGERS: Welcome to the Mom-ventures Monthly Link Up!

September Theme: Back to School & New Beginnings

  • Feel free to share a post recounting how Christ has seen you through this busy back to school season or simply any new beginning!
  • Insert the button & link up link: Include this image with link up URL in your participating blog posts. That way, your blog visitors can click their way straight to the party!
  • Leave 2 Comments: Please choose 2 link up posts. Leave an encouraging comment on each.
  • Share on Social Media! Share your favorite posts from the link up!
  • Tell your Followers! Share this link up with your email subscribers so they can join the party too!

humility

Pride Monsters

 blog pride monster picI have a confession: I’ve been arrested by the “pride police” on many occasions.

By this, I mean I’ve been caught red-handed in major acts of mom hubris. I grin widely, giggle with glee, and feel that much better about myself when my kids get recognized at school or in sports. With toddler-like gusto, I post their accomplishments to social media, anxiously awaiting “likes” and comments.

Before I go any further, know that, in my opinion, celebration and pride are two very different things.

Celebration is totally acceptable and something God wants us to enjoy. The key is to give all the glory to Him. We’ve only arrived in Problemville when that gladness gives way to human superiority. When our identity shifts because of that achievement. When we give ourselves the glory instead of God.

Now that we have that established, let’s jump back into my impending arrest…

I revel in the glory of achievement and the approval of others. I’ll take a good pat on the back – in almost any form – any day.

But after the rush inevitably fades, I find myself drained – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Then I ask myself: “What was so great about that?”

That’s God’s way of starving my pride monster. I know it’s what I need, but don’t always want.

What is a pride monster?

He’s that snarly, scaly little critter who puffs out your chest and creeps into your heart to feast on your insecurity. He’s the evil gremlin who clutches your neck so you’ll stick your nose up to gasp for high-brow air. He’s the Enemy’s child and he’s always on the prowl for souls in need of earthly recognition.

I wish I could say that my pride monster, after many forced fasts, looked more akin to a shriveled gremlin instead of a fluffy moguai, but in the interest of full disclosure, he is somewhere in between. Just when I think I’ve deprived him of all nourishment by praying, Facebook fasting, and Bible study, he tilts his pitiful little head and thinly squeaks, “Feed me!”

I try to ignore his cries and tune them out with prayer, but he’s a tenacious little thing, ripping at my unbelief, reminding me how good that initial rush of recognition feels.

Then, I remember His Word…

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

The creature finally goes quiet. I breathe in and lean back into God’s arms. But I know he will be back and I’ll be arrested again. It’s just a matter of time. It’s just part of being human and the reason why we need God. Every minute. Everyday.

Reflect:

  1. What do your “pride monsters” look like? What are yours?
  2. What verses or prayers do you use to starve your “pride monsters?”
  3. How can you invite more humility into your daily life when “pride monsters” invade?

Dive Deeper:   A Platform of Pride. First 5, Day 11, Covenant Plan.

Giveaway!    Leave a comment to be entered to win a $20 Target gift card! The winner will be emailed by the end of July!

 

 

Connection

Soul to Soul

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it.” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV)

“What is she thinking?”

That’s the question I ask myself hundreds of times each day.

She is our twelve-year-old daughter, who happens to have Down syndrome.

She is significantly delayed cognitively and physically, more than even most children with Down syndrome.

She is also a spit-fire strawberry blond who loves to run, laugh, listen to music, and give us a tween “stink eye” when she doesn’t get her way.

She is a gift from God who checks our “pride monsters” at the door.

She reminds us to slow our pace to God’s “unforced rhythms of grace” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).

She is so many things, just as we all are.

We are each a unique life bundle. Our lives are canvases of characteristics painted by our actions, choices, and thoughts.

And this is where my throat lumps. What are our daughter’s thoughts? Specifically, her deepest thoughts? Selfishly, I want to hear them because that’s how I connect on a soul level with others. I want to touch her soul with my words, but it’s like a wisp in the wind. I can see it – almost grab it sometimes when she peers into my eyes – but then it dances away on gusts beyond my reach…

Our daughter with Down syndrome does speak a few words, but oftentimes they’re out of context. That said, her immediate physical needs motivate her to speak in context…  like “want to eat,” “cookie,” or “please.” Her spoken word bank tops out around 10 to 20.

She has never used words to express how she feels, however. For feelings, she employs physical-behavioral means, which come in the form of a broad smile after that cookie, a hoe-down-worthy stomping after being told “no,” or her go-to for “mad:” a sit-down-and-won’t-budge.

Since she isn’t able to express her feelings with words, I feel distance between us. I’m a verbal processor. Words, language, and conversation are like oxygen to me. Our other two children adeptly express themselves with words – sometimes too well! Why can’t I have that with our twelve-year-old daughter?

This is when I plaintively pray for a device to plug into her brain that reports her thoughts!

Where is technology when I truly need it? I want to know whether she knows God. I want to know whether she loves me. I want to know whether she is happy living in our home.

God then tenderly taps me on the shoulder, interrupting my reverie. He reminds me of His truth about our girl: “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

And I melt. Our girl, in all her meekness, is set for a beautiful inheritance.

Perhaps she has already moved to a higher plane and has a direct line to the deepest One of all? Maybe her unique-to-Down-syndrome Brushfield spots – tiny stars in her deep blue irises – were placed there by God to remind me of the mysteries and the majesties of His vast universe? Maybe He is just reminding me that my meager human understanding will always be just that? (Proverbs 3:5)

Maybe I’m the one with the shallow connection to God?

Maybe I’m not meant to connect with her the way I want to now – at least not on this earth? Maybe I’m to wait until we reunite in eternity? If so, I can’t wait to plug into her beautiful soul on that glorious day! I long to collect all her hopes, dreams, and deepest desires…

And this is when gratitude creeps in.

God knows me so well. He knows how to draw me close. With a sheepish side-grin and a wink upward, I clasp my hands together and close my eyes. I begin to pray, thanking Him for the gift that He has given us in our girl. The lessons that she teaches us. That God loves us enough to entrust us with her care. But mostly that our girl keeps me plugged into God, the ultimate source of soul connection and renewal!

Reflect:
1. With whom do you struggle to communicate? (Maybe they don’t have a cognitive or physical disability, but they have personality traits or habits that rub you the wrong way or prevent a healthy relationship.)
2. Write a prayer asking God to help sort out your struggle in His will.

Dive Deeper:
“Why Your Brand of Unique is Perfect” by Amy Carroll

Giveaway!
Leave a comment below to be entered to win a Target gift card!

rest

Too Busy!

 

Most of the things we need in order to be most fully alive never come from busyness. They grow out of rest. – MARK BUCHANAN

I can’t keep up!

The laundry, dishes, errands, extracurriculars, doctors appointments, homework, lunches, backpacks, school activities… it all comes at me like a freight train on a treadmilling loop.

It has all become so overwhelming that I’ve instituted something I call “rest checking.” Each week, I scroll through my calendar until I find an “opening” for rest. Until I find it, I feel my throat closing up a little with each passing busy, congested, over-productive day. Once I’ve found it, I find release… physically, mentally, spiritually.

But isn’t it sad that we have to search for rest? Shouldn’t it be a given?

Apparently, not in Western culture. We’re expected to Continue reading “Too Busy!”

Introduction

Blog Coming Soon!

Welcome to my shiny NEW blog!

So thrilled you’re here!

I’m a mom of three who loves to encourage women, study the Bible, make meaningful connections, and have deep conversations! I’m a lover of all things fuzzy (especially blankets), long walks on a warm summer afternoon, and great reads. And… I struggle with early morning bus schedules, housekeeping, and managing tween angst… among other things!

Like many of you, I have also survived life-altering experiences that have rocked me to the core. These experiences have forged the cornerstone of an exciting and deepening faith. And that burgeoning faith is the genesis of this blog!

Although I’ve only lived a little over four decades, Continue reading “Blog Coming Soon!”

Uncategorized

Too Busy!

 

Most of the things we need in order to be most fully alive never come from busyness. They grow out of rest. – MARK BUCHANAN

I can’t keep up!

The laundry, dishes, errands, extracurriculars, doctor’s appointments, homework, lunches, backpacks, school activities… it all comes at me like a freight train on a treadmilling loop.

It has all become so overwhelming that I’ve instituted something I call “rest checking.” Each week, I scroll through my calendar until I find an “opening” for rest. Until I find it, I feel my throat closing up a little with each passing busy, congested, over-productive day. Once I’ve found it, I find release… physically, mentally, spiritually.

But isn’t it sad that we have to search for rest? Shouldn’t it be a given?

Apparently, not in Western culture. We’re expected to bake cookies for our kiddos’ benefit while conference-calling and cooking dinner for our family… and squeezing in a folded piece of laundry while dinner’s in the oven.

I contend that we were made for rest – literally. Aren’t we made in God’s image? And didn’t God, the creator of the universe and Lord over all – even smartphones on which we pack our e-calendars – rest on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2)? Does the Bible say to stay busy until you run yourself ragged? Is this how we should honor Him?

Last time I checked, no! Although He warns against idleness, His example clearly supports a balance of work and rest (Proverbs 31:27; Genesis 2:2).

We all need time to physically rest, to spiritually rest, to fill our tanks.

If we don’t rest physically, our immune systems are depleted and our neural circuitry is overwhelmed. We get sick and anxiety and depression strike. My kids will tell you that I become an over-stimulated ADD mommy-monster!

If we don’t rest spiritually, we become raisin-souled – displaying anti-fruit-of-the spirit qualities like crankiness, harsh judgment, and narcissism.

Why are we determined to idolize busyness when it can wreak such havoc?

First, let’s examine why we became so busy. The American Dream is a fantastic thing, but I’m afraid we’ve chosen the Extreme Games version. What started out as an earnest and worthy ode to working hard and making something of our lives has morphed into a perceived obligation to “work hard” at everything we do… even rest. Heaven forbid we not schedule a “leisure activity” during that 45 minutes between gymnastics and choir practice.

Further, our culture commonly advises us to schedule everything, including rest! I’m guilty! But scheduling itself can be exhausting!

When I try to make a doctors appointment these days, aligning my schedule with the office’s is as simple as a root canal. Each week, I’ve had to add a list called “calendar additions” to my To Do list. Scheduling seems to dive-bomb me incessantly… Sometimes I just want to duck and cover and let the “scheduling bombs” fall where they may.

And sometimes I do… I turn off my smartphone, power down my laptop, tell the kids and hubby that I’m taking a nap… But even then, my mind races… I struggle to stamp out my brain’s blaze of baseline to-do-listing… Then I have too much in my brain to enumerate or mnemonic into memory… So inevitably, my smartphone lures me from beneath the sheets and I’m recording all the things that I need to do, but shouldn’t be adding to my list because I should be resting…

What I should be thinking is “I should follow God’s example to rest.” I should put down my smartphone in the name of the Lord. I should ask Him to wash over me. I should pray. Because how can we forge a meaningful relationship with God without resting in prayer? How can we fulfill His deepest desire to have relationship with us without resting in prayer?

And this brings me to how Christianity is being eroded by our busyness. How many times have you found yourself too tired to drag yourself out of bed to attend church or bible study? How many times do you have an extracurricular commitment for your precious kiddo that conflicts with your church or bible study? What do you choose?

I bring this up not to be accusatory, but rather to illuminate my own struggles. I’m so fried from over-scheduling that by the time I get to God time, this girl is nap-bound. I reason that society will judge me less for missing church or bible study than missing my child’s gymnastics meet. And so I’m back to worshipping the idol of busyness over God.

The irony of it all is found in God’s offer to give us rest! He so clearly wants to give it to us, and even longs to fold our tired souls into his warm embrace. Just take a peek at Matthew 11:28: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” We just have to listen and go to Him. He is there waiting.

So, I’m now on a mission to promote rest. For God, myself, for moms, for dads, for friends, for we weary American Dreamers who built this country on trusting in God, but who have lost Him to busyness.

How do we start? Maybe the next time someone asks what you’re up to, say you’re enjoying resting. Resist the urge to say “I’m so super busy and feel like I need a vacation.” Consider saying “yes” to God and “no” to busyness. I promise He’ll notice… And maybe even bless you with that nap you’ve been looking for!

Reflect…
1. How have busyness and rest influenced your relationship with God?
2. How can you invite more rest into your life?

Dive Deeper…
1. Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul by Bonnie Gray
2. “The Disease of Being Busy” by Omid Safi

Giveaway!
Leave a comment below to be entered to win a Target gift card!

 

 

Introduction

Blog Coming Soon!

Welcome to my shiny NEW blog!

So thrilled you’re here!

I’m a mom of three who loves to encourage women, study the bible, make meaningful connections, and have deep conversations! I’m a lover of all things fuzzy (especially blankets), long walks on a warm summer afternoon, and great reads. And… I struggle with early morning bus schedules, housekeeping, and managing tween angst… among other things!

Like many of you, I have also survived life-altering experiences that have rocked me to the core. These experiences have forged the cornerstone of an exciting and deepening faith. And that burgeoning faith is the genesis of this blog!

Although I’ve only lived a little over four decades, like many of you, I’ve lived several “lives!” Seasons of great celebration and achievement, but also seasons of despair and desperation.

I pray this will be a comfortable space where we can share our latest “mom mishaps”  and survival skills, but also our deepest yearnings, all through the lens of the greatest One above.

Here’s a taste of what’s to come…

  • Lessons in “Mom Humility” – What do we learn through our children’s struggles?
  • Compassion, Not Comparison – Why can’t we moms just cheer each other on?
  • Vulnerability Bridges – Why do we feel pressured to deny our hurt?
  • Good Enough – When perfectionism strikes, what can we do?
  • Turning Them Over – When should we turn our children over to God?

I want to hear from you!

Tell me which topic(s) above you’d like me to blog about first! Send me your response either by commenting below or on the CONTACT page!

Swing back soon and be sure to click on FOLLOW to subscribe!

Your Friend in Christ,

Allison