Why We Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

I don’t think I ever really understood St. Patrick’s Day until I lived in Ireland. There was just something about being surrounded by those lilting voices, celebrating Ireland and a man who brought them hope so many years ago. (Okay, so not all of them think about the hope thing, but I can’t help but)

Since our time in Ireland, I’ve had lots of people ask me, “So, what’s the point of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? What meaning does it hold?”

3 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick's Day With Your KidsSo, I was honored and super excited when Tricia Goyer asked me to write a post for her blog about meaningful ways to celebrate Paddy’s Day with your kids. You guys know me, and know that I’m all about simple, stress-free, fun and grace-filled. So, that’s what you’ll find in these 3 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Your Kids.

To make it a real party, Tricia is also hosting a giveaway for a copy of her new book, Prayers that Changed History! (hint: Patrick is in there!) So hop of over to Tricia’s place and enter!

New Season, New Peace

Friends, I’m tired. It’s been a crazy year and a long, crazy summer. I’m really looking forward to the quieter season Fall seems to be in my mind (even though I know it is no less full of activity).

I’ve felt a deeper sense and need than ever to usher some peace into my home and family in this new season. How about you? Could your home use some peace? Join me at The Better Mom today as I share 4 Steps to a More Peaceful Home this Fall.

If you’ve just clicked over from The Better Mom, please let me welcome you! Make yourself at home, look around awhile and then tell us what your most favorite this is about Fall!

Fall Into Grace

Dr. Jekyll and Mom Hyde

I have not been the wife or mother that I long to be lately. I’ve been terse, curt and snappy. My compassion has waned of late.

In desperation I turned to the one place I could find lasting help – The Bible. I am still prayerfully working on allowing the Word of God to transform me to be more like Christ – with a loving, giving attitude – but I wanted to share with you all today 5 verses that are helping to refill my Compassion Tank.

Join me at The Better Mom for 5 Verses for When Your Compassion is Running Low.

Just clicked over from The Better Mom? Welcome! I’m so glad you popped by! Make yourself at home and look around awhile. 20140727-153832-56312927.jpg

Treasure, Ponder, Snuggle, Repeat

Isaac's kneeI see your small body on the sheet covered gurney; blood staining your knee and your jeans.

Tears stain your cheeks and sweat has matted your hair to your head.

I want to remember how tiny you were are and how things can happen and change in an instant.

Isaac Mickey EarsI see you standing in front of the ginormous ride, both terrified and chomping at the bit to go.

You squeal, laugh, whoop and holler with hands raised. Joy radiating from your face.

I want to remember the reckless abandon with which you experienced this place; believe the magic without question.

I hear your sweet voice ask for the umpteenth time today, “Up-y, up-y, mommy. I snuggle you.”

I scoop you up onto my lap and we snuggle and sway; rock and hum.

I’m treasuring each of these moments deep in my mother’s heart. Storing them away for future use.

You’re so brave, so strong, so full of joy.

You laugh with out restraint, love without clause, and live without limits.

I want to remember these days when you’re too big to hold; to manly to snuggle; but hopefully you’ll never outgrow your compulsion to laugh, love and live to your heart’s content.

*****

I’ve linked up with the tribe over at LisaJo’s place for Five Minute Friday. Today’s prompt was: Remember.
I’ve also linked up with Women Living Well

Finding What Wishes to Hide

I decided it was high time to dust off these ole keys and blow the cobwebs out of this writer’s mind. What better way to do that than to join LisaJo and her tribe in the greatest writer flash mob around, Five Minute Friday? And I nearly laughed out loud when I read this week’s prompt as I’ve been waxing poetic to anyone who will listen about how hectic the past few months have been – and the next few months will continue to be. So join me for my best five minutes on

REST

Five Minute FridayStart
Sleep finally settles on me

As the fan gently blows cool air over me, lulling me to drift off.

MOOOOOOM!!

Anger and frustration vie for top billing as I thrash the covers back and stomp to see

What do they want now?

I scold and chide and plead for just a few more minutes…

Lie down; snuggle in; drift off.

Bang. Boom. Slap. Cries.

It seems sleep is not for me today.

Poor me. Woe is me. Nobody cares, but me.

I snuggle you, mama.

I sit on your lap, mama?

I love you, mommy.

As much as sleep refreshes mind and body, today I realize as I watch that rest is found…

In the bubbly laugh of the two year old.

In the halted sounds of my sweet girl sounding out her first written words.

In the belly laughs preceded by, “Tickle me, Daddy!”

This day; this house; this family of mine is full of

Noise

Chaos

Mess

Hair-raising stunts

And if I just get out of my own way, it is full of more refreshment and rest than I could ever dare to hope.

Stop

Home Sweet…Home? And More Series Fun…

Wow, has it really been a month since I’ve posted??

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your patience with me and sticking around while I’ve been so quiet!

Comfy Pregnancy SeriesWe arrived safe and sound in the States and promptly hit the ground running. We’ve not stopped traveling in some form or fashion in the 3.5 weeks we’ve been here! We just finished up a great time with my family taking our kiddos to Disneyland for the first time (you can bet there will be posts/pics about that coming up)! And now, we are in one place for a couple of weeks before we have to travel again, so hopefully – Lord willing – things will get a little more back to normal around here!

Starting today! 🙂

I’m delighted that the second post of the Comfy Pregnancy Series is up at The Better Mom today! Come on over and join us as we chat about how to get the comfiest sleep possible in pregnancy! Be sure to share your tried and true tips in the comments!

If you’ve just joined us from The Better Mom, I want to extend a warm, fresh-on-American-soil-from-Ireland welcome to you! Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to make yourself at home and have a look around! The kettle’s always on, even on this side of the pond. 😉

Clarity in the Night

Photo by Deibel Photography

Photo by Deibel Photography

They come far too few and  far between. Moments of stark and complete clarity.

Moments when the mist thins and the things that seemed so crystal clear before, you now realize were smudged at best…completely distorted at worst.

I had one such moment recently while caring for our son through a bout of croup. I’m talking about it over at Pieces of Amy today. I’d love to have you join me there, and share your own moments of clarity!

If you’ve clicked over here from Pieces of Amy, I want to extend to you a warm Céad Míle Fáilte (A Hundred-thousand Welcomes)! I hope you’ll make yourself at home and stay awhile!

The Deep Breath Before the Plunge

I feel like I’ve been very quiet around here for awhile.

Oh, sure, there have been things going on. We had our Magic of a Childhood Christmas Series, and some fun Irish giveaways. And I’ve had some posts at The Better Mom and Intentional by Grace. But I feel like its been a long time since I’ve really…written.

You might not know it, but we are preparing for an extended time in the States. We leave in just over 3 weeks for several months in America.

I’ve put off really thinking about/preparing for this time away because, quite frankly, it stressed (stresses) me out. Don’t get me wrong, there are loads of things I’m really looking forward to doing/seeing while we are there. But there’s a lot to do to get ready to be gone from “home” for so long…

I say “home” because when you’ve lived away from your place-of-birth-home for as long as we have, you sort feel as though you have many homes. You have the home of your childhood. The place where the foundation was laid for you to become you.

You have the other places you’ve lived before; invested time, love, energy; the places your children were born. Our children share different birth places than us parentals, so their “first home” is different.

Gandalf and PippinThen you have the home where you currently live. The place where you can let your hair down; relax; the place where your own bed resides.

Anyway.

I keep thinking of the scene from the film, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Pippin and Gandalf are in Gondor preparing for the final battle to begin. The stand on a balcony overlooking a darkened city.

“It’s so quiet.” Pippin notes.

“‘Tis the deep breath before the plunge.” Gandalf replies, eyes fixed on the horizon.

I feel like I’m in the midst of our own deep breath. Granted, this little jaunt across the sea we are preparing for is nowhere near the apocalyptic battle Gandalf and Pippin faced.

It is, however, something quite a bit bigger than ourselves. Something that must be done… cannot be avoided…something we know will have highs and lows. Something we both can’t wait to do…and wish we could do and simultaneously stay here.

So, I thank you now for your patience and understanding in the coming weeks. Usually when I am stressed or worried or super excited (which I am all those things and more) writing is one of the biggest outlets for me. Its during those times when some of my best work pours forth from my heart.

However, the fact that the words are not there – that there is a wall preventing the story and heart from flowing forth – is a signal that perhaps the stress is more than I am aware. It tells me I must tread carefully.

So my priorities in these coming weeks will be hugging my kids, drinking tea with friends, going for walks, and concentrated time in the Word with my God. Those are the things that will anchor me in this time of change, upheaval, adventure. I look forward to when the words pour forth again…for I feel writing is a part of who I am.

In the mean time I’ll hold my breath, preparing for the plunge to the waters of adventure and change. Are you along for the ride?

Stockings Filled With Love {Magic of a Childhood Christmas Series} And LINK-UP!

Magic of Christmas

I am over the moon to have my good online friend, Amanda Williams, from Life. Edited. (she just happens to be hosting a rockin’ giveaway right now, btw!) share our final Magic of a Childhood Christmas series post! I found Amanda’s blog through a mutual in-real-life friend and was immediately hooked. Her poetic, lyrical, honest writing grips the heart and buoys the soul. I’m honored to have her share her memories with you today. After you read her beautiful post and leave some comment love, be sure to link up your own Christmas memory post! Let’s shine the light of Christmas out in the darkness.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Williams

Photo courtesy of Amanda Williams

When I think of Christmas morning as a child, I picture the living room of our small brick house in Mobile, Alabama. We only lived there three years – a fraction of the time spent in other homes, in other towns – but for some reason it is this room I picture. That worn carpet. Those windows. That tree. Those Christmas mornings.

We always did the Santa thing growing up. Even years after the cat was out of the bag, we woke to the surprise of unwrapped gifts displayed around the tree and stockings filled with goodies. The stockings, they are one of my favorite things about Christmas.

Sure, the one big gift that Santa brought was always a hit. But as I grew up, and even then as a child, the stockings held the most Christmas magic. They were filled with as much love and thought as candy and presents, tiny items carefully chosen by the one who knew us best. She knew what we loved and what we needed, what little things would make us smile wide. Even everyday things held more meaning in a Christmas stocking. Oranges, candies and wool socks; they were all magic.

We moved out of that small brick house in Mobile to another brick house further north. I graduated high school and college and then settled down in Tennessee. And through all the changes that came with all the years – changes of heart and circumstance and location – I’ve always had a stocking hanging somewhere. Each Christmas Eve, without fail, it has been filled to the top with precious and ordinary things. Filled with love spilling over from my mother.

Some years I got to help, Mom and I choosing who got which candy, which socks, which trinket and which prize. Clementine oranges in first, then the chocolates, then the lighter things arranged just so. Candy canes hang over the top; two if we had extra. Some years we had more family than stockings; those years we just used socks. Everyone was included, without exception. No one would be left out. This was Christmas, after all, and Christmas is for everyone, every single one.

I have a house now of my own, not made of brick but wood. I have a husband and three children and a mantle with stockings for each one. Every year as we hang them up I remember all the years before. Those are some of my most sacred memories, watching my mom pour her heart into those Christmas stockings. And though it may seem silly to some, I pray one day my kids can say the same.

Amanda WilliamsAmanda Williams is wife to David and stay-at-home mama to 3-year-old twin boys and a spunky 5-year-old girl. Tennessean by birth, Nashvillian by choice, Amanda uses her free time to stare at the wall, inhale coffee and chocolate, snap photos and play with words. Amanda laughs at herself – a lot – and she believes honest words can unearth beauty and truth from chaos and doubt. She writes about motherhood, faith and writing at Life. Edited. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Now it’s your turn! Click the link below and you’ll be taken to the form to link up your own Christmas memory post! Be sure to check out the other memories and share the love! Let’s spread the Christmas Magic, shall we?