Monday, July 27, 2015

Little is Much with the Lord

I am a professional. I'm blessed not to have "just a job", but a career...with a ladder to climb, potential ahead of me, and tangible satisfaction at the end of my work days and projects.

I find my work stimulating, challenging, and occasionally fulfilling.

My husband supports and encourages me and my family has always respected what I do and the future in front of me. 

But I was completely derailed when my daughter was born. 
Not by my job, but by my heart.

My maternity leave as a young wife and new momma was the most blessedly peaceful months of our marriage or my life to that point. My husband still finds himself commenting on how utterly content I was in those months--the house was clean, meals were cooks, and I was happy.

I was also the carrier of all our medical insurance and bringing in more than an equal share of the bills and mortgage payments while my husband was starting out in a new field and going to school. My bubble was burst at 6 weeks postpartum when I finally faced the fact that I simply could not stay home and we had to find daycare before I returned to work in 2 weeks. (God brought us to the door of an angel among us on Earth, who was my working-momma rock for 8 years of childcare, but that's another story.)

Every day for weeks I would drop my precious, chubby, little blue-eyed baby girl with her caretaker, drive around the corner, and bawl my eyes out for 10 minutes before I could continue to work. It became such a drain on me that my dear husband (who had to be feeling the weight of a thousand elephants at this point) completely re-arranged his morning schedule to take our daughter so I didn't have to face the physical parting.

Eventually we worked into a routine and life marched on. I marched on. My face was clear, I laughed at work and continued to have successes and challenges...but my heart felt like a battleground. Constantly warring between being a mother or a professional. Constantly worried I wasn't spending enough time with my baby. Forever tense for that moment when something was needed at the office and I couldn't be late to daycare, or sick to my stomach if the baby was sick and I wanted to be off with her but I had work piling up on my desk. Resenting my husband because he didn't seem to suffer nearly the same conflict that I felt. I was surrounded by good things, weighed down with blessings, but desperately off balance. I kept trying to convince myself of the old saying, quality time together makes up for lack of quantity, but it just never stuck and I felt like a failure on every front.

"Having it all" felt like the most horrible lie ever.
I prayed desperately for God to open a door for me to stay home full time.
That's where my heart was.
But He didn't do that, and the pressures seemed to grow when our boys came along.

I struggled to be everywhere and everything all the time.

It finally brought me to my knees one Sunday morning when we starting singing "Little is much, when God is in it. Labor not for wealth or fame. There's a crown and you can win it, if you'll go in Jesus name."

Tears came. I had such a little bit. A little bit of time. A little bit of energy. A little bit of experience and knowledge...but God promises us that our little bit will be enough if we're working for and with Him. Not working for our family. Not laboring with our husbands. Not working to better our career or bring home the bacon or find fulfillment...we are to be working for Jesus. And whatever we have to give to that work, He will make it enough.

Poor, worn down, wrung out our own strength it is never enough. Whether we have 3-4 hours a day, or 12-15 hours a day with our family, it is NEVER enough. Staying home full-time isn't a panacea to the stress, it's just a costume change. Same stage, same play. A mother is a mother and loves with a mother's heart.

I had started to idolize staying home and homeschooling, but I realized that God had put me right where He wanted me right now--in a working momma's shoes. He wanted me walking that path, my path, whole-heartedly. I needed to be following hard after Him, rather than my ideas of the "perfect" home or family.

It was a hard 180 for me to let go of everything I thought I should be and humbly pray about what God wanted from me.

But busy momma, God gave me direction, and when I followed it, He gave me peace. What a blessing! I don't know why this path is the one He wants me on right now, but I have sweet assurance that it is and the promise that He will be right there helping me along. He will work it all out in the end.

I still pray He might open different doors for us, but now I pray with humility rather than desperation.

And there's more room for grace and gratitude in my heart with so much bitterness cleared away.

"Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." Psalms 55:22 KJV

Jamie Oliver

The Lowe Farm

Smithfield, Virginia
Jamie is a busy Christian wife and
momma of 3 special blessings.
Outside of their full-time jobs, you'll
find Jamie and her husband chasing
chickens, shearing sheep, and teaching their crew all the life lessons you won't learn in school.
She blogs to remind herself, and encourage others, to be intentional about your family’s time.
To choose what’s best, not just what’s good.
To redeem the everyday moments with simple pleasures and old-fashion family values.

To try harder, because you can do it! {Yes, from sewing skirts to throwing sheep–you can do it!}

You can following their farming, praying, growing adventure at
Walking in High Cotton.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Simple Tools for Praying More/With Your Children as a Busy Working Mom!!

It's one of those things we all know we should do.

We all know that praying scripture for our children is one of the most powerful things we can do as a parent.

But let's face it, life is busy and besides, the Bible is a big book!

Where do we start?

I've learned that praying scripture is as simple as having a few tools.
Having scripture on hand in the form of a bookmark, prayer calendar, or prayer cards has increased both the quality and quantity of my prayers. I hope the simple tips and resources below help you as a busy mom pray consistently for your children.

Sometimes all we need is a simple tool to pray more for our kids! Use this printable tool to pray for your children.  

1. Select a tool.

As mentioned above, choose one tool to start with, such as a prayer calendar, bookmark, or scripture cards.

2. Select a time.

This could be on the way to work, while you shower each morning, on break, or while folding laundry. Pair prayer with another daily activity and use that as a reminder to pray, every day. Consistency is key.

3. Pick a family prompt.

One fun way to pray as a family is by choosing a prayer prompt such as when the telephone rings or when someone burps. Every time it happens, stop to pray! You can even have a jar of scripture cards and when your "prompt" happens, have a child pull a card and everyone pray that scripture together. See how fun and easy it is to add more prayer to your day?
One resource I use are these prayer cards. My son worked with me to select 26 virtues and corresponding scriptures to pray and together, we created printable prayer cards for each one.
a-z_virtues to pray for your children
Praying scripture for your children: FREE set of scripture prayer card printables.
I hope you find these tips useful~ I'd love for you to visit me at my blog for more great resources and inspiration.  
Related Resources: Praying Scripture for Your Children
arabah headshotBio: Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Holy Hands that Take Care of my Babies While I am at Work

My Mom just sends me a message on FB that the boys have been swimming all day, are tired out, getting settled to watch TV (older boy) and nap (little guy). She tells me of their adventures attending the magic show at the local library and how silly my older guy was-getting up and volunteering. She sends me pictures of them playing in the rain...

My friend texts me and tells me how my "Benny" as she calls him is laughing and being silly; because when I left this morning he was crying and she wants to reassure me that everything is fine.
She tells me that she offers my older guy a grilled cheese after school and he says-"No thank you, I like my Mommy's the best". And she reminds me- YOU are still "#1 Mama" in his life. She calls me and asks me my opinion on how to handle certain issues with my kids- again- supporting my role and helping me with my insecurities at times with giving them over as I walk out the door. 
My dear friend and I have become like sisters and we love our boys. She is amazing with them and I could not be more blessed with the care that she provides for them.
At Christmastime- holding each other's babies-

Benji and sweet are they?

My son and her son are starting to actually sound alike when they speak, and they love each other like brothers so with crazy silliness, fights and a desire to always be together even when they drive each other bananas.

Then there is my "back-up and summer lady" who takes care of my older guy when he wants to play with older kiddo's and both kiddos when I need her. She is always available, ALWAYS. She loves my kiddos with crafts and swimming and welcomes my them into a home with lots of kids allowing them to become part of yet another family- which includes foster children from time to time, babies and best buddies.  

My Mom and my friends- the ladies who Mama my babies for me when I am away. They are my heart.
They teach them about Jesus, they give them baths, they make them snacks, they referee fights, teach manners and wear themselves out in a mighty holy calling of "childcare"-which is more than just those words.

Mom reading after school with the boys...

They are "child-loving, child-feeding, child-game playing, child-holding, child-boo-boo kissing, child-teaching, child-loving servants" and I could never express how much I appreciate what they do when I am at work. I can only take the five minutes of down-time until I get back to my job and write a little blog post.

My heart is in their hands and in their care. When I hear about their day- my heart leaps with joy, gratitude, anxiety at times, a little sadness or jealousy, but always lots and lots of eye-brimming tears and thanks-be-to-God feelings more than anything.

To the hands that hold my babies when they cry, that wipe their bottoms, that talk with them about that bad day at school, that make them popcorn everyday, that teach them to speak a new language, that take oodles and oodles of pictures and give lots and lots of hugs and kisses- I love you!

You have holy hands and you do holy work and I am in holy AWE that God would provide me with such amazing women. 

The "gang"...

Five Ways to Refresh Your Soul

There are times when I feel like I am running on empty.
I feel like there is no spark within and my joy cup is dried out.
I need some things to care for my soul when these times come.
I need inspiration.
I find inspiration in a lot of things- lately I have found inspiration in pictures.
I am sharing some with all of you and my thoughts on them.
I found them at which is a site for free images.
So I will be using these pictures to share
Five Ways to Refresh Your Soul:
1. Face your own barrenness: We all have places inside where we feel barren, empty, alone, dry...we try to fill these places with a lot of things or we avoid them altogether. We will find that when we face them, we will become more aware of our great need for Him, for God and we will be able to offer up our emptiness and be filled with His Spirit. Sometimes the empty times are the sweetest because we allow Him into the deeper places.

2. Look for and Embrace Beauty: When I see pictures like this- I am amazed at the brightness of the blue. The color itself makes me feel giddy. I don't take enough time to embrace simple beauties all around me, but when I do- I will find my soul come more alive. He is a master artist and has created beauty in nature and creation that can just bless us if we take the time to notice it. 

3. Put on Your Big Girl Boots: Sometimes we just need to put on our big girl boots, pants, whatever and get moving. We get stuck, we drag our feet, we procrastinate and all the while the world is waiting for us to get out on stage and show up. God has given all of us talents, gifts and treasures to share with the world.

4. Take Time to Think and Express Yourself:  When I look at this woman in this picture, I think about my need to go somewhere-alone- and be with my thoughts. I need to do this more often than I actually do. And God has given all of us the ability to express ourselves- writing, drawing, singing, dancing, running, there are many ways to express what is inside and we need to do it.

 5. Live in Freedom: We are free in Christ. We are free INDEED. We are free to run, laugh and play, to dance in the sun, to twirl in the light of His love. As women- we are His precious daughters and He delights in us. Live in Freedom.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Stay at Home Mama Walking in the Shoes of a Working Mama


I just want to say: I'm sorry.

I have spent a lot of time judging you, without knowing you or your circumstances. 

I was also jealous of you. (I know, right?)

I totally romanticized what your life must be like.
I dreamed of lunches out and meetings and paychecks and wearing real clothes and maybe even heels to work each day.

I envied your potential for friendships in the workplace and your opportunities to participate in conversations that do not revolve around PBS Sprout, or convincing a toddler to go potty.

Honesty? - I was also pretty intimidated by you.

 I know what my days are like, as a SAHM who works part time as a volunteer. Busy, doesn't even begin.

I have no idea how you can be both a mom and work, too.

I suspect you might have super powers.

I feared that I could not do what you do.
Above all that judging and envying, in my head...I could hear my mom's wise words: "Never judge someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes."
Her words made me doubt my judgments. I decided to put them to a test. I decided to join you, as an experiment.

(And part of a book project- you can find out more about that on My website,and blog A Mile in Her Shoes.)

I was hired by a friend for some temp work.
Just a peek at what I learned during that week:

1) Lunches out cost money and time. (I was so busy I didn't have time to pee, let alone languish over a business lunch. Your mileage may vary of course.)

2) Paychecks don't go as afar as anyone wishes. Especially when childcare is a factor.

3) Wearing heels all day- still hurts. (Somehow, I forgot that. It's not like I never wear them.)

4) Getting young humans out the door in the morning on a schedule is probably the reason behind so many heart attacks occurring during the morning hours.

5) Being a "Mom" doesn't stop at the workplace door. (Kids like to call mom at work. A lot.)

6) Workplace friendships often involve workplace drama. (Who needs more drama in their life? No one. Justsayin. I forgot about that.)

7) Having a "Boss" to please and perform for- is STRESSFUL. I am hard enough on myself. Having to meet someone else's expectations is a whole 'nother layer of crazy.

8) Crockpots are straight from heaven.

9) Stop lights and train crossings are straight from... well, not heaven.
Let's leave it at that. (I rushed to work in the morning and home in the evening... During that week I acquired have more rushing yards than the entire history of rushing in the NFL. Did I just use a football analogy? Why yes, yes, I did.)

10) Being a Christian Working mom is hard. It's not a sitcom everyday.

However- If I had to I could do it.
Why? Not because of super powers... but, because I'm a Mom.

We do what we have to do, don't we?

So, Dear Working Mom- Heels (and whatever shoes you work in) off to you!
You are amazing.
As are we all.
SAHM, Working, Work part time-insert your mommy type- here.

I love getting to know you.

And now that I'm less of a judgmental jerk, I hope we can be friends.

We just might be able to learn a lot from each other.

It's possible I may not be the only one envying and romanticizing someone else's life;)

I certainly thought being a SAHM would be more "picture perfect" than it actually is...;)

So, dear ones, What would you add?
  • What would you like SAHM's to know about being a working mom?
  • Are there things about being a SAHM that you may envy or romanticize?
  • Things you judge?
  • How can we better understand and support each other?
  • Let's talk. Because I truly believe we're better, together.

More about Tracey:
She believes that life is a journey meant to be shared.  Tracey has been married to her husband-Kyle for nearly 25 years. She is a Mom to three sons-one in each of the last three decades…Mike 24, Matt 20 and (yes- SURPRISE!) Noah- who’s 11.  

She dreams of: Encouraging and equipping women to live authentically and love fully, and by doing so- to make a difference in their world. (I also dream of having the whole house clean at one time… .  but that will probably never happen.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Do Something that Unless God Shows Up, You will Fail

Sitting, waiting, what's next God?
Do Something that Unless God Shows Up, You will Fail
Say what??? I don't know if you took a look at that title and had the same reaction I had when my Pastor said this on Sunday...
Can I be honest? I kind of get annoyed by radical preaching at times because I think to myself- "this does not apply to me'". I'm not going to Africa tomorrow to save orphans, I can't sell all of my stuff and just live in a shack and see what God does, that is not my calling. I am a Working Mom, I have bills, I am not very adventurous and I like control. COME ON GOD- are you really talking to me?

Taking risks is not my thing- nope, nada, zip- want NOTHING to do with it.

I like comfort, predictability and I want my "t's" crossed and all my "i's" dotted before I make ANY big decisions.

What is that phrase- "if you always do, what you've always done, then you'll always get what you've always gotten..."
I don't like that phrase EITHER. But it chirps into my mind every single time I start to feel STUCK.

You know that feeling- like things are comfortable, but there is no growth, nothing deep inside that is blooming. I know that we are called to grow in our faith, but I think that sometimes I'd rather spend time trying not to grow because it feels safe. Such a lie. As I work on staying safe, noticed I said- "work" (because it takes effort, it I exhausting), I feel more anxious, I feel restless and needy, I feel unsettled...

So I have to ask myself- what needs to change? And then I hear my Pastor say- think of something-that UNLESS God shows up, you will fail (be embarrassed, lose, etc...) and then do it.

I met with a dear friend that same night who asked me a hard question about a big decision I have been pondering-
"What is motivating you to hold back Liz? Is it fear or faith?"
My answer: TOTALLY FEAR.

Taking a step of faith is really hard but I need to do it if I want to grow. I have learned that this year more than any other year of my life. I have been doing scary things and have been surviving and then surprisingly thriving (yes-I must have assumed doom and gloom, right? of COURSE I am thriving because God is SO awesome when we will just do what He asks of us) because of my steps of obedience. 

First it was organizing an event at my new church, then another event, then another, (I survived one, so I kept going! ha!), then it was starting a Bible Study, then it was expanding this blog.

And I will tell you as a seriously wimpy Jesus-girl at times-
God. Showed.Up. Every. Single.Time.

Like a Daddy giving his little girl a push towards jumping off that diving board, he got me moving and then...
 I jumped and felt the rush of the water all around me, came up for air and wanted MORE!

However, with each new step- the "fear factor" is still there and my "safety nets" become smaller and less sturdy.

I don't believe God calls us to total abandonment of all sense...or does he? In some seasons, in some situations, in some choices?

And I know what your next question is because it was mine...
What if I fail?
What if God does not show up? 

All I can say is this- failure is better than STUCK and God ALWAYS shows up, even if it is in helping you get back up stronger and more courageous-perhaps because He has something even bigger in store and is waiting for you to show Him your willingness (like the high dive!). 

I don't know where you are at sweet friends...

Go for it girl!
Maybe, like me, there are some dreams or adventures God has been stirring in your souls that maybe scare you half to death but at the same time make your heart pound for the first time in a long time?

I want to encourage you to ask God-

" this a time for total abandonment?" And then find that one thing that unless God shows up, you may indeed face failure...and do it."  And then tell me about it!!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Freedom of Acknowledging our Messes (guest blog- Becky Yurisich)


I swear, this is the best possible word to describe myself.

If I look at my life at any moment, at least one aspect of it is a mess.

My house is a mess...

My car is a mess...

Our schedule is a mess...

...and even sometimes my marriage is a mess. 

In our house, we love hard, we play hard, we are messy.

Parenting, marriage, and friendships aren’t wrapped up in packages with shiny bows.

We’re imperfect people, and with imperfection comes mess. And friends, that’s okay.

One of the mistakes I often make is pretending that I’m not messy.

I’m kind of a disaster, and most of the time, I’m doing everything I can to keep from self-destructing.
Something I have learned that is really important because it impacts those we love is this:
When we pretend to be perfect, we make other people feel like they have to be perfect

What  we end up with is... a string of shallow relationships that are built on what we allow others to see in us, instead of who we truly are. This is sad, friends. We need to be authentic and transparent. I can’t stress it enough!

We have this amazing opportunity to free ourselves and others from the idea of perfection by admitting that we aren’t perfect.

By stating our struggles, sharing our mistakes, and being there for others when they confess their imperfections to us, we can build real, authentic communities. 
Communities can’t be built on images. They have to be built on loving people just the way they are.
The real, messy, dirty stuff that comes along with you is the same junk your friend carries with her! Share this burden, so neither of you have to do life alone!
Community-the real kind-allows for the sharing of grief, hurt, joy, anger-- all of it.

Without fear of judgement...

Without fear of being disowned...

With complete confidence that whatever is said will be kept in the community...

Can we do that, friends? Can we share our mess with others?

Man, I hope so.

Because pretending is exhausting.

 Life is messy and chaotic, but, it is beautiful, too.  

Can’t we look back at some of the moments when we thought we were drowning and see how that difficult time brought beauty?

How that season of garbage made our marriage closer.

How the time the pantry was empty gave us hearts for the poor.

How the months we were floundering as parents made our child see that we would not let them fall away.

Friends, having community means that through all of those things:

We have someone to lean on...

We have someone to tell you there is beauty at the end...

We might even have someone who has already been there, and can help us navigate the muddy waters of our problems...

There is so much freedom to be found in acknowledging our messes.

Let’s do it for ourselves… and for each other. 

My Photo 
"I'm a full-time mom and a sometimes teacher who loves Jesus, her husband, and a great cup of coffee. Oh, and Moscato. For the days when coffee isn't quite strong enough."

Click below to check out Becky's amazing blog:

More about Becky:

I’m Becky—Rebecca, really, but nobody actually calls me that. Not even when I’m in trouble. First, and most completely, I’m a follower of Jesus. I wish I were perfect in this walk, but, maybe like some of you, I’m simply doing as best I can, relying on His perfection to fill in the cracks. And there are lots of cracks.
Together with the tall, adorable soldier I married over a decade ago, I have three children: Mak, P, and G, and one miniature dachshund named Izzy. Our life together is located somewhere between Complete Chaos and Slightly Insane. We’re a messy bunch; we do loud and crazy, and we laugh a lot. My beautiful, precious tribe is worth their weight in dark chocolate brownies.
I’m an unapologetic fan of The University of North Carolina Tar Heels (where I earned a degree in elementary education), Peyton Manning, and chocolate chip cookies. Not always in that order, but with equal amounts of love and dedication.

Last, I am a Teller of Stories. My story mostly. I think our stories are important, not only because they shape who we are, but because they can be used to help and encourage others. Stories bring people together. Stories give us a new perspective. It’s my wish that you find that in this little corner.
Once again- You HAVE to check out Becky's blog: Becky Yurisich

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Perspective and Peace for the Working Mother

These are 5 Things Time Has Taught Me:

1.) TAKE A DEEP BREATH. This one skill is 90% of parenting.
The hard times and the bad decisions- most of them- are not life threatening.                                                                   
Many of the beautiful, mundane, glorious, nuanced, obvious things of life should be savored by breathing them in. In the good and in the bad, take a deep breath.

2.) COUNT THE BLESSINGS. When a precious friend woke up Easter morning to discover her three year old had died in the night for no apparent reason,  I was at a loss for words. The worst possible thing was-Now. Here. Today. She began, instinctively, to count her gifts. The birds outside the window. A beautiful sunrise. A gift from a good friend.
Whether you are in the worst possible place and need to get through, or the best possible place and need to remember, count your blessings.
It will change who you are in the very best of ways.

3.) GET OVER IT. Life is not fair. Kids will misbehave. Spouses will be certain they know every single thing about every single thing. Money will vanish into thin air. Piles of clutter will mount.
But through it all God is good and forgiveness is a balm to a wounded soul.

I see so many people stuck in the cemented conviction of the lack of willingness to just Let. It. Go. You will always be better for forgiving. Always.

4.) LEARN A NEW WAY. A motivational tape I listened to decades ago said, “You have, right now, exactly what you want.” I didn’t really get it. Since then I have figured out it is another way of saying what matters gets done, what doesn’t gets excuses.
Maintaining a death grip on the way you have always done things might not kill you physically, but I have seen time and time again relationships suffocate, dreams wither, and beliefs shrivel unnecessarily when there are solutions and change waiting.

All you need to do is bring willingness to the table to collaborate with a better way.
5.) SURROUND YOURSELF. With people who are better than you at some things; who believe in you emphatically; who laugh at themselves and help you to laugh at you; who want–desperately–to do life with Jesus, family and the world well; WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN PERFECTION, except at the Cross.

Start today to sow seeds of growth, connection and triumph. Surround yourself with people who are doing the very same thing.

God is good. Motherhood is good. Life is good.

More about Robin: 
Check out this amazing ministry-Brighten a Corner
I am still not sure if it was God’s voice or indigestion.

Nearly 13 years ago I went to a Women’s Ministry conference, had some pizza for lunch, and thought God was telling me to start a ministry. So I did...
All these years later Brighten A Corner, which is a mini Extreme Home Makeover, is still around doing our thing. We have completed dozens of projects, used hundreds of volunteers and have a total value of service approaching $2,000,000.

God continues to takes my breath away.

I laugh, fully aware of the fact that I am wholly unequipped to do what I do.
The only thing that I have going for me is tremendous faith, mixed with (now) years of experience, and the ability to convince an incredible team of people to join in.
Through it all, the madness of ministry, the mundaneness of motherhood and challenging family issues- including (but not limited to)-a child with special needs, a son who went to war on the other side of the world, a mother in law with dementia, a father in law with Alzheimer’s, an exhaustingly unstable income and a feisty personality...I have learned several things to share with you about motherhood and I hope that they have given you perspective and peace as a Working Mom.

Robin is the wife of a manufactured home selling, airplane part inventing man who keeps her in stitches and mom to three precious kids who keep her on her knees.
She loves planning ministry projects other people think are crazy and teaching weekly Bible Study at a local restaurant that serves the world’s best pastrami sandwiches. In her spare time you will often find her volunteering at her kids’ school, watching 80’s TV on DVD, and unsuccessfully trying to get organized. In real life, she is mostly a mom, a terrible house keeper, mediocre home-schooler AND a fabulous cheer leader.
You can find Robin blogging at: Robin's Corner.