A Life for His glory

As moms, each of our children are precious to us, beyond comprehension. But there is a special place in many of our hearts, a place where we keep the memory of those babies we don’t have on earth with us. While I know loss has not touched every mama, it has touched many. Whether once or more, a shared or private grief, the fact that the life was here and given is a blessing. It is a sorrow and heartbreak when it quietly slips away. When you hold a little life in your womb or your arms and that life you love is now gone, a part of your heart breaks and will never be the same again.

But, what do you do with that brokenness? While it makes us sad, we cannot allow it to become bitter; while it forever changes your perspective, let that changed perspective be beneficial to you and those around you. So many who suffer an early pregnancy loss grieve in silence, and this makes me sad. We need our families, our friends to not just rejoice with us in the life but to grieve alongside us in the loss. We can encourage each, help heal hearts and remember those short lives, calling them by name, remembering their lives and acknowledging their live was precious and a gift.

“If we choose to let the moments make us and not break us,

motherhood leaves an imprint of beauty, even when brokenness formed us.”

As we take the hearts that have been broken, what is the imprint left in our lives. Will we allow it be used and form us for God’s glory and His use? Will we let Him break us and mold us to be more Christ-like”? Is it possible that little life was designed and given to shape our perspective and allow our lives here to reflect His glory more?

“But without walking through the long, deep places of release,

our view from up high would never be the same.”

As I think of my own “glory babies”, those little ones gone before we were ready, I often wonder “why”…. Why would God give their lives to us, and then “take them away”. I have come to realize it must be for His glory, He is glorified in their short lives and I must see their lives as for His glory and then live in such a way that reflects that.

My life will never be the same since having their lives in mine, but that is a good thing. Their little lives have shaped mine into who I am, still an imperfect wife and mama but one with a clearer sense of mission and perspective, a longing for heaven and a greater desire to be the mother I need to be for my children here. Through their lives, my life has gained much and I will be eternally thankful for each one and the impact they have on my mothering.

And not just those little ones, my 6 precious ones here are faithful to remind me often of the treasure they each are, how much I need Christ daily to be able to mother them well and give me reason to be intentional, purposeful and humble each and every day. 

And so today, I remember with each of my mama friends, the countless un-named little ones and the ones I do know….. Gedaliah, Aderyn, Tristan, Violet, Whitney, Jonathan, Peter, Noah ….. They are not forgotten and each are precious in His sight.

 

Quotes in burgandy above are from the book {Why} Motherhood Matters by September McCarthy, a read I highly recommend to any mom

More on my thoughts on miscarriage…..

 

 

Lifestyle Learning

_Think Outside the Classroom_

It’s a little book with a pretty aqua and cream cover. A short read, only 56 pages long. But, as you read it, prepare to be encouraged, strengthened and renewed in your homeschooling vision and direction. Think cover 1

I don’t know that I read anything new to my brain personally, {however, if you follow a strict “school classroom at home” format, you may be greatly challenged by some new concepts!} but I was so encouraged as I read through the book one evening because as Kelly shared her family’s approach to their home-school, I found myself agreeing. Those truths I knew in my brain and heart Kelly was able to articulate in writing. Those dreams and goals I have for my children, those ‘end results’ I desire to have in our own home-school, Kelly and her family were using and achieving. 

Kelly Crawford is a lady I greatly admire and consider one who is worthy of offering advice, truth and encouragement into my life. Though I have never met her in person, her blog posts and the life she lives has shown me that she is a mama ahead of me on a similar journey, a mama of many children, a mama who has “graduated” several of them and so I know the words she speaks come from not only Godly wisdom but practical life experiences too.  Her other book “When Motherhood Feels Too Hard” is one I keep near and have read through often over the last few years.

A Lifestyle of Learning(1)

I would encourage any homeschooling mama to pick up a copy of this book and read it through. The concept of “Lifestyle of Learning” is so key, I believe, to a quality education. That concept that we are teaching our children to not just recite facts and figures back to us but rather teaching them how to learn, how to find answers to their questions, how to think and how to articulate clearly their own thoughts. Kelly includes in this book not only a concept and style of learning, but practical ways to implement this in your own home.

 

“With life-learning, there is no start of finish, no taking off, no being behind….. just a constant readiness to learn something else.” ~ Kelly Crawford

 

This short phrase sums up so well this book “Think Outside the Classroom”, a desire to teach our children to learn, to view each day and each moment as an opportunity to learn and grow. A lifestyle, that once mastered in the childhood years will carry on throughout their lives, well preparing them for their lives ahead.

highest goal -3
For this print and other encouraging quotes and verse on learning, visit our shop page!

 

 

{I did receive a copy of this book to read and review, however all thoughts and the review above are my own!}

{Affiliate links used, thanks for your support!}

 

Save

Save

Who is your ‘everyone’?

everyone1

 

As I read this verse a couple weeks ago, I was struck by the words in these few sentences. “Christ in you, the hope of glory” is the overarching theme, this is bottom line, Christ is in us and we have the hope of heaven and glory with Him.

And then I was struck by the “everyone” that is repeated 3 times….. “warning everyone & teaching everyone” – this pretty much sums up the life of a homeschooling mama 😉 Most days if I am not actually teaching the kids something at any given moment, it seems that I am disciplining, training or reminding of rules or manners…. and yep, “everyone”, all 6 kids, going from one to the next all. day. long. From keeping the bigger boys on track to complete tasks, school and chores, to spending time teaching the kids and making progress there, to training them in words, actions and attitudes. It never ends.

And yet, keep reading….. what’s the goal dear mama? “to present everyone mature in Christ”. Honestly, this is my bottom line goal with my kids. Yes, schooling and learning is important. It is good that they know to flush the toilet and wash their hands, they need to be motivated to complete tasks and take pride in their work. But at the end of the day it’s growing these little souls into strong, deeply rooted and mature in Christ and that their hearts and souls belong to Him.

It seems to be an overwhelming task. But I love how the verses close out….. it’s with HIS energy that HE powerfully works in me. Yes, we toil and yes, we struggle but He gives us the strength to complete the task He has set before us. In His energy and His power He chooses to work through our lives to reach their little lives.

As I read this and saw my children in “my everyone”, they are my focus and task in this season of my life, but perhaps you are in a different season. Maybe your “everyone” is different from mine. It doesn’t change the fact that God desires for His energy and His power to work within you, to reach those in your sphere for Him, to show His glory and truth to those around us.

Who is your everyone? How can you be encouraged today by these words?

Perspective {10 years after a miscarriage}

Perspective

Perspective…… so much of what we see depends on the perspective we have. We may not see the big picture of all that is happening around since. “You cannot see the forest for the trees in the way” or “Hindsight is 20/20”, pithy little sayings reminding us that our view of life is limited.

 

I remember my second pregnancy quite well. It lasted just 10 weeks. Exactly 10 years ago today. And when it ended in a miscarriage, one Tuesday afternoon in the doctors office there were many different emotions playing through my brain and body that day. Driving home that day with my 10 month old firstborn in his carseat and a small specimen container holding the remains of our baby, I was sad and yet at peace, the miscarriage happened in the best possible scenario; my husband was with us, able to drive me to the doctors office, everything happened quickly and completely with no complications. We were given the option of keeping the baby and we able to bury him in a special spot. This provided good closure and completeness to his short life. As we drove home, we talked about the fact we both were both fairly sure the baby would have been a boy and choose to treat him as such. I asked if we could name him, without realizing it at the time, this was a big part of the healing process and allows us to treat this child as that…. one of our children. All of our kids know who he is and that they have a brother in heaven. 

As we talked about it, a song came on the radio. It was a popular one at the time, “Great is our God” by Chris Tomlin. As we listened to the song play, Kieran asked if we could find a name that meant “great is our God”. Once home I started searching through names, I found one, Gedaliah, that meant “God is great” and so that was his name. 

While we mourned the loss of this baby, God in His grace gave us another just a short time later and we welcomed our second-born 11 months later. When the kids ask about Gedaliah and how old he would be, it’s hard to comprehend that had he lived we wouldn’t have our Colm. God knew who we needed and He is working His good for His glory in our lives and each of our children.MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Gedaliah’s short life has given me a great appreciation for the sanctity of life. Seeing his small body, just forming, yet with head, arms, legs, belly and even the start of fingers and toes able to be seen, I was given a glimpse of the hand of God as it forms each little person. And it has given me an empathy I can share with other moms who experience a miscarriage, it’s a hard process to go through, yet I am thankful for the growth and strength that comes from it.

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:12-16 ESV)

And perspective; Gedaliah’s life gives my life perspective….. it’s a reminder that heaven is real and I can look forward to the day when we are able to see him again….. it’s a reminder that life is precious, each and every life….. it is a reminder that our God is great and greatly to be praised, that He holds each detail of our lives in His hands….. that little life accomplished much in my life and I am thankful today to have experienced it and be able to share him with others.

great is our God

This photo above was taken from near the spot where we buried Gedaliah, a peaceful piece of ground with a pretty view as a reminder to us of the greatness of our God.

Have you experienced a miscarriage? Tell me about your little one and what you learned through their life in the comments below.

 

thoughts for today

Need some encouragement to make it through the rest of the week? I have been thoroughly enjoying the book,  “Teaching from Rest” by Sarah Mackenzie. It has given me some great ‘food for thought’ and practical ideas on making the most of my days.

TFR-do less 1

“What you must do, however, is find a way to relish this ordinary Wednesday. Do whatever you need to do to behold the face of God in your children and to delight in them.
There is always more to do. There are always more subjects to cover, more lessons to get to. You can work to the point of exhaustion and still feel lacking. Or you can take this day, today, this gift of the present, and you can live it. You can seek first the Kingdom of God here on earth and by doing so, model the best kind of living to your kids.” (SM, TFR pg 60)

In light of the above thoughts, how can you make today a good day? Or better yet, go do it and come back and tell us how your day went

 

 

Taking Care of Me

Self 6

I lay in bed this morning, it was still early, my body woke me up on autopilot since our normal rising time is around 5 am. But today is Saturday and my mind starts rolling through my ‘to-do’ list and what I ought to get up and start doing, but instead I force myself to slow down, turn down the thoughts and go back to sleep. Am I being a ‘lazy’ wife by not following my husband out of bed and get moving on our day? NO! Not today – there is a place where I do need to get up and get going – but today, knowing the day, knowing our schedule, I knew taking care of me and giving myself an extra couple hours of sleep was the best thing I could do for my husband {and children}. Because I love him, I am choosing to take care of me so I can better serve and care for him.

>> Continue reading this post over on the 31 Days to a Better Marriage series…….

31Days
And don’t miss the mega fun giveaway happening over at 31 Days to a Better Marriage….. lots of fun stuff, including items from my shop!
If you are interested in this print you can find it in our shop, click the photo!
In my post I reference Fit2B, they are currently having a sale till October 15, 2015, check it out here!
It’s a rare and awesome one 😉12108847_10153135373787555_4639973094349491696_n

 

He loves to love us…..

posted in: gracewords, thoughts | 1

rainbow 3

I was reminded again this week how much God loves to love us. It was my youngest daughter’s 4th birthday. As the weather is approaching fall now the weather forecast was for cloudy skies and a chance for rain most of the day. Somehow the topic came up and I recall casually mentioning we had a good chance for rain that day – I was probably encouraging them to go play outside for awhile since we did start the day with a little sunshine 😉sunrise

A little while later, mid morning, little A came up to me and told me “I just prayed and asked God to send a rainbow today”. I told her that was great and we’d have to watch and see what happened with the day. And then it totally left my mind as I went about the school day, grocery shopping, making a birthday cake and wrapping a few presents.Ailish

That evening as things settled down after we had “birthday time”, I gave the girls a bath. As we were cleaning up and combing hair my older A remarked about the rain falling outside and the cool clouds she could see out the back door. There was a light but steady rain falling and as the sun was setting that area of the sky looked really yellow and red. I suddenly remembered the rainbow and started looking. As I looked out the front door, this is what I saw! I quickly hollered for little A to come and see. As I held her and we looked at the rainbow, she was so excited “God sent me a rainbow for my birthday!”, how could I not agree! We snap some pictures quickly as the sun continued to set and the colors faded.rainbow1

As I continued to think on this, I realized how excited I was as a mom that my little girl got a seemingly small and insignificant prayer answered perfectly. And I realized that just as I love to give my children things they ask for, the little things that mean so much to them, God does as well. What joy it brings to Him to answer those little requests and show what a big God we serve!

As you think….. {link to giveaway too!}

click photo to purchase this print!
heart and mouth

 

What a simple statement this is…. “Her mouth speaks from that which fills her heart”….. but as you think through and process those words and the implications behind them; oh what conviction it brings and yet encouragement as well. As a mama to little ones, many little ones or busy and challenging ones, we know firsthand this is a true statement. We may not like it some days; those days when exhaustion is all we can “speak”, when the tired and worn is what comes out, when the frustrations with life around us is so evident in our words and actions. We long to be that mama, with sweet and encouraging words ready for the right moment, with quiet and peaceful countenance, the joyful heart and smile but I know, and I suspect I am not alone here, that this is hard, this is an ever-challenging aspect of motherhood. However, the more we can immerse ourselves in God’s Word and allow Him to direct our thoughts, our hearts, our minds; the more this will show in our words and actions……

>>>>> {read the rest of this post over on In All You Do where I am guest posting as a part of the 30 Days in the Bible series……}

 

And there is a great giveaway, including some items from my shop here in THIS GIVEAWAY….be sure and go enter HERE! (it’s toward the bottom of the post!)
There are also several coupons codes active currently…..please use and pass along the information to your friends!
  • 10% off any order ($5 min) – code: 30daysbible
  • free 4×6 print with magnetic sleeve ($15 min) – code: free4x6
  • always free shipping on orders over $25 after discounts – will automatically apply
  • All coupons can be combined & coupons expires 7/31/15
And don’t miss the rest of the posts from this series by clicking the image below!

 

Where the ideal and reality meet

I know we have all done it, taking a few minutes of quiet over a weekend where we have planned out our menu and routine for the week ahead. It all seems so doable. So reasonable. Enough space to breathe and yet be productive. Accomplishing school and exercise goals. Making and serving simple and healthy meals. It gives a peace and satisfaction to know the week ahead is gonna be good.

And then, life happens. It’s a rare day when life even glances at my plans. A change of plans for dad’s work day, getting caught up in some un-planned yet necessary re-organization, a bright sunny and beautiful day enticing the kids to play happily outside…..

{and that was as far my blog post draft got before life happened….now 3 weeks later, I will attempt to finish my thoughts! Read to the end, some coupon and giveaway info there!}

There are many moments through a day that little thoughts cross my brain, a word of encouragement I want to share with a new mama, a quick text to a friend to check on her kids that have been sick, an idea for a blog post, something I’d like to do with the kids in our school time…..the list could go on. Somehow I often feel stuck in the “everyday” – going from one thing to another and as I feed, clothe, nurture and disciple the kids, take care of the house and husband – it almost feels like I spend all day just getting things back to “ground zero” ready for the next day of the everyday.

And then I realize the truth of these two quotes…..

This job
This job
Work well
Work well

 

…..both of which hang in poster size frames on my living room wall – and I remember I am doing what I need to be doing. In these days of busy little ones and young elementary school age kids, this is what my days are designed to be. Doing the next thing. Showing my kids love, kindness and joy in the everyday tasks. Being faithful with my little ones and my home because this is what I am called to be.

Reminding mamas of this truth is one of the reasons I so enjoy making and using for myself the photos in my shop……I know I need reminded often of these truths and when they can catch my eye on refrigerator door or in a frame on my wall, it moves again to the front of my brain and heart these truths that can so impact my thinking. (Want another good read, I really loved this blog post here….worth the read!)

 

So, sweet friend, which of these prints – or the others here – do you need hanging in your home? Ready to remind you of your value and importance in your mothering.

I currently have several coupon codes available for you to use….please use them and let me bless you in these little reminders and feel free to share with friends as well!

  • 10% off any order ($5 min) – code: 30daysbible
  • free 4×6 print with magnetic sleeve ($15 min) – code: free4x6
  • always free shipping on orders over $25 after discounts – will automatically apply
  • All coupons can be combined & coupons expires 7/31/15

 

>>> If you will take a minute and browse my shop and tell me which print you love the most for your current season of life and leave the name of it in the comments below – I will pick randomly one or more of you and slip it in the mail to you……feedback on what prints and quotes and photos are meaningful to others helps me continue to grow and build the shop effectively!

Also, I am participating in a friends blog series “30 Days in the Bible” – click the photo below for a wonderful giveaway full of many fun resources, including some items from my shop! You can also read all the posts to date in the series from there, mine is coming next week sometime, so keep an eye out for it!

Great ideas and a great giveaway too!

A motherhood life…..

posted in: gracewords, Sales & giveaways, thoughts | 0

 

Life is short
Life is short

This is one of my favorite quotes…it just sums up so well the “life of motherhood” – Mothering isn’t just a job or title, mother is both a noun and a verb. It’s a lifestyle. Once you enter this path you are on it for life! So many days, that first line runs thru my brain – my life – and the childhood days – and so short. And there are so many duties a mother is responsible for, so little, some big. But you know what, hang on sweet mama, we are working for a heavenly reward not on here on earth.

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And check out the contents of the bundle below – it’s only on sale thru Monday, the 27th, but it is chock full of books, courses and things that can make your life a little simpler – sometimes it the little changes we make that make the biggest difference!


>>>> Don’t miss this!
As a special offer for my readers, if you sign up to receive my blog posts by email (see spot to the right column up near the top on this page!) and purchase the bundle through my links in this post (yes, they are affiliate links and thanks for support this website!) – I am also including a FREE 4×6 print with magnetic sleeve with your purchase. Just forward your copy of the receipt from Ultimate Bundles and your email address you signed up with to me at jen@claffs.com. I will reply back with a coupon code for your free print!
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