Seasons of Messiness....

What do you do when it feels like life is turned upside down? I mean, it's not, really.....our job is secure, we have a home to live in, our kids are well provided for, we are successfully (most days) homeschooling, and we have food on our table. But you know, or maybe you don't....but I know the feeling when your insides are all feeling less than okay because of turmoil or chaos.

See, here's the thing. I like order. I like calm. I like peace. I like everything to be rainbows and happiness all around. And, life doesn't fit into that category, it is messy. Order gets disrupted. Calm gets disturbed. Chaos overtakes peace. And rainbows get muddy and happiness gets muddled with frustration, anger, sadness, and maybe a tinge of bitterness. 

I'm speaking of this beautiful ride we all ride, it's called life. See, 4 short years ago, we had order, calm, peace, and what I considered happiness. But, looking back. We were sitting still, spiritually, I thought. We weren't moving forward at all, and something I've come to realize over the years is that you can't sit still. Spiritually, and probably true across all spans of life, if you aren't moving forward, you're losing momentum and sliding backwards. We were going through the motions, on Sunday, but then Monday - Saturday, we were just living. And it was safe.The end.

In the past 4 years, ALL of that has changed. We have moved three times, beginning with an out of state move. We've had the same amount of jobs, after being steady for all of our time prior to that. We've become homeschoolers. We now have a job that is changing shifts. BUT --- We've joined with a wonderful community of believers, with a Pastor who has experience in the messiness of life, and have learned so much! There was LOTS of uncertainty,  there were fears, and yet, a truly developed faith. What I've come to realize is, He knew. He was in it all, and we listened to His still small voice, even though we weren't even sure it's what we were hearing. He was writing our story.

There was a lot of gunk that had to surface from many years of living the other way. And now, I'm seeing so many truths unfold. We are still sorting through some of the gunk, and we, as a family, are a work in progress. BUT - we've weathered many storms that would have destroyed our faith (being that it was so fragile and undeveloped) and family, quite likely. We've been taught about the reality of spiritual warfare and confronted it (maybe this is still a work in progress, to be honest) head on, we've learned how to pray, how to seek Him with our whole hearts and not keep sliding backwards.

But back to my original, upside down life question --- during our journey, I've learned a lot. I can't do it all at once as if I'd been doing it my entire life. I prefer order and everyone to be doing things "my" way. And He's so much bigger than that. I've seen Him work in ways I never imagined through paths I would never have chosen because they are outside of my "comfort zone" and my husband and I have even had different perspectives at times, which has caused friction and me to question the "oneness" we are suppose to experience in this other beautifully messy thing called marriage. 

What I'm learning is for all the backward sliding we did in the years we weren't living right, I am now learning to be content in the time we are truly sitting still. Don't get me wrong. We aren't trying to sit still, we're viciously fighting the enemy, for our family, for our children's hearts, for our finances, for our marriage, etc. Sometimes, though, the lesson of faith is learned by desperately fighting for one step forward, only to see you've moved very little, if any at all.

While I'll never be satisfied and stop trying, I'm trying to learn the lessons he teaches us in the moments we aren't successfully moving forward. I'm also anxiously waiting to start sprinting again because with each sprint session - I've loved the growth, the changes, the lessons, and the closeness. What I consider chaos, and lack of order, I'm learning they aren't. They are life. Beautiful, messy life, and I am blessed to live it alongside my best friend and our children AND the beautiful group of people we consider our "village." 

I feel it is comparable to the beauty of the ocean. It is one of my favorite places to be, I feel a closeness with the Father there that I experience no where else. BUT - for all it's beauty, cycles of storms are a part of shaping our shorelines. Hurricane season. It comes annually. And, there's the calm and the beauty and then, having weathered a few of those vicious storms during my East Coast living, it is UGLY. It is messy. It is scary. And it leaves behind a mess. But - much like life, we clean up, rebuild...most times stronger than before, because the storm taught us about a flaw, and we carry on to enjoy tourist season again. 

I'm simply grateful that I can trust Him even in my chaos and mess and super grateful that when my "hurricane" is over, my lesson is learned, and I've been built better than before, I get to continue my walk with Him through life and enjoy the view. Until the next season. 

And then.....Proverbs 3:5-6 ----- Trust Him. He will direct my paths.

Please Welcome My New Co-Author

As many of you know I have been silent on here for a while.  Several months actually.  I love blogging but the truth is, life comes first and sometimes there just isn't enough time to post the way I would like.  So a while back my friend and I chatted and decided that two of us would be better than one.  So with that said, I would like you all to welcome my real life best friend as a co-author here at A Heart For My Home

Dee and I have been friends for nearly 20 years and share the same hopes and dreams for our families and homes.  We are in different ages and stages with our faith, marriages, children and just life in general but we both desire to share this journey we are on with you. The content of this blog will be the same as it has been these past few years only now you will be hearing from the both of us.  

You may notice a few small changes to the blog over the next few weeks (or months), please be patient as I update everything.

A Lesson In Hospitality

I am going to tell you something that may shock you.  My house is rarely ever what I consider clean enough for company.  Some days its not what I consider clean enough for my own family either. 

It used to be that I didn't really feel like my house was nice enough, new enough, pretty enough or big enough to invite friends over.  Now I am in a newer, prettier place (although still on the small side compared to most homes being built today) and it's never clean enough to have people over. 

I didn't grow up in a home where my parents had people over much and practicing hospitality or seeing that modeled rarely ever happened.  So, I'm learning.  I'm trusting God to continue to show me how to be all the things he desires me to be.  Even though I have been married nearly 18 years I am still learning all about this thing called "hospitality".  What it is and what it is not.  One thing I am beginning to understand (finally) is that having a super clean home that is always tidy really has nothing to do with practicing hospitality. 

I am not saying you shouldn't worry about keeping your home clean, because as a Titus 2 and Proverbs 31 Woman that is one of the tasks we are called to do in order to be a blessing to our family.  What I am saying is that while your house may never be spotless or perfect, we still should be using our homes for the Glory of God and to reach out to the lost and hurting around us.  We should be inviting people over even when things aren't perfect just so they can experience a little of God's peace that resides in our home for themselves.

It doesn't matter if everything is perfectly clean and decorated, what matters is the love and attention you are giving someone who needs it.  Being hospitable is not about you at all.  It's about opening your heart  and focusing in on the needs of someone else then ministering to those needs.  In Karen Ehman's book "A Life That Says Welcome" she states that there is a huge difference in entertaining and offering hospitality.  Entertaining puts emphasis on you and how you can impress others while hospitality puts the emphasis on others and how you can meet their physical and spiritual needs so that they feel refreshed when leaving your home. 

I really like that statement.  And it makes me think, do people feel refreshed when they leave my home?  What about you?  Do you have people over?  Do they feel refreshed when they leave your home?  If you don't normally have people over, it's never too late to start.  Think of someone that you could minister to by opening up your home and showing them some love and then invite them.  Let me know how it goes.

It's Been A While & Homemade Glazed Donuts

My posts on here have been few and far between for the past several months.  It just seems that lately blogging hasn't been the biggest priority in my life (and it shouldn't be).  I am still around reading comments and working on my contributor posts but haven't been finding the time needed to keep up with regular posts lately.  I have many ideas floating around in my brain and have started typing several but actually getting the words to make sense just isn't happening lately.  Writers block?!?  Maybe.  Stick with me, I will be back on a more regular basis soon (I hope) but until then check out some of my most popular posts from the past couple of years.  You can find them on my side bar to the right. 

For now, hop on over to my friend Jenn's blog "The Purposeful Mom" and check out my latest contributor post.  You will be so glad you did.  I am sharing my latest adventure in the kitchen, a delicious recipe for Homemade Glazed Donuts, and they are dairy free. 

Snow Cream

It's cold and snowy outside in my neck of the woods. This is great weather for eating our favorite soups and stews. It's also a fun time to play in the snow with our sleds, build snowmen, drink hot chocolate and make yummy snow cream.

Since my kids and I just recently made snow cream I thought I would share the recipe with you. If you happen to get some snow this winter (and lets face it - living in the US this Winter there is a good chance of that, lol)  you can enjoy a bowl of it with your family too.

You will need about 10 cups of fresh white clean snow.

1 cup of sugar

3 tsp vanilla

Dash of salt

2 cups of milk or I like to do 1 cup of cream (evaporated milk) an 1 cup of water for a creamier taste.

Mix your sugar, salt, milk and vanilla together well and then stir in your snow. You may need to add a little more snow to get the proper consistency.

That's it! Dish it up and enjoy.

Cabbage & Kielbasa Dinner: Comfort Food For Cold Days

I know that many people like to eat cabbage on the first day of January. This recipe I am about to share is so yummy I am sure you will want to eat more than just at the beginning of a new year. It is basically 4 main ingredients and it makes a delicious yet super simple dinner on a cold winters day.

Head on over to The Purposeful Mom's page where I am contributing today to check out this amazing recipe.