Working From Home While Kids On Summer Break!




Download my "Summer Printable for Work From Home Moms" here:  Summer Printable


Summer is here!!  I'm not new to this rodeo, so I know from personal experience that if I don't put a little planning and structure around the next few months with my kids home from school and my husband and I being self-employed entrepreneurs, it won't be pretty.

The kids will wander around with popsicles in their hands and a big wide open beautiful yard...and they'll ask me 4,377 times each hour "mom, what should I DO?", and when I make a suggestion they'll say, "Noooo, I want to do something FUN, what ELSE should I do?"

Cue my eyes rolling back into my head, a deeply frustrated moan escaping my lips, and the top of my head exploding with the (self imposed) pressure of making their summer vacation magical and memorable!

The two oldest are teenagers who can simply hop in the car and go catch a movie with their friends, so I'm not feeling any sort of responsibility for them having fun.  My biggest thing for them is making sure they stay safe, get enough sleep, hug their mama each day, and do some chores from time to time.

This is also our last summer with our oldest before he's a college student (gasp hic sob)....so some good quality family time with him is also a top priority for me (seriously, I can't think about it).

With THAT in mind, I want to remember that time with these amazing babies of mine is SHORT.  It doesn't need to be *magical*....but I also don't want it to just slip away every day.

I don't want to just get through the summer with them, I want to really ENJOY good time with them.

AND... mama needs to keep the business going too ;-)

Working from home is a true gift of time freedom....but I still haven't found the magic pixie dust that requires nothing more than wishing real hard and seeing business suddenly explode - WORKING from home is actually WORK.

(if anyone tries to tell you things like "it's easy" or "I just wash my face/take my supplements/clean with special products and talk about it" or "the product sells itself" they are LYING TO YOUR FACE haha! That's a convo for another day...)

So I decided to sit down today and come up with a printable that contains 3 things:
1.  A basic list of daily stuff for our summer days....a loose "schedule" without times attached to allow for sleeping in

2. A list of "stuff to do for fun"...everything from going to the zoo and painting rocks...if they can't come up with something to do on their own or with this list, then truly...all hope is lost haha

3.  MY FAVORITE...my "Mind, Body, Soul, Space" list...I want my kids to do at least ONE thing from each of those categories each day.  Something for their mind (workbook, reading, etc), something for their body (brush teeth and take a walk would be good), something for their soul (connect with God in prayer, worship, journal, etc), and something to take care of our shared space (make their bed, mow the lawn, empty the dishwasher)...at a bare minimum, they'll be mostly healthy and whole by the end of the summer instead of their brains and bodies turning to mush ;-)

So here you go, friend. No opting in, no email exchange, no phone number or name required...simply click, download, and print it up!

Personally, I've got this on my fridge for easy reference for when my kids hit me tomorrow with "I'm bored!" ;-)   Have a fun, relaxing, and productive time with those kids, mama!

Download my "Summer Printable for Work From Home Moms" here:  Summer Printable





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Unbecoming



There's lots of talk about growth, personal development, "becoming your best self", etc.

What there's NOT a lot of talk about is what must happen before all that good growth can happen...the unraveling....the undoing...the UNBECOMING.

This thought of unbecoming hit my brain like a flash of light today as I sat down to do some learning.

I queued up the webinar, grabbed my crochet project (I can't just SIT and watch....gotta have something going on with my hands...raise your hand if you're a fidgeter too), pressed 'play', and searched my sewing project for the spot I'd left off.

It had been a while since I'd worked on this project, so it took a minute for me to re-familiarize myself with the stitch I'd been using on it.  As I laid it out flat to get a good look, I realized that it was TERRIBLE haha!

The hook I'd been using was too big for this type of material, so it was a sloppy mess.  I think I might have mixed up stitches a time or two.  And the edges....it couldn't, even with liberal application of imagination, be called anything close to a rectangular shape.

It was a sloppy, mixed up, mis-shaped MESS! haha!

For a moment, I thought of snipping it with some scissors and just starting again.  But no....I love this "velvet" yarn and didn't want to waste it.

I pulled and pressed for a while, trying to convince myself that it was salvageable.  But no...something radical definitely needed to happen if this was to be of any use someday.

Finally, I made the painful decision to pull it.  I removed the hook and started pulling on the loose end of the yarn.  I started slowly because it was PAINFUL to see hours and hours of work simply falling away to nothing.  As I pulled the stitches out, my brain seemed to spin with ways I could salvage it.

Eventually, I was fully invested in the destruction.  I simply pulled as fast as I could so I could get to the more fun work of starting the sewing process again.

I didn't just jump right back into sewing though....I pulled out an old crochet book and figured out what I'd been doing wrong.  What size needle should I use?  Which stitch would result in the finished work I envisioned?  How do I handle the trickier turns at the edges so that I get a straight piece?

This is life, isn't it?

One day, we grab the piece we're working on and we realize "wow, I thought this was good, but it's pretty much a disaster!"

And then what do we do?

We justify.

We make excuses.

After all, "I'm a good person and I did my best."

We push and pull and try to press it into a useful shape....into the shape we envision.

Sometimes we even consider cutting off a bunch of work and just tossing it into the garbage!  But no....the material is too valuable and precious for that.  There's potential for good here, we just know it.

Sometimes the only thing left to do is to pull on the loose end of the mess and watch as it unravels.

In the beginning, we might pull slowly because the thought of how much time and effort it took to get there....it's painful to see it destroyed!

✖️The religion must go...."but it feels so safe!"

✖️The striving must go... "but I feel better about myself when I'm earning it!"

✖️The guilt must go... "but this feeling of inadequacy has become part of my identity!"

✖️The shame must go... "but oh, I've messed up so badly and I feel terrible!"

✖️Some people must go... "but I'll be all alone!"

✖️The fear must go... "but the world tells me you're out to get me!"

✖️The disbelief must go... "but if I call this miraculous and I tell of your works, people will think I'm crazy!"

It's the pain of unbecoming that reminds us that we need to do it differently this time.

We consult the Expert.  What needs to stay?  What needs to go?  How should I have handled that tricky part differently?  What does it practically look like to weave a life that is pleasing to Your eye?

And then, careful stitch by careful stitch, I start to build again.

Maybe more slowly.

Always consulting Wisdom.

Reminding myself of the Father's tender grace when I have to stop and pull a few stitches (It's a process).

Keeping my eye on the One who made it possible for me to be working on this project with His direction in the first place.

Eventually, the piece starts to take shape, and it's BEAUTIFUL.

I'm delighted to realize that the pain of the unbecoming....the undoing....the unraveling -- that pain is a distant memory as I smile at the new piece that's just as it should be.

But the biggest surprise of all?

This isn't the piece I'd envisioned at all!

I realize that as I step through each step, keeping an eye on that Master Creator, it's HIS blueprint I've been following, not mine.

And wow.  Just....wow.  It's far more intricate, far more detailed, far more rich than I could have imagined.

I'm humbled by the new work that's been done.

I'm in awe of His creativity and generosity.

And I'm filled with gratitude for the Unbecoming.


Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the work you're doing in me. Thank you for seeing me and loving me. Thank you for taking the meticulous time to pull out each disastrous stitch so it could be replaced with your vision for me. Let my life be a work of Your hand. Let it be pleasing to You. Thank you for taking the most painful pieces and weaving them anew into the most beautiful pieces of this tapestry. Careful stitch by careful stitch....I surrender it to you and can hardly wait to know as I am known! To the glory of Your Kingdom, Father. Amen.




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The Stars, the Moon, and a Greasy Smelling Guy Named Joe



I learned an invaluable life lesson when I was in engineering school (wow....does that put you on the edge of your seat with anticipation or what haha #RecoveringEngineer).

Here it is....the life lesson that changes EVERYTHING:

You must START somewhere clear and specific. It's critical to choose a fixed point in space in time, from which everything else is defined.

An example of this is in the work I did as a tool designer (again with the breathtaking high drama).  

My job as a summer intern was to design custom tools that the folks on our manufacturing line would use as they built the product. The end product we made was a surgical medical device....so specs were TIGHT and quality could literally be the difference between life and death for a patient.

This job demanded that I be observant, meticulous, and utterly focused on details. Everything I created needed to be tested, tested, and tested again. Thankfully, I worked with an amazing partner named Joe.

Joe was simply known as "the man" in the machine shop. It was his job to take my design and bring it to life. He'd take my files with all the specs, and he'd use them to actually cut a piece of metal to MAKE the thing I designed.  

You'd never know by looking at him that he was so brilliant. He was about 6'4" tall, with a chest like a barrel. His hands were massive and his fingers like sausages. He wore filthy work coveralls, and he always smelled of machine grease and aftershave. He typically wore a look of concentration and confidence. You want it? Joe could make it.

He summoned me to the shop one afternoon, and the moment I walked in the door it was clear that I was about to get chewed out.  

Joe was not happy.

"What the hell, lady?", he scowled at me in his deep rattly voice.

I was wide eyed, and a bit stunned by how grumpy he was. Before I could reply, he launched into a colorful explanation as to why he was so ticked off...

I'll spare you the details....but the gist of his rant went something like, "I couldn't find my own butt with these drawings!"

haha! I really loved working with that guy....he was a dependable hard worker, an absolute artist, and you NEVER had to guess where you stood with him!

He tossed the pages of my tool design across the work bench in my direction. I scooped them up, sorted them into order, and I realized my error almost immediately.

It was the cardinal sin.

I'd forgotten the datum!
(ba ba baaaamm....cue dramatic music)

Stick with me here...I promise this is more than a boring engineering story!

In tool design, the datum is the starting point. It is literally a line on a piece of paper.  

From THAT unmovable line, everything else is created.  
Everything else is measured.  
Everything else is tested.

Now, I had a 3D image of of my design on the front page. Being the genius that he is, Joe could very well have looked at the image and made an educated guess about my measurements. He could have made some pretty good assumptions.

But it was an important rule...always define the datum. Remember...we were in the life or death business of surgical devices. There could be ZERO guessing and assuming. We needed solid and specific numbers.

Think about it....what if I came to you and I said "Hey, do you see that chair over there? What's the measurement of that chair from a spot? How far away is it from the spot? I need to know exactly because it's a matter of life and death."

Life and death?! Once you realized the importance of the measurements, you'd probably pay close attention and ask for more details, right?  

You'd probably say something like, "What spot?! Tell me EXACTLY the spot you're referring to and I'll measure very carefully."

Make sense? If you're going to measure something, you have to know where to START. It's especially important to be infinitely clear about where to start when the thing you're measuring is CRITICALLY IMPORTANT.

Why do I share this utterly fascinating story? ;-)

Well, friend, I believe we are spinning out of control in our society right now because we've lost sight of our Starting Point.

No one is measuring from the same place....we're all making assumptions and educated guesses.

We're having life and death conversations while assuming that we're all measuring from the same starting point...but we're simply NOT.

A.W. Tozer is one of my favorite authors, and he says it so well in his book "The Pursuit of God":
"It is true that order in nature depends upon right relationships; to achieve harmony each thing must be in its proper position relative to each other thing....The cause of all our human miseries is a radical moral dislocation, an upset in our relation to God and to each other"

Right relationship.

Proper position.

An upset in our relation to God and to each other.

It's all about the datum!

Tozer goes on to say,
"As the sailor locates his position on the sea by 'shooting' the sun, so we may get our moral bearings by looking at God.  We must begin with God.  We are right when, and only when, we stand in a right position relative to God, and we are wrong so far as we stand in any other position.  Much of our difficulty as seeking Christians stems from our unwillingness to take God as He is and adjust our lives accordingly.  We insist upon trying to modify Him and to bring Him nearer to our own image."

At the moment, there's very emotional conversation and decision making happening on personal topics like abortion, homosexuality, and religious rights.

As we approach topics like these (and any other topic for that matter) based on our "personal truth" or our "personal experience", we will be as lost as a sailor who is socked in by impenetrable clouds.

No sun by day, no stars by night.
Nothing to guide our sight.
In the pitch of a starless night, it's even hard to know which end is up....never mind which direction is forward.

You measure by your location.
I'll measure by mine.

There will be as many datums as there are people.

We'll remain lost and fighting against each other, and the surer we become of our "rightness", the more lost we become.

Here's the thing....I'm not the one who's right and it doesn't matter what I say.

Also...you are not the one who's right and it doesn't matter what you say.

The homosexual....is not right and it doesn't matter what he/she says.

The woman who's had an abortion....is not right and it doesn't matter what she says.

The man/woman who wants to outlaw abortion....is not right and it doesn't matter what he/she says.

The man/woman who wants abortion to remain legal....is not right and it doesn't matter what he/she says.

We are...every single human... like numbers written on a tool drawing.  And guess what...without an unchanging datum, we are, as Joe put it, "unable to find our own butts with this drawing"!

We're lost.

We are completely RELATIVE to ONE unchanging point in time and space, and until we know exactly where that point is, nothing else matters.

When it comes to LGBTQ rights...
Only God is right, and only what He says matters.

When it comes to abortion...
Only God is right, and only what He says matters.

When it comes to religious rights...
Only God is right, and only what He says matters.

When it comes to passing judgment on how "well" our government officials are doing...
Only God is right, and only what He says matters.

My prayer right now is NOT that I'm proven "right".

It's not even for a particular legal outcome for our current debates.

My prayer is that God makes Himself known to us in a fresh and overwhelming way.

My prayer is that our country humbles itself before Him.

My prayer is that our laws and our conversations and the way we treat one another reflects His goodness.

My prayer is that every person who reads these words turns to God and says "You are God and I am not. Help me to know the real you.  Teach me who I really am in you."

And most of all, my prayer is that my own heart is laid bare before him and brought into proper relationship with Who He IS.  Even if it's painful, there is nothing about me or in me or around me that is more important than seeing His purposes fulfilled...than God being who He is.

I know this for sure (not by my own word, but by His).  When we truly SEEK Him, we WILL find Him.  He desires us to truly seek Him...to truly invite Him in to have His way with us. He loves us like crazy and wants to do life with us.  He has a good plan for each of us if we will just let Him in.

Please join me, friends.  Join me in a heartfelt hunt for God's true heart and nature.  Join me in seeking His plans, his purposes, his desires.

After all, there can't possibly be a better guide through these dark troubled waters that the One who set the sun and stars in the sky.

"God Almighty, I seek your face.  Let all my preconceived or selfish ideas of you be wiped away and replaced with your Truth.  Please give me your words of love to discuss some of the hard stuff our country is facing right now.  Thank you for all the ways you've blessed the United States - please seek us and find many with our eyes upturned to you, seeking you, longing to please you and love you. Let our laws reflect your justice.  Let our culture reflect your love and righteousness.  Wherever we've stepped in the wrong direction, please guide our feet to get back on the right path where you want us.  Through your grace and mercy and love, please bless our country with your presence and blessing. Amen."















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Fresh Revelation Indeed!



I prayed for a fresh revelation of God’s love for me several months ago. 

It’s been a mind-blowing, knee-bending, tears of joy-flowing series of “ah-ha!” moments ever since. 

There is no depth too deep for Him...no expression of love too rich. 

His presence is what I think about morning noon and night. There is literally NOTHING I long for more...NOTHING that can touch His tenderness, His smile, His friendship. 

I’m brought low and lifted up. 
I’m humbled and made new. 
I’m emptied out and filled to overflowing. 
Every question is answered. 
Every void filled. 

No mere book* about God’s character can do what being in His presence does. No sermon. No song. 

The downside? 

Daily life is hard haha!  My heart and mind...my entire being longs to just get away and get back to that Throne Room. It’s as if I’m no longer fit for human consumption! haha!  Conversations, daily interactions, the “normal”...THIS present reality feels like a strange dream because Heaven consumes me. 

And yet...here I am. My greatest prayer is that He fills me to overflowing with His love so that I can’t contain it...that some must splash over the edges of this little container...that there is nothing for it to do but to get on everyone around be. IN everyone around me.  I hope that’s why He has me here in this strange place for now. 

I don’t want to change you. 
I don’t want to convict you. 
I don’t want to debate you. 

My greatest desire is simply to make a Holy Introduction ...to introduce you to the One who designed your soul... the One who intentionally left a unique “hole” in your soul that only He is capable of filling 🙌🏻

There is SO much richness in Him. 
So much blessing. 
So much healing. 
So much joy. 
So much ADVENTURE!

I hope you’ll join me on the greatest adventure...the one of opening your heart to a fresh revelation of His love. 

💕God, you sometimes seem so far away. It even feels like others might know something I don’t...like I’m missing something. Like maybe you don’t love me as much as you love others. Do you love me, God?  Really love me?  Can I KNOW you love me?  God, I’m sort of excited and afraid to ask...but please give me a fresh and new understanding of your love for me. Give me a personal encounter with you. I want to know you more. I ask in the name of Jesus.💕

I can’t wait to hear how He reveals His love for YOU!  I’ll be sharing my experiences with Him more and more...stay tuned! 




*The Bible is not a “mere book”

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The Answer to "Not Enough"



It's in the eyes of nearly every person I see...I recognize it because I see it in my own mirror far too often.

There's an uncertain look.  A look of "what if I'm found out".

The shifting glances as we take in the other people in the room and mentally compare ourselves to the person we think is "best".  Best dressed.  Highest earner.  Biggest influencer.  Most fashionable.  

Do I measure up?  

Am I enough?

Can I deliver?

I don't know about you, but my analysis almost always comes back with a big fat "NO"....nope, not enough.  

Too old.  
Too heavy.  
Too loud.  
Too quiet.  
Too frumpy. 
Too broke. 
Too late.

I feel like a fraud.  Like maybe the beautiful ones will look at me and in their most snarky mean-girl voices say to me "What are YOU doing here?"

Sometimes I'm not measuring myself against others at all.  I get tired of the contest, so I decide to stay home.  I stay in my pajamas, throw my hair in a bun, and enjoy the safety of my cozy home and hot coffee.  The worship music plays.  The puppy snuggles are warm.  The peace surrounds me.

And still...

The housework.
The grocery shopping.
The meal planning.
The forms from school that need attention.
The dog needs an appointment with the vet.
The chipped coffee table and the ratty recliner.
The weeds in the garden.
The exercising I swore I'd do today.
The laundry.

Still not enough!

Lord help me if I dare to get on social media!  I'm feeling "not enough" before I even brave the beautiful people of the internet! haha!

And this morning...like a beacon cutting through the inky black...

I found the answer to "Not Enough"!

The disciples wrestled with "not enough" too, you know.  

Can you imagine?  Walking side by side with Jesus and still worrying that there just wouldn't be enough?  

Even after they'd seen him heal, create, teach, love?  Even as they could look in his eyes and hear his voice?  IN THE VERY PRESENCE OF JESUS...and still, they fretted about "not enough"!

There were thousands who had come to see Jesus.  Five THOUSAND men...PLUS women and children.  Think about that!  That's a small city of men, women, and children.  And friend, it was dinner time.  There were a lot of rumbling tummies and crabby kids haha!

The disciples looked around and OF COURSE they felt inadequate.  They didn't "think" they didn't have enough.  They were pretty darn certain.  They literally had two fish and 5 loaves of bread.  I don't care how big those fish and loaves were...there was NOT ENOUGH to feed a small city!

Here it comes...

Here comes the answer to "not enough"...

Jesus said "Bring them here to Me." (Matt 14:18)

And then in verse 19, we read "....He took the five loaves and the two fish..." 

Think about that for a second!  This is Jesus we're talking about.  He'd just miraculously healed the sick people of that massive crowd.

Do you think he could have snapped his fingers and satisfied everyone's hunger with a thought?

Do you think he could have multiplied those fish and loaves just by looking at them?

Of course he could.  He's Jesus...the great I AM...the Beginning and the End...the Source of ALL.

And yet, there was a lesson he wanted to teach his beloved friends:

"When you do not have enough, bring whatever you have to me and I will take it, and I'll make it enough"

(let's just pause here for a second and let that sink waaaay in)

**********

"Bring them here to Me" LEAPED off the page at me this morning.

I walk with Jesus.

I know His voice.

I've looked in His eyes.

I've melted in His embrace.

I trust His might, his power, his ability.

I've SEEN his miracles.  I've experienced them first hand and personally.

And yet....I've still carried around "Not Enough" nearly every. single. day.

WHY?

Because, until this morning, I've not "brought it to Him".  Not really.

I talk to Him about it.
I pray for His power to move in my circumstances.
I ask for His blessing.

....yet, all the while, I'm holding tightly to the little bit I DO have in the hopes that He'll multiply it with a snap of His fingers (because He CAN do that).

But I think maybe there's a bigger lesson here for me, just like there was for His disciples all those years ago...

I have to BRING IT TO HIM.

Not only that, but I have to let it go so that HE CAN TAKE IT.

We are not only to bring it to Him, we are to GIVE it to Him.

I can't help but think of a time that my little girl's favorite doll had a hole.  The stuffing was pouring out of her precious baby, so she came running to me for help.  I asked her to give me the baby....and she placed it in my hand, but refused to take her hand away haha!

I'm not Jesus...I wasn't capable of repairing the doll with her hands on it.  But once I realized she didn't want to let go, my priority became her trusting me.

I think it's the same with God.  Our HEART condition toward Him is the #1 priority because he LOVES us.

***********

Lord, I trust you.  
Help my mistrust.
Reveal my heart.
Give me a pure heart.
I'm sorry I've held so tightly to so much of my life.
Please take my children.
Please take my marriage.
Please take my body.
Please take my home.
Please take my business.
Please take my friendships.
Please take my future.
Please take all the jobs I feel so inadequate in.
I bring it to you, Jesus.
Not only that but I let it go...I let you TAKE it.
I'm so relieved to have all my needs and desires in your capable hands!
I can't wait to see what you have planned, my Friend.
I don't think your disciples expected you to feed a small city with just a couple fish and pieces of bread....so I look forward to seeing how you multiply all these areas of my life where I am so lacking!
Let it be to your Glory, Jesus.  Use everything in my life to draw people to your amazing love and friendship. 
Amen












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