Be Still, Martha: When Our Doing Gets in the Way of Being

I wanted to share a super fun and cool kid craft with you all today. I really did. Spoiler alert-I’m not sharing a super fun and cool craft today. I’m in a busy season (aren’t we all!?) of mama life right now. I often feel the tension of “doing” vs “being”. The whole Martha vs Mary situation going down in my day to day mama life. I want to do, do, do. Get the house cleaned, write that blog post, work on my latest sewing projects, go over school lessons with Gracie, make a sensory box for Lillie, cook dinner, and so on and so on. And while all of these doing activities can be fully used for the glory of the Lord if we learn to put Him first, we often get caught up in the busyness of completely the task and lose sight of who we are working for. When we lose sight of who we are working for, things get a little messy. 

There have been more than a few occasions where I lose my patience trying to teach Gracie a school lesson, or complete a craft because I get so wrapped up in the way I want things to happen. And yes, while the girl could definitely benefit from a little more focus (but hey, she’s two!) I’m learning a lot in the process. Learning that there are better ways to spend time together rather than getting frustrated, impatient, and annoyed. I’m learning that how I interact with her through these little, every day things are important. That my actions can point her towards who I am working for each day. That I can teach quietly and lovingly instead of loud and bossy. I’m learning that my drive to do, is getting in the way of being still and enjoying a time that passes too quickly. 

So here’s my goal for tomorrow. I’m going to be. I’m going to enjoy and not stress about getting it all done. I’m going to try to do some baking with Gracie, because she enjoys it. I’m also going to set it up in a way that she can fully participate and I can let her do so without getting all stressed out. (You can thank my friend, Christine for this awesome idea and post!) I’m going to be present. I’m going to read books and go over numbers, and not be too worried about her thinking a 2 is a 5 and a 5 is a 2. I’m going to try to love as Christ loves, soak her all in, and thank God for his grace when my human patience inevitably falls short. I’m going to be Mary a little more tomorrow, and let Martha take a break. 

Life and Gifts in Color

Keeping it sweet and simple today. Lots of life. Lots of pictures. Lots of every gratefulness for the extraordinary in the ordinary. 

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Two ginormous pigtails/tea parties with Gracie at Grandma’s house/Holy Yoga/Essential oils/High-pitched happy squeals over the monitor/Lillie trying to eat books/Gracie marching to the beat in music class/Phone calls with friends/Writing/Sunny Fall days/A quiet “thank you” and “you’re welcome” from Gracie/Lillie’s jerky and lovable laugh/Family zoo day/”Are we there yet” questions on a car ride that just began/Texting friends to check in/Kind e-mail/Streaming Ellie Holcomb station over Pandora/Warm final days of Fall/Vibrant leaves/Sandbox playing/Girls swinging together in the hammock/Washing dishes in warm water, engulfed in a lavender scent

Good Intentions

I have a lot of good intentions. These good intentions range from intending to do the laundry, to intending to spend more time reading the Bible, to intending to give the homeless man on the corner some food. And while the saying goes “It’s the thought that counts” just thinking about doing the laundry isn’t going to get it done. Just thinking about reading the Bible isn’t going to draw me closer to the Lord, and just thinking about offering food to the homeless man isn’t going to feed him. 

Now that you are like, “Woah! Moriah, this is kind of deep and intimidating for a Monday”, I want to say I am writing this post to encourage. To encourage all that read and to even more so encourage myself! Even if no ones reads this, writing down these thoughts and seemingly minor or insignificant revelations holds me accountable. I want to hold myself accountable to having more than good intentions. I want to walk out in faith and do! I want to say yes to completing those seemingly mundane and endless household activities and do them with joy and in a way that honors the Lord. I want to say yes to reading my Bible, spending time in prayer, and being intentional in my time with the Lord. I want to say yes to offering the granola bar that I have to the homeless man and in doing so extending God’s grace and love, instead of feeling embarrassed and giving excuses. 

Isn’t it obvious that faith and works are yoked pruners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are “works of faith”? James 2:22 MSG

I want my faith to be expressed in my works. Not just to think these things and have the good intentions to do them, but to actually do them! And before you go beating yourself up because time and time again you have good intentions, but your works don’t display these good intentions, God offers us something else pretty amazing. Grace! God knows our hearts. He loves us so deeply that even though he knew we would fail miserably and sin again and again, he died on the cross so that one day we would get to live with him forever. 

Now that we’ve added grace to the mix, it might be easy to say, “Great! Since God offers his grace when I make a mistake, I can just keep on doing things the way I have been, good intentions and all, and then get God’s grace!” And yes, his grace is going to be there for us, but that doesn’t give us a free pass to stop trying to build His kingdom and expressing our faith. God has great plans and purposes for us. He has given each of us special gifts to share and use for His glory. 

So this week let’s try to take those good intentions and use them to build. To let God work through our movements and bring the glory to Him. To accept the grace that He extends and then continue to grow and learn and try. To let our faith be expressed and know that God is at work.

Fall Fun for Babies and Toddlers

I haven’t posted many actives for the littles lately, but I’m always looking for something fun for Gracie to do. Being the active two year old she is, she often gives a whole two minute focus on one activity before she is ready to move on to the next. Mamas of toddlers, can I get an amen!? So I’m often on the lookout…which means searching Pinterest, for craft and activity ideas. Now with Miss Lillie being in the mix, it can sometimes be harder to do an activity with Gracie while a new crawler/explorer/put every little crumb and piece of paper on the floor in my mouth baby wandering around. So I’m having to get a little more creative and try to do actives that can relate to one another, but be tailored to their different age levels/what is big enough and non-toxic that Lillie can stick in her mouth! This last week the trees have just been GORGEOUS in Ohio. I was inspired by all the wonderful Fall colors and decided to do some fun and colorful Fall activities this week. All you have to do is type Toddler Fall Activities into Pinterest and voila! I’ve said it before, but seriously guys, what did we do before Pinterest!? Work harder to come up with our own ideas and not feel inadequate after looking at everyone else’s fun Pinterest projects? Perhaps…but I still love it! So here is what we came up with this week. 

Leaf Sun Catchers

For the first activity all you need is wax paper, paint, glue, and some little hands that are willing to get messy! You squirt some different colors of paint on the wax paper, we used red and yellow to make orange, then you squirt some glue on and have your little one mix and swirl! You can talk about how different colors mixed together will make a new color and you get the squishy sensory experience of mixing paint. After it is all mixed, lay another piece of wax paper over and let it dry. It may take awhile to dry, but once done, you can either free hand draw leaves, or have your child trace around a leaf, and then you can cut it out and hang on the window to use as Fall sun catchers! 

Pumpkin Scented Sensory Bin

The second activity we did was a Fall sensory bin. I made some easy gluten-free (we don’t do gluten free, but I know there are some out there that need to!) pumpkin scented play-do. All you need is some canned pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and corn starch. I didn’t have the exact measurement, so I just mixed until it became more of a solid. I actually put a little too much corn starch in, so it was kind of crumbly. It kind of worked out since Lillie immediately started eating it! Instead of being able to take huge chunks, she would let it crumble in her hand and then eat smaller pieces. I added in some small pumpkins and baking supplies. Lillie liked grabbing the pumpkins and Gracie enjoyed pretending to bake some pumpkin pies!

And if you need another fun Fall activity…put them to work and send them out to rake the leaves! You might not actually get any real raking done, but you can make some fun piles to jump in!

You’ve got a long way to go girl! 
Let me know how it goes if you try these! Any good activities that you can share?

Gratefulness and Counting

These posts have been far and few between lately. Does life seem to be going faster these days, or is it just me? I’m going to imagine that you are nodding yes in agreement and can’t remember that last time you were just sitting around twiddling your thumbs with absolutely nothing to do. As we get older, have more responsibilities, jobs, kids, etc, our plates just get fuller and fuller. In the midst of the craziness it can be easy to lose track of what’s important.

Gratefulness.

This gratefulness for the gifts God has given us in turn leads to great joy. And if we’re going through this life without great joy, then we’re missing out on all the wonderful things God has for us! I fall out of writing down my gift list often. I try to store them in my heart, but there is something special about actually writing down where we see God’s gifts in our lives. A physical reminder. A moment to stop in the hustle and bustle and take a few seconds to smile at being grateful for chubby baby fingers. A moment to stop feeling frantic or sorry for ourselves, and change our perspective.

This gift list started about the time Gracie was born. I’m a little ashamed to say that she’s almost three and I haven’t made it to 1000 yet! There have definitely been 1000 and many times over gifts to list, but this forgetful mama often forgets to write them down…or can’t find my notebook…or even a pen sometimes! If you’re right there with me, I encourage you to not give up! Keep being thankful and work at writing it down to have something tangible to look back on. This blog started due to the need to have some accountability for writing down these gifts. To take a moment to thank God for these gifts and share them with others. To spur myself on and be an encouragement for others. So here we are number #710 and counting!

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Flaying legs, rolling, moving, tiny hands grabbing while nursing/Lillie grabbing hold of large objects while sitting and slowly falling backward/The way Lillie smiles and gets so excited to see us in the morning/Two girls sleeping in my bed/Early moments of Summer dusk/One lone lightening bug/Never feeling like I get any housework done/Sneezes/Runny noses/Hair that stands straight up on the top of Lillie’s head/Gracie writing the letter “G”/Dimpled fingers/Warm dish water/Lillie sticking out her tongue/Gracie “reading” books/Lillie crawling/Lillie’s grasping, tiny wave/Lillie chewing on everything/Girls looking at books and turning pages/Wood stove/Early morning alone with coffee and ideas/Gracie reciting rhymes from books/Crisp Fall days/Bright leaves/Fall hikes with the family/Ramseyer’s farm with Gracie and Lillie and Grandma/Learning alongside the girls and seeing them make connections/Bible story learning/Devotions with Dustin.

Finding Rest in Imperfection

Does your heart feel frantic searching for peace? Seems a little counter productive that in the midst of trying to find peace and joy, we, (or at least I), often find ourselves left with feelings of inadequacy and unrest. I sometimes find myself trying to do it all, and then feeling frustrated when it doesn’t go the way I planned. I’m not an every last detail must be planned and perfect kind of person, but rather a, I would like to have some idea of how this is going to look and turn out, kind of person. So if I think we’re going to go to the pumpkin patch on Saturday, I may not have to have every last thing planned that we are going to do there, but by golly, we better go to the pumpkin patch! So when you call and say, “Hey, Moriah, changed my mind, we aren’t going to go today”, I’ll say “Ok”, but what my soul will really be saying is “WHAT!? I was looking forward to this and now I’m feeling all frantic, frustrated, and discombobulated” (for lack of a better word). And though the pumpkin patch example may be a little extreme, though I do really love a good pumpkin patch, isn’t that how we often feel when we are striving so hard to find peace and rest and joy for our souls and we continually have the twists and turns and changes of life’s plans thrown in our way?

I fail at this every day guys. Seriously, EVERY day. I can start the morning out talking to God and reading His word, feeling peaceful and full of hope, and then ten minutes later be completely at the end of my rope with fussy babes and life’s demands. My soul can feel discouraged and like I’m already not living up to the Christian woman, mother, friend, and shop owner I am all by seven in the morning! But as I have been making more of an effort to draw close to the Lord, to dwell in His Word, to follow His will, to uphold Him in my marriage and in my family, He is showing me I don’t have to do EVERYTHING and whatever I do, it doesn’t have to be perfect. I love what Jessica Honegger of Noonday Collection shared at the Influence Conference. I’m going to be paraphrasing here, but basically she shared how it isn’t about having the perfect plan, but stepping out and saying yes to God and His plan. It doesn’t even have to be a loud, confident, I’m so ready kind of yes. God will take our whispered and imperfect yes and use us!

And this is where I think our souls can finally find rest from the frantic demands of perfection and busyness of this earthly life. Our souls can whisper yes to God’s will and in focusing on how to draw near to Him, we can start to let go of the frustration that we aren’t perfect, but merely human beings, created in God’s image, but living in a world of sin. Things may not go the way we always expect or desire, but He has a plan, a plan for HIS good, and in this I can find some rest and joy.

Oh, and we did actually go to the pumpkin patch…but on Friday, not Saturday.

Fall Handmade

Let me break down Fall for you. Pumpkins, Scarves, Yummy warm drinks, Scarves…

Oh wait…did I say scarves twice? Yes, yes I did.

While some of you may still be enjoying warm weather, just about the time we Ohioans memories of the cold are fading, that crisp, frosty air rolls right back around. And really I’m ok with that…except for the fact that it means Winter is on its way!

Fall is a pretty wonderful season for someone that loves pumpkin flavor anything, getting to decorate a home with teeny, tiny cute pumpkins, and wear scarves every day and all day. So to celebrate the fact that Fall is upon us, I rounded up a few lovely handmade items to inspire! I also want to note that I have gotten the chance to meet many of the women behind these products and experience their amazingness first hand! 

1. You can find this adorable pumpkin print in the BE Print Shop and tons of other fun and inspiring prints at a very reasonable price. Best part? You can download and print right away!

2. Of course I had to have Oh Tiny Gifts Infinite Options Scarf! It’s the perfect weather to get a tiny scarf for your little one and Oh Tiny Gifts offers a versatile, and in my opinion, pretty cute option! This scarf snaps together to form an infinity scarf, or unsnaps and can be tied and worn in many different ways. Many mamas have also recently noted they make perfect drool bibs or soft teethers to gnaw away on! New colors are available now!

3. You’re going to need a cute mug to put all those yummy pumpkin flavored drinks you’re gonna have this Fall. NS Pottery is simply amazing and has many wonderful options to hold all your delicious drinks.

4. This scarf is going to blow your mind! Each purchase of a fashionABLE product helps create sustainable business for Africans. I just bought one myself and I love that not only can it be worn in traditional scarf fashion, but you can also tie and wear as a vest. Need a little help figuring that out. Check out this video by Kim at Oh Sweet Joy…you won’t be disappointed!

5. Ok I know this is another scarf, but guys, seriously, can you have too many scarves in Fall? Don’t answer that. But wait, this is actually a cowl, so let’s count that as something different! This lovely cowl by Melody Joy Designs looks so cozy and wonderful and would add just the right touch of warmth and stylishness to any Fall day.

Feeling inspired yet? Or is there a handmade item that you would recommend as a must have fall item? Comment and share!



It’s Time to Build: Influence Conference 2014

This last week I attended The Influence Conference in Indianapolis. This conference is a place where hundreds of Christian women come together and learn how we can use our influence in a powerful and meaningful way to build Christ’s kingdom. A lot of the time is focused on how we use our influence through technological mediums like the internet, but it doesn’t stop there. Even if you aren’t a blogger, or don’t have Instagram, or Facebook you still have influence over many people that you come in contact with daily.

I struggled with the decision of going to the conference. I applied to sell Oh Tiny Gifts products in the Sashes Market (the marketplace for handmade products set up during the conference) and put it in God’s hands. I decided that if I was accepted, maybe that would be God’s way of telling me it was time to take a leap of faith. Well you’ve probably already figured out that since I’m writing a post about attending the conference, yes I was accepted, and yes I took that leap of faith. 
And guys, I’m so glad I did.

This conference filled me up in a way that I so needed. It energized and renewed my spirit. It put new fire into working to build God’s kingdom and spread His gospel. It connected me with soooo many sweet and generous women and quenched a thirst I had to connect with other Christian women that want to use their influence for His good. 
For the Introverts…
So to those of you that are fellow introverts, you may be thinking that spending several days amongst hundreds of new women, attending seminars, revivals, worship services, and dinners sounds a bit overwhelming. And though by the end of it I could tell I was winding down and was needing some time to step away and process everything, it was just so good. Before the conference I was full of nerves and jitters about being amongst so many new people. But the women this week were some of the sweetest I think I’ve ever met. I sat at tables full of women that I had never met before and felt completely and totally accepted the minute I sat down.  It felt good to step out beyond the comfort zone I walk in daily and reach beyond to new and exciting connections. Yes there were still times when introducing myself to someone made me feel like a nervous high schooler, or an opportunity to connect was missed, but when I think back on all the wonderful women I met and now call friends, my heart is full. I even was able to connect with another influence member before the conference and decide to room together. Turns out that rooming with someone you’ve never actually met in real life can be pretty wonderful.

For the Moms…
Miss Lillie accompanied me to the conference, and let me tell you, if you’re ever nervous about meeting other women, just bring along a cute accessory, or in my case, an adorable baby. My girl was a dream baby most of the week, slept through the seminars, and hammed it up for her adoring crowd. But even if you have a baby that decides to be a bit more feisty during the conference, it’s OK! There are so many other wonderful mamas and others that are quick with an encouraging word or willing to hold your baby while you eat! Shout out to all the women that held Lillie so I could eat a few bites of food minus a wiggly babe! The conference even had a Mom’s Suite hosted by Thrive Moms full of snacks (including chocolate), baby swings, diapers, a place to nurse and just connect with other mamas. It was wonderful and my heart was so filled amongst these women. And seeing lots of squishy, squeezable babies all together in one place is kind of the best therapy ever.

For those that just aren’t sure…
Do it. Join the network. Buy a ticket for next year’s conference. Reach out and connect with these women. Start using your influence today to further His kingdom.

There were so many wonderful points and phrases that stuck with me through the conference, almost too many to share, but I’ll try to convey a few.
Jess Connelly shared beautifully on God telling her he hates her kingdom. God doesn’t want us to build our own kingdom full of thing we think we need, but rather to build His kingdom. Because His is the one true kingdom and the time to build is now.
Lara Casey touched so many hearts with her powerful questions and moving testimony. She asked what we fear most and why. I realized that I fear truly relinquishing control to God because I’m afraid of losing someone or something that I love. But life is too short to live scared because God is in control.
Jessica Honneger encouraged us to step beyond our comfort zone and say yes to God. That’s its ok if it’s a quiet and unsure yes, because God is going to use us and even if we don’t have the perfect plan, we just need to start doing. Start reaching out, start helping the poor, start bringing justice, and start spreading the gospel.
Carrie Grace shared on spreading love and kindness and being a cheerleader for others. Her enthusiasm for kindness and giving is contagious and the joy of God spreads through her. 
I really could go on and on and on, but that just gives you a taste of some of the wonderful stories shared. The challenge now is to take these things that I learned and share them. To keep them close to my heart, but to also share them with joy and enthusiasm. To take them back to my every day life and apply them when chasing around my girls, interacting with my husband, worshipping in church, or going through the checkout line at the store. Let’s work to build His kingdom together ladies, because the time to build is NOW.