december, you've been a tough pill to swallow but we are pushing through none-the-less. christmas is literally days away and time is passing by faster than ever. we decorated the schoolroom to christmas music and a tiny dusting of snow just outside of the schoolroom window. lots of cuddles, lots of pjs, days have been cozy and slow.Read More
a few weeks ago I went to visit my mother for a week, with the kids. I haven't been to visit my mommy in so very long. she lives far from me and between the lack of transportation and brian's minimal time off, it hasn't been possible to make the trip. that is, until brian's sister and her husband called to ask if i would like to ride with them to see my mom?!?!???
just so happens, she had to take a board exam around the area that my mother lives and they rented an air bnb near the lake to stay for the week. wait, what???
so the kids and i packed up and headed off to spend the week with grammy :)Read More
over the last couple of years, i've been in constant prayer for direction, healing, growth... light. my instructions were to take pictures, tons of videos, write it all down. odd, i know. but, i am happy to say that i have been faithful!!! every photo, every video that sometimes takes 5-6 hours of editing, every random blog post & private journal entry…
being so transparent can be scary, or there could simply be no other option but to share how good GOD can be in your life... if you let him. if you stand for him. when you let your faith and love work & believe in what seems impossible.
these last two years have been rough. we’ve lost jobs, run through savings, stood in line to purchase food with no money...
to every cashier that said the person in front took care of it. every person who balled up a $100 bill and slipped it in our hands at the tail end of a friendly hug. for you, who wrote out that random $1000 check not knowing that we were short EXACTLY that for our mortgage.
all the memory keeping has made it impossible for me to overlook GOD'S goodness in the midst of our storms.
we’ve had parents that have given us cars, cousins that have purchased the kids clothing, friends that have gifted play dresses, have restocked towels when ours were destroyed when our bathroom flooded. uncles that have given us school room tables (our pick with no cost limit), family that has supported our school monthly. church family members that have gifted us bedroom sets and even cases of legos that would have cost us a many coins on our own. parents who give us a budget to buy gifts for the kids (for christmas & birthdays) along with grand-sitting services to give us a day alone to shop for them.
sometimes when you step out in faith it feels like you walked into the FLIPPING WILDERNESS. and, in a way you have!!
to you who keeps sowing those seeds into the lives of others, for every gift you’ve given & every seed you've sown, THANK YOU!!! YOU have been LOVE in our lives. DON'T TAKE YOUR ACTS OF KINDNESS LIGHTLY. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU MIGHT BE HELPING SOMEONE TO ENDURE!!!!!
to you who is still pressing to endure. i’m sharing just in case you wanted to give up today. i’m sharing just in case you might consider giving up tomorrow.
this isn’t the end of our story, it is just the beginning.
i tried starting this post quite a few times. it all started something like... "its fall and i finally got a few family pictures, dot dot dot." i kept trying to write but it just didn't seem right! the reality is, i struggled with crazy emotions while editing and loading these pictures. pictures taken a couple of hours before brian was to report to work, wearing outfits that i had to piece together without much time or thought, and with the help of a father-in-law that drove about 45 mins to help me out so that i could get all five of us in at least one shot. let me be honest, i was salty!!
but, that morning, by the grace of GOD, we got up, got dressed, i PUT ON a smile, a sweet voice, CHOSE a grateful attitude and refused to let the opportunity pass me by. and thats honest! too often, the enemy steals things from ME with MY own permission. permission that I have given by allowing MYSELF to be in MY feelings and choosing to meditate on all of the challenges of MY days. its sad, but such an easy trap to fall into.
what you may not know, from looking at these pictures, is that this was about two weeks after we missed the opportunity to have "real" professional pictures taken of our little family. taken by someone i have loved and admired as a friend and a photographer for YEARS. when the chance for that friend to take our family pictures came around, i was ELATED... like, ridiculously ELATED. and, when i had to pass the opportunity by, it was painful (like, this is about so much more than pictures, painful).
what you may not know, from looking at these pictures, is that these last two years have been the HARDEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES. the main culprit of many of our issues has been based around provision. based around trusting HIM to PROVIDE.
so many opportunities have come along, many of which we have had to pass on by. its a frustrating state, when you allow it to be. but this morning, i saw an opportunity. he was to go into work a few hours later than the norm, his father was able and willing to help, i AMMM a photographer so i had everything i needed to make this work. and, 386 clicks later, i had about 21 pictures that make me so very happy inside.
later that same friend that was supposed to take our pictures sent me this reminder... "what we perceive as a lack of provision on God's part is often a lack of prioritization on our part." - Steven Furtick
i am learning how to shift my focus. learning how to focus on things the way GOD sees them. learning how to "show up" in spite of my frustrations and disappointments. learning that when i show up. he shows out! its like HE takes MY messy effort and makes it SWEET.
...learning that its so far from being about HOW he provides, but WHAT he provides. and, because, like a good father, HE knows what i need best!
this process of learning GODS way is interesting. sometimes the pieces start coming together and even then you still have moments where you think to yourself, "did i just make all of this up?" and its in the little pieces that HE shows you that its real.
last night just before putting the kids to bed brian shared THIS FACEBOOK VIDEO CLIP with me and i knew that what was being revealed to me was real...
with all of my heart, i love them! with all of my heart, i am committed to showing up!!! because it makes me better. showing up and allowing HIM to show out makes me a better me. it makes me the me that HE meant for me to be.
i really hope that this post made some sort of sense. and, i apologize for terrible run-on sentences, incorrect punctuation and the inability to find a time to write when i don't have 3 a year old climbing on my head and little boys constantly asking me to separate legos pieces while i type. this is just me.... showing up and hoping that HE shows out yet again.
oh and here is the vlog from that day if you care to watch... love you guys
from syreena, with love
i have followed compassion.com for years now since first reading about them from one of my favorite bloggers ashely who blogs at underthesycamoretree. she has been a compassion blogger for years and i have always seen it as one of the causes that i would love for my babies and i to be a part of. so i was delighted to hear, one sunday morning, that my church was hosting the compassion experience! i had just recently signed up to become a compassion blogger, in hopes of raising awareness of the work that they are doing. being given the opportunity to visit the compassion experience with my littles just a few mondays ago, seemed like the very best way to begin my journey as a compassion blogger and i am so very excited.
there is a section of the compassion website that addresses questions of weather or not the experience is appropriate/beneficial for young children. now, having visited with my 3,5 and 7 year old, i would say yes!
when you get started on the experience, they hand each child a device and a set of headphones to allow for individual control of the stories you will hear as you walk through the different sections/childs stories.
i must admit that, with little ones, it is a little hard to juggle. hard to try and keep them on the same track with the stories at the same time as well as manage what their eyes are seeing and their tiny hands are touching while inside of each pod.
what i decided to do, by the time we got to the second room, was focus my attentions on my big since his attention was following the story along with the environment that he was experiencing. while my little and the lady just explored.
one thing i noticed is that they didn't seem too surprised by their environments and the stories they were hearing. they seemed pretty comfortable with each setting and not so "out of place". i am not sure if i will be able to communicate this very well but i was very happy with their responses. to me, their responses meant that i have been doing a decent job talking to them about the lives of others in the world. it meant, to me, that their hearts were soft and not shocked by hearing the struggles and sufferings of others. i try my very best to have heart-to heart conversations with them, often, to help them understand that we are here to spread/share Gods love for his children in a world that is broken and covered in darkness.
^^^ listening! i love this kid!!! ^^^
i was so glad that we fought through the challenges of the day and made it to visit the experience on its very last day at our home church. i would recommend you visit compassion and check out some of the awesome work that they are doing to bring more and more light to our world. there are many different ways that you can support their efforts and help to make a difference.
and of course we vlogged about it, if you would like to see what our day was like :)
from syreena, with love