Patient Endurance: 2023 Word of the Year

Since learning this ab

Patient Endurance, it’s been on my mind for the last 2 months. As I look back on the last 8 1/2 months it is what I think I needed the most specifically the last 4 months. As I have neared the end of reading the New Testament it’s the phrase that seemed to jump off the page the most.

Those passages talk about trials, persecution, and struggles. As much as I don’t necessarily experience persecution as the early church did, I do think that time is coming.

We have been living an adventure. Honestly, it’s not always been an easy one! Living in a camper for 7 months and a few weeks is the longest we have ever “camped”. Homeschooling 4 kids while doing that presented a whole other side to the adventure and over time this introverted mama got bogged down! It’s not that I was angry or upset or sad about my circumstances because we LOVE where we are

What does getting bogged down look like?

Well for me it looks like a whole lot f impatience….with myself. I’m not….and I can fill that blank with all sorts of things like-

  • strong enough
  • smart enough
  • influential enough
  • I’m failing at…
  • balanced enough
  • in God’s word enough
  • I’m too distracted.

The list can go on and on and on.

When I come to the place where I am impatient with myself I find that I stop enduring. I quit. I GIVE UP.

When I give up… I become more impatient with myself. It’s quite a nasty cycle. A nasty cycle that I spent the last 4 months battling. Distraction became my everyday fight. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t write, and I had lost purpose in my everyday. I just kinda felt lost because there were some things that were a normal part of my everyday life that I had intentionally let go of for a season. Sometimes we have to do that and for a number of months That is exactly what needed to happen BUT if it’s a part of who I am, part f the gifts God has given me Then I need to fight for them. HOWEVER, I DIDN’T.

I just didn’t understand!

It’s ok to let go of something for a time BUT when it’s time we need to bring it back to the best of our ability. I had convinced myself that I didn’t have time for writing and art. It’s my happy place. It’s how I process my life. I was ok letting go of those things because space was limited. Time was limited.

I would sit and stare at a blank computer screen and no words would come. I would sit and look at my journal for my Bible study and I couldn’t focus on what needed to be read. Matter of fact I couldn’t read much of anything.

So what Changed?

One day I sat out at our picnic table FIGHTING my way through prayer and I asked God “how can I get back to my normal self?” I sat there staring out at the fog rolling in across the hills and a memory came to mind. It was of a 21-year-old me sitting in a booth at our college’s student center before it became ” the Cafe” I was sitting in a booth and no one was there. I had a notebook in front of me and a LARGE stack of schoolwork off to the side of the notebook. I was bent over the notebook furiously scribbling words as they poured into my mind. All of a sudden I sat up, closed the notebook and reached for the first book on my stack of schoolwork.

I was transported to those moments that had become a habit. The habit? Creative writing. I am able to quiet my mind through the written word, specifically through pen and paper. That’s how I was able to focus my brain in order to focus on school work.

At that moment I knew what I had to do! I started writing for the purpose of quieting my mind. It worked.

When that happened I began to see the words patient endurance starting to pop off the pages of the bible journals I was using. I was astonished. I was able to focus and get stuff accomplished. What was I writing? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF GREAT SIGNIFICANCE! No joke, one day I wrote about Poop because that’s what a smarty pants friend wrote on my Facebook post asking for one-word journal prompts.

A Few other things I changed

I simplified my devotions for a time (not that what I was doing was overcomplicated). I picked up my sketchbook and I began the process of starting a women’s ministry. It didn’t all come back immediately. I needed to be patient with the process. I’m still working through the process of being patient with the process because goodness knows it’s not a perfect process. I’m also working on building my endurance. When I get impatient with myself or the process (or God-because yeah that happens too) not giving up but fighting through even if it means doing a simplified devotion for that day compared to what I’m used to. I don’t want to get worn down by starting out in a sprint but I want to run a steady race, enduring patiently whatever lies ahead of me on my walk with Jesus.

Here are the verses I picked to go along with my word (phrase) of Patient Endurance for the year.

2 Thessalonians 3:5New Living Translation

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.

Hebrews 6:12New Living Translation

12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

I can’t have patient endurance without Jesus, I just can’t. I also know that I do NOT want to become spiritually dull and indifferent. We all know that there’s a whole lot of indifference going around. I want to be different. So will you join me this year as I embrace Patient Endurance?

Have you chosen a word for the year? Of so what is it? Share it in the comments below!

Starting Over: The Restoration of Walking By Faith


At some point, we all need to START OVER at something. The process of restoration is no different. When we restore something we have to strip it down to its original structure in order to rebuild it to its original state (or better, stronger). No matter what part of our journey through life we are on starting over is hard. As I have focused on the word Restoration throughout this year starting over definitely seems to have been a consistent theme as well!

As of January 1 hubby started over in a new full-time position at the church we had been attending since we left our previous church after 12 years of serving there.

In May we moved into our camper as we undertook the starting over with a different house, that wasn’t quite a house yet….it was a horse barn that we are turning into a house. No matter what starting over has a great number of challenges.

Coming face to face with hard things.

A few weeks ago I sat staring at a blank screen. My planner opened to the list of 30+ blog post topics I have been contemplating- some for over 2 years, and I had NOTHING! I felt like I had no words. Everything I wanted to write could be taken wrong by someone and I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone. It’s been a slow building to that for a long time. It’s been ingrained in me. DON”T OFFEND.

The problem is though, sometimes just breathing offends people. Jesus offended people. Just saying the name of Jesus will offend some. I have to ask myself at what point am I going to draw the line in the sand and say enough is enough.

Truth is hard. It’s hard for me too. The reality is if I don’t write the truth then I might as well hang up the power cord to my computer and say “sorry God I’m just not going to do this anymore ” the funny thing is I did just that. Notice how I didn’t finish the write 31 days challenge? Don’t worry I’m going to but I have some things to write about first.

This is one of them.

As I plunked out post after post for the writing challenge I realized that I was writing a lot of disclaimers. All in the name of not offending. The hard part is we all have negative things about us that we need to grow out of. so no matter how many disclaimers I write, somewhere someone is going to be offended, no matter how hard I try not to offend. I’ve been offended by those similar types of things.

So what should we do with that offense?

If we find ourselves getting offended at something that should be a warning that there is some heart work that needs to be done.

The best thing I have found that helps me is to ask God to show me the truth. Show me my own heart. Have you ever heard the phrase ” You can’t handle the truth!”? It was made famous in the movie A FEW GOOD MEN. Most of the time that’s where we are..we can’t handle the truth

Prepare your heart for the truth. I had to do this as I wrestled with God (remember it’s my favorite thing to do) about giving up the blog. I didn’t know how to fix the problem. The problem was me and how I write.

I had given up the way I had started writing nearly 16 years ago. A daily narrative of my life as I journey through my life. I became disconnected from how I wrote as I struggled with not offending people. I had been accused of writing about things “I shouldn’t be writing about”. That’s where it started and it snowballed into where I am now. Unfortunately, It created a cycle in my mind that I wasn’t even aware of.

The problem is 2 fold:

First, the problem was the person assumed the passage I shared was about something that it wasn’t. He got offended because I just shared a passage from a Psalm. That really should have been my first indication that there was a problem but I was in a place of high trauma and that just fueled the abuse we were enduring.

The second problem is that it has to do with me. if it impacts me, touches my heart, and my life ad triggers my mind then I should be able to write about its impact. Do I have the right to air dirty laundry, fuel anger, be spiteful with my words, or share details that aren’t mine to share? Absolutely not! Have I fallen prey to that in the past? Unfortunately. But I have grown a lot in my walk with Jesus and grown in spiritual maturity.

However, I cannot give up valuable headspace to that so I had a choice to make.

Restore or Let Go (aka give up)

Giving up was the easiest answer because I hate drama. I will do whatever it takes to avoid it at all costs. I know that people-pleasing is a real struggle for me and is something I have been battling all year. It’s been an area of growth for a while now and after much prayer I believe this is the next step in process of letting that part of me go.

So I chose to restore!

What does that mean going forward?

Well, first it means that this isn’t going to be a perfect change and transition. I have to work really hard to find that passion and form of writing from the past.

Second, it means, at least for the time being I have to let go of the old list of posts. I still have them. I just have to rethink how I will write the to not be so “mechanical” and make them more personal.

Lastly, I won’t be doing a Happy Homemaker post for a while. It’s an easy post and I enjoy them but I was hiding behind it As in ” oh I wrote my post for the week so I’m all good now.”.

For the time being, I want to focus on what God has been doing in my life! Some of the stuff is hard. some of it’s amazing and he is using it all for his glory…especially if I share it!

The other BIG thing is I have started reviewing books again! I have been reading my brains out and I have two books ready to write posts for and another in the wings. I can tell you though that they aren’t easy topics.

So will you join me on this journey? I sure would love it if you would!!


Steph: Influential Woman #10


Steph and I have been friends for years. Since college really. We lost contact for a number of years and really reconnected through the magic of social media. Then through a mutual friend, we reconnected in person and on a deeper level. over the last two or three years, we have become each other’s cheerleaders. She really has influenced me deeply with her voice of reason. When I’m frustrated that I haven’t met my own expectations she is there to speak the truth and say “Goodness Mary, here’s the logical reason why you can’t seem to make that goal…Life is a little crazy for you right now.”

She makes it so I can take that big deep breath and let go of my lofty expectations! She has taken time to REALLY listen about some of the darkest times in my life. Steph has taken that time to literally breathe life back into my soul. Helping me to see Jesus in the middle of it all! helping me to see my value in the muck no matter how cruddy it all was.

She spoke the truth in the middle of the worst physical pain of my life!

We know that we can speak truth into each other’s lives and it will make a difference!

That kind of Influence is life-giving and that is why I asked Steph (And Beth) to be on my prayer team for this blog! You can check out their introduction in this post here.

That in and of itself is a powerful influence. but to be willing to speak the truth in love into someone’s life is one of the most powerful influences a person can have.

How about You?

who is someone that speaks truth into your life?

Do you let them influence you with that truth?

How can you influence someone by speaking the truth in their life?

You Can Check out more #31days2022 authors here!



Martha: Influential Woman #9


Martha, Martha- Mary, Mary

My soul groaned as I read “Martha, Martha” as if I could almost hear Jesus say “Mary, Mary”

As I said yesterday I have always seen myself more as a Mary. One day I realized at some point I had become a Martha!

I flopped down into my chair at the kitchen table. I sighed, I was exhausted. Sitting in front of me was all the things I needed for my daily time with Jesus. my mental checklist n through my head “Do I have time to spend with Jesus?”

I was in a phase of busyness. Exhaustion defined my days. I was short with the ones I loved.

My heart yelled, “God don’t you see I need help?”

“I am juggling ALL these things… I’m stressed and exhausted and I cannot do this all alone.”

It all comes clear

Like a hit upside the head, I looked down at the kitchen table and there sat my journal. Wasn’t I doing all the good things? I hadn’t chosen the better thing in I didn’t know how long. As I smiled and hung my head, I knew I Couldn’t give what I didn’t have. what I was trying to do was pour out from an empty pitcher.

I was wringing out a dry sponge expecting water.

As I sat there I felt like Martha running around serving my little brains out. Something great for sure. NOT THE BEST I could have chosen.

I knew what I had to do. I picked up my Bible (aka an app on my phone) and I opened my journal.

SIDE NOTE: I have a healthy dose f Mary and Martha coursing through me. I cycle through the habits and focus of these two women on a regular basis. My heart’s desire is to find a healthy balance between the two of them It is a battle I wage regularly!

Now it’s Your turn.

Are you more of a Mary or a Martha?

If you are a Martha, what can you do to actively pursue more time at the feet of Jesus?

You Can Check out more #31days2022 authors here!



Mary: Influential Woman #8


My name is Mary, but it isn’t me I’m talking about! I’m talking about Mary, the sister of Martha. This influential pair of sisters will be Influential women #8 and #9! They go hand in hand. Especially in how they have influenced my life. I can’t have one without the other! Why?

Well because at various points in my life I have chosen to be like Mary..and I have chosen to be like Martha!

Today however we are just going to focus on Mary! I always thought it was neat that identified with Mary the most because I am Mary!

I have never done well with just sitting and doing 10 minutes of “devotions”., wanted more. Yet I have always had people who said “it takes you too long.”

I would get lost in my time with Jesus because I was a sponge and soaked up all the time I could.

I had battled my whole life without knowing how to go about spending time with God. So when I found this rhythm and knowledge I soaked it all in. I discovered that my brain and my heart were way calmer and more organized. Martha wasn’t happy that Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus.

I get the impression that she had been there a while soaking it all in!

So Martha bursts in and complain to Jesus. Jesus listens and proclaims that Mary has chosen the BETTER thing. Not the right thing, the better thing.

When I really got to know Mary I found a friend, a kindred spirit if you will. I wasn’t alone in this desire to just sit and soak in the moments with Jesus. Martha was doing an important thing, caring for those in her home. Jesus however wasn’t going to rebuke Mary for spending time with Him.

But sometimes we give into what the world tells us is most important…

Now it’s Your turn.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you just sat at the feet of Jesus and soaked it all in?

Did people complain about it even though you were choosing the better thing?

How did you handle it?

You Can Check out more #31days2022 authors here!