LOVE

Who’s Doing the Lovin’?

It’s love weekend…the time where we take a break and focus some love on those we cherish. Or, according to Hallmark, we’re supposed toūüôā

Some people go all out for Valentine’s Day and shower their darling with cards and treats and surprises. Some poor souls get puppies as a surprise. Not sure I’d want a puppy…

When we were dating my dear Jim planned a scavenger hunt all around the Seminary campus. The challenge ended at the top of the bell tower (and involved me walking blindfolded around the courtyard!), where he had set up a romantic steak dinner. What a memory!

Since then, Valentine’s Day has changed. Some years we’ve forgotten it’s Valentines Day. Others have been celebrated amidst the screams of our toddlers. Despite our lackluster Valentine days, we strive for love everyday, through the challenges and arguments, the busy children and moves, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Continue reading

ON POINT (2)

What Are You Looking At?

I did something awful the other night: I watched a documentary. Generally they’re interesting, and benign to my heart. This one was different; so gut wrenching that I spent an hour sobbing and processing with Jim what I had witnessed.

It told of an innocent child that was murdered by his mentally unbalanced mother, while she was out on bail for having visciously murdered the baby’s father. (I really thought the whole movie was going to turn out differently! I should’ve turned it off sooner…)

And it wasn’t just the movie that upset me.

At church we’ve been studying the topic of abortion. I was distraught by the facts…there are 40 – 50 million innocent babies being murdered every year in the world.

There are so many innocents experiencing pain.

Pain isn’t a sufficient word. Continue reading

SINCE 1980

Freeze the Worry Out of Food

This week’s guest post comes from a dear friend I admire and respect as a missional woman living out her faith daily. Jessica Gebbink is gifted in many areas, and today she shares with us¬†the benefits of freezer cooking. It’s amazing how a ready-made, healthy meal can relieve some anxiety! ¬†

There are a lot of things that give me anxiety as a mom, and it sounds weird, but FOOD is a big one! Are they eating enough? Is it the right food? Are they eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are there ingredients I can’t pronounce in this? Are chicken nuggets “real food” (again!)?

One way  I cope with food-anxiety (is that a thing?) is Freezer Cooking! Yes, it may sound a little intimidating at first, but the joy of pulling ready-made breakfast, lunch and dinner out of the freezer, that I made with my own two hands, not only cuts down on my food-fears, but saves me money and time! Continue reading

La maison

Blessing Those Who Grieve

The kids in our house know about our fifth child. Big sister randomly mentions her, wondering how old she’ll be when we meet her in heaven. We all wonder if the baby would have been a boy or girl. In small ways, I still grieve the little life we miscarried eight years ago.

We had all the joy and anticipation of new parents, even though the pregnancy was only 10 weeks along. People adviced us not to announce too early, but once we heard the heartbeat, our doctor said there was a 2% chance that something could go wrong.

2%…that was an amazing statistic, and one we were willing to bank on. After all, we were eager to share, and anxious for prayers.

We announced the news at church, and I told the 6th grade class I taught. I even received a few gifts!

Just 4 short days later, we were sitting with the doctor, looking at a lifeless lump on the ultrasound monitor. The baby’s heart had stopped; our first child had died.¬† Continue reading

MAKES

Hear the Words

Words matter. I try not to use them carelessly, and I’m aware of the weight they can carry. I especially notice words when I listen to music. Artists are usually trying to communicate something, whether it’s a melancholy feeling, anger, admiration, or straight up fun.

Christian music is no exception…and neither are the Christmas tunes that currently dominate the stations. Jingle Bells gets all 4 kids boppin, and Silent Night puts our youngest to sleep. The Little Drummer Boy takes us to the crib of Jesus, and has an amazing bass line!

However my top pick of the season has to be Mary Did You Know. I especially like this version. The lyrics draw to mind the power of the little manger baby. His birth is the culmination of thousands of years of prophecies, wrapped up in a tight little human bundle.

And Mary gets to touch him, kiss him, snuggle him, walk and talk with him.

As I listen, I’m reminded that someday I will too. I won’t change his diapers like Mary…but there will come a day that Jesus will be as real to me as my sweet baby.

Until that day comes the song calls to mind the character of God – healer, dominant over nature, Redeemer, deliverer, LORD, I AM. With each line, I insert my name and meditate on the acts of my King.

Brandy, did you know this baby boy would one day walk on water?

Brandy, did you know this baby boy would save our sons and daughters?

These lyrics help keep the gravity of His birth at the forefront of my Christmas days. As the holiday worries creep in, it’s a gift to focus on the One who quells the anxiety. And this song does just the trick!

Try putting your name in the song – because He came for you too!

Happily linked with:
Raising Homemakers
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home
Grace & Truth
A Little R & R
3-D Lessons for Life
Pat and Candy

 

SUFFERING'S

The End of Suffering

This week I’ve had the opportunity to interact with different groups of teens. I love this age of young people. They’re funny, thoughtful, and usually painfully honest. These are my kind of people.

Oddly enough, each encounter I had involved discussion of suffering. One teen shared how she was bullied her freshman and sophomore year of high school. These rough years shaped her personality and perception of friendships.

Another group of teens discussed with me the pains of this world: addiction, blindness, ebola, car accidents, etc. We talked through who is to blame for suffering.

Lastly I watched a video of a young woman bravely sharing her story. With tears and courage, she revealed that she was raped as an 11-year-old. She has only recently begun talking about it in hopes to let others know they are not alone in their pain. Continue reading

So this isChristmas.

7 Ways to Cope with Holiday Worry

December. The word evokes lots of warm fuzzy feelings. I mean it’s CHRISTMAS this month! And I love me some Christmas. It’s the pinnacle holiday for Christians AND I am a total gift giver. In addition to the Lord’s birthday, we also celebrate 2 very special births in our family – my sweet girls. All in all, December winds up to be an exhilarating, yet stressful month.

It’s ironic that the most wonderful time of the year can also be one of the most worrisome times of the year. We have high hopes of how the season will go…and accomplishing holiday goals is usually wrapped in¬†worry.

Will I have enough money for gifts?

What’s the perfect picture to use for our Christmas card?

Should I say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

My in-laws are a terror; how will I spend a week with them?

How will I get everything done that I need to get done?

What’s the best way to avoid all of the crowds?

How do I avoid feeling lonely when I have no where to go?

Rather than be a victim of worry this December, I plan to be intentional and face worry head on with prayer and tactics. Here’s a few I’m planning to use: Continue reading

can fitness knock out worry-

A Story of Fitness

Cast Your Worries is proud to welcome¬†Melissa Meyer who blogs at fit4liferx. Not only is she an incredible athlete, but she is also one of the sincerest encouragers I’ve met!

Today she shares how fitness has impacted worries in her life and how God actually designed our bodies to benefit from movement.

January, the start of a new year, but the beginning of what would end up being one the most trying years for my family.   Our faith, strength, and endurance was about to go through the largest test. What started as two grand mal seizures turned into months of uncertainty and unrest.  My gut told me my dad’s condition was serious but I did not want to believe it to be true.

In the months following, my father was taken from specialist to specialist, with no clear diagnosis.  As I sat with my mom and dad at Northwestern medicine on March 20th our world was about to be tuned upside down. My dad had a brain tumor, which later turned out to be brain cancer. Continue reading

Late and worried...AGAIN! (1)

Late and Worried…AGAIN!

I woke up the other morning just like almost every other morning of my life – late. I had to be out the door in an hour with all 4 kids, dressed, fed, and ready to go.

After spending way too much time making breakfast, I had about 15 minutes left to shoo the kids around the house into shoes and out the door. After 30 minutes everyone was buckled in the car while I sprinted around the house packing snacks, diapers, water, teething gel, wallet, and trying not to forget my phone.

I wish I could blame my lateness on kids…4 of them…but that just wouldn’t be fair.

I’ve been late since I can remember. I scarfed down breakfast on the way to 5th grade, walked in late to 80% of my high school career, and barely skated into college classes on time.

If I were any Disney character, I'd be this tardy rabbit!

If I were any Disney character, I’d be this tardy rabbit!

And every time I’m late I feel great anxiety. You’d think after a lifetime of tardiness I’d be numb to feeling guilty and worried about being late. Continue reading

I USED

I Used To Be Fun

That’s what I kept thinking the other night. As I reflected on my day of homeschooling 3 tornadoes I cringed at my serious, harsh, controlling tone that ruled the day. I snapped at my oldest, scowled at my boy, and talked impatiently with my 3-year-old.

I used to be fun.

When I was a camp counselor, I was the most carefree mentor around. I was goofy, playful, warm, and I smiled more. I was a relaxed Sunday school teacher and I could work the room at any social gathering.

I thought for sure I would have this whole mom thing locked up. I thought I would have more fun with my kids. Why wouldn’t I when I had so much fun with everyone else?! What I didn’t account for was the effect of worry on my ability to relax.

Worry steals my fun. I stiffen up when I feel the need to control things. I get serious and tighten up mentally and emotionally. I have expectations of the mom and person I want to be. When I don’t live up to them, I worry that I’m letting everyone down, especially my kids. And that’s when I’m no fun.¬† Continue reading