October 29, 2010

on being perfect :: part two

{part one here :: writing in response to thoughts shared at the Relevant conference}

Earlier this year I read Beth Moore’s newest book, So Long, Insecurity and found one sentence to be a stopper :: one that will stay in my mind for a long time.

“Perfectionism is insecurity in an art form.”  Beth writes that statement in such eloquent terms. 

A form of art :: where the individual has mastered the striving so well that the results almost seem beautiful, picturesque even and therefore soliciting the adoration of others.  Which of course feeds the cycle of perfectionism/insecurity even more.

In the words of this quote lies the foundation for the ferocious battle of trying to keep it all together all of the time.

FEAR.  A fear that drains the color from life.

paintbrushesInsecurity is the desperate fear that we won’t be accepted, applauded, or approved of by whichever group is the focus of our attentions.  So we try harder and do better at keeping up appearances while allowing very little access into the real tender part of us that wonders how much will be enough. 

Perfectionism is tricky, a slippery slope indeed.  In my case, my God-given personality is hard-wired for being detailed, orderly and for pursuing excellence.  It’s not a stress factor, just simply the way I am.  Think of Moses and of the necessary focus needed to fully write out God’s law exactly as He gave it :: yep, that’s me.  There is nothing wrong with this!  Let me say that again.

Pursuing excellence is not the problem :: I was born this way with the intention by God that it be used for good and for His glory.  So were you, whatever the personality.

This gift from God becomes a hindrance to me when my strength stretches out too far and becomes my weakness.  When the focus of my attention is others and not God’s glory ::  when the approval of God’s favor upon me is based on performance and ‘excellent’ behavior…well, the good gift is misused and misunderstood. 

Strengths overextended become weaknessesBut there is a way out of this cycle, this messy path.


An understanding and acceptance of GRACE :: abundant, lavish grace :: that restores all of the color.



the whole series:

part one:  a reformed perfectionist

part two:  perfectionism is insecurity.  insecurity is fear.

final thoughts:  in the grip of grace


photo credit



October 27, 2010

on being perfect :: part one

I’m a reformed perfectionist.

You know, the Type A first-born sort of thing.  But much bigger in my case.  This is a result of a combination of factors from personality (God-given!) to home life growing up.  Childhood for me was full of an abundance of rules and structure, but I don’t necessarily see all of this as completely out of line. 

My mother I’m convinced is the original FlyLady and could have made some money in her day.  Once-a-month cooking or freezing food ahead of time?  Yep, she missed publicizing that one too as this was a norm in our household long before the books & press.  You see what I mean…we were that kind of family and I was that kind of kid.

So, what then is the big deal?  Is the desire for keeping surroundings uncluttered or organized an issue? 

Being ultra-detailed and a planner a problem?

Well, it can be


At the Relevant Conference last weekend, Ann Voskamp (probably my favorite modern day writer), spoke some profound words that has me pondering and thinking much. 

“We do not achieve our identity in Christ, we receive it.”  Her words that caused my pen to pause and my heart to beat loudly as I recalled times past :: of the chains that hindered freedom.

The former problem of perfectionism in my life is wrapped up in those few words.  Somehow the truth became twisted as I was caught in the trap of believing that if all was in order (and if I could keep it this way nearly all of the time), then the approval of man and God was in the bag.

Big. Fat. Lie.  And yet, this way of thinking dominated my life for years.  Achieving and not receiving, only to be left soul-tired and weary.  This pattern of thought bears little, or let me be bold and say NO fruit.

So how did I unwind and unravel this mindset? 

I didn’t.  But I did have a head-on-collision with GRACE


the whole series:

part one:  a reformed perfectionist

part two:  perfectionism is insecurity.  insecurity is fear.

final thoughts:  in the grip of grace


photo credit


October 26, 2010

kindred spirits

I've been away before, alone at times to reflect and soak up the quiet.  Home life is full of noise, good sounds of course, but I crave a piece of quiet every now and then...

...but this time, the yearly pilgrimage away from the home front led to a strong desire to connect, to meet with women of like-minded vision and purpose.  To not be considered odd.

And so, I stole away to the Relevant Conference last weekend.  A carved out place and space of time for women who write :: who pour their hearts out to a screen, click, and pray that the message has meaning, brings hope, or somehow stirs the soul.

My words are often timid ones, shared with shakiness of spirit :: writers understand this fragile nature of our pen to paper {or fingers to keyboard} experiences.  And in the space of forty-eight short long hours, I found grace among sisters in Christ who write.

Kindred spirits who connected with the shakiness and yet the desire to shape an audience's mind and heart with words.  The only response is to give thanks to the unseen One who knew the felt need for sisterhood among authors, speakers, and yes...bloggers.

I am grateful.

I am changed.

Wisdom graciously shared from the speakers ::

"You can't give away what you don't have in your heart.  It's the living of life, not the writing of life that means something.  Crafting a message that will change hearts includes words of truth plus a life of integrity."
Sally Clarkson, Whole Heart Ministries

"There's a difference between being encouraging vs. painting a picture on our blogs of a life that doesn't really exist.  It's too easy to be filled by the affirmation of others (in comments & such) instead of by the Lord.  Be authentic, having a deep sense of littleness."
Angie Smith, Bring the Rain

"We don't always get to pick our story, but we can all show God through it."
Serena Woods, Grace is for Sinners

"We do not achieve our identity in Christ, we receive our identity in Him.  We serve with our writing, our blogs.  Give to God the deepest parts of yourself and share in writing pieces of what God has done :: yet always write for an audience of one, Him alone."
Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience 


photo from conference: Dayspring's wooden book crops


October 20, 2010

in the stillness

The desire for quiet, and even the planning for such times, does not always match up to how life will unfold :) 

I say this with a smile as life in the last week offered more opportunities for me to be ‘in the midst’ instead of away from it all for a little.  Which is of course a perfect set-up to see how I would respond!  Ahem.  Oh, it’s all good and this weekend is yet another time with pockets away for reflection & refreshment.

So, I continue to be still in this space…


May your week unfold with grace.  May you see the gifts of His hand all around you, even ‘in the midst’.



October 7, 2010

a call to quiet

in the last week or so, I’ve sensed a need to still myself before the Lord to hear :: to hear more of Him.

nothing is wrong, life is moving along well and we are blessed with good times and good health.

and still, I hear Him calling me

…asking me to release as much as possible some of the ‘noise’ (even the good of life can be too loud when listening for the Savior’s voice).  So, I am quieting activities that can pause for a moment, preparing the home for my short absences in the next week and scheduling a few pockets of time to steal away.


To hear the One and Only, the lover of my soul,

this Jesus who means so very much to me.

{so I pause in this space for a short break, perhaps a week? maybe more, to still myself. 

Be well friends, and I’ll return soon}



October 6, 2010

cultural celebrations :: A Spanish fiesta!






Okay yes, yes…I already know that all of the foods pictured above are not Spanish or having anything to do with Spain or even Mexico (though we’re not to the Americas for a while).  However, there is a long standing tradition in Spain, the focus of our studies recently along with Portugal, to enjoy food called tapas.

And oh, how we really like that idea!  Appetizers of any variety (from our understanding, nearly anything can be tapas), served on small plates and enjoyed with great conversation.  Sounds like a meal plan to me! 

Our menu ::

crackers & vegan ‘cream cheese’ topped with sweet pepper jelly

a layered bean dip w/tortilla chips

french bread pan-fried in olive oil and topped with bruschetta (our recipe is at the bottom of this post)

cocktail shrimp (a little bit found in the back of the freezer! :)

maple chicken drumsticks

Simple decor included a red tablecloth and leftover decorations from our twelve-year old’s birthday party three years ago (yes, we seem to keep stuff like this).  Though we had intended to add some Spanish or flamenco music in the background, I think we were more focused on the food than dinner music!  A fun evening indeed….


A few tidbits ::

did you hear about the bullfight weeks ago in Spain that ended up with a bull in the stands!? fortunately there were no fatalities & only minor injuries.

we took a look at the Spanish galleons, huge ships used by explorers and tradesmen in the past

and don’t forget the benefit of touring the world via the virtual globe Google Earth :: we’ve enjoyed visiting the landscape and famous places of each country


October 5, 2010

gratitude rises above

sometimes I am really weary at the end of a day…

…at times motherhood, keeping a home, and the full life we have leaves me exhausted.

there are days it’s tempting to think this phase of life with little ones will go on forever

and then I download pictures from my camera and gratitude for these days (though tiring at times) wells up in my heart.  I know the time is fleeting, and scenes like these will soon be only memories :: and so I give thanks

DSC_0045for his wonder of the outdoor world

DSC_0017 a little girl learning new sporting skills

DSC_0034and gaming skills

DSC_0073for his intensity :)

DSC_0072for toys strewn about the yard

DSC_0046for diapers that need changing and baby—okay toddler—legs

DSC_0015 for a doting auntie and uncle!

DSC_0105 for sacked out little ones in the car


DSC_0010 and for creative messes that need to be cleaned up…


For all of this Lord, I am grateful.  One can lose sight and vision in the day-to-day of a home full of activity, noise! and the many needs of the little people around me.  I pray that You restore my sight and cause me to really see from heaven’s perspective.  Remind me of the eternal nature of what is happening in our home. 

Let me see You at work….



October 4, 2010

happy birthday to the Papa

DSC_0158 He frowns because of the sun…otherwise, this husband of mine is a really friendly man! :)

happy birthday to the Dad and Papa in our home!  How extremely blessed we are for his presence, his leadership & love, his steadfastness (the man is a solid rock!).  We appreciate you so very much and are grateful for all of who you are to us….

and so we celebrate in style today…happy, happy birthday!


October 1, 2010

after the rains

Our little area of the state received a downpour yesterday :: in a matter of hours there was significant flooding that caused schools to release children earlier in the day, evening activities to be cancelled.

Oh, the rain! A part of nature’s course :: often anticipated and sometimes dreaded.

Yet we need the rains to come…



Rains in our lives as well are needed.  Can we ever really embrace this truth?  That consistently bright sunny days are not the best for us—eventually the air becomes too dry, then parched. 

We need the rain.  In its many forms rains come as an unwelcome trial, a disappointment, a call to even greater Sabbath rest, a challenge from within or from without :: the clouds become a little darker and full and…

the rains come.




The rain is for our growth, for our good though we’ve been tricked into believing that we must resist it.

Temptation is to be resisted.  Not growth. 

And the rain experiences of life will cause us to be nourished if we allow the process to fully come around.  God is faithful and will not disappoint, even if we shake our fist at the rain.  Because sometimes, it’s just hard not to.

Then afterwards…oh, the promise of afterwards!  The sun peeks out from behind trees and clouds…

DSC_0001And shines again! 


enjoy a lovely weekend…..

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