learning to ask...

it's funny, ironic, and not surprising at all that I can write about absolute JOY one moment and a heart of stone the next. 

there's battles every day….sometimes amidst the joy, yet defeated…sometimes overtaking the joy….

I'm learning to not let them win, and to see the joy, to see the God given moments and what He wants in each of them.

I absolutely LOVE Ann Voskamp's book 1,000 Gifts.  I say it all the time.  But, shall I make a confession?!

I had remembered posting the picture above to the blog and took another pic since I was back in Florida reading the same book…..then I realized that first pic was from TWO years earlier!
Good grief.

so from chapter 8 to chapter 10 in two years...sweet.

I read so much of it and then didn't even finish!  How did I let that happen?? Oh yeeeessss, that's right…..2 babies in 2 years….that'll surely do it.

Regardless, I continue to rave about it to everyone and encourage every person I know to read it.  Yet, maybe I should actually finish it first myself.

Anyways, there's one chapter I need to read over and over…about understanding God and seeing God in every moment.  There's some moments I just don't "get it."  I just don't see how to see Him.  or what could He possibly intend in this moment or that one.

We've had the flu this week….and while that definitely makes it harder to parent like we want, I can't act like the same type battles don't exist on our "better days."  I want to keep the joy….no matter the day, the pain, the ease, or the difficulty….and that can happen in His grace and strength.  Oh, but so often, it's so easy to focus on myself and what I want or need….and not what these little precious kiddos truly need.  and then my heart goes cold, my voice firmer, and my tone louder.  and although my heart aches when it happens, it's still a heart of stone…the mouth overflows that out of the heart…and the older ones have seen and heard it too much this week. 

It's so sweet though…..to stop and ask Him...when I don't "get it."  He shows me.

Like in a little battle that was overcome the other night….it was around midnight driving home from Florida, 12 hours on the road already, after many delays making us later and later it seemed, sick with the flu, Lucy waking up crying more and more, and then stalled in traffic - sitting still on some back road in Alabama.  We couldn't tell if it was road work or a wreck.  just bright lights and no movement. I started to get frustrated as Lucy started crying, wondering if we should turn around and detour or if we should wait it out.

So, once again, all I could do was ask….how am I supposed to see YOU in this moment? What am I supposed to think or do??  to be thankful for?

Immediately, I was impressed with "what does she need?" 

the frustration faded.

Sweet, tired Lucy Jayne.  I then switched seats to sit beside her and she instantly calmed down as I began gently rubbing her hair back.  sweet girl just needed a little help getting back to sleep.  So simple.  In a moment where I was beginning to think of myself and get frustrated….He reminded me to think of her.  I had thought there was nothing I could do to help her, especially since I didn't feel like switching seats.  But, He showed me I was wrong when He reminded me to really think of her first. 

If only I would always stop and ask when I can't clearly see. How many other times would it be so simple if I would just stop and ask.

and like I said about it being sick days or better days...
It's one of my favorite quotes….

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass….
It's about learning to dance in the rain."

and for myself..learning to ask how when we don't know how to dance...


and that night when we finally rolled in…..at 3 in the morning….did we so sweetly lay our heads down for rest finally? by golly NO!  well, Lucy did.  She basically crashed into her bed, so happy to see her crib again.  We however, were doing this….

capturing a mouse.  It never fails that almost every time we leave for at least a week, a critter moves in.  this little fella was on top of Anna Jaymes' loft bed! After he crawled down the bed's curtains, we closed off the exit and chased him around the room for a little while before we finally captured him under the tupperware.  I wish I could've videoed it.  It was quite entertaining to watch him run around and jump to the roof of the tupperware so fast over and over.  They wanted to keep him.  but NO, that fella is outa here.


Speaking of reading books {faster than taking two years}….In one of John Piper's messages about getting wisdom, he writes some statistics about how much you can read in a year if you read for just 15 minutes a day.  This was such an eye opener for me! and just the kick in the rear I needed to encourage me to finish the books I've already begun so I can move on to the ones I'm eager to start.

This is what he says….

 Now, I know what you are thinking: I don't have the time or the ability to get anywhere in books like that. So I want to show you something really encouraging. When this was shown to me about four years ago by my pastor, it changed my life. Most of us don't aspire very high in our reading because we don't feel like there is any hope. But listen to this. Suppose you read about 250 words a minute and that you resolve to devote just 15 minutes a day to serious theological reading to deepen your grasp of biblical truth. In one year (365 days) you would read for 5,475 minutes. Multiply that times 250 words per minute and you get 1,368,750 words per year. Now most books have between 300 and 400 words per page. So if we take 350 words per page and divide that into 1,368,750 words per year, we get 3,910 pages per year. This means that at 250 words a minute, 15 minutes a day, you could read about 20 average sized books a year!
When I heard that, I went home, analyzed my day, and set aside the 15 minutes just before supper to read Jonathan Edwards' big book, Original Sin. And I did it in a couple of months. Then I turned to something else. I was absolutely elated: reading that I thought never could get done was now getting done in a 15 minute slot that would have been wasted anyway. Therefore, I encourage you, there is hope. 

It's a really great sermon on wisdom, too!  I think you can listen or read it.




  1. Crystal, Thank you for this blog. I loved it and you. I see you seeking to do what God wants and to be the Mother God wants you to be. Believe it or not these days will be gone before you know it so always live in the moment. Enjoy those beautiful children and always try to see the humor in it. Sometimes we want kids to act like adults and forget they are just little ones. Ya'll are doing an amazing job with them and I'm very proud of ya'll. Love ya'll bunches!!

    1. Thank you Nina! yes, I just want to get so good at laughing and really enjoying them and enjoying the blessings that God has in every moment! Thank you for your encouragement. :) Love you too!