Series: Practicing His Presence – October 29th

October 29, 2014

Do you think this is a magic trick, sitting here with Me for five minutes, waiting for Me to speak? I am speaking all the time. But I won’t shout. I won’t scream. Mine is a still small voice and to hear it requires discipline. Your discipline to sit still and to open your heart. To listen, you must STOP and be quiet. It seems counter cultural and it is, actually, even with all the good there is to do. Even all the righteous causes. You want more than a 24-hour day, but you couldn’t handle it if you had it. I know how much you can handle in a day, trust Me with the Earth rotating around the sun, spinning on its axis. If you seek Me you will find Me if you seek Me with all of your heart. Is there room in there for Me? There is. There is plenty of room in your heart for My love, it’s your head that lacks space for My Presence and Peace, all those thoughts and concerns whirling. But only you can rearrange and clear out the noise and choose what is life-giving to hear. 

Philippians 4:8-9, The Message –

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Lessons from Traveling – The Graveswolds

Well, it seems this is becoming real, this year of freedom, this “Year of Jubilee.” When Jason learned his department at work had been eliminated way back when in January, after the shock wore off, we prayed and talked quite a bit about what God was showing us, what this “open door” meant. The four of us sat around our kitchen table and grieved and dreamed all at once, what was “supposed to be” and all the possibilities or options ahead of us.

Some scoffed, “We would ALL like to travel, but we need to work and pay the bills…”

Some wondered, “What about school for your kids?”

Some questioned, “Where will you live once you sell your house? Will you have a home base?”

Some thought we were crazy, “I hate traveling! I can’t imagine NOT having my bed to come home to every night!”

All of these are valid sentiments. Jason will be working as we travel. The income from his job will pay the bills. Our bills just won’t include a mortgage for a while, that’s all. We’ve been homeschooling this year so will continue with this no matter where we are. Because his job is one he does from home, “home” will be where we are. Man, I love my bed. A lot. And that one, along with our creature comforts of home like a kitchen, will be the tough one. But this is really happening. We are selling about half our stuff and then storing some things for our return, whenever that is.

Sure, traveling is fun! I love it with a passion…always have. But part of traveling that makes traveling doable is the return home. Like when you ski all day and take the boots off, returning home after a trip, even if the trip was epic, is nostalgic and comfortable and familiar. I LOVE cleaning my house before a trip so that when we return it says, “Welcome Home!”

I’m a girl who does well with routine and structure. So, with this year ahead of unknown and adventure, I’m praying about what my personal “routine and structure” will look like. You see, in life there will always be things, distractions, stuff that comes up, and even if it’s all good, it can throw us for a loop and get us off our wagons. Some wagons we should have bailed years ago. Others are getting us where we need to go. So, with this in mind, Jesus, food, rest, and exercise are my wagon, the “routine and structure” I’ll take with me, no matter where I go. Thing is, the food will change from place to place and for a girl with Crohn’s and major food sensitivities, I’ll need to seek out healthy choices and not let myself think, “Oh, I’m on vacation, so it’s all good…” I won’t be on vacation. I’ll just be living away from home for a year-ish. There is a difference. And the rest, well, if you’ve ever slept in a bed other than your own, or wrestle with a first night’s sleep away, this will be something I have to be intentional about, getting to bed early in our shared hotel room, or maybe even sneaking naps with the kids. As far as exercise goes, we practiced this lifestyle last month when we traveled to California and Arizona for 3 weeks for work and my Mom’s celebration of life. The first week at the hotel was awesome for working out because there was a gym and Em and Ry could swim while I lifted. The second week we were at a friend’s house and I got in one hour of yoga. The third week I drank wine every night…so, you can see where I’ll need to get my exercise routine into a routine.

The thing that remained steady throughout our travels was Jesus. I figured He would, but I don’t want to take that for granted, either.

Something I learned from those 3 weeks is that even though we traveled with Jason, he was working and busy. He did take some time off here and there, but he will need to schedule in family time, and we’ll need to find babysitters once a week wherever we are so we can go on a date. Jason also realizes that I need some alone time throughout the week and when he works straight through, I get a little cranky…I’ll need to work on my crankiness and he’ll need to work with me for an hour here and there.

I realize these are first world problems. I’m not complaining. The routine part was what I wanted to share mostly, because even if you don’t travel, things will always come up, there will always be SOMETHING to justify either slacking in your healthy routine or lifestyle choices, and I just wanted to encourage you that as you “love your neighbor as your love yourself” to remember that loving yourself means building healthy habits. I know I’ll need all the encouragement I can get!


Series: Practicing His Presence – Cares and Worries

Here’s what He put on my heart today. Some of it applies to me, but I’m thinking someone else is supposed to hear these words, too. Last winter I experienced a lot of anxiety. Changing my diet and habits, exercising and acupuncture all helped to a degree, but I also chose lame “rewards” to escape […]

[Continue reading...]

Series: Practicing His Presence – Guest Post with my daughter

This picture was from when the trip was over, hence the sad face...

Today as my daughter and I spent time in homeschool praying, reading, and listening to God, He told her something pretty neat. You see, every. single. morning. she says, “What are we doing today?” And every. single. day. she says, “What are we doing tomorrow?” She wants to know. She wants to know specifics. She […]

[Continue reading...]

Series: Practicing His Presence

Listening. I’m starting a practice, an intention if you will, of sitting still for 5 minutes with my eyes closed and my fingers on the keyboard. It’s not to write, as far as a writing practice, but it’s my heart and intent to sit with my soul and ears open so I can hear the Spirit […]

[Continue reading...]

Lessons in Perspective

As I’ve been packing for this year of jubilee, a year of uncertainty and excitement and purging and dreaming, it has been a journey of memories, going through every drawer and cupboard, finding pictures and notes and mementos of a whole lot of life lived. And even in the living and losing, I wouldn’t change […]

[Continue reading...]

Get Your Party Started

On October 11, 2014, my Dad, sisters and I threw a party we should have thrown years prior, but under different circumstances. Life gets busy. We have jobs and spouses and kids and appointments and things to do and budgets and we get tired and the thought of traveling with niños in tow is less […]

[Continue reading...]

10 Things I Love About Our House

photo 1[1]

Our realtor asked me to write a list stating 10 things I love about our house, neighborhood, and community in order to share with potential buyers. I thought I’d share it here because for me it’s so much more than a way to sell our house. Even though my heart is longing and ready for […]

[Continue reading...]

“The Other Woman”

The other day I babysat 5 kids ages 5 and under. I know, it’s grounds for sainthood, but that’s not the point of this post. And, technically, I only “babysat” 4 since one of them was my kid. Details. Anyway, one of the sweeties came over to me and said that so and so had told […]

[Continue reading...]

An Alien, A Professor, and a Womanizing Motorcyclist

photo courtesy of:

(*I’m not a celebrity stalker, but the death of Robin Williams so close to my Mom’s makes it all raw and real and I’m moved to share…) We moved from Ohio to Arizona in 1978 and shortly thereafter I became a “latch-key” kid. Part of the transition included my Mom going to work once we got […]

[Continue reading...]