The photo prompt from this week for The Everyday Project was BEGINNING. Flipping through the photos on IG made me so grateful for those of you who share your stories and your beginnings. It makes the rest of us not feel alone. It reminds us to see the beautiful moments. It stretches our perspective of the world. And we need more of that. We need more of that God-given creativity to crawl out from under our skin and become painted in our homes, etched on the mountains we climb, chopped into homemade salsa, planted in our gardens, and displayed in a yoga pose at sunrise.
Here are the features from this past week on Instagram! Hashtag your photos #theeverydayproject to be featured. The photo prompt for next week is FAMILY.
I was outside early this morning, watering flowers with the schooners, pruning beds, enjoying the sunshine, thinking how I want to freeze this moment in time. Spring is one of those seasons that is just full of promise and the reminder of newness. An awakening from the dead of a long winter. I need to revel in that from time to time!
I was putting together this recipe for today and the spring picnic menu Lauren is hosting and thinking back on past springs. How different they all have been from each other. Different places. Surrounded with different people. But oh so full with memories of special gatherings. I like the idea of celebrating each and every season, but if I’m honest, I have my favorites. This spring, despite all the uncertainties, I want to bask in the newness and the freshness of new seasons. I want to celebrate the goodness of God and not forget His faithfulness. I want to be hospitable in this SC house and gather with the ones I love.
I’m teaming up with a group of lovely bloggers to bring you a complete spring picnic menu. I’m contributing the drinks, and the rest of the recipe links are listed below – consider it our potluck to you! I hope you’ll click around because everything looks amazing and I’m so happy I get to be apart of it. My recipe comes from a dear friend and it is by far one of my favorite “fancy” drinks. Add the slice of lime, margarita salt, and cherry on top to create a stunning presentation full of vibrant colors. I hope you find a reason to gather and celebrate with the ones you love this spring. Cheers!!!
SPARKLING CHERRY LIMEADE
1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)
Margarita Salt (optional
1 (12 oz. can) frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
3 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup liquid from jarred red maraschino cherries
2 cups sparkling water
Garnishes: lime slices, maraschino cherries
Rub rims of 8 chilled glasses (mason jars are fun!) with lime wedges and dip in margarita salt, if desired. Stir together limeade concentrate and 31/2 cups cold water; add liquid from maraschino cherries. Fill prepared glasses with ice. Pour limeade mixture into glasses,filling each two-thirds full; add sparkling water to fill.
I’ve been bursting to finally share the news that we have a sweet bébé growing in my belly!!! There has been so much recent change in our lives, that it felt right to keep this little one tucked safely inside as a secret until now. But here we are. 16.5 weeks, finally feeling less sick, planning a Georgia birth and a potentially southern name, and over the moon excited.
As I was getting ready for this photo and this announcement, I was scrubbing paint off my hands, and putting my hair in a bun (because who has time to fix their hair these days?!!) and thinking about new life. How fragile it is. How sacred. How tender. How we like to act like it is in our control to bring a baby in the world at just the right time and at the point where it is most convenient to us. And our agendas. I got to thinking about Mary and baby Jesus and how when the angel came to tell her she was going to be with child, the news came in all the wrong timing and for the strangest reasons. The son of God?!!! And I’ll have to give him up?!!!!
I have such a soft spot in my heart for that girl. Maybe it’s because I got married young, had children young, and every time we deal with people’s criticism it feels like one more stab I can’t take…that’s when Mary comes to mind. On most holidays, I’m sitting in church seeing things through her perspective. What did she feel like giving birth to her baby boy in that unsanitary stable in Bethlehem? No crib? No cute baby hats for picture-taking? When passover came and she knew her baby was about to give his life for mankind. For her. Did she try and stop Him? Did she try to tell Him it wasn’t worth dying for a bunch of sinners that had criticized and drug their family through the mud? Did she tell him that she loved Him – over and over again – hoping He would change His mind? Or deep down did she know her purpose? That the very reason she had been given this baby, was to give Him up.
To give up. I think about that a lot too. How our culture is all about getting, and how God says that true living is giving. Sacrifice. That a full life is really laying things down…our original plans…our finances…our school year…our jobs…our marriages…our children…the drapes we were going to buy for the living room. And oh how that begins to hurt. How personal it starts to feel when it encroaches on the things we hold most dear.
Maybe God knows I am most sensitive to Him when I am pregnant, and so He chooses to do the bulk of His heart-changing work during these 9 month intervals, or maybe God really does have a sense of humor and He likes to keep me on my toes. Either way, when life is swirling all around me and a little bebe grows softly in my womb, I start to see the things I’m clenching tightly with my fists. The things I don’t want to give God. The things I don’t want to lay down. The things I’m holding onto within an inch of my life and uttering in pregnancy-induced insomnia, “Not this one too. You just can’t ask THAT of me, Lord.”
And yet He does.
When I prayed about 2014, I had a framework in mind, but we went into it with open hands asking God to do a mighty work. Even before we knew about all the rest of the moves and the career changes, we saw this tiny heart beating on the ultrasound and that was enough. Enough.
There is a special kind of freedom that comes from walking hand in hand with a God who knows all things, wobbly trusting Him with the fabrications of your life. And when you can give it up to Him? The drapes. The perfectly decorated house. The easter dresses. The baby brought home to a place you have yet to pick out. The vehicle you have yet to buy that fits all 6. The tenth move. The perfect school in Georgia that enriches your 5-yr-old’s life. The school runs and homeschooling that somehow happen when you’re adding a newborn into the mix. The house you have here to sell. The supportive phone calls you need to be having with your husband. The doctor’s appointments. The dinners made. The baby equipment. The time to spend on each of your loved ones…
When you can give all of that up? I believe that’s when you truly begin to live. You see life as this tender, fragile, precious gift and you can lay things down more easily because you don’t want to waste a single second of it hoarding things up for yourself.
Sweet bébé, I want you to know that you are so loved it makes our hearts want to burst. Your siblings ask to hold their heads next to my belly so they can feel you inside of me and give you countless kisses throughout the day. Your daddy drove 15 hours to be at your doctor’s appointment, just to hear them say that you were growing and well. I can’t tell you what hospital you’ll be born in, which house we’ll bring you home to, or whether you’ll have your own nursery, but you are loved. So fully loved. And we cannot wait to meet you in September!!!
P.S. A huuuuuge thank you to my sister, Mandy, for taking photos of a hormonal pregnant woman who does not – in any way, shape, or form – enjoy getting photos taken. Love you, sis!