our souls are sick with it.

We sat around the living room, just the five of us. Feeling a touch of anxiety, but more so, resorting back to those comedic jokes you use to lighten the mood when you know that vulnerability is knocking at your door.

We talked about being discontent and what that means to us, what it looks like, and how it makes you squirm and fearful and jealous all in one breath. We all talked about how were unsatisfied with some of the cards we’d been dealt and the steps we found ourselves routinely and mundanely taking. It has this unexplainable way of weighing you down till your knees start to ache. And that’s just how I felt.

 “Discontentment is plaguing the souls of women.”

 We read aloud from our study guide.

Our houses are too small; we wear the wrong size; we can’t get pregnant; we can’t get married; we can’t afford the right jeans. We need kids that obey and hair that obeys and husbands that obey, and we need jobs that are fulfilling and enough money to do it all. We need the big things and small things because we want something more, something different. And our souls are sick with it.”

After those words were spoken, we all just sat there… Trying to find the words to convey just how much our aching hearts could identity with a single paragraph. And I identified with it greatly… feeling as if I was spinning my wheels at a unfulfilling job that sucked up most of my time and energy that i wanted to use for things that mattered and held more value to me than punching the clock. I realized how little i had left to spill over to my friends and family and how discontent these circumstances made me feel. I wanted something else.

Something more, something different.

It’s what we all want.

What we all aim for in one way or another because we’ve been convinced that who we are, where we’re at, and what we’ve been given is not even close to being enough.

A restless longing for better circumstances” is the very way Webster’s dictionary defines the word discontentment.

And in some ways, id say that’s true and a very common theme found woven through the fabric of our human hearts.

My only thought is::

when is better circumstances
and better locations
and better jobs
and better
and better
and more
and more
ever enough?!
will it EVER be enough?

::::

Around that living room we sat, pouring out our aggravations and our growing pains. Listing ways that we wished things were different. And after hearing us share our side of the story,  i began to realize that we each have pictures of how we think our lives are supposed to be, if we build them just live we envision. And its inevitable we become disappointed when things don’t turn just out just like we planned, when our story starts to unfold in ways we never intended on writing… and its there we are typically found, too busy being discontent and complaining about what should be, to be grateful for what already is.

::::

There’s more i want to share on this topic and will plan my next post to dive into scripture about it.
Because there has to be hope for that restless longing we feel and there must be something we’ve missed along the way.

I hope we can learn together.

under your own two feet.

to your left and right you look
with eyes you’ve created to see whats greener
and it always seems to be greener somewhere else

it doesn’t have to be lush and green
over here
and over there
and every other place than under your own two feet

the truth is: grass is green wherever its watered
when it’s tended to
and consciously cared for

if the grass looks greener somewhere else
its time to look down
and water your own yard

grace was born: a birthday blog

It was 20yrs ago, this very day, my baby sister – Olivia Grace was born.

I was only 5yrs old and recall absolutely nothing about that day, but I wish I did, because I know it was a really special day.

I do remember a little later trying my best to hoist her out of her crib and carry her on my tiny 5yr old hip. (bad move mom and dad)
I remember those blonde curls and those cute chubby cheeks that were always dirty. Always.
And i remember her running around with Hannah who was just a year older, both without shoes and only a diaper. Typical Baker fashion.

She was always happy and always sassy as a kid.
And honestly. Not much has changed.
She’s still always happy.
Always.
It’s kind of miraculous IF you catch liv on an off day.

Happy-go-lucky is what we call her and that’s just the kind of person she is.

The first one to laugh at your jokes, but mostly the first one to laugh at her own. She will whip your hair up and put you in something cooler than you had on before. and man… the girl can clean.

She’s just fun and everyone that knows her, knows that. and that may sound silly, but i think it’s a pretty tremendous quality. To be the person that people want around because you’re bright and bold and encouraging company to be with. I hope to be that very kind of person.

I’m so proud of my baby sister and the wonderful and beautiful person she has become. I cant believe she no longer has ‘teen’ at the end of her age.

 

Liv,
Time is never wasted, but it’s invested into one way or another, no matter what. Remember that, because this next year is going to surprise you. I have this little feeling about it. I know you’re ready to trust God with however it may look and that is a wonderful place you’re sitting in.
Im so impressed by you, the person you are, how you treat and care for others, are generous and giving when given the opportunity, and bring such joy and life to any circumstance or situation you walk into.
Im so grateful for you and your friendship, for always caring and being a place to lean into. I love you so much and hope that not only today is special for you, but that every tomorrow would carry hope and life and promise!

Happy Birthday Sis!!

what helped me become.

“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging. But to grow up, to take responsibility for the time you take up, and the space you occupy, to honor every living person for his or her humanity, that is to grow up.”
-Maya Angelou

Two days ago I turned a quarter of a century… halfway to 50, folks.

I love getting older. Maybe you’re thinking “well, when you’re 46 you won’t love it so much” and maybe you’re right, but then again, maybe you’ll be wrong. There is (currently) not an ounce of fear in me as the number grows higher with every passing July 15th. Like this wonderful Angelou quote, i value the growing up part most when it comes to getting older.

I’d like to think on my 70th birthday i’ll still feel like im growing up. In progress. Moving forward in one way or another.

My hope, is that with every year I could look back at the expanse of 365 days and identify a few of them that truly changed me, and better yet, a few of them that changed someone else.

I want to look back and remember something like… on day 27 I had a conversation that shifted my perception of how I thought God looked at me. Or maybe, I heard a sermon on day 65 that challenged the way I loved from that moment forward. On day 301 I met a stranger who on day 352 became a lifelong friend.

It’s those days, those mere moments in a 24hr span of time that have the ability to alter our tomorrow and the days that turn into years following.

Currently, those days in my life go undocumented. I remember them some, you know, like the big ones that couldn’t help but go unnoticed… but the little phrases, the way I felt when I heard this spoken to me, how something even simple could be so impactful… I don’t have a quick point of reference for that.

What ive decided to do is document those moments. And saying that almost sounds like im setting myself up for failure right out of the gate, because I’m not a journaler. I hate my handwriting and I always associate journalers with those emo kids from high school that emotionally write songs in their decoupage books on the roof of their house.

It’s very apparent that my views of journaling need to be changed.

Truly, my reality is that I’ll buy a new moleskin and I will fill up 5 pages with good intentions and then it will begin to collect dust. It’s a sad reality, but one that ive come to terms with.

However, I know how much my heart and mind need reminding, so i want to start journaling those moment, those conversations, those days in my life that changed me those around me.

I want to look back this time next year, open a little black book and see how God shaped my year and be reminded of how He was faithful and true to me and those I was in relationship with. I wanna see how God used little talks at a dinner table, or open-hearted conversations around a living room, or the simplicity of a city skyline to communicate and relate to me personally. I wanna remember the specific ways He connects and speaks to me. The ways He translate his miraculous redemption, grace, and healing.

I have a feeling it will resemble a book about rescue.

Those are the moments I want to remember and recall. The ones that helped me grow up. What helped me become.

I challenge you to do the same.

_________________________

“I don’t keep a journal or a diary, and I’ll never just write down facts like what I had for lunch or who I was with or where I was. Instead, what I’ve been writing down area all of the things I can remember that have shaped me, all of the words or phrases that have pinged me, all of the stories that have happened in my life. All in hopes that one day, as I flip through those pages, I’ll see evidence of Jesus in them.”
– Bob Goff

Dads: Be Doers

“He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and he let me watch him do it.”
Clarence Kelland

Nearly every morning I experience the same thing. It’s like clockwork. I run down the stairs (usually because im running late), Murphy our gigantic goldendoodle meets me at the bottom and kindly leans into me expected to get a good 10 second scratch. I look over to the couch and see my dad reading his bible with a cup of coffee in hand. We exchange happy good mornings, I tell him I’m sleepy, and we both say “love you, I hope you have a great day” as I walk towards the front door. Every morning it’s the same, consistent, and steady life of my dad that I see being lived right in front of me. and not just me, right in front of everyone, too.

I’ve grown up with a dad that set the standard for our family. Of course we had rules and structure within our home, but when it came to my dad telling us how we should live, we’d never really hear such suggestions. Because greater than those that hear the word, are those that do it. You see, my dad, he’s a doer.

He doesn’t hide his excitement in insecurity, he celebrates the smallest victories with us.
He doesn’t always hide his frustration, but he is quick to calm down and remember what matters
He doesn’t always hide when he’s mad, but he is consistent in owning up to his mistake, apologizing, and asking for forgiveness.
He doesn’t withhold good things from us or others, but he is quick to give his best in all things.
He doesn’t love from a distance, but he is involved and present in the lives of his children, always pursing a deeper relationship.

As Father’s Day is inching ever closer, I want to remind the dads out there of something: Your kids are watching you.

They’re watching the way you respond and react, how you give and withhold, how you celebrate or belittle, how you’re involved and present or distant and insecure. We see it all, and the life you live, whether you are conscious of it or not, sets the standard for our hearts and lives ever unfolding.

The greatest gift you can give to your children is to love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength – it’s the single most impactful example you will ever demonstrate. Your allegiance to God will sow seeds so deeply rooted in the hearts of your kids, that the storms of life could never destroy its fruit. And no one is asking you to be perfect and flawless, because mistakes and slip-ups only present another opportunity for you to show us the better way.

Dads, when you love God with all that you are and all that you have, you won’t always have to tell your kids how to live, you’ll simple… show us.

Greater than those that hear the word, are those that do it.

__________________

Dads: be doers

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22

inviting adventure: a book review

I grew up loving and thriving off of adventure and my imagination. I remember being 7 or 8 and adoring the National Geographic magazine. Maybe I couldn’t fully read every article but the photos were what I loved. I always thought about the people who got to take those pictures. What amazing adventures and stories they had been on from experiencing those incredibly beautiful and sometimes dangerous locations.
I haven’t looked at a National Geographic magazine in a while, but back then, they had these amazing maps in them. They were detailed map inserts that you could rip out and open up. And that’s just what I did.
In fact, I had a club with my cousins Logan and Luke where we collected these maps and let our imaginations run. We’d throw some maps in a backpack and head for the great outdoors.

My childhood home had this wonderful half-acre side yard and at the age of 8, a half-acre might as well have been the size of central park. It was the perfect landscape for our treasure hunting adventures. I think this is possibly where my keen sense of direction began, because I was always the navigator directing us on our next strategic move.
I loved it. I loved the scenes I had in my head and stories we played out on our search for the treasure hidden in the center of the Egyptian pyramids… which was obviously at the top of the slide connected to the jungle gym.

Memories of these childhood adventures came rushing back just recently. It all came back as I was reading Bob Goff’s new book “Love Does”. Even in the first chapter I became completely captivated by the life of risk and adventure this man lived and shares about in his stories. And these stories are big and extravagant, from Goff momentarily dropping out of highschool to move to Yosemite with an unexpected friend, failing the LSAT yet somehow talking his way into Law School, and the incredible risks he took in Uganda working dead-end untried cases of forgotten children so they could be released from prison.

 He draws you in with amazing storytelling and humor then seamlessly wraps up each chapter with how he saw God in the midst of each experience and how it’s challenged him to live differently from that moment forward. 
This book invited me to remember the risk and adventure that playfully and easily filled my life years ago, and it was also an invitation to asses my life currently and see where ive been comfortable and have not allowed love to be accompanied by action and adventure… and doing.

“There is only one invitation it would kill me to refuse, yet I’m tempted to turn it down all the time. I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy, a life where love does. It doesn’t come in an envelope. It’s ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It’s the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I’ve seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live.”

Bob Goff’s new book, Love Does, is just that, an invitation to fully live.
It’s an invitation to live with a little more playfulness, a little more whimsy, and to actually go out and do something that may seem out of the ordinary or even make you a little uncomfortable. Bob Goff lives a big courageous life, full of risk and adventure that’s created a tangible and relatable understanding of the nearness and goodness of God – and he is challenging us to experience the same.

He invites us to see life a little differently. More than recounting the adventures and risks in his own life, Goff sets out to demonstrates that love isn’t static or a stoic emotion to be read and contemplated while sitting in a Starbucks chair. Love is an action. Love is an adventure. Love should compel us to move. Because love… Does.

_____________________

Never has a non-fiction book so captured my imagination and ignited my heart to live and see life differently.
I strongly encourage you all to read this book.

“I’ve come to understand more about faith as I’ve understood more about whimsy,” writes Goff. “What whimsy means to me is a combination of the ‘do’ part of faith along with doing something worth doing.”

GUEST POST.

 
I had the wonderful privilege of guest posting over at my friend Lore Ferguson’s blog – Sayable.Net
She has taken a month-long sabbatical to escape the hustle and bustle and found any loner cabin or remote destination with poor cell service and little to no wi-fi, so she can focus her attention and energy into writing her book. That’s right, a BOOK! (how incredible is that?)
During her sabbatical she’s asked a few friends to guest post for her, so do me a favor and hop on over there and take a look at my guest post for Lore.

ALSO, do yourself a favor and subscribe to her blog while you’re over there. Scroll back a few post and read the other amazing guest post’s and scroll back a little more to catch some of Lore’s great stuff too. You wont be sorry!

ok, get goin’ now!
Sayable.Net

 

Thanks y’all!