All Posts By

Eryn Lynum

Motherhood

When We Stop Enjoying Our Kids

October 10, 2017

“My name is Eryn. I am married and have 3 boys, another baby on the way in March. Currently we live at campsite S-57 at the reservoir campground.

There were a couple of small gasps. I smiled and went on to explain our recent life changes. A house sold, a camper bought, a 7-week road trip taken, and now we were living in our camper until we moved into our new home in a few days.

The other women gathered for our new Bible study went around introducing themselves and their stories likewise. When it came time to pray, I asked them to pray for patience. “It has been so much change for the boys. Grayson and I have a lot on our minds. We are very on edge…” I went to describe the ugly breakdown I had just before driving over to the study, how I’d crumbled in tears when my husband walked into the RV. “I just need to get away from the kids.” I had told him, blotchy face and runny nose, swollen belly.

A good friend of mine sat across from me at the study. She looked at me for a moment after I described my breakdown. “It took you seven weeks?” She asked. I laughed, suddenly amazed that I had not displayed more of these ugly moments throughout our seven weeks of living in a 20-foot trailer– 5 humans and a dog.

Looking back on it, it seems completely sane that I would feel the need to get away from my kids. Even not living in an RV, us moms feel that way—regularly. But no matter the truth behind it—that we do in fact need our alone time in order to remain sane, and to be a good mom—the guilt remains. And it is fierce.

What kind of mom says that she needs to get away from these tiny humans she loves with all of her heart? Who does that?!

Oh fellow Mamas, it is ok that we feel this way.

It is ok that some evenings, when backup walks through that door, we just need to grab our shoes and go somewhere. Anywhere.

We need to schedule coffee dates, sans kids, with fellow moms.

We need to take a walk along the river, all by ourselves.

We need to browse Barnes and Noble, and choose a new book to read just for the fun of it.

And we need to know that this is ok to need these things.

Maybe it’s time to talk with your husband and carve out two hours each weekend that you can spend by yourself or with a girlfriend.

If you’re single, maybe it’s time to swap a couple of hours child-sitting each week with a friend, so you each have time to yourself.

Maybe it’s time to join a weekly walking group, no strollers allowed.

We love our babies. We love them enough to know that we need time apart. Because too much time spent side-by-side, and nerves run high. We actually stop enjoying their presence, and this is not healthy for any of us. A bit of a break, and we can come back to their side refreshed, ready to love big and hug long. Ready to laugh, not snap. Ready to offer advice, show interest in their interests, and engage in their world without feeling starved of our own.

Fellow mamas, I know that you, like I, love your kids more than words can express—to the moon and back, beyond infinity, forever and for always. And with a little bit of space, we’ll like them all that much more, too.

So let’s do it, mamas, let’s take some time. I think our kids will thank us for it.

936Pennies Roadtrip

The Real Numbers Behind Our 7-Week Road Trip As a Family of 5 (And Counting)

October 5, 2017

I didn’t know if we would actually do it–if this grand scheme would really happen. It seems like so very long ago, only a few months in reality, that I felt the pressure of our home not selling, and our window of opportunity closing. I questioned whether we would actually get to take this trip of a lifetime we had always dreamt of.

And so here, the day after we returned from a seven week road trip to the Pacific Northwest with our three (and counting) kids and our Labrador retriever, it all still feels a bit like a dream. Did we really do this crazy thing? Sell our home and pack our life into hardly 200-square-feet of mobile space and hit the road for nearly two months? We did. And we are forever changed because of it. Or rather, each of us, and we as a whole, are more of who we were always meant to be.

During our three-day drive home, my husband and I began talking through the numbers that went into this trip, and how much they speak of the experience. And so here they arethe real numbers behind a 7-week road trip as a family of 5 and counting.

 

The Trip Statistics:

 

7 Weeks

2 Adults

3.5 Kids (Ages 6, 4, 2, and a new little one coming in March!)

1 Labrador

20-foot travel trailer (25 feet when the beds are popped out)

3,600 Miles traveled

Our Trip In Numbers:

Cost of our trailer: $8,700 (Which we will sell for the same once we are back in a house)

Living expenses for seven weeks (Includes groceries, eating out, gas, utilities, rent–or camp site fees–, household items, entertainment / outings):  $6,422

What those same living expenses would have been at home (for 7 weeks):  $6,914

Savings of: $492

Number of times the car and trailer were towed: 1

Number of things Grayson replaced on the car throughout the trip: 4 (Fuel pump, wheel bearing, spark plugs, battery)

Amount spent on fishing gear and licensing: $287

Number of fish or crabs of legal size caught: 0

Number of places we stayed: 7

Longest we stayed in one place: 3 Weeks (Orcas Island, Washington)

Shortest we stayed in one place: 1 Night (Middle of nowhere truck stop in Wyoming)

Friends’ yards we camped in: 3

Number of new states visited for Eryn and the boys: 3

Amount spent on utilities for a family of five for seven weeks: $40

Spent on coffee: $179

Miles Grayson ran in the woods: 74

Number of ferry passings: 10

Number of mountain passes: 5

Average gas mileage while towing: 8 miles to the gallon

Lowest gas mileage while towing: 4 miles to the gallon

Number of date nights: 1

Number of “Is-this-urgent-care-worthy?” injuries: 4

Number of trips to urgent care: 0

Days we ran our friends’ Bed & Breakfast while they took their own adventure: 5

Souvenirs purchased: 8 Books, 3 Pieces of art for a total of $166

Writing Numbers:

(Because this was also a work trip)

Manuscripts finished: 1

Magazine article submissions: 4

Blog posts published: 10

Interviews conducted: 2

Chapters for new book written: 3

Not knowing exactly how to project and budget for a trip like this, we ended up going over what I thought the trip would cost. However, when all is said and done, living on the road cost us a bit less than our regular living expenses. And really, what mattered to us was the time cost. We spent 7 weeks of the 936 weeks we have with our kids exploring mountains, beaches and waterfalls.

They asked great questions and we pondered the same kind of questions ourselves as we watched sunsets over the Puget Sound. We talked of God’s grand creation, what makes up a life that matters, and what is truly important when deciding how we spend our limited days. We invested seven weeks that we will never get back–but I wouldn’t want them back. They have done their job and played their roll in leaving us never the same because of our journey.

Traveling with kids is not easy or cheap–but I stand here on the other end of seven weeks living all squished together with my favorite people and I implore you–do it! If not for seven weeks, then seven days. Or start this weekend by packing a cooler and heading to a nearby nature area for an entire day. These days are painfully limited, but we can stretch them. We can expand them and pack them full of moments with legacy power, leaving us never the same again.

Roadtrip

On Fighter Jets, Living Books, A Month on the Road, and The Biggest Jellyfish in the World

September 18, 2017

Deception Pass (Take 2)

September 6 – 14

The sound was deafening. I was certain they were about to take a crash landing straight into our campground. After a week spent outside of Seattle, we were back at Deception Pass. This being our second stay here, we were well used to the fighter jets rumbling across the sky at all hours.

The Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island, was a few miles away from where we were staying. And tonight the jets were out well after the campground “quiet time”. My husband and I sat peacefully in the camper reading, the boys fast asleep, when the jets began roaring just over the treetops of the campground. My husband and I jumped up and ran outside, watching the lights of the jets dart across the black sky. It was exhilarating.

Our first week at Deception Pass, I met a woman at the campground playground. Our kids played together on an old wooden ship while she and I talked. Her husband worked on the air base, and they lived there at the campground in their fifth-wheel RV. She was obviously more seasoned than I am when it comes to tiny living, yet we shared the same feelings and sentiments over how good it feels to pare down and live simply.

During our second stay at Deception Pass, we met another family who lives in their RV while the dad works on the air base. They are a fellow homeschooling family, and she and I shared struggles and hopes for tiny living and home education. Connecting with old friends and meeting new ones–these have been one of my favorite parts of our trip.

What we are eating:

Lox grilled cheese (gluten-free) at San Juan Cheese Restaurant

Instant Pot gluten free gnocchi soup

Steak, potatoes, green beans

Fajitas

We are becoming very comfortable cooking in our tiny kitchen!

What we are learning:

I am a person who does best not leaving home in the morning. I love slow mornings.

My husband can still run a sub 8-minute mile. He’s a stud.

How to replace the awning on an RV

I am finally learning how to enjoy reading fiction. We are reading through some of the classics–Living Books, as Charlotte Mason called them, timeless fiction or non-fiction with lessons for all ages–before we begin reading them with the boys. On the topic, Susan Schaeffer Macaulay in For the Children’s Sake, says, “The adult, whether teacher or parent, has to be able to enjoy and understand what he or she is reading with the children” With the purpose in my mind of learning the messages in these brilliant books, and enjoying them with my children, I am loving reading them.

Started reading:

Wind in the Willows (Favorite quote so far: “By the side of the river he trotted as one trots, when very small, by the side of a man who holds one spellbound by exciting stories; and when tired at last, he sat on the bank, while the river still chattered on to him, a babbling procession of the best stories in the world, sent from the heart of the earth to be told at last to the insatiable sea.”)

936 Pennies manuscript – final read through before it goes to press next month!

Questions of the week:

Zeke: “What do krill eat?”

Ellis: “How do octopuses walk?”

It felt good to be back on the Puget Sound. This place has quickly woven itself around my heart. We took a day trip on the ferry over to Friday Harbor where we found delicious food, intriguing antiques, and a cozy little bookshop.

Grayson took all three boys on a hike through the woods down to the beach. With our first rainy days, we found ourselves grateful that we bought everyone a new rain jacket for the trip!

My highlight of the week was when we explored the Ben Ure Spit at sunset. We all learned how to identify different types of clams and cockles as we made our way around the Spit. The sun began to descend around us, and we watched the tide come in and begin to fill the tiny creeks throughout the spit. A perfect, unrushed evening.

At a bookstore in Coupeville, Zeke picked out a Beachocomber’s Guide to Sea Life. He set out straight to the beach and identified a stranded Lion’s Mane Jellyfish–the biggest type of jelly in the world, which he now tells everyone about. I am pretty sure he believes he found the (one and only) biggest jellyfish in the world.

Our final stay at Deception Pass had a refreshing pace about it. After a month on the road, we finally felt like we were settling in and able to rest. The week was marked by family hikes, home (or trailer!) cooking, beach combing, and bookstore exploring. I pray Deception Pass–Growler fighter jets and all–will always hold an important place in our family history, with many more visits to come!

Devotional Living With Intention Peace Plan Roadtrip

What Life On The Road Has Taught Me About Balance In Life. And That There Is None.

September 14, 2017

It’s a funny thing, taking off on a two-month road trip with one of your greatest goals being to find deep rest–only to discover that living in a 208-square-foot space with your husband, three young boys, and pregnant self, is not exactly restful. Imagine that.

My perspective on “rest” has shifted in monumental ways over the past few weeks. I feel as though humankind is constantly in search of the “balanced life”. I have been, anyways–on pursuit of a balanced life for years now. Can we really find a balance, when the circumstances of life tip from one side to the next so constantly? Only now do I see that rest and balance depend not so much on our circumstances, but on the state of our heart. Rather, I am coming to believe that this “balance” is more about finding a right relationship between rest, play, and work.

Issaquah, Washington

September 1 – 6

 

We parked our camper in the yard of some (very gracious) friends. Grayson knew them years ago from Bible school. It was so good to fellowship, break bread, hike, and share stories together over the week.

“Zeke, there is so much that I want to tell you about here.” Four-year-old Ellis told his big brother from the back seat. The day before, Daddy had taken just Ellis out to Seattle for the afternoon. And now Ellis played tour guide as we all ventured into the city, telling us all the details of the Space Needle, the tour cars that go into water, and the bike shop where they had discovered vegan donuts that he could eat. He sounded as if he had always lived there, just like his Daddy did for three years, two decades ago.

We watched the boys learn about combustion, what plants astronauts grow in spaceships, and what butterflies eat while exploring the Pacific Science Center. Then had lunch at Gasworks Park, where Gray took me eight years ago on our honeymoon.

We woke up on our fifth morning to ash falling from the sky. The hills of the Columbia River Gorge, where we stayed two weeks ago, are ablaze in fire.

Learning:

Rest takes time.

When you are around someone who is doing something you want to do in life, ask them all the questions. Don’t waste time or shy into small talk. Interview them. Learn from them. And in so doing, make friends.

Apple crumble needs sugar. Not honey. That’s just how it is.

 

Started Reading:

For The Children’s Sake: Foundations of education for home and school, Susan Schaeffer, Macaulay

The Dark Tower And The Gunslinger, Stephen King

 

Eating:

Gluten Free Marionberry biscuits from Issaquah Coffee Shop

Breaking bread with friends: Grilled pork with potatoes and green beans. Instant pot minestrone with ceaser salad. Apple crisp with ice cream. Chicken and rice with vegetables–so thankful for friends feeding us.

Found gluten free, vegan cookies, local strawberries, blueberries, and peaches at the Issaquah farmers market.

As I observed our friends over the week, and how they homeschool and lead their children, I was humbled–and honestly amazed. This work, rest, play thing–they seem to get it. Their home was calm–well, as calm as it could be with three extra little boys running around!

I think that this trip is giving me the crash course I wanted on rest this year. I wrote it in my journal at the beginning of the year:  “Get really good at work, rest, and play.” Of course, back then I had no thought of this trip, or the opportunity I would have to learn deep rest through two months on the road. But here I am.

It doesn’t come from our surroundings. It comes from a deep understanding of when rest is most important, and a habit of placing work on hold for more lofty things. It comes from holding fast to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 11:28, “I will give you rest.” It comes also from a never-giving-up pursuit of that rest, as the author of Hebrews instructed, “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest”.

It comes from finding the most purposeful work, the kind that fills us up while serving others. It comes from knowing how to walk a trail in the woods long enough for tasks to fade from our minds, left behind with each step forward in the dirt. It comes from knowing when to untangle the mess of thoughts in our mind, and go play with our kids–Or that playing with our kids is exactly how we untangle that mess of thoughts.

It comes from time–rest does. Time practicing it, pursuing it, and never giving up on it.

 

936Pennies Adventure Roadtrip

Maybe 208 Square Feet Is All We Need – Our Second Week On The Road

September 6, 2017

Our Second Week of Life on the Road

Deception Pass, Washington. August 24 – September 1

 

It was not exactly our smartest parenting moment.

We had thought it a brilliant idea, only moments later to realize we had set a trap for ourselves. “Let’s let them decide.” My husband suggested from the driver seat. We were leaving Newport, Oregon, where we had settled for a few days to watch the Total Eclipse. Heading North out of town, we ran into stand still traffic, a line of eclipse chasers headed back to life and work. “We could cut east for a while, head to the Columbia River Gorge, then back to the ocean later.” Neither he nor I could decide, so we bounced the idea to the back seat. “Boys, do you want to go see some waterfalls for a few days? Or stay at the ocean?”

Zeke, our six-year-old, enthusiastically answered, “Waterfalls!” a split second before his younger brother, Ellis, yelled, “Ocean!”. Their littlest brother–he is pretty sharp for his age–but having no idea what we were discussing, his vote didn’t quite count yet. And so we had a tie. After a coin toss, we found ourselves waterfall bound, and my mama heart tore just a bit as little Ellison sniffed back tears from the seat behind me.

The little guy is so patient. For four days he eagerly explored the forest and waterfalls with us, but I knew all along that his young heart was set on salty waves and sunsets over the horizon. When we arrived back at the Pacific a few evenings later, his daddy scooped him up from the dinner table and took him to the beach to catch the sunset. He came back all smiles and pockets full of shells.

Besides not putting our decisions to a vote in the backseat, here are a few other things we have learned from our second week on the road:

“Work can wait. Life can not. This takes time to learn and relearn.”

Drape blankets over the toddler’s bed, and he might actually nap in the afternoon.

If you don’t reserve a campsite months in advance, be prepared to up and relocate every few days, landing wherever has a spot for you.

Just like at home, we will do what we make time for. Changing your location and lifestyle will not automatically lend to a slower pace of life. We must carve out and designate time for that which is most important to us, or it will not happen.

What we are eating:

Smoothies (Glad we brought our blender!)

Fantastic fish tacos at Seabolts Smokehouse

Dinner of Tilamook white cheddar, smoked salmon dip, and smoked Cajun salmon (after another trip to Seabolts Smokehouse…)

Instant pot minestrone

Egg burritos. Thanks to a friend in Idaho who introduced us to “eggs” Ellis can have. Later that day he told me, “Today was a great day.” “Why is that buddy?” I asked him. He replied, “Because of eggs that don’t hurt my tummy.”

Another crab boil in the Instant pot

Instant pot clam chowder

Gluten free pastries!

Ellis did not want to try out our new kayak on the lake, because he “had never tried that before.” Once we convinced him to get on, we couldn’t get him off the thing.

We took the boys to explore Fort Casey on Whidbey Island. Grayson grew up exploring that old military base with his own brothers. We laid in the grass as a family and watched kites glide across the sky next to the Puget Sound.

The boys made friends at the campground with:  Aaliyah, Ellie, Kaden, Ashley, and Gracie the Parrot.

Grayson ran many of the trails that he’ll be running a 50k race on in December.

The boys took their very first ferry ride! We spent the day on Orcas Island, introducing them to Moran State Park, and catching up with friends until we nearly missed our ferry back to the mainland. We were the last car they allowed on the last ferry of the night before turning people away.

Questions of the week:

Ellis:  “How do hurricanes happen?”

Zeke: “Is the ocean in the middle of the world?”

It felt good to settle in the same area for a week. Without all of the bouncing around, we had more time to devote to reading, writing, running, and simply being together. This trip is already teaching me so much about the importance of a right relationship between rest, play, and work. But I would have more time to process that during our next week, when we settled closer to Seattle, camping out in our (very gracious) friends’ yard…

 

Family Roadtrip

What It’s Really Like To Live In A 200-square-foot Travel Trailer With Our Three Boys And A Dog

August 29, 2017

 

I can hear them cling-clanging against each other in his pockets as he runs down that trail: the seashells he has spoken of collecting for three months now. The darkness begins to envelope him, but only for so long before the sun sneaks through a crack in the trees, those trees dripping with moss that I have dreamt of introducing my boys to for years. They stand a million times taller than the boys’ small frames. They duck in and out of this natural playground, running wild among ferns and Cedars more majestic than any tree they have ever seen. It is day five on the road. Day five of two months that we will spend living squished together in a travel trailer exploring the Pacific Northwest.

 

That first week was full of anticipation and discovery and a hefty dose of doubt. Selling our 1,400 square foot home and moving into a 200 square foot home on wheels—with my husband, three boys, my own pregnant belly, and our dog—has proven to be more of an adjustment than I anticipated. It took us a full week to really begin figuring things out–to start figuring each other out.

So, what does this new life of ours really look like? Here is a sneak peek from my journal of our first week!

Newport, Oregon. August 18 – 21

 

We saw gray whales on our very first day at Yaquina Bay and Depoe Bay.

Willy learned sand. Dipped his bare toes into those tiny grains and never looked back. Sat on the beach at Seal Rock as the boys ran wild among the waves. I watched Ellis wander that shore all by himself, lost in his own little world. Or maybe not lost, but finally right where he has dreamt of being.

Zeke had his finger hugged by a sea urchin at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The Total Eclipse took my breath away—one of the most stunning experiences of my life. Zeke called it “incredible”. Ellis asked, “How does God do something like that?”

Currently reading:

The Journals Of Lewis and Clark

Wild and Free

My Side of the Mountain with the boys

What We’re Eating:

Quinoa “oatmeal” in the Instant Pot

Granola, yogurt, fresh berries

Grilled salmon, home fries, and sracha ketchup at Newport Café

Way too much takeout because of limited propane in the RV…

 

What We’re Learning:

We need to be fair to each other. This is a huge transition for all of us. When the boys would talk each other to sleep at home, we had half a living room, a kitchen, a hallway, and a door separating us. Now we have twelve feet and a curtain. We need to be patient, and wise with our discipline.

I cannot write later what I do not see now. Stop writing. Start seeing.

Don’t leave your RV canopy out on a windy day at the shore. You might just come home to your canopy ripped in half.

Questions Of The Week:

Zeke:  “Do skunks have belly buttons?”

Ellis: “What’s a ‘hy-pop-i-sis’ (hypothesis)?”

 

Columbia River Gorge. August 21 – 24

 

Ran into Eclipse traffic—everyone trying to get back to work and life. So glad our trip has only just begun! We cut East to leave the traffic behind. Saying goodbye to the ocean for a few days to go search for some waterfalls.

Stopped at a river pull-off. Baby’s (and my) first time cliff jumping!

Snagged the last campsite available. Time to stay put for a few days.

Learned how salmon use fish ladders at the Bonneville Dam. Grayson came here as a boy.

Picked blackberries with Zeke. He told me we don’t need to eat the food in the camper—we can find all of our food instead. Quite the little forager. Tried making crisp only to discover the oven in the camper does not work. Learned how to make berry crisp in the Instant Pot! It is delicious.

Saw our first huge waterfall.

Went into the city for a day, to which Zeke says: “All this noise is freaking me out!”

Portland had me thinking about stories. Who are all of these people and what brought them here?

Finally did laundry.

Zeke made friends with the campground host. She invited him to come do the morning round with her to check on all the guests.

What we are eating (So good to have propane and RV hookups!) :

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Berry crisp with foraged black berries

Crab boil in the Instant Pot!

Best ever pulled pork hash at the Hazel Room in Portland

 

Glad we brought our:

Instant Pot!

What we are learning:

If the internet is spotty, don’t fight it in the name of work. Give up and go read a book.

Check your gray water tank level before it overflows into the bathtub….

 

Zeke’s favorite from the Gorge stay:  Watching salmon at the Bonneville dam

Ellis: The displays at the dam museum with the buttons.

 

So, how was our first week?

The truth is that among all these adventures of our first week—amidst all of the dream-come-true moments, there were a whole lot of ugly ones. Cranky kids and even crankier parents made for some very rough mornings. And yet so much of our dreams are made up of struggle—it really could not be any other way. The struggle it takes to reach a dream makes the arrival so much more sweet—like when we pulled up and caught our first glimpse of the Pacific just in time for sunset, after a long few days of travel and trials. Dreams just wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful without the hard parts.

After that first week which involved 1,700 miles on the road and five different camp spots—we were feeling very ready to settle down for a bit. It seemed funny, this desire to “settle down” while in the midst of a two-month road trip. But it was exactly what we needed. And that is exactly what we would find when we arrived at the Puget Sound the following week…

Faith Motherhood

Dear Fellow Mama, God Will Give You More Than You Can Handle

August 26, 2017

I know that our secret is safe with him. He’s not telling anyone, not unless his limited vocabulary of “Train!”, “Fish!”, and “Snack!” can somehow relay the message. I’m pretty sure we are safe. And so I find myself here and there bending down to whisper into his toddler ear, “You’re going to be a big brother!” He giggles and runs off to play. At the same time God is whispering into my own heart, “You’re going to be a mama again.” His words need time to soften the edges of my heart against this shock.

I had guessed this one wrong before. And timing said this shouldn’t be possible. But I had a feeling. For nine tests, most within the window of time that they should have given me a solid answer—they all read “No”. But that last one remained in the drawer. And every Mama knows that when there’s a suspicion, those tests cannot remain unused. So I took test number ten, really just to assure my heart that I was indeed crazy, and that life was not about to change in a very big way. I brushed my teeth, set to getting ready for the day, and let that test sit on the counter doing its thing. But then I glanced down and my heart shot into my throat. “Yes+”.

“This is ok, right?” I asked with shaking voice as I held up the test for my husband to see. I sank to the floor, knees weak. “Of course it is.” He assured me. Or tried.

Of course it is. That was seven weeks ago. And now my belly is rounding out with this new life carving out its space within. And the past seven weeks have been filled with that question, “This is ok, right God? We can do this?” And His sovereign, patient answer of “Of course it is.

Are you asking the same question today? Whether you are braving sleepless nights with your first newborn, or belly swollen with a second, third, maybe fourth baby on the way—perhaps you find yourself in this same arena of doubt that I’m in. It’s too much. I’m not enough.

And I’m too tired.

This week as I was waiting for my husband and our second son outside of the restroom at the aquarium, our youngest son was running wild. He ran into the restroom yelling, I called him back. He ran back out yelling even louder and jumped onto my leg. I waddled away with him grasping my leg like a monkey, riding atop my foot. A woman tapped my shoulder, “Hang in their Mama, I’ve got two of them!” She must not have noticed my six-year-old standing nearby. And she couldn’t have known of my four-year-old in the restroom. And my 11-week baby bump was hidden within my sweater. I wanted to laugh and thank her, then kindly let her know I have four. I didn’t. Because the truth is, no matter the number of children we have—they are more than we can handle.

When God gave me this new baby, He gave me too much. He also gave me too much when He gave us our third son. Our second son was too much for me also. Our first son? I was completly insufficient for him, too.

It depletes us, this high calling. Shatters us. Empties us. Exhausts us. Then asks us to do it all over again. Every single one of you raising a baby (or seven)—you are incredible. Please just take me at those words.

We do not have the energy. We do not have the attention. We do not have the kindness. And the hardest to swallow as a mama—we do not have enough love for them. Jesus does. And this is exactly His design for motherhood, that only in leaning into Him can we be enough for these babies.

On those days, and there are many, when you feel wholly insufficient, know this:  God does indeed call us to more than we can handle, and it is all a piece of His beautiful story.

In Genesis 17, I am certain that Sarah, upon hearing that God would give her the long-awaited child she had dreamt of for years, felt wholly incapable. She was ninety years old, for goodness sake. And I think I am too tired for another baby?

And I am sure that Mary, upon hearing from the lips of an angel that she would bear a son as a young teenage mother, felt very insufficient. Especially when she found out that her child would be the promised Savior of the world. No pressure there, Mary.

And yet, as with every other calling that God places on His people, He equips us for every path He leads us down. However many children you have, however difficult those children may be—He chose you for them. And He will not let you down, not even on those darkest, most difficult and trying days.

He stands up to His promises. He remains true to His words, “His divine power has granted us all things pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Everything for life and godliness—this includes raising every single one of those babies He gives us.

So yes—He will give us more than we can handle, but only because His divine plan includes us depending on Him through every doubt, every heartache, and every mistake. He is enough for our motherhood. He is enough for our children. He is enough in our not enoughs. Dear fellow mama, we’ve got this—but only through Him who gives us strength for the journey.

Chasing Dreams Family

It Was An Eclipse Of Trips And A Life Lesson On Time

August 23, 2017

I called it the Eclipse of Trips, because we never actually intended to chase the Great American Total Eclipse. It was never a part of the plan, back three months ago when we decided to list our home for sale and hit the road in a travel trailer for two months. It is a trip we have always dreamt of, taking our family on an extended road trip to the Pacific Northwest, where my husband spent three years as a young boy, and where he took me to on our honeymoon.

We were shocked when our realtor gave us a number on a home. We knew the Colorado market was thriving, but this was truly a gift from God, an opportunity to move closer to our church—but only after we took advantage of another opportunity—our dream trip.

Never before have we not been tied down by a mortgage or a job, as my husband left his work and transitioned to self employment earlier this year. We knew we couldn’t pass this opportunity up. We would leave early July. Only that date came and went, and we remained nowhere near the ocean. Our house contract fell through two days before the sale, and my heart sunk with the thought that our trip might not happen.

But then the Colorado housing market came through for us again (And God, of course), and we were under contract within a few days. We set a new date for our departure—August 16. It was the soonest we could leave. Ironically, it fell within the same few days of what the country was calling “The largest migration in our nation’s history”. While we packed up our life, bought a travel trailer, and set our eyes to the ocean—over a million others were hitting the road also, with the same destination in mind, to catch the Solar Eclipse of a lifetime. An Eclipse of Trips, indeed.

Timing is a funny thing, isn’t it? It constantly leaves me in a curious state, as to why things happen at certain times. Why delays and detours in plans and setbacks occur. Some, I’m sure, are happen chance. Others, I’m convinced, hold a very important job in our life story. Even if we never learn what that job was. I trust delays and changes of plan often hold a purpose.

For two days we traveled before pulling into our resting place—an organic farm owned by dear friends of ours. After a blur of days and so much change—selling our home, moving into a 100-square foot space with our three children, our car breaking down in the fast lane of the highway somewhere in the middle of Idaho, and too many meals on the road, we were ready to rest and visit for a day. And it was sweet. But time was ticking and people were hitting the road. We had to, also, if we wanted any chance of getting ahead of the countless Eclipse Seekers,

We were excited to be on our last long stretch of driving for a while, and even more excited to run into very little traffic as we made our approach upon the Pacific. After fifteen hundred miles of sage brush and stocky pine, we finally came upon moss-covered trees reaching high to the heavens. The ones my husband grew up playing beneath, and the ones we have longed to introduce our children to. Four days after leaving home, we pulled up to the shore of the Pacific just in time for sunset.

If this trip has taught me one thing already in the first week, it is to not waste angst on concerns of timing. Preparing for our journey, my worries stemmed from the unknowns of how time would work out the details of our trip, or if it would. I think I do this a lot in life. I think a lot of us do. We seek to control time, when ultimately it is out of our hands, and that’s ok. Because it is in the hands of the Author of time, and He cares deeply about the details of our stories, and the desires of our hearts. He created time, and us to fill it.

The truth is, wherever we found ourselves on August 21st, whether set up in our trailer next to the Pacific, or in a Walmart parking lot, the sun would be shining. And then covered. And then brilliant again. We would make it to the ocean. And we would experience it all together. I began this trip seeing the Total Eclipse as a bit of a nuisance–a snag in our plans that we had been making for months–dreaming of for years. And yet, as we stood as a family upon a hill top next o the Pacific ocean, and watched the moon float completely over the sun for a few miraculous moments–it was one of the most stunning experiences of my life. In fact, it froze time for me, for one minute and forty-five seconds, this grand display of perfect timing by the Maker of the heavens.

Motherhood

When We Want Some Freedom….From Motherhood.

August 12, 2017

I sat across the table from a new friend of mine. Her own two boys snacking on breakfast, coloring, and playing with my son who I had brought along for the morning. There we sat talking of dreams, insecurities, struggles, and how God comes through. Always. I met Amelia last year at a Bible study, and today I wanted to learn more about her art, and life as an artist and mama. Amelia is an incredibly talented mixed media artist, telling stories through stunning layered paintings. It ends up she is not only skilled in telling stories through collage materials, resin, and paint, but also with words. I’m honored to have her share on the blog today.

 


“Mommy, you go away…” states my angry three year old as I once again tell him he can’t do something. I quietly mutter to myself “I would if I could, kid.” At this point in my exhausted and frazzled state, all I can think about is freedom from the day in and day out battle of raising two young children. An escape from this hard reality sounds like a dream. We all want a little reprieve from the mind bending, emotionally taxing job of forming our children into reasonable, civilized adults. Can I get a little freedom please?  

My eldest son, six, runs out of the kitchen screaming. This happens at least every other morning often for unknown reasons. My shoulders slump in confusion and defeat. What did I do this time? Was it a sound? A smell? He has sensory processing disorder and we live and die by our sound cancelling headphones. On days like this, I pine after liberation from the struggles of this disorder. I ache for freedom from the frustration and endless questions that accompany our day to day activities. I know I’m not the only one who yearns for an end to their child’s struggles, be it physical, emotional, social, or spiritual. Wouldn’t it be nice to be set free from this?

In the midst of life’s very real struggles, we can be tempted to chase after a false sense of freedom. We often think that breaking free from one circumstance, habit, or person will change….EVERYTHING. That’s often what the world tells us, right? But, is that really what is going to make the difference? I often wonder….

250 mg/dl…  What?! I had a salad today AND ran six miles! This is where I throw my blood glucose meter across the room. I have had type 1 diabetes for thirty years and I dream of a day when I can be free of the continuous food calculations, glucose testing, frequent doctor visits, low blood sugar episodes and feeling like an utter failure when all my efforts still go unrewarded by in-range readings from my meter. It doesn’t seem to be out of order to ask for freedom from a serious chronic condition…is it?

“We regret to inform you that your work was not accepted into….” gets really old after awhile. I’ve been a fine artist for ten years and no matter how many rejection emails, letters or phone calls one receives, they each hurt as bad as the first. I work with all my might to gain freedom from this rejection, pushing and stretching myself to become a more skilled artist in technique, content, and in marketing. I strive for acceptance and success thinking that this will finally silence the condemning whispers of those rejection notices. A little freedom from rejection, be it self-made or from others, would be so nice.

I think that I want freedom from my three year old, sensory issues, diabetes, and rejection. That doesn’t seem like a bad thing, right?  It’s really not, but there is something very subtle and sinister at work here. Pursuing and desiring this facade of “freedom”  causes me to ignore the very real and true freedom I already have. The thing that really does change EVERYTHING.  

Jesus set me free a long time ago when my mom and I sat on the kitchen floor and I invited Him into my heart. Since that day, the door of my prison has been jarred open. Yet, here I sit in my self-made cell content to seek illusions of freedom when the real thing is right in front of me. Though my daily struggles are very real, I am indeed free…it’s time for me to fix my gaze on THAT and walk through that door that He has gladly opened for me. It’s time to believe Him at His word: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)  It is through this very real freedom that I am able to tackle every challenge in my life that seems so captivating and enslaving. 

“What false freedom are you chasing after today?”

 


Amelia Furman is a mixed media artist and blogger. She has been involved in MOPS since 2011, assisting in leadership since 2012. She resides in Northern Colorado with her two young sons and husband.

Find out more about Amelia, life as an artist and mama, and see her incredible art here!

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936Pennies

The Story Behind the 936 Pennies Book – My Interview on the Devoted Dreamers Podcast

August 10, 2017

You know when you meet a person, and you just know there’s a strong connection there right from the first Hello? And a deep stirring that this connection is going to produce glory for the King? That happened to me a few months ago, when I met Merritt Onsa.

It happened at a sweet friend’s house. She opens her home once a week for friends and strangers to come enjoy dinner and community together. Seriously–it is one of the neatest examples of true community I have seen. And our mutual friend told me, “You need to meet Merritt. You need to be on her podcast.”

As I got to know Merrit more, I fell in love with her vision. On her podcast, Devoted Dreamers, she interviews women about the God-shaped dreams on their hearts. The interviews don’t shy away from the nitty-gritty struggles, deep heartaches, or overwhelming give-God-the-glory moments. When she asked if I would interview, my answer was a resounding Yes!

So many of you have been beside me in some way or another in the journey of bringing the 936 Pennies book to the shelves. Thank you. Thank you! And if you are a bit curious about the very real struggles along the way, my dry season of doubt, and the very specific ways God brought this all to be–click here to listen to the full story on the Devoted Dreamers podcast!