November 5: Seasons Come and Seasons Go

The leaves were blowing on the breeze today.

Crunching underfoot.

Scuttling across the cement.

The wind plucked them from their place in the sky.

Brown and shriveled now.

Their glory has passed. 

Sometimes it seems like this season will last.

The brilliance; the light.

The crispness in the air.

But eventually it, too, will cease to be there.

The things that plague you now won't always be.

What God's doing now isn't the only thing you'll see.

A new season is coming.

October 28: Write 31 Days: The Discipleship that is Motherhood

Sometimes the best kind of discipleship--
the vessel that lays down ones life
and instead takes up His--
is the kind in which you have no choice.

I suppose there's always a choice,
but in vocations like Motherhood
you can't send the children back, 
as much as you want to some days.

It's a forcible dying to self before
the child even enters the world.
The change of diet and drinking habits, 
of sleeping and bathroom breaks.

It's a loss of modesty in the mess 
of it all, in the casting of your body 
aside to give life to another.
Life that changes yours forever.

It's sacrificed sleep and sanity, too,
to care for the sweet babe.
Feeding schedules, dirty diapers 
and more consume your life.

Their needs first; your needs last.
More experienced moms say that
this too shall pass, but in the trenches
of long days it's hard to understand.

The self does not go willingly but
Flails and stomps and storms about.
Even mothers have an inner toddler who
Could use to learn a lesson or two.

Over time you realize the joy that comes
with serving others first. The love and 
satisfaction that comes in frequent bursts.
And you slowly start to conceive that

The "important" things you cared about 
don't really matter all that much.
Because new life always springs from 
the One who was broken for us.

Some Thoughts on Knowing God: "Momma!! I Don't Hear You Walking..."

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. {Genesis 3:8}

Eva has been potty-trained for almost a year now, but as those of you with little ones know, it sometimes takes a while before they can do all the wiping and whatnot by themselves. So, she will sit and wait for me to help her.

"Momma! I'm done!"

"Okay, I'm coming." I reply.

Now, "I'm coming," rarely means I'm coming right now. It usually means I'll come when I've finished what I'm currently doing, when I'm done helping whatever child is needy, or when I must finally relent my comfort and get up off the couch.

So if I don't come quickly enough for her liking, she will start yelling out to me. 

"Momma, I'm done!"

"Momma! I don't hear you walking..."

"Momma!!! I. DON'T. HEAR. YOU. WALKING!"

And I laugh, because my 2 year old knows the sound of my footsteps approaching the bathroom to help her, and she also knows she can't hear them yet, which means that I'm not, in fact, coming.

Sitting on the couch with her this morning while she and her brother watched a dinosaur show, I thought about that concept. How she knows the sound of my walking. How, likewise, I know the footsteps of those with whom I live and love. I know what it sounds like when my husband walks by. The door can be shut, and I still know without a doubt that it's him. 

I know what it sounds like when her tiny, two-year-old feet are frantically slapping the hardwood floor, running as fast as they can after the dog. I know what her oldest brother's feet sound like when they're upstairs stomping around like a gorilla. And I know whose feet are out of bed and coming back down the stairs at night when all the little feet in the house are supposed to be asleep. 

I know the sound of their walking.

Can you imagine being in Adam and Eve's position (I'd say shoes, but my guess is they weren't wearing any) and knowing the sound of the Lord walking?

They communed with the Lord. They were intimately acquainted. They worked together, talked together, and did life together.

They knew the sound of his footsteps.

And I guess the question to us today is, can you hear Him walking?

Do you know your Father's footsteps?

The reality is, He's moving and working among us, regardless of the state of the world today. But can we hear it? Are we looking for his footsteps? 

May the soil of our hearts be fertile and ready to focus on him alone. 

May the harvest of our minds produce a crop of revelations from his Spirit.

May our eyes be clear as water to see his sovereignty and grace. 

And may our ears be intimately tuned to his character and ways

that we may hear him walk in the cool of the day.

An Ode to Snow Days {and a Recipe for Snowflake Cake!}

We've had a handful of snow days so far this winter, and I look forward to each and every one.

As long as there aren't too many back-to-back, that is. A girl has her limits, you know, and it would only be a matter of time before my sanity boards a flight to warmer climates. I wish I could go with it, but alas, I'm stuck here in a polar vortex with four crazy lovely children.

But snow days do bring with them a sort of magic. It blows in across the threshold in the wee hours of the morning, along with the frigid air desperately seeking refuge from the winter wonderland outside as daddy trudges out the door on his way to work. A gratitude and relief takes up residence inside our cozy walls as we anticipate a day of nothing and everything all at the same time.

Snow, as unwelcome as it can be after Christmas, makes room. Shifts priorities. It moves responsibility to the side and sets childlike freedom in it's place. It takes away routine and instead brings fun and excitement. It pushes work to the bottom of the list and chooses to showcase rest and quality time together first.

I know that every day can't be a snow day, but I do look forward to them with as much anticipation as my children. And I'll continue to cherish any that blow our way. So without further ado...

Ode to Snow Days
By Jacqui Roberts

Oh, eagerly envisaged days of no school…
Temperatures plummet, flurries swirl in globe-like
The freezing cold holds promise of lingering leisure.
Anticipated by student, sage and parents alike
We wish and hope and pray for an ensuing snow day.
With a penny under the pillow of each little tyke,
Pajamas on backwards, ice cubes down the toilet, 
Elation is well-earned upon receiving the call.

Cue the deleted alarms, warm covers and cuddles
To sleep in past eight and make a big brunch,
Which really becomes lunch, as time is muddled.
But there are no complaints, no room for that,
Only giggles and shrieks from sibling huddles.
Building forts, watching movies, sipping cocoa
Mom, enjoying the mess, leaves cleaning for later

Most of the day, that is, until the children must go
Outside to play in the soft, sparkling white
That fell all night under a cover of deep indigo.
The same sky, now a bright blue, offers opportunity
For endless tumbling, unlike falling dominos.
We treasure the impromptu gift, time to be together
A poignant blend of laughing, fighting and affection.


To continue the wintery spirit, I have a new recipe for you! It reminds me of a fresh dusting of powder on a chilly snow day, but words do it no justice...

You guys, this cake. I just can't even.

If you're a fan of coconut cake, YOU WILL LOVE THIS. Period. End of story. Even if you don't think you love coconut cake, you still need to try it, because you will now.

I started with iambaker's homemade yellow cake mix and made a few adjustments and some complimentary frosting. Her recipe is the best homemade cake I have ever had--infinitely better then the store-bought kind, and with ingredients you already have in your pantry. 

This is the perfect cake recipe for a snow day, but you certainly don't have to wait for the next one before you make it. Enjoy!

Snowflake Cake
{makes one 9x13 cake}

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Place all ingredients into a stand mixer (or a large bowl to mix by hand) and mix a few minutes until only small lumps remain. Pour into greased baking dish and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until the cake is fully cooked in the middle. Let cool.

And I have to say something else. I know that the ingredients call for regular, processed flour and refined white sugar (insert horrified emoji + thumbs down), but listen: IT'S CAKE. If there's one thing I've learned about whole-grain, non-refined foods on this whole food journey, it's that they don't translate well into cake form. They just don't. Believe me, I've tried.

Cake, by very definition, isn't supposed to be good for you, people, so just suck it up and use the flour and sugar. Because bad cake is worse then no cake at all. If you don't eat the whole thing yourself, you'll be just fine, okay? And if that's challenging for you, I have a solution: have a whole mess of kids and they'll eat most of it before you even get the chance. It works for me. 

Snowflake Frosting

1 stick butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut {sprinkle on top}

Cream butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the vanilla, powdered sugar and coconut, mixing periodically until fully combined. Frost cooled cake with an offset spatula, covering evenly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup coconut on top. Nature's sprinkles are the best kind!

My kids loved this cake so much it only lasted 24 hours at our house…

Hope yours do, too!