Soulful Sojourning

Real Life, Real Love

I t all starts with MOOOOOOMMMMMMM! Isaac ate dog food! MOM! Isaac’s sucking on a sponge and spraying water all over the bathroom. Mom! Isaac’s climbing into the dryer!

The chaos seems all consuming lately. The prettier I try to make my web life, the uglier I see my real life. There aren’t any travel adventures or Instagram moments today, unless you want pictures of all the things I’m scraping off my stovetop or the size of my dust bunnies.

When there are more unmatched socks than pairs, more bills than money, more unanswered phone calls than time in the day, I hear the lie whisper in my ear, you are not capable.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not capable. Life is difficult no matter what your circumstance. However, what scares me is when I insert lovable for capable. The lie takes over and I hear you are not capable therefore you are not lovable.

Why does this lie have so much power over me? I don’t apply it to my children. I change multiple diapers a day, cut up apples and chicken nuggets, wash countless soiled clothes and wipe snotty noses. No matter how big the mess, I still delight in sticky fingers, chubby feet and sloppy kisses. I never love my son any less because he’s not capable of caring for himself.

It’s the same with my lovely third grader. Even as she’s learning to make eggs and do multiplication, I never love her any less if she leaves shoes in every room of the house or needs to be asked 37 times to empty the dishwasher. I’m also grateful for a husband whose love is not contingent on my housekeeping skills or the money I bring home.

So why is my internal dialogue so polluted? In our home, we say often that our love is not dependent on performance. One day we will be exceptionally proud, another disappointed but love is unconditional. There will be praise and there will be consequences but love never changes.

Breathe in. Breathe out. As the old year fades into the new, I pray for grace and the stillness to listen. Listen to my children, listen to the birds, listen to the compliments my husband gives so generously that often get drowned out by children and self-doubt. Most importantly, that I listen to my creator. Listen to the dreams he has for me, the encouragement, the strength, the correction and the truth to see myself in the way he does, every moment of every day.

20 “But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24 ESV

By God’s grace,

#reallifereallove

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A Prayer for My Son

Isaac, my son. As your mother, every birthday celebrates ...

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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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  • My fall flavors are carrot cake & ginger bread. But I have a confession, I don’t bake well. I rarely wear my glasses in the kitchen and I’ve NEVER followed instructions very well so my baking mistakes are epic. The precision and concentration to create confectionary masterpieces is rarely worth the time or the guilt.  Birthday cakes come from Cosco, I can make put cookie dough on a pan but I’ve even been known to mix up baked goods that come out of a box.  I do LOVE to cook.  I used to love painting but it feels the same in my brain as standing over the stove and my people are much more excited to see my culinary creations than my artwork. Go figure! .  Today, I bake to make memories. Life is moving fast and I’m always looking for meaningful ways to engage my children.  This recipe will give you those stolen moments together. For the recipe on these Carrot Cake Cookies click the link in my profile. It’s so easy even I can do it. .  #makememories #carrotcakecookies #fall #nothingisordinary #familytime #everydayadventure #nothingisordinary #ibakedit #webaketogether #frommykitchentoyours
  • "One secret of life is that the reason life works at all is that not everyone in your tribe is nuts on the same day. Another secret is that laughter is carbonated holiness." -Anne LaMott .
I'm so thankful for my tribe @arthousedallas and the inspiration, encouragement and laughter they've brought along the way. .
Today, I got my hands on an advance copy of Empathy for the Devil, Finding Ourselves In The Villains of the Bible, by JR Forasteros. @jrforasteros .
I've had the privilege of watching this piece grow from edited pages our tribe has spoken into and over to this fantastic book. Thanks for sharing your journey with us! Look for the book Nov. 7th. .
#writersofinstagram #findyourtribe #arthousedallas #inspiration #keepwriting #writeitdown #write #findthestoryinside #findyourvoice #celebrate #books #reading #storytelling #spilledink #writerscommunity
  • Creativity is a flame that ignites the soul but just as easily the light can be snuffed out. Communities of artists become  a shelter from the storms of life or give a spark to an idea or passion. How many great works never reach the light of day for lack of courage or support? I'm grateful for all the creatives who've poured into my journey and helped me find my voice. Thank you @arthousedallas for the way you cultivate, inspire and sustain artists in our city. .
"Creativity begets creativity " Sarah Groves
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#arthousedallas #sarahgroves #creativityforthecommongood #createeveryday #nothingisordinary #arthousestpaul #inspiration #creativityfound #writeitdown #writersofinstagram #writinglife #exploreyourcreativity #aspecialnight #stewardyourgifts #arthouse #deepthoughts #encourageyourcommunity #engageyourspace #charliepeacock #creativecommunity #inspiration #wordstoliveby #comecreatewithme
  • Natural hair, it can be overwhelming, messy, imperfect and expensive but the look of confidence in her eyes when we get it right is priceless. The help I’ve received has not only helped us learn about hair but also given us a place in a beautiful community with members being added every day.  Our repertoire has grown from simple twists or braids to crochet styles and faux dreads. Afro puffs still make my heart go soft and I love the auntie that gave her blue box braids this summer with an affection only a white mama can understand.
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These days it’s special watching her grow and care for her hair on her own. But I still love separating the curls with my fingers, massaging conditioner into the root myself. Each style becomes a mother’s prayer. It’s a prayer for peace, for beauty, for strength.
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A prayer she finds her own voice in this world and delights in her unique expression of God’s glory.  For more of our journey, click the link in profile. .  #frommyhearttoyours #nothingisordinary #ndjerareoujourney #ourfamilyourworld #itsanadventure #naturalhair #herbeautyherstrength #forallthebravewomenwhovegonebefore #amothersprayer #weareallextraordinary #delightinourdifferences #exploretheworldtogether #onedayatatime
  • Three generations walking to remember my grandmother Ethel Helgeson and all those affected by Alzheimer's. We walk to remember, we walk to raise awareness, we walk to raise money for research, we walk in hopes of finding a cure, we walk to bring dignity to all those living with this disease.
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The best part of today- all the family moments that happened, we explored UTA, we told stories of past lessons and adventures, we fell into step with one another as only family can.
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Thank you to all the family that gathered for today's Walk for Alzheimer's. @kacalligraphydesign @jwollsch @bwwollsc1 and more. .
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#walkALZ #walkforacure #walkforalzheimers #wewillremember #dignityforall #wherethereislifethereishope #threegenerations #
  • "Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink in the wild air." -Ralph Waldo Emerson .
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@heleneinbetween On our summer escape in Europe I loved the epic sights but the moments that have stuck in my heart are the impromptu berry picking, carousel rides, funny faces, late night book readings, BBQ adventures, getting lost, and lazy days by the river. .
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None of it required much planning but it did require being present. Thank you Europe for helping me witness their childhood. May we never be too old to explore and play. .
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#heleneloveseurope # #helenelovesummer #welivetoexplore #traveltogther #travelwithkids #travelslowtravelfar #itsanadventure #neverstopexploring #travelinfrance #travelingourplanet #stayinspired #epictravels #discovertheworldtogether #discoverglobe #discovertheroad #addictedtotravel #timefreedom #mybudgettravel #soultravel #wildfamily #getoutdoors #staywild
  • "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." -Mark Twain
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#travelslowtravelfar #aroundtheworld #neverstopexploring #kashgar #travelwithkids #exploretheworldtogether #instatravel #silkroad #itsanadventure #itsasmallworldafterall #asia #travel
  • Not all who wander are lost. . .  in the brilliant words of J.R.R Tolkien. Sometimes we’re at home restlessly wondering, floundering, worrying if we’ll ever wander again? The time in-between adventures can be the most desolate for this mama. I struggle through the hum-drum details of a daily routine.  Auto-pilot is the danger here. I adore my family, friends and home but my nomadic heart can get lost in the daily grind.
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Thankfully, when my heart needs a taste of adventure I can wander as far as my local ethnic market. Thai, Indian, Nigerian, their colors, tools, meats, vegetables and spices can enliven any after school doldrums.  My kids get to wander the aisles and practice cultural sensitivity (Yes, it smells intense but this is the food of their culture, how do you think hot dogs seem to them?) and explore drinks, fruit or sweet treats.
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As a bonus, our finds become hospitable moments and ways to invite our friends and family into our adventures.
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For a few of my favorite recipes from my visit to Kashgar and how to make them in your kitchen click the link in profile. Join us on an everyday adventure. 
#everdayadventures ##neverstopexploring #aroundtheworld #aroundthetable #kashgar #silkroad #familyadventure #travelslowtravelfar #travelwithkids #instatravel #adventureawaits #haverecipewilltravel #armchairadventurer #notallthosewhowanderarelost