Finding Whole in a World of Searching

We live in a world of searching.

We can trace this reality all the way back to that fracture in the garden, when a man and a woman chose against God's instruction as they reached out towards a forbidden fruit.  Now, what once was whole ruptured into two and thus began the search.  

Sometimes I try to imagine what it would feel like to be truly whole, what it would have been like to walk beside God in the cool of the morning in that place of paradise.  I imagine myself bursting at the seam.  This tangible overflow of everything that I was created to be would bleed out of every pore.

To be immeasurably whole, we were made for that.  Isn't that why we hunt?

A thousand times I've wrapped my own grip around that forbidden fruit.  I've sank my teeth in deep expecting my fill and yet my hunger lingered.  My fruit, it has come in many forms.  Time and time again it's changed it's form before my eyes and it whispers softly:  "this is it, just one more bite, this is going to be the one thing that will finally make you feel intact."

the shape of my body, the clarity of my skin, my husband, sex, success, likes on Instagram, monthly views on my blog, the number of stamps in my passport, my children, the clothes hanging in my closet, a Pinterest worthy home, money in the bank, the next best thing.  Desperate for my fill I've moved on and on and on.  None of these things are inherently wrong, in fact all have the potential to be immense blessings. But as we search the blessing for the chance to be whole we leave disappointed, still overwhelmed by our fractured state.

We have to look back to the Giver.  

I grew up on the Oregon Coast.  The little town of Florence, in my biased opinion has few rivals when it comes to beauty and I love that it is forever a part of my history.  Naturally, my family and I would spend a lot of time at the beach.  We'd pile into the car.  Mom, dad, three kids, and two dogs.  By the end of each trip every single crevice of the car would be filled with sand despite being told to shake out our shoes and to ride home barefoot.  Since moving away I've come to realize that a sandy car and then in turn, a sandy house is a privilege.  Not everyone gets to grow up just minutes from the ocean.

That's not the point of this story though, what I really want to talk about is sand dollars.  Along my part of the Pacific, sand dollars aren't really that difficult to spot but they are almost always broken.  But no one goes to the beach to look for broken sand dollars, the goal is to find them rare and whole.  I was never very good at it but my mother, she was a pro!  I'm not kidding, we would have competitions and while the rest of us would get back to the car empty handed she, with a big grin on her face, would be clutching two or three of them.  It always frustrated me.  Sure, I would be happy for her but what about all of my broken pieces?  What did she know that I didn't? 

And then I learned something that fundamentally changed the way that I searched for sand dollars:  I stopped searching on the beach and I started searching in the tide.  

On the beach, sand dollars are exposed to the sun and the wind, which dries them out making them brittle and prone to fracture long before they can be found.  In the water, they are safe.  It's here where those delicate shells are cradled in a bed of hydration, surrounded on every side by a sea that was designed to be their home. 

When I dwell on this childhood revelation I can't help but think of my life now.  I think back to the thousands of times I've walked with my head down searching for that one thing that will make me entirely me.  While I search the shore I ignore that roaring force that has waited patiently along side me the whole time and it's been calling:  "look up, I have something better, I have what you've been searching for!"

Let me encourage you in this:  we can stop searching.

Christ is our ocean.  

Wade out into the tide and let its waters swirl around your ankles, move out until it hits your thighs, keep going until it covers you completely.

That's where whole is.

As we continue to live this life between two gardens we are going to fail, distraction is going to lead us back to the beach where we are most vulnerable to fragment.  This world has nothing to offer us but if we just keep training our gaze to Christ that feeling of empty will begin to fill and then overflow.  Keep returning to His Word, bend your knees in prayer, offer up a cry of praise.  Over and over and over again, train your gaze back to that Ocean and He will tell you exactly who you are:  a daughter, a son crowned in a victory that is whole and complete.  

"For it was I, the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt.  Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." -Psalm 81:10

Stop your searching and fix your gaze. 

Valentine's Day Tea Party!

This year I decided that I wanted to throw my two girls a little Valentine's Day tea party and it worked out perfectly because their dad had drill this weekend so we decided to make it girls only!

Ever since having kids I always had this vision in my head on how I could make little things extra special for them.  It's just something I love to do and I hope they grow up knowing how loved they are!

I gathered up several of their stuffed animals and together we enjoyed sparkling juice and of course cake!  Ezrah made sure that we weren't actually going to drink tea.  She said to me:  "We aren't going to drink real tea because I don't like tea, it tastes like coffee to me."  Haha!  I'm not sure where she got the coffee reference but we did make sure to drink our tea (juice) with a proper tea pot and tea cups!

Of course I had to make a cake because it's one of my favorite things to do and this time I played around with flavored butter cream!  On the inside I used peanut butter and on the outside I used Nutella.  I cannot tell you how delicious both of these recipes are.  They worked really well together too.  Recipes:  here & here!

After our tea party we decorated cookies and this was so fun!  I especially love watching Ezrah's creativity, she truly loves to create.  A girl after my own heart!  Hadessah spent most of her time just eating sprinkles, which really shows the stage of life she is currently in haha!  But here is the thing that I loved the most about our time together today:

I will admit that as a stay-at-home mom I can get a little caught up in keeping things neat and tidy all of the time and it's hard for me to slow down and just let things be.  It's just nice to make things a little special and a little more intentional sometimes.  Eat all of the sugar and make all of the messes, we are just going to enjoy our time together.  Times like these remind me that I have two growing girls and it's ok just be slow and be present.

It's my hope that our girls, when they are all grown, they will look back and remember a childhood full of sweet memories and intentionality.

As busy moms, it's hard, I know it's hard but it's so important and I hope that I can inspire you just a little to sit down with your own growing babies and do something special together with no worries about messes or to-do lists.  For now, it can wait.

Valentine's Day DIY: Watercolor Art Print

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and although I never used to be the biggest fan, over the past couple years I have found myself really looking forward to it!  I just think it's the sweetest little holiday and I always love a good excuse for more pink!

This year I wanted to come up with a few things to share with all of you and I am SO excited to share this DIY!

A little back story:  Mr. Boddington is by far and away one of my favorite stationary brands EVER, I am obsessed with their cheeky designs!  Every week or so on their Instagram they have a color naming contest where they give a swatch of color and everyone gets a go at naming it.  At the end of the week they pick a winner.  I admit that I haven't won yet but I am a faithful participant.  I just think it is so much fun!

Not long ago I discovered that they offer a custom print where you can name your own colors and they will send it to you framed.  It's a really fun way to represent different things in your life through color.  For example, I made one for my parents for Christmas with colors representing Israel to remind them of our time there together.

So a quick disclaimer:  this is by no means my original idea but thought this was the cutest idea and I wanted to share an inexpensive way to do it yourself.  If you want to check out Mr. Boddington's original version, you can do that here!

For the version I am sharing today I just did different shades of reds and pinks and then gave them names that I thought were romantic yet quirky.  I do also love a good pun so at times things get pretty puny too!

If you ever dreamed of being a professional nail polish namer at Essie now is your chance, well sort of!

Things you will need: 

1. Watercolor paper.
I used 9 x 12, you will need to trim it down a bit.

2.  Watercolor/paintbrushes.
If you wanted to use something other than watercolor you could do that too!

3. Frame.
You will want your frame to be 8 x 10 or 8 x 10 with a matte.  I got mine at Walmart for less than 10 dollars.

4.  Printer.
If you don't have access to a printer that's totally okay, just use your own handwriting.  In the end it might add extra character anyway!


Everything is super simple to do.  You could start by brainstorming names or colors, which ever is easiest for you.  Once you have finalized your color names you will want to type them out in a Word document.

Open up a Word document, go to layout, go to columns.  Once you are in columns select "three"

This will ensure you have even spacing throughout.  You may have to play around a bit to get everything even vertically but you will get the hang of it.  Use any font you wish and then type everything out.

Next you will want to print out your names.  You may have to trim down your watercolor paper a bit but no worries, it won't show once it's framed.  Another tip would be to make sure that you are printing on the smooth side of the watercolor paper.  I know it's a little unconventional to use the back side of the paper but since we are just doing swatches of color it isn't going to affect the quality.

Now you are ready to paint!  Get to mixing your colors and then all you have to do is paint a simple circle above the corresponding name that you have come up with.  I like to make my swatches a little uneven to keep it interesting but that is totally up to you!  For reference, I tried to keep each swatch to around the size of a quarter.

Once everything is dry you can stick it in your frame and now you have the sweetest new art print for your home or to give as a gift.  I think these make super great conversation starters too!

Remember to just be creative and just be YOU!  You don't have to stick to pinks and reds.  Maybe you went on a trip to Hawaii with your significant other.  Think of all the colors that inspired you while you were there.  Or maybe you have kids, what colors remind you of their personalities?  I also made one for my mother-in-law.  She is a breast cancer survivor so I did different shades of pink and then gave them names like "cancer mauve over" and "I beet cancer." 

This is totally customizable and the possibilities are endless.

Have fun!