Tuesday, November 24, 2015

my thanksgiving

i am one of those people, i truly love every season of the year! now, late fall (thanksgiving!) and soon easing into winter (via christmas!), is top of my list, best. 2015 has already felt at least twenty months long, we're over it in many ways. something happened in my heart recently and i am ready for thanksgiving. i am ready to celebrate what god has done and is doing in my tiresome-confusing-lonely-beautiful-sweet circumstances. because in all things i am to be grateful. 

rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances, 
for this is the will of god in christ jesus, for you.
1 thessalonians 5:16-18

not necessarily for all things, but in all things.
we moved south eighteen months ago and if i'm real about it, only now do i feel a glimmer of being "settled in". one year and one month of this time has been spent house hunting. that feels like an eternity. a crawling, disappointing eternity. for whatever reason the lord has kept us in an apartment instead of a house, i need to trust him. his best for me rarely looks like what my best for me would be.

how about this spring, when elijah was diagnosed with pediatric follicular non-hodgkin's lymphoma? was that best for us? not in my dreams. the lord brought that to us and is bringing us through it. he's so far keeping elijah cancer free, and the three months between each checkup are a perfect time to be laying our weights down at the feet of jesus. he is bigger than anxiety and the crusher of fear. we lean hard into him and cling to his truth.

god is working his best for us in his perfect time. he makes good things sweeter and hard things lighter.

as we inch closer to thanksgiving day, my heart is so full! i want to record just a few marks of god's goodness here:

my husband and his staying power, at work and home.
elijah's sky-rocketting progress at school. his widened vocabulary and joyful, gentle spirit.
our church family. regular, faithful preaching of god's word and a heart for local and global missions. our church's service to the special needs of my family.
new friendships blooming. old friendships strengthened.
hope and healing for a broken heart and confused mind.
elijah's teacher who spotted the lump on his neck. the wise and gracious staff at our wonderful children's hospital. the opportunity to see them every three months. 
a way to work at home, being creative and providing for my family.
autism. a mystery that draws me closer to jesus, a gift that gives me compassion.
god is with us and he keeps his promises. the mostly crazy ways he shows me that is true.

lord, i thank you! for who you are and what you finished for me. help me to rest in your enough-ness. give me strength to hold fast to you. show me again the wisdom of your ways above my own.  draw me close to you. give me a grateful heart in you, every season of my life.

Friday, August 21, 2015

god made all of me - the next book your family needs

i'm so excited to share this book with y'all! and the amazing pre-order offer below!
perhaps you've been curious or anxious about how sexual assualt has or potentially will affect your family. i know, we don't enjoy thinking of these things! but we must think about this, and more importantly, take steps to keep our children safe.

our family is so passionate about sexual abuse prevention and aftercare and we're glad a book like this is coming available! 

having been sexually abused as a child, i want you to know: never assume your children know how to keep themselves safe. never assume they know they can come to you and talk about anything at all. educating yourself, developing safe bonds with your kids and sharing all you know will change their lives. this topic shouldn't be awkward or treated with whispers. evil and shame lurk in the secrets. i hope you'll begin healthy conversations and routines with your children to let them know how much god loves them and wants them to be safe!

this book will be a fantastic tool to help you help your kids.
god made all of me: a book to help children protect their bodies is the latest from justin and lindsey holcomb, releasing september 8. in these pages you'll find hope and help, through important facts, scripture and examples to encourage your children to know their bodies and keep them safe. 

education is crucial to preventing inappropriate sexual behavior or contact. as parents and caregivers, we can be smarter and better prepared than those who wish to harm our kids we love and want to protect! god made all of me teaches safe touch, secrets vs. surprise and how to ask for help.

it's impossible to protect our families from the evils of this world. we trust the lord and the wisdom he gives if we seek it, to equip us for whatever crosses our path. you are the best defense for your kids. small and powerful book will guide you to giving your little ones a positive, straightforward understanding of their precious bodies and how to keep them safe.

the holcombs have shared an incredible pre-order offer for you!
already pre-ordered? you can submit your receipt here and claim your gifts!

this book would make a great gift for your relatives, teacher or pastor!

we all believe our children's safety is important. we take care to teach traffic safety, swimming safety, fire safety, etc. let's be intentional and proactive and add their personal/body safety to that important list!

praying god uses this little book to make you more aware and more secure about your kids' protection.

Monday, August 17, 2015

my prayer tonight - for elijah

most days we do our own thing. i'd forgotten a bit, how true that is, until you started school last week. switching to the non-summer routine hurts. but with all its pain, we're already seeing the treasure of it. you've got an amazing teacher this year and your classroom is jungle themed. monkeys everywhere! it's like she knew your curious george obsessed self was coming and made it just right for you. i loved sitting with you in your class for orientation! you loved the booklet your teacher made you, telling you all about herself. when you saw the page about her birthday your eyes danced and you "talked to my ears" mama! let's surprise mrs. mc. on her birthday! what a sweet answer to prayer, this kind teacher and her contagious smile. another answer to prayer, you have the same aide as last year! i'm so excited to see how this year unfolds. let's back up and talk about this prayer business.

we learned several weeks ago that even though you'd be repeating kindergarten, nothing would be the same. new teacher, new special educators, new aide. i was anxious for you. fearful, too. you've had such a difficult few months. oh, how i sometimes wish i could make everything easy for you! change is hard for us all, but i know it's a whole 'nother world of hard for you, sweet boy. quickly the dread melted away because i remembered who knows you even better than i do. jesus. 

jesus knew about the changes before we did and he knew your needs well before that. he's a good designer and makes no mistakes. we can trust his way, even when it seems dim to our comfort focused sight. so i prayed. i didn't feel the need to ask for much besides god's help to trust him. lord, you know elijah now and who he will be this school year. bring the right staff and bring peace as we trust your giving. and son. he went and placed you in the best kindergarten class. he brought a sweet soul in to be your special educator. he went above and beyond what i even thought to pray for and gave you precious m. again as your personal sidekick. we didn't think she was even coming back to your school, much less to be your aide!

i want you to know.
when we cuddle up at bedtime, after stories and songs, when we talk to god? he hears us. i think you already know this. 

you came home from school talking about a boy who has no hands. you had so many questions and comments. we discussed differences and kindness. your response was to talk to god about it. you looked up and out the window and shouted up your prayer god! hey. there's a boy with no hands. he needs help. please give his hands back. help him. you know who to go to when you're confused and helpless. and you believe he is listening. he is. 
my prayer tonight is that jesus will continue to reveal himself to you and draw you close to himself. as you wrestle with understanding this noisy world you live in, i hope you see jesus clearest of all.

Monday, June 08, 2015

hello, summer.

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i haven't posted here for six months, today seemed like a great day to pick it up. instagram has been my go-to for life documentation, i guess. if you aren't connected with me there, we have a ridiculous amount of catching up to do! i am looking forward to writing here more often.
elijah finished school two weeks ago and we are enjoying the glory of summer time. last week he went to vacation bible school at our church and had the best time, it was his first time to participate in a vbs week. speaking of first times, he's off to day camp this morning! i can't believe he's big enough for such things. 

life moves pretty fast.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

he is with me.

it's here. the season of advent, awaiting the celebrated day our savior was born. our crooked tree stands in the living room, carefully packed with pounds of christmas cheer. everything seems more peaceful when seen by its glow of colorful lights. tree trimmings and various other holly jolly bits are working hard to set a festive tone. but it's just not enough for our tired bodies and souls. we've been passing sickness 'round and around here since before thanksgiving. i'm over it. i'm fighting to feel the lord near in this strange loneliness that bunks with sickness. he is enough for me. for us. will i believe that?

i'm mostly behind on all things christmas, and everything else really. one thing i committed to do and am keeping up with so far: some advent reading. each year i try to read something personally, apart from whatever we do as a family. we usually read through the jesus story book bible. this year i chose to follow the she reads truth advent reading plan. it's so good! making this time each day, no matter what i feel like, has helped me tremendously. some days i've had to stop and restart a few times, but i make it happen.
meeting with the lord always gives rest. always breathes peace. always births hope. it's fascinating to me how i can crave and avoid at the same time. the life-giving power of the scripture, the fellowship with my savior, it sometimes feels like work. even during this special time of year. am i willing to do the work?

"what i want most for christmas this year is to join you (and many others) in seeing christ in all his fullness and that we together be able to love what we see  with a love far beyond our own half-hearted human capacities." john piper
well, i asked the lord specifically to help my focus this advent season. he's made sure i'm listening! i can see only strep throat and the flu, or the opportunity in the halt of the to-do lists and activities. he's helping me wait for him. in being forced to rest, i'm compelled to consider the manger and the tiny king swaddled there. 

jesus didn't come to fix me. he came to make me new. he came to rescue me from sin and sadness, from my goodness that's not good enough. he came to give me real rest, true freedom and hope. i want to see this jesus, i want to see emmanuel god with us.
he is with me in the miles that separate me from family. he is with me in the fever monitoring and endless laundry. he is with me when i feel forgotten. he is with me when i forget he is with me.

"come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and i will give you rest. take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for i am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." matthew 11:28-29

i've shared this video before and i'm sharing it again. listen and rest. emmanuel!

Thursday, November 20, 2014


elijah and patrick fell asleep during bedtime reading, so here i am for a minute.

i'm really struggling that we're nearly at the end of november. i feel like i keep saying it, but good grief. i can't keep up with time these days!

we really had a cold snap here this past week. i've loved it. breathing in the chilly, crisp air puts life into my brain and bones, the leaves here are fading, but still showing off their color a bit. speaking of leaves, it's wonderful to have trees everywhere. such a change from the tree-less plains we grew so fond of. 

my baby sister is having her third baby soon. tomorrow! this is the first time i won't be there. she has a sweet, wonderful husband by her side, that is comforting to know. i am missing her so much though. looking forward to seeing photos and hearing the story of the little man's birth. and his name of course, they haven't decided on one yet :)

elijah has had an incredibly successful week at school. he's so excited that tomorrow is friday. i'm so excited that he has all week off next week. he doesn't realize it yet, and i cry just thinking of how happy he'll be for the break!

i did some christmas ornament shopping today. gift exchanges are irresistible to me, fyi. i had a great time, and i was almost giddy at the alone time i had to peruse shops and flocked trees for just the right ornament. it's been years since i strolled through a giant department store with little agenda. wow. there's just so much stuff. and this time of year? out of control stuff. but i love it, ha! having worked in retail for many years of my life, i especially notice all the displays and imagine how long they took to design and assemble. i miss that. and i miss chatting with all the shoppers. there's something about the "festive energy" this time of the year. you know what i mean? we're preparing for thanksgiving, which is truly a preparation for christmas. we're wide-eyed with all the shiny noise of it all. possibly overwhelmed by the lists, or perhaps the lack. we all desire "great" holiday experiences, i think. i'm guilty of having a wonky perspective of what actually makes a holiday great. it's not the playlists, movie marathons, the wrappings, the decor, the family, the feasts. it's the giver. always the giver.
on days like today, with carols filling my ears and surrounded by everything jolly, i push myself to remember the truth. the giver. let me focus on him.

anyway. i'm gonna go wake my husband, because i'm a nice wife who wants to hang out a little. it felt good to pour out my thoughts these last few minutes. what's on your mind tonight?

Monday, November 17, 2014

getting my gratitude act together

"take a picture my transforter, mama."
i hope he never stops asking for photo ops. he's very interested in taking pictures, sometimes he's keen to actually be in them. i'm so grateful for those times and we jump at those chances!

we've been here for nearly six months. how is it possible? halfway through kindergarten and i hardly need google maps to get me around town anymore. you could say we're settled in. for the most part you could say that, because we all know, it ain't one hundred percent settled up in here. we love this city! but man. we greatly miss living so close to my sister and her family. we even miss the north dakota weather. i'm thankful for good memories of those years and for a relationship with family that makes miles apart something to cry about. we feel mostly at home in alabama, and we're excited for our future here.

elijah's bad cold turned into a fierce infection over the weekend. we landed in our new pediatrician's office this afternoon, and wow. i love that place, and the doctor is everything he was lauded to be! we've scored, and i'm so thankful. elijah likes him too, which is the most important thing.
i'm in the thick of wiping noses and screaming because of wiping noses, topping off the orange juice cup and watching a dozen movies, i'm grateful to be here and be the one to do those things.

i'm a hypervigilant/intensely observant person. i notice everything. because of that i see plenty to love and plenty to irritate or discourage me. by his grace alone, especially during this last year, the lord has helped me to see more beauty to be thankful for. and honestly, sometimes it's not even a beautiful thing for human eyes. it might be a hard thing that he's turned toward himself so i see his reflection, making it easier to bear. pretty or painful, he's giving me new eyes to take it all in. last week i felt a fresh challenge to do something about all the details i notice and store up in my heart and mind.

"the unthankful heart discovers no mercies; but the thankful heart will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings." henry ward beecher

most people learn best through hearing, seeing or touching. my strength is probably visual learning, but you know what? if i really want to know a thing, i listen/speak out loud, look at it/read it and feel it. scripture verses? i say it aloud, read it, and hold and actual bible in my hands and run my fingers over the words.  our pastor mentioned in church membership class that he learns people's names this way. he sees their face, hears their name and repeats it back to them, and shakes their hand.
if i really want to start living thanksgiving, i need to start talking and writing more. speaking audible thanks to the lord. not so he can hear me, but so i can hear me thanking him. i need to hear it especially when i don't feel grateful. i totally believe that thanksgiving is the doorway to rest in any circumstance god has me in. keeping a thankful journal is another step to making this a way of life. blogging and social media isn't bad, but it can't compare to pen and paper. at all. once upon a time i had a great habit of keeping track of my gratefuls, but i'm sad to say i haven't done so in forever.

this time of year seems appropriate to get my gratitude act together. with thanksgiving quick around the corner, it's time. time to speak and time to write. time to focus on the maker of the details, the giver of the gifts, the bearer of my burdens. he sees me and knows me, that's grace. i want to see him, know him, and thank him. that's worship. that's how i want to live every season of the year.

"make a joyful noise to the lord, all the earth! serve the lord with gladness! come into his presence with singing! know that the lord, he is god! it is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! give thanks to him; bless his name! for the lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations." psalm 100