Just a Minute devotional book cover release

Happy Monday everyone! We are gearing up for two weeks away as a family, but before we go, I wanted to release the cover of my devotional eBook/print book to be released in August.  I have struggled to write much of anything else lately, with this taking up most of my ‘free time’. But as it is now finished, I am so so excited to share it with you!

It’s 31 days of faith-filled blog posts over the past three years. As you read it, you will see the hand of God and His work through major transition in my life.

Who is it for? My writing primarily speaks to women, but I believe men can find life in it too. And this is for anyone in a transition stage of life and looking for gospel-filled hope and grace-filled truth of God’s Father heart… from my own life experience 😉

It will be available in both print and eBook versions, and I will share more information later in July.

To give you more insight into the book, I’ve included the introduction below…

JUST A MINUTE – INTRODUCTION

Change has been a constant in my life. When I got married at 33, I realized that I had never stayed in one place (house) for more than 2.5 years my entire adult life. From roommates, to moving for college, to living with my sister, then buying my own place, and living abroad, I feel like I have been constantly packing and unpacking.

But the one constant in my life has been Jesus. And it’s only been in these past three years of marriage and motherhood that I can honestly say I love Him deeper than ever through experiencing life’s biggest changes.

The Lord has taught me how to rest and abide in Him through all the transition. This book captures three years of blog posts written out of my quiet time – out of my minutes of seeking His presence as a new mother, or long moments over coffee and journal with the Lord.

I’m a firm believer that if we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8). And sometimes through all the craziness of life’s changes, all we need is a just a minute in His presence to reset and hear His voice.

As a new wife and mom, I know that my relationship with the Lord has changed and I’ve had to be flexible in learning new ways of meeting with Him. Whether it was singing Amazing Grace over my daughter as a newborn, or with 6:00am coffee before she woke up, His presence has changed me and sustained me.

Through the past few years of change, He has taught me and shown me the importance of abiding in Him, resting in His finished work, and ceasing from striving. I’m a planner and do-er, so this has not come easy! And while these are old blog posts written weeks and months a part, the work of the Lord was the same. Constant in His care, I began to learn how He really is good. From the beginning of our marriage, to now three years married with a toddler, you can be a witness to the process of healing and grace God has been doing in me. I certainly have not arrived, but God is at work, and there is hope in that. I pray that this book is a great encouragement to you, whatever season you find yourself in.

I challenge and encourage you, take just a minute, meet with Him, learn to know Him deeper, and you will be changed by His love. Guaranteed.

You can use this as a 31-day devotional, with each chapter laying out a scripture to meditate on. Or read through at whatever pace you are comfortable with. I pray you are encouraged to pursue something deeper with God after reading my story!

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Stay tuned later in July for a giveaway and more information on the upcoming release date! Have a great week everyone! I’m out for some much-needed holidays… xo

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A little announcement: Our brew-d is growing

My husband and I are happy to announce that we are expecting our second child next January 2018! Little Elizabeth will be a big sis!

I am 11.5 weeks along and now feel I am over the initial exhaustion. I didn’t remember being that tired with my first pregnancy, but then again I DO have a toddler now too! I’ve had some nausea, but not as bad as with Elizabeth. So, of course, as our family and home grows, my writing will ebb and flow with it. I love everything about home and what God has purposed it to be. I am grateful and honoured you are following along on this journey.

Hugs,

Lani

Finding simple peace

It’s been my favourite street since we moved into this neighbourhood 2.5 years ago. The trees are mature, with just the right amount of cover and sway, but enough gap to let the morning light in. Since spring arrived, Elizabeth and I have been frequenting this neighbourhood on our post-breakfast morning walk. And I love it. If the sun is shining, you will find us there.

I oogle at some of the houses with front porches (a dream!). We watch the kids run to school just down the street as the teachers or kids in orange jackets direct them. The lilacs along the path beg for me to pick them with their breathtaking fragrance. And the robins sing their morning melody. It’s like peace floods my heart. If I’m intentional, I try and make it my grateful walk. A prayer walk. But a lot of times, it’s just a chance to breathe the beautiful air. I can have trouble focusing or praying in my morning quiet time (if I get it in before E wakes up!), but as soon as we hit the path walking it’s like the heart and mind kick in.

Yesterday I felt bad for our bichon shitzu, Pippa, as she needed a walk, so I brought her with us. It was like walking a squirrel, ya’ll! She near tripped me with her leash doing figure 8’s as we crossed the street. So I decided that THIS walk is my peace walk for Elizabeth and I alone, and Pippa will have to get her walk another time!

I know it seems simple and trite, but having this little thing that is free, full of God’s beauty, and right out my back door, is something I am so thankful for. Our winters are long, so I am soaking it up!

I think as a mamma you have to find little things, accessible things, that bring you peace and joy. Something you can sow into your day that fills your heart. For some it might be gardening with the kids, lounging in the sun at naptime, or talking on the phone with a friend – whatever it is – I encourage you to find that beautiful place that God has waiting for you. Just for you.

Here are a few pictures from our walk this morning…

When little is what you’ve got

Ten years ago I bought a 960sq ft townhouse, built in 1955 as military housing. I was drawn to the large windows and hardwood floor. It was my first home and required a lot of “lipstick” to make it look pretty again. It had the typical 90’s burgundy and forest green paint, complete with wallpaper trim and sponge paint (yes, SPONGE PAINT!). The weekend I moved in I had family and friends help with painting and clean up, and we celebrated with some pizza at the end of it.

 But that place was mine, and I was so proud to own it after years of renting. It was the boom of 2007 and everyone was buying. I had friends buying houses that were larger, but this was what my bank account could afford (barely!). Fast forward to newlywed life, and Troy and I lived for the first four months of our marriage in a 500sq ft upper garage suite while our house was being built. It seemed cramped at the time, but it was the most wonderful gift of simplicity we could’ve asked for as we learned each other as husband and wife.

Now, we have a 2,500sq ft home to love and tend to. It takes more time, more money, and more effort to keep it up than that townhouse ever did. But it’s ours, and we love it for the season that we are here.

As I sit here typing, the sun has been up for an hour and a half (oh for early spring mornings!), and my mind is alert. Counting the minutes to when my baby wakes and our day starts. Most mornings I am up by 6:30, but this past week I have been waking and wanting to be up earlier. Like 6am! 3-4 times a week I try to get in a workout and time with the Lord (shower time is sporadic!)  before Elizabeth wakes up between 7:15-7:30. These moments of time on my own are fewer than pre-motherhood, but I feel like in the years previous, God has been teaching me how to make space for Him in the time I have. Make Him a priority first thing in the morning. For me, that began mostly when I lived in England and has continued to this day. I crave Him, more and more not out of tradition or act, but out of wanting to know the One who made and saved me and is renewing me day by day.

So for right now, I am working with space I have been given, and letting (TRYING!) God make it beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

Last night I went to bed bemoaning to Troy about how I need more creative time. Of all the things I want to do and just don’t have time for as a full-time mom.  And I am challenged this morning, in the moments I have with my Father before the day begins, to work with what I have. To make space to meet with Him, to work with intention at what I have been given, and see what God does with it. Rather than compare to the creative square footage of someone else, I am convicted of giving God the landscape I have and do my best to make space for Him to lead, love and move in it.

If you have little time for anything else right now, make what space you have to meet with the Lord, and see how HE will make it beautiful. In its time. Pressure off. Stop comparing (preaching to the choir here!). Swing open the door and let God decorate the proverbial house you’ve been given, no matter how big or small it is.

Own it, sister, to own it.

Circa 2007 – me and my “new” kitchen!

The most important reason we need rest

 

Busyness. It can be worn like a badge, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve readily and proudly admitted when my answer to “how have you been?” is “Busy!” It makes us feel productive. Like we are worthily accomplishing something.

Rest is not easily accomplished as a mother, so I am learning. 24/7 you are now caring for the needs of a little one(s), your hubby, and your home. Plus likely balancing volunteering, work, family and friendships. Rest is utterly important, at every stage of life, and I don’t think it’s impossible, or God wouldn’t urge us to do it. We just have to be creative. For me, right now, rest looks like my morning coffee with some time in the Word before Elizabeth wakes up (that length changes daily!). It looks like trying a new recipe and experimenting with food. It looks like reading something other than non-fiction – currently, the story of the little Swiss girl, Heidi, lent to me by a friend.

My husband, Troy, knows this about me – that I have an extremely hard time resting after Elizabeth goes down for bed until clutter is put away, and the kitchen is clean. I rest better without clutter and mess. So the word “rest” has been on my mind as I mull over what God wants me to focus on in this season.

Did you know the word “rest” occurs 308 times (ESV) in the Bible? For a frame of reference, “love” occurs 551 times. So clearly, rest is important. But as I looked up this word, rest, it seemed that sometimes it takes work to rest. Doesn’t that sound funny? But if you think about all the work you put into planning a holiday, it does take effort!

Hebrew 4:9-11 says, “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

Other places where ‘rest’ is mentioned are when Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Or in Exodus 33:14 where God says, “My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.” This is clearly a gift from His presence.

Psalm 16:8-9 also says, “I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure (ESV).” Some versions say “shall rest in hope”. What is King David saying? Because he has set the Lord before him, he is able to find rest and dwell securely in knowing His Lord has things in hand.

What do I learn from looking up the word rest? Two things:

1) Rest is both a place of peace (noun) where we find relaxation and strength, but it is also a verb, where we intentionally choose to refrain from our own way, trust, and find confident hope in the Lord.

2) Rest comes directly from His presence, from putting the Lord before us, and it keeps us from living a disobedient (unbelieving) life.

So while rest sounds like a passive word, it is actually a very intentional word that we are to seek.

As a new mom, and someone who is learning to be a homemaker all in the same breath, the idea of rest can seem like something far off – like 18 years from now. But God urges us to find rest in Him, and this will keep His presence in our lives and keep us from walking in unbelief in our hearts. Whether this is while you cook with a toddler at your ankles (amen, I have tried to find rest in this new season in this very act!), or while finding a few moments in the bathroom before your little one finds you (amen and amen).

I know there are areas the Lord has wanted to heal me of unbelief, where I don’t fully trust Him, even after all of these years. And that can only be done by coming to Him with my labor, ceasing to do it on my own, and abiding confidently in Him.

As an exercise, I took these verses and paraphrased them into my own words. Perhaps this will help you grasp what is being said…

Psalm 16:8-9 – I continuously run to Him, in my mind and in my heart. I feel His presence throughout my day, and I know He is the one that will keep me anchored. So I can live joyfully and at peace in my whole being; even physically I feel a peace as I choose to confidently abide in Who He is and what He’s done.

Hebrews 4:9-11 – There is still a way of finding total rest when you walk with God, because when you are in relationship with Him, there is a new peace that comes because you cease from doing things your own way, on your own strength. God is our leader, our Father, and even He rested after creating all of this! But it takes intention. You must work hard at resting in Him, in what He has already accomplished, and find confidence in that. This will protect you from falling into deep unbelief.

Matthew 11:28 – Come spend time in my presence, and my presence will calm and quiet your heart, and give you the strength you need.

Why is rest so important? It keeps us in His presence. And that keeps us from unbelief in our hearts, keeps us resting securely in Him.

I can’t think of any more important reason than to find ways to abide and run to Him!