Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Summer Bucket List {of a Different Sort}

A Summer Bucket List of a Different Sort | Faith and Composition

I’m sure you’ve seen them floating around, maybe you have one yourself … the list of all the things you want to see and do with your children during these fleeting summer months. You know how it sounds …

the zoo, the museum, a drive-in movie, the farmer’s market, baseball games, running through the lawn sprinkler …

I have an array of activities I’d like us to accomplish as well. But as I was contemplating our summer bucket list recently, I began to sense that perhaps I needed to refocus my attention. While it’s natural and good to create magical summer memories for the little ones in tow, the very task of striving to strike off summer-bucket-list items can sometimes have a tendency to hijack the simplicity of summer. The time passes so quickly. The sun rises and sets and arrives at its equinox in June. And just as soon as the daylight hours have stretched into their longest reaches, they slowly begin to shrink back. Dusk creeps in a bit earlier, and before we know it, September is beckoning.

A Summer Bucket List of a Different Sort | Faith and Composition

So this summer, I’m going to try to focus not on a list of activities to rush through, but a heart-attitude to embrace. I want to take note of the simplicity of the moment: cherry-red popsicle stains on the tiniest pouts, a sidewalk stamped by wet bare feet, the summer sun bouncing off a blonde ponytail. These are the things that will imprint themselves on my heart. So this year, I’m making a summer bucket list of a different sort, one that’s less about the activity and more about the attitude. It looks a little something like this:

~ I will resist the urge to measure the success of a day by quantifiable accomplishments. I will instead use as my measuring stick the amount of dirt beneath fingernails, bugs captured in jars, tender words spoken and echoing laughter.

~ I will not only embrace the beautiful mess that is sticky floors, wet swimsuits, sidewalk-chalk dust, grass stains and littered Legos, but I will also invite others into the profound beauty of this season of life.

~ I will say yes to the simple pleasures: bubbles, sprinklers, board games, paints, water balloons and story time beneath bed-sheet forts.

~ I will put down my phone and the trappings of constant connectivity and take up instead the tender grip of their little hands.

~ I will strive to keep in mind that the building of memories is far better than the building of an immaculate house.

~ I will give myself grace when the days stretch long and my patience wears thin.

~ I will take photos by which I can remember these days, and I will resist the urge to edit every image. 

~ I will model forgiveness, asking it of each little one when I’ve wronged or offended them.

~ I will allow myself the freedom of frequently serving peanut butter and jelly.

~ I will make an honest effort to stop measuring our activities against those of other families. Summer isn’t a competition.

~ I will slow down, allowing room in our schedule for the chasing of fireflies, the leisure of long walks.

~ I will choose mercy over justice when accidents are made and little tears spill over onto chubby cheeks.

~ I will teach them that summer sports aren’t about winning or losing, but instead about learning to react graciously when both come our way.

~ I will recall Philippians 3:14 often, realizing that in a very applicable way and for today’s purposes, the goal I press on toward may just be bedtime!

~ And lastly … I will fail at this list, but I will remember that His mercies are new every morning and His grace abounds to me without end!

Now it’s your turn! What would be part of your Summer Bucket List of a Different Sort?

* A little note about these images. As I was reviewing photos on my computer, I stumbled upon the two featured here. My five-year-old son “styled” and shot these all by himself. It was such a fun little surprise for me to discover them, and they fit the content of this post so well, that I just had to feature them! I hope you enjoy his creative work! 

A Friend’s Design Blog and How She Met Martha (THE Martha)

It’s been quiet over here throughout the past week and a half, so please forgive my absence! In addition to the general chaos that naturally occurs as part of life with three kids aged five and under, we’ve also had swimming lessons, VBS and the hubby out of town (he’s home now, yay!), so things have been busy. I’m in the process of trying to flesh out a regular posting schedule for my space here, but I wanted to pop in today and share some fun news from another blog.A Storied Style
My friend, Grace Mitchell, writes over at A Storied Style. She has a fantastic site full of intriguing, beautifully curated home designs, and she creates some truly inspiring home-decor tutorials. She’s also a partner at Gypsy Soul Interiors, a vintage furniture resale business. I purchased six vintage faux bois cane-back chairs from Gypsy Soul a while back, and I love them! If you’re in the DFW area, be sure to check them out.

Recently Grace traveled to the Altitude Design Summit in NYC, and while there she got the chance to meet Martha … yes, THAT Martha. She wrote a review of her experience here. So if you’re looking for a little design inspiration or a fun diversion for your Wednesday, hop over to A Storied Style. You’re likely to get immersed in her pages, so take a look, and tell her I said hello! In the meantime, I’ll be working on some original content to be posted here in a few days, so check back soon.

Until then … Have a blessed Wednesday!

To my Husband on Father’s Day

Image ©Bloom and Bramble

Image ©Bloom and Bramble

My Dearest B:

Just over five years ago, T entered this world, all 9 pounds of him and that full head of dark hair. I was spent after laboring 27 hours, so you held him first. Large, work-worn hands and your 6-foot-4-inch frame folded around that tiny bundle of a miracle made manifest right there in our room. Your firstborn, your son. T made us parents; he made you a Father.

Watching you hold that little miracle of life, the boy God knit together from me and you, was to watch your heart unfold and literally wrap itself around that child. A son is born and grace takes on flesh.

Two and a half years later, F entered this world. A girl, our first girl … and a tenderness arrested you as her tiny finger curled around yours. Her momentary struggle with breathing, caused you to struggle with the strength to stand. And now your heart is wrapped around her twirling, beautiful, strong-willed self. She is me, minus 30 years, and your tender patience tempers her fierce spirit. She softens you, and you anchor her, and she is Daddy’s girl.

And then just five months ago, our sweet surprise–our ever-present reminder that His ways are higher than ours–swept into our hearts just as quickly as she entered this world. A rush of a two-hour-20-minute labor and your pulse racing as you endeavored to help me, and then N was here. She too struggled with breathing, and your knees weakened again. Brown hair, blue eyes, her fists curled by her face and she was God giving you another girl. Tangible beauty nestled in the strength of your arms.

Watching you as a father has been one of my greatest joys. Your body kneeling to help our children is a picture of grace reaching down and pouring out, while little feet dangling from atop your shoulders is an image of strength stooping down to lift up. Nowhere is your servant’s heart seen more clearly than within the walls of our home. You leave pride and expectations at the threshold of our door, and you serve our family with patience and humility. But even more than that, you seek to follow the Lord’s leading as you strive to lead us.

And so today, on this day that celebrates Fathers, I want you to know how much we love and respect you, how much I love and respect you! You hold the position of provider and protector for our family with selfless humility and quiet grace. You are to all of us a powerful warrior wrapped inside a tender protector. They call you, Dad. I call you my husband, my friend.

Happy Father’s Day! I love you!

A Father’s Day Printable

Father's Day Printable | Faith and Composition

I don’t remember when or where I first heard this quote, but it’s stuck with me. I love the honest truth of it. It’s a great reminder that in this task of parenting, we’re not raising grass or a Pinterest-perfect home, we’re raising kids.

Since this weekend is Father’s Day, I created this little printable to celebrate all the Dads who realize this important truth. It’s an 8×10 and is perfect for framing. Print it out on card stock, frame it, and give to the husband who realizes this priority and high calling of raising kids. Access the printable here! Happy Father’s Day!

A Summer Pick-Me-Up

Perfect Iced Coffee | Faith and Composition
Although it’s not technically summer just yet (the summer solstice is on June 21 this year), the temperatures here indicate the sunny season is in full swing. We’ve had 90-degree temps all week, and I’ve no doubt that the heat is here to stay. And while I still love a hot cup (or two or three!) of coffee in the morning, summer afternoons leave me wanting a cooler caffeine pick-me-up. But instead of running to Starbucks for an iced coffee, I now prefer to make my own. And I’ve discovered an easy little secret that makes for a fantastic cup of iced coffee!

Perfect Iced Coffee | Faith and Composition

Those my friends, are coffee ice cubes. And I must say, they make all the difference! I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand watered-down iced coffee. Now, when these coffee cubes melt, they simply infuse more coffee goodness right into that much-needed afternoon drink.

Perfect Iced Coffee | Faith and Composition
The easiest way to maintain a never-ending supply is to simply pour any remaining coffee from your morning cup of joe into ice trays and freeze. As for brewing your iced coffee, you could put hot-brewed java into the fridge and let it cool, but I prefer to use my French press. Simply add several heaping tablespoons of coffee to the press, top with cold, filtered water, and let it steep in the fridge overnight. If you’d rather make a large batch to sustain your afternoon caffeine needs throughout several weeks, check out Pioneer Woman’s method for perfect iced coffee.

Perfect Iced Coffee | Faith and Composition

Now fill a glass with your coffee ice cubes, top with your cold-brewed java and add milk/cream and sugar to taste. We purchase raw whole milk, so I mix that goodness right in, add a little raw sugar and then sit back and savor my little pick-me-up. See, I told you it was easy! Enjoy!