Multi-tasking For The Soul

podcast_1These days, laundry lingers… In the summer months, different outside activities require different types of clothing (more or less) for ultimate play time. I hate laundry! But, having the right clothes on while you are working out, mowing, playing in the sprinkler or playing at the lake is unavoidable. However, a pile of clean clothes can stare at me for days at time and I’ll ignore it. I can’t make the time to just sit and fold clothes. I know that if I could just fold them right out of the dryer and put them away it’d be less on the stress and not such a chore…

But, as many times as I have tried to implement the “fold it right out of the dryer” plan, I fail and the pile grows and the laundry lingers, haunting me weekly.

This week, however, the Lord reminded me of a great tool, useful for tackling the piles of laundry that will inevitably pop up in my living room this summer… PODCASTS!
podcast_2
This week I listened to a fantastic podcast by my friend Edie at lifeingraceblog.com and was actually encouraged as I sorted and folded the massive pile of clean clothes.
Can I just say, “multi-tasking for my soul!”

I need to surround myself with things that encourage me while I work on daily tasks, so that my brain can be focused on Jesus as I work. Finishing a project/chore I dislike is great. But, on this chore I am grumbling thru the work and rarely refreshed and prepped to jump back into mothering when I’m finished. This discovery has helped me stay focused and refreshed when the job is done! Here is a link to the podcast I listened to this week.

What podcasts would you recommend for laundry folding time?
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From the Archive: I Am The Restored One

A Valentine’s Day treat from the archives! Original Post: January 2011
 

It’s quiet at the moment.
I am snuggled up in our bed trying to get some projects rolling. I look around our room and see bits of him and bits of me.

His hunting bow lies across the top of the Armoire he let me buy our first year of marriage. I sat outside on our porch that summer staining it dark brown while he slept off a long week of summer camp.

I count 6 candles and 2 firearms on top of the Armoire as well. I love candles, but never think to light them.

Two unloaded rifles lean in the corner where the armoire and grey wall touch. One hunting rifle rests unloaded in the corner of the room next to his desk. My jewelry box, lamp and papers scatter the top. I need to clear the clutter before his classes start on Monday.

My broken-in guitar hangs on the wall by my side of the bed. His alarm clock is unset and still blinking from when I tripped the breaker a few days ago.

There is a little of me and a little of him in this room. That’s what makes it ours. Not mine, not his… ours.

Genesis 2:24
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

We are always being melted together, one of us masculine, one of us feminine.
One of us iron, the other glass.
Somehow in God’s sovereignty and for His glory, He is making one glorious life out of two sinful, selfish people. The two “I’s” have become a “WE”. And “we” are learning how to share, prefer, preserve, lead, follow, give, take, serve, love, forgive and all the rest of it – daily!

Ephesians 5:23-2 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in EVERYTHING to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her…

My husband’s role and mandate is to reflect Christ, work hard and love me, even if I do not do my part. My role as wife, even if my man does not do his part, is to reflect the repentant church, His bride.

FOR I AM THE RESTORED ONE!
The one who follows.
The one who trusts.
The one who hopes.
The one who gets to obey with no pressure to lead.
I am the one given pleasure by giving to my husband through service and submission, as if I am submitting to Christ himself!

Go here read the rest of the series of “The ‘S’ Word”.

3 Ways to Enjoy Valentine’s Day

alaniheart

We have entered the season of Love. Sitcoms air their Valentine’s special. Commercials promote diamonds and kissing. The entry way at Target is buzzing with heart prints and chocolate candy as you walk thru the doors. Pinterest is alive with party ideas, clever Valentine prints, DIY Valentine projects and thousands (if not millions) of photo inspiration boards of people kissing, holding hands and children holding up sweet sayings on homemade signs. For the single gal and married gal, this is an expectation-building week that can rob us of our focus on Jesus quickly!

I am not a hater! I am a big time lover of Valentine’s Day! The story of St. Valentine is great and should be challenging and inspiring to every believer. But, it can easily be blown out of proportion and we spend the whole season thinking of ourselves.

Here are 3 ways we can enjoy Valentine’s Day this year:
1. Read the story of St. Valentine and lets ask ourselves what we are prepared to do for The Gospel.


2. Put away the stero-typical Valentine’s Day expectations and cut your man some slack! Most men just don’t think about Valentine’s Day as being the one single day when the entire country stops to recognize February 14th as “Day of Love”. And… while I’m still trying to figure that one out, it’s ok! Babysitters get sick and cancel, dinner reservations fall thru, movies sell out and plans just don’t always come together. You are still loved whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day with strawberry cheesecake or not.

heart latte

3. If you have a Valentine’s Day Date or not, don’t be sad! Enjoy the day! Go for the heart latte art in your white chocolate mocha and pick up some heart shaped cookies to celebrate with your friends and family. Wear those funky heart leggings and pass out the Hershey Kisses. Don’t hate! Enjoy the celebration and show others how much you love them!

My ONE WORD 365

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I am participating in the ONEWORD365.com challenge! ADVENTURE is my one word to focus on this year! According to a solid online resource, Wikipedia, an adventure is an exciting or unusual experience! I am planning a bunch for this year!

ADOPTIONFAMILYPHOTO
1. Adopting a little boy! Please join our FB page for updates and info on our current status. Also, you can go here to donate to our adoption fund! We are over half way there:)

2. Rebranding my blog! What? Mavisdavis, where are you going? Well, I am not going anywhere! That’s the point. The name is a bit confusing for new readers who may think, “her name is Amy, why would she call herself Mavis?” So, I am skipping all the confusion and re-branding my blog. I will focus my writing on creativity, missions, motherhood and creative ways to connect the three. I will also be sharing my adventures in motherhood and life at SWO. Basically what I already blog about, but I need a new blog name! So, brainstorm and email me your suggestions. If you have the winning suggestion for my new blog name, I will send you a free piece of art!
*Also, there will be plenty of warning before I shut down MavisDavis.wordpress.com!

Alani with her guitar and me with the banjo on Christmas!

Alani with her guitar and me with the banjo on Christmas!

3. Songwriting! I got a new banjo for Christmas (thanks again, Mom and Steve)! So, I’m taking the leap back into songwriting. It has been about 3 years since I have written a new song.  It is good to feel Lord stirring my heart to write new tunes for our church services at RedOak!

4. Art! I have recently joined a few friends in a little adventure called Stillframe Studio. We are joining our forces in art to create some beautiful things to share! It is up and running, so check it out!

So, those are 4 of my personal ADVENTURES for the year! So, it is appropriate to give my 2014 the name ADVENTURE! You can name your year too! Check out the resolution revolution at ONEWORD365.com and find out what it is all about!

Mary: The Mother of Jesus and The Shepherds

8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

A deep sigh.
The baby at her breast.
The stable is filled with the sounds of a small fire crackling, animals breathing and hay rustling.
The air is cool.
All is calm, still in the night.

I imagine in the dark moments of giving birth, doubt crept in again. When the pain was so strong and Mary had to keep pressing, doubt fanned the flames of fear in her young heart. There was no doctor there to check him out. No monitors to hook him up to. There were no nurses or experienced mothers to help with their first moments together. Joseph did not put baby Jesus on a scale and measure his head, check his lungs or put a knitted hat on his head. In the quiet, all they had was a weak, tired hope and a baby boy, lying in a manger.

Then, they came…

There are few details given between Jesus being born and the Shepherds entering the stable to see the baby. I like to imagine God sent some help after the birth. Perhaps the stable owner and his wife brought a blanket or food. Conceivably Joseph met a few early risers as he gathered wood and water for his new family. Whatever transpired between the time Jesus was born and when the Shepherds arrived, it is clear that others are present when the shepherds came.

Maybe a wooden door flung open causing Joseph to jump to his feet. Maybe there was a knock. Maybe there was no door at all. As the shepherds entered the stable they saw the sign, a bay wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Their steps slowed as they neared the baby. I picture these men shaking their heads in amazement as their eyes filled with tears. It was just as the angel had said!

The shepherds wasted no time in telling Mary and Joseph about their meeting with the angel and what was said to them. A Savior has been born, and this is He, Christ the Lord. The people were filled with wonder. They might have even been confused. Could this be true? Could this be the Savior they have been waiting for?

But for Mary, she treasured the story from the Shepherds, pondering them in her heart. By their words, she was strengthened. Once again, doubt was erased. Her baby would be healthy. This baby was whom the angel had said. The testimony of the shepherds had revived her hope. The Savior has come. He is here, lying in a manger.

Mary: The Mother of Jesus and A Labor of Love

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Luke 2
1In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

For this post, I wanted to share a song that best describes the moments we can only imagine. The birth of Jesus, Messiah. If you have never heard Andrew Peterson’s ‘Labor of Love’, sung by Jill Phillips, click on this link to hear it for the first time. If you have heard it a million times, click on this link to hear it again for the first time. Within the context of this series, this song is an important piece to next week’s final thoughts about Mary. It is beautiful. Listen to the song and think about THE ONE TRUE GOD coming into the world to redeem his people and the lowly people He chose to use in bringing about salvation to the world!

Mary: The Mother of Jesus Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1
 

 

 39In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

Dusty road. Hard ground. Worn down sandals scuffing across sharp tiny rocks.
Step by step.
With deep thoughts and a heavy heart, Mary makes haste to visit Elizabeth. Her visit from Gabriel replays over and over in her mind, “And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Shortening her steps, she notices her body is different. She is tired from pregnancy. She repeats, “for nothing is impossible with God!”
Over and over in her head, repeating, “nothing is impossible with God!”
Drawing closer to the house of Zechariah, and still repeating, “nothing is impossible with God!”

She enters. “Hello, Elizabeth…”

Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine Elizabeth’s excitement and overwhelming response to Mary’s greeting. For her, it must have been like fireworks going off. The baby inside her leaped and she was filled with the Holy Spirit! In one instant all her doubts vanished! And hope was bursting forth in every color you could think of. The Messiah was coming into the world. She exclaimed, “blessed are you among women! And blessed is the fruit of your womb!” This is the moment everything clicks for Elizabeth. She is overwhelmed, humbled, shocked and filled with hope! She says,“why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”

I wonder what those words feel like to Mary. In her mind she is just an ordinary girl and now, her cousin is calling her blessed. I believe this interaction with Elizabeth was the first time Mary honestly realized, this is really, really happening. In a way, this visit with Elizabeth was a sign of relief for Mary too. Elizabeth was pregnant, she was pregnant and this is only the beginning.

There had been a silence since the Angel’s visit.

Doubt has a tendency to creep in over time. If there had been any doubt, it was now gone! If there had been any loneliness, depression or second guessing, now there was none. This was not a dream. She was not crazy! For the first time, this was real to someone other than herself!

46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
56And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.

Mary: The Mother of Jesus

The focus of this series is to take a look at Mary during this Christmas season. My goal is to highlight parts of this story, which we might have overlooked in the past. Our text will be Luke 1 and 2 and a bit from Matthew. I hope you do not skip to my concluding thoughts and overlook the story at the beginning of each post. Discipline yourself to enjoy this beautiful description of the coming of Christ as it is found in the Gospel of Luke.

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

I find it interesting that Luke is the only gospel that shares such vivid details in the virgin birth story. It is almost like Mary is telling this story herself. There are places in Luke’s version that tell us exactly what Mary was feeling as well as her secret thoughts. It might be that Luke interviewed Mary, and this is Mary’s version of what happened. It is totally possible. Besides if Luke did not interview Mary the mother of Jesus, he must have talked to someone extremely close to her. Someone who had listened to her tell the story over and over again. Enough to give us details like we will be discussing in this series.

I have always thought of Mary as a strong, independent, well-rounded young woman pursuing the Proverbs 31 model and rising above all odds to come out on top. I have tried to imagine the perfect teenage girl with the perfect disposition that would merit the favor of God. But, there is no scripture to solidify my assumptions. In fact, Mary’s personality is not described at all. However, we can draw a few conclusions about Mary from the text. First, she was not an immature, emotional mess. She was sharp. When the angel appeared, she was afraid, but she was also trying to figure out what was about to happen. Second, she was rational. She asked Gabriel how this would be since she had never been with a man. And lastly, she was obedient. With no hesitation she accepted the message of the angel by saying, “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” Even though we have no physical or personality description, it is fair to conclude that Mary was a sensible, observant, and submissive young woman.

As we meditate on this passage, it would serve us mothers well to think back to the first moment we found out we were pregnant. Some of us were elated, some scared. I cried. I was not ready and it was a super scary time for us. Now, think about Mary… She was not brought up with any training to become the mother of a king. She was not given a special education or beauty treatments. She had no preparation for becoming the vessel God would use to bring the Savior into the world. Yet, God chose her. Imagine how many times she must have told herself that she was not crazy. Imagine what the weeks leading up to her awareness of pregnancy must have felt like. Fear. Doubt. Confusion. Then, finally, the moment came when she knew that what Gabriel had told her was real; she was pregnant.

Mary knew in her heart of hearts that the angel Gabriel had visited her and told her great things, which were coming to pass. I think she always believed. But in the dark moments of doubt, fear and loneliness she clung to the words spoken to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God”… and hope revived!

Mary: The Mother of Jesus

The focus of this series is to take a look at Mary during this Christmas season. My goal is to highlight parts of this story, which we might have overlooked in the past. Our text will be Luke 1 and 2 and a bit from Matthew. I hope you do not skip to my concluding thoughts and overlook the story at the beginning of each post. Discipline yourself to enjoy this beautiful description of the coming of Christ as it is found in the Gospel of Luke.

Birth of Jesus Foretold

26In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

34And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy— the Son of God. 36And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

I find it interesting that Luke is the only gospel that shares such vivid details in the virgin birth story. It is almost like Mary is telling this story herself. There are places in Luke’s version that tell us exactly what Mary was feeling as well as her secret thoughts. It might be that Luke interviewed Mary, and this is Mary’s version of what happened. It is totally possible. Besides if Luke did not interview Mary the mother of Jesus, he must have talked to someone extremely close to her. Someone who had listened to her tell the story over and over again. Enough to give us details like we will be discussing in this series.

I have always thought of Mary as a strong, independent, well-rounded young woman pursuing the Proverbs 31 model and rising above all odds to come out on top. I have tried to imagine the perfect teenage girl with the perfect disposition that would merit the favor of God. But, there is no scripture to solidify my assumptions. In fact, Mary’s personality is not described at all. However, we can draw a few conclusions about Mary from the text. First, she was not an immature, emotional mess. She was sharp. When the angel appeared, she was afraid, but she was also trying to figure out what was about to happen. Second, she was rational. She asked Gabriel how this would be since she had never been with a man. And lastly, she was obedient. With no hesitation she accepted the message of the angel by saying, “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.” Even though we have no physical or personality description, it is fair to conclude that Mary was a sensible, observant, and submissive young woman.

As we meditate on this passage, it would serve us mothers well to think back to the first moment we found out we were pregnant. Some of us were elated, some scared. I cried. I was not ready and it was a super scary time for us. Now, think about Mary… She was not brought up with any training to become the mother of a king. She was not given a special education or beauty treatments. She had no preparation for becoming the vessel God would use to bring the Savior into the world. Yet, God chose her. Imagine how many times she must have told herself that she was not crazy. Imagine what the weeks leading up to her awareness of pregnancy must have felt like. Fear. Doubt. Confusion. Then, finally, the moment came when she knew that what Gabriel had told her was real; she was pregnant.

Mary knew in her heart of hearts that the angel Gabriel had visited her and told her great things, which were coming to pass. I think she always believed. But in the dark moments of doubt, fear and loneliness she clung to the words spoken to her, “Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God”… and hope revived!

 

A Rebel Cleans

When it comes to CLEANING, my rebel self always has something better to do. I want to do my own thing, when I want to do it. When I finally do start on the chores, it only takes the chime of a new phone message, the brainstorm of a new crafty project, or an invite for a spontaneous play date to ditch the task. My day can fill up quick with no thought of cleaning. Honestly, It takes a lot for me to naturally notice what needs to be wiped, dusted, mopped, scrubbed or buffed. Most of the time my eyes fixed on what I want to see, not what needs to be done for my family to feel cozy and relaxed at home.

So, I am trying to change. Doing what I want to do, when I want to do it is selfish and destructive to my family. While I do enjoy the creative stylings of my little ones’ mis-matched clothes, eating meals from styrofoam plates and watching my kids jump on the beds, I must make sure there are clean clothes to pick from, clean pots and pans to make meals and change the sheets on their beds often. These responsibilities are in my job description as a keeper of the home.

Bedroompic
Bedroomjumping

So, now what? How do I start taming the laundry beast and attacking the chores in a manageable way without feeling overwhelmed?
1. Get a plan together!
NewYear_02This is a downloadable print of my weekly schedule. Email me and I can send you an excel file that you can customize to your family’s needs.
2. Set standards for yourself. There are some things I must do everyday. I like to wake up in the morning and make breakfast in a clean kitchen. So, every night I try to make sure my kitchen is neat, tidy and ready for action come morning. Keeping my home sterile is not what I am going for when it comes to cleaning. Being freaked out about germs isn’t on my radar, really. One might say I hold to the “hit everything with a spritz of Clorox spray and wipe” philosophy. If it takes more than one type of cleaner or clorox wipe, I’ll usually pass on the chore. But I am working on it.
3. Train your kids to help {it is their home too!} mopping
laundryrun
There are tons of creative, age appropriate ways to include your kids in taking part in chores and home responsibilities. My 2 year old is able to take his paper plate to the trash and put his cup in the sink. Cultivating a desire to help in the home is a reasonable part of my job as a mother AND homemaker.
4. Do just a bit everyday! I set up my weekly schedule to focus on ONE room a day. So, if it’s Monday, I focus on the girls room. I clean, vacuum, dust, change sheets do the girls laundry. I also have a Ten Minute Tidy at 4:30pm. That’s right, for 10 minutes my kids and I run around the house and tidy up as fast as we can. Toys in the toy areas, pillows back on the couch, school stuff put away and so on… My husband feels more relaxed when he gets home if the main living area is nice and neat.
5. Talk to your friends. Some of my friends are under the impression that cleaning is a hobby. So, I text, email, call, fb message them when I have questions about how to clean what. There are also awesome pinterest boards you can follow… or start your own to keep all your new cleaning and organization discoveries in one spot.

I do enjoy creating new systems of organization… sticking to them is another story. But, I am leaning into Jesus as he changes me in this area. My rebel-self is starting to notice too. With every swipe of the paper towel, shake of the rug and replacing of the toilet paper roll her grip weakens and I grow stronger as homemaker.
FullRoll

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