Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


Seeking God’s Most Excellent

It’s easy to get emptied when you overfill. When the days have too much, and the nights are too active, and the moments that you should save for peace, for quiet, for prayer and reflection and time with the Father just slip right away, never fulfilled, never seen again.

Saying no to the good to welcome God's Most ExcellentAnd you look back at a week’s worth of busy and wonder, how did I get here?

And you look forward at a new week’s worth of busy and ask, is there a way to do this differently?

And sometimes, being able to fill your heart and your love tank–and your love’s tank–means saying no. Sometimes it means stepping back, resting, waiting. Sometimes it means taking time for the really and truly important things: for quiet, peace, prayer. For long walks with your husband and those wild dogs of yours, for journaling and enjoying the days and hours and minutes God’s given us before they all run into months and years and we can’t remember.

And sometimes it seems like you’re being selfish when you do this. And don’t we all struggle with that? And how do we establish boundaries that are worth establishing? And how do we say no to the fun things, the “good” things, to gain God’s most excellent instead?

We can fill up. And we can pour out. But it’s hard to pour out when we don’t fill up first. And so I’m learning. Sometimes, we just have to stop. And when it’s nigh impossible to figure out how to stop in an ever-spinning world, I don’t know what to do. Except to pray. To say no. To wait on the Lord. And to know that His ways are not our ways, but they are better.

Even when better is hard to understand and even harder to define.


Every Friday, Kate Motaung provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only, no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Fill.”


Dreaming of Superheroes

I’ll attach a superhero cape with his initials on it to his favorite t-shirt. Wrap it up in colorful paper and give it to him for his third birthday. When he wears it, he’ll know he can fly. He’ll know that stars aren’t out of reach for a superhero on a mission.

And we’ll giggle and play and laugh. And maybe sometimes put underwear on our heads or wear cowboy boots and tight pants. Maybe he’ll need a sidekick. A dog. Or a cat. Or a silly mom.

A girl can dream, right?

And the heroes that children want to be, and the things they think about, and the damsels that will need saving and the villains to vanquish. Maybe the day will come when that will be part of our days, when those stories and that imagining will fill our hours.

It’s not yet. And that’s okay. And it may not be soon. And that’s okay too. And maybe instead of superheroes, we’ll have princesses. And that’s definitely okay.

But today is a day for optimism and dreaming. A day to think about the joy that’s coming, and a day to sing about the joy I have already. I’m enjoying this day, but looking forward to what tomorrow might bring anyway.


Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Hero.”

Five Minute Friday


A Cord of Three Strands

This is my 100th post! I’m excited! Thanks to all my readers!

Also, thanks to all of you who participated in my survey to name our kitten. Unfortunately, at the end of the survey we had a three-way tie. To be honest, I’d been secretly pulling for Atticus all along. But yesterday this little kitten showed his wild side. Turns out he’s more like Mowgli than the stately Atticus Finch or the eccentric Sherlock Holmes. So DH and I consulted and have officially settled on Kipling.

– – –

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

On the inside of a thin band of white gold, if you look closely, you can see “Ecc. 4:12.” It’s what we chose to remind us about who was part of this marriage. A marriage, done right, seems to bring many people together. Not just husband and wife, but also his family and hers. And tying together the man and woman into that cord of three strands is God. Without that, the two together may be stronger than one, but more easily torn apart or unraveled than three.

Wedding Rings

It’s funny how God teaches us things in stages. Like if he told us the whole story all at once we couldn’t handle it or couldn’t absorb everything. And so on that day in December nearly six years ago when we said “I Do,” we knew we were pledging to be together for the long haul. And we knew we needed God to hold these two rebellious souls in tandem in this fallen world.

And we married. With the ignorance of what life would bring or where we would be led. But we did it. And we vowed that whatever it was, wherever we were, we’d be there together. Living, loving, lifting up, and laughing together.

As it turns out, this means a lot of crying together. A lot of time on our knees together. A lot of pleading with God and calling out for answers together.

It’s meant going from our homes to DC and then here to Houston. It’s meant traveling and seeing what we could of the world. And it’s meant wishing and wanting and dreaming of a future together that may or may not be the future we’re called to.

And it’s meant learning, together, the importance of that third strand. The all-encompassing and absolutely vital need we both have for God to be included in our together. For a cord of three strands? It’s not easily broken.


Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Together.”

Five Minute Friday


Washing, Drying, Repeating

I know it’s supposed to be mundane, or tedious, or piling up so high that you don’t know if you’ll ever see the bottom of the basket again, but I actually have a fondness for doing laundry.

Tiny Laundry Room

This is, at least in part, because it’s a new chore for me. I didn’t do it much growing up, and DH was always so particular about how he wanted things washed that he did the laundry once we got married. Well, kind of. I guess I did most of the folding when it didn’t just sit around in baskets so long we didn’t know anymore if it was clean or dirty. . . .

We got a new washer and dryer this spring. They’re pretty. And I guess they were expensive. Our dryer died, and we only had to get a new dryer. And really we didn’t have to, because clothes will actually dry on their own after a while. But I wanted a matching set and we had hand-me-downs and, well, we expected we’d be buying a new washer and dryer at some point so it wasn’t so bad.

I think DH will tell you all that it was well worth it though. I LOVE having them. And I do the laundry now. All of it. And quite efficiently (thanks FLY Lady!).

Laundry is a part of my day. And it makes me feel so accomplished. We sort the clothes as we use them, so I don’t have to do that. I just grab a bag and take it to the washer and put it in. When the washer buzzes, it’s like a little moment for me to check my time. What have I been doing? Am I using my time efficiently? Should I stop what I’m doing now and do something else?

Let me tell you, as a stay at home lady with a (kind of) job–I need those little reminders to keep my day on track.

I move the clothes to the dryer and get another little check on my time when that beeps. I fold the clothes, and I put them away. No more piles of clean shirts mixing in, over time, with dirty underwear. Success!

Laundry for me is a little note in my day that says, “You’ve done something useful with your time.” And I honestly love it.

I know. I’m weird. I’m okay with that.


Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Laundry.”

Five Minute Friday

Also, about laundry: I made the stand (yay!), and I keep laundry baskets underneath it (I can post about how I did that if anyone is interested . . . but I’ve never really done that kind of post before). And, lately, I’ve actually been using a homemade laundry soap (no artificial colors, fragrances, dyes). I’ll share more on that later.


Writing . . . Inspired or Not

There’s something that feels sacred in putting words down in the right moments. Something about a pencil and a piece of paper, a typewriter with a fresh ribbon, a computer with a blank screen and all the bells and whistles turned off–this calls to me. I used to listen to the call. As a child, my mom regularly evicted me from my spot at the kitchen table where I would have happily sat for hours writing stories, rhymes, little snippets and observations of what seemed and what wasn’t real. She would send me outside, afraid that my desire to sit with paper and my imagination would leave me friendless or socially awkward or some other fate worse than what she hoped for me. But lately, the sensation that I need to put some words down comes at inconvenient times. And I know, when the moment strikes, that if I just stop everything and take a moment and jot down those little pulls and those tugs of feeling-becoming-words that I’ll have something. Something real, true, needing to be said, inspired. But if I don’t stop–and so often I don’t–the sensation soon passes. It will return, but not as soon as it once did, not with the same frequency or urgency. So the goal is to listen more. To tune my sense to those moments. And, yes, sometimes to write when I don’t feel the weight of inspiration on me. To write even when it means tugging each word out from deep inside and sometimes hating the way the words fit together or the dissonant rhythms that testify to my lack of creative impulse in the moment. And then–then it’s a chore. But when I listen: Oh, the relief of writing inspired! Writing when I’m willing to set aside my priorities and my to-do list and all the things I want to do instead so often leads to pure joy, pleasure, and something that makes me smile when it’s finished. So I write.


Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Write.”

Five Minute Friday


Five-Minute Friday: She

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “She.” Here goes . . .


She wants what she wants when she wants it. She wants to follow God’s plan.

She tries to listen to the will of the Father. And she tries to tell him the way things should go.

She’s learning to trust, learning to take a new step forward after backsliding two, or three, or four.

She isn’t willing to let go of what she thought she’d be. She yearns to be willing to sacrifice everything to God.

She knows these contradict, but she wants to have it both ways.

Coffee Love

It’s never quite what we’ve planned. Never quite where we thought we’d be or thought we’d go. It seems easy to believe when things are going well–but she remembers, it’s easy to lose track then, too. It’s easy to start relying on yourself. It’s easy to think you’ve got it all under control.

Oh, she still wants that control. Wants it badly. Argues for it. Fights for it. Won’t. Let. Go.

And yet, he gently coaxes, gently teaches, gently guides. She is encouraged, uplifted, reminded who she is. She is a child of the King. She is a sinner who relies on, needs, breathes in only because of, wants, and rests her hope on Grace.

She doesn’t have it figured out, but she still thinks she does. Thinks she knows what’s best for her. Thinks she’s the only one who could possibly know what’s best for her.

She’s party to a battle that goes on and on. When she thinks she’s surrendered her all and truly looked to Him to be the everything she needs in her life–then she finds herself once again wrestling for control.

She knows, in her head, that these new paths, these plans that weren’t hers, are good. That they are right and exactly where she needs to be. But her heart takes more convincing, more prodding, more reaching down deep and falling on knees and asking for help. More digging down to the bottom and finding Love.

And she has a lot to learn.


Five Minute Friday

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Five-Minute Friday: Red

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Red.” Here goes . . .


I had a friend with red sunglasses. She told me she couldn’t wear them very long without feeling angry. I thought, maybe blue sunglasses would be nice.


And it’s true that we can’t control our circumstances, but we sure can change our perspective.

There’s a trick our pastor in Virginia taught. Look at your hands. Left represents the world. Right represents Christ. If you hold both in front of your face, one extended in front of the other, and open wide your fingers, you can look through from the close hand to the far hand. Do you view Christ through the lens of the world? Or, do you see the world through the lens of Christ?

When I was working at a job I loved for a boss who made me crazy, I wrote on a little post-it flag, “Check your perspective” and stuck it to my computer monitor. And at a bad moment, on a bad day, it helped to physically hold my hands up in front of my face for a minute and make a conscious decision about how I was going to view my situation.

Perspectives matter. How we view the world, how we view our circumstances, how we view our difficulties–it makes all the difference. It can change pain to joy. It can change grief to hope. And it can change a moment, a day, or even a life.


Five Minute Friday


Five-Minute Friday: Last

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Last.” Here goes . . .


Last sometimes feels like left out.

Infertile and longing for children while everyone else is moving forward, moving on to seconds or thirds, toddlers or preschool. Left out of–or lost–in the conversations mothers have about what they feed their babies and what items are a must and which things aren’t worth the money. Left out of the conversations about how hard it is to leave the little one at the church’s daycare for a few hours the first time. How hard it is to send her to kindergarten.

And it’s tough. Especially when you thought you’d be there with them. Not running lap two of four when everyone else is finishing their mile run.

But, maybe last isn’t going to be so bad after all.

While I’m waiting, I can choose to be included in their families. I can watch with joy at the wonder on a child’s face when she sees that butterfly or the excitement when he pets one of my dogs.

My Sweet Puppies

While I’m waiting, I can take time to learn the things I want to know before I have children. I can learn how to efficiently keep my house. How to eat better. What nutrition theories I think make sense.

While I’m waiting I can finish projects. Read more. Write more.

And when my turn comes, I’ll know more. And my friends will have so much wisdom to impart. And I’ll be the beneficiary of their experiences, their trials, and their joys.

Maybe last is right where I need to be.


Five Minute Friday


Five-Minute Friday: Small

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Small.” Here goes . . .


Like matchbox cars and Barbie-doll clothes. The things we played with as children. When we went to Goodwill to drop off a load of clothes and an old suitcase and a duplicate set of measuring cups, we took a couple of those little matchbox cars. Two of them that DH had hung onto and his mom had hung onto. Two that had ended up at our house when we moved to Texas.

But we kept one of them. One especially fancy tiny car. The hood opens and inside there are little tools, including a tiny tire iron. We kept it because it turns out that just after you’ve grown out of wanting to play with those small things that are reflections of the full-size grown-up version there’s a new small thing you want. And that small thing might one day want to play with the same small things that we played with. Or at least to see them. And who wouldn’t be impressed by Dad’s “vintage” toy car with a teeny tiny tire iron?

Toy Car


Opened Toy Car


Tiny Tire Jack

So it’s sitting on top of the extra refrigerator in our garage (something else, incidentally, that will be more useful when there are children). A sign that we haven’t given up our hope yet. That we’re still waiting and looking forward to having a little one or three or four or however many the good Lord decides to ultimately bless us with in the end.


Five Minute Friday


Five-Minute Friday: Lonely

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Lonely.” Here goes . . .


I’ve become all-too familiar with loneliness. It comes with the territory of infertility. And frankly, I’m over it.

Infertility struck at a time when I was destined to feel lonely anyway. New city, new state, new church, new house. Everything that’s new feels so cold and empty before you get to know it. Well, except in Houston, where it’s always humid instead.

Dreary Front Entry

Empty Bedroom

When we found out we were infertile, there wasn’t anyone local to turn to–not that we would have turned to anyone anyway. We were shocked. And scared. Lonely anyway, embarrassed by a diagnosis we never expected.

We slowly told a few people. DH’s parents. My parents. Some of our closest friends from DC–which wasn’t our “back home” but somehow felt like it. But at some level, they can’t relate. And it’s harsh to say that, but it feels true. Even now, when I know that I’m not the only one who suffers, that we all carry our own little secrets and challenges and battle scars. But I suffer in this way, a way that seems unfamiliar and unrelatable to my mommy-friends who have more toddler than they can handle right now and like to offer, “take mine.”

But Lonely and I have been fighting and Lonely is losing. I’m kicking it out. I’m meeting people. Getting deep–though maybe not as deep as I could. We still play infertility tight to the chest until we’re sure and it’s necessary, and the knowing might somehow help the other person.

Feeling less lonely nonetheless. And thankful. For the things we have learned. For the little battles over loneliness that we have won. For a God who lets me know every time I need to know it, that he is here and he knows and he understands.

Furnished Bedroom


Five Minute Friday