A deep breath

The other night I got to go to a book signing where Ann Voskamp was speaking and kicking off her tour with her brand new book, “The Broken Way.”

The day was packed… get Elisa up and out the door, get myself out the door, a busy morning at work, an awesome afternoon of ministry at the University, back to the office to wrap things up before picking up dinner quick on the way to Elisa’s playoff volleyball game and leaving right as the last point was put on the board to drive 25 minutes to arrive just as the Q&A part was ending.  I wondered if it was worth adding this one more thing in, worth the 25 minute drive, worth what ended up being almost a 15-hour day away from home.  But as I settled in to hear the last moments of Ann speak, the doubts began to fade.  The fade continued as I found a seat next to a dear friend and we finally had time to sit, be still, be near each other and truly hear each other, to share life together as we waited for the book signing line to dwindle.  A chance to breathe deep and gather strength for the next thing. 

And then now, a few days later, after another crazy day of looking around at so much brokenness and pain in the world in general and the lives of people I love, I finally crack open that signed book and these words meet me:

“Rebekah, never be afraid of broken things… He is redeeming everything.” 

And I continue on through chapter 1 and know this book will be a deep breath each time I break it open:

“Hannah tasted salty tears of infertility. Elijah howled for God to take his life.  David asked his soul a thousand times why it was so downcast.  God does great things through the greatly wounded.  God sees the broken as the best and sees the best in the broken and He calls the wounded to be the world changers.” (Pg 24)

And I think of little Aiden and Hezekiah, little guys in hospitals right now, recovering from surgeries … and dream of the ways they will change the world… and maybe they already have. 

And two dear friends who both headed to Wisconsin this week; two different stories of sick parents, one entering hospice, the other struggling with complications with cancer… God sees the broken hearts of my friends and meets them there.

And if you try to turn on the news or glance at a paper, my heart hurts for the brokenness that seems to bleed on every page, every story.

And the days I ask why or how or what in the world I am doing on this earth…

So on the awesome days and the hard days, and simply the long, crazy, running from thing to thing days, this truth gives grace and space to breathe deep: 

“The seed breaks to give us the wheat. The soil breaks to give us the crop, the sky breaks to give us the rain, the wheat breaks to give us the bread. And the bread breaks to give us the feast. … never be afraid of a broken thing.  … Brokenness can make an abundance.” (Pg. 25-26)


Full schedules, full hearts

So, as this month-long blogging journey has gone on, it’s been harder and harder to keep up with this daily task of coming here to write.  I wish I had more time for it as blogging has often been a great way for me to process and celebrate and thank God for the life He’s given me.  However, some days that’s just not reality and I’d much rather just enjoy the moments than worry about blogging about them.  

Truth is I have a lot less spare time these days, and I’m totally okay with that!  At the end of a day where we’ve been going 18 different directions all day, if my daughter wants to talk and tell me what happened in her day, I’m going to sit and listen (no matter how much I’d love to be in bed fast asleep).  If it comes down to it, telling other people about my journey isn’t nearly as fun as living it.  

Two and a half months have already passed. That’s crazy.  As one sports season ended yesterday and Elisa prepares for another (she’s giving Basketball a shot), I look forward to even more days with full schedules, and full hearts! 

Mondays are for… 

So I’m so glad that Sundays are for pancakes and games and hanging out because Mondays are often for not really seeing each other at all.  Today I dropped Elisa off at school at 7:40 this morning and just saw her for the first time since then when I peeked in her room to say hi when I got home from choir rehearsal at 10:15pm. Occasionally we’d see each other quick at a volleyball game or dinner if it wasn’t a game day, but otherwise this is reality for Mondays… one more reason to be thankful for Sundays. 🙂 

But, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that a little time apart is probably good for us too. As a “single mom” and with only two of us in the house, it’s probably a good thing we have some time for ourselves … me when I’m home while she’s at school on Mondays and her while I’m at choir.  Still, one of my favorite parts of Mondays is coming home from choir and despite wanting to crawl right into bed, staying up and hearing about her day.  So thankful she’s willing to share. 

Sundays are for pancakes…

Forced family fun…

Maybe that was/is a thing in your house and maybe not, but whoever first made it up: I think you’re brilliant.  Thankfully not much “forcing” is necessary when implementing this in the Freed/Heldarskard home.  The fact that there are so many “American” things to explore and do with Elisa makes this a little easier as well.  

And fall… well it means pumpkin carving!  We had a great time yesterday creating these guys who have been affectionately named Stalin and Fred… you can decide who is who 🙂 

We were originally going to do the whole pumpkin patch adventure, but spending 4 times the amount of money on a much smaller pumpkin, and about 4 times the amount of travel time to be outside on a very windy cold fall day when we didn’t really have much time anyway, we opted for the “cultural experience” of a first visit to Trader Joes.

Then we headed back home, made some homemade hot chocolate and started carving. 

Today we had a great evening.  Sundays are officially (yes, officially) pancake day in the Freed/Heldarskard house.  We love both American and Faroese pancakes and have decided to enjoy some every week in one form or another.  Some families have “Pizza Fridays”; We have “Pancake Sundays”!   

Tonight we followed up dinner with an intense game of Uno… complete with a merging of ways to play to create a new set of “house rules”.  Halfway through dinner I posted this challenge on Instagram… 

As you can see, she accepted the challenge… and the proceeded to kick my butt…. and then took pictures of me and laughed at me while I did the dishes.  


Sundays are for pancakes

and bacon

and ‘forced’ family fun

and dishes 

and laughter… 

Let’s do this week!  

“Don’t wake me up”

Last night Elisa was telling me about her psychology class.  At some point this week they got in a conversation about times that people wake up.  The teacher said, “So for school days many of you maybe get up at 6 or 6:30 or for some of you 7 or later.  But we don’t typically get up at 6 on a Saturday. What time do we get up on a Saturday?”  Elisa’s response of “2”not only made the teacher pause but many of her classmates too. But yes, it’s true.  Without anything she has to be up for, 2 p.m. is about the earliest I’ll see my daughter appear from her room.  It can be later.  

You can imagine that this probably doesn’t make school day mornings very easy to get up for her.  Despite many alarms set it’s normally not until we go through a whole routine of things that she actually gets out of bed and out the door.  All with the flip of a switch!

First of all, can we just pause at the irony that her alarm is the chorus of a song that just says “Don’t wake me up” over and over again.  On days like today when it plays for 30 minutes while I’m up getting ready, it cracks me up to hear it over and over and over again.  

When it’s ACTUALLY time that she NEEDS to be out of bed, I become very thankful for our apartment’s entry way light.  Elisa’s bedroom has a window into that entry way which means despite the sun not coming up as early in the morning I can somewhat suddenly simulate that without blinding her so much with her room light that she just hides under the covers and goes back to sleep. 

A few knocks, warnings that Caitlin will be here in 10 minutes, and when necessary standing in the door way until her feet touch the floor, and we’re we’re good to go. Of course many days it’s not that complicated and she actually gets up on her on, but it’s nice to have a plan when we need it! 

Now, off to wake her up for the second time today … 

Senior Night!

More (better) pictures to come once we actually get them from the coach but here are a few from Senior night at Volleyball…

I love this girl so much and have loved watching her play! 

And now… some preparation for the next sports seasons… 

… or maybe she should just do track?!? 

P.S. She told me my Faroese sounded good just now when I told her ‘Goodnight’.  WIN! 

Laundry, Pancake Batter, and a Throne of Grace

The last few days have been tough. Nothing specific has made them such, just the little things of normal life that add up to some frustrating, busy, chaotic, hard, or just random days.  

As I went to bed last night I decided to pick up a book I’m in the middle of to unwind a bit before heading to bed.  When I did, I was met with these beautiful words: 

“Draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Wow… those were the words I needed. As I read on the author of the book continued sharing about this verse and how that plays out on the tough days:

“The writer of Hebrew might as well be saying, ‘Hey fresh-out-of-amazing girl, you are welcome here.’ Do you know what being ‘welcome at this throne’ of God means? We can bring our burdens and busyness, we can lay down our shattered dreams, we can tell God we have never felt amazing, we can pour out all the lies our hearts have been believing, and we can certainly cry the bitter tears stored up in our grieving hearts. Friend, simply put, it is good for us to approach the throne of grace.” – Stacey Thacker, Fresh Out of Amazing (page 178)

Mmmm… that’s some good stuff for the soul!  As I got up this morning I decided I’d start the day at this throne of grace… and wow did God meet me there today.  The busy schedule didn’t get any less busy… the confusing situations didn’t get any less confusing… the hard work is still hard… and there’s still the task of getting your teenager to finish cleaning up the pancake batter that’s still down the front of the kitchen cabinet from Monday’s adventure with her friends… BUT at this Throne of Grace I did receive mercy and was able to find, to search for, to notice grace in time of need. 

Today, that grace just came in wave after wave… “grace upon grace”… as John talks about.  Oh yes, I had to look but once I did, I found grace all over the place today… 

Grace came in gathering with a friend, as we do each Wednesday morning, to pray the things of our hearts together. 

Grace again in praising Jesus while leading preschool chapel… reminding myself as I taught them that God really does have the whole world, including me, in His hands… and the sidewalks and the cows too 😉

Grace found in abundance while listening to the heart of an overwhelmed college student and being able to help her give herself a little grace.

Grace in the crockpot working hard all day making yummy a porkchop dinner for us and grace in a quick 10 minute nap on the couch while waiting for the rice to cook. 

Grace in working together with Elisa to do the dinner dishes (and finish cleaning up the pancake batter) allowing for conversation and connection in the process. 

Grace still crashing in again when Elisa remembered before me that she needed to wash her volleyball uniform, took initiative to do laundry herself, AND stopped to ask me if I needed anything washed while she was doing a load. Oh so many graces there. 

And now, to end the night, putting my laundry away listening to Elisa playing beautiful music on the keyboard which is in my room… 

Yea, there again … grace upon grace upon grace. 

Thank you Jesus for letting us draw near at your Throne… and while at work… and in the car… and while doing housework… thank you for the mercy that we receive there and the grace we find again and again and again.  Keep drawing us near. Amen.