Capturing our weekend

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I was determined to put my phone down more this weekend and pick up my camera to capture what was going on.  I figured if I blogged about it, I better make it happen.

Friday started with a fun visit from my parents and then oh yeah no big deal, my husband decides to rip up the floor in the bathroom and retile it.  I mean why not?  We woke up Saturday morning to our first real snow, and the kids were so excited about getting out there.  They actually stayed out for a while because it wasn’t super cold.

Whenever I asked Leah to smile for me, she either shoved snow in her mouth or made these ridiculous faces for me.  She is our little ham and she knows it.  She cracks me up.

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After being inspired at Craft Weekend, I am determined to bring my sewing machine out more, and staying home all day in our jammies was the perfect excuse!  Gracie was thrilled to use a real machine for the first time.  She made an adorable felt heart garland for our lack of Valentine’s day decor!

We ended our day with making some home made pizza, as some of us didn’t even end up showering till right before dinner.

As usual Leah hated something about dinner, and while the kids pizza was quite boring and plain, we went all out.  Disclaimer if you have never had Argula on top of your pizza you need to try it NOW.  Its amazing, just put some olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper on the argula, mix it up, and be over gracious with your amount you layer on.  Best part is that my friend Meg taught me this and since she has moved away, everytime I make it — I think about her and how crazy I thought she was when she first put lettuce on her pizza!!  My sincerest apologies girl, you were so right.

Sunday is a little to crazy for pictures but I managed to take some before we ate up our late night dinner once the kids went to bed.  We both agree that we can make sushi way better than we can buy it anywhere.  Helps that when you make it you can stuff it with tons of goodness.  Homemade sushi night and SNL is the perfect end to our weekend!

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I could write about how I have neglected this blog.

I could write about how life was busy and we worked hard the past two months, like really hard.

But really….

I don’t want to focus on that right now.  My desire this year is to seek out the joy that this life has and let it overflow my heart with gratitude.

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Life is teaching me that there is joy to be found everywhere – in every broken crack in my shiny not so perfect life – in every major stress that presses on our hearts – all around the chaos that three kids, a puppy, and a hubby in ministry bring.

There is joy.

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If I seek it – it is there to remind me that God is good.  His goodness and His joy are laced through every place of my life.  Most days it seems that my eyes are on auto focus, trained to focus on the stress; focus on how hard things are.  It has become my default setting – constantly consumed with how hard things are and constantly talking about how stressful life is right now.

There are so many goals I could have for this year; be a more present mom, a better wife, have a more healthy lifestyle, exercise more.  All of which are good, like really good.

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But more importantly, I want to be training my eyes to switch off of auto, and manually start focusing on the joy around me.  Begin to really start each day with gratitude, and remember that no matter what God places in our lives this year or this very day – we will remain joyful in knowing that He will keep carrying us.  Through the pain, through the tears, pointing us towards the immeasurable joy that will flood our hearts and fill us with gratitude.

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He has given me so much to be thankful for.  Why let another year go by focused on the stresses of life instead of the joy?

Follow me this year on instagram, @tgowesky and use #focusonjoy, as we start 2015 together with the right focus.

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All I have needed

Words hold meaning to me.

There is something special about choosing to put words on the walls of the home you live in.  They express your values, they show whats important to you.  Every sign that I work on speaks to me in some way, reminding me of a tiny droplet of truth.  When I choose a sign to display in my house, I make sure it will serve as a reminder to all who walk in.

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I love this sign, and will be sad when the day comes when it sells.  It has been a great reminder that God has truly provided all we needed.  There may be times when I feel like something didn’t work out for us, but I look back and think was that really a need we had or was it something we just thought would make life easier.

Theres is this beautiful quiet surrender that happens when we comprehend that we can do no more.  When we trust that God is going to pick up the pieces and charge forward on our behalf as the ultimate provider.

There are stories upon stories of God providing for us; from boxes of diapers on our doorsteps, to helping pay off our debt, places to go for respite, and relationships that fed our souls when we were on empty.

My faith in God providing for the future comes from recognizing and remembering how He has provided in the past.  He has been faithful to my family, and He will continue to be faithful to us.

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I want the kids to see the signs hanging in our house and always know that those words mean something to us.   They help us look back to the past with gratitude, they ground us in the present, and they secure us in our future.

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Beneficial Words

We want life to be fun, whether thats with out family our in our marriage.  We even came up with ten things to do to celebrate our our ten years of marriage!  Fun just doesn’t happen, you have to make it happen.  You have to be intentional about creating an environment thats relaxed where laughter and joy naturally overflows from our lives.

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Nine times out of ten, that starts with me.  Its very simple in our home, how my initial words come out to the kids or to my husband when I wake up—literally can set the tone for the rest of the day.  When I see that the kids forgot to pack up their backpacks, or put their shoes away in the right drawers, or if my husband forgot to start the dishwasher last night, or if the puppy has another accident on the kitchen floor.  I have to make a choice.  Will those small moments of imperfection, of bitterness, or of dissapointment snowball to an attitude that follows me through the day?

Sometimes its not about me having enough patience or peace to let things go—but if I am willing to let the imperfect go and embrace the let downs.  Most times I have enough patience to speak with a kind voice asking the kids to please remember to put their shoes in the right spot, its just I choose not too.

I choose what comes naturally to me– a feeling or resentment that if Mom is giving her all, everyone else should too.

The reality though is that I am not perfect.

I am not perfect.

I mess up.

I forget to do things.

I don’t always put things back perfectly.

And they all show me love, they show me patience– they show me grace.

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This is a verse I make our kids write over and over if they aren’t speaking kindly—needless to say it is now hanging over my sink, as a reminder that my words are equally as important as theirs!  Letting go of the tiny disapointments one choice at a time; embracing the beauty of all our imperfections–including my own.  Reminding me that my words hold weight, and to be intentional about how I use them.  We can choose joy and we can choose fun, but if we don’t watch how we choose our words—the environment we want so badly to be intentional about creating will never exist.  

Let’s have our words be ones that benefit today!

 

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Our Little Porch

Let me introduce you to my favorite room in my house—- the porch.

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I figure its the right time to shine a light on her, because September is one of her favorite months.  She is a simple room, a little brisk air is when she breathes easiest.

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When my husband and I walked through our house before we put an offer on it, we didn’t think much of it.  I don’t even remember talking about it.  Little did we know that she would become one of the most used spaces in our home.

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Tons of conversations have been had here — roaring laughter that could be heard around the corner, goodbyes that have been hard to swallow.  Most importantly its a place where people feel comfortable to sit and linger.

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Its not because she’s perfectly decorated or has the best furniture.  Her old wicker seating and rough outside carpet has seen better days.  We love her despite her worn edges and painted screens.  We love this porch so much because it is our respite; our oasis, our space.

It is the place we go to recharge and reflect.  We go to there for solice.  When we shut her door – the noise of life becomes a little quieter and we feel like this 12×10 space gives us the space we need to feel alive again.

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In my mind, plays an ongoing movie reel of all of the people that have sat here and all of the conversations that has been had.

The magical thing about this porch is when you go out at dusk and get to witness the transformation that happens as dark approaches.  She begins to twinkle— I tend to think the porch prefers to be nocturnal.  Two simple strands of lights hide her imperfections and create an atmosphere for lingering.

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DSC_0619I want to make sure we always have a space, that reminds us that is it okay to linger.  It is ok to stay up way too late, to have the best conversation of the week, to forget about the busyness of life and embrace the place where time ceases to exist.

That place for me right now is this little porch.

 

Ten on Ten

As you might have read here, the hubby and I just celebrated ten years of marriage a couple of weeks ago!  Even though it has felt like forever, I can easily in a second transport back to that day ten years ago, where we were just two young kids joining our lives together.

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We came up with a cute idea a couple days ago, to think of ten things we wanted to do together this year to celebrate a decade of togetherness.  (Really its just a great reason to keep the celebration going!!)  Truthfully I didn’t want to just remember and thank God for these ten years just on the day of our anniversary.  I felt like we needed to have the year be one of reflecting and intentionally growing close together through some fun activities.

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We sat down the other night and came up with ten ideas to do this year to remember —to remember that day back on August 7h, 2004 and everything that has happened from then up until now.

1. Spend 48 hrs with our feet in the sand minus the kiddos
2. Find a cooking class to do together
3. Visit a local brewery
4.  Run a 5K
5.  Take a picture in front of all the places we have lived (which is 9 by the way!)
6.  Go to a paint studio together and do an art class
7.  Try and get tickets to see Wicked on broadway
8.  Go for a day hike (the hubs is pushing to make this an overnight hike- and I’m not quite sure this girl is up for that much adventure)
9.  Take the family to Central Park & have a picnic lunch
10. ??

We still have one more to think of, if anyone has any suggestions!!!  Its fun thinking and planning some dates nights for this year!  I will be super happy if we get even half of these done, but I am shooting for them all by next August!

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Hopefully I will post about our 10 on 10 adventures here, if not just for the accountability that we actually do them!!

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Adding meaning to the mundane

A couple of weeks ago although we had no food, I was unable to make it to the grocery store. My husband would say you only had one child during the day, how did you not make it there?? Even though she is but one child, she inhabits enough strength and power to make me sometimes feel powerless.  She’s in that wonderful stage where she doesn’t want to sit in the shopping cart and she refuses to hold your hand.  She is a force to be reckon with, this little sweet blue eyed girl. photo I ended up asking my husband if I could leave him with triple shower duty for all three, while I jetted out to the store that night, ALONE. Now normally, while super grateful to grocery shop alone, this time I ended up just thinking about how this is my poor sad life. Only escaping  from my kids for a stinkin trip to the grocery store.  I suddenly remembered that I once heard a friend say she listened to podcasts as she shopped and did household chores.  I ended up looking up some podcasts she listens to and downloaded some before I got out of the car to shop.  I was determined that the only way I was going to return home with a better attitude was to multitask and somehow feed my soul while also shopping to feed my family! Lately I as I am moving beyond the diapers and bottles I am seeing that I need more than just time away, I need my time to have substance.  Its strange to feel like I can handle substance again.  For years with lack of sleep and time, I would tell my husband I just needed space away to just think, only to realize when I had a break I just wanted to shut off my brain completely and rest.  I still need rest but I am realizing more and more that my rest needs to have substance. imgres If your looking for substance to listen to, I would suggest checking our Kat Lee’s Inspired to Action– Inspiration for Motherhood.  I have enjoyed listening to her podcasts so much!  She has real conversation with some moms who are really embarking on this journey of motherhood in a faith filled way. I have become so obsessed with listening to various podcasts, that long car rides are way more enjoyable with my one earbud in semi listening to arguing children and being encouraged and inspired at the same time. I would love hear what podcasts you are subscribed to?

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A Decade of Marriage

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This week marked an important date in my life…

My husband and I celebrated

our tenth anniversary!

Ten years people, thats worth celebrating whether we feel like we accomplished anything significant or not!!

We have had 3 babies, moved nine times, bought three homes, owned a ridiculous amount of old cars, started new jobs, made dinner together thousands of times, had some blowout fights (just a couple!), apologized a million times to each other, held each other through some horrific things, laughed till we cried, tried to raise three awesome kids together and created tons of amazing memories together.

I am sure people who have been married longer will read this and think – these young whipper snappers have no idea about marriage, ten years is nothing!  Well these young’uns think ten years is almost a lifetime.  Standing before one another as babies, 21 year old kids, pledging our life to one another, we had no idea what the future would hold.  We couldn’t even really grasp how we would have to rely on one another through the hard times, or what it even meant to love one another with selfless love.

Life was a lot easier then, when your rose colored glasses are permanently on and life’s biggest stress is grocery shopping together.  (Because when your first married – you totally do this- like for fun)  As we added kids, and moving, and extended families, and plain old stress,  life became a little harder and a little less rose colored.

No matter what life threw at us, we have both continually fought to see the good in our lives.  We have learned that laughter is an effective and cheap therapy.  We aren’t the same people that we were ten years ago, I have changed and I have watched my husband change.  Its so important to me that we have continued to love each other as we grow and develop into the people that God has created us to be.  Its been amazing watching my husband realize who He is and what God has called Him to do.  I am equally blessed that he is continually pushing me to see myself how God sees me, and nothing less.  We learned early on that we weren’t gonna live up to the perfect wife or husband roles; and we were going to have to figure out how to love each other for the messed up and imperfect people we are.

I secretly love to watch couples who have been married for a long time.  I love to see how they interact with each other, how they talk to each other, really how they just show love to each other.  I have realized I admire when couples are in sync.  How they both work to understand how the other is feeling and what they need even if they can’t find the words to express it.  Encouraging each other in their dreams and pushing them to reach for them.  We are constantly working at this, becoming more in sync with one another.  I have a feeling its not something that happens over night or even in just ten years!

Who knows what the next ten years will bring?  More kids? (to be decided)  Traveling?  New Jobs?  Trials?  Joys?

Whatever it is, all I know is that I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

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Walking step by step,

in sync with one another.

 

This day is a gift

Most days start off feeling full with a list of things to get done.

Most days I struggle with seeing the importance behind the laundry and the dishes and the cleaning.

Most days the monotonay of the daily chores can feel suffocating.

Most days I am exhausted before my feet hit the ground.

Most days I wonder how other moms seem to do it all.

It is on these days that I look for any morself of encouragement.  The other week I was having one of these days and I was led to this woman’s blog whom someone recommended and was taken away by soemthign she wrote.

You will never have this day with your children again.

Tomorrow they will be a bit older than they are today.

This day is a gift.

Just breathe, notice, study their faces and little feet.

Pay attention.

Relish the charms of the present.

Enjoy today it will be over before you know it.

I sat and thought about this for a while, pondering how so much time has gone by and how we are moving into a new chapter with no more babies and bottles.  I realized that my days aren’t about the lists, the chores, and  the cleaning.  My days are about the people in it.  My days are gifts- time never to be won back again.  No one will remember how clean my house was, or how many things we accomplished.  The people who matter in my life will cherish the relationships we have.

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I am working on changing the way I look at most of my days.  I am attempting to shift my thinking to be less about the work and more about the people – the tiny people who matter the most.

As we are in the thick of summer, the uphill battle of organization and cleanliness comes to a halt as we embrace the sun and live more outside than in.    I’ll remember we are living life and a life well lived is what I am after.

 One lived with joy,  peace, laughter, and grace filled love.

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The best I have to give…..

 

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Today I am honored to be guest posting over at Six More Summers.  My friend Amy has an amazing blog where she writes about counting down the last six summers she shares with her daughter before she leaves the nest.

I love reading about she continually is encouraging everyone to make their moments count with their children.   I often read her posts thinking, wow she is speaking right to me.  I am blessed to know her and her family from our church campus and love seeing her family serve at Liquid.

Amy is doing an awesome series called, “The Best I have to Give”  where she has enlisted parents in all different stages to give some ideas on parenting!  I was super excited to join in and share some of the ideas my husband and I try and implement on a daily basis.

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Currently we are knee deep in raising our littles, and have embraced intentional parenting full on.   Please jump on over to Amy’s blog and check out my post on, “Intentional Parenting!”

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