Category Archives: heartwork

take courage

i never thought of courage as a life skill.  i am learning it is.  it sets me free when i choose to use it.

i thought courage was only for heroes in storybooks and movies.  where you survived and killed the bad guy and won the girl.

little did i know that the really bad guy was my own “self”

and while spending time in the wee hours of the mornings with jesus was my lifeline
it was filled with so much pain.  pain that was rotting my bones and i didn’t know what to do with it
pages and pages filled with words that were true but the problem was i wasn’t “doing” much of them

often when we are in the middle of chaotic living we fail to see ourselves as part of the problem.
we see others and they very well have the biggest part in the mess but

here’s what i learned

that i had power.  i had a choice and when i stopped listening to what i was fed growing know that yucky victim mentality

and i put the words that Paul wrote in Colossians 2:6-7 that my life began a process of turning around

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given.
You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.
You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him.
You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught.
School’s out; quit studying the subject and start 
living it!
And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

and i began what i call

the art of living courageously and i can’t wait to sit down with you all and take all of this apart so we can look at it in small bites!


xo -t

(just my morning musings to be obedient to write something.  no judgement please:)  i am not editing these…thank you!)

if you know the source of the image please let me know so i an give credit!





new shirt shop & new “news”

good morning!  i have been MIA on the blog .. sorry!  life is happening..that is a good thing
but i miss writing and i am FULL of stories
to be honest i just don’t have a lot of extra time with working the business
but God has given us a testimony…out of a “test” that has been over 15 years long
with much grace and vulnerability i am going to begin writing our God- story…here

yes…old people still kiss
and isn’t a “movie screen” shot but it
is every bit as precious to me!


#theartoflivingcourageously begins on the blog

#theartoflivingcourageously begins on the blog

our grand babies will be here in 2 days!  it has been 8 months since we’ve seen them
they live in florida
20plus hours in a car with 5 kids!  not sure i could do it
can’t wait to take lots of pictures and share them with you all!

my grand babies.

we have LOTS of new signs in the sign shop
have you seen them?

aedriel and us have collaborated on some and they are beautiful
christmas is around the corner…i know
i sigh too but this year i am not getting all caught up in the hype
keeping it simple

All that Glitters sign.  house of belonging Etsy shop

aedriel & house of belonging collaboration.  house of belonging Etsy shop

i don’t share much on our home but i thought i’d share a peek at our first real living room set
we have raised 5 kids and never had 1.) money and 2.) why buy new furniture with 5 kids right?
times have sure changed though since we raised our bunch though

we went to ikea and i am sold! #ikea
things are very well made and affordable enough for the average family
even if you save up for it piece by piece like we did

a peek into our #exodushome

we have a NEW SHIRT SHOP
this has got to be the biggest news
peeps are still trying to buy shirts from our Etsy sign shop
they are no longer there

click here for the SHIRTS

nikki is continually adding more so be sure to keep checking back
they would make awesome christmas gifts!

fun outfit for fall pumpkin patch visits!
God is within her tee from house of belonging shirt shop!
leopard flats a beanie and an a truth tee!  house of belonging shirt shop! fun for sisters and moms to all wear right?  house of belonging shirt shop

be sure to follow us on INSTAGRAM @houseofbelonging for daily inspiration and shop news
that is where we hang out all of the time:)

love ya’ll….


day 7/30 : the wilderness memoirs – wilderness is the birthplace of our dreams

i recently came to a fork on my life-map
the choice i made felt contrary but i proceeded after remembering to feel the fear and do it anyway
risking God’s reputation..


i am so far out here  it feels agonizingly scary..i wonder am i making a mistake..did i hear wrong…what if i fail..or make a mistake? or go back to the crazy?
if i open up to trust will i be hurt again? being vulnerable is risky…but without it you can’t love or be loved or LIVE!  and i want to LIVE!!  don’t you?

but you know what?
i am choosing to do my life afraid..taking risks..again and again..not letting the “what if’s” keep me from trying

but if i’m honest i want risk..i want to risk it all on God to do what only He can!  maybe i don’t do that enough..or ever
i am learning when i am having to trust and it isn’t something i can fix in my own strength that it feels crazy and wrong and very uncomfortable
when i try to do it in my own strength i end up retreating with my tail between  my legs
bemoaning the fact that it must not be meant for me to live my dreams

what is so beyond exciting for me is that all things are possible with God and the possibility
that all of this devastation is the VERY THING God is using to heal me!
as i map out this trek across my life i am wondering if our dreams are what save us?

that maybe all the heartbreak and all hard places and upside downs are all a part of what crushes us to death only to
to birth us in the crucible of the wilderness–being ground down so fine so that the very essence of us is pressed out

the crucible of the wilderness might be part of the key to our wholeness..our healing

the wilderness crucible is pressing out the very essence of my God given story that will be glory giving and life-saving...into wholeness
it is the very thing that saves us

ALL the hard places of our life would be the birthplace..the incubator of our dreams…wow!!

this gives me hope to move forward and i pray it does you too!
let’s encourage one another to keep risking and see where God leads
what if i take the risks and travel the miles and what i have longed for all of these years comes to life
not only alive but way bigger and better than i ever dreamed possible…and if it fails at least i was brave and tried
and grown-up into a stronger more courageous woman who isn’t afraid to choose faith over fear

maybe i can have both..maybe i don’t have to choose
maybe i can move forward and it will all become clearer on up ahead

i know it has to begin with me..always us first..not them

are you willing to risk it all…to be all in?
to feel the fears that scare you the most–to surrender to them–to let go of control
because you think you know better than Me?
on up ahead and around the bend is working on that deep shard that is staked right in your heart
unforgiveness and vengeance…you know the place
to not forget but to let it allow me to re-build in a brand new place .. YOU..on your reclaimed ground

it is going to be one of the hardest things you’ve faced yet
are you ready to let go of that weight you’ve been hauling around in secret?
are you ready to have all that energy you’ve been using to keep that wound raw to spend on
your dreams?
are you ready to step out of the shadows and into your God-giving story that will be GLORY-GIVING


maybe it is LOVE that pursues us that mends and heals…


day 4/30 – the wilderness memoirs : the antagonist & dreams

we need an antagonist if we want to be a part of writing an epic story!
here is the definition of antagonist is you need it:)
a person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary.
“he turned to confront his antagonist”
1. One who opposes and contends against another; an adversary.
2. The principal character in opposition to the protagonist or hero of a narrative or drama.
you ask me how God began speaking into my dream…
for me: it was kinda like this -
the pull of that “something more” that i wanted my whole know the one you have had since you can remember?  that one
would come knocking and i would answer and it and i would talk for hours about what were going to do and then another knock would
always it freddy kruger is that helps but it always won
i would bury the something more..the gift God gave me and expose the fear..the freddy kruger fear as i call it
nothing much was happening according to my years of journals .. or so it seemed to me
no real growth…as i saw it at the time ( looking back NOW…so NOT true )
i knew a lot in my head though and it took some hard knocks for me to begin to connect that the head knowledge had to connect to the heart to
grow me
i had to practice exposing the gifts and burying the fears in the arena called “real life”.
i had a habit of asking questions to the questions..
is this something i am supposed to do was one of my favorites! ha!
funny thing is deep down i always knew the answer but time after time
these questions would send me retreating into old patterns not because they are easy…but because they were safe and predictable
while very destructive i knew them like the back of my hand.
same old same old…
i shut down and the walls come up and there i knees to chest sit watching and waiting
the first “real” memory i have of God speaking into my dreams began something like this…
He would ask me to step out from behind those walls of protection
and be brave.  to  “feel” .. key word.. feel the fear and do it anyway
at that time brave and courageous were not fad words running rampant in blogland or in self help books…at least not the ones i was reading
but funny things is
these words didn’t escape me in the bible though.  they have run rampant there for 2000+ years
God knows we are made of molecules of dust and with one hot breath we could be blown to smithereens
sitting at that table..on that day..i did feel the fear and in my own way took a few small baby steps and did it anyway
only to be turned down..not once but twice!
defeat and depression soon had their arms around me consoling me.  hopelessness was not far behind
don’t you just HATE that tape?  it is SO NOT TRUE!!  it is a big FAT LIE!!
to feel fear only to be healed?
i am asking if my antagonist is kinda like paul’s thorn?  is this what is driving me to choose?
cause if i have been praying for years for healing..and i have…to be made really be free
then how else could that happen?
think about it!  without an antagonist i might be living out of my church mind..stuck in legalism and works and good-enoughs
and judgments–you know the laundry list
even as i type this thanksgiving is dawning deep in my spirit..thank you jesus
you answered my prayer from the last few days!
just from writing this out
i know i am to be thankful..i WANT to be faithful but sometimes i get focused on the antagonist only and i get off the path
all the hard-places
childhood trauma
sunday is usually grilling day around here and yesterday was no different only this day grace wanted to watch harry potter
i reluctantly agreed and i am glad i did
at the end when voldemort–harry’s greatest antagonist–was finally dead…harry had FINALLY won
i saw those of us with lives riddled with struggle…the underdogs…uniting…why?
because in some way we too…are all living an the epic harry potter story and we want to win in the end too!!
i do!!  don’t you?
even harry…when caught between life and death asked the professor who he trusted
professor what do i do???
and the professor disappeared with no response
you see…harry had a choice
and so do we…God always gives choice
and what did harry choose?
harry chose to rise
oh friend…hang in there
hang with me would you?
keep our eyes only on you abba
not on anyone else’s journey..only ours
and maybe you can give us new eyes to see our antagonists as a gift
and i pray we be the hearts you are searching for

day 3/30 – the wilderness memoirs…it was him or me

behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins…mitch albom

i can hear my heart pounding in my breathing is shallow is rapid.  my lungs are at capacity.  i have to stop to take a break. my arms couldn’t keep holding abandon run down, worn out, collapsing house of crazy up at the seams anymore
i’ve taken hammer and nails to pin up the rafters that were built from LIES!  fix the leaky faucets and put new panes of glass in its broken windows so no one could see what was really going on.

i now know there is a word for this and it is called “crazy making”  they make you believe it is you responsible for all of their blame you and so do they hence the adjective “crazy making”
no one would believe us anyway and the hardest thing was saying with my voice my part in the sick can someone be to live that way and call it love?
still to this day that decade makes me physically sick

one day or maybe it was years of “days” i drew back the curtains  of my heart house and i let Your Light shine into my heart for the very first time.
i knew i had to stop this madness that we thought normal and blaze a new trail for myself and run a brand new race for the rest of my life.
and then hand it over as a runner hands the baton to the next person so my daughters stand on up ahead with their hands out.
i see them shadowed by the sun setting spilling God’s glory all over us waiting..watching..and calling me forward so they can grab it when it goes by it is the passing of history.

setting things free is history making..almost a sacred work

because at some moment i knew it was him or me

we had already ripped the fabric of our family to pieces..and there is no way..humanly speaking to EVER heal such destruction of souls these kinda things leave scars deep and long and for the first time i wanted to do the hard thing.

the choice that was the scariest thing i have ever done…to choose my own freedom

i had to choose to let go of control of what i thought it was going to look like..what my children thought it was going to look like..heck i still don’t know what it is going to look is being rebuilt each and everyday

i just knew i didn’t want to grow old with the idea of “hoping it will change”.  i don’t want to die in that hope.  i gave 12+years to this more

it is eery…i get sad when i think about my mom.  we sit over steaming mugs of coffee long cold and half eaten plates of carbs calling it a cheap therapy session but the truth of it doesn’t escape me.  action and owning our own addictions are the only way out.  the only road to freedom.

i believe that God is giving me the opportunity to run this next part of the our family history .. i have chosen to take the baton. the weight pushes me down telling me to quit.  it is in these moments that i begin asking what in the world AM I DOING!! that God gently reminds me of esther..of nehemiah..of jeremiah..of paul His words are my energy — they are my life blood.  my oxygen

i am not running for myself only…i am running for all the women in my family..for my daughters

it is the history making of these words that propel me forward.  i most likely will not live to see all of this play out but God lets me hear the freedom bell ringing…i know my daughters will have freedom

freedom becomes the sound of my shoe hitting the pavement creating a hypnotizing narcotic to numb the pain for a bit so i am able to get a little farther down the road.

daily i stand .. hand on hips.. breathing hard and fast..bending over trying to catch my breath.  sweat covering my whole body that is bloody and bruised..often in places that human eye cannot see. the heart bruises..the abrasions from lying sandpaper that just.won’t.STOP!

the pain from the unseen places throb and gnaw at me the most the enemy of our soul…others and myself  trip me up on somedays..throwing me headlong into a cycle of doubt and despair–trying to  lure me back into the crazy

but not today.   not today

i want to leave you with these words..i am not sure who wrote them but they strengthen me and i pray they strengthen you

“nothing good comes easily you have to lose things you thought you loved, give up things you thought you needed. you have to get over yourself, beyond your past, out from under the weight of your future. the good stuff never comes when things are easy. it comes when things are all heavily weighted down like moving trucks–


my dear friend lissa let me use this image from her ig…i fell in love with it.  i thought it was perfect for the wilderness memoirs