Friday, October 14, 2016

Hello Friends.

My name is Ali. I have two beautiful children - my miracles. I have a pretty fabulous husband - we started out as friends (the best way to start, in my opinion), and then became college sweethearts. He is a musician, and our home is blessed to have him often in the background singing & creating melodies.  It seems to be rubbing off on the kids - a good thing, indeed.

Here is a throw back photo to sweet days that seem like they were JUST HERE.  Like yesterday!

I have experienced seasons of being a stay at home mom, working from home mom, full-time working mom, and part-time working mom.  No matter the title, it is all a whole lot of work.

I started in the world of blogging pretty much by accident (long story) with  another site that was a fun a collaboration with some pretty amazing mamas.

I am most myself when I have a chance to exercise both my body and my creative energy. 

Things I love:

the title "mama" the sound of laughter  beauty in nature           

       long walks my sister coffee   cooking
freshly baked bread  interior design  Jesus
vacation  time with my family Deep Creek Lake, Maryland    

      time with friends
reading to my children  healthy food  organic  going slowly
stopping to smell the flowers  trees  sand between my toes  running 
the smell of rain  time with God  
the sound of rain on a tin roof   creating new things 
                                          out of old things
  the color torquoise  anthropologie
reading  naps  movies   sunny days   picnics my brother
most things vintage    Europe   farms   wide open spaces 
starry nights  my parents   photography    chocolate  writing
leaning into life   my apron  my vintage wedding ring 
the color green the gratitude revolution that is shaping my life                  shalom  

Why I first named this blog "leaning in and looking up"?

I started this blog when we were going through a pretty tough season. We were hit incredibly hard by the economy, and it literally felt like I was being stripped of so much of what had been my daily life. So much was out of my control and I felt really anxious about where we were at, and even more so, about the future. What I knew was that what was in my control was how I responded. I had a choice in how I would respond - I could move forward with fear, anxiety, and bitterness, or I could lean into what I knew to be true - that God has always provided for me every step of my life. I began to pray for "daily bread" - emotional, physical, spiritual daily bread. I also began to fight to dwell on everything I had to be grateful for. It had to be a conscious decision - a choice to dwell on the lovely in every moment. Yes, we were losing our home. Yes, I was selling my furniture to come up with my first month's rent for a house that would be 1/2 the size of what we were in. BUT, when I looked up and took in my surroundings I saw two beautiful, amazing children who were healthy. I saw my husband, my best friend, and I knew that together, the four of us were home no matter where we slept at night. 

Choosing gratitude has revolutionized my life. I cannot tell you the peace that I began to feel in that season - peace that was unexplainable. I had mind like water - each pebble life threw into my mind's pond, would splash, and then send out it's slow ripples, but then my pond would settle back again into a peaceful stillness.

Looking up - whether it was at my gorgeous children, or up at the sky, trees, flowers, waves crashing, or a sunset - allowed me to remind my head and heart of the power and creativity of God. If I want to trust God with my tomorrow then I know that I need to remind myself why He is trustworthy. If I can remind myself of who He is - then there is very little wondering left as to whether He can handle what is happening in my life now.

I continue to choose gratitude ...

It is my hope that I will lean fully into every season of life I am blessed to enjoy.

It is my hope that in the times of sorrow or anxiety, I will lean into the peace and hope that God faithfully promises me.
It is my hope that in times of joy and abundance, I will lean fully into gratitude and thankfulness.

If ever I doubt that my whole world rests in His hands, I simply have to pause & look up - I will see the sky, the branches and leaves, and most compelling in my world - the faces of my two beautiful children that are miraculous evidence of God's power to create beauty from ashes.

This is where I will share my story in my pursuit of peace.  Shalom is where I am camping for now. I will ramble. I will dream. I will cry, and I will laugh.  Hopefully the refrain that will weave its way through all of it will be gratitude.


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