Thursday, July 31, 2014

Safe Harbor

balloon pink lost fly away

I told her to keep the balloon inside. 

When she brought it out, I told her to hold on tight. 


Of course, within seconds, she lost her grip, then cried and cried as it floated away. 


I didn't say "I told you so." 


Instead, I hugged her. We waved at the balloon until it was out of sight. She said she was sad the balloon was gone. I said, "I know," and asked her to help me unload the car. Because sometimes, when we face loss, we don't need anyone to rub our faces in it. What we need is compassion. 


And I want her to trust that I'm a safe harbor.


-- Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel


(original post appeared on instagram)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bounty

This is a guest post by Christie Lacy (@christielacy). She is a portrait photographer. You can find out more about her on her website: christielacy.com.

tomatoes in hands fingernails painted

The sun shines bright and hot all day long. And as it starts to dip low she heads outside to seek and forage. Peeking under all the overgrown bushes to find a beautifully ripened gem or three or five. Sometimes, she let's those moments linger, taking her time to see what she'll find. It makes my heart happy to know that she is enjoying those moments in nature; that she relishes in the blessing of uncovering what God has provided. And that, my friends, cannot be found in a grocery store...

(original post appeared on instagram)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Promise of Better Things

This is a guest post by Manda McGrath (@mandamooie). She blogs at themerrythought.com.


rainbow manda mcgrath

I'm having an off week. I feel like I'm scrambling but not accomplishing anything.  Feeling over-tired, uninspired and lacking motivation.  Sometimes when my house is a wreck and I'm not checking things off my to-do list, I feel like I'm failing. But sometimes I just need a reminder that there's more to life than going & doing.  That having a slow, off week might just be what I need.  And that there's always hope and a promise of better things yet to come.

(original post appeared on instagram)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beautiful and Tender Moments

chasing papa's car

Morning ritual: racing Papa's car as he drives to work.

On a side note: I am really struggling today. As an introvert, our busy busy weekend was extremely draining on me. Also, I indulged in some sweets, and, as someone who struggles with insulin resistance, I am now working through a "sugar hangover"... my energy level is lower & my patience reserves are smaller. But just because I am battling to be joyful doesn't mean I am losing. It's days like these, when it's a struggle to be full of light, it's on these days that choosing joy has the most meaning. Anyone can be happy when times are good. But who finds joy in suffering? I pray not that I might never be unhappy, but that I might suffer well. 

Here are some things that help: 
(1) Started my day with a scripture reading from the You Version bible app. Short and sweet, one verse is easy to commit to. 
(2) Vented to a friend about my feelings. 
(3) Ate food; but did not eat any sugar or overindulge in coffee. 
(4) Looked up several Instagram accounts that always bring me encouragement (including the Instagram hashtags #arrowchildren and #raisingarrows)
(5) Spent time with Phoebe, then let her choose a Netflix show so I could have a break. 
(6) Took deep breaths. And remembered that there are beautiful and tender moments, even (especially) on difficult days. Like watching my daughter race down the sidewalk after Matt's car...and the sweet husband who always waves at her until he's out of sight. 

Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel

(original post appeared on instagram)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Outward Disobedience

four kids on a couch

"We should not be disciplining and training just to produce a mannerly child we can show off in public, but in order to bring our beloved children into conformity to the image of Christ, so that they will be well prepared in their hearts and habits when God calls them into his service." - L. Elizabeth Krueger

Boy, do I need this reminder a lot. It's so easy to get stuck on reprimanding my children's misbehavior without examining their hearts. It often takes extra work on my part to go beyond their outward disobedience and discuss the real sin issue in their hearts, pointing them to Jesus. It's also easy to take offense and get mad at them when they disobey, but they are really sinning against God. He's not surprised by their sin and He returns it with grace upon grace upon grace! 

While I pray for their hearts to fully know and love Jesus, I need to pray for my own heart to continually be full of grace and love. I don't want to raise a flock of moral Pharisees. I want to raise fearless followers of Christ fully in love with Him.

-- Alison || @alison_winter

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grace & Grumpiness

This is a guest post by Tori Gillit (@toriadele). She owns an etsy shop, Light and Truth, where she sells scriptural and inspirational art.


toriadele arrowschildren kids in towels

We played in the sprinklers on Wednesday and we were full of love and happiness and giggles.

Ever since then, I've been cranky. It's been overcast in the Dallas/Fort Worth area...and our trip caught up with me...and today was errand day...and blah blah blah. However looking back to Wednesday reminds me that Sunday's coming. I think: since Christ lives, so can I. I can choose joy each day. 

And, when the kids get up from nap, I can say sorry for being a Grumpy Tired-Head, and we can start all over, because there is GRACE. It's as fresh as a gentle summer sprinkle from an overcast sky. Children give grace almost as freely as the Father. I'm so grateful.

Thank you, Lord.

(original post appeared on instagram)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

God Opens Doors

arrowchildren ekwetzel erin wetzel little girl

This Arrow Children project started on instagram, under the account @arrowchildren . Andrea contacted a dozen or so Christian parents that God put on her heart, and together we started collaborating on the Arrow Children account, while also sharing content on our personal instagram feeds, using the hashtags #arrowchildren and #raisingarrows. We hoped to use the immediacy and intimacy of the instagram platform to bring hope and community to parents who might feel like they are floundering, isolated or alone. We wanted to share the joys and struggles of parenting mindfully, for an eternal legacy.

Then our account was frozen.

No, the account is not deleted. However anytime a user tries logging into @arrowchildren, it crashes the instagram app, and the only way to fix the problem is to delete the app and re-download it.

Instagram has been unresponsive to our requests to get the account back.

Meanwhile, the community around #raisingarrows and #arrowchildren has exploded.

So here we are! We launched this new blog, and we will collaborate here to share our stories with you. You will find regular posts from our contributors, as well as guest posts from the instagram community.

How can you get involved??
  • If you have an instagram account, keep sharing your story, and tag your posts with #raisingarrows and #arrowchildren
  • Engage with content here on the blog.
  • Spread the news: tell others about this blog! We have 1,000 followers on the instagram account and no way to let them know we moved to a blog, other than word of mouth.
  • Message instagram and let them know you want @Arrowchildren back. Here is how:
  1. Go to this link (https://help.instagram.com/366993040048856)
  2. Where it says "Was this answer helpful?" click "NO"
  3. On the drop-down menu, select "Other"
  4. Type a note explaining that you want the @arrowchildren account back. For example: "The account for @arrowchildren is frozen. I miss it! Please restore this account!"

Thank you for your support!

No matter where we find ourselves, let's come together as a community and glorify God with every sweet moment, every hard afternoon, every word, and every deed. Let our instagram picture posts be like little songs, singing our Savior's praises all the day long.

-- Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Becoming A Man

This is a guest post by Amanda Lyon (@mamalyontamer). Here is a little bit about her, in her own words: I love Jesus, life and creative expression. We have been blessed with 5 babies: 4 boys aged 9, 7, 5 and 3. Our darling daughter waits in heaven for us, she passed away when she was 4.5 years old. I married my first love and this year we celebrate 17years of marriage.

mamalyontamer arrowchildren raisingarrows

If I squint my eyes, I can see a man. One emerging cautiously from the boy. Tentative and slow, just as it should be, but startling. I'm glad its slow, it gives us time, both of us time to adjust. Because I know it was just yesterday that I held you in my arms, your body small and soft. Now we stand eye to eye. Stand tall, strong, and true my Fynn. You are becoming a man.

(original post appeared on instagram)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Speaking My Daughter’s Love Language

maisy game

Speaking my daughter’s love language helps her feel security and connection; but learning her love language is about more than that. It’s about opening *my* heart and being willing to grow in a direction I would never have charted on my own. Speaking her love language is not something I DO, so much as someone I AM...or, at least, someone I am becoming. Speaking love languages helps us grow together. It pushes us to become more. And, I believe, God blesses us with the children (and people) in our lives to push and pull us, to form and reform us, like a potter working with clay, that we may be deeper vessels for his glory. And, so I played a Maisy game with Phoebe this morning; not because I wanted to (because I didn’t want to) and not because I was trying to trade Phoebe attention for obedience (which I am sometimes guilty of). No. This morning I simply played with her because I love her; and -- y’know what? -- I enjoyed myself. 

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?"
(Micah 6:8)

-- Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel

(original post appeared on instagram)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mommy Date Diaries

en pleine air with flowers

I had this huge plan all day: after I picked up Phoebe from Grammy Day, I'd surprise her with milkshakes & we'd watch the sun set. Well...the milkshake shop closed 20 minutes before we arrived. And the park was going to close before sunset. And, anyways, the bright sun was starting to give me a bad headache. ...SO... we switched gears and went to the Fancy grocery store & splurged on gourmet desserts. We sat with our backs to the the sun, surrounded by beautiful flowers. And she talked. And talked. And talked.


I think the beautiful thing about broken moments is this: when our plans and expectations shatter, God is what holds us together. If we let Him guide us, we will always find good things. Moments of brokenness reveal a deeper truth: God is what always holds us together--always--through good times and bad. I think if we truly understood this, truly believed that God fills up our days with joy, hope and love, then we would be less stressed about making it through hard times, and less afraid of losing our happy moments. Plans come and go, but the joy of the Lord endures. When you understand that God shepherds your joy, you realize you are free to find happiness anywhere.


-- Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel


(original post appeared on instagram)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Do not be anxious about anything


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:6, 7 ESV 

Thinking about anxiety as I see it trying to rule my daughter. I also see how, as parents, we let little 'anxieties' dictate and shape our days and who we are. Worries, nuisances, concerns the enemy tricks us into thinking are not 'anxieties' to make a fuss about. I'm always blown away by what we teach our kids when we think we are not teaching. May we learn what anxieties hold our faith and trust out of His hands so that we can learn to give it all to Him. And through that, let His peace surpass our understanding and guard not only our hearts and minds but our children's as well. 

-- Andrea | | resolvehouse.blogspot.com | | @dearpomegranates

 (original post appeared on instagram)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

kids looking over a bridge into water
Excuses, excuses, excuses. Every day there seems to be a reason why I can't be the best mom to my kids. I'm tired. I don't feel well. We've been in the car too long and everyone is being crazy. She's in a bad mood. He's in a bad mood. The dog peed on the carpet, and the car battery just died. 

There's always some reason my parenting comes up sub-par. And because of those "reasons" I make excuses for my sin.  I excuse my impatience, my angry words, my selfishness. I blame the external things that are "causing" me to sin rather than searching my own heart and repenting. 


The truth is that those external things don't cause me to sin, they just bring to the surface what's already there, bubbling within my own heart. Luke 6:45 says: "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." Either I can keep making excuses for my bad attitudes and harsh words towards my children, or I can recognize that the root of my impatience, my anger, my lack of joy, and my selfish attitudes all stem from my own sinful heart, and I can pray--or rather petition God--to replace those sinful fruits with His beautiful fruits of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control (Galatians 5:23), character qualities that, in my mind, describe the most beautiful mother imaginable! 


It's time for me to stop making excuses and start  asking for forgiveness while living in (and living out) His grace. Because His beautiful fruits (and not my own sinful, rotting ones) are the character qualities I want to impart to and feed my children. They won't remember my excuses, but only how (well or poorly) I have loved them. 


Lord, help me to love them well. 


--Holly || @oregonmama || Oregon-mama.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wait For The Little Ones


Phoebe is full of All Of The Feelings today. 

But: she is the child, and I am her parent-guide. So I'm choosing to be patient. To wait for her. To stop telling her to hurry up. 

All I want to do is get in the car and go. Instead, here I sit, waiting for her to do whatever it is she does with her books and her dolls and her imagination.

Hopefully we'll both find some grace today.

Waiting on my little one, my mind wanders, and I remember this verse:

"Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."
(Psalm 27:14)

-- Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel

(original post appeared on instagram)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

He Who is Forgiven Much Will Love Much

luke 7:47
This statue creeps me out. However, every time we go to the Food Co-op, Phoebe rushes over into its cold metallic embrace & explores it's grooves with her soft little hands. And isn't that how God's grace is? As adults we see flaws and sins in others' lives; we get disgusted; we want to keep the people we deem "grotesque" at arms length, lest their flaws rub off on us. We shun our lepers. But God's kingdom rushes into our broken hearts, it rushes in like a child, touching all our twists and knots; God loves us with the unabashed, unreserved love of a little child. He unravels us and puts us back together: redeemed, purified, made whole. And I can't help but think these words, over & over: "He who is forgiven much will love much;" (paraphrase of Luke 7:47).

-- Erin || ekwetzel.com || @ekwetzel

(original post appeared on instagram)