It was one year ago this week that I
showed no shame by making my messes public launched the blog. I have to admit it has turned out a bit differently than I imagined. I guess I thought it would be more light-hearted or humorous… more bubbly Barbie, less spiritual Shannon. But it turned out that whenever I started to write, even if it was a humorous happening, Scripture appeared. I guess that makes sense, because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. And if there is one thing I do, it is write from my heart– and I know the Word is hidden there.
In scrolling back through this year’s posts, I definitely learned where my treasures lie. Or lay. Oh, geez. It’s lie. Right? (I, English major and self-proclaimed grammar snob, should know this without second-guessing. I will just wait for one of my fellow grammarians to correct me.) But until I hear from them, I’ll just choose a different word. I know where my treasures reside. And this year, I have found treasure in some of the most random places… and because of In The Messy, I have evidence! (Did you miss a Mess? Just click on the image to read it.)
Without further ado, A Year in Review…
Lesson from “Writing Words: Why I Said ‘Yes’ to a Blog”:
Write where you are planted. Plus, children are inspiring little
messes muses. Their words breathe new life into this beautiful (albeit, messy) world.
When In The Messy was only three days old, it went straight to dog vomit. Who would have thought?
Lesson from “It’s Just a Rug”:
All you need is Love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
Since it’s Super Bowl Sunday, it is timely to look back on last year’s Super Bowl Sunday…
Lesson from “Head Glue, Root Beer, and Nachos”:
A little head glue never hurt anybody. And there is HUMOR in the messy, too.
Next up: Every blog needs a post on WORMS. (Of course!)
Lesson from “Digging for Worms”:
Not only does LIFE happen In The Messy, but what great FREEDOM is to be found there, as well. (Plus, there’s Liberation and Beauty in Worms… who knew?!)
And one night with the children, a discussion on Heaven led to hobos. (Naturally…)
Lesson from “No Hobos in Heaven”:
While on Earth, we’re all hobos in a way, anyway…just trying to find our place in this world. But the beauty of our journey: we won’t be hobos once we get to Heaven. And I know the road I’m taking…
I’m following the children.
Suffering would eventually appear here. Because there is always suffering… and friends who teach you grace and gratitude through it.
Lesson from “On The Mountaintop”:
There is not one person who can understand our suffering more than God, Himself– and He is with us in our pain– yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is in the valley low with us, but He came to save us from our suffering, to draw us to The Mountaintop.
And then I went back to the Mountaintop because there is so much to learn there.
Lesson learned from “Back To The Mountaintop”:
When we are in the throws of our darkest suffering, God beckons us to the mountain–but sometimes God speaks to us in a whisper, so we have to listen closely. And even when we are in the deepest valleys, there is always hope… we just have to let our faith carry us to the top of whatever mountain we are facing. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.“
I never imagined the lessons I could learn from lunchroom duty. I certainly never thought I would necessarily find treasure there… but I did.
Lessons from “I Served Time.”:
Lunchroom Duty: It’s messy… but beautiful: the tiny girl with lovingly-plaited and bobbled braids, the helpful crumb sweeper, and a healthy discussion on Assassin’s Creed with one of Charlie’s buddies.
One of my funniest moments teaching a group of middle-schoolers actually taught ME a lesson. And I’m still retelling this story over and over…
Lesson from “Don’t Be A Dirtcake.”:
Be true to who you say you are. Let your inside be what your outside projects. A lesson on how God does not want our holiness to be some fleshly, self-righteous, deceptive hyprocrisy. It’s what on the inside that counts.
I submitted a post that was included in Momastery’s ‘My Messy Beautiful Project’, along with a gazillion other bloggers. It was an adaptation of a post I had already written, but revisiting it reminded me once again why messy is not so bad, after all.
Lesson from “Dead, Smelly Fish: My Messy Beautiful”:
When you’re face to face with a dead, smelly fish, simply turn around. There’s a beautiful sunset to be found—but sometimes you have to look deep into the messy beautiful to find it.
A rainy Monday after Spring Break was brutal. But it taught me a nice little lesson on being grateful.
Lesson from “I Wanted a Mudroom. But what I got was better.”:
True beauty resides far outside the walls of our homes with our fancy everythings. True beauty is finding joy in what some of us might consider misery.
We have to come down from the mountain at some point, which nobody ever really wants to do. Why would we? Writing this on the Wednesday of Holy Week, the In-Between, helped me figure out why we must come down. And once we reach the bottom, there is beauty there, too.
Lesson from “Come Down from the Mountain”:
There would never be a mountaintop… if not for the valley. Because valleys are where the roots take hold. Valleys are where the depth resides. It is in the valleys where the soil–and soul–are most fertile.
One of my favorite, most beautiful messes happened on Easter Sunday 2014. It involved butterflies, but not in the way I imagined it would.
Lesson from “Walking Through Fountains”:
The act of nurturing brings healing. Encourage the qualities that I want to nurture in my children, instead of harping on their shortcomings. And who cares about wet, messy shoes in church on Easter? The Lord of Easter sure doesn’t.
The last day of school 2011 ignited a story inside me that took three years to write. I won’t let that happen again.
Lesson from “Lessons from a Paw Paw Tree”:
Never be too busy to spend moments with people who have made a difference in your life– even if the moment is just for 15 minutes. Moments add up to days, months, years. And it is important to share the stories of the people who have shaped us.
Why do I keep going back to the lunchroom for more?! Sigh. I suppose it’s because there’s such hidden beauty there. (You just have to look past the spilled chocolate milk and smushed grapes.)
Lesson from “I Served Time: Take Two”:
The Number One Takeaway from Lunchroom Duty:
1) Kids just want to be loved.
(But who am I kidding… don’t we all?)
A Mother’s Day thought on motherhood, but not from Hallmark’s perspective.
Lesson from “Behold Your Mother”:
It is relationship that fosters Motherhood…The tender relationship that you sometimes witness between a teacher and her students, a nurse and those in her care, a Sunday School teacher and her flock, a childcare worker and the little ones she lovingly guides. Her delight in her ‘children’ is no less worthy than mine.
When an ant is able to teach you a lesson, you know you have a LOT to learn…
Lesson from “The Ant & The Peony”:
The blooms in our Garden of Life just don’t happen by chance or because of our goodness. Sometimes they are brought about not only through hard work, but even through suffering. And that struggle is an essential step along the journey, one that cannot be skipped, or the beauty won’t ever be revealed.
A ‘first week of Summer’ visit to Trader Joe’s left me exasperated… and schooled. Summer schooled, I guess you could say.
Lesson from “Cucumber Stickers”:
It’s simple, really. Just relax. Rest your head, close your eyes, and breathe. They’re kids. You were once, as well… and one day they’ll thank you– for letting them JUST BE KIDS.
Sitting in a dim auditorium, looking down on the 5th grade graduation class below, I listened as our Principal introduced the award. Completely unexpectant, I knew whomever received it would be blessed by it–a tangible remembrance of Charles.
Lesson from “Looking for Frogs and Butterflies”:
Light will emerge from darkness. Souls will be free of their weight. Lives will be changed… eternally. In the meantime, Be still. Open your eyes. Free your mind so that you can see. Because Heaven sends us reminders.
Church happens when you least expect it. Oh, you think you can skip church? Well, I think you can’t. And I’m here to tell you that the least likely teacher can lead the lesson: a snake.
Lesson from “Church Happens.”:
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. And that saving a snake’s life can sometimes be what church is all about.
Have you ever felt such REGRET that it cut through you like a sword? Pierced your heart with a sharpness that makes you gasp for air? Regret so deep in your bones that the only sound that bellows out is a guttural moan? The emotion that seared within me in that moment was a regret that I doubted I would ever be able to fully release…
Undoubtedly, the hardest and messiest and most challenging lesson I learned this year. But I eventually found beauty in it… because I found grace.
Lesson from “What I Learned from Regret.”:
Let It Go. For there is Grace to hold onto, instead. And sometimes it comes through an 8 year old boy named Michael.
A pre-Thanksgiving visit to Great Clips changed my perspective on love, loss, and marriage vows–unbeknownst to a precious couple, Jane and James, who taught me the lesson. Just in time for Thanksgiving…
Lesson from “A $13 Lesson”:
Regardless how dim the light of our mind becomes, our eyes can still twinkle. And that for some, “…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part” is more than just a vow. It’s a way of living.
You know my dog, Moz? She’s my dog trainer. But she’s the dog… so maybe we’ve got it all wrong. We don’t train them. They train us.
Lesson from “Messy Dog, Messy Heart.”:
For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.”
~ Matthew 12:34
And that’s my lesson in a nutshell.
In the hurried bustle of the Christmas Season, I tried to “do Advent”. But what I forgot was that Advent doesn’t need “do-ing”. It has already been DONE FOR US.
Lesson from “Shoving Advent”:
You can’t shove something that comes gently, quietly. Advent is humble. It comes in a whisper. (And it makes you a bully to shove it.)
On the 9th Day of Christmas, I received a beautiful gift. Not nine ladies dancing, but this: A reminder to put on Love. And to put Love onto others.
Lesson from “The Cape”:
Life is about clothing yourself. Clothing yourself and one another in Love, putting on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Like every mid-January, for most of us, I hit a wall. The glow of the Christmas season has faded and the mundane rears its monotonous routine again. But there’s a reason to not let it snuff your light out, and writing this reminded me why.
Lesson from “When The Lights Go Dark”:
Even though the lights may go dark in our lives, we must remain plugged in. That’s our only hope of ever receiving light again. For it is written, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” ~ John 1:5
About a month after Christmas, the amaryllis given to me by my sister finally bloomed. And it reminded me that there is a whole year of goodness ahead. We just have to open our eyes to it.
Lessons from “The Bloom”:
Beauty can come from something you fear.
When the winds try to blow you over, DANCE…
but you have to be firmly rooted first.
And sometimes you have to be refined by fire
before you are prepared to bloom.
So as I look ahead to my second year In The Messy, I hope for more time to reflect on Beauty and less time to focus on Mess. I’ll just have to trust my Maker to point me in the right direction and open my eyes to see the goodness before me.
His sunsets always help…
Thank you for walking this Road with me…