Reveling in the glory and beauty of everyday life... all the mess and chaos of raising five little girls!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

One Handed Happiness

I so cherish the newborn phase.  My sweet daughter turned two months old today, and I find myself wishing she was still brand new so I could relive each tender moment of new baby precious-ness.  I love pressing her soft cheeks against mine and breathing in that baby-soft scent, feeling her chest rise and fall gently as I hold her close... these moments of new life are irreplaceable. And they are painfully fleeting.

But, sometimes, they are hard.  Though I wish I could just spend the day snuggling my baby - there are tasks to be done, laundry to wash and fold, bathrooms to disinfect, meals to prepare, and four other munchkins to love and cherish and train. There are petty squabbles to break up, and homework to wrestle through, and owies to bandage.  

I do so many things one-handed, it is sort of comical. My husband laughed at me the other day when I served him a ham and cheese sandwich with the cheese sliced in a ridiculously thick wedge - 'cause I had a sleeping infant in my arms when I cut it. I vacuum one-handed, and teach school one-handed, and scrub dishes one-handed.  This stage is wonder-filled, delightful, and deeply treasured.  It is also busy. And since I am an incurable perfectionist, I struggle with wanting to do everything well. I want to spend hours gazing into Malia's eyes and making silly faces to watch her smile. I want to have meaningful one-on-one time with all the older kids. I want to serve, love, and share intimacy with my wonderful husband.  I want to manage our home perfectly so that every meal is well-balanced and every room is spotless.  

But, I can't do all those things simultaneously.  So, as I muddle through and strive for joy and laughter in the midst of often chaotic household, I have to sing a mantra over my feeble efforts. "Your grace is enough!" has become my daily refrain. God's grace will cover the missed opportunities, the mistakes, the lack of sleep (although my sweet girl is sleeping six hour stretches, so I am feeling rested and grateful!), the haphazard housecleaning, and the sometimes non-nutritive meals. When I am stretched a bit too thin and I can't meet everyone's needs all the time, and when the floor is gritty with grains of wheat farina cereal, and the countertops are caked with toothpaste, and the laundry is still waiting in the dryer at the end of the day... His grace is enough.  

I am not perfect, and when the Holy Spirit convicts me of real sin, I need to respond with humble repentance. But I am learning there is a difference between conviction and self-condemnation where I berate myself for being unable to "do it all."  I can't do it all, and if I am going to dance gracefully and with deep joy through this beautifully busy season, I have to stop grasping for perfection and accept His grace. I have to let go a bit - breathe, and enjoy each lively moment. Even if things are messy and noisy and my arm feels like it is going to fall off because I have been a one-handed mama for so many hours.:)

Truly, these days are a blessing. Malia is a chubby, happy, amazing baby. I love her smiles, her coos, and her irresistible softness.  Raina is thriving in kindergarten at home, and Hope is full of three year old fun.  Sadie is loving being a second grader and she is starting basketball this week. Elisa is currently missing school to be in hunting camp with her dad, grandpa, grandma, great-uncle, and second cousin.  She actually shot her first grouse on Labor Day, and enjoyed learning how to prepare the breasts for tasty "wild nuggets." The three oldest ran a 5K last weekend. 

So... tell me... how do you balance the desire to live fully in each miraculous moment with the necessity of chores, responsibilities, and tasks? What are your secrets for walking by faith and resting in God's grace as you try to "do it all" without stressing over having it all done?  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Study Guide

If you are reading Unburdened and would enjoy having a study guide to go along with each chapter, you are in luck!  Here is a PDF download for you to use alongside the book. I hope it is a blessing to you! The Study Guide.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Birth of a Book

About eighteen months ago, the Lord stirred my heart to WRITE. I have always been a writer, a wordsmith, a story-girl. But my four girls kept me busy, and writing time slipped easily into the joyful demands of managing my home and family.  But, God nudged to pick up a pen and paper. He convicted my heart that the gift of writing was from Him, to be used for His glory. So, I asked Him for a topic. Within an hour, I had a rough book outline penciled on a sheet of torn notebook paper. I began to carve out time (usually early in the morning or during afternoon naps) to research and study. I etched out a first chapter, and the words just kept flowing.  I finished Unburdened in September of 2014 – on my 34th birthday, actually.

Then came the months of editing, waiting, exploring publishing options, praying, and seeking the wisdom and expertise of others.  And, now, the day is almost here! On August 20, my book will be officially released on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online stores. 

I am so excited to share it with you!  Here is the back cover description of Unburdened.

How Heavy is Your Backpack?

As followers of Christ, we all want to live out our faith in a way that is genuine, Christ-honoring, and gospel-centered.   But, often, our faith journeys become encumbered by a fear of man. We want to be known, to be noticed, and to be thought well of. Our focuses turn inward, and we are crippled in our efforts to live God-glorifying lives.

Colleen Wachob admits that she has trudged through life with a heavy backpack of man-fearing.   It’s a knapsack of hindrances she longs to drop along the trail, and she invites you to join her.  In Unburdened, you will learn how to:

·         Biblically define and identify patterns of man-fearing

·         See and savor the majesty of your King

·         Embrace your identity as a redeemed child of God

·         Shed the weight of man-fearing and walk the unique path God has designed for your life

Through personal stories and Biblical teaching, Colleen will journey with you to find new freedom and joy in your Christian walk. 

Do you ever struggle with fearing man? With people pleasing? Boy – this has been a constant battle for me. I forget to dwell in the identity I have been bestowed in Christ, and I make a mess by seeking the approval of others.  I am so thankful the Lord led me to write on this topic. His grace became so dear to me in the journey of wading through my own muddled motives and broken priorities.  I hope that you will pick up a copy of the book and that it will spur you on to untangle your own heart and learn to live for the glory and fame of God alone.

The writing part was easy – but I have to be honest… the promotion and marketing part is really hard.  I would love your help! If you have an interest in helping me to promote the book (book reviews on social media, hosting a book club or study on Unburdened, sharing with your church group), please let me know! I would love to give you a free PDF file of the book if you want to help me with promoting it!

And now – here is the link to pre-order my book at Amazon. If you live here in Jackson, I have some advance paperback copies available for purchase. The book will also be available in e-format after the release date.

Oh, I feel like I have birthed two babies this summer.  This is so exciting to me – and I hope you will enjoy it, be blessed by it, be changed through it, and then share it! :) 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Meaning of a Name

Most of you know that name meanings matter to our family. We have always chosen our kiddos' names with great care - and we have been asked many times, "Where did Malia come from?"

Well...  it's not because we're copying President Obama. In fact, we didn't know he had a daughter named Malia until Erik's brother informed us the other day. :)

When we went into labor, we had a fairly long list of names, still. We narrowed them down to two while I was still in early labor and could think straight. :)  We loved the way Malia sounded - and we knew we wanted to use Gabrielle (which means 'devoted to God'). But I struggled with using Malia because the technical meaning is "bitter." It is the Hawaiian variation of Mary. As we talked - about twelve hours after her delivery when she was still nameless, we decided that the meaning of Mary has been overcome by the personhood of the biblical Mary.  Mary was the Lord's handmaiden. She declared, "Let it be to me as you have said," and she proclaimed the Lord's greatness in song as He filled her womb with His essence.  She sang, "My soul magnifies the Lord."

So, just in case you were wondering, our little Malia carries, not the burden of bitterness, but the song of glory.  Her name, to us, means, "My soul magnifies the Lord."

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Malia Gabrielle

Our newest addition arrived Monday evening. Introducing Malia Gabrielle Wachob, 8 lb, 3 oz, and absolutely amazing. We are treasuring our first moments with this precious pumpkin.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Touching their Hearts

Over and over this summer, I have felt the Lord impress my heart with need to capture my children’s.  School this year was a big adjustment for all of us… and while our kiddos thrived academically and socially, I feel like I lost touch with their sweet little souls in the shuffle of drop-offs and homework and bedtimes. When you homeschool, you have so much time to snuggle and read and just love on those little people, and that time got swallowed up by the long hours and high homework demands of the girls’ school. So, this summer, I have prayed to reach my girls’ hearts.
We don’t have the luxury of hiring sitters so that I can have one on one time with each child, and I can’t do “special” activities like having nails painted or treating them to lunch at a cafĂ©. Our life and budget operate on a simpler scale. So, I have been trying to figure out ways to touch the souls of my daughters in the midst of our mundane…  and the Lord is faithful to provide those moments! 

I think sometimes it as a simple as saying “yes.” It’s letting Sadie paddle me around String Lake on our rented paddleboard, her standing strong and tall while I sit cross legged and round in the middle.  It’s swimming with Elisa to the rock across the lake when I have just warmed up from jumping in an hour ago. :) It’s taking a moment to snuggle a wiggly one, or to grab a cup of tea and invite one little girl onto my lap for a story. It’s letting them choose menus for a day and fill their own little shopping cart with the items they need – even though those items are not completely, 100% mama-approved. It’s a slip and slide and a sprinkler and laughter, and it’s hugging my feisty ones tight instead of giving the harsh reprimand I am so tempted to mete out. 

It’s staying just five more minutes to hear their stories when the dinner dishes are calling and the night is late and I just want to shut the bedroom door.  It’s laughing at Duck Dynasty together while summer thunder crackles outside.

I fail so many times to reach for the opportunities to hold and engage with my sweet ones. I send a text, I mop the floor, I fold the laundry, or skirt busily around them as they play. I say “no, just wait a minute.”

But I am realizing I cannot disciple hearts unless I reach them with love and service first.
What are some ways you reach the hearts of your children with simple acts of sacrifice and kindness?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Longing for Paris: A Book Review and An Invitation

One of the fun “pre-baby” projects I have been excited about is getting to preview (and review) Sarah Mae’s new book: Longing for Paris.  Do you know Sarah Mae? If you haven’t acquainted yourself with her writing, allow me to introduce you! I first discovered Sarah Mae when I read Desperate, which she co-authored with Sally Clarkson (one of my favorite authors). I was touched by her heart, by her honesty, and by her whole-hearted mothering of her three kiddos – even as she waded through challenging seasons and the overwhelming feelings of inadequacy and weariness that all of us mamas sometimes struggle with. I have since found, through Sarah Mae’s blog posts and video seminars, a true kindred spirit – an open-hearted mom who loves Jesus, loves her children, and is refreshingly “real” about life in the trenches. I love the way she leans fully into her role – rising above the chaos to nurture her family with deep love and faithful intentionality. Her insights on parenting a “wild one” with love and grace have served to encourage and inspire me.  So – I have been so excited about her new book, and I am thrilled that I was given the chance to read it before it hit the bookstore shelves! 

Longing for Paris is Sarah Mae’s story of reconciling the deep longings in her soul to experience beauty and wonder with the reality of each day’s often monotonous motherhood grind.  It’s the story of how she bravely set out to find contentment and joy in the here and now, to live un-regrettably, to embrace all the sweetness of life… while untangling the desires of her heart for something “more.”  And it’s the story of how, as she purposed her way through the untangling and the searching, she met God in a deeper way, discovered who she is in Him, found fresh meaning and beauty in daily living, learned how to abandon herself to the roles He has fashioned her for, and realized that the longing for Paris is ultimately a longing for the perfect beauty of Heaven.  Earth is not our forever home; Heaven is. But when we live our lives with purpose, for His glory, we see glimpses of His beauty all around us! 

I loved this book.  Sarah Mae is tender and real, and her insights into the heart of women are profound.  She encourages us to find pieces of “Paris” all around us – whether through savoring an exquisite meal (or just a flaky croissant), experiencing beauty in art and music, or making memories by sharing adventures with our loved ones.  Our world is broken, but beauty rises from the dust all around us, and as we savor that beauty, we truly “taste and see that the Lord is good.”  As we receive the Lord’s goodness and seek to know Him, He equips us to sparkle! We see His goodness, and we bestow His goodness in the ways we love, serve, and create.  Sarah’s call to live well is not one of ethereal, flimsy, Peter Pan-ish good thoughts, though. The book is replete with Scripture and biblical wisdom.  It’s a book of tender theology for those of us who revel in poetry and prose.

Every chapter of this lovely book is plump with sweet morsels to chew on – and ends with an invitation to join Sarah in savoring a Paris sort of moment.   If you feel stuck in the mundane – like life is just chores and work and struggle… then pick up this book!  You will be so encouraged!  

The book actually does not release until August! But – pre-order it! You won’t be disappointed when it shows up on your doorstep.  I am going to host a month long book study here on my blog in August (I’ll be pre-writing my posts since we will have a brand-new baby by then!), so if you decide to order and are interested in having some accountability, would you let me know in the comments?  Order at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christian Book, or anywhere you shop for books. Better yet, order directly from Sarah Mae, here! I think the price is actually lower than Amazon's!  Plus, she has a few fun giveaways (like signed copies, and journals from Dayspring) on her blog right now, so check it out!