Celebrations Collaborations

Love from My Daughter’s Heart – A Rich Gift to Me and You

Deep inhale. Sniff. I’m pulling myself together. Seriously, I am!

I have the sweetest thing to share with you today! My oldest daughter, Meagan, wrote a guest post for my birthday. And this is the day I get to publish it. I’m so excited! It hits me right in the feels and I’m so thankful. What a blessing!

Mother and daughter in a heart-shaped photo
Meagan and Me

5 Things About Me that are My Mother’s Fault

a Guest Post

What goes around comes around, Mom.

My name is Meagan. I am Mama Lava’s eldest child. In honor of her birthday, I am writing a guest post to show my love.

A while ago, my mom posted 5 things that she blamed her mother for. Here’s the link to that post. Today, I’d like to return the favor.

Mom, you should know it’s all your fault that I am so…


I asked my siblings what I am most, and they said “kind”. Surely it was all the lessons about being a peacemaker and helping others that made me this way. Undoubtedly the way you treated others modeled kindness in a way that it stuck with me.


Watching you be a mother to five children and teaching me to help them has surely impacted the way I treat others. The way I speak to little ones and build them up and encourage them was certainly learned. Now I’m a mother and a teacher- that’s certainly your fault.

Baking Obsessed

You were a whiz with the kitchen aid, always cooking and baking for us and neighbors and friends. My love of baking definitely stemmed from the days in your kitchen- eating all the cookie dough pieces that fell onto the counter.


You got this from your mama, and I got this from you both. You prefer to defer and so do I. Please everyone, don’t ask Nana, my mom, or I what we want for lunch. We want whatever you want. We are happy when you are.


Like you Mom, I love arts and crafts. Nothing simultaneously calms us down and stresses us out like a new project. Whether its interior design, macramé, or some other medium… We love to create. I remember your treasure chest full of crafts and projects for us to do together with fondness.

A lighthouse, with ships in the background
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”
– Dwight L. Moody

In her original blog post, linked above, my mom quoted Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” We were just talking about this verse on the phone the other day.

I like to joke that the word “way” is a broad term. Perhaps the “way” is north, and my siblings and I are all headed there but we are taking different routes. Some of us are on windier paths, some of us are finding short cuts, some of us have had tumultuous journeys. We aren’t headed the wrong way- per se- just taking different paths than may have been envisioned for us.

I’m sure every parent can relate to feeling stress over a child making different choices- but different doesn’t always mean wrong. Luckily, I have good foundations- thanks in large part to my mother- to help me along the way.

Happy Birthday Mama Lava- Sending hugs and love to you today!


The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 7a

This day both took forever to arrive and got here in the blink of an eye. Do you know what I mean? Have you felt that before?

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that today is moving day!

For my things, at least. The movers will be here at sunrise. They will load the furniture and the boxes over which I’ve toiled for the past month. My husband and I, however, will stay and ‘camp’ in our empty house until the carpets are cleaned, the nail holes are patched, and our keys are turned in.

I will miss my bed, espresso machine, and Alexa. But it will be an adventure, and it will be short lived. I don’t have to miss my family just yet. They no longer live in this house, but they are still nearby. If you missed out on their amazing provision stories, read them here and here.

I have asked the Lord to give me some verses, on which to meditate as time presses me toward the day we will drive away from our parents, kids, and grandkids. As always, He has been faithful. He wants to help us savor His word. He gave me this for today:

Deuteronomy 5:29
Lord, keep me inclined to revere You!

Yes, it is moving day. And another piece of amazing news I’m really excited to share is that God keeps His promises. I am dwelling on this one today. If my heart is inclined to fear (reverence, regard with awe) my God, He will see that it goes well with me and my children forever.

I must keep my heart aligned and inclined to God’s commands. The best thing I can do for my children is to love and obey their Heavenly Father. He will take care of them.

How are things with you today? If you were to camp in your home without your household goods, what would you miss most? Are you holding to any specific promises today? Feel free to borrow mine if you need one. Do you have any exciting news to share?


The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 6

Hello, hello, hello! (I may have had an espresso shot too many!) But I wanted to quickly say hi and tell you the amazing news I’m really excited to share today.

I’m in the thick of the thick. I’m condensing a 3300-ish square foot house and 3-car garage into a 26-foot moving truck. And today was estate sale day!

When I say estate sale, I really mean pillage day. But doesn’t it sound better the first way?

Miscellaneous household items on a long table
Pillage Day was like a garage sale, only it was in the living room, had an exclusive invitee list, and everything was free.

I put all the things I could not, would not, or should not take with me into one room and invited my five kids to raid it. Everything from spices to stationary, pots and pans to perfume and anything in between. It was like a free garage sale, or more accurately, living room sale.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that there is joy in the journey!

I had fun! It was heartwarming to hear about why certain items were nostalgic or important to which kid. I found joy in hearing the memories they had attached to the items up for grabs.

And it was entertaining to see them making piles for each other of things they didn’t want to see their siblings go without. One daughter made a cluster of ingredients she wanted her sister to take, cook, and then invite her to dinner. It brought laughter to my hard day of work.

Grocery ingredients on a cabinet shelf
The pile my daughter made for her sister, whom she hoped would make kalua pork and apple pie and then invite her over.

But possibly the most fun for me was when I handed each of them a file of things I’ve been keeping from their school years. It contained their report cards and some commendation type things. They didn’t realize I’d kept them. They thought it great to read teacher comments and to recall themselves as they once were.

It has been a busy week of donating, trashing, selling, and packing. But the amazing news I’m really excited to share today is that I’ve found such joy in the journey. My children went home with some things they need, some things they want, and some smiles they’d forgotten about. My mama heart is happy.

By the by, my son dropped, and broke, an almost-full bottle of sesame oil. Boy was that a mess. But, on the upside, it landed on tile, not carpet and now the whole house smells sesame good! It is hard not to see the upsides to every downturn when God has been so faithful. If you haven’t been following and would like to binge-read the story, it starts here.

Thanks for smiling with me today. I appreciate you more than you know! If you have any amazing news you’re excited to share, I’d love to hear it!

Now I’ve got to get back to business. The movers will be here at sunrise on Saturday! If you were going to condense everything you own to fit into a 26′ x 7′ x 8′ truck, what would you be sure to keep? What would you like to see your loved ones receive? To what would you happily say, “good riddance”?


The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 1

Guys, I have news! I have so much to tell you! The short of it is – I’m moving!

This has been a long, extremely stressful, and chaotic time coming, but it has also been miraculous and amazing. I’m really excited to share it all with you! It will take a few posts, so let’s get started on part 1. Let me take you back a few years for context.

Michael and I moved to California with our 5 children in 2013 “for a year or two”. God laughs at our plans, right? By early 2020, we felt like it was time to start praying seriously about where God wanted us next.

We had become pretty rooted in California. We lived in a large house, sharing rent with our now-adult kids, who had also become established here. It was overwhelming to think about all from which we needed to untangle ourselves.

We researched and prayed. One destination after another was added, and subsequently removed from our list. But Northern Arizona remained consistently intriguing. In fall of 2020, we took a road trip to the region and were immediately smitten. Our prayers started to change from “Where Lord?” to “When Lord?”.

Sunset over the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Photo by Arthur Ogleznev on
Northern Arizona is beautiful!

In February of 2021, we called a family meeting. We gave the kids a year’s notice. We told them that in February 2022, dad and mom were moving out! A year is a long time, but it was the right thing to do. Without the portion of rent paid by our income, they would have to move out of the house too. We wanted them to have plenty of time to prepare.

I wish I could say that was the end of the story; God said it and we did it. Case closed. But sadly, I wavered.

Four of our five kids couldn’t move out of state with us, each for their own reasons. And they all had troubles. They needed me! (Or so I wanted to think.) Was I really going to move 12 hours away? I started to doubt whether God had really said… ugh – that sounds exactly like what Satan said to deceive Eve. But I fell for it and I questioned.

Orange wild flowers: 1 Best Kept but Emerging Secret You Want to Know: Northern Arizona
Orange wild flowers in Northern Arizona

We took another trip to Northern Arizona in summer of 2021 to revisit and pray. God was so good. He didn’t smack me upside the head, but He did reconfirm His intention. He was very clear, prompting 3 different friends, who knew very little about it, to contact us and tell us we were supposed to move there. (How intentional was that?)

Our kids looked for their own places to live. Our middle son relocated to Southern California. One daughter got married and moved with her husband before Christmas. Our youngest son decided to move to Arizona with us. But by February 1, 2022, two of our daughters (and their kids) still had no place to go.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but in California, rent is expensive – and prices are still rising week over week. In addition, you must prove you make 3 times the rent to be considered for application. That means you need an income of $6000 a month to rent a place for $2000, which is the average cost of a small 2-bedroom apartment.

I wavered again. My mama heart quivered. Would God want me to leave without knowing my kids and grandkids were settled and safe? I started planning for scenarios that would prolong our move date.

The cheerful Arizona flag flying under the US Stars and Stripes
Photo by Jeremy Alford on Unsplash
The Arizona flag

And God kept kindly, lovingly, gently prodding us to Arizona. We took a third road trip to the area, last month (February 2022). We put our boots (ok, they were sneakers) on Arizona soil and we prayed.

I confessed my wavering faith. God met me, again, ever so faithfully! I have a new Bible reading plan , and it just so happened that my studies while we were there included two distinct stories with messages that jumped off the pages and into my struggling heart.

  1. Laban and Jacob (Genesis 31). Jacob had married Laban’s daughters and they’d had many children. Family life was crowded, attitudes were changing, and relationships were strained. (I could relate!) The decision was made to part ways. It was the right thing to do and still it was messy. Everyone handled things the wrong way. And you know what? God blessed them all. (I’m not sure that could have been more poignant.)
  2. Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 45). Joseph had been separated from his family in traumatic fashion. There was no peace in it for anyone. And yet God made it clear that He allowed/planned it to set Joseph where he needed to be for the good of the whole family in later years. (I needed to remember that, in God’s hands, what seems unthinkable now could turn miraculous later for everyone I love.)

In addition to these personal messages from God, He impressed on us that He was waiting on our obedience. We needed to step out in faith and start the process of moving. Then He would step in to reassure us and work out the details.

We didn’t want to delay our compliance any longer. We spent the next 2 days looking at available housing. We submitted applications. We drove home with peace in our minds and expectation in our hearts. We’d done our part. The rest was up to God.

That was just 3 weeks ago! I cannot believe all that has happened in such a short time since! Let me just exclaim that I cannot get this verse out of my mind:

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20, 21 (emphasis mine)

So, there is Part 1 of the amazing news I’m really excited to share. I cannot wait to tell you about all that God has done in the last 3 weeks! I will talk about it in my next few posts.

In drawing this one to a close, I want to ask you – is there anything God has been asking you to do? Maybe it seems crazy or hard or counterintuitive. Let me encourage you to do it! Don’t delay your obedience. Your step of faith might be the one thing God is waiting on before He rains His blessings on you and yours.

If you’ve been in a similar spot, please share! Let’s encourage each other toward faith, love, and obedience. Everything for His glory!

My friends, thank you so much for reading. Thank you for being you. I really appreciate you and I look forward to sharing this new chapter of life with you!


How To Smile When You Know The Best Advice Was Ditched

Have you been a parent? Or have you mentored and taught skills to someone else in any capacity? You have? Perfect! This encouragement is for you!

People don’t always agree on what constitutes good advice. It can be discouraging when you take time to teach someone something important to you and they decide to do it differently. Hopefully after reading this post, you will understand how to smile when you know the best advice was ditched.

We strive to give our best advice

I remember when my mom was confronted with the reality that, as a mom myself, I didn’t do laundry the way she taught me. I think she was disappointed. I felt like I’d let her down. She had taught me the way she thought was the absolute best, but I did it (and taught my kids) differently.

I have been thinking about that lately because my grown children do so many things differently than the way they were taught. It stings. At first, I thought I was disappointed in them for disregarding what they’d learned from me. But ultimately, when I correctly identified the basis for my feelings, I was disappointed with me. I felt like I must not have advised them well enough.

Are you tracking with me? Does someone in your life do their laundry differently, so to speak? It could apply to any skill. Maybe you think I’m silly. Is it different if, instead of a skill, it is a mindset?

Two people reading the Bible: How To Smile When You Know The Best Advice Was Ditched
Photo by RODNAE Productions on
When God gives us a platform, we do our best to use it for His glory!

What if your prodigy makes decisions based on different principles? Or lives according to an alternate worldview? Or chooses another religion? Or substitute anything important to you, which you genuinely tried (and expected) to pass on. What then?

What do we do when our best advice is ditched?

Disappointment is exhausting. I recently tired of it and prayed that God would help me ditch it. My kids doing the chores differently (or not doing them at all!) only bothers me when it happens under my roof. I don’t have much emotion tied to how they choose to do those things in their own homes.

But there are things that I really believe, down to the tippy tips of my toes, will affect their quality of life. Those things are faith, finances, and friends. When I see my kids making [what I consider to be] foolish choices in those areas, it hits me in the gut.

What are those deep-seeded areas of importance for you? Do you have things that are most-important in what you are trying to impart to someone else? How do you feel when they reject it?

God has encouraged me threefold in this arena and I wanted to share it because I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6, 7

This is how to smile when you know the best advice was ditched.

Consider this:

  1. If you have diligently taught, you have done your part. Your job is to impart what you believe and why. If someone can explain it back to you – even if they don’t agree or choose to live by it, you have taught them well.
  2. If you have walked the talk, you have done your part. It is important to tell someone what you believe, but as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If you have been an example of actions consistent with your words, you have modeled well. (see 3 Reasons Why “Well Done” is better than “Well said”)
  3. If you have taught someone to use critical thinking, you have done your part. If you don’t want your protégé to be unduly influenced by others, you must accept that they might not follow your ideas either. If those under your tutelage have learned to examine their world and make informed decisions, you have done well.

There are many ways to accomplish tasks, and most are not moral issues. Behavior and belief can be weightier. But if you have done the above three things, you have done well. If you are still concerned when your part is done, pray for them. It is between them and God now.

If someone knows where you stand on an issue, and they know why, and they intentionally choose differently, do not be disappointed in yourself. Leave it to the Lord. Do your best and commit the rest!

If you notice someone has ditched your best advice, do not nag or harp on the issue. Offer your opinion when it is wanted but otherwise, take your words on the matter to your Heavenly Father. Let Him speak to your loved one. His words have power and the benefit of perfect timing.

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”

2 Timothy 2:24

If you have taught, modeled, and encouraged good decision making, you can smile, even if you know the advice was ditched. You have done your part. You have done well.

When we look back, I’m sure we can all identify areas where we do not feel like we did our best to give good advice. More than ever, these things should be given to God. He might give us a do-over. But even if not, He loves people more than we do and can make up for any deficit they experience because of us.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

Tell me, what best advice have you given only to have it loosely followed or ditched altogether? Did you feel disappointed? Can you give it over to God and let Him encourage your heart on the matter today?

If you’d like more encouragement on this subject, read Why I Trust God Enough to Contentedly Let Go and Let Glow

Celebrations Reflections

My Youngest Turns Eighteen Today and I’m Proud of the Man He Is

My youngest turns eighteen today and I’m proud of the man he is. I’m not proud in a way that says, “I did a great job raising that boy!”. But I am proud of what he has allowed God to make of him. I admire his character, his integrity, his motivation, and his love for God and people.

I have been proud of each of my 5 children, for different things, on their eighteenth birthdays. They are unique and incredible individuals. God has molded them all into amazing people, right before my eyes, and allowed my husband and I to be part of it. He mercifully compensated for our failures, which I know were many.

Do my adult children make decisions that I don’t agree with?
Will they staunchly stand by some of those decisions?
Does it change how much I love them?
Is my love for them based on performance or approval?

I look forward to this next season as I step completely out of parenting and plunge into the role of full-time encourager. I feel ready for this, and I am so, so thankful!

It’s wildly surreal; my youngest turns eighteen today! I’m extremely proud of the man he is. I know he will continue to grow into his own. At times, he will choose differently than I would. And that is a beautiful thing.

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:6

Does anybody have advice for me? Have you launched your children, as adults, into the world? Have you been a child who has recently come of age and has some wisdom from that perspective from which I might benefit? I’d appreciate anything you have to share!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these:
* Wait, One More Thing!
* How I finally found the answer to the question: Is Benevolence Love?
* Appreciation, Esteem, Preference and How to do Love Un-complicated