How do we unlock our creativity?

Unfortunately we can easily slip away from our creative identity as we grow older. I want to share with you some keys I believe can help us as adults to unlock our creative potential!

  1. Become childlike/remember your childhood

Nasa did a study and found that 98% of 4 to 5 years were creative geniuses. That shouldn’t surprise us because after all we are made in the image of the Creator. I am daily amazed by the creativity of my children. Recently, the girls were playing box car children and I came down and found they had made a stove out of construction paper.

I believe if left alone to their boredom kids are extremely innovative. They can create out of almost nothing!

I also think it’s helpful to reflect on your own childhood. What did you love? I can remember writing and also setting up my stuffed animals in chairs and preaching to them. Sometimes we can unearth our unique creativity gifts when we remember how we were as children.

2. Get free from the fear of man

I am not sure if we can ever reach our creative potential when we live in the fear of man. Creativity is a vulnerable, subjective process and we need to get free in order to truly tap into our potential.

We can all look at a Picasso and have a varying opinion on it. Does our opinion determine whether Picasso was a creative artist? I don’t think so. You are a creative and don’t wait for someone else to tell you whether you are or are not.

3. Be okay with messes and mistakes.

If you want to make great things you have got to be ok with messes and mistake. Have you ever been around a home renovation or new home build?

Messes can always be cleaned up and mistakes are just a part of our humanity! We’ve got to let go and enjoy the process in order to create. Failing is a part of the process of growth.

Perfectionism can really lock up our creative potential – don’t let it!

The world needs our creativity. Go out there and make something great today!

What I learned from my first year homeschooling

Pretty sure my first year homeschooling taught me more about myself than anyone else. I took a strengths finder test in school of ministry and my top two strengths are strategic achiever. It’s not easy let me tell you. Thankfully the good Lord in His mercy to my family made connector my 3rd strength.

I love a good check list and checking this boxes. Let’s get some stuff done, ya know? If you are into the whole birth order thing, my parents were both first borns and major promotors of independence. I am the youngest, however, Dr Leeman says that it cycles back to first born when there is a 4 year gap. I am 4.5 years younger than my next sibling. Now I can swing youngest when it’s convenient.

Therefore, I love worksheets and checklists and PROGRESS. So this year I learned so much about dialing back my need to achieve as I assessed what the true goal of choosing to homeschool was for us.

I poured over books about unschooling and something inside me came alive as I started to value play, read alouds and exploring. One book was about a family living on farmland in Vermont and I was ready to move by the end of it!

I had to undo a lot of my own mindsets about learning. When I started to study the girls, I quickly realized they are always learning. And my goodness, the questions, they are always asking questions.

We still do phonics which I highly value. When I got to second grade at a new school my teacher to discovered I knew NO phonics. She graciously spent time with me after school to catch me up. We do math and language but our workbooks are not the extent of their education.

It seems after all that I am the one who truly had some lessons to learn. 🙂

These are the days

I quietly roll over and sneak out of our room carefully avoiding the rolled up blanket taco beside my bed. She slips in each night and settles herself on my sheepskin rug and hard floor. I am undecided as to whether or not to break her of this habit. When I ask her what is scaring her she replies, “I just want to be close to you.” Alas, so I just expect each morning she will be there once again.

These are the days.

I slip down the stairs and steam oat milk and make a cup of coffee to drizzle it over. I sit in silence and feel the warmth of my cup, then I pray, read, journal. I soak up the solitude in the same way I sip my first latte.

These are the days.

With an astonishing “boom, boom, boom” we are aware than one of them is awake. We marvel at how they are so loud when they haven’t even reached 40 lbs yet.

These are the days.

They stumble down the stairs and hope to snuggle up to one of us. They are tiny bodies with huge hair and terrible breath. They burrow in close and ask “what’s for breakfast?”

These are the days.

At 8am, I walk back up the stairs. I open the babies door to the loud roar of her sound machine. She stumbles to her feet and holds the edge of the crib. She happily says “good morning.” And every day I am shocked by her mop of auburn hair. She is another tiny body with big hair ready to greet another day.

These are the days.

There are sweet sister snuggles and sassy sister squabbles. The floor is littered with calico critters. I often here “mom” only to realize they are deep in play land and not calling out to me.

These are the days.

There are times I probe to know more and times I ask them to please stop talking to

me. There are times I miss them and times I just need a break – a moment to gather my thoughts and feelings.

These are the days.

There are read alouds. Sometimes they snuggle and sometimes they squirm. The questions are endless and curiosity ravenous. The little minds like huge sponges.

These are the days.

There is sighs and silence and the clanging of dishes once they are finally in bed. There is my beloved nightly bath accompanied by a good book. There’s requests for cups of water and a collapsing onto the couch. There’s nighttime teas and a sweet satisfaction in knowing –

These are the days.

I wrote a children’s book!

I took a walk early one morning through the towering oaks in the back of our neighborhood and the idea for this book came to me. This is something I feel really passionate about – we are all creative. So many of us have lost sight of that. We’ve believed a lie that because it doesn’t fit into some genre or box we aren’t creative and it’s just not true!

Each one of us is creative and sadly we are losing touch with it.

“In a longitudinal test of creative potential, a NASA study found that of 1,600 4- and 5-year-olds, 98 percent scored at “creative genius” level. Five years later, only 30 percent of the same group of children scored at the same level, and again, five years later, only 12 percent. When the same test was administered to adults, it was found that only two percent scored at this genius level.”*

It doesn’t have to be this way! My hope is that we can continue to stir the genius level creativity in our children rather than stifle it. And I wrote this book to help teach our children this truth!

I believe the solutions the world needs are often locked up in our creativity!

So grab a copy of “You Were Made to Create” to remind yourself of this and also to help kids rise up in their own God given creativity. The world desperately needs our creativity!

Buy here!

Wanna help me out with launching You Were Made to Create?

Here’s how!

1. Buy the book.

2. Write an Amazon review.

3. Share the book on your social media platforms, with your friends and children’s pastors!

All You Need Is Love

I don’t remember the exact moment we met. She had big deep brown eyes, a cherub face and blonde hair just like her mama. She had just turned one – you know that stumbling phase where they are awed by a world they can finally touch. Her mom wasn’t too far removed from her life on the streets trying her best in a new world. She was in discipleship school. I remember her coming to the door once in an oversized men’s coat and handing me the baby not wearing pants. It was January and it was cold. 

I bawled my eyes out talking to Bev Kline, the founder and director of a ministry for women and families looking for an alternative. Bev just listened and told me the importance of loving mamas and not just babies. I don’t remember much aside from my snotty tears and her gentle convicting statement. Love had to be the motivation.

So I set out to love them both. I remember her car seat in the backseat of my two door car. She slept in my dorm room sometimes. I took her to Dallas for the weekend once. I was a reprieve for a mother trying to find a her way. And I loved hard. 

We ended up in central America together on an outreach. She was an angel baby – sharing a room with bunks, and a twin bed with her mom rather than a crib in a nursery. At one ministry, they spoke truth and life over her mother and invited her to come back and live there. My jaw dropped. What was happening? This was not my plan for this situation. 

And that brave mom said “yes!” She wanted to go back and get her life in order, learn how to do life and how to be a mother in a foreign land. Soon I found myself driving down winding country roads with her in my backseat again and so many tears. I couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to that sweet cherub face for who knows how long. I prayed and gave her back to the Lord and peace swept into the car and my heart. Miraculously, my heart settled in an instant.

About a month later, I went on staff with the maternity home nearby. I have countless other stories like this. I’ve always had a heart for mamas and for babies – as long as I can remember. 

Sometime later, the mother and baby came to the states for a visit. She had done the work and peace and a settledness rested up her. The little girl reached for me and laid her head on my shoulder. She recognized something, her spirit remembered because love is never lost on any of us.

I’ve held 15 year olds hands while they delivered babies. I’ve walked babies from their mamas arms to their new family. I’ve lived with these young moms and their newborns for months at time while they decided if they could parent or if the best decision was to to place for adoption. I’ve lived in the attic of a house full of pregnant teenagers. They would climb the stairs in the middle of the night with contractions and knock on my door. I’d send them for a bath or let them crawl in to bed while we waited for someone to take them to the hospital. It wasn’t always convenient, but was my privilege to love these girls and their families.

I am no hero, that is not the point. My story is just a drop in the bucket compared to the selfless love I’ve seen so many demonstrate. I am just a story teller. 

I’ve witnessed so many people love. I’ve seen families offer their homes to babies and toddlers who normally sleep on the streets. I’ve seen my own parents as empty nesters give up their guest room to a new mother struggling to figure out how to take care of a newborn.

We can do this. We can love because He first loved us.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7

2019… thoughts on time

Sunday night at church I was just stirred by the thought of time as I heard people processing 2018 and anticipating 2019. Generally I love planning and strategizing. I am often trying to find ways to make our life and our family run better. But I just felt a breeze of caution blow through the room.

It’s all too easy to worship time. I’ve done it time and time again. Chuck often asks me “are we really in that big of a hurry.” There is the reality of parenting two toddlers and the potential of meltdowns ALL AROUND if we drift too far from their schedule.

A mentor once told me “Anna you need to see time as your servant. You are not a slave to time.” And these words echo so true this New Years Day. We’ve all had wins and losses in 2018. Technically I’ve got a enough reason to label it “hard.” Yet equally enough blessings to say it was beautiful and amazing, full of joy and full of life. In so many ways I am living in the fruit of years of prayers. I am dwelling in some not yets and a lot of trees of life.

So today I caution you not to worship time or a year, but to look up to God of all hope! He was full of hope yesterday, today, and He will be tomorrow too! And are we not the place where this God has chosen to dwell if we so desire? What does that make us? We are dwelling places of hope! This is not a hope based on our circumstances but a hope based on a goodness we can barely grasp. We will forever be learning of His shocking goodness and mercy that knows no end. I’ve walked with Him for 30 years now and here’s the thing. His timing rarely lines up with mine BUT it is always perfect and right on time.

If we spend too much time focusing on time our tender hearts fall into disappointment and lose sight of the Hope which dwells within us.

As you look forward to 2019 and  reflect on 2018, don’t forgot He’s the God who created time! He is bigger than the year. His promises are yes and amen. He is faithful. You’re going to be okay. He hasn’t forgotten you. He is good.

“And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:5‬ ‭TPT‬‬


alexander-mils-320001.jpgI was recently listening to a podcast about marriage and relationships and a phrase they mentioned stuck with me. They said, “a lot of young couples are living without a lot of margin in their lives.”  Their point was that the lack of margin eventually causes anxiety and can break down the relationship. Yikes, that sounds scary.

I’ve been thinking about all the areas we can and need to make edits in our life. One such area is the girls toys! We’ve been super blessed and haven’t really bought the girls very much. Thank you church grandma! So their toys aren’t really a budget issue but a clutter issue. Sometimes they find a toy they haven’t seen in a while because it’s at the bottom of the big wicker toy basket and it’s like Christmas over here. I’ve pulled a purple bin in from the garage to pack away some and plan to switch them out periodically. It will be like Christmas once a month! The point is sometimes excess actually causes more stress.

We live in a culture that is all about MORE. We’ve bought the lie that there is never enough. While the Bible clearly states that “those who fear Him lack no good thing.” And I think what happens is before we know it, life has gotten cluttered and the things we thought were a blessing are actually causing stress.

Have you ever gotten that “storage is almost full” notification on your iPhone? It usually pops up right about the time that the girls do something adorable and I want to capture the moment. And you know what, for me it’s not a storage issue. It’s an editing issue. I need to EDIT and I need to DELETE. I don’t really need to save a picture of last nights dinner or this mornings latte. I don’t really need thousands of old text messages. My top storage snatcher is text messages.

I remember when I had 30 text messages a month on my phone plan. I am pretty sure now my texts exceed 30 a day, sometimes an hour now! I read an article recently about a girl who went back to a flip phone and the freedom she felt. I am not sure if I can go to this extreme because of my job and group texts, but I am without a doubt about to start editing my life. It feels both scary and liberating.

I want to live with intention and not reaction. I want to spend my days looking into my family’s eyes not scrolling through pictures of someone elses’.

I am making a list of some of my edits today, so that tomorrow is a little less cluttered. I know the areas the Holy Spirit is putting His finger on in my life and I am going to capitalize on the grace He has for me to make those cuts. We are given a limited amount of resources (time, money, energy etc) each day, so sometimes that means removing one thing so we can add another. Some practical examples for me are –

More vegetables less sugar…

More saving less spending…

More writing less scrolling…

More reading less watching tv…

I want to live with simplicity and purpose.

Are there any areas in your life that are causing anxiety that couple be remedied by some editing?

Let’s free those up and live free!

Much love,


“But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

1 Timothy 6:6




Stupid Chapstick (when Mother’s Day stings…)

As I was doing the dishes tonight, I felt prompted to reblog this one. Its always a good reminder on this Mother’s Day Eve. I hope it’s a blessing to you!

Much love and Happiest of Mothers Days to you!!

photo-1457153797314-80e6a376a555.jpeg“She is NOT a mom” the lady behind me LOUDLY whispered.

It was Mother’s Day and the “gift” was chapstick. The year before it was a pen. Let’s be honest, a pen is not the gift that every woman longs for. But chapstick, I mean most of us could use another chapstick rolling around the bottom of our purses, right?

They passed the gift down the row, and there was one extra once it got to me at the end of the row. I wasn’t a mother yet. But oh how my heart ached to be. We were walking the difficult unchartered waters of infertility. I thought perhaps that extra chapstick was some kind of sign. A sign that God saw me. And then the lady behind me loudly blurted the above statement and crashed my hopes. (Relax I know He saw me… I’ll get there.)

My mom says I…

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The Story


This morning I laid the girls down and slipped out the front door in my sweatpants. Chuck was about to get ready for work so I decided to capitalize on him still being home and sneak in a little alone time. 

This morning Chuck said, “I have an Autumn hangover.” I think she’s breaking in some new teeth and has been crying “mamamamama” in a deep and loud voice in the middle of the night. Poor Charlie just rolls over and tries to get back to sleep to get in her tight 12-13 hours. She’s not quite herself these days either. The unusual nights have made way for unusual days. It makes getting up early challenging and thus starting the days already feeling behind. 

Sometimes in the midst of days and nights like this the brain starts to feel like mashed potatoes and it’s easy to loose perspective of the bigger picture at play. Chuck had community night last night so I crawled into bed early and had a little quiet time before he got home. The Father faithfully reminded me of the story He is writing with our seemingly small lives.

As I sit in Starbucks and spend time in the Psalms, I am reflecting a bit on the beautiful story He has and is writing. There has been bliss, pain, and redemption. There has been mystery, confusion, and many times where I have had to tell my soul what’s true when my emotions screamed a different story. 

He’s taken me to places beyond what I could ask or imagine. I’ve lived on both coasts, something this Texas girl certainly didn’t see coming. I’ve traipsed about on 5 of the 7 continents. I met a Canadian in California and married him in Texas. I’ve endured and overcome the heartache of infertility. I’ve miraculously conceived and carried twins to term after going into labor at 27 weeks. I’ve found time and time again that the things I think I am running behind on seem to happen right on time. Can you relate?

I am just somewhere in the middle of this story. There is much more to come. There is bliss and beauty and brokenness that awaits me.

And I bet you are too. I bet you are living in the mixture of fulfilled dreams and mystery.

I encourage you to grab a warm drink (is it cold where you are too?) and maybe lite a candle and reflect a bit on your story thus far. It’s easy to get caught up in the challenges of today and forget how far you’ve come and how beautiful your story truly is.

Let’s not miss the beauty of the story He’s writing in the mush and mundane of today. He’s in the business of making beautiful things and I would confidently bet He’s making beautiful things in and through you. Look how far you’ve come!

The Psalms have been a lifeline to me lately, and I stumbled across this one today.

“You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:5

Well I am back home now and there is laundry to be folded so I’ll leave you here with this   song by Housefires that so aptly applies to our topic.
Much love,

A Place to Rest


How are you today?

Or, do you even have time to ask yourself?

I can often fall into that trap. Sometimes the day to day fills up the time with vacuum like speed and there’s little time to check in with my soul.

I feel we are for the most part past the crazy days of having newborn twins. I remember in those days when it got really, really hard, I’d tell myself, “grace is coming.” And every time, it would. The girls would sleep an extra hour, or someone would come by and clean my kitchen, or bounce my girls so I could get away for an hour or so. One time Chuck walked in the door, and I handed him the girls, a couple ounces of milk and basically ran to the apartment gym! He said, “don’t you think they will get mad when it’s gone and they are still hungry?” I think I mumbled, “I don’t know” and
“I’ll be back in half an hour.”

Anyway, the chaos of those moments has subsided, and most days the girls nap really well at basically the same time. (PRAISE THE LORD!) A friend recently said, “I think your girls are good sleepers for you.” Yep, she’s right. That’s my dose of grace most days. But, obviously life is still busy and full.

This morning I am pondering rest and reminded of Hebrews’ take on the subject.

So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Hebrews 3:19-4:1

Biblical rest is a state of the heart. Biblical rest isn’t about marshmallow soft pillows and hours of lounging.

God wants to give you rest today.

He wants to give you rest amidst your current chaos. He wants to give you rest in the midst of your unknowns. His rest isn’t dependent on 8 hours of sleep. His rest is based on believing His goodness is bigger than any challenges you are currently facing. He is good. He is working all things together for your good. He is fighting for you. You can BE STILL and KNOW THAT HE IS GOD today in this very moment.

But I have calmed and quieted myself,
    I am like a weaned child with its mother;
    like a weaned child I am content.

Psalm 131:2

I am praying for you today. May your sweet heart be filled with rest today. May He calm the storms that rage against your soul.

I’ll leave you with Psalm 23:2 from the Passion Translation –

He provides a resting place for me in His luxury-love. His tracks take me to the quiet brooks of bliss, the oasis of peace. That’s where He restores and revives my life.

May you find His Presence today. He is there. He is here. He is in the midst of our mess and our lives. He is near and He longs to hold you and carry you throughout this day.