Mom Needs Grace

Musings on the life redeemed & purpose redefined

hello out there July 2, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Motherhood,sisters — dayna @ 12:31 pm

Hello? Hello? Had you given up on me? I sure hope not.

I am well aware that this bloggish space has been languishing for a couple of…

…weeks!?  Has it really been that long?

I guess our household has been all caught up in summer-ness. Less structure somehow sometimes feels like more busy-ness.

I’ll admit, there may have been a few rough patches and some aches and pains keeping me away. But mostly, it has been the fun mini road-trips and unexpected transitions.

Not that I haven’t had anything to write about. Trust me. I’ve still got my lists. I just can’t seem to crack the computer open as often as I’d like.

Hopefully in the next week, at least a few of these posts will march themselves on to completion.

For now, I’ll leave you with a shot of our Thursday morning.

It was our first “at-home-all-day” day in way too long. ( Our little family just needs these sorts of days. Does yours?)

Happiness is…

Playdough on the kitchen island. Playdough on the kitchen floor. Playdough on favorite pajamas. (Yup, still in ’em).

If you could only hear the Jack Johnson flowing in the background and enjoy the smells of butter and coffee wafting through the kitchen- then you would truly get a feel for the bliss.

All day the little girls and I were belting out and clapping to  “This is the day! This is the day…”

(In the spirit of disclosure: there may have been a second pot of coffee brewed that morning. I confess that I seem to be a much “funner” mom when adequately caffeinated. How about you?)


list-maker May 23, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 11:55 pm

I hope you will kindly excuse the silence around this bloggy place.

I’ve been somewhat buried lately. Buried in mounds of laundry, buried in love for the babies, buried in… my lists.

Yup. I make lists.

I wish I could call myself a list-maker in the elegant, organized sense of the word. I wish that my lists were series of tidy tasks lined down a fresh, smooth piece of paper; items waiting to be carefully checked off or lined through.

But, no, I’m more the crazy, frenzied type of list-maker. The “heaps of post-it notes overtaking my house” type. The “half a dozen little notebooks in half a dozen strategic locations” kind of gal. These wordy scraps are often remade into more comprehensive lists, but sometimes they are desperately relegated to a bin to be gone through..ugh… later.

I know I’m not alone in my penchant for lists. In fact, I’m pretty sure that entire books have been written on this topic. Seriously, check out some of these. Not that I’ve read them, of course. They’re on my “to-read” list;).

Don’t get me wrong, I think there may be some value to all my lists. At times I know they help alleviate some churning worry, or help me to prioritize more appropriately. Some of the lists are even kind of fun. In addition to the too long “to do” lists, there are often lists of friends to call, songs to remember, ideas to write about, things for which to be thankful.

But sometimes I suspect that my lists are merely a highly evolved form of procrastination. A way of sophisticated self-enabling, if you will.

Writing down as a way of putting off.

Because I know that my very best days, the importantly productive days, are the ones when the list lays ignored on the counter.

On these days, I move forward doing the best I can, from moment to moment. I may have a general plan in mind, but I am forced to pause; to think or pray about what is the very next right thing to do. I sense my dependence with every breath- learning to lean on and in.

These are the days in which I am suddenly available to help a friend in immediate need, to write a note or send a message to someone who happens to cross my mind. On these days, I put down whatever seemingly essential chore I am doing, to read right then to an infinitely more essential little girl (or two) with book in hand. These are the days I turn the van and take a detour from running errands to play at a new playground or have an unexpected adventure.

And I never regret these days. Miraculously, on these days, the things that really need to get taken care of, somehow do.

These days have divine rhythm and a timing all their own.

So for now, I will probably keep making some of my little lists. But I look forward to days with fewer lists and a lot more listening.

Do you make lists? Of what? Do you think they help or hinder you?


the stuff of inspiration May 2, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Faith,Motherhood,Stuff — dayna @ 5:00 am

I always enjoy learning about other people’s favorite things. Just in case you were wondering, here is some of the stuff that has been inspiring me lately…

  • This necklace I found on clearance in the hospital gift shop the day before my birthday:

 – It says “she follows her dreams.”  I wear it for me, and pray it for my little ladies as well.

  • This line of journals and stationary that Target is carrying. I am at risk for a serious paper goods habit! (Always have been…)

– It says “We write to taste life twice.” (I picked one up for you too. See below.)

  • My talented cousin’s art. Cara is described as “a visual artist with a writer’s addiction to words.” Is it possible that motherhood has made her even more brilliant and creative? Pretty sure you know what my answer to that question would be …

Time is the Guide

– Check out more of her work over here. I keep wishing she designed blog themes…

  • These little (printable) gratitude journals from Ann Voskamp are quietly (but radically) changing my perspective. Every single thought this lady puts into words seems divinely breathed.

– Print your own here. And here is a link to the slightly tricky folding instructions.

  • Of course, these little ones are a never-ending source of inspiration:

– I just can’t get enough of  ’em.

  • And lately, I’ve been leaning heavily on this word:

– It reassures me that, even when I am failing miserably, I can still be of use.

 What has been inspiring you lately?  Leave me a comment by May 11th, 2011 and I’ll mail one of the pretty writing journals to a randomly-selected contact-able person. 😉 

Congratulations to Stephanie! She will receive the journal. Pretty sure she’ll fill it up quickly:)


spring in their steps April 20, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 10:00 am






The act of not honking April 3, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Faith — dayna @ 11:12 pm

Otherwise titled “Deep Thoughts While Driving (with) Miss Dayna.”

It had been one of those mornings. The type which would surely be hilarious to the outside observer, but to the mommy in the midst, is nothing short of an endurance test. The sole mission the girls and I had that day was to get to the grocery store; yet somehow it was taking forever just to get out the door..

I was tired upon waking. There had already been countless meltdowns by the big girl about who really knows what. When the littler sis wasn’t needing to be held, she was “reorganizing” cupboards and drawers with blazing speed. I was exhausted and sadly unsympathetic.

Picture this for example: all three girls in the hall bathroom. The big sis replies “Oh no, Mommy! I wasn’t hitting you. I was just high-fiving your body.” (I have to admit I cracked a small smile at that one). After a brief discussion of semantics with a three-year old, I turned, only to discover that the tiny one had been busy emptying every last wipe from the container.

Finally, we just did the “cut and run” technique: scrambling out the door with dishes still in the sink, mountains of laundry in the living room, and tiny toyish things littering what seemed like every square inch of floor.

After buckling both girls into their car seats with trembling hands, I literally dropped to my knees on the garage floor, hot tears welling in my eyes. Horrified that I was already so frustrated by 10:30 a.m., I desperately pleaded for strength and patience, calm and quiet.

As we pulled away from the house, I turned on the radio, hoping for a renewed spirit. A few miles into our drive, I complied with the big sis’ request and slipped in one of her favorite CDs.

And then it happened.

Or, more accurately, didn’t happen.

I looked up and the light was green. Good and green. Embarrassed, I hastily pulled away.

And then it dawned on me.

The quiet.

The woman behind me had not honked.

Now, maybe she had been preoccupied too and just hadn’t noticed my lack of timely forward motion.

Or maybe, just maybe, she made a conscious decision not to honk. Maybe she was at peace enough in her day and spirit that she offered me momentary grace, certain that I would eventually see the color change and pull away.

In that very situation, I have been known to lightly “tap” my horn.

You know- as just a reminder, of course.

As if the person forgot where they were. As if they won’t look up at any second and move swiftly forward.

Amazing when you can learn those important spiritual truths, isn’t it?

You see, I honk a lot.

Not literally. Not in the car. But with my words. I “honk” at my family: my husband, the girls. Just, you know- reminding them of things.

As if these are things they don’t already know. Or as if they might not be better off discovering them themselves. As if they forget where they are. As if they won’t look up at any second and then move swiftly forward.

So I’m going to try to practice the act of not honking.

Because I never know whose day it might turn around. Who may be amazed by a simple small moment of grace.

Sometimes, I’m learning, the act of kindness may be the thing I don’t do.


be kind March 29, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Faith — dayna @ 10:38 pm

That’s it. A message so simple. So pure. Yet so powerful.

And, according to Jeannette Mare of Ben’s Bells Project, so life-saving.

Nine years ago today, her family suffered a loss greater than any heart can possibly bear alone. Jeannette says that after the sudden death of her younger son, small acts of kindness, often by strangers, served to give her hope. Over the years, that hope has blossomed into something breathtakingly beautiful. Ben’s Bells, while initially distributed in this sweet boy’s memory, are more living, breathing, growing movement than memorial.

They are gorgeous wind chimes crafted by at least ten different sets of hands, and then hung anonymously, to be found unexpectedly. They undoubtedly bring peace, joy, and gentle refocusing to their finder. Just read some of the moving stories here.

A weekly Ben’s Bell is also awarded to a worthy nominee who is impacting their community with kindness. Similar smaller versions of the wind chimes are available for purchase to be gifted to and from individuals.

This organization is drawing our Tucson community together in countless wonderful ways. There is the Kind Kids school outreach program that focuses on creating a culture of kindness in young people. There is the Kindness Corridor community art project (you have to see the pictures of the gorgeous mosaics). And even the BENevolent Brigade: a self-proclaimed “flash mob with purpose”.

What originally began as one family’s way of coping, has become a community message garnering national media attention. After Tucson’s January 8th, 2011 shootings, the project of quiet kindness was featured on MSNBC’s nightly news.

In case you can’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the studio and exploring their (really great!) website. I hope you will too. If you have a few minutes, I especially recommend the “What’s the Deal?” video in the right side bar of the homepage.

There are so many ways to get involved and get inspired to…

be kind.

Seems so easy, but somehow can be so easy to forget…

*Photos are from the project’s own website.


Well on their way March 8, 2011

Filed under: Better life,Blogging,Faith — dayna @ 11:58 pm

…and giving each and every day. 

Do you know these people? They’re pretty great. I’m devoting this post to them because I’m sure you will agree.

This is the Sheaffer family and some months ago they had a little dream. Ok- a big dream. More like a family vision. That turned into a mission. That is now an actual adventure. A very real reality.

While living their fairly “normal” life here in southern Arizona, they started feeling like their little family could live in an even more radical way and Give Every Day. So, long story short, they sold almost everything they owned, bought an RV, and committed to this journey.

Sounds crazy, right? Maybe not quite as crazy as you would first think. You see, this crew has already been successful at some pretty amazing things. (Check out Stephanie’s incredible blog for example). They are entrepreneurs, planners, and great parents to their delightful (and portable) little girls.

So, a little more than a month ago, off they went. It has clearly not been easy thus far.  It started with a blown transmission on… um, Day 1. Ugh. Some dental emergencies, homesickness, some real sickness. But still, somehow, they have found a way to literally give every single day. (And write about it- beautifully). It may not be easy… but it continues to be inspiring.

They have given in some of those wonderful “bigger” ways like feeding the homeless and volunteering at food banks or shelters. They have often highlighted some really amazing organizations like Mercy House Kenya, Morgan’s Wonderland (you have GOT to check this place out), Kiva, and World Vision.

But some of the smaller ways have been especially inspiring in their “do-ablity.” Stuff we can all do right where we are, right now. Stuff like donating blood, surprising the next person in line or a cashier, remembering birthdays, letting a spouse sleep in, baking cookies, calling grandparents. When they give like this, I am reminded that there are really no “small” ways. I am reminded that all giving makes a difference.

So I hope you’ll join me in following their journey, encouraging their compasssionate hearts, and applauding them in their sense of adventure, courage, and determination.

Please excuse my link-littering here, but the blog is just that good.  And I wanted to catch you up :). I hope you will support them by leaving them a comment, doing your Amazon shopping through their button, or inviting them over when they hit your town! Seriously.

Hmmm, how am I going to give this day?

Comments are closed here so you can go on over and say “hey!” at


WW: Mamaw’s house edition March 2, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 11:32 pm

Wordless Wednesday:





Still March 1, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 11:35 pm

Lately around here, it has been a bit chaotic, confusing, or complicated to say the least. I haven’t felt very organized in putting together my thoughts, much less words.

That’s why I know that I’m really thankful for you. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for checking back in. I am blessed by such wonderful friends.

The other day we had another rare treat to be thankful for…

We awoke to a different light glowing white through our bedroom windows.

A snowy morning. In the desert. 

Isn’t there something so peaceful and still about silent snow falling overnight?

In the early daylight, there was an inch or so of soft white blanketing our rocky sharp edges and pokey plants.

So for now, I’m praying that you will continue to be patient and just join me in enjoying some pictures of desert girls playing in the remnants of the cold white stuff.

Love you.



And later that day, the best part: a sunny afternoon with clear views of powder-dusted mountains.


A girl can breathe out here…


February+impromptu picnic=sweet life February 16, 2011

Filed under: Better life — dayna @ 11:57 pm