grace and praise


I wonder, this morning, if anxiety is in the air I breathe.  Does it enter into my lungs from the air and spread to my heart, mind, and soul like an unwanted illness?  Last night in bed, as the tears silently rolled down my face in the dark, I started to pray, “Lord, WHY did you make me this way?!?”

and His words:

“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God:  ‘Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘WHY DID YOU MAKE ME LIKE THIS?'”  Romans 9:20

And I breathe again.

I think of the song we sang in church on Sunday about breathing in His grace.

Breathing in His grace and breathing OUT His praise.

I thank Him.  I thank Him for making me the way He did.

I have the fatness of a beautiful life all around me, a spacious home, perfectly wonderful children, a devoted husband, Jesus in my heart, so what’s a little anxiety thrown into the mix?

Truly, It keeps me humble, weak, and leaning on the Lord’s strength.

“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.  And he has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”  Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

At small moments, I even find myself accepting the fact that in my life I will most certainly struggle, at times, with the burden of anxiety, and it is okay and I can rest in Christ.  I do what I can do for myself and leave the rest to my loving Father.

What I do:   Helps for the Anxious One

I go about my days the way they are supposed to be run, even though on the inside I want to curl up in bed.  This means the laundry gets done and the meals get made.  Cookies, even!

I read books to the children.  Reading out loud shuts up the negative voice in my head.

I take a very low-dose anti depressant (doctor’s orders), vitamins, and drink plenty of water.

Listen to music.  Dance.  Sing.  Whistle.

Read Scriptures, read my favorite books.

Enjoy my husband and children.

(breathing in His grace, and out His praise.)

I share my inner struggles at appropriate times ONLY.  This means I will “act okay” to the majority of people around me and I give myself permission to do this; yes, and be “less than genuine”.  (I hate insincerity but have come to understand that it would do more harm than good to overshare in very personal issues.)

Remind myself that it will pass, as it surely will, I know from experience.


A confession:  I use this blog as an outlet for my inner being.  I’ve been blogging for years now and have found that after a good soul-cleansing post like this I actually feel lighter and freer.  The burden is lifted for a time, as I allow myself to share here.  Also, walking around with my camera is therapeutic, as it focuses my eyes on the good things around me.  I love photography for this reason.  And I love to share my pictures here.




All spring and summer long, we have had workers here, building a room onto our house.  The new addition is a dining room/office/fireplace and pantry.  Now that it is almost completed, I have been hunting for a few pieces of furniture, rugs, and curtains.  This weekend Rich and I found this perfect cupboard at a shop downtown.  I LOVE IT, because it’s country primitive.


But little Sarah loves it because…….she can get away from her crazy family!


She takes her pillow, blankie, and a kitty and gets right in.  Unfortunately she can’t shut the door herself so we are constantly answering her request to shut the cupboard.


snapshots from around the house….Seth and his toys….


…Caleb and his current favorite book.  He has read both Powerless and Super over the last week.  Both books were written by Matthew Cody.  Caleb is now currently reading Powerless out loud to me, which touches my heart because it was all his idea.


This is an iphone picture of the pan of brownies I made on Friday.  On a whim, I used the leftover decorator frosting from Dave’s birthday and wrote Ethan’s name on top.  He was honored with the privilege of taking the first piece.  Rich and I thought it was too cute that he took the “E”.


(iphone picture)  Seth was sick all day on Saturday with a high fever and stomach upset.  Rich took the time to take a nap with the sickie…the toes are what made me grab the camera.  Just too precious.


Grace spent Sunday afternoon at Erinn’s house.  I took this picture at about 9pm, when she was brought back home.  Such pretty girls.


I wrote on my hand and then Seth asked me to write on his.


Books we have been reading every day.



It was a gloomy weekend and a lot of the leaves have fallen down.  The weather definitely contributed to my own gloomy feelings.


(iphone pic)  Rich and I had the joy of taking all the kids out to dinner last night.  When I’m feeling blue I never want to be away from the children, so when Rich offered to take me out I begged him to take us all.  It was a great time.   I even sat on the other side of the table next to big kids and let Rich care for the littles (picking up dropped crayons, etc).



It has taken me hours to write this, as I keep going off to take care of things, answer phone calls, give baths, etc… has been a pleasure to sneak away now and then to work on blogging.  Have a wonderful day, my friends!


“The One who calls you is faithful and He will do it”  1 Thessalonians 5:24

“Your own completeness is only realized in Him.”  Colossians 2:10


24 thoughts on “grace and praise

  1. I admire you for your honesty and I admire you also for sharing your struggles honsetly at appropriate times. Your blog is such an encouragement to me. I read it every day when I am not traveling (as I will be in the coming weeks). Your love for God and your family shines through your posts. Praying for you. Thank you for your frequent reminders of God’s goodness.

    • Hi Pam, so good to hear from you, my old friend Pondering from Xangaland! Thank you so much for the encouragement and for reading along. It’s amazing to me that as believers we have such a connection and understanding between each other! Praying for your safe travels in the coming weeks, for safety and all your needs met in a special way.

  2. I find myself redirecting my thoughts to HIM when I listen to too much national news. It is the only way to not be worn down with sadness at what is happening to our country and our freedoms. I remind myself that He is sovereign and our steps are ordered by Him. Thankful for that truth. Blessings on you today, Shanda. Keep looking UP! xo

    • OH my the news is another cup of tea isn’t it? And a bitter cup these days. You are so wise to keep current events to a bare minimum! “He is sovereign and our steps are ordered by Him.” such water to my soul, thank you Dawn.

  3. i am an anxiety sufferer.I am a mom to a large family. Thankyou for your honesty, and openeness. I am going thru a program called Freedom From Fear. Im learning how to handle panic attacks. Its such a blessing to know that there are more people that have anxiety issues. I also find that prayer, and worship, along with keeping myself occupied while the kids are in school help me to keep focused. Im so glad I stumbled upon your blog!

  4. I think the anxiety and or depression you expressed here is common for a good number of people.I know i go through those times where i feel depressed or anxious and i typically do not think to look to read the Bible, i tend to almost stop everything i do and do the basic stuff i need to, until the feeling passes.

    I actually found this post very encouraging because it reminded me of myself during those annoying times.

    See ya Sunday, Sisterness, Richard is preaching too, i cant Wait!!!!

    Michael T Payne

    • God is reminding me over and over that this struggle of anxiety is absolutely not unique to me. And that is a comfort. Glad to have you as a friend to Jacob and our whole family. You are an encouragement to us all! See you Sunday, brotherness!

  5. I can totally understand and what you are going through.. I battle with it too. Sooo many things lately have been overwhelming and truly anxiety hits me. Some days are better than others but God’s grace is always with me..I remind myself and take comfort in that. I ran across this blog post today after reading yours…
    I guess we are not alone.
    Thanks for sharing your heart today on this subject.

  6. A cat on the cabinet, a kid inside….perfect. It must be exciting to watch the addition come together.
    Writing is definitely a great way to deal with the worries and anxieties that come. I see a big difference when I am able to write vs times I am unable.

  7. Love you dear friend. I think God made a wonderful woman in you. Thank you for sharing yourself on here. I came over today to visit, as you always lift up my spirits with your words, quotes, photos and family. I am hurting physically, think it is weather change, and anxious about what is going on in our country. Good to have a few moments with you.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing! It is so hard to go through times like that, and I think in all honesty many people do and just never talk about it. It certainly helps to stay busy and focus on the awesome things in your life, but that can be so hard when you just want to go to sleep for awhile. ha.

  9. shanda I just wanted to say you are not alone in this. Our feelings are so fickle….just today I caught myself worrying that what if I have a brain tumor…because my head has been hurting bad (I have pneumonia and landed in ER the other night)…anxiety is terrible….and I love your honesty and the little tidbits of what is helping you through it.

    I transferred my archives from xanga here….we shall see how it goes:)

  10. I hadn’t seen a blog from you in a while, and this morning I investigated. Ooops…I forgot to change my blog feedreader to your new blog address! I have some reading to catch up on.

    Thank you for sharing about your anxieties…and your antidotes. I, too, suffer from anxiety, and at times it feels so silly. Nothing is wrong–in fact, I love my life. And yet that nagging feeling that something bad is about to happen… I hate it. Like you, I find a lot of solace in my camera, in finding beauty through a lens. That, combined with prayer,deep breathing, self-care, and medication has helped immensely. Sometimes it helps to make a To-Do list so I can stay on track instead of getting distracted by my worries….but this has to be balanced with plenty of rest or I start to get stressed.

    I have lots to do today, but I’m about to write a message on my hand…”Slow down.” Thanks for the inspiration. xo

    • Thank you, so much Luann. I appreciate everything you wrote to me and the article linked was such a blessing, too. Much love to you, and praying that you have an extra grace-filled week. xoxo

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