Dianne Jago » mom blogger & founder of Deeply Rooted Magazine

Masthead header
Dianne Jago bio picture
  • My name is Dianne. I am a military wife, mama of 3 kids, seminarian student and founder of Deeply Rooted. I gave up living for myself to follow Jesus in 2007. God used many events in my life to reveal my sin, my need for a Savior, and show that real peace and joy is found in Him alone.

    God commands us to "Be holy because I am holy." Christians pursue holiness in a spirit of humility knowing that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8). This pursuit lives life in recognition that the process of sanctification - separation from the life we lived before God and growing in holiness to become more like Christ - occurs only because God empowers us. It is He who pursues us first and demonstrates his love on the cross.

    "A Holy Pursuit" is a journal of bit and pieces from my journey. It's not a perfect one, but it is one marked by mercy and grace from God. Thanks for reading along.

iPhone Shot

Please note: This post was not written in affiliation with the author or publisher of this book. I purchased the book on my own and am sharing it on my own. However, the links within the post are affiliate links with Amazon. Blogging takes time, and this is one small way that it helps contribute to my family. I almost always buy my books from Amazon, so I would’ve directed you there, regardless. ūüôā¬†

I’m not even sure how I came across this book, but I’m so glad I did.¬†“Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World” is a breath of fresh air in a culture with mantras like you only live once and follow your heart. ¬†The wisdom of this world encourages us to chase hard after our dreams no matter the cost and then frowns upon life callings that aren’t glamorous or newsworthy. Those who aspire to live quietly and work with our hands, as commanded in 1 Thessalonians 4:11, are viewed upon as strange and unambitious. Somewhere along the way, these ideas have seeped into our churches where celebrity Christians are exalted and the “ordinary” occurrences of grace expressed in the local church body are downplayed. We are left swimming in a sea of comparison and with many faithful Christians who are wondering if there is something more they can be doing for the Lord.

I am by no means against pursuing a dream. In fact, I talk about this very topic in my interview at the Journeywomen Podcast. Deeply Rooted¬†is in¬†existence because we pursued an idea and gained the support of many who also believe in that idea. But in the almost four years of running Deeply Rooted, I will admit that I’ve found myself, at times, yawning at the ordinary callings placed in my life. If I’m honest, there have been seasons of difficulty¬†in transitioning from encouraging women seeking sound advice to chasing around a toddler who distrusts my advice that a new diaper is a good idea. I experienced this right after hosting our 4-day retreat last year. Micahel Horton addresses this well:

“It is all too easy to turn other people in our lives into a supporting cast for our life movie. The problem is that they don’t follow the role or the lines we’ve given them. They are actual people with actual needs that get in the way of our plot, espeically if they’re as ambitious as we are. Sometimes, chasing your dreams can be ‘easier’ than just being who we are, where God has placed you, with the gifts he has given to you.” (Pg. 16)

He’s right, sometimes it can be much easier to create or write or serve or work or minister to other women more than laboring in love towards our own husband or kids. My kids are not the supporting cast in my personal life movie. But when we are gripped by a dream, how easy is it for us to view children as a hindrance to that dream? The very notion that my calling as a wife and mom (and the ordinary tasks that come with it) are of lesser value than the ministry work I do is a complete lie. I may see some immediate fruit in ministering to women but loving our husbands, growing and discipling souls from the ground up, and keeping¬†our homes is a mighty task — a Biblical task (Titus 2)! Deeply Rooted started from a place of encouraging motherhood but somewhere along the way, I allowed the value of the ordinary callings before me to get lost in a sea of to-do lists. But I’m grateful to God for the way He transforms us and conforms us to His image daily. This past year has been a year of refining as God continues to teach me to see things as He does.¬†¬†Kingdom work begins with loving the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, is poured out within the walls of your home, and then overflows to your neighbors around you.

I’m so grateful that God’s purpose for our lives can be expressed in a variety of shapes and forms. We know that whatever it is we do, we can and should do it for the glory of God because of the work that Christ has done on the cross for us. We discover that we are not left to live our lives (that are not our own but bought with a price) independent from one another, but instead are to come together as one with Christ as our Head to further His kingdom purposes. This heavenly perspective affirms that, yes, we do only live once but rather than following our heart recklessly we follow Jesus faithfully.

He addresses this also in his book:

“Our passion for life and achievement and our desire to strive toward a daring goal are essentially hardwired into us by God. What has changed since the fall is the direction of this drive.¬†Unhinged from its proper object – God’s glory and our neighbor’s good – our love becomes self-focused; our holy passions become vicious, driving us away from God’s approaching steps and away from each other. We’re not living in the real world, the creation that God called into being and sustains by the word of his power, but in a make-believe world. We are living as though God and our neighbors were made for us. In other words, we are living unnatural lives — living as if we were or could become someone other than the image of God, created to love God and each other.” (pg 88)¬†

Michael Horton does a great job of using Scripture, research, and examples from history to display the extreme God-given value to the ordinary portions of life that we encounter every day, as well as to show us the great value of the Church. This book is not meant to discourage those with “big dreams.” ¬†However, it does address that even these good things we want to pursue can become bad things when they “become curved on ourselves” (pg. 103). But Scripture is clear that God does not share His glory. His purposes are greater than the kingdoms we try to build for ourselves and in the end, we realize that our call to love God and love our neighbor, aren’t so ordinary after all.

I really appreciate this book and felt like it encouraged and challenged me in a number of ways. These are several of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Rosa Parks didn’t wake up one day and decide to become the ‘First Lady of Civil Rights.’ She just boarded the bus as she did every day for work and decided that this day she wasn’t going to sit in the back as a proper black person was expected to do in 1950s Montgomery, Alabama. She knew who she was and what she wanted. She knew the cost, and she made the decision to pursue what she believed in enough to sacrifice her own security. At that point, she wasn’t even joining a movement. She was just the right person at the right place and time. What made her the right person was countless influences, relationships, and experiences — most of them seemingly insignificant and forgotten. God had already shaped her into the sort of person that would do such a thing. For her at least, it was an ordinary thing to refuse to sit in the back of the bus on this particular trip. But for history, it had radical repercussions . . . Excellence means that whether God calls me to serve the poor in Calcutta or diners in a French restaurant, the simple fact that it is God’s calling renders it precious¬†‘So . .¬†. whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). (Pg. 34)

“[God’s covenant of grace . . . does not follow consumer cues of this passing age, dividing people accodring to generations, ethnicity, gender, class, or political parties. In Christ, these walls are broken down. He is now our real location, the marker of our ultimate idenity (Gal 3:28). United to one body with one Head, it is our differences from each other that give each part of the body what it needs. The younger needs the older. Wealthier believers need the gifts of poorer members. Rather than feed a comfortable narcissim, we need to be enriched by the insights, fellowship, and correction of brothers and sisters from ethnic, political, and economic backgrounds different from our own. The church isn’t a circle of friends, but the family of God. The covenant of grace connects generations, rooting them in that worshipping community with the ‘cloud of witnesses’ in heaven as well as here and now (Heb 12:1).” (Pg. 52-53)

“Is the intense longing for revival itself part of the problem, fueling the feverish expectation for The Next Big Thing? Is it not remarkable enough that Jesus Christ himself is speaking to us whenever his Word is preached each week? Is it not a miracle enough that a lush garden is blooming in the desert of this present evil age? Is it not enough of a wonder that the Spirit is still raising those who are spiritually dead to life through this preached Gospel? Is water baptism an outward pledge that we make in response to a decision we made to be born again? Or is it a means of God’s miraculous grace? And is it not sufficient that those who belong to Christ are growing in the grace and knowledge of his Word, strengthened in their faith by teh regular administration of the Supper, common fellowship in doctrine, prayer and praise, guided by elders and served by deacons? Doesn’t the longing for revival tend to create the impression that between revivals you have ullus where the Spirit is not active at least in the same power or degree of power through these means Christ appointed?” (Pg. 80)

“Contra to the wisdom of this age, Paul tells us that the body of Christ is not just a voluntary association for realizing my dream of ‘belonging’ or a place where I can assert my unique qualities. Christ’s body is not a stage for my performance, but an organism into which I’ve been inserted by the Spirit, by a miracle of grace.”If we stick closely to the biblical terms for it, ambition is folly, for we will take God’s gift of godly aspiration and fashion them into weapons of self-interest. . . Ambition is an empty pursuit, because none of us is truly the master of our fate and the captain of our soul. We cannot live up to our own Facebook profile or the expectations that ahve been placed on us by others. When we do try to disengage ourselves from the ties that bind, the whole body suffers. As we have seen above, especially from Paul’s exhortations, ambition is bound up with rivalry, factions, jealousy, envy, and even fits of rage. When we are ambitious, each of us campaigns for the office of emperor. In the process, we’re tearing Christ’s body, our homes, our workplaces, and our society to pieces.” (Pg. 93)

“Yet Paul’s calling is qualitatively different from Timothy’s, and you see this in the contrast between the passage in Galatians 1 and the exhortation he gives to his apprentice. He tells Timothy that he is a simply to pass on to others what he has received from Paul the apostle, to keep the deposit rather than add to it, to teach it to other men who will carry on the work. The super-apostles boasted of a ‘higher knowledge’ than the apostle’s doctrine, seeking to reinvent a gospel more ‘relevant’ to the Greeks. But Paul warns, ‘O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’ for by professing it some have swerved from the faith: (1 Tim 6:20-21). unlike the apostles, Timothy is not called immediately and directly by Jesus Christ, but through the ministry of the church. He is answerable to the presbytery – or council of elders – that ordained him (4:14). Timothy is not an apostle; he is serving in the vanguard of the ordinary ministry that will continue after the extraordinary ministry of the apostles.” (pg. 108)

“In most cases, impatience with the ordinary is at the root of our restlessness and rootlessness. We’re looking for something more to charge our lives with interest, meaning, and purpose. Instead of growing lik a tree, we want to grow like a forest fire.” (Pg. 127)

“So what does it mean to be content with God’s provision? It means that when you and I are safely hidden with Christ in God through faith in his gospel, we are opened up to the others around us – first fellow saints, and then our other neighbors. Instead of being threats, they are fellow guests of God at his table. No longer competitors for commodities in a world of scarce resources, they are co-sharers with us in the circulation of gifts that flows outward from its source without running out. After all, that source is the triune God: from the Father, in the Son, by the Spirit.” (Pg. 135)

“Contentment comes from knowing that the body of Christ is far greater than any of its members by itself. Christ considers himself incomplete until his whole body share in his risen glory.” (Pg. 167)

“The more deeply rooted we are in the Word of God, the more our witness will be authentic and imbued with personal conviction.” (Pg. 1 75)

“We look at the work of someone like Mother Theresa from the endpoint, as the Nobel Prize winning figure who founded an order of nuns spread across India and around the world to serve the poor. However, she described in her own life in terms of countless decisions and actions that hardly seem revolutionary on a daily scale. She learned to help the person she was with a the moment – actual neighbors, not ‘the poor’ in general, but people created in God’s image who needed something particular that she had to give.” (Pg. 194)

“‘God does not need our good works, but our neighbor does. When we offering our works to God, we simultaneously ‘attempt to depose Christ from his throne’ and neglect our neighbor, but to parade before God.; God descends to serve humanity through our vocations, so instead of seeing good works as our works for God, they are now to be seen as God’s work for our neighbor, which God performs through us. That is why both orders are upset when we seek to present good works to God as if he needed them. In contrast, when we are overwhelmed by the superabundance of God’s gracious gift, we express our gratitude in horizontal works of love and service to the neighbor.” (Pg. 197)

“The Gospel makes us extrospective, turning our gaze upward to God in faith and outward to our neighbor in love.” (Pg. 199)

There are so many more quotes that I highlighted that I would love to share, but this is already an obnoxious amount. If you’ve made it this far and found it encouraging, then I recommend buying the book or adding it to your Christmas wishlist!

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

We recently took a quick trip to Assateague Island. We were incredibly blessed to arrive on a 70-degree day, and we had so much fun spending some unplugged time together as a family. These are some pictures from the trip.¬†Ethan came home one day with this fun pop up camper. He scored it for an incredible deal, and this was our first time using it.Naturally, I had to style a shot for Deeply Rooted.There are horses all over the island. It was pretty cool to see them, but the park rangers had to follow them around to make sure they wouldn’t kick or bite anyone.Kaiden was trying to convince me that a dinosaur had been walking by, ha.
Pardon the mess. ūüôā¬†I love that we could park right on the beach.Ethan’s thoughts: “Annnnnd the waves are terrible today.”

After¬†making it through another Monday morning laundry list of after school to do’s, I was excited to finally be home. But when I walked inside, I didn’t expect to see so many messes scattered around. ¬†Didn’t I just spend this morning cleaning this room?¬†I glanced at our kitchen chairs — the ones that I spent extra time wiping down this morning — only to find sticky prints on them. And then there was our sink full of cups, plates, and other items. I had already¬†dedicated a good chunk of my morning to¬†hand washing the dishes¬†that our dishwasher didn’t fully clean. Now there was a new pile from lunch which would be¬†followed by whatever would come dinner time. And then the usual afternoon squabble between Kaiden and Skye occurred. Time to go break things up, again. All the while Cora was walking around pulling things off shelves and out of cabinets.

So much of being a mom is repetition and in those moments I just felt overwhelmed. So what does an overwhelmed mama do? She goes into the bathroom, locks the door, and cries a little. In my dramatic state, I felt a little like the Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes:

Meaningless, meaningless. All of this is meaningless. I wash dishes only to make more meals and have more dishes to wash again. I wipe down tables and countertops and floors, only to repeat it all meal after meal — and that’s just the kitchen!

(I know the issue at hand is trivial — and one that every mom faces, but I struggle with¬†shifting from the complexities of a ministry ¬†and then turning to children whose needs at this stage are much simpler — like searching for lost shoes and trying to get non-washable markers off of objects.)

So then my emotions kicked it up a notch. I began to ask God questions like: “God, where are you in these things? How do these mundane details fit into your plan? How are you possibly using me in this?” I have the head knowledge and can¬†respond to¬†those questions with great textbook answers (in fact, I just posted about the importance of motherhood here)

but in choosing to give into my feelings, I chose to let go of my theology.

Thanks to the conviction¬†of the Holy Spirit,¬†I soon recognized that I allowed my emotions to be my gauge rather than my guide. Feelings should be an indicator of my heart but something not to be trusted. My thoughts and reactions revealed my heart issues (like idolizing¬†a clean house, amongst others).¬†I also sensed the Holy Spirit reminding me that I’m feeling this way because I continue to do things in my own strength. Earlier I asked where was God in these details? He was there alright, I just¬†wasn’t allowing Him to be a part of it.

And so I decided to get up and¬†go fill my mind with something that would take my thoughts off myself and redirect me¬†to truth.¬†I turned on a song by the Getty’s (awesome, modern day hymn writers with doctrinally sound and theologically rich lyrics) called Still, My Soul Be Still. The lyrics read:

Still my soul be still
And do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread
The fires of unexpected sorrow ¬†(I didn’t plan or expect to be sad over something stupid but I was.)¬†

God You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken¬†¬†(Wow. I want faith that isn’t ever shaken.)
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Still my soul be still
Do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways
With shield of faith
Against temptations flaming arrows  (It sure is tempting to wallow in self pity.)

Still my soul be still
Do not forsake
The Truth you learned in the beginning  (How could I so quickly desert the things I know to be true about God?)
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise As stars appear when day is dimming

I love the line that mentions¬†“fires of unexpected sorrow”. While there are so many more worse situations¬†that I could be dealing with, the sorrow I felt¬†over the state of my home was unexpected, indeed. ¬† And so I prayed along with this song asking God for peace, steadfastness, and faith that cannot be shaken – even by my own emotions. I don’t want to forsake the truths I learned in the beginning or to allow the temptation to wallow in self pity to win.

Mothering is a beautifully¬†arduous task but it’s purpose is all about the long haul. It is a role that requires faithfulness, self-denial, and vision to see why we put the effort to train up our children (Prov. 22:6). I may not see the full ripening of fruit for several years but if I’m going to make it through the daily grind,

I have to be spirit led all the time.

I love the way a Bible study friend talked about her need for Jesus the other day: breath to breath.¬†I need him day by day, moment by moment, and breath to breath. ¬†This coincides perfectly with a message our pastor just preached on the importance with walking with Jesus throughout our day and how we shouldn’t go for extended periods on soaking in His presence.¬†By the power of the Holy Spirit working in conjunction with¬†the truth we read¬†in the Bible, He injects purpose into all things. And our purpose is¬†to know Him personally, live in obedience to honor Him, and share the hope of the Gospel to all. But he not only gives us the purpose but He gives us the strength to endure. And so, the reality is that I need God in the dishes. I need him in the quarrels and squabbles. I need Him in the nose wiping and the sticky foot prints and the trails of messes. I even need him in the cleanliness.¬†Whether mundane or complex, I need him in all the details. May His glory shine through it all.

 My soul clings to dust; give me life according to your word! РPsalm 119:25

We recently took a week long, kid-free trip to Iceland (courtesy of my mother in law, sister in law, and friends watching our kiddos while we were away!) I was amazed at the natural beauty of the country and how such a small island can have such diverse terrain. We saw a variety of¬†waterfalls, glaciers, geysers,¬†volcanic rock, and so much more which helped me to better understand why it’s known as the land of fire and ice.

I think the thing that amazed me most about the country is it’s¬†endless beauty. No matter where one stands in Iceland, there is always a breath taking view. These scenes display the incredible¬†amount of creativity our great God has and I can’t help but think of the book of Job where God¬†outlines His creation of and power over nature. Standing in the midst of powerful weather systems and grandiose landscapes¬†made me feel¬†so small and that’s how I feel when¬†reading¬†Job 38-39. He laid the foundation of the earth. He determined it’s measurements. He shuts the sea, holds back the clouds, commands the mornings, and so forth. We serve a great God in full control of every thing and that’s something I mustn’t forget.

But as beautiful as it all is, the scenery remains a part of a sin-tainted earth — and that thought stuck with me as we traversed around.¬†I remember driving between two large mountains and seeing a rock tumble down from the top.¬†It got me thinking about how what I¬†see one¬†day, may not look the same the next day. It’s deteriorating —¬†not even¬†just naturally¬†but in the way millions of tourists carelessly trample around some well-traveled spots. The glaciers move, rocks crumble, water erodes, and even still¬†it’s beautiful. So can you even imagine what heaven — a place that isn’t subjected to death and decay — will look like? If death and decay is beautiful here, my mind can’t even fathom what¬†true life in it’s¬†perfection¬†and intended form will look like.

Outside of those two major thoughts, I just spent a lot of time wandering, praying, photographing, and enjoying time with my husband. I enjoyed getting into nature and not just observing it from a paved path or a car window. I loved learning from Ethan and enjoying the adventuring with him. I discovered my new love for hiking and am excited to do more of it here in PA. I prayed throughout the trip over a number of things but especially thanking God for how He reveals Himself through nature. I also re-sparked my love for taking pictures. Most of the time I’m photographing a last minute assignment for DRM or just trying to document my kids. It was so refreshing to have my camera in tow, free from ankle biters and free to capture something just because.

We had such a blast and I’m glad I have these photos to look back on and remember. I hope you enjoy scrolling through them!

This is Sk√≥gafoss which is a waterfall¬†right by¬†our hotel. It was so gorgeous but tourists were there by the busload so we didn’t stay too long.After loading all our stuff into our hotel, we hit the ground running¬†and started hiking. We decided to avoid popular tourist areas and we found our own mountain. This one was covered in sponge moss. It felt like walking on soft pillows. I spent quite a bit of time hopping around, haha.
Here’s a POV of what the sponge moss looks like. (It’s obvious¬†I was still learning to tie my hiking boots, haha! I didn’t want to spend the money on shoes that weren’t very “cute” but I’m so glad I listened to Ethan and invested in these Salamon hiking boots. These things kept my feet so warm, dry, and comfortable after miles and miles of hiking in all sorts of conditions.)
When it comes to hiking, Ethan is¬†so quick it’s hard to keep up but he actually taught me quite a bit about how to hike smarter. I’m a born and raised city girl so¬†his crash course was much needed!
This is the view from halfway up the mountain.
There are just so many little landscape details that make each little section so unique. It was a crazy thought knowing that this one mountain we climbed looks entirely different from the next one over. It’s also crazy to think about how¬†much land is untouched and unexplored.Not far from the¬†sponge moss terrain¬†was a¬†rocky stream of water……which turned into volcanic rock……and led us to this scene where three different types of terrain intersected. It was an incredible sight¬†to behold.

This is a cell phone shot of the complimentary breakfast we received at our hotel. It was such a blessing to have this since every meal in Iceland is pretty much $20. I wish I could’ve taken home thousands of these croissants. They were always readily available for eating and whatever I burned off in hiking I ate back in pastries. American pastries will never compare the same.

The next day we walked miles and miles and miles of rocky terrain to get to this abandoned DC-3 plane.Ethan had to bring his penny to skateboard on it. (It was later we discovered that Justin Bieber filmed a music video and did the same thing. Ethan had no idea, haha!)Originally, he wanted to skate the top but it was drizzling the entire time we were there so I’m glad he stuck with the wing.
It was really cool seeing a beach covered in black sand. I’ve seen white sand beaches but this was an entirely different feel.
Occasionally, you will find a random rock creation here and there.
This fish and chips stand was right by our hotel. All the cod came from a local fishmonger and this was by far one of our favorite meals while there. They had this special Icelandic tartar sauce that was absolutely incredible.Our next stop was¬†Seljavallalaug. (I still have no idea how to pronounce that!)¬†It’s¬†one of Iceland’s oldest swimming pools. It pipes in hot, geothermal water from the earth and is free to the public.The walk to¬†Seljavallaug¬†was quite easy. We laughed about all the blog posts I read that said it was difficult. There’s literally a trail marked out for you and it too less than 10 minutes to get to.There was so much beautiful scenery to take in while walking there.
I was secretly hoping we would have the whole place to ourselves but there were people in and out of here the whole time we stayed. I was just happy to be here and see the sun shine poking through this corner of the mountain. Swimming around in this pool while taking in all the beautiful scenery was definitely the highlight of our trip.
We pulled off on the side¬†of the road to see what this was. It¬†turned out to be a “haunted” cave with this wall built to protect the inside. It was pitch black when we stepped inside and, of course, Ethan¬†successfully scared me.That night we heard there was a chance we could see the Northern Lights if we drove a few hours away. We made the trek out there but, unfortunately,¬†we did not see them. But we did see thousands of stars and a planet, so the trip wasn’t in vain.Our good friends, Tim & Lauren, met up with us on day 3.
Here’s the boys scouting out the waves.¬†This is my new favorite picture of us, taken by the talented Lauren Fair.

Here’s a cell phone selfie of all of us packed in our car. I didn’t realize how much time we would actually spend in the car driving from one place to another.

They brought us to the famous Fjadrargljufur Moss Canyon. It looked like something out of Lord of the Rings.¬†Here’s another shot by Lauren. ūüôāAnd another!This picture doesn’t even look real. (Image by Lauren!)Yepp. That’s the guys getting ready to paddle down this canyon.

See them floating?
While warming up in the Jeep, we watched the Justin Bieber video and saw all the things not to do in Iceland.We found more sponge moss and took pictures of the new Deeply Rooted hoodies here. I was such an awkward model but we did get one where I had a natural smile. This happened right after my leg fell through a hole, ha!

On the ride home, I spotted this cloud that looked like God took a paintbrush to the sky. None of the other clouds looked like this which made it even more set apart. (Anyone else think the cloud looks like an Emily Jefford’s painting?)I took this¬†back at Lauren & Tim’s place. Ethan looked really cute sitting there talking and I took a picture so I would remember this moment. ūüôā
This is a cell phone shot from the next morning and some of the drive by scenery that surrounded us.I spent the morning¬†photographing Lauren for Deeply Rooted’s 2017 Fall/Winter issue. I wish I could show more!We made a last minute decision to go the Glacier Lagoon. Lauren was here the week before and there were no glaciers!¬†Nature is a funny thing.
They find any excuse to suit up and paddle out.

Where do you think they paddled into?
The beach across the street has broken glacier pieces all over it’s shore. It looked like giant diamonds all over the place.The next day, the guys went surfing and the heavy waves completely smoked Ethan. I wish I could’ve gotten some of them in the waves but I didn’t bring a long enough lens (plus the sun was blowing out all the waves.)There are Icelandic horses everywhere. They are so beautiful and we pulled off the side of the road to photograph these cuties.
I wish my hair looked as awesome as theirs.

We were unintentionally twinning it up in our gray turtlenecks and green coats.

Our last days were spent in the city of Reykjavík.

We grabbed coffee at a local coffee shop…it was incredible.

This is a¬†cellphone shot of our coffee. I actually ordered hot chocolate and just like the croissants – there is something about their version that makes it taste way better than American hot chocolate. I’ve actually tried making my own with an Icelandic recipe to replicate it. It’s close but not quite the same.

And here’s me walking awkwardly with my purple hat by a purple building. ūüôāTheir homes are so colorful!
Nope. We didn’t act¬†like tourists at all.¬†I discovered this cute shop called Farmer’s Market.There was so much pretty inspiration there.

“…the Father’s gifts were never intended to be ends in themselves, provided solely for personal growth or enjoyment. Rather, such provisions were meant to prepare the Christian for her true vocation: a life of service to others, in the name of Christ. ” – Miriam Huffman Rockness

I’ve been reading “A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter”, a biography about an artist-turned-missionary and it’s been stirring up so much in my soul. This quote got me thinking about the creative gifts that He has given to each of us. For many years I pursued various forms of art with selfish purposes but in more recent years God has opened my eyes to the realization that He is the giver of talents and He distributes each of those talents with purposes that extend far beyond our limited scope. Knowing this should change our perspective on why we create in the first place.¬†Our talents should first and foremost be for His glory — a reflection of the Creator Himself — but they should also be used as a means of service to others, in recognition of our true vocation.

Do not misunderstand, a Christian may pursue art as a vocation or hobby. I have plenty of talented friends making a living off their work just the same as any non-creative business would do. I also love new hobbies and crafting on the side whenever I get the chance. But I’ve known the addiction that the pursuit of art can bring. Art in and of itself should not be the end goal. If our lives are wrapped entirely around our tools, skills, style, and artistic goals, with little to no regard to the Giver of Gifts and His intents for those gifts, then it’s time to do a heart check and ask ourselves what our purpose in life really is.

Serving God and others, of course, will look differently for everyone. It could mean donating your lettering, design, or painting skills to a¬†church, ministry, or charity. It could be using your photography skills for a couple or family who may not be able to afford much at all. It could be sewing or knitting things for local shelters. There are so many ways we can employ creative giving with our creative gifts. The question we must ask ourselves is: In what ways do You want me to give back the very things you’ve given to me?¬†This quote reminded me to continually use creativity for His glory, to regularly examine my heart as I create, and to seek Him¬†for ways to serve others in the process. There is so much more to be said on this topic but perhaps that will have to be a Deeply Rooted article. ūüėČ

On that note, I’ve been on a much needed “vacation” from DRM. I overworked myself this year and the time off has been a blessing in so many ways. This past week I was able to pursue something sitting on my personal to-do list. Wall hangings have been a popular trend for a while now and something I’ve always been drawn to. I actually attempted to make a DIY picture frame loom two Summers ago. I bought all the yarn and it’s sat in my craft drawer ever since. (I blame that on the busyness/business, haha.) But Ethan got me a loom for Christmas and¬†now I’ve finally gotten around to weaving!

I struggled to get the initial steps down and had to ask Ethan to help me. (That’s what I get for trying to learn from a E-book.) I’m so glad some of his military training gave him a foundation in sewing/knot tying between that knowledge and him watching some Youtube videos, he was the one to help me get started, haha! Once I¬†got the basics down, I found this type of loom weaving to be so incredibly easy (and therapeutic.)¬†Unlike my love for knitting, this didn’t leave my fingers aching which made me happy. It sounds lame but I stopped knitting mainly for that reason.There is also so much freedom to create whatever design or color palette you would like. I didn’t follow a pattern and just had fun experimenting with different types of string and techniques.
I didn’t realize it until seeing the picture on the right, but clearly my living room was inspiration without me even knowing it, haha.
The finished piece is hanging in our living room (for now!) I’m excited to try out more complex techniques and to perfect some of the basics. ūüôā I would love to have some sort of a looming get-together for anyone wanting to learn. I’m definitely not an expert but it would be fun to fill the living room with yarn, warm drinks, and both new and old friends. If you’re interested, connect with me!