Peace of My Heart

An encouraging voice to drown out the noise

~When Sadness Overshadows Your Holiday~ November 24, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:52 am
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Sometimes holidays can make us sad, for any number of reasons. It can be all to easy to settle into that sadness, allowing it to steal our joy. So many of you have sufficient cause to be a bit down today. Your newsfeed will be flooded with images of happy families and perhaps you’re missing part of yours this year. It’s ok to miss them but try not to let it be all consuming, to the point you lose out on what is right in front of you. Regardless of what may be making a run at your joy today, surely there is at least one thing for which you can give thanks. Give yourself permission to mourn what is absent then shift your focus to what is present. I pray your blessings are more than enough today and everyday that follows.

 

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Thankful I get to celebrate with these lovelies.

 

~A Selfless Daddy~ June 19, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 10:03 am
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I wasn’t going to do this but I’m so humbled by my husband that I had to share. It’s Father’s Day and I’m sure, like many of you, we had plans to celebrate. We were already crunched for time because it’s hubby’s weekend to work evenings but things went downhill fast.

It started with an unexpected trip to urgent care Friday night. I was right in the middle of cooking dinner when we discovered the blisters. So Jamie kicked off his weekend by holding a squirly 8 year old whose reaction to a throat swab is equivalent to that of someone being water boarded. Yesterday we made the unfortunate discovery that our washing machine was no longer with us. Family of seven, one who is sick, you can imagine the mountain of linens piling up. After making the trip to the pharmacy, dear hubby spent the little time he had before work shopping for a new machine because he didn’t want me frequenting the laundromat. Now it’s Sunday, the day we’d planned to go to early service for a message just for dads followed by lunch with all of our kids & our precious grandson. Instead, father-of-the-year is driving across town to borrow a pickup so he can install my new washer since the earliest Lowe’s could deliver was Thursday. 

Sacrificial love. On a day that should have been all about him, my man is tending to the needs of his family first, just as he does every other day of the year. 

I hope you all are as blessed as we are to have such a wonderful daddy in your lives. To my baby daddy: Happy Father’s Day, honey. We would be so lost without you!  

 

 

~Grateful Mommy~ January 17, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 9:11 am
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Some days I look at any one of my babies and think surely my heart will explode from the love I feel for them. Today it’s Bella, with her sleepy eyes and tousled hair, straight out of bed in her Elsa slippers. She makes a beeline for me as I sit reading with coffee in hand and lays across my lap. There’s nothing spectacular about the moment. She does the same thing nearly every day. But today when I look at her squishy face with the dusting of freckles across her nose, I tear up.

One day she’ll stop greeting me this way. One day she’ll walk right past me to the kitchen to fix her own breakfast. One day she’s going to stop pressing her nose to mine as she promises to love me forever, even on her birthday. Thankfully, today is not that day. However, I can’t know when that inevitable day will come.

I’m not sure what’s wrong with me, why I’m so overcome with emotion, maybe I’ve been reading too many books that pull on the heartstrings!! What I do know is my children are gifts. Even when I’m worn, hurt or furious, they are my prize, my biggest accomplishment and the joy they bring far outweighs the nuisances that pepper our daily routines.

So when Isaiah puts his big man feet on every available surface, Peyton cuts me to the quick with his sometimes curt words, Autumn rolls her teenagry eyes at me, Emma stomps off in defiance or Bella dissolves into a puddle of tears over the word “no”, I pray I can recall these tender moments when love is almost tangible.

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“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!” (Psalm 127:3-5 The Message)

 

~Why Don’t They Like Me?~ January 13, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 11:25 am
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Book credit can be found in the comment section of this post. Thanks, Blake!*

I came across this snapshot and for the life of me I can’t recall where. I’ve tried to find the book that this exert was taken from, again coming up empty. These words from a single page have resonated with me since the first time I read them. You see, deep down I like to be liked. I want to get along with every person I’ve ever met and for them to think fondly of me and vice versa. It’s childish, really, to think that we can get along with every person who crosses our path. But that is where two short paragraphs, from a book I’ve never read, have given me a bit of freedom.

I truly believe it to be okay to not “be” for everyone. Just as we all have different taste in foods, hobbies, and the like, we have different taste in qualities that we desire in our relationships. The intricacies that define us may make us intolerable to some….but not all. Rather than spend your time trying to force someone’s affection, why not foster the relationships of the ones who do think highly of you?

While I know with assurance I am not for everyone nor is everyone for me, I am adamant that we can and should respect one another in spite of our differences. If you find yourself in the presence of someone who you’re not particularly fond of, or you know without a doubt they can’t stand you, be polite. Try to see that while they may not be your cup of tea, they mean a great deal to someone. That’s the beauty of this life we’ve been given, that we all have the ability to love and plenty of opportunities to receive. Don’t expend too much energy questioning why someone doesn’t like you. It is a far better use of time to celebrate what makes you uniquely, unapologetically you.

“Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life.” (Proverbs 4:23 taken from The Living Bible)

 

~Hiding~ January 1, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:24 am
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I’m going to begin this New Year with a confession. Don’t get too excited, nothing really scandalous, just something I’ve refrained from sharing.

I have not been to church since we moved in November. There it is.

I have my reasons, all of which can be argued as insufficient. My main reason, I miss my church and in my mind, no other group of believers can live up to their legacy. I realize how silly that sounds but for those of you who know me and how long it took me to find a church, I’m sure you understand.

Of course now that I’ve opened myself up to think about it, I can see just how unfair I’m being to any potential “new” church. I’ve been closed off to the idea of being close, family close, to another part of the body. My mindset has been like that of a toddler, “I don’t WANT a new church! I want my OLD church!!”

But here we are, looking for where we are going to settle in the next couple of months. I came across a house that on paper, looks perfect for us. In my excitement, I mapped out distances to hubs workplace, our beautiful daughter & her family, the beach….and on a whim, I searched out churches in the vicinity. Upon finding two whose beliefs and mission statements aligned with our home church, I realized just how much I missed it. The feeling of family, safety, hope & unity….I need it back in my life. So as much as I deeply miss my people, this new year needs to be a time of making new connections & finding a place to grow & serve.

So, say a little prayer for us if you will. Pray my old anxieties don’t creep back in & that we find somewhere we can all be plugged in. Thank you, my faithful friends and Happy New Year!

Church should feel like family because we are brothers & sisters in Christ.

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Heb 10:25 NLT)

 

~Learning to Relax~ December 7, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 8:19 am
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We’ve been in our new home for just over a week now. For many reasons, we decided that I would homeschool all five of our children for at least the remainder of this school year. One of the main perks the kids and I were looking forward to was a more relaxed schedule. No more screaming momma trying to rush the kids out the door by a specified time. Gone would be the days of frustration at trying to “get it all done.” And yet, I seem to be having difficulty adjusting to this lifestyle!

Apparently I’ve spent so many years rushing everywhere that I have forgotten how to chill the heck out.

The kids have done great with their school work, finishing in a fraction of the time had they still been in public school….which sent me into a panic, emailing other homeschool moms to calm my fears. Am I not assigning them enough work? Are my kids going to fall behind? Thankfully those mommas put my mind at ease before I doubled up the kids’ workload.

When the typical after school hour rolls around, we have nowhere we have to be. No practices, no bonus kids to pick up, absolutely no rushing out the door…ever. You’d think that would be pretty easy to get used to, and yet here I sit, telling you that it’s not!

Y’all are going to think I’ve snapped, but I actually Googled “what does the Bible say about relaxing?”

“Remove vexation from your heart, and put away pain from your body, for youth and the dawn of life are vanity.” (Ecc 11:10 ESV)

First of all, I’m pretty sure I’ve not read this particular verse before or if I have, it wasn’t very memorable to me. Secondly, I had to Google the definition of vexation: the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or worried OR something that causes annoyance, frustration, or worry. I’ve included another translation of this verse that drove the point home for me:

 Rid yourself of all worry and pain, because the wonderful moments of youth quickly disappear. (CEV)

I’ve been afforded an opportunity to slow it down for a while, to spend more quality time with my children without the anxiety that accompanies an overbooked schedule. They are growing insanely fast and Lord knows I am not getting any younger and I’ve been squandering this incredible luxury of essentially having them all to myself, even if only for a few months.

It’s time I make a genuine effort at learning to just relax and embrace this season with my beautiful family. If you have something causing vexation in your life, maybe today is a good time to say “no more.”

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Just in case you need a little help relaxing…the ocean always does it for me 😉

 

~Leaving Home~ November 20, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Valerie Rutledge @ 7:54 am
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All week I’ve tried to sit down and write this post. It’s not that the words wouldn’t come, but more like they won’t stop along with the tears that seem to be ever present. One week from today, we will load down a uHaul and leave the only place I’ve ever called home.

While I am excited for the next chapter of our lives, I am also terribly sad about leaving our quaint little community that has blessed us with so much more than just a place to live. Every place I’ve gone the last couple of weeks has brought me to tears. The preschool with the same sweet teachers who’ve taught all of my babies, the grocery store where I know everyone by name, and don’t even get me started on my church.

I really wanted to write some eloquent post about all the lovely people that I am going to miss and I just can’t, there are far too many to mention. What I will say is this, you all know who you are.

  • The friends who have loved me, cared for me, cried with me and laughed until we cried…you’re the best friends a girl could ever hope for, irreplaceable and lifelong sisters.
  • To my kids friends…I’ve watched you grow up right alongside my own children. They have been equally blessed with fabulous friends who have filled this house with giggles and strange odors…both of which I will miss more than I can put into words. Please come visit!
  • My cross country team, who has made me incredibly proud not only of their athletic ability but also of the caliber of young people they are. It was an honor to be your coach and I will always be one of your biggest fans! Remember, one at a time 😉
  • My family who has dropped everything to be there for me when I needed help, a hug or a swift kick in the behind…now you just have to make a road trip!
  • My church family, who leaves me in awe week after week just by being you. Your compassion, hospitality and genuine love for one another is a true reflection of Jesus. I will always call ANC home.

That’s really about all I can muster. The tears are blinding but my heart overflows with gratitude. Please pray for our family as we go through this transition and I will keep you posted on our adventures!!

Love, hugs and prayers. ~Valeriefriend prov