Christmas 2023

Merry Christmas friends!

It has been a year and oh my! Compared to our past few years, this one felt refreshingly uneventful in the “major-life-change” category.

We have now celebrated every family members birthday in our new home at least once, have celebrated two thanksgivings and one of every other major holiday here. We are so grateful to be here and I think my body is finally beginning feeling settled in a new and more permanent way after years of moving and living with family.

God has been very gracious to us and I want to do a quick recap of our year.

January

We started our year with my brother’s wedding and some wonderful time with my siblings and extended family who came in for the wedding, including my cousin (pictured above). James and Peter also started swim lessons and after three weeks, James turned into a fish! He is a confident and competent swimmer now.

February

February was a sweet month of homeschool (James second grade, Peter Kindergarten, and Annie…being cute), swim lessons, children’s museum visits and normal church and life activities. We even got some snow which the kids loved!

March

March brought slightly better weather and allowed us to get out of the house a bit more! Annie really started attempting to chase her brothers down and keep up with all their antics and we were still plugging away with school and swim lessons.

April

April brought Easter and Annie discovered the joys of Easter egg hunting! It also brought more opportunities to get outside on family walks and some playgrounds as the rain was mingled with more sun.

May

In May James got glasses, Annie discovered the joys of sunglasses, and Peter just had to get in on the fun by being a cutie! While James still struggles to wear his glasses, Annie is still obsessed with wearing sunglasses whenever possible. The boys also learned chess and played constantly! James even started catching on to some strategy and is already giving mommy a run for her money.

June

June hit hard and fast with the end of school, splash pads, park play dates, air shows, family bbqs, strawberry picking, and a camping trip to Eastern Washington with the Young Adults group that Travis leads at church. It was a full and fun month for sure!

July

July continued on chock full of summer activities like parks, the children’s museum, splash pads, and even a dip into spelunking (cave hiking).

August

August made June look chill, with us cramming in as much outside fun as possible before the school year began in September. We went camping with my (Alesha’s) parents for four nights in Eastern Washington. It was so much fun! Then less than two weeks later, we vacationed at the beach with Travis’s parents, and soaked up some fantastic Washington beach and family time. The month ended with Alesha and the kids heading to Idaho for a family reunion at the lake and all three kids being introduced or reintroduced to jet skis and tubing behind a ski boat. All the sunshine and family time were a blast! In there somewhere, we celebrated both travis and James’ birthdays too!

September

We started September with back to school! We are homeschooling again, and all of us are thriving with it! James started third grade with language arts as his favorite subject. Peter started first grade, and loves math, giving his brother a run for his money in this subject. Annie is learning to color, to play with play dough, and to play by herself while brothers work on their school. We ended the month finding out that we are expecting baby number 4! Annie’s face says it all for the whole family…we are thrilled!

October

October brought its routine fall sickness, but also a mid fall break where daddy had a week of vacation time we got to spend at home as a family! Pumpkin patches, walks and games inside were a blast. We ended the month celebrating Annie’s second birthday, which was a joy! In October we also began the process of grieving my nineteen year old cousin who lost his life in a tragic car accident.

November

November brought a relief from my first trimester nausea and lots of much needed time with extended family during my cousins funeral and over thanksgiving weekend. We are so thankful for God’s many blessings in our lives, the serving opportunities He has given us, and the family we have.

December

This month has been busy for Travis at the church, as they prepare for special Christmas services and events. The kids and I plugged away with school, our science coop with another homeschool family, and slowly decorating the house. Peter wants the house to look like a winter wonderland and unfortunately we aren’t quite there yet. I am enjoying this season of reflecting on the past year, the joys and sorrows, and on the reasonable and confident hope we have in Jesus. It truly is His peace and truth that sustains us in our everyday and gives purpose and value to our lives.

While our lives steadied and grounded this year, I found great comfort in hope in the reminder that Jesus desires to and does walk with me in the most ordinary of my day to day life. We pray that your 2024 is marked by walking with Jesus in your daily life and by His peace permeating it all.

Blessings,

Alesha and the Sinks Family

The Ending We Didn’t Get

A twelve days ago we were supposed to move into an adorable little two bedroom, two bath condo we were buying. And fifteen days ago, I was standing in line at Marshall’s when Travis called to tell me that the sale had fallen through.

I had planned to drive home and pack more boxes, then pick James up from his first day of preschool all smiles and energy.

Instead, I cried my way home and off and on through the rest of that day, and canceled the order for our new mattress that we scheduled to be delivered the day after closing.

I planned on anxiously waiting for the school day to be over so I could run and hold my preschooler and then sit enraptured hearing all about his day.

Instead, I washed my face, put on mascara and as much a smile as I could manage, and braved my way through his first preschool pick up, trying to be fully present and joyful in this moment with him, while at the same battling back the overwhelm now plaguing me.

I had plans, and they were suddenly, unexpectedly, gone. I had built dreams for our family in that place, all in my head, and those too, were now gone. I had expectations for what the next days would be like, and those were gone. I had thought I’d known where God was taking us, and that also, was now gone.

I felt unmoored and untethered. Adrift.

In the days that have followed, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve clung to God in some moments and run from Him others. I’ve been angry sometimes and peaceful others. I’ve run a million scenarios in my head and made plans a dozen different ways, grasping for what is right. Searching in darkness for a spark of Light to guide us.

And into the chaos of my heart and mind, a friend spoke these words.
“We were shouting for joy just a few weeks ago…focus on those miracles. Those miracles didn’t come for no reason, and you guys didn’t get excited for no reason…continue to believe that the Lord is going to move.”
Her words stopped me.

“We were shouting for joy just a few weeks ago…”
“Those miracles didn’t come for no reason…”

I thought I had figured out how God was writing this story. I thought the miraculous way He was letting things fall into place, was all leading up to one certain ending. And when it all fell apart, I began to think maybe I had just heard wrong. Maybe we weren’t following God after all. Maybe God had spoken and I’d just missed it. Or maybe I’d been too stubborn to hear. Or maybe I just had no idea what was going on. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

And then God used the words of this friend to draw near and whisper in my ear…

“This closing falling through does not negate the things I did to get you this far.”

I can praise God for the way He worked and also mourn the ending that I didn’t get.I can trust the God I love to be near even when I don’t understand how He is working.I can worship the God who guides us, even when it feels like we’ve been led to a dead end.

I don’t have an ending to this story yet. Well…not quite.

I can say that we haven’t curled up in a ball and given up, as much as we’ve been tempted to.

God has also provided for us to extend the lease with our current rental until the end of September with no extra fees, so we won’t be homeless at the end of next week.

And today we signed a contract with a new seller, for us to buy a different condo in the same community, although based on the events of the past few weeks, this too, feels far from an ending.

I can say that I’ve had days of intense anxiety, days of overwhelming desire to give up, and days of overwhelming peace from God, in the midst of it all.

I can say that there is a tiny seed of excitement over this new place beginning to form.

We are working hard and the emotional roller coaster, is far from over.

But the fact remains true, God did some wonderful things that I will continue to praise Him for, and the ending we didn’t get, the ending we still might not get, doesn’t negate that.

Be blessed

Parenting: Story in Poem

Parenting

My eyes lock with

His, the scowl on his

Small face takes my heartbeat,

My blood pressure,

So high I can feel it

Throbbing in my ears. I want

To scream and shout, and

As I open my mouth,

I feel the same scowl

Plastered on his face,

Stretched taut across

Mine. Him reflecting me.

I see his eyes hard,

Like mine. His lips pursed,

Like mine. His hands clenched,

Like mine. Like mine. Like me.

All that makes me angry in

Him, I see first in me.

It’s everywhere in me

I want to scream,

Claw at my chest and tear,

Rip my own self out

Of my parenting, I wonder

If I could be a perfect

Parent, would he be

A perfect child?

I want to cry, scream,

Wail again, but not in

Frustration. This time

I want to scream from

Sadness, despair, hopelessness.

I can never be who

I am asking my child

To be. What can I do?

What. Can. I. Do?

My breathing tears, burns

Sharp and painful inside.

But truth rises in me

Like a trumpet,

Like a song sung to

Summon hope.

I cannot make him perfect, partly

Because I cannot be perfect.

But I can teach him

Humility. Asking forgiveness.

Self awareness. Admitting

Failure and getting up to

Try again. I can teach him

Dependence

On God. And hope

For change and growth beyond

His own capacity. I can

Teach him all this because

I can live all this.

I can live humility and

Forgiveness and dependence.

Grace and honesty and

Self-awareness and hope in

Someone greater than myself.

I can teach him, what I can

Live myself. And I am not

Able to live perfection, but

I can live grace and hope and

Humility and surrender. So

My eyes lock his

Softening to meet his iron

Gaze, and I relax.

Apologize. No but.

It’s just there, the offer,

The apology for

Him to accept or not.

A going first.

He can make his

Choice. I have made mine, and

I pray he will follow.

  • Alesha Sinks
Parenting When There Seem to be No Right Answers

Parenting When There Seem to be No Right Answers

I stretched myself into my bed, weighted blanket pulled up, wrapping my heart, heavy and tired. I felt exhausted. Angry. Bombarded…by all the opinions in my head.

Parenting is hard.
And there are so many good ways to parent…how do I know I am choosing the right one?

How do I know that the instant decisions I’m forced to make over and over and over every single day are the right ones? The best ones?

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1561474235503-KV4QFZM6Q3H7OKFC30O8/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kCa4Syz4Uh5awnNE1AG4WhlZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWQUxwkmyExglNqGp0IvTJZUJFbgE-7XRK3dMEBRBhUpx19tq3uWnmkjlWjpKNiSOunXm_g7gdTul1r0wnpy-qWWTMyUcLTUx9Vd7H17qo9e0/Crayons1.jpg?format=original" alt=""/>

So often I know, I know they aren’t. I apologize over and over. I snap and yell and rant again and again, and then must circle back to asking forgiveness.

I try this.
Then that.
I say one thing
Then I change my mind and try a different vein of logic or type of consequence or chose a rewards system or give simply let it slide because I
don’t
know
what
I’m
doing.

Maybe you hear them too? The dozens of voices. Opinions. Loud and demanding and, unfortunately, contradictory.

How do I know I’m listening to the right one?

And I can feel the them rising…the voices. Slowly louder and louder in my head. Crushing me with their volume and their weight.

Do this…not that.
If you do this, you will hurt them…
If you don’t do this, you teach them bad habits…
This is kinder…
This is wiser…
This is effective…
This is better for the long haul…
This is practical…
This is for their heart…
..and I am drowning in the voices.

But suddenly, in my head but not from within it, His voice speaks above the din. Softly. As if nearest to me out of them all.

“Don’t listen to them, listen to me.”

And I realize that somehow I thought His voice was there, in the chorus and chaos of voices in my head. I somehow thought His voice was among them, shouting at me with judgement, with fear, with shame.

I forget that His voice is different.
His voice is outside of the crowd. Separate. And only in turning the crowd of opinions down, will I be able to hear His voice, firm and safe. A steady place to rest my heart and mind. A safe bottom to plant my anchor.

The steady thrum of options and opinions isn’t necessary to my parenting.

Being guided by the Holy Spirit is necessary to my parenting.

So I’ll lay my anxious heart down tonight, a little easier. My head will be a little quieter. And my mind and heart will repeat this simple prayer.

God, let me see my children with Your eyes and Your heart. Let me hear Your voice and let my heart be sensitive to Your touch. Give me Your wisdom and strength and grace as I parent, and the humility to allow myself to be parented by You in the process.

And this simple mediation.

His voice is not in the crowd.

Be blessed

All The Little Blessings

He said it so clearly. Whispered it into my heart in that moment…

“Don’t get so hung up on waiting for the answers to the big things you are praying for, that you forget to stop and worship Me for all the little blessings I’m sending in the meantime.”

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1558380803031-BFOPQV6TZSFQ80QYR6KR/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kDCPJx5CXgnCxGyfZrDVw8J7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0pmy3nA_zcH46jcY3zQ1h8g_FNYzQB9C1g4oEzntxIUvwy5WtNg-YWltkTaCEnH3xg/IMG_4427.JPG?format=original" alt=""/>

We were simply trying to get two new keys made for our van.

THE van.

The one from a short list of things my husband had been faithfully praying for every day for nearly two years.

God had answered.

He’d answered that big prayer and two weeks later, we were still overjoyed and in awe. Still thanking God for it every single day.

But deep down, a part of my heart was also starting to look ahead at the next big thing we’d been praying for.
Longing.
Anxious.
Wondering.

Almost as if that one answered prayer sparked more discontent in me, rather than ushering me into the eternal gratitude and trust I thought it would.

{To read the rest of this post go visit my friend Kerry’s blog. She graciously asked me to write this post to share with her readers, but I wanted to make sure I shared it here with you all as well.}

Be blessed

Becoming Alike: {Mother’s Day Thoughts}

It shows up in the eyes of my little ones, again and again.
This searching.
This watching.
This learning.
And this becoming.

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1557709317851-DL7HC1COHZ4B3AKWPHR7/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kIUnZ7F61d6kUErKMFUG9yx7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0oGwQPSn8VqSSM4mc7rOnoiSVtBZdsXS7gJn3q8MEfLVmmn_5Sp7NN1Sx1GsGIEG9A/Image+50.JPG?format=original" alt=""/>


  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1557709385161-U167G9JI1H2H31ITN284/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kK60W-ob1oA2Fm-j4E_9NQB7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z4YTzHvnKhyp6Da-NYroOW3ZGjoBKy3azqku80C789l0kD6Ec8Uq9YczfrzwR7e2Mh5VMMOxnTbph8FXiclivDQnof69TlCeE0rAhj6HUpXkw/Image+51.JPG?format=original" alt=""/>

I see in his eyes. This desire to become alike to those he loves.

In the eyes of a three year old, it easy to see and to interpret that look. That desire.

But in the eyes of a twenty year old, a twenty-eight year old, a thirty-eight year old, a fifty-right year old, it’s harder to spot.
It’s still there though.

This desire to be alike to those we love or to those we admire doesn’t go away with age.

Because perhaps, if we look closely, we can find beautiful ways that those we love have already shaped us. And that they have shaped us so deeply, it’s hard to distinguish their influence from who are most deeply are.

That can be a painful truth.
But it can also be a beautiful truth.

It has struck me again and again this year, and particularly this Mother’s Day, how there are so many pieces of me put in place by others. Unintentionally maybe. Subtly. Beautifully.

And as I become aware of them, it’s up to me to keep them, or change them.

Today, I want to focus on all the wonderful, beautiful things about me that were taught by and learned from my mother. I’m still learning from her, becoming like her, seeing the fruit of my childhood admiration come out of the deepest parts of me.

And today, I’m thankful for so many beautiful pieces of me that are credited to her. To her teaching, her loving, her serving, her planning and organization, her openness and honesty, and most of all her willingness to admit weakness and failure and her need for Jesus.

I have so many memories of her leading and guiding us toward Jesus, or simply watching her pursue Him herself.

I pray that this can be my legacy as well. That those memories and habits I watched in her all these years become so deeply a part of me that they become who I am too.

“Mama”

So many pieces of me
I take for granted,
Mistake as innate.
Till I stop and watch
You live and love.
Then with sudden clarity
I see myself,
All the pieces of me
That aren’t accidental at all.
Instead they are hours
And days and years
Of you sacrificing,
Pouring yourself into me.
Yourself out for me.
And most of all
Pouring yourself out
Before Jesus.
Letting Him fill you
So that you could pour
Into me something better
Than just yourself.
I hope that I
Can pour myself
Out that way too.

Alesha Sinks

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1557709278407-W4VMAQG3Z1CLFL0W8XBP/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kBli73Htgs-NafDnOYQBlvN7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z5QHyNOqBUUEtDDsRWrJLTm8gdG5xRTtrVVyLXkddLwcg0lFwGgNRFzrle14-MGomKmTAiGKVyCZ3FL6eVFJJ3F/MamaPoem.JPG?format=original" alt=""/>

“Thank You”

I should have said
thank you
For the lessons you taught
All the ways you pushed me
Out and out and out of comfort
Till I could step on my own.

I should have said
thank you
For the footprints to follow
The path cleared and waiting
The shaping of heart and mind
The formation of me.

I should have said
thank you
For the things I learned
To not be as well as to be
There are both together
And I am thankful.

I should have said
thank you
For the things you taught
They are part of me so deeply
I can’t separate them out.
And I don’t want to.
Thank you.

Alesha Sinks

Be blessed

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1557709265815-EVO6WMXW5Q9HSG5J0HF3/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kBli73Htgs-NafDnOYQBlvN7gQa3H78H3Y0txjaiv_0fDoOvxcdMmMKkDsyUqMSsMWxHk725yiiHCCLfrh8O1z5QHyNOqBUUEtDDsRWrJLTm8gdG5xRTtrVVyLXkddLwcg0lFwGgNRFzrle14-MGomKmTAiGKVyCZ3FL6eVFJJ3F/ThankYouPoem.JPG?format=original" alt=""/>

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