Thursday, November 13, 2014

Heads Up!

just so you know... i've ailed over this blog. i have not forgotten about it. 

ok, i've kind of forgotten about it. 

the other half is spent wondering exactly what i should write. i'm always processing something nowadays, seeing that we have moved our little family to wasilla, alaska. YES, since last writing we have moved. new town, new things, new friends, new routine, etc. i've committed time and time again to blog life as it happens, but then feel as though i'd just be word vomiting and then would either be backspacing or deleting. 

i'm making it sound like life's bad. 
it's not. 

k, let me kind of start over again with what i originally wanted to let you know. jason and i will be starting a kind of blog/newsletter that we would love to share with all of you about where we are at in our journey, what we feel the Lord is doing and where we feel we are headed. you will be able to access it through this blog or through a new link altogether. writing with jason is always fun and will most likely allow me to reign in some of my ability to focus and stay on task. so this is a heads up! :) and also, we are still (obviously) loving jesus, loving each other, and we, of course, love you all so much. thank you for continually being a part of our lives and hearts. 

love always, the Manallis

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


yeah. hey! here I am! I'm not so good at this blog thing. it's like all the other projects in my life... incomplete. unless there's like only two steps to getting things done, I'm usually having a hard time with follow through. everything has been taking a back seat to being with my two handsome men. last blog post was during the Christmas holiday I think. lots has happened since then. like lots. and I'm not about to unpack it all now. no. I'm just saying hi. I'm still here. and I'm, well... I'm still a mess. emotionally, physically, depending on the day we can argue mentally, spiritually, yes all of the above. a mess. but I'm still kind of figuring that I'm ok with being messy because despite, there's still a reach in me. there's still a "yes" and a space in my heart that's still tender, ooey-gooey and completely fascinated with the brilliance of Jesus.

everything is a process. everything is day to day. everything is an unfolding of beauty. and also, everything gets more and more funny as I learn to let go of the details and just sit back and learn to enjoy the moment. my mantra lately has been "press into rest". it's been working! most days. some days I have to say that like five... million times in a row to myself... as I tend to be forgetful. press into rest looks something like this: I purpose myself to connect to the heart of jesus. starting with thanksgiving... and then his heart for me, his thoughts towards me... then it turns into an all day long conversation of my thoughts towards him after receiving his thoughts towards me. it's staying in the moment with my son. staying in the moment with my husband. staying in the moment of what's happening in front of me or around me. allowing all five senses to awaken. feeling the wind in my hair, seeing the details of my husbands face, hearing my son tell me his stories, smelling summer, savoring the taste of... whatever. you get the point.

AND. after reading some past posts, I have come to realize something. I am NOT a writer. seriously. some posts are so embarrassing or cheesy or a myriad of other things. so what. I'm not a writer. ok. well... I'm a SHARER. I love sharing my life with others and love hearing/reading/seeing about others lives. so that's why I do this. as an outlet, a way to process, a way to let some of [you] in on what that process looks like. at least every 6 months or so. haha!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

abe's nativity

we got our first nativity this year. it was only like $10 but it's perfect! i'm sure i'll buy more over the years, but i love love love that this is our first one. for one, they all have smiles. the other ones had mortified faces on them. haha! they were all traditional, but geez! mary is kneeling, leaning over the baby, looking up with her hands raised with a look that says, "WHHHHYYYY MMEEEEEE?!?!"

i don't know what other people do, but when explaining the nativity to my three year old, he doesn't quite find it entertaining for me to read the bible or anything... here's how the conversation went-

mom: *holding baby jesus* this is baby jesus! and here's jesus' mommy and daddy.
abe: ooohhhhhh!
mom: christmas is jesus' birthday
abe: presents
mom: haha, well, abe, guess what? these three guys came to give him presents for his birthday

*took the three wise men, acted out them giving them gifts and kissing baby jesus*

mom: the wise men say, "thank you, jesus! thank you, thank you, thank you!"
abe: *kisses baby jesus* thank you, jesus!
mom: and here is an angel that came to celebrate jesus' birthday too!
abe: no, mom. that's a butterfly!!
mom: ok, well the wise men and the angel-butterfly...
abe: just butterfly...
mom: k, the butterfly are going to sing happy birthday to jesus

*we sing happy birthday then give jesus a kiss*

mom: all the decorations in the house are for jesus' birthday party!!
abe: presents.
mom: jesus gives us presents all the time. everything in our life is from him. like family and our toys. do you want to give jesus a present for his birthday like how you get presents on your birthday?
abe: no. i want a present.
mom: but it's jesus' birthday. don't you want to give him a birthday present
abe: um. a movie!
mom: you want to give him a movie?
abe: yes. jesus watch a movie on the t.v.
mom: what movie would you like to give him on his birthday?
abe: he watch the trees... (the lorax. one of abe's favorite movies right now)
mom: that's a great present! guess what? baby jesus is going to grow up to be a superhero!! he saves the world!
abe: ooohhhhhh!!!
mom: and he's a warrior like you!
abe: yeah, like me!!
mom: he's brave and strong
abe: yup.

*i take baby jesus and pretend to have jesus talk to abe*

{jesus}: thank you, abe, for my movie! i love you so much!
abe: i love you too, jesus!
{jesus}: i want to give you a honi honi (kisses)

then i had abe help me put the nativity back the way he wanted. (see above pic)

we will continue to talk to abe about christmas and its meaning. it's fun! and honestly, he totally doesn't get it all. right now, abe's world consists of what abe wants. but he's three. and my job is to be patient and loving as we help him realize through time the world around him and how much jesus loves him.

right now he's asking when we can have jesus' birthday cake. because obviously if it's someone's birthday they need a cake!!

see ya! enjoy your day and those around you :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

i'm a warrior!!

i have this thing. it's that if i say something enough, i think that abe will believe it. so i tell him everyday that: i love him, daddy loves him, jesus loves him. he's awesome. he's funny. he's cool. he's blessed. he's brave. he's strong.

abe engages himself in an unseen war every day. he gets out his guns and chases "monsters" and shoots them. he rolls on the floor, gets up quick, jumps from couch to couch, shoots and then says victoriously, "i got him!!" to which i reply, "you're awesome, abe!!" then he does it all over again.

most evenings, he will be so full of energy before bed (it's the hype before the crash) and so jason and/or i will play a high energy game of abe's choice like chase, wrestling, or shooting his guns. when he shoots his guns, he's "the warrior." we've taught him to thrust his fist into the air and declare, "I'M A WARRIOR!!" he knows warriors are brave and strong. and they are awesome. and that he's one.

one of the things this warrior does is, when he points and shoots someone (either jason or myself), he completely blasts them to oblivion. it's all out boy play where he sets out to conquer!! the warrior usually hits his target every time! i mean, c'mon! the warrior is strong and brave! he celebrates and then he comes over, grabs our hand and says, "THANK YOU, JESUS!! AMEN!" and raises us from the dead... teaching him that Jesus has the power to raise people from the dead when we pray.

i think... no, i know... that abe believes he's a warrior. when steve carrier, minister and strong man, came to our church, abe was in awe. steve broke bricks with his arms and ripped big phone books. abe stared, wide-eyed... and i turned to him and said in his ear, "abe. he's a warrior. just. like. you." you know what abe said?

"yeah. just like me... just like abraham."

i don't really care at the moment if abraham knows how to or even wants to pray before he eats his food. most days he can't be bothered. i don't care if he doesn't participate in singing "this little light of mine" with the sunday school class. most times he stands there with his arms folded. i don't care what he DOES. i want him to know who he IS.

in this day and age i'm told that guns aren't cool. that i must step in every time there is a slight confrontation of sorts with my son and his playmate to avoid any pain and harm. i'm told that my kid should know his numbers, abc's, colors at a certain age. i'm told that if he can do puzzles, he's a genius. if he acts out, he has a disability. we are completely bombarded with all these new parenting tips that make us and our child socially acceptable, politically correct and, most of all, make it "comfortable" for people to be around him or her. and we get caught up in the craze every once in awhile. we feel credited with every, "what a well mannered child. so well behaved." and so completely down trodden by every, "oohhh, why does he/she do that? you know i've read that leads to (_fill in the blank_)."

how the heck do i tell my son that he's destined to be strong, courageous, loving, LOUD when he needs to be... soft when he wants to be? how am i supposed to teach him to embrace that wild side when society is telling me it's unacceptable, even at an innocent age of three when life and death does not look like what it looks like to an adult? how am i to teach him to be a protector and a fighter when i'm constantly supposed to get him to somehow avoid EVERY confrontation possible?

fear, shame and guilt will always be there to try to bring abe down, make him forget who he is, try to steal his joy, try to make him insecure, demand that he start to perform... i want him to know how to rise up in those moments and allow who he is to step forward.

sometimes we can get so caught up on what everyone is DOING, what we are DOING or what we are not DOING. we're so backed up with information that robs us of the opportunity to simply come as we are and grow. we forget who we are, who we're meant to really be... it really isn't something we turn into. it's something we RETURN to. when jesus comes into our lives, we come into sonship. we are kings and priests. rulers and servants. sons and daughters. lovers and warriors.

who ARE you? separate the truth from the lie.

give insecurity, performance, guilt and shame the middle finger by declaring the word of God over your life. over your children's lives. over your family's lives. and if you are a parent visiting with another parent, pray for one another. speak a blessing over people and their kids.

to start off, maybe stand in front of the mirror. look at yourself and say, "i. am. loved."

and then, for kicks and giggles, pump your fist in the air and say,

"i'm a warrior!!"

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

too soon?

before you freak out, these are pictures from last year. so no... my decorations are not up yet. but they WOULD be if it were up to me. i love christmas. i'm trying to not completely bypass thanksgiving, but... i'm THANKFUL every thanksgiving for CHRISTMAS! we usually set up our tree around the second week of november. not joking. so we're a little late this year, but it'll be set up soon. but with christmas on the brain, can't help but blog about it. if you scroll down, you'll see my book christmas tree! entirely made of books. don't have room for one this year, but it was my favorite piece, outside of the tree. 

*we, of course, set our tree up together! abe mostly runs around excitedly until we give him ornaments to put on the lower half of the tree.
*music: charlie brown christmas. must. also frank sinatra, bing crosby, michael buble? always on the list. and the old mariah carey christmas album. 
*ELF MOVIE! to be honest, we can watch this year round. but it becomes completely concentrated around this time of year. abe watches it with us, but maybe we can add polar express or the grinch? we'll see... ;) 
*look at christmas lights. this kept me sane in san diego around this time of year. i'd miss home, there'd be palm trees and sun all year round... which was awesome... but i missed alaska. christmas meant snow to me. so jason would take me out driving to see christmas lights at night so that i could imagine the houses with snow when all you could really see was lights on peoples houses.
*baking... but it has to be russian tea cakes. that's what my mom would make all the time in our kitchen. so naturally when i think of baked goods, i think of russian tea cakes. :) 
*christmas eve pajamas. i mean. c'mon, who doesn't love new freaking jammies to sleep in and wake up in?!

*christmas camp out: i can't wait to do this with abe!! get the air mattresses out, watch a movie by the light of the christmas tree! maybe make some candle stick s'mores! 
*make or buy an ornament to add to the tree every year
*read a christmas story
*make a gingerbread house. abe is at a good age to do this. i think last year he'd just want to eat all the candy. who am i kidding... he'll want to do that this year too. oh well. still have to do it. 
*visit santa.... errrrrrr, abe probably won't do this. but it's worth a shot. ;) 
*make a giant christmas breakfast! 
*get a nativity set and talk about the story of jesus being born! 

we are going to connecticut for christmas as well. i'm so excited. so are the boys! every time i tell abe we're going to connecticut, he says, "i want to go to nugget!" it's darling. so what are your family traditions? are there ones you'd rather not do? are there ones you'd like to add? 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

vertical worship

on november 1st, in a hollowed out room, a remnant of musicians and worshipers came together and sat in a circle to lift their voices in worship for four straight hours to jesus. they sang as the sun went down, they sang while the community was eating dinner, they sang when some were going to sleep. their vibrant hearts coming alive more and more with the strum of the guitar, the beat of the drum. the room was lit with strands of white christmas lights strung up on the ceiling, but in reality was completely illuminated by the fiery spirits belting out their song to the Lord. the presence of God penetrated the room with rest, joy, freedom, prophesy and praise as incense went up.

there was no preaching, no prayer team, no announcements, no overhead projector... the focus was completely on making that space to glorify jesus and let him know how beautiful he is. that was it. yet that one focus produced a joyful energy and intense flame.

what would it look like if we came together with no other agenda than to magnify his name? what if we set aside our doctrine, our differences, our events, our programs and just loved the Lord and loved each other in that place? how would those songs being sent out and resonating in the atmosphere of our community change things around us? what would it do INSIDE us?

this is vertical worship. it's stripped down and infused with hunger. it calls to the heart of every believer to unity. it welcomes anyone to come and be a part.

come on, alaska... let's sing to our creator.