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Saturday, February 27, 2010

These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things....

Recently I turned 40 and some of my friends and family gave me some really sweet things that are now my new fave's!

One thing that my mom and dad gave me is this:

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It's a new fragrance from Banana Republic and I HEART IT! It smells so fresh and clean and I just love wearing it. I have never been a big fragrance girl, but things have changed! I've always had friends who had perfumes that they wore all the time and when I smelled that fragrance it made me think of them! Now maybe I will have one of my own!

Another neat gift that I received is a monogrammed necklace from my friend Faith. I tried over and over again to take a picture of it, but could never get a clear enough shot for you to see how pretty it is. It's silver and the perfect length for me! I really love it!

I sometimes go through phases of buying candles and keeping them burning so my house will smell pretty. Well, I had gotten out of that phase until my friend Lisa gave me this:

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It's a little blurry... sorry! But it's a Yankee Candle called Island Breeze! OH MY WORD! If I can't be at the beach I might as well make my house smell like I am!

My friend Julie gave me this sweet cupcake charm for my Pandora bracelet...

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isn't it the cutest thing??

And my sweet hubby arranged for his mom to get our daughter from school, took the day off to spend time with me and took me shopping! (I KNOW!)

He added to my collection of beads and bought me this... 03750d17a35261230d39edd4c897243c

I thought it was perfect since my birthday is the day after Valentine's day!

I think it's really fun to spice things up and change things up a bit! What are some of your favorite things??

Monday, February 22, 2010

House In Order

Have you ever had the urge to just bulldoze your house? I mean the inside... like just bring in a good ol' front loader and just clear it out?!! WELL! That's so where I am right now. If I thought I wouldn't leave my little family on the street somewhere I might even try it!

Ok, not REALLY! This actually has a little deeper root than just total frustration and being over myself... though those things have come into play in this little process. Just keepin' it real!

Lately I've been studying the Genesis 1 and it is so apparent that our God is a God of order. He didn't create ANYTHING until He had it's life support in place. This may seem like a silly thing to say, but God had an order for creation and He has an order for my life too. Ok, just humor me for a minute.  Let me show you one example...

On day 3 of creation it says in Genesis 1:9 it says, "And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear."

THEN... on day 5 it says, "And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." Genesis 1:20.

God didn't create the sea creatures and birds and then panic about where to put 'em! He had everything in place so that the birds and sea creatures could thrive.

Ok, back to me and my house. One thing that God has challenged me with lately is obedience. I have been so tired of missing blessings that could be mine because I have chosen to disobey. I truly think that it does not honor Him for my house to be so packed with stuff we don't use and clutter. I think I am missing out on the blessing of feeling free from the stress of a disorganized home. You know the feeling?? When things are organized and together you feel more together!

It seems that when I walk into my humble abode... well, we aren't thriving! There are stacks of paper and mail. There are toys in random places. There are books without a home and did I mention PAPERS?? It just seems that we put things down here and there with no real place for everything. Then it just grows and grows until I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!

Now, don't get me wrong.. I know we have to live. This is our home and if you can't be who you are in your home then where can you be?? It's just that when I walk into the spare bedroom or the playroom and things are just there... in stacks... and have been for weeks! Well, that just gets to me.

SOO! Here I am. I am actually taking a blawg break because I have been on a tare! (who says "tare?") I have my Goodwill stack. I have my consignment stack and I have my donation to the church stack. I am CLEANING OUT! I am just so ready for my house to be in order so that we can feel organized and without the eternal list hanging over our heads of things to clean or purge or whatever!

I suppose I could take a picture or two. Proof, you know, that I actually did it. And YOU could be my accountability!! Ok. This could be a two post post... guess I need to get back to my "tare."

Monday, February 15, 2010

Say It Isn't SO! I'm the BIG 4-0!?!

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This is it! Today's the day! I am 40 years old. I remember being 20 and thinking that those 40 year olds were OLD! Well, 20 years later here I am and I don't think I'm old at all! As a matter of fact I still think I'm 20!

My mom had me when she was 24 so when she reached 44 I was 24! I had graduated from college and everything by her early 40's and here I am with an 8 year old. THAT is weird.

I know (she has told me over and over again) that I was breech and back in the day they turned the babies and had very few c-sections. Mom was in tremendous pain after my delivery and swore that they would NEVER have another kid.

That's mom! And that's my girl... man she looks young! They both do!

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To mom's surprise they did have another kid... 14 months later my brother came along! He and I are like night and day, but he's precious and God used his life in many ways to make me who I am today. 

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I have to admit that being 40 makes me THINK, but it doesn't make me sad. I like...

... that I can make better choices than I did at 20...

.... that my walk with the Lord is deeper and more real than it has ever been to me.

.. that my confidence is strong and I find more of my identity in Christ than in other people or things.

... that I can be more disciplined about things ...

... that I'm secure in myself and I know who I am...

.. that I am more of a risk taker. Now, if you knew me before I was married you might say that might not be true, but the risks that I am more eager or willing to take now have more purpose. I'm more committed to ministry and eager to share Christ with those that I may have shied away from before.

... that I want to love with full abandon. I realize now, more than ever, the value of relationships and that people are more important than things.

I guess being 40 has it's drawbacks too...

... new contacts and glasses because my eyes are worse...

... indigestion...

... it's harder to lose weight...

... I'm not as flexible as I use to be...

SO WHAT?? If those are enough reasons for 40 to ruin my life then I'm no where near where I think I am!!!

I am very thankful for the people that God has brought into my life to help mold and make me into who He has for me to be.

My husband. Oh. My. WORD! When we met we were t-totally the exact opposites. I can not believe that he is the one that God had for me. But somehow it works. He loves Jesus more than any man that I've known and he loves me and our girl with an amazing love that makes my heart smile. He challenges me to be a better person and to love Jesus and His Word more everyday.

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Then there are many friends that the Lord has used over the years to challenge me to follow harder after Him than anything else... and were I to start naming them this entry would go on for days!

I guess the most amazing way that I have seen God work over the last 20 or so years is through His plan for me. When I went to college and KNEW that I wanted to be a special ed. teacher... all the while my parents questioning my decision, reminding me that I'd get burned out, make little money and be frustrated... somehow God just kept opening the doors. All that my parents warned me about DID happen! I DID get burned out. I DID make very little money, and I DID get frustrated.

However, once I had my child and we discovered that she had some delays it all became very clear. God's plan unfolded before me and I was able to look back and see that all that I had been through was for her.

His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are not ours. At 40 I am able to look back and see that His plans do not always make sense to me, but there IS purpose in everything that He brings us through.

Well, here's the plan! Keep walking with Jesus until He takes me home. The adventure is too amazing to give up now! I've walked with Him, seriously, for 20 years and I am eager to go further and deeper and higher with Him than I've ever been. The next 40 years are to come... and the journey's just begun!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Journey Continues

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It has been a little while since I have shared about our continuing journey with my Caroline.

Let me just start by saying...

she is MORE than a hot mess...033

... MUCH MORE!

We changed her school placement around Thanksgiving of '09 and that, my friends, has been more of a challenge for her mother than for her. She needed more special ed. support than the private school could offer (or her parents could pay for) so we decided that our local public school would be a better fit. Over all that has proven to be true. THANK YOU JESUS!

Both her regular ed and special ed teachers are Christians and they both agree that God has a plan for our girl. (It's a good thing because I was just going to have to keep informing them of that if they thought otherwise! In my most humble spirit and approach of course!) They both have been pretty good about helping Caroline adapt to the new environment, schedule, kids, etc., etc., etc. and they have given her time to adjust. THAT has been good.

I guess the hardest thing is that the standards are a little lower and so the workload is a little less and I am not seeing my girl as challenged as she was before. HOWEVER, God is showing me that the challenges were probably too much for her and that this setting is proving to be less frustrating. In turn, we are seeing less behavior issues so that is also a very good thing. 032

 

We continue to attend vision therapy twice a week and that is proving to help in many ways. The biggest issue is the cost. Our insurance package does not cover this type of therapy and so all of the visits are coming out of pocket.

Recently I went to a special needs seminar and the way that parents talk about the cost of medical NECESSITIES is really hard to hear. Parents already face the difficult realities of caring for a child with special needs. THEN the medical community seems to just sock it to ya when it comes to the care that these children require. On a very small scale we are experiencing some of that weight and I am sure that those with much more involved disabilities see it far more than we do.

Overall, things are good. Caroline still has a ways to go with learning math, but she's reading like a champ! Socially she can be a little awkward, but we have sweet friends who understand and they help us by explaining things to their children. This makes things easier for the "typical kids" to accept her and they do really well with her. She is involved in children's choir and GA's at our church and I am so proud of her as she is eager to go and participate each week. 013

Here's a little success story...

At our children's Christmas musical the kids were suppose to put black gloves on during one of the songs. The gloves had stars on them and as the kids sang the sweetest song about the wise men following the star the kids were to wave their stars in the black sky. I had a good view of my girl and as they got to the place where they were to pull on their gloves it occurred to me that an adult had always helped her in rehearsal. THIS was the show and the adults were in the wings. I knew that her fine motor development wasn't where she could put them on alone, and I started to feel my heart beat a little faster. I looked at my husband and he was shaking his head thinking the same thing.

They passed the gloves down the row to the kids and we saw her start to try to put them on. Tears filled my eyes as I thought, "She can't do it. Someone help her. She can't do it."

She struggled and struggled. The other kids were standing on their feet waving their gloves while she sat there struggling.

And then she did it!

She stood with all of the confidence in the world, and with gloves IN HER HANDS, she waved her stars like everyone else.

In typical Caroline style my girl rose above the little challenge in her own way. Head held high and singing her heart out my girl did what she could to participate and she was so proud of herself.

My husband and I? Well, we were just a total, proud, amazed and thankful MESS! That's what we were! Tears streaming down both of our cheeks we both stood and applauded our girl. God DOES have a plan for her. It may not be how we imagine it to be and she may not get there like every other kid, but we are blessed everyday by her determination and desire to be her best. And that's all we can ask!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

God's Amazing Hand

Lately it has been hard. I don't mean that my life has been unusually hard. Actually, compared to some.. I'd have to say that things have been going ok. And the more I look around, well, my definition of hard might  not be the same as others' definitions so I am learning to keep my mouth shut.

I guess what has been hard is keeping my questions to myself when it comes to God.

I am studying Genesis 1 right now. Yep. Just the first chapter. Six weeks in the first chapter.  It is nothing short of amazing when you really take your time and dig.

To think about the LITERAL creation of the earth and all that is in and on it just blows my mind. How did He do that?

Certainly, that's for HIM to know and for ME to find out.. one day. Maybe. I have a feeling that if He even started to explain how He took NOTHING  and made a tree out of it I'd be utterly and totally confused from the first syllable. I might as well stick to my finite-ness.  It seems to suit me.

ANYWAY, as I see His amazing hand at work and I know that all it took was for Him to SPEAK and things like light, water, land...  in all of their complexities.. in perfect balance so that it might support life as we know it... came into existence then WHY???

See, this is where I get in trouble.

All sorts of questions conjure in my mind and I just want to say, "BUT GOD! IF YOU CAN DO THAT THEN WHY NOT....

... give my friend a baby?"

... heal that child of his disability?"

... change that man's heart for you so that he doesn't find himself in hell?"

... provide for the starving nations.. just with a spoken word, God?"

.. provide for families that are hurting?"

You see what I mean? It's REALLY hard.

I know that He's a BIG, and I mean BIG, HUGE, AMAZINGLY GIGANTIC God. I know that I can ask those questions and He probably just smiles at me and says, "Bless your heart, honey. You just have NO CLUE about what I am doing, do you?"

And the answer is no. I don't. I don't understand why we have to hurt other than the fact that Genesis 2 and 3 are coming. I have a feeling it's going to explain a lot. It just seems that the more I learn... well, the more I realize just how much I do not know.

Lord, THANK YOU that You are big enough to handle my questions. Thank you that You hold the universe in Your hands and that you hold each situation in those same hands. I pray for my friends that are waiting on You to provide, Lord. The waiting is so hard. Thank you for the beauty of Your amazing creation and for the fact that You allow us to share in it daily. Nothing is more beautiful than freshly fallen snow or a crystal clear sunny day. If You can make those things happen, God, would You please hear our cries? May we honor You with our daily lives Lord. Make me smart, Lord. Help me to know You more every day. I love you Jesus. Amen.