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Monday, September 27, 2010

Please Excuse the Mess!

I am under construction! I wanted something new for the ol' BLAWG for Fall so I am experimenting.. hence the header with no words.

I like the red. I like the header. Just trying to figure if I like them TOGETHER! That's the key.

I wish I were all computer savvy and knew how to make it just FAB-U-LOUS! I don't have money to spend on a blawg so I will just have to make do with what I got! Kind of like other things in life, huh?

So... savvy I 'm not so it will be ...cute. ish.

The Ol' Blawg is among other things that are a total mess right now...

The washing machine hasn't worked for 2 weeks! You can imagine the mess of laundry I have had lying around. Were it not for a sweet friend that lives close by this girl would be goin' ALL commando and thangs!
Hopefully the part will be in soon and we can get the laundry party started up in here. Bless my little conservative hubby's heart... he can't fathom the whole commando thing! Be FREE! I say! Be free! heee heee!

The playroom is being redone into a more mature space and I am so OVER THE TOP excited about that! I took The Nester's advice and totally cleaned out the space. I put everything in "a holding room" (a.k.a. guest bedroom) until we could decide what will stay and what will go. It's kind of neat because it's like I have a blank room to start over in and it helps my 40 year old brain plan!

The guest bedroom... looks like a yard sale. I'm just sayin'.

Well, hopefully some of these messes will be cleaned up soon! I'm open to votes on the header and red coordinating... or on the playroom for that matter! And if you know the machine repair man would you tell him to PLEASE come save my poor hubby! :)
Sunday, September 19, 2010

Interrupted

A few weeks ago I finished a Bible study and I wanted to find something that I could read or study that was different than anything I'd studied before. I did what ANY responsible person would do... I put it out there on Facebook!

"Hey! I just finished a Bible study. What are you doing/studying that challenges you?" I know. Very spiritual.

Immediately, an old friend of mine put this on my page:

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She said that Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker had changed her life in terms of how she looked at the people around her. Well, I was up for the challenge so I went to the Christian bookstore and bought it.

OH. MY. HEAVENLY. DAYS! I had no idea that I was about to embark on a journey with the Lord that has revolutionized my view of those in need.

Basically, Jen Hatmaker (the author) and her pastor husband were very comfortable in their church. They were ministering to believers and baptizing converts on a weekly basis. The church was growing and her life was safe. THEN God began to challenge her to feed His sheep. She said that she thought that they WERE feeding His sheep, but that God's view of feeding sheep was obviously very different from hers. He began to challenge them to take His Word more seriously in the area of caring for the widows, poor and outcasts right in their own community.

Wow... I am here to tell you that it hit me square between the eyes. I realized that, while I am seeking to honor the Lord with my life through reaching those with special needs and their families, I could be doing FAR more on a daily basis to reach others as well. By no means had I arrived in the area of serving others and God was about to bring my terribly slanted way of thinking into light!

During my weeks of study the Lord would seemingly put people in front of me and it felt like a test. " Are you going to be faithful to reach out to him? I know you don't feel especially comfortable, but do you trust Me?" He'd ask my heart.

The study pointed out that those of us who are not in dire circumstances tend to look the other way and not even acknowledge the presence of the homeless or hurting. The author reminded the reader that "God cares deeply about the issues of mercy and justice and that He is calling His people to ENGAGE with those in need."

"God! What do you want ME to do? I can't help everyone! It's so overwhelming!! And I am busy! How am I suppose do to this?"

Well, there were a few times that I literally  had NOTHING to give. I mean I had not one dollar. So I'd start, " Well, great God! Now what do you expect me to do!? I can't even buy them a Coke!" God didn't care. It wasn't my money that God wanted OR needed. It was me.  I was being challenged to not look the other way. It was up to me to be determined to look people in the eye and speak to them as if I knew them. He was giving me the charge to treat ALL mankind like the children that He made and for whom He gave His Son. He wanted my heart to be more like His, and not just love those who attend my church or who I see weekly in Bible study. He wanted me to see that EVERY SINGLE person on the street, in the mall and at the grocery store are HIS children and they ALL need Him.

Our Sunday School class has been going to an unwed mother's home for a couple of years now to feed the moms once a month. Each month is a struggle for me because I feel that there are great walls between me and the girls and I don't know how to break them down in the limited time that we are together. The more I read the book the more the Lord impressed on me that feeding them was fine, but what else could I do?

Again, my put-God-in-a-box response was, "BUT GOD! There are a lot of them and they have GREAT needs! I can't help them all! They won't even look at me! How am I suppose to help them when they won't even speak when I try to say hello!?"

(Good grief, I am a BIG baby!)

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His response? "No,YOU can't help them all,  but you can help a few. Imagine helping whomever you can and those few coming to know ME because of your willingness to try to meet a few needs."

Well, Ok, but how was I going to do that?

"The best way to connect the gospel with our culture is to capitalize on the shared common ground. What if we REALLY loved our neighbors and offered a safe place..." -Hatmaker

My common ground? The Lord showed me... I am a mom in need of a way to care for my child. While I may not have made some of the same mistakes that they have or be in the situation that they are in.. I am where I am BY THE GRACE OF GOD! He is the one that has provided for me and my child and He can offer the same hope to each of these women.. if I am willing to tell them!  After we seek to feed and clothe them we need to get to the true root of their need. They need to know that He loves them and has a plan for their lives. They need to hear that He's faithful when they are not and that He will not leave or forsake them. They need to know that Jesus died just for them!!

All I know is that being complacent where I am is no longer acceptable. God is doing a work in me that is like no other work that He has ever done. For a few years now I have been going through a process of Him removing things that distract me from hearing His voice. I know now that I have been arrogant and prideful. Honestly, it has been painful, but very freeing.  I have cried countless tears over the loss of strongholds and areas of comfort that He has stripped from me. 

Here's the thing. "If people are offended by God Himself, by His authority, his Word, His Son, His history, there is little we can do about that. They will ultimately have to wrestle with Him. But if they are offended by  our representation of God, then we will answer for our arrogance. We can help that, and we should." -Interrupted, Hatmaker

So, here we go. I have no idea what God is going to do, but I do know this. My life has been interrupted. No more will the Lord allow me to be comfortable in the pew where I sit each Sunday. He will not allow my heart to be satisfied with my arrogant way of thinking that all people are like me and that only people who are like me deserve to hear about His forgiveness and grace. I am sure that I will be inconvenienced and uncomfortable at times, but I am POSITIVE that sending Jesus to die for me was both of those for our Heavenly Father. Sharing the gospel is so much more than memorizing the Roman Road. It is reaching the needs of people right where they are and loving them no matter what. I am sure it won't be easy, but I'm ready Lord! Let's do this thing called LIFE!

Monday, September 13, 2010

We Are Making Progress!

You might remember pictures that looked like this in a much earlier post...

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WOW! What a mess... Well... FINALLY, we are making some progress to convert the mess to something that we hope is going to be beautiful!

We've started by cleaning everything out (sorry the picture is dark) and helping this little alcove in our playroom look more like a little room itself. You can see on the sides that there are two little doors that lead to our storage area, and I want to make them less stand-out-ish.

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It's hard to see the details, but we are adding bead board to the height of the doors all the way around the alcove so that it makes the room look more consistent. I also want this room to be more like a big girl retreat for Caroline as she grows.  There's still lots of work to be done, but IT's HAPPENING! FINALLY!!

Once the alcove is finished we plan to add "THE DEST!"

Remember this??

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Well, now it looks like this!

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And this drawer with the old drawer pulls now look like this!

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I am pretty excited about how my first attempt at taking something old and making it new again has turned out. I knew that it would not be perfect so I went ahead and made it look a little shabby. You might as well go with it, right?

It's still in the garage because we are working on it's new home so I will have to post pictures of the finished project when it's all put together! We are planning on a new wall color and some fabric to soften the space and make it more like a bonus room and less like a playroom.

Girlfriend and Pepper are pretty pumped about the changes!

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Pretty much... we are a hot mess all the way around!

We have also gotten approval to change the color of our (very faded) front door and shutters! Right now they are such an ugly shade of faded green and I have big plans to spruce that up very soon!

Well, in other news... I start teaching pre-school music this week! You will want to stay tuned because, with one to four year olds, I am sure I will have stories to tell!

On a more serious note... we have been informed that the teachers at Caroline's school are having her observed for a potential classroom setting change and I am NONE too happy about it. I am just praying that the Lord will give me the wisdom and ability to shine for Him while dealing with this so say a little prayer if the Lord brings us to your mind! He IS IN CONTROL and I believe that with all of my heart. I know that it will work out for the best and worrying has done NOTHING to change it. I am seeking to come to Him with open hands and I am asking Him to calm my anxious thoughts as we go through this time. He's faithful! I know He will!

AND on a "GO GOD" note... our Sunday school ladies just returned from a women's retreat and I can not wait to share about it with you. Thing is... I was SO busy that I forgot to take any pictures! Other girls did better with this so as soon as I steal some from them I will be sharing about our AMAZING God and His AMAZING hand of mercy and grace.

DID I SAY 'STEAL'???

Have a blessed day blawg world! See you soon!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Year of Fours

You might remember that earlier this year I turned 40.

014 While it IS a milestone in my life.. and while it makes me feel REALLY old when I meet someone in their 20's and I realize that I am TWICE their age... it has really been just a normal year for me. You do realize that people in their 20's are, like, adults and all, with the ability to be married and have children... right?! Well, that can mess with your mind just a little bit when you are TWICE their age.

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Good grief! I look like my mother! And what did I do to celebrate said 40 years? Ate cake of course! Moving on...

Well, last week my sweet husband turned 44! Would you like to know what HE did to celebrate?

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Well, he ran his first 5K, of course!

Don't let the numbers on ALL of our shirts fool ya! He ran the 5K and me and girlfriend did the Kid's FUN RUN! Four times around the track and we were ready for some Gatorade. 002

He, on the other hand, ran the 5K in just over 30 minutes and I was so proud of him!  So proud, in fact, that we forgot take the picture of him crossing the finish line.

What fans we are.

Well, just yesterday we celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary! I was so surprised when he came home from work and announced that though we could not spend lots of money on each other for big gifts, or a fabulous trip, he COULD take the day off and we would just hang out just like we did when we were dating! We decided that we needed to run errands and could have a nice lunch all while our little one was in school. We wouldn't need to hire a baby sitter and spend the money on something expensive, but we COULD just be together. It was wonderful!

One thing that my husband is great at is remembering to see what the traditional and modern gifts are for each of the years that we celebrate. The year that the traditional gift was cotton he got me the SOFTEST jersey t-shirt sheets around. We STILL love them and sleep on them all the time!

This year the traditional gift was ivory. Since I am not much into elephants or their tusks he decided to get me this... 022

It's ivory in color, and holds much meaning to us as we have walked this journey together with our daughter and the needs that she has. We have to remind each other that it's NOT all bad and that when one is overwhelmed by it all the other is here to be a shoulder to lean on.

Is that NOT the sweetest??!?! I thought so, too.

Yes, I cried. Stop it.

So, it's our years of 4's! 40, 44, 14... sounds like a locker combination.