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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

God at Work!

Sometimes it’s is really hard to sense where God is and how He’s working. It just seems that He’s silent and that prayers just seem to bounce off the ceiling.

Other times I am completely and utterly blown away by His presence and His leading and I am humbled beyond belief that He’d let me experience Him in such a way. Now, PRAISE HIS NAME, is one of those times.

I wish I had taken my camera to a recent coffee house that the youth at our church recently did. It was AHHHH--- mazing! God used those kids to challenge us to be BOLD in our faith (It was called BOLD, too!) and to not be satisfied with the status quo of Christianity today. The kids danced, they sang and did skits… and they were used by God to help one kid come to Christ! The area rehab and homeless shelters were invited to attend and they LOVED it. They were so challenged to live for Christ and to turn their lives around. It was so awesome to see the next generation taking a stand and, to be quite honest, challenge those of us that are going before them to step up our game!! They were completely unashamed and they spent themselves for Christ that day. It made me so proud to say that those are “OUR KIDS” and that they are making a difference.

God is also at work in our church as a whole and in the lives of the people there. We are looking to get out into the community and give more. Pray more. Serve more and be the hands and feet of Christ more than ever  before! This coming Sunday is going to be a special Sunday where the vision is cast and God is spurring people to action like never before. I can’t wait to share stories and pictures about how God is changing lives through this new breath that He is breathing into our congregation. It is really awesome!

I just think we are tired of saying that we are Christ followers and not really living it in the day to day. It isn’t that we have not had faith before or that we have not loved the Lord, but I do think that we have neglected His command to “go into all nations”  proclaiming His life giving love and forgiveness to those without hope. I think that we are tired of settling for the sidelines when we need to be in the game.

It’s not the job of pastors to be the only ones who rise up and go. We are ALL called to go, tell, pray and love. It takes some of our time… time spent on FB, blogs and twitter… time spent in front of the TV… time spent on nothing meaningful… when we could make the difference for the eternal life of someone who might be dying in their hopelessness.

Today I spoke with a man who runs a food pantry. It’s really small, but it’s some effort to help those in need. He said that they see 120-130 families in a month and they can only provide enough food for 2 meals. He said that one volunteer (ONE!) helps the few staff members distribute food and that his retired parents help him keep things stocked and organized. They are just longing for more food, more people to help and pray, and more people to come along side them to share the hope of Christ.

I think it’s all about to change.

And God is working in me. He has put a vision in my heart to go the distance for Him and for the dignity of men, women and children who need to get back on their feet. I am not completely sure how it will all come about but it’s starting. He’s challenging me to get out there and be His hands and feet to our local community that seems to be going downhill very quickly. This vision has been in my heart and mind for months now and some days it seems that I might explode if something doesn’t happen soon!! For now, I wait. He has a plan and so I have to be patient as He puts the pieces I in place. This past Sunday our pastor said, “Don’t waste the waiting,” and that was just for me! While I wait I will pray and I will be in God’s Word and I will try so hard to listen to His still, small voice! 

It’s time to obey His commands and take Him at His Word. His salvation is free and His blessings are plentiful for every single one of us. So being a follower of Christ is not a real sacrifice. It’s an honor and a blessing to allow Him to use us in some way. He is holy. He deserves our everything!

“Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy. “

Lev. 20:7-8

Friday, February 24, 2012

February at the Beach

Not two words that you usually put together, but we did it all the same! Beach Feb. 2012 110

We took some sweet friends and enjoyed some time away…Beach Feb. 2012 084

The beach was warm some days… some days warm enough to swim in the heated pool!

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And it was cold some days and we had to wear sweaters and long sleeves…

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Either way… it was the beach and an awesome reminder of how great our God is and how His creation never ceases to amaze me..

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And it was a reminder that I have the most precious gifts in my family and friends…

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Now don’t get me wrong… there were a few pouty times…

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But there were plenty of smiles and fun times to be had!

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There was a little kite flying with a new kite…

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… and a little success on a putt-putt course…

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…overall it was a very nice trip and we enjoyed our time away. No one wanted to leave, but it will make the next visit even sweeter..and we can’t wait!

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Teachers DO Make a Difference!

Today when Caroline got home from school and started her homework she sat at the table by herself. She got out her math assignment from her special ed. teacher, Mrs. Nease, and she started. She's doing simple addition and subtraction, pattern completion and tally marks while the kids her age are learning to multiply. There were a few simple word problems and other basic math problems. I was close, but not sitting with her and I was so proud of what happened next. Since she can't really isolate her fingers very well to add and subtract she began to gather things from the table to help her find the numbers that she needed. A salt and pepper shaker, a pen, an eraser, a pencil... and she solved almost every problem by herself.

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Then she had to take her spelling practice test. We numbered her paper and I called out the words. She missed 2 but wanted to know why she missed them and wanted to practice them again so that she could try to make 100 at school.

Next, she got out her journal and started writing. She wrote a title and then started writing sentences about the topic. There is not a period at the end of every sentence and everything is not spelled correctly.

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Last year Caroline could not sit to do homework by herself. She could not come up with ways to solve math problems on her own and she could not write several sentences on a given topic without writing the same words over and over again. I know that this kid may not be the brightest kid at her school, but she is learning!! The patience of the teachers and staff are paying off. We do a LOT of work at home and have her involved in therapies. I know that all of it together is what is making a difference, but for the majority of her day she is not with me or at therapy.

She is at school.

So many times we only hear about the things that schools are NOT doing well. I just wanted to say that in our family the public school teachers care and they are making a difference. We are eternally grateful for their investment in our child and we want to thank them from the bottom of our hearts for loving our girl and helping her to be all that she can be!  

I could not be more proud of how she is growing and God has blessed us beyond measure! 012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Bushel and a Peck!

This week is a week of celebration in our family! Not only do we LOVE Valentine’s day…

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Even our cat, Pepper, got a little love…

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But the day after Valentine’s is my birthday!

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(Yes, I turned 1! Ok… plus a few… )

AND it’s my niece’s birthday, too!

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She is such a big 3 year old!!

She is just adorable, fun and funny and we all just adore her!

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Our family has had such a fun time celebrating love and life this week!!

And there has been food galore! Over the last few days we’ve had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, lasagna, bread and all manner of sweets! It’s a miracle that we have slept a wink with all of the sugar!

These are chocolate covered cherry mice! Aren’t they cute? 

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And the party hasn’t stopped! My family lives out of town and my mom is ALL about a birthday! I mean girlfriend goes OVER the TOP! We will see them this weekend so let the festivities continue is what I say! Oh, heck! We will just celebrate the whole month!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Them Everyday!

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

Valentine’s might be my very favorite celebration day! I love being able to make my little family feel special and we all love being together so much. It just makes me smile. Smile 

So far this year has been a year of being more still. I’ve let go of several responsibilities because I’ve wanted to listen to the Lord a LOT more. Sometimes being still means being alone a little more and that is sometimes hard for me, but it’s HARDER to listen to a still small voice when you are so busy and on the go all the time.

A few scriptures kept popping up over and over again to let me know that being still for a season was what God wanted. One in particular might as well have been tattooed on my forehead!

“The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent!” Ex. 14:14

The Lord is faithful to His promise that “If you seek Him, He will be found by you…” I Chron. 28: 9b

Part of the reason for being still is that I have been seeking the Lord about how He’d like me to move forward to minister to others. A while back He reminded me that my FIRST ministry is to my family, but in this relatively short season of being still He has been very strong in reminding  me that the people who live in my house are to be the FIRST ones who see Him shine through me.

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Sometimes those that we love see ALL the ugly. We feel like because we are family and we CAN be ourselves then they are the ones who catch all of our complaining, unhappy thoughts and feelings. Well, that had to change!

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In order to honor God in the everyday.. these people that He has entrusted to me… needed to be treated like the special people that they are.

One thing that got my attention was how I’d be really busy getting my house clean… when “special guests” were coming! In this time of being still God has whispered to me that the people who live here everyday are just as special as the the special guests and they deserve the same effort!! I’ve been trying much harder to keep our home in better order and to make it a special place for my family when they are here.

I was really bad about never making beds. But since God has spoken to me about this I’ve tried really hard to have our rooms look nice and picked up so that it feels together when we come home. The world is so chaotic! Our home does not have to be!

I’ve also been on a napkin brigade! Everyday I’ve written a note to go in Caroline’s lunch box (and sometimes in my hubby’s.. if he takes his lunch!) just to say, “I believe in you!” “You can do it!” “You are special to me!” “I love you!” It’s not much… just a paper napkin and some ink, but I pray that everyday she knows that her mom is behind her while she’s trying so hard to overcome her delays and be just a typical kid!

It is really a blessing to have this time with God. I am praying that in the quiet He will speak and direct me to His purposes for me. In the mean time… I am going to try to minister to my family!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sheer Randomness

It’s the weekend!! Woo hoo! I am so happy to have a few days to get caught up at home! I have been sick for a while and frankly have just done the basics to keep us going… you know laundry, cleaned the kitchen… and that’s bout it! I am on my 2nd antibiotic so hopefully this will be the death of the sickness… and not of me!! Needless to say there is PLENTY to keep me busy over the next several days!

Since I am feeling better I decided to go back to the gym today. Oh. My. Word! I may not be walking tomorrow to do all of the things that I need to do!

Or maybe the maid will show and I won’t have to worry about any of it!

Ok. Wishful thinking.

So! In this post I mentioned that we were starting some redo projects around the house. I am excited to say that this week we met with a flooring guy and I think we’ve settled on a color and style that we like! Yay! I can’t wait to show you the before and afters! It’s gonna be great! We still have to set a date and all, but at LEAST we made some progress!

Also, I started doing a few little things for Caroline’s room redo. Here’s a rag wreath that I made for her door…

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Some of the fabric was from her bedding when she was a baby! I think it’s fun and will be cute when everything starts coming together.

I also talked about this wall…

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That’s a terrible picture, but it gives you the idea.

Living proof of big, blank, and needing some TLC!

I was so excited to find some scripture to put on it, but….

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that top line? Crooked as ALL get out!! UGH! Hopefully (REALLY SOON! Like tomorrow) we will be able to work on that little issue and I can show you some good pics! I Love the scripture though and I am pretty sure once we get it straight I am going to add some family pictures around it. Sooo… it’s a work in progress, let’s say!

And I am excited that we are planning another Laundry Love project! We have started collecting coins and are all set with the folks at the Laundromat for a Friday night in March! I am eager to meet some new people and hopefully share the love of Christ with the people in our community! It’s going to be awesome!!

I hope you have a great weekend! Go to church. God is so good. He deserves our worship and praise! I, for one, can’t wait!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Name One Thing

Here’s a fun little game to help us learn more about each other! If you repost on your blog leave a comment so I can check it out! I am not real crafty with the whole linky thing! We use to do these a long time ago…

Name one thing for each of the following:

Something you crave when you are sick: Mashed potatoes from KFC

Something your grandmother use to say: “I love you, a bushel and a peck!”

Something you MUST wear if you don’t have time to get your complete face on before leaving the house: Mascara

Something you love to do while working at home: Listen to Pandora Radio

Something you are picky about: Having the kitchen cleaned before bed

Something you wish you were better at: Not procrastinating!

Someone you miss: My Grandma

Somewhere you’d like to visit: Paris

See, now that wasn’t so bad! Tell me about you!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Go Figure! and a Redo

We went to Occupational Therapy last week…

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and they started something new with Miss Caroline. They talked about how cooking is so good for kids and how they think that using ideas in the kitchen might help us more with some developmental things! Processing information and the order of things (sequencing) is really hard for her so they decided to write out some simple directions for her and another kid and they let them make a snack for the therapists. They had the best time!

It isn’t that we’ve never tried to get her involved in the daily cooking (and cleaning) at home… it’s just that she has never really been interested!

Insert the power of suggestion from someone other than mom!! Since the THERAPIST thought it was cool… well, suddenly it is the best idea EVER!!

So Saturday we decided to make a coffee cake/streusel for daddy… since he’s the only one who drinks coffee (her words). 

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The directions and ingredients were simple and she did great! She was even excited to see that some of the words she’s learning at school were on the box. Fractions like 1/4 cup and Fahrenheit made her SOO excited! GO FIGURE!

Working on life skills like this will also develop more independence and help her gain some confidence that she can do things like other kids. She gets nervous that she might spill it or not understand so she just brushes things off. Hopefully this will be a good time of learning!

In other news I am gradually beginning to redo a few things in our house and I am PUMPED! We are meeting with some flooring folks and getting a few quotes for some new HARDWOODS in our downstairs! I can’t wait!

We are also going to redo Caroline’s room to make it a little more grown up! Here’s the bookshelf and the striped paint and border that we’ve had since she was 2!

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It has been really cute and she has loved it, but it’s time to move on! Especially since places like this are starting to show:

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It just needs to be freshened up and turned into an older girls’ room! I already have a Pottery Barn dust ruffle that I found for $5 at a consignment store. It is brand new and still in the package! And I have an idea of the colors… isn’t this pretty?

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We are going to turn her bed sideways and make it into a daybed look with big pillows and probably paint the walls green. Maybe not this bright, but it gives me ideas galore! We are thinking green and white with some pink and black thrown in. I am on the hunt for CHEAP and ADORABLE things to help make her room precious! 

I also have had this HUGE blank wall in my bedroom and I am OVER IT! I have some ideas about how I want to change that up a bit so I am excited to see how that comes together, too!

Stay tuned! It’s gonna be FUN!