Wednesday, December 30, 2009
From pretty much everything.
You see, I found out I was expecting on October 6th, due June 13. Very exciting news. But then I got what they call Hyperemesis Gravidarum, and I'm telling you it seems like my world has crashed down around my feet ever since then. (Please visit www.hyperemesis.org if you'd like to learn more.)
I was hospitalized three times, couldn't drive myself to doctor's appointments, lost more than 10% of my total weight (which was normal pre-pregnancy). I would nearly faint when I had to stand up, had to crawl up the stairs to bed and was lucky if I could get down 6 oz of fluid a day. It was just not good. Now I do feel better, thanks to some time and medicine.
But I lost my job, mainly due to this. I never loved my job. It was a job. It paid the bills and now it can't do that. I'm so tired of hearing "everything happens for a reason" or "God has a plan for this" even though I know it's true. I'm upset, scared and I just want to be happy I'm going to have a baby. Being a mom is all I ever wanted to do, and I don't really feel excited about it. I'm sure it will come, but I feel like I may just be battling depression instead.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The leaves are changing, the sky is lovely today.
And I feel awful! Bah!
Cold and Flu season hit early this year, and I got myself a cold! A grade-a one. It's not joking around. Fever on friday, and I've been exhausted ever since. I'm stuffed up, so I have a consistent headache. And it drains down my throat making it swollen and raw... and my stomach nauseous. And today it's decided to settle in my chest. Lovely, I know. I'm such an open book.
I'm going home today determined to enjoy how pretty it is, darn my cold! I'm putting on my hoodie and my sneakers and taking a short walk and looking at the trees!
I've got to get better by this weekend... it's the annual fair trip! :) Hello roasted corn and apple cider!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I missed waking up this morning to his shower running. And even though I'm grumpy in the mornings and rarely talk, I missed him talking to me. I didn't get a hug goodbye this morning. But I really missed him when I was trying to fall asleep last night.
I have a hard time sleeping alone. Tiff is in her room, which makes it better, but still. So I thought for sure that it would help to have Maddie (our dog) sleep on the bed with me. It's a special treat for her, because she rarely gets to get on the bed. She curled right up on the side where Daniel sleeps and laid right down. It was so sweet! There was about an inch seperating us, it was great, so I drifted to sleep. Then woke up a few hours later, as she was plastered to my side. She was nice and warm, but I was literally only a couple of inches from the edge of the bed.
We have a king sized bed. There was plenty of room to sprawl, but we were both on the part of the bed smaller than a twin. I think we're going to have to start in the middle of the bed tonight... Other than that, she was a great sleeping partner, not annoying at all.
But then a few hours after waking up from my near fall from the bed, the cat was outside the bedroom door scratching at the carpet and meowing. So, I got up and let her in.
She is not a good sleeping partner. She kept trying to get me to pet her, walking over my pillows and trying to lay down on the two inches of bed between me and the edge... at 3am.
So when my alarm finally went off this morning, I didn't feel well rested.
Daniel, please come home.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Location: State Fair, Raleigh, NC
Occasion: Every year my family gets together to go to the state fair, just because it's fun.
I think I've stated before how very much I love the fair. I have a ton of great memories from yearly visits there, and most include food. :)
As far as other activities go, I don't really do the whole 'ride' thing but I do love walking around and looking at the livestock, the biggest vegetables, the prize winning photographs and cakes. I just love all the local wares celebrated at the fair!
The attractions that you must pay for that tempt me are the animals. You know, the worlds largest aligator, the worlds smallest pony, stuff like that. Well, one year we saw some friends there who have a couple of children I adore and one of them mentioned the "huge bear!"
So, I asked "Where?" and he pointed over toward the lake where they hold logging competitions.
I asked, "How much does it cost?"
He said, "Nothing."
Then the boys mother said, "It's in the wooded area behind the lake. It's like a 26 foot bear."
I then demanded that we see this bear before we left. We went around a few other places, because we have a kind of routine going on then decided it was time to see the logging expo. They have hot apple cider over there, so of course we headed there and then I said, "Lets go see that bear!"
We walked back to the woods and there was a huge bear. Not at all what I was expecting.
It was an enormous Smoky the Bear and not a live one at all! I thought I was going to see the world's biggest bear, so I said "I thought it was a real bear!"
My ever compassionate little sister replies, "A real 26 foot bear?! I thought you graduated Magna Cum Laude?!"
My retort, "Not in bear identification!"
That's me, a regular Grizzly Adams.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Timeline: circa 1999 AD
Location: Clayton NC
Occasion: camping trip with small youth group to Carowinds
A group of about 10-15 were gathered, packing up a 15 passenger van with tents, sleeping bags, coleman stove, etc. We kids were giddy with the anticipation of spending a whole weekend with our friends. You could feel the tension of crushes in the air, the smell of packed doritoes for the drive. It was a promising time.
The adults were focused on ensuring that we had brought everything needed for the trip, checking lists like Santa. Dinner that evening was to be spaghetti, always an inexpensive dinner and lets face it, tough to screw up. Large pot: check, strainer: check, spaghetti noodles: check, parmesan cheese: check, Ragu: check, plates and untensils: check!
We circled to pray for a fun time and safe travels. All of us joined hands, which as you know is the holiest way to pray, and as we were about to bow our heads the youth leader chimed, "Did we pack the steaks?" My reply, "I thought we were having spaghetti."
Someone finally says, "He meant the tent stakes."
Evidently to kill my pride with.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Really. I'm not. It's bad.
Every morning my wonderful husband gets up, gets in the shower, wakes me up and we go downstairs and have coffee. I wish I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and made him breakfast and chatted with him about interesting things. But I don't. I can barely string a sentence together and I'm unusually ungaurded about my words... so that can be interesting.
When he leaves, I walk him to the door, give him a hug, wave goodbye and shut and lock the door behind me. I go back to the couch and finish my coffee. Then it varies what I do. Sometimes I do some chores, sometimes I read a bit, sometimes I just watch the news.
But that's my time. And I think that's a major reason why I look at the clock and get tears in my eyes knowing that I have to get dressed for work. I am very rarely alone, not that that is a bad thing, it's not. I've chosen to be very involved, and I love it.
But sometimes I like being alone. I get things done much quicker because I don't get distracted. I don't have to share the remote, I don't have to get out of my pajamas if I don't want to, I can eat cookies for lunch. I can dance and sing. I can do whatever, because that's my time. It's the only time I've got.
And I'm really recharged by being alone. I can journal, I can pray, I can reflect. It's hard to do that when you're always busy. And I need to make it a point to be alone for a while... maybe an extended alone period... like a whole day! I really think it would make me appreciate being busy again.
Any tips for carving out alone time?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
In small group this week, we were sharing about how masks that Christians wear affect true community. The community described in the first two chapters of Acts. The games that people play, and by people I mean me too, trying to appear better than we are have always fascinated me. I try to be authentic with people, even sometimes dodging the "How are you?" that is polite to ask here in the south following a greeting.
This mask talk has made me think. My favorite websites to visit are fmylife.com and postsecret.blogspot.com. Why? People are honest. Sometimes too much so... ha! It doesn't create true community, because it's anonymous, but people say things that they hide deep dark inside. I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to write to them.
Even saying things like, "I'm angry" or "I'm so discouraged, I feel like giving up on life." Why are we hesitant to share these things? Aren't we called to live in community with other believers? Doesn't this include the good and the bad parts of our lives? Are we commanded to just live a polite, glossed-over, smothered existence? I don't think we are.
There are some people in my life that I am comfortable being who I am, struggling with what I struggle with and being honest. Why is it that those relationships are few?
So, what are we afraid of? What are we trying to keep hidden that needs to be brought to light and committed to the Lord?
Friday, September 18, 2009
pain me with
a thousand paper cuts
A thousand papers
maim me with
this thousand paper weight
They pull me in
a thousand directions
my limbs feel detached
How am I to finish anything
when there are
a thousand other papers
Vying for my attention.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Sometimes I struggle with this. Okay, frequently I struggle with this. I have led a charmed life, a wonderful existense that I wouldn't trade with the Queen of Sheba. But I'm a worrier. This is one of my biggest struggles. Sometimes still, a gut-wrenching fear will grip me when I leave my parents or my husband for a trip. I'll think, "What if I never see them again?" Then I'll start to tear up, because that's my response to pretty much everything. I'll see Daniel in an accident, being carted away in an ambulance, mangled car in the background. I'll see my Dad thrown against the wall by one of the machines he's repairing at Glaxo. Or I'll see a horrible mishap at the hospital where my mother is a nurse. This is one of the situations where it is detrimental to have such an active imagination.
My work life has been an increasing anxiety-producer for the past year or so... maybe a little longer. Yesterday, I had a wonderful conversation with my co-worker/boss and it turns out, I'm not a complete nutter! She's been going through this too! I'm so glad I'm not alone! But still, anxiety will continue on here until there is a major change.
Most of the time, when I am anxious, I sing. I sing loudly until my head hurts. It usually helps dissipate some of the anxiety. Or I repeat a verse slowly putting emphasis on varying words. I make a mental list of ways that the Lord has shown that He cares for me. It's hard to do these things at work sometimes... singing at my desk is not something that would be looked upon kindly. I'm sure it would draw looks. I have to find things that are quick, because often these anxiety-producing, emotionally-charged moments are also the most frantic. So, I wonder, what are some of the ways that you "Cast your anxieties on the Lord?" This has always seemed an elusive command. One of those that would be great... if I could figure out how to do it!
Monday, September 14, 2009
I have always wondered what makes people forget why they fell in love with their spouse. There are so many people who get divorced, and very rarely do people go to the altar thinking, "This is not going to work."
At one point in every couple's journey together they have been in love. They can't stand to be apart, every moment not together is spent in great anticipation of seeing each other again, they hold hands, they look in each other's eyes, love notes are sent, flowers are purchased. When does that change?
There are a lot of things that attracted me to Daniel. The first, and most important of which is that he said what he was thinking and feeling. No beating around the bushes. He liked me, he told me, he pursued me. That was so refreshing. To not play the guessing games of "Oh, does he like me? I think so. I'm attracted to him, but he hasn't said anything. I'm reading too much into this." While falling in love is an exhilerating experience... the nausea associated with the beginnings of a relationship is not so much.
I thought Daniel talked to me on the phone longer than our other friends. I thought he watched me more carefully and paid specific attention to what I said, but I wasn't sure. So, I tried not to dwell on it. Getting let down is no fun, after all. But one day he told me, "Amanda, I like you." I'm not sure I heard a whole lot after that. But, he said it. He didn't let me wander around for months in a state of anxiousness. He told me. He said he wanted to date for a while and see where that took us. I was floored. This was different. I liked it.
We dated for a few months, not exclusively, and then he asked me to be exclusive. During that time, he had been attentive, he had driven long distances to see me, he had written me daily, he had sent me dried, pressed flowers that he picked off of plants himself because he couldn't afford boquets, he called me a couple of times a week from college. So, of course, I said yes. (Let me relay to you, getting dried, pressed flowers with a love note in the mail will get you your girl.)
We continued to date, and he continued to sweep me off my feet. On our six month anniversary he made me a card. Homemade. I still have it. That sealed it for me. Six months in was when I was as sure as I could be that I wanted to marry him.
What was it about your spouse that attracted you to him/her? When did you fall in love? What did they do that made you sure? Have they changed?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I seem to remember Summer; as a youthful, exuberant child, being a blissful period of relaxation and exploration. I'd really like to take issue with whoever it was that decided Summer should only be offered as a break to schoolchildren. You know what? I bet it's the same accursed person who decided that adults didn't need a nap toward the end of the day. Why is it that I can't take a nap at my desk between 2 and 3? It was okay when I was a kindergartener, and I assure you I had much more energy to spare at that age.
My favorite periods are Fall and Spring, but most particularly Fall. Fall should really be experienced in North Carolina. A drive should always be taken in the mountains in the fall. The leaves are divine. Fall also means the State Fair. The State Fair means roasted Corn on the Cob, holding the baby chicks, looking at the prize produce and livestock, oh, and Funnel Cake. Fall also means jeans and sweaters - my favorite attire. There is nothing in the world like a good hooded sweatshirt, they are also divine.
Fall also means Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. There is always rice and gravy. I love rice and gravy. It also means Christmas preparation! I love to wrap presents, I love to decorate Christmas Trees, I love shopping and finding just the right thing for my family members.
I also love my new home. It's a lovely home. We'll be able to stay there for a while, so that's wonderful! There's a bit of room to grow into. Our lovely new countertops were put in a couple of weeks ago and several days behind schedule, but that's alright, they're here! However... we didn't know until they were installed that there was not enough to do the little 4 inch backsplash. So, the backsplash now needs tiling... because there is no backsplash. The kitchen is still not done. But it will be, and it will be showroom worthy, I tell you!
Our den (which has really high ceilings) is being painted on Thursday, because we really didn't want to do it ourselves. They're way too high. I bought the paint last night, it will be the same beautiful shade of green that our kitchen is, because it's all open, and that's what I want. I've picked out the colors for the dining room, living room and 1/2 bath too, and it will be gorgeous! A buttery yellow for the dining room, a merlot-ish red for the 1/2 bath and a coppery brown for the living room. I love to decorate, in case you hadn't picked up on that yet.
So, in short, there are a great many wonderful things to look forward to in the coming days. My home being put in order, my favorite season is upon us, my sweaters will be pulled out of the closet, and attending the fair with my family. Maybe I'll try a fried snickers bar this time...
Monday, August 10, 2009
The kitchen is almost done being touched up with paint. I'm going to go to Lowes tonight and pick up some very small paintbrushes to get in the tight corners, so hopefully that will be finished up this evening!
We hung the first two things up on the walls last night, so that's awesome. A beautiful wooden post with antiqued silver knobs on it for our purse/keys and jacket when we come in from the garage and a beautiful wrought iron candelabra that has... you guessed it, leaves! I love any and all things to do with leaves.
We also got our Living Room furniture placement decided on. We moved it three or four times, but I think we've got it now.
There are still boxes, tools, dropcloths, paint cans, brushes and general clutter around, but we're making some real progress. So hopefully tomorrow will bring news of completed painting jobs, a belt rack hung in the master closest, and hooks hung on the back of bathroom doors. Oh, and a specific time of day for countertop installation!
I keep looking at it and marvelling at how pretty it is though... And doing the work ourselves, storing other's furniture, using hand-me-downs and bartering for pieces we need are letting us do this at a great price! I'm so thankful God sent us the friends and family we have. We couldn't do it without them!
In other news, I'm going to be an aunt again. But this time, it's my little sister's baby. I can't tell you how weird that is to say. I think I'm still in denial that she's old enough to know where babies really come from. Every time I think about it... it's just shocking. There are no words other than that. I'm hoping the baby looks like her, she was such a beautiful baby! I'm going to hug it and squeeze it and sniff it's lovely little head! You know, when it gets here.
My cousin is also due here any day now, which is also exciting! Hurry here, little girl!
I love babies.
Okay, I'm going to hunker down with the paperwork on my desk. And it's everywhere, believe me!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I’ve seen a mound of books and homework
Ever grow in my locker. My intent?
I’ve seen a pile of dirty clothes that seemed insurmountable
Sort, launder, fold, repeat
My stack shrinks.
I’ve seen a sea of sandpaper, paint and tape.
Work pays off with something beautiful.
A lovely kitchen.
I’ve met a stranger, who seemed shy
And turned into
A best friend.
I’ve seen a child
Become a woman
And bear her own.
I cannot see this minutia on my desk
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
A Treatise on Life
This gleaming chalice,
Hopefulness is etched along
Each shining surface.
The road leading to
Its exquisite form: Greatly
Closer and closer
A wooded path guides all those
Who would seek to drink
From this Promised Cup
For surely life lies within
Its beloved brim
I dive toward the chalice
And glimpse in its depths!
I expect water,
Perchance bracing libation!
I did not expect
To see what I saw,
Something else entirely!
This adored chalice
This beautiful cup
Was entirely consumed,
And filled to the brim
. . .
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
So, weekend before last all of the cabinets got painted. Whew. Hard job.
This past weekend, Mom and Dad, Nana and Papa came out to see the house and bring a boatload of stuff. Our freezer, washer and dryer, a wonderful tool bench for Daniel, some yard tools, refrigerator, and some gorgeous deck furniture. I can't wait to put some pictures up here. It's fabulous. Nana and Papa also bought us a new dishwasher that is gorgeous. Every time I go in there I want to cry, I just can't believe it's my house!
We cleaned all the appliances, and let me tell you, that refrigerator was one of the grossest things I've ever seen. It looked like someone had spilled caramel dip in the bottom of it and there was some mold in the freezer. (I consider this proof positive that most bachelors should not have nice things unless they can afford a maid.) It's a gorgeous stainless steel, french door refrigerator with a freezer drawer on the bottom. It's gorgeous now that it's cleaned up, and in perfect shape!
The washer and dryer work great, and the dryer doesn't squeak! Hallelujah!
The garage is starting to look awesome and full of stuff for Daniel to get to work in there. I'm hoping he shows a real aptitude for carpentry . . . because I have some great ideas for some built-ins. Just kidding, honey! You work hard enough, I just want you to enjoy yourself!
The patio furniture Nana and Papa brought with them is fabulous! They're getting a new set, and gave us theirs. Now, my Nana has awesome taste so I knew it would be wonderful, but it's even better than I thought! It's a pub height table, with an umbrella and four chairs that swivel and everything! Plus a chaise so I can lay out in the sun! You know, in all that extra time I have . . .
Friday, July 10, 2009
I'm in my mid twenties. So, I guess, quarter life crisis time. And boy have I felt it. Anyone who says it's not real must have the life they'd envisioned in their mid twenties. Because it's hit me like a ton of bricks and I can safely say that I have never felt worse about myself. Even in highschool.
In my head, I know it's ridiculous. I have a husband who is handsome and believes I'm a talented singer and decorator. He doesn't hinder my insane love of reading. He thinks I'll be a great Mom someday, and that I strive to be a good wife. He's a good, hard-working man. I have the most wonderful family anyone could hope to have. My sister, my parents. . . are fantastic. I love them dearly and they have been supportive of me. I have great friends. I still have a job. . . such as it is.
But this is the season of life I find myself in. I'm sad. And I keep battling it back. With nothing more than a fork and spoon in my hand, I tear at the insecurity and lies surrounding me. Standing here wishing desperately the earth would just swallow me whole so it would be over. I'm sad.
Everytime the phone rings in my office I think I'm going to blow. Everytime another project or errand is added, I think I might lose it. And I generally don't mind at all, I'm happy to help anyone, just here lately, I feel like I might. . . "lose my religion" as they say.
Ever so slowly, I feel like I've been on a spiral. A downward one. Right into the pit of my own depravity. And here's the horrifying thing, Jesus was nailed to the cross to free me of that. My sin nature is still there, but I don't have to bow to it's every command. I know this, I accepted it upwards of ten years ago.
I never understood Christians who were depressed, really. Until recently. "Jesus saved you! He died to show His love! It can't be so bad that that doesn't impact you." Yes. It's true. I know it. I don't feel it right now. In this place, in this time, my love for Jesus is still real. But you can't always feel love. Otherwise, it wouldn't be a commitment - it would be easy. It's anything but easy.
So right now I just want to shout, "Why is this stinking road so long?" Then I want to sit on the curb and cry.
Psalm 73:26 is one of my favorite verses, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
I need this to be true right now in my life. Powerfully so. I'm walking through a valley right now, and its not one of circumstance. I am not hungry or naked or wanting in a physical way, but it's an intense spiritual yearning. A yearning like I've never felt before. Gut-wrenching. Powerful. And I need God to be my strength and my portion, because I'm out of reasons and motivation to do it anymore. I need to be carried, because I haven't the strength to move.
I've been pondering what my pastor calls a "Holy Discontent" for a while now. I know that godliness next to contentment is great gain. (I Timothy 6:6) But that context is talking about money. What I'm searching for is passion, that life-changing zeal that propels me out of bed every morning. I'm not concerned with racking up millions, I do want to be responsible with what I've been given, but I'm searching for the purpose I'm on this earth. The thing God placed in my heart to burn until He takes me home. For Paul it was winning another soul to the Lord, for Timothy it was pastoring a church. In that context, I'm thinking that contentment is another word for complacency. If it's not life-changing, soul searching, eternity altering. . . is it really worth the fuss? I'm an all or nothing type of girl. (That's why I don't play poker.)
I'm determined it's out there. And I know that one day God will reveal it, even if I don't know the story until heaven. And until then I'll try to rest in Psalm 73:26. But right now, I'm just going to cry and shout and wait for the world to turn some more. Whatever it is, Jesus. Whatever it is that needs to be purged, pry it from my hands. Mold me like the dirty clay I am into the useful vessel that you can see at the end of my journey. You are a good God.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
That's what we had to do to get it ready to accept the paint. (A Sherwin Williams oil based, black, satin finish enamel. Excellent paint!) Well, we had real trouble getting the 'false drawers' off in front of the sink, because the tub was in the way. We're getting a new sink when the countertops are installed, so Daniel pried the sides of it up and we wedged increasingly large things underneath it so we could get the screws out!
And it was disgusting under there. Seriously disgusting. I wiped a ton of it off and we vacuumed it up, but it was rusted and there were gobs and gobs of it!
After sanding, we had to wipe everything down (twice) with mineral spirits to make sure they were all clean. It's a lot of doors and drawers! Then, the next day, we began to apply the paint! Very exciting.
Here I am, reaching to paint the back corner of the door. It's quite a stretch. Believe me, I painted the backs first after this...
All the drawers done!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Here's what you'll need:
8 oz. Spaghetti
1Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Medium zucchini, sliced
2 small squash, sliced
1 15 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
8 eggs, beaten
1 cup mozzarella cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cook the pasta as directed and let it cool. Please don't overcook. Gummy pasta is gross. Especially when you have to cook it again, as is the case in this recipe. So, remember! Al dente is your friend.
Put the olive oil in a large, ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Put the zucchini and squash in for a few moments, and then add the can of tomatoes with their juice. It will look like this. And it will smell divine. Add some salt and pepper to it, because ... it tastes good.
Cook this for about ten minutes, until most of the liquid is evaporated. Remember to stir it occasionally.
Meanwhile, your pasta is cool. Or it should be. So, whip your 8 eggs a bit in a large bowl. Add the cooled pasta and 1/2 a cup of the mozzarella cheese. Add some salt and pepper. I can't get enough pepper, personally. Mix it together well. It will look like this!
Then you add these the spaghetti mixture to the warm veggies and stir well. Cook that on medium-low heat about 5 minutes or until the bottom of the frittata is set, so it's not moving around when you tilt it, but the top is still wet. Then you'll sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese on top. Bake it 10 minutes of until the center is set.
This is all done, not moving. Lightly browned on the edges.
Wow. Cut it into wedges and serve! I served mine with a napa cabbage salad with toasted ramen and sesame seeds. Also delicious!
I have no idea why the site kept turning my picture on it's head. But there you go, that's what it looks like on your plate... if you turn your head to the side. But you get the idea.
The entire time I was eating it, I was thinking, "This would be delicious with the addition of some summer sausage!" Point being, this is a recipe that begs to be played with. Use mushrooms and onions if that's your thing, cause it sure as heck ain't mine! Or hashbrowns instead of spaghetti maybe. Have fun and let me know if you find any combinations worth trying!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
"Yet children are not only our hope for the future. By their very existence, they will be our future. And yet we so often take them for granted, or underestimate their essential importance. We need to take care of them now, educate, nurture and love them now, teach them the values of harmony, love, understanding, tolerance and an appreciation of other cultures now. Because now is the time to lay the right foundations for their future."
The second is that I can hardly read this without weeping.
It is the reason that I desire to carry my own children. The reason I want to adopt a child without a home and without parents to nurture, love and lay the right foundations in their precious little hearts. And it is the reason I am a Children's Ministry Director at Seacoast in Greensboro.
There is so much passion in that statement and so much appreciation for the weighty task of caring for children that it brings tears to my eyes. I beg God to let me carry that weight to please Him. Because the most important task is not teaching them appreciation of cultures or even about harmony or love; it is reaching out to children to show them the heart of the Lord.
My Savior began to draw me to himself when I was a very small child. I remember pieces of Scripture, songs from Sunday School and lessons about what an awesome and powerful God He is and how much He loved me. I remember feeling how special it was that He knew me. He really knew me. He knew the daydreams I had in my head. He saw my imaginative little brain working 24-7. He knew that if I was playing, I was playing pretend... even if my friends didn't know that. He knew I wanted pink carpet in my room and was so happy when my parents put it in for me. He knew how much I loved my family, and how thankful I was for a little sister to play with. He even knew the number of the hairs on my head. (I remember trying to count them myself when I was in early elementary school because I thought, surely I should know myself!)
The point is that I could understand a lot more about the Lord than I think that kids do now. I have to sit back and remember how much, as a child, I did think about God and how much I wanted to know Him, how much I was curious about Him. Kids really do observe and retain information well. And I lose sight of that sometimes.
So, my heart and soul is out on my sleeve here. I love my Jesus. And I am called to love the children that come across my path and to help show them that Jesus loves them. No matter what happens. No matter how busy I am. Galatians 6:9 says: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. This is a great reminder that even when we are busy or stressed, that the Lord is with us in it! We're not alone, we just need to persevere! Pick ourselves up and keep running.
Remember this week when children come into your path. One day they'll be running things. They will be our doctors, teachers, pastors and counselors. Missionaries, plumbers, executives and parents. Don't we want to show them the love of Jesus? They are incredibly teachable right now, so lets teach them the right things.
Mark 9:37 - Jesus said, "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me."
Luke 10:2 - "These were his instructions to them: “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields."
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It was so relaxing to just spend a little while in creative expression. Not having any thing I 'had to' do, just let my mind roam. I'm no artist, clearly. But still, not bad for a first effort!
I love, love, love leaf patterned things. I found a stamp with a leaf on it and went from there.
I like how the plate has the small upturns on the edges, and how you can see light brushstrokes in the yellow.
I love to serve glazed bacon wrapped water chestnuts on it.
I can't wait to try it again!
Monday, June 15, 2009
Here is the back of the house and the husband! Much grilling will take place on the deck! I can taste the steak now...
This is what you will see walking in the front door and looking toward the right. If you look toward the left, you will see the stairs and a half bath. If you look straight ahead, you will see the kitchen.
And here's the dining room! That you can see from the picture above is attached to the living room. The wallpaper will be destroyed post-haste, do not fear.
This is looking into the kitchen from the dining room. You can also see into the family room from this shot. This is one of the things I love most about the house, the open kitchen to the family room. Plus it has a little bar area. I love it!
This is the kitchen standing at the bar area in the family room looking into the kitchen, and you can see a little piece of the dining room.
This is standing in the family room looking into the kitchen, you can see the bar area. Here, and there's a place for a small table.
Here's the Family Room. There are vaulted ceilings in here, dental molding around the gas fireplace. And I love the windows on the corner! This and the kitchen will be my favorite rooms, I'm sure of it.
This is coming back into the Living Room from the Dining Room.
I'm going to pause right here, look the the left and show you the molding that's all in the downstairs. I love it!
The lovely stairwell, with the front door and the half bathroom next to it.
I love the little octagon window in the half bath!
The bonus room over the garage is on the left as you come up the stairs. It has a closet in it too, so it can be a bedroom. I love the charming look of this room. It's a nice size. We're going to use it as our office. I can already see what it will be like. I'm so excited to see how this one turns out!
Here is the Master Bedroom. It's not huge, but it has a lovely tray ceiling. And it's bigger than the apartment bedroom! :) You can kind of see the door to the bathroom on the right in the corner of the picture.
Here's the Master Bathroom Vanity. And me, waving. :) Behind me goes into the closet. It's a pretty good size. And across from me goes into the room with the toilet, shower and tub.
Shower is on the left.
Tub and toilet on the right. The toilet paper roll is far from the toilet itself... I'm going to buy one of those stand things.
Here is the second bedroom. It's just across the hall diagonally from the master. This will be our first childs room. Whenever that happens!
The last bedroom is down the hall on the right, this will be the guest room. The right wall is shared between the two bedrooms.
And on the left across from the guest room is the guest bath! It's pretty large as far as guest baths go. And I didn't take a picture of it, but the laundry area is on the left right next to the bathroom.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Here are two of my favorite people. My mother, Donna, and my little sister, Holly. This was my favorite age of Hollys, so it is very dated, around 1990. But it's just too cute not to share! Isn't her little face just adorable! Why, oh why couldn't you stay that small! :) But anyway, this post is about Mom!
Anyway, I've been thinking about how great my folks are and the example they have set for Holly and I. So I thought I'd share one of the lessons my mother taught me. To this day I cannot go to a grocery store and not think, "Integrity!"
She always returns her grocery carts to the proper returns and she always puts things back if she decides she doesn't want it. I have never seen her put a bag of chips in the wrong place. But her big thing was the buggys. I remember putting one with a large grouping of carts in the parking lot once, and she turned me right around and told me to put it where it belonged because integrity was shown in the little things.
Even if other people put their buggys in the wrong place, it doesn't mean I should.
I never realized just how much life application would be drawn from that lesson in the parking lot. And I'll tell you what, I even put other people's buggys in the returns now! Thanks, Mom. The way you've lived your life has made such a difference.
Monday, June 8, 2009
So, anyone who has purchased a home, what did you do before closing? Any tips would be appreciated!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
When blood and water hit the ground, Walls we couldn't move came crashing down.
We were free and made alive, The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died.
~Phil Wickham, True Love
Or I'd sit quietly next to a stream. Reveling in the fact that He loves me individually. All my sins, insecurities and fears (failure, being unlovely, rejection, spiders, loneliness, I could go on forever) and marvel that they are not too big for the God of the universe to love me. Nothing about me escapes his notice. Psalm 38:9 "All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you."
How great is the love that You've lavished on me, How infinite Your majesty.
You formed the mountains, You calmed the raging seas.
And redeemed this heart in me!
You are great, Your mercies never fade, Your grace is all I need.
~John Larsson, You are Great
I'd stand in the wondrous mountains thinking about how small I am, in all reality. And how incredible it is that He sees and hears me. Matthew 10:29-31, "What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows."
I know You're there, I know you see me
You're the air I breathe, You are the ground beneath me
I know you're there, I know you hear me
I can find you anywhere.
~Heather Williams, I Know You're There
Then I'd go here to a meadow in the Alps in Austria and marvel at the shear beauty.
And I'd sing "Sound of Music" just because it's fun, and I'm sure the locals don't hear it a lot.
Where would you go? What's your favorite song of praise?
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Especially if the picture is huge. It's like finding my hometown; Selma, NC, population 6,820, on a map of the world.
Not so easy.
It's a sort of comparison to what my life has been like lately, more specifically, my thinking lately. Big picture thinking, coordinating things that may have a lifetime effect - and resenting those things that interfere with doing the 'important' work.
I get easily bogged down trying to sort out the 'worthwhile' things from the 'mundane,' and somehow I came to the conclusion that I am the one who gets to decide one from the other. Evidently, I am an expert. (Ha!) How do I know if politely answering a call from a wholesaler at work will have a more lasting impact than preparing a craft for the toddler class or re-organizing the church kitchen? I can certainly tell you which I'd rather be doing.
But that shouldn't be the crux of my decision making. The question I should be asking is, "Would the attitude that I have toward what I am doing please my Lord?" Honest answer: No.
My attitude has not been Christ-like in all the things I've been doing. I've been growing in my vision for Children's Ministry, God has begun to fill me with the desire, passion and vision that I've been asking for. (Another post all together.) And this is great. But in that, I've been having a very bad attitude towards those things that I may not be passionate about, but are no less important in His eyes.
Because our hearts are what is important in His eyes. And I hadn't been guarding the thoughts I let in.
Our women's group studied the Beatitudes last night. I always thought that was a funny name, until someone said it was the attitudes that should be in our lives. (Side-note: how come some words can get sandwiched together and not others? See how my brain is, I distract myself.) And those are convicting enough in themselves, but Matthew 5:13-16 really spoke to me yesterday.
"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
It doesn't say anything about being salty or a light when you want to, or when you enjoy what you're doing. It says that we are the salt of the earth and we are the light of the world, it's not situational. No matter where I go, I am representing Jesus. I'm his daughter. We are connected. (Still amazes me.)
The reason I'm on this earth is in that paragraph. It's not to be a good wife, to (hopefully) be a good mom, to be a children's ministry director, or an administrative assistant. I'm here to let my light shine before men, that they may see my good deeds and praise my Father in heaven.
The Holy Spirit really is the best teacher, and I don't feel condemned or belittled, I am convicted and challenged. There's a big difference. I am so thankful to be taught, and will put this verse to memory... for future attitude checks.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
I've been struggling with my Hulk-like sin nature frequently lately. It's big, it's bad, it's me... That's who I am, apart from my Jesus. Even if I have every 'right' to be angry or annoyed, I must let Christ live through me. I must repackage my inner monster. (Insert Michael Scott joke here...)
I have prayed so often for the Lord to change me, to use me, no matter what must happen, where I must live, what I must leave behind. So, the Lord is answering my prayers. He's teaching me patience. He's teaching me love. He's teaching me about true peace.
No matter how many times I have to fight back the hulk, I won't change my prayer. One day, these small things won't ruffle my feathers at all. And all the praise will be God's!
I'm going to copy out some of the verses that have helped me over the course of the last month or so, and I'm going to encourage anyone who has a verse that they cling to to share theirs as well.
Proverbs 19:23 - The fear of the Lord leads to life, then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
Ephesians 6:7 - Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men.
Luke 6:45 - A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.
Proverbs 28:18 - There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Philippians 1:6 - And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Psalm 73:26 - My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever!
Monday, April 27, 2009
I'm mildly OCD about my apartment's cleanliness. I daydream about everything. I make stories for everything. I'm very emotional. If my mind is not occupied by something else while I'm doing something mindless, I'll go absolutely nutty. For example, I like to listen to audio books or music while I'm cleaning, filing papers, making dinner, etc. Or sometimes I'll just let my mind wander, just depends on my mood. (If my mind wanders, I'm much less productive though...) But it's nearly impossible for me to stay 100% focused on something unless I am actively engaged. But then, I also need to stay still and quiet sometimes. I love being with people, but sometimes I need to be alone. I need for things to be a bit different day by day, to keep me intrigued, but I need some things to be consistent.
Why do I seem like such a dichotomy to even myself?
Why do I seem like both sides of a coin?
Why do I feel the need to change these enduring parts of me?
God made me with my personality, my quirks, my passions. But my sin nature is a curse (that ultimately, thank God, I'll be free from). I never feel good enough. I always doubt myself. I am prideful. I put unneeded guilt, stress and worry on myself.
So, when did I decide that all of me needed changing? When did I decide that God had surely not gotten it right when He made me? When did I decide that my daydreaming and creativity were always negative? Certainly, it needs to be reigned in. I can't very well be writing a story in my head while studying Scripture, listening to a sermon, answering telephones at work... This has happened though...
I feel like lately God has been telling me to give a bit of reign to my creativity. To not squelch it back completely. To laugh more openly, to enjoy more without trying to put limitations on what I should be and enjoy how He made me.
For the Lord your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.
Bring all who claim me as their God,
for I have made them for my glory.
It was I who created them.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
And I'm learning to appreciate that journey.
The story of Peter's that has gripped my attention so thoroughly in the past couple of weeks was his seeing Jesus at the Sea of Galilee as recorded in John 21.
I could see the boat rocking as Peter jumped, taste the salt, hear Jesus laugh with joy and feel Peter's absolute desperation as he swam toward his Savior. Think about it. The last personal interaction recorded between Peter and Jesus was Jesus telling him about his three denials, and Peter vehemently denying it would happen. What would he have been feeling as he leapt from the boat? Would he be expecting Jesus to say, "I told you so," "I forgive you?" A rebuke, a scorning, or did it even matter?
I couldn't get the image out of my mind, so I decided to look for pictures of the Sea of Galilee and let my ever active imagination let the story roll around.
It's been a long night for the fishermen. It's almost dawn, they've been fishing all night. A bit of fog is obscuring the shoreline and the sky is slightly cloudy. From the looks of it, it probably will be a stormy day. Peter, Thomas, James, John and the rest stand in the boat stretching their backs.
They had leaned over the boat, cast the nets, pulled them in... 8 hours of it really puts a strain on the body. They kept hoping they'd have something to eat when they pulled up the nets... No luck. 8 grueling hours, and nothing to eat.
Thomas says, "Let's go back to shore. We'll try again later."
So, they begin the journey back. The sun is peaking over the mountains now, creating a glare off the water's surface, when the clouds don't obscure it.
About 150 yards from the shoreline a man calls out, "Have you caught anything?" The fishermen look toward the shore, shielding their eyes from the glare of the sun. They can't see if it's anyone they know, so they yell back, "Nothing" and continue toward shore.
The man then makes a strange request. "Try throwing your nets off the other side of the boat." And peculiarly, they decide to try it again. None of them can quite decide why. Despite the fact that their backs are screaming for a break, their stomachs are growling in hunger, their eyes are dry from lack of sleep, and lets face it- it doesn't matter whether they cast from the port or starboard side, there are no fish!
They throw off the nets again.
This time, it's different. They can tell from the first tug of the net. It's full! And overloaded! Teeming with fish! They all look at each other, and John says what they're all thinking, "It's the Lord!"
Peter wastes no time, he grabs his shirt and dives into the water. He can't swim fast enough. Jesus lets out a shout of laughter Peter's impetuousness.The rest of the disciples wrestle the nets replete with fish as Peter swims. Then he reaches the shore... drenched shirt still in hand, eyes brimming, heart bursting with a myriad of emotions. Peter hears nothing of the sea, nothing of the crackling fire on the sandy beach, nothing of his struggling friends gleeful whooping. Peter and Jesus are alone on that shore.
Peter drops to the ground in a heap, sobbing with remorse and repentance, joy at the sight of his Savior, and marveling that it's real. He crawls toward Jesus, because his legs are shaking so much that he can't stand. He kisses the feet of his Lord, his many tears wash away the sand on Jesus' toes, and when Peter looks up, Jesus is smiling. Peter begs forgiveness, and forgiveness is extended. And in those moments, Peter understands the love of Christ. The sun bursts through the clouds in those precious moments of forgiveness.
The cross begins to make sense. Jesus knew. He knew that without Him, we would be lost. And He couldn't bear it. He could bear the mockery, the marathon beatings, the feeling of complete and utter rejection, the most painful death... but He couldn't bear to be separated from us forever.
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Somehow the earth knows Spring is on the way...
I love God's design. My mother and I were talking just this morning about the first time newborn babies take a breath. Everything that has to work to change that new tiny little human's body to obtaining and placing its own oxygen rather than its mother's is phenomenal. And everything that has to go right to make it work correctly is mind boggling. Someone designed it. Had to. No way it was a mistake.
This Winter has seemed very long to me. Perhaps it's the season in life I find myself in. I feel like I'm so easily discouraged right now, and bad news comes in all the time. I'm not just talking about the news, though that in itself is enough to make me swear off media. So many people I love dearly are ill or are going through serious 'desert' times. And I'm intensely loyal... if something is happening to a friend, it's almost as bad, emotionally, as happening to me.
And yet, Spring is on the way. I can sense it as clearly as the earth senses it's time for the daffodils to begin pushing through the earth in their quest for sunlight.The subject I've been pondering is Heaven. My eternal home, my dwelling with God. I read a short devotional on I Corinthians 2:9 recently, and thus began my thoughts. "However, as it is written: No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." I don't know about everyone, but I have always had a very active imagination. Always. I can't tell you the number of times I got in trouble in 2nd grade alone for daydreaming. Anyway, point is I can imagine some wonderful things that God has prepared. But 'no mind has conceived'... So, it's better than the endless hikes through green meadows and rugged mountains searching for waterfalls and never getting tired or meeting an animal that would frighten me. (especially snakes or spiders) It's better than a neverending bowl of vanilla bean creme brulee with raspberrie coulis. It's better than hugging my Mom and Dad after a long absence. It's better than the day Daniel asked me to marry him. Better than all these and millions more combined.
I was driving a couple of weeks ago with my window down, the day I read the devotional on I Corinthians 2:9, and was singing at the top of my lungs with a Vanilla Mocha Frappaccino from Starbucks. It was glorious. Divine. I saw birds singing, the flowers were beginning to bloom on the Bradford Pear trees, and they looked beautiful. And I thought, There can be nothing more wonderful on earth than this.
That's when I got that little whisper; this is the inkling we get here on earth. Heaven is like the Spring after a long Winter. Only so much more... Come, Lord Jesus.