Monday, January 31, 2011

You Asked...

Some of you wanted me to share what I learned in the organization class so I thought I would share a few things.  I could never cover it all on here.  First, the class was presented with the "big picture" of who we are to be as women in unless we fit these ideas within that framework, they will fail.

1.  Everything in your home should have a functional place and everything should stay in that place.  Now, if you are like me, you are saying, "yeah room!"  So, step 2 is needed

2.  You have too much stuff.  Start with the room that frustrates you the most and make it a goal to tackle every room.  Go thru everything and either
a.  trash it
b.  resale it
c.  give it
d.  put in a more functional room/place
e.  keep it forever...consider designating each person their own keepsake box

{If you haven't used it in a year or two, you probably won' get rid of it...unless it is keepsake.}

3.  The TOYS.  Observe what gets played with over a couple of weeks and get rid of the rest.  Don't keep more than you have storage room for.  Kids are so overwhelmed with the amount that they end up not playing with anything.  Teach kids we pick up toys before going outside, before naps, before Dad gets home, and before bed. Designate baskets/holders for certain toys so they know what goes where.

4. Furniture and Redecorating.  Form should always follow function.  (You can pretty up what works for your family.)  If you have a piece of old furniture that you don't love, throw a pretty throw over it and a pretty pillow.  Don't ever apologize for your home or furniture or the way it is decorated.  It belittles your husband and the hard work he does to provide for your family.  If you want a piece of furniture replaced, make it a long range goal.  Ask friends to come over and help rearrange furniture for a boost of instant joy!

5.  Plan your menus.  Look at the calendar and see what nights require a faster home cooked might want to use a slow cooker recipe on these days.  Go to the grocery store with a list that will feed you every day of the week...and you will know exactly what your family is eating every night...and you will save money at the store!

6.  Have a purpose for every day.  For me, it looks something like this:
Mon:  clean
Tues:  grocery shop
Wed:  ?
Th:  Bible study
Fri:  errands and coffee/bible time out of the home
everyday:  laundry

Of course, things won't always look like that...but that is a general week for me.

7.  Make lists.  I used to be the biggest list maker ever.  And then tragedy struck.  And I shut down.  Putting something on a list meant that I had to organize and I couldn't even think straight.  But, I am trying the list thing again.  Part of my personality is that once I put something on a list, I feel like a failure if I don't accomplish it that day.  It drives me nuts to go to bed with something unchecked.  So, I am trying to free myself up and allow room for things to get done.

OK, this list of 7 ideas barely scratches the surface...but I wanted to throw a few ideas at ya!

On a thankful note, the boys and I almost had a head on collision today when I was bringing them home from school.  We entered a curve and there was a white grand am in our lane only a few yards away!  It swerved after I layed on the swagger wagon horn and we were all spared!  It took me a whole minute to breathe again and then I was in such shock!  Thank you Lord for protecting us!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Painted House

A Painted House.  Sounds like a good title to a book.  Wait, Grisham beat me to it.  In that case, sounds like an amazing accomplishment for one Saturday.  7 hours plus 7 hard workers:  a painted rent house that will soon go on the market. 

We couldn't have been more blessed with our friends that showed up to paint their gorgeous Saturday away.  They could have been doing a whole number of things that would have been more exciting.  But they chose to bless us. 

And we are blown away by God's grace and the way His love was practically manifest through their serving hearts.

We love you Erica!
 And you, Todd!
 And you, Brandon!
 And, yes, I love you hubs.
 And you, Andy!
 And you, Michelle!
Thank you to the moon and back for being such hard workers and loving friends!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

800 posts!

For 800 posts, God gave me a little treat...a piano picture featured here.  Very special indeed, since this picture contains the keys of the piano that belonged to my great grandmother.

The post has children answer what they think love is.  I think you will be delighted with the answers!

Mrs. Z and the Wounded Heart of a Second Grader

This memory came to me yesterday when I was dunking chips into salsa while catching up with my sweet friend Kim.  Sam was entertaining Kim, telling all sorts of stories, the best being that he is going to have a baby sister and her name will be Emma.  {Whew, Emma is a step up from Nabie.}  At which Kim shockingly stares at me with a look that says, "why didn't you at least tell me you are pregnant???"

Once we got over that, she told me a story about a little girl that had been caught cheating.  Instead of the teacher dealing with the girl in quiet, she announced her failures to the whole class.  Might as well slap a bright red letter "A" on her chest and parade her in front of the whole town. 

When did we start to think that it is OK for the heart of a child to be called out in front of the masses?

From experience, I can say that it leaves damage.

My main memory of second grade involves one single incident.  It wasn't a good one.  Therefore, I can't look back at second grade with warm feelings. 

I was a very quiet student.  Shocker, I know.  I was content to do exactly as the teacher required because God forbid that I should mess up and get in trouble and have attention called to myself. 

But, I had a friend named Whitney.  And we were big buds.  And apparently, I did enjoy talking, just not in the confines of the classroom.  So, we came up with the biggest scheme that ever hit our 7 year old minds.  We would plan our bathroom breaks so that we could meet in the bathroom and discuss whatever our little hearts desired.  Which wouldn't include red-headed Rickie.  Because he was soooo last year.

I went to the bathroom first.  And played with the automatic water hand washing fountain which was so very awesome back in 1984.  Then she, the best friend, arrived.  And we chatted it up. 

And then we made our gravest error.  Second graders are only about 90 percent good at scheming.

We went back to the classroom at the same time.

And Mrs. Z was no dummy.  She called us out on it.

The problem was that our elementary school was the "open classroom" model.  That meant that there were no walls between the classrooms.  There might be bookcases to separate things, but if a teacher wanted to get the attention of all three second grade classes, then she could.

Apparently, Mrs. Z wanted to do that.

I don't remember what was said.

I just remember the shame.

And that to this day, I don't enjoy thinking about the second grade.

When did we start to think that it is OK for the heart of a child to be called out in front of the masses?

We say children are resilient.  But, in truth, they are extremely impressionable. 

I am not always the best at remembering this when it comes to parenting these three boy souls God has gifted me with.  I strive to do better.  When Eric and I want to discuss a disciplinary issue with a child, we won't do it in front of the other two children.  We need grace to see how this might can work in other areas as well.

We have little hearts to protect and nurture.  We want healthy hearts where truth can take root and blossom.

Not hearts that are wounded and shut down.

{and no, I am not pregnant.  don't believe the things that come out of 5 year olds.}

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Joy Found in the Progressing?

I heard someone say that the word joy was found a bunch in the book of Philippians so I decided to camp out there for awhile.  It seemed to be that the themes of joy and progression kept popping up.  And so I wondered if they might be related.

Do you ever feel stuck?  You look down and all you see is thick black mud threatening your ankles and pulling them deeper in the muck.  You know that if you continue standing still, the mire will eventually creep up to your neck, threatening your very next breath.  And, yet you are stuck.  Paralysis has attacked your frame and no amount of wishful thinking is going to yank you out of the entrapment. 

You need a Savior.  Because you are helpless when left to yourself.

There are many ways to remain transfixed in the same place.

We can revel in our past accomplishments and assume that since we made a difference for the Kingdom back in 2001, then we aren't needed in this hour.  We forget that the "gospel is too glorious to be content with past achievements."

We can remain fastened due to fear, allowing Satan to cripple us completely from experiencing abundant life.

We can dwell on past failures or disappointments, shouting to God that His grace isn't sufficient to carry us out.

All the while, Satan is snickering, knowing that if he can throw us into a pit without the hope of a lifeline, then we will lose all joy.

But, Jesus is our lifeline.  He wants us to progress.  Not remain stuck.  He wants to restore joy.  He has a new song to give.

"I waited patiently for the LORD, he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  May will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD."  Psalm 40:1-3

Philippians 1:25 says "Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith."

The Greek word for "progress" is "prokopen" which means to advance, go forward, or profit.  It is a word reflecting mobilization.  I think Paul is saying that we are to be constantly pushing God's kingdom forward.  And to do that, we have to get unstuck. 

Jesus knows it is scary to be you. 

And that is why He offers freedom.

Will we cry out for it?


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Somebody Got Engaged!

Hey lil' brother!  Why are you so happy?
 She said YES!!!?!!!
 I knew she was the one when I saw her cartoon t-shirts.
 You are a blessed man, lil' bro.  I am excited for you!
Kirby and Jennifer
Sittin' in a tree
First comes love
Then come MARRIAGE!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy to be the Created

Do you know someone who is one hundred percent comfortable in their own skin?  It is someone that doesn't have an air of arrogance about them, but neither wallows in insecurity.  It is someone who knows their position in Christ and totally rests in who her Almighty created her to be.

I want to be that person.  On good days, I look like that person.  On bad days, I either drink a toxic tonic called pride or take highly concentrated shots of an amber liquid called insecurity.  Neither of which goes down as nicely as the living water that my Christ died to provide for my languishing thirst.
 Does the red holly berry wish it were a beautiful and soft pink camellia?  Or is it proud to resemble the red blood of Christ?
 Does the girl with curves wish she were the size 2 friend?  Does the size 2 friend wish she had curves?
 Does the cardinal wish she sang to the same tune as the blue jay?  Does the blue jay covet the hoot of the owl?
 Does the artist wish she were athletic?  Does the athlete wish she could sing or paint?
 Does the sun get frustrated that humans don't see it at night?  Does the moon get upset that it only gets attention when it is dark?
 Does the woman with a career wish she had children?  Does the woman with children wish she had a career?
 It is alright to be who you are.  God clapped his hands together in giddiness when He thought you up.  We shouldn't take away from His joy in creating a masterpiece.  You are a masterpiece.  A poem.  An idea worth a soul and sinew and spirit and synapses.
You are beautiful.  You reflect the glory of an indescribably perfect and majestic King.  There is no room for pride or insecurity in that truth.  Just resting against the Creator's chest, happy to be the created.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What's Your Worship?

So, what's your worship?  What is the one thing that you absolutely have to do or you will explode?  I have been thinking about this some lately because I want to write.  I crave writing.  I just want to sit down and write something.  Anything.  Anything about God and His glory.  Anything about His goodness.

I think it is my worship.  If I don't do it, I will go insane.

My friend told me today that she has this strong urging to start singing again.  Perhaps the Holy Spirit is bubbling up in her, offering her praises to sing to her Redeemer.  If she doesn't listen to that still small voice, then she may burst.  But I know she'll listen and sing and glorify the King!  Worship must have an outlet.  It isn't meant to be kept inside all the time.

We are created beings and we are each gifted in different ways to express our gratitude to our Creator and Redeemer.  Your entire frame was created to be an instrument of praise.  What allows you to experience His glory?  What is your worship?

"Without worship, we go about miserable."  A.W. Tozer

Are we a miserable people?  Then perhaps we are not listening to and heeding that still small voice that is telling us what our personal worship is to be.  It doesn't have to look like the worship of your friend or husband.  We were all created very differently.  And our worship may express itself differently.

What is your worship?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Mess

Welcome to my mess.  Step right in.  I have manicotti waiting for you.  It is tasty, you just have to overlook a few things.  Did I mention I was attending an organization class tomorrow?  What's that?  You think that is a great idea?  Well, I am glad to have made you happy.  Enjoy the manicotti.  Just shut your eyes.

Mess #1.   Here we have the paper stash corner.  It provides a comfy home to bills, mail, endless school papers, gum, CD player,  leftover baked goods, and memory verse cards.  If you ever want to have a good hiding place, I would recommend this spot for you.  The only problem for me is that this is what everyone sees when they first walk into my home.  What I can't figure out is that I know I need everything visual or I will forget about it and yet I can't stand to look at it.
 Mess #2.  My work area/catch all area.  What doesn't end up in the corner of shame in the kitchen makes its way over here.  I often start to hyperventilate because I feel like the walls are closing in on me for some reason.
 Mess #3.  The closets.  This closet was actually "put back together again" after Christmas and birthday hit...believe it or not.  I hate the cramped feeling, and I have a feeling that when Rhea Lana's sale rolls around in the spring, I will be more than ready for it.
OK, we'll see how tomorrow's class saves my life.  Or heaps guilt.  Or throws me into a state of being overwhelmed and the end result is no change.  Let's hope for the first!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Master Bathroom Reveal!

Our shower has been out of commission for awhile but we got it fixed!  For some reason, Lowe's didn't carry baby poop avocado green circa 1960, so we went with white and did a little diamond design to tie it all in...which I am now loving! 

I thought the whimsical design called for a bathroom redo!  I wanted fresh, bright, springy, and happy!  The bird picture was my inspiration and then I went from there.  Who knew Pier One would have happy bird plates drastically reduced?  :)  Who knew Kohl's would have fluffy white towels cheaper than cheap?  :)  {A special shout out to Anna for loading up her bus full of boys and helping me shop!}
I am thinking about buying the Waverly fabric you see in the last photo to make a window topper.  What do you think?  Do you love it?  Is it worth $20 a yard?  Will it tie everything together?

I love my new bathroom.  It is apparently making me feel like a Princess as I get ready because two mornings in a row I have gotten in trouble from the Mr. for making us all late. 

I can't help it.  I just want to enjoy it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Little Delight on a Monday Morning

While on the treadmill, God gave me something pretty to look at today.  This little male cardinal sat perched like this for thirty whole minutes.  He barely moved.  I took it as a direct gift from God to have something pretty to feast my eyes upon on a rather bleak day.

I told God it would be pretty awesome if He would delight me by letting me go grab my camera and somehow, miraculously, snap a few shots before he flew away.

I think it must make God smile when we ask Him to delight us.
 Isn't he pretty?
 And then:  double delight!  His little female companion was right up there with him the whole time and I didn't even know it.  I guess he had been on the lookout;  offering her some protection.   Most cardinals are mate. 

I thought this was sweet:
"Did you know that cardinals sing their best during the love season? They sing with great emphasis as evident in the swelling of their throat, spreading of their tail, drooping of wings and leaning from side to side as if performing on stage with much gusto. They repeat these melodies over and over again resting only for a short time to breathe."

Are we the same way as created beings who worship our creator?  Do we sing our best when we feel the most love towards our God?  I'd like to think so. 

I think a little delight can go a long way in our love song to our Maker.

"He takes no pleasure in human tears. He came and wept that He might stop up forever the fountain of human tears. He came and bereaved His mother that He might heal all bereavement. He came and lost everything that He might heal the wounds that we have from losing things. And He wants us to take pleasure in Him. Let us put away our doubts and trust Him. God wants to please you. He is pleased when you are His child, when you're surrendered, when your will is His will and His will is yours, when you are not in rebellion and not seeking your own will. God loves to please His people."   Tozer

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The most awesome cake, I mean birthday party ever.

 Let's talk about the cake first, shall we?  I was sick and tired of paying Kroger or Walmart $20 for a character cake that tastes like sugared cardboard.  Really, the thought of them about makes me gag.  So, we went homemade, which is always the better choice, isn't it?!  It is easier on the wallet and the taste buds will thank you every. single. time.

Now, I am not a sheet cake kind of gal.  But, we were expecting a crowd and I knew that a 9x13 wasn't going to cut it with these kids.  So, I went to Pioneer Woman.  And prayed she wouldn't disappoint.

Oh, heavens, my first clue was the almost 4 sticks of butter that go into the dreamy thing.

Second clue was the first bite. 

You had me at hello.  Or lick.  Or cram you into my face so fast I have to remind myself to chew.

Anyhoo, you have me.  I am yours, chocolate sheet cake.  Forever.

And even though I would rather keep your delicious recipe to myself, my Momma taught me to share.

So HERE IT IS.  Beware. 

Even Eli was about to drool before he got his first taste.
 OK, now that the cake is out of my system, let's discuss the party.  One of the best parties ever.  We asked Eric's parents to secure their church's gym and we moved in.  I didn't have to clean my house or worry about entertaining kids or pay money to some overrated party place.  We played dodgeball and basketball, ate pizza and cake, and had the time of our lives.  {Thank you Herb and Barbara for helping us secure the site!}

Friday, January 14, 2011

a good day it was, 8 years ago... was the day we received one of the best gifts ever.

happy birthday to the boy who isn't afraid to enjoy life.