Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cast Down Imaginations

I couldn't sleep last night. I don't know about you, but in my household, that qualifies for all out tragedy.  This girl needs about 10 hours and I am quickly finding that my five last night aren't going to cut it.

God showed me a couple of things around 1 am.  First, I'm gonna have to either cut out the strong Starbuck's or push it back way before 3 pm.  Or order decaf.  The horror, I know.

Second, He doesn't want us living in unreality.

He wants us to cast down the imaginations as soon as they creep up.

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."  2 Cor. 10:5

imaginations=logismos=reasoning, thoughts

The Weymouth New Testament puts it this way:  "We are to overthrow arrogant reckonings."

I want to speak to women, cause I am one.  That's how I roll.

1.  We live in the world of imaginations when we compare ourselves to other women.  We see one thing another did "wrong" and we assume they don't have it together or that we do have it all together since you know, we did it the "right" way.

2.  We live in the world of imaginations when we allow the culture around us to define our beauty.  God spoke and we were created, we should leave our beauty to Him, not to size 2 women on magazines or the latest $200 face cream.

3.  We live in the world of imaginations when we harbor bitterness instead of choosing to forgive.  Anger results and we quickly don't know reality from fiction.

4.  We live in the world of imaginations when we walk by sight instead of faith.  This world is not our home.  Things may seem a little backwards down here in alien land, but it will all make sense one day in Glory.

5.  We live in the world of imaginations when we allow fear to rule our lives.  One tragic thought can quickly lead to another.  If we aren't careful, our minds will have buried our whole family.  God calls us to abundant life and peace, not living in constant fear of the what-ifs.

Pray this!  Lord, show me areas of my life where I am not living in reality.  Show me these areas where I invite false imaginations instead of what is true and holy.  Give me grace to cast them down and live in what is real.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Estate Sale

The estate sign caught my eye on the way to my parents' house.  I knew I'd just have to return the next morning.  Amelia has flea market booths to keep full and I have fall photography props just waiting to be purchased.

But, to be honest, the word estate sale always leaves me a bit nervous.

If it is an estate sale, that usually means the occupants of the home have died.  You probably know by now I don't get along well with death.

Darn that curse.

Jennifer, my sis in law, and I found ourselves in the garage first.  Huge signs said that today everything was half price!  Vintage 1962 Christmas wrapping paper made us giddy with delight.  An old black plaid vintage suitcase popped into my hands, refusing to be put down.  Old books were piled everywhere.  Helter Skelter, anyone?

We entered the house, greeted with a beautiful oak piano.  We stepped into the living room to still see the couch, entertainment center, hand made oak china cabinet and tables and tables of plates and kitchenware. One complete set of elegant china graced the table, the made in Japan stickers still clinging to the bottom of the expensive place setting for eight.

The sunroom held more dishes, another fridge, tons of books, and a set of Nikita china.

All three bedrooms still had the beds, one with a large solid brass beauty.  Another bedroom held Amelia's treasure:  a large dresser with ornate details and mirror that will be absolutely gorgeous once painted.

The closets still had clothing, most of it men's.  The linen closet held quilted items that must have taken hours and hours of precious time.

I found the estate sales manager and dared ask the question that I really didn't want to know the answer to...

"What happened to the owners?  Have they passed on?"

She said that the wife had died eight years ago.  The husband passed away recently.

Why am I crying over people I don't even know?

Is it because there was no one to come and claim their belongings?  No, I think it is because none of their family found their belongings worth having. 

Not the china.  Not the handmade afghans.  Not the piano.  Not the solid brass bed.  Not even the postcards from a long-ago war era.

The whole experience has made me ponder what I will be leaving behind one day.  I imagine that my children and their children won't find a lot of value in my china or my metal bed.  I had better come up with something more meaningful to leave to them.

Spiritual Inheritance.

Those are the words I am pondering.

If all they take with them after I pass on is a true and living faith with the One True God, then it is all that matters in the end.

But they better take the piano.  Or I will come back and haunt them. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A fetish

Sam has always had a fetish for mannequins.  I can't explain it.  He just simply can't resist rubbing his hands all over their legs and staring into their big mannequin eyes.

It is odd, true dat.

This weekend, we waltzed into Dillards.  {30% off of already marked down clothing.  yes, please.}  He pranced himself up to a mannequin and unbeknownst to me, managed to dismember her arm. 

I don't think he did it on purpose. Was he shaking her hand?  Who knows with that little fella.  We performed quick surgery and got the Miss or Ms. or Mrs. back into full modeling position.

The escalators are always a source of high entertainment for kids.  Keeping them in front of me and trying to keep us all from tripping all over one another while getting off, I almost missed what Sam said as we stepped onto the second floor.

Not another soul was in site...besides family...and this is what Sam said:  "Wow, there sure are a lot of sexy ladies up here!"

I gulped, swallowed, prayed to Jesus he didn't just say the "s" word, and looked around for whomever I might need to go apologize to.

But, there were only some well dressed mannequins on my left.

I am telling you, the boy appreciates a high fashion mannequin.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy 60th!

God has been strong when you had no strength left.
He has been faithful despite circumstances.
He has been merciful when it doesn't match our definition of mercy.
I can't tell you how thankful I am to be your daughter.
God was lavish when He placed me in your arms.
He knew you'd be exactly what I needed.
I just hope I look as good as you when I turn 60...I mean 39.
Wait, that is really close!
Love you and can't wait to celebrate you!
{happy birthday tomorrow mom}

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Farewell to Pumpkins Post

He was 18 months old.  His adorable Rugby style romper was about the cutest thing I had ever seen.  He wore it often that fall.  It was our first trip to the pumpkin patch together and the Johnston Pumpkin Farm didn't disappoint.  The rows and rows of the orange hued harvest gave Cade plenty of adventure as we played hide and seek.  He even found a wooden Winnie the Pooh who happened to be his favorite character ever.

After we wandered to the back of the patch, we made another discovery:  Animals!  For a toddler, the rabbits, chickens, turkey, pigs, and sheep were an absolute delight.  He didn't talk well at that point, but I knew by his chatter and squeals that he was having the time of his life.

A couple of boys later, we still adventured out to the Johnston Pumpkin Farm whenever we could.  As the boys entered preschool and kindergarten, I would chaperon their field trips.  Information regarding harvests, lessons on sorghum, and the importance of cotton graced their little impressionable minds.  The hay ride never disappointed.  The field trip to the patch was one I always looked forward to. 

Sure, there were other pumpkin farms in the area that we could have visited, but this one always felt like home.  It was where memories were made and laughter was abundant.

It broke my heart to learn the other day that Johnston Pumpkin Farm will not be reopening.  The owners feel led to other callings in life.  Callings that don't involve rows of orangey hues.


Here are a few pics for old times sake.

Sam's first kiss was at the pumpkin patch. 

Thank you, Johnston Pumpkin Farm for the happy service and the fun memories!  God Bless you on your new adventure.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Being Brave

Whew.  I am plum tuckered out.  My feet ache but there is a smile threatening to break free.  My PT put me through the ringer on the weights today, but man, can she make a girl feel better.

My house is scrubbed.  Fresh flowers are on the table.  Brunch goodies overflow the fridge, waiting to be baked in the morning.

God told me to start a Bible study.

And tomorrow, we kick it off with a little brunch.

Today, a sweet friend came over and blessed me with a new candle, encouraging words, and prayer.  She even helped me rearrange a few pictures.  She knows that starting this new adventure takes a lot of bravery on my part.  Her presence spoke so much life into my new little journey.

Another friend told me that I didn't have to be the only one to dig the ditches.  We could all come together, study together, worship together.  It didn't have to be me, me, me.  When will I ever get that through my head?  What a sigh of relief, to know that God will minister to me through this study just as much as He will every single other girl.  We can dig ditches together.  We can praise God for rain together.  I don't have to make the rain.  What a burden removed.

While praying last night about the vision and plan, I asked God what His goal for us women was to be.  I knew He was answering me with Ephesians 3:17b-19 "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

His goal for us is to know His word so well that we become so confident of His love for us that we have so much of Him that we are spilling Him out onto every person we meet and every decision we make.  Have our lives been established on the solid foundation of His love for us?

Here's to a little bravery and a new chapter...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

High Chair Upcycle

The air was finally a tad cooler this morning.  I grabbed my paintbrush, antique high chair I recently found at an Antique show, and my best pal Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Together, we got her painted before Hubby even had all the bacon fried up.

I had been on the lookout for a vintage high chair for awhile now, but the prices have always been too steep and the structure never seemed safe enough.  Until this baby.  I got the salesman down to $25, which seems to be a good deal for this sort of thing.

I slapped on a couple of coats (cause I am generous like that) and then waxed it, sanded a little distressment into it, and waxed it again.  Isn't it purdy? 

Can't you just see a little one year old sitting up high and mighty with their little smash cake in front of them?  And can't you see me behind the lens, giddy as a schoolgirl?

Well, that is what I have in mind!

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is non-toxic, eco-friendly and water based.  Let's just say if I had a lil' thing, I'd let her not just have her cake on the tray, but let her eat it, too!  :)

Goodbye vintage bunny circa 1970.  I kinda hate to see your adorable camera get painted!
 Hello gorgeous!  Love me some painted furniture!

 A close up of some of the distress marks.
I know some of you have bought some Annie Sloan paint...tell me what you've done with it!

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Laugh for Those of You with Ophidiophobia

ophidiophobia:  fear of snakes

Yesterday I found myself footloose and fancy free.  I finished some photography editing and headed out the door to Penny's to exchange some pants that I had held onto since May.  {Trying on clothes with three boys in tow is like trying to pluck your eyebrows with your toes.  Or something like that.}

As I was walking out the door, I noticed Eric was pulling into the driveway.  Wanting to say hi, we found ourselves chatting it up in the driveway. 

And then I felt the thing I never wanted to feel on my flip flopped feet.


Oh shiver me timbers.  I can hardly type without totally wigging out of my skin right now.

I looked down and there was a SNAKE coiled up on my foot. 

Not gliding across, mind you, but coiled all the way on top of my foot!!!


I am telling you, I would have won the Olympic Gold for jumping the highest and farthest.  I kicked that snake off my foot and lost my shoe in the process.

Once we found it again, (Olympic Gold for soccer, too)  Eric stomped it repeatedly.

Now, this wasn't a big snake.  It probably looked more like a steroid injected worm, but it was still a SNAKE!  On my FOOT!  In my DRIVEWAY!  {And aren't the babies supposed to have more powerful venom, anyway?}

Snakes I don't do.

Nope, nada.  Hate them.  Afraid of them.  Have nightmares about them.

So, there you have it.  Always a little excitement hoppin' over at Moop and Saba.

Hope you have a snake-free weekend, friends.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

And then they were gone.

Do you hear that?  Listen closely.  There is the hum of the fan, the buzz of the fridge, and the whirl of the washing machine. 

And that is it.

They packed their bags and left this morning.  They were pretty giddy and fired up about it.  All week long, they have been full of restless energy and ready to get back to school.  What can I say, those boys simply love it.

I think they were ready to get away from their slave-momma who has totally enjoyed their help with cleaning, bathing the dog, washing the car, unloading groceries, and maintaining the house.  They are good helpers.  I am pretty sure I will miss them.  You know, cheap labor and all.

This year is bittersweet.  Sweet because I can hear something other than a TV or a rambunctious boy.  Bitter because this is the first year in twelve whole years that I haven't had a kid at home for at least part of the day.

I don't know whether to cry from tears of joy or tears of sadness.  You can check back with me in a week.

I know God is going to fill my days.  I have photography.  Cleaning.  Meal planning.  Grocery shopping.  Cooking.  Friends to catch up with.  School helping.  A new bible study to lead.  Time to sit and savor His Word.  Moments of quiet where I can actually hear Him speak.  Three little young men to pray for.  A body that needs a little exercise.  And laundry.  There is always laundry to fall back on.

It's a new season over here at Moop and Saba.

Here's to new beginnings!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Digging Ditches

Does the concept of Old Testament Israel being divided into two separate kingdoms confuse you as much as it does me?  Well, let me try to break it down real easy-like for us both!  The people of Israel asked for a king, so God relented and gave into their desires. They weren't content with God being the True King, they wanted flesh and blood.  If only they knew what they were getting themselves into!  So, the first three kings were Saul, David, and Solomon.  They each reigned 40 years.

What happened was that Solomon was not faithful to what God required.  He married a whole lotta women, a lotta them foreigners.  This was a no-no.  So, God tells Solomon that he will separate the great kingdom and create two kingdoms after Solomon dies. 

Unfaithfulness always creates division.

So, God names the upper region, Israel. They didn't have a single good king.  Not one.  They reigned from 7 days to over 40 years, but not a single one got it right by pleasing God.

The lower region, Judah, was the one where God would continue His namesake.  There were good and bad kings, but the good ones continued to worship God as Yahweh.

Enter the passage that I can't get out of my head:  2 Kings chapter 3.

Joram is the King of the North (Israel) and Jehoshaphat is the King of the South (Judah).  Joram's problem is this:  the King of Moab had to supply a tribute/tax of a huge allotment of sheep to the North.  But, the King of Moab (Mesha) rebelled.  Joram decided to go to Jehoshaphat for help to fight against Moab for the rebellion.

For whatever reason, the King of Edom gets on board as well, so you have three Kings and their armies entering into the Desert of Edom, which must have been the best route to Moab. 
After marching for seven days in the wilderness, they run into a huge crisis.

Maybe you've experienced it this summer.

No rain.

Zilp. Zada.  No water for the men and no water for the animals.

Catch the Kings' two differing responses.  Joram, the one who did evil in God's sight, immediately responds with this:  "God has gotten us three kings out here to dump us into the hand of Moab."

Jehoshaphat's (the southern king who worshipped God) response is different, "Isn't there a prophet of God anywhere around through whom we can consult God?"

One king wanted to avoid God, the other wanted to seek His face through the prophet.

Elisha agrees to seek God's face on behalf of Jehoshaphat, because he has respect for him as king.
God comes back with this:  "Dig ditches all over the valley."

Umm. Whaaat?

Here is what God says in full:  "Make this valley full of ditches. For this is what the LORD says:  You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink.  This is an easy thing in the eyes of the LORD; he will also hand Moab over to you.  You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town.  You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones."  (2 Kings 3:16-19)

They obeyed.  They couldn't make it rain, but they did what they could. Despite their thirst and despite the fact that there wasn't a cloud in the sky, they sank down low into the hard earth and dug for all they were worth.

God was true to His word.  The next morning, the water had arrived.  The only thing I can figure out is that it rained far away, in a high region, and the water came into the valley as a flash flood, filling the trenches full. But, I guess God could have done it any way He pleased.  He is God like that.

Here's one of the best parts!  Moab looked into the valley, and having not seen it rain, they believed the reflection of the liquid in the trenches was blood.  They assumed the three kings and their armies had turned on one another.  The Moabites entered the camp and were surprised to have all the other armies surround them instead.  The king of Moab quickly realized his mistake.

Here is what keeps jumping out at me (ESV):  "I will make this dry streambed full of pools." In other words, He is going to fill the valley with water.

I don't know what you need water for, but I want to encourage isn't up to you to produce it! 

Here are a few things that I hope stick with me after studying this passage:

1.  Only God brings what we need

2.  He does it in different ways (He allowed Elijah to see and hear the rain and wind (1 Kings 18:45)...with Elisha, he neither sees nor hears it.) "Many a blessing has been lost by Christians not believing it to be a blessing because it did not come in the particular shape which they had conceived to be proper and right." Spurgeon

3.  God's instructions to us often don't make sense...he told Noah to build an ark, an army to march around a city, and this group to dig ditches.

4.  When he gives an instruction, we should do the thing and then expect the blessing. "Men will, when they expect a thing, prepare for the reception of it." Spurgeon

5.  Faith obeys the instruction before receiving the first sign of fulfillment of the promise.

What I keep asking myself is this:  Do I have the faith to dig ditches?  Or will my response to the wilderness be like Joram's, that God has only brought me thus far to leave me to the enemy?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Needed Journey

I sat with pride and awe last night as five beautiful young ladies received their hearts' desires.  Each girl unique, each with a different story of what it took to get there.  Perhaps it is in the face of victory that the true sacrifice comes to light.

While watching the girls rock the floor performances, my husband looked at me oddly and said, "You know how this ends, right?"

I immediately put him in a choke hold and ran duct tape around his head, securing his squeally lips in place.  {Or maybe I just sweetly replied, "No, I don't know how this ends.  Don't spoil it for me, k?  thanks.}

I needed to live it through with these girls. I needed to see Gabby flying through the air on the uneven bars.  I needed to see Aly's emotive tears daring to break free as she nailed every single landing on the floor.  I needed to see all five of them huddled, hands clinging to one another for dear life as they waited, their futures now entirely in the hands of the judges.

I needed to see the unified hearts celebrating the endless hours of pain and sweat and perseverance and belief as thick chunks of gold were hung around their necks.

I didn't want to know the ending before the beginning.  I wanted the joy of living it with them as if for the very first time.

My heart needed the journey.

The wise Father we have knows it is true for each of us.  On our spiritual pilgrimages, our hearts need the journey.  We don't need the end before the beginning.  We don't even need the ending to come during the middle.

What we need is a life of increasing trust in the Sovereign One, the One who knows exactly what we will be crowned with...a crown of righteousness.

I so often want to know the end while on this journey.  I feel like if I know what He has mapped out for me, then I can walk in His ways and prepare myself for whatever is coming.

But, while watching the Olympics last night, I was relieved that this is not God's plan.  He calls us to a life of faith.  He wants us for all of us.   He doesn't want to hand us a 25-step-life-plan and then walk away.  Instead, He wants us on a day to day basis.  He wants to see us sail through the air, stick our landings, and hold hands with friends as we wait.  He wants to celebrate right alongside of us as we get that sweet victory after years and years of sacrifice.

Continue in this glorious contest called life.  Run the race.  At all costs, guard your faith.

My righteous one will live by faith.