Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feeling normal...

We have been up to a lot lately.  We got back from our Thanksgiving trip late Sunday night.  On Monday I had lots of Scentsy work to catch up on, and a couple different meetings that evening.  Yesterday I was at the church all day helping decorate the Lobby for Christmas.  Tony and Caroline have been having cold/cough symptoms for a while now, so yesterday I took her to the Doctor. She has an upper respiratory infection and bladder infection.  Poor baby!  Needless to say, It's been a little crazy.  I'm so thankful we have craziness in our lives again, honestly.  It feels somewhat normal to me.  I'm grateful.

I thought I'd share some pictures for those of you who have been to my home and know how Obsessive Compulsive  Organized I usually am. 

These are all clean dishes, which helps... but they will be sitting there for a while. (notice all the medicine in the background.  I know... we could open up a pharmacy!)


Stacks of fabric and sewing machine out from all my recent projects...


Since I have nothing to do... I thought I'd put up a Christmas tree.  Doesn't that make sense?  Notice all the debris everywhere.  Hopefully this will make some other mommies and wives feel normal.  We do like to "live" in our home.


I got out the Christmas warmers Monday, but never put up the fall ones.  Yep, told you I was crazy Organized :)
The only thing keeping my sweet sick girl happy today has been potato chips and markers.  What you can't see in this pictures are her hot pink hightop sneakers she has on.  You do what you have to do, right?!


I guess I better get off the computer and get some cleaning or laundry done while the princess is resting.... Or maybe I'll make a cup of coffee and decorate the tree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Grateful

Thanksgiving is always a reflection of gratitude from the past year.  One day where we intentionally give Thanks to the ONE who holds everything in his hand.  This year was different for me.

We listened to an amazing message from Pastor Steven Furtick on Sunday at Church.  He said so many awesome things, but one of the things he said was "Once your perspective changes, everything changes".  He is so right!  Our perspective was drastically changed on August 3rd.  Things that once mattered to us, don't anymore.  We also see clearer the things we do cherish most of all.  We are in the process of making some big decisions in our life- based on our family's goals, purpose, and mission statement.  Those three things were completely different 4 months ago.  They weren't ungodly or wrong, just different.  Things that were normal for us, are normal for many Christians still today.  We want to be WEIRD!  We are weird.  We are okay with that.  As our awesome pastor says in his book, "because normal isn't working".  Amen! 

Steven Also talked about Gratitude on Sunday.  He told us that "Grateful people can FIND a Blessing, ENLARGE a Blessing, or CREATE a Blessing, in almost every situation."  This is us.  We are only where we are today, because we are grateful.  We are grateful every day that our God is good, at all times.  What the enemy planned for evil that day, God turned into a huge blessing.  We have a clearer purpose.  We have our family, still safe and alive.  Even though mementos and photographs are gone, we have our memories.  We are grateful for all these things.  We are also more grateful that our home on earth is just temporary.  Even if we would have lost our lives that day, it would not be the end for us, because we know our "HOME" is in heaven with our heavenly father.  We now look at every situation differently.

Even on those days when I'm feeling down, lonely, discouraged, or even selfish, He has not forsaken me.  He loves me even when I cry in Hobby Lobby looking at Christmas Ornaments.  He is here every single step of the way.  He has never left me, nor will he ever leave me, NOT FOR A MOMENT.

Hebrews 13:5b  ..."Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."


(This is a video of a song by Meredith Andrews.  I have been writing this blog in my head for a couple days, and heard this on the way home in the car tonight.  I had to post it!)


When we sat around the table at Thanksgiving this year, it was different for me.  It was not just an outpouring of gratefulness for one moment on one day.  For me, it was a celebration of the thankfulness God has put in my heart these last 3 months. 

1Thessalonians 5:18 -- Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.


He is good. 
He is sovereign.
He will never leave me. 
I am loved.
I am grateful.



Friday, November 16, 2012

Intentional Simplicity

Today Tony loaded 12 kitchen trash bags of clothes, toys, household items, etc. in the Explorer to donate to a local thrift store.  I'm sure you are wondering what on earth could we get rid of after loosing everything three months ago, right?  Well, we are approaching life differently these days.  If we won't wear it or use it, we don't need it.  Tonight as I type, the house is quiet.  Silent.  Tony was feeling under the weather tonight and went to bed early, with the kiddos.  As I sit here looking at the toys and shoes scattered around my feet, I can't help but Thank God for where our life is right now.  I'm so honored and blessed to get to be the mommy to the amazing kids I have, and wife to the man I don't deserve but so desperately need. 
I've been absent from the blog for a couple weeks.  Sorry about that.  Tonight I'll just catch you up from the last couple weeks and just open up my heart to where I've been and where I am at tonight.

The kids are doing great.  Tobin is a leader at school, and doing great with behavior these days.  He is so sweet to his sister all the time and constantly asks me if he can help me (with whatever I'm doing at the moment).  Our sweet Caroline got glasses a week ago.  She is a different child. I'm devoting a post solely on her glasses.  In fact, I have part of it written already.  I'm so thankful God gave me the urgency to get her eyes checked.

We spent last weekend with 50 teenagers at our Fall Retreat.  It was an amazing time of growing together in fellowship.  Tony taught the students how worship isn't just something we sing, but a lifestyle, lived out every moment of every day.  Tony and I are preparing ourselves for what God has next for us.  We aren't sure what that may be, but know God is preparing our hearts for another change.  Several people have contacted us, or prayed over us, and say that they feel a new anointing coming over us.  I'm not sure what that means, but we are trying to seek him more than ever, because that's what our purpose is.  My new motto is "For your Splendor, Lord".  It changes the actions and purpose of our day.  Change always kind of scared me before, but now I realize that if we could get through what happened 3 months ago, then any other sort of normal "change" might even be easy now.

With that being said, a new normal has finally set in around here.  Scentsy is taking off again with the Fall/Holiday selling season.  Seems like it's the perfect gift for someone who has everything else.   I'm pretty busy between my "stay at home mom" job, Scentsy, Church, and mentoring a handful of young women these days.  There are lots of babies being born in our neck of the woods, or about to be born.  I'm busy sewing and making projects for the new babes, all the while throwing together a new pillow or curtain to make it feel more "homey" around here.

Christmas has been on my mind a lot lately.  It seems to me that Christmas has come earlier than I ever remember it.  Maybe it's because of the commercials on TV.  Maybe it's just because I have no Christmas boxes to pull out this year.  I've gone through spurts of anger and sadness and honestly, bitterness.  I know it's not Christ-like or right to feel this way.  This is the main reason I haven't posted in a while.  God has had to deal with me about this.  I have said it before, and will probably say it again, "Writing is therapy to my soul".  So here I go, up on my Soap Box again tonight.  I apologize in advance! Ha!

Each year, I couldn't wait to finish the Thanksgiving meal, because then came the anticipation to celebrate our Savior's birth, and share His Joy with everyone!  Christmas was always done well in our home, or so I'd like to think.  We had the little people nativity set out for the kids to play with, a basket of Christmas books and DVD's, wreaths, garland, ornaments, and twinkle lights everywhere.  It gave me such Joy to get the Rubbermaid tubs of Christmas Decorations out of the attic (or barn) every year.  I loved putting some cubes of "Christmas Cottage" in my Scentsy Warmer and cutting fresh pine and cedar to make my holiday wreath and garland.  This year is obviously different.  It has come at a good time, honestly.  Overcoming the bitterness (of loosing all our Christmas memorabilia) wasn't easy.  I struggled with weeks on the thought of "how should we do Christmas now?"-- When we had to (or got the chance to) start over.  I've been praying a lot about it.  I've been meditating on Jeremiah 33:3  "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."  I've been praying for an answer.  I knew he would respond in his perfect time, and perfect way.  Then yesterday, I crumbled. 

A friend texted me in the morning and said, "Hey girl! Do you all have a Christmas tree? If you don't, we would like to bless your family this Christmas and get you a tree and lights plus some ornaments to go on it!"   I was shocked!  I hadn't written a blog on my heartache about Christmas yet.  I hadn't posted on Facebook or told my friends.  How could they have known?  I read it to Tony and tears were in his eyes with disbelief, as I was crying uncontrollably.  Only God could have known that achy desire of mine, and he cared about it! 

Psalm 37:4  Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Psalm 20:4  May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

All this may seem silly to you.  I have some friends who don't get caught up in the "commercialized and materialistic" traditions of Christmas every year.  I think that is perfectly fine for them.  However, In our home we love to celebrate, unceasingly, our saviors birth.  We are praying about how/what to do in our home every year.  We have basically been blessed with the ability to "start over" with our traditions.  One thing I know.  We will have a Tree with lights.  We will live with simplicity this year, more than ever, and be intentional about everything we do.  I have already ordered our little people nativity set from Amazon.  Will Freddie, our "elf on the shelf" come see us this year?  Maybe so... but maybe as a sign to show my kids how to respond in Grace when he misbehaves, instead of a way to threaten my kids to be naughty or nice.  I'm not sure what role Santa will play in our home this year, but I still love the hope that he brings and message behind the first Santa.    I don't know what color ornaments or bows we will adorn our tree with, but I know that it will be with intention this year.  I also know that we will give more than we ever have.

What are your family's favorite Christmas traditions that you couldn't live without?  What could you change if you could start over? Anything at all?  I'd love to hear your suggestions.