Thursday, September 24, 2015

Getting Settled

I have to be honest. It’s been really hard. I’ve cried a lot.

My heart longs for the comforts of what I knew. My family, our friends and our home. We were settled. I knew my way around the grocery store. I didn’t have to use google maps to know how to get somewhere. I knew how to ‘do life’ there. Now here, in a new town and a very small town (population 4,500), everything feels awkwardly different. Unsure how to make my way.

A lot has happened in the last six weeks since moving. We moved into our rental, all the girls started school (2nd, Kinder, and Preschool), and the two oldest finished their soccer season.

In the middle of all the new transitions, my emotions have been up and down like a wicked roller coaster. I’m optimistic and hopeful one moment and then frustrated and discouraged the next. Oh my poor hubby! Reflecting on the last weeks, I’ve done way more complaining than I’d like to admit. I’m so very human. With my comforts taken away I've been acting like two year old.  Have you been there too?

I’ve been continuing to read the story of Abraham. A passage jumped out at the me the other day when I was reading.
“After Lot had gone, the Lord said the Abram...” Genesis 13:14
I know you are thinking, “I’m not seeing it. Well, Lot was Abram's nephew. (Abram was his name before God changed it to Abraham in Genesis chapter 17) Lot had made the journey with Abram from his home land of Ur. After settling in Canaan, Abram and Lot decided it was time to separate because the land could not support their growing herds.

I can imagine how devastating this was for Abram to lose family. To lose a comfort. It's just after Lot leaves that God shows up. You see God is always about encouraging us. Showing up with timely grace.

Just in case Abram had forgotten why God had brought him here to this new land, God reminds Abram of His promise.
After Lot had gone, the Lord said to Abram, “Look as far as you can see in every direction—north and south, east and west. I am giving all this land, as far as you can see, to you and your descendants as a permanent possession. And I will give you so many descendants that, like the dust of the earth, they cannot be counted! Go and walk through the land in every direction, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17
God promised land as far as he could see.
God promised descendants that were too many to count.

Over and over again over the past weeks I have seen God's grace show up in timely ways. Just like Abram did so many years ago.

Nothing broke in the move and it all arrived in one week.
My girls met friends before school even started.
My in-laws watched the girls while I unpacked.
I’ve quickly met other gals who would like to study the Bible with me.
Our neighbors have a daughter the girls love playing with her.
A new friend who also just moved. 
The girls are quickly adjusting to their new school.
I’ve received encouraging text from friends back home at my lowest moments.

Each so timely. Each brought my heart hope. Each reminded me that God’s got this.

When Abram waved goodbye to Lot He didn't know when God was going to show up but He did and with the perfect encouragement that his heart needed. 

Are you feeling discouraged today? Have you recently lost something or someone dear to you that was a comfort to your heart? God see's. He knows. He has timely grace in store today for you.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3

Friday, August 14, 2015

Turning the Page

Everything can change in just a moment. That is what happened when my husband got the call about a new job. We’d be moving. Though some might think of moving as a grand new adventure, I’m more the one to dread the changes. I don’t like change. Well at least not BIG changes. I'm good with season changing, or changing my home decor, or even changing my regular order at my favorite restaurants...but pretty much I don’t like change.

We all can feel much the same way. Through we know change can be good, we fear the unknown. And that unknown keeps us hunkered down in the comfortable and familiar.

I’ve been reading through the story of Abraham found in Genesis chapter 12-25. It’s been so comforting to read his faith journey. Abraham was human. He got tripped up a lot, like me. Yet he is a faith hero.

God had called Abraham to leave everything. He left his homeland, his family and friends, and all his comforts to go to a new land. And God didn't even tell him where just that he would show him. (EEK! At least I know the place.) He packed up everything and went. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Abraham was thinking but he was human. Moving to an unknown place is a big change. And big changes freak people out.

Like me, did he or his wife Sarah think...

"Where are we going to live? What if I can’t find the right house? What will the neighbors be like? Great or really weird? What about the schools? Are they high performing? Will my kids be okay? Are there any great churches? Will we find one like the one we are leaving? Is there any good shopping? Will we find great friends again? Will we fit in? How long will be feel unsettled?"

When all these are unknown the time has come for a freaking out moment. Which I have had many of these moments over the last couple of months. And trust me it has not been pretty.

But when God called Abraham he didn’t just say go and that was it. No, God gave him six promises.
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3
The Lord knew just how to comfort Abraham's heart. He knew just what Abraham needed to hear to help him on the faith journey ahead. God promises him a child. He promises to make him into a somebody in a land where he will start as a nobody. He promises that he will be a blessing to others. The Lord also promises to have his back when the going get tough. Lastly, He promises Abraham that he will have a lasting legacy.  
Knowing God’s promises strengthen us to walk in faith.

Lord gave Abraham promises to strengthen his faith and He has given me promises to strengthen mine. When you and I remember, rest and trust in the those promises we are able to walk forward in joy, peace, and hope.

You know when you are reading a really great book that you can’t wait to turn the next page to find out what happens? If you are like me, you have cheated a few times and turned to the end because you know it’s going to be that good. In the story of my life, I’ve been so reluctant to turn this next page. Fearing the unknown. I’m also so sad because I've loved this chapter so much. But I have a perfect author, a heavenly author, that has already written my story and it is going to be pretty great. He promises that it will be. Not because of anything I’ve done but because of Him and everything that He has done.

So just like Abraham as we set out to a new land our faith is being strengthened because of the Lord’s great promises.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
What promises are strengthening your faith today? 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thinking, thinking, thinking...

Thinking, thinking, thinking...that is what I was doing.

And all that thinking led me to worry, worry, worry.

I’m amazed at how quickly our thoughts can trap us in worry. When the unexpected happens and our lives are thrown off course our thoughts begin to pile up faster than dirty dishes in the sink. Those piled up thoughts can lead to worry just like dirty dishes can lead to a stinky kitchen.

I couldn’t turn off my thinking. I tried to say to myself, “It will be okay. It will all work out.” But that didn’t help. Self pep talks didn’t help. Talking about it didn’t help. I was miserable. I was sitting in a pile of worried thoughts. And honestly I was making everyone around me miserable too. It’s true, when mom’s not happy nobody's happy.

I thought that thinking about my problem was going to solve my problem. And I like problems solved. But thinking about it only led to more thinking and that led to worry. But the heart craves peace.

And I know that peace is possible in any storm because I know Jesus. He is the one that calms all storms. So why couldn’t my heart claim the peace I so desperately craved.

I was thinking not praying.

As soon as I began to pray about what I had no control over an ocean of peace flooded my worried heart. Each worry turned into a prayer. Why is it that peace is only found in prayer? Because prayer is surrender. It’s that same thing that happens when my daughter slips her hand into mine as we cross the street. Trust. And with trust comes peace.

I trust that God is good. I trust that He has a plan. I trust that He is working that plan for our good.

We are naturally going to think about the troubles life brings. But we have a choice. We can keep thinking about them or we can turn our thinking into prayer.

Today I’m choosing prayer. Will you?
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Thursday, May 7, 2015

"No, I do it!"

The littlest is two and her favorite phrase is “No, I do it!” It’s typically accompanied by a glare and huff. Her whole expression declares that she is able so I should back off.  

I chuckled at her this morning while trying to get her dressed.  She proceeded to put on her own t-shirt while repeating over and over, “I doooo it.”  She struggled and struggled trying to get her head in the hole. Then her struggle turned to tears. “Help meeee!”  Mom to the rescue, I helped pop her head through the hole only to hear again say, “No, I do it!” Oh for the love of helping an independent two year old!  

As I reflected on her current stage of growing independence, I couldn’t help but see a glimpse of myself too.  She is learning independence but I’m learning dependance.  

That feeling of dependence is uncomfortable. We are so used to trying and striving. And we have spent our lives learning how to do it on our own. Jesus says something different.

He says come to Him when the world says go it alone.
He says rest in Him with the world says don’t be weak.
He says trust in Him when the world says you can only trust yourself.

If I had never known my own independence or if I had never seen my strength fail, I would have never seen my desperate need for dependence on Him.  

It’s at the end of myself that I look up and see that I have an ever-present Savior who is ready and willing to help me in my weakness. Just like I wait willingly and patiently to help my struggling two-year old, He is willing and patiently waiting to help me.  

This growing dependence on Jesus is part of every believer's journey. One that we will keep learning until the day we are home heaven.  

The choice is mine. Will I call on Him moment by moment throughout today? Or will I battle through on my own? Peace, rest, joy, hope, all these overflow in us when we walk hand in hand with Jesus.
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Big Girl Room Redo

So it's finally done. A big girl room for my oldest daughter. For one thing, I can't believe she is old enough for her own room. It seems like just yesterday I was laying her in a crib.

The change in bedrooms at our home was a win for everyone. Everyone got an upgrade!

When I asked my daughter what kind of 'big girl' room she wanted, I was totally surprised when she told me she wanted a horse room. I'm still not sure were that came from. But it was the perfect inspiration for this room. 

This bed is one of a kind. My dad built it for me and I slept in it as a young girl. I love that my daughter has it now. I took it to Bergan's Timeless Treasures in Downtown Kennewick and had it painted for me. I got a great price. I still have three littles at home and I was not about to tackle this project. I have learned my limits the hard way.  

The bedding was my daughter's Christmas gift this year with the note that we would give her a "big girl" room. I picked the bedding from Pottery Barn Teen and Land of Nod. Great well-made bedding is worth the price.

I bought two floor-length white sheers and cut them in half to make to four panels for each bedpost. The white panels turn this into a bed for a princess. 

The pink polka-dot curtains were from Walmart. Since I hung the curtain rod five inches above the window, I had to take out the hems to make them floor length.

Those horse shoe above my daughter's bed I picked up at Ranch & Home. I was totally shocked to find a huge selection to choose from.  I didn't know that horses were so particular about their shoes.   I spray painted it and laced it up with some pink ribbon and now it hangs about my daughter's bed. 

I've decided that the definition of determination is how many times you are willing to use a seam ripper. With that said, this horse pillow, though so sweet and the delight of my daughter, was challenging.

I found the throw pillow at Goodwill and then pulled off the cover to use as a pattern. I used my Silhouette to cut out the horse image. Then I appliqued the horse into place. The hardest part was getting the zipper in place (which I had never done) and have the cute pom-poms not get in the way.  I'm just thankful for You Tube!

These matching frames I purchased at Goodwill and then spray painted. The paper I had. I used my Silhouette to cut out the horses.  I'm a beginner Silhouette enthusiast so I haven't done many project yet. This was one of my first and it turned out great.

I found this side table discounted at Burlington. I spray painted it pink. It's perfect for the space and added a modern vibe. The lamp was a redo from the nursery. I spray painted it silver and picked up a discounted lamp shade from Target. I used hot glue to add a pink ribbon to the top and bottom of the shade. 

I purchased the frames from Goodwill and had my hubby help me turn them into shadow box shelves. These are the perfect shelves for my daughter's room since she has a bunch of "stuff" that she wants on display.

I am so happy with how these wall baskets turned out. These were flower baskets from Home Depot. I spray painted them white and then made the fabric liners for each basket.

I still have one more addition to this room, a "big girl" desk.  But I'm still on the hunt for the perfect desk. So check back for another post.  

If you've done a "big girl" room redo.  I would love to hear about it.  Share your link in the comments.

Happy Decorating!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beneath the Withered

Spring has come early this year. So I found myself on a crisp, sunny morning combing back the dead foliage from last years flowers. I removed the old and underneath lay the new. It surprised me every time. I just couldn’t stop smiling about the promise that was awaiting under every pile of dead leaves. New life. Small lime green shoots and leaves.  

My heart stirred with hope.

At times we get discouraged when we look at the withered parts of our lives. We think can anything good come from this?

The circumstances for each of us may be different. It could be our failing health, broken relationships, marriage, wayward children, finances or even the ordinary stresses of life.  

We forget that God is working toward our good. As we continue to seek Him. As we continue to trust in His goodness. As we continue to lean on his strength. As we continue to remain. We are growing. (John 15:5)

We may not see the results of these choices at first but change is taking place and soon it will burst forth out of what seems dead. For just when we think that nothing good can come from our withered hearts we begin to notice the changes.  

I’ve come to see this pattern over and over again in my journey with Jesus. At times I see the beauty of new spiritual growth so evident in my life and at other times all I see it dry landscape of my heart. And I’m tempted to think nothing good will come. But God is doing a new work in my heart during these times.  

So don’t lose heart today if you find yourself feeling withered. God is working on your behalf because of His unfailing and unbreakable love.  

Trust in Him and soon you'll discover new life springing forth.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Prayer for All of the Above

 She sat down and prayed...


I’m choosing to come to you right now. Not that I feel like it. Half of me feels like throwing up my hands and giving into selfish escapes (Facebook, Pinterest, Netflix, eating sweets, a nap). But You already know all of my favorite ones.  

The other half of me feels like putting my head down and charging ahead trying frantically to get the to-do list checked off. Knowing secretly, it’s impossible. And that I’ll make everyone around me miserable.

Didn’t I just throw a bunch of toys off the couch just to find a place to sit! How does the house fall apart so quickly? The kitchen sink is overflowing with dishes and the day isn’t even over. The playroom is a disaster. I’d pick it all up to feel better but then I think I’m teaching my kids nothing when I do their work for them. No bed in the house is made. I have no idea what I’m cooking for dinner and I think there is still food out from lunch. I could go on about folding the heap of laundry and finishing my Bible study for tomorrow.  And I can just see the day steaming rolling ahead with school pick-up, kid’s homework, dinner, followed by basketball practice and then a Park Board meeting tonight. It’s CRAZY!   

But I’m choosing to sit here and share my frazzled heart with you. Knowing that escapes won’t bring me peace. Knowing that even a clean house and the to-do list completed won’t bring me peace. Well maybe momentary peace but not the peace my thirsty soul craves.

So I lay this tangled mess before you. The ordinary messes of life that every women faces. Juggling all the responsibilities while trying not to look like a complete fool.  

Remind me of your truth. 
“I leave you peace. It is my own peace I give you. I give you peace in a different way than the world does. So don’t be troubled...” (John 14:27)
It’s not what I do or don’t accomplish today.  It’s not even who I am - frazzled or put-together. Those things will come and go like the tide in the ocean. But one thing doesn't change.  

I am yours.

I am your daughter.

I am loved.

And You say nothing can change that (John 1:12).

Thank you Lord for this truth.  Not that it cleans up the mess around me but is cleans up the mess in my heart.  

Help me to walk in this truth the rest of the day - whatever it holds.


She got up. Renewed and started with the dishes.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Still Seeking Him

It’s Christmas. It came again. Like it has every year. Am I ready? Not ready with my “to do list,” but ready in my heart.  

We can spend all of our time getting ready for Christmas that we miss it in our hearts.  

We spend our time decorating, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, grocery shopping, baking, sending out Christmas cards, attending parties, planning fun outings with family.  Which are all great things and I look forward to these things each year.  We can become so focused on these outward activities that our hearts are left feeling frazzled and empty.  And we whisper the words in our hearts, “I’m ready for all of this to be over.” 

There were plenty of people that missed Christ’s birth in Bethlehem all those years ago.  Who were those that were ready? They were the wise men and the shepherds. Two of the most unlikely groups of people.  

The wise men knew about the promised king from the scripture. And when they saw the star they went. The traveled with gifts seeking out the promised King and when they arrived they worshiped him. (Numbers 24:17, Matthew 2:1)

The shepherds were going about their daily night shift.  When they were unexpectedly told by the angels of the King’s birth. So they went. They sought out the baby King and worshiped him. (Luke 2:8-14)

Yet there were likely hundreds of visitors in Bethlehem. There were no rooms available for Mary and Joseph to stay the night of Jesus birth. All those people and yet it was the wise men and shepherds who celebrated His birth that night. (Luke 2:6)

I want my heart to be ready today to receive King Jesus.  

Thought I’ve spend much of this December distracted and frenzied by checking off my to do list, I don’t want to miss what it’s all really about. It’s never to late to stop and seek Jesus just like the wise men and shepherds did so long ago.  

Today we don’t have to be distracted. Today we don’t have to be frenzied.

Today our hearts can be filled with all the JOY of celebrating his Birth. 
It is not to late to stop. We can still seek Him and savor Christ birth. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

When I Feel Like This...

I’ve been feeling like I’m a hamster running in a wheel. Round and round I run. Fast. With what seems like no destination.

Another mess to clean.
Another diaper to change.
Another meal to cook.
Another load of laundry.
Another trip to the store.

Over and over again. Never making any progress.   

But I began to meditate on this verse.

And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith
Hebrews 12:1b-2a

My feelings often cloud the truth. I am running, but not in a wheel. I’m running in a race. It is the race that God has set before me. He has planned this part of the course. He knows the terrain I run right now. It is paved with messes, dishes, diapers, cooking, laundry, errands, and all the demands of littles. And it is a long stretch of the same things every day.

But I’m spending to much time looking at the terrain and not enough time looking at Jesus.  

Although I’m out of practice, I love to run and I love to race. When I’m in the race I notice the road but it is not what is fixed in my mind. While I’m running I’m fixing my eyes on the finish line. That’s why I can keep my pace. I know there is a finish. As my feet pound the road, I’m making progress.  

That’s the point of this verse in Hebrews.  We can run with endurance because we keep looking at Jesus.  

As I look toward Him I remember. I remember He began my journey. I remember that He is perfecting my faith.   

As I look toward Him I’m thankful. Thankful that He holds my heart and at the finish line I’ll run into His arms. I’m thankful, although the terrain around me is not changing, He is changing me into His likeness. I’m thankful that He can help me run well right now.  

So last night as I wiped up yet another glass of spilled something and began the bedtime routine with my fussy littles, I silently prayed.

Lord, I’m running in this race. It’s hard. I’m tired. But I know I'm running the race You have for me. I know You are perfecting me even in this. I know You’ll give me Your strength to run well.  Amen. 

Be encouraged friend. Jesus know the race you run. You run in a race not a hamster wheel.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Crafting for Fall

Crisp cool air, round pumpkins, hot cider, changing leaves...I love fall! I always look forward to making my home look ready for fall too. Here are a few of the crafts I've been adding to our home.

This small Harvest banner is strung in our dinning room.  I made it of burlap, scrap fabric and twine.  I used fusible interfacing to add the letters.

I love this little pumpkin patch. I clipped branches off our three to make the stems, added floral wire for the vines and felt leaves.  The Pumpkin is simply gathered fabric and filled with Poly-Fill.  Check out this link for an easy tutorial.

Thank you Pinterest for free printable from other creative gals! Click here. I had my hubby cut out a piece of MDF board for me and then I just decoupaged the printable onto the board. Simple and looks great on our mantel.

This was probably my favorite project and it didn't cost anything since I used scrap fabric. After sewing a long rectangular pocket, I painted on these words with black fabric paint.  Then I just stuffed it with Poly-Fill and sewed closed. 

What have you been crafting up this fall? 

Happy crafting!