Monday, August 31, 2015

He loves us.

This morning as I sat on the front porch for a few minutes alone with my coffee I looked up and noticed my Sedum plants. They are in this absolutely beautiful stage where the green buds are opening up into dark pink and purple blossoms. It only happens in late summer and by autumn they will dry out to be a pretty violet color. But something else caught my attention - the dew. It was covering everything. As I scanned my eyes over the plants, admiring the early sign of the new season coming I saw him. The bumblebee. Completely covered in dew and not moving. And as I looked more I noticed it wasn't just him, but several bumblebees sitting like this. Motionless. Dew coated. Were they dead? Asleep? So strange. Normally these sedums are swarming {literally} with activity so to see them silent and still was abnormal. My little girls joined me and we took some pictures and looked up bumblebee information online. Intriguing! Nothing like an early morning science lesson on the front porch.

After a few minutes another bumblebee flew in. He hadn't been on our plants and wasn't dew coated. We watched as he went from one bee to the next and he seemed to wake them up. It was so captivating to me. He would walk over to the motionless bee, prod him with a leg and like magic the wet bee moved. Then moved some more. Then was frantically walking all over the flowers again as if it had been doing it all along. I've never seen anything like it! It was beautiful.

Now, I'm not a scientist or apiarist by any means, but that was incredible to watch and study this morning. And after a very difficult and trying day yesterday, it was an awesome start to my Monday. Some would look at those crazy bees and think its just a bunch of bugs - but I totally see the hand of God at work, and animals under his reign doing exactly what He created them to do. It was encouraging as I was reminded that all things are under God's sovereignty and BY Him we are allowed and given this beautiful life. He is our God.

Psalm 95 -
Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
    let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
    let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! 
 For the Lord is a great God,
    and a great King above all gods. 
 In his hand are the depths of the earth;
    the heights of the mountains are his also. 
 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.
Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
    let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
For he is our God,
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    and the sheep of his hand.

This week and upcoming new month brings some new challenges to our family. I'm going to call them opportunites. :) What a blessing to know we are loved, cared for, and that the Lord directs our steps. Be encouraged today, friends. Rest in His love for us.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Call me Flip Flop

Oh, it has been awhile on here, eh?
I'm working through some heavy thoughts lately and 50% of the time I feel like my head is on straight, I'm thinking biblically, trusting the Lord, etc. but then the other 50% of the time I'm like an indecisive, mopey monster. That's where I am right now. To be honest, I feel that I've been here for a year now. It comes and goes... my heart and mind arguing and feeling all flip flop. Because I'm a woman and most of my readers are too, I assume I'm not alone in this. We aren't alone. So I'll share today some of my common struggle and we can encourage one another.

Since becoming a wife and mother I seriously DO dream of a simple, satisfying, uncomplicated life. Ha! Writing that out sounds absurd so let me explain.
I, want to honor my husband.
I, want to do special things here and there to show love to him.
I, want to raise my children to respect and love.
I, want to be a fun mom.
I, want to bless my family with all the homemade memories. 
I, want to have a beautiful and comfortable home.
I, don't want to hassle with chore charts and arguments.
I, DESIRE comfort and beauty.

But, sin. It's everywhere. It's my marriage and rears its ugly head through selfishness and pride and anger. It's in my parenting as I seek my own way, answer harshly, or give in too easily. It's in my home as I often find myself lacking contentment for what we have (so much, too!) and pining for the newest, prettiest, whatever. (or in my case, the chippiest, shabbiest, antique) Sin, it's in our world and it affects everything. My family is not excluded. So I have all these desires and ambitions to be a blessing, to seek the Lord and just ooze Jesus in my home - but I get in my own way, quenching the spirit, letting pride ruin things and discontent sour my joy.

Some days I wake up and think - "this is it!". We are going to be grateful, eat what we have in the house, create beauty in our spaces with things we own, etc. But then 11:30 rolls around and in lieu of homemade soup I just want Chick-fil-a, a starbucks and that new bookshelf from Pottery Barn. I loose steam. I forget that God is good, all in a few hours. Because being frugal and wise with money is HARD and shall I even admit that sometimes I get WEARY of it. As if having more would make life easier. Newsflash: it doesn't.

So, I went to bed last night and as I lay there waiting for sleep to come I was literally flip flopping between two schools of thought:

1- I look forward to opportunities to be frugal. Grocery shopping, looking for deals and ways to stretch a buck intrigues me and challenges me. It's good! I've gotten really good at patching holes in kids clothes and watching the Lord blow us out of the water with his provisions in all things. I love this school of thought and I love being in it. I thought through budget meals and how we could cut out this and that to free up more money, reviewed in my mind the trip earlier that day to Goodwill where I found a beautiful Banana Republic sweater for $1.49! Yea baby! Frugal living, I love it! Bring on the challenge! Let's rock this budget.

But then. Almost simultaneously.

2 - I am SO tired of driving ALLLL that way to Aldi. I'm weary of pasta meals and generic diapers. Would it be SO bad to just have a descent new car? Will we ever be out from under these student loans? How long is seminary again? I hate the challenges of budget living, I want freedom, I want more. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Seems like all we do is pay bills. No vacations. No date nights. Blah.

I'm thankful that Lord is quick to draw to my attention His faithfulness in our lives. How he cares and loves and provides. He gives us work! He shelters us with a roof. We aren't promised and don't deserve more. And really it's not even just money that gets me all flip-floppity. It's most things: raising kids, keeping a home, who I am three kids later, what I like, etc.
The Lord is doing a work in my life and I have much to learn. For now, I give thanks! In all things give thanks, my friends. Fellow budget masters: You are loved! Moms feeling like failures, you are loved! Indecisive homemakers, you are loved.

Friday, July 17, 2015

It's 99 degrees and I'm thinking about Christmas.

Sing on Mr. Crosby. "And may all your Christmases be white..."

It's not a major announcement or surprise to see this post from me, is it? :)
I made it alllll the way to July 17th this year before I started longing for cooler weather, the holiday season and wearing jeans. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for holding out this long - and actually, really enjoying summer. And truth be told, I still am. We've got plenty left and I'm in no rush. Bonfires and s'mores, walks on the beach (next month!), and iced caramel macchiato's are on my mind - along with these laid back mornings, quality sit down and read time, late bedtimes and all the summer fun things going on in our city. But. It's 99 degrees with a humidity percentage in the thousands and I'm thinking, just thinking, about Christmas today.

We all have our favorites. Autumn and winter are mine. We'll leave it at that.

My husband gets home from his trip in TWO days. I'm giddy just waiting for him. We've made it all the way almost with little to no problems. Though, I'll recap some unfortunates:
- It's hot. Wicked, wicked hot and uncomfortable. I'm slightly nervous to see the energy bill next month after all these days and nights of nonstop air conditioning.
- Tuesday night I had to take August into urgent care. She woke up from her nap and was in tears saying her ears hurt. She also had gunky eyes. So, at 6pm we dropped her sisters off at friends and went in. Did you know kids can get infected swimmers ears? And eyes? I know it now. She has both. Did you also know it's near impossible to rub medicine into a 4 years olds eyes? We need to rethink that one there, Docs. ;) Today she looks and is acting much better.
- I found a dead bird in my garage yesterday as I was setting back up for my two-weekend-long yard sale. I CANNOT handle that sorta thing. I may have sent out a plea for help on Facebook. One of our awesome deacons may have stopped by to rescue me.
- Today we discovered a massive wasps nest right above the front door. Awesome. So, instead of buying spray and dealing with it... we open the door and run as fast as we can to get into the van. It's a sight everyone enjoys, I'm sure. I'll continue on with this plan until my husband is home. Nature is not my favorite right now.
- The girls and I splurged tonight and bought an almost SIX dollar watermelon (with seeds) only to cut it open and discover its the weirdest and grossest melon we've ever tasted. It's pale pink and tastes like melon rind. What am I supposed to do about that!? And.... what am I supposed to do with this watermelon craving?!
- Last negative: My throat. I just ended my antibiotic prescription a few days ago and now my throat glands are swollen again. Discouraging. I try to ignore it. But honestly it's seriously bumming me out. Back to gargling AC vinegar and salt water. I dunno. If it doesn't relieve soon I might seek an ENT. Do adults use those?

Well then. That was entirely too grumpy sounding. Ultimately, we are doing so well and the days have really been great!

Back to Christmas in July. Much happier.
We are in Iowa this Christmas and I am SO excited to be home with my babies for that special time. The Pausley family is all flying/driving here and there will be reunions, birthdays, etc.
Here are a few ideas I'd like to do this holiday season:

Only, obviously, ours would say Pausley.

I reeeeeally want to do SO much handmade this year. Loving these gift tag ideas!

I already have the door. Just love this easy, natural, old-ish looking vignette.

I remember buying one of these in college for a fundraiser and thinking I want to make them when I have a family. It's time.
So, there ya have it. My cold-weather musings tonight.
Back to reality - the sun is going down and another nice n' warm day tomorrow. :) 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Body & Blessings

Brooklyn team, praying after their last meeting.
A big part of our world involves my husband traveling on various types of youth trips. During the "school season" the trips include weekend retreats, conferences, etc. and those are quick and wonderful little learning times. The summer, however, offers the lengthier trips and fuller weeks. At this point in the summer we've already gone through a week of VBS at our local church, a week of SOS (students offering service), a day trip to our local amusement park and several Wednesdays in a row of our summer study - hosted in our home.

Right now we're smack dab in the middle of a LONG trip week. It's day 5 that my husband has been gone and its no wonder I was feeling like an emotional train wreck last night when I went to bed. {But, I'm also blaming a certain sappy, sad, Netflix movie. WHY do we subject ourselves to those things?! }
My husband and a team of teens and leaders are in Brooklyn, NY and they'll be back on Sunday night. I miss him. Not just the security of having my man in the house, and not just his help with the children or his work around the house.... I miss him. It's truly amazing how God can bring two people together and turn them into one! My life and days really do feel incomplete without him in them. I'm so thankful for the opportunities that he has to travel and learn and serve - and I'm thankful that it's not every week. :)

But let me share with you just some of the ways the Lord has really shown me this week how much he cares for us in so many little tangible ways. I'm always blown away and so thankful.

- Sunday after church a lady stopped by and handed me a gift card to Wendy's. She mentioned how she knew she wouldn't have had time to make us a meal (which I wasn't even expecting) so here was our meal. We ended up using it that night! Such a treat to my girls and I!
- Prior to Wendy's we spent the afternoon in our friends beautiful pool. This is also such a treat for us! We are so thankful for friends who give up their family time to open up their home and pool to us. My girls were thrilled and it made our otherwise difficult Sunday evening much more pleasant.
- Yesterday one of our sweet teen girls watched my girls for a few hours so I could get grocery shopping done alone - something I've vowed to do from now on. When I shot her a text to say I was heading home she encouraged me to do something else because they were "just fine" there. :) Music to a momma's ears!
- A friend teaching me how to air up my van tires after trying to do it herself.
- Our precious Sr pastors wife dropped off ice cream and pb M&M's. She loves me!
- Encouraging check up texts and facebook messages
- A cell group of ladies who share scripture and challenging thoughts - keeps me focused!
- Air conditioning. It's HOT here and I believe I'd be losing my mind without this "extra".
- Kids who love nap time and bed time. Yep. I have amazing kids.
- Netflix. This is an extra we budget in each month (it's $7.99) and it has been wonderful on the really hot days this week to pick a fun family movie and just veg it.
- Coffee. I'm tired.

Every time my husband goes away I get a first hand look at the Body of Christ and how it was made to build up and encourage the other members. These are all blessings that I cherish. And some of them may seem silly, but, each one meets us where we are and what we needed this week.
I'll close this out with a special blessing from today.

Today was Cow Appreciation day at Chick-fil-a and the rules are simple: Dress up like a cow and get free food. I've never done it before because honestly it seems like a load of work - long lines, making costumes, taking 3 kids to fast food ALONE, etc. But we did it and it was totally worth it. We got 5 free complete meals and the girls were able to jump around the play place afterward. Wow, amazing time and such a blessing to score some yummy free food. Not to mention that it broke up our middle of the week!
We are so thankful for the body and the many blessings the Lord shows us! Here's to a fantastic rest of our long week... 5 more days :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Stuff of Summer

Hello from 1st Street! We are in the fullest part of our summer and enjoying every day, or at least, trying to. All my lists of projects have taken the back burner to the rest of life - and raising my three girls has really taken ALL my time. It's all good. We've gone through VBS week at church, a youth service trip here locally, a trip to Omaha to visit family (and the amazing zoo!), lots of days at the park and splash pads, etc. and I was able to jump into a ladies bible study on Wednesday nights. This weekend my husband leaves for Brooklyn, NY for 9 days and then at the end of the month we'll head north to camp in Michigan!

So many great memories have been made. Today I'll just share a taste of our fun!

At the end of June I celebrated my 33rd birthday over dinner and a Matt Kearney concert downtown. Such a great date with my guy! Now that I'm 33 I've found TWO gray hairs and notice more and more my squinty smile lines around my eyes. WHAT?! So soon?! :)

The girls started their summer workbooks last week - it was time. Our weekly routine has been going pretty good, but we are starting to have some fighting and fussing. Enter school books and somehow they magical soothe their brains. 

The Fourth of July was great this year! We went to a parade and spent the evening with friends watching fireworks. 

This Sunday we had a unique opportunity to attend an old fashioned car show where my husband preached. Afterward it was all funnel cakes & Sky rides! 

There is still so much summer left to live and we are thankful for that. :)
But I need to secretly admit that this odd 75 degree day made me smile to think that Autumn is next.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Some Summer: Life updates and summer projects

Helllllloooooo friends! Are you still out there? {grin} This poor little blog is so neglected. I do think of it often, and it seems there is always something to write about...but, the time! The time, my friends, it just isn't there. There is too much life to live right now.

But, all is calm tonight. I have a sleeping baby and two little girls enjoying a new game (together!), and a hubby who is out evangelizing. This unexpected me time caught me off guard, but I'll run with it.

Summer time is moving right along. We've already been through a week of vacation bible school and a week of SOS (students offering service) with our teens. Two major summer events - done! Coming up next is the start of our summer study series on Wednesday nights here at the Pausley home, a trip to Brooklyn for our missions team, and ending the summer with our annual trip to Lake Ann. Ah, it goes too quickly!

We celebrated the life of our beautiful Jane this month as she turned ONE. Yes, I cried. Yes, I still get a little weepy when I realize my last baby (more than likely) is one year old. She was a champ with her first cake - dove in face first and all. :) I love that baby!
She's just about as cute as they come and is into everything. Although she is not walking, she somehow manages to get around this house at the speed of sound. Her favorite locales currently are: the toilet, the fridge, the dishwasher, climbing down off of the deck into the yard, and attempting to get out the front glass door. How have I not found more gray hairs yet?! She's an amazing gift. I'm treasuring these last few weeks of bottle time in the mornings and bedtimes and the fact that she actually snuggles in for them. I am really going to miss having a baby around. {sob} Can't even continue this part of the post. Moving on...

The big girls are in the summer time grove. Sleepovers in the basement, later bedtimes, parks and splash pads, going on walks, etc. We are loving it. I need to admit though - all my planning and structure is GREAT, and helpful, but many days we end up tossing the routine and just doing what works. They are flexible and I'm grateful.

I have two half finished projects sitting around per my usual habit and my husbands dread. The old ugly chair fabric has been stripped and the old desk has been half painted. Ha!
I'm looking for just the right fabric for the chair. This beauty will go up in my bedroom with my newly painted desk, for my own little "office space". Having my main work desk in the front room of our home is not working out. And as much as I love having my bills spill over on the floor as guests walk in... eh, not really.

The color is "Pot of Cream" by Behr - paint and primer, of course. The desk is in good shape structurally speaking, but has all sorts of scratches and flaws (which I like!). The primer fills in the scratches and keeps it looking rustic/shabby, but clean!
I found some drawer lining contact paper at the Dollar Tree and threw that on the insides of drawers. I'm not really a black/white style girl, but it works until I find something I really love.

Also, let's take a minute and appreciate the baby gate suspended from the stair rail in the background, please.

Good grief. Keepin' it real! 

Another coat to go and then I'll rough it up.
I'm looking forward to having my own little place upstairs to journal, pay bills, think. :)

I hope your summers are going well. Maybe I'll get to share more fun things here soon.
Have a great week!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

.:Days and moments:.

My precious August Hope turned 4 last week. It still seems a little impossible to me that my little girl is four, but it's true. We had a special family party for her and the celebration was sweet.
She is one of my sweetest blessings. I could go on and on about her kind spirit, gentleness, the way she lavishes love and affection on me and her servants spirit. My middle girl is a gift. I'm so thankful to the Lord for giving her to me. When we asked her what kind of birthday she wanted her response was : "pink". No characters or details, just pink. So, pink it was! I whipped up a quick table cloth, make raspberry cream cheese frosted cupcakes and pink candies. Easy. Her only real request was to have birthday cake Oreo's at her party. :)

Her big birthday gift was her FIRST bike! She has spent the last few days trying it out, cleaning it, etc. But her favorite thing right now is pretending she's fixing it up. I gave her a few random tools and she spends so much time on the deck "working on it". It's adorable.

Oh sweet girl. I am so thankful for you and I love each and every moment we have together.
But, now can we freeze time?! The days are long but the years are so short. As with every birthday, I found myself stealing away now and again with teary eyes. Kissing her goodnight was emotional and while I truly rejoice that my children are healthy and growing... something hurts my heart as they get older and grow up.

Happy birthday August!

Speaking of growing up. I'm really preparing my heart for what comes next...
My (last) baby turns one next month.
 I can't even...
I waited my whole life to be a wife and mommy, and now I have these sad feelings about the fact that my baby days are wrapping up. Now, I know Miss Jane is still a baby and will be for awhile. But it seems like these days and moments are just flying by and it's more then my heart can bear. What will I do with my life once there is no longer a baby in the house? {sigh} I suppose many momma's go through such emotions.

Today Jane tried for the first time to hold her own bottle. I kinda wanted to stop her - but, that's our ultimate job, right? Training them to grow up. So I just locked eyes with her and we chatted during bottle time. She's such a perky little girl. I love her. How on earth am I so blessed three times over?!

We are gearing up for summer here and our first born finishes kindergarten on Tuesday. I'm praying and asking the Lord to give us a phenomenal summer together - really hoping the planning pays off! I would love your input on how you transitioned your school aged (in school) kids to a summer routine. I need some connection time with my first born and I think a summer together is just the ticket.

Life goes on around here. Our busy season of student ministry and life eases into a little more relaxed summer schedule. Time. We'll have more time to pour in and more time to slow down and just be. There are trips and plans mixed in - but I'm working hard at making sure we enjoy the days.
Yesterday I noticed this Cardinal nest in my front yard bush. THREE baby cardinals are coming!
It's little things like this that lately just cause my heart to soar. The Lord has put so much beauty around us and I just want to drink it up!

Tonight I was able to do just that - drink it in. The girls were in bed, the sun was setting and the deck was calling my name. Is there anything better then a warm spring night on the deck with a cup of coffee? I submit there is not. Listening to the birds get their families settled, watching the setting sun, and the general buzz of our neighborhood was so soothing to my melancholy heart. Sometimes I just crave those quiet moments whispering prayers and being thankful. It's good for the soul.

Days and moments, friends. That's what we have. Enjoy yours.
Blessings until next time. :)