Monday, December 19, 2011

Caught up in disappointment

Anyone else have that problem... where, you can't see the 1 million awesome things happening - but, you notice and focus on the little petty things? Yea, me neither. :/

Actually - I'm the biggest offender in this category sometimes. And it's something I'm working through in my personal life and walk with the Lord. To be honest with myself and you, right now I'm battling big time. I KNOW truth. I KNOW reality. But, for some reason my heart and head are having a hard time connecting. I'm caught up in disappointment. I forget that people fail. Big fails. Little fails. I fail. Maybe it's not even forgetting...but, choosing to not remember.

This weekend my husband and some of our teens {and leaders} took a trip down to one of our local homeless shelters/missions. As I've shared before my husband is passionate about serving in this way - I'm thankful for that, and him. This weekend they took down new bedding and an offering the teens raised to support the needy during Christmas. Did I mention this was all student initiated and run? God has been at work in the lives of some of our teens... it's very exciting. They took time to make several beds with the new sheets and pillows they bought. After they'd make a bed, they would kneel down and pray over it - and the person who would be sleeping there that night. Powerful. Then they sat through one of the missions "sessions" with the people who live there - and had some interaction that way.

It's the times like that where I'm left convicted and dumbfounded, really. So.much.good. God is working in hearts, changing lives, impacting a new generation.... and here I sit bent out of shape because it's not EVERY student. How selfish. How arrogant to think what I say and how I say it will change a life. How ungrateful to not give thanks for these few. These precious. Those growing and trying. And I wonder, "Why on earth am I so intent on being stuck in disappointment?". I keep thinking of how the prophets in the OT must have felt. Isaiah, Jeremiah - no one listened. No one cared. No one loved God. And they were preaching death sentences, even.

Psalm 14:3

"Everyone has turned away. Together they have become rotten to the core. No one, not even one person, does good things."

All this to say, the Lord is working on me. And I'm thankful. I'm thankful for watching teenagers grow and change and embrace the narrow road. I'm thankful for leaders who give up their lives, their saturdays, their everything... to touch one stubborn {at times} life. I'm thankful for tender hearts, for apologies, and honest tears. And I'm thankful to GOD for reminding me time and time and time again...





And that is my freedom today. I will glory in my redeemer. The redeemer of souls, the heart healer, the almighty God who sees every heart and tear and pain and frustration. I will choose joy. I will choose rejoicing. And I'll be thankful even if just one... loves God.

*for the record, Praise God, we see lots of Love for our Savior around here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A stump story...and a few decorations.

Several weeks ago I saw an incredible idea on Pinterest. {shocking, I know} Someone posted the idea of keeping the cut off stump of your live Christmas tree and making it a keepsake. Being that this was to be our FIRST year of getting a REAL tree... I was hooked on doing just that very thing. We didn't travel far away, cut down our own, or really even take a ton of time to look - just grabbed up the one we liked from Menards. Griswalds would be disappointed. ;)

The lovely stump before:

And what I did with it:

Simple. Special. Done in about 5 minutes.

This year I wanted to be as "natural" and "free" as I could be with our Christmas decorations. I just love the look of raw material... and, honestly, spending a lot on decorations just can't be a priority right now. And, not even sure I ever want it to be. 3219 looks pretty good, if you ask me.

Used the copper I found over the summer from Salvation Army, two trees we already owned, threw in a pic of the hubs and I PRE-kids...and voila... one wall done.

My mom gave me a box of her old decor she didn't want - and this simple wooden sleigh was in there. Perfect! Slap some raffia on it...good to go.

My camera, bless her, is not a very good one. Every picture I've attempted of our tree and rest of the house has come up blurry or just not good. I'll keep trying. Hopefully I can share before it all gets taken down. {sigh}

Tomorrow night is our Christmas @ Elevate - our youth Christmas party. Would you take a few minutes and pray for any unsaved teens that might show up? We have a few... What an awesome time of the year to really see and SAVOR what Christ has done for us. And, if no one has said this to you yet...


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

.:This, that, and the other thing(s):.

I'm finally sitting down for a few minutes of quiet. All three children are asleep, the sun is shining and a few flurries are blowing about on the wind. It's freezing cold. This morning the kids and I watched the new Veggie Tales Christmas movie and then I continued putting up some decorations. A little at a time. It may take me all month. August slept well lastnight - and woke up at 6:30! PTL! This is a big answer to my prayers and I'm hoping for many more mornings starting that "late". :)

Today I want to share a list of "this, that, and the other thing(s)" that I am thankful for. My life really is a bountiful one. We never lack. I am so grateful for all that we have...and for all that we struggle with. This past Saturday night a lady from church used the expression, "struggling well", and it stuck with me. I want to struggle well. Speaking of "struggle" - I got my blue bravo star in Weight Watchers last week! I'm down 5 lbs! What a great encouragement. :) Now...onto those "things"....

Let's start with coupons. I'm thankful for friends who think of me and share their coupons.
I have never gotten a catalina for the formula we use :( Boo. Even though we buy it at least twice a month. Weird. Thankfully, these were given to me this weekend - and, if I time it right... might be enough to last several months :)

Next up...Pinterest. I'm thankful for Pinterest and it's plethora of ideas, recipes, and just fun things. I have TONS of things for Ava and I to do together! This was our first "project".
We hung it up today. It's just Ava-girls hand prints in the shape of a C-mas tree. We used tissue paper for the "star" and brown cloth for the "stump". I wrote her name and the date. I'm planning to hang this up yearly - I treasure it and the memories from making it with her. :)

My children. They are a blessing to me. I am so thankful for these two amazing girls. And I love this stage where they crack each other up... I've heard rumors that girls grow up bickering and fighting. But for right now {and Lord willing - a while longer} I'll enjoy giggles and songs and out right belly laughs from both.
Ava has attached herself to the new nutcracker Grammy sent back home with us. She plays with it all day and says, "look, Mommy, it's me". I don't have the heart to tell her she is NOT a nutcracker. First thing when she wakes up she picks out a dress up outfit. Usually something frilly with wings - and wears it the entire day. Occasionally she'll ask to take off the wings for naptime. They "bodder" her. :) I love, love, love having girls!

And my precious August. 7 months this month! really?! She started "Scooting" backwards yesterday - and just gets so frustrated by the fact that she moves further and further from the toy that was right in front of her. It's hilarious. I made some homemade Rutabaga baby food and she loves it. No teeth yet and we are fine with that. She's my cuddly baby, and I love it. Somedays all she wants is to be planted near me on the floor or couch. Perfectly content with just her little hand on my leg. No toys. Nothing to chew on. Just me. I am blessed.

And while I don't have any recent pics... I'm most thankful for my husband. He has shown such an example to me lately of selfless love. The dishes are done, dishwasher loaded and unloaded, living room tidied and whatever else he can see to do...he does. I don't even ask. He takes his roles seriously and I'm so thankful for him.

I'm reading through the book of Luke this month and I was relating so well with Mary's words {tho, I am not carrying the Christ child..or ANY child} on Magnifying the Lord. Go ahead and read these out loud...

"Mary said,

My soul praises the Lord’s greatness! My spirit finds its joy in God, my Savior, because he has looked favorably on me, his humble servant.

Luke 1:46-48

It is so, so, easy and tempting to forget about God this month. Seems like the opposite would happen, but, no. I forget. You forget. I want to be intentional in seeking God in this season. I want to magnify Him and find my Joy in Mary did. So thankful for this rich life.