Saturday, July 20, 2013

The last week on 1st Street

Tomorrow morning we will load up close to 30 teens and drive to camp in northern Michigan. That makes today our LAST day in this house. When we get home next Saturday night {late} we'll get our last night of sleep and then move out the next day. Crazy. My heart remains heavy about much of the detail of closing, etc. but ultimately we are eager to see what the Lord will do. We've already seen His goodness to us in so many little ways even this week.

For example, the sweet corn truck gave us 2 extra ears FREE yesterday. If you know what a big deal Iowa sweet corn is... that was HUGE for us. :)

1st Street was our first home and while we are excited to start a new adventure - my nostalgic heart has been a little sad a few times this week as we pack up the last of it. This is where our children learned to walk, where we led our first few youth bible studies of this ministry, where I was SO sick and the Lord restored me. Many, many memories.

This old house. It's been a blessing and a big chapter of our lives. 
Blessed be the name of the Lord! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Creation Therapy

I am sure that in a few years I will look back on these days and see just exactly why we needed to endure such difficulties. Just to update a bit - we are in the process of selling our home and buying a new one closer to the area our church is in. Everything has been going pretty smoothly. We sold our home after the first showing {in 4 weeks!}, inspection came back with minimal work to be done, etc. Our reality now is that one little "bad" appraisal can just mess up what we think is "perfect" and turn it upside down. That's where we are. The stress has been high. We are now waiting on the Lord to really direct and work things out for us - as it's beyond us and anything we could muster up. But, wasn't it this way even from the beginning?

Being a fairly emotional female, I have been having a tough time keeping these stress emotions under control. I long to be a woman of faith - to rest and trust that the Lords perfect plan will sustain me. But sometimes, in my weak moments... I just cry. I feel like crying all the time lately. Life is hard and being a grown up is just not as fun as I thought it would be, sometimes. I'm working on saturating myself in the truth of God's word and in the encouraging reminders from godly writers who can explain it so well. We must, I must, saturate ourselves in TRUTH. The enemy would love nothing more then for me to fret and fear my days away...doubting mighty God and His purpose in this. I won't sit by and let that happen. So, I'm fighting friends.

When my husband got home from work lastnight He had even more "upsetting" news about our move/sale/etc. Once again I felt the hot tears prick at my eyes and honestly I just feel like a bug being squished beneath a big boot. Pressure. You know what I'm talking about? That feeling like you just won't ever be out from something? Yet, my problems are so minimal, really.

After dinner we loaded up our children and drove across the busy main street to an empty parking lot. My husband had been raving about a "new trail" he found, and despite the 96 degree temps and humidity... we went. We live in the city, really just 2 minutes from the downtown buisness area... so finding some good creation is tricky. This parking lot reminded me of a murder scene, honestly - big, empty, old semi truck trailers that had been abandoned for years. A few homeless men fishing on the river runoff area... I felt a bit out of place.

We crossed a little industrial bridge and started down the bike/walking trail. It was a hidden gem we had never found in our 4 years of living just a few blocks away. Blue sky, bright sun, and... trees! We walked for a bit and then entered "the forest", as our 4 year old exclaimed. The trail took us right into the lush, deep part of the woods along a river and I was disappointed to not have my camera with me. Creation was alive and around me. It was therapy to my hurting heart so I closed my eyes and just breathed it in. Without words I prayed and thanked the Lord for His presence with us - the beauty of His earth, the blessings of my children, the knowledge that we will be alright.
Look at the trees - how perfectly formed and woven the branches are. The river bank, gently lapping onto the rocks... it has an order, perfectly obeys. Breeze blows through and the orieoles and black birds caw and flit away. I wanted to sit and cry or...lay prostrate before the holy creator, God and just drink in His goodness. In a messed up world where house sales don't go perfectly and momma's get overwhelmed and we forget His goodness... we need those moments. So on we walked and I meditated on scripture and recited hymns of faith to myself. The girls squeeled and ran down the path and my husband pushed the stroller. My eyes welled up as we kept walking and with each step I was able to think of what I was thankful for, all that the Lord has done to bring us this far in life. Creation therapy.

Today is a new day where I have to muster up the strength and courage to live by faith. So thankful my heavenly Father never runs out of supply in that regard. I can see Him working in my life and allowing me this chance to live with Him. Life is hard, no doubt, but it's also so sweet and such a gift.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Favorite Things Monday {new!}

Favorite Things 580-01

Hi all! Today I'm linking up with September McCarthy over at One September Day, for "My Favorite Things Monday". I love this idea. Then, as I was gathering my thoughts, etc... realized my camera card is missing, half my home is packed up for our move, and... more. So, a LOT of my things will be shared from Pinterest. Loving that database of good ideas! Won't you join up with us and share your favorite things? Check it out here! 

First up... Favorite Foods/recipes right now:
Crunchy Ramen Cabbage Salad from
Chinese Cabbage Salad is a household staple around here. We make it year round and it's one of my husbands favorite things to eat. I love it because my kids are willingly eating cabbage :) It's also one of my faves because you can change it up with different kinds of oils, vinegars and nuts for the crunchy topping. This recipe here is one of the bests! 

Bananas rolled in Greek yogurt, crushed almonds, and cinnamon, then frozen. Healthy treat!
Yum. Bananas are one of my all time favorite foods anyway...but, pair it FROZEN rolled in yogurt, nuts and cinnamon and it's even better. My only recommendation is to eat them FAST and don't leave them out - they go soggy and brown super fast after being frozen. Super easy, super yummy and pretty affordable too. I made these for a playdate in the Spring and it was a hit with my kids! Check out the recipe here.

Another super easy (and affordable!) summer fave food right now is watermelon cookies. My girls love choosing what kind of "cookie" they will have by choosing their own cookie cutters. We do most of our shopping at Aldi and right now you can get a large watermelon for around $3/4 bucks! That's A LOT of cookies! 
Watermelon Cookies. yummy!!

Moving right along. 

Favorite FREE things right now:
Lastnight my husband taught me that you can exchange your empty Starbucks bags for FREE iced coffees. I've always just ordered my free coffee hot and plain, because I thought that's all you could do. Nope. They are more then happy to throw in some ice cubes, skim milk, and classic sweetener on the house. Score! Say what you will about "big"bucks coffee...but, you cannot beat a free iced coffee made FOR you! So, save those bags and cash them in while it's still hot outside. Side note: If you don't want your empty bags - we are always accepting donations :) 

Also, Library summer reading programs. Bless them.
I signed my girls up in June and they had to complete 15 activities to earn a FREE book and two FREE passes {a piece} to our local zoo. And the sign up was free! So, we did our activities - which included a nature hike, do a finger play, read a book, sing a nursery rhyme, etc. and then we cashed in. Each girl got to choose a free book to keep and they handed me the zoo passes. Seriously, so free and so cool. It's not too late - check in with your local libraries and see if they have anything going on. 

And, I'll wrap up this time with Favorite Fall decorating ideas:

While everyone else is enjoying summer. I have to admit...I'm always dreaming of Autumn. It's my favorite and were it fall year round, you'd hear no complaining from me. :) Some of my fave ideas for that season are below. You can find them all on Pinterest. 

Wreath and Pumpkins as a Centerpiece for Thanksgiving
I like to keep it simple and natural. So I'm loving lots of pumpkins, twigs, wreaths and dried flowers.
fall porch

Fall decor
But, for now I'll be content and thankful for hot summer days, swimming pools and popsicles. :) 

Enjoy your Monday...and maybe even some of YOUR favorite things! Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

My girls

It was such a breezy morning that the July heat actually felt a little cool. This was a great invitation to turn off the Saturday morning TV and get some good outside time, and... pack up the garage. :) But I have these little distractions that are just too cute.

Even after a super difficult week they make me smile :)  I took these pics last week... want to remember every precious memory.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Reality check, and it hurt

A moment of solace by the river yesterday...

Yesterday was not good. It ended around 9ish last night in my big girls bedroom. I was at my absolute limit. One child's behavior had been off the charts awful ALL day, another child is learning to say "no" and screamed for about 45 minutes while I tried to deliver a meal to a friend who is due with a baby any day. Add to that some intense stress over moving that I just cannot seem to let go of - even though I know that stress helps no one and nothing. I know that! But back to the bed room. It was late and I had gotten everyone bathed and jammied and my nerves were just about as frazzled as they could get, when the big girl mouthed off to me...again. The dam of hot tears I had held in all day just collapsed. My girls stopped being naughty on the spot and my little one said, "Mommy crying". Yep. Again.

I couldn't think of what to say to them or how to explain how sometimes parenting and being an adult is SO difficult - especially after a week of doing it alone 24/5, all with a happy heart in joyful service to the Lord. I couldn't explain to them why outside stressors involving moving and finances was weighing on me. And, they really don't get why their sin is such a problem right now... So, I had only one option and I took it. I sat down and put one girl on each leg and we prayed. I cried and asked God to forgive me for being angry and short with my kids. I asked Him to redeem Ava's heart and show her the need for a savior, Jesus. We prayed about peace and how awful sin is to have in our home. Both kids were silent in those moments and neither of them even tried to wiggle free per their usual. So I prayed on. We prayed for Ava's bad dreams and Auggie's naughty saying "no" habit. I asked God, right there in front of my kids, to teach me how to love them like He does. And I just cried. We said "amen" and my little one looked up and said, "You wipe you tears" and brushed a big ol' fatty hot tear off my cheek. I love that kid. Ava had a look on her face like she could join me in crying - so I just asked her, to her heart, "How can we love each other so there isn't all this yelling and ugliness?". She didn't answer. But I am thankful for the moment of tenderness and I pray that one day she will know Jesus and confess of her sin. Everyone was in bed after that, and I followed shortly thereafter and we all slept til after 8am this morning. Amen.

But, perhaps, another reason I was feeling so very low last night had nothing to do with my childrens behavior or moving stressors. In fact, I know it was something else - it was a tough reality check. You see, we've been doing some pantry living for a few weeks now. No grocery shopping, no spending money, only eating and using what we have around the house or what is given to us. It's starting to wear on me. I'm spoiled and used to extras and special treats and grocery shopping whenever I need to. It's a pride thing almost. I love making meals for people and suprising my own family with delicious meals and lately it's been a whole lot of ramen, mac n' cheese, hot dogs and mystery casseroles. For which we are VERY thankful to have - but its out of our norm.  Then last night, I had some nice reality slap me in the face in the form of a free cookout at the park.

These children and these people have so little. They live in my city, some on my street. What we are doing now with the scrimping and saving and constant feeling of pressure is their norm. My selfishness and lack of faith makes me ill. My heart breaks for my wrong thinking and pity parties over not having any more milk this week or name brand coffee. So, So, stupid. Not to mention the spiritual needs...

I met families last night who had next to nothing and came to the cookout for no other reason except to have one meal. Refugee families and even some in our working bracket. And I knew it was happening...but, it hasn't been in my face for a long time.

It's been a week of learning for sure. I fail so often and God is gracious and forgiving. His mercies are new again today, like He promised. And, in a few hours I'll pick my biggest girl up from her time at VBS and I'm praying for opportunities to love her and speak sweetly. Life continues on and stresses come and go - but, we are so rich and full from our Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm clinging to Him today. He cares. And you know what else? Chicken nuggets and canned peas sounds pretty good for dinner tonight. I don't think I've ever been more thankful for pantry food! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I'm not anxious


Yup. Somedays.
And on those days... what a great sense of rest I get from remembering - it's all in His control.

Good, bad and the ugly. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Catching up

Well, well, well...

July 9th, summer is underway, it's muggy-sticky-hot, my husband is on a missions trip with some of our teens this week, and I'm absolutely in standing still mode with packing up our home to move. Hmph.

I may have pinned some Autumn ideas on pinterest.
I may have been listening to Christmas music on Spotify.
I may have put my black sweat pants back on now that kids are napping.
I may lie in my bed and read the next Lynn Austin book in the series I'm in, rather then pack.

Ah yes, summer. While I do enjoy your pleasant views of green and blue - the splashing of pool water and the nice shade of "deeper paste" on my skin... I don't care for the heat or the sweat. Jus' saying. But there are some postives. In a few weeks we'll head to camp with our teens and stay in a cabin in the woods. LOVE that week every summer. Then there's the whole... not having to shovel snow, etc. :)

But I'm getting sidetracked.
Life is busy here. Ministry is busy, kids are growing and changing up here at home, boxes are everywhere, and we still have some time to go. We are doing a lot of pantry eating to keep from spending money - that has been interesting. I'm beyond thankful for my girls love of canned beans :) I tell you what, they could probably eat those every night and be happy.

The Lord continues to provide over and above what we even ask for in the area of "needs". We have been given shoes for our girls, clothes and coats, random bags of canned food, gift cards for birthdays, etc. I'm writing it all down in a notebook and I'm trying hard to pause at some point in each day with the girls to share with them how the Lord is working in our lives. Somedays they just don't care...but, I pray someday they will.

To be very honest - I'm struggling with the here and now. I feel like we are living in transition and it's difficult for me. The unknown with our move, the wait before the new house, really not having a "summer" because of packing/unpacking/basement living... it's just weird. Daily I find minutes in my day where I'm just emotional and feeling out of control - and it really takes a disciplined effort to stop and remind myself that God is in control, has a plan,'s a good one. Then all is well again. Oh how I long for the day when I'm no so fickle.

Overall, things in Pausleyland are fine. We are crazy busy and scattered, but fine. The Lord is good and righteous and pursues my heart and brings me back to truth every time I start to wander. I'm thankful for that.

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Lord is Good - A soul Salve story

"Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by Him. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him." Nahum 1:6-7

These gals right here... they were soul salve lastnight. Straight from the Lord!

Yesterday was my 31st birthday and, I think, one of the fastest days of the entire year. :) After a very emotional, difficult and stressful week - my girls night out was exactly what I needed. We forget how important it is to laugh. At least, I do. What a freeing thing to sit back with friends and just let the laughter go.  We had a delicious dinner at one of my faves, PF Chengs, then onto some yummo coffee at Starbucks of course - then, the grand finale was watching fireworks while chatting and laughing late into the night. I loved hearing all the stories and catching up on everyone's life. These ladies are the real deal livin-for-the-Lord kinda friends. So special.

And it keeps coming to my heart - how rich I am. You won't believe me if you were to peek at our bank account. But we ARE. So so rich. What we don't have in finances we have in faith and love...and our hope in Christ. My cup overflows with newfound joy today and I'm so thankful for that. I needed to laugh and be reminded that "it's ok". I couldn't think of better people to ring in a new year of life with. I'm blessed and known.

17 days til' a possible closing on this house and chapter of life. I say "possible" but don't want to get into details. Join in praying with us? Join in rejoicing that NO MATTER WHAT the Lord is GOOD, a stronghold, and He knows us if we are found in Him. And really, what else is there?