Sunday, August 31, 2008

Busy Non-Productive Days

My mom sent me an email about getting old. I thought it was hilarious and I TOTALLY RELATE!

Not because I'm old. I'm only 30.

But, this is EXACTLY what happens to me in a day.
-----

I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway,
I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.

As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier.

I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.

But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my check book off the table, And see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Pepsi aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over.

The Pepsi is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need water.

I put the Pepsi on the counter and discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote,
But I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.

So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day:
The car isn't washed
The bills aren't paid
There is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter
The flowers don't have enough water
There is still only 1 check in my check book
I can't find the remote
I can't find my glasses
And I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy ALL day, and I'm really tired.

I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail....

Saturday, August 30, 2008

All About Being Real

One thing that I really struggle with is envy. I don't know what it is or why. Well, it's because I have flesh and pride. I'm sure there is something deep to it, like I don't really see myself as the woman I am in Christ. But, I'm all about honesty and figured I'd just say it out loud (well, write it publicly).

It's a struggle. And, as long as we're being honest, blogs make it worse sometimes. Some women's lives just look so darn easy and full of nothing but smiles and wonderful things. So, for the sake of any other people out there who are like me and don't have perfect lives...here's a post about real life. Nothing big, just real.

I am not a mom who does lots of fun things with my kids when it comes to arts and crafts. I already confessed my dislike for play-doh, so here goes more. I hear other moms talking about fun little 'projects' they do with their toddlers and think "man, my kids are getting the short end of the stick".

So...here is an historic moment...
I let the kids draw in yogurt.

I've been wanting to do this with pudding for a while now. But, the part of me that says "three toddlers finger painting with chocolate pudding? are you crazy?!!" has been winning.

Until Wednesday.

After making yummy egg, cheese and bacon sandwiches for breakfast, I spooned yogurt out on to each plate and told them to draw with their fingers.

They loved it!
And, I have to admit...it wasn't that bad. I could ONLY do it because they were behaving well that morning and we didn't have plans to leave the house anytime soon.

Maybe we'll even do it again soon. (They've asked EVERY morning since.)

They sure are cute!
So, what does this have to do with envy? Not a lot. Just that this beautiful picture of three smiling faces painting in yogurt isn't the reality in our home all the time. So, don't get jealous or think we have a perfect life.

I like to think my kids are happy and have fun every day, but they can be a handful. I like to think I'm fun for them, but they have to forgive me regularly. I'm convinced God gave me these three so close in age because He knew it would take this kind of responsibility to drive me to His feet more often and more deeply. He's good.

And, even in the hardest times, I look at these three precious faces and know there's no job I'd rather have than being their mama. And, I know God is gracious. He could have used anything to teach me and he chose Rylee, Jenna, and Asa.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School Starting

Monday we went to a BooHoo WooHoo event at church for moms. It was targeted for moms who were sending kids back to school. For some it's a boohoo time, for others it's a woohoo time.
Rylee starts preschool next week. It's all woohoo around here. We're excited for this opportunity for her to learn more. She cannot wait to start school!

On Monday, at the moms/kids event, we made baggies and cookies and jumped in a converted schoolbus that had gymnastics equipment. It was tons of fun. Here are some of the messy, happy faces!

Last night we went to Meet the Teacher night for preschool (which is at our church). Rylee will be in Ms. Amy's class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
I can only imagine what Tuesday will bring. Rylee has already informed me she will wake up, brush her teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then go to school to learn. When she comes home she will do her homework, eat dinner, brush her teeth, and go to bed. The girl is way too much like her mama!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

House Progress

We are remodeling our kitchen. Not a big major overhaul, but something we thought was rather simple. We're doing it ourselves.
What we wanted to redo:
--strip the white off the cabinets
--get new countertops
--take out the short part of the U on the left
--put in an island (which also meant taking out part of a wall)
--replace the flooring
--replace the backsplash
--paint the walls

Here's two more before pictures.
Notice the lovely hot pink backsplash? and the two tone cabinets?

This is the wall to be taken out. The island will go in the space that is open in this picture.

We talked and talked and talked. Then, one Sunday afternoon I simply said "I'd just like to know what's behind that wall--to know if we can take it out." Next thing I knew, this began...
Okay, so our wall is coming out!

We wanted to keep power to the island, so we had to frame in a pillar. I saw a picture in a kitchen book and sketched it out to use as a model. The same afternoon we ripped the wall apart, Joel and I headed buy the island cabinet.

Having wires and outlets exposed made Joel anxious to work on the project. In the first week he ripped the drywall off both sides of the wall, framed in a 6x6 pillar, rewired the switches for the pillar and the outside light switch, moved the outlets on the bottom of the wall, moved the phone jack, framed in (support) where he removed the wall, and put up new drywall. Whew!

By the way, he learned electric work from a book he borrowed from the library that Monday morning.

He got heat exhaustion the following weekend, so we stopped working for a week. But, he didn't have to worry about the kids touching anything dangerous.

The wall was removed, reconfigured, and the drywall up--one week into the project (working on it in the evenings).

After a week of resting, I removed the counter on the other end of the open space.

First, the counter came off (not without LOTS of hard work on my part!!!).

Then, we took out the cabinets.
The new cabinet will go in the open space, creating an island. And, now you can walk where the old cabinets were.
Now it's time to strip the white paint off the cabinet facing. Remove doors and then get to work! Here's the first one I did. It's the sink base.


We have also been removing tile. We had to remove the section where the new cabinet would go so Joel could anchor it to the concrete floor. Then, I got to work on some of the main flooring.
This weekend I stripped the bottom cabinets and removed the hideous backsplash. Last night I stripped the top cabinets while Joel sanded the drywall and then textured it.
We're getting there! We'll update you on the progress. The cabinets should be done by this weekend. Then, we have to find flooring and choose our countertops. The end is in sight!

Monday, August 25, 2008

God answers

Seriously. I was going to do this post and was lazy. Now I absolutely MUST!

We now live in Texas. (not the cooler northeast)

We got our first electric bill in our new house.

Ouch.

So, here is one of the changes we've made recently to help ease the burden on our budget.
This really is our laundry and our line. See the girls' cute dresses?

That's where my post would have ended earlier. I was just going to joke about hanging out laundry. Now there's more to the story.

Remember how I said in a previous post that God was speaking specific things to me in recent messages? Well, the message on Saturday at our women's breakfast was about God's promises. One we like to not remember. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Her reminder was God's promise that we will face hard times. So great! Pastor Ken talked about this very thing in his messages Thursday and Friday. Why are we surprised when hardship comes? Not only do we live in a fallen world, but God promised we will have trouble!

So, what was the answer? Cling to Jesus! "For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." Col. 3:3 One major point that BOTH speaker specifically said was "nothing can happen to me without permission of the Father." Pastor Ken said "I am the only one who can hamper what God wants to do in my life!" We usually think bad things that happen to us are a work of the enemy. Yes, he is working. I think we underestimate the powers of darkness. However, Scripture is clear that he is defeated! I, however, still struggle with MYSELF!

Our speaker on Saturday used a great illustration. A black pen represented me, a red case to hold the pen represented Christ, and a white box represented God, the Father. When I accept Christ and live my life hidden with Him, I (the pen) get placed inside the red case, and the red case is inside the white box. Anything that gets to me MUST go through the Father first. Look at Job. God's permission had to be granted.

So, though my electric bill is a matter of choice (the home we have, how we use electricity, etc), it was still a struggle for us (didn't really have that money budgeted).

Then, I went to get the mail today.
I literally fell down onto the grass praising God and crying for His wonderful, personal care for our family. He is so gracious. If you are reading this and you were God's hands in sending us money, thank you. Thank you for your obedience to Him. I hope you can see now how He was using you. I praise Him for the peace He gave me as we waited to see how He would work it all out (we're also doing our part to cut back). His peace truly was amazing.

How can we ever think following God is all about rules and what you can and can't do? It is all about a loving Father who longs to know us and show Himself mighty in our lives.

Proof

I just swept my dining room/front living room, the hallway, our main living room, and the kitchen. I couldn't help but notice tiny bits of hard, brightly color dough.

Hmmm...

There is a very good reason I do NOT care for play dough! And, with the proof I just found, I don't feel so bad for not letting my kids play with it for the 7 months we lived in an apartment that was only 900 square feet and had carpet throughout (including the dining area).

Yep...I'm one of those bad moms who really isn't crazy about play dough.

Hopefully my kids will be okay. Maybe Rylee will get to do some of the really fun stuff moms of toddlers are supposed to do now that she'll be going to preschool. Hey, maybe I can handle more fun stuff if I try to do it with just two kids instead of all three. We will have to see!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Special messages

God is so good. GFA staff were blessed to have Pastor Ken Ortiz from Calvary Chapel Spokane teach us this week. We had four special sessions that were an incredible blessing to me. I was unable to attend the 2nd session since Asa decided to take a 3 1/2 hour nap, but the other three were incredible. What amazed me most was how God was building on the things He had been saying to me through other teachers.
Our pastor is currently teaching through Galatians and it has been awesome. The Lord has had something specific for me every single week. I just love His Word and His Spirit! Then, I have been reading some books for our new staff mentoring with GFA. Again, very specific things the Lord has been saying coincide with what is being taught by our pastor and by Pastor Ken. As if that's not cool enough, I went to a high school small group for our church on Monday night and the specifics we talked about were right in line (though on a completely different "topic") with the theme of God's teachings to me. Finally, well I hope it's not the last message!, today I attended a women's brunch and the speaker was AGAIN talking about the theme!

So, what is this theme, you ask? Well, you didn't, but I bet you're wondering. Crazy. It's just crazy because it doesn't really make sense. But, it's about brokenness, humility, compassion, not being judgmental, and accepting all the trials that come in life. I know...how is all that related? I don't know! But, I know it is. I know God is just speaking to me like crazy and it's wonderful!

The speaker this morning started her time by telling us she wanted us to each hear from the Lord. She then reminded us that she may not actually speak the words, but that the Holy Spirit will continue to minister to us. In the past, she has had someone say "you said 'this' and it really impacted me." Then, they walk away and she thinks, "I never said that!" But, it was the Holy Spirit speaking. Well, that's how I feel right now. The speakers aren't really talking about the same things, but it's all making sense and fitting together like pieces of a puzzle for me.
One tiny fragment at a time.

God is so good. He is so faithful. He loves us so much and wants to know us intimately. He wants to be my Best Friend. He wants my attention. I love when He has something special for me. What a privilege to be His child!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ahhh...laughter

Dani was able to catch Jenna laughing on video. I think it's one of the best things in the world to hear. I hope you enjoy it too!

video

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Blog

This is the official start for this blog. I started it a while back, but was not really keeping it up-to-date. I'll do my best to add posts on here regularly. For those of you who support us through prayer and financial giving, we appreciate you very much and want to make sure you know what we're up to (so you can effectively pray for us!).

My brother, Ron, came by for a quick visit (not the best picture of us!)

We have had a summer full of visitors. Our most recent visitor stayed the longest and just left on Tuesday. Dani was here for a month, July 21-August 19. We are so incredibly grateful that she would want to come stay with us for such a long time. And, we are honored that her parents trust us with their precious daughter for 1/12 of a year!

We all had fun while she was here. She was a great help with Rylee, Jenna, and Asa. Joel and I went on two dates and didn't have to arrange childcare for several meetings we had at GFA or church. We tried not to take advantage of Dani's care for our kids, but it sure made life easier. Dani loves our kids with such a pure heart. While I'm not her (duh!), I understand her affection for them. I babysat for a few very special families when I was a teen/young adult and those children are attached to my heart with strings of love and affection. In fact, one of them was one of the flowergirls in our wedding.

Dani, we all miss her!

We are not necessarily looking forward to the end of summer, but are excited about fall nonetheless. Rylee will be starting preschool Sept. 2. Our church is starting a new preschool and Rylee was asked to participate. We were blessed to utilize a scholarship for part of her tuition, which was an incredible answer to prayer. Rylee is such a social butterfly (like her mom) and loves to be around people. We would appreciate prayer as she begins this new journey (for me, too!).

While Rylee is at preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am hoping my two-on-one time with Jenna and Asa will be fruitful. I feel like I don't do the "fun" stuff with them nearly as much as I did with Rylee because there are three of them (to paint, do play-doh, help me cook, etc). In fact, I'm even trying to develop some ideas for spending time with each of them one-on-one every few weeks. We'll see if it works out.

Also new and upcoming is Joel's assignment to work on the development of youth curriculum. Several staff at GFA have compiled some information to create a program for youth pastors to tell about native missionaries, our Bridge of Hope (BOH) program, and the massive need for evangelism on the Indian subcontinent. The project was handed to Joel last week. He is very excited about this new opportunity. And, he'll be working on it alongside his current job of advertising.

That's all for now. We're off to GFA for a special speaker and then a dinner with some other "newer" families. We look forward to hearing from you. Shoot us an email!