Monday, August 18, 2014

Serving Others With Your Gifts

Do you ever wonder if what you do is enough for God?  

I think it's a question most Christians find themselves asking, every now and then.   Especially in this time and age, where being busy is the sign of a "good Christian life".

I mean, how many times from the pulpit have you heard that you need to be doing more?  You need to serve more, give more, "go" more?

And how many times have you walked out of church feeling defeated, like you can't even imagine adding one more thing to your plate of things to do?

And, is filling your time with organized "work" really what God expects you to do?

If you look at Jesus' ministry on Earth, it was spent meeting people along the way.   Occasionally he sat and taught to a crowd, but most of his encounters were on the road, as he went from town to town, encountering different folks and addressing their needs on the spot.

In reading my Bible this morning, I was reminded in 1 Peter 4:9-10, that God gives us a few instructions on how to serve His people (therefore, serving Him):

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling." (v. 9)

And, in v. 10......"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in it's various forms."

Hospitality - a word that scares some people!   But, apparently, God wants us to do this and do it without complaining about it!  

Are you hospitable?  Do you open your home to people or are you one that only accepts invitations, but never extends them?   Do you think this is right?  When was the last time you invited someone over for dinner or coffee or just to sit and visit?   If you never do this, why not?  

I think many things dictate whether a person is hospitable or not, but most of them would center around pride.

You think your house is too small, not pretty, too messy, or you have nothing to offer.  But, these things are centered around pride!

Or, is it that you are more of one who likes to be served, rather than serving?

Are you too lazy to clean, prepare a meal, fix a dessert?

These sound like harsh accusations, but if it's important enough for God to mention it in his word, don't you think it's worth thinking about?

If you aren't hospitable, ask yourself what's keeping you from sharing your home with others?

Whatever it is that causes you to hesitate, ask God to help you get over this obstacle.

The next verse says that each person should use whatever gift he has received.....meaning that EACH of us has a God-given gift and we are supposed to use that gift to serve others!   By doing this, you are administering God's grace in various forms.   How cool is that?!!

So, let's get this straight.....whatever gift God gave to you....when you use it, you are handing out God's grace to someone.   This is great news people!  This means that, when done in love, your gifts are showing God's grace to someone in need!   Hallelujah!

Did I just hear someone say they don't have any gifts?   Well, let's look at some of the ways God's people hand out GRACE without even realizing it.......


Ministering to someone when they're sick.......


Calling someone and listening to their struggles and offering to pray for them........





Taking someone a basket of food after surgery........


Doing what you can to help out.....even when your body is tired and worn out.......


Using your talent to bless someone and make them smile, even when their heart is breaking......


Visiting with someone, even though your schedule is full......


Being the dad you need to be.......


Using your resources to help out.......




Giving gifts........



Preaching God's word to those who are without a church family......



Sharing the spotlight with someone who looks up to you....


Using your talents to bring joy to those whose world looks a little different in their latter years......


and giving them a chance to dance again........


Putting your dreams on hold, to give your kids the education they need......


Loving on someone who needs it.......



Sharing what God's blessed you with.......



Leaving your family for a month to share the Gospel through music.......



Going around the world to share God's love......


Or doing it right on your own front porch......



Whatever gift God has given you, when you use it, you are serving God and serving others.

Don't let anyone tell you that you aren't doing enough.

When you are busy loving on God's people, offering your talent, your gifts, your resources and your time, you are living out your faith just the way the Lord asked you to in 1 Peter 4:9-10.

Are you using your gifts?   If not, it's never too late to start.

Get started today and bring God's blessing upon yourself, as you serve others.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why Every Woman Should Have Her Own Space


I've always wanted my own space - to read, to write, to create and sometime, just to get away.

Not that I don't love being with my boys, but sometimes a girl just needs a soft place to land......without car shows, football, news and guitars.

So, after a long week of very hard work, I finally have an entire room, all to myself!   I'm thankful, appreciative, excited and feeling a little bit guilty for the privilege of having a space to just do my thing.   I guess it would be the equivalent of David having a shop outside.   And, I know he wouldn't feel one bit of guilt about that, so I need to get over it!

The room is not finished yet.  There is still trim to be painted, curtains to buy, a new ceiling fan to find, and the most important element - the walls need their decorations.  

If you've ever been to my house, you know that I cover my walls with pictures, signs, sayings and other things I love to look at, and so far, not one pleasing thing hangs in this room.   Therefore, I'm not showing the walls, if I don't have to :)


 THE READING AREA



 THE CRAFT TABLE


 TOOLS OF THE TRADE


 THE EXERCISE CORNER


 THE BOOKS AND MAGAZINE PLACE



 SOME OF MY FAVORITES



 THE DESK AREA



WHERE I WORK

The desk faces the window that looks out on the barn and the area where the horses eat.  This ensures that at least twice a day, I will see their happy faces as they wait for their daily meals.  

The room still needs some tweaking, as I'm not exactly 100% happy with the arrangement, but I expected that to happen.   Sometimes you have to sit in the room for a few days to get the feel of where everything needs to go.   I suspect there will be some moving around taking place this week, as well as some decorating.

However, the fact that I have some place quiet to read and pray and just let my mind focus on important matters, is such a stress reliever for me.  

I'm looking forward to putting this space to good use in the days to come.

So, although I know it's not possible for every woman to take up an entire room to herself (afterall, I had to lose a son to marriage, in order to get mine!), I do recommend creating a quiet space - something private - where you can go and just spend some time thinking and praying and being creative.   

Even Jesus took the time to get away by himself, when he really needed to fellowship with God.  

We are no different.

It's so important to find a quiet space and turn off the noise of the world (even screaming toddlers) and just recharge your mind and heart.

We can't always hire a babysitter or leave the house and really, where would you go?  A crowded coffee shop?

No.   Why not just create something beautiful in your own home and make it work?  

Set up boundaries with the kids, so they respect your time there.   

Clean out a big closet and make it your space.   Look on Pinterest or in magazines and get creative. 

You deserve it.   

I don't do "mom's night out" or "weekends away", but I will claim my own sweet space, in my own home.

And, now that I think about it, I really don't feel guilty at all.

Because, having a little space and a little time away gives me the energy I need to come back and be the best I can be, at this job I love........taking care of them.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stop The Madness! I Want Off This Crazy Ride!


I'm losing it!

The world and all it's problems are being constantly fought out in the social media world and it's taking all the fun out of keeping up with people in those circles.

Even when I go to Facebook, just to check in, I end up getting sucked in to some kind of controversial news topic or someone posting about the latest moral issue gone bad.

Facebook has become all about who's wrong and who's right and not so much about the real life of my friends anymore.

Whatever happened to the good old days when you could see what people were really up to in their day to day lives?    Now, it's become the place to prove that your social issue is more important than the next guy's, that your candidate has more to offer, that someone didn't do their job correctly so now they will be bashed, that my meme is funnier than your meme, and so on and so forth, and poke my eyes out now so I don't have to read anymore!

I've contemplated getting off Facebook.   I've prayed about it, questioned it, debated it, and just about driven myself crazy trying to make a decision, but still.....I linger.

There are many people that I genuinely care about keeping in touch with.   However, let's be honest.....there are also people on my friend's list that I barely know and it's a little creepy.   Some have "friended" me due to homeschooling or blogging or because they know my husband or kids.   Sometimes I'm good with this voyeurism, and sometimes it gets me a little freaked out when I think about it.

I'm usually a very private person (yes, the irony of a blogger), so I like my world a bit more contained than the next guy.

Every day for the past few weeks, I have literally battled this in my mind - the shutting down of my FB account.   The problem is, it can be a good platform for blogging and for family that I never see and wouldn't talk to, if not for seeing them on there.     What to do....what to do?

David says "Just don't get on."   But, my mind doesn't work like that!  I'm not that disciplined!  If it's there and accessible, I will probably check it!   I'm a "black and white" kind of thinker, so it's all or nothing and there is no middle ground.   If you're not a black and white thinker, you will find this utterly ridiculous :)

I really wish I could just go back to the days when bloggers supported one another and were loyal readers to their blogging friends.   Then we wouldn't feel the need to post on Facebook and Twitter, just to get some outrageous number of readers.    We would be satisfied with our circle and other bloggers that find us through their favorite blogging buddies and the world would be peaceful again (wink wink).

Well, I guess I'll just keep thinking on this decision and wait for a clear answer.   Until then, I'm sure I'll be tempted and give in to checking up on everyone.    I mean, if it's there, I must read it, right?

I tell ya......I miss the old days - you know - the 80's!   When music and graduating were the big things on my mind.   Man, those were the days!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Safe....In Him


I want to take a break from my DIY project posts and get serious for a second.....about life.

Famous comedian takes his own life and leaves the world grieving.

Christians being persecuted.

Target announcing it's going "gay".

Two young men (in ministry) in our local community being accused of sexual assault (definition vague, to say the least) on "minors".  

A president who is so inept that he runs to the golf course, instead of doing even half a job at what he was elected to do.

And people so overwhelmed by information, that we are all basically numb to all of it now.

Is there any place that is safe anymore?

Yet, all of these things have been going on since the beginning of time.   (Well, the whole president thing.....translate that into lazy kings, who were self serving and narcissistic).

But, that doesn't make it any easier to live with or any more pleasant.

This world is a battlefield and the battle is between GOOD and EVIL.   Plain and simple.

There truly is only one place to place your trust and that is in Jesus Christ.

Nothing else in this world will satisfy you.

Nothing else will answer your cries for help.

Nothing else will give you worth or value.

Nothing else will keep you from sin.

Nothing else will save your soul from hell.

Nothing else.   Period.  No exceptions.

If you don't know and have a personal relationship with Jesus, you have no hope.

Sinners can get back up, with the help of the Lord.

Depressed people can find their way again, with the help of the Lord.

Peace can be found.....

Lives can change.....

Hope will manifest itself......

All in Christ.

So, if this world and it's problems overwhelm you, maybe it's time to turn off the noise, silence your mind and cry out to HIM, the creator, the savior, the one and only - Jesus.

He will hear your cries and he will come answering and offering and then and only then, you will be able to face life again.

Is There Anywhere Safe?

Yes.  Yes, there is.

Thank you, Lord, for all you do, who you are, and the fact that you love us just as we are, because you see our potential.

I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Sneak Peek - Sort Of


David and I have been working so hard this week - trying to get my new office/craft room/Mom Cave ready before he starts his new job next week.

Let me just say - my hands hurt!   I hope they come out of the holding paint stick too tight for too long
position soon!




 I have learned something about paint - no matter what brand you buy, you still need two coats on the wall.  And.....all "whites" are not created equal!

First off - no comments about how boring white is!  It has become my color of choice for the last two rooms we've painted.    Partly because I've looked at boring tan (taupe) for so many years, that I just needed something bright and non-tan!   Also because I wanted a color that would look amazing with all the other colors I like to use in decorations, pillows, signs, etc.     With white, you don't have to worry if something will clash or not.


I mean, just take a look at this hideous color on the wall!

You don't realize how bad something looks until you paint over it and then you stand back and say "Wow!" Can't believe we lived with that for so long!

Anyway, it's all covered up now and we're moving on to brighter, more vibrant colors and a complete room makeover!


Although I don't want to show the room just yet, I will give you a sneak peek at one thing I'm really excited about.......
THIS DOOR!



This door has been in this house since David was a kid and we love it!  It's a split door (I call it a farm door), that opens on top, while the bottom stays closed or you can open the entire door.   Either way, it's so cool!
----------------------------------------------------------------------
***Update on door***  
David's Aunt Margie wrote me a message about the history of this door after I posted this, so I thought I would share it here with you:

" the split door is called a Dutch door. It was there before the McDonalds owned it--before the 40's. We were told the hardware came off a sunken ship by way of an old ship capt."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While David was gone to band rehearsal last night, I decided to put a little color in the room by painting the door turquoise.   I purposely only put a single, light coat on it, so it would still have that "chippy paint" kind of look and it turned out perfect!   I love it!

Today I will finish up by painting two other doors - the closet door and the door leading out of the room, into the dining room.    The closet will get a similar coat of turquoise, while the main door will be a total surprise!

It will require sanding and some spray paint and that's all I'm going to say!   

So, you'll have to come back if you want to see the finished product.  

We should be "loading in", as they say, today too.    

I'm just a tad excited.......

Can you tell?

See you soon! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Girl Knows Her House


Meet "The Girls"........

They cook for me on occasion.....well.....quite often, as a matter of fact!

They're such great help.   I can leave them in the kitchen all day and they do all the work and always have dinner ready right on time.  

Yesterday they were working really hard, whipping up the delicious Jalapeno Roast from Marcy Jo's and an old fashioned pot of pinto beans.   I was really looking forward to eating what they were cooking, plus a big pot of mashed potatoes.

However, while the girls were hard at work in the kitchen, David and I were hard at work in Ted's old room (soon to be known as Mom's Office) patching up holes in the walls and getting things ready to paint. 

Early in the afternoon (2-ish or so), I noticed it was getting really hot in the house.   I was sweating!  Now, aside from my frequent hot flashes, I don't usually sweat inside the house, so this was starting to grab my attention.  

I made a comment to David about how hot it was.  (We usually keep our inside temperature at 70 and now it was creeping up to 71, then 72.).   He said it was in the upper 90's outside, so it just "felt" hot inside.  (Notice the title of this post).

So, we kept working and I moved on to another project and I kept sweating and looking at the thermostat and it was now at 75!   At which point, I mentioned to my hard working husband once again, that the house felt really hot to me.    He kept referring to the outside heat and he kept right on working.    Alrighty then!

Well, finally when it got to 77 degrees in the house, I reported the temp to him and said "Something's not right!  I know my house and it's never been this hot at 5:00 in the afternoon!"  (Note the time now.)

He finally puts down his tools and goes to check the air coming out of the vents, only to discover......wait for it......warm air coming out!  

And, because he's the man and he knows exactly what to check, he goes to the outside unit and discovers that the compressor isn't even running.    We've basically been circulating hot air around the house for the last 3 hours!  

Well, now he's slightly irritated because it's 5:20 and after hours and now we need a technician.  (Insert an "I told you so!" right here........not that I did that or would do that (hehehe).)

So he calls an old buddy of his that does air conditioning work and gets someone to come out and fix the problem right away and by 6pm we were back in business.  (It was at 81 degrees in the house by then).  

Needless to say, it took the rest of the evening to cool down, but it was such a blessing to have someone fix it that fast and have it turn out to be a small part and not the compressor.   Thank you, Jesus!!

The moral of this story is "A Girl Knows Her House!" 

When she says "It's hot!"....she means something's not right, "go do your man thing and figure it out!"

Well, thankfully, the girls still had supper going when all the drama died down.   I didn't get to fix the mashed potatoes, but the roast and beans were delicious anyway and I was so thankful I had used the girls that day.

Otherwise, it would have been a cold sandwich kind of night and not nearly as rewarding.

So.....thanks GIRLS!

Meanwhile, it's a nice 71 degrees in the house this morning and it feels great!

Yeah, a girl knows her house.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Can Feel Summer Slipping Away


Summer is coming to an end around here.  I'm starting to feel that familiar feeling of winding down one season and moving into another.

It's been a fun-filled summer for sure!

We finally got the newlyweds moved into their new apartment and now I have a few projects standing between me and rest.

David is off this week, before starting his new job on Monday, and I've got him doing all the things around the house, that he won't want to do, once he's concentrating on his new job.   Poor guy!

I'm about to turn Ted's room into my "Mom Cave"!    I might even put up a sign that says "No Boys Allowed!"

I long for my own quiet space, where no TV is allowed; no "car" shows blaring about engines, no Fox News cluttering up my brain, and where I can actually start a craft project and not have to put it all away when it's time to cook supper.      A total "girl" room.

I've also got to start working on my lesson plans for this new year of homeschooling.   I actually enjoy that time of planning.   I've got all the books; now it's just a matter of making it all into a nice, realistic schedule for a 15 year old boy to follow.  

I am looking forward to the routine of the school year.   I love the days when we've got our routine down, we get things accomplished and we can look back and feel like we've been productive.  

Going back to the newlyweds.....I thought I was going to be really sad on Sunday, when we moved them to their new place.   However, after all the hard work and sweat, I was actually "ok" with it all.    It's exciting to see them start this new phase of life and although I had to fight the urge to leave them a long list of how to do everything (not kidding), I felt confident that somehow they will make it and everything would be ok, just like it was when the rest of us got started.     This is the letting-go part of life.

Anyway, they are only an hour down the road and I warned them that I will be coming once a month, with food (so they have to let me in)!   They said "ok" :)

So, today I'm off to patch all the holes in Ted's room, where many years of posters, guitars, and other boy things have hung on the walls.   Then it's a fresh coat of paint and moving some furniture around.   Yay! That gets me going!

I'll be sure to take some BEFORE and AFTER pictures to share!

See ya soon!




Friday, August 8, 2014

Allergies, Tears, and A New Room to Decorate!


So, what does one do when her son gets married on Monday and she's left to pack up his room, clean up the wedding paraphernalia, and deal with allergies that decided to show up this week?

She stays in the house for days, slowly packing, slowly reminiscing, shedding a tear, here and there and basically drags around all week, feeling a little blue.

I haven't heard from the kids this week.   I mean, who goes on their honeymoon and doesn't even post ONE selfie on Instagram or Facebook??????    How inconsiderate!

I wanted to at least see their smiling faces so I could know how happy they were!   Brats!

In other news.....

David's last day at his current job was today.   He will have a week off, then begin a new adventure on the following Monday.   His week has been bittersweet too; marrying off a son, then leaving a team he really likes.    But, such is life!   Changes happen and you either roll with them or get run over!   I'm rolling baby!

Change is good!   It's what keeps life exciting, right?   Life can get stale, real quick, when you never make changes.

Anywhoo......

Life is good and soon, I'll have a new room to decorate!  That's what happens when your son moves - you get a new room!

That helps the sting a little bit.  

It still doesn't make up for the fact that he went off the grid this week.

He's going to be grounded when he comes back.......

Oh, that's right.....uh....nevermind.  I don't want to talk about it anymore.

Have a great weekend everybody.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wedding Bliss - Part 3

So.....it's finally time for the ceremony and we are all more than ready!

We've had a fairly smooth day, with no emergencies and enough down time to make the day not feel rushed and chaotic.

Everything is in place, as far as decorations, the get-away cars (yes, plural) and no one has forgotten anything (that I know of).

It has taken quite a bit of work to get to this moment in time, but it's been worth it.

Alex and Ted are two amazing people and we were all so happy to give them this special day.




At some point in the afternoon, Lesli (the photographer and friend) asked them to go outside for some pictures and I snapped this one of Ted.......


That's my son.   Grown and waiting for the thing he's always wanted - a beautiful wife to share his life with.

I have no doubt that he will make an amazing husband and father.   He's been taught well.

And, speaking of this young man..... he wrote and recorded the one and only song for the wedding.

As the groomsmen, bridesmaids and finally Alex and her dad walked down the aisle, Ted's voice was singing a beautiful love song about how they were made for one another.  

At that moment, my heart was melting and it was all so perfect.

As Ted came down the aisle toward the front, he looked straight at me and smiled and I knew he was so happy.   I was able to see Alex's face the entire ceremony and her smile was just as big.

Picture courtesy of Cyndy Mooring


Todd Mooring, Ted and Alex's pastor, spoke straight from scripture and then led them in their vows.   Then he pronounced them man and wife and they turned to face their families.   We all cheered as they made their way straight down the aisle into the first vehicle.


David's old army jeep (1949) made the perfect get away car for this vintage wedding (and it didn't stall on the way to Ted's car, which was parked around the corner, down the driveway) Yay!

They hopped in Ted's car, which was already packed and ready, then headed off down the road to the beginning of their life together.
________________________________________________

Ted and Alex had so many confirmations from the Lord during their engagement, and so many people blessed them with their love and generosity.

They are getting a great start to their life together and I can't wait to see how God uses them to inspire others.

Ted has gained a new family that loves and respects him and Alex has a new family that just thinks she's beautiful, inside and out.

We truly couldn't be prouder or happier for them.
________________________________________________

Ted and Alex - we love you and wish you all the best God has to offer!


The Wedding Day - Part 2

Finally!  The day has come and it's all getting real!

I wake up on this day and can't believe that by 6:30 pm, my oldest son will become a husband.

As much as the term "surreal" has been overused........I get it now.  

This all seems surreal!  Like I'm watching someone else's life going on, with my own family as the actors.

Nevertheless, here it is and we have lots to do!


Ted and Alex's friends - Mandy and Shelly - came and put all the decorations up.  They worked so hard, and basically took 4-5 boxes of random supplies and worked a miracle to create a beautiful scene.



Alex's friends Katy and Lesli came along and helped Alex make her bouquets.  The flowers were handpicked by Alex and her mom and they did such a great job.   They were absolutely gorgeous and the girls did an amazing job putting them together.



 Alex and Lesli





Here's where it will all take place.




Refreshment tables.......




This is where the "I do's" will be said.......



The sign says "Welcome to Our Love Story".

And a precious one it is.......


Stay tuned for details about the ceremony in Part 3 - Wedding Bliss.