Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Storm-A-Coming!

I live in the Midwest, so it should come as NO surprise to me that during winter, storms will happen. This does not mean that I must like them, be enthusiastic about them, or want to go play in them!

There's one heading this way as I write. It began as a baby snow, than turned into a toddler snow (4"), then grew some more to a grown up snow (8"), and now has aged to the point of potential-but-really-highly-likely-blizzard. I DO NOT LIKE BLIZZARD conditions.

Everyone is glued to the weather watching as it unfolds. Stocking up on groceries so that we don't run out of anything during the 1 day we're not going anywhere. Well, it might be 2 days if drifts are high enough. Out come the shovels, the plow's have been attached & hydraulic fluid filled. In fact, my hubby, who's been sick for 2 days with some stomach thing, was up & prepping so he's ready to go play, whoops, I meant plow. ;)

I on the other hand can only see the mountains of housework & laundry that await me during this potential snow-day. Christmas is in less than 1 week.....I might want to focus on this at some point immediately. Presents need to be wrapped, some still need to be bought in fact. Oh, I'm already tired.

As I was being a type-a girl & getting all my ducks in a row, just in case, it struck me that this is exactly how life goes. Now before you once again remind me that this is a 'duh', hear me out.

Things are going along as usual, when out of the blue a major winter storm creeps up on you and changes from a baby storm to a full blown blizzard in no time. Usually we don't have advanced warning in life, so we find ourselves scrambling to come up with a new plan, running out of food, patience, faith, sleep, whatever.

My family JUST walked through some challenging things with such high hopes. Things began to fall into place, answers began to come through, hopes began to run high....2013 is going to kick butt!! Then, a blizzard! No warning, no planning, everything comes to halt because life has been interrupted by life.

To be perfectly honest, I'd rather drive through a life blizzard than a winter blizzard. I don't even like driving when there's only 3" of snow on the ground. Yes, I'm a big baby who lives in the Midwest. Duh!! But in truth, life's blizzards & storms can be prayed through, worked through, and dealt with sometimes so much easier than snow. It can get slick, you can get stuck, fall down, go sliding, ditch things, etc....but we can also pray, nap, rely on good friends, read our Bible, etc... We still can't see anything, we're treading carefully, and we might have to put the chains on to get through, but we're all together - fairly healthy - and no that it's all in God's hands. He can see through it all, keep us on the road, protect us when we slip, & hold us tightly when it gets cold.

2013 is still going to KICK BUTT!! We just have to get there.....:)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gentle Prodding or All Out Shoving?

I can't believe how many amazing things have happened in less than one week! It seems like I began last week contemplating what 2013 would like and here I am on the brink of amazement.

It began on Tuesday really. God orchestrated it so that I was able to have a wonderful chat with a dear friend. As we sat and talked, and talked, and talked, and....well you get the idea, we discovered that God not only orchestrated the whole thing, but that it was absolutely necessary for both of us for confirmation in quite specific areas in our lives. 

Thankfully, my 2012 experience proved itself useful. Guess I have to thank God for all that stretching! Some of my other friends who also have stretching stories were delighted to find out later, that I related their journeys which pretty much finished off the whole thing! Seems that all this Gumby-style stretching is proving useful still. :)

Over the course of the last 7 days, God has moved in some of the most dramatic (I'm a reformed exaggerator, so I know drama!) ways in not only my life, but in the lives of my "Gumby" buddies.

So here's the question: Is it gentle prodding by God that we all step into these amazing things God is obviously setting up? Or is He all out shoving us into them? 

I don't believe that any of us are fighting Him, or arguing with Him, since these are all GOOD things & positive doors....but all are uncomfortable & require some sitting, patience, peace, and clarification. If He's shoving, I would just as soon move on my own. If it's prodding I don't want to run ahead.

When things are shaken loose, it only makes room for new to grow. When our lives are pruned, we will flourish. So maybe that's the word we Gumby-Girls should claim for 2013 - FLOURISH!!! 

I'm claiming it for sure, but I'm willing to share!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Almost Ready for 2013

I can't believe how fast 2012 has flown by! Now, with only a month left, I find myself contemplating a new focus word for 2013.

So many new things this year, so many new things coming. So much growth and stretching....so much still to grow through. If 2012 was a shaking loose of things to be rid of, 2013 should be a growing of new things to replace the old right?

Opportunities for moving into God's best for me have flourished this past year. New opportunities are on the horizon for next year, and I find myself searching for clear cut direction. Which way should I go? What will be the best possible choices for me to make? What will create the best scenario for my family? How in the world will I face having a 14 year old?!

I love how God gives nudges, open doors, windows, and circumstances that give glimmers into what direction He's leading. I always appreciate the learning AFTER it's occurred....don't care for it much in the midst.

I think that I'll spend December enjoying the things I love about Christmas, and embracing the unknown as just that - the unknown. Maybe my new word for 2013 will be patience or stillness or how about abundance. Now there's a word I can handle! :)


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Still Being Renewed

I am just overwhelmed with the amazing miracles I've been seeing God perform around here lately! Things that only He could've done, things that weren't prayed for, expected, and quite honestly, were overwhelming gracious!

Little things really aren't so little, when you step back and look at how super amazing they are in light of all the other stuff going on. A nice breeze just after the dryer kicks the bucket. A gift that was unexpected. A peace that comes in the midst of a battle. 


Each of these seem small and insignificant. Yet each and every one is a small win, designed to remind us that indeed God is in control all the time and we really don't need to worry.


At the beginning of the year a group of us started on a word for the year. I picked renewal as my word and journey. I have found that God has been doing just that as time has passed.


My faith, my health, my life....slowly but surely God has renewed each area. Now, I find that God is overwhelming me with blessings and peace. There has been struggle for sure. I've been seeing though that even in the midst of struggle, He has renewed my joy, my peace, my confidence that He indeed does have a plan to prosper us, grow us, guide us, and comfort us no matter what. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crazy, Crazy Life

Two whole months.....such crazy, crazy months too! June was moving along with rapid speed, followed by a July where no one was home at the same time!

Family events, family visits, a mission trip, a conference, a family vacation, garage sales, new renters, no rain, then rain & an all of a sudden ripe garden harvest, insanity all around.....

Through the last few months we've also experienced some fairly intense spiritual warfare. Our friends have faced it, we've faced it, our families have faced it....it seems to be going around. This leads me to wonder what's up.

I don't think warfare is necessarily a bad thing though. It forces us to dig deeper into the word, stand firmer in our resolve, and when done as a unified group, can lead to some of the most precious times and deepest growth.

While the goal is destruction, I instead offer this - what if God has allowed it all to foster a greater dependence on Him? I'm a very independent doer who loves plans and outlines. I'm an in-process of reformation control freak. So for me to learn to give everything to God without knowing anything other than trust & faith.....that is soooooooo scary.

Yet if trials in life can teach us anything, its that God is who He says He Is. He is indeed in charge. My fave new quote is from The Chronicles of Narnia - 'of course he's not safe; but he's good'. Of course our God isn't 'safe', but He is GOOD! If we think we experience trials and hardship in our nice little houses, at our busy little jobs, in our surface friendships, and our hardly ever home families, how much more so would it be if we weren't in nice little houses, at busy little jobs, without our never home families? What if persecution came in the form of hiding our faith which was punishable by death? What if trials came in the form of losing the only child we had been allowed to have? What if difficulty presented itself in the form of no job...no food...no doctors....no anything?

So I'm going to start thanking God for the opportunity that I have anything to complain about anyway...I have a child who I can argue with during the dreaded teen years, a husband who irritates me sometimes because he won't do things my way, a job that provides food, a home that needs cleaning.....and a faith so strong the devil feels the need to attack it & try to take it down a notch.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Blessings!

It seems like forever since I've been on here, but really it's just been over a week.

We've been in super busy mode though for awhile now. We've launched our home business & my daughter's jewelry is just amazing! She is so very talented it blows me away. It seems that not only does she have a tremendous capacity for caring for others, she also has a creativity that makes mine look kind of sad. :)

I launched another home business at the same time....crazy I am...but I'm so thrilled with the doors that God has opened for each and every thing we're doing! He literally shoved them wide & is already blessing us abundantly with new friends & opportunities!

Work has finally settled some, even in the midst of summer reading programs, software changes, and many other projects. The garden is trying to grow, but the bugs are trying to prevent it. I have decided that the bugs MUST DIE! They are eating all the leaves off everything....so now it's time for the poison.

Ministry is moving ahead just as fast. God is opening doors here too, and we're going to walk through them as He opens them. I'm amazed at all that He's doing & the way He's doing it! Wowsers!! My daughter's missions trip is right around the corner, & we're thrilled that God provided all the funds & she's set to go! Plus, just after we turned in her check, she was offered a part-time babysitting job....God is just so faithful!

I think sometimes we forget to see our blessings. In fact, I think there are many times where we fall prey to the schemes of the devil & can only see the hard, negative stuff. We overlook the simple blessings right in front of us. Every night before dinner, my husband thanks God that we have food to eat, a table to eat at, a family to eat with, and the time to enjoy it. Aren't these really the things that matter? Maybe there not so little after all?

I don't have a million jobs because I'm crazy or because I fear boredom, or even because I'm still a workaholic. I do all the things I do because I'm passionate about each one. I want to be able to stretch our budget & provide nutritious fruit & veggies for my family; I want to encourage my daughter's creativity & give her a quality education at the same time; I enjoy spending time in my studio being creative & creating useful things; I enjoy girl time & pampering & reminding women to slow down & enjoy; I'm here to use the gifts & abilities God has given me to help Him with whatever He needs - not because He needs my help, but because He enjoys it when I participate.

I'm just thankful for the blessings God has given, the doors He continues to open, and the constant reminder of His faithfulness - if God is for us, who can be against us?!?!





Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Great Idea!

I saw the most awesome picture of an outdoor vase or lighting option. You take an old milk bottle, wire it for hanging around the rim, and viola' instant outdoor vase! What a great idea!!

I've also seen where they add some oil & a wick through a special top & turned them into lighting for the patio. I have an old, old, milk bottle and think I'm going to try this out. When I get it done, I'll be sure to post a pic or two. If I'm really ambitious, I'll post pics of the whole process. I think I have a old vase that will work as well, when I find 5 minutes to do it, when I don't have a pile of laundry.....

Maybe it's just a great idea that can wait for awhile???? Seems I find great ideas all the time & never the time for the doing of them..... is this a sign??

Monday, June 4, 2012

Character

A friend and I have been discussing life a lot lately. So many that we both know, plus ourselves, seem to be going through a 'something'. So we just keep praying for each other, standing by each other, & holding each other up.

If all these 'somethings' are to produce Godly character, than in each case, regardless of how it seems, so long as we fix our eyes on what we know to be the truth of God's word, it will produce good qualities &  Godly character in us. If we fail to rely on God though it will destroy us. Isn't that what the enemy wants? To destroy us & our faith?

Even a child is known by his actions...i.e. character, choices, behavior, decisions. (Prov. 20:11, paraphrased) This is how we can know if what is happening is indeed creating Godly character in us - what do our decisions, actions, behaviors say about the situation & us? Do we run or do we stand? Do we retaliate or do we forgive? Do we panic or do we trust?

We will all fall down, screw up, make mistakes, trip, stumble, fail, try, etc.... The question begs to be asked though....do we trust God with our lives, our actions, our somethings? When we buy into the lie that we can't get up, God is not to be trusted, we have to rely on ourselves, we can't follow God because He 'obviously' isn't doing His thing, we lose ground & let it eat into the Godly character God is trying to create in us.

We might be able to fool others with our external image. We won't fool God though. We can make the outside look good, but it's what's inside that counts. God looks at a man's heart & sees what's really going on.....even when we don't want to admit it. Does your 'outside' character match your 'inside' character?

Its not always an easy or fun path, but it's totally worth it if we desire to glorify God in our lives. He didn't & doesn't need me to accomplish His purposes or plans, but He wanted me to play a role. Thank you Lord that you have created me on purpose for a purpose & are far more gracious, patient, kind & loving than I can hope to be, and gracious enough to help me on this journey you've called me too!








Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boring.....

My life is never boring! In fact, this weekend I have 2 new business venture launches, my daughter is launching her jewelry business, and an open house for my third business, just finished painting my kitchen cabinets, (so they are all one color, instead of splotchy sample colors), got half the garden in, and have flowers in pots on the front porch so it's all beautiful!

Something I've learned though, and am really still learning, S-L-O-W-L-Y, is how to take time for myself, my family, my faith, my self. Down-time is something men do really well, and women don't even know exists!

I'm learning though. That little bit of me time in the studio creating, sitting in a bubble bath, reading a great book, having my morning coffee in the early morning sunrise, while listening to the birds sing....these are super worthwhile, super important, and super fun!

Balance is something that I'm just now getting the hang of. Maybe it makes us weird, but my family takes seriously the 'day of rest' principle. We take family dinner time seriously. No cell phones allowed. We all work together, doing laundry, taking out the trash, working in the yard. Then we all have time for those boring things like bike rides, bubble baths, the pool, etc....

I'm still driven to be successful at whatever I do, but instead of allowing success to drive me, I'm letting God drive and just doing the best I can with what I have.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer

Ah, summer. The smell of fresh cut grass, flowers, fireflies, sunscreen, clothes dried in the sunshine, chlorine....

I really enjoy the beginning of summer. This time right now, as it shifts officially from spring to summer. Once summer gets underway, I'm less of a fan. My body doesn't appreciate the heat & humidity, so mid summer becomes a bit challenging. I start looking forward to fall!

Right now though, I'm totally embracing it. It rocks! The morning greets you all bright & sunny, and you want to get out of bed & do something. The evening breeze brings some welcome cooling, & fire pits.

Bike rides, beaches, fishing (which my kiddo hates....who are her parents really?), swimming, hiking, horseback riding (preferred by the child & no one else), BBQ's, porch swings, and this summer will mark my introduction to riding on a Harley.

This will also mark the first summer in years that I actually feel good & am able to do more than sit & watch everyone else having fun! I'm so excited!! We went on a bike ride the other night, than played Just Dance on the wii, and woke up the next day pretty ok! (I should add that the child crushed me - I really should quit trying to 'do' the moves & just shake the stupid remote - might actually stand a chance!)

When I was a little city girl, my parent's took me camping in the woods, in a tent, in a storm, on a lake, with mosquitoes, forced me to sleep in a sleeping bag. Put my own worm on the hook, be quiet while waiting for a nibble, & attempt to take my own fish off the hook. I have only twice in my life actually taken the fish I caught off the hook. The rest of the time it had to be a guy....fish are really gross to touch. Give me manure over a fish any day! My dad even made the effort to teach me to gut a fish. I actually paid attention, but I will not do it!

Then they moved us to the country. I became a little country girl. My parent's made me put up hay in 100 degree weather, muck out stalls when it was so humid you wanted to gag. Mow 2 acres with a push mower & the sun blazing hot. Help plant the garden, put clothes out to dry, haul gravel to rebuild the washed out driveway...

When the work was done though we got to play in the creek, build bonfires, hike through the woods on their property, find bugs, walk to the river & go fishing. Ride our bikes on hills unlike anything we had ever experienced before. Have you ever tried to ride a 'city bike' in the country? There is a reason they make mountain bikes & there is a reason that this is the preferred bike in my neck of the woods.

My fondness for country music stems from the summer. Country artists sing way more songs about summer than any other group. Plus, they sing about all the best things of summer - rope swings, hanging at the river, country roads, bonfires....these are the things that make summer such fun!


Friday, May 25, 2012

Questions

Have you ever had those questions that just never seem to be answered? Until recently, faith wasn't something I possessed in great amounts. I had lots of questions, few answers & spent a lot of time trying to sort through, figure out & ask why.

God is so good though! He knew that amid all the questions, there were indeed answers waiting for me. It was just all in His time, not mine. Amazing when you finally see answers how silly the questions seemed!

I still have a bunch of questions of course. Only now, most of them can be answered with a simple, "God knows, it's in His hands." It doesn't calm all my anxiety, but it usually stops it in it's tracks & causes me to remember that since God is in control I have nothing to fear. Blessed assurance....isn't that how the song goes?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Open Doors

Before I hear the phrase 'Are you nuts?' from my dear, sweet friends, I must say that God has indeed opened some doors that I just know I'm supposed to walk through.

The most recent doors that have opened? We launched a website, through which people can purchase our creative passions. Han is creating some awesome jewelry pieces, I've got my handmade cards from my Stampin' Up! workshops, and then there is the spinning, angora fibers, etc.... This is a great way for us to do something that we are already doing, and put it out there. Pursuing our creative passions is something we don't take for granted & wanted a way to share those things with others. We go live for orders on June 1st, 2012, but the website is under construction & view-able now: www.threestrandcottage.com

The second door that God swung open, was the other home business venture that I just started: Pink Papaya. I had never heard of the company before a few weeks ago. I learned they are a relatively new skincare company, with the most amazing products! We prayed about it, thought about it, asked a million questions, prayed & thought some more, and decided I should jump in. It is one of those things that I just know came from God. Check out my website here: www.pinkpapayaparty.com/kimhazer

I'm always crazy busy I know, but in the last few weeks, God has revealed so much to me, and done so much for me in the way of clarifying. A good friend posted something on Facebook yesterday: I'm going to start INVESTING my time, instead of SPENDING my time. (I've paraphrased).

This is 100% of what my life truly is focused on. I want to invest my time with my family, my friends, my talents, my resources, my life, my faith. Each door that opens isn't necessarily opening to the 'best' thing, but when the best things are in front of you, you walk through...no hesitation. God provided me with the ministry opportunity that was the 'best' for me, at the 'best' time. He has provided building blocks for my family & for every home business. He has provided the financial stability for me to pursue the things I'm passionate about, while also sharing my resources with others.

So, when God opens doors to the best things, I'm going to walk through. When the windows & doors open to the 'good' or 'okay' things, I'm going to say 'no'. It's not worth it to me, to spend my time doing anything that doesn't produce a return.

Even better? I'm doing the things I enjoy the most, with my daughter & husband, and we are all having a blast! She is getting a great education in business (like she really needed more after years of coming to work with me!), hubby is realizing his goal of me eventually being home full-time, & I get to have fun 'going to work' & doing ministry!

Thank you Lord for the amazing doors that have opened, the amazing opportunities that have come my way, and the awesome chance I've had to pursue my passions & ministry!!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Studio Makeover 2012 Complete!

I never remember to do before & after pics, but I have the original pics from I cleaned & re-did last spring, so those will have to do.

I painted the floor, but left the walls & curtain the same. I also got rid of a million more things, & this is not an exaggeration either. Boxes once again left the room.

I actually like it so well, I don't plan on doing anything different.......for at least a year! ;)

BEFORE:

 

 This worked for awhile, but was actually pretty cluttered. A small work space & not great storage. 

AFTER:

 This is the corner of the room. I switched out the brown cabinet for the buffet, which was being used as 'storage'...meaning stuff was shoved in it. The drawer now holds all the jewelry supplies, the Big Shot & Die storage box sit on top so I can use it anytime, without it taking up my work space. The cabinet space holds tools, wood-mount stamp sets, pictures that need to be placed in a scrapbook, and misc. items.

 To the left of the corner, the walking wheel takes up a lot of space, so I angled it and put my dress form & basket holder in front of the window. Plenty of room for the smaller treadle wheel & all my fibers for spinning.

 The opposite corner & closet door. The old suitcases hold my yarns & crochet hooks. The closet has all the fabric, formal wear, frames, etc... Any spare, not often used item is in the closet.


 This file cabinet was a cheapo Walmart find & is about 10 years old. I spray painted it, then applied one of my fave Stampin' Up! papers to the front of the drawers & trimmed with some ribbon.  


 This is against the wall to the right corner of the buffet. There are a few  empty spaces waiting to be filled. The rack on the wall holds all the retired Stampin' Up! colors, accessories, and there was room for few of the clear mount stamp boxes. 

 My desk & work space. The two lamps ensure that in the evening I can see what I'm working on really well. My paper cutter, stamp pads and punches are all right there.

 My desk with display space on the wall. The vase was a gift from my girl, filled with some of my fave things. The shoe is a tape dispenser! I love it!
  My ancient treadle sewing machine & mannequin. She is made of paper mache' w/ painted yarn hair. I hate to get rid of her even though she's missing her hands...when will I ever find another one? Hannah's easel & painting supplies are sitting there begging for some art!

 The door into the hallway, out of the room. The bookshelf in the background used to be in the Studio, but is now being moved into Hannah's room after it gets a coat of I believe she said red paint. (Her room is the next to be done. It's going 'teen'.)

I absolutely love the new floor. It's the same beige color as the hallway & brightened the room up a lot. I think I may add a small area rug in the middle, just for a pop of color & texture. 

Happy crafting everyone!! :) 




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pivotal Moments

This weekend was full of what I will call "Pivotal Moments". From networking with some awesome business people, to doors opening that I wouldn't have looked for, to renewing & healing in areas I wasn't aware needed it, to locating a night (like 8 whole hours) of sleep, to having some time off and just chill-axing. (How do you spell this word? Who made it up? Why did I use it?)

I got some sun, got the gardens all cleared out (thanks too hubby!), got some business done, got inspired, and discovered what I want the Studio makeover to include & came up with how I can do it for no cost, which should make hubby jump up & down! He's never actually done this before (jump up & down), but may once he reads this. I forgot to tell him this new fact, in the midst of all the other stuff.

As I type, I'm making dinner, reviewing another book I've been reading, and looking over my schedule. Yet I feel a sense of peace about everything. God has done some stuff that I just can't put words too. How awesome is that!

Each pivotal moment came complete within its own confirmation of something that God had told me before, or clarity about something that was unclear, or re-assurance that it was indeed God moving....

There were even a few "I need to think this through" moments, in which no stress was involved, and a decision was reached. I mean how in the world could I all of a sudden come up with a FREE way to re-do the Studio, that will be perfect? Only God, since we all know that shopping & redecorating are some of a girls favorite things!

One of the most amazing moments came on Sunday, in which God spoke so loudly to me that I didn't even have to think twice. It was as if after all this time of seeking, praying, studying, etc....God just decided to change things up, and wham! Right there clarity, loud & clear & precise! An answer to prayers I didn't realize to pray, a solution & perspective I never considered, a God-moment that was pivotal for me in my faith & my journey.

So on we go, with all these pivotal moments behind, and better clarity ahead. Let's skip along for awhile, because I was getting really getting tired of crawling!! :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hey Ya'll - Exciting News!

I talk like a southerner, and I know it. I say ya'll proudly. It's all that country music I listen too! I've been absent for awhile, and should in fact be in bed even as I'm typing. Early start to my day tomorrow.

I had to get on and share though.....God has opened some awesome doors and ta-da! I have an additional home-based business! I know, I know, like I needed another thing to do. BUT, this is the culmination of years of praying, resurrecting my lost business which I just loved, and is a great future for us.

It incorporates all my fave things, the things I'm most passionate about, and believe it or not, won't actually take that much more of my time. These are all things I already do, things I've been doing for years, and I've actually been pursuing partially for a long time.

We can incorporate school, my daughter can be involved (and has her own role to play following her passions!), and will give opportunity to some others who have been pursuing the chance to sell some of their handmade items. Win-win.

When God opens doors you best walk through them! I'm not completely insane so I recognize His hand so clearly in this there is just no way to NOT go through the door, down the road, and thank Him for His blessing!

So be watching.....info will continue to unfold.....and God is at work!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crafts & Shopping Reduce PMS?

Today I'm doing my happy dance.....why? Because I am about to go play for the whole day in my Studio! And my hubby is making me do it! WOOHOO!!

Granted, part of my studio time increases our income, so I suppose his insistence is based on that. But, he also knows it makes me happy, fills my inspiration and refreshment tank and makes me such a nice person. I think secretly he like the nice person effect the best!

I bet if women could prove that shopping and crafting  and bubble baths, led to a reduction in PMS our hubbies would hand us their credit cards, paychecks, car keys, and say 'would you please do this - you deserve it', totally straight-faced while doing their own happy dance!

We girls have know all along that crafts, shopping, bubble baths, shoes and purses, make us happier people. It just takes men a bit to realize that this a true statement, and not just an excuse to indulge. (If we said we're barely any clothes made us happy, I betcha they'd believe that in like 2 seconds!)

So I'm off to the Studio for a bit of boring old 'work' time......just tell my hubby it'll make me a much more cheerful person and won't cost him a dime. I can see him dancing a jig already! :)













Thursday, May 3, 2012

Right Around The Corner

There are some great things coming right around this next corner. I can feel it, I can see it, I can taste it. I'm super excited about it.

God has been opening doors right and left, giving us wisdom and direction, and even helping me be patient about some things. I'm glad He did that, because I'm not sure I'd be as appreciative of all these doors if I hadn't sat for awhile.

Keep reading over the next bit. I'm working towards walking through a few of those doors. I'm excited to share and looking forward all that's coming.

Some will be hard, but God has granted me a tremendous sense of peace about some of it. There's been healing, truth, victory and so much clarity and growth.

It must be preparation for all that's coming. From what I can see - it's going to be amazing!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fruit Salad Smoothie

To quote Solomon, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails". (Prov. 19:21, NIV) You all know that I'm a planner. I love them. I love having things mapped out in front of me. I do not like squiggly lines, the unknown, the unexpected. I do not like not knowing.

The 'Plan', as I shall refer to it, has not gone the way it was supposed to. I had life mapped out, basically outlined, and it went awry. Certainly not because my control-freakish self had a poor map, didn't wrestle or have a back up plan (or 6). In fact, where my plans had been neatly organized and separated into cute little bins, the plan currently looks more like a fruit salad, using fruits I didn't even know existed. In the midst of it all, somewhere, is this idea that God uses everything in our lives to fulfill His plan and purpose. I guess life looks better when it's all colorful & fruity.

I love fruit salad. You get all your favorite fruits melded together, in place. I like it much less when it IS the life I'm living. I like prunes, just not in fruit salad. I don't like starfruit at all, and plantains seem unnecessary as there are already bananas. What the heck are snozberries? Willy Wonka never did tell us!  Since tomatoes are technically a fruit I guess it's okay that they get added, but Hubby hates raw tomatoes, and I just don't think they'd be good paired with grapefruit and rhubarb, and should NOT be added when cooked!

At what point do I get a say in what goes into the salad? Here is where I yank out that verse that says without a plan the people perish. I wonder if God read that verse? The Plan is currently under construction, being completely re-written, and challenging me to my very core.

I just don't know what fruit I am. Am I even a fruit or am I the bowl that holds the salad? I currently feel more like I'm the whole salad, being poured into a blender, and being turned into a smoothie. I think this depth of growth is being taken even deeper, so very quickly. Ordinarily this would be great since I possess very little patience. However, it currently feels a bit speedy - maybe we could try the pulse setting? A little at a time, so everything has a chance to settle in between? Apparently, God's purpose is that fruit salad becomes a smoothie!

I'm have a strong sense though that today is a day of high speed mixing. Today is the day where I'm poured into the blender. If I get a say in the plan, I would love to be a pina colada, or maybe even a strawberry daiquiri, opposed to a berry-banana-starfruit smoothie!














Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another Truth Moment

This is the fourth time I've re-written this dumb blog. In fact, I just deleted 3 other posts that I never published because they were 'soap-box' moments. I was irritated with a lot of what I was hearing about situations in churches across the US, and just blew up on paper. Not really the way to handle things in life I know.

My journey of renewal has caused my eyes to be opened to some truths about my past, the abuses I've lived through, and some truths about what it has done to my today. I'm getting tired of being the strong one, the dependable one, the one that protects everyone else from themselves, their actions, the truth.

I have always detested it when people blame their current failures on their past. This happened, that happened, I was abused. My hatred of this excuse comes from the place in me that says, "yeah, so what? I lived through abuse too and I chose to do something - so do something." 

Don't post comments about how unkind this sounds, because I come from a long line of messed up people, and each one of us, while damaged, managed to make changes and stop certain abuses from continuing. We made choices to stand up and change the outcome. If we can do it, so can you. Some abuse takes longer to work through, get past...some take years of counseling. It is a process and that is where my empathy and kindness kicks in. At least get on the road to healing, don't just sit and make excuses - you CAN do it.

For me, healing has been a process. I would love to be one of those instantly delivered people, but that's not how God orchestrated my life. Thank God He didn't though. Each and every bit of healing that has come, has been what was needed for that time in my life. I'm still in process, and very grateful for that. It means that I can come alongside others who are in process and know how they feel.

I'm not a nationally know speaker, I've never written a book, I'm not a preacher. I'm just a real, 'normal' person, living day to day, just like you. I'm not an expert, I'm just in process too. By now, you have come to realize that I have lived through abuse. Some of it I talk about quite openly, some of it I will never talk about again. Some of it, only my husband knows in detail, some I've shared with whole groups of people. Some I dealt with as a child, some as an adult. Some my child knows about, some she doesn't and shouldn't. 

I never wanted pity, and never wanted to be seen as a 'survivor'. I didn't want anyone to know what had happened or was going on, because as is the case with most abuse, you're told if you tell it will only make things worse. Even adults are told this. "No one will believe you anyway." This is the greatest lie ever told and it makes me sick to think that I, or anyone else, has ever heard it. It was my job to act as if everything was fine....even if it wasn't.

I'm beginning to realize though that I'm still hiding behind that lie most days. I hear so often how I need to let go of the past, forgive, move on, protect those that did these things because they didn't mean it really or it doesn't really matter anymore. They said they were sorry, or they've already forgotten. There is a part of me that believes this is true. I do have to forgive, for my own sanity. I do have to work through it so I can heal and let go of it. BUT, I also know that for any of us that have survived - these are easy things to say and much harder to do. We are still living with the scars, and hearing that the abuser has forgotten it, while we're left dealing with the damage. OUCH!!!! Why not just tell us it never happened?!? 

Here is what I do know - if you are in the midst of an abusive situation - get out. I'll believe you. If you are still healing from past abuse - keep going, you can do it! If you're one of those that is just beside yourself because you grew up with the Cosby's for parent's and can't imagine....that's okay, just don't tell us how to fix ourselves. Don't 'help' us by reminding us to forgive, telling us we can do it, telling us you understand. Nope, you don't and that's awesome! Don't tell us how we can be 'healed'. Yeah, some of us have seen that miraculous healing, but God doesn't do that with all of us, and it's not because we don't have enough faith. It's because He's dealing with us in the way we need Him to and in the way He designed our lives. Go argue with God about my instant healing, but quit pestering me.....I'm not God and it's kind of in His hands.

I also know that I am so much farther along on this journey than I ever thought possible. I am a survivor! I have a lot of healing and renewal and joy! I'm in a stable, healthy marriage, I have a good job, I have a beautiful child, I am blessed! That is the truth and that is awesome! Of course I wish my story was different....kind of. My story makes me, me, and that's who I'm supposed to be!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ignoring Wisdom

I read a blog, by a rather famous CEO, of a rather famous publishing house, that exalted the virtues of blogging, and how to motivate others to read said blog. I do not qualify as 'motivationally readable'. One reason? I make up phrases like motivationally readable, (which keeps popping up as a 'spell check' word and wasn't actually in the article). I suppose I will now also have to make up a definition. I'll get back to you on this.

While well intentioned, and definitely in a position to be the wisdom an aspiring author of any sort ought to listen to, I chose not to listen. I choose to make up phrases, ramble about nothing, not be especially entertaining or even all that profound. I choose instead to be the real me, and write what I'm feeling and thinking, even if grammatically incorrect. Besides, I'm not an aspiring author. Well, actually, that's because I've already been published. This is the point when you quite reading. I wrote a newspaper column extolling the value of herbs, herb garden, etc... I even got almost good at it. I just don't really have the desire right now to be a published author. Of a book. Or a readable blog.

Today I take my stand. I didn't start this looking for a million followers. I don't usually come up with any ideas on how to legitimately balance everything my family is doing. In fact, if we could figure out how to balance everything, I probably wouldn't need to focus on renewal this year. I don't know that I care that anyone reads it. If someone does, and finds something useful here, great. If not, oh well. I have a digitized journal that went so much faster than if I had hand-written it.

This did generate a thought process though. What if that's what everything in my life actually looked like? What if a really wise person, who I should listen to, gave me some great advice and I didn't listen? Hmmmm,  it would seem I've seen this play already. In the case of my silly little blog it truly doesn't matter if I listen to the wise counsel or not. I'm doing this more for myself. But what about all the other areas of life, where wisdom is right there for the listening? If I ignore that wisdom, aren't I saying that those areas are 'silly' or just for me?

(This is the place where I'm supposed to sum up, or offer some profound thought. But I think today, it'll be a cliff-hanger - another no-no if you want people to read what you write!)






Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Spinning Wheel

I finally did it. I bought a spinning wheel! I've been spinning wool and angora on a drop spindle for a few years now. TEDIOUS!

I found a great little wheel and decided that since I've worked my tushy off the last few weeks, I had earned it. The hubby wisely did not argue. Of course I told him after the fact and located some compelling arguments about how it will pay for itself, since I can spin all the roving that's been sitting, then make these awesome purses (that everyone says are awesome) and sell them. Supplies are already on hand. He rolled his eyes.

I brought it home and the child and I set about putting it together. Girl Power! I then tried it out, spent 4 hours cursing at it, and finally went online to see why the blasted thing would NOT cooperate and do anything other than tear fibers out of my hand. Imagine my shame, when I discover that I have it set on the wrong settings. All of a sudden it worked just fine! Oops!

I haven't really had time to use it, except for once while watching TV with the family. I now have 3 skeins of yarn of my own, 1 skein for Hannah (her roving was horrible and the fibers were so short I thought I was going to loose my mind), and another batch I will get to start today! I'm so excited!! First I have to get cleaning, and get laundry going, and get to my studio and get caught up on workshops....

I love my stamp business, it's why I do it. But today I want to play on my spinning wheel. No jobs, no work, no household responsibilities. It could be considered a mini-vacation right? I'm sure if I suggest it, I will get more eye-rolling from the hubby! ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Hubby

I just got done telling the hubby that he was to be featured in my post this morning. Poor guy. He just kind of looked at me. I then explained the reasoning......bedtime. Now before you decide to stop reading, fearing this is a TMI post, it probably is, but stick with me here, because it's good for a chuckle. I wrote it in my head last night while trying to fall asleep.

I am apparently 'no bigger than a fart'. This is my husbands new favorite way to describe me. He was quite proud of himself in fact, to have come up with such a clever description of me. It does however leave something to be desired in my mind. He then had to run out and share his cleverness with others. It is just so amazing to hear his co-workers tell me how it's true, I'm no bigger than a fart. He could have just said I'm petite, but men don't actually talk that way in real life. Silly romance novels. Anyhow, in case this description is not working for you, I'm petite in weight and height. My hubby is not. He is a foot taller and double my weight. So by his logic, based on his description of me, this would make him 'a fart'...right?

He seems to believe that our full size bed is his, snoring does not truly exist in the real world, and that a good nights rest can be had by all. I seem to believe that the spare bedroom is becoming a very real possibility if I intend to find this good night's rest I keep hearing about. Lest you think I'm being cruel, or teasing a bit too much.....he laughingly shares these adventures with his friends, my friends, the neighbors....

Mind you, I am only entitled to space on the bed if I get there first. If we go to bed together, he lays on top of the covers which I need to stay warm, falls into a snoring spell, and then proceeds to determine what space he needs in order to give each and every appendage enough room to breathe. If this means I have a leg shoving me off the bed, well, that's just the way it is. If this means his elbow is millimeters away from my nose, I have to trust the Almighty God to protect me.

When it's really cold, apparently I've been known to attempt to cuddle up to him, which is unacceptable as this means that is he forced to try to regain his space on the bed. It would also seem, that I somehow magically grow when asleep, and become impossible to move. But since he takes the covers and kicks them to the end of the bed, how else would I stay warm but to cuddle? Hello, I like warmth when it's cold.

So don't tell him, I want it to be a surprise, but I think I'm going to be saving my pennies and purchasing a larger bed. And ear plugs. And I'm going to find this elusive place called 'dreamland' where a good night's sleep can be had by all.







Thursday, April 19, 2012

Strength

I have a confession: I'm not really a strong person. I just play one on TV. Stoic Kim, that's me. See, I'm smiling. :D

I filled out one of those personality/gift profiles a few years ago. One of the questions was what hard things had you experienced in your life. The list was probably only about 20 things long. I checked off more than 3/4 of them. Today, I could actually check off the whole list. This is not something I think one should be proud of. I hate that list. In fact, I wish God would have not allowed that list in my life. (The test also confirmed what I've always known - I'm an extreme Type-A. What a waste of time. I could have just told them that!) 

Really, I'm an insecure, fearful, doubtful person who gets up everyday determined not to let anything keep me down. If I pretend I'm fine, I will be fine. I tell myself I have limitless strength, I am joyful, I am capable, I will not be beaten, I will not be defeated. Sometimes though, I really just want to go back to bed. This is where my stubbornness is actually a gift. I REFUSE TO ACCEPT DEFEAT! I will not give up, I will remain stoic, I will remain brave, I will tell myself this until I believe it. I will not go down without a fight. A long time ago I did a dumb thing....I told the devil that he would have to steal my last breathe in order to defeat me. Don't think he hasn't tried. Been there, done that, stupid thing to do I admit. If you choose to tell the devil to do his best, he will and you best be prepared for the fight of your life. On the plus side, God does most of the battling for you. IF YOU REMEMBER TO LET HIM!! (Notice the capitals - I forget this a LOT!)

While I may seem confident, strong, capable....this is only because I work diligently every day to cling to a promise that was spoken over me many years ago by my best friend - 'God must have big plans for your life, if this is what you're going through'. Let me just tell you that each time this was said, I could have gagged. I did NOT want to hear about some big plan, I wanted to wallow in self-pity and defeat. I wanted to run away and give up. I did NOT want to be able to fill out the WHOLE list of tough stuff. But those words forged something in my soul that keeps me moving forward. 

My husband actually asked me once when I ever doubted God? Boy did I fool him!? This broke my heart, because I wasn't trying to fool him, I was trying to sound hopeful and supportive, encourage him in his faith. Kind of backfired. Truthfully, I'm not strong enough to get through anything, and my faith is usually smaller than a mustard seed. No mountain moving for me. I'm overwhelmed, tired, weak, and my heart is breaking. I have family and friends hurting so deeply today, I feel it in my soul and am crying with them, crying out to God for intervention and healing. I do not feel strong today. 

Matthew West has a song, "Strong Enough", that speaks to this very thing (he is actually quoting the Bible, but the song is easier to sing along too.) "Maybe that's the point, to reach the point of giving up. 'Cuz when I finally, finally hit rock bottom, that's when I start looking up". When we get to the end of our rope, the end of our strength, the end of our ability, that's when God finally has the chance to shine and do what only He can do. When we think we're strong, we forget to ask Him for help. When we just can't go on anymore, we remember He's there. How many tears does God cry waiting for us to just look up and let Him do His thing?

What's even sadder? When so many of us, myself included, who claim to follow God, finally let go and let our real weak self through.....we got beat up, put down, criticized....by others of us that claim to follow God. This is backwards people!! It takes more strength to say "I can't do this, so God has to", than it does to go and try to do it ourselves. Let me be abundantly clear here - some of us are only here because of God. There were times when we were so overwhelmed we almost gave up permanently. We may hide behind a mask of strength, but that's because you shot us in the knees when we were already limping. We learned to NEVER make the mistake of showing our weakness EVER again.

Truthfully, I have to thank God that I completed that horrible list. I would never have gotten here without it. I would have no empathy, no compassion, no desire to get up again. I wouldn't be able to see the blessings in my life. I'd be shooting people in the knees while they were limping. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Quitters

Hard truth - I hate quitters! Don't care what you think or how this makes you feel. I hate quitters. Quitters never really try, or give up when things overwhelm them. My question - how does this solve anything?

Everyone has tough times, gets down in the dumps, feels trapped by circumstances or situations, has set-backs. Most of us get up again. Quitters stay down. They like the "Pit of Despair".  Have you ever seen The Princess Bride? My all time most fave movie. The Pit of Despair is where Wesley ends up. It's a place of torture, medieval  meanness exemplified. Eventually his friends come find him, and discover he is not dead, just mostly dead, revive him and he leads the charge to overthrow the evil villains plot. Sounds kind of like a movie I wouldn't ordinarily watch....but it is HILARIOUS!

My long winded, descriptive point, is that he doesn't stay there and the Pit of Despair does not beat him or defeat him. It knocked him out for a bit. A BIT! If he would've just given up, then he wouldn't have been 'mostly dead', he would have been 'all dead'....and then who would've saved the princess? He didn't quit!!! He fought death all for the sake of true love.

What about us? How often do we quit, forgetting we're fighting for the sake of true love? Do we let the pit of despair mostly kill us? Do we stay there? A most famous phrase says that winners never quit and quitters never win. Deep and profound right? Yet how simple. If you don't start to run the race, you won't even cross the finish line. If you don't start you won't finish and you've ripped away any chance you had of even coming in second, let alone winning.

Someone really close to me made the comment that when life overwhelms, it can be defeating. I've lived with those that have this attitude and let me tell you, it will destroy your whole life. You will lose all that really matters, and you'll have no one to blame but yourself. You will destroy other's lives and hurt those around you. You will make a mockery of the idea of fighting for true love. You will be a quitter.....and quitters never win, nor do their team-mates. I want my team to win. I want the truest Love of all to be displayed in my life. I want to finish, even if it means coming in second. I want to accomplish what I was put here to accomplish. I want others to have a chance at winning too.

So, to the someone who has become overwhelmed and defeated I say this, stand up, dust yourself off, and rejoin the race. Don't let your team down. Don't let anyone steal from you all you've worked towards. Don't let anyone steal your joy, your dreams, your hopes, your life. The Bible says the thief comes in the night to do just that - steal what you have. He loves the pit of despair and loves when people fall there and stay there. If you let him, he will rob you blind.

If you can't get up on your own, let your team help you. Wesley's friends took him to Miracle Max, who was able to restore Wesley to 'all alive'. I know the greatest miracle worker of all, and He can restore you to all, fully, and joyfully alive....if you let Him. It's your choice...you can quit.....or you can get up and try again.



Friday, April 13, 2012

Wasn't That The Point?

Originally, this blog was supposed to be about my year of renewal. Since renewal was the topic, why not title this blog fittingly? Since my life truly consists of a home, many hobbies, and jobs, it seemed fitting....renewal would apply to all.

The point of focusing on renewal for 2012 was because the previous few years had their own words. As I've been writing though, I've realized that while I AM finding renewal in some small ways, there should actually be a bunch of different blogs. Possibly one for each area of my life as they seem to not overlap as well as I think they ought to since they are all a part of who I am.

Wasn't that the point? In finding renewal, all areas of my life would find there own refreshment and new look? My home and yard are experiencing some fresh new looks. My wardrobe has become more creative than in previous years. My hobbies are kind of still sitting, waiting for me to find time for them. My spiritual life is probably making the largest shift and seeing the most something.

Yet somehow, probably due to my own silliness in reading hard-hitting 'growth-type' books, it seems as if what I've actually found is stretching, not renewing. So I'm hoping that the renewing part comes as a result of the stretching part? As of this moment, the only thing I know for sure I've found is the exhaustion part.

Then again, that really was the point wasn't it? Growth and a renewed sense of self and goals and passions and calling? So maybe its just that I'm not super comfortable with the process. I really am an 'end-result' kind of girl I guess. Everything in the middle? Well, I figured out what its point is just yet.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Own "Sunny" Story

I have this friend who literally has the oddest things happen in her life. They are usually hysterically funny, and I always think to myself, "why doesn't that kind of funny stuff happen to me?" She usually doesn't find these things as humorous or unbelievable as the rest of us do. She truly could write a book and make a million dollars! She always has a sunny disposition and outlook though, so she has earned the nickname 'Sunny'. Well, this week, I have managed to have my own unbelievable, would laugh if it wasn't me, moments! Finally! (I was less sunny though.)

The first two weeks of April are always the absolute worst two weeks of the year for me at work. They are the weeks when the books must be balanced and closed, two annual reports must be written, meetings are ongoing, and I work ridiculous hours, which while good for the finances, are less good for sleep & laundry.

Last week, my computer, (the holy grail) crashed and wiped out my printer. Much cussing ensued along with threats of the computer being given flying lessons. Thankfully, I was able to locate the problem, fix everything and locate our data. Whew!

This past Monday, we had 2 computers crash within 30 minutes of each other. Mine was one of the two. (Sadly, I believe the other one has had a major stroke and won't make it. Threat of wings did not motivate it to regain its life.) Once again, much cussing ensued, as this time it threatened the loss of ALL our financial data. I once again threatened a flying lesson. It would seem that my computer is aware that its life is dependent only on cooperation, so it made a miraculous recovery. Just in time for me to finish up my paperwork and close the books for yesterdays deadline.

It was as I was sharing my distress with my treasurer, that I was reminded of last years computer crash, also during the first two weeks of April. I have begun to sense a conspiracy here. Or is my computer merely telling me that I need a break, and sharing one with me? Possibly it really does want to learn to fly?

Monday, April 9, 2012

The 'Titleless' Post

The hardest thing to do is come up with a title for every post. Since I know what I want to say it should be easy, but in reality, how do you sum up any length of words with a simple title? Obviously I can't, so today's title is The Title-less Post!

My thoughts for today are mixed. I've discovered that when God REALLY wants to get my attention, He drops little hints, such as others bringing up the same topic within the spam of about a week. Usually, He does it in about a day, but sometimes a few days seem to be the rule. Today follows the 1 day + few week rule.

In thinking back on what was in my hand, there was an additional message that really irked me and I commented to a friend, that after missions, my second greatest passion was wishing to see more women in leadership who would speak to the rest of us women in leadership, and help us out. How to balance family and ministry, how to be submissive and lead...these are big deal topics and we needed them addressed better. This little aside was essentially forgotten until yesterday, when the discussion came up among family members (bad start right there) about women in ministry and what role's were appropriate for them. Then today, a podcast by a female leader addressed this same issue. Aha! God is obviously speaking!! And then, during the podcast a statement was made that is something else that I spoke out and against during my time in ministry. Okay God, I get it!

Now let me be clear, I'm not intending to address ANY of these issues specifically here. Today is more of the processing day. I'm in the midst of working through what exactly I'm supposed to do now that my attention is focused. That rising up in my spirit is at work though.

This year's journey is one messed up, mixed up, confusing place to be. Why address so very many things in me all at once? What exactly is the point here? Is this just a time of listening and learning? If so, I wonder if I'm hearing that right stuff.... Remember, I am a lover of plans and order. This whole throw a bunch of stuff together thing just doesn't do it for me! It seems to obviously do it for God though, so I guess He's decided we're going to do this His way. I suppose I ought to go with it and assume at some point there will be order and a clearly mapped out plan. :)


Saturday, April 7, 2012

Studio Makeover

I started off well. I got part of the floor painted. Then I moved furniture around - for two days. Then put the same furniture back, just in different spots. Yesterday, after I got through every other thing on my to-do list, my order came in, and I excitedly went to finish my makeover.

The original plan was to completely redo the whole studio. Then I realized I liked the wall color, so I'd just paint the floor. Then, my 'dream' storage and furniture didn't drop in price the way I daydreamed they would, which left them still more expensive then I would like them to be. Then I realized that some of the furniture I could use, was buried under all the things I moved to redo the studio in the first place. This left me with more future cleaning and redoing, so it sat. 

Making over the studio has turned into essentially cleaning the studio. And painting the floor. And pondering on if I really want to make it over at all. In order to create the space I really want, I not only have to be willing to do no crafting during that time, but I also will have to part with some of my favorite things. I like some of my favorite things. 

I think today, I'm going to sit at my now clean work space, take a gander around the room, and decide what I really want the room to be - at the very least, clean and organized, at the very most an inspirational space with all my most fave things. What do you do with a 6 ft. long walking spinning wheel? It really doesn't fit with any of the other decor.... What do you do with two treadle sewing machines, that you got for incredible prices but don't use? What do you do with craft supplies that you get out and use when the mood strikes you....twice a year?

Time to makeover my vision I guess....or just sit and craft in my clean and tidy space and see what comes to me!




Friday, April 6, 2012

Great Friday

Today is Good Friday. It is also the day the US joined WWI. The Library of Congress shared that fact today. Throughout the day I've read interesting tweets, posts, blogs, articles, verses, etc... about today and this weekend. Did you know it's a full moon? Did you know that liars and manipulator's destroy relationships? Did you know it is better for you if you forgive and move on? Did you know that so & so wrote a new book? Did you know you can compare a fart to true love?

There have been Bible verses throughout the day also. I think every reference to every sentence that describes Jesus death has been located and placed somewhere.

I personally said that it was a Great Friday...what else is there to say about a day, or couple of days, where we pause to remember what 1 man did? Doesn't matter if you believe He was the son of God, believe He was a great prophet or even if you believe He's real or not. If nothing else, believe that this person was memorable enough that for thousands of years we all stop and think about why he was memorable. At the very least he was a remarkable person. No one else in all of history has managed to create such tremendous controversy, debate, discussion, disagreement AND manage to have done so by telling us to love another and God. Most historical figures are known for their line of work, heartless treatment of others, something other than being nice.

At the very most he was indeed the son of God, who really did die for our sins...mine, yours, ours....pretty remarkable. At the very least, he would have been interesting to talk to. At the very most, He still is interesting to talk to. At the very least, he was kind. At the very most, He was far nicer and more loving than I'll ever hope to be .At the very least, he died for no reason. At the very most He died for the most important and best reason of all.

Something to think about, amid farts and love, WWI and the full moon.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happiness

I don't know if you all heard, but March Sadness, whoops, I mean Madness, ended this past Monday. Kentucky beat Kansas, and now a whole year before it invades my home again! Whew! It was touch and go there for awhile as I thought it might invade forever! I quit paying attention as soon as my fave team was done....the very first weekend. :(

So I'm happy once again, as my hubby is no longer tied to the television - how many college sports challenges does 1 person need anyway? Silly me, preseason baseball will convert all those channels! Without formally counting, I believe there are approximately 1 hundred sports channels...I think I might be off by about 1000, but I just guessed.

Now that nicer weather is here kind of. Or at least coming here, I'd rather be outside enjoy it. For too many years now, I've had to sit and watch. I'm feeling so much better though, that I'm a bit anxious to see if I'm better enough to actually participate this year! That's my second happiness moment - the thought that I might be able to go on bike rides with the family, instead of hearing about it.

Now if only summer would descend in a slight, rather shy manner, sharing it's 80's with us for an extended period of time. It may keep the 90's and 100's to itself, as these temps are not good for anything but boating and swimming.





Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Grateful

There aren't words to describe how grateful I am to God right now. Right here in front of me sit a bunch of facts, that in my business major brain, make no sense whatsoever. Yet you can't argue with facts. And yes, they're facts - plain, simple, straightforward facts.

They represent God's provision. God's provision that I barely saw at the time, but now, see so clearly, that I'm in awe. Only God could have done it. No mistake, no coincidence, no confusion, no doubt.

So I'm grateful, and humble, and awed, and astounded. Another miracle, but only when looking backward. How sad I didn't see it at the time. At least I see it now, clearly.

So thank you Lord. Thank you for your provision, mercy, wisdom, and love for me. Thank you for stretching me until I thought I would break. Thank you for being you! I'm sure I'll need you to remind of this from time to time. I'm sure there will be more stretching along the way. But tonight I'm just so grateful!!


Workout

I just spent over an hour outside, in the fresh air, working in the garden. I think that should qualify as a workout! Plus Hannah & I walked a few blocks down to a friends.

The plan had been to maybe contemplate doing some of my workout video this morning. But I was uninspired. I think however I will count my outdoor time as my 'workout', especially since it involved stretching, weights, lifting, pruning, etc... It smells absolutely yummy out there. That fresh mowed, new dirt, flower blooming, spring smell.

Let that be a lesson to me....when uninspired, go do something else, and maybe you'll find either inspiration, or the same results! I know my back and arms already know they were doing something out of the ordinary! Let me say that raking leaves does not require the same muscle groups as carrying laundry baskets.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time to Mow the Grass

It's kind of yucky outside, but my hubby is motivated to clean up the yard anyway. I suppose I should go out and help, but then who would stay inside the nice warm house, in jammies, taking care of getting in my Stampin' Up! order (due today) ordered, drinking coffee, and blogging? Plus, I'm actually feeling rather creative - like finish cleaning up the studio and start re-doing it creative. Or maybe work on our digital wedding album creative. I am definitely NOT in the do the dishes and laundry creative mood. And I don't like working in the yard when it looks like it might rain. I melt in the rain.

Hubby is excited because it's not super hot as he tries to mow. So many things are wrong with that sentence I'm not sure there is room to expose them all, but I'm going to try! Today is the last day of March - and we are the LAST house in the neighborhood to be mowing. In March. Concerned because tomorrow it is legitimately supposed to be 80. In March. Well, technically April. But still.We are the LAST TO MOW OUR GRASS IN MARCH!

The AC has even been mentioned a few times. IN MARCH in Illinois?! Quite possibly we are living in an alternate reality that occurred sometime while we were sleeping. Sadly the grass grows, the laundry and dishes multiply still. That didn't work out as well as it could have, did it?


Thursday, March 29, 2012

What's In Your Hand?

I've re-written this about a thousand times already today. I'm so moved to share something, but I just don't know what. So here's what's in my heart this morning:


  • What's in your hand? Find it, embrace it, use it for the glory of God.
  • Joseph probably muttered a few choice words when he was sold, imprisoned, falsely accused, and returned to prison. Yet he ultimately ended up exactly where God told him he would. 
  • The time is short. Why are we worrying about stupid, petty, indifferent things, when we could be out changing the world?
  • Have you learned not to stand in judgement of others? If not, heads up....if God decides to help you learn, look out - the lesson is NOT FUN! Take it from others who have had to be helped in learning this - read your Bible or look around you - the evidence of the lesson being hard is all around you!
  • Don't forget that the devil is crafty. He was the highest angel in heaven. He can take anything and make it look good because he is also the master deceiver. He's so deceived himself, he still believes he will be victorious, despite God having clearly outlined the opposite. Anyone who can believe his own bad press, even when faced with many failures to look at, probably shouldn't be trusted. His track record is not good - Jesus was born, did rise from the dead, and never did sin. Hello?!? 
  • By the same principle - why do we spend any time listening to the devil? Is there any proof that he actually has managed to accomplish anything? His track record should be what we look at - no what he seems capable of - duh! Now mind you, I'm as guilty of this as anyone.... guilty OFTEN! I don't even remember my OWN advice half the time, let alone remembering what God has to say about it!
  • People will despise you if you stand up for truth because it's just too scary to listen too. Can imagine if preacher's are right about anything they say? 
  • God's plan is perfect. My plan is not. In fact, I'm not sure why I plan at all.... the man plans his steps, but the Lord determines his course. Can I get a 'duh' again?!
That's a lot of stuff. All from a short time in conference with God this morning. That's my new code by the way. No more devotions for me - now I'm always 'in conference'. Sounds more productive. Although, it usually ends in someone productively crying...any guesses as to who?

So working through is apparently the theme of the day. What the result will be who knows. Well, God does, but since he hasn't clued me in, I can't clue you in. I DO know that whatever all this is, He is working it out so that it benefits Him and will be a testimony of His goodness and mercy, vs. a testimony of how accomplished I look. 

To quote one of my best friends: "I wish there was a treasure map with a big X marks the spot, because life feels more like a game of Marco Polo. Just show us the X and we can get moving! Quit with the wandering around already!" Ditto girlfriend. Sadly though, as I quoted this, it occurred to me - we actually DO have the treasure map, the X is clearly defined, we just may prefer wandering around and playing Marco Polo. The children of Israel ended up wandering for 40 years since they couldn't be bothered to stay on the map and make it to the X. Thank goodness they didn't, or else what comfort would we have in OUR lives of wandering! :)






Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Accomplishment!

Nope, I didn't accomplish the laundry.

BUT, I can see the floor of my studio, AND I finished ALL my thank-you notes finally, so into the box they go tomorrow. I also managed to make dinner & dessert (from scratch), finish the dishes, organize the wedding stuff, AND clean off most of the top of my desk in my studio. I also managed to get caught up on grading schoolwork, and motivated my child to begin cleaning her room.

I accomplished something!! No to-do list involved, I just went with the flow. Yippee!! AND now I'm ready for bed!

Laundry Lesson Learned

Ugh! Laundry is by far my least favorite household chore. So, being silly, I put it off until it seems there is a reason to do it....like running out of towels (or pants). And we seem to have a lot of towels. In fact, I'm pretty sure that the large ones my hubby likes account for at least 1 whole load by themselves!

Then there is a teen in the house. And she's a girl. And she likes to dress like a girl. Which means every outfit gets worn during the week, at least for 5 minutes. And she hates doing laundry too.

Then there is a mechanic in the house. How do you get that much stuff on your socks, which are inside your shoes? Thank goodness they have a uniform service and I don't actually have to wash work clothes. However, our vehicles get fixed on day's off, so exactly how do you get grease out of jeans? He's not allowed to 'help' do the laundry.... No, you can not just throw everything into the same hot wash load and expect them to come out looking like they did when they went in. And no, we do not dry everything on hot either! I like some of my sweaters on me, better than on the dogs!

There are only 3 people that live here. Yet we own collectively, 6, yes I said 6, laundry baskets. All of which manage to fill at an alarming rate. Does it secretly mutliply at night while we're sleeping? How come the sock thief leaves me socks, instead of taking them like at everybody else's house? And how come he only leaves me the ones with holes? 

Life has been life the last few weeks, and I apparently failed to stay on top of the laundry. So I've officially learned my lesson: Do not allow all 6 baskets to filled at the same time....or you will never, ever, ever, leave the laundry room. EVER! (And you will run out of hot water!)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tidying Up My Garden

It's been so nice out lately, that we forayed into the yard to make an early attempt to tidy up a bit. While I refuse to remove my winter coverings, just in case of another frost, I did prune back some bushes that won't be hurt and pull some weeds - they grow just fine w/out any help or nurturing. I also checked for early bloomers, stem conditions, plants poking through their winter covers.

In the fall, we rake all the leaves out of the yard and cover the herb garden and all the perennials, so that they are protected from the harsh realities of winter weather up here. Then in the spring, we rake all those leaves up again, and dispose of them, so the plants can breathe in the fresh air, see the sunshine, and warmth and rain can permeate down to their roots.

This past winter was so mild here though, that the plants are confused, and sadly, won't be as strong....they didn't get enough rest over the winter and are already thinking it's time to wake up. Plus, the bugs didn't die off, disease didn't die off, it just wasn't cold enough to kill potential dangers to the plants. All that preparation, and they didn't need it. Yet, I'll do it all again in the fall, because you just never know about next winter

God has really been showing me how we do the same thing. We get all ready for harsh, cold, extreme 'weather'. We do the work to protect ourselves, and then we forget to tidy up when the weather changes. We leave the winter preparations in place, because you just never can tell about frost. But how can we see the warmth of the sun (or Son), experience the rain needed for growth, if we're smothered under a leaf pile? Is it always winter in our lives? Are we always living in fear of frost? Do we ever see summer?

For my life, the 'leaf pile winterizing' has always been the need to be in control, fear, insecurity, inferiority, doubt, life experiences, disappointment, battling along alone sometimes. Some of the pile was created all by myself, with each leaf being expertly placed, just where I thought it was needed. In fact, not some of the pile, most of the pile was my own doing. Some of the pile was created by others, much more scattered about. But the whole pile needs to go! Doesn't matter how it got there, or why, it MUST be removed so the light and air and rain can get to my roots so I can grow!

There is an additional benefit in my plant garden to the leaf piles. The bottom layers will slowly decompose, feeding nutrients into the soil. Not a ton, but some. Sadly, this is evident when we go to rake them up in the spring....soggy, yucky mess of leaves at the very bottom of the pile! Do the leaves in my life decompose and add nutrients, or do they just create a yucky, soggy mess right on my surface? I think I have far more choice in this area than I do with the garden.

If I choose to allow God to be Himself, and use those things to grow me, then I'm a stronger, healthier me. But if I just let them be a big, yucky, soggy mess on my surface then what was the point of 'winterizing'? Is it possible that by getting that yuck out of the way, the lord will rain down His spirit and blessing, cleaning off the yuck, and instead washing the nutrients in?

It's been a less than fun experience tidying up my life, and removing all that yuck and winterizing and all those leaves. Sometimes they fall off the rake, out of the garden cart, blow around. Sometimes I'll think I've got all the top layers raked up, turn around, and there are a few mores leaves I didn't spot. Can you say frustration!! I'm only partially through the yucky part, but am already seeing a difference. Yuck is harder to remove than those top layers. The bottom of the pile....ugh!

I am beginning to see the benefits. I've found a renewed sense of purpose and joy. A renewing of my passions and mission and purpose and faith. I've found God confirming, renewing, redeeming, strengthening, growing, building, adding peace and direction, and sprouting new dreams in my life. That makes it all worthwhile! I'm excited to see what a fully-in-bloom-healthy me looks like!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Studio Time

It is time, I've decided, to clean out the Studio again! There, I've publicly declared it! It won't happen for awhile. Shelves need to be placed in strategic locations in order to house some of the items currently being stored in my poor Studio. I've only got 5 more thank you notes to build so they can finally be sent out. :)

My Studio is my 'inside worship space'. My herb garden is my 'outside worship space'. It's through these two areas I connect with God best....while in the herb garden and while crafting in my studio. With everything that has gone in in the last little while, I desperately need to spend time in one of them....and the herb garden won't really be an option for about 2 more months here in IL.

Now mind you, it's spring, so every room in my house is in some state of 're-claiming' for the upcoming year. We've cleaned up outside some, still deciding on which color to paint the kitchen cabinets, about finished the hallway repainting, hung pictures (still need to get some of the other pics, so I can fill the ALL the frames), etc...

But my studio is mine. It's my retreat. I have this beautiful space designed in my head. My wallet thinks my head is crazy. My hubby probably thinks our wallet is right. It's not like his garage....it smells good and is pretty and the 'junk' looks different.

If I can get my retreat space all clean and tidy and in order, I can actually go on retreat there. And I REALLY need a retreat after the last year. Whew! It's been a busy 1! Wish me luck....retreat here I come!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Change

I think I'm going to change the title of this blog to "My Journey of Renewal". It seems that I spend more time sharing deep thoughts, than actually anything about my home, hobbies, or jobs. :)

Change is a scary thing. Especially if you're a control freak like me. Change disrupts our plans, disrupts our course of action, requires a 'plan B, D, E, F, G, & maybe H', creates a need for discussion and evaluation, forces us to our knees. It can also be an exciting adventure, especially if you're an entrepreneur like me. Change creates opportunity, enthusiasm, new creative pursuits, defining & shaping moments, adventure into the unknown, forcing me to my knees.

So how can any 1 person both fear and embrace change all at once? Carefully. If I'm in control of the changing, then it's a wild adventure full of all my favorite things. But if it's out of my hands, it represents a scary, trust situation. I DON'T LIKE this scenario at all! A lot of time on my knee's!

I constantly re-arranged and re-painted my home in my early 20's as a way of being in control in an out-of-control life. I went through a very rough patch when I was 27, and my way of coping, I colored my hair. In the last 8 years, I've faced down some scary situations....cut my hair, changed the color, added a few tattoos, bought new shoes, re-did some rooms in my house. Anything I could find that was truly within my hands to control, I changed. It gave me a sense of peace believe it or not. Now mind you, with all this change, also came hours of prayer and bible study. Which left me slightly sleep deprived, which meant I battled with my Chronic Fatigue, which left me moody, which led to depression, which led to another room being re-done, or a new project started....which left me slightly sleep deprived. Do you see a pattern here? Rather cyclical don't you think?

Since I don't quit, and hate to fail, I will do what I have to do adapt to any given situation, in order to succeed. I would rather fail having tried, then just up and quit without giving it my all. How do you get anywhere in life when you just give up when it gets hard. To quote a famous 80's hit, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going. When the going gets rough, the tough get rough". This means I must adapt to change, embrace it always as a journey of renewal and growth. An opportunity to do, be, see, experience, something I might otherwise miss out on. Isn't that what adventure is about anyway? And I LOVE adventures!! 


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Struggling On

Isn't it funny how so many people can be going through the same thing, only different? I know, sounds like an oxymoron, kind of, but it's true. Raising teenagers, building strong marriages, figuring out what the next step is, getting the garden in.....sigh, ugh, gag, and really?

I accomplished this miraculous goal of re-doing the entryway, getting pictures up....but the vaulted ceiling still needs to be painted. I'm living w/ new color options in my kitchen......but right now it looks like a coloring book until I figure out what I want. My bunnies are all healthy.....but no new babies and a PILE of chores weekly....and no time for shows. Beautiful weather that begs me to join it just outside......but a day of work inside because it's still to muddy to work in the yard and too early to prune anything back...just in case.....and I have to go to work. Growing in my faith.....but finding it a struggle some days to hang onto what I've already learned. Being ambitious.....but having to rein it in so I can actually accomplish something.

Here comes the sigh again. I had my year mapped out, goals, plans, lack of drama.....slam....my year is a mess, my plans have to be re-planned and melodrama has invaded my home. I HATE MELODRAMA when it's not my own. ;)

And so we keep moving on, struggling to stay afloat in the midst of cloudy days, thanking God for sunshine, warmth, great friends, jobs, a home, enough to meet our needs and some of our wants, and feeling blessed for minor accomplishments throughout the day. :)

At least I know we're all going through the same thing......only different.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring

I love the spring. Really, I do. In capital letters - LOVE! I know you're not supposed to use the word 'love' in relation to anything that can't actually love you back, but I LOVE the spring. The birds singing, the smell of blooming flowers and fresh turned dirt, the gentle rains, the picture of new and fresh. the soft colors, the promise of harvest and warmth, the sunshine. It's my favorite time of the year.


I always get a renewed sense of purpose in the spring. That 'I can do it all' feeling. It helps that the days get longer and there's more sunshine and warmth. Every other season just reminds me that I live in a 4 season part of the country. Although this year winter seems to have forgot to visit, which is just as well as it is my least favorite. I've heard I need to move to Hawaii if I want to enjoy spring year round. (Of course I've also heard that I need to be rich to move there and that's not really even on the horizon of possibility.)


A fresh new me is ready for a fresh new spring. Spring Kim meet the future. I was really excited to meet her too. Until, (insert scary music of your choice), my parade was rained out. In a matter of seconds. I had clarity, purpose, open doors, and then....BOOM!.....that was so short lived. :(


The awesome thing about spring rain though is that it causes everything to grow. It makes the best sounds as you're falling asleep. It washes the grime and salt off the roads. 


So my 'spring rain' won't rain out my parade. It will simply encourage it to grow. And no matter what happens, I know growth=fruit and fruit=purpose. 


Besides, by tomorrow, the sun will be back out and spring Kim will be on her way again....until the next BOOM! ;)





Saturday, March 10, 2012

March Madness = March Sadness

It will begin tomorrow....the most dreaded time of the year....March Madness. Sigh.

The big screen, recliner, and snack cabinet will be the only things my husband can see or hear. I am not allowed to share in this momentous time because I'm too vocal......a problem that has been mentioned during many games. "Do you have to yell at the coaches? I'm trying to hear." Not to mention that college basketball doesn't do much for me.

I will have to find something else to do. I've already painted the entry and finished the decorating in there, filled the picture frames, and cleaned most of the rooms. There are always taxes to work on..... sigh.....

I will be a March Madness Widow which makes me sad. :( I will miss you honey.

Unless this means you won't notice all the stuff I will be doing to fill the void....redecorating, shopping, reading, scrapbooking, gardening..........in which case, please enjoy and I'll find you the remote!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Excitement is Building!!!

I'm super excited!! Yesterday I purchased the paint to redo my entryway, staircase and upstairs hallway! YEAH!!!! I also purchased some paint to redo my kitchen cabinets, and have enough left over from other projects to redo my kitchen walls. It's been 12 years since my entry and hall were done, and about 7 for the kitchen, so it is time. Since I'm on a journey of renewal for 2012, my home is being renewed inside and out.


So here is my 'little' list of things I plan on renewing this year:

  • Re-painting and decorating entryway, hallway and staircase (which is open).
  • Re-paint the kitchen and cabinets.
  • Finally finish off the little things in the bathroom that was re-done 2 years ago.
  • Move my herb garden fence and complete over-haul herb beds and raised beds.
  • Clean out mud-room, which also serves as a library, laundry room and storage space for things needing to make it into the basement for storage.
  • Clean out basement!!!!
  • Clean up the yard and enlarge the vegetable and fruit garden.
  • Get rid of STUFF!!
  • Clean out the spare room and studio, creating storage space somewhere else, so these rooms are more usable and inviting.
  • Go through all my old inventory from my herb store and put it to practical use, or get rid of it.
Pretty ambitious huh? For me, the creative process is such a breath of fresh air for my soul. It's where I find my sense of peace, tranquility, and self. Relocating my 'self', who has been MIA, is such a joyful thing for me. I can't wait to get started on these projects. My weekend plans are already mapped out and its like Christmas....what will I find when it's open? WooHoo!! 


"Before & After" pics will follow.....if I can reduce my enthusiasm enough to hold the camera still! ;)




Monday, February 27, 2012

Truth

A few years ago, a friend of mine posted the word 'truth' as her status update on Facebook. That was it. Just one little word, but boy does it pack an enormous punch. Right between the eyes sometimes!


Is. 30:10-11 (NIV) says, "They say to the seers, 'See no more visions!' and to the prophets, 'Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!' "    I love all the exclamation points!! :)


My commentary has this to say: Some people in Judah may have sought refuge in Egypt. In there desire to find security, they wanted to hear only good news. They did not welcome the truth from God's prophets. Often the truth makes us uncomfortable. We prefer lies and illusions when they make us feel more secure. It is much better to face reality than to live a lie. Don't settle for something that makes you feel comfortable but is not true. Go to Is. 29:13: "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men." These people gave the illusion of honesty and truth, but God saw their hearts. He knew what was true and what was all for show.


Truth is one of my gifts. I am loathe to share that, as this makes me a very unpopular party guest. I translate information rapidly, decipher, and ping....ping...ping....here's what's really being said. While this makes me a good problem solver, it doesn't always lead to popularity among those living in a state of illusion. (Or is it a state of delusion.)


Here is a truth about me: I HATE LIES! I hate manipulation, illusions, and pretending. In fact, my dislike of fairy-tales is pretty evident. They don't get read, watched, or played out.....ever! As my daughter got older, I couldn't even play with her dollhouse and stable...the horses should NOT live in the house while the people live in the barn. Poor kid, but at least I acknowledge this flaw and didn't try to change her or her playtime....I took a mommy time-out.


For many years I lived out a hopeful illusion. I prayed, wept, struggled through, hid out, settled for comfort instead of truth, and just kept believing that God would grant my request of bringing truth and shattering the illusion. In the last few years I've watched as He has done just that. He provided me with TRUTH. He healed, restored, blessed and protected me in ways and through circumstances that I thought were insane. Here's what I've learned....only when we SEEK the truth will it be FOUND! Ah-ha....and a huge DUH! There's even a Bible verse about it. Hello!


I watched this weekend as God revealed even more truth to me, about me, for me. Shattered right through many lies of the enemy. And as I sit back and watch how the rest will unfold, I feel only compassion for the many who refuse to let go of the illusion. Thank you Lord for granting my prayers and shattering the illusions of so long. Thank you for your healing, mercy, wisdom, grace and blessing. It is with huge and tremendous humility and gratefulness that I fall before You and give You the final say in my life. Thank you for your protection and thank you for making all things beautiful in your time!




I Must Confess - Day 3

Confession time here. Be prepared. Last night, after a fairly emotionally charged day, I snapped at my husband. I shall pause to let that s...