Sunday, August 30, 2009

A little table in need of love

I was driving with my husband yesterday...and suddenly saw this in front of someone's house:




My husband, who had already started turning the car around, looked at me and said, "We're going back to look at that, aren't we?" He knows me so well.

I can see the swan in this ragged little ugly duckling, which by the way has about 82 layers of previous paint on it.


Cob webs....
Somebody has been hiding this little gem away.


It EVEN previously had some sort of cow on it, right smack in the middle of the front panel. I can't imagine why they took the cow off.


But the top of it has a really cool pattern in the wood.

Stay tuned for the big reveal.....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Where the rubber meets the road.....

As I tried to "name this post", I wasn't sure it's best named what I named it...or if I should have named it "Stormy Peace". I don't know. I don't know a lot right now. I'm marinating in it all. And trying to Be Still.

As I said in this post, things with my husband's job were to change. They have. Without going into too much complicated detail, our last guaranteed pay check is September 1st. Then....it's all up to God's sovereignty. It really is.

So it's a little stormy in our lives. But my sweet husband and I both feel abounding peace. Strange, huh? In a weird sort of way, I am almost excited to see what God does.

This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where this faith we have is tested. This is where our actions will determine whether we choose to live out that faith. As you know, we have been paying off debt for some time. We will still move forward. But for the immediate, it's not so much about paying off debt as it is about being faithful and frugal and wise with where we are at that particular moment.

This time in our lives is where our children will see. And absorb. And copy. So we pray. And pray. And love each other. And pray some more. And listen carefully.

So what is MY part in this for my family? I'm still obviously trying to figure it out. But this is what I've come up with so far. Besides the above-mentioned activities, I step up my frugality game. I get more creative. I get less-focused on fixing up my old house (for the time being) and get more focused on my family and what's before us. I get intentional about simplifying. And I pray that I do all of this in a gracious way that doesn't cause me to so "inward focus" that I miss opportunities to love others around me.

I'll keep you posted, I'm sure. In the meantime, if you have any wise words for me or my family, I welcome them. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More OPJ finds....

This was a fun find.


I picked them up from a guy in our neighborhood for $20 (all 4 pieces). I'll show you where they end up finding a home in my house. It sure will be fun trying to figure it out!
I absolutely adore all things "chippy". (Except toe nail polish, of course...which I frequently have)
I thought this piece would look great on the wall next to the herb garden we're starting outside. What do you think?
It doesn't take much to delight my heart. And OPJ ranks high on the list!
Make it a great day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

OPJ (Other People's Junk)....ALERT!

We had a little “mishap” the other day, which included a ball, a ceiling fan and a lamp. I’ll bet you can figure it out from here. Needless to say, I no longer have a lamp on the table in the corner of my family room.

Until today, that is…..

And then I found this little beauty (ok, not a beauty, per se…but it works) by the side of the road, in someone’s bulk trash pile.

I’m not too proud to trash dive….and look how cute! And it costed me NOTHING, except a little clean- up sweat.

Keep alert…you never know what treasure you may find.

Choices

There are times and situations in life where we have one of two choices: stress out about it OR trust God. Not just say we trust God. REALLY trust him. Sometimes that is much tougher than it sounds.

My family is in a situation right this minute that will either draw us closer to Christ and each other…or it won’t. The choice is ours. In one month, something will happen with my husband’s job. We have no idea what it will look like. It’s scary…and exciting, all rolled into one. It’s scary because it’s unknown. It’s exciting because God knows. And we trust him.

So daily I cling to his words. I cling. That’s all I have. That’s how our family will get through it.

I’m so thankful to be in a place where I truly now realize that knowing, trusting and believing God will show up and provide IS the way to get through it. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to really put faith into practice. But oh…how vulnerable it makes me feel. I truly do understand that as difficult a place it might be...it’s a good thing.

I don’t know where you are right now. Are you in a place where you are having to trust God right now? Or are you in one of those precious places where God allows you to enjoy the quiet of no turmoil at the moment? If it’s the latter, thank Him. If it’s the former, bite into his Word. It’s meaty. Digest it. Enjoy it. And thank Him for filling you up. Then wait…and trust…and obey. And watch the hand of God at work. That’s where I am right now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Little things I love...(Part 1)



Candles. But mainly my Farmstand Candle in Fresh Picked Apple scent.



Quilts.



God's Truth.



Bounce dryer bars. Love this!

Notice the ad above...."so easy a man could do it". Ouch. But funny.


The best dish cloths ever.


Being creative from "junk".
No, not my picture...but wish that scarecrow were in my backyard....so cute!





Cookbooks.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

First day of school



These boys woke up FIRED UP for the first day of school! They're still too young to realize that some kids don't actually want to go to school. They giggled all the way through breakfast and I could barely get any eggs or toast into their little bodies. Then off we went.

We entered into the cafeteria, which is where all the kids gather before their teacher comes to get them. It was so sweet. My 4-year-old's teacher came in...and he ran up to her and gave her a great big hug. Score...starting off right.

Then......"IT" happened.


I went to tell him good-bye, hugged him and asked him for a kiss as I always do. He shyly turned his head away from me and mouthed the words (as if in slow motion), "no, Mom", in a sweet little "I'm-too-cool-don't-embarrass-me-kind-of-way".

WHAT? SERIOUSLY? He's 4!!!!!!! 4!!!!!!!! Small dagger. I knew this day would come. But ouch.....so soon?


We might as well go get his driver's license tomorrow. I need to go cry now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Snakes and snails and puppy-dog tails


Today, the boys and I went to Wal-Mart to pick up last minute items for school tomorrow. They were running loose and we were all laughing. Some people thought we were cute, having fun. Others…not so much. All I know is that my boys and I were laughing and they were happy to be with me.

We moved to the check-out line and this wonderful lady asked me about my boys. "How old are they?" And then noted that they were behaving so well. She had seen us come into the store and thought, “how wonderful that they are all having such a great time together.”

I had to come clean. And I must now, too.

We were indeed having a good time, but this was no more than 45 minutes after I had gotten down on the floor at home, eye level with a 3 and 4-year-old and asked their forgiveness. I said, “Mommy loves you so much. I’m sorry I’ve gotten loud with you so many times today. Mommy has allowed myself to get mad, really mad…and I shouldn’t have. I will not be yelling at you again today. Will you forgive me?” Thankfully, they agreed.
Parenting is hard. So, so hard.

I pray over them every morning. I war over them in prayer. I ask God for wisdom to lead them. And yet, it’s still hard. Thank the Lord I have Him to take all this to, or where would I be?
They go to school tomorrow morning. It’s bitter sweet. Wonderful, because I love their school, their teachers and the fact that Mommy will have 7 hours to refresh two days per week. Bitter, because I’m actually delighted to have them gone for 7 hours and somehow feel I shouldn’t be THIS delighted. I know I will actually miss them, too.

Giving birth to and raising these creatures called boys is an exhausting, wonderful, frustrating, exhilarating , fulfilling adventure!

I thought I’d take a moment and give you a few glimpses into the daily lives of two adorable little boys I know:

video

Playing Superheroes, with their friend, Chas. Superhero action happens daily around here.


video


This is what greeted me in my 4-year-old's bedroom today as I went to put up laundry....a giant spider web. Notice the snake it had caught in it's clutches. Eek!

THUS…all these reasons (and so much more) of why I love them so.

Yes, parenting IS hard. But it's such a blessing as well.
Thanks for letting me share my heart. Just trying to keep it real. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vodka.

Do I have your full attention??


Yes, I bought some of this last weekend. No, my kids didn't send me to drinkin'.....they actually were at their grandparent's house.
I bought it to make homemade vanilla extract. Yep. I've been looking forward to this day for a month. I've been holding on to (and smellin'!) those wonderful vanilla beans I bought more than a month ago, but hadn't made the extract yet, because I hadn't made the liquor store run yet. But I went this weekend...and came out of the store...vodka, paper bag and all.

So here's how this supposedly works:


Buy vanilla beans. Apparently, this is a great price (and where I bought them from).


Take these three ingredients...vodka, vanilla beans and an air tight container (basket not necessary). I used mason jars, of course.



Take 4 vanilla beans and slice down the middle with a sharp knife, opening the bean up. Then cut into 1/2" - 3/4" pieces.



Pour 1 cup of vodka into your airtight container of choice.

Add vanilla beans to your container and shake vigorously.



Store it away in a cool, dark place. It will take 30 days for the extract to mature. Take the container out one time each day for 30 days and shake vigorously.

I stored mine in the cabinets above my refrigerator. It's not exactly the easiest to get to daily to shake, but it's the coolest, darkest place in my kitchen that my kids can't get to and consume. Boy, I'd have a situation on my hands!

At the end of 30 days, strain the liquid through a coffee filter or colander to use. You can also put it in a decorative jar to give away.
Since I've never made it before, I'll let you know on September 12th how it turns out!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Amusing

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers. ~Edgar W. Howe

'Nuff said.

Monday, August 10, 2009

TA-DA!

video

You'll notice it is now dark outside in the video. I'm finally done. You'll also notice I have no words left. I'm exhausted. A third thing you will probably notice is that I need to decorate this room...or do a mistreatment or something. That is for another very long day.

But I want to end my day showing you this:

Here is my little farmboy in the making.

video

Makes this Mama's heart so proud!

FULL disclosure..be afraid, be very afraid!

Let me start this post by asking...have you ever seen what pancakes look like after they have been on the hot griddle for for 1 1/2 hours?

I have. Don't ask me how I know this.

They look like frisbees. But they actually didn't burn! Can you believe it? I can still consume them. They are like crispy, sweet things. Not preferable, I know...but that's making lemonade outta lemons, don't you think? And very frugal.

Today, the boys are at an all-day play date (YIPPEE!), so I am still trying to unpack us, wash clothes and get back to being organized after our trip last week.

Also, I am in the middle of making a chalkboard for my 4-year-old out of a huge, OLD picture frame I found at a yard sale for $1. Again, I would've taken a "before" picture, if I had a camera.
But guess what...I will have a camera.....it's coming on Thursday!!! I'm so excited. I feel like I'll be able to keep up with blogging much better. So, I'll show you the finished chalkboard then, as well as some more projects we have in the works over here.

But here's the full disclosure part (please see what I'm about to show you with eyes of grace)... and if my friend, Mary the Organizer is watching, TURN AWAY NOW.
video
I'd better get busy. Kid-free time is a tickin' away!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Lesson from Lucy.

video
Dogs…they are like children, only with lots of hair.
But the one beautiful difference is that she’s never upset with me. Never.

I can fuss at her for pooping in the garage or vomiting on the carpet or stealing food out of the trash can…and she is still glad I’m her mom.

I can go 3 years without paying much attention to her (that was back when I had an 18 month-old and a newborn…things are much different now...so calm down, people)…and she still loves me.

I can hear the pitter patter of little feet in the house as she will run from one room to the next…just to be near me. She smiles (as much as dogs do) when I stop in my day and acknowledge her or touch her. She loves my attention.

What if that were how in-tune I was with my Provider and Caretaker? What kind of relationship would I have with him if I constantly sought to be near him? What if I didn’t pout every time he didn’t do things my way…but instead understood that he is Daddy…and knew he always had my best interest at heart?

Thankfully, God IS that faithful to me. Unbelievable. He never leaves me. Even if I "scream" at him in my discussions, or express strong feelings about something in my life, he never turns his back. He IS big enough to handle that, by the way. He is very slow to anger and always listens.

Thanks, Lucy, for helping me to see a miniscule glimpse of God’s abounding love… and reminding me how powerful my relationship with him could be if I just gave like you do.

Since the initial writing of this post, I laughed as I overheard my 4-year-old telling my 3-year-old that "Lucy isn't a dog that protects us....she's only a dog that lays down." How right he is.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Believe it or not...gift-giving season is fast approaching

Please don't think my child materialistic...or excessive...think him 4-years-old.

Shopping for Christmas or birthdays to date has been okay, but I never knew what to give him. Unlike other kids, it seemed, he didn't have any strong opinions about what he wanted. It was a shot in the dark. We usually ended up getting him toys that looked fun to us and hoped he thought so too.

I can safely tell you....that is no longer the case. Watch this.

video

Guess I'd better start shopping (and obviously saving more money!). But truth be told...it's getting more fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Balance

We just rolled in late last night. It feels so good to be home!

Our 11-hour journey coming home yesterday wasn't as "Norman Rockwell" as the journey there, but we made it safely and relatively sanely. Truly, I'd have to say that my boys did incredibly well seeing as they had to remain strapped in a car seat for hours upon hours. Can't you remember the days when we used to lay sprawled out across a seat to sleep...or jump from the front to the back seat and back again when we needed to get some energy released? It used to be easier for sure....but much less safe.

So we're home. And the boys start K3 and K4 in 15 days. Unbelievable! This summer has flown by! We are trying to fit in one more trip to see grandparents (without Mom and Dad...which means Mom and Dad will be home alone! Yahoo!) between now and then as well. These would be the Texas grandparents...not out-of-state ones.

So for the next 2 weeks, we must pursue a balance. We have to get ready for school, yes...but we need to enjoy the last few days together before the school routine sets in.

We need to get closets rotated with "new" clothes out of the garage. We have bins and bins of hand-me-downs from cousins and good friends....we are truly blessed. We need to get backpacks and school supplies. We need to set up our school year schedule, in terms of chores and bed times and such, and start getting back on schedule.

BUT, we also need to swim while we can. We need to eat more watermelon while it's available and make more homemade ice cream. We need to play as much as we can while it's still summer.

So we will try to keep it all in balance. We will be intentional about enjoying this sweet season God has given us. And we will thank him for the summer memories when it is over....