Monday, August 30, 2010

Creating & Beauty & Lots of Pictures

These last four or five days have been crazy busy. I have created, shopped, seen about everyone I know :), driven all over the place, learned a lot, got stressed out, peopled out, and had some fun along the way.
I want to share some beauty I have captured lately, and also some of the creations I have made.


 
 







 These beautiful sunflowers have been growing outside my home. I love to see them. Don't they just make you smile?


 This truck was just to fun not to capture. My dear friend LOVES yellow smiley faces, and we just had to stop and take a picture for her. :)

 A beautiful gift I won at a baby shower last week. So serene.







Knitting at my brother's football games. Creating with yarn~I love it!~










Preserving day with my dear friend. God blessed me through another family with green beans, then my friend added to it for a total of 8 frozen quarts. The middle picture: My tomatoes ready to be cut up and made into the yummiest sauce. 3 bags of it!




 This is my friends salsa. This is the third time this year she has canned it. With all the tomatoes and peppers coming from her beautiful garden.






  Now....you have the pleasure of looking at the beautiful things created for my little sister Serene's birthday!
A 6 layer 9x13 rainbow cake! 


 That is vanilla pudding between the layers to cut the sweet. Once it had been in the fridge a while it was so moist because the pudding soaked in! It took 3 cake mixes, 2 boxes of pudding, and 2 1/2 cans of frosting for this cake! But it was so yummy!



Whimsical writing gave it a fun feel. Don't you just love the vibrant colors? I do!







Handmade sketch pad. 24 colors of card stock make a beautiful pad. I drew the daisy on then painted it in. Stamped her name to personalize it. This resembles the gratitude journals I am making for Etsy, and a benefit coming up~It was a lot of fun.







    
In addition to the rainbow cake:
Knitted rainbow scarf, hand painted ladybug, and hand mande sketch book.










So there you have it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Pursue

Last night my husband and I shared at our small group. We rotate teaching, and it was our week! We spoke about how what you pursue in your life/marriage can either hurt your marriage or attract you to each other. For example if I am pursuing my selfishness, I will only hurt my husband, and our relationship. If on the other hand I am spending time pursuing God, and the holiness He calls us to, well, it will be something attractive that will improve our marriage. We also talked a little bit about how marriage is God's context for challenging us to be holy. Quite a few of out thoughts came out of this book. Before diving into it though I read a poem that had been given to me. I have been asked to post it here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

 I pursue. I run. I chase. I long
 I pursue what is in my heart.
 Money, things, music, black boxes, and keyboards,
 cars, and games, instruments, and perfection.
 I run after it.
 Fear of failure is hot on my heals.
 I can't see anyone.
 I don't see anything important.
 Only my own wants.
 My selfishness surrounds me
 as my idols take over my body, mind, and soul from with in.

 My spouse goes unnoticed.
 Needs of others go with out.
 Around me there is pain while I live in a world of my own.
 While I purse the things in my world,
 Hurt ensues around me.

 Then I hear it.
 Quietly calling to me.
 God's voice draws me.
 My focus shifts.
 I see Him.
 His glory.
 I see who He is,
 and who He made me to be.
 I turn and run fully into His arms.
 I race to the one who gives life.
 I realize the life He gives
 is different than the one I wanted.
 I embrace it, full of love.
 I pursue God fully,
 letting Him change me body, and mind, and soul from with in.
 The hurt I once caused is now being replaced
 with love and servant hood.

 I leave my idols behind to pursue God
 and in that I find a great pursuit
 of all things good and Godly.
 I find my marriage changed
 because I am loving my spouse with a Godly love
 and my pursuit of God is healing my marriage.
 Healing the hurt my idols have cost us.

 The pursuit of idols hurt us
 Left us broken and separated.
 The pursuit of God
 attracts me to my love, my spouse.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Germ Free School???

Yesterday, Lily had an evaluation at the school. Upon hearing that I plan to home school her the woman then lectured me about the benefits of public school compared to the negatives of homeschooling. I had told her one of the reasons we wanted to keep Lily home was because her immune system does not seem to be as strong as most kiddos. She informed me in her way that it was an excuse. She told me about another lead kid that went to school there and how they isolated him from others so he could be there. So sad to think of a kid being isolated in a room of other kids. She also told me this child had not made any progress with his lead poisoning in the last few years, huuummmm. I tried to figure out how they would keep germs at a minimum with kids, toys, and learning materials. Lily had already managed to touch every single toy in that room, and every thing she could along the way. The first place my daughter wanted to check out in the school was the tiny sinks, and toilets in the bathroom. So I was highly skeptical as to how they thought they could keep my child healthy.

Today, Lily has strep.

 I don't blame the school. I know it could not have set in that quick, but I find it ironic that my point is my daughter picks up everything and I do all I can to keep her healthy. They think they can keep her healthy ....and yet a day later she is sick again.

 I am just laughing at the irony.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Your Daughter Is OVERWEIGHT"

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I am discouraged, and I am a little afraid. Lily had a WIC appointment today. She was weighed and measured. In the past she has been on the kind of small side. I have noticed recently that she still seems to be small compared to others (I know we shouldn't compare our kids). Especially in the height department. I have also noticed her face has been filling out, and she seems to be adding on a bit of chunk. Only once have they mentioned her weight creeping up being a concern, and it was quickly dismissed because of her height. Today, that was not the case. She is short at 38 1/2 inches(15% on the charts)-the same at she was 6 months ago. Since then though she has put on more weight and is now 39 pounds(96% on the charts). Her height and weight are almost the same number. She was red flagged in their system for being overweight. I was distressed! They talked to us about the food we eat at home. About not keeping to many candies, and chips and cookies on hand. They talked about making sure that she is an active child, and maybe not too much tv.

 I know all of this. I try to put into practice all of this. Does she watch to much tv; yes. Does she eat junk food; occasionally. Is she active; yes, I think so. We try so hard in our home to watch what we are doing to our bodies. We try to eat healthy foods, and I would say we succeed at least 80% of the time. We try to make sure that we are staying active, even in a small space.

 My husband and I are both overweight. I'm not talking just a little, I'm talking morbidly obese. It is hard. It hurts. It is a constant struggle. I try everyday to make good choices for myself and my family. My husband has had a life long battle, starting at a young age with bad habits.  I didn't have any problems with my weight until my mid teens when I developed PCOS. Since then, I crawl in my skin everyday with the torture of being overweight. I have always had a fear that my daughter would have the same struggle, and now here it is starting me in the face.

 She is only 4 years old, and yet I am scared for the rest of her life. I know that we are not supposed to live in fear. I also don't know how to help her. I am already trying so hard. So here I am again. Looking over our menus trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. Trying to figure out what I can change, and wondering how I can get my baby healthy, and teach her to stay that way. She is at high risk for also developing PCOS and that scares me, but I know that if she starts out young, and overweight her chances go up. So here I go again. Back to the place I always go; to God for peace, and to my books for knowledge. I need to find a way to help her. I don't want her to have the lifelong struggle that I have had. I know that many people have told me not to worry about her weight because she is young, and it will work itself out. Now I am being faced with the actual label of "OVERWEIGHT" and I do feel like I should be doing something before that label results in other labels (pcos, diabetic, or the more horrible one: fat)

 So now that I have written a very small portion of my panic away.....I'm going to look at my menu again, reread some books, again....and to sit with the Father.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Things I Am Loving Today

#1   My beautiful little girl. She has helped me pick up, cuddled, read stories, helped her self 3 times to lunch, and played. I saw her little heart break today from dissapointment, and heard her excited screams when Daddy came home. Who can resist her? :D


#2  A clean house! It took me 5+ hours but it is clean and sanitized! Now if only it could stay that way!


#3 My nap. I was tired, but not done cleaning. Yet, I was able to stop myself and take a nap. A big thing for me to not finish cleaning first. So glad I did, or I would be dragging now!


#4  This verse:    Job 23:12    I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. Oh my word!~Conviction from the Spirit hitting me right in the soul!

#5  Parmesan crusted chicken, with tomato mozzarella salad, and Oh Baby cake for dessert! The appropriate words: 
appealing, delectable, delicious, divine, flavorsome, heavenly, inviting, luscious, mouthwatering, palatable savory, scrumptious, succulenttantalizing, tasty, tempting yummy

 
#6   This picture, it's just fun, and beautiful. 

Rain on the sun roof


Who knows what the night holds.....a walk, a movie, reading, coffee????

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Business of Starting a Business


Is it crazy to think of starting a home business when you don't really have any where to start from? My husband and I had a conversation two weeks ago about starting a home business to relive some of the financial burdens we have been feeling. We sat down with a note book and made a list of ideas. Some were possibly good ideas, some were bad, and some were very bad. At least we were trying. Then we went to the library, and checked out every book on small businesses that we could find. Every idea book there, well we took it!
So I'm going to share with you today some of those ideas. I am hoping that you will be willing to give me some feed back. Some of our ideas were for him, some for me, and some for both of us.

1. Mobil oil changes; We come to you to change your oil and give your car the tune up it needs.

2. Drywall inspections; Think you got a lousy drywall job? Do you want an estimate before the other guys try to pull one over on you....Semi retired drywall finisher will come to your home and provide you with and estimate, or show you all the trouble spots the need to be fixed so you don't have to keep calling the guy you hired back out.....Didn't I say we had some crazy ideas?

3. Mud Bogging Pit; (Can you guess who's idea that was?) Fields of mud just waiting to be sloshed around in. 15$ per..... Come get muddy.

4. Bread Baking Classes. You love the way a fresh loaf smells, and tastes but have never quite mastered it on your own. Take classes from the lady who can transform your whole carb world :D 5$ (still thinking about price) per class 25$ for a series of 6 classes. White/wheat, sourdough, rustic country, french bread, and more!

5. Writing, I understand that making money from your writing is very difficult, but it's what I love to do. Magazines, on-line zines, papers, blogs, and perhaps one day books. Ah to dream.

6. Garden Weeders; Hate to weed your garden? Don't have enough time in your week? Call us and we will do it for you.

7. Etsy Shop (One of the ideas I am most interested in) Handmade items for you or gifts. Knitted scarves, fingerless gloves, wraps, and more! Also, gratitude journals, a creative way to list the many things you are thankful for.


So there it is. Our crazy ideas. What do you think?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Teachings in the Struggle

God speaks. This is what he has been saying to me. I shared this with my woman's bible study last night, and I thought that would share it here too.

Hunger/Thirst

We control our hunger for God.
I always thought the amount of hunger I had came from God. That when I wanted to be hungry I had to pray for it. But God is showing me that I control it with what I satisfy myself with. I can be hungry for God and continually satisfy myself with Him or I can fill that hunger with things~distractions~busyness~or even myself and that decreases my hunger for Him.

If we are not hungry for God it is because we have allowed our souls to be satisfied or satiated with other things~John Bevere
He went on to say that the Lord showed him that "he" was the responsible for his own hunger level. If he wasn't hungry it was because he was already full. Fill with the cares of this world and filled with pleasures and distractions. If he wanted to hunger in the mist of the abundance of things he would need to fast. Fast from the things that would distract, comfort or distress him.

Psalm 107:9 For He satisfies the thirsty, and fills the hungry with good things.

John 6:35 Jesus replied: I am the bread of life whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

Psalm 143:6 I lift my hands to you in prayer. I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

Trust

God is teaching me that Because I love Him, I must trust Him.
He has pushed that with me while we have had no income. While Lily has had lead poisoning, while we have lost children. While I have been dealing with failure, He is telling me to trust him.
Not long ago I was swimming with Lily and she was freaking out about me letting go of her. She had a life vest on, and had let go of me many times, but was still freaking out. I found myself telling her something that I quickly recognized as God's voice speaking to me.
I said:
I love you, and because I love you, you have to trust me. You will be ok. You maybe scared, but I will be right here. All you have to do is come toward me and you will be safe.

God is slowly teaching me, and speaking to my heart about how much I should trust him, if I truly love him. As a mother I expect my child to trust me based on the fact that I love her, and want best for her. As my Daddy, God's love for me makes Him trust worthy. No matter what happens in my life.

Psalm 143:8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk for I give myself to you.

Psalm 13:5 But I will trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.


Thankfulness

No matter what life holds God is showing me that I need to be thankful for the things He gives rather than complain about all we don't have. This is hard and I don't think I have even gotten close to where He wants me but I strive.
I plant seeds of gratitude in my heart by keeping a gratitude journal. It's usually the smallest things that go in there and change my perspective of my life.
I have/am also learning that thankfulness is a choice. If I don't choose to be thankful then I am choosing a sinful attitude. It has to be an intentional thing to be thankful.

1Thessalonians 5:18
Be thankful in all circumstances for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.


Intentional Living

Intentional living is doing, thinking, feeling, and saying everything with a purpose For me it is making a choice to live out everything in my life to God's glory. Meaning the end result of everything points to God. Then making everything in my life an individual choice. I can float along or I can choose to be intentional about everything. For example; do I float along while I do my everyday stuff (dishes, drive to work, eating) or do I choose to be intentional and use it as an opportunity to listen to the spirit's leading, and glorify God?

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink, or what ever you do, do it all the to the glory of God.

1 Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.


Quiet~Slowness~Waiting~Resting

I have filled my life with busyness. Most of what I do can be considered Godly, or good, and glorifying to Him. I know that I am not choosing to be busy with things I shouldn't be. But God has been heavily speaking to me about being slow, and in the quiet. The biggest reason this is hard for me is because I have filled up my life helping other people with their problems just so I wouldn't have to face my own problems and hurt.
I was also (and still am) dealing with the perspective that being slow, waiting and resting is lazy. Not being a busy person all the time in my mind meant that I am a lazy person with mental issues :)
God has spent time showing me that only in the quiet stillness can He heal and restore me. Yes, that means dealing with my own problems, and sometimes hurting. That means my idea of rest and laziness need to change but God has been getting in my heart and working on that. He gives me quotes and scriptures to help me slow down, be quiet, and rest. These things have had the ability to change my thoughts and schedule.

Busyness and constant stresses of life rob me of physical, emotional, and and spiritual strength. Even as I must restore myself physically everyday sleeping and eating in order to give my body the nutrients and strength it needs to live productively, so I must feed my soul on God's words, nurture my heart through prayer, and pull away from life's demands in order to rest. ~Sally Clarkson

The Lord is beckoning me to rest in Him~to cease striving and allow Him to order my days. I had unknowingly placed more trust in my ability to manage than in God's plan for my life. I had allowed schedules and expectations to replace the assurance that God's grace was sufficient~always and no matter what. ~Lorraine Curry

Psalm 62:5 Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him.

Isaiah 30:15 This is what the Sovereign Lord the Holy One of Israel, says, Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.

The last line of this verse reminds me that I would have none of what God was trying to give me with resting, but that if I do all that He asks in this area then the rest of the verse will come to pass.


We must not just act like Christians, but learn to have the heart of a Christian.

If we learn, and let God change our heart it will change our thinking, and then change our actions. But if we just learn to act like Christians with out a heart or mind change then we are no better than the hypocrites of Jesus' day.
In becoming more like Christ my first step has to be my heart and the attitude that is in it. Not the action itself. Otherwise we are doing as Myron (my pastor) said we are just managing our sin.
God wants to change our hearts not just watch us try to manage our sin. We focus so much on acting right~what about thinking right?

I was emailing my pastor about this not long ago and he said:
We learn to do the right things but nothing really changes. Maybe we should concentrate less on what we do and more on who we are becoming. Then maybe our actions will reflect who we really are. ~Myron Bontrager

God has also been showing me that someones actions should not determine my reaction. This I believe goes right into this lesson because it is all about the hear.

Proverbs 4: 20-23 My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Proverbs 22:15 My child if your heart is wise, My own heart will rejoice!

Jeremiah 17:9 The human heart is the most deceitful of all things and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?

I think it is important to look at this verse because it shows us that our heart with out God is evil and only He can change it for good.

Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Romans 2:29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Totally...

Tonight, I totally stepped out of my element.

I totally stepped into the unknown.

I totally let people into my personal crap.

I totally tried to be open.

I totally shared my heart.

I totally flipped out inside.

I totally feel emotionally fried.

I totally doubt myself.

I totally try to trust that God moved.

I totally wonder if I said everything wrong.

I totally wonder if I sounded self absorbed.

I totally pray that everything came out the way I wanted it to.

I totally need to release all my thoughts!!!

Good night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I Am A Pin Cushion

As a child I was really good at finding things with my feet. Rusty nails, glass, pins, needles, and the occasional odd item. If something broke, and we were not sure if it had all been swept up the joke was, just wait, Amber will find it. Well, it hurts! Stepping on things, being poked, then pulling the object out. Not to mention the blood was a pain to deal with. Have you ever tried to walk while bleeding out your foot with out getting it on the floor? Oh, and try keeping your balance when something suddenly stabs the thing you are balancing on!

I tell you this because tonight I feel jabbed. Those feelings of long ago (or just last week) of being jabbed in the foot with something sharp are very present tonight. This time though it's not just my feet. I feel like I have been poked, jabbed, prodded, and stabbed with pins. All over my soul. At this present moment, my soul is a pin cushion. You remember those right? The little red tomato looking things that your mom/grandma wore on her wrist while she sewed? I would watch my mom take pins out of clothing as it passed under the needle, and jab it quickly into her pin cushion. It looked violent.

My soul is jabbed with failure. I feel it. I see it. I hear it. I know it.

Walking out the door while my daughter is screaming because mom has taken a lot of time for herself, and none for her girl. Failure. Pin prick.
House is a mess, dishes piled up, floor hasn't been mopped in a while. No order. Another pin prick. Another stab of failure to my soul.
No money. No gas. No bills being paid out of my own pocket. Failure.Poke. Jam. Jabbed.
Child behind developmentally. Not making time to work with her. Failure. Double stab.
Claiming to be a writer. Not writing. Not creating. Failure. Ouch...
Hurting my husband instead of blessing him. Failure. Pin prick.
Being jealous of friends blessings. Their ability to thrive, to do things, buy things, to not worry. Failure. Pins.
My child causes trouble every time she is at a friend's house. Failure. Prodding.
No job. No income. No provision. Failure. Pain. Stabbings.
Infertility. Not giving him another child. Her a sibling. Missing out again while others succeed. Failure. P..I..N...
Not loosing weight. Shopping with others, no clothes in my size. Knowing I'm twice as big as you. Not being attractive. Trying and getting nowhere. Not being healthy. FAILURE! Forget the pins...did a piano just fall on me?


I know that I mean more to God than this. But, I don't know that I mean more to me than this. Not tonight. I am a pin cushion. Failure are my pins. I am being pricked.