InstaFriday

This was my poor husband taking a conference call. The only quiet place in the house was out in the messy garage!

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On Saturday, the kids and I were hanging out in my son’s room and I asked about this little cardboard box. My son confessed to not knowing why he had it and said, “I’m a hoarder.” We all laughed really hard and decided it would be fun to make some more!

20131122-152209.jpgTwo of our friends got married. I was freezing because I’m a wimp, but it was a really sweet night. We are so happy for them.

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A bunch of the youth helped with the catering. They were guarding the dessert table, but a couple of guests got through, so they took this approach.

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Somebody kept distracting the servers with his ESPN app.

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On Sunday, we had a memorial for our grandmother/great grandmother. My son, who does not like being in front of a group of people, agreed to do one of the Bible readings. When my husband asked him, he just said yes, like it was no big deal. Then right before the service, I asked him if he was nervous. He said, “It’s just six verses, Mom. I think I can do it.”

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So, I opened an Etsy store. I wanted to find a way to raise money for all the mission organizations and world changers that I know. I made these cute headbands. After wearing them this week, I’ve learned that they need some tweaking. They hurt like heck! We’re still in product development. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.

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I’m linking up here:

life rearranged


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Hand Me Down Buttons and Love

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Over the past few years, my grandma-in-law has been passing her craft supplies down to me. She has been filling my craft closet with vintage treasures of lace, fabric, and lots of amazing buttons. She didn’t just buy buttons, she would painstakingly cut them off clothes that were no longer wearable. So the different collections passed down to me, were grown over decades of deciding what was valuable enough to buy, and then what was valuable enough to keep.

Two weeks ago, this sweet woman passed away and we’re are all saying goodbye in our different ways. Today, I’m sorting through sewing notions and thread– my last gift of hand me downs from Grandma. She would always tell me, “You’re the only one that does this stuff anymore. You will actually use it.”

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So now I’m making the hard decisions. What can I make for the little girls, her great-grandkids, so that they will remember her? How do I use these vintage tools that I’ve never seen on Pinterest? How do I continue what she started long ago?

Because she loved so well with her sewing and crafts. Not just the family, but strangers too! She would buy teddy bears and stuffed animals at garage sales and thrift stores. Then take them home and clean them up. Give them a new smile or eyes. And tie a bow on them. Around Christmas time, Grandma and Grandpa would drive around to the roughest parts of town, passing the them out to whatever kids they could find.

I’ve learned so much from her over the last 14 yrs of having her as my grandma. I want to honor her with the tools and supplies she’s left behind. And I want to continue to pass down the lessons she taught with her life.

Instafriday

Here’s a recap of our week in fuzzy phone pics.

If you get up to go to the bathroom, these guys will steal your spot. You’ve been warned.20131115-081005.jpg

I spent Sunday morning trying to teach the kids how to crochet. Turns out, left handed crocheting is TOTALLY different than right handed. My poor little chica! I did not know how to teach her. We will be learning from Youtube together, later. This guy rocked it, however.20131115-081042.jpg

Finished product!20131115-081104.jpg

I made some too.20131115-081136.jpg

Then there was an epic battle.20131115-081207.jpg

I got to go a fun concert with some of my favorite twins!20131115-081230.jpg

Crowder was my favorite part! He had a full on bluegrass band and they were incredible.20131115-081338.jpg

This kid has a really hard life.20131115-081424.jpg

I’ve been working on a ton of projects that I’m hoping to share soon. This is our kitchen table getting a little white-wash action.

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I’m linking up here:

life rearranged


InstaFriday

Here’s a re-cap of our week in fuzzy phone pics.

This is what I found when I walked out to the backyard. How he got in there is a mystery, but I would put money on his siblings being involved.

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I forget that this big kid was my original wild child. He’s so responsible now, but there was a time when climbing the furniture and pulling all the books off the shelf was his full time job. What is he doing here, you ask? He’s being a sloth for an animal game with his little brother. Obviously.20131108-075851.jpg

See what I mean? So responsible. The transition from homeschool to regular school was rough at first, but he’s really hit his stride.20131108-080029.jpg

I saw this writing on the wall while I was running yesterday. Isn’t that what everyone wants? I started praying that I would be a better listener and really hear others’ stories.20131108-080058.jpg

This kid has learned how to say the word, “Run.” It’s turned him into quite the trainer. One day, he pointed straight at me and told me to run and then climbed into his jog stroller. The next day, I wasn’t running fast enough for him because we lost sight of his daddy. So, he yelled, “Run! Run! Daddy!” As if keeping up with him wasn’t hard enough already.20131108-080127.jpg

Day Twenty-Seven: How Did You Get That?

One of the difficult things for me, about exploring hope this month is that I know it is a gift. It isn’t a result of some formulaic process. Through this month of reading, researching, and passing on what I have found. I have not yet found the miracle way to create and grow hope in any circumstance.

31 Days of Relishing Hope

I’ve felt a little like the kid at school, the first day back from Christmas break. Remember? Everyone would talk about what they did and what they got. Inevitably, there was the kid who would say, “Lucky! How did you get that?” How do you answer that confusing question?

It’s confusing, because getting that special gift has less to do with “how” than it has to do with “who.” Who gave it to you? Do you think they would give me one too?

I would love to tell you who gives me hope. He has endless supplies of it and would love to give you some too. His name is Jesus. Maybe you already know him, but find yourself needing a little hope-pick-me-up. Tell him about it. Take a little time out of your day to pour out your hopes and fears to him. Like any good relationship, you’ll need to be as honest and real as you can be. He can take it. If you’re angry, let him know that. If you’re hurting, tell him. If you find yourself doing something you know is wrong and will ultimately hurt you, tell him about that too.

The real truth about lasting hope is that it comes out of intimacy with Jesus. I can share the ways that he has helped me foster hope in my life, or you could get started figuring out your own ways with him today. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Most of the times that I go running to Jesus asking for hope, He gently points out how I’ve got the wrong focus. He shows me how the thing I’ve put my hope in is not him, and will ultimately let me down. He usually reminds me that he can give me that thing, but it will probably disappoint me. Yet, there is this thing in the intimate walk with Jesus that is so inspiring and full of hope!

31 Days of Relishing Hope

When we have cleared out all the stuff that wants to come between us. When I have listened and accepted his gentle correction. We are in that sweet communion. And he says, “Hey, do you want to come and do this thing with me today? Come with me.” I want to tell you that I then find myself doing things I never thought I could, and going to places I never would have imagined, and that is true. But the hope doesn’t come out of successes, or adventures, or even fun surprises. The hope comes out of the closeness to Jesus. And that, you can enjoy today!

31 Days of Relishing Hope

This is day twenty-seven of a thirty-one day series on Relishing Hope. You can find all the other posts here.

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Day Twenty-Four: We’re Squinting in a Fog

One of my favorite parts of the story, The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis, is when Shasta, one of the main characters, gets lost. He unknowingly chooses a dangerous road that winds its way up a mountain. The trees become more and more dense. The air gets chillier. The mist around him gets heavier and he is barely able to see. Then he has a very human reaction. He says, “I do think that I must be the most unfortunate boy in the whole world.” He starts into a list of all the bad things that have happened to him.  “And being very tired and having nothing inside him, he felt so sorry for himself that the tears rolled down his cheeks.”

Then Shasta feels the presence of a “Thing,” a somebody, or a something, that is walking beside him so softly he can barely hear it. He hears soft breaths coming from the same side. And, Shasta realizes that he’s not quite sure when this “Thing” joined him because the breathing and the soft foot sounds started so gradually. He starts to freak out. He remembers stories of giants and starts imagining that one of these giants is with him. Then he almost convinces himself that he imagined all the noises. And, he hears a loud sigh and there is a warm breath on his hand.

When he can stand it anymore he says, “Who are you?”

“One who has waited long for you to speak,” it said.

At first, Shasta starts shooting questions at the “Thing.” He wants to know what it is and if he should be afraid of it. He starts begging it to go and says, “Oh, I am the unluckiest boy in the whole world!” The “Thing” asks him to share his sorrows. Shasta lists all of the awful things that have happened to him, like being chased by lions–multiple times and never knowing his mother and father because he was found as a baby by a fisherman.

“‘I do not call you unfortunate.’said the Large Voice.”

The Large Voice goes from life event to life event explaining the provision and protection that He brought. He explains that he was the lion that chased him all those different times, so that Shasta would be able to escape danger. He was the one that nudged the boat to the shore so that the fisherman was able to find him. Shasta has this incredible moment of clarity that ends in the worship of this great lion that had always been there for him.

I can’t help feeling like Shasta at times. It isn’t easy to walk blindly through an icy mist, or be chased by lions. It seems perfectly natural to lose all hope in those kind of moments. But like Shasta, we don’t have all the information. In 1 Corinthians it says, “We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!”

This is day twenty-four of a thirty-one day series. You’ll find the other posts here.

 

 

 

 

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Day Eighteen: When Things Crowd In

31 Days Relishing Hope

At our house, we’ve been going through closets and drawers getting rid of all the stuff we don’t need anymore. Each kid had clothes in three different sizes. The garage is full of toys that aren’t getting played with and my husband had multiple pairs of dockers. He only ever wears jeans and shorts. We’ve been reaching past and stepping over this stuff for years. Why?

As each new room changed into an easier place to live, I wondered what took us so long? Why were we ignoring all this stuff in our way? I’m usually a purger. I love donating and throwing things away. It’s fun!

But just a few years ago, we put all our earthly possessions in storage for a year and lived without them. We only had our clothes and a few favorite toys for each of our kids. When it was time to pull all the stuff out of storage, we had mixed feelings. There were things we loved and were so excited to see again. There were things we forgot we had and wondered why we’d kept. And then there were things we didn’t bother putting in the moving truck. It was a little confusing.

To add to the confusion, we had lovely friends hand down wonderful things to us: toys, kids furniture, clothes. I really didn’t feel qualified to make decisions about what to keep and what not to keep, because I had been out of the “stuff” game for a while. So we gladly accepted the things offered to us and made them apart of our lives and closets and garages.

I think a similar thing can happen in the hope game. When we haven’t been actively hoping and asking God where to invest our hope, we will gladly accept the thing handed to us. All these hand-me-downs can crowd in and we can end up spending most of our day reaching past and stepping over them all day long. Like our wonderful hand-me-downs from friends, we need to make real decisions about what to keep and make apart of our lives. And pass on the things that aren’t for us to invest in.

Day Sixteen: One Way to Kill Hope

In the morning, over that first cup of coffee, wonderful ideas for my day start to flood into my mind. Does this happen to you? Sometimes, it’s starts as a slow trickle. Sometimes, it’s a crazy tsunami. And then before my feet even hit the floor (because that first cup is always in bed), I am overwhelmed with the sheer volume of things to do.

What I have had to tell myself is, “Calm the heck down.” It all doesn’t have to happen in one day. I often think if I can see to do it, I should get doing it right away. What I’m learning is that I can make a plan to do it first. It doesn’t have to happen immediately. This is probably a no-brainer for you, but this has been a recent life-saver for me.

My usual strategy looked a little like this: Get a good idea. Hit the ground running. Make everything happen as quickly as possible, putting all normal things like eating, cleaning, and shopping aside. It sounds so crazy, but, honestly, I didn’t realize I was doing this to myself. I knew that I often found myself overwhelmed and drained of hope for that good idea, but I didn’t realize I was working in an emergency mode.

My mantra for this year has been, “Only emergencies get to be emergencies.” That means that unless it is a real emergency, we do not have to put the rest of our life on hold. It has also meant that we have had to decide what we want our lives to be about: where we want to give our time and resources. And it has meant saying, “No.” I didn’t know that sometimes saying yes to a good thing would unnecessarily send us into that emergency mode. We would have to rush out the door, after just arriving at home. Hit a drive-thru to get dinner. Do a load of laundry at midnight so that we would have clean clothes for the next day. Have you been there?

This is one of the quickest ways I kill hope. It is very hard to hear the whisper of hope, when you are shouting demands at yourself in your head. It is even harder to relish in that hope, allowing it to fuel you in the very thing you are trying to do.

This is day sixteen of a thirty-one day series, you can find the other posts here.

31 Days Relishing Hope