Thank you for today, Lord {3-16}

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 photo irishfiligree_zpsa5719743.jpgI was just sitting here at my desk worrying. {It’s what I do.}  It’s March 16th, which means we’re more than halfway through the month. I am part of a Crochet Along group, and every month we tackle a different project. This month, we’re making an Irish Filigree Necklace. It’s gorgeous… and as intimidating as a rabid dog with a rusty switchblade in a dark alley. I do chunky yarn things. This… this is not chunky. This is thread. {also, this is a stock image, what mine should look like in the end} Barely thicker than dental floss… and I really enjoy it. I’m still scared, and glad I am up to date on my tetanus shot… but it’s been a nice challenge. The other challenges I’m worrying with right now are

    • Tea party we’re throwing for my nieces and nephews just because we needed an excuse as adults to have a playful tea party we thought it would be fun for the kids. Each of my sisters and I have been given a task to prep for the party. The sister who went to culinary school was given snack duties {no-brainer}, the sister with older kids was given the responsibility of a dress up trunk {her daughter is 7, so she already has a good start}, and my youngest sister & I are going to be providing decorations {we’re the “make it pretty” type}. Again, I’m really excited, and really enjoy it… but it’s a challenge.

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  • Finishing the garage. My labor of love has become more labor than love… I really wish I had a day that Hubby Dearest & I could take off and do a major purge. I started doing a small purge on my own, and re-organizing things to suit me. Well, Hubby informed me the other day that I’ve moved things without telling him & now he doesn’t know where his things are. Which is true… but the channel lock pliers he was looking for so hard, were laying on the table in plain sight beside his toolbox. Just sayin’. There’s a lot to be moved from my room inside to my “new” room in the garage. Which brings me to my next challenge…
  • Baby stuff. We’re still toying with the idea of when to actually start trying for a second Little. The first Little is excited. I’m somewhat indifferent. {When God says “Here, have a baby” we’ll get it ready-or-not. Until then, why stress.}  And Hubby doesn’t know from one day to the next. But I intend to prepare as if we’ll have one by this time next year, and that means a lot of work between now and then.

I had to laugh at the things that are worrying me. My most immediate concern is a children’s tea party… I’m going to have to chalk this up to Awesome Life Problems. I don’t have to worry about my next meal, because it’s in the fridge. My worst health concern currently is worrying about the allergies that will hit when spring comes {yea, not allergies I have right now, but ones that will be here later} And while our finances have seen better days, we still have food, shelter, central heat & air, and Directv with DVR… which brings us to the title of this post.

Thank you for today, Lord.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a really bad habit of forgetting how good I really have it. I get so caught up in the “wants” of life that I overlook what I need. I cannot think of a single need God has not met for me and then some. My physical needs, spiritual needs, intellectual needs… Yes, I’ve become well aware that God likes to keep my brain on its toes {if brains had toes… } and He likes to see me succeed where I once failed. He has given me so much, and I deserve none of it.

Now that my worries are out well at ease, I will face my biggest challenge. Sleep. Goodnight, readers. Sleep well.

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Exploring Life With My Little

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We took a nice stay-cation last week, and got a lot {almost} done around the house. I have some really great before & after photos of the craft room migration. {We’re not completely in the “after” stage, but enough that you can see the wreck that my garage was and the functional space it is becoming.}  I’m excited for the move from our someday-nursery. I am not excited for the major purge that needs to accompany this move… “Hi, my name is London… and I’m a hoarder.”

While on our stay-cation, we did take a day trip to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. I got to use my new Nikon D-3000 {read the manual on the way there} and got some really incredible photos. I wanted to share the slideshow I put together for the grandparents. Smilebox is kinda awesome & this is the first time I’ve really played around with it.

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We had a great day & the Little was very excited for most of it… however, without his usual post-lunch nap, he was “over it” by the time we reached the end. I was proud of him, though, for not turning into brat-zilla. I don’t recall a single meltdown that day.

I’m feeling a wave of blog posting coming soon to an internet near you… Lots of tiny, but blog-worthy projects wrapping up soon. I can’t wait to share them with you.

Re-Fueling

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I have several plans for my blog this year. Hopefully, I will write them all down soon so I can remember them all. I just bought my very first DSLR!!! and I’m hoping to play with utilize it for a more “put together” feel on my blog and on my etsy shop. Let’s be honest, there’s only so much you can do with a camera phone. Appearances are important, and I’m going to be tackling lots of eye sores for a while. Some on the blog, and some in my life. One of these sores… is my social life. It’s not a huge priority to me right now, but my friend and I were talking about our lack of other friends. While he can count his list of friends {family doesn’t count} on one hand, I topped him because I can count mine on one finger. He’s it. I have my husband, my sisters, and my mom… but he’s the only person outside my family that I count as being a friend. Maybe I could re-assign some of my acquaintances as friends, but a friend has a very high-ranking in my terms and not many people meet that standard. Instead of lowering my standards to fill a “friend quota” I think I will just make myself more available to a higher quality of persons with whom I can become friends. I’m going to do this in bloggyland as well. I plan to join {and maybe even host} more linky parties. They really are a great way to “meet” like-minded people, and see what inspiring things they’re doing.

I mentioned the image quality issue previously, but there’s also a product quality issue. I’m going to be taking a break from blogging for a bit {I’ve sort of already started, hence several weeks between posts} to spend some quality time making & doing some quality things. I need to get a few things done so I can come back with gusto and say:

Behold that which I have created!

Only in my own, slightly more reserved, way of saying it. The point is, it’s hard to blog about the stuff in your life if there’s a… deficit, I suppose… of stuff actually in your life. So, I’m gonna go do stuff, and make stuff, and plan stuff, and try stuff, and then I’ll be back to share it all with you.

Please excuse me a moment while I try to remember what else I had to say. Oh, yea! Eye sores. My house is a big one. Like really big. Like the stuff of “Yo mama” jokes, big. So I’m going to do something about that. Actually, a lot of somethings. My house is cluttered, and dirty, and not at all cohesive, and there’s a tiny part of me that would love to just move and start over… but we still owe a lot of money for the place, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but where I live, houses are sitting on the market for a long, long, long time. So I’ll just fix what I’ve got. Kidding aside, we’ve been very blessed with a wonderful home, and I have plenty to work with… it’s just going to take work.

I’ve been busy taking baby steps here and there, and have found help along the way. I’ve got posts planned for some good Before & After bits. Hopefully, It won’t take too long to get things in order & share them with all of you. February is going to be a BIG month for doing stuff. I’m moving my craft room into the garage to make room in my current craft room for a second baby {should the Mr. and I come to an agreement on whether or not we’re having said second baby} and that means the garage has to be completely cleaned out. I’ll be sure there are lots of Before’s of that transformation so everyone gets the full grasp of this endeavor.

So, for now, I hope you are all out there doing what you love & finding inspiration to do more of it. I shall return…

2012 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 3 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

I wanted to say Thank You to everyone reading, following, and commenting on my blog. This has been an amazing year for me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed sharing it with you all. It has been a labor of love, but mostly just love. I am greatly looking forward to 2013, and all that it has to offer. Hope everyone has had a terrific holiday, and wishing you all a Happy New Year. 

Then She Was Hooked…

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I’m supposed to be cleaning. I didn’t make it very far, but I did at least clean up our breakfast dishes. That just leaves… everything else. But I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks now. So here it is {finally}

In high school, I decided I wanted to learn how to crochet. Well, at the ripe old age of 17 or 18, I didn’t have the patience for it… or any concept of gauge. I still have the “scarf” I started & I have a craft/inspiration project waiting for it.
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When I found this, I was attempting to clean my craft room {the new nursery} and all progress was halted. In the box where I found this, I also found my “I Taught Myself To Crochet” kit… and a partial skein of yarn. Nothing else was accomplished that day… except that I re-learned how to crochet, and went to the store to buy some pretty yarn. When I got back, I hit Pinterest {if anything productive was going to happen the rest of the day, now any chance was shot} and found this amazing scarf pattern from Jenn Ozkan. It works a half double crochet the length of the scarf for a ribbed look that you would get from knitting. The scarf was eventually dubbed “The Scarf That Never Ends” because the project felt like it took forever. My younger sister had her baby, and my older sister and I were sitting together “yarning”… I looked at her work, then at mine, then back at hers… well, poo! I’m doing it wrong. I don’t know how else to explain it, but there was NO slack in my work. I held everything tightly, and as a result I got very stiff, dense results. So  “The Scarf That Never Ends” got a little longer… because I pulled the entire thing and started over.

Luckily, I had been working half double crochets for so long it was like muscle memory. I focused on keeping my stitches loose and soft, and was able to make the same scarf with a skein and a half versus needing a third skein. I added a little fringe to the ends and put it on…. {face-palm }it was too short. My mom just happened to be with me, and she bought it as a Christmas gift for my 7-year old niece. I also made her a matching hat {that I didn’t take a picture of}

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Back to the craft store for more yarn… I have fallen deeply in love with Lion Brand Homespun Yarns. They’re extremely soft, chunky, and the colors are mind blowing! Take a look!

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I’m working on several scarves and other goodies for the {long neglected}etsy shop. That’s another resolution, in conjunction with getting my craft area moved to the garage & in some semblance of order, I need to get the stuff I’ve made out of totes & onto the interwebs. Now, I leave you with a cuteness factor of 11! My partner in crime…

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Resolutions

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It’s that time of year, again. Time to think about what changes we want to make in the new year. How much weight do I need to lose? How many blog posts should I strive for each month? What habits should I break? What habits should I create? What projects should I tackle?

What does God want me to do?

To be honest, that last one has never come up in my resolution list until this year. I’ve spent years as a “Christian” and only this month have I realized how far I have been from the mark. I know God loves me, that he can do all things, that with Him I can do all things, that Christ died in sacrifice so that I could rest in Heaven for eternity. What I had never thought of previously was that I was not holding up my end of the bargain.

I was in high school, and felt the deepest conviction that I was a sinner in need of a Savior, and that Jesus had given his life for me. I went to the altar and prayed the prayer of the lost… and went right on about my merry way doing, essentially, nothing different. Salvation was a Get-out-of-Hell-free card. Yea, I’m a Christian, so all I have to do is say “I’m sorry, God. I won’t do that again. For real, this time. Not like the last 14 times I’ve said so,” and that was all it took to stay out of Hell. Good enough.

Now, here I am. I’m a wife (who struggles for a happy marriage, like so many others), a mother (who cannot doubt the absolute miracle that my son has been in my life), a sister, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker, a spare-time entrepreneur… the list goes on and on of all the different hats I wear, and trials I face daily. In all of that, I have forgotten to be a Christian. I have never taken the time (and that’s what it takes… time and dedication) to be a Christian the way God intended. When I accepted Christ all those years ago, I was commanded to take up His cross and I chose not to. I knowingly disobeyed my Father. We can sugar-coat it and say that I was young, or naïve, or needed more guidance… but I could’ve answered the conviction in my heart to find out more about what a Christian should be… and I chose not to.

Fast forward to this past summer.

A lot of things happened in rapid succession that landed me back in church, and desperately seeking answers to why I felt so far from the love I knew God had for me. I’m a little slow on the uptake… I could see the blessings of God in my life. I could tell people of the wonderful things God can do. I was reading my Bible in search of answers to all of life’s struggles. I prayed, read, tithed, fellowship… and it wasn’t enough. I had this terrible empty spot still nagging at me. The “what if’s” started running me through the ringer. What if you’re not really saved? Maybe that’s why you feel off. What if your efforts aren’t paying off because you’re just going through the motions? What if you wake up to God asking you why you wouldn’t trust him with all of yourself? Then I had to answer another set of questions. The first one being Why? Why was I holding onto that last, empty place inside when all I had to do was give it to Him? Why was I in conflict with myself about what I needed to do in order to be whole? Just give it up! I knew I was never going to be able to do what God asked of me if I held on to any of my old (sinner) self… I knew I had to give everything to God so that  he could, in return, give me everything I needed to be a Christian. No quotes. Christian.

December 5th I gave it up. I cried, and prayed that God would fill me so full of himself & the Holy Spirit that there would be no room for me. No room for the evils of this world, or the empty darkness within me that had already consumed too much of my time, precious time that could have been better spent in the light. That rapid sequence of events that brought me back to church has been an epic novel compared to how quickly God has started working in my life since that Wednesday night. A week later (Dec 13) I went to our church’s monthly Women’s Ministry meeting. A woman named Jennifer shared her testimony, and so much of what she said I could’ve written verbatim. And so I decided I should. I got out an old journal where I knew I had started (once upon a time) an attempt at writing my beliefs, and the ins and outs of my walk. I read what I had written, and it made me sad. I was so gung-ho, but had only a single entry from August of 2008. The journal had not been touched since. Friday morning, I started writing my testimony. Friday afternoon, I found out about the shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. The rest of the day was a fog. I kept writing until I fell asleep that night, and I’m not sure where I left off. When I finish this post, I will most likely print it and stick it in the journal, because it is now a part of my testimony. Saturday was tough. Everywhere I looked, someone was on a soap box about gun control, or God in schools, or whatever opinion they felt like blasting in the wake of this tragedy. It made me nauseous. Still does a little. The children hadn’t even been removed from the scene, and we as a nation were using their precious little spirits to wage verbal warfare against any and everyone we could possibly blame. I kept the TV off, and avoided Facebook like the plague, and I read my Bible, and held my son, and I sat in silence while the words of so many angry people filled me. I found the person responsible for all of this… it’s me. And it’s you. And it’s every single person who has ever turned a blind eye to the evils of the world. It’s the media for sensationalizing every gory detail of every horrid event. It’s the politicians who look out for their own well-being and don’t consider the people they serve. It’s the churches concerned with butts in the seat, and dollars in the offering plates when what should be the priority is God’s will. At some point or another, every one of us has compromised what is right for what is popular. It’s human. But we’ve been passively allowing our society to become overrun with evil. Evil is not always a red suit, tail, and pitchfork. It’s not always as obvious as a man who walks into a school with an assault rifle. Evil is everywhere, and it hides in plain sight until the moment we forget about it. By then, it’s too late, and we’re left picking up the pieces. The problem is that we’re not the ones who are paying for it… our children are. We have failed our children. Slowly, and quietly, we have sat by while society has turned into a monstrous poison and we let our children play in it. They eat, breathe, and live in the evils of this world, and we have failed to give them anything to protect themselves… and we’re not always there to protect them.

Sunday night, we had a guest speaker give the sermon. His name is Brian Love, and he’s a missionary in Alaska. I was expecting to hear about how everyone needs to drop what they’re doing and spread the Gospel to all the people in the world who don’t know any better. He stayed closer to home, and everything that had been inching its way into my gut just sank to the pit of my stomach all at once. He spoke of the Great Commission, Christ’s words to his disciples as he was ascending to his place at the right hand of God,

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

When he began, I thought this would be a call to mission work in foreign lands. It was not. Instead, he challenged us to do some answering for ourselves. Were we loving Jesus passionately? Were we sharing Jesus constantly? Jesus has called all Christians not only to be his disciples, but to make disciples of others. This is where everything came together for me. If we, as Christians, were truly being disciples for Christ would there be room for so much evil in our lives? If we were making disciples, who would then make disciples, and so forth, would our society be overrun with darkness? If our children could see us doing God’s will with every breath we take, and rejoicing in Him… what blessings could we share with them? Are our children not one of the greatest blessings God could give us? He has made in us the ability to create life, and moreover, the ability to shape a life. What shape can I give my son? He trusts me for everything he could ever need, and I owe it to him to provide for his every need. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually.

So here is my list of resolutions for this year. Some of them are easier than others. Some of them will start this year, but will not end until I am ended.

  • Lose 17 pounds. A few weeks ago, this was going to be my biggest challenge. The balances have tipped slightly.
  • Clean out the garage to make room for my craft area, so that I can in turn make room for the new nursery.
  • Create a reading nook for my little guy. He has the greatest room for something fun like that, and everyone needs a space for them.
  • Read the Bible everyday. I am going to follow a Read the Bible in a Year plan. Hopefully, my husband will as well.
  • Start a parenting discipleship. I have been looking for several weeks for a devotional aimed toward parents. I want to find this, and share it with other parents.
  • Teach my child the things that are important, like love and respect and prayer. Maybe if I start now, he can teach others.
  • Finish writing my testimony. This may turn into a “keep writing” since, really, our life is our testimony.

So now I ask for prayers. Pray for our nation. Our leaders. Our schools. Our communities. Pray for the hurting, and those who are trying to offer their help. Pray for peace. For guidance. Pray without ceasing.