Paired with an amazing photograph…..
Makes for a fantastic day!
Paired with an amazing photograph…..
Makes for a fantastic day!
I love to crochet. While this craft has regained some popularity in the past couple of years, I was a crocheting long before crocheting was “cool”. What is funny however is that I have very few things that I actually made as my favorite part of making pretty things….is giving them away.
I have also been told that my creations were suitable for selling and that I needed to start an Etsy store. I thought that might be fun, but maintaining and finding time to fill orders seemed like a bit of a burden. However, I have now found a purpose for this little etsy store – fundraising!! Stay tuned as the launch of this store and the story behind the launch is coming in just a few days!!!
Until then, however….here are some pics of some pretty things I have made lately.
Today I’m simply missing the men in my life. Not necessarily in a romantic sense, though I am not opposed to that either. But more just the company of my guys.
I grew up in a family of boys and was a daddy’s girl. I tended to enjoy the company of my uncle’s more than my aunties growing up and had a handful of just really great platonic relationships with guys. These amazing friends (of which my brothers are included) are scattered about the globe and I don’t really have the same sort of friendships with guys here in Dallas….for whatever reason.
That is what I am craving a bit lately. These relationships seem a bit harder to develop in this current season of life and I just miss it. I miss my dad, my brothers, general masculine company, talking sports, music, God, & life while gaining the perspective of guys. I want a boy’s night out – that includes me. ha ha Just me and the fellas – no pressure to be anything or impress anyone, just a night hanging with the guys. I miss this.
Don’t get me wrong I love my mom and my aunts and my girls and think a girl’s night out is great…but today, a sports bar and “the game” sounds SOOO much better than a mani/pedi and chocolate.
I usually like happy, make me feel good songs in my posts. But somedays…my soul craves music to match its mood. Today this song seems to hit right on target.
Author’s note: I wrote parts of this blog several years ago, but recently some of the same thoughts have come back into conversations with friends so I thought I’d tweak and re-post:
Our lives are busy. This generation seems to wear that word like an honor badge, even replacing “fine” as the standard answer to “How are you?” We thrive on being busy, often to the point of declaring sitting still and doing nothing as lazy, unproductive, or somehow failing in life. Yet in all of our busy-ness, I often find that we are just running around in circles without any focus or direction.
This brings me to somethings that struck me as I studied in I Samuel and some thoughts regarding my current focus. In I Samuel 16, God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse to seek out and annoint David to be King. In following the storyline, David at the time was a wee shepherd boy, last in a line of big, strong, just as qualified – if not more qualified – family of brothers. Not only that, but at the time of David’s annointing there was already a king on the throne that he was being annointed to sit upon.
So what did David do, he took his sword and shield, gathered up a band of brothers and a few close friends and began a strategic takeover of King Saul.
David went back to the fields to tend his sheep. He went back to doing what at that moment was his responsibility, his role in life. He did not run around helter skelter trying to figure out how he a lowly shepherd was going to get to the palace and sit on the throne, he simply acknowledged that God had a direct plan for him that would come about in the appointed time and so he set his focus on the Lord and did not let it waver. The story goes on to that later David would become a servant of King Saul and best friend to the king’s son. Still he did not promenade around the king’s court declaring that he had it on good authority that he would one day sit on the throne of his current boss. Instead he humbly ministered to the king with songs that the Lord put in his heart, he went to battle for the king, and even after the king turns against him and tries in vain to kill him, he spares the life of the king two times.
As we read through I & II Samuel and through the Psalms we see David’s life; we see happy times and sad, we see struggles and victory, we see him bless God in one breath and curse his life in the next, we see him fall into sin and repent.; through it all we see a man whose vision was focused on the Lord, whose passion was the Lord. Because of this, the events of David’s life fell into place as God intended, with God’s perfect timing and guidance. His ministry and callings changed several times starting as a shepherd, becoming a servant and a soldier, and finally becoming a ruler of God’s chosen people, and a direct ancestor to the King of Kings; however, his focus never changed. God not only honored him by making this small shepherd boy a king, he gave him double honor by declaring him a “Man after God’s own Heart.”
So this is my challenge to myself. If I declare my passion to be Christ then my focus should be only on Him alone. That is not to say that I should become so enraptured with the things of the Lord that I lose sight of what is going on around me. Actually it is quite the contrary, when my vision is totally and completely fixated on the Lord and does not waver, the rest of what is going on around me falls into place as He would have it too. When my eyes are focused on the Lord, my life, my job, my relationships whether they be with myself, my family, my friends, my acquaintances, my co-workers, or the opposite sex all fall into the place that God wants them to be. I do not have to fret and worry myself sick, keep myself up at night pondering about this situation or another; when my focus is on the Lord the rest of my life will be where it is supposed to be.
This brings an answer then to the question, “What has He called me to do?” He has called me to focus on Him. Period. THE END! My ministry, my calling, my everything will rise out of that simple truth.
I have spent the past couple of weekends working on my taxes. I have been going back over this past year’s expenses and have definitely found some areas that are in need of work. I have often heard it said that to see the true nature of a person’s heart – go through their checkbook. Well in my case – go through my mint.com transactions.
At this point, just using my spending as a measurement – my heart is all about food, forms of entertainment, and how to make Amanda happy. Granted much of my food spending is actually spending time with others in some form of fellowship, and there are some donations and gift giving….but an overall evaluation does not reflect where I truly want my heart to be.
So in a re-evaluation of my budget/heart – I will be making some spending changes. This time next year I want to look back and have my report to show investment in ministry, donations to causes I believe in, helping families in the middle of the adoption process bring those babies home, helping build a library of good books for schools in South Dallas, supporting missions, feeding & clothing the homeless….more on eternal investments & less on me.
What does your checkbook reveal about your heart?
Earlier this week my friend Julie had invited me to an Andy Gullahorn/Jill Phillips concert….she has asked me on several occasions to come and I felt a bit guilty for always having a lame excuse, so I said yes. This week has been a long one, work has been stressfilled, I still haven’t been able to shake this cough, and other burdens and disappointments have all decided to pile on at the same time. So, last night, I went to this concert resentfully and with a very tired heart.
I am so glad I did! Andy is hilarious and his music is simple and poignant and speaks directly into the soul.
Jill Phillips is also incredible…….
….and her last song of the night (which was chosen kind of spur of the moment) was meant just for me.
Thanks Julie for persistently inviting me, and thank you Lord for speaking and stirring my soul through music.
My friend, Cheryl, is always coming up with crazy questions that she wants me to answer. I personally think I am constantly part of a research project or just simply entertainment for her. But some of her questions stump me and require several days or weeks of thought before I can get an answer back, and others I answer somewhat easily but continue to come back to ponder my own answers for weeks afterwards.
One of her more recent questions was a double whammy that not only stumped me but I keep coming back to ponder: “With your past behind you, what advice would you give to this current generation of truth-seekers?”
When she gave me this question I really was kind of at a loss for the answer. I am not sure I have any wisdom to pass on to the next generation right now, I am still floundering and trying to find wisdom of my own; however, after a lot of thought about it here is what I would tell them.
Hide the Word in your heart.
If it is through song – Learn it.
Through memorization – Learn it.
Through writing verses on sticky notes everywhere – Learn it.
If you don’t understand what it says right now – Learn it.
If you think it is boring – Learn it (and ask God to help it come to life).
What I have found to be true is that everyone has a dark night of the soul where they question their faith and their world is rocked. Scripture talks about it, and says that it is unavoidable of all of us. Those that haven’t been there are going to get there (trust me on this one), and those that have gone through it may go through it again.
At those darkest of these moments, clinging to the living, breathing, words of God (even if you are not sure you believe them anymore) is the only way out of the that darkness.
I’ve had a blog for 6 years now. I started it because I liked to write and this was an outlet for my words. I have written on funny things, sad things, trying things, things God is teaching me and the journeys and adventures of my life.
Two topics I have avoided at all costs are marriage and children. Mostly because most of the time they go hand in hand, and I do not have either. I also somehow felt that if I put my desires out there that somehow that would seem desperate and needy. More recently however, as my thoughts continue to swirl around both of these topics, and try as I might to outrun them I find that they keep following me, I feel that I must put on a page what is in the depths of my heart.
Most prominent in my thoughts are the thoughts of motherhood. For as far back as I can remember I have been in charge of someone younger than me. My brother was born 9 1/2 years after me; and due to a serious bout with a resistant strain of malaria that put my father in an African hospital for two weeks I found myself at the age of 9 helping take care of this little one while my mother sat at the hospital with my dad.
Later that same year, I began babysitting for other missionaries in our town and teaching the preschoolers in our Saturday childrens bible club. I’ve taught Sunday School, kept the nursery, taught martial arts, been a teacher’s aid, and a nanny for a nine year old and an infant. My life has been full of children, but I’ve always said I didn’t know if I wanted my own.
Those words have horrified many people in my life. I remember at 17 being told by a woman, who I am sure meant well at the time, that not wanting children was a sin, because children are a blessing of the Lord and to not want them was to rob myself of that blessing and thus a sin. For a 17 year old who had just really started into her first crushes and dating anyway, this news was devastating. While I did not want to sin against God, I really didn’t want kids at 17!
For the next decade or so of my life I struggled with the guilt of these thoughts. I also began to become very resentful and angry when the subject of having children came up. People would see me in some sort of setting with children and make a comment about how I was going to make such an incredible mother, I would say I didn’t know if I wanted kids…and inevitably an incredulous look would come across their face and they would say the words I’ve grown to hate “Oh, that will change someday.” What if it didn’t change, was I cursed? What if I didn’t feel the need to perpetuate my own DNA into the world, was that a sin? What about all the women in this world that could not have children due to medical reasons – were they sinners too, or was their desire to have children their saving grace? On and on the battle went.
Then came Mother’s day of 2007. I sat on the front row of the Village church and listened as my pastor broke down the role of motherhood biblically. How that Adam called the woman God had created for him “Eve” – meaning “mother of all living” – long before she ever gave birth to her first child. How that in Genesis 1:26-27 the Trinity agreed together to create man and woman in their image and thus that women were created to show of the softer, nurturing, encouraging and life giving side of God. He went on to share that all women were created to be mothers, to nourish and encourage those around them. We are to in a motherly way push the men in our life to godliness, and to nourish the children in our life to walk with Him. That night, chains that I did not even know that I carried were broken in my soul. Years of anger, confusion, bitterness and guilt – went crashing to the floor as I finally heard the biblical truth of what my role was meant to be.
I have a wonderful mother, and I was raised by a “village” of amazing women who taught me what motherhood should look like. There is a very real fear in my life that I will never be able to live up to the bar that they have set in my life. Many of my friends now have children. I have little “nieces & nephews” from age 10 to infancy with 5 more on the way this summer. My life is inundated with kiddos that fill my heart to its fullest capacity and at times to overflowing. My desire for each one of these sweet babies is that they grow up to know the Christ that I have come know, and when they look back on their memories of me they remember a nurturing, comforting, loving, life giving auntie who pointed them to the cross and the cross alone.
And somewhere in the deepest parts of my soul there is a longing for my own. I don’t know what that looks like for me, yet. Maybe one day God will see fit for a godly man to pursue me and we will have a little flock of our own. Maybe it is not to give birth to my own, but rather it is to have a houseful of ones already birthed by another who are in need of a home that their biological mother cannot give. Maybe it is to work in an orphanage and mother those who have no other. Maybe it will be that I will be the “desolate one” that Isaiah talks about in Isaiah 54:1 who will have more children than any because I am simply living out my role in the “village” that I have been placed in helping to raise the children that I love.
I’m called with Eve to be a mother. Intrinsically my nature is to nurture, to pray, to comfort, to guide, to show off the encouraging, life giving side of God….so whatever role of motherhood God has for me, I’m all in.
Job 10:1 – 2 I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me.
These were the first words I read this morning. In my “reading through the Bible for shirkers and slakers“, while I seem to miss other days I never fail to get to Wednesday where I am working through the book of Job. I said “working” through because I have read Job twice in the past year and somehow find myself working through it again. I am finding that I am falling in love with the book however depressing it may be. There is a part of my soul that deeply resonates with Job though I have never had my entire life wiped out before me in a matter of days. Instead, what I do find is my constantly fighting off the lies of the enemy – in his case it was his friends and wife who were speaking them to him but in my life I often find it is my past that speaks out so loudly.
I want a do-over for the month of January. I started into January ready to take over the year 2011. I had goals set up and was ready to accomplish them, I was starting a new year of life, things are going wonderfully and life is great. Then bam! the month starts and off I go. First I threw out my back, this laid me out for a couple of days and for a solid week and a half I moved very carefully and gingerly through life. This off set my training for my 5K (though I ran it anyway), kept me from keeping my house as clean as I like it (as it hurt to do anything but lay on the floor), and set me back on the plans I had set out for me. As my back, with the help of my amazing chiropractor, finally began to heal I got sick. I am now on day 14 of coughing, congestion and overall energy draining. I don’t get sick often so when I do it throws me completely off balance. While I have fought through this and kept going, there is a part of me that is simply exhausted.
I came to the last day of January and found that despite all of the good that happened in January (a great birthday, running a 5K, spending time with friends, making new friends, and a lovely surprise party in my honor), I was discombobulated. I felt as if nothing had really changed in my life. In the midst of this feeling the lies of the enemy came rushing in…..
“You will never be more than you are right now….” “The choices and decisions of your past are way too great for God to ever use you…” “Those same choices and decisions will keep you from ever having a godly man pursue you….” “You will be single and alone forever because you are not anything anyone would ever want….” “You will never again be desired…..” “You are undeserving….” “You are undisciplined…..” “You will never be enough….”
Yesterday, as blow after blow kept coming, and I tearfully tried to shield my mind from the punches that the enemy kept throwing….that last statement did it. Like a fight scene in a movie when the good guy is being pummeled and you think all is lost for him….then the rhythm of the music shifts, the camera pans in to a close up on his face, his eyes narrow and you see the truth of who he is and the determination not to be defeated come rushing back….the music starts to crescendo and we all cheer as the good guy pushes back and beats the crap out of the bad guy! THAT is exactly what that last statement did in my life.
You see…the enemy is amazingly good at telling half truths. So while that last sentence had truth to it, he had forgotten the refrain….”You will never be enough… but HE IS ENOUGH!”
So I started throwing punches of my own…
“I will never be more than I am right now… Without the truth of the cross – but I have that and I will be more than a conquerer through Him.”
“The choices and decisions of my life…. covered by His blood – the payment for them it is finished and done.”
“If God can use murders, thieves, and the band of misfits we call the disciples…He can and will use me.”
Punch for punch I matched his lies with the Truth.
So here I am on February 2, 2011 – fighting with the lies, but knowing Who and what the Truth is helping to push them back. And with Job I “give free utterance to my complaint…” I don’t know what my future holds. I do not know if February will be just as discombobulated as January. I don’t know if I will feel better soon. I don’t know if I will be able to run a half marathon. I don’ t know if a Godly man will ever see me as worthy of pursuit. I don’t know if the goals I have set for myself will come to see the light of day. But this I know with all that is within me, He is ENOUGH! It took me years to say those words and mean them. Every day is a fight to see if I am going to walk in them. He is ENOUGH! It is a promise that resonates with in me. He is ENOUGH! Though I sit in darkness wondering if I will see the light. He is ENOUGH Though I may never get to live again on the continent where my heart dwells. He is ENOUGH! Though I am single. He is ENOUGH! I will fight every lie with that Truth. He is ENOUGH! and I will walk in that victory.
On sticky notes throughout my house, in my car and on my desk at work I have surrounded myself with scripture – before me now is this verse. Job 42:2-4 I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours will be thwarted. Hear and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.
His promises are faithful, He can do all things, He listens when I cry out and no purpose of His will be thwarted. What more can a girl ask for? He is enough.