Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Handling Life

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

I'm speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it's important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

In this way we are like the various parts of a human body. Each part gets its meaning from the body as a whole, not the other way around. The body we're talking about is Christ's body of chosen people. Each of us finds our meaning and function as a part of his body. But as a chopped-off finger or cut-off toe we wouldn't amount to much, would we? So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ's body, let's just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren't. If you preach, just preach God's Message, nothing else; if you help, just help, don't take over; if you teach, stick to your teaching; if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don't get bossy; if you're put in charge, don't manipulate; if you're called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond; if you work with the disadvantaged, don't let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them. Keep a smile on your face.

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody. Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it." Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
Romans 12, The Message

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Fun

Just a bit o' fun to share today. Spring has arrived in South Texas (heralded by the pollen coating every outdoor surface, but I digress), and not only do we have our normal noisy birds, but lots of other types that are in the midst of heading back north as things warm up. The video doesn't really do it justice, but here's at least a taste of our noisy front yard. I apologize for the wind noise - just the reality of life in the Rio Grande Valley :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Little Blessings

So here we are in the dining area once again. As I'd mentioned before, we'd moved one of the dressers out from our bedroom to use as a sideboard. I'd like to replace the chunky circle legs and paint the whole thing, but hubby isn't on board with that plan (wants to be able to move it back into the bedroom and still match). This house was full of ugly white knobs that I've replaced a little at a time (4 in the small bathroom, 4 off the closet doors, etc.) - which theoretically meant that I had plenty to use to swap out the wood knobs... Problem was that I didn't have 12 matching ones, and everything I liked was $3-4 per knob. Ouch. I still liked the mismatched white varieties better than the wood knobs (again, couldn't paint them - see above :) so went ahead and used 3 different sets, so each "drawer layer" matched.

I had to return some items to Target yesterday, and had an extra 30 minutes, so wandered the store a bit. I spotted some clearance stickers in the aisle with all hooks, knobs, etc. and had to check it out. I found two 4 packs of these great milk bottle style knobs, and was thinking how fabulous they'd be, but of course I needed a dozen. I searched through everything in the area and couldn't find another set. Oh, well. Continued to stroll, and there, on an endcap over in stationery, was another set of the knobs. Wahoo! I snatched it up, and practically ran back to the tools/hardware section to grab the other 2 boxes. I "installed" them this morning, and am loving the difference. I know it's a little thing, but am so incredibly thankful that God provided a small desire of my heart!

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In other news, it's been a crazy weeks/months around our house. Lots of company - which is wonderful, but does add a layer of craziness - plus hubby traveling for work. Things are finally settling back to "normal" but there's still a fair amount of catch-up I need to do, and also just need to re-establish good routines. I 'd been doing really well with the whole weight loss thing, and while I haven't gained it all back or anything, the progress is has been reeeeeaaaaallllllllly slow ever since Christmas, and I'd gotten away from daily food journaling. I am definitely an emotional eater, and I've been stuffing things into my face all too often lately. I've been struggling with disciplining the kids (let's just say attitudes are definitely contagious, and mine wasn't worth catching. Just bein' real.) Our house still feels very disorganized, and I I tend to focus on just how much I still want to change which is overwhelming and discouraging. I heard Geneveieve Gorder from HGTV say something along the lines of, "Living in a junk drawer is exhausting!" and I couldn't agree more - our house need not be immaculate, but each room needs to have its own purpose and flow. I'm trying to just focus on the little steps I can accomplish in a day or so; doing something is better than doing nothing!

I've been spending more time in the Word, which has been incredibly awesome. I'm reading Hebrews, and I'm really enjoying just soaking up the scriptures; I'd realized that while I'd been reading a lot religious books, I wasn't reading THE BOOK nearly enough. I've also been having some really good discussions with a friend; she considers herself a Christian, but many of her ideas about God have been shaped by life experiences and New Age attitudes, rather than Biblical truth. It's been a great experience for me to substantiate my beliefs about Jesus and the character of God!

Speaking of friends, that's another area where I've been struggling. We've lived here 20 months now, and while I've made a few good connections, I still don't have that ring of support that I long for. I've been sensing God's leading in some unexpected places. I've struck up conversations with people who, based on outward appearances, have nothing in common with me. This may seem like a small thing, but I struggle with putting myself out there like that (I guess I've never outgrown that teenage fear of rejection). I've also volunteered for some things - and said no to other things that are more in my comfort zone. I don't know exactly what God has in store for me, but I do know that I'm being shaped and that HE is in control of it all, even when it appears to be a random mish-mash from my end.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Recommended Reading

Thought I'd share a few things from the online world that have caught my attention for one reason or another... I know some of these aren't exactly "fresh" but I don't think they've reached their expiration dates yet :)

God's Work of Art - A great perspective. Do I live out this truth?

Conformed or Transformed - Am I changing my world or is it changing me?

Whose Wife am I anyway? - What expectations am I trying to fulfill?

When you don't live up - And speaking of expectations...

Time Management without a schedule - Wish I'd had this revelation when my kids were younger

You Don't Need an Extra Hour - Does my schedule actually reflect my priorities?!

Creating a Time Budget - More about scheduling and time management; lots of good stuff in the bottom links, too

Tackle your home with purpose - Why am I doing this?!

Thoughts on Thrifting-Itis - I've often mentioned my struggles with packrattiness, so it was interesting to read others thoughts on a parallel issue

And now for some crafty fun!

Pom Pom Flowers - I really want to make a necklace, plus I think they'd be absolutely adorable on barrettes for our daughter (Not to mention it would be a great way to use up some of those fabric scraps in my stash)

Doily Jar candleholders - These are a bit more countryish than projects I'm normally drawn to, but for some crazy reazon I find them absolutely charming!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day in Pictures

I took my parents to the airport early this morning, and the fields still had their heavy fog layer - quite stunning when combined with the colors of sunrise. Not the best pic, but what do you expect from me shooting out the window when stopped at a light?! :)

And then there are my 2 resident crazies. They each got a Fun-Dip as part of snack time today, and our daughter was quite delighted with her ridiculously green teeth. Our son was munching on the stick when he suddenly darted upstairs... and when he came down, announced that he was Han Solo. My favorite part of this outfit is most definitely the unbuttoned shirt. And know what? I'll take this little dude over Harrison Ford any day.

Today I am thankful for quiet beauty as well as belly laughs.