For the last few days I have been picking up sticks! We had a huge storm last weekend and our yard was COVERED in sticks.
At first I thought the job wouldn't be that bad. I started in the backyard and just filled the boys little swimming pool. Things started out pretty good. It was a beautiful day and the boys thought it was pretty fun to help (that lasted about 5 minutes). I started by getting the big sticks. They were easy to spot and easy to pick up. I ran into trouble when all that was left were the little sticks. There were TONS of them.
As I walked through the backyard picking up stick, after stick, after stick and watching the pile get bigger and bigger. I wondered if this whole picking up sticks things was anything like my life.
I thought about sin. Even though God doesn't see our sins on some kind of rating scale we are humans tend to rate our sins. You know, there are the big sins like murder and adultery. And then we like to think of things like lying or laziness as little sins.
But as I was out there picking up all those little sticks I wondered if my backyard was like my heart. I am pretty good at making sure I keep the "BIG" sins out my heart. But what about all those little sins...the little white lie, or the choice to be selfish, the ugly attitude, or the times when I left my anger get the best of me. If I am not careful my heart will be just like my backyard...full of the little sticks (sins).
To be honest what I thought would be an easy job became overwhelming when I took a close look at how many little sticks there were. In fact it took me three days and there are still lots more out there.
That's how it is with my heart sometimes too. I start out excited with a new bible study or I decide to make a fresh commitment to spending time with God in the mornings instead of trying to fit Him in when I can. I start with this vision of the godly woman I am going to be. But then I get out there and I see up close all of the work that needs to be done...all of the "sticks" that need to be picked up and I get overwhelmed and decide it's just too much (there it is again...that little laziness "stick").
I wonder how different my life would be if I would be determined, the way I have been with the sticks, to just keep going at it day after day after until God has made me into that godly woman I desire to be?
Wow...who would have thought I could learn so much from a bunch of sticks!
So my heart is still a little wrecked and I am still spending a lot of time praying and thinking about Africa...but I know God is going to show us exactly what to do. Stay tuned....
In others news...
I decided to get crafty last week. If you know me at all you know that I am lacking in the creative area. I often tell people that I was born without the creative gene. However, I am great at copying other people's ideas and that is exactly what I decided to do.
Here is a picture of my living room curtains before:
Looking really 90's don't you think!
Here they are now:
I got this idea from The Lettered Cottage. They are actually drop cloths from Lowes. I painted my rod and then hung the cloths from drapery clips...about $20 total!
And since I was feeling good about my first project I decided to make a roman shade for my playroom window.
Not perfect but pretty good for $10! I got this idea from A Penny Saved.
Can I admit that my heart is really unsettled lately.
For me blogging can be such a therapy. Getting to write about our family and the ways God has blessed us is great way for me to stop and remember to be thankful. Writing about the things God is teaching me is a way for me to get my thoughts straight and a chance to apply my learning. But today I am just being totally honest a letting you see the craziness that is my heart lately. I am hoping that in writing this all out that I will have clarity of mind.
So here goes nothing...
For as long as I can remember I have loved children. When I was little my mom said I skipped barbies and ponies and went straight for the baby dolls. By the time I was 8 I had a regular babysitting job where I would keep four kids in the basement while their mom taught piano. In high school I spent most of my weekends babysitting for people in our church. I loved it.
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a mom. I feel so blessed to have three healthy, vibrant, wonderfully crazy little boys.
But still my heart is not settled. I have said before that my heart was drawn to adoption/fostering when we went through the loss of Konner and the other 2 miscarriages. At that point I thought it was just me wanting a baby so bad I would do anything to get one. But then I got pregnant with Karter and I was still thinking about adoption...that is when I knew...it was a desire God put there and not just me. I was carrying my own biological child but still thinking about rescuing a sweet child that didn't have a mom or a dad.
Fast forward 5 years and I am still here...still wondering if God is calling me to take care of the fatherless.
Let me just throw this in there.
I have never liked Africa. Remember I said in another post that I wanted to put my fingers in my ears when people from my home church returned from a mission trip to share their stories from Africa. "Of all the places in the world please God do not call me to Africa", is what I always thought. Even the blog I mentioned about Katie in Uganda...my friend Allison told me about it several months ago...when she told me about it I remember thinking...ugh Africa...I do not want to read about Africa. Why would some girl give up her life to go to Africa?
But late one night I read a friends post about a group called 147 million orphans that came to her church. I was astounded by their statics and the numbers of children around the world who are fatherless. I went to visit their sight and there it was... they were partners with Katie in Uganda. So I clicked on her blog and I understood. Africa...Jesus is working in Africa....Jesus cares about Africa. Africa is where a lot of "the least of these" live.
147 million orphans is site run by two moms just like me. Moms with several children, but moms who have a passion for reaching out to orphans. As I read their blogs and read the stories of their 7 adoptions I could feel the tug even more.
"God are you calling us to adopt?" "God are you calling us to adopt from Africa?"
And this is where the heart-wrecked part comes in.
I just don't know...
Here is the verse I read today...
"If you are serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ-that's where the action is. See things from His perspective." Colossions 3:1-2, MSG
And this is the e-mail I recieved from a friend today...
God is always at work around you.
God purses a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
God invites you to become involved in His work.
God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.
God's invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
You come to know God by experience as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.
So here I am a heart that is tired of just seeing what is in front of me. A heart that is tired of settling for the average Christian American life...church on Sundays and Wednesdays, bible study on Mondays, and trying to volunteer when I can. This heart wants more. This heart wants to see what my Jesus sees and I want to help...I want to be his hands and his feet...even if it is to a sweet African child.
So would you pray with me. Pray that God will make HIS path straight before us.
In February my sweet little sister got married! It was a full out family affair! Nathan officiated the service, I was the maid of honor and the singer, and Kaden and Karter were ringbearers. If I hadn't been afraid they might kill him going down the isle I would have let them pull Kolson in a wagon!:) Sweet Koley slept peacefully through the service.
It was a beautiful outside ceremony! Here are some pictures of Julie and Scott's big day...
The Newlyweds! Isn't my sister beautiful!
One big happy family
Two handsome boys!
Just the 5 of us
Love my sweet hubby
I am proud of my sister and the woman she is becoming! Her and Scott are expecting their first baby...Addison Grace this summer! I can't wait to buy some bows for my new niece and be able to share the wonderful journey of motherhood with my sister.
Just the other day Julie called to tell me how God was working in their lives. How she prayed and God was faithful beyond her wildest dreams. It is so awesome when the people you love "get it". I pray that their lives will be filled with Joy as they seek to serve our awesome God through out their marriage.
My three crazy little boys and my fake wood floor DO NOT get along! I live with two little boys who love to go in and out all through the day, a baby who loves to crumble eat crackers, a boot wearing, hunter of a husband, and several messy eaters! All of this and my need to have a clean, neat floor has left me with a dilemma. I could either sweep 100 times a day or I could just give up and live with a REALLY dirty floor. I have tried both options and neither seem to work very well!=)
Which brings me to my Dirt Devil!
Nathan and I did something crazy this last year...we woke up at 4:45 am and went shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. That day gave CRAZY a whole new meaning! By the time we made it through the line at Wal-Mart we had both decided that next year we would go back to our normal sleeping-in routine. That was before we got to Target and I found my Dirt Devil for $9...yes $9.
It is light weight and easy to use and instead of having to sweet every five minutes I can just turn this little baby on and have things spic and span in no time! It is so fun even my boys like to use it...
The only thing that would make this product better is if it had a rechargeable battery so that I didn't have to worry about plugging it in! I am sure they make one like that...but I am sure that one is more than $9!
Last weekend was Sam's senior prom! Since I have just had our sweet little boys for the last 5 years getting to do some girly stuff was a real treat!
Sam and Allison and I headed up to Dallas to look for the perfect dress. We saw some beautiful dresses, some VERY expensive dresses, some really strange dresses, and finally we found THE dress...we thought.
When Sam went back to school the next day she found out that another girl had bought the same dress.
What is a girl to do?
Luckily, one of the principals from the district brought in her daughter's prom dresses from a couple years ago. In that bunch of dresses was the most beautiful purple ball gown! We got to take the other dress back which left us with some extra cash to do some other girly stuff!
I had so much fun taking Sam to get shoes and jewelry, and then to get her hair and nails and toes done! Nathan even let me get my toes done too! It was a sweet moment as we sat there next to each other getting our toes done!
I didn't get near as many pictures as I would have liked to but here are a few...
I love this picture that Donna took...her smile is so great...she loves to have fun!
Well...I did it! I was able to memorize the 3 verses from Romans so I am adding another verse for this month. This verse really starting speaking to me before we left for Mexico...however, we got to SEE this verse in ACTION through an amazing couple while we were in Mexico. Thank you Juan and Veronica for your incredible example!
Matthew 25:35-36 & 40
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. 40- I tell you the truth, whatever you did for the least of these you did for me!
Lord please help me to have eyes to see those who are in need around me!
Here it is...another strange but wonderful recipe!
I am sure that this ooey gooey goodness has a real name but in our family we just call it Apple Cheese Stuff!
I know what you are thinking...apples and cheese??? Trust me, it is sooo good! We love it with pork chops or sausage tortilla wraps. I think it would also be great for breakfast!
4 cups granny smith apples sliced and sprinkled with cinnamon
1 stick of butter (softened)
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup of flour
2 big handfuls of shredded cheese ( I usually use colby jack)
Place the apples in a baking dish.
Mix next 4 ingredients (it will be crumbly)
Put the crumbly mixture over the apples
Bake on 350 for about 45 min. or until brown and bubbly
And while we are talking about apples...last Saturday I branched out and made Pioneer Woman's apple fritters! They were really good but they made a BUNCH! Next time I make them I will be sure I have an army around to eat them all!
Like always, taking a good picture of 3 crazy little boys is never easy! At least I got all three of them looking at the camera and smiling...we are getting closer!=)
We had a great Easter Sunday! We finished out our third and final performance of "Loved With A Cross" and enjoyed a wonderful lunch and Easter hunt with Nathan's dad.
This year was so much fun with 2 little boys to hunt eggs...I can't wait until next year when all 3 of them get to hunt together!
Thank you Jesus for a beautiful day to celebrate you and the gift you gave!
Why is this little guy so happy?
On Wednesday of Easter week sweet Kolson had a minor surgical procedure to correct his frenulum. Kolson was born tongue tied...literally his tongue was stuck to the bottom of his mouth because his frenulum was too long. He is so happy now that he can move his tongue and is able to eat more solid foods now!
We continued our Easter celebration well into the nest week with coloring and decorating eggs...so fun!
I could not think of a better way to describe our dinner from earlier this week.
Not long ago I stumbled upon a blog called The Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman grew up in the big city and was living a citified life until she met and fell in love with a cattle rancher. Now she lives on a ranch in the middle of nowhere. From her ranch she blogs about life, cooking, homeschooling, photography, and more. I have been most captivated by her cooking section where there are step by step pictures to go with all of her recipes. For a girl who buys a cook book based on the pictures this is my dream come true!
My sweet friend Flo got her cook book for Christmas (hint, hint mom:) and has also been trying some recipes! On Monday night I made these:
Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich
Like Flo there was no time to take pictures of my own...they looked so good and tasted every bit as good. We took Flo's suggestion and added some swiss cheese. I served them up with a fruit salad and we enjoyed a meal on the back porch. These sandwiches get 5 stars in my book for tastiness, and ease of preparation! Try them you will not be dissapointed!
So March and the beginning of April was CRAZY. I know I say that a lot but truthfully things around here are pretty crazy most of the time! I think we would be board and wondering what to do if it wasn't that way!
In all of the craziness I missed learning a verse for the 2nd half of March. After spending some time talking to my friend Kim I decided that I really wanted to know the verses in Romans that talk about salvation. I know that I am a preacher's wife and I have heard these verses over and over but I will admit that I have never taken the time to hide them in my heart the way I should. When I was thinking about this it reminded me of the scripture that talks about being prepared in and out of season to give an account of the hope we have. So I am choosing to learn 3 verses from Romans for my March and April verses. These verses are familiar to me so they will not take long to learn. I think I will challenge myself to learn at least one more verse on the 15th of this month.
So here are my verses:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
For the wages of sin is death. but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you WILL BE SAVED!!
While I was in high school my church went on a mission trip to Kenya. I remember the Sunday night when the team shared like it was yesterday. I remember exactly where I was sitting, what the lighting was like...everything. I heard story after of story of how God had moved in the lives of the people in Kenya as well as in the lives of the members who went.
I should have been in awe of the power of our mighty God.
Instead, I remember having the most overwhelming urge to just put my fingers in my ears. I remember thinking to myself..."please God, please don't ever call me to that...I will do anything else but please don't call me to be a missionary".
10 years later here I am.
I have been on my first mission trip. No longer am I wanting to put my fingers in my ears. I am not sure that God is calling our family to leave the country but I know now that I am willing, willing to follow Him. I also know now that I cannot just stand by and act like everything is just peachy when I have seen with my own eyes that there are people who are struggling because of their faith, there are people who are hungry, there are people who have nothing, but still they are coming to Jesus.
I heard a song recently by Brooke Frasier called "Albertine" it talks about her time in Rwanda and how it changed her life. One phrase from the song had really grabbed me...
"Now that I have seen I am responsible...faith without deeds is dead."
To be honest I don't know what that looks like. I am still processing what God has taught me through my time in Mexico and still trying to figure out exactly what He calling me to do because of what I saw there. But I know that my life cannot stay the same.
God in His amazing sovereignty has been preparing me for this over the past few months. One thing I have discovered in this blogging world is that there are some amazing stories out there. Stories of people who have faced unbelievable tragedy but are still writing His praises, there are stories of people who are crossing the seas to rescue to orphaned children, and my most favorite are the stories of people who have decided to give it all up...everything that we Americans think is necessary for survival and to live in total faith. My favorite is the story of Katie. She is a young American girl who went on a mission trip to Uganda and God so powerfully moved in her heart that she gave up everything to follow Him...even to Africa. God has and is continuing to use her blog to speak great truth to me. Opening my eyes to the reality that there is so much more than this life of mediocrity I have settled for. I encourage you to visit her blog, read just one of her posts (without putting your fingers in your ears:) and let God work on your heart.
The house is quite...everyone is in bed and I am just savoring a few moments in the stillness. We just finished our second night of "Love with a Cross". Tomorrow is Easter and we will perform the play one last time.
As I sit here tonight I am reminded of how worthy our sweet Jesus is and what a great sacrifice He made for me.
Thank you Jesus for coming to live amoung us and for paying the price for my sins. Your grace amazes me!
One crazy family seeking to glorifiy the King in this crazy life!
Nathan aka my love
It all started at a revival where he was preaching and I was singing. We became the best of friends and later fell in love. Nathan is still my very best friend! We love to sit and "dream" together and stay up late to laugh. He loves the Lord with all of his heart and I feel so blessed to call him mine!
Our first born...he is adventurous and full of life. He may seem shy at first but just give him a minute and he has tons to say. His heart is as big as his giant blue eyes! He is artistic and creative and he is constantly working on writing books!
Our middle boy...he is as firey as his crazy red hair. He is as tough as nails and has a smile that lights up any room! He is our furture preacher and can be found found preaching from our steps many nights!
Our third little prince is still a snuggly little guy that gives the best hugs around. He is full of spunk and wants to be just like his big brothers!
Our Ugandan princess and the newest member of the K-crew. She is sugar and spice and everything nice. She brings the perfect amount of softness and PINK to this rowdy crew! We are so thankful to finally have her home.
Our sweet little baby boy who was born sleeping in October of 2005. We are so thankful for all that he taught us.
Watch and listen to..."You Are Called, You Are Chosen" from the CD!!!