Thursday, February 24, 2011

Accessorizing the outfit

The other day, while watching some SATC re-runs I heard a line that has stuck with me. One of the ladies said, "Sometimes we have to play the hand we've been given and accessorize the outfit we've got."

I love that. Sometimes we just have to accessorize the outfit we have...or to make it relevant, make the most of every opportunity we have in life. This week I have been taking to heart my word of the year, intentionality. I have seen God moving my heart towards more intentionality, making me more and more dissatisfied with the status quo, and inviting me to make more of the life I have.

So this week I hit my limit. My limit of excuses for embracing life the way I need to. My limit of waiting for a baby for our life to begin. My limit of letting fear define my decisions. I stepped up. or out. Into a place I where I was not comfortable. But in the newness of productivity and the space that I created to live fully, I found that spark. The one that lights a fire underneath you and spurs you on. I have missed that feeling. I think I lost it about a year ago when our world got turned upside down, and everything that seemed important suddenly lost its meaning and was replaced by powerful desires that has been sleeping.

I have missed waking up in the morning and recognizing the person in the mirror. Where did I go? I know that this year has been an important part of my journey and in many ways I wouldn't change it. I am realising that while I am beginning to feel alive again. I am not back to feeling like 'my old self' I guess that person has morphed. Not gone, but changed.

So instead of mourning the person I used to be, I am being intentional to embrace the me I am today. This is the life I have been given, and I must be intentional to really see what I have!

My scrapbooking is one of the first things that has come back into the picture with all the intentionality that has been going into getting homework done on time! This is the state of my living room! Can you see the spot where I have been sitting?! ha ha

Another joy has been having time to read - for fun! J and I are reading a marriage book with some of our friends, and we get together for dinner once a week to talk about it. Sweet times.

And tonight, I am sitting infront of this...

In a Bellingham hotel room, with this view...

I am here for a lovely night away with J. Life is good and I am going to accessorize the heck out of this outfit - and it's going to be fabulous!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Crock-Pot Recipe and Reaping the Rewards of Intentionality

I feel like my intentionality to be productive this week has really paid off. Homework is up to date, and (almost) ahead of the game. I have even found time to cross a few things off the 'honey do' list I had written for myself. Today I re-potted some indoor plants, including our Christmas cactus that had started to grow a very strange neon green fungus!

Yesterday, I managed to make time to re-organize my linen closet. I know it makes me sound like a dork, but it gives me such joy to look at it now - perhaps I will even find a picture to post so you can tell me how fab it looks!

Late today the snow began to fall and there is a layer of white over the garden. So far the roads have stayed clear; wet but clear. I guess we'll see if the drop in temps tonight will bring any more snow. I know it is a bit inconvenient for commuters, but I confess I love to wake up to a blanket of white outside.

This post is a little random but I wanted to include a yummy crock pot recipe we just ate for dinner. So simple and so good. With our produce box arriving each week I am trying hard to use all the fresh produce before it goes bad. Grapefruit for breakfast, pears to snack on. We have had a blood orange, avocado, spinach salad with dinner for the past two nights, and today it was the turn of the yams and the onions.

I had seen a recipe like this on a blog I saw a little while back but this is what I put in my crock pot and it was delicious.

2 chicken breasts, halved and then sliced into strips
1 yellow onion
1 large yam, cut into small chunks (if they are bigger it will need longer to cook)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 C orange juice
1/4 C chicken stock (or water)
3 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

I put the chicken on the bottom of the crock, layered the chopped onion and then the potato. I put the spices into the measuring cup with the orange juice and chicken stock and then poured the whole thing over the top. I cooked it on low for 5 hours.

I also cooked the rice in the rice cooker using coconut milk instead of water which added a little something tasty!

Easy, simple and so very good.

My intentionality continues to reap it's rewards because now I can say to you "I am going to go and continue scrapbooking"

Life is good.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bear fruits worthy of repentance

It is your Kindness Lord that leads me to repentance.
Truly, truly this is real to me right now.

What is is about repentance that frees your heart?

I am struggling to start this blog because it feels like my heart is too full, there is too much to let out.

It started last week with a daily devotional I read that was talking about repentance. I have heard many a sermon about this subject but something in the wording of the devotional just hit to the heart. It was based on these verses in Matthew, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!...therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance. (Matt 3:2,8)

I have heard the call to Repent from the first verse many times. It has previously felt like a command to say sorry for the bad thoughts, and wrongdoings I have committed since my last repentance! ["Forgive me Father for i have sinned, it has been about 3 months since my last repentance!"] I knew it should be something I should do more frequently, my lack of repentance was certainly not due to a lack of sin, just of a lack of habit.

If there was a big ugly sin or a harsh argument, I would seek forgiveness from God in the moment. But the every day jealousies, the fear, the gossip, did I mention fear were not affecting me in a way that made repentance feel necessary in such an urgent way. This led to a good ol' sin purge every once in awhile to clean the slate - generalized "I'm sorrys" for living in human strength in a fallen world. However, with the distance between these sins and my confessions my repentance was pretty empty.

I was not changed by my repentance, and it never really clicked that that was the point. Until the devotional the other day. The second verse..."bear fruits worthy of repentance."

I have been forgiven, I have direct access to the Son of God who is interceding on my behalf. He tells me he loves me, he sings songs over me, he is my strength and my deliverer. And yet, I had reduced repentance to saying sorry and carrying on with my life without being changed.

I have settled for wiping my sin slate clean but without making any changes to prevent said slate from getting dirtied again. I want to truly repent. I want to hate my sin enough to change my behavior. I want my repentance to change how I see God. To understand how it grieves him when my sin causes distance between us and I want to let that fill my heart and lead me to action.

I want my repentance to be leading me to become a better reflection of Christ. I want my life to be bearing the fruits worthy of the Kingdom. I am a daughter of the King and my life should reflect the blessing and honor of that position. I am called to be compassionate, generous, gentle, honest, loving, fearless. Are these the fruits that i am bearing? I am working on it but I know that there are huge areas where I am falling short of what is being asked of me. This is especially true in the area of fear, I still let fear define my actions way more than I should.

Praying for strength to change and be changed.

This week so far has been so full for me. I have been a diligent student, and made time to check off some 'to do's' that have been needing attention for sometime. It feels so good, and I need to seek forgiveness for all the wasted hours of the previous weeks and months. The reality of what I can do in the time I have is beyond what I limit myself to doing in my sloth. I pray that this time, my repentance will extend to me changing my behaviour. Here's hoping because that 'to do' list isn't getting any shorter! I am 100% sure that the life God has in mind for me is fuller and more wonderful that what I can make happen on my own and in true repentance I find the freedom to be a part of it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Love me do

Valentine's day did not disappoint this year - or rather Jeremy didn't disappoint. He sometimes struggles because he married a girl who grew up with Disney happy-ever-after movies and had decades of girl's nights watching chick flicks in which every man knows how to share his feelings and sweep the girl off her feet. That's a lot to live up to for any man but especially when you are a guy who genuinely enjoys numbers, like my sweet husband.

This year however, he did a wonderful job at making Valentine's Day special with red roses and a card. I am a lucky girl. He also made reservations at a restaurant we went to once a year or so ago and really enjoyed. He kept the destination a secret until we pulled up outside! We enjoyed a delicious meal, listening to the pianist (and playing a little game of 'name that tune'), candle light, roses on every table, delicious food - especially the chocolate lasagna for dessert.

The picture was taken by the owner of the restaurant and was emailed to me this morning - the first email had a picture of a lovely couple in their sixties! She went table to table taking pictures and getting emails and I wondered at the time how she would keep everyone straight! It made us laugh. I hope we are still going to romantic dinners when we are their age.

Hope your love day celebrations were special too x

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, Sunday

Ok, I know it is not Sunday, but this past weekend was a pretty big day of learnin' for this little lady and I wanted to share.

I know I have said before how much I love my church, but it's true. I really do. Not is in an idol way, but in a way that recognises how God uses the teaching and more importantly the community to shape me, and teach me, and gently mold me into someone more like him.

It has been a long time since I have been able to hold back tears during worship. Jesus and I are in a tough season right now, as my desire for a family, the grief of loss, and the struggle of finding hope and trusting in God all meet in one uncomfortable place. I love that I can stand hands held high, singing, claiming the truth of God's love surrounded by our church family. Tears streaming down my face do not need to be hidden. They do not need explanation. They can be fall on my cheeks and heal my heart as they do. Each week the tears come as I struggle to lay down my will and submit to His. It's sucks and it is beautiful all at once.

This week, the message was titled 'When Prayer Is Wrong' and was taught from Joshua 6 & 7 and looks at the story of the Israelites and their battle against Ai. God had already shown the Israelites that obedience to Him would give them the victory. They had already experienced the miraculous victory He had granted them in Jericho. God instructions had been clear, but unconventional to say the least. They were told to march around the city, blow horns and shout...and when they did this the walls of the Jericho fell and they took the city. God had given specific instructions that they should not spare anything in the city, but destroy everything (except Rahab and her household - but that's another story) and do it as an offering to the Lord.

Well, some smart guy Achan decided that some of the loot was too good to destroy and he kept some for himself. I bet Achan wished he had heeded the warning found in Joshus 6:16 a little more reverently. "Do not take any of the things set apart for destruction, or you yourselves will be completely destroyed, and you will bring trouble on all Israel." - because look what happens next.

The Israelites fought a small town called Ai, and were totally defeated. Not what they were expecting after the whole Jericho victory thing. They became paralyzed with fear, and were very confused. So Joshua and the other Isrealite leaders desperately called out to God in prayer and asked him what was going on. Why had he let them be defeated?! (I am paraphrasing, but please bear with me) God answered and told Joshua to "Get up" and asked him why he was praying and asking for direction, when the Israelites knew the answer - they had sinned against Him by taking items from Jericho that were set apart.

God explained that He would no longer be with the Israelites until they had purified themselves by getting rid of the items that were supposed to be burned, and the person who stole them. Eeeek! Poor Achan?

He was brought out, with his whole clan and destroyed them along with everything they took. Then the Lord was once again with the people of Israel as they went into battle. When they went back to Ai, they destroyed the city in the strength of the Lord. And here is the kicker of the story - this time God told them they could take whatever they wanted. If only Achan hadn't been so impatient and greedy he would have been given the loot from the city of Ai with God's blessing.

This is a crazy story, but it is one I find myself a part of more often than I even realise. That is why it is hard for me to fully condemn the actions on Achan because I know I am guilty of the same actions in my life.

There are many morals to this story to pick up but I will focus on just a couple that have got the old cogs spinning. Firstly the story illustrates the reality that our sin not only affects us, but it has consequences for those around us. Sin is not private. As we refuse to be shaped by the Lord, or do not give or receive forgiveness we impact the lives of others and the work of Jesus on earth. We can pretend our additions or idols have no baring on the lives of others, what we do on our time is just about us right? WRONG...Ask the Israelites who were defeated in Ai, or ask Mrs Achan pretty sure she felt the effects of her husbands sin when she was stoned to death!...or today ask those who you are unable to truly know and love you because your sin or shame is preventing them from getting too close.

Life is full of sticky situations but God's plan is perfect. When it works we are blessed in our communities with new believers and healing and powerful testimonies of God at work which bring hope. So when we prevent it from working because we hold too tightly to our sin, we lose out on so much, but so do those around us.

The other lesson which struck home hard for me was the message of trust, obedience and dependability on God. When we walk in faith, God's path for us is not necessarily an easy one but we can know His peace with us at every step. I know sometimes I get nervous that God forgot about me, and that we have been left alone to make the decisions about adding to our family. I get panicked about the weight and enormity of the choices and feel the need to cover all my human bases in order to just make this happen already! I truly felt God's calling to dependence on Him loud and clear this Sunday. I do not have to fumble around piecing something together - that will only lead to my destruction. I must continue to walk on the path God is revealing with a patient heart, depending on His peace and trusting in His character to carry me to the family He has ordained. When I stop scavenging in the rubble for leftovers, trying to fill my need in my own way, and release myself and to dependency on Him, He will give me the best he has.

As we move forward on our journey to be parents, we recognise our own sin in trying to force this to happen in our time. I must seek forgiveness for a lack of trust and a truly impatient heart. I believe God is asking us to give Him our time-line. Have I fully surrendered that to him? No, I am channeling a little Achan there. I am trying to make it happen my way and in my time. That's almost laughable. With each passing month my anxiety rises, time is passing too quickly, is this ever going to happen? And the mental scramble begins in earnest.

Our days are passing filled with anxiety, not with peace. Our home feels like a place of disappointment when it should be a place for hope and joy. We have so much to enjoy and appreciate and waiting for our baby to come must be something we fight for fully in God's strength and God's way.

I think we lost sight of today in the desire for tomorrow. Tomorrow will come soon enough and without any help from us...but who we are today and how we live our lives can determine the peace and joy and LIFE we experience in this moment.

Lord, please forgive me for trying to force your hand. For setting myself up for more disappointment and for thinking I know better than you what I need when I don't. Thank you for the life I have, and the people in it who show me your love and speak your truth - even when it is hard to hear. Thank you that your plan works best with our obedient dependency on you, please help me loosen the grip I have on the steering wheel of my life, and hand over the keys to you.

Thank you for your grace and forgiveness when we fail. Please fill our home with a family - in your way and in your timing. We will (try really hard to) wait on you, and be obedient to your voice. Please plant your peace in our hearts.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm still kicking, I promise! (edited pm to include picture!!)

I thought I should post a little bloggy-blog because a few of my sweet friends have called and emailed making sure everything was alright because of my absence from the cyber world, both here and on FB.

Sadly, I have no exciting or pregnancy related reason behind my absence, just a very dull mid-term exams and assignments one. I knew this quarter's classes were kicking me in the bum but studying for these big tests and then taking them - including the three solid hour long test - have taken it out of me more than I realised.

This is why school is for the young! Those who just come alive when the clock strikes 9pm, rather than those like me who see that as a signal for putting on pajamas and making a warm drink to get me to sleep.

It has given me a new inspiration for staying on top of things for the rest of the quarter so finals won't be such a headache. I guess you live and learn, hey?! So that is the extent of my week.

Ok, I gotta head - tonight we are going to a Twilight themed birthday party and having never seen the movies or read the books (yes, I am the ONE person left who is a Twilight virgin) I had to look up online what would be considered 'Bella' wear. There is a little degree of leniency and the options for dress up include Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings, so Jeremy is currently seeking advice and opinion as he puts his Harry costume together!! I wanted to go as Hermione, but we only have one tie - and as it turns out, this Bella Swan chick wears plaid shirts and jeans which is almost too easy to be considered a costume, but I'll take it!

Ok...Happy Weekend all.

EDIT: Picture of J as Harry!! Bless him, he even loves me enough to let me draw a scar on his face.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

So many stories

I enjoy when God challenges me though other peoples experience of Him, and I appreciate that Donald Miller is so willing to share his experiences in his books!! 'Blue Like Jazz' rocked my world and his latest book 'A million miles in a thousand years' has given it another shake!

There is way to much in this book to limit to just one post but I would love to share them with you in the days (and weeks) ahead. Pretty much, the overarching theme is about letting God write an amazing story with our lives.

A tall order? Not really if we are willing to be obedient to him, perhaps turn of the television or the computer games a bit more, and being with family and friends, going the extra mile, showing Jesus to the world through our actions and getting out of our comfort zones!

I believe that God has given me a mother's heart, and some of my sorrow in our struggle to have a baby comes from the impatience I have know that part of my life and my story come to fulfillment. It is true that I do not see how that will be happening, but I do believe with every fiber of my being that it will, because I do not believe that God made a mistake when he put my heart together. I am eager to get started because I believe it will be the culmination of so much learning, heartache and preparation; 30 something years of it!

Miller begins his look at the stories our lives are telling by reviewing the significant moments he has experienced and the life that he found in them. He also shares a life moment that he shared with friends,

"And when my friends Paul and Danielle had their second daughter, I went to the hospital and held her in my arms. She was tiny and warm like a hairless cat, and she was dependent. When I looked over at her mother, Danielle's eyes told me life was about more than sunsets and romance. It was as though having a baby made all the fairy tales come true for her, as though she were a painter who discovered a color all new to the world" (Miller, 6)

Wow, that was a hard paragraph to get through. I love how he puts it when he said having a child made all the fairy tales come true for her. I love it because it is exactly my expectation for what having a family will be like for me; for us.

I want to be careful not to hold our family as an idol, preventing me from participating in the present in the way I need to but I believe that this desire is a gift from God in the same way the realisation of it will be. Miller continues,

"I can imagine what kind of conversation God and Danielle will have, how she'll sit and tell God the favorite parts of the story God gave her. You get a feeling when you look back on life that that's all God really wants from us, to live inside a body he made and enjoy the story and bond with us through the experience."

This thought fills me with joyful anticipation. God is giving me moments each day to know him better, to challenge me, to bring me joy. When I first read the line "the story her gave her" I burst into tears. Literally, they sprung from the deepest most confused and hurting part of my spirit. The questions came fast and strong, but they all had a similar theme, "why won't he give me that story?" Half a box of kleenex later, the initial heavy heart feeling lifted and slowly I began to think about my life, and the story I have today.

If I died tomorrow, God and I would have so many stories to talk about. The more obvious fairy tale wedding day, and the loving marriage, the beautiful home, the caring and solid family, the world travels and then there are the smaller stories, the ones that may sometime get drowned out by those 'bigger ticket' items.

The chance to watch young people come into their own faith, and pray into their lives. The opportunity to journey from debilitating anxiety to freedom. The blessing of living within a great community. And then there are the tiny ones like the hug and kiss I get when my husband gets home from work each day, the coffee dates with wonderful friends, the walks around Green Lake in all seasons!

I look forward to sharing with God how my life was changed when our children entered the picture, but I know he has enjoyed watching me enjoy the gifts he has already blessed me with and I am content to share those stories with him. I am eager to make each day count, as he writes a story through me in every moment.

And as for today, I am off to write my story quite literally in a paper that is due for my class!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...