Monday, July 1, 2013

ten things I've learned in June

I’ve disappeared for a couple of months from my blog. I have a hard time being consistent on here. :) There is a post that I started back in February that is still mulling around in my head…and it will come out eventually.   
One of my favorite bloggers (Chatting at the Sky) did a link-up for “what we’ve learned in June” (I'm a little late for that, but still wanted to share) and I decided it was good for me to be reflective on the past month…lessons learned from my heart and just some silly ones too. :) And a disclaimer that these are in no particular order. 

It is good to be vulnerable.
By sharing with others, I have their support and encouragement. And I’m opening myself up to potential blessing. And when you are open about what you are struggling with, you may find out that other people struggle with the same thing and you can be encouraging to each other.

It is freeing to let go.
I was having a really hard time letting go of something that happened last year. And I knew it was going to take time for my heart to heal, but wow, there has been such a freedom for me in just letting it go. I know that simple phrase is actually quite complicated. For me personally, it means putting more trust in God for my future and his continued provision over me.

If I stay up until 3:30 AM, it is likely that I will need a nap the next day.  
But I won't regret it because it means I was probably having fun with friends.

I have a great group of people who want to bless me and love me.
I was overwhelmed by the quick response of people wanting to help support me on my trip to Haiti. I was almost nervous to send out a support letter because I was asking for financial support and I don't like that feeling of asking someone for money. But the response I got showed me that people want to help and sometimes just need the opportunity! I also got a really sweet note from the mom of two little girls I watch and that really made my day. I had no idea that she thought so highly of me. In turn, that makes me want to make sure that people know how much I love them and appreciate them in my life.

Spraypaint is hard to get out of the crevices of your finger.
I recently spray painted several wine bottles to use as decoration for a party. I learned that spray Goo Gone is a great for removing paint from my skin! Spray it on an old wash cloth and scrub away. :)

Being in nature is good for my soul.
I always look forward to my family's annual Netten Campout. It is a week of camping with my cousins, aunts and uncles...and so it means a lot of time outdoors! Which I love! I feel like I have more "breathing space" in which to really look at my heart and see the beauty all around me that I often overlook. And even though the dam is man is beautiful to see the rushing water. (side note: when we were young, us kids really enjoyed telling our parents we were going to the dam because it was the closest we got to swearing.) And even though the lake is small and you can pretty much see the whole thing in one shot...I love seeing the moon and sun and trees reflect on the surface. I'm intrigued watching my Dad build the perfect fire with his teepee of wood and then watching the flames move as they burn the wood.

I will burn and subsequently peel if I don’t properly apply sunscreen.
Especially if it is the first time my skin has seen the sun in awhile. But the burn and funny tan lines will be worth the time spent building sandcastles with my nephews.

It is good to let go of my control.
I'm training my boss’ daughter to help this summer at work and I'm trying to let her figure out her “own way” to complete the task. And then fight the urge to "double check" her work. It is not time efficient for me to make sure all of the filing is exactly the way I would do it. And I need to be okay with that.

It is a little strange how I organize my clothes in my closet.
My niece pointed this out to me when I was helping her re-organize her own closet and I was putting all of her white shirts on the same color hanger and the rest of her clothes on white hangers. She laughed at me and told me there was no chance it would stay like that. I nodded my head because I know that is a true statement, but it still didn't stop me from continuing.

I like hard cider. 
I first tried it at a friend's house and I really liked it. And then for a work boating activity, I had another kind and liked that too! So last week, instead of taking wine coolers for camping, I bought a variety pack of cider. It kind of has become my "new" drink of choice. But it is probably the closest I'll get to drinking beer.

What did you learn in June?

Friday, February 22, 2013

the (1st) Monthly Ladies Craft Night!

I was crafting with a friend in December and we decided it would be fun to gather friends every month and work on a craft together! Well I finally got myself organized and we had our first Craft Night (I'm trying to think of a more creative name- suggestions welcome!) a couple weeks ago.
Not everyone that was invited could make it, but the 5 of us had a lot of fun! I'll have to remember to take more pictures next time, but I perhaps was a bit too busy talking, painting, snacking, and drinking wine to pick up my camera. :)

I set up a make-shift table for the paint, brushes, and other supplies. The old piece of wood in the background is over 100 years old! My Dad gave it to me when I was home last and I'm thinking of the perfect project for it. Any ideas??

I ended up making something for my sister Dawn because I couldn't decide on what I wanted to do for myself. Luckily, I was home the weekend before (to meet my newest nephew!) so I had my Dad cut down a piece of plywood to 17" x 17". I also took a larger plywood piece and I'm going to make something for the wall above my bed.

I decided to make something for the lake place my sister and her husband have down in Okoboji. I found an anchor outline to cut out and then trace on the plywood. I then mixed a grey paint and painted it in! I also painted the edges of the board with the grey paint.

Later, I used my Cricut to cut out the letters to spell out Okoboji across the bottom. You can see them faintly outlined in the picture above. I used navy paint for the letters. And now it is complete!

I'm excited to see it in their lake house bathroom!

Monday, February 18, 2013

lessons from Beth Moore: 11 Feb 2013

I think of where I was at when we started this Bible Study. It feels like so long ago because where I'm at now is not where I expected to be. So much has happened. Lessons learned. Tears pouring out. Fists hitting my bed. Joyful praises. More tears.

And yet it feels like we just started. If you have never done a Beth Moore study, I encourage you to do one! They do involve a big time commitment, but it is so worth it! This one: A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place, was my first and I know it won't be my last. When we were deciding which Beth Moore study to do, none of us had a real strong opinion, but we have all agreed that we are so thankful we chose this one.

My eyes have been opened to scripture that I had previously deemed "boring" and "is this really necessary?". Oh yes, it is necessary and no, it is not boring! Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that God does is with purpose. And with much thought, detail, and preparation. He knows us so fully and completely because He created us.
Just the way He wanted.

This last week of lessons was really powerful to me. We are God's temple. Our very bodies. They are God's handiwork. Designed with a distinct purpose. Am I treating and respecting myself with that in mind? Am I living my life to carry out that purpose?

Some thoughts written by Beth that have weighed heavy on my mind.

"Have you found yourself on the brink of the place for which God has long been preparing you? A location? A place of service? A circumstance? A position? Something for which you sense He has been preparing you for a long time?
Now that you see God fulfilling His promise to use you and have gone through excruciating preparation toward that end, are you filled with fear? An overwhelming feeling of unreadiness? A sudden emotion that this may not be what you wanted?
God will deal with these feelings and bring them to a place of dismissal if you confess them to Him and invite Him to give you the courage to accept His personalized plan for you." (page 207)

"God desires to do wonders among us; but to give Him the freedom to intervene in our lives so magnificently, we must be sanctified!" (page 208)

"He is God. He could have chosen to dwell anywhere in the universe. But He chose to live in you and me. You are now the way He dwells among the people of the world." (page 214)

This study has been just what I needed over the past six months. Only God knew the struggles I would face and the joy that would come. He knew.

He knew I needed to let Him pursue me.
To know and experience the depth of His love. So far greater and deeper than any human's attempt at love.
To know I am His beloved.
To know He wants my mess. 
To know His plan is perfect.
To know He takes care of my every need.
To know He will heal my hurts.
To know He is God. And He is choosing to reveal glimpses of His glory through me.
To know He is continually refining me.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

count it all JOY: 8 Jan 2013

I should go to sleep, but I don't. Instead, I start reading a new blog. Her words hit me as I read them. Tears fill up in my eyes. The words prove I'm not the only one and I'm not alone. It has clearly been God's message to me lately.

You are NOT alone.

I may feel like I'm the only one in my situation, but I'm not. And I can choose my feelings and reactions to where I'm at in life. And this year, I'm choosing joy.

My alarm softly disrupts my reading. 10:30 PM. I push dismiss and put my phone down to reach over for the blue sleeve of pills. They are supposed to help stop the pain. Pain that my "healthy" body gives me almost every month. This is a part of me needing to choose joy through this pain. My bloated stomach makes me angry. Because my head is telling me it is fat and that I need to do something about that.

I continue reading. I should go to bed, but I can't put it down. I'm so relieved to have found a blog with such honesty and where I can more closely relate. And not find myself wishing about the other person's trip, family, new house project, wedding, pregnancy, etc. They are good blogs. But this one is better for my heart.

"Only when we understand that the reason we are to count it all joy is not because of the experience, but because of the result of the experience."  (from The Dream Giver)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Waiting: December 28, 2012

I've learned a lot about waiting this year. And honestly, the learning has not always come joyfully. I've found myself annoyed that "God is still teaching me this lesson??"
I'm doing a Beth Moore Bible Study and she has talked a lot about a "long obedience in the same direction" to where God is taking us. And how some things "come easy" for others...and we are still waiting. And maybe that is because that "thing" will come in a more miraculous way for us. Wow. I've never thought about it like that before. But that gives me hope. And we all could use more  hope in our lives...for whatever we are waiting on...the answer to the request we made so long ago...we need hope. 

I was reading through a notepad where I jot down quotes/ statements that have stuck out to me at some point in my life. I came across the following and it reminded me to embrace the life and stage I'm in.

"Many of us have experienced a long silence in our single lives. Some of us have embraced it; many of us endured it. For years and years, we have been along with God and all we can hear is the quiet beating of our aching hearts. We've been listening intently for His voice, hoping that the silence would bring answers. Ironically, the silence is the answer. It is full of meaning and purpose. God created this silent moment to cultivate intimacy with us. He is preparing us for a love that is about to come." Undressed

I'm not saying I'm single because I still have "things to figure out" because humans will never have everything figured out. No, this silence and waiting is all apart of my "long obedience". And I need to remember to be thankful for this time. I've also been learning that- to be thankful in all circumstances. Especially when life is not going the way I imagined. Being thankful reminds me of the power of God.  And His faithfulness. And that His faithfulness is greater than any humans.

I want to embrace this silence. God is taking care of me.

"God does understand and empathize with your situation, but He is not going to change His perfect and all-encompassing plan so that you can gratify your every desire. We have to learn to fit into God's plan, not the other way around." Undressed

                    (a little artwork that I'm going to hang in my bathroom for a daily reminder!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 11: brain dump

I try to make myself distracted, but as it turns out...the distractions didn't work.

Repeat: God has a better plan. God has a better plan. God has a better plan.

I think part of this is coming from the Christmas season- the yearning to share traditions and make memories with someone. But I also need to remind myself that it is okay for me to have those yearnings and desires.  Thinking they are too lofty or extreme is putting a limit on God and what He can do. He will exceed my expectations for my future.

And keep asking God for peace. Peace in my heart and mind. And I need to keep choosing Joy. Joy because God sent us His son as a baby to grow up and save us from our sinful nature.
Right after I wrote the above, I read my Jesus Calling for the day. (Note: I bolded and underlined parts that really struck me.)

"I am working on your behalf. Bring Me all your concerns, including your dreams. Talk with Me about everything, letting the Light of My Presence shine on your hopes and plans. Spend time allowing My light to infuse your dreams with life, gradually transforming them into reality. This is a very practical way of collaborating with Me. I, the Creator of the universe, have deigned to co-create with you. Do not try to hurry this process. If you want to work with Me, you have to accept My time frame. Hurry is not in My nature. Abraham and Sarah had to wait many years for the fulfillment of My promise, a son. How their long wait intensified their enjoyment of this child! Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses."

As I write this out over a week later- I'm in awe of how PERFECT this reading was for me- that night and still today. I take a deep breath. And read those words again. The Lord is on my side. But it will be in His timing.

I'm brought back to a conversation with my Dad over Thanksgiving weekend. I wish I would have recorded it- so I could listen to it again and again. My Dad is usually a man of few words- which makes even more sense when you picture him in a house with 7 daughters. :) He is an observer- speaking when necessary- and the words that come out are never without purpose and intent. He is wise man. He has studied the Bible a lot and he knows it well. In the past couple of years I've really wanted to know my Dad better and hear more of what he thinks and knows.
Back to Thanksgiving. My brother ended up not being able to go to Saturday morning breakfast at the hospital cafeteria (their weekly tradition)- so it was just me and my Dad (because I join them when I'm home). I was actually thinking it was going to be a quiet breakfast because I don't know who bought what farmland in the past week or what happened in that accident or any other Sioux County news. Which was fine with me- I'm like my Dad in that silence is completely fine with me. I also tend to be an observer- taking my time to process what is being said and then I might have a response a day or more later.
But my Dad surprised me. And shared so much wisdom with me.
He talked about doing everything in God's timing. Listening to His calling and leading. How we will be so blessed by God by just trusting in Him. How much God wants to bless us. And how we don't know what or when things will happen, but we don't need to know. God will surprise us. And bless us in that way. But we do need to do our part. Pray, spend time in the Word, and spend time listening to God's calling on our life.

God knew how much I needed to hear those truths. Because I tend to be a planner. Wanting to know what is going to happen next. And if I don't, I get scared and nervous about messing things up. But God doesn't want us to live that way. He wants us to live in trust and faith.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

tears: 28 november 2012

Everything is making me cry tonight.

a commercial with beautiful piano music
a scene in a TV show
eating a piece of pie my mom baked
written words from a friend after I sent her a random brain dump

And there are a lot of thoughts making me tear up (all the while my nephews watch TV upstairs).

thoughts of how I've disappointed myself and others
thoughts of a boy who broke my heart
thoughts of my hopes, dreams, and unspoken prayers
thoughts of gratitude that our God is so gracious
thoughts of my upcoming birthday and how my life is nothing like the dreams I've had since I was a little girl

I know it is good to let these tears out even though some of them make me feel so weak. So vulnerable. And small. And that I've been wearing my "good girl" mask too much lately. So I let them fall silently. And think about taking a shower so I can let them fall in anger/ frustration/ despair.

PS: Something else bringing me to tears- my Beth Moore Bible Study. Read Psalm 84 and Psalm 91:4. While I was reading Psalm 84 out loud (per the study instructions)- I could barely get the words and my eyes were blinded by my tears. What a needed reminder and blessing from God.