Thursday, December 1, 2016

Holiday Hodgepodge (better late than never)




1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn't celebrate Thanksgiving). 
Humble (so much to be grateful for), Grumble (forgot the sugar in the pumpkin pies), Bumble (busy)
2. When did you last say, 'the more the merrier'? Did you mean it?
I don't think I ever have...and when I was thinking of sending "We Moved" announcement postcards I liked the ones that said "come visit...call first"...but I wasn't sure how that'd go over.  Don't worry.  It was a none issue because time zoomed forward and now I'm just hoping to get Christmas cards out with the new address.  Ugh....
3. What's one piece of advice you'd give someone who is your same age?
Exercise!  Things are going down hill fast!
Silence is golden.  Duct tape is silver.  Go buy duct tape.
4. You're ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?
Cauliflower, Carrots, Celery, and Broccoli (RANCH DIP)
5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?
I prefer to shop from my LAPTOP...it rhymes!  I don't like traffic or crowds.  Or shopping alone.  Or with my kids.
6. What's your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?
A small, tan lazyboy that was my husband's grandmother's.  My feet touch the ground in it and it's comfy.
7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.
When I was six years old my parents had a college aged bible study meeting in our tiny house.  I would listen to their talks and one day after listening...I realized that I was a sinner and needed a Savior.  My parents opened the Bible and told me all about Jesus' life, death, and resurrection...the gospel.  I repented of my sin and asked Jesus' to save me and be in charge of my life!  I remember calling my grandparents to share the news with them and how happy they were and how they told me angels were dancing in heaven because they were happy about me belonging to Jesus.
8. Insert your own random thought here.
I'm loving having actual designated guest space in this new house.  It's so nice!!!  God has so blessed us...and hopefully our guests felt even more welcomed and comfortable.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Killing my pet sins...

I have struggled for years to love my husband when he is sick.  I am not alone in my struggles with sick men.  There are plenty of hilarious jokes out there.

"During labor, the pain is so great that a woman can almost imagine what a man feels when he has a fever."

"I think I'm getting sick."  The most dreaded words a wife can hear her husband say.

And my favorite..."I'm gonna kill him and put him outta MY misery!"

I've known for years that these attitudes had a dark edge.  I didn't want to call them sin because sarcasm is probably one of my greatest temptations in regards to the sin of pride.  I like to think that the wittiness of sarcasm helps me through difficult circumstances.  But, all too often, it is at the expense of others and inappropriate for the situation.  God convicted me especially regarding those comments where the husband is referred to as the additional "child."  I knew, and there was no denying, that it was an unbiblical and sinful way to think, or speak, towards my husband and the leader of our home.  It was as if there was a neon light flashing over my head..."Selfish!"  The feelings of anger and frustration were like the check engine light of my heart...saying, "STOP!  Pull over!  Selfish, ugly explosion of SIN about to pour forth!"  And rather than being the wise woman who builds her house...I was the foolish one who with my words and hands tore mine down (Proverbs 14:1).

I am thankful for the Holy Spirit's conviction.  How he points to, highlights, and scrapes at anything that doesn't look like Christ in me.  Maybe he should break out the heavy machinery.  *sigh*  No one likes how this discipline feels...but without true conviction and true repentance there can't be true reconciliation and relationship.  And even though it's painful...I want that...I want to be more like Christ.

I've gone in spells trying to do better about my attitude on my own...knowing that I couldn't and shouldn't be ugly to Loverbrains when he's got a sinus infection or whatever.  I always fail.  Self effort is...stupid.  I don't have the power.  This time, I am hopeful that by admitting my inabilities and my need for help to God, that He IS and WILL keep helping me to love my husband well.  Darren is in more pain with this pinched sciatic nerve than I have ever seen him.  And now, my heart breaks as I watch him struggle...and I pray faithfully and fervently for him...rather than griping and thinking of myself.

Last night, I said something about all suffering being sanctifying and he looked at me like, "Bug off!"  Cuz, really, who wants to hear that when they're suffering, right?  Then I said, "Not for you...for me!"  I'm grateful for this time of trial because it has worked to break me of a pet sin I've been coddling for years.

"So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you." Col. 3:5

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hodgepodge: Sense of time...




1. What would you say is your strongest sense? 
Hearing...I have always had sensitive and intelligent ears.  I love languages and accents and pick up on them easily...so easily that I tend to copy how people talk and have to catch myself.  It feels fun on my tongue.  This strong sense is a bit of curse though...especially in our new house where I hear every new sound and cannot seem to sleep well at night.  Ugh.

2. Do you believe in the idea of a 'sixth sense'? Why or why not?
It's an interesting idea.  I 'get' what people are trying to describe...a gut feeling of sorts.  I do think that there are times we need to trust our gut.  But, there are also times where we can get carried away by our emotions and feelings and that's a mistake.  I guess my answer is no.

3. When do you most feel like a slave to time? Explain.
Generally, I feel like a slave to time when I'm in a hurry and it involves the kids.  I feel rushed and like I'm missing the most important things and I hate that!  The constant companion that phones have become makes me feel this way too.  People need an answer and they need it RIGHT NOW.  I miss my answering machine that I checked once a day when I got home from work.  

4. Have you ever worked in a restaurant? How would you rate the experience? If you could own a restaurant what kind would it be? 
Yes.  I was a dishwasher/prep cook in college and then later I worked at McDonalds too.  It was hot, sweaty work.  It taught me the value of money and the value of my education.  It taught me to value people too.  Many blue collared workers never get recognized for how hard work is...and many are badly treated.  You will never see me be unkind, impatient or cruel with a restaurant worker partially because of what I learned working.  That is a priceless lesson.

5. Ever traced your family tree? Share something interesting you learned there.
Sort of...I haven't but a few family members have and I've learned from their findings.  I visited Denny, Scotland (Denny is my maiden name) and met a few Denny's while there...long distant relatives no doubt.  It was sheep pastures mostly.  Very pretty and remote.

6. What did your childhood bedroom look like?
My bedroom was large and had a cubby off the middle of it with a window.  I used it as a play area, reading area and dressing area by spells.  It had white curtains with little rosebuds.  The carpet was blue shag and hard to vacuum.  I had a bunk bed with a double on the bottom and single on top.  Anytime we had company they took my room.  I had a white eyelet bedspread with pastel color in the lace.  The giant black cat we had used to hide under the dust ruffle and pounce on my feet.  The room had radiators and I'd climb up on them to see out the high windows...those kind that cranked out!  Good memories...

7. Anyone who knows me knows I love_______________________?
Turquoise, cobalt blue glass, clocks, oil lamps, books, coffee but hopefully most of all....GOD!

8. Insert your own random thought here.
In case you missed it I moved this month.  I posted about my life and whirlwind if you go back a post!  Phew...I'm tired.  I probably should be unpacking something but there is only so much unpacking a gal can do before she cracks!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Update: My life, my whirlwind!

So, we went on our yearly trip to upstate NY to visit my grandparents.  It was beautiful there in the mountains by the lake, as it always is...and it was interrupted by work, as it always is.  

My husband's company had been showing signs of strain for years...filing a form of bankruptcy, layoffs...but we'd said we felt he was secure in his position and we'd stay.  He liked it and he's loyal and wanted to help them succeed.  But, they'd continually been encroaching on our family time...long and late teleconferences became longer and later...and went from once a month to almost every night with many more trips overseas.  Oh, and did I mention...they never NEVER let us have a vacation without an interruption... or several.  Everything was an emergency.  And I'd say, "there is no reason a good employee shouldn't be able to leave for a week without this kind of intrusion."...well, it finally got to my sweet, humble Loverbrains this July and he decided to put out his resume to three places.  

As soon, as we got home from that vacation he was sent overseas for possibly a week, possibly more...and he said, "put the house up for sale so we aren't stuck with it if I get a new job in the wintertime."  So, my Mom came for her scheduled visit and I put her to work (ha)...and she helped me clear and clean and set up that house for sale.  When he came home a week later we listed it at the highest going price and in one showing...it sold...for asking price!  WOW!

So, while Loverbrains fielded major problems at his current job he also had phone interviews on the down low...and managed to schedule two live interviews back to back.  I bought new suits and helped him prepare in any way I could.  I prayed...a lot.  His interview on the Monday went great and they offered him the position right before he walked into his other interview on Tuesday.  That interview went so well that they met him for dinner and offered him that job too.  By Wednesday he had both offers in writing on his desk.  Just so ya'll know...that doesn't happen...that was God.  God gave multiple good options.  God is so good.  And it seemed that God was very serious about us moving.  WOW!  

We had great connections through our church and were able to get help completing the home inspection items on our list for our buyer in record time.  And we were able to house hunt that very next Saturday and Sunday and find...ok, I'll just say it...my dream house!  Seriously, it's gorgeous!  All the details fell into place with it too.  I remember one Sunday I was feeling stressed about some minor detail regarding inspection or some such and as I shared it with an older lady at church she just looked at me at said, "Honey, it just seems like God is steam rolling the way before you...don't you think you can trust Him?"  And indeed He has steamrolled the way.

He blessed us with corporate movers too.  Although the big dog relocation company wasn't very nice the third party they hired were just splendid...so much so that I now have a friend named Karen in MA should I ever visit there.  Seriously, moving is stressful and when the big dog company kinda forgot they were dealing with people and not just money and the Monday of the move told us they might put us into storage for two weeks...my MA friend listened to me cry and reassured me that they would be there to move us no matter what ducks were lined up or not!  They wouldn't leave us stranded.  Castine Movers...I'm telling you...they're the best!  

So, in roughly 8-10 weeks....we moved.  Things are still a bit crazy here...and on gray days like today they are a bit lonely and quiet for this extroverted chica.  But, we know that God has a plan for us here...He moved us...and We trust Him!  We are excited to see what He has in store.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

50 questions for fun



50 QUESTIONS  

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?  
Nope.  Interestingly, I also didn't name my children after anyone either.  

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?  
Last week...ugly cry.  A little bit hormones, a little bit needing to surrender to God's plans over mine.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?  
Yes.  I worked very hard to have classic teacher handwriting.  My cursive has become a bit lazy since I stopped teaching but I still like it.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?  
Chicken

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?  
Yes, one boy one girl  

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?  
Yes.  I'm very fun and I care a lot!!

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?  
Just one of the many services I provide.  Haha.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?  
Yes  

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?  
No, not ever!

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?  
Vitality with Strawberries

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?  
Yes, every time.  It hurts my ankles otherwise.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?  
I think I am weak...but God is strong.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?  
Butter Pecan...my husband's least favorite.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?  
Their eyes and body language.

15. RED OR PINK?  
Red 

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?  
I'm pretty easy on everyone else...but VERY hard on myself.  Saw a saying the other day..."Be nice to yourself.  It's hard to be happy when someone is mean to you all the time."

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?  
My Grandpa Sharp...he passed away when I was 12...wish he could meet my husband and kids.

18. WHAT IS THE NUTRITION OR FITNESS STRATEGY THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?  
Exercising on the days when I don't meet my friends at the gym.

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?  
Black flip-flops 

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?  
Protein Bar

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?  
The birds chirping in my backyard

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?  
Turquoise...my favorite color.

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?  
coffee in the morning, peonies, fresh paint

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?  
My Mom...it's her birthday today.

25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?  
Beach house

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?  
Bowling...ha...we are NOT a sports watching household...but I saw bowling at a restaurant the other day and I'd totally watch that!  

27. HAIR COLOR?  
Dark Blond

28. EYE COLOR?  
Dark Blue

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?  
Yes...almost all the time 

30. FAVORITE FOOD?  
Curried Chicken with Snowpeas

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?  
Happy endings.  

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?  
The Jungle Book (the old animated one)

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?  
Blue paisley

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?  
Summer

35. HUGS OR KISSES?  
Hugs  

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?  
Rhubarb Crunch

37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?  
Strength Training  (incidentally I'm not altogether sure of the people who love cardio...ugh)

38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?  
Computer  

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?  
The Heart of Anger by Priolo

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?  
MacBook...not mouse pad needed

42. FAVORITE SOUND?  
The voices of my children

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?  
Beatles! 

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?  
Europe

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?  
I sing pretty well.  I'm pretty crafty too.

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?  
Racine, Wisconsin

47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?  
Indiana

48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?  
Gray

49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?  
Maroon

50. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 50 QUESTIONS?  
Yes!!!! 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Walls of self effort...



Ever heard that saying, "God wouldn't have allowed it unless He had a purpose.  Don't just go through it--grow through it." ?  Well, I'm trying.  Maybe that's the trouble...too much striving.

I'm currently writing my counseling and theology exams for biblical counseling certification.  It has been a long and arduous process.  I think I was kind of delusional naive as I finished writing them last month and headed into the proofreading and editing phase.  

Yup, I hit another one of those walls of self effort.  I say God's timing is perfect...and it is...but I really wanted my timing.  I am constantly struck by the antagonism of the concept of trusting God and yet working out your salvation.  I want to obey Him and complete this training...I don't think I should just wait for lightning to strike or information to fall out of the sky...ya gotta have a plan, right?  True...but its got to submit to Him too.

So, when blessed with two mentoring editors...instead of being full of gratitude and encouragement...instead, I bawled at the first sight of the work still left ahead of me.  Several questions I can't answer until I study...more.  Not total re-writes...but ALOT more work still to go.  I know better than to ask why me.  I knew some of the questions needed work.  I want to grow through this time.  Sometimes I feel stretched and about to break.  I'm a full sponge unable to hold another drop.  I can't juggle it all.  And, that's kind of the point.

WHAM...wall of self effort.  It could be easier though.

You see, I'm all over Phil. 2:12, "Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear...but I forget about v. 13, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."  I need to work out with fear and trembling what God is working in me; the desire and power to do what pleases Him.  He needs to become greater, I need to become less.  When I pray for His Kingdom to come...that means NOT my kingdom.  That evidently means NOT sending in exams until Fall...that means pausing and refocusing to make sure wife and mommy are really on top where they should be before student.

The only place to bring my weariness and heavy burdens is Christ.  He is humble and gentle of heart and has redeeming power to give me true rest for my soul.  Jesus' yoke is demanding, but easy because of his heart toward me and the empowering Holy Spirit 

Steadfast was the word I chose as the focus for my 2016.  I knew I had a lot before me on this journey...I chose it wanting to be steadfast for God.  I have been learning that I can't be steadfast without trusting first in His steadfast love.  Each morning He faithfully reminds me, showing me the eternal perspective, lifting my eyes.

Oh Lord,
Fill my heart with gratitude for Your truly perfect timing.  You are good to those who hope in You and seek You.  It is good to wait quietly for the Lord of my Salvation.  Oh Lord God...you are a Mighty Savior.  You take delight in me.  You will quiet me with Your love and sing over me.  Please stop my sinful strivings and change my heart to have a posture of rest before You.  
Amen.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Some PHoto PHun!

I have been busy (again...still?). But, I've taken some pretty pictures now that Spring has sprung in these parts...

I tried to get a good shot of the light shining in and through this tulip.  It was tricky.
I love this one of our shoes and our Scruffy!
I took this for my neighbor while she was on vacation.  We had a late frost and almost all of the tulip trees died...huge magnolias just brown...it was awful!
And today...I snapped this of the cherry tree by the bus stop while I waited for my kiddos!