Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Every woman has a beauty to unveil.

Every woman.

Because she bears the image of God. She doesn't have to conjure it, go get it from a salon, have plastic surgery or breast implants. No, beauty is an essence that is given to every woman at her creation.

There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.

-John and Stasi Eldredge, Captivating

Tuesday, January 29, 2013



As I was watching TV the other night, a new commercial for Dr. Pepper came on (and I said to myself I really need to start recording this show...). However, I'm actually really glad that I saw this particular commercial, because it's all about how Dr. Pepper is a one-of-a-kind drink.  And in a weird, Dr. Pepper-sort-of-way, I was reminded of how I  (and yes, you) am also a one-of-a-kind person. It's silly to
compare myself with anyone else because, well, simply put, they aren't me. And I'm not them. I'm me.

And it's okay to be me. Some days I have to convince myself of that more than others, but it's true.

In fact, I'm the only me there is (and, yes, you are the only you there is), so maybe we could be rejoicing about the fact that we aren't all alike, but we each add a unique and individual perspective to life. It makes life fun and adventurous (and a little crazy at times, but what's a little fun without a little crazy?).

We all have so much to add, so much to give, so much to offer (yes, you do have a lot to offer!)...and so much to gain from looking to God as our mirror instead of other people. His offer of peace, joy and contentment is so much better than the constant striving of the world.

I used to think that it was always someone else who had something great to offer, always someone else who had something tremendous to add, but I'm realizing that we all have something big to add. Because of His extravagant love, we are free to just be. To just be me. To just be you. Beautiful, unique and valuable, each in our very own, very special way.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

If You Give a Mom a Snow Day

I had to laugh at myself on Friday.  Since the kids were out of school, I decided to make the most of my day and get some things done. The following is exactly how my snow day went. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror as I rushed by, wild-eyed, on a mission, hair askew, no make-up...

If you give a mom a snow day, she will rejoice and thoughts of games, hot chocolate and movies will dance through her head.

As soon as she gets up, she will intend on making her sweet children a hot breakfast-until she notices that they are spaced out in front of the television watching Good Luck Charlie. So she will make her own sad breakfast from whatever she can find in the refrigerator and contemplate all the things she will try to accomplish (you know, as long as the kids are watching TV). Clean the living room! Yes! A quick chore that sorely needs to be done. Then bring on the games, hot chocolate, movies, and mommy time.

As she finishes her little breakfast, she will notice that the dishes need to be done. She will want to start the living room as soon as the dishes are done. As she putting away the clean dishes, she will notice that the dish towel needs to be cleaned. Leaving the dishwasher open, she will take the dish towel into the laundry room, and then remember that her load of laundry that is in the dryer from the previous night still needs to be folded. As she takes the laundry out and takes it to the living room to be folded, she will pass through the mud room, in which is sitting a broken toy that needs to be sent back to the manufacturer. She will package up the toy and set it by the door with the recycle that needs to go out.

She will take the laundry into the living room and will be reminded of her main chore for the day--the living room! Her first task is to empty the magazine rack that is overflowing with a years worth of Better Homes and Gardens that she intended to keep for some good ideas. She decides to recycle them, but the indoor container is full, so she has to take it out to the garage. She then decides to take care of the recycling and empty all the containers, and stacks them neatly in the garage. She will walk back into the mud room, and take the broken toy out to the car to be mailed. 

Now, where was she? Oh, yes, the living room. She will study the room, making mental notes of paint color (needs to be at least touched up, but if you're going to the trouble of touching up, you may as well paint the whole thing--a new color, of course) and picture and furniture arrangement (not happy with those, either). She moves two stools to the basement, and is momentarily caught up watching a stuffed animal circus and fixing a stopped up toilet. She takes the plunger back upstairs to put it away in the laundry room, and realizes her laundry cycle is complete, so she starts a new one.

Now...the living room. As she moves through the living room, she will notice the windows are dirty and will go into the kitchen to grab some paper towels and Windex, and what is waiting for her there? Oh, yes, that open dishwasher...

If you give a mom a snow day, at the end of it, she will look around at the laundry basket still sitting in the mud room, that second load that has yet to be finished, the living room that is clean but not yet put back together, the kitchen that is still waiting for it's dishes to be returned to their rightful spots, the circus animals in the basement, and the recycling sitting in the garage and she will wonder...

What did I do today?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Again

I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker over at Lisa-Jo Baker: tales from a gypsy mama for Five Minute Friday! The rules are simple: no editing, backtracking or overthinking. And the biggest rule: no worrying about getting it right!

Today's prompt is:

AGAIN

Here we go again.

Another start to another busy weekend. The weeks are busy, weekends busier as we run from one sporting event to the next. The same ole, same ole. Again. I don't have much appreciation for all the "agains" in my life: another project due? AGAIN? You missed the same problem on your test AGAIN? I have to have my car worked on AGAIN? I have to go the grocery store AGAIN?

But then I'm reminded of the beauty of again as God is willing to forgive me again, and again, and again. He will never sigh, roll His eyes, and not offer me an "again". A fresh start. A new beginning.

AGAIN.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As you can see, I'm itching for a change, and I'm working on some new designs for Finding Security.

I'll be working on this for a few days instead of posting, so be on the lookout for the final design soon! Until then, get used to it changing...and changing again...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Scene of the Crime: an organization where I am a volunteer

Public Enemy No. 1 (PEN1): a fellow volunteer

The Victim: ME!

The Crime: I was grievously offended by remarks made by PEN1 after a discussion over a project that I am currently involved in.

If you know me well, you know that I don't care for confrontation (as in, I avoid it at all costs). A fellow volunteer made several remarks to me that I found to be inappropriate for the setting we were in, and while they weren't about me specifically, they were directed at me. My feelings weren't hurt, really, but I was PO'd about how she spoke to me. My mind was reeling, and before I could make any sort of good comeback (let's be honest here, the Art of the Comeback isn't really my specialty. I tend to sound like a three-year-old going "Nuh-uh!!"), I made a hasty retreat to my car, where I immediately texted my friend to tell her I was coming over stat. After all the reallys and the come on, I CANNOT believe she said that along with the who does that??, I smugly went home. Where I called another friend. Then told my husband when he got home from work.  After that, I told about eight other people who are also involved in the organization I volunteer for. I mean, it's not gossip if I'm speaking the truth...right??

I've thought about it on and off since "the incident", and the only thing that challenges me more than shooting my mouth off to anyone who will listen (obviously, they have to be people who will be on my side, or else it's pointless to go around shooting one's mouth off) is determining that I will keep my wits about me when I see PEN1 again. And I will see her again, no doubt about it.

I've been trying to decide how to handle the next interaction I have with her. It's been boiled down to three:

A) Be a complete snob, completely ignore her, her remarks, her next-of-kin, people who talk to her, roll my eyes at her, and generally be very passive-aggressive in my dealings with her. This is probably my favorite choice because it's the one I know how to do the best.

B) Refuse to work with her.

C) Follow the advice in my latest bible study and not let offenses get the best of me. Ugh. Ugh. UGH. NOT the one I want to follow, but...

There is something to be said for not being a contrite, contrary and all-around disagreeable person, because it doesn't just benefit the people I'm trying to connect with. It also keeps my heart from becoming cold and bitter from keeping anger locked inside.

Proverbs 29:8 says that a wise person turns away from anger. That's not to say that I can't be angry, but I think it's a careful warning to be aware of holding on to your anger.

Update: I did see PEN1, and the offense got the best of me. I just chose not to speak to her or really acknowledge that she was in the room, which was easy because there were so many other people present. Sigh. God's Word can be challenging to follow, and I'm not always mature enough to act on what I know (even though I know better). Sometimes I just act on what I feel instead. However, this isn't an open and shut case. I'll keep praying, and I know that God is faithful. He'll show me the right way, and one day, I'll have the spiritual maturity to act on it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Help Me If You Can!


As the Beatles sang in their 1965 classic HELP:

Help, I need somebody...
Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me.


Frustration abounds this week as I try to balance the things that I want to do with the things I have to do, along with the things I feel obligated to do.

 
 
 


It's not working very well.

I can't seem to find a balance, and the things that I really need to do really aren't getting done. {Sigh}.

Can anyone give me a tip or advice on how you balance your life?

How do you keep up with the things you need to do (like work, chores, housework, errands, kids activities) with the things you like to do (like working out, lunch with a friend) AND the things you feel obligated to do?

Even though prayer gives me a certain peace amid the anxiety I feel over my neglected house, if you've been keeping up with my blog for long, you know that this is a constant issue with me! So I'll take any advice you have to give and any tips that work for you!

 
Won't you please, please help me?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Home decor and design is an interest of mine (actually, it's probably one of my favorite things to talk about/think about/do). As I do (low budget, somewhat creative, DIY) things around the house, I'll be posting about them here so I can share with you!

My husband's sweet Aunt Sally gave me a box of paperwhite bulbs for Christmas so I could add little splash of fresh to wake up my house from it's post-Christmas/winter bleakness. I knew I didn't want to use the green plastic container that came with the bulbs, so I looked in my glass collection (I save random/unique glass containers that come with fresh flowers or the ones that food comes in), and found the perfect containers for force growing the bulbs.


The Starter.
I knew I wanted to keep them in the kitchen where I could see them daily, and I also knew I wanted to use a white ceramic tray that I keep on my bar. I change out what is on the tray seasonally, but make sure everything on it has the same basic colors of white or cream.

Ooops, how did homework papers make it in the picture?



Dang, again with the homework papers.
So my webcam photography skills are a bit lacking...
At least you don't see the one with A popping up in the
background!

Once I had the containers I wanted to use, I went to AC Moore and found some white rocks. I filled the containers with the rocks, added water and my paperwhite bulbs (just add water to the very bottom of the bulb), add some accessories and voila! A cheery (and super-easy) centerpiece perfect for casting out the winter doldrums!


















My NEXT project (if I can summon up some creativity) will be fixing this eyesore of a wall. One of the pictures fell off the wall in the middle of the night, complete with dramatic crash and glass shattering (which is sure to give anyone in the house a heart attack), so I removed some other pictures to use in a different spot, and I haven't taken the rest down, so........

Photo

More later on this one!

Friday, January 11, 2013

5 Minute Friday: Dive

It's Five Minute Friday time once again! I'm linking up with Lisa Jo Baker: tales from a Gypsy Mama for her weekly free write time, Five Minute Friday. This is the time where I write whatever comes to mind-no editing, backtracking, or overthinking. The word prompt today is:

Dive

I'm standing at the end of the board, legs shaking and heart beating like a hammer inside my chest. I'm only 6 years old. I don't know how to swim!! I want to scream, yet here I am, poised to take a dive off the diving board into 12 feet of unknown and scary territory, prompted by a well-intentioned swim instructor.

I hit the water with a smack and suddenly I'm under, fighting for the surface I can barely see through the cloudy, chlorinated water--or are those my own tears I can barely see through?  I break through the surface, lungs screaming for air. There is chaos, confusion in my head as I flail toward the side, half doggy-paddling, half slapping at the water. Finally. The side of the pool represents protection, a safe-haven from the intimidating depths I just came from.

But so it is with life. I don't know how to swim! I often want to scream when I feel like I'm chartering new and undiscovered ground.

It takes determination and trust, it takes heart and it takes drive.

To dive.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I saw an old acquaintance out the other day, and after a few minutes of catching up, she told me the real news: her husband had recently left her for another woman. Ouch. When we parted ways, she said "It stinks. Do what you have to do to make sure it never happens to you."

Holiday baking. It's that time of year where I spend hours in the kitchen and eat too much raw dough, too many treats, and too many carbs. This year, in addition to a few things I planned for, my husband decided that he wanted to make Buckeyes. "Perfect", I responded happily. "I just downloaded a recipe for them!"

Nope, he said. I want to make my mom's.

Now, here's my secret confession (just as an aside, don't you ever wonder about those secret confessions that reality stars make? Because as soon as the other members of the show watch the episode, then their secret is kinda out, making it not so secret anymore.). Anyhow, it goes like this: I am perfectly fine with him making his mother's recipe, but (and it's a big BUT), she has perfected these recipes over time and the directions aren't always as specific as I need them to be. Why this matters to me when he was the one who wanted to make them can only point to the fact that I enjoy, well, let's say I enjoy being in charge. Saying I have control issues sounds, I don't know, so harsh. (However, they are delicious and I can understand why he wanted to go with her tried-and-true recipe rather than mine). So, I tried to convince him to make the recipe I had, but he was having none of that. It started at the grocery store, where he said "I'm going to go get the ingredients I need" and I followed him, saying "Don't get the peanut butter with the hydrogenated oils...", my voice trailing at the end as he walked away. Then, while he was trying to make said Buckeyes, they weren't turning out quite as he expected, and I smugly thought "Um, yeah, shoulda made mine..." (realizing, of course, that the recipe I had could have turned out to be no good).

It was then that my friend's words came back to me: Do what you have to do to make sure it never happens to you. 

Does he need my careful eye looking over his shoulder, ready to make suggestions and point out mistakes?  Nope. And I don't like it when people do that to me, either.

Do what you have to do to make sure it never happens to you.

Even when making Buckeyes.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I have in the past compared my, um, preoccupation with beauty and being thin with the false gods of the Old Testament. The Hebrew people laid down their lives, making sacrifices and offerings to these gods of wood and gold that could do nothing but sit there. I've sometimes wondered why these people couldn't see then what I can see now: they were being duped into thinking that a statue could actually do something. But I suppose the same could be said for me. I've been bamboozled, I've been hoodwinked, I've been mislead. No matter how you put it, I've been deceived into thinking that my false god called "beauty" could actually do something for me.And by "do something", I mean "make me happy, fulfill me, make all my dreams come true".

In church on Sunday, my pastor said something that sent my radar flying straight up:
False gods have no voice.

You only have to consider that statement for a moment or two before the truth sets in: false gods really don't have a voice. There is only one God who can claim a voice. And it's up to me to listen to Him.

Friday, January 4, 2013

"Fear is a box we grow used to,
convince ourselves it's all the space we need,
that we like it's
 
smell
 
it's
 
color
 
it's
 
protection.
 
Comes a time to
stop hiding,
stop being afraid.
If we don't
 
break free
from our boxes, our spirits' shrink,
we shrink in every way imaginable.
[D]on't let
 
fear
 
especially someone else's fear
 
prevent you from
 
living your life.
I
promise
if you step out of that box,
you won't
fall
off
the
edge
of
the earth.
 
You'll fly."

 
-Hannah in The Ladies of Covington Send Their Love by Joan Medlicott
 
 
 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I am super-excited about this.

One of my very most favorite things to do is design and decorate. I love leafing through magazines like Architectural Digest, Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, and I enjoy getting really great ideas from my two personal favorite catalogues, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. It's fun for me to dream and design in my head, although sometimes I think the people around me (I'm not naming any names, but you know who you are!) get really tired of me talking about my improvements all the time. I know I can't do everything I dream up, and it's not that I'm not grateful for what I have, I just really enjoy thinking of ways to change things up a little.

My dining room started out with white blinds, no shades, and these walls I couldn't seem to put anything with.

 
The furniture is vintage, from my grandmother, and the light fixture is one that I brought over from my other house.

Before too long, I switched out my rug for one that matched a little better and got some awesome rust-colored curtains with a unique square curtain rod.

 
And then, the piece-de-resistance: I found this awesome light fixture at a local store that was marked down. As soon as I saw it I knew that it belonged in my dining room, and my loving, generous husband bought it for me for Christmas.

You can see the shade has writing on it in French, and it's covered by this distressed wire.
The top of the light.
The bottom of the light.

Photo


 

Today, I finally got the light fixture hung, and with a few more decorative pieces, I think the dining room is finally coming together.

 
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

OK, so I admit that I have been lazy over the past few weeks and haven't done much blogging at all. It's been good to take a break from everything (and I do mean everything--we hardly went anywhere over the break, we just stayed at home and enjoyed the rest!). A nice, long break sometimes lends itself to a healthy dose of perspective, especially when said break happens right around the beginning of the new year.

I don't know what it is about having a new year to jump into. It's like starting a fresh sheet on your calendar or walking into your clean house. I've never been one to really buy into all the resolutions that are so hyped up around the beginning of the new year, but this year, I've found myself looking at things a little differently. A new perspective. A fresh start!

As I look back at 2012, I am happy with the progress I've made over the year. I started the year off by going off all my anti-depressants, which made for a bit of a roller-coaster ride for about the first six months of 2012. (Who am I kidding? I still feel like I'm on that roller-coaster at times!). As a result of going off my medications, I gained some weight, and spend much of the year investigating what God defines as beautiful. I also talked about ways to improve my marriage, and shared articles written by others on topics that are dear to my heart, including this one by Lysa TerKeurst. Plus, I started linking up with other great blogs--including these link-ups: midweek confessions and 5 minute fridays.  All in all, I'd say that although 2012 definitely had it's share of ups and downs, it was a great year, and I'm looking forward to starting 2013 with a thankful perspective.

Starting with this: each morning when I get up, while my mind is still warming to the idea of actually waking up, I'm going to count ten things that I'm thankful for, and I hope you'll join me. It doesn't have to stretch our brains too far, it can be something as simple as a warm shower or hot cup of coffee.

So, just to start off today on the right note, I'll include mine:

1.  My husband.
2.  My kids.
3.  The fact that my kids have a safe school to go to.
4.  A hot shower.
5.  Food on the table-breakfast, lunch and dinner.
6.  Make-up.
7.  The fact that my husband's family came to visit (and we all enjoyed our time together!)
8.  This blog where I can share my struggles, my ideas, my fears--and know that somebody is relating to me.
9.  Direct TV
10. The freedom that living in this country provides.

Alright, so there you have it. Ten things I'm thankful for. Remembering what I'm thankful for helps me to not concentrate so hard on what I view as negative. It turns my day into a blessing, as I hope it does for you as well.