What Every Office Needs

IMG_05271So, I only worked Wednesday through Friday this past week… so maybe a 3-day work week is what everyone needs!

But in the past two weeks I have decided that an afternoon break around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. is made perfect with toddler MegaBlocks. Every office should have them. I want to be clear that they need to be “Mega” size. The small interlocking blocks can get… well serious (have you seen The Lego Movie?). Large blocks have limitations and you get to be creative without thinking. It is the best way to wind down the day or clear your mind when you are stuck.

To really help make certain you do not get to consumed in your block creation and change it from play to work, add a toddler (preferably a boy) – they will willingly knock it down for you!

Even if you don’t have blocks in your office, find something to play at each day. I’m certain it will bring a smile to your face on even the most stressful day. : )

Attack the Apples

Have you ever heard your breakfast food cry out for help? It does!!

We had apple, eggs, ham, and grapes for breakfast the other morning. The cry of Uriah’s food started in low, but it steadily grew as each food item on his plate was conquered. The finally cries came from the apples – loud and strong: “Help!” Then the mighty Uriah would smile and bite. The apple “help” cry came before every bite. But Uriah would laugh and take a large bite, enjoying his conquest! The food did not stand a chance, but man did Uriah think it was funny.

Listen carefully next time you eat and enjoy conquering the yummy food on your plate!

In the rearview mirror…

Life has its moments where you want to hold on to anything not moving and hope that everything else around you will stop spinning. Within the span of nine days our house sold, my husband interviewed, accepted a job, and we loaded a moving truck. In that order.

A few days after the moving truck was loaded and as many in loose ends as possible were wrapped up, the boys and I took off on our 950 mile adventure to catch up with Daddy. (Yes, we did not take a little move. God asked us to walk away and start a whole new adventure.) Thankful for everything that God had unfolded over the past few days, I was still sad. I think God knew I needed comfort as I drove away from our house and life in Iowa, He graciously allowed it to rain and be cloudy the entire first day driving. Through the rain my sister and I finished loading the car and cleaning the now empty house. When everything was ready my two-year-old and I walked through the house. He started crying at his missing tree-house, the empty space for the refrigerator and ended be moaning the missing washer and dryer. After a few runs across the basement a teary boy & mom left the house to head for Dunkin’ Donuts (some rainy, sad days just need a special treat!).

Today we closed on the house, received our finally paperwork and officially no longer own it and no longer have a home in Iowa. It makes me sad yet again. I wish it did not make me so sad, because I am thankful for all God has done. In the midst of processing change and what feels like loss, I have seen God’s unmistakable guidance. Moments in this journey that display His fingerprints and help me to rejoice in Him and put one foot in front of the other.

The joy of my husband and the blessing of his work and work environment. God opened not just A teaching job, but a position in one of the best elementary schools (based on test scores and parent reviews) in all of Georgia. He does not just work under a principal, but with a male principal who, with a family of young kids, also left the business world and began teaching elementary as a second career. And on top of it all, he works with a team of teachers that are overwhelmingly grateful to have him, that want to work together, and that have made him feel very, very welcomed.

But the moment that I keep coming back to in my mind and prayers is the image in my rearview mirror as I drove away from our house for the last time. For in the moment I saw God’s voice clearly directing to keep moving forward – not looking to the right or the left, just trusting Him in the direction He had given. I wanted to look back and see the house for one last time, I could not see the house. The car was loaded to the hilt and I had my two precious boys in the backseat. Their faces filled my view. I could not look back.

Each night as we put our Uriah to bed we remind him that we love him, but Jesus loves him even more than we ever could. We also remind him that we want him to follow Jesus because He has the past plan for Him. We do not want Him to miss any of the good gifts God has in store. So even when it is very hard (which it will be because life is hard), we remind Uriah that it is still best to follow Jesus.

So,even through the tears, I cannot look back. I want to follow Jesus. The blessing He has in store for my life and family are found in walking and trusting Him. So, today as everything with our house in Iowa is officially settled I will rejoice in all that He has done. The incredible answered prayers to months of waiting. His perfect timing in our finances and lives. And the blessing that it is that God moved us near my family, in fact we are blessed to spend a little bit of time settling in to our new life by living with family.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

Even when life is hard, follow God, His ways are the very best, even when it is very hard.

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Household life and balance…?

Balance? I’m not sure that gets achieved daily in my world, but maybe over the long run.

Each day is a new adventure as school is out and both Tim and I are in the house together all day. Finding new rhythm to each getting our own work done – job hunting and design respectfully, helping each other in our respective work, and then working on house projects together. As we work to accomplish the to-do list and be productive in the waiting process (seeing what job will open for Tim in the fall), we are enjoying time together and time with our little guy.

The daily routine of the house seems to fluctuate and I almost find myself checking to see what day it is. The fall and spring activities have all reached their summer break and summer weddings are in full swing with programs, place cards, gift boxes, guestbooks, and favors to be designed. Small businesses are in need of logos and business cards. And the basement that was nearly finished… well, we organized all of the finished the living areas which means – I am still working on the basement!

Life is always full of change.

It is in the moments of change or waiting for direction that I remember the value of the day and God’s direction in the past. From living in Rockford, IL to Chicago to moving to Des Moines, IA there is no possible means that I could have planned my life. But taking steps to follow God one day at a time has led to a life so rich and full that I am glad my plans and thoughts rarely seem to “workout” in the way that I thought they would.

Balance is found when I let go and walk slowly… maybe today I’ll just take a few minutes at a time. God can handle the day, the week, and the next month quite well.

More silly moments.

Upon this day my ability to make one more decision was limited… especially when I had not yet had a thought about lunch and Uriah was already standing at the refrigerator begging for food. So, I did what any great Mom would do – I let him decide what was going to be on the menu from his choice of anything in the fridge. (OK so a great Mom would have it planned, noted it was time for lunch, and readied food before their children were starving… but how about the average mom?!)

Uriah’s selection – pepperoni, cheese, banana bread and a trip to the cabinet to point out the popcorn. Maybe its the next great “Happy Meal”!?!

Uriah sure loved his lunch!

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Decisions

In last couple weeks, we have had decisions placed in our household to make. I like the easy decisions like…

  • My child is crawling out the crib…  Decision: move them to a bed.
  • Should I get that new pair of pants…  Decision: The budget is empty, done deal.
  • My friend is sick and needs help getting to the doctor… Decision: Of course I should help!
  • Should I buy a bag of  Cadbury Mini Eggs… Decision: Well this one takes more thought; the smart health answer is no, but… : )
  • In light of some decisions, I do not even mind the endless decision of what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the three snacks a day my toddler eats (although if a maid wants to show up at my house and start cooking to make all of those decisions for me that would be great!)

But then there are decisions that force us to weigh out short-term and long-term gains. Decisions that force us to choose trust. Trust that God is in control even in a situation that may seem to others like a train wreck waiting to happen. Decisions that take days to discuss and consider. Decisions without clear answers or direction, real right or wrong, good or bad ramifications. Decisions that can only be clarified through priorities and what attitude you will choose in the future based on your current decision.

Psalm 90:12 is a verse that God impressed on me this last year and it becomes helpful in making decisions that seem otherwise difficult. The verse states “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (NIV’86). The things that matter most are relationships with God and people and our most precious commodity is time. Time is also the commodity over which we have no control. Our days are numbered, none of us know how many we have left. We need to live and plan for the future with wisdom and leave the day without regret because it may be our last.

Some decisions result in choosing that even if we are down to the last $10 we are going to trust that God has brought us this far and He NEVER, EVER walks away. Although at times life may feel like God has walked away when that last $10 is gone (check out the prophet Jeremiah, Daniel in a den of lions, the book of Job), God does carrie us through to completion in Him – not our stuff or our American way of thinking. In God’s economy following through the trial is better than walking away in the process.

What does this blog have to do with design anyway! The design of our days is sometimes found in the decisions small and big. So the design of our life should be based on our priorities and values. Life is short. Make decision based on the design of the life you want to create not just on the momentary feelings. (And, yes, that is how I am calling this blog relevant to design!)

And, if you want direction on making decisions check out “Ask It” http://northpoint.org/messages/ask-it/ – a teaching series by Andy Stanley of Northpoint Church in Atlanta, GA.

Decisions

What are you busy with?

Schedules have become so full it is crazy! My husband came home last night having found a recent article about bedtime stories:

In a new poll, only 13 percent of British moms said they read a story to their children every night, even though three-quarters recalled being read to on a daily basis when they were kids, according to The Guardian.

Almost a tenth said they feel too stressed to read bedtime stories, while 13 percent revealed they don’t have enough time to take part in this activity with their kids.

The poll of 2,000 U.K. women with children age 7 or under was conducted by British retailer Littlewoods. (www.today.com)

This poll is sad to me. Stress and busy are real factors in an increasingly crazy world with too many choices and pressures. But it is a good reminder to check my own priorities. There are two things that always matter more then the things on my to-do list – God and people.

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In the midst of a week that seems to have more to do than hours that are given I needed a reminder to keep priorities straight and to serve God in all that I do. I love work and I’m thankful to have many projects in process and due this week. But amidst the busy there needs to be a willingness to prioritize – love God, love people.

When serving looses its luster and I want life be about me… I am reminded of these verses to choose my attitude, choose love and serve joyfully.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13 (NIV)

Make the most of your day with the most important things.

(Pictured is my eager servant Uriah!)

Family – the Change Agent

Family is important. In family, we learn how to love and relate to others. Our wall of family pictures reminds us to pray, encourage and stay in contact with our extended family. Family is the foundational block for learning what life is all about.

In teaching my son about the world around him, I want him to learn more than just about himself. It is important to learn the basics – your toes and fingers are good things to learn. Counting certainly does not hurt either! Learning family names, faces and relationships helps him to understand his extended family and place in the world. But family should only be the starting place – our launching point – for ourselves and our children to learn how to change the world. We can learn how to love our family, extended family and the nations. We can change the world.

It is not always easy to see the daily grind of work and family as a change agent for the world, but when you are on mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ, serve and love others that is exactly what each small decision equates into. Whatever gifts, abilities and resources you have can be channeled to loving people and making a difference in lives around us. We don’t have to affect billions of lives to change the world; we just need to start with giving all that we have to begin changing ourselves and loving people.

How is your family beginning to change the world?

In the magazine Thriving by Focus on the Family there is a family summer activity called “Around the World in 60 Days” perhaps this activity is a good place to start learning about the world as a family and the impact you can have.

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A Book About Me…

Creating a book about a child is based on a basic theme and adapted to reflect each child. There are lots of places where you can create a book that is personalized, but very few where you can create a book that is original to your child. The “About Me” book can be customized to meet your child’s learning level – to learn parts of the body, colors, numbers or places. To learn more information contact LeA’Tev! We look forward to talking with you soon!

Want to see a full sample “About Me” book… here it is!  About Me sample pdf.