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.

rearviewMirror

Wait for it… WAIT FOR IT…….. W A I T…….

Whether it is a holding pattern in flight, a phone call on-hold with customer service, a checkout with a long line, or a hot car in a traffic jam… waiting is not on most people’s top ten list of things to do.

But sometimes waiting is the best place to be. That is the place where this week finds our household – waiting to hear on a job for Tim, waiting to hear on the sale of our house, waiting to see what doors will open and what doors will close, waiting to know where the next 60 days will take us. In short, life is just in a waiting zone.

And in the midst of the waiting, we were reminded of abiding and remaining in Jesus as we (Tim and I) read John 15:1-11. In Him, there is great joy, peace and extravagant love in all circumstances. I know that some of that sounds, well, “churchy” or surreal in contrast with how we view difficult circumstances, but I do not know how else to describe the intangible, incredible, gifts that only God can give. And His gifts are only experienced when we are remaining close and finding our life source in Him.

As human people, we get anxious. I have had some conversations with people recently where after answering that we are just at a waiting point, the other person almost seems to grow anxious on our behalf… pressing for our plan. The action steps to be taken next – in short they say, “What are you doing? I’m anxious for you, and you are just telling me you’re ‘waiting’! Come on you cannot just sit still and wait!”

But waiting is trust in action. Waiting requires patience, and some days, trust and life has to be surrendered to God every five minutes. If He rules the universe I can certainly trust Him five minutes at a time!! Waiting is an action. You take the steps you can take to prepare for whatever God has, but only God can provide the outcome.

In all circumstances, God gives peace and joy. When I am resting in God – remaining close to Him I am at peace. I can agree with Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits for Him, and in His Word I put my hope.” I know His Word is true and that God is faithful – ALWAYS. He will prevail with good plans. “I am confident that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Psalm 27:13)

However, if in the next five minutes I take my eyes off the truth and reality of God, I am sinking in the “Oh my goodness, what are we going to do?” So, life is not rosy and perfect in the midst of waiting, but it a place to learn and grow.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, waiting should be a part of my daily life – anxiously anticipating and preparing for the return of Christ. So, if this short-term, temporary period of waiting teaches me more about hoping, resting, and preparing that is a good outcome. I want to be able to continually say my “whole being waits for Him”.

When life is more comfortable, this period of life is a chapter in our story and I feel in a more stable place, may my heart still long for Jesus to come back – even more than how I long for short-term, temporary life answers today. May I prepare fervently for Jesus, because one day He will make life stable, fulfill my every hope and the waiting will come to an end – Jesus will return.

Isaiah 64:3-4

For when You did awesome things that we did not expect,
    You came down, and the mountains trembled before You.
Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides You,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.

Wait

Sometimes you should order takeout…

Ever have nights, where despite your best attempts, dinner is announced by the smoke alarm?

Pizza is a meal that is made in mass quantity in our house. I usually try to make no less than four pizzas at a time – we eat one and then I put frozen pizza in the oven for easy use later. However, tonight I think buying Red Baron would have worked out better.

Pizza 1… Well, yep, it was announced by the smoke alarm. The cheese overflowed unto the bottom of the oven and at 500° it does not take very long for the smoke to start billowing out the oven vents. Windows open (praise the Lord it was in between torrential down pours), fans turned on, and the smoke alarm still goes off!! For real! …Uriah is now in tears, because the alarm is so loud he got scared. Let’s sit down and eat. Suppers on!!

Pizza 2… Oven has been cooled, cheese charcoal bits have been chipped off the bottom of the oven, oven reheated. Although this time, the second pizza has been waiting nearly 40 minutes to be put in the oven – toppings have marinated well with the crust, the flour on the pizza board has been soaked into the crust making a difficult transfer to the pizza stone. BUT, I have gotten smarter (or so I think) I have covered the oven rack with foil and then put the pizza stone on top of it.

12 minutes later – we smell pizza – ready to come out. Due to the wait the cheese has made everything melt worthy and the pizza is falling off the stone all over and unto the foil. It takes two of us to get the foil, the stone, and the pizza out of the oven. The next challenge was to remove the stone from the midst of the overflowed pizza. Then the foil needed to be pulled away from the pizza so it could be free. Good thing we don’t eat food based on looks in our house.

Thankfully, flash baking crusts for frozen pizza somehow remained uneventful… except for a bit more smoke from fresh flour spilled on the bottom of the clean over. But, hey, I think we at least have 2.3 salvageable pizzas for the freezer, and who doesn’t love to clean the oven multiple times over the same meal.

Enjoy daily “adventures”! At least design projects went well for the day… and I sure am glad that my family laughs with me at my mistakes and messes.

Enjoy the moments, good and bad of your day!

Pizza

Anxiety or Joy

Ps 94:18-19  “When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” (NIV)

What supports and upholds you in your day? Sunday morning I had a choice to make from the very start. I woke up with a very poor attitude to start the day. I sat on the edge of my bed wanting nothing more than to complain about everything… including a restless night with my toddler. The day was going to start miserable if I did not do something instantly. So, I decided to pick up the devotional that was sitting by my bed, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. It was about choosing thankfulness when we want to complain, ugh… Thanking God for everything and every circumstance so that our heart is transformed to be like Jesus instead of stepping through a land of complaining which leads to rebellion and regret.

Oh dear, you cannot read that and then choose to complain. So, I thanked God that my energy could only come from Him today. Thanked God that we are waiting. Thanked God for the projects and work He has provided to LeA’Tev. Thanked God for all of the amazing provision, blessings, and gifts He gives daily. And I thanked God that we are at a point in life where walking by faith seems more tangible then at other moments in life.

Then God provided tangible blessings and evidence of His supportive love from friends and family among three different states. What a joy when you realize God has prompted people to pray for you through their own circumstances, through brief meetings with them and through their dreams.

A good friend sent verses that challenged and encouraged my faith in God, including Psalm 94:18-19. Even when we think we are teetering and liable to fall, God is willing to uphold us with His love and replace our anxiety with joy. I am so thankful for the challenges of the day for without the challenges we sometimes miss seeing the blessings of God. Before we complain we have a choice of anxiety or love and joy.

Today, who can you show God’s love to? Who can you encourage and support? What a blessing it is to be a part of showing God’s supportive love and a joy to receive.

1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (NASB)

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!

SillyLunch

Where did 4 weeks go?

Do you ever have moments in life when the time just seems to fly until you realize all of the little things are really adding up and begging to be completed? This realization summed up my weekend and then as I start this post and I see how long it has been since I updated… well I was not exaggerating the fact that weeks have somehow slipped by!

I awoke Saturday to this thought when I walked in the kitchen and realized my typical vacuuming was not even going to come close to cleaning the disaster of the floor. It needed washed. The highchair needed scrubbed, not wiped down. And as for laundry… well 4 baskets of clean clothes are great, but it is much better to find clothes that have been folded in a drawer not dug through in a pile and left for another day.

In the world of “The Organization Project”: It’s April… my deadline to have the 2nd bedroom completed. Well, we are at least close. It is cleared out and the baby stuff from Uriah’s room has found a home in the closet shelves for the next little one to make use of. The crib is in the room and I have to blank pieces of wood awaiting their respective photos. So the fun stuff is yet to come, but the canvas has been readied! Uriah wanted to give you a tour of his baby brother’s room…

BabyRoom1 BabyRoom2

The basement. Organized piles abound (yes, these are generally organized and sorted!). Now I just need to put everything into a usable easy to access and return-to-their-place-when-finished location on the shelves. And finish moving a few garage sale items up and out. I think we will be there in the next couple of weeks… at least I am optimistic. Then on to adding color and laying down the mix-n-match carpet squares that are leftover samples from architecture firms.

Basement

Lastly, I have found a way to include the last untouched closet in the house in this organization project. The games in the back closet are not accessible… so down to the basement they go to find a home on an open shelf and add a little more interest to the unfinished space. Besides who wants one closet left a mess at this point in the game! (Do you like the cheesy pun!)

Games

Until the next entry and update in the process…

Organization Part 1

Organization Part 2

Organizing… the basement?

Oh dear! How can one thought of organizing the basement lead to nearly every room in the house…

In July, I had my dad help me re-arrange our speakers so that the cabinets would be freed to use in our master bedroom. LivingRm-PreJuly The Living Room is now not quite as heavy looking, and I can now finish the look by adding wood to the ceiling and behind the TV… but that is another story and another post. And I’m not pulling that project into this process!

LivingRm-PostJuly The cabinets moved to our master bedroom, and were underutilized there for the past few months. In trying to figure how the office and play room in the basement is going to look, I realized I would most definitely need space to put office supplies, papers for printing, work files, etc. So, I re-organized our bedroom closet and added a shelf unit that was under-utilized in the garage (and easily replaced out there with construction lumber as needed). This allowed me to move the ladder shelf from the new baby’s room (no longer a safe location for that anyway – small children and ladder shelves – need I say more!) to our master bedroom. LadderShelf

With our master closet organized, I had a few dvd’s that needed a new home. There is a closet that divides our living room and kitchen – it was a disaster (yes, my whole house can fall under the disaster heading most of the time). I re-arranged and cleaned this closet out which created an empty shelf needed for the DVD’s. It is also more convenient to have these right next to the room you view them.

Pantry  And this new arrangement of our closet, the ladder shelf, and the kitchen closet led to two free cabinets to use in the basement. Extra bonus! They are cabinets that I really like the look of which aids in the final enjoyment of the basement space, plus they have adequate room for everything I need to store. My husband and brother-in-law graciously hauled them to basement to join the chaos that is yet awaiting organization.

Cabinet

The second bedroom organization and clean-out can now be underway. A pile of baby stuff that my toddler no longer needs has left his room and is piled in the corner of the soon-to-be nursery. The papers and office items in the closet have begun to be sorted. If I ever needed motivation to go to an electronic filing system for bills, bank statements, and other miscellaneous files  – this is it! The photo below is my stack of papers to shred. How does time go so quickly and old statements pile up so high!

Papers

So, there is the progress update! Nothing very creative as of yet! Getting through the mess of junk reminds me of how much I do not need and helps me to reject thoughts of wanting anything more to add to the pile. So, although the process is slow… in the end perhaps I will have learned an important lesson about the worthlessness of stuff and have a house that is, at least temporarily, not a disaster! : )

Part 1 – The Organizational Project

 

The Mixer.

Uriah was crying and dragging me to the kitchen. But every snack option choice and even the question “Are you hungry?” was met with an emphatic shake of the head no while the crying continued. What on earth could Uriah want in the kitchen? He was so frustrated he could not find any words to communicate.

I opened every cupboard and drawer trying to aid our communication breakdown. We finally narrowed it down to the right cabinet. The door opened and the frustration ended. He got down and began to pet the KitchenAid mixer. He just needed to check on his favorite appliance.

The next day, I was able to make my little man’s day. We took out the mixer and made bread dough. He sits on the counter and helps put the ingredients in the bowl and then dutifully watches while the ingredients mix and knead together. To him it is one of the greatest joys of life. Oh the things that make my little guy smile!

And it really is a strange obsession… we visit the industrial mixer in the kitchen at our church, he likes to look at Nana’s mixer on her counter, and he never misses an opportunity to see the varied colors of mixers available at any retail store he happens to find them in. Maybe he’ll grow up to be the next chef or invent the next greater-than-kitchen-aid-mixer. : )