A Random Wednesday Post

True confessions time:  I am completely burned out on running.  Like I think I could go the rest of this year without running another step and be perfectly happy.  Now, I know that this is not true and I would feel rotten if I attempted this, but the notion strikes me regularly and most often at about 9:00 the night before I’m scheduled to run.  And at 5:00 a.m (or earlier) when my alarm goes off.

One of my running partners has been gracious enough to walk with me the past couple of times we’ve gotten together and it has been so refreshing!  My other running partner is training for a half marathon, so she needs to run, but it seems we’ve been having a hard time connecting to run lately.  Still, I know she’s ready for a break too after months of training through injuries.  I’m so proud of her for persevering!

In other news, Grace’s broken arm prompted me to follow through on an idea I had on my own and then saw again on Pinterest:

Source: imalazymom.com via Sara on Pinterest

Grace has long been our family “sock folder”.  Well, this became a little cumbersome when she spent more than a week not really able to use her right hand at all and with limited movement still.  So, in our laundry cabinet each of the girls now has a hook with her initial on it and a mesh laundry bag hangs from the hook.  They are responsible to put their socks and underwear in their bag.  When the bags start to look a little full, I throw them in with the laundry that day and everyone gets to fold their own socks and underwear.  Unfortunately for Grace, I hate folding socks, so she still gets to do Matt’s and mine.  But since her work load has been cut in half, she’s not complaining.  (In case you’re wondering, the bags run $.99 at WalMart.)

It has occurred to me that I haven’t posted about my 40 Bags in 40 Days experience since early in Lent.  Well, let’s see…I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and the experience and I will do it again, but I confess it did not take long to cease being about making room for Jesus and become about checking another item off of my “to do” list.  Totally not the point, huh?  As we neared the end of Lent and I realized what had happened, I did a major slow down on my plan and refocused my heart on why I was doing this whole thing to begin with.

In the process of clearing out space, I did go through a lot of stuff and move it out of my house.  It also had a major impact on this adoption nesting thing I’ve got going on, so that + Pinterest have me in major “redecorate the house” mode.  Matt’s totally lovin’ this as our garage is now full of furniture to be painted and I’m regularly coming up with new things I’d like to do around the house.

I honestly need to do the 40 bags again this summer, as I only made it through about half of the house before I realized I was missing the point.  I like the idea of doing it for the 40 days leading up to my birthday, but that’s also the exact same time we are getting back to school.  So, maybe the first 40 days out of school?  Who knows…  🙂

In miscellaneous adoption news, IBESR in Haiti has recently closed to new dossiers in an attempt to “clear out current dossiers” by June 1.  Praise the Lord, we are one of those in there now, and who knows what will actually happen, but we are praying that ours would be processed in the next month and moved on.  How awesome would that be?!?!  When we entered IBESR in March, we were told 4 to 12 months.  To be out in less than two?  Only God!  Won’t you pray with us?  As we look at the things He is doing in our hearts and lives we can’t help but wonder if He’s not preparing us for her to come home soon.  We hope cautiously, as this road has been so treacherously long for so many.  But we see movement in Haitian adoptions, in the adoptions of friends adopting from the same orphanage, and we can’t help but hope with expectation.

That’s it for me today.  We finished up our school books today.  All except for Grace and her Sonlight, but that’s no big deal for me.   Thinking we may head over to KC and the Deanna Rose Farmstead tomorrow as a treat.  Woot!

For His Glory~

~ Sara

A Pinterest Scrabble Board

Oh, Pinterest….

I know Pinterest can be a time waster.  And can make us discontent.  And make us spend money or go trash picking for things we may not need.

But I have thoroughly enjoyed Pinterest as it has awakened a creative side in me that has been dormant for years and I’m having so much fun planning a summer full of projects for myself and the girls.  🙂

A few weeks ago I did a couple of projects.  The first one was this one:

We’ve had a lot of fun with our free-form Scrabble board.  Here’s how I made mine:

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I started with a large black frame that had been sitting in our basement for a few years. It was a cheaper one, with just a plastic sheet in place of the glass, but the frame was a decent wood construction.  It measures 24×36.  In the original board, Kim @ The Twice Remembered Cottage used sheet metal on plywood.  I planned to do this, but the hubs was a little busy at this time and I don’t know how to turn on the saw let alone actually cut something, so I improvised.  (And was pretty pleased with myself.  🙂 )  I found at WalMart a 24×36 magnetic white board.  I’m guessing if one was patient enough, you could find one of these inexpensively on Craig’s List or at a yard sale.  I was ready to do this thing, so I paid full price, by far my greatest expense at $19.99.  I also used some plain white computer paper (which I ended up not needing), a bottle of Elmer’s glue, a bottle of ModPodge, a hot glue gun, an old dictionary, and some old-looking parchment paper.

I laid the white board out on the counter and smeared it with Elmer’s glue.

I then covered the board with white printer paper.  This step ended up being superfluous, but for some reason I thought it would be necessary, so here it is.

Now, Kim @ The Twice Remembered Cottage tore pages out of a dictionary for her board.  I don’t know if it is the book lover in me or something else, but I just could not bring myself to tear pages out of a dictionary.  Nor could I bring myself to buy one just for the sake of tearing pages out of it.  So, we have a great old dictionary here and we happened to have some old-looking parchment paper and a copier.  I opted to copy the letter pages out of the dictionary and then tear the edges to give that old, rustic look.  I then mod-podged the pages onto the white board.  I began by taking some of the text-only pages and doing a first layer, then I went over it in a methodical but messy looking way with the letter pages, making sure some of my favorite entry illustrations showed on the finished board.

Grace being cheesy as I make my board followed by a blurry shot of me at work taken by one of the girls. 

Now somewhere in the midst of all this we had the exciting experience of our smoke detector going off as my dear husband was serving us by making dinner (steak in the oven – I don’t recommend it).  This is the smoke detector linked to our alarm system.  The one that calls the fire department if you don’t answer the alarm company’s call.  The call that went to a phone number we no longer have (even though I had requested it be changed) and then to Matt’s phone that was dead and then to my parents and our house sitter and possibly Matt’s parents too, though I don’t recall hearing from them in the midst of all this.  So we got to visit with our neighborhood firemen.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) it wasn’t my brother’s crew and they insisted on coming in and checking things out.  Needless to say, I probably wasn’t as gracious and polite as I should have been and may have been a little jittery for the rest of the evening.

Nonetheless, I persevered and finished my board!

And now it hangs near my desk.  I attached the white board to the frame with hot glue and let it dry.  I used the Scrabble tiles from our personal game and a friend gave me an extra game that they had laying around.  I need to get one more set of Scrabble tiles, but it’s plenty of fun with two sets.  I bought a lot (as in a literal “lot”, not just “many”) of super-strong “earth” magnets on eBay.  This was my second significant expense, though I don’t recall just how much it ended up being, but it was less than the cost of the white board and I have magnets to spare.  I attached the magnets with a strong craft glue.

I am not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination.  There are some bubbles and imperfections in my board.  I should have taken more time applying the ModPodge to my dictionary pages, but I was too busy trying to calm down after our visit with the fire department.  That, and I’m not a perfectionist.  😉 The nice thing about having copied the dictionary pages is that if the bubbles ever bother me enough, I can easily recreate the board.  No one here seems to mind the imperfections and the board makes me smile pretty much every time I see it.

For His Glory ~

~ Sara

Indescribable Grace

Sometimes an old acquaintance posts something to Facebook that makes you stop and think:

I have no idea if she was talking about me or not.  Hopefully I wasn’t so bad to actually qualify as a “godless whore”, but you never know.  I was definitely a bit of a mess.  Either way, it got me thinking about so many things.  Like how the choices you make and the reputation you earn can follow you the rest of your life.  And also how amazing it is that a perfect and holy God can overlook it all.

I’ve battled against the Enemy’s lies this year and I finally feel myself becoming stronger again.  God’s truth is once again drowning out the sound of defeat and discouragement and I feel myself rising again to do battle against the Prince of Lies. These words of healing played through SUV speakers last week….

There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are, 
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade. 

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade. 

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade. 

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done, 
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been, 
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel, 
But what He felt to forgive you, 
And what He felt to make you loved. 

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade. 

You are more than the choices that you’ve made, 
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes, 
You are more than the problems you create, 
You’ve been remade. 

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade. 
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

(You are More by Tenth Avenue North)

[ From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/t/tenth-avenue-north-lyrics/you-are-more-lyrics.html ]

And those lies that my sins are bigger than my Savior have haunted me in my past and they’ve haunted me this year.  The lie that all of my weaknesses and inadequacies, my struggles and my stumblings with these children, this husband, this life, that He’s not big enough to overcome it – all a lie from the one who seeks to devour and destroy.

A dear friend sends this quote yesterday from The Mother Letters:

It is a complete matter of trust that He will give our children what they need despite our shortcomings. ~ Rachel McAdams

And last night as we sat in worship we sang the lyrics,

Sing to Jesus
Lord of our shame
Lord of our sinful hearts
He is our great Redeemer
Sing to Jesus
Honor His name
Sing of His faithfulness
Pouring His life out unto death

Come, you weary
And He will give you rest
Come you who mourn
Lay on His breast

(Sing to Jesus by Fernando Ortega)

Oh the mighty Savior that He would bear our sins and shame and welcome us with open arms, a soft place to fall.  And that He would cover over my weaknesses and fill in the gaps with His strength and healing.

So as I come back to the Facebook post that prompted this spilling of words, two things come to mind.  First, for anyone young who happens to be reading this – what you do now matters.  Who you are now matters.  In a world of social networking and digital never-to-be-deleted connectedness, your choices now matter a lot.  But the second point, and this is for the young person and everyone else – this God, my God, He’s big enough to cover it with His grace.  Friends from fifteen years ago may not offer fresh-start grace, but Jesus does.

And for that grace, the thanksgiving never ends.

1714.  four days, five doctor’s offices

1715.  six and a half hours in outpatient care

1716.  a mended arm

1717.  a red cast

1718.  my girl feeling so much better

1719.  serving the hungry with my Chandler, my servant-child

1720.  going to the airport to welcome home the Jayhawks

1721.  making a memory with my girls

1722.  feeling the weight lift

1723.  James MacDonald study

1724.  bearing up

1725.  finding His blessings

1726.  the annual candy toss

1727.  Easter celebrations

1728.  a Texas trip with my Emma

1729.  evening with good friends from Matt’s past

1730.  audiobook on the iPod

1731.  discovering the joy of listening to a book

1732.  last days of school – the end is near!

1733.  pinpointing some of my struggles

1734.  praying through changes

1735.  a new office, a new chapter in our lives

1736.  home school conference, lunch, and shopping with my favorite

1737.  a two hour nap

1738.  quiet girls

1739.  Overflow worship

1740.  relentless, overwhelming grace

All for His glory ~

~ Sara

A Different Kind of List…

I don’t know if it was the spring break or the broken arm or the James MacDonald video in Sunday school.  It may have been the turning of the calendar page to April and the knowing that by the end of this month all of our school books will be put away.  It could be the beautiful sunshine or simply the prayers of others.  But something in the past two weeks has shifted.  Something has broken loose and I no longer feel the weight, that burden I have born all year.  I’m still more than ready for this year to be behind us, but I can face each day.  I’m still totally over starting each day in the early morning dark and feeling like I’ve accomplished nothing come the end of the day, but soon that too will change.

And I give humble thanks for what the Lord has been showing me, that the bearing up under the trial is where the blessings are gained.  That my idol of a “manageable schedule” is just that – an idol.  And while I still firmly believe we have bought a lie about how busy we must be and how much we must do, I still can find peace and strength in Him as we finish this crazy year off.  I thank Him for showing me that my younger girls still need to be read to at night and washing the hair of my oldest (for this short season) is a blessed gift.  That handing off my role in our business feels a whole lot like sending my kid off to college and it’s hard but He has purpose in that too and a quiet relief comes with it.

This year has been a wild, rough ride.  But I can see glimpses now of His purposes.  Purposes of teaching me flexibility and greater trust in Him.  Teaching me to have faith in Him and what He’s up to in my kids and trusting Him for results I may not see for years.  A purpose of teaching me to go even deeper into the Word, further into prayer.  Establishing systems in our home to foster encouragement and kindness and thanksgiving.  Reminding me of the joy of making my home beautiful with my own hands.

He has carried me.  And He will continue to carry me.  More hard days will come, perhaps more hard years.  But there will be purpose in those as well.  And He will be with me.  And I will continue to give thanks.