Monday, November 29, 2010

You have to go, if you want to see it

Sometimes the things you have to do are the tough things, the things that force you out of the comfort of where you are. Sometimes the thing that you are being asked to do, makes you start to wonder if you are really being asked to do it at all. Sometimes that thing, is the same thing that leaves you thinking for sure, "this can't be the right thing, I must have heard this wrong". Ever been there? I'm there right now.

And then my sister called who is wiser than I am and said, "remember Lazarus, go back and recall what was happening with Jesus right before He raised Lazarus from the dead". And so I did. And now I wonder if you have ever noticed the same treasure. To fully appreciate the gift, you have to start back several chapters before Lazarus is raised from the dead in Chapter 11. Jesus is in Judea where He heals a blind man in Chapter 9. The religious leaders were getting fired up by all the controversy that Jesus was creating, and before the culmination of their hatred takes place on the cross, they sought to stone Him in the temple for His profession that "I and the Father are one" John 10:30. That is where they were with Jesus, ready to kill Him. And the last we hear in Chapter 10 is that Jesus "escaped their grasp" in verse 39, and left Judea crossing over the Jordan River.

Chapter 11 picks up with us learning that Mary and Martha have sent word to Jesus that "the one you love is sick" (speaking of their brother Lazarus). I love that description, "the one you love". It is such a clear reflection of Jesus' heart for us. The truth was, Jesus loved that whole family, and He was about to allow them to be a part of what I think is possibly the most significant event in His ministry, preceding the cross.

Naturally, the disciples were not excited about going back to Judea. They were there when the Pharisees surrounded Jesus with stones in their hands. But buried between Jesus telling His disciples He wanted to return to Judea to see Lazarus, and Jesus actually raising Lazarus from the dead, is the part I had not noticed until my sister pointed it out. Thomas says one simple statement, that actually says a lot about the state of all the disciples at that moment, and can possibly speak a lot to you and I today, if we would allow it. Thomas tells the rest of the disciples (that were afraid to return to Judea because they might be killed) "Let us also go, that we may die with Him" John 11:16. Did Thomas understand at all why Jesus was going back to Judea? No. Did the plan make any sense whatsoever to him? Nope. And yet he was faithful and obedient and trusted the One that said, "Let us go back to Judea".

How about you? Do you have a "Judea" that the Lord is calling you to? Does your Judea look anything like Thomas'? Are you asking God things like "Seriously? This cannot be what you want. This doesn't make any sense. This cannot be Your plan!". Don't you think the disciples were downtrodden as they made their way back to Judea, anticipating death. Obedient yes, but confused nonetheless. And don't you think the Lord had a smile on His face as He crossed back over that Jordan River knowing what His men were about to witness. And oh what they saw that day. They got to hear Jesus say "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whosoever lives and believes in me will never die". They got to see their God walk up to a cave and say "Take away the stone". And they got to witness the power of God when He said "Lazarus, come out!"...and they got to see the dead man obey.

Can you imagine how the disciples would have felt if they had missed that? What if they had not gone to Judea because they were afraid? Would Jesus not have performed the miracle? Of course He would have, but His men would have missed the blessing of witnessing it. I don't want to miss the blessing. I don't want to not go to Judea just because I am afraid. God has a stone that He wants to roll away in your presence my friend, but you have to follow Him to "Judea" in order to see it. Rolling away stones is His don't want to miss it.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The One within the pages

I wasn't kidding last week when I told you I was struggling. Oh how serious I was being with you...and I'm still struggling. My Mom called last week and said "I can tell you are about to lose it". She is a few hundred miles away, but she can still tell when her daughter is about to come undone. But there is something surprisingly therapeutic about writing (especially when you feel called to it), and I always feel a little less crazy after expressing my feelings here. Even more so when I hear back from someone that says they are in the exact same place. It's not a "misery loves company" kind of comfort, so much as it is a "you have a friend next to you treading water" kind of comfort. There is hope in that. There is comfort in not feeling like the only one. My girl Jill (that I have grown to adore through this world of blogging), wrote to me in response to my disturbing admission that I sometimes consider putting down my dog and said "if it makes you feel any better, almost daily I consider having my dog put to sleep and then strategically laying her in the road like she got hit by a car. You are not alone" . I laughed every time I thought of that the rest of the day. Tell me you do not love her! Her dog recently brought her the leg of a deer, and then she had to play tug of war with him to get it out of the his mouth. Now that is a woman who deserves to wrestle with thoughts of wanting to put her dog to sleep for bad behavior.

This comfort of "there is someone right next to you treading water", is what I love about the Word of God. There isn't a feeling that I am experiencing that cannot be ministered to somewhere within those pages. From start to finish, that Book is packed full of comfort and encouragement. I have been telling you in recent weeks that I am currently studying both the lives of Moses and Esther. I always fall in love with the characters that I am studying in the Word. The first time this happened to me was when I was studying Abraham. I went into that particular study, dreading it a little (because how exciting could Genesis really be), and I came out on the other side of the study unable to get enough of it. At that particular season of my life, I could so identify with the struggles in that first book; and at this particular season of my life, I can so very much identify with Esther and Moses.

And what I find time after time is that at the root of it all, when you trace the source of the comfort back to it's origin, I always find that the One in which I am actually identifying with, is the One that wrote the story. It's not necessarily Moses' screw up, and his fleeing Egypt that I find comfort in; but rather the One that He met when he finally collapsed in the desert at The Well (Exodus 2:15). It's not Esther's great dilemma that encourages my heart to trust, but rather the One that was in the heavenlies orchestrating the entire course of events above her. His Name is the One that brings the comfort through struggles. It's the way He faithfully ministers to the ones within the pages that illustrates His character, and begs me to come and rest, and to trust that time is in His hands.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some days...

Some days I feel my blood pressure moving in a direction that is not healthy. In the midst of the everyday, the pouring coffee, the waking up sleepy children, the carpooling, the doing homework, the making dinner, the fall leaves changing colors...I feel my heart beginning to race. Some days I feel as though keeping my head above water is all I can do, and then I hate that about myself because I didn't even do that well. And then I think how pathetic it is that I cannot even keep my head above water, when there are other people in the world that are living in orphanages in Africa, that care for hundreds of children everyday, and probably do not yell nearly as much as I do. Some days I just wonder how I got to such a fragile place in life that when the Starbucks guy tells me they are out of pumpkin spice latte syrup, and that they will not get in anymore this year, that I walk away crying. Yes crying. Or I wonder how I got into such a place in life that for a brief moment I thought that if our dog knocked my son over one more time, the only reasonable solution would be to put him to sleep. I am being dead serious with you. Some days I even surprise myself with the levels of insanity I am capable of reaching.

Some days the small, little everyday changes of life are too much for me to handle. I find myself obsessively watching the leaves falling from the trees, sad because I know they will soon be bare and lifeless. There's no joy in that. There is no joy in behaving like the miser Scrooge counting his stacks of coins on his desk, and I do that too often. I may not be counting coins, but I do count the years. If a miser is someone who hoards money, then I suppose you could call me a hoarder of time. I watch my 5 year old walk into school with her backpack on and I sometimes cannot even get out of the parking lot before I am sobbing. Or there are those nights when I place my son in his crib that he is soon to outgrow, and I think to myself why is everything changing so quickly! Stop changing!

But then I wonder if that is all part of the plan. If all this changing is supposed to force us to find the One that will never change. The One that has remained the same from the beginning, and will still be the same in the end. I wonder if we were created to need something or Someone that never changes, and then intentionally placed in a world that always changes, so that we will never stop seeking and grasping for The Rock of which to place our feet firmly on...The One that promises to never change.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Anthropologie for Kids and Headband Love

When I have too much to do, and I start getting overwhelmed by life, I sew. For some reason it seems therapeutic to me, but I think it is really just a glorified method of procrastination. It drives my husband insane! So since I have been busy recently, I have also been sewing. And since I love Anthropologie, and since I love making my kid's clothes, I kind of combined the two for a a few kid friendly Anthro looks. I'm weird.

OK, so this one doesn't have any Anthropologie inspiration, I just kind of winged it. It might be my favorite though.
And in other news: have you been noticing those fantastic headbands in my girl's hair? I just so happen to know the very talented and cutest Texas girl walking the planet that makes those headbands. Her name is Samantha (aka: The Crafty Texas Girl) and she makes "ridiculously cute" gifts for children. My girls are "headband kind of girls", so I had her whip up a few for them and oh my goodness are they great! Aside from how cute they are, I have to say that the best thing about them is how well they fit the girl's heads, not too tight, not too loose. These make great gifts and are my most favorite accessory for the girls!

Click here to go say hi to Samantha. You know you have some Christmas gifts to buy!


Monday, November 15, 2010

My master bedroom: A before and after

We haven't been house touring in awhile; partially because my attention span is so short, and partially because my house is never clean and orderly enough to photograph. But my master bedroom remodel is finally complete, so I forced all the humans that live in my house out of the room for 10 minutes and I took pictures. And though it is already messed up again, and clothes are once again piled on the floor, she is still a lovely room.

Here was the before:
My cute carpenter and I gutted the previous master bedroom, office, and master bathroom, to create the our new space:
The walls are my most favorite decorative finish that I have done in this house. They are subtle and soothing, it is a great look for a master bedroom.

Do you like the way I am "storing" all my fake jewels? My husband says it's weird. It certainly isn't conventional, but it adds color and a bit of bling to the room, and that makes me happy.
Another mention: My "set" of bedroom furniture was boring me. A little too matchy matchy for what I wanted, but replacing a perfectly functional bedroom set is of course not practical. So since new furniture was not an option, I instead just changed out my end tables for antiques, and all my matching mirrors were switched out for unique consignment store finds that I painted. A much more affordable and reasonable alternative indeed. This mirror was originally green, but I changed her look by painting her ivory and gold, then I aged her a bit by sanding. It is my favorite piece in the room.
My chairs...oh the love for my chairs.
Another painted antique mirror.
Some details:

This picture is of my husband pouring table wine while at a street cafe in Montmartre, France. It will always be one of my favorite photographs.
And because I love before and afters, I'm linking up with Cheri, and also Roeshel today over at The DIY Showoff .


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mighty to Save

The folders come home from school with my girls every Monday. If I'm being real, I kinda dread them a little. I can expect to park myself in a chair for about 45 minutes every Monday and read, and read, and read; and then pray, and pray, and pray that I will not forget all the information I am supposed to know after all the reading. These folders always come bursting with artwork as well; and from time to time a masterpiece emerges from the monotony, and this overwhelmed heart of mine stops and smiles. It happened this week with Caroline's art...
Did you know your Daddy is mighty to save too? He is the author of your salvation, He wrote the story. He knows the beginning, the middle, and the end of our lives. He knows all the ways we mess up and fall short, and He knows how desperately we need a mighty savior. We tend to think we are only worth saving when we are like my Caroline, young and innocent and drawing pictures about how her daddy is her hero and saves her. And then we grow up and start thinking that God sees us differently. We start believing that He sees us like we see ourselves: shameful, guilty, less innocent adults that have wandered from our daddy's side. We start believing that He is mighty to save all the others more deserving of His strength. We forget what He has done for the prodigal son...or in my case, the prodigal daughter.

If a girl's life can have a theme song, then this song is mine. I need to know that I do not have the one mountain that my God cannot move. I need to be reminded that He rose and conquered the grave, not for a few elite, but for those like me, and for you. For "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" Zephaniah 3:17. Oh how He adores you sweet friends...


Monday, November 8, 2010

Lucky at Lucketts

I knew my weekend was going to be great when I woke up to a grande pumpkin spice cup of heaven. Did you know you could experience a glimpse of heaven here on this earth for only $5? You can. And it comes topped with whip cream and cinnamon...of course it comes topped with whip cream and cinnamon. It wouldn't be heaven without it. My friend marched her sweet self into Starbucks in pajamas, no bra, and slippers just because she knew I would love it...because that's just what friends do. I'll get to the loveliness of Lucketts in a minute, but I just can't help but make this post more about being lucky with friends than being lucky at Lucketts. I know a thing or two about not having friends. If I'm being honest, I've lived the majority of my years on this earth without friends. Oh how I know the hurt of mean girls! Do you? I know what it feels like to be alone. I know what it feels like to be talked about. I know what if feels like to be pushed around and afraid to go to school. And the sad thing is, adult girls can sometimes look a whole lot like the young girls from our past. Oh their ways of hurting are disguised differently, but it creates the same wound. I mention all these things for only one purpose, to tell you that the found treasures of the weekend weren't at all the stuff I saw, but rather the girls I got to see it all with. I think because I spent some much time without girlfriends that would love me despite myself, I cherish that much more my girls today. They are the kind of girls that know all about your junk, and love you anyway. The kind of girls that are the hands and feet of Christ to you. I have such a great group of girlfriends, and though I only had a few of them with me this weekend, I couldn't help but love all of them even more after being away with a few of them for a couple of days.

And now for the stuff. All I'm gonna say about Lucketts is if you ever have a chance to go, go! It's dreamy. The store is strategically positioned by God in the exact place where He most certainly calls home on this planet, it is without a doubt where God gets His mail. The drive reminded me of driving through the countryside in Paris...yes, it was really that lovely. And the fall colors of autumn certainly helped with the view.

Here is a sampling of what we saw:

I am ashamed to admit it, but we left our trip without one piece of furniture. I think it was the cheapness in each of us that prevented us from pulling the trigger on a purchase, it certainly wasn't the absence of deliciousness. It just seemed wrong to buy something that was already lovely, we are more the type that picks it up off the side of the road and then makes it lovely. You think I'm kidding? I spotted these 4 pretties on the side of the road while driving 70 mph. Did we stop? Yes. Is there possibly a litter of kittens somewhere inside these chairs? Absolutely. Did we pay $20 for all four? Yes. Did one of us not think they would all fit in the car? Yes. Did they all 4 fit in the car? Barely. Are they going to look phenomenal painted white and recovered in linen? You bet they are.

I love these girls.