Saturday, December 4, 2010

{The complexities of the heart}

(You will have to turn off the music player at the bottom of the page first)

I have had a very heavy heart the last few days and have spent much time awake in the night asking God why our hearts have to be so complex. Why just a muscle can keep us alive, but when hurting....can make us feel as though we are dying inside.
There is so much that can be hard to understand about our hearts. And when my heart hurts the most there is only one place I find comfort. It is strange to experience true JOY, and at the same time have pain in my heart so intense it's hard to breathe.  
But at times like these, I lose myself most as I praise the One who is the source of my JoY. 
The words of this song have been replaying in my mind over and over...

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
You're my delights, be my everything

These are the cries of my heart....

Take my heart, I lay it down
at the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I'm letting go
I lift it up to You who's throned

Worship is never about whether we feel great about everything going on in our life
and whether we can Praise God because we are just seriously SOOO BLESSED!

Worship is about praising God because God is worthy of our praise even when our life may be falling to pieces. That is when we are truly praising and worshiping, when our hearts are crying out to God. In the middle of our pain, praising the ONLY one worthy of praise!

You should see the view, when its only YOU!

Take my heart, I Lay it down
At the feet of you whose crowned
Take my life, I’m letting go
I lift it up to You who’s throned

And I will worship You, Lord
Only You, Lord
And I will bow down before You
Only You Lord

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
You're my delights, be my everything

And It’s just you and me here now
Only you and me here now

You should see the view
When it’s only You

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas tree creativity!

So without much money and no ornaments for the tree, the creativity kicks into high gear! 
I am gonna give you a preview of what I am going to do with 

$40 of supplies from Hobby Lobby...

$4 for an old book and some blocks from Goodwill....

and what everyone should have in their craft supply stuff...
(with the exception of the book in the back, which I bought a few years back. 
Its a book of vintage Christmas postcards)

And Voila....A vintage Christmas ornament made by ME!
I have so many more ideas I can hardly sit there will be more pictures. 
But for now...I must go craft!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

* Thanksgiving *

Thanksgiving was a whirlwind! It came and went and I hardly felt like I had a chance to blink. Its a good thing I snapped a few pictures, or I may have forgotten I was even there. We spent the day with our dear friends Eric & Tisra and their kids. Here are my favorite highlights....

Sandy had to stay outside...

The lovely Miss Tisra

The boys made these adorable place tags

Oh the wonderfulness of FOOD!

ANd now.....its time to play!

OK ~ now who is gonna clean up this mess!

Thank you Eric and Tisra for making us feel so welcome in your home, and for making it a Thanksgiving to remember!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The way God works

So...we were in Mexico and now we are not. How did we get from there to here. I will do my best to give a brief synopsis. The long and short of it is God. And as I look back on all the small in between details, it becomes even more clear to me that it was ALL God. We are currently in Franklin, Tennessee. And we are more aware than ever that this is where we are supposed to be. Yes I have said that before. In fact I said that about Mexico. But there were lessons that had to be learned, and experiences we needed to have.
So lets rewind to the end of Sept. We knew it was time to leave Mexico. But we did not know where we were supposed to go. So we asked our friends, Matt & Tracee if we could stay with them until we could find a place. They happened to live in Spring Hill, TN. So GT put me and the kids on a plane to Tennessee and Matt flew to Mexico to drive all of our stuff back through Mexico with GT. 

What GT did not know was that though the hurricanes had not affected us in Mexico, they had washed out many bridges and roads in other parts of Mexico. So the trip for GT and Matt looked a little like this...single lane roads, bridges
bad gas
dirty cops stole all his money
car broke down again
detour to the pacific side of Mexico
more cops
more fear
we prayed
someone showed compassion and fixed the car and stood up to the cops for them
they made it home. 

So now that our families are all here the stress set in. We are 12 people in a small 3 bedroom house and 4 of those children are not in school. So after the second week, we thanked them for sharing there home with us, but the stress was to much to do to friends. So we moved into a motel until we could find a house to rent. 

Here is a tidbit from a journal entry....."Our one room home. I never thought I would see the day my family would be homeless. I know we all have to start over somewhere, but I did not see this coming. And to top that, we are still fighting lice. Not sure what I am supposed to be learning, but I have absolutely have no more pride."

And to be honest, the kids handled it very well. I think it was harder on GT than any of us.  Well the kids and GT and I needed some encouragement and knew we had to find a church. There is no shortage of Christian churches in the Bible belt but a friend suggested we try a church called Conduit Mission. It has no church building, they meet in a local High School to keep the cost of the church down and have the ability to send the majority of their funds to missions. We loved this church and they took us under their wing in an amazing way.

Another journal entry.... "After the service, our new friends Tim and Angie asked if they could take us out to lunch at Jason's deli. Gt cried as he accepted. We had a great time getting to know them better. They invited us over to watch football, but I wanted to finish washing ALL or clothes and do one more round of lice treatment. So we took a football rain check. After we got home I got a text from pastor Darren. He said he had a target gift card for us and he had made some great contacts for job opportunities for GT. God is taking care of us, even if for the time being we are without a home or a job."

"Today was another challenge cause I have the flu. So my view was from my bed all day. Gt took the kids to Barnes and Noble so I could sleep and then brought home soup and juice for dinner. Gt spoke with Derrick about our situation and Derrick and June spent the day crying and praying. Then Derrick called and said he just felt like Gt should talk to the Pastor here. It just so happened that while Gt was talking to Derrick, I was getting a text from Pastor Darrin asking if Gt could meet with him tonight. So God is starting to put things in motion. Not sure how or even what, but if its Gods doing, it won't really matter."

"So it has been one week that we have been looking for a house while living in this hotel room. We have had many disappointing days as people have repeatedly told us no. But we had a chance to hang out on friday night with our village and we were very encouraged. Then today during the church service it just felt like everything was going to be okay. God is going to fight this battle for us. Praising was easy today and was such a joy. Unlike last week when praising was almost painful, today it was a welcome relief. God has much in store for us here. Sabrina is spending a second night at Darren and Shannons with Ashleigh, her new bff! And my flu has turned into a chest cold. I think my body will appreciate the rest when we get settled. The stress is too much. Soon we will have a home."

We did finally have someone tell us Yes. It was someone the Pastor here had a connection with and it is a small condo. It also had a coffee table and a family room armoire. But what we did not have were a fridge, beds for the kids, a dryer, kitchen table, vacuum or any other bedroom furniture as well as winter clothes or even school clothes. Just lots of swim suits and shorts.
This was our bedroom, and then someone gave us an armoire. 

This was our pantry, without any sort of shelving. Until someone gave us some shelves

And then there have been the clothes people have brought continuously, the meals, the groceries, the beds, the refrigerators, and more love than I have ever experienced in all my life. I was making a list of all the blessings and answers to prayers and the list was getting so long I stopped writing them all down. I would just lay awake at night and cry...because I could not contain all the gratitude in my heart!

And this is our little home! We are so grateful to God for providing for our every need. 

Luke 12:22
 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[b]?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

    “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!  And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

I have come to KNOW this about God. 
He is my creator, the potter. I am His creation, the pot. 
Only God knows what His plans are for our lives.
 Only He knows what He has designed us to be. 
Am I a plate made to feed others, a vase created to showcase something beautiful, 
a bowl designed to hold large things? 
This much I also know...we all start out as a slab of clay. And as the potter spins his wheel and adds water, we start to take shape. But the process of becoming what He is creating is not painless. And there are many rough edges that need to be smoothed. But I would never presume to tell the potter what I am and how I was made.  This process of moving and relocating and being homeless and unemployed has clearly taught us that we are incapable of even keeping our own heart beating.
 And the security we thought we had was only a facade. 
Our security lies only in our creator. 

So we are taking one day at a time. Without knowledge of what tomorrow holds. Only knowing that God has got our back. Praise be to Him alone. =) 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Transparency & Relationships

I have been thinking a lot about relationships lately and how different they can  be.

Some can never get past the surface and into the heart. Others can go to your very core in no time at all. And then there are those relationship that SHOULD be the deepest, but yet they never really SEE you at all. And I have had a few realizations as to why that has happened in my life.

I had never really experienced for myself truly deep relationships until about 3 years ago. Until that time I was never really good with being completely honest with myself. I mean, I was a really good pretender even with myself. And I could often convince myself that I was being honest with me. But God changed all that when He showed me my own heart.

When God told me how much He loved me even though my heart was ugly, that's when I knew it was ok to start being transparent with myself. 
And that was the beginning of the deepest relationships I have ever known.

I remember watching the movie Avatar for the first time and being so moved when she says "I see you". Because it was the first time I realized that some people will never truly SEE me. Most of the time its not because they don't want to see me, but rather, they just can't. All they can see are their judgments of me and my choices on the outside. So they never get past the surface.

To truly see someone, you must look past your own judgments and be willing to understand their heart.
Regardless of whether or not you agree. 

I recently had someone admit to me they were having an affair. And for the first time in my life I knew God had done some major renovation on my heart. Because I knew that if I was hearing them reveal these things to me 5 years ago all I would be thinking is what a horrible thing they were doing. All of my judgments of their actions would be all I could hear in my head. But on this day, as they were sharing their heart with me, I had NO judgments. Truthfully, my thoughts were "He who is without sin, cast the first stone" How could I condemn their actions and point out the beam in their eye, I had a beam or two in my own! So I just wrapped my arms around them and told them I loved them.

Transparency is a beautiful and frightening thing. When you can be honest about anything, your fears, faults, struggles, past, future etc and that person looks at you with all the love in the world and says "I understand, and I still love you"; there is freedom. Transparency requires you to take off the mask of "I got it all together and we are doin fine" and just lets your heart be free to love, and to be loved. And as a result, allows your heart to heal! And the relationships that bloom from this transparency is something I am now experiencing for the very first time.

People who "see" me. 

But I have also come to understand that these relationships that require transparency to grow, are just a copy of the type of relationship that God wants with us. He wants us to "see" Him.  But the best part about that is that He never looks at you any different and He will love on you in a way you have never known. And your relationship with Him will become one deeper than anything you have ever known. Because it will go straight to your core!

So..... I would like to make a toast!
 I am learning to see people with new eyes. Eyes God has given me, eyes that do not see what they used to. Maybe even starting to see what God can see. And just maybe one day, God will give "eyes to see and ears to hear" to those people who have never really seen me

Here is to all of us becoming a little more transparent, and a lot less judgmental!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blog Love!

I am a blogger.

I am a reader of blogs.

I read some blogs when I need creative inspiration, and others when I need spiritual encouragement.

I read some blogs because they make me laugh, and others because they make me cry.

I read informational blogs when I need to learn something, and personal blogs when I want to learn about someone

But no matter the reason I am reading the blog,
I always try to leave some blog love....a comment!

If you are a reader of our blog, please let us know you have stopped in by leaving a comment.  I write because I love to connect with people. And when you leave your thoughts and comments I know I am not just talking to myself. {although.... sometimes I do that too}

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I {heart} visitors...named Sonja

GT's mom (aka..Grandma Soni) came to see us for a few days. 

We have had such a fun time with Sonja for the past few days. And I am sad she has to leave tomorrow. So we decided to take a few pictures the last day she was here. Hopefully it will not be very long until we see her again.  I {heart} Sonja!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Ummm...there are just no words!

WARNING - this post may contain content not appropriate for children or those with a weak stomach!!

Homemade fun...

Well we are learning to make our own fun here. Not everyday is sunshine, and without a TV, staying inside on a rainy day can get boring. We only brought one family game with us, the rest of our games we sold. So we made one of my favorite games. SEQUENCE...

Austin + Gekkos = Great entertainment

Austin has found a new favorite game..its called catching the gekkos and naming them Felicity. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

{The heart of a Birth-mom}

(written Sept 15th, 2010)

I remember the day I placed you in their loving arms and walked out the door. As if it was yesterday. Your black silky hair and beautiful chocolate brown eyes. I felt nothing but love for you and them. I knew I had made the right decision. And I knew it would not be the last time I saw you. Fast forward 18 years. I have a loving husband of almost 16 years and four wonderful children. I have lived a very happy and fulfilling life. But every year that passed since that day I left you in their arms my heart remembered. I asked myself questions I did not have answers to. And I longed for the day that I would be able to find those answers. I always told myself that when you turned 18, that would be the day you would want to meet me.
Almost a fairytale, not truly reality.
Maybe it was a coping mechanism, maybe it was my way of delaying the pain. Either way, it made my heart believe that on your 18th birthday, I would finally get to see the man you had become and there would be no more pain. 

Today is your 18th birthday.
And I am living 4000 miles away from you now. I pictured this day for many years and somehow it never looked like this. I have cried for the last 4 days trying to reconcile the reality with my dream over the last 18 years. I have laid awake at night trying to understand all the thoughts and feeling swirling around in my head. Even now, I cannot make sense of it all. So I guess my way of dealing with my reality is to write you a letter.

I knew I was never meant to raise you as my own. But that will never negate the fact that you have always been, and always will be, a huge part of my heart and what has made me who I am today. I had people tell me I did not have to give birth to you, I had options. I had others tell me that after I gave birth to you I should just forget it and act like it had never happened. Luckily, I did not take the advice of other people. I always followed my heart and did what I knew was best. And I have never had a moment of regret!

I have told my 2 oldest children (15 & 12) all about you. I have nothing to hide. I am not ashamed of what has happened in my life. I know that God does His best work when He is making beauty from the ashes of our lives. You are the beauty He made from the ashes of my circumstances. And I just felt honored God chose me to be a part of that.

This week has not been hard because I wanted you back, or because I wanted you to be a part of my family. But rather, I want to see the man you have become.

I long to ask you what you dream of.

I want to hear you tell stories of your childhood 
and what your favorite memories are.
I want to know what you fear, and what makes you laugh.
I want to know what you excel at and what you struggle with.
I want to know what music you like and if you like to dance.
I want to experience your sense of humor.
I want to hear about your first love.
And I want to know of your first loss.
I want to hear stories about your favorite family vacation.
And what your greatest accomplishment is.
I want to know what brings you the greatest joy?

But I guess most of all, I want to know your happy and healthy.
And I wanted a chance to tell you myself why I did what I did and who I have become as a result. 

I am not your mother, for I did not raise you. I am your birth-mother. I gave you life. I never had any intention of replacing your mother because I picked her myself. But I have always loved you. And I had hoped that someday I would get a chance to know you -not just from afar, but personally.

Today will not be that day I had dreamed of for so many years. And neither will tomorrow. But I will continue to hope that one day when your ready, you will look me up. And we will get to have that long awaited conversation.

And until that day comes;
I will continue to love you from afar.
I will think of you daily.
And each birthday that passes I will secretly celebrate.
Hoping it brings me one day closer to holding you in my arms once again.

Monday, August 30, 2010

My Baby girl is growing up!

Yesterday my little girl turned 15. I know, not so little anymore. 
I can remember when she was 5, and Tyler was 3, and Sabrina was 1.  
I thought I would never make it through the day! 
Just keeping the house together and the kids clean and making meals and doing laundry etc. was such a challenge. And I remember people telling me to enjoy every minute, because before I knew it those days would be over and she would be all grown up. 
I did not believe them. 
But that day has come. 
I wanted to do a tribute with pictures on the blog, but all my pictures from when she was a little girl are back in Utah in storage. So I opted for pictures of how we spent our day instead. 

The first thing she wanted to do was see a movie at a theater in Cancun we have heard a lot about.

Friday, August 27, 2010

{ last!!! }

Well its official...the children started school this morning at the bright hour of o'dark 45 (6:45)!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive” Sir Walter Scott

I guess "True Confessions Monday" is not quite finished, cause here I go again. 

I have been laying awake wrestling with an issue. And to be honest, I have been wrestling with my anger. You see, since we have moved to Mexico we have been lied to, promised things, stolen from, and tonight...lied to again! So I was feeling very justified in my anger as I was trying to think of one reason why I should not go to this persons house and put up a sign that says "a liar lives here!!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So many such a small amount of time!

Wow is almost all I can say....I am trying to hang on for this ride called life.
 Some days are easier than others. But everyday gives me something new to be grateful for.
 I will do my best to give you a brief recap.

The mexicans say hello and Peace!

My new favorite foods

Mango Smoothies
Cactus Soup

Can you say yummy?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

** New friends **

 One of the hardest things about moving are the dear friends you leave behind...

But one of the greatest blessings when you move are the new friends you get to make...

We had the pleasure of having dinner with Pastor Ron and Donna Griggs and their kids. Kayla, Chris, and Josh. We had such a great time getting to know them and what intense faith they possess. We know God has amazing things in store for us here, and are just trying to brace ourselves for the ride. "Hang ON" was what I was told earlier this year. Ya that's pretty accurate.

Ron made the most amazing fajitas I think I have ever had!