Monday, November 30, 2009

Metal Monday

My husband and I are having a fundraiser to help with my sister's adoption fund! My marvelous man is a whiz at welding and a master at metal, and created these crosses to sell for my sister! (amazing alliteration, eh?) We are calling this: Alaska to Africa!
If you are interested, there are several of the above smaller crosses that measure 7 3/4" x 5" and are $10.00 (plus shipping). The layered cross below is measured at 18" x 11 1/2" and is $40.00 (plus shipping). He is, at this very moment, crafting a smaller version of the layered cross and is open to custom orders.
So, why are we doing this? My husband had the idea and since he is not working much, he does have time to invest in this project. Why not keep the money ourselves, especially if we have a limited income right now? Because, this little boy needs to meet his parents as stress free as possible, and if you haven't noticed, when you help others, it keeps your needs in perspective! We have so much, and though we are in a slow time, we still have more than many. We are also hoping that this will take off and we can begin to use the profits to help other orphans in Africa. If you would like to participate in this fundraising and perhaps finish any Christmas shopping at the same time, please let us know!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday's Meme

I will partake in a meme about the ABC's of Thanksgiving! I simply cannot limit it to one word. I could probably go on and on, but I will spare you the excessive reading and try to stay relatively short:

A: Adam
B: Becky
C: Chris, Cambria
D: Dad
E: Existence of God
F: Fall
G: Grandma and Grandpa (missing Grandma B)
H: Hannah, Hudson
I: Internet
J: Julie, Jackson, Joshua, Josh, Jana, Jesus
K: Katy, Kaylee
L: Lesli, Linda
M: Marc, Mia, Makenna, Mom
N: Nativity
O: Orphans finding families
P: Pat, Phil
Q: Quiet
R: Raegan, Rusty
S: Sydney
T: Toby
U: Uggs
V: Very strong cheese!
W: Winter wonderland walks
X: Xeriscaping
Z: Zeal for Jesus

Do you see a theme? I am so thankful for the people I love. I could do this everyday for a year and never have the same words (except for those pesky letters!). I am blessed.
Happy Monday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pick Me, So I can Give It Away!

Isn't this gorgeous?! As you may know by now, my sister's family has been waiting to hear word from their adoption agency as to who their little boy from Ethiopia will be. She may have thought originally that this was a journey that would change just their lives. She was wrong. It has changed at least my life as well. I've had experience inviting another nephew into the larger family who was born in China, but you have to know, it's just a bit different with a sister. Especially a sister who you love so deeply. My world has been rocked with the deepening knowledge of the world out there. Even my husband commented on how I've changed in the last 6 months. I am no longer anxious for a new kitchen, as I have a perfectly functioning one right now. I am aghast at the cost of new clothes when I have a closet FULL of things I don't seem to even need. I get a bit angry when I hear of how "stricken" people are when they can't get the luxury items they want, when it costs so little to help a child eat for a week and they don't even consider helping. Alright, I get a lot angry at that last one, especially when I see it in me.
In this whole change of perspective, I have begun to "stalk" a few blogs that pertain to adoption (thanks to my sister's links!) and came across this one: "Ethiopia or Bust! @

She's doing a giveaway, and yes, I'm trying for it! How materialistic, you may think. Yes, and no. I would honestly love to have her necklace (above: it's Ethiopian Angel's Wings), but I most likely would not keep it. It would not belong to me. I would most definitely pass it along to my sweet sister who is waiting for her little angel! If it weren't for her, I'd not be enjoying this special road.
If nothing else, please check out the Bottomly's blog and "Don't excuse yourself by saying, 'Look, we didn't know.' For God understands all hearts, and He sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve." Proverbs 24:12 (NLT)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday's Mishap

I have never been able to make chocolate chip cookies.
Nope. Never.
What happens? Well, I don't know. They usually do not cook in the middle. Like these.

Lest you think I have not tried every possible difference on the planet, I have. I have tried:
Butter, Margarine, Shortening, 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 1/4 cups flour, even more flour, Muscovado brown sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, different amounts of brown vs. white sugar, many different flour mixes (especially now since my hubby is Celiac and cannot have wheat), tried airbake pans, stones, cheap cookie sheets, all with no real success. I am not really asking for tips. I have given up on trying to make a chocolate chip cookie that looks any different than this:

Let me tell you why.
This crumbly, gooey, crispy mess of a cookie may look hideous, but it still tastes good! It is perfectly filling it's purpose in its life. It is making our taste buds happy. It does not need to look good to do it.
I was simply going to share my mishap, but then it hit me. How are we like these cookies? Oh, yes, I'll go there!
We may not look like something lovely to the world, but God made us and we can fulfill His purpose for us. Pretty cheesy, I know.
It sort-of related to what I randomly posted on my facebook page. I did one of those "pick the closest book, turn to page 56, type in the 5th sentence" thing. That sentence was profound to me. "God does not always use us for tasks the world would think spectacular, powerful, or significant." This is from the book I'm reading, FINDING PURPOSE BEYOND OUR PAIN, by Meier & Henderson, MD's. We may not end up winning the prize for most spectacular looking, but I hope I make my maker's taste buds happy! Well, you know what I mean!
Here's to more mishaps that lead me closer to my Lord!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Walking on Water

Today was the first day I walked across our small lake. It's a 5 acre lake for which I have discovered a deep affinity. I've never lived on waterfront, so I didn't know it was anything special when we bought our house 2 years ago. I love watching the changes occur and the wildlife that also enjoys the water.
I have been anticipating with joy the moment I could again walk across our water. It gives me and our dogs freedom to run around without the threat of motor vehicles surprising us. The water has actually been frozen for a while, but I was a bit nervous to walk too far out. The edges are the first to freeze and the first to thaw, so the middle is always the "iffy." About a week ago, I began to take a couple steps out on the frozen edge. There was no snow like above, and it was clear through to the lilies on the bottom. I could see frozen suspended bubbles at least 2 inches down, but still... I know that this is sufficient thickness to walk upon and the quality of clear ice is the best. Walking on clear ice that shows the lily pads down to 6 feet down is a bit unnerving. I couldn't go far. Fortunately, we now have a bit of snow on top, so I can't see the depths.
I wondered how Peter did it. He didn't even have ice. I wonder if it felt like ice? More like snow? I can't even walk across my clear iced pond, much less a moving piece of water.
I know I could do it if I just refrained from looking down. I may have even been able to walk across our frozen lake if I just kept my eyes up.
Recently, we have begun another lapse of income. It happens more than rarely up here. My incredibly wonderful providing husband works in the oilfield, and if you didn't know, the price of oil is not exactly where it was a year ago. As great as that is for the consumer, it really stinks for those who find work in that field. It's a strange industry that seems to work on the "feast or famine" premise. Right now it's "famine" time. This has happened before, but before it seemed that there was work going on elsewhere or right around the corner. This drought may be longer lasting. It may not be, but we don't hear too many positive short-term rumors.
I wonder if God is asking me to step out and walk on water. We plan and plan to prepare for such events, and I think that is wise, but I just wonder if we are going to be sent beyond our planning.
How will I respond?
Look Up!
But look how interesting it is when you look down! You need to know where to step, right?
Nope. I can trust Jesus to take us right where He wants us. He will give us firm footing. He will give us hinds' feet and place us on our high places. He will equip us to take the steps of faith, whether on steep slopes or on water. I have so much peace that He will provide. What freedom!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Momentous Monday!

This is one of my favorite girls in the whole wide world. Can't you see why?! I love this picture and I've shown it before, but I can't help it. She's been on my mind this week.
My sister told me that my little gal (really she's my sister's little gal, but I'll take her any day!) had asked Jesus to come into her heart! At that moment, my heart just burst! I'm a pretty emotionally proud Aunt! My sister, not wanting to dismiss this momentous occasion, but wanting to understand the depth, asked her why she wanted to do this. Her answer is the very best answer I have EVER heard: "I just love Him so much!"

Every time I think of this, my eyes well up and I just about loose it. It's a similar reaction to when I learned of each of my N&N's decisions to give their hearts to Jesus. I just don't know if I've heard such a perfect motivation. I know mine wasn't! I was a little concerned about my level of fire resistance. Jesus knew it was also that I trusted Him to keep me safe. But really? I just love Him so much!? How absolutely perfect is that? I don't think I can add anything. My 4-year-old niece has just surpassed all my knowledge and study with the simplicity to which God calls us. It's really all He wants of us. I hope I can be like my niece when I grow up and be able to say about the things I do: "I just love Him so much!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It's My Birthday, and I'll Post When I Want To!

Yes, it is my birthday today. I am a whopping 33 years old. Some of you still may call me a "baby." I'm O.K. with that. I still feel like one.
A friend of mine who also recently turned 33, pointed out a fact that I had also been mulling; that this was the age of Jesus when He died. And resurrected!
This was a little sobering, but it made me think a bit. I don't find myself remotely close to Jesus' level of maturity. Then I remembered that He is, after all, God. I decided to cut myself a little slack.
My birthday is usually my time to reflect on the past year and evaluate myself. I'm not typically critical, but can sometimes use constructive criticism to point out my areas that need improvement. I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but sometimes give myself goals on my birthday.
I am very excited for this, my 33rd year! I will get to meet two new nephews someday! That will bring my grand total of N&N's to 13. That is a lot of love, and I love each one of them. I wish I could spend more time with each one, but God has us here for a reason, so I wouldn't change it. I am going to learn how to snowshoe. I have never done it, but it looks simple enough and I am out in the snow everyday anyway (that is, when it does snow - when is that stuff going to get here?!). I am hoping to finish a couple of projects: finish hanging drapes in our living room that have been in storage for a year and a half, knit myself a matching hat and scarf which have not been started but yarn has been purchased, and to complete all the books that I have started and not finished. I also plan to read through my new New Living Translation Bible that I bought yesterday. I hope that I can build up some business for my landscape design in order to donate my profits to Amazima (on my side bar). I also hope that God will continue to develop the Thursday night group and deepen friendships that have been formed. I would love to be able to get birthday/Christmas/other event cards in the mail on time this year, though I'm not too expectant of that one. I'm wanting to continue my 1st and 15th memorizing with Beth Moore, and might suggest that practice to anyone else who has struggled to memorize Scripture!
I am thankful for 7 1/2 years of amazing marital life! God has blessed this relationship more than I ever thought possible. I love the 11 little N&N that I have and so thankful for the times I get to spend with them. I adore my sister and can't believe how far our friendship has come. I'm so thankful God provided her with such a great husband! I am so proud of my brothers. They both have incredible (and gorgeous) wives that are clearly God's helpmate for them. I am more aware now of how special it is that we all not only get along, but all love each other. I'm also thankful for our parents. They gave us a pretty spectacular childhood and taught us to love Jesus from our birth. I have been incredibly blessed by my husbands family. His parents have given us support and lots of shared laughter! His sisters and their families have loved me and made me part of their family instantly. God has provided for our needs and much more. I've had more fun experiences and learning opportunities than I could possibly list. I've had an amazing 33 years.
So, yes, I have a collage of meaningful and less than meaningful goals that I have shared. I know this next year of mine will hold some very difficult challenges, much of the mundane, and some incredibly special moments. Throughout them all, I hope I can "Rejoice always. Pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for ME in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:16-18 (new international Meli version).