Remember the little house? Well, the deal for that house is now on life support and has a high possibility of dying over the weekend. Thankfully, it's not our fault. The buyer's of our current home have had a last minute glitch (aka stupid battle with their finance co.). This puts the deal for current home on hold, which puts the deal on the little house in jeopardy. It's out of our control.
I have fallen in love with that little house. I was looking forward to living near neighbors that had been there for 37 years. I had visions of walking with Elli to the park or library on crisp fall mornings. The decor was all ready to go in my head. *sigh* Now that may all be lost.
This is the point where I choose to trust. If I have learned nothing in the past 10 years I have learned that God is sovereign and has a special reason for everything. He knows the details of the future. We do not. He has perfect timing. We do not. We wants the very best for us. We rarely know what the very best is.
So, we wait. I'm praying for a miracle, of course, but either way I know we will end up in the perfect house in the community God has called us to reach. I choose to believe that. I choose to be content and thankful. Our God is good and He knows the future.
Our lives have been interesting the last three weeks. We have been in the middle of finalizing the sale of our house and the buying of another. I was hoping I would be writing to you from the soon-to-be cozy confines of our new home. Due to delays on our buyer's end I am instead writing from my same old kitchen and forcing myself to not look past the screen into the chaos of cardboard in my living room.
I'm tired. At first I thought it was because of the move and the emotional demands of managing moving, mothering and ministry. Nope. I'm tired in my soul. My spirit is thirsty. ME seems to be getting packed away into lost boxes. I miss my Bible. I miss my friends. I feel missing.
Everything is changing and chaotic. The reality of a 12 year chapter coming to an end is sneaking in. Do I even know how to write new chapters anymore? What is my life's thesis statement, again? How do I wrangle these wandering thoughts? Where is the foundational outline that was formed within the complexity of 8 painful years? How did I allow the daily deluge to muffle the treasured story within? How could I possibly write as a leader when I feel caught without a compass?
If I were to give myself the advice I'd give others I'd say "You were made for this. Fill your heart with truth, saturate your home with worship, read your Bible all you can. Shut out the lies. Apply grace." I wish I listened to that person. Things don't seem so simple today.
I don't write this for pity or advice. I write this to be honest with myself. I write to discover what I am keeping secret. Don't worry. I know my paths will be made straight. I know my mind and heart will clear. I know I will inhale the new life the Holy Spirit is whispering even now. I know I will rest in the grip of grace.
I know will feel found again.
I'd like to be one of those mamas that never EVER turns the TV on to occupy their toddler. I'd like to be one of those mamas that doesn't offer a snack as a quick defense against whining. I'd like to never raise my voice or get impatient when Elli has ignores me for the twentieth time. I'd like to be Michele Duggar minus 17 kids or so. I'd like to be like Babywisers with neat little schedules that include four different types of play time and learning. I'd like to offer Tot School and other educational activities. I'd like to do crafts and projects and all the other messy fun things Elli is finally old enough to do.
There is this thing called REALITY, however, that just doesn't allow us much time for all of that right now (or ever). Instead we fill our days with free play and sneak in book time between packing and appointments. The most teaching I've done in the last 3 weeks is showing her how to use the dust mop out of desperation to keep her OUT of the pantry (which has been a GREAT source of entertainment). The only pre-birth ideals I've really been able to hold onto in this transitional season are #1 sleeping routines and #2 super food.
So, this morning I shoved aside the mama guilt and we cuddled in bed watching an hour of cartoons. I then whipped up a batch of super wholesome stick-to-your-ribs-full-of-good-stuff super porridge. I was amazed at how just knowing I fed Elli really well made me feel like a good mom. Today I'm going to hold on to that feeling for as long as I can and ignore the guilt.
This is easy peasy and great for adults too. There are hundreds of different variations (if you have little ones I encourage you to check the book out at the library), but I'll just give you today's recipe.
Place in a food processor 1/3c of each (this doesn't have to be exact at all):
Brown Rice (I did 2 portions of rice)
Process contents two or more minutes until a fine powder (if you'd like more texture don't process as long, but it will take longer to cook). Store in airtight container in fridge and use as needed. Cooking ratio 1/4c grains to 1 c water.
Boil 2 cups of water with a dash of salt. Add 1/2c of processed mixture while whisking. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes (or until all grains are tender), whisking every few minutes to avoid sticking or lumps. The consistency should be fairly thick similar to oatmeal or cream of wheat.
Eat as is or add in pureed or chopped fruit or veggies. We had left over mashed yams from dinner so I put about a 1/4c of those into Elli's portion (vitamin A is vital as we approach sick season). Store the remaining cereal in an airtight container and reheat in microwave as needed (add hot water if consistency is too thick).
I have worn a ponytail and glasses for two days in a row now. That's code for I
My daughter doesn't necessarily need a nap right now, but I saw the hint of a yawn and took full advantage of the opportunity. I'm pretty sure that means she'll wake up at 5am tomorrow. That's okay, daddy can handle it
I'm currently debating which list item to avoid first...laundry or clutter pick up. I do not think I will ever learn to love either.
A giant caffeine and sugar riddled Dr. Pepper sounds delightful even though it's not yet 9am. Too bad I've sworn off the hard stuff. I'm forcing myself to sip on water. I've heard good ol' H2O is supposed to curb cravings. I've been trying that for about 3 years. It's not working. Maybe I'll sneak in a diet DP on my way home from
Writing this post right now is the last thing I should be doing with my time. Sigh...you should feel sorry for me. I know I do. ;)
Before I started it I had a lot of misgivings. My most prominent concern was the fact the MF products are primarily powdered meals. Everything from shakes, to soup, to scrambled eggs...it all starts out in powdered form aka NOT anywhere near the whole organic foods I've come to believe should be the only thing we should consume. My second concern was the amount of soy contained in the products. Soy is not fertility's friend (remember it took us 8 years to have Elliana). I've known that for years. Extra weight, however, isn't doing my fertility any favors either.
6 weeks into the program I am very pleased with the results. I've lost nearly 20lbs and for the most part have felt really good. I still have a long journey ahead, but getting back to a healthy weight actually seems attainable for the first time in years. This all added up to me pushing my concerns about fake food and "the evils of soy" as far back in my brain as possible...until I read this article.
Now everything I fear has been conjured back up. What if I'm causing more damage to my hormone function? How is all of this soy isolate affecting my thyroid? How permanent are the affects of soy? What's more damaging, 80lbs of extra weight or 6 months of a heavily soy based diet? Is there a way I can get the same results on my own with an all natural diet? Would I be able to have that much self control?
My heart is a bit heavy. I want to be free of all of this weight that I put on due to hormone imbalance and heartbreak. I also want to get my body in the best condition possible to have another baby. I want to do both without hindering either pursuit.
God made our bodies with intricate wisdom. He created food to perfectly fuel us and balance us. He designed us to be productive and reproductive. I'm praying that He will show me what to do. I need clear practical answers.
Well, at least I have all of cyberspace to vent to.
Now off to seek healing from perfectionist paralysis so that I can actually get something accomplished today. Prayers, people, I need prayers!
While I have some amazing close friends, none are in ministry. My heart began to ache a little as I both listened to Lisa Young speak of friendship and breathed prayers for a deeper connection with someone. I need a friend(s) who gets it, who feels the same vulnerabilities and passions. So, I pray. This time with intention. Lord, provide for me. Provide for others I know.
If you're in ministry and are feeling the squeeze of isolation, PRAY! If you have a female ministry leader in your life, PRAY that she will have replenishing relationships. God created us for relationship. He hears and will answer.
A little later in the evening I dug into by google reader, drinking in ideas and enjoying the fact that I have a whole slew of creative journeys ahead of me when we move. This post caught my eye. The Nester (LOVE her!) mentions chalkboard vinyl. Now, I realize chalkboard is all the rage right now for DIYers, but I had no idea this vinyl medium existed! It's like chalkboard heaven without any form of commitment! How great is that?
Immediately my mind started spinning with ways I could use this stuff and of course I headed straight to google to find how I could get my hands on this sticky wonder. I found some here for what seems to be a reasonable price AND the vinyl is reusable/repositionable. YAY! I also like their calendar idea...A LOT.
As of right now the house is far from what a had dreamed we'd move into. Instead of an adorable craftsman bungalow, we ended up with a mid-century plain Jane. HOWEVER, to me plain Jane equals blank canvas! My mind has already been racing with ideas to give the house some spunk.
Spunk is exactly what it needs too. The entire house is monotone inside and out. The textures are even boring. No worries, however, a year with the Becker's and the little house will be nice and loved up. Want a peek at it? (again, please realize we're buying good solid POTENTIAL here, not a better homes and garden cottage) I took these pics from the rmls listing. They're not the best quality, but you'll get the idea.
All in all this little house just needs some lovin'. It's structurally in great shape, in a great location and we're not going to be breaking the bank. I'm so thankful. I'm ready to be done with the paperwork process and get on to the painting! We have an inspection tomorrow, so I'll take more pictures then. Did I mention the tray ceilings? I'm going to have all kinds of fun with those!
Let's see...the launch team for Hopecity is growing! We have met together 4 times now and each time I get more and more excited for our future together. We recently have added a new couple who just moved here from Texas. They found us via a maze of blogs that eventually connected to Brian's announcement of HC. They're lovely people that have taken a huge leap of faith for the sake of a new season in their lives and we are honored to be a part of that new season. We are expecting at least 3 more families to check us out at our next launch meeting August 29th. It's hard to believe the favor God is showing us, but we'll take it! (If you'd like to be on our mailing list or email updates send us your info to email@example.com) The next step is to work on our preview schedule/events and finding a location!
Along with finding a location for the church, we are scrambling to find a home of our own is SE Portland. We accepted an offer for our house over a week ago. We made an offer on a new house the same weekend, but due to mysterious circumstances the owner decided to pull their house off the market. SERIOUS BUMMER! So, we are now on another hunt to find a home. We have one real prospect, but haven't quite made a decision yet. I"m so ready to get into SE. For me that will make everything feel like an official new season.
I now realize this is kind of a boring post. Hmmm...what can I do about that? OH! How about a random tip?
If you haven't grilled peaches yet this summer, you must! My favorite dessert of the entire summer was by far grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream. Seriously. Just halve the, brush both sides with oil, and grill cut side down first. When you can see grill marks or some carmalization flip the peach halves over. Put a small dab of butter in the hollow of each half and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Shut the grill lid and wait just until the peaches start to soften. Place in a cute bowl nestled next to a scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream. DELISH!
Let's see...vacation was wonderful. We had an entire 8 days to relax by the lake fishing and floating our little hearts out. Of all of the activities to do (other than eat, which seems to be the main occupation at Wanacut) Elli most enjoyed all things having to do with dirt and gravel. Nana B. brought her a cool bucket with a water pump attachment, but the only thing Elli wanted to do was fill, dump and repeat.
Yes. I DO know what happened.
Yep. Summer, July and August in particular seem to have this mysterious ability to fill every waking moment with acitivities, appointments, visits and people all in the name of "fun". My "not so crazy" summer calendar turned into a pencil smudged resemblance of a Jackson Pollock the minute we returned from vacation.
Don't worry, I haven't been miserable. It's been a great summer. I just haven't been able to settle myself down long enough to give you anything that would satisfy my
Over the next few days I'll do my best to update you with all we've been up to. Some of it I'm sure you'll
I'm sure you'll be waiting by your computer clicking the refresh button over and over until then.
He was a fast bugger...but we were determined. Little did the he know we had a beast of our own waiting in the wings.
You're going down now Beast! We laugh at your attempt to escape! We speak your name with contempt! We scratch at you in the manner of the animal kingdom. You. Are. Finished....or are you?
We have conquered the beast! He shrinks away from our attacks. The only thing we fear is licking the slime ridden leaf we used for capture. (ok, well...that only bothers mommy)
The worm..eh-hm..BEAST is done for.
Moral of the story: On occasion sacrifices have to be made for knowledge...or at least a toddler's curiosity. Our apologies to the entire worm population and the offense they may feel upon viewing this film.
This is our last summer as official youth pastors. It's hard to believe, really. I'm sure as our church plant is still in its infancy we will be deeply involved with youth next summer, but it's not going to be our main focus any longer. It's strange. Students have been our life. We have had our hearts broken by them, our fill of fun with them, our house brought to life by them, a renewed understanding of grace through them and a solid belief in hope established for them.
While I am more than ready to move out of youth ministry, I will never ever be one that says it wasn't worth it. I have LOVED being in the youth ministry. I have LOVED how passionate teenagers are about EVERYTHING. I have really really loved seeing some of our students grow up to be faithful, passionate, generous adults who are now raising their own kids to love Jesus.
So, this summer, as I begin to complain about our crazy schedule I will stop myself. I'll treasure the hilarious/delirious moments that are sure to happen during fundraisers. I'll savor every life-changing, albeit late night, prayer whispered at camp. I'll relish in the texts and emails about the latest friend-lationships. I'll pour out words of hope and belief with joy.
I'm overwhelmingly excited for all of the new experiences to come as a lead pastor's wife, but there is a bit of me that is sad to close the youth chapter of our lives. So, bring on the summer (with the appropriate weather, please) and the crazy schedules! Bring on the teens and their crazy lives! I'm ready.
Bear (endure, carry) one another's burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. Galatians 6:2 (amplified bible)I have read this verse over and over my entire life and until the past year I thought it simply meant when people were in need or sad we were to support them. I now realize it means much much more. We are to bear, endure and carry one another's burdens and the things we don't like. This is easier said than done to say the least.
Over the past two years some of the relationships I hold most dear have crumbled. These are people who know who Jesus is, people who have experienced His love and grace and celebrated His victories. Yet, circumstances shocked, choices were made, hurts accumulated and old defenses were shouted over the whisper of Holy Spirit. They ran and my heart waits, heavy and troubled.
I have experienced the spectrum of grief including anger. My body has felt the physical ache of loss and the weight of wondering. I could spread my hurt. I could let it turn bitter and sour on my tongue. I could let it fester in my mind and lead to general distrust.
There are other options. I could obey God's word and bear it. Endure it. I could carry the shadows of people I once knew deeply and pray, covering with love. I could ask for a heart like the One who has had to bear, endure and carry my choices, defenses and hiding all the way to the cross. By grace, this I choose.
Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head, Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 1 Corinthians 13 (the message)
How did this happen you say? Welp...it all started with this post. I needed help. I needed motivation. I needed an inner Billy Mays to smack me with a shamwow and snap me out of my apathy. Like magic, this post appeared in my beautifully organized google reader (yes...my closet is messy and my google is organized..priorities people!). The entire post is full of good stuff and fantastic links to other posts that have helped me tremendously. One point, however, stood in large bold typeface above the others and it was this point that I believe pushed me around that last corner toward a complete about face. Are you ready to read it? Are you sure?
This past week we also officially decided to become a part of Growing Healthy Churches Network. They are awesome! Brian and I went through there assessment this past January (in order to find out if we were crazy enough to do this whole church planting thing) and I fell in love with the leaders and their passion for church planters and the spread of the gospel. A few weeks ago we had a regional cluster with other church planters and I was again reminded why I'm thankful for GHCN. It's a weird and insanely hard thing to do, church planting, and it's great to meet and pray with other people who know exactly what this strange role is like.
Beyond the house and church stuff, we have one great big little thing keeping us on our toes...ELLI! She has officially learned to walk (WHEW! Barely made that 15 month old mark) and has decided that this walking business gives license to get into everything that was once off limits. Yep. This morning Brian caught her in the cupboard under the sink chewing on a banana peel she had pulled out of the garbage (YUCK!). We had only been out of the kitchen for less than 15 seconds! Needless to say I've been scouring every parenting book I own for strategies to keep her occupied and me sane. On the flip side I've never met a funnier toddler. A day doesn't go by that I don't crack up at one of her funny little quirks. Here are a couple peeks at what Miss Elli has been up to lately...
PS...uh...daddy was in charge of Elli's hair in video #2...
So this one goes out to my cyber friends in Poland...Could you please make yourselves known? Why do you read this blog? How did you find it? Are you a human being or just another computer playing tricks on me? If you are indeed real, thanks for giving me the ability to say my blog has "international appeal" and my readers "span the globe". ha ha
I realized today I like to be right in the sense of I like to be helpful. I like to know tips and tidbits that make someone's day easier. I don't do this to be Miss Smarty Pants (although I'm sure I've been interpreted that way many many times), but because I simply love to SHARE information (unforutnately I tend to share whether people like it or not, I'm working on that). Perhaps this is because I love to RETAIN information. It doesn't really matter what the information is about...baby food, hormones, cooking, crafting, space satellites...I just like to read and happen to easily remember. I think I have a touch of photographic memory...either that or I'm a just a nerdy fact horder. (Stop smirking!)
ANYWAYS, as I was saying, I love it when I share a fact and it helps someone else. I love it as much as learning a fact and it helping me. For example, I love this helpful blog and was finally able to offer a tiny bit of help myself. When I discovered I had helped I had this deep sense of thrill. Is that weird? Am I weird? I am weird.
I'm quite aware that this trait is not without its downsides. It can be annoying...especially to my husband. But it can be good too...right? I mean, what if no one ever shared what they had learned? What if we didn't know the best way to make ganache or deter squirrels from bird feeders? I'm pretty sure the world wouldn't be as great of a place...and there would be a lot more fat squirrels
Question of the day: Do you have a trait that others may not appreciate as much as you do? What is it?
17. Elli hiding the fact she can stand on her own and getting caught
18. My baby sister home for two weeks (yes, she's always this cool)
20. A quick trip to the beach
21. A perfect text from my man at the perfect time
22. Spiritually relief after some tough inward battles
23. Praise Baby DVDs (thank you, LORD!!!)
24. Seeing Pioneer Woman with my mom
26. Taste of Home 2000 "Garlic Beef Enchiladas"
27. A great missions Sunday at church
28. These beautiful smiles
To say last week was tough would be an understatement. I don't know what started it exactly, but a dark heavy cloud definitely chose me as it's new best friend. I spent the whole week feeling gloomy, grey and downright sorry for myself. Did I mention that I have no idea what triggered it?
It was so frustrating! I had this huge pile of what I like to call "blec" weighing on my shoulders. Along with the "blec" came a giant load of "I can't stand myself" and "I don't think anybody else can either" and "I don't blame them" and "No one else will feel sorry for me, so I'd better". I'm sure none of you have ever suffered this. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one.
Thank goodness for Mondays. That's right...MONDAYS! While many dread Mondays (and yes I do too, occasionally), I relish them. Monday is the mark of a new week, a chance to start clean and fresh. I love Mondays and today was no exception. Today was a chance to start anew, a chance to escape that nasty cloud's shadow.
At church yesterday my amazing and hot husband preached about not living a "stoned life". In other words, it's the week after easter. A stone no longer exists on Jesus' grave and we should live like it. It was a great word that we all need to hear. As I sat there I kept thinking about how I had spent the whole week
So today I seized the truth and with all I could I decided to live a stone free life. Today wasn't perfect. I can still feel that heavy cloud hot on my heels. But it was a new fresh day filled with new hope and new life. And with that I begin (finally) to be thankful...
1. The prettiest baby in the whole wide world
9. My sister picking up some cute clothes and toys for Elli
10. Two lovely college girls bringing highlights into a very tough week
11. A fun trip to the NIKE employee store
12. Toby Mac's TONIGHT album
13. Elli's tiny hands lifted in worship
14. Elli crying out "mama" in the night for the first time
15. My cozy, cuddly bed
16. My very own blog-stalker Ms. D ;)
If you've known me for longer than two years you know SE has been the one area of Ptown I said I would NEVER live in. My perceptions of it were filled with scary "lingerie show" houses, prostitutes, and garbage...a lot of garbage. Thankfully Jesus has done an amazing work in me and I can see two things much more clearly now. #1 The darkness I just described is exactly where we SHOULD be as Christians #2 There is a lot more to SE Portland than a short strip of SE 82nd (aka car lot row).
So...(fanfare here)...here are my favorite things about SE Portland (so far).
Lane Middle School - I may not necessarily want Elli to ever go there, but Lane has my heart. I have been working there as a mentor-program facilitator for 4 years now. This school has literally been invaded with Jesus followers over the last 4 years all the way up to the principal and you can tell. At first I HATED it. The kids were rude, crude and very hard to manage. BUT, my heart was softened and I'd like to think there's was too. Now I thrive in the diverse and energetic culture of Lane and it's faculty.
Papacino's - Brian and I both like this coffee shop quite a bit, even thought the coffee isn't awesome. It's in the heart of the Woodstock area (one of our target areas) and is surrounded by giant windows so you can view the people both inside and out from one of their 10 or more cozy wingback chairs.
Laughing Planet - This restaurant is super yummy! Just yesterday I ate an amazing BBQ chicken quesedilla that I'm already craving a repeat of. All of their ingredients are whole, organic, local and hormone-free. Brian and I aren't exactly in the enviro camp, which a lot of it's proceeds go to, but I really like their bent towards healthy food and supporting local schools and farms.
Diversity- SE has a little bit of everything. Rich, poor, white, black, asian, hispanic. Super duper liberal, plain 'ol middle class, hippies, hipsters, gangs, artists, chefs, gardners, condo-dwellers and soccer moms all reside their. God is mulitfaceted and His creation displays it. I love that. I am so excited to see how so many different kinds of people can come together and serve the exact same God, just like in heaven. Beautiful.