Saturday, October 29, 2011

This is the stuff...

A couple of months ago, I heard this song for the first time & thought it was "cute" at best, but not exactly highly 'spiritual'.

And then October 2011 happened..........

I spent the last half of September feeling compelled, urged, nudged, convicted (whatever you want to call it) to tithe when October 1st rolled around. I argued with God & tried to ignore Him. I explained to Him why we couldn't afford to tithe. I attempted to point out the balance in our checkbook because I figured He was busy & hadn't had a chance to look at those numbers. (ha ha) But He kept tapping my shoulder with an outstretched palm, asking me to give Him what is His. So when October 1st came, I wrote the check & ran to the mailbox to get it out of my hands as quick as possible. After all, if I kept it in my hands for very long I'd get nervous about it & change my mind.

So we tithed this month. For the first time in a couple of years. And then life happened.

I was all into the cool things God was doing for us at the beginning of the month. I was happy to point out each little blessing that went our way to my "team" of girlfriends who were praying me through this leap of faith (tithing). I shared with them every time I found a nickel on the ground or got an unexpected refund in the mail. I was all about the silver linings & rainbows & unicorns & warm fuzzies early in the month. And then we ran out of money in the bank by the 15th. Our tithe check hit the bank & overdrew the account. Ouch. And while I could explain further, I'll just say that God showed up & provided. We haven't had one single need this month that went unmet. (Why does this always amaze me?)

And somehow, we've made it to the end of the month with peace about our finances. We're still overdrawn and we will still go into November with a deficit but despite that, I am hearing Larry & I both echo the same sentiment over & over "It's okay....God's going to take care of us." Mid-month, you would've heard both of us express much different feelings.

And then life happened some more.

In the past six months or so, my sweet husband has commented several times about feeling disconnected from our church body & leadership. No one has done ANYTHING wrong or treated him poorly, he just hasn't been able to bond with anyone. Of course, he was only attending on Sunday mornings & going home. If you aren't plugged in to a ministry or a Bible study group, it's really hard to feel "at home" in a church. I convinced him to try to get involved with the men's group he was a part of years ago when we were at this same church the 1st time. I felt like if he would find a core group of friends/men that he really connected with, it would make him feel a lot more connected to the church. He tracked down one of the members, found out what book they're studying right now & jumped back in. It means getting up way before dawn once a week to meet with them, but he loved it all those years ago and in the past 2-3 weeks that he's gone, he has fallen in love with this group again. He told me last night that he wishes he'd done this a long time ago.

On Thursday when he got sick, he had been to that Bible study group early in the morning. 8 hours later, he was in the hospital. The leader of the group called my cell phone that night & prayed for Larry with me. On Friday, EVERY SINGLE MAN in that group came to visit Larry at the hospital or called to check on him. On Friday, the pastors called & visited. Church members called, emailed & came by to check on him. Not because they had to, but because they love him & wanted to see if he was OK or if they could do anything for us. On Friday, my precious husband felt more loved & cared for by our church than he has in the 2 1/2 years we've been going there.

I heard this song again last night & it struck me in a whole new way. Then today a girlfriend of mine commented about the difficult past year she's had & said she sure wouldn't have ever chosen the path she's walked, but God has walked through it with her and she's learned lessons she would've never learned any other way. How true that is for us as well. Her statement reminded me of the chorus of this song. "It might not be what I would choose, but this is the stuff you use!"

Oh my, how He's used some "stuff" this month.

"This is the Stuff" by Francesca Batistelli
I lost my keys in the great unknown
And call me please 'Cuz I can't find my phone

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

45 in a 35
Sirens and fines while I'm running behind

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff that's getting to me lately
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
But I gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

So break me of impatience
Conquer my frustrations
I've got a new appreciation

It's not the end of the world

This is the stuff that drives me crazy
This is the stuff
Someone save me
In the middle of my little mess
I forget how big I'm blessed
This is the stuff that gets under my skin
And I've gotta trust You know exactly what You're doing
It might not be what I would choose
But this is the stuff You use

Oh Oh Oh Oh
This is the stuff You use

Five Question Friday (on Saturday)

1. Do you prefer cotton, silk, or flannel sheets?
Cotton only, please. Silk or flannel would make me sweat.

2. What time zone are you in?

3. What is your favorite part of the holiday season?
As if I could narrow it down to JUST ONE thing! That's craziness.

4. What is your favorite "wintry" drink? (It doesn't have to be an "alcoholic" drink!)
Egg Nog. But I've learned my lesson. I can only buy it one time per season. One bottle/carton is way more than enough. It's SO rich & sweet and SOOOO full of calories & fat. ONE egg nog is plenty....but I have to have it at least ONCE.

5. In your opinion, what is the worst job in the world?
I could not & will not ever work with dead bodies. I have a morbid fascination with documentaries, pictures & videos of how things work in a funeral home, even autopsies sort of fascinate me. But when it comes down to me actually being near a body, it freaks me out. I've had friends and relatives who I dearly loved pass away & I found it hard to stand next to the casket, let alone touch them. It creeps me out for some reason. So if you ever see me homeless & begging for money on the street, you'll know it's because I lost my job & the only thing available was a mortician position at the local funeral parlor. :::shudder:::

My husband, however, thinks it would be cool to run a funeral home.

Friday Phone day late

My Thursday & Friday were a little out of whack, so forgive me for being a day late on this. Join me in dumping out all your cell phone pictures into a post on your blog --- a Friday Phone Dump! Link back here & comment so I can come see your pictures! Here is my week in pictures.

I love Sudoku!
While babysitting a friend's kids last weekend, I played Tiddlywinks with one of them. Without even thinking about what I was doing, I was given a reminder of how OCD I really am.

We made a house!

When little sisters get bored at marching band contest, they take pictures of themselves like this one.

and this one...
Samuel was in a choir performance this week where he had to dress like a 50s/60s kid. He did the white Tshirt & jeans with his hair greased back look. After the concert, we went to Dairy Queen for a treat. (The gel had dried & his hair didn't look so greased back anymore by this time!)

Larry wouldn't let me take a picture of him in his pretty hospital gown (I tried!), but I did get a picture of the sun making this part of the hospital almost glow as it set. We were on a walk around the floor & came to this window where the view was just beautiful.

While Larry was in the hospital, I was feeding Daisy & took a picture of her looking up at me. I sent it to Larry & said "Daisy says hi". She is such a sweet dog!! It's easy to fall in love with this angel face.

Tonight I did childcare at a local church. I had to giggle when all of the kids wanted to play in the sandbox at one time. How many kids can you fit around a 3'x3' sandbox? Apparently, at least 6...maybe more!

I used to love swinging as a kid. Tonight, I tried again. Yep...still enjoy it!

I know I still have a longgggggg way to go, but here's what my bicep looks like after losing 16 lbs. If you squint your eyes & tilt your head just right, you can almost see the muscle!

My weekly self portrait. What do you think? Should I go blonde? (ha ha!)

Update on Larry

I know the majority of you follow me on Facebook, so you've already heard this. But just in case:

Larry entered the hospital about 4:00 on Thursday for the bowel obstruction. At that point, I sent a text to Facebook to start up the prayers from my 1000+ friends. The doctor told us that Larry would be in the hospital for 3-5 days minimum.

About 27 hours later, I walked out the front door of the hospital with my husband. The obstruction that should've taken 3 times that to 'clear' was GONE already!

If you don't believe in the healing power of prayers, you should.

Larry is home, feeling fine. He's a little weaker than before & a little tired. He'll have to eat liquid/soft foods for a few days. But outside of that, he's great!

THANK YOU for the prayers & emails & texts & inbox messages on Facebook and wall posts on Facebook, etc. I love my sweet online family!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pray for Larry, please!

Larry had a Bible study to attend at 6:30 this morning. Before he left, he told me that his stomach hurt really bad & he made several trips to the potty (sorry...I know that's TMI, but ya know....kinda goes with this territory). He texted me after the study & told me he was feeling horrible & was going to come home instead of work.

I was getting ready for work myself when he got to the house & I could see that he was in a lot of pain. He was in the fetal position on our bed for a while, feeling awful. I told him to call me & let me know how he was later and I left for work. It didn't appear that I could really help him & we both thought he was getting a stomach virus or something. He texted later that he was going to the doctor at 1:30 because it was getting worse by the hour. He came by the school where I work to get cash to pay the doc on his way & he was obviously hurting a lot, sweating & flushed.

An hour later, he texted that the Xrays revealed a bowel obstruction. He said the doc was admitting him to the hospital immediately for surgery & I needed to come get him ASAP to drive him to the hospital.

By the time I picked up the kids & went to the doc's office where he was, an ambulance was pulling up to get him instead. The doc changed her mind & felt it was important for him to be transported that way because he was having a reaction to the pain medicine & she wanted him monitored on the way to the hospital.

We got into a room at the hospital about 4:00. The doctor stopped by to see him shortly after we arrived & said that 90% of all bowel obstructions will clear on their own, so there was only a 10% chance he'd need surgery. (Whew!) However, that means laying in the hospital bed for 3-5 days with nothing by mouth to allow his intestines to 'rest' & do the work of wiggling & moving (like all of our intestines do!) to move the obstruction through.

They ordered an NG tube (tube down the nose) to suction out all his stomach contents and a cat scan so that they could get a better idea of what sort of obstruction they're dealing with. To do the CT, he'd have to drink some contrast stuff, but that pretty much immediately came back UP pretty needless to say, they did the CT without contrast after all! (When that happened, they decided that the NG tube wasn't really doing any good so they took it out. Larry was THRILLED with that decision because it was driving him crazy!)

The surgeon said that he's almost 100% sure that the obstruction is scar tissue from his gall bladder surgery (15 yrs ago) and unless the CT results showed something drastically different, they will just watch him for the next few days & do daily Xrays/scans to confirm that it's not getting worse or wait for it to clear on its own. If, after 3 or 4 days he's not progressively getting better, they will THEN discuss surgery, but chances are great that they will not have to do that!

I decided to go ahead & come home tonight since he's not in a private room & sleep here rather than that oh-so-comfortable chair in the hospital room. In the morning I will take the kids to school & go onto work from 10-2 and then pick up the kids & go back to the hospital so they can see him. The girls took things pretty well today, but Samuel was quite upset about his dad, so it'll do him good to see him & figure out that he's ok. I figured if he's going to be there for several days & I might need to take off work on Monday to bring him home, it's better for me to go on to work tomorrow & let the docs/nurses take care of him for the day. (Of course if something changes drastically I will be back at the hospital in a heartbeat!)

I left the hospital about 10:45 tonight & at that point, they had not gotten the CT results back, but unless they find something very different than what the doctor expects, it looks like he'll just be hanging out in the hospital bed for a few days.

If things change, I'll update.

P.S. I'm having a donut from the donut shop in the morning & then I'm going to come home & take a nap before work. And I'm not going to feel guilty about either thing! :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10/26 Today I'm grateful for.......

Today I am thankful I have a job. Actually I have several jobs....and fortunately, I enjoy all of them! I'm also thankful that Larry has a job he enjoys! (He's also recently applied for some part time "side" jobs & if he gets those, he will enjoy them, too!)

Sure, it stinks to have to work 4-5 jobs to make ends meet, but you know what? It could be worse. I feel like I've got pretty "cushy" jobs actually. My hours are great. I'm home with the kids when they are home at least 98% of the time. I am available to take them to & from school and attend all their special events. I am off on Sundays so I can attend church with my family.

Seriously, I am blessed. With so many people around the world on the job hunt, I am thankful I have a job at all.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10/25 Today I am grateful for........

Today I am grateful for my son, Samuel.

In March of 2000, my world changed. After living as a girl my whole life & having given birth to a little girl 3 1/2 years before, all the sudden I needed to take care of a little boy. While I had been given the gift of many years with only nephews born from 1987-1994, they had never lived with me 24 hours a day.

While I still don't always understand him (after all, who really understands boys?!), I can't imagine my life without him. He is a sweet boy, but he's messy & loud & stinky & sticky. Lucky for me, I hear that's how all little boys are, so obviously I'm not the only one who cringes at the dirty fingernails & the sweaty hugs & sticky countertops. I'm not the only mom picking sticks & rocks & dirt out of pockets when I do laundry or reading "Will you be my girlfriend? Check yes or no" notes with a melting heart.

Sam is a funny kid. He has been since birth. As a toddler, he had us in stitches all the time and continues to crack us up on a regular basis.

Thank goodness for little boys! I love you my Snuggleboy!

P.S. We got the results of his testing back today. He does indeed have ADHD-inattentive type.

Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24 Today I am grateful for.......

In the late 90's, I was in an email group for moms called Just4Moms. We were divided into sub-groups (infants, toddlers, preschoolers, moms who were trying to conceive, Christian moms, Jewish moms, moms of teens, etc, etc). When the larger organization decided to move to a web-based message board system, one of the groups I was a part of (the trying to conceive group) decided to stick together & create our own email group to stay in touch because, at the time, none of us wanted to move to the message board system. We had created such a sweet little tight knit community that we didn't want to get "lost" on the message boards.

And so, Just-us-Moms (aka: JUMs) was formed. We had our own email group for a long, long time. The group technically still exists, but most of us are on Facebook now & keep in touch that way instead.

From that group of moms, many friendships were formed that I will forever be thankful for. But one of them in particular became especially sweet for me. I met my best friend through that group & after all these years, we've only actually seen each other in person 1 time, but the distance only makes the friendship sweeter. (Plus I'm convinced that one day I'll persuade her to move to Texas!)

Bethany gets me. She knows how passionate I am about Jesus & worship. She knows how deeply seated my faith is & how that affects everything in my life.

But she also knows that I'm a bit of a grammar and spelling nazi. She knows how screwed up my sense of humor is. She knows about my health, my family, my marriage, my finances. We share lots of texts & emails every single day, despite the hundreds of miles between us. She knows about all my idiosyncrasies & loves me anyway.

I can't put into words the privilege it is to have Bethany in my life. We joke that we share some crazy DNA link, because over the years we have found so many things about our lives that are similar. (Even though I can't convince her that my Texan habit of putting butter in my hot sauce at Mexican restaurants is yummy!)

We've shared births, deaths, hurts, marital highs & lows (including a divorce), losses & loves. We've watched each others' children grow up, shared stories of diapers, potty training, puberty, and everything in between.

As the years of our lives go by, we've gone from young 20s to nearing our 40s. We've talked about our changing metabolisms, hormonal craziness, menopause, night sweats, weird facial hairs and all the other strange things female bodies do as they age.

I look forward to the years when we discuss our children's college choices, their spouses, the grandbabies we will rock to sleep while we babysit. I look forward to the years we can compare notes as we buy burial plans and long-term nursing home vs. assisted living issues.

Thank you, God, for Bethany.

I love you, girl!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In case you missed it!

Tomorrow begins the 1 month countdown to Thanksgiving. Aside from being amazed that it's this close to the end of the year, I am SUPER excited about heading into the season of giving & being thankful. If you missed my post about how I'd love for you to join in, please check it out HERE. If you have a blog, please join in!!! And if you don't have a blog, join me in giving & being thankful by email, on Facebook, however you can!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Where do you escape to when you've had enough?
I assume this is not asking for something like Cozumel or Bermuda. 'Cause while those places would be amazing, my usual escape is the bathtub full of bubbles...or sitting right here in front of my computer....or curled up on my pillows taking a nap. Usually "escape" for me means that I am still in the house, just away from everyone else.

2. What shows are you watching this fall?
Umm...nothing in particular. Whatever is on when I walk through the living room. Honestly, I'm more invested in Good Luck Charlie and Shake It Up Chicago than any "grown up" shows right now.

3. What was the longest roadtrip you've ever taken and where did you go?
I THINK the longest road trip I've ever been on was the 1500+ miles (one way) trip home from Los Angeles in 2007.

4. Do you plan on taking your kids to Disney World?
I took them to Disneyland on that trip in '07. Maybe one day we'll go to Orlando for them to see the "other" Disney park.

5. What is something people would surprised to know about you?
I'm pretty much as "what you see is what you get" sort of gal. Not too many secrets with me. If you're curious about something, ask me.

Friday Phone Dump

What did you do this week? Show me in pictures on your blog! Link back here & post a comment so I can come over to your blog and take a peek at your Friday Phone Dump! Here's my week in pictures.

Last Saturday morning, our town's local annual festival culminated with a big parade. The high school band marched in it, so we were seated on the roadside nearly an hour before it was planned to start, waiting to cheer for Savannah. I took this picture & posted it to Facebook with the caption "Good morning, Mr. Sun. Where is your dimmer switch?" Gosh it was bright!

After the parade, I took off my shoes & found this. I think it's the only tan line I've had all year long. Even after the blazing 110+ degree summer we had. And here we are in mid-October & I spent a few hours at a parade & get this! ha ha!

Sarah decided we need some Halloween/Fall decorations and created this earlier this week. It's hanging on the outside of our front door. I've since put up the "real" Fall decorations, but I couldn't take this down! It's on the door just below the Fall wreath.

On Wednesday nights, I do childcare at my church. This week, these were two of the sweeties I got to hang out with.

On Wednesday afternoon when I got home from work, I found a stack of hand me down pants for Samuel on the porch with an embroidered kitchen towel with our family's last initial on it. I figured my mom, the avid garage saler had left them for us. That's not an uncommon thing for her to do. So I called & asked. wasn't her. I texted a neighbor with a son who is Samuel's age & asked if she'd left the pants. Nope, it wasn't her either. I have no idea where the pants came from, so I posted to my Facebook page that I was thankful for the Magical Fairy who left pants on our porch. ha ha!

On Thursday I got home from work & had been here a little while before a friend texted me & told me to go look on my porch. I went and looked & found all of this (picture below). I wrote & asked her who it was from & she told me she couldn't tell. (I don't think it was the same person who left the pants the previous day.) So I posted to facebook again & thanked my "porch fairy". Pretty overwhelmed with gratitude this week.

A few weeks ago, I started noticing something sweet when I went to pick up the kids from school. At Savannah's school, there is a boy who stands off to himself, away from the crowd of kids. At first I thought it was kind of sad that no one was standing with him. But after a few days of seeing him standing under the trees that line the driveway, I realized how cool he really is. He always has in his earbuds & is listening to music. He's a loner type for sure. After a week or so of watching him, I noticed that he stands still & watches for his ride most of the time, but if you're watching at just the right time, you'll see him start to dance. A little head bob, some footwork now & then, a sway or maybe some hand motions. Now and then his eyes close as he really takes in the music. It tickles me to see him do this because he has no idea I'm watching him.

Dear Loner Kid at the HS, keep being yourself. I love to watch you.

See him under the tree?
This is what happens when you're holding your phone with the camera turned on, zoomed in & ready while you wait to take the pic just above this. You get the symbol on the steering wheel if you're not careful! ha ha!

Speaking of our van, I love it. I really, really do. But it's got the goofiest electrical system. For a while, the "ESC Off" light came on at random times & would stay on for a while, then shut back off. (It's currently off.) A week or so after we bought the van, the airbag light would come on now & then & then go back off on its own. This week, the tire pressure sensor light came on for the left front tire. I panicked & had Larry come meet me to check my tires & see if I had one that had suddenly gone flat. He checked it. It was perfectly fine & the air pressure exactly matched the other 3 tires. Within a few hours, it looked like this. And today, it's not showing the right front tire anymore. You really just never know with this van. ha ha!

Sometimes I just can't help but snap a picture. The sky & these clouds looked so pretty to me! Like puffy cotton balls hanging in the sky!

A couple of nights ago, I couldn't get to sleep. It was after 1:00am when I took these next 2 pictures. I was laying in bed playing with my phone & took this first picture of my view from under the covers. My bedside lamp was lighting the room, so that's why it's grainy & dim looking.

And hmm....I wonder if Larry will kill me for taking a picture of him while he was asleep & then posting it to my blog. Only one way to find out! (giggle) I love you, sweetie!

And this week's self-portrait, taken at 1:00am on the same night as the insomniac pictures above. Don't ya love my bedtime hairdo? I always yank it up on the top of my head at bedtime. So pretty. (ha ha!)

Giving up the blog memes

As much as I enjoy the "Ten on Tuesday" and "We Want to Know Wednesdays", I am giving them up. I've been in a funk lately & haven't had the energy to put into REALLY writing. But I find that when I do put in the effort, I love the outcome. I'm not referring to the comments & "likes" on facebook (although I do love those, too!). I'm talking about the way writing makes me feel. Some people sing, some people create something, some people watch TV or partake in some other hobby.....for me it's writing. I love to write and I love the finished 'product', even if it's just rambling sentences about whatever crazy thing I did that day.

So you can expect to continue seeing the Friday Five (at least for a little while longer) and my Friday Phone Dump, but the rest of the week, it's gonna be all me baby. Whether you like it or not! ha ha!

If you have any questions you've been dying to ask me, email me (see the sidebar for my email address) or comment here. I may do a Q&A post in the near future!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Want to Know Wednesday (on Thursday!)

{1} When was the last time you lost your temper?
To some degree, probably every day. Usually with one of the kids when they are disobeying. But I don't lose my temper in a yelling & screaming sort of way.

{2} What 3 words best describe you? tell me!

{3} What movie could you watch over and over again and never get tired of?

{4} If you could do something dangerous, just once, with no risk, what would you do?

{5} Which is more important intelligence or common sense?
A balance of the two is preferable, but I guess if I must choose, I'll go with common sense.

I am such a hypocrite.

Sometimes I feel like such a hypocrite, like I'm lost in a cycle of bragging on God, praising Him, pointing out His goodness......and then falling into a pit of despair where I spend days & days whining and crying, feeling helpless & lost.

"Wow! Look at what God did!"
"Why have you forgotten me Lord? Help!!!"

"Praise Him!!! He is GOOD."
"I don't know how we're going to make it. What will we do????"

"Hallelujah! Our Lord reigns!"
"wah wah wah wah.....woe is me"

"I have such great faith. Look at me & all the things God has done for me! He loves me more than you and practically waves His magic wand when I ask Him to."
"Oh *&$%. What the heck is going on here? I need some help, God. Hello? You up there? Are you listening at all, Lord???"

Ok, so maybe I've never said that last one. Out loud. But you get the idea. That last part is how I feel like I look to others who read this blog some days since it tends to be my own personal therapy couch and I spill my heart & brain on this page. (What? You didn't know you were my therapists? Sorry about that. The copay's in the mail, I promise.)

Seriously, 99% of the time, I have no problem trusting in God. 99% of the time, I can relax & trust Him and follow whatever He leads me to do. But that other 1% of the time?

I'm 100% confident that I can trust Him when things are going good in life.
I'm still pretty confident I can trust Him when things get tough.
I'm still hanging in there & trusting Him when things get really hard.

But when the rubber meets the road? When I have to take all my 700 levels of control & place them in His hands because there is NO WAY I can take care of my own situation? Ouch. That's when I start biting my nails & manufacturing ways to fix my own problems because, ya know, if God was REALLY in charge, He would've saved the day already, right?

What was that verse in Proverbs 3:5-6? Doesn't it say something like " most of your ways, acknowledge Him...."? Oh wait, you're right. It says "Trust in the Lord with all your heart & lean not on your own understanding. In ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge Him & He will direct your paths."

ALL my ways? In EVERY single situation? Even the really dirty, messy, ugly, scary ones? ALL of them?

I want to believe that I DO acknowledge Him. Not just in a passing glance, wave as you walk by sort of way. I want to believe that I DO trust in the Lord with ALL my heart....and that I DO lean on Him. I don't want to be a window shopper where faith is concerned. I want to believe that I am sitting in that window, snuggled into the lap of my Jesus, happy to tell others about the difference He makes in my life.

But my actions speak louder. My actions speak of a heart that doubts, fears & frets.

And over what? MONEY. I realize that it's crazy to say "it's JUST money", because Heaven knows that it takes money to run the world. Everything costs something. Everything takes money to participate. The kids come home with a new permission slip requiring $5 here & $3 there nearly every day. Money leads to more marital arguments & divorces, I would speculate, than nearly anything else. We all bank online these days & watch our accounts like hawks, ready to jump into action when the numbers don't look the way we think they should.

But really? It's just money.

Every problem in my life could be solved with money. I could easily pay all my bills. I could pay someone to clean my house. I could pay a doctor to do some crazy surgery to make me skinny. I could pay someone to help my kids with their homework in the afternoons. I could buy a new house, a new car, a new computer, a fancy camera (oh...the list is endless!). Money would solve all those things.

But really? It's just money.

I don't have cancer. I'm not laying in a hospital bed in my living room with family gathered 'round to say their goodbyes.

I'm not starving in a third world country with no hope of feeding my family & having to stand by and watch my children die.

We live in a peaceful place, no wars, no torture, no gunshots in the street at night.

We're not in & out of drug rehab.

We have jobs.

My husband is alive. I'm not parenting by myself.

I have a home.

My children are healthy.

We have family nearby who love us.

The truth is, we really are very lucky. We are richer than so many others in the world. So many don't have all those things. And those problems can't be solved by money. They require so much more.

My problems? In the grand scope of things, they're nothing. I have trouble paying my bills every month & that hurts. But that's no big deal in comparison to the evil & the pain going on in the lives of so many others.

If it means drawing me closer to the heart of Jesus, I'll take an empty checkbook.
If it means making me depend on Him more, I'll take the overdraft fees.
If it means pointing to Him and saying "I don't know how, but we made it through", I'll watch the checks bounce.
If it means crying out to God and burying my face in the pillow while I sob & pray every few weeks, begging for provision and for Him to somehow get us to the 31st with all we need, I'll take it.

Because in reality, it's just money.
My problems could be so much worse.

"Fear not, for I am with you says the Lord. I have redeemed you, I have called you by name. Child, you are mine. When you walk through the waters, I will be there. And through the flames. You'll not be drowned. You'll not be burned. For I am with you." (paraphrase Isaiah 41)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Do you prefer your ice cream in a bowl or in a cone?
I really don't care. Just hand me the ice cream & get out of the way!

2. What three things do you love the smell of?
Vanilla, fresh cut grass, burning leaves

3. Gift cards or no? (In regards to gift giving...)

4. What sports did you play in high school if any and do you still play them?
I didn't play any sports in junior high or high school. But I workout now!

5. Were you in band in high school? What instrument did you play?
No, but I wish I was. I thought band kids were nerds when I had the chance to join. But by the time I graduated HS, I realized that it would've been really cool to learn how to play an instrument.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Friday Phone Dump

It's that time of the week again! Dump all those pictures out of your phone & let us see 'em! If you do a phone dump on your blog, link back here and comment so I can see your pictures! And's what I did this week!

Last weekend's football game --- Sarah took this picture of the cheerleaders doing their stunts

Last Sunday night I did childcare at a local church. It was a busy, busy night! Nine kids on a rainy night = no playground time = tired babysitter! :) At the very end, I let them watch a movie. They were all pretty entranced by Veggie Tales at this moment!

One of our sweet girlies ended up in Sarah's lap for most of the movie.

Earlier this week, Sarah & a friend did the pledges for the school over the intercom. My girlfriend Becky who works there sent me this picture. (and yes, I intentionally blurred the other little girl's face and the lady in the background since I don't have their permission to post their picture online!)

Wednesday night childcare at my church. These two sweet girls were big fans of the swings---even the "baby swings" which they are really much too old/big for. Gena & Laci, do you recognize your girls? ha ha! It's blurred, but you can still see their giggles!

On my way home from the church that night, the moon was SO pretty. I tried to take a picture, but I'm afraid I ended up with something a little more Blair Witch Project than artsy & pretty.

Stuck in traffic on the way to the football game tonight. I was holding my phone when Sarah said "take my picture". I only pointed it over my shoulder & hit the button. I wasn't sure what she was doing until after I took the picture. ha ha! Silly girl!

She's so funny when she gets a hold of my phone. She always poses & takes a hundred pictures of herself. This was her "bored face" during the game.

And I suppose this is her happy face. ha ha! Such a pretty girl!

Samuel had a blue raspberry ring pop tonight. Can you tell?

Sarah's was green. She was determined that her tongue was as green as Samuel's was blue. Hmm...maybe a little.

This week's awkward self portrait, complete with one half-crossed eye. ha ha!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Want to Know Wednesday (on Thursday!)

{1} What is your feel better remedy when you are sick?
It depends on what kind of sickness I'm suffering from.

{2} When illness strikes, what is your policy on staying home from work, school or church with yourself and the family?
We try to stick to the 24 hour rule. If one of the kids has fever, diarrhea or vomitting, they have to wait 24 hours after the last episode before going out & being around people again. If they don't have those sort of symptoms, we go on a case by case basis.

{3} What do you think is worse? Flu or cold?
They can both be yucky for different reasons. The flu lasts longer & usually carries worse symptoms. A little cold can be medicated & dealt with at work/school/home.

{4} Flu shots? Do you get them? Have you yet?
I don't really want to open that GIGANTIC can of worms here, but no....I don't get a flu shot. Actually, the only one in our house who does is Sarah and that's only because she's young & has asthma and the flu can make her really, really sick so we try to prevent her from getting it.

{5} When are are feeling down, what is your usual, go-to therapy? (retail therapy, exercise, comfort food, etc).
Sleep, laying around, reading, writing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bags full of God's love

A few days ago, I posted about our experience with tithing. Or rather, with beginning to tithe again. God has been SO good, SO amazing, SO sweet to us. It's only October 12th so I know the month is far from over, but I'm finding my perspective changed daily.

I have been looking at things in a new light since October 1st when that tithe check went into the mailbox. It's hard to explain.

I've seen a tank of gas last me from September 29th to October 12th and recognized "there's God, giving me a widow's oil sort of blessing". (actually it would've lasted another day or so but I chose to fill up today) Honestly, I've NEVER had a single tank of gas last me 2 full weeks without running out. It doesn't make logical, mathematical sense. But that's just how God rolls.

Day in & day out, I see more things like this. A gallon of milk stretching to nearly a week's supply. (We usually go through a gallon of milk about every other day.) The last 2 rolls of toilet paper lasted farrrrr longer than usual. (I think they were growing extra sheets during the night or something!) Finding an ingredient tucked away in the back of the pantry that I forgot we had but it's there when we need it. Over & over, sweet little reminders from God that we can survive on the 90% when we give Him the 10% He requests of us. Over & over, sweet reminders from God to show us how much He loves us.

Yesterday our church secretary, who saves me her Sunday paper coupons every week, reminded me to stop by her desk & pick them up tonight when I was at the church. I told her I would. Then she said "...and when you come, pick up these sacks in the office with your name on them." I couldn't figure out what sacks she was referring to. Thinking that it might be hand me downs that a church friend had offered I texted her asking if she'd left those clothes at the church office. wasn't her. The secretary said it was bags of food!

When I was leaving the church office tonight carrying the bags, Samuel asked me what the bags were full of. I just giggled & said "God's love!" The reality is this food is from God and He used the hands of some sweet person to deliver them.

It's just another way of forcing me to bow my will to His and say with confidence....

"I trust you, God!"

I know He will cover every tithe check I write. I know He honors our obedience. I count it my privilege to point to Him & say "Look at how great my God is! Look at what He's done!"

Truly Father, you amaze me. Every day. I am breathing. I have a home. I have a healthy family. I have food on the table every day (and then some!). I have a vehicle that runs well. I have a job I enjoy. Larry has a job he loves. I have an amazing church family and a massive number of awesome friends who love me. I am blessed beyond measure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spread the word & join in!

Hey friends!!! Here at Liz's World, I try to make sure & honor Thanksgiving in a big way every year. I do this because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! Every other holiday seems to be messed up in some way. There is some fictional mascot or the focus is about presents & candy or selfishness is glorified in some other way. But no one has messed up Thanksgiving yet. So this year, I'll be focusing on thankfulness & giving here at the blog and I would LOVE for you to join in! Here's what is going to happen.

#1 The big GIVE
While Thanksgiving is about being THANKFUL, it's also about GIVING. Starting 1 month prior to Thanksgiving (October 24th), I'm going to give away 1 thing every day. I realize that with the economy like it is, many of us don't have the funds to go buy new things to give away. (But by all means, if you do, feel free to do that!!) I'd be willing to bet that ALL of us have at least 30 items around the house that we need to get rid of. Books, office supplies, dishes, bedding, old towels & rags, even those groceries at the back of the pantry that you're never going to use! Whether it means handing them to a friend who needs them or packing them up & delivering them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or a local church to share with a family in need. Whatever way you go about it is up to you! So come on, GIVE!!!!!! Consider the impact a community of friends, neighbors & bloggers can have in the month leading up to Thanksgiving if we all share the blessings in our lives with others!

NOTE: The spirit of giving is NOT to gain fame or praise for it. If you choose to give anonymously, please do not post about it on your blog, facebook, emails, etc!

#2 Today I'm grateful for.......

Also starting 1 month before Thanksgiving, I am going to post daily about 1 thing I am thankful for. We (all) have a habit of whining about what we don't like or what we don't have, but how often do you slow down & just say THANK YOU? Now is your chance.

PLEASE spread the word about our Thanksgiving "projects" & join me on your blog! If you don't have a blog, share about it on Facebook or just by emails to your friends. You can link this blog post if you'd like to. If you're going to do either of the above (The Big Give or Today I'm Grateful for...) on your blog, let me know. I'd love to hear how you're blessing others and what you're thankful for.

Feel free to 'steal' either of my pictures above for use on your blog/facebook/emails, etc.