Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'll take character over reputation...

So, I have to admit, as much as I would like to say that I am the girl that doesn't give a crap what others think (and typically I really don't) today I totally did.

As I told you the other night, we are in the midst of some court stuff with the kiddo's biological dad.  And I am still not going into details, lol, but I will say one of my friend's showed me something that was posted about me the other day on his facebook, and it urked me... especially all these comments from strangers (and a few "friends") that were targeted to make me sound like some kind of crazy person who did not want the kids to know their dad... NOT.  In fact, I would love for him to step up and do the opposite --- more than just say he does on Facebook, but really be there for them both physically and emotionally.  I pray that someday soon that happens.  I know how hard it is to grow up without my dad, and I have always encouraged that relationship regardless of my own personal feelings.

One thing that I have always tried to do is make sure that I am positive even about those who wrong me most, :) and you know what -- I am going to continue that.  I think it easy to try and make the other person look bad when you truly have guilt in your heart, and I refuse to aim below the belt that way.  I have been there, done that in my youth, and I will not do that anymore.  I am not that girl anymore.

As I have and will always continue to say, I pray daily for the strength to face my battles with joy and LOTS of humor. 

I pray great things over the many people I encounter both who I adore and love, and those who are a challenge to like, lol.   

God has a way of working on my heart especially with those challenging ones.  I don't have any sort of hate, resentment, or ill wishes toward anyone and that is all God (obviously).  I sleep well at night.  I want good things for those who don't "deserve" them, mainly because I am very VERY undeserving of all the blessings God gives me, and still by grace He somehow does.

I realize that those who try and make us suffer, usually are suffering pretty greatly themselves. 

So, today I got angry and butt hurt for a minute, :) and then I remembered this phrase:

"I'll take character over reputation.  Your character is what you really are, while reputation is merely what others think you are."

I don't live for the world, I live for Him... And I love my babies very very much.

Amen.  :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

once upon a bad week.. when we tossed ourselves aside

I am going to do a post for the "past" category... I have not done that in some time, so here it is...  I want to take you back to November of 2009.  This is a part of Steve and I's story that is a bit untold.  Most of the time people think we have always been roses and hearts, lol... Actually let me back up a little before that....

I had received the royal engagement in February of 2009 from a Prince who proposed to me under a castle.  We were engaged, and we had planned to marry in June of 2009.  I was really happy... I loved him deeply, and I knew he was my soul mate.

BUT then I was scared.  I had already had a failed marriage, and as a result I was a single mother of two very young kids.  I was not worthy of a Prince.  I pretty much tried to convince myself daily of all the reasons I was not supposed to have happiness with him.  I was undeserving.  I would never be able to give him, his "firsts" - first marriage, first child, first anything.  I had already done all that.  I had children.  I was too independent.  I was not lovable. I was ridiculous.  :) 

June was fast approaching, and I had cold feet.  I had come up with every excuse in the book as to why we should not get married yet and why I was not worthy of being his bride.  Steve was great.  He stood by me, as I spiraled into a sea of self-doubt and insecurity.  So, we prayed about it and changed the date to October.

After my divorce I had done counseling and felt really healed, and yet it was not until this moment that I realized that there were still some things that had to be processed through.  Scars from my past, and my unwillingness to see God had truly wiped my slate clean.  He had forgiven me, but I had not truly forgiven myself.

By July, I was too overwhelmed at the thought of October, so again we moved our wedding date now to February 2010.  A solid year of being engaged.  We both knew we wanted to be with each other forever, that was never the question....   The question really was, "would I be ready to really let go of who I used to be, to be willing to be who God was leading me to be?  Could I really move past it all?  Would I ever think I was good enough?"

Then, we began pre-marital counseling, and it was awesome and hard and good and messy.  We had to be really honest with ourselves and each other.  We both had a peace that February was God's perfect timing, until...

November 2009 came.

This whole time I had been the one freaking out, coming up with excuses, etc.  but in November Steve had his turn.  We had never "broken up" - we were never one of those couples that were off and on, we were always on.  But that November we did break up, for a whole week.  Lol.

It was the worst week of both of our lives, but it was also really great for both of us.  We realized how stupid we both were, and how miserable we were apart, and how we needed to let go of our insecurities and really commit to working through our stupid stuff - that we loved each other more than anything.

We were happily married in February of 2010.  We love each other, even when we don't like each other :), he is the one God put on this earth for me, and I almost let myself ruin that.

So why I am telling you all this?  Well, because God laid it on me to tell you for some reason.

I think a lot of times we let ourselves get in the way of our own happiness.  We focus on the negative, we worry, we doubt ourselves, we don't feel worthy... What if we did a better job in not sweating the small stuff, in picking our battles. 

Let yourself love, and give yourself a break.  It is okay to let love in.  Everyone deserves to be loved, and His grace covers us all.

Monday, November 28, 2011

tip tap...zoom forward

I have not blogged in a while... for a number of reasons, but I will start with these few :) :

1)  I have been tired
2)  life has been crazy
3)  I have had a lot of unspoken stress

I cannot go into a lot of details about number three, other than I can say that we have had some issues come up with the kiddo's biological dad, and we have been in the midst of court stuff which is not too fun by any stretch.  The good news is that we are not going to court for anything we have done or have not done, and I will continue to have full custody which is not being debated --- just other stuff.   Today was our court date, and I was so excited to get it over with and have some resolve, but instead it has been continued to February.  It is not a bad thing other than we just have to wait until then to see what happens... and you know how I feel about waiting :)

That is all I can say about it, but I would ask that you continue to pray with us.  It is unneccessarily stressful and I want to let go of my worry or concern.

In other news, if we are Facebook friends that I suppose you have heard our SUPER BIG announcement, lol, we are expecting!!!  and yes, a baby that is...

Baby will be here sometime early summer, and we will know more details after my appointment in December.    You only thought we were crazy before, hahaha!  We are excited.  Steve has never got to experience this part of fatherhood before, so he is in for some fun surprises.

I have been extremely sick with this little tike, and although I guess this is a great sign the baby is healthy, I am not digging it too much.  So, if you see me heaving or gagging please look away --- immediately :) it is the fun 24 hour "morning" sickness.  I keep reminding myself that this, too, shall pass...

Other kiddos are doing well... Green baby is loving ballet, Jakey is getting into wrestling which he loves and scares me to death, and our teen is having her baby shower this weekend.  She is due the first week of January, but I think he will be here before then.  Our lives are crazy, but that's how I like it most of the time.

I am trying to remain obedient to Christ's calling in our lives regardless of all the super fun changes.  I keep thinking that God never called us to a life of convenience, yet He guarantees a messy, broken, beautiful road.  I am blessed to be on it, regardless of how crazy it looks on the outside.  Somehow, I tend to see the inner-connectedness of all of it and cannot help but praise Him for His ongoing provisions and discoveries. 

So, now you are up to speed.  I am going to try and get back on here more.  I always have a lot to say :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

my Christmas wish...

Each year I pray for God to place someone or something on my heart for the holidays... This year I kept thinking and praying ---  some years we sponsor a kid for Christmas, or a family, or a single mom.. Some years we just give money to organizations, or take dinner to someone or work in a soup kitchen, but this year God kept inching me somewhere else....and I feel Him saying:

"I am putting all your friends on your heart this year.  I want you to encourage them to serve, to give, to spend time helping others in the community.  Ask people to commit to something, encourage people, show them opportunities.  I can use you to help one person or family, or I can use you to motivate several to do the same... So get going."

So, here is my Christmas wish this year:  that all of my friends would commit to doing something they have never done for someone or something that they may have never felt comfortable with before.

- Sponsor a family through Single Parent Scholarship, or just a single mama - 479-254-8550 ask for Karen

- Bless a teenager with Christmas presents through the Teen Action and Support Center - 479.636.8272 ask for Chloe

- Donate a vehicle to Havenwood for their moms and babies to use in emergencies - 479.273.1060 ask for Jackie

- Take a sack of groceries to Samaritan Community Center - 479.636.4198 ask for Shannon

- Go meet your elderly neighbors and invite them to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner

- Buy a winter coat and take it to any elementary school in the area - I promise there is a kid who needs it!!!

- Buy some laundry detergent and donate it to Cobblestone Project to help wash our homeless or hurting neighbors so they can have clean clothes - email info@cobblestoneproject.org

- Go volunteer in the soup kitchen/cafe one Saturday at Samaritan - call Laura 636-4198

- Become a mentor for a young lady at Saving Grace or just volunteer to cook for them sometime - 479.636.1133 ask for Becky

- Grab an angel off the tree at any local Walmart

- Become a voice for a child in foster care through CASA - call Dianne at 725-2213

- Give money to any non-profit in NWA, even $1 helps.

- Donate a suitcase or pajamas to kids in foster care through The Call - email Ann at bentoncounty@thecallinarkansas.org

- Sponsor a horse out at Autumn's ReRide (therapeautic ranch for kiddos at-risk) or go volunteer there - email Rebecca at arryr@ymail.com

- Setup a time to go and read to kids at a local Headstart in your town.  They LOVE people to come read to them

- Host an international student into your home for the holidays (when the dorms close they have nowhere to go) - call the U of A at 575-2000 and ask for their International Students Counselor

- Pick someone at your job or church who you know is struggling and just give them a card with cash (even better -- make it anonymous)

- Cook a meal for your local Fire Department.  Those firefighters serve for 24 hours for days at a time and practically live at the fire station - they always would welcome a home-cooked meal

- Grab a package of diapers at Walmart and take it up to the Bentonville High School Building Bridges for their teen mothers who are working hard to graduate

- Call 7 Hills Homeless Center and find out what you can do to help the homeless this winter (their needs change often) but things like blankets, socks, etc. are so crucial this time of year - call Jon at 251-7776

- "Adopt" a widow at work or church and write them encouraging cards this year. 

- Buy tickets for a family that has never been to the movies or to the Walton Arts Center or to a Razorback basketball game and just bless them with it

- Offer to babysit for someone and do NOT charge them

- Take someone a Christmas tree who isn't in the Christmas spirit

- Go volunteer at a local hospital the week of Christmas (no one wants to be there that week)

- Take Christmas cards to a local nursing home and spend time in conversation with some residents there (you may be the only family or smiles they see)


The list goes on and on... It does not matter who you are, what mistakes you have made, how much money you have, YOU have something to give to someone.  BLESS someone this year with the gift of yourself.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guts and grace :)

Guts and grace :)




I've seen this poem a few times this season, and it got me thinking about the beauty of grace and the ugly of sin:

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God lifts you up, takes

you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff-- including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.



Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see. This was passed on to me from another pumpkin. Now, it is your turn to pass it to a pumpkin. I liked this enough to send it to all the pumpkins in my patch.



----------



Yeah, sounds pretty simple... and I didn't really think about it too much until a couple weeks later when I began carving my annual pumpkin :)



As I began scooping out all the gross slimy seeds, it hit me. This really is a good metaphor. I mean, I have a lot of ugly in me, and every now and then I require a total cleansing and need to be re-carved a bit (or pruning as I like to call it).



So oddly enough, as I started scooping all the junk out - I started naming different strongholds and sins as I threw them down the drain. In a very weird way it was a total therapeutic experience.



I was able to really think about the ugly parts of me. And then instead of using a cool design or a pattern out of our carving book, I really felt like carving the word grace on it.



I don't think any of us will ever be able to fully comprehend the word "grace" on this earth, but I will say that the beautiful mystery and promise of grace is what I'll always strive to be.



To serve a God who loves the broken, the messy, the ones with lots of disgusting guts, the weary, the fatherless, the sinner --- it is a beautiful expression of what true grace is.



It's pretty amazing to know the God of second chances, the God of do-overs, the God of love and not of judgement.



I pray His light shines bright in my pumpkin full of grace. :)