Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's Just a Bumper

God spoke the same message to me over and over this week. I heard at least four times throughout the week a word on thankfulness. Starting Sunday morning in Bible Fellowship class, I wrote in my notes, "trust Him IN all things." Tuesday night, Jean Stockdale spoke on the faith walk and how "God doesn't just allow bad things, He orchestrates them." Wednesday morning, I read Iva's post on Hezekiah and his ungrateful heart. She defins ingratitude as "spiritual madness." And then on Thursday, Laurin shared how she is cultivating thankfulness in her children by teaching them to be thankful FOR the little things in life. I love her story how S mentions her purple flip flops when sharing the things she is thankful for. Aren't we generally thankful for the big and obvious things, but tend to overlook the small and minute? Of course, we could get to the place (and have been there) where we lack thankfulness for the big things in our life as well like King Hezekiah did. He was healed, he was delivered and he was answered yet his heart was so proud that he offered no thanks FOR any of it. How do we guard our hearts from such ingratitude? GIVE THANKS. FOR all things. IN all things.

IN = Miles had to get five staple stitches on Monday from a careless grooming accident.

FOR = I am thankful that he is okay. It could have been a lot worse. My mom spoke to her CPA a few days later and she took her dog to the same place and he fell off the table! I am thankful that the Lord protected my little M from a more serious injury. (By the way, we will definitely be finding another groomer.)

FOR = An awesome church that teaches the Word of God through a wonderful Women's Ministry event on Tuesday evenings this summer. A loving church that opens her doors to the community where thousands of lost people get to use the facilities. And for the JESUS banner that is front and center of our sanctuary so that everyone who walks into our church sees His Name high and exalted.

FOR = Answered prayer. The Lord gave me an opportunity to share the Gospel with a contact through work on Wednesday. He is a Jehovah's Witness and I have been praying for him for over a year now. I had prayed for the right time during the busy work day to share with him since he was only in town for a day and a half. The first ten minutes I saw him he brought up the J.W. convention he had just come back from. I prayed, "You want me to share right now?" And in that moment the Lord spoke to my heart, "It's go time." And all I did was open my mouth and the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit gave me the words to say and the boldness to say it.

IN = Thursday, I randomly bumped into a parked car in a parking lot and now I need a new bumper.

FOR = It wasn't random. I completely believe it was orchestrated by God. Yes, there was a reason why my car was parked next to the elderly lady's car that was halfway in my lane and I didn't even notice it. There was a reason God wanted me to meet that sweet lady and her 3 grown daughters. They couldn't believe that I stuck around to find out whose car it was and didn't just drive off. She even called me later that afternoon still amazed that I had been "so honest." I told her I was a Christian and that is why I was honest. I wonder if she is a Christian. I don't know if I'll get to speak with her again through this process but I am thankful that IN this situation, God gave me the grace to not get upset and to trust Him. After all it's just a bumper.

IN = Friday came and my hubby wasn't home yet.

FOR = I am thankful that he has a job. In this economy, where so many have lost their jobs how can I not be so grateful for B's job? Even though he doesn't always make it home for the weekend, I give thanks.

FOR = For breakfast this morning, I enjoyed fresh blueberries on my cereal from our blueberry bush. I am thankful for my little harvest. It reminds me that we sow the seed and we water it, but God makes it grow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Father's Day Picnic

Yes, Father's Day was last month but summertime always flies by, and this year has been no exception. So I'm just now getting around to sharing these pictures. Boy, do I love a dinner party! And I have just as much fun planning them as giving them. When I was planning our dinner for Dad, I went for the complete opposite of Mother's Day. There was nothing fancy about Dad's day - just a relaxed indoor picnic with paper plates and Dixie cups. We actually had two dinners for two dads. I didn't take any pictures of round 1 - I guess I was too busy cooking! We had Bryant's Dad's dinner Friday night as nine of us gathered around our six-person table. It's always fun when my in-laws come over for dinner; Bryant and I are quite used to cooking for 11 now (when the whole gang is there). We missed you Sean and Leah!

We had six the next night for my Dad's dinner. I wanted a simple menu with a little charm so I went with Mini Burgers. Since Father's Day comes in June and a few weeks before the Fourth, it has that All-American feel to it and so did our menu. Take a sharpie to a piece of cardboard and finish with a ribbon to show Dad what's on the menu.

Bryant grilled out both nights. It's one of his favorite things to do. What a cutie.

The mini burgers were a big hit!

Fresh flowers are a must for any dinner party. I used IZZE glass bottles to hold red Gerber Daisies for a no-fuss look on the table. Peel the labels off the bottles and soak in hot water to remove the stickiness. Plus these make a great party favor- everyone took home a daisy in a bottle.

For Dad's place setting at the head of the table, I used a yellow Lily from our backyard in a San Pellegrino glass bottle. Bryant is obsessed with these little mineral waters + I love green glass vases = a great idea at no cost. (Bryant are you reading this?)

Happy Father's Day, Dad! You bring sunshine everywhere you go- even to indoor picnics.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Reluctant Goodbyes

Miles is a pretty smart guy. Somehow he knows when we are about to leave on a trip. He sees me dump laundry on the bed on a weekly basis and reorganize my closet from time to time, but as soon as I start laying out clothes for a trip, he knows the difference. When I was packing for San Antonio, I had just laid out a couple pair of jeans on the bed and went back to my closet to start pulling a few shirts. When I came back out, there was Miles with a firm paw on one of my jeans. And Lamby was guarding the pair next to him.

Today I had to go out of town for a few days for work. This morning I laid a few things in the middle of the floor in my bedroom as I usually do before I start filling up the overnight bag. Miles looked at me suspiciously out of the corner of his eye as he walked by. I didn't see him again until I was finished packing. He showed up a little later this time but he still got his point across in how he felt about me leaving.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Women of Influence

One of the manufacturers that we purchase from is really good about sending out weekly sales tips. (I've always thought that was smart on his part because it keeps his name in our inbox on a weekly basis.) And they are most helpful. He always relates real-life examples of sales situations and challenges us to learn from them so we will be more successful. For as many years as I have received his emails, he never fails to send out a series of questions at the end of the year that serve as a yearly checkup. The questions are meant to help one determine how they did that year, how they would like to improve and what strategies will be implemented the next year to improve business.

I've been thinking about how July marks the end of the first half of the year and the beginning of the second half. As Christians, we too need to "check-in" and see if what we are doing and where we are spending our time today are taking us in the direction of where we want to be come the end of the year. Reflecting on the year so far, I am reminded of the verses that God impressed upon my heart in January. I am grateful for how He is fulfilling His Word in my life and anticipating what he has in store for the remaining months of the year. But I am also challenged as I read the Word.

Earlier this week I read Iva May's post on Power-Hungry Women. She says, "That women have influence is a given. How women use that influence, however, is critical. Women face choices daily concerning the use of that influence. Will they choose wisely by walking in humility and surrender to the Lord or will they abuse that influence by choosing to walk in pride and insubordination?"

It's not a matter of whether or not I will be a woman of influence, but rather how will I use that influence? We have a lot of influence and on many different people in our lives. The enemy would have us believe that we don't matter, we're just not that important. But God's Word tells us differently and as I reflect on my Bible reading so far this year, I am reminded of four specific people that women influence. Our words, actions and priorities are always speaking.

1. We have influence on our husbands and our households by proclaiming God's Word.

Proverbs 14:1 speaks volumes to me, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." When things are not going so well at home, we can't blame our circumstances and we can't blame God. Proverbs 19:3 says, "The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the LORD." So then it is the foolishness of my own hands that tears my house down, and then I blame God. The imagery of your house being torn down with your own hands, and not those of another, is powerful. It reminds us of our responsibility to be wise women who build up our homes on the foundation of God's Word.

2. We have influence on
the young and inexperienced by preparing them for God's work.

King David said in I Chronicles 29:1, "'... My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the LORD God.'" He goes on to list all the articles that he has prepared for the temple of God. God wouldn't let David build the temple because he was a man of war but said his son Solomon would instead. So David spends the remainder of his time as King equipping Solomon with what he would need to build the temple.
David gave Solomon plans, instructions and personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of God. What am I doing today that will last when I am gone? How am I preparing the next generation for God's work? Where am I spending my time and resources?

3. We have influence on our bosses and those in authority through prayer.

In Genesis 24, Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac. He told him that if the woman refused to leave her home, the servant would be released from his oath. The servant had definitely been impacted by his master over the years. Clearly those in authority have influence on those under them. But the servant also had influence on Abraham through his prayer in verse 12, "Then he prayed, 'O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham." We too can make a difference in the lives of those in authority over us: our boss, Bible fellowship teacher, pastor, and president. God uses the servant's prayer to show kindness to his master. Am I praying for those in authority over me?

4. We have influence on those who stand at a distance through our priorities.

Exodus 33 tells the story of God meeting Moses in the tent of meeting. In verses 10-11, it says, "As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the LORD spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent. The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent."

We know the people standing at their tents were watching Moses but they were also watching Joshua. So too, those who stand at a distance are watching us. What are my priorities? How do I spend my time? Joshua's priority was to be at the tent where God meets man face to face. Am I a student of God's Word? Am I living in the presence of God so those who are standing afar off can see the presence of God in my life?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


A staycation is a neologism for a period of time in which an individual or family stays at home and relaxes at or takes day trips from their home to area attractions. Some staycationers also like to follow a set of rules, such as setting a start and end date, planning ahead, and avoiding routine, with the goal of creating the feel of a traditional vacation.

This is what I read on Wikipedia after googling staycation one night as Bryant and I were discussing our vacation plans. He had just gotten back from a trip and the next week we had blocked out some days for a short beach trip. I love the beach and getting away just the two of us, but for some reason(s) I wasn't looking forward to it this time. I was dreading the packing and long car ride and if the fact that you are about to go on vacation doesn't outweigh both of those factors than there's a good chance you have too much going on. And we did. We were in the middle of half a dozen house projects plus I had just gotten back from Vegas, so I wasn't just dying to get away. I actually was looking forward to staying home and relaxing while finishing up a couple of projects. And Bryant felt the same way. As soon as I threw out the hypothetical scenario of us foregoing our vacation for a week at home, Bryant couldn't agree more. It was settled. Our first staycation.

We had planned to be gone Tuesday through Saturday on our trip so we allowed the same amount of time for our staycation. We didn't plan too much ahead of time except that we knew we would have to make an effort to avoid routine and do things we normally don't do every day or at least every day for a week's time. We did a pretty good job of relaxing while being at home. In fact we didn't go beyond a five mile radius from our house, except for church on Wednesday night. Here's a rundown of what our week looked like at home...

We went to the pool every day. We had my parents' pool to ourselves during the day which was very relaxing.

We ate dessert every day. This was my favorite poolside snack thanks to my recent Costco trip; I figured I needed all those antioxidants to fight those free radicals outside ;)

We went out for breakfast. Of course what's a vacation staycation without french toast from Java Cafe.

I went to lunch at Deli Mexicana with a friend that I've been trying to get together with for the last four weeks. And Bryant and I went out with some friends Friday night for dinner at Jim's Place Grille. Our schedules are so sporadic that a simple thing as a dinner out with another couple can be a challenge to coordinate - so the time at home proved a good chance to catch up with friends.

While I was at lunch, Bryant worked around the house installing a fan in our guest room and cutting down a couple small trees in our backyard.

Throughout the week I settled on a few pieces of furniture for the house. I bought this sofa for our living room from Broom Corn Fabrics and have some fabric on order for our dining room curtains.

We also had two hot water heaters replaced. A few days before that we had a new air conditioning unit put in - let me tell you we are proud of it! I know that sounds ridiculous to say but as a homeowner you care about things like appliances and find yourself having conversations about efficiency and cost savings. And even though I was halfway joking, as they finished installing our new A/C unit I actually said out loud, "it's a beauty."

Maybe we'll take a late summer or early fall trip to the beach, but for now I am very glad we stayed at home. We managed to balance some time off from work plus getting things done around the house. And the best part was when our staycation was over we had no car ride home, no unpacking and no laundry.

Monday, July 5, 2010

All About Numbers


The pounds I've gained since this place opened around the corner from us.


The dollars Nationwide is going to send because they decided they no longer service our part of the country. Apparently our one-year home warranty expires after nine months.


The years that we have been a Republic. Happy Birthday, America!


The days since I've started blogging. My first post was about Independence Day, it seems fitting to end the year the same way.

Happy 4th of July!

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