Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lift Us Up

I don't know about you - but I'm just in need of some encouragement.

Let's allow the wise words of others and the powerful word of God to lift us all up today:

"The best laughter, the laughter that can heal, the laughter that has the truest ring, is the laughter that flowers out of a love for life and its Giver." - Maxine Hancock

...Mary sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what [Jesus] taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me."
But the Lord said to her, "My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her. - Luke 10:39-42

"A joyful heart is like a sunshine of God's love, the hope of eternal happiness, a burning flame of God...And if we pray, we will become that sunshine of God's love - in our own home, the place where we live, and in the world at large. " - Mother Teresa

...the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. - from 1 John 4:4

Enjoy the rest of your week, Sweet Ones :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Inspired by You

I have been so blessed by the blog world lately :)

Over the past several months I have come into contact with some wonderful ladies in bloggy land - Funny women. Sweet women. Super smart women. Athletic women. Godly women. Talented women. Courageous women.

Just to name a few of them:

Sandy at God Speaks Today
Debbie at Heart Choices
Tiffany at Laughing Amersons (She's my cousin!)
Zoe at Called By A New Name
Rachel at My Life in Chapter and Verse
Kimberly at A Planting of the Lord
Renee at The Journey of My Heart

And there are so many more! If I didn't have to make a grocery store run here in a few minutes, I would list every single one of them :)

Ladies (all of you - not just the ones listed above!), thanks so much for uplifting me time and time again. Thanks for being fearless enough to share your stories. I am a life that has been changed for the better because of it :)

"Insomuch as any one pushes you nearer to God, he or she is your friend." - French Proverb

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Texas Tears

I'm writing with tear-streaked cheeks today, y'all.

And I feel like a baby about it.

My Mama and Daddy came for a visit this past week - and they just pulled out of our driveway to head back to the airport. Pretty soon they will be on a big silver bird flying back to the Mother Ship....also known as Texas.

As my parents were leaving today - I tried my very very best to be a big girl. I really did. But as I watched my parents load up their rent car - that feeling came over me. Remember that feeling? The one you felt when your Mom walked out of your classroom on the first day of kindergarten? The one you felt when that mean girl on the playground called you "scar-face" after you returned to school from having chicken pox? The one that turns your nose red and makes your eyes all glassy as you try to hold back the tears? Yeah. That one. So as my Dad hugged me tight - I turned into that 5 year old girl again. Except this time the girl crying was 25.

Why was it so much harder to watch them leave this time? Maybe its because I'm expecting. Maybe its because our house is completely torn up due to some major remodeling that's going on. Maybe it's worries about work and finances. Maybe I've just become a big baby. Or maybe it is because I'm realizing just how much I need loved ones in my life. Yeah. Maybe I'm realizing that putting up with my Mom's Dr.Pepper addiction and my Dad's weird obsession with cinnamon scented candles could be worth it just to have them close. So worth it. And maybe I'm realizing that I'm not as strong as I thought I was - that its okay to need people. Hmmmm.

I don't know where life will take my little family. I don't know if we will stay put, return to the Homeland or move all over the country. But I do know that something is breaking inside of me from having to say "bye" - and it isn't just my heart. I feel like the " I have to act like I'm strong and can handle it all without any help" characteristic is crumbling. And that's not such a bad thing.

Yes. I sit here in this computer chair feeling like that little girl who used to sit on the porch waving bye to her Daddy leaving for a business trip. A little lonely. A little sad. Red-nosed and teary eyed. But also feeling blessed - knowing that the people flying away on the jet plane are a MUCH NEEDED gift - and that no amount of Dr. Pepper and cinnamon scented candles could ever erase that.

For all of you other Texans that I miss so much - please know that I feel like I need every last crazy one of you - yep - every last crazy one :)

"No body has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation." - Margaret Mead

"When you look at your life the greatest happiness's are family happiness's." - Joyce Brothers

Monday, March 16, 2009

Advice Anyone?

I hope this finds you enjoying a good start to your week.

Instead of sharing a fun story or letting you in on some cool spiritual lesson I've recently discovered....today I need to turn the focus on you.

I need your advice :)

We recently found out some information from work that could potentially have a pretty big impact on our family and on our budget. This makes us no different than thousands of other families in the US right now - so chances are you or your loved ones are experiencing the same thing.

I was wondering.....

Do you have any cheap meal ideas that are still remotely on the healthy side?
Do you have any tips on how to cut corners and save more money?

A pretty broad topic, I know. But any and all advice is greatly appreciated from all of you savvy and sweet sisters (and misters?) out there :)I look forward to reading your ideas. I have a few budgeting ideas myself that I have been implementing for years now ....but I would love to hear yours! I need to hear yours! May you be blessed as you head into the rest of the week, friends.

"One of the greatest pieces of economic wisdom is to know what you do not know." - John Kenneth Galbraith

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pull Back the Shades!

I opened a window and it made all the difference!

It has been a blistery and dreary winter here in my neck of the woods. Snow. Ice. Power outages. Below zero temps. Clouds. Wind. After a couple of months - it kinda starts to get to you.

Thankfully, we got a break this weekend! Seventy degree weather. Sunshine. No coats to wear. No snow. It was fabulous. And I actually got to open up some windows. I was delighted. As my boys played and worked outside in the yard - I took some time to read and relax. I nestled onto our couch and propped open the living room windows. The fresh air coming in smelled so good - like spring. Birds were singing. Children were playing. People were smiling. Life was good. It made me like the region I live in again. It made me want to have people over for a cookout. It made me want to sing "Let the light shine in! Face it with a grin!" And if that wasn't cheesy enough - It also made me want to put on an apron and make something springy like lemon bars.
After being shut in all winter - just opening a window brought life back into this home. And it just blessed me so.

All this window opening leaves me with feelings of hope - reminding me that life isn't just one big long winter - that there ARE seasons of warmth and life, too. It also leaves me inspired to share some quotes....

Let there be many windows in your soul, that all the glory of the universe may beautify it. - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"When a window of opportunity appears, don't pull down the shade." - Tom Peters

"It's okay to open up. Go ahead and let the light shine through." - from Carrie Underwood's song, So Small

Have a beautiful Monday - and maybe open up a few windows, too.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Man

I married a country boy.

He likes wide-open spaces, John Deere tractors, loud pick-up trucks, hunting, working with his hands, waving at people as they drive by, and breathing in fresh hair.

So being an engineer doesn't always seem to tickle his fancy. It's a very corporate oriented job. There are no wide-open spaces and tractors involved. It's about numbers, efficiency, and problem solving. I'm pretty sure he knew this when he majored in mechanical engineering - but the smart, technical, and driven side of him convinced the country boy side of him to do it anyway. And he likes it okay. It helps that he is competitive and good at it. But he can't help but admit that he longs for the dirt roads and flannel shirts of country living.

And who did HE marry? Ahem.... While it's true that my sweet country boy married a Texan - it is also true that he did not exactly marry "country". Yes, I like country music. Yes, I like loud pick up trucks, eating steak, and waving at people as they drive by, but y'all let's face it - I'm not exactly a back-woods kind of girl. I like taking bubble baths. I like fashion. I even like hip-hop. I don't know if I would go to the extreme of calling myself a city girl - but I'm just not real red-neck.

You could sum it up this way: Growing up, while my husband was busy raising pigs, I was busy raising the roof in dance class.

Yep. That says it just right.

Here lately, with the economy weak and wobbly, we have been thinking a lot about what we would do if something happened to my hubby's job and/or what we would like to be doing for the rest of our lives....... And where.

Do you see the potential problem here? You guessed it. The hubs would be happy living in a tiny cabin in the middle of no where far, far away from the big city - farming, waving, and wearing flannels. I would be happy living in a neighborhood, in the middle of a suburb, very close to shopping, and good radio stations - running, having play-dates, and wearing something leopard print.


So as we discussed all this over the weekend - it was apparent that we might have to make a few compromises, to say the least. And it also became apparent that we needed to seek God's will for our lives in it, too.

As I listened to my husband talk about his desires and dreams and as I listened to him pray over our lives and destinations....I realized a little something.

I realized that I would follow that man anywhere. I love him that much. I might be carrying a boom-box and an animal print purse - but I'd be there. And God? Yeah, I'd like to think that I would follow Him anywhere, too.

So sometime in my future - you might see me "with a basket full of chicken and a big old jug of sweet tea" thinking that my man's "tractor is sexy." And girls, as long as my husband is on it - I will.

Babe, I love you and I'm so blessed that I married a man who is strong enough to seek the Lord in every area of his life. Thank you for always wanting to do the right thing. Thank you for working so hard. Thank you for always being so honest and open about who you are. Thank you for being such a great God-fearing leader. And thank you for choosing me - despite the evidence. I really would follow you anywhere - and I'm blessed to do it. I will probably always like leopard print and hip hop music, but I'll always love you. Seeking His will right along with you, Kate :)