Friday, January 24, 2014

The New Truck

A few months ago, Dave and I started talking about getting a different truck. His was getting older and needing more parts replaced, and he wanted a diesel to tow his big trailer with. It was also losing value quickly. In one month it lost 1,000 according to KBB. He started watching Craigslist regularly, and I struggled a little in my heart because we have paid off so much debt and I didn’t want to start over. But I also knew the Lord would direct and we would follow. The diesels we found were going around 22,000-28,000. We still owed some on the one we had, which didn’t give us much to work with. He looked at a few here and there, but was patient and open to the Lord’s leading. Last week he decided it was time to post his on CL and see if there was any interest. He’s been working down the road from here and would be able to leave his trailer there and drive my car to work if his truck sold, and that would give him extra time to find a new one. He posted his truck Monday night for 12,000. I thought he was crazy, but within 24 hours he sold it and only came down 500. That was still 3,000 over the blue book price!! The guy who bought it had just sold his – and the Lord knew that was the day we needed to post it, even tho we didn’t. We scoured craigslist for the next two days and then Thursday he had the day off unexpectedly, so we went looking. I don’t even know how many dealerships we went to. We really wanted another Dodge and he preferred black or dark gray. We had been told by our bank we couldn’t get a loan on anything older than 10 years or over 100K miles. We didn’t see anything that seemed like The One. We had prayed before we left home that morning - that we would be patient and that we would agree on one truck and that God would confirm in our hearts when we found the right one. I also was still worried about ending up where we’d started with debt, but the Lord put a number in my head that I was suddenly comfortable with. After several dealerships and no lightning strikes, we stopped for lunch. I told Dave I felt like we didn’t even k now how much money we had to work with, because we hadn’t done our taxes yet and were hoping to have some extra cash to work with, but we had no idea how much it would be. All the trucks we had looked at were well over 20K, and with what he had left after paying off our first truck, that would put us right back where we started a year ago with debt. After lunch we called to check on the girls and mentioned to Joyce that we weren’t finding much. We decided that people who have Dodges love them and hang on to them – because there weren’t many used ones out there. She got on CL while we were talking and searched again. The first one that popped up (most recently posted) was in Arvada but sounded like a better option than anything we’d seen. We hung up and I looked it up on my phone and showed it to Dave. This truck was black, had 133K miles, had lots of upgrades and he was asking much less than anything we’d seen that day, and it seemed to have the most important things we were looking for. We both felt drawn to it so he called right away and left a message. Then he called our banker and left her a message asking if it was possible to get a loan on this truck, even tho it was over 100K miles. We were both ready to be done looking, and we both secretly had our hearts set on the craigslist one, so we only went to a couple more places before heading home. We were both jumpy every time his phone rang, and when we got home we finally got a call from the guy who owned the truck. He was off work and free all night if we wanted to come see it. Then we got a call from the banker who took the info for the loan application. Dave and I figured up how much we were able to put down in cash and the loan we applied for was the exact amount I had had peace about that morning. The banker thought we had enough to put down that we’d have no problem so Dave went ahead and drove down to check it out. On the way he got another call and we’d been approved for the loan! When he got there and saw it, he knew it was The One. When he asked, the guy came down 1,000 – I couldn’t believe it!! Dave is thrilled with the truck, and I am thrilled with the price. And this is the best part of the story - Dave was talking to this guy about his truck and we found out that he had posted it on CL two weeks ago. The only calls he got were from people wanting to help him sell it. No one called to buy it. A buddy of his was interested, but couldn’t find the ad. So Justin looked and couldn’t find it either. He decided to fix it, and reposted it Wednesday night. It didn’t show up til Thursday afternoon – right before Joyce searched. When I found it, it was dated Jan 23, but when I clicked on it, the ad said it had been posted a week ago. We still aren’t sure how it got all mixed up, but the Lord knew someone had to sell his truck the day before we posted ours, and we had to sell ours before we could find this one. It almost seems like God just hid the post until we were ready to find it!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A more Christlike Mama

Being a mom is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. For several reasons, but a really big one is that I see so much in myself that needs to change. Having little kids around is like having a mirror in front of your heart all day long (and even more so in the middle of the night). I have so much learning and growing to do, and as I teach my kids lessons and see them learning and growing, I'm right there with them. One of the things I've been working through lately is being willing to give up my desires. When little Sunshine was born it was so amazing and precious and wonderful to have a baby and yet I was surprised that I didn't just instantly stop thinking about myself and only want to meet this child's needs 24/7. I didn't just spring out of bed at 3am, thrilled to cuddle my screaming baby and spend the next 2 hours trying to calm her down. I see some people with kids that just delight in caring for every single detail of their kids' lives, as much as I admire those people, I always thought that just kinda happened when they popped out. I figured it was just part of being a mom, along the lines of "once you're a mom you will hear every little noise in your sleep" or "you'll know exactly what to do when the time comes." Well I am going to host a mini episode of "Mythbusters" today, because NONE of those happened to me when Sunshine was born. Or when Sugar came along. Maybe there was some Magic Mama shot they forgot to give me before I checked out at the hospital, but I am pretty sure it is a little deeper than that. Ready for what I've figured out?! Human nature doesn't change instantly. Even when something good happens, like having a baby or getting married. Shocker, I know. I can't believe I still want to watch a show occasionally. Or sit down and not get up for 30 minutes. Or do a craft that doesn't involve stickers and construction paper. Etc, etc. Those desires haven't gone away and inwardly I struggle to give them up sometimes when my kids need me. I poured my heart out to the Lord today because I know this is something I have to learn, then I continued reading through 2 Corinthians and I'm in chapter 9 today. In verses 6-15 Paul is talking about a financial contribution to the point of sacrifice, but it seemed to just jump out at me and I applied it to sacrifices we make as moms. Here it is (ESV, words in parenthesis mine) 2 Cor 9:6-15 "The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give (up his desires) as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency (or contentment) in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written, 'He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.' He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing(time and energy) and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service(mothering) is not only supplying the needs of the saints (or my children) but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission flowing from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others (my husband too), while they long for you and pray for you because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" This was SOOOOO motivating and encouraging to me! THIS is why I can be willing and cheerful to give up what I want again and again. So that I may become more like Christ and teach my children to be more like Him, and to learn to depend on HIM to supply my needs. As I meet my kids needs, He meets mine. He gives grace that enables me to be content, and increases the harvest of righteousness in my heart. I will be enriched so that I may be generous - whatever I have is mine to share. My ministry is to supply their needs and also to teach them to be thankful when their needs are met - not to thank me, but GOD. The end goal/result? They will glorify God because of (my)submission and generosity, which comes only from my confession of the gospel of Christ!! I pray that they would see the surpassing grace of God in me. That is my hearts desire, and this is how I can take another step toward it! Lord, help me to be a more Christlike mama every day! And now I'm off to clean up a spilled drink of the floor and table and little miss Sugar... for the second time today. :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I [love] you...

Ever said those words? I do all the time. Do I mean it? According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, this is what I am promising. If this isn't convicting, I don't know what is. I [will be patient and kind to] you. I [will not envy] you; I [will not boast to] you. I [will not be arrogant or rude to] you. I [will not force my opinion onto] you. I [will not be irritable or resentful toward] you. I [will not make fun or gloat over failures because of] you; I [will rejoice over successes and good decisions for] you. I [will bear whatever burdens you carry with] you, I [will believe the best about] you, I [will never give up on] you, I [will endure whatever comes my way because of] you. I [LOVE] you! I have a really hard time with being patient and kind, let alone both at the same time - being kind while being patient with young children who can make anything take f--o--r--e--v--e--r is difficult And I'm sometimes bad at the not envying part - when Dave gets to do something fun and I stay home with the kids...again And with the not boasting part - when I do something that I think you should notice And with not being arrogant - putting your desires ahead of mine is really hard And not being rude - why is it that I think the people who love me the most don't need any consideration? Seems like they should get the most, but I seem to forget that so often And I'm pretty much never irritable... HA!! Ever laughed when someone you love did something stupid or embarrassing? Me too. Make them feel better or worse? yeah, that wasn't my goal either. Usually we're pretty good at rejoicing when someone does right, unless it exposes something in myself that I am not doing right And it just keeps going! If "love is all you need" how come marriages don't last? And siblings argue and children don't speak to their parents? And if I love my husband and my kids, why do I get frustrated at them, and why do I frustrate them? Because my love doesn't look like the example Christ set, and Paul explains in depth here. It's hard to set aside our desires and carry someone else's burden, and it's easy to assume the worst about someone's motives instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt. We give up on people who don't see from our point of view, and we definitely don't endure a difficult confrontation in order to save a relationship. It's just plain overwhelming to think of the times I've failed to love Dave, or my kids, even in the middle of saying the words "I love you." I'm going to work on developing my actions that say "I love you" in order to prove that I mean what I say. Maybe by the end of the month I can have a good habit started! But the only way I can truly love is by reminding myself of the One who loves me perfectly and looking to His example. That is the only thing that can motivate me to keep acting out love when I run out of the feeling. "We love Him because He first loved us." and "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

1 Corinthians 8

I've been reading thru the book of 1 Corinthians (sporadically, I'll admit) and I'm really enjoying it. I took a class in college that was just on 1&2 Corinthians and we spent most of the semester on this book. I am reading it now in the ESV and still learning so much. Today I read chapters 8-10 and seeing that I need some major attitude adjustments in my heart. In chapter 8 Paul starts talking about knowledge. Knowledge is a good thing, right? I mean, it's not bad. Well, according to Paul, it can be. The knowledge he is talking about is knowledge that something is not wrong. In their time, the situation was meat, because meat was used to offer sacrifices, and God had specifically stated what meat was to be eaten, or given to priests or burned. But they were eating meat offered to idols, not their own sacrifices... which I guess God hadn't addressed in the law. (I haven't read the law lately so don't quote me on that.) On top of that, they were no longer "under the law" because of Christ, so they weren't offering sacrifices and Christ had kind of restated the law, and all the priest stuff and temple stuff was changing. All this set the stage for Christians who understood the situation to realize that meat offered in sacrifice was just meat. Idols and false gods are not real, so why would it matter if they ate the meat that someone else offered to them? They weren't offering, so really they weren't wrong. The problem Paul brings up is that not everyone understood this. Not everyone had this "knowledge". And the ones who had this knowledge were become a little prideful of their freedom, and instead of considering the situation carefully they were just acting on their freedom and eating meat. The hardest part is that when they ate meat, no one knew if it was meat they got at the market or from an idol sacrifice. (sound kinda like "If you go to the movie theater, no one will know which movie you're going to?") That's why Paul says 8:7 "However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled." I noticed that the person isn't weak, their conscience, on this topic, is weak. It seems like that means they would be easily tempted to go back to former idol worship. Modern day example? Someone gets saved and comes out of a very worldly lifestyle. They love the Lord and want to grow, so they abandon anything that has to do with their old way of life - music, choice of companions, hobbies, where they spend time, money, etc. Let's say the hobby they abandoned was, something just for an example, maybe beer-pong. Then as they are growing, they go to a Christians house one day and are asked to play Ping-Pong. This is silly, but just go with my example. Now, we know that ping-pong is not wrong. But lets use it in this chapter, since we don't have issues with meat causing people to stumble. Paul says (example inserted) "However, not all posses this knowledge. But some, through former association with [drinking, play ping pong] as really [being in a bar], and their conscience, being weak, is defiled." and to take it a step further, (v10) "For if anyone sees you who have knowledge [playing Ping-Pong in your house], will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to [play beer-pong]?" Ok, so this example is really far-fetched, but the point is the same, without any paraphrasing - v11-12 "And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ." Which is why Paul concludes in v 13 "Therefore, if [Ping-Pong] makes my brother stumble, I will never [play Ping-Pong] lest I make my brother stumble." This is tough stuff. This requires so much from us. First of all, it requires that we be perceptive to believers around us. Not just new believers, but also believers who have "weak" consciences on certain topics. A weak conscience does not mean the person is weak. Maybe we could use the word "tender" instead. The point is that this persons conscience will not allow them to do this and Romans 14:23 is very clear "But whoever has doubts is condemned if he [plays Ping-Pong], because the [playing] is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." No ifs, ands or buts about it. Second, it requires that we be willing to set aside anything that could cause a brother or sister in Christ to be tempted to sin. If that believer has a tender conscience toward certain music, going to the movies, or playing Ping-Pong, we should not allow our knowledge to "puff [us] up" but instead we should choose "love [which] builds up.' (Rom 8:1) Third, I think this passage calls us to consider whether we are acting out of knowledge or love. I see so many ways in my life that are characterized by "I have no conscience problem with this situation" and that's the only standard I set. It goes so. much. deeper. than just my conscience! I would never want to make something any issue more important than a brother in Christ's spiritual well-being. "Therefore, if ________ makes my brother stumble, I will never __________, lest I make my brother stumble." Lord, help me to lay down my knowledge of what I am rightfully allowed to do, that causes me to be puffed up(and defensiveness is a good sign of "puffed-ness"), and instead take up love, which allows me to consider my brothers and sisters in Christ and build them up. Because I know that "[Ping-Pong]does not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we [play Ping-Pong] and no better off if we do", I can set down my right and take that opportunity to put another believer ahead of myself.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Digging deep hurts

You are going to have to take all my posts and average them together to get what my life is like on average, because it seems I only post on the highs and lows. The average is just to... well, average. Uninteresting and not post-worthy. Maybe someday I'll post on an average emotion. If I ever remember to notice it. :) Well, today is a low. On top of being emotionally a little threadbare (physically tired, college best friend in ICU fighting for her life) I feel like such a failure on so many levels. PLEASE don't comment in argument, I'm not fishing for compliments just to boost my self-image or anything. Sometimes I just think God wants to remind us that without Him, we are NOTHING. If I do something good or right, it is because of Him, no credit to me. That is no pity-party kick-off, it is a true statement that I have to be reminded of. Apparently I forget a lot, cuz God reminds me pretty regularly. Lately (pretty much this week, maybe longer) I have really struggled to do what I need to do, whether it's dirty dishes, or keeping the house picked up. And that's just the beginning. I am seeing God reveal my heart in so many situations and it's not just an issue of self control, like I just need to make myself do my job; it's an issue of love. Do I love my family enough to do what is best for them, at the cost of my personal comfort or desires. God is showing me how selfish I am, at my very core. It's not pretty. But I also have to remember that once I allow myself to see what God is showing me, the only hope is to beg Him to change me. Help me. Because I absolutely can't do what He has called me to do without Him. Yes, I must choose to do what I need to do, but I don't have the ability to choose rightly without Him. My weakness becomes His strength. My failures become opportunities for me to accept grace and then, in response, show grace. It's not fun realizing how often I fail, but I'd rather realize it and throw myself back at His feet begging His strength than to continue on in oblivion and never change. Oh how much worse that would be! I think He is tearing down my comfort zone what I do and why in order to show me the right "why" to do what I've been failing. I'm not sure that will make sense to anyone but me. Sorry. Maybe this is a better way to say it: I can make myself do what I'm supposed to do my whole life and still not accomplish my purpose. It's not just about what I do and how I do it, tho that's important. But what He's trying to get to is WHY I do what I do. And the way to show me that is to show my why I DON'T do what I'm supposed to. For some reason that has worked - I'm seeing my motives pretty clearly, now I need to work on fixing them. I'd love prayers as I continue to work through what He is teaching me. Pray that I'd be tender to His teaching and open to what He wants to show me. Thanks!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quiet book

It's been AGES since I blogged but I am going to try to start up again. :) In November we drove from my house to my parent's which is a 16 hour trip. With a 3 yr old and an 18mo old. It went amazingly well, thanks to my awesome man who drives overnight so the kids will sleep most of the way. I wanted to be prepared in case they didn't sleep, so I made a few things to keep miss Sunshine occupied. Sugar has about a 15 second attention span so I knew if she didn't sleep, no amount of entertainment would be enough. But I packed reusable shopping bags for each kid with things that might help. One of the things I made was a felt quiet book. It is simple enough to do and fun to design but it takes some time. I cut and sewed at night while I watched a movie and it took me several nights, but I made lots of pages in mine. Feel free to copy anything I did. I cut several colors to the same size and then sewed or colored the background. For example, the snowman and butterfly bodies are sewn on the page, and the waves I just drew on with a sharpie. Then I cut out each piece and we keep them in a clear bag with a zipper. I punched holes in the pages and attached office rings to hold them together.
Happy cutting!
P.S. Our favorite is definitely the faces page. :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

25 random things about me

1. I love lime green, pink, purple, blue and white. Together or separate.
2. I am staring at a huge pile of laundry on the love seat that I need to fold.
3. I had a one month old baby on our first anniversary. :)
4. I burp when I'm really hungry.
5. I love to make good food.
6. I'm married to the sweetest (and most forgiving) man on earth. No arguments. :)
7. When I was little my sister used to wipe her boogers on the wall and I got in trouble for it.
8. I am incredibly blessed beyond anything I could ever wish for - and could never hope to deserve - with the best family (immediate, extended, and in-laws) ever. Love you all!
9. I inherited a love for technology, porsches, and deep dish pizza from my dad.
10. I wear jeans and a t-shirt almost every day, with my hair in a ponytail.
11. I am the only one of my siblings who has not been bit by a seagull.
12. I grew up in Minnesota and I have never once ridden a snowmobile.
13. I have a Bachelors degree in music education and I love to play the piano and sing. Not at the same time tho.
14. A few weeks ago my three year old tried to wipe a booger on the wall as I carried her down the hall.
15. My natural hair color is pretty dark. (insert blond joke here)
16. I love to organize stuff.
17. I love being pregnant - I feel better and have so much more energy than normal (after the first couple months). Before you go being jealous, just think how much of your life you spend not pregnant compared to how many months you may be pregnant. Guys - just be glad you don't even know what I'm talking about.
18. I went barefoot most of my life growing up.
19. My junior year of college someone asked me if I was old enough to drive. When I was five months pregnant someone thought I was a high schooler. After my second kid was born I answered the door and someone asked if my parents were home. But in last year someone thought my 16yr old brother in law, who is bigger than my husband, was my kid.
20. I love coffee but I am not addicted. 21. I wear a size 6 shoe.
22. I dislike pineapple, olives and avocado.
23. I have shot, killed and eaten two deer.
24. On my bucket list: shoot a bear and have a rug made out of it.
25. Yesterday, I smacked a nasty black spider with a broom, sucked it up with a vacuum and then put the vacuum outside in case the spider crawled out. I screamed when I did it, and afterwards it took me 5 minutes to stop shaking. YUCK.