Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tuesdays Unwrapped: That's What Grace is For

It's Tuesday again, which means it's time to celebrate the beauty that sometimes gets shoved aside and buried in the busy and stressful stuff going on. 

Today, I woke up late. Not just a little late, a LOT late. As I was walking out the door, I realized today is the Christmas lunch at work where everyone is supposed to bring something. I signed up for macaroni and cheese and promptly forgot all about it! So, at the time I normally sit down at my desk and gear up for the day, I turned around and frantically started throwing ingredients in the crock pot.

Tonight is supposed to be our last homestudy visit before we are approved to be Foster Parents. I have been cleaning and getting ready for days now. The floor has been swept so often that I think I'm wearing out the hardwood. 

Then, this morning's fiasco happened. 

Now, the sink is full of dirty dishes.

There are half wrapped presents all over the dining room.

There is a basket of unfolded and wrinkly clothes in the middle of the living room floor.

There are art projects all over the kitchen table.

And yet, I'm here to celebrate the beauty of not having it all together. Thankfully, our social worker is very gracious, and she doesn't go around the house with a white glove. It is probably only my pride that will take a hit. My pride so often compels me to make others think I have everything under control, and that I can always do things by myself. 

I think sometimes God orchestrates these moments for me to realize 
that I DON'T have it all together, 
but that's what grace is for. 

Counter clockwise: Our skinny little christmas tree with its beautiful homemade ornaments, my creme brulee dessert for my birthday dinner, the hubs and me at his company Christmas party, and sweet little Prickles (sorry for the blurry iphone shots)

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Little Christmas Card Love for Your Friday

The Christmas cards have all been sent out, and my family and closest friends should be getting one in the mail soon. So I decided it was time to share a picture of the picture here for you guys!

I mean, it's Friday people. And what's cuter than a hedgehog in Christmas lights?!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesdays Unwrapped: Fear is a Choice

Today was a day that I had been dreading for weeks.

Today was the day I had to go back to the doctor. Almost a month ago I went in to find out what was hidden, growing from one of my ovaries for the second time, a tumor that is growing slowly but steadily. This time, I went to find out what needed to be done about it.

Did I mention I am terrified of the doctor?

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with a migraine from all of the stress, all of the worry. This morning I spent most of my time ignoring the ugly fear trying to claw its way out. My stomach stayed tied up in knots, and I gave in to the worry that had been chasing me.

Then I was reminded that I didn't have to go to the doctor alone. I was reminded that the last time I went, I found Him there. He went before me.

This Tuesday, I am unwrapping the gift of knowing that fear is a choice. It is not handed down from my gracious Father, rather it is force-fed to me by the one who delights in chaos. But I can't swallow this fear without first choosing to open my mouth. So today, I went into the doctor's office with ammunition. I took my Friend, my Father with me, and instead of being afraid, I chose to rest in knowing that He came to this earth so that I might have life, and that I might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

And you know what? That's one doctor's visit that wasn't so bad. :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

MBM: Grad School Money

It's time for another Memorial Box Monday, where I take a minute to stop and remember what awesome things God has done in our lives! I love this time and I seem to always find myself wondering where Monday went, and sometimes even posting these on Tuesday or Wednesday! But, for once, I am on time, and I'm celebrating how awesome my King is.

For those of you who know me in real life, you know this has been kind of a rough year. It seems like one thing after another has happened and I have had very real periods of discouragement over the last 12 months. Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting the fresh start that is coming on January 1st!

One thing that has been a big stressor is money. At the beginning of the year we bought our first house, the hubster is in graduate school and we are trying to pay for it debt-free, and on top of that we have had bills for 2 different surgeries, a new tooth, and some MAJOR house repairs that were all urgent.

Well, it was about time for the next grad school bill to be paid and I knew there was no way, short of Almighty God stepping in to provide for use, that we would be able to come up with the amount of money we needed. We had tossed around the idea of taking out a loan or selling one of our cars, but then I read a post on my friend Linny's blog that challenged me to ask Him for what we needed instead of scheming ways to provide for ourselves. So we did.

And guess what? God provided. Just like He always has. I spent so much time worrying about how we could get that money when all along He was just waiting for me to ask. And the cool thing is that He had already been setting things in motion to provide that money for us the whole time, even while I was worrying and scheming.

I work for an insurance company so from time to time, I have to go out and take pictures of people's houses so that their insurance company can see what condition their roof is in and what their house looks like. I get paid to do this, but it's usually not even enough to make a difference in my paycheck. However, this time, our little insurance company stopped writing all of the insurance with one particular provider, which meant that all of the customers we have that had their insurance through that company needed to be moved to another company. Which means I had to go take pictures of every single house. There were over 60 pictures that needed to be taken (and I'm not even finished yet!). That money was a real start toward the Grad School payment we needed to make.

Here's the cool thing: my husband works for a Credit Union as a teller, but each year their Christmas bonus is a percentage of the amount of money they made in the past year. This year, when we added his Christmas bonus to the amount of money I had gotten paid for taking pictures, it equaled out to the EXACT amount we needed to pay that grad school bill. Down to the last penny. Only Faithful God.

And the icing on the cake? One of the classes the hubs has to take this semester is actually at his school's campus (the rest have been online). This campus is hundreds of miles from our house and we don't know anyone who lives there. We realized we would need almost $1,000 to pay for the hotel bill for the week he has to stay up there. That's not a whole lot of money to some people, but to us it's almost astronomical. But He provided for that need too! Between my dad's reward points at one hotel chain and my father-in-law's points at another, we are going to be able to both go up for this class and stay an entire week for FREE. All we will have to pay for is our food.

Is your jaw on the floor? Mine is. Just remembering what God has done in the past makes the present troubles seem so much more bearable. Yes, this may have been a hard year. Yes, there have been some incredibly yucky things that have happened. BUT, my God is the working-all-things-together-for-good God. He is right there, even in the middle of the not fun and the downright terrible. He always comes through, He always provides for His children.

"I was young, and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread."
Psalm 37:25

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The bedroom

Our kid's bedroom is almost finished!! Walls are painted, curtains are sewn and hung, the rug is a work in progress, the bed is a work in progress, and the wall art is ready to be hung.

Pictures to come soon (and hopefully a full post with tips on how to design a room that can work for either gender and a wide age range).