Mar 30, 2010

We've come a long way baby....

...still a couple more things to do but the countertops and hardwood was done today so the only things left are upstairs carpet, toilets, mirrors, hardware, and appliances. Oh, and the door color and wood between the exterior windows... and all of our stuff, of course!

Mar 21, 2010

Et cetera

Chicks & Rabbits: best. candy. ever. ... but only the yellow and blue ones. For some reason, the orange ones don't taste the same. Maybe I have a complex with orange, not sure. Seriously though, these are soooo good! I think it was completely random how I came to enjoy them so but my sister and I both go nuts over them. I found some cheap at CVS this weekend and couldn't wait to snack away...
...Finley couldn't either! I caught him with his paw IN THE BAG and then he ran off with a rabbit! ...least it was an orange one... (and no, I didn't let him eat it).
We are starting to make a lot of progress on wedding related projects - one of which will involve pictures from the past. Here are some favorites!

We also made a stop by Goodwill on Saturday and I picked up three of the ugliest frames you've ever seen, we spray painted them metallic champagne and they don't actually look too bad! I think we'll have to spray another coat to make it even but overall - I'm pretty pleased with it. We went to Walmart to find plain white kitchen towels so I could make these:

...but somehow got lost - it was an out of town Walmart that neither of us had been to, but we were both familiar with the town so it shouldn't have been difficult AT ALL. There was construction on one of the main roads so we had to detour a few times... the GPS led us to a neighborhood and said Walmart was on the left. It was HILARIOUS!
After almost TWO hours, we finally were headed out of Walmart with plenty of white towels (yay!), some sack cloth (don't ask ;)), thread, and a can of spray paint. While in line at the check out, I saw cans of silly spray for $1.47 and decided to send Chandler away to look at some bullatin board while I stashed some spray in our pile of loot. This afternoon while I was spray painting the frames, I opened the silly spray and got him - it was SO funny! I wish I'd had my camera.
Several people who were outside actually stopped what they were doing because I can only assume they had seen us painting and then saw me spray him while he was yelling and flailing about like a crazy man! It was absolutely hysterical!
We had gorgeous weather here, 79 on Saturday and 70s again today... tomorrow is an ice cream party at work, SO much fun! I cannot believe it's almost April!

Mar 19, 2010

5 Things Friday

It's been a quiet blog lately so just thought I'd share some recent things...

1) You may remember the big furniture project we did last month - we did it again! Same type of furniture, same everything... except it is still in pieces in the sunroom waiting for a nice coat of poly before it's back home in the bedroom. The master bedroom in our house has an odd layout and we don't have much wall space. Instead of a chest and dresser, we are having to use two chests and plan to rehome our dressers. We started working on the second chest last weekend when the weather was perfect!

2) Wedding day is coming up! We [finally] picked up my dress Tuesday, shoes are still questionable, and the flower I ordered from Etsy arrived. I love it; it looks and feels real. I can't figure out what material it is, latex? Here's a sneak...

3) Can we talk about Neti Pots? Best thing ever. I'm not even kidding. I heard about these a couple years ago but refused to buy one. I even went so far as to carry one up to the check out but then promptly took it back to the aisle where I found it. Last year when I was sick for forever, I was so desperate, I bought one. It's amazing. Seriously, I love the thing. It took a little while and a lot of gumption but it works. I've been using it quite a bit this week. If you're sick or have allergies, BUY one!

4) Tulip has a driveway! Chandler used to go inside and take pictures but the door is locked now, yay! We got the driveway and sidewalk this week and we're hoping that the cabinets, floors, etc... will be next. Baseboards are in, walls are painted, and there are only 5 weeks to go!

5) It's been a somewhat frustrating week and I've decided this is the song of the week.
'No matter what kind of craziness is going on... God still has a plan and He's still in control.' - JJ Heller

JJ Heller, Your Hands (see her talk about the video via this link)

I have unanswered prayers
I have trouble I wish wasn't there
And I have asked a thousand ways
That You would take my pain away
That You would take my pain away

I am trying to understand
How to walk this weary land
Make straight the paths that crookedly lie
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine
Oh Lord, before these feet of mine

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

When You walked upon the Earth
You healed the broken, lost, and hurt
I know You hate to see me cry
One day You will set all things right
Yea, one day You will set all things right

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands

Your hands
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still
Your hands that shape the world
Are holding me, they hold me still

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave You when...

When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
When my heart is breaking
I never leave...
I never leave Your hands

Mar 18, 2010

Realizing Faith, Apparently Part 2

Last week, I shared my thoughts on faith and where I am in that walk. Yesterday, I wanted to take it back - all of it. The more I thought about it, the more uncertain I became about where I am - but God had other plans.

See, I had a phone interview for a great job - really great job - everything went well, good dialogue, conversation flowed well, my answers to questions were right on, things seemed great. I called to follow up the next week and they were waiting to find out the funding allocated to the particular project. I started to think it wasn't good news, but decided it didn't matter. It was a technical writing position and I've really not done that in a while so I probably don't have the more recent experience they were looking for - it's okay, there are other things out there. I guess I wasn't as prepared as I thought - I got an email from the recruiter and she'd just heard that I didn't get the position. Disappointed doesn't even sum it up. I have been looking at jobs in VA since November, really looking since January.

VA doesn't acknowledge health education as a profession outside of nursing and to top it off my national credential (CHES) means nothing to the state. It has been extremely frustrating. We close on the house April 23rd. FIVE weeks away. And I have no job. No job leads. Nothing. My degree is useless in VA, which means I'll be falling back on my communication degree. Good thing I have a couple of those things to work with! (And yes, I know my blog writing isn't always correct...I overuse commas, I add unnecessary words, I begin sentences with 'and,' I end them with prepositions, and I probably do a lot of other things wrong too.)

That news came as I started to feel yuck - went to the doctor and got some Rx. Overall just a yuck day. Thinking about jobs in VA makes me want to cry. At night, I look through dozens of sites hoping to find something to follow up on for a job. Nothing seems to fit my background and I sometimes just sit there staring at the screen hoping that something new will pop up if I refresh the page. I really need a job. I'd really like to have one in the next month so I can get married and actually LIVE with the person I'm marrying.

Totally frustrated and in the dump, I was gently reminded that I'm not in control and that just because I don't know the plan, doesn't mean there isn't one. One of the girls in Bible Study shared a story...

"The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.

Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied."

Ok, I hear You loud and clear, roger that God. My world may not be crashing, but there are certainly days where I feel like I'm so frustrated that it may as well be... Later in the day I was at work and a customer that I haven't seen in a while came in, we chatted about me moving and the job situation and both of them separately said that He always works things out and we are just pieces in the plan. As if the story wasn't enough!

Today, I've spent the afternoon on the couch. My head has felt like it could explode at any minute and the neti pot has become a fast friend, but I've been on the job hunt again and trying to think creatively. Naturally, it's been frustrating at best. Then, I got an email with a picture of Jesus that said this:



It was a forward and I got it last week as well, but deleted it. Oops. I got it, I got it... Loud and clear. Some may say all of this is pure coincidence, but I know better. When the stakes are high, bow down low. Oh and low I've been...

This faith thing isn't easy. In fact, it's a little rough. I'm learning - and I'm holding on to the fact that I don't know what will happen - ever, for that matter - but things will be okay. I've changed my prayers and am working on patience, acceptance, and strength.

Mar 12, 2010

Thought of the day...

I read this somewhere earlier in the week and it's stayed with me. I'm sure it has nothing to do with wedding planning ;) so everyone should enjoy!

(It appears to be anonymous but if you know otherwise, please share!)

Don't let the details become bigger than the purpose.

Need to read it again?

Don't let the details become bigger than the purpose.

Now, have a wonderful weekend!

Mar 10, 2010

My Big Girl!!!

This is the first picture I saw of Nola!

...and these were her sisters! I love this pile of puppies - so much that I almost got 2 puppies!

Nola's first week home; she was the CUTEST baby dog in the history of the world!!!
...and today, my big girl is THREE years old!!!

Mar 9, 2010

Realizing Faith

Last night, I was sitting in bed wrapping up my reading and thinking about how important my books have become... Crazy Love - I've read it almost four times and it's changed me. Totally changed my life. My Bible - I love reading it. I never, ever thought I would enjoy reading the Bible as much as I do. I've read one version (almost completely) so far and am working on another. I actually miss reading when I skip a night. Jesus Calling - my most favorite daily devotional... ever! So Long Insecurity - Beth Moore's new book; I caved and decided to join the online book club for it and so far I'm behind three chapters. It's okay. I really like Beth Moore so I know I'll finish it...eventually! I have a stack of books beside my bed. It's probably pushing two feet high - I'm not even kidding!

So as I was about to close my eyes last night, I was just reflecting on how much I love my books and how much they have strengthened my relationship with God, when I realized that I don't need books. They have surely helped me, but Moses and Paul didn't have books. They wrote them! They had the REAL deal. They had GOD - Himself - speaking to them. I was thinking about how cool that was when I realized that I have that too! DUH! He speaks to me - I just don't always hear Him because I'm not listening.

My books are important to me, I look to them for guidance and for help when I need to understand something, but I often forget the One I need to look to most, the One who can actually answer me. It was a pretty big realization.

The next couple of months will hold some big changes - a lot of which may cause you to question my sanity for trying to do so much in a short period of time. The easy answer is, it makes sense for us. And so far, it works. If I was to make a list of the big changes we have coming up, I might have a mild breakdown - so I won't do that - but it's definitely caused me to rely on faith.

I've blogged about Francis Chan before - and I thought I posted this video - I think I did but the YouTube owner must have changed the link because it's another one now - here's the video though...

The first time I watched this, I was actually just starting to read Crazy Love - and I was on chapter four - Lukewarm Christians. Watching this was like seeing him make fun of me - for all to see. I realized that it really WAS me and I didn't want it to be.

I've struggled with faith over the last few years - I've questioned validity of all sorts of things and I still have no answers, but I'm learning to accept that. I'm learning to understand that I will never know because it is much bigger than I'm able to comprehend. Reminding myself that I never understood Algebra helps too because tons of other people get it and are so much smarter so of course God is going to be way smarter than what I could understand. (I have good logic, right?)

With all of these changes coming up - getting married, moving, finding a new job, etc... I'm oddly at peace with it all. It would be sooooo easy to stress about not having found a job yet, but I'm okay. I know the right job will come along and it is a piece to the puzzle - I know that we will be married whether or it pours rain or sun shines with dolphins swimming in the sound. I'm also learning that I really do have faith. I have it because I'm living by it.

I am finally doing things in my life that put me in a position to actually have to rely on faith. And with that, I'm also learning that it's the way He wants us to live. If we live comfortable and never have to rely on faith, then do we really have it? Or do we fall into a pattern of safety and arrogance because 'it's simple, God does bigger things.' If we live according to His plan, we rely on Him and we walk with Him. Living in His plan doesn't mean we are always comfortable, but it does mean that He is with us. In one of our last Bible Studies, Beth Moore talked about how we often don't feel His presence until we are in the storm. I've probably talked about this before, but it is so, so true.

Faith is believing in God - and acting on it. Living on faith. Stepping out. If for some reason the video above didn't work, this is the YouTube link.

Mar 5, 2010

Adios Noro!

I miss my blog!!! I hate only posting once/week... but this week I have a very legit reason for lack of posts - norovirus. Ugh, it was the worst! I have a super fab flat stomach now though! ;) I stayed in bed curled up all day on Monday and while I was talking to God during my awake moments, I couldn't help but think of Job. I thought I'd posted about Job but apparently I never put my thoughts on the screen... oops! While reading Job during my daily assignment in my NLT Chronological Bible, I couldn't help but wonder if I would still thank God during my times of pain - how did he manage to do that?! I'm such a baby and when I hurt, I'm pretty selfish about wanting to not hurt.

I did thank God though. It was the strangest thing... and I love, love, love that I'm doing this one-year reading plan! It has taught me so much that I think will continue to strengthen my faith. I was curled up in pain and half conscious most of the day, but I was thankful that I had a soft bed. I was thankful that I had running water (and a toilet, amen!). I was thankful that Nola was quiet and stayed with me. I was thankful she only had to go outside twice in the entire day. And I actually thanked God as I was crying in bed, bunched over like a crumpled piece of paper.

I'm sharing this, because I have grown. When I thought I was making strides on the path, I'm realizing that I've only just begun.
"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub