Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This post is going to be a nice antidote to my last one....because despite several disappointments this past month, this weekend brought with it a dream fulfilled.

It's no secret I'm a Disney fan. I've dreamed about taking my own child to the Magic Kingdom way before I ever even had a boyfriend! ;0)

After one difficult pregnancy, and two surgeries since she was born, Andrew, me and little SaraRose finally made it!

And it was everything I hoped it would be.

I felt God's love for me in every little moment---it wrapped around me, tangible and real. My Lord knew that this was a big deal to me. He knew I'd waited and prayed for it. He knew I wanted it to be perfect. So when it finally happened, He made it extraordinarily beautiful!

See God's wink in the sky above us?

Just look at her little face!

Meeting SilverMist and Tinkerbell was the highlight of the day. So sweet and special I couldn't hold back my tears as we turned to leave. They gave her "pixie dust" she held tight in her little hand the rest of the night.

The Disney fireworks are nothing short of fantastic! They NEVER disappoint.And our very favorite spot to eat (a tradition Andrew and I started on our many journey's to Dowtown Disney just the 2 of us), Wolfgang Pucks. MMMM, I can taste it now! And the ambiance is delightful! Check out the SilverMist doll SaraRose scored too! ;0)

See? Beautiful. Dare I say, even MAGICAL?! ;0)

And being able to sense God's particular love for me thruout the days was refreshing. Just what this down-cast spirit needed. And it made me wonder....why do I get so easily offended at Him? Because in the end He always comes thru! Somehow. It's just hardly ever in the sweeping, epic, way I want Him to. Most of the time it takes a while. So long in fact, I begin to wonder if He's forgotten my dreams and desires completely.

But this weekend?.....this weekend WAS epic. He was there, giving me all I wanted and more. It was His way of saying, "Kristen...HELLO! I see you, I hear you....CALM DOWN! ;0) And I DO come thru for you in big ways sometimes, just stop complaining and let me show ya....!"

And when you take that and mix a little bit of Disney pixie dust with it?! Well, it just doesn't get any better than that in this girl's opinion ;0)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When God Hurts Your Feelings

This past week, there were two relatively big things that I specifically prayed wouldn't happen, and then they happened. And of course there's the over-arching disappointment of living in pain after two surgeries I fervently prayed would solve the problem. I'm telling you. It's easy to start taking it personally. To feel like God has purposely broken my heart. I know that's a terrible, terrible way to think, but I'd be lying if I said I never struggled with this kind of disillusionment.
I follow author Lysa TerKeurst 's blog, and the title of her post JUMPED out at me. Because it's where I'm at this week. I was really encouraged by her words because I know it's truth. Not the lies I tend to believe way too much.

When God Hurts Your Feelings
Asking why is perfectly normal. Asking why isn’t unspiritual. However, if asking this question pushes us farther from God rather than drawing us closer to Him, it is the wrong question. Too often, we tend to question God:
• Why did this happen?
• Why didn’t You stop this, God?
• Why weren’t my prayers answered?
• Why am I alone?
• Why did this happen today of all days?!

In most situations, nothing positive can come from whatever answer there might be to a why
question. Even if God gave us His reason why, we would judge Him. And His reasons, from our limited perspective, would always fall short. That’s because our flat human perceptions simply can’t process God’s multidimensional, eternal reason.

Isaiah 55:8-9: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’” declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thought than your thoughts.’”

If asking the why question doesn’t offer hope, what will?
The what question.
In other words: Now that this is my reality, what am I supposed to do with it?
So, when God hurts your feelings, don’t ask why … ask what?
For example, ask God the following questions:

• What do You want me to do with what has happened?
• What can I learn from this?
• What part of this is for my protection?
• What other opportunities could God be providing?
• What maturity could God be building into me?
-Lysa Terkeurst

Friday, April 2, 2010

Out with the old....

and in with the new?! I don't know how many times I've been able to say that when it pertains to new THINGS. My family never had much money growing up and Andrew and I have lived on love, paycheck to paycheck (if THAT!) most of our marriage. But that's alright! I know that fancy stuff does NOT a happy life make.


Recently we have a little bit of extra money to get some things we've really needed around the house, and let me tell you! it's felt GU-OOOD! A lot of the furniture we have we bought/was given to us as newlyweds and we never dreamed we'd still be using it. We'd say, "well, we don't have the money now so we'll buy cheap, and when we can afford it, we'll get something better" (famous last words, my friends, famous last words!)

But are a few of the changes we've been able to make in past few weeks:
We've used THIS
as our "dresser" ever since we said "I DO." It was actually a storage cabinet at Home Depot that was all dusty and on sale cause it was used as a model. Fast forward nine years and three moves later, and still it stands in our bedroom holding all our clothes.

When a lovely white dresser at IKEA caught me eye, I put my hand on top of it, looked at Andrew and said solemnly...."this is the one. It's time to store our clothes like normal people do." He heartily agreed and nodded...."YES. It's time!" So we got it!
Now I don't I have to see all 5 levels of rumpled clothes that we can never seem to keep folded each time one of us has to grab a T-shirt. I'm very proud!

Yes, that's much better!
I also re framed the photos in our hall. I don't have a "before" pic, but most used to be hung in plastic black puny frames from a "10 Frames for 20 Bucks" box. They did the job, but were swallowed up on our super-ginormous long hallway wall....so.....here is our updated picture wall:

This was a bigger job than I ever thought it'd be ... especially for someone on a 20 minute cycle of standing/needing to lie down. Phew! But I love the look of the outcome. It's a mishmash of my favorite old and new photos. I sparkle with a sense of accomplishment every time I walk down the hall!

And then there's our dining room chairs. Oh, our dining room chairs. We've only ever had hand-me-downs. When a friend saw we were sitting on boxes to eat after we got married, he gave us his used, green fabric director's chairs. We used them til two literally tore down the middle at different times when guests sat in them. Embarrassing!
Around that time, on the way home from a road trip we saw a sign that CrackerBarrel was selling their old used chairs for 8 bucks a piece. We stopped, stuck 4 of those suckers in our trunk, threw away the torn director's chairs and the CrackerBarrel chairs have been in our dining room ever since. Seriously. They're the one's from the restaurant. Scroll down and you'll recognize them. We call them the chairs of a million booties. Guests never notice it til we point it out, then their faces will lighten with recognition "oh, yea....these ARE from CrackerBarrel, aren't they?"

Once again IT WAS TIME to spring some real chairs of our very own. No more hand-me-downs. Pier One had a perfect match!

Next on the agenda....cleaning and organizing closets. Not nearly as much fun as buying new things, but necessary to help maintain my other old stuff that used to be new, and I'm sure someday I'll be saying needs replacing. Ah well, the circle of life! ;0)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Grandma's Bible

My Grandma was a gem. A true Southern lady; soft-spoken, kind, generous, with a fantastic sense of humor. Everyone who knew her loved her. And if I'm being honest, she was my favorite person in the whole world.
As a little girl, I'd climb up in her soft lap and stay there for hours. I just loved being with her. She died when I was in the eighth grade after a long, difficult battle with Parkinson's disease. But the mark she left on my life only grows as I get older.
(I'm adding this pic of my grandma and grandpa back in the day, just because it's just so 1930's fabulous! Check out that cool old camera grandpa's holding and that car. What a couple! )
The legacy she left with me isn't of baking cookies, playing Rummie Cube, or other "grandma-ish" fun memories. But it's that of faith and trust even when it's not easy.
The disease made her thin and terribly sick, and she was that way for most of the years I can remember her.
But she was still my sweet Grandma, and I could never wait to see her. Even when I got a older we spent tons of time together, since my mom helped my Grandpa care for her many days after school. As soon as we'd get to their house, I'd run to her room. The radio'd be humming with the Christian station she played day and night, as she'd smile and hug me tight with shaking arms. She'd want to hear all about my day. I'd sit on the edge of her bed and we would talk and talk.
I'd tell her all my pre-adolescent issues and she'd assure me she prayed for me every day. And then we'd get out her worn-out Bible and I'd read her a Psalm. It amazed me that every single page had something written on it or underlined. Really, every single page.....I checked. Even Deuteronomy! She had a wisdom and confidence about her that only someone who's walked closely with God and knew His Word thoroughly could have.

She told me she wanted me to have her Bible when she died. And I do.
It sits on my bookshelf as one of my most precious possessions. It's familiar musty smell takes me back to those afternoons in her room when with the light streaming in, we'd read it together.
I've left it just as it was. With bookmarks, pictures and some of the most random newspaper clippings tucked into it's pages. Even tho I have no idea why she kept some of the stuff in there she did, I still can't get rid of one piece of it. Because it's a piece of her. But here's the whole reason I'm writing this post: to share something amazing I found in that Bible long after she died. I think of often. On a page in the front, she had written this in her trembling, shakey hand:

If you can't make it out, it says this:
1. My Lord knows all about my circumstances
2. Determined to stand firm.
3. If things change, He will see me through

There is such a story in those three almost illegible points. Such faith, wisdom and strength.
It makes me miss her and admire her even more. I am blessed to have such a heritage.