Saturday, October 23, 2010

Survival vs Thriving,,,,

I've been thinking about this concept of survival vs thriving for a long time.  It seems as though I've spent most of my life in survival mode, "I just need to get through this crisis, so I can move on to the next."  This was my life growing up.  Where are we going to get food from today?  How drunk is mom going to be?  Will she be a happy drunk or will she get mean?  How am I going to pay for college?  Where's the rent money going to come from?  You get the point.  I learned to live in survival mode.  This was my day to day existence. 

I did have a safe place however, my friend Melissa's house.  That was my place of refuge.  When I was there I was loved and cared for. I was allowed to be a kid.  I didn't worry about food, bills, or if I was going to be abused that day.  It was wonderful and it was my lifeline to a world outside of my own.  A world where survival wasn't the goal; thriving was.  I am so grateful for that chance to see that life could be different. I sincerely believe I would not be where I am today with out that place of safety and refuge.

God has really been moving my heart about our appointment here in Waterloo.  Our move here was surrounded by unexpected circumstances at a very odd time.  I don't think we were mentally prepared nor were our people. This was no one's fault, it was just a crazy set of circumstances. I described our arrival in Waterloo like being put into a large dark crate spun around several times and dropped off in the middle of day in China.  It really was that disorienting.  Our people were confused and we were confused.  Everyone went into survival mode. 

We've been in survival mode for the last two years.  Just trying to figure it out day to day and learning about each other. Has it been difficult?  ABSOLUTELY! There have been days when Rob and I have thought about throwing the towel in.  I've argued with God, "Surely we aren't the ones to do this job!"  I'm sure our people have had those moments as well.  Some have thrown the towel in, but most have stuck with us (for which I am profoundly grateful).  However, I do think that this period of survival mode was necessary.  Just like the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, this desert has been a place of learning, growth, and refining. Now it's time to leave that desert and enter the Promised Land.

You can only live in survival mode for so long.  God is ready to move us all forward.  No more excuses, just results. 

When you're in survival mode, the only thing you can think about is getting out alive.  It is impossible to appreciate what God is doing when you're in the middle of it. At this moment I am thankful for that oppurtunity for growth but I'm dancing with joy as I enter the promised land.

Now it's time to thrive!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Garden

Last year we put in a small raised bed so that we could have a little vegetable garden.  I didn't know much about gardening and we planted things sort of haphazardly.  We got lots of squash, a few cukes, and little else.  This year I took a little more organized approach and here is what we have so far.

Lots and lots of tomatoes this year! Last year we only got a couple because it was so cold. 

This little yellow flower will be a cucumber.  Amazing!

These flowers will be beans. 

Nathan is so excited that the tomato plants are as tall as he is. 

This is ONE zucchini plant!  Look at the size of those leaves!!

Our first zucchini!  We ate it with pasta.  Yumm....

One of my potted Gerbers.  Totally makes me happy!  

And last but not least one of our nuts!  Nathan took this picture and it just makes me laugh so I thought I would share it with the world. Karin Rowe you are awesome!


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Be it ever so humble...

 Growing up we moved a lot.  Granted we stayed in the same city but every couple of years we would move to a new house.  I never really felt like I had a place that I could put roots down or really call home.  When I married my husband and we ventured off on our own all that changed.  His parents house really became home to me.  It was the place that we could always return to, to relax and feel safe and loved.  This was an entirely new experience for me and sometimes still catches me wonderfully off guard. 

Yesterday my mother-in-law, Rob, Nathan, and I all went tubing down the Muskegon River.  Other than a sunburn and getting a little far behind the rest of the group I had an amazing time.  There was however one moment where I was wonderfully caught off guard.  Floating down the river all by myself, I looked up into the canopy of trees and heard Rob and Nathan giggling and splashing in the background, and realized how familiar and right everything felt at that exact moment.  All too often I feel like I'm just visiting, at that moment I felt like I was home.  Here is the most amazing thing, while it felt really good to be surrounded by things familiar I realized that it wasn't the location that made me feel like I was at home, it was being with my son, and husband and mother-in-law. 

A sense of home isn't about location but family.  Most people figure this out quickly, but for a girl who really had no experience with neither growing up, it was an epiphany.

Thank you God for beautiful moments of growth.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Jumping off the hamster wheel....

This week Rob and I have jumped off the hamster wheel that is our crazy lives for a little respite.  We are on vacation spending time with our family, just trying to catch our breath.

It's amazing the things that God is saying when you finally get away from the noise and craziness to hear Him. 

I'm still processing how and what He said to me at Congress and all of the little things He's been saying through the noise. I hope to share several times this week about being yourself, resting in Him, digging into the Scriptures, friendship, the passing of time, and maybe even a few pictures of my aprons that I'll be working on.  

Praising God for an extended Sabbath rest and looking forward to sharing what God is doing!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

No excuses....

Usually when I am feeling any type of negative emotion, ie. anger, sadness, disappointment, frustration, etc, that is caused by another individual or group of individuals I make excuses and don't allow myself to feel that emotion.  I tell myself the other party couldn't possibly have meant it that way, or maybe I'm just being a baby and I need to put my big girl pants on and deal with it. 

Well, in an effort to "live honestly", I just want to say publicly.....I"m angry, hurt, and disappointed.  For all of you TSA folks out there, it has nothing to do with The Army.  (I thought that I should say that so tongues don't start wagging.  :) )

No excuses, no apologies, just what I feel. 

Am I supposed to feel better now?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creatively Constipated

This is what I look like when I try to make art. I've had this problem for several months now and I can't seem to shake it.  I have a lot of ideas rolling through my head but when I sit down they roll right out.  I can't knit, I can't make stuff, I even struggle doodling. 

Here's the thing, I know I'm no great artist but being creative is a big way that I connect to God, release emotions, and really get to know myself.  So when I'm creatively constipated it's really bad.  I mean really, really bad. 

I did start a project last night and plan on working on it a little today.  I have no end result in mind, I just needed to do something....anything.  I hope to post a completed piece soon, but until that time I would appreciate your prayers, and if you see my muse can you send her home?  Tell her I have chocolate. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

By Popular Demand...This weeks menu!

I've had several people express interest in how I do my meal planning so I thought I would share how our family does it.

This all started because we were spending a ridiculous amount of money eating out.  I'm talking 3-4 times per week! Everything was a rush and we weren't enjoying the food or our time together.  So we decided to eat at home more.  As a busy officer I know that, realistically, I cannot cook meals from scratch seven days a week, so I came up with my master plan; I cook at least 3, sometimes 4, meals from scratch each week.  For the rest of the week we eat leftovers, have FFY night (Fend For Yourself), or Rob will cook.  This has worked extremely well for our family for about 3 years now, but it does take a bit of planning. 

I usually sit down with my planner Sunday evening and see what the week ahead looks like.  Monday's are crazy busy so Rob usually will bring in leftovers to the Corps or he'll make something.  (I really have a great husband!) We usually have dinner guests over a couple of times a week, so I know that I need to plan for a couple of larger meals.  I also usually plan one homemade dessert during the week, usually when we have guests. 

It's really important to know what you have on hand.  I usually keep my pantry pretty well stocked and have recently started putting all of my dry goods in wide-mouth canning jars. I can see what I have and how much and it keeps my cupboards nice and tidy. 

I actually made a reusuable shopping list.  I printed out the different categories that I normally shop for, then I laminated it with thick plastic.  I just use a wet-erase marker to make my list and then when I'm done I just wipe it off.  I'm actually going to revise it soon and also make one for meal planning. 

Since we've really started making an effort toward eating healthy all of this menu planning stuff has made it super easy. 

Here's the Menu for this week:

  • Steaks on the grill
  • Baby Reds with Roasted Garlic (Pioneer Woman Recipe)
  • Brussel Sprout Sesame saute (Clean Food Recipe)
  • Pineapple Upside Down Cake
  • Pasta with Tomato Blue Cheese Sauce (Pioneer Woman Recipe)
  • Garlic Bread
  • Salad with homemade salad dressing (not sure what kind yet)
  • Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies ( I have a LOT of bananas to use up! Heck if you're interested I may even send you some.)
  • Honey Mustard Chicken
  • Garlic Mashed Potaoes
  • Roasted Asparagus
Friday-Sunday, I am at Women's Camp so the boys are on they're own!

Hope someone finds this helpful. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Wearing our sin like a badge of honor....

I've been thinking about this post for almost a week.  God and I have been talking about what He's laid on my heart.  I've been trying to wrap my brain and my heart around it.

Once I finally got it, I started having this argument with myself as to whether I should write about it here.  You see I didn't want to seem confrontational or offend anyone.  I spend a lot of time thinking about what I say and how I say it.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I frankly, take it to far.  So far, in fact, that I lose myself so that I can please other people. 

Then I discovered this is about what God has laid on MY heart.  This is about how I'M feeling.  This isn't about anyone else.  So in an attempt to live honestly I'm going to just lay it out there.

I know an awful lot of Christians, myself included, who wear a particular sin like a badge of honor. When we look through the Ten Commandments I realized that there are some that we look at as the big "SINS" and others that we look at as merely suggestions.

Here are the big "SINS":  lying, murder, adultery, stealing, coveting.  Those are the big ones that we know are absolutely wrong and we become convicted of quickly.  But what about the first 5.  Are they just suggestions?

The one that I've become particularly convicted of is #4:  "Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work.  But the seventh day is a sabbath day to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work..." Exodus 20:8-10a

I am a Salvation Army officer and there is ALWAYS a lot to do.  There are always people who need prayers or a listing ear, programs to be done, sermons to be written, meetings to go to, etc, etc.  It is possible that you can work 24/7 and there will still be more work to do.  And to top off this massive problem we Salvationists are doers.  I think that it's somewhere in our DNA that we like to do stuff. 

In conversation with our peers there's usually a lot of talk about what we have going in our individual appointments and usually there's a lot of talk about how busy we are.  If I had a nickel for every time I've heard, or said myself, "We haven't taken a day of or vacation in (insert a large amount of time here)..."  I think in some cases that has become a badge of honor.  "Look at how hard I'm working for God, I don't even have time to take a day off!"  When really what we're saying is:

"I'm working so hard for God, I don't have time for Him...I don't have time to follow His command, because I''m just too busy...I love Him so much and want to serve Him so much that I will sacrifice MY sabbath."

When I began to see it in context I realized the lie that I, and many others, have been feeding ourselves.  The sabbath rest is a COMMAND not a suggestion.  It is not our sabbath.  It is His sabbath, it is a day for us to rest and honor him. 

Suddenly my pride that I used to wear my busyness badge of honor has turned to shame and repentance.  Thank you Lord, for convicting me and bringing me back to where I need to be, at your feet. 

Friday, April 23, 2010

Busy, Busy Dreadfully Busy....

Archibald (Mayor): I'm busy, busy, dreadfully busy
You've no idea what I have to do.
Busy, busy, shockingly busy
Much, much too busy for you.
Larry: Oh, I see.

Archibald and Doctor: We're busy, busy, dreadfully busy
You've no idea what we have to do.
Busy, busy, shockingly busy
Much, much too busy for you.

'Cause we're busy, busy, frightfully busy
More than a bumblebee, more than an ant.
Busy, busy, horribly busy
We'd love to help, but we can't!

Archibald: Ta ta!

I really hate days like today.  So many things to do that, I know, not everything will be completed or done as well as I'd like it to be.

Praying that today I am able to give myself a break and accept that even though things aren't the way I'd like them to be, I've done the very best that I can with the time I've been given.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Introducing Tacky...

For those of you who don't know Tacky, let me be the first to introduce him.  This is Tacky...

Tacky is...well...tacky.  He tries to be like the other penguins who all look and act the same, very dignified in their formal attire but it really just doesn't work for him.  He's loud and anything but dignified and, no matter how hard he tries he just cannot be like the other penguins.  He's not a bad penguin.  On the contrary, he's very sweet.  He just doesn't seem to fit in with his penguin peers.  

This blog is about me embracing my inner Tacky.  I live in a world where we all look the same and sometimes, I think people expect that because we look the same we should all be the same.  At least I struggle with that expectation for myself.  This blog is a place for me to figure out how to live honestly and embrace who God has created me to be,  This is where I'll share some of the things I like, some things I don't like, things I laugh and cry about, and things I'm just trying to understand.  Sometimes I'll share practical ideas, sometimes I'll be silly, and sometimes I may get deep and philosophical.  But whatever I post, I promise that I will always be honest.  

So here it is, my first inaugural blog post.  Thanks for being interested enough to join me on this crazy adventure.  

For those of you who've never read about Tacky, grab a friend and run don't walk to your public library and read Tacky The Penguin by Helen Lester.  I promise you will not be disappointed.