Saturday, April 26, 2014

God's Humor

Recently I have been feeling that God is prompting me to write more.  One of the ways I have been feeling this "push" is through a certain song that comes on the Christian radio stations.  It is by Francesca Battistelli and the chorus has a refrain that says, "write your story, write your story" several times.  I listen to the radio in my car as I'm driving, and nearly every day I hear this song.  Mind you, there are 4 different Christian stations preset on my radio and I am constantly switching back and forth between all of them.  Every time I hear the chorus of that song, I'm saying in my head, "OK, OK God, I hear you.  You're telling me to write.  But what do I write, where do I begin?"

One morning I was telling my husband about this (this song has been pushing me for a long time now, and they keep playing it!).  He didn't know what song I was talking about (he listens to CD's, not the radio) and he half-jokingly told me that he didn't think it was a song at all, but that God was just making me think I was hearing those words over and over again.  I told him, quite confidently, "Ride in the car with me, and you WILL hear that song!"

Later that morning we were taking his car in for service, so I followed him to the mechanic.  After we had dropped off his car and he got into my car, do you know which song was the very first full song that came on the radio?  It was THAT song!  I shouted, "This is the song!"  And smirked.

I was going to a conference that day, so he dropped me off for the first session and when he came back later to pick me up for lunch, do you have any idea what was the very first full song that came on the radio?  It was THAT song!  I shouted again, "It's the song!"  I had to laugh and think to myself, God is so funny.  He's just delighted to play with us sometimes.

I still don't know where to begin or what direction to go with writing.  All that I've done so far on the blog has been because something is weighing heavy on my mind and heart and I want to share it.  Mike tells me it's pretty clear, God wants me to write my story (it says so right there in the song).  I keep praying and hopefully soon I will see how to begin unfolding my story.

God Bless You,

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Our Great-ful Wall

One day I read this post of Ann Voskamp's about Great-ful jars.  I was inspired to do something similar for my family members.

Preface: I am NOT a project type of person.  Some people are always creating things in their home: designing, aligning, rearranging, or adding.  Not me.  It's just not in me.  I'm not creative in my home & I just let things stay the same for a long time.  So, when this idea came to me I would have to say that it was divinely inspired!

I love the idea of Great-ful jars, but I wanted this to be something that was ongoing, that we could keep on adding more thankfulness to.  I also knew that in my crowded house there is absolutely no room for anything else to sit and take up any more counter or table space.  Especially not 6 jars for every member of the family.  I started to think of something that could be hung on the wall.  I had an idea in my mind of what it could look like, and I decided I would be thrifty & creative & went straight to Goodwill that day to find something to fit my idea.  I was full of excitement and anticipation- I just knew I could find something that would fit what I wanted to do!

An hour later I had picked up countless items, looked around, gone back to items and looked at them again, tried and tried to figure out how I could make my dream reality, but I left Goodwill disappointed, discouraged, and empty handed.

When I got home I instantly remembered that I had a Craft Warehouse gift card.  Maybe they might have something that could work?  I went straight to Craft Warehouse & imagine my excitement when I found some things that would fit my idea perfectly!  Mike helped me by staining the untreated wood and hanging up the box.  Now, where on my wall was previously an eye-sore of an old wall phone jack, we have our Great-ful Mail Center!

Well, the tin pail hanging off the side did come from Goodwill, so the trip was not completely in vain!  Each drawer has a family member's name on it (we included Grandpa & Michael Jr's girlfriend, so that makes 8).  This is for storing their Great-ful mail in.  When we want to write a note to one of our family members (something like, "I really like the way you..."  or "I'm thankful that you..."  or "I remember when you...") there are small papers in the upper right cubby for that (those are unused scrapbook papers that I trimmed down to size), and tape for sealing the note.  We write the person's name on the outside of the note and put it in the tin bucket.

The bucket has a little "chalkboard" star on the side where I wrote "New Mail".  The bucket could also have gone on top of the box, but I like it closer to eye level.  After they read their note they put it in their drawer so they can read their notes anytime.  

The notebook in the metal "FAMILY" pocket actually says the word "Thankful" on it.  Also inspired by Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts, and by our own gratitude journey, this is our family thankfulness journal.  When we gather together for dinner, or anytime really, we will add things we are thankful for.  I wanted all the words displayed to read like this, "We Are... grateful... blessed... thankful... family."

Everyone in the family likes the idea and I am so excited that this God-inspired idea became reality!  Maybe you will be inspired of some ways to incorporate gratitude into your family culture too.

God Bless You,

Friday, April 11, 2014

Refreshing Dreams

I wish I knew someone who could create this video.  I saw it in my mind this evening & it felt like it could be such an encouraging & amazing video if only someone could make it.  But since I am not a video producer, and all I have is my words, I will try to use my words to paint a picture for you of what I saw tonight & maybe, hopefully, it will encourage someone.

A woman is in her house, tired, weak.  She sits down at the computer and begins working.  A young child is pulling at her shirt, crying, repeating over and over, "mommy. mommy. mommy."  She motions to him for him to just wait for a minute so she can finish what she is doing.  There is a banging at the door.  Repeated, loud knocking.  We see a big rough guy outside and as he is relentlessly pounding on the door on his shirt is written "debts".  As all this continues, the phone begins ringing.  The caller ID says "obligations".   All of this is going on at once: the child crying, calling mommy; the pounding of debts at the door, and the ringing of the call of obligations.  Until it finally reaches a crescendo and the woman just shouts at the top of her lungs, "STOP!"

Everything stops and her head collapses onto the desk as she begins to weep.  From behind her, we see there is an open window and a single beam of sun shines through, falling on her face.  She looks up and begins to think.  She stands up from the desk and takes the hand of her child and begins to walk with him. They walk together until they reach outside, where it is a beautiful radiant sunny day.  She holds the child on her hip with one arm, and the other arm swings out wide as they both close their eyes and drink in the warmth of the sun.  Their faces become radiant and warm as they bask in the sun's glow.

The woman lays out a blanket on the grass for her child, where he peacefully lays down to sleep.  She returns inside and approaches the refrigerator.  Inside, there are multiple full plastic containers & on them are written the words "FEAR" and "DOUBT".  With a move of her arm she sweeps all the containers of fear and doubt aside, throwing them to the floor.  Behind them, is a single container labeled "DREAMS".  It has long been forgotten and when she pulls it out and opens the lid, she shrinks back in disgust from the smell and appearance of a rotten and moldy thing.  Undeterred, she carries the container outside and there, in the brilliant sun, opens it up and holds it up with both hands, allowing the radiance to shine down onto it.  The wind blows and we know it is the breath of God breathing onto her dreams.  The dreams he gave her.

Immediately things inside the container begin to change.  It's like watching a time lapse tape where everything has been sped up.  The mold blows away.  What was in the container changes to a rich soil.  Sprouts of all different kind of flowering and fruiting vines begin to grow.  They grow until the whole area is filled with beautiful foliage and even the child, sleeping on the blanket, is cradled by the growth.

This was what I saw tonight.  I hope you can see it too.  God wants to interrupt the chaos & busyness of our lives, and renew us with his peace and love.  He wants to breath on our forgotten dreams.  But we have to stop, push everything aside, and bring those dreams out for him to breath life back into them.

God Bless You,