Saturday, July 30, 2011

Let The Games Begin

Operation move into the rental house has begun.

We get the keys on Monday, and I plan to take a load over everyday starting Monday.  I won't lie; I am pretty overwhelmed.  How do I know?  My skin issue is worse than ever, and I'm not sleeping great at night.  I don't feel worried, though, just overwhelmed.

Scott is working a lot.  Well, I guess he's working the same amount, but when he's not working at the furniture store, he is working on finding his next official job, so I don't see him nearly as much these days.

There are things that I normally depend on Scott for, but today I decided that I am just going to have to jump in and do the various projects that need doing--kids and all, because Scott has to work, and I am so thankful that he is working, so a lot of this is up to me.

All of that to say, I tackled two big projects today.  Let me show you.

What you see here is a solution to our toy problem.

In the rental house, the play room will be in full view of the rest of the house.  And there really won't be room for toys in the bedroom, so I am reducing the number of toys we have and figuring out a good storage solution.    I want something that enables the kids to pick up the toys easily.  So, we had the above shelf in our garage.  We have had that shelf since our first year of marriage--someone gave it to us, so zero dollars, and we have been meaning to paint it for forever.  Today I decided, to heck with it, I was going to paint it because we need it at the rental house.  Luckily, Scott primed the shelf months (years?) ago, so the only step left was actual paint.  I decided to go the spray paint route.  Why not?  And I wanted robin's egg blue.  So, I went to wal-mart, bought a can of spray paint for 3.74, and after getting John down for a nap (notice the monitor), Ada and I headed outside.  She was thrilled because we rarely go outside, unless we are at the pool, because the heat is unbearable.  I decided to brave the heat today.  You should have seen me and my five foot self trying to get that shelf moved out of the garage onto the drive way, but I got it done (and was pretty proud of myself).  Then, while I let the first coat of paint dry (I need to go back to Wal-Mart for about two more cans of spray paint), I tackled the next project.

Cleaning out the car.

Our car was disgusting, filthy, and I couldn't stand the thought of loading up our stuff each night on top of the mess.  So, I cleaned and vacuumed and clorox wiped, and now our car is much more usable.  I am so relieved to have that done!!

As for the toys, as you can see above, I have bins to go in each open shelf.  I have categories for each bin, but I am realistic and know that things probably won't stay categorized.  I just want the kids to be able to clean up after themselves.  I also plan to buy two big red tubs (they are actually drink tubs at Bed, Bath, and Beyond) for the bigger toys.  I bought a cute apple green fabric bin at Target for the larger toys, but I think red will go better with the blue, so I am going to return the green bin (and the red tubs are about half the price--the cheapest toy storage I have found, actually) Our walls are very neutral, of course, so I want to bring in color in the furnishings.  Especially in the play room/ school room.

And that is today's progress.  I am sure I will be back as things move farther along.  (this time next week we will be celebrating Ada's fourth birthday, so there is much going on these days!!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Is Getting Crazy

Well, just like that, our life is getting a bit turned upside down, but we are encouraged and excited because we know that this "season" of life will always mark a turning point for us.  We have been praying to get out of debt, build savings, and give, give, give, and we think God is answering those prayers, just not how we would have done it ;) 

Since there is no immediate job on the horizon (though, praise-the-Lord, many potential things in the works), we have talked to the mortgage company, and we are putting our house on the market.

In the mean time, we have found a tiny little rental house near our town's square.  Think character ;)  It is an old home, but very livable and clean.  In fact, as we speak the carpets are being cleaned and the walls are being painted.  We love the location, we love the yard, and best of all, we can afford the rent and still manage to get food on the table and utilities paid.  God is providing in bits and pieces; he truly is.

While Scott continues to work full time at our friend's furniture store, I will be doing lots of little things in the fall to help pad the income--watching a friend's little boy twice a week, tutoring through our home school group, tutoring on my own, and I'm probably leaving something out.  Really, we laugh at all of the little odd jobs I have going, but we are so very thankful as we have clearly seen God work out the details with each of them.  And, most important to me, all of the above jobs allow for me to be at home with my children.  I do have two different friends who are going to watch Ada and John while I tutor twice a week (two hours at a time), so the trend continues--friends are truly helping to carry our burdens. 

We have a peace about all that God is doing, and even, believe it or not, an excitement.  It all screams of God's hand at work.

The house is small--2 bedroom, 1 bath, so we are purging the current house of stuff.  Big time.  There is enough room though that we will be able to have a play room/school room, which I am super thankful for.  And there is a roomy screened in front porch, which I hope to use quite a bit, increasing the living space.  The screen door locks, so I am hoping that in the fall, I can leave the front door open, and let the kids run around out on the front porch.  The main adjustment will be that Ada and John will have to share a room, but I am prepared for a few nights of craziness and trusting that eventually it will work itself out.  (But I am open to tips from other moms who have toddlers and preschoolers sharing a room). 

We signed the lease this morning, so it's done.  And life feels a bit like a whirlwind.  I am hoping to move into the house the week of August 14th because school starts the 24th, and along with school starting all of my "little jobs."  I want some sense of being settled before all of that begins.  The good thing is that most of the craziness will occur on Mon-Wed, and then it will just be the normal routine the rest of the week.  It will hopefully give me a chance to catch my breath each week.  Again, we are so thankful that God is allowing all of these details to fall in place, and in the process, giving us such a peace about it. 

At the end of the day what matters is that my family will be together under one roof, and life will go on much as it always has.  Yes, the quarters will be closer, but we will be comfortable, and we honestly like the location of our tiny house better than where we are right now.  Plus, we feel excited at the possibility of attacking our debt with intensity once Scott gets his next "real" job.  And we trust that he will ;)

If you think about it, will you pray that God will give me energy and patience as we make this transition?  It's a lot, and I know that it won't all be smooth sailing.  Of course Ada has questions and is expressing her desire not to move.  But I have to trust that God is using this past year's events to shape little Ada as much as he is using it to shape Scott and me.  I know that her world is safe, and I have to be okay with her feeling a bit uncomfortable at times.  It's part of life, right?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In the Neighbor's Backyard

Today, in the neighbor's backyard.

Ada--and John-- in high Heaven.

Scott has been saying to me all summer, that one of those waterslides was going to end up in the neighbor's backyard. He was right, and Ada is thrilled;)

Yard Sale Tips, Anyone?

Changes are on the horizon.  Obviously.

And one aspect of those changes involves a very large cleaning out of my house--top to bottom--nothing is safe (well, any furniture given to me by extended family is safe.  I promise I will not get rid of anything given to me without permission!!  And most of what has been given to me I don't want to get rid of.  That's the good furniture.  The stuff we bought is the cheap stuff).

So, I know that some of my readers must have some great yard sale advice.  Do you?

I have already talked to some friends for their advice, and I am gathering ideas.  I need this to be as painless as possible for my unorganized self.  I need step-by-step instructions, people, or I might have a disaster on my hands.

Please, help me.  Where do I start?  What do I do?  How do I advertise?  What about pricing?  Do you have any great advice or resources for me?

Thanks, friends!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Thankful. #s 152-161

I'm back to list the gifts that God has given right in the middle of this crazy season we find ourselves in.

He is here, right here, carrying us through this.  I know that he is.

152.  My family, healthy and intact

153.  Staying home with my children, even in the midst of this.  Their world is not shaken.

154.  A plan.  Moving forward.  One foot in front of the other.

155.  Ada going to sleep easily tonight, despite the thunder outside.

156.  Sweaty, dirty kids at the end of the day.  A sign of a day fully lived.

157. The smell of my children after bath time.

158.  I know I'm a broken record, but my friends and my family.  We feel so very supported.

159.  Getting to sleep in just a bit with Scott at home in the mornings.  I haven't been nearly as tired lately.

160.  Provision in so many little ways.

161.  .49 cent movie rentals at Blockbuster on Sundays.  A relaxing way to start the week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


So, for a couple of weeks now we have been waiting to hear back from a job interview.  It would have been a great opportunity--from our earthly perspective--but we found out yesterday that Scott did not get that job.  God said no.

I believe he said no because that was not what was best.

It was a blow, for a little while, but we have gathered our thoughts and spoken truth to ourselves, and I have a new outlook today, and I feel excited again.  Excited that God is taking us on an adventure, and we just have to hang on tight to Him and to each other and ride this thing out.  God doesn't think like we think.  That's an understatement, right?

So, will you pray that we can hear God's voice and direction as we figure out our next step?

A Reminder

I was just looking back through old blog posts.  I like to do that from time to time to see pictures of my children and read what we were doing at various points.

And I stumbled upon these words from a Christmas post I did.  I'm glad I read them tonight. 

And now I will close with a quote from the book that I am reading, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. I think it sums up Christmas so well

For the son of God to empty himself and become poor meant a laying aside of glory; a voluntary restraint of power; an acceptance of hardship, isolation, ill-treatment, malice, and misunderstanding; finally, a death that involved such agony--spiritual, even more than physical--that his mind nearly broke under the prospect of it. It meant love to the uttermost for unlovely men, who "through his poverty, might become rich." This Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity--hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory--because at the Father's will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear. (70-71).
Tonight, especially tonight, it helps so much to remember that God himself emptied himself and became poor.  He became poor.  I find such comfort in that tonight.  He was a man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief. (Isaiah 53:3)  He is not a distant God. 
Okay, that's all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

More Birthday Inspiration

Here is the look I am going for on the cheap

Source: via Laura on Pinterest

So far, I am thinking a white sheet on the dining room table as a table cloth, my homemade-what do you call them?--poofy things, and bright pink tulle tied around the backs of the girls' chairs.  There will also be plenty of pink and white balloons because Ada goes crazy over balloons (as does John, and well every kid I've ever known).  I will probably also use a little tulle on the fire place and maybe around the entrance to the dining room.  Ada has requested that we decorate everything.  And I do mean everything.  She is saying things like, "don't forget to decorate the bathrooms and the computers and the oven."  I mean, I can't even imagine the picture that she has in her head and the let down that she is going to feel on party day;)  No, really, I am working hard to make it special, but in moderation.  This will set the tone for parties to come, after all.  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Birthday Preparations

Ada will soon turn four, and party plans are in full swing around here.

We will be partying in pink princess style, and I have been searching the internet for days trying to gather ideas for cute, and even more importantly, inexpensive, decorating ideas.  And I stumbled onto this tutorial from Martha Stewart.

So, today, Ada, John, and I headed to Hobby Lobby for some bright pink tissue paper and wire (plus lots of pink tulle).  And look what I made this afternoon during John's nap...

I'm pleased with how it turned out, and I think it will add a nice touch to the party decor.  Thanks, Martha!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Little Down Time

Hannah is at our house playing for the afternoon, during her brother, Grant's, doctor's appointment.
(They are currently playing princess "sisters," but Ada has chosen mismatched pajamas for her costume)

At this age, it is actually a huge help (for the most part) for someone to be over here playing with Ada.  It gives me a chance to get things done around the house without Ada constantly underfoot.  Yes, it does mean toys everywhere, but everyday means toys everywhere, so that's really not a big difference.

We had a very busy morning just running around doing errands and things, which of course means sweating to death just to get from house to car from car to building and back to car, over and over again.  This heat, it's a killer.

Then I came home and attacked my family room and kitchen, which were both in need of some major cleaning (as is the entire house).  I cleared clutter and vacuumed floors and mopped the foyer, and finally, I decided I had earned a little computer time;) (Mom, I knew you would be glad to hear that I did quite a bit of cleaning today, and Scott cleaned the master bedroom!!)

Scott is out of the house at Chick-fil-a, using their free wi-fi to do a little job hunting and e-mailing, etc. etc. etc.  You know, the new normal around here:)  He likes to get out of the house for several hours a day to work on finding a new job.  He is also working for a friend several days a week, you know hourly pay kind of stuff--right now anything for a little cash to pad the severance pay;)  We are thankful for that work, as opposed to, you know, no work. 

And that is what the day-to-day looks like right now.  We are hoping this is just a short, short little blip on our life screen, but who knows what God is doing?  It's hard to say.  I am just going to keep praying the same prayer--can we get out of debt, build savings, give in abundance?  I will pray that prayer until he changes my heart about wanting those things.

I also, in a leap of faith kind of moment, went ahead and registered Ada for Classical Conversations, which starts in the fall.  Obviously, I don't know what the next few months of our life are going to look like, but I want to create and maintain as much of a routine as possible with Ada and John, and she has been so excited to start school, so we are moving forward with that plan.  That will start August 24th.  I think I am going to do most of our school upstairs in the guest room.  It is the least cluttered, quietest place in the house, so I think it will be easy to store our few school items up there.  I was going to use the downstairs play room, but it is such a wreck all of the time, that I just couldn't imagine trying to do school in the midst of that chaos.  Plus, I want to make it clear that we aren't playing school.  Right now, the dining room table is home to all of my school paraphernalia  but I plan to attack that room next, as soon as this computer time is over.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in a give a little update on what our life is looking like these days.

Please continue to pray that Scott quickly finds a new job, and that we continue to rest in God's promise of provision.  I am weary of this "season" of life, and I find myself wanting to forget it all, but, obviously, that is not an option;)

Okay, I am off to do a little pinteresting before I get back to the task at hand.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Thankful for

mostly tonight I am tired and trying to gather up the energy to write this list and link and all of that...

maybe I won't do all of that.

Maybe I will just say that I am thankful that today a friend treated me to lunch and Harry Potter, which, I think, was just what I needed.  It was a treat, indeed.  An escape, if you will.

And I think escape is A-okay in an appropriate manner.

I loved the movie, just as I loved the other movies.  And the books, oh the books.  They thrill me in the best of ways--that we too, in a VERY REAL way, are in a battle between good and evil, and evil has been conquered.  It has been conquered.  So we can be brave, and we can fight for truth, and we can stare death in the face if we have to.  Ahhh...I love it.  Bravery.

That's all tonight, I think.  I am tired.  Ada fought the fight at bedtime and nearly won.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Saw This; Had to Post

Pinterest: DIY edition

Some projects I am loving on Pinterest

tutorial for painting furniture.  Very step-by-step, which is good for me.

Happy Saturday!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Loss

It is God's law that he who learns must suffer.  And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God."  (Reynolds Price, quoted by Tim Keller in his essay, "Suffering:  The Servant of our Joy.")

At fifteen I suffered the raw pain of rejection.  The loss of a relationship that I thought would never end; I was fifteen.  And it was, indeed, awful.  My adolescent pain embarrassingly out there for all the world to see.  And I didn't want anyone telling me about God's sovereignty and goodness.  I just wanted to wallow in the pain, own it.

But even then, at all of fifteen years, God was working out his will in my life.  Wasn't he?  And he gathered up those tears in his bottle.

And somewhere, somehow, in the midst of my pain, I picked up a book, Hinds Feet on High Places, and I began to see that we can count it a privilege to share in the suffering of Christ.  God, in his awful grace, was giving me bits of wisdom.

Last night, almost 15 years later, I said to God about my most recent loss--I don't want it.  I don't want the wisdom or the privilege or any of it.  I just want to run from it.  And his awful grace comes again, in the words of someone much wiser than me.

Isn't he always working out his will?  Always.

And this is why I hate the health and wealth gospel.  Because it's not the gospel at all.  The gospel is death.  But it doesn't end there.

It's also Redemption.

Paul says that if Jesus can uncomplainingly submit to his infinite suffering and thereby have God's life explode into our lives and into the world, then you and I can submit to our finite suffering uncomplainingly and know the same thing will happen.  The death in us will work life in us and others around us.  That's our hope.  (Keller, "The Servant of our Joy", Be Still My Soul, 20)

p.s. there's no news about our situation.  No new information made me feel the loss more last night; it was just a hard day.  I know some of you might be wondering if we heard something, but we haven't.  We're in waiting mode right now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Exactly What I Needed to Read Tonight

I have had an emotionally hard day.  Just being honest, I basically am tired of life feeling hard.  (I say feeling because I know that my life really isn't hard).  I told the Lord tonight that I am ready for some relief, for this hard season to end.  I am done.  As if it's up to me.

And then, I had to do my nightly prayer at Ada's bed time.  It was hard for me to even know what to pray because all I could think to pray was, get us out of this situation.  So, instead, I reminded the Lord that he promises that he will be my strength, and I needed that strength tonight.

Then, I came downstairs, the kids in bed, and I pulled up my google reader.  I found this article on the GirlTalk blog, and I decided to click on the link to read the entire article.

It was so worth it.  The words of this article gave me the strength I needed to keep on keeping on.

And it's weird because my "down" day wasn't about motherhood exactly, but more about the circumstances in which I am having to mother.  But still, the idea of laying down all of my ideas about my life really hit home.  I have been fighting the Lord all day because I don't want to lay down my life.  But that's exactly what the gospel commands us to do.

It's crazy how the truth of who God is always brings peace.  Always.

What I'm Clinging to These Days

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I know, I know.  I am so behind the rest of the world, in that I am just now reading this book, but oh my goodness, it's convicting.

Now, I don't necessarily agree with all of the theology of the book, but I do believe that these men and women genuinely love the Lord, and I am humbled by the story.  Have you read it?  If not, you may not know what I am talking about.

Basically, this is the TRUE story of a multi-millionaire art dealer and his relationship (strongly encouraged by his wife) with a homeless man.  What I am most encouraged/convicted by is that Ron (the name of the millionaire) goes far beyond simply serving meals once a week and instead forms a genuine, family-like relationship with Denver (the homeless man).

My eyes were also opened to the depths of poverty that still exist, especially here in the South.  It's shocking.  And, of course, my first response is to frantically try to figure out what I can do; how can I respond to this conviction--mainly to satisfy my own conscience, being completely honest.  But then I think, a relationship like the one in this story, can only be formed by the power of Christ.  So, really, my response should be prayer and submission to wherever, whenever, whatever Christ leads me to do.

Anyway, my point is, yes the book may seem like a fad, but I absolutely think it's worth the read!!!

(can you tell I have a computer during the day again?  I am blogging like crazy, and I am afraid my house is going to suffer as a result.  I am off to do a little mothering and housekeeping)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I finally joined the pinterest craze tonight.

And, it turns out, that I am dying to paint something yellow.  Do you love it like I do?  I have a little yellow table in mind.

Pinterest.  It's just as addicting as everyone said that it would be.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thankful. #s 141-150.

Another Monday; Another thankful list.

141. My little family. These people. They are my stability in the midst of the crazy.

Thanks for the pictures, Ashley!!!! 

142. A night with old friends (where the pictures were taken).

143. Cousins. New babies. More family.

(photo from my  mom's blog)

144. Food on the table; Money in the bank; A roof over our heads.

145. That God's grace is sufficient. always

146. Free Sonic Diet Coke. I have always been thankful for this, but I am now more thankful than ever as our budget gets whittled down to the barest of bones.

147. So many people praying for us. Humbling.

148. The pleasure of a good book. It is my favorite escape.

149. A trip to Publix all by myself. It's the little things, right?

150. That He promises to give us wisdom if we ask. That I can cling to that promise.

Okay, I have to do one more and break my pattern of tens.

151. This computer, a gift from friends. Have I mentioned that we are overwhelmed by how friends have loved us in very tangible ways during this season of life? Again, humbling.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still in Alabama

First of all, thanks for all of the encouraging comments.

I will continue to update you as we move forward in this "find a new job" process.  Other than the obvious prayer of quickly finding a new job, we are also asking God for wisdom and direction.  To be more specific, I am mostly begging God for wisdom and direction.


I am in Scottsboro trying to be a help with Abigail and her siblings.  In the mean time Scott is in Crossville with our two kiddos, so that they can visit with Mae Mae and Pop, and so that my hands are free so that I am able to be a help rather than a burden.

It's been a treat, though, because at the end of the day while mom stays at Ann's to help through the night and in the early morning hours, I return to mom's house, sans kids, where I am able to enjoy an evening free of responsibility and a full night's sleep with no little people waking me up early in the morning.  My crew will return tomorrow.

So, with this evening free time, I am about to begin reading The Help, which I am super excited about.

I also went by Unclaimed Baggage today--Scottsboro's claim to fame--where I bought Same Kind of Different as Me and Cynthia Heald's Becoming a Woman of Excellence.  Any time that I happen to be in a car by myself driving through Scottsboro (which is rare), I feel 17 again.  Will I eternally feel 17 in my hometown?  Maybe so.  Everywhere I turn this town is haunted with memories.

Well, I am off to read, alone, in a quiet house.  This is my Heaven.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Where I've Been...

I am blogging from Alabama tonight.  I am here for a variety of reasons, but the main reason that I am here is to meet my newest niece, Abigail Ann.  

You might have noticed that my blogging came to a complete halt last week.  I had grand plans for my online 31 Party last week, but all of my "grand plans" flew out the window last Monday:)

Last Monday at 11 am, Scott walked through our front door and announced to me that he no longer had a job with Fresh Express.  The company is downsizing, and his position was eliminated.  We were blindsided.  We had no clue that this was coming, so it was a blow.  To say the least.

BUT....and this is a big but...Scott and I have been purposefully praying about his job nightly since the first week of March.  We specifically began to pray that we would be able to eliminate our debt, and the most obvious way to do that--from our perspective--was for Scott to get a new, higher-paying job.  So, since March, truly we haven't missed a night, we have prayed together that God would find the perfect job for Scott--that Scott's resume would land in the right hands--that Scott would find favor in the eyes of the right person--but above all else, we have prayed that God's will be done. 

We have also prayed that God would show us how to be good stewards of the money that we do have.  We believed that it was his will that we get out of debt, that we build our savings, and that we be able to give in abundance.  And, from our perspective, a new job seemed like the answer.

From the time we started praying that we would be able to get out of debt, the expenses in our life began to multiply in crazy ways, starting with Ada's week in the hospital, which resulted in two weeks of no tutoring for me, which led to no tutoring at all for me for a while, and the list just builds from there--car trouble upon car trouble upon car trouble, John's eye surgery, a broken AC, and I could go on and on.  However, in the midst of it all, we continued to pray, and I really felt peace in the midst of it.  I really did.  (though it turns out, that my body began to deal with the stress through my "mysterious skin condition," which I found out from Emory is entirely stress induced).  It has been so crazy, in fact, that it screams of God's hand at work.  It must be.  The fear, of course, was always that God is not concerned about my comfort level; he is considered about what is best for me.

And then, Scott lost his job.

And at the core of me, I know truth.  I know that God is working all things for my good.  I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I know that God's will is what I want.  And I know that God knows the very number of hairs on my head--he knows the details of my life, and this is what is best for our family.  So, overall, we feel excited that God is doing something Big in our lives.  It has not been the norm for Scott and me to nightly pray together.  We always said that we should pray together, but it is only in recent months that we were convicted enough about this specific desire--a new job--that we began to pray consistently.  I have never been one to memorize scripture, yet in recent months, I have memorized quite a bit of scripture.  Scripture that specifically speaks to my anxiety.  I know that God has been preparing our hearts for this.

Of course I would be lying if I said I wasn't fearful.  I am.  There are a million questions running through my head.  I am fighting the lies BIG TIME.  I know that God is going to provide.  We have seen friends and family rally around us in the past few months in HUGELY encouraging ways.  Truly, others have come along side us to carry our burdens. The fear is not that God won't provide; the fear, of course, is how uncomfortable this process is going to be.  I struggle with the idol of control, and I am certainly not in control of my future right now.  But GOD IS GOOD.  And I don't mean that in a trite way; I mean it in a factual way.  He is good and he is sovereign and he is working in our lives for our good.  

I didn't know how to blog about this because I am always afraid I am an oversharer.  But, this blog is where I think out loud.  I have always, always, always processed life through writing, and as our life changes over the next months--because change seems inevitable in this situation--I will want to write about it, so I wanted to share.  

This is where we are.  This is what God is doing.  It is exciting, it is scary, but I am thankful already for all that God is going to do.