Thursday, April 21, 2011

Can I Give It Up?

As you started to read here, Tony and I are going through the process of where to put our resources (time, money, talents, possessions) to best give God glory.  I think God is using our open hearts to test us in more ways then we could imagine.  When He does that, it tends to bring out the bad and ugly!

Recently, our Bible Study decided we were going to donate stuff to a local homeless shelter.  As I began looking though the list I noticed a few things on there that we have stockpiled.  I thought....oh I can give a couple of those (specifically cans of spaghetti sauce).  Immediately I felt God nudging digging DEEP into my heart. "Only a couple?" "Why yes, a couple is fine....I need the rest for my family."

Did you hear that?  I was telling God that I  couldn't give up more to the homeless, least of these, in our very own community.  Ouch!  I would give two cans.  I had purchased 10 and I "needed" most of those for my two it was.  I couldn't stop thinking about those two cans. 

One day after finishing my Bible Study for the day I pulled back out the list and looked at it.  Again God said, "Two?" "Ok God...three?  four?  five?"  Yes, five it was.  There are now three cans left.....PLENTY to get me through to the next sale.  Then I started going through the list again and was able to find a few other things I could give up.  Later that night I told Tony about my amazing selfishness, my lack of trust (again.....I mean what if I have to spend an extra $.30 on some spaghetti sauce next time I shop....can you hear the sarcasm?), and what I was planning to do.  I asked Tony if I could match dollar for dollar what I was pulling out of our stockpile and get a few other things.  Absolutely and then some.

But God wasn't done yet.  I had still been fighting Him on the issue of the razors I had in my stockpile.  See I knew the the one I currently had desperately needed to be replaced.  So I decide of the two I had stockpiled, the "worse" one would go.  As soon as I opened the box this morning the better one was sitting there.  God had already been asking me if I could give it up.....I picked it up and shifted through the box for a minute looking for the other razor.  Then I looked back at the first one and walked away from the box with it.  I couldn't believe how hard it was to give up.

Ok, I'm sure your thinking, "wow you really couldn't give that up for someone homeless?"  Yes, I was really struggling but it wasn't the stockpile that really was the issue.  It was security.  Where is my security?  At that moment it was lying in stuff.  Stuff I had built up to "protect" my family.  The higher prices rise the more I want to protect that for my family.  I put my trust and security in that and not God. 

That stockpile can represent so many things.  It could be that newest electronic you have to have.  The desire to go out to eat, your job, your shoe collection, your car, your kids.  Yes, those are ALL God's.  But when we hold on to those things, when we draw lines in the sand and say "no God you stop here" is, when we go too far.  Having and doing those things are NOT bad at all.  But its how it controls your heart that is.  And maybe the struggle is for something much more simple like me.  Maybe its books that you get up tight about if the pages come back bent.  Maybe its your child's toy that your afraid is going to get broken if you invite that family into your home.  Whatever it is God wants it.  He gave it too you and he wants it back.  I'm sure in this whole journey this won't be the first time God convicts me of holding on way too tight.  I pray that through it all I would be rid of myself and give him all the honor and glory.

But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have give you only what comes from your hands
1 Chronicles 29:14

Monday, April 18, 2011

Taking Back Easter

As you know (if you read this post about St. Patty's Day), Tony and I are pretty passionate about getting back to the real meaning of the holidays with our kids.  So Easter....the real meaning of Easter.  I must admit that this one convicted me, hard core convicted.  I LOVE filling Easter baskets, putting my daughter in a cute dress, dying Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts.  Those things are definitely not bad, but I like them a little too much (ok a lot too much). 

After a long discussion, Tony and I decided to put the real meaning of Easter back into it for our kids.  This is a holiday that is critical.  If we forget the meaning of Easter then Christmas was pointless.  Jesus coming to earth as a baby means nothing if he didn't die 33 years later on Good Friday.  And that is pointless if he didn't rise again in three days (Easter).  Our salvation is based on the fact that by raising from the dead Jesus conquered death and now holds the keys to Hades and death!  If you want to know about what Jesus did for YOU when he died on that cross please read The Story.

So Tony and I want to concentrate on that.  We want to teach our kids how significant that Resurrection was.  We want to teach them that they will have a new life when they believe that Jesus died on the cross for them.  That he died to take away their sins.  So we will be doing many of the same things, we will just be redoing why we are doing them.  They will be using them to emphasize what Jesus did for us, rather then separating the two things.....

Dyeing Easter Eggs??  Yes, we still will be doing this.  However, we will also be making Empty Tomb treats.  (Thank you to some amazing Cubbie Leaders for introducing me to this idea).  Here's what you do.
  • Flatten out a Pillsbury Biscuit
  • Place a marshmallow (representing Jesus) in the middle.  Fold the edges up over the marshmallow.
  • Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Bake like normal.
  • When your child opens their "tomb" they will notice that "Jesus" is no longer there.
These two things combined will make our breakfast Easter morning....yummm.

Easter Egg Hunt??? Yes, we are still doing this.  However, we will be hiding things that represent the story in some of the eggs.  Here are a few ideas I've come up with so far: nails (for the nails in his hands and feet), a thorn (the crown of thorns), a rock (the rock in from of the tomb), an angel (the angle that appeared to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to say "He has risen"), a three (the number of days between his death and Resurrection).

The Golden Egg (used as a "grand" prize)??? Yes, we will still have it.  However, instead of a toy or money it will have a flower bulb.  This will represent new life and will be a reminder to our kids as they watch it grow through out the spring.

Easter Baskets??? Yes, we will still have it.  However, I'm going to try and focus more on buying gifts that are family fun gifts (bubbles, kites, small games).

And we'll still have chocolate....yumm.

Stay tuned for pictures. They will be up pretty late.  We are celebrating a week late because we are going to be moving into our new house that weekend and we don't want to have to dig through totes and boxes to try and organize everything.

What do you do with your kids to celebrate Easter?  Or what have you done in the past or will do in the future?  I would love to hear your suggestions.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Well, we have it.  An official closing date on our house.  We won't be homeless and we won't be intruders (although I know that my parents and our friends don't feel that way.) 

Our church has begun 40 days of prayer.  We know that God has entrusted us with much and we are praying for the MORE He wants to give.  Our church isn't dreaming little dreams.  No, they are dreaming BIG dreams for God.  Dreams that many would say are "impossible".  Through this Tony and I are also praying for the MORE God would have in our lives.  The more with our house, our finances, our children, our time.  We know that God could ask really hard things of us.  Things that make us uncomfortable.  Things that take away are security.  In fact we are asking God to ask those things of us.  Time on this earth is too short to not do BIG things for God.

Yesterday while I was doing my daily prayer devotional from the church I was pouring my heart out to God about the house and our fear and discomfort in not knowing where our family would be.  This is the conversation God whispered into my heart.

God: Heather, do you trust me?
Me: Of course I do God.  I know your going to do great things through us.
God: But do you trust me?
Me: I think I do. 
God: Heather, if you don't trust me with knowing when this house closes how will you trust me with this house?  How will you trust me with your money or your kids or your time?  How will you trust me when I show you the more for your life?  How?  You need to trust me with this small thing.  You may not know exactly where you will be living in a few weeks but you know you will have a place to live.  Do you trust me to take care of the details?

Wow.  Talk about a smack in the face.  Do I truly trust Him?  I said I did but in the next breathe I had to remind Him the clock was ticking.  So I gave it up to God.  I told Him to take care of the details and I would trust that no matter what the outcome He would do what was best for His praise and glory.  Let me tell you, saying no to my flesh the rest of the day, that night, and all this morning was an every moment battle.  Forcing myself not to pick up my phone and start calling Tony as soon as it turned 5.  Not even asking Tony if our realtor had called (while I knew the answer my entire flesh wanted to ask that questions). 

God knows the details, the plans, and knows what's best.  Do you trust Him?  Will you let Him control your future or are you holding on to it?  If you can't trust Him with the little will you be able to trust Him with the BIG? 

Monday, April 11, 2011


Well, it's happening....

Boxes are starting to fill our apartment:

Closets are starting to empty out:

And one or my favorite parts of moving.....decluttering:

We are making sure all of our favorite things are coming with us though:

NOW if ONLY we knew when we were moving and where we are moving too. (If we don't close by the time our lease is up Addilece and I are going to stay with my parents and Tony will stay with friends in town till we can close).

On another note: we are SO EXCITED about being able to have a garden at our house this summer. Fresh food and its cheap! We planted our herbs (basil and parsley) already because they are in planters. The basil started coming up yesterday. I can't wait to have these hanging on my porch and be able to go and pick at my leisure.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

They Are What?

Something that Tony and I have noticed as we walk this parenting journey is the use of "girlfriend/boyfriend" for Littles, I mean very Littles.  They are having "dates" (I'm not talking about play dates) when they are babes and don't even know the other exsits.  And as soon as a child of the opposite sex they know walks in the room its, "Look there's your girlfriend/boyfriend."  This baffles and frustrates us.  Why do we have to call someone of the opposite sex that when our child is two? 

Yes, its cute to think about these two little innocent kids in that way, but is that right?  We live in a culture where there is more and more pressure to date young, have sex young, grow up young.  We no longer let our kids be kids.  We no longer treat that other child as just a friend.  I mean why can't they be?  Why do they have to be a boyfried or girlfriend?

I feel like we as parents are just making the situation worse.  These children are uninhibited by the opposite sex.  Either it doesn't phase them or they are grossed out by them.  When we as parents start to suggest that it should be something more or something special, even in a joking manner, we start to put pressure on our own child.  Suddenly every boy that little girl spends any time with is a boyfriend.  As she grows up and finds out what a boyfriend truly is she begins to think that she MUST have one of those.

I remember growing up with lots of boys that were friends, Tony being one.  There was no pressure to think anything else.  But if my parents had labelled Tony and the other guys boyfriends, I probably would have thought "well thats what they should be, so lets make them that."  Any boy that crossed my path that was at all friendly would be someone who should be my boyfriend.  Why do we put that on our kids?  They will get enough pressure in middle school from their peers and hormones without us as parents pushing them. 

I have to admit it is really hard for me as a parent to step back and no infuse any of that on my child.  Its cute when Addilece walks up and stares at a boy.  But does it really mean something?  Most likely not.  She probably knows he is different then she is and that fasinats her.  I'm learning to keep my mouth shut and treat the friends that are girls and the friends that are boys the same, nature and culture will push her the rest of the way all too soon.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Forgotten Iniative

I first heard Jami talk at an Foster Pray Meeting.  I saw in her a deep passion for the Forgotten right here in our own community.  Fast forward almost a year to our Adoption Conference.  Tony and I had the privilege to sit in her talk about the Forgotten in Our Community.  We heard her hint around about being a leading force behind her organizing the body of Christ to support the community.

Well, God has really given this amazing woman a vision and drive.  She has created The Forgotten Initiative.  Its purpose is to, "To mobilize the Body of Christ in every community across America that is not currently being served".  They want to do this through:
"-partner with agencies in order to understand the needs of the foster care community
-raise awareness to the Body
-connect the two"
To me this is just ingenious to use Facebook and the blogging world to connect those hurting in the community with those who can help.  So would you consider joining The Forgotten Initiative on Facebook and seriously pray that God would open the doors for you to be His hands and feet?  Also, follow Jami's blog.  You won't regret it!