Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Clay Pot



This isn't entirely an analogy I came up with on my own, but I often think about how my life was before Christ. Though I was young, I still picture myself as a pot made just how I would have like to be. Then when my life changed, I picture God shattering that pot and rebuilding it tiny piece by tiny piece to create just what HE wants. Putting the pieces where He wants so that I can be best used. Maybe even leaving gaps in between the pieces so that as I am filled with Him, it can pour out to others. I want that.

I am not typically a busy person. I love time to myself and get so much energy from being alone in silence. Touch is so not one of my love languages. Though I ADORE my children and love giving/getting hugs and kisses from them, when I can't even sit on the sofa to breath without a child at my feet or hanging on my arm or climbing in my lap, I have to find a way to retreat. Even if only for a minute! ESPECIALLY a little boy that screams touch as a love language and asks me numerous times a day if he can "give me lovin's". I'm not naturally a flexible person. I'm working on that but its tough. I like to have a schedule and I like to know whats coming next and I REALLY like to leave some wiggle room in there so I don't feel rushed. I feel like ever since we moved to Richmond our lives have been NON stop. I know part of that is just what it seems like. We do get time as a family, but its so tough for me when at any point it can get interrupt or "rearranged". Of course, Robby LOVES being on the go. He loves being around a bunch of people and gets his energy from that. He's the epitome of flexible and feels like anything can be rearranged to make time for people. (** I am in NO way saying that Robby often puts others ahead of his family, its not like that at all. He's seriously the best husband and father I could have ever dreamed of.)
Its so hard though because I know there is a balance but I also know that loving broken people takes sacrifice. We moved to Richmond to reach people and share Christ with them. Thats the WHOLE reason we're here. We're not here to be comfortable or to live a perfect life just the way I would like it. God has introduced us to SO many people that need a touch from Him. More like a slap from him. How can I sit at home and try and relax when there are so many people. And its not that I don't think anyone else can do it and we're the only ones. I just know that its why God sent us here and its been tough but we've definitely seen Him work. Yes, we've been woken up in the middle of the night, threatened, taken advantage of, lied to, been uncomfortable...but then I think of Paul and all he went through. How can I complain? Its not making light of what I'm going through, they are still issues that are affecting me, but seriously. Now, I can't say that my flesh doesn't want to sometimes tell people to grow up and stop being stupid and selfish, but I know that would do nothing worthwhile. I'm just trying to find some sort of balance. I have to keep reminding myself of the Truth. On days/weeks I don't...weeks like this past one, I just feel like I get swallowed up.

So saying all of that, I am just exhausted. In every way.

I know God has great things planned, and I'm having to rely on Him every second of the day. I mean, I say that knowing its the truth and its what I'm supposed to do, but there are some days when I just seem to lose. I have to keep struggling through this and being reminded of the reason we were created. I hope you are living in light of why God created you!

I need a bandaid on my heart...

Here are just a few updates of whats on my heart. I put in some pictures of the kids just to liven it up a bit.




I don't have a ton of close friends. I mean, I have friends, but many super close ones. You know, those friends you just can't wait to get together with. The ones that you know you can tell anything in the world. The ones that you might make plans with to come over and paint for a few hours, but then you just sit and end up talking because you just love being refreshed by each other. Or someone that decides to come over at 10 one night to play board games just because. That is Sarah. She's not dramatic (well, maybe just a teeny bit :)) She's not high maintenance or hard to please. We share so many of the same dreams. I love her. Well, she moved to Michigan in July. I think I cried for three days. It has been no fun. Even though we met when we moved here, I've never felt like anyone could have been a better friend. She was the closest thing I've ever had to a sister. Its been a huge bummer to be without her. She's definitely the closest friend I've had since my mom. Its been so hard to know she's not close. To know I can't just call her up and go meet her to hang out. I know God is teaching me to rely on him but its just so dang hard. I miss my friend.


I have a hard time with people that aren't "committed" to things. Like people that say they will do something and don't follow through. I know I need to show more grace, but thats a really tough one for me. About a month and a half ago when we found out that a member of our church community had relapsed on drugs I felt like God was telling me to get ready. I didn't really know what for, but I knew that He was telling me that we were about to step into something tough. He told me to be reminded that addicts can't exactly be relied upon. That the drugs run the show. That we would be ministering to them and that I would have to have abundant grace that I could only get from Him. Boy. He. was. right. In the past few months we have been loving on numerous current/recovering addicts. It's just so hard to see someones life so torn. So in shambles. So dependent on something to satisfy the emptiness they don't know how to give to God to fill. Its so draining, but I know that God is using us to love them. I do love them. My heart aches for them as I see their lives fall apart. As I see how decisions ruin lives. How lies dig you deeper and cause so. much. pain.

My heart is burdened but hopeful.



Monday, August 15, 2011

So full

My heart is so full right now. I'm trying to decide if I should post everything or just keep it between me and the Lord. Its not like anyone hardly reads this (not having a pity party, just stating the obvious) :) God is doing great things, but they are also extremely challenging. Praying for patience, strength and energy and taking one day at a time. I'll be in touch.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garden Grown

So we have this tiny garden and we planted way too much zucchini and squash. I'm so thankful for the free produce, but I'm sooooo over it :) We went to Wilmington a few weekends ago and when we came back, we had a massive zucchini. Actually, we've had three that are about as long as a watermelon and as thick as a large grapefruit. No fertilizer. We just left them on too long. I hope our tomatoes do half as well!
So I didn't know what to do with it. I mean, what do you really do with that much zucchini?! I'm happy to say, I made something AMAZING!

Watch how this...




Turned into THIS:






I cut the zuchini in half and put a little olive oil and salt and pepper on it and roasted it for about 20 minutes. Then I scooped out the insides (which I'll puree and use later in a spaghetti sauce or something). Then, I marinated some chicken, and cooked it really low so it was nice and tender. I made some brown rice and put some diced tomatoes and green onions (from our garden) in with it. Added a little salt and pepper and the chicken and stuffed away. I topped it with a little cheese and put it back in for about 20 minutes. Thats not my first choice in a dinner usually, but I was so thrilled it turned out good. Robby and I only ate a half of the giant beast, so we get to eat it again today! You should try it!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Saturday Sanity



So Robby and I have started a wonderful Saturday morning routine. We put the kids to bed late on Friday night in hopes that they sleep in on Saturday morning. Robby and I wake up at 5:30 or 6 and start with coffee. Not just in the kitchen like normal. The night before, we set up a little coffee station in the living room on the corner table inbetween the two sofas. Once we crawl out of bed, we hit the button and the morning starts. We sit and drink our coffee in complete stillness and just talk. About anything. Its. so. wonderful. Last night we went to see fireworks with some friends and the kids didn't go to bed until 9:30. So, that meant that this morning Robby and I got from 6-8:30 all by ourselves. It was such a great way to start the day.




Then, once the kids wake up, I make a fun breakfast. Something like pancakes, or cinnamon rolls or breakfast casserole...something we don't normally have :)



After that, we load this kids up and take them to the gym and Robby and I take the 9:30 yoga class. Yes, of course, Robby takes yoga with me :)

We haven't been doing this routine long, but so far, we love it. It gets us ready for the day and gives us a chance to enjoy some conversation without being exhausted at the end of the night. Love this.

What do you do regularly with your loved ones that you enjoy?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

S'more love...




I covenant to love you and to fight for you
and when we fight to love you anyway
I offer my love to you unconditionally
As I am loved unconditionally by Christ

I promise to be there for you
When its easy and especially when its hard
When you are laughing and
especially when you are crying
When you are well and especially
when you are sick

These are the vows we wrote for our wedding. Well, basically the ones that Robby wrote for us... :)

Last night we had a little "in date". That's what we call a date we have at home once the kids go to bed. We take turns planning them. This time it was Robby's turn. He started with us writing out our vows and then somewhat disected them to see what parts we've done well with and what parts we could work on. Then we drew pictures of how we see the other person. This was hilarious. My picture was very descriptive. Him holding a box of diapers, with a toilet brush in his hand and balancing a frying pan and a cup of coffee on his arms. All of these things because he's so helpful and thoughtful. Then he had big muscles and a tool belt, because he is so handy around the house. And then, to top it off... he had bare feet. We went shoe shopping for him because he lost the pair of tennis shoes he's had for about six years. (I think it was time for a new pair anyway haha) We left with no shoes. We've been to four different stores looking for shoes. He's so indecisive. Its hilarious. So that he had bare feet in the picture. :)

Now, this sounds dumb, but for some reason I have been wanting to have S'mores for a really long time. Not because I think they taste amazing, but its just something about them that makes me feel like a kid. So, even though I haven't mentioned it in a while, he went to the store and got stuff to make them. So we had a great fire in the Chiminea and roasted marshmellows and had S'mores and just talked. I love those times. What a precious little date.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Seasons


The other day, Mary Grace was having some trouble settling down for her nap, so I went in and started to rock her. She kept looking up at me, smiling, and playing and trying to put her pacifier in my mouth. I started to get frustrated, but then my mind drifted and I started to think about my mom.

As she rocked me when I was that little, what was she thinking? I can imagine her holding me and laughing at the things that should have annoyed her. Did I really bring her as much joy as Mary Grace has brought me? I remember her telling me how much she had wanted a little girl. I think it was the incredible relationship that I had with her that made me long for one too. Let me tell you, this little girl rocks my world. Oh how my heart selfishly aches for my mom to have met her. To hold her, to kiss her, to squeeze her, to rock her, to love her.

I was watching home videos a few months ago, and came across one of when I was about 12. We were all sitting around at Christmas, and I my mom was talking to my aunt and I and said, "I can't wait till Joanna has kids. I can't wait to be a grandmother!" Oh how things don't go as we planned. I hear her say that in my mind all the time now. Especially when the kids do some of their ridiculously silly things. I feel like, since its been seven years, it shouldn't hurt as bad. And mostly it doesn't because I don't let myself go there. But it does. I try to not be jealous of others. But when I get really weak, I am. I start wondering what it would be like if it were MY mom holding her grandchildren, my mom coming to visit, me able to give my mom a hug on Mother's Day.

I'm going home this week. I'm going to help my dad clean out over thirty years of stuff from their house. A lot of it is filled with tiny memories of my mom. As time goes by, it seems like it gets more difficult to remember the precious times we had. I know that going through all of these memories will be so difficult, but I hope that its freeing. I hope I can be reminded of the joy she brought into a room and the gracious heart she had. I hope that I can remind myself I don't have to hold onto all her material things just to remember those things about her. Robby is hoping I don't come back with a U-Haul full of blue and white china.

Though at times my heart aches, I do have hope. Hope in the future we have together in Heaven. Peace, knowing that even though she hasn't gotten to see my sweet children here on earth, she's probably up there rocking our two sweet other babies that we've lost. Oh how I love and miss my mom with every ounce of my soul.