Thanksgiving 2012

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Tired of my pictures never quite turning out how I hoped, I decided to tinker around with my camera a little. I’ve been doing some research, picking my mom’s brain and using a lot of trial and error to figure out how to use all the buttons and knobs.  I went a little crazy with the pictures this Thanksgiving….mostly following my mom around and sneaking pictures of her set ups, but I ended up with some good shots and lots of good memories.  Next I will have to learn how to edit…

 

Pinterest: A Way to Organize Your Life or A Cultivator of Discontent?

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I first joined Pinterest because it looked like an interesting way to get my life in order.  I love organization and yet I always seem to need a little help in getting motivation and a system for actually carrying out any plan.  In the process of working on an easier way to organize my closet for easy access (a process that is still in progress…and I’m realizing may be never-ending), I stumbled upon Pinterest and all the many outfit ideas and organizational tips that were found there.  I began pinning outfit ideas onto my style board, trying to stick to ensembles that could be put together from items that were already in my closet.  It seemed harmless enough and it became a breeze to get dressed in the morning.  I just pulled up my Pinterest account, chose an outfit, pulled the corresponding items from my closet, put them on and I was done.  But I did not see the danger that was lurking around the corner.

The problem was that I couldn’t always match every item from my pictures with items from my closet …I have a skirt like that, a shirt that is similar and shoes that will work, but I really NEED that purse…or wow that dress is amazing and I have nothing at all like that. I must have it! And so, my simple organizational tool became a devouring monster of greed and discontent.  I was no longer happy with the clothes I had in my closet and the outfits I could make with them.  I needed more.

Anyone that has ever used Pinterest knows what I’m talking about.  You start out just wanting some ideas to spruce up your living room and you end up hating everything about your entire house.  Or you just want to take a little peek at what everyone else is pinning and you are slammed with the fact that all of your friends are married and have kids who they are pinning fun activities for…and you don’t even have a boyfriend.  But Pinterest isn’t the only source for this nagging need for something else.  In the past I have become discontent from watching HGTV, or reading fashion magazines, or listening to music. And any random person you would ask will have their own list of discontent culprits.

So what is the answer to keeping the sources of discontent in your life from consuming you in the need for more? Is it to completely swear off the evil website, or magazine or TV show altogether and run from its persuasive wiles? Maybe. …at least for a while. Especially if you are spending too much of your boss’s time pinning, or spending excessive amounts of money, or you feel overwhelmingly consumed by the need for more. But if your browsing and pinning has not reached the level of addiction quite yet, you may have a more suitable option.

1. The first option is what I stated above…take a break.  Even if you are not to the point of being totally consumed by dissatisfaction, it doesn’t hurt to stop pinning for a while just to analyze your motives and check your heart.  After spending weeks nagging my husband about all the changes our house needed, I realized that I needed to take a break from home renovation shows.

2. Set boundaries. I am not under the impression that in all circumstances you should abstain from things that can potentially be over-consumed   For one thing, it is not always an option to do that. Such as, if you struggle with over or under-eating, the answer, obviously, is not just to stop eating…you have to eat, so you just have to find the right boundaries so that you can eat responsibly.  Secondly, I feel that this often times breeds legalism…thinking that you are okay just because you are abiding my the rules, but ignoring the heart issues that are messing things up to begin with. You don’t learn responsible consumption by not consuming at all.

3. Seek accountability.  I know it seems a little ridiculous…usually we think of accountability in relation to much more serious things (alcoholism, drug addiction, porn addiction) but discontent is much more serious of a sin than we give it credit for.  It is the destroyer of marriages, it is the divider of churches, it is the builder of hate, and it is the consumer of joy. So if you feel yourself being overwhelmed by the need to have more…let a friend or family member know so they can check up on you.  Make sure they ask you probing questions like “what has made you feel discontent this week?” or “what have you done to fight the need to have more?”. And don’t be afraid to admit how you really feel…

4. Be thankful.  Feelings of discontent come mostly from a heart that is not rejoicing in the things that one already possesses.  If I had been thankful for the years that my husband and I had before we had kids, I would not have wasted those years longing for a child that we couldn’t conceive.  Take stock of all the great things you have in your life (the things that God has chosen for you to have) and stop wishing for the things that you don’t have (the things that God has chosen for you not to have)…because having and not having is God’s sovereign choice for you, for your good and His glory.

A Portrait of Thanksgiving

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Today I just want to express how thankful I am…but in picture form.  The first thing I am thankful for is my family.  Though this picture is a couple of years old, it is one of my favorites…I remember the cool quiet evening watching the sunset. We ran and played in the yard all evening and snuggled together in the hammock.

I am thankful for a girl who can do this.  From the start of her life, we didn’t know if she would even be able to walk properly.  When we found out she had a spinal condition when she was only 3 months old, her future was uncertain.  I never imagined that that same little girl would one day be dancing, cartwheeling, running, jumping and hanging upside down.  She is truly a miracle, and for that I am thankful.

I am thankful for this guy…and his adorable face.  This guy is the friendliest, happiest kid you will ever meet.  He is always ready for a hug and he makes a new friend wherever he goes. A bad day is no match for this smile.  Even on the most frustrating days I can look at the face of that boy and instantly be cheered up. (even if said boy is the one that caused the frustration…like when he locked me in my craft room from the outside.  yes, he actually did that.)

I am also thankful for my husband.  I am thankful that I am married to a man who loves me and loves our children…and most importantly loves God.  He takes time to roll in the floor and wrestle with our son and he even plays Monster High dolls with our daughter.  He surprises me with gifts…an antique hat for my collection, roses cut from the yard, a clean house after a long day.  And he is a great spiritual leader who longs for his family to love God more each day.

Hebrews: Looking for More

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A couple weeks ago, I started the book “Hoping For Something Better” by Nancy Guthrie.  In this very  helpful bible study, Guthrie addresses the need that we all feel for something more.  We have all spent seasons of life just going through the motions of religion.  We have all tried desperately to feel like Jesus actually means more to us than he really does.  And sadly, our churches often make the deep emptiness worse by enticing our emotions and creating an environment of manipulation that even if we feel great hope and excitement in the service, we feel a great let down when we walk away and nothing much has changed.  I have often found myself in this situation…having the knowledge that I am blessed with many great material blessings, knowing that I have a wonderful family and loving friends, aware of the freedoms that I have and the privileges that are mine but still wanting something to fill my soul with more than just temporary happiness.

In “Hoping For Something Better”, Nancy Guthrie shows that Jesus himself offers the something better we’ve been looking for. She uses the truth that can only be found from the Bible to offer an antidote to the constant nagging of discontent, disappointment and hardships. From the book of Hebrews, Guthrie presents great practical applications that bring hope to a life filled with frustration.

Chapter one covers Hebrews 1:1- 2:4.  Here are some of my own observations from the chapter of Guthrie’s book as well as my own interpretation of the scripture.

1. Jesus is better than anything else. As I read this chapter of Guthrie’s book I began to reflect on the priorities in my life.  I constantly lament over the desire I have to accomplish more.  I have a chronic need for something better.  But hypocritically, I tell others about how Jesus is all they need when they come to me with their problems, while I stay wallowing in my own self pity, spending more time on Pinterest and Facebook than I do in the Word of God.  If Jesus is better, then shouldn’t I be living that way.  Shouldn’t I be seeking him more than I am looking for more money?…more than I am seeking the approval of man?….more than I am striving for a better life?

2.Jesus is God.  Ok, so I know this is obvious to most of you who will be reading my blog.  We all will openly accept that Jesus is God, right? Well, I feel there is more to it that can provide us with great incite into this concept of living for something more.  Because Jesus is God, we have a human, tangible form of God that we can actually know and experience his life.  The Gospels are filled with his teachings and his mannerisms and his reactions.  So, God, the ultimate in joy, the creator of everything, the giver of all good things, the epitome of love, can be experienced through knowing Jesus.  If we are lacking in joy, love, or contentment is only because we don’t the ultimate source of all those things.

3. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God. That means Jesus’ work is finished.  We don’t have to constantly strive to be better.  We don’t have to constantly look for something better.  Jesus fulfilled it all already and is done, sitting at the right hand of the Father just waiting for us to take it.

4. Jesus is creator. So when the world was created, all three parts of the trinity were present, working together to make the world.  God as a whole, created all things…and Jesus is part of that.  But where Jesus delineates from the path is that he not only created the earth but he experienced as well, in the same way that we do.  Because he is went through so much of the same frustration that we experience…life isn’t quite what we expect, people die, money is tight, physical pain is too much to bear sometimes…he can actually sympathize with us.  Shouldn’t we then run to the one who knows the world we are frustrated with not only because he created it, but also because he lived it? Wouldn’t he know best how to free us from the heaviness that the world places upon us?

In the first four verses of chapter 2 we are given a warning.  If we don’t hold firmly to these truths, it is easy to drift away.  It is easy to be enticed by the world to think that everything else is more important than Jesus.  We are constantly persuaded to pour our time into anything but what will actually give us true joy and contentment.  We cannot hope to feel true love and fulfillment in Jesus if we are not willing to give up the list of things that come before Jesus on our list of importance.  Jesus is better than anything else, but simply knowing that is not enough.  If we are not willing to live as if he is we will remain in the same hopeless rut of seeking more and never being satisfied.

Halloween

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I love Halloween…just another excuse for me to dress up!! Last year I was really in the spirit…going all out from head to toe. I even talked my husband into dressing up…sort of. He just so happened to be wearing flannel and already had a giant beard…so he was the woodsmen to join our Little Red Riding Hood theme.

 

This year my little Periwinkle the Winter Fairy wanted me to put on my wings and join her…I’m usually not one to argue with anyone who gives me a reason to get sparkly, but I left work a little too late to do her makeup and still get my outfit together so I had to go trick or treating as my lovely self.  But don’t worry…stay tuned for more pics. We have a costume party tomorrow evening and I will be going all out! In the meantime, here are some pics from this year…