Wednesday, April 27, 2016

For the Love of Coffee Breaks - And Time is Flying By

“For the Love of Coffee Breaks” is a regular Wednesday feature on this blog. Dedicated to yesterdays – mine and maybe yours – when time moved a little slower, entertainment was found in our imagination, and socializing was done face to face. So please grab your favorite beverage - mine is coffee - slow down and enjoy this moment.

My oldest baby girl will turn 21 on Friday.


I’d like to say, “When did that happen?”, but I watched it happen. And while the memories fly past me in a blur, I can pull one out before it’s gone and exam it. Hold it in my mind and turn it over and over.

And over.

Like the first official day home from the hospital. I woke up that morning in a panic because the sun was shining and I realized that I had slept the night through. I thought all kinds of horrible mommy thoughts in the two seconds before I could see her in her cradle. There she was, beautiful, awake, content. Just waiting for mommy to notice her.

Here’s another memory of her in her highchair. She never could make it through her supper without falling asleep in her food.

There she is squirrel hunting. 
And fishing. 
And camping.

Oh! She’s earning her black belt! It was thrilling and nerve-wracking watching her spar the other black belts for an hour.

Yikes! Drivers’ Training. We’ll put that memory back.

She’s so beautiful. 
It took forever to curl her hair.

So proud of her accomplishments. 
I cried more than I thought I would.

Now she’s out on her own. 
Working and paying bills.

How can that be? 
When I look at her, I still see her like this.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

Monday, April 11, 2016

Searching for Contentment Part 3 - Growing

          If you need to catch up on Parts 1 and 2, just click the links.        

       Back in January I was sitting in Menards’ parking lot. It was the dark, early morning hours and work was starting soon but I had time to read the Proverbs 31 devotion for that day before going in.
       In this devotion I read about people who followed Jesus but didn’t believe or trust in the power of Jesus.
         This statement by Higgs caught my attention:

“We place our requests before God, then take them right back, fretting over how we’re going to solve our problem, not convinced God can really do anything about it.”
          When I read that, I thought, “I know God can, but will He?”
          That’s my faith in a nut shell.
        I know God is Creator. All knowing. Savior. Friend. King. I know He can do anything, but will He? Will He hear my prayer and answer? Will He guide little-ole me on my life’s path? Will He bless what I want to do? I’m not sure, because I feel He hasn’t in the past.
          I don’t usually leave a comment on these devotions, but I did that morning. With still enough time before work I left this:

“I know He can but I’m not sure He will. How do you deal with that?”
I was hoping for some answers from my Sisters in Christ.
          Several hours later, once I was home from work, I checked the comments section of the devotion. I was blown away by the out-pouring of love and Godly counsel.
          My Sisters in Christ came through, and after reading through their comments and studying the scriptures they provided, I realized I was missing trust.
          I have faith, yes. But I wasn’t trusting God’s plan for me. As one Sister put it, “. . . we ask for something that improves this moment, God is shaping us for eternity. . . .”
          I’ve been wrestling with and crying for what I want and not trusting God’s plan for me. If I have faith in God then I need to trust His sovereignty.

Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of - infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes. Ephesians 3:20 (TLB)

          God’s taking me on a journey where I’m learning to not put emphasis on my “needs”, and that’s what they’ve become in my mind – a need to have a fixed-up, pretty home, and a need to be self-employed. I am learning that what I need more than anything is to trust God. He knows what I like and what I want, but He’s showing me that those things are a result of my own short-sightedness. He has something bigger and better all planned out for me. I just need to stop messing it up, step back and say, “I trust you Lord, with my home, with my life.”

Monday, April 4, 2016

Searching for Contentment - Part 2 "They say identifying the problem is half the battle."

In Part 1 I did a lot of complaining about what I want and what I don’t have, so in the interest of fairness I’d like to share some realities with you.
When my husband and I decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom, we didn’t consult God. We just made the decision. We thought it was a good decision so why wouldn’t God approve? We knew we would be broke but we didn’t understand how that would feel, or what it would be like to actually live it.
We found out the hard way by living paycheck to paycheck and every dollar strictly accounted for. While we didn’t let God be a part of that decision, He was still there for us. We always had money to pay our bills on time. We always had food on the table. When things broke down He blessed us with a family full of know-how and willingness to help.
But that decision put us on the path of not being able to afford to fix up our home.

           The reality about my dream job renting space in the home décor store is that I did seek God’s advice, but I wasn’t patient for His answer. I chose to stop waiting and just go ahead with it, and hoped He would bless my efforts. What I ignored was the fact it wasn’t practical to refinish furniture in my house. And, more importantly, the timing wasn’t right.
I didn’t have a good work area so I used our breezeway or the great outdoors. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep floaties such as dog hair, cat hair, small leaves and dandelion fluff off things you have just painted or varnished? It’s nearly impossible!  It was a bad decision to do this type of thing in the main walk area of our home or outside.
         I also lived next door to grandparents (my dad’s folks), who had Alzheimer’s. As their need for extra care grew, my time to “make” diminished. I was in a constant battle for time to do all that needed to get done. Finally, I straightened out my priorities and left the home décor store.  
My current job at the home improvement store is a good job. It’s physical which I like and honestly need. It’s not thrilling but it does bring in the much needed money. Strangely enough, this job came after Grandma died from Alzheimer’s and Grandpa needed the care and constant supervision of a nursing home. I was depressed and desperate to fill this emptiness. So, again, instead of calling on God I made the decision myself to apply for this early morning job. After all, we needed the money so how could it be a bad decision?

So here I am, and I do not like this particular spot. I can see now how past choices, my choices, brought me here. I either didn’t consult God at all or didn’t wait for an answer. And, I didn’t focus on the blessings God provided while in the midst of my decisions. I chose to focus on the things I didn’t like.
I fight almost daily with the devil about contentment in my home, in my job and the helplessness I feel to change it. And while we have enough – God has always provided enough – what I have trouble with is the extra. Why can’t I have extra to fix up my home? Why can’t I have a job I love?
Hello, my name is Krista, and I struggle with contentment in all things.

The final segment of "Searching for Contentment" will be coming soon.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Photo Finish Friday!

A nice way to end the week.

A little showing off today.
My dad made this cutting board using three types
of wood to give it a 3-D effect.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Searching for Contentment - Part 1 - It's All About Me

          I’ve got plans for my life.
          Things I want.
          Things I want to do.
         I’ve always wanted a nice home. Not expensive or elaborate, my tastes are simple - country farmhouse meets English cottage.
        I’ve always wanted to be my own boss and make beautiful things out of not-so-beautiful things. In my dream world people would fall in love with the things I make and buy them.
          None of this has happened.
This is my kitchen floor.
Very retro isn't it?
         The house we currently live in, I grew up in. While our mortgage payment is lower than most, it’s still all we can afford and not a penny more. I was a stay-at-home mom for roughly 18 years so we lived on a bare bones budget. No extras. If something needed to be fixed we did it ourselves or went without; and home decorating was never an option. It drove me crazy. Here I was, home all day, looking at the walls that are the same shade of cream as when I was in high school; cupboards that are scratched up and factory dark brown; green, yellow, and orange flooring that was flawed when my parents put it in and is now chipped in many spots; trim that is still missing; and so much more. “If only” was constantly on my mind and in my prayers.
“Lord, if only you’d please send a little extra money our way so I can fix up my house.” 
“Lord, if only you’d help this craft show be a success so I’ll have a little extra money to fix up my house.”
Nothing. No extra money came falling down out of the sky and the craft shows’ success only covered my expenses.
I thought my business dream was coming true when my mom-in-love and I opened a small home décor on-line business. We also rented space at a home décor store in our area. I prayed. We prayed. For guidance. For blessing.
Long story short, in two years we closed up.
I loved the home décor store where we rented space. I. Loved. It. I wanted to do what I saw others doing – refinishing furniture, making and decorating. And this was before I knew about the DIY blogging community. My heart went pitter-pat whenever I entered that store – the mouthwatering scents of homemade potpourri, the softly playing music, the wonderfully refinished furniture, the adorable handmades; I wanted to live in this store!  This is what I wanted to do. This is what I wanted to be a part of.
A few years down the road, I was able to give it a go on my own. I rented space in that store again, this time with my own furniture carefully bought at yard sales and auctions and even more carefully refinished. Love went into the work I did and into the things I crocheted and sewed. I stuck it out for a couple of years and then had to stop due to family circumstances.
While the time at this store was fun, it wasn’t profitable. I barely made enough to keep it self-sustaining. Nothing extra was made to contribute to family finances which was a must at this point. I prayed. I cried. Nothing changed.
So now, a few more years later, I work part-time at a home improvement store. I am part of the early morning stock team at Menards. Physically hard and dirty, but the job provides income that helps with our bottom line; though decorating and fixing up our home is still something that can’t financially happen. Maybe you’re thinking, “You still can’t afford a gallon of paint?”  Dear Reader, at this point when I look at a room in my home (for example my bedroom because I think that would be the cheapest to redecorate), I can start with painting the walls, but well, the carpet smells and really needs to be replaced. I’d like to take out the very outdated popcorn ceiling too. These things add up and if I’m going to move furniture to paint, I might as well do everything else, right?  
I find that my prayer now is, “Really God? Why is it this job that works out? This isn’t my dream job. It would have been so easy for you“.
Hot tears and flashes of anger descend when I look around my home and ask God, “Why can’t I have pretty?”  I’m not afraid of hard work, but I do need some extra money to make it happen. I see success for all those other women in blog land, with their Etsy shops and online stores they can’t keep full. They have beautiful homes. Why can’t it happen for me?
I know God is God. His will be done. I believe that. I want that. But my mind goes to “poor me, why doesn’t what I want work out?” Am I the only one who goes through these types of feelings? 

          Part 2 of Searching for Contentment will come next week.

Friday, March 25, 2016