Sunday, May 30, 2010

Adventure Chronicles: Joy Edition and Weekend Photos

 Joy is a choice.  I didn't always know that, but recently, I've realized that joy has nothing to do with your circumstances.  If you think it does, you're mistaking joy for temporary happiness.

I realized this the other day, when I had a surge of "joy" at hearing we had the potential of an offer on our house.  I felt like I could do anything, and conquer the world, (well, kind of) only to have it dashed to bits three days later, when we still had received no offer.

That's when it hit me.  The surge I felt, based on my circumstance, was the surge I should be feeling at simply waking up with breath in my lungs each day.  The same surge of pure joy at the thought that "His eye is on the Sparrow, and He most certainly watches over me."
(And yes, I am doing a dance with toy guns, while laughing hysterically.  You had to be there.  My son had the camera.... Life is short. Play like you mean it.)

My goal, has been to choose that same surge of joy at simply getting the chance to experience the ups and downs of this adventurous journey.  On the days every single day that I've cried buckets of tears because it isn't going according to my plan yet? Joy.  Still no idea how our story ends.  Joy.  Still no buyer for our home.  Joy. Because we're here.  We're doing this thing we call life.  Joy.  Choose it.  It might just rock your world. I found the following, and it certainly rocked my world...

Psalm 84:3-4 "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.  Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage, as they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs..." 

 I thought, what is "Valley of Baca?"  Apparently, it means "weeping."  My commentary notes said something about the place of springs, "The joyful expectations of the pilgrims transform the difficult ways into places of refreshment." 
Shall we choose joy today, and be a place of refreshment for others? 

Who loves ya?

click here for the continuing journey...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cold, gripping fear... Not.

We have fully thrown ourselves into the adventure that I posted on recently.  And in the grip of this adventure, we immediately made changes in our lifestyle, found a less expensive home, put our house on the market and are now waiting to see what God plans on doing with all of it.  Of course, I've done all I can do, by obsessively cleaning every square inch of this place, and saying, "What if ________ happens," to Adrain every five minutes.  I even wrote down our address in my prayer journal, just in case God forgot which house I'm asking for Him to sell.  (And yes, I do know God doesn't forget...I'm a goof, and I'm pretty sure He expects that sort of thing from me at this point.)  I've also baked multiple batches of Manipulative brownies, and then gone room to room with them, waving them around to get the scent all over the place, before our open house.  Adrain stood there laughing at me and thankfully didn't know where I was hiding the camera. So, now we wait. 

I'm really bad at waiting.  As in... I don't like to wait at all. I'm super decisive and act immediately once I decide on something, with no regrets and I don't look back.  I just go.  I'm married to a carbon copy of that.  (He's my polar opposite on everything else.  He's calm, I'm high strung.  I brake for Peanut Butter, he throws it in the trash.  That sort of thing.)
So as we stand around and wait... the excitement factor begins to wane, and I start to panic.  I'm really good at panicking, whereas my man doesn't panic. It makes me sick, but I also really appreciate it. So anyway... this journey.  I'm fully on it, and my emotions are all right under the surface.  It's emotional leaving the only house your babies have ever known.  Their little hand prints in the patio we poured back in 2004... sob!  You mean I'm going to walk away and leave that?  (It's okay... I'm alright.)
Fear grabbed my ankle and wouldn't let go.  And then I went to the orthodontist and started flipping through a magazine.  That's when I landed on a page with a beautifully decorated room, and a large piece of art hanging on the wall.  It was a print of a storm, and at the bottom, in large letters, were the simple words, "Fear Not."  my breath caught in my throat, and I hiccuped back a sob.  Once home, I found this verse in my devotions.  "You came near when I called you, and you said, Do not fear." Lamentations, 3:57.

I don't know how this is all going to play out.  I'm excited one minute, and filled with faith, and completely  filled with doubts, the next.  But we've had so many answers to prayer that I've begun writing them down.  It's pretty clear that I'm not supposed to be afraid.  

How about you?  What are you fearing, that you need to surrender, and trust God for?
Up next?  Click here to find out!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Crash course in one room schoolhouse control

(Sweet friends! We found a house we are interested in, and are putting our house on the market this week, so I'm going to be super busy getting it ready.  I would love your prayers as we jump headlong into this adventure!  In the meantime, I thought you'd enjoy this post...)
The kids and I ventured out to a home school field trip the other day.
The experience was complete with a one-room schoolhouse.
And one-room-schoolhouse-teacher.  If you look back up at the previous photo, you can see that my son is inches away from goofing off.  A.k.a, "being himself."
Then scary one-room-schoolhouse-teacher reaches for her "switch," and tells them to line up and shut up.  (Only she used nicer, more child-friendly wording.)  I saw JJ's eyes widen when he saw that switch. As you can see from his face, all traces of goofyness have been wiped away.  (Truth be told, I was a little scared to talk out of turn, too... )

Not a peep....
She made them stand by their desks and say the pledge of allegiance. (I was just relieved they both knew it... I kind of forget about that during homeschooling time...don't tell anyone.)
I like these rules... I'd probably change them to say, "Never question your all knowing, awesome, rocking teacher."
Okay, this might be the only time I've ever seen JJ's mouth closed.  He was thinking, "Yes ma'am, scary-one-room-schoolhouse-teacher, ma'am."
Still thinking it here too...
I can not imagine being a one-room schoolhouse teacher.  I'd be so stressed out, I'd probably leave and ride my horse off into the sunset to find myself a cowboy.  I wonder if that ever happened...
I'm so thankful I only have to teach my own kids... And all my respect goes to all you teachers out there!  You guys are amazing.  Now that I home school, I totally get it.  (and that's just with two!)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Just call me Gilligan...

 Have you ever begun a journey, figured it would be quick, and then you'd be right back home?  That you'd take a quick zip over the uncharted territory, but then you could slip right back into "life as you knew it?"  Only somewhere along the way, the boat broke down, and everything you thought you planned for, no longer mattered? Three years ago this month, Adrain and I embarked on a journey. We had just read "Revolution in World Missions," by K.P. Yohannan.  It suddenly seemed like we'd found our passion/mission in life/purpose, and the ball started rolling.  Adrain knows he's being called to do something, but as of yet, he has only a vague inclination as to what that "something" is.  I can't go into his side of the story, but I can tell you mine.

A lot of changes have occurred in the past couple of months for me.  They began as I read the book, "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore. It truly changed my thinking, and along with it, my life.  As I put those things into practice, I got my hands on another book, "Crazy Love," by Francis Chan. After praying about it, Adrain and I decided to intentionally downsize not only our home, (gasp!) but our lifestyle, as we became convicted about what we could be doing in this life for others.  (And yes, that does mean a probable move into a smaller, more affordable home.  We are actively looking right now.)  In other words, we don't want to just be Christians who talk the talk.  We plan to walk it too, baby!  I found this quote in Crazy Love that spoke to me, as it hit Adrain and I right where we were at.  "The gap is so extreme in our world that we have to take lightly passages such as Luke 12:33: "Sell your possessions and give to the poor."  How else can I walk out of a mud shack and back into my two-thousand-square-foot house without doing anything?  The concept of downsizing so that others might upgrade is biblical, beautiful... and nearly unheard of.  We either close the gap or don't take the words of the Bible literally."   That was just the beginning.  I wish I could share more, but I can't just yet.  Adrain and I are committed to living with less.  A lot less.  We feel like we are being called to live way under our income, in order to be available for the possible coming changes in our life. 

We feel called to trust God fully as we live on less, and use the rest to serve Him better.  Crazy Love has helped me uncover truths that have impacted my faith in such a way, that I don't want go back to the way I was before.  God has placed Adrain and I on a journey that appears to have many changes up ahead, and we are so excited.  We are shaking off the things that tie us down, and we are holding our hands openly to God and willing to do whatever he wants.  He is doing something big in our life.  And I will tell you one thing.  I have never felt so passionately in love with Jesus.  I should be terrified.  I like my plans perfectly laid out and well organized.  We have no plan.  Let me repeat.  We. Have. No. Plan.  Because we know God has the whole plan all figured out.  We are fully trusting Him right now, in ways we have never trusted. Before I go, I want to leave you with a quote from Francis Chan, in Crazy Love that really opened our hearts to all of this. We have no idea where this journey will ultimately take us, but I'm so glad I can finally begin to share what's been in our hearts for a long time with you....and I promise, more will follow as it all unfolds!

Love you all so much, dear friends!

"Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to.  They don't have to trust God if something unexpected happens- they have their savings account.  They don't need God to help them- they have their retirement plan in place.  They don't genuinely seek out what life God would have them live- they have life figured and mapped out.  They don't depend on God on a daily basis- their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health.  The truth is, their lives wouldn't look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God."

(I have a feeling this isn't a three hour tour... )
Click "Adventure Chronicles" in the Organized Lemonade Cloud on my sidebar, to read more as the journey continues.