Thursday, December 22, 2011

Second Annual Caroling Event

So, my one year old attempted to eat my power cord, so I shall write with brevity. We thoroughly enjoyed caroling. S'mores, hot cocoa, candy canes, a bon fire, homemade cookies, and a snowball fight (with marshmallows. We had around 60 people attend this 2nd annual event. It's great to bring life to a community that has long been asleep. See you next December!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

Everything you have I gave to you. Have no part in the pride of the flesh. The moments you are kind, creative, brilliant, generous, beautiful are from Me. I have ushered foresight into your mind. I have wrought a generous spirit deep in your character. Remember, even what you give to Me came from My own hand.

“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 given you only what comes from your hand." 1 Chronicles 29:14

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Well-Driven Nails by Byron Yawn

I have had this book on my wish list for a while and the other day, I just up and bought it. I am so glad that I did. This man expounds on Christ so simply and with great clarity and passion. I mean, we have all read enough books about how to help God along. This is simply about simple exposition of the beautiful word of God and the reformative power of the cross of Christ. 

There were several things that touched me as I was reading. Mostly, everything went back to the cross. That ministered so sweetly to my soul. In talking about how we are obsessed with being relevant, he examines the passage where Paul is writing on marriage. Byron said a few simple words that really spoke to me in this. This passage isn't a tip guide on being a better spouse. Marriage is a picture of substitutionary atonement. This has to be the most profound statement I have heard on the subject. I'm still processing it. I see another blog post coming.

This is a great book for any preacher or anyone who wants to be reminded of the beautiful simplicity must share the gospel with.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gomer's Washing Up

You're thinking to yourself that things couldn't get any more exciting around here. You're wrong, friends. We've just kicked it up a notch. That's right. Now we are cooking with gas. Figuratively speaking, of course, because I currently have an electric stove. We have had an exciting week of cleaning out our utility room and outfitting our carriage house to use as a workroom. I bought foam board for the kitchen ceiling with my art money and Denbigh has been putting it up. I did a little booth at a holiday bazaar in Kyle and sold some paintings. And, glory be, the dream sink came. The Fed Ex people looked a little frightened by us because our whole family was running to the door like a herd of stampeding elephants. I tried to capture the entire adventure for you. Please revel in the photography.

Before you do, I've been thinking about starting my own little version of meals on wheels. I don't want to infringe on their name or anything so I thought I'd call mine Meals on Foot. Anywho, I know lots of widows and people who could use some general cheer around here, so I just started taking them food and goodies. I've been doing this with little fanfare. When I cook, I make extra and then I take it to a friend. Now, I'm asking for others to help me. Tuesday, my friend Jan and I walked around delivering dozens of cookies to random houses. It was lovely and we ended up visiting with some nice people. What shall we take next week?
The ring box our college student made for his fiance.
These two infamous love birds were celebrating the weekend of their 40th wedding anniversary (by buying a piece of art from me.).
The ring he made.
That's right. Read that. Professional. And it only cost me $4.99.
The best part of getting a big box. Playing in it.
Shadow puppets before our Christmas movie night.
The dream sink. Baby added for dramatic effect. I have had my eye on this fabulous sink for almost 3 years. I have patiently waited for it. I absolutely love cooking for as many people in the town as I can and as you saw above, I want to serve my community in the kitchen. I couldn't be more excited about this new addition to our house. Who wants to come build cabinets around it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Reading by Laomai

When you walk into my house, the first thing my four-year-old will ask you is if she can read you a book. I made the cutest video of her reading the first chapter of Mr. Popper's Penguins to me. It's somewhat bittersweet because she wants to read to me more than she wants me to read to her. I just thought I would share. If you are thinking of homeschooling and think it is daunting, be encouraged. I taught her to read using sidewalk chalk and alot of play. She loves reading. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

I have set before you blessings and curses, life and death. Choose life. There is life and death in the power of the tongue, your tongue. Choose to speak life. When you are at your darkest and most discouraged, believe truth and reject lies. You are called and gifted to do very specific things in this life. The greatest desire of our enemy is to discourage or distract you from those pursuits. Refuse to be distracted. Be resolute in your calling and press on toward the goal. Don't give up. 

When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place.
Psalm 118:5

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Have a New Kid by Friday

My husband and I read together a bit each day and we recently grabbed a copy of Kevin Leman's famous book. Of course we weren't necesarily looking to have a new kid. We were looking at being better parents. We try really hard to help our children become more like Christ and are always looking for resources to help us in that area. We unfortunately didn't have much in the way of role models in this area, so we are always looking for ways to be more Christlike in our leading of our children.

You must know that Dr. Leman's book is about you being a better parent more than it is about you changing your child's behavior. The problems are generally inconsistencies on our part that cause poor reactions in our children. He gives 5 simple days of helpful and simple tips to helping you achieve this goal.

Be consistent in your leading and your rules, never wavering or caving. Learn how to build true worth by edifying behavior instead of praising your child. Set up a family identity and help your children emulate character.

I think I may read this again. There is also a helpful q&a with Dr. Leman in the back of the book.

We actually were a day behind and ended up with a new child on Saturday. Don't give up, even if you get behind. Try. Try again. Don't give up.

Friday, December 09, 2011

South Congress Cafe

An installment of
Two Blondes on Congress.

Suzi and I hit the South Congress Cafe in Austin, Texas. We marveled at the lovely food. Dear Suzi swore up and down that they put some sort of drug into the Butternut Squash Soup. I love the version at Bordeaux's and was skeptical that they could improve upon it. Surprise. Surprise. They laced it with something heavenly. My oh my.

My gal pal and I were both feeling like eating out of the box and settled on the Warm Goat Cheese Salad. Suzi added chicken and I was allowed to add seared tuna (which wasn't on the add in menu). Delectable. Sweet delectable joy. I couldn't even finish it because the portions were large and completely satisfying. Sweet Georgia Brown. I may never recover. Please add in any other southern sayings you can think of to help you understand that I loved this meal. 

The atmosphere was fun. The dishes unique. Stay tuned for what we find on Congress next

Buon Appetito!
PS. We loved the Hibiscus Mint Tea.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Romance Is Afoot

Here is our makeshift heater in the carriage house.
We hosted a community dinner this past Tuesday evening and about 40 people showed up that don't attend our church. I didn't get pictures of everyone because I was holding a baby. There were fabulous people in the kitchen and children in the playroom.

In the playroom, my daughter was playing with a group of girls from the neighborhood. In typical dramatic fashion, Laomai said that she must leave and go to pray to God. One of the little girls looked at her completely serious and asked, "Who is God?" So Denbigh told her about our Creator.
My beloved husband has been building a work area in the carriage house and placing all the things that are cluttering the utility room up out there. It is fantastic. Soon I will be able to walk in that room again.

If you are engaged to anyone living in our house, read no further. Spoiler alert.
Our live in college student made this ring box for the engagement ring he is going to give to his beloved.
This is the engagement ring he made her out of wood. I loved the simplicity of it. I also loved the picture of it hanging between all the tools.
I have no idea why they are looking at me so silly. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A Simple Christmas

Today, instead of running amok like a crazy banshee in search of the year's hottest toy, I suggest you take a break and color. Here is a simple reminder that you do not have to keep up with the Jones family this year. Bake them some bread and pray you celebrate with them in heaven someday. Refuse to take on more than you can enjoy. Do not be brought to tears by your Christmas to do list. Don't buy your kids a mountain of presents that will confuse their tender hearts as to why we are celebrating. Remember the One thing. Remember the One reason. Today, love Christ our King, God with us.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Talk to me, Abba

Life is constantly flooded with fear, pain, and grief. What you have to ask yourself each day is one thing? "Abba, will I trust you with this?" Will you trust me with the depth and gravity of your current situation? Will you bear your heart and flesh to me when you have nothing left to cling to? As you face unanswered questions, a hurting child, a tragic betrayal, will you trust Me with this?

Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10
For more on this segment, see this post

Monday, December 05, 2011

Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd

While the earth's time clock ticks away, well-meaning Christians go to church, pay their tithes, and pray for foreign missionaries-going through the motions of Christian life as millions face an eternity without God. If heaven is indeed for real, and only those who have put their faith in Christ will be given entrance, shouldn't we be making the most of every opportunity to share the Gospel, the last great hope for all the world?
Join pastor Ronnie Floyd as he challenges readers to face reality and begin a global movement to reach the lost. He says, "God is calling us to an awakening regarding his most urgent command found in Matthew 28:19 to go and make disciples of all nations. This Great Commission is the compelling charge given to us with divine authority by our Commander in Chief, Jesus Christ."

Much of this book was full of interesting and challenging information. There were blurbs about adoption, missions, church planting, and the like. I am passionate about all of those things. I just could not connect with this book. I wanted to. As the pages opened, I felt a stirring, but that quickly dissipated. I am guessing that Ronnie is an excellent orator. Unfortunately, the book reads like a book report. It was a list of facts about characters in his life. I felt like I was watching an infomercial trying to sell them to me. The cover left something to be desired. That doesn't leave the topic wanting. God desires us to share God's truth with others.

2stars. Good content. Poor Delivery.

This book was graciously provided by ThomasNelson Publishers.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Hey Cupcake in Austin,Texas

 Today, I hit South Congress with my gal pal Suzi. We ate at the South Congress Cafe. I will blog about that in a future foodie Friday. Right now, I'll show you one of the trailers at the food park at the 1600 block of South Congress, Hey Cupcake! We were really full from lunch, so we shared a cupcake.  As soon as I saw this chocolate goodness and read it's name, I thought it was perfect. Our cupcake was the Michael Jackson. I'll leave it to you to figure out why. It was delicious. That cream cheese frosting. Oh my. There was also an eclectic Austin musician playing old hits from the 60s and 70s. I recorded him with my new Super 8 app. Enjoy..and go get a cupcake. Buon apetito!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Gomer's Got Bite

A few years ago Denbigh and I thought we could never get a home. Then we got our first home. We got pregnant and I started asking God for a 4 door car. I thought God was going to help my husband make the extra money to get the car. Instead, my Abba sent a man with no job to hand me the keys of his car. When God put the vision for this Respite into our hearts, there was no doubt in my mind that "we" could never afford to do it. After nine months of homelessness, we were pointed to a house that was comparable in price to our old house, which was one forth the size. Each project we undertake is payed for by prayer. God sends the funds and the volunteers. Genuinely, each day we live a miracle. It is tough and hard won. That is part of the beauty. 

A while back, my husband and I were discussing the people who say they get gold teeth during worship. His comment was that if God had done it, why wouldn't He make their teeth whole like they were before.

I have needed some serious dental work for a while. With each baby I lost, I felt like a tooth would crack and about fall out of my mouth. We paid the thousands of dollars to get some of it done, but could not get it all done. I had pretty much resigned myself to my teeth falling out and me getting dentures. I kept asking God if He would fix my teeth. God sent someone to me to fix my teeth. I never asked. They didn't know. Jesus had whispered it into this person's heart. Today, I completed that treatment plan. I think I must have had six visits to the office. I cannot even surmise how much this would have cost me if I had to pay for it. All I know is that God answered me. He went beyond what I could ask for or imagine. He didn't give me gold teeth, but He, in His mercy, made my teeth whole. He restored me. I am thankful to the Lord today with tears of joy. It is not just because He did what I asked Him to do, but in knowing that He sees me and that He cares.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why I Snapped

My brother Mike was a photographer. He had an uncanny eye to catch things unseen by the average person. He could see things in people that most of us would choose not to see. He could find the beauty and capture it on film. He was like that in life. People were very comfortable around him. You felt more relaxed, more beautiful, more you. When he died, there was a gaping hole in my heart. I desperately needed to laugh again. I needed to see that things were going to be alright again. I needed to see the glory of God in my day to day surroundings.

I picked up a camera. At first it was a little Sony 8megapixel that I had bought to take pictures of my first daughter. I was desperate to see glimpses of God in creation, in faces, in clouds. I saved up and bought a Canon Digital Rebel. I snapped and snapped and snapped. I didn't recognize what I was doing for a long time. I did not see that I had begun doing this almost immediately after my brother had died. Somehow, it makes me feel close to him and the cathartic action makes me feel healed by God as I look at photographs that catch the moments we miss every day. 

Now, I am using this healing passion to do something for others. I have been selling my photography to   restore our house so that we can lend healing to the broken, the addicted. Every face I come across is the face of one of my brothers that has passed away. May God bring healing here.

Miscarriage | Infertility | Hope

I encountered Jesus as a young child in a church pew in the balcony of an old country church. Through a lifetime of trial, I knew he was the...