Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holes and Such

 I saw this out of my window the other day. These people must have come to "town" to get some groceries. I thought it was interesting. I was longing a bit for the simplicity. The picture is grainy because of the screen on the window.
It's hard to be vulnerable. Sometimes I just sit and have myself a good cry. It's hard to practice death to self in the face of criticism, but Christ has called us to be vulnerable. It's hard letting people come and see the inner-workings of your home. It's hard to show your art. It's hard be vulnerable enough to share your music. It hurts when people repeatedly never show up to support you, but always want things from you. Christ calls us to carry on anyway. He asks us to continue to make ourselves vulnerable and expose ourselves to the harsh temperatures of this world. Our next act of grace might be the very one to help open blind eyes. Sometimes you simply wonder if anyone sees you at all. The fact is that it doesn't matter. Christ sees us. He sees us in the desert. What He needs is for us to see others. We must remain intrepid, undaunted. We must pursue the revelation of the beauty of Christ in everyone around us without regard to pain. That's the thing about grace. It isn't looking for anyone to pay it back.

 I framed one of my prints in an old window frame and made a chalkboard with another. I am going to sell them at our town festival on October 22nd. The picture is $50.00 and the chalkboard is $25.00.

 Andy digging holes all around our house to work on the leveling.
 Our new picnic table. My mother-in-law found it at an estate sale. I think I want to paint it Tiffany box blue. It's hard to see, but it is under a great little canopy of branches.

 Jackie playing with Laomai.
 I am using this to get off the residual paint left after I use the heat gun. My current project is the bookcase in the foyer.
 Looks appetizing.
 Look at that gorgeous wood that was covered up by paint.
Andy digging holes. Look at his snazzy new coveralls.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Gomer's House Video

My husband put together a short video giving some highlights of the past few years here. We put all the pictures that we could in a short five minute song, but it doesn't barely touch on what has been accomplished here. God is doing a refining work in our midst. I hope you enjoy the video.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

Keep your eyes on Me, sweet child. 

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 NIV

For more on this segment, see this post.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond

We don't buy a lot of mainstream children's literature because we don't find it to be God honoring and it dumbs down things to bright children. Several of the books we have been given have met their demise in the trash can. We do love Charlie though. Laomai has been asking me to blog about him.

If you know anything about Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, you know Charlie is a character. He has more personality than a herd of other dogs. In this book you can follow him all over the ranch and with his friend Suzi. It is neat for children to see what all goes on at a ranch. It's a great book to help get children interested in animals.

I asked Laomai why she liked it and she said because Charlie is so very cute. He thinks he is fast but he isn't. He thinks he does a lot but he doesn't. They still love him." 
Sounds good to me.
A portion of all purchases made through this Amazon link support Gomer's House.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers

I took the basic popper recipe and took away the bbq sauce and added some things I like. Turkey bacon is a must. I also thought to myself that these would be sublime in the sauce you dip your lettuce wraps in at P.F. Changs. Sublime indeed. Buon Appetito.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gomer's Building Up

You might be wondering who on earth these people are and what they are doing. Well, I don't know. Yesterday, my husband and our live-in college student, Aaron were building exterior storm windows for our house. I had just spent two hours at the dentist getting my teeth pounded by implements and I did not venture into the carriage house turned work shop to photograph any of it. I found these ladies on the world wide web and thought it looked pretty close to what they made. 

Windows in modern day homes have energy efficient double pane windows.You see, our windows are single pane. Some of them are no pane. We are trying to remedy this by building exterior windows for all of our windows. This will greatly help our heating and cooling. We have done two years of research into the best way to build windows and here we are building. Next week, I will try to get you and actual picture of the windows we are making. This will of course be an ongoing project since we have about 48 windows. 

I have been getting my art work ready to sell at our community festival coming up in October. I had an idea to take some antique window frames and make them into picture frames for my photography. I will let you know how it goes. 

We will also be hosting an event in October to raise money to help some friends adopt two orphans from Russia. 

Passionate about Restoration.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just As I Am

Do you have songs that have spoken things unspeakable to you? They have resonated in deep emotional places that you have no name for. Most of my favorite songs that I have kept with me my entire life are not the songs that were popular to my generation. They are hymns. I love just sitting and reading hymns during my quiet time. The rich theology always ministers to me. I have fallen in love with Amazing Grace and the entire hymn of Jesus Loves Me. The one I love most is Just As I Am. 

I love Just As I Am for a myriad of reasons. I had a rough childhood. By the time I entered elementary school, I had survived some very devastating things. When I first heard this song, it gave me such a clear picture of God's grace. It didn't matter where I had been or what had happened to me. I got to God by no other means than the blood of Jesus. God wanted me to come to Him. The tender Lamb of God bid me come. I still cling to that grace. It's not who or what I am. It is Who and What Christ is. I am thankful for that. On Sunday, my husband played this song for me on the old piano at church. 

1.      Just as I am, without one plea, 
 but that thy blood was shed for me, 
 and that thou bidst me come to thee, 
 O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

2. Just as I am, and waiting not 
 to rid my soul of one dark blot, 
 to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, 
 O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

3. Just as I am, though tossed about 
 with many a conflict, many a doubt, 
 fightings and fears within, without, 
 O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

4. Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; 
 sight, riches, healing of the mind, 
 yea, all I need in thee to find, 
 O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

5. Just as I am, thou wilt receive, 
 wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve; 
 because thy promise I believe, 
 O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 

6. Just as I am, thy love unknown 
 hath broken every barrier down; 
 now, to be thine, yea thine alone, 
 O Lamb of God, I come, I come. 
Bird print for sale $20 unframed. $25 framed. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Talk to me, Abba.

I know of the wounds you have. I know of the wounded and desolate places all around you. I can clearly see the places long devastated in your midst. My heart is to give beauty instead of ashes. I want to see My people planted in righteousness. My people will rebuild the ancient ruins. They will repair ruined cities. They will raise up the former devastations. I will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before the nations. I am working on your wounds.

"Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, 
They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations."
-Isaiah 61:4

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Grace of God by Andy Stanley

None of us deserves what God offers, a life free from sin and hope for a glorious future, but unbelievably it's ours for the taking. Why? Because of God's grace. The unmerited favor, the lavish love and kindness he pours out on us, and has, since Creation.

But if it's so available then why do we live a graceless life? Why are our churches filled with disillusioned Christians, weary of religion's demands, struggling with personal defeat because of issues or behaviors?

Join pastor Andy Stanley as he traces grace through the Old and New Testaments, observing God's grace at work in the lives of some of the best—and worst—characters. He also uses personal stories from his own life to reveal how grace is not a natural response but is the most essential one. Together these stories unravel the mystery of grace and tell of its transforming power to set us free.

I don't usually read such a high quantity of books by the same author in a year, but the words of Andy Stanley keep making their way to my desk. I have been greatly moved by his exposition on many subjects and given glimpses of insight into scripture that I have no had before. This book was true to that rule. Seeing God's grace throughout the Old Testament was so rich. I cried seeing God's grace in the story of Rahab. He extended days of grace in Jericho so that the inhabitants might repent. This was a wonderful and thought provoking read. It was an excellent follow to the last book of his that I read, Enemies of the Heart.

This book was graciously provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Seven Days In Utopia

I have had the pleasure of reading several of David Cook's books that are not available for purchase. I have never ceased to be stirred by his passion and love for the Lord. This amazing story was no different.

My mom called me a few weeks ago and told me that I had to go out and see David's new movie. Our moms are dear friends and so she implored me to go. My husband surprised me Thursday and took me on a date to see it. I am completely enamored with it's message. It was a good, inspiring film about what counts in life. I can't recommend it to you enough. I am sitting down to write a letter of thanks to David as soon as I am done with this blog.

On a personal level, this movie ministered to me in what we are doing with our respite. In the movie, a man takes a young man under his wing and lets him stay with him for a week. That week helped him find the Lord and set him on a path that was life altering. I saw a parallel between Gomer's House and Utopia. It made me deeply grateful for the people who have come here and the sweet pace of life God has granted us to minister in. Come visit us . . . after you see the movie.

David's bio:A graduate of Baylor University, Dr. Cook is a devout Christian whose ministry and retreat center in Utopia, Texas has helped transform the lives of countless men and their families. His faith and principles are woven throughout his book and now the movie, SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA, where he is credited as a screenwriter. In addition to his ministry, he is a renowned sports psychologist who has been at the center of action in the sports world where he has helped professional athletes, from teams including the San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards, deal with the benefits and downfall of their fame and success. Golf Digest named him one of the top 10 Mental Game Experts in the country.

Dr. Cook is one of the country’s top sport psychology consultants and motivational speaker. He has worked with over 100 PGA Tour players, been a featured speaker at two PGA National Teaching and Coaching Summits, and directed the PGA’s Playing Pschology Workshops for the past 14 years. Dr. Cook also serves as sport psychology coach to the 1999 World Champion San Antonio Spurs (1996-present), and has worked with top performers in the NFL, Major League Baseball, Olympics, collegiate national championship teams, and Fortune 500 companies. His peers elected him president of the National Sport Psycholoy Academy in 1992. Dr. Cook served as Director of Applied Sport and Performance Psychology at the University of Kansas from 1984 -1996. He currently serves as President of Mental Advantage, Inc. a performance enhancement firm bridging the gap between the arenas of sport and business.

Click here to bury your lies.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Art of Breadmaking

The more I read about the chemicals in store bought bread items, the less I want to buy them. Growing up, I loved making bread with my grandmother and I wanted to revive the tradition for my family. I am no fan of the bread maker because I think it steals some of the romance. I wanted to see it done the old fashioned way. I loved how my grandmother set her bread out in the sun to rise. 

I thought this was such a great tutorial on old fashioned bread making. It wasn't an overproduced show. I felt like I was in the kitchen with some sweet friends making bread. It was wholesome and family friendly. It was so family friendly that my four year old and I watched it together. She then spent the rest of the day making pretend breads. 

There were several yummy things included in the dvd that I am excited to make. Hamburger buns, cinnamon rolls, and skillet cornbread to name a few. You will see my creations emerge over the next few weeks. Great dvd. The only thing I would do different would be to change to unrefined ingredients. Great dvd.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Live the Adventure.

 One of the things we hear when we tell people that we are restoring a one hundred year old house is, "I always wanted to do something like that." I once thought that we could live our whole lives in suburbia discussing the latest sitcoms and miss living our lives. We could all miss living them for the glory of God. Here we are, living. Let me tell you, it is not as romantic as it seems in The Notebook. Most days I hate my kitchen. It needs a sledgehammer taken to it. I get so tired of dark walls and dusting every other day. I catch myself and I must say that I am thankful for the journey. Let me tell you why.

When you have lived with every creature comfort and have never lacked any physical nicety in your life, you become pretty entitled. Really, you become a greedy jerk. Most of us are. We hide it behind our Christian speak and throw money at a few things here and there to feel good about ourselves, but deep down, we love our stuff. God sent me into the middle of nowhere surrounded by no one like me in a place that had no comfort so He could slowly rip out my pride and smash my self-reliance to a bloody pulp. In all honesty, as I weep at exposed sin, I am genuinely grateful for this adventure. I am thankful to not be going through the motions of life, but truly living it. I am thankful that there is no one like me here. Every day is challenge beyond my comfort zone. I am grateful that I won't get to the end of my life and wish I had restored a house and opened it up for people to come stay in and experience the love of Jesus in. We're doing it. We're two and a half years in the process. God has sustained us this far and He will finish what He started in us.
 This is part of my bedroom. It is a big room. It is dark because there is no drywall on the walls or ceilings yet. You can see the dark exposed Pine. Denbigh is adding foam to the ceiling in our room.
 Our fireplace. 
 The first sheet of foam going up.
 A pice of art on my mantle.
 Sculpture on the mantle.
 Foam going up. That blue tarp is not our comforter. Don't worry your pretty little heads about it. We have a lovely comforter.
 More and more foam.
 This is the secondary sitting room on the second floor. Denbigh did the ceiling in here last week. He is adding foam to the exterior walls to add to the insulation factor. 
 Look at that, a happy white wall. Joy.
 Here is a painting I just started.
For our eight year wedding anniversary, I asked for a Crepe Myrtle. I was told once that since 7 is the number of completion that 8 is the number of new beginnings. I liked it. I wanted to mark our year of new beginnings with a blooming tree. As soon as it dropped below 100 for a few days, Aaron (the college student that lives here) and Lance planted the tree. (I made them dinner. Win.Win.) This is the tree's first bloom. A few days after we planted it, I was doing my daily Bible reading and came across a great verse in Isaiah 55. "...instead of the nettle, the myrtle will come up, it will be a memorial to the Lord.." If you know anything about this place or my past, you know that there was plenty of nettle. God is giving us something different, a new thing...for His own glory.

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...