Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Fear is a Liar"

So.  Question for you:

"What if the thing you wish most for is the very thing God plans to give you?"

That was a quote/question posted on one of my FB group walls.  I never responded to it, but it really got me to thinking.

There's lots of big and little things I wish for:  healthy kids, healthy relationship, a happy home, laundry that folds itself, money in the bank, to make it through parenting teens, blending happy families, to write a book, to travel and speak nationally, flowers I plant to live, lose ten pounds, to minister to victims of abuse, grow up to be a grandma someday, to be able to find my lipgloss in the bottom of my bag.....

Big and little things.

So when thinking about the above question posted....I really had to narrow down what the thing that I most wish for is.

Obviously I can cross off lipgloss and flowers. And probably the self-folding laundry.

And I want to cross off the ten pound weight loss thing.  I keep crossing it off and circling it again.  It's important.  But not the thing.  

But I think I can sum up what the one thing that I most want is:  to fulfill God's purposes he has for my life.

Sounds good to me.  After all, I recognize certain gifts I have that are God given.  And I recognize that the place I live and this time in history is on purpose and not accidental.  The people placed in my life are for a whether I completely mess up this whole parenting and step-family relationship thing is irrelevant to the calling to be in relationship in the first place.

Do I have the one thing I most wish for?  Has God already given it to me?  

I don't.

Which doesn't make total sense because wouldn't God want to grant me the one thing that I wish for if that one thing were, in fact, his purpose for my life?


Maybe because I haven't fully accepted all that there is to fulfilling God's purposes for my life.  I understand it is a process. 

But something has always just stood up and gotten in my way:  Fear.

Sometimes fear knocks on the door and I let it in. Sometimes fear sneaks up on me disguised as practical concern, but then turns around and becomes completely disabling.  There have been some instances where fear has been hanging around for so long that it has become comfortable in my own home, leaving its trash all over the place and overstaying its welcome.  

Fear of the unknown, fear of the known, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of practical issues, fear of things that, for the most part, exist only in my head.....

...really, a whole entire laundry list of fears.  Dead weight. 

(I think I may put "self-folding laundry" and losing weight back on my list of important things )

So.  Back to that first question. 

What if the thing you wish most for is the very thing God plans to give you?

God does want to fulfill his purposes through each of our lives.

Personally, I am not exactly sure what that will look like, but I do know this:

When fear comes knocking at my door, I'm gonna put my boots on and give it a good kick in the teeth.  I might even have some harsh words to give it.  If fear sneaks in when I'm not looking, I'm gonna have to tell it to take it's trash and get out.  And if I don't have the energy to face fear on my own, which happens to be quite often, I'll bring in the big guns to take care of the issue.  Jesus can answer the door instead.


And it is getting in the way of what I most wish for.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Method to my March Maddness

It is that time of year again. 

Probably a time of year that every mama looks forward to.

Obviously, I am talking about the road to the final four.

For the last few years, my son has invited me to participate in his ESPN group and fill out my own bracket.

While he has spent the last several days studying  the teams--percentages, history, odds, etc.--his system for choosing his bracket, I have been doing my own research. 

It is true.  I have a system for choosing teams.  I take this 3-step system very seriously. 

The things us moms do to be a part of our children's lives, right? 

I'm sure you are dying to learn about my system.

And bracketologists  everywhere are certain to be studying this system for years. 

Here's how it works:

1.  Between the two teams playing each other, choose your favorite colors.  This will most certainly be different for everyone.  Your favorites may include the colors you look good wearing, or colors you like to decorate your house in.  Or purple. 
2.  If you hate both team's colors, choose based on where the team is located in the country.  Would you like to visit one place over the other?  If so, choose that team.
3.  If you are equally dissatisfied with the colors and location, check out the mascott.  Which one is cuter.  Or the least annoying to you.

Would you like to know who is in my final four?  And why they made it that far?  

Duke, North Carolina University, Kansas State and North Carolina State?

Do you happen to see a theme of the above?  I'm sure it is quite clear.

3 of the teams are located in the Carolinas.  
One of the team's mascots is a purple Wildcat.

Now I'm sure it all makes sense.  

In the final game I have the purple Wildcat up against the (upper-iowa-colored peacock) powder blue.  

It was a tough decision for the final game, and I had to throw another step in to decide what I thought the outcome should be....but the powder blue wins.

Even though I love purple wildcats, I look way better in powder blue.

Plus also...Nicholas Sparks writes about the Carolina's in all of my favorite romantic books.  

So LOCATION plus LOVE wins.  

But the score is close.  


Monday, March 11, 2013

A Book Review and Book Giveaway

I was recently given the opportunity to read and review The Repurposed & Upcycled Life~When God Turns Trash to Treasure by Michelle Rayburn.

Here is the review I posted on amazon:

Addicted to pinterest boards?  Have a creative bent towards turning yard sale finds into something new and valuable?  Ever wonder how your own life story fits in with either of these two?

The Repurposed & Upcycled Life by Michelle Rayburn addresses these things and more. 
The author has extensive experience with crafting and trash-to-treasure decorating.  She has been gifted with being able to see the potential in an object that may have first been someone else’s trash, and then able to craft it or “upcycle” the same item into something far better and more beautiful than it was originally thought of.  

But that isn’t necessarily what this book is about. 

Michelle Rayburn shows readers how God has used the same idea of trash-to-treasure decorating in her own life stories.

Each chapter begins with a personal story from Rayburn’s own life. All are relatable and give readers a glimpse into the real life of a woman who, on the outside may appear to have it all together, but on the inside shares some of the same struggles that women in this day and age face. 

Each chapter ends with a section called “Getting Personal.”  This part of each chapter includes three short snippets with a specific action incorporating an exercise in digging a little deeper in the reader’s faith, a creative project to do and how each fits in to everyday life.  This gave the book more of an interactive feel as opposed to just a good read. 

I really liked the personal stories shared by the author.  While I am not a crafty person, myself, I do have an appreciation for those that do and find the trend in “upcycling” fun to follow.  What appealed to me the most about the book is how Rayburn was willing and able to share some of her own “junky experiences” of life and let God turn it around into something new, different and better than how the story first began.  

It was also interesting to see how the author could take each aspect of faith, creativity and life out of their own proverbial boxes and weave them together into a story that is far more complete than viewing each of these three items on their own.  

I found the following excerpt compelling and a way to summarize the major theme in The Repurposed & Upcycled Life:  

When I feature a project on my website, I always show a before and after picture. If I didn’t show the before picture, it would take away from some of the wonder of the after picture. We like seeing a dramatic transformation. The better it turns out, the more we marvel at the change. That’s what God wants to do with our trash. No matter what it is, he can transform it—upcycle it—into something that points others toward his glory so they will say, “Look what God can do.” 

The only thing I did not like about this book was that it was hard for me to sit down and read each chapter in a short sitting.  I would recommend setting aside a half hour to read and absorb each chapter, and for me that wasn’t always possible.  But honestly, this says more about me and my schedule and how focused at the time I sat down to read than it does about the book.  When I go through the book again, I will probably read a chapter at a time, then set aside the next few days to dig a little deeper into the “faith, creativity and life” projects at the end of each chapter.  


This is only the second book review I have ever written.  I really liked the process.  I was given a free copy of the book to read in order to write the review, but my overall positive review of the book is not a reflection of this at all.  

I did not mention this in my amazon review, but another reason I really really REALLY liked this book has to do with my own story.  I've got issues, experienced some proverbial garbage in life, and continue to face certain obstacles that I just cannot see how anything good can possibly come of it.   

The book was a reminder that God does have the "creative eye" that I do not have.  He knows how my own personal stories in life can come out better and more beautiful than they first began.  Certainly an "upcycled" version of what I may have or currently am going through.  

And sometimes, I really really REALLY need that reminder.

Perhaps you do to.

If you want to get to know the author better, visit her on her website:

From there you can follow any of her blogs.  My favorite is the Faith, Creativity, Life blog.

I also want to offer to give away a copy of the print version of the book.  (I have the kindle version, too)

Leave a comment here on the blog and you will be entered into a random drawing for the book.   

1 commenter will also be entered into a grand prize giveaway from the author of the book.