Wednesday, October 31, 2012

31st Day

My 31 day challenge has come to a close.

I'll miss this. I've been inspired to think, to remember things and explore ideas that have been floating around in my head. I've enjoyed the conversations that started. I've looked forward to seeing how many people are reading--so many more than I would ever guess! I loved watching one post get picked up by Tim Challies and go around the world.

I've realized that I had a lot more in common with friends than I knew. I've felt like, in small ways, God was using me. I've enjoyed applying my mind for more than trying to guess why the baby is crying. I've poured out my heart. I've written things for my kids. I've loved every minute.

I'll be lauching a new blog in a few days. I don't know if I'll be able to write every day. But, I want to try to keep this routine going. I think it's good for me.

Most days when I sit down to write I stare at the blank screen with no clue what I will say. But, something always comes to me. And God has spoken to my heart through my own words. That seems wierd. But, it's true. I don't know how to explain that. But, I feel closer to Him after this month.

Thank you, all of you who have read. You have blessed me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Did It My Way

I have a tendency to do things the hard way.

When I try to do something, whether I'm cooking or cleaning or crafting or sewing or just doing regular everyday things that must be done, I take the most moutainous, treacherous, dark and lonely path to accomplish the task. It's generally because I don't have the proper tools, ingredients, or materials.

And the reason I don't have those things is because I'm cheap.

Yes, I said it. I don't just appreciate a bargain, I revel and wallow in a bargain. I just wait for people to compliment my clothing so I can tell them how little I paid for it. I feel giddy when I outsmart other people who are paying "too much." I wear contact lenses for six months that are meant to be worn for two weeks. (And, by the way, the rest of you are getting ripped off because they can TOTALLY go six months. With only the occasional eye infection.) I'm using blush that broke apart a year ago (the crumby pieces work fine), wearing shoes that hurt my feet (they were on clearance), and waited until I was on the verge of pneumonia to go spend $25 at the doctor the last time I was sick. My kids know that if we're not at Goodwill, we will shop the 70% off rack. But, that's only really exciting if there's an extra 40% off. I'm telling you, it's a sickness.

So, I'm making my own Halloween costumes and it's been difficult because I bought just a little less fabric than the pattern called for, a little less trim, just knowing that I would somehow fudge the numbers to make it all add up in the end. My scissors won't cut, I'm working with ten straight pins, and I wouldn't buy the $7 pattern cutting board that would've made this task so much easier. And, I've waited until the day before.

See what I mean? The hard way. The cheap way. It's my way.

But, I suppose in some sense I am trying to make up for the fact that I don't work outside the home. My cheapness keeps money in the family account. And it just makes me happy in some strange, twisted way.

The next time you see those cute Justice jeans on Adelade, keep in mind that they didn't come from that adorably overpriced spot in the mall. They came from Goodwill. And, if these costumes turn out cute, appreciate how much sheer determination went into making them without the proper materials.

And if my eyes look a little red the next time you see me, just keep in mind that I do things the hard way.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Political Post

Political seasons are interesting.

Political seasons since Facebook and Twitter are just downright fascinating.

I guess in the past people really didn't have a platform for broadcasting their political views. All they could do was give speeches or talk about it around the water cooler. Now all you have to do is type a sentence or two and hundreds of people that you know or used to know or have never even met get a clear picture of who you're voting for and which issues matter to you. I've seen lots that I agree with and some that has shocked me and a few that have just made me roll my eyes. We try so hard, don't we?

To seem informed.

To seem intelligent.

To seem worth listening to.

And, a whole bunch of much smarter people than me have chimed in through the centuries about how God fits into all of this political craziness. But, here's my political philosophy, in a nutshell:

God is in control.

Yes, we should be informed, use the minds God gave us, search the Scripture to decide where we should come down on the issues. We should vote. We should care.

But, we shouldn't worry.

He knows who will win. He knows how the future of this country will matter to eternity. He's not fretting about Mormons or Democrats or Republicans or Muslims. He's not afraid for America. He has plans that we don't know.

Plans to glorify Himself.

Plans to point the world to Christ.

Plans to win.

Yes, God wins. Not political parties. Not countries.

He is the victor.

Therefore, let's not get too upset if this election doesn't go "our" way. It will go God's way. And He will do with it whatever is best.

Do you trust Him?

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Well, I'm only three days away from the end of this 31 day challenge. I have had so much fun doing this! I can't believe how encouraging you all have been. My blog passed 10,000 views last week, and that absolutely blows my mind. Just knowing that I can write something and someone can instantly read it on the other side of the world is amazing. But, what I really love is just knowing that my friends are reading.

While I've spent many days sitting in front of the computer with no clue what to write, my daily blogging has become a habit that is actually not as difficult to maintain as I imagined. In fact, I think I'm hooked.

I've been working on setting up a brand new blog that should be up and running in the next few days. I really hope you'll check it out! I know not every day of my blogging is a total winner, but I do appreciate you reading. The challenge of writing every day has been really good for my mind and heart.

Thank you so much for your kindness! I'm excited about launching my new blog this week!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dear Heart: Please Hush

Tonight I was telling my English-teacher-turned-administrator mother-in-law about someone's poor grammar. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, she playfully corrected the grammar in my sentence. We laughed about it, but I thought about how often my critiques of people end up making me look foolish.

You would think I would stop criticizing people.

So many times when I open my mouth and speak, I regret it. The Bible tells me that what I say is a true reflection of what's in my heart. So, I should consider my own harsh words about others as a clue that my heart is ailing.

Sure, people drive me crazy sometimes.

Sure, people occasionally wrong me.

Sure, people can be exasperating.

But, I drive people crazy sometimes.

I occasionally wrong people.

I can be exasperating.

Can I expect more grace from others than I am willing to extend myself? My words can be tools that spread the love of Jesus or they can hurt others. It is so obvious to me which one is the better way.

I pray that I will learn to be quiet when I feel complaints about others bubbling up from my heart. Thanks to my awesome mother-in-law for the gentle reminder that I'm not perfect. She is the best.

And her grammar is impeccable.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Mysteries

Last night I heard a woman tell the story of her life. I sat and listened as she told one tragic detail after another--just when I thought it couldn't get worse, it did. She told us with tears about all kinds of abuse, loss, and difficulty.

And I was struck while she spoke by how little hardship I've experienced in my own life. I can't help but wonder why I have been spared tragedy thus far while she and many others have endured so very much. It seems unbalanced. It looks unfair. Yet, I know that at any moment I may be faced with my own troubles to bear.

She said something during her story that really resonated with me. She said that both the bad and the good in this life sift through God's fingers. And, I know that's true. He is in control. And He knows why things happen. I suppose that should be enough for us--just knowing that He knows.

Because what He does is whatever will bring Him the most glory. So, maybe when we face tragedies of all kinds, we should try to be thankful that we are in a position to shine an especially bright light on our devotion to Him. At a time when the world would expect us to walk away, to curse God, to doubt His love and His goodness. When we are in the hot seat, our faith endures and we bring glory to Him as the world looks to see that He carries us through.

And, as we struggle to find this one way that a bad situation brings Him glory, He sees the many, many other ways. Things that happen on Earth and in the spiritual realm that we will not see or understand until we meet Him face to face. Those things, whatever they are, have brought me comfort during my few dark moments. The unknowns. The mysteries of God's glory. All the time, but maybe especially during hard times, we are a part of those beautiful, glorifying moments.

God is so good, even when life is bad. I want to remember that. I want to live to bring Him glory.