Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dining Room Decor

I'm feeling better today since my fever has broken and my aches have gone away. Layla has been keeping me company on the couch while I rest/stalk people on Facebook/read blogs/watch tv. I used to follow the blog "Better After" and decided to check out what home improvement projects had been posted recently to see if I could get some ideas. Wouldn't ya know, I've found the perfect decorating idea for my design-deprived dining room! Here's what the room looks like right now:

Nothing on the walls, very boring!!! I'm overwhelmed by the size of the walls and don't have anything large to hang on them. I've thought about doing wanescoting, but we don't own many power tools and my skill level isn't quite up to that task. Better After posted this picture of a dining room with a shelf that I LOVE:

Here's the link to the full post with a before picture, too. If I channeled some creative energy and braved a trip to Lowe's, I might be able to make a chunky shelf like that for my dining room. A black shelf might look better than white in my room though; what do you think?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sick Day

I'm not a superstitious person, but I think I jinxed myself the other day by proclaiming how my multivitamins must be keeping me healthy because I didn't call in sick once last year. Then I woke up with a scratchy throat yesterday. Tylenol masked my aches and pains so I could make it through the work day, but this morning I woke up with a lovely cough and even more aches. My sick-day free streak officially ended today. It's almost 6 pm and I'm still in my pjs, haven't brushed my hair and really haven't left the bed. Today, I'm thankful for satellite tv (sorry, Jamie!) because it passed the time while I waited for Alex to get home from work. I'm also thankful for President's Day on Monday so I have an extra day off work to recover. Hopefully I'll be good as new by then and can write a more interesting post! Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Things I've Learned Lately

1. I can't manipulate God's timing. Even though God grants me the desires of my heart, I still have to wait for Him to fulfill those desires in His time. Abraham and Sarah had to wait a long time to have Isaac, and even though they kind of messed stuff up big time with the whole Haggar and Ishmael thing, God still came through, gave them a son, and the wait was worth it.

2. No matter what I'm going through, I'm not alone. This seems cliche, but I've really felt all alone in an area of my life, and just last week, a close friend and I discovered that we're walking through the same journey and it has been so encouraging to have someone to share my heart with that completely understands. I have a prayer partner on my side and I know that I'm not alone.

3. I shouldn't put expectations on God, but instead, should anticipate good from God. When I'm hoping for something, I shouldn't make a list of things that I expect God to do. Instead, I need to let God answer the way that He wants to and trust that He will handle the situation in a way that will blow all my expectations out of the water.

4. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew marijuana on their farms. Seriously? Just heard that on a tv special called "Marijuana: A Chronic History". And now the tv has been shut off...

5. Sometimes I just need to turn off the distractions and LISTEN. Stop singing, talking, listening to the radio, complaining, procrastinating, and listen. God wants to speak, I've been crying out for answers, and I've been too busy to listen.

6. God holds man's heart in His hands. No matter what I do, I cannot change a person. It's up to God to mold us and change us in His timing, in His way. He is the potter and we are the clay. My own will cannot change someone else's heart.

7. Whatever happens is God's will and I can't let fear overshadow what good things, what promises God may choose to fulfill in my life. I've been worried what if certain things in my life that I've been praying for don't happen before other certain things are worked out? My engagement to Alex was overshadowed by people telling us we shouldn't get married for reasons that they couldn't explain to us. It was horrible. I don't want the next phase in my life to be overshadowed by anything. Even if there are things that I want breakthrough in that haven't been overcome by the time we have kids, it's all going to happen the way that God wants it to, and I won't let the blessings of motherhood be overshadowed by fear from unanswered prayers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Lion

After two serious posts, I thought it was time to lighten the mood around here a bit. I could use some light-hearted fun right about now. After learning to sew stuffed animals, I wanted to make one for my cousin's little girl, Julie. With Valentine's Day around the corner, it was the perfect opportunity. Lions are my favorite to sew because of all the fun fabrics around their manes. I used polar fleece and corduroy on the back of the mane to add texture.

I hope Julie likes it! I've actually never met her, but I've heard all about her from my dad and have become acquainted with her mom, Annie (my cousin's wife), on Facebook. Julie just turned 2 in January. After difficulties during her birth, she was born severely visually impaired and with cerebral palsy. She can "see" shadows from black and white patterns, so I'm hoping she'll like the lion. Recently, Julie's story was published on a blog that advocates for children with disabilities. You can read her story here. Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

True Serenity

Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. Your encouragement and prayers are so greatly appreciated! I've wanted to have a good cry for a few weeks, but no tears would come. After getting all that stuff out of my system and reading your thoughtful comments, the tears finally came, but they were good tears. The soul-cleansing kind.

This morning, I met my mother-in-law at the local coffee shop for breakfast. She told me a few days ago that she had been praying for my situation and asking that the Lord would give her scriptures that she could share with me for encouragement/guidance. Since the coffee shop was cram packed and not very private, we headed to my car where we proceeded to talk, laugh and cry for an hour and a half. It was wonderful and I feel so much better! One thing she shared with me was a poem that you are probably already familiar with, but I had never heard the second part of it (which we agreed is the most powerful part of the poem). I don't know the title of it, but here it is:

God grant me the serenity to accept
The things that I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it,
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to his will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next

-Reinhold Niebuhr

My first thought after reading this was that it was ironic that part of the poem is about serenity and that is the name of my blog. I really want to live a life of sweet serenity, and most days I do. My next thought was that I cannot change anything about my situation except myself. I can't change my husband; I can't change other people. I can only rest in contentment and trust that God will make things right according to His will. Tough situations in my life are like fuel to the fire that is refining me like gold.

I want God's will for my life above any of my own desires. I must have faith to believe that even if things don't turn out like I want them to or like I thought they would turn out, that it's still all a part of God's plan for my life and He is still in control.

We weren't made for this world, although our flesh is certainly part of this world and we must battle against it daily. Our souls were made for Heaven, to be in God's presence, to overcome the world.

I don't want external circumstances, which influence my happiness, to steal my internal joy that comes from a relationship with God. I realized today that I don't let my joy shine through. I let my circumstances dictate how I feel, I wear a frown on my face, I worry, I get angry, I hold a grudge, all getting me nowhere. What kind of testimony is that? I'd rather be reasonably happy in this life and be forever supremely happy with the Lord in the next. I'd rather let go of all the baggage. How about you?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rollercoaster Ride

Warning: this is the most personal post I've ever written. Please don't run away when you see how crazy I am! I feel like I'm on that lovely emotional rollercoaster again and I just want to get off. This week, I found out that not one, not two, but five friends are pregnant. That brings the total to about 20 since Alex and I started trying to have a baby. That's not an exaggeration. Don't get me wrong, I am genuinely happy for each of these couples and wish them the very best. I'm just struggling with a million things. There's work stuff, church stuff, marriage stuff, friend stuff, some positive, some not so positive, and I want to run away from half of it. I honestly don't want to be pregnant right now until some serious issues are resolved in my personal life. I want to be on the same page as Alex and moving together in the same direction. I don't want to bring a baby into the world and have these issues be unsettled.

I'm praying for breakthrough, trying to find scriptures that speak to my situation that I can use as weapons of spiritual warfare, but there's still some fear in my heart. What if I have to pray for a really long time before God decides that the time is right for change to come? I recently spoke with a dear friend who is going through exactly the same thing as me and she told me about a woman who prayed for eleven years before God answered her prayers. Right now, that seems impossible. I would give up long before then!

God, you put the desire to be a mother in my heart from the time I was a small child. Please don't make me wait eleven years, or seven or even four years to have a baby! I don't want to have my first child at 30 years old or my last at age 40. I want to be young and energetic and not have sit by watching everyone else decorate nurseries, read bedtime stories, go to story time at the library and play dates while I'm working at a job that I don't want to do for the rest of my life, pining for the day when I can stay at home and change cloth diapers and go to play group, too. I want to sew bibs and burp cloths for my baby, I want to sew stuffed animals for my little one, I want to take the wonderful hand-me-down maternity clothes, highchair, pack-n-play, car seat, swing, boppy, clothes and toys out of the closet and attic and put them to good use!

I know that breakthrough is coming, and yes, it will be in God's time. I cannot lose heart, I cannot lose hope. Our pastor has been teaching on hope recently and the theme keeps coming up everywhere I turn. Maybe I need more hope. Satan can't get the best of me. I won't let doubt and fear win. I will not be a nag to my husband, I will honor him and keep praying for change - not only in him, but also in myself. When the time comes (and please, God, let it come!) for us to become parents, I want to be a stronger woman, a better wife, a more devoted follower of Christ so that my children will grow up with wise, godly parents. I want to run this race with perseverance and not grow weary and lose hope. God's plans cannot be thwarted and He does have a plan and a purpose in all this. I cannot put faith in myself or in others, but only in God, who comforts me and loves me despite my many shortcomings.