When God Gives You Walls

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It’s a hard thing when you feel like God leads you one way then drops walls in your path. It makes you question Him and yourself and every big decision you make.

Did it feel right because I wanted it to or because He says it’s right?Am I supposed to prove how much I want this and climbs those walls? If I do this…or that…or try something else will it make this happen or make the path anymore clear?

Sadly, I don’t have any big answers to these big questions. I also am pretty sure that last week during my David Bible study I got told to wait. Wait, and trust His faithfulness, big time.

My emotions have been rolling and unsettled since!
I’m happy and thankful He’s asking me to wait because He is going to move.
I’m frustrated I thought we were running towards adoption and He tossed a wall in that path.
I’m angry I can’t find a place to really rest with this whole thing; constantly questioning Him, and myself, and every decision.
I’m desperate trying to find His will in all of this and stay in it. I feel a bit like a cat chasing a laser beam all the time.
My heart hurts feeling like being told to wait is punishment and waiting can go on forever.

This is hard stuff; being a God-follower. If anyone ever tells you otherwise they are lying. It’s hard, and the bigger the problem the harder it feels.

Where are we now?

That’s the big question.
Last time I talked about our chosen path to babies we were all-in slowly but surely headed towards embryo adoption. We had defined goals and our first step was raising money.

And then a few bricks fell in the road.

I landed in the ER in the middle of the night having an extremely painful gallbladder attack. We dealt with that pretty well, I got meds, I rested, I expected it to go away and I’d learn to eat better and manage this issue.

Then, the rest of the week happened and more bricks fell. I didn’t really get better, I was in constant pain, low-level pain after many days, but still in pain. So, we made the decision to do some research and see a surgeon.

That wall in the raising money path to adoption was built and a new path to paying medical bills was paved. Surgery even with our insurance isn’t coming cheap.

The good news is I feel lots better; better in ways I didn’t know I felt bad. This surgery came with benefits for me, so that’s good. I’m hopeful that it’s God.

What happened last week?

I was two weeks behind in my home work, and this homework can be intense. (If you’ve ever done a Beth Moore Bible study you know what I’m talking about.) Beth likes to ask hard life application questions. In the middle of some of these questions I’m essentially writing to God in the margins.

I read a little and I write to Him…and I’m asking Him about our children. Hard stuff; admitting I feel lost and unsure and like this struggle has just gone on too long. I tell Him I have all these questions and don’t know what to do. I ask Him for a place to rest.

As I read the next paragraph in my study He answers me.

The covenant rested on God’s faithfulness, not man’s.

Whoa. I wrote. Hello, God, I’m listening.

He asked me to trust in His faithfulness not my own. It’s not about what we do or don’t do to have a baby. It’s not about how hard we try to scramble onto the right path our look for answers in every worldly avenue. It’s about believing God when he tells me I’ll be a mom one day. Even when seven years of barrenness is staring me in the face telling me not to believe, not to keep the faith, not to hope in spite of it all that He will work it out. Even though I can’t see it, even though it feels crazy, He put this desire so strong within me for a reason.

He gave me David’s prayer in 2 Samuel 7:27-29. A piece of that is this:

Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.

And here I am. Reminding myself of that everyday. Because the truth is even when He gives me an answer, even an answer so strong I cried over my books, it’s hard to hang on and wait. Waiting feels like a horrible kind of passivity. It’s inactivity when all I want to do is work to make it happen already! It’s trusting the unseen and unknown. It’s so dang hard.

Waiting for us right now means a day at a time. Focusing on paying the bills on the table infront of us. Focusing on all the life we’ve got going on; months of good days written in the calendar. A wedding, a house guest, home improvement, a rodeo,  a hockey game, a weekend away…we have a full life to lead while we are waiting for God to move.

Don’t get me wrong, there will be many many days I’m back on my knees asking these same questions, wanting new answers, itching to push forward against the wall anyway. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows after you get a tiny bit of revelation. It’s hard trust and faith work. It’s work I’m not always good at. Luckily, He is, and that is what really matters.

Morning green.

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After my gallbladder revolted big time just before Thanksgiving I started thinking about needing to give my diet a little boost. Then, after I had that bad boy surgically removed I decided just because I could eat whatever I wanted pain free I probably shouldn’t.

When this little smoothie blender went on sale for black Friday I decided it was a sign. Green smoothies in the morning could maybe be a good thing.

Maybe.
What if they taste like grass?
Then, maybe not.
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I opted to get a smoothie mix from Jamba Juice, to use as a base and add kale to, to see how I’d like it.

Turns out I do like it!
Yay for green smoothies!

But, getting the mix is expensive so my next step was to concoct my own version…Lucky that little bag had an ingredients list, huh?
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Basics from the bag…
Orange Juice
Frozen Peaches
Vanilla Yogurt

It also says to add apple juice, which was good for blending when all the other ingredients were frozen, but my fresh ingredients could go without or use water.

I add…
Two large leaves of Kale, pulled off the woody stem.
Liquid vitamins, I get mine from Vitamin Cottage. (helpful because I frequently forget to take my multi)
Random other frozen fruit as the mood strikes.

Easy peasy.
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Adding blueberries and vitamins make it much more mud colored than green. It still tastes good though so I’m okay with that.

I like the way drinking a green smoothie makes me feel in the morning. More awake. More ready to get moving. Lighter.

So far this year there have been mornings I don’t drink a smoothie. Usually because I’m drinking iced coffee instead. (I love my new Chemex coffee maker!) But, I’m trying to make this burst of veggies and fruit a habit for at least three or four days a week.

I’m looking for easy feel-good changes this year. I’m looking forward to how my body changes without the inflammation and pain my gallbladder had been causing. I’m also looking forward to seeing if my green smoothies do more than just make me feel more awake in the morning.

Are you a green smoothie, or maybe juice, drinker? I know I’m a little (or a lot) late to the green smoothie party so if you have a favorite recipe please share it with me. I’m sure I’ll eventually get tired of my Fuzzy Navel inspired smoothie & it would be nice to change it up sometimes!

I’m raising my green-stained glass to 2014!

Project Life’s Throwback Thursdays

So, I have a envelope given to us by my SIL that is full of old photos. When she started scrapbooking again she went through her pictures and realized she had multiples of a whole bunch of childhood photos of their family.

That envelope has been shuffled from placed to place without a real home for um…a year? Two? I’m not really sure. You see prior to that we got a very similar stack from my MIL when she went through her old photos. That first stack ended up in one of our overflow photo albums. This second stack was so much extra.

I just couldn’t throw it away! There’s awesome childhood pictures of my guy and his family in there! But, I didn’t know what to do with them.

Then I thought about how I’ve enjoyed seeing old photos of people on Instagram with hashtags for Throwback Thursday. #tbt
Idea!
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I made Throwback Thursday cards for my Project Life album. It’ll be fun to have those old gems mixed in years from now I think. I’m pretty excited about it, really. It feels like new twist on old favorites.

Score one for popular hashtag-ing!

Are you using Project Life this year?
Have any little twists making your memory keeping on it’s toes?

I’ve really come to love PL. I love that you can record your life week to week if you want, which I don’t, OR you can do it month to month, which is more my style. You can do it season to season, a collection of random days, make an album of just Saturdays, just mornings, every other Tuesday. I love that it’s designed to be endlessly customizable and all the parts work together. Cards from any number of themes fit in ready made pockets. You can throw it together with basic prints and no cutting or fancy it up to your heart’s content!

So yeah.
I’m excited for Project Life 2014.
It’s awesome.
That is all.
:)

Joyful 2014

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Oh, New Year, I am so ready for you. It’s been a long, seemingly unforgiving, 2013.

Sure, there have been good times; I’ve laughed and loved and jumped for joy. Though, when I look back now, 2013 will be the year loved ones died, illness stopped us in our tracks, hard things felt close and consuming.

Isn’t it strange how sometimes that hard stuff lingers on the mind and the wonderful things feel like just a flash of light in the darkness? Sometimes it’s hard to turn your mind to joy; sometimes I really need to take the time and make the effort.

That’s what 2014’s goal is; turning to joy. Seeking the joy in my everyday. Being intentionally joyful.

Can you be intentionally joyful?

I think, yes.

Words like: Perspective, Compassion, Patience (oh, that’s a hard one for me!), Forgiveness (that one too!), Generosity, Understanding, Compromise…
Can all lead to more Joy if I let them.

I’m going to try and let them.

I know there will be challenges to face over the next 365 days. I hope those challenges vary greatly from the ones I crashed into this last year. But, I also know I have much to be thankful for…there’s another something leading to more joy…Thankfulness.

Embrace it. Jump in with both feet. Pray over it. Say yes. Be Joyful.

I’m linking up to Wellness Wednesdays!
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Armchair Bunting

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Creativity can come to a grinding halt when you’re uncomfortable. I’ve been spending lots of time in the seated/reclining position tethered to the nearest outlet by my heating pad. I’ve had plenty of time to be making while here, but not much motivation. My bag of crafts has been within arm’s reach for the last week and only today was I motivated and feeling good enough to dig in.

I managed to finish that pillowcase embroidery project that was dogging me this last month. With a great big sigh I tied off the last stitch…And went hunting for the next thing to make, of course!

I’ve had this idea for lacy paper doilies turned into bunting floating around my head for a while. Turns out it’s a perfect crafty thing to do from your armchair!

Here’s what I used:
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Glue sticks
Paper doilies (found in the baking section of my local grocery store)
Ribbon

Here’s what I did:
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Fold paper doilies in half.
Smear glue on the solid center part of the doilies.
Sandwich ribbon in the fold.
Rinse and repeat down whatever length of ribbon makes you happy!

I left about a foot of ribbon at the beginning and end of my bunting for hanging.
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Have I told you how much I love bunting? It’s like instant happy!
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With Gratitude

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I should begin with saying this picture has absolutely nothing to do with my Thanksgiving celebrating. Since my Thanksgiving was spent watching football and CSI:NY via Netflix and eating Chicken and Stars Soup (it was a big step up from previous days) I didn’t think to document the day.

But, even though this has been a kinda physically painful week, I still have so much to be grateful for and the picture totally represents that.

Sunday night, after an early and really lovely Thanksgiving with my inlaws I had a (unbeknownst to me) gallbladder attack. I just knew I was in pain and a whole lot of it. It got so bad I ended up in the ER at three a.m. After an EKG, an xray, and an ultrasound, they finally determined it was in fact my gallbladder. After a couple doses of morphine I was much more comfortable although not pain-free.

I spend Monday in a Percocet induced fog and sleep. Tuesday my body didn’t need the drugs and I still slept most of the day. By Wednesday I was sore, bloated, and nauseous on and off…which is really just how my week has progressed. Everyday a little less nausea, a little less pain. A whole lot of love for my heating pad and finding anything I could eat to sooth my stomach.

So, Thanksgiving was quiet and that’s ok. It’s great in fact. Because everyday I’ve had wonderful people asking how I am, what they can do, praying and loving me. So my gratitude this year is for these amazing people God has put in my life. My family, my friends, strangers met along the way – I have been beyond blessed.

My husband who has been just loving, supportive and bend over backward awesome. My mom who would come running if there was any little something I needed. Friends who pray my pain away enough to sleep without meds. My brother who told me to try pancakes when I thought nothing would stay down. Pancakes! My phone has been a constant source of love notes and offers for help from all my amazing people.

The doctors, nurses, hospital and office staff who have come into my life this week have also been so wonderful. Kind, gentle, helpful, and joyful; they’ve made this somewhat frustrating week be not so bad. It says a lot about people who can make your ER visit and surgery consultation a good time. I’m sure God had just who I needed on duty just when I needed them.

It’s a without-a-doubt fact that The Best Things In Life – Aren’t Things. Thank you amazing people in my life, my gratitude is all for you!

Creative Rhythm

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Last Night

I stitched up (yet another :)) tote bag. I made changes to this one, too…
Inset handles, instead of after thought ones.
Single side quilting with a lining, instead of quilting all three layers at once.

Every time I finish a bag for a moment I contemplate keeping it. I enjoy so much having that finished object in my hand. I love the feel of the fabrics and uniqueness of handmade. My selfish self says ‘Keep It Keep It!’

In the end I don’t keep them; I wrap them up in our homemade coloring page wrapping paper, add a yarn bow, and add it to my gift pile. With my master list of friends and family I check one more name off and begin again. I’ll repeat that cycle of make, want, gift many times over the next month. It’s the rhythm of my holidays.

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This Morning

The beginning of the cycle begins again…

I start with a finished object in mind, and a person it’s intended to be for. What’s their favorite color combo? What style might they like? What new technique do I want to try? What do I envision them using it for?

I pull fabrics from the stash as I roll the ideas around in my head. Images come to mind, thoughts on construction. Sometimes I pull fabric and I lay it out and I don’t know just where I’m headed yet. I walk away, grab some breakfast, watch a show, work on a already in progress something. Letting the idea sit in the back while it gathers itself together.

If it doesn’t gather, I change the fabric, change direction, think about a different intent. Sooner or later it gels in my brain and I can begin to cut and stitch and mostly feel my way along the process. All the other things I’ve made informing the steps I take, and if not, a seam ripper at the ready. (Even though I sigh and cringe as I use it.)

I rarely stop mid-way once I begin this kind of project. Unless I find myself making so many mistakes it’s no longer fun but frustrating. I tunnel vision my way to the last stitch. To the ‘Oh, I want to keep it!’ moment. Then I take a picture, (to remember my proud mama moment) wrap it up, mark it off, begin again.

Creative Rhythm.
What’s yours?

Still making

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Tote bags for gifting are still being made around here…
Some of which I can’t share photos of; they’re so recipient specific it would be too easy for friends to pick theirs out!

Each one is constructed differently. As I make them I change a bit of the process, I’m feeling out my favorite creation style as I go along.

For instance this one…
Got a zipper.
Is made from a canvas material instead of pieced with quilter’s cotton.
Is lined with interfacing vs batting and quilted.

I really liked the simplicity of this one and the crafty fabric is so fun. I used cotton ribbon ties from Moda jelly rolls as straps; double sided for extra thickness. I knew I was saving those things for something!

One more Handmade Holiday gift created and ready for wrapping!

The half-way girl

The trend for me these days is to do a project twice, and stall out half-way through the second…

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I stitched one set of pillowcases in less than a week. So excited, so obsessive with the work.

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I began the next set of pillowcases strong, but finishing the first of two took nearly as long as both the originals. And the second? Still not done.

Something shiny and bright caught my attention. I switched gears and picked up needles.

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Oh, new Noro yarn and a pretty wristlet pattern, my new exiting. As usual the first pair flew off the sticks in two days. Excitement!

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But, as my trend goes that second pair only warms one wrist. The thrill of the new wrist warmers wained… Now, I want to make socks!

It seems I stall out somewhere around the third object…so I might get one pair of socks made (yay, warm feet!) and have another rolling around here for days and days. Maybe months and months! Making friends with a lonely pillowcase, and a lonely wristlet.

Oh, I shouldn’t forget I’ve got a set of four tote bags on my to-do list also. Two done, one laid out…

And there’s that block of the month quilt that should’ve been finished last year? I think. ..Half-way seems like a good place to be for me I guess. Almost. Not quite. Nearly there. Close to being.

These objects wait for my distraction to come full circle. It always does. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, but eventually. Because as much as I am a half-way stall kind of girl, I’m also a finisher. I really do love that feeling; the very last stitch. It’s bittersweet and beautiful. It’s a wrap up and a new beginning. I really, really love it. It’s why binding a quilt is my favorite part of the process. Why I weave in ends right away instead of the after-blocking most people recommend.

So, while I languish in my half-way place right now I’m dreaming of those last stitches and finished objects. I’ll eventually have a bunch of them…and that’s the most exciting thing of all!

Totes Christmas-y

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It’s the time of year I really get into my handmade holiday list and start checking things off. One by one the gifts pile up, wrapped as I go, ready for the month of various Christmas-y gathering we’ll have going on soon. Today’s project was a quilted tote with lots of holiday spirit.

It really is one of my favorite seasons; the season of making!

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