Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Bit of Christmas Cheer

I love making things  and I especially love Christmas, so I thought that throughout the Christmas season I would share some of the things I've been working on with y'all.
We always decorate the house the day after Thanksgiving, which I usually just let Mom take care of and I find something else to do....for example, read a book.
Then came Pintrest
...and Martha Stewart
...and of course, the ever present example of my Mom.
So, now I'm into the whole "decor" thing and I'm lovin' it!
Once the Christmas music was cranked and decorations were out I just couldn't contain myself.
I had asked my Mom if we could do a gold themed tree this year. One of my grandmas gave us a couple boxes of beautiful, gold, house ornaments. I think they are famous houses or doll houses. Anyways, they're pretty and I like them. My Mom liked the gold tree idea and we had a ton of fun decorating it.

Now, enter my new best Christmas decorating spray paint.
You heard me.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
The rest of the family figured it out when the smell floated in from the garage door, to which the response was, "Save the bunny!!! She's gonna kill the rabbit." Yeah, I was too cold to spray paint out in the below freezing weather, (gotta love Wisconsin) and I just did it in the garage without thinking about the fact that the rabbit might not appreciate my creativity.

I spray painted a whole bunch of darling pine-cones gold. Then I used hot glue to attach ribbon. You can hang them from anywhere you want. I tied a loop in mine so we could hang them from the tree. They have such an amazing vintage, outdoor look!

Of course, once I did the pine-cones I was addicted to the spray paint can.....not the smell!!! the color and the novelty!
I just had to find something else to paint. Then, I remembered this pathetic basket that all the green pain was flaking off of. I found it out in our screened in porch, wiped it off and, "Wha la!!" gold basket!
We filled it with gold and purple ornaments and I won't deny that I thought it was the coolest thing!
Isn't that perty?
That woven bow....let me tell you, that was not easy!
And here is a "Behind the Scenes" moment: Somehow, I missed a spider web when I was cleaning up the basket. Don't ask me how I missed it. It must have been my excitement at the prospect of finding another spray paint victim. My sister found the golden web and found is rather disgusting. I thought it looked really neat. Needless to say, it is no longer there.

Ahh yes, and what would a Christmas tree be without bows?
 Just ribbon and floral wire. They really give the tree a vintage look and the fill in holes quite nicely.

There's my bit of Christmas cheer for the day. 
Now I just need to work on making a new tree skirt and a whole bunch of other things that I'll tell you about later.


I didn't write on Thanksgiving...sorry 'bout that, but I wanted to share what I'm thankful for this year because it means a lot to me. So, here goes...
1. I am thankful for my Savior. He has saved and redeemed me, freed me and drawn me closer to Him. I know He has made Himself more real to me. I'm learning to trust Him more and it's beautiful.
2. I'm thankful for my family. I love seeing how my siblings and I have grown closer, and how God is using our family in mighty ways...though they don't always feel mighty.
3. I'm thankful for 18 wonderful years of life that God has given me. Each one of them is a blessed gift. (Don't ever be afraid to ask me how old I am. My life, every year, month, and day; they are all huge blessings from the Lord, and are a testimony of His great love and mercy in my life.)
4. I'm thankful for a Dad who protects and cares for me, who wants to teach me about the Lord, and help me learn all of the skills and knowledge that I will need to my future.
5. I am thankful for my Mom who amazes me with how much she can accomplish and get done while teaching school and caring for children. She is an inspiration to me. I have learned so much about life from both her her and Dad. I don't think I understood how difficult homeschooling was until I started helping out by teaching some of the "classes."
6. I am thankful for my brothers and sisters in the persecuted church. I have learned so much from them this year. Their faith and perseverance has inspired and convicted me so much.
7. I am thankful for godly friends that I've known for years and those that I just met this year.

8. I am thankful for life! It is precious. It is fragile. It is short. But for right now, I'm here to enjoy it and serve the Lord in it.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Dreamed A Dream....

...and it came true!

I went to see Les Miserables in Chicago, with my Grandma Cheryl and Grandpa John. Oh, words cannot express how breathtakingly beautiful it was. The music. The sets. The VOICES!
Anyways, if you have never heard of it, you should really read the book, listen to the audio version, watch the movie, or something. It is one of the most redemptive stories I have ever read, heard and seen.
I don't want to spoil the story for those that may not know it, but it starts with a convict being forgiven and shown great grace by a priest that he had stolen from. This single act of mercy and forgiveness changes the life of this convict completely. He promises to be an honest man from that point on.
After I recovered from the beauty and excitement of the play, I was thinking about the importance of a single act. One act of forgiveness on the part of one man changed the entire course of another man's life. The convict did not deserve mercy from the priest, but that act of mercy taught him to be an honest man.
I wonder how many life changing acts I've missed. I wonder how many times I've impacted a person unaware. Sometimes we never know. We may never see how a life was changed because of a choice we made. God, in His sovereignty, often uses things we don't expect to change people around us. So many times, I have heard that people were impacted by someone else simply because they smiled. Just a simple smile. Maybe it was just carrying someones groceries for them. Maybe it was taking the time to listed to them. Maybe it was forgiving someone who really didn't deserve it.
Whatever it was, it made an impact; perhaps only a small one, but it made an impact nonetheless.

Never doubt what God can do with your life. I know sometimes it's hard and you may feel discouraged at times, but live for Christ. Shine brightly for Him. People see. They notice someone with the love and grace to forgive, listen or help. It changes lives.

P.S. "I Dreamed A Dream," is the name of one of my favorite songs from the play, hence the title.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pray for Hobby Lobby
Please read the above article. We Christians need to be keeping Hobby Lobby and other Christian run companies in prayer over this whole Obama-care issue! This is going to hurt a lot more companies than just Hobby Lobby.

"I think we should all shop at Hobby Lobby for Christmas" - my Mom. I wholeheartedly agree!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Make sure y'all go out and vote today!!!

One quote for the day...

"If we want better politicians, we need to have better voters."
Russel Stendal

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Sovereignty of God for Toddlars

This last Wednesday I took Nathan(5) and Andrew(2 1/2) on a walk down to the lake a couple blocks from our house. It was rather chilly, but it was the perfect day for playing on the swings and throwing stones into the lake. Because of the drought we had this summer, our lake is really low. There's about 10-15 feet of sand on the shore that is usually completely covered in water.  We decided to walk the sandy shoreline, since usually it's all covered with water. As we were walking I noticed that Andrew kept turning toward the lake and would smile really big. Finally he turned to me and said, "Kaiya, why da lake keep following me?" I looked at the waves and couldn't help but laugh. The wind was blowing in the perfect direction, so as the waves lapped up on the sand it appeared that they were following us. We walked a little further and Nathan asked, "Kaila, how do the waves follow us?" I looked down at him and said, "Because God made the wind blow and He wanted the wind to blow this way today so that the waves would follow us and we would have so much fun looking at them." He smiled so big, grabbed my hand, and said, "That's cool!"
We had lots of fun playing at the park. They actually had a teeter totter, which personally I think I had just as much fun as they did. I haven't played on one of those in years. But, I kept thinking about the whole wave encounter and how the faith of a child works. My little five year old brother doesn't doubt or give it a second thought that God made the waves blow in his direction so that they would follow us. Nathan totally and completely trusts that God is the reason for that wind blowing. Of course there are scientific explanations that I could have told him, but he doesn't need those explanations to understand how it works. He totally trusts that God made those waves roll up on the shore to follow him.
The whole incident really made me look at my own walk and look back on how many times I have doubted God's sovereignty. It's so easy for me to complain and question God. "Why is this happening?" "Why do I feel this way?" "Why didn't this work out?" Why, why, why...... And His answer is, because He has a big picture plan in mind. Because when I feel that pain, I draw closer to Him and have more compassion on others. Because His plan is infinitely greater than I could ever imagine.
I so easily doubt God's loving sovereignty over all things. Nathan and Andrew don't doubt God's sovereignty.....not yet that is. When they hear me say that something is happening because God wanted it to happen, they completely believe it. They don't question me on it. Some people might call it being naive, but I call it child-like faith. Every day my little brothers teach me a little something. Often they teach me about my lack of patience, :-) but on Wednesday, they taught me about having faith in God and in His sovereignty. 
Andrew and Nathan at the Creation Museum.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Redeem the Time

5:00a.m. My alarm clock rings......ugh. I get up, turn the lights on and climb back up into my bed. In a perfect world I would immediately, without hesitation, open up my Bible and begin reading. But I'm still tired this morning and somehow I fall back asleep only to wake up 45 minutes later in frustration that I did it again. See, I'm not a morning person at all. I literally can easily stay up till 2-3 in the morning reading a good book. But I've noticed that my morning devotions are often slacking because of being too tired, so I am trying to go to bed early and get up early. You know, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. " Well, easier said than done. It takes 28 days to form a habit and I get the impression that I still have a rough couple of weeks to go. When I was finally awake enough to read my Bible, I read Colossians 4, and verse 5 jumped out at me. It says, "Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time." Then it cross references to Ephesians 5:16, "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Now the whole point of getting up early was so that I could "redeem my time" and start forming habits that would give me more time to spend in the Word. This morning God gently reminded me of the importance of doing that in my own life, which starts with rising early. I'm not trying to say that since I get up at 5a.m. you should too. Not at all! That doesn't work for everyone, but I think it is important that we claim the time we are given and figure out the very best way to use that time to glorify the Lord. These moments here on earth are not our own. They are the Lord's. I am held accountable for how I use each and every moment. That is actually a rather frightening thought because, although I may not normally waste large amounts of time, I often waste a minute or two here and there. Those moments are time that I need to be redeeming.

Redeeming your time probably will not be a piece of cake. (Well, it wasn't for me. Y'all probably already have this one down.) But, Christ redeemed His time here on earth and He set the example for us all.

So, go redeem some time, eve if it means...*sniff* that you have to take a break from my blog. :-) (Just come back really soon!)