Friday, November 30, 2012

Thankfulness Garland

During the month of November I decided I really wanted some fall decorations up in the house. Now that I have a house worth decorating I wanted to try. But, unfortunately, living on a Seminary budget doesn't really allow me the freedom to run down to the closest Garden Ridge or Hobby Lobby and just start whipping out decorations. So I had to get creative.

In the process I was searching through Pinterest when I came across a cute little tutorial for a Thankfulness garland that Collin could help me with.

It was really simple. I started with brown paper bags. And since I like to shop at Sprouts I was able to get those when I went grocery shopping instead of plastic bags.

From there I just traced several fall leave patterns onto the bag. I then let Collin color on the paper bags. When he decided he was done coloring I cut out the leaves. I glued them onto a long  piece of ribbon and hung it up on the wall.

On different paper I cut out more leaf shapes that we wrote each day something we were thankful on. I then attached that to the garland. It was kinda the same principle of the Thankfulness posts on facebook but this was for my little piece of the world. I liked having the reminder there every time I walked into the livingroom that I had so much to be thankful for.

Here are a few pics of how it turned out

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Do as unto the Lord"

Tuesday marked the end of my first semester here at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dusty, on the other hand, still has a few more weeks until his classes are done. During the last 12 or so weeks I spent 3+ hours every Tuesday night in a classroom with 40 or so other women all in basically the same place in life I am in. All of us have husbands who have been called into the ministry and are currently on the road to the education that will allow them to fullfil that call. Some of the ladies have been here a bit longer than I have and others are still new to this just like I am. But no matter if some ladies are getting ready to move on to the next stage in life or if some of us still have several years to go in that room we were all on the same page.

During the course of the class I learned a lot. I learned a lot about what the Bible has to say about women. Women as women, women as wifes, women as mothers, women as homemakers, and even women within the ministry.  As I sat in class trying to pay attention to what my professor was trying to get accross, often times being distracted by RaeLynn fussing or being disruptive, I began to realize that the picture that I have created for myself of what it means to be a wife, mother, and at this stage in my life, homemaker is completely flawed. I'm sure this has a lot todo with that fact that I am completely flawed but thats another topic for another time.

I have always felt, and I can't really say why, that if the house isn't picked up and presentable 100% of the time and if the kids aren't behaving completely then I must be failing at my job. I have this constant coat of guilt resting heavily on my shoulders if for any reason I stop and take a break during the day knowing that my wonderful husband is out there working hard and not getting the chance to just sit and relax. I stress out worrying that my kids aren't getting enough of me when I have to step away to clean up a mess or fold the laundry, but at the same time feeling like I'm not accomplishing enough on my todo list for the day. I have this narrow picture of what I am supposed to be doing all the time and because I have been working so hard to fit into that picture I have missed the most important part. "Do as unto the Lord."

"As unto the Lord" What does that even mean? Well, during the class I learned that, now, during this stage of my life with 2 small children at home, a husband working basically full time hours and going to school full time, and having a house to maintain if the laundry doesn't get folded but I spent a few extra minutes outside running with my son so that he would be happy and know what a loving mother is and begin learning how to properly treat women then I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. If my decision is going to glorify God in the long run then the dishes and the clothes can wait.

On the same note, if for some reason I have to set aside some time when Collin and RaeLynn just have to wait for my attention because there are tasks that must be completed then I, again, will be glorifying the Lord as I teach my children a number of lessons in that moment. Teaching them patience, control, and an understanding that we all have responsibilities. If they can learn that though my actions as a homemaker then I must be doing something right, right?

In the next few years I am going to have the opportunity to learn even more on what it truely means to be a woman, wife, mother, homemaker, and wittness after God's own heart. I find that the more and more I think about it the more I can't wait to dig my heels in and really get to studying and learning from all the amazing women that here on this campus. The resources I have access are just wonderful. Next semester I will be taking 2 more classes and I am already anxious to get started. In this process I want to ask for your prayers.
Pray I learn everything God wants me to know, pray that God shows us how to work our finances so I can participate in these classes, pray I find the ways to use what I am learning in my life and pray that I can be supportive to Dusty as he is taking his classes and working for our family as well.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Conversation with my Spouse

Tomorrow is the final exam for my Wives of Equiping Ministers class that I have been taking here at the Seminary.  Part of my course requirements for the semester was to have an hour long, uninterrupted conversation with my spouse. We were to focus on life and ministry dreams and goals and to work on casting the vision God has for our family.

Well, as Dusty and I are so good at we procrastinated untill the last minute. Meaning we were up as 6 this morning having this conversation. On one hand I hated getting up early just to "do homework", but on the other hand I really liked that I waited to have this talk at the end of the semester for me so I could really put into practive much of what I have learned over the last several weeks.

What we came up with was this:

Dusty's Life Mission:
~To reach families though men to teach them how to be Godly men and to lead thier families into a right relationship with Christ.

Elizabeth's Life Mission
~Through hospitaltiy both inside and outside the home show families today the love of Christ while helping my husband to properly equip men and women to lead their families.

Dusty's Passions:
~Men ages 18-30
~Anything involving Superman

Elizabeth's Passions
~Women 18-30
~Being the wife and mother God created me to be to the fullest of my potential

Dusty's Dreams
~ Do effective ministry with men in today's society
~Create a passion and desire for ministry that will one day be passed down to our children and so on.

Elizabeth's Dreams
~Educate myself to properly help Dusty with his call to ministry thorugh a Master's of Christian Education with a concentration in Homemaking
~Show my children what it means to be a wife and mother after God's own heart.

With in the next few weeks we plan to have further discussion on setting both family and ministry short and long term goals. I am hoping that with this we will be able to finally see more clearly the direction that God is taking us in at this moment.

While having this conversation, however, I came to a conclusion about myself. I realized that I am, be it consciously or subconsciously, not allowing myself to think about or even have my own hopes, passions, and dreams. I have come to some type of realization that I need to put aside me until Dusty is through with school and the kids are a bit older. I just tell myself that there will be time for me later on. But I have to stop and wonder if I'm doing what God wants me to be doing by having those thoughts and feelings?

Don't get me worng. My first priority is to raise my kids and take care of the home while Dusty is either in class or at work. But is that all I'm here to do for this point in time? Do I have nothing more to offer or accomplish? Do I really have to wait 7+ years for Dusty to finish school before I can even think about starting mine?

These are things that Dusty and I plan on discussing and really praying about. I don't want to look back someday and think that I could have really done more.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Its been a while....

In the last few weeks a lot has happened in my little corner of the world.

First of all, my phone service was disconnected due to the fact that we couldn't pay the bill. Thats what happens when you have one person in the family working semi-part time and taking Master degree classes full time and another person that doesn't bring in any income because me working full time and him working part time still wouldn't cover the cost of child care.

Secondly, we ended up with a major virus on the computer. (Its fixed now.) With that I lost my last form of communication with everyone. And I mean everyone. I couldn't even get a hold of Dusty to find out when he would be getting off work.

In the 1.5 weeks that I had no communication I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone and really start seeing the new world I was living in. I spent more time outside with the kids where the other mom's in my neighborhood were at with their kids as well. I started to have real conversations with some of my neighbors. I also made a new friend. Well, actually Dusty became friends with her husband first and then we just kinda went from there.

Along with that I spent a lot more time with my kids. I learned that Collin can do all the motions and sing the song "Itsy Bitsy Spider." I didn't know he could do that. I also had a lot more full length conversation with him. It is amazing how well he can communicate as just 2 years old. He speaks in full paragraphs most of the time. I am just in awe at how smart he really is.

So, while I like knowing when my husband will be home for dinner and having the ability to just text a friend instead of having to walk to her house I have come to the conclusion that I really need to unplug more often. I need to take the time to step out of myself and my own personal pitty party to see what I have around me. My kids are growing up way to fast and I realized that I am missing a big part of it. Sure, I am here when they need me. I am basically with my beautiful children 24/7 but I am missing the little things. Like the fact that Collin likes to sing and that RaeLynn is ready to be sitting up more on her own. I need to focus on the little stuff.

Now, on another note: My exercise and diet are completely off track. I was doing so well for a while but then Halloween and stress hit. I know, I know. Sounds like a lot of excuses but that's not the point. The point is I'm not giving up. Sure I set myself back a bit but that doesn't mean I can't start over.

I did actually get all the way through the 30 Day Shred but when you are taking in more calories than you are burning it really doesn't matter. So I'm going to try something different. I don't really know what yet but I will figure it out before tomorrow morning and start then.

Wish me luck!