Thursday, July 28, 2011

sunny days and 'pinteresting' nights...

in addition to my usual wrangling of toddlers i have 2 good reasons you haven't heard from me lately...
1:: i've had my toes in the sand at kiawah beach.
2:: hello.  my name is elizabeth and i am addicted to pinterest.
before you judge me...check it out.
these are just a few of the treasures i have 'pinned'...


if you are interested i'd be happy to post a quick tutorial to get you addicted started...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

what you really want...

first of all...i can't tell you how encouraged i am by you - my faithful blog readers.  thanks for letting me share life with you {crazy as it may be}.  i hope you know i love you...really...i'm serious...i do.


well...now that you've all humored me as i have therapeutically written through much of our recent struggles i'm here to respond to the many requests for:
#1 - specifics about what the heck we are doing now
and
#2 - some cute pics/video of the kids


#1 - the reason i haven't said much on this topic is because...well...quite frankly - we actually don't know what the heck we are doing.  


this is how i explain our situation to my 3 year old...
God always takes care of us.  he shows us where to go and what to do.  he had us on the farm in indian land.  then he led us to our house on the hill in tennessee.  now he's got a brand new adventure planned.  the thing is...right now it's a secret.  God knows where our next adventure will be but he hasn't told us yet.  we are just waiting on him.  
{now i field questions daily about whether or not God has told us about our new secret adventure yet...i love this}


as of today we are living in a cozy little 2 bedroom condo in clemson that my mom and stepdad have so graciously offered to us.  all of our 'stuff' is crammed in a storage unit in johnson city. it is highly likely that we will actually relocate yet again in the next week or two to indian land {our former stomping ground}.  joey is still job hunting so we are not putting down roots anywhere...we're just kind of hovering...this has its benefits and its challenges as you can imagine...


#2 - enjoy...
{this is what happens when he can't get to his golf clubs}
{with a professional golfer for a daddy i guess this level of passion for the sport is to be expected}

Sunday, July 17, 2011

taking and leaving

We left a lot behind in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee.
We left a house where my kids learned to play together,
where Lucy became a 'super sister',
 where Joey hung his first light fixture,
 where Oliver mastered the stairs,
{and performed many 'concerts' with his sister}

where I grew tomatoes.

We left our friends.




We left Watauga River fun with our cousins.

As much as God has upheld us and strengthened us over the past few months, I had a feeling that our loss and struggles were not over yet.  I was right.  We are still in the thick of it.  But when I think of all we've left behind I am reminded of that old U2 song and my mind is flooded with all that I can't leave behind.  And that's what I'm taking with me.  
It's good practice for the day when I leave this world. 

Leaving behind a house I spent so much time organizing and decorating, but taking with me the memories we made there.  
Leaving behind crops I worked so hard tending, but taking with me the amazement of God's creation and how it continues to grow and bear fruit.  
Leaving behind people I shared so much of life with, but taking with me the lessons they taught me and the love they shared.

There is much that we leave behind as we journey through life and ultimately as we step into our eternal life in heaven, but there's so much more that we can take with us.
Although the world beckons me to 
worship the temporal, 
work hard for the material, 
sacrifice for the immediate,
I'm after the eternal

Practically speaking, for me, this means:
:: less superficial facebook posts and more heart-to-heart conversations over coffee
:: less searching the internet for the perfect 'thing' to buy {no matter how discounted it may be!} and more searching my Bible for truth that can't be found in 'things'
:: less worrying over what the future holds and more trusting that my life is held in mighty hands
:: less itemized lists of what I 'need' and more time spent serving the needs of others
:: less living in fear and resentment and more living in freedom and love

When we are faced with all that we must leave behind, it's a good time to remember all that we can still carry with us.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

moving


therefore i will boast all the more in my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
~paul {2 corinthians 12:7-9}

so the dogs were the catalyst...  

my 'to-do' list for the past couple of weeks has looked something like this:

:: pack up all of our possessions {again} and stick them in a storage unit
:: set aside enough ‘necessities’ for our short-term hiatus in a tiny condo in clemson
:: say 'goodbye' to our johnson city friends
:: find a new home for our dogs



when presented this way all these tasks may come across as just that - tasks.  
wrong.  
as each one has been crossed off of the list my heart has felt the effects.  when i officially said good-bye to my dogs 2 days ago the floodgates opened.  those of you who know me well would have just nodded and said - 'yes...here it comes...the ugly cry.'


moving...  
i love it.  i hate it.


mov~ing /'moovi ng/
adjective
1. in motion {that's the part i like}
2. producing strong emotion, especially sadness {that's the part i hate}


our family has lived in johnson city just over 6 months...not long.  way shorter than we ever dreamed.  you wouldn't think 6 months would be enough time for an entire family to grow roots in a new place.  you'd be wrong...again.
right here in eastern tennessee we have a community of people we love,
   who have walked through life {the good and bad} with us for 1/2 a year,
      who have been exactly who God handpicked for us during this season...  


i know my heart is forever connected with these friends {and with my sweet dogs}...but it's still 'moving' and it's still hard.  
it's loss.    it's grief.    it's life.
but it's my life and it's all within God's sovereign plan for me.
and that's what i see...through the tears i still see His plan...His wisdom…
and my life is my humble offering back to Him...

here’s the funny thing about loss…
everytime I lose something I love
    and my heart is filled with sadness 
        and my spirit is weak 
I am reminded that the one thing I love most can never been taken away from me and ultimately…
      that’s everything



Friday, July 1, 2011

the spiritual side of baby gates

let me preface this blog post by saying - there is a back story.

some of you know bits and pieces of this story.  others of you have no idea of the stormy seas we have been navigating through over the past couple of months...it's been tough.  one of our most challenging seasons ever.  
but...
     that's the back story.  

i'm not telling the back story today.  

i've done a lot of writing on the subject and once i get it in a format appropriate for the masses i promise to share it with you.


today i'm talking baby gates.  and - no - this is not a consumer report.  we all know that my blog is not known for being practical.  nevertheless - i hope you'll find what i have to say on the topic valuable...here goes...


exactly one week ago we witnessed a highly improbable and extraordinary event that we can only attribute to the work of a divine being {a.k.a - a miracle}.  after being on the market for only 9 days - our house was sold for more than we bought it for 6 months ago.  amazing.  the reason we are selling our house is part of the 'back story' but for now i'll just say - it wasn't what we had planned when we moved here in january.

here's a few things i've learned about the precious family who bought our house - the mom's name is elizabeth.  she has never seen our house in person.  her husband showed her pictures.  she liked the Bible verses that we had in various places.  their daughter's birthday is the same as mine...pretty funny, huh??  they are moving here from indiana and don't know many people in town...but...one of the only people they DO know is our next door neighbor...we all discovered this 2 days after the offer was accepted.  crazy, isn't it??  

you may call all of these seemingly random facts a coincidence...that's fine.  but...at our house we call that 
the Holy Spirit  

the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is active in our lives today reminding us of all the things that God has taught and promised us since the beginning of time {john 14:26}.  
we have been holding onto a lot of those promises the past couple of months.  ones like...

i will never leave you or forsake you {joshua 1:5}
he who began a good work in you will carry it through to completion {philippians 1:6}
the one who calls you is faithful {1 thessalonians 5:24}
we can trust God at all times {psalm 62:8}
if we persevere in doing good we will 'reap a harvest' at the proper time {galatians 6:7-9}

i believe that God - through the power of the Holy Spirit - has been working in very specific ways in our lives over the past couple of months to carry us through a series of trials and ultimately fulfill these promises {and many more} for our family.  we have been seeking Him and the ways he has shown himself to us have been extraordinary.

enter - the baby gate.
the day before we put our house on the market i was busy tidying things up and something caught my attention - our mack-daddy baby gate that extends the length of our 2nd story railing and across the top of our stairs.  you won't find something like this in an interior decorating magazine but it certainly served the great purpose of keeping our kids from falling through the rails to the hardwood floor below.  in other words - it's ugly, but it works.

here's the thought process that followed...
me: maybe we should take that down.  it really detracts from the appearance of the house.
the voice: no - leave it up.
me: well - there's really no need to leave it up.  we are leaving tomorrow to go out of town for 2 weeks and our kids are getting big enough that we don't really need it anymore.  it looks so bad that it might keep someone from buying the house.
the voice:  no - it will actually help sell your house.
me:  that's ridiculous.
the voice:  actually - it won't just sell your house - the people who buy your house will want to keep it.  they will ask for it in the contract.
me:  ok - seriously???  i can see that some other family may appreciate the functionality of it but to ask for it in the contract.  no way...that would be silly.

once i replayed this whole conversation in my head it still seemed a little absurd but i've been down this road before...so...we left the baby gate up.

fast forward to last friday.  
negotiations are over.  
our house is officially under contract.  
we are ecstatic and literally throwing our hands in the air praising our faithful Father in heaven for his provisions for us.  

joey gets a call back from our realtor.  when he gets off of the phone he looks a little perplexed...
that's funny.  our realtor just called to say that the one thing the buyers wanted to ask for in the contract is our baby gate upstairs.  that's weird, huh?
after i wiped the tears from my eyes and explained to joey that - no, i was not grieving the loss of our baby gate but was instead full of emotion over the way that God specifically made his presence and his provision for us known - we both agreed...
it wasn't weird...
it was God.