Friday, June 15, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Path

It's Friday and Gypsy Mama always prompts us to write, simply write, without question, without reservation, for just five minutes.


"Two paths diverged and I, I took the lesser traveled and THAT has made all the difference."

Okay, so I KNOW I didn't quote that right but you know what I'm talking about.  That Robert Frost poem that we all studied in school at some point.  I think every single English teacher uses that one to try to teach us something.

Isn't it easier to stay on the well traveled one?  To stay in the familiar?  I'm so happy in my little world.  Under this rock I call home.  I really don't stay up on the gossip, I really don't miss the time-clock punching/working world, I could care less about coffee time and chatting about "Who did what?!?!"  Generally content to do laundry, make my bed, plan meals, serve my home and help my neighbors.

Though there are times that I wished I got out a bit more.  Had "girlfriends" that did Bible study at the coffee shop, went shopping occasionally and just "got out" more.  Maybe I wish that sometimes I was more than what I really am.

So, this is what I do.  From the comfort of my home I step out of my comfort zone and hang out in the community, Bible study with my friends across the US, dream in my blog world and work from home my own little business.

What if it was time to move across the country?  Go on a mission trip halfway around the world?

 I guess it'd be time to step on that "lesser traveled" path then wouldn't it.


Deo Volente

Friday, June 8, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - Expectation

It's Friday and Gypsy Mama always prompts us to write, simply write, without question, without reservation, for just five minutes.

Love doing this!


Expectations go deep, they can get us in trouble, they can break our hearts.  They're tricky things.
Have you ever considered what God's expectations of us are?  Does He expect us to be perfect, sinless giving and forgiving always?  Amazingly there's no way He could.
He has expectations of us being us, being human, imperfect, sinful, broken, lost, confused and everything else that makes us, well us.
That is awesome.  What a gift that He knows we aren't, won't, even can't be perfect and so the fact that He expects us to fall and loves us unconditionally anyway is the BEST gift we could ever have.
I in turn take such amazing comfort in my Father's love of me just as I am.  Now, that is an expectation I love having, the expectation that He is always there for me, yup so amazing!


Go, walk your walk and explore the road before you.  Take with you the expectation of crazy unexpected gifts from your Father!


Big Things

Big things are happening.  Some is of our making is some is of the Lord's making.  Either way things are happening, great and amazing things, things that are making me smile.

We have lived in this old farmhouse for eight years, that means we've spent eight years on projects.  Starting with gutting the upstairs and putting in new wiring, heating, insulation, sheetrock and all that fun stuff.  We also updated the stairway to the upstairs, a few rooms in the main level, all new windows, a few new doors and since we had finished the inside we tackled the outside.  Last summer saw we gave the house a facelift.  New siding and steel roof (the Three Musketeers Bar house - chocolate brown roof, creamy tan siding).  We also added this wrap around porch to the front of the house.  I should go track down the before pictures.  The transformation has been a lot of work, but it has been such an amazing experience.  This summer we're finishing things.  I started this retaining wall/garden in March and this week we completed it.  Kudos to all you landscapers out there, that is HARD work!!  I'll happily climb on a roof and put steel on any day over tackling that brick laying project again.  Now to figure out what to plant...ugh.  Anyway, we get to celebrate some freedom from projects by going camping this weekend.  Oh, some much deserved relaxing is headed our way!
See so much is happening.  We've been working for eight years and now every time I pull in my driveway I just smile.  The whole satisfaction for a job well done is just awesome.
God is so great that way.  You work hard, lean on Him in faith and He will provide exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.  We have become a "God will provide it" family.  Ask me at any given point about something and that is most likely exactly what I will tell you.
We have been facing many things over at school as well.  The kiddos attend a small Christian School close by (55 children total K-8) and we have teachers retiring, marrying and moving on and honestly it's just one of those crazy seasons over there.  We needed to find part time choir and band teachers, a 5th/6th grade teacher and a principal (and possibly more that I'm missing - we use many hands with our curriculum set up) for next year.  We have a tentative 5/6 teacher and there is someone coming in for an interview next week for the principal position.  I have said for many months that God would provide us exactly what we need in the people for these positions.  He always has great plans and (again) will provide exactly what we need when we need it. (Please say a prayer for us if you could, that we be patient and content with His timing and provisions.)
Anyway, I'm feeling good about things.  Our group of teachers is amazing, I love each and every one for the things that they bring to Peoria Christian.  I know that we all work together to do amazing things in the lives of these children.  As parents, leaders, friends and God's servants we are giving these children an absolutely wonderful foundation for their lives.  Being involved in the happenings at Peoria Christian has taught me so much.  I'm not the teacher (never ever wanted to be one) type, so homeschooling would be quite a stretch for me, in turn I feel amazingly blessed to be able to have the option of Peoria Christian for this crew.
As it goes these are a few of the thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for the last several days.  God provides for His faithful servants.  Not always in the ways we expect, much less in the time frame we'd desire, but He does provide.  He alone ultimately knows what we need and is always at the ready to have it waiting.  From working on our house to serving at the school I feel the amazing things God is doing.  Yes there are things I see happening, but in the end I truly feel that He is right there orchestrating something awesome.
Blessings to you today.  Go see and feel the beauty of God around you.  Hear the birds, feel the warmth of the sun, see the garden growing, go on a grateful things hunt and count His gifts, they are everywhere.
Deo Volente - NMV

Friday, June 1, 2012

Takin' Five on Friday - See

Gypsy Mama prompts us again today and so my mind takes off wandering and wondering.



"Do you see it?"
"See what?"
"That, that over there."
"Right there!"
"Huh?!  Um, no.  What, where?"
"Ugh, never mind!"

Ever have one of those moments?  Where you see the perfect beauty in a moment and no one else around you sees it, or when someone catches a glimpse of beautiful sweetness and you're the one that misses it.

It's hard to always be ready to "see" life as it is and catch these moments.  Life in it's broken beauty, where things are so messed up they're beautiful.  How can it get so crazy around here and the only sound I hear is chaos but yet it's still absolutely the best music to my hears.  Laughter, squeals of delight, screams of joy, shrieks of excitement.

To see the moment for what it is, God's greatest gift.  Everywhere, every single thing.  The blessings in the tough times because it shows us what and who really matters.


Have a blessedly beautiful weekend!!
SupportNPrayerz - LuvNHugz
Deo Volente - Nicki

Oh, How Does Your Garden Grow

My garden is full of green plants, deep green growing beauty...from a distance.  Up close it's a little less beautiful because those big green plants are all thistles.
I have managed to figure out this gardening thing a little bit.  I don't get a garden in early, I don't plant a whole lot, but I do enjoy the little garden I have, this year.  This has been an evolving process.  I first helped with a garden several years ago.  My friend Marie and I attempted one, I don't know that it ever grew anything, I never (I say never because I'm being completely honest) went and worked in it.  My Mom Veenstra and I started one and I walked through it a few times but honestly she did all the work in that one as well.  Such a good gardener, ain't I?
Then my dear sweet husband decided we could just till one here at the house and have our own.  We planted a few things and grew weeds, lots and lots of big scary weeds.  Well, I know the other stuff grew, it's just that the weeds got bigger and completely choked everything else out.  The next year was pretty much the same scary mess, I planted less because I knew how much of a disaster the year before was.  Last year was much better.  Still keeping it simple I discovered a few tricks to keep ahead of the weeds.  PREEN, amazing tool, don't think I shall ever garden without it again.  Newspapers and grass clippings, best ever other tool in my arsenal.  When we disc/till in the early spring I mix PREEN in everywhere.  After a few weeks (at least, though usually in my case, several) I start planting.  Laying newspapers around the plants and topping seeds with layers and layers of grass clippings.  You may not see much dirt in my garden because there is such a layer of everything else, but the few weeds that do come through are so easy to get rid of.  LOVE IT!
Anyway on to this year and my beautifully green garden.  Thanks to the PREEN I don't have much for weeds in my garden.  Nor did I have anything planted besides potatoes until this week.  I did have plenty of thistles growing though.  So after stopping to get a few plants at the greenhouses this week I tackled the garden with my new found Time At Home (what a concept, school is out and now we get to be home during the day, YAY) and learned a few things.
1 - Quite likely it doesn't matter what kind of gloves you have on pulling thistles out is going to HURT!
2 - Thistle roots go DEEP, a single sturdy root that sets down and could teach us all a lesson or two. (Seriously one was the length of my forearm!)
3 - After pulling a five-gallon bucket of thistles you start to appreciate them.
Say what?  Yes, I said appreciate them.  Think on this, they can grow anywhere, despite anything you throw at them and regardless that there has been practically no rain for weeks they were a beautiful deep green.  They aren't a pesky little thing that just lays around in the way, they know where they wanna grow and set down their roots, deep.  Prickly on the outside yes, but they've gotta have some defense system, no one likes them.
I can appreciate that.  I can appreciate that because once I take the time to weed my garden I can see the beauty in what I have accomplished.  I can feel the satisfaction in a job well done.  I will most definitely enjoy the foods I will be growing and most likely take joy in watching them grow.
My gardening adventures are really only just begun I would say.  The years so far have been fun though because I may not have been successful in the vegetable garden but I'm seeing some success in the life garden.  The garden that is growing an 11 year old, an 8 year old, two 4 year olds and a 3 year old.  Ha, small wonder that the vegetable gardens were what they were in the past years.
How does your garden grow?  The garden of your heart?  A life garden?  A patio garden?  A small flower garden (oh I hope to tackle these someday too) or a large one?  We're all cultivating and growing something each day of our lives, enjoy the beauty in your garden.