February 29, 2012

Dreaming (part 3)

This is a mini series, so if you've just joined us click here for part 1 and here for part 2.

The Lord knows our hearts and our desires.  We needed to make sure that our desires (dreams) were something He instilled and not our own selfish hearts seeking satisfaction.  We prayed.  Hard.
We prayed for clarity, wisdom, and direction.  We also prayed that if this wasn't in His plan for our lives, that we would embrace it.  And so, we began with that first tiny, timid step of reaching for our dream.

Our dream looked like this:
5-10 acres of land
pastures for me
woods for him
a body of water (pond, creek, etc...)
all within our current county

Basically, a place to spread our wings, use as ministry to others, and start a small farm.

We began to scour the internet for land in our area.  If you live near me you know what a challenge that could be.  Our county is pretty much full, and very expensive.  We really wanted to stay within 15 minutes of where we are currently located. Basically it would take a miracle.   Right from the start of our search we were coming up empty and we began to question our quest. 
At one point, some family land became a possibility.  It was at least 40 minutes from our current location and in an area that I am not familiar with at all.  To be honest about it, I really didn't want to move there.  But the Lord and I had a heart-to-heart and I surrendered.  It was one of the biggest acts of heart submission as a wife that I had ever experienced.  I agreed to do it.  I truly believe it was the Lord testing me.  How far are you willing to trust me?
In circumstances beyond our control, that plan fell through.  Relief flooded my soul.  I felt like Abraham after God provided the ram.

After a month of finding nothing, my husband received a phone call from someone he had only met once.  Out of the blue.
"I hear you are looking for some land."
We still don't know how he heard, but we think it might have been a guy named Michael or Gabriel. ;)
The piece of property wasn't even on the market.  It was 50 acres and he was willing to sell us a portion.  It had pastures for me, woods for him, a pond AND a creek, and it was 6 minutes from our current location.

We were in awe.  God had prepared a gift beyond our wildest dreams.
In the midst of this dream unfolding, the Lord knew I still needed to be refined.

to be continued...

February 28, 2012

Dreaming (part 2)

This is a mini series, so if you haven't read part 1, click here first.
Wide open spaces.
That's what I have dreamed of, as long as I can remember.
As a little girl, I dreamed of being Laura Ingalls Wilder on the great Prairie.  My dream has changed a little since then.  Kansas isn't calling my name anymore, but I still crave wide open spaces.  Don't get me wrong, a big city visit is fun, but I could never live there.  Well, I've learned to never say never.  BUT if given the chance I'd always choose rural over urban.

When our family was just beginning my husband and I rolled around the idea of moving to the NC mountains.  The reality of jobs and school systems (because homeschooling wasn't even a blip on the map at that point) made it an impossibility.  So we shelved that idea and said Maybe one day.

We began to talk about our dreams last May as we drove across half the US.  As we traversed through country where the earth meets the sky, I felt a peace come over me.  I looked at my husband and said, "What if one day never happens?  What is holding us back?  Our kids are 12, 10, and 7 if we don't do this soon, we're going to miss the one chance in their lives to do this with them."

As I mentioned before, we aren't big risk takers.  I'm a pleaser and I like to stay in the "norm." All of our friends live in neighborhoods with sidewalks and streetlights.  It would be a giant step of craziness faith.  We knew many people wouldn't understand.  We knew it might even cost us some friendships.  We also knew that dreams don't happen without taking the first step.

The hardest part of making the decision was fear of hurting my parents.  We have had the privilege of living next door to them for the past 10 years.  It has been 10 years of blessings.  What a joy to watch my littles walk next door to see Mimi and Papa!  I have cried a river over this part of our decision.  I hate being the cause of hurt.

So we laid it at the feet of Jesus and simply said, "Show us."

Come back tomorrow and I'll share just what He showed.  ;)

February 21, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

1.We had to say goodbye to the foster puppies.  It was a hard day.  My little man sobbed.  My middle daughter played the guilt trip on me for not keeping at least one.  I think my oldest daughter and I had the same opinion: it was fun while it lasted.  We're thrilled that each of the pups has a new forever home.  It was a great experience for our family and I loved the responsibility it taught my kids.  I also love having a clean mudroom again.

2. The weather here in NC has been WEIRD.  The kids had on shorts Saturday and by Sunday evening it was snowing.  First snow of the year, by the way, and it was gone by morning.  :(  This we are prepared for snow with snow boots, snow jackets and snow gloves and we haven't had a chance to use them.  Isn't that the way it goes?  Two years ago we were putting plastic bags over the kids sneakers because we weren't prepared.  Jack Frost didn't get the memo.  I love a good snow.  Oh well, we still have a couple more weeks of possibility.

3. Due to the weather changes, our whole family is sharing a cold.  Nothing earth shattering, just blehs.

4. My UPS guy asked me if I would warm up his lunch in my microwave.  Isn't that kind of weird?  I left him standing on my front porch while my dog barked like a rabid canine through the window, so I gave him a diet Pepsi to go with his chicken and broccoli.

5. We celebrated #11 with our sweet middle girl.  Just a few sweet friends over for a slumber party.  Eleven year old girls giggle.  A. LOT.
Do you like the flower hanging from the light?  I made it from the left over plastic tablecloth. I think I'll have my girls make more of those next time.  Super easy and so fun!

She surprised us with her dinner choice: Make-your-own subs!  The girls had fun putting them together.  Nothing like a little umbrella to make it girlie! ;)

They made a movie (yawn) and then watched a movie so she wanted a movie cookie cake.  My husband's skilz came to the rescue.

Beautiful girls, inside and out, are a blessing to have in our home!

Happy Tuesday

February 20, 2012

Dreaming (part 1)

What are your dreams?  We all have them.  Some dreams are just fun wishes that we know will never come true.  Other dreams are lifelong, pursuable goals. Sometimes the line is blurred.  For example, I know that my dream of sailing the Mediterranean in my own yacht (in a perfectly toned body) is just a fun wish that will never actually take place.  But what about those dreams that are planted in our hearts that could be a possibility? This is where seeking God's wisdom is key.
I am not a risk taker.  Well, I like roller coasters and I'd still like to skydive and bungee jump; but I'm not a risk taker when it comes to big stuff.  The "what ifs" send me scurrying back to the comfort of safe.
In the first year of marriage, before careers and kids sprouted, my husband and I tossed around the idea of moving somewhere exotic for just a year.  Exotic meaning the Colorado Rockies.  We didn't follow through and a year later we heard of a friend who had the same dream and pursued it.  I was jealous.  Not of their experience (even though they did exactly what we had dreamed of), but rather their bravery for pursuing the dream.

Over the past 16 years, we have had many "one day we will..." conversations.  Don't we all?  Family trips, house ideas, retirement plans, typical stuff.  Last May we did a lot of talking (a 3,000 mile road trip allows for that).  We were discussing one of our dreams and I said, "what if one day never happens because we never did anything to pursue it?"  The particular dream we were mulling over was B.I.G.  Big enough to cause my heart to flutter and my lip to sweat.  It would mean stepping out of the life we had become accustomed to, and walk by faith, and lasso that dream.

We didn't want to wildly pursue a dream without clear direction from the Lord.  So we began to pray.  We prayed in earnest for specific direction.  We asked Him to close doors, no, slam doors if we were to not to move forward.  We cried out to Him for clarity and wisdom.  We knew that if we took one step out of His will in this process, the dream could become a nightmare.  We prayed for God to show us His desire for our lives and asked that it not be tainted by our own plans or the opinion of others.

We have lived in a season of waiting and listening; two things I thought I had mastered.  The angels are giggling as I typed that last sentence.  :)
Patience is a long hard road to travel.

Before I share what our dream was and how it's unfolding, I want to hear from you.
What are some of your dreams?
Are you a risk taker or do you tend to hold hands with Safety?

February 15, 2012

Nineteen days

It's been 19 days since my last post. 
Nineteen days of staying quiet. 
Nineteen days of fighting Satan's lies that I am not worthy.
Nineteen days of a soul battle.
Nineteen days of questioning my role here as a writer.
Nineteen days of listening for His voice.
Nineteen days of waiting.

Satan is the prince of lies.  He makes them sound so rational.  
I started to believe his whispers:
~You're not worthy to write about freedom in Christ when you've been in a chokehold since November.
~You're failing in some of your relationships, so how could you write about relating to others?
~You flounder in your walk with Christ, so how could you share His love with others?

This is where I have been:  
Frozen in a winter of lies.
The truth is, I don't feel worthy.  But my Savior is thawing my cold, weary heart and reminding me of His light that burns away the frost of the soul.

I had allowed earthly disappointments and relational heartache to seep into my soul and rob my joy.  Over the course of a few months, I began to realize that I no matter how hard I tried to fix it, I was powerless.  
Powerless to please.  
Powerless to redeem myself.

And then it hit me.
I have already been redeemed.  
Even when others see my flaws, He sees my heart and He says I am worth dying for.  
Even when I feel powerless, He makes the weak strong.  
Even when I don't know what to say, He reminds me that He loves me.

Have you been believing Satan's lies?  He has plenty for each of us and he's ready to dish it out.  Don't succumb to the icy fingers of falsehood.  Be filled with the warmth of the Father's arms.  They are ready to wrap around your soul and rekindle your joy.

I'm back and I'm ready to share my journey with you.  You're going to be surprised at what has happened over the last few months.  Can't wait to catch up with you!!!  xoxo