Tag: plans

New Year’s Meditation

My sweet friend Lori (who funnily enough is nothing like me other than being a sister in Christ and yet for some reason continues to be my sweet friend because she is just that, very sweet and understanding despite our differences of opinion) is hosting New Year’s Meditations today, and though I don’t really do resolutions I do pray and think over my goals for the year and I thought this might be a good way to share what I have so far (I spend all of January decluttering our house, my heart, and brain and thinking and praying about the year to come–January is our oldest child’s birth month AND our wedding anniversary and freakin’ COLD here in Western PA so plenty of stay inside and stay warm time.  And that was a HUMONGOUS run-on sentence.)

So today our family is making lists of goals to think and pray over.  We will, before dinner, sit down together and pray over our lists and consider where God has led us and where God is leading us. So far my list is as follows:

  1. We are in a time of blessing monetarily.  For the first time ever we have had enough and more than enough.  It is interesting that this comes at a time when others are for the first time going without.  This is the first year that we had more that $100 total to spend on Christmas and for the first time we have had enough for me to give to others as we see a need instead of having to count pennies.  For someone like me who LOVES to give this is VERY exciting.  I am praying about this constantly and am excited to see the opportunities God is giving me to give to those in need.
  2. This month the Lord has opened my eyes to local homelessness and poverty.  Several times I have been approached by people in need.  I have been praying about how to handle this new thing (for me).I recognize that due to the recession it will get worse before it gets better.  Right now my plan is to take some spare cash, fill paper bags with peanut butter crackers, some dried fruit, and other non-perishable edibles, some packs of hot cocoa mix/tea bags/coffee bags, some fast food gift cards, and those little hand warmer packs and stretchy gloves to keep in my car or bag for when I run into someone in need–that way I am prepared (the last two times I was not.)  I carry a big laptop bag for a purse (so I CAN take my laptop without switching) so I have plenty of room to carry a brown bag or 2.)  I need to make a list and deliberately do this or I will forget.
  3. Stock up on non-perishable  groceries so we can easily help families in need.  I am noticing more people on Freecycle struggling with lack of food.  We do have a slew of places around here that provide boxes of food but it is good to be able to just give as needs arise instead of sending them to a ministry.
  4. Reorganize and declutter the house.  I know that doesn’t sound very spiritual after the first 3 but clutter makes my brain hurt and makes it so I can’t focus on the task at hand.  The kids are my biggest ministry and it is important that instead of punishing them for not getting things right (or fighting with them to clean up after themselves) I make it easy to know where everything goes.  Both girls, on their lists, want a place to put everything so they know where to find what they are looking for and where to put it.  The way their rooms are right now they can’t do that.  Their rooms are made up completely of hand  me down/thrift shop furniture that doesn’t quite suit their needs (they have drawers full of books instead of what goes IN drawers because they don’t have enough shelving.  Both girls got Eee Pcs and Rach got a sewing machine and they have no spot in their room for dealing with those things, AND they both are learning to draw and paint and want a place to do that.  So a big goal is to get rid of all the things that get in the way of their goals and redo their room so they can use it to fulfill their goals.  Issac, at 7, doesn’t really have goals and still has lots of toys but needs the extra stuff gone so he can easily play with and clean up the toys he wants to play with instead of displacing them constantly.:)
  5. This also leads to our next goal.  We have been, for several years now, gradually moving towards the possibility of adoption.  We do not want to adopt from the US but instead for a country where there is much need and little opportunity–uness someone were to approach us and say they want us to take their baby for some reason  which is unlikely.  We originally were thinking just China and now we just want to adopt from wherever God calls us to (der!)  We had a lot of areas we needed to work on in our own lives (getting our finances under control, having enough money coming in to be able to adequately provide for another child or two, getting our house under control and broken things fixed–still has a lot of issues and still seriously considering sending the now completely filled out form to Extreme Home Makeover–have to make a video though, but we are much closer to our goal now than 2 years ago.)
  6. Hubby and I both have been talking about how we need to be taking the opportunities God provides as they arise.  He has been giving us many opportunities to bring in more money from many different directions.  We need to be trusting Him to give us wisdom and the strength to each as it arises.  That said hubby is doing more contracting work and I am doing more web design/maintanence than before as well as working on a new web site for my art.
  7. Speaking of art I have several projects in my head, including the new website.  First, I am going to choose a few social networking artist sites  (probably Etsy, Red Bubble, and Zazzle but maybe Imagekind)  I HATE being spread so thin and would like to move to just one or two, we will see–tight now I am on at least six.  I am also pondering a monthly drawing for a painting on the new site.  I hate doing contests (and seldom enter them myself) and so far have found them to be less than useful as a marketing tool, however, I think it would be good for me to do it anyway–keep me practicing, etc. and would be a way of blessing others–I hope.  I am debating it because of the cost of shipping, but praying about it and I think it is a go.
  8. And finally child training.  Due to certain issues here at home, I am going to be spending this month doing intensive job training for my three crazies. I need to be being a bit more careful not to trigger an RA flair up and part of that is having he kids do a few chores that are hard on my hands.) The oldest specifically has issues with anything like work and will ALWAYS do as little as is necessary.  Hoping to really work with all three and teach them each chore in such a way that they actually do it to the best of their ability using the keep going back until it is right method.:)  We will see.  (I have gotten in the habit of just redoing it myself because she throws such a fit about it if I ask the oldest to redo.)

I don’t yet have my verse for this year (I usually have it by the end of the first week, and even more often by the end of the first day of the year.  We shall see.  The last 2 years it has been from  Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil, plans to prosper you.” (paraphrase.)  And then before that it was ” I have learned to be content in all things regardless of my circumstances”  and “Be strong and very courageous, do not be afraid, do not be terrified for I the Lord Your God will be with you wherever you may go.”)

I am looking forward to seeing where God leads us as a family.

Oh and happy new year.

Chewy Thoughts

I have been gnawing on this bit from the previous post since I read it on Sunday night:

If you seek great things for yourself – God has called me for this and that; you are putting a barrier to God’s use of you. As long as you have a personal interest in your own character, or any set ambition, you cannot get through into identification with God’s interests.

And this bit has gotten some chewing as well:

I have to learn that the aim in life is God’s, not mine. God is using me from His great personal standpoint, and all He asks of me is that I trust Him, and never say – Lord, this gives me such heart-ache.

I have a habit of thinking “THIS is what God wants me to do” and then trying to focus exclusively in that area ignoring everything else.  I want to be like other people I see, with a clear focus for their ministry, and every time I try to go in a direction God says a very clear “No.”  No explanation, nothing, just suddenly I start getting pulled in the very direction I had thought was over and done for.

I am not differentiating here between my life work and my ministry because I have learned that whatever I am doing IS my ministry.  I am to do whatever the next thing is without having a business plan, without focusing on one thing, without going about things the way the world does things.  In fact, in chewing over and praying I have realized how much we, as Christians, miss out on when we treat ministry like a business.  We box ourselves in, we take God out of the equation, and isn’t this the very problem we are seeing in so many of our churches?

James 4:13-16 says:

13 Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” 14 How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. 15 What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” 16 Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.

I long for a clear ministry.  I long for a non-eclectic website where I know what I should be writing about and where my audience can show up and know what I will be writing about.  I long to know what direction I should go with my art, with my computer work, in my life.  Or do I? I long for those things when I look around and see other Christians who seem to have it all together and yet that is not what God has for me.  If I were in the same business with no changes for 10 years I would get bored out of my mind.  I LOVE change, I LOVE adapting, I LOVE standing on God’s promises in faith, jumping out and doing the next thing without worrying about tomorrow. (Ask my poor, long suffering, change hating husband.)  I live for that.  I hate plans.  I hate KNOWING what I have to do on this date and that date and where I have to be at this time and that time.  Why on earth would I want to live like that when God has formed me in such a way that I LOVE putting my foot in the water and seeing what God tells me to do next.

And yet, sometimes I forget.  Sometimes I see everyone else with their awesome one focus sites or their wonderful ministries or their incredible creative  businesses and think, “Me too?  Can I do that too?”  And the answer thus far is always no.  And would I really want to stick myself in that box so that God can’t use me in other ways?  I love being able to help others with whatever God has given me, not just the talents I deem worthy.  I love how God uses my experiences in a multitude of areas to allow me to help people in many different situations in many different ways. At another point Oswald Chambers said this:

If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, November 5

Make me useful and plan my days, God.

Yes, that is what I want.  I don’t really want to plan out my own days.  I love leaning on God and as Elisabeth Elliot says, Do the Next Thing.  It is just my longing to be like others, to not stand out and be different, to look like other Christians, that tempts me to plan and choose one thing instead of all the things God has given me to do.  So what if my ministry isn’t organized, so what if I have no clear direction, if you think about it, neither did Jesus.  He meandered, went from here to there with no obvoius plan, helping whomever God put in His way.  Who am I to do things any different.

*Isn’t it interesting how God drives a point home even when He has already explained it to us?  As I write my kids have interrupted me at least 30 times for things they really needed my help with, I have had 3 family phone calls,and almost lost the post once.   My plans for the day have been changed twice and my daughter has lamented with tears of frustration the changes in her own plans which had nothing to do with mine.  ANd now I have to run because my dad is here to fix a leaky pipe. 🙂

Carefully planned days

As you all know I am NO planner.  I can if necessary and I do have an idea in my head of what, in general, I would like to accomplish each day, but to plan, to schedule, to figure out each detail, I don’t go there.

However, God does.

Recently He has been reminding me that my days, my time, my money–all are not my own.  I am His and all my resources , talents, whatever, are at His disposal.  And every time I think I have a feel for how He wants me to go about my days He flips things over and turns them around so that I find myself, once again, relying solely on Him.

So very much going on–yard sale, fixing other peoples computers (4 including my husband’s and my kids’), web site stuff–just a little, getting ready for our trip, money stuff (check from Canada didn’t go through as planned causing a landslide of fees which supposedly the bank will get rid of but which has not happened), multiple otgher things, all crazy and unexpected, every project having multiple snags but all in God’s timing.

And now, as one thing falls back into  its proper place the  next and the next do as well.  And as we are at the last few days before our supposed trip things continue to begin to make sense and happen as I felt they should have sooner.  God knows exactrly what is going on and is reminding me over and over that I am NOT in control.

Daybook: July 21


Hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman

Outside My Window…Is a yard sale waiting for the right time to open.  It is supposed to rain and it got rained on  once already but I am intending, God willing, to open it as I can and hopefully get rid of some more stuff throughout this week.  I am determined not to worry about it–I figure yesterday two people stopped and bought stuff, including the dresser I was determined to get rid of and I wasn’t even open–so God can bring all the right people and get rid of my stuff in His time.

I am thinking…of all that I need to do this week if we are to go, God willing, on vacation next week.  It is still up in the air–lots of money issues that keep springing up (like the webserver payment being due and one of hubby’s pay checks not going through as expected and incurring fees for bouncing because of it–they say they will remove the fees when the check goes through–sigh.

I am thankful for…God’s timing.  It has been arough week and this one promises to be interesting but everything is falling into place and I am trusting in God’s faithfulness and omnipotence.

From the kitchen…a mess that needs dealt with before we leave.  We have a list (yes, I –the list hater, made a list of what needs done and it is hanging on the fridge so the kids know what to do.)

I am wearing…boys cargo shorts and my daughters tank–she hated it and put it in the yard sale and I thought it was cute and tried it on–it fits perfectly and is adorable.  Happy me.

I creating…a pile of dirty laundry.  With all that has been going on the laundry has gone undone and NEEDS finished before we leave.  I will probably do some paintings in there someplace this week but for now the laundry pile is my ulltimate creation.

I am going…to have to go to the library to return the Lord of the Rings cds the kids have finished and pick up the next for our trip.  Also, God willing, will take the  check to the bank today–if it comes, so we can sort out this financial mess we are in.  I hate this place–we have money, and more coming, and if people would pay when they say they will we would be fine.

I am reading…The Little Lame Prince to the kids.  I finished the stash I got from the thrift shop–which was dumb because now I have no books to take on vacation.

I am hoping…that it is God’s will that we take this vacation.  It is completely in His hands and He has some things to tie up before we can go.

I am hearing…the sound of the kids actually working on things on the list without temper tantrums, the fan, and my own typing on my newly returned keyboard (hubby borrowed it and left me with a stupid one that is famous because he wrote a post about it.  In fact the post got 81 comments!)

Around the house…is much work being fdone without whining and complaining.  I am happy.

One of my favorite things…a peaceful house, praise the Lord.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:cleaning the kitchen, bathroom, car, back yard, laundry, yard sale, packing, library, bank,. etc

Here is picture thought I am sharing

My boy.

Daybook: Monday, June 30, 2008

Hosted by Peggy @ The Simple Woman

FOR TODAY, 6-30-08…

Outside My Window…is green, green, green.
I am thinking…that every single time I start to do something I find something else I need to do and then that gets interrupted by something else.  I am thinking I need some omega 3 and magnesium.  BRB.

I am thankful for...Rain, so I don’t have to water my flowers, coffee so I can stay awake, the ready availability of the Bible here in the USA, that it still speaks to us today, and God’s provision of a new drawing table (half off at the thrift shop) and the space to put it in.

From the kitchen... I hear the whirr of the now working dishwasher (I just spent an hour or so pulling gunk out of all its drains because the kids did a slapdash job with the dishes when I was out of town.)  Next time THEY clean it out.

I am wearing...a new top from the thrift shop–so thrilled at the whole extra long shirt trend that means t-shirts long enough for my long body are now available at the thrift shop, and my long black cotton skirt, and a headful of braids–the perfect summer hairstyle.

I am creating... a list (I hate lists) of all the projects I need to do this week–I need to finish laying out the large house painting I need to ship by the end of next month, need to do more bunny paintings for hubby, need to find the email of the lady who wanted me to illustrate her book (it disappeared when I lost my email archives 2 weeks ago.)
I am going... completely insane.
I am reading...too many books when I should be getting work done–last week I read at least 10.  This week my goal is to get my work done THEN read.
I am hoping... to get this painting laid out and painted by the end of the week, to write this weeks posts today so I can work straight through on the painting, and to get my house back in working order after the skanky dishwasher only washing part of the dishes all week.
I am hearing... rain and the fans–it is cool enough despite the 90% humidity to have the house open, and should be for the next few days.
Around the house... the kids are playing video games, reading books, eating.n
One of my favorite things...right now is having a new drawing table.  My old one is wonderful, and antique  but was too big and awkward for the office so is relegated to the basement.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: God willing I will paint, paint, paint, and draw some more, get the overdue library books dealt with and returned so we have a clean slate.  Talk my mom into taking a trip down to Trader Joes–an hour away.
Here is picture thought I am sharing...