Monday, January 12, 2015

My 40th Birthday...All Things Disney Style!

Because this was a milestone birthday, my family - who loves to be creative - decided to transform our home into "The HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH" to celebrate.  I'm going into my 40s with GREAT anticipation, so why not reflect that with all things that make me smile.  Everything was hand crafted and drawn (and chocolate dipped), but my disclaimer is - it took WAAAAAAY longer then we all anticipated, so my girls and hubbs are VERY over coloring and cutting things out for a while...hehe!  AAAAND, we have a new appreciation for "Tangled"  how DID she keep her hair smooth!?

Let me know if you would like a follow-up post with some of our "how tos" Hope you enjoy some of our projects as much as we did.

The "Up" themed door wreath
The Princesses with Hershey Kisses
"Beauty & The Beast"...Beast's Rose
Home made Chocolate dipped strawberries
Twizzlers
Homemade chocolate dipped pretzels
Fork station
Main food table
Rapunzel's tower my hubby drew
Rapunzel's hair from braided yarn...a pound to be exact
Hand drawn "Remy" from Ratatouille
Meatballs
Ruffles & Goldfish crackers - hubby drew Mr. Smee
I burnt the edges of the sign to be more pirat-ey
Most of the candy had been eaten before this picture
Drawn by my hubby, put in front of the fire pit
Drawn by my hubby - hot chocolate station

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My wilderness - COUNTING IT ALL JOY???

I ran into a special lady this week who I haven't talked with in a long time.  I asked how she was doing - I was sad to hear her answer because she is normally one of the most smily positive people I know.  Her answer was, "We're alright, but not sending out Christmas letters this year because it would read a lot like the book of Nehemiah."  If you don't know what that book is, it's not exactly the book of warm fuzzies - not one you'd choose to read over hot coco wearing your cozy slippers by the fire. Nehemiah was doing some wall building with one hand, and fighting off bad guys with the other...that's the ultra quick version.  I break a sweat just thinking about that chaos.

The thing is, that's how my Christmas card would read too.  My friend was thinking the same as me - who wants to read THAT Christmas update, but isn't it a tiny comfort to know you're not alone in your fight & build?!

People would say to me, "Count it all JOY when you face trials of many kinds..." quoting James to me (as the life I once knew was disintegrating before my eyes).  They meant well, but can I just honestly say I didn't appreciate that.  But...if I am going to be truthful, I've said the same thing when people I love have gone through their own personal hell.  Let's not tell people that when they're in pain anymore.

You see...in a months time:
  • I lost our beautiful home I thought was mine forever.  
  • I lost my beloved Grandma who was THE family pillar in my life.
  • I had several people close to me bring DEEP betrayal to my life...one being my husband.  Yes, my husband.
COUNT. IT. ALL. JOY.  were the words I couldn't figure out.  How DO you?  When people ask how you are doing and you're an honest person like me, do you say, "WONDERFUL!"  Not so much.  I'm not feeling the joy.

Now I've gained a new perspective on "Counting it all Joy".  It's not a belly laugh when your heart is shattered and you feel like you have no hope - it's standing on the truth & promise that things WILL get better.  Jesus wasn't grinning ear to ear when he was hanging on the cross. Job wasn't snickering with his friends & playing monopoly when he lost everything and writhing in physical pain.  Nehemiah...up for the task, yes - but feeling the giggles, probably not.

The joy James was talking about is a KNOWLEDGE.  Knowing that ALL things work together for HIS good, even when we don't understand what that means or looks like. Just know the end will be BETTER.  

Counting it all joy is KNOWING God is not ignoring my pain - He did not ignore the pain of His SON on the cross, but was crying alongside Him and looking forward to the moment when this trial was over, and victory is HIS, and OURS.

The JOY of the Lord is our strength is also the simple reminder that HE is not some God out up in the sky that we are to revere.  Instead, when we put Him in the center of our heart & circumstances, we can hold onto JOY that whatever we are going through with Jesus as our guide, best friend, and rock, EVERYTHING will work out...so count THAT joy.

There were days that I felt like I got hit by a cannon ball - and each time I was hit, I had NO IDEA what to do in that moment...but I had the peace that passes all understanding; the unexplainable peace knowing somehow things were going to be ok.  My peace would leave when I would go into my natural mode of "problem solving".  That's when the anxiety, worry, and stress would creep in...because I'm trying to "fix" this big mess.  One (of the thousand) nuggets  I got from this season is to stay in the place of "I have NO IDEA what to do - but I know who does, so I'm just going to leave it to HIM."  That's where I can count it all joy.

The day of my Beloved Grandma's memorial I was terribly sad because I couldn't make the trip to be a part of the service. I was thousands of miles away, and my family was all together...but me. It felt like boulders had settled in my heart, but instead of sitting at home, we decided to have a family day.  We reflected on all the beautiful things she sowed into my life.  She loved being a mother & grandma (since we're dutch, she's my OMA)...so I spent the day being a mom, and I laughed with my daughters that much more.  The Joy of the Lord is my strength.

The Christmas season is upon us.  Now every time I hear the song "Joy to the World", I am reminded it's not always a fuzzy feeling type of joy, but a knowing THE LORD IS COME.  LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING.