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August 19, 2012

Accepted: Raw and Flawed

Tyler and I have a very similar taste when it comes to decorating…thank goodness. Before we moved in our new place, both of us had our TV’s mounted to the walls (above fireplaces). However, in our new home there is no fireplace therefore we needed a stand. Before we moved in together, between the two of us, we pretty much had everything we needed furniture wise. So thankful. The only thing we didn’t have was a TV stand and an end table. We decided to make a trip to Nebraska Furniture Mart. We love the no interest payment plans there. 


We arrived hopeful to find a TV stand. As we perused an extensive floor of entertainment centers and TV stands the search quickly ended in disappointment. Everything was beyond our price point, too traditional looking, and just didn’t fit “us.” (By the way, we are extremely picky. It takes us 15 minutes in the cereal aisle at the grocery store to make a decision on one box priced at $3.79.) We were ready to leave. On our way out, I convinced my husband to let me look at some lamps…not that I needed one…I just wanted to look. As we approached the area filled with AT LEAST 500 lamps, we noticed this little guy below perched up against the back of a couch. I know it isn’t a TV stand but it jumped out at us. It had this “industrial” feel to it, which we liked. The wood was rough, raw, flawed





Done. We had to have it. It was perfect. Price and all. We also bought the matching end table.



Whoops. 



I was sitting in church this morning and the pastor kept saying “love your enemies….love your neighbor.” There is something to say about loving those who are flawed and ultimately we are all flawed, yet Christ chooses to love us. After all, Jesus had a knack for running with the wrong crowd-at least in the eyes of the self righteous. Those who were religious believed that the righteous should associate only with those who are righteous. Many of the religious leaders with whom Jesus had contact were hypocritical and legalistic. It was easy for them to criticize Him for His involvement with “sinners.” 



Jesus entered Jericho and was passing though. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. [Most people saw him as a cheater and dishonest.] He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount. Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” -Luke 19:1-10



Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. Love your neighbor. Love the imperfect. Love the flawed. So, as I stare at this imperfect (yet perfectly marketed) furniture…





I’m challenged to look beyond the TV stand section, think outside the box, and realize that God uses imperfect people, like us, to fulfill His perfect plan. I am called to love the imperfect just as Christ loves me.


We love our imperfect TV stand. 


TJ

August 12, 2012

Living an Abundant Life....Beyond "me"

Tyler and I learned a tough yet valuable lesson this week. Budgeting. We had a bunch of unexpected expenses in July. It was also our first full month of being married so we hadn’t really developed a budget. We had no idea exactly how much money would be coming in and on top of our fixed expenses, I ran a red light (whoops…$300 dollar ticket), Tyler had to pay off a laptop from Apple (which was unfortunately stolen last month), we had to buy a fancy $100 bark collar for Cooper the bark-hound to keep the neighbors happy and both of us had work expenses that we had not yet been reimbursed for. My first thought was, “Ahhh…living the Johnson County dream!”


My husband is an optimist. I, on the other hand, began to sulk. I started to think about everything that we weren’t going to get to do. “There goes that Fall New York City trip I was looking forward to, ” I told myself. “Great, now we won’t be able to have kids for like 5 years until we save some money.” I went on…”I really wanted to get some fall clothes.” “How are we going to be able to afford to go to Florida for Christmas?” More and more of these thoughts kept consuming my mind. Anxiety and sadness swept over me and I couldn’t see anything else. All I wanted to do was lay in bed and feel sorry for us when the truth is, I knew deep inside that we are so incredibly blessed and have more as newlyweds than most. I finally pulled myself out of bed and tried my best to continue with my day. I cleaned, did laundry, wrote wedding thank you notes and did the best I could to keep myself busy to where I wouldn’t continue to have these negative thoughts. My parents even came and picked Tyler and I up and took us to see the latest Will Farrell comedy and out for Mexican food. I can’t even begin to describe how lucky Tyler and I are to have parents that are always there to pick us up off our feet. All 4 of them got us through the week. We love them so very much. I went to bed Saturday, still sad and worried, but excited that Sunday was a new day.


Today came and we got up and decided to visit a friend’s church in town. Some of you may not know but my husband is in seminary studying for his Masters of Divinity. He is already an ordained minister but he believes ministers have a responsibility to be just as educated as politicians, doctors, lawyers and other business professionals. Tyler was working in the “corporate world” in Oklahoma City making a pretty decent salary about 2 and a half years ago but he felt a calling. He felt God’s pull and decided to give up his safe life to pursue the gifts God gave him in ministry. Upon many prayers before picking up his life and moving to Kansas City for further schooling, he asked God to provide so he could live the life He had prepared for him. 



“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” -Ecclesiastes 2:10-11



This was the word of God in church today. These were the words that I felt were spoken especially to me. Today, I looked at my life and all I have done and thought about this past week and began to realize that it was “meaningless” and I was “chasing after the wind.” I had forgotten to focus on the blessings…health, love, and safety. These are the true riches in life. I had forgotten to trust in the Lord because in the end, he will always provide meaningful gifts upon patience, faith, and serving others. Living this life will be fulfilling in a purposeful way. I must learn to deny myself of material things and thoughts. 


So in Mark 10:28, Peter asked Jesus whether or not this “other’s-first” plan would really pay off. In other words, can we relate to Peter’s concern about whether there would really be any benefit or payback for trusting Jesus and living beyond ourselves? The answer is yes. God will always provide to faithful followers. Worrying and not trusting in Him will not teach us. It will not provide a true faithful ending in prosperity and true salvation. 


From now on, I will try my best to focus on the blessings. I will focus on others and I will continue to be thankful for my already cozy life. Clothes and trips to New York City just don’t compare to what I will have in the end. Salvation. 

August 8, 2012

I'm OCD...Organized, Crazy & Delusional

Okay, so my plan when I got home tonight was to simply clean the condo….what do I do?….Get side tracked in each room…ORGANIZING. First, I organized my husband’s t-shirt drawer, then I moved on to the medicine drawer and made sure all the Tylenol, Pepto-Bismal, Zyrtec, Biofreeze (Yes, I am obsessed with that stuff) and Ibuprofen are all sitting upright; labels facing front in a cute little basket. Then, I thought…”I’ll just organize all of my bathroom drawers and cabinets.”


But SERIOUSLY, I can’t tell you all how many times I have done this and the next morning after pushing my snooze button 67 times and rushing to get ready, it comes ALL undone. Make-up brushes are falling in the sink, hair products have lost their caps on the floor, the curling iron and blowdryer are sprawled all over the counter, and before I know it…all of my “feel good” bathroom/vanity organization has gone down the drain. This is where the DELUSIONAL part of this blog title comes in to play. Can I really keep my belongings this organized day in and day out?


(This time, I promise….it is going to stay like this.) 2 hours of organizing later…Here are the results.

Part 1: Instead of digging through a makeup bag to look for what I need in the morning, I felt it best to save some time, put it all on display, and make my mornings easier. I decided to get a drawer organizer strictly for make-up. Everything is so easy to access.



Part 2: Brushes…Lets be honest, they are annoying….especially when you are digging through the bag trying to decipher between the eye-liner brush and the lip-gloss brush. I decided to grab an old glass vase and pick up some of those flower vase beads at Hobby Lobby to prop them up. Now I can actually see what I am going to use and they always stay upright keeping the bristles safe!



Part 3: I am a big perfume lover so I like them on display. Some days I am in the mood for musky, somedays floral, somedays fresh, & somedays straight up classic Chanel or Dior. I found this really cool glass vanity tray at Crate and Barrell (http://www.crateandbarrel.com/glass-vanity-tray/s219269) for $16.95 and I love it. It is so classy and makes the bathroom vanity look polished. I bought my husband one too for his cologne.



Part 4: Who would have thought a spice rack would come in handy this much?!?! Seriously, I picked this up at Target for like 4 bucks and I can see every one of my hair styling products, lotions, and body sprays under the cabinet. They are “under the cabinet shelves.” LOVE.



Anyway, now that I am organizedcrazy for spending 2 hours on this…and possibly delusional that it could actually stay like this, I hope I have inspired you all to get creative when it comes to organizing and making life more simple and COZY. 

TJ

August 6, 2012

The Adventures of an Art Auction and a Pot Roast.

This past weekend was a weekend of firsts.

At work, we have an event/fundraiser called Art for Arthritis. It is really the emotional heartbeat of the year for the Arthritis Foundation because it involves kids that are affected by arthritis and other related rheumatoid diseases. We pair 15 children with 15 local artists for a chance to collaborate over the summer and create an “art masterpiece.” (For more information, go to www.artforarthritiskc.org) The live auction takes place on September 7th. I wanted to do something special for the kids who worked so hard on their work so I set up a gallery showcase for First Friday in Kansas City’s Crossroad’s District. Let’s just say, it was my first time hanging artwork. (BTW- Tyler was a HUGE help) It was hard and I doubted myself and my decision to even hold a preview party but I realized it had turned out okay when I saw the looks on all the kids faces. They felt so special and honored to have their work displayed in a gallery.



We also had our first house guest since moving in our new place! Tyler’s father came to stay with us for a few days and it was wonderful. I got lucky. I’m not just saying this, but I have pretty great in-laws. I decided to be ambitious and cook my very first pot roast for my father-in-law. I had no idea what I was doing but not to “toot my own horn” or anything, it turned out fabulous. See recipe below:


Needs: Crockpot, 1 medium rump roast, small package of baby carrots

Directions: Mix 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, 1 package of Lipton’s dry onion soup mix, 2 packages of brown gravy mix, 2 cups of water. Place meat and carrots in the crock pot, pour in the mix (soon to be gravy) and cook on low for 8-10 hours.


Here was the final result:



A perfect end to the weekend was watching the sun set with Tyler. We drove to the top of our parking garage and captured some pretty cool images of dusk. Yet just another reason for us to pause…take a breath…and realize just how cozy our life is becoming.




“God can’t give us peace and happiness apart from Himself because there is no such thing.” -C.S Lewis

TJ