Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Rest of the Story!

We were looking for a couch. We really needed a couch. Really!! When people sat on our love seat we would have to say..."Watch out for the nine inch nail that is sticking out below the cushion" or "I know it's really low on the ground and you may have to roll yourself off the loveseat".

Last week we found a leather couch and it was really cheap. The rest of the story is that the while we really needed A couch, we really wanted either a sectional or two couches. After all we do have six people in our family. At the same warehouse sale where we found our couch we also found the couch part of this sectional. It did have a tiny little tear on it and it is obviously meant to be part of a sectional, but we were able to get this for $150.

We were a bit nervous about this purchase. When we got it home we realized that our living room really is smaller than it appears. It took us 24 hours to figure out how to arrange these two LARGE sofas! But, we are very happy with the results.

So, God provided more than we imagined and we are so very thankful!!! Two leather couches for $350.

I'm also thankful to my parents and my aunt for their Christmas gift last year and their patience as we took 11 months to buy the couches.

And...we still have some $$ to finish out the room. Hopefully it won't take us 11 months to finish it out.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Extravagance of God!!

Meet our new couch!! Well this is actually not our couch, it is a picture of our couch. This couch represents months of waiting, agonizing and praying. Last Christmas we were given $$ to purchase a new couch by my parents and my aunt. We went shopping in January, but the choices were overwhelming so we couldn't make up our minds.

Plus, David and I aren't the best furniture shoppers on the planet. Once we bought a chair that was cheap, really cheap. When we got it home, we realized it was largest chair know to mankind ..although it sure is comfortable. The mammoth chair made our living room look like a fairy tale. This loveseat is too small. This chair is too big. This chair is just right.

Also, about the same time we started shopping for furniture, I began to work at Habitat for Hope and admittedly got a little distracted, well maybe a lot distracted. There was so much to learn and so many people to get to know!!

In addition, David and I also decided to freeze any extra spending. Why? Because this dream job is a support raising position (in case you don't know what that means, it means my paycheck comes from the generosity of others). If I had $20 for every time I've told someone that it is my responsibility to raise support and their response was "I could never do that" then my salary would probably be fully funded :-)

Honestly....It has been hard, really hard to raise support. And it's stressful.

Looking ahead to 2012, I'm thankful to have people who have committed to partner with Habitat for Hope and provide salary support. This support enables me to do my job to recruit, encourage and mobilize volunteers to serve families with critically ill children.

The difficult thing is the support I have raised is only a fraction of my salary. Imagine getting 10% of your paycheck....that's where I am right now. This week David and I have had some time to really pray through and talk through this reality. We have decided to continue to walk forward in faith, trusting the Lord to provide for our needs. We've decided to be thankful for the 10% and trust God to provide the 90%.

At this point you might be wondering what in the world this has to do with this gorgeous leather couch? I'm glad you asked. Tuesday I started in earnest shopping for a leather couch and went to several stores and picked out a few couches. On Wednesday I was on my way downtown to visit with a family from Uganda whose son was having brain surgery and I decided to stop by the Ashley Furniture Outlet (thanks Shelley for the recommendation).

A bright light shone upon one couch in particular (not really!!). This couch was very similar to a couch I had been looking at the day before which cost $700 in the Ashley showroom. I decided to ask a guy who was unloading the truck how much the couch cost. He comes over and starts looking at the couch and said $299. (I'm thinking yippee!!). Then, he looks a little closer at the couch and said, No, make that $199 and I fainted on the spot (not really).

I said...we'll take it and called David to get his hiney down to the warehouse immediately. It took him forever to get there because his truck kept overheating. (And now we're praying for God's provision for our truck)

There's more to the story...but here's the bottom line. I'm sitting here on this brand new, all leather, incredibly comfortable sofa that my whole family can sit on, overwhelmed by the extravagance of God. He cares about the details and as we move into 2012, I choose to rely on Him and trust His generosity and His provision!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ugandan Friends

I thought you would like to meet the dear family from Uganda that we searched for at the airport Friday night!! Please pray for them today as their son, Omega is in surgery to remove a brain tumor. He is a delightful little boy!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lesson from The Pantry

Note (This is NOT my pantry!!)

This morning I decided to skip church (gasp) and stay home to clean my house. I know, I know that seems crazy and wrong, but my house seriously needed some help. It's starting to look like an episode of hoarders!! My family is awesome about helping to keep things picked up, but organizing and throwing things out are a foreign concept to them.

So, I gleefully scooted my sweet family out the door, tuned Pandora to JJ Heller and got to work. First up on my list....The Pantry. Which did not really look like this pantry pictured. It was messy for sure, but really didn't have a ton of food.

So I start throwing out old stuff and clearing everything out. It was going fine until I got to the bottom of the pantry, which by the way is where we store our paper bags from Aldi and plastic bags from Kroger. Rather than being neatly stored in the bins I have designated for bags, there was plethora (one of my favorite words that you just can't work into conversation that often) of bags shoved in the bottom. I decide to throw out said bags (double gasp...I know I paid for the Aldi bags and I should recycle the plastic bags).

As I was working, one the nastiest smells known to mankind hits my nose with the force of a mack truck. A couple of orphan potatoes in a bag were buried underneath the mountain of bags. I'm not sure how long they had been there, but I do know that it was YUCKINESS of epic proportions. Think liquified potatoes!!

Foul!!! Seriously FOUL!!

As I am scrubbing the floor about to vomit, it hit me that my sin is like that. I try to bury it. I try to fool myself into thinking it's not there. I might be able to cover it up for a while, but eventually something is going to happen and it will be revealed for what it is Foul, seriously foul!!

The verse in Psalm that says "Create in me a clean heart, O God" came to my mind as I am on the floor cleaning up nasty potato rot. I need God to flood my heart with his Living Water, to get rid of all the rot. I want a clean heart even more than I want a clean pantry.

So, I may have "skipped" church, but the pantry became a place of worship for me this morning.

Spirit of the Living God....fall fresh on me!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Trip to the Airport

When word came that Habitat for Hope would be serving a family from Uganda, there was a flutter of excitement inside of me. You see about two years ago I fell in love with Uganda and the people of Uganda from reading the Kisses from Katie blog. I read the entire blog in two sittings, much like a great novel that I just couldn't put down. It's an incredible story of a young woman following Christ with reckless abandon. When I read her story I remember thinking that I didn't want to go to Uganda necessarily, but I did want to follow Christ and be who He made me to be and do what He wanted me to do. She seriously inspired me!!

Fast forward two years and here I am trying my best to live as Christ would have me live my life. I'm serving families whose children are chronically or critically ill. My heart has been opened wide to the silent suffering of so many families who are walking down a really dark and difficult path. My job at Habitat for Hope is to equip, empower, encourage and mobilize volunteers to move into the lives of these love them, serve them, hang out with them and become friends. These families come from all over the country and the world and often they don't know anyone here.

Back to the family from Uganda. When we received word they were coming, I knew that I wanted to be part of the team to serve them because even though I don't know them, I already love them. So, the first thing they needed was someone to pick them up at the airport. David and I decided we could definitely go pick them up. Our 16 year old daughter begged to go with us because she said, how often do you get to meet a family from Uganda?

So we head to the airport with very little information....a name and an arrival time. That's all the information we were given. We tried to get more but that's all we had. Memphis is a small airport, right?

We spent the evening searching the airport for a family from Uganda. I'm sure people thought we were a bit stalker-ish. The security guys probably were wondering why these three people were pacing to and fro....who am I kidding, Hannah and David quit wandering after about thirty minutes. My husband is quite smart and parked himself right by the arrival area. He and Hannah played a mean game of Lie to Me and trying to figure out people's stories according to their body language. Hannah might have discovered that when you hang out at the airport, you see lots of cute boys. Her favorites were the Navy guys. We're in trouble!!!

Meanwhile I continued to beloved friends that I hadn't met yet from Uganda were nowhere to be found. After a while we received word that they had been delayed in customs in Dallas and wouldn't be arriving until 11:30....which if you know me is way past my bedtime. So, we called in reinforcements, went ahead and delivered some groceries to the HFH apartment where they will be staying and went home.

I must tell you that I loved, loved, loved my daughter's response to this crazy evening. She laughed and had a grand time. She said even though we didn't pick up the family, we had an adventure.

Sometimes things don't turn out like we expect, but we just have say.."It's okay!!" (which by the way is Hannah's favorite expression) and keep going.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Pure Joy

This morning I woke up with this running through my mind. "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds". And my first thought was Oh crud, what trial is going to come my way today. It kind of made me want to roll back over and go to sleep.

My second thought was this does not describe me. According to my life it should say, "Whine and complain when you face trials of many kinds. Pitch a royal fit when you face trials of many kinds. Or, give people the silent treatment when you face trials of many kinds of many kinds. Eat chocolate when you face trials of many kinds."

I'm wondering what my life would look like if I really considered it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds.

And I'm really wondering what pure joy looks like. It's definitely not that Pollyana happy, happy platitude filled attitude.

Why should I consider it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds?

Here's what the next verse says "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything "

No trials = no testing of faith which leads to perserverance.

Trials help me quit being a big fat spiritual baby.