Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sassy Shoe Thursday: He's in the Details

Way backtrack: I've been looking for two years for a good pair of cowboy boots. And, as I'm re-examining that time line, it's actually been about five years. (The good ones are expensive! Eeeek!)

More recent backtrack: A few weeks ago a friend told me the Elks' were taking submissions for people to sing the National Anthem at their rodeo in early June. I took my cd down that same day. About a week later I got a call saying I had been chosen to sing the Saturday of the rodeo. (June 6th) Woo-hoo! Singing our National Anthem is ALWAYS a HUGE honor. HUGE, huge honor. It's one of my favorite things to do. But you cannot... CAN NOT... canNOT sing anything at a rodeo without wearing cowboy boots. It's written somewhere. I feel this in my bones. (I don't think my lacers would work for this one, by the way. Not only are they way outdated -not enough to be vintage yet- they could never be worn with a sun dress. Which is what I would like to wear, by the way. These things are important. Well, they could, technically speaking. But they shouldn't, aesthetically speaking.)

Obviously, a few weeks ago, I stepped up my hunt for cute cowboy boots.

Being as how I was not going to pay a fortune, my options were limited. I also wanted something that was already broken in. More limited. Santa Barbara had some cute pairs in a re-sale shop that were either too big or $180. One-hundred and eighty dollars!!! And they're used. Of course, they did have a studded shaft that was quite sassy... but there were no swarovski crystals that were making them one biiiillllliiiiooon dollars.

I kept hunting at my favorite haunts, but the thrift stores just weren't coming through.

Monday I went to a cute little resale shop, Curio, in the Creamery in SLO. They usually have a few pairs of cute boots, but they're always too small. Guess what? They had a few pairs of cute boots. And they were too small.

That night I was frustrated. "God, You're the one that got me this awesome thing of singing at the rodeo. And You obviously knew I was going to want boots. So, could You please give me some boots? You KNOW this is important to me. You MADE me this way!!! So, come ON! You've got to come through on this one. I'm getting frustrated, and a girl just can't sing at a rodeo without boots."

Tuesday morning at small group (Every Tuesday a bunch of us girls get together at my house to hang out and chat and eat. At 9:30. If you're in the area, come join us!) Amber walks in with something behind her back. "Does anyone need a pair of boots?" I think I started to say, "What kind?" when she pulled a pair of cowboy-ish boots out.

Ummmmmm... uhhhhhh... were the thoughts going through my head. But I think something like, "Yes! I do!" actually came out of my mouth. "Where did you? What...?"

"Try them on first. I'm not going to tell you where I got them until you try them on."

They... were... PERFECT!!! She said they pinched her toes just enough so she wasn't going to be able to wear them, and knew they were for someone else. She had suspected me, but didn't know. SHE DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE RODEO!!! She didn't KNOW I needed BOOTS!!! And not only did they fit my feet perfectly, but they were nice and snug around my calves. Most boots are usually too big there and look awkward, but not these. Nope. Not these. They were made for my calves.

The Story: Last week Amber was in Venice Beach with her visiting sister (my dear friend Christel) and saw these boots just sitting beside a dumpster. She looked all around, even checking inside the dumpster to make sure no one was living there that the boots could belong to. Then picked them up and brought them home!

GOD GAVE ME BOOTS!!! How cool is that? How cool is it that way before I prayed my frustrated Come-ON-God! prayer, He already knew and had already set events in motion to provide boots for me? I'll tell you how cool it is! It's beYOND cool. It's uber-cool. It's actually indescribable, if we're getting down to the nitty gritty. God is indescribably cool.

But, wait. It gets better.

Because not only did God provide me with totally awesome, vintage, already broken in boots... a few weeks back at Goodwill I came across a vintage Anne Klein purse for $1.99. It was in great condition and I just knew it was meant for me. Nate was a little annoyed, understandably so. "Why would you need to get an old purse at Goodwill for $1.99 when I just bought you TWO COACH purses?"

Honey. It's vintage. Leather. Tags still in the inside pocket. And I just knew I was supposed to have it.

When I tried the boots on and they fit, I became crazily giddy with the realization that my vintage Anne Klein purse matched my vintage boots. God had already given me a purse to match my shoes, before I even had the shoes that He knew I was going to need! That was just over the top. OVER the top.



He loves me so much. It's a lavish love. It's an I-made-you-and-I-know-what-will-speak-to-your-heart love. He didn't NEED to do any of this, but He did it because that's just what He does.

Some people would say there isn't a God, and nothing is really tied together. Things happen just because they happen.

Some people think God isn't in the details. They think He may be in the big things, but not the everyday. They would say this is all just chance, a cool coincidence.

But MY God is a God who is right there in the middle of our big stuff, so much so that He is wrapped up in all the details surrounding it. He is in every facet of our existence. Sometimes we're so busy looking for evidence of Him in the big, cosmic ways that we overlook the intimacy all around us. And sometimes we think that His love should look like X, Y, and Z... so we don't realize at all that the love we need and the love He is showing us is A, B, and C.

If you're one of those people that are reading this post thinking, "Man, she's nuts. She keep attributing all this cool stuff to God. I mean, it's a cool story and all, but that doesn't mean you have to bring God into it." then I would encourage you to seek a personal relationship with Him. Maybe you don't believe in Him at all. He is very clear that those who seek will find Him. (Matthew 7:7-8) Start seeking, ask Him to show Himself to you, and then wait for what happens.

Maybe you do believe in Him, but are skeptical that He would ever be involved in your life in an intimate way. Maybe to you He seems like a this distant God who is far away and not really listening, not really hearing, not really caring. I would encourage you to start talking to Him. Ask Him to open your eyes to the details. When you read His word, you will go deeper. This is not just a possibility, it is a concrete fact of what will happen if you read the Bible with an open, seeking heart. (I love The Message version.) Believing in Christ is one thing, having a personal relationship with Him is quite another. He. Transforms. Lives. But you have to open yourself up to it. You have to give Him the opportunity. You have free will. You can choose to remain distant, or you can seek to draw close.

And the closer you are, the better life is. (Matthew 11:28-30)

God arranging circumstances for me to sing the National Anthem at a rodeo would have been enough. More than enough. (I love rodeos. There is much of a country girl in me.)

But He gave me matching boots and a purse, just because He knew it would mean a lot. (A fashionable country girl.)

God is TOTALLY in the details. And He's okay with the fact that I loves me some fashion. (Especially vintage.)

(I just re-read that old post on my lacers. Man. That's a really good post. Who wrote that? Because it was pretty good... even if I do say so myself. *wink*)
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Friday, April 24, 2009

Rest

I've been asked quite a bit lately about my life. About confidence, joy, grace, excitement, hope. I don't have it nailed down by any means, but I am moving in the right direction. And that makes all the difference in this world. I have those things because I live my life for Someone who is not of this world.

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

~Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

Life. Full. I have it. Do you?
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

At least we know we're loved...

Wednesday morning I went in to wake the boys up for school, per usual. We've had a bit of a warm spell here, so there window was open and the blinds were turned to let in the cool air. Something fluttering in the breeze on the yard below caught my attention...







Hmm... it all looks eerily familiar. Except last time we caught it beFORE the sprinklers came on. I did think the saran wrap around our cars was a nice touch. And wet paper towels are easier to clean up than wet toilet paper... both of which had a familiar feel. I'm thinking we may use them often? Like, on a weekly basis? At a particular establishment of faith?

(Something seemed to be spelled out on the lawn. I couldn't decipher it. Can you?)

It's nice to know that we're loved. (And that Nate's really good at paybacks. I have a list of names going. There may be a reward for any information leading to the capture of the perpetrators.)
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What are you waiting for?

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' in the sun,
Talkin' 'bout the things
They would-coulda-shoulda done...
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little did.

~Shel Silverstein, Falling Up
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I think it's interesting...

... that news agencies are saying the fight is over. If the law had been passed the other way they would call it a huge blow and talk about how the fight will rage on. But since it was passed in favor, they say it's over.

Just a thought.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Responsibility

*Don't forget to mute the music at the bottom of the page first.*

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Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm Breathing

All is quiet. Peaceful.

Spring Break is over. The kids went back to school this morning.

The house is a wreck. Laundry is knee deep and a six year old long on the upstairs landing in two piles: clean and dirty. (You think I'm exaggerating. Come stand next to it. It will reach your knees. Then Ian will lay next to it and you'll see I'm actually quite accurate in my description.)

The floor has scattered spots of odd stickiness.

I have a very long to-do list.

And Jessica Alba wore a horrific "mom jeans" outfit (that InStyle evidently deemed worthy for their Look of the Day email) that begs for a blog post. But that is NOT on my to-do list.

I always look forward to Spring Break. The kids will be home. Sleeping in. Fun. Parks. Family time.

Then there's the whining and the arguing and it was cold and windy so we couldn't go to the park.

So last night I was looking forward to them going back to school.

How do I survive summer again? Does anyone remember?
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

An Announcement

Three years ago was hard. Three years ago I cried, I stressed, I worried, I feared, I tried to control, I tried to give up. It. Was. Hard. We were told we wouldn't be leaving Denver. And then we were handed orders that said, "You're leaving Denver." We didn't want to move to Vandenberg. But that's also what the orders said, "You're moving to Vandenberg." (Okay. It was all in military lingo. But you get the idea.)

We prayed. We almost got out of the Air Force and stayed in Denver. Except for the fact that... we prayed. God was very clear. He wanted us to move. "What??? But, why??? Things are good right heeeerrrrrreeee." Reluctantly knowing God's plans are the best ones to follow, we moved. And it was hard. And our house didn't sell. And that sent our finances into a negative state. And our new house was a wreck. And thing after thing after thing. But we knew we were supposed to go.

Funny thing. God follows through. Wouldn't ya know it?

Santa Maria has been wonderful. We have one of the most amazing church families ever. EVer. EV. ER. Yes, it was difficult getting settled. Yes, there were many obstacles to overcome. But God blessed our family incredibly more than we could have ever hoped for, had ever dreamed of.

That move was hard. But it taught us to hold everything with an open hand. Not just possessions, but our friends, where we live, schools, jobs, church... everything.

"When you are holding everything with your hand open, then God is free to exchange His better for your good without so much pain in the transition." ~Angela Thomas, A Beautiful Offering

There was much "pain in the transition" with our last move.

So, THIS time I know it will be different. It will still be emotional and sad and hard, but it won't be as painful. It won't be excruciating, because we've been learning to hold the things of this earth loosely. We've learned (and are still learning) to let God take what we think is good and give us something He knows is better for us.

When we first moved here they said it would be three years. Then they said four. Then they said two. Then they said four. Then they said three, but they would just move Nate to another job on base, so we'd actually be here for something like seven years. We've had NO idea what was going on! And with what happened last time, didn't know what to believe or what to put stock in.

Then the news came down that...

this July our family will be moving from Santa Maria, California, to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

And, let me tell you from experience, it's a LOT easier to run along the path of God's plan with joy than to trudge down it with sorrow, kicking and whining in fear.

I will move in JOY!!! Joy and expectation. And I will shed tears, and I will allow myself to mourn what we are "losing." But I will also be excited for everything God has for us out in Colorado Springs. I will know that our life is not about storing up treasures here on this earth, but about storing them up in Heaven. And this move is a part of that! I will rest in the fact that MY GOD is in the details. MY GOD knows my family's every step and has fastened us securely in His plans. He has intricately woven blessings, both big and small, throughout our steps. Blessings for us as we move in what He has for us, and blessings for others as we move in what He has for us. Because it works both ways.

He has prepared us for this. (An awesome story I'll share on here someday soon.) And we will move in JOY!

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." ~Matthew 6:19-21

I want my life to be directed by the treasure I want to store up, and I want to store up treasure that is not of this earth. This earth will perish. One day this world we know will be no more. We live in the in-between place, and keeping a right perspective can be difficult at times. But if our hearts are directed by the kind of treasure we want to store up, then we learn to hold the things of this world with an open hand. We learn to bless and be blessed.

"If you feel things slipping away, if you seem to have lost control, or if you instinctively want to grab hold of everything and pull it in tight, then maybe God is asking you to let go. Open your hands and let Him move His treasure in and out of your life. The blessing is that He always puts more into your open hands than you could have ever imagined there was room for." ~Angela Thomas, A Beautiful Offering

We learn to move in joy.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Fun

Friends and food and fun and celebrating... celebrating the awesome freedom we have in Christ!!! I can't think of anything better! Saturday was Church For Life's annual BBQ in the park. Sunday was our awesome church. (Seriously, if you don't go, you're missing out. And if you go but think I'm crazy when I say church is awesome, you need to find a new church.) And then Sunday afternoon we celebrated with 60+ people at our house. To top it all off, Mom and Dad were here!


Girl time is great! (Madison, Brittney, Katie)


Grandma and Jordan


Girls rule, boys drool. Except that Jord beat them, hands down.


Men being manly.


I had to get in on the action. Taylor was yelling, "Mom! Pretend it's a great deal at Goodwill! Don't let it get away!" (I won this one. My record for the day was 2-2.) Good thing I wore a belt! Crack kills.


Ian showing off his muscles.


Me and the Easter bunny. We're tiiiiiiight.


Mom and Dad just left a bit ago. This picture would look more cheerful, but we got hit with a stomach bug in the middle of the night. Taylor is recovering. Dad is in the middle of it. Brit is coming down with it. Ian is fine, he's just sad they're leaving.
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Monday, April 6, 2009

Listen. Now.

This will only be posted on Bring The Rain through Tuesday. It is so, so, so beautiful and has spoken today to a deep and grieving place in my heart. The song won't actually be released until August, but Angie got permission to post it... only for a short time.

Go and listen. Breathe deeply. Be assured.
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Turn Signal: Dr. Oz on Stem Cell Research

(Remember to mute the music at the bottom of the page before pressing play.)



This is the same hope I have for my son. Ethical research producing amazing results.

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Rearranging

Just a tip to let you know I rearranged a few things and my music player is now all the way at the bottom of the page. That way it's easier to mute it if you need to, rather than trying to scroll to it randomly on the side. (Or you can just let it play and listen to some songs that I love!)

One of these days I'll get all official looking with a fun header and custom layout and three columns. One of these days...

But today is not that day.

Thanks for stopping by!
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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fashion Tip Friday: Disneyland Edition

I'm just saying that if I were doing What Not To Wear, I'd go to America's theme parks, pull people out of the crowd, and give them some advice on proper attire for roller-coasters and water rides. No, I didn't get a picture of the lady in the white tee and hot pink bra coming off of Grizzly River Run. I just couldn't do that to her.

But I DID get a photo of a great *little* dress that I'm sure would be very comfortable while climbing in and out of rides all day:



Yes. That is a DRESS!!! And it was see-through! Worst of all may have been that this girl was shopping with her mother and little brother. Oh, dear. Dear, dear, dear.

But this wasn't an isolated incident. The mini-dress thing seemed to be a phenomenon all over Disneyland. I just truly, truly don't get it. It's one thing when you're at the mall or a fancy-schmancy event to think you won't really have to move much, so you convince yourself you can get away with the too-short thing because, well, Cameran Diaz does in those InStyle photos! (Do you SEE the influence you have? Of course you do. We've already discussed this.) You tell yourself you'll be at ease, and then spend the rest of your time trying to be at ease. But it's a completely different thing when you go to a THEME PARK where you RIDE RIDES and CLIMB IN AND OUT OF THINGS. Please. I don't want to see your girly bits. The greasy guy behind us in line might, but I don't. I wouldn't think you'd want him to, either.

Girls. Please. Leave the mini-dresses at home next time you pack.

Another thing I couldn't understand:



I'm all for putting up with a little discomfort if the shoes are just really, REALLY too cute to leave in the closet. But this is too much. Worst of all she seemed very labored in her walking... trudging... as she passed me. Oh, poor girl. Next time go with the Vans. You'll still maintain a bit of edge, but you'll be able to strut you're studded jeans better. This issue wasn't as wide-spread, but still just as shocking.

Now, I'm pretty lenient when it comes to theme park attire because, well, we're out for comfort and durability here. So, floral capris and boxy destination logo tees? ("Welcome to Boca Raton") We'll let those slide. Many a man did I see in too-short-shorts and black socks. But, hey! We're on vacation.

Some tips, though:

*DO dress in layers. The lockers are only $7.00 a day, and it's worth it to bring an extra sweatshirt and jacket to leave in there until evening when the breeze picks up and your light sunburn kicks in.

*DO where a lightweight hoodie you can take on and off. It can get pretty chilly when you move from the outside part of the line to the inside. You don't want to mess up your aim on Buzz Lightyear because you're shivering. But you also don't want to roast while outside. A tank with a hoodie option covers both ends of the spectrum.

*DO wear jeans that you can roll into capris when the sun is high. OR, shove your jeans into the locker with your sweatshirt and jacket and trade your shorts out for them after sunset.

*DO bring your beauty essentials, i.e. chapstick, powder, lipstick that can double as blush. It's wearying to get to the end-of-the-day photos and feel blech make-up wise. Your feet might be tired, but your face doesn't have to show it.

*DO wear jewelry that you won't freak out if you lose. I go with cheap, lightweight hoops. They don't hurt my ears on the roller-coasters, I still look pulled together, and if one comes out, well, they didn't cost a lot to begin with! (Plus, they're shiny. We like shiny accessories.)

*DO splurge on those Mickey ears if you want them!!! You're on vacation. This is about letting that inner kid out. Go for the ears with the tiara, or the princess hat with the veil, or the sequin ear headband! You ARE a princess at heart. Have fun with it!

There were so many more photos I could have taken, but we all know the issues I have with whipping out the camera and pointing it at a perfect stranger.

The thing is, when going to a theme park, you just need to think ahead. DON'T assume it will be cold all day when you leave the hotel at 7:30am and it's foggy. Because at 11:00am you're going to be cursing the sun, raising your fists in the shadow of The Matterhorn and crying out, "Egaads! Why didn't I listen to Angela's fashion advice?" But DO assume it will be chilly at SOME point during the day. Otherwise you'll be huddled under the heaters outsize The Plaza at the end of Main Street crying out... well... jump back a couple of sentences and you can read it again.
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