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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

What's Love got to do with it?

I've been thinking a lot about love lately.  Not the mushy romantic kind though.  I've been thinking about the selfless, sacrificial kind.  The kind that Jesus gives and asks us to give to others. Agape Love.  Sure it sounds easy enough until you come across someone who seems unworthy of such love.  Suddenly we're very willing to walk away and forget love altogether.  I've recently been watching my children interact with one another and I've come to notice how little of that kind of love is present in my home.  Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of love here, just not the selfless, sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrates.  I find that to be a real problem.  Not only because we are a family who carries the name Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, but also because God Himself has asked us (you too) to show that kind of love to the world.  If it's not in our homes, how is it going to be in our world?  Turn on any news channel and you'll see that the exact opposite is happening today, all around our world and our country.  We are all so consumed with our rights and with "justice", with someone "getting what's coming to them".  All of that is the exact opposite of how God asks us to live.



Let's bring it in a little closer shall we, let's get back into our homes and our families, because that is where it has to begin.  We all know families who are hurting and broken. (maybe that's you) Parents and children who are holding onto past wrongs with both hands proclaiming that they get their way or else.  Families who want one thing but do the very thing that drives loved ones away.  Days, months even years of separation and no contact.  You see, if we keep holding on to the worlds ideas on love we will end up empty and alone.  BUT, if we ever could be so bold and so brave to throw that false love out the window and grab on to God's love with both hands, I believe that a radical change would take place inside of our homes, our churches, our communities and even the world!!!



I've had the chance to practice this kind of love with one of my own (note that I said practice - it's hard and I don't always get it right, but I'm trying) and I truly believe that when the time is right and the field has been properly tended to, a new crop will burst forth!  God promises it and I'm holding onto it with both hands.  I can't continue to hold every wrong thing done against me out in front of me like a banner or like its some right I have so that others know I've been wronged.  I don't want to hold things over someone elses head!  There's no reward in that, anywhere!  I have tasted God's grace and forgiveness and I want to give it to others!!  It is way more satisfying.....even when it isn't given in return.

This kind of love requires a complete trust and faith in Jesus.  Without that, this kind of love cannot be attained.  So, you may need to start there! How?  Well, first you admit that you are a sinner, that you need a Savior!  You acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to earth, died a gruesome death for you and for I.  He rose from the grave three days later and now sits at the right hand of His Father; God. His death on the cross represents the payment for our sins, payment that we could never pay!  Now because of the cross we have a chance at eternal life with Jesus Christ!!! At that point, search out other Christians, a church that teaches the TRUTH!  Dive in and get to know Him.  He's worth it!!



 If you've got that or are working toward that - great!  Let's continue!  I want to look at two verses that come to mind when thinking about Jesus' love.  The first is:

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

I've grown up hearing that verse.  I don't know that I knew it was scripture for a long time but it still made sense to me.  I always thought of it in that mushy, romantic love that I mentioned earlier.  But now that I'm older I realize that that's not the kind of love that it's referring to at all!!  The love that I am capable of clearly demonstrates it's lack of sin covering all of the time!  I'm prone to hold accounts of wrongs, to stand my ground and demand my rights, remain unmovable until I get my way.  But this love, this Agape love, Jesus' love.....is an entirely different story!  Let's look at another verse that breaks it down a bit more!


1 Corinthians 13 * Otherwise known as the Love Chapter starting at verse number four:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (bold added)

I think that about covers it!  Patient......willing to wait.  No room for pride.  No dishonoring others, no self-seeking, not easily angered (yikes), it keeps no records of wrongs!  None?  How about a few, the most recent ones?  No?  Okay.  I think we have some work to do friends.



If we want to see a revolution here on earth, in our hearts and in our homes, we must be sooooooo crazy that we are willing to lay everything that we think we know aside and jump on board with this kind of Love!

I want to leave you with a portion of my devotional this morning.  It comes from the book My Utmost for His Highest from Oswald Chambers.  September 2 the last paragraph says this, "He who believes in Me....out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" -and hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed.  Now is the time for us to break "the flask" of our lives, to stop seeking our own satisfaction, and to pour out our lives before Him.  Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him?"

Another book that highly recommend on the subject of crazy love is by Francis Chan and its called "Crazy Love".




Who will be so bold, so brave and so crazy with me?  Who is willing to lay themselves down and pour all that God has given them out to those around them?  I do hope and pray that you will join me!  I promise the journey, the struggle, and even the pain will be worth it!!

God bless!  Lorraine


Saturday, March 22, 2014

goats and a movie by Julia

We got goats!!
this is tank!
this is blue!
this is my favorite bitsy!
they LOVE to be with people and LOVE to be pet!
They are so nice and I can speak to them. Of course I
don't know what I'm saying to them but they
respond so......yeah.
 
Well tonight we are going to see the movie "Gods Not Dead"!! I'm super excited!
Here is the link to watch the trailer:
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMjo5f9eiX8

I hope you can see it
soon :):):):):):):)<3

Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Fling

Happy Spring Friends!!  I don't know about you, but I am so ready for spring to begin!  Although there is more snow in our forecast, I'm looking forward to warmer temps, new life sprouting all around, the promise and hope of new beginnings and so much more!  

Since I can't depend on the seasonal change to take place and stay put, I've decided to have a Spring Fling inside my home!  The heavy, darker elements of winter have been packed away and the bright, refreshing colors of spring are making their appearance!

Being a part of the Ladies Tea Ministry at my church has helped with this endeavor.  We celebrated the first day of Spring yesterday and I wanted to make sure that Spring was felt in that room!  In my mind, I ran through the props that I have from previous tea's and decided that I wanted a clean, fresh look this time around.  Fresh flowers was the way to go and I knew that I wanted to use my blue Ball Mason jars to hold them.  .


After that, I decided to bring in my white pitcher collection and some of my antique glass cake plates.
I saw a theme developing before my eyes and I knew that blue and white was the base color palate with pinks and yellows coming in from the flowers.  I immediately began to gather items from around my home to see how they all worked together. It was so much fun!!!  I seriously could create and decorate every day of my life!! 


 The nest print came from whatever, the candle is Spring from Bath & Body Works
 





The tea came together beautifully and it's always a treat for me to spend the morning with my church staff , the girls who help put this together, and these wonderful ladies.  The women always have such wonderful stories to share from their childhood and I love how it keeps me connected to the past.

The next time I'm bringing something to create a backdrop.  The dry erase board and tv hanging aren't very pretty! lol


Blackberry, Strawberry and Apricot Thumbprints





As I was setting up for the tea I realized that I could use these elements on my mantle at home.  I always struggle to find something fresh for the mantle and now that our television is up there, it seems to be more of a struggle!  Obviously I couldn't set my mantle the exact same way as the tea, but I could use some of the same pieces to create the same overall feel!  I figured I had to unpack when I got home anyway, so I might as well change up the mantle.....it was about time!

I like to create interest by grouping similar things and using various heights.  Also by making sure that both ends of the mantle tie into one another, not that it has to be exact, but there has to be a common thread. 

I'm not sure about the hoop that is hanging.  There is only one screw in the brick so I can't hang more easily.  But when I take it down, it seems like something is missing.  I don't know, still need to tweak things a bit!  It's always a work in progress!!


The "Choose Happy" print is from Pinterest


I'm not a professional by any means nor do I claim to know all of the "rules" but I know what works for me and I know where to find inspiration.  If I were to offer a few starting points for you this is what I would say:

1. know what you like - who wants to surround themselves with things that they don't like -I know, that seems like a no brainer, but trust me, I'm sure someone out there either has things that they don't particularly care for or they've settled for nothing at all.

2. know the first rule of decorating - there really are no rules- I'm sure that you can find plenty who disagree but toss them aside and do what you love!  Does it make you smile, come to life, bring memories and positive feelings flooding in?  Then do it!

3.  have fun - if its not fun, don't do it!  Maybe you need to wait until you're "feeling" it.  I know I do.  If my creative mojo isn't flowing, I leave it alone.  When it hits, I know it and I move on it!!

4. find inspiration - inspiration is not seeing something and feeling like you have to have everything exactly the same.  It's not feeling overwhelmed and unable to attain.  Inspiration is something that moves you in a certain direction.

5. don't feel like you have to go out and spend money - you don't!  Shop your house first!  Then maybe shop your friends homes. (okay, just window shop there, but it's a good place to start!!)  I used to feel that way, and if I'm being honest, there are times that I do still feel that way.  I try to curb that desire but if I can't, I try to shop clearance or thrift stores and I always use nature -its free!

If you don't know where to look for inspiration check Pinterest or check out some bloggers!  For decorating inspiration I go to Lemonade Makin' Mama, Flower Patch Farmgirl, Meg Deurkson at whatever and quite a few more!! (side note: you get so much more than decorating with these gals, part of why I love them so much!!) 

The three of these ladies cover simplicity, quirkiness and color in their design.  It's fun trying to infuse each of their styles into one that I can call my own.  I'm not there yet and I may never be, but it sure is fun trying!!  Another one of my inspirations is my dear friend Shawn.  She has a beautifully restored farmhouse around the corner from me and I pull the beauty of the past from her.  Her home is warm, inviting and full of wonderful collections.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Here we go again.....

It's been so long since I've been here, that I didn't even remember how to get here!!!  That's sad.  I do love to share my world with whomever is reading but I just can't seem to manage it on a consistent basis. 

After recovering from pneumonia in mid October, life came at me at a pretty quick pace.  In November, my mom had pneumonia and it landed her in the hospital, thank God it was only overnight but still.  In December we found out that my Aunt Joan was very sick and one week after hearing the diagnosis, she went home to be with the Lord.  Dev.A.Stated.  I still haven't wrapped my mind around the fact that she is no longer here on earth with us.  There are so many times that I jut want to pick up the phone and call her.  This took place during Christmas, so needless to say, the holidays were a bit of a struggle.

I feel like January went by without a hitch, I celebrated my 42nd birthday -woohoo!  February came and brought with it some type of stomach bug that went through all six of us, one day at a time.  We also brought home a sweet little yellow lab which we named Mahoney (After Molly Mahoney from Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium).  Our older lab's name is Molly <3  Corny, I know.  Our number three child turned 14 on Valentine's Day and because of that sickness we had to reschedule his birthday!!!  Lord willing it will happen this weekend!!

We had a few medical scares with my other two aunts but praise God, nothing came of it and they are fine.  My mom was in the ER last week for an extremely high blood pressure and heart rate -but all tests have come back fine.  This Tuesday I was in the ER.  I had been having some tightness in my chest and some tingling in my arms.  Another praise, my heart is fine, but I'm still left feeling very anxious and somewhat panicky.  If you know me, you know that that is not me.  I am a calm person and trust God with pretty much everything.

However, today, as far as we know is my hubby's last day of work.  His two year contract is up today and thus far nothing has been resolved to keep him there.  Not for lack of trying, mind you.  His boss has been very diligent in trying to get an extention or get him hired full time, but it seems that that this is not an emergency to anyone else in that company.  So, I am attributing these feelings to the fact that we are staring unemployment square in the eye once again.  Except this time there is no severence package to hold us over.

We've been three  years without benefits, no paid days off, no medical insurance and with four children in the house, that has me shaken up.  I continue to give it to God, knowing and trusting that He is in control.  But its hard as the momma to these precious little people to know that our ability to afford proper medical care is pretty much nonexistent.

So I come today, not to complain or dump, but to simply put the needs out there for any of you who read this and will pray.  We serve a mighty God and I've no doubt that He will continue to carry us.  I don't know what the outcome of this physical anxiety will be, but I'm trusting that He will work that out as well.  Along with the emergency room bill that is sure to be astronomical.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the snow that we've gotten this winter, but now it's March and it's time Spring got her groove on and made an appearance!!!!  Praying all has been well with you!!  Until next time -whenever that will be!!

God Bless - Lorraine

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

My Physical Therapy - Part Two

Hey welcome back!!!!  I was really hopeful through the week that I would feel good enough to shower, get dressed and fixed up and make it youth group.  That didn't happen.  Then I was excited at the thought of getting dressed up on Friday and maybe heading out with my man to do some birthday shopping (see this post).  I have been going mentally crazy thinking about Target and how long it's been since I've been there and I had myself all built up for this incredible night of feeling like a member of the functioning human race, getting out of the house, spending time with the hubs and doing a little shopping.  But as it's been for weeks now, my body doesn't match my mind and I was too tired and empty to make any of that happen. I am trying sooooooo hard to rest and rest in Him.  Trusting in His plan even in this time of sickness and recovery isn't very easy. 

Well that's enough about me, you came to see the house so here's the family room (aka the room in which I spend all of my waking hours).

 
This is my keeping it real shot!!  Julia is laying on the couch because she's not feeling well.  There are things all over the ottomans/tray, but hey, this is life!!!  This at least gives you the set up of the room.  The couch is a little big to be in this position, but I like that it's facing the fireplace and it makes the space feel nice and cozy!!  Some day I'd love to remove the panel and paint.  It's a dark,  errr warm room and I'd love to see how much bigger it feels to brighten it up a bit!!

I was previously using this spool as an end table and since there isn't much room on either end of the couch for a table, I would have either had to pack it away orrrrrr get creative!! 

 

This fireplace is ginormous!!  On one hand it's great, because I can decorate it like crazy.  On the other hand, I don't know how to keep it simple.  Which would be fine except that I'm really craving simplicity. 

I tried a few different configurations and over the course of  a few weeks, I stripped it all down again and took a completely different approach.  I always shop the house first!  I happen to have a small door and few wooden boxes and drawers at my disposal.  I like the old books, it adds fall color and some height to display my jar of mini gourds and pumpkins.  (they're not real so I can use them year after year)
I kept the yellow candle stick from my summer mantle and thought it'd be a great perch for a fun faux pumpkin!!  I added an old camera for some fun and few fall fabric balls that I made years ago.  On the right side, I used a few birch rounds (from our birch trees in the back yard), a frame from summer that I picked up from Hobby Lobby, and an old berry crate.  There's also a little fall garland that I made with string and scrapbook paper and a glue stick.  Easy Peasy!
 
The bushel basket of pinecones and birch logs have been here all summer and I just added a small chalkboard with a seasonal quote "Autumn is a second spring" (where every leaf is a flower).  I decided to stack my old kettles, which I should have emptied first, right Jessica? :)  I also added an old mustard shutter to the back to break up the old brick and just add another layer of interest.
 
On the other side of the fireplace, I decided to bring down a few of my picnic baskets.  I love the red plaid one, it conjurs up all kinds of fun images of great fall picnics under beautiful maple trees bursting with color, warm wool blankets and hot apple cider in a thermos!!  Like the little one on top!  I'm still getting gorgeous roses in the garden and figured I'd better take advantage of that gift before they're done. 
 
Once the roses started to wilt and die, we resused them for a wonderful foot soak!!  Julia had the idea of letting me soak my feet and relax. She's such a sweetheart!!
 
We added some fresh lavendar too.  I soaked for a long time and my feet felt wonderul afterward!!  This is something that I'm going to have to do more regularly!!
 
I haven't done anything to speak of in the kitchen, most of it's a mess honestly.  It's the most used room in the house, so I have to catch it in its rare state of spotless!! lol  So this may or may not be the end of the fall tour.  We'll have to see!!   I'm taking each moment as it comes and can't make any plans. 
 
I hope you've enjoyed the small tour.  I pray that your home is a place of warmth and comfort as we head into the cooler seasons (cooler, ha!  It's 82 degrees here today)  Have a blessed week!!
 
<3 Lorraine
 
 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Physical Therapy

We've already established that I've completely missed the month of September and I've been stuck on the couch doing nothing.  If you know me, you know that that doesn't fly for very long at all.  Eventually I'm gonna crack and have to CHANGE something!!  I love decorating my home for fall and I was so afraid that I was going to miss the opportunity entirely!!  Not happy.  I had my kids bring down my fall boxes from the attic and I vowed to go through little by little and take my time.  I figured that it would be good physical therapy and decorational therapy (is that even a word?)!!  It would get my creativity flowing and also get my muscles moving.  So, although I didn't get to link up with any of the amazing fall home tours, I decided to do one of my own.  Come on in and have a look around!! 

Welcome to our home!!  I haven't done anything on the front step besides hanging this wreath.  I don't really feel like dealing with spiders and cobwebs but hey, if we did celebrate Halloween, I could consider my front step finished!

I am keeping it rrrreal simple in the foyer.  I moved out my small table and mirror that used to occupy this corner and instead just went with my old basket hanger and a few signs of the season.  Don't mind my purse hanging there, feel free to hang yours there as well, or maybe your sweater!!
 
This little cabinet joined the foyer a few months ago.  The girls had it in there room for a long time and it housed Julia's little knick-knacks.  In a simplifying effort by Jessica, I ended up with it!  SCORE!!  One day I think I will end up painting the inset portion of the door with chalkboard paint.  It's a cute place to leave little notes for guests or just sweet reminders for us as we pass by this way throughout the day.
 
The inside isn't very fun but it is functional.  Instead of a drawer full of spare keys and sunglasses, they now reside here!  All of the spare keys are in the little brown crock.  I want to hang a few hooks in here to rest our functional keys on, but we'll see. 
 
Off to your right is our dining room.  I can always feel God's presence in this room in the way the light streams across the table and the hutch, in the two large windows that lead to a beautiful view of the fields and trees across the street, so colorful this time of year.
 




I am on a constant quest for simplicity in my home.  I have a lot of furniture and even more things to decorate with and after a while it starts getting to me.  I love everything that I have and it's hard to know what to get rid of, so that usually keeps me from truly moving forward.  But I started the simplifying process in the foyer and dining room and I hope that I can continue that throughout the house.
 
Come back to see the family room, and prayerfully the rest of the downstairs space.  Like I said I'm taking this slow, so it may be Christmas before we finish here!!  Kidding!!!  It better not take that long.  My patience is wearing thin already!!  
 
Have a blessed weekend!!  Thanks for stopping by!!  See you next time!!
 
<3 Lorraine

 
 
 





 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Great Disappearing Act

So I've been sick with pneumonia for the month of September, yes the month!  I feel so much better than I did when this started but now I'm left with exhaustion, weakness and the repeating question "Are you coming?".  Like most people, my September comes in like an explosion, full of activities, celebrations and just a busy daily life.  So you can see, the timing is all off!!!  Not that there really would be a better time to get sick.  Maybe winter, to nestle into the couch with a comfy blanket and a box of tissues doesn't sound as bad as it does in September!!  Birthdays have come and gone, first soccer games (and several after) have come and gone, kick offs have been executed and enjoyed.  A lot of life is lived in September. Memories have been made and people are probably still talking about the Fall Kick-Off Nacho Bowl!  I, however, have missed them all.  Not easy.


However, here are a few of the memories that I have made in the month of September, all was not lost!!! haha!!

I can now say that I have watched television for four weeks straight!!  Never have I ever been able to say that! Ha! Me and Netflix are tight!! Let's see, I've watched four out of five seasons of "My Fair Wedding" with David Tutera, several seasons of "Kitchen Nightmares" with Gordon Ramsey, more movies than I can list or remember, including "Safe Haven" and "October Baby".  Needless to say, I needed tissues!!!

at least I had a window to look out of

I got in a good ab workout in the first few weeks due to the lovely tight chested hacking I did!  I believe I dropped a few lbs as well!!  I wore a comfy rut in my couch from being there for 10 plus hours each day.  I'm so glad it's a comfy couch!!!

I have played a few rounds of Monopoly Millionare (and won once) with my girls and then again with my boys and then with one of my girls and one of my boys!


Jaysen and Julia
 

Jessica and Julia
 

I spent some time outside and even got in a little walk around the yard last week.  A HUGE refresher for me!!



My parents came over in the beginning and brought me a "sick basket"!  What's that you may ask?  Well when my kiddos were smallish, I would make them up a basket of supplies when they were sick on the couch, it would include tissues (if the sickness required them), snacks, a juice cup, books to read, coloring books & crayons, small toys to play and of course it was wrapped with all the love and prayers for a quick healing that I could give.  They loved it. 

my sick basket
There is nothing worse (well, there is but for the sake of the story, go with me, m'kay?) than being alone and sick on the couch while the rest of your family happily lives out their days.  Talking, playing, laughing, etc.  A sick basket makes the sickee feel special when they are confined to such torture!!  So it was a very happy surprise to see my momma bring in that basket o' goodies!!  Magazines, tissues, Vicks Vapor Rub, cough drops, chicken noodle soup, snacks and more!

Let's see, what else..............well, I wrestled a bit, a lot actually.  I wrestled with the fact that I had to miss out on so many great activities.  On the one side of that was the sadness that I wouldn't be a part of those events, on the other side was the guilt of having to back out of responsibilities.  That was tough!!  I take my responsibilties very seriously and I don't like telling people No or that I can't uphold my end of things.  Although I am very aware of the fact that I had a perfectly good reason and no one would even second guess or question my reason, it is foreign to me to back out of something that I commit too.  There were eight events that I had to sit out of (and that was just the first TWO weeks)!!  Plus three out of my five children celebrated birthdays, well, there wasn't much of a celebration.  They pretty much came and went.  That was probably the hardest. It was really, really, really, really hard.

After getting antibiotics and a strong cough syrup, I wrestled with being forced to stop and just be still.  I don't do that well either :/  My friends and family are now laughing out loud (aren't you??)  I don't know how many people lovingly said something to the affect of "Well, I guess God had to slow you down somehow!"  I know they meant well, and I'm not saying that they aren't right, but honestly, I don't want, or rather I didn't want to hear that.  I'm out there doing good, why would He want me to stop??!! It made no sense to me!

would love love love to renovate this some day

I still haven't wrapped my head around that one, but I do know when He says REST, I will rest.  I was asked the question the other day, "Are you just resting or are you resting IN HIM?"  There is a very large difference and I'm sad to say that I've barely just rested and I don't think I've even come close (maybe a tiny bit) to resting in Him.  I believe that He knew it would be a struggle and that resting in Him may not even come until I am well on my way.  There are a lot of layers that He has to dig through in order to get to the raw places of my heart and mind. 

If you are anything like me, you know that there is a lot of work to be done and by golly, I have to do it and do all of it.  We (can I include you in this so that I don't feel like I'm just picking on myself?  I can? Thanks) WE tend to think that we are the only ones in the world that can do our jobs and seriously, if anyone else even dared to try to do our jobs, surely they wouldn't do it as well!!  Right?  So with that reality alone, there was a lot that I had to wrestle with in order to come to terms and admit that that is a stupid thought!!!  Do we truly believe that God can only use US?  Who would admit that?  Not m.....well, yes, I am admitting that. 

We Americans tend to wave our "busyness" high over our heads like a banner.  Like the busier we are, the more holy and righteous we are.  What silliness.  It couldn't be further from the truth.  The busier we are (even if its with holy things) the further away from God we can become.  In fact, we then become our own god, proclaiming "Look at all that I can accomplish!!"  and when people compliment us on that fact, our heads just swell up even more and more space develops in the chasm between us and our Father.  It's sad.  I can picture God sitting there, sighing and shaking His head while He patiently waits for us to have a lightbulb moment.


I'm glad that He will allow things to pop up, at the most inopportune times, to get our attention.  He has mine.  He didn't get it easily, that's for sure.  But He has it now.  Another thing that I've learned is that I tend to do everything because of what I think someone's expectations of me are.  That doesn't leave any room for true downtime or for saying NO.  Whether there is a tangible reason or just the pure need to say "no, I can't", I will typically push through, no matter what I'm feeling or needing, and just do it.  You asked, you need me, I must comply.

At this point in the sickness, I believe the pneumonia is gone.  I still have a cough, it's nothing really compared to the beginning, and I'm really, really tired.  I can hold a conversation easily enough and I'm not lethargic on the couch, so I appear fine.  It is expected that I would have returned to my "duties" by now.  But I haven't.  After receiving much wise counsel from others, I know that I need to take this really slowly.  I can't rush back just because I feel a big difference from when this started.  I don't want to end up back on the couch. 

Bill managed to snag the seat next to me
 on the couch once or twice
To continue telling my husband that I'm missing yet another weekend of soccer games is really, really hard. To see my 9 year olds face fall when I tell her I'm staying home is really, really hard.  The expectation that I will be there is great and rightfully so. Guilt is pounding at my door and I can't let it in.  Ugh, that's hard.....I'm sure you know how hard it is, or maybe you still fling the door wide open when guilt comes a knockin'.  Either way, we are all familiar with the power of guilt and condemnation.

Romans 8:1 says, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,"  Hmmmmm that's interesting!  I have been so tempted to just suck it up and push through, it's what I do.  It's what my husband does.  Standing up against that is a challenge.  But if I proclaim to know the truth and believe the truth, then I am required to follow the truth and not the lies.

There are a ton of lies that I believe and yet at the same time I say that I believe the Truth.  I can't have it both ways, I must choose who I will serve.  Boy am I thankful for His Grace!!!  He knows.  HE. KNOWS.  And He loves me anyway.  That is a beautiful truth!  One that I am desperately holding onto.

I don't know when I'll be back to regular life.  I don't know if this downtime will result in my saying NO to things more often, or if I will just be more mindful of times of rest, not merely rest, but rest in HIM.  I am taking each day and moment as it comes.  I know that I am getting better each and every day.  Thank you to those of you who have checked in on me and have faithfully prayed for me and for my family.  I can't imagine what things would be like over here if it weren't for my family.  Jessica, specifically.  She has gone above and beyond that of a 16, oooh sorry, SEVENTEEN year old would do.  She has cooked and cleaned and homeschooled her siblings for me along with carrying her own college workload and other resonsibilities.  My parents, husband and children are truly a blessing to me.  They continue to do what is needed and I know that I can always count on them.

I am going to try to put "me" first a little bit more.  I want time to blog regularly (its a committment that I made and I want to keep it), I want time to read, to spend time with friends and family, I want to Rest in Him, each and every moment of the day.  I want to say NO to guilt and condemnation and I don't want to believe the lies any longer.  I am a daughter of the King and that means that there is no place for the father of lies in my head, my heart or my home.

I would love, love, LOVE to hear from you!!  Please tell me how you've enjoyed the first month of fall!!  I want to hear about how you decorated your homes for the season, the events that you've been a part of, the experience of the sipping the first Pumpkin Spice Cappucino, all of it!  I promise not to get jealous, but I will sing praise and thanksgiving for the gifts that He's given you and me in the month of September!!

Be blessed <3 Lorraine