Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Final Post

Hey ya’ll. Its been awhile, hey? Well, I’m back, at least for today. Sadly, this is going to be a final post of sorts, at least for a while. I will likely post a pic or two of the little darling I’m wearing on the inside these days and maybe a family update or two from time to time, especially if the Lord does indeed lead us to adopt. Most likely I will also share a few of the crazy happenings of having 4 babies in 5 years…..if I survive that is!

I’m 4 ½ months (18 weeks) and still waiting for the “second trimester energy” to kick in. Ugh.

The reason for this “sabbatical” is that God has gently told me that it’s time to shelve the blog for a time. I’ve know for a while that it was time to shelve most of my writing aspirations, but I was still hanging onto to blog, hoping that it wasn’t included in the list of things God wanted me to release.

This may be a longer post (making up for lost time much?), so forgive me, but it seemed silly to do Final Post Part I and Final Post Part II, you know?  So grab a cup of coffee. And…maybe a scone. My personal favorite is whole wheat chocolate cherry.

Ok, now that you have your snack (eat slowly), let’s get started. First I want to share a little (maybe a little too much… ) history.

Imagine with me a time that God released you to do something you really, really wanted to do. Maybe you were so overcome with excitement you could hardly stand it. Maybe you had prayed about it for years, waiting for God’s perfect timing. Maybe you had to save up or raise the funds to make it possible. Maybe it took years of prayer before the tiny spark grew into a real flame. Maybe you even broke up with your husband after a couple months of dating b/c you weren’t sure you shared the same dream. Wait, that would never happen.

The fact that it was coming to be seemed too good to be true. 

A dream was coming true. 

Things were falling into place.

This dream was ceasing to be a dream and starting to be your new normal. Maybe you were counting down the days, planning out all the details, trying to anticipate everything that could be anticipated. Maybe you soaked up each and every delicious moment of your dream, doing your very best to be completely present, to trust God, to remember each precious memory of God’s faithfulness.  

Maybe the time came to buy plane tickets. You’d already rented out your house, given away furniture and car, quit job, packed all your earthly belongings into bright yellow action packers, and taken community ed French.…..

And maybe God told you stop the car. Not just stop the car, but turn it off, get out, shut the door with the keys inside and walk away.

Don’t look back.

Move on.

Start a new chapter.

What you thought was going to be your new normal was actually just going to end up in the ‘unrealized dream’ category.

Maybe it was hard.


Going from painful obedience to joyful sacrifice is usually hard, at least in my limited experience. I’m still in the middle somewhere in between obedience and sacrifice and it’s been over 4 years. It’s possible that I process change slowly.

It’s been in this extended process of grieving the loss of this dream that God began to birth a new and VERY unexpected (and wicked scary!) dream of a new variety. A dream of ministering through the arts of speaking and writing.

What you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?!?

For a few years, I was really scared to admit this to anyone, to say it out loud, or even “confess” that this is what I was praying about. I’ve never considered myself a very good writer or public speaker, but regardless of that I’m not afraid anymore. God made a donkey speak afterall :) This was never my dream to start with. I didn’t pick it, ask for it or even want it. And if it ever becomes a reality happens, it will be truly miraculous! But hey, I believe in miracles, and I’m willing to spend my life doing whatever He deems best. Go big or go home, right? Eek!

I wanted to be a missionary for a long time, over half my life.  Seeing that dream disintegrate before my very eyes broke my heart, but it’s taught me that God always has a plan. It’s not a back-up plan either. His new plan is always a better plan than the first. Always. That’s how He rolls, ya’ll. Believe it. This new dream soften the blow a bit as well; it took some of the sting out knowing He had something else up His sleeve. It's one this to know that in your heart, another to feel a little more hope of it in your heart.

Beautiful thing is, I don’t need to remind God what He has spoken to me b/c He’s the one who said it.

Let that sink in a minute.

Maybe even reread it. I know I need to.

He remembers the promises He’s given to me b/c He gave them. Though I stumble through my faithfulness, He wavers not. Maybe He’s told you you’ll have a biological child, maybe He’s called you to the nations, maybe He’s told you He would heal your body or bring salvation to your loved one or pull you out of the pit of addiction. Maybe He told you He’d bring reconciliation to your marriage. He remembers, dear one, He remembers what He’s said to you b/c HE SAID IT!

Can I get a hallelujah!?!

Ok, if you’re still reading I promise I’m getting to my point…..

I feel like dust right now; insignificant and easily blown about. It’s been a tough summer. Yet I am reminded that God makes beautiful things from dust. According to His Word, He remembers that we are but dust, He knows what we have been formed from (Psalm 103:14). So maybe it’s ok that I feel like dust. I may be dingy now, but beauty’s coming.

All of this brings me to my main point. I know, finally, right!? This little sack of dust shouldn’t be writing no blog. Not right now. The kind of blog that I want to write, I’m not capable of doing right now and I don’t want to pander just to get readers. I don’t mind the occasional recipe or DIY, but that’s not my heart. In order to bring the type of discourse to the inter-webs that I desire, I need to walk deeper into this valley and come out on the other side with more victory. Do I have a few great stories, anecdotes, experiences already? Sure I do. But I want more. I want to write in a way that births a new understanding of my Jesus in my readers and to do that I need more Jesus myself. A. Lot. More.

Ultimately, God’s made it clear to me that this isn’t my time to blog, write, etc. I do hope to back someday.

Either way, I do want to leave you with a couple of the blogs that I love. I read very, very few blogs faithfully, but these 2 blogs I always read and I am always blessed. There are many excellent bloggers out there and I love that there are so many unique voices at my fingertips, I just don’t get much time to read them regularly.

Someday I hope to blog like these lovely ladies.  :)

I can’t remember how I found this blog but I love it. I love her heart, I love her writing style, I love her passion and I love her depth. If anything will keep me coming back for more, its depth. She write a lot about adoption, but honestly, her stuff is great and I think anyone can relate to the truths she unfolds. I cry almost every time I read it, but maybe that’s just cuz I’m prego…

My girl Monica over at Elevate Ideas is an all star. All. Star. I laugh, I cry and I am deeply challenged and encouraged by what she writes. I met her last summer at a womens’ writing/speaking conference (She Speaks). She was my prayer pal and the rest is history. She was recently launched into the world of speaking engagements, which is very exciting. No one likes a bragger, but I called that one a year ago (ahem). Grin. Just sayin'.

Thanks for reading.

Like Jack Bauer, I’m going dark.

Peace out, ya’ll.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Keep on keepin' on

My parenting style as of late has been survival. Straight up.

Up until recently, 2 out of 3 littles had borderline mullets and no one is getting their teeth brushed more than once a day. Including me.



Main goal has been to keep everyone alive and fairly safe until Daddy gets home. Fortunately, I have rocked that goal. I mean, no one looks cute anymore, we aren't eating very many vegetables and we are consuming lots of frozen pizza, but hey, everyone is alive. And frankly the kids are probably thrilled with the new menu.

Well, maybe you guessed it already, but Mama's pregnant.

Baby #4 is in the oven!

It's like having a newborn again. I sleep when they sleep, and I certainly don't waste any energy showering when I could be resting (or vomiting). I am just too exhausted.

Tired, but thrilled.

God's timing is certainly interesting.

Same week when we committed to growing our family through adoption from here on out....surprise!!!

Oh well, He's the boss :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Giveaway!

Alright, folks, this is it. I have dangled it in front of you long enough, but its time for a real giveaway. So this Friday, I will be giving away this awesome book.

This book is written by a missionary who lives and ministers in the largest Muslim nation in the world. I met him last fall and though I only had a chance to speak with him for a few minutes, that was all the time I needed to catch the vision. His ministry is big time. After hearing about all that God is doing in this closed country in SE Asia, I was ready to stow away in his suitcase!

That might not seem like much of a statement for someone who loves missions, but its been awhile since I have been this excited about a specific ministry. Quite a while.

"Jim Baton" (pen name) is truly living the dream. My dream anyway. For a few years now, members of his community have been meeting Jesus in their dreams and then coming to Jim and his wife and their team to ask questions and learn more about this Jesus. This is epic, people, this is the stuff that missionary dreams are made of! Shazam!!!

Truthfully, I only bought the book to support the ministry. Actually, I bought three even though I didn't even plan on reading it. But then I started to hear the reviews and my interest was piqued.

If you know me very well, you know I don't read anymore. Maybe an occasional magazine or the newspaper, but that's about it. I used to read a lot. But these days, that just never seems to make it into the top pick for my limited recreation time.

Even when I used to read, I was never a huge fan of fiction. I had a brief stint of leisurely reading which consisted of the Twilight books and the Hunger Games series, but that's about it. Don't judge me. Nothing else kept my interest and these days, if I read, I fall asleep.

That said, this book is fiction and I read it in 2 days. I even stayed up LATE to read it. Now that is saying something. The stories are taken from Jim's personal experiences and stories he's collected during their 15 years in-country.

I think you'll like it. Even if you don't, you will.   :)

Since everyone wants to be a winner, there are 3 ways to win:

1. Follow my blog (click "join this site" under the followers heading)
2. Like The Spicy Mustard Seed Facebook page
3. Share your favorite blogpost on FB

Then leave a comment telling me you did so.

You can enter your name up to 3 times. That's 3 chances to win this awesome book! Just be sure to leave a comment telling me which one(s) you did, so that I can enter your name the appropriate number of times.

Giveaway ends Friday June 28th at midnight CST.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Favorite Quote Friday, A Father's Heart

On Father's Day, I had a few sweet moments to myself to remember my dad and to be thankful for the father I had for over 32 years. I did "torture" myself just a tiny bit by listening to our song, the one we danced to at my wedding, looking at some old family pictures, and flipping through one of Dad's old Bibles.

Maybe it was all a little too much, but sometimes I want to feel the hurt. I find myself wanting to be reminded of the ache of loss, particularly on a few special days throughout the year. It hurts so good, I guess... I would rather hurt than forget.

As I thumbed through his worn and much-loved Bible, I stumbled upon the very same page I had gazed at just moments after Dad passed.

Scrawled at the top of the page in his small, meticulous writing was this:

The mission of a father is to equip his sons and daughters to inherit the earth.

The heart of a father. 

My dad wasn't perfect. But this mission was etched into his life by his Father in the years leading up to his death and I believe the truth of that can be evidenced by my life and those close to him.  

So thankful that I had 32+ years. They weren't enough, but they were a gift.

The beauty is that you don't need to be a father to have a father's heart! You don't even need to have children. The world needs fathers and God wants to equip us to equip others. 

Be blessed and have a great weekend.    

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Teach a Man to Fish

I have a lot of favorite things.

Missions is one of my very, very favorite things in all the world. I love missionaries. I appreciate the sacrifices they willingly make to live overseas. I am thankful for the comforts of their culture they forego in order to share the Gospel. I love to pray for them and I love to spend time with them.

When Tim and I were preparing to move overseas ourselves, we had the privilege of attending an amazing fundraising training put on by The Navigators. This week long training session left us feeling very prepared for the intense and rigorous process of raising funds to work overseas. Raising personal support for any type of ministry can be incredibly taxing. We've been there, we get it. So another of my favorite things is helping to equip missionaries, and those in local ministry, with this same type of skill set for raising money. Especially since one of the common reasons missionaries come off the field is a lack of funding.

We were thrilled to have some friends over last week to do this very thing. Our basement even flooded that afternoon and we didn't cancel, that's how excited we were! The show must go on! Plus, I think we're nerds when it comes to this stuff :)

Our friends, Tom and Cathy, have given themselves over to the ministry of the Gospel here in the Twin Cities through River of Hope Ministries. It was a thrill for us to brainstorm and dream with them as well as share practical advice and strategy for fundraising techniques. I know, we're such dorks, but we really love it!!!

While I strongly believe in and am always very willing to ask the Church for finances on behalf of missionaries and those in ministry, I also think its endlessly valuable for them to know how to and feel confident asking for funds for that which God has called them to. So when it comes to coaching someone through fundraising, its the whole "teach a man to fish idea."

It was nice to feel relevant and be helpful in a way that doesn't have anything to do with diapers, childcare or meals :)

Hug (or love on via the internet) a missionary today!

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Little Sweet for Your Salty

I don't know about you, but Mondays can be a little salty.

So here's a sweet little story for your Monday  :)

I love to rearrange our furniture. When you don't have interesting room designs, you have to be creative with where you put your furniture and I am always trying to find the best arrangement of our seating. I also really like comfortable seating, so rather than have the option of bringing in hard kitchen chairs to seat a crowd, I'm always looking for an inexpensive way to provide lots of comfy seats for my guests.

We always seem to have plethora of chairs. They are great chairs, in great colors, but you can only have so many chairs in 1 room before it feels awkward. Trust me.

So a few months ago, I was telling Tim that we need some loveseats. Loveseats is really what would make a huge difference in both our living room and family room. Loveseats. 2 seats in 1! What a deal!

He wasn't convinced.

Since I wasn't about to go out and buy 2 new loveseats, I filed away my bright idea.

I have trying to get better at taking my needs to the Lord before I try to finagle my own solution. He's so much better at providing for me. So I shared with God that it would really be nice to have a couple of loveseats. Then I forgot about it.

Well, in the past 2 months or so, for the grand total of $50, I have acquired 2 loveseats. And may I also say, 1 is red and 1 is blue, and they match perfectly with our other red (living room) and blue (family room) furniture.
love a good loveseat!
God is so good. He cuts my salty with the perfect amount of sweet. He knows what I need and He knows what I want, and sometimes they line up. And its sweet. Sweet like a daddy who goes out and buys you binoculars so that when you go to the N'Sync concert with your girls, you'll be able to see them dance. So sweet.

This is the God who loves us. And He loves us well. Even when our "needs" are silly and unnecessary. 

I think I need some pretzel M&Ms.....some sweet and some salty.

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fave Quote Friday

If you're new to the blog, Friday's are for a favorite quote of mine and I'm doing a series on awesome things my awesome friends have said. Although the last 2 weeks I did quote my son and my husband...I do call Jackson 'my little friend' and Tim is my best friend....so I guess it still counts.  :)

This week's quote:

"We have made a conscious decision
to not be upwardly mobile."

 Highclere Castle – Berkshire
Downton Abby is my dream home, LOL

I love love love this! It has been a salve to my heart and has deeply challenged me.

Tim and I were chatting with some like-minded friends a couple years ago about their family members not understanding why they wouldn't want to be moving up the American food chain. You know the drill: bigger house, better neighborhood, nicer car, fancier schools, cabin, boat, etc. etc.

I love this ideal so, so very much b/c it forces me to think about what I value and what I want to teach my boys to value. This idea is counter-cultural and I think that's a good thing! I am raising my family in a super-sized society where everything just gets bigger and bigger, from the bag of baby carrots at Costco to our homes and the storage units where we keep our "extra" stuff.

I am so thankful to be an American and to be free to experience that privileges that come with my citizenship; they are many.

But bigger isn't always better.

There is nothing overtly wrong with a big house and I am all for God's blessings and sometimes that looks like a really big house. But keeping up with the Joneses is over-rated and really bad for our state of mind. I know that its always good for me to challenge the motives of my heart. Just b/c I can have something, does it mean I ought to? When does an indulgence become an over-indulgence?

I want to be able to ask myself these hard questions rather than asking myself what my "goal neighborhood" is.

I also want to get better at practicing the art of contentment. Especially in a world where it's really easy to be uncontent.

Since I do love a two-for-one, here's another quote from my Jackson: "I want what I want."  (usually said in a high-pitched whiney voice)

Isn't that the truth for all of us?!

We want what we want.

I want to want what God wants.

I want to get better at wanting what God wants.

Happy Friday, ya'll! 
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