Monday, March 26, 2012

It Changes Everything...

For the last several months I've really been digging deep to figure out my place in this world.
(go ahead, sing it like Michael W. Smith)
This process really began after Madelynn passed away.
This unthinkable event changing everything.
Which direction would this path I'm on go?

My story (our story) is not uncommon.
Families are experiencing loss daily.
Luckily for us, our story was immersed in prayer at the moment of loss.
Prayers for peace and comfort.
Things we felt instantly.
I am so thankful to have been spared anger at Him who created our perfect Madelynn.
I learned in that moment that absolute power of prayer, 
and the peace that can only come from a loving God.

In the months following this new journey I started to notice a change in how I thought about things.
Tragedy changes you.
It's an inevitable process.
For me it had become about what really mattered in God's eyes.
My concern wasn't just about the good things we have in our life.
I started to really think about others and what they are going through.
I felt a greater purpose to what I was I supposed to be doing.
I had a story that I knew I needed to share with others.
I had/have a heavy burden to care for others, compassion for others.
But how is that going to look in my life?

My dilemma was time.
I work full time.
I'm a mom of two kids here on earth that needed me.
I'm a wife.
I'm not a night owl or a morning person.  (double whammy)
I'm tortured because I feel I can't devote the time to things that had become so important to me.
I need to make a change.
What is that change, I know not!

But, change scares me.
No, strike that, it terrifies me!
You see, at 34 years old, I was really just learning to trust God and put all my faith in Him.
Trust Him to provide.
Now two years later, I'm really working on having faith.
I feel like Indiana Jones as he set his foot out to take that first step on the "invisible" bridge.
My foot is out in front of me.
Except I lean forward and then pull myself back.
I'm lucky, I know it's there.
Yet, I waver.  Yes, No, Maybe, Yes, No, Maybe, YIKES!
I suppose I need a gentle push, or maybe a swift kick in the pants!

So here I am, 36 years old.
Things are good, but are they the best?
I'm starting to break out of my box that has been oh so comfortable.
I'm still digging deep inside my heart.
I'll be honest, I feel in limbo.
Not sure what is going on.
I feel God is speaking to me, just not sure exactly what He's saying.
I struggle with discernment and clarity.
I have a hard time knowing if it's God guiding me or me telling God that He's guiding me.
(not sure that makes sense without me telling you in person without the oh so helpful hand gestures)

The part I lack in is studying His word.
I need to make that time my first priority in each day.
That needs to be the source, the place I put my trust.
 I need to equip myself with His words.
Too be ready for what He has for me.

(And airplane writing in sky wouldn't be so bad either though!)

Finding the blessings,

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Thoughts

So many random thoughts to share with you.
I'm constantly thinking about what I'm going to blog about.
Today my thoughts kept getting interrupted by the busyness of life.

The van went into to get serviced and to check out the constant squealing I was hearing.
I noticed it  last week.
The windows were down and the music was quiet.
Hmmmm, wonder how long that's been squeaking?
Took it in to find out we needed new front and rear brakes with a fluid change for good measure.
Yikes!  Just what I wanted to drop some serious cash (credit) on.
I had so many plans for that money.
It was supposed to go to other bills, not create new ones.
But, I must remember that my car is now safe.
And also pushing 95,000 miles!

This week I finished reading 7 by Jen Hatmaker.
OMG!  Literally!  Oh, my God!
How He was speaking to me through her journey to reduce a life of excess.
To lead a life surrendered to Him and to leading others to a life in Him.
To use what we have been blessed with to help others.
I walk around the house antsy thinking of what we can part with,
and what I can pay off with that money.
I crave being in a position free of debt so that I can use the money I make to reach out and help my community.

Now I've started reading the book Interrupted also by Jen Hatmaker.
This book tells her story about how her comfortable life was interrupted.
The American Life: college, home, everything you want, the perfect pastor's wife, etc.
God breaking through all that to reveal a greater plan for her, to stir a passion in her.
A plan that causes us to step out of the greatness of our life to find what's best for our life.
But not without gut wrenching tension, a revealing of what is happening around us.
A coming to grips with this new path that God is calling you down.
Seeking His face and trusting completely.

That's kind of how I feel is happening in my life right now.
This good life I have right now being interrupted by a new passion.
A passion to reach out of my comfort zone.
Something that takes the best of me to complete.
Which then is the best for furthering God's kingdom here on earth.

Finding the blessings,

Friday, March 9, 2012


This weekend of the year is always my favorite.
Report cards are done and ready to go home.
Grading is all caught up (had to get done to do grades).
I can feel the stress aches of my body going away.
Oh, that pain that's been bugging for a month seems to not feel so bad tonight.
Imagine that!

For you all non-teacher folks, it's not all weekends and summers off hooray!
It is an exhausting adventure.
But, I know you know that.
Most people are super respectful of the job teachers have in this day and age!
I thank you for that!

Tonight I went to another meeting for A Legacy of Love.
This is a pregnancy and infant loss support group.
It's so nice to be able to be in a room with other moms who know this road.
We don't sit around and have a, "woe is me" attitude or wallow in our grief.
We share what's going in our loves.
We give advice to someone struggling with a decision.
We talk about how we deal with different aspects of loss.
We listen to each other.
We laugh,
We cry,
We feel connected.
If you know someone who could benefit from this group 
please feel free to share my contact info. or direct them to 

So, Fridays are supposed to be about frugality and/or finances.
I wish I could say I've done an incredible job.
But, I haven't.
I'm addicted to the red stickers at Target.
I convince myself that each killer deal has a purpose and a place in my house.
I am working on having self discipline.
I went to Target two nights ago to get the men of the house some things.
Nathaniel got two pairs of shoes (one with a red sticker) and daddy got some stuff.
My only clearance buy was a pair of gray flats with a black bow for $7.48.
Come on, you know that a deal like that cannot, I say cannot be passed up!

I also took my First Friday of the Month visit to the Visalia Emergency Aid Thrift Shop.
Why you ask?
Because it's 50% off the whole store that day.
I bought a couple of candle holders and a curtain from the '60s or '70s.
The curtain has a burlappy look and was only $1.00.
Gonna make something purdy with it!
Eventually!  hehehehe

Anywho, we have managed to knock out a few bills, which always gives me a rush of excitement.
After reading the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker, 
I do find myself becoming more passionate about getting this all under control.
The truth of the matter is that I want to be a good steward of what God has blessed me with.
I want to be in a position that when a need arises in my community I am able to step up and help.
It is tiring to be strapped to debt.
We are slowly cutting away the binds.
This week we were able to help some friends out.
What a blessing to know that we are being God's hands in our community in a time of need.
We are excited for the plans God has for us as 
we become free from debt and become surrendered to His plans.

I want to end with some thoughts of gratitude.
Since I missed Thursdays post.
Yeah, was in bed by 8:30 pm.
Like I said, report cards, conferences, oh my!

I am thankful for the skills that God gives people in a variety of areas.
A couple weeks of ago our upstairs bathroom flooded.
Quick shout out to my boy child who loses focus easy and left the water on full blast after brushing his teeth and then went downstairs to take his bath! 
You the man!!
Servicemaster came in with their pleasant sounding fans and dehumidifiers to dry everything out.
Insurance came and gave us money to get repairs done.
Somewhere along the lines I assumed that the insurance organized the repair work.
Silly me!
Jason was able to get everything organized.
Last weekend and this week everything was repaired.
Good as new.
I am so thankful to the men who blessed us with their talents in construction.
They came in and did a wonderful job.
God blessed us with a painless fix to the flood in our life. (yeah, I know, Cheesy!)

It's late.
It's been a week.
I want to enjoy the extra sleep I get by sleeping in tomorrow.
Lord knows I'm not gonna like losing that hour tomorrow night.
Don't forget to set your clocks ahead!!

Can't wait to share a weekend wrap up with you as I will be getting my craft on this weekend!

Finding the blessings,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Oh Yeah, I Wore it!

Sometimes I crack myself up you know.
Do you ever just sit back and make yourself laugh?

Okay, so I've been really trying to do new things, but have sort of hit a brick wall.
I've just been so exhausted.
I'm lucky to make it to work on time.
I do have some pictures to share because I know how much you all want to see what I wear :)

Now, ladies (and the occasional gentleman) I'm bringing it!

Up first is a shot of me after my new haircut.
Genius work of April Warford at Eclectic Chic.
Of course it only looked this awesome that day.
I need an extra set of hands that can do the back of my hair.

Not sure when I wore this outfit.
Shirt is from Target,
Jacket from Lane Bryant,
Pants from Kohl's (Killer Deal)
 Can't really see it in the pic, but this blouse also has a leopard pattern.
See new wild purchase below.
I love shoes.  
Especially the kind that are 70% off.
And you know why, because when clothes don't fit the shoes always do!
Sort of.
 You know you want a pair!

Here's me thinking outside the box.
The vest was like $6 from Kohl's.
Not a bad investment to try something new.
The shirt is from Lane Bryant from many moons ago.
Wasn't able to wear it for a couple of years.
Some major gappage if you knows what I mean ;)
I also wore my black boots over my jeans.
It was a real stretch for me!

Well, that's all folks!
Until next week,
may the fashion be with you!


So witty tonight!

Finding the blessings,
(and new clothing ideas)

Go over here to see what other fun stuff gals are doing with the stuff in their closets!
pleated poppy

Go here too:
Momma Go Round

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I'm Back...but really messed up!

Did that title get you hoppin on over here to this ole blog?
I'm ready to get back to blogging, and oh how I've missed it!
Grading work and report cards have bogged down my time and my brain cells.
Kids with so many needs pulling out all my energy leaving me exhausted by days end.
Crabtree family things taking me from end of work to beddy by time.
But oh how my heart has been working, twisting and turning, being refined daily.

So here it is...
I'm really messed up.
Not in a I need professional help kind of way, but in a heart transformation kind of way.
Extreme tragedy in my life has ignited a soul search.
We have this one life.
This one life to live fully and completely.
To make an impact on others and serve others.

"Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge:
"God authorized and commanded me to commission you:
Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life,
marking them by baptism in the threefold: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.
I'll be with you as you do this,
day after day after day,
right up to the end of the age."
Matthew 28: 18-20 MSG

It's more than the "American Dream" of owning the house, 
two cars, furniture, careers, trips to Disneyland (oh I said it).
I would dare to say that I am in the midst of a radical transformation.
One that some people may not understand fully, but one that is tugging at me day in and day out.

It's not easy to put into words but it's something that Jason and I share and talk about all the time.
Right now I'm reading two books:

Radical Together by David Platt

Amazon says:
Take the next step. From radical followers of Christ to radical communities of faith.
In Radical, David Platt’s plea for Christians to take back their faith from the American Dream resonated with readers everywhere, and the book quickly became aNew York Times bestseller. Now in Radical Together, the author broadens his call, challenging us to unite around a gospel-centered vision. 
How, he asks, might such a vision reshape our priorities as the body of Christ? How might well-intentioned Christians actually prevent God’s people from accomplishing God’s purpose? And, how can we best unleash the people of God in the church to carry out the purpose of God in the world? 
Writing to everyone who desires to make an impact for God’s glory—whether you are an involved member, a leader, or a pastor—Dr. Platt shares six foundational ideas that fuel radical obedience among Christians in the church. With compelling Bible teaching and inspiring stories from around the world, he will help you apply the revolutionary claims and commands of Christ to your community of faith in fresh, practical ways.

7 by Jen Hatmaker

Again from Amazon:
American life can be excessive, to say the least. That’s what Jen Hatmaker had to admit after taking in hurricane victims who commented on the extravagance of her family’s upper middle class home. She once considered herself unmotivated by the lure of prosperity, but upon being called “rich” by an undeniably poor child, evidence to the contrary mounted, and a social experiment turned spiritual was born.
7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
Food. Clothes. Spending. Media. Possessions. Waste. Stress. They would spend thirty days on each topic, boiling it down to the number seven. Only eat seven foods, wear seven articles of clothing, and spend money in seven places. Eliminate use of seven media types, give away seven things each day for one month, adopt seven green habits, and observe “seven sacred pauses.” So, what’s the payoff from living a deeply reduced life? It’s the discovery of a greatly increased God—a call toward Christ-like simplicity and generosity that transcends social experiment to become a radically better existence.

These two books are speaking directly to my heart.
It's like they were in my heart.
"This one's for you Denise!"
I find myself engrossed in what the authors are sharing.
"Yes, I get it.  
I totally can related to you.  
Please can I call you (err, text you)?"
I want to sit down with Jen, Bibles in hand, and pray and talk.

We are called as believers to a radical life.
A community of believers that serve the community.
Not just our immediate community, the ones like us, but God's community.
The orphans, widows, homeless, injured, and downtrodden.

Read this parable told by Jesus.
(Insert self for sheep and goats)

Matthew 25:31-46

The Message (MSG)

The Sheep and the Goats

 31-33"When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

 34-36"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: 

   I was hungry and you fed me, 

   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, 

   I was homeless and you gave me a room, 

   I was shivering and you gave me clothes, 

   I was sick and you stopped to visit, 

   I was in prison and you came to me.'

 37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

 41-43"Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— 

   I was hungry and you gave me no meal, 

   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 

   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, 

   I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, 

   Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'

 44"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?'

 45"He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'

 46"Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward."

In our small group at church we have studied how to study the Bible.
The central verse has been Micah 6:8.

The Message version says:
But he's already made it plain how to live,
what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple:
Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously-
take God seriously.

We are blessed, things are good.
But are they the best?
Are we living the best for God? 
Hmmmm, so much to think about.

Finding the blessings,

Linked up over here with others sharing their hearts.