Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Decades Party

Over the weekend our girls ministry hosted a decades party for all of our high school girls.  We dressed up, ate lots of sweets, danced and just had fun being together.

We also talked for a little about the timelessness of God.  It's amazing to think that throughout all of the changes of this world our God is always the same.  Here are some thoughts...

God and Time:

For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 peter 3:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Malachi 3:6 “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God. Psalm 90:2 
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19
Us and Time:

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. 1 John 3:20
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9
So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! 31:15
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, Galatians 4:4 

God has created time and he is outside of it unlike us.  We need time to function, to measure our days. Time should be a reminder to us of how much we need to rely on the Creator of it.  It should remind us that we are not in control and that our loving and gracious Father is.  Time points us to God, because He doesn't need it, He thought of it, He is outside of it and we are not.   Next time you check the time, remember who it is that created it and that created us and sent His perfect son at just the right moment. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Making Chalkboard Labels

I have a little mini project going on, I feel like it's been going on for quite some time.  It's one of those things that keeps evolving over time.  It involves our laundry room, specifically our storage area (one of the only storage spots in our little house).  Here is where we began, this was right after we moved in and this spot had just become the go-to dump site while we were figuring things out.

It was a hot mess, let's be honest.  So it finally came time for this room to get some attention and it received a bright paint color, white trim and shelving (a little upgrade from what we had).

And then, it was kind of looking like this.  We sort of halfway organized it, still better than the before but still struggling to figure out the right plan for everything.

Oh, and then we got some new laundry bins from crate & barrel - I love these.  That definitely helped the crazy laundry sorting/organization (or lack there of) going on.

So, now we are stuck here - and quite frankly it just isn't working for me.  Part of it is the fact that it still isn't organized correctly and part of it is the aesthetics.  The different colors, the crazy overflowing boxes...  I just don't like it, and so I don't try and keep it neat.  I think that's a thing with me.  If I like the way it looks and functions then I will try harder on keeping it that way.  If I don't, then it turns into a mess and I feel like I'm always battling it. I'm tired of being in constant battle mode with these shelves so a mini project was necessary. My first little project for this space was to get uniformed labels that weren't ugly.  I'm starting small people, you have to start somewhere right?  Here's my current label situation -

I also think I forgot to mention that I'm trying not to spend a fortune on this, and I especially didn't want to spend a lot on labels.  So here was my quick and cheap fix - chalkboard paint.

I grabbed a bunch of labels (I have a ton of these for some reason that I can't remember what for) and a can of chalkboard paint and went to town spraying.  Take it easy, light even coats. 

I ended up doing three light coats until I was pleased with the coverage.

After a day of drying, I was ready to re-label.  I really like the idea of being able to change my mind on what's inside and being able to just erase and re-write plus the whole chalkboard thing is kind of in right now - and I kind of like it.  

If you are wondering about the usability since it is a paper label - it's still totally wipeable.  I actually made extras to test different methods and it even held up well when using a very lightly dampened cloth - so I was sold. 

I'm still busy working on some more easy solutions for my shelves so I will share more later!
Thanks for stopping by today and have a great day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Share Your Story: Chloe

I'm so excited to get started back up with our Share Your Story series.  We start back up with a sweet, sweet young woman, Chloe.  I can't wait for you to get to know her!

Tell us a little about yourself-Before I can get too deep into my story, you should know a little more about me. The past 18 years I have grown up in the great city of Cary, North Carolina with my loving parents, an older brother, and an older sister up until this past fall when I began my first year of college at UNC Asheville.

When did you first experience God and become a Christian?-When I was younger, faith and God were not really a big part of my life and I knew very little about either. However, in about fourth grade my good friend Allison often invited me to her church Salem Baptist for GA’s and Sunday school. Soon after, I got really involved with the youth group, which immediately changed my life. I felt so welcomed by everyone, like they actually wanted me there, which encouraged me to attend youth trips and meet more people. It quickly began to feel like I was part of an incredible family and something bigger than myself. On one trip in particular I realized I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Christ and that I wanted that more than anything. That night, my sister and I both gave our lives to Christ and we both later got baptized along with my mother. Having an amazing youth group to back me up, encourage me, and lead me the right direction was an awesome blessing for a new believer like me. This group of students over the years really helped me define what I believe and grow immensely in my faith. Not only that, but it’s also given me every single one of my best, life-long friends and given me the greatest memories of my teen years. I really cannot express how much this youth group means to me and how much the students and especially the leaders changed my life.

Have you ever faced a big future decision or walked through a valley regarding your faith?-I could never have dreamed of having the life God blessed me with. And I never could imagine having to leave it behind either. But, all good things must end, right? That was my battle senior year. I started to realize that I was soon going to have to face the real world, leave my beloved family, town, and church family behind, and I was going to have to be a responsible, independent, adult. This was incredibly scary and stressful. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I cannot make decisions whatsoever (it runs in the family). So the idea of having to decide on my entire future in just a few months seemed impossible. Now, in this case most people logically think through things and turn to God for His wisdom and guidance, but I did the complete opposite. I completely shut out reality and even God Himself. I placed said church family as “number one” in my life and decided to make the most of the little time I had left with them, putting literally everything else as second priority to them (yes, even God). This led to some drama naturally and left me cramming to make a decision about college one month before the deadline. With my circumstances, UNC Asheville was essentially my only option so I accepted somewhat unwillingly. My original plan to go there and room with my cousin failed and I liked the campus, but didn’t care enough to look at the academics so I felt unsure about going there. I had heard so many awful things about how “Christians were not accepted there,” it was an “extremely liberal school” (like that’s always a bad thing), and how “all the strange people go there.” All year I had just expected God to place my future in my lap and I wouldn’t have to lift a finger, but at this point it felt like He had just not been paying attention. Needless to say, all of this combined gave me some serious doubts, and being far from God at the time didn’t help. The more I thought about it, the more I disliked it and really believed I had made the wrong choice. I even got upset with God. I mean, how could He send me to such an Anit-Christian, non-popular, weirdo-filled school four hours away from everything I love, right? So I did what I do best again and simply ignored it all.

How did God move and change you through this situation?-One of my last trips as a member of my youth group that summer brought me the confirmation and peace I had been longing for. We were at one of my favorite places in the world, Camp Caswell. It is always the best week of every summer, and this one was no different. That year’s theme was about finding our identity in Christ (how fitting). One night towards the end of the week God shook me and completely broke my heart of stone and remolded it into something beautiful. I was sitting on top of what has been deemed the “Spanish Fort” by our youth group, reflecting on what God had done that week with my friends. I’m not entirely sure how, but God told me that He had wanted me at UNCA for a reason, to do what I love most-to help people. He told me that it was going to be my mission field, preparing me for my future, and that I was going to impact that campus. Like I had heard so many times that year, I finally realized that God had a plan for me all along, to give me a hope and a future, and I was the one not paying attention. I felt a peace and even an excitement about it. After the “camp high” faded a bit I had a few more doubts throughout the summer, but God continued to reassure and grow me. Once I arrived in Asheville I knew God was right and His hand had been in my future all along.

Do you have any advice for someone in a similar circumstance as you?-In every stage of life we are faced with big decisions that are often life-changing. And it never gets any easier or any less frightening. My advice is to not worry, which I know is easier said than done. But worrying does absolutely nothing good for us and essentially is us not trusting God. Whenever you feel doubtful, worried, scared, or whatever simply turn to God. He knows everything about your life and wants what is best for His children, He will never steer you wrong. God has the answers, and He’s just waiting for you to ask for them. I also encourage everyone, whether in a good, bad, or okay stage of life, to find a strong group of other Christians to be closely connected with. Their encouragement, guidance, and love are so vital to growing deeper with Christ.

Tell us about one of your most favorite times or events in your life.-Going to UNCA has honestly been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I never thought I would find anyone like my church family back home, but within the first week God led me to the wonderful people of Campus Crusade. Again, I was immediately accepted and felt wanted there, I even was offered rides to church and was invited to hang out with these kids I hardly knew. I was truly shown God’s love by these people. Cru could never replace my Salem family, but they sure come close. By October I had already become best friends with everyone in Cru and had found my suitemates for next year, and now I’m even a leader. Cru has given me opportunities to grow with other Christians on my campus, reach out and serve my community, and encounter God daily. God has also placed an inspiring, new church family into my life where I have gotten involved with an amazing Bible study that has taken me in like family. Both of these groups have been an incredible blessing and have helped me challenge my faith in so many different ways and really strengthen what I believe. Through the past year I’ve learned that God really does know what He is doing, He will provide what is best for us no matter what. And most importantly, I’ve learned to always trust God with everything. We like to think we have it all under control, but He wrote our life story, so why shouldn’t we turn to Him for guidance?

What are some of your most favorite pieces of scripture?-I have always loved Romans 8, but particularly verses 35-39. It is an incredible reminder that nothing in the entire universe, including ourselves, can separate us from the love of Christ. Because “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” More than conquerors!!! Why should we ever worry about anything if that is true?! God loves us no matter what, and because of that we can conquer the trials of this world through Him who died for us. Along with that, I also love John 16:33-“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” This is a beautiful reminder that God knows we will face hard times and that life isn’t easy, but if we live in Him, we can live in peace. Because if we are in Him, He is in us and He has already overcome all that we will face in this world.

Thanks so much Chloe for sharing your story today! It was such a blessing and encouragement.  

Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!  If you would ever want to Share Your Story just email me!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Exterior Lighting Upgrades

One day I will do a post about our exterior painting journey.  Until then, let's talk exterior lighting for a bit.  So back in the day, we had these beauties as exterior lights...

Ugly, old and half broken. I really couldn't stand them.  When we first moved in to our house we somehow got a memo about a big clearance secret sale going on at our local Lights Unlimited.  We weren't quite ready for lighting upgrades but knew that they would be in our near future, so we decided to take a peek at what the big clearance secret yard sale was all about.  It was one of those early morning sales where everything was hanging out in the parking lot in the back of the building so it was like a secret meeting of bargain hunters.  Anyway, at the sale we found our bathroom light for $10 and then spied out too exterior lights on sale for $5 a pop.  Originally these babies were $148 a piece - so I would say that was a pretty sweet deal.  The lights were not identical but, they had the same finish and similar shapes so we said why not?  After getting all of our exterior painting finished we were ready to install them - I was super excited because I love them (a vast improvement from the feeling I previously held about our old lights).

So here is our side door's new light...

And, our front door's new light...

$10 for a couple of pretty, new outdoor lights - yes and thank you.  Replacing lighting is really a pretty easy upgrade and sometimes an inexpensive one if you get invited to secret clearance sales.  

So I'm just thinking about the saving grace of Jesus this morning.  As people we are in desperate need of a savior, our lives are kind of like these lights.  We are sinners, old and broken, tired and in need of something new.  God's word tells us that when we accept Jesus as Lord we are a new creation, our old self is gone and we are made brand new.  That doesn't mean we are old and broken and have some bandaids slapped on and then are sent out to face the world but our old self has gone away - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17.  We are made new, whole, ready to shine light into a dark world, full of joy, full of God's love, mercies and grace.  It's all because of the work of Christ that we can be made new - He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit Titus 3:5. Here's the next part, don't be a secret sale, hiding behind in the back parking lot - be the new creations Jesus has made you to be and help others discover his mercies and truth - And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation" Mark 16:15, there is nothing more precious or more important in this world- For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21.  It's because of Jesus Christ we have been made new and through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can share this truth with others, there is just nothing greater.

Thanks for joining today, Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Weekend in a Glimpse

Last weekend we took our students to Camp Caraway for our Fall Retreat.  We had an amazing time together as a group.  God was working and it was evident.  We are so excited about this upcoming year, we know that there are greater things yet to come.

This of the funniest things ever.  

We talked a lot about Going Back to the Start last weekend- Spending time with Jesus (reading His word) develops a deeper Love for Him which leads us to obedience - which unity is a by product of.  If we want to bring Jesus to others we have to be united, time to get Back to the Start.   

If you love me, you will keep my commandments.  John 14:15

I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.  John 17:33

Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11

So next week Share Your Story comes back!  I'm excited to start back up again. There are some awesome young women who have great encouragement to give so check back next Wednesday for that!
Have a wonderful Wednesday! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 10, 2012

DIY No Sew Shade (aka the forgotten project)

 I came across a great tutorial (there's actually several great tutorials) on pinterest on how to make a no sew roman shade using and old mini blind and I knew that it was exactly what I needed for our little window in the laundry area.  I will share that project in a moment but I feel as though this project needs a back story.

Here's our laundry area long ago when we first moved in and how we turned our dryer into a table for used paint cans.  Functional, yes.  Pretty, no. 

Oh, here's an up close view of the window just in case you needed that.

After some painting and paint can removal we were now at this stage in this room. I actually love the yellow in here, it's so bright and cherry. 

For some reason I never finished painting this window completely and it still has painters tape on the window panes - it's one of those "one day when I have free time I will finish this" projects.  Hmmm, seems I might have a lot of those.

So anyway, like I said earlier - I found a great tutorial by Jenny- (an awesome blogger/designer) on how to make a no sew shade and I was all about that.  *Please refer to her ever so perfect instructions for this project - it's really great.  I gathered my supplies: the old mini blind, my chevron fabric, scissors and fabric glue and I was all ready to go.  Oh, did I mention that this was in January?

I completed my first big task (which honestly is probably the most difficult part of the process) and removed my thin ladder strings from the blind and I was feeling good.  But then, I got distracted.... forgot what I was doing and tossed the mini blind under my bed to never be seen again.  Just kidding, I did see it again, and again and again.  It sat there creeping out from under the bed every so often, just reminding me of the project that never was.

Then, all of a sudden it's September and the old mini blind still sat in waiting and I just couldn't take it any longer.  This project needed finishing.  Of course, after months of being tossed around this blind was a giant disaster and a tangled mess so it took a little while to remember what in the world I was doing and how it needed to look.

But, this story has a happy ending so I worked it out. After I got all of the knots untagled the next thing I needed to do was to remove the thick bottom slat of the blind and then remove any slat I didn't want.  

I ended up with just 4 slats and of course the thick bottom piece (which I put back on after removing the unwanted pieces).  Then it was a matter of measuring my fabric, cutting it and placing my blind on top and spacing out my slats.  No measuring utensils were used during this project.  I eyeballed everything - not sure if I would recommend that.  Oh yes, and Silas through a deck of cards all around the room while I was spacing out my blind - good times.

Then, I just glued the fabric to the blind- top, bottom, sides and middle.  

And finally after months of forgetting, I had this.  Not the most perfect or most beautiful "roman" shade in the world but I like it and it's semi-functional (you may have to remove the whole thing every time you want to adjust the height - this is real life).  Hey, and it was cheap.  Just forget you still see tape in the windows and an unfinished painted window...maybe that should be my next thing I tackle. 

I would say this space is looking better, now on to decide what is next on our long list for back there. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!  Can't wait to share about mine, hey guess what - we were on a youth retreat again, this time our Fall Retreat.  It was awesome and I loved every second.  So how about you?  Have any unfinished projects out there just waiting in the wings to be done?