Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Joy in New Beginnings

The room is painted and prayed over. God gave us two extra days to get ready in that Sam missed his original flight. But the Hubby picked him up from the airport this afternoon.

Now the boys are playing guitar together. I should say the Hubby is teaching Sam guitar. Can you imagine learning how to play in instrument from someone who's not speaking your native language? It's a bit crazy, this whole thing is a bit crazy, but it's making me laugh and smile and excited for the year to come.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm getting wiser

or lazier or cheaper or all of the above.

I painted for 5 hours last night. Hubby's been out of town, Sam arrives on Sunday and his room was still painted purple and white rag roll from the previous owner. Not the most manly place for a 17 year old guy to stay, so we're doing a whirlwind makeover. I kind of feel like I'm on Trading Spaces or something because I've never decorated a room this quickly before. I had a student over to help me paint on Wednesday night, but last night I was on my own.

Painting should always be a team sport in my book. We've painted 3 other rooms in our house so far and have a pretty good system where I cut in and do the edging while hubby rolls. So doing it all by myself last night was a bit overwhelming and quite time consuming.

However, being by myself allowed me to develop my own painting system. This is where the wiser, lazier, cheaper part comes in. Normally, if hubby was around we would tape off the entire room. That means the floor, the trim, the ceiling, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. I wasn't feeling that patient last night (am I ever really feeling patient? God's still working on that) so I decided I was going to try cutting in by hand. I learned a couple of important lessons along the way.

One... painting the trim last makes so much sense. Who cares if you get the wall paint on the trim if you're going to sand, prime and paint over it anyway? I will tape off around the trim when I get to painting it though, because I learned I'm not as steady with the brush as I wish I was. But why do this step twice wasting precious time and tape?

Two...there are so many places around windows and doors that I would have spent in exorbitant amount of time taping off with the old method where no one will ever look. I'm going to put window treatments over the tops of the windows, so no one will ever see up there. And if someone is going to get down on the floor to check how well I edged under my window sills and then judge me for it, I don't want them in my house (or on my floor for that matter) to begin with.

Three... it IS important to tape off the ceiling. I tried doing this without tape and it was an epic fail. I'm pretty bad with straight lines: drawing them, cutting them, painting them. So tape is very worthwhile when it comes to the ceiling. Especially when you've already used up all the ceiling paint and don't have any left over for touch ups. Oops. Guess I'll be making another trip to the hardware store.

Even though this makeover is a major undertaking, I feel like it's giving my heart time to prepare and pray for Sam, much like a nesting new mom. I've had time this week to focus on how the Lord will have us serve Him by serving one of his children. And for that bit of grace, I'm extremely grateful.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An Answered Prayer

We've been praying for God to give us a way to use the blessing of our four-bedroom house to bless others. Our guest bedroom has been used two nights this week and will be used on Saturday as well.

But the ultimate answer to that prayer will be moving into one of our other bedrooms come Sunday. We have decided to host a foreign exchange student from South Korea for this upcoming school year. Sam arrives on Sunday evening and starts school on Tuesday morning taking us from being DINKs (Dual Income No Kids) to the youngest "parents" at the Christian high school in less than 48 hours.

God gave us so many opportunities to accept an exchange student into our home, and after much prayer and consideration we're excited to start on this new adventure. Even though we're not set on Christian school for our own kids when they come along someday, we thought that was the best option for this experience. We have a great support network there of families from our church, whereas we would be so lost with a student in the large public school district where we live.

We're excited for the opportunity to share our lives with another person. I've come to a new understanding of parenthood as the ultimate opportunity for discipleship and see this temporary parenthood as a chance to practice that. We're excited for how the Lord will use this experience to stretch us and sanctify us as we learn to be more selfless.

Please be in prayer for Sam as he travels half-way across the world and for his jet-lag as he starts school. Pray that I will cast all my anxieties on the Lord because He cares for me, when it comes to last minute details. And please pray for our new family as we open up our home, our lives, and our hearts for the Lord to do an amazing work full of love and grace.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Fruits of His Labors

This week we're enjoying the bounty of our backyard garden. I'm amazed by how big our plants have grown and how much produce has come from those tiny seeds we started with. We've made pickles, zucchini bread, pesto, along with numerous salads and sides of grilled veggies.

One of the reasons I enjoy gardening so much, perhaps because God's still working on my patience, is that with gardening in a short period of time, my efforts pay off, produce fruit, and bring me and others joy.

In ministry, we find things look both similar and different compared with gardening. Similar in that God uses us to plant seeds of truth in people's lives, to provide nourishment and nurturing as people grow in their faith, and to water people's souls with encouragement and fellowship. These spiritual seeds are different from the plants in my garden in that it often takes much longer to see the fruit in people's lives, sometimes years, and sometimes we don't even get to see it at all. Sometimes God only uses us to plant, or to nourish, or to water and we don't get to see the complete process. And sometimes impatient people like me get frustrated when we're asked to wait until heaven to see and enjoy the fruits of the labor God gives us.

That's when I have to stop and praise the Creator for his unending patience with me, his patience to tend to my heart and trim back the sinfulness and selfishness inside me. He's the perfect gardener, things ripen in his perfect timing and he prunes out of love with grace.

tuesdays unwrapped at cats