Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Prayers of Late


Is thank you really enough?  Lord help me to see how faithful You are, always, not just on the good days.  I want to live a faith filled life, giving thanks and praise to You all the day long.  Often though, I feel like one of those collapsible toys. One push of a button and I crumble.


Father, give me eyes to see Your hand and Your goodness all around me, every moment. Open my eyes!  I want to be saturated, consumed, overwhelmed with Your glory and goodness.  I am not asking for ‘more’ gifts, I want to see, really see the gifts already around me.


Thank you for showing me the wonder of YOU!  That is my heart’s cry—to see Your glory.  To see You in everything!  To be so caught up in the wonder of You.  To see You so much and in everything that I just marvel.


Thank you for Your mercy.  Thank You for those sweet moments—hey!  You answered my prayers!  You gave me eyes to see!  Oh, it was so wonderful.  Peel them back—I want to see all of my life through eyes of wonder and gratitude.  Wild, crazy, love and abandon for You and Your goodness and love.

  • Can I live in such a way that whatever You have for me—blessed be the name of the Lord?
  • Giving thanks in all things!  Oh, Lord, Yes!  Yes! All things. 
  • The busy and the slow.
  • The crazy good days and the wild, flinging of the serpent's tail, days.
  • The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.
  • Shall I receive the good with thanksgiving and not the bad?   Isn’t it give thanks in ALL things?

A spirit of daily trust and thankful contentment with my lot in life.  Oh, Lord, the peace that floods my soul with these thoughts.  This, this is how I want to live.  This is freedom and carefree abandon to my Father.


Oh, the peace.  With each exhale, the peace goes deeper still.  Oh, the ‘pull’ to stress, to hold tight, and to strive, but the ‘letting go’ seems easier then ever before.

Give thanks . . . Abandon . . . Perspective . . . hmmm.

Reflections of 2012

Standing on the precipice of a new year, I have to chuckle.  Wasn’t I here not too long ago?  I sort of feel like I took a few steps into January 2012, got swallowed up, tossed about, vigorously, and spit out the other side of December!
This past year was such a blur, in one sense.  But in another, the lessons were crystal clear.  It literally felt like non-stop.  I began to wonder if the year was a waste, too busy to have changed or grown.  I looked back over my journal from last year (which had way, way less entries than in years past) and saw so much crying out  to God, struggles and His mighty deliverances over and over again. 
The circumstances of our life may have appeared to be outward focused, the running a home business, or, often times, being run by the business.  Also, Brian working from home, school, every single member of this family being stretched and challenged in all areas because of this business.
As I reflect, I see that yes, there has been so much growth and even fruit!  My word for last year was ‘righteousness’.  The focus being the righteousness I have in him.  Really living, breathing and believing this truth demolishes insecurity, doubts, fears, self-hatred and more.  Living secure in Him even when everything around me seeks to shake that security.
I see the areas that this truth really took root.  I see the areas that I stand a little taller, a little more confident in who He created me to be.  There is a deeper joy and peace than before.  Is there more to be done in these areas?  Definitely.  But for now I  smile, seeing the work He has done in my heart this past year.
I am so excited for this new year.  There are so many new, exciting and incredibly challenging opportunities on the calendar.  I will not fear, my hope and confidence is in Him. I can even see that many of the struggles from this past year have prepared me for the challenges of this coming year.
Like trying on new clothes, I have three ‘words’ I have been ‘trying on’ for the new year.  One seems to fit better than the rest, but I wait on Him to make it clear.  Lord willing, I will share soon.
Have you reflected on this past year?  Have you found Him faithful?  Please share your thoughts, I would love to read them.

Monday, December 24, 2012

That Time of Year

It’s that time of year when most of reflect on the past year.  It has been an amazing year.  So much growth and stretching!

I shake my head and marvel at how blessed we are.  Life is, by far, NOT easy, but my prayer of late has been for my eyes to be opened to His hand in my life.  Not so much asking for more blessings, but for eyes to see the ones already there.

I pray that He bless you and keep you.  That His blessings chase you down this coming year.  That this year be marked by greater healing and wholeness.  That each passing day you (me too!)  look more and more like Jesus!  May our hearts burn with passion and desire for Him and His Word.  May our hearts break for things that break His.  May we know in the very depth of our hearts how much He loves us.

Here is our family newsletter for those who would like a peek inside our little world.

Christmas Newsletter

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mixed Emotions

What a strange place I find myself in, my ‘baby’ turning five today.  I remember the years filled with fear that we’d have so many babies, more than we could handle.  Fear that childbearing would never end.IMG_3652

I was just turning 30 when we knelt down together, fully convinced and convicted that You are sovereign over the womb. That YOU were to be in control of every area of our lives, not us.

I remember thinking, ‘menopause happens around 50 right?  Do you know how many children we could possibly mess up in 20 years?’

I remember it was with blind, shaky faith that we made You Lord over that area.  It gave new meaning to the words ‘fear and trembling’.

Sixteen years later, it has been an incredible journey. Never did I imagine the testing, the stretching, the faith-growing trials that would follow that decision.  Nor could I have imagined NOT having a baby every 15 months or so. All the fears that were so unfounded, what a waste.  All the insane amount of blessings that did result from that decision, I marvel.

Here I am, the last ‘baby’ I have gotten to hold on this side of heaven, so far, turning five! (there are six more in heaven I’ll hold one day) 

When did five become so old? 

I am 46 years old-hormones often off the charts.  I am unsure if I will ever carry another precious gift in my womb, or feel those tiny kicks.  Will I nurture a baby at my breast, in the dark of night when all is quiet?

All those years I almost feared there would be no end.  Is it now I fear this ‘is’ the end?

No, I trust You.  Period.  Over and over You have demonstrated Your faithfulness to us.  I have no doubt You will continue to do so.

But let’s be real, You know my heart.  So, as I put a smile on my face to celebrate my ‘baby’ turning five, there’s a mixture of emotions.  The tears I wipe away are ones of deep gratitude for the privilege of being a mama to him, but also a deeper understanding of the truth that children really and truly are a blessing; a gift from You.  One, I’ll admit, I have taken for granted.  Forgive me.


Happy Birthday, Elijah David!  You bring so much joy!  I love your little boy snuggles each morning.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Seeing Him on His Knees Broke Me

He was on his hands and knees, vacuuming between the cubbies and the fridge in the garage.  He had been helping me for two days straight transforming the garage from a shop into a beautiful ‘boutique’ for all my painted treasures.

We were tired, working from morning till late at night.  There was something in seeing him there, on his knees, giving all he had that broke me.

For the past several weeks I had believed lie after lie from the enemy.  Self-pity, you know, the ‘woe is me, I do ALL the work’ spirit.  And accusation and bitterness, and who knows who else showed up to my pity party.  It was mostly directed at Brian.  Yes, the man who lays down his life daily for us.  I now see the absurdity of it all, but when you are deceived, well, you don’t see straight.

I had accused him of not caring, not doing enough, not helping me.  I was bitter at him for me having to ‘bear the weight’ of all of this business and me having to do it ‘all by myself’.  I was  further frustrated by his incredulity at the filth that was flying out of my mouth.

I mean, how could he not see it!?  I was floundering, and I was sure it was because of him.  One conversation he listed off everything he does to make this family business work.  I have to admit, that was the beginning of my eyes being opened just a bit.  The list was incredibly long.  He really does do a lot.  We had agreed to just let it go.  We knew it was the enemy and that we adored each other.  We repented, forgave and moved on.

But the full breaking of my heart did not come until three days ago when I saw him there on his hands and knees.  I began to weep, standing there behind him.  He gives so much!  He never complains about it, he just does it.  All to please me, no less.

I got down on my knees in front of him, ashamed at how awful the thoughts were that I had towards him.  I just wanted to hide my tear stained face in his shoulder, but I knew I needed to look him in the eyes and tell him how sorry I was.

Through tears now pouring down my face, there on our knees in the garage, I told him just how sorry I was.  How much I appreciated ALL he does.  What does this ‘ogre of a man who never does anything to help’ (LIES) do?  He kisses my tears away assuring me he had forgiven me long ago.

Simple as that.   Back to vacuuming.  All is well.  I just marvel at the example of Christ’s free forgiveness towards a very unworthy sinner expressed through this very human man.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Exciting News!

As you know, we have a little ‘furniture’ family business.  It takes a lot of work and time, and we really aren’t making a real profit yet, but we get to do it as a family in so many ways.  And, we get to minister to many, many people.

The Lord has really blessed it and we have had incredible favor when we least expect.  Each new opportunity is an exciting adventure.

Well, we are pleased to announce that our little business, {re}imagined just for you, will be at the West Michigan and Mid-Michigan’s Women’s Expos in Feb/Mar of 2013!

This is a HUGE opportunity for us.  I will be one of the featured speakers for each expo.  Three times a day I will be on stage sharing my heart, passion and some DIY/crafty tips.  I feel it is an incredible honor and see the Lord’s hand leading it.

Here is the post where I announced it on our business blog.  Very exciting news for this homeschool mama from a little town in Michigan!!

Also, we are having our big semi-annual Shop the Barn {boutique} Sale this weekend.  We work really hard to fill our ‘barn boutique’ with beautiful treasures.  We LOVE the people we get to meet and serve during our sales too.  So, yes, we are just a tad bit excited over here!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just One Little Verse

Isn’t it amazing how just one little verse really could cover everything you struggle with?  Not a verse here and there, but just one verse.

The very first verse that I felt the Lord “gave” me was in the book of Isaiah.  “Getting” a verse was new to me.  But I knew that I knew this verse was for me.  I would say it is my favorite verse, probably, in part, due to sentimentality, but it is a good one none the less.

Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you;
Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

Or the Amplified.

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice.

If I truly believe this verse, I mean, come on, HE is with me!  HE is MY GOD!  HE strengthens ME.  HE helps ME! than why the struggle? 

What in the world do I have to fear, or be anxious over?  What in the world can I not do if HE does the helping and strengthening?  Just one little verse.

Then I read in Oswald Chambers today,

“How can anyone identified with Jesus Christ suffer from doubt or fear!  Our lives should be an absolute hymn of praise resulting from perfect, irrepressible, triumphant belief!”

How can I suffer from doubt and fear indeed!

Loving being His daughter,


Do you have ‘just one little verse’ that speaks volumes to you?  What is your ‘life’ verse?  Or, the first verse you ‘got’ from the Lord?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

You Are My Portion

This is what the Lord ministered to my heart this morning.  Hoping it touches your heart as well.

There was something big to me that I could not solve or figure out how to do.  Nothing earth shattering, yet big to me.  He once again provided all that I need and more.

It leaves me shaking my head in awe of how much He loves me, and how often I forget He does this sort of thing for me.

He is our FATHER, a good Father.  He loves us and will always meet our needs.  ALWAYS. Period.  He delights to  show His love to us.

Whatever it is right now in your life, He’s got it.  He really does.  Fall back into Him and trust Him to bring it about. He is your Father and He loves you!!

  . . . For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-43, but do go read the context, Mt. 6:25-34)

He KNOWS what you need!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I just can’t shake this quote.

“Fretting arises from our determination to have our own way.”  (Oswald Chambers)

Fretting arises from my own determination to have MY own way.  My way, my will, not His way or His will. 

It’s where I clench my fists and with gritted teeth say, ‘it’s my way or the highway’. 

My way of being treated.  My way of how or what gets done.  My way is the way it has to be for me to be happy and joyful.

I’ll fight and fuss, and by George, this is the way it is going to be!  And when it does not go my way, well, it’s not pretty.  The fretting begins.

The sighing, the knotted stomach.  The shoulders that tense and rise.  The mind begins to race with ways to change the circumstances or force solutions.

Peace is long gone.  It has since been replaced with anxiety.  Fretting.

Ever notice you cannot simultaneously fret and be joyful?

You cannot fret and be at peace?

You cannot fret and trust?

Fretting is utterly incompatible with the Christian life.  Simple as that.

Surely I can’t be the ONLY one to struggle with fretting, right?

What is your battle plan for overcoming fretting?

Be anxious for nothing, (do not fret!)  but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Whirlwind Anniversary Date

Here we are as we are about to walk out the door Monday morning.


Victoria and the younger children risked losing life in limb in the frigid temps to clean out the van for us before we left.  They wanted to surprise us.  Anytime the van is clean, it is a surprise.


The put up cute signs for us and some cash for a latte!


First stop, Branns on Leonard.  I worked in the bar when Brian and I met, and let’s just say Brian frequented the bar when we met.  This was the place of our first kiss.  Right there in the parking lot.


Here is the apartment I lived in while we dated.  We walked around the streets where we did all those years ago.


Here is our first home.  We LOVED this house.  It had the most beautiful woodwork and hardwood floors.  When we lived there it was painted a barn red with white trim.


Outside the church where we got married.


The long walk up the isle to the man of my dreams.


‘And I give you, Brian and Michelle Grzybowski!”


I love old churches.  Oh, and would you believe as we opened the door to walk out of the church the bells started ringing!  It was so cool.  Just for us.  Well, that, and it was noon, which is apparently when they ring each day. Winking smile  It was still special, none the less.


From there, I whisked him off to a café that serves Polish food.  The same type of food we had at our wedding.  Fresh Kielbasa, Kapusta, Golbacki, Pierogies, and rye bread.


After lots of thrift shopping and picking up some ‘picnic’ food at GB Russo and Son we ended up at the same hotel we stayed at twenty-four years earlier!  He was so surprised!


I kept him blindfolded until we got to the room. When he opened his eyes he saw rose petals all over the floor and bed.  Candles and signs I had made of favorite quotes from movies that we have loved over the years.  I also had romantic music on my computer for him.  Our wedding song and our renewal of our vows song.  Always, by Atlantic Starr and Still the One, by Shania Twain.  I still bawl when I hear those songs.  I kid you not, I have been in Meijer and Still the One will come on and I will be standing there in the produce section, bawling!


Victoria packed a romantic little picnic basket for us.  It was beautiful.


There you have it.  An epic post on our Anniversary . . . if you are still here.  It was incredibly special and romantic.  We talked about so many memories.  Truly a blessed time.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pure Grace

That is often the phrase I use to describe our marriage.  You see, people with pasts like ours shouldn’t have such beautiful, wonderful marriages.  If you really knew us, our weaknesses, you would wonder how we have the marriage we have too.

There is no other answer but, Pure Grace.  Only the grace of God can do what He has done in us.  Today is our 24th anniversary and I can honestly say that I am more in love with this man than I ever have been.

We have been through a lot together.  Some of the things we have been through can destroy marriages, but by the grace of God, ours was strengthened.  We marvel at how perfectly we ‘fit’ together, each with our own gifts and weaknesses that balance the other.

Don’t get me wrong, life is not all rainbows and sunshine.  We disagree, we rub each other the wrong way, and can be just plain old selfish.  But we say, ‘I’m Sorry’ a lot and hug and make up and forgive and move on.

So today, I am so incredibly thankful for the 24 years I have had married to the man of my dreams!

He doesn’t know this (so don’t say anything in the comments) but I am taking him on a whirlwind date today!  We will be stopping to all the important places from our past.  The place we got married, the house we lived in, where we first kissed, where we had all our babies, and more!  He will be blindfolded until we get to our destinations.  This should be a real trip for him!  Imagine, the wife driving and the husband blindfolded!  Maybe it won’t be so fun for him! Winking smile

Oh, and we are ending up at the same hotel we stayed at 24 years ago tonight.  We had the whirlpool room that night.  I do NOT like hot water, and we could not get the water cool enough, so this wonderful, newly married man, trucked down to the ice machine and brought back bucket after bucket of ice until the water temperature was perfect for his new bride.  If that was not a sign of the times to come, I don’t know what was! LOL.  Apparently from day one he has been laying down his life.

I love you Brian, you are such a gift to me.  One I cherish and appreciated every single day!



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Points Well Taken

The Lord really spoke to my heart yesterday, yet again, setting His little girl straight.  Thankfully He doesn’t seem to tire of my stumbling, though I do.  I love how He lets me sort of ‘spin out’ a bit trying to do things my own way, and when I realize I simply cannot do it my way and cry out to Him, He is right there.  Ready to forgive, to pick up, dust me off and speak right to my heart.

The following quotes are from Ann Voskamp, Sally Clarkson and, of course, Oswald Chambers.  (man-o-mister, that guy can be a bit annoying sometimes, seems to read my mail and often!)  I don’t have the exact links to the quotes, sorry.  I select and print up post so I can read later, so I am not sure of the links.  Hope you don’t mind.

Live for this moment and this moment only . . . I am just thankful He is with me.

When we need peace, we only need to say yes to God’s purposes.

. . . so we must leave our burdens and stresses into His hands, climb into His lap and allow Him to be God-allow Him to direct our lives and show us how to let go of all that is not essential.

Let go and lean . . . lean back into Him . . . abandon all worries and abide in Christ . . . ALL IS WELL

The relief (peace) is in the release of everything into the hands of God.  Isn’t it all safer in His hands anyway?

Life’s an adventure when we move as He moves.

If the joy of the Lord is my strength, the oxygen that keeps me standing, why do I deprive myself of joy’s oxygen?

Ranting does not rejuvenate.

Let something steal your joy and you let something steal your strength.

Resting in the Lord is not dependent on your external circumstances at all, but on your relationship with God Himself. . .  Worrying always results in sin.   

Fretting rises from our determination to have our own way.  (ouch!!!)  Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.

Yeah, I know, quite a bit for one day, don’t you think??  Each and every quote nailed exactly what was going on and I was brought, once again, to my knees in repentance.  Joy returns when we surrender to Him.  Perhaps I will remember that next time. Winking smile

Sunday, October 28, 2012

At His Feet

Apparently I need to hear things a few times before I ‘get it’.  I’m not surprised, I can be a little slow and ditzy.

I have shared that we have had some struggles of late, with relationships in our own home, with ourselves and just keeping up with life.  Nothing earth shattering, just normal ‘stuff’ that really can begin to grind on you after awhile.

Here is what I feel the Lord is speaking to my heart over all this.

First, I have the thought to just drop to my knees when the strife starts and pray.  This would likely be much better than me adding my words.  But I don’t.  It just sounds like a good idea. {{sigh}}

Then I get an email encouragement from a friend, and I quote, “just remember satan is the division maker. Pray together as a family united against it.”  Hmmm.

Next up, a comment from a reader, “God bless you and may we always find grace at the feet of Jesus.”

Finally, a post from my sweet friend, Kelly Crawford on ‘The Secret to Spiritual Rest’, and I quote,

“Come unto Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

But you can’t miss the “how”…“COME unto Me.”

How many times do I stop, when the frustrations flare, when the temptations rise–how many times do I retreat, if only for a moment, and kneel on the floor, and “come to Him”?

How often do I gather my children and bring them to the throne when we are facing challenges, instead of letting my emotions rule the moment?

Yep, see what I am saying?  I am so thankful for a patient and merciful Father who never seems to tire of picking up His little girl and reminding her once again that He is all I really need.  All I need to do is come to Him.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Of the Hardest Things

We have been through some very, very difficult things in life.  As all of us probably have or will.  I read this October 21 entry in My Utmost For His Highest the other day and I really, really think this is one of the hardest things.  For me, anyway.

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on water is easy to someone with impulsive boldness, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is something altogether different. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he “followed Him at a distance” on dry land (Mark 14:54). We do not need the grace of God to withstand crises—human nature and pride are sufficient for us to face the stress and strain magnificently. But it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours of every day as a saint, going through drudgery, and living an ordinary, unnoticed, and ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is ingrained in us that we have to do exceptional things for God—but we do not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things of life, and holy on the ordinary streets, among ordinary people—and this is not learned in five minutes.

Man o mister!  This is right where we are at right now.  We are really struggling with relationships within our own four walls.  We are being cleansed, purified and tried.  Can I just confess that I am not faring so well

It’s one of those times that you almost wish you could vomit yourself out.  Know what I mean?  I feel like Ann summed it up when she said, ‘I’ll never stop being a grace beggar, a wild cross clinger’


I am choosing (at least trying) to consider it all joy, cast my cares, keep my mind stayed on Him, give thanks in all things.  But sometimes crying feels like the best option.  Thankful today is a new day with new mercies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Are Your Struggles Right Now?

I personally have too many to mention, post over.  Just kidding.  I am talking about a struggle or two that happens to be to the forefront right now.

For me, it is keeping out of what I call ‘ the dark place’.  I seem to get there by one, or maybe two roads.  I’ll try to sum them up, but you will see how they overlap and intertwine.

1.  Losing my joy, translated depression or oppression.  Defined as, feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps; a sense of being weighed down in body or mind.

2. Stressed and Overwhelmed, defined as, bury or drown beneath a huge mass, To defeat completely and decisively.

When I am in one, or both, of these places I am ‘not me’.  That is how Brian and I describe it.  I am happy, energetic, vibrant, excited, thankful, joyful, bubbly (sometimes annoyingly so, like after 10:00 pm) When I come out of the dark I just can’t believe how good it feels to feel ‘like me’ again.

I am learning a lot about how and why I get there.  I sometimes get confused because often times it is cyclical, which clearly means hormonal.  I have been praying for discernment and I feel the Lord is slowly opening my eyes to the how/when/why of the whole mess.

I have had two very big to me, victories in the past week.  One night I was tying up lots of loose ends with business, emails, posts and scheduling classes and sales.  I was tired.  (first red flag)  I started to get very panicky and an overwhelmed feeling.  I was able to recognize it and instead pushing through and HAVING to figure it out, I was able to just stop and cast it onto the Lord.  Trusting Him to work it out. I simply let it go.  (very new behavior for me)

By morning, it was abundantly clear I was barking up a few trees I wasn’t supposed to.  I dropped it and peace returned.  It was lovely!  Ahhh, peace.

The other one was just yesterday.  I had started to have my feelings hurt a bit on Sunday over a few things and had begun to withdraw.  By Monday morning I was already feeling pretty sad, unhappy, down in the dumps.  Not necessarily over my hurt feelings, but just withdrawn and sad. 

I was able to recognize the pull of that ‘dark place’ (it really does feel like it is pulling me into it) and cry out to God to ‘keep me as the apple of His eye.’  And that I needed Him to be the ‘lifter of my head’.  I ran to Him, the Rock that is higher than I.

Do you know that I was my happy, bubbly, frisky self all day?!  He did it!  He kept me.  I didn’t have to fight some huge battle all by myself.  I just had to submit to Him, resist the devil (and the darkness) and the devil (and the darkness) had to flee! 

Last night I shared with Brian how I was slipping into the dark place in the morning (a slight look of panic in his eyes, it is just as hard on him as it is me when I am there) and how God had delivered me.  He was a bit surprised because you would have never known I was headed that way by the way the day went.

So thankful for the discernment to see it BEFORE it happens, because, man, when you are in it, so much harder to get out of it.

What about you?  What are your struggles right now?  Are you getting some victory?

Monday, October 22, 2012

He Answers Before We Even Call


The Lord has been doing amazing things in our lives lately.  Okay, He always does, we just don’t always see it, or it might not ‘feel’ amazing. 

For some reason, He is allowing us to really ‘see’ what He is doing.  We are seeing His hand move in ways we have never dreamt of. 

We have watched Him lead and guide us with our family business.  He opens doors we didn’t even think of.  When it is so clearly Him leading, the favor and blessing around it is so amazing.

This Summer there was a particular Antique Show that we had never heard of.  We were approached to be a part of it.  (we didn’t seek it out)  We prayed and kept it before the Lord and just kept walking. There were MANY details that were beyond our reach.  At anytime we were willing to lay it down.  He blew open door after door.  We followed, even though it meant some significant sacrifice on our part.  Just because He leads and provides does not mean that it won’t cost us anything.

We had incredible favor, and I mean incredible!  And, seeing what He is up to now, we see that was stepping stone and preparing for where He is taking us! 

There are some amazing things coming down the road for {re}imagined just for you that only HE could make happen.  We just sit here in awe.  I find myself just saying, ‘really?’  ‘Are you kidding me?’  Just, ‘WOW!’  I love when it is so clearly HIM!

For all those out there who the enemy is lying to right now, telling you ‘her life is all rosy and mine stinks’, let me tell you to stop listening to him, first of all.  And second, never compare a small glimpse of someone else’s life, they still have struggles and live in the same fallen world you do.  Better yet, don’t compare at all Winking smile and just be thankful for where you are.

While we are experiencing the fun side of all of this, it is a lot of work, takes a lot of sacrifice, and we are definitely feeling the ‘growing pains’.  But, oh, when we put our eyes on Him and are so thankful for what He is doing, well, the things of this world grow strangely dim.

What amazing things is He doing in your life right now?  Or maybe, you are in that dark place before the seed breaks forth??  If you are and are just wanting a little boost in prayer, please email me, I’d be honored to lift a sister to the Lord.  I know of the dark places, they still call my name. 

Shall I do a post or two on the ‘dark places?”

Sending you big hugs!

Friday, October 19, 2012

His Love Never Fails . . .

I have no idea what you might be going through right now, but I do know that His love will never fail you.  I promise you, but don’t take my word for it, take His.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:29-39)

Here is one of my favorite songs right now.  I just want to listen to this truth over and over again.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Healthy “Go-To” Meals for Mama

In my last post I shared a few healthy options for Mama.  Not that you can’t make them for your whole family, but sometimes I need something in the fridge for me!  I need an option when Peanut Butter and Jelly is on the menu.  Don’t get me wrong, the PB & J the children had on fresh baked bread, all gooey and ready to be dipped in milk looked fantastic.  But I know I need to make better choices for me, for my health and for my body.

I am LOVING me some Curry right now.  I found this simple recipe and it is so good.  You can make it is mild or hot as you like.

Ok, so here’s the recipe!

Thai Green Curry (I use the Red Curry)

1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite size pieces (already cooked)

2 carrots, diced

1/2 a large head of green cabbage, shredded

3 cups crimini mushrooms

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon Thai curry paste (if you are using red paste, start with 1/2 a tablespoon and add more later if you want it spicier – this stuff has a kick! If you use the green paste, I actually use 3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons because it’s much milder and we like the extra kick – experiment and find the amount that works for you!)

1-2 splashes of fish sauce or more to taste

1-2 splashes of coconut aminos or more to taste (you could use soy sauce)


In a large soup pot add the coconut milk and curry paste, mix until blended and bring to a boil. Turn down to low and simmer for 5 minutes. While the coconut milk and curry are simmering, dice up your chicken and chop your veggies. Add the chicken, carrots, chicken broth, fish sauce, and coconut aminos to the coconut milk curry – mix well and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and mushrooms and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Top with diced cilantro.

From “Everyday Paleo”

Another quick one I love right now is what I call

Sundried Tomato Turkey Burgers

No real recipe, just take some ground turkey, add in some chopped sundried tomatoes and a couple of spoonfuls of prepared pesto.  (homemade is best)  Mash it all together and make into patties.  I cook them in a cast iron frying pan with a fair amount of Olive oil. (again, coconut oil would be better for you)

I love to have this with sautéed mushrooms.  I just dump in a ton of sliced mushrooms while I am frying the burgers.  They get all tasty from the juices of the burger.  This has enough protein and good fats to keep you satisfied all afternoon.

I feel like I am eating a gourmet meal!  I don’t miss those P B & J when I am eating this!

Let me know if you have any questions.  Next time, two more of my favorite veggie dishes. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Healthy ‘Go-To’ Meals for Mama

Life is busy, right?  And if I am being honest, making uber healthy meals for the family has dropped a few rungs on the priority list.  Don’t get me wrong, we still eat far, far better than the SAD (Standard American Diet).  Far better.

I have been purposing to make some really healthy meals for me that are quick and easy, because let’s face it, a forty-six year old mama who has had nine children, adrenal exhaustion and various health issue should not be eating Pesto Pasta, Stromboli and homemade Macaroni Cheese.  Correct?  The children’s body can tolerate this far more than my body. 

So, without guilt, I have chosen to do what they tell you to do on the airplane.  You know, ‘put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you put it on your child.’  That’s what I am currently doing Winking smile

Here we go.  First, I am crazy in love with Chipotle Mayo.  I make my own homemade mayo, you remember, don’t you?  Check out the link.  No excuses.  Then I simply add some chopped, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  YUM!  Add as much or little as you like, they are kind of spicy, but I like it spicy.

A perfect and easy meal for me would be a burger patty (no bun) slathered in homemade chipotle mayo, a side of sweet potato fries (I skip the cinnamon) and roasted green beans.

I roast a whole bunch of green beans, slathered in olive oil and salt and pepper.  That way I have them for other meals.  There is no excuse to not eat your veggies if they are already prepared.

Another quick ground beef meal is ‘Ground Beef Stir-fry’.  I make this up with about 1 1/2 pound organic ground beef and have it for a couple of lunches/dinners during the week.  Super easy, no real recipe. 

Ground Beef Stir-Fry

I brown the ground beef with chopped onion and Olive Oil until done. 

While that is browning I peel/chop any veggies I have on hand.  Red peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, Napa cabbage, whatever I have and whatever sounds good.

When beef is done, I remove it from the pan and start sautéing the veggies in olive oil.  (I would suggest coconut oil, it is better for you, but I don’t love it)  When they are tender-crisp I put the meat back in and splash with a healthy dose of Coconut Aminos (you could use soy sauce, Tamari or Braggs aminos)

Load up your plate and dig in!

I have a few more recipes I will share this week, Lord willing.  It is amazing how good one feels when they are fueling their bodies with simple, whole foods, like meat and veggies!

What  are your healthy go-to recipes?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Halloween and Christians

No, I am not going to tackle this one all by myself. I suspect it might be one those ‘sacred cows’ that many are afraid to talk about.  But my friend Robin Sampson over at Heart of Wisdom has done a splendid job, so I thought I would share it. 

“Should Christians Observe Halloween?”  It’s a good read and she makes some really good points.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Is ‘Drivenness’ Really Sin?

I believe it is.  We are supposed to be led by the Spirit.  Jesus is our Shepherd.  The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He LEADS me beside still waters . . .

Satan Drives, Our Father leads.

Being highly productive and a real motivated person is a good thing.  Working hard is also a good thing.  Being able to accomplish a lot is certainly a gift.

But, when it is done because of a spirit of drivenness it is wrong.

I could live out two exactly the same looking days.  Perhaps I answer several emails, paint four pieces of furniture, make a yummy dinner, do a full days worth of school with the children and make some bread too. (Okay, that’s a lot)

Now, if I do so from a place of peace and in the strength of the Lord then that is one of those highly productive, wonderfully fun kind of days.

But, if I do it because I feel like if I don’t get all this done I am going to somehow fail, or will never get it done. I’m so behind, I better do this now, or else.  Or feel all rushed and anxious and am totally unwilling to stop no matter what because I have got to get this done!  Pity the fool that gets in my way. This is sin!

One is led by the Lord and peaceful.  The other I am being ‘pushed’ and driven, by fear, lack of trust, control and a host of other possible evil spirits.  Do you see the difference?

I tend to be a highly motivated person, which is a good thing.  But, the downside is, I can easily and frequently step right into drivenness.  Sometimes I am days into it before I realize it.  I only hurt myself, my health and those around me when I do. Our bodies were not meant to live on that kind of adrenaline rush all day every day.

I have to ask myself, way more frequently than I do, ‘am I feeling led to do this or am I feeling driven?’  In a perfect world, if I feel the least bit driven I need to back off and let it go.  I might be off on my discernment sometimes, but I would rather error on the side of perhaps getting one less thing done than participating with the enemy’s plan for me.

His plan is to steal, kill and destroy. He can easily do so if he drives us in the ground with drivenness and fear.  All our energy spent on always pushing, always chasing, always trying to get one more thing done.  And then, once our bodies have reached their max, which it will ladies, trust me, it will, we collapse under complete exhaustion.  Sounds a like a plan of the enemy to me!

I am still learning and growing in the area.  I still go in and out of this way more than I would like to.  My Father is so faithful to always be wooing me back to Him, to His leading.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Lingering Tiredness

For me, when I am more tired than usual I know to check a few ‘spiritual’ issues. I’m not talking about your normal run of just being tired from a busy time in life.  I mean when profound ‘tiredness’ begins to become a way of life.  A heaviness spirit, soul and body.

I believe many, if not all of the symptoms I had with Adrenal Exhaustion were indeed spiritual.  Things like, Fear (stress and anxiety incl.) Drivenness, Performance, Perfectionism, and others, were a huge part of making me sick.

I want to share with you what the Lord has been showing me lately.  You see, when I ‘take the wheel’ and drive this thing called life, it is more than I can bear.  More than I was made to bear.  I step into Drivenness and begin to feel driven to get things done.  I feel almost pushed.  The fretting begins and it doesn’t take long before EVERYTHING is overwhelming. (fear)

I’m afraid things aren’t going to get done if I don’t do them. (fear)  The things I get accomplished are never enough.  There is always more to do.  My standards are incredibly high, for myself and others.  (perfectionism)

This is just a small sampling of the cycle I can step into.  You can see how one would be tired, can’t you?  I totally believe that we can do ALL that God calls us to do and He will supply the strength.  It can look like a lot, but if it is HIM leading it, He will provide the strength.    I don’t think there is one thing on my plate that I am not supposed to be doing right now, EXCEPT the fretting, driven, fear part. Winking smile(which, by the way, brings the exhaustion)

When I realize this and repent, yes, repent!  Fear, stress, anxiety, drivenness, and the like, is SIN!  It is NOT okay, no matter what the circumstance.  He would not command us to ‘do not fear’ hundreds of times if it was okay to fear.  When I repent and begin to renew my mind and take those lying thoughts captive, strength begins to return.  As well as the joy!

The Lord seems to be showing me verses that talk about strength.  I’ll share one today.

For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: (Is. 30:15)

I studied out some of the words.

Quietness: to be still, undisturbed, tranquility, inner confidence or peace

Confidence:  trust, true belief in God should be exhibited by implicit trust in Him.   The people of God even in their sinful failure should glorify Him by quiet trust instead of reliance on self stratagems and other powers.  This confident trust would bring divine strength and salvation.

In quietness and confidence shall be your strength . . .

. . . when my mind is calm, undisturbed, not fretting, not trying to figure out how I am going to do it all, not taking thought for tomorrow . . .


when my trust is in Him, not my own strength or my ideas of how/what needs done . . .then shall I be strong!

All the crazy thinking makes one weak and tired and overwhelmed.

In understand some of you are deep in the throes of Adrenal Fatigue, this is not meant to ‘solve all your problems’.  I am just trying to give you a picture of what goes on inside the mind of a ‘former Adrenal Fatiguer’  who is still in the process of walking this out.  God did dramatically heal me, but it is a daily choice to take thoughts captive or to begin to believe the lies and walk in them.

I haven’t done an awesome job of labeling my posts over the years, but if you want to read more about my life and Adrenal Fatigue, here is the link from the search button on my blog.  Apparently I have mentioned it a time or two. Winking smile


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Just Today

I woke up, tired, sick with a nasty cold.  Sort of ‘joyless’ for lack of a better word.  This last year has been a blur.  So much wonderful yet so much hurriedness. I am feeling a bit tattered and worn, like an old quilt.  Threadbare in many places.

I need the Lord, His word, His presence.  I picked up the computer instead of my bible, guilt comes when I do this.  I checked on a few of my ‘spiritual encouragement’ blogs.  My heart started to awaken at what I was reading.

I got ‘bounced’ around, in a good way, and could tell the Lord was leading and ministering to my heart each step of the way.

I poured out my heart in the comment section on one of the posts.  Was raw and real.  I cried hot tears as I typed how I had lost my joy and didn’t know how to find it.  How to find my way back home?  I was living in a fog, I felt so confused. 

I have walked in this joy, this peace, for long stretches of times, but somehow I just couldn’t choose joy.  Me and joy, we have sort of a revolving door relationship.  Deep abiding joy is often elusive

The more I read the more I cried, but as I cried, things got brighter.  The weight upon my shoulders, it began to lift. 

My mind began to slow. The thoughts, ‘how am I going to do this; I have 5 ‘business’ emails to answer; custom orders piling up; school to plan; school to DO, for crying out loud; so much disarray from this crazy year; our home, the children, they need me, I need them . . . these thoughts, they begin to drift away.  Kind of like the ‘hills melt like wax at the presence of the Lord.’

I breathe in deep, slow and long.  I sense Him.  I exhale.  Peace replaces anxiety.  I breathe in His love.  I exhale the lies, the crazy, the voice of the enemy.  I become surrendered to Him and His plan.

Suddenly my plans, my questioning, my worries, they simply drift away.  The corners of my mouth begin to turn upwards.  The tears cease.  Joy has returned.

Does He know all that I have to do?  Of course!  Does He expect me to know how I am going to do it all today?  No, He does not.  Will His grace be sufficient each step of the way?  Absolutely!  He only asks me to

“Turn my eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

Sometimes I picture Him waiting, with open arms, for me to realized how far off His plan I am and how buried in my own plans I am. 

I also picture Him pursuing me, even while I am running my own way.  You know . . .

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. (Is. 30:21)

(to read the whole beautiful context, click here.  It will likely bless your heart.)

He is right there, every breath is from Him.  All I need to do is breathe and know that He is here.  This inhale, this exhale, it is from Him, He is here.

I can rest in Him knowing that all I need to think about, do and focus on TODAY, is what He has for me TODAY!  Not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, just today.  I don’t need to even wonder how I am going to maintain this joy tomorrow.  Just today, my eyes on Him.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

One of My Favorite Quotes

Sally Clarkson has been an encouragement in my role as a mama for many, many years.  I recently rediscovered her blog and am encouraged all over again.

There is one quote from Sally that has shaped my life more than any other quote.  It is,

“In the absence of biblical conviction, people will go the way of culture.”

I have been so challenged over the years by this quote. We have been laughed at, ridiculed and questioned by many, including Christians, for our convictions and refusal to go the way of culture in so many areas.  It was the foundation of biblical conviction that has kept us steady.  (that, and my uber-steady husband. Winking smile)

I now challenge you to examine your life, your heart.  What areas have you ‘gone the way of culture’ due to the lack of biblical conviction?

This is a tough one, isn’t it?

Monday, October 1, 2012

It’s a New Day

I am not quite sure why this song is on my mind today.  I have only heard it maybe three times.  But it is October first, and a Monday, and the beginning of a new school year, and the end of a tremendously busy season (though I don’t think I will be to much less busy) and frankly, I just love the beginning of anything, well, except for the beginning of this nasty cold.

I have so utterly missed sharing my heart here.  So much has been going on and I don’t think my life has ever, ever been so full and my brain cells every been so maxed out.  I mean ever.

It has been an extremely challenging yet beautiful season.  Our ‘family’ business has been a whirlwind and I have hardly been able to keep my head above water.  Actually, quite often I felt like I was drowning.  But the Lord grew and stretched me.  Many old fears I thought were dealt with came up.  Some ‘baggage’ I thought I left behind apparently was still there.

It’s a new day and I am excited to be turning my heart back towards home and these children more than it has been. I know I have not been out of line with what the Lord has put on our plates, but I tell you, as much as I have been thrilled with this ‘business’ and the HUGE blessings that came along.  I am a wife and mama!  I love the limelight, the attention, the accolades, the sales, the women I get to deal with on a regular basis, the ministry opportunities, but I was made to be a wife and mama first.

Wondering what in the world I am talking about?  Below is about a bazillion pictures to give you an idea.  This does not include the classes, the Antique Markets, the ‘picking’, and countless dealings through emails.  This is just a peek at the ‘fun’ I have had.

P1090951P1090955IMG_3449IMG_2814-4IMG_2843-5IMG_3388IMG_3394IMG_3399IMG_2358done minirope dresserantique nightstandsIMG_3357-35IMG_2970IMG_3401IMG_3402IMG_3404IMG_3410IMG_3411IMG_3412IMG_3422P1060033P1060034IMG_3527P1100032

Okay, I’ll stop.  This is really just a tiny sampling, and I mean tiny, of what I have been up to in the last several months.  Perhaps this explains my absence better than words. 

If you would like to see more of what we have been doing, please feel free to visit our business blog at {re}imagined just for you.  Or, if you prefer, you can follow us on Facebook too, {re}imagined Facebook page.  (sounds all ‘high-techy’ doesn’t it?  My sons handle most of this for me, they help make me ‘legit’)

I have missed you and have loved your emails and your checking in on me.  Thank you!  Hopefully I am back!