Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ultimate Cleaning

Yesterday was my favorite day of the month: the cleaning lady came! Several months ago, I had heard about someone going through a difficult time who was looking for a cleaning job. I decided to hire her to clean before we had an open house at the parsonage. I ended up hiring her for good. She does a wonderful job!

So obviously I love having a clean home where for whatever brief period of time it seems, all is well. Everything is in it's place, the crumbs have been vacuumed, the kitchen floor is NOT sticky, my white kitchen sink that is just gross, sparkles. But most of all, things seem more manageable.

A week or so passes and the mess, the crumbs, the dust, the spills not to mention the homework, the laundry, ministry etc. all begin to pile up. I feel overwhelmed (and I have a helpful family where we all help). I know I cannot do it myself. Like a superhero, my lady shows up and all feels well again; I feel like I will not only survive my week but maybe even thrive a bit.

While I do not want to equate my cleaning lady with Jesus (though she is pretty awesome ;-) This has reminded me of my faith journey. My dirty house is a lot like sin. Sin can muddy up my heart. At first, I might not even notice, just like those crumbs or the spills that I thought had been wiped clean. I may not repent. I may not open my heart up to God to be cleansed because I don't allow myself to see it. But pretty soon, I am overwhelmed by how I have let the sins captivate my heart and how I've strayed from my relationship with God. When I do, I call out to God with the lyrics of a great hymn: "Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me."

I recognize that my heart needs to be cleansed by God. It is a job I cannot do it for myself. Only my Savior can. My spirit is renewed. I feel freed to joyfully follow God and fulfill the calls on my life. This holy season of Lent is a time to recognize the ways you turn from God and to allow God to clean your heart and renew your spirit. It is not a one time process but rather something we need to do, time and time again. The God of all grace pours forgiveness on us and makes us a new creation. So allow yourselves to be cleaned my friend. It is worth it!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Crafting Craze

Like many people, in January I make goals for the upcoming year. I have several craft projects that I want to do. This nasty weather (lots of snow and below zero weather) has given us extra indoor time, so I have been in a crafting craze these past few days. I thought I would share some of it with you. My big goal for 2014 is to completely organize our families pictures and videos. So that means I am catching up on scrapbooking for all of the kids (I am caught the beginning of 2008 :-( except for Zander adoption spurred me to do his scrapbook all at one time so it would be ready at the party. So one kid down, 3 to go! I also have our family pics that we put in regular albums and one I made for my ordination (my uncle was so kind and captured the whole day for me). In addition to the all of the photographs, I want to get all of our family videos all labeled and in one place as well as to transfer our VHS family videos to DVDs. One of the things that I noticed right away in this big venture (besides for the fact that it is a HUGE task) is that I have a lot of leftover wallet size (and smaller) photos of the kids. So some of them we made into Christmas ornaments (I already took them down and packed them away for next year, so you will have to wait until November to see them :-) but I have come up with several other projects to use them. One is these coasters:

I took cheap white tiles (13 cents a piece!) and mod podged a piece of scrapbook paper and one of our wallets onto the tile. The older kids actually did their own. I let them dry and then mod podged several more times to keep any possible moisture from their glass or spills from ruining them. I took simple black coasters we already had and put stickers and mod podged them the same for me and Craig's coasters. I then found a cheap plain wood tray at Michaels and used some left over kitchen wall paint to paint the tray that will hold them. This tray is on my kitchen counter and we put our cups on them when we are finished (whether full or empty) so that we can always find their cup and we don't confuse whose cup is whose and get more cups out (making extra dishes to wash). 

Well that started the craft craze. Then before I knew it I was dragging this cabinet out of the dining room and into the kitchen. It was so spur of the moment I didn't do a "before" picture. The only one I could find is one where you can see the cabinet behind my daughter and niece (aren't they cute?! 9 days apart those two :-)


Well I took the doors off the front (Ok, I couldn't get them off, so after asking what in the world was I doing, my husband just shook his head and took them off for me). Then I just took a piece of sandpaper all over the outside of the cabinet. Now for paint, I am all about using things you already have. So I found some egg shell-ish paint out in the garage and back to the trusty old leftover kitchen wall (green) paint. I took a sponge and just gently painted the egg shell onto the whole cabinet not trying to "cover" the whole cabinet (you could still see the wood underneath). I let that dry for a little bit. Then I took the green paint with another sponge and lightly painted most of the cabinet, again not trying to completely cover up the egg shell paint but just add long green strokes to the cabinet. Then (I'm not sure if I made this up or saw this somewhere because I've done this before) I took some of my used dryer sheets and just randomly wiped across the whole cabinet. Doing this took some of the paint completely off and allowed the wood to show through. The finished product has that antiqued, old farm look to it.

I left the doors off the front (I wonder what I will think of for those?!) and inside is now home for the scrapbooks that I have been working on for the kids.

The last project that I'm working on is a special place to put pictures of our foster kids that have come in and out of our home. While we have pictures of them in our family photos  I wanted a place dedicated to those who God allowed to come into our home for us to love. I had a set of 3 frames from IKEA that I hadn't used yet. So on one I put some scrapbook paper with stickers; it simply says "Fostering Love One Child at a Time." Well actually there is a heart sticker but you get the point. The most adorable thing was when I was putting this piece together I asked Jonah what he thought. He is still learning to read so he had me read it to him and he groaned, saying "Only one child at a time, how about 3?" I love that kid!

I put "K" and "J's" pictures in the other two frames and am going to put them on this black shelf (yes, it still needs to be hung on the wall :-)

Next craft: taking all of our wallet pictures and attaching them to a piece of colored construction paper and then taking them to be laminated and voila: a personal place mat!
Happy Crafting!!