Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hand-Me-Down Flowers

Heart.  Aren't these flowers wonderful?  They are hand-me-downs from the Sanford Children's Gala Auction...  Last weekend, the Young Life crew, Mark, and myself spent from 10PM Saturday evening till around 3AM Sunday morning tearing down after the big event.  It was crazy interesting to snoop and eavesdrop a bit - it was, by far, the most high-end party I had ever seen in person!  We were really thankful to have the privilege to raise a little cash for Young Life in doing some of the clean up work.  As a perk, we took some of the centerpiece flowers that were going to get thrown away.  Thrown away!  I can't believe it.  They are way too pretty to get thrown away.  They've lasted a whole week and still look great.  My new favorite flower (or weed) is the little yellow Dr. Seuss bally flowers.  Love them.

Insert a small sidenote-sort of story...  When I was still living near my grandma, her and I would spend summer afternoons going fishing at the creek and then driving around on gravel roads searching ditches for pretty flowers.  We'd bring armfulls home to put in old vases.  I would, also, always remember to get a bunch of stink weeds to bring home for Papa.

Anyway, summer wildflowers...  Yet another reminder that God is a crazy good Creator...like, so crazy good...

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

SUCCULENTS!


I finally have my own little succulent garden!  I have been wanting one for, like, forever.  When a good friend of ours gave us the little coffee pot/cup, I knew what I wanted to do with it immediately.  The Lord is so good - sometimes He provides even the littlest non-important things just because He loves us. I can't wait to hug Him for real.

Anyway, my mom and I spray painted the pot white (I am crazy about white lately) and went to a cute little greenhouse in Canton to find some succulents.  My favorite little guy is the cactus-looking one.  He is a Christmas Cactus and is supposed to bloom around Christmastime.  Isn't that nice of him to celebrate Jesus' birth by blooming?  I think so.

The best part about this tiny garden is that it doesn't require much water...  Which means, when I am absent-minded and busy and forgetful (which is all the time) and don't water it, it will persevere.  It will live!  Hooray. I love it.

Sometimes I move it around the apartment to get the very best sun, and I chat with my new "little buddies".  They are just so darn cute.
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Monday, August 22, 2011

REAL BEAUTY: Celebrating with Simple Things...

This picture is very, very rare.  It's a picture of MY toes painted something brighter than light pink, pale peach or taupe.  And, now that I finally conjured up the nerve to paint them bright orangey-coral, summer is almost over.  Figures.  

At Bible Study this summer, we talked off and on about insecurities and our identities in Christ.  I think this is a never-ending topic to process and grow in.  Every year that passes, I am a little more comfortable in my own skin and a little more confident in my identity in Christ.  Orange polish is a way to celebrate!  

It's the little things, right?  I tend to be really critical of how I look, so I play little games with myself in the mornings while I get ready for the day.  Sometimes I force myself to wear things or do my hair in ways that I am uncomfortable with...brightly colored headbands, skinny jeans, patterned shirts, wavy and messy hair, ORANGE polish!  Yikes.  It is one of my stupid little ways to fight satan - to walk out the door and say, "Nope.  You will not second-guess that.  You are fearfully and wonderfully made.  HIS beauty will shine through you."  

Actually, I am not that articulate in the morning...it's usually just, "Get over it.  Wear the orange." 
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

BIBLE STUDY PARTY





12-14ish girls packed into our apartment on every Tuesday this summer.  We studied Ephesians together and learned from a couple of wonderful guest speakers.  It was great.  To wrap up the summer, we had a little celebration!  The apartment is small without room for a big table, so I put together a "picnic" sort of party because 1) then it would make sense to sit on the floor...  2) I already had a lot of picnic-y sorts of things on hand...  We had supper together, shared bits of encouragement, played an Apples To Apples-ish game, and had a dress-up photo booth!  Such a great night...  

Special thanks to friends and family (you know who you are) who lent me picnic supplies!  Please excuse the crappy pictures.  The lighting was terrible.  Mark and I might invest in a new camera for Christmas.  Hooray!

Mom let me borrow her glass mason jars for drinks.  I had a lot of leftover tags that I stamped up quick for name tags.  I also had a lot of miscellaneous beads in my junky/craft cupboard, so I strung some on the ends. I used quilts as table cloths, basket "servers" for paper plates (also courtesy of Mom), unfinished candle sticks from a garage sale, and more mason jars full of daisies to spruce things up a bit.

This is a terrible picture, but you get the idea...  Plastic silverware wrapped in two napkins (to get a more patchwork quilty look), wrapped in twine.

Part of the drink station - lemonade and iced tea!   Yum.

This is an idea I stole from Martha Stewart.  She wrapped Christmas cookies in CD covers and sealed them with generic white address labels stuck to both sides.  I used stamps on the labels in this picture.

Part of the little food table I had sitting on the floor.  It's really a white Ikea shelf laying on its side.  I thought, since we're all sitting on the floor, it would be fine to have a low-sitting "table" for our food.  I just used a bunch of miscellaneous bowls and cake stands (which I love to collect) for food.  The cool thing was that nothing had to match!  We had ceasar wraps, kettle chips, watermelon and cookies.

Another crappy picture, but it shows the string lighting and quilts on the floor.
Dress up time!
My wonderful friend, Kristin, helped me set things up...both of us in our dress-up clothes!





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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SUMMER GRAB BAG!

Friends!  Summer is over.  Yikes.  I can't believe it went so fast!  I haven't been keeping up with blogging about all of our summer happenings so this is a miscellaneous grab bag post with a few pictures and a few highlights.


                                          

My dad runs an airport in Northeast Iowa.  Almost every summer, fungus starts growing on the corn, and aphids start attacking the beans.  So...my dad's aeropuerto starts buzzing with spray planes.  The day we were there, there were about 8 of these planes coming in and out and getting all fueled up for their next fungus-killing mission.  Fun to watch!  I am upset with whoever designed spray planes, though.  I really wish they would have added a passenger's seat so I that I could ride along sometimes.  Rats.


Mark and I visited family, and my sister, Micah, and I accidentally dressed alike.  Can you tell we're sisters?  She is trying to mimic my "Liza smile" in this picture.  To Micah - What the heck is a Liza smile?  I hope it is a nice thing.


Mark and I were in a wedding in July.  Congrats to Brett and Kari!  We are trying to look BA in our cheap Wal-Mart aviators.  Did it work?


Mark and I visited the Verne Drive-In for a date night!  We DO recommend the drive-in.  We do not recommend the movie Cowboys vs. Aliens.  I am a sucker for almost all sci-fi movies, but not this one. Dear Harrison Ford, What were you thinking?  I like Han better.

Happy Fall, folks!  Hope you enjoyed your summers.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

YUM.

This is my new favorite lunch time sandwich.  Inspired by Jimmy John's...  


On a hoagie bun (would love to find a whole wheat one - maybe Breadsmith?), layer...  Mayo, Provolone Cheese, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Lettuce, lots of Guacamole!


Jimmy John's adds sprouts, which I hate, so I didn't include those.  Jimmy John's also uses "Avocado Spread", and I don't know what that is, so Guac is what you get, folks...  YUM.
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the RESPONSE

Prayers for A Nation in Crisis

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

CAMP!

Phew! Mark and I have been catching up from a crazy few weeks. One week, we geared up for Young Life camp. The next week, we went to camp. Then, the following week, we recuperated. Castaway Camp - a Young Life camp near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota - was amazing. The vast majority of the high school students that attended say that, hands down, it was the best week of their life. The camp is more like a resort, and the kids had tons of crazy fun wakeboarding, tubing, rock-climbing, zip-lining, parasailing, having dance parties... Even more than that, countless staff members and leaders served selflessly, initiated deep conversations, invested in kids, gave their testimonies, proclaimed the Gospel and, overall, poured out a lot of Jesus' love. It was really unlike anything I had seen before in ministry. Such good stuff.

We're praising God for the work He did (and continues to do) in the lives of students. Many kids made first-time commitments, recommitments and/or took some pretty big steps in going deeper with the Lord. I'm so crazy excited to see how God continues to move in them. I'm praying for God to raise up a wholehearted generation for Him - lovesick worshipers, selfless leaders, compassionate ministers...who are all full of faith and full of the Spirit. Yeow! Let it happen, God!


I stayed in the Adult Guest Lodge at Castaway. SO nice! Had this beautiful room and bathroom to myself - walkout patio and lakefront view! Anyway, adults are invited to stay at Castaway to get a bird's eye view of what happens at camp and Young Life. They are welcome to join in the activities or do their own thing. Overall, it's so fun to see God move in kids' lives first-hand. We were able to encourage and pray for them while we stayed.


Here are two of the ladies from our Sioux Falls area that came to stay in the adult guest lodge too. Another gal came, but the picture with her in it didn't turn out as well! Sorry, Melanie!

These are a few of the girls I hung out with one afternoon. They are so wonderful. We went sailing and I risked my life to save us! ...that is mostly true. Just ask them. They'll tell you.

This is a picture of part of the group! They are so fun.
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Monday, August 1, 2011

REALLY, REAL BEAUTY | Danielle

If you haven't already, read my previous post. Then, this post will make more sense!

My friend Danielle is beautiful because... She is one of the most authentic and honest people I know. She has been through all the "worst-case scenarios", has lived to tell about them all, and is more confident of the Lord's provision and faithfulness than ever. She is real - never fakes it, or tries to be perfect. She hates small talk and likes to skip to the part where conversation turns deep and meaningful. She is a learner, a prayer, a teacher and a grace-giver! She respects and follows her husband well. She is selfless and patient with her 3 crazy cute kids. She's one of my best friends! What follows is from Danielle...

About Danielle...
I've been married 8 years to Jeremy. My career? Serving Jeremy and the kids - Kasiah, Dyson, Adalie. I love to read and write!

Her Definition of Real Beauty is...
Real beauty is being so secure in Jesus that even the most horrific circumstances can't move you.

Her Can't-Live-Withouts...
ProActive, Coffee Time with my husband every morning, personal devotional time, the vacuum, Jeremy, Dyson's hugs, Adalie's snuggle time, Kasiah's prayer time.

The Thing/s She's Most Proud of..
Doing Insanity and P90X for the last 12 months!, Jeremy and I's marriage after surviving so much (where do I start?!), who Jeremy has become today, and how cute my kids are. I often wonder why God picked us to have such cute kids!

Her Insecurities and How She Fights Them...
My skin, my chest, my hair... I should start focusing on my favorite features, huh? My eyes! My new bod since losing 45 pounds after Adalie was born.

How God's At Work in Her Life...
I'm learning more about the Holy Spirit, which brings a new depth to being a Christian that is pretty counter-cultural. I'm also learning to be more of a Mary in a Martha-sort of world.

Some More of Her Favorites...
My favorite verse is Matthew 20:6 "What God has joined, let no one separate." (This verse became more special to Danielle when she stayed faithful to Jeremy in the midst of some affairs.) My favorite book of the Bible is Psalms it's filled with honest and real prayers. No fluff!

I told you Danielle is beautiful! Like her, may we be unmoved and unshaken - even in the midst of horrific circumstances...that our security in the Lord would be really, really beautiful.
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