Thursday, April 28, 2011

Break My Heart

I've taken some time to get this written because every time I sat down to write, I couldn't think of the right words. I felt like nothing I could say would do it justice.

Last Friday night we took the shoes to the kids and were privileged to sit in on the service that John and Teri (the couple from our church) hold there at Agora each Friday night called "Youth Revolution."


I watched and listened and looked around the room at each of the kids. I felt a bit intimidated actually. I didn't want them to think we were trying to fly in with our capes on and say "look what we did!" Because Lord knows that was not my heart. Part of me even wanted to just sort of sneak in leave the shoes and run.

But I hoped that they would look past any outer appearances and see our hearts. Which was purely to bless them, with hopes that they in turn would bless someone else. Because that is what this was all about.

These kids come every Friday night to the Youth Revolution service. John and Teri share a teaching with them. This time it was on Faith. They were given mustard seeds and read scripture. Then they get to eat. This night it was brisket made by a very sweet volunteer. Some nights its pizza, provided by John and Teri, other nights a church will provide something. They all stay around for a while...either outside or inside...just talking and hanging out. There's an air hockey table and pool table, a sofa, and a tv. I remember Teri laughed a little when I said something about being worried that some of them would leave before we could give them the shoes. She said they wouldn't and that sometimes they have to make them leave because it's gotten so late.

It was amazing for me to see.

See, the seeds we sowed by the blessing we gave were sown on good ground. Ground that John and Teri have toiled and nurtured with their time, love and desire to be God's hands and feet.

The kids that we blessed all ranged from 6 months to 19 years old. The babies and toddlers were either children of the youth who attend the service or siblings of them. So not only were we able to bless the youth from the Youth Revolution service, but it extended beyond them as well.

I wish you each could have been there. Just to see the faces of gratitude. The hugs of appreciation....These kids were some of the sweetest, most respectful kids I have met.

One of the biggest testimonies to me was of 2 boys who at first said they didn't want any new shoes. I could sort of understand. There was a sense of pride there. But after Brandon and I were able to talk with them and we'd been there for a while...they both came up to me before leaving and said "I've changed my mind...I'd like a pair of shoes."

I wanted to hug them as hard as I could. That alone was enough for me. To know that they knew what this was about. They could see our hearts and intentions.


My hearts cry for some time has been that the Lord truly "break my heart for what breaks his"....thats a great song, but I didn't just want to sing...I wanted to BE it.

As we drove through the neighborhood where Agora Minsitries is, my heart was broken. These kids who have so little....have no idea. They know no different. My heart was not just broken for the "lack" that I saw....my heart was broken for just now seeing it.

When we walked into the building, Asher right away wanted to leave. It was out of his comfort zone. I could see it on his face. To be honest, I recognized the feelings because I felt them myself. I think sometimes things seem to be too much for us or too intimidating so we either run in the opposite direction or we just don't respond at all.

But by the end of the night I couldn't get Asher to leave.

{I think Teri's chocolate cake had a little something to do with that}

These are the type of things I want to show and teach my children. I don't want to raise kids who are unaware of the need of others and more aware of their own. I want them to be mindful of others, and God's love for them and more importantly I want them to show it to them.

I left there, feeling like I was the one who had been given something. A heart fuller than ever, a desire to make a difference in this world, ignited even stronger. Every trial and triumph we go through leads us to one thing- Him. I've been on a path of much pain and loss, yet even more growth in my faith, hope and love. I intend to turn every one of the trials and triumphs I've gone through to Him- to glorify Him.

There comes a time in our lives where God calls us to MORE. He places a desire in our hearts...an idea...a thought...an inspiration. And then it's up to us to act on it.

Most of the kids took off their old shoes and put the new ones on right away.


This boy got a pair of black converse and said he had never had a pair of shoes like this but always wanted some.

He melted my heart. I wanted to hug him like there was no tomorrow but I thought maybe I'd scare him. So I asked if he would take a picture with me instead ;) The boy in the red was probably one of the most gracious, respectful boys I've ever had the privilege of standing next to.


I used to say that my "ministry" was my children and husband. That my stage in life right now is being a mom and a wife. I still believe that. I believe God has given me a passion to be a mom and wife, and to do it to the best of my ability.

But I also believe that I can do that while always keeping my eyes focused "out" to see the need of others and to act on it as well as I can. My heart is to always stay open and ready to be God's hands and feet. To be aware of others needs. To go outside of my comfort zone in order to show others I care. Not to be too consumed with my own life or intimidated by the greater need and run, but to see them and act.
To let my actions speak loud.


And I think that in doing that, I am being the best mother I can possibly be...because I am not only telling my children about God's love....I'm being God's love. More importantly they are learning that there is a world outside of there own in need of that love.

This was only the beginning for me. I am so thankful for what God has taught me through this. And I am so, so incredibly thankful to those of you who gave. These kids were given a gift...not just shoes...But God's love demonstrated through others.
Through you.

I began this out of a heart to inspire others. In the end, I realized....I was the one inspired.
To be more, do more, act more.
My heart will never be the same.


"Open up my eyes to the things unseen-
Show me how to love like You have loved me-
Break my heart for what breaks Yours-
Everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause"
Hosanna- Hillsong United














Monday, April 25, 2011

the Speak Louder Project- Shoe Shopping!!

Last Thursday I met my friend Becca at Journeys here in San Antonio, to purchase 35 pairs of shoes for the Speak Louder Project- Easter Shoe Donations.


Becca was able to get me connected with the manager Josh.

{here he is packing up some of the shoes}
Josh was amazing! Such a nice guy! He made sure we were well taken care of at both "Journeys Kids" and "Journeys"

With his and Becca's help we were able to pick out a different pair for each kid...Since the ages ranged from 6 months to 19 years old, this was a challenge.... but a fun one!!


Everything from Polo, Vans, Sketchers, Adidas, Converse, Ethnies, DC, and Pastry.



It was so much fun to shop for these kids! I could not have done it without Becca, she was so helpful.

Especially since I had two of my little shopping buddies with me...


And it was hard to keep this one on track...

she inherited her mama's shoppin gene.


Focus Bella Focus!

2 hours and 35 pairs of shoes later....



We loaded them into the car


Ready to be taken to the kids at Agora


SO exciting!!!
Have I mentioned how thankful I am to YOU for making this happen!?

Next, the best part....the delivery!! My life, my vision...will never be the same!

P.S---are you in a rut? Feeling sorry for yourself? Feeling a little self critical...or just a little grouchy? Look for something you can do for someone else today! Place your focus outward and see how your day will turn around! There is no way you can be in a bad mood when you're doing for someone else!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A 1950's Vintage Desk Makeover!

{This is part of the "Creative Room" Re-do, I've been working on. Here is the first post where I showed what the room looked like before}

I'm calling this room a "creative room" because that's what it is. A place for us to be creative. I've cleared out all of the toys...given away as many as the kids would let me, and the rest have been organized and tucked away into their closets. I only kept things like puzzles, blocks, coloring books, play doh, board games and books in the room.

I'll show you the whole thing soon but I'm a perfectionist... there are still just a couple small things left to do and I don't want to show it until it's all done.

One of the many reasons I love this room so much is because it revolves around a few thoughts... "What if I tried this"... "I love that- how can I do it?"... "How about this" ..."I wonder if this would work"...

....and then I DID them.

It stretched me beyond my comfort zone as far as "creating" (I've decided I pretty much do not like the word crafting...I am NOT a crafter! I do however love to CREATE- to Decorate...always have)

What I learned through this process is you do not always have to go off what someone else did or how they did it...try it yourself, come up with your own way. If you like it...do it. If you'd like to do it...try it. If you see something you like, don't be afraid to copy it in your own way. Be creative and don't be afraid to try something. If you make a mistake or it's a total fail, oh well! Try again!

One of the biggest projects in this room was the furniture. I did not want even a freckle of "dark." My whole down stairs is "dark"....wood floors, espresso furniture, chocolate brown sofa....So I wanted the upstairs WHITE, BRIGHT and COLORFUL. So that meant painting.

Painting furniture...something I've always been afraid of doing but I finally said, I'm DOING it! And I am so glad I did....

I showed you my favorite wall in the room, which has this desk on it. It was one of the first pieces I painted...

I bought this desk from a cute young couple who had just had a baby. It was her grandma's desk, made in the 1950's. They were sad to see it go but just didn't have the room with the new baby. Score for me!

Let me give you the low down on how I turned this

{midway through the sanding and hardware removal}

To this....


First things first....I took off all of the hardware and the cabinet doors. Then Brandon sanded it. When he was done, I wiped it down real good and primed it with "kilz" primer. I gave it about 2 coats and let it dry over night.

Then I sprayed it with Krylon's "Celery." Yes I used spray paint. Yes I was nervous about that, being that I'd never used spray paint on furniture. BUT after doing some reading like here, here, and here.... I felt assured it was the way to go for what I wanted to get it. Plus my hand was cramping bad just from the priming.

It took me about 4 cans. Really could have just been 3 but I tend to think
more is more.

A note on spray paint, because I didn't know this....In the beginning, I was buying it at Hobby Lobby where it's about 4 something a bottle...almost 5 bucks. Pricey if you need a lot. Then I found out that WALMART carries it. And there is an array of options there! More than Hobby Lobby. And it's only 3.24!! So, get it there! The downfall is, you have to wait for a worker to come open the cabinet for you and they aren't always too snappy about it...especially when you're having to bounce up and down with your 4 month old in the sling, while having to tell your 3 yr old to sit her booty back down in the cart and yelling your 5 year olds name across the store to come back....but nobody will notice that part because it's Walmart. Not to worry.

The last step was to seal it with a coat of polycrylic to protect it.


I wanted a muted vintagey color that would go well with this print that I ADORE.


and was the inspiration for the look of the desk. I love everything about it and I am in search of a typewriter like the one in the picture. Seriously, I told Brandon it's what I want for Christmas, my Birthday, Mothers Day...whatever, I just want a vintage typewriter. Bad. Make it happen Babe.

Moving on.

I bought new knobs at Hobby Lobby when they were 50% off, I did 2 larger ones for the doors



and little green vintagy ones on the drawers.


All of the glass containers were purchased at IKEA. They hold glue sticks, smaller fabric scraps, buttons, push pins, headbands, scissors, paint brushes etc.


I love this little glass container. I found it at the thrift store for 1 dollar (hollah!)...I put a little piece of scrap book paper in it and spelled out "INSPIRE" with some black sticker letters I had.


Then I printed out my favorite quotes and bible verses, cut them into strips, and put them in the jar...


When I need a little inspiration or encouragement, I can grab one out and read it. I'll add to it as I find more inspirational words to put in there. I am a believer in the power of words and that readng them can change your day, moment...perspective. I need that sometimes....don't we all?

{My current favorite quote, I have it everywhere}

I love this picture:

Again with the old typewriter.
I was flipping through the Anthropologie catalog and saw it. Loved it. Then had an idea, why not turn it into ART. So I grabbed a white frame I'd bought at Target for like 1.50 on clearance, cut the page to fit my frame and there you go....art work ala Anthro....for a dollar fitty, ya'll.




Red Chair is from IKEA


Anthropologie journal is from my sister and brother in law- Heather and Brent. It's special to me. They gave it to me for my birthday 2 years ago. They've been some of my biggest supporters and encouragers of my writing. It's one of my favorite things.




Want to see what's next to the desk?....


Someone elses favorite spot...

Since Bella could stand in her crib, she would pull herself up and look out a little window she had above her crib. I would listen to her through the monitor while she "talked" to the birds and the people passing by. She would do this for about 30 minutes every morning. When she got older and could talk she'd tell me all about what she saw.

Now, she does the same thing at this window. It faces the front of the house, which is perfect for a nosey neighbor like herself. Originally there were dark wood blinds that I would pull up for her almost every morning, but the cords would always hang and I didn't like that, plus I didn't want the dark wood anymore, so I searched for some roman shades that would be easy to pull up and not have a cord hanging down. I found these and they are PERFECT.


Not only because they were exactly what I was looking for, but there is no cords and the kids can't reach the handle to mess with it. I open it in the morning and it stays that way all day. The fabric is really nice, thick and durable feeling too.

I took this one this morning to give you a better look at them...



Notice the finger and nose prints....I love them :)


I purposely placed their table and chairs in front of this window. My sweet, generous friend Jennifer blessed us with this set. It was perfect and exactly what'd I'd been looking for! The kids love it and use it all of the time...in fact, notice the half done puzzle...

I didn't clean it up before taking the pictures the other day cause that's what it always looks like anyway! Some days I let them eat their lunch up there. They love it.

The "centerpiece" is a tall yellow tin from the dollar spot and windmills I also found at Target that I spray painted to match the room colors, I'm going to add a couple of red ones too.



There is so much to this room I want to show you like the "no-sew" pennant I came up with and that you see hanging... but this post is officially the longest post EVAH, so I'll spare you.... All in time!

Hope ya'll are having a Happy Thursday! Now, I've got some shoe shopping to do!! :)
Much LOVE to you all!

"As you take the normal opportunities of your daily life and create something of beauty and helpfulness, you improve not only the world around you but also the world within you"
Dieter F. Uchtdorf


Photobucket

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

WE DID IT!!!

I am BLOWN AWAY by the generosity of people.

I am humbled.

I am THANKFUL!

Not only did we reach our goal of 700$....we SURPASSED it

...with a total of 1,170$!

Did you read that?!? 1,170!!!

YOU did that!

I can't say I'm shocked. I can say, God is Good.

I firmly believe that when given the opportunity to bless, to act, to move, to let our actions speak.. people WILL take it...and this is proof.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I am SO very excited to see these kids get new shoes. I am going shopping tomorrow for all of the shoes and will take pictures along the way...WHY? Because none of this would be possible without YOU and I want you to be involved every step of the way.

I can't begin to tell you what this has taught me. What I have learned, and how I have grown through it spiritually. It has been a lesson in trusting that when you step out in obedience, regardless of your own comfort....God will walk you through it.

When you feel discouraged, God will encourage you through someone else. When you begin to doubt, He'll speak to you through His word. When you start to wonder why, you'll hear the testimony of someone who gave her donation out of a desire to give and then saw the Lord bless that obedience and teach HER a lesson in relying on Him.

So thank you, not only for your donations, but for allowing me to be a vessel for the Lord to work through. I give Him ALL the praise and I am so honored to be used in this way.

It has been amazing for me to see people from all over, not connected in any way, coming together for one purpose...

My prayer is that these kids will see and feel the love of Jesus like never before. And in turn, be encouraged and empowered to show His love to others. Because THAT is what this is all about. Spreading God's love. Living out His love. Being His hands and feet...Acting.

My hope has always been to inspire others...but this has inspired me...to do more, be more....To keep taking the steps forward...one by one.

And I hope you'll take them with me cause this is just the beginning!!

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.” - Edward Everett Hale

Monday, April 18, 2011

Giveaway Winner!


The winner of the Covered in Blessings minky bunny is Amanda...entry number 9!

Congratulations Amanda, please email me your information as soon as possible. Let me know your color choice and send me your address. I will pass the info on to Candace at Covered in Blessings and she will get your bunny shipped out to you! You have until tomorrow afternoon 12pm CST to contact me! We want to make sure the bunny is shipped ASAP to gets to you in time for Easter, so hurry and email me! Otherwise I will have to draw another a winner!


Also, If you live here in San Antonio, you can check out Covered in Blessings in person on Saturday at the Heart of Praise Helicopter Easter Egg Drop!


There will be food, games, jumpy things, music, prizes, a craft ally and over 20,000 eggs for your little munchkins to hunt!


And don't forget, if you'd like a chance to bless a child with a new pair of shoes for Easter, there is still time to donate! Just on head on over to this post:
Speak Louder Project

Thank you to all who entered the giveaway and WELCOME to our new followers. I am honored to have each of you!

I apologize for the somewhat anticlimactic post. I have lots to share, lots on my mind, lots on my to-do list. But tonight...I'm tired.

And I'm going to go peak in on my sleeping munchkins one more time. One of those days I feel extra {extra} blessed to have them.

Much Love to you ALL!















Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Peek into our new "Creative Room" and a Speak Louder Project UPDATE

Here's the deal ya'll, I'm just going to break it down for ya nice and easy.

First, let me THANK those of you who have given toward the Speak Louder Project to give a pair of shoes to an underprivileged child! Brandon and I have sowed our seed right along with you and are so excited to see God work! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!

That being said, we are not quite at our goal just yet, almost, not really, actually we have a ways to go. SO, I gotta get a little K-Love pledge drive on you guys now.

You've heard my heart, read my plea's...now let's just get REAL.

If we do not meet our goal, a child or 5 or 10 will not receive new shoes....I do not want that to happen! Do you? I don't think so Tim....so listen...

Can you give 10 dollars? Cause if so and we can get 50 people to give 10 dollars we will reach our goal! And I would be so grateful and I would cry and I would actually sleep tonight.

The paypal is set up to be super EASY. Trust me, my Mom used it with absolutely no problems and that is a down right miracle. Seriously.

You do not have to have a paypal account. Just click this link, enter in the amount and your info and you are DONE!






If you would also please leave a comment and share how you took the step forward to speak louder, to plant a seed, to bless- PLEASE DO! Let's hear how and why you were inspired to give, lets encourage each other and inspire one another to join in!

While I was writing this, my sweet husband decided to put up a challenge on his facebook...for every dollar given, he will match it up to 1000$! This means he is giving out of an account I am unaware of...uh, babe? Just kidding, he just sold something that means a lot to him and I'm assuming this is where that money will come from. Thank you babe!!


***If you don't care about my room re-do then you can stop reading here, I'll forgive you***

So, because I know I have a lot of nosey readers and because I know I started talking about my room re-do like a month ago and forgot to mention it again, I thought I'd offer a little peak into the room. It is mostly done and I LOVE it.

It has truly been a labor of love this thing...yeesh.
I'll write more about it when I show the whole room, but for now, I'll give you a little sneak peak.

Do you remember that time I said I couldn't sew? Well GUESS WHAT. Something came over me and I decided to give it a whirl. I started by just making one of my pom-poms and then sewed it to a 1.99 IKEA pillow....then I added 2 more.


I'm sorry what? Stinken cute? I KNOW!

AND THEN I decided to try my hand at making the coordinating cushion. What's that? A cushion too, you say?!
Yep!



This chair was found at the thrift store (remember-trendier, cuter word for GOODWILL)...it got a nice wash down , a fresh coat of paint and voila...it is now where I sit when I'm writing this here blog.



8 dollah ya'll....Well I'm not counting the fabric in that total. It's Heather Bailey fabric I purchased through Etsy. I've had it for about a month afraid to do anything with it because I love it so much.

Which reminds me, I also decided to put it behind my new favorite print and LOVE how it looks with it much better than the yellow mat I showed you it with, don't you?




Since I had my camera out I thought I'd take a picture of the wall it's on.


It's my favorite wall in the room. I made the pennant too.
I know, stop it right? I really did.
I'll tell you how, along with the rest of the room some time next week.

Ok so, Enter my GIVEAWAY, make a DONATION call it a day.








{P.S, this post brought to you by 2 route 44 Diet Dr. Peppers induced by a screaming, whining, ovah the top dramatic 3 year old who thank GOD is now taking a nap after an hour of screaming)