Monday, June 20, 2011

Phillipians 4:6

Oh great you're thinking, she titled this one with a Bible verse. She must be part of an occult or her church is making her to do this or she's a bunhead, and none of those choices are ideal. Well the answer is none of those, I just wanted to share one of my life verses with you and how it really applied this weekend.
If you've never read it, Phillipians 4:6 says "Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done." (NLT) I know what you're thinking, it can't be that easy. It's not, praying about everything and worrying about nothing? For the control freak in me, it is damn near impossible! But this weekend taught me a lesson: God cares about everything, even coolers.
This weekend was our Community on a Mission Day at church. Instead of doing for us, we did for others. Saturday 200+ peeps went out into the Quad Cities to practice God's love in practical ways. Some of those was included, passing out free pizza and drinks, giving away reusable bags, giving away air gliders at the Air Show, picking up trash along Kimberly Road, giving away free lunch, $1 car wash (we paid you $1 for letting us wash your car), picking up dog poo and giving away doggie treats at the dog park, etc... You get the idea, we were out to serve our community and show the community that God loves.
Well I was in charge of our drinks team, which meant making sure we had enough drinks to pass out, ice to keep them cold and coolers to hold it all. By Friday night I had plenty of drinks and ice and people, but I only had 3 coolers for sure. I was panicking because I had 5 teams planned for 5 different locations throughout the QC, but no way to pull it off if I didn't get at least 2 more coolers.
I remembered a the verse I had gotten in my email that morning, Phillipians 4:6. I decided to do exactly what it said pray about everything. So I while I was getting ready for bed I said, "God, tomorrow is your day. Its all for your glory and your honor. You know that I need at least 2 more coolers to have 5 teams go out and spread your love. I'm not going to worry about it anymore, and I'm giving the cooler situation to you. If we will need the extra coolers I trust you to provide them." And that was it, went to bed and had an ok night's sleep.
Saturday morning as I was gathering up my stuff and heading out the door, a moment of panic struck me about the coolers again. I stopped what I was doing and I told God to take care of it, it wasn't my problem. He knew how many coolers we needed and I knew he would provide them.
I arrived at church and began loading up the 3 coolers that I had available for the drinks team. People from my team began to arrive. "Rebecca, do you still need coolers?" Why yes I did. And you know what? They showed up! God provided more coolers than I needed, 7 coolers were available for the drinks team to use. 7! Can you believe he more than doubled what I originally had???? GOD IS SO GOOD!
I know coolers might be a silly thing to pray about and be excited about but think about this, if God is willing to double the amount of coolers I was praying for why wouldn't he take care of other things too? I believe that He will. I believe He will provide exactly what we need, when we need it, not when WE think we need it, which is an important concept to grasp.
Our timing is not always God's timing. In fact, remember I quit my job last month without having another one? Well, it turns out God does know what He's doing ;) Not only do I get to spend the summer with Nate and Dillon and doing fun stuff and hearing all sorts of funny things come out of their mouths, I also got out before I was forced out of my job.
There had been all sorts of rumors about going to a commission pay scale and pay cuts and what have you. The rumor while I was there was a 10% pay cut for salaried managers (which I was) and 2% commission on all personal sales. I ran the numbers and while I didn't like having money taken away from me and the opportunity to earn it back, I did see potential for some extra money every now and then. If I worked my behind off and sold sold sold, I could potentially bring home $50 extra a week, not exactly a huge incentive but whatever. Well beginning July 1 employees will be taking a 25% pay cut and getting a 3% commission. I ran those numbers too, and THANK YOU GOD for getting me out of there! I would have lost $200 a week on a good week! Part timers are making below minimum wage before commission. I can't think of a crummier thing to do to your employees. But they insist it's going to be great for employees. So glad I'm no longer an employee there.
So yes I believe God takes care of all the details, even if we can't see it when it happens. And I do believe that if you pray about everything and worry about nothing, life will be a little easier. Does this mean I'm never going to worry about anything again? Man I so wish I could say yes to that statement, but I know I will still have worries, but I'm going to do my best to pray about them immediately from now on instead of letting the worry get the best of me. Try it for 2 days, I bet you'll feel better about what's going on in your life and you'll want to continue praying after 2 days.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Livin' the Blessed Life

I don't think I ever fully understood what it meant to be "living a blessed life", until today. I'm sitting in the midst of a 3 and 4 year old running circles around me and declaring their allegiance to good guys or bad guys. I've never heard a more beautiful sound.
So does a blessed life mean I am the richest of my friends? I own the biggest house, the best car, the most toys? Nope, and sadly, I don't think I believed that until this morning. I mean I've known that I have lived a pretty decent life. I've never been homeless. I've never been starving. I've never had to declare bankruptcy. I've never had to beg for food or money. But I've also never been able to buy my own house, own a BMW X5(which I still would like to do), have more money in my bank account than I know what to do with. I always wanted those things, even if I never spoke them out loud, they were always in my head floating around. Today I finally figured out, for real, what being blessed is.
I am so very blessed because I get to spend the summer with Nate. I never really knew what a great kid I had until this week. OK, don't get me wrong, I have always known what a great kid Nate is, everyone always falls in love with him when they meet him and I couldn't wait to hang out with him after work each day. But getting to spend this entire week with him, I've truly learned what an amazing child I really have. The things I'm going to share with you, I've always known, but I've really seen them in action this week.
Nate is a really particular child. If he thinks something should be a certain way, it really does need to be that way, in his mind, and don't try to change his mind on it! He likes things "just so" and it's actually very important to him to keep things the same. Change does not bode well with him.
He loves other children, and not just as playmates, he really loves them. We didn't see Dillon for two days this week and he continually asked when we were going back to Dillon's and he told me how much he missed him. This morning I told him we were going to the zoo with Dillon and Izzy and he got so excited, more than I expected, and then he told me "Mom I love Izzy!" Nate has a huge heart and I love seeing it in action.
Nate is also very, very sensitive. I had no idea how sensitive my child was until this week. I always knew he was a sensitive kid, but he is really overly sensitive. I can't really explain that either, you just have to see it. Everything makes him cry, which I already knew, but I'm wondering if he was like this at school, or if its just for my benefit. They always say kids save their worst behavior for their mom.
Nate loves super heroes. Now trust me, this is something that will not go unnoticed, even if you are meeting him for the first time, but man I think he might be heading towards obsession! He thinks about them constantly and talks about them constantly and shoots spider webs constantly. If I knew how to spell the sound he makes when he shoots a web I would put it in here, because I hear it about a million times a day! And just when I think I have his favorite nailed, he switches it up on me!
Nate is really a cool kid and I am truly BLESSED to be his mother. And if it wasn't for God, the real God, the Alpha and Omega, the Father of Jesus, I wouldn't have this little guy in my life. My pregnancy definitely was not planned by me, but I truly believe Nate was always a part of God's plan.
This is the blessed life, for me anyway, getting to spend the summer with my Nater and Dillon, listening to worship music all day, enjoying beautiful weather, getting my tan on (let's be real, I'm still human LOL), and not caring what the world thinks of me or my life any longer. Man it took me 34 years to get here, I hope I get another 34 at least to enjoy it.
What makes your life "The Blessed Life"?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Life after death...of a career?

Is there life after you walk out on a career that you have been building since you were 21? Yes, and for now it appears to be much richer and fuller than the life I had been leading with a career path in place. I don't think I was really living before and that's not ok, not ok with me, not ok with God (that's not how He created us) and I hope its not ok with you. When I say that I hope its not ok with you, I mean for you. My hope is that we can all be living instead of leading or existing in this life.
Do you know that not once since I quit my job have I stress out about not having a steady income? I'm telling you, when you give it over to God, and I mean really give it to Him to handle, life really becomes so much more peaceful. And yes, I totally had a few moments where I could have freaked! I got pulled over on my second to last day of work, in a school zone which means automatic ticket, and the ticket in a school zone is $168. That's a lot for someone who is now a stay at home mom, or if you prefer, unemployed. Especially when that mom is single and there is no other income on which to rely. After I was hard on myself for speeding in an area designed to protect kids, I realized I wasn't freaking out about how to pay for the ticket. Normally I would start adding up all of my bills, subtracting them from my take home pay and then realizing something would have to get the minimum payment or no payment at all. But not this time. Instead my very first thought, was huh...I suppose God will provide for this too. Now I can't tell you for sure whether or not that speeding ticket was a test, but if it was, I hope that I passed.
On May 21st, I attended a fundraiser for Juan Diez Rancheros at their facilities. They had pony rides, bounce house, live music, food, and silent auction. It was really a good time and I thought I was just going to help support an amazing friend and her amazing organization, but I really went because I was about to step into my summer "job". Remember how I went to Mexico thinking one thing and doing another? Same thing. God is so cool the way He works things. A friend and I started talking and she asked if I had found another job or if I had plans for one for the summer and I told her no. She asked if I would want to nanny for them. I told her I would think about and pray about it and get back to her. I think it took me two days to know in my heart this is what I am supposed to do for the summer. I emailed her and said its a yes for me if you guys still want me. I met with her and her husband that night and I start on Monday. Now you might be thinking, seriously? She is going to raise her kid on a nanny's salary? And the answer to that would be yes. I'm making a quarter of what I was making before, but I have never felt happier or freer. Now don't get me wrong. There are times that I run the numbers and think how is this going to work? But I don't worry about it, because God can make it work.
I'm not going to have a lot of money for things like movies, which I love, or dining out or what have you, but I do have the entire summer to spend with Nate! And this is an opportunity I would not normally have. In fact I have been jealous of mom's who get the summer with their kids before because I figured it was not something I would ever get to do. And look at the wonderful gift I've been given. I get to hang out all summer with the coolest 3 & 4 year olds I know!
Now I'm not going to tell you that life is all roses and rainbows and ponies. Trust me I know it's not. But when there is so much good going on and good that can be done, why stress over the rest? And yes I know what some of you are probably thinking, It's not called God honey, it's called ignorance, naivety, crazy or whatever other adjective you can think of, I've had those thoughts too. I've actually thought to myself am I trusting God or am I just being unaware of the real world? And then this was waiting for me on Facebook this morning:
"As God begins to bless you don't let people intimidate you.
Don't let them stop you from celebrating the goodness of the Lord
and what God did in your life. Be like the blind man who was old
enough to speak for himself and say 'The Lord brought me from
a mighty long way'" T. D. Jakes Ministries/The Potters House
'Nuff said!

Family first!

I'm finally able to do something I have always wanted to do...put my family first! Work doesn't come first, friends or obligations to friends, life,'s my family. I'm sure some of you are going, yeah but doesn't life consist of family? It does, but this past week has pretty much been family obligations first and foremost!
I have been off work now for 8 days and I have never been busier! Each day since I quit my job, and essentially derailed my career, has been full of life and living! You can get so much more living done when you aren't stressed about the details of work, finances, family, etc... The weekend after I quit was Memorial day weekend. I took my son out of town to Peoria, IL along with my mom and sister. We stayed in a hotel with an indoor pool and we had a blast! We swam for hours, in fact I think Nate was still swimming in his sleep that night. On Memorial Day we went to the Peoria zoo and saw all sorts of animals, yet the giraffes and zebras were still his faves! I liked the rhinos and would really like to see a hippo some day ;)
The 31st was Nate's 4th birthday and uneventful (the party was last night) but still chock full of business. Tons of laundry to do, unpacking from the weekend, preschool and then tball in the evening. Birthday dinner was at McDonald's (his choice) and then home for bed. Wednesday was spent dropping Nate off at preschool, more laundry (which by the way, still have laundry to do, does it ever go away?), shopping for the birthday boy's party, found hard to find colored bubbles (thank you God!) and the ever elusive Firetruck Mater - now for those of you that don't have young boys in your life you may not have ever heard the words "Firetruck Mater" and you may not know that Firetruck Mater is extremely hard to find. Why you ask? Because he is only available in a special package of the original Cars movie, this is the ONLY way you can purchase him, he is not available for sale individually. And no, Firetruck Mater, did not make an appearance in the first Cars movie, he doesn't show up until the master minds at Disney create something called "Mater's Tall Tales." Again, if you don't have small children in your house, you may not know what this is, so I will tell you it is Disney's brilliant way to capitalize on the Cars empire by creating these 20 minute shorts that they play in between shows on the Disney channel. And I'm sure the brilliant minds at Disney NEVER envisioned needing to create toys based off of....oh wait, that's how I ended up with a Firetruck Mater. ;) Wed afternoon Nate had some pictures taken by a friend who is starting her own photography business and then to top off the day we ate dinner with my grandfather, who kept Nate for the night for me.
So this brings us to Thursday - Birthday Party Day! - and let me just say Whew! I survived! Actually I can't complain too much! We had Nate's party at Monkey Joe's (for those of you that are not familiar with MJ's is a bounce town that has the most amazing bounce apparatuses) and they really do take care of everything. Oh yes, forgot to mention the guest list, which for most people this is not important, but parents beware...typically when you set out to plan some type of party whether it be a bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, whatever, you plan on about 50% of the invited guests to actually show up. Well if you have a child like my Nate, be prepared for almost 100% to show up. I handed out invitations for 30 kids, 28 came! I am not complaining by any means, it shows me how much others love my child as well, but I was just in shock at the turn out! I had decided in the beginning that we were only inviting kids from his preschool and our small group. I had thought this would be a great way of keeping the party small! Joke's on me...all kidding aside, I have to say all the kids were great last night. 28 plus adults was a lot to have to manage, but the "refs" at MJ's really did it all. I just had to tell them what kind of pizza and pop we wanted and what time we wanted to eat, they did the rest! They even loaded my car for me at the end of the night. I highly recommend them to every parent who just wants to show up!
Nate is at his last day of preschool today, and I don't think he understands what that means. He knows that he gets to spend the summer with Mommy and Dillon (more to come on Dillon later), but I don't think he fully understands that he won't see everyone at school until fall. I will try and handle that as it comes up.
We have also had a long lost friend come back into our lives recently and it has been wonderful having her and her family around again! They came to Nate's party last night and they are anxious to have him over for the day soon. It's so great to have fabulous friends in your life!
So to sum up basically what I was hoping to get across is that I finally get to do what I want, and that is spend an entire summer with my Nater! I have no idea what the future holds, but God does and we are going full steam ahead trusting Him to get us through each day in one piece.
Read my next installation to find out how I came to quit my job and end my career path all without having any clue what I'm doing next!