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Monday, August 25, 2014

You want to know how to steal my heart?

You want to know how to steal my heart?

Bring me a thoughtful gift.




It really doesn't matter what it is. And in all honesty it doesn't have to be all that thoughtful. If it feels just a teensy bit like you thought about me for 2 seconds before you bought/found/stole that gift for me, I will be overjoyed. Seriously I get embarrassed at how excited I get over gifts sometimes.

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Like that perfume my friend Jill gave me after I'd told her for 80 6 weeks in a row, "You smell good. I know that's creepy. But MMMMMMM."

And that time Kolby bought me flowers. Once a week. For a few months. :) He's still on that streak and I'm luhhhhhving it.

Or when my mom gets me anything. She likes to buy lots of things, so I have learned to embrace the giving me of lots of things. :)

Natalie's amazing when it comes to presents. Every mother's day and each birthday she has something so special and thoughtful put together for me. Usually with a precious note detailing her love for me included.

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And ya know what? God knows this silly little part of me so well. He knows how much I like getting random goodies out of no where.


Like during our first year of marriage. We were so so so so so SO broke. Ramen noodles, eggs, and dollar store shampoo broke. Did you know that there are recipe books with lots of ramen noodle recipes in them? Did you know that I can make a mean egg frittata? And did you know that dollar store shampoo can magically also be used as body wash? Oh all of the knowledge I gained during that first poor year of marriage.

By the Fall, after adjusting to the broke life, I found that I didn't really "crave" new things any more. I didn't even let myself think of things that I wanted. I was BEYOND happy when we "splurged" and got Hardee's 2 cheeseburgers & 2 fries deal for $5. Special times.

So one day when I was walking around in Family Dollar and I saw some of those fuzzy comfy aloe socks (that are so ridiculous, but truly amazing).... I got really mad at myself for wanting to buy them. They were only $3. But y'all, we didn't have $3 to spend on fuzzy comfy aloe socks. Those are for the rich folks who can buy things like sandwich meat and ice cream. I left the store without them, but just couldn't get them off of my mind.

Of course I didn't mention them to Kolby, I didn't want to seem ridiculous. We were struggling and it would have been just crazy to tell him about these ridiculous socks I wanted. Finally, I just shoved them out of my thoughts.

A month or so later, it's Christmas time. My parents are ah-mazing when it comes to Christmas presents. There's always a TON to enjoy. I got lots of fun stuff that I'd really been needing during my first broke year of marriage and other fun stuff that I couldn't think about buying. After all the fun, as usual, we went to my Grandma's house for lunch.

Now my Grandma has a rule that I respect. Grandkids get presents... until they turn 18. Then you're an adult and you're on your own. I get it Grandma. There are just too many of us to be spoiling. Spoil the littles. :) I was 19 this Christmas and knew there would be no Christmas presents for me, so I sat back and enjoyed the littles opening theirs. We had a great time and were about to leave when my Grandma pulled me to the side and said, "Paige, don't tell anyone because you know I don't get presents for the older grandchildren... but I saw these and just had to get them for you! It's not much, but maybe you'll like them."

Y'all. It was my fuzzy comfy aloe socks.

I remember tearing up as I was overwhelmed with God's love that He poured out on me using my Grandma and a simple pair of socks. He saw me and my tiny desires and wanted me to know He loved me. It wasn't some major miraculous act or a huge teaching moment... it was just a moment when He whispered, "I love you, Paige."

I will never forget that precious Christmas when I got those silly socks. And He didn't stop there with the sweet gifts. God gave me a hubby who is the BEST surpriserer (<-- I can make words up, it's my blog!). He's done so many little "gift miracles" that make me smile just thinking of His sweet love for me.


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So now it's your turn. Let me hear of those sweet times God provided in ways that whispered (or maybe shouted!) His love for you!












 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Following the Leader.

I get it. I think I understand the message you're trying to get out there.

Women are strong. Women can do ANYTHING they set their minds to. Women should dream, be challenged, challenge others, and stand up for what's right. We, as women, have WORTH.

I know what you're trying to say. I can hear your heart. But the words you're saying just aren't good.

 
"I want every girl that is told she is bossy to be told she has leadership skills."
 
 
 
I was in the shower a few days ago when my two and four year old burst in the bathroom yelling at each other.

Me: "Woa, woa. Girls, what is going on???"

Hadi: "Her push me!"

Becca: "No I didn't! She pushed me!"

Hadi: "No I not! Her push me!"

Becca: "Hadi pushed me, I didn't push her."
 
Me: "Okay, wait..."
Hadi had enough. She wasn't willing to listen to Becca explaining her side anymore. So she stepped up to Becca and said "NO!!!!!" and gave her a big push to the chest. Becca was ok, but stumbled back a little and started crying. Hadi had hurt Becca's feelings pretty bad. Of course I made sure Becca was ok and dealt with Hadi. Then figured out what the original drama was about. Then finished my shower. (Oh the joys of motherhood)
 



This little scenario really got me thinking. Becca and Hadi are crazy about each other. I tell people all the time that they're more like twins than like cousins who live together. They love each other but their opposite personalities definitely can cause some friction between the two.

Becca is a free spirit who likes to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She always wants to be in the room where the action is going on. It's rare that she's playing by herself. Becca is brilliant sneaky when it comes to talking her way into getting what she wants. Jesus help us.

On the other hand, Hadi is more of a control freak and would rather sit and watch a movie by herself than be a part of a group activity. And if it's something that Becca has that Hadi wants, she's not going to be sneaky and talk her way into it. Oh no, she will make it KNOWN that she wants what you have (or don't have, but you should go get for her...) and she sure knows how to make a scene.

Despite how different they are, they share one common trait... BOSSY. They both use their own little personalities to be uniquely BOSSY.  Always fussing over things that the other one has. Yes, I teach these children how to share and how to love each other... but for goodness sakes they are TODDLERS. And it can just get psycho around here.

And note: I used the word BOSSY.

You know why? Because they are usually being BOSSY.

If you came up to my 2 year old who had just pushed my 4 year old because she was tired of hearing her side of the story and told her she was a LEADER.... I might slap you in the face.

Don't tell my kid that!

Like I mentioned before, I get your heart. I see where you're coming from. Women are oppressed in so many ways. We're told we can't do things that men can do, we're told we should find our worth in our physical beauty, we don't get paid the same amount as men, we don't have the same opportunities as men, the list goes on and on. And it's a VERY REAL LIST. We need positive, uplifting, encouraging messages preached to women and girls to let them know that they have worth. But can we preach messages that make sense?

This quote is faulty. Please do not go around telling bossy kids (boys or girls!) that they are leaders! Seriously?! That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. As big as the "no bullying" movement is right now, I just can't wrap my head around this quote resonating with people. Bossiness is not a leadership quality. It's not strong for you to boss me, or him, or her around. You don't boss your way into the position you want at work. You're the comforter, helper, and prayer warrior for your family, not the boss of it.

Hadi is an introvert who may never be what this world calls a leader because she's quite content with doing her own thing by herself. And Becca is a free spirit who acts like any kind of leadership role is just more responsibility than she would care to take on. But you guys, I'm not worried. That is OKAY. They don't have to be those kind of "leaders"!

God designed us all differently. Don't you think some people may be designed to be "followers"?

 I do.

And I don't see that as a bad thing. When did we get to a place in our culture where being the person following the leader is a bad thing?

Being a woman who is a leader means being patient with the screaming, kicking toddler. It means having integrity in your work at the office. It means carrying yourself with some dignity when you are walking down the street. It means caring for the ones who aren't cared for because no one else will do it and they need to see Jesus too. It means listening to that heart broken friend and guiding her through the next step in life. It means being vulnerable and placing your emotions where they should be even when it's hard. It means teaching your daughters about having respect for themselves and others. Let this be the message we are preaching to women. Lead like Jesus, with humility and grace.


I don't know about you but women who have these qualities are women who I respect and see as true leaders. Bossy women don't get much respect from me.

Baby girl, Becca Boo, Nat Nat, and Wenz, you can be what this world calls a leader if you're called to that. Know that I'll always support you and help you chase your dreams. But also know it's ok if you're called and designed to be a follower. We all have a purpose and an important place. Follow Jesus and He will show you how to be a true leader among women and men.


What about you? Do you view this quote differently? What is your definition of a true leader?


 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Simplicity. Noonday. Giveaway. **WINNER ANNOUNCED & CONTEST CLOSED**



I'm keeping it simple today for all you lovely ladies just looking for a Noonday giveaway. Not talking about my love for Noonday today... nope... ok, maybe just a little bit...

Yeah, this is about you. Not about me trying to get out of writing an eloquent piece on Noonday Collection for this awesome blog train ride I hope you're on (check out this morning's post here) and all the handmade/social justice/life changing goodness we're about. No, no... I'm meeting your needs. You're welcome.

I just need to mention some things that make me happy and then you can be on your lovely way and enter for this giveaway. Enjoy the simplicity.

I love....
1) The smell of garlic on my hands
2) Seeing pictures of my kiddos
3) People who smile a lot
4) Trunk shows
5) Jesus changing hearts
6) Comfy pants that stretch after I eat. What.
7) When my Kolby writes love notes/emails/messages to me
8) Hearing my kiddos tell their friends about Jesus
9) When I don't have to do dishes
10) Wrap bracelets that make me feel like a fashionista hippie (a dream come true)


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And now... I'll give away a fashionista hippie bracelet (***that has an incredible life changing impact on artisans in India*** ) to YOU.

Well maybe you... it depends if my kid (not sure which one yet) draws your name out of a bowl.

Here's what ya gotta do to enter to win. Let's keep it simple. Comment below on this post and tell me these two things in your comment:

1) Name a simple thing that makes you happy. Even if it's weird. Some of mine were weird, it's ok.
2) Go to my Noonday Collection site, see all the handmade goodies, and then tell me in your comment what your favorite piece is.


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Get your comment on this post by Sunday, August 24th to be entered for the drawing!

 I will post here and on facebook who the winner is!


 
Here's the piece you are entering to win. The Everest Wrap Bracelet. Made with love in India from mixed metals and cotton thread. I wear it lots. And lots. You will love it. And you will be transformed into a fashionista hippie. Also... if you're staying for the ride on this Noonday blog train check out this post tomorrow morning for another giveaway!




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And the winner is.....

Looking for a Noonday Giveaway?






The Noonday Blog Train Giveaway post will be up at 2:00PM!

Come back then! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Like Pumpkin Chili In New Orleans In The Middle Of August





Monday morning.

I'm feeling great. Made my coffee, did "school" with the little girlies... we're off to a good start.

Such a good start, I think I'll get on pinterest and find a nice crockpot meal for tonight.

Hmm... need something dairy free, and I wanna use that ground beef in the fridge...

I think I'll just make my own concoction. Forget pinterest. I'm feeling creative.





Flash back to Friday afternoon.

It's HOT. Our air conditioner is dumb. I don't know what's wrong with it. It's just dumb.

It is staying right around 88 degrees in the house... while that may not be enough to cause a heat stroke, it's enough to make me a very angry person.

Don't talk to me when I'm hot.

I don't go outside from June through October. Not on purpose anyway.

It's too dang hot in this city.





Flash (back?) forward to Monday morning.

While it's still cool, I'm in a happy productive mood, and the sun hasn't hit that spot of the house that seems to have a magnifying glass on it (you know, so it can scorch us suffering house ants), I decide to make chili.

Now... to make chili... In August. In New Orleans. Is. A. Dumb. Idea.

Even if your house doesn't reach 89 degrees by 4:00PM.

But I did it. And I realized how dumb I was around 1:00PM. "Oh yeah... it's been averaging 86 during the afternoons in the house the past 4 days... crap..."

This is the chili recipe:

2 lbs of cooked ground beef
1 can of pumpkin puree
1 can of Rotel tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
2 cans of chicken broth
1 can of black beans
1 lb of dry lima beans
2 cups of water (I like my chili a little more soupy)
Fresh garlic (however much you like... I like lots)
1 onion
Chili powder, cumin, paprika, pepper, thyme, oregano (again, however much ya like... I like lots of spices in my chili)

Throw is all in the crockpot for about 5 hours.



Even though I was dripping sweat while I ate it... it was really really REALLY good. The pumpkin puree gave it this awesome texture and a deep flavor that I was really surprised by.

I let the kids eat sandwiches. Or whatever else was in the fridge that would cool them off a little and keep them from whining about the heat to the overheated mama.



Just when I thought I would die of a heat stroke because the house had reached 89 degrees....

Jesus made it rain.

We threw all the doors and windows open, not caring if anything got wet and I told the kiddos to go play in the rain to cool off.

Some of them were, ahem... in their panties. Oh well. Be free children.

Then we all took cold baths and showers and went to bed with thin sheets for covers.

I highly recommend this Pumpkin Chili.

But not in New Orleans in August.

 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

#thestruggleisNOTreal

Wearing my cutest shirt today and of course I spill my coffee on it leaving a HUGE stain. #thestruggleisreal

I wish there was a sound alert on my keys so I could press a button and find them. #thestruggleisreal

I just cleaned the playroom and then my husband moves the couch to reveal the disaster underneath it. Why do I try. #thestruggleisreal


At VBS this year some of the youth and I came up with a joke about making a new hashtag trend...
#thestruggleisNOTreal

We "designed" this new hashtag as a joke. Whenever someone would be super dramatic about something dumb (or just whiney) we'd say "#thestruggleisNOTreal". It was our way to playfully say, "Shutup. You're being dumb and dramatic. I love you, but get over it." Or at least that's what I was actually saying on the inside.


There are some things that really are a struggle. Some things that may deserve the hashtag of #thestruggleisreal. But a lot of them that we whine about just aren't really struggles, y'all.


In Sunday School this morning we talked about Mary and focused on when she stayed with her cousin Elizabeth for 3 months. We talked about how she possibly went to see her cousin because she was lonely and was looking for someone who could relate. Elizabeth was REALLY old when she became pregnant with John (the Baptist) and it was a very miraculous event. Mary probably needed to know someone else understood the "strangeness" of her pregnancy. Although we know from the Word that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant with Jesus, I can't say that if I lived during that time that I would believe her story. She may have felt strange, maybe even scared. She believed God and was open to obedience, but that doesn't mean she didn't struggle with temptations. Unlike in our culture today, a pregnant unwed teenage girl wasn't something that was common. And even more unlike in our culture today she could have been severely punished for being in her condition. On top of that we have no record of how her parents reacted. It doesn't seem that they were in the picture at all. Maybe they disowned her because of this pregnancy.

But we do know that she was open to obedience to the Lord. She took on the roll as the mother of Jesus. Words don't do justice for the kind of grace and beauty it must have been to be the mother of the Son of God.

But dang. That is straight up TERRIFYING.

Her struggle was real.

And the struggle didn't end there. As she grew older and watched her son live a life of serving others, loving unconditionally, and bringing hope to the hopeless... she also watched him die the worst death the Romans could come up with. She was there for that horrific event. As I think of my children and how it hurts me when they fall and bump their head or get a nasty scrape... I can't imagine the extreme emotional pain of watching your child die in such a humiliating, cruel, and brutal way. It must have been absolutely traumatic for her. Her struggle in this world was very real.


Living a life of obedience to God and truly believing Him will be a life that includes struggle.

But a real struggle isn't anything like losing your cellphone or doing the dishes for the 4th time today. That's just life y'all. Things like that happen. We can't get focused and stuck on these minor issues when there is a real battle going on.

When we're daily serving, loving, and sharing hope with people around us... just like Jesus did... the real struggle begins. Battling our minds to think purely, living above reproach, discipling the outcasts. These are guaranteed struggles. I truly believe I have been depressed because of spiritual warfare. I wasn't always thinking clearly enough to see it that way, so focused on the minor things that build up, but I know now that's what has been going on. That struggle has been very real. But instead of opening up about that struggle I had focused on crap that didn't matter.

So can we stop saying that running out of coins for the coke machine or facebook being "down" for an hour is a struggle? It's just not.

And I'm guilty with you friend! But I don't want to be stuck in the fake struggles that don't mean anything in eternity. I want to be in the middle of the battle, struggling against the world and my flesh, getting all of my strength from God and pressing forward with endurance to the end.

I want the struggle to be real, for a real purpose.