Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Life

I’m sitting alone in a room filled with bunk beds awaiting the next session when I’m supposed to speak to 250 Christian high school students.  I was asked a couple months ago to speak at this retreat, and I was giddy with excitement – because honestly, this is what I love to do. 

I love to tell goofy stories with a bit of exaggeration and dramatization.

I love to see the light in their eyes when a point I reference in Scripture actually connects to their heart.

I love knowing that my gifts are being used and I love feeling fully alive as I speak.

I love the struggle of putting together a message that is truly Biblical and yet can be communicated in such a way that reaches whatever demographic sit before me.

I love this.

And two months ago when they asked me to speak on the topic of New Life, I honestly thought it was a standard Christian camp theme…maybe even rolled my eyes a bit as I wondered what’s so special about New Life?  I’ve grown far too accustomed to the way we glamorize sermon series or camp themes and I was expecting something…well, something more flashy.

And here I am NOW.  Preparing for the big night session when tears will flow and kids will make a stand…and yet, New Life doesn’t seem so elementary anymore.  You see, I just drove out of the canyon to find a cell signal so I could call my mom to see if my Pepa was still alive.  It was such a weird phone call to make.  His life is coming to a close.  The doctors suggest it could be today or the next, and we are all just waiting.  The waiting is painful – my sister’s words describe it well.

So I sit in a room lined with bunk beds – going over my sermon in my head – but going over moments with my Pepa in my mind.  I’m unsure how to respond to the phone call I just made – he’s still alive but the end is very near…and truth be told…it’s time for Him to be with Jesus…it’s time for his FULL NEW LIFE to start. 

New Life.

It has a completely different sound today.

Don’t you just love God’s ways?  That my know-it-all attitude about a simple theme was put into line because now the theme is absolutely perfect – not only for these kids – but for me as well.  It’s like a precious promise from God as I’m separated from my family at this time when I feel I should be there – it’s a promise from God that what’s on the other side for my Pepa is Jesus!  And life with Jesus is good and freeing and beautiful and new.

And  as I preach tonight – I’m aware that I’m not just doing something I love.  But I’m doing something with eternal purpose – I’m pointing to Jesus who gives New Life.  And my Pepa…he’s definitely doing better than I – because while I’m pointing to Jesus, he’s getting ready to meet Jesus. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ta Da! My Pinterest Challenge Results

Hey Everyone,

I told you on Friday that I was taking up the Pinterest Challenge from Emerging Mummy, and I actually followed through - yay me!  I needed this challenge.  I have countless ideas, crafts, and recipes waiting in the wings to become a reality.

One challenge in particular was to refurnish my t.v. stand.  I've been eyeing pictures of brightly colored pieces of wood furniture, and I thought this piece would be perfect to add a pop of color to my room that is filled with honey colored wood!

However, I have been terrified that I would ruin this furniture piece, so I decided to first try painting a small table for the same room.  Anyways, it turned out pretty well!  Below you can see my journey to the bright turquoise television stand that I now LOVE!

This is the side table I decided to make my practice table.  I don't even know where we got this from - I think it is the one piece of furniture that Josh brought into our marriage.

Up close, this table is in bad shape.

And this is the dresser that we have been using as our t.v. stand.  We were given this by a family that I was a nanny for in college.  It was also really knicked up & I've always secretly wanted something else in this room...but here it is.  And if you've never seen my house...welcome to "the lodge."  The pictures do not do it justice, but it is covered in a honey colored wood - walls, ceiling, etc.  Luckily, the back is full windows so it keeps the house bright - but I'm on a mission to tame the wood!

I started on Saturday with a bit of sanding.  I don't like sanding, but it was necessary.

Then I painted.  I decided to use spray paint (everything that I read said this was the easiest and typically goes on smoothly).

Then we reassembled our many cords that go along with the television.  Here is my Stud Hubs doing his part of the project.

And here is the big reveal - TA DA!  Here is the new side table.  The color makes me happy!

And here is our new T.V. stand!  Selah loves it too - I think she is a bit mesmerized by the color.

 I didn't properly pick up our mess for this picture, but you can see the project as it works with the rest of the room.  I really wanted something to break up the color of the wood and I feel like it does it in an unexpected way.

So, thank you Sarah for issuing the challenge, and I want to know...did anyone else join me?  If so, you can link up your blog over at Emerging Mummy, or you can tell us about it in the comments.  I can't wait to hear and see what you did!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Taking Up a Pinterest Challenge

My college friend - super-blogger mom, Sarah Bessey, put forth a pinterest challenge today on her blog.

She wanted to challenge those on pinterest to actually make one thing that they have pinned.  What a novel idea!  I was immediately challenged because I must admit that I pin way too much.  It's addicting, many lovely ideas and crafts...and yet, I have only made ONE (that's right - a grand total of 1) item that I have actually pinned.  It's a shame really.  And it is time that changed.

So, I picked up some spray paint & got busy on a table in our living room.

I've pinned these images (see here) over the last few months because I really want a pop of color in my living room.  So, I'm painting furniture this weekend.  Will you take the challenge and make something too?

If so, we can all share it when the weekend is over.  How fun!

Thanks, Sarah for the challenge. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When You Wonder If It's Worth It

If you are like me there are days when I ask myself the big question of why I’m doing life the way I choose to do it.  I’m trying to live a life of simple obedience – doing my best to sense God’s direction and respond with an uncomplicated yes. 

Living a life of simple obedience means I try to write as He directs and I talk with young women when they request it and I work hard planning mission trips and college events and I even parent in a way that is right for our family.

And so there are days like today when I’m wondering if those small decision to go against what would be more convenient or easy are really worth it.  Do you ever feel that way too?

And then God graciously answers my silent question…my secret doubt…my selfish desire for an easier way.  He showed me today that “Our beauty is not ultimately reflected in the mirror but in the lives we impact.”  (Quote from a Lisa Bevere tweet today).

It was so simple – first it was coffee with a friend who although had some concerns about a decision I was attempting to make validated me by simply saying, “I trust you.  Whatever decision you make on this (it was a ministry idea) I will fully support.”

And then it was an email from a friend I have not spoken with in over 10 years.  A simple email thanking me for what I put out in this blog…for it has been what she needed to read at the moment and it has served as confirmation in her life from the Lord.

And then it was a meeting with a young woman whom I had supposed rejected the truth and theology I presented in a class that I taught 5 years ago…asking to meet so she could tell me about her journey with the Lord…and how my words…and my actions had played a role in that journey without my knowing.

As I sat across from this young woman – face radiant and eyes clear, sharing her story about God’s love and healing and freedom and joy - I realized that every sacrifice…every inconvenience…every difficult decision…every obedience is worth it.  And although I’m ending my day looking rather haggard and tired – there is also a beauty in my life…perhaps I don’t see it in the dark circles or frizzy hair today – but I can see it in the lovely lives I’ve been privileged to touch…and that beauty is enough.

And so to you out there today, I have two small encouragements for you:
First, trust the Lord with those choices of obedience that are more difficult than most would ever know.  Obedience to Him is always right - even when we don’t see the immediate results we would prefer.

Second, I encourage you today to let someone know that they have made a difference in your life.  That person whom you assume has it all together may be asking the big why question today.  Let your small act of saying thank you be one way God graciously answers their petition.  I’m going to do it right now.  Will you join me?

And to my friends (T, W, & L – that’s code for their names J).  Thank you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Things that Make Me Happy (August 2011 Edition)

I love finding new discoveries that make life a bit richer!  Here are a few things that have captured my attention recently (basically this could also say: here are a few things that I'm tempted to start addiction to recently - but holding off as best as I can).

Products I Love:
Dry Shampoo - have you discovered the greatness that is dry shampoo yet?  I know, I know...I used to be quite judgemental as well of the hippies who used this stuff, but with a baby and working full-time I'm confessing my judgmental ways and jumping on the band wagon!  I LOVE dry shampoo!  A little spray and I'm set to go for the day!  I've only gone up to day four with this stuff, but I'm tempted to see how long I could go - maybe a full week?! (I know my mother is absolutely cringing with horror at this prospect).

Nutella - I've have long been a Nutella fan.  My greatest Nutella experience was a Nutella and banana crepe that I had on the streets of Paris - the delicious bites still linger in my mind...But I've reacquainted myself recently with this delectible concoction of chocolate and hazelnut (hello, if that combination doesn't sell you I'm not sure what to say) as I was reminiscing about college. 

You see, when I was at ORU, every Monday night we had hall meeting (which were usually boring) and because we were 30 girls living in a dorm, the one redeeming factor of hall meeting were the snacks.  Somehow, the girls in my dorm discovered that if you dip animal crackers into cake frosting it is a party in your tummy (I've been watching a lot of Yo Gabba Gabba)!  And, since we were eating animal crackers, we deduced that this was a lower calorie snack than cream!

So, the other day these memories came flooding back to me as I was looking at the animal crackers that I had bought Selah for a snack.  I did not have any frosting in my pantry...but behold - a jar of Nutella!  And an addiction was created!  So now Selah is out of animal crackers and I'm trying to limit myself...but dang, this is good!

Movies & Music that I Love:
The Help - Have you seen the movie?  Have you read the book?  I have done both & so should you.  That is all I will say.

BBC Miniseries on Netflix - I love period pieces.  And although I don't consider myself a romantic - Josh definitely plays this role in our relationship, there is something that I love about these shows!  Yes, there is a bit of romance, but what I'm drawn to is the simplicity of life...the sweeping scenes of British countryside...and the immensity of simple nuances.  If you like period pieces too, I recommend: Wives & Daughters, North & South, and Downton Abbey.  The BBC version of Pride & Prejudice is my all time favorite.

 The Civil Wars - So, I know that I'm late to this party.  I've had friends rave about them for awhile, but they are playing almost non-stop this week on my Spotify (see below).  And once I discovered that Joy Williams was a part of this duo I couldn't help but smile because my momma LOVES Joy Williams and used to ask my sister to sing all of her songs...Joy has come a long way and I rather like it!

Internet Discoveries that I Love:
Spotify - It's a free way to legally listen to ANY music you want on your computer.  There are commercials, but I'm loving this!  To see more go to:

Pinterest - I've been doing pinterest for a couple of months and it is another addiction that I am holding at bay.  I LOVE pretty pictures, and I love the fact that I can use this as a tool to remember the ideas that I find online and want to to later.  In fact, I've had to start being wise and stop pinning every pretty picture I see.  I'm now only pinning things that I may use in the future or that are a reference for something I want to do in the future.  To check out my pinboards you can go to:

Instagram - This fun little program is on my iPhone & I've loved using it to share moments captures throughout my day.  Honestly, I'm primarily posting pictures of Selah, but they are pictures of her life - not posed shots to make her look just so...but pictures that I hope will help me remember what it was like to do life with my little girl.  Here are a few of my favorites:

What are you loving right now?  I'd love to hear about things you think I and others should check out!  Please share in the comments - can't wait for a list of new discoveries!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

When the Mountains Feel a Bit Closer to Heaven

When my Sabbatical first began in June, I quickly realized that although I had every intention of taking time to rest and refocus, it would not come easily or naturally for I am far too accustomed to a rhythm of busy.  A few days into my time off, and after answering my 3rd phone call of the morning in reference to work at the church I climbed into the bathtub and begged God for a true reprieve.

My mom called and as I was lamenting about my inability to find rest, I casually commented that perhaps I should just get in the car and head to the mountains.  The only roadblock was the thought of driving for 8 hours alone with Selah.  Imagine my delight and surprise when my mother offhandedly commented that she’d like to get away as well and that perhaps we should just go to the mountains together.  

I suggested we leave the next day, half in jest and half in hope.

And I had not even had the time for my toes to properly prune up in the bathtub  when my mom called back to explain she had reserved  us a hotel with my father’s airline miles (thanks, dad) and if it was fine with Josh we should head out tomorrow!  

We did just that!

Our impromptu trip to Colorado was refreshing and delightful in so many ways.  I could tell you stories about driving to a waterfall and almost running out of gas (we may be spontaneous but we are both blondes at times). 

I could tell stories of swimming and shopping and drinking tea. 

I could tell you about dinner with our sweet friend Sharon who always spurs me to love Jesus more and to see life from a new angle.  

I could tell you about the conversations on that trip that have stuck with me to this day…my mom sharing about God truths she’s discovered in Ephesians…or Sharon painting a picture of prayer for me in such a way that I’m hungry to discover His secrets as well…or the simple encouragement from my dearest mom to go get my dreams – to stop questioning my abilities and comparing them with what could be and just go for it! 

I could tell you that it was here that my mother introduced Selah to guacamole and the song “If You’re Happy And You Know It” and it changed her little world forever (we sing that song at least 50 times a day…and that kid LOVES Mexican food). 

I could tell you about the rocks jutting up from the ground and the trickling stream in their shadows.   

I could tell you all this and more, but time and limited words cannot convey how those 3 days on an impromptu trip set my heart aright - not only for my Sabbatical but for today and tomorrow as well.

And so today…I will give thanks for the beauty and moments I discovered in Colorado:

179.  Impromptu trips
180.  The lilt in my mother’s voice at the prospect of getting away from it all!
181.  Orange sun setting on the mountain tops
182.Bed you could sink into forever.
183.  Mounds of fluffy pillows
184.  Perfect timing for a road trip stop as we cross paths with Holly & Jenn
185.  Tiny feet with dirty soles =the product of running free
186.  The compliment of giving good advice – perhaps because I’m closer to the Him?
187.  Baby breath in deep sleep
188.  RAIN – the smell and crispness in the air
189.  Selah Scribbles
190.  Quaint tea shops
191.  Reindeer sighting – furry antlers
192.  Bright red doors
193.  The soothing sound of running water
194.  My mother singing “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
195.  Jagged rocks llifting to the sky
196.  Abba’s whisper to LOOK UP – and then I see it – beauty
197.  Wise words and perceptive questions from Sharon
198.  My baby’s chubby white hand grasping the dark hand of my beautiful friend
199.  “My motive for prayer is that I’m nosy.  I pray because I want to know what God is doing.” – Sharon Miller
200.  Fearless jumping into my arms
201.  Journals covered in colorful Indian saris

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

30 Things about My 30 Year Old Sister

 My Sister Leslie turns 30 today, so I thought it fitting that I share 30 things about her with you all today!

1.   She is the only girl to have ever beaten me up (I should say only person…no men have beaten me up either).

2.  She is a girl of many nicknames – Lala, Lester, Lindsay…

3.  She downplays how smart she is – her mind is lightning fast (wit, useless facts, musicality, the list goes on…).  In fact, she is smarter than me, and it kills me a little bit to admit it (I AM her older sister), but it’s true.

4.  Her ice blue eyes are captivating and full of wisdom.

 5.  She is oddly good at foreign accents (her Scottish one is my favorite).

6.  She has a passion to make a difference in her world and THE world.

7.  She is a good friend.
 8.  She is strangely organized yet also messy in a way that lets one know there is a lot happening in her brain.

9.  She is LOVED by her nieces.

 10.  She had an awesome Strawberry Shortcake collection that I was always a little jealous of.

11. She convinced me once that our parents had been kidnapped.  See here for the full story.

12.  She has taught me about the power of love, forgiveness, and second chances.

13.  Few people have really heard the full range of her voice…but let me tell you it is AMAZING.

14.  She is a wonderful mom.

 15.  She has a wacky sense of humor – she introduced me to The Office, The Soup, Best in Show, and so much more.

16.  She used to belong to a show choir that is oddly similar to the one in Glee.

17.  Have you tasted her cake balls?  Oh my Lord, the girl can cook!

18.  She feels deeply about most things.

19.  She is a loving and good wife.

20.  She can play 4 or 5 instruments (I lost count)…fyi, I can play none (we are quite different).

21.  She is beautiful – like in that strikingly gorgeous way…in fact, someone once told me, “Leslie most definitely is the most beautiful of you three sisters”…and then they seemed to realize I WAS one of the sisters and promptly walked away.

 22.  She once donned a blonde wig and played a role in “Honky Tonk Angels” – for my non-West Texas friends, call me and I can explain more.

23.  She is quite handy & crafty.

24.  She is a true worshipper and therefore is able to lead others into worship.

25.  Sometimes she is shy, but once you unlocked that brain and mouth you discover she could be a stand up comic or a really great day-time talk show host.

 26.  She is wise beyond her years.

27.  She is a witty writer (who needs to write more).

28.  She sees potential in the unlikely – whether it is a piece of furniture, a budding worship leader, or the people closest in her life – she sees through the eyes of what could be and she plays her part to help make that potential come to life.

29.  She is lovely in it’s truest sense – both externally and internal.

30.  She is my sister and I thank God today that for the last 30 years, and for many more to come He has graced me with her life.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to Respond when Deep Calls Unto Deep

You know how some mornings are just frazzled from the first sound of the alarm?  Your hair won’t obey, you can’t seem to find anything to wear out of your hundreds of options, the baby is cranky, the coffee is burned, and you stub your toe on the bed?

Well, today wasn’t that day – thank you, Lord!  And although I will commiserate with you for a moment  if your morning WAS like that…isn’t it so nice when things just seem to work?  Even if it is just for an hour in the morning? 

That has been my morning…my sweet Selah and I have been sitting outside – she so very diligently plucked the dying flowers from our trumpet vine and ever so precisely placed each deceased flower in the grave of her bucket.  All while I sipped some tea (I realized tea is for leisurely mornings while coffee is my go-to when I MUST be productive), read blogs, and recounted a few gifts.

This morning I read my daily devotional of Jesus Calling, and I couldn’t help but smile as Young writes today, “Deep calls unto deep.  You are blessed to hear Me so directly.  Never take this privilege for granted. The best response is a heart overflowing with gratitude.  I am training you to cultivate a thankful mind-set.”  And with those few words off the paper my heart said, “Yes, please train me Lord.”

 When everything around screams for me to be frustrated or consumed with worry and busy…I want instead to be present in the moment – to be thankful for the moments You’ve given…and so this morning I am thankful for those little hands working so diligently.  I am thankful for my tea in my favorite cup.  I am thankful for the freedom to write…the freedom to pray…the freedom to hear Your voice…the freedom to proclaim what I believe and feel.  I am thankful for the opportunity to give thanks.

Here are a few more things I’ve been thankful for over the last month.  I’m counting my gifts – perhaps you should join in!

170.  My favorite table at Sugar Brown’s open and waiting for me.
171.  The sound of my feet, my breath, and my heart as I go out for a run.
172.  Yellow leaves blanketing the porch.
173.  Watching pregnant bellies grow (Hi Jessica, Tara, and Sarah)
174.  Laughing with my sister at how uncoordinated we are (this is you Kelsey during our work-out routine)
175.  My girl’s giant smile when she sees me coming her way.
176.  Her running with arms held high abandoned with delight.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Why I Almost Gave Up On Social Media (And How It Redeemed Itself)

Two months ago I was ready to hand in my facebook membership card.  I was tired of the lewd pictures, the whiny complaining, and the passive aggressive status updates that were becoming more and more common.  Occasionally I would get to see a picture of a friend's cute baby and I couldn't deny that I had reconnected with lost friends from high school and college...but was it worth it?

I started looking through my 874 friends (I'm so popular...) and I realized that I didn't even recognize some of the faces before me - and I got that paranoia feeling...wondering who is watching me (insert JAWS music)...and then I realized that I was actually more prideful than paranoid assuming that friend #572 actually takes the time to peruse my pictures or smile at my latest Selah update or witty comment. 

I was poised to hit delete.

I should just get rid of this, I thought...and then the romantic memories came flooding back.

I reminisced about the early days when I could be sucked in for hours...and I literally mean HOURS!

I was reminded about how handy it can be when I'm waiting at the DMV or on overseas trips.

And so I paused...and decided to simply take a bit of a break...

In fact, I did not take a break from all Social Media - just facebook.  I still tweeted daily and was looking into new avenues for wasting time...

But over the course of my break, 3 things happened that caused me to see that good actually can come from social media like facebook.

1. I Finally Clicked on Some Links 
I actually started clicking on links to blogs and news articles that friends occasionally posted (I have to confess this mainly happened via twitter)...but as I was connected to new voices and new writers in the blog world I found myself encouraged and pleasantly surprised.  I found voices who were actually saying what I've been thinking for so long.  I found courageous women like Rachel Held Evans who although might be controversial at not afraid to stir things up and made me think!

I clicked on other links to find stories about unknown people doing the extraordinary for God...and I took a deep breath as I discovered other women in full-time ministry trying to walk on this tightrope that I feel is a constant battle.  I laughed at twitter feeds from Jon Acuff and in the midst of my crazy days I've been blessed to read moms like me who get moments of genius and whisphered revelations from Him as they scrubbed floors.

To put it simply, I feel like I've started to find a community online that I now tune into (almost daily) to see what everyone is talking about!  I don't comment often enough - I'm still working up my courage, but I can't begin to describe the joy in knowning that there are kindred spirits out there who ask the same silly questions or who face the same struggles.

2.  I Started a Conversation
There was a day during my Sabbatical when I was asking some questions about the way He worked.  If I'm honest, I was trying to figure out a formula to receiving His love to give to a friend...when I heard Him urge me to ask others about their experience in this arena.

So, I simply posted in my status, "Would love your does one receive God's love? We tell people all the time that He loves them, but how can one practically walk out receiving and believing that they are loved?"

I didn't expect much...but 28 comments later... I felt that I understood God's answer to my question - basically that there is no formula because love cannot be contained and it is experienced and received so differfently depending on the recipient.  It was a fun day - constantly seeing new answers - people sharing their stories of how they received His love.  And the conversation continued after that status update.  I received personal messages and some of my "friends" started their own dialogues as their answers resonated with other questions that they were currently trying to wrestle.

It was...purposeful...and for a couple people that day (myself included) was spiritual.

3.  My haphazard comment made my husband smile
Back in April, Josh and I attended the Catalyst Conference in Dallas.  A big surprise was that Tony Romo (quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys) showed up to talk about his faith & he threw a couple of signed footballs into the audience that day.  Josh is a HUGE Cowboys fan and I thought he might lose an arm as he dove head first to catch that football.  It didn't happen, but I documented the even on my facebook page.

Well, last night our good friends (who saw my facebook update) presented Josh with an official NFL football signed by #9 Tony Romo.  Josh's face was PRICELESS!  And I thought...I sure am glad I didn't delete my facebook account!

Thank you, Mike & Tomi!  My husband is such an upbeat and life-giving person, but he is rarely given special moments like this - it will be remembered forever.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Becoming a Woman who Sees His Gifts Abound

I'm back from my Sabbatical - and the past 40 days have brought rest and refocus to my life.  This blog is called Becoming Paige and I'm more aware than ever that becoming truly is a process - an unending stream of change and growth and pain and joy.  It's a stream that is filled with gifts - gifts from ABOVE - the orange trumpet flowers cascdading off my back roof and the small joys of Selah's first ponytail.  Small and precious gifts that remind me of His faithfulness and that are meant to woo my heart so that I can come with hands wide open trusting where He might lead.

It's my choice each day whether I will pause long enough to recognize those gifts and more importantly the Giver...

There have been far too many days in my 32 years in which I've not looked up to see the gifts, but the last 40 days were different - gift abounded at every turn - so many I cannot begin to list them all here...but let me share with you a small glimpse of the first few gifts that came my way as I set aside 40 days to rest...40 days to refocus...and 40 days to see Him all around.

My Gifts List Continued...

160.  Discovery of New Life
161.  New fluffy feathers of baby birds
162.  The watchful stance of momma bird
163.  Intricately woven nest
164.  The hint of a smile from a tiny beak
165.  Cool morning to sip my coffee
166. Painted toenails on tiny feet
167.  Orange blooms like a trumpet
168.  Color coordinated books
169.  Time to type out my heart thoughts

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