Blessings Under Disguise.

If I had to honestly sum up the past week in just a couple of words, it would be “really tough.” My friends can agree from my multiple text messages, they agreed our life has been crazy. It just felt like one thing after another kept going wrong. Emotionally we were exhausted, physically our bodies needed so much sleep and the enemy was full on attack. But in all of the things that went wrong or were frustrating, there were blessings. Blessings that only would have happened, if we went through these situations.

A stomach bug hit our group of teens on our last day on our Spring (couldn’t call it winter because it was 75 degrees 😉 ) Camp.  It was terrible and we felt so bad for all of the kids who got sick. Now we look back and see how the sickness was a blessing. A blessing under disguise. A blessing to be able to connect and bond with our teens, in a way we may not have been able to if we weren’t all sick.

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Just a small handful of our amazing teens God has blessed us with! 

I was driving last Saturday (later in the day after our long morning of everyone being sick) on our way to Buffalo, to drop my brother off. On our way, a deer decided to run in front of our car. I was driving and hit that poor thing going 65. As if the day couldn’t get any longer. Thankfully we were all okay but our car was totaled. That was the last thing we needed. It was an older car, with a lot of miles so didn’t expect more then a couple of hundred dollars back. But God is faithful and gave us way more then we could have ever guessed! If the car was traded in or even sold, we would have never gotten that much.  A blessing under disguise, even though hitting a dear would have not been our first thought.

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We said goodbye to this car yesterday. Lots of memories and long car rides together. 

To add to the stressful week, our power was out for almost 48 hours. The blessing in that, haven’t quite figured that one out yet. haha  I thought a lot about this past week this morning, and thinking back to what we went through not only physically but emotionally. As much as we continued to say, we just need this week over, we are blessed. Blessed to be able to take our teens on a weekend away and thankful we weren’t hurt in the accident. Blessed to have such amazing family and friends who offered to take us in when our house was 42 degrees. Even when life seemed to be out of control and everything that could go wrong did, God was and is still in control.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.” ~James 1:2

At the beginning of the year, I picked a simple word. That word was joy. Wasn’t really sure why, but it just kept getting put on my heart and now I believe this is just the beginning. Beginning of seeing joy through these trials, when my first reaction is to pout and get frustrated. And not only just having joy but continuing to see the blessings that God gives us. Blessings under disguise.

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Cookies.

Cookies, a random, simple title. Growing up one thing, my brothers and I would do was make cookies for just about every holiday. We’d get dropped off at my Grandparents house for the day and just make cut out cookies. Now these aren’t just any sugar cookie cut outs, these are something special. I have yet to find a recipe out there quite like the ones my grandma makes. Even though she always says, “I just found it in a newspaper,” it still makes them grandma’s cookies. I actually just found the cookie cutters at my parents house that we always use, a whole garbage bag. A garbage bag, filled to the top with cut outs for every holiday.

I always looked forward to these times. Special memories were made. My grandma would always say, “don’t eat the cookie dough (though I’d always steal some when she was not looking) or do not roll the dough too thin!!” I do not really remember when there was a season when we didn’t make cookies together. I remember one year for Christmas we decided we would triple the recipe. Triple. Unless you want to spend your whole entire day pulling cookies in and out of the oven, I do not recommend ever doing this!! We spent hours upon hours. Then you realize you have to frost the endless amount of cookies. We made hundreds of cookies that day and had no idea what to do with them all. So we loaded up plates and my brothers went door to door on our street dropping off. We decided to never do that again! 😉

This year was the first year, I made these cookies in my own home. Fall cut outs, leaves and acorns. I called my grandma and asked her for the recipe that I should have memorized by now. This year my husband helped me make them but nothing does compare to the many memories made in the past making these with my grandma and my brothers. New seasons and new memories to be made, but those will always be dear to my heart. She always says, “We never had many traditions that we did together” and I always say that making cookies together was the best and I’d rather have just that one then a bunch. I’m thankful that God has given me such an amazing family. I’m thankful for these times and the memories created.

Cherishing the memories of the past and looking forward to the new memories ahead.

 

In Our Family

This will probably be my favorite project that we have worked on. Super special to both of us, as we establish a culture in our home. Before we got married we always talked about the culture we wanted to create in our family and when people would come to our home. Our foundation lays on Christ but we wanted to branch off of that more.

What are characteristics we want to reflect in our life to those around us? After a lot of prayer and going to the Word, we wrote down what we believe God wants us to create in our family. Now I say family, rather then home, because we want these characteristics to go with us wherever we go. Not just something that is lived out between 4 walls but a lifestyle. The characteristics we have chosen are mainly taken from 1 Corinthians 13, because ultimately we love because Christ first loved us.

The wood is not perfect, my letters I painted are not as even as I had wanted but that ok. We are far, far from perfect and often times lose patience, don’t “feel like” forgiving, are prideful and the list just goes on. But what do we have to go back to? I look at this on our wall in the living room every day and it’s a constant reminder to keep my attitude in check. To keep my eyes focused on the One who will give me strength to do all these things. I can’t do it on my own though, literally impossible. What is the culture you want to build in your family? Thank you God for loving us unconditionally and giving us grace each day!