Thursday, June 30, 2011

I cried today....


It's funny how Divine Providence shows it's head in our lives.  I try to be very open to and aware of "coincidental" things because really I don't believe in coincidence.  I believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  I choose to believe and deliberately see the activity of the Spirit in my live.  

I had a run-in with the Spirit this morning.

He slapped me in the face.

And I cried like a baby.

It was a divine blessing.

Here's what happened.

I like to spend a portion of my mornings reading and  in prayer/reflection.  I have developed a semi-routine that includes reading a devotion from Morning by Morning, written by Charles Spurgeon (my favorite dead preacher).  His daily devotions are always so gripping, so poignant, so rich.  Today's was no exception.  The scripture that he drew from today was John 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.  He speaks of the glory and riches of our Lord and how we would be infinitely blessed to have a bird's portion from the bounty of Christ.  He says "Had He given us some small pension from his royal coffers, we would have had cause to love Him eternally; but no, He will have His bride as rich as Himself...The boundless fullness of His all-sufficiency is as free to the believer as the air he breathes."  He finishes his eloquent speech with a verse from a hymn titled When This Passing World Is Done:

When I stand before the throne
Dressed in beauty not my own;
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee with unsinning heart;
Then, Lord, shall I fully know--
Not till then--how much I owe.

Needless to say, my heart was filled with gratefulness and humility from dwelling on those thoughts of love from and fellowship with God.  It was moving, but I wasn't crying at this point.  And let me just say, I am not a big cryer.  

The Spirit wasn't done with me yet. (And He always knows which buttons to press, the rascal).

I have also been reading a devotional by Beth Moore that is purely about the life Jesus, so it is basically a reading through the Gospels.  I have had this book for at least two years or more and I am on day 14 (out of 90!).  Oh well.  So Day 14 is short reading of Matthew 3:13-15.  Two verses, not too difficult. 

The story is about the baptism of Jesus.  These two verses specifically are about Jesus approaching the Jordan River and asking (or telling?!) John the Baptist to baptize Him.  A few verses prior John has been baptizing all of the people to repentance.  His mantra, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near".  They are coming to him, confessing their sins, being baptized, then moving towards a life of repentance.  The Jordan River, at this point, is full of their confessed sins, all the dirt and junk that people had been carrying around;  the filth of humanity.  

Then Jesus appears.  He arrives at the Jordan and requests to be baptized by John; It says that John tried to stop Him, saying "I need to be baptized by You, and yet You come to me".

There it is.  That is where my heart was pierced.  I was still not crying at this point; I was too overwhelmed, too stunned by His willingness to stoop to my level.

That's what He was telling me this morning through Spurgeon, Moore, and His Word.    

I cried as I read Moore's fictional reflections on what might have been going through John's mind as Jesus approached him.

She tells of John a man called by God to prepare the way of the Lord.  A man full of so much passion for the Word of God that came to him in the desert that if he didn't preach it He would have been consumed by it.  He was a radical.  A man with no fear and no intimidation because of the sureness of his message.  So he goes to the river that day, not expecting anything but to declare a message to whomever would listen.  It says that people came.  A LOT of people came.  Little did he know that the future he prophesied was to become his present.

When I read of John's encounter with the Messiah I wept like a child. 

(summarized version of Moore's interpretation)

" I was just raising a repentant man from the waters when I saw someone out of the corner of my eye walk to the water's edge.  As I think back, how those waters kept from parting that day, I'll never know....Suddenly I became oblivious to all but the overpowering presence of the One.  There He stood, looking straight at me, through me.  Oh, it was Him all right!  I had been preparing for him all my life, and yet I was not ready. All I could do was look at Him and shake my head, 'No. Please, no! Not me.  I have need to be baptized by You!' ...He answered, 'Let it be for now.  It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.'  So I consented, shaking all over.  I placed my left hand on His back and my right hand on His chest.  I felt the heartbeat of the Son of God.  As if in slow motion, I leaned Him back into those waters, His weight submitting to my hands....He walked out of those waters and into our lives, interrupting a fallen world with grace and truth.  My name is John.  I am the son of a simple man and woman.  I baptized the Messiah that day."

I am stupefied by the willingness of the Spirit to make clear to me the things He wants me to know.  He will meet me wherever I am and make known to me His ever-present self.

I am stunned by the willingness of God to stoop to my level.  He will let me feel His very own heartbeat if only I will come close.

I am overwhelmed by the willingness of Jesus to give me so much more than I deserve. He has put the cup of His love and grace to my lips, I must drink freely.

Again, in the words of Charles Spurgeon, "Behold the superlative liberality of the Lord Jesus, for He has given us His all.

Indeed He has.

- the rave

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Life Update & Baby Kimono

I have officially been without "work" for two days now.  It's been quite the challenge to maintain a healthy balance of house work and "fun" work.  I mean, really, who wants to do laundry when you can sew super cute stuff?

It's really difficult to keep the living room clean when I have my sewing stuff sprawled out all over the place....see what I mean...

Sewing left over from the night before...
I have had several people ask me about my plans for while I'm staying at home.  Most of them chuckle and make remarks about future Tommey babies. I'm sure a lot of you are wondering that as well.  Well the weatherman says that highs are in the eighties with clear skies and no chance of babies; so I guess you'll have to check back later!  Here's what is in my future:

1. Blog - now that I have a lot more time I plan to post more often.

2. Sew - I will definitely be posting about it.

3. Etsy - I am hoping to have something up and running in the next month or two.  You know, handmade goods and vintage finds.

4. Thrift Store - I am opening a thrift store at the church Dustin and I go to.  It's just a little room on the bottom floor of the church, but I'm super excited about it.  It needs a lot of TLC before it opens.

5. Pack/Move - Yep, we're moving (location: still looking).  Not anywhere far off, just a bit closer to Dustin's work. And we're going to live intentionally with a few excellent friends, another married couple and single gal. Will definitely need a larger space.

6. Spouse Duties - Cooking, Cleaning, Laundry, Groceries, Blah, Blah, Blah....ya'll  know what I'm saying.

So let's get to the good stuff....

Sewing Project No.1

Baby Kimono & Bloomers

I received an email from my good friend, Martha Stewart, detailing how to make this cute little top....Martha's way.  However, the directions to this baby are AWFUL.  So unclear.  I'm not a sew-pro so I need details, specifics, pretty pictures.  If you're like me, try Narelle's way.  Much better.

I did get a little fancy and added a few things.

First, I added cute little contrasting cuffs to the sleeves.

Second, I replaced the ties for snaps....first time ever sewing on snaps; not too difficult, the tricky part is making sure the snap "buddies" line up.

Even that was too plain.  I added some jewels on top of the snaps to spice it up a bit.

Also, in Narelle's post, she added some matching bloomers to her top.  Too cute to resist!

Ruffles aren't too difficult, but I find myself getting frustrated when they aren't perfect...I have to tell myself "It's okay Rave, they're just ruffles!"  Perfectionism...a curse and a blessing.  Talking to yourself...a sign of insanity.

I took it one step further and added a clothing first branded item!  It's kind of strange.  I just did a test with t-shirt transfer paper and my blog header.  Not real impressed with the turn out, but it's pretty cool to have my unofficial brand on something.

Here's the final product:

Red and White Dots - Amy Butler
Blue Butterflies - Unknown, vintage find

That's it for now...

Keep Posted!

the rave

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Tribute to my Staples Family

Almost 2 years have gone by since I started working at Staples in Springfield, PA.  I got the job when Dustin and I first moved to Pennsylvania as a means of paying bills and supporting the two of us while he finished school.  I never intended for it be a long term job; it served its purpose well for us.

I didn't think it would be as difficult to leave and say my goodbyes as it was yesterday.  Granted, I had days, no, weeks, where I was ready to storm out of that place and never look back.  Copy orders gone wrong, angry customers, a grumpy and irritable manager...all by themselves make for a stressful day, but put them all together and it makes for an ugly disastrous mess.

But then there's the people, my friends.  There were some who came and went, but then there were those who stuck around long enough and invest in you.  People who cared, not just about the work that got done, but about life outside of the building.  It was really hard to leave those people.  I mean, let's be honest.  If you work a 40 hour/week job, you are with a certain group of people for a good portion of your life.  They essentially become a second family.  It could really suck if your co-workers are only that. Even if you had a stellar job it would be really awful to not enjoy the company of those you have to work with on a daily basis.

Yesterday was really special for me and I appreciate all of the kind words, hugs, and gifts that my friends gave to me.  My good friend Lori made me a delicious "Fun-Fetti" cake.  My boss Chris bought me some balloons and candy...the balloons said "Happy Retirement"!  He's still telling me that he refuses my resignation, but I keep telling him that he'll have to fire me for abandonment because I won't show up! :)  I had a couple phone calls from people who weren't at work that day to say goodbye.  Everyone said they were sad I was leaving and that they would miss me, which was really nice/difficult to hear.

After work, we stepped across the street to a new bar that had opened up to hang out for the first and last time.  I just can't say enough how good it feels to know that your managers and co-workers really are interested you and care.  We talked non-work related talk (which was great!) and had some wings and beers.  It was a great way to be sent off.  I don't know why we hadn't done that before yesterday.  It definitely solidified the fact that these people were/are my family.  I will miss seeing them everyday.  Well, not everyday, but I will definitely miss seeing them on a regular basis.

Here's to you Staples Store 46!

Chappelles Show
Buy Chappelle's Show DVDsBlack ComedyTrue Hollywood Story

I should be blogging more often now that I am job-less, so...

Keep Posted!

the rave

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Points of Pride

I have been working with Photoshop lately, not because I know what I am doing, mostly because it seems like fun and there are so many blogs that provide a ton of inspiration with their super cute pics.

Also, I have so many nieces and nephews that I don't get to see very often and I think maybe I feel a bit closer to them after staring at their photos for hours.  But when they're this cute, who could complain!


Vintage Color

Vintage B&W

Which do you like better?  I can't decide.  I am a little bias to the participants in the photo and therefore cannot be trusted to make a sound decision.  The choice is yours, my friends.  Choose wisely.

I also had a couple photos of our trip to Cape May a few weeks ago.  Unfortunately Dustin and I didn't get a pictures of us together. 

Kind of dark...but he's having a blast!
Soaking up the sun, all by my lonesome
I consulted a few Photoshop tutorials via Google and...

"Reunited and it feels so good!"

A perfect, no, acceptable merge of two different photos.

In this not-so-lonesome photo he's probably serenading me with a beautiful love song as I pretend that I am not listening, yet I keep reading the same sentence in my book over and over!

See, I can make my own reality...thanks to Photoshop.

P.S.  Sorry it's been so long, it's been a crazy month!

Keep Posted!

the rave