Thursday, November 7, 2013

5 Minute Fall Centerpiece

This year, I came up with a really easy fall centerpiece for my table that literally took me five minutes to make and I didn't spend a penny!  I know, even better right?!

So here is how I made this:

1.  I took my three crates that I purchased from AC Moore and hooked them together using floral wire.  
***side note-these come unfinished so you can paint them any color you would like...of course I spray painted mine!!

2.  I used Christmas garland (You can used Christmas garland in the fall too!!! It can give any centerpiece a rustic feel) and spread it across the three crates.  I pretty much just plopped it inside because as you add things you can change the shape.  

3.  I added some fall garland, weaving it from one side to the other.

4.  I added pinecones alternating sides as well and stuffed some of them down the sides so that you could see it at different openings.

5.  Weave burlap ribbon throughout to fill in all of the holes.  I didn't leave my burlap ribbon in one piece, though.  I cut shorter pieces so that I could put it wherever it was needed and scrunched the burlap to add fullness. 

6.  Lastly, I had a couple of pumpkins that I threw on the top.  

So there you have it.  A five minute centerpiece.  Easy Peasy as my 8 year old says!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Believe the Best

Recently, God has really been teaching me about my need to believe the best in people or to give people the benefit of the doubt.  

1 Corinthians 13:7 addresses this issue:  "She (love) bears up everything, believes the best in all; there is no limit to her hope, and never will she fail." International Standard Version.  

So, over the next couple of weeks I hope to blog about several people and situations in our lives where we often need to offer more grace and believe the best in others.  I hope that this challenges you as much as it does myself:

Your Spouse
Now this can be a tough one, right? If your marriage is like mine, 90% of our "heated discussions" are because one of us has not believed the best in the other. 

This is typically how it works for a woman: your husband asks you, "what have you done today?" and we loose it because we automatically think he is criticizing or demeaning the amount of work we were able to accomplish in that day.  When in actuality he hadn't thought that much into the question and really meant, "what have you done today?"  We need to believe the best in our husband rather than assume there is more to the question.

How about for the man?  Let's say the husband comes home from work and the wife is overwhelmed because of homework, running the kids to sports, dinner, stress at work, etc. The wife is short with the husband because of her stress.  Should the husband believe the best in his wife and offer grace to her response. Absolutely.

These are just two very simple examples but this week try and think about ways that you can believe the best in your spouse. 

I love this quote by Stephen Kendrick in the book, The Love Dare;   “Love chooses to believe the best about people. It gives them the benefit of the doubt. It refuses to fill in the unknowns with negative assumptions. And when our worst hopes are proven to be true, love makes every effort to deal with them and move forward. As much as possible, love focuses on the positive.”   

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall Wreath

I really love to decorate for fall because you can pretty much start in September and keep the decorations all the way until Thanksgiving.  You really can get more use out of your fall decorations than Christmas.  With that being said, I also do not really like putting a ton of overtly fall decorations out. This year, I decided that I wanted to make (or have my mom make) two really nice wreaths.  In our house, people use the side door just as much as they do the front door.  So, I went to work on Pinterest and found this wreath that I completely fell in love with:

My mom and I thought that we could recreate this, but it had to be relatively inexpensive because I had to make two of these!  So, this is what we came up with:

The best part...I sprayed painted my pumpkins and pinecones.  I wanted to give my wreath a warm feel and I love the way that it turned out.  I hope to add more to it next year so that it will be as full as the picture that I found on Pinterest. Just remember, you don't have to spend a fortune on decorations.  My mom and I saw wreaths like these for almost $200 at Hobby Lobby.  I think that I was able to make these for $20 a piece with the hopes of adding more to it next fall.  

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What I Love About My Pastor

Today is the last day of Pastor Appreciation Month and I wanted to share with you 10 things that you might not know about Pastor Stu Hodges.   So here it is, 10 reasons that I love my pastor, husband and baby daddy:

1.  He is a good daddy. I could give you many reasons, but I will give you my favorite reason. He is always the first one awake to fix breakfast for our kiddos. He does this for a few reasons:  a) To honor me because I like to sleep in. b) When he was a student pastor, one of our students told us about how her dad ate breakfast with her every day. Stu told me then that he wanted to give that memory to his children too.

2.  He is always the first to say sorry.  Stu Hodges has taught me how to have a "heated discussion". He is always willing to say that he is sorry first and accept what he has done wrong in any situation. 

3.  He is really good at yard work and landscaping.  In every house that we have ever lived in, he has always made our yard look amazing.  A place where we can relax and enjoy it with our family and friends.  He typically spends his entire day off working in the yard.  

4.  He loves looking at/buying/selling houses (on the peninsula). In our 16 years of marriage we have moved 6 times.  Now that might not seem like a lot, but I lived in the same house from the time that I was born until the day that I married Stu.  So, 6 times is a lot for me. It is sort of his hobby. Many evenings you will find him looking at houses for sale in this area. He has promised me to stay put for awhile, but I am well aware that if the perfect, inexpensive waterfront property comes available I can go ahead and start packing.  

5.  He is frugal when is comes to spending money on himself and a giver when it comes to spending money on others. Stu has taught me to be a giver to others rather than myself.  Whether it be giving to the church or to someone in need, he is incredibly sensitive to the spirit. He will text me sometimes and ask if he can give money to someone and yet he will not spend more than $12 on a shirt. I love that about him!  

6.  Saturday evenings are sacred. Typically on a Saturday afternoon around 4:00 I mentally lose Stu Hodges. Mentally he is beginning to feel the spiritual burden of what Sunday entails. At 7:30 EVERY Saturday night he goes into his office to make sure he is spiritually ready to bring God's Word. There are NO exceptions to this.  We don't hang out with friends, we don't have date night, we don't do weddings or anything. I so admire his discipline and how he has prioritized the importance of Sundays so much so that he is willing to give up his Saturday nights to prayer and preparation. I love how seriously he takes preaching God's Word.

7.  That man doesn't sit still.  People often ask me, "Does he move that much at home?"  My answer, "Why, yes he does." He gives life 100%. He might sit still for 5 minutes at home, but 5 minutes is all I get! He is the hardest worker I know.

8.  Stu Hodges is the real deal. If you ask anyone that knows Stu they would tell you that he is the real deal. He is not one way at church and one way at home or work. I love that I get to worship and receive God's Word with the same man that I am married to.

9.  He protects. I always feel safe and protected because I know that "Stu's got this." He protects our church and its vision all the time. He has to say "no" to some very good ideas or people so that he can protect Waters Edge.  He protects our marriage.  He is never alone with another female and is willing to give me access to all text messages and emails (even though I completely trust him). He protects me from hurtful things that people say about him. He protects his kids by having a say in every aspect of our parenting. He protects his staff. He always has their back and believes in them. I have always felt safe because of his leadership in every aspect of my life. 

10. He loves God. I had a funny conversation with Taylor (our youngest) the other day.  She said, "I don't care that my daddy is famous."  I giggled and said, "honey, your daddy isn't famous." She said, "I know, all that matters is that he loves God and he does love God very much." You see, she sees him not only preach God's Word, but live out his faith on a daily basis.  She sees him read his Bible in the morning, she sees the way he responds to situations, she sees his compassion and she sees the way he leads his family. My little 8 year old showed me the greatest thing about my pastor, husband and baby daddy...he loves God.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Peanut Butter Parable

On Sunday, Stu told a parable using Peanut Butter Cups. It reminded me of a really funny story. About four years ago, my mother-in law and I were traveling with the kids to Roanoke together for a short trip to visit family and friends. Before we left, I let each one of the kids pick out their favorite package of candy. You know, candy and road trips go hand in hand, right? Brayden picked out a package of about 10 Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Emma picked out a package of 10 York Peppermint Patties, and honestly I can't remember what Taylor picked out but it was probably Skittles. The kids were soooo good and well behaved on the trip. We didn't even make one bathroom stop and we were able to make it there in about four hours. On the trip the kids were watching movies and playing their Nintendo DS games. Brayden had figured out a system where he could see better by hiding under a blanket while he played his video games. When we arrived we assumed that the kiddos would be starving, so instead of unpacking the car we came right in to eat. We asked Brayden if he was hungry and he really didn't want to eat. I didn't think anything of it. So, after lunch we went to go unpack the car and on his side of the car I saw one, two, three....TEN Reese cup wrappers. Ha! That little boy, probably 7 or 8 at the time ate every single Reese Peanut Butter cup under that blanket and I had no clue! I had intended for the candy to be used for the trip up, during and back home! To this day, we laugh at this story because that little boy scarfed down all ten Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Funny thing is, that boy still loves his Reeses! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

Urban Dictionary Definition:  Aint Nobody Got Time For That: not wanting to deal with something/someone in that moment.

This Sunday we kicked off our sermon series it matters.  God has already been speaking to me and working on my heart.  I have to admit, I have definitely had a "ain't nobody got time for that" attitude.   However, my amazing husband kicked me into gear this Sunday during his sermon.  You see, I kind of thought that God was going to use these next couple of weeks to stretch and grow OTHER people who have never experienced a Capital Campaign.  Don't get me wrong, I was going to give, but I wasn't going to consider the fact that God wanted to do something in my own life.  However, it was in that moment that God not just whispered, but screamed to my heart, "I'm not done with you and I'm not done building my church."  I really don't have time to let negative thoughts  and a hardened heart interrupt what God wants to do in and through me.  I need to be open and obedient to what God wants to do in my life at all times.  I think when believers sometimes have an "ain't nobody got time for that" attitude...we miss the opportunity for God to stretch us and grow us in areas of our lives we never knew needed a good stretch.  When it comes to our journey, we can't have an attitude where we don't want to deal with God in that moment, afraid of what He might ask us to do.  Since I ain't got time for my old attitude, I have committed to pray over the next month 5 Dangerous Prayers written by Pastor Bill Hybels:

1.  Search Me..."we must not forget to ask God to point out our rebellion in our own spirits."
2.  Break Me..."You cannot grow as a Christian until you learn to ask for brokenness.  Regardless of your level of spiritual maturity, there will always be areas of your life God needs to work in."
3.  Stretch Me..."This is the kind of prayer to pray when you want to grow up spiritually.  If you know someone whose depth of love is humbling, whose spiritual strength is amazing, that person has probably asked God to stretch him through life's challenges."
4.  Lead Me..."Asking God to take your life and do whatever He wants with it is risky.  We've got to be believe that His plans for us are better than our own."
5.  Use Me..."It's exciting to make yourself available to God so that He can touch someone else through you.  Such a prayer creates adventure."