I love to have fun with paper, food, paint, music and events and just being creative in all of it. However, I don't feel the need to be a perfectionist nor a professional in any of my creations. I wish I could have a blog JUST about the art of cooking, photography, sewing, art, mothering, jewelry making, card making, dancing, gardening, deep spiritual thoughts, decorating, poetry, party planning, baking.... and the list goes on but I can't. I don't think I was created with the ability to focus on one task. I like all of these hobbies layed out before me and the freedom to pick whatever I choose depending on the mood or time I have.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Mother's Battle: Juggling little ones, life and your hearts passion

For years I'd been waking up in the middle of the night wondering why the Lord had given me so much vision, so much conviction for the lost but so little time, resources and energy. I'd wake up restless because my mind would not let the ideas go. This all left me feeling frustrated, confused wondering why the Lord would do this. Why would He give me this when He knew I couldn't do anything with it?
I felt like our world revolved around us, our family, our friends and our church. These are all great things but I felt like something was missing. At that time I was pregnant so I knew very well and He knew even better that there was no way I would have the time or energy to add anything else to my day. When I would share these frustrations with girlfriends they came to my rescue and explained that this was my ministry-my family and this is just how it is and when they get older it would be different.  The thought of waiting til they got older made me feel like I was going to wither away.  I didn't agree with "this is just a phase and when they get older then I can pursue these ideas" but I did agree wholeheartedly with my family being my ministry and I wouldn't exchange it for anything in the world.   Still the Lord continued to prod and gently prod as He so often does.
Well this past summer He spoke and answered my questions. The Lord opened the eyes of my heart to see all these frustrations, convictions, passion and ministry in a new way through this statement I read in my devotions "God's glory discovers us where we are." God can use me right where I am at and He doesn't need to change my circumstances.  Just my heart and how I view life. So I began to meditate on this statement on how God used Moses right where he was at in the field as a shepherd. He showed me that I needed to yield, to surrender my ideas, my passion and my conviction to Him. And only until then would I be able to cherish each moment with my children, my family and also seize the day for His glory! He said "Mari, yes I have given you a heart to serve, a heart for the lost, a mind full of ideas but you were looking at all of this through your lenses not mine, that's why you end up frustrated and confused."
"I gave you Ben and made you a wife. I gave you Ethan and Aiden and made you a mother. I gave you Jesus and made you my child. I gave you a heart for the poor, the lost. I have given  you a creative mind and the vision. Rejoice my child in all of this and use it to glorify me each day! You don't need to start a homeless shelter to help the poor all you need is to open your eyes and your heart when your out shopping. You don't need to go to Mexico to reach the lost just open your eyes when your out at the zoo or the park with your children. You don't need to be involved in everything at church so your children can see Jesus. Just treat the homeless man on the street like a person and offer him food. Mari, I want you to cherish each moment in your childrens lives and I also want you to know that you can seize the day to be Jesus, to help them see Jesus, and to allow Jesus to work through THEM." Your creativity can be used for my glory.  Just remember its going to look different and that is okay.
It's so easy to become complacent, to get use to our routine, our litte life in our little world and that is exactly what we had done.  God's glory discovers us where we are! God can use me right where I am at and He doesn't need to change my circumstances.  Just my heart and how I view life.

Wow! Tears rolled, snot flowed and my hearts burden was free when I heard these words. I realized that my children are my disciples. True discipleship is only effective if I am in the Word, fellowshipping with believers, serving others, reaching out to the lost but they go hand in hand. If I isolate one of them than my children only see a part of Jesus, the don't see all of Jesus. The hard fact is that this doesn't just happen in ones family, it doesn't just fall into place, you have to be intentional about it.

From these frustrations, confusion and God's grace was born: Mommy and Me Missions. http://www.mommyandmemissions.com/
This was written back in 2007 and three years later I can say I am a changed woman because He whispered those words of grace to me and showed me this truth.  And since then I continue to share with other moms that we can do so much for Him with our children if we start with thinking in small acts of random kindness. And I purposely put in their "random" because sometimes we can't stick to a routine because life gets overwhelming when we have little ones and life to juggle.  Whatever you do don't say to yourself "I just can't do this right now but maybe when my kids get a little bit older". Find small ways to incorporate your hearts passion into your life even if it means that a project that normally would of taken you 2 days is now taking you months.  Find ways to incorporate your children into that passion it may take longer, it may not turn out perfectly but they get to see what gives mommy life outside of their smiling faces.  When my first born arrived into this world my devotional time started to look differently. It took me all day. It literally was layed out on my kitchen counter all day and when I had a couple of minutes I would read another couple of sentences.  Sometimes I would read the scripture part of it out loud at breakfast and as they got older I would tell them "hold on buddy I have a couple of more verses to go and then I can help you."  Was this my ideal way of doing my "quiet" time? Absolutely not, but I learned early on that LIFE WAS GOING TO LOOK DIFFERENT WITH CHILDREN and this was the only way I could incorporate those things that were important in my life and made me come alive.  Press on my sister, press on! ~Dream big but do it small and little by little~

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My new fall color scheme!

My new fall color scheme!
Our fall decor this year is a large pumpkin that says "Count your Blessings" written with a sharpie and a small pumpkin next to it that we use at dinner time to write what were thankful for each day (see pic. above), on the table we have a table runner w/ fall colors and 3 candle holders and instead of candles I placed Eucalyptus balls on them. I made them last year with spanish moss and eucalyptus buds.

Flowers: I put in a large vase sunflowers and some filler flower that had small orange buds on them. That is actually at the entrance of our home but the pic. above is from our pumpkin party.

Pumpkin Party

We don't live any where near a pumpkin patch nor do we have the season "fall" in this country. So as foreigners one of the things we try to do is still keep our traditions and fun parties to make home more homey.  Above are pictures of our Pumpkin Patch Party that we have hosted for the 2nd year and its a big hit for our other missionary friends and our new ecuadorian friends.

Set out hay and pumpkins in a corner of the room.  The food table has a banner I made that says "Peek-a-Boo".  I throw out faux fall leaves all over the room.  black and orange streamer hanging from the door.
Games to play:
-Donut bobbing- we hung powdered donuts to some string on a stick and blindfolded the kids. It was hilarious to watch them try to bite the donut..
-Hot pumpkin- pass the pumpkin around and when the music stops the one holding the pumpkin goes out.
- mummy wrap- have two teams. one person is the mummy and the other is the wrapper. See who wraps up the person first like a mummy.
-photo booth- we had lots of props out and hung a frame from the ceiling for the kids to take silly pictures.  made mustache props, lips and set out wigs, scarves, hats etc.....

Easy Craft- Spider candle craft
small pumpkin
googly eyes,
black pipe cleaners
tea candle
craft glue
We prepped them prior to guest arriving by gutting them and poking holes on the side for the legs. Glue eyes, cut pipe cleaners evenly for legs and poke them in and stick candle on top. Voila easy craft!

Food (pictures above):
rotten teeth- from apple wedges, caramel and chopped marshmallows
worm juice- pineapple juice w/ blue food coloring and gummy worms in it
mummy hotdogs- wrapped dinner roll dough around the hotdog and baked it and topped it with eyes using a edible pen.
pumpkin juice- used oj juices and drew pumpkin face on the outside
pumpkin lolipops- covered lolipops in orange tissue paper and w/ a sharpie drew a pumpkin face on them
pumpkin caramel tarts- not pictured. used a mini cupcake pan and put pie crust at the bottom and pumpkin pie filling in it and once it was cooled I drizzled caramel over it.

Favor bag:
orange clusters of marshmallow treats in a pumpkin treat bag. Made my own template that said "Peek-a-Boo"