Monday, September 19, 2011

Garage Sale QUEEN!!!

I.Love.Garage.Sales. I'm a sucker for those neon signs pointing me in a particular direction, even on the days I had no intention of going garage sale-ing.

Well, this weekend, that desire paid off BIG TIME. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and crown myself as Queen of Garage Sales.

In the past, I've found amazing deals..... The $250 bike hitch for $25. An entire fall Gap wardrobe for a child for $15. A unique work desk for $5. A Crate and Barrel Vase for $2. A solid wood kitchen table for FREE. That's just a few. And while I understand they hold no glory when compared to Malachi's free sword, stuffed animal, or "That Was Easy" button (can't even tell you how annoyed I was when the lady said he was so cute he could just have that one.... yeah, thanks!!!!), I'm always pretty excited to find a hidden treasure. (Don't even get me started on Flea Markets!!!)

Well, this weekend was the top for me! I was on my way to Costco (so again, no PLAN to go to a garage sale), when out of the corner of my eye, there it was - the hot pink sign beckoning me: MOVING SALE!! I hung a quick Louie, and there I was. (That means, turned left, mom.) But this was something different - all the belongings were not proudly displayed on the front lawn. No, I was being directed INSIDE the home....WHAT?!?!?! An entire home??? Excitedly, I went in.

Unfortunately, my excitement waned as I saw the little she actually had in her home. (Or at least the little that I would be interested in.) However, as soon as I walked in the front door, I spotted a beautiful Baby Grand piano. I didn't assume it was for sale, or if it was - it was at least going to be a few thousand dollars. So I continued browsing the dollar items. As I was about to walk out the door, I turned out of curiosity and asked if the owner was selling the piano.

Me: Is the piano for sale?
Owner: Yes.
Me: How much?
Owner: I dunno, $100???
Me (after picking my jaw up off the floor): Um, does it work?
Owner: Yes. I bought it 6 years ago for $4000 dollars. I'm moving though, and just need SOMEONE to get it out of here. I bought it thinking I would learn how to play, but haven't. So it's just been sitting here, with the occasional friend or family member playing it. I've been praying for the right buyer to come along...someone who would be blessed by it.

Um .... hand raised. Yes, please!

So I quickly called Aaron and had him bike over to take a look. (Yes, bike. I had only made it 2 blocks before spotting the pretty little sign.) He came to look at it and was certainly more than impressed...enough so to part with $100, that's for sure.

So we told the owner that we would take it and handed her the money. I asked her if she was a Christian (assuming so from how she had been talking combined with K-Love playing in the background). She told me that she was, and was in fact moving away to go to Bible College. She was really worried that no one would move the piano, and that she would have to. (Um... had ANYONE else actually ASKED the price,  I'm sure it would have been long gone.) So I explained to her what a blessing it was to us, that we had (almost) 5 kids, a house full of musicians, and had been on the search for a loooong time for a decent, affordable piano. We both were blessed. find the guys willing to move it.

Here's the thing. We don't really have room in our house for a Baby Grand....unless it can be moved to the basement....which most pianos this size could not be. The beauty of this Baby (pun intended) is that it is a digital piano - so it won't go out of tune by tipping and turning. Also the legs come off....perfect for tight corners. Amazing! Could God have orchestrated (no pun intended) this any better?

4 guys stepped forward (one who happens to be a brilliant pianist and even gave his stamp of approval on our new purchase!) and moved it into our home tonight.

Wanna see it??? It's hard to tell in the pics, but it is actually a beautiful cherry wood. Matches my house perfectly!!!

Wanna know the best part about a digital piano? There are headphone jacks! This gives the option for the player to be the only person who can hear the sound being played. This works well with 5 kids LEARNING piano, and a husband who likes to write music. :)

All kidding aside, I'm truly blessed by this little rose amongst a few thorns lately. One other random detail, but not so random to the Maker of the Universe, is that we came upon an extra $100 just the day before this find that we weren't expecting in our monthly budget. It's moments like this... they don't come often... but you know that when they do, God is wanting to cement His faithfulness and provision in your mind. I thank him for this.

And who knows - maybe I'll even finally learn how to play..... maybe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

NJ, fall, lattes, babes, and driving.

Aaron and I got pregnant with our first child 4 months after we got married. 2 months later we moved to New Jersey. 1 month later I went on bed-rest. We were in New Jersey for 18 months. Looking back over the course of my life, it was perhaps 18 of the hardest and loneliest months of my life. But good.

Aaron and I left all we had ever known and early on in our marriage - were forced to learn to lean on God and each other. We had our first child. I made one of the best friends I will probably ever have. I learned how to cook something other than mac'n'cheese with BBQ sausage (sounds yummy, huh). We lived 7 blocks from the ocean. We learned a lot about ministry, our giftedness, and what was important to us. We got pregnant with our second child....our Glory Baby (Sarah).

It was 10 years ago that we felt that pain of such a deep loss. I would drive a lot during those times. I loved to just get in the car and drive. I would think, sing, pray and NOT do housework (that I was learning as a young bride was never ending). The baby (Providence) would sleep peacefully as I cruised up and down the Parkway.

Fall was AMAZING in New Jersey. It spoiled me forever. Fall in Colorful Colorado is anything but colorful compared to an East Coast fall. I'd drive down the parkway with the beautiful red, orange, yellow and even purple leaves kicking up behind me in the car. I thought that only happened in car commercials with high powered fans. Apparently the car commercials were filmed in NJ.

There was a CD by Watermark (Christy Nockels) that came out shortly before we moved to NJ. I had it on repeat the entire time we lived there. So for some reason, fall and the CD, All Things New, go hand in hand for me. 10 years later, I still pull that CD out every fall. That album also has a song on it called Glory Baby... a song I reference every time I miss my Glory Baby. 

I love fall. I love that everything is about to go to sleep for several months. Sometimes I want to go to sleep for several months. I love the smell of fall, the colors of fall, the feel of fall. Today in CO was the first hint of fall for this year. Every year at the start of season, I open up all the windows and let the 50 degree weather flood my house, only to dress up in my sweaters and warm socks. The rest of the family gets annoyed. The kids were walking around the house this morning wearing earmuffs (they aren't still called ear muffs, are they?) and gloves. C'mon ... dramatic much? (I don't know where they get it from.) But I love it.

Today was a sad day for me. We were supposed to be on our way to get our fifth child. We didn't go. It was a cold, dreary day (literally). Malachi didn't want to nap. So my old comfort plan seemed like a good idea.

I loaded up Malachi in the car. (Not as quiet as that babe, Provi ... but with the DVD player and his headphones, I was okay hearing his giggles and "Swiper no swiping!" every now and then.) And so what that I used to drive a little Honda Accord and gas was $.99/gallon and now I drive a Suburban and gas is $3.50/gallon. It was a good use of $40 worth of gas if you ask me. I drove in the cold rain with the windows down ... until the dog tried to jump out. I thanked God for the gloomy day. Had it been a sunshiny day, I probably would've really been depressed. Somehow gloomy days make it okay to be sad. Cold, fall days (even the gloomy ones) truly bring me joy. And any joy was welcomed today.
my view driving today

I stopped by Starbucks for the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (another joy), and I'm not even afraid to admit that. I popped in the All Things New CD and just drove. I listened to songs that reminded me of those days in NJ. I missed my friend there. Glory Baby came on and I shed some tears for that child I never held 10 years ago. There's a line in the song that says "baby let sweet Jesus hold you, till Mom and Dad can hold you"..... I shed some more tears at having that same sentiment for my Ugandan Sweetie who I am ready to hold.

The song Who Am I/Grace Flows Down came on. The first line says, "over time you've healed so much in me, and I am living proof - that although my darkest hour comes, your light can still shine through". More tears. I thought back to those hard days, to that sweet baby, to our current Sweetie, to many hard things that have been between then and now - and I thanked God that on this gloomy day - His light still shone through to me....that it always has.

God met me where I was today. When I couldn't find him, as always, he found me. Amazing grace indeed.

I couldn't find a good clip of the song, Who Am I/Grace Flows Down... but I did find a horrible one. So I'll post that. (And Aaron was so offended by the clip, that he made me shrink it so you can only play it - not watch it. ha!)  Then you should just dig it up on iTunes or something to have in your library for your cold, gloomy days.

Great is His Faithfulness unto me.

Here she goes again w/ that "community" garbage.


Something I vaguely remember threatening last summer after Aaron's sabbatical to blog a series of posts about.

I don't think I ever did.

Thoughts of community, what it is, why it's gone wrong, etc....never cease to end in my mind. It's at the front of my thoughts almost as much as getting my new daughter home. So maybe I'll think about sharing some of those thoughts again.

Or maybe for now, I'll just link to a short video I saw this morning that made me sad and hopeful all at the same time. Sad because of the truths in it ("for the average American, there's only 2 people that they can confide in for any meaningful conversation, and for the rest of us - we don't have anyone at all") and hopeful because of the movement that seems to be happening parallel to that of Gospel-Centered living - a movement of authentic community ("real authentic community is not about us, it's about God.", and "that God would strip away everything that is fake...and replace it with the only thing that does give life - The Gospel ....")

So maybe .... maybe I'll blog some more in the days to come.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Slip??? What's that?

Maybe this is TMI...

I needed a dress for a special occasion (ahem ... court in Uganda). I found a nice dress that I felt comfortable in, and would actually wear again after said occasion. (Crazy!) There was one problem .... it was totally see-through! Not sure who thought that was okay, but I figured I could work with it.

So I ventured out to find this thing I remembered wearing once upon a time in a former life. It's called a slip. (Believe it or not, long slips to go with a long dress are really hard to find!)

I had the slip laying out to pack for our trip, and Providence came in and asked what it was. I told her it was a slip. With shock in her voice, she asked, "they still make those?" Um yes ... I guess they do.

Maybe I should teach her about those things they call pantyhose, too.