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One Day At A Time

Reading through a Bible study workbook today, I read the author’s speculation about what Jesus’ death must have been like for His mother, Mary. As it often does, my mind trailed off thinking about how this applies to my daily walk.

What if Mary was like me? What if when Jesus was born, she questioned the outcome of raising God’s Son in every possible way? What if she focused more on her inabilities than on the task the LORD put before her? What if she walked away out of fear? I have no doubt that God could have used another woman to do the job. His plan would have been done. However, Mary could have missed living out God’s will in her own life if she’d obsessed about what the outcome would be of raising this God-baby.

In my own walk with the LORD, I’ve done far little work than I’ve been offered. I sin regularly by worrying about the future and questioning if I am truly capable to do the work God puts before me. In my heart, I know that the harvest is ready in my neighborhood. So many of these people need Jesus, but I am tempted to listen to my own thoughts instead of God’s truth. I want to run from opportunities, because I question whether I will be consistent enough, whether it will take away from my family too much, whether I am capable of sharing truth, whether I have what it takes to shine Jesus’ light in a dying world…

But today, what ministering in my community looks like might be smiling at a neighbor kid and asking how he’s doing. It might be walking my son to the park for the 100th time so that we can get to know the kids there better and make our presence known in the neighborhood. It might be praying for God’s wisdom and light to grow in us. It might be asking God to teach me through His word. I can do all those things!

“What if I fail this baby? What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I get sick and can’t care for Him? What if I die before He’s grown? What if this motherhood thing ends up to be more than I can handle? What if I lose my son before I’m ready? What if this mission breaks my heart?” These are all questions Mary could have asked, and are not unlike questions I have found myself asking. But Mary clearly didn’t fail. One day at a time, Mary raised her son the way she was asked by God. The rest is HISTORY and our salvation! I’m so thankful for humble Mary’s example.

One day at a time, I can wake up and choose to live within God’s will.

If I will follow His leading, I can trust that He will fill all my gaps and make His plans come to fruition.

March 2016 Update

February passed by like a flash for us! I know a lot of people struggle through February, and a I can generally relate, but we were so busy that it felt like a blur (by our standards…I know a lot of people are far busier!). The random warm days were so uplifting, and we soaked up as much sun as we could.

I took Josiah to the park to explore, throw rocks in the river, and play on the playground. While at the river, he randomly said, “Mom, you’re the best!” I’m pretty sure playing outside is that boy’s love language. It’s sort of mine, too <3

Josiah and Momma at the Park

Josiah Climbing

It’s nice to have pockets of energy to do fun things with him. Pregnancy has taken more out of me this time around. At the beginning of February, I felt like my iron levels must have been low, because I was even more weak and tired than before. However, I figured out that I wasn’t drinking enough water. Dehydration is no joke! I was already drinking “enough” for an average person, but I apparently need much more. Drinking a gallon of water a day is a lot of work, but my body responds really well when I do. So I have been feeling a lot better. My stomach is still not a fan of pregnancy, but at the seven month point, I’ve come to terms with that.

We also started another semester of our homeschool co-op. This is only my second semester teaching. I’m nervous a lot of the time, but I’m learning a lot. One of the things I’ve discovered is the power of enthusiasm. At least the preschoolers respond well to it. They are happy little campers most of the time, and they still mirror the excitement of their teachers. This semester, I get to teach their art class and assist in an elementary age art class. It’s so good for my soul! I get to share my love for creating and hopefully encourage students to embrace their own creative sides.

Preschool Art

This picture cracks me up! This is an accurate depiction of what it’s like to teach seven little boys, aged 3-5 years old. They are all in the picture, so it’s a win! Here they are modeling their “coats of many colors” 🙂

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that creativity isn’t limited to “periods/bells”. Josiah loves to make art and crafts, so we do that at all hours of the day. Through drawing, painting, cutting, and gluing, his mind is being stretched and grown. His handwriting has dramatically improved since the fall, and his fervor for learning has also increased.

Dustin and I have been having lots of heart to hearts about God and ministry, and we are striving to learn all we can in the hopes of some day being in ministry again. The focus of the last few years has been inward, and that has paid off. Our family has grown together in unity and stability. We feel ready to continue our growth in Christ beyond the walls of our house. If I’m being honest, these are some of the moments when my husband is most attractive to me. There are so many ways we are opposites, but our mutual love for the LORD is what brought us together, and it’s the reason we fall more in love each day. Bless.

I launched my art business at the beginning of February, and we are so pleased with how it’s gone so far. Even doing something you love is work, but it’s not the draining sort. I get tired, and I have to push through frustration just like any other job, but I always look forward to making more art. For so many years, I’ve questioned myself and my abilities, and the fears that sprung up always won. However, at the beginning of the year, I set out to make this part of me a priority, and it’s paid off. Yes, I’ve sold some jewelry, but what’s more thrilling is the joy it has brought into my heart and the energy it’s given me for everyday life.

March 2016 Goals

With just under two months to go until my due date, a lot of my energy is centered around preparing our family for our new addition <3

  • Continue to make time with God a top priority
  • Hang pictures throughout the house
  • Organize baby clothes (hand-me-downs are such a blessing!)
  • Soak up quality time with Dustin and Josiah
  • Increase jewelry inventory (I won’t have nearly as much time when this precious baby comes!)
  • Start planning our garden
  • Create a pegboard wall panel for the kitchen like this one I found on Pinterest:
Pegboard Wall

Blessings for the month to come! Thanks for reading!

February 2016 Update

Hi faithful readers! You guys keep me going for this blogging/making/inspiring dream I have. How have you been? Is 2016 treating you well? So far, so good in the Dummel household.

On January 1, I wrote about the year to come, including some goals/resolutions. Anyone else making plans or goals for this year? How is that going? As usual, I probably was too lofty in my goal-setting, but I haven’t fallen on my face completely. Quite frankly, I’m just too tired to do ALL of the things right now. That’s the fact, Jack. But I’m pretty happy with how this month turned out.

Because I’m reading so much for Bible study right now, I haven’t kept up on my other books, Desperate and Wuthering Heights. My study of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament has shed new light on my relationship with God, so I’m really okay with putting the other author’s on hold!

I did not do yoga 3 times per week. This is the one thing I really feel like I need to improve on. Tired or not, my body needs to stretch and strengthen. I love yoga and being fit, so I’m not sure why exercise gets the boot when I’m busy. I did exercise more in January than in previous months, but as this baby’s birth is quickly approaching, I have got to get in better shape!

I watched a lot less television this month. Yay! It really makes a difference in my attitude and level of productivity. I do turn on FRIENDS reruns when I need a little noise in the background.

After practicing spiritual disciplines far more consistently, the biggest accomplishment of the last month was making my artwork a weekly priority. If you’ve been on Facebook at all, I’m sorry-not-sorry for blowing up your feed with my most recent projects. My dad taught me to use his miter saw to make wood slices, and the rest is history. As my mom likes to joke, “I’m hooked. I’m hooked. My brain is cooked.” I’ve fallen hard for woodworking, and I can’t see myself going back! I love admiring God’s handiwork while adding my own unique touches.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive” – Howard Thurman

Dustin will attest that Bible study, prayer, and creating works of art are what make me come alive. He said he hasn’t seen me this on fire in years. I’m hustling harder after the things that matter to me than ever before…and it’s in a time that clearly doesn’t make sense. I don’t ever do things the easy way…

I’m more tired and sick than ever (because, pregnancy), but I’m pushing forward to make my passion a reality for the first time. I’m fighting hard against fear. I’ve wanted to give up so many times I’ve lost count…just in the last month. But each time, I ignored those voices that tell me to quit, and it’s starting to pay off. I opened my online store, and have made agreements with TWO local businesses who want to sell my jewelry! I honestly can’t believe it’s real some days!

So my goal for February is to keep hustling for the things that matter, my relationship with God, my roles as Wife and Momma, and my heart for artwork.

What will you hustle for this month?

When God Doesn’t Give You What You Want

A few nights ago, I got a taste of what God sees in us through an experience with Josiah. I love how being a parent widens my eyes that way.

He had a huge day and was really tired. I was preparing his bedtime routine when he started sassing me something fierce. For whatever reason (I’m guessing the Holy Spirit), I was able to respond in grace despite my own exhaustion. I knew he was tired, and in spite of his fervor for “a snack and a show”, I knew that what he needed was a bath and some sleep. I kindly told him he should not talk to Momma that way, and that it was time to get washed up and go to bed.

How many times does God hand us what’s best for us, and we start to sass him? I know I’ve pitched a fit over not getting what I want. The cool thing is, God is our parent and can handle our childish anger. He will kindly give us what He knows is best for us, even if we can’t see His purposes at the time.

I’ll never forget being on a road-trip with my parents when Dad ended up driving down the wrong highway. I don’t know if he missed an exit, or what. The details aren’t super clear anymore. What I do remember is discovering not too long after that a plane had crashed into the highway we were supposed to be on right when we’d have been driving through! Now, we can’t be sure, but it’s definitely possible that our road-trip got “off course” because God was protecting our family from a terrible accident.

When things like that happen, I take it as a reminder to not get upset when life doesn’t go as I think it should. Truth be told, we don’t know what’s around a corner. What we want may not align with what we actually need for a healthy, joy-filled life. Additionally, getting flustered over things we can’t control only makes matters worse.

Reading about the Israelites in the book of Numbers this week, I was reminded how ridiculous I can sound when I’m whining to God. I complain about the things He won’t give me as I sit in a heap of blessings everyday. Numbers recounts how He’d freed His people from captivity and provided their every need, and yet they whined because they wanted different food…

“…And the people of Israel also wept again and said, ‘Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at” (Numbers 11:5-6, ESV).

They were longing for the food they had in captivity! Isn’t that so like us? Because our circumstances aren’t exactly like we want them, we’d be willing to forgo God’s best for the sake of our own fleshly desires. It’s crazy when you really stop to think about it. I’m learning that I find the most joy in life when I thank God for what I have, and stop focusing on what I don’t. I hope you’ll feel encouraged to do the same.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28, ESV).

Cultivating Creativity: Wreck This Journal, By Keri Smith

At the end of 2016, I want to be able to look back and say I really lived this year. For me, that will mean three things…

  1. I worshipped God with my whole life.
  2. I was intentional about building relationships with the people I was given to love.
  3. I cultivated creativity and truly pursued my artistic passion.

I am not proud that it took me until I was 30 to figure out what was most important to me in life, but now that I have, I’m not looking back. I could rehash the last few decades and lament the time I wasted chasing after other things, but what good will that do my future? So far, that tendency has only left me depressed and unable to move one.

The struggle now is training myself to align my days, my thoughts, my energy with what I truly want to accomplish. My habits have to be re-calibrated so that I don’t slip back into my old ways of wasting time on trying to please other people or live up to some set of ideals I didn’t create for myself.

With that in mind, I am really excited about one of my Christmas gifts. Dustin’s brother and his wife are pretty awesome at picking out gifts, and this year they gave me Keri Smith’s Wreck This Journal. I’ve had this book saved in several places, because I found it intriguing and thought it would be a great gift. Turns out I was right. It was a great gift for me! And it came at the perfect time!

DSCN0882

What I love about this book is that it asks you to step out of your comfort zone and stretch your ideas about creativity. I think as we get older, we forget how to create with reckless abandon. We can find ourselves confined to a box of our own making.

Have you ever watched a kid scribble wildly? Why do they stop that? Because someone teaches them to color in the lines. But scribbling is amazing! Throwing paint on a canvas is a major stress reliever. Why am I so afraid to make a mess? This page was a reminder of how freeing it is to make a giant jumbled mess!

DSCN0886

And what about what other people think? Why do I spend so much time trying to avoid making a fool of myself? Pouring coffee on your journal in the middle of a coffee shop seems weird, but it was fun! It didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t leave a mess behind for anyone else to clean up. It was a reminder that it’s okay to have your own kind of fun, as long as you continue to respect the people around you.

DSCN0887

Needless to say, I’m loving all the silly ways this journal is stretching me. It’s the start of learning to truly cultivate creativity in each of my days. Thanks for the gift Devin and Leah! You’ve helped me start something beautiful!

If you want to cultivate creativity, why not pick up a copy of Wreck This Journal? Or maybe go to an art class or start a craft group? What ways can you stretch yourself this year? Please share, as I’m learning, too!

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