Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CHOOSE spoons . . .?

This is one of those blog posts that hurts to post. I hate admitting limitations. But I felt it needed to be said.

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/chronic-pain/2013/05/the-spoon-theory/

I do not have lupus. I have fibromyalgia. It isn't life threatening. I won't die from it. It has been known to completely go away in some people. If you see me you will never know I have it if I don't tell you. It has no visible symptoms. Most days I feel like a normal person, able to function, go to work, run errands, laugh, carry on with typical wife/mom/grammy duties.

Nevertheless, I still have to choose how to spend my spoons. For the days when I don't feel like a 'normal' person, like when it is really cold. Or there are thunderstorms. Or drastic changes in the temp. Or I've been really busy for a few days. Or there are added stressors in my life. Or when I get sick. Or sometimes for no apparent reason at all.

Everyone gets tired. Everyone has days when they just don't feel up to par. This is different. If you read the linked article you will better understand.

When you see me in public I will probably look like just another normal person. A bit over weight and out of shape, but pretty normal. There is so much more that you won't see. You won't see the muscle spasms. You probably won't see how I sometimes get confused and forget normal things, like planning dinner. You might not realize that I didn't sleep last night from the pain or muscle spasms, or just because I couldn't sleep.

And you won't see the guilt. The anger. The frustration and disappointment.  Those happen when I'm home, alone. On the days when I look at the clock and it is 2pm and all I've done is get out of bed, make coffee, and sit. And there are no clean towels. And the kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes. And I haven't had a shower. And I'm embarrassed and ashamed that I haven't done anything on my to-do list.

Or when my husband texts at 5pm to ask if I have a plan for dinner. And I don't. And worse, I didn't even realize I hadn't thought about dinner. He has long since quit asking WHAT my plan is for dinner.

And then there is the fear that plagues me so often. Fear that people will think I'm lazy. Or irresponsible. Or that I don't care about myself or my family or my friends. Or that my husband will finally have had enough and get really angry that there are no clean towels and the dishes aren't washed and dinner isn't planned.

After all, I was the mom who sewed and cooked from scratch and made birthday cakes and homemade apple pies. I was always involved. And even though none of the people in my life expect all that from me, I miss it. I want to be that hyper, energetic person I used to be. It happens occasionally, for a day or so. Then reality comes back around.

But you will never see my other reality. Because when you see me I'll be spending one of my spoons. Or several of them.

And I'm thankful.
Because I have more spoons now than I used to have. 
Because I can hold a microphone and sing in the worship team and sit through the worship service without nearly passing out from the painful spasms in my hands, arms, and legs.
Because I can spend time with my grandkids and enjoy it.
Because I can work.
Because I have a chiropractor who has helped me get off medication with awful side effects and learn to manage my symptoms much better.
Because I'm so, so much better than when I was first diagnosed.

And especially thankful because I have a wonderful husband who is so understanding, and asks IF I have a plan for dinner, not WHAT my plan is.

I still have a really hard time saying no. But I'm working on it. So today I'm CHOOSING how I will spend my spoons.

One spoon at a time.

Blessings,
Renea

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CHOOSE to listen . . .

"The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says. To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly changed."
Oswald Chambers
My Utmost For His Highest, Jan 16

Today I  will CHOOSE to LISTEN.

-to the still small voice that resides deep in my soul

-to turn off the noise in my head that calls me to go this way, then that way

-to really hear what is being said to me

-to wait for instruction before jumping ahead

-to listen carefully and discern meaning before speaking

-to listen to the truth I know, not the doubts that arise trying to defeat me

-to listen to the promises from my God who never breaks His covenants

-to listen to the eternal hope I have that cannot be shaken by circumstances of this temporary life

Today I will remember that I have the power to CHOOSE.

To choose what will play in my head.

To choose where my heart will rest.

I CHOOSE today to LISTEN to my Father who loves me.

One little word.

Choose.

Blessings,
Renea

Friday, January 31, 2014

Calendar Cover, Post #1

*You can order the kit for this calendar by emailing me at matildyjanedesigns@gmail.com.

This is post #1 on the calendar pages. There are no super secret special techniques in this entire project. But there are a few little tricks I used to create it and I'll share those as I go. The main trick is one I learned from the beautiful Heidi Swapp. You start with a store bought wall calendar as your base. She has a video of how she does that here:
http://www.mycraftchannel.com/Shows/Create-to-Remember-with-Heidi-Swapp/Heidi-Swapp-Calendar-Album/

I chose to bind mine with 3 clip rings, just because I'm challenged using theBind-It-All. I love that thing for smaller projects, but I couldn't get the punches lined up for this. So, here we go. This is my cover. (Apologies in advance for the poor pictures.) After I'm done using this as a calendar, this will be the cover page for my 2014 album. 
I stuck the polaroid photo mat behind one of the zig zag points.
There is a small trick here. The pink floral paper does not go all the way across the page. I had used it on another page and didn't have enough left so I improvised and just cut it so that the break in the paper would be hidden behind the text paper. 
Then just added some hearts for more cuteness. 

I will post the measurements for the pages in the order I made them, including these. For those of you who are OCD, I know this will drive you crazy. But I didn't do the pages in order, so they won't be posted in order. That way I can keep my measurements straight and won't end up with some odd piece of paper that doesn't fit when I get to the last month. Think of it as an exercise in patience. lol!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Choose JOY . . .

For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. Psalm 63:7

Today I am going to choose JOY.

Ever notice when you decide to make a conscious effort to be joyful life tends to go awry? Well, in case you haven't noticed, let me just warn you, going awry will probably happen. lol

For those who don't know, my husband, college daughter and I, all moved into our little RV home this past summer. For the most part, it has been a peaceful and even tranquil transition. Once I resolved to make the best of the situation and enjoy the perks, like a much smaller area to keep clean, (I don't even own a mop any more!), being able to sit outside in the mornings and have my devotional time looking at the water, and a host of other things, life really got much better.

Then winter happened. I know that may not be shocking to most people, but having lived in Mississippi for almost my whole life, winter is something that happens to the rest of the country, but not us. I mean, we have a really cold snap off and on, and occasionally it snows. But the next day it all melts, giving a concrete meaning to the term cold SNAP.

Unfortunately, like most of the eastern half of the country, winter in Mississippi has been a little weird this year. Frigid cold weather has rocked our southern world. And out little RV has rocked with it, with the wind, that is. So far we have invaded my parents' home now three different times. Christmas week we had an electrical circuit blow. On a Sunday. So we had no electricity. Then we forgot to leave the water running overnight during the first really cold front we had and woke up to no water. For three days. And last night at midnight we were gotten out of bed by a chirping sound that we finally identified as the LP gas monitor. We reset it twice to no avail. Then we got the manual out. The instructions were pretty severe. Turn off the gas, open all the windows, turn on all the exhaust fans, do not turn touch any light switches and exit the RV! So at 1:00 this morning we showed up at my parents' home to spend the night for the third time in a month.

As we were frantically trying to get dressed and grab what we had to have to leave the RV last night, visions of the RV exploding into flames and burning up were racing through my head. If there are two things I'm afraid of, fire and gas explosions would definitely be at the top of the list. I got a pretty sick feeling in my stomach just thinking about it. Then as we drove away, the thought occurred to me that even if that happened after we left, that the three of us would not be in it! And I thanked God that we were safe. I was reminded of a friend from my youth whose house just burned. Her beautiful spirit of gratefulness for God's protection over her family in the middle of the night has been an inspiration to me. Even in her mourning the loss of pictures, family heirlooms, those treasured things that we pour so much of our lives into, she is able to praise our Father for his loving arms that kept them safe and woke them up in time to get out of their burning home. And I was humbled. Again.

So today I am going to choose JOY.

JOY for an annoying chirping sound that alerted us to danger.

JOY for knowing that a heavenly Father is watching over my family even when we aren't thinking about Him.

JOY for the everyday mundane things that I take for granted, like electricity, running water, heat when it's cold.

JOY for parents who are willing to open their home to us time and time again, even at 1:00 in the morning!

JOY for life itself.

JOY.

Just one tiny little word.

Blessings,
Renea

Friday, January 10, 2014

CHOOSE to BREATHE . . .

Today I have decided to CHOOSE to BREATHE.

Simple, right? Sometimes we have those weeks where we run from morning until night, every day, all day, constantly moving. This has been one of those weeks. Actually, there seem to be a lot of those weeks in my life. I often find myself tired and frustrated by the end of the day and feeling like I have nothing to show for it. It seems there are always things on my 'to do' list not checked off that can't be ignored. And the list just keeps growing. And I get more frustrated. And I find myself taking deep breaths just to avoid the oncoming panic and anger and snappiness that I know is about to happen. Sometimes it helps. Sometimes it doesn't. And my family catches the brunt of it.

I know that when I don't take the time to focus my heart and keep my priorities and line, my day is already starting out on the wrong foot. Not being a morning person, this presents some challenges for the day's preparation. So, for today, for tomorrow, I am going to CHOOSE to remember to BREATHE. I am going to CHOOSE to remember that this, too, shall pass. And, honestly, when this crazy life I'm living right now changes, I will probably miss at least some of these things that are making me crazy. Not all of them, but some.

But for now, I can CHOOSE to embrace the craziness.

I can take joy in the good all around me.

I can accept that I can't do everything I think I need to do.

I can be thankful for the small moments of calm between storms.

I can marvel at how blessed I am.

I can remember that even in the chaos, my Father is still holding my hand and walking with me.

I can be imperfect.

And just remember to BREATHE.

One little word.

CHOOSE.

Blessings,
Renea

Saturday, January 4, 2014

One Little Word . . .

Choose.
Just one little word.
Something we do constantly.
Something we often let others or circumstances do for us.
I spent most of 2013 feeling like my life was being directed, my story being written, by forces out of my control. Our family went through some significant and painful changes in 2013. Looking back it seems I lived most of the year in survival mode, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
This year I want to CHOOSE more deliberately what controls me, Who dictates my choices, how I respond to circumstances. And let go, really let go, of those things that I have no control over.
This year I want to CHOOSE joy.
CHOOSE obedience.
CHOOSE consistency.
CHOOSE health.
CHOOSE trust.
CHOOSE faith.
CHOOSE to love like Jesus loves!
This year I want to CHOOSE abundant life, wholly committed, totally sold out, completely abandoned to Christ.
CHOOSE.
Just one little word.
One huge commitment.
Want to join me on this journey?
What word would you choose for 2014?
Blessings to you and happy new year!
Renea
P.S  If you are interested, there is a whole community of people participating in this adventure. Just google 'One Little Word' to find others.

Friday, January 3, 2014

CHOOSE Trust . . .

Today I am going to CHOOSE to trust.

CHOOSE to trust the bigger picture that I cannot see.
CHOOSE to trust the hand that guides me day by day, moment by moment.
CHOOSE to trust that He has not forsaken me when I'm afraid, feel lost, angry, confused.
CHOOSE to trust that His plan hasn't failed just because I've made mistakes.
CHOOSE to trust Him with the uncertainties of this life.
CHOOSE to trust that no matter how frustrating circumstances may be, or may become throughout the  
     day, week, year, that there is always hope for tomorrow.
CHOOSE to trust that even though I can't see past the human limitations, He is still in control of eternity.
CHOOSE to trust His heart of love for me. Always.

"One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question -- 
'What do you expect to do?' 
You do not know what you are going to do; 
the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing." 
Oswald Chambers: My Utmost for His Highest, January 2 

Uncertainty is frightening for us humans. I think we fear the unknown perhaps more than the known dangers around us. The 'what ifs' of life tend to make us apprehensive and stressed. They say that 90% of what we worry about never comes to pass. While that's probably true, for some of us, worrying may seem like an ineradicable disease that flows through our veins.While it is important, even necessary, to plan for the 'what ifs', we shouldn't allow them to consume our lives. Believing in a God who is bigger than our circumstances often takes more work than we want to commit to. It is an effort to see the God of scripture in His context, rather than our preconceived notions or what we have been led to believe by others or have come to on our own. To CHOOSE to trust an unseen God takes practice. Sometimes we must scream at the darkness around and stubbornly defy it's hold on us. 

If you are walking in darkness today, I challenge you to to just take a chance. I challenge you to believe for just a moment that there is a force bigger than your fear, stronger than your heartache, more loving than you've ever imagined. 

I challenge you to CHOOSE to trust in a God who holds all your tomorrows tenderly in His hands. You may not know what you are going to do. But you can CHOOSE to trust in your Father who knows what He is doing.

Blessings,
Renea

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tis the season...

Today is the first day of advent. The Christmas season has officially begun! Christmas music has already been playing in my van for a month. The Thanksgiving wreath is down. The pumpkins are ready to be put away. And the adventure of living in under 300 square feet has once again presented challenges.

I knew I wouldn't be able to put up a tree. But I hadn't really thought about where presents would go. I'm not really a last minute shopper. (Everything else I do is last minute.)  I tend to buy little things all year long for Christmas. We don't really do big, expensive gifts for Christmas. Everyone gets several gifts, most of them under $10.00. So there isn't that huge, memorable Christmas present each year. If you can imagine, between my brother's family and mine, 7-9 kids, plus a few spouses now, and usually a few grandchildren sprinkled in, plus 6-8 adults, all opening presents at the same time. There's always lots of wild chaos with tons of paper on the floor. It's awesome, crazy fun.

In our house I had a couple of places where I kept my stash. Since there isn't any room in the RV for it, I've found a few places to stick things. For now there are a few bags of random things in my van, a few in hubby's car, and a couple of items stashed in storage. Now the real challenge will be remembering where I hid things, which could prove to be interesting. I guess I'll wait until the last minute to wrap everything. Yay! Anyone want to come over December 24th and help? Lol

Blessings to you during this beautiful time of year. And let's all try to remember to keep the main thing the main thing. It's all about the greatest gift of all time. Jesus.

Renea

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

12 hour crop!

We have met the minimum to hold the crop this Saturday at Michaels, Flowood! Woohoo! I would still like to have a couple more croppers. If anyone is interested let me know!
9am-8:45pm, $10.00
Door prizes!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Downsizing sale . . .

Take a look at my Matildy Jane Designs Facebook page for lots of things I have for sale! Gotta clear out some product.