TTC Tuesday

I Am Weak, But He Is Strong

Dear Friends,

I confess – it’s been way too long since we poured our hearts, convictions and faith out to you via this blog. I have felt guilty –‘wake me up in the middle of the night’ guilty…because I know that the Lord wants to use me, my marriage, my hardships, my faith, as a vessel for leading others to Him. But…it’s hard, y’all. It’s really hard.

You all know we followed His call to Maine this past summer – almost a year ago! But you may not know that we are back in Georgia. After nine months of sharing His love with the precious youth of Southern Maine, God planted the desire for ‘home’…and with that, the desire to adopt a child…and with that, the necessary funds to make all of this happen with a promotion to Captain for Craig and a great job for me.

So, here we are, back in Georgia – ‘home’, and totally neglecting this blog and this ‘ministry’ – after we have been so immensely blessed. And I feel so guilty.

And while you may think this is a shrug your shoulders, no big deal, get a grip lady! kinda thing…it really isn’t. You don’t know the e-mails we receive, telling us how something has touched one of our readers; the requests for prayer from some who follow this blog from prison…Yes, I feel guilty for letting these people down when I am so unimaginably blessed, and so many are broken.

But I confess something to you…I try to be strong. Full of faith. Hopeful. Prayerfully diligent. But I fall so hard.

There are at least two days every week when I sob and ugly cry alone because ‘it just isn’t fair’ that I can’t give my sweet husband a child.

It just ‘isn’t fair’ that instead of going out for lunch with my co-workers, I head downstairs to the building’s gym to work-out during my hour-long break. I don’t eat gluten, carbs, sugar, anything fun. I drink apple cider vinegar with baking soda, and take a regimen of coconut oil, but no matter what, my blood sugar refuses to cooperate, my hormones will not level out and I can’t shed a pound, let alone maintain my weight.

I’ve felt like Job.

I’ve felt like David in a mournful Psalm.

I try so hard to be strong, but I’m not.

Thankfully, He is.

Lamentations 3:19-24 (Contemporary English Version) says this:

‘Just thinking of my troubles
and my lonely wandering
makes me miserable.
That’s all I ever think about,
and I am depressed.
Then I remember something
that fills me with hope.
The Lord’s kindness never fails!
If he had not been merciful,
we would have been destroyed.
The Lord can always be trusted
to show mercy each morning.
Deep in my heart I say,
“The Lord is all I need;
I can depend on him!”’

Peter tells us this truth about our Savior:

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Because friends, we are all human. We all cry and feel helpless and worry. But that isn’t the life the Lord wants for us. We are blessed in that our Lord tells us to hand everything over to Him, and just keep moving forward.

When I start to worry that Jonah will never arrive, that the adoption process will never move along, that I will never be able to have a body that functions like “it should”… I remember that He’s got this.

I remind myself that:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.” Philippians 3:8-9a (NLT)

And when I lay aside everything else, and focus in on Him and His AWESOMENESS, my troubles melt away and nothing else matters but basking in that love and sharing it with other people.

As my “Jesus Today” devotional reminded me this morning:

“The world applauds self-sufficiency…However, this is not the way of My kingdom. I want My children to recognize and rejoice in their utter dependence on Me…When the strain of living in the fallen world is getting you down, resist the temptation to feel sorry for yourself. Instead say to yourself, ‘I am blessed and thankful – and on my way to His Glory!’”

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

You Won’t Need The Receipt

ThursdayHow our world changes in three weeks! At Thanksgiving, as Craig and I celebrated together at the Cape Neddick Inn, we were only praying this week would hurry up and get here. Now, as I sit in our living room, surrounded by boxes, I can almost breathe a sigh of relief.

Tomorrow is the day. We close on our new home in Maine! Finally, we will be able to settle down and nest into the first home we have chosen together, and other than the inordinate packing before my eyes, I can see a bright future ahead! We are so excited!

Here’s a sneak peek:

OurNewHomeSo, since I already know what Craig and I got each other for Christmas – our new house, I began thinking about other gifts my husband has given me in the past…

christmasgifts13

Anyone who knew me pre-Craig can attest to the fact that my car was always…well…crowded. In high school, I drove a Jeep Grand Cherokee and at one point, my parents were looking at selling it. A friend of mine remarked on this and said, “Does it come fully loaded?”… and he wasn’t talking about luxury options. He was talking about my STUFF.

Back in the pre-Craig era, I am fairly confident I could have driven into the desert and survived for several weeks just with the junk I was carrying around in my car. Not trash, mind you…but clothes, shoes, CD’s, books, bags, purses…You name it, my car had it!

But, when Craig and I started dating, he took one look at my ‘fully loaded’ car and shook his head. I think the name Lefebvre must translate roughly to “My Car Must Be Sparkling At All Times”. Before I could stop him, Craig set to work cleaning my vehicle – from the inside out. After a few hours of scrubbing and polishing and the filling of several garbage bags, my car looked brand-new. Long gone were the signs of the outfit I wore the month before or the stain where a friend had spilled a Coke along the ride…It looked like a different Pier-mobile…

And that’s what Jesus does for us.

Since He died on the cross, to save us from all of our sins, He became a living sacrifice for the the world. When you allow Him into your heart and let Him be Lord of your life, He will take all the junk, all of your baggage and throw it out. All the stains from your past will be cleaned. No one will ever know they were there. You will be a brand-new, sparkly clean person, inside and out.

Clean.BlogIsn’t that amazingly freeing? The other day, I was watching a sermon given by one of my FAVORITE pastors, Robert Morris at Gateway Church, and he told a story about being at the end of a service one evening, and the Holy Spirit pointed out to him a woman sitting in one of the first few rows. The Holy Spirit said to him, “Do you know that woman’s past?”, to which Robert replied, “No, I don’t”…

And the Holy Spirit said to him, “Neither do I.

Wow. How awesome is it that we not only serve a God who forgives us, but a God that blots out our stains, our past. He throws out our baggage and it’s gone. For good.

I don’t know about you, but when I truly realized that He loves us that much, it felt like I was walking on air. All of my junk is GONE. I am a new person, a new creation in Christ.

So let the Lord give you the most beautiful gift imaginable this year: His Son. Trust me, you won’t need to keep the receipt.

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Let’s Be Honest…

Thursday

Let’s be honest here.

Living a Christ-centered life isn’t easy.

I promise you that if I had my way things would look a lot different in my life. I probably would have said “FORGET THIS!” whole thing about waiting on God and His timing for a child a long while ago, and taken matters into my own hands. I probably would have chosen the big, fancy house we were looking at in Georgia, instead of the teensy, third-floor apartment 1,200+ miles away from either of our families. I probably would have chosen to continue working in a WELL-PAYING job so we could buy our groceries at Whole Foods and our clothes from Nordstrom, instead of at Wal-Mart and GoodWill.

But…God tells us to live otherwise. He calls us to live in Faith.

Get out your Bible this instant and read with me Hebrews 11. {God, specifically, just said to me-just now, “Look at verse 11:11.” If your know our Jonah story, you know that 11:11 is significant for Craig and I. If you don’t know our story, watch and listen here. Read verse 11:11 – Oh my goodness, right??? Goosebumps. Make that Godbumps. }

Thank you, Jesus.

But back to Hebrews 11. This entire chapter is subtitled “Faith In Action”, and that is how we, as Christians, are called to live our lives. “Faith In Action” should be your subtitle!

Hebrews 11 

Faith In Action

11 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

This is just the first verse, but already we can see how to live the life to which Christ calls us: by faith. You see, it is faith that tells me God is in control and that Craig and I will be parents. That God doesn’t need our help for that to happen. It is faith that reminds me, as I sometimes sit and think wistfully of our family and friends so far away, that we were called here for a purpose. It is faith that assures me that even though we aren’t able to live a lifestyle rich in things of this world, we DO have a life RICH in Jesus.

Let’s be honest. This Christian life isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t pleasant. Sometimes it doesn’t go the way we want.  But remembering our life is not our own, helps to put things in perspective. Remind yourself each day – Not my own will, Father, but YOURS, be done.

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TTC Tuesday

Pack!

Tuesday

When we listed our home for sale on the morning of March 28th, it was with excitement and a sense of the unknown. We knew we wanted to move into a new home, but we weren’t sure where…or when…or what it would be like; we just knew that we were not living in “our” home. But besides the feeling we were living somewhere that wasn’t ‘the place for us’, there were no onlookers to our home, not many bites, no phone calls of interest….and frustration set in.

Not too much later – some time in April, Craig came to me and said, “God is asking us to pack.”

But, sadly, we didn’t listen. Each weekend there was a different excuse:

“I’m tired.”

“We’re too busy.”

“Where will the boxes go?”

“What will we eat off of if we pack up all the plates?”

…so we never really packed…

Until, one day, we truly decided to delve into making Maine our new home. We had chosen that I would take my Post-Baccalaureate pre-requisite courses through the University of New England – in Maine, and Craig would be flying out of Portland…On a whim, I sent out applications for several positions in the Portland area…and like a rocket got some responses…Then an interview…and then, I felt a still, small voice whisper that I needed to be looking in the local church bulletins, not on Craigslist.

And so I did… and lo’ and behold the first bulletin I found was for “Cluster 22” which included 3 parishes and a parochial school just outside of Portland…and they were looking for a Youth Minister…and contemporary musical talent.

Thank you, Lord, for your bluntness.

I need that. 

I e-mailed the contact person…and she e-mailed back…and we scheduled an interview…

And before I knew it, I was standing in the narthex of St. Bartholomew’s in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, after just having seen what would be my office, and discussing Athens, Georgia – the common birthplace of both me and my interviewer!

The flight I non-revved home that evening was supposed to be full – as in no way, no how was I going to make that flight. And before I knew it, OVERSOLD turned into 7 available seats…and my name was miraculously at the top of the list.

I returned home excited. We talked things over. We prayed. I got a job offer from St. Bartholomew’s to become their Youth Minister. And then a phone call for a ‘shadow’ with the other position I had interviewed for.

I turned in my notice at work, and we began making plans to move. Packing.

And later that week, I received a phone call from a real estate agent. For some reason, she had chosen my number from the three listed – our realtor (my Dad), Craig and me – but I was at work and able to talk which is very unusual – and also in an extremely ‘tell it like it is’ mood.

She asked if she and her clients could view our home that morning. Craig just ‘happened’ to be home, and was able to spot-shine the house and take the dogs to the park – so that worked out perfectly. But before I let the agent get off the phone, I told her, “Please tell your clients, if they like our home, to make an offer. We are very motivated. We are moving to Maine, and we are ready to sell and move forward. Make an offer, ANY OFFER! Oh, and by the way, we have upped our commission to 4% for the buyers’ agent – just wanted to make sure you had seen that in the listing.”

And that evening, we received a phone call. Not only had we received an offer on our house. We received a full-price offer with (only) a 3% commission – not even taking the 4% we had offered!!!!

And today, when Craig was waiting for the inspector to show up the couple who have our home under contract made it a point to let him know, and to share with me, that our home was the answer to their prayers. They feel led by the Lord to our home!!

Whoa….

When we submit to His Will…the things that can occur are nothing short of miraculous!

The moral of the story is: “When He tells you to pack, don’t wait one single second. PACK NOW!”

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Uncategorized

A Shortie But Goodie…

I hope this post finds all of you returning from wonderful Thanksgivings! As said before, it was no fun being apart on our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, but we are lucky enough to have amazing family and friends who helped make it a very special holiday!

Pier with her parents and brother. Thanksgiving 2012

Our dear friend, Jill, traveled to Green Bay, WI for the holiday to visit her sister’s family….and she was kind enough to ask my sweet husband if he wanted to share Turkey Day with them! Craig was actually able to be on the road, and at the same time able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal that truly embraced the entire meaning of the day itself: Family, Friends, Thankfulness, Generosity, & Delicious Food. 🙂 Thank you so much to Jill & her amazing family!

Well, I’m heading home from work to see my husband now! (See, I told you this one would be short and sweet!)

Y’all have a great night!

Love,

Pier & Craig

 

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Bedroom or Room With a Bed??

Master Bedroom
Master Bedroom
Night Stand
Walnut Night Stand

The time has come for the much-anticipated post! Now I am not sure if everyone is more excited about the content or about who the author of the post is. I am guessing that more people are in shock. I will admit that this is my very first ever blog post and I would not want it to be anywhere else but on this blog right here! The last month and some days have been absolutely (there it is, my favorite word in the dictionary since it is the response I got on March 28th, 2012 when I asked Pier to marry me) the best days of my life. There have been some changes going on around the house that have been shared on the blog and today we want to share how our master bedroom is coming along.  Now Pier warned me not to get too technical as she knows the followers of the blog and said that not many would know the difference between a half blind dovetail joint and a mortise and tenon joint so I am going to keep it simple and let most of the talking be done with the pictures. The bed and the

Dentil Moulding
Pier’s dentil moulding design come true and my hand cut dovetails are only a few of the unique craftsmenship in this piece. This would be the half blind dovetail.

night stands are the highlights of this post. The bed was just recently acquired and since it was a queen size it allowed us to put on the new duvet, pillows and the fancy toile bedskirt which are all perfect and we both agree that we feel like we actually have a REAL bedroom rather than a room with a bed. Also on the sides of the bed are the newly built night stands that we both designed and I built. They took forever it felt in my head so I know that it seemed like an eternity to my lovely wife but she was very patient through it all including the 3 coats of the final top coat which I am sure to her felt like 400 coats! The truth is I was just as excited as her and I could not wait to get them in the room as well. I like how we have collaborated much of US into the room. The hand painted picture by Pier that hangs above our heads. The night stands that we both designed with the lamps and night stands being built by myself. There is still more to come which we will show when they arrive. I can say that the refinished antique dresser is in the final stages of completion and may be put into its new place tonight and also some creative homemade drapes are in the making and should be up in the very near future. Have a good night everyone!

~ Craig and Pier

Bed and night stands
Complete with the monogrammed “L” on the pillow
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Nesting Into Autumn

After nagging asking Craig to shop for Autumn/Halloween decorations with me for a few weeks, we planned to meet at Michael’s last night and then go out to dinner after I finished at the office. I got to Michael’s around 6:15pm and waited and waited and waited and waited… My sweet husband had stopped on the way to help 3 elderly women load an entertainment center and tv into a truck. He then made a scheduled stop at AutoZone to replace the battery in my car (in which he had already changed the oil that afternoon)… So, there was no way I could complain about shopping alone…BUT I was a little bit sad we weren’t able to shop together 😦 Don’t worry, Craig, there’s always CHRISTMAS! 🙂

Anyway, once we finally were able to get together, we had a great evening – culminating in my decorating and Craig’s replacing my car battery and changing our door locks. Yep, we are an old married couple now! 🙂

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Our Transitional Fireplace Decorations, which I plan to keep up through Thanksgiving with a few additions.

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Note the “L” Pumpkin, Made by Me: Martha Stew… Pier 🙂

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Front Porch, with Halloween Wreath & Raven Display (Again, I made both!)

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Raven Display – You’ll have to ask Craig about his first encounter with the Raven. Let’s just say I had it on the kitchen table while I was making the wreath and he saw it and since he hadn’t been with me when I was shopping… LOL

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Zombie Cameo Halloween Wreath  – I am in love with this ribbon!

Well, that’s it so far! Craig was sweet enough to take pictures for me this afternoon so I could go ahead and do the post during some (unheard of) downtime at work.

Love Y’all!

P & C

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Our New Ottoman Arrives Today!

Our New Ottoman Arrives Today!

The next to last piece of our living room furniture – our burlap ottoman – will be here this afternoon! Yay! We have really transformed the house into OUR home, and with each little step it feels more and more like a home and speaks to both of our personalities.

First the ottoman, then our new sectional will arrive at the end of October, and finally, we can complete our bedroom – Would anyone like to help us find greyish barnwood to create a headboard??? 🙂

P&C