There are days when I sit in my home and think about all the luxuries I've been given. My home is my haven and I wouldn't change a part of it. There are also days where I sit in my home and feel stuck, as if the walls are bars holding me back and I want to break free. Surely everyone has those kinds of days? Where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and absolutely nothing makes you happy? I try to dwell on the positive. I have been given so many blessings from God and many of those blessings are "things". I'm not saying I couldn't live my life without them; I'm just so pleased that I have them.
I have studied and thought about various items in my home either storing them mentally for my favorite list, or I've tossed them aside telling myself they have little meaning to me. And then there have been some things that I desperately wanted to add to my list; it's so hard to narrow it down to 10 things. Why I chose ten, I have no idea, but I did.
These are the ten things in my life over the past several months that have brought great fulfillment to me.
My Jacuzzi Tub
For years I dreamed of this tub; I couldn't wait for it to be mine. Two years ago, we finally got it! Every time I allow myself a soak in the tub I am reminded of God's provision. I didn't need it, but still He gave it to me. Unfortunately, it has become one of those things I take for granted. It's always there whenever I desire, so I no longer dream of it. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times it's been used in the past 12 months. This is not to say it goes unappreciated. For the times it does get used, it's like a dream come true. I am reminded of how much my God loves me.
My big comfy couch
You wouldn't believe how many hours I have logged on this couch. It's so comfortable! I love to curl up under my soft green blanket with a good book and a hot cup of tea. It's perfection. If I'm having a bad day, my couch is where I will run to. There's something very soothing about laying my head down on the arm that puts everything back right. If I'm sick, I would prefer the couch over my bed any day. Having three children, I have taken many stolen naps on that couch. I am a sleeper, and you don't want to see me if I haven't gotten enough of it. God blessed me so many years ago when He bestowed those two green couches on my family. I am counting my blessings and this is one of them!
My Whirley Pop
Who wants to eat popcorn out of a microwaveable bag after you've eaten it from a Whirley Pop? Certainly, not me. It tastes so phenomenal when cooked properly on a stove. I practically live off of popcorn so this is a definite must on my list of favorites. You don't know how many lunches I've consumed that was popcorn. I like to spend so much time being crafty and reading that I rarely feel like cooking something for lunch. Popcorn is my solution! It's easy to snack on and won't keep you from doing what you love.
I don't remember how many Christmas' ago that I received my breadmaker as a gift, but I find now I can't imagine life without it. Homemade bread is so supreme. While we still buy bread in a bag, I love to indulge myself every once in awhile on a loaf of homemade bread. The breadmaker gets used most often to make pizza dough! It's a family tradition we began when Ariel was a baby. Friday night is pizza and movie night! If we have other plans, we change it to Saturday night instead. I believe it's been Zech's entire life that I've been making homemade pizza. Every Friday I diligently start the dough before I head to the kid's school to pick them up. After you've had homemade pizza dough, you can't go back. Frozen doesn't even begin to compare, and we all even prefer it to carry out. It's a sad day when the pizza dough is neglected! Every bite makes me happy to be alive. These are the things that God has divinely blessed me with!
Pizza dough in the breadmaker:
1 ½ cups Lukewarm Water
4 tbs. Oil
4 cups Flour
1 tsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast
Once the dough is ready, I use cornmeal instead of flour on the bottom of my pizza pan. You roll the dough out, let it rise for at least 30 minutes, then add your toppings. The pizza cooks at 425° for 25 minutes. (This is a double recipe, but that's how we like our dough.)
My Camelbak Water Bottle
Until I had this magical water bottle, I never drank enough water. Seems funny, but it's so true. I have always loved the taste, but I've never been able to drink as much as they tell you to. Once I bought my pretty purple cup, I almost always drink the required amount. There is something about carrying around your water bottle that helps remind you. The nice hook on the top makes it very convenient to hold too. If your kids are small enough for an umbrella stroller, it hooks perfectly on the handle. I love my cup! Sadly it doesn't get washed as often as it should. I'm always using it and I hate to part with it. I need to purchase myself a new one to use as backup!
My Sewing Machine
Where would I be without this one? Let's just say I would have a lot more free time on my hands if I didn't have my own sewing machine. This one is very new to me. It's only been in my possession for a year now. Before, I always traveled to my mom's to borrow her machine. I have no idea what took me so long! I should have gotten myself one years ago. I am always using it. I get frustrated to no end on some of my projects but that's not to say that I'm not in heaven being frustrated. God blessed me with a creative mind and when it's not being put to good use part of me is missing.
I don't think I could go on living very long without this one. Just kidding. I do love it so. All of my life I have been taking pictures. From the time I turned 8 years old and bought my first 110 camera. I've had the desire in me to capture moments in time. I experience life so clearly through the lens of a camera. I have thousands of pictures and they all are very dear to me. I believe God gave me a great blessing when He lavished His love on me through the gift of my cameras.
My Fuzzy Pink Bathrobe
My husband would call me a liar if I didn't include this one. I wake up every morning and first thing put on my slippers that match my fuzzy pink bathrobe. I might be embarrassed to admit it, but I'm in love with this robe. There are many mornings that I voice my love. It's so comfortable!! My husband bought me the biggest fluffiest one he could find. I am often found complaining that I don't want to take it off. And sometimes... I don't. I may still get dressed for the day, but my fluffy bathrobe gets put back on top. I love to curl up on the couch in it, sit at the computer wearing it, and I hate to launder it. I can't stand not having it with me. It's my grown-up security blanket. God did a wonderful thing when He gave me my husband. He showers me with blessings and gifts that I can't turn away.
My Heated Blanket
This is the one that started it all. Every single night my husband has to hear me say, "I LOVE this blanket!!" A huge sigh leaves my lips. Pure satisfaction. I can remember life without it, and it was a cold dark place. I remember shivering in my blankets, my toes frozen each night. But no more. God brought me heat!
I coveted the blanket for a long time before I finally called it mine. I would see it in the store, but couldn't afford to bring it home. Then one day, in January of last year, a blizzard was headed our way.
I called my husband on the phone and did my usual whine.
"Do you think I should buy the blanket?"
"No. Do you think we really have the money for it?"
"Yes. Get the blanket."
"It's just too expensive. I don't think I can get it."
"I said YES."
"Maybe later. I just don't think we can afford to buy it."
I walked away very dejected and sorrowful. I needed to pick up a prescription and headed to the pharmacy. $40 for some medicine, pitiful, I cried. Who really needs it anyways?
I handed my debit card over to pay, and she gave it back to me. "Your insurance covered it. You don't owe anything."
"Really? I always pay. You better check again. I don't want to get a bill later for it."
"It's covered. Your insurance must have changed."
I almost argued with her back that it's the same, but finally walked away. She didn't want my money. I was free to go. When it finally hit me, I ran back to the electric blankets. This time it wasn't going to get away from me. I was buying the blanket.
That night it snowed. The kids didn't have school the next day because of the blizzard, and I was warm in my bed. God is good!
It may sound so simple to you, but it was so big to me. That blanket has symbolized God's love to me night after night. I never am cold; I'm always warm.
I couldn't fit all this in just one picture to my satisfaction so I broke it up into two. The first thing I love is my notebooks. They are filled with knowledge of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday and Wednesday night I take notes on the sermons. I've looked back over the past several years and tried to decide where the biggest change in me happened and why. I believe one of the most important things is taking notes.
How can we ever expect to remember it all? If you plan to go to the grocery store, you make a list. You don't want to forget anything that's important, right? Our lives are so much more important than a trip to the store. When you hear something good, WRITE IT DOWN; I guarantee you won't remember later.
I have a notebook that's on the bottom of this stack from 11 years ago. Only the first few pages are filled in and then it stops. It's very symbolic to me because my life went through some pretty hard times there and I don't believe I depended on God like I should have. My notes stopped because I didn't care.
The notes don't start again until 2005. When I think on a deeper level, that's probably when I made a real commitment to change. I wanted to do whatever it took. It was suggested to me by someone I cared about that I should be taking notes. As soon as I brought my pen and paper, the messages came alive to me. I found that I listened so much better and I was able to apply it more.
It's one thing to hear it, but when you are writing it, the truth gets in you. You also have something to fall back on when you do forget. Because you will. If I didn't take notes, my mind would wander. What's the whole point in putting yourself in the situation? To be entertained for 30 minutes, or to be changed?
I strongly suggest, if you're not a note taker, go out and buy a pretty notebook. (I always am tempted to use it more if it's pretty) Get some highlighter pens, and use the book. You may not be able to get everything written down, (I've had kids and other distractions) but write down what you can. My notebooks are very precious to me. They symbolize my commitment. I'm not going to just sit by and let life happen to me; I'm going to be active and show where my heart is.
I shared with you at the beginning of the month about my commitment to read the Bible through in one year. I am proud to say that two months are gone and I'm still going strong. God has become more real to me than ever before. I always said I loved Him, but I never really showed Him that I did. I'm an active participant now. I'm not going to just sit back and say, "God, I wish you were there to help me." I'm going to get the help I need, when I need it. The Bible is alive! I have fallen in love with it. I don't say that lightly either. I really am starting to feel the heart of God, and know what He wants from me.
My faith has been tested, and I'm growing. I refuse to stay the same. I am a new creation!
"So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun." 2 Corinthians 5:16-17