Friday, December 31, 2010

God Calling Us Into Ministry

A little over a year ago, God began speaking to David and I that I would leave my full time job. We felt He was calling me to stay home, to work on marketing David's music, work on the beginnings of our non-profit, and work on writing. I didn't understand how we would survive living on only one income. However, God made it very clear that He was leading us to do this and we knew that He would take care of us if we obeyed. I left my job in November of 2009.

Backing up a little...in the summer of 2009, we began taking steps to start our own non-profit, as we knew that God was leading us to raise support for what we do. We didn't quite understand how we would be a non-profit and we became discouraged when the first lawyer we contacted said it would cost between $5,000-35,000 to start a non-profit. However, we were thankfully led to Artist in Christian Testimony, an organization that allows artists to raise tax deductible donations.

We received a huge blessing just hours after I obeyed God and put in my 2 week notice at my job in October of 2009. It was an email from Artists in Christian Testimony accepting us to be our own non-profit through them. Our non-profit is called 'facing Goliath'. We use art, mostly music, to share God's love with others. We focus on loving those who are often forgotten, like the homeless.

In February of 2010 God spoke to both of us that He would have David leave his full time job of being a fire sprinkler in December of 2010 in order to do music and ministry full time. That was hard to believe God. How would we be able to support ourselves without David's income? We began sending support letters out in the summer and we were touched each time someone said they would support us and each time we received a donation.

Many times since February we both doubted what God said about David leaving his job in December. We cried out to God on a number of occasions to speak to us and confirm that this is what He wants us to do, or to warn us if this is not what He wants us to do. He encouraged us in so many ways, through His spirit speaking to us and through His Word. He confirmed several times to both of us that He wanted David to leave his job in December. It's amazing that God does not ignore His children when we cry out to Him for help and guidance.

David's last day of work was Tuesday December 27, 2010. We are celebrating this week as we are taking an even bigger leap of faith than when I left my job. We are trusting that God will provide and continue to guide us. We will begin the New Year in full time ministry, loving people through the arts and music.

Today as I was studying the bible I was inspired by these verses:

"Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Is there a limit to my power? Now, you will see whether or not my word comes true!'" ~Numbers 11:23

"Jesus called out to them, 'Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!' And they left their nets at once and went with Him." ~ Mark 1:17-18

These are good verses for David and I to remember as we have left our jobs and financial security to follow Him. We look forward to what God will do, as His power is unlimited.

May your New Year be one of following Him, and experiencing what His unlimited power can do in and through your life.

 


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Home for the Holidays

I was so happy that my sister, Robyn, from Vermont and her two kids were in town recently. She was here for my youngest sister's wedding reception. We also celebrated Thanksgiving with her while she was here (the Saturday before Thanksgiving). Robyn and I are only 11 months apart in age. When we were little and we were the same age for one month, I remember thinking that we were temporarily twins.


So, I wanted to post of blog of some recent pictures from Robyn's visit.




Sisters: Kelsy, Jessa, me, Robyn at Graham & Jessa's wedding reception.
This photo is taken by http://www.paddackphotography.com/

Grandma Delores, Jessa & Graham (the newlyweds)
This photo is taken by http://www.paddackphotography.com/

David, my Sweet Husband, played many of his songs during the reception.
This photo is taken by http://www.paddackphotography.com/

I love this picture of my nieces: Maya hugging Lia.

Lia, Ethan & Maya, posing for the camera.

Maya, Robyn's youngest, drawing a beautiful tulip.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Gap Story

I recently got a job at the Gap for their holiday stock help that was needed. My sister, Kelsy, who is a supervisor their called me a couple weeks ago and asked if I would want to work there for their busy season. David and I decided it would be the perfect part time job for me. So, I started this past week and loved it. I love working around cute and soft clothes. I have no idea why this is fun for me.

So, that is how I found out about the 50% off everything sale that Gap was having on Thursday night from midnight to 10AM. I decided we should go at midnight to avoid the early morning rush. I thought we'd get there at midnight and get some great deals, and be home by 1AM. I was looking forward to it and I didn't think it would be that busy. Who goes shopping at midnight? Well, we found out that lots of people do. And due to the crowd, we didn't make it home until about 3AM! It was an interesting, kinda funny, and slightly closterphobic experience. I found 3 clearance items that I loved, and waited in line for about an hour to purchase them. I've never seen a store so crowded before.

Speaking of shopping....this Saturday December 4th, I am selling Cookie Lee jewelry at a Craft Show in Omaha. This should be fun. There will be over 100 Crafters/Exhibitors selling all different types of things. Although I sell retail jewelry, my favorite at these craft shows are the homemade items. The last craft show I went to, I purchased a homemade knitted scrubber for doing dishes for only $1! It probably took the lady an hour to knit it, it's hard to believe she was selling it for only $1. Stop by my Cookie Lee booth and say 'hello' if you can make it to the craft show. Details are below.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Thankful Month

During this month of Thanksgiving, I am being reminded to be thankful. My husband and I were feeling a little stressed last month, but this is a new month and new and exciting things are happening. It is also a month of counting our blessings. Even though life is not perfect and we all experience hard things, there are always things to be thankful for. Here are some of mine....


1. Beautiful flowers given to me by my husband last week.

2. The bold beautiful colors of the leaves that are changing.

3. The time I spent with my husband yesterday, going on a walk in a cute neighborhood, with lots of adorable houses and pretty trees.

4. Looking forward to my sister Jessa's wedding reception on Saturday

5. Also looking forward to spending time with my sister Robyn and her children who will be here on Thursday!

6. Our house and many sweet memories here.

7. The squirrel that hid behind the tree from the big dog that we saw yesterday on our walk - I love squirrels.

8. Fashionable jewelry ~ I always have jewelry to wear since I am a Cookie Lee consultant. It's fun!

9. Bunny ~ our pet, he makes us laugh and he's so soft and cute.

10. Candy (I am eating chewy sprees as I write this)

11. The potluck after church yesterday

12. Friendships with women ~ women need "girl time".

13. Insights from this book I am reading "Strong Women, Soft Hearts", especially the chapter on 'Forgiveness'.

14. The smell of candles

15. Root beer floats

16. Playing hide and seek with children ~ We did this last Thursday as we watched David's neices.

17. New friendships ~ and old ones

18. Thinking of ways to brighten up someone's day

19. The amazing sunsets we have seen lately - wow!

20. Things God is teaching me at Heartland, through His Word, and His Holy Spirit.


Friday, October 29, 2010

An October Bloom

This newly bloomed bright red gerber daisy appeared recently in the potted mixture of flowers I had planted in the spring. The gerber daisies had died sometime in the summer when the temperature got hot. The potted mixtures had recently been mostly greens, a few petunias were there too. And here it is, the end of October and there is a new beautiful gerber daisy bloom. It was fun to see!

A suprise gerber!

Sometimes a blessing comes or a prayer is answered when we least expect it. Or, after we've given up on it. Or not necessarily given up, but given it to God completely and not try to control it. His plans are always best. We've had our house for sale for over 6 months now. At first, we wanted it to sell fast. Now we wonder if we'll still be living here next summer and we've even wondered if will ever sell. But we are enjoying our house more than ever now. Whether it sells or not, I have peace.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Obey God and Be Blessed

I have been studying bible verses about obeying God and receiving God's blessings. Here are some verses that inspire me...

"For the Lord is righteous, and He loves justice. Those who do what is right will see His face." - Psalm 11:7

"For God is with those who obey Him." - Psalm 14:5b

"No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right." - Psalm 84:11b

"We are witnesses of these things and so is the Holy Spirit, who is given by God to those who obey Him." Acts 5:32

"Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love Me. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. And I will reveal myself to each one of them." John 14:21

"If they listen and obey God, then they will be blessed with prosperity throughout their lives. All their years will be pleasant." Job 36:11

"This is what I told them: 'Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Only do as I say and all will be well.'" Jeremiah 7:23

"We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He is ready to hear those who worship Him and do His will". John 9:31

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Romans 5:19

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Shop Next Door

Before leaving Cedar Rapids on Friday, we stopped by The Shop Next Door, which is next door to Brewed Awakenings. We loved this place! There were so many beautiful creative things there.


It is a little shop with vintage clothing and all kinds of different fabulous creations from artists in the area. They have a meeting room, the little loft area, where people can go to study, journal, knit, or have some quiet time. They also host a variety of fun and creative classes. Oh, and they even have small concerts sometimes. The place is filled with art....of ALL kinds! If you like art, or wish you were more creative, I recommend checking out The Shop Next Door.


The Shop Next Door in Cedar Rapids, IA

I love the turquoise walls.

Vinyl record wall clocks.

The pottery section.

One of our favorite sections is wall hangings by a family of artists, (on the wall, to the right). Check out their artwork: http://thingswithwingsartjournal.blogspot.com


Art by "Things With Wings".

Brewed Awakenings

This was the coziest, warmest, friendliest coffee house I had ever been to. I only wish I would have taken more pics, but I think you need to be there to really experience this place. It was a very peaceful atmosphere and it was comforting there; I felt like I was at my best friend's house. I loved the comfy couches, the artwork, the adorable coasters, and the super friendly staff!


David played music at Brewed Awakenings in Cedar Rapids that night. It was the first show of our 3-show mini tour. What an awesome show to kick off our tour! It was a nice, relaxing, quiet, peaceful evening. David played many of his songs and ended the evening with "The Coffee Shop Dude", which starts out "down on 13th Street..." and the interesting thing is the coffee shop Brewed Awakenings is on the corner of 13th Street. (The song was inspired by 13th Street Coffee Co. in Omaha, NE).


David Paulsen plays music at Brewed Awakings in Cedar Rapids on September 30, 2010


We liked this old movie theatre seat in the corner.


The friendly staff: Brooke and Chris


Oh, and how could I forget to mention: their coffee rocks!

Isn't this picture adorable! :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Glory

We love this poster for David's show on Friday in Eau Claire, WI. When I saw the poster I thought "That is cool!". It reminded me a little of a painting I made a long time ago.


Poster designed by Brenna Signe

I went to my friend Christa's house last night to take a picture of the painting I made. I made it about 7 years ago. I went through a time when I painting several paintings that reminded me of God, or just things I was going through in life.


I remember painting it super fast. I used gold, white and umber red. Gold symbolized the power and majesty of God, white for purity, and umber symbolized the blood of Christ. I made the cross in the center, to symbolize Christ's love and forgiveness. For some reason I made an 'X' in the center of the cross. I remember liking that letter but I didn't know why, other than there is a tiny 'x' in the center of both of my hands.


I hadn't thought much about naming the painting until a friend of mine said it reminded her of glory, so I that is what I named it - "Glory". I was going through an awesome time in my life where I was falling in love with Jesus, at the time I painted it.


So, back to the show poster. It makes me think God wants to glorify Himself through David's life, oh, and Castles too.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Almost Missed A Blessing

My friend Rosemary called me up a couple Mondays ago and asked if I wanted to go to the zoo with her and her daughter, Isabel. I immediately responded, without really praying about it, "No, I am too busy, I have so much to do." But I started praying about it as I was still on the phone with her. I didn't want to miss a blessing from God. She has a zoo pass, so I was going to get in for free. I felt really stressed out that day and a trip to the zoo sounded really refreshing. I asked her if I could call her back in a few minutes because I wanted to talk to my husband about it.


He agreed that a break would be good for me. On Mondays I get easily stressed and try to do way more than I need to do. So, I called her back and said, "Yes, I would love to go to the zoo! Thanks for inviting me!".


She picked me up and we went to the zoo for about an hour and a half. It was so fun to see all the animals. My favorites were the butterflies, a mommy and baby tiger snuggling, a tiny mouse, and an arctic puffin. Right when we were about to leave it started sprinkling, and then it was raining hard by the time we were almost to the car. Perfect timing! What a fun time!


I have learned that one can easily miss a blessing from God. A good daily prayer is "Lord, help me not miss any blessings from you today!"


A ground squirrel (I think). It was running around. Wasn't too scared of people.

Isabel chasing the ground squirrel...he's on the rock (next level up). Can you see him?

A butterfly. I love the colors in this pic.

This was my favorite butterfly there. His body is chubby. He's adorable.

This was fascinating! Cocoons and hatching butterflies. A sign said most butterflies live for only 3 weeks!

A tiny mouse. This wasn't a zoo animal but we found him on the ground, playing with a bite sized snickers wrapper.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Zipper Story

This morning, I went to put my soft lavender hoodie on. It usually takes awhile to get the zipper to zip, but this morning it took an extra long time. I probably tried about 30 times to zip the zipper. Could have been 50 actually. A few times, I prayed a quick "God help me!" and I got frustrated my quick prayer did not work. I have many other hoodies I could have grabbed, but I really wanted to wear this one.


Then, after spending about 8 minutes and getting frustrated, I paused and prayed a prayer that worked wonders. I said, "Lord, please zip this hoodie for me, and just use me as a vessel." I tried to zip it and instantly and smoothly it zipped up with no problem. It was so cool! I thanked God so much.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sweet Luxuries

Sweet Luxuries is a small bakery owned by Heather Davis. She is a friend of a friend of mine. I spoke with her on the phone a couple of months ago. She had called me to ask me a question about PayPal since I used to work at PayPal. We had a super nice talk on the phone. This is when I found out about her bakery business.


She was inspiring to talk to. She helped me have greater faith in the things that God is calling us to do. She also said that I need to try her lemon bars and that she would be sending me some... all the way from Houston, Texas. I was so excited!


I received her lemon bars in the mail. She was so sweet and generous for sending them. When I received them, it was such a blessing! They were packaged beautifully with a sweet little note! And they taste so good! Sometimes I would pick one up to eat just half of it and then, I always had the urge to eat the other half. I brought some of them to a party and people there agreed that they were some of the best tasting lemon bars ever.


If you know someone who lives in or near Houston, please let them know about Heather's bakery. She specializes in lemon bars, pecan pralines, key lime pie, pound cake and chocolate chip cookies. And she can ship the goodies to you, even if you live out of state.


Check out her website here: http://mysweetluxury.com/


The box of lemon bars with a sweet note and brown ribbon. :)


The lemon bars come packaged like this so you can sprinkle the powdered sugar on them.

Heather's business card.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thank You Card

David designed a creative "Thank You" card to the People's City Mission in Lincoln. We recently played music for the guests there and we had so much fun.

Front of card.

Back of card (includes instructions).

Inside of card. Drawings of us fold up on page. :)

We have a new website for our non-profit, facing Goliath. To find out more about our non-profit, including pictures and stories see http://facinggoliath.org/. Thanks for reading my blog.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Power of God

God has been showing me that He can and will do more than I could ever ask or imagine.


God is calling my husband and I to do some things and when we take a step and do them, we are amazed at some of the things that God does to help us. We work hard. We take a few steps forward and God takes huge steps to show us He is carrying us most of the way. Again and again, we are continually amazed by the power of God.


"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us." - Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Fun Day With Melissa

My friend Melissa came to town from Texas last Friday. We have been friends since high school and we will be friends forever. My sister, Jessa, and I picked Melissa up from the airport. First we went out for lunch at a restaurant in downtown Omaha called Roja Mexican Grill. I ordered the kid's meal recommended by my sister because it's a large plate of food for only $4. It was a great deal! When I was a little over half way done with my soda, I picked it up to take a drink - the waitress put a new soda right in front of me and grabbed the one I had in my hand. I thought this was funny. I do not usually get refills because I rarely even finish one soda. So, they are totally on top of refills there.


Next we went to a boutique downtown called Nouvelle Eve. I like this store. Melissa and I were looking at some shirts on the same clothing rack. At almost the same time, she told me to look at this cute shirt and I also said, "Oh look, this shirt is so cute!". We look at the shirt each other is holding and it is the exact same shirt but different color. It was funny! We had Jessa take a picture.


Outside of Nouvelle Eve.

We went to my car and I had a parking ticket. Bummer! I guess we shopped too long, even though we didn't buy anything. I like going shopping to try stuff on when I don't have much money.


We stopped by Jessa's apartment in the Old Market. This time we made sure the meter was plugged long enough. I love Jessa's apartment. It has high ceilings and brick for some of the walls.



Jessa and Eva. Cute.

Melissa and I went to a few places to hang posters for David's next show in Omaha. The show is titled Songwriters at the Slowdown and it features 5 great songwriters. I am so excited for this show! Thanks Melissa for helping me hang these posters.


Then, we came home to take a little break before going to the mall. I received a package in the mail that day - Lemon Bars! I ordered them from Sweet Luxuries, a bakery in Texas. Heather, the one who bakes them is actually great friends with Melissa. So it was cool that they arrived and I was able to open the package while Melissa was at my house.

Millie the squirrel stopped by at our front door for her daily spanish peanuts. Melissa thought Millie was super cute! We are beginning to feed Millie less so that the new people who buy our house do not wonder why a squirrel shows up at their door step every day.


Ever since David saw the show Mister Rogers he wanted a stop light. So he found this one at an antique store, build a stand onto it and now it's our living room focal point. Melissa likes the stop light and we often take our picture by it.

So, we left. Melissa, David and I went to Subway and we will not tell you what happened unless you ask. It was one of the funniest experiences in my restaurant history. I laughed so hard that I was crying. Anyway, we drove Melissa to Lincoln so she could spend the rest of her vacation getaway weekend with her family. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Front Porch Vacation Getaway

We had to clean our house since we have it for sale. This front porch of ours had always been messy and cluttered. Scattered shoes on one end. David's work tools, shovels, brooms, and random yard stuff on the other end. And there was just a little walk space for people to get by.


David and I both love alone time. And since we live together in a 750 square foot house, it's hard to have space to ourselves. I am an introvert and some of my favorite times are things I do alone. I love to journal, knit, pray, read, make cards, watch animals, write to people, etc.


So, here is our favorite part about a clean house.... our front porch is finally clean and it looks cute! And it is a fun and relaxing place to go for both David and I to have peaceful alone times. It is our new vacation getaway.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Fascinating Skies

After a big storm a couple of weeks ago that produced high winds and heavy rains, we looked out the window of our front porch and there was a rainbow. My sister, Jessa, called and said she had never seen a rainbow look so beautiful. From where she was she saw it, the rainbow stretch from one side of the sky to the other. From our front porch, this is what we saw:

So we decided to drive to where she was and on the way saw some of the most fascinating skies:


By the time we got to Jessa's work, the sky was a lot darker and the rainbow dimmer so we didn't get a good picture of it. The skies were absolutely amazing though.