Wednesday, April 4, 2018

For Those Who Are Waiting

       Many times I  have  been  discouraged and  disappointed, questioning God as I wait on him  to answer my prayers.  But I am learning  to view these pauses in life with a new perspective that has helped me not only endure them, but maybe even have some peace and joy through them.  Here are some of the lessons I have learned while waiting for God to answer my prayers.  My hope is that they will encourage you as you wait too.



1. God is with me in the pauses.
       King David was around ten years old when he was anointed the next King of Israel. But he spent the next 15 years in some pretty lonely and long pauses. He went back to shepherding sheep, not a palace. He later killed a giant, played music for King Saul, and then ran for his life from that same king. He had desperate times hiding in caves with his family and a crew of rebels while trying to faithfully serve God. I'm sure he questioned God as he wondered if he would ever be king.  Fifteen years is a long time to wait, especially when you know it is the Lord's will.

       But God was with David even when he didn't understand what was going on. These long years of waiting were essential for the next phase of his life – the responsibility of governing a nation. God was maturing David even though at times it must have felt like God had forgotten him.



2.   Pauses are part of the plan.
       Just think what would have happened if David had tried to take the throne on his own. He probably would have been killed or if he had survived, would not have been ready to reign and the nation would have suffered. In his case and sometimes ours, the waiting times are for our own welfare.  They are part of God's plan.


"Pauses are places meant to strengthen our resolve,
not weaken our faith." - Wendy Pope

        These times of waiting are actually more important than reaching our goal. How we act while waiting, what we learn, what it produces in us and the process of becoming like Christ is the true goal.    James writes that if we let “endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, we will be perfect and completely developed in our faith, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4 AMP)

       David knew what was prophesied for his future - he would be king of Israel. We don't know what is ahead for us and what today's pauses might be preparing us for. 



3.    Misconceptions during the pauses.

       Our mind can be our biggest enemy during times of waiting. We might  wrongly be  telling ourself that God didn't hear our prayer or we must not be praying enough. Maybe you are thinking you just don't have enough faith or maybe what you want is not God's will for your life. Don't view the waiting time as punishment, God withholding his love, or that he is not hearing your prayers.


       I sometimes berate myself because I feel like I should be able to trust God at this point in my life. But then I realized that faith is also a muscle that needs exercising. When I workout my body gets stronger. I don't expect it to stay that way if I only workout for two weeks and then stop. Eventually my body gets weak again and so does our faith muscle. It gets stretched and strengthened each time I need to trust God in whatever trial I am facing. I stopped getting down on myself for having a weak faith muscle and started realizing God was trying to help me strengthen it.



4.   We live in the pauses.

       James also writes that we are to count it all joy when we face trials (James 1:2) and honestly when we are going through them that is the last thing we want to hear. But when you stop and think about your life, a lot of it has been spent waiting - and waiting is a trial! Waiting to finish school, waiting to get married, waiting for the right job or a promotion, waiting to get pregnant, get your first house, receive a healing, or see a prodigal child come home. Even after we finish one waiting period, a new one starts. A new goal, dream, or trial faces you. So much of life is spent waiting, it truly is our life.


     Just because you're waiting doesn't mean you're not exactly 
               where you are suppose to be.


       The birds that I feed wait on the hook of my feeder when it is empty.  They have no way of understanding who I am, or why there is no food.  They just know that if they wait, the seed will eventually be there. 

       We are like that little bird.  We cannot understand God's ways or his timing any more than that bird can comprehend why he has to wait.  Why there is no food.  Yet, God says he cares for each little sparrow (Luke 12:6) How much more does he care for us?  The pauses are just part of life.  

5. God is waiting too.

      We forget that God waits too, longing to answer our prayers and meet our needs. Isaiah 30:18 (AMP) says
 . . .  for the Lord waits [expectantly] and longs to be gracious to you, . . . He waits on high to have compassion on you.  Blessed [happy] are all those who long for Him [since He will never fail them].  
       I think God waits to give to us just like a parent waits to give their child a birthday present.  The day is coming when the gift will be given, but sometimes it is only the parent who understands the concept of time and when that day will be.    Both wait in expectation and confidence because they know and love each other.  

       We are the child who doesn't understand time nor see the big eternal picture.  God just wants us to wait believing  that he truly is a loving Father whether we receive our desire or not.




       The next time the enemy whispers in your ear discouraging words, remember that God has not abandoned you, his pauses are part of the plan, and you are becoming spiritually stronger every day.

         And if peace is still hard to find, maybe these wise words from Elisabeth Elliot will encourage you as they did me.


           “…the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by his                 letting us have our way in the end, but by his
making us wait,
           bearing with us in love and patience until we are able
           to honestly pray what he taught his disciples to pray:
Thy will be done.





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Friday, March 2, 2018

Master Bathroom Remodel

        If I could have a do-over, it would be to have remodeled this master bathroom years ago.  This bathroom is not in our farm house, but in our city house we just put on the market.  I love how it turned out and wanted to share it with you.  Why do we always wait to fix things up until we're ready to move out?

       Here are some pictures of the original bathroom so you'll really appreciate the change.


       


        The walls were a sage green and the ceiling a dark green which I never liked.
  



And now the new beautiful master bathroom...


       Green walls are now a light gray with a white ceiling.  Cabinets are a darker gray with black hardware and a quartz countertop.




A new bathtub with a wooden ledge to hold candles or a picture and. . .

a new shower with pretty tiled floor.


And a new barn door for a sound barrier between the bedroom and bathroom.


      Find your inspiration photos and start working on your project.   Don't wait until you're ready to move out to have the home you love.  Make it the best you can afford now.   You'll be glad you did.  

Here are the inspiration photos I used for our bathroom.



    

Monday, January 29, 2018

Guest Room

         Our guest room  is all set up and ready for visitors.

       We were able to keep the original hardwoods on the second floor. They look wonderful after some sanding and staining.  The brass bed was a gift from a friend who was moving away and  the rug is from Home Goods. 


         I made the two back bed pillows and the bed skirt.  The white bed quilt and shams are from Target.  The afghan is a homemade gift from my sister. I call it my Shocker afghan since it is Wichita State University colors.



         The dresser was a gift from my in-laws when we first got married.  They originally got it from Goodwill many years ago, so I know it is an antique.  I painted it yellow with Annie Sloan paint and it looks lovely in this gray, yellow and white bedroom.




       A second closet was added on the left side of the window to match the one on the right creating a cute space just waiting for a relaxing chair to be put there.


         My writing and sewing desk when the room is available.  This desk was also painted with Annie Sloan paint.
        A relaxing bedroom just waiting for company. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Simple Tip to Help You Reach Your New Year's Resolution



       If you've set goals or resolutions for the year ahead or don't even think about doing this because you have always failed, try this approach instead.

 Set a new habit.

       Yes, set a goal, but keep it in the back of your mind. Instead think about the first step you need to take to reach that goal.  Make your first priority to add a habit to help you reach your goal. If you keep at this new habit, overtime you will see your goal within reach and not a distance fuzzy thing you can't quite see or completely forgot about. Goals don't just happen because we write them down. It's okay to do that, but that is just the first step.


       It's like setting up a board game and putting your player at the starting line. The finish, the goal, is on the other side of the board. If you don't roll the dice and take the first step and then keep moving your player across the board, step by step, you never win the game! It's just a dream. You can just sit and look at the board and hope, but your player will never move without some action on your part. 


 

       And what if you can too. Write those words at the top of a page and then list the things you want to believe you could accomplish in 2018. Dream a little. Write them all down.


       Then pick one, maybe two from your list and think about what habits you need to change in order to accomplish them.


For example, I wrote:

What if I can . . . . 
 become a better photographer.(GOAL)

        Well, of course I can. But if I want it to happen in the next year and not just someday, I need to change a habit in my life. I could take a photography course, get a good book to study, buy a video course, practice taking pictures every day, take my camera with me everywhere I go, etc.

        I decided to watch videos from a great photography instructor I found on YouTube OR practice what he is teaching me daily. (HABIT)

       Will I become a better photographer? I already have just in the dozen videos I've already watched. I don't have a set date that I will reach my goal. I am just making small daily steps towards it.


    My life is too full.  I don't have time.

       I know, I know.  That might be true, but if you really want to grow, change, reach a goal, maybe there are other habits that you can take out of your life or combine with other activities.   I sometimes watch my photography videos while I'm eating lunch or walking on the treadmill. I love to watch TV in the evenings to relax, but I know I could watch less. Are there any habits you can let go of to give you time for a new one?


Can you give just 15 minutes
   a day  to a new habit?

       I bet you can. You have habits you do daily without thinking about them, like brushing your teeth, buckling your seatbelt, or shaving. You don't forget them. They are habits. They have become a necessary part of your life. You wouldn't consider going to work without doing them. In the same way, if you have a health issue and need physical therapy, you wouldn't just say I don't have time. You would make time!


       Habit [habit] noun - an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed  until it has become almost involuntary.  



Do the first things first. 

       If you make your new habit a priority, I guarantee you will reach your goal. If you make it a nice thing to do if you have time or if you're not tired, you most likely won't. 



CEO –  Chief Encouragement Officer

        We all need encouragement when the road gets hard.  Become a Chief Encouragement Officer for someone in your life who is working towards a goal and find one for yourself. Telling someone else your goal and the new habit you will start to get you there can be a great motivator.  Maybe deadlines really energize you. Set one and tell your CEO what it is and ask them to check in on your progress. Do the same for someone else. 

        Don't beat yourself up if you miss a day or two.  Everyone has bad days and sometimes weeks.  Just get back up and start again.       


        And while we're at it, don't think you are being selfish giving yourself time for your new habit.   Doing something you enjoy or makes you a healthier, more confident person, isn't selfish.  It refreshes your spirit  helping you give to others even better.  


                         Celebrate Your Progress! 

       Look back and see how much you've grown, changed or accomplished in one month.   The power of the same habit done over and over is life changing.  You don't have  to roll the dice and take whatever you get.  You get to choose a goal, start a new habit, and move toward the finish line step by step.  

        I'd love to hear what your goal and habit is for 2018. Let's be CEO's for each other. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Gift of Presence



The best gift you can give this Christmas.


       Out of the many Christmases you've had in your lifetime, chances are if you've spent one alone, it is a Christmas you'll never forget. 

       The only Christmas I've spent alone was right out of a Hallmark move, in the most beautiful spot you could imagine - the mountains of Colorado.  We had met family members there to have a skiing, sleigh riding kind of Christmas.  Everything was wonderful until they all headed for the slopes on Christmas Day and with a simple door slam, I was alone.  I was the only one who didn't ski anymore due to a back injury years earlier.  The previous days alone hadn't bothered me, but I hadn't planned ahead for my Christmas day alone.  We can talk to ourselves and say it's just another day, but in our hearts we long for family or friends.


        I decided to take a snowy walk down the hill to the touristy town thinking I could at least peak in store windows.  To my surprise, many of the stores were open, and even though I was alone, I had something to do.  I watched families slosh by in their snow boots and winter gear and wondered if they noticed that I was alone.

        It's easy to feel lonely even in a crowd and it's also hard for groups of people to know you are alone.  Either way it hurts.

        What can you do now to help yourself or someone else if you anticipate Christmas day will be spent alone?   How can we spread love and joy to others we know will be alone?


        I know you don't need another thing to do this season, but just take a few minutes to think about who you know that might be alone this Christmas.  Maybe it's you.  Who could you invite over that might be spending it alone too?  Is there a church service you could attend together, or  place to volunteer serving a Christmas meal?  The point is to do something.  Don't sit home and feel sorry for yourself.  And if you can't get out, make a phone call or two to friends and family.  Think back over the past year and write down what you're thankful for or maybe set a few goals for the year ahead. 

        If you have family or friends to spend Christmas with, you are truly blessed, even if Uncle Bob drives you crazy.  Think about who you could invite over to join your group.  Buy them a small gift.  Make them feel part of your family for a day.


        My Christmas day alone was only for a few hours, not the entire day, but still it opened my eyes to the pain people experience on this day.

       And if for some reason you end up being alone this Christmas, let the words from Isaiah 43:1 remind you of his presence.

      "I will be with you . . . you are precious in my sight." 

       You are never alone.  Isn't this exactly what Christmas is about?  The gift of His presence.  Emmanuel . . . God is with us!





Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Farmhouse Laundry Room

         A barn door is the entrance to my country laundry room,  which is only fitting since I have what looks like chicken coop shelves inside.  It is not only beautiful but useful to close off noise and write on!






       I call these my chicken coop cubbies.  Maybe I should put a stuffed toy hen up there to make it look official.  
I found a craftsman at our local antique marketplace (Paramount - for you local Wichitonians) who made these and the countertop cubby below it.



       The washer/dryer had to be placed on a shelf because we needed headspace for the stairs  to the basement below them.  We were able to add a huge pull out drawer on the right side and used the old shiplap from the original kitchen to face the front.  


My cat, Minnie, modeling the wood drawer. 

      The window in the laundry room was originally for another room, but it worked out perfectly here to add in bright light for this small space.  



             And  some artwork for the final touches.


Artwork and metal hooks also purchased at Paramount!



       And finally, here's something new we tried this Thanksgiving.  Instead of taking turns saying what we were thankful  for around the table, I put out a white pumpkin and some sharpies and let people write what they were thankful for.



       Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and/or friends.  I am thankful for you, my reader, who take the time out of your busy lives to stop at The Noah Farm.    
  

Monday, November 6, 2017

Friday Night Lights

         "Grab your camera, mom.  Let's go outside."  My  son, Alex, had been filming area farmers harvesting soybeans at night with his drone.  Now he wanted me to go out with him to the field right across the road  and take pictures with him of the farmers working well after sunset.



        So Friday night we sat in a soybean field in the dark taking pictures and I thought to myself, "So this is what country life is like on a Friday night."

        A few days later, a tractor, harvester and semi-trucks pulled up to start harvesting the soybean field right beside our house.   I had walked along the edge of the field earlier that week and thought to myself,  the farmers  waited too long to harvest this field.  It looked so dry.




         But I was wrong.  As I grabbed my camera to take a few shots of them harvesting the field, the farmer pulling the grain cart came down to talk and then invited me up to ride with him.  Of course, I said "yes!"





         Turns out the field was yielding more than the average return.  That's how much I know about farming. 

        I will treasure these memories of sitting in the field in the dark taking pictures with my son and seeing firsthand how crops are harvested.  They were a precious gift.  A present only given once for a short moment in life.   They are like a beautiful song in a musical,  a delicious meal at a restaurant you will never eat at again, or a beautiful sunrise.  We must be fully present to enjoy these gifts.   





        God's beauty is tucked within 
the ordinary. 
 He loves to give us
 love notes . . . 
everywhere.
  He interrupts our days with Himself. 
 We just need to see it and receive it.
                                 (paraphrased from "Unseen" by Sara Hagerty)