will = peace

 i don't mean to keep disappearing for days at a time...i've just been 
preoccupied with life...with trying to figure out God's will for my life...and what that means.  
And how to get information from my head to my heart.
 i can tell you that i know that i know, that i want HIS will for my life.  i want HIS path.  i want to make the choices that HE would have me make.  i want to do what HE wants me to do.  whatever that is.  the trouble i am having, is finding that will.  i seek and do all i can.  i pray.  and read my Bible.  and seek wise council.  i know that i want HIS will.  i am learning how to find it.
 i have had many interactions with people about this very topic.  and have learned that you either get someone who will listen and offer prayer...OR you get someone who offers you "justs"...you know...just believe, just pray, just read, just know.  just.  just.  just.  well, let me tell you...if i could "just" i would have by now.  and i don't think that JUST is the answer.  as i fell asleep last night, thinking about the choices and decisions to make in my life right now...i wondered...why can it all JUST happen at once...and i got this word picture in my head. 

imagine you are at a beautiful banquet.  you are wearing your best good clothes.  your kids are at a good, free sitter.  your honey is with you.  you have taken your time to get ready and be present at the meal you are about to have.  the only catch is that you get ONE bite at a time.  you are given wonderful delicious, mouth watering food.  one.  bite.  at a time.  and you only get one bite every couple of minutes.  in between bites you are expected to study that bite...to savor it...to study it...to get to know it well...so that you can really enjoy it.  you cannot rush it.  the bites come when they do...you have no control over when they do.  all you can control is how react to the bite...how much to pay attention to it...how much you learn from it and enjoy it.   you leave happy, content and at peace...closing your eyes every so often to remember a particular bite like an old friend.

now imagine the same banquet.  only you are wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants.  you haven't taken a shower or washed your hair.  you were hurried out the door...unsure of your sitter but you HAD to leave.  you get the same mouth watering, glorious food.  only you have to eat it AS FAST as you can.  no time to drink or taste or enjoy.  you have to eat quickly before it is taken away.  hurry, hurry hurry.  you choke a little, you are messy and frazzled.  you leave feeling fat and bloated and you just want to throw up to relieve your uncomfortable stomach.
i have had both of the meals.  less of the former lately.  but there are days when i can remember a certain meal with my husband...at the house of blues in NC...I think there was some teeny bopper concert going on there(justin beiber??)...we had to wait forever but it didn't matter because we didn't have kids yet...we enjoyed the moments we spent waiting for our table to be ready...looking at the artwork...talking...enjoying each moment together.  and we had a shrimp dish that night that i can still taste to this day.  

i don't have many memories of the hurry up and eat meals.  when i do remember them, i usually cringe from the stress that i can remember from them but the good ones always bring me peace.

today, don't make fun of me, for fun i googled "how to follow God's will for my life".  and i read through some of the links...mostly Bible study types but one thing struck me.  peace. 

God's will for you is always accompanied by His peace.  His way is peaceful.  His path is peaceful.  He does not want stress for me...or you...He wants us to slow down...to take small bites of His will and learn from them...to memorize them.  we aren't built to handle life all at once.  if we try it that way we are not asking for peace...we are kicking and screaming for our way.  we want it all and we want it now.  and "all, now" means stress, pressure, sadness, problems.  His way leads to peace and goodness.  
and i want peace and goodness.  

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declared the Lord,
‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11). 

what i wish num 19.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #19 (holly): 


I wish I could write this story on my own blog because I feel it is important, however the pain for my family is too fresh so I will openly share it here, but for now details won't be discussed on my own blog.  I want to tell you all that I have 4 wonderful, amazing, and loving children.  However one of them I did not give birth to.  In fact she has only been living with us for a little over a year.  However I am related to her.  She is 11 years old and she is my half-sister.  I am her legal guardian.  I want to tell you that her story is not pretty.  It is one of intense pain.  My baby sister was the victim of sexual abuse.  Her abuser was her own step father.  I know that doesn't sound like a uncommon story, but her story is a little different than most.  You see, she told someone.  She told her best friend and that brave little girl told her mommy and her mommy called my sister's dad.  After that the police got involved right away and within 24 hours my sister was removed from the home and sent to her dads house.  The next day we were trying to get all of our kids to their games and parties and such when I got a phone call.  It was also Halloween.  I was in shock.  We found friends to watch our own kids and we drove 2 towns over to the department of children's services to be with her.  When we got there we found out that her stepfather had just been arrested as he confessed to his crime and they had it on recording.  I haven't even gotten to the worse part of our story.  Our mother was there.  She was in another room.  The case worker pulled me aside and informed me that our mother was in complete denial and she had decided to support her husband even after his confession.  She still supports him today having almost no contact with us.  The case worker also informed me that she needed to find a safe place for my sister and that her dad was not suitable because he is not in the best health so we may be the only option.  Of course we said yes.  I want to tell you that as soon as she was out of that bad place that everything was great, but I can't.  I will fast forward to the present.  It has been over a year since that horrible day.  My sisters step father opted to a jury trial that involved getting my sister on the stand within 2 feet of him to testify to what he had done to her.  Several of the jury members were in tears.  I want to tell you how brave she was and how my heart broke for her while she was curled up on the floor of the witness room sick at her stomach from the thought of being anywhere near him.  I want to tell you that he was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being found guilty of his crime with no chance of parole.  I want you to know that does NOT erase the pain of what he has done to our family.  If you think that my sweet sister was the only victim here, you are wrong.  Myself, my husband, and my own children are also victims.  I want you to understand that this has been a VERY hard year on my family and at times I wanted to give up.  I would be lying if I said I didn't.  I am sure that some might wonder why I would want to tell my story.  I tell it because I want you to know that one of the best ways to prevent child abuse is to educate our children.  If you think that this can't happen to your family then you are wrong.  It can happen to anyone no matter where you live or how much money you have.  It doesn't have to involve a step parent either.  The statistics for children of abuse are not good.  I pray every day that we are doing the right things for my sister to keep her from continuing to be a statistic.  Girls who are sexually abused are 25% more likely to become pregnant as teenagers.  About 30% of abused children will continue the cycle by abusing their own children.  You can read these and more statistic here .   I want to you to know that you can play a huge role in protecting your own children from abuse.  Last I want to tell you that I am not this great and wonderful person for taking my sister in.  I have lost count of how many of our friends and family have told us that, but we didn't take her in so that people would say nice things about us.  We did it out of love.  We love my sister as we love our own children.  I hate what she has been through, but it happened and I have to believe that God sent us all through this storm for a reason and my hope is in Him.

  She was OK with not being anonymous. :) Go say hi and encourage her. :)

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.

true love.

(you can pull it and print it). :)

what i wish num 18.

Welcome to "What I wish I could tell you"...an anonymous platform for bloggers to share what they don't feel free to share on their own blogs.  If you have a story/thought/ache/hurt/feeling/secret/prayer request you want to get out, feel free to email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com.  You will remain anonymous to all but me unless you choose otherwise. 
The author of this entry has chosen to stay anonymous.  Say hello to anon #18: 


"What I wish I could tell you is that my divorce is killing me. I have been separated from my husband for 7 months. He is controlling and can be verbally abusive. He agreed to sign dissolution papers and now he is refusing to sign them because he feels that he should be compensated for our house, which happens to be my deceased grandmothers house.

There are some days where I feel like I can't handle life. I love my son very much and if it weren't for him I can honestly say I don't know how I would go on. I can face the fact that my marriage is over, but he won't leave me alone. He parties every weekend but makes sure I am home. He will only get our son if we are getting along. If he is mad at me he won't get him. I worry everyday that he will go to daycare and pick him up and take him to spite me. I have to worry every week if he is going to get him on his day, which is only on friday's at his request. It makes me sick to have to text him and ask him if he is going to be getting his son or not. Between the texts calling me names and the constant worry....I feel like I just can't take one more thing...one more stress...or I'm going to break down. I can get through the day to day tasks like working and grocery shopping or being around close friends. I can't handle going to any kind of get together where there are lots of people. I feel like I'm going to lose it....I feel like crying on those days. I am best when my son and I can just sit in our house and be together...left alone.

I hate it that there are times when I break down in front of my son. He is two and he will come over to me and ask me "ok mommy?" and it kills me even more. I hate it. I hate this person my husband is turning me into, but I don't know how to get a grip on myself. How to pull myself back.

It has taken me 12 years to realize how controlling that my husband can be. Although this isn't what I ultimately wanted...it is what is best. I do still second guess my decisions though. I wonder if things really weren't that bad. Maybe it was all my fault. I wish that we could be happily married but I know now that that is not going to happen between us. I hate that I have to get a lawyer to get a divorce and fight to keep myself and my son in our home because he insists on torturing me for not taking his crap. I am scared out of my  mind for change. I'm scared I will never meet someone else. I'm 30....I want to have another child and I feel like that has been ripped from me because of him. What if I never meet someone else. I will never get to have another child. What if I have to sell our house to give him his share? What will I do? I just can't take it. I do have an appointment with an attorney on Thursday, could you pray for me that it goes well?

To my husband: It is time for you to let me go. You don't want to be married to me, you have chosen what you want and prove it to me every weekend since you left. I will not sit here and be at your beck and call. You can fight me all you want...I will fight back. I hate you for what you are doing to me and our son. Grow up and be a man for once in your life."

Want a turn to share?  Email me at ricracandpompoms @ gmail.com. 
Feel free to comment and encourage or just relate and assure.

caramel heaven.

 this is my friend lauren's caramel popcorn recipe.   i would like to tell you that i wasn't able to rewrite it from memory because i have made it more times than i can count since she posted it on her blog.  but that would be a lie.  i would also like to say that writing up this most didn't make me want to head to the kitchen to make more.  but that would be a lie too. 

do me a favor?  make this today.  you won't regret it. 

 caramel popcorn
 3 bags of microwave popcorn
2 sticks butter; 
2 cups brown sugar; 
1/2 cup light corn syrup (Karo); 
1/2 tsp baking soda; 1 tsp salt; 1 tsp vanilla

pop popcorn and put it in a large roasting pan.
preheat over to 225.
melt butter on medium heat.  add karo, salt and brown sugar.
stir constantly and bring to a boil. 
then leave it untouched for 5 minutes. 
this part freaked me out the most...i was sure it would stick to the pan/burn on the bottom/etc...it did none of those things.
remove from heat.  add baking soda and vanilla.  stir it up until it is all blended and caramelly.  

once it is all well mixed together...pour it kind of evenly over your popcorn.  don't worry if everything is not covered...it will get there. 
put it in the oven for an hour.  every fifteen minutes get it out and stir it up. 

perfect for your valentine. :)

another post you never expected from me.

here's a topic that you probably thought i would never talk about.  
it has to do with football.  something that generally, i could take or leave and not really care about.  it's a story about cultural trends.  unlearning what you have been taught by the mores of your community.  it's about learning your lesson and paying your penance.  it's about a second chance and about grace extended.  it's about not wasting talent and using the gifts God gave you.  it's about the pointing of fingers and the judgment we place on others who do things we don't understand.  

randomly, i am talking about michael vick.  
(google him if you need to but withhold judgement for the moment, if you can)

like i said, i am not really a football person.  but i am a fan of the comeback story.  i am a fan of athletes, who are looked up to by many, publicly learning their lessons and showing their fans that they can change and grow as people.  

i am not a football person, but i have gotten into more than one heated debate with others about this football player.  this man, who grew up not far from where i went to high school.  who could have easily been a classmate had this or that detail been changed.  this player who played (what i am told was excellent) college football one town over from where i went to college. 

this man who participated in dog fighting and terrible acts that surrounded this "sport".  people are so easy to dismiss him,  to throw him under the bus forever.  despite the fact that he has paid his dues and from what i can tell, is working hard to make his life right.  to use his bad decisions to teach others. 

people hate him.  hate his actions.  are appalled at the fact that he would ever be allowed to play football again.  they find him despicable and not worth any sort of human consideration.   

and i get that.  i really do.  the things he did were and are wrong. 
a terrible misuse of the responsibility of another being. 

what i don't get is that some of these same people have no problem with the athletes who have raped women or beat their girlfriends...but i digress.

what i think is that people who don't get this culture just don't get how anyone would even think that dog fighting is ok.  what they don't get is that where he grew up...it's a culturally acceptable thing.  
he grew up in an area where animals are killed for food regularly...where hunting occurs for food and sport...where the local police force would show up for dog fights...i can honestly tell you, that if i, in high school, had stumbled upon a dog fight somehow...i don't know if i could have told you that it was wrong, legally...even if i would know it felt wrong as an act. 

i know that i could go back to the town where i attended high school and take a poll...and that poll would tell you that dog fighting is ok...entertaining even. 

it's just the state of things in some areas (of the south?).  

now i am not saying that a wrong should be overlooked. 
i am not saying that dog fighting should be ok. 

i am just saying that you can't understand why someone does the things they do unless you can understand the complex trail that got them to the point of committing some act. 

i think i have compassion on him because i get it.  i understand him in some way.  i can relate.  not because i have ever seen or participated in dog fighting...or any illegal act. 
but because i will be the first to admit that i am still unlearning things that i was taught.  i just came to the realization that it will probably take me the second 18 years of my life to undo the damage and "learning" i endured for the first 18.

i have a feeling it's a similar story for him.  it's a long road to change what you grew up with.  
you can read more about my learning curve HERE.   

i get that you want to be judged for who you are TODAY not who you were in the past.  or better yet not be judged at all.  each day you can rewrite your history and get a little closer to the person you want to become.  i am personally praying that he is on that road. 

 what pains me the most about his story is the self-righteousness with which people judge him.  each person that i have gone back and forth with is certain that they are so much better than him, that their sin is so less wrong.  and often times have said as much.
micheal vick's story reminds me that we are all wrong.  that we are all sinners and blackened with the same shade of gray that sin leaves on our hearts.  it helps me to be thankful that my shame isn't spread out on the nine o'clock news.  maybe if it was, we would all be a little less quick to condemn him.

was he wrong?  yes.  are we all wrong at some point? yes.  
are we the judge?  nope.  

  do i judge when i shouldn't?  yes.  sadly.  but i am on a learning curve there too. 

it just takes one step in front of the other to get on a new path.  and micheal vick reminds me to think twice about my assumptions and to be thankful that my name will most likely never be in a headline. 

and since i am also full of sin, i will pray for his best and withhold my judgement.

isn't that what we should all do for one another?

school valentines.

 if you asked moses a year ago why he wanted to go to school...he would say "valentines".  he had no idea what valentines day was about...but he liked the idea of getting a mass amount of fun mail.  like mother like son, i guess.  when i saw this idea on [dandee] a few weeks ago and knew they would be perfect for him to take to his class.  
i got the balls from target for $2 for a pack of 16, in the valentines section. 
the treat bags were $2 (i think) from the party section of target for a pack of 50.

i made the tags in picnik and printed them out on card stock.

i can't wait for him to have his dream come true 
and experience valentines day for himself. :)


20 minute crafter. freezer paper stenciling.

 have you done this yet?  you should.  and you can.  and it requires no sewing whatsoever.
 here is what you need:
freezer paper (not wax or parchment) 
i found mine at giant for about $3.75 for 75ft
surface that you want to stencil on
image that you want to use as a stencil
(for this example i googled an image of a dinosaur and printed it out on cardstock--if you have a cricut you can cut your freezer paper out right on the cricut!)
fabric paint
foam brush
 cut your stencil out...and trace it onto the non-shiny side of your freezer paper...
OR cut your image out via cricut with the shiny side on the cricut mat.
 cut out the interior image...the outside of the image will be your stencil.
 iron onto your stenciling surface with a hot DRY iron, shiny side down.  be sure to get all the edges.
 before you start painting...place a piece of cardboard behind the surface you are painting to prevent bleeding onto the back of the shirt/bag/etc.  start with a light coat...you can always add more paint but you can't take it away...and if you use TONS of paint it may bleed. 
 add as much or as little paint as you would like...i was going for a vintage-y kind of look for this shirt.
when you are done, gently peel the paper up...and let dry.  

ta-da!!!  easy, quick and simple!

imagine all the possibilities...bags, pillows, shirts, bibs, etc. :)

have fun!
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