Sunday, November 27, 2011

Accept no substitutions!

I've been MIA for a while. Life is just so...well, life. :D We've been working hard in school to be where I want us to be before Christmas, we are preparing for a new puppy, Cora is going to be in a production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever next weekend, and I've finished my Christmas shopping! WOOHOO! Exciting stuff!!

Side note: I asked Emma what I should blog about and without missing a beat she said, "You can blog about how cute I am!" While I'm not going to devote an entire blog post to Emma's cute factor (not right now anyway, lol), I do want to take a minute and point out that she's so stinkin' cute, I can't stand it, lol. xoxo

A couple of days ago, Patrick decided to stop by the store to pick up a few things. While he was there, he decided the girls needed new crayons so he picked up a box. Have I mentioned how much I love that man?? When he got home, I stared aghast at the box of Dollar General brand crayons in his hands. I didn't want to hurt his feelings, but I was like, "Are you for real?" He knows we are a CRAYOLA family. There is simply no substitution for a brand new box of Crayola crayons! The way they smell, the way they glide across the paper, the even color, ahhhhh... Anyway, he couldn't believe that the "Geddes" brand crayons weren't going to be just as fabulous. It took him all of two seconds of coloring to realize that just because the box might say the same thing, and the colors might be similar, there is simply no substitution for the real deal.

I don't want to preach at you (or maybe I do), but I find so many people are substituting fakes for the real deal. Everyone is looking for something. And if you look long enough you will find exactly what you're looking for. Stands to reason, huh? We were made for one thing, and one thing only: To glorify our Father in heaven. You can choose Him, or you can choose something less. "He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad." Matthew 12:30 If you choose a substitution (the world, your family, your job, alcohol, drugs, sex, your church, etc) over God, your results might look similar, but you've chosen less than what He wants for you. You might smile, you might even be happy, but you will never be whole. Like that box of cheap crayons, your choices might look close to the real thing, but your results will not be God's best for you! 
Now, some of those things I listed above aren't even bad choices. And like Patrick with the crayons, you might be choosing with love in your heart, but still you will not be whole without a life that puts God in first place. He is the real deal. To illustrate my point further, think about this: Let's say you take those cheapo crayons (the substitutions) and color a picture (your life). Your picture might look like all the white space is filled. From a distance, it might even look finished. But when you get up close, you can see the uneven color, the gaps, the pieces of crayon that fell off and got stuck to the paper. You get what I'm saying, yes? Putting God first doesn't mean that you won't get out of the lines every now and then, but it does mean that you will be creating a masterpiece that glorifies Him. 

I don't know about you, but I've tried the Wal-mart brand, the Kmart brand, the Dollar General brand, and I keep coming back to Crayola. Why accept the substitutions? Go ahead and choose God's very best for you! He wants you to take it. In fact, He's already paid the price to give it to you.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Encounter

Catchy title there, huh? LOL! Well, I don't know how else to title this, but I think it's time to blog about The Encounter, so here it is.

So, what is an Encounter you ask?'s just that. An Encounter with God. And it's different for everyone. For the sake of not spoiling the surprises for those who haven't attended...yet...I can't share too many details. But it is an intensely personal 3 day encounter with your Creator. It's a time to get real with yourself and God. It's a time to dig deeper and go further than you knew you could. It's a time for healing.

Let me give you a timeline of my encounter experience. Last November I decided it was the right time for me to go on The Encounter. But my sweet papaw went to be with the Lord two days before I was supposed to leave. It was not my time, and now I realize why. So many things have happened since last November. My faith has been tested and challenged, I've changed ministries in the church, and my family has been in disarray. If I ever needed to get real with God, I knew this was my time. Soooo...I signed up to go this time. I was so excited!!! Until last Wednesday. That night I think I wrestled with the devil. But by Thursday I felt better, and God gave me this verse from Psalm 62:5: "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him." I felt clearly that He has great things in store for me, and I again felt like I was doing the right thing. Then Friday, leaving day, came. Ugh. I was already nervous about leaving Patrick and the girls, and around 3:15 Patrick told me about a work/babysitting dilemma. Keep in mind I had to be on the bus at 4. I almost freaked out because I am the one in the family who always solves those kind of problems! But Patrick was so sweet and reassured me that he had it under control. Have I mentioned how much I love that man???

Anyway, we arrived at Ridge Haven around 6, I think. It was time for dinner and to meet our individual group members and roommates. Within 30 minutes, I was ready to call Patrick and have him come out there to get me. It was nothing personal; I had an amazingly precious group of ladies with me. It was the enemy trying to steal what God had in store for me. I had to step outside and some of my sweet friends came out and prayed for me. I made it through the first meal without any further meltdowns. LOL!

Without telling too much, I will tell you that within 10 minutes of our meeting that evening, I was in tears. Throughout the weekend, God opened my eyes to some amazing and healing things. I truly felt like I was sitting in His lap. He showed me where I need to place my expectations. He showed me that He decided I would be in a group of strangers (who weren't strangers by the end of the weekend, but friends) so that I could be SILENT and ALONE with Him, just like that Psalm He gave me. He revealed Himself to me in mighty ways. I don't even know how to put into words what happened. It was such an intimate encounter with my Lord that I can hardly talk about it. I haven't told my husband all that happened or even my best friend. I don't know what to equate it to except my wedding day and wedding night. On that night, I just wanted to bask in my sweet husband's presence, and this weekend I just wanted to bask in the glory of the one who loves me most. Like the day I became a mother, I wanted just to look upon that face and know that He is mine and I am His.

Homecoming...I got really nervous about two miles from the church, where I knew my family was waiting. I was so happy to know I was going to see my loves, but I was afraid things would be the same old thing at home. When we walked into the sanctuary, and I saw my babies and my husband, I KNEW things would be different. God healed more than my heart this weekend. He healed my family. And His healing work continues. So if you see the Ensleys, and you think we look different, GOOD!!! We feel different. I know they'll be set backs and challenges (I wasn't born yesterday, lol), but I have a new view of the world. In the last three days I have enjoyed my husband and children more than I have in years. I've laughed more, read my bible more, sat in His presence more. I have already been challenged and tempted by worldly things, but I feel a renewed strength and purpose. I am in this world, not of it.

So since the Encounter, I have been feeling the weirdest feeling. I could not figure it out. It was utterly unknown to me. I finally got it yesterday. Guess what? It's called PEACE. The most freeing, calming, beautiful feeling in the world. A peace beyond understanding. "He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me." Psalm 55:18

Peace is what I've been praying diligently for for two years. Another lesson learned: Wait patiently on the Lord. :)


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stepping out of my box...

Something awesome and scary and new and amazing is going to happen this weekend. That's what I keep telling myself. I am going away for the weekend on a ladies' retreat called Encounter with my church. It is literally a time to encounter God, and that's exciting stuff! I've never left my family for two nights; heck, I've never left them for one night. The control freak in me is freaking because I have NO IDEA what is going to happen this weekend. And I can't even take my cell phone. EEEEEKKKK!! I can do this. I have to. It's my time.

I was supposed to go on Encounter last year, but my papaw died two days before I was supposed to leave. I was disappointed, but I know it just wasn't my time. THIS is my time. I have been on a tremendous spiritual journey this past year (or two) and I feel like it's all been leading up to this time. This is it. God has been preparing me for such a time as this. "For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

So, though I have chewed off most of my nails and can't stop thinking about all the things Patrick might do (or forget to do) this weekend, I have got to LET GO and LET GOD. He only wants the best for me, and I know and accept that. He will take care of my husband and my girls this weekend. He will show me what He wants me to see. He will give me everything I need this weekend. I'm expecting great and marvelous things from Him. After all, that's what He's promised me. All things work together for my good. :)


P.S. The puppy's name is going to be Diesel. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Puppy Times

Never say you are going to "look at" a puppy. Just don't. I knew before we even went that we would end up with one. After all, my girls were begging for a "fluffy puppy", and they are completely overindulged, so I knew it was a done deal. I will tell you there aren't many things cuter than a litter of 7 yorkie babies. My girls instantly fell in love with the runt, whom they affectionately nicknamed "Tiny Face." My my my, what a doll!! And so tiny at just 11 days old. 
~the puppy with no name~

Anna made a trip to the car for my wallet, and that was that. He will be coming home in December, and so far we've bought a book about Yorkies and made a list of things the little guy will need, which includes a wardrobe more diverse than mine. I have never had such a tiny little puppy before, and I'm excited about the puppy breath and total cuteness. I'm not so excited about housetraining and chewing, but it's a package deal, lol. 

Now on to the problem...HIS NAME! At first, we all decided Edmund was a very dignified and respectable Yorkie name. But, then we started talking about different names, and it's turned into World War 3 around here. We went from a list of 18 down to a list that currently has 2 names on it: Edmund and Lewis. Today we have cast votes, pulled a name out of a cup (about 100 times), argued, had a karate match (Anna and Emma), boxing (Emma and Cora), and they are currently playing "paper, rock, scissors" to decide his name. We are no closer than we were. UGH!! If I had it my way, I'd name him Stanley. Now that is an awesome name for a Yorkie! Patrick prefers something edgier like Hemi or Diesel. Ummm, dear, let me remind you that he's going to weigh a whole 5 lbs, if that, when he's grown.

Take a second and vote on our poll! If you have another suggestion, don't tell me. ;)

I hope we have a name by the time we go for our next puppy visitation. :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

My baby is reading!!

I've got one child doing complicated percentage problems and pre-algebra, one learning multiplication tables and cursive writing, and now my baby is READING! She read a few BOB books this morning while we all sat around the table and listened. I admit she's been ready for a while, but I haven't. I remember Anna reading those same books 6 years ago, and then Emma reading them just a few years ago, and now my baby girl is reading. She is so proud. And I am too. A few tears slipped out, of course, because I am a cry baby. LOL! This is one of those bittersweet parenting moments. I am so proud of her and happy, but it's another realization that I do not have a baby anymore. She is growing up quickly. Well, they all are actually. And that's just as it should be. They can't stay little forever.

I am so happy that I have never missed them reading their first words. I LOVE seeing those light bulb moments. Sharing these moments with them is priceless. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it! Thank you, Lord, for the blessing of homeschooling.