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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Remaining Merry and Bright in the Face of Adversity

Many of you know that I write my posts approximately 2-3 weeks in advance. This is due to my busy work and school schedule.  I don’t like being stressed out about “Do I study for a test or do I write a blog post”. Writing posts ahead of time allows me to avoid such stress.

I keep a running list of future topics and often have two or three posts in various stages of completion going at once.

Just like the rest of my life, I like feeling prepared. In control.

A week ago a rug was pulled out from underneath our family.

I was sitting in French class taking a test. I had turned my phone off but I heard the familiar buzzing of someone leaving me a message. Once the test was over I checked to see who it was. My husband. He knows that I was in class and he would not bother me unless it was something that couldn’t wait.

Things that cannot wait are rarely good.

You may remember when I shared my feelings about living here in Phoenix. I have been praying “Let me love it, or let me leave it.”

Well, God answered.

As I mentioned on Monday the company Mr. Décor works for announced it will be shutting down its facility here in Phoenix in a few months. A very few people will be transferred. The rest will find themselves unemployed.

Many of you mentioned via comments or emails that you couldn’t get over how calm I was remaining. There are of course small moments (generally at 2 am) that I completely freak out. But overall I do have a strange sense of peace. I chalk it up to faith.

While both Mr. Décor and I are calm, we are also actively praying and making plans. As he says, “We are better prepared for this than many other people.” This is so true. While other co workers are frantically and drastically reducing their spending it’s kind of status quo in our home.  We are thankful we have a few months to plan. But I think you have a sense that we always live fairly frugally.

We have just one credit card. It has a very minimal balance.

We both drive older cars that are paid for.

We shop on sale and use coupons whenever possible.

We rarely eat out.

Our cell phones are considered very outdated. 

We scrape butter wrappers and squeeze the tube of toothpaste within an inch of its life.

But yes, we have made some changes.

We put the condo the Fashionista was living in while attending ASU on the market. I would like to ask my awesome prayer warriors to pray that it sells soon.

updated bathroom 038-001

But the very first thing I did after reading that text was to go home and load up the three cabinet painting kits I had recently purchased back into my trunk. We had plans to paint the dated oak cabinets in our kitchen and bathrooms over Thanksgiving weekend. But now was not the time. The kits were returned and the $150 was credited back to our debit card.

Did I want to do that? No, I did not. I mean I am a home DIY blogger. The small, selfish part of me that is completely ridiculous wanted to dazzle my readers with an amazing kitchen makeover.

I had dreams of this:

Sarah Richardson Kitchen

But I knew deep down that God had answered. It seemed silly to spend a tremendous amount of time and $150 to paint perfectly good cabinets that we would soon be leaving behind. To spend money that we now need to save.

As I walked out of the home improvement store I noticed the large display of Christmas trees. When we moved over a year ago we got rid of our huge, heavy artificial tree that only had 60% of its lights still working. We had borrowed a tree last year. It turned out to be one of my family’s all time favorites.

tree 179

My plan this year was to buy a new tree. But that is not going to happen now either. GASP! How can a home DIY/Design blogger not have a Christmas tree?

Well ok, we will have one small feather tree….

tree 095-002

But not a large tree. The centerpiece. A showcase. But I have plans. Did you fear otherwise? You should know me better than that. Yes, Christmas will be on a shoestring this year, but what an opportunity to focus on what truly matters ~love! The true reason for the season.

tree 001

I know in my heart Christmas miracles occur each and every day.

Unemployment in this economy is a scary thing. You can’t help but think about what could happen. I try to push those thoughts far from my mind.

After I returned the paint I came home and started back in on crafting the limited edition goodies I make for my Etsy shop every year at this time. The overall theme for 2013 was not lost on me.

Lovely little homes nestled in perfect winter wonderlands.

DTA Christmas 2013 104-001

The houses suddenly seemed ironic given that I have no idea where I will be living next Christmas. I am ok with that. I’ve given it to God.

He in return has blessed me immeasurably. You guys with your big hearts have purchased some of those houses insuring my kids would have Christmas. I cannot begin to thank you enough for that. Tears stream down my cheeks as I type this. I thank you. I thank God.

He is bigger than everything.


“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” ~ Psalm 27:14

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:7

“Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7


Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

The verse from Jeremiah is one of my favorites. We have wait for God to reveal His plans for us and it's so hard to be patient! Because of your faith He will bless you and your family beyond belief Laura.

As I go to the first service in our brand new church this morning you will be in my prayers for God to show you the new path he has prepared for you and your family.

He blesses us through our thanksgiving and praise!

In His love, Edie Marie

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Laura I am praying that He gives you the desires of your heart and moves you to PA so you are near family. Hugs, Marty

GSGreatEscaper said...

Dear Laura, of course your Christmas will be Merry and Bright, because you have the skills and determination to make it so. You know better than most that Christmas doesn't come from a store. And you have created a strong family who will support you as you support them, with tenacity and faith.

Pray and reflect today; take that sabbath that you talked about a couple of weeks ago. The arise tomorrow and fight again.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

I know no matter what, your family will have an amazing Christmas .. because all of you are so filled with love :)

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

We all go through times like this and you are so smart and wise to take control at the beginning and do what you need to do. I know God is blessing you already and I'll keep you in my prayers. Sweet hugs!

Rita C. said...

I remember being in school and just being relieved when the semester would be over so that I could even begin to think about the holidays, let alone have it all wrapped up a month ahead. Perhaps the methodical approach of taking the steps you are - making returns, studying hard, and crafting items for sale - all to ensure your future - is enough, quite apart from perceived demands of blogland. Rest well in His care.

Desires of the Heart said...

Wow Laura, it is obvious that the Lord is giving you peace beyond understanding in this situation!! What a beautiful post and tribute to the unfailing faithfulness of our God and His provision for us even when we do not see. You and your family will be in my prayers for leading and provision during this time in God's waiting room. You are yielded, I can tell, and that is the first step in the process for God to do amazing things in your life. You have been faithful with your circumstances already and He knows the desires of your heart. Thank you for reminding us all that life is fragile and can change on a is a good thing to remember and helps us truly "see" the blessings all around us. May God Bless you beyond your wildest dreams in the next chapter of your lives. Linda

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I'm sorry to hear about this, Laura. I will be hoping and praying for you and the family.

Denise said...

Laura, I am thinking of you and PRAYING for you and your family. I firmly believe that God will take care of you, my friend.


Denise at Forest Manor

Karena Albert said...

Dear Laura your family is always in my thoughts and prayers. It is amazing how what was once so important to us changes when we have different priorities. I do understand what you are going through. It has been a few years since I've had a large Christmas tree; however, wreaths garlands holiday candles etc give a festive theme.

The Arts by Karena

Custom Comforts said...

How touching your post is Laura. I often feel intimidated by the larger and popular blogs, always feeling like they have it all together and I don't. Your honesty is very touching and it means so much that you let us into your life and struggles. I will be praying that God works everything to your good, as only He can do in times like these. He is always faithful to those who serve Him and your post gives testimony to your faith. Will be praying.

Shelia said...

Oh, sweetie! My heart goes out to you but you don't know how much your words are ministering to others. I'm praying for you and your family and God will take care of you and guide you in the right decisions and one day you'll look back and see God's hand moving in this. You're so strong in your faith and God will reward you for this.
Sending love and prayers,
Shelia ;)

The Boston Lady said...

Laura, you know what a difficult year we have had, so I can relate to everything you have written. Not only do I relate, but I feel comforted to read all your words. These are the times when we learn what we are made of, what we are capable of, and how faith/belief/trust in a higher power is a comfort and a strength. I've always known you as a strong person who has dealt with life's challenges with grace, determination and that wonderful "can do" spirit.

We will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers as we always do and whichever way the wind blows you will be the right way. It will be for the best, whatever that next step is. I personally am ticked off that "the company" would choose this time of year to make this kind of change, but who knows what the reasoning is behind that? There never is a good time for such things.

Big Hug! Ann, who doesn't have a Christmas tree either and is amazed that you write your blogs usually so far in advance!

Joani said...

I am so sorry Laura. It will all work out for the best. How about you go to a Christmas tree lot a day or two before Christmas and see about a tree because they will be happy to get something for the tree. My family always did that and it was such a Christmas eve experience with everyone involved in making the tree the center of the evening. I wish you well.

Gammy Tammy said...

Laura, a few years ago, my life changed forever. That year, I cut down a small (charlie brown) tree from the side of the road, strung popcorn, little bird nests that I made from dried grass, rested atop fragile branches the half dozen tiny craft birds and one string of little twinkling lights that I purchased from a Goodwill... counted my blessings (I still had so very much to be thankful for) and celebrated a handmade Christmas with wonderful family and friends.

It was my favorite Christmas ever!

You will be in my thoughts!

Pinky at Designs by Pinky said...

Laura, I can't tell you how much I ADMIRE your courage, faith and calm! It is inspiring. It seems God is leading you to the right and best decisions for you and your family. I wish you all a truly blessed Thanksgiving. XO


Oh, Laura,
I certainly understand. My hubby sells real estate and there isn't any closings this month or December.
I know that God provides!!!So THANKFUL! I also know that He provides opportunities.
Praying for You and your family!

Linda Meeks said...

Advent is the season of waiting and I will pray for your what. Your strong faith is an inspiration to me. God bless your family and the road ahead.

Vicki said...

Isn't it amazing at times like this that you can look back on your life and see God's faithfulness all along the way?! That's what get's us through these times of unknown. I am confident that you are confident in God's plan for your life. I'm praying for your family and can't wait to see what awesome adventure God has in store for you next!

Ann@A Sentimental Life said...

Laura, I am so sorry but glad that you have faith that things will work out.
We all have trials in our lives, as I told a friend yesterday I have figured out I just need to be happy that i have a roof over my head and at this point can pay my bills. With my husband not bringing home a check from his business in 2yrs I have learned what really matters....I think you already had it figured out.

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

So sorry to hear this, Laura, will be praying for you. We have been there and can testify to God's goodness, provision, and timing. I'm looking forward to hearing just how He answers those prayers. :)

Lorrie said...

Laura, know that I'll be praying for the condo to sell quickly and that your husband will find work. Our God is MORE than able. I hope that He surprises you with his plans for you in a delightful way.

Christmas on a shoe string can be so much fun and utterly memorable.

Thanking God with you, dear friend.

Pat@Life At Lydias House said...

Still praying and waiting to see what His plans are for your family. I know they are great!

Butterfly 8)(8 Bungalow said...

I'm sorry. I hope he finds a new job quickly. Psalm 56: 3-4 "When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise in God I Trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?"

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

I am sure hoping that this all turns out to be a blessing Laura.
The worrying is tough.
Sending prayers and hugs to you.
I hope you get to live in a place with 4 seasons too.'
Hugs friend,

Di said...

You are an inspiration to me. You put your faith in God and He will be with you, awesome. I love your tree and know that you and hubby will be in an awesome place. Di@Cottage-wishes

Catherine Holman said...

You're family is my prayers and I know he will bless your family richly for your faith.

Kathy Bruner said...

So sorry to hear that you are rather forced to be in the position of change again, instead of the timing being a decision on your own. Having been through some of what you have gone through, I know you will come out just fine--with faith, family and finances intact! In the meantime, if the condo AND your house sells and you have no place to go, feel free to come stay with us! (Not sure your family would appreciate the cold Midwest weather now, but I would LOVE having my own personal live-in decorator/new BFF!) Prayers going up for peace and contentment during this uncertain time. On a selfish note, I can't wait to see what you do next! It's going to be an adventure!!!

Kelley said...

Prayers your way...

We haven't had a Christmas tree for several years. Haven't even gotten out the Christmas decorations boxes for as many years either.

Dave and I have each other and our Christmases are about presenCE versus presenTS. We haven't spent a Christmastime with our children since 2010, so we know that Christmas has a Jesus-center. When the rug is pulled out from under you, only a Jesus-centered life will still be standing strong, and that's a fact.

Everything is going to be all right. Your calm, steady voice influences many readers today who are dealing with the same rug. We serve a God who hears and answers prayers. Psalm 4:8

Happy Thanks-Giving,

Karen said...

I'll be praying for you and your family during this uncertain time. I have confidence that God will be with you in this.

linda t said...

Oh Laura, I don't know how I missed this post, but my heart goes out to you. My husband has been unemployed for the past year. I am working but not enough to even make our house payment each month. Scary times. But I'm trusting God as never before in my life. The verses you posted have been a lifeline for me. Thank you for sharing and I'm praying blessings on you & your family during these uncertain times.

Blackberry Lane said...

Dear Laura, I am praying for you and your family. I know from experience how much the prayers of blog friends across the country mean in such difficult times. I don't comment often, but you and your family are very special to me. I know that God has something very special, beyond your imagination, in store for you. May the Lord continue to cheer you and give you patience as you wait for Him. With love, Mildred