Friday, September 30, 2011

Our life via Instagram...

Yet another week showing our lives via Instagram...
One thing I love about jumping into this little link thing is that it keeps me accountable to actually
take a few pics of our week!
I love that by Friday I always have a few pictures to post about!
You should give it a try! It's a great way to count your blessings! : )

It was baptism Sunday this past week! I love baptisms!! I cry every time...every time! 
It was cold, people...next time I think we need to warm the water first! HA!

Gavin was having a silly moment with Teddy and Monkey...love him!

I mean, look at that face!!

I was feeling a bit puny this week...thank goodness for Emergen-C! It's amazing...
and tastes pretty good too!!

I LOVE our porch...the days are getting cooler, but it's still a great space to just sit...
or sometimes escape the craziness that's going on inside the house...ha!

Things are a bit tight here at the Otts' home...friend of ours brought groceries by
and THIS was in one of the bags. Lord, thank You!! It's my love language...iced coffee!

Yarn, yarn, and more yarn! I've been making some more fall yarn wreaths!
If you want me to make you one...go to my shop and check it out!!!
I'd love to make you one!


Happy Friday! Hope you enjoy your weekend!
I'm spending Sunday afternoon with a friend at the Kane County Flea Market and then
a little inspiration trip to Anthro!!
I'll post pics of the amazing find we dig up!


Linking up...


Thursday, September 29, 2011

I got showed some luv today!

I'm so excited about being given an opportunity for a "shout out"
at the AMAZING blog The Reed Life!




I've been a fan of Shauna's blog for a while now and thought I'd risk sounding crazy
and just send her an email telling her about my new business.
And guess what? She bought one of my necklaces AND showed me some love in her blog post today!!

I'm incredibly thankful! What an amazing opportunity!!

So, go check our her blog!
Not just to see my necklace on this beautiful lady, but also because 
her blog is amazing and you are going to love it!!

Thanks so much, Shauna!! 

credit



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I've gotta testify....

God is so faithful...
Let me just begin by making that known.

Even when we are waiting for breakthrough, for provision, for healing...He is Faithful.
It's just WHO HE IS and it is not determined by the outcome of our circumstances.
He is faithful not matter what the situation's final outcome may be.

This can seem a bit paradoxical to some, to those who haven't felt His heart beat close enough.
For those who haven't hoped and lost and at the end of it determined in their hearts and with all that they are that no matter what
GOD IS GOOD!

Have you determined that for yourself?

Do you REALLY believe that God is good and loves you faithfully forever? That He wants to use this seemingly trying situation in your life as an invitation to draw near to Him and resolve once and for all that He is and always will be good?

God is revealing this truth more each day to Chris and I...as we wait, as we are in need, as we are uncomfortable in our circumstance.
We are CHOOSING to proclaim that our Father sees us, is for us, and will not fail us.

He is endlessly good!
I'm testifying to this now...BEFORE the breakthrough that I am certain is coming.
I am testifying here on the edge of my Red Sea...that God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19
(This verse has even greater meaning to me today! Praise Jesus!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

potential...

I am so excited for this next season with my business Storehouse Crafts!
God has been opening some amazing doors and I can't wait to see 
what all He leads me into in the future.
It's been a fun ride so far!

I've been busy getting materials for the items I'm making for a house show and for a Christmas Boutique here in the Chicago areas!

I love shopping for fabric...
It's my favorite part about having this business actually! HA!
I have the hardest time deciding on the right fabrics...so many cute things to choose from 
and each season there is something new!!

This is the state of my craft room at the moment...


Messy, but so much beautiful color...I love you, Amy Butler fabric! HA!

I love that right now it's just a pile of fabric, but with some work it can become something really great! 
A necklace, a head wrap, a bag...

It has so much potential. 

It's sort of how it is with us...so much beautiful potential. The Master Craftsman comes along and makes us into  something that's not only beautiful, but also purposed and a blessing to others.

I love it when He speaks to me through the mundane and ordinary. Jesus is so sweet to whisper to us throughout the day if we're only willing and disciplined enough to listen.

I'm hard at work...hopefully I'll be able to post some peeks of things I'm making over the next few weeks! I am trying my hand at some new things and hoping they come together! We'll see! HA!

For now, I've listed a few new things in my shop! Stop by and take a look!

If you're looking for something to bring some Fall cheer to your door...


If you're looking for a new fall hair accessory...

Yes, I am my own model...one of these days
I'll have someone to take photos of me for reals! HA!
Or maybe a little something "pretty" for a little lady in your life...

Isn't she adorable?! 

Hope you're having a wonderful Monday!!!



I'm linking up today...


Friday, September 23, 2011

Our life via Instagram...

Here's a glimpse at our week...


This past weekend, Chris' dad came in town to visit! It was a beautiful weekend and we spent Saturday morning downtown. We had breakfast and then walked around the incredible French Market. I'm so excited about apples in the fall here...apple crisp, apple pie, apple turnovers...okay you get the picture.


Gavin enjoying a toasted marshmallow hot chocolate... I know! One of many treats to be found at the Market. Hoping to go there for some homemade donuts soon!


I got my new business cards in the mail! YAY! Business things like this are my favorite...like getting new school supplies only prettier! I can't wait to work on some packaging ideas I have!
These were designed by the amazing ladies at Life Made Lovely Designs.
They have done an amazing job on all my design stuff!


Sawyer in my all time favorite footed jammies! I am seriously sad when my boys outgrow these because I love them so much!!


A photo I took for my recent series "The Birth of Something New"...
you should check it out!!


Sweet Bear at the park...I'm pretty sure we live here right now! We go almost every day from about 4:00-5:30pm. It's a blessing in those hours when the boys are restless and Chris hasn't gotten home from work yet! So thankful that it's just across the street and I will cry when the snow comes and my Texan boys are too cold to play there! HA!


Micah stayed home from school two days this week because he had a cold...it was a blessing to have him home though and lots of park time with my buddy.


Gavin rarely leaves the house without some part of a costume. Today he wanted to Batman mask.
He's amazing!


Micah also enjoys dressing up....like a Power Ranger/Transformer??
Weird looking, but okay! HA!

Hope you had a great week! Take some pictures this week...it's so fun to remember the little moments that we so easily take for granted...

I'm linking up with...

Series: The Birth of Something New (#4 Faith=Risk)

In June of this year, we felt the Lord clearly speak that the waiting season was over and He was calling us to make the move to Wheaton, IL. We had no job, no home, and no idea how it was practically going to come together...but we knew that God had been orchestrating this whole thing since the beginning and we were going to "go for it."

GO FOR IT.

That was what we felt like He said. Risk it. Have faith and move forward. Watch Him make a way.

I had always wanted something like this to be a part of my "testimony," but I don't know that I was ever willing to really put myself in that uncertain place. It's one thing to talk about it...it's another thing to really do it! Real faith involves some sort of RISK! If you do not find yourself at the end of yourself...then you're not at the place where God comes sweeping in. You get to that place where it's totally in God's hands and faith rises to believe that God really is who He says He is and He really does love us as much as we've always thought He did. It becomes more then words. It becomes an ever waking reality. It's standing on the edge of a cliff and jumping. It's freedom!

"He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle." Psalm 107:7

This is what we felt like the Lord promised. He was going to make a way. So, on August 11th, we packed up our moving truck and made the two day drive to Illinois. We were expectant, a little nervous, and a lot excited to see what God had in store for us. A friend had found us the great rental home in the area we really asked God to plant us.

More photos in my previous post

We love it! It's the perfect home for us and we're so thankful for it! He is so good to not only provide for our needs, but to meet the desires of our hearts as well. We moved in and were immediately embraced by this amazing "tribe" here at Antioch Wheaton. It instantly felt like family and it was once again so confirming that God had us here for a purpose.

Daily trusting God and risking is still very real for us as we continue to follow the path that He has set before us. Chris looked for a job for the first few weeks we were here and went on several interviews...while our little bit of savings slowly diminished. But, God was so faithful to provide a job for Chris...not a dream job, but a job that will meet our needs. And we are still believing for a life-giving job for him in the near future!! We daily trust Him to meet all our financial needs as we transition...and He WILL! He is our Provision.

Following Jesus is an amazing journey. He is much more concerned with the state of our hearts then the actual destination. We have learned so much this past year and a half about hearing God, our need for community, the grace to make mistakes, and risking it ALL for His glory. Our hearts have been broken, restored, and enlarged all throughout this process.

It's our story. It's the story of Storehouse Crafts. It's HIS story...and this is just the beginning!

Thanks for reading my little series...I hope you'll jump into this journey with us! Follow our blog and our Facebook page to learn what all is in store for Storehouse and for our family! I think God's going to do some really cool things in the coming months! It's going to be incredible and He will be honored before many.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Series: The Birth of Something New (#3 Storehouse Waiting)

Little did we know...we were about to begin what I refer to affectionately as the "Springdale house" period. We knew, at this point, that the Lord was calling us to Wheaton, IL. We had an offer on our house after returning from Wheaton in October. And we were set to close at the end of December!

But, then what?! Do we move right away? Does Chris quit his job? Do we start looking for a job in the Chicago area?

There were more questions then there were answers at this point, that's for sure!

We didn't feel peace to make the move right away, so we started looking for a temporary place to live in Waco until we felt like the Lord released us to move forward. All the while, we remained with fixed eyes on the promise and path that the Lord has laid before us. Some days it was clouded by anxiety and fear, but He was kind enough to give us clarity to speak against discouragement and to once again fix our eyes on Him...our Author of this great story.

God so graciously prepared the perfect homes for us in this season of transition. We moved out of our home at the beginning of January...we put all of our belongings into storage and stayed at a home near our church for a month while the family who lived there was on a mission trip to South Africa. It was a miracle and it was hard, very hard. We had a few weeks to figure out what comes next. We started looking for rental homes and apartments. It was difficult to find a place that would be flexible with our "limbo" situation. Through the Body of Christ we found a two bedroom home to rent that was just what we needed and it was ours for an amazing price and no rental contract. Praise, Jesus! He's so good!

We unpacked a few things out of storage and moved into our new home. It was small. All three boys shared a bedroom, which was the Lord, because they did AMAZING and now they still share a room and it's perfect. He knew the exact timing for even the smallest details like that, because He loves us. We tried to live life as normally as possible during this season, while Chris travelled and also looked for jobs in the Chicago area. We clung to the scriptures, words, dreams, and pictures He had given us throughout the last year. We remembered.

And we waited...

Sometimes things take longer then we would have liked...

Sometimes God shows up in the waiting places...

When I hear God speak something, I tend to want to run after it immediately...to take off! And sometimes, things happen quickly and miracles happen right away.

Other times, God speaks the dream, the promise, and we wait...we believe...we choose faith.

I'm so thankful for this lesson in enduring that God so graciously taught us. This lesson he taught me about my own personality flaw that needed a bit of refining. The treasure He gave us was that there is MORE of Him to be found in the waiting rooms of our lives.

GRACE.

In this place...in the "Springdale house" season...my business Storehouse Crafts was conceived and birthed.


I had this dream in my heart for God to release a new level of creativity in me and to see that become a business. And not just Storehouse Crafts business, but eventually something even bigger then that...The Storehouse Promise. I am expectant to see how God unfolds this story. I have a feeling it has an amazing ending!

The Storehouse came from a passage in Deuteronomy.

"The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouses of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations, but will borrow from none."
Deuteronomy 28:12

It was a promise for us if we would be obedient. If we would obey Him..."the Lord would send a blessing on [our] barns and on everything [we] put our hand to. The Lord would bless [us] in the land He was giving us." Deut. 28:8

I look back and I see God's fingerprints all over these last 8 months. The ways he opened doors, the way He dug deep into our hearts and brought healing. The ways he took us to new depths in Him. I'm so thankful for the hard road...the path to the Promised Land is a long one.

Will you hold on? Isn't it worth it? Go back and remember His promises today...it will bring forth thankfulness and joy in your weary heart, I promise!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Series: The Birth of Something New (#2 Seek Him with your WHOLE heart)

I said "Yes" to following Jesus into the greater depths. To choose to press into Him even when it was hard and even when it didn't seem like my circumstances were changing. 
I said "Yes"...every...single...day. I got up in the morning and sat on my bed with the word on my lap and The Word met me there. He spoke words of encouragement to my heart and He reminded me 
who I was and who He is. 

He restored my vineyards and he turned my Valley of Trouble into a doorway of Hope. 
He was the key that unlocked more of Himself to me. If I would take Him up and surrender to His unlocking...He would open doors that I never thought I would ever walk through.

{I can't wait to see how many doors he unlocks to me in the future...the Kingdom is wide 
and revelation us uncapped. Thank You, Jesus!}



So, we sought Him for what this "more" might look like for us. After 10 years in Waco, TX, we felt like we were supposed to make a real move. A new city. We listened to the Holy Spirit so gently speaking wisdom in our ears, but the fears spoke louder some days.

Move. "Okay...move somewhere in Texas, right? Move, but not TOO far, right? 
That's what you're saying...right, Lord?!"

WE pursued moving to Austin, TX just an hour or so south of Waco. Our house was on the market. Chris was still traveling every week. We TRIED to make it work and my heart was heavy. 
My heart was striving. It was exhausting!

Finally, after 6 months or so, we needed to go back to the drawing board.
 "Lord, did we hear you right? Why does this not feel right?" 
"Is this just one of those seasons where we need to press through?"

 Then, we remembered feeling like the Lord spoke a city far away when we first started seeking Him all those month before. A city where one of our Antioch church plants was located. 

We prayed again. For 30 days we prayed. 
This time, we said NO to the fears that had latched onto our hearts previously and we abandoned ourselves to the call of God on our lives. 
We were finally FULLY His to lead in whatever way He saw fit. His will. Not ours.

And God spoke.

He spoke Wheaton, IL. He confirmed it on a visit Chris and I took up here in October. He confirmed it again when we got a call at the O'hare airport that we had just gotten an offer on our house after 5 weeks without a single showing. 

He spoke.

And we responded. 

And here we are in Wheaton...it was just that simple, right? Well, not quite...


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Series: The Birth of Something New (# 1 Wilderness)

Thanks for the comments yesterday! I'm encouraged to know that other mom's are on this same journey with me...passionately pursuing God's dreams in the midst of a season of mothering small children. It's a process and I'm so excited to see what God will bring of it!

I want to share some about my journey these past few months and the birth of Storehouse Crafts with you. I thought maybe I'd do a short series of posts over the next week or so! Hope that's okay!

First, I want to talk about my journey into the wilderness that began about a year and half ago. It seems that when we have walked with Jesus long enough, that inevitably He invites us into a wilderness season...that's right...I said "invites us." It's an honor to follow Him into the wild and uncertain and hard. I have found depth in Him that could not have otherwise been found if I had not followed my Jesus into the desert places.

Speaking of the wilderness..

This is the tattoo on my right wrist.


"But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from captivity in Egypt."

Hosea 2:24-15
(NLT)





This is my life passage. God spoke this so clearly over my life when I first came back to the Lord in college. Actually, it was the novel Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers that really stirred this word from God in my heart. I was the wayward wife...I was the wondering and double-minded Gomer. But, Jesus in His mercy lead me into the desert and spoke tenderly to me there.

He continues to speak tenderly to me there.

The wilderness...

I used to think that the wilderness implied a separation from God, a dry season, a trying season. But, I have followed Him into the wilderness and what I found there was more of Him and a greater realization in my heart that I am nothing without Him. That I desperately need more of Him and that sometimes the "MORE" that we are crying out for is only found within the trials of life if we press into Him.

February of 2010, I had Sawyer Bear. He is joy in our family! However, as soon as he was born...my husband started traveling a lot for his job. A LOT. Every week, overnight, three days gone from us. It was hard...I felt alone. I felt overwhelmed. And I cried out for MORE of God. He began to speak that He had something more for us. We clung to that and sought Him for direction. Even as we clung to the promise, though, I felt like this season would overtake me. I was tired, I was empty, I was not being the mommy I so wanted to be to my boys.

But, He had invited me into this wilderness with Him...would I except the offer, or would I run the other way? Would I follow Him into the desert and see the riches of who He is in that place?

I said yes...slowly...but I said yes. And in that place, my heart came alive.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Not On Our Watch"

This past weekend was our World Mandate conference at our home church in Waco, TX.
We were sad to miss it in person, but thankfully we were able to watch a couple of sessions
via live feed on the internet...so thankful!



I'm so honored to be a part of the Antioch movement.
We've given our lives to this tribe and I can't imagine our lives without it.
A community and leadership team that passionately pursues Jesus and His purposes throughout
the earth! It's authentic and real and we're so thankful.


A You Tube video from a World Mandate dance!

A little peak at the worship...via You Tube

We were fortunate to get to hear Christine Caine speak Sunday morning!
I was so challenged by her and inspired to be a woman of action...
to see the injustice of the world and not just have sympathy, but to have "compassion."
To step into people's lives and really make a difference...get into the trenches.

To declare that no longer will we stand by and do nothing while there are 27 million
slaves on the earth. "Not on our watch!"

Take a look at her amazing ministry called The A21 Campaign
You will be rocked!

I was telling my husband that there was something she talked about that really struck me...
Christine is a mom of two small children and her ministry takes her all over the world and her work within the area of trafficking/slavery is risky.
As a mom of three small boys, I sometimes wonder if the BIG dreams of my heart and for justice 
will ever be realized any time soon of if they are dreams for later in my life.
I know that my boys are a big part of my ministry...but I also know that God has stirred my heart
for other things as well and I want to steward those dreams well.

My three little world changers!

I'm asking God to bring clarity to what pursuing these things looks like in this season of motherhood.
I don't want having small children to be something I hide behind when God may be calling me into something bigger them myself and seemingly risky...
I also don't want to step into to something that God hasn't given me and my kids grace for.
I'm believing for greater clarity here and I hope maybe you'll do the same!
What are the BIG dreams and passions that God has stirred your heart for?

Maybe trafficking, prostitution, hunger, AIDS, adoption, foster care, single mothers, widows, education, medical missions...I could go on and on.

He has something for you to grab hold of!
Maybe it's giving financially, maybe it's taking a short term trip, maybe it's risking everything and making it a vocation or praying through a move to another nation!

Whatever it is...God has BIG plans for mommies!
He wants to use you to cultivate a heart for justice in your children!
I want to be an example of a freedom fighter to my boys...to show them that 
the Church is God's tool for bringing change in the world and that they have a role to play.

Here's some amazing organizations that might stir a passion in you today!

That's just a few...do you have some great organizations that excite you?!?!


I'm linking up...



Friday, September 16, 2011

Our life via Instagram...

Today I'm linking up with Life Rearranged.



So, here's moments from our week via Instagram!



The weather this past weekend was Ah-mazing! We went downtown to the "pretty park." It's so peaceful there and there is NO playground. So, if forces my boys to really run free and pretend play, which I love!



Sawyer carried this apple around the whole time...eat a bite, walk around, drop apple, pick it up, eat some more and repeat. EW! HA!



Sawyer spent the entire morning running errands in the rain with me on Monday. 
Sweet Bear! He is a trooper!



The boys found the wagon in the garage...they made Sawyer wear a helmet...
not quite sure why, but I felt better with him wearing it! 



Gee sent costumes with Papa on his visit this week! Micah has been obsessed with his new Thor hammer and helmet. He looks so intense right here! HA!


Hope you have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

HELLO FALL!

FALL is here...
(well at least it's almost here...)

I'm so excited for this season in Wheaton...a real fall with maybe some pretty leaves changing.

To kick the season off I decided I wanted to make a wreath for our front door.
(If you know me, you know I love a good wreath! HA!)

I loved this ONE I saw on Pinterest.

I decided to give it a go...


I bought the form with a 50% off coupon, one thing of the cheapest yarn, and about 4 sheets of felt.

CHEAP, ya'll!


I did a little hand sewing to add to some of the leaves.


Hello FALL!

I'm linking up to Life Made Lovely today!