Building Up

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Chris and I are in the middle of a quite-extensive remodel project. It’s been an experience, to say the least. For over two months, all six members of our family have lived in 538 square feet of basement with no kitchen and one small bathroom. I could probably write a whole post on this alone, but let me try to move this blog into the direction I set out to begin with: a direction with less pee on the toilet seat and more inspiration… Home building.

For the first few years of our marriage, Chris and I were in the home-building business. I know it’s a far cry from ministry, but Chris owned a construction company, and I owned a home design company. We were a team and we both loved what we did. We spent many days (and evenings) making sure each house we set out to build was built well. I drew the plans to reach their maximum functionality, and Chris spent his days on jobsites making sure everything was built properly. Sometimes it was fun, and sometimes a messy, dirty, and ugly job. But every house got built, and you know what? Not a single one fell over. Why? Because we built the houses to a code.

Imagine if we set out to build those houses with no guidelines? What if we placed each board wherever we pleased? Some studs might be 6 inches apart, while others were 6 feet apart. What if we ran the gas lines wherever we felt like it, and wires hung loosely out of sockets? What if the shingles were haphazardly placed on the roof, and accidental gaps were left unpatched? I’ll tell you what would happen: A giant bonfire. That house would either blow over and become a pile of lumber, or it would catch fire and become a pile of ashes.

I think we can all agree in observance of our own lives and the lives of others around us, is that the families inside of each of those homes are the same way.

With no guidelines, there is chaos. With no care, there is neglect. With no communication between parent, child, or spouse, there is disorder and separation.

Proverbs 14:1 speaks directly into my life as a wife and a mother. I think of it often, and remind myself on days when I’m weary that I desperately want to be the wise woman who builds her house.

A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1

I have watched women who have truly built their homes – determinedly and faithfully; and I’ve watched with a broken heart as women rip theirs to the ground. Maybe it was an earth-shattering event like an affair; or maybe it was quiet, subtle, and slow – bitterness, control, or self-interest. But there is one thing we all know about homes that are torn down or are one nail-slip away from collapsing onto itself: they can be rebuilt. And that can start today.

What if we – my ever-failing self included – became women who thought intentionally about building up our homes? When I utter that comment to my husband: Did I build him up or tear him down? When I discipline my children: Did I correct and build their character or did I simply crush their spirit into submission? The way I spend my time: Did I build up my soul, mind, and heart, or did I end up feeling depleted and like I was running and getting nowhere?

What if we made the kind of sacrifices we would never regret? An extra hour of our undivided attention for our spouse, thirty minutes less of phone-surfing around our kids, biting our tongue when we want to let it loose, getting a babysitter to take one child at a time to do something special, or dedicating ourselves to working on our downfalls like impatience…This list can go on and on.

How I hope we will be a generation of women who build up our family and loved ones. May we see them and the potential within them as gifts from God. May our homes be designed to HIS code, raised in HIS grace, and built to last.

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Just Add Love: your Sozo cookbook is waiting!

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Our cookbook is finished! I must admit, I have tried several of the recipes and they are fantastic! Chris and I have already discussed that some of them will be new staples at our house.

The book turned out to be 87 pages of 192 recipes! WOW! I love it because they aren’t just recipes – they are the senders’ favorite recipes – tried and true! A perfect mix of weeknight dinners, snacks & sweets and special occasion recipes, you will love thumbing through these pages to find new staples for your loved ones.

I want to tell you a few cool features of the book:

  1. It’s a PDF file. You can open it with Adobe Reader. It’s ready for viewing, searching and referencing whenever you please!
  2. You can print it. (At home or even have it bound at a print shop!)
  3. You can keep it on your iPhone, iPad or Android device, too! (I have already used this feature at the grocery store when I needed to check a recipe ingredient. AMAZING!)   The best way to use the cookbook on these devices is to get the Adobe Reader App – this lets you search the whole book for a certain recipe, ingredient or word. I’ll put directions on how to do this at the end.**

I really cannot thank you enough for "buying" the book. By doing so, you not only have a way out of your cooking rut, but you help Helen Smith – a beautiful Christian missionary who runs an orphanage in Costa Rica. Helen lost her husband in January of this year (2012), and 100% of the money you gave for this book benefits Helen.

To buy a book, all you have to do is donate a minimum of $10 to Helen at this link: https://secure.piryx.com/donate/E3Qb1spn/Dennis-Smith/ and forward the receipt to: sozowomen@gmail.com.

I will send the book as soon as I get the receipt.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

YOU are the hands and feet of Jesus!

All my love,

Bre’anna Emmitt

www.sozowomen.com

**To use the cookbook in the Adobe Reader app:  For the iPhone and iPad you first download the app. Then, open your email and pull up this message. Open the cookbook attachment. You should see the cover of the book. Touch the arrow in right-hand corner of the the screen, and choose ‘Open in "Adobe Reader."’ Voila! (PS- I have never used an Android phone, but I know they have this app, too.)

…to help the orphan AND the widow.

Since my hubby is using our fundraiser as an example at church this weekend, I am reopening recipe submissions through Monday, March 12! You can donate anytime by clicking here. eCookbooks will be sent out at the end of March! Email recipes to: sozowomen@gmail.com

James 1:27 (NLT) Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

In July, I prayed as we went through the book of James.

I know what it means to help the orphan, Lord. But what does it look like to help the widow?

That prayer became part of my walk with God. It sat in the back of my mind, and I looked for ways to learn what He meant in James 1:27.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago. I felt God calling me to do something with my blog. I prayed about what and immediately felt called to help an orphanage. I spoke with a few friends who have adopted, and also with our Outbound (Missions) Department. It wasn’t that there was a lack of orphanages and organizations – it was quite the opposite!

Lord, show me which one!

Then, out of the blue, I got an email from John David Martinez, a staff member of our church who has a beautiful heart for the orphan and missions.

In that email, the Lord answered both prayers. Which one? This one. How can I help the widow, as well? With this one.

John David told me about Helen Smith. She’ lost her husband a few weeks ago and is now returning to their home in Costa Rica to run an orphanage for disabled children – alone.

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And then, I realized: God was answering my prayer. Here, he was not only giving me an opportunity to help the orphan, but also to help the widow.

And this is where YOU step in! Here’s the plan:

A lot of traffic to this blog is driven by recipe searches. I love a good recipe, and obviously, many of you do, too!

Remember how churches used to have fundraisers with “Church Recipe Books?”

Well, we’re going to modernize it!

  1. You email in your best recipe – make sure they’re your BEST! Send in as many as you’d like. Email to: sozowomen@gmail.com (Please put them in the body of the email and not in an attachment.) Deadline: 2/29/2012
  2. I’ll compile them all together in an organized PDF eBooklet.
  3. You donate a minimum of $10 to Helen, Use this link to donate.
  4. Forward your Donation Receipt to sozowomen@gmail.com (After you donate, the secure web site will send a receipt to the email you entered.) You can do this any time – starting now! You just obviously can’t get the eBook until all the recipes are in and put together.
  5. I’ll email YOU our eRecipe book!

We want a variety of recipes: family friendly, fun or fancy – so send them in! If you want to put any descriptions on them (i.e. healthy, easy, great for entertaining, kid-friendly, etc), that’d be really helpful!

And lastly, tell your friends! Share this link with all of your cooking & baking friends. Let’s make this big!

Mommy Resolutions. {A different kind of New Year goals.}

When Daniel (our oldest) was a little over a year old, I realized that the baby stage was quickly turning into the toddler stage. My concerns were suddenly switching from:

Did he eat enough fruits and veggies today?

to:

How do I direct this little person on the right path?

I watched as his wills developed. I watched as he reached his chubby little hand directly toward the object I just told him not to touch. All while watching me to see my reaction.

I knew then that if I was supposed to get through age 2, 12, and 16,

I needed a set of rules. Not for him. For me.

And as the busy-ness of life multiplies with each child, I am ever-more reminded of the weight of motherhood.

How I long for these precious children to grow up loving God. And how I ache to be the kind of mother who Continue reading

Growing Years

Today, it was Daniel’s first day of preschool.

I navigated my car through the parking lot filled with mothers and children. Hand in hand, they walked into the building. I parked the car while blond-headed Daniel took his lunchbox in his grip, hopped down from his booster seat and shut his door.

Through my open door, he looked at me as I gathered my purse and keys.

Bye, Mom!” He beamed. He gave a big wave and began to turn toward the building.

“Well, Daniel! I am going to walk you to your class!” I laughed as I thought about him thinking he would walk across the full parking lot, cross a driveway, go through the big double doors and find his class on his own.

Needless to say, he has been ready for preschool!

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We walked to his class, where he immediately sat down and started working on some play dough.

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…and that darn lump rose in my throat.

Just four years ago, I was exactly as far along in my pregnancy as I am now. (All three of my due dates have been within 10 days of each other.) Watching him mold the dough, I saw him as a newborn. Swaddled up tightly, snuggled gently to my chest in a dimly lit hospital room.

Now here I stood, in disbelief that he was old enough for preschool, had a brother, and a sister almost here.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as his teacher (a beloved family friend whose son grew up with Chris) put her arm around me and said, “I know. I did the same thing. Enjoy these moments. When he goes off to college you’ll cry for weeks. It’s just part of it.”

I left before I really got crying and, I must say, thoroughly enjoyed one-on-one time with David. We’ve never really had it – and it was sweet time. He is quite the entertainer and did his best to make me laugh all day long. He succeeded!

We picked up Daniel five hours later, and these two boys acted like they hadn’t seen each other in years.

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Five hours is a long time to be away from your best friend!

We came home, had fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies and milk…

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…and the boys went down for their nap.

(Truth be told, I can still hear them talking in their room – an hour later. They need their sleep, but they missed each other so much I’m letting it slide!)

These years are so precious. It’s days like these that remind me of the brevity in raising children. I heard the other day,

“The days are long, but years are short.”

 

Taming the Tongue

Ever leave an aggravating situation and think of a hundred really good insults you could have hurled at them? You replay the situation over in your mind, each time thinking of a better… and better …way to verbally punch them in the gut. You may have left the situation defeated, but in your car on the way home, You. Were. Victorious.

Yeah, I’ve done that too. Continue reading