It's going to be a big week around here, friends, my most ambitious one yet for this 31 Days project. Having run out of room to stretch my goals sheets out in a line across the fridge, I've compiled all of the previous goals that I'm keeping from the three weeks prior and added the new ones--onto one 8.5x11 sheet of paper. My writing got smaller and smaller and it still barely fit.
Here it is (you may need to click to enlarge):
The first half of the list consists of things that I've already begun to turn into habits. They happen fairly naturally at this point.
- I still need to drive a bunch of things around town and return them to people. Why is that so important? Three reasons:
1. I don't want them sitting out as clutter without a place to belong.
2. I refuse to assign them a permanent storage location because they don't belong here.
3. Just the knowledge that they are in my possession takes up space in my brain that I could use for more important thoughts.
- I do still have more business things to clean up and take care of. I'm making progress, but can do more.
- Clean our bedroom. Whoosh. That's going to be a big job, but it NEEDS to be done so badly. I can't wait for the day that my bedroom is a pleasant place to be and I don't have to run downstairs to see that the door is closed and blocked by laundry baskets every time I see someone coming up my driveway--just in case. Bleh. MUST ACCOMPLISH THIS ONE.
- Kids' bedrooms. This is less important to me because we do already have a rule that they can't have friends over if their rooms are messy, so they do clean these occasionally. My standards have been low, however, and that will step up this week.
- Reorganize linen closet. The good news is that most of the linens are clean all at the same time right now, so it will be easier to see what is going to fit and what really just needs to go into storage or to Goodwill.
- Order invitations for fundraising event. I'll tell you more about this one at the end of the post, in the "really cool touch from God" part. So cool.
The rest of the list is more of the routines that I've been working to establish. These evening habits have been more difficult for me as our evenings are a little crazy and I'm naturally a night owl, so I tend to get a big burst of energy about 9 PM. If I'm not intentional about slowing down, I find myself up half the night which, of course, makes mornings difficult. I'm really going to try to be consistent in this evening routine thing this week and see if I can get it down.
Ok, now for the fun part.
I've shared with you already that we are hoping to adopt. In case you haven't heard, though, international adoption is not cheap.
Not at all.
Looking at the figures and comparing them to our income and bank statements, it is just not possible for this to work.
Not at all.
But we serve a mighty God, the one who owns the cattle on a thousand hills or the Apple electronics products plugged into a thousand chargers or whatever motif works for you. He does not ever wring his hands over a lack of finances.
NOT AT ALL.
So we are moving forward, even though it doesn't make any sense on paper. We had the idea a couple of weeks ago to throw a big ol' community fundraiser shindig, as we do have some experience organizing big events and we have a bunch of contacts in the local art world, as well as the chamber of commerce and assorted other broad social connections. This fundraiser would not be specifically for our Christian friends. On the contrary, it would be aimed at our huge base of non-Christian friends and contacts here (some may be Christians, of course, but our connections with them are not church or ministry-based). Our thought was that they should be given the opportunity to support a wonderful cause, too, and in the process, learn a little about the way God loves--all without having to step into a church, which they would be unlikely to do. We could create an event that is just their style, a happenin' night out where they could dress up, enjoy a live band, eat good food, participate in a silent auction, etc. We are country folk and love chances to do things like this.
We thought we should do this event before Christmas this year, so that people could use it as an opportunity to buy gifts for the holidays. But that is coming fast. We began looking around for a venue at which to hold the event, but were discouraged. There are very few nice places in our little valley that are big enough for an event of that nature. There are a few nice places that aren't big, and a few big places that aren't nice, or else we could move the event into Missoula, only 40 minutes away, but really not our community anymore. Worse yet, all of the venues come at a cost--some higher than others, but nothing is cheap. To get the kind of place we really want, we would have to go to Missoula (blah) and spend a lot of money (blah).
I was discouraged. Was this really an idea that was in line with God's purposes for us, or were we just making this up on our own and hoping God would bless it? I just didn't feel at peace with any of the venues, but the venue is essential. Nothing can move forward until the venue is secured.
Several days ago, I had a chat with God about the situation. I reminded Him (as if He needs that!) that He has put this dream of adoption into all of our hearts and that we have no money for it. I told him (as if He didn't know!) that I wasn't feeling at peace with any of the venues I had checked out. I asked Him if He would confirm that this idea was within His will by doing something crazy (is this ever a really good idea?). I declared that I was willing to give up the idea of the event altogether unless He made clear to us what would be the perfect venue, and to take it one step further, just to confirm that it was really from Him, would He arrange to give us the room for free?
Free! That's just crazy. We needed a big room, an attractive room, a room with a kitchen, space for a band to play, someplace really special, and I wanted it for free. That's pretty impossible, right? Some places will give a discount for a non-profit organization, but nothing is free. But when the impossible comes true, that's a God thing and this event would fail anyway if it wasn't a God thing and we just pushed it through on our own strength.
I kissed the event good-bye and let it be, moving my brain on to the many other pressing needs of life.
That was several days ago.
This afternoon, driving home from church, Andy turned to me (I hadn't told him about my little rap session with the God of the universe about the event) and said, "So what are we going to do about this event?"
I knew I had set it aside in my brain, permanently on hold unless God came through with an impossible solution, but I wasn't ready to discuss that with him yet, so I just shrugged it off. "I don't know," was my noncommittal reply, and I hoped the subject would change.
But it didn't. He continued:
"What about Scott and Lois' place? They might let us do it there."
Epiphany! I hadn't thought about their place. They are custom furniture clients of Andy's, two pieces so far and two more just commissioned, and live in a huge, incredible home that used to be a retreat center up in the hills above our valley. They are solid Christian folks and have told us many times that they are open to using the retreat center's main meeting room for ministry opportunities. The main meeting room is awesome. They don't use it as part of their home, but it is attached to the house. It is huge and really attractive. It recently housed a wedding with 370 guests. Seriously. It has a stage. It is in a beautiful location. It has a kitchen attached. How did we never think about this room before? I wondered aloud.
He said he had awoken in the middle of the night thinking about it and thought about waking me up to talk about it, but didn't. He went back to sleep and forgot about it again, until that moment.
He asked if I might want to call Lois right then as we drove. I did. She was immediately thrilled with the idea and completely refused my offer of any sort of compensation for using the room.
Let's see. It's big enough. It's in our valley. It's attractive. It's not a church. It has a stage for the band. It has a kitchen. It's free.
Yes, I would say God did that. The event is on. That will definitely add to the activity level of this week, but that's ok. God is in it. We are all about following where God is leading. This should be really fun.
Let's get at it this week, friends! Let's start strong. Let's emerge from the chaos. I'd love to hear your own stories.