Monday, March 2, 2015


In this life we will face struggle.  That's a given.  We live in an imperfect world and there's an ongoing battle between good and evil day in and day out. It's exhausting thinking about the choices that we are faced with everyday.  Choices that define us, and eventually determine the type of person we are and the amount of respect we receive from people.  Choices that can build people up, and just as easily break them down.  They can hurt, and they can heal.  They can damage, and they can restore.  That's the beauty of it, but that's the ugliness of it too. 

When we know who we are in Christ and what's important to us, choices aren't as difficult to make.  There aren't any moral gray areas, and there aren't any blurred lines.  Our hearts are convicted before we even begin to act on a choice if we are close with our Savior.  And this conviction keeps us from hurting people we love through shallow decisions that have deep consequences.  So I guess what I'm saying is... it's great that we can control our own choices, but what about when someone else's choices hurt us? What then?  It's not our fault when someone makes a choice that hurts us.  How is it fair that we have to deal with the pain of someone else's selfishness?  Well, it isn't.  But life isn't fair and we certainly weren't promised that we wouldn't face struggle during our time here.  But we do have a Savior that can pull us out of the darkness if we let him and turn our pain into the fulfillment of his will for our lives.

We can either allow God to work in our hearts and reflect him in the way we respond, or we can hinder him from using the situation for a much greater plan than we could ever imagine by allowing the damage done to us to change who we are.  When this happens, we interfere with the work he is trying to complete within us and within the people surrounding us.  There is always a purpose for our pain.  That doesn't make it hurt any less, but it certainly makes us stronger in our faith if we trust Him instead of questioning why we go through things and allowing our pain to make us bitter. 
 Satan wants to creep into our hearts and minds when we are weak any way that he can because that's how he wins.  That's why when we are faced with things we are tempted to deal with them in a worldly way.  We can either fight the fight to get even much to Satan's delight, or fight the good fight to receive a reward in heaven by trusting God and holding our peace. Of course retaliating or hurting someone back might make us feel better for a time...but at the end of the day we have the consequences of our choices as well. So we're already dealing with the consequences of someone else's choice, but now we're going to have to stack another layer of consequences on top of that one for taking it upon ourselves to 'win the battle'.  And still, nobody wins.
This past year has probably been the hardest one I've faced when it comes to being hurt by people that I love... people that are supposed to love me back.  And the struggles keep rolling.  Just when one storm calms it seems I am faced with a new one.  I've finally come to grips with the truth that hurting people hurt people.  It isn't my fault and it isn't my responsibility to save them.  I know that this season of my life won't last forever and that God is using difficult times for some great reason, and I have to remind myself of that every time I find myself in a dark moment.  I've learned that the only true way to win in this life is to stand firm in my faith and be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Putting on the full armor of God so that I can take my stand against the devil's schemes even when I'm at my weakest point. And responding to the many challenges I face in this life with peace in my heart, knowing full well that God has a plan for my life and that His plans are far greater than mine. 

I just want to encourage anyone who is struggling or going through something, to find rest in the Savior.  He is perfect, constant, and will never leave you.  And when the burden feels too heavy to bear, that's because it is.  God wants us to hand it over to Him and only then can we find peace in our hearts and minds.  The deepest level of worship is praising God through the pain that we face in this life and remaining thankful no matter the circumstances. He will carry you, just as he has me.

Monday, January 12, 2015

House Tour [Betz Raines Plan]

Well guys, I can honestly say I've never been happier to say goodbye to a year. 
What I thought would be the most wonderful year of our lives building our home and making beautiful memories there...turned out to be the most difficult one yet.  I watched a lot of people I love hurt...which in turn broke my heart.  There's beauty in brokenness though.  Because that brokenness led to me seeking the Lord with everything that I have.  And he pulled me through all of it with a deeper appreciation for the simple things in life and a strong desire to focus all of my attention on loving Him. 
So yes, I love my home and I'm very thankful for it.  But it didn't mean anything when my world felt like it was falling apart.
Things are falling back into place now though and my heart is whole again.  And our home is now filled with joy and happiness, and lots of hope that comes straight from the Lord.
So I know after all that you're probably thinking, "Why the heck would she post a house tour now?"
Well, because I have some pretty awesome readers.  And a very sweet family is getting ready to build a home using the same plan we used and wanted to see some photos before they get started.
This one's for you Lindsay.  Many blessings to you and your family as you begin building your beautiful home. :)

Everyone please keep in mind that my house is nowhere near fully decorated.
And my baseboard length curtains are totally on purpose because I would rather commit house-decorating-suicide than have to pull those things off of the rods each week and wash them because my dogs are impossible to train.  It is what it is. :) 


One day we will have our closets professionally redone with nice shelving and things, but that was so not in the budget.  What we have is perfectly practical though.


That "A" will soon adorn a wall somewhere.  Just haven't figured out which one yet. ;)

 Note to self:  Never ever buy a white rug again.  Ever.  And don't judge the playroom.  A playroom is a playroom y'all.

There you have it.  Our partially decorated home. :)
I wouldn't change a thing about the plan.  Check back in about a year. That might change.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Well Christmas came and went just as fast as it always does.  :(  I hate to see it go, but I love to watch it leave as my bank account slowly starts to recover.  It was lovely and relaxing and filled with lots of happiness and much needed family time!  It almost went along without a single hitch...except for one little thing. 
Twas two nights before Christmas and mommy was at the store. 
Kollyns' Daddy forgot to guard the basement door. 
She crept down the stairs to let the dog inside
And saw something that Santa was trying his best to hide. 
 Her trampoline was too big for his sleigh.
So he brought it to her house before Christmas day.
It actually was for the best though, because we got all of our jumping out of our system before Christmas so we didn't have to spend all of Christmas day on the trampoline!  Yay!
My favorite part of Christmas is always the tree and the warm glow of pretty lights.  Every morning I would enjoy the peace and serenity of my cozy, quiet living room while I read the Bible and thanked God for this wonderful life and the gift of His son.  It's the perfect setting this time of year to reflect on His blessings and bask in His love.  I sure will miss the decorations...but don't worry, they will be up again the day after Halloween next year. ;)
Homemade ornaments are the best kind.  I never thought I'd be the type to have this kind of thing hanging from my tree.  But now I wish I had a tree full of these because I love them so.
Christmas always brings lots of dinner dates.  Which means mama doesn't have to cook as much.  Which is great. ;)

We celebrate Christmas at my dad's house the weekend before so we aren't so rushed on Christmas day!  We were so excited to spend time with them and I was so happy to have my babies by my side that night.  Devin always has to work on Christmas so it was nice having him there for this one!

Kollyns was so not interested in family photo ops.  She wanted to play with her toys instead.  Can't blame her.  Christmas is so magical as a kid! :)

My parents realized how badly I needed shoes since I'm still rocking my moccs from 4 years ago and all of my Toms were looking pretty sad. 
So this my friends... is shoe heaven.  I'm in love.

And why not get a new tattoo of your daughter's name on Christmas? 
Although I think he has plenty as it is, it's still sweet. 
Don't worry.  He didn't leave me out.  My name was on his side before we were even engaged.
This y' how he proclaims his love. :)

And Christmas isn't Christmas without chocolate cake.  Yummy.

We always celebrate on Christmas Eve night with my mom's side of the family.  These are some of my favorite girls. :)

And after cleaning up 500 yards of balled up wrapping paper, daddy and mommy geared up to clear a path to the fireplace so Santa could deliver Kollyns' presents.

We had to leave him the whole plate of cookies because Kollyns just knew he would be super hungry.  He drank all of the milk but only took three bites of the cookies.  I think he opened the fridge and dug into the chocolate cake instead.  Or at least I know that's what mommy did.

She was one happy little girl.  I think I'm enjoying her toys as much as she is.  We play grocery store every. single. night.
My favorite gift had to be the Keurig 2.0.  This thing is a dream.

The day after Christmas was spent playing and playing and playing.  While mommy drank one cup of coffee after another.  The fact that I can brew a whole carafe now is the best.  
And FinLee fell victim to Kollyns' new hair chalk while I was taking a load of Christmas decorations to the basement. Poor thing.  He's still orange and pink.  Good thing he's due for a grooming soon.

And just like that...the house is back to normal and Christmas is another year away.

But even after the glow of Christmas fades, He paints the sky as a reminder that all of life is beautiful because we have the gift of a sweet savior.  Even during the not so decorated months. ;)
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!