Monday, July 29, 2013

There and Back Again

I really want to press forward and tell you what's going on now, but looking back at the Empty Buckets Blog, there is so much we left out. I really need to figure out how to add admins so other people can write here. I tried, but I am computer illiterate.

I will go back later to fill in more....

Earlier this spring the Empty Bucket family got together, for what now, I cannot remember. It must have been April because it was Vicki and Darryl's anniversary and Kathy's birthday. Kathy made dinner for us all and I wish I had a picture of us all crammed around her table. It was wonderful! I think it was one of the first times we had all been together since our trip to El Salvador. It felt like family again right away. Some how the idea of us all having a life group together came up again and everyone seemed ready to do it. Life had beaten us all up a little and the last time we all were in a life group together we all were left a little lost, I think it is fair to say.

On my family's part, we have been severely lacking community. We finally joined a small group at church, but everyone lived far enough away that getting together during the week just wasn't really realistic. E.J. and I were craving more. I don't even think we told our EB friends that our small group from church had essentially, I think maybe just a week before this dinner had basically imploded, I think I'm supposed to say it dissolved but that's all I have to say about that. Any ways, we were looking for people to really do life with and to grow in Christ with.

Our EB friends/family are people who are like minded already and it seems like God just made us all available to be able to join together again. Things haven't been perfect, we have had and still do have some things to work through relationally, but have had several meetings about what community together might look like.

It only took a few conversations to get to a point of, hey, we really should combine resources and start a debt snowball again and, hey, maybe you guys should move in.

Not everyone is ready to move into one house, not that we have a big enough house to do that, but we are almost all ready to live interdependently again. We still believe that God can do more with us together than apart. I think some of the others will join us one day in a larger community house, when life circumstances change a little. But for now just two families will combine and we have already started the debt snowball, starting with someone not living in the house. We really want to make sure we are more intentional this time about getting together and serving together and staying on mission, all of us, not just the families living together.

 I think we all, inside the house and out learned some things from the last communal living project. I think that I maybe didn't learn the most, but changed the most. I ended up just being in a bad spot. I was a stay at home mom of a 3 year old boy watching the world go by, in someone elses house. I think our cats lost 10 pounds and I found 40. Our cats and other things just became a distraction and the opportunity to live in the little white house again opened up, so we took it. Rent is cheap enough that we could still participate in the debt snowball, so over all it didn't feel like we were bailing on the whole project. It also didn't feel like we made a mistake by moving in. We felt like we were being obedient to a call God put on our lives to simplify and invest in others to further his kingdom, and moving out was just an open door to peace in my heart I guess, and we took it.

At the time my parents lived down the road and Jack and I especially, stopped by there quite often. If I were healthier person, I guess I would have signed up for a MOPS group or found some friends with kids, but I never really did that.

After our EB life group stopped meeting, pretty much because no one could ever really make the commitment to each other to keep it going, E.J. and I were pretty much left without community, and found ourselves to be pretty lonely to be honest. Not to mention, we moved our selves all the way back out to the country. But I think having only one child, leaves room for a lot, and not a lot of other people have as much room.

WOW, I guess I made it back a ways after all.

As I said, the new debt snowball started and the first debt on the list is already gone, praise the LORD. E.J. and I and our son Jack are moving in with Dawn and Brian and their little guy Parker the weekend of September 20th. No pets to complicate things, sadly we lost both of them this past May. As far as my mental state, well, I'm still a stay at home mom but Jack is 6 now and goes to school full day, and I am able to participate fuller in the world instead of watching it go by.

We are also all starting to meet again regularly and are looking to grow together in Christ, by simplifying our lives and living in community together, and being an example to others.

I am taking our first trip of belongings for the storage space in Dawn and Brian's house, I didn't start going crazy buying new things when we moved out of the Vann's, so we still have less to move that ever before, but it will still be a process.

Dawn has started ridding herself of some things as well. She took all of Parker's old baby things to a mom to mom sale and even was able to give a lady a ton of clothes for very little cost, to take back to Mexico.

Please pray for opportunity for us to be able to bless others in this simplifying process, and pray that our hearts will be open to what the Lord has for us.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What is an Empty Bucket?

I have been thinking since we still refer to ourselves as Empty Buckets, there is still more of the story to share.

I guess, when a group of people have a name for themselves and gather together often and do things together often, having a name is helpful to be mindful of purpose.

This is only my personal version of how to tell you what Empty Buckets are and what has gone on and how you can be an Empty Bucket on your own too.

We are just a group of friends trying to be faithful to God's calling on our lives. We have felt that God has placed on our hearts to not just keep all our talents, treasures and time, to our selves, but to share the gospel with our lives by loving well.

Just in case you were wondering, we don't all go to the same church, and as far as group time and Bible study goes, we actually like that. We are all huge fans of seeing God move through all of the little C's. And when they can come together to be used for God's glory, it is the most beautiful thing to be apart of. It is so sad to me the divisiveness that goes on in the church today. As far as I can tell there is no race to the top and no great eternal award for putting down other churches.

Being an Empty Bucket to me is.....
Being a Christian friend who acknowledges that all they have is from Christ alone. Without God's gracious hand on our lives we would be empty and hurting and alone. With all of God's blessings on our lives our buckets are filled with love and joy and peace and so many blessings that God allows our hearts to overflow so he can use us to fill others, and then they can in turn fill others.
I'm pretty sure only limited good can come from a bucket full of stagnant water. So we try and pour out the love of Christ in any way we can, financially, with our time, even in the form of encouragement. I don't know of anyone who is perfect, but having the term empty bucket on my brain helps me to remember that my life is filled with love on purpose and for a purpose, not for my own good, but to further the love and hope that the gospel brings.

pass it on, dump your bucket, seek the Lord and he will be faithful to fill it up again.  EB

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hope Garden and friends

It's Thursday again and for us that means taking dinner to a mission downriver. Every Thursday the Empty Buckets and some friends make dinner to take and serve to our friends. Tonight I am taking a salad. It's actually a really happy salad that screams freshness and God's love. Friends from our life group provided the lettuce from their garden. They brought us some twice now, all cleaned up and dried. It just feels like such a blessing to share the freshest with our friends at the mission who are so used to getting seconds or leftovers. I know our lettuce giving friends think we are crazy for being so excited over just lettuce. It's just that it is just so awesome! It looks and smells so fresh and is so beautiful, and it's free, for us so that helps too. They did give us some cucumbers too, and last week a whole pile of zucchini!!!
We also had some cucumbers from Hope Garden II :)
With plenty of help from my father, I planted a garden at my parents house this summer.I call it Hope Garden. I prayed for each plant as I planted it. Prayed for the mission, for the people there, and especially for the care and growth of the garden, as I am not a gardener naturally.I prayed that God would help us grow something to share with our friends at the mission. To fill there bellies and to feed their souls.To be a witness of Gods love. God has truly been the Gardner there. He has given us plenty of rain to keep it alive, as I do not get there as often as I would like.
Then our lettuce friends said they would love to share their garden with us and the mission as well and even gave us some extra baby plants to add to our garden.
We had so many plants we asked E.J.'s family if we could have some space in their back yard as well. Of course they said yes!!! They are taking great care of God's plants.They have a whole watering system hooked up. We picked seven cucumbers yesterday for the salad today and to just pass out.
Should be a great meal tonight. It feels even more than usual a meal straight from Jesus himself.
I pray that our friends at the mission feel that way tonight too.
Ok so this is forever long, but I do have to just go on about the other part of our meal just for a second. Our EB housemates :) bought and cooked hot dogs. They are just regular hot dogs that I know are not the healthiest for us.... BUT they are another love food.And a favorite at the mission. :) They were purchased by a lady from Vicki's work. She asked Vicki one week if she could buy the food for a WHOLE meal the next time we served. So about two weeks ago Vicki gave her a list of food we would buy for a meal and the cost, and she still said, yes, she would like to pay for the whole thing!!!! We were so excited for God to use her to bless us and our friends!!! We were also excited to be able to purchase everything we needed and still have change to give her back. Turns out she didn't want the change. She had us keep it and so tonight the hot dogs are from her!!! hug*hug***
I have many more love stories about God's provision through our friends and family. It actually makes me sad that I totally have to end this and get ready to go. Food, friends and Hope to be continued....

Monday, July 19, 2010

"Tell me again the story about why it was a good idea to move in with Uncle Darryl and Aunt Vicki!?" Jack asked. I start with that because, well first of all most things I talk about seem to be about Jack, because he is such a large part of my life, and I spend most of my time with him.

The other reason is because it is of course a good question, and one that he and others ask quite often. In short, the answer is because we feel we have been led or "challenged" to try living life a little differently. Feeling that God has more for us to do and that this is one way to be more open to letting that happen.

Over the past few years we have been "challenged" through life groups, Bible studies and life events or opportunities to start to try and simplify our lives. It just has felt like God has totally had his hand on us through the whole process. I truly think it is a gift of sorts, that we think this is a great idea.

Simplifying has come in the form of less things, and less space. We feel that if we can be a little more interdependent we can live fuller lives. Spending more time, energy and money on the things that are truly important to us. Spending less time and money on things that to us seem wasteful, or silly to have just to have. Also, living interdependently, we hope to ease each others burdens a little, burdens that just weigh us down and distract us from the best that God has for us. Also then pouring the same into others, so they can do the same. That's where the Empty Buckets idea comes from. That can be explained more, but not tonight. :)

It is AMAZING to us how God has used this move so far to bless a few other families already. With just our extras! We were able to share a dryer with a friend who's own dryer did work but sounded like it had a basket ball in it. Then the first night we were here, we were sitting in the living room trying to figure out what to do with the extra couch and love seat that we had, and the phone rang. It was Vicki and Darryl's son. He was calling to see if some friends of his could possibly have them because they were currently renting furniture and they couldn't afford it anymore and were going to be returning it soon. I hear the family was very excited to have our extras. :) We were so happy to be able to love them and share a little with them.

Also my friend called me one day before our garage sale and asked if I had any baby things I could donate to a girl she was having a surprise love baby shower for. I didn't think i had anything but as i was telling her no, things just kept coming into my mind. I had a stroller and a bedding set and a credit for a new crib. Which was hilarious how that worked out too. I was going to sell my sons crib just for some extra money, i thought. Then i found out it was recalled, so i sent in for a voucher for a replacement one. Then friends of ours got pregnant so i felt like i should pass it on to them. Well, they didn't feel like they should take it. They wanted us to just sell it or give it to someone who would truly need it. So when I got the phone call about the shower, i knew i was supposed to give it to her. It was so exciting to be able to be apart of , and to feel like I had caught a tiny glimps of a plan that God had his hand on the whole time.

I guess that 's all for right this second. I'm sure I'll think of more. It's late and I still have to wake up the little guy from a very long late nap. The good news is that the two dogs have had some crazy barking fits tonight in the living room,where Jack is sleeping and it hasn't bothered him one bit. The bad news is the dogs and everyone else will be off to bed soon and Jack and I will not.

Empty Buckets: Empty Buckets

Empty Buckets: Empty Buckets: "Empty Buckets Once upon a time.... my three year old son Jack says every story should start with 'once upon a time'... so Once upon a time..."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Empty Buckets

Empty Buckets

Once upon a time.... my three year old son Jack says every story should start with "once upon a time"... so

Once upon a time there were seven people, two dogs and four cats. We're on a little adventure. The past few years of friends, Bible studys, and many long nights of talking dreaming and only a few months of planning have led us here.

Empty Buckets is what we are calling it. It's one of those things we talk and talk about and finally felt like God has put us in the position to finally try. "Poop or get off the pot" kind of thing. My husband and I and our son and our two cats moved in 4th of July weekend. We moved in with some friends of ours and there two young adult children and their two dogs and two cats.

We had some friends over tonight for life group and decided we really should start writing some of this stuff down. I have a really bad memory and I don't know where this is leading or what God has planned for us but I'm pretty sure it's going to be worth remembering.

Please excuse me if I am doing this all wrong. I have never done a blog before and don't pretend to be a good writer.
It's late and I'm tired just wanted to see if I could get started on this.

more to come!!!