New Blog Is Up!!

Hey everyone!  I finally got the switch over to the self-hosted blog!  Yay!  What that means for you is that you now need to change your bookmarks to instead of  I know it’s a minor little thing, but it makes all the difference.  There’s a few posts over there that you’ll have to catch up on because of it!

Also, if you’re a subscriber, you probably got an email from me earlier in the week.  You’ll have to subscribe again on the new site to get the posts emailed to you.  You can also find the posts linked on Twitter.  My user name there is @julespreever or you can search for The Esau Project and like us on Facebook.

I hope you’ll continue reading and subscribing because I’m going to keep writing!  Love you all!


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Take It Slow, My Friend

There are days that go by so fast I barely have time to blink.  Today, however, was not one of those days.  In fact, today crept by so slow that (insert random joke about turtles or snails here that I’m too tired to think up…this one’s on you).

First of all, I got to work on time today.  I need to start making a habit of that.  I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes.  But those 5 extra minutes at work could have thrown off my day.  Who knows.

Secondly, I had almost forgotten that this was the week I was going to go to Catalyst Dallas to go to the conference, see my friend and finally meet the lovely and talented blogger, Bianca Juarez.  I did say almost.  I was actually doing quite well, and fully pleased with my decision to pay off bills…that is until I got this email from B:

“Hey Julie!
If you’re still interested in meeting for coffee, I’ll be gathering up a small group of girls at Lone Star Coffee Bar in Dallas (about two miles from where Catalyst will be held). I’m excited to chat and meet in real life :)”

Sadness abounded after reading that.  I had to send her back an email thanking her for the invite, but that me and Dave Ramsey had to decline.  We had shouted it out all up in my head, but he inevitably won.  And as much as I hate to admit it, he should have.

Man, I am so tired.  I’m tired of paying off bills that should have been paid off years ago.  I’m tired of paying off bills that never should have been bills in the first place.  I’m tired of the lessons I’ll learn from not going to Catalyst Dallas.  Tonight I’m just battle weary and kind of having a little pity party.

I read a blog (go figure) by a guy named Michael Hyatt. He is the former CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers.  Good stuff.  When I read his post this morning, I hadn’t read my email yet.  However, tonight as I read it, it’s encouraging.  As much as I hate to admit it, “I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.  Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?” ~ Nehemiah 6:3

And then as I open up my Jesus Calling devotional on my phone this evening I read this:  “Don’t be so hard on yourself.  I can bring good even out of your mistakes.  Your finite mind tends to look backward longing to undo decisions you have come to regret.  This is a waste of time and energy, leading only to frustration.  Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me.  Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.”

I love how she said that.  “can weave both good choices and bad into a lovely design.”  Sometimes I think, I’m so ready for that.  I forget that right here and right now that as Michael mentioned in his post, there is growth.  “It is God’s work nonetheless, whether he did it in one second or in eighty years.”

I’m hopeful that soon I’ll be out from under this burden.  Actually, I know that very soon I will be.  And I look forward to the day when I get to post on here about this whole journey.  But tonight it’s harder than it should be, even in the midst of all hope.  Hope doesn’t make things easier to deal with.  It just makes us stronger to walk through.

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Word To Your Mutha’

Today is the day we set aside to celebrate our mothers.  I’ve got a pretty stinking awesome one, a couple of pretty cool grandmothers and several pretty cool aunts.  I’m very lucky, and I 100% realize this.  This is why I’m posting these two videos from one of my favorite comedians as a shout out to all you muthas.

Seriously, though, I hope you’re blessed beyond imagination.  For those of you waiting for that day, I pray peace and love and God’s favor upon you.  Love you all!!!

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10 Reasons I Suck At Being An Adult

If you’ve been reading the last few posts, you’ll remember I’ve decided to make Friday a weekly theme.  I’m going to call them the “10 Things” posts.  That is until I can only think of 8 one week, but we’ll burn that bridge when we get there.  So here it goes.  I just decided to get right to it and air all my dirty laundry so you really know who you’re dealing with.

Here goes.

1.  Speaking of dirty laundry.  I hate it.  I don’t sort colors.  I wash everything on warm unless it’s new, I don’t own and iron and there’s no way I’ll ever use bleach again.  Give me Downy Wrinkle Releaser or a wet towel and my dryer any day of the week to get my “ironing” done and I’m a happy camper.

2.  I have no problem letting dishes pile up in the sink until they overflow onto the counter.  It’s just me at the house most times, and I use paper products 99% of the time, so it takes a while.  I don’t have a dishwasher, so the fact that I hate washing the dishes kind of makes it easier for me to look the other way.

3.  I say the word “suck” a lot…around kids whose parents don’t want them to say it.  I try not to, but the way I see it, if my momma has said it in the past, then there’s no way it could be a “bad word.”

4.  Money.  I’m not a great manager, although I’m a heck of a lot better at it than I used to be.  Maybe when I find my other chopstick, he’ll be a lot better at it than I am.  (Yes, you’re going to have to click the link to find out what I’m talking about.  You’ll thank me later.  Well, heck.  You’re welcome.)

5.  I can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning.  And then when I do finally get out of bed, getting to work on time is another story.  The mornings I get up at 6 and work out and run myself short on time are the days I get to work early.  The days I get up at 6 and just start getting ready are the days I’m late.  Then there are the days I don’t get up till 7:15 to be to work at 8:00.  I really have no idea how I will function if I ever have children.

6.  Sometimes my fingers type faster than my brain thinks.  My friend’s Facebook status:  “Hmmm….hair appointment coming up….wonder what I would look like with dark hair. I’m not sure if I’m that brave.”  My comment:  “Do it!! You go dark, I’ll go red…You first, though.”  Seriously.  Red hair?  What was I thinking?  You should have seen the comments come in after that.  I dunno, though.  Maybe it will make me feel a little more sleek.  Will probably make me feel and look like a big goober, though.  But I said it, and I think people are going to hold me to it.  Gotta keep my word.  Maybe I’ll get brave and post pics.  Probably not.

7.  I hate to clean my house.  I have to set aside one day a week to clean.  Otherwise it won’t get done.  Some days it still doesn’t get done.  I’m fixing to go room-by-room and do a deep cleaning.  I figure one of those a year will be good.  I can surface clean and hide in closets the rest of the time.

8.  I leave a lot of projects half-done.  I’ve still got a quilt I’ve embroidered for my nephew’s first birthday to finish up and give to him.  He’ll be 3 in October.

9.  If I’m in the middle of a good book or a good show on TV, you can forget having a conversation with me.  I can’t concentrate anymore with background noise.  I used to be able to have the radio on, the television and still be able to do my homework.  I need silence now.

10.  Organization.  You should see my desk at work.  And my desk at home.  And my closets.  Oh, and my drawers.  My refrigerator.  My cabinets.  My bookcase.  But that’s all right.  I compartmentalize.  My office at home is a mess?  Don’t go in there.  Easy enough.  It’s only when the piles get too tall on my kitchen table that I finally decide it’s time to clear some things out.

That’s the way my life works.  I work a lot.  I play a lot.  But when it comes time to do the not-so-fun stuff, I ignore it until I can’t any longer.  If I keep too busy and don’t give myself any rest time, my body shuts down.  It’s like it’s saying, Julie, you just can’t do this to me anymore.  So today we’re going to stay home.  You’re not going to feel great, but you’ll thank me tomorrow.

It’s in those times of rest and quiet I realize how lucky I really am to be able to work and to be able to play.  And even to be able to clean!

Do you suck at being an adult?  Why?

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We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1999

This is my friend Cathy and her husband Matt.
 This picture was taken about a year ago, I believe, for her 30th birthday celebration at one of our favorite restaurants.

Cathy and Matt have a beautiful story.  It’s one of those stories you can listen to over and over and over again and it never gets old.  At 29 Cathy was diagnosed with cancer.  Since she was so young the doctors thought it would be best if they treated it aggressively as possible so she could have a long and full life ahead of her.  At this time Cathy and Matt were just dating, but they’d been dating for a while.  I thought he was perfect for her, and so did she.

But she was diagnosed with cancer.  If he were going to do it, this would be the time for him to run.  But he didn’t.  He stayed.  And not only did he stay, he decided to let Cathy know that he was in it for the long-haul.  So on a day she shaved her head so it wouldn’t be so traumatic when it fell out due to chemo treatments, he pulled out a ring and asked her to marry him.  ::happy tears::

Wedding plans helped pass the days of chemo treatments and the sickness.  And on the days when she didn’t have the energy to plan or even think about a wedding, he was there for her to lay her head on.  In the next few months, they’ll be celebrating their first year of marriage.  What did I tell you?  It’s a great story.

But before that we’ve got something else to celebrate!  Also during the time of treatments Cathy finished her Master’s Degree.  For someone like me who doesn’t have an associates’ degree, a Master’s Degree is no small feat, but a Master’s Degree during cancer treatments…awesome.  But wait.  There’s more!  It’s also her birthday AND ONE YEAR CANCER FREE!!! WOOOO-HOOOO!!!  We’re totally gonna party like it’s 1999.  And by that I mean play Bocce Ball, cards and probably a few board games.  If we’re lucky, there might be some wine involved.
I love it that my friends like to celebrate.  Seriously, we celebrate everything.  The other night we celebrated my friend finally finding edible mushrooms.  We cooked them, ate them and had a blast.  We’re crazy.  We like being with each other.

And we know how important it is not only to celebrate each other, but to celebrate and encourage each other in every victory, whether large or small.  If we couldn’t celebrate with each other, we couldn’t share or hurts and fears.  A true friend walks through the joy and the pain with you, and sometimes they even carry you.  I’m so thankful to have those relationships in my life.

I stayed with Cathy and Matt a few weeks ago on my way home from a workshop.  I didn’t have a schedule to keep, so they both went ahead and left for work the next morning and just told me to lock up when I left.  When I finally got up to shower, I found a note from Cathy thanking me for visiting and telling me she loved me.  When I went to get my keys to leave, I found a note from Matt under my keys welcoming me back any time.  I walked around a little bit and found some paper and a pen and left them a note right by theirs and told them they made my life better.  Good people make life better.

Encourage each other.  Lift each other up.  Celebrate the joys and walk through the trials.  And when you’re with friends and you’re as comfortable at their house as you are at your own home, that’s the way it should feel.

A good friend is like coming home.

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Like A Thief In The Night

Over the last couple weeks it has rained just about every day.  I’m not kidding.  I love me a good thunderstorm every now and then, but since April 15 we’ve had almost 13 inches of rain.  I’m kind of tired of getting wet every time I go outside.  Fortunately, most of the farmers hadn’t gotten too much planted, and so they haven’t lost a lot of their crops like they have in years past.  This is good news for sure.  Because this below is a field…under lots and lots of water…and it stretches for miles.

The crazy thing is is that this is just about a mile from my house.

And people are having to evacuate their homes because it just keeps getting higher and higher.  Levees are breaking and making the water come faster and deeper.  For some people the levees are their only protection against the wall of water just waiting to come take over their home.  So they just sit.  And they pray.

But it’s in this instance like here in this town where the water has just slowly risen.  It raises a few inches every day, and in the case of the days where the rain was heavier, I’m sure it raised more.  Little by little it covers more and more ground until it finally starts slowly receding.

But yet you can still see the marks of where it’s been.

These creeks and rivers are always there.  But they can only take so much.  Then they slowly start overflowing…and causing what can be in some cases, complete devastation.

Have you ever noticed this in your own life?  Things that are there, maybe visible, maybe just under the surface, but they’re there.  You know how much you can take.  You know when you’re just about to be pushed past your limits.  And there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

What gets me is that this is such a quiet devastation…and it was less than two miles away from me.  I would have had no idea what was happening.  Thankfully, the local radio and newspaper have been covering the story and keeping us updated on river levels and if there was a need to help with the sandbagging and things like that.  But here’s what got me thinking:

How many times is someone’s life falling apart right beside me and I don’t know about it?

Is the reason I don’t know about it because I don’t know people?

If one of my friends’ lives were to flood, would I know anything about it?

Of course, if they asked me for help, I would know something about it.  And I would help them in any way that I can.  But how do we help those who don’t speak up and ask for help?  How do we help those who CAN’T speak up and ask for help?

I don’t know.

Just some questions I’ve been throwing around in my head lately.  One thing I will ask of you readers, if you need help or prayer or both, will you ask me?  If you won’t ask me, will you ask someone?

It’s so hard to be the body when we’re not communicating.  So, let’s talk.  What do you think?

How have you found ways to help someone who didn’t really ask for it?

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I called in sick today from work because, well, I’m sick.  So for most of the day I’ve either been in bed or when I got a little courageous, I ventured to the couch.  What is it when you’re not feeling well that you just don’t even feel like moving really?  All I know is it’s not fun and I hate being sick.  Yuck.

Speaking of moving, I’m transferring everything over to a self-hosted blog so that I’ll be able to make some more changes that I want to and add some cool stuff.  Really you shouldn’t notice much of a change except some layout difference.  The major thing you’ll have to do is change your links from simply to  See.  I’m really just simplifying.   Actually, if you want to go ahead and do that now, that will still work just fine.  If you don’t have me linked in your blog or site or Facebook or whatever, just ignore these last few sentences.

I’m also going to implement a standard-themed post on Fridays.  Every Friday there will be a post with a theme.  I’m thinking about doing the 10 Things I’ve Learned…and just focus it on different topics.  I have had fun writing those.  What do you guys think?  I’m really looking for your input on how to make this blog better.  What do you want to see?  What do you want to read about, etc.

Because you guys are making this thing grow like crazy.  I’m loving every minute of it!  So, please, give me your input.  What do you love?  What do you hate?  Have anything that you would like to see that I haven’t done?  Topics that you would like for me to post about?

This is your turn to speak up, so please do!!

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The Farm Follies

Last night I had the opportunity to spend the evening locked in my old grade school with my nephew along with his Kindergarten class and the third grade class along with the teachers and helpers and parents.   The theme for the evening was Farm Follies, or as I affectionately labeled it before the evening began, Hell.

Keep in mind, I’m a single girl with no children.  I’ve always helped with Bible School with the stipulation that I didn’t have to be around the kids all night.  I don’t hate kids.  I love kids.  But you get more than ten together screaming and running around, I get anxiety.  There’s so much going on that I don’t know what to focus on, so I just shut down.  Give me a kid one-on-one, they’ll be treated like royalty.

But when my sister said that she couldn’t get off work and asked me if I would consider staying with my nephew, I couldn’t say no.  I’m especially a sucker when my niece or nephews are involved.  Seriously, could you say no to these beautiful brown eyes?

Yeah.  Me either.

It was my job for the evening to take pictures of the evening and just get shots of all the kids and all the fun they were having.  This is something I’m good at.  I can stand at a distance and chronicle the festivities and send the kids home with something awesome.  I went to the event expecting one thing and came away with something completely different than what I had been looking for.

The kids had a blast.  My nephew woke up and the first thing out of his mouth was, “I have got to do this again next year.”  Love.

My aunt just happens to be the kindergarten teacher, and in my opinion one of the if not the best around.  I may be a little biased.  I didn’t really know what to expect when I showed up that evening.  I got a chance to talk to my aunt a little bit after things slowed down a little bit.  I asked her why she did this.  I mean, seriously, there aren’t too many teachers around willing to spending the evening with their school kids.  She just looked at me and said, and I’m paraphrasing, These kids will remember this forever.  You should just see their faces.  That makes it worth it.

And she was right.

As I watched the events of the evening progress, I saw daughters learning to square dance with their dads.  I saw kids that hadn’t ever ridden a horse, fall in love with the beautiful animals for the first time.  I saw little boys climbing all over huge tractors and loving every minute.  And I saw kids that don’t get much love at home be loved on and celebrated all night.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Farm Follies.  I loved watching the kids run around and play and not have a care in the world except wondering what their teachers had in store for them next.

What I enjoyed most was being able to watch my aunt do what she does best:  Give.  She gave up an evening (which just happened to be her 33rd anniversary).  She and the other organizer involved gave up a lot of their time to plan this event.  And I got to see her love on all these kids (33 of them to be exact) and watch them just glow with all the attention.

It’s awesome to see people step up and treat people with kindness and love.  For some of these kids, school may be the only time they get that kind of attention.  It’s circumstances like these that make me thankful for my family.  I was a lucky kid.  My parents both loved me and were involved in my life.  I have extended family that I could always go to if I needed something and I felt/feel like they would/will always steer me in the direction that they think is best for me.  They may tell me something I don’t like, but it’s probably something I need to hear.

So while I spent the evening trying to fall asleep on a concrete floor in a freezing room with over 30 other people, which is usually one of my worst nightmares, it made me thankful for a few things.

I’m thankful I got to see my nephew have a ball with his friends.

I’m thankful that I got to see my aunt doing what she loves and doing it well.

I’m thankful for the people in my life that have influenced me over the years, and I’m thankful that they continue to do so.

And last but definitely not least, I’m so thankful for my comfy bed.

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Wanted: One Sugar Daddy

There are two words to describe something that I’ve decided that I need in my life.

Sugar Daddy…purely in the nonsexual form of the term, of course.

I’ve notice an ever-growing issue in my home lately.  I keep getting stuff…and there’s no rich men buying it for me.  In fact, I seem to be the only one contributing to this stockpile of stuff that I keep building…you know…for emergencies.  Because I absolutely need these rockin’ blue/brown candle holders for my living room.  And I definitely need the latest iPod.  Oh, and what about that new book?  Yes, I need a Wii and a Blu-Ray player and a flat screen to go along with my laptop and desktop.  Oh, and then along with all the “real” books there’s my Kindle.  I bought it and sold tons of books to save space.  A totally logical purchase I think.

And then if you add on top of that the software that I have for my computers and the DVDs and CDs, two guitars and a djembe,  and not to mention my obsession with embroidery and sewing cute things and now entering into the venture of making necklaces that look like these, then it just piles up.

I think I might have a problem.

Hence the need for a Sugar Daddy.  Wouldn’t it be great to just have someone buy everything that you could ever imagine wanting?  I’d start with a new house.  Seriously, three bedrooms isn’t enough for one person.  So obviously I need more.  Right?  Then I’d upgrade car that was made in at least the last decade…because that’s currently not what I’m driving right now.  Oh, then a new wardrobe.  Oh, and a trip to Australia…then maybe Ireland.  Of course a new guitar of the Gibson or Taylor brand to top it all off.

I want stuff.  I want more money to get stuff.  It would just be a heck of a lot easier if I had someone to buy the stuff for me.  Right?

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matthew 6:25-34

There are all these things that I want, but they mean nothing.  I worry about having enough when I have more than most and more importantly, more than I need.  I’ve been blessed and yet I keep wanting more.  I worry that I won’t be dressed right, that my hair flips out in ways that I really don’t want it to and that my I’ll be thought less of if I don’t drive a cool-enough car.  My eyes are blue, but what if I could make them brighter?  My hair is brown, but I like a little bit of blonde in it.  And on and on and on.

People lost everything this week…and I want more.

Not only do I want more, I would really prefer that someone just give it to me so that I don’t have to work for it.  Because I think they’d make me feel better.  Would they make me any more or less righteous?  Would stuff make me a better version of who I am or who I want to be?  Will I keep wanting more and more and more?

Will I ever be satisfied with what God has blessed me with?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

I’m not saying that if you seek righteousness, that maybe you’ll get that new Xbox you’ve been wanting or that new car or whatever.  What I’m trying to say is that if we’re seeking righteousness, then those things won’t matter and only His will remains.  I think I really need to get to work on this.

Pray for those whose lives were changed in any way by the tornadoes and storms this week in the South.  In an instant some lost everything they had ever had.  I’m sure some of the “things” that they had they will miss, but having their loved ones still around them, they’ll find, will be the only thing they need.

If you would like to make a donation, click here.  They’ve listed some things that they could use.  Definitely give if you can, because isn’t giving the only thing that God actually asks us to test Him in?

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Are You Listening?

“Jesus answered, ‘I did tell you, but you do not believe.  The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” ~ John 10:25-27

In my last post I posed a question on what your thoughts were about Mary not knowing that the man in front of her was Jesus until He said her name.  So far there’s been some good discussion.  I love hearing your thoughts.  Keep them coming.

For those of you who don’t know I’m a real estate agent in a small town in Illinois.  I show and sell houses, I run and update our website and I answer the phone and do all the administrative stuff around the office.  I answer the phone whether it’s someone looking for a home to buy, someone looking for a place to rent or just someone trying to sell me something.  Ever since we’ve opened, we’ve been getting a call fairly regularly from this same number.  Lately it’s becoming more and more frequent.

Caller:  Ma’am, (first off, don’t call me ma’am.  Makes me feel old.) um, yeah, my name is ______.  I was wondering if you have any rentals available.

Me:  No.  I’m sorry.  We don’t have anything to do with rentals.

Caller:  Okay.  Thank you.

Three days later.

Caller:  Ma’am, (Seriously. Don’t call me ma’am.) um, yeah, my name is ______.  I was wondering if you have any rentals available.

Me:  No.  I’m sorry.  We don’t have anything to do with rentals.

Caller:  Okay.  Thank you.

Five Minutes Lateron my personal cell.

Caller:  Ma’am, (Call me Ma’am one more time….) um, yeah, my name is ______.  I was wondering if you have any rentals available.

Me:  No.  I’m sorry.  We don’t have anything to do with rentals.

Caller:  Okay.  Thank you.

Seriously.  After she gets off the phone with me the second time, all of my coworkers phones ring…and it’s her.

Let’s look at this logically first.  The only place that a stranger would get my personal cell number is the places that it’s published right beside the office number that she had called five minutes before.  One would think that if the company I worked for didn’t handle any rentals, then I wouldn’t either.  At least that’s my logic I’m going with.

Secondly, I’m answering both phones.  My voice doesn’t change.  It’s the same voice every time telling this person that we don’t deal with the type of property that she’s looking for.  Is she really listening to what I’m telling her, or is she just hearing sorry and going on her way.  She could save us both a lot of time by just listening to me.  She’d never have to call our office again.  And more importantly, I’d never have to quit what I’m doing to have the same conversation twice in a span of 5 minutes.

How many times do I pray the same thing over and over and over again just hoping that the circumstances will have changed or that even though the answer was no yesterday, that maybe today will be my lucky day.  Or how many times do I hear someone speaking truth into my life, but I only hear it?  Why don’t I listen?

“The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

There are certain people we should listen to.  We’ve hopefully all got them in our lives, those that speak truth in love to us.  You should hear it in their voice.  There’s love there.  Follow that love.  Seek the truth.  Seek people that lift you up.  Know the voice of love.  It will set you free.

But whatever you do, just don’t call me Ma’am.

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