Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Design Process

Commit to the Project


We made the decision. My husband and I were going to remodel our bathrooms; three to be exact. The 1990 carpets in front of the vanities were worn, fiberglass showers were stained and the vinyl floors in the water closets were turning colors. It was time. When our contractor gave us the estimate, we counted the cost and began making the changes. 


If we counted the cost before changing our bathrooms, how much more should we count the cost before changing our lives?  Being a Christian is a serious commitment.   


Jesus wants us to count the costs before we begin our journey with Him. I can imagine how this scene in Luke 14:25-33 would look today...everybody following Jesus on Facebook or Twitter and He posts…

26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters —yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”   How many of us would stop following? What would be our thoughts?


A quick Bible lesson (I had to look this up myself), the word “hate” in this passage is a Greek verb, miseo.  It means to “love less by comparison.”  So, I imagine Jesus knew some of the people following him had ulterior motives and/or were living their lives without important examination of being in the Kingdom of God… so he called them out as to say… "If you want to follow me, then you must do what I demand, trust me.  If you or your family gives reason for not keeping what I demand, do not honor them. Honor me. I am greater.”  Jesus wants us to love nothing more than Him.


How half done our bathrooms looked for several weeks. We thought we were on schedule until the wrong tile color showed up and we needed to get it reordered. They ordered white sinks instead of bone sinks (yes, there is a difference)…I couldn’t have white sinks and bone toilets! Ah…the joy of construction in and of itself...paint cans, grout powder, old light fixtures waiting for pick up, dumpster out front, etc…Half done.


28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘this person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’


As a design consultant, I would never want to start a project and not finish it.  Talk about ridicule…I wouldn’t have a business.   Yet in society today it is perfectly normal to walk around not fully committed and/or half done.  I can’t tell you how many times I have stop and started this blog!!!  And when we are not fully committed; we look mentally, emotionally and spiritually drained.  Some of us are too stressed or numb to the sin that should alarm us. 


Timothy says we are lovers of pleasure, not lovers of God---having a form of godliness but denying its power.  (2 Timothy 3:4-6)  Ouch! How convicting.  Whatever your poison: procrastination, unrighteous anger, pride, selfishness, adultery…get convicted, come clean and commit to seeking God.  Don’t give the enemy a way to work in your life and slowly destroy you.  Yes, vulnerable souls are watching, but your Heavenly Father wants to you to live the best life possible and He is the only way to an abundant life!


So as we begin this design process, let’s commit to seeking God.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Design Process


I cannot think of one thing I have completed in my life without a process.  When I learned how to cook, graduate from school, enroll in college, start a new job or career, get married, have children…all a process; a continuous action; a series of changes taking place in a certain order or manner. 


When I first learned the interior design process, I was in the middle of making a serious decision in my walk with God.  Our church was under great scrutiny and so many of my parents in the faith were moving away.  I realized quickly, I was in the season of getting to know God for myself and allowing Him to guide me regardless what others were doing. 


As I walked through a newly framed house one day, I noticed the wooden beams and steel posts in the basement.  Those beams and posts support the levels above.  Just like God supporting me, loving me and holding me together…my security.  And at that moment, God told me, “This process and my process are no different.”  And with that nudging, I began to study how God designs.


There is a reason why God made me a design consultant.  It was more than just helping others enjoy their home; God wants me to help others enjoy their lives.   How we live says a lot about us.  And painting a wall or buying new furniture is not going save our marriages or control our tempers. Jesus is the only way I know to clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside maintains its beauty. 


So, God gave me this process…it is a design process, but not only for your home…it’s for your soul. 


Every Tuesday we will learn steps in the process!


Here we go…




Saturday, October 27, 2012

My Women of Faith Story

I was invited to Women of Faith by my friend, Amy Kolln.  I was an easy sell because I had heard of Women of Faith and was one of those women who wanted to go but would find out too late…timing all wrong.  But not this time, I made it to Imagine, May 2011.

What an experience Women of Faith was for me! At the time, I was in a very fast paced job, trying to hold on to all my titles: be a good wife, mother, coping with a father with dementia and healing from a miscarriage just six months prior. I could go on, but I would sound ridiculous…because it was ridiculous and out of control!

It was such a comfort to sit in that seat and just be “toni.”  No title…just God’s daughter…that’s all.  No emails to read, voicemails to return, no reports due.  No peanut butter sandwiches, no coffee to make or schedules to keep…just me and God.

Speaker after speaker, I was encouraged.  I begin to imagine my life with God in control.  As a teenager in the faith, it is easy to think you know everything and to try and take control of your life without God’s help.  That weekend, I was quickly reminded of Matthew 11:28-29:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

It was at this Women of Faith event where I committed to give God all the things weighting me down in my life and just sit and learn from Him.  I prayed for a calmer life, with the most important things at the forefront. 

I was only a few weeks pregnant and was afraid to love this baby for the fear of losing again.  Angie Smith encouraged me to hope, to love and find strengthen in the name of Jesus.  It was Sheila Walsh who inspired me to cry out to the one who can save me, Jesus, and embrace His love.  Lisa Harper opened my eyes to loving when it hurts and situations are not always as they appear.  Luci Swindoll taught me to enjoy the Christian life.  The worship band allowed God’s spirit to be in my heart all weekend and I praised God in the weeks that followed with thanksgiving for how the weekend touched me. 

Truly because God answers prayers…no other reason, I made the decision to be a Women of Faith group leader with no clue what that would mean.  And today, I will tell you it means a lot.  Because of Women of Faith and the impression the organization has left on my heart, I am able to now stay at home with baby Natalie, while the boys are in school, go see my father without feeling guilty, love people like Jesus would love…and write.  A dream come true!  So thanks, Women of Faith for allowing God to use you, shape and mold you to do His work.  I am so proud to be a part of the team and win souls for Christ.


Women of Faith is a Christian-based live events organization.  Women of Faith events are produced by the world’s largest producer of inspirational events, Live Event Management Inc., a Thomas Nelson company based in Plano, Texas. Through authentic connection with audiences, humor, an atmosphere of encouragement and support, and our line-up of world-class talent including well-known Christian authors and performers, Women of Faith delivers life-changing messages via high-quality programs in cities across North America. 

Find out when Women of Faith is coming to your city : www.womenoffaith.com/events

Friday, June 1, 2012

Introducing Designing Life

Design is the way we arrange things to strengthen its structure and appearance.  I love our sunroom because of its southern exposure, the four large windows overlooking our backyard and I’ve positioned my favorite chair to view my children at play and enjoy the flowers.  The land developer and home builder knew after examining the lot, how my house should sit to reap the benefits of the land.  And I, the interior designer, added to their design by choosing the right window treatments, carpet, paint color and furniture.  So whether it’s the inside (structure) or outside (appearance), the elements of design still remain true.  They are line, shape, form, space, value, color and texture.  These elements we can arrange and use as tools to create a beautiful living space, a stunning dress or a masterpiece for our wall. No matter the kind of design, there is desired order.
Designing the Christian life is almost no different.  We can organize our lives in a certain way to strengthen our spiritual wellness.  But there is order.  Jesus told the Pharisees the importance of dealing with the matters of the heart first, and then the outward appearance would mimic the motives of the heart.  But the Pharisees were blind and continued to keep up with appearances when the inside of their hearts were filled with greed and self-indulgence. (Matthew 23: 25-26).
Designing the Christian life is powerful if we follow God’s design.  It takes us developing a deep relationship with Jesus, the Son of God, and understanding and using the elements He created, tools, to live whole and complete.  These tools structure our hearts; what’s on the inside.  The tools are faith, prayer, meditation, study, fasting and worship.  And just like in design, how we arrange the elements, create fundamentals making a beautiful soul.  The fundamentals are what appear when the tools are used effectively.  The fundamentals are confidence, contentment, connection, comprehension, clarity and control.
It sounds simple doesn’t it? Use God’s tools and live well. But you and I both know life is hard.  It is much easier to rely on ourselves, go through the motions and not give a single thought about how we are feeling or to the consequences our choices present.  Similar to the Pharisees the inside of our cup and dish are stuffed with idolatry and selfishness while the outside looks like we have it all together. 
God is good design. He made the heavens and the earth.  He created us. Every day, He desires our attention and inspires us.  He inspires us to know Him, love Him, have a relationship with Him and use the Christian elements to develop a strong, healthy spiritual life we can call our own. 
But today, we are busy, caught up in making a living, raising a family and chasing sleep.  Our relationship with God is only when we need help and the tools God has given us are on our shelf as we continue on the path of self-reliance.
This blog is designed for you and me to take a rest.  Pick up the Christian elements and get inspired.  All it takes is for us to ask ourselves one simple question: Do we have a relationship with God, through Christ, that can inspire us?  With the relationship established, He can inspire us and the toolbox is open with endless righteous ways to design our lives.