Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Window Bench from Scraps

Last summer I received a pile of free scrap wood from my neighbor.  It has been sitting nicely on the side of our shed as I take pieces and create projects with them little by little.

I realized today how often my children sit on the windowsill in our family room.  It is only about 2 inches in width, but they somehow can watch an entire cartoon on there.

So, I grabbed some of the scrap wood and made a window bench for them.  All the lumber was free, screws were on hand, & the paint was from a $1.50 can of "oops" paint found at Home Depot.

If I gave you a beautiful description of how I made this bench, it would be a lie.  And for me, boring.  I am not one that will open up an instruction manual and follow it.  I'd rather put a project together on my own which usually leads to major frustration.

I literally found two long pieces that match in length (6ft 8in).  I then found some post type pieces, carried them into the house, laid them next to the window and "eyed" the desired height.  Then, I took the measuring tape to find that desired height.  I cut up some wood, raided my husband's screws, & put together this bench.  It was too easy, but the result is fantastic.

There it is.  The kids' new window bench.  

We're all happy with it.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Roadside Bed Turned Photo Prop

I enjoy finding free items on the side of the road.  I've been skipping the main roads and driving through neighborhoods (for years now) searching for a thrown out treasure.

Last week, I stumbled upon this antique, twin bed.  It is not fancy & in need of some major putty to fill in holes and chew marks.  

I filled in holes, sanding it down, & painted it white.  It is not a perfect piece.  If you look closely, it is not worthy to be in someone's bedroom.  With that being said, I decided to set it up outside and have some fun with the kids.  

They are packed with big personalities.  

I love them so.

Friday, April 4, 2014

To Porn...

To Porn,

I write to you knowing full well that you could careless.  You have nothing to do with real love.  For real love does not delight in evil.  You; on the other hand, have built yourself an industry that has become a kingdom of destruction.  You tempt.  You fool.  You deceive. 

So, why do I write to you? 

Because I want you to know that I am on to you.  I know what you are doing.  And for that, I hate you. 

I do not hate the husband who relapses and shamefully enters into your fantasy world.  I do not hate the college girl who has been sucked into your world of instant gratification.  I do not hate the single adult who fights against you every night when alone and bored.   

It is you that I hate. 

I hate how you take away from real love and replace it with an image.  I hate how you use and abuse both the men and women working in your industry.  I hate how you fool a wife into thinking that somehow she is not good enough.  I hate how you hide in the darkness waiting for your next victim to enter into your kingdom. 

But, let me to you,  I stand against you.  I stand on the side of the One who will come and destroy you.  And, I stand next to the ones who have found themselves entangled in your trap. 

You are not a winner.  In fact, I have seen you lose many rounds.  Remember the wife who woke up deciding to stand next to her husband even after he confessed the hold that you've had on his life?  Remember the man who handed in his "smartphone" because it was actually helping him become more of an idiot?  Remember the college student who gave away his computer in lieu of using the computer lab for accountability? 

Little by little, your powerful kingdom is losing.

I know you could careless.  For if you are not brought into the light, you will continue to suck in more victims. 

But, there will be a day when you will no longer exist.

I know that day will come.  I long for it to arrive.

You will no longer get the glory when your victims live in shame. 

I will stand next to your victims, not against them. 

There is a Redeeming Power far greater than anything you could ever know. 

He is the Beginning and the End.  You are neither.  You will not be the victor.  In the end, you will be destroyed.

He is Love.  True Love. 

Of course, you do not know the meaning of true love.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails.

You possess none of these characteristics.

I can not convince you to stop your ways, but I can convince others of everything you are not. 

And one by one, they will hate you, too.

Homes will be restored. 

Lives will be renewed.

Your chains will no longer imprison your victims.  

For my King is All-Powerful.  

And He is coming with a vengeance.

Until the day I see you destroyed,
Jackie Rizo 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

the day that Sergio found out the truth...

Secrets (whether big or small) are toxic. 
They imprison us while we reap the consequence
of invisible killers destroying our home. 

There comes a time in marriage when you realize the truth about the other person. 

And poor Sergio, his day came when he innocently walked through the door after a long day at work.  You see, I had already been fighting this battle alone for the ENTIRE first year of marriage and I was prepared to give him my all.  

He; on the other hand, had no idea that he just walked onto a battlefield where massive, gas explosions were my specialty. 

For months, I had a skewed view of marriage.  Everything had to be "perfect".  Everything.

.....June Clever had become my role model. 

He never said a word.  I considered his silence as approval.  When in reality, his silence was solely because these things did not cross his mind.  He was just happy to be married with all it's glorious benefits.

Little did he know, I was holding onto a teeny, tiny, toxic secret. 

I had just finished cooking dinner and was getting ready to set the table when I felt a rumble.  It was not like my stomach was saying, "oh, this smells yummy.  Put it in my tummy."  It was more like something within me erupted sending a river of lava throughout my entire intestinal tract & leaving no survivors. 

I was either going to die or I was going to have to release the beast.

And just then, I saw the time. 

Sergio was to arrive home within minutes and he had never known this side of me before.  I had become a master of disguise using cleaners, candles, & open ventilation.  For an ENTIRE YEAR. 

I panicked.  Was today the day that I let him in on my dirty secret?

"Yes," I thought, "this has become ridiculous." 

And in that moment, I felt freedom on so many levels. 

As I walked out of the bathroom, our eyes fixed upon each other. 

"Hi, honey", my voice cracked.


"How was your day?" I asked as if I didn't just push him into warzone without first giving him a gas mask.

It only took a second for our 600 sq ft home to fill with a smell more foul than a pig factory. 

His eyes watered and he was clearly high on fumes. 

"What the heck died in here?!", he gagged. 


I just died.

Clenching his nose, he quickly began opening up every window in the house. 

I joined him by opening the front door. 

He followed me outside. 

We sat on the front porch until the enemy had faded away.

Our laughter brought freedom.    

And the truth set us BOTH free. 



Monday, November 4, 2013

Clara Jadele is 3!

It's hard to believe that our baby is 3 years old today.  

When we were at the hospital for Eliah's birth, we had already decided to be done having kids.  But, there was no peace within me about our decision.  Sergio gently looked at me and told me that we didn't need to make the decision today, but could wait & pray.  

18 months after Eliah came, Clara was born.  

I had to have cesearens with each child.  As soon as our doctor opened me up & pulled her head out, she screamed.  Not an "oh, this is a sweet first cry", but more like a "put her back!  She's not ready!" kind of cry" 


Clara was persisted.  She screamed for a little over 24 hours straight.  I'm not kidding when I say this.  She did not sleep.  She just kept screaming.  The nurses tried their best to calm her down so that I could sleep.  It didn't work.  I could hear her screaming from down the hall.  I cried & asked God why He would do this to me (like it was His fault!).  I texted my friends to pray for me.  I was scared.  I had already had a 6 yr old, 2.5 yr old, & 18 month old baby at home.  I prayed for strength. 

After 24 hrs, she finally ate.  We finally slept.  And she hasn't screamed like that since. 

She is a beautiful little girl.  She loves her siblings deeply.  She is witty, peaceful, a great hugger, & always glued to my side.  

I could not imagine our family without her.  She is one of four best gifts that God has given to us.  

If you haven't met her, I hope that someday you will.  She brings sunshine to each day....the kind of joy that we all need to feel.  

Happy birthday, Clara Jadele.  You are well loved by us all.  

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Spoiled Milk & My Soiled Heart.

....and then the homeless man entered our home
and the smell of spoiled milk filled our hearts.

He came to us recommended by a homeless friend of ours.  A carpenter by trade, he'd be able to help us fix Operation Sleep Tight's Shasta Camper. 

Our hopes to hit the road in the Shasta came to a quick holt once the walls were taken down.  Everything behind the walls disintegrated with a light touch.  The bones weren't even bones anymore but more like ashes from an old man's cigar.

And as the rain pours down outside, I can't seem to control my tears.

We have been vocal about Operation Sleep Tight and the great things that have been happening materialistically.  We were given a van for free, the camper was a gift, the hitch was a gift, and families are ready to partner with us to hand out supplies.

But my heart has been heavy.


Because ministry is not about the material items that we need, but to make known the ONE who loves us so.

It took tears over the Shasta today to open my eyes to what my heart was already begging me to see.

Operation Sleep Tight is not a handout ministry.  It is about developing relationships with our homeless neighbors.

Back in 2011, our son, Josiah, spoke in a church about Operation Sleep Tight.  He was 7 years old at the time.  When his dad asked him why he wanted to give the homeless a sleeping bag, he whispered into the microphone, "I want them to have hope."

That's what Operation Sleep Tight is about.  It is about a man sitting in that crowd listening to our son speak the words of HOPE.

That man is Johnnie.  If you have read my blog in the past, you are familiar with him as "J".

Johnnie received a sleeping bag from Josiah that November night back 2011.  We didn't see him again until Christmas Evening.  My husband saw him sitting on a park bench reading.  Through conversation, he found out that Johnnie is an educated man with his master's degree.  He fell into some hard times and was currently living on the streets.

Through the past couple of years, Johnnie has joined us for dinner, showered, and done his laundry in our home.  He attends church with us and has been studying the Bible with one of our ministers, Rob McRay.

Johnnie was gifted a truck by an old friend of ours back in Joplin.

Johnnie is currently employed.  

Johnnie has signed a lease on an apartment

AND...in September, we stood at the edge of the water and watched Johnnie be baptized.

Josiah, Rob, & Johnnie

Rob, Josiah, Johnnie, & Allen

Isn't this what it is all about?!

It is about giving the hopeless HOPE.

And now, I sit here at the table while my husband works alongside "J" putting up drywall.

"J" is homeless and resides in a camp not too far from us.  

"J" comes recommended by Johnnie because of his carpentry skills.  

"J"'s clothes are dirty and have a scent that resemble spoiled milk.

And just like Johnnie, "J" is the reason for Operation Sleep Tight.
So, we'll leave the Shasta sitting outside tonight all broken and torn.  But, we will not leave "J" feeling alone and unwanted.  I pray he comes to know the One who can take our brokenness and make it beautiful.  Who can take our soiled lives and redeem them gloriously.  Who desires the aroma of our lives no matter the scent of what follows.  

He is God. 

The One & Only who can take our deepest pain and turn it into His glorious ministry.




Friday, November 1, 2013

Rizo Schoolroom

Our schoolroom received a facelift last month.  We painted dressers, organized toys & school supplies, & painted the walls.  It is a relief to finally cross it off our long, renovation list!  

(Sorry for some of the wonky size pictures.  Our computer crashed & my cell is not allowing any change size to pictures.)

View from stairs:

Lockers for storage:

The Creative Nook:

We love posters:

Learning Centers:

And here is what it looks like most of the week:

Each child has their own crate for their curriculum.  This allows us to pick up and school outside on beautiful days or upstairs on the living room couch.  

Clara's crate usually ends up looking like this: 

I enjoy homeschooling our kids.  It is not always fun & simple, but it is a blessing.  

Like today, I sit here and listen to Lydia read words for the first time this year.  Josiah is beginning to learn long division.  And Eliah is learning how to write his name.  Later this afternoon, we will make a huge mess & smash pumpkins with all sorts of tools as we discuss different weights of objects & their force.  

These are the homeschool moments that I cherish.