Month: April 2014

GROUP Children’s Ministry Workshop

It may be Saturday, but that didn’t mean I was sleeping in. I was up bright & early (actually, dark & early) and headed to St Augustine to meet up with Liz and head to Jax. We attended GROUP Children’s Ministry workshop at Southpoint Community Church in Jacksonville. Can you just get a load of this church for a minute… 

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Okay, I need to brush up on my photography skills, but it was incredibly beautiful and unbelievably huge! So blown away by all this church offers the community. I wish I’d gotten pictures of the Sunday school rooms, because these kids got it good! Okay, enough of that, onto the workshop…

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Liz and I are the Children’s Ministry leaders at Lighthouse Bible Church in Palm Coast. We’ve been looking for ways to improve our lessons and get the kids more engaged. When Liz got an email from GROUP that they were coming to Jax, we jumped at the chance to attend.

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Our speaker Patty was the perfect mix of funny and down-to-business. We had a great 3 hour session with a ton of hands-on examples of REAL lessons to get our kids engaged and active in learning about the bible.

We learned a lot about how kids learn, the responsibility that the church plays in a child’s spiritual development, and how to best relate to the three main personality types that children typically fall into. Oh, did I mention… there were raffle drawings throughout the session. Liz won the first, and I won the second. SCORE for FREE books!

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I think it was a great way to kickstart our ministry into high gear. We’re more equipped and better prepared to mold young minds for the Glory of God!

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Because we’re all Superheroes when you think about it.

 

 

Asking for Help

I’ve been very blessed in my life. Since coming to know Jesus in my late teens/early twenties, I have noticed His grace and favor over me tenfold. (PAUSE BUTTON: I did not have a groundbreaking, ask-Jesus-into-my-heart-and-I-am-immediately-changed kind of salvation. It took me some time – okay, years – to really embrace who God is and let Him change me. Therefore, I do not have an “I was saved on this day” marker in my life. Okay, that’s a separate post altogether…) I have a fabulous family, I absolutely adore my in-laws, and we’re all relatively health. I have a good job and my kids go to an incredible school. My husband’s business continues to grow and remains successful. I love my life and I am very aware of how good I have it. I’m not telling you this to brag, but rather to help you understand why I have such guilt when it comes to asking for help.

I rarely ask for help, and sometimes I don’t even accept help when it’s offered. What do I have to stress about? All of my needs are met. Why do I feel so overwhelmed at times? We’re never given more than we can handle, right?! But we all fall apart sometimes. When I reach my breaking point and can’t go another minute, I feel like I’ve failed.

When I was pregnant with Cameron and realizing all of the responsibilities that come along with being a momma to TWO little ones, I started accepting all of the help that was offered. I even started asking for help. I quickly realized that I have a lot of people in my life that are more than willing to help out, they just didn’t know I needed it! Blake doesn’t mind doing the dishes or making dinner so that I can play with the kids or take a long shower. And sometimes, he’ll even offer to fold the laundry! If my mom pops over and I’m busy chasing the kids around, she’ll wash the dishes or wipe down the counters.

I think there is a type of stigma that goes along with being a mom. Our kids need to look neat. Our birthday parties should look like we hired a party planner. Our homes should be camera ready at all times. You should be able to eat off our floors. And all of our meals should look like they were prepared in a gourmet restaurant.

Let’s be real here. Toddlerhood is a tough beast to tame. Times that by 2, add in a full time job and a home to run and we soon realize that we are not Martha Stewart! So I put aside the feelings of failure that try to creep up when I can’t keep up, and I realize that I don’t have to be Supermom to be a good mom. And that’s really all I need to be.

I’m over trying to be the best mom on the block, and I’m focusing on what works for our family. We may not have the tidiest house, but it’s clean. If the kids get to school without a “new” stain on their clothes, than I’m happy. And after dinner, you’re more likely to find me playing on the living room floor with my kids and husband rather than looking for something to scrub. That can wait, they cannot.

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Do you ever feel like you could use a helping hand? Do you ask for it?

Easter Weekend

We had a fun and busy weekend for Easter. Saturday we celebrated these sweet boys turning ONE! It seems like Danielle just told me she had TWO babies growing in her belly… now we have one year old butterballs to love on!

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Easter Sunday we celebrated the resurrection of our Savior with our church family. My mother-in-law and I worked in the nursery and we had 18 kids! From normally having 6, that was major for us. All of the kids were part of a dance at the start of the service, and performed an Easter play at the end. We’ll just say it was a busy service and I didn’t have a free minute to snap a pic.

Afterwards we came home and continued celebrating with our family. My mom, brother & sister-in-law, and Blake’s family all came over. Blake grilled hamburgers and turkey burgers (who said you need to eat ham on Easter?!) and the kids had an Easter egg hunt. It was the perfect afternoon.

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What are your favorite Easter traditions?

Five Things That Could Bring Me Down… But Won’t

  1. This week our car needed $2,000 in repairs. We were car-less for four days and had to rely on my gracious mom to drive us around. (Blake’s truck can’t fit two carseats.) We got the car back on Tuesday and it’s been running much better. I got in the car last night and saw this…
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  2. Our microwave broke. Well, not the actual microwave, but the entire front face of the microwave along with the handle… it fell off. Completely. Blake has tried to put it all back together, to no avail. Opening the microwave is like a workout in itself!
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  3. We thought we’d found the perfect house for my mom. It is small, beautiful, clean, & close. She was under contract for about a week, but the deal fell through Saturday night. We were all pretty bummed, but we’re trusting that God was saving us from a sticky situation.
  4. Cameron’s molars are coming in. I could just stop there, and anyone who has been around a teething toddler would take pity on us. He’s been sleeping well (thank you, Jesus!) but when he’s awake, he’s pretty grumpy.
  5. Work has been crazy. From projects to layoffs, I never know what to expect when I walk through the door each morning. It’s not healthy to worry so much over work, and I really try not to, but I think everyone has a little knot in their stomach this time of year. I just try to show up and do my best each day. I’ll keep showing up until they tell me not to.

I know, I know – none of those things are life-threatening. Maybe they’re not even life-changing. But they are enough to dampen your spirit and weigh you down. Add that to all of life’s other daily trials and you can start to feel angry, bitter, and unhappy.

I felt myself starting to crumple this week. LIFE started to get the best of me. Then I was reminded that my trials are thissmall compared to the Cross.

Today is Good Friday. Take a moment to just soak that in. Today is the day, 2,000+ years ago, that Jesus gathered with His disciples knowing full-well that this would be His last supper. Knowing that His disciple Judas would hand Him over to be crucified and that his best friend Peter would deny Him three times. Jesus knew that He would soon be arrested by authorities, beaten so fiercely that even the strongest man would beg for mercy, nailed to a cross hung between two thieves, and would ultimately die there. For you. And for me. Rather than dwelling on His circumstances or fearing what was to come, Jesus broke bread with His disciples. He drank wine with them. He washed their feet.

The Sinless Son of God took on the sins of this world, suffered and died so that WE can live. Just like He said He would.

So while we’re busy doing life, when we get exhausted, when we’re angry, when we feel bitter… even in those times, we’ve been offered this perfect gift of grace by a Savior who knows our true hearts and loves us anyway. He accepts us as we are. We cannot earn grace. We cannot buy salvation. It is a free gift offered to all, you just have to accept it. Once you let Jesus into your life, you can’t help but be forever changed.

So while life may seem ugly and hard, there is good news to hold onto. Death couldn’t keep Him. The grave couldn’t hold Him. After three days, Jesus rose from the grave. It is finished! He has Risen! And THAT, my friend, is good news today, tomorrow, and every day.

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” (Matthew 28:6 NIV)

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Resting on His Promises

Lately, I’ve felt a real notion that the devil is alive and well. He has been trying to invade our lives in more ways than I care to count. From health to employment to transportation to broken promises, he has weaseled his slippery hand into every area of our lives. And I don’t like it.

On this dreary Monday morning, I found myself sitting at my desk dwelling on each and every issue that is causing me worry and heartache. I’m an easy going person and typically let things roll off my back. But start messing with my family? I can physically feel the pressure of my problems mounting inside me. Just then, in the middle of my pity party, I remembered that I have the only Weapon stronger than the devil. My Savior has power over Satan. You see, the devil only wins if you let him. Jesus is control of all things – even the devil – and Jesus has my whole world in His steady hands. He isn’t going to me fall apart at the seams – not if I keep my focus on Him. He is my strength, my Guide, my Protector, my Shield. But, if I’m honest, I haven’t been looking to Him in the ways that I should. My stress levels have been high and my prayers have been short.

The funny thing is that Easter Sunday is just one week away. On that day, I’ll join with my church family in celebrating the resurrection of our King.

Jesus died so I can live. I owe Him my whole life. So these problems that I dwell on aren’t even my own. He’s going to act according to His perfect will for my life and the lives of those who love Him. I will rest on His promises and trust in His Word.

There is no better day than today to run back into the arms of Jesus.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

What’s been keeping me from blogging?

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and every time I think about blogging, it seems something else comes up! Not that it should matter. I’ve been blogging for months now and have shared my blog with exactly ONE person. Maybe someday that will turn into two or three. 🙂

So… what’s been keeping me from blogging?

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1. Our family has been wrapping our arms around this girl, trying to help her feel better. She’s my baby sister (in-law!) and she’s been having some health issues that no one can seem to diagnose. A few of my days have revolved around chauffeuring her to-and-from doctor appointments, lab work, imaging, and more. Praying that God protects this sweet girl and heals her quickly!

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2. Spring weather has finally hit Florida! We’ve been spending our afternoons enjoying our backyard.

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3. Spending as much time as I can with this guy – in between work and school work. It’s not easy! The cherry on top? This week he came down with strep throat!! 😦

4. House hunting! No, not for myself. My mom is looking to downsize, and I feel like we’re getting closer and closer to finding THE ONE! Fingers crossed that the latest and greatest will be her new home. Did I mention it’s about a 3 minute WALK from my house?! Score!

5. REAL life. Work, errands, doctor’s appointments, church, family, etc.

Add that all up and sprinkle it with pollen. That’s been my life in a nutshell! We’re hoping everyone starts feeling better soon so that we’re able to get back on schedule. Until next time!