Monday, April 27, 2015

Faithfulness

well hey there blog friends. it's been a long time since anything of much worth has been posted around these parts. there have been things on my heart this past year and a half that haven't been right to share, but i'm feeling that now is the time to start opening up. it's long, but hopefully worth it. i'm hoping to be back more regularly now, though this shouldn't be the only topic I cover. i'm grateful for this space and for you!



Have you had a season where God continues to put a message on your heart? I'm sure if I went back and read past journals and even this blog I would be able to seem the themes that He has given to me to carry me through different seasons.  And even though I'm not out of this season yet, I want to document it before I move on. 

hope. 


faithfulness.


miraculous. 


breaking down walls. 

These are the phrases that keep coming up on our Wednesday and Sunday morning lessons. For the teaching I do with the children, we take a theme to study for the whole month and break it down into different lessons each week. Spring break and bad weather caused our March month to be off, so we were finally ready to start our April lessons, on the last Wednesday night of the month! Our new element for this month is "FAITHFULNESS." [standing firm with God by keeping our promises to Him and others.] 


I hadn't done much prep work before and in some real honesty, I wasn't feeling very faithful Tuesday night. In fact, I wrote something in my prayer journal along the lines of "Why have you abandoned me? Why haven't you answered my prayers yet? Am I not faithful enough? Do I not trust you enough? Do I not love you enough? I feel forgotten God." Not pretty, I know. 


I went to work on Wednesday feeling beaten down.  Unfortunately, that's not reason enough to cancel our services so I set out to get everything ready for that night. I piddled away, planning out games, music, snacks and crafts and all that was left was to finalize the lesson. The Big Idea of of Faithfulness we were looking at was "We can trust God to keep His promises." and our Scripture for the night focused on the Israelites being brought out of Egypt and the land of slavery, yet ending up being backed up against the Red Sea as the Egyptian army chased after them. Typically, our lessons use a scripture to support one idea. For instance, last month we talked about integrity. One week's focus was "integrity is not always an easy choice" and we looked at the story of Shadrach, Mescach and Abednego. This week's lesson was a different style and used portions of scripture to prove a small point about faithfulness. Here's what they are:



 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”  So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle... By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

[exodus 13: 17-18; 21-22] 

Faithfulness Fact #1 -
God knows where to lead us, and He will lead us to safety and His blessing.

God knew His people weren’t very strong and might decide to return to Egypt if they had to fight another country right away. If we trust God to lead us, we have to trust the direction He takes us. Do you think the Israelites wondered why they were going the "long way?" They grumbled and complained a lot on their journey to the Promise Land, so it's not hard to imagine them doing so from the start. If we say we trust God to keep His promises to us, we can't bail out on His plan as soon as it gets uncomfortable. 

To help the people understand His faithfulness and to see it every day and night, God even had them follow a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. There was never a moment when the Israelites were alone. God made Himself plain to see every step of the way. He is visible to us every day too, if we only slow down long enough to see Him. 



Faithfulness Fact #2 -
God is never surprised by anything that happens to us; He already has prepared a way to help us out. We just have to keep our trust in Him. 

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 
[exodus 14:5-7]

Before long, the Egyptians caught up with the Israelites as they camped by the sea. The 
faith of the Israelites fell to pieces and they became so scared they cried out against
Moses and God. In Exodus 14:11 they asked Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us out here to the desert to die?” They were so upset with Moses and God they even said in Exodus 14:12, “We told you to leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians. It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Even in the middle of all the terror and complaining, one man stood firm and continued to trust in God: Moses! He was God’s chosen leader for the Israelites, the one who had gone before Pharaoh at the time of each plague. Moses had seen the power of God and it had changed him forever. He knew our Big Idea of the Day was the truth. He knew they could trust God to keep His promises.

 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
[exodus 14:13-14]

Faithfulness Fact #3- 
God will keep his Promises to us in miraculous ways. 

When they made the great choice to trust God, a miracle occurred! At the moment things looked so awful, so hopeless, but then God told Moses to stretch out his staff over the sea. When Moses obeyed, God caused a mighty east wind to turn back the water and make the land beneath dry, so the Israelites could pass over the sea. All night long, the waters were turned back and the Israelites began to cross to the other side. The Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

we need to remember we find God’s power when we stand still and trust Him.

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I don't know what my children got out of the lesson, but I fully believe it was a lesson just for me. we need to remember we find God’s power when we stand still and trust Him.  Standing still and trusting Him is where I begin to struggle. Instead, I'd rather try to control everything in my power and spend my days obsessing if things are going to go in my favor this month. 

Almost a year and a half ago Cody and I decided we were ready for our family to grow again. Even typing that I want to laugh, because we can decide all we want, but that doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. Instead, it feels like we are walking the "long way." And if I think having another baby is to be my "Promised Land," I would make a mighty fine Israelite because I am complaining and grumbling along the way. In fact, God would probably describe me as a whiney toddler right now with the amount of "Why's?" I have thrown His way.  It's a weird place we sit in - we do have a child already so obviously it was possible for us, but yet, it's taking so long to happen it's hard to ignore some of the questions that pop up in my head. 

Here's the question I have the hardest time with: why are you silent God? 

For as much as I've prayed and asked for wisdom and guidance about our family [is it not the right time? is there something wrong with me? are we supposed to see a specialist? are we supposed to be pursuing adoption and that's why we're not getting pregnant?] God is remaining silent.  

I'm thankful that He is at least the strong silent type. Even though He hasn't spoken the right direction to us yet, His presence has still been felt. I know without a doubt that my faith, though sometimes feeling small and weak, is stronger than it would have been right now had I quickly gotten pregnant like I originally planned. I know that God has us on the long way for a reason and He is not surprised by this timing. I do feel like the desire in my heart for more children is a promise that He will someday fulfill and when that day comes, it will be miraculous, maybe even as big as the parting of the Red Sea. 

Sunday during our small group with the youth group we talked about the Battle of Jericho. I imagine they must have felt rather silly trying to take down a mighty wall by WALKING, but they did what the Lord commanded them to do. 13 times they end up walking around the city followed by shouting for the Lord and the walls came tumbling down. Trying unsuccessfully for a baby feels like a wall we will never be able to break down. Would you join me in walking? We would love your prayers as we navigate how to step forward from here.  Please know that I'm also willing to talk in person about this, but if you ask Cody any questions, he might get a little awkward on you! 


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easter Sale - 2015

this year,  choose a gift for your family that will keep giving all year long. 

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easter-sale2015


usps takes about 2-3 days to deliver these, so make sure the easter bunny knows to order them in time :) 

head over the the etsy shop to get yours. may your family be blessed! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Grandma's Chocolate Cake

Griff and I ended up taking a last minute trip to the panhandle last weekend to have a chance to see my grandmother again. She's been in and out of the hospital for several months now and just hasn't been able to get fully well. I am so thankful we ended up going, as she has taken a turn for worse and is being moved into hospice today.  While we wanted her to be comfortable and without pain, you're just never ready to say goodbye.

When I think about my grandmother, I think about:

Cousin's Week
          - hosting all eleven grandkids for a week of fun! my token cousin's week is when I was around 10 years old and when my mom came to pick us up, I bragged that I hadn't brushed my hair all week! (this is back when it was long and thick... it was a rat's nest! no rules at grandma's house though!) we always had matching shirts, made play dough and bubbles, slept in the garage [in the summer, in texas! how did we survive that heat??] and even braved palo duro canyon to camp outdoors! sometimes, when i'm exhausted after a long day with only one toddler, I can't imagine how they had the energy to entertain us all week!

Puppets
          - my grandmother had an amazing puppet ministry. I can't even tell you the countless shows she put on across the state and in Brazil. Lee Greenwood's "I'm Proud To Be An American" is a song that makes me think of my brother and her, because she always did a performance to it. As a young child, having a puppeteer grandmother was basically the equivalence of being related to a celebrity ;)


Games
          -Lots and lots and lots of games! My grandparents loved to play games and I am so grateful that she kept quite the social circle with her games after he passed away. I actually can't tell you the last time I beat her in a game of Wahoo either!


Chocolate Sheet Cake
          - Oh, Grandma's chocolate sheet cake! This will forever go down as my top dessert. It's so perfect.  It doesn't matter how full I am, what time of day it is or the diet I'm on, I can't turn down her chocolate sheet cake. Grandma knows my love for it and up until her health starting failing, every time I came to visit her she had my own 9x9 pan that she was pulling fresh out on the oven.  I am so grateful that almost 7 years ago for a wedding present, I had a family friend that put together a recipe book for me and had family members contribute some of their favorites. I don't have many from Grandma, but she knew what I would want.

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Our family would appreciate your prayers right now. Though we are preparing for a lot of grief, I think we'll make her chocolate cake this weekend and celebrate the blessing she is to us!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Good Day

if i had to guess

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i think that i would say


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that griffin had


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a very 

A Good Day

very 

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good

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day.

A Good Day

don't you agree?

A Good Day

[no mom tears were shed in the making of this day. just good ole fashioned cupcake eating, marker drawing, baking powder measuring fun!] 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Books Of The Bible Rap Lyrics

As a part of our Wednesday night children's activities, we had a very generous donation made to our ministry to purchase 45 Bibles so that each student would have one to use during our lesson. It also helps that we're all using the same one, which makes it slightly easier for me to tell the kids where they need to be for our lesson that night. Despite the help that I try and give them on where to go, I've noticed that most of our kids don't know the books of the Bible.  Heck, I myself am guilty of knowing generalized areas, but some books take me a while to find! For Lent this year I challenged our students (and myself!) to learn all 66 books before Easter. We're using this great rap I found on Youtube from North Point Kids.


After showing them the rap last week, I sat out to find the lyrics so they could read it as the song was playing. If they are online somewhere, I couldn't find them so I typed them up for the kids today and wanted to share them online in case anyone else needs them. (Or if you want to challenge yourself to learn the books too!)

Here is the link to the lyrics. Enjoy!

these are the books of the Bible when we read them it makes us stronger and we learn about our heavenly father when we read all the books of the Bible....

BooksOfTheBible

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favorites: Griffin Quotes

Momma I carry you?
[when he wants to be picked up]

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Castle! Castle!
[pointing to shoe, wanting me to get the sand out]



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praying:

dear JESUSSSSSS.
THANK YOOOOOOOUU.
DAY.
THANK YOOOOOOOUU.
moMMA
daDDY
KODABEAR
help me
SLEEEEEEEEP.
night night.
love you.
AMEN.
[because yelling helps the prayers to get through.]


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Heart? Heart?
[when requesting to sing "Down In My Heart"]


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No get me. No get me Daddy.
[when running off to start a game of chase.]


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Ka-chow!
[after every picture.]

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No happy birday Daddy. Happy Birday Me!

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

Do You Want To Build A Snowman?

Back in December I hosted a simple "Do You Want To Build A Snowman?" party for a few of Griffin's friends. It sounds much fancier than it was, as it was just a glorified playdate so the moms could get together and have coffee!

I created an invitation using PicMonkey and texted it to everyone.

snowman


Simple snacks for the kids [cookies, powdered sugar donuts, donut holes, and little smokies to balance out the sugar high!] A coffee station for the moms and snowman treats as goodie bags. [which I forgot to hand out and Griff is still playing with!]

snowman1

The "snowman" was based off of this pin I'd seen a while back.  I think in theory, it's made by older kids who could cut out all of their own eyes, mouth and nose pieces. Our oldest kid attending was four and while she might have been able to do it, I don't trust the other boys! [with nicknames like Hurricane Henry, G-Force, Tor-Knox-O and Wreck 'Em Rhett, do you blame me?? :) ] I used my silhouette the night before to cut out all of the pieces and then made the yarn pom poms for the ear muffs. I stayed up stupidly late making them and was kicking myself for doing it, but the first thing G said when he saw the was "Beautiful!" so it was totally worth it!

snowman2
While this project does require some adult supervision, it was mostly just because we used hot glue guns for the ear muffs. Glue sticks worked for all of the paper parts and then there was no worry of little hands getting hurt.


Here are the kiddos with their finished snowmen! [this was the best we could get with this crowd!]

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I know we're into February now, but with the Texas weather, you never know when our next snow day will be! Make the most of being cooped up inside and make a party out of it!



[here's the fine print: you'll spend all week getting your house ready for the party and then have six little ones and two babies show up and you really will think that a tornado hit. every toy possible will be pulled out, water will probably overflow from the sink, several kids will end up crying at some point and something will get spilt. but, the kids will totally love it, the moms will enjoy the conversation and everyone will leave brainstorming the next party idea! so skip the cleaning, leave the toys out and get ready to have some fun!]