My little seedlings.

It’s has been a whirlwind these last couple of weeks. I wanted to share some pictures of day to day life with you. I have two little ones.  Mollie Anne who is 4 and Samuel who is 2. Jonas, my husband, and I will be married 10 years this June.  We met in 2007 in Owensboro Kentucky, where Jonas is from and the rest is history.  Both my kiddos are full of life and adventure.  It’s hard to imagine life before these little ones.  There was  less mess and chaos for sure!! As we ponder on our life as it is, Jonas and I can fully say that we wouldn’t have it any other way.  And we truly believe that this season of life with these two little ones while we are in ministry is a blessing. Tough, busy, and sometimes stressful, juggling it all but the kiddos help center us and remind us to find the small moments of life and joy in the midst of the day.  And while they teach us often of faith and unbounding belief, we get to show them what its like to be a follower of Jesus and live life fully.

Muddy puddles. Any Peppa Pig fans out there?!?! The kids love it and always giggles to the max.

Here Jonas and Mollie Anne went to a Father/Daughter Dance.  Mollie loves her some twirly dresses and of course of “clock” shoes.  She likes it when she walks and hears the sound click/clock….click/clock.  So now they are always referred to as “clock” shoes.

Our last days of Lent.  Everyday lighting a candle to pray for others and thank God for what we have. I am not sure what Samuel liked more, getting to pray and thank God for Dinosaurs or blowing out the candles!

Who needs a playground when you have dad’s car.  They can play in the car for hours if we would let them.

The night before Easter.  First time using sponge curlers.  When she woke up the next morning, without seeing herself, she looked right at me and said “Mommy I am pretty”. She is so precious.

We love it when friends come to play at church with us.

Big Easter Sunday.  Egg hunts galore!  They are searching for the chocolate here.  The sugar high was fierce.

My sweet family. We tried to get pictures as a family. But they were toooo busy and excited.  Maybe it was the sugar!

Mollie took this picture, my little photographer.  Jonas and I  don’t get many together anymore, I’m not sure why.  Probably because I’m usually behind the camera, but I cherish those we do get.

My sweet girl.  Such a girly girl.

 

We traveled to Kentucky recently to celebrate Paw Paw David’s retirement.

We are traveling this summer for vacation and in her little mind it is always in 2 days.  Poor thing, I always have to burst that bubble each week.  Soon, baby girl, soon.

We have been watching Hook lately.  Someone is always Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell. Sword fitting is a must.

Well that is it for now.  Enjoy the sunshine today. Praying for you.

Lord, I trust you.

Good Friday.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.

I made the cross, in the picture above, when I was in high school.  Though I don’t get to do it often, one of my joys in life is messin’ around with clay and ceramics. Anyway,  I chose to do the crucifixion for my father not for myself or because of a deep desire for what the crucifixion meant to me. No, something told me as a 17 year old that he would have a great appreciate for it, so I did it for him. The irony in this is just beautiful. Who knew years later that I would be headed off to college to get my bible studies degree and then later on in life be a pastor’s wife!! Man, I would love to have it for my home one day, but until then I will continue to see it hanging on his office wall above his computers.

Growing up, I somewhat grasped the idea of Easter and the importance of going to church on Easter Sunday.  We even went to church services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Looking back, I am thankful for my upbringing and my parents for pushing the season of Lent in our family.   I told our Thrive group at our home last night that my catholic side comes out during Holy Week and I just have to talk about it.  I want to hear the story over and over.

As we enter the weekend and as many will gather this Sunday for services all over the world, my prayer for us is that we would experience a revival inside of us that would change not only our own lives, but the lives around us.  Our marriages, our families, our workplaces, our churches, our neighborhoods, our towns.  I pray the Father would pour out his love on us and we catch a new sense of the power of the resurrection in our lives.

Little did I know that I would be pondering on this ceramic crucifixion today and be moved greatly by what God has done in my life, for what He is doing, and what He will be doing.  Thankfulness, appreciation, and love comes flooding in and it brings me to a place of worship. Worship, my friends, is the posture we must be in over these next  3 days. Worshiping the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Come Father, have mercy on us.  Come and be alive within us and around us.  Let us experience the power and the healing presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in a mighty way.

If you have 8 minutes today, watch the video below.  Its a good one.

A deep breath….

Take a deep breath…….. well, that is what I tell myself today. As I began to absorb myself in the story of Jesus and the cross. I can feel the nudging of the Holy Spirit to allow myself to get lost in the story and let all the soberness and the quiet to come and settle in.

I recently had a conversation with my husband, Jonas, about my thoughts on Holy Week. I am pretty sure I gave him much more than he wanted. He wanted the short version rather than the long version, HA. Well, I just couldn’t express the deep feeling of importance in me in just 3 sentences.

Over these last 6 to 7 years, I have felt the Lord drawing my attention the days leading up to Holy Week and calling me to slow down, dive into the stories of Jesus and pay close attention. I can feel it in my chest, the tension and the importance of these days. It’s like the Lord is gripping me and saying “Don’t miss it, lean in.” I said to Jonas, that to me, Holy Week is the biggest and most important week of all the year. Yes, I am a huge fan of holidays, birthdays, and gatherings for celebrations, but there is just something about this week for me. It’s the pausing of my life, my desires, and needs, my attention for the sake of His story and what He did for me and for this world. The death and resurrection of Jesus is everything of our faith and if there is one week out of my whole year, its this week that I want to be fully reminded and fully attentive to the Holy Spirit and his revealing of truth.

As I was praying today the Lord highlighted this scripture.

James 4:7-10

7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 9 Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.

Come close to God and God will come close to you. That is my word for today. Choosing to draw close and allowing my free time, my conversations with others, my moments of thoughts to be surround by His story and His voice. Yes, this can come across as yes peasy, but its not my friends. I am choosing to do the difficult in the midst of my busyness to lean in and focus in. I encourage you, wherever you are to pause and lean in to the scriptures; the story of Jesus leading to the cross and resurrection.

Don’t put it off, not these next couple of days, I tell myself. Because if not, I will miss it.

Back to the beginning….

Back to the beginning, Let’s adjust the lighting, Illuminate the whole thing (lyrics from a song, Bright ones)

This is where I sit, at the beginning of a journey I know I am supposed to venture on but have instead chose to sit on the bench looking down the road of this so called journey.  Having been caught up in my head, I am ever wondering where it might lead or what I might experience along the way. Have you ever felt this way or have ever found yourself in a place of mundane or stuckness? Where you are thinking of everything around but actually not doing anything?  Doing…..that means for me getting off of the bench and start walking.  Walking towards the purpose God has set before me.

As we embark on Holy Week, I find myself balancing the need to control my surroundings, my children (HA), my actions, my decisions with the need to pause, reflect, and focus on the story of Jesus.  Especially this week. The grand tension of meeting our own needs and our need for a savior. I don’t know about you but this day I am choosing to sit at the cross like a little kid sits and listens to a story being told.  With my feet crossed and dialed in to the storyteller, I am leaning into the story of Jesus this week and I hope you will to.

As I start taking the steps on my journey of finding my purpose again, I pray the Father will meet you where you are today and stir in your heart, mind, and spirit whatever it is He wants to reveal to you.  Let’s be open to him friends. Come Holy Spirit.

 

Prom Photos

Red Hill Prom 2017- Mya

Have you ever met certain people and know after your first meeting that they are “good” people? It’s like you have a sense about them and in a 5 minute conversation you know that they are good, caring people. Well when we first met Amy and Ashley and their daughters we just knew they were “good people”. We had the privilege to take their oldest daughter Mya’s prom photos recently and wanted to share some of our favorites. You will see below that she is such a beauty.

Remembering Truth

As of late, it feels like my husband and I have been experiencing much joy and much sorrow like we are riding on a teeter totter. Up and down we go through the day and even weeks.  Around every corner we find the little joys of life through our 1 year old waiting for us in a big smile and then out of no where we are faced with the sorrow and pain of certain situations our friends, family, and acquaintances find themselves in.  I find myself asking the Father if this is real life, if this is how my life will be day to day for the rest of my life. Living (trying) with my eyes wide open rather than shut and closed off to the reality of this world. Its a hard pill to swallow when you come to terms that pain, hurts, struggles, sickness, death is really the reality of what I live around.  What a sad reality.

But there is hope. We come back up on the teeter totter and we find the joy, beauty, peace, and laughter in the small moments of life.  But truthfully friends, we will not be satisfied unless we find this joy in the Father. When we are faced with sin/darkness day to day, we have to have something bigger than ourselves to lift our heads towards the sun, we have to have something bigger to remind us of the beauty around us.  I’m reminded of when I had to face the pain or struggles of my own “stuff” and how I can get sucked in to the emotions, the thoughts, the memories.  Its like a tape consistently running, never stopping.  We need someone to push the stop button and remind us that the darkness and pain is not our only reality.  We can look to something better, bigger, stronger, full of goodness and peace.

There is a song that Jonas and I have been singing lately at home and in the car and its called “King of my Heart”.  Here are the lyrics

Let the King of my heart
be the mountain where I run
The Fountain I drink from
Oh He is my Song

Let the King of my heart
be the shadow where I hide
the randsom for my life
Oh He is my Song

You are good good
ohhh You are good good
ohhh You are good good
ohhh You are good good

Let the King of my heart
be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh He is my Song

Let the King of my heart
the fire inside my veins
the echo of my days
Oh He is my Song

You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let me down
You’re never gonna let me down

When the night is holding onto me
God is holding on.
When the night is holding onto me
God is holding on.

Driving home after one Sunday, I sang the song over and over trying to remind my heart, mind, emotions, thoughts etc the simple truths that are in this song. I believe we must do this as we are faced with the day to day “stuff” in our lives.  Darkness (sin, pain, struggles, death) will always be there, but do you believe the LIGHT is bigger than your darkness? Do you believe that the Father is brighter than your darkness?  I can always fall back down on the teeter totter into the mess of life  it can consume me, but what the Father is teaching me is speaking or singing the truth of who he is.  He is good. He will not let me down.  He is safety. He is my anchor in the waves. He is the fire within my veins.

Speak truth my friends to your mind and heart.  Not the world’s truth.  Crack open that bible of yours and read the truth.  Let it help you. Let us do it together, ok? Let us help and encourage one another through this life of ours.

Father, help us. Father have mercy upon us. We need you more than ever.  We believe in your promises and help us know what those are in our hearts and minds. Father teach us how to face the struggles in our lives and I ask that you guide us closer to your heart by the work of your Holy Spirit. Come Lord, reveal yourself to us today.

 

Epic of Eden: A journey through the Old Testament

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I recently read a book that I had always had in the back of my mind, yeah someday I will read that.  Well that someday came a couple of weeks ago and I am so glad I did it.  While we were away at seminary, I had heard Sandra Richter speak in a Chapel service and was mesmerized by her way of teaching of the Old Testament.  She bought energy, passion, and interest to the stories of the OT.  Now if you are like me, the Old Testament can be a long, long, long book of many long, long, long chapters of many odd names, places, and stories.  You know what I am talking about and if you don’t know, how about you plop open that little bible of yours and start in Leviticus or Deuteronomy.  You’ll get the picture real fast!

I remember in college having to take an Old Testament class and one of the requirements was to read the entire OT by the end of the semester.  I remember one night I kept falling asleep and having to re-read the chapters.  It took me the whole semester just to get through it!! Not sure if I remember the last couple of books, but hey I tried.  Ever since that time, I really struggled with diving back into the OT and truly understanding the meaning and the importance of it. Until I started with the Epic of Eden.  Now its like a veil has been lifted and I truly embrace it.  I want to learn more and appreciate the backstory, framework, and guiding truths she gives in the book.

So if you are looking for a good read and wanting to challenge yourself theologically, go to amazon and order it. And when you do tell me about it!  I would love to talk to you about what you are getting out of the book.

Noonday Collection

do you have that one piece of clothing/jewelry/purse/accessory that you do not leave the house without? think about it? your phone doesn’t count! for me, its earrings. i’m not a big purse nor watch kind of girl or necklace for that matter, but earrings are something that i love. its a simple accessory that can say a lot about your personality. i love big, colorful, classy earrings. you will probably never see me without a pair of earrings on!! plus my little one loves this too!

i want to share with you about a company that i learned about two years ago. its called noonday collection.

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here’s what they say about themselves:
We partner with talented artisan entrepreneurs to make a difference in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. By developing artisan businesses through fair trade, we empower them to grow sustainably and to create dignified jobs for people who need them. Together we’re building a flourishing world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs and we are connected.

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as of 2016 they are helping almost 20,000 families in 12 different countries. that’s crazy! each season (spring, summer, fall, winter) they come out with new jewelry that is current with the fashion trends of that season and let me just say i’m in love with this company. now some of the pieces are pricey, but every piece you buy has been hand made by women across the globe and your purchase goes back to provide for the women and their families. how cool is that. i hate going into stores and picking out clothes and thinking, where is my money going to? finding companies like noonday, your money is not being wasted. you are supporting a bigger mission that is providing for people in need. now you may think this is silly, jewelry, how can i spend my money on that? but think about it, every woman wheres at least one piece of jewelry at all times. i get so many compliments on the earrings i own from noonday and i get so excited when i get to tell those about this beautiful company.

Noonday-post fall 2014 collage

interested? they are having a sale right now on some of their pieces here is the link: Noonday 50% Off!

if you want more information let me know. I can guide you to an ambassador near you! no i am not an ambassador of noonday, just of lover of their jewelry and mission.

The practice of giving

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everyday i wake up and have this thought “is it morning already?? i just want to go back to sleep” and then i hear one thing that changes everything…..a soft whisper “ma-ma” coming from the monitor. in that small moment all my frustrations, exhaustion, worries, all of me is put to the side and i am reminded that i have a little one that needs me.

i think i face my inner battle of “its about me right now” on a regular basis. the moment when all i want to do is drown everything out and have some alone time.  when i am dead tired and my little girl wants me to play with her toys or read a book and that inner voice saying, “ma-ma is tired i just can’t right now.” ever have that feeling? when you just CANT! its the feeling of guilt that comes flooding in when you just “can’t” but you know deep down, that these moments are so short with your child and you must. when you know that loving them is worth so much more than if i get more sleep or time to myself. the guilt is real people, especially to mamas out there.

i think we are prone to want more for ourselves, to make everything about ourselves. its the inner daily battle of our flesh and the spirit. i had always heard that you never knew how selfish you were until you get married, and that definitely rings true when you have a baby. i am always at war with my flesh telling me that i can’t or that i need this or that. but the spirit of god is waiting there quietly ready to show me that i need the love,  joy,  peace, and comfort that comes when you interact with others and with god. now don’t get me wrong, gentleness to ourselves is completely important, but i am talking about selfishness not self care.

the practice of giving.  this could be giving of things, material items or the giving of oneself. the latter is where i am right now. finding joy in the giving of myself to the other. i wonder if the practice of giving is not just for others but also to god. well, i am actually sure that god desires for us to give ourselves to him in every way. this concept of giving ourselves to god can be confusing, overwhelming, and scary, but of what i know of the nature of god, it is so worth it. he is true, just, caring, and wholeheartedly in love with each of us. when we give, he gives in return. no material things, but so much more.

psalm 51:12 “grant me a willing spirit that i may give myself away.” this is  my cry to the lord. i want to give myself away to bring others joy. i want to give myself away to draw closer to god. i want to have a willing spirit so that fear does not hold me back.

my prayer today is the words of the song that has been stuck in my head ever since sunday at church.

Fall Afresh

Awaken my soul, come awake
To hunger, to seek, to thirst
Awaken first love, come awake
And do as You did at first
Spirit of the Living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul
Pour in me to overflow,
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade