Using the week of Easter as a platform to share the Gospel

Oh man, I can’t believe I did a vlog. Please don’t make fun of me. I didn’t want to do it but I can’t explain how compelled I was to share this message with you. Maybe you’ll take the 5 minutes you don’t have to listen to a creative way you can share with others this week the amazing Good News that is truly life changing.

Choosing to un-believe the lie that it’s “too late”

Today I was reminded of God’s sweet grace in my life. I had blown it big time in one of my relationships.

Oh alright, I’ll tell you.

I mentor a little girl at a school in our community. We’ve been “lunch buddies” since last year and I see her once a week. Well, about mid November when sickness hit our family over and over again I found myself every Thursday either at a Doctor’s appointment or at home with a sick child or sick myself. Then flu season hit. Eventually I fell out of the habit of meeting my girl who I had faithfully mentored up to this point. More time went by and I felt so guilty for not going. Not calling. Not letting the school know why I had not been there and so I didn’t want to show up. I was too ashamed. Three months had passed. I was committing the cardinal mentor taboo – not showing up without communicating anything. These are kids who need a positive influence in their life and to be one more person who doesn’t show up in their life pours salt on a wound.

The last two weeks my girl has been heavy on my heart. I knew God was nudging me to get back to seeing her but I didn’t want to face her. In my time with Him this morning He clearly showed me this was now an issue of obedience and there was grace for me in my lack of faithfulness. This was not about me and saving face. This was about a calling He put in my life.

I pulled into the school parking lot and couldn’t help but wonder if she would be mad at me. Or on the other hand would she even remember me. I spoke with her teacher who was as gracious as could be. And then my sweet little lunch buddy came over with a huge grin on her face and gave me a bear hug. And we picked right up. I told her I was sorry for not coming. Explained the sickness in our family and that I wished I had let her know through her teacher what was going on. She was quick to forgive as children so often are. I felt so much better. I was so thankful I had pushed through the awkward and uncomfortable scenario I had conjured up in my head of her throwing her lunch tray at me when I showed up three months late.

I’m so glad I got over that hump and fought satan’s lie that it was “too late” and that I had done too much damage to make it right again. Oh how thankful I am for God’s grace. His word is alive and active. God’s Spirit through His word spoke into my heart this morning about sincere love from Romans 12. Sincere love has a very distinct description. God used my time meditating on those words from Romans 12 to open up my heart to do something I didn’t want to do.

I’m so glad our God is faithful even when we are not. It makes me love him so much more and give me a desire to be more faithful to Him and others.

Linking with Jennifer, Holley and Kristin

 

I’m that ‘well she tries’ girl in the kitchen

It was a long-time-waiting warm Spring day outside yesterday. And those kinds of days make me do crazy things all in the name of warm weather. I dreamed up this visual in my head of our family rocking on the rocking chairs of our Southern front porch eating warm pound cake with strawberries and watching traffic drive by. As if any of us have time for that but it sure sounded great. So I whipped one up real quick while prepping dinner.

While the cake was in the oven smelling quite divine I decided I would be super Mom and let the kids do what they’ve been dying to do ever since we’ve lived here. Make a mud pit with quicksand. After all it was warm and Springy feeling outside. I even went to say out loud (which was a mistake) to the kids, “You know, sometimes playing is more important than homework!” I do believe it’s true to some degree but really should have kept that thought to myself because boy did they ever latch on to that one. I dread what the teachers might hear today at school from our kids. An exaggerated, “My Mom said that playing is more important than school or homework ever will be!!!!” Oh dear.

So the kids are doing this:

IMG_1588 IMG_1586 IMG_1580

while I’m cooking dinner and smelling the cake in the oven and running out every 15 minutes to be sure nobody was drowning in mud.

Randy came home to this…..

IMG_1589

Thankfully my man is cool with things like this. He wasn’t worried about the grass because there was none to begin with. This is the spot where our trampoline has been for several years but we moved it to a different location.

I assured Randy I would make all this up to him by pulling out a beautiful warm pound cake. He  excited about that. I don’t have a light on my oven and knew better than to open the oven – it might make the cake “fall”, whatever that meant. I’ve never had a cake to fall and have never understood what that means really. So I just waited the hour and a half to pull out the cake.

Finally we heard the long awaited ding of the timer while we were finishing up dinner.  I jumped up and grabbed my oven mitts and swung open the oven door to find this:

10314697_10153330728036842_343399426168528532_n

I let out a shocked scream. The kids said, “What’s wrong Mom!” Randy could see from where he was sitting the damage. My mouth fell to the floor in complete shock. I’d never seen a cake do this before. I looked at the oven to be sure my temperature was right and it was and then it hit me….

I swung open the cabinet door and yanked down my flour bag and sure enough I had accidentally bought “self rising” flour instead of plain all purpose.

I took the cake over and put it on the table and looked at Randy and said, “This is what happens when I try too hard to be all domesticated.”

Sophie said, “Well, then don’t try so hard.

Mitchell quips back immediately and says, “Actually, try harder please!!”

And that’s when we all busted out laughing and started scraping off the sides of the cake. I was ready to pitch the thing but Randy scooped it up into bowls. Yes, bowls for cake. Let’s just pour the salt on the culinary wound why don’t we.

IMG_1593

And you know what? It was was actually delicious! We loved it. Randy said, “I think this is the best cake you’ve ever made!”

Have I mentioned that I love my man? He’s so sweet. The cake was good but really now, it wasn’t the best cake I’ve ever made.

So yeah,  I’m the “well she tries” girl occasionally. Not all the time because generally I can pull together  decent meal and dessert but when I blow it I blow it big. Ha!!

So, care to share any of your “well she tried” kitchen episodes? Dare you to. 

 

 

 

 

 

Dad’s, date your daughters before others do.

Dads, you will never know how much special time with your daughter means to her. All little girls desire to be cherished and loved by her earthly Daddy. And nothing says “I love you” more than special time set up for just you and her. A Daddy-daughter date. A Father reaches a daughter’s heart in a unique way that a Mother can’t and so that special time together is so important.

This is what it looked like for our daughter and her Daddy as they went out on a fancy date tonight. Randy gave her a handwritten invitation and had it ready for her this morning at the breakfast table. She was surprised and beyond thrilled to open something with her name on it.

IMG_1548

She ran upstairs and said, “MOM! Daddy and I are going on a date tonight and we’re going to eat at a restaurant and then see Cinderella!!!” And then we screamed together because that’s what girls do when they get asked out on a date. They feel so special that they scream and dance in place.

Later Sophie said, “I don’t know what half those big words mean in that invitation but I sure am excited.” We laughed and then Randy explained what the “big words” meant. Ha!

IMG_1550

It’s cold and rainy outside and Easter hasn’t happened and in the South you don’t pull out white anything until Easter Sunday but for Daddy-daughter dates all those rules go out the window. You just dress like a princess and nothing else matters. I curled her hair and she put on some lipgloss and she felt beautiful. And then she walked down the steps with her Daddy waiting downstairs for her.

I assured Sophie she would have a blast with Daddy because he is FUN to date. “He makes you feel so special on dates and treats you like a queen,” I assured her. She smiled and said, “He doesn’t have to be doing this but he is.” I said, “You’re right sweetheart. He doesn’t. He’s choosing to be with you tonight.” She was a sponge soaking up the thought that her Daddy wanted to be with her.

I kissed them both goodbye and off they went on their date.

I’m at home by myself tonight and I couldn’t be happier about it. My prayer is that while Sophie is on a date with her Daddy that she will learn what to desire in a young man one day. Not only that, but that she will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that her earthly father loves her unconditionally. And that this love will point her to her heavenly Father who not only loves unconditional but loves her perfectly. This what a father can teach his girl if he chooses to take the time to date her.

Some people call this video creepy but I think it’s really cute and demonstrates clearly that even the smallest of little girls love to be with their Daddy on a date.

Some Daddy-daughter date ideas:

  • McDonalds lunch just the two of you. Ask her about her friends and what they play on the playground.
  • Get an ice cream cone together. Ask her what her favorite song is and pull it up on your phone. Share earbuds and listen to the song together.
  • Take her out somewhere special for dinner.
  • Go see a movie together
  • Invite her to the hardware store with you and let her help you with a project. Doesn’t sound like a girly date but little girls love to be a part of their Dad’s world. Let her help even if it’s harder to do with her help.

If you’re a single Mom and your daughter does not have a Father figure in her life right now I want you to know that her heavenly Father is the Father to the fatherless. This is what He says of Himself and if you believe God to be true to his word then you can find such comfort in this. Your daughter has the heart of her heavenly Father in a unique way. He is watching over her and I believe with all my heart as you seek Him He will redeem what is lost in the years of not having an attentive earthly Father. Do not grieve with no hope on behalf of your daughter but cling to the fact that her heavenly Father is sufficient and nothing – not even the absence of her earthly father can thwart God’s plan for you or for your daughter.

So Dad’s, start dating your girls before the boys in her class do. Set the standard high. Open the door for her and pull the chair out for her. Treat her with a gentle respect that might be hard to find but will be worth waiting for one day. Tell her the things you see Jesus doing in her life in addition to how pretty she is. Let her know by spending special time with her that you cherish her. And know that it’s never too early to start praying for the man that will one day be dating her more than you.

Linking with Laura and Jen

 

A new kind of Spring blooms you will just love!

IMG_1547

This is my idea of the perfect set of blooms because you don’t have to remember to water them and they stay yellow year round. Heck you can even snag a cup of water on a rainy day without having to go back inside.

For real, how red neck can you get?

Our son put these out for some air soft target shooting this week. I thought it was pretty clever. And tacky. They will probably stay there until next Christmas. Isn’t that lovely.

Okay, so for some random weekend thoughts:

Mitchell gets to go to Dnow with his Youth Group this weekend. It’s his first time going and we’re really excited for him. He’s looking forward to it. They’re donating food for a backpack program for kids in the school system who could use the extra food over the weekend.  I love that he’s getting to participate in this! I didn’t grow up going to Dnow and didn’t hear about it until a few years ago. I’m really glad our Youth Pastor has seen this as an important part for our youth group and has encouraged our kids to go.

Randy and Sophie will have a Daddy-daughter date and will be seeing Cinderella together on Saturday. But she doesn’t know yet so don’t spoil the surprise if you know her in real life. She will be getting her special invitation from her Dad soon.

Me? Well, me and one of my BFF’s is going to get our toes done. We’ve been sending obscene pictures of our horrible chipped off toe nails to each other for the past two months saying “when are we getting our toes done?!!” So it’s time. The world will be a better place after our toes get cleaned up.

So that’s what our weekend looks like unless the Lord intervenes with other plans.

I hope you have a fantastical weekend!

 

 

 

When you don’t feel all Proverbs 31’ish

For these reasons and more I have never written my name in the margin of Proverbs 31:

1) I caught Sunday lunch on fire this past Sunday. My husband blew it out.

2) I added these to a pork roast recipe because I thought they were the same thing as dried onions. But they’re not. Fried and Dried are not the same thing.

IMG_1496

3) My husband has worn underwear  socks inside out because I was not up while it was still dark washing or darning new ones for him. And for the record the only “darn” I know about is the word you say when you really want to say something else. Ahem.

4) Our daughter wears mismatched socks almost every single day….not due to a trend thing.

Oh I could go on but I’ll leave it at that and make my point. Because there is only 8,464 more things I could add to this list it made something that happened last week even more special to me.

On one of our Proverbs readings last week we all read Proverbs 31. The family is scattered in the living room and we’re all reading our verses. I read and kept silently saying to myself, “Dangit I gotta work on that!” Or “That is so not me but I would like for it to be.” And so on.

We usually just read and pray and head out the door. But this morning was different. Randy began reading Proverbs 31 out loud and he would stop and make some comments about me in between. He would say, “Mom takes care of the poor – how does she do that?” The kids took part and together they built me up and pointed out areas that I was like the Proverbs 31 woman and I was in awe. In shock more like. It’s not that I think I’m a lame chick wallowing in self pity. I just don’t think of myself  in terms of Proverbs 31. I want to get there but I’m not yet. So to hear my man and my kids affirm me in this was so very moving. They prayed over me and thanked God for me and my heart melted in a puddle. I will never forget that moment.

And that night for dinner?

We had the best meal we’ve had in a long time.

The house?

Was immaculate.

The hubs underwear and socks?

Clorox clean!

Kids clothes?

Washed, ironed, folded and put away neatly completely with matching socks for the girly girl.

And even if I haven’t felt Proverbs 31’ish before I am starting to strive for it more intentionally.

I am a blessed woman of God – not because of what I do or don’t do but because of His grace for me through it all.

Linking with Jennifer, Holley and kristin.

Taking the Resurrection Eggs to our community

I wanted to share what our church is doing this month in preparation for an upcoming outreach event on March 28th in our community. We have sort of adopted a local park for the sole purpose of encouraging and loving people. The first few events we did we simply gave stuff away. Hundreds of coats & shoes, diapers & wipes. You didn’t have do anything to receive the stuff – just get in line and we gave it to you.

Slowly we are learning that many people are receptive and eager to be prayed for.  And so now we ask how we can pray for our new friends we meet and we take time right then to pray with them. Not everyone is comfortable with this and we’re cool with that. We give space when space is needed but we spend weeks praying for God to give us wisdom to know when to lean in and pray over people, share the Gospel and invite them to church.

So on March 28th we will be putting on an Easter Egg hunt at this same park. We’ve reserved the shelters and signed a contract. For the last few weeks our church has been collecting plastic eggs, candy and we have been training on how to use the resurrection eggs as a tool to share the Gospel. Because after we have an awesome cool egg hunt we will sit in small groups of 12 all around the park and share the Gospel through resurrection eggs. We have built in some low pressure options to keep people from fleeing immediately after the egg hunt but at the same time we don’t want people to feel like they got trapped into hearing the Gospel either.

We have no idea what to expect because we’ve never done this before. We might be crazy insane but at least we know we’re Spirit-led crazy insane because we really do know God has put this thing in our hearts and He is providing in awesome ways for this day.

IMG_1538 IMG_1537    IMG_1525IMG_1531

Tonight we watched this most adorable video of a small child telling the resurrection eggs. Our point was this – if a five year old girl can do this so can you! The Gospel story is not intimidating to share but sometimes as adults we complicate things.

Don’t have a set of resurrection eggs? Go get you some here or drop in Lifeway and grab some. They really are a powerful tool. You may find this hard to believe but there are kids in your community that have not heard the story of Jesus loving them so much that He died for them and rose again. This is HUGE never heard news for someone out there this Easter. 

Who will you tell the Good News to this month? 

Linking with Jen and Laura

 

Embrace the strangeness!

Okay, you do not need to agree or leave any sassy comments but I’m realizing and owning that we are a strange family. Really, we are. A few examples might include and I wish were limited to the following…..

In our family we’re just sick enough to occassionally turn the iconic red “you’re special” plate into a weapon. If you’re an adult and you get the red plate at your place setting then you know you’ve either been a horses hiney or you did something really stupid. Instead of the plate meaning “you’re special” for me and Randy it subtly means, “I’m not going to but I really  want to break this plate over your head right now.” And yes, we know that’s just strange.

images

I got the red plate this week for doing something really stupid. It involved wasting a ton of black ink printing off what I thought was a document but instead was a picture. Bad experience altogether. What makes it worse is that I was so proud of myself for learning how to print from my cell phone and even bragged to the entire family while I made one click from one room while the printer started up in another. Little did I know the page would be soaking wet with wasted ink. Yeah, so I got to eat off the red special plate. The kids are always confused by one of us getting the red plate when its not our birthday. But Randy and I laugh under our breath as the other eats crow off the “you’re special plate”. We do it in good humor and fun so no judging okay?

Another strange thing we do as a family is teach our dog commands to nonsensical words. She goes to her crate at night when we say, “Go to jail, Dooley.” She runs to her cozy little space and curls up in a ball. Probably dreaming of a human owner that would use words in the right context.

I’m not sure if this counts as strange or not but our family howls with our dog. Okay, just saying that out loud assures me it’s strange. But it’s the closest thing we get to being “that musical pastor’s family” that stands up on stage and performs so beautifully. In fact I will leave you with a taste of the strangeness here:

Okay, so just step into your own weirdness and enjoy it. Life’s too short to be normal. In the words of my daughter who put it so succinctly, “what is normal anyways?

Exactly.

Enjoy your weekend!

5 Boredom Prevention Tactics while waiting on the Doctor

We’ve all been there……banging our heads on the wall while we wait with our child for the Doctor to come in. So here’s a few tactics we’ve resorted to and now look forward to doing should we have a long wait.

1) Use that stiff white paper your child is sitting on to play hangman and tic-tac-toe. 

*This works like a charm. Just don’t use a sharpie unless your Doctor is okay with you decorating the vinyl bench with hangman pictures. And he’s probably not so just stick with a ball point pen. Our Doctor came in once and finished the word for Sophie. I was totally impressed with his hangman abilities.

2) Play truth or dare while you wait.

*This is awesome fun and a bit risky. We never do the truth but always do the dares. We are clear that we can never do anything that would damage anything or disrupt anyone or anything. Like I had to say, “No Way!” to the dare Sophie gave me of pulling the fire alarm. Teachable moment there about the seriousness of that and to never ever do that. See – you can still learn while having fun. Ha! Some of our past dares:

  • put a rubber glove on your head
  • do the chicken dance
  • twirl 5 times in the middle of the room
  • squeeze the blood pressure bulb thingy
  • stick a tongue depressor up your nose

You’re always dreading the door opening at any given moment but so far neither of us have ever been caught in the middle of our dare.

3) Play Doctor

I’m not good at this but Randy is hilarious with it. He makes the kids (when they were little) lie down on the table and he pretends to be the Doctor. He makes them stick out their tongue and makes fun of their bad breath. He pretends to pull vines out of their ears and makes them do crazy exercises. He always has Sophie cracking up hysterically.

4) Play Charades

My all time favorite was when Sophie was a “dead fly” on the table. Laying on her back with her legs and arms straight up in the air. Classic.

5) I Spy

Just good ole classic I Spy in the Doctor’s office. There are a million black items we’ve noticed over the years so we try to find the tiniest spec of color we can possibly find.

So that’s all I got right now. It’s fresh on my mind because we had two whole hours in a tiny little office this week. We went through every one of these things and I was so tired by the end I made her pull out her iPod to play a game. Ha! Seriously, I was like YOU WILL PLAY YOUR IPOD RIGHT NOW YOUNG LADY. She begged me to keep playing. Finally I said, “Sophie, just sit still and be normal.” She literally looked at me quizically and said, “What is normal anyways?”

Somebody please help me.

Pastor’s Conference at The Cove

Randy and I have had the absolute privilege of spending two nights at The Cove for a Pastor’s Training with Jim Henry. This entire conference for pastors has been underwritten by donors and so everything down to the meals, lodging and conference materials have been free for all of us here. I cannot even explain what a blessing this has been for us. The vision behind the Training Center here at the Cove is to equip believers with deeper training in the Word. All year long there are conferences, trainings and concerts. I’ve attended two women’s conferences here and have been dying for Randy to come and be a part of things here. So this has been an awesome treat for us to experience together.

imagesimages

The setting is breathtakingly beautiful in any season of the year here but we have been able to experience this beauty with snow coming down this week. Gorgeous!

IMG_1415IMG_1438

The sessions have been really good and hearing from a godly man who has been in ministry for over 30 years is really neat.

IMG_1435 IMG_1430

Another favorite part has been the Q&A time. They just hit the daily practical issues that every pastor deals with. Dealing with the pressures of ministry, scheduling and carving out time for family, staff issues and so much more. There’s something really awesome about being with a group of people who are walking similar journeys.

We did have to laugh a few times though because there’s a few things that happen when a bunch of pastors get together:

  • They say “brother” all the time but it’s pronounced “brotha”. Randy’s never had a brother before but he’s had about 200 since being here the last few days.
  • They tell churchy jokes. “Is that seat saved? Or is it just backslidden?” Enter a huge hardy laugh followed by a slap on the back that could make you cough up a lung.
  • The star fish story gets told at least once.
  • There are a million friendly jokes about the different denominations represented.

The hospitality here at the Cove has been nothing short of amazing all three times I’ve been here. They are true servants of the Lord at this place. You sense the humility in service as soon as you step on campus. It really is set apart in so many different ways.

I want all my PW friends to go online right now and check out the Cove and see the calendar of events. They offer the complimentary Pastor’s Institute two times a year. Al Mohler Jr will be speaking March 24th and it’s a free one day conference for pastors (Senior, Youth, Discipleship, Associate) with one night lodging and meals. Wives can attend as well. And if you love your pastor and pastor’s wife let them know about this offer. They will love you for it.

Will be posting later this week about some of the things we talked about this week in our pastor’s conference…..both through speakers and other attendees. It’s been a great three days of refreshment.