Monday, March 14, 2016

Good Morning Monday!

Just a quick post to wish you well on the beginning your week, dreaming your dreams and working hard at them too - may you accomplish much!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Faithful Friday. A Story of Love.

I was whisked away last Friday for a VERY fun anniversary weekend... I'll spare you the deets, but wanted to post today to finish up my story!  I am sharing as part of our Inspire's FAITHFUL FRIDAYS... my story starts here.

So we ended last time with Easter, and today's story starts a week or so later.
We were barreling into the house from school pick up .

Let me pause to remember what that was like...boy I miss pick up!  It's the little things you miss you know.  Now my two youngest drive home together- music blasting, but they still barrel into the house, dump stuff off everywhere, and talk my ear off.
And one day that will be gone too but I'm not sad - just appreciating that I still love every moment I get.

We were barreling...
and the phone was ringing... the landline, and everyone was tackling each other to get to answer it.  My oldest won.

Hey Mom - it's for you!  I came up to take the phone,  "It's Pastor!" he said.

As I picked up the phone and said hello, I heard our pastor talk and talk and talk.  And I don't think I  heard a word.  A completely surreal moment frozen in time.
We always talk about those times when light is shining down from heaven... or a bush is burning in front of you.... this was one of those.

I did hear this:
"I know this sounds crazy but do you think being the children's pastor here is something you'd be remotely interested in?"

I always thought our pastor had some special hotline to God... now I knew it to be true... how could he know what's been going on all these months? how could all this be really happening!?!
So my husband walks in the door as I'm hanging up the phone.   He asks what's happened, and all I could remember was that last question Pastor asked.  He actually ended up calling the pastor back to get filled in. and so there it was.

And now all of it got really REAL.
He was asking me...but not just me.... all of us, if we were at all interested in stopping our lives we just moved back to, leaving our families again, my husband quitting a fantastic corporate career to come out and have little old me be the children's pastor at our church.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight."           Proverbs 3:5-6

All of it was so real:
telling our families... incredibly hard
Telling his boss, who refused to believe it for two weeks and my husband after set on a career path, stopping and finding something new to do in a small town that would still provide for a family of 6.
Telling our kids... BIG DEAL when they were just making new friends and settling into new momentum where they were.
Putting a house up for sale.

It was a lot of stuff.  We commiserated over it everyday, but at the end of each one, we knew the answer was "yes, Lord".
And we said yes.

Looking back on all that has transpired since then amazes me.

But this wasn't just my story.
and my favorite part is seeing how the Lord had plans for my children and my husband, also, that have far surpassed our own dreams and hope.
My husband owns his own business, and is good, really goodat what he does.
My kids have grown up learning to have a heart for children and others...learning to serve as ministers... learning by enriching experiences and opportunities they would have not have had otherwise.  Yes, they would have had different and good opportunities.  Still, I watch who they are - and are becoming - and see how the Lord's hand in bringing us back has shaped them.
It is a very. beautiful. thing. indeed.

We moved back, pastored for 4 years.  It was a wonderful time, and after that stepping down was hard, but right - a story in itself - and we still get to step in as subs often and love it.  I get to spend time working with a fantastic group of junior high girls in ministry, and other things including Inspire {another group of amazing grown up girls women in ministry}, that I would not have been able to do without the growth and strength that came from doing ministry full time.
And I am walking in the beginning of a new chapter - full of things that have not yet been.
with hope...because experience is on my side.
God remains faithful. He is constant.

Choosing to walk in faith, you'll go places you never expect and do things you don't think you're brave enough to do, and you will find that He is faithful right back... he's got your back too.
And the more important hope is that you will find and live in the blessings uniquely planned for you.  I hope that my story is able to pass on hope, and be a reminder that we can be confident in His Faithfulness.
Be Blessed!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Hooray for Faithful Fridays!

It has been so fun sharing my stories over the past few weeks. I am sharing as part of our Inspire's FAITHFUL FRIDAYS... my story starts here.

 I had an opportunity to share it again last night, and at one point, one of the ladies I was talking to had tears rolling down her cheeks, i was so taken back by it!  It dawned on me just then that no matter how many times I'm able to share... I love telling it - It's powerful!  It's because it is a reminder to me - but often - not just me, of what the Lord has done... a remembrance.... like the continuing of Passover to present day, or setting up of stones by the river, or Purim or any of the other cool ways of stopping for a moment and remembering to the core of us, all that happened, all that was at stake, all that the Lord has done.

It's my mini, own personalized 'festival' to the Lord each time I share it, and it makes me remember.

Last week I finished with a song. and laundry

...and at the moment I need another divine appointment with the laundry because I've been ignoring it for some time now.  Could someone just come over and do it for me please?
I will probably pay off a teen to get it caught up for me.  It is the weekend and my oldest at home is always broke... a win win I would say.

This song... and moment with the Lord... It gave me hope and real strength.

At some point along the way,we mostly settled on one church, started attending and getting more involved. We came home from services one Sunday and both of us were very excited.
And after a moment of

"I feel like the Lord put on my heart that I'm suppose to be doing something"
"me too"
"you say it first"
"no you say it first" 

we realized that we both felt like we were being called to Children's Ministry.
a really cool moment.  
How was it going to play out?  
The current children's pastor was a young woman and we thought, hey maybe she's going to get married and step down to have kids.... and we'll step in.  Or maybe, in about 12 years (why 12? don't know...) the children's pastors at the church we were at in the show-me state would retire and we would step in to their very awesome and experienced shoes.
All dreamy.  All our own thoughts.  Was what we were feeling really from the Lord?
We didn't know what was ahead, but we did know that it wasn't happening just now, so we did stuff to fill the time.  We took on starting up a bible quiz program, and I joined choir... we stepped up to help with stuff here and there, and there you have it.

Two specific moments come to mind for me after this:

One is that we were driving across town together, and heard that our children's pastors in the other state were actually stepping down.  My husband thought, hey maybe we should call?
Why would we even consider that?  Because we had been dreamy about it before?  No, it wasnt right.  We were just settling in to new house, new job, new schools, back home  - for good right?....
and that was crazy.
Why in the WORLD would we move back to Missouri?
so I said - "If it's a God thing, they'll call us."
that should do it. case closed.

Two was the Easter celebration.
It was a big thing at this church, open to the community, giant egg hunt and bounce houses, food, giveaways and a beautiful choir performance.  I came over to the church early to help set up, but I got to the parking lot and I couldn't get out of the car.
I started to cry. REALLY CRY.
I did not want to be there.
I was just so sad.  How did I get HERE?
Everything was fine, but I can look back now and say, I had been going through the motions all along, like being in the bad worship service with my eyes closed, but the reality was all wrong, and my heart just wasn't in it.  I realized that I had been walking around the past few months doing what I felt I was supposed to be doing.  But never really entering in.  That's not living....not intentionally anyway.
So in the still empty parking lot, I prayed.
I told the Lord that I really didn't want to be there.
and even though He said to GO, I was there where he wanted me, and I didn't like it.
But also in that moment, in that conversation,  I also decided that he was God. I decided that I really did believe...
I really did believe in the reality of who He is and what he was doing....even though I didn't want to  be there- I did make that point abundantly clear.  I believed in the fact that HE had a plan that he was revealing to us in HIS time.
So I told him that I would walk, and wait, and work, and do it fully with my whole heart - my whole heart.
and TRUST.
and that is my moment, my sacred moment when I put it all in the Lords' hands to do with it whatever he would do.  It's the moment I can still feel from the inside out even physically to my core, the decision i made right then and there. It was big, although i didn't realize it at the time.
Hilarious. I got out and manned the bounce house.

A week later we were barreling into the house from school pick up and the phone was ringing... the landline... and everyone was tackling each other to get to answer it.  My oldest won.

Hey Mom - it's for you!  "It's Pastor!"
They called us.

And again this has gotten very wordy... so next Friday i will finish up and catch you up.

My hope for you today is that you will remember that HE is faithful... to YOU.  and that we have a part to play too.... we must daily choose to place our Trust into his very capable hands.

and Thanks for stopping by!
Here is the rest of the story!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Great Last Minute Valentine Project Helps!!

SUPER Cute new "Valentina" Cut-Outs!
free download from Bella Blvd, find them here!! Along with some great ideas to get you started.

May your weekend be spent around people you love:)
Happy Valentines Day! 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Faith-filled Friday installment 2!

As part of our lovely Inspire Group's FAITHFUL FRIDAYS today I wanted to continue sharing the story i started last week.

As I mentioned... moving made all kinds of sense on paper... great job moving up the corporate ladder and Dad getting to work from home... best schools in the state, close to home but not too close... gorgeous home with a 4-car garage that backed up to wooded, never-to-be-built-on acreage behind us.

Yet we were slightly miserable all the time. 
And the only reason I can pinpoint is that it was where we were suppose to be. 

We went from church to church that year trying to settle.
One October day, a woman  - complete stranger - came up to us in the church of complete strangers we happened to be visiting that week... It was after service and here's where I digress and become less of the Christian woman I've been called to be.  I was totally miserable that day.  A new young youth pastor and his wife were being welcomed into the church and they were also leading worship.  They were clumsy and not very good.  I was terribly harsh & judgmental on them, but justifiably (not really) it was because I had come from a church with fantastic worship leaders that could seriously tour around the country.  During worship I kept thinking "If I just close my eyes, maybe I can imagine being back at our old church".  A few off-key notes later I was right back to reality.  It was just a particularly sad day for me that day, which is why this woman surprised me and caught me completely off guard.
She said "I feel like the Lord wants me to tell you something."  She then went on to clarify my feelings that I hadn't been able to verbalize until that moment:  "I feel like the Lord wants me to tell you, You feel like something has been taken away from you... but He will restore it all back to you, and more abundantly."  It was at that moment I burst into tears in front of total strangers like a blubbering full grown insane woman.
And in my ridiculous mind I thought... Lord that is so sweet of you to say, that you will get us back to building new spiritual relationships with new people but really, I want my old ones back.
I want our pastor back,  I want awesome worship back, I want our friends back, our ministry back, I want, I want, I want... but thank you Lord for the sentiment... it was very sweet of you, that's why I love you, because you care about what i'm feeling right now.

God is so graceful to little old fumbling imperfect me:)

What I realize - now that I can look back, is that when we came to know Jesus and became a family "young" in faith, God had a plan to grow us beyond what we even knew we could grow to be (and we are imperfectly growing still of course).    We were out in the middle of Nowhere, Ohio, for the first time out on our own spiritually, and had to learn to walk in faith, and depend on God completely as husband and wife, and family. We grew tremendously in those months we were in our desert.  We faithfully woke up to coffee and prayer and meeting the Lord together as a couple every day, asking him to lead us.  We didn't know why we were there, but chose to trust.

And it was a daily walk.  One perfectly ordinary day I was feeling so lost I spoke out "Please Lord tell me what I am suppose to do right now?!"
And do you know what I heard?
Be prepared, because its existential.....

Do the Laundry.
(what every husband dreams about right? Lord please tell my wife today to just make dinner and do the laundry, bathe the kids, and put them to bed, thank you in advance, Amen.)

So I humored the all mighty God of the universe (who made Jupiter - hello! I always tell the kids), and I did laundry.
and I decided to listen to praise and worship on the radio while I was folding.
It was then that I heard words that came straight from heaven and into my  heart.  A divine appointment with a song that I had never heard before and never have heard on the radio again since.
It brings me to those blubbering tears every single time I hear it.

Here are the words, it's called Take My Hand by the Kry:

I know there are times
Your dreams turn to dust
You wonder as you cry...
why it has to hurt so much.
Give me all your sadness... One day you will know the reason why.
       {and there I go.... I'm blubbering as I type.}
 with a childlike heart... simply put your Hope in me.
Take my hand and walk where I lead
keep your eyes on me alone
don't you say why were the old days better
just because your'e scared of the unknown.
take my hand and walk

Don't live in the past cause yesterday is gone
wishing memories would last
you're afraid to carry one
You don't know what's coming
but you know the one whole holds tomorrow
i will be you're guide take you through the night if you keep you're eyes on me.
Take my hand and walk where I lead
keep your eyes on me alone
don't you say why were the old days better
just because your'e scared of the unknown.
take my hand and walk where i lead
you will never be alone faith is to be sure of what you hope for and the evidence of things not seen
so take my hand and walk.

Do you need these words today? I sure did in that moment, and every time I happen upon it in my iTunes i see it as a divine appt yet again to remember that the Lord SEES ME.  He is the God  of the Universe... (who made Jupiter )

and who sees me.

and who sees you too
He loves you, has plans for you right where you are.
My encouragement for today is that you would ask for a divine appt with your Creator.
To talk with him and receive what he has for only you... to remember that HE SEES YOU right where you are... in the middle of messes, in the desert, in the middle of crazy mommy bliss where you can't remember if there's a world around outside that has humans that don't walk around in hazy sleep deprived and look good.... in loneliness when mommy bliss is replaced with emptiness of empty nest... He Sees You.

 Psalm 139  says it all.

Meet you next Friday for a coffee and more of the story!
 and may He renew your strength.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Making Valentines

It's always surprising how much I still love Valentines Day.  It actually means very little in the whole scheme of LOVE for me because our aniversary is this month too.  After all the years of class parties...preschool to grade school to Latin class, you might think I would be glad to opt out, like some "mom of grown up kids" rite of passage and V Day would pass gently into that good night.

But alas, having kiddos in college makes the heart grow fonder, and unsuspecting older kiddos still at home makes it a really perfect time for the Love Bug to strike.  So behind the scenes... when no one is looking,
I bake cookies, and decorate...dip strawberries, make cheesy valentines and crochet hearts.  I think I probably always will because sooner than I suspect, grandkids will come into the picture and whoa - lets just stop right there shall we?
I guess I just love Valentines Day after all.

So here is my first video, please muster some grace with watching I'm sure it will be less than professional, but I hope you enjoy it anyway:)

Here's to spoiling unsuspecting people you love!
Happy Hearts Weekend to you!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Faith-filled Friday!

Our lovely Inspire Group is celebrating FAITHFUL FRIDAY today and I thought I would share here as a way to kick start the updated blog.

{For more Heart Inspiration check out Inspire's website too}

 As you may or may not know, we moved out here about 15 years ago, with certain plans to move back home some time before our oldest was in middle school - that being the perfect time for friendships to be built anew, and everything else my child development background was telling me about adolescence and positive social growth.
Perfectly timed, my husbands job moved us back, close to home when our oldest was graduating 5th grade.
But moving back was a lot harder than it would seem. We moved back closer to family, but family was still two hours away ...and the distance didn't seem to get us visiting them or visiting us as much as we wanted to, especially with busy kid schedules.  The house of our dreams that we were settling down for the rest of our lives in didn't quite fit us.... we couldn't settle on a church family for a long time... We were terribly discombobulated and could not feel settled.

Hindsite is beautiful.

You see we weren't suppose to get comfortable.
God had a plan, (He always does - for which I am SO thankful)

and part of it was keeping us unsettled.

When we first moved out to the show-me state, we were a young family leaving our bigger family unit.  We had to learn to walk on our own, depend on each other completely as husband and wife trusting and fully owning our decisions.  We grew tremendously as a family those years - they were golden - babies, preschoolers and school-agers, crafts and class parties, birthday parties and little league, and a fantastic sledding hill that we used to upturn the 'little tykes' picnic table for and turn into a "stagecoach" that sent four or more people at once barreling down at top speeds to sudden death by snow, heaped in a mass at the bottom of the hill.  Boy do I miss those days!

We also found our faith.  Our faith family - a beautiful church of beautiful people who loved God and others, whose faith was lived out daily in acts of love, service and connection.  They built us up and fed us spiritually.
And that is where it all came to a grinding halt.

All of a sudden we were facing a job change.   Everything was so good, and we had to leave it all.  It was the plan all along, but now I didn't think I wanted to go.
I prayed about it and for one of the first times in my life I felt the Lord say something to me..."Go"....
So who am I to argue?

It all made sense on paper... moving up the corporate ladder and Dad getting to work from home... best schools in the state, close to home but not too close... gorgeous home with a 4-car garage that backed up to wooded, never-to-be-built-on acreage behind us.
i mean really WHAT MORE COULD WE WANT?

We were slightly miserable all the time.
And the only reason I can pinpoint is that it was where we were suppose to be.

Unfortunately, the rest of the story will have to wait.... it's time to taxi!
But please join me next Friday as I share the rest of my story.