Broken Crayons!

Broken Crayons!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”—Romans 8:28

Recently I did an experiment with Ellie. We took all her broken crayons and we melted them down until they took on a new shape. We then let the crayon wax cool and harden. The experiment was a process. It took time, work and patience.  However, it was worth it! Through this experiment I was reminded of the work God wants to do in the hearts of all His broken people. This is a project that needs parent supervision since a hot oven is needed.

First. we started by peeling away the part of the crayon that was no longer useful. This part was hard for me. Ellie’s fingers are tiny. It took everything in me to let her do  this part herself. I wanted to jump in and help the entire time.

Preheat the oven to 250 F.

Next, we organized the crayons into a mini cupcake pan. We had fun mixing the colors. However, you can also sort the colors.

We placed the broken crayons in the oven to melt. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until wax is melted. Ellie had fun watching through the oven door.

After melting we waited as the crayons cooled and hardened into the shape of a circle.

Last, we tested out our new crayon. Be sure that the crayons are cool before allowing your child to touch them. I let the crayons sit for an hour before we tested them. Some parents and teachers have let the crayons sit over night.

Ellie really had fun with this experiment. Waiting for the new crayons to cool was the most difficult for her. However, I like that  it was a good opportunity to strengthen her patience.

Can we all just have a come to Jesus moment real quick? This experiment is about more than broken crayons.  It’s about broken people. We are all broken in some way. Jesus wants to pick us up in our brokenness, tare off all the unnecessary mess, melt us down in the fire, pull us out of our darkness so we can do amazing things for Him. God is not surprised by our brokenness. God love us so much that He wants to bring us out of our brokenness. Did you know that the Bible is filled with men and women who did some pretty  messed up things? Yet GOD still did great things in and through each of them. Check it out…

Broken Men and Women of the Bible used by God:

Noah was a drunk and God used Him to build the ark. He used him even though He knew he would mess us after the flood and get drunk. Jesus still chose to use Noah because He knew that even in all of Noah’s brokenness that he would answer the call to build the ark. He did! We are here because Jesus chose to use Noah.

David  was a murderer and adulterer but God still crowned Him King  because He chose to forgive David and bring a blessing through him.

Peter denied Christ three times yet still Jesus used Him. After denying Jesus three times, Peter went on to be filled with the holy Spirit, perform miracles and confidently preach in public. Many people came to know of the love of Jesus because Jesus chose to use a man who once denied Him.

Martha worried about everything. God used her to be a servant to Jesus and His Disciples. She served them so they could spend their time in Prayer and sharing the word.

Rehab was a prostitute who was used by God to hide the men from being punished by order of the King of Jericho.

Moses killed an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. Then He ran. However,  God still chose to use him to lead 2 million Israelites out of Egypt.

What is your story? What keeps you believing that God cannot use you? God wants to use you even in all your brokenness. God will never throw you out like a broken crayon. He wants to tare off all the junk, melt you down in the fire, mold you for His purpose and send you out to do big things for Him.  Regardless of the level of your brokenness- God can and wants to use you. The question stands, will you allow God to create something new in you?

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

Count your blessings Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

Count your blessings Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

“When you think things are bad, when you feel sour and blue, when you start to get mad… you should do what I do! Just tell yourself, Duckie, you’re really quite lucky! Some people are much more… oh, ever so much more… oh, muchly much-much more unlucky than you!” -Dr. Seuss

Our last book is ​Did I ever tell you how lucky you are? In this story, ​ a wise man is telling a young boy what he should do if he is to ever feel sad or angry. The wise man tells the young boy that he should start to think of all the unlucky things he does not have to deal with. Throughout the book the wise man describes life situations that would be unlucky to be in. This book challenged me to focus on all the good I have in my life and less on all the negative in my life. The truth is everyone faces hard times in some way. No one is exempted from difficult moments. However, the negative should never consume our thoughts. Be intentional about finding joy in each day.

A few years ago I was challenged at a conference to write down 1000 things that I was thankful for. This challenge really helped me. It allowed me to stop thinking of all the negative in my life and focus on all the good in my life. It’s so easy to be consumed with the things that make life challenging. If we are not careful life can start to feel so challenging that life is no longer enjoyable. My fear is that I will wake up one day and realize that I missed out on so much of God’s goodness because I chose to live in a rut. We don’t have time to live in a rut. Life is too short.

“This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms 118:24 NLT

Regardless of what we are going through, we have reason to rejoice. I’m not saying that we will never have a bad moment or day. I am saying that all our days should not be so consumed with negative that we never experience Joy. I hope that if this is the case for you that you seek out the reason and a solution so that you can experience all the joy around you.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT

Challenge: Find an empty notebook and this next week find 100 blessings that you can write down. Watch how this activity changes your perspective on life. I can’t wait to share with you my list in my next blog.

Don’t be afraid to be basic! Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book ​HOP ON POP! We

Don’t be afraid to be basic! Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book ​HOP ON POP!

“Sometimes the questions are difficult but the answers are simple.” Dr. Seuss

HOP ON POP is a book that encourages early readers to read alone. It’s a simple book that includes rhyming in a fun and colorful easy to read way. So, why would I ask you to read a book that was written for early readers? Good question. Thanks for asking! Don’t be fooled. HOP ON POP is not so easy that it fails to teach us a powerful lesson about the importance of the basics in life.

There are times in all of our lives when we want to throw in the towel. We want to give up when we hit a plateau in our weightloss, our mental health begins to spiral down, the career we have given everything to has taken a turn for the worse, our family is facing challenging times and most importantly our relationship with God is drifting. What do we do when we feel moving forward is not possible but we don’t want to make giving up an option? We press on by going back to the basics. We go back to what helped us get started in the first place.

In Junior High I was taking a math class. I was really struggling with the concept of Integers. A concept that now is no problem at all. However, during this class I hit a point where I could not go forward until I grasp the concept of integers. I remembered in Elementary school that my math teacher in 1st grade would teach us songs that helped us understand basic math concepts. I decided to go on youtube and research songs about integers. I found one. It worked! I was suddenly able to make this math concept make sense in my head. Had I not went back to a basic idea learned in the 1st grade I might have never been able to move forward in the class. Some of my Junior High classmates laughed at the idea when I sang one of the songs in class. However, during a test later that week I watched as one sang the song under their breath and another seemed to be moving to the sound in his head during the test.

For those dying to know, here is the link to the integer song! I did not write this song! https://youtu.be/hz_ndxvJzws

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Keep this verse in mind when you struggle. No matter how difficult your struggle know that with His strength you can accomplish so much. What area of your life do you feel you are struggling to move forward in? In what way can you go back to the basics? Don’t give up but instead make a list of what helped you get started in the first place and go back to that. I struggle with anxiety. I noticed that I have times that are really good for me and times when I struggle a little more. I’ve learned that when I am in a season of anxiousness I have to go back to when it all begin. I go back to the small steps I first took. Those basics for me are slowing down in life, trusting God more, looking at my diet and how what I’m eating is affecting my anxiety, making a list of all the good in my life and there have been times when calling my doctor was needed. What are the basics for you? Maybe you have found yourself at a stopping point and you can’t move forward. When life becomes overwhelming simply break it down into small basic steps. Don’t be afraid to be basic!

Trusting God in the waiting place! Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

Trusting God in the waiting place! Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book, Oh The Places You’ll Go!

“Everyone is just waiting.” -Dr. Seuss

In the book, Oh The Places You’ll Go, we are taken on the colorful up and down adventures of life. We read about good days and bad days. Good friends and bad friends. Ups and downs. Fun times and times of hard work. It’s the perfect book for really any reader of any age. I was challenged by the section of the book that referred to a waiting place.

THE WAITING PLACE

by Dr. Seuss

“Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.”

This one excerpt challenged me to trust God in the waiting place.

Can we agree that Some days it is so challenging to trust God in the waiting place. When life is at a stand still. When you know there is more but you don’t have the opportunity to move. When your waiting on Him for direction. When life is overwhelming and you want answers. When God is telling you to stop and wait on Him but you just want to make a choice because any choice feels better then the waiting place feels. I challenge you to be patient in the waiting. Wait on God and His direction.

There are many seasons in life that have us in the waiting place. Do any of these sound familiar?

  1. Waiting for marriage.
  2. Waiting for a career to start.
  3. Waiting for that Job promotion.
  4. Waiting for the difficult season to end.
  5. Waiting to grow your family.

In the waiting place God is preparing us for the next chapter. He is preparing you to be the best wife/husband. He is preparing you to make a difference in your career. He is preparing you to take on the challenges that come with that job promotion. He is preparing you as a testimony when that friend comes along facing the same storm you are headed out of. He is preparing you to be a loving mom/dad. He is preparing you for the next chapter while you wait. The problem is we get so antsy in the waiting that we find it difficult to step back, breathe and allow God to do all this amazing preparation in us. My question for you is will you allow God to prepare you for all the places he wants to take you?

A year after my stepdad passed away I found myself still grieving. Jessie and I had been dating for a while. I could sense that he was fixing to ask me to marry him but I wasn’t ready. I began to push him away. I was hurting. I loved him but I couldn’t handle the anxiety of losing him too. I needed time to heal. I prayed one night. It’s better if I say, I begged God “please don’t let him ask.” A few years after that prayer when my heart was finally open he did ask. We were talking after his proposal and he shared with me the time he was going to ask a few years earlier. He was going to ask a year after my stepdad passed away. The same time I was begging God not to let him ask. Jessie told me that he had the money for the ring and the proposal planned. Then he felt God say “wait on me.” While he didn’t know why, Jessie still trusted God and waited. When he did finally get to ask my heart was more than ready. God spent those few years healing my heart and preparing it to be able to love without the fear of losing someone I cared so much about. It took Jessie trusting God even when he didn’t understand why God was saying to wait. He trusted God in the waiting and our story is so beautiful because of that trust.

God has so much planned for you. He has so many wonderful places to take you. Trust him. Trust that while your dreams, purpose, that healing your praying for seem so far away God is working to prepare you for the next chapter. Oh the places you will go if you just trust Him in the waiting place.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

The fish and the Cat! Which voice will you listen too? Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book ​The Cat In The Hat!

The fish and the Cat!

Which voice will you listen too?

Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book ​The Cat In The Hat!

“He should not be here, ” said the fish in the pot. ” he should not be here when your mother is not.” ― D​r. Seuss

In the bookThe Cat In The Hat. ​It’s a rainy day and Sally and Conrad are bored. A cat who just so happens to be wearing a Hat walks into their home making a mess of everything. As soon as the cat walks in the kids are forced with a difficult decision. Should we let him stay or make him leave? Meanwhile their pet fish is trying to convince them that the cat should not be there. The fish is encouraging the kids to make the right decision by making the cat leave. Which voice will Sally and Conrad listen to? I like to picture Sally and Conrad as you and me. I picture the cat in the hat as the bad influence on one shoulder and the fish as the voice of God on the other shoulder. The fish is Jesus encouraging the kids to make the right decision while the cat in the hat is OK with pushing Sally and Conrad down the wrong path. At the end of the story The cat in the hat cleans up his mess and disappears before Mother gets back. The mess is covered up and mother will never know unless Sally and Conrad tell her. After reading this story to Ellie I am left with a powerful question; what voice will I respond to when faced with difficult decisions in life?

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them. And they follow me.” John 10:27 NLT

This is such a silly example. However, when I was in 5th grade we had this group of girls who bullied one specific girl in our class. One day, I saw them take her purse from her desk when she was out of the room and stick it in the trash. They tore paper out of their spirals and covered the purse in the trash so that the girl would not see it. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat, faced with the choice to do the right thing or ignore the situation altogether. I knew what the right thing to do was but I had another voice saying…

“It’s not your problem!”

“You didn’t do it.”

“It’s not your fault they don’t like her!”

“If you help her they might bully you!”

This voice was the voice I wanted to listen to. It seemed like the easy way out. However, I knew the other voice. The familiar voice. It was the voice of God and it was the voice I knew to be right. His voice made my stomach turn because I knew listening to it would be difficult but worth it. His voice was difficult to respond to but I knew it was right. This voice, God’s voice told me to go grab the purse and put it back in her desk. So I did! I rushed to the trash can. I pulled out the purse. I put it back in the desk. It was the hardest decision I had to make in the 5th grade. However, I knew it was the right choice. The girls gave me the death glare. Back then that glare terrified me to walk home. I knew my life was over. However, that decision I’ll never regret.

I’m sure you are facing much more challenging decisions in your life then my 5th grade problems with girl bullies. I sure have!!! There have been moments when I have chosen to listen to the wrong voice. I’ve made some huge mistakes in my life because I didn’t listen to what I was hearing from God. I am so thankful for a God who can see past my failures and still put me where He wants me in life. Listening to God’s voice is not always easy. His voice is right though! I Honestly believe we know the difference. In some way, we know when we are listening to the voice of God or following the voice we so desperately want to be right. I want to leave you with this…

Three ways we can hear His voice!

1. Through His word!

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Tim 3:16 NLT

2. Through Prayer!

“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. ​ A​ nd since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.” 1 John 5:14-15 NLT

3. Through conversation with other believers!

“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Romans 1:12 NLT

Taking Back our Thoughts: Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book The Thinks You Can Think.

Taking Back our Thoughts: Life lesson from Dr. Seuss’ book The Thinks You Can Think.

“Think left and think right Think low and think high Oh the thinks you can think if only you try.” Dr. Seuss

In the story, The Thinks You Can Think Dr. Seuss celebrates a child’s creativity. The story encourages a child to be creative with their imagination. However, if I could take it a step further I believe this book could also challenge all of us on a deeper level. This book challenges me to be watchful of my thoughts. Are my thoughts helping me or hurting me? Are my thoughts pleasing to Jesus?

The above quote reminded me of a similar scripture…

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT

Lesson:​ We have the power to choose what we think about. The way we think about ourselves, others and the world around us is up to us. We have the power to think positive. We have the power to hope for the best. We have the power to believe the best in others. We have the power to think about things that are good. We have the power to think thoughts that are good of ourselves. Honestly, most of our negative thinking is about ourselves. I know for me I need to change how I think about myself on a daily basis. I need to change what I think about! I often ask myself, If all my thoughts were listened to by others would I be proud of what is heard?

*If you have thoughts of wanting to harm yourself or others I encourages you to reach out to a doctor, a pastor, a friend, a teacher or a boss. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE! You do not have to face this alone. There is help for you and there is no shame seeking out that help.*

National Suicide Hotline Call 1-800-273-8255

One thing I am working on is story sharing. Sounds silly? Well… I recently noticed that when I read or hear a devastating or tragic story I tend to share it with others as a way to cope with the tragedy. Even though the story has no direct connection to me I still find myself dwelling on it and sharing it with others. I realized that this is of no help to anyone. It does not help me to consume my thoughts with whichever story it might be and it does no one else any good to be told the story so that I can process it. Here is what I have began doing.

1. If I hear or read a sad story I immediately STOP and PRAY for all who are involved in the story.

2. If I can help those involved I will.

3. Next I disconnect. I do not share it with anyone else and I do not continue to dwell on it.

4. Finally, If the story appears in my thoughts later in the day, I will again stop and pray for the individuals involved and I move on.

This is something I have to do in order to protect my thoughts. Others can hear and read sad stories and be just fine. I on the other hand struggle with letting the stories go and not trying to dissect every detail.

Challenge: ​It’s time we take back our thoughts. I want to encourage you to write down each negative thought that you have. After, find a positive thought, quote or scripture to replace the negative thought.

I put together a list of 5 common negative thoughts that we might face and a scripture to combat each one. I encourage you to create your own list as well. Enjoy!

Thoughts of Fear:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Tim 1:7 NLT

Thoughts of feeling worthless:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

Thoughts that say “I can’t do it”:

“Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26 NLT

Thoughts that say “I am alone”:

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. ​He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” ​Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

Thoughts that say “I messed up too bad”:

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 NLT

Smile! It happened… but there is more!

Smile! It happened… but there is more!

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss

This quote from Dr. Seuss seemed so fitting. You know, Illinois is feeling a little more like home everyday. While I still find myself missing Texas and all the people and places I grew to love I’m just so thankful and happy that Texas happened. Texas was the beginning of Gods plan for our family’s future. It was a wonderful season. Texas is where God called our family to Illinois. That wonderful Texas part of our life is over but we smile. We smile because it happened and because it happened this new beautiful Illinois story can be written.

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

This season we are in is beautiful and I’m so thankful that God has had His hand in it. What season has come to an end in your life? Smile! That season ending is an open door to your next adventure! Just wait! You’ll see!

Why did I start with a Dr. Seuss quote? Read Across America starts this week. I have compiled five of Dr. Seuss’ books that teach us valuable life lessons. I will post a short and simple blog highlighting a different book by Dr. Seuss and it’s lesson each morning. Hope you will click the link and check it out. Below are a few pictures of Ellie and I enjoying Read Across America over the past two years! We get into it. To us it’s a pretty big deal. 😂