“I had a heart attack in July and had a triple bypass. Ellie helped me see that I should be blessing others too. Jesus brought this Grandpa back for a reason.”

Spread that Jesus Cheer!

“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

This has been a very special week. Ellie decided that she wanted to spread Jesus’ cheer to kids in our community! ( Her idea not ours)

We recently took Ellie to the store to buy a toy. I had lost a bucket of toys that I told her I would keep safe if she shared them with her friends at church and then I lost the entire bucket of toys. After buying her a new toy we were in the car and I was reminding her how blessed we are to have so much and how nice it must feel to get a new toy. She agreed that it was nice. I went on to tell her that many kids do not get new toys often and sometimes at Christmas they don’t even get toys. Before I could finish she said something I’ll never forget!

“Maybe I can be like Santa and give toys to ALL the kids so they can feel happy too!”

I was headed in that direction but she clearly felt it in her heart. I told her that Jesus would be so pleased to see her giving to other kids with such a happy heart because Jesus loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

That’s where stockings for kids began. We took Ellie shopping and she filled the cart with stockings and fun toys and activities to fill the stockings with.

She stuffed all the stockings with very little help.

When we were out and about if she were to see a kid she would give them a stocking and say Merry Christmas!

Then she would tell their parents her entire life story!

She never asked to keep a stocking for herself. She never hesitated to give the stockings away. She was so eager to give each one. In fact, after she gave the last one she asked “what about the other kids we see tomorrow?” She loves to give.

While the kids were so excited to receive a stocking I was also amazed at the encouraging reaction from each parent. One grandparent responded…

“I had a heart attack in July and had a triple bypass. Ellie helped me see that I should be blessing others too. Jesus brought me back for a reason.”

Let’s just say Ellie brought lots of smiles to kids and much joy to many parents and grandparents.

Jesus used Ellie to bless 20 kids in her community this week. It was so exciting to watch her eyes light up when a kid would walk by. I believe that each kid who received a stocking was chosen by God for a reason. We might not know the reason but we trust in a savior who has a perfect plan. Ellie might not have been able to give stockings to ALL the kids in our community but we know that she spread Jesus’ cheer to many kids this Christmas.

The truth is, Ellie is teaching me a different perspective in giving. Not every person needs to be given to because they are hurting financially. Some are hurting in other ways. Some are financially broken. Some are spiritually broken. Others are physically broken. Many are mentally and emotionally broken. We live in a broken and fallen world. We are all broken in some way at some point in life. We all need that person who is willing to spread Jesus’ cheer and fill our hearts with hope and joy. Ellie did just this. She spent the week, filling the community with a little bit of cheer. I was looking so hard for a charity or shelter of some sort that Ellie’s could give her stockings to. I realized I was missing individuals who we cross paths with on a daily basis. We still give to places like shelters and charities but this year Ellie also reminded us to have our eyes open to those who we come into contact with in our daily routines. There are broken people all around us and they all need some of that Jesus cheer that continually spills from Ellie’s heart.

One thing I know for sure is that Jesus never forgets to show up… on time!

One thing I know for sure is that Jesus never forgets to show up…. On time!

“This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.

If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.

It will not be delayed.” Habakkuk 2:3 NLT

For the past year Ellie has been telling us that she misses her big house in Texas. It was actually an apartment and she just thought the entire apartment building was ours. Yesterday we were walking through Walmart and she said…

“I miss our big house but it’s good cause Jesus told us to come here to tell people about Him! So this is our home!”

YES! After a year of reminding her that we are here with a purpose she finally got it. We are all so in love with Illinois and as Ellie now calls it , home!

Edited to add:

It broke our hearts to hear Ellie talk about missing her old home. It hurt to watch her struggle to adapt to a new life. We wanted to take the pain away from her completely and we wished we could do that overnight. If we have learned anything it’s simply that some things in life take time and time takes patience and trust. Lots of trust in Jesus. While it broke our hearts that Ellie missed her old home so badly, we continued to trust that Jesus has called us to Illinois for a purpose. We often continued to remind Ellie of His purpose for our family. We remained understanding toward her feelings, reminiscing over good times in our old home while reminding her of all the new fun we have now (IN THE SNOW) and pointing her to Jesus each time. It takes time to change, time to adapt, time to grow, time to heal and time to step out in faith! I want to encourage you. You, who have been waiting, hoping, praying, believing and trusting and yet here you are still waiting. You are still waiting and trying so hard to be patient but feeling like you are running out of time. As I write this, I realize how I’m speaking to myself! God is a God who is always right on time. He is never late. He never forgets to show up! Trust Him in the waiting. Trust Him when you feel like you are running out of time. Trust Him because His time is always right and perfect. His time not ours!

The lame stool!

The Lame Stool!

“For the Lord your God is living among you.

He is a mighty savior.

He will take delight in you with gladness.

With his love, he will calm all your fears.

He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

This stepping stool has a story. It use to be a pile of left over pieces of wood from a box that Jessie built in his 8th grade woodshop class. (A box his mom still has today) He will tell you that when looking at the pile of extra wood pieces he did not see a purpose for them. However, he didn’t want the pieces to go to waste so he ended up building a stool that when finished he thought was “lame.” He finished the stool and brought it home to his mom who kept it. 20 years later, while visiting her grandparents, Ellie began using the stool to wash her hands at the bathroom sink. A stool, Jessie thought was “lame” and would end up in a box in the attic or worse the trash now serves a purpose for his little girl!

Do you ever feel like left over pieces in Gods plan? Have the following lies ever crossed your mind?

I do not matter!

I serve no purpose!

Nothing good can come from me!

These thoughts are not from God. These thoughts are lies from the enemy. Just like the stool Jessie built using leftover pieces, God has great plans for you. The difference between you and the stool is that you are not left over pieces. Even though you might feel too broken to be fixed, God can put the pieces back together! You are not too broken for Him! Even though we are broken God still takes great delight in us.

2019 Buddy the Elf visit!

Day one: Buddy showed up while we were on vacation and hid 6 candy canes around the room that Ellie had to look for! ❤️ Ellie picked him up using cups so she would not touch him them put him in a ziplock bag so she could carry him through the airport. 😂

Day Two: Ellie found Buddy dressed like a super hero. She officially made the pink cooking utensil her way of carrying him around.

Day three: Buddy fell asleep in Ellie’s sock!

Day 4: Buddy brought a gingerbread house!

Day Five: Christmas tree wrapping!

Day Six: Hot Coco!

Day 7: Elf Candy cane experiment!

Day 8: Woody and Elf have a snowball fight!

Day 9: Elf builds a Christmas tree!

Day 10: Grow a candy cane!

Buddy the Elf is teaching Ellie how to grow a candy cane. Buddy says first you need elf soil (AKA Marshmallows). Next you need to put in a mini candy cane and then cover with more elf soil. Last you sprinkle you elf soil and candy cane with elf water (AKA sprinkles). Now we wait. Will our candy cane grow?

Day 11: make a gingerbread man!

Day 12: candy cane experiment!

Day 13: Buddy brought a stocking!

Day 14: Buddy went sledding!

Day 15: Buddy makes an E with skittles!

Day 16: Buddy walks on stilts!

Day 17: Buddy builds a snowman castle for a snow fight!

Day 18: Buddy heats pancake run and wants tiki join!

Day 19: Buddy was caught drinking moms Diet Coke!

Better With The Pretzels!

Better with the pretzels!

“Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:15-26

I was watching from the window as Southwest Airlines brought the plane in and quickly began prepping it for the next flight. We fly Southwest because they have family seating and nothing beats family seating. There were so many people involved. There were individuals walking around checking the exterior of the plane, someone began to fill the plane with fuel, another individual pulled the bags off the conveyor belt as another scanned the bags going on. My favorite was the individual in charge of the pretzel truck. Yes! There is a truck that holds the pretzels and drinks. The pretzel guy was in charge of lifting the truck to a door and refilling the plane with pretzels and drinks. While watching, I began to wonder if the person in charge of pretzels ever questions his place on the Southwest Airlines team. Does he ever feel unimportant? Does he question his value? Does he compare his job to others around him? I wonder if he ever wakes up and second guesses going to work that day? Do they really need me?

Yes! They do. Let me tell you. I look forward to my complimentary pretzels and soda. I eat Jessie’s too. If I’m lucky Ellie let’s me have her pretzels. I would be one disappointed person on that flight if pretzel guy decided not to show up. His role, while it may seem small is so important to the big picture.

Do you see where I’m headed with this? It can be so easy to compare our purpose to someone else. Each of us has been given a purpose. God has designed a specific plan for our lives. He has given us a role to play in His plan but many of us have negative feelings about our role. We don’t see our value! We want the role that we see someone else playing. We can throw a pity party all day, begging Jesus to give us another role but I don’t believe He plays the pity party game. He chose you for your role for a specific purpose and your role matters. YOUR ROLE MATTERS! So, serve Jesus in your role 100%.

If you are feeling like you have no place in this world, or that your role is unimportant, or you are comparing your purpose to those around you please remember that in the bigger picture every pretzel matters to Jesus. He created you with a plan and a purpose in mind. You matter to Him. YOU MATTER TO HIM! He wants you to be a part of His plan. He wants you on His team. Your role, no matter how big or small is so important. Stop wishing you could play another role (unless Jesus is calling you) and be the best pretzel guy there is because every flight is better with the pretzels.

Let them come to me…

I love this picture. This is Ellie with her great grandma Mary! Don’t they resemble each other? We took this picture after Ellie prayed for grandma. She asked Jesus to bless grandma then continued by thanking Him for her favorite tv shows. 😂😂 She didn’t use big words and it wasn’t a long prayer but Jesus hears every prayer. I believe Jesus loves it so much when the littlest hearts talk to Him. He even says…”Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

Ellie really loves Jesus and sings about Him living in her heart. She asked Him into her heart this past July while sitting in the backseat. (I’ll share that story soon) ❤️❤️❤️ She’s not perfect but she knows Jesus and He is perfect in all His ways. We are blessed by Ellie’s love for Jesus and are so thankful that she chose to share His love through prayer with her great grandma Mary on thanksgiving day!

I’m here now…

Today Ellie met a new cousin. This beautiful girl ran straight up to Ellie, giving her a big hug and showing her where all the kids were playing. She did a great job making sure Ellie felt welcomed. During a game of tag, Ellie fell scratching her hand on the concrete. She began to cry. It was the cry that would make you think her arm fell off. 🙄 However, her arm is still attached to her body. Ellie’s cousin stayed by her the entire time, rubbing her back and saying… “it’s ok! I’m here now! You’re going to be ok!” What a reminder for when we go through hard times in life. Jesus sits beside us, reminding us that He is here and we will be ok! I’m so thankful for moments like this, when the love of Jesus shines from such a young heart.