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Pop Every Bubble!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Today I watched Ellie and her friends through the door of their classroom. Joy covered her face as she excitedly popped each bubble. Kids Life Preschool started their fear series today! Mrs. Kelly had them pop bubbles to illustrate that just as we pop bubbles we can also pop our fears like bubbles. We do not have to be afraid when we are on team Jesus! Watching Ellie in this moment took me back to this same weekend last year. It was a year ago this weekend that we came to Visit New Life Washington. I dropped Ellie off in her class with Elizabeth and Corey Philyaw. Two amazing Kid Life volunteers. Have I told you how Fantastic all of our volunteers are? They are so great! Ellie had no fear. This girl, she teaches me so much. Ellie walked in ready for what God was calling us to. More ready then Jessie and I could have ever been. A year ago this past weekend we chose as a family to pop every fear and trust God on this new journey in life. I stood in worship that Sunday morning that we visited, fighting back tears! I hate crying in public. Honestly though, I was so broken and a good cry is just what I needed! I began to pray…

“ Lord why us? I’m not ready for this! Who am I? Are you sure? Lord, please don’t let us down!”

I’ve never been more scared. The more I think about it, the fear I felt wasn’t causing the overwhelming amount of tears. I mean seriously, I had enough tears to baptize a few hundred people. I was really fighting the tears from the complete peace, joy and the feeling of being at home that I felt. I was overwhelmed with a peace that passes all understanding. I stood in a room with only two or three faces who I could name. Not because no one greeted us but because everyone was so welcoming I lost track of names. Why can’t we just all wear name tags in life? I stood in a new room I had never entered before and yet still felt at home. I remember thinking “we belong here!” . As Hannah Merry began singing the words “you’re never gonna let never gonna let me down” I began to cry. I couldn’t fight the tears anymore. That song was for me! I couldn’t even sing the song out of fear that My tears would become loud! Thankfully, I was able to hold back the sobs. Tears fell from my eyes because I knew we were right where God wanted us. In that moment listening to the song sung beautifully by Hannah (who BTW I now call friend) I knew God was telling me “I will never let you down.” This past year since choosing to move here to Illinois we have had to pop so many fear bubbles with Jesus. We have had to trust Him on so many new and challenging levels. Yet I have never felt more at home or more at peace or more in His calling then I do today. God has not let us down on this journey. He has only surprised us with all He has done not just in our life but in our church. We are coming up on a year of living here in Illinois. God has shown me and taught me so much. I have made friends with so many wonderful people. I can’t wait to share all of this with you soon. I’ll leave you with this. When you choose to follow Jesus there will be so many bubbles of fear that rise up and float around in your heart and mind. Be sure to POP EVERYONE OF THEM!

Every Baby!

The love I have for our second child cannot be measured by the size our baby was when he or she went to heaven. The love I have for our baby leaves a longing in my heart that aches when I wish I could have held our baby

The grief that a miscarriage brings is very real to me and many others. Every baby deserves to be remembered. Every baby deserves to be missed. Every baby deserves to be cried over. Every baby deserves to be known. My heart is reminded and full of love knowing that Jesus knows EVERY baby. Not only does He know your baby but He loves your baby and He loves you.

Today is infant loss and remembrance day. This bracelet I made reminds me of our baby in heaven who is so loved. Even in the pain I’ll continue to trust in Him.

Stickers EVERYWHERE!

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Do you get annoyed with all the stickers your kids bring home? Do they cover your walls and car windows? The worst is when your child leaves them on their clothes and you wash the clothes only to realize the sticker is permanently stuck to their clothing. This is why I gave Ellie a book that she can stick all her stickers in. She loves it and enjoys going back and looking at stickers she got in the past. She has learned that she can only stick stickers in her book!

We often live life aimlessly sticking to places we don’t belong and not serving out our full purpose in life. Just like Our kids place stickers in the most inconvenient places we also do the same in life. We try to stick to people, places and things where we do not belong. God has created you for a purpose. Discover your purpose and stick to it.

Fall in love with kindness!

I love being able to stay home with Ellie and still be able to work. Today she spent the afternoon wishing some friends a Happy Fall. I love how she is smiling while looking at her friend. She was so excited to see him happy with a simple treat. She truly has a heart for giving to others. When we got in the car she said… “That felt good mom! Lets give one to another kid!” I’m not sure what will happen in two years when it’s time for kindergarten! We are in between home schooling and sending her to public. We see the benefits in both. However, I’m choosing to live in the moment and enjoy giving her as much opportunity to serve in her community as possible. I know she craves it! Today, more then any other lesson, I just want her to learn to love well! I just want her to fall in love with kindness! Kindness goes along way.

Never silent!

Each week in Kids Life Preschool we pass out a coin to each child. We tell them that this is their offering to give back to Jesus. When we give to the church in return the church is able to help others. Jesus loves a cheerful giver! (2 Corinthians 9:7) Before we pass the bucket around we ask if anyone would like to pray over the offering. We always have several friends who raise their hand to pray so everyone gets a turn to pray out loud for the offering. One Sunday as a little friend was praying I heard Ellie praying out loud too. I almost tapped her on the shoulder to whisper for her to stop and wait her turn. Then I realized I was the one who needed to stop. I don’t believe that we were ever meant to be silent in prayer. Ellie was an active participant in prayer that morning. She wasn’t afraid to be heard. She was bold! She wasn’t just sitting there listening to the words coming out of her friends mouth but she was praying right along with her friend. She wasn’t being distracting either. Her friends were not bothered by her praying out loud. Her spiritual maturity amazes me! She was praying from her heart. What a lesson for all of us to learn. How many times have we stood quiet during prayer? I’m ashamed to say I have. I’ve had many moments when someone was praying that I wrote a to do list in my head, wondered what we were doing for lunch or thought about how I should have handled a situation earlier. Prayer is not the time for to do list and daily recaps. You might not pray out loud but you are praying along with everyone else! God can hear you when others can’t! Ellie challenged me that Sunday to never stand silent in prayer.

Five ways to get the most use out of your pumpkin this year!

Five ways to get the most use of of your pumpkin this year!

It’s officially October and I’m so Pumpkin ready! Ellie and I started our pumpkin activity fun Sunday night. I was really determined to get the most use out of our one pumpkin this year. So many years I have bought a pumpkin for each activity and we all know how fast that can add up. This year I was prepared to buy one and only one pumpkin but still have just as much fun with it. It definitely took some planning and bargain shopping but was so worth it. Today I’ll share with you the order we did out pumpkin activities in so that we could use just one pumpkin. Let me know all the fun your kids are having with their pumpkin this year!

1. Paint the pumpkin!

We used washable paint. However, if you dare, you can use acrylic paint which in my opinion is better. I didn’t give Ellie any instructions. I just showed her the paint and told her to have fun. It took her an hour to paint her pumpkin.

2. Carve the pumpkin and play with its guts!

We bought carving tools from Walmart. They worked great. I do suggest that you do not allow your children to carve alone. The carving tools are very sharp.

We did not carve a face because of another pumpkin activity. The kids loved playing in the guts. Nasty, eww, gross, yuck and disgusting were just a few of the descriptive words used by Ellie. Also, lots of high pitched squealing was going on. I loved it!!

3. Make the pumpkin explode!

Their reactions were priceless! You can explode the pumpkin as many times as you like. I actually placed a tall cup inside the pumpkin. I poured vinegar in the cup to nearly the top, dropped in several drops of blue food color then allowed the kids to dump in baking soda. The more baking soda you use the better the explosion! There are no exact measurements that we used. Just be prepared for a mess as soon as the baking soda is poured in with the vinegar.

4. Plant pumpkin seeds in your pumpkin!

This went extremely well UNTIL a 🐝 came to chase us! We ran all over the yard trying to get away. THEN he followed us inside. 😩 He’s trapped in the sun room at the moment!

Tip: carve drainage holes at the bottom of your pumpkin. This will keep it from molding as fast and allow excess water to drain.

Also, we cleaned our pumpkin out after the last activity to make sure there was no vinegar or baking soda left behind. I’m not sure this is necessary. I just wanted to play it safe.

5. We made pumpkin slime!

Ingredients:

4oz of clear glue

½ tbsp of baking soda

¼ tbsp content solution

A few drops of orange food color.

We did double ingredients to make more!

Mix together with a handful of pumpkin guts. If it’s too sticky mix another ¼ tbsp of contact solution.

Ellie loves science so she was all about mixing and stirring! At the end she decided to add pumpkins, play fingers and spiders to her pumpkin slime.

There you have it, 5 ways we used our pumpkin this year. Yes! Each activity was done with the same pumpkin. I’m so excited that we were able to get so much use from one pumpkin. It does take planning but it’s worth it. I’ll be posting soon the turn out from planting the pumpkin seeds so stay tuned for that. I’m hoping next year I can get even more use from one pumpkin. I guess we will see! 😂

We are not too busy!

A few years ago I was rushing to feed Ellie a quick dinner before Wednesday night service. Ellie had just got out of school and myself off work. Wednesday was always a tremendous rush between work and church. I’ll be honest and admit that praying for dinner slipped my mind. However, Ellie remembered. She grabbed my hand and said “we pray!” At just two years old her prayer was “Jesus bless amen.” Ellie teaches me everyday so many lessons. On that day Ellie taught me to never be too busy to stop and thank God for all the blessings in life!