His promise will sprout!

“Wait patiently for the Lord.

Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalms 27:14 NLT

Guys! I’m that parent. I lost my patience with this Lima bean. I’ve done this hundreds of times. I know it takes 6-18 days for sprouting to take place. Still though, seriously it’s been 5 days since Ellie planted it I should see something…. anything! Nope! Nothing! . No spouting is taking place. I decided to pour the Lima bean out and try and plant it again. Maybe I didn’t add enough soil. Maybe the bean wasn’t getting enough water. Maybe I bought the wrong soil. Is there a wrong soil? Maybe my bean was defective. That’s it! I need a new bean. As I poured the contents of the cup out I saw something amazing. The Lima bean had doubled in size. IT WAS GROWING! Something was happening even when I could not see! I quickly put it all back together after snapping a picture. Then it hit me. It was clear to me. I couldn’t deny what He was reminding my heart. When waiting on God you don’t always see what is going on (beneath the soil) behind the scenes. Be patient! His promise will sprout.

A Light That Shines

This little light of mine! 

 “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:15-16 NLT

I remember in third grade being in the talent show. I chose to sing the song `This Little Light of mine. A girl in my class was telling everyone that I was singing a “God” song. I felt so cool but I don’t think she was telling everyone about my song choice because she thought I was cool. I was still proud though to be representing Him. All my classmates knew my love for Jesus. I talked about Him all the time, talked to Him all day, sang about Him on stage and refused to say words that would not make Him smile even when pressured by my peers. I was sold out for Jesus. As I’ve grown older conversations about Jesus have become a battle in my mind- what if I offend someone? Talking to Jesus is still often  but not daily like it was as a little girl. I often allow life to keep me “too” busy! I can’t carry a tune so that solves the singing about Him on stage. Lastly,  I’ve let a few disappointing words slip in my adult years. 

When I see this gem above my desk I am encouraged to be the “sold out for Jesus” little girl I once was in the third grade.

In kids life we used a pumpkin and a light to talk about how we can shine for Jesus. I downloaded The Pumpkin Prayer from Teachers Pay teachers. As we pulled out all the insides from the pumpkin we asked God to take all the wrong out of our hearts and fill us with His goodness. As the eyes were carved we asked God to open our eyes to all the beauty that He has created. We continued to carve a nose and a smile and prayed different prayers to go along with each. Lastly, we placed a light inside the pumpkin and in the darkness we could see the pumpkin shining bright. 

We get to be a light for Jesus in every aspect of our lives. The way we walk through the  trials in life, our attitude toward difficult people and how we  speak to others is a direct reflection of our love for Jesus. We get to shine the love of Jesus by reflecting Him in all that we do and say. 

 I’m encouraged today and I pray you are as well; to let His light shine a little brighter in my life. 

If you would like a copy of the Pumpkin Prayer you can download it and other printables at the following link.

Never Ending Blessings!

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…” Psalms 100 kJV

Headed back from our family vacation. 😢😢😢 Of course like every year there is that sad feeling that all the fun has come to an end! 🤦‍♀️ Really?!?! I’m sad that my vacation is over? How pathetic right? I should be filled with so much joy that I had the opportunity to spend quality time with my family. I should be thanking God for His goodness in our life. I’m so blessed to always have the memories our family created this week. As we drive back I’m turning my frown upside down. I’ll be joyful that while the week is over Gods goodness in our life never ends.

The Treehouse

While at the children’s museum in Indianapolis Ellie and I climbed the inside of this huge tree house. At the top was a boy around the age of 10. He shouted several times “this tree house is so stupid.” I’m a few days shy of 32 and I think the tree house is out of this world phenomenal but I guess everyone is free to his or her own feelings. 😂😂😂😂 10 mins after he began his loud spill about the tree house being stupid I assume his mother made her way up the inside of the tree house. When she made it to the top she told him to stop using the term “stupid” and to be more respectful of others around him. Props to mom! 🎉👏🏻🎈I was thankful she came to put him in his place. To be honest I wasn’t phased by his outburst. I’ve worked with kids a while now. I tune most of it out but He was a bit loud. She wasn’t mean either. She was straightforward and to the point. On our way out of the museum, that same boy was leaving with his family, but wait where was his mom? Then it hit me!!! 😳 The lady who I thought was his mother putting him in his place was NOT HIS MOTHER! 😳😳😳😳😳 No wonder he made a quick exit from that treehouse! 😂😂😂 Guys! I’m still clapping for that brave lady. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 I wish I were that brave at times. I’m the mom who lets parents correct their own children and I’ll talk to Ellie after about why we don’t use the term “stupid.” However, if Ellie were talking that way I’d be ok with someone verbally in a nice tone asking her to be respectful because it really does take a village. I can totally see both sides. This entire experience raises the question! Are you the “say something” parent or the “stay quiet” parent when it comes to other parents kids? In your opinion how should we handle situations like these?

Missing Shots!

Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15 NLT

Ellie tossed 20 basketballs before she made a basket. As she began to get discouraged, we encouraged her to keep trying. When she finally made that basket we celebrated her accomplishment along with a few bystanders. There will be times in life when you will take shot after shot and miss every👏🏻

single👏🏻one👏🏻. Remember to celebrate every basket you do make. Most importantly, always celebrate baskets made by others!

The Walk! Happy Father’s Day 2019!

“Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Proverbs 22:6

Some days I feel like I live in a fairytale. Other days, Jessie is a pain in the butt.😂 Mostly though, life married to him is a fairytale. To top it off he’s a great dad as well. Ellie and I hit the jackpot with Jessie. I don’t mean to brag but I most definitely want to celebrate him today.

I don’t think we slept the first year of Ellie’s life. Just as I would fall asleep Jessie would jolt me awake to tell me that Ellie was breathing, tooting or smiling funny. 😂😍 Guys! It was intense. However, Jessie’s love for Ellie (both of us for that matter) has always been intense. He always loves big. He wants to be at every doctor appointment, tumbling class and play date and 90% of the time he is. However, this isn’t what makes him a great dad. These things are just toppings on the cake. The most important thing that makes him a good daddy is the example he is everyday at showing Ellie how to love and serve Jesus.

When we were petting the stingrays at the Chicago aquarium Ellie wasn’t tall enough to see or touch. Jessie told her to stand on his foot and he raised her up so that she could participate. Everyday Jessie raises Ellie up to love and serve Jesus just by the way he lives his life. It’s great to encourage your kids verbally to trust Jesus, love Jesus and serve Jesus. However, it’s better to show them how. Jessie walks the walk that he is raising Ellie to walk. One of my favorite parts of their relationship is hearing both of them shout JESUS over the loud worship music in The sunroom. Ellie loves to be near Jessie as he worships Jesus. We love him so much. We are so thankful for him. Most importantly, we are blessed to know him. Happy Father’s Day Jessie. Jesus couldn’t have chosen a better daddy for Ellie.

A few of my favorite pictures of Ellie and Jessie!

A Joy Filled Bubble Party! Fathers Day!

A Joy Filled Bubble Party!

Fathers Day

Ellie was turning one! My dad drove to Dallas to visit and we agreed to meet at our traditional place IHop. My dad is always early. If he says 8am he will be there at 7. So naturally when we walked in he already had a table. Guys, brace yourself because not only was he sitting at the table but he had a new bubble machine for Ellie sitting on the table and IT WAS ON! Guys! The bubble machine was on and blowing bubbles EVERYWHERE!! I’m pretty sure there were bubbles landing in someone’s Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity. I won’t lie I was probably the darkest shade of red. However, I laugh so hard when I reminisce over this memory. I can’t help but laugh out loud. I love this memory. I love the memory of my dad sitting there with a big cheesy smile on his face and bubbles EVERYWHERE! I love the excitement that day in Ellies clap as she fought to get out of my arms so she could pop the bubbles. I wish I had a picture but who is ever prepared to walk into a restaurant where someone is throwing your kid their own live bubble party? I wasn’t prepared with the camera but I’m so glad we were invited because the memory will never fade. Most importantly I remember how he was not phased my anyone’s reaction. He didnt care what anyone thought of him. He probably should have cared that bubbles were landing in other people’s food but you get my point. He wanted to make Ellie smile. He was not willing to let anyone steal the joy from his live bubble party. I learned a few life lessons from my dad that day…

1. Never be on time! Always be early!

2. Make others laugh!

3. Smile! People ALWAYS remember a smile!

4. Don’t allow anyone to steal the joy away from your bubble party. (There are moments when we should not care what others think.)

Happy Father’s Day to the greatest dad in the world!

What is your favorite memory of your dad or important male figure in your life? What important lessons have they taught you?

Set this fire 🔥 ablaze! (Poem)

I remember when my heart was torn, bruised, lying shattered in broken pieces scattered on the ground. I remember when I cried myself to sleep. For a while I forgot that once I was so weak. Now! I am strong in you. I stand firm with my heart locked on the truth. I stand full of your spirit and affection. I stand full of all the plans for me that all along you knew. I was weak and you made me strong. It is so wonderful to know to whom I belong. Tears feel my eyes when I realize all the wasted time I spent running away; diving deep into a world of lies and self hate. I celebrate with tears of joy because it is you who was always running after me. You never took a break. You didn’t stop to catch your breath. You never stopped pursuing me. You knew the moment would come when from my heart I would hear you beat. It was then you picked me up and embraced every good and broken part of me. You never left. You brought me through it all. I will never forget how you broke my every fall. I will never forget you dusting off my knees. I will never forget your voice calling my name from so far. I will never forget how From that torment you set me free. I will never forget because there you still are keeping this fire ablaze within my heart.

The Carousel of Life!

But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” Psalms 22:19

After the carousel stopped Ellie wanted to ride again and again and again. She didn’t want the ride to stop. It doesn’t feel like long ago, before I met Jessie and long before Ellie that I too sat on the carousel. I’m talking about the carousel of life. I sat there not wanting the ride to stop. I was playing a game with God. The game where I so desperately wanted to live for Him yet still eager to chase worldly things. I didn’t want to stop my worldly ways. On this carousel of life I’d see the goodness of God and only wave as I kept spinning in circles living my life the way I wanted until I would see Him and wave again as I passed by. Over and over again my life went round and round never leaving me satisfied. One day I heard God call out my name and this time it was different. This time I found myself desiring for the carousel to stop. God was calling out my name and I wanted for the first time to really follow His voice. Unfortunately I was on the carousel of life for way too long and suddenly I didn’t know how to make it stop. Eventually I grew the courage and called out for Him to stop what I was powerless to do myself. I haven’t looked back. I thank God everyday for His Grace on my life. I thank God everyday because without His unconditional love I would still be that broken girl spinning round and round on the carousel of life.

Painted Feet of Love!

Painted Feet of Love!

John 13: 34-35 says: “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

A few weeks ago I took Ellie outside to paint with her feet. It was a rare sunny spring day here in Illinois and I wanted to take advantage of it. While Ellie marched back and forth on the long white paper leaving beautiful marks with painted feet I was reminded that everyday we are leaving our mark. We are leaving a mark on the world in which we live. What kind of mark are we leaving? Are the marks we leave beautiful? The most important mark I want to leave is the mark of love. Love points people to Jesus. We have the opportunity everyday to love well. What does love look like? When we love others well it puts Jesus on display. I want to love in such a way that Jesus is shining through.

“Hey Helena, I really like the poem you wrote. I see a great future for you as a writer. Mrs. Chang also told me she saw your work in designer clothes that’s also a good career choice. Whatever your decision stay in school and be the best you can be. What’s really important is to work hard and enjoy doing what you do. Best of luck! Shane”

I was in Junior High. Something terrible had just happened. The kind of situation I’m not sure I’ll ever share with the world but the situation left a mark on me. School even before that moment was my happy place. School was the place I could leave it all at the door. After a confusing moment in life God knew I needed a sign that everything was going to be ok. Little did I know that I would find that sign in my math class the very next morning. I walked into class like nothing had happened just hours before. We had a guest speaker. It was one of my math teachers past students. Shane was his name! All the girls were head over heels for him. They spent the class period with googly eyes, passing notes and snickering at his every word. I was just eager to see why he was there. For the next 50 minutes Shane poured into us. He encouraged us to stay in school, not to do drugs and to be kind to others. He even took the time to ask each of us what we wanted to be when we grew up. I said I wanted to be a writer. The next day when we got back to class Shane had written each of us a note. I still have mine today. It still encourages me. When I’m going through a tough time I look at that note that continues to remind me that everything will be ok. I wonder how many other kids kept the note. I will forever be thankful for a young guy who chose to leave a mark of love on a group of junior high kids, a mark that impacted me forever.

Leaving a mark of love can be as simple as a smile, a kind gesture, encouraging word, hug or in my case a note. Leaving a mark of love does not have to be complicated. The easiest way to leave a mark of love is staying close to Jesus. Let Him guide your feet through the paint and watch the beautiful way He uses you to mark the world with love.