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!


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!

Light The World For Jesus!

“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” John 4:14 NLT

We did a fun toothpick experiment in kids life this past weekend. Ellie and I always test every experiment out the week before to make sure it will work. For this one you only need toothpicks and water. After dropping water in the center of the pre arranged toothpicks they began to move to form a star.

As Ellie and I watched the toothpicks move to form a star I was reminded how God so gently moves us into His purpose for our life.

However, sometimes we get stuck in a rut. We feel we can’t move forward. We start to believe we are useless and serve no purpose. Often, we throw ourselves a pity party. Just as the toothpicks need water to form a Star, we need the water of life to help us move. This water is found in Jesus. It’s so important to stay close to God, dig into His word and continuously talk to Him. When we get filled up with Jesus we then have all we need to move into the direction he has created us for. In His purpose is where we shine our brightest.

One of my favorite scriptures is found in Zephaniah 3:17…

“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.”

I want to encourage you to meditate on these words. Allow this verse to fill all the empty and broken places in your heart and help you rise from that rut. Jesus loves you so much. He has a reason he created you. Jesus wants to help you shine for Him. Remember, you are His star and He has an entire world for you to light for Him.

A Beautiful Fall!

Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness the lord will be my light. Micah 7:8

(Photography by Tricia Ratra.)

Ellie falls all the time. She has scrapes on her knees, bruises on her legs and marks on her hands from catching herself. However, no matter how many times she falls down she always gets back up. I can count on one hand (and not use all my fingers) the number of times Ellie has fallen and we’ve had to go pick her up and wipe her tears away. It doesn’t happen often.

Honestly, she almost always rises with a big smile and a loud laugh. Watching Ellie continue to rise again and again brings this mama heart such joy. However, my heart breaks a little too. My heart breaks because I know the day will come, as she grows older and life happens that a hard fall might take place. A hard fall that she will have to fight hard to rise up from. I’m always praying For God’s protection, guidance and wisdom to keep Ellie from the falls in life but I’m not oblivious to the sad truth that the world we live in is messed up. Hearing Ellie talk to Jesus, I know no matter what life brings she will rise with His help. I know because of Him she will be ok because she knows in her heart that if she waits patiently He will show up to help her stand again. She demonstrates this knowledge each time she says “I’m waiting for Jesus to heal my boo boo cause I prayed”. PAUSE There are times in life when we need to ACT while we pray. For example, you don’t have a job. Praying that God will find you a job while sitting on your couch eating potato chips might not be the best way to find a job. I’m not judging, Potato chips are life. Well actually I prefer cheeto puffs. Point: Pray that God places you in the right job interview and then go look for a job interview. End Pause: No one is exempt from the falls of life and no mom wants to see their child take a hard fall in life. However, the amazing and beautiful thing about the terrible falls that we experience in life is that God is always right there ready to bring beauty from them. “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 NIV He has a plan for each of us that no fall can break. When we choose Jesus and His way, the enemy never wins! We just have to be patient as he picks up the broken pieces of our hearts and puts them back together. Each time I watch Ellie rise from a fall to the ground, I thank God for all the moments she will continue to rise when she feels that she can’t. In the meantime, I’ll continue to remind Ellie And you that Jesus will make every fall beautiful if we just continue to trust Him.

A cry you can’t forget!

I was in my English class in Junior high when our teacher turned on the T.V. We watched the planes fly into the Twin Towers. It was in this moment we heard a painful cry come from the back of the Class. It was one of my classmates crying as we watched the attack replay over and over on the T.V. No one made a sound. No one moved. We just listened as he cried in a way I’ve never heard a teenage boy cry in my life. The teacher walked over and placed his hand on his shoulder as a way to comfort him, but even he had no words. We later learned that our classmate had an Aunt who was at the Twin Towers during the attack! I will never forget the sound of his cry! It was painful to listen to and all I wanted to do was hug him but his cries were so loud and intense I was scared to even move. I don’t know if his Aunt made it out or not- We never saw him again after that day but so many years later I still find myself praying for him and everyone who lost someone they love on 9/11.

Thank you to all the men and women who run in when everyone else is running out. #Neverforgotten #9/11

(Photo is not my own. I do not own rights to the photo!)

We all need that God soil in our life, that soil that helps us rise up out of our shame and heartache and blossom into all He has planted us for!

We all need that God soil in our life, that soil that helps us rise up out of our shame and heartache and blossom into all He has planted us for!

I love synthetic flowers. Honestly, I love them because they never die. Flowers in general remind me that when placed in the right soil they can truly flourish. We all need that God soil in our life. That soil that helps us rise up out of our shame and heartache and blossom into all He has planted us for!

Warning ⚠️ this post could be triggering!

I wrote the poem that follows this 13 plus years ago after reaching an ultimate low in life. I was feeling defeated, lost, worthless, confused, exhausted but mostly unaware of my purpose. I was depressed, suffering from an eating disorder and marking my skin with blades. The anxiety I felt was consuming and paralyzing. I felt completely useless. I felt invisible in life. It was during this time I made the decision to end my life. I was done! Long story short I was taken to the hospital where I could be helped. It was during this time that I was forced to come to terms with the anxiety and depression that I felt was consuming me. I could begin to hear God speak to me so clearly. I was alone but safe in my hospital room, hiding under the sheets, crying and writing what I heard God speak. I didn’t even know God wanted to speak to someone like me. Honestly, at the time I didn’t understand the meaning in His words. They made no sense but I wrote! Looking back, I stand in awe of where God brought me from. I can see how His words in those painful moments were a glimpse of all the beauty that awaited even when I couldn’t see or feel it in that moment. I still fight anxiety. I still find myself depressed at times. However, with help I have learned how to handle my anxiety and depression in a healthy way. I can see how in my darkest hour God was still willing to pick me out of the seed packet and place me in the perfect spot to truly flourish in all He created me for. I don’t think the following words were just for me. I believe they were meant to be shared all along! There are many of you who are in a storm of your own. Your storm might look different. God wants to speak to you. Yes YOU! You who sit in your mess, covered in the sin of the world, angry at Him, misjudged by others, confused from the report from the doctor, scared of what tomorrow brings, unsure if you want to live another minute, filled with an overwhelming amount of anxiety, grief and depression! He wants to speak to your heart and fill it with a crazy amount of peace. A peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

A note from God!


Your name

When you’re lost within confusion and held down by sorrow and doubt.

When you’re drowning in a river of heartache just remember I’ll be there to lead you out.

Soon the waters will hear my voice, the wind will calm at the sound of my call. The world will at once stand still allowing you to stand in awe.

You will climb the highest mountains, swim through the toughest waves.

You will find yourself in my presence, surrounded by my love, filled with my grace!

Do not run with every fear!

Do not drown in all your tears!

Do not be held down by sorrow and doubt!

I am still here!

Just call on my name.

I will lead you out!

If you think someone might be considering suicide, take the first step and #BeThe1To ask. Ask directly, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”

Find out how you can save a life at

If you are struggling call the lifeline at

1 800 273 TALK (8255)


Always remember that you are a beautiful flower planted by Jesus.


Play dough, Jesus and friends!

When you are three sharing is difficult! Ellie is on the struggle bus when it comes to sharing her toys. #onlychildproblems

Before her play date, I have her choose a bucket of toys from home to take and play with her friends. It’s my way of having her practice! This week she chose play dough. To my surprise she shared so well with her friends. Watching Ellie play so nicely reminds me how important my role is in helping her continue to grow and learn in life. I’m also reminded how I need Jesus EVERYDAY. Without me daily choosing to spend time with Him I cannot be all I’m called to be for Ellie!

Wrestling with the scissors!

Complicated Scissors in Life!

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

Ellie has been working on using scissors. Just the other day I went to show her how to hold the scissors to make cutting her paper more comfortable. She quickly pulled back saying “I got it!” Watching Ellie figure out how to use the scissors makes me think about God. Is He up in heaven laughing while he watches us try and navigate life? You’re right!! He’s most likely not laughing but I know He has to be amused. There are times when we should ask Him for help but instead we take matters into our own hands. Sound familiar?

Story Time:

When Jessie and I found out we were moving to Illinois the first thing I did was look up Primrose Schools. I had been working for Primrose for 8 years. I wanted to one day be a director of a Primrose. I just knew Primrose is where I belonged FOREVER even in Illinois. To my disbelief there is no Primrose close to Illinois. I couldn’t understand why God would change plans on me. I’ve been working so long to be a director of a Primrose and God calls my family to Illinois where there is no Primrose?!?! My heart was questioning God big time. I even at one point looked up to God and asked “What is wrong with you?” As if He was the problem! I knew God was calling our family here to Illinois but where did I belong in this great plan of His? I heard in my heart God say…

“Wait!” In so many words He told me I didn’t have to have it all figured out. He told me I could trust Him. Did I listen? No! Of course not! You should know by now that I have a mind of my own. I went to the best known preschool in Illinois and applied. I was doing all I could to make sure “the plan” would still happen. I got the job. I felt proud. I’ve got it all figured out or so I thought. I’m really laughing at myself as I look back. A month later we moved here and I started working full time immediately. The school is great! My coworkers were great. Yet my heart felt out of place. Long story short for the next few months I fought the misplacement of my heart. I fought this because I realized I had held the scissors of life the way I wanted, ignoring all the help offered and cut into His plan to make my own. I complicated what didn’t need to be complicated all because I wouldn’t listen to God. I tried so hard to make my heart fit in this job but my heart just wasn’t there. It’s funny because it all makes sense now as I sit here planning the next month of curriculum and scheduling volunteers as Kids Life Director at our Washington church. It actually makes me laugh. I would have never put myself in the shoes I’m in. I didn’t believe in myself enough. I’m still in awe of God! God knew! He knew what He was doing the entire time. Of course right?!?! He always knows! Director was always in His plan I just had to let go of how I envisioned Director fitting into my plan. He knew without Him I couldn’t have stepped out in faith as Kids Life Director. He knew I needed help with the scissors. It wasn’t until I put the scissors in His hand that I was able to see what He really wanted for me. It was only when I let Him help me with the scissors that I finally saw where my heart belongs.

BTW: one of my prayers before coming here was “Lord, make it so clear where I belong in Illinois. Make it impossible not to see.”

Senior sock drive 2019

We’ve been here in Illinois for almost a year now and we have just recently found a new nursing home to fall in love with. (Washington Christian Village)

Last year was the first year we collected socks for a nursing home in Dallas Texas. With the support of friends and family Ellie was able to donate 140 pairs of socks. She and a friend had a blast handing the socks out. They even were able to sing Jesus Loves Me with the residents who joined in. Seriously! The sound of all the voices in one room singing such a simple song was beautiful. I had tears.

It’s September and it’s time to collect socks again. If you would like to donate socks we would greatly appreciate it. We are collecting long plain white men tube socks size 6-12.

The cold weather is coming quickly and socks are a top need by residents in a senior citizen home.

How can you help?

1. Donate a pack of long plain white men tube socks size 6-12.

*We chose to only collect men socks because they work best for men and women.

Last year we were so blessed to have friends and family from far away send packs of socks in the mail and through amazon. We really appreciate that commitment!

2. Pray that God does more than warm the feet of those who wear the socks but that God warms their hearts.

We are so excited to do something for our new community with Ellie! We thank you in advance for your support.

We will be collecting socks through September.

We pray you can be a part!

To read about how handing the socks out went click the link to last years blog…