Three ways we used leftover party supplies after Ellie’s magical birthday party!

Ellie had a truly magical birthday party with a huge unicorn balloon,

rainbow cupcakes,

a gigantic play area,

karaoke station

and friends…

lots of friends.

Its funny! When we moved here one of my biggest concerns was who we would invite to Ellie’s birthday party. Would she even have any friends? It was definitely a silly worry that kept me awake at night. Im thankful I can say I worried for nothing. We are most of the time always worried for nothing! Ellie had 12 friends show up and together they helped make Ellies birthday memorable. One of my favorite moments was watching Ellie rock out with her friends in their band.

While cleaning up I cringed at the thought of throwing away perfectly good party supplies still in good condition.

I didn’t know of a place to donate the supplies to (feel free to comment on a place you might know) and I honestly can’t imagine another unicorn party in the future. I packed the supplies up and discovered some fun and creative ways to reuse the supplies. Follow along with me to see all the fun we got into.

We set up a paint shop!

The table cloths were still in such good shape. I decided to tape the tablecloth to the wall as well as put a 2nd one on the floor. We pulled out some extra paint and a white thick poster.

Ellie had fun painting until her heart was content. It was fun to see her creativeness come to life and I really liked that we were able to get another use out of the tale cloths.

You could also use the table cloths as a backdrop for a photobooth to get fun pictures in front of. What are some creative ways that you have used plastic table cloths?

We made hair bows!

After the party we had tons of unicorn ring toppers laying around. I guess you can say the kids were more excited about eating the cupcake thean wearing the ring. I cleaned the rings and used pliers to pull of the rings leaving only the rainbow. I already had some yellow ribbon and clips on hand so with a little hot glue I was able to put together some hair clips. Ellie loved wearing her new clips and so did a few girls in my after school program.

We made a birthday party memory frame!

This was one of my favorite ways we were able to reuse the party supplies. I’m a very sentimental person. I wanted to find a way to have a keepsake of her 3rd birthday party. I went out and bought a wood frame. I cut up the tissue paper from Ellie’s presents and had her glue them to the edges of the frame. We also hot glued a unicorn party favor and rainbow topper to the frame. Now we just have to choose the perfect picture to place inside.

Ellie started asking about her birthday party in December. She cried when we told her that December was not her birthday! This makes total sense considering that I was placed on bed rest December 23rd because Of preterm labor. I guess she’ll always want to celebrate early. This year was my favorite birthday celebrations by far. It was the first one where Ellie understood that we were celebrating her and that made it extra special. It was extra special because she was able to pick her theme, cupcakes and party favors. Ellie had so much day in this party and I loved watching her get excited as the party grew closer! I’m excited for next year and to see all the unique things we will be able to do it’s her left over party supplies.

Here’s to turning three!

 

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Ellie, you are our sunshine and today you turn three! Where has the time gone? We have enjoyed every second of every moment we have had with you. We are excited every chance we get to celebrate you. We love hearing you shout “my friends” when random kids walk into Chick Fil a. You love playing with everyone and you love others so well. We love that your love language is physical touch. You always want to be close; holding our hands, sitting on our lap, laying on our chest and snuggling real close. I’m in love with the way you still wrap your tiny arms around my neck as you fall to sleep each night.

We pray you always know how close Jesus wants to be to you. He loves you so much more than we ever could and sometimes that feels impossible, but it’s true. You are so special to Jesus! You make every morning bright with your loud wake up call letting us know the light is shining on the sun. Hearing you laugh makes our heart burst. Watching you worship beside daddy fills me with hope and joy. You always remind me that we need to read your Bible at bedtime. I love hearing you talk about Jesus and how much compassion you have when a friend is crying. It’s so cute to see you stick your finger in the air telling us you have an “IDEA!” We love that you are finding your voice and expressing your feelings. I pray you always know you have a voice and we will always hear you! Jesus will ALWAYS hear you! We are so unbelievably proud of you. When Jesus led our family to Washington Illinois you handled it with so much joy and maturity. I’ve cried way more then you on this journey. While I have fallen in love with our new home you fell in love so much more quickly and that has helped me ease in to so much change. We can’t say it enough! We are so proud of you. You will always be our miracle from God. The moment we found out about you we were reminded that nothing is impossible with God. What man said was impossible God proved faithful. Happy birthday to our unicorn 🦄 loving, frozen singing, PJ Mask fighting, Ryan imitating, christian rap shouting, Jesus worshipping little girl. You are the bestest little girlfriend a mommy could ask for. We adore you. We always will. We are so thankful Jesus blessed us with you. You are our sunshine ☀️! Happy 3rd Birthday! 🎂

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