This time last year…

Not an announcement! 🎉🎉🎉 This time last year we had a secret we couldn’t wait to share. This time last year, Jay being born seemed like a life time away. This time last year, we didn’t even know if we were having a boy or girl. This time last year when we weren’t suppose to be excited because it was still so early but how do you contain your excitement with a life already so real to you? This time last year when morning sickness hit fast and hard. This time last year our lives changed in the most beautiful way. This is a picture of the moment after we found out Jesus gave us Jay. This is a moment I’ll never forget. After having a miscarriage and struggling to become pregnant January hit and I told God “I give up! It must not be meant to be!” I’m so thankful God is not a God who gives up. If you are in the middle of your storm know that there is a sunny moment just around the corner. Don’t give up just yet. God is always working in His time not ours. 🎉❤️

Ruby Strong!

We were at the library the other day looking for books to read to Ellie for Black History month. While looking, I realized we were there because I didn’t have any books that related to black history month at home in our collection of over 100 children books. Sure, we have many books that show different cultures but none that discuss the hardships that our black friends have suffered. That didn’t feel right to me! I want my kids to grow up knowing black history. I want them to see how far we have come but to recognize that racism still happens today.

I want them to be aware so that they can be understanding toward their black friends today who are still facing injustices because of the color of their skin.

One lady I am deeply inspired by is Ruby Bridges. Ruby was one of four little girls to first emerge into an all white school. Everyday as she walked up to William Frantz Elementary School she was faced with an angry mob of individuals screaming and taunting her. They would threaten to kill her by use of poison until she choked to death. Yet, Ruby showed strength and courage as she never turned back or ran away. Do you know what she did? She prayed for the people screaming the disgusting slurs at her.

“Please, God, try to forgive these people.

Because even if they say those bad things,

They don’t know what they’re doing.

So you could forgive them,

Just like you did those folks a long time ago when they said terrible things about you.”

Wow! Could we have responded in that way?

Ruby had no classmates and only one teacher who was willing to teach her. She went through all this and still she didn’t even miss one day of school. Ruby was strong in Jesus.

Owning and reading more books on black history is one way I’m trying to do better. Reading to my children is one way I’m trying to teach them about black history. It’s important!

I want to be Ruby strong. The kind of Christian, wife, mother and friend who never gives up, never turns back and never lets the words of others keep me from everything God has called me to. More importantly, I want to be the kind of woman who prays for those who hurt me. During this black history month who is someone you look up to?

#blackhistorymonth

We ordered The Story Of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles and Illustrated by George Ford

This is our very first book on black history but we want more. What are your book suggestions for children 5 and under?

Fizzing Hearts ❤️

Our preschoolers enjoyed a fun heart experiment this past weekend that opened up our lesson on Gods love. Gods love is big. Much bigger then the baking soda hearts. Gods love is exciting like watching the fizzing of the hearts. Our Preschoolers used medicine droppers to drop vinegar onto frozen baking soda hearts. It was exciting to see the hearts fizz. The experiment left us all in awe and wonder.

The kids were full of awe and wonder as they watched the hearts fizz. In the same way, Gods love should fill us with awe and wonder. He sent his only son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. That’s some big love. His love is enough to make us stand in awe.

God loved us and sent his son. 1 John 4:9

This activity was done in very small groups to help make sure our little ones did not drink or eat any of the ingredients.

#kidslife #childrenschurch #preschool #elementary #jesus #bibletime #kids #kidobjectlessons #beginnersbible #storiesofthebible #trainthemup #kidgames #kidart #kidcrafts #scripturememory #funforkids #worshipwithkids

Praising Jesus in the storm!

It’s true that we have been hit by one storm after another. As adults It can be easy to get stuck in the storm mentally. Imagine how difficult it is for a child when they face one opposition after another. We don’t have control over how hard it rains but we definitely can control how we react to the storms that hit. This past weekend our kids learned that when faced with opposition they can sit down and write down all good God has already done in their life. They learned that even in the storms of life we can still praise God. I am so encouraged by the blessings that were written down by our kids this weekend. In Kids Life we heard the story about Job. Job lost everything. EVERYTHING! His family, his animals, his money… everything. Yet He still praised God.

“I came naked from my mother’s womb,

and I will be naked when I leave.

The Lord gave me what I had,

and the Lord has taken it away.

Praise the name of the Lord!” Job 1:21 NLT

Can you continue to praise God even when the storms are hitting one after another? I was proud to see our kids do just that this past weekend! I was encouraged to read their list and to know that our kids are praising Jesus in the storms.

A Stand Out Scrunchie!

A Stand Out Scrunchie!

In the 90’s scrunchies were the in thing. They were in my 5th grade class anyway. If you were wearing a scrunchie around your wrist or in your hair then you were considered popular in my grade. All the girls in class were constantly putting their hair in a ponytail then pulling the scrunchie out ten minutes later just to throw their hair back up in a ponytail again. I didn’t understand the process but I wanted to be just like the scrunchie girls. I didn’t have scrunchies though so I would watch the girls throw their hair in a colorful scrunchie over and over again daydreaming of the day I would be doing the same. I couldn’t wait to be just like all the popular girls. I could just imagine how cool I would feel. I wanted to live that scrunchie life so bad. If I could just afford a scrunchie then I might have the chance of being popular too. I would finally be noticed.

All the girls with scrunchies stood out.

As a kid I would look for dimes outside in our apartment complex. I did this because if I found 5 dimes I could buy an ice cream at school the following Friday. My friend and I had this deal going where each Friday one of us would buy an ice cream sandwich and split it between the two of us. We switched off every week. She also didn’t have scrunchies. I got the brilliant idea though to save my 5 dimes until I found 11. If I had eleven that would cover the cost of a scrunchie and tax at the dollar store but that meant I would be quitting on my end of the ice cream sandwich deal. I was already sold on the scrunchie I was going to buy at our nearby dollar store though and there was no going back. I didnt think about how it would make my friend feel. It took forever or so it seemed to find all 11 dimes. I was always looking for dimes; on the way to school, on the way home, after school in the apartment complex, during recess and even under our couch cushions. Finally, I found 10 dimes. I only needed one more dime. My neighbor was outside as I was dime hunting. He asked what I was looking for? I told him and he reached in his pocket and pulled out a dime and gave it to me. Like it was nothing! Dimes were a treasured coin in our house but he gave his dime so freely. I remember him really well. He was in high school and a splitting image of Jessie to be honest. He was very kind but often looked sad. His mom had cancer and was so kind too. They were our neighbors. He probably thought I was crazy for the excitement that dime gave me but I didn’t care. I WAS GETTING A SCRUNCHIE!!!!!

Let me tell you! I walked into school the following day with my scrunchie around my wrist, purposefully shaking my hair so that it waved back and forth as I walked. My head was held high. I walked with a huge smile across my face and excitement because soon I would get to throw my hair in a scrunchie 100 times during class like all the other girls. It felt like everyone stopped to look. Everyone noticed me. I finally stood out and it felt great.

Like I said all the girls with scrunchies stood out.

I wasn’t very popular my 5th grade year. There was this girl named Felicia who would pick on me everyday. Looking back I can now see how she picked on everyone. She took a girls purse one day and hid it in the trash can covering it with a ton of tissues. I went and took it out and gave it back to the girl in my class but that was the hardest thing I ever did in the 5th grade. After that moment Felicia would step on the back of my shoes, laugh at me with her friends, pressure me into saying bad words because she knew I was a Christian, and one time she changed all my commas, periods and exclamation points on my paper before turning it in for me. I thought she was being nice for once when she offered to turn my paper in. The girl with the coolest scrunchies was after me. If I had just one scrunchie maybe she would leave me alone. Maybe I would be popular. Those were my thoughts anyway. Sadly, It didn’t work. I was still not popular. I had one really cool scrunchie from the dollar store and still I was not good enough to be a popular girl.

All the girls with scrunchies stood out…. but not me. Why?!?!

Let’s read what Paul had to say in Galatians 1:10

“Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Galatians 1:10 NLT

Looking back I realize I was so desperately trying to win the approval of the scrunchie queens. All along God wanted me to see that He already approved of me and called me to stand out in a different way. He wanted me to stand out by standing up for that friend when it was hard. He wanted me to stand out by not using language that didn’t please him. He wanted me to stand out by representing Him by the way I lived my life. He wanted me to stand out by shining my light for Him. I didn’t need a scrunchie to stand out. I only needed to keep trusting Jesus even when it meant I was unpopular and bullied. We miss so much when we try to be something we are not. As we get ready to send Ellie to kindergarten I’m thankful for what the scrunchie has taught me. I know there will be that moment when Ellie realizes she has been called to live apart from the world and it will be challenging for her. I will proudly wrap a scrunchie in her hair or around her wrist and remind her that she was called to be far more than a scrunchie girl but she is forever the girl God has called to stand out for Him. What an honor it is to be able to stand out for Jesus?

A strong generation of Kids!

It was so great to worship along side our Kids Life friends today. One friend asked if we could add some worship songs from the weekly worship set in main service to our list? It was so encouraging to hear this being asked. It was encouraging because it meant even in all the chaos that 2020 has brought us, God has still reached the hearts of our children. As a children’s director there have been many moments of defeat this past year as our children sat in main service instead of kids life. How can our children learn the love of Jesus or how to worship Him with out children’s church? While I firmly believe that there should be a place that every child can go and learn about Jesus in a fun and engaging way I was wrong to think they would learn nothing sitting in main service. I WAS SO WRONG! They won’t pay attention. They won’t understand. They will be so loud and restless. These were a few fears I had going through my head. However, if I’ve learned anything it’s that God will reach a child’s heart no matter where they are at. This past year in main service I watched kids raise their hands to worship Jesus, my own child get in the car after service and start a conversation about the message and kids still bring their friends to church. Covid might of pushed the pause button on kids life service but it didn’t push the pause button on Jesus. He continued to do His work in our kids. I’m so thankful to be fully open in Kids Life again and forever grateful for what this past season has taught us. God is at work all the time and nothing will stop Him!

I’m reminded of the scripture Romans 8:28

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

God did a lot of work this past year even in the mist of so many hardships. He reached down and continued to bless our kids and church through it all. He continued to work in their hearts and I know our kids are stronger for it. ❤️

Extraordinary Kindness!

Extraordinary Kindness!

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Eph 4:32 NLT

A big thing in our home is kindness. Just be kind. Be as kind as possible. In our family, if you cant be kind you better pray yourself into kindness. Our family chooses kindness and sometimes we choose it when it’s really hard.

We are not perfect but we strive to be kind all the time.

So, when Ellie pushed a friend down 25 steps I was really confused about where we went wrong. The friend is fine and there is no lawsuit. However, how is it that my kid is the one sending a friend flying down a flight of steps? We teach kindness constantly. All three kids had the same story. They were playing tag too close to the stairs and when Ellie tagged the friend she tagged a little too hard. However, the first thing I shouted at Ellie was “THAT IS NOT KIND!!” This was before I knew the story. Before I knew my child would not grow up to be on America’s most wanted.

An interesting piece of information about me is that I’m not easily optimistic. Naturally, I see the glass half empty. I have to work so hard to keep a positive outlook and mindset. I can easily go from feeling optimistic about life to all of a sudden allowing panic and worry to consume me. I’m constantly talking myself out of a negative thought. However, I’m mostly naturally kind. I have my days. I’m not perfect but I’m more kind then not. Because I’m not easily optimistic I completely understand how difficult it is for some of us who are not easily kind. So when I say what I say next know I’m not judging you. We all have our struggle. I’m on the struggle bus with you. I might be struggling in a different way but I’m no different then you. Here I go…

If it’s not kind don’t say it.

If it’s not kind don’t post it.

If it’s not kind try really really hard not to think it.

If you can’t be kind on social media get rid of it. It’s that simple.

If you can’t speak without saying something unkind then carry a bag of large marshmallows around and just keep stuffing them in your mouth all day. Your blood sugar won’t drop and you definitely won’t say anything unkind. If you do no one will understand you anyway.

If you struggle to think kind thoughts start writing kind thoughts down.

“The islanders showed us extraordinary kindness. They kindled a fire and welcomed all of us because it was raining and cold.” Acts 28:2

I love where it says “extraordinary kindeness!” Their kindness was not displayed in the usual way. However, the islanders kindness was extraordinarily shown. Their kindness went above and beyond.

There is a post on social media floating around about a missing stuffed animal. Someone saw the post and because there was information on where it was left, a nearby person who works at a salon found it. She contacted the owner and told them where they could retrieve their lost floppy friend. While she waited for them to arrive she gave the stuffed pet a spa treatment and documented the entire spa day for the little friend to see. Talk about going the extra mile in kindness. It was kind just to notify the owner but to go out of your way to treat a stuffed pet to a spa day just so his little friend can smile, now that’s extraordinary kindness.

Can we go above and beyond in our kindness? Can we stop the name calling? Can we be more understanding to others? Can we take others feelings into consideration? Can we smile more, open a door, pay for the person in front of us because for some reason they don’t have all the money they need? Can we show the love of Christ to those who don’t walk the same way we do? It’s ok to disagree but can we disagree in a kind manner?

I’m not sure who said it but I like the following quote…

Kindness is free, sprinkle it everywhere!

Can we please just be more kind? Please! Seriously! Please! Can we be more kind? Even if like me kindness comes pretty naturally we can still find a way to be even more kind. If 2021 needs anything it needs more of us to stand up and go the extra mile in kindness. 2021 needs us to show kindness in an extraordinary way. Together let’s bring kindness to life in 2021.

The Apple!

This weekend in kids life elementary we learned all about Adam and Eve and the day they ate from the forbidden tree. When Adam and Eve ate the apple from the forbidden tree it brought sin into the world. To illustrate this we hollowed out an apple and filled it with baking soda. When talking about how sin entered our world we poured vinegar on top of the baking soda and watched as the two ingredients reacted. Quickly the apple bubbled over and spread all over the tray. When we disobey God our disobedience can affect those around us. We should always obey God even when it’s hard.

“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” James 1:22 NLT

Dirty Feet!

Dirty Feet!

Have you ever washed your kids feet in the bathroom sink? Most nights I’m either wiping Ellie’s feet clean with a baby wipe or washing them in a bucket of warm soap and water on the bathroom floor. I mostly don’t mind. It gives me the opportunity to remind her that I will always love her dirty feet and all. Oh and just to clear one thing up Ellie does get baths too. However, even on bath nights she manages to get her feet dirty after. Her feet get so dirty because she likes to run around the house without socks and regardless of how clean my floors are, the bottom of her feet are covered in everything icky by 5 pm each day. The thought of walking around without my feet covered makes my skin crawl but to each his own.

I was looking at some newborn pictures that we had taken of Jay. His little feet were so tiny and I can only imagine how much I’ll be washing them as well in the next few years. While falling in love with his tiny feet pictures I was reminded of the evening Jay was born. That evening as I sat on the toilet trying to muster up the courage to pee the nurse knelt down beside me and washed the blood off my legs and feet. It was the most humbling experience. This nurse served me in the most vulnerable way with no benefit to her. I mean, sure she is paid to be a nurse and maybe washing the feet of her patients is in her job description but it would be pretty easy to skip over the feet washing part. I would have never known. I also would have never complained. I also can’t even remember her name and for that I am ashamed. That night I was left with one question on my heart. Are we willing to serve when there is no benefit to us?

Can you look at someone who has nothing to offer you and still serve them? I had nothing to offer my nurse at that moment. I couldn’t even get thank you out because I was so stunned and frankly trying really hard to pee. Going pee after delivery is one of the hardest things I have done.

Read John 13:1-17

I think about how dirty the disciples feet must have been to have walked the dirty street. Much more dirty then Ellies at the end of each day. They didn’t have shoes that protected their feet from the human waste, animal feces and other filth that covered the streets. If they wore anything it was a sandal that didn’t offer much protection. Yet God didn’t look at any of them and say your feet are too dirty for me to wash. He didn’t send them away. He washed their feet.

God’s love for us even in the midst of our sin was what I was reminded of as the nurse washed my feet. When I think of the way I have been served by some important people in my life I want to be that for others. It goes beyond doing kind acts although that is important too. It’s truly sacrificing your wants and needs so that you can love someone else. I’m sure Jesus could have been doing much more when He was washing His disciples feet. However, to Jesus He was doing what was important in that moment. I don’t know that I’ve ever served anyone on that level but It’s my desire to wash the feet of those around me in a figurative way of speaking. That is what Jesus did for each of us on the cross. Loving us so much that He took the pain of the cross so that we could be forgiven and have eternal life. He bore the cross we could never bare ourselves. He sacrificed His life so that we could have eternal life. We can never repay him and He knew that yet He still gave his life for each of us. Can we be more like Jesus this year? Can we wash more feet? Can we look past the dirt we see on the feet of others around us?

Jesus is that for each of us. We can run to him when we are dirty and broken. We can run to him with dirty feet.

“After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.” John 13: 12-15 NLT