New Look!

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Happy 4th of July!  I hope y’all have had a day of picnics, watermelon, and all things summer.  This is our first 4th of July to celebrate in the U.S.A. since 2011.  It has been a good day with all the red, white, and blue.

We celebrated by simply being together, just the 4 of us (that’s super fun to say.)  Daddy had the day off work and we hit the town for a bit of mall cruising and lunch out.

Here is Colby enjoying a fun ride in the store:

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Some time on our hands this afternoon also led to piecing together a “new look” for the blog!  What do you think?

I’ve been in need of a fresh, clean, new space to help motivate me to keep the words a flowing.  So, thanks to the tech knowledge of my hubs, here we are!  There will still be a few things to work through, but I was too excited not to go ahead and push the publish button tonight.

Enjoy fireworks tonight, or go to bed (that’s where I’m heading!)

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Women’s Weekend

Y’all, can I just say, there are few things better than 10,000 women gathered together under one roof singing praises to our King and diving into His Word.  As I write this, my mind is spinning and my heart is full.  I have just returned from my very first Living Proof Live event.  An event that I have looked forward to since my mom gave me a ticket last Christmas.  And tonight, as I sit here reunited with my boys, I am thankful.

Over the past few years I have completed several Bible studies written by Beth Moore.  I have listened to her podcasts, read her books, and followed her blog.  Coming from a season where “women’s events” were few and far between, I have been thirsty for some sweet sister fellowship.  So last night, as I stood in a stadium filled with thousands of women I could not contain my smile.  When Beth stepped on stage tears filled my eyes.

They were not tears of a “fan” who wanted an autograph from some celebrity.  No, they were tears of joy to be “face to face” with a woman who, through written word, has played a huge part in my life over the past few years.  She has led me through difficult passages of Scripture, opened my heart to the joy of being in God’s word, and brought comfort to my heart many days as I have read page after page of her writing.  I wanted to shout, “Hey Beth!  Thank you for all you do!”

I wanted to give her a hug and tell her to keep on keeping on.  The Lord has used her mightily and is continuing to do so.  I wish I could tell you EVERYTHING that took place this weekend.  I want to introduce you to some new songs.  I want to talk with you about some many truths the Lord brought to my mind through our study of 2 Kings.  I want to show you my notebook where I took notes in our sessions and tell you each thing that stood out to me and how I pray the Lord continues to change my heart.  But, I realize that would be a very difficult task.

I would share too much, talk too fast, and make a whole lot of not too much sense.  So let me do this.  Let me encourage you.

Perhaps you are like me and thirsty.  Thirsty for a change.  Thirsty for fellowship, community, solid time in the Word of God.  Can I encourage you to check out some of the resources and studies Beth Moore has to offer?

Not just because I think she is pretty awesome, but because without ever having met her, she has become my sister.  She is a teacher I am beyond thankful for.  Her transparency coupled with an incredible knowledge of the Scriptures is a constant encouragement.  You can find several of her materials and those of other faithful Women of the Word here:

LifeWay Women’s Bible Studies

Also, I know several of you were actually in Cincinnati this weekend for the conference too.  I would love to hear from you!  Would you be willing to share a thing or two the Lord taught you as we studied together this weekend?  You can write it here on this blog or in the comments section of the Facebook post.  I’d love to hear a bit from you!

And what’s a weekend recap without a few snapshots:

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Mom and I saving seats for our friends and posing for the camera as we waited for the conference to begin.

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Hey Beth!  Thank you for speaking the truth!

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And of course, what’s a weekend away without amazing food?  (Okay, so this was my mom’s plate, but isn’t it pretty!  Y’all know there is too much green on there for me, I was waiting for the cheesecake.)

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Through the Years

Growing up a “church kid,” I could not wait to be in the 7th grade so I could be a part of the youth group.  I dreamed of summer camp, mission trips, Wednesday night youth group meetings, lock-ins…you name it.  Quite a few years later, I am pleased to say, those youth group days did not disappoint.  I have been reminded what a gift those precious days were this week.

I was reunited this week with a woman who had such a huge impact on my life in my awkward middle school girl days and formative high school years.  My dear sweet youth pastors wife, Wini, is a mentor, an encourager, a mommy hero, and a dear friend to me.  She is one person who probably has more dirt on me than I would care to imagine, yet loves me the same.

Our reunion this week, after years (I will NEVER go this long again without seeing her) of being apart was a precious reminder of the love of the Lord for His daughters.

We quite literally picked up as though I had seen her last week at church.

We talked 1,000 miles a minute, we both love words.  We “solved” each others problems, laughed and cried.

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Our relationship is a gift, no question.  We have journeyed through quite a few seasons together and I pray this is only the beginning.

This sweet sister has loved me and encouraged me.  She has taught me so much, sometimes through words and others through actions.  She has inspired me to love others unconditionally and chase hard after my Lord.

Do you have a “Wini” in your life?  Say a prayer for them tonight, thank God for the gift of their relationship.   Send them a note of encouragement soon or give them a call…it will be a treat for both of you.

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Five Minute Friday- WORLD

Five Minute Friday- Linking up with my sisters hosted by Kate Motaung.  A time to let go of edits and specifics and let the words flow.  Each Friday a new writing prompt is given and the timer is set.  Ready…

GO…

It has been exactly 6 months since we left our home in the mountains of Haiti and returned to the U.S.  While I know beyond a doubt this move was made in obedience to the next step the Lord had for our family, the decision to go was not easy.  One of the things that made it most sad to leave was thinking about the world I would be raising my child in.

I was excited to have my son grow up in a world far different than what his mom and dad experienced.  I wanted him to learn multiple languages in order to play with his friends on the playground.  I wanted him to see from a very young age that the world is a big place and God is doing big things!  I wanted him to simply see in his surroundings that while people may grow up in different places, we all share the same basic needs.

I believe this would have been an “easier” process in a life overseas.  As we returned to the U.S. my heart has been challenged to teach my son about the world.

We have been blessed to be friends with many missionaries serving around the world, I want my Colby to know about these missionaries.

We work with a ministry that is currently calling out young people to accept the call to PROCLAIM the Gospel both at home and around the world.

We have hung a map of the world behind our couch, and above it reads…”UNTIL THE WHOLE WORLD KNOWS…”

This world we are called to go into as believers, it’s a big deal.

And perhaps if I’m completely honest, I know how easy it is for me to forget about the world in the day to day.   I think the Lord knew this about me.  Maybe that is why he has blessed us with a son who we delivered in another part of the world. 

May we earnestly seek the Lord and follow His call to make Him known throughout the world.

STOP!

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Build an Altar

I am a visual learner, no doubt about it.  The things I see, stick.  Don’t just tell me about a new idea, write it out for me.  Show me a picture and its etched in the brain.  The things I see, make a permanent impact on me.  I think we are all visual learners to an extent.

Throughout Scripture the Lord works with His people, the visual learners, many times.  Often after key moments in their lives, He commanded his people to stop and build an altar.  A visual reminder.  Something that once seen, will bring to mind events they should never forget…

Deuteronomy 27:1-4

1 Now Moses and the elders of Israel commanded the people, saying, “Keep the whole commandment that I command you today. 2 And on the day you cross over the Jordan to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall set up large stones and plaster them with plaster. 3 And you shall write on them all the words of this law, when you cross over to enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you. 4 And when you have crossed over the Jordan, you shall set up these stones…

There have been moments in my life where I too have felt led to “build an altar” to remember the goodness of the Lord.  Sometimes it has been in a simple journal entry I could look back to for years to come.  Other times it has been a picture or a note saved from a special friend the Lord used to bring me closer to him.  In these last few months I have found myself face to face with a literal stone monument, as my altar of remembrance.  Check this out:

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That lanky legged, slick back haired, pose striking, 5th grade girl in the picture above is me.  This picture was taken 15 YEARS AGO!  I was at Cedarmore for the Kentucky Baptist Childrens choir.  It was my first time on the Cedarmore property.  I still vividly remember the weekend.  Although my singing skills never took off (shucks) my love for the Lord was ignited at that young age and has (by the Lords grace) grown since that time.

Do you want to know the cool part of this story?  That very stone rock structure sits in my yard today!

I can stand in my driveway and look down the lawn and see this “altar.”

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This visual reminder that through the faithful service of volunteers in my church as a child, God began a work in my life.  Over the years, I have passed this “altar” on countless occasions.  Sometimes as a camper, sometimes as a college summer staff, and now as a camp wife.  Can I be honest for a moment?

Some days, camp life is simply draining.  I miss having my husband home at night.  I miss having weekends off.  It’s busy busy busy.  It is in those moments, the drained days, I look a few yards away and see my “altar.”

This camp life we are living is a BIG DEAL.  There are hundreds of students and leaders on this property throughout the summer whose lives are being changed by the power of the Gospel.  Some will come to know Christ for the first time ever this summer.  Others will find grace and redemption from sins.  Some will commit to serving the Lord internationally.  No doubt about it, the Lord is at work.

I am blessed that in this special season, my God knew His visually needy daughter would need a daily reminder of what He is up to.

He knew I’d be tired from pregnancy and chasing a toddler.  He knew some days it would be difficult to see past dirty laundry.  He knew my husband would be busy, and it would be easy for me to become distracted.  So…just down the road he put in place my visual reminder.

He has started a good work in me and He will carry it out.  And, He is doing a good work in the lives of so many this summer and we get to play a small part in that.  What a gift!

What about you?  Are you in need of a visual reminder or two these days?  Build you an altar.  The Lord is good!  Don’t forget it.

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