Friday, February 25, 2011

Blessings from Camp Berea

Can you spot Sean in this mess of crazy, wonderful, good looking young men of God

Last weekend Pastor Dan took our Youth group up to Camp Berea for the weekend. All the spots were graciously donated to our Church by the camp director! It was a blessing, but hey!, I guess it pays to know people(Pastor Dan used to work up there). Anyways we had a great weekend listening to Circleslide lead worship and Brian Pruitt bring the Word of God. There were many fun things to do including a massive tubing hill, walking on the crazy windy lake, paintball, basketball tourny, etc etc-you know all the fun camp stuff.

Circleslide really brought an excellent worship experience to us. We had a couple kids who had never experienced "rock worship" and they were hesitant on Friday night. By Sunday afternoon however they were loving it and getting really involved! I love that type of worship myself and was blessed to have such a humble and excellent band around. They did mostly worship songs that the kids would know, but they also did one song they wrote. It was written in response to them seeing a friend go through the loss of his 10 year old daughter and still praising God in the midst of that tragedy. It reminded me of My own church Pastor and his family. They lost their daughter at birth, but their anchor holds in Christ. I hope you are blessed by this song as I was. It is currently my favorite song.  This is an accoustic version, but you can find others on YouTube where the really rock out.

  • "Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs." Psalm 100:2

What always makes the weekend retreats for me is the Cabin times. I would skip free-time, nap time or meal time to make sure that Cabin devotionals happened. You know, the times when everyone lets their guard down and truly shares how the Spirit of God is working in them. Whether it is a brokenness, an unsatisfactory life, desire to draw closer, or be ever so grateful of how God is blessing them. There are people on all walks of life there and some are experiencing God for the first time, others are growing deeper in love with Him.

Here is where the story gets awesome. Saturday night we 'laid hands on each other' in prayer (which basically just means we prayed for each other.). I will keep names out, but man, some people really know how to pour out blessings in prayer. Different people were in tears being so moved by the Spirit, so that God could build them up. Others were renewing their walks with Christ and asked for a genuine sense of change/repentance. God was present and anointing His disciples. I felt very connected to these verses about response of the Spirit.

  • "Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 2:21,22
  • "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and affective." James 5:16

Seeing those kids pray for each other with passion, and most importantly with the Spirit was such a blessing. One student in particular was FILLED with the Spirit. He didn't even know what he was praying, and doesn't really remember it. He was praying with Theological concepts that he probably doesn't fully understand and if asked to explain them he would not be able to correctly. But in his prayers, the Lord spoke! I am so confident that the Holy Spirit was praying through him, that I wanted to grab him and have him pray over me. Although I didn't say this, I thought, "You got the spirit pouring out of you and I want to be blessed by His prayers!" My prayer request was as follows:

  • "It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way." Proverbs 19:2

I really feel like my desire is to be closer everyday to God, I just can't get enough. But in my zeal for Christ I don't want to be pushing others away because I don't have knowledge or discernment and am spiting out things that are hurting and not healing, hindering and not helping. So if you do want to pray for me, please pray for discernment and knowledge to go with the zeal that Christ gave me to draw me closer to Him!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Some you know that I really love the Spanish language.  I'm not even close to fluent.  In fact its a bit of a stretch to call myself conversational even.  But I have had some fun opportunities to learn Spanish in my life and at times will even look to read some familiar books or the Bible in Spanish just because!  One thing I love about reading in Spanish is that Spanish words can offer word pictures that are really interesting and give a deeper understanding of a words meaning.  The word 'esperanza' is a good example of all this.  esperanza translates as hope in English. But the cool thing about the Spanish word esperanza is that it comes from the Spanish verb esperar which means to wait.

Some dear friends of ours recently experienced a great loss.  The last month we have been trying our best to make sense of things.  We have been watching our friends grieve.  We have been watching them teach their kids how to grieve.  But the most significant thing we have watched our friends do through it all is 'esperar' or hope.  They have waited expectantly on the Lord.  Hebrews 11:1 says "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  Our friends have been living this verse in front of us, in front of their kids, and in front of our community.  It has been such a testament to their faith, and such a testament to how good it is to be close to a God whom we can really trust.  In God we can hope, we can wait expectantly for Him in all things, both good and bad.

My friend told me recently that God has led her to place where she can actually be grateful for her loss, even though she of course does not like it.  And now I think I am finding a way to be grateful for it too.  I can be grateful because with their example, I know that I can face whatever tragedy or loss God allows in my life with this same kind of expectant waiting.  Real Hope.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Don't look now...the big boss man is here!

Last Friday we had our district manager come to Starbucks for his semi-regular check-in. I love Steve as a person.  He is very friendly and personable. He is also very good at his job. He knows the rules, knows alot about how to improve store and overall quality, and he loves Starbucks. It's a passion which shows in his work. He is also kind in dealing us when he sees something wrong. He is gentle in speech and non-condenming. Overall a great DM. He also has a lil baby himself so it gives us some common ground to talk about every time he visits. His drink is a decaf quad tall americano, and when I see him coming I always start to get it ready for him. I respect the man. I also respect this verse, although I forgot it during this visit and other times while at work too.
  • "Whatever you do, work at it with all your hearth, as working for the Lord, not for men since you know that you will receive and inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23,24
I enjoy Steve's company, yet for some reason, when the big boss comes tensions arise around 'camp.' Everyone is on edge feeling like he is looking over their shoulder because, well, he is! That is his job afterall. No hard feelings. With the blood pressure of everyone in the store up, it even started to affect me, and I was nervous around him trying very hard not to mess up when he was around. I knew that he wouldnt yell and it wouldn't affect my job at all.  He would just point out some areas I could improve at my job. It seems very silly but in the moment it was hard to overcome.  Then I realized I was forgetting the following verses:

  • "Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe." Proverbs 29:25
  • "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34
The first verse is pretty easy to understand. If we start caring about what others think about us we will be worried about the wrong thing. We will be trying to please them and will forgot about who we are truly supposed to please, Jesus our Lord and Savior. The second verse applies directly to money. The verse preceding it Jesus tells us to sell our stuff and give to the poor so we do not have to worry. Well this verse can also be applied to our reputation. If we care about our earthly reputation we will fall into all kinds of traps trying to protect it, but if we care only what our Heavenly Father thinks of us, then we can remain obedient to Him and faithful. So watch out! Make sure the Lord is you're first priority because...
  • "Seek His kingdom first, and all these things will be given to you as well." Luke 12:31
Here he is at Starbucks!  Thanks Uncle Joseph for getting this picture for us!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    1 John 3:16 "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

    Did you ever notice how confusing love has become in our culture?  We've studied love so much.  We've decided that there are all these different kinds of love.  We've decided there are all different kinds of ways to show love.  Most people we know are in love with this very confusing idea of love.  We think love is all about "chemistry," warm fuzzies, butterflies in our stomachs, or a sparkle in our eyes.  We say that we love people because "they make me smile" or "they're always there for me" or "nobody knows me like they do"  Did you notice the word that re-occurs in all of those statements?  Its the word "me."  I think we have a pretty selfish view of love at times.

    Recently, I tried to explain this idea to some kids at youth group.  It ended up starting some really great discussion.  And it most certainly confirmed my thoughts that our culture teaches some really confusing things about love.  The bible says some really wonderful things about love that can clear up all this confusion for us and I'm not just talking about 1Corinthians 13 which is probably the most famous bit about love in the whole bible.  There is some great things about love there but I'm talking about things like this verse in 1 John 3:16.  It basically says, this is how we can understand love, this is how we can define love, by what Christ did for us.  And if we understand that and seek to imitate it we just might get a glimpse of real authentic love the way that God intended it.

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    Life lessons at the Playground

    We had some errands  to run the other day: grocery shopping, pick up Lilianna's birth certificate, get a one person stroller, a watch, etc.   We have Lily on a schedule so we had to stop at the mall to feed her.  This works out really well because Timo and Si get to play at the in door playground.  B-t-dubs these playgrounds at the malls are crazy!  They are usually wild with kids running a muck.  However the equipment is soft, fun, and easy for 1 year olds and 7 year olds to play on together. Amazing.

    A side note about Timothy- he likes to make sure justice is done.  For example if youre doing something wrong he wont hesitate to not only tell you, he will punish you as well. This something we are working on with him because he doesn't realize ITS NOT HIS JOB.

    So the boys were sliding on the slides, running through the tunnel, and jumping off the ledges having a grand ol' time when this little toddler started to climb up the slide while Timo was trying to slide down.  We all know this is a playground nono, but I know that I have found myself doing it plenty of times last week....errr when I was a kid.  So Timo brought it upon himself to tell this little girl that she was not supposed to do that.  He looked almost like a 2year old drill sergeant gettin' in her face, waving his finger and sternly giving her the low down.

    Needless to say I had to bring him to time out.  He tried to defend himself telling me all about how she was being disobedient and that he had to punish her.  This has happened many times before, we have this conversation alot.  I hope one day he will undertand, accept, and embrace this talk. There is so much we can learn from this:
    •  God is the sovereign creator and he has rules we have to follow.  "If you love me, you WILL obey my commands." John 14:15
    • One of Gods rules we must follow is obeying our parents.  So obeying our parents is also obeying God.  "Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Eph 6:1
    • So when Mommy and Pops give rules they must be obeyed or there will be concequences "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." Prov 13:24
    Now Timo has pretty much gotten those in his head, not that he listens-they dont call them terrible twos for no reason.  But we had to talk about some more that Timo just doesnt grasp yet.
    • Other kids are responsible to their parents, not to Mommy or Pops or Timo; and those parents may have different standards than us.  So we dont yell at other kids we dont know.  "Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." Luke 6:37
    •  If someone else does something to us, we do not defend ourselves, but forgive them and continue to move about our business. "They remembered that God was their rock, that the Most High was their redeemer/defender." Psalm 78:35 "Awake, and rise to my defense! Contend for me, my God and Lord." Psalm 35.23
    All that is to say, if I see Timo hit someone else I will run up to Timo and stop whatever is going to come about and discipline Timo.  But if I see someone else hit Timo I will run up to that child and discipline them... NO, of course not!  I will run up to Timo and stop whatever is going to come about.  Then I will make sure that Timo forgives whoever hit him.  I am responsible for the actions of my child whether the bully or the victim.  I also am not responsible for another persons child, unless that parent gives me permission because we are friends.

    I like the idea that "it takes a village to raise a child."  Soo...anyone who is reading this has permission to discipline my kids, and I ask that you please DO discipline them, rather then let them get away with things that are not pleasing to God.

    I think its funny how God can show us how shallow our own faith is through our kids.  I so often find myself judging others and defending myself-yet I know in my head that God is my defender and he is my judge.  Why is my faith so small?  Please Lord help me to practice what I preach.

    Tuesday, February 8, 2011

    Painting the Snow!

    These last couple of months we were very blessed to spend lots of time with our friends Dan and Kari Straley before they head out to the Dominican Republic to be full time missionaries.  Kari gave us this wonderful idea from her childhood.  Its simple to do and o so much fun!  so heres what you need...

    Get a couple of spray bottles like these...

    And get some food coloring too!
    make as many colors as you like!

    we went with green,


    and we mixed red and blue to get purple!

    To get brighter colors, you should use really hot water, you can also add some salt!

    the last thing you will need is plenty of snow and there is no shortage of that around here!  These are the snow banks from shoveling our driveway!

    now all you need is a sunny day and some willing volunteers!

    let them have at it!

    isn't it beautiful!

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Some photo editting fun!

    So recently I caught the "shutterbug."  It all started when my mom got this really awesome fixed focal point lense for Christmas this year.  Now I am having lots of fun playing with her Christmas present and taking cute pics of my kids!  Here is a cool edit I made by merging two photos together.  It was a lot eastier than it sounds, and I'm really no photo editing genius but I had fun with it!

    and here is the fuse, after a little cropping!

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    so you want to be a leader... FOLLOW M E.

    "Come follow me" Jesus said, "And I will make fisher's of men."

    All my life, I've been a leader.  I haven't always led well or in the right direction.  The thing I'm learning about being a leader now that is new to me is that to be a good spiritual leader, you had better be following the Lord o so closely.  This is the lesson that the disciples learned when they were called by Jesus.  Jesus looked at them and saw something special.  He knew he could trust them to lead His church when he was gone, but first they needed to learn to F O L L O W   H I M.  In my life lately, Ive been feeling desperate to lead but the Lord keeps telling me to follow.  He is telling me to follow my husband, to follow my mentors, to follow those in my life whom he has called to lead me, and most of all to follow Him.

    We are reading the gospels this year.  Each month we read through one of the gospels.  The idea is that at the end of the year we will be better followers of Jesus because we have a greater knowledge and understanding of how He lived his life on this earth.  What a great time and way to learn this lesson of following him in order to lead well.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011