Monthly Archives: July 2013

I’ll be still.

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Our kids were giddy driving up into our home in the mountains for the week. Some were nervous. And some were very nervous as Steve sped around and around and right past our home. We honestly counted a handful of deer and even a mama and her baby as our welcoming committee to God’s beautiful creation.

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As I woke up to the aroma of fresh ground coffee (Steve’s a good man—and he also knew he would NOT be seeing a Starbucks for a week) God just laid on my heart to “be still”.

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I know we have been in a time of craziness for the last couple of months. Never would I trade the life we have. Looking forward to an intentional time of slowing down and then actually being here (getting here was the hard part—as all moms know when packing for vacation) I think makes this time even more sweet.

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Sitting off the kitchen deck with hot coffee on a beautiful 55 degree morning, with goose bumps from the chill in the air, it is easy to “be still”. We were “still” enough for a hummingbird greeting. And we were “still” enough to hear animals ruffling through the leaves. When we are “still” we are able to recognize God’s voice simply saying “Be still and know~that I God”. Psalm 46:10.

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I love you, you love me…🎶

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🎶We’re a happy family! Or are we?

For the record, it was not Steve or my idea to leave early in the morning. Early in the morning, yes, which to me means 5:00 am. Anything earlier than that is late—late in the night. Are you with me? So, being a family of 6, there are times when the majority rules. And the majority ruled to leave very early (er,late at night in my world).

I do remember as a kid doing the same thing. The excitement of family vacation!! Getting up when it’s dark for a long road trip and all is happy and jolly…at least for the first 15 miles or so. Of if our parents were really lucky, it lasted until the snacks ran out. Which could be within 15 miles.

Well, my kids did not get the memo. Now remember…THEIR idea. So the bickering about who gets what seat, where to put your legs, how heavy you are breathing, and what movie to watch…well? That was not happening. I want to yell from the depths of my being AT LEAST YOU HAVE A MOVIE!! You know back when we were kids…ha!!! I only said that one time.

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It was a bit of a rough start this morning. God was waiting on us to ask Him to be with us. So after a prayer time, we are off.

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We packed all of the essentials. Food for a family of 6 requires a big cooler. And it doesn’t fit in the back of a suburban. But you better believe we made room for a basketball…

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And don’t forget Grandma’s yummy s’more bars. But we could not leave without THE essential for Steve and I…

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As I write, half are sleeping, half are watching a movie, and all are anticipating a yummy breakfast here in a couple of hours. I love you, you love me…we’re a happy family. 🎶

let me tell you a story…

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I was overcome with emotion yesterday morning. You see, there were things that came full circle right before my eyes. And the work God was and is doing was revealed. And it grabbed me and took me away. Away to a place of realization in how God’s hands have been in and all over a preparation for me at Blessings Unlimited—now Mary & Martha.

To fully understand this, I have to take you back a few years. I had this wild hair of an idea. To bring some of my close friends together at Christmas time to celebrate them and what their friendship meant to me. I did a take off of “Oprah’s Favorite Things”. Everyone chose a favorite thing, wrapped it up and brought enough gifts for all guests. By the time we sat down to unwrap gifts, each person sat with a pile! It was so fun. Now, I’m not talking expensive gifts. Sometimes it was as simple as their fave package of gum. The idea was to have fun and learn something about each person. I absolutely loved this night. And one particular year, my gift was this…

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Ever heard of this book? It is the most precious children’s book I have ever read. By Karen Kingsbury. So precious that I can not make it through without bawling my eyes out. I have never been able to read it all the way through to my kids. I remember them asking “mommy, why are you crying”? The book is about remembering your child’s “lasts”. We are so good about documenting the first tooth, first word, first day of kindergarten, etc. but what about their lasts? The last time you fed them a bottle. The last time you changed a diaper. The last time you tied a shoe, strapped them in a carseat, tucked them in at night, piano recital, last vacation with the family, last time sleeping in their bed. Oh my goodness….the lump.

Anyway, so you know my relationship with this book. I wanted to share with all of my friends. And I knew they would love and struggle with it just like I did. Especially a few in particular. So I had them open their book and made them each read a page and go around the table until the book was finished. Picture 10 women sobbing. Unable to get through each sentence. And there I was. Uncontrollable laughter. That’s right…as hard as they were crying, I was laughing harder. It is a moment I will never forget!!!! How horrible am I? I think I was just so relieved to see everyone do exactly what I thought they’d do. And goodness…it was funny.

So there’s the background. You’re thinking I’m an awesome friend, right? Ha!

Fast forward to this weekend. Karen Kingsbury, amazing Christian author. Ever heard of her??? Well she came and spoke to us today. Now, I’ve read lots of her books and honestly had forgotten about “Let Me hold You Longer”. Until she began talking about remembering your child’s lasts. The tears suffocated me and then broke loose. It came flooding (quite literally) back. The memories of that book. And then you know what she did? She read it. The nerve!

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That desire to sit around the table with friends, with women and finding something I knew they could all relate to was a seed planted years ago. I didn’t know it then. Believe me. I never thought I would be in direct sales—ever. But, now I know why Blessings Unlimited was so appealing to me. But never so much as it is as the ministry and new direction of Mary&Martha.

The fact that Karen Kingsbury was there, read that book, triggered the memory of friends gathering together so long ago was a God thing. No other way to describe it. Again, an affirmation and confirmation of God’s leading. He is awesome. And so is she…

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the year of change

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God had been preparing, challenging, and surprising me this last year. Easily, the last several months can be linked with many changes in many areas of my life.

As I have posted before, we made a huge decision about year ago to leave our family church and begin something new.

Steve has taken a leap of faith on a new position within his company after the last few months of prayer and discernment.

And then. The weekend I have been waiting for since I left last year…Summer Jam. Blessings Unlimited’s national conference. It started off with a bang when we arrived and then we were given a huge announcement…

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If one thing I have learned throughout growing in my relationship with Jesus, when his hands are all over it? There is no stopping it. And things happen quickly, and smoothly. And once it’s done you wonder how in the world that actually happened?

I am still processing and taking it all in. Mary & Martha is our new company name. They had me from the start…and now I am praying and figuring out how to convey this new message, the new products, and the new way we are going to be doing gatherings. It is so amazing that I can’t fully describe at this time. (Steve begging to go work out is one reason!)

What I do know, is that it’s better than you can imagine.

As in times of any new change, it is sometimes hard to process. Perfect for us to hear from Valerie Burton yesterday on change.

Some nuggets I walked away with:
•”fear is inevitable, but not a stop sign”
•”the more you stretch, the bigger your comfort zone”. ( how great is that?!)
•”how are people’s lives better when they cross your path? (Love this!!)
•”be intentionally happy —don’t let the stuff that doesn’t matter cause you to lose joy.

“Behold I am doing a new thing”—-our theme verse for the year. Little did I know exactly how many new things God was up to.

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“I’ve got you!”

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I just can’t go on with the excitement of my day without giving you a taste of how I started my day. I want you to feel it, experience it, and know the presence of God where you are at too.

To begin the day with devotions and worship—-wow. If only this could be every day of our lives. What a world it would be, right?

This is life changing right here. This is my work? How in the world?! Listen to this new take on a favorite verse for many— Jeremiah 29:11. I absolutely love this! I could hardly wait for a break to get this out there to you. What is this verse saying in a nutshell?

I’ve Got YOU!!!

Isn’t that the greatest? Think that through. Yes, “For I know the plans I have for you declares The Lord. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

He’s got you! He’s got me! Claim that today.

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does a mama heart good…(she is smiling!)

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Whew!!! She is smiling…at camp!

And as quickly as my heart smiles to see her smiling, two questions quickly come to mind. Is she smiling because she’s having fun at camp? Or, is she smiling because she’s in the middle of 3 very cute boys? And—where is my Kassidy? We will soon know.

Sunday can not come quick enough. Camp Mennoscah … Thank you for the sneak peek into their week!!

this is how we roll.

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I am feeling overwhelmed right now with support. Parents who are willing to help run kids a million different directions, pick up kids from camp (can’t wait to talk to my girls!!), and put up with our furry child as she takes up residence for several days.

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Steve who is willing to take a road trip with me, complete with a thermos full of coffee and a Christmas coffee mug to drink it from.

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And don’t forget the earpiece. We both have A LOT of calls to make, emails to send, and loose ends to tie up for the next few hours of windshield time. And if we do this on the way, the way home should be filled with time to solve world issues. (Ha!) Or at least our own issues. How long is this road trip???

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Let’s see…it’s been about 15 years since we’ve taken a road trip in a car

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And could be my easiest packing trip ever. Blessings Unlimited shirts for each day! And enough room to bring home all of the fun. I will try to post some pictures of the events of the next few days. And hopefully glimpses of our new products. The dessert and reveal party is tomorrow night. I can not wait!! Meanwhile, Steve will be in his robe, watching his shows and eating Bon bons.

entreprenuers

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It’s one of those times that you just go with it. Creativity is running wild through our kids and neighbor friends. I wrote a post last year about “the fort”. A daily hang out where the kids met for snacks, picnics, and to solve life’s problems.

This year, it’s “the clubhouse”. Complete with personalized chairs with a couple for unexpected guests. I don’t know all that has happened in the clubhouse, but I do know many a meal and snacks have been eaten there. I do know they have named the wasps who happen to fly in and out. Fred (the wasp) being the most temperamental. He’s been divorced, you know. (Seriously can not make this stuff up). Also, as any responsible kids would have it, there is a fire escape door which ends in flying down the slide. They’ve even had a fire drill. They are prepared.

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There are times I shutter to think what they will come up with next. The herbs from our garden just a couple of days ago became the source behind homemade perfume.

Nothing would have prepared me though for what they have conjured up next. P

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That’s right. This is what we are up to. Their very own yard sale. Complete with lemonade and other goodies for your mid day snacking.

It has provided much busyness in the last day, which admittedly, has been nice as I have tried to sneak in a couple of hours of sleep after working. I just didn’t think they’d actually go through with it,

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As you can see, they did go through with it. It started yesterday evening. Kool-aid was their only sale. Two cups to be exact. And after they tried it and realized it didn’t taste very good, they ran after our sweet neighbors to give them back their money. A refund. For a product that didn’t meet standards. Maybe the one shining moment of a glimpse of integrity I have seen. Upon returning their money, the customers gave a suggestion to make lemonade. Thank you customers. I will now be heading to the store to satisfy this suggestion…

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The expectation is much higher now I see as they have added a “tip” jar. Oh boy.

I promised them an advertisement. So here it goes. I’m sure there is something there that you may need or want!! The kids would love for you to stop by. It is TODAY, in our driveway. Hours will be sporadic as we have some packing to do. Look for them to be waving you down. (this is your warning) Who knows what may end up being sold?

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Brinks…I’d watch your step.

influence

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Who would have thought that not even a year ago, someone would enter Landon’s life and make such an impact. Not me. He was only 7 at the time. We had no idea what we were getting into as we began practicing basketball with a group of boys and girls that none of us had ever met before. When after a few short months, these kids would support each other in some pretty amazing ways.

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A coach who takes time with these kids just because he loves basketball and he loves kids. Getting nothing out of it, except relationships.

These boys are family. And the girls they practice against are too. This past weekend of playing showed me that so clearly as I received a message from one of the girls to make sure the boys knew she said “good luck”. It was so clear to me as I sat and watched and listened to 6th grade girls cheer on these obnoxious little boys they practice against. It was clear to me as Landon and his buddies cheered for the girls during their game.

Sure, it’s about basketball. The love of the game. The fun in winning. The learning that comes from losing. The challenge of getting better each and every time they play.

But just as important is the relationship between a coach and his players. And players between players. And parents between parents. Much has been gained as we come up on a year together. To take a group of kids and develop the bond they have is just awesome. How many times I have worried myself with what is influencing our kids. This is one influence I believe we did get right…love it when that happens.

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strrrrreeeettttcccchhhh

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Have you ever done something you really didn’t want to do, but for some reason you were being nudged and you did it anyway?

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Instagram is the thing for my “big girls” right now. I can see why it’s fun. It’s fun for me because I really see what’s going through their minds, what they feel about things, and sometimes even what they are doing away from home. But not this week. The last Instagram posted was the above. If you know anything about it, you use a hash tag “#” which kind of gives you an idea of what they are thinking about the particular photo. Looking at the above picture posted by Natalie, you will see that her hashtag reads “#don’twant to go” referring to camp

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Kassidy, on the other hand, lives for this week in the summer. She has made plans already to be a counselor. She was a major contributor in nudging her older sister to join her this year. She’s not been successful in getting her there in years past. So I am guessing there is a stronger nudge behind all of this.

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{ok, since when am I the shortest among my girls?!?!}
It was not from me. I am not a camper. In fact Steve has blamed me for Natalie never having experienced it before. I have simply said I would never push the kids if they didn’t want to go. I remember being horribly homesick the one year I went to camp and have vowed to not let my kids feel that. Steve is Kassidy when it comes to camp. Everyone should love it as much as he does! He’s doing great at 50% with our kids. Hoping the percent rises after this week.

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I couldn’t help but feel for Natalie as she has been questioning her decision to go for the last week or so. She made the comment yesterday at church that “me and camp just don’t mix” ha! I know she was anxious and so was I after inconspicuously flicking the dead moth off of her bunk while getting her bed all set up with her ballerina sheets. (Kass refused to use those and instead went for our NFL sheets).

I am praying for both girls. I believe that there was a stronger nudge than from Kassidy that made Nat take the plunge. And I’m pretty excited to see both of them next weekend and hear their stories. Hoping cell phone and iPod withdrawal symptoms don’t set in too early in the week…