Friday, December 4, 2015

I Don't Watch the News

(Thanks to my friend, HR, for giving me the kick in the rear I needed to come back and show this little blog some love!)

Right or wrong, I purposefully ignore the news.  

The stories are terribly heartbreaking.  Full of hate.  Evil.  Entitlement.  People with no moral compass.  People who are out to steal, kill, and destroy.  

And for WHAT?

I was playing on the floor with Davis back when he was just a little squirt (before he could even roll over) and the local news was on in the background.  And this particular night, there were three back-to-back stories involving child cruelty.  My stomach literally rolled, and I couldn't ingest another word of it.  I got up, turned off the TV, and I've watched little news since.  

Davis is no longer a little squirt.  Somehow he went from being 3 to 16 in this pic.  How does that happen!?!

Kevin tries to encourage me to at least have some sense of what's happening in the world!  He was making a point awhile back, so he asked me who Putin was.  I indifferently said, "He's that Italian guy..."  HAHaaaaaa!  I'll NEVER live that one down!

But I've learned something.  I've been studying Colossians over the last several weeks, and the Lord has gently smiled as He's reminded me to not forget WHO HE IS.  

(On a side note, Colossians is such a tremendously rich book.  I call it a mini-Bible because  we get to see who Jesus is from creation to the resurrection in just four little chapters!  Your heart would be so blessed to read it!)


Paul gives a precious description of who Jesus Christ is.  As I read these verses, "all" kept jumping off the page at me:

Colossians 1:15-20New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father’s good pleasure for allthe fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I saywhether things on earth or things in heaven.

Christ IS all, and He is IN all.  And I forget that sometimes.  How often am I guilty of treating the Lord as my genie in a bottle instead of worshiping Him for who He is-- God in the flesh, as Creator, as Head of the Church, as Reconciler, Redeemer, as the King of kings and LORD of lords?  

In Christ, I serve an "ALL" kind of God.  A God who created ALL things and holds ALL things together and reconciles ALL things to Himself.  

Paul prays the "ALL-ness" of Christ for this thriving little church in Colossae, and it's super powerful!

Colossians 1:9-12New American Standard Bible (NASB)

For this reason also, since the day we heard of itwe have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in allrespects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of allsteadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

It's THE MOST powerful prayer I've ever witnessed.  It's worth knowing that Colossae was once a thriving, wealthy place.  But at the time of Paul's letter, Colossae more resembled a ghost town.  So how does a thriving church exist in a ghost town?  Why would these people travel to a dying town to attend church in a time when travel wasn't easy?  Maybe, just maybe, it's because of Paul's unceasing prayer for the hearts of these people--that God would fill them with ALL spiritual wisdom and understanding so they would please Him in ALL respects...that they would bear fruit in EVERY good strengthened with ALL power to attain ALL steadfastness and patience while joyously giving thanks to the Father.

That's POWERFUL.  Don't miss this!  Paul is asking God to fill these believers with His "ALL-ness!"   And, honestly, when I thought about turning these verses into a prayer, I stopped.  It's more than a little terrifying to ask God for his "ALL-ness," right?  I'm not spiritually mature enough for that!  Can little ol' me pray a prayer as big and bold as that one?  I'm telling you start praying scripture and you better hold on because God is going to rock your world!!  He's reminding me that He is ALL in ALL.  ALL of Him dwells in me through his Holy Spirt, and this prayer gives him permission to unleash ALL of Him in ALL of me.  

(This post has turned out to be way longer than I intended.  But, like I said, Colossians is soooooo rich!)


So, I'm now praying Paul's most powerful prayer (in my opinion) for myself, for Kevin as he walks out the door to go to work--Kevin, I pray for God to fill you with ALL spiritual wisdom and understanding so you please Him in ALL respects.  I pray that Olivia and Davis will soon look to Him for ALL truth and guidance and they will find their FULL identities in Him.  The really cool thing is that I haven't yet found a situation/circumstance where Paul's prayer isn't applicable.  

I've prayed this prayer for you, HR!  For you, KG!  For you, JS!  For the too many people I know that have suffered the loss of a loved one this year, I've prayed this prayer for you.  For our pastor.  For our church.  For the people I serve with.  And I've prayed this prayer for those people on the news--yes, for the victims, but also for the hearts of those acting out the evil that I can't bear to watch.  

Only God can turn a mess into a miracle.  I've seen Him do it.




Olivia's solo in her school performance last night!

Friday, September 4, 2015

It's Not Normal


I love that I get to be a part of NewSpring Church--a church that's absolutely, positively, without a doubt making a difference.

I love the heart behind NewSpring--to REACH people far from God and TEACH them how to follow Jesus one step at a time.

It's a place where it's ok to not be ok, but it's not ok to stay that way.

Where SAVED people SERVE people.

Where GROWING people CHANGE.

Where FOUND people FIND people.

Where we believe you CAN'T out give God.

And that you CAN'T do life alone.

I love that we as a church get to see things EVERY WEEK that simply aren't normal!  And it's all because of Jesus Christ who ...........

........(I had to stop and laugh because Olivia is upstairs singing "watch me me Nae Nae"!  Haaaaaahaaaa.........


So Jesus isn't in the business of doing the ordinary.  He does the EXTRAORDINARY!  If you're a son or daughter of Christ and you're allowing Him to change you, then you already know this truth!

Last Sunday we saw 1,630 people respond to the Gospel.  That's not normal!!  The Gospel changes people.  Period.  

It changed me.  It's still changing me.

And Sunday's message was the clearest presentation of the Gospel that I've ever witnessed.

See it here.  (The message starts about 22 minutes and 50 seconds into the video if you want to FF through the music, although it's really good, too!)



Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Easy and Light

I cried today with my head laying on the kitchen counter.

The cool, white, corian countertop.  It felt good.

This really happened.

It's been the loooooongest week ever, and it's only Wednesday.

I'm trying to keep up with all of my commitments this week while Kevin is away on a last minute business trip.  Had I known he would be traveling, I never would have voluntarily signed up for such a hectic week.

But, here I am trying to keep my head above water, and I fear it's all at the expense of my children (in particular the "baby.")

And I'm mad about it.  And I have huge mommy guilt about it.  And quietly I've been yelling at God, "Why are you throwing this crap at me?  I'm trying to do YOUR work!  Why are YOU making it so hard?" (I and my big, fat sinful heart.)

I haven't spent any quiet time with Him this week.  After all, I've been too busy trying to keep 2 kids alive and trying to wash a few clothes (never mind that I just rake the clean stuff out of the dryer and onto the floor because I don't have time to fold it and put it away this week) and trying to reheat left overs (because I haven't had time to cook) and trying to keep the garden watered so I don't lose my tomato plants in this relentless heat and humidity and trying to find a birthday present for my hubby and out of desperation settling on a $12.99 travel coffee mug from Publix (I really love ya, Kevin, even though a grocery store coffee cup for your birthday doesn't show it) and trying not to blow through the roof after I've told the baby to take a nap for the 14th time and he's standing in his crib looking me dead in the eye defiantly shaking his head "NO" (even after I've threatened him within an inch of his life) and trying not to cry in front of a room full of 2nd graders when my two year old opened all the drawers on a skyscraper of a file cabinet at VBS and the whole darn thing fell forward almost on top of him (And why did I have Davis in my classroom with me?  Because he threw an all mighty fit when I tried to drop him off in his classroom and after having to wrestle him to the ground to get him to go with his teacher, I grabbed him by the hand and stormed off and said, "Forget it.  You'll just go with me.") and trying to run here and run there and trying not to let people down because I said I'd be wherever it was I said I'd be and so on and so on...

So today, once it got to the point that I had my head on the kitchen counter, I felt these words, "Leigh, you are a Martha."

Luke 10:38-42New International Version (NIV)

At the Home of Martha and Mary

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things,42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Unlike Mary, I have not chosen what is better.  Once again, I've become distracted and chosen to put my time with the Lord on the back burner.  I've focused on my to-do list and my busyness, and it has not gone well for me.  

So, I sat down with my Bible this afternoon (I actually had to force myself to stop long enough to do this--how sad is that?) and opened this little devotional that I've been enjoying--it's really laugh-out-loud funny and sheds some comedy on this thing I'm living out called motherhood.  (Thank you to HR for gifting it to me!)

And on page 57, Kerri laid out just the prayer I needed today.
Dear God, I don't know how to handle my child today.  Can You please help me find the right words that speak to their heart? Can You help me discipline them in love but also lay a firm foundation of Your truths? I have no idea how to start so I need Your help. I know You will provide the answers.  You always do.  Amen.
Those are just the words I needed to lift up today.  And despite the mess that has become of this week, I can still see the Gospel.  I can see that I need saving EVERYDAY--saving from my busyness,  and my mommy guilt, and my sin-filled heart.  And He has come to save!  He has yet again reminded me of my tendency to be a Martha and that no matter how hard I try, it doesn't go well for me.  And he invites me to spend time with Him because He knows that's where I'll find rest. 

Matthew 11:28-30New International Version (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

"Easy" and "light" sounds just blissful right now!



Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chores, Prayers & Blessings

I've been mulling this over for weeks now--implementing a chore chart and allowance for Olivia.

I wanted a chart that was EASY for both Olivia and me to keep track of and one that would clearly spell out her DAILY RESPONSIBILITIES.

I really liked the idea of ChoreMonster because I thought Olivia would love having access to her chart via an app, but in the end, I decided to just go old-school and put pen to paper.

I just saw this chart courtesy of Dixie Delights and instantly knew it was THE ONE!

What I love about it is it's simple, sweet, and to the point.  There's just enough room for 7 chores which is very manageable.  I have to admit that I had a list of probably double that number, and, in the end, decided it was just too much.  Too overwhelming.  So out went any chore that wasn't a DAILY responsibility. For instance, putting away clean clothes--since I don't do laundry every day, that chore got bumped.

So, here's the final list I came up with for Olivia:

  1. Make Bed
  2. Read/Workbook (Independent reading time and/or activities in her summer workbook)
  3. Take Out Recycling
  4. Tidy Up (This could be anything from picking up the playroom to collecting toys that seem to find their way downstairs and take them back upstairs to the playroom)
  5. Feed Bailey (the dog)
  6. Do Something Nice (I like this one, and I'm looking forward to see the things Olivia comes up with everyday!  So far Olivia has sent a card to a friend and picked up litter in the Sam's parking lot.)
  7. Mom's Choice (This is for those chores that don't fall under the "everyday" category like putting away clean clothes, emptying bathroom trashcans, retrieving trashcan from end of driveway on trash day, etc.)

Olivia will earn $1.00 each day (up to $7.00/week) if all her boxes are checked for the day.  It's all or nothing my friends!  This keeps things super simple and so easy to keep track of!!

We're also going to teach Olivia about TITHING and SAVING.  I would love for Olivia to learn the importance of both sooner rather than later.

My hope is that once Olivia takes a step in obedience and begins tithing, she will see that she can't outgive God--that when she brings her first and best back to Him, He promises to bless the rest!
  • Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

    Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
He promises.  HE PROMISES!

I want to see Him bless Olivia like that! I want Him to "throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it!"  I pray that for both of my children.  But it first starts with their hearts.  They first must know God, then they will see that He is faithful, and He keeps his promises.  Once their hearts know that, they can confidently step out in obedience and embrace biblical tithing.

So, this chore chart is soooo much more than just that.  I pray that it be used to bring heart change and then obedience and then abundant blessings!



Monday, June 8, 2015

Olivia's Kindergarten Year

Olivia is officially a RISING 1st GRADER!!

Today, these words ring especially true:


Time does fly.

Olivia's first day of Kindergarten...

And her last...

We wrapped up the school year with Olivia completing her 3rd year of ballet.

And this Mama's heart could not have been any fuller on Olivia's Awards Day...

Olivia received the:

  • Buzzy Bee Book Award (for reading 50+ books this year)
  • Oh the Places You'll Go (for successfully completing kindergarten)
  • Sunshine Award (for always having a "sunny" attitude)
  • Good Citizen Award (for always being kind to others)

This little girl makes my heart sing!  She's funny, imaginative, tender-hearted, as smart as a whip, and has grown by leaps and bounds this school year.  

I love you to the moon and back, baby girl!



Thursday, May 7, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Gift

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, y'all!  I must say that Olivia has had THE BEST kindergarten teacher this year, and I've been racking my brain for weeks now trying to think up a really great gift for her and her assistant.

I found these sweet burlap garden flags on Amazon and instantly wanted one of my very own.  But I resisted the urge to shop for myself, and instead, added only 2 to my cart, checked out, and two short days later (thank you, Amazon Prime!) I had two teachers' gifts on my front porch!!

Now, the flags do not come with the stakes.  They must be purchased separately.  I picked these iron stakes up at Lowes.

I founds these chevron Thank You Cards and printed them for a quick note to add to the gift!

I asked Olivia what she appreciated most about each of her teachers, and she wrote a personal message on each card.

For Mrs. D:  "I appreciate Mrs. D because she never makes me in trouble."

For Mrs. Y:  "I appreciate Mrs. Y because really nice."

Oh how I hope these little gifts make Olivia's teachers smile!!  



Friday, March 27, 2015

A Frozen Painted Pottery Party!

Olivia turned 6 way back on St. Paddy's Day, but I'm just getting around to putting her B-day pics up on the ol' blog.  Mom of the year, here.

We celebrated Frozen style all. week.  long.

Her actual birthday fell on Tuesday, so Baby D and I went to school and had lunch with the birthday girl with a spread of Frozen cupcakes to share with her class.  

Tuesday night, of course, we had a little party with a big cookie cake and some gifts.

Saturday, we hosted all of Olivia's best girl friends from her kindergarten class and her ballet class for a Frozen party!

The girls painted cupcake boxes compliments of Glazed!  I can't wait to see their little works of art once they're glazed and fired!

And what better way to top off a Frozen-filled week than a princess party at church on Sunday and meeting Elsa herself!

It was a BIG week of celebrating!

Now we're all looking forward to Spring Break!



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Easy Peasy and Inexpensive Headboard

Our guest bedroom was still lacking a headboard the last time I posted about it here.

I wanted something inexpensive and temporary since I'm still hoping that Kevin and I will (one of these days when I can twist his arm) get a king size bed and move our queen up to this room.  

Today, I threw together a $13 solution!

I bought two 18" X 24" art canvases at $4.99 each and a pack of  two standard pillowcases at $2.99 (watch out, Big Spender!!) from Ollies.  

By the way, Davis had me laughing so hard on the way to Ollies...

Davis:  "Whur doe in?" (Where are we going?)

Me:  "To a store."

Davis:  "Wuch tore?"  (Which store?)

Me:  "Ollies."

Davis:  "Lollies?"

Me:  "Yes, baby, Ollies."

Davis:  "Lollies?"  
             With great disgust and in much too deep of a voice to be that of a 2 year old...

Me:  Laughing out loud!

I simply cut one pillowcase along the seams to get two identical pieces of fabric.

Then, I hot glued the fabric onto the canvas.

Super easy-peasy!!  If you're replicating this method, be sure your pillowcase is larger than your canvas.  I actually bought two different packs of pillowcases (the patterned ones I used and a solid pair because I couldn't decide in the store.)  Both packs said standard size, but the one I ended up using was WAY bigger than a standard size pillowcase which is probably why they ended up at Ollies (defects.)  But this worked to my advantage because I had ample fabric to glue to the back of the canvas frame.  Make sense?  

Oh, and I ironed the fabric before gluing it to the canvases.

So here's the bed before...

And here's the after...

For $13, it's totally workin' for me!  And it meets all my criteria:

  • Easy
  • Inexpensive
  • Temporary
Done.  Done.  And done!

I've hardly spent any $$$ on bringing this room together.  The "bed" is Kristina's old futon from her early college days.  The "nightstands" were a $12 DIY project.

The armoire is from my bedroom at Mama and Daddy's, and Mama picked up the chair at Salvation Army for me for $4 and some change!

I spent more on paint for the walls than I have on all the accessories, bedding, curtains, and headboard combined!  If and when we move our queen bed up to this room I do want to get nicer bedding for it, but until then, what we have now will work!  I know it doesn't look like a room that fell out of a Pottery Barn Catalogue, but for the minimal money that's been put into it, I think it looks pretty good!

Next on the to-do list is the Salvation Army chair!  

After all, I have a whole pillowcase left over that I need to put to good use!