Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Penny Jars and Little Bankers


My dear hubby started collecting this pennies when he was a young boy.  He told our children that they could have the money, if they counted the pennies in the jug.  Our 7 and 9 year olds got busy on the task last week!  We've been counting and filling coin holders together, and they've counted $12 for their deposit so far.  They've really enjoyed the process, and they're getting great bank training!

Giving them a financial education is really important to us, so this fits well into our goals of teaching them to earn, save, give, enjoy and invest their time, talents and treasures.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Breathe


My friend Susan gave this little plaque to me.  I need it.  Sometimes we run too fast, and I need to remember to slow down and breathe.  Remember my priorities, say yes's and no's accordingly, and guard our family well.  Do you need space to breathe today?  What can you do to find space to breathe and protect your family from life's chaos?

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Happy Crazy Fun


You've probably seen similar pictures on pinterest.  I love it, because it reminds me that no matter how loud and crazy our home gets, that we are mostly up to a lot of happy fun in our home.  Sometimes I need that reminder, because chaos is hard for me.  I have to remember to take a breath and see the big picture happening in our home.  It's all about loving relationships - teaching kiddos to love God, love each other, and love the world around us.  And that's messy and loud!   :)

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Popcorn for Breakfast!

Shhh, don't tell anyone, but my kids had pimento cheese and sea salt caramel popcorn from CaJa Popcorn for breakfast this morning - and they loved every bite!  The good news is that it's actually made to be healthier than other popular popcorn chains, so maybe it wasn't toooooo bad for breakfast!
 
One of their tins would make a lovely gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day.  It would also make a great graduation surprise, party favor or gift.  And a lot of businesses buy their blank tins so they can adhere a personalize message or company sticker for marketing gifts.  And they even do weddings!  Oh, the possibilities for popcorn!
 
If you're in Atlanta, you can get some at my friend Kevin's store.  If you're in Nashville, you can pick some up at Loveless CafĂ©.   you can also order it online at www.cajapopcorn.com.
 
Be ready for yumminess!
 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Praying for Orphans - How Can your Family Help?


One of my dearest friends brought this bracelet back from Uganda when she brought her adopted daughter home to America.  When I wear it, it reminds me to pray for her daughter, her old orphanage, and the many orphans in Africa.  Will you join me in praying for them too? 

How can you and your family support orphans in Africa?  Can you pray?  Can you donate $?  Can you go to serve?  Can you promote adoption in your circles?  Can you adopt a child?  Can you support another family who has adopted a child?  Can you help another family raise money for an adoption?

Open your eyes and your heart to see what you can do to help!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Serve Sunday – Helping Hands across the Community


This is a project that I just coordinated for our church.  I'm sharing it here, in case you can use the model in your community.  It's a great way to get people of all ages involved in service.

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24 Church is partnering with the community in a new tradition called “Serve Sunday”.  Each quarter 24 Church will abandon the traditional practice of worshiping in church pews in order to spend the day serving others in schools, homes, community parks, and nonprofit agencies.

Volunteer Jessica Cron describes the day, “Our church went into the community in teams with 18 different service projects. Which included building fences at baseball parks, cleaned and painted schools, repair projects at homes, helped the nursing home. Our family went to the library to clean and organize books. All of us went with the love of Jesus to serve anyone in need and serve them with that love. It was amazing!  Who knows how many lives were touched by us doing these little things today!”   

Stories from the volunteers and from those served.

Robyn Miller, Vice Principal at Sycamore Middle School, said, “They came to school and painted a classroom that was in desperate need of a makeover. It is so refreshing to see people so freely giving of their time and talents. Whole families working together. What great examples. We so appreciate their help today.”

One of the teen girls being helped said, “It was really cool to have so many nice people come to help our family.  They helped us clean our rooms, paint three rooms and put together furniture for us.”

As the church family worked in neighbor’s homes to cut down trees, spread gravel, paint rooms, clean and organize; you could see hope light up on their faces.  A little bit of kindness was a powerful antidote to feeling overwhelmed and alone. Serve Sunday Director Ann Saylor said “It felt great to give people hope – the hope of people loving them, and the hope of a God who really cares about us.” She added, “It was also powerful to listen to how much people learned by serving.” 

Valarie Harris, a volunteer, said, “I had an amazing day today.  I went to serve the homeless & THEY served me.  I saw genuine smiles and heard laughter from people who have every reason to be miserable. I was reminded that God is everywhere & longs to comfort those who are hurting. I'm dumbfounded with gratitude & joy & never once thought about the 35 degree weather or the rain. My heart was warm & my eyes & ears were open to God at work among the lowliest of places!!”

Project Coordinator Jessica Sills said, “This morning, my eyes were opened to see just how many opportunities there are to serve others around me. I followed God's lead out of my comfort zone and got to visit with and pray for complete strangers who now remain on my heart. If we pray for opportunities, God will reveal them all around us.”

Project Coordinator Lisa McNeese summed up the hope for Serve Sunday perfectly, “I just pray that lives were touched today and that people were drawn closer to God through the simple acts of service and kindness.”

Serve Sunday relates directly to 24 Church’s mission to Love God, Love People, Live Gospel and Make Disciples.  “They say you win people TO what you win them WITH”, says Pastor Chris Royalty, “and the American church has won people to a Sunday morning church event.  Weekly worship is important - but there's more to being the church than this. We have chosen to try to do some things we see the church called to do in ways contrary to normal gatherings but living out these things are as much worship as gathering at a building. We don't want to just go to church, we want to be the church and living out the gospel is an important key to do this. Serve Sunday is a way for us to practice together what God is calling us to do every moment of our lives.”

You can see pictures of many of the projects at http://www.flickr.com/photos/24church/ or visit www.24church.com.

Special thanks to C&R Services, Rogers Group Inc., and Gardner Landscapes for generously donating supplies and equipment to make some of the projects possible.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Sharing the Gospel

God constantly uses my friend Max to boldly share the gospel and win people to Christ, and I know we need to follow his lead.  We asked Max to share some tips with our small group, and I thought I'd share my notes with you.

First he says to remember the verse in Timothy, "God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline".  Pray for God's courage to share.

These are the general steps he follows with people:

  1. Find common ground and start talking about that.
  2. Ask about their needs.
  3. Ask if you can pray about their needs.  "Can I pray for you?" "Can I pray with you?"
  4. Ask, "Do you know the One who intercedes for you?"  "Would you like to know him?"
  5. "If you died tomorrow, can you confidently say that you'll go to heaven and live with Jesus?"  "If so, how do you know?"
  6. Share your favorite gospel verses: 
    1. John 3:16  God loves you.
    2. Romans  We have all sinned and fall short of God's glory
    3. Romans  Jesus died in your place
    4. If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved.

Friday, March 14, 2014

When you think you are unforgiveable and unworthy to serve

Have you ever thought about how God can use your sins and failures for his glory? 

I watched God do that in our church youth group last night. I was part of a panel of 5 brave souls who shared pieces of their life story with 150 or so teens; talking about personal sins, forgiveness, and challenging teens to live a godly and pure life. 

I speak in front of groups often for my job, but I've never shared such personal stories in a large setting, so I was super nervous and way out of my comfort zone.  But I knew without doubt that I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do. 

God wants us to share our stories - to confess our sins and to share the good works that He has done in our lives.  He wants us to share how we fall on our faces, making mistakes that make us feel unworthy and unfit for God's work; then share the rest of the story - how God heals us, and surrounds us with his love, and wipes our slates clean, and asks us to stand up and be his ambassadors again.  With all our sin and shortcomings, he wants us to be his ambassadors, his children, his light.  That is a beautiful picture of mercy and grace.

I'm so glad God forgives us, changes us, and invites us to be his ambassadors. I'm so glad he can redeem the darkest parts of our hearts, and use our stories to bring him glory.

Are there things you have done that you see as unforgiveable?  God will forgive you, if you ask.

Are there things you have done that cause you to hide in shame?  Don't hide anymore.  Talk to a Christian friend or pastor who can help you see the mercy and grace God longs to give you.

Have you allowed yourself to believe that you are unworthy or unfit to represent Christ?  God uses even the lowliest of people to serve him and serve others.  God made you beautiful and he longs to use you to shine his light in your community and around the world. 

Have you ever asked God to be an intimate part of our life?  To save you from your sins and be your friend/father forever?  If you want to know more about that, I'd love to talk to you about it, or you can ask a Christian friend or pastor to tell you more.

Don't let Satan torment you with guilt and shame over past sins. Confess your sins to God and a trusted friend who will give you godly counsel.  Seek to know God, love God and live like him.  He will use you in ways you could never even imagine.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Inspiring Creations



Arts and crafts are so important in child development.  According to the Search Institute, creative activities are the least reported asset that children and youth say are a part of their lives.  Yet creative activities can help children with problem-solving, creative thinking, and stress relief.  Not to mention, that art is just fun!

This morning, two of my kids pulled out their art boxes.  Yes, my kitchen counter was covered with a big mess!  But they had a blast working together painting, coloring and creating.  They surprised me with gifts - 2 portraits and 2 homemade paper bracelets.  So sweet!

How do you integrate art time into your days?   Why do you think it's important?

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Wendy’s Frosty Key Tags


Wendy’s Frosty Key Tags are back!  Buy a tag for $1, and you will get a free Jr. Frosty every time you present your tag with a purchase.  This deal lasts through August, but you have to buy your tag before mid-April.

Guess what makes the deal sweeter!  This program benefits children in foster care.

Sounds like this could be a good family adventure this spring and summer.  Take a deck of cards or a small board game to Wendy's during a down-time for the restaurant.  Buy a soda and enjoy it while you play.  Then get a frosty as you are ready to leave!

Yum yum,