Tuesday, October 28, 2014

:: this month::

 
 
this month has been good.  if I had to sum it up in one word it would be "refreshing".  as cooler weather has come in and offered some reprieve from the sweltering summer heat and humidity we have spent even more time outdoors, which is always good for us as a family, and as individuals. 

it has been a refreshing time for me spiritually also.  God has been renewing and reviving some things in me spiritually... reminding me who He has created me to be... reminding me of testimonies of the great ways that I have experienced Him over the years.  bringing some new relationships with an out of town church and with some local like minded believers who are very like hearted to us.  by breathing hope back into some circumstances that I was becoming hopeless on.  by walking me down a path that is most likely going to lead to some upcoming changes, but good changes although not necessarily easy changes, making room for new things.

Jeremy has been re-editing his soon to be released book on rest, entitled The Quitter's Manual.  I am so excited about it and the simple yet profound truths included in it.  Jeremy lives this message of rest unlike anyone else I've met.  he really gets that rest isn't the absence of activity but a state of being that we have the privilege of carrying into the world and circumstances around us.  be on the lookout for upcoming details on this book, that will be free the first 2 weeks it is available.

Jeremy and two other minsters/ friends are going to be doing a conference in New Orleans in January.  There is limited seating so click here to register ASAP. 

praising:

some refreshing time away.  a weekend without the distractions of our everyday home life.  a weekend in which I heard and experienced God more vividly than I have in a while.  a weekend in which I was blessed and encouraged and challenged by the Lord through His people.  a weekend of traveling with and enjoying some special time with my honey.

God's provision for us.  spiritually. relationally. emotionally. materially.

praying:

for Jeremy's upcoming trip to India, and my time at home with the boys while he is gone.

complete healing and health for our family... after Noah had the stomach bug this week it is imperative that Jeremy doesn't end up with it while he will be spending over 24 hours traveling to India later this week.

for provision... we could still use some additional monthly donors and/or one time gifts for Bastion Ministries.

for favor, opportunities and open doors.

for wisdom on numerous details and decisions needing to be made soon including schooling for Noah and housing for us all.

reading:

Genesis, Psalms, Romans, 1 Samuel, Luke, Wild

thankful for:

a fantastic weekend away with Jeremy for him to speak at a church in Ohio.  the opportunity to enjoy time with family, some cooler weather and changing leaves, and the blessing of getting to enjoy such a special body of believers there.

new friendships and like hearted people in this city and across the country.  I know the connections that are forming have been God ordained and I am so excited to see what He is up to and about some upcoming partnerships we will have.

all of the family and  friends who loved on and celebrated Jeremy and Noah for their birthdays.  we had some special times of celebration for each them and are so blessed with great people who care for us and so generously gave their time, words and presents to celebrate my guys.

cooler weather and lots of time outdoors.

coffee and dinner dates with my love before he leaves for 2 weeks.  it has been so good to have time to talk and stay connected to him throughout this month.

cooking:

huevos rancheros,  whole wheat pizza with turkey pepperoni and jalapenos, vietnamese noodle bowls, chicken sausage on buns with sauteed onions and peppers, green well salad, iced pumpkin cookies, pumpkin gingersnap cookies, black beans rice and corn casserole, spinach balls, veggie tray with curry dip, sweet potato and black bean tacos, pesto pasta, spicy chicken enchiladas, refried black beans, grilled cheese and tomato soup, pumpkin french toast casserole, beef with broccoli, beef bourguinion with mashed potatoes and rosemary olive oil bread

creating:

decorations and favors for noah's birthday party

now that the party is over it's time to start working on some Christmas presents also.

doing:

all the usual activities; weekly ladies bible study, monthly book club, monthly community group, lots of playdates and dinners with friends.

celebrating Noah and Jeremy's birthdays.  me and Jeremy traveling to ohio for him to speak and us to see family.  Jeremy leaving for 2 weeks in India.


pondering:

 luke 5:37-39   “and no one puts new wine into old wineskins. for the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. 38 new wine must be stored in new wineskins. 39 but no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘the old is just fine,’ they say.”

verse 39 makes me think of the pharisees and how they were happy with the "old wine" and did not want the "new wine".  I don't ever want to settle for what is "just fine", or as NASB says is "good enough".  I don't want to settle for a inferior relationship or experience with God, or for anything because it is good enough.  I want the best, the new wine, the fullness of Him and His glory and His power that is available to us all.  I want to be a new wineskin, supple and able to receive the new wine.  not stuck and comfortable with my old ideas, beliefs, practices, experiences, but always advancing in Him.  I think there have been some areas of my life that I have been settling for "good enough" and I'm glad that God is breathing new hope back into those areas.

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Noah's Trans-four-mers Rescue Bots Party

Several months ago I had started planning a Wild Kratts 4th birthday party for Noah because that was his obsession at the time. Then a month or two ago he found a new show that he loved; Transformer's Rescue Bots. It's basically a Transformer's show geared for younger kids so they do more rescuing and less fighting. The main characters are Heatwave a Transforming fire truck, Chase a transforming police car, Boulder a transforming construction vehicle and Blades a transforming helicopter.  Ever since Noah saw this show it was love at first sight, and as soon as his friends started showing up with Rescue Bot toys he became even more enamored with the characters and show.

I tried and tried without success to talk Noah into a different type of birthday party but he was set on Rescue Bots.  So Rescue Bots we did.  Since the show is fairly new there aren't any Rescue Bot party decorations on the market, but two transformers characters (Bumble Bee and Optimus Prime) also make appearances on the show so I found plates and napkins with those transformers on them.  The rest of the decorations were simple and I designed and printed them with clip art from the internet. 

For the favors I made felt masks of the characters.  An artist I am not, so I had Jeremy draw and design the templates for me and then I took it from there executing and sewing the masks.  Noah loved them all!!!!

For the food  I came up with a bunch of Noah's favorite foods that I don't ever buy that I could use to represent the Rescue Bot characters so they would be special for the party.  So we had oreos for Bumblebee's wheels, and twizzlers for Heatwave's hoses, carrots for Blade's blades, red and blue m&m's for Chase's sirens, and cheese balls for Boulder's boulders.

For activities I had the show playing, some coloring sheets out and basically let the kids play and have a free for all in the backyard and house.  I think that everyone had a good time (kids and adults alike) and I know the birthday boy had a blast and was super excited!






























4 years old


Happy Birthday Noah!
 
This year you;

 
have grown up so much.  you are such a big kid, physically, intellectually and emotionally. 
 
you are bigger than all of your friends your age, and even taller than many 5 and 6 year olds we know.  you are so incredibly smart. 
 
I say you're like Albert Einstein because you have a bit of an eccentric side to go with your intelligence.  recently, on a gifted screening test you were able to answer questions that the test administrator had never seen kids answer.
 
you are so grown up... sometimes too much.  sometimes I think that you became a teenager overnight with some of the sass and back talk you've been giving me lately.  you are such a vibrant young boy.  you are energetic and active.  brave and fearless.  sensitive and thoughtful.  you are very sweet when you want to be and often tell us that me, dad and Eli are your favorite people.  you are such a good friend!  while you love to be physical and rough with your friends, it's always in good fun and you never get angry.  you are extremely creative and a great story teller and make up these wonderful stories that you tell us while we're driving... stories about caterpillars and geckos and trees and trucks.
 
 
started playing soccer on a 3/4 year old team with two of your friends.  you are probably the fastest kid out there.  soccer has been so good for you.  you have learned to be a part of a team, to listen and take direction from your coach, to follow directions, self control, and increased motor skills.

 
have gained lots of new interests.  you have always loved trucks and vehicles, playing in the dirt, and anything art or craft related, but this year you have gained some specific new interests from certain shows we've let you watch.  you current interest is Rescue Bots, so we threw you a Rescue Bot birthday party.  before that you were into Wild Kratts and became a fountain of facts about animals often telling us that cheetahs are the fastest animals. 


have just within the last 3 weeks made up your mind to stop taking naps but your body is still in need of some rest so we often find you asleep on the couch, back seat of the car, or in this picture in timeout as your body fights your mind for rest.

 
have developed such a personality.  you are lively and goofy and silly and wild.  this face says it all.  I frequently say that you should be an actor because you can quickly jump into character (usually of a superhero or animal) and it's not an easy task to break you out of it.  you have quite convincingly mastered the cheetah run and paw swipe.
 
 
you have done many interesting science projects including making homemade slime and mixing food coloring with vinegar and baking soda.  you love to learn, experiment, play and get dirty exploring the world.

 
have had many friends that we have weekly playdate with to the park, zoo, museum, aquarium or chick fil a.  you are a very social and extroverted child.  always wanting to be the center of attention and always wanting others to play with.  you very rarely choose to go off and quietly play by yourself. 
 
you are also an amazing big brother!  you share so well and take such good care of Eli.  you two already have a special bond that warms my heart.  you love having him as your best friend and getting to play together all day every day.


Noah, your dad, brother and I love you so much!  you make our lives so interesting and exciting, without ever a dull moment.  you make me laugh every day.  you melt my heart every day with sweet hugs, kisses and kind words.  you teach me so much about life, myself and our God.  about patience and grace and forgiveness.  about love... the kind of love that puts the interests of others above your own.  you make me a better woman, wife, daughter, mother and friend.  you make me more aware of my words and actions and what I model versus what I say.  you teach me how to have fun and not take myself to seriously.  to build time into my schedule to play.  to stop and smell the roses.  to ask questions and figure out how things work and why they are that way.  about childlike faith.

you are destined for great things, my son!  you are going to take the spiritual legacy and inheritance that your daddy and I give you and go so much farther.  you are going to change the world.  you are going to be a leader of men and a lover of people.  you are going to walk in the power of God and a supernatural lifestyle.  you are going to do "greater things".  you will be like Noah, and will walk in righteousness despite the depravity around you.  you have found favor with God and are His chosen instrument.  you will be a mighty man, a man who walks with God always seeking His heart. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Beef Bourguignon



Beef Bourguignon

I made this Beef Bourguignon by Ina Garten.  The few changes that I made were to leave out the cognac and omit the lighting on fire and I substituted a bag of frozen peas for the frozen onions because I couldn't find any at my store.  I served this over mashed potatoes and with rosemary olive oil bread for dipping and it was a great classic cool weather meal.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

::this month::



 

praising:

answers to two of the prayer needs that I posted last month!!!!  thank you all for your prayers and encouragement!!!  prayer really is powerful and effective and God really does answer our requests and is faithful to not only meet our needs, but our heart's desires.

a really encouraging and clarifying prophecy spoken over Jeremy this month.  it's always so cool to get very timely and specific words from someone who doesn't know us or our circumstances at all.  I love how God speaks to His people, and uses His people to do so.

praying:

for provision... we could really use some additional monthly donors and/or one time gifts for Bastion Ministries.

for favor, opportunities and open doors.

for wisdom on numerous details and decisions needing to be made soon including schooling for Noah and housing for us all.

reading:

Genesis, Psalms, 1 Kings, Luke, Organized Simplicity, Living Room Revolution, 1000 Gifts (again)

thankful for:

provision.  when we first went into ministry 2 years ago I prayed over each and every financial need and was so grateful as each one was met.  somewhere along the way I think I started to take our provision for granted and I now have a renewed appreciation for the provision we have.
people... how marvelously, creatively and uniquely God has designed each and every person.  how involved He is in all of the details.  thinking this week on my children's first set of teeth and how they'll eventually get a permanent set... things like this are not coincidences, He has designed us so specifically, for our good, that He even gave us a set of teeth as we learn to care for them, and then another permanent set as we are responsible enough to care for them.

creation... people, animals and nature all designed for us by our Maker... all for our good... all for our enjoyment.  how His glory and nature are revealed through each of these. 

cooler weather and the return of all things pumpkin. 

cooking:

creating:

baby shower gifts and decorations and decorations and favors for noah's upcoming birthday party

doing:

all the usual activities; weekly ladies Bible study, monthly book club, monthly community group, lots of playdates and dinners with friends.

Jeremy traveling to Monroe, LA to speak at a conference.


pondering:

the main thing that the Lord has been teaching me and doing in my heart this month has to do with gratitude... God keeps reminding me of a lesson that He taught Jeremy that Jeremy shared in his book.  the punch line of the lesson was something to the effect of "your perceived lack gets in the way of your gratitude".  this month I found myself continually focusing on the things that I didn't have that I wanted... whether it was stuff, relationships, acknowledgements etc. I was focusing on my lack... and that got in the way of my gratitude... I was staring right past all of the blessings and gifts that I do have missing out on all of that goodness to focus on what I didn't have.  I'm so grateful for God's gentle nudges and reminders.  I'm so grateful for Him giving me eyes to see all of the wonderful gifts that I do have and His working in my heart to find contentment in Him rather than circumstances, stuff, people etc.

may your month be blessed... with eyes to see all of the blessings and gifts from the Lord and a heart that delights and rejoices in each gift.  may your security, contentment, hope, joy and peace be found in Him, and Him alone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chase Rescue Bots Felt Mask


I whipped up several of these masks for birthday presents for a Rescue Bots party for 3 boys.  I started off with grand plans to make one mask for each character for each boy and then real life happened and each boy ended up with only 1... oh well.  I couldn't find a pattern on the web so I had Jeremy draw one for me and then took it from there.  Noah has been on a huge Rescue Bot kick lately so he is thrilled that I made him one also.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

::this summer::



I have not done a {weekly} update since June.  I took the summer off to re-focus and to be more present in what I was doing.  I'm now ready to return to writing regular updates again (just haven't decided yet if they are going to be weekly or monthly).  
This summer was wonderful... busy, but really good.  
Jeremy did some traveling and speaking.  He was also on the radio and a podcast.  We did some traveling as a family to Lafyette and Virginia.  Jeremy and I had a few day trip to the beach.  And we all had a lot of fun.
We started a monthly community group, I continued with the monthly ladies book club that I organize,  I started a facebook NOLA parenting and play date page and coordinated several mom and kiddo events. (as always, anyone interested is welcome to any of these events).
There is a lot that we have been working on that will be coming out in the upcoming months/ year...  Jeremy has been working on a short ebook on rest.  He is also in the process of writing his next book, sort of a follow-up to The Longest Bridge Across Water.  I have a business project that I have been working on.  Jeremy has a new website that should be completed and public soon.  Jeremy has a few more traveling and speaking engagements this year including Monroe LA, Columbus OH, and India.  Jeremy and two other friends of ours are in the beginning stages of planning a conference in New Orleans for early 2015.  And more.
I could not possibly fit an entire summer of experiences and revelation into one blog post, so I'll try to summarize and highlight some of what has stood out to me the most...

praising:

in awe at just how good, faithful and loving God is.  so much more than I can imagine.  in awe at His creation... at nature... at people.  at how intricately, beautifully and powerfully we were created.  in awe of how He designed our bodies to heal themselves... when we get a cut, it heals... how stinkin' cool and crazy is that?!

all of the open doors and opportunities that God has given us this summer.
some really cool feedback and testimonies of how God has worked in people's lives through The Longest Bridge Across Water.  

praying:

for provision... we could really use some additional monthly donors and/or one time gifts for Bastion Ministries.
for clarity and our path to be made straight regarding church... we have been visiting a few churches looking for a church home to connect with and pondering and discussing the purpose and meaning of church altogether.

with a heavy heart for the needs and hurts of several friends who are suffering through some really tough things right now.

reading:

Genesis, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Acts, Luke, An Everlasting Meal, Organized Simplicity, Living Room Revolution

thankful for:

provision.
health.
our summer.  time with family.  time with friends.  time away.  fun activities.  relaxed time.
our city and house.  we really do love where we live.  we love so much about this city, and about our neighborhood.  I'm so grateful to be somewhere that is so diverse, beautiful and historically rich.
all of our trips and travels and the bonds and memories that were made along the way.
all of the interesting and unlikely people we've met this summer, and friendships that were made.

cooking: {this week, I could not fit an entire summer here}

huevos rancheros,  whole wheat pizza with turkey pepperoni and jalapenos, vietnamese noodle bowls, chicken sausage on buns with sauteed onions and peppers, sriracha lime brussell sprouts, maple roasted carrots, banana chocolate chip muffins, lime bars, mango smoothies

creating: {this week}

some appliqued onesie baby gifts, some felt mask kiddo gifts, baby shower decorations

doing: {this week}

this week we celebrated our 7 year wedding anniversary.  it was absolutely perfect!  we had 24 hours without the kiddos and really enjoyed our time together.  we really do enjoy our regular everyday life, so we did very normal things and enjoyed all of the uninterrupted time together doing them.  we got to go pray for a lady together, spend some time restin with God at J's office, went to the gym, went to coffee and discussed the book J is working on, I got to read the book on rest he has almost finished, a yummy sushi dinner, and then a movie and some froyo on our couch.  very simple, and I wouldn't change a thing.  we have had anniversaries where we spend a bunch of money, stayed in a hotel, did the tourist thing and had a super fancy dinner... but it's just not us.  it's good to know who you are as an individual and a couple and live from there.
in addition to that we have a few dinners with friends, kiddo playdates, and our regular weekly activities of the group in Slidell that J does and my weekly ladies Bible study.

pondering:

there are a few main themes and specific things that the Lord has been teaching me/ telling me this summer;


  • persevere- through a passage in Mark and some circumstances in life God was telling me to persevere.  I didn't really understand it, and then I realized that due to some hurt feelings and fear I was unknowingly withdrawing from a lot of things... things that I enjoy, things that give me life, things that I'm sure are His will and purpose for me.  and since I've returned to walking by faith and not fear I feel more like me, more like who I was created to be.  and so I'm learning to persevere when things get tough.
  • as I mentioned in the prayer section, I've been pondering what church is... what it was in the book of Acts vs what it is now.  pondering why and what God's design for it is.  pondering what church looks like for Jeremy and me in this season of life.
  • expect- this was the one word that God laid on my heart for this year.  last year was believe and this year He is building on that and taking me a step further.  last year He was teaching me to believe for greater things, to believe for miraculous things, to believe that He would speak and reveal Himself to me.  this year I am now learning not just to believe for those things but to expect it.  to not just hope and believe that God can do something, but to expect Him to.
  • enjoy- this has been another huge lesson He has been teaching me over the last year.  God has been taking me out of a sterile and mechanical relationship with Himself and showing me just how good He is.  teaching me that relationship is not about obligation, but love and enjoyment.  taking me from reading my Bible and pursuing Him out of duty to doing it from an overflow of joy and pleasure in Him.
  • how so many people that I know express discontentment with their friendships.  I hear an overwhelming sense that people are longing and looking for deep connections with others and community, but are continually coming up short.  why is this?  are we too busy?  do we not know how to connect anymore?  are there more barriers to connectivity than in the past?
  • rest- Jeremy and I talk about rest a lot.  it's a big theme for us and has provided huge breakthrough in our relationship with God.  learning how to take our thoughts captive and turn down the noise of the world and rest in our oneness with God, in His presence in us.  and then learning how to carry the rest that we experience in our intimate time with God over into the chaos that can be daily life.  Jeremy said something to me recently that I can't get out of my mind... he suggested that perhaps why it is so common for people to receive revelation or dreams from God at night is that that is the only time that we are still and our minds are quiet enough for us to actually listen and hear Him.  perhaps He is constantly trying to speak to us but we don't often slow down enough to realize it.  I've been thinking a lot on that statement.  after some good quiet and still time resting with God this week I was extremely renewed by an awareness of Him and these song lyrics by Catherine Mullins became so real to me "in your presence, Jesus, every insecurity fades away...".  it is so true... I sat down to enjoy God feeling a little frazzled, distracted, bitter and more but by simply meditating on Him and who He is in me all of those feelings melted away and He replaced them with His all consuming peace and joy.  it is that easy y'all!  stop trying, stop doing and simply relax into Him.  another song stood out to me this week (by Steffany Gretzinger) illustrating this point; "I'm letting go, falling into you".  that's the perfect verbal illustration for rest, we let go of striving and working and fall into God.
I hope that your summer was fun and relaxed, full of laughter and love, lived from a place of awareness of God in and through all things.