Friday, August 31, 2012

Reflections - Life Verse

Sorry this is up so late this week... I usually write my Thursday posts the night before and this week has taught me that if I don't do that, I'm at the mercy of my children's naps schedules to get it done... and naps have been few and far between this week. I also got a bit distracted by my quest to figure out a way to get Josh into IronMan Florida (which is in November and filled up in six hours this year!) and... well... I succeeded!!!!  I'm not sure what took me directly to rather than the IronMan website, but eventually one of my Google searches led me there and lo and behold they had some spots open! We literally held our breaths as we hit the "register" button and Josh wasn't even convinced until he called just to confirm with them... and... it's official!  Only 63 more days until he gets to try again, this time without the idiots throwing tacks in his path (let's hope!). So needless to say, I got a little sidetracked planning our mini-getaway. It may seem crazy to some, but after seeing how much work goes into the training, he deserves his fair chance at it... and I don't want him to have to wait until next fall to try again! Plus, my sister just wrote a post on spectating 101 and I'm ready to take what we learned from Louisville and kick it up a notch in Florida... particularly since our cheering squad will be smaller, which means we need to be more visible and more obnoxious, right??  Right.

So anyway... this race talk actually kind of fits in nicely with my "life verse" if you will. I know many people pick a "life verse," which is basically either the one that they live by or their favorite, depending on the person. You've probably heard the most popular ones many times (think John 3:16 or Jeremiah 28:11) and there is a reason they are popular- it's because they are that good and powerful.  I mean, John 3:16 pretty much sums up the whole point of Christianity in one simple sentence... it doesn't get much more powerful than that!  As for me, I have several that are reminders of how to live, how to act, etc, and I could seriously just pick the whole book of James and call it a day. I also have a special, personal affection for "All good and perfect things come from above" because it's found in James 1:17 and my birthday is on... 1/17!  Coincidence? I think not! But in all seriousness, this is mine:
"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need." (Matthew 6:33)
Some days it's really hard to be a Christ follower... to do the right thing, even when it's hard. Sometimes it means taking the high road or being the bigger person, even when you really just want to get mad at the situation. Following Christ means living by His rules- forgiving and loving your enemies, helping others, and "dying to self" meaning not giving in to the superficial needs and desires of this world, but giving those up in order to serve others and show glory to Him. As a family, we tithe our first 10% every month faithfully, and there are times that yes, my brain does realize that this money could pay for a vacation, new home decor, a new wardrobe, or other things that I just really want, but honestly don't need.  And there's that word - need.
As I reflect back on my life, I realize that God has never let me down- not once- in providing me with the things that I need. As a church planter, we have had our moments where we struggled to make ends meet, wondering where that next mortgage payment (for a house two states over) is going to come from. But I live and breathe this verse and I give it to Him. Sometimes you just have to throw your hands in the air and say, "okay, God, I don't know how this is all going to turn out, but I'm going to follow You faithfully because I know You've got this."  And He does... as long as you seek Him out, live by His rules, and do all that you can to live righteously.  Sure, the things I want never go away, but I have far more than I need, and then some. In fact, I have far more than I could ever want, too, and the more this verse gets into me, the more that "want" list diminishes. I spent twenty-five years of my life living for me, living selfishly, and living by my own rules... and it worked out okay most of the time, but something was still missing. Oddly enough, the more of my selfish desires I give up and the more I put others first, the more filled up I am and that missing piece doesn't seem so big anymore. He is the air I breathe, the song I sing, and the One from which I draw all my decisions, strenght, and encouragement.  He is worth seeking "above all else."
So... what is yours? I could not get the linky-thing to work (this has just not been my day or week for blogging apparently!) so if you did a post on this, please put the link in the comments.  Or I'd love it love it love it if you'd share your "life verse" in the comment section and tell me why it speaks to you so much. You never know... there may be someone who will read it and it will be exactly what they needed to hear this week.
Thanks so much for sharing your heart... look for a new topic on Monday and have a fantastic holiday weekend!  I think that leaves me with only one more thing to say...
GO VOLS!  I'm loving that it's football time in Tennessee again!  Go big orange! (and yes, I fully understand that I may have just lost some readers!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


If you cannot bear an entire day without me (which is probably only my mom... if anyone at all), you can catch my post from Monday over on the ARC Women site! This was my first time ever being a guest blogger and I am honored, humbled, amazed, and just oh-so-darn excited that this group of amazing ladies asked me over. I literally just keep wondering why in the world they'd want to hear from me when they could teach me so much, but that's why this community is so special. Hop on over... or just catch me back here tomorrow for the weekly Reflections post!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


It should've been Josh's day.

For an entire year we've looked forward to this. For an entire year I've watched him spend countless hours training, giving up his mornings, evenings, and weekends to swim, bike, or run. For an entire year he has read numerous books by experts in endurance racing. And to prepare for an IronMan properly, you really do need that entire year... how else could you ever prepare to complete a 2.1 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run (all in a row!) under 17 hours??

Look closely... swimmers in the distance

On the spectating end, my sisters and I hit the road before six to make the trip over to Louisville and see the start. I had been fighting off strep throat and even that could not keep me away from being out there all day to cheer on my favorite guy, as well as a few others we knew participating. We were wearing matching t-shirts that we designed for this special day and had a car full of snacks and signs to encourage the athletes. We arrived, parked, and got there in time to see the competitors jump off the docks and into the Ohio River and watched as they swam downstream, like tiny little buoys all in a line. And then we walked over to the first transition area and celebrated with the masses as they came out of the water, sometimes one-by-one and at times in droves, some smiling and cheering, others not looking so happy to be there. And then up and out came Josh, looking like a ball of energy, an ear-to-ear grin plastered on his face... as if the 2-mile swim had been a walk in the park.

Us girls piled back in the car and headed east to Oldham County High School, which ended up being such a great place to watch the bikers zoom by! We found a shady driveway and set up camp right across the street from a water/nutrition station, which would allow us to see them come by at around mile 35 and 65. Bikers typically slow down to pick up what they need from the volunteers at these stations, so it made it a little easier to spot our athletes from down the road. We knew approximately what time to expect them all, so as those times drew near we'd really focus and pay attention to who was riding by, trying to remember what color their bikes, helmets, and shirts were. It may sound crazy, but it was seriously mentally draining to search for the four riders we knew amongs the thousands out there! Three out of four of them passed us on loop one looking strong. In fact, Josh was enjoying his day so much that he even stopped and chatted with us for a few minutes, letting us know that he was feeling strong and pacing himself before zooming off again. Our fourth rider, already a two-time IronMan, was not feeling like he could go the full distance this time around and decided to stop and spectate with us for the rest of the day instead of making himself miserable (and potentially sick) to see how far he could get. I think it takes a lot of guts to make that decision and we are all proud of him for being humble enough to listen to his body. We had a view of a medic tent not too far from us and we saw many that apparently did not do this and ended up with IV's in their arms after overheating and dehydrating. The event is gruelling to say the least, and the 90+ degree heat did not help.

After a couple of hours (yes hours!) we estimated that it was time to see our three riders again. The first came by as expected, then the second, and I knew that Josh should be about twenty minutes behind him. So we waited and watched... and waited and watched... and waited... and waited.  I had my sister check her phone to see if any new times at check-points had been posted but she had nothing to offer. I tried not to get nervous as another twenty, then thirty, then forty minutes passed. At one point the entire group even swore we saw him come up the road, pull over, get off his bike, and our guess was that he was using the port-a-potty. Then two of us were pretty sure we saw him walking around without his helmet on... near the medic tent. I ran over there to check on "him" and this mysterious look-a-like was nowhere to be found! Feeling even more nervous by then, I joined the rest of the group and was relieved when they started pointing at someone coming down the road. I turned around and to my relief he was coming up the road, flashing a number two with his fingers. He pulled over just to quickly tell us that he had already changed two flats due to tacks in the road.  Apparently (according to the stories he heard as he changed his tires) some locals did not like that they closed the roads for the day and came by throwing tacks to pop the tires of the bikers- and Josh fell victim twice in 100 yards. If you've ever done any kind of distance race or changed a bike tube for that matter (which is a challenge in itself), you know that mentally this could completely derail you. I was pretty impressed to see that even though he was clearly frustrated, he was still in pretty good spirits and determined to push through. We watched him ride away and were all completely stunned by what had happened- who would ever do something like that? Actually, who would ever even come up with something like that? I didn't know whether I was outraged, sad, mad, or disgusted, but my heart hurt for Josh. More than that, I was so proud that he had kept going. Feeling a little deflated ourselves (and being tired and hot didn't help), we packed up the car and headed back down to the river for the next transition.

After a sandwich and a bathroom break at Subway, the group perked up again and we all headed back out to start watching for our racers come in on their bikes. Friends of ours from Lexington had called to say that they were there and I left the others and went to meet up with them for a few, telling them about the day so far, talking about how awesome the whole event was, and cheering on the bikers that we didn't know as they came by. And then my phone rang and a Louisville number showed up on my screen. I don't think I expected it to be Josh, but that's who I heard on the other end, telling me that he was out of the race after snapping a shifter cable, probably due to it weakening during the multiple tire changes. I seriously could not believe it- still can't two days later- and tried to hold it together, letting him know that I was proud of him and would be waiting for him at the transition area while he caught a shuttle back. I then spent the next twenty minutes calling all of our friends from Lexington who had been planning to come down for the finish as well as the families watching our children, letting them know the news. We saw our other two racers come through and I mustered up a little bit of enthusiasm as they passed by. Then we just sat and waited.

It was almost another hour before Josh met up with us again, and once he was with us we got more of the story. He said that in about a 50 yard stretch, there were about 25 bikers changing flats. The tacks were not just tiny thumb-tacks, but large enough to also take out three sherriff cars and an ambulance, which had someone in it. When his blew the second time, the man next to him had his blow at the same time, lost control, ran off the road, flipped and broke his collar bone... so I consider us lucky. Josh rode back in a shuttle full of mostly dehyrdrated athletes on IV's, and one other victim of bike issues, but he was out after his fourth flat tire due to the tacks! It was just unlucky.

I have to hand it to Josh... he was clearly disappointed and even admitted to throwing himself a little pity party before coming back and joining the group, but he wanted to walk over to the finish with us, grab some dinner, and hang out a little before heading back. He told us stories from his day and even said that the Louisville police officers were fantastic, offering up apologies and telling him that they hoped this did not reflect on the entire city's attitude toward the triathletes and really hoped he'd come participate again next year. Something tells me the cops are a little more interested in who did this now that many of their own were affected as well! We didn't stay to see our other two guys finish since we had two little ones to get home to, but we did receive a text message around 11pm that they were both now IronMen!

So our day didn't go quite the way we had planned, but that really is the beauty of this race. Whether it's a story of triumph, defeat, or in our case, disappointment due to circumstances out of our control, the course and the race takes on a life of its own. Every athlete at the end of the day has a story to tell, and all are distinctly different. We saw some finishers walking around downtown smiling proudly with their medals around their necks and others being held up by friends, barely able to walk. We watched a woman sob on the neck of a volunteer after she crossed the line, a man jump across wearing a superman cape,and others who practically collapsed after finishing. I knew going in that it would be an emotional day, but had no idea it would translate into what it did, but that's our unique story this time around. There will be another one down the road whether it's in a month or a year, and my husband will earn that medal that will hang around his neck. But to me, he's already an IronMan, and I could not be more proud.

And not that any of the tack-throwers are reading this, but I just want to clarify something. A triathlete, or any endurance athlete for that matter, and especially those tackling a challenge this big, are a special kind of people. Sure we spend thousands of dollars and give up sleep and time with family to have the right equipment, travel to events, and train properly, but that's only a tiny part of it for us. What you don't understand is that there is a really special spirit of victory that lives within us- one that won't give up no matter what the odds, one that keeps fighting after we're knocked down. Yes, you ruined our race this time around, but it won't stop us from getting back out there and trying again. It's an unfair thing that happened, but even more upsetting is how dangerous something like this is- those tacks nearly killed at least one man, and it's not just a harmless prank at that point. I honestly just feel sorry for whoever would do this as they obviously do not understand the potential danger that they cause and hope that the race officials can figure out a way to deter this behavior in the future. But at the end of the day, we're fighters and we bounce back. If anything, you've just fanned the fire of a future IronMan, and his day will be even sweeter when it comes.

For Josh's take on the race, you can check out his blog post here and for more information about the IronMan Louisville incidents, it's showing up on several message boards if you just do a Google search, and keep in mind that all kinds of crazy opinions are posted on a message board!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chinks in the Armor

I think I've unofficially decided that Mondays are going to end up being about my "Fresh Start" journey.  I never meant for this to be a series, and by no means do I feel like it will happen every Monday, but as I go into week two of getting up early to spend time in the Word, more and more is revealed to me that I just need to share.  Amazing how that happens, right? And as Josh and I come down from a very emotional Sunday, this morning I still dragged myself out of bed (well, Jake helped thankfully with his earlier than usual wake-up and requests for "The Incredibles") earlier than I would have liked, God spoke to me the exact words that I need to hear. I am not one who can claim that I ever hear His voice audibly (although I do have one story from long ago that I might have to share someday), but here lately my morning reading is a slap-in-the-face, direct response to what I'm going through. I just never stuck with it long enough to realize that He's just trying to get in on the conversation.

So what exactly have I been going through lately? Well, let's just say that I'm feeling a little beat up. Have you ever had one of those weeks (or several in a row) where luck / fate / karma or whatever you want to blame it on is not on your side? And it almost feels as if you are being chipped away at by a tiny hammer... putting chips in your armor if you will. Well, that's been us lately... a chip here and a chip there, as if something is trying to get to our core.  For example...

We received some pretty devastating news about an old friend and a family that we love dearly and it kind of rocked our world, as well as the worlds of many people we know and love.  Chip.

We learned that one of our loved ones was diagnosed with lymphoma.  Chip.

Lil came down with a very nasty form of strep. Chip.

Josh's Twitter and Facebook account were repeatedly hacked and hateful things were written by someone out there under his name. Chip.

I unintentionally (and stupidly) hurt someone that I love very much because of something I said. Chip.

I came down with a different form of Lil's nasty strep. Chip.

And then our IronMan experience, which I will post about tomorrow, was the icing on the cake. Chip.

I know that some of these things seem small and that there are many people out there facing much bigger trials than we are.  There are also many folks living the things that are only affecting us as a third party, and I know that it's difficult. But sometimes it's not the one big thing that gets us, but the continuous pestering of the little things that end up wearing us down, to the point that even just a stubbed toe feels like the world is caving in on you... you know what I mean? Or the way you want to throw the remote control across the living room because the volume button all of the sudden doesn't work. Silly things... stupid things... but things that build up to become big things. Well, that's how I woke up this Monday morning, so today I probably needed to open that Bible more than ever, and I'm so glad I did today.

Lately I've been reading through Romans and well, just wow. I tried to read through it years ago before I truly had a relationship with Christ and it just ticked me off because I felt like it was trying to tell me how I should live my life. The funny thing is, the words are still the same years later and it's still trying to tell me how to live my life and through growth and a change in my spirit, I now receive these guidelines and find joy in trying to honor God with my obedience. These words are now my strength and here is where I find comfort.

So this morning as I tried not to dwell on the negatives, it was in Romans that He reminded me- victory is ours in the end... even though some times we go through some pretty rotten stuff.

"For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children.  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God's glory. But if we are share his glory, we must also share his suffering." (Romans 8:17)

When I focus on the big picture, I think I forget that someday the glory of God will be mine. I am so awed and humbled by the thought that I cannot even fathom such a thing. But since this is earth and not heaven, well, we live in a fallen world that isn't perfect, so less than perfect stuff happens sometimes... and many times it's through these little, tiny things. And the worst part about these minuscule nuances is that our focus ends up shifting to them instead of this bigger picture.  And so He reminds me...

"Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." (Romans 8:37)

Overwhelming victory... it's the promise He reminded me of when I needed it most. Life may chip away at my armor sometimes, but thankfully He has clothed me in his armor (Ephesians 6:10-17), and I can handle whatever is thrown my way. Today I am thankful for these reminders and to know that my focus is on the bigger picture- the bigger prize- because I already know that I'm on the winning team.

I hope this helps you get through your week as much as it's going to help me with mine!

Friday, August 24, 2012

This and that...

It's finally Friday! I feel like this week went on forever! And although I'm halfway through about three thought-out and pertinent posts, I don't have enough brain cells left to finish them.  So after the week that it's been my Friday post is going to be a bit random... so here is what's going on with us these days:
Week one of my "fresh start" has been a major success! I was up at 6am on Monday thru Wednesday (and "slept in" until 6:15am on Thursday by accident) and spent close to an hour each morning reading through Romans. Let me just say, when you put the time in, God really does speak to you and laid out exactly what I needed to hear each morning. It's the confirmation I need to keep up until this becomes a routine.

We had a sweet high school gal from our church over for dinner on Monday night and I just loved getting to know her better. She's asked me to be her mentor and I am beyond honored. But now that's made me realize that I should get one, too! I think everyone needs one... someone who has been where you've been and is where you want to go. Josh says that any mentor worth a dollar won't have time to do it, so I have one in mind and just have to muster up the courage to ask.

Other moms: you know how you don't really shed during pregnancy and then you go through a weird hair-falling-out phase about 4 or 5 months after giving birth? Well, I had remembered that, but forgot about the annoying hair-growing-back (again) phase that completes the cycle. I cannot do anything with these annoying baby hairs... does anyone else have this problem?  And no, I don't actually keep them slicked down like this, but they are hard to make blend in!  (and no, I can't believe I posted this)

Lilly has decided to start biting me (and only me) as a sign of affection (maybe?). How does one go about getting an 11-month-old to stop biting? And no, I have no desire to bite her back.
Speaking of Lilly, her favorite word for the past month has been "What?" (or more accurately "wwwwwwhhhhhhha-T" with an emphasis on the T sound). I have tried for a solid month to get it on video and she plays coy every time I pull out the camera. Such is life.

Jake has started a new obsession with the movie "The Incredibles" and asks to watch it 24/7. We are minorly convinced that he seriously thinks that he is Dash and runs around the house at top speed every time his character is on screen. It's actually a very appropriate comparison.

I am aware that I never posted about Jake's preschool experience... (1) because he refuses to stand still for a photo and I could not get a first-day-of-school picture like other moms do and (2) because so far he has a love/hate relationship with it. Day one was awesome, day two he realized that I was going to leave him and flipped out, day three was by far the worst and he clung to me like I was dropping him off at prison, and day four he marched in there like it was no big deal until he stepped foot in his classroom.  His teachers tell me that he only cries for 10 minutes (aside from the hour he cried on day two), but it still breaks this mama's heart. I know he's still adjusting, so I'm just trying to be patient with him. In other preschool news, his teachers sent home a list of all of the songs they are learning and I do not know a single one. Nope, not one. I'm not sure I'm going to be much help.

The closest thing I have to a "first day of preschool" picture.  Sigh.

 We rearranged our living room which made a world of difference in how much space we have and I love it! The only downside is that the paint color that I liked with the old arrangement now looks blah with our new arrangement (weird I know). So now I'm deciding if I can just live with it and get over it or if I want to go through the hassle of repainting. Also wondering what our landlord would think if I told him that I'm painting yet again in less than a year. Decisiveness is not my strong suit. And yes, I am aware that these are crummy iPhone pictures with really bad lighting and my living room is not in picture-perfect condition. For those of you who are new, I feel like it's my calling to post pictures of my home in "real life" rather than the beautiful ones when it's cleaned up, which I still do on occassion. It's like a ministry for other people like me who have good intentions, but also have multiple tornadoes coming through on a daily basis and messing up your hard work.  The "before" pictures are on top.
Something NEEDS to happen above the couch.  B-O-R-I-N-G.

The pictures don't do it justice, but the room feels SO much bigger and opened up... with more seating!

Not sure what's up with the color on the "after" picture... picture 1 is more accurate.
And yes, The Incredibles is on the TV! 

My husband and I are solely paying for the Redbox movie rental in our area. In the past three weeks we have racked up quite a bill on only three movies. We always think that watching a movie together sounds like a great idea, and then we're both too exhausted to ever start, thus the movie sitting on our mantle or coffee table for weeks on end (look closely at the above picture for proof). We need an intervention.

Okay, I think that's enough random rambling for today. Chances are that I won't get around to posting again until Tuesday since Sunday night will be a late one watching my husband become an IronMan! I'm so proud of him already for all of the time he has put in to prepare for this race!

Any big plans for your weekend? 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This Week's Reflections Topic

Now that the craziness of getting the new blog up and running is behind me, I guess I should get back to our regular-scheduled programming! This week I want to keep it light and a little more personal since I always love reading the different personal stories that come out of these. So this week I want to reflect on our "life verses"- the verse or verses from Scripture that define who you are or the one(s) that you turn to in times of trouble.  Is there something in the Bible that resonates so deeply with you that you feel like it was written just for you to read? I would love to hear what those verses are and the stories behind them. If you'd like to write your own post on this next week, please link up with me next Thursday to share!  I am looking forward to spending my Thursdays with you again!
And for no other reason than the fact that they are just cute and have not had much "face time" on the blog here lately, here are just a couple of pictures to hopefully make you smile today!
I'm loving that he finally smiles for the camera... only in self-portraits where he can see himself though!

Couldn't you just eat her up??? Cuter by the day I tell you.
Have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Because somebody has to be "that girl"

Don't you hate it when someone posts something on Facebook before you've had a chance to announce it? Like when a couple has a baby and you read some random person's "Congratulations on the birth of Jacob!" on your page before YOU get to announce your OWN news??? 
Yeah, me too. I try to never be that person...
until today...
Meet my awesome, beautiful, wonderful best friend, Elizabeth... who has a "thing" about announcing exciting stuff on Facebook.  I have appointed myself as her official spokesperson and think it's time that the social media world found out that...

That's an old picture of us, but that same expression has been plastered on my face since I found out. So if you're friends with her on Facebook or Twitter, go blow it up... because she has a "thing" about that and it would be so much fun to drive her nuts with the love!
Wait a minute... I feel like I'm forgetting something.  Oh yes, the groom... kind of an essential part of a wedding, right?  Meet Dara- her totally awesome fiance:



Now go update your relationship status already!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fresh Start

Thank you all so much for the sweet comments about the new look! I am still just on cloud nine about how everything came together and look forward to this new chapter.

When a family plants a church, the church basically becomes another child. After launch, it needs love, affection, and a lot of time. It also requires that the "parents" and other relatives (basically the others on the launch team) fill in the gaps, making sure that all odd jobs to take care of it were covered. When we moved here a little over a year ago, we were blessed to find people who were willing to roll up their sleeves and see this thing come to life. Launch day is still one the greatest days of my life so far and so far we've managed to nurture our little sprout and it is growing in the right direction. But in the beginning, just like everyone else, I filled in wherever I needed, which was leading our kids' ministry. Because I had a very clear picture of the vision for our church and our children, I was the best fit for the role even if I felt underqualified. I started building a team, branding everything, creating registration forms, policies and procedures, training people to serve, and the list goes on and on. Once we launched I had to focus on some weekly issues such as making new nametags and registering the new kids that came through the door, which thankfully we've seen happen every week, continue to train our leaders as that team grew, schedule for future months, and make sure the balance of volunteers to kids was at a safe place week to week, even if that meant stepping in and filling in somewhere myself. We are six months into the life of our baby and all in all I have been to one Sunday morning service... at our own church plant!  Crazy, right? But oh so worth it.

I think I've alluded to the busy-ness of our lives in past posts, and even though launch season is crazy, the day after launch day proves to be no more relaxing. As our numbers grow, so do the people that we get to love on and pour into on a weekly basis. I knew that praying for rest was something that might not happen, but I trusted God that He would know how much of a load I could carry and for how long, all the while balancing my marriage and kids and a full-time job... and somewhere deep inside my spirit the word "soon" continued to ring out.

Wanna know something wonderfully amazing about our God? He keeps His promises... but I bet you already knew that. The "soon" that I kept hearing is here, which just blows my mind. Not only did a family move down from our old church (who were originally going to plant with us in the first place but the timing was not right) to take over the kids' ministry, but we also had a miraculous NINETY-THREE people at our Discovery course the other night. This class is on a Sunday night and is a place where we teach on your spiritual gifts and personality, trying to find the place for everyone to get plugged in and serving. We want everyone to find their "sweet spot," serving in an area becuase they get fulfillment out of it and not just because we "need" someone to fill in that spot. For many smaller churches and church plants, the doing things becasue we "need" someone to do it season lasts a long time, so praise God that we're already coming out of that season and into a new one. Josh and I literally sit on the couch at night and there are no words to express our awe of what has been happening through this church, so we are just faithfully and diligently trying to listen and obey... and not trying to screw things up in the process (which is our most common joke!).

That was a lot of back-story for where I am going with this, so thank you for bearing with me. With all this being said, I am so very excited for this period of time that He is giving me to get all of my ducks in a row again... to focus on me for a little while. When I was younger, focusing on me would have meant being selfish and doing things that gratify me temporarily- such as shopping, watching movies, and basically wasting time. I feel so different this time around though. I feel like He has extended me some relief, but I need to be responsible with how I use it. Now it's not to say that I won't spend an hour here or there watching HGTV, but more than anything I feel the need to fill myself back up. One of my favorite Reflections posts was about the song "Desert Song" (which is oh so amazing by the way if you don't know it) and I mentioned that I was running on empty after a harvest. To be honest, in all of the running around, I never got to a place where I could fill myself up again and have been living in that place for montshs. So now that I am transitioning out of leading the kids' ministry (although I will still be serving our sweet little ones since I love it) and Jake is in preschool a few days a week giving me a small break, I am going to use this wisely. It's not a coincidence that our church started a series called Fresh Start this week and I find it so very fitting. In the grand scheme of things our time here is short, and I want this week to be a fresh start in how I utlize this gift he's given me. I am not a morning person but know that people can train their bodies to get up early, so yesterday I got up at six just to spend an hour of quiet time in the word. And becuase our God also loves to give confirmation, He opened a door up last night for me to teach one of our favorite high school girls exactly what I had studied that morning. Love when that happens. I already look forward to doing that every Monday and Wednesday from now on. The other side of that is getting back to taking care of myself physically. As much as you know I love to run, I can't tell you the last time I pounded pavement aside from a random 5K I did this month. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays I am going to pursue that passion and get my physical self back in shape, too. I want to take this time and work on being a better wife, a better mom, a better playmate for my kids, a better sister, a better daughter, a better friend, and a better servant to those in need. I want to read more, build a more solid foundation in the Bible, pray more, and make my time matter. I am thankful for this season because I know it won't last long... something tells me that God is giving me rest to prepare for whatever is coming next.  And whatever it is, I want to be ready.

So tell me... with a new school year starting, do you see this time as a Fresh Start? What goals do you have for this upcoming year?

Monday, August 20, 2012

You Found Me!

Hello, hello!  So glad to see that you jumped on over here and found me... welcome to my new home! Even though I will no longer be posting over at Mauneyland, I was thankfully able to import everything from the old site to the new site so newcomers can get the whole story.  As I mentioned in my very last post over there, it seemed time to retire that one and start fresh since I felt like my writings and topics over there were taking on a new life of their own, leading me here.

So why "The Seeds You Sow?" Well, I want it to be a place where I can share some goodness with the world, and for those who may not know me, my goodness comes from above. I want to encourage, inspire, and help those on their own personal journeys as they grow in their faith. Trust me when I say that I have come a long, LONG way and am so very far from perfect and there are still many days when I don't get it all right, so I hope others find comforts in the ups and downs of my crazy life. Plus, I feel like if we all put a little more love out in the world then perhaps we'll get it back tenfold... and we could all use a little more love.  I am still going to continue with my Thursday Reflections series where we spend a week reflecting on a particular topic from a blog, song lyrics, scripture, sermon, etc. and share thoughts on it the following week, so if you would like to join me in doing that I'd love it. The next topic will be posted this coming Thursday and you can now find all post posts under the "Reflections" tab at the top... fancy, eh?

So if you're new here, welcome!, and if you've followed me over from Mauneyland, thank you for clicking over and this is where I'll be from here on out. I will probably expand on the new blog design and that whole process (and yes I had hired help... there is no way I could have figured out how to do this on my own!) in the upcoming weeks, but in the meantime, what do you think?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


As Jake would say... "Mommy, where arrrrreeee you???"

Yes, I've gone missing this week, but it's because someone's blog is getting a little makeover.  I cannot wait to share in just a couple of days.

Don't worry... I have plenty of goodness to come including Jake going to preschool, an update on both kids, a new series of FAQ from other church planter wives, and a new Reflections topic, which I skipped this week to give me time to catch up on life a little.  I'll be back soon, I promise.

Stay tuned...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Funnies

In an effort to get back to the lighter side of life here on my little blog, I thought I'd share a few fun things to make you smile. Then again, it's Friday, so hopefully you're already smiling!

First up... click on this link and watch this short "campaign" video. This might be my favorite thing that the Daily Show has ever done:

Next... please enjoy this video of Jake's rendition of the Black Eyed Peas's "I Gotta Feeling." Yes, my son is awesome.

And lastly, how about a dose of double cuteness... there is no more fun toy than a big, giant box.

Have a happy weekend, everyone!  Check back on Monday for the weekly Reflections topic (and trust me, it will be sunshine and rainbows after last week's!) and some pictures of Jake's first day of pre-school. I'm not sure yet if that's going to bring tears or squeals of joy... from me, not him. I'm pretty sure he's not going to miss us AT ALL, so we'll just have to wait and see how I handle it!

Happy Friday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Reflections - Accountability

Sorry for not getting this up until today (which goes for Brittany over at Daughter... Wife... Mom... Sis too) but my husband was out of town all week and, well, I wasn't able to accomplish much of anything aside from chasing down two little ones. And Brittany's 4-year-old had his tonsils and adenoids removed yesterday so she's been tending to that and will have her post up late as well.  Life happens, you know? But kudos to Laurel over at Welcome to Deckerville for beating us both to it.  So onto this week's topic, which is accountability:

Friends... we all have them.  Some are friends for a short season and some are friends for life.  Some are friends that you partied with in college or went wild with on spring break, memories that you'd maybe rather forget.  And then others are the ones who console you when you're upset or going through a difficult time, give you advice, and hopefully steer you in a different direction when you're choosing a not-so-great path.  Throughout my life I have had all of these sets of friends, many that are and will be my best friends for life, but if I had to choose one that holds me most accountable, it would have to be my husband (say it together... "awwwwww").  But seriously, since day one, he has been the one who has supported me the most, encouraged me always, and challenged me to be the best version of myself, even when it meant making tough changes in my life that I did not always want to make.  And his baseline measurement for everything?  Scripture.  With every protest I had and every time I thought he was wrong, he opened that book and showed me things I had never seen.  For example, if I got caught in a lie, he would point out that the Bible  It's funny to me now, but looking back on our journey together I can remember how frustrating it could be. To me the Bible was just a book of stories, but to him it was a manual for how to live your life, which is what it is supposed to be. Fast forward to now and it's the same for me and I hope and pray that my children will always view it that way.

But let me back up a bit and give you a little background here.  Josh and I met and had a bit of a whirlwind romance. We were already in our late twenties and were both ready to meet "the one." After one date it was evident to both of us that this was it- and he was even bold enough to tell me that. On date two. Yeah, my husband can be a bit intense.  And because of these feelings he asked me to marry him a mere six weeks after that first meeting. To look back on it, I still think it's a little bit crazy, but it's one of those things that with hindsight being 20/20, I know it was God's timing... because if we hadn't gotten engaged that quickly, we probably would not have made it.  Yes, you read that correctly... because we made a commitment to each other so early on, we decided to work through a lot of things that would have probably broken us otherwise. And these things I speak of are all accountability issues.

Let me preface this by saying that I was not some sort of horrible person before I met Josh. As a friend, I am the same... fun-loving, outgoing, caring (sometimes to a fault), and compassionate. I love people so much and am fascinated by how different we all are and love getting to know people better. But the trouble with this is that not only do I attach myself to the good ones, but I also attach myself to the "bad" ones. I put bad in quotations because I do not think people are inherently bad, but there are some who influence others in not-so-great ways, myself included. Because I love people, I also crave acceptance- I love to be liked, and to be popular if possible. With that desire being bigger than any set of standards I had set for myself and who I want to be as a person, it's very easy to make decisions that are not in your best interest... just to be cool. To be liked. A person (like me) often does things to impress whatever crowd they're running with at the time, whether good or bad. You see this with Olympians- they are all great because they surround themselves with greatness. On the other hand, a drug addict never set out to become one, but because they more than likely surrounded themselves with other drug addicts, they eventually end up running that same course, too. It's all about your circle of influence.

Before meeting Josh, I really thought that once you became someone's friend, it was almost your responsibility to always be that person's friend. But as he began to point out to me, some relationships do more harm than good, so why would I want to keep them in my life?  Uhhhh... I had no answer. Through our engagement, he encouraged me to evaluate all of the people in my life and try and sort out who it was that made my life better, who shared the same values, and who built me up to be a better person, rather than dragged me down.  Often people think that they are going to be the friend that changes a person for the better, perhaps helping them turn away from a bad habit or a bad relationship or even lead a non-believer to Christ. While in some cases this is true, more often than not the opposite happens. A person has to be willing and open to change before you can change them. But even more so than that, you need to remember that YOU can't change anyone, only Christ can do that. Severing ties is one of the most difficult things a person can be faced with, particularly if you inherently care deeply for the other person. But if a "friend" or past relationship is continuously tearing you down or bringing you pain, it's time to evaluate whether or not you will be a path to that person's heart change. And if not, it's time to move on.

There are still people in my life that probably question my decision to turn my back on some people from my past, shutting them out completely. In the world of social media overload, it's common for us to keep connected with everyone, good or bad: ex-boyfriends or girlfriends and even people who have betrayed us somehow still continue to be our Facebook friends. And for what? As Josh once asked me, do you think he/she really cares how you're doing these days? Curiosity is one thing, but caring is completely different. How I'm doing probably has nothing to do with a person from my past's happiness... that thought alone was just a bit egotistical of me. Like I said, it's not easy and the decision will probably be questioned, but in Josh I saw light and a future. I saw a man who would teach me the right ways to live according to the living Word. And without knowing it at the time, I must have had a glimpse of a future filled with freedom from those past decisions that brought me guilt or shame, often derived by unhealthy relationships with people who weighed me down or led me astray. Is my husband perfect? Of course not, nor does he claim to be. In fact, there are days that he drives me completely nuts and we still disagree on things from time to time. But at the end of the day, moving forward with him and making our marriage and friendship as strong as possible is far more important than the road I traveled down to get here. 

I hope you find this encouraging if you're facing any similar situations. I pulled few verses that helped me through a lot of this to share with you as well:

"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matthew 7:6)

"If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:6)

"Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" (John 14:6)

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)


As for next week, I don't even know what the topic is because it's Brittany's turn to pick!  Keep an eye out for her post sometime soon and it will be at the bottom.  And as soon as I find out what it is, I'll share it in a new post, too!  I hope my words are encouraging to you, especially if you find yourself in this situation. Just remember that no matter what, you are loved. Have a fantastic weekend!