Tuesday, October 30, 2012


We are into the eighth month of our church plant's life, and things continue to stay crazy, chaotic, and busy. But it's a good busy. The danger, however, is that sometimes in all of the busy-ness we forget to stop and see the blessings. Sure, we see them every Sunday morning as we watch our friends (who were strangers six months ago) roll up their sleeves and greet people, teach our children, run the sound and the lights, and serve coffee, but what about what happens outside of those walls? Does the church only exist to "do" church on Sunday mornings? Is it really all about those of us who step inside that building from week-to-week? Are we cultivating a culture that is truly about being the hands and feet of Jesus, the true body of Christ, or are we just going through the motions like I've seen so many other churches do? And then out of nowhere, someone "gets it," so far down to their core that they do something. And I have to say, even though I am not a part of the idea and had nothing to do with the plan, seeing people who have been impacted by what happens inside our building go outside those walls and infiltrate the city with love brings me to my knees.
This past month we've seen several ministries spring from some of our church-goers. Instead of just noticing a problem, they're doing something! The first one I heard of was from my good friend, Sara, who worried about kids who were on school meal programs and might not get anything to eat over the weekend when there is no school. Without knowing if it would go anywhere, she drafted a proposal to have healthy foods sent home with these kids, made a meeting with a local elementary school, and ptiched her idea. They are now in the works to make this happen at this school, and then possibly others.
Next up is a coat and winter-gear drive, all to be donated to the homeless here in Lexington before the cold(er) weather sets in:

A great guy in our church literally passed a homeless man and wondered if he had anything warm to wear in these upcoming months. And then he did something about it.
The next one is similar, although stemmed from a totally separate person who felt a pang of sadness every time she passed a homeless person in her car. As a woman, it can be intimidating sometimes to put yourself out there, but at that moment she just wished that she had a baggie full of toiletry items and maybe something to eat to hand to him. And then she went home and decided that it could be her ministry... which generated the Blessing Bag Project.
I know that there are a whole lot of other great things going on in this city, state, nation, etc., but it's just so amazing for me to witness it with my own eyes. Josh often teaches to "find the thing that ticks you off, and that's probably what will make you tick," and people here are taking it to the streets! Our dream from the start was to be a church that overflowed with love- a love so great that the overflow would spill out into our city, and these individuals are living that out. I am so proud to call them friends, so proud to serve alongside them on Sunday mornings, and so proud to be part of a ripple effect that infiltrating this community.
It just makes me wonder... if everyone did something about the social issue, problem, etc. that bothered him, how quickly could we change this world for the better? With a presidential election coming up, I no longer worry about the outcome or what it's going to mean because what I do know is that there are people out there who want a better world. Plus, I know Who is really in control, no matter what.
So I ask you... what makes you tick?

Monday, October 29, 2012


It's been awhile since I did an update on the kids, and since we just had our 1-year and 2 1/2 year appointments last week (which was late for those appointments), I thought I'd at least cover the stats.
Jake: 2 1/2
Height: 40 1/2" (>95%)
Weight: 38 lbs (95%)
We have a big boy on our hands!
Loves: Apples (we need a fridge lock!), cereal with milk, "ice dream," the Incredibles (he literally thinks he is Dash and even says "the Dash likes", school, the playground (well, any outdoor activity really), his pacifier, his cousin Adam, going to Grandma/Grandpa's or PawPaw's house, riding in Daddy's car (the jeep), Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, the Alphabet and everything having to do with letters, his train tracks, "washing" the sink dishes, the iPhone/iPad, singing/talking into anything that resembles a microphone (hmmm... where did he get that from?)
 Not so fond of: not getting to do/have anything mentioned above, potty-training. He has perfected the art of the (fake) temper tantrum... he is such a ham-bone
Lilly: 1
Height: 30" (90%)
Weight: 24 lbs (95%)
She's trying to keep up with her brother!
 Loves: Ice cream!, dogs, any toy that lights up or makes music, to dance, listening to music or looking at pictures on the iPhone, starting to get excited when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse comes on, her brother (big time!), riding on her power-scooter, her "bobby" which is her cup or pacifier (depending on which one she is reaching for), twirling her hair, saying the C-A-T-S Cats Cats Cats! cheer, K-cups (she sucks the coffee out... see the photo on our Instagram stream... and no, I don't feed these to her, she just gets a hold of one sometimes), talking on the phone, yogurt, climbing on things (mainly the coffee table), sticking her tonge out.... and this is techinically a 13-month thing, but our baby girl just started walking! She literally went from zero interest in it to walking across the room in a matter of two days. It's still more of a party-trick thank a mode of transportation, but she's starting to get more and more daring. She is now up to 8 teeth, says "Mama, Daddy, Thank-You (over and over and over again), makes (what she thinks is) a dog sound, Uh-Oh, Hello, Bye Bye, Night Night (Ny-Ny)" and can repeat or imitate just about any sound/word that you make.
Not so fond of: Putting pants on/getting dressed or going to bed.
They are at such fun ages right now. I'm exhausted from keeping a constant eye on them, but there is rarely a dull moment. I don't look forward to being cooped up inside during the winter months, so we might just have to explore the city a little and find some new things to do. Two is twice the work, but twice the fun... but no, we're not planning on having any more for awhile (if not forever... depends on if you talk to me or the husband), so we're just enjoying these two everyday.
And because kid posts are so much better when there are videos involved, here is one of Lilly on her powerwheel and taking a few steps (although she does not perform well when there are cameras involved):

Friday, October 26, 2012

Show Us Your Life: Halloween Costumes

Happy Friday! I think I say that every Friday... I guess that's because they always seem to be happy!

Anyhoo... today I am linking up over at Kelly's Korner as part of her "Show Us Your Life" series. The topics are always fun, but I usually forget to participate. Thankfully I popped in over there yesterday and noticed that the next SUYL date was today! And the topic is fun, too- show us your Halloween costumes!

Considering that this was taken on an ordinary Sunday in June...

Dressing up for this family is not a far stretch! BUT... my favorite Halloween costume of ours of ALL TIME has to be our first Halloween when we were mimes!

Not only is this an easy costume option (which I believe we came up with at the very last minute), but it's so much fun, too! We were two of the worst mimes ever and lasted about 30 minutes seconds without talking. We did enjoy acting things out and making total fools of ourselves though!

The Pros: 
It's cheap (black clothes, white gloves, white face paint, black lipstick for lips and eyebrows, eyeliner); everyone LOVED it (although we got robbed in the costume contest... not that I'm bitter or anything! Ha!); it's warm (if you live in a colder place); and you can have tons of fun "miming" all night.

The Cons: 
I do not want to show you a picture from the end of the night... we looked ROUGH! White facepaint tends to stick to every crease and wrinkle you have, so just beware! Also, I smiled in many photos and not only did it just look... well... strange, but my teeth also did not look all that white next to my white face. But it was worth it.

As for the kiddos, they're the most fun always! Jake has now been both a spider and a dragon:

 And Miss Lilly was Minnie Mouse at just one-month-old (and I was too sleep-deprived to dress up)!

This is the first year that we're going for a full family-affair, but I can't spoil all the fun. All I can say is that we'll be decked out in lots of red spandex... that should be enough to make you wonder! Many folks around here already know what we'll be based on the fact that Jake has lived in his costume for a few weeks now. He loves it!  I'll make sure to post pictures next week!

I can't wait to visit other blogs and see all of their great ideas. I mean, who doesn't love to dress up just for a day? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reflections - De-Stressifying

Happy Thursday! Know what I love about Thursdays? That it's ONE DAY 'til Friday. Oh, and that we meet here for Reflections... that, too, of course! I must admit though that I'm ready for my dear friend Brittany to come back and do this with me again... I sure do miss her since she's been on a blog-hiatus, but with everything that has happened in her life in these past months, I think it was a much-needed break! It's not my story to tell, but let's just say that her family has been through a lot of stress, a lot of changes, but I think the dust is finally settling and things are (slowly) getting back to a new normal. I am just thankful that she has such strong faith and that this season has not shaken her at all. Just one more reason that I love her.
But enough sappy-talk for the day... let's get to it!
This past weekend at our women's retreat, all lessons, scripture, etc. focused around de-stressing your life. Whether your married, single, a parent, a student, or what-have-you, stress can be all around. I think it's how we choose to deal with the stress and the perspective around it that makes all of the difference in the world. This week I hope that you'll evaluate the "stresses" in your life with me and share what helps keep your world peaceful. Whether it's scripture, meditation, your quiet time, yoga, you name it, I'd love for you to share what balances you out. Or maybe you have yet to find a way to de-stress your life and constantly feel like you're running on a hampster wheel... that's okay, too, and hopefully you can find some clarity in someone else's post and suggestions. So chew on that this week and we'll meet right back here next Thursday to share... deal?
Alright... sounds like there is a little boy in this house that has found my iPhone, so I gotta go to battle. Just another "stress" in this daily life of mine!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A thousand words...

They say a picture can be worth 1,000 words, but this past weekend at our retreat I challenged the ladies to have a photo just say one. Set loose with a camera and words on a page, the ladies went out (myself included) and captured the true essence of some of God's truth. Rather than telling you about it, I'll let you decide for yourself whether or not they succeeded:

"I am in them and they are in me. May they [future believers] experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me."
[John 17:23]

"We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him."
[Matthew 2:2]

"And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, 
because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation."
[Genesis 2:2]

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment... Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."
[1 Peter 3:3-4]

"He will come again, not to deal with our sins, 
but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him."
[Hebrews 9:28]

"I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit."
[Romans 15:15]

"As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart."
[Proverbs 27:19]

"Three things will last forever- faith, hope, and love- and the greatest of these is love."
[1 Corinthians 13:13]

"For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it."
[Proverbs 8:11]

"Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you."
[Psalm 86:11]

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord."
[Psalm 150:6]

"This is real love- not that we loved God, 
but that he loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away our sins."
[1 John 4:10]

"You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, 
and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God."
[2 Corinthians 9:11]

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come."
[Proverbs 31:25]

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."
[Proverbs 3:5]

At the end, each group could also add a photo of a word of their choosing. This one brought tears to my eyes...

What TurningPoint Church (TPC) feels like to all of these women. Until we enter 
our true, eternal home in heaven, I am humbled to think that I had a part in planting this 
church to be a spiritual home here on earth. The church, after all, is God's house.

I could frame each of these pictures on my wall... and some of them will probably end up there. I think these pictures speak volumes... much more than just 1,000 words... and all of them will be etched into my heart always. Who knew that a simple activity at a retreat could end up meaning so much? It makes me want to create a photo project for people to participate in with me... almost! I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Sweet Life

Hello there! I hope you had a lovely weekend... I am grinning ear-to-ear as I type this because I am still on a "God-High" after mine! This past weekend was our church's very first women's retreat, and it's a weekend I will never forget! Since there is really no way to put into words the things that happened, the hearts that were changed, the breakthroughs that occurred, and the love that was felt, I'll just post a few pictures of the details and the fun. You'll just have to be there next time to experience the rest for yourself!

In order to "get away from it all," I found a cute little cabin about 45 minutes from Lexington, otherwise known as the middle of nowhere. Google is my friend... and it turned out the be the perfect venue for 15 ladies to enjoy some peace and quiet (which was frequently interrupted by side-splitting laughter!).

We had planned to check-in by 4pm and told everyone they could start arriving at five. Between the craziness of running around picking things up, last-minute shopping, and weather, we arrived to set up around 4:40 PM and scrambled to set up. In record time we moved furniture, set up snacks, "themed out" the room, and set out welcome cards for the girls.

And then due to an accident on the only road that led to the cabin, everyone was late. As in two hours late! So Gretchen (our other TurningPoint pastor's wife) and I waited... and waited... and killed some time with silly pictures. The good news was that we had time to unwind by the time everyone arrived, rather than being two frazzled messes!

Finally the ladies started arriving and the fun began. That first night, we all stayed up past midnight talking and laughing and we finally had to tell people to go to bed! I could have sat there all night, but knew we had the whole weekend ahead of us.

Saturday was a full day with many group activities, our teaching, worship, and even a campfire. I thin we would all agree, however, that the "love dinner" was the highlight. As a group, we participated in a remembrance of the last supper, complete with the washing of the disciples' feet and communion. It was... in a word... POWERFUL. I am not sure if I have ever physically felt so much love in one room in my life. 

And wow was dinner good! Granted, I think the food probably tasted better because we all got to enjoy it while it was hot and without having to jump up and run to the kitchen 10,000 times to fetch milk and napkins and ketchup, etc. That and I did not have to tell a two-year-old that he did in fact have to eat the rest of his chicken. It was lovely.

We ended the night with worship under the stars. It was cloudy when we went out there, but after a song or two, the clouds literally parted and we could see thousands of stars. I know I said it that night, but I do think He heard us and did that just for us. There were so many special, small moments like that... far too many to recount. We ended the night with what else but s'mores around a campfire bonfire.  Who says girls can't do these things?

By Sunday morning, none of us felt rested, but all of us felt refreshed and renewed, basking in the love of our God. As one friend of mine put it, "I feel like I have love oozing out of every part of me." My cup is full again, and I hope that I can hold this in and continue to do the things that keep it full... get up before the family to have some quiet time, to read, to worship, to pray. Getting out of bed is always difficult, but I'm never sorry that I did it.

I think we can officially say that the Inaugural TPC Women's Retreat was a success and are already getting asked if we think we can top it. All I have to say is that since it wasn't our work that made it so wonderful, I think it can be done. We did the planning in order to bless others, but in the end I feel just as, if not more, blessed than everyone who joined us. It's a level of satisfaction that I don't think I've ever reached, and I am already looking to what comes next. This weekend was just what I needed... nourishment for the soul and the start of many great new friendships. I already can't wait 'til next time!

Thank you to everyone who took a leap of faith and joined us this year, having no idea what to expect! I look forward to more great times with you all in the coming year!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are those who take refuge in Him.
[Psalm 34:8]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Reflections - Time Commitment

This is very fitting. The topic this week is about time commitments and it's 11:09 PM on the day that my "Reflections" post is supposed to be up. Even more ironic is that posting this every Thursday is an ongoing commitment that I put on myself!

In an effort to do this post justice and actually make it thoughtful, I am going to put it off for another week. Why? Well, because this week has been totally out-of-control crazy. Sometimes I feel like I could say that every week, but when I look back on my week, it really wasn't that bad. This week, however, I've been up way too late every night (including tonight) and getting up before the kiddos to get a little me-time in. Our first TPC Women's Retreat is this weekend and all of my free time has been poured into ensuring that it's going to be a great event with relevant teaching. And then of course there's just the everyday joys of being a mom and my 9-to-5 that I do from home. This week, the blog took a hit... sometimes you just gotta choose what ball to drop.

The point is, sometimes it's okay to let a ball drop, even if it's a ball that you really love, as long as it's for the right reasons. I firmly believe that it's important to keep your commitments and be somewhere when you're supposed to be there, but some weeks the housework has to go by the wayside or maybe it's working out or (in this case) blogging. But when you drop a ball, make sure you're using that found-time to do something constructive and worthwhile.

The best part about planning for this retreat is that I have spent more time in my Bible than I have in a long time. I've spent more time praying and giving mini-sermons in my car as I drive Jake back and forth to pre-school (oh no, I'm turning into my husband!). But I also feel like I've made room for him to speak to me... I've cleared some space for Him, and in just a week I can feel His nearness. So often I know that this is all he needs- more of my time- and nine times out of ten I'm just too "busy" to listen.

My challenge to you this week is to take a look at all you're juggling in your life and see if there is one that you can drop, even if it's temporarily, in order to spend that time with Him. As the creator of time, I think God deserves a little more of ours, don't you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

10 Running Tidbits

I copied this list from my friend Jan over at Running on Fumes who copied it from Carrie at Family Fitness Food. I don't think the original author realized that she had created a questionnaire of sorts, but I'm all out of things to blog about this week, so I thought I'd blog about one of my favorite (although abandoned here recently) past times).
My favorite running:
1. Fuel: I'm probably the wrong person to give nutrition advice as I only use it on super-long runs (20+ miles). If I'm on my own, I prefer Sport Beans (yum!) but if I'm on a race course I look for the banana-station. I had a piece of Nestle Crunch bar at about mile 22 of a marathon once and thought I was going to throw up... not such a great idea. I also grabbed an icee-pop from a random spectator during the Flying Pig Half this year and that was pretty awesome.
2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other? I did my first 10K this summer and loved it. I'm not fast enough to place well in a 5K and have a long way to go before I can do anything spectacular in a 1/2 or full marathon. In a 10K, I feel like I can compete, although for me that just means beating my own personal records. I like to compete with myself.
3. Workout Bottoms: Capri running tights are my favorite, but I dress for the weather.
4. Sports Drink: I'll grab the Gatorade on a race course, but if I'm on a training run it's usually just water. I also alternate sports drinks and water during a race... too much Gatorade-type stuff makes my belly hurt.
5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD? Probably heat. Maybe that's because the bulk of my marathon training in the course of my life has been done in South Florida... in the summer.
6. Running Shoe Brands: Asics or Nike, although I should probably go to the running store here and get my feet looked at again. If you're going to start adding major mileage, getting your foot fitted to the right shoe is key.
7. Pre-race meal: A half a bagel with peanut butter, a banana (if it's a half-marathon or more), and coffee. If you're a coffee drinker, do not skip it on race day!
8. Rest Days: I firmly believe in rest days. Not just because they're good for recovery, but because sometimes I'd just rather sit on the couch.
9. Music: I've always trained with someone until now, so I'm adjusting to running with headphones. I spend most of my time changing the song though so I get really frustrated very fast. I was recently told about the website RockMyRun and think I will be downloading some mixes in the very near future!
10. #1 reason for running: It's my escape... sure, it's tough sometimes and some days your body just doesn't cooperate the way you wish it would, but my best thinking time can be done on the open road, especially now that I have kids. Now if I could just find some time to have it in my routine again, I'd be all set! Hopefully doing this questionnaire will give me some motivation to get back out there.

What about you.... why do you love to run?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Decor on the Cheap

Happy Monday, y'all! Yes, I said "y'all" and to my defense, I used that word long before moving to the bluegrass. Besides, if you've ever visited Lexington you'd see that it's really not all that redneck... it's more Midwestern with some South mixed in... or what I like to call perfection. But I digress...

Today I thought I'd post a few projects that I've been working on around the house. As a disclaimer, let me just say that my level of craftiness is pretty low and most of my projects end up looking fairly... well... home-made. But, these are just a few things that I'm quite proud of:
A few months ago, we moved Lilly out of Jake's room so they'd both have their own space. Since Lilly's walls were bare, I had a blank slate and wanted to work with what we had... hanging these four pictures close together did the trick:

(Going clockwise)-
Top Left: old mirror we had with an Uppercase Living decal (a bird on a limb since it's hard to see)
Bottom Left: Cross-stitched prayer that my mom made for me and hung in my room as a baby. We painted the yellow frame dark brown to match eveything else
Bottom Right: A picture of Lil in a $5 Wal-Mart frame. Their frames are cheap (and you can tell sometimes) but they work.
Top Right: Used to be the picture below, but I covered it with a piece of scrapbook paper, used a stencil to paint on the chandelier, and voila!

Next up was a garage sale find for $4. I mod-podged the Miami Dolphins portion to match the letters that I did awhile back (seen here) and we actually had the "Faith, Hope, and Love" wooden cut-outs already (and Josh made them). The woods matched perfectly, too! I do want to print out her monogram on a circle and stick that on there, but you get the gist here:

I also used cheap frame-less frames (if that's how you describe them?) and a mat to frame one of her birth announcements and a greeting card and hung those alongside a canvas my (much more talented) sister, Mindy, made:

Her room is bright, sunny, and happy... just like our little Lil.

Next up was Jake's space. He still had quite a bit of stuff on his walls from before she moved out, but there was one big wall that I really wanted to update. Since he loves trains, I Googled "train stencil" and came across a pretty basic design. I printed them at home, cut them out, and used acrylic paint on very cheap corkboard tiles.  I used a ruler and a permanent marker for the tracks. Hereis the result:

We already had the "Train up your child..." picture and the "Let him sleep" vinyl expression and metal board is also from Uppercase Living. Are you starting to see a trend? Yeah, this is why I sell the stuff!

My only other note-worthy project involved an 8x10 frame that had broken glass, a mat, and some scrapbook paper. Ever wonder what to do with a fram that has lost its glass? I covered the matting in contact paper and then printed out my favorite quote from one of Jake's favorite books (On The Night You Were Born). Then I mod-podged over it all with a paint brush and spray-acrylic'ed (is that a word?) it to no end. It's hard as a rock and the frame has life again!

So no, they are not perfect, but I definitely love the way everything turned out! It's amazing what you can do with things you already have... just go through your closets and find old frames, mirrors, etc. that you haven't used in years and get creative! With some glue, a printer, and a little imagination you can turn old junk into something worth putting on display. The next room I'm working on is our guest bedroom / my office, so hopefully I'll have updates to post soon!

Have a great start to your week!