Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kiddo Update: Jake

I feel like it's been forever since I did any updates on the kids! The funny thing is that this blog started out as solely a family blog and it continues to change and grow into something I never expected. It works though, so we'll go with it. But since it has been awhile, I'm going to take this week to write down a few things about my two favorite little ones... starting with Jake:

2 and a half... turns 3 in March

BIG. As always. I'm not sure what his height and weight is, but he's in 4T and 5T clothes... the boy just keep growing!

We have potty-trained! Woo-hooo! It only took a few days, and after recommendations from friends, we used the sticker-chart method. I downloaded and printed our chart here (but there are TONS online if you just Google image search "potty chart"), and if you want more information on how we did it (not that we're experts), just leave a comment and I will do a full post. Granted, we haven't tackled going #2 on the potty (too much info?), but I'm content with what we've mastered so far. Any advice on the second part of this endeavor is much appreciated.

Puts on and takes off his own shoes

Still rocks the alphabet, and can now tell us things that start with each letter. Not all of them, but many.

He's still amazing at using the iPhone or any kind of video game... future techie in the making!

Fully understands emotions - we can say, "Show us happy" and he smiles or "angry" and he scowls, etc. It's actually quite entertaining and so much more effective in photos than having him say "cheese!"

Has gotten really great about manners... uses "thank-you," "excuse me," and "sorry" correctly. We still have to remind him most of the time to say "please," but then he'll say "May I have some ____ please?"

 Loves to:
"Bone-crushing" tackle - we have to watch him with his sister!

Watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, the Incredibles, and the "Chick-munks".

Play with his trains - Percy is his favorite and sometimes goes to bed with him.

Attempt to ride his bike. We cannot wait for some warmer weather so he can really master that skill!

Wear his cowboy boots... often with only his big-boy underwear. There's not much cuter.

Draw, paint, or do anything artistic.
Go to school and have days with PawPaw. He likes to get out and do things, so his twice-a-week preschool class and Tuesdays with his PawPaw are special times that he loves.

Songs: the Alphabet, Twinkle Twinkle, Happy and You Know It. Occasionally he'll sing something that we didn't know he knew, and occasionally he'll sing songs that he makes up or that we don't recognize! I love it.
Books: If You Give a Cat a Cupcake, The Monster at the End of This Book, his toddler Bible
Food: Apples! Corndogs or hotdogs, turkey sandwiches, "Fry Fries," ice cream sandwiches.

People: His cousins! He loves his "Danny" (Kevin... we have NO idea why he calls him Danny, but he always has), Kya (Kyle), Adam, and has recently taken an interest in baby Sam.

Things he says:
"C'mon, Mommy, c'mon!" - any time he wants me to go anywhere with him.

"Now that's more like it."

"You got it, dude." - Yes, these children of the 80's taught him that!

"Do you see __________ anywhere?" - when he's looking for something, or even after he spots it.

"You're funny!"

"I'm okay." - anytime he is crying because he got hurt.
"Hey! What's the big idea?"

"Not yet"

"Oh no! It's terrible! What are we gonna do?" - can be said for a minor or major situation. Usually minor.
"It's for yours" - (it's for you)
"Ouch! Double ouch!" - whenever he falls or gets hurt. I have no idea where that came from!
"It's right there! In the fridge! It's RIGHT. THERE!" - anytime he wants me to get him a snack.
"I hear my Wiwian (Lillian)! Mommy, will you go get my baby?" - when she's in her crib and he hears her.

"Wook! It's a Monsters Truck!" - anytime he sees a big truck (ever since Daddy and PawPaw took him to the truck rally that came to town. He also points at semi's and tells us they're freight cars, points out every bridge, tell us red means "stop" and green means "go", and gets upset if we make a wrong turn on the way to somewhere (such as Gramma's house). I'm amazed at his directional skills!

Think he looks like his PawPaw much???

I got dressed up for a reception I was going to and walked into the kitchen where he was playing on the floor. He saw my feet first and I was wearing heels (which I never do anymore). When he looked up and saw that it was me he exclaimed, "Mommy! You're a princess!" It might be my best Jake-moment to date!

The church auditorium was being repainted and I brought the kids over to visit Josh. Jake wanted to paint so bad, so Josh let him do about two strokes and then he was asked to come with me into another area. Before leaving, Jake looked at Josh and said, "Okay. Daddy, I love painting!" He just wanted to make sure Josh knew who to ask if he needed more help.
When visiting family in New York, I was trying to get him to say prayers for everyone before dinner. My cousin Courtney tried to encourage him and said, "Jake, pray for us!" He looked at her and replied, "You pray!"
He loves his Toy Story cowboy boots. One day he was getting frustrated that he couldn't get his jeans tucked in and when I asked him what was wrong he exclaimed, "I need my snakes in my boots!" Apparently he thinks that the "snake" in Woody's boot is his pant leg!

Every night before bed his prayer is almost always the same: "Dear God, thank you for this day. Thank you for my friends. Thank you for TurningPoint Church. Thank you for Gramma's house. In Jesus' name, Amen." Sometimes when he's tired, we pray for him, and when it gets too long he cuts in with "In Jesus' name," as if to tell us that it's time to wrap it up!

I know I'm missing so much... and I know this is more entertaining for me than for anyone else, but this kid is just so funny, so dramatic, and so over-the-top that I just don't want to forget any of it! He cracks us up daily and I could not imagine life without his antics. Gosh I love this kid!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fasting Tips

Yes, I know we're only halfway through the 21 days of prayer and fasting, so this does not make me some sort of expert. However, there have been a few things that we've done well and a few things that we have not done well so far, so I thought I would share what we've learned so far. As a disclosure, this post is only about the food-discipline part of the fast and not about the spiritual part, so if you are fasting from particular foods or doing a Daniel fast, some of this may be helpful. If not, it might just be interesting... who knows. Here is what our household is doing to help make the "What can I eat?" part of this process easier:
  • Ease into it. If you choose to make a major dietary change during your fast, make sure you start slow. I had read this and thought that I didn't need to do it. I figured, I don't drink that much coffee or caffiene and my diet isn't that bad. Boy was I wrong! By the end of only the second day I was shaky, nauseous, and ended up with a migraine. I felt the headache coming on all day and should've listened to my body and just had a cup of coffee but I thought I was being "tough" instead. As a mom with two young kids, I just ended up in a place where I could hardly care for myself much less them, and had to call Josh to come home and take over so I could go lay down. Yeah, I guess my diet wasn't quite as clean as I thought it was to start with! It's been pretty eye-opening actually as to what I put into my body each day.

  • Making exceptions is a slippery-slope. Every year, my birthday falls right smack dab in the middle of the fast. On top of that, this year a trip to New York was also thrown in... think long hours on the road, New York food (pizza and bagels- yum!), and a retirement party and wedding thrown in. I have to be honest and say that I started off very strong. I ate a salad and drank water on the way there, and even made it through the retirement party. By the time my birthday dinner and the wedding reception rolled around, I used the logic that these were "special occassions" and that it would be okay to venture away from the fast. Granted, I do think this is okay from time to time, and the point of fasting is not to be legalistic. But, it did open a door for me to continue to make excuses... I mean, I had already broken my fast, what difference did it make now? Getting back into the swing of things ended up being harder than starting it in the first place, so just keep that in mind.

  • Involve the whole family! My kids are still eating sandwiches and chicken nuggets, but their snacks are now made up of fruits and vegetables... and they are loving it! I don't think I realized how much they love produce until I started making it an option for them. To hear Jake practically beg for a carrot and to see Lil get excited when I pull celery out of the fridge has made me realize that it's just as easy as the "convenience" of Goldfish and mini muffins. Again, it's been eye-opening. I know that we'll add chicken, eggs, and a few other essentials back into our diet after this is over, but snacks are staying as is- for me, too! I want them to grow up making healthy choices, so I'm glad this is happening while they're young. For me, it's definitely been good on the waist-line, too!

  • Learn to substitute. I can't tell you how many times I have read to use apple sauce in place of oil or bananas instead of butter, etc. Until now, however, I never tried any of these things and it turns out that they work! I also have been sweetening with Stevia instead of sugar, and find that I actually prefer it. For a gal who loves to bake, I think I'll be making some changes when all is said and done.

  • Focus on the benefits. Any time you are craving something sweet or fatty, think about the positive changes this has had on your body. I usually have lots of belly aches, but this clean eating has really helped. Every time I want a French fry I think about how they make me feel.

  • Don't forget the spiritual aspect. Fasting without praying is just going hungry. I realized when I went astray that not only did I "cheat" a lot during that time, I also barely prayed nor did I crack open my Bible. Yesterday I wanted a bite of Lilly's cookie so badly, and probably would have shared it if I did not just stop and ask God to give me some restraint. To some poeple, this may seem silly, but I honestly could not have resisted if I did not have someone to physically talk to and ask for help. Sure, I can't see God physically, but I know He's there.

  • Make it fun! I am not someone who likes to cook. Bake, yes. Cook, no. But, I am finding the challenge of cooking within these parameters oddly exciting, printing off recipes from the Internet, and trying things I never thought I would (cous-cous... really?). Plus, it's really helped clear out our pantry and has made me a disciplined grocery shopper, only getting exactly what I need for recipes rather than whatever looked good at the time.
I hope that you find this encouraging as you go into the second-half of this fast. Twenty-one days does not seem like a long time, nor does it seem like it would be difficult, until you're actually in it. And believe me, it's a long time when you want some chocolate! So if you're like me and need something sweet, I'll share a sweet-treat recipe. Tonight I'm also making flat-bread and soup, so if either of those turn out good, I'll share them, too!
Taken with an iPhone. Excuse the quality!
Banana Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups whole grain oats
  • 2 ripe bananas (I actually used ones that were almost green because they're sweeter)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (optional)
Mix everything together, spoon out into cookie-sized portions on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thirty-Two Again

Guess who has a birthday today? Yup, that's right... it's yours truly!
And guess who will finally be telling people that she's the correct age? Right again! It's yours truly!
Getting older might be tough for some people, but considering that thirty-one just never seemed to stick and I've been saying that I'm thirty-two for an entire year now, I think this one is pretty easy to swallow. Besides, thirty-two treated me very kind the first time around, so I'm looking forward to another great year.
Hmmm... I wonder if I can get away with just being thirty-two from here on out?
And just for fun, here are a few people who also celebrate this day every year:
Muhammad Ali, Jim Carrey, Benjamin Franklin, Kid Rock, Andy Kaufman, James Earl Jones, Michelle Obama, Betty White, Al Capone, David Caruso, Zooey Deschanel, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr, Anne Bronte, Benjamin Franklin
Pretty impressive list, eh? Me thinks I am happy to be amongst that company... both the famous and infamous!
And even though I don't believe in astrology and horoscopes, I think it's always fun/funny to check them out on your birthday:
"You are likely to be on top of your game this year for the most part, and positive connections with others can be made fairly easily. A comfortable level of personal popularity helps keep conflict to a minimum. With the ability to handle your emotions successfully, there will be less stress on both your mind and body. Your self-confidence and positive attitude will reward you!
You certainly have a voice this year, and learning comes more quickly to you. You have a lot to do in the period ahead. At times, you may feel like the pace of your life is running ahead of you. You can be especially productive, however, in all types of communications--writing, speaking, learning, teaching, and so forth.
Try to relax your need for control. In fact, you may be able to take a relationship to a whole other level. You'll have a chance to heal old wounds with regards to love this year. You're also bound to find new ways of making money. This aspect can also suggest making a large purchase or payment and having to adjust your spending as a result. Certain elements of your social life and financial life are stabilized, secured, and more reliable this year.  Support from older people or authority figures may come by way of solid advice or more tangible help. Renewed ties to old friends are possible, or a new sense of responsibility in existing friendships, are also highly likely.
This is an excellent year for making significant headway on a creative project. Romance is also in high focus this year. Love is exciting and intense, but you will need to relax your desire for control. The need to make changes in your social life and with your finances becomes clear."

Small confession: I may have read a few different ones and picked my favorite! Again, I don't really buy into horoscopes, as I know that my faith is in God alone and it's all in His control and His wonderful plan, but why not pick the most favorable one, right?? Haha. At any rate, I have to say that so far I've loved my thirties and look forward to taking on some new projects and roles again this year! Here's to celebrating thirty-two "again"!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five - Addendum

Happy Tuesday! I am trying to catch up on everything after a whirlwind kid-free trip to Atlanta last weekend to celebrate my best friend's bridal shower (pictures to come), and now preparing to leave town yet again for another weekend away... this time to New York! It's non-stop fun around here, and based on my calendar it looks like I'll be out of town for about as many weekends as I'll be in town until April! But it's all for fun stuff... weddings, parties, showers, bachelorettes, and hopefully some family stuff thrown in there. Busy is just how this family rolls- we wouldn't have it any other way! But before I forgot, I wanted to add that message that I mentioned in my FIVE post... the message that the post was based on. I was just going to add it there, but I wanted to make sure you saw it. So if you're interested, here is the message about the "five" (click here): The Rule of Five
So how are you doing on yours? Did anyone make a list? I have to admit that I think it's a manageable way to accomplish goals for me. Granted, more days than not my workout is ten sit-ups before bed, but that's ten more than I would've done in the past! And I'm already starting to feel a little lost if I don't get my quiet time with God everyday, whether it's an hour by myself in the morning, or ten minutes before bed to read a daily devotional. The point is that I'm getting nuggets everyday, no matter how "busy" my day is. It's keeping my priorities straight at least!

Lastly, our church began our annual 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting this past weekend and I'm really looking forward to seeing what that brings to our church body over this time. In fact, hundreds of churches across the nation do this every January, and it's an effort to instill some self-discipline into our lives and quiet the mind, spend more time in prayer and in return hear more from God. A Biblical fast is always food related, whether it be just water or just certain types of food, but we believe that fasting from any distraction is okay, too. Normally I fast from television during this time, and spend that time instead on prayer and reading, but this year I didn't feel the need to as I  just don't watch all that much anymore to start with. Our family is doing a food-related fast, and although the first couple of days were really tough, I think we're adjusting a bit better now. If you have any questions about fasting or have never been to a church that exercises this practice, I encourage you to watch the teaching on it that Josh did last week (posted below). And if you are already fasting, I hope that God speaks to you in mighty ways through this time and gives you the clarity on whatever it is that you're praying for. I probably won't post too much more about this, as it is a pretty personal journey, but again, if you have any questions please feel free to comment or email me!

Click here for the message on Prayer & Fasting

Have a great week!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Subway Art

While I in no way claim to be some sort of graphic design expert (that would be my sister), every once in awhile I do come up with something on the computer and think that it doesn't look half bad. I spend some time with one of our high school girls from church on a (almost) weekly basis, and wanted to give her something special for Christmas. We often talk about Bible verses and each time we meet I try to give her one to really think on, and hopefully memorize. As a sophomore in high school, I remember the days of peer pressure, trying to impress the wrong people, trying to fit in, and even compromising my standards and values to get to hang out with certain crowds. I knew about God, but I did not know Him as a loving, non-judging, caring Father who thought of me as beautiful and invaluable no matter what I did. I never worked to please Him, and instead worked to please people that I don't even have a relationship with any more... clearly they just don't matter in my life now, but God matters eternally. It's such a hard thing to teach a teenager, and even though she understands far more than I did, it's still a struggle to find acceptance. Some people say they would go back to high school, but I would never want to... unless I could go back with the knowledge and relationship I have with Christ now and change some things, and even then I'm not sure I could stomach that environment.

But back to my point... one of the verses that I think every girl should know from the time she is a tiny little thing is Psalm 139:14:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful, 
I know that full well.

I looked online to find a "subway art" type of thing to either purchase or download and felt like most of them either did not have enough of the verse included, or were geared toward a nursery. I actually loved some of the nursery ones, but again, I was looking for something that a girl in high school would actually want hanging in her room. I found one I really liked, and just tried to create something similar myself. I first tried Photoshop, which was a total fail, and then went back to the trusty old Microsoft Publisher. With that being said, it's not quite as professional as I probably would have wanted, but I am pleased how it turned out. Oh, and can I just add that learning that you can download free fonts has totally changed my world? Yeah, that's how non-graphic artisty I am... I had no idea!  So here is the outcome of my first attempt at creating subway art:

So what do you think... and please be nice! Haha! And in the spirit of not keeping things to myself, you can download it for yourself here if you'd like.  I hope you like it... maybe if enough people do I will attempt something else in the future and even take requests... but let's not get ahead of ourselves! Enjoy!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Even pastors have pastors... have you ever thought about that? And one of my husband's favorite pastors did a sermon series years ago that has always stuck with him. So much, in fact, that he decided to start 2013 by teaching the principles from it to our church. If you're a person who sets goals or makes new year's resolutions, I think these would apply to you. If you're a person who doesn't, I honestly think it still applies to you.

The idea is simple: in order to make your life better and achieve big things, you just have to do five things everyday. You don't have to do them all day; just everyday.  The literal example that he gave was about chopping down a tree. Sure, you can hack and hack at it all day long until you pass out, or you can just take five swings at it everyday, and eventually it will fall. If you chopped at it all day, you'd hate it. If you chopped at it a little bit everyday, you still have the joy of seeing it fall down, and the process of making it happen was not something that was terrible. In this world of instant gratification this is a hard concept to wrap our heads around. People quit diet plans two weeks in because they have not lost any weight. YET. So often we don't do something long enough to get to the YET.

Soooo... in an effort to make my list of five, I first thought about what I would want to have accomplished by the end of 2013... my big goals if you will, so certainly not my everyday five things. Here's my list:
  • Read more. I'd like to get through 13 books in 2013. That doesn't sound like much to most people, but I am a ridiculously slow reader and do not make it a priority.
  • Learn scripture. I knew many key verses, but I want to add to add to it.
  • Run 13 races, including a marathon. The more I say that last part out loud, the more committed I become to it. With this, I'm hoping just to be in better shape overall and finish the year thinner and more fit than I started it.
  • Play a key role in building and growing our women's ministry at TurningPoint Church. Our retreat was just the start, and there is so much more that can be done!
Granted, there may be more, but that's all I have off the top of my head. After thinking about these big goals, and just my priorities in general, I was able to see the small everyday things that I could do to work toward them, and a better life in general. So without further ado, these are my FIVE for 2013:
  • Daily quiet time for reading, studying the Bible, and praying. This works toward #1 and #2 listed above, but it also just improves my mood when I do it. Being consistent is where I faulter.
  • Dedicated time with my kids and husband everyday for at least an hour. This may seem odd since my kdis are home with me most of the time, but that's where the word dedicated comes in. I want to spend more time with them without checking my phone, my email, or while I'm distracted with housework or cooking dinner. They'll only be little for so long. I don't want to miss it. Same goes for Josh. We need to ditch the phones more often when we are hanging out.
  • Exercise everyday. This could mean a run or even just some sit-ups while watching TV if I didn't get in a workout that day. And without this, I'll never accomplish the 13 in 13, and certainly not a 26.2 mile race!
  • Encourage, pour into, or serve one person everyday. I know some incredibly encouraging and giving people in this world, and I admire them greatly. Even if it's just a text message or a phone call to tell someone I'm thinking about them that day, I think it will help me think of myself less and think of others more. 
  • No Facebook or blog browsing during the workday. I'm not sure if a rule like this really goes into the five, but this is essential for me. I get into cyclical bad habits with how much blogs and the Internet suck me in, and right now it's back to a level that I'm not happy with. I do enjoy both things, but they can wait. I often complain that I don't have enough time to blog, work on our long overdue photo books, read (see #1), etc., but when I look back on my day I had logged plenty of time perusing the Internet. I just need to get back to managing my time better like I used to. It's all a matter of habit.
So I think that this about sums it up... sounds easy enough, right? Hopefully I can post periodically throughout the year about how it's going and hopefully those posts will be positive. If you choose to try this method as well, here are some tips that can help after you find your five:
  • Prioritize Your Five - put it on your calendar or into your daily schedule!
  • Enjoy Your Five - remember, doing a little everyday will help you not get burnt out. You don't have to do your five all day, just a little bit everyday.
  • Fight For Your Five - be intentional about keeping your "appointments." If you have daily quiet time scheduled during your kids' nap time and a friend calls to chat right then, just ask if you can call later. Surely you can get back to him or her when you're in the car later or after the kids have gone to bed. 
  • Evaluate Your Five - every few weeks, revisit your list and see how you're doing. If you aren't doing some or all of them everyday, don't stress out... just start anew! If you have started some or all of them everyday, track your progress and celebrate the wins! It's all about baby steps.

As soon as the message from this weekend is on the Internet I'll add it, too, since it was absolutely fantastic and worth watching at the start of this new year. Hopefully it will help you accomplish those bigger goals, too!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Year To Remember

I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that 2012 was one for the record books. In all honesty, it was probably the best year that Josh and I have ever experienced and the blessings have been poured out in an abundance. You see, it was 2011 when we had the vision and the dream and did a lot of the work to make our life's dream happen here in the Bluegrass State, but it was 2012 that saw those prayers, the hard work, the financial commitment, and the worries and stress pay off when we planted TurningPoint Church in February. Since that day it's been quite a ride and as much as I'd love to tell you that life has slowed down, it certainly has not. If anything, it's just as crazy and just as busy as it was before launch, but it's... well... different I guess. Last year it was a frantic, busy pace with the added uncertainty of whether or not this idea of a church would actually be a success. This year it's been countless dinners with people who have come through our doors and want to learn more, new member classes, small groups, mom's group meetings, leadership trainings, and really just connecting with this new, and quickly growing, church family. And to say that we've seen some pretty incredible things would be an understatement. I've seen couples on the brink of divorce restore their relationships, a single mom discover the radical love of Jesus only to be followed by meeting the man God had for her, people break free of addictions, and folks who had turned away from God and lost all hope find true freedom, happiness, and joy. To think that this all just happened in the past ten months only makes me more excited for what's to come. But before I say goodbye to this one, I'm going to take one more look back at some of the highlights of 2012:

I celebrated my second birthday in my thirties... and I have to say, the thirties are good!

As I mentioned above, we launched TurningPoint Church. 285 people showed up that first day and it was more incredible than we had even imagined.

Our sweet Jacob turned two. He is the most energetic, stubborn, hilarious, spirited, bruiser of a boy that I know. I love him to absolute bits.

We spontaneously baptized close to 30 people, most of whom had either never been in church or had left for a long time and finally came back home. Included in that bunch were my sister, brother-in-law, and father-in-law. It's still the most joy-filled service I have ever been a part of.

Reminded myself that I still got it and finished a half marathon in decent time. Granted, I didn't do much for the rest of the year, but I think that will be changing in 2013.  It was, also a great reunion with my Florida girls, who ironically, are mostly not living in Florida anymore.

Had a lot of fun times at the pool and in the backyard. I also went on my first business trip post-babies and stopped in to see one of my best friends before heading home. It was like a one-day vacation, which was only as long as I could stand without my family there, but lovely nonetheless. And just because it was still one of my proudest accomplishments, I think I should post this as my June picture to document this feat... yes, that's me. Please disregard the lack of vitamin D going on here. You might go blind:

Got away with the family to have some quality time and some much-needed R&R. I'm already making plans for this coming year's vacation as it was such a lovely time.

We made our first Ironman attempt... and it went very wrong. Sure, to most this would not be a significant addition to the year-in-review list, but the fact that we turned right around and kept on trying makes it important. If you want something bad enough, you never give up. I'm glad my kids will know that story as they grow up.  Another big milestone was Jake's first day of pre-school. It took about a week for him to decide he likes it, and now it's one of his favorite places. He only goes 2 mornings a week, but it's a great time for him to be social and learn in a structured environment, and for me to get some one-on-one time with Lil and also keep up with work, the house, but apparently not the blog as of late. Ha!

Josh hit the big three-oh and our sweet Lil turned one. Josh and I celebrated by going to Louisville to see Wicked, which was pretty darn awesome and highly recommended, followed by dinner and the world's largest dessert. We also celebrated Lil with a lady-bug (or Lilly-Bug) themed party. I have to say, I know I'm bias, but she truly is the sweetest, happiest, most loving little girl on the planet. She steals the hearts of everyone she meets, which worries me for her teenage years, but is just a testament to her demeanor and personality. I want to squeeze her until her eyes pop out... in a non-creepy way of course.

We truly enjoy having four seasons here and really loved the fall this year. From the pumpkin patch to trick-or-treating, we really made the most of it. I also organized and led our first women's retreat, which really sparked my confidence, purpose, and passion to lead the ladies in our church well.

We heard the words, "Joshua Mauney, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" over the loud speakers in Panama City Beach. Considering that he's worked toward this for a whole year now and was spending upwards to 25-30 hours each week in training, they were a sweet reward for the both of us. This month was also filled with friends visiting and the birth of my fourth nephew, Sam.

We celebrated our first Christmas with our TurningPoint Church family, which was pretty special. It was also the first Christmas that my parents live here, so we had lots of family fun. I fully intended on doing a recap, but now I doubt I'll ever get to it!

And just so that I'll always remember, here is the year in review in numbers of our church plant's first (almost) year of life...

  • 65 - The number of churches that launched through the ARC this year
  • 285 - The number in attendance on launch day at TurningPoint Church
  • 365 - The number in attendance on an average Sunday
  • 1000 - The number of individual, separate guests who have filled out an information card
  • 40 - The number of people we have baptized
  • 221 - The number of people who have committed or re-committed their lives to Christ since our doors opened
  • 30,000 - The number of dollars we gave to missions this year, mostly to support new up and coming church plants

That last number makes me tear up a little. When Josh and I dreamt this thing up, one of our goals was to be a generous body... but God blew us away with what He could do! For those of you who are unfamiliar with church planting, this is definitely not the "norm," but I think it's a testament to the heart of the pastor, my husband. What flows over the head pours down onto the body and there is nobody that I know who works as hard, prays as much, pours into people, builds up leaders, and believes in this thing down to his bones as much as he does. I know it's not all about him, but I also know that God does His work through His people, and He's doing some mighty things here in Lexington. But... there's still work to be done!

If you want to see a glimpse of the bigger picture that we're a part of, please take a moment to check out these year in review resources from the Association of Related Churches. I think you might see a familiar face on the right of the page, and if you have the time, can download the video (it's about 3 minutes long) to see the full story of our church! Pretty cool, eh?

Happy new year to you and yours! I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!