Friday, May 27, 2011

Babyshower time again!!!

It's almost time for Expecting a Blessing's next baby shower. I am so excited about it because God has truly blessed this ministry and this will be the largest shower we've ever had. For those of you who aren't familiar with this ministry, let me explain. We meet every other week at a local rehabilitation/transition center with a group of precious expectant mommies. Our purpose is to encourage and provide support for these moms and their unborn babies.

In the past our baby showers have been rather small because we could only afford to provide cake and refreshments for the girls in the ministry plus a friend or two. I dreamed of having a huge shower where all 300 plus ladies living at the transition home would be invited. Well, my sweet friends at Graces Kitchen heard about that dream and guess what.... they are making it happen! We are so happy to have Grace's Kitchen partnering with us in June to provide cake and refreshments for everyone. If you are not familiar with their ministry, please check them out HERE! You will not believe the many ways they are feeding hungry souls. Expecting a Blessing is also being "adopted" by the non-profit organization that Shawn and I, along with our friends the Fryes are preparing to launch in the next few months. All this to say, lots of "blessings" are being poured out on Expecting a Blessing. God is so GOOD!

I know this sounds so cliche in ministry but it is the truth. Over the past year of being involved with Expecting a Blessing, I have been more blessed than anyone we have served. I just love being with these girls. I love doing life with them. I love it when they text or call me just "to talk". I love how transparent they are and how desperately they are seeking Jesus. When I'm with these friends, I'm reminded of how jealous God is for us. He will stop at nothing to get US! And these girlfriends are proof of HIS jealous heart. Can you tell I'm sorta crazy about them? : ) And then they give birth to their sweet babies and that's just icing on the cake. Y'all know I love to get my hands on a baby!

Anyway, the main reason for this post is to ask for your help. At the baby shower each mom will receive a basket filled with lots of baby goodies that she will need as soon as she gives birth. We will be providing about ten baskets this time, so that adds up to a lot of stuff! If anyone is interested in donating a few items, below is a list of things to choose from.

-The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones
-receiving blankets
-burp cloths
-hooded towels
-newborn outfits

We do ask that all items be new and also be newborn in size. You are welcome to donate boy, girl or unisex clothing.

If you have questions or would like to serve these ladies and their babies by providing some of these essentials, please email me at

Here is a few pictures from our last shower.

Now for some major cuteness! Our latest little delivery was an adorable set of boy/girl twins. Here is a picture of them when they were just a couple days old in the hospital.

I am so thankful that I get to be part of these sweet babies lives and journey through motherhood with their mommy.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Loving in Word and in Deed!

For years I heard my pastor at our home church repeat several truths over and over. I always knew that there was great importance in these repeated words that would lend to my spiritual maturity. One of the things I've heard him say countless times is, "when you perfectly understand the concept of Grace, your life will be changed forever". Over the course of a year long sermon series on Grace, several Bible studies about Grace and a year and a half study of theology, these words of my pastors began to take on a real meaning to me. Grace was starting to mean more to me than it ever had before and it was changing the person I was forever.

Fast forward a couple years to last summer, as our family was becoming part of a new church plant. This fresh understanding of grace was birthing a new desire in our hearts. A desire to love in word and in deed. I think if we want to love like this, we have to be very intentional about it.

Even when loving just in word would be easier, less time consuming and safest... we must remember Jesus. When loving in deed would gain us the most attention, or meet the immediate needs for someone.... we must remember Jesus. We must remember the way Jesus loved, He didn't just preach and teach; He feed, healed, restored and walked with. We must remember that no matter how appreciated our deeds are, if we don't share Jesus with those we care for, only their earthly needs are met. We must remember that Jesus is the Word and He is also the Deed!

"But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it say. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. If you listen to the word and don't obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don't forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.... Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you." James 1:22-25,27

Here is what Kerry Hasenbalg had to say about the verses above in Seeds of Change.

All who have ears to hear, let them hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the Church! Are we worshipping God with our mouths only, or are we worshipping Him in Spirit and in truth just as He desires and requires of us? God, through the prophet Haggai, continually asked His people to "consider their ways". Let us each consider our ways and compare how we are now living and acting in the light of God's Word.
The Church has understood very clearly Jesus' message that we must "go into the world and preach the gospel". But is this to be interpreted that we simply go and open our mouths? Jesus is our example. And we see clearly that he did not just go and preach but that He was attentive to the physical needs of those around Him. He restored the man's sight and also took away the man's spiritual blindness.
Today, we speak about how Christianity is not about religion, but about relationship. Perhaps this is true, but if so, our relationships with Christ are much like many of our marriages where one spouse is talking and the other is just pretending to listen. But the one talking now is our husband Redeemer. Are we being the attentive bride truly listening, or are we just pretending. We write songs about the Word, sing about the Word, preach on the Word, we have Bible studies about the Word... but in far too many ways we are not living the Word as Jesus asked us to!
Mother Theresa said, "Today it is very fashionable to talk about the poor, but it is not fashionable to talk with them." Maybe it is time we put our action where our faith is, and step out in fellowship with the suffering. Mother Theresa once said, "Whoever the poorest of the poor are, they are Christ for us-Christ under the guise of human suffering."
She knew that she was ministering to Jesus each time she was ministering to the poor. She knew that while she was giving, she was giving to Jesus!
....Religiosity is quite an interesting thing. Those who were the most religious during Jesus' time were the ones with whom Jesus did not associate. They were part of the fellowship of the self-righteous, and He was part of the fellowship of the suffering! In order to join, we must see ourselves as one of them.... poor in spirit. Then we will be free to step out and love as humbly as Christ did, in word and in deed.
When you look in the Word, what do you see that you too often go away and forget to do? How has your love for Christ been merely words and not expressed in love towards Christ in the guise of the suffering? How can you love Christ in deed today?

As we begin to understand grace, we begin to see ourselves as poor in spirit. Then loving in word and deed, just feels like home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sharing the wisdom and journey of super-moms!

I don't post about our homeschooling journey very often because honestly, you probably wouldn't be too impressed. We don't use a fancy classroom that resembles one at our local public school. I don't write out lesson plans for the year or even per month. We don't spend hours a week taking test.... (kids do need to learn how to test well and we work on that, but I know when they understand something thoroughly and when they don't).We don't set time limits on how long we have to work on projects. If it's something they have no interest in, we move along quickly. For instance, this year I wanted to see if Dallas might be interested in reading a few mystery series.... he hated everyone. Give him a book about dogs, country living, or a biography and he's happy. He loves studying the lives of other people. So we ditched the mystery series and instead we checked out and read books about everyone from Charles Darwin to Bo Jackson.

Maggie discovered through their study of Underwater Creatures this year that she loves sharks. How crazy is that!!! So guess what, we have checked out every single book our local library has about sharks. If you have a question about sharks (don't know why anyone would, most normal people are terrified of them), Maggie has the answers.

Each morning we get through the basics including math, language, spelling and literature and then we just make it fun. This year we've studied US History, Sea Creatures, Christ and His Word in Bible, and a fun book from the I Wonder Why series called, The Sun Rises. Each year we study a few different countries. This year we again studied several including, you guessed it, Ethiopia. These units of study look different just about every day but I think that keeps it interesting and fun for all of us.

Now for the super-mom wisdom. A couple mornings ago I read a post from a writer that I admire. Please click on the following link to see this amazing mamas heart for homeschooling. I was so inspired by her approach and her love for sharing every moment of life with her kids. I always say, "getting to teach my kids is the most challenging call on my life.... however, it is the ministry I am most thankful that God has called me to".

Our little guys learned about planting seeds in the spring this year. Here is Nanny teaching them how to plant, water and watch them grow. For the record, these are alive and growing. There's a science and Bible lesson all in one!

Now, on to the super-mom journey to a yummy little guy from Ethiopia! I won't waste your time with words, we'll move right on to pictures. I had been wanting a girls day with my two oldest, Lexie and Maggie. We love Franklin, Tennesse and we love the Johnson family. Put it together, add in a cutie pie baby boy and an airport homecoming and here's what you get!

What a way to start the day with two of my most favorite girls in the world! Congratulations Johnson family of 8!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

So glad we didn't miss this!

Over the past year and a half, God has placed us on a few paths we would have never guessed we would be on. Some we weren't even sure we wanted to be on, we just followed in obedience. Lately, I've been reflecting on the paths that have taken us from being comfortable, to being blown away by a joy that comes only from being right where God wants us.

Let me challenge you today. If God is calling you and your family off the "beaten path"... take HIS hand and GO! What seems uncomfortable at first will soon feel closer to home than you've ever known before.

Here's a couple of relationships our family would have missed out on if we would have chosen to remain when He was clearly saying, MOVE!

Thank you Jesus for proving to us that better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Can your KID bring HOPE to another KID????

Absolutely!!! If you are interested in letting your child bring hope to children who have been hurt, homeless and maybe even orphaned by the tornadoes that devastated Alabama last week, please visit THIS SITE!

Kids4AL is a brand new ministry that is providing Boxes of Hope to children. And, it is a great way for our kids to get to be a part of restoring happiness to these heartbroken kids.

What is a BOX of HOPE? It's a shoebox full of toys, games and items that will bring a smile to a child's face. Please visit the website to see a complete list of items that you can include in your box. Your child can also include a personal note and scripture.

Our kids want to HELP! This is a great opportunity to let them be a part of healing for these heartbroken children.

It's not too late to ask your children's ministries and other organizations to participate. They have extended the deadline for all boxes. They also give a shipping address for your boxes. Anyone in the Birmingham area who would like to be a part, I would be happy to pick your boxes up and deliver them with ours.

Thanks for supporting Alabama's kids!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ethiopia needs you NOW!

Our friends at Ordinary Hero need YOU to help an orphanage full of babies in Ethiopia NOW! I just received an email and wanted to get this post out as soon as possible. Please click on Ordinary Hero's link HERE!!!! and pray, pray, pray for these children. Ask God if He would use YOU to help restore life and peace to these helpless babies.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tornado victims need YOU!

Several of you have asked about the yard sale and I can't wait to share all about it. God truly blessed us and He deserves lots of praise for the outcome. We have some great pics and the day deserves it's own post; but not today. As I traveled home from the sale on Saturday afternoon my heart and mind quickly switched gears from yard sale to tornado victims.

As you all know, last Wednesday thousands of homes were destroyed by one of the deadliest tornados in US history. Many of those homes were our neighbors. Complete communities were totally demolished leaving many dead and many more homeless. The needs are great and will be for months and even years to come. The church will be needed to assist these families for a very long time. Right now those affected need prayer more than anything because there are numerous disaster relief organizations all over the ground. But in time, they will begin to pull out and I pray the church will stay. Our family and our church family are praying to be connected to families that we can not only help rebuild their homes and lives but also build relationships with. Until we make those connections we are serving where the Lord leads.

That leads me to the point of this post..... Currently, we are joining forces with one of my very favorite ministries, Graces Kitchen, in an effort to help meet the immediate needs of storm victims and those who are in the areas doing clean up. I asked my sweet friend Lynsey who is a Grace's Kitchen volunteer to write a piece about how the ministry is serving these people right now.

“Grace’s Kitchen is a non-profit feeding ministry in the Birmingham area who is currently serving a group of people in Pleasant Grove, one of the hardest hit areas of Alabama. GK is providing one meal a day to crowds numbering in the thousands. Whether coming in for a hot sit-down meal or grabbing a number of boxes to take back out to other residents, the people of Pleasant Grove have poured in over the last several days. The meals served are all fresh and homemade and GK will continue to provide these meals at least through the end of the current week. The Lord has provided the funds for GK to continue their normal operations for almost 2 years through donations and so there is no doubt that he will move in the hearts of his people to provide for the effort He has called them to now. If the Lord is leading you to contribute the best way to do so would be through their website”

Please prayerfully consider donating to Graces Kitchen. I know the hearts of the men and women of GK and they will not stop serving in these disaster areas until the Lord instructs them to stop...... I'm guessing that will not happen anytime soon. That means they need lots of people supporting them to be able to provide for these hungry souls. Please visit their website and learn more about what they do on a weekly basis year around. You can read all about them HERE.

Me, Shawn and our kids just got home from touring the community of Pleasant Grove and we are just speechless. Thankful for our family and home, but very broken hearted for the people that called this "home" just a few days ago. Yesterday Lexie's friend Kayla made a video of the area..... it's hard to watch but please do.