Friday, October 2, 2015

Dishing it up!!!

During such a scary time in our society where tragedy is occurring everywhere, it's important to lean into one another as a community.  Let's DISH UP some fun new relationships!


TO CREATE A TOOL TO... get to know some of the people we see in church or in our neighborhood, but haven't had the chance or tool to break the ice. We need ways to strengthen the body of Christ, and arm us that much more to reach the community.  

(It should not only be in the face of tragedy that causes us reach out to one another.)

Us moms who live in the kitchen already cooking for our family - how easy would it be to simply make another dish for someone we want to meet, bless, or get to know better.  

Introducing BLESSED BAKING - because not only do we bless someone else, but God always blesses us when we love those around us.

Since I'm a girl, I love pretty things - so I decided to make some fun colorful bakeware carriers.  I found the tutorial HERE

Next I decided the dish needed a little somethin'-somethin' so I etched BLESSED on the inside of the glass.

Then I commissioned my talented hubbs to draw a fun card that expressed the heart of this let someone know I'm thinking of them, praying for them, and want to FEED them.  For no particular reason...just because we need to lean closer together as the body of Christ then we currently are.
Card Front & Back
Card Inside

There are 3 things you can do with this dish:
  1. Bake for a family or individual the Lord puts on your heart and encourage them to simply continue passing the blessing along.
  2. Bake for a family or individual the Lord puts on your heart and tell them you will be back to pick up the dish within a week.  IN THE MEANTIME - be a prayer partner for them during the time they have the dish...and even look for other ways you can serve them while they have it.
  3. If you are in a small group Bible study, home group, or other like group - designate a new group member each time you meet & give them the dish to fill with goodies for the next time you get together.  Whoever has the dish for the week is charged also with praying over the group individuals.
I LOVE how people come together during a time of crisis - my hubbs almost died...twice this last month, and I have been showered with calls, prayers, texts, visits, lunch dates, and food for our family.  It is a beautiful reminder that we need to be, and are here for one another.  

I want to see us grow closer this world of such current discouragement.  Let us be continually mindful of those around us and knit even closer together as the body of Christ & community.  How powerful a light shining for Jesus can we be if we TRULY are working together!?

I will be putting the BLESSED BAKING kits up for sale soon.  Email me if you're wanting to get a hold of one now.  I have a couple available.

Friday, September 4, 2015

My Husband almost died - 5 ways to walk someone through a hospital emergency

I just experienced the whirlwind of almost losing my husband to what they call the "Silent Killer". His blood pressure was so high that he had a stroke, and his kidneys & liver were shutting down.

The miracle of our loving God is that he walked away with NO damage from the stroke, or to any of his organs including his heart (which they said WOULD have damage because of the severity of his high blood pressure).

For eight torturous days, my husband was in the hospital having stays in several different departments including the ICU because of his critical condition, and even the cardiac open heart ward.  He underwent several tests & procedures for them to figure out the extent of the damage and try to rule out if there was any other cause to his high blood pressure.

I'm here to tell you he is a walking miracle - and I'm so thankful!!!!  I'm also here to tell you there were days I wondered if I was going to end up in the bed next to him.  As the fire hose of bad news from very matter of fact doctors came, I was feeling MY chest tighten, and my stomach churn.

In Jeremiah's absolutely-not-coherent-state right after being admitted to the hospital, he did what many people do...posted a selfie on Facebook.  Of course he doesn't even remember doing it, but the result was that I got a flood of messages & calls wondering why Jeremiah was in the hospital.  At first it was difficult to articulate what was happening, and I was not prepared to share at that time, but now I'm glad he did it because it brought a community of support I needed, but did not expect.

Upon reflection of this difficult journey, I want to pass on some nuggets of encouragement to those wanting to be a friend to someone walking a loved on through a hospital emergency.  I had sooo many people asking me, "What can I do to help?"  and I honestly had NO idea how to answer that because my head was in such a fog.

Now that I've walked through this craziness, here are my thoughts on being a friend...

1. Visit & Feed:  Many hours would go by as I waited for Doctors to come share news & the next step and I didn't want to leave & miss any information.  It was so beautiful when people would come just to bring me lunch & pray for us.  But, there were also windows that I knew I needed to get out of the hospital even for an hour (when I KNEW there would be no RIGHT after a test when Jeremiah was still conked out from the meds and they told me it would be later that day before we'd hear anything).

2. Be company during tests & procedures.  When tests & procedures were underway, those were difficult, lonely and torturous times.  The enemy loves to play on our fears, and our mind wanders to the worst case scenario & we're playing the procedure like a tragic tape in our head.  Distraction from the mental torture is so beautiful.  One time, our pastor happened to show up at the heart cath lab when Jeremiah was in a procedure, and it was beyond refreshing to have him sit with me right at that moment.  I will be forever grateful for him.

3. Make sure the kids are taken care of.  The whole first day when I realized this was going to be longer then a quick visit to the emergency room, all of a sudden I'm now needing to figure out what to do with our girls?  I can't be at the hospital, and at home with them, and they CERTAINLY can't be at the hospital with me the whole time.  It took such a burden off me to have people quickly scoop them up & take them home for the week.

4. Offer to help at the home.  Days prior to finally heading to the emergency room, Jeremiah was not well & there was a level of chaos at our home that showed on the counter of unfiled paperwork, strewn schoolbooks on the table, and laundry & dishes that were crying to get washed.  We as moms especially want a place people are proud to call home - so as our journey at the hospital was nearing it's end, I wanted to figure out how to get my home clean for the return of the family, but I couldn't be in two places at once.  I KNEW this homecoming was different than any other.  Jeremiah was needing a nice place to recover, and the girls were needing a nice place to reconnect with their dad - without anyone going into chore mode.  It was so nice to have a sweet angel sister come to the hospital with me, then follow me home to help with the straightening up process.  We put on worship music, busted out the vacuum, and she was such a companion & help-mate that broke the deafening silence & fear rattling in my head & heart.

5. Coordinate meals for a few days for the homecoming.  It was a struggle to get to the store & do my normal meal planning and chores with needing to keep a very close eye on Jeremiah.  So it was such a burden off me as the home manager when I got that call that dinner for my family is hot & on the way.

The body of Christ - working together

Now I'm a very avid prayer warrior who loves Jesus & trusts Him with all details of my life, but in times such as being thrown into the chaos of having your husband knock on death's door - THAT'S why God speaks of community - to bear one another's burdens.  Even Moses needed Aaron to hold his arms up during battle.  We were only meant bear SO MUCH on our own, and the rest is meant for us to walk together - the body of Christ.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Miracle of Meeting my Neighbors

Meet our neighbors????  How can we find any space for another task?  The last thing we want to encounter is another "to-do" for us to fill when our own needs are pretty over-powering.

The truth is, when we take the time & energy to reach out to people, God uses the seeds we sow to grow something beautiful for US, and very often fill a need in our own lives. We sometimes forget that God asks us to bless others - not only for them, but often, its more for us.  

For the past six months, there have been tremendous changes & growing pains in my own life & family.  The REEEEALY painful ones - like having teeth pulled without numbing medicine kind of pain. You know - the changes that ache, contort, stretch, and have made the life I knew unrecognizable.

I'm an extrovert by nature, and thrive seeing people come together - community. I'm forever looking for creative ways I can spread the gospel of Jesus to people and through people.  But I've surprised even myself because in this time of heartbreak, I have just wanted to crawl into a cave, be by myself & lick my wounds.  

In the past, I have facilitated many neighborhood barbecues so people can meet those in their community, but this time, I didn't have it in me.  We moved to a new neighborhood, and of course it was brought up - "When's the BBQ???"  Not now.  I'm tired.  I don't have the energy.

But God...lovingly nudged the issue.  So I took a step forward and started the process - kinda hoping people would turn their nose up & not want the event.  But they did want it, so the planning went underway.

Through JUST the planning & invitation process, I met people, people met people, and some of our own family's deep silent needs/prayers were answered - and I heard numerous testimonies from others that I'm not alone in feeling the healing of our community coming together.  Why?  Because God uses people.  He often connects people to answer prayers, & meet needs.  

I believe with my whole heart that's why the enemy works sooo hard to bombard us with stress.  The result?  We feel bogged down, busy, overwhelmed, and we close off from people.  We are the loneliest busiest society.  We work so hard to accomplish our goals, but forget often God uses communities to build the beautiful places that healing & peace dwell.  We don't need to do it on our own, in our own strength, we weren't created to do it alone.

We are stronger, sharper, and HAPPIER as the body of Christ 
when we work together.

A beautiful time it was, & lots of new friendships forged. (For the privacy of our neighbors, I'm not posting pics of the participants) I saw numbers exchanged, laughter and conversations had, and community formed.  I KNOW more events will come for this area, and I'm super excited to see what God will do with it all.

During the BBQ I was approached by someone with the idea of cooking & delivering door to door Thanksgiving dinners to those in our neighborhood who have no family to share the holiday with and are physically unable to "go" to an event... NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!

I passionately love the church and all it gives out to people - but I'm committed to spreading the word that we are to BE the church (outside the walls) so much more than ATTEND the church. We need to look for opportunities - even if it's just a simple smile with compassion towards people no matter where we go.  Jesus is not a Sunday hobby, He's a healing lifestyle. I know so many of us are willing, but just not sure what our part is.  Let's start next door. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

My 40th Birthday...All Things Disney Style!

Because this was a milestone birthday, my family - who loves to be creative - decided to transform our home into "The HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH" to celebrate.  I'm going into my 40s with GREAT anticipation, so why not reflect that with all things that make me smile.  Everything was hand crafted and drawn (and chocolate dipped), but my disclaimer is - it took WAAAAAAY longer then we all anticipated, so my girls and hubbs are VERY over coloring and cutting things out for a while...hehe!  AAAAND, we have a new appreciation for "Tangled"  how DID she keep her hair smooth!?

Let me know if you would like a follow-up post with some of our "how tos" Hope you enjoy some of our projects as much as we did.

The "Up" themed door wreath
The Princesses with Hershey Kisses
"Beauty & The Beast"...Beast's Rose
Home made Chocolate dipped strawberries
Homemade chocolate dipped pretzels
Fork station
Main food table
Rapunzel's tower my hubby drew
Rapunzel's hair from braided yarn...a pound to be exact
Hand drawn "Remy" from Ratatouille
Ruffles & Goldfish crackers - hubby drew Mr. Smee
I burnt the edges of the sign to be more pirat-ey
Most of the candy had been eaten before this picture
Drawn by my hubby, put in front of the fire pit
Drawn by my hubby - hot chocolate station