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Our little Oliver is 11 months today. My how time flies! It’s hard to believe he has been adventuring through life for one whole year now. His personality is really shining through. Everyday we see more and more of who God created him to be and it’s just so sweet to experience it.

He’s quite the lover of nature. I’ve been around lots of children and I’m not sure I’ve known any of them to study the wind blowing through the trees. Since Oliver was about 4 months old, the wind captured his attention. Whenever we go on a walk, he loves to have a “treasure” to hold—any sort of flower or leaf. Just the other day we were sitting on a blanket and we found a roly-poly (you know, those tiny black bugs that curl up as soon as you touch them!). Oliver kept studying it as it crawled and then he was super excited to hold it. We went camping recently and he discovered rocks. Every parent’s nightmare. He was so sneaky and quick to shove one in his mouth and just suck on it like it’s nature’s candy or something!

I’ve begun to realize that whenever I take him outside, all of life slows down as we start to pick apart everything we see in detail. Today it was butterflies. Simple, white butterflies fluttering from flower to flower. I’m reminded of the moment God made creation. In the Bible it says after every time the Lord created something, “And God saw that it was good.” My hope and prayer recently has been that I take notice in the world God created. May I be in awe of the tiny veins in the wings of a dragonfly. May I allow myself to be refreshed when the rains come. May I take time to make silly shadows with Oliver due to the warm sun shining its light. May all of us view what God created as treasures we get to enjoy, including the people around us. And may it help us to slow down, soak in life, choose peace, and enjoy God forever.

Make some time to adventure sometime soon! It’s so good for the soul to disconnect from regular life for a while. Allow God to bring refreshment as you set time aside to marvel at His creation.

  • August 1, 2016

Hello dear friends. It’s been quite a while since we’ve had our Monday times together. Know that I’ve missed you and that I’ve been praying for you!

Here I sit listening to the birds chirping outside, drinking coffee out of my Europe mug, and reminiscing on the month of June. Ben, Oliver, and I were scheduled to be at a month long missionary training in Missouri for the entire month. We had classes everyday usually from 9am-8pm with a few breaks in between. Most days I could hardly catch my breath!

Every moment was wonderful. Every dinner, banquet, class, session, meeting. I was on information overload! I can’t even begin to explain the things I have learned on how to be effective in building the kingdom of God. Our leadership is beyond compare. I am so happy to be a part of the Missions family, Europe family, and someday live in Montenegro sharing the truth of Jesus.

Our month, in a nutshell, was exactly what we needed. I could go into detail of the sessions that changed my life and nuggets of wisdom that I learned everyday. I could tell you stories about Oliver loving his time making other missionary kid friends and learning to dance. But today, my heart is overwhelmed for other reasons. There were times where the new missionaries and the veteran missionaries (those who are already serving in their countries) had worship times together. On this particular day, as the band played, I found myself in a room filled with people who were singing, “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. Though none go with me, still I will follow.” I watched families sing aloud that they would follow Jesus no matter the cost, knowing they were going to countries where they would probably be persecuted and even killed for their faith. A room full of people who decided that the call of God on their lives was more important than their own plans. A room full of people who had a moment of knowing they had to leave their family, friends, and everything comfortable. A room full of people who, knowing that they may never come back, willingly had given their lives so that those across the world would find hope in Jesus like they had.

I watched as hands were raised in worship to Jesus and voices proclaimed the greatness of our God.

What an honor it was to be in a room filled with missionaries to all different countries. My prayer during that time of worship is still my prayer today and will always be: that I would continue to follow Jesus without turning back. No matter what comes my way. I pray the same for you. If you already know Jesus and have experienced his forgiveness and grace, I pray that you would be strong in your faith. Whatever season of life you’re in, whatever it is you may be facing, may you continue to follow Jesus. May you continue to experience His forgiveness and grace. And if you have not yet decided to follow Him, I still pray the same for you. That you would open your heart so that you can experience His forgiveness and grace. If those who follow Christ are willing to leave their families behind, learn a new language, learn a new culture, just to adequately share of their hope in Him, it must be a pretty great thing 🙂

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this Monday. As you sipped your coffee this morning, what was it you thought about? Are you hopeful today? I hope you find encouragement in the beginning of a new week!

  • July 11, 2016

Hello my dear friends! It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write and it’s caused me to miss you! Consider this our moment of sipping coffee and enjoying some “me” time together.

Our church had an outreach this past weekend and it was incredible. People were getting healed—PHYSICALLY. I mean come on, how often do you see someone pull out their oxygen and trach tubes and run up and down flights of stairs because Jesus healed them?!

This particular passage in the Bible has just been constantly demanding my attention. It’s found in Luke chapter 6 and verses 18 &19. Jesus had been praying on a mountain and when he came back down, he was surrounded by his followers and crowds of people. Luke states, “They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases, and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.”

The reason my attention keeps being pulled back to these verses is because it’s not a common thing to see someone pull out their oxygen saying that Jesus healed them or for someone who has been experiencing back pain for years be able to reach down and touch their toes. But here’s the thing: the Bible says that Jesus healed everyone. And if you follow Christ, then you believe that he is the same God now as he was then. So if that’s the case, wouldn’t Jesus want people being healed to be a common thing?

Like I said, I’ve just been going over that passage like crazy, studying it and trying my best to understand it. I don’t know why sometimes we can pray and believe for something and it just doesn’t happen. But I do know that from my own personal experience, even just this weekend, sometimes in order to actually receive healing, you have to admit that you need it. That was my case. Yes, pride crept in like crazy and I began to deal with insecurities (ugh, get away from me) and what ifs, but nevertheless, I had a moment of sheer desperation needing God to move in my life or I couldn’t live in the full potential he has for me. 

And God HEALED ME.

Is there something you need healing for today? Anything? Physical, emotional, mental, whatever it is, I believe that Jesus wants to heal you. We hear all the time that nothing is too big for God, but you know what else? God cares about the really small things, too—the things that are so small they seem unimportant and go unnoticed. Nothing goes unnoticed by God. Be filled with faith, admit to God what you need freedom from, and believe that He wants to heal you and will.

  • May 23, 2016

As I sit here in the living room trying to get my thoughts together, I am feeling the whole “Monday vibes” thing. My coffee is cold because I couldn’t get to it in time, dishes need to be washed, and Oliver has been refusing to nap for at least an hour (I’m being generous). I even got up early to get to Aldi’s and do my grocery shop before the day actually started. I was there at 8am, ladies! Talk about feeling accomplished. Sad to say they don’t open until 9am. So like I said, I’m feeling the whole Monday thing.

On the other hand, our front door is open and the birds are chirping so loudly that you’d think they were in our house, I’m sitting in a chair that’s directly in the sunlight pouring through the windows, Ben and Oliver gave me glasses as an early Mother’s Day present so I can actually see, and Ollie is just needing extra snuggles today—something I know won’t last forever.

If I were to hold all of the happy things in one hand and the “Monday things” in the other and weigh them, the “happy” hand would definitely be higher than the other. It’s just one of those days where I have to remind myself that my schedule for the day may not get to be a priority and that’s ok. For those of you with kids, I’m sure you’ve experienced this—possibly more than you’d like! Even if you don’t have kids, sometimes life just happens and your day gets all twisted up.

How many of you are thankful that coffee can simply be reheated?! I don’t know how great of a thing this is, but the dishes will always be there for whenever we can get to them! What a privilege it is to live this thing called life. It’s days like these that I’m almost gasping for breath and in the still moment when I can actually catch it, I’m reminded of the grace that I’m given to live each day. I truly believe that Jesus doesn’t give us grace just to make it through the day, but to live in our full potential for every set of 24 hours He gives us. Such a beautiful thing to soak in His peace, love, and compassion for us.

I’d love to hear how your day is going! Has it been hard to land on your feet today? Don’t hesitate to share how you’re able to stop and catch your breath during tough days.

“So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of Jesus and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:6-8

  • April 25, 2016

Throughout all of last year, I found myself in a place of really needing to be reminded of God’s love. I’d begun to forget His love in its entirety for me, you, and everyone else.

Here, I’ll explain a little more.

I wasn’t questioning God’s existence or if His love were real (because I know both are true). It’s just that due to circumstances in our life at the time and the difficult season Ben and I were immersed in, I felt like all around me I was watching God’s love being taken in vain. Not realizing it, I began to think, “I’m not going to accept God’s love in vain. I’ll make sure I work for it.” Y’all, that’s totally not how God works. But after days and days of the way I was feeling, I subconsciously made that decision—that God loves me depending on what I do.

I spent almost an entire year forgetting the true love of God. It wasn’t until the end of the year that I had a conversation with Ben realizing my current situation. Then came the constant prayer and asking God to remind me of who He is and His love for me and all people. One day in January, Oliver had woken up from his nap crying. I headed up the stairs, reached in to pick him up, and started to sing a song that is on an album that he loves (For Our Children EP by The Brilliance—it’s the most precious music written by a band to their children and Oliver’s in love with it. You should check them out!). I started to sing, “And as you sleep my dear, know that I’ll be near…” and instantly everything inside me broke. Through my tears of joy I said, “Ollie! That’s what God says to me! He feels about me and all other people the way I feel about you!”

It was one of the sweetest, most real moments I’ve ever had. I love Oliver with a precious love that only moms can relate to. His protection, well-being, and needs are always on my mind. Every giggle, coo, and even every cough is just the best thing to me. He has caught my attention and will keep it forever.

THAT is how God feels for us! He is a gracious God, filled with love for people who really are so undeserving. He loves us and that can never change. As much as I love Oliver, God loves us with a love that is so much more intense and passionate. So much love that He sent His only son, Jesus, to die for the sins and wrongdoing of all humanity (yours and mine) so that our sin would no longer separate us from God. Only when we recognize our sinfulness, acknowledge and believe what Christ did on the cross, and give our lives over to His leading can we step into a life filled with worth and love in God.

As you scroll through this today—wherever you are and whoever you are, no matter your situation in life—know that God loves you. Your protection, well-being, and needs are always on His mind. Every giggle, tear, and breath doesn’t go unnoticed by Him. You have caught God’s attention and will keep it forever. I encourage you to ask Him to show you how He loves you and I promise He will answer you.

If you’re needing to be reminded of God’s love today, check out the book of Psalms chapter 139 in the Bible. Absolutely incredible. And as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

“How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!”

Psalm 139:17

  • April 18, 2016