Thursday, December 31, 2015


I love to reflect and analyze.  Sometimes, it's not the very best thing for me because I can get stuck in that place whether it's something of a victory or a failure.  But today being the last day of 2015, I will reflect on things.

Overall, it was a great year.  Here we all are, our family of six.  We've stayed alive, we've been healthy, all of our needs have been met and many desires as well.  If we have been lacking in anything, it's been our own fault.  We have SO much to be thankful for!

This morning, my devotions were based on one 'little' word: mine.  It's actually quite a big word!  What comes to your mind when you think 'mine'?!  Some of what comes to my mind is family, relationships, work, careers, free time....

What didn't come to mind, unfortunately, was God.

When Jesus came to earth, He laid aside everything!  His glory, His possessions, His comfort, His rights.  Even, occasionally, His opinions.  He laid aside His body and He even gave up His life!!

But something that He did not, WOULD not, give up was His right to call God his Father.

And that is the only thing that I can rightfully call MINE!  Everything else is HIS!  And rightfully so.  He loves my kids even more than I do.  They are HIS and he can take better care of them than we can!  He is concerned with my relationships even more so than I am.  He is mindful of our work, careers, finances.... it's all His and He works for our good.  He is aware of our desires; He wants us to experience joy that only He can give!  He has ownership and control over it all. The only thing that I can claim as MINE is God as my Father.  That is a constant.  Nothing can take that away from me (Romans 8:38-39).

Beth Moore has a great way of stating this: 'In the midst of so much we cannot have, God says to His children, 'Forsake lesser things and have as much as you want of Me.' Remember John 3:34 says that God gives His Spirit without measure.  While God is the owner and possessor of all things, He freely invites us to be as possessive over Him as we desire.  He is my God.  And your God.  He's the only thing we can share lavishly without ever lessening our own supply.'  Isn't that brilliant?!!

So in light of being an adopted child of God (Romans 8:14-17), I hope that will change my perspective during 2016.

I am selfish!  I have a tight grip on my husband, my kids, my life and my happiness.  But just as Jesus did, I need to lay down these things and cling to the one thing that is mine that will never change: God as my Father, Christ as my Savior, and the Holy Spirit as my Advocate.

I don't know how exactly, but I hope that I can carry on with this concept of what is truly mine in the next year.  I hope that I'll be reminded of this when I'm feeling selfish.  When I inwardly or outwardly insist on what I want, what I think I need, when I can't think clearly because I'm so caught up in MYSELF!  I hope and pray today that I can be caught up in God!  God leading and directing me as wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, servant.... No matter what 2016 may hold.  No matter what I may have to 'give up' that wasn't mine in the first place.

On a previous 'reflection post' of the New Year, I wanted to be more intentional.  Being intentional is so important because if we aren't, things can slip.  Well this year, I hope I can intentionally remember that God is mine and He will give as much of Himself to me as I want.  And that offer is good for anyone that will accept Him and I should be making that known!  I know that myself and others could definitely use more of His power and authority and love and grace in my life every. single. day.

So here's to a Happy New Year of un-apologetically claiming God as my Father!

(If you haven't taken the step in your life to call God your own Father, message me or someone you know that can help you take that step!  It'll be the best thing you will ever do!  If He isn't yours yet, then the sad truth is you have nothing to call 'mine'.  Struggle with this and make a decision to follow Christ!  John 14:6)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

coco cafe

So we had been thinking about getting a kitten.  And then our friends Anthony and Stephanie had kitties they were getting rid of.  So we took one.  Actually, we came home with two to keep because I couldn't say no!  And one of their favorite kitties jumped in our van.  So we actually came home with three.  But I brought one back and one (that they didn't want back!) to a nearby farm.

We kept the sweetest kitty for ourselves.  The kids couldn't decide if it should be Cocoa or Cafe (it was brown) so Coco Cafe is what it was named!  What a sweet little kitten!  Our children were smitten!

It slept in the garage during the night and was cuddled inside during the day.  One morning, Jordan was getting in his truck to go to work and he could hear the cat under the hood.  But could NOT get it out.  He fussed and fussed and finally took off down the road.  By this point, the kids were awake and watching from the windows.  But Jordan flew back to the driveway down the road in reverse and tried again.  He finally got the cat out and flung it.... It landed and quickly ran right back to the truck and under it again.  Jordan was so frustrated and took off without trying anymore.  He was about a half hour late by this point.  I told the kids that Coco was probably not going to make it.  But they just shrugged and said 'oh well'.  Ok then!  Jordan drove to Saugatuck that day and is was only in the teens.  He flew down the highway to make up for lost time ;)  He complained to the guys at work about it.  Then later he thought to check to see if the cat was dead in the truck somewhere.  And he found it holding on for dear life in the spare tire... alive!  He brought it into the truck.  I wrote the kids' teachers.  Jordan complained some more about the cat but later I found these pictures:

Jordan even shared his lunch meat with Coco.

The kids were happy to have Coco back that night.

Then tragedy struck.  The cat had spent it's nine lives on that truck ride.  Emmy and I were leaving a couple days later and Coco was in the front yard laying down and playing with a leaf on its paw.  As it was batting playfully at the leaf, we waved goodbye.  We come home hours later and there's Coco... still in that spot, still clutching the leaf!  Dead!  We don't know how or why it happened!

The kids got home and I had been thinking about how well they had taken it when I had warned them that Coco might die on the way to dad's work.  I wasn't worried that they would be too upset.  We had had Coco for one whole week.  Boy was I wrong.  I gently broke the news to them and they all sobbed and sobbed.  They cried about all of the pets we have killed.  They were angry that we can't keep pets alive.  When I asked why they weren't this upset the other morning, Natalie exclaimed, 'We still had hope!'  True!

We buried Coco next to Gary... and the couple of birds we had tried to nurse to health.  And we also mourned over Bambi the guinea pig that we accidentally starved to death.

RIP Coco Cafe.

Monday, December 14, 2015

engedi turns ten

Seven years ago, we started looking for a church that we wanted to raise our young family in.  A church with a contagious passion for Christ that we could grow in!  Where we would be fed, led, and cared for.  Where we could be connected.  That was the main criteria.  And thank God, it didn't take much searching!  We found Engedi!  The first service we attended brought tears to our eyes and we never looked anywhere else. Week after week, we were moved, convicted, changed!  We would discuss the teaching throughout the rest of the week.  We actually remembered what the sermons were about.  And we were part of an amazing worship experience!  It was a spiritual revival for us each and every week!  We quickly got connected.  And more and more people discovered this small church.  

The church has since swelled!  It is now in a large building and planning for church plantings.  We have been honored to be a part of it. When you're in a church where most Sundays there is a prayer time carved out for unbelievers to make a first time commitment to Jesus, and it happens even just for one person (although more than often multiple people!) you are blessed!  I get chills each time as the Holy Spirit moves through the church!  He is present!

The church values missions, people, worship, and 'advancing the kingdom revolution of Jesus worldwide', to name a few.  And they accomplish much through the Holy Spirit because there are so many people that pour their heart and soul into each other and the missions!  The people!  I love the people here!  The relationships that have come from this church family have been divine.  So many wonderful, influential men and women, staff, children...!  We love it here!

And Engedi knows how to party!  The church had been putting money away for a big 10th 'birthday' party.  We attended the free concert by Gungor (my favorite!) which was phenomenal!  And we joined in praising God for all of the blessings He has poured on Engedi.  

Happy 10th, Engedi!  

Only at Engedi....