Sunday Sundaes…Give it a Try!

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As parents, we do our best to teach our kids what is right and what is wrong. We’re blessed to be a part of a church family that values teaching us parents how to implement “faith at home” too.

In 2010 my family and I had endured some major changes and I wanted desperately to find a way to bring faith home in a fun way that my kids might look forward to…something that would keep us grounded in God’s goodness regardless of what was going on around us.  Sunday Sundaes were the result of this desire. For Christmas I bought a journal with “2011 Prayers” imprinted on the front with good intention to fill this journal with our family prayers as we sat down for Sunday sundaes each week.

That first year did not go so well. The intention was good, but the dedication was nonexistent. Through 2012 my kids would often ask me, “Mom, what happened to Sunday sundaes” and I would make some excuse. Each time conviction gnawed at me more and more.

The end of 2012 God had a loving, but stern talking to me. After finishing the Resolution for Women study by Priscilla Shrier it was really time to be a woman resolved and carry out this really important habit that my kids really looked forward to. The last few Sundays of 2012 I took out our pitiful “2011 Prayers” journal and we started up again. Three weeks of doing this and I have witness character changes in my kids along with an eagerness to write their prayers in our journal.

Tonight, I showed my kids our new “2013 Praise & Prayers” journal. They immediately started spouting off their praises and requests for today (and it wasn’t even time for Sunday sundaes!). We ate dinner together and had genuine conversations about areas that God is working in (prompted by my son, Christopher, not by me). They helped me clear the table and I as I went to take care of some other house chores they took it upon themselves to get Sunday Sundaes all set up (working very hard to make it a surprise).

As I walked into the kitchen I witnessed 3 smiling faces ready to spend time with me AND with God (and with ice cream and toppings of course). Their praises and requests were already written in the journal for today and the boys even wrote in Bella’s which she instructed them very carefully on what to write on her behalf. We made sundaes, talked about our praises and requests, and one by one we prayed aloud.

I’m not sharing this to toot my own horn for some brilliant idea because it’s not brilliant (it’s a sundae…and a bribe that worked out like I had hoped) and it took me over a year to resolve to really be committed to this, but here is what I’ve seen God do:

#1 He used my kids to show me something I needed to change

#2 He has created a consistent habit and a potential tradition to pass down for generations

#3 He is created a desire in myself and my children to talk…REALLY talk about IMPORTANT things!

#4 He is showing us how to pray by listening to one another. We’re praying for more than just giving thanks for video games now…we’re praying for the world (Brandon’s request tonight)!

**side note**

Isabella is teaching us that prayer is as simple as sharing what is on our hearts with God. Tonight her prayer was this (paraphrased and shortened as her prayer went on FOREVER)…”Father God, I thank you for loving on me, for my loving on mama, for my loving on grandma, and this is my dog and he eats this play food like this…”

#5 He is showing us that he is real, he does listen, and he does change our hearts, our thoughts, our attitudes, even our desires…my continued prayer is that they see He works for the good of us who love Him even if our prayers aren’t answered like we think they should be.

I’m sure I’ve left things out, but I just wanted to share our Sunday Sundaes with you. It’s powerful! Try it. Share it with your friends.

Our kids might not want to sit and do a devotion everyday, but offer ’em a sundae and introduce them to a real prayerlife and watch God work.

I’m humbled by what I experienced tonight. My heart swells with joy!

Happy Sundae ;D

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Business of Confidence Boosting

When I signed my beauty consultant agreement 7 years ago I honestly didn’t think it would become anything other than a way to get the products I wanted at a discount and maybe sell products to a few close friends and family members.

I found myself attending my first meeting and when asked to introduce myself by saying my name, I cried. I cried the rest of the meeting and drove home thinking I was nuts if I thought I’d be able to attend more meetings and turn this into a business. I was a shy lady and registered darn near 0 on the confidence meter. Seven years later I’ve come to see this business as more than a discount or a little extra money. This business has provided the safe place and perfect nurturing to blossom.

I realized today that it’s not the titles, the freedom to move up when I want, the money, the flexibility, the prizes, the tax deductions, the discounts, or even the friendships that keep me independently working with this company: it’s the passion in boosting other’s confidence through praising them and mentoring them that I most enjoy.

As an Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay I specialize in confidence boosting. I do this through teaching other’s how to care for their skin and apply make up to enhance their unique beauty. I also boost confidence in others by offering them an opportunity to seek their dreams and achieve great things while praising them and encouraging them.

I am blessed beyond measure with the opportunities I have been given and wait in expectant anticipation for the opportunities still to come.

My Boy

Christopher – “Steadfast in Christ”

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My boys is getting baptized tomorrow at our church’s annual beach baptism. I’m reflective this morning. In 9 short years he’s been molded so much through painful and joyous experiences.

As a mommy my heart sometimes hurts thinking I could have done more to protect him from some hurts and yet he just wouldn’t be who he is without what he’s gone through. That’s the truth for all of us. What I take comfort in is knowing that God already knew all that Christopher would experience and He knows what more is to come. I trust the Lord has Christopher’s best interest at heart and am relieved to see that in just 9 years God has done an incredible job with this boy.

Christopher is smart, compassionate, intuitive, he’s an outside of the box thinker, a nurturer when allowed to nurture. He’s wise beyond his years and yet innocent and a child at the same time.
He is unique for sure and my life was forever changed by this boy.

I am his mom and yet he teaches me so much. Even now in preparation for baptism I have learned so much. My greatest lesson right now – that I just have to love him the best I can and leave the rest in God’s hands. He grows and learns in my unconditional love. I must teach him with love, discipline him with love, lead him in love, and humbly learn from him out of love.

Lord, I am in awe of this boy you are molding. I leave him in your capable hands and will take in every second of watching him grow to be the man you made him to be. I am grateful for the opportunity to be his mom. Thank you for choosing me.

Present for You?

Hi, my name is Sophia, and I am a control freak! I have a serious problem. For example, though I strongly dislike laundry (I’d rather clean toilets than do laundry), I have a certain routine and method of folding my laundry so when someone graciously folds my laundry for me, I secretly take it back to my room and refold it. I have the same issue with dishes, morning routines, etc. The list could go on and before you judge me, understand I’m this way because when things go just as they’re supposed to, my day tends to run smoothly.

Let’s be real for a moment though…how often does everything go the way it’s supposed to? I mean, I do have 3 kids who don’t understand mom’s crazy obsession with routines and methods…our days are almost never as planned. So, the other day I was going through the motions of our usual morning routines when Christopher decides it’s a good time to take a minute and play some basketball outside. WHAT?!?!?!?! Our morning routine does NOT include basketball! I stopped for a minute and went out to the garage to tell him to get back to doing what he’s supposed to do and with a smile wide on his face he says, “Hey Mom, watch this”. I sat down and indulged his request much to my delight. The happiness in those 5 minutes of watching him was a gift for me. It was a gift of living in the present. I won’t ever have those same 5 minutes back, but they were well spent.

This same week before homework was finished my boys asked if we could please go to the park for a little while before doing our usual stuff. I first said no and then looked at their disappointed faces and thought…why not? I decided on a compromise and told them when homework was finished we could go for a little bit. Their homework was done in record time and we were headed to the park, but not before my son Brandon hands me a blanket and simply says, “here, Mom, I want you to relax when we go”. This would have been a missed moment had I not taken just a bit of time to indulge in the present.

Later the same day I was driving the same routine for my usual weekday and I found myself caught up in the boring drive wishing we weren’t hitting so many stoplights and as I rolled down my window and breathed in the crisp Fall air and felt the warm sun on my arm I indulged in the present and just thanked God for a minute of pause to enjoy the moment.

In my attempt to have control that I really will never have as it’s not mine to have, I miss out on so many things. It’s my goal to start living more in the present to truly embrace the gift of each moment whether planned or not.

SOAP

S// Romans 9:16-17

It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “”I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth”. 

Romans 9:32-33

Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone”. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.

Romans 9:6-13 (MSG)

Identity is God-determined by promise…she received a special assurance from God…what God did in this case made it perfectly plain that His purpose is not a hit or miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by His decision, flowing steadily from His initiative…God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill….I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies.

O//Everything that is to be will be not because I am capable of bringing it about, but because God sees fit to bring it about. God’s purposes are for sure, per-determined thing. There is a freedom in accepting this truth! The only concern one should have is being ready and willing to live according to God’s purposes for their life. This should give people the confidence to live freely and at peace.

A// I am realizing that there are some things I have a burning desire to pursue and other things I feel God prompting me to do and just when I fully surrender and say “yes” to His call, He changes a circumstance or opportunity. I questioned this recently and am finding more and more that God doesn’t waste anything. My purpose is driven by my unique character, gifts, and talents. God has already determined what He will use me to do. He wants me to be prepared and willing to say yes even if like Abraham with Issac, God decides to use the experience or circumstance only to measure my trust and faith in Him.

My big take away from this is that I don’t need to know the rest of my story – I just need to fulfill God’s purposes for me by using my gifts with every opportunity that comes my way. Trusting that God is then using me for His purpose reveals my trust in Him and will yield a life well lived.

P// Father, You created me to be a somebody. Thank you. Helping me to continue to seek Your plans for my life continually while being more concerned with how You want to use me rather than all the things I think I can do to attain the stuff/things I want. May my purpose always match my efforts and may my efforts always be in line with Your plans for me. Lord, Your promises are imprinted on my heart and as l am always listening for Your voice and promptings, I will always travel down the road You laid out for me. My journey has just begun. I love you, Lord. Praise to you for wanting me. I am honored, humbled, and blessed to be used by You.

“Swim in your OWN lane!”

Yesterday I talked with my dear friend and wedding photographer extraordinaire, Amanda. I LOVE conversations with this lady! God uses her in every conversation to check my walk and for that I am grateful and she is simply irreplaceable!

When Amanda and I talk we typical start out on one topic and skim a million topics by the end of the discussion usually leaving us filled up and ready to go home and reflect to make sense of all the deep life lessons pertinent for the current life experience facing us. Sometimes I don’t even realize there is a lesson to be learned until a particular point from our conversation continues to filter through my thoughts as I read things, pray about things, or experience things in my day.

So this morning I sat down to read The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer (if you are in need of a great Bible Study to improve yourself, this is the study for you) and the title for today’s resolution is “Authentically Me”. I felt this urgency to reread my underlined points from the previous resolution entitled “Purposely Feminine” and this caught my attention:

Refusing to stay in our assigned lane, swerving into a driving position we’re not designed to occupy, will always lead to dissatisfaction…Nothing can truly and ultimately be enjoyed when we’re not willing to remain within our roles and boundaries.

I had a God moment. The most appealing part of my business is that I am able to create my ideal lifestyle and yet this appealing element can sometimes also be the one thing that trips me up the most. Being human,  as soon as I think I’ve created my ideal lifestyle I start to look around and wonder if I’ve created the right one.

As I read this morning and listened for the Lord I can honestly say I am where God wants me to be and I am in the process of creating my ideal lifestyle. My priorities are in tact, my God is in control, I am definitely swimming in my own lane.

I can look around at everyone around me and find reasons I should be swimming in their lane instead of the one I’m in, but as soon as I’m in their lane I’ll look around and find another that looks a bit more appealing for the moment and after trying them all out I’ll find the only one for me is that which the Lord created specifically for me. He made me with all of my gifts and talents  and a specific dream planted on my heart so naturally I will be unsatisfied unless I am living authentically as me.

Whose lane are you swimming in today?

 

add a little sunshine :)

I love the sunshine! Something about the warmth on my skin that makes me beam with joy.

Today in church our message was about God’s daily presence and finding Him in the details.When we take time to reflect on past experiences it is amazing to see how God has worked through the events of our lives, but sometimes finding God when life is not so sunny takes more effort.

I had breakfast with friends today and hours after our conversation my eyes have a new perspective on something. The last four years have been a battle for me. I’ve been on a journey of finding myself, understanding my place in this world, and being okay with where God has me moment to moment. I said to my friend Melissa, “with all that’s going on with people around me I am wondering why my life isn’t so hard right now”. Yes, crazy ol’ me complaining about not facing a hardship?! I simply, jokingly asked, “have I just gotten so used to my hardships that I don’t even consider them hardships anymore?”.

Sitting here I wanted to blog because it’s been a while and I started just to talk about loving this beautiful sunny day that God has blessed me with and now, I am thanking God for giving me new eyes to see that my life isn’t free from hardships. I am still facing many difficulties, but living life in anticipation of what God is doing has turned my hardships into opportunities.

What a joy it is to have peace being wherever God has me. What an encouragement it is to recognize that God made a way for me to have breakfast and great conversation with dear friends this morning that would give me this perspective.

What a blessing it is to belong to a God who loves me enough to be concerned with all of the details of my life.