Sunday, November 9, 2014

Lessons from A to Z ~ A Lesson From Hagar

Every weekday morning, I drive the kids to school. We have 4 minutes in the car together. And I use that time to pray out loud for each of them. I pray over anything specific they have for the day—a test, a project, friend issues. I pray that they will be a blessing to their teachers and peers. I thank God that He loves them so much, that He wants to use them in their school, and that He is with them through the day. And then I open the car door and send them off to their own little worlds of elementary and preschool. Worlds I am not a major part of. I don’t follow them. I can’t see or hear them. But God does.

“You are the God who sees…” ~ Genesis 16:13

I was reminded of this verse last month as I spoke on Hagar at our annual Women’s Breakfast. Her story is a powerful one and can be found in Genesis 16 and 21. In both chapters, Hagar encounters God in the middle of the desert when she is most desperate and alone. She is reminded that: God SEES you, God HEARS you, and God has a PLAN for you.

I love that. I pray this over my children so they will remember this as they enter school: that even where I can’t follow, God is with them and has a plan for them. This has been such a comfort as we work with them through heartbreaking friend drama, frustrating subjects and disciplines that seem oh so hard to master. He sees them in class, He hears them on the playground, and He has a plan for each of them. 

Like Hagar, I pray our family can all say “I have seen the One who sees me.” (Genesis 16:13) Have you seen Him in your life?

Monday, August 18, 2014

From Trash to Treasure

Lessons from A to Z

Abby and Zoe have trash detail in our house. At first, they couldn’t have cared less about the garbage, trash day, or the mundane details like what size of can we had. Until it became their chore and they had to invest time into doing a good job.  It didn’t take long before they started to care that the recycle bins were sorted properly into glass, paper and plastic.  They even looked forward to the promised day we would get the all-encompassing recycle cans in our town.

As you can imagine, the day the larger recycling can came was a day of much rejoicing for them! So much so, that we took these pictures. We could finally fit the vast quantities a family of six recycles. No more stomping down garbage or bagging up the overflow. They ran out to meet the truck, thanking the sanitation workers, and brought the can up our driveway like a found treasure. A treasure! Because that’s what it was now.  A valuable commodity for their investment of time into that chore.

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 

~ Luke 12:34

This verse shows us how wise God was in building us this way. Do you ever wish you cared a little more about something, but honestly just don’t? I have. But there is hope! This verse encourages us to invest in the stuff we know is good and worthy of our concern, even if our heart isn’t in it yet. If we are faithful to place our treasures of time and money into the hurting places of this world, God is faithful to steer our hearts toward those very things. Where is your treasure?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Geometric/Chevron Wall - Before and After

This week I have been working on Resonate Church's offices. We have a Design Team in place and I have ADORED working with these gals, all of whom are studying Design at UofI. I want to go into business with them and be BFFs with them and, and... We have dreamed up some pretty great ideas for this much larger office space. And now we are beginning to administer them. Starting with a small grimy storage room we turned into a modern, clean-lined Conference Room.

Here was our inspiration for the walls:

These images are from one of the Fritz Hansen furniture galleries. Love the chevron inspired geometric wall! It has a mid-century modern vibe too. We want all of this up in here.

This wall is actually a mosaic of different colored wooden parallelograms. But for our wall we used 5 different colors of paint and A LOT of time and tape.  

The colors were inspired by Resonate Church's logo:

Here's how we did it:

Step 1: Choose colors. We chose 2 grays, 2 greens, and 1 white that all worked well together. All Valspar paint.

Step 2: Sketch it out on paper. Doing this on a small scale will help you execute the large wall so much faster. You won't have to second guess the pattern. (Although if you're like me and accidentally paint a shape the wrong color, you may have to make another sketch!)

Step 3: Measure & mark the wall.  Using a measuring tape, level & pencil, carefully (& lightly) draw the shapes on the wall.

Step 4: Mark each piece. To save time, put a dab of each color in their respective places on the wall. This way you won't have to constantly refer back to your graph each time. (The pic below was mid-project, but you can see "dab marks" for the deeper green.)


Step 5: Tape and Paint by Number. Repeat. This takes some time! Put on some good music and tune into the perfectionist in you. Work with one color at a time, taping the outside of that color's shapes. Each color takes 2-3 coats. Remove the tape carefully. If needed, score along the tape edge with an exacto knife to keep the edges clean. Wait until each color is dry before gently taping over it for the neighboring color! This process took a few hours for an 8'6" x 8' wall. But once you get going, you can touch up paint other areas while the current color is drying.

Step 6: Touch up. With this much painting, there will inevitably be touch ups needed. The better you clean up your lines and corners, the sharper your pattern will look. (Below you can see a white gap that needed touching up.)

And here is the final result of the wall in our small 8 1/2 foot wide conference room:

We love this fresh geometric take on the chevron. So graphic!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Lessons from A to Z ~ I Have Not Come for the Well

Last month we geared up for another fancy Easter at our house. I got out our best china and laid out the kids’ fancy Easter clothes. All to celebrate what Christ came for…NOT the fancy. Not the people that “have it all together”. But for the sick, the lost, the people that have it all falling apart.  This has caused me to seriously re-think my approach.

So this Easter had special meaning when we got the opportunity to spread love and the Easter Message to the kids at Syringa—the low-income trailer park that Resonate has adopted. Here's how it happened this Easter:

I was out of town, speaking to women (about this very topic), when I received an email from one of our Syringa team members: “We had the wrong dates for the Easter Party at Syringa. It is TOMORROW and they need 30 baskets and an egg hunt!” It was too short of notice to do much, and I couldn’t start making calls in the middle of a conference. I said a quick prayer for helpers to rise up, and left it in God’s hands.

The next day, Chad texted me the following pictures. (No, I hadn't called him about this.)
Xavier & Zander help deliver baskets.
He had seen my email and took action! That morning he called people to sponsor baskets. Then he, the kids & the team met at Walmart and bought everything for 30 baskets. Then they went to Syringa, filled the baskets, had a party and played with our little friends there. I was so proud of my family! (And of Chad for knowing my heart for this! 1000 extra bonus husband points for Chad!)
30 baskets filled and ready for kids!
A close-up of each basket, filled with goodies and Easter info.

Egg Hunt on the lawn of newly re-opened community center.

We are learning as we go, folks. But this became the highlight of our Easter week by far! Easter is too good of news to keep it as a fancy church affair. It is news worth sharing, worth taking a basket to a child, a ham to a neighbor, or an egg hunt to a slum. It is worth taking the message of Christ to his prime audience: those who are not well yet.

Some of the team, our kids and Syringa kids.

And Jesus answered them, 
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 
I have not come to call the righteous but the sinners to repentance.”
~ Luke 5:31-32 ~

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Waking Up to A Call

The other morning I woke up with a voice mail on my phone - left at 1:30am from a CPS Case Worker. Police had taken a 3 & 4 year old brother and sister into custody in the middle of the night. (You can imagine the circumstances.) The Case Worker was looking for an emergency foster family for them immediately, for a few days until long term placement could be found. We called back right away and left messages. We never heard back, hopefully they found a good emergency placement, and then another good foster home.

I share this for a few reasons.

#1 Its easy to forget that there is a hidden epidemic going on. Children, unprotected, waiting for a safe place in the middle of the night. This is a real thing. This is a need in all of our neighborhoods. And its growing. Maybe you are being "called" to step out and answer this need. Maybe you are called to help support someone else to do this. Maybe you are called to pray regularly.

#2 No, we are not looking to foster more kids! I'm at capacity, both in our house and in my life. BUT GOD. But God called us at 1:30am. But God gave us a home and a heart. But we have one more bed... its the one we were sleeping in when we got this call. Surely a couch is fine for Chad and I for a few nights while a couple precious kids sleep in our bed.

#3 Sometimes I'm a little afraid I'll turn into the crazy old lady down the street with 20 kids. I'm pretty sure I would be crazy. But our hearts still break over this.

So I share this not to upset or bother anyone. (Well maybe just a little.) I share this because its just the facts. And I have to squeak this wheel... and hope for a little grease. GOD has a plan for these children.  It is His church. (Us!)  Not sure how or who. But maybe someone else reading this will be prompted to "wake up" to a call.

James 1:27 ~ Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

* Note: For more information on how to help be a resource to foster kids, follow this link:

* Please consider being a Respite Provider (get certified to watch foster kids every once in a while, providing a break for their foster families), or a certified Driver (driving foster kids to and from visitations).

* Below is a flyer with helpful information on other ways you can help.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter - All In Pink

This year we hosted about 40 people and decorated in pink, white, and a little gray (represented in our silver and the newspaper eggs I made on the cheap. Here are a few pics of the day:

A little chalk board art from our kitchen... "He is risen!" "He is risen indeed!" (Does anyone else teach their kids this greeting and response every year? I'm afraid it is a little bit of a lost greeting in this generation. But I digress.)

We started the morning with Easter baskets for the kids and an Easter egg hunt in the living room. Then Chad headed to church (the price of being a pastor!) and the kids and I ate a yummy breakfast of quiche, cinnamon rolls and fruit.  We put the final touches on ourselves and the house (so it was ready for the par-tay!) and headed out the door for church at Resonate

Here's how the house looked when the guests arrived:

The kitchen table - branches adorned with blown-out eggs in pink, white, and newspaper. Antique linen with a pink border topped the table that could seat twelve.

The dining table, seating six, got a smaller centerpiece, including a matching antique linen napkin.

Silverware was wrapped in pink napkins secured with twine. A drink station was set up at the end of the buffet.

A mix of antique china for the adults and sturdier white plates for the kids started the buffet line.

A stack of dessert plates and extra napkins lay in wait for the dessert buffet later.
Homemade Easter cookies also lay in wait - yum!

Fresh strawberries in a beautiful crystal pedestal.

Outside on the back deck, tables in white linen topped with pink primroses overlooked the yard.

The kids' table was wrapped with butcher paper, play-doh and colored pencils.
A bench for kids to put their empty baskets - all waiting for the BIG egg hunt in our yard after lunch.
We had so much fun with our friends! Everyone brought amazing food for our Easter Potluck. After lunch & dessert (& very full tummies), the guys scattered and hid around 200 eggs in our backyard for the kids to hunt. And we watched in entertaining amazement as the 12 kids found every one in about 4 minutes! (Including knocking them out of very tall trees!) So cute, so impressive!

Some Easter touches on our kitchen shelves.

A little close up of a sweet springtime card a got from a friend, and a basket of  extra pink and newspaper eggs.

Here's a close up of the eggs - dyed pink and Mod-Podged in newspaper. Fun, cheap  and easy!

As the last guests left, we had a pretty clean house and yard still (except for a stack of china in the sink).  Chad and the kids sacked out for a few hours - tired from the yard work and cleaning we all did on Saturday and a full day of fun, friends and food on Sunday. Although I'm sadly missing pictures of the actual party guests and our family, I do have this picture of the napping aftermath... Adorable.

Zander and Daddy napping in their matching and blue gingham shirt and bow tie.

What a great day of celebrating the GREATEST gift! Christ died so that we may live, and live abundantly. What a beautiful picture of Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy, Sacrifice and Love. There is no greater reason to celebrate. He covered our sins, He conquered death. He is risen!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Yellow and Green Easter

Here are pictures from another Easter we hosted a few years back at our last house. I love moss, so this was a fun theme to decorate for! I went on a "moss hunt" the morning before, gathering all sorts of moss from here and there around town. I created green mossy knolls on silver platters for mini daffodils to peak out from. It was fairly easy and a lot of fun to create!

Mossy knolls were built up around mini daffodils, creating our yellow and green theme.

The mossy rocks on either side were purchased at the dollar store (a bag of them for a buck!)

Here's a close up of the eggs. And you can see another one on the coffee table in the background.
I rolled the eggs in coffee grounds when they were still wet with dye, to give them a natural look.
I loved how the earthy speckles on the eggs complemented the earthy moss they were nestled in.

We used our different collections of white china - with gold and silver rims, and green leaves & blossoms.

Another close up of some of our yellow and green eggs and decor.

Outside the yellow, white & mossy green theme greeted guests.

I filled yellow wire baskets ($1 ea) with free moss and yellow pansies.
A large basket greeted guests - to put their filled eggs in to be hidden for the kids later.

Abby shows off her favorite egg she dyed herself.

Zoe shows off one of her eggs. This was three years ago, she looks so young!

A gorgeous spring day on the Palouse. I miss this huge old yard for its amazing views of the surrounding fields.

What a beautiful day to celebrate and what a fun way to do it! I hope you all have a wonderful Easter.  I look forward to sharing about how this year's Easter decor is shaping up. But above all, I love celebrating the whole meaning of Easter - Christ died, so that we may live. What a precious picture of LOVE. There is nothing more beautiful.

~ 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 ~  
15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves 
but for him who died for them and was raised again.  
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. 
Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] 
The old has gone, the new is here!