Wednesday, February 29, 2012


The dictionary defines an epiphany in two ways:

1. A sudden realization: a sudden intuitive leap of understanding, especially through an ordinary but striking occurrence

2. The appearance of God

Wade and I have the opportunity this weekend to help with something called Epiphany Ministries. If you have ever heard of or been on a Walk to Emmaus or Chrysalis weekend, this is similar, but adapted for a juvenile prison.

“Epiphany ministries is a short three-day course in Christianity that brings to incarcerated juveniles the message of God’s love, grace and forgiveness. It is an ecumenical (nondenominational) Christian ministry for young people who are in custody.”

We are very thankful for this opportunity to minister to a completely different group that normal and to get out of our comfort zones. We’re not totally sure of what to expect but we do know that God is going before us and with us, so let’s go!

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive, but my desire to share Christ’s love outweighs staying home and doing nothing. It’s  also a spiritual check for me…I mean I have to put aside stereotypes that I may have. I really have to mean that Jesus can forgive you NO MATTER WHAT and that He can make you a NEW CREATION! Sometimes just knowing those things in your head is easier than living them out and sharing them with those you know have done some “bad” stuff. But I do believe that Jesus offers forgiveness to everyone, no matter what! And I want to share the greatest news on earth with these boys…JESUS LOVES THEM and YOU!

We would ask for you to be praying for us this weekend. If you would commit to praying for us as some point during this weekend, would you please leave a comment on our blog or Facebook? In this setting we definitely need all the praying people we can get! We will be writing everyone’s names on strips of paper that are praying in order to form a HUGE paper chain as visual for the boys that people they don’t even know care about them and are praying for them. We are told this normally makes a really big impact on the boys.

We are praying for an epiphany in both senses of the word – that the boys will have a new understanding of Jesus’ love for them and that God will show up and move and work in all of our hearts.

Thank you in advance and I look forward to adding many names to our chain!

Friday, February 24, 2012


My parents started my brother and me on puzzles at a very young age and I have loved them ever since. I like how all the colors and shapes mix together in the box just asking to be sorted and fit together. DSC01821

The easiest part of putting the puzzle together is finding all the edge pieces. The frame comes together rather quickly and I foolishly think, “Man, I am so good at putting puzzles together. I got this frame together so quickly! I’m sure I’ll be done with this baby in no time…” Then the real work begins. Looking at all the pieces clumped together gets to be a little daunting, but since I trust that all the pieces are there, and that they fit together, I dig in.

DSC01819Hands start sifting and turning all the pieces over right side up, separating them into piles that are similar in color. When that’s done, I usually just stare at all the pieces, pick here and there and realize this may take a little longer than I thought and maybe I’m not such a great puzzler after all… time for a break, lol.

I force myself to step away and do something else, but before long all the pieces laying strewn across our dining table call me back.

Getting that first piece of a group started is usually the hardest part. It’s so weird that I know all the pieces are there but it just takes a while to figure out how they all fit together. I usually don’t even look at the exact color that’s on the piece. Instead, I look for an odd shaped edge and find the partner. Little by littleDSC01820 I am able to figure out what goes where and to my surprise, sometimes the pieces were laying right by each other for a while, but until I got more of them in the right place, I just couldn’t see it. I also realize that many of the pieces I thought looked like the right color, are in the wrong group or that a piece I was searching for didn’t look anything like I thought it would.

While I was working on the puzzle tonight, I was thinking about how much of  life is that way. Our whole life is this puzzle, full of millions of pieces. When I try to make sense of them all, I usually get bewildered, but little by little God starts to DSC01822show me how the pieces fit together. Ah ha moments come and all I can think is, wow. There certainly are pieces of my life that look totally different than I would have originally thought, but the Lord is constantly putting things in order and making a beautiful picture. Sometimes things happen that we can’t imagine being able to fit into the puzzle of our lives and they might just lay there in our heart for a while, until one day, we see just how perfectly that piece does fit. One little grouping will come together and then we move to a new part of the picture of our lives and the process begins again.

If you are in a place in your life where you can’t imagine how the pieces could ever fit together, don’t give up; don’t get discouraged. It may take a while but God knows what the completed picture looks like and He never stops putting things together until it is totally finished.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:16-17

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Girls’ Night Out

What do you get with 4 women together without their husbands?

Lots of hilarious stories, laughter, encouragement and dessert!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The List Continues…

I am still counting the things I am thankful for throughout the day. Some days I definitely have a more thankful heart than others but my list reminds me to keep looking, to keep counting.

256. Kind words from my husband

257. A gentle smile

268. Green grass poking through last year’s dead remains

269. Mom has felt good for a few days

287. 1500 piece puzzles

289. Tiny spider webs laced with dew glistening in the morning sun

more to come…

Monday, February 20, 2012

If At First You Don’t Succeed…



Try, try again :)

I love learning how to do new things! Sewing, woodworking, basketball playing, metal stamping…riding horses..all of these were things I didn’t know how to do at one time, but now I do!

One of the things I’ve wanted to learn how to do for a while is play guitar. My brother started playing when he was in high school and just had such a natural talent for it. He was playing full Metallica songs within a couple weeks of picking it up! My experience was not quite the same. My hands just felt so awkward…I couldn’t get that guitar to make any kind of pretty sound! I was also way too busy with basketball to really give the time it required to learn. So, couple having a brother who is awesome at playing and my awkwardness and you get…someone who doesn’t try to play guitar.

But every time I hearDSC01817 a song that has a guitar piece that I like, I think, “man, I would love to be able to just sit and play a few songs I love, especially praise songs!” So why wait any longer?

My dad was kind enough to lend his guitar to me to start learning on. I went and picked up some light strings and one of my friends strung it up for me.

The first day was much the same as the last time I had attempted to learn how to play over 10 years ago…awkward. I spent an hour trying to get my fingers to play the G cord…all I ended up with was sore fingers and an ugly sound.

I won’t be discouraged this time though and I can now play a G, C, and D. I’m still a long ways from playing a song, but little by little I’ll get there.

I hope that if there is something that you have been wanting to learn how to do, that you will go for it! Start by researching it more and getting a few small tools that will help you begin.

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Follow a Blog and Add it to Your Sidebar

Since joining the blogging world, I have learned A LOT and still have A LOT to learn.

One of fun things about blogging is finding other people's blogs that you enjoy reading. You can then decide to "Follow" their blog. By following someone's blog you are saying that you want to keep up with what they post.

To follow a blog through Blogger, first <i>Log In</i> to your account. Logging in takes you to the <i>Dashboard</i>.
On your Dashboard there is an area that says "Blogs I'm Following."
Beneath that are two buttons that say "Add" or "Manage"
Click the <i>Add</i> button.
After clicking the "Add" button you will type in the web address of the blog you want to follow or you can copy the blog address and paste it into the URL spot.
This address doesn't have to be from a "Blogger" blog.

There are different blogging sites. For example, Blogger, WordPress, Livejournal, Xanga, Open Diary and list goes on...

Under <i>Manage Blogs</i> click <i>Design</i> and that will take you to a new page.

Once you click Design, on the right hand side click "<i>Add a Gadget."</i>
This will cause a box to pop up. This box will have lots of cool things you can add to your blog, but scroll down until you see "<i>Blog List</i>" and click.
The box will disappear and you will be able to see where that gadget was added to the right hand side of your page.
Next to Blog List click on "<i>Edit</i>."

Here you can customize your settings.
Add the name of the title you want. Our says, "Our Blog List."
Then you have the option of how you want the blogs you follow to be sorted. Choose from <i>alphabetically</i> or by <i>most recently updated</i>.

I prefer to sort mine by most recently updated because I can see who has posted something new.

Next decide what info you want to show up. I like to see the Icon, Title of Most Recent Item and the Date of Last Update.

After that, click the "<i>Add to List</i>" button. You can type or paste in the blog URL or you can choose from a list of blogs you are already following already by clicking on "Blogs I'm Following."
If you click on "Blogs I'm Following," just click on the boxes next to the blogs you want to be able to see updates on from your blog page.
The cool thing about having the blogs you follow on the side bar of your blog page is that it allows the people that follow your blog and read it regularly to see who you like to follow and when the most recent post was.

Last "<i>SAVE</i>."

Click "View Blog" to see what it looks like on your page.

There are so many ways to follow blogs. To find out more ways, check out the following blog posts that are specifically geared to help you learn more about blog following. I am interested to learn more about the different ways myself!


<a href='' target='_self'>I Believe in Love</a> -- Google Reader tutorial

<a href='' target='_self'>Studio JRU</a> -- Linky Followers tutorial

<a href='' target='_self'>Beyond Words Designs</a> -- BlogLovin' tutorial

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Languages

This is the day for LOVE so let's talk about it!

Does it sometimes feel like you and the person you love are speaking a completely different language? Well, you really might be!

In Gary Chapman's book, The Five Love Languages, he touches on the different ways people receive and express love.

Love Language #1: Words of Affirmation
--Compliments, words of encouragement and requests rather than demands

Love Language #2: Quality Time
--Spending quality time through sharing, listening, and participating in joint meaningful activities

Love Language #3: Receiving Gifts
--These can be purchased or made by yourself

Love Language #4: Acts of Service
--Your loved one does things for you (ex. taking out the trash, picking up the bathroom, mowing the lawn, etc..)

Love Language #5: Physical Touch
--may be the smallest touch on the shoulder or a deep kiss

People definitely give and receive love in different ways. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that how we feel most loved is the way the other person feels most loved. For example, if I feel most loved by spending quality time with a person, I might think that that's the best way to show my love as well. I think by spending time with that person, they will know that I love them, when in actuality they may enjoy spending time with you but not really feel loved because their love language is receiving gifts.

To find out what your love language is Gary says we should ask the following questions:

**What do you request most?

**What makes you feel most loved?

**What hurts you deeply?

**What do you desire most of all?

I think it's very important to try and figure out what your personal love language is and what the love language of your spouse is AND then to communicate that to each other. If you don't find this out, you both could be trying to show each other you love one another, but neither one is really feeling as loved as they could.

After finding out your love languages, put it into action! Their love language may not be your particular favorite thing to do, but out of love, you can sacrifice and show your spouse that you love them in the way that is most meaningful to them. Watch and see how they respond!

(these same love languages apply to each person and so can apply to any relationship, be that of a friend or your own child, but I think it's most important to start with whomever is closest to you)

Click on The Five Love Languages to learn more.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Spring Wreath

So, February arrived and the Christmas wreath was still hanging on the door...time to do something about it! I took the old wreath off about a week ago and since then, every time I come home, I have to double check to make sure I'm at the right apartment, lol.

I didn't want to go out and buy anything. Wreaths are so expensive and they're so seasonal...why spend money? I took apart the wreath I had made for Christmas and started new.
I had some scraps left from a bag and quilt I had made that were perfect spring colors!
At first I thought I was going to need the hot glue gun, but it was even easier than that!

I just cut strips of fabric that were about one inch wide. I tried making them thinner, but they didn't stand up the way I wanted. I varied the length of the strips.

The I just started tying them on. I mixed up the colors and patterns. I remembered I had a little burlap so I threw that in. It added a nice feel.

Ta da! I still want to add some faux spring flowers, but for now, this is great :)

Now I'll know for sure I'm at the right apartment :D

Check my friend, Jennifer's, blog out at Studio JRU to see what she has been up to as well in her "Sneak Peak Friday" and find links to other great blogs!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


February -- the month of LOVE. In a culture that has distorted the word so much, what does it really mean to love? Let's go to the one source that never lies and is always true...the Bible.

Here is the definition of Love:

Love is patient,
love is kind.
It does not envy,
it does not boast,
it is not proud.
It is not rude,
it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth.
It always protects,
always trusts,
always hopes,
always perseveres.
Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Wow, what a stark contrast to what is shown in the media.

To love like it says in Corinthians may seem impossible but as Christians we have the never ending source of love inside of us in the person of Jesus Christ.

Wade pointed out to me one time that Jesus' name can be substituted in every place where it says love in 1 Corinthians 13. I had never thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense because Jesus is love.

Without Jesus, it's impossible to truly love.

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

So, why do we love? Because He first loved us.

There are many types of love but in this post I am writing about a marital love relationship.

We are being bombarded by a culture telling us that we are loved because of what we look like and what we accomplish. Love is also seen as a feeling, something that can change.

The Bible tells us we are loved because of who we are -- children of the Most High God. The Bible tells that love is an action.

Before Wade and I got married, we were at a college church service where the pastor talked about true love. He spoke of something I had never put together before, nor had I ever heard before in all my years of going to church.

Where are our marriage vows taken?

At the altar.

What is an altar?

The altar is a place of death, a place of sacrifice.


So why at the altar?
When we commit to a person in marriage, we are committing to die to ourself, to sacrifice everything for them.

Are you loving that way today?

There will definitely be times that we fail. I know that I do. When I do, I ask for forgiveness from the Lord and from Wade, then I start again, remembering that when I draw strength from Jesus, He makes it possible for me to love like I never thought I could -- a 1 Corinthians 13 type of love.

Go to Jennifer's post, He First Loved Us, for a fun, quick and easy tutorial on how to make this heart garland.