Archives for September 2012

Girl’s Night Out

Written By Amy

                                                

Jen and Kristi

Jen and I are a part of a Supper/Book Club that started a few months ago.  If you have had any inkling to gather a group of women around food and a good book, this is for you!  Here is how it works:

1.The hostess picks a book for the group to read.  She then sends out an Evite (or similar type invitation) to the women with the book name, date and time of the dinner, which will be at her house (usually giving the group 6 weeks to read the book).

2. A few weeks before the designated night, the hostess sends out recipes to the group themed from the book everyone is reading.  For example, the first book our group read was Hunger Games, and the hostess found recipes of food eaten in Katniss’s district and the Capitol.   The recipes are put on Evite or Lucky Pot Luck, and everyone signs up for the dish they want to bring.

3. As the night arrives, the hostess has time to decorate her house as much or as little as she wants to fit the book theme because she is not cooking anything for that night.  Creating table centerpieces is a great way to be creative! (for example, wildflowers for Hunger games).  She also types up questions for the book discussion. Her other responsibility is to put together all of the recipes to hand out to the guests at the end of the night, along with a themed gift bag if she wants.

You can be as creative and fun as you want with this!

A few Friday nights ago, my friend Liz and I teamed up to be hostesses.  Liz coordinated and planned all the food (because she is a wonderful cook!) and I hosted the night at my house.  We did the decorating planning together.

The book we picked was All The Flowers In Shanghai, a historical fiction novel about a young  Chinese woman’s journey into adulthood during the 1930’s.  So of course, our theme for food and the night was Chinese.  Here are some pictures of our night together:

Bamboo, rock and water centerpieces

 

Add:  Guests!

This is an amazing group of women.  Some of us go back several years when we were raising wee ones together in MOPS, others have met over the past few years.  We laughed so hard this night, and screamed a little when a spider crawled up my shirt in the middle of our conversation.

Liz, Amy, Emily

Muriel, Stacy, Paula

In the picture above you can see a red Chinese Floating Lantern in a glass bowl.  We had several of these with lit candles that were beautiful when the sun went down.

Hilary and Stephanie

At the end of the night, the girls left with a Chinese take-out box filled with a new set of chopsticks, their name tag, and an oragami flower.  We made sure they didn’t forget the recipes from the night either.

I encourage you to start a group of your own!

MYSTERY: Who is the word?

Written by Jen

Hey y’all.  I am not claiming to be a great Bible Study writer or writer in general.  (You have enough evidence of this if you regularly read my posts!)   However, I wanted to create a Bible Study to do with our family that goes along with what we are learning at church.  I will post the message from church and then I will add the Bible Study!  I thought there may be other famlies who would like to have some devotional time too.  It is written with my children in mind.  I think this is most ideal for those who already attend Flatirons Community Church, but anyone could use it!  I would recommend the adults listen to the talk first, but this is not necessary, just an idea.  For the record, I am not on staff at Flatirons and have no affiliation, other than attending Flatirons Church, so if I royally mess anything up, blame me, not them.  I love the idea that we are all learning the same thing.  I am taking their great ideas and trying to take it to the next level with our kids.  Enough with the disclaimers!

 

Here is the sermon: B.C 9.15.12

Here is a fun devotional/Bible Study to do with your kids!  Click the link below to view and print.

John 1:1-17: Mystery; Who is the WORD? Lesson 1.

 

My Week in a Nutshell

Written By Jen

My friends ROCKED this week!  I had a crappy week and I had so much to be thankful for because of my friends.   How are the friendships in your life these days?  Look at the positive in your friendships.  Don’t get me wrong, my friendship life is not perfect. In fact, my feelings in friendships can be all over the map.  Those moments I tell myself to get a grip and realize all that I have to be thankful for.

My challenge to you this weekend is be a good friend.  Think about the friends in your life you care about and do something to be a good friend, to at least one of them.  Why?  Because, friendships take nourishing.  They are work and we so often take them for granted, but friendships make us better.  Here are some ideas, call them and leave them a  message, send them a text or an email, bring them a treat, go on a brisk morning walk with one, drop by with a favorite thing to share, invite them to an outing, help them, pray for them or with them, be generous, be kind, be intentional, be gracious.  I would love to hear about a friend you are thankful for this week.  Give them a shout out!  This week I have been really thankful for friends!  They made my week SO much better.  I had a stressful week.  My friends, some with and some without knowing just how stressed I was, made my week so much better.  They inspired me and made me want to be a better friend, like they are! 🙂  I am thankful for all of you!  Here is a little shout out to just a few of the many friends who made my week.

Amanda gave our house some football rivalry love and dropped by a plate of the most amazing sugar cookies.  They were delicious!  They were as sweet as she is!  I felt loved. Here is the recipe. YUM!  I let my kids have these for breakfast Sunday morning:)

Thick, Soft, Sugar Cookies! MMMM! Amanda made these for me and they were gone so fast. I only had 3 left to take a picture of! Click on the picture for the recipe!

Erika and I have been walking in the mornings.  Even though we both lack sleep. It gets us up and moving and I look forward to it!  It’s a great way to start my day.  Guess what we saw today?  The leaves are starting to turn yellow.  Signs of fall!  She also got a good laugh this week when avoiding a sprinkler I jumped into the grass and fell into a hidden pool of swamp water.  We push her 1-year-old in the stroller and he always good for some smiles along the way.  Cute little guy!  Somehow today he managed to get us to hold him like this while the other pushed the stroller.

My morning walking buddies! Thankful!

 

I sent a most delicious pumpkin muffin to a friend and she loved it and then made them for her kids and they loved it!  Recipe here:) Doing a little something nice for a friend is such a good vibe.  Giving is powerful.

A girlfriend just dropped by some ornaments she thought I would love for our love of seussical christmas trees!  Super nice Jess, you made my day!

Amy responded to a little idea I threw out to her and was super encouraging.  I was thankful for her time!

My husband and kids dropped by Muriel’s house while doing and errand for me.  After she sent me a sweet text.

I called Kristi and her voice just makes me smile.

I sent out an S.O.S. to a dear friend in the photography business and I received an immediate, helpful, wise and gracious call.  I am so thankful it makes me teary, because I really needed a friend. Thankful to my favorite photographer: Joshua South Photography.  This is the husband of one of my life long friends. I miss, love and admire her always!  I can’t think of them and not smile right now!

This is Josh and Rebecca on their wedding day. LOVE YOU TWO.

Kristina and I had a heart to heart, always interrupted with life, always ending with love you friend.

This is the best picture we could get of the two of us with the camera on a timer and the kids in the car anxiously waiting lunch. This was shot last year.

Stacey invited my daughter out for her favorite food.  Fun and thoughtful.  She has also been super sweet as always, this week, especially:)

Erin has been gracious.  I took her pictures last weekend and they were good, because her family is gorgeous, but not my best work.  I need a redo. She has been gracious.  Here is a glimpse of a few of the good pictures.  They really are a beautiful family.  I took one of my favorite photos ever this shoot.  It’s this precious picture.  LOVE it.

One of my all time favorite moments that I shot. Precious. Moments like this make me LOVE my job. They happen all the time and they move me.

Emily and I have a common excitement these days! Hehe, Norwex, who would have thought cleaning would be bonding?

My husband has been praying with my tired grumpy self in the morning and it makes my morning.  Oh and he has been waking us all up to music.  It starts the morning out right.  He has been so awesome and encouraging lately.  When I start working more the load of life falls onto him more and he has been so awesome and helpful and loving to me lately.  Thankful.

I just can’t explain how much friendships mean to me.  They take effort, time, thoughtfulness, forgiveness and grace.  Lots of forgiveness and grace at least with the good old ones.  Life always gets messy and you hurt each others feelings, you feel left out and misunderstood and annoyed…. I mean we are human.  Forgive and move on and be a friend.  It is worth it!  Focus on the positive.  Do the things you enjoy together.  There are seasons in life and friendship.  Be flexible.  Give grace.  My challenge to you is to make an effort to love on a friend this weekend, for the sake of kindness and friendship with thankfulness.  Thanks friends for helping me get through the week.  Love you all!  Those mentioned and those not mentioned… LOVE YOU.

Maddie’s Prayer

Written By Amy

Ashley And Maddie

 

I wanted to share a prayer that my daughter, Maddie (10), wrote this past Sunday morning during a family devotional time.  When I first read it, I was touched by the simplicity of the prayer, reminding me that my prayers to God don’t need to be complicated and full of words, just an honest outpouring of my heart.

It is with her permission that I share it (and if you know her you will believe she was very excited when I asked if I could share this on my blog…no shyness with this one!)

Dear God,

God you’re a magnificent God.  You made the heaven and the trees.  You created  heaven so that people can have a good place to look forward to when they die.  I praise you God because you are an amazing God.

Please forgive me for when I lie.  I have gotten way better because you have helped me.

Thank you for an amazing dog and family.   They have blessed me with so many things.  And thank you for amazing friends like Ashley.  She is so sweet.

Please put your holy spirit inside of people so they can become Christians and follow you, God.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Maddie

All Fall

written by Jen

I am writing this post because I have been struggling lately with religious people.  Religious people make it seem like you can’t get to God because you are not good enough.  That is irritating, because according to the Bible the exact opposite is true.  Because you are not good enough, Christ died for you to bring you to God.  (While we were still sinners Christ died for us.  When we are completely not good enough, God is fully aware we are not, that is when He showed the greatest love for us.)   This truth is complicated, yet simple.  I took a stab and it and probably just failed at it.  But, I tried.  My point is don’t let religious people block you from Jesus.  When they make you feel like you aren’t good enough, well, you aren’t, but neither are they.  That’s why the gospel is such GOOD NEWS.  It’s great news; it’s awesome, because we aren’t good enough.  God sent Jesus as a gift, His one and only perfect son on our behalf, because he knew we weren’t enough.  The penalty of sin is high it’s death.  He sent His son to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.  Jesus lived a life with out sin.  Jesus lived a life of perfect grace and truth.  Then, Jesus payed the penalty for our sin, death.  He conquered it.  He mastered it.  He beat it.  He rose from the dead and offers us life.  His blood shed for our sin.  He took on the penalty of our sin.  When you feel like you are not enough, good enough, religious enough, you are aware of how royally you screwed it up, again, let Jesus, fill the gap, He is perfect and perfectly aware that we are not.  That is why he came, lived and died.  If you can believe it, and receive it, it is such good news.  Well, here I go….  my lame attempt to combat the religious linebackers, those blocking themselves and others from what God freely offers to all who believe.  Grace.

 

Religion did and does not draw me to God.  It is the person of Jesus and the Bible that draws me to him.  To me, religion is jumping through hoops to look good on the outside and try to earn favor with God.  Exhausting.  Why, because I am a sinner in need of a savior.  EVERY DAY, I fall short.  I miss the mark.  I am not trying to be hard on myself here, just honest.  There is a LOT of space for grace in my life because I fall short ALL THE TIME.  You too?  Instead of trying to fill up my shortcomings with religion or try and hide them I am just going to acknowledge there is space for grace in my life.  How about you?  Do you have space for grace?  Instead of trying to cover up or make up for all the ways I just am not enough, how about if I just simply acknowledge, “Yeah, I really need Jesus.”  How about when my kids fall short, when they aren’t perfect or enough, instead of being embarrassed or ashamed, I just admit, “Yeah, they need Jesus too.”  Just like me, they need His perfect love and forgiveness and his grace.  The things only he can offer because HE IS GOD and He DIED for our sins.  HE carried that weight and that burden.  For the record, I do not claim to have it all together.  I am a sinner.  I miss the mark all the time.  I screw up and I fall short.  So if you do too, you are in good company with me.  I do not claim to be religious, but to be a believer and follower of Jesus.  He took on our sin on the cross and His blood is shed for my and your sin.  So whoever believes, HE PAID the death penalty for my sin and yours too.  THERE IS NOT ONE GOOD DEED I can add to the marvelous work HE did for us on the cross.

 

According to Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Who has sinned? ALL.  Yes all have sinned. I can tell you for me, everyday when I look in the mirror I can say, “Yep, I fell short today.”  I missed the mark.  Imagine a bull’s-eye and anything off the perfect center, is missing the mark.  It doesn’t matter if you are off by a little or a lot, if you are not perfect, you missed it.

 

Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  What our sin earns us, the wage of sin, is death.  Everyday. God offers us a gift, and we can’t ADD to the gift.  It is HIS GIFT TO US.  Not his gift, plus our good deeds.  We just can’t be good enough.  It is your choice to receive the gift or not.  What is the gift? It’s eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  You don’t have to receive it, but you also can’t add to it.  It’s not God’s gift of Jesus plus your religious deeds.  JESUS met the standard, because God knows we can’t.  That is why it is GOOD NEWS.  No need to fake it.  Jesus did it.

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”  What have we been saved by?  GRACE.  Through are we saved what?  FAITH.  Can we save ourselves?  Are our good deeds enough?  NO, this is NOT FROM YOURSELVES.  How are we saved then?  IT IS A GIFT OF GOD.  But, I am trying so hard…..It is NOT BY WORKS, SO THAT NO ONE CAN BOAST.

 

I get frustrated with religion and religious people.  Why?  Because I look at them and think, I can’t do all that.  I can’t jump through those hoops.  They will find out, I will be only an imposter and sooner or later someone will find out.  I am not religious enough.  The truth is, I am not, but neither are they.  The truth about me is, I fall short.  I mess up.  I can’t save myself.  Acting like I can only makes the truth of Jesus seem out of grasp for others.  I am only fooling myself.   When we say look how good and strong we are.  We are so good and religious.  Look at our obedience, look at our sacrifice, we are so….. BOASTING.  That is boasting.  We all have space for grace.  We all have shortcomings.  Let Jesus fill the gap when you realize you are not enough.  He knows we are not enough.  Faith in Christ, God’s gift to us, saves us by grace.  We miss the mark.  I miss the mark.  I don’t measure up.  If you don’t either, you are in good company with me and even better company with Jesus.  HE made the mark.

 

2 Corinthians 5:20-21 says, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

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