Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Advent 2015

I try to make Christmas special.  Since Hudson’s second Christmas (6 month old babies don’t really care about Christmas) I’ve done daily advent activities through the month of December.  Here’s 2013 and 2014.  Last year, I spent a ton of time preparing something for everyday: a gift, a craft, a family activity, etc… but about halfway to Christmas I noticed something I didn’t like.  Hudson started asking where his little gift was for the day.  Some days I forgot to set it out the night before (it happens y’all) and he’d ask for it.  That bothered me because I really don’t like entitlement.  James noticed it as well so we decided last Christmas that this Christmas’ activities would be simpler and other-focused.  So here’s what I’ve come up with.

1.  Daily Bible Reading. We usually use the JesusStorybook Bible for the daily devotions, but we’ve read it so much.  To freshen things up a bit, we’re reading from The Big Picture Bible.  Hudson actually picked this Bible from his collection.  I also downloaded and printed these advent scripture reading cards.  Bonus is that they’ll make a cute banner when pinned up after we’ve read the scripture.

2. Daily Prayer for Friends, Family, and Church Family.  I did this at Easter with the easter eggs and really liked it.  So I made little construction paper ornaments (fancy, haha) and wrote names of our close friends, family, and church families on there.  Daily, Hudson can pick an ornament naming whom we will pray for then he’ll tape it to his paper tree.

3. Still some special stuff.  There will still be some special gifts throughout the month, but nothing extravagant.  He’ll open his Fisher-Price Little People Nativity which he actually remembers from last year.  He’ll get a special ornament for his tree.  We’ll decorate a ginger bread house and go see Christmas lights.  Plus we always do the Christmas Eve box thing since I’m mean and don’t allow any presents to be opened on Christmas Eve.  That’s all I have planned specifically.  We have a ton of Christmas movies and videos so I’m sure we’ll watch through whenever.  And we have a gazillion Christmas books, both secular and religious, that we’ll read just like we read daily anyway.

I'm trying something new - art journalling through advent scriptures. Here's my first one and it's definitely not pinterest-worthy.  But I am enjoying it so far and it is stretching me to think about the scriptures in a way to illustrate them.  Hudson (who hates all things artsy - not enough action) has asked for his own journal to draw in so he'll start tomorrow.  Who knows maybe he'll love it?

Who knows? This may backfire, too and he’ll still act entitled.  But we’re trying to be intentional in not spoiling him too much.  After all, that’s what his Granna and Papaw are for! 

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.
Let earth receive her king!
Let every heart prepare him room.
And heaven and nature sing.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ministry Update - Fall 2015

We are finishing up our third year at Providence Baptist and are praising the Lord for continuing to provide many ministry opportunities both within and outside the church walls.

We began September with promotion Sunday!  We had three promoted, a upper elementary girl C into the youth group and two sweet 3 years olds into the brand new preschool class!  We're especially thankful for the Lord answering our prayers for another family with young children.  Hudson is no longer alone in his Sunday School class and he loves his "little friends" as he calls them.

Later in September we had a small group of adults from church go see the movie, War Room.  Great movie!  I later took an unchurched/unsaved neighbor to see it.  I prayed the days before that the Lord would use this movie to open her eyes.  After the movie, while walking back to our car, she said "Well, that was eye opening!"  I laughed, then explained by prayer!  God is good.

Toward the end of September, we took a week vacation.  We finally made hte 14+ hour drive to West Virginia to see James' family.  It had been over 3 years since James had went home.  Hudson did wonderfully well on the trip, considering what a long, boring drive it is.  We had a great time seeing everyone.  On the way home, we stopped to spend the Day with Thomas.  That was definitely a highlight that Hudson still talks about.

We started October out with a baby shower for a sweet girl in church.  Baby Ava is due in about a month and we are so excited to meet her!  

In mid-October, I chaperoned two sweet girls (plus Hudson) to our state WMU's Mission Exploration.  It was a day dedicated to learning about the cowboy church - doing crafts, singing songs, reading Bible stories, learning about cowboy culture, and hearing from a cowboy pastor.  

October ended with a baptism!  The B family came forward, the wife professing faith in Christ and desiring baptism and the husband moving his membership.  They've been one of the couples that began worshiping with us around Easter of this year that we've been praying for.  

We ended October with special musical guests The Calvary Road Trio leading worship one evening. Plus we celebrated Bro. J's 75th bithday!  

November began with another baby shower - woot!  Baby W #3 will join us towards the end of the year.  Since we have two babies due very soon, our church recently purchased a baby changing table and two baby cribs for the nursery.  It is so exciting to see this growth and the fact that we need to purchase such items is a blessing from Jesus!

We hosted the associational Hymn Sing in November where churches from all over join together to sing praises to Jesus, followed by food afterwards because we're Baptist. LOL  Hudson sang three songs: Jesus Loves Me (all three verses), The Wise Man/Foolish Man, and ABCs because I don't fight every battle!  I have no pictures from the night, sorry. I was too busy singing!

The week of Hymn Sing, we lost our oldest-living church member, "Aunt" Maxine.  She was two months shy of her 96th birthday.  James preached her funeral, poining people to Christ by using Scripture and the example Maxine lived in her life.  She will be missed, but I'm so glad to have known her these past almost three years.

We took 17 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes to our local collection church.  From here, they will go to Denver, then Mexico.  So thankful for a generous church family that cares for kids.

For the third year, we celebrated Thanksgiving with a carry-in (that's yankee for potluck for my southern friends) Thanksgivig meal hosting some international students from Hannibal-LaGrange University.  It is always an interesting time, as working with internationals always is!  I love watching our very "white" church love on young college kids from other cultures.  There were all boys - from Spain, England, Peru, and Venezuela.  Such a picture of unity in Christ.

Winter is coming.  Who am I kidding? It's already here - it snowed this weekend. We have a lot of festive Christmas events planned: decorating the Christmas tree (first tree the church has had in 40+ years!), Christmas program and lunch, visiting a sister church's Christmas musical, Christmas Eve service, New Years Eve party with youth, etc...

  • Growth!  I just had to log into our Lifeway account to increase our Sunday School literature.  Yay!  In addition to now having a preschool class, one of our adult class has grown by several families.  This is good news and we are very thankful.
  • Baptism of sweet KB and her husband RB joining our church.


  • The S family: B, L, K and Z.  B is desperate for salvation, as is L.  We've made several good inroads with them with the gospel, but have had several setbacks due to B's drug addiction.  Please pray for them - that the strongholds of meth and prescription pills will be broken and that they will come to Christ.
  • We have had two believing families worshiping with us for several months now.  They are members of a sister church that they left after an ugly removal of their pastor.  They are extremely hurt and honestly, scared, of joining a new church.  Pray that they will find healing and comfort at our little congregation.
  • Pray for our two pregnant mamas J and N.  They are due around Christmas/New Years and are at that point in pregnancy where they are fairly miserable.  Pray for relief and perseverance.
  • Winter is always hard here.  The weather prevents much from going on and for me, it leads to a lot of discouragement and sadness.  I used to love winter, until I lived in an area that consistently gets a winter. Haha!  

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


If you've followed my blog for any amount of time you know that my main struggle in living in MO is being lonely.  It's a weird loneliness because as a stay-at-home mama I am never alone.  Ever.  Since James basically works from his home office, he's here a lot, too so I am truly never alone.  Wonderful, right?  No.  I have never been lonelier.

I left many good friends in Louisville: seminary friends, church friends, and work friends.  There was such blessings.  Moving here, I realized very quickly how difficult it is to make friends as an adult.  Especially in a small town unfamiliar with transplants; people have their families and their friends they've known since grade school.  Circles are pretty much closed.

I've been praying and asking you to pray for a friend for the past 2.5 years.  There have been many times where I felt the Lord potentially answering that prayer, but then been left disappointed when a new acquaintance remained just that - an acquaintance.  It's been difficult to trust the Lord's plan for my loneliness.  There have been tears, arguments with James (loneliness makes you slightly irrational), way too many hours on facebook, and plain anger.  My emotions about it have been doubled, because not only did I crave a friendship but I wanted that for Hudson as well - a friend for me with kid(s) Hudson's age so he'd have friend(s), too.

But the Lord has also used it to teach me to relay on him and that He is good, even when not answering my prayers in the way I wanted.  A lesson I'm still learning daily.

Recently, a new believing couple has started attending our church.  They have soon-to-be 3 kids - a girl 4 months older than Hudson and a boy 1.5 younger than Hudson, and #3 on the way!  It's been such a blessing to have playdates, commiserate over messy toddler-run homes, and laugh wearily about the struggles of being a mama and wife.

So I'm writing this blog as a prayer of thank you to the Lord for my new friend.  He is a good God and the giver of good gifts.  Whether this friendship lasts a brief season or a long time, I hope to enjoy it and remember my sweet Jesus who has blessed me with it.


"In friendship...we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years' difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another...the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting--any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another." The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” 
C.S. Lewis in The Four Loves