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Big and Little…Let’s do Both!!

27 Dec

Big
This past weekend, my church did it’s annual Christmas Outreach where we load up the trailer and head downtown to the homeless community and hand out backpacks (stuffed with socks, wash rags, bandanas, food, oranges, water, juice, chapstick, bus passes and hand sanitizer) along with breakfast burritos and bottled water. This started 3 years ago with the thought of “This isn’t right and we have to do something.” Each year it had gotten progressively bigger: 38 backpacks the 1st year; 50ish backpacks the 2nd year and 100 backpacks this year!!!! Not only is the number of backpacks increasing, so is the number of volunteers and children that show up to help.

When they told me this year’s goal was 100, my stomach was in knots. You see, I count the money and I knew how much this would cost. I’ll admit it; I didn’t think we could do it. With 3 weeks left we still weren’t even half way there and I was stresses out. Well God proved Himself faithful once again and ALL the money came in…big shocker….why do I doubt? I don’t know.

This was big, this was a church event. I believe that churches should do events like this. Most churches have the resources to hold events; they have volunteers, time and money. Even if your church is small, my church is small so I get that it’s hard, it still should do something. If your church has events, I strongly encourage you to participate and get involved.

Little

After the Outreach, we went back to church and held service. Our praise and worship team did “Little Drummer Boy.” During the song, something hit me. All I know about this boy is he’s little, he’s a drummer, and he’s poor. Even though he’s a boy; he gets it. He gets something that most of us adults – including me, don’t get.

Some lyrics: Little baby…I’m a poor boy too…I have no gift to bring…that’s fit to give our King…I played my drum for Him….I played my best for Him…Then He smiled at me.

This little boy didn’t over complicate it. He didn’t think his song wasn’t good enough. He was fearless. He knew his abilities. He knew what he had and he acted on it. This little boy gave Jesus ALL he had to offer…a song. And then Jesus smiled at him.

I’m not fearless. I find myself looking at a need that is so great I easily get discouraged and think what I can offer isn’t good enough, so I don’t do anything. The lesson to be learned from this little drummer boy is: give what you can.

What can I give? A smile to THAT co-worker. Yes, we all have one and when we see them walking our way, we get up and pretend to be needed elsewhere. ..An extra hug to my husband whose love language is touch. ..An extra 10 minutes to my daughter even though I desperately want to finish mopping my very light colored tile floors after a storm and 2 muddy dogs have run across the entire downstairs…Waiting 5 minute to reply to someone who has just made me mad so my response isn’t ulgy…Being less judgmental because who am I to judge?

Even though I believe we should be involved in the big events, we can’t depend on those alone. There are countless small ways to make a difference and show love. The little drummer boy played a song and Jesus smiled at him. I want my daily actions to cause Jesus to smile at me and honestly, I know a lot of them don’t.

I’m going to work on this in 2014. My New Year’s Resolution is to make Jesus smile. I encourage/challenge you to join me!

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…..welcome to my brain.

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730 Days

13 Aug

What is 730 days? Well I’ll tell you; its’ the number of days that Brandn, Danica and I have lived here. Moving to Austin, heck, leaving San Angelo NEVER crossed our minds, EVER.

730 days ago we loaded up our truck for the final time and headed out. We moved here to help plant Revive Church. We left family, friends, jobs, insurance and our first home to part of this roller coaster ride. It looked crazy to many people but when God tells you to go, you go.

So what have I learned? Well I’ll keep it short. It was 2 years ya’ll. If I told you everything you’d still be reading it on our 3 year anniversary. Read them, they aren’t boring, I promise!

  • I’ve learned to trust God. I know that is the typical church planter response but it’s so true. He was behind everything and made sure all the pieces fell together to get us here. I have had to remind myself that He didn’t bring us here only to forget about us. When I think of how my life might be easier if we still lived in San Angelo, I remind myself that God’s past faithfulness is proof of His future faithfulness.
  • I’ve learned to communicate better with Brandn. I like to talk; good thing Brandn likes to listen. (That was sarcasm at its finest!) I think that’s one reason I started blogging; so I can share my opinions with the world! You’re welcome.  This life changing event left my emotions all over the place and Brandn was the one person I had to talk them all out with. They say (just who exactly are “they” anyway?) They say women speak 20,000 words a day and my poor husband got stuck listening to …probably…..126, 743 of them. There were way too many thoughts I needed to talk out so I learned to tell Brandn things I never would; I had to lean on him in ways I never had before.
  • It’s not all about me. What?!?!?! My eyes have been opened to people in need. I’m judgmental; I haven’t been completely delivered from this one yet, but I’m less judgmental now. I see a homeless person and I don’t automatically think, “stinky bum, get a job,” like I used to. I literally cry over orphans and have I realized there are little kids in my own community that need help and guess what, I can help them! Insert Happy Dance.  Be jealous of my moves!
  • I say “seriously” a lot. Like I said my emotions are all over the place and I have decided “seriously” is an appropriate substitute for cussing.
  • I-35 isn’t as scary as it used to be. This is how I used to drive on 35, enjoy. Now I’m cool, calm and collected. Not really. I still freak out and yell “seriously” a lot.
  • I’m obsessed with recycling and I have come up with some pretty creative ways to conserve water.
  • My clothes don’t have to match! I know this sentence may cause some of you to break out into hives and start sweating profusely. I however find it liberating and I’m passing this realization to my daughter. It’s obvious everyday who dressed her. If either she or I pick her clothes, she doesn’t match; if Brandn picks them, she does. This morning she wore a pink, short dress with watermelons on it and a sky-blue skirt with rainbow peace signs…1 guess as to who DIDN’T dressed her!
  • Having a garden, chickens, the start of a rain water collection system and 15 fruit trees/bushes (not exaggerating, we counted) in your back yard, doesn’t make you weird. It makes you fun!

I’ve spent a lot of the last 2 years dizzy and wanting to puke; but I wouldn’t trade it for a minute.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you….welcome to my brain.

There’s Hope in Junk

7 Apr

On any given day I can walk through my house and fine at least 10 things to give away.  I could make a pile of stuff to give away , but then I would get annoyed at the pile.  I hate clutter.  My rule is it it hasn’t moved in a week or you only use it once a year; you don’t need it.  My husband and daughter feel the exact opposite.

Three years after we got married, we moved.  Three years after we got married, Brandn’s cheese cake pans went away to kitchen appliance heaven.  He only used those things once a year to make a cheesecake on Thanksgiving.  Well, when Thanksgiving rolled around, he couldn’t find them.  I told him they must still be in a box from when we moved (yes, I’m a lier!)  Eventually he caught on.  He knows when I get a bug up my butt, things get thrown away.

I had this conversation with Danica, my daughter, today.  Me:  “Why don’t we give this to the garage sale.”…D: a look of horror came over her sweet little face “But mamma, it has a butterfly on it; that’s my favorite insect!”  She can’t part with stuff.  Not because she’s selfish, but because everything is special…seriously.  She can tell you the exact minute she got something and why it holds a place in her heart.

My church has a soft spot for orphans.  April 27th we are holding a Garage Sale for Orphans. The money we raise is specifically going to Ferrier Anti-trafficking home #6. We are selling our junk, precious stuff, stuff we don’t use, stuff we had to sneak past Danica to raise money to build a safe home for kids who are at the greatest risk for being sold into human trafficking.  The house costs $11,ooo.  Wouldn’t that be great if we raised the whole amount?  It’s a big feat, but it’s possible.

Annually, Americans spend over 22 Billion dollars in storing stuff.  Stuff that we store because we don’t need it.  Lets sell it!!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying sell your couch and sit on the floor, but hey if you’re that hard-core go for it!!  But I’m saying those books on your book shelf that you’ve already read and will never read again, sell them.  The tread mill that you keep saying you’re gonna use but all you use it for is to hang your clothes on, sell it.

There’s HOPE in our stuff.  We can lift people out of poverty.  We can protect children from becoming human trafficking victims.  We can give moms peace of mind knowing their babies won’t go to bed hungry.  We can save a child from walking miles to collect dirty water.

If you want to help, let me know.  If you want to donate click here and select Garage Sale for Orphans on the drop down box.

What’s so Scary About Free Water?

24 Mar

Yesterday was pretty busy.  I woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep and thought about running.  It was cold and I wanted to stay in my cozy bed BUT if I’m gonna run in the Dallas Marathon in December I better get used to running in the cold when I’d rather be in bed.  So I got up and ran 5 miles, no walking, go me!

Then we headed down to the church to do some Easter outreaches.  We broke up into groups and my group headed into the neighborhood around the church and placed Easter baskets on the doorsteps.  We hit 50 homes and each basket had candy and an invite card to our Easter service.  We’re not sure if they have church homes already, if they’re looking for a church home, if they could care less, or if they have been burned by a church and vowed to never return.  It doesn’t matter.  We just wanted to let them know Revive Church is in the area and they’re welcome.

Easter pic

Next we joined the other group and handed out 352 water bottles to the thirsty people willing to roll down their windows.  That was a blast!  This is the 2nd time we’ve done this, and it won’t be the last.  We stood at the corner of a very busy intersection and yelled “Do you want some water?  It’s free” for over 2 hours.  We shared the corner with a bus stop and we asked all the people entering/exiting the bus if they wanted some. The bottles had invite cards attached and I’ve decided people don’t know what to think when you’re yelling at them from the sidewalk.  🙂

A car full of guys said they smoke pot all the time, well, stoned people need water too.  One chick took some water, said they were headed to a strip club and then poured the water out in front of us.  Not sure what she was trying to prove, but what she did prove was she wasted water.  A guy was walking past wearing pants and a jacket.  It was hot and I asked him if he wanted some water.  He said no, but a pretty girl can talk him into anything.  I gave him a bottle and told him to stay hydrated.  One guy gave one of the kids some money for a donation.  His mom happened to see it and told him to give the money back.  She told the man thanks, but we’re not taking donations.  There was a homeless man at the bus stop and yelled “Give it to me; I’ll take it!”

I noticed how many people tried to ignore us.  I’m sorry.  Just because your window is up, doesn’t make you invisible, we can still see you. lol  I think they were afraid we were gonna actually talk to them.  People just stared ahead and some pretended to be on their phones.  Some asked us what we were doing and we told them we’re a new church down the street and invited them to our Easter service.

Brandn was the water king.  I would ask someone if they wanted water and they would mouth “I’m good” through the rolled up window.   Then Brandn would walk past the same car and they would roll down the window and take some…what!?!?  I think the ladies thought he was cute and wanted to talk to him…..stand back chicka, that water pusher is all mine!

I love my church and we’re just trying to love on those in the community.  One of our signs said “We’re Not Crazy.”  I think that may be a lie….you have to be slightly crazy to move to a new city and plant a church.  Please click here to see how it went…

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you….welcome to my brain.

I LOVE My Small Group

30 Jan

In case you missed the title, I LOVE my small group.  The thought of a group of women, especially one that includes a couple of  pastors and pastor’s wives, can sound down-right scary.  There is nothing scary about this group of women.  Well…..scary: no…….crazy: YES!!!!  Revive has 3 small groups; a men’s,  Celebrate Recovery and a women’s. 

The Men are reading Men’s Fraternity and learning how to be the men God called them to be.  (Duh, right?  I’m not a dude so I can’t tell you everything they are doing….I think the first rule of Men’s Fraternity is you don’t talk about Men’s Fraternity.) 

Celebrate Recovery is open to everyone.  It’s a Christian based 12-step program designed to help everyone recover and get over their hurts, habits and hangups.  When I think of “recovery” I typically think of drugs or alcohol.  This program will certainly help with those addictions but it will also help us “normal folk” that aren’t “addicted” to anything. 

We are doing the Beth Moore James Bible study.  We are all being challenged and I can honestly say this Bible study has “seriously changed my life.”  Shout out Tracy 🙂  I’ve done a great job of ignoring those in need and James has slapped me several times.  We got together and made goodie bags to leave in our cars and hand out to the homeless; I had one bag left.  We stopped at a light and there was an older man sitting in his wheelchair holding a sign.  I reached for my bag only to realize it was in my trunk.  I wanted to get it but I was afraid the light would change and people would honk.  After a split second I realized that was stupid and I had Brandn pop the trunk.  I handed him the bag and he asked what was in it.  When I got to the gloves he got happy and said thanks, I really need gloves.  I share this with you NOT to make me sound like a really good person, but to show you how God used me to make a difference in that moment. 

The heart’s of these ladies are just amazing.  We pulled together and did a food drive for the Texas Baptist Children’s Home and this is what we came up with:

photo[1]

7 bottles of laundry detergent…5 packages of diapers…15 bottles of shampoo and soap…bar soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste…10 cans of veggies…several boxes of pasta…bags of beans and rice…15 rolls of toilet paper….2 gallons of milk….2 loaves of bread and 2 family packs of tortillas…eggs and chicken 

I LOVE my small group!

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

I got out of the truck!

25 Dec

How many of us have ever said or thought “If I could do that again I would do it differently.”?  And how many of us actually get the opportunity to do it again?  Well I’m very fortunate and I got my second chance; and I got out of the truck.

I’m sure right now some of you are like “um…you got out of the truck…great…..did you fall out last time?”  No!  I sat in it and cried the whole time.  Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

My church is a new (we launched it in Sept 2011) and small church.  However, we are NOT letting the adjetives new and small define us and prevent us from doing what Jesus flat out told us to do.  Last Christmas morning, we headed downtown with backpacks filled with toiletries and breakfast burritos and handed them out to the homeless community here in Austin.  I was terrified.  I stayed in the truck.  I cried the whole way home b/c I was ashamed of myself.  I allowed fear to cripple me and prevent me from helping out in something beautiful.  That day I vowed that next year would be different.  Read that blog here.

Fast forward one year.

We headed downtown with backpacks and breakfast burritos again this year.  We did it a little differently and bypassed the toiletries and put gift cards to McDonalds and bus passes in the back packs. For those of you that are horrified that we gave out McDonalds gift cards get over it.  McDonalds is delicious and $10 goes a long way there and people will be able to eat or get scolding hot coffee for days.

We were a little more organized and prepared this year; last year we didn’t have a clue!  I’m not saying we are all of a sudden experts at this but we were able to form a line and have crown control and last longer than 5 minutes.

This is a family event.  Many of us have small children and we put them to work.  We had bags of homemade cookies and we had the kids hand them out to people while they we in line waiting for backpacks.  Once everyone went through the line we still had a ton of burritos left.  We let the kids help us hand them out as well.  They walked up to the adults, asked if they wanted some burritos.  Everyone was so polite; they said thank you, the kids said your welcome.  They gave smiles and high fives.   Not everyone got a backpack but everyone got something to eat!!!!

This wasn’t just about handing out stuff; it’s also about going down to their community and taking the time out of our busy lives and sharing a morning with them.  The homeless community is an invisible community.  Sure we all “see” them on the corner with a sign, but do we really see them.  Do we roll down our window and talk to them?  Do homeless people actually have conversations with those of us that have homes?

A man asked me how old Danica was.  I had D answer him and she said “5.”  He then proceded to tell me he has a 5 year old daughter and and when he and his wife get their home next month they will get her back.  He then pulled out some pictures and showed me his kids.  They have 5 kids and will get them all back in January!!!!  The tears filled the mom eyes as she said “all I want for Christmas is my babies.”

Another man asked me if I heard about the tragedy in Connecticut.  We talked about that for a little while and it turned into a gun control conversation.

There was a man there with a guitar and D was scoping him out but was too embarrassed to ask him to play something.  Later we saw him playing and she was so excited and we went over and he was singing worship songs with Tracy.

One guy told Anthony he likes his Texas Longhorns shirt.  So Anthony gave it to him.  He literally gave him the shirt off his back.

I love my church!  We aren’t letting our size prevent us from doing what we know we should. No excuses!  I failed epically last year and I’m so thankful I got a second chance.  And next year I’ll get a third chance and then a forth chance the following year…get the idea?

By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.  John 13:35

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you….welcome to my brain.

Backpack Outreach 2012

29 Nov

Christmas is fast approaching, are you prepared? I’m not and that’s ok. I haven’t bought a single present. I did go Black Friday shopping with my friend though. The last few years we have gone to Target at 4am. Not to buy anything huge like a big screen TV or a computer. No, we go to buy $1 movies and pajamas and to watch the really crazy, stressed out people…we find this fun. (I’m not too sure what this says about our sanity though.)

Giving presents has always been a big thing for me. Brandn’s birthday is 2 and 1/2 weeks after Christmas. When we first got married, I would shower him with gifts for his b-day and Christmas. I’m talking gifts like a foosball table, new hockey equipment and skates, a PlayStation and a ton of games, a mountain bike, cash for various “i” products and so on.

After having Danica I realized “things” are a bad gifts; I came to this conclusion from personal experience. I can’t tell you how many toys I have stepped on or how many have broken within days. I don’t give gifts to people b/c I think they will like it. In all actuality, they will laugh about it after I leave it give it to Goodwill. Now, I give the gift of food. I know what my friends like and I give them their favorite snacks, drinks, cereal and so on. Brandn thinks this is silly and usually says “don’t put my name on that.” But he knows this is the kind of person I am and he has grown to love and admire this about me…that was sarcasm people. lol
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Last year was the first year that I stepped out of my “me” box. It’s sad really; it took me 30 years to think about someone else; a complete stranger. Last year, we headed downtown for a homeless outreach. We went as a church and we brought our kids. We didn’t have a clue!! We showed up with a ton of hot food and backpacks stuffed with supplies….within 5 minutes we were out of food and backpacks. Let me tell you, those 5 minutes changed me. Read my 2 part blog about that day here. My friend went too, read that blog here.

We are doing it again this year. There is a need out there and we’re meeting it; we will no longer turn a blind eye. The need is bigger than us so we’re doing what we can. We are showing up with hot breakfast tacos (or burritos if you’re from west Texas.) Will you partner with us? Will you help your fellow neighbor? Will you provide the greatest gift this Christmas, the gift of love…the gift of showing you care…the gift of not ignoring…the gift of seeing those overlooked? Each complete backpack costs $20 and will contain a bus pass and a gift card for food. Will you sponsor a backpack, or 2 or 3? Click here to donate and click on “Give” . You can set up an account or just click “quick give” and select Christmas Outreach 2012. Help us last longer than 5 minutes!!!

God tells us to love our neighbor as yourself….give to the least of these…..help the oppressed….do the work….fight the good fight.

JOIN US!!!!!

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.