Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hope Spoken


I can't tell you how excited I am to share this with y'all!  It's something big that God is  doing in the lives of several women who are have stepped out in obedience and are being brave for Him.   I'm humbled they have asked me to be a part of this journey with them and  
 I would love for it to be part of your journey too.




H O P E  S P O K E N  2 0 1 4


March 28-30, 2014 in Dallas, Texas 




Hope Spoken is a women's conference where we all can come to know Jesus more, and make Him known in our lives. Our conference will be filled with stories. Stories of Christ in each of our lives, and how we can use these stories for His glory. This is a weekend to rest and feel His love, to lay burdens and hurts down and feel His grace. We want to let women know that they are enough, to encourage women to use their passions, their words, and their creativity for the Lord. We, above all else, want to glorify Jesus' name and share the hope we have in Him.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. // Romans 5:1-5


    C A S E Y   |   D A N I E L L E   |    E M I L Y


YOU ARE LIVING YOUR STORY.



Click {here} to go to the website and get all the scoop on everything you need to know...
the amazing speakers, worship leaders, dates, mission statement and all that good stuff.

Are you wondering what I'll be up to at this amazing event?
Well...there are going to be several different small group times throughout the weekend at Hope Spoken. Attendees will be meeting in assigned groups of 10-15 women each, led by different women who will be small group leaders. We will be working through a small devotional book that is written specifically for our conference.

Eeeep!  I'm gonna be one of those small group leaders!  I'm gonna get to spend some one on one time with y'all as we grow in the Lord together, dig in His word and share our stories! I can't wait to finally meet some of you in person!  I'm so humbled to be a part of this amazing event and look forward to discovering the awesome things God is at work doing in all of our lives.



Tickets go on sale tomorrow  tonight!
There is a special package for the first 20 tickets sold!






click on over to the hope spoken page and also follow along at these places too...


I  hope I see you there!
I can't wait to hear your story.

  
                                                                                                   

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Holy Moly. I got dressed. {twice}


I've been so enthralled with projects around the house that my outfit of choice has been mostly pajama bottoms and t-shirts.  But I have been inspired by one of my besties....Danielle.  She is a momma with 3 little ones and she has been on fi-ah with getting out the pjs and into cute clothes lately....Go see for yourself .... here and here and here
Well anyways, I thought if she can make the time in the midst of all she has on her plate, I certainly can.
(by the way...she along with two other lovely ladies are hosting a conference called Hope Spoken.  Go check it out!  I will be sharing more about it here tomorrow! I'm supa excited about it!)


And if Danielle in all her glory wasn't inspiring/convicting enough, I come across an instagram post from another friend, Rebecca, looking all cute and spiffy. She also is a mom who runs her own business, Better Life Bags.  Her caption was "Dressing for the day I want to have" and she described it as "the idea is to dress for the day you want to have, and not let the day have you.  When I get dressed each morning I just have a better day."   



So...with that said.  Here I am dressed and feeling cute.
I even still felt cute after I looked at a picture of myself.  Do you know what I'm talking about?....I forget sometimes that I'm 40 pounds heavier than I used to be...and then I see a picture and I'm like who is that person?!


Posing for these things can be awkward so Nick told me to "look unto Jesus" in the pic on the right.  ;)
And while I'm feeling super cute, let's all ignore the obvious root problem I've got going on ok?
I mean, geesh... I just had my hair done like a month ago. Don't be surprised if I pop up totally brunette any day now...it's a coming.
 dress:  walmart
cardi: Target
leggings: Dirt Cheap
Boots: Target (although they showed up at Dirt Cheap for $8 a few weeks after my mom paid full price at target for these at Christmas a couple of years ago.  Ughh)




The color gray just may be taking over the number one spot that black currently held in my closet.

 This is my go to necklace.  I wear it with everything.  It's by Oragami Owl and a dear friend who sells them blessed me with this one.   You can change out all the charms, you can add a back to it so it's not clear...the looks are endless.   I am in the works of writing a post to confess my love for this thing. Seriously...it's my all time fave.

top: Ross //  jeans: Old Navy via/Dirt Cheap //  boots: Target //   necklace:  Oragami Owl

Well I"ll see ya'll later.
I gotta go dress for the day I want to have....and right now I don't want it to reflect the grungy, gray, worn out, stained up,  14 year old robe that I'm wearing at this very moment.



                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                     pleated poppy

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Second Generation


 This past Sunday I got to witness my son-in-law ordained into the ministry as my daughter stood by his side.  
As a momma, there is nothing greater than seeing my children serve the Lord.
This makes my second son-in law that Nick and I have had the privilege of participating in their ordination service.  In fact, all three men the Lord has chosen for our daughters  have answered the call to serve the Lord in full time ministry.  This is incredible on so many levels.

You see, our family doesn't come from a long line of pastors.  In fact...less than 20 years ago we were all heathens living for ourselves with no thought of Jesus in our lives whatsoever.  But the Lord saved us one by one and transformed our family.  
You can read about that {here}.

So other than my mom who married a pastor after my daddy passed away,....me and my brother,  and Nick and his brother are like the first generation in our immediate family to serve the Lord in vocational ministry. 

And when my girls were still young , I began to grow in the word and  I began to understand generational sin and how strongholds can be passed down to our children if changes aren't made in our lives to break the bondage.   I began to take spiritual warfare seriously and value the mighty power of  prayer as a mom of three daughters.  I didn't want them to fall into the same patterns of sexual sin that I had succumbed to.  Pre-marital sex was a stronghold for their mother , their grandmother, and their great grandmother.  Me, Nick's mom and grandmother all had our firstborns when we were teenagers.  I wanted it to end with my generation.

I wanted them to experience God's very best.  Now can we still experience and enjoy the abundant life even if we "mess up" in this area?  Of course.  He is the redeemer of all things.  The marriage that Nick and I share today is living proof that God can make something beautiful in spite of and out of our mistakes.. But there is no doubt that doing it God's way from the start is the absolute best.  And with following His design comes great rewards and blessings.

That's what I wanted for our girls.  That's what I prayed for for my girls.
And I not only prayed for them to remain pure for their husbands but I prayed that they would give their lives to serving the Lord....that their daddy and I would live in such a way before them that the ministry would be something they loved and valued...that they would see it as the privilege it is and not as a burden or a life of discouragement.  Ministry is hard.  Pastoring is challenging.  Being the wife of a  pastor comes with much tough stuff but the rewards of this calling out weighs the hardships and that is what I prayed my girls would see and desire most out of this life we had been called to.

Fast forward to my girls now grown up and all three of them have married (or will marry come Sept) men who have been called into ministry.  Talk about a momma with a full heart.  A grateful heart.
This second generation is having kids born into families already living for the Lord
Whew...so exciting.  Yes...they have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes but I see this generational stronghold being torn down.  Not only in the life of my girls but I see my nieces and nephews being brought up in homes that are following hard after the Lord and I think this second generation is gonna leave it's mark for the kingdom of God!  Yes! 

So back to this past Sunday night. 
Marcus was ordained into ministry by the church he serves in.  It was a special service. My brother is his pastor where he serves as worship leader and student minister.  So once again...it was a family affair.  I was overwhelmed by God's grace that has changed our family as I sang in between the two messages that my brother and my husband both preached for the ordination service.  Incredible.

Marcus led us in worship..

Then my brother preached a message to the church and their responsibility to uphold Marcus in this calling and support him in the ministry the Lord has called him to.

Then it was my turn.  I sang the same song that I sung at my brother's ordination, my husband's ordination, Christopher (my first son-in-law's ordination) and now Marcus' ordination.
It's an old song called "Whatever it Takes".  The chorus says "For whatever it takes to draw closer to you Lord, that's what I am willing to do.  For whatever it takes for my will to break Lord, that's what I am willing to do."    And there is a verse that gets harder and harder for me to sing as it is lived out in my family. It says "Take my houses, my lands. Change my dreams and plans for I'm placing my whole life in your hands.  And if you call me today to a land far away, Lord I'll go and Your will obey."  Whew...that's tough to sing while looking out at my daughter knowing full well, that the Lord may do that....call her to a land far away.  I thought of Elizabeth, my oldest daughter, who was 12 hours away missing out on this special occasion because of her family obeying the will of God.   
Needless to say, I may have cried a little.

And my incredibly talented son-in-law was my accompanist...super duper special.  I wish I could take him with me everywhere I go to sing with.  Plus I informed him he had to play literally 5 minutes before the service started.....he didn't even flinch.  He's ready in season and out of season.

 After I blubbered I mean sang, then it was Nick's turn to preach a charge to the candidate.
So Marcus had his father-in-law encourage and challenge him in the things related to being called by God.  I never grow tired of hearing him preach the oracles of God.  It amazes me still.



The service concluded with all the elders and ordained men to come forward and pray individually over Marcus.  This is such a special time.   Nick, his father-in law, was the first to pray for him and his daddy finished it up.  So incredibly sweet.


Mrs. Linton....she told me she went from being a PK (preacher's kid) to being a PW (preacher's wife).

Marvin and Marcus..
Bethany Baptist Church's Dynamic Duo

The talented Linton Family



I'm so excited to see how the Lord is gonna use these two to advance His kingdom...


Watch out!  Cuz they are armed and dangerous!

                                                                                             

Monday, February 25, 2013

Manna


I've been a little busy around here lately.
I've been gathering manna.

You know about manna right?  You know....the food that the Lord provided for the children of Israel while they were in the wilderness for 40 years.  You can read about it in Exodus 16.  It's also called bread from heaven and angel's food. ( Psalm 78: 24-25)   Sounds amazing huh? Bottom line, it was stuff that was supernaturally  provided by the Lord to sustain a certain need His children had.


Well here is my manna.

And no..this stuff ain't food.
But it was supernaturally provided for one of His children to meet a certain need.

Most of y'all know we just had a wedding for our second daughter eight months ago.  And we are planning another wedding for our youngest daughter in just  ~gulp~  seven months.   All this on one income other than the little extra my Honey Pot Shop produces.  It doesn't make sense on paper how it all comes together but God always does His thing.  I'm not gonna lie...there are days that I stress out when I begin to dwell on how we will pay for it all.  And then I just recall what He has already done with our other two daughters and the beautiful wedding celebrations He provided.  I know He will do that this time to.
He already is doing it.

Which brings me back to my manna and why I've been absent on here the past couple of weeks.
You see, just like He provided the manna for the children of Israel...they still had to get out of their tents to gather it.  He didn't just supernaturally fill their bellies.  He provided the means and they had to be obedient to His instructions and get out of their tents and do a little work gathering it up.

Well, this is what He did for me.  He provided the manna and I've been busy "gathering it up" so to speak.  A dear lady in our church who is very involved with her sorority alumni  is part of the planning for their convention this year and she approached me about making pins for their favors.  She had most of the materials...all I had to do was assemble them....as in 255 brooches made from vintage crocheted pieces!  Their extreme generosity in what they have paid me for my labor is a God thing and I'm so thankful, humbled and amazed for this opportunity.

Now honestly...I was thinking this was gonna be easy peasy.
And it woulda been if I was only making like 20 of them.  But let's just say I have a new found appreciation for all the people who work in factories at assembly lines doing the same tedious work day in and day out.  Whoa.  255 of these babies took waay longer than what I had anticipated! There were so many steps from start to finish.....Cutting them, trimming them up, starching them, tracing circles for backs, cutting out the circles, tracing hearts for the pin covers, cutting out the little hearts, gluing all of this together, embellishing with a pearl, attaching to card stock, embellishing the card stock with a punch, bagging them, and tying them up with a bow.
Whew.  Gathering manna is work y'all. 


(My sweet man helped me dip and starch them.)

















My manna.

"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generation , forever and ever. Amen. " 
 Ephesians 3:20

We have a wedding dress shopping trip planned during Lauren's spring break.
Will y'all pray with me that just like He stretched the life of the the children of Israel's shoes and clothes for those 40 years, that He will do the same with this money while we are shopping?   That Lauren will find the dress of her dreams in a store going our of business for 90% off or something?  Hey it can happen.  Just ask Lydia.  That was her manna story. ;)

He is able!



                                                                                          

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A prayer request {and our love story}


Happy Valentine's Day! 
I hope it is a day filled with love for you.
Nick and I are spending our day speaking on the topic of marriage at
a MOPS meeting today.  I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate together...
sharing with a group of mothers of pre-schoolers about what has sustained our marriage these past 25 years.

We would covet your prayers.
That the Lord would use us to speak truth into the lives of these women.
That we would encourage and equip them to be the wives and moms the Lord desires them to be, 
and most of all that we would glorify the Lord.

Nick will totally be outnumbered today...but having been the only male in a house with 4 females all these years I think he will be ok.  ;)


And being that it is the day of Love, I thought I would share our love story.
My dear friend, Danielle, has been sharing love stories on her blog, Take Heart.
I shared mine on Monday over at her place but wanted to share it here too.
You should really go check out the other love stories....they will put a smile on your face for sure.

Thank you again for praying for us today as we share with these precious mommas !
xxoo



****************************************************************





I was tickled to death when Danielle asked me to share my love story.  Mine starts 27 years ago so I have to go waaay back. So much "life" has happened between then and now and it's sprinkled.. no saturated with God's grace...I look back and am so amazed at His hand on us even when we didn't know Him or live for Him.  Many of our friends and family from back home call us their favorite "success story". Because you see, statistically we should have never made it past our first year.  But we did.  I'm so thankful God is not into statistics.  Nope.  He had much bigger plans for two fifteen year olds who fell in love.


We started dating when we were both 15. And from our very first date at Pizza Hut, where I nervously chewed on a straw the entire night that I still have in my hope chest, we were inseparable.  Nick was my first real boyfriend and I just knew he was "the one".


We were high school sweet hearts to the very core. He was an all around incredible athlete being scouted by many colleges.   I was on the homecoming court. We were both on the Sweetheart Court. Blah, blah, blah.....all that stuff teen movies are made of.   
We were loving life....and then, in the middle of our Junior year....,
I discovered I was pregnant.

I share about that  here in a letter to 16 year old me but let me just tell you....I thought my life had ended.  I thought we had messed everything up... as in permanently.  But I didn't realize at the time what kind of Redeemer Jesus was. How He is the restorer of all things broken and that He makes beautiful things out of marred imperfect people.  

Nick and I got married three weeks before our first daughter Elizabeth was born.  Nick started his senior year of high school as a husband and became a daddy the second week of school.  As I said earlier....statistically we shouldn't still be together.  But we are. This August we will celebrate our 25th anniversary.   God did that. 


Long story short...even though Nick was scouted heavily, he didn't keep his grades up so playing ball in college didn't happen.  Fast forward a couple of years and Nick decided to join the Navy.


We had never been a part and the two months for boot camp seemed like a life sentence so when he graduated, we both decided I would move to Great Lakes, Illinois with him where he had to finish up his school. Much to my mom's dismay, we loaded as much as we could in our Mercury Topaz and scraped together about $500 and headed to Great Lakes to rent an apartment.  We thought we had a load of money but little did we know, that wouldn't even be enough for a deposit.. much less the first months rent and turning on the utilities and everything else that goes with moving.  But off we went with $500 dollars and whole lot of love.  

In the Navy, when you rent off base, you have to check into the housing department to get a list of approved rentals. So Nick goes in to get the list while I sit in the car with our sleeping 2 year old.  He comes out a few minutes later with the biggest grin I had ever seen on him.  This is one of those times when God showed out in our lives when we weren't even seeking Him (my mom's prayers!) ....He had the keys to a newly remodeled apartment ON BASE... As in free.... no rent...no deposit.  And the biggest miracle of all.....NO WAITING.  He literally had the keys in his hands.  People, if any of you know anything about the military, then you know that just doesn't happen. 
But it did happen. God did that.

So here is Nick fresh out of boot camp.  He's not even a petty officer and we are living in the same housing where all of his instructors live!  That is a God thing.   Now since we were only gonna be there for 6 months, the Navy wouldn't pay to move any of our things...so this is how we lived the entire time we were there...

Not a single stick of furniture the entire time. (those curtains were thrifted and our neighbor loaned us the tv.)  And oh...I forgot to mention I was expecting our second daughter by this time.  We found a twin mattress at the Navy thrift store and Nick and a very pregnant me slept on that ...together.   Elizabeth slept in a sleeping bag next to us the entire time.  But I loved every minute of it....just being together.  We look back on Great Lakes with great memories.

Fast forward a few years down the road, a move to Virginia, two more daughters, and two six month deployments.....

...we moved to Meridian, Mississippi.  This is where the Lord interrupted both of our lives, saved us by His grace, and put us on an entirely different path.   Basically, He rocked our world in the best kind of way.

Nick had always been a very attentive and loving husband.  He had always put me and the girls above anyone or anything else.  But when He began to put the Lord above us, our marriage began to strengthen in a way I had never experienced.  It was like our usual romance but illuminated and deepened a thousand times over.  

It wasn't long after that, the Lord called Nick into full time ministry.
Here we are the year Nick was called to his first church as pastor.  We are only a year older than our son-in law is now. Woah. Talk about full circle.

Don't get me wrong, we have had our share of rough times...  We've suffered loss, experienced the disappointment of miscarriage, had severe financial struggles, dealt with depression, had health problems and endured the journey of a prodigal child to name a few.  But all of that made us into who we are today.  And through it all, my man loved me. He has always made me feel beautiful..desirable....whether I am a size 6 or a size 14. I could never put into words what he means to me so I won't even try.  He's my rock.  He's my best friend. He's my lover. 
  He's my man.



We are now entering into a new season of life.
The empty nest.
 Come September, all three of our girls will be married and gone.  In the beginning of this journey when our first daughter was married 5 years ago, I never thought I would ever embrace and enjoy this season..the empty nest...my girls gone.  But through God's grace tendering my momma's heart, He has helped me to loosen the grip and with open hands...let them go so I can  enjoy being their mom in a new way.  A new role. 

And in letting go...our family grew.  We haven't lost our girls, but have gained three sons.....

 And did I mention GRAND CHILDREN?!!

I'm so thankful that when my girls were old enough to have their own love story, their daddy had set the bar high.  
They had watched him love on me, romance me and honor me me through the years. 
They have seen us in our "for better and for worse" and they know that marriage is for the long haul...through the good times and the bad times.   

I am so thankful that we cultivated our love story through the years...that we didn't drown ourselves in the lives of our kids.  
Because soon the dust is gonna settle and they will all be gone and all that will be left is me and him...us.   
Well us and maybe a few grandchildren every now and then..

  I am beyond excited about this new chapter of our love story.    







                                                                                     
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