Thursday, August 22, 2013

Bittersweet Homecoming

Wow.  I can't believe it's been 1 week since I've been home.  Not sure my heart is fully here though, but it is so good to hug my babes and cuddle my hubby.  And since I've been home, I've been thrown into the busyness of life, as any "good american."  WHY is busy good?  It's totally not, and I actually hate it - it's so stressful.  I am really going to try to stop more.  I remember one day when in Wa, Joha (our Ghanaian director), told us we completed 2 full days of work in less than 10 hours.  Oh how I strive to be NOT BUSY.  Good luck, right?  Living in Orange County.

Well I figured you would want to know everything we did, yes?  I mean - you did send us there.  And I promise it was a very fruitful trip.  Main points:

1) All 4 directors in the same country, same place, same time - AMAZING!!!!  This allowed us to have very productive meetings and talk about things that really needed to happen face to face.

2) Visited children who are in our sponsorship program and identified new children to add to our program.  Stay tuned how you can sponsor one of these little angels for only $25 a month. :) (They are writing their sponsors letters... so sweet!)

3) Made a new friendship with a church in Kasoa whom we will be able to partner with for future ministry mission trips, sponsorship, etc.

4) Sat down with government officials in Wa (a community that is in desperate need of love and help in the upper west).  These meetings were so good to have with Social Welfare because now they are on board with what EP is striving to do.

5) Dreamed of plans for a rehabilitation center in Wa - one that would welcome children for a short period of time, give them counseling with their families, medical attention, school, etc with the purpose of reunifying them with their families when possible.  Looked at a potential site.

6) delivered treated mosquito nets and food to children homes all over the country, literally - you haven't experienced Ghana until you drive on those famous dirt roads. Wow.  Take your Dramamine.  

What's next????  Well, there are so many ways to get involved - we're a brand new baby organization and we would LOVE to have you on board.  Here's just a few tidbits with more info coming.

* Sponsor a child!  Or a family.  This family lives in the little shack pictured behind them with no washroom or clean water.

* One of our directors in Ghana also has a children's home that she is funding from her personal money.  EP has given her 1 month of sponsorship to keep it open in September, but we'll need to find her an ongoing sponsor to help out with finances.  It costs around $350 per month to keep her home open. that's only $50 a month for 7 people.  Maybe your life group wants to partner with us?

* We're opening an Eban Project store online and we would love for a volunteer to help run that and ship out orders.

* Wa!  Good at fundraising or grant writing?  We would love help fundraising money for all EP's efforts in Wa - mainly the rehabilitation center which is estimated to be around $35K.

* Come to Ghana with us!!  Are you interested in going on a Missions Trip or taking your church, group of friends, coworkers to Ghana?  Let us know - we can definitely use people of all ages.  I would love for you to visit my 2nd home and eat some banku with us!

Love you for loving us so much!


Monday, August 5, 2013

To God be the Glory

Spiritual Warfare.  Gosh, it’s exhausting.  From before we even left our homes to come, the attacks began: sickness, 911 calls, family emergencies.  The day we left:  I was sent on a goose chase around LAX to find the terminal I was supposed to check in at – NO ONE KNEW!  My ticket only said United, but United had no record of me – it wasn't until 30 minutes before my plane left that someone found the mistake.  By the GRACE of God, I made it.  Once we arrived: No luggage – Lufthansa thought it a smart idea to send half our plane’s luggage to South Africa so they could downsize the plane.  However, that meant our luggage didn't arrive until 11p the NEXT day.  That’s cool.  Then on the way home, tire blew in our friend’s van.  No one carries spares, as tires here are around $300.  Once up in the room, literally my watch exploded, flash light stopped working, AC in our room was broken, as well as our fridge.  My camera broke.  OH, and I became seriously ill… you know, that fever and pure strep throat thing; the kind where you can’t even swallow your own spit.  Ghana isn't like Mexico or the US where you can just run to any old pharmacy and grab the latest antibiotic to help you out…  but again, God prevailed.  As we were pulling up this little pharmacy, I prayed like crazy for a Z Pack.   And the poor man behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy, then I begged him for an antibiotic.  His eyes lit up, and he returned with the mightily coveted Z Pack – that wasn't even expired.  Fever gone, 80% better.

Why is Satan fighting so hard against us?  Could it be because we were here to witness 2 families receive news that their kids’ visas were ready to be printed (THEY GET TO COME HOME!!)?  Could it be the amazing meetings that have taken place between our directors here in Ghana and Anita and I?  Could it be programs that are being established to further His Kingdom’s work and to help restore His world?  And friends, we are just on day 2 of being here.  We still have almost 10 full more days here.  God is definitely the ALMIGHTY ONE and I have yet to understand the reason he is allowing me to come on this ride with him.

 I leave you with a great picture of a sweet kiss my Jesus gave me tonight:  As we were walking to buy more water, God led 2 of our old Ghanaian friends to walk home instead of taking the trotro which allowed our paths to cross.  As they did not know we were in Ghana, and we believed they were at school, it was such a sweet moment of blessing when our eyes met on the street corner.  I felt the embrace of my Jesus in their arms – a sweet kiss, reassuring us that He is on our side.  But man, what a site to see for the locals, I’m sure:  This crazy abruni (white person) jumping up and down in the middle of the street, embracing our friends and giggling with joy.  A familiar face that was Jesus' face to me tonight.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Get a biddin' and send me packin'

I am in awe of how donations have just poured in these last couple of weeks.  I wish I could just KISS you all.  And I LOVE the timing of each donation.  Just when I felt hopeless and asked God - "Lord, am I just a crazy person???  I really thought you had divinely called us to GO NOW, but how Jesus?  The funds just aren't there."  And then people, I open up my email and see a $500 donation from an old friend whom I hadn't even told her about Eban Project yet!  WHAT??  And then the next day I open an envelope from our mailbox with cash and a sweet note from 2 lovely sisters.  Come to find out these sisters had just started a new business and believed in God's work through EP so much that they are continually giving 10% of their profit to us.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!!  And seriously folks, story after story of this - of God's faithfulness.  We're not totally funded yet, but we're more than HALF WAY THERE!  Only about $3300 more.

But, if I were honest, that $3300 scares me, sends a yucky feeling into my stomach, because that's $3300 we just don't have but need in three weeks!  So we'll wait, we'll trust, and we'll beg you again to donate.  But this time, maybe you can walk away with something that will remind you of us.  And, every time you see that item, you'll lift EP and the people of Ghana up in your prayers.

Here's the scoop... we've collected some amazing items and we're going to auction them off through 32auctions.  Come by and take a peek and help yourself to some beautiful artwork by Sarah Carter, beautiful tutus and tutu dresses for your little misses (we even have one in Ghanaian colors, YES WE DO!), some yummy treats, and even some goodies from Paper&String as well as Smell Swell.  OH, and wait... you still don't have your taxes done, you say?  OR you are already looking for someone to do them next year - no need to look any further, we have a CPA who has donated his services... yes we do.  And he is well versed in adoption tax credit and can work in all 50 states.  So BOOM.  Go buy.

One little thing.  Yes, it's a little pesky that you have to become a "member" of 32auctions to actually participate and bid.  But guys, it's easy as pie.  After you click HERE for our auction listing, you'll be able to browse our auction and if anything tickles your fancy, then click on the tab LOGIN where you'll be directed to "Create an Account."  Your name, email, bidder name, and a password.  That's it.  Then they send you a little email verifying YOU and it takes you right back where you can give us all your cash donate to our first trip as Eban Project. If the auction thing isn't really you, but you'd still like to donate, we'd LOVE that and kiss your feet, well maybe hug your neck.  You can do that at our website .

Happy Bidding!

x, b

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I've been keeping a little secret, for about 3 months...

It's true.  For about 3 months, I've only shared with some close friends, and now we're telling the world.  And if you tell me, "Well, I thought you looked pregnant," I'll kick you in the knee.  I have NO baby in my belly.  Seriously, I will kick you.  BUT, I do have something exciting to share.You know my heart has been in Ghana the last 3.5 years, ever since I knew our son was there. I have had such a love for the people who live there, for the culture, for that little corner of the earth.  I'm even trying to get my husband to move there... someday, hopefully.

Well, about 3ish months ago, I had the opportunity to partner with one of my good friends, Anita, and some "family" in Ghana to make the dream of having a nonprofit here in the US a reality.  For almost a decade, my Ghanaian friends, the people who facilitated our adoption in Ghana, have been devoted to family preservation and caring for the vulnerable in Ghana.  And my sister from a different mister, Anita, had this dream of creating a nonprofit here, stateside, to come alongside our dear friends in Ghana, and for some reason, God wanted to use me to help make this happen.  I'll spare you the details and give you the mini mini version, but that week went something like this:

Friends in Ghana: We would love to have a stateside partner
Anita:  I have a dream... nonprofit, you help?
Me: hahaha!!!  how?  me?  Let me pray and ask people to pray (Monday). 
Me:(Tuesday and Wed) life group and mom's group: HELP! Pray, I feel so inadequate, how? me? how?
Good friend: B, you're not 23 anymore, if God called you - DO IT!
Husband of a friend: (Thursday) B, I would love to gift you a nonprofit.  DONE.  We'll mentor you, do the taxes for you, help you in anyway.
ME: (Thursday) I guess I'm co-founding a nonprofit.  Okay God, here we go...
Jesse: Well, I knew God gave you an ODD love and devotion to a country that wasn't your home, and I always wondered why.  Well, I guess I know now.  Lets do this.

So, there you go.  We're called Eban Project.  HOLY SMOKES!  Guys, I'm so excited.  I really didn't want to share with you until everything was perfect, our website was up and I "knew" what we were doing... who am I kidding?  In the beginning of something like this, it's just going to be messy, not perfect, and confusing.  First impressions can't be what it's all about.  We need PRAYER, help, resources.  So, just like a friend asked me if I wanted to help her start a nonprofit, I'm asking you... hey, want to be apart of something God is doing in Ghana, Africa?  Do you want to come alongside in the very beginning and watch it grow with us?  

So, "who are we?" and "what do we do?"  Well, our mission is to transform the kids of Ghana inside and out, to stop the cycle of abuse, poverty, child labor, and holistically help them reach their full potential God has placed inside of them to do HIS work and be change agents in their communities.  Because, did you know, God does have a plan for all his people?  Even those who live in developing countries, who are struggling to keep their families together, those who are sick and whose communities see them as outcasts, those babes dying of hunger, those single moms dying of hunger because they are giving everything they have to feed their children.  He calls them all and we believe He is asking us to partner with Him to restore that little corner of the earth.

EXCITING NEWS!!  We (my co-founder, Anita and I) are headed there in August!  Yeppers, we are.  August 2nd.  We bought our plane tickets in FAITH!  Yes, after much prayer and conversations we decided that August was the time, specifically, we needed to go.  Because we're officially brand new, we need to step again, on that soil that we love so much, to make relationships, have meetings, check on our foster homes, find land for a new home we'll be building, and network with certain people in Ghana.  We feel strongly led that the time to travel is now, when there are several programs that need development, and several more that require an update by U.S. representatives.  In the midst of praying on how we were going to get there, low and behold, there was a "sale" on tickets to Ghana, but the prices were literally raising hour by hour and we felt like God was saying, "Sorry ladies, you need to step out into faith - buy them now, yes, before you have all the money raised.  FAITH.  TRUST ME. Yes, I'm calling you to step out.  So what, you're a little scared.  Let me provide, in ways that you aren't expecting.  Let me show off my faithfulness." So, friends, YIKES!  We did.  But we are trusting that God does provide for us, in this new beginning.  It was never our plan to beg ask for donations to help us in the beginning.  We wanted to do that on our own, to report back to you, all the crazy God stuff that was happening over there and how you can be involved in other ways.  But, then, in my quiet time with him, I felt him saying, "I don't always work how you want me to, or WHEN you want me to.  YES, I will call people to partner with you in Ghana to sponsor children, families, to help restore that little corner of the earth, but don't rob my people of the blessing of helping you in the beginning." Seriously, guys, I hate this part.  Asking for money for ME.  So there, done.  Because in the future, once we're up and running, we'll have funds set aside for trips like this.  But we don't now.

I can share with you the aspect of our trip I'm looking forward to the most... A big part of our program will be sponsorship, and we have the privilege of getting to meet children in three communities we are working in, signing them up for sponsorship, hearing their stories, hugging them, and then bringing YOU back their stories and opportunities for you to personally get involved in their lives.  We want these children to feel like an extension of your family who live in Ghana.  Beautiful relationships will occur, and I'm so excited.

I can't say it better than my friend, Anita... "Ultimately we hope that by traveling, the work of Eban Project will be greatly expanded so that the funds used to travel will be paid back to the people of Ghana ten-fold. It is our desire to serve the people of Ghana, and those that support Eban Project. We do not wish to travel to Ghana for our own pleasure. It will be a challenging trip in many ways, but ultimately rewarding if more vulnerable populations in Ghana are served."

If you feel led to partner with us in the beginning by making a tax-deductible donation, you can do that HERE.  Please note on the donation page, that it is for our trip to Ghana.  We're estimating that our total will be around $7,600 ($600 for food, $1500 lodging, $4000 flights, $1500 in-country transportation).  Any donations raised beyond what our actual trip costs, goes directly to serving the vulnerable children and their families of Ghana.

You can see our website at . Remember it's not all done yet and you can judge none!  Okay? No judging.  Just love in the beginning. And PRAYERS for us and God's work there.

x, b

Monday, March 4, 2013

40 Days of Lent for Kids Days 17-20

That's all. :) DAYS 17-20  Got to go get ready for my hot date with hot hubby.  I LOVE his job sometimes, and hate it others, but tonight we're getting to go try out a new restaurant  full tab paid, just so he will refer clients to them.  YAY for free date, it makes babysitting a lot cheaper.  If it's good, I will give it a shout out tomorrow.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weak Muscles (and days 13-16 of kid devos)

Oh man, oh man.  I'm worn out.  Have you ever taken a break from working out and then get back into the gym and after a couple of days you are spent?  Your muscles are so sore that you just want to sleep for days on end and not move.  Well... that's exactly how I feel except Spiritually.  (I'm sure if I made it to the gym my muscles would feel sore too, but that's for a different day).

I really can't share too much, because I'm really that exhausted, but this weekend was a life changing girls weekend in Malibu (okay, woman's retreat, but I'm not old enough to go to one of those, so I refuse to call it that, so instead we went to a girls weekend in Malibu).  Wow, did God want me to die to myself.  Who knew that I was my biggest idol?  Ever since then, I've been seeing God's work and His Kingdom in a whole new light, and Jesse's been experiencing the same thing too.  It's almost as if God is going to get ready to do something in us, but first wants us to know that without a shadow of a doubt, we're nothing.  Our name is not great, it will not ever be great.  Our ministry is never going to be ours... wow, what a concept - His Ministry is HIS, and He wants to get the Glory and HIS name shall be made great.  Again,what a concept.  But stupidly, I think I was trying to make it about me, and I didn't even realize it until it hit me like a huge ass bus, right in the face.  Then instead of blood and broken bones, I had snot and more snot and more snot.  I guess it took me that beat down to realize I needed to be humble.  The whole experience was covered by His Grace, which made it bearable and fruitful and exciting.

But now, J and I are just plain tired.  It's like our eyes have been opened.  And we're so expectant now.  We are longing for him to move mightily and are honored that we just get to be on His ride.  He's moving and doesn't have to include us, but graciously is and that is humbling.  I feel the Holy Spirit preparing us for change but I don't know what that is... home?  work?  family? We know he's moving in crazy ways through church, but I think there's more and I can't wait to see what that is...

Until then, I'm plugging away with my kids and our Lenten Devos.  Here are days 13-16.  Enjoy.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Days 9-12, It's totally not too late to start

Here you go! DAYS 9-12.  I am so happy to be sharing with you what my kiddos and I are doing.  I LOVE hearing feedback from you, just little "hey, we're doing this."  I feel blessed by that, so thank you.  And, will you please let me know if you're kiddos are doing it as well?  If you haven't started and feel like it's too late...haha, it's TOTALLY NOT.  That's SO my personality... welp, I missed that one, so we'll wait until next year.  Let me help you out, if this is you...

1)  They can take as long or as short as you need them too - it's totally doable to do multiple days at a time.  For advent, we did this... we started 1/2 through the advent season and we just talked about 2 passages of scripture and then each kid colored only 1 of the pictures.  We caught up in no time.

2) ALSO, there are more than 40 days from Ash Wednesday until Easter.  Sundays are free (mini-Easters as some say).  So you have extra days built in. :)  We're starting day 9 tomorrow, but you don't have to be there yet, or you could have been waiting for me to publish this round... sorry you overachievers... I'm a procrastinator.

3)  If you feel overwhelmed, I haven't ordered anything really in chronological order except Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter) so no one will know if you skip days, well except God and me, because he tells me things, and then I might get really offended. ;)

Doing Lent with my kids has, in essence, made me do Lent - I can't really tell you the last time that I had intentional space and time with God every day by myself.  Life gets overwhelming and SO busy.  I might hit a few days a week, or month, or year of real quality time with my Savior, but when I get my kids involved... holy smokes, they are bad ass accountability partners.  "Mom, can we do our 40 days of Lent."  "No, we can't go to bed, because we haven't done our devotions."  "Dinner can wait, we need to spend time with Jesus."  hahaha... yes, all true quotes from my 4 year olds.  Even my 1 year old is in on it.  She lasts only for 30 seconds, but she loves the coloring.  They might only be in it for the coloring right now, but they are totally grasping each story and pulling wisdom from the Scripture themselves.  I love how these scriptures are truly being meditated over by my 4 year olds.  I can totally learn something from my babies.

I would love to hear how you're spending your Lent.  If you're doing the 40 days of Lent for kids... shoot me a love note.  If you're doing something else, share it - I would love to hear, get inspired, steal your stuff, etc.

Prayers for my Mr as he is single daddy this weekend.  This mama is going away, with her girlfriends, to meet Jesus, and to sleep a whole night (2 whole nights) through without a kid (or husband..ehem ehem) waking me up at all hours of the night.  Excited.  Hopeful.  Desperate for sleep and God.

x, b

Friday, February 15, 2013

God meets us even in the tests! (and link to new kid devos at bottom)

Oh lovie ones.  How was your Valentine's Day?  We celebrated a little early, on Monday with a MUCH needed overnight, away from the kids.  It was pure bliss.  Let me let you live vicariously through me just for a moment...

We begin our 24 hours away at a local eatery where everything is grown there - totally fits my philosophy when it comes to food.  (If it were up to me, I'd live on a commune with all my friends where we could sustain ourselves and I'd be drinking wine, riding a horse, and wearing a flowy white long skirt.  Our kids could run back and forth to our friends home and there'd never be a care in the world, but we'd love Jesus - not one of those cult things that go on... anyone in?  Okay, so that was a tangent...)  After eating at Greenleaf, where we just shared a salad, we drove down to a dreamland called Carlsbad.  A tiny little beach city located about an hour south of us.  We ended up at Pizza Port sharing a little pizza and having a beer.  Delicious.  THEN... we made it to our lovely hotel around 3.  As cute as Carlsbad is, we saw NONE OF IT!  Seriously, 20 hours in a hotel room w/ my husband.  Delightful.  No banging on the door from kids, being able to watch tv, take a bath, kiss my hubby, wear or not wear clothes. ;)  Oh, and take a 4 hour nap in the middle of the day.  I'm telling you BLISS.  We did venture out to get sushi at some point, it was late, but who cared because we got to sleep in in the a.m.  PURE BLISS.  When we made it back to the hotel around 10p that night, we went to the hot tub with our little skinny girl margaritas in a coffee to-go cup because we're that cool, and then played ping pong. Again - because we could.  It's SO fun reconnecting with your best friend.  Jesse truly is my best friend, but sometimes that relationship gets lost between poopy diapers, a crazy daredevil of a 1 year old and refereeing my 4 year olds.  We only have 6 more weeks of classes and then my best friend, lover, husband gets to come back to us.  After 6 years of seminary, we're ready to serve together, not just do homework and class.

THEN, our Valentine's Day yesterday was a scary one.  It sucked, it was draining and a total trigger from 2009.  But we got to see God show up, answer prayer, and make us practice patience and trust.  For 2 hours yesterday, we thought I had breast cancer.  The doctors were convinced that something was going on, and that there was in fact an abnormal lump.

You see, I had gone in for my woman's yearly - NO BIG DEAL.  I actually love my doctor and wish I could be her best friend, but I only see her 1x a year.  She's so funny, sweet, caring, and GOOD.  So in the midst my boob hanging out and her fondling me we were chatting about our newest addition to our family, Miss Sophia Journey and the very free spirit she is.  As Dr. W is laughing at the stories I'm telling her of Fia free-falling onto to pillows on the ground from our couch and her constantly said "Fia, get down!" when she climbs on top of tables (YES, she takes the words right out of my mouth and then claps for herself) my doctor's face changed.  It became worried, concentrating on something she felt.  As soon as she stopped laughing, I remembered a lump I had felt 2 months ago or so, but then life got busy, I forgot, and then I was kicking myself for not remembering.

She immediately had the breast center here get me in (it happened to be next door).  I had to wait 30 minutes before I was seen.  In that 30 minutes I was having flashbacks of when I went in for a "cold" and came out with cancer Christmas, 2009.  This was NOT where I wanted to be.  Jesse was at home, but I was told I wouldn't find out any results that day, so it wasn't a big deal for me for him to be there.  I also shot out a quick text to my bffs and had them pray for me.  I also cried out for God to meet me and for Him to let me know He was there.  I was called back to a room, and the ultrasound lady gave me a minute to get undressed.  In those 5 minutes when I was alone in the room, my breast, right where the lump was burned so hot and so painfully, I was sure that God had met me.  After my ultrasound, a doctor who specializes in breast cancer came in, she immediately found the lump and tried to repeat the ultrasound, but nothing was there.  She sent me to get a mammogram right away, and it looked perfect.  She was baffled.  She told me because I have a higher risk of cancer given my history and family history, that she wanted to check me again in 3 months on a certain day of my cycle (apparently boobs have a "quiet" time...haha) but she thinks she'll declare me as having "no cancer" then.  I'm telling you - not a fun 2 hours for either J or myself, but wow - having to trust God in the not knowing, and being able to tell Him I would trust Him even if the worst came to be true was huge for me, for us.  He keeps refining us, and it's painful, but at least I see purpose for it.  I don't know if that hot feeling/burning sensation was God's healing or Him letting me know He was there, but it was comforting.  I'm finally beginning to scrape the surface of what it means for the Almighty God, to be my Abba.  For him to not only care for my church community, may family, the CHURCH at large, but me specifically, to love me specifically.  To love the one named Brandi, with brown eyes and a lump in her boob.  He loves ME.  And HE wanted to show me that he was there.  THANK YOU JESUS!!

I'm so hoping your Valentine's day was filled with your boobs hanging out, but for a much different and way more fun reason.

x, b

PS, haha about the devotions.  I'm so silly - my lovely, pastor of a husband, pointed out to me that I named my kid devotions INDULGENCE which means the full or partial remission of temporal punishment due for sins...OOPS, hopefully I didn't offend anyone.  I really meant the opposite of "to fast" which I thought "to endulge" would be good, but wrong spelling makes it completely wrong.  GRACE folks.  AND, yes. Jesus wasn't tempted by dessert, but in the desert.  Maybe a Freudian slip.  What can I say?!  Here is the updated, for lack of better name: 40 Days of Lent for Kids: DAYS 1-4 and newly added DAYS 5-8

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

40 Days of Lent for Kids, days1-4

You didn't think I'd do it did you... well, here it is! :) 40 DAYS OF LENT FOR KIDS, DAYS 1-4 Granted it's just days 1-4, but still.  SUPER DUPER DISCLAIMER:  I'm not computer or blog savvy at all, at all, at all.  So, yes - there's probably another way to upload the PDF or get the columns and pictures to align better in the devo - but I'm a crazy busy mama, details are just going to have to slide.  (however, if you know a better way - LMK, I love suggestions.  Sorry it ain't all pretty.)

Here's my vision for this:  I totally stole the idea from the Jesse Tree where you read scripture and color an "ornament" everyday the month leading up to Christmas (I guess I could have just said December, duh - it's been a long day!) teaching you and preparing you for Jesus' birth.  Well, although my Christmas tree did just get taken down not too long ago, it's actually not up, so I'm not making ornaments with the kids, but more like stringing the coloring rectangles everyday and hanging the garland, for us - in our entry way so my babes can show off their work to whomever walks in.  I'm curious as to what you'll do with yours.  Let me know.  Share your ideas.

I'm excited to start this journey of Lent with my kiddos and I hope these are encouraging to you as well.  Of course, I wrote this with a very specific audience in mind - two 4 year olds and a 1 year old, but even if you have older kids - do the Bible reading together and there's SO much you could discuss.  Let me know if you need any direction.

A little secret.  I used to be a youth leader in my former life, I mean, I did go to school for Christian Education Leadership and have my degree in youth pastoring...haha. But wow, it feels so long ago so I'm a little rusty, no judging.  Plus my sweet age was more like 11-18.  I loved those junior high and high schoolers.   But hey, now I have myself a young brood.  So we're doing bible reading and corny coloring because that's what they love. I hope your babes will like it too.

x, b

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Yes, it's been awhile!

Oh it's been a hell of a season over here, hence the absence of me.  Well, let me keep it short (ha!) - I'm so incredibly rejuvenated and I'm about to explode, there's so much I want to tell you.  But really, God is so gracious to me and for some reason, lets me in.  Why?  I have no idea.  But, I am excited to tell you that I'm inspired.  Inspired to invite you into my Fast for Lent, but really it's not a fast at all - it's an overindulgence - I guess?  Is that the opposite of fasting?  Well, let's be honest - I suck at fasting, or giving up anything and when I try it's all vanity related.  "I'm fasting carbs, sweets, wine, and more wine for Jesus." (haha - or so I can fit into a bikini which I haven't even become close to doing for the last 5 years???) So, this year, God has invited me to spend more time with Him and really pouring His love and His STORY into my family these next 40 days.  Here's a little glimpse of how He called me to this unique fast this season.

Sammy, is my almost 5 year old, going to 10!  (He's from Ghana and we really don't know his age - we, along with our agency made the best educated guess we could - but I think we're a little off.  That, or God gave me a really really intelligent and smart little booger.  Sometimes too smart for his own good.)  Anywhoo... here are some questions my little boy has been pondering and asking over the last few days:
     "Mom, did Jesus get hurt while he was on the cross?...Does it hurt to die?... I don't exactly get why it was fair for him to die when he did nothing wrong.  So, it was a nail like this (as he holds up a fork from the silverware drawer) that someone pounded into Jesus' wrists that starts on top and then goes all the way through?  Who could do that to someone? Why didn't His Dad stop it?  Isn't His dad, God?  My daddy would never let something like that happen." And you wonder why I don't think he's 4 1/2 years old. 

We did a Jesse Tree project for Advent where we read a certain Bible Story every day followed by some coloring/craft of some sort leading up to Christmas.  Oh yes, I didn't do them some of the days while others we doubled up - so eventually they all got hung and the kids literally BEGGED me to do them everyday.  I loved this idea so much that I've been on the hunt for a Lent version - I cannot, for the life of me find one.  So - I guess I'll invent my own to share with you. :)  I'm partnering it up with some Bible verses our church is reflecting on every day and I'm really excited to see how God pours into my kids, myself, and my husband these next 40 days and I hope that you'll comeback tomorrow and check out what I've put together.  In the meantime, check out I WAS A STRANGER for verses that we'll be reflecting on.

I'm hoping you too will join me in a little Jesus indulgence too this season.  My hope is that my daily reflections that I post here will be encouragement for you, if I'm honest - that they'd really be encouraging to me!!  I find Jesus meets me when I write, maybe because it's one of the only times I'm not distracted by the 3 beauties he gave me.  Crazy huh, when you slow down, you hear the voice of God.  It's not that He is always quiet, it's that He's often drowned out by chaos, poopy diapers, arguing kids, even laughter and silliness.

x, b