Coffee Cookies and Coloring

Tonight we were supposed to go to The Lantern Fest, but hopefully everyone who snagged tickets (THANK YOU!) realized it was postponed until June 4. Instead, the kids and I spent the evening inside with some coffee, cookies, and coloring.

coffee cookies coloring

Okay. They didn’t have coffee. They had cookies. And…they didn’t color. They watched me. And they asked a lot of questions.

Like…

What kind of crayons are you using? I wasn’t using crayons. I was using Crayola Twistables Colored Pencils. They are like my favorite leggings, buttery smooth.

Can we have a cookie? Sure, but just the Thin Mints. Mommy only has a very tiny stash of four lonely Samoas left and they’re all mine (two remain).

Why are you coloring in your Bible? Is that really allowed? I’m sure your Pappy would have a good reason why it “wouldn’t be allowed”, but Mommy is doodling when a Bible verse speaks to her (like she did with chalk yesterday). This is a special journaling Bible and I draw in it.

journaling bible

What does that verse mean? I John  5:14-15 are about fervent prayer, asking for things to be done in God’s will. I’ve been doing this lately. There are big things I want for my family. Big things that would likely mean a few changes but a happier Mama. When we pray that God does for us what is in His will, those big things happen. Sometimes they are scary, but when we realize they are exactly what we asked for, they are right and good.

Can you use the teal to color soulOddly, yes. The teal is calling to me, so I am going to color with it.

adult coloring book

Why aren’t our coloring books that neat? Actually, kids, they are. They are so neat that adults have now starting using adult coloring books to make them feel better, more like a kid. I’m jealous. And yes, I’ll color in your coloring books with you tomorrow.

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Chosen

Is there anything greater than being a kid and getting chosen anywhere but last in the kickball line? There is, actually. 

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We are all chosen. All of us.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

John 15:16 (NIV)

Personally, I think it’s pretty cool to be chosen for something great.

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN? Well, I’ve been struggling lately. Thank goodness for this blog and those kiddos. What have I been struggling with? My current. Feeling like I am wanted, feeling like I am in the right place in the right role and at the right time. I’m struggling with patience. With my ethic. Frankly, with understanding why we are ‘Burghers and not Beachers.

It’s been a confusing, exhausting week, but this very week was in God’s plans for me and my family. It was appointed, and will be brought through because it’s what’s been given to me.

Quite the vague blog (I think that’s twice in as many days?!?!), but let me tell yinz. This mama (and her hubby and kiddos) could use a vacation sooner than our conference road trip week. BUT, even though it’s been extremely exhausting and full of all the questions and prayers, we accept it and are rolling with it. Perhaps….more to come! 

While I sit here and look for inspiration and meaning, know I’ve found both in John 15:16…because I am (and YOU ARE) chosen.

Baptism

Sunday (aside from being Mother’s Day) included church, as our Sundays do. As usual, I found myself with tears streaming down my face following worship, not wanting it to end, needing it not to end. The message was an explanation of the kinds of baptism.

I won’t go into all the details – but there are three kinds of baptism, two of them being spiritual and the other the physical baptism. The church we attend dedicates babies and baptizes, in a tank, the teens and adults when they are ready to “take the plunge” and symbolize the old life turning to the new. 

These types of messages always get me thinking, comparing the differences between the church I was raised in and the church we are attending these days. Honestly, I don’t have a strong opinion on what is right or wrong about either – both make sense to me. (And coincidentally, my dad posted a photo on Facebook the night before, comparing baptisms with donuts – my UMC roots are “sprinkles”!)

What I do know is that I’ve always understood my baptism, probably because I grew up in a church and was literally raised by it. I thought my baptism anniversary date was today (May 9), however, I must have things wrong because the Sundays in that year were the 8th and 15th. Time to find that baby book (because I’ve been living as though that’s been the date for YEARS). But anyways.

For me, my baptism was a sign of a dedication from my parents to bring me up in the church (little did they know that my dad would become a pastor a few years later), a deal I sealed when I was 13 and became a Christian. And since then, I’ve remembered it, renewing my faith during each baptism I’ve attended; remembering in services like the time my dad did a “bubble” service at a youth retreat (really cool moment – right after Wendy passed). And I’m not going to lie…I’ve even been mulling over a new baptism, one to symbolize the new me as an adult.

So it got me thinking…and confirmed…I’ve not shared the kids’ baptism photos here on the blog! Now, they might not remember these dates like I do, but I’ll be sure to remember. Maybe they’ll see this as their dedication and then in a few years decide to “get pickled” (if you go to NLC you know what I am talking about!) and let go of the old life for the new. Regardless, these were important days for me, symbols of our faith commitment, so worth sharing (especially as the girls’ one year is today).

Arianna – December 21, 2008 – Ford Memorial UMC

baptism

What a ‘lil sweetie. She was dressed in a beautiful gown the my mom made out of her wedding dress, but in typical Pappy-baptism style, sweetie got soaked and changed into her Steelers onesie (like we Burghers do).

I was so glad that my best friend (Missy) and my brother (Jack) could stand with me. This was a tough time in my life, but you’d have no idea when you look at that smile. I was smiling so big because my family is so amazing to me and had me so supported that day. I knew that I’d made the right choices to raise my baby girl and that God had a plan. And woo-boy does He have one for me and that ‘lil lady. Things were (and DID) going to work out.

Evan – December 24, 2010 – Manorville UMC

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I’m not sure why we look so ’90s in this photo (hellllllooooo flash?!?!), but another amazing memory for us. Arianna and I had found our forever, Greg, and welcomed a baby brother a few years later. My cousins Jess and Dan, also with us through it all, stood with us on Christmas Eve. Evan was a week old.

That ‘lil snoozing baby boy has grown into my ‘lil prayer warrior, ensuring we pray before road trips and when we’re not feeling well.

Ava and Isla – May 10, 2015 – East Brady UMC

avaislabaptism

Pappy may have got their names a wee-bit mixed up that day, but he got the main points right – asking Greg and I to raise these two ‘lil ladies up in faith and love. It may have taken us a few more months to find our current faith home, but they have always been covered in prayer since we saw those two pink lines (just like with their sister and brother).

avaislabaptism2

Each ones’ faith journey, like mine and Greg’s too, will be their own; however, these kids are definitely aware of God’s hand in their lives. And that? That’s worth remembering year after year.

 

 

Oh, It’s On

Over the past few weeks, we’ve started tackling a few projects around the house. Things are starting to get real up in here. Let me tell you, oh, it’s on.

I’m not going to lie to you and say that our house is always super clean. This house is lived in, and that’s the way we like it. We are working on getting things more in order from the inside out.

Many of the projects started as a combined result of me reading some tips from the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
and Greg getting motivated to make some changes before I added them to his “honey do” list…but others have been projects that have been brewing in my heart for a few months now.

We’ve started, as “Life-Changing Magic” suggests, to rid the house of all the clutter. This isn’t a quick and easy process. We’re not scrubbing anything yet. We are literally just finding the trash, the things we are not using, and the things that no longer bring us joy (oh, it’s on…).

Yes, at the kids’ dismay, this includes things like dried up clay, broken crayons, and peeled off backs of puzzle pieces. Again. I swear I just did this after having the twins. But this time, this time we are doing it right.

Next up is going to be clothes. We have tons of clothes in this house, yet the four oldest of the family seem to always wear the same four or five outfits. And with the clothes is going to come a closet organization project…

…or maybe a War Room project. You see, this whole oh, it’s on attitude I have right now it’s just the cleaning up of the “things” in our lives. Nope. It’s also about telling that lying, thieving Devil there is no room for him around here. At church tonight, the kids and I got to watch War Room and we came home and told that devil that he doesn’t bring us joy. Jesus does. And Jesus is going to keep on kicking his butt. Over and over and over.

Oh, it’s on. And I can’t wait to see what 2016 is going to bring us because of it.

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Have you read War Room or seen the movie? What are your thoughts? In February, I’m going to be reading the complimenting book, Fervent, and would love to connect with other women of faith who are ready to tell that nasty devil he’s outta here. Want to join me? Or better yet…what can I pray for on your behalf? 

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Raise ’em Up

On Mother’s Day (May 10), Ava and Isla were baptized by their Pappy at East Brady UMC. What a special day and way to dedicate our babies to live a life in faith steps.

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Raise em’ up
Trophy high
Raise em’ up
To the sky
Raise em’ up
Show everybody that new born smile
Raise em’ up
Tall and strong
Raise em’ up
Right from wrong
Raise em’ up so damn high they can hear God singing along

–“Raise em’ up” lyrics by Keith Urban and Eric Church

Girls Week 2014

Last week, I got the chance to bring my best friend to the Resting Place to join me for Girls Week 2014. Our time was all too short, so now I am going to whine a bit. You know how I do.

Missy and I left her house at 6:00 PM last Friday after I pulled out of work at 4. We had a full tank of gas, cds that were with us in high school, and high energy. We were trying really hard to beat the snow to Holidaysburg, a crazy hilly area in PA. At the outskirts of Indiana, it was clear it wasn’t happening.

Snow kept us on the road and in PA much longer than we should have been. Five and a half hours later, we got to the Maryland border. 12 hours later, we were 141 miles away from South Carolina and had nothing left in the gas tank or us. It was time to get a hotel and nap. But nap we really couldn’t. We left a little after 10, amped on bad hotel coffee, and had high hopes of getting to the Resting Place at 1:00. My turn signal had other plans.

And the mass-merchandiser where we stopped to get help made 30 minutes turn into an hour and a half. I was exhausted, irritated, and in desperate need of CUSTOMER SERVICE. They were not giving.

24 hours after leaving my office, we rolled into Conway and grabbed a car wash. I wanted to run, but thought I lost my inhaler. I was not so happy and ended up crying in the Walgreens wine aisle 45 minutes later. Armed with frozen beverages and photos, we pulled into the beach house 25 hours after I left Pittsburgh.

The “weekend” involved a few fun games of Quelf, Suzie’s Thirty-One party (thank you!), and the Favorite Things shared between us (another post — I’ve never cried like I did over amazing people I met). Missy and I met Dustin for a tear filled church service (Christ UMC in Myrtle is WHERE IT IS AT). On Monday, I got to do yoga then join my cousins and Missy for a day at Barefoot Landing.

Carolina Winery
Missy, Me, Jess, and Ella enjoying a fun moment at Carolina Winery

When we got home and grabbed a snack, I digested Greg’s text that essentially said, “DC is going to SUCK to drive through” and we opted to hit the road and get home. 14 hours and very tired eyes later, we made it back to my house.

The trip was all too quick, but it reminded me of one of those youth group retreat weekends. Faith, fellowship, good food, activities. And even better? Amazing women to have shared it with. I have to say – these ladies saw me at the tiredest I’ve probably ever been, and still heart me. For that, I am thankful.

And Missy, I can’t wait for you to join us again. No is not  an option.

Us, 2014

 

Wordy Wednesday: Got to Have Faith

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Days 13-15 of 2014 have been a test. Someone definitely knows my word of the year and he is bringing craziness our way.

But thought the crazy, blessings.

I needed brakes on my car and not 20 minutes after I learned this, an opportunity came through to handle the cost. A true lesson in when you don’t know what to say, pray.

Evan has been lightening my load. He tells me randomly and often he loves me.

Arianna has been toting her Bible all over the house.

And Greg is doing. We are just lucky he’s doing at home and not the hospital.

Me? I am breathing, praying, thanking, and trying to stay on top of the lists.

Faith will get us through this, and warmer weather is coming…right?!?!

Faithful Beginnings

While on vacation, we attended our friend Dustin’s church. I’ve been before, but really felt the presence of God this time. A young man shared his story of coming to a life enriched by faith and the Pastor spoke about plans for 2014’s faith study.

I will be reading The Story, a way to read through the Bible, with the congregation (from afar and virtually) and hope to deepen my walk. My Dad and a few friends have a copy, too. Perhaps I will be sharing more with you here on the blog.

As 2014 gets underway, I personally hope to make it one of faithful beginnings. Not that 2013 was a bad year, but I am hoping this will be a year of more love and light in our lives. God is going to be part of that.

What are your hopes for this year?

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