Friday, May 31, 2013

Big Miracle in a Tiny Package

Little Miss saw the eye doctor today...

...and he had great things to say ~
Khloie has NO vision loss!
Her crossed eyes are simply Amblyopia (lazy eye), and are correctable with surgery in 3-6 months.
NO glasses!
Her ischemic event (or stroke) left major tissue damage at the occipital lobe, and yet Khloie can see perfectly!
Thank You, JESUS!!!

My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.
Psalm 71:8

Taking it to the Next Level ~ Challenge

An amazing group of gals are 11 days from completing the 30-day Beachbody Swimsuit Challenge...and now some of us are ready to take it up a notch.

I am offering to coach FIVE people over the summer. We will develop a community of encouragement and accountability all striving to improve our health TOGETHER. This is a test group so there will be some requirements so we can get good results.  This challenge will begin Monday, June 17!

What are the requirements?
*You must be committed for 90 days. That will take us to early September.
*You need to drink Shakeology daily.
*You must commit to a Beachbody program. Nearly all programs are 6 days a week of exercise. Some are 5. The daily time commitment is usually 45 - 60 minutes. (P90X, Chalene Extreme, Turbo Fire, Turbo Jam, Body Gospel, 10-Minute Trainer, Insanity and many many others to choose from...)

*You must be on Facebook so we can form a private group
*I will recommend that people log their nutrition into an online fitness app like MyFitnessPal. We can all "friend" each other there and stay accountable that way too!

*The great news is that Beachbody wants to help us reach our goals by offering Shakeology and your choice of a fitness program together as a Challenge Pack! Challenge Packs include:
* a home direct order of Shakeology,
*a fitness program of your choice,
* 1 free month of the Beachbody Club (The Club includes an awesome meal planner and other great weight loss/fitness related tools).

Check out Challenge Packs!

I started Shakeology and P90X 50 days ago, and I have results to show for it!
There are 21 challenge packs to choose from!
Buying Shakeology and the fitness program together saves you from $40-$65. 

If this sounds like something you are ready to COMMIT to...then comment or email to let me know. I will help you make decisions on a fitness program if you like, will walk alongside you as your coach and will hold you accountable.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

All in a Day...or Two

Our days are so exciting.  *ahem*
How exciting, you ask?
Well, for instance, yesterday, four Treasures and I headed out at the crack of dawn for a weekly 6-hour road trip.
See, Kasidi is thrilled.

And on the way home, these three were still thrilled.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the state, Daddy drove the campers to Falls Creek.
Sisters: 1 camper; 1 sponsor
This was a day or so before, but can you just say oh-my-yummy to Lori's lasagna!
Kaeleb's play-doh creations
Anyway...we arrived safely home from our road trip, only to be under threat of severe storms.  Some of us took this very seriously.
See what I mean
Daddy and 3 of our Treasures were driving home from Falls Creek, which left me in charge of preparing the storm shelter, watching the weather and knowing if and when we should go.  About the time the really nasty weather hit, Kolton called from the Philippines!
We had a brief conversation, and by the time we hung up, the first storm had passed.
Daddy and the rest of the Krew got home around 10:30, so he stood watch for the next round.
As for me, I was b.e.a.t.
We praise God for protecting His crop, yet again!

Stick around because tomorrow will be just as exciting... :)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Reason for God ~ Chapter 3 ~ Christianity is a Straightjacket

Ni Hao Yall
The following is taken from Stefanie's blog.  She is moderating this study, and I simply can't summarize it like she does.  Thanks, friend!

The Reason for God – Chapter Three: Christianity is a Straightjacket
Keller begins Chapter 3 by posing this question: “Is a belief in absolute truth the enemy of freedom?” Then he proceeds to, for the remainder of the chapter, deconstruct this commonly held notion. He quotes Chloe, a young artist from New York City, “The Christians I know don’t seem to be able to think for themselves. I believe each individual must determine truth for him- or herself.” (p.35).
Truth is Unavoidable
By claiming truth you are asserting power according to Nietzsche and his disciple Foucault…“Truth is a thing of this world. It is produced only by multiple forms of constraint and that includes the regular effects of power.”(p.37) But this argument cannot stand, explains Keller. If you say that all claims to truth are actually attempts to garner power, then this must include your very own statement.
G.K. Chesterton made a similar observation almost 100 years ago, “The new rebel is a skeptic, and will not trust anything [but] therefore he can never be really a revolutionary. For all denunciation implies a moral doctrine of some kind. Therefore the modern man in revolt has become practically useless for all purposes of revolt. By rebelling against everything he has lost his right to rebel against anything… there is a thought that stops thought. That is the only thought that ought to be stopped.”
Community Can’t Be Completely Inclusive
com·mu·ni·ty [kuh-myoo-ni-tee] noun.
1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.
A community, by definition, is a group that shares characteristics and defines itself as distinct, because of those unique characteristics, from society as a whole. And yet, the Christian community has been accused of social divisiveness. True, it is not open to all and requires a certain set of beliefs in order to be a member. But isn’t this what community is all about?
Keller explains that there is a more important consideration. Determining the true nature of a community – whether it is caring and open or narrow and oppressive. “Which community has beliefs that lead it’s members to treat persons in other communities with love and respect – to serve them and meet their needs? Which community’s beliefs lead it to demonize and attack those who violate their boundaries rather than treating them with kindness, humility and winsomeness?” (p.40)
Christianity Isn’t Culturally Rigid
“It [Christianity] allegedly forces people from diverse cultures into a single iron mold.” (p.41)
The growth of Christianity has differed from that of other major religions because it has “adapted significantly and positively to the surrounding culture without compromising it’s main tenants.” (p.43) Keller shares an insight from African scholar Lamin Sanneh who explains that, “Christianity helped Africans to become renewed Africans, not re-made Europeans.”
He goes on to explain why Christianity has successfully infiltrated so many completely different cultures: “There is, of course, a core of teachings… to which all forms of Christianity are committed. Nevertheless, there is a great deal of freedom in how these absolutes are expressed and take form within a particular culture.” (p.45)
Freedom Isn’t Simple
Freedom to determine one’s own moral standards in order to achieve a full life has become a commonplace belief in modern society. But Keller says that this is an oversimplification. “In fact, in many cases, confinement and constraint is actually a means to liberation.” (p. 46) He gives the example of the fish who is only truly free if it is limited to life in the water. It’s potential for “a full life”, if moved onto land, would be impossible. In fact, it would be certain death.
“If we only grow intellectually, vocationally, and physically through judicious constraints – why would it not also be true for spiritual and moral growth? Instead of insisting on freedom to create spiritual reality, shouldn’t we be seeking to discover it and disciplining ourselves to live according to it?” (p.47)
Love, the Ultimate Freedom, Is More Constraining Than We Might Think
“What is the environment that liberates us if we confine ourselves to it, like water liberates the fish? Love. Love is the most liberating freedom-loss of all.” (p.48)
If you want deep, meaningful love, you must be willing to sacrifice some of the freedoms of living simply for yourself. “We only become ourselves in love, and yet healthy love relationships involve mutual, unselfish service, a mutual loss of independence.” (p.49)
Initially, a relationship with God seems to be one-sided – we do all the serving because God has all the power. Although this is often true of other religions, it is not true of Christianity. “In the most radical way, God has adjusted to us – in his incarnation and atonement. In Jesus Christ he became a limited human being, vulnerable to suffering and death. On the cross he submitted to our condition – as sinners – and died in our place to forgive us. In the most profound way, God has said to us, in Christ, ‘I will adjust to you. I will change for you. I’ll serve you though it means a sacrifice for me.’” (p.50)
Indeed. When we sit under the weight of what Jesus did on the cross, we feel more than appreciation and gratitude. We feel so thankful and and so loved, that we are overwhelmed with love in return. And so springs up our desire to be like Christ. This is what motivates the Christ-follower.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity defines well the difference between wanting to “be good” and truly understanding – and being molded by – Jesus’ love. “… the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.”
God loved us first. “We love because he first loved us.” John 4:19. God initiates. We respond. And it is only when we are acting in response to His unconditional love and His infinite worth that we can do any of the things to which Jesus calls His followers. And understanding this distinction is crucial. In fact, it makes all the difference.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” — John 8:31-32
Question: Have you made sacrifices to cultivate a deep and loving relationship with the Lord? Was there something specific you were afraid to give up? What was the outcome?
*My Response*
Again, this is such a difficult chapter.  It really caused me to dig deep.  I love Keller's discussion on page 46 of the musician who has given himself to hours of practice, which could be viewed as a restriction.  However, Keller says, "You've deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things."

That is where I find my answer to this week's question.  While I would never consider anything I've given up a sacrifice compared to what Jesus has done for me, I've certainly allowed God to weed the garden of my heart and prompt me to let go of a lot.  Coming to know Christ as an adult could have been viewed as a sacrifice because I essentially lost my life as I knew it at the age of 36.  I had a great career, a nice enough home and a 'typical' family with three children.  Immediately upon following Jesus, my perspective and priorities changed.  Not out of duty, but in response to loving the Lord.  I desired differently.  

The things of value in this world were not as important to me.  The hardest 'sacrifices' I've made are severing relationships with people who are critical of the Lord's plans for our family, and finances.  We desire to live simply, but our desire to follow the Lord also means living on very little at times.  God is so faithful to always provide all we need, whether a little or a lot.  We do not have jobs that come with paid vacation or family leave, so the time we invest volunteering is hard financially... but richly rewarding.  As Keller says, "You've deliberately lost your freedom to engage in some things in order to release yourself to a richer kind of freedom to accomplish other things."

I would never go back to my life before Jesus!

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The Lord has given me a word lately.

It's right up there with other dirty words like 'surrender' and 'submit'.  
Except, I've never had a problem with these words, so I thought.
Have you ever faced a situation that finally wore you to the point of saying, 'whateva'?
And so you did it - you released it!  *sort of*
But actually your heart became hardened and you began responding in ways that surprised even you.
Surely that hasn't happened to you.

For over a week now, the message I've gotten from the Lord is, "humble yourself in this situation...or I will do it for you."

I'm prone to believe a message like that because it's happened before.  When I've made idols and refused to put them in their place, the Lord has taken care of them for me.  It.wasn't.pleasant.

Pride.  Control.  I've been bowing to them.
Thing is, I don't want to be in control.  But my reactions and emotions reveal that I do.  
And what I think is discipline and chaos management really looks like control.  

As for pride, I'm pretty sure I trip over it every single day.

If the Lord sees fit to warn me, I'm willing to listen.  I think I'm on track, and then some silly thing derails me.  Then I lose perspective.  Maybe you know the spiral.  It's like I'm always looking for the rather than cherishing the already.great.things.  I know He doesn't promise easy.  I know He doesn't usually snuff out the fire, but rather carries me through it.

When I rise up and open my eyes, I see His majesty.

I see hope.
*Hope in the things He is doing in the hearts of others.
*Hope in spring time.
*Hope in a determined little girl who can walk.
*Hope in a bright little boy whose file was days from being returned.
*Hope in a toddler making an amazing transition.
*Hope in a young adult with his whole life ahead of him.
*Hope in teenagers growing into leadership.
*Hope in a whole passel of girls with enough spunk to change the world.
*Hope in The Lord.
Because He knows what He's doing.
He hasn't chosen to change my circumstances, but He has given me given me a glimpse of His handiwork.
Even if I don't receive another blessing, I still have much to praise Him for.  

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.  
James 4:10

Saturday, May 25, 2013

It's Official *finally*

We've waited 60 long days for Khloie's certificate of citizenship, and today it arrived!!!!

This is Random, who coined the term 'lazy days of summer'?
I hereby declare a new term: 'crazy days of summer'.
Feel free to quote me on that.

Moving on.
This is our Philippines mission team!
Zach, Trever, Kolton, Brad

We've had a couple brief reports, and all is well.  They will get to serve in church service tomorrow (tonight), so would you please pray for them?  We hope to receive a picture soon. *maybe that's just me - I love pictures!*

Suddenly summer softball and t-ball are in full swing.  They happen to be on the same night in separate towns, so Daddy and I will divide and conquer.

And finally, the Lord's crop is growing!  It's late, but it's all in His time.  In less than 60 days this tiny corn will be over our heads and ready for picking.

This weekend we're packing for kids' camp.  Kayden is old enough to go to kids' camp!  Kenzie is going as a sponsor - yeah!  

Youth Falls Creek is coming soon too!  

Now, on with your crazy summer day :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Reason for God ~ Chapter Two ~ How Could a Good God Allow Suffering?

Ni Hao Yall

The Reason for God - Chapter Two: How Could a Good God Allow Suffering

What a timely message in light of the present devastation in Oklahoma.

Excerpted from Stefanie's blog:

The biggest problem Keller says for most non-believers is the existence of evil and suffering in the world. A long-standing argument against God is, If there is a God, and He is good, how could He allow pointless evil? The subtle premise in this statement is that their definition of "pointless" = "pointless to me". Keller describes it as, "...we see lurking within hard-nosed skepticism an enormous faith in one's own cognitive faculties.... This is blind faith of a high order." 

Keller uses the example of Joseph - and the multiple years he spent in slavery and prison prior to his ascension to unimaginable power - to demonstrate our flawed and minimal understanding of good and evil. In the midst of Joseph's trials, all we would see would be a person suffering undeserved evil and years of torment for no rhyme nor reason. Because of the historical perspective provided in the Bible, we see that God used these trials and tribulations to not only redeem all the years Joseph had lost, but to use him to save an entire nation from the worst famine in Egyptian history. 

"If you have a God great and transcendent enough to be mad at because he hasn't stopped evil and suffering in the world, then you have (at the same moment) a God great and transcendent enough to have good reasons for allowing it to continue that you can't know. Indeed, you can't have it both ways." [p.25]
The very entity that people deny because of suffering and evil is the same God of Christianity who identifies most with suffering and evil. In Christianity, God became man and suffered the same ills, pains and sorrows that define human experience. And finally, He suffered a separation from His Father that we cannot comprehend. Prior to His crucifixion, Jesus maintained a perfect unity with the Father that existed from the beginning (see John 1 and Genesis 1:26). The fact that He was willing to suffer the agony of that lost fellowship not only demonstrates His abundant love for us but reveals His first-hand experience with suffering. Jesus is not an unaffected being without human understanding. Jesus' separation for the Father was "... eternally unbearable." [p.29]

New Testament scholar Bill Lane says of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Jesus came to be with the Father for an interlude before his betrayal, but found hell rather than heaven opened before him, and he staggered."[p.30] Jesus' cries on the cross of "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" are cries of an incredibly intimate nature and reflect how deeply the loss of relationship with God affected Him. His final words were not reflective of physical pain, but of His spiritual agony.

"God takes our misery and suffering so seriously that He was willing to take it on Himself." [p.31]

But knowing that God suffered with us and for us is still not enough for many. They want to know that there is a reason and a purpose for the injustice of their suffering. They want a remedy so that others will not have to endure the same. Christianity reveals there is an ultimate justice: "The Biblical view of things is resurrection -- not a future that is just a consolation for the life we never had but a restoration of the life you always wanted." [p.32] Keller explains Christianity is unique because the God we serve experienced suffering and evil personally. And through His resurrection, He conquered both completely, leading to ultimate joy and peace through belief in Him.

Question: Can you remember a time you endured suffering or experienced evil that turned out for good?

*My response*
When I think of suffering and beauty rising from ashes, I always think of Joseph (Gen 30-50)...and Jesus.

It is a natural tendency to ask "Why?" when tragedy strikes.  I've even heard, "How could that happen to her?  She's such a good person!"

In all the suffering that Joseph endured, his response was more like, "How can I most glorify God in light of my present circumstances?"  He didn't pout or whine.  He grew through affliction.  Clearly, human hands meant harm for Joseph, repeatedly.  But God had other plans.  Joseph had dreams, but he couldn't see the future to know he would ultimately rule Egypt.  

When it comes to 'good,' there is no one better than Jesus!  He was beaten and murdered on a cross.  If there is one person who is 'good enough' to escape tragedy, it is Jesus!

And so...if God was willing to take such suffering upon Himself, I recognize that I am not exempt from pain and suffering.  In my limited vision I cannot always see the meaning, but in my tiny faith I know He will be glorified.

The most painful thing I've endured was when someone very close to me rejected the idea of us adopting the first time, and then rejected our child.  Rejection came in the form of hurtful words and actions, spoken in front of our child.  I tried to blow it off; I tried to extend grace; I tried talking it out.  Ultimately, in an effort to protect all my children from such hatred, I gave an ultimatum:  stop the hatred or you can no longer see my family.  Heartbreak followed the pain.  Within a few months, I was so convicted of turning my back on this person.  Of course, I didn't feel my children needed to be exposed to the pain, but I did believe I had walked out on my promise to God: to be a witness for Him and love the unlovely. I made a surprise visit, alone, to see this person to begin the restoration process., it was hard.  But I was reminded of how much grace God extends to me, moment by moment.  All the hurt I cause Him, and He patiently pursues me, flaws and all. 

Within months, our relationship was fully restored, this person very dear to me apologized and loved all my children.  And 5 years ago, this person accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  To God be glory!!!

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
2 Cor 4:17

Monday, May 20, 2013

Kaeleb, the Graduate!!!

Kaeleb Jon, we are so proud of you!!!

Kindergarten is behind you, and you're ready for 1st grade!

Your royal audience.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Last Week of School ~ Whirlwind

Unrelated to school, but Miss Khloie sees her rehab specialist this week who will make the referrals to the cardiologist, neurologist and ophthalmologist.

Kasidi is finished with formal physical therapy for the summer, but her PT has left an extensive list for us to do on a daily basis.  It's paying off though!!!

Last week we had the sports banquet.

Kenzie lettered in fast pitch, basketball, slow pitch and track, and received two special awards in basketball and track!

Kolton lettered in football, power lifting, baseball and track!

Kasidi running away from Bubba Kolton

This weekend we took a day trip to watch my nephew graduate.  Since they rented a house on the lake we got to spend a few minutes in the water.

 We ate a LOT of good food...
 ...had great conversation...
 ...and watched storms roll in.

And this week we have two days of school left, and we're trying to set a record for just how many things we can cram into 7 days...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Reason for God ~ Chapter One

Ni Hao Yall

The excerpt below is copied from Stefanie's blog so you can read the chapter summary.

The Reason for God – Chapter One: There Can’t Be Just One True Religion
Timothy Keller begins by presenting the time honored arguments against the nature of God and Christians in particular – intolerance and exclusivity. And he lays out his response to each of the attempts made by cultural and political leaders to rid the world of the religious binds that they blame for the issues we face today: 1) outlaw religion 2) condemn religion and 3) privatize religion.
Argument 1 – If society could outlaw religion, we would rid ourselves of the divisiveness caused by differing religions – intolerance and violence would disappear. But experimental attempts to outlaw religion in societies has instead created more violence and more intolerance. Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge, Communist China, Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany are all examples of the utter failure of the efforts to remove religion from society. Taken together, the rule of non-religious despots in the 20th Century contributed to an estimated 30 – 40 million deaths. Besides an outright attempt at banning religion, Keller argues that many believe that as science advances, the ‘need’ for religion will summarily subside. And yet, the opposite is actually occurring. As science careens forward, “Virtually all major religions are growing in number of adherents.” [p. 6] Keller believes that religion is not temporary but is instead central to the human condition and that this truth is not going to change.
Argument 2 – If we can’t get rid of religion, can’t we discourage those who claim to have “the truth” and who attempt to convert others? Can’t we just admit that all religions serve the same god, are of equal importance and create the same path to enlightenment? Keller then lays out the arguments:
– All major religions are equally valid and basically teach the same thing
– Each religion sees part of spiritual truth, but none can see the whole truth
– Religious belief is too culturally and historically conditioned to be ‘truth’
– It is arrogant to insist your religion is right and to convert others to it [p. 7, 8, 9, 11]
These axioms – that Keller describes as having been repeated so frequently that they are now considered common sense – have seeped into our society and inconspicuously garnered support with believers and non-believers alike. But as Keller dismantles each axiom, we find that these arguments not only disprove themselves but reveal the self-righteousness and pride of the one making the arguments. “It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions (namely that all are equal) is right. We are all exclusive in our beliefs about religion, but in different ways.” [p.14]
Argument 3 – Religion is a private affair and should be kept as such. If one wants to have religion, then it should be reserved for private conversations with those who adhere to the same thoughts and ideas. Keller shows the foolishness of the person who argues against public pronouncements of religious belief because of its supposed toxicity – a case for a secular belief system that, in and of itself, is not universal, and therefore is actually faith based and has the potential to be just as toxic. His grounds are that, “…all moral positions are at least implicitly religious.” [p. 18] Calling for the complete privatization of religion in and of itself is ultimately a conundrum because it is asking to remove itself, the religious secular belief, to be removed as well.
After thoughtfully dismantling each of the arguments presented, Keller comes full circle and states that although religion has the potential to threaten world peace, Christ’s guiding principles can actually lead His followers to be agents for world peace. Not because of any inherent good they might possess, but because of who they are in Christ. He argues that because the Christian understands his inherent sinfulness and need of a Savior, he is able to see the world through a viewpoint of inclusivity not exclusivity. “God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior.” [p. 20] We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Therefore, the Christian life – based on the life and death of Jesus Christ who died for those who hated Him and prayed for their forgiveness – should be marked by more honesty, more humility and more selfless love than any other.
Question: Which of the axioms presented by Keller resonated most with you? Do you agree with it or disagree with it? Why?
My response:
This study is proving to be very deep.  In fact, I find myself reading the chapter 3 times to get what Keller is saying.  I feel that the more I get to know, the less I realize I know, if that makes sense.
The axiom that most resonated with me is number 4, it is arrogant to insist your religion is right and to convert others to it.
For some reason I have inadvertently bought into this.  I think it might be the muddy waters between doctrinal truth and cultural/historical beliefs and traditions.  Since coming to know Christ later in life I've had an inherent belief that folks who were raised in the faith must have all the answers and know the walk.  And I'm not pointing a critical finger at those believers; I'm wondering why I've believed that.  In so thinking, I've fallen into the trap of cultural norms.  If so-and-so does such-and-such and believes thus-and-so, then it must be okay.  And then comes doubt.  Doubt in absolute truth.  My 'walk' and my version of Truth gradually conforms to societal standards.  The more I conform, the more I justify my inappropriate responses.  But yet, the Spirit dwells within me, so I know I'm wrong, and the battle rages within.  It would be completely arrogant for a sinner such as myself to insist that my religion is right.

I love what Keller wrote: “God’s grace does not come to people who morally outperform others, but to those who admit their failure to perform and who acknowledge their need for a Savior.”

And that the Christian life should be marked by more honesty, more humility and more selfless love than any other.

My response to Christ should cause others to draw nearer to him.  Just imagine what 'cultural norms' would look like then!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Update on Philippines Trip

I wanted to update you on Kolton's trip to the Philippines next week!
His passport came last week, and the tickets are booked!
The team will fly out early next Wednesday, May 22, the day after school is out.
We praise the Lord for what He has done and is doing.  
If you wish to give to Kolton's trip expenses, you may still use the Paypal Donate button on the side bar.  
*Prayer Requests*
1) Kolton's shoulder is better but still not healed.
2) The team: Trevor, Brad, Kolton, Zach

Something so awesome happened last Sunday that I couldn't wait to share it!

Our 2nd oldest krew member, Kolton Tee, was prompted by the Holy Spirit to join a missions team to the Philippines.
Kolton is a hard worker, but he's never expressed a desire to go on missions before.  We've also invited him twice to travel to China with us, and he's declined both times.

But last Sunday he responded with 'Yes!'
Because the team leaves in less than four weeks, we are expediting his passport and scrambling to raise the necessary funds.

Believe me when I say the enemy will try all kinds of schemes to stop him.  Yesterday Kolton's relay team placed 2nd in the meet, but Kolton lunged across the finish line, then fell and injured his shoulder.  X-ray reveals it's not broken, but sprained.  At this point he can't move his arm, so will you please join us in praying for immediate and complete healing?
We are so excited about what the Lord is going to do through this team, and so thankful that He calls young people to life-changing opportunities.  Thank you for praying!!!
Kolton Tee

Kolton T. Johnson
April 22, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
            I am excited to announce that I will be involved in a great mission opportunity in the Philippines. We will kick off our trip on Monday, May 20th and return Saturday, June 1st.  While in the Philippines we will be pouring concrete and laying the tile floor of a church we have helped fund.
            I am asking the Body of Christ to pray for safety, guidance, provision, and most of all that God would be glorified. The Holy Spirit prompted me to join this team on April 20th, thereby leaving only four weeks to gather the necessary resources. I can’t wait to be the hands and feet of Christ while in the Philippines!
            If the Lord leads you to contribute to my financial need of 3,000 dollars you may give to:
Ringwood First Baptist Church
PO Box 133
Ringwood, OK
*in the memo of your check simply write Philippine Mission Trip*
            I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord and our Philippine brothers and sisters and expect it to be a life changing experience. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.
            In Him,

            Kolton T. Johnson

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Last Call for the 30-Day Challenge!

Okay, y'all, I can't believe the response!  

I'm just as excited as you are about getting started tomorrow, Monday, May 13!

Let's redefine Mondays :)

How many days do we wish we would do something differently or think about changing our habits?  Finally one day we stop thinking and wishing... and we actually do it!

This is that day.

If you've asked me to add you to the private Facebook group and I haven't done so, it's because I can't find you on FB.  I don't want to leave anyone out, so please message me on FB or leave a comment here with your email or FB name.

Let's do this!!!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

While Mother's Day is meant to celebrate that very special woman whom we call Mom (or Mommy, Mama, Mother...), it can be bittersweet.

Maybe you are longing to have a child and it just hasn't happened.  I pray that our heavenly Father would be your Comfort today and others would be sensitive to your broken heart.

Maybe you didn't have a good mama role model and don't really know what a mom is supposed to be.  I pray that God would wrap His loving arms around you and show you an unsurpassed love.  Whether He uses His children, His Word, your circumstances, or simply gives a fresh perspective, I hope you know you are loved.

Maybe your mama or your daughter have passed, and today you are only reminded of her absence.  I pray that God would fill your mind with such beautiful memories that your sadness would turn to joy.

Maybe you're a mama like me, overwhelmed by the daily tasks of mundane things such as laundry, dishes, mismatched socks, diapers and runny noses.  Today I pray that God would give us fresh perspective as we realize what an awesome responsibility and privilege we have to nurture and grow our Treasures.

Maybe you're a mama who surrendered your baby to the care of someone else.  Today I pray God will give you peace beyond understanding.  I pray you realize what a selfless decision you made and that your presence will always be etched in the heart of your child.

I am incredibly blessed to have 11 children, 3 of which I birthed and 8 because a mama on the other side of the world chose life.  I pray today that each of those 8 mamas have peace in knowing their babies are loved and are thriving under a tiny roof in mid USA.

To birth mamas, THANK YOU for choosing life!

To my children, THANK YOU for your gracious understanding in my failings, but know that I love you with all my heart!

To my mama, THANK YOU for being my mom.  I love you!

To the handful of mamas out there who don't even realize the role model you are to me, THANK YOU for setting a beautiful example!

To my Heavenly Father, THANK YOU for loving me when I am unlovely and for blessing me beyond my wildest dreams!  Thank you for 'ruining' me, allowing my heart to beat for You.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Are You Ready For a Challenge?

 Y'all, whether we like it or not, swimsuit season is right around the corner!
Maybe this doesn't scare you as much as it does me, but I have a whole bunch of little people who love the pool.

You've seen the pictures~
This is what I think I want to look like in a swimsuit...

This is what I actually look like!

Nice, huh?!? 
I'm thinking in the next 30 days I could move at least closer to the first picture. 
Here's where the challenge comes in.

As a Beachbody coach, I'm offering to coach anyone who wants to join me over the next 30 days, in anticipation of swimsuit season!

I believe we can do this together!
We will develop a community of encouragement and accountability, all striving to improve our overall health together!

There will be some requirements in order for us to measure progress and get good results ~

*You must commit for 30 days.
*You must be on Facebook.  This is so we can form a private group to build relationships, encourage one another and stay accountable.
*You must commit to a workout plan.  *I can help with this if you'd like*
*I would recommend that you commit to reporting in daily on the Facebook group.
*There's no time like the present, so let's kick off Monday, May 13th

If you're interested in starting an exciting journey of achieving good health, leave a comment on this post.  Also, send me a friend request on Facebook and let me know you want to take The Challenge.  *you can find my Facebook badge in the sidebar*

Let's do this together!

It's not magic.
It requires change.
It requires discipline.
The results will be amazing!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Passport - Check!

Look what came in yesterday's mail...

Kolton's expedited passport!  Praise the Lord!
The reality of him traveling to a foreign land *without me* hasn't sunk in yet.  I've been so excited that he was sensitive to the Spirit and responded that I haven't thought about the reality.

Am I worried?  No.
He is protected.  Hemmed in.
Will I miss him?  Yes.
I enjoy his company.  Even though he's a teenager:)

We are excited about the things God is doing in Kolton's heart.  The journey is just beginning.

He is still raising funds for the trip.  I know folks have responded to his letters, and we are hopeful the church will release the names and addresses so we can personally thank each one of you.  In the meantime, thank you so much!

If you missed the original post, you can read it here.

To Him be glory!! 

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