Sunday, January 06, 2019

Bootcamp Retreat

Last Fall, the Lord dropped a dream into Tanna’s heart about leading her bootcamp overnight in a retreat style fashion. She mentioned it to a few of us and we committed to pray with her for whatever the Lord was stirring up. By October, she had invited and reserved and planned the whole thing. She asked us if we would join her in fasting for 3 days monthly until the retreat. We had a little group text thread and every month the Lord spoke amazing things to us and by the time the retreat finally got here we were so excited and expectant to see the Lord move.

The 24 hours was packed full of truth and fun and exercise and painting and talking and yoga and face masks and sharing and praying and crying and worshiping.  It was a whirwind, but so so fun!!

Boot Camp bright and early on Saturday morning.

Our hike up to Inspiration Point

For the craft, she gave us some requirements.  They were to take a turning point in our life and paint about it using your hand for some part of the painting. The previous night we talked about seasons and analyzing which season we were in; summer being enjoyable and fun and living in the light, fall being a season of change or transition, spring represented growth and new beginnings, and winter being dark and cold and lonely.  The Lord reminded me that during my winter season He used the cardinal to encourage me. I learned that the cardinal is one of the only birds that does not migrate in the winter. It stays when there is little food and it’s cold and it’s tough to live and when the conditions are less than desirable. He spoke clearly to me that He would always be and has always been my cardinal. When things get tough He stays. I still hold on to that truth almost 10 years later and now I have a painting to hang in my house to remind me and also my kids of His faithful nature.

Tanna and I first spoke together about 8 years ago and I love how the Lord continues to use our testimonies to help others!  I never could have imagined all the things we would go through both good and bad when we first met in 7th grade in the Inglewood youth group.  The Lord has given me the most faithful and encouraging friend in Tanna and I am so blessed!



2019 Word

This year’s word has been a little bit more vague than years past. I really didn’t hear anything until about 5 days out from January 1st and what I heard didn’t really make sense; the word was enlarge. I knew I was going to be fasting from January 1-3 in preparation for a women’s retreat I was attending, so I decided to hold off on posting anything about my word until after that so I could make sure I heard correctly. Over those three days I saw the word ‘enlarge’ in my daily readings every day. What an obscure word to read in different books 3 days in a row...if that’s not clear I don’t know what is?!?  So, I had my word, but still very unclear on what to do with it. Last year my word was very tangible and measurable, but not this word. So, again, I decided to go on to the retreat with that word tucked in my heart in hopes that I could get further clarity.

To my surprise many of the women at the retreat also do a word for the year so I was asked multiple times what my word was. During some down time I looked it up in the dictionary and jotted down the different meanings to get my brain working. My initial thoughts were so scattered: enlarge our ministry; enlarge my sphere of influence; enlarge my faith. As I told my friend Audra of my word she said she immediately heard that the Lord wants to enlarge in me. So, although I am not as clear on this word as I would like to be, it’s going to be exciting to see all the different directions the Lord could go with this word.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

NYE 2018

We spent New Year’s Eve the same as we have for 7 the fireworks store.  Every year the crowd is different. We’ve had just our family and a few of Richard’s friends helping out, we’ve had us plus the youth group there before, we’ve had our family and Richard’s parents and a few of Baylee and/or Koby’s friends who wanted to make some extra money, but this year was by far the quiestest.  The business was great and steady from about noon until midnight, but by the time 12 o’clock came around it was just me and Richard and Troy and Teague. Richard’s parents, Baylee and Koby were all in and out throughout the day helping, but by midnight it was only the 4 of us left. We rung in 2019 with some sparkling grape juice, a few games and then we called it a night! We are looking forward to a wonderful new year filled with many new adventures! 

Our new shirts from my sister! We got a lot of compliments on them throughout the night!  

Friday, December 28, 2018

One Word Wrap-Up

I’m so sad this year’s word is coming to an end.  I have loved this word and all that the Lord taught me.  The Lord led me to the word Others for 2018 can read about my initial thoughts HERE. And now as I wrap up this year, I am reflecting over all the things He brought me to that fell under the word Others.

My initial hope was that I would move past my daily prayers for myself and focus on praying for other people around me.  After 365 days of prayer for 365 people, I would say that is exactly what happened.  I feel the Lord lifted my eyes from my own little sphere and showed me just how many people are out there that need pray serious, God- moving prayer.  I would still pray quickly for things in my own life, but my focus was on the person of the day.  I listened to the Lord during my quiet time, to the music on the radio, was cognizant of what I was reading...nothing was happenstance.  If I felt the nudge of Holy Spirit in anything I was doing throughout the day I asked for confirmation and then I would do what He asked.  Sometimes it was call, text or write that person what I had heard, sometimes it was to go find that person and pray over them, sometimes it was do nothing. But one thing I know without a doubt is I am certain of His voice, His nudge, His divine appointments and even His silence.  When I don’t hear, I don’t move, and that is still obedience.  I’m sure, in my own power, I could have done this year’s word; prayed some prayers, checked off my list, said some encouraging things, but I didn’t want this to be in my own power.  Francis Chan said, “The world is not moved by love or actions that are of human creation.” I wanted and needed the Lord’s power to touch all those around me, so that only He gets the glory.

As the year went on I found that I was put in many situations where I was able to tangibly help others.  As I prayed for the person on my list I was also able to buy someone’s lunch or lend a listening ear or host a group from Uganda.  That was one of my favorite experiences from this year! The days seemed to turn into adventures to see what crazy thing would happen where I could help someone. And then, when the opportunity arose, it was exciting, somewhat expected,  but never a burden. Sometimes we get so drawn into our own circle and our own to do list that we miss the fun and love the Lord has for us and those around us.

Lastly, I saw God show up in several ways that blew me away.  In one instance I was informed of a crises of a person I had already prayed for and was able to look back and see what the Lord directed me to pray and how they were covered long before they knew they needed it. In another instance, when the storm came for one couple, I was praying for the wife that very day and prayed for the husband the day before. Coincidence? Absolutely not!! He knows and sees and hears and sometimes we just need to be reminded of that.

What a fun year! I pray I can take what I have learned and continue to implement it as I start a new year with a new word.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Christmas 2018

Christmas’s morning started slow and quiet. We only had Koby and Kelby at home so they they slept in and I took advantage of the stillness. Once they got up we let them open their stockings.  Batlle, Troy and Teague opened their stockings once they got there.

Then my family arrived and we opened all the adult gifts.

Then the Hollingsworth crew and Troy and Teague all got there are we were able to eat and then let the kids open their gifts.  Koby and Kelby were so patient having to wait until almost 3 to open anything!

The rest of the night we played games while Richard and Dad figures out our new drink maker! Looks like we need to host another party! I enjoyed every moment of the day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Eve at the Hollingsworth’s

We started the night with Kelby reading us the Christmas story. Then we ate dinner, played a few games and opened lots and lots of gifts! Christmas Eve is always so relaxing and enjoyable. We had a fun night with family and enjoying the many blessings that the Lord has given us!

We played a game of rotation and ended with an envelope filled with lotto tickets. I think everyone won something!! 

I got the girls monogrammed sweaters.

Maysen and Austyn got a karaoke microphone and it was a hit!! 


Monday, December 24, 2018

McCaig Christmas

Our annual Christmas at the McCaigs. This year the boys are with their dad and Richard could not sneak away from the fireworks store so it was just me and the kids...but more on that later.  Judy and Neal always have the warmest home with delicious food and fun games and great conversation. We played the gift exchange with the dice and once again Dominic and I were stealing and swapping for the same gift just like last year!

Then the kids played the mittens game where they had to open a gift wearing oven mitts. Koby was victorious and took home the money!

Then we opened gifts and took the annual kids picture by the Christmas tree.


As we looked back at old pictures, I realized it had been 5 years since the boys and I joined the McCaig Christmases, but like I said earlier, always with Richard. This year it was just going to be me and that made me wonder if I had a place there, not because of anything the McCaig’s have ever done or said, they are wonderful, but because of the insecurities the enemy brings up in me knowing my weaknesses. Blended families are so hard and I try, probably too much so, to think through the feelings of others in each situation and I wasn’t sure if I belonged. The Lord silenced the enemy by quickly reminding me that He is showing me an earthly picture of Heaven. As I look at my extremely large extended family I can’t help but smile. I am living out what I prayed for almost a  decade ago. Although a blended family was not my initial prayer, the prayer that came next was of unity and love, did God provide! As I look at the Pippens and the Hollingsworths and the McCaigs and the Abbes I see a glimpse of Heaven. Each one of these families living out the spirit of adoption as we all do life together.  I know at a drop of a hat I could call any of these people in my tribe and they would be there for me! In Romans, it says we are all adopted in as children of God and I am so thankful for the earthly picture He has given me. He is always faithful!