Sunday, September 10, 2017

Extraordinary in Puerto Rico

Last week hurricane Irma came barreling in towards Puerto Rico. Blake considered coming back to the Statws but his girl friend and his dog were not going to be able to come so he decided to stay there and ride it out. As they began making preparations, we began to pray here for anything and everything we could think of. Their first news was shutters. Since they waited so late to make the decision to stay they were not sure there would be any left, but God provided.
    

Once they were securely in place we began to pray for their safety: that the apartment building would not collapse, that no one would be injured from inside his apartment, that no glass would shatter into his apartment, that cell power would be available so we would know they were ok, that power would be restored quickly...we prayed and prayed and prayed. Troy even called on the archangel Michael to serve as protector around them, and God provided.

Blake never lost cell seevice and was able to text and send pictures during the worst of the storm as he braced the door against the heavy wind gusts. Within 3 hours the worst was over and he sent us an "all clear" picture of him and his dog!  Power was restored on Friday morning and by that evening he was doing laundry and microwaving pizza! Amazing!



 

As Texas is still recovering from hurricane Harvey, all the worst was going through our heads for hurricane Irma, but we praise Jesus that He hears and He provides.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Extraordinary

Last Wednesday was an extraordinary Wednesday in youth. After all of our camps and mission trips this summer, the youth have been fired up in the Lord! They are asking deeper questions and wanting more, so Richard and I decided to ask the Bookers to come give a lesson on Holy Spirit. We prayed and prayed in preparation for this Wednesday!!  The morning of, I was praying on the way to work and checked my side mirror to change lanes and saw a small rainbow in the clouds. I thanked God for His promise and I heard Him say "I'm coming".  I can always count on Him to show up when we seek Him earnestly and come hungry, but His words of conformation were just what I needed to hear.

That night He indeed came; with love and compassion. Some proclaimed that was the first time they had ever "felt" Him.  We had one salvation and serveral experience the Holy Spirit in a brand new way.  Those that had already been baptized in Holy Spirit were able to minister to their friends during this time.  I think that was my favorite part; watching the youth work in the gifts He gave to minister to their friends! It was an amazing time!! I'm so proud of the youth for coming wanting more. He is faithful and we are forever changed!



Friday, August 18, 2017

Fun in First

A new year!!  This year is full of changes; a new grade level, a new room and a new team to work with.  In the midst of all the change, I was excited to see all the familiar kinder faces at Meet the Teacher moving up with me to 1st grade.  A few were worried they were having to repeat kindergarten when they saw they got me as their teacher!!  :)  As I have transitioned over the out pouring of love has been great.  The ladies that make up the first grade team are all so caring and thoughtful and have welcomed me warmly.  Change is rarely easy, especially when I felt as if I was leaving something so good with my kinder crew, but the Lord has blessed me with another great group of women to work alongside.

As Meet the Teacher came and went, I met so many parents who are entrusting their child to me to love and nurture and educate.  It's a huge job and to most the career as teacher is someone who is just suppose to teach the curriculum, but there is so much more to it than that.  These little lives will one day lead and change this world, for better or worse.  I get the pleasure of making an imprint on them for 9 short months and using the voice and heart God gave me to direct them towards love; for themselves and authority and peers and even enemies.  Every teacher has curriculum a mile high that must be taught daily, but you better believe there is a lot more going on in that classroom than just subject lessons, and that is what keeps most teachers up at night.  All the planning and preparing and praying...it's for those relationships, those deep connections with the one or two that need it so badly, those teachable moments that take you away from the lesson plan and to a place where they are learning far more than you thought possible.  Those are the moments that keep you going!   Every child comes from a different place, but the need for love and acceptance and safety remains constant across the board.  So here we go...year #5...may the Lord use me to change the world, one child at a time!



























Friday, August 11, 2017

New Do

As I started back to school for in-service days, I was craving a new look. I've been wanting to change it up a bit, but just haven't, so when some of the teachers came back with new hair cuts that was enough to put me into action.

I made an appointment at a local salon.  I have never really been to a salon... like never!! I've really never cut my hair. I've gotten an inch here or there, but Great Clip or Super Cuts has always sufficed for that, but I felt like I needed someone who knew what they were doing to create this hairstyle. I was a little nervous when I got there, but then was taken aback with all I have been missing in the salon experience. When I got there an assistant took me back and supplied me with a warm towel before washing my hair and massaging my head. She then took me to the room for my cut and offered me a variety of beverages. After I received my glass of wine the stylist came in and looked at the picture I had brought and got right to work. Within 30 minutes I was done and looked completely different! Every part of my experience was so wonderful! She made my next appointment for six weeks out, but I tried hard to get her to make it sooner! I could definitely enjoy that on a weekly basis...with or without the hair cut!! If  you are in the Waco area, I highly recommend Cutting Edge Salon!

So far, I am loving the new look and enjoying playing around with different styles.  I'm definitely glad I made the change!






Sunday, August 06, 2017

Fruit

While hanging out with the girls the other day, we asked a question of one another...What is your most defining moment in the Lord?  We took turns answering, but that question has stuck with me over the last week and I have continued to answer it over and over in my head.

I would have to say that understanding Galatians 6:7 would be my defining moment.  It says "Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap."

As my summer comes to end, I find myself tired.  I know the summer is supposed to be rejuvenating, but between time spent with the kids and all the activities for the youth, I end up exhausted.  And I know myself well enough to know that when I get tired, my mind gets attacked.  I wear many hats, but parenting would be right at the top, under Christ follower and wife.  Over the last several weeks I have found myself asking the same question; Does what I'm doing even matter?  I think every mom has asked this question at one time or another and being in a blended family makes it all the more difficult.  Galatians 6 goes on to say, " Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary."  IF WE DO NOT GROW WEARY!  I am there!  Weary and tired and worn out and wondering does it even matter.

As I have wrestled with those feelings, the Lord has been so kind.  He has given me verse after verse and words from friends and even revelations that have changed my thinking.

The Lord has shown me that the Bible talks about fruit a lot: good fruit and bad fruit.  He highlighted many verses and also people in my life that have good fruit.  I look at Richard and the youth group and see not only the teens as his fruit but also the leaders that continue to follow under his discipleship decades later...that's good fruit.  I look at my pastor's wife and how she always has so much wisdom to offer when I have a question...that's good fruit.  I look at my friends and see how they love and lead and serve selflessly...that all good fruit.  But then the Lord highlighted Bridgette, Richard's late wife.  He showed me how she prayed diligently for the future of her family as she left this earth.  We are good fruit due to her.  Stepping into a widowed family is difficult on so many levels.  The Lord warned me and prepared me and has grown me so much through choosing to take on this task.  But, as hard as our toughest days are, we are still good fruit due to the prayers of others.

This morning I received this encouraging word from a good friend:
I saw your family as a garden of plants and the Lord removing boarders that were keeping certain plants from attaching to the root system and blossoming.  Be encouraged that the Lord wants nothing in between each plant and that He is fertilizing and watering the garden so that it's all connected and one prospering garden.  Anything that is preventing air, sun, water and healthy soil for optimal growth is being tended to.  The Father hears and is at work in the Hollingsworth garden.

The hard truth is that good fruit can take awhile and there may even be times when we don't get to personally enjoy the good fruit.  BUT, our prayers and efforts are not in vain due to the promise in  Galatians 6:7.  We will reap what we sow!  Today the Lord gave me Psalm 27:14: "Wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord."

So, I will continue to wait for the Lord to do what only He can do and know that sowing good will bring good.  It's His promise.  I will choose to trust Him even when I can not see it fully!




















"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.  For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

State Games

While we were in Arkansas, Troy and Teague both had State tournaments to participate in.  Troy loved summer track and his relay placed 3rd at Regionals, so they were able to travel to McAllen to compete for State.  It was neat to hear Troy tell of his experience of being nervous and scared, but knowing he could do it.  He has been saying all season that he wanted to run his 400 meter lap in 64 seconds.  He would visualize himself running the perfect race to hit that time, we talked about how hard work pays off and to give it all during each practice and we asked God to be with him as he tried his best to reach the goal he had set for himself.  At Regionals he hit a 70 sec lap, so he was a little sad, but even more determined.  When he called to tell me about his race at State, the first thing he told me was his time...66 seconds.  He was not one bit disappointed and neither was I!  He said he raced as hard as he could and got his best time yet and he was proud of it!  I couldn't agree more!  As a mom, that is exactly what I want from my children...set goals, work hard, keep God in the middle of it and succeed.  They might not always hit the mark 100%, but that is ok!  It's about the journey that got them there, not the final result!!  Great job, Troy!!


























Teague spent most of the week going back and forth to Buffalo, Texas.  He and his team competed in the State Baseball Tournament.  The first couple of games they won by a landslide, but game three put them in the losers bracket where they would have to fight their way back up. And they did!!  They made it all the way to the top three teams, but couldn't quite get the win!  They played hard all season and the relationships he has made on this team will last a lifetime!!  He keeps getting better and better every year he plays and I know it's because he has a positive spirit and a teachable attitude.  There is always more to learn in anything in life and I'm proud that he listens to his coaches.  That quality will serve him well as he grows up!  Great job, Bombers and way to go Teague!!


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Arkansas 2017

As we drive the long drive back from Arkansas, it's been nice to reflect over the week.  This trip is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding trips we take.  9 days is a long time to be away from the comforts of home and this trip is filled with work, from sun up to sun down.  This year we took 38 people and each one did a phenomenal job in the role they were given! We lead the Bible studies, the games on the rec field, the craft time, the mission time and our youth band even led the worship every afternoon and evening.  It was a lot of work, but 31 came to know the Lord so that makes it all worth it!



     





 Bryce cut his foot on a rock while pushing a little girl on the slip-n-slide so we spent most of Thursday night in the ER for 11 stitches. He was a trooper! And we were thankful it was one of our own and not a little camper!




 After our week, we headed to Eureka Springs to watch the Passion Play, it was just what we needed to relax and unwind. Youth trips are always fun and we come home more in love with these kids every year. They are truly a part of our family!