Evangelism/ Ministry

How to do Face Painting on a Four Year Old

Posted by on May 26, 2013 in Counting My Blessings, Evangelism/ Ministry, Fun with Kids, Getting Creative | 0 comments

Today is my husband’s birthday.

You might expect him to take the day off and relax, right?  Not my husband.  He’s one of those types who, according to Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages,” shows he cares by acts of service.  That’s why he was taking care of guest’s at Camp JIM’s Community Appreciation Day…

So the kids and I stopped in the visit for awhile, and took advantage of the opportunity to eat some yummy picnic food.  :)

And they had face painting.

~Behold, the face painter!

This is Micah Jessup, one of this year’s camp interns.

He’s going to show us how to do face painting on a four year old.


I asked her what she wanted on her face, and she twisted her lips at me like, “You KNOW, Mom!”

I didn’t.  So I guessed.

“A heart?” Nope.

“A flower” Nope.

Now she was craning her neck and making big eyes like she was going to be able to communicate telepathically.

“YOU KNOW,” she said in a growly voice, breaking into a little grin that she tried to hide.  “A cheetah!!”



Dad’s doing a pony tail.  Better remember this one, it doesn’t happen very often.  Kind of cute when he does daddy things.  ;)

We gave the orders, and the face painting began.

We were all interested in how this was going to turn out, because Dave said it would be interesting.

What does that mean, exactly?


Does anyone else think it looks like he’s growling at her a little?


Ah, but it must not have been that bad..

… because she’s smiling now!  :)


Interesting.  She’s an awfully CUTE little Cheetah!

Savoring my, “Feeling so blessed Mommy Moment.”


Okay, now off to buy strawberries and bake some cake.  :)


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Because We All Need MORE Expectation, and Counting My Blessings

Posted by on Jan 28, 2013 in Building Families/ Children, Confessions, Counting My Blessings, Evangelism/ Ministry, Faith and Godly Womanhood, Pregnancy/Childbirth and Babies | 0 comments

This week began with great expectation as Monday was the official {estimated} due date for baby #7.  And although the children have been told that a due date is not concrete, and that God alone knows the perfect time for baby to join our family, there was all around disappointment when Monday came and went with no appearance.

{Angel crocheted the booties!}

Tuesday was the same.

And Wednesday the children all protested Daddy going back to work after his two days off, because, “What if baby is born today?”  In a family where babies are born right here at home, Dad’s attendance is manditory.  After all, when the last baby came before the midwife could arrive, Dad became the baby catcher.  “Not a problem, kids.”  {He only works 8 miles away.}

Knowing that this baby could literally be born any day has slowed everything I do to a day by day status.  “If I go into labor later today…” 

Do I want to eat this food and chance being sick during transistion?

Do I want to go into town?

Have I kept up with my laundry?  {because a home birth produces a lot of laundry and I will be relying on someone else to do it… don’t want the regular chores to fall behind.}

Are my living spaces tidied up?  {Because babies always bring company!}

Is my pantry stocked so we’re good on food for awhile?  {Which reminds me, we need toilet paper.}

Are all my birth supplies in place?

Is the infant car seat by the door?

Have I given this baby to God today?

Are all my children getting enough one one one attention?  Because a baby changes everything.  Littles will feel the change the most, but everyone’s place will end up shuffled and you never know how children will grow up with another personality in the home, more responsibility, more love to spread around and more family to share it.

*Breathe*  Am I ready for this?

Another weekend comes, and my husband’s time is spent in long hours of serving youth groups and college groups, and the roads freeze, and we’re under a winter storm watch?  So maybe today is not the most ideal day to have a baby with a midwife who has 3-1/2 hours to drive.

I pray.

God has a way of using life to drive truth deep, transforming hearts.

This… this is just a taste of what I should be doing every day of my life.  Taking one day at a time, and living in great expectation.  Swelling in sweet anticipation…

… of His return.

Jesus said, “Look,  I am coming soon!” Revelation 22:7

And only God the Father knows the day and the hour.

What if He comes today?

Am I living a day at a time, watching for Him?  I think I’ve become too caught up in this life.

If He comes today, Am I ready for it?

Am I taking up my cross daily and living the blue print He has for my life?

Is my armor on?  Am I loving well?

Am I tenderly and intentionally discipling my children?

Am I loving and respecting my husband?  Am I using my gifts to His glory?

Am I taking care of the poor and the widowed, reaching out to the lonely and oppressed?  Loving my enemies and praying for those who persecute me?

Am I sharing Jesus with everyone I can?

The list of ready is long, and life is full of urgent distractions.  God is right in the middle of the mundane.  Am I finding the gifts?  Am I living in expectation?

I’m joining the multitudes over at aholyexperience today, counting my blessings all the way up to 1000 and beyond.

64.  There is comfort in GOd’s all encoumpassing sovereignty.

65.  Every day can bring the anticipation of my Savior’s return… am I ready?

66.  angel’s choice of reading materials~ I did not read worthwhile, faith building/character building books as a teen.  Her “extra” reading this week was “The Backyard Homestead.”  She’s learning about the wonders of plants, raising animals=God’s provision for us, and she’s loving it.

67.  My husband’s days at home.  It is so good to be together as a family.

68.  Little letters and ‘maps’ from Abigail, all colored and folded and taped up presents for Mommie.

69.  My big kids, taking down their ‘thankful list” journals each morning.  They are developing a habit of thanks.

Joy Dare: 3 things found in Christ

70.  New mercies, every morning, like manna at the throne of God for me to draw near and gather.

71. I don’t have to live my life alone, but have God’s help every day of my life.

72.  A new name~the old sinner is gone, the new in Christ has come, and He refines me more each day.

Joy Dare: 3 Things Blue

73.  Those small, blue, blue bird eggs we’ll find in the nesting boxes come spring.

74.  The sky on a clear day.

75  The new blue nightgown, soft and warm, on clearance at Kohls.

76.Seeing my niece ice skate on my driveway.  What an idea!

77.The gift of a new friend who took time to visit us.

78.  A phone call from Grandpa, and his faithful prayers.

79.  Good memories that now outnumber the bad.

80.  Angel made cookie-cutter cookies and all the children excitedly decorated their treats.

81.  The gift of creativity.

82.  So many Ella hugs this weekend.

83.  Big girls laughing, working side by side.

And so much more!

May your week be filled with sweet expectation.



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When You’re Tired of Living Under a Shell, and Continuing the Count

Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Building Families/ Children, Counting My Blessings, Evangelism/ Ministry, Faith and Godly Womanhood, Inspiration and Encouragement | 0 comments

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I became the designated tooth puller in our home, or why my children have an unreasonable fear of pulling teeth.  They will hide loose teeth from me in order to avoid having to lose them.

Several years ago Angel had a molar that she insisted would not come out.  After a phone call to the dentist office, I attempted to follow their advice by using a cold wash cloth to take hold of the tooth and pull it out… except that my daughter nearly hyperventilated, and being a wimp, I called the dentist back and made an appointment for him to pull the tooth.  She was temporarily spared from the immediate anxiety of losing her tooth, but I could never figure how the constant nagging fear of the inevitable was worth the procrastination.

When at last she sat in the dentist’s chair, pale and shakey, he deftly removed what turned out to be a shell with no roots, worn so thin that there were actually small holes in the paper thin tooth… “I’ve never seen anything like this,” he shook his head.  He explained that when an adult tooth begins to erupt, the baby tooth is actually dissolved from the roots up and the new tooth absorbs the minerals.  One could tell, he thought this was very cool.  That’s why he’s the dentist.

Angel was embarrased, and when I got the billing statement showing that it costs $50 to pull a ghost tooth, I was annoyed.  Dear daughter pulled almost all of her remaining teeth as they were ready.  I developed a resolve that we were not going to repeat this little episode again.

Soooo, when Rebecca developed a slightly loose molar this fall, I encouraged her to wiggle it.  A lot.  And when it started looking pink I knew it had become hollow.  When it started lifting up on the side, I explained to her that she most likely had a nice adult tooth lurking under there.  “Pull it,” I told her, every day for a week.

When I finally reached into her mouth with the cold wash cloth, the cloth was mostly to prevent being bitten.  Rebecca was crying, shaking, squeezing her eyes shut, and definitely hyperventilating…

… for the whole two seconds it took me to lift the tooth out of her mouth.  I don’t know how she didn’t swallow it.  It was just sitting there, and there really was a nice permanent tooth, just waiting for room to reach its potential.

It took quite a bit of work to get her attention.  And when she saw me holding it, that pearly white shell in front of her face, she stopped crying.  “I didn’t know you were done,” she said with a sniff.  “I didn’t feel it.”

“I know,” I told her with a wink.  *Sigh*  Maybe next time she’ll remember it wasn’t a big deal?  I can hope.

I wonder how many times we go through life with our hands clenched, eyes tightly closed, anxiously taking shallow breaths in defiance of facing some ineveitable, while God stands rolling his eyes because he’s already holding the outcome in his hands.  How many times do we forget His faithfulness, and choose angst instead of joy, completely breezing past glory because we’re living under a shell?

So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.  Matt 6:34

Are you allowing fear to keep you from experiencing the full life Christ came to give you, even in the tiniest measure?

Fear of what you may leave behind,

of the unknown,

not being talented enough, strong enough, organized enough…

being plain o’ NOT Enough.

What if I fail?

Fear of what other people think,

making a choice,


being transparant,

Being Hurt.

The list of reasons we miss out on joy is long, but it pales beside the thing we’re allowing ourselves to miss.

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.       Ps. 55:22

He knows our needs {Matthew 6:28-32}, has shown us where to place our priorities {Matthew 6:33-34}, and taught us how to pray {Matthew 6:9-14}.

He has given us his Spirit {2 Tim. 1:7}

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

And He. Is. Faithful.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7, emphasis mine

Lets join the multitudes in giving thanks today.

I’m picking up here…

# 43.  When God allows a loved one to go to the hospital for a mystery easily cured, in order that the doctor would discover the hidden urgent.

44.  The way Christian loves his snuggle time before bed; melts all my tension away while we reflect on our day.

45.  Pastor Dugan’s testimony of how God carried him through his cancer ordeal this past year, and how many times he was able to share the gospel because of it.  Grace.

46.  The friends who pray for us when we are sick~Ella came down with the stomach flu today.

47.  The girls’ enthusiasm over their new goat, Sophie.

48.  Sometimes {like when we’re sick} it is a gift just getting though the day!  That’s okay.

49.  “These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.”  Miracles, witnessed and recorded, that we may praise God!

50.  Planning my next project~excitement, anticipation, and brings me joy.

51.  Christian’s excitement over Daddy’s suggestion that he give Mommie a REAL, messy-faced, chocolate kiss.  Delight!

52.  Hearing someone else’s struggles, and realizing I’d rather deal with my own, however hard they may be.

53.  Amy’s sweet heart, bringing our family frozen crock pot meals in preparation for baby’s birth.

54.  the kindness of a stranger

55.  Waking up to the world all a sparkle with new snow covering everything like glitter!

Photo of God’s wondrous workmanship in a snowflake, used by permission of Open the Door Photography                   on Facebook.


56.  In the words of a friend, “Seeing the fruit of partnering with God in training up our children.”   Angel jumping at an opportunity to serve.

57.  Winter Teen Retreat at Camp JIM~ Knowing that God is always working, and I can be at home praying and looking forward to glimpses of the BIG picture.  The testimonies always make me cry!!

58.  My best friend Lucy, who knows I’ll never be perfect this side of heaven and loves me with grace.

59.  Something that may never have been: My life; After 3 miscarriages, the doctor sent my mother home bleeding, to lose me.  But, God had written my life into his sovereign plan, and I am here today.

60.  Time for rest.

61.  The wise and Godly people in mylife. I’m so thankful my husband’s grandparents have ‘adopted’ me.

62.  Little Tykes plastic slide in the living room when it’s super cold outside.

63.  Hearing my girls lift their voices in song, and then break into harmony.


And continuing the count.  God bless your week!

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In the Midst of Loss, We Can Praise God

Posted by on Sep 13, 2012 in Evangelism/ Ministry, Learning at Home | 2 comments


Facebook was full of announcements today.  I enjoyed pictures two adorable newborn baby girls.  :)  I’ve been awaiting their arrival.  Praise God for new life.

I was also saddened by the announcement that one of the girls who attended Camp JIM this summer died last Friday.  Katelin Sawyer was hit by a car while crossing the street for a school game.  The driver, traveling at an appropriately slow speed, was blinded by the sun and couldn’t see her.  A police officer witnessed the accident.

Katelin was in my daughter Angel’s cabin during Junior High week this summer.  Angel is still processing the shock of having so closely brushed the life of someone only to learn that they are gone.  The fact that Katelin was so young is even more difficult to take in.

The only thing I could think of was this: Had she given her life to Christ?

The deepest grief you’ll ever experience is understanding that Jesus Christ alone can provide forgiveness of sins and bestow the gift of eternal life, and then lose someone who has not accepted that forgiveness; They have not received that life.  That loss is excruciating.  That loss is permanent.

Camp JIM, like other Christian camps I know, keeps a record of each camper who attends along with any salvation decisions or commitment renewals.  When I asked my husband about Katelin he didn’t have to pause to answer me; the staff at Camp had already pulled her card because we all wanted to know…

Katelin made the decision to follow Jesus this summer.  In the midst of loss, we can praise God.   Praise God for new life!

As Camp JIM’s Program Director, Dave Gielow stated, ” Our prayers go to the family as they mourn the loss of their precious child.  May they be comforted in knowing their daughter is a daughter of the most loving Dad, her Creator, and that she is looking forward to the day of being reunited with the ones she loves here on earth.  May her life be a testimony now and in the years to come.”

Katelin was young.  We thought her whole life was ahead of her.  Oh, but her whole eternity is ahead of her.

Our whole eternity, yours and mine, is ahead of us.  The next moment is not guaranteed.  We are guaranteed that all of will die, and when we do eternity stretches out in front of us.  If we have believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and trusted Him for our salvation then we look forward to an eternity with Him in heaven.  If we have not believed and trusted Him with our salvation, then we will spend eternity apart from Him in hell~a place worse than any of us can truly imagine.

If your second chances ended today and you stepped into an unchanging eternity determined by the choices you have already made, where would you be?   If you have not already trusted Jesus as your Savior–the only one who can save you from the punishment for your sins, He is waiting for you.  Won’t you choose to give your life to Him, and praise God for new life?

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Be Strong and Courageous

Posted by on Feb 8, 2012 in Building Families/ Children, Counting My Blessings, Evangelism/ Ministry, Inspiration and Encouragement | 0 comments


Courageous is a buzz word in Christian circles right now. Created by the Kendrick Brothers in partnership with Sherwood Films, the movie Courageous is aptly named.  It depicts 4 men—law officers and friends—who think they are good fathers until one of them comes face to face with tragedy and turns to God’s Word for comfort.  As he scours the scriptures he finds that God has a great deal to say about fathers’ roles and responsibilities which he had never before realized.But with knowledge comes greater accountability. This man, along with his friends, resolve to rise to the honor they’ve been given as fathers, promising to encourage and hold one another accountable, and discover that sometimes the greatest challenge is getting back up after you fall.
This is a very good family film.  Make sure you have a box of Kleenex nearby. :) The dvd, a copy of the resolution, and other resources for Godly manhood are available through Vision Forum.  (We are affiliates of Vision Forum–any purchase you make helps support our family in ministry.)
In the book of Joshua, chapter 1, Joshua succeeded Moses as leader of Israel.The Lord told Joshua that their wanderings in the desert were about to end—

Joshua was to lead their nation into the Promised Land.  And then began the pep talk:

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.  Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ESV
What do you think of when you hear the word “success”?
What are you willing to give up to attain success?
I find it interesting in these verses that the word success is {sakal} to be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper.
Wisdom and prudence are not exactly the American definition of success. It is very counter cultural.
    The word prosperous {tsalach} seems to mean to advance, prosper, make progress, succeed, be profitable.
God is told Joshua that if he followed God’s word of instructions to the T, he would have wise understanding and act with prudence that would lead to profit. They were getting ready to conquer vast lands full of fertile soil, incredible crops and numerous other riches. They had learned from their fathers’ mistakes 40 years earlier that if they wanted God’s promises, they had to do it God’s way.
The same applies to us.
God told Joshua 3 times in 4 verses to be strong and {very/exceedingly} courageous.
Parenting is not easy.
Pastoring is not easy.
Living for Christ~laying down our lives, following Him, putting others first~is not easy.
It’s hard. I get that.  There are times I just throw up my hands in frustration… and then fall on my knees because God has proven that His ways are worthwhile.  He’s told us what He expects in scriptures.  He gives us a plan and the promise that if we follow His way, He’s always with us.
He’ll give you, me, and all who call on His name, the wisdom to prosper in following Him.
Be strong and courageous.
“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”Isaiah 40:31
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Fear will cripple your leadership…

Posted by on Nov 5, 2011 in Evangelism/ Ministry | 0 comments



essons to Live By: Fear Will Cripple Your Leadership

When you fear, you cannot trust. When you cannot trust, you cannot lead. When you cannot lead, you are ill-equipped to guide those around you. Remember one thing: no matter what situation you face, you will always enter into it with some level of fear. No matter what situation you go through, you will always leave it with a measure of fear. Fear is there, but when you let it overtake your commonsense, and start predicting your future, then you will find yourself in troubled waters.

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