Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A cow, two chickens and a goat

I am T H R I L L E D to report that due to your extravagant generosity, Samuel raised enough money to buy a cow, two chickens and a goat through the World Vision gift program.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Last night as I was driving home from our Christmas celebration I prayed for the family receiving the cow. I don't know their situation or what a cow will mean to them personally, but God does. And I'm asking Him to use a cow to demonstrate the love of Christ in a powerful way this Christmas season.

When I told Samuel we had enough money to buy a cow he asked if he could come with to buy it. Apparently we have a little more explaining to do about how this process actually works. But I'm praying that one day, our family can take a trip across the big, blue ocean to a country far, far away and meet in person those in need of a cow so Samuel might see the impact his gift can have on a family.

We are so grateful for each of you who contributed - via a monetary donation or your prayers. Thank you!

Now I just need to find a cow ornament (or a cow, two chickens and a goat ornament) so every year we can place it on the tree and thank God for the privilege of being able to buy a cow for a family in need. And every year we will thank Him for each of you who showed a little boy what can happen when we dream big, present our requests to God and love others in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

When is Christmas?

Lauren and I took a walk around our neighborhood tonight. The sun had just set and we scooted outside for a quick walk to look at Christmas lights.

The air was crisp, the snow crunched under our boots and together we sang Christmas songs as we looked at lights, reindeer and snowmen.

Lauren said, "It's Christmas!"

I quickly corrected her: "No, Christmas isn't for three more days."

And then I stopped.

What was I saying?

Of course, it's Christmas.

Christmas isn't just for 24 hours on December 25.

Christmas is this month...this season...these days and weeks and these moments.

Christmas is quiet nights with just the lights of the Christmas tree glowing.

Christmas is reading Luke 2, listening to Luke 2, memorizing Luke 2, meditating on Luke 2.

Christmas is music...worship...Christmas songs. Again. And again. And again please.

Christmas is giving to others just as God gave His only Son.

Christmas is walking through the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights with a little girl whose excitement and joy for this season takes my breath away.

She wants to listen to Go Tell It on a Mountain over and over and over. And we let her. Because Christ is born and everyone needs to hear that Good News.

"Let's run mama, let's run!"

All right baby girl. Let's run. Let's run and tell the world that it's Christmastime.

Christ has come.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A flash mob of kindness

You’ve heard of flash mobs, right? If not, you can view my favorite one here. It's a Christmas flash mob. Watch it. It's awesome and I cry almost every time I watch it.

My coworker told me about this one. It’s not a flash mob singing, but rather random people coming together with one goal: kindness.

It humbles me to say that my family has been the recipients of a flash mob of kindness this year. Some dear friends conspired this month and out of their generosity they 'mobbed' my family with kindness. We have been hugely blessed with gift cards, presents for the kids and a ticket to this conference for me. My video isn’t quite to the standard of the others, but it shows the excitement and joy of our kids upon opening some of their gifts:

I cried then. I am crying now. I feel so undeserving and I am reminded that God has given me u n b e l i e v a b l e friends. While we certainly could have gotten by without any of these gifts, this kindness has blessed our hearts and filled us to overflowing. To be honest, it has so overwhelmed me that I haven’t even known how to respond. Ryan and I are so humbled and so grateful. This flash mob of kindness was a reminder to us that we are cared for and loved by our great God and by the people He has put in our life to walk alongside us on this journey. Thank you dear friends and thank you Jesus for loving us through our friends.

While we’ve had our share of hard moments in 2012, I know that we are not alone. Many of you have had hard moments too. Or, you know of others who have had hard moments. May we all be inspired, in the midst of our hard moments, to spread kindness. And, when we do, to God be the glory.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A final request for help buying a cow

One month ago I announced that Samuel wanted to buy a cow.

We asked for help from our readers, friends and family.

In that time we have raised $340.


You people are amazing and we are 
so grateful for those who have contributed.

We are $160 away from our goal (a dairy cow costs $500) and we have just one week until Christmas.

One week to present a gift that could change a family forever.

Will you help us?

Watch Samuel and Lauren's request here (I have absolutely no idea why they felt the need to scream out their request!):

My original post includes a link at the end to a paypal account (of course we are happy to accept cash or check as well).

For one month we have been praying as a family that God would provide and we are trusting and believing that He will.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tasting Grace

Make your own hot chocolate mix

A few weeks ago I asked my mom for a homemade hot chocolate mix recipe that I vividly recall from my childhood days. Oh the memories are sweet: coming in from the snow, cheeks red and fingers cold, mixing the hot chocolate with water and drinking it to warm me from the inside out.

Yesterday Lauren and I made our own hot cocoa mix (a combination of my mom’s recipe and one from a coworker). We dumped and poured and mixed and created a batch large enough to last us a couple cold Minnesota winters.
Then I heated up some water, stirred in the cocoa mix and handed my 3-year-old daughter her first glass. I watched her sample it tentatively. Then her eyes lit up. She clutched the glass with her tiny hands and didn’t stop until the last drop was gone.

And with a twinkle in her eye she immediately asked: “Can I have more?”

And so it is with grace my friends.

On the bus this morning, I read: “When you have tasted the grace of the gospel, no relationship looks the same to you.”—J.D. Greear, Gospel

All day I have been asking God, “Have I really tasted grace?”

The grace of the gospel is life transforming and one need not wonder if they’ve tasted of its goodness.

One knows.

I knew.


If you’ve tasted grace you see yourself as chief of sinners, not first sinned against.

If you’ve tasted grace you forgive without reservation, knowing that forgiveness has been given to you.

If you’ve tasted grace you extend grace endlessly to others, because you know the sweet, sweet aroma of grace.

If you’ve tasted grace your life reflects humility, because grace can’t sit alongside pride or arrogance or selfishness.

Grace is transforming and if I haven’t been transformed, then I haven’t truly tasted grace.

Greear says: “Because you haven’t really tasted grace, you won’t extend grace to each other.” To whom? Your spouse. Your co-worker. Your friend. Your roommate. Your parent. Your sibling. Your enemy.

Tasting grace makes life a lot less about me, and a lot more about others.
Tasting grace means I forgive easily, love genuinely, speak kindly, give generously, serve endlessly.

Tasting grace is like a bottomless cup of hot cocoa. We wrap our hands around it’s goodness, and with a twinkle in our eye we ask God, “Can I have more?”

And God responds by lavishly pouring out His love and grace until we are warmed – and transformed – from the inside out.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A song of God's faithfulness

Earlier this week a friend and I were chatting about life and the ongoing challenges of this season and I said, "I'm doing a pretty good job running from the Lord."

She responded immediately and confidently with: "It doesn't matter Stacy. God is faithful."

Can I just tell you all that I've pondered and meditated and prayed through and thought endlessly about that statement?

GOD is faithful.

God IS faithful.


He is faithful friends.

Whether we're running toward Him or away from Him or just sitting in our muck and mire, He is faithful.

My friend spoke these words in a moment when I didn't even know I needed to hear them. And she said them with an air of confidence that comes from someone who knows. And she knows. She has experienced God's faithfulness in her own life.

We don't need to have all our stuff together for God to show us His power and perfection and provision. He doesn't wait until we've worked through our issues. He meets us where we're at.

We know this because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

He is abounding in love and faithfulness.

As the image above says, "You were faithful before, You'll be faithful again."

God has been faithful in my life before and I know that His faithfulness has no end. Not faithfulness in that He'll answer my prayers in the way that I want, but God is faithful to walk with me and cover me in His grace every day. He is faithful to receive me just as I am. He is faithful to meet me daily and He is faithful to show up because He is the Living God.

Never Once
I suspect most people would reference a song such as this after a difficult season is over with. But I believe God calls us to proclaim that He is faithful in the midst of our trials and struggles.

May we all walk our journeys with our mouths declaring God's faithfulness with every step.

According to Matt Redman Never Once is a song he wrote about God's Faithfulness. It is a powerful, beautiful song with lyrics founded in truth.

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful
God you are faithful

Listen to the song and Matt Redman's story here: