Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Be the Church Sunday

Last August, our church tried something new by the name of "Be the Church Sunday." Instead of having a normal Sunday, with three services and Sunday School, we had one short service and were sent into the community to be the hands and feet of Christ. It was a huge success! So this year we wanted bigger! Instead of one day it has turned into an entire week. We have committed to re-roofing 5 different houses in our community. We were also encouraged to do something else. Once again, we didn't have the (now four) morning services. There was one short service and then we were sent into the community. Our adult small group also wanted to do something a little bigger than last year.
Last year, we went to Dunkin Donuts, bought coffee and donuts, and took them to the local animal shelter, a hospital ER, and a crisis nursery. Did we do something nice? Did it take time and money? Yes and yes, but it wasn't as big as we wanted it to be. We were determined to do something this year that took a little more effort and impacted a bigger group of people.
We decided we were going to prepare dinners for a local homeless shelter. We all went to the grocery store (Aldi, our groups personal favorite!) and purchased all of the items needed. We then went to Brittany and Jeremy's house to prepare the meals. We made four baked spaghetti's and four chicken pot pies. Each entree feeding at least 30 people. Even better, it was less expensive to buy the items and feed more people than it cost each couple last year just to pass out donuts and coffee. Still even better, we had a great time doing it! We all agreed this was more up our ally. We even decided we were going to start preparing meals for homeless shelters once a month! I love our small group! We all want to do more for our church, our community and most importantly our awesome God!
Here are a few photos I took to document our "Be the Church Sunday."
Some of the ingredients we started with.

Chopping, dicing, browning...
Stirring and posing (of course!)
My job was un-canning and dumping.

Preparing all the food.
                                                Chicken Pot Pie              Baked Spaghetti
Group photo of our small group, minus one couple, but they were there in spirit!

Jeremy and Brittany were so nice to let us come in and mess up their kitchen. 
They are a pretty awesome couple and the reason our small group gets anything done! 
Speaking of awesome! Brittany recently started her own blog
I am very excited to see what goes on in that wonderful, crafty, intelligent, Jesus-loving head of hers! 
To end on a different, more awkward note. Here is a photo of our husbands being themselves...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Many Good Changes

I have been in a bit of a rut lately. You know, the usual female emotions--"I'm not a good enough mom, I'm not even close to a respectful wife, my home is never clean enough, we are never going to pay off all our debt, etc...." I hate these feelings. They are so paralyzing. The more these thoughts consume you the less you do and the worse you feel. Well, yesterday I was listening to WGN 1120 (I don't normally listen to this radio station but my hubby does and apparently he changed my radio station). They had a guest speaker discussing whether or not our bodies are built to deal with the types of stress we deal with today.  I honestly don't remember what her response was but I do remember this one little bit of info that I thought was very clever.  She used an ATM as an example.  If you go to an ATM and try to take out $100 without $100 being in your account you won't magically get $100. Wouldn't that be nice if you didn't have the money but the ATM gave you it anyway...ha! The same goes for us.  If we continue to be hit by everyday stresses without having the small joys and happiness in our everyday we will be overdrawn (so punny!).  So, in an attempt to balance out my life I have decided to make a few adjustments in my everyday. Here is a little list for starters.
1. Make our bed every morning.
2. Read the Bible for at least 30 minutes everyday. I hate that I do not do this already.
3. Sit down in Matthew's room every day for at least 30 minutes and just play in his world. Hopefully, it lasts longer than 30 minutes but it's a start.
4. Make dinner 5 out of 7 evenings (6 evenings if I am really on top of things). This was hard with our work schedules before, but it should be do-able now, not to mention cost-effective!
5. Start doing some sort of workout routine, DAILY. Not sure what this will be but figuring it out. Lately, it has been nightly bike rides with Matthew, hubby and Geo. I love this time with my family. We are always smiling and laughing. I wish I was coordinated enough to take photos while riding my bicycle.
6. Do at least one thing every day that shows my husband I respect him.
*Unfortunetly, this is a struggle for me. So if you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate any and all.
7. Do at least one load of laundry every day.
8. GO and DO something FREE and FUN once a week with Matthew and Patrick.
9. Read a book.
10. Don't sweat the small stuff. I get so upset about the smallest of things. One wrong word from my husband can send me off the deep end and ruin the rest of my day. It's so not worth it and I hate it when I see it coming.
Some of these things listed I already do but I want to make a conscience effort to continue doing them and maybe even improve upon them.

To back up a little, I have recently decided to become a full-time stay at home mom. I have worked at a pizza place in Tolono 2-3 times a week, for the last 3 years. My last day at Tolono Monical's will be August 31st. I am both excited and a little scared.  For the first time ever we will really be a one income family. Hopefully some of these items I have listed help to make that adjustment a little smoother.
On to other news, we have been super busy. The weekend after I came home from Belize we packed back up and headed to the Dells in Wisconsin to enjoy a long weekend with Patrick's college friends.  It was a great time and everyone LOVED Matthew.  Even if he was uber loud in the mornings and wouldn't stop singing "who let the dogs out!" We stayed in a really nice cabin and there was a perfect pool for Matthew on the property.
We have also started back up with home improvements/updating. We are still working on the bathroom and a new little project for our bedroom closet. I should be able to post photos soonish.

P.S. I have made dinner the last two nights!
P.S.S. I have never been a list person but I feel I am turning into one. Probably not a bad thing. :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Romans 12:10-13

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." Romans 12:10-13

We were asked to memorize these verses before going on our trip to Belize. Although I did not make a point to do so, I will now. My prayer is that I can live these verses out everyday. With my family, friends, co-workers and strangers.

I have so many stories to share about Belize. Stories of miracles, heartbreak, love, poverty, sickness, Jesus, children and friendship. But when I sit down to collect my thoughts, stories, memories and photos I draw a blank.

Here goes...
Belize is a third world country. Poverty is everywhere. You are always surrounded by it. Yet they are some of the richest people I know. The smallest gesture of kindness makes their faces light up. They are never disappointed because they have no other option. They are happy with one change of clothes and being fed once a day. They know the meaning of family and are willing to be a helping hand without being asked. They are the definition of hard working. They are are the ones Jesus is speaking of in Mark 10:31 "...many who are first will be last, and the last first."

There are so many still there that need to be cured of their sicknesses and told about the love, 
our savior, Jesus Christ has for us.  
These 60 people became the quickest best friends I have ever acquired.  We came from all over the country for one common goal, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and we succeeded! I miss each and every one of them. I miss worshiping with them every morning and enjoying dinner with them every night. 
I am happy to be home with my beautiful son and wonderful husband, but my heart longs to be back in Belize.
I will go again. And I hope to take more people with me.