Favorite Peeps {a free Easter printable}

In case you're looking to give a little something to a few people this Easter, this printable is perfect for that!  I wanted to bless a few of our "favorite peeps" and whipped up this printable to go with our little packages!  I thought you might enjoy them too!  
 They are formatted to about a 4 by 6in size.
Here's what I included in the package...all for less than $10...with some peeps of course!
 Added some grass and tied it up...and done!
I hope you can find some people to bless with a little something this week...it doesn't have to be big, just a little thought a love can go a long way...

You can download the free printable HERE. Enjoy and happy Monday! 

craft and app night!

Creating and eating are two of my favorite ways to heal.  How about you?  Last night I spent some time with my favorite ladies doing just that.  
 And this craft was super easy.  I cut down some pallets, glued some pieces to the back to hold them together and we used mailbox letters (from Lowe's ~$2) to add a phrase. 
 Done and done.  It was a clean and easy craft. 
 Perfect for eating while doing it.
Here are a few!  I love how they turned out! Simple, easy and therapeutic!

idea inspiration from @jenkappes on instagram!

the end. {not bad, just different}

THIS is a post that I never thought I would write.  Like ever in my ever thought I would write a post like this.

But after much prayer and thought and love from all of you, carrying me through the last six months of my life, I feel like I can finally {and should} share why my heart has been so heavy for so long.  Why I have never grieved so deeply, with such pain that I can literally feel it weighing down my heart.  It has taken Doug and I these last six months to really process through a lot of emotions and actions to get through to a clear picture of what God wants us to know, see and DO! Six long months of being obedient to what we know He has said to us, following through with what He has led us to do, caring for those around us while forgoing our own emotions and hurts.  God carried us through a busy, traumatic Fall, through the holidays (filled with some Joy, mind you!) and finally had us arrive in January where He said "Be quiet while I talk to you now".  And so we listened.  And as He began to share, we started to know what was coming.

And we didn't want to hear it.  Honestly.  We wanted easy.  We wanted same.  We wanted what we knew.

And we moved forward, day by day.  Each day bringing a little more clarity.  Doug and I would talk from the time he got off of work, until he got home, as soon as the boys went to bed, as we sat and watched TV and then laying in bed together.  We cried and prayed and begged for a different answer.  We have never spoken at length with one another about something for so many hours.  Ever.

God guided us all the way, and still does.  He brought people to us from out of the blue, whose hearts matched ours, to help along the way.   

And we could feel the veil being lifted as He brought sight to our hearts.     

You see.  Back in the Fall two staff members from our church were fired.  Friends of ours for almost fifteen years.  But we have great relationships with the staff of the church and we clearly heard God tell us to stay and support.  And that's what we did.  We were obedient to what He asked us, which is easy enough to do when you hear Him clearly and you love all of the people involved.  (I don't need to share any details here because that's not our story). 

That firing led to series of changes over time in the church (I'm not saying they are bad, just different) and over the last six months, the fabric of the church has changed.  (not bad, just different).

Once we were finally out of crisis mode at that church was when God really let us start dealing with our own emotions in regard to the changes {this was January and February for us}.  Made us really evaluate what we want in a church and why, something I don't think we had ever done.  And here comes the heartache.  

These evaluations brought us to the decision to leave the church we have loved for almost 15 years.  Looking back now, He was preparing us for this the whole time.  All the pieces fell together.   

This past Sunday was our first church experience somewhere new of our own choice {we had been at new churches when we lived in Charlottesville}.  And it was hard.  And made everything seem so final.  It brought up all the emotions, grief, sadness, anger {as I watched Moses struggle to adjust to a change he had no fault in causing} and deep, deep feelings that I can't even begin to describe.

But in the hard day that was yesterday we learned what we wanted in a church.  We learned that our number one thing is community.  Community brings us closer to God.  Our number one thing is to walk into church on Sunday and see God's character oozing out of everything around us.  We don't care as much about deep lessons on scripture or special series on this or that, Doug and I already purpose to learn and do those things on our own throughout the week, to us Sunday is the day to "show me the fruit".  I want to walk in on Sunday and it be like a fresh market where my chosen family is walking around in the fruits of their week.  THEN the sermon is icing on the cake.  Kind of like a delicate treat at the end of a great meal.  That's what we had on Sunday, for the first time in months.     

Please hear me when I say that I don't think our former church is bad in any way.  It is full of great people seeking the Lord with all they have.  Great people who love Jesus and who we will miss seeing on Sunday's.  It's just DIFFERENT and not my kind of church anymore.  All of the things I said above are still true for some of the people there, it's just a different flavor for us now, different kind of market.  

And really.  At the end of the day, that is what God has told us.  Put the past six months aside and look at now.  Changes in a church change the church, change how you feel about the church, and your place IN a church.  Just factual stuff.  No emotion needed.   

But still.  All the "ugh"'s and all the "woah"'s to emotion.  Because we like same.  We like easy.  We like what we know.  Doug and I both said yesterday that we have never felt more fragile or broken.  Never more vulnerable to how other people handle us.  We are highly susceptible to hurt at the moment.  Like very thin glass.   

I felt like I needed to finally share with you all why you have been praying for me for months and why I would appreciate your continued prayers.  Your comfort and emails and prayers have done their part to carry us, even when I couldn't tell you why.  So thank you for that!  

I feel like I am grieving a death, something idyllic that I once knew is gone, like part of me is gone.  We are working through the emotions of all of that and want to do our best to be love to others.  Many are in our shoes and we want to handle them gently as the Lord brings them to us.  We want to live in peace with all and move forward in gentleness.   We still love and pray for the church that housed our souls for 15 years and go forward so thankful for all we have lived and learned there.

We are eager to be excited for change.  We know the Lord has good things in store for us but first...we must make it to the other side of this with Joy in the meantime.   

Continuing to place it all in His hands...

**sidenote, this decision has also led to me not being allowed to go to England any longer, adding to our sadness.**

worship wednesday - bible journaling cards {scriptures about trust}

Hello!  I hope this post finds you blessed and well! 

Today's free printables are based on scriptures about trust! :) I thought they would be a perfect starter point for some Bible Journaling pages.   I hope they will inspire you to hang on when you feel like giving up!  If you don't journal you can always tape them to a mirror or tuck them in a card to a friend!

Enjoy spreading some hope!

You can download the free file HERE.https://app.box.com/s/nfyk32rx9su5t3omy2gah5w13mizu34h

dealing with conflict {lessons I've learned}

I've been quiet around here lately and here is why: I've been dealing with a large conflict for the last six or seven months.  It's been quite a mammoth undertaking and my heart is literally broken over it.  My people are hurting, I'm hurting.  The ache in my chest is SO deep that all I can do with it on a daily basis is hand it to Him and pray He uses it for good.  {hint: HE IS}.     

As with any of my life experiences, I am hopeful that by sharing my heart, it will help someone else walk through the same things, maybe even a little better than I have.  {my favorite part of this "job" of mine is hearing from YOU and all the ways God has allowed me to share a bit of this walk with you!}  These lessons can help us all walk through any kind of conflict with grace and love for one another. 

Here are some lessons I will carry with me forever thanks to this experience and they kind of all work together: 

~Keep your mouth quiet, whenever possible.  Hurt people talk a lot.  Be a listener whenever you can.  Sometimes people just need to get it out to encourage healing.  It's amazing the healing power of being listened to.  A split or conflict causes pain all around, compassionately tend to all who are hurt.
       

Proverbs 17:27-28
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.  Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongues.

************************************** 

~Flee from negativity.  I have learned the hard way that negative speak will drown out the voice of the Father faster than anything else.  Negativity cocoons us like a web.  Hurt people can be very negative, it's often an instinctual reaction.  Do what you can to steer people away from this path.  Encourage others to seek the best in everyone.  Remind them about the style of talk Jesus participated in and BE an example of such talk.  {and remind yourself if need be!}.  

Proverbs 17:14
The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. 

*************************************** 

~Seek Him out!  His voice is the one that matters.  You may need to fight for this because the enemy loves chaos and a split is the perfect soil for chaos to grow.  Dig into the word even more than you ever have.  Remember that God can use all things for His purposes and with that knowledge, move forward with JOY that He sees all and is already orchestrating good.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

************************************** 



Don't choose sides, choose Jesus, choose His people.  In the midst of conflict, it's hard not to choose sides.  We want to know who is RIGHT or WRONG.  Often there are no clear lines (sometimes there are) but at the end of the day, it's not as important as walking out in LOVE towards one another.  You will never regret love, you will often regret choosing a side.  We are all children of God, part of the same family.     

1 Corinthians 1:10 
My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don’t take sides. Always try to agree in what you think.     

**************************************

Go after the stray sheep.  Church issues will cause people to leave church forever because they are faced with the reminder that churches are full of people and people are not perfect.  Do what you can to go after them, perhaps your seeking them out will remind them of the true Church (with a capital C) and will help them heal and return to church sooner than later.   Be the Church when the church is having trouble.

Matthew 18:12 
If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?


**************************************

We are all sinners.  Go forward in that knowledge with GRACE and love.  We all suck as people sometimes.  Seriously.  We cannot shake a finger at anyone because we fail ALL THE TIME.  If He does not hold our sins against us, how can we hold them against one another?      

Romans 3:23  
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  

**************************************  

When in doubt, choose love.  Feeling bogged down by the conflict?  Can't think straight?  Do the next loving thing you can think of and then the next and then the next and then the next and slowly but surely that will turn into a rope that will pull you out. Love wins every time.  

Mark 12:31 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these.  

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I'm sure there is more to come in time, as I continue to walk this out but for now this is all I feel He would have me share.  My prayer is that it will bless you in some way that you need.  He knows the deep aches of our hearts and is faithful to tend to them.  Run to Him and see.  

xo   

Worship Wednesday: Bible Journaling Cards {free scripture mini-printables}

This week I thought I would do something a little different.  The printable this week is from some of my favorite "verse of the day" posts from Instagram {littlebitfunky}, shrunk down and useable for hanging on your mirror, tucking in a card or adding to your journaling bible!  They are formatted to be 2.5in by 2.5 each! :)

I hope you enjoy them!  Print them off and share with a friend! Happy Wednesday! 
You can download the file HERE. :) Enjoy and share! :)
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