TWO YEARS

It's been probably about two years. TWO. YEARS. since I've written here consistently.

Some days I miss the idea of writing. Some days I forget I have a corner of the internet to jot my thoughts down in. Other days I long for a moment to try to work through bumpy things in my life that are often sorted out while sharing my thoughts here.

While tutorials, how-tos, and helpful posts are fun, simpler, and helpful to my friends, I'd really like to get back to sharing my heart, things God is teaching me, and the like. I *think* the reason this two-year withdraw happen was because of the season of life my family jumped into. Fostering.

Fostering is a beautiful way to rip apart everything you thought you knew about parenting, loving others, and working as part of a team. Fostering, in reference to this blog, is also learning to live among someone else's story. Learning what parts of life as you knew it are yours, giving you the freedom to share and what parts are a private part of someone else's life that you happen to walk into, therefore not having the rights to share that story.

Our family has surprisingly grown over the past two years but not through the addition of littles who need a forever home like we thought it would. We've grown in our understanding of how broken we are in the light of eternity and the level footing at the cross next to those we are trying to serve through loving their babies.
We've grown in grace for those families, their situations, their struggles to change, as well as grace for ourselves as we constantly fail in our attempts revealing our nasty, sinful hearts that guide our motives.
We've grown in our flexibility at the same time in our setting of boundaries as we learn where God wants us to step out in comfortableness and what's best to say no to for our family and our current season.

as Jules is going was named such based on the scripture in Matthew 28 where Jesus to tells us to GO. Go and make disciples. That GO means, as you are going, not just a set a part-time or place. As part of your ordinary going. In the past two years we've eased into new seasons at times and have been plunged into new seasons at other times. I'm going to attempt to set more structure this year, allowing me a little time for this much-needed debriefing myself with the changing seasons. Thus, I plan to share some things as I am going in the realms of fostering, voluntary pastoring, owning our own business, home renovation, homeschooling, and being me in the midst of all of it.

Thanks for stopping here to read my ramblings. I will be updating this site slowly so excuse some of it being out of date but you can head over to the purpose section to get to know me better and I look forward to getting to know YoU better through the aJig facebook page, commenting here, or email {I'm the worst at checking this}.

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Plarn Balls {for Operation Christmas Child Boxes}

For years, I've loved the Samaritans Purse Operation Christmas Child Box ministry! We've packed boxes with our small children as a family and now pack dozens of boxes with our church family as part of our way of spreading the gospel across the world.

My mother in law recently let me in on a little project she's been working on for our boxes- Plarn Balls! "Plarn" is short for "plastic yarn". Plarn is made by cutting plastic grocery bags into strips, which are then strung together into a single long strand, like yarn. She used to make water proof mats with a group of ladies as a ministry to the homeless. Since that time, she has discovered endless uses for this recycled material. You can use plarn to crochet sturdy, reusable tote baggs, purses, pool/beach bags, doormats, and more.

Today I want to share her awesome idea, how to make plarn, as well as the pattern for the plarn balls that will fit perfect into OCC boxes!

How to make plarn

  • Lay bag flat and fold it in half lengthwise.
  • fold bag in half again.
  • cut folded bag into loops, discarding handles and bottom.
  • Knot lops together to form a single strand.
  • Roll the strand into a ball and crochet or knit as you would with yard.

Plarn Ball Pattern

Abbreviationss
  • st/sts- stich/stiches
  • sc- single crochet
  • sc 2 tog- single crochet 2 together

Round 1: Make a foundation row with 6 st using the magic ring method. Optional, but highly recommended, place a st marker at the beginning of the round, moving it to the first stitch of each new round as you go.

Round 2: 2 sc in each st around (12sts)

Round 3: 2 sc in next st, sc in next st around (18sts)

Round 4: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (24sts)

Round 5: 2 sc in next st, in next 2 sts around (30sts)

Round 6-10: sc around (30sts)

Round 11: sc 2 tog, sc in next 3 sts around (24sts)

Start filling iwth plastic straps or plastic bags.

Round 12: sc 2 tog, sc in next 2 sts around (18sts)

Round 13: sc 2 tog, sc in next st around (12sts)

Round 14: sc 2 tog, until the opening end is closed enough to tie off.

Weave in the ends hiding inside the ball.

Cut plarn 1" wide when marking plarn.

[note: I no NOTHING about crocheting so I won't be able to answer an questions in that regard- so so sorry! I just copied this pattern exactly as my MIL wrote it having not idea what any of it meant. Also, remember food items are prohibited so no filling the balls with beans...I don't know who would have had that bright idea :/ lol] 

I'm so excited that more and more people are falling in love with this simple but life-changing ministry!!! Click learn more about Operation Christmas Child!

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When an Open Door ISN’T from God

We've all heard about how we shouldn't freak out when God closes one door, right? "He'll always open another. Or a window. Just praise Him in the hallway." they'll say. But no one tells you how to determine if that tempting open door is from God...

Most would assume if there's nothing inherently wrong with said open door, then it must be opened by God. But I'm here to say I've seen Wide Open Doors that were very tempting, with their promises of better pay, nicer neighborhoods, closer to family, less stress, ease of transition, and on and on. I've yet to find scriptural evidence that American Dream promises are part of God's will for our lives. Many will listen to your predicaments and try to offer wise counsel but most will still just look for the easy path thinking that must be God's will because things are falling into place.

Don't get me wrong, if we look for it, God's hand will be on and in what He has called us to do. When we seek where He is already at work, we'll easily find a rough path He's already blazed. BUT that path may look like a jungle to those on the outside and not everyone's path will be cut the same.

After chasing Jesus to a new town to plant a church, having our space wiped out by a tornado, and then being portable for three years, to say finding God's will is a little complicated would be an understatement. Although our church plant is now four years old, we are still in infancy stage yet few of the resources of a genuinely new church plant are still available to us. With that being said, my hubs and I still feel God is not done in this city. In the midst of what God is doing in this city, we see our part of it still playing out. We decided to give up our salary in order to afford our new space and to do ministry through the valley.

In our efforts to still give most of our time to ministry, we have been seeking job opportunities that will allow us that flexibility and still bring in enough income to provide for our family. Enter two weeks ago, where I received a message about the opportunity to sell a product I'd been ingredient by for quite a while. I read the message, thought for a while, and talked with my hubs about it. I stared through the open door and saw all the pieces falling into place. I spoke with my friend on the phone and her enthusiasm was contagious. I saw the potential for this business to not only provide for my family but to accomplish the dreams I had for us in the future.

I signed up and started full force. I'm talking, worked my way through the daily start up suggestions, checking off boxes, listening to training's...lots of training's, and feeling good. After the boxes were nearing an end, only a few remained: Share your story. Sell to your friends. Build your team.

The one thing I lacked was -passion- for what was being sold. Don't hear me wrong, the business I signed up with is selling quality products that work, they have a great business model, and it pays well! I respect each women I know who works for them; which is one of the main reasons I chose to work with this business. I just couldn't get past my gut. As I began messaging friend and family, creating posts to publish, and talking about it with my missional community---it all flopped. It flopped not for lack of effort but because of my lack of passion. None of it set right. I started going through how I got started and where I went wrong in order to make me feel this way.

Confession: I didn't pray about it.

What the smack! The door was wide open. I stared straight into it. All the pieces fell into place. It was smooth. It was a wise financial move. It all made sense. And while tempting. It wasn't God's will. It answered so many of my prayers in a nice neat little package. I could even validate it with the potential to attain my honorable dreams for my family. But it still was not God's open door. for me. at this time.

I swallowed my nasty tasting mouthful of pride and quit. Yep. Lets just call it like it is and I Q.U.I.T. Oh, how I love being a flake, not following through with things, disappointing people, and quitting one more stankin' thing. {end sarcasm}

Today, this is me, waving at you from inside a different, slightly cracked, open door my hubs and I chose to walk through together. Sometimes walking in the light isn't as clear as we'd like. Sometimes God's will and provision isn't all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes His open door leads into the middle of town, in a box on wheels, where God can show intentional love in a bizarre way while ideally providing a little income for your family.

Say hello to...The Frozen Eagle shaved ice truck. What What! This new adventure is already proving to be a fun family endeavor that seems to have been opened by God!

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The Mercy House Global Market {GRAND OPENING!}

Several years ago, I started following a blog known by the name, We Are THAT Family. I fell in love with the humble, realist, passionate writer who mentored me via the internet in matters of the heart, marriage, and parenting.

I am excited to say I got to meet her at a bloggers conference a few years ago. She was everything I expected: humble, meek, and oozing Jesus. I got to creep along the sidelines and watch as God took her "YES" and transformed it into what only he could. This past weekend, I got to roadtrip with 3 other friends from Arkansas to Texas to see that God-sized dream expanding once again.

mercy-house-global-market-served-coffee-with-a-cause

Mercy House Global Market is an extension of the work that has been happening for a few years now. Without giving a complete history lesson, we'll just jump to where it is currently: a fair trade market place with products created by hand from multiple countries where different groups are all fighting for to restore dignity for working women.

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I was honored to meet these ladies in person and be there to celebrate with them at the Grand Opening!

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Can't make it to Magnolia, TX to shop in person, don't fret. You can shop for most of the items HERE or sign up for a monthly club HERE!
I can personally recommend the earring of the month club to start you out 😉

find classier, high quality pics here

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Adventure Awaits {in a shoebox}

In March of 2013, God launched the valley church here in Vilonia AR. He set us out with a mission to make disciples. We plan live in authentic community, learn biblical teaching, serve here in our area, as well as through go there, where ever that may be across the world to do just that.
Clipping along through the story of the valley and what God's doing, we come to April of 2014 when a crazy tornado swept through our town, destroying many things including the building we were leasing. That allowed us to get creative in how to serve our community during that really hard time. 

I share that all so you'll understand the awesomeness of the upcoming date! 

occ-display

Since the conception of the valley, part of our attempt to make disciples across the world was to partner with Samaritan's Purse to pack Operation Christmas Child boxes that serve as an amazing, door-opening, tool to share the gospel with children and their families. In the years we've been portable, we still chose to make it a priority to commit to this campaign. 

We have had to let go of a lot of things because it's just too hard to set up and tear down big stuff for just an hour and 1/2 service once a week. This year, I decided to make a BIG display to show the importance of this campaign to our church even if that means a lot of extra work. As a bonus, I think it's helping put a little cheer in our people's already generous hearts.

This week and last week, we collected TOYS! We collect the 5-7 weeks {depending on the year} in preparation for our Operation Christmas Child 2016 shoebox Packing Party.  This year it will be November 13th. Our goal is 60 boxes but I think we May just surpass that quickly...😳 Eeek!

occ-info-station occ-item-collection-trunk

::Collection Schedule::
10-2&9: toys
10-16: hygiene items
10-23: school supplies
10-30: accessories & boxes
11-06: catch up, bring anything you missed
11-13: PACKING PARTY!!!

The biggest news!? We are shooting for hosting the packing party In. Our. NEW. Building.

This space to worship in and serve from is just one small way God has continually reminded us that He is not done in this city, through us. He has provided *opportunities to build new relation ships,*unique ways to keep serving, *new families to join in our mission, and *faithful ways for us keep making disciples locally and across the globe.

The adventure awaits! You just have to be willing to take part. God's story is so vast and He invites us into it; isn't that inconceivable?! For many children in poverty-stricken parts of the world, their hope of being apart of God's adventure awaits in a simple [Operation Christmas Child] shoebox gift that might just come from us...or you.

Adventure Awaits! How will you respond?

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