Ministering Outside the Wall of “the church”

If you've been here for any time at all, you have heard me share about both The Church not being a building but the people chasing after Christ as well as The Valley {church} we have been blessed by helping plant here in central AR a little over a year ago.

worship on the slab

The Valley came to this community looking for where God was at working and join Him there. Along with this, we are contentiously choosing to work where others aren't already hard at work. We are here to "build the heard not steel sheep." Because of this, it has been fun finding ways to minister in original and sometimes random ways.

Being the new kids in town, for a year now, we have been fighting to find ways to love on the people her but sometimes shut out because it "wasn't needed". Well, H.E.L.L.O. God is bigger than practicality and also a bigger redeemer than natural disasters.

The most recent storms that hit our town wiped out close to 150 homes and took the lives of at least 9 here in Vtown. We can't believe the doors God is opening through this. Oh, did I mention, God busted out of our "box" via this storm? Yeah, our meeting space was kaboshed giving us an acceptable excuse to love this community in unconventional, non-church-y ways.

Enter childcare and Mom's Night Out stage left:

The Playplace

The morning after the storm, it was evident to me that I wouldn't be able to serve like the rest of the valley church in the way of clean-up or collecting donations and felt useless. THEN another mom suggested maybe we could take turns watching one another children and working in town. YES! I can do that. So the next day I opened my home for childcare to those in our valley families who needed somewhere for their littles to go.

Little did I know that God was birthing this same service opportunity in the heart of an individual at a sister church in Conway. I was contacted about the idea and God birthed it into a huge community blessing. We were allowed to use the local Primary School's "big room" and outdoor playgrounds, restaurants catered for free, and tons of others including Target, Dick's Sporting Goods Store, and out-of-town friends contributed to hundreds of "summer buckets" full of simple toys that were sent home with the children attending the "Playplace".

When school started back the next week and most of our community went back to work, there was no immediate need for this ministry and again I felt helpless as I tried to "get back to normal".

organized school room

Monday I has glanced at my calendar at once coveted plans and realized Mother's Day weekend was coming up and a girl's night where we were all supposed to be going to see the new movie "Mom's Night Out". That seemed to pale in compassion to the current dismal state of Vtown life.

THEN, I realized maybe I could score some tickets for "needy" women from the movie theater. I mean, Target had stepped up and even though this is way outside my comfort zone, I could try.

They could give me 4...

I decided to compose an email to the Allume team contacting a short briefing on who I/the valley was, what had happened to our town, and how I'd learned about the Mom's Night Out movie via their conference back in October.

Tuesday, I sat and cried as I tried to declutter and reorganize our play/school room. All I could think was "we have Too Much Crap!" I wanted to give it away but all those who needed it had no home to put it in. We were created to bring glory to God and sitting sifting through my stuff, I felt like I was doing the furthest thing from glorifying my God.

Taking a break from it all after my poor hubs tried to comfort my inevitable meltdown, I decided to check out during nap by gracing social media and my email. I was never so shocked to find an email from Elizabeth, of Provident Films saying among other things, "Will you please call me at your earliest convenience and we'll discuss next steps." Call? Next Steps!?

Ahhhh!!!!

I am terrible on the phone {AWEkward} but I snatched up my phone and ran outside. Never had a I been more excited to make a fool of myself if it meant I could be of use to this community in its time of trouble. My world was a world-wind from Wednesday until Saturday night but well worth it!

Mom's Night Out

The night turned out to be a huge success! We ended up having a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant with comped buffet, pre-movie pampering, and a therapy room movie theater FULL of healing women. {That will be a post in itself.} Later, I was told by a guy from the valley that he was bragging on me to someone who expressed her gratitude for the much-needed MNO. I was excited to tell him that,

God had it all planned before me so I just had to find where he was working and connect the dots.

I really do believe it is that easy. Find where He is already at work, grab your pen, and get to work on the pieces that He has already given you the tools to connect to accomplish the ultimate goal. I have been so energized by what God has freed up the valley to do here and am loving watching our lil valley family grow closer together all while reaching out to a hurting world!

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Mom’s Night Out {{Win a Trip to the Hollywood Premiere}}

Moms' Night Out
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Sarah Drew plays Allyson, the mom of three young children, in MOMS' NIGHT OUT. In real life, Sarah is the mom of one young child. In an interview with eMeals, Sarah has some encouraging advice for all moms:

"I've spent a lot of my life trying to wear all kinds of different impressive hats, and I've come to the realization that I've never actually worn those hats for myself. I've always tried to wear them to impress someone else, or to prove my value or worth. Here's the thing: I'm already valuable. I already have worth. I'm already loved, so why pretend to be something I'm not? It's all so exhausting."

Be sure to read the full interview and register for your chance to win a trip to the MOMS' NIGHT OUT Hollywood Premiere from eMeals.

Enter The Contest

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How to Get 101 FREE Prints from Shutterfly

Every time I find out about awesome deals I love, I try to share them over on Facebook because I know many of you are just like me. I Love Free Stuff! I also LOVE Photos!

1112092_president_headGet 101 Free Prints with code SNOWDAY. Valid 2/18-2/19

Today, Shutterfly has their amazing 101 FREE Prints. They usually do this at least twice a year but this is like the second time I've seen it in the past couple months.

Many of you may want to take advantage but aren't sure how to...I'm here to and explain the easy way to claim your FREE Prints!!!

  1. Click THIS link or the image below.
  2. Click "Get Started"
  3. Sign Up or Sign In if you already have an account
  4. Select an Album that already exists or start a new one by clicking Upload
  5. After you have the Album you'd like to select pictures from, you may choose just a few by clicking the box in the corner of each desired picture or click Select: All
  6. If you're like me, you won't have 101 pictures to print but you Have To Have 101 to get them FREE. I print multiples of certain pictures and use them as part of thank you cards or gifts for friends and family. Remember, the FREE prints are the 4x6 size.
  7. When you have 101, go to check out. This is where you will put in the coupon code {current code: SNOWDAY}. You will have to pay shipping.
  8. Proceed by putting in your payment method and shipping info!
  9. Enjoy your prints!!!

Pictorial:

How to Claim your 101 FREE Prints

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Homemade Pretend Makeup {Thoughtful Thursday}

Thoughtful Thursdays on as Jules is going

Valentine's Day is coming and I love giving my littles gifts but don't want to spend a lot of money. A small, inexpensive, yet cute gift for little girls this year is homemade pretend makeup. This is also a cute gift for birthdays and there's no threat of messes that parents wouldn't be happy about.

Homemade Pretend MakeupWhat you'll need:

  • used makeup container(s)
  • fingernail polish

How to:

  1. clean out any remnants of the make over {I suggest a dry Q-tip}
  2. fill with your choice of fingernail polish {I chose neutral/actual make-up colors but fun colors would be cool especially for eye-shadows}
  3. let sit flat to dry at least 24 hours to harden completely
  4. add a pretend applicator- the original makeup brush cleaned out, new makeup sponge, or Q-tip
  5. gift it to your little princess and watch the fun begin
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For When Baby Doesn’t Smile

Friday I shared how I'm not a "baby person" but I'm still lamenting over all these "last first" I'm experiencing with my youngest. One of the lasts I am not wishing never comes is that first smile. So far, we've had lots of those "I'm pooping in my sleep" smiles and even bright generic happy faces but none of those lips curled up, scrunched nose, wide-eyed, I love you so much smiles yet. Ellie is seven weeks old {today} which is no time at all in the grand scheme of things but if you've never had a work-for-it personality type child then you might not understand how long 7 weeks can really be with blank stares.

For When Baby Doesn't Smile

Seven week is about to kill me. If you sat in my house during Ellie's awake times you would think I'd lost my mind. I talk to her about all kinds of things. I talk in a normal voice; I talk in stupid voices. I have a {likely creepy} smile plastered on my face. I am constantly trying to make eye-contact; even attempting to look at her the entire time I nursing. I snuggle. and nothing.

I think I'd be even more upset about it if I hadn't already gone through this. That's why I want to share about what to do as a mom of a prude child who makes you earn a smile. My second child, Izzie was also like this as a baby. Stingy with the smiles. She wasn't as easily amused by my antics as her older sister and younger brother.

I think being a middle-child lends people to be less of an open-book. Some times it's because they're people-pleasers, others it's because they're unsure of themselves; not knowing their taste, likes, dislikes, style, etc. I can say this because I am a middle child and do tend to be the prude-personality. You know the prude-personality; the ones that seem shy but once you break that barrier there's no going back.

Being in "full-time ministry" our children have often been snuggled by those they don't always know well. Maggie and Jamin tend to thrive on this affection. Izzie- she shoots daggers from her eyes at those who try to invade her personal bubble before being invited. But once she decides she likes you, it's on! {insert a gazillion personal stories from our valley family}

As babies, this personality type some times appears angry, upset, unamused, indifferent. Indifferent is the worst. As a mom, I think this can sometimes make it hard to bond with your baby. You may feel like your baby doesn't like you. After carrying them for nine months, going through whatever type of birth to get them here, and looking forward to learning them- indifference from your baby toward you is hard! Bonding feels delayed and often, the want-to of getting to know your baby is...lacking. You're exhausted already and this personality type takes effort.

In the long run, I actually love this personality type. I'm sure there's a better title but in-short, this personality is prude, complicated, hard-to-crack, straightforward. When someone takes the time to engage them for more than just a few minutes; get to know them for real; and invest real care, the investment has major payoff!!! This personality is beyond loyal and loveable!

Ellie is a LOT like Izzie was when she was a baby! For all the mom's out there with the baby who doesn't smile right away, I'm here to be honest and encourage you.

It IS coming! It will be worth it. Keep Truck'n.

Talk to her. Smile at her. Remember that infants eyesight is slow-developing and not always the same timeline as other infants. Let them investigate new things. Our living room ceiling fan gets way more smiles right now than I do. Give baby massages. Snuggle.

It IS coming! It. Will. Be. Worth. It!

Their personality will come out and these {possibly} months of watching friends' infant {younger than yours} ham it up on Facebook will be a thing of the past. Try your hardest not to compare. Don't let that depress you or feel like you're doing something wrong.

Don't avoid sharing pictures of your baby just because of that perceived "I hate my life" look on their face. They are gorgeous and their personality will shine in time. {rhyme intended ;) }

 

Do you have a stack of cell pics piling up because they're not Pinterst worthy with little elf hats, perfect skin, and a slight sheepish grin? Lets share them while they last. Infancy is a tiny slice of this kids life. Their non-smile is not a negative reflection on you. It's a reflection on the depth of their personality. You will want to remember this hard stage as a thing of the past someday!

#notasmileslutWould it be inappropriate to start the hashtag #notasmileslut to encourage realness? bwahahaha

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