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! 


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

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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All Things Finding Dory {a review}

When I realized they had beyond earned enough money for our entire family to go to the movies {especially if we did the planned matinee}, I sat the down to talk about how cool all of this was. After several conversations about God's goodness and generosity toward us, we tossed around a lot of ideas about what do do with the left over money. We all decided that our youngest siblings wouldn't handle the movie theater very well, we would still have TONS left over, and wanted foster kids, who might not otherwise have the chance to GO to the movies, to have the chance by sharing what God had blessed us with.

After my kids' extreme efforts to find work-ethic and generosity, we went to see Finding Dory last week. Our local theater has matinee movies on Tuesday for $5.50 each. WINNING! We splurged and bought the kids a big bucket of popcorn {not something we normally do} AND ate out for lunch after the movie. While we sat at lunch, we shared about our $33 gift card with a private group of foster families, offering it to the first person to comment. To my surprise, less than 5 minutes later we had a couple commenters and set up a time to deliver it before we even headed home. The kids got to take it in to the foster mom at her work. So Cool!


Now that my frugal-self got the excitement out of the way about the price, let me just give my one sentence review of Finding Dory:

The adventure of Finding Dory is as adorable as Finding her buddy Nemo years ago with lots of laughs, great animation {of course}, attention-grabbing story line that stands alone but weaves in well with the original, and heart-warming teachable moments that you and your littles will LOVE so I think it was totally worth the theater pricing, great conversations after we left, and will likely purchase the DVD to add to our collection when it comes out to watch over and over again.


Now, for the longer review:

Let's start with the possible negative aspects of finding Dory.

Dory's mentions often that she feels her disability, short-term-memory-loss, is THE reason she lost her family. For Dory, this is very much sad but very true. She struggles with being a part of a mixed family and longs to know her "real family." Dory discusses what "home" means, deciding home is where they're from. Nemo and [mainly] Marlin struggle with Dory's need to know about, find, and be a part of her "real family."

If you have a child with a disability of any kind {they may see being special as a bad thing}, are part of a blended family, are trudging through a divorce {their misplaced guilt may be amplified}, or have children in your family as a result of foster-care/adoption {they may have false or unhealthy hopes of reunification}, you may need to make a personal decision to

  1. prescreen the movie without children to know IF your child(ren) should see it
  2. choose not to see this movie if your children already struggles with feeling "responsible" for hardships in your family
  3. see it as a family and plan to use this Discussion Guide to wade through and redirect some of those tough issues

Dory does find herself in a couple fairly scary scenes. One where she is [of course] lost. If your child has separation anxiety or has experienced being lost before, this may be even more intense. There is also a great chase scene similar to the shark one in Finding Nemo but this guy is a bit more savage and doesn't leave with redeeming qualities. At one point, my eldest daughter was so caught up in the movie, a disappointing scene had her leaning into me saying, "Mamma, I really hope this is the middle of the movie and not the end!".

Let's end with why I think this movie is stankin' adorable!

Baby Dory- OMFruitcake she's the best. Giant eyes, sweet dispossession, and that voice! Dory has flashbacks throughout the movie, triggered by all kinds of thing, giving us the chance to find out why Dory is so awesome as a grown-fish.

Dory's parents are those roll-your-eyes, wanna-be-them, amazing parents who are crazy patient, creative, and gentle. Nemo and Marlin have a smaller roll but are just as great with their funny banter and silly predicaments. You get a glimpse at some of the old characters and the new friends you meet along the way are quality as well.

There's fun suspense and ends well; just the way I like movies- all wrapped up with a pretty bow.

If you have a child with a disability of any kind, are part of a blended family, are trudging through a divorce, or have children in your family as a result of foster-care/adoption, you may need to make a personal decision to use this movie for teachable moments like when

  1. Dory remembers the great parts of her history but is able to "just keep swimming" in her new found life
  2. Dory takes responsibility for things, owning it and learning to healthy ways to compensate but is able to see how her entire family [new and original] don't blame her for anything and still love her unconditionally all the while agreeing that we aren't made to do things alone- we need one another's abilities to make it
  3. Dory learns that family is something you build with those you love and love you back

I can't express how much I love Oh Amanda's Family Discussion Guide and review. I am a firm believer that we are meant to "find truth in the secular." Hope you love the movie as much as we did. Tell me you favorite parts!


Finding Dory teaches us all lots of great lessons if we're looking for them.

Truth in the secular to look for:

  • How to better love those who have disabilities, have lost family, and who long to be apart of family.
  • How clues from our past can shape our future; that's the point of learning history, to learn form the past.
  • How limitations are not a bad thing. It's just one more way God shows us we are supposed to be living in community, giving and taking to form One Body that gives a glimpse at the vastness of our creator.
  • How forgiving and forgetting isn't just a nice thought; it's the idealistic goal to live a healthy life: while Dory's "no memories; no problems"  theory isn't a possibility for most of us, it does show us how letting go of a grudge should feel.
  • How confidence brings JOY and in turn interaction with others becomes fluid; insecurity keeps us from healthy community.
  • How "just keep swimming" is a biblical idea; run the race before you, don't fall asleep, through Christ- all things are possible.
  • How "our hope is that every [foster child] we care for will be ___ and return home.
  • How family is not just a pet-store where we "just pick one" that fits into our American dream or picture perfect family portrait.
  • How God is capable of using "lost ones" not just the already-Christ-followers, and most of the time they have the most to offer; as American Christians if someone doesn't have "christian" morality stamped on them, we don't think they have anything to offer us {as if we have it all together}- Hello!? God used a donkey; get over yourself.


For more good articles on Finding Dory, check these out:

Exceptional Kids
Animal Safety
Autism & Dory

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FREE Seeds Family Worship TShirt

Purchase Anything From Seeds Family Worship & Get A Free Seeds Family Worship T-Shirt!

Next Tuesday (May 17th) we are launching an entire new line of Seeds clothing for the entire family! This means we need to clear out all of our existing clothing to make room for our new clothing. If you purchase anything from the Seeds store between today and Sunday- we will give you any Seeds T-Shirt FREE!

1. Add product to cart @ the Seeds Store

2. Add Any T-Shirt to cart

3. Use Coupon Code 'FREESHIRT' when checking out

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She Is Priceless | Mercy House Global

As I sit in my well-organized house, wondering when the next life will intersect ours through foster care in my state, I long for the day that my life intersects with the rest of the globe as part of God's bigger story.


I like being a small part in a bigger story. Knowing I'm a part of something bigger than myself, that it started before me and will carry on long after, and that God is in control on my most hectic days among it all. When I feel like I'm failing at this motherhood, wife-hood, christian-hood thing I need only to be reminded that what ails me is the rockiest of salts in a wound. Not the fine grit salt that gets in the more piercing slivers, lasting long after the application, creating a lifetime of pain and suffering. No no! My salt just rubs across the wound and in reality, just the anticipation that it might hurt is the worst of my agony. I know nothing of real suffering, me in my American dream world.

Today, May 10th might just seem like a random Tuesday to you but today is the day we need to learn about the women of this world who are Priceless. Those God is seeking to be apart of His story. Alongside you and I are women, created by the same Loving God who desires for their lives to be intersected by care. The kind of care that fosters changed-life in the name of Jesus. The kind of care that can only be explained by gracious love that redeems what has been wrecked.

“She Is Priceless” Is A Campaign To Make A Difference In The Lives Of Oppressed Women.

A pearl is a healed wound.  An oyster protects itself from irritation and suffering and the result is a priceless pearl.  The women these 5 organizations support have endured unthinkable suffering in their lives and often feel forgotten.  We are joining together to remind the world that every woman matters.

She Is Priceless.

This is an opportunity to get to know some of the life-changing organizations that are out there to intersect YOUR LIFE.

  1. Choose an organization from the list on this page
  2. Click learn more and donate to the cause of your choice
  3. Grab a free image to share on social media or take a “selfless selfie” with your favorite pearl jewelry and use the hashtag #putonyourpearls
  4. Link back to "She Is Priceless" directly to let people know how they can join the movement.

You may think that buying a bracelet is superficial, fashionable, or selfish but jewelry purchases made from the right place can be THE intersection where God crosses your life with the life of a women in desperate need on the other side of the globe. Not only do purchases like that feed her and her family, they provide sustainable and reputable jobs that bread confidence, creativity, and entrepreneurship that changes their life, their family's life, the community, and eventually our globe shrinks and you're standing hand-in-hand with world changers across God's big story. Think I'm exaggerating? Read more about the "Have Hope" women of Mercy House Global, OR the gazillions of other But God stories from Beauty For Ashes UgandaCaring For KorahJoyCorps, and Freedom Firm.

My #putonyourpearls selfie was taken with a gorgeous Rahab's Rope pearl necklace from Mercy House Global and Fair Trade Friday. I just joined the Earring Of The Month club.

How will you be a part of this day of giving?

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Eating Rice and Beans for the Month of Love

Have I mentioned how awful our Monday Nights are? Yeah, I don't like them.


For the first couple months of transitioning to Manic Monday evenings, our 2 "big" girls and the parent who took them to dance and gymnastics grabbed fast food between classes. It was the easiest chose, saved me from having to think up and pack something that would last for a couple hours in a picnic bag before eating, allowed us time to grab some groceries in between classes most weeks, and to be honest was kinda fun.

Then Monday, February 1st 2016 happened.

We finished dance class, scurried around the corner to the Dairy Queen, because it was the closest fast food restaurant and the girls had never eaten there before. While staring at the menu trying to decide how to order the cheapest {we often share meals and get waters} I realized one of the main factors we have never eaten there...$$$. I couldn't find a cheap alternative so I chose to 'go big' and get everyone their own meal With drink. WOW! When we finally sat down to eat with little time to spare before having to be back for gymnastics, the girls opened their kids meals to find Mustard and onions on the burgers.

The world as we knew it had apparently shrunk up and therefore ended that night. There was whining, nashing of teeth, pouting, and fit-throwing when I explained that I would help them wipe the mustard and onions off but I wasn't going to take the burgers back. There wasn't time and they needed to learn to be thankful, better yet, GRATEFUL that we were beyond privileged to eating out weekly, especially between our not-so-cheap "extra curricular" that are paid for my their grandparents. {HELLO!}

I was appalled. I couldn't believe I'd created such entitled children. We've gone to extreme measures such as

  • minimizing the number of toys they have, never buying just-because toys
  • paying "commission" for chores to help them learn budgeting as well as having just-because-you-live-here chores
  • doing the 30 hanger challenge along with only buying clothes from consignment events
  • only allowing a single "extra" and only when they're 5 years old
  • having them always share rooms
  • becoming a foster family as a way to serve and open discussion about struggles we may have never known

and the list goes on and on. Where had I gone wrong?! Where was the "thanks for the pricey burger mom!"?

I continued to fume as I took my gymnast to her class and my dancer grocery shopping with me. I text my hubs and angrily announced, "Mags has just earned the family a week of rice and beans. Ungrateful, over-privileged, punk was non-stop complaining about the mustard on her expensive burger."

After talking through the awful night with my hubs, the decision was made to do a month of teaching through rice and beans lunches for a month supplemented with videos about children in 3rd world nations that have to eat this meal, videos about ministries that help these children, and lots and lots of conversations about how privileged we are.

One Month of Rice and Beans for Lunch one families attempt to learn gratitude

Negatives to the month-long lunches of rice and beans:

  • although our children understood the basic idea of why were were doing it, selfishness still exists
  • even with major efforts to make the experience a teachable time, it still ended up feeling like a punishment to the kids
  • our stomachs suffered...I have to admit that the last few days, I had to skip lunch or alter the meal by just eating rice with milk or something to try and finish out the month.
    This isn't the healthiest meal to provide children in poverty but it is the cheapest. 

Positives to the month-long lunches of rice and beans:

  • simple menu planning- we already have the same things, depending on the day of the week for breakfast and similar things for the night of the week for dinner
  • less than 10 minute meal prep- we cooked the rice/water for about 7-8 minutes in our large micro-cooker and the can/can and 1/2 of beans for about 2-3 minutes in our small micro-cooker. {side note: we use these almost daily for lots of recipes including browning our mix'n chopped meat. You can find them HERE.}
  • low grocery bill- we went through 2 large boxes of minute white rice and close to 35 cans of beans {mainly black but some great northern}
  • my kids could Easily help with making lunch
  • no options- there was less and less fussing about what we were having because they just knew what lunch was going to be. They could eat a little of it or a lot of it {I've seen similar effects with scheduling routine meals other times}
  • we all learned how privileged we are- all of us, even parents quickly saw how we were accustomed to having too many options when we didn't feel like eating something
  • we became more grateful for the gazillions of options we have
  • we became more interested in ministries that can help children without our options are are hoping to use money we saved on groceries to support them a little

What are you main concerns with scheduling an intentional rice and beans meal with your family?


I found very few simple recipes to try and switch up our lunches during the month of February. Most recipes I found on Pinterest only differed in the way they prepared the rice/bean {ie in a slow cooker or pot on the stove} Our fairly standard recipe was as followed:


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white minute rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Tbs garlic pwd
  • 1 tsp onion pwd
  • Salt/Pepper to taste


  1. Stir water and rice into large micro-cooker, attach lid, and microwave for 3.5 minutes. Open and stir to reduce overspill. Cook 3.5 minutes until all the rice is soft and water is fully absorbed.
  2. Open can of beans and pore beans into small micro-cooker. Stir in seasonings. Attach lid and microwave 2 minutes or until bean are completely warmed.
  3. Serve


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