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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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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She gathered their personal belongings and headed for the door with a quiet, "I'm gonna load these and then its time to go." to which he growled under his breath, "I want Animal Crackers!"

I gently snuggled next to him and reassured him I wanted animal crackers, too. Trying not to cry we gave our last snuggles and were strong as we loaded them in their carseats, gave kisses and I love yous, then waved through sniffles as they pulled away in that white van.


4 days earlier, we'd gotten a call. Matt's been fielding them for a couple weeks now. After our first placement for a child that fell through after days of preparing and lots of tears, our house was "officially" open so the calls came pouring in. Our counting is over run with kids in the foster care system needing placements but for the most part can get them housed. Out of county placements have been the main phone calls we've received. With us being a last resort they're more willing to sign age wavers and such to make sure the kids at least stay in the state and in a home with a family rather than a shelter. The call we received Monday as we drove to meet my in-loves for dinner was for an out-of-county placement. Due to the age of the child we had to turn them away and reminded them the age range we were open for. She offhandedly said, "Well, I might call you back."

Sure enough, around bedtime she called us back. They still had 2 small boys needing placement of the sibling group in need. They wrote us a waver and gave us basic information then told us they would be to our home around midnight. Matt and I scurried around finishing nightly chores, tiding what would be their room,  set up a crib, changed bedding, and tried to breath. We put on a movie in an attempt to stay awake. Midnight came and went. I finally closed my eyes on the couch and Matt woke me around 1:30 am on Tuesday morning to let me know they'd just pulled in the driveway.

I took a deep breath and followed him out into the dark, cold morning air to help scoop the little sleeping guys out of carseats and into our home. I held one boy as I signed papers and Matt  tucked the little brother into his crib before returning to tuck big brother into bed. That was the easiest bedtime of the 4 we would have with little man. We washed their belongings and tried to go to bed ourselves.

They slept off the stress of the day before and stirred around 10:30 Tuesday morning. Our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed crew was chopping at the bit to meet them. Matt and I went in to get them ready for the day with fit-throwing "Pudding" and non-talking "Peanut". It was a jam-packed day with mandatory physicals and shopping at our local CALL Mall for clothes in the right sizes for our new friends and school, naps, dance and gymnastic classes for our girls, and grocery shopping somewhere in the middle of all that. We pulled it off working as a team with lots of flexibility and grace- and not the elegant ballet kind but the unjustly forgiving kind. Screaming commenced as bedtime rolled around and we fought it out for over an hour with "Pudding" but won as "Peanut" slept through the entire thing.

Wednesday was our first [close to] routine day we had. Everyone woke around the same time, we did breakfast, school {with our new friends}, daddy left for  short time to get some work done, and best of all I didn't kill anyone during a 30 minute toddler-showdown that included kicking, screaming, and gnashing of teeth. We ate lunch, conquered protested naps, and then survived yet another new adventure with an afternoon full of movie time, dinner, and our new friends' first valley experience. This day the cutting eyes and icy glares lessened from "Pudding" and he began to become more snugly. "Peanut" fell right into place as if we were running a preK program and we got giggles, smiles, and even a few words {mainly spoken to our children}.

Thursday was hard with more mandatory team work between "Pudding" pulled his temporary cast off {meaning an orthopedic specialist appointment was added to the docket} and me already committed to working a consignment event an hour away. THIS is why DCSF is so insistent on foster families having a support system. You need extra arms and legs to love on children! With the help of my in-loves sitting with babies, Matt and I met up as we passed one another to switch vehicles for the evening. He

That brings us to today. Friday. This is our built-in catch up day for school and pretty much life. We'd completed everyone's school for the week so that means MOVIE DAY! The kids finished their chores, played with their new friends, and popped n a movie. Matt went to pickup our grown-buddy to take him to work and "Pudding ask to go along for the ride. No sooner than Matt has buckled him into the seat, we came back in because he'd gotten anther call. The court decided this morning that a relative was able to take the entire sibling group, including our 2 new little friends. Not only that but they would be here to pick the boys up in less than 2 hours.

I quickly reevaluated our picnic at the park plan as I secretly packed all their belongings into the bags they came with. I tried to hold it together while I put their art-work we'd made this week in their medical passports. I decided the park was happening and would be a good end to our fun week knowing it was going to be so hard. I packed a simple snack-lunch and had the kids scurry around cleaning up their toys and putting shoes on. Matt returned home and we all headed to the city park with our picnic in-tow.

It was beautiful weather and the kids got up and down from the the blanket in the shade over and over again. Different kids squabbled here and there about which part of the lunch they didn't like but all seemed to understand that was lunch. lol Towards the end, negotiations started and I compromised with "eat 1/2 of that and you can have more of this." Then it hit. "I don't want to eat [the minuscule piece of] cheese. I just want animal crackers!" Wow. Where did that come from timid, obedient, compliant, no-tears, brave "Peanut"?! The fit grew bigger and bigger as each kids got up from the blanket to play. From across the playground, Matt shrugged with a did-you-already-tell-him look as dude yelled and kicked. He would calm down and listen as I gave him his options, "eat the cheese and get the animal crackers OR don't eat the cheese and just go play with everyone else." Neither one of those sounded okay and the built up emotion inside of his tiny little body just kept overflowing disguised as rage flung in my direction.

I shook my head a Matt as I cleaned up our picnic spot and helped "Peanut" walk toward the playground with his angry face on. He stomped around the playground still confused about the real reason behind his hurt. Strangers had shown up as soon as we sat everyone down for lunch when we planned to tell everyone about the boys leaving so time was thinning as we gathered the kids on the opposite side of the toy to tell them. Arms crossed, lips puckered out, and brown nearly touching said lips, he sat as we tried to tell them that he "got" to go back and live with his relatives. The kids scattered and played for awhile, we gave to complementary 5-minute-warning, and then started to load. "Peanut" began SCREECHING as we walked to the car, stopping and mad.

In the car we laid out the timeout consequence if the temper-tantrum didn't stop. He listened and then started back up with even more passion. At home he went and stat on his bed to hopefully finish his fit. I went in a few minutes later. First I sat next to him as he cried. Then I scooped him into my lap and let him yell and cry on my chest. Then God told my heart to tell him, "You so brave. Monday was hard. Tuesday you woke up to strangers, Wednesday and Thursday you learned a new routine and family. And today all that sadness, fear, and anger came out when you weren't in charge of your lunch and ultimately not in charge of life right now. It's okay to be sad. Cry. and to be angry. I will hold you while your upset. It's not okay to turn those feeling onto other people. I love you. Jesus Loves You! And God has big plans for your life even though its hard right now." He sniffled a bit more and then let me rock him a bit longer. Then Grace.

Grace overlooked the well-earned timeout he was supposed to have and we sat on the couch, snuggling and watching a movie until his eyes caught the white van pull into the driveway. He breathed deep on my chest as he watched her walk to the door through the front window, anticipating the doorbell ringing. He walked with me as we answered the door then pouted as we gathered his new toys he's picked out at the CALL Mall Tuesday. I brought out backpacks and reassured him his cool new shirts and undies were all in there. Matt played with "Pudding" getting newly-found laughter and giant smiles out of him and "Peanut" couldn't decide how he felt about any of this.

She gathered their personal belongings and headed for the door with a quiet, "I'm gonna load these and then its time to go." As we found the remaining pieces of his toy he growled under his breath over and over again, "I want Animal Crackers!" to which I replied, "I want animal crackers, too!"

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