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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Move!

Hey guys - It's Jess, I haven't written in awhile because I've been trying to get as much sleep as possible. Why, you ask? Well, last week I had the amazing opportunity to go to a MOVE conference put on by CIY. You can read a little bit about it here! The theme this year was Where Heaven & Earth Collide, or more specifically, the sermon on the mount. I have to admit, one of the simplest things I learned this week was that the sermon on the mount doesn't start and end with the beatitudes. The sermon on the mount consists of Matthew 5-7. Read it, you'll get a lot out of it!

The week consisted of sooooo much that it's hard to summarize it all right here. But, I'll try to mention the highlights of my week! On both Monday and Thursday we had the awesome opportunity to visit Lake Michigan. Let me just say, New Jersey's definition of a lake is a large pond. Michigan's definition is a small ocean. See for yourself...


On Monday we also got the opportunity to eat out at a Mongolian grill and finally check into our rooms after a 14 hour drive!! Monday night kicked off the conference with awesome worship by The Matt Bayless Band and hearing from Chad Ragsdale, one of our speakers. I can't go through the entire week night by night, but some of the topics we covered were the beatitudes, forgiveness, anger, lust, being the light of the world, etc. I would encourage you to google CIY Move 2012 and find out a little bit more about it. It's a really awesome experience and one that you won't forget!! One of the main points that I'm taking home is that just because I don't go to public school doesn't mean I don't have an outlet to be a light. I need to encourage my family and my sister, setting an example for her in how to live and act.

Well, tomorrow morning we're leaving for Creation Festival, so I've been resting up and today I had the opportunity to unpack and repack! :D By the time you read this, though, we'll already be there! MOVE friends, comment and tell me the best thing you got out of last week!

~ Jessica

Monday, June 25, 2012

Love/Hate Relationship

Hey friends, I had no intention of posting today, I even suggested to Jessica (now that she's back) that she should definitely post today!!  But I want, no need, to get something off my chest!  I'm involved in a love-hate relationship!!!!  GASP!!!!!  I am, it's true.  I'm ashamed and even embarrassed at this information.  I don't know how to part with it, so I'm hoping and praying that by putting it out there for all the world to see (okay, maybe not allllll the world) that 1. you will have awesome suggestions and tips for me that will really really work and 2. that putting it in black and white will somehow seperate the two of us! 

Here's hoping........so the other partner in this so called relationship is...are you ready??  CreationFestival!!!!  (No offense Creation, honest, it's not you, it's me)  Have you even ever heard of it??  I know some of you have and some of you are all too familiar with this scandalous relationship.  I honestly don't mean to be caught up in it, I don't.  I don't like the relationship and I get nothing positive out of it.  It's needs to be one or the other but I can't keep holding up both ends of this here!

My affair with CreationFest started a ton of years ago, I was a child, innocent of it's ways, I had no idea what was to come!!  I think that I can remember enjoying it as a child, the pictures would prove so at least!  Great memories come from those pictures, in our hot, sweatiness, smiling and crazy!  Fast forward to the year 2005.  We get a letter in the mail from our church youth group.  At that time, we had one child in the youth group; our oldest son, Jon.  They were taking a group to Creation and were looking for families of the youth to come along!  I was elated!!!!!  "Ohhhhh I used to go to this when I was a kid!!!!!  You're gonna love it, I told my husband and younger daughter.

And they did, we all did!!!  We've been every year since (well 2006 was rained out - I cried)!!  We've since taken over the coordination of the group, it's not really a youth group event, although our youth count is quite high.  My husband has taken the head of this beast by the horns and has tamed it.  What he hasn't tamed is this love/hate relationship that I've somehow developed over the years!  I don't do this very graciously and I'm ashamed of that!  I should be gracious and loving and kind and helpful.  But every year as it approaches, that ugly beast rears up it's nasty head in me and takes over!  I get resentful, bitter, somewhat like a 2 year old. 

The whole thing drives me nuts!!!!  But then I realize that I always end up enjoying myself.  I hear everyone else compliment the job that we do and talk about how much they appreciate it and I realize that this is an awesome little ministry all in itself!!!  SO WHAT THE HECK IS MY PROBLEM????Friends, I don't want to feel this way any longer!  I don't want to threaten to not go and just send my family, I don't want to go grumbling and complaining.  I want to be a gracious host, I want to love this service down to my core.  If I'm totally honest, and can get past the beast, I can say that I do love it.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, we are good at it!!  My husband is a ROCKSTAR!!!  He has spreadsheets for all of the years that we've done this, with the food that we've purchased, the amounts, the prices per unit, the number of people that came any given year.  We have this thing down to a precise science.  It's impressive!  Then he cooks all of the meals (I have to say that we are very deeply saddened that his partner in the kitchen won't be with us this year....she's still alive, don't worry, just not coming).

But then there's me, this little devil in the background.  I'm not supportive in the way that I should be.  I'd even go as far as saying that I'm a hindrance to this entire operation :(  I repent.  I confess and I'm asking for forgiveness.  From my Heavenly Father, whom this whole event is supposed to be for and from all of the unknowing people that join our group each year.  I apologize and I'm asking for your prayers.  This relationship has to stop here and now!!  I can only move forward in a healthy relationship and I need help doing it!

Yes we could use help pulling this thing off.   (We are working on that, I promise but the other beast is that nasty word I spoke about last week: control.)    The hubby even wrote up an "ideal" creation plan, that involves other people!!!!  Prayerfully we will pull it off next year!  So anyway, there's my ugly secret.  I hope that I've not turned anyone away.  My intention wasn't to make anyone in our group who may read this, to feel bad or awkward or even feel sorry for all of the work.  We honestly don't mind it.  I know that the enemy is really hard at work here and I need to close the door once and for all!

We leave tomorrow morning.  We're still not packed.  My washer threatened to stop working for me earlier today.  Man did I want to explode, but I didn't.  I let it go and took care of it!  My vacuum quit on me.  My kids have not quit on me and have continued to help get things done around here today!  The hubs will be home shortly with pizza for dinner and then it's truly crunch time!  It's packing all of our clothes (6 of us), it's loading up coolers with frozen and perishable foods, it's packing up the camper and the suburban.  It's making sure that we don't leave anything undone, unpacked, unchecked.

I know that it is going to be an incredible week - it always is!!! Watching the sun set behind the main stage every night is incredible.  Praising and worshipping with 60- 80,000 of my closest brothers and sisters in Christ is indescribable.  The community that we share as a small church group is priceless!!  Would you please pray protection around each of us from the enemy?  Would you stand and believe that we will experience God in a deeper way and that we come back changed in some way?

And if you feel brave enough, please feel free to share an area that you are struggling in much the same way that I am.  Don't leave a sister hangin' out here all by her lonesome m'kay?  Thanks <3

*See ya in a week!!!!!   *Lorraine

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Giving up.


That's it!!!!  I've had it!!!  No, I won't take it back -you can't make me!!!!!!  Ever said that or wish that you could???  Mmmmhmmmmm me too!  This morning, in fact.  Just a few short hours ago.  What am I talking about, you aks?  

CONTROL.

Ew.  It's ugly isn't it?  It's also very deceiving.  It wears a disguise, pretending to be something good.  Whispering in your ear that it's good and right and true and what you should be aiming for.  If I can control this......everything will be perfect.

WRONG.

To the Christ follower, it's contrary to all that we are taught.  Well except for the fruit of the Spirit....Self-Control.  But dare I say, that I think you need to be careful of that one too.  You can't take that at face value.  You must seek it further and deeper. Standing there by itself, it comes off as something that we do on our own and that couldn't be further from the truth.  If we have any self-control at all, trust me, it's only because of the Spirit within us.  I'd like to change that to say God-Control.  I don't really want to control myself, I'm fairly certain that would not end well.  I'd much rather be God-Controlled.  I'm trusting that would have a much better outcome!

Anyway, back to control.  That elusive little devil.  How many things pop up in your day that you feel you have to control.  To-do lists, goals, people, jobs...etc.  Even the best laid plans, plans of the heart can turn in to a control fest.  Feeling like if I don't do this, provide that, all will be lost or at the very least, it won't be a great as I want it to be.  And you and I both know that just won't do!!!! {hahaha}  I think that Jesus sits back and laughs at us, kindly, of course, and He waits for us to run into that wall one last time before we exhaustedly say "That's it!!!  YOU do it!!!!!"  With a large smile across His face, He says in return "It's about time!!!"

Here are the things that I gave up control of this morning:

1. the scheduling of meals for a friend, He will provide the who, what, where and when (and He did)

2. my meloncholy mood, I can actually choose joy and joy will come, haHa!!

3. tomorrow, more specifically next week....we leave for CreationFest on Tuesday, leading a group of just under 50 people.  Things are bound to go awry, things that are really out of my control, but I tend to think that I can and should control them. It'll be good!!!

4. to come at a later date, because I know that I've only just begun (are you singing the Carptenter's as well?)

You see, when I finally resolved myself to Let Go and Let God, I gave Him the room that He needs to do what He does best (and I do not).  I'm amazed - although I shouldn't be.  I know Him.  I know that He's good on His word.

Just before the lightbulb came on, I had come across this post on facebook.
That's it.  That's all it said.  Simple. Profound. Exactly what I needed at that exact moment.  I then realized that I had a choice to make and....


Bye-bye meloncholy, see ya later sarcasm, adios agitation.  I'm not doing it!!!  I gave up and God flooded me with joy!  Joy in the big things, joy in the little things, just pure joy.  I know that those little things are going to try to creep back in and I know that I will have to be on guard.  I will have to continually make this choice, all day, every day.

It really is the best choice that I could make!!  The heaviness of my day has been lifted!!!  No more burden to bear.  My cares have been casted and now I'm free to move in Freedom and Joy!  Please, won't you try it???  I know you're carrying around a list of things to control!!!  Share them here as a physical way of letting them go!!!!


God's Blessings <3 Lorraine
p.s. I miss JESSICA!!!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

I dare you to MOVE........

So yesterday, Jessica took off with about 16 other youth and leaders from our church to Holland, Michigan for the week!!!  They're up at Hope College for the Christ In Youth MOVE Conference!! 
MOVE is a 5-day high school only event held all over the country, designed to amplify the call of Christ on students lives to become Kingdom workers.


I'm so proud of this group of kids, who selflessly give of their summer time to go and learn more about being an effective Christian. 


They arrived somewhere around 1 am and are spending the moring on Lake Michigan at Saugatuck Dune Rides!!!  18 people packed into a topless jeep!!!!  Sounds incredible!!!  Here are some of the pics that they are sharing!!


The area is completely breathtaking!!!  What an incredible experience!!!  How I wish that I were there!!!




Lake Michigan


Registration is later this afternoon and the conference will get underway at 6:15 with a pre-session for the students!!!  They will be filled to overflowing with lessons, challenges and personal goals that God will set for them!!  They will be joined in unity as brothers and sisters in Christ and gain a God worldview on serving others.  Five days of intensive learning and loads of fun and worship opportunities!!!!


The youth leaders that didn't go on the trip were assigned a specific youth to pray for each day in very specific ways - what an incredible opportunity!!  We were also supposed to connect with these kids before they left and also check in throughout the week to see how things are going!  Upon their return we are to set up a time to spend with them so that they can fill us in on all that took place while at the conference!!  What a wonderful way to make intentional connections!  There's just something about being connected to someone specifically and praying for them - it's amazing!!!

I just know that God is going to do amazing things in and through these kids this week!!  They will have opportunity to serve at the Holland Resuce Misson on Thursday and will head back home on Saturday!!!  Would you join me in praying for this team?  That God would move in a mighty way in the hearts and minds of these young people, that they would be kept safe, would be challenged "to do hard things" and that their hearts would be softened to serve others!!  Let's not forget to pray for their safe return on Saturday!!!

Thanks so much!!!  Have a blessed week friends <3 Lorraine




Monday, June 11, 2012

A quick hello

I just wanted to stop by and say a quick hello!  Life is good and full and busy!!!  There are so many flowers blooming in our gardens and it sends me through the roof with happiness and joy to see all of these beauties surrounding my home.  Need an easy smile, show me a flower!!  Here are a few of my flower friends!!

Who doesn't love a daisy, with their crisp white petals and sunny centers!!

We planted a bunch of hydrangea plants about a year or two ago, I've been waiting impatiently for these beauties to bloom!!!  I'm soooo excited to have these pretty ladies around the yard and house!

A funny summery mix in our front gardens.....new poppies are "popping" up throughout the bed, here's a pretty pink one, we have red and orange too!!  They tuck themselves in for the night - so cute how they wrap themselves up and settle in until the morning light!

Our big snowball hydrangeas....love these guys too!!  They are so pretty in all stages from the pale green, to the full bloom, even dried to a tan/brown.  I have some dried ones in a crock on my hutch.

Maybe next time I'll hit the roses up for some pictures!!  They are blooming and beautiful as well!!  Have a wonderful and blessed evening!!

<3Lorraine

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mark of the Lion (Mini book review)


A good friend lent me the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers a week or two ago. I'm at the end of the second book and I LOVE THEM! The books take place 70 years after Jesus' birth and follows the plotline of a Jewish girl named Hadassah. Hadassah is taken captive when Rome overtakes Jerusalem. The story involves a multitude of characters and their stories are all woven together. Through these books I feel like my faith has strengthened, I look at God differently, and all the while I'm having crazy roller-coaster-emotions! If you haven't read these books, I greatly encourage you to do so. They will seriously change you. But, if you need a lot of sleep for one reason or another, I encourage you not to purchase or read the books. You won't get sleep.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Smiles.......

It's so good to be back!!!  Thanks so much for being patient with us!!  How have you guys been?  As you know from Jessica's post on Friday - we've been super busy!!!!  Our "Girls Retreat" was this weekend at the beach and it was super amazing!!!!  Helping to prepare for this retreat was totally amazing as well.  God opened up all kinds of opportunities for me to grow, in my faith, my craft, my trust, stamina....you name it, I grew there!!

I've always wanted to learn how to sew and I finally got my first lesson!!!!  Boy was it a doozy!!  I came up with the idea to make burlap tote bags for all 45 of us that were going on this retreat.  I figured "how hard can it be??"  AHAHAHAHA  I had NO idea!!!!  God graciously sent me an angel to help me navigate through this huge task and it was a complete success!!!  Thank you so much Donna for your love and support <3  It was a true blessing to work with you to create these beautiful bags!!!

Well here are some pictures from the weekend!!!!  I hope that you enjoy them!!
These were from our 5:30 a.m. sunrise service.  I really don't think that there is anything that can compare to praising and worshipping God on the beach at sunrise....it was breathtaking and captivating!!  We saw dolphins, and heard a brief testimony from surfer who had just picked up his bible the night before and after two years away, decided to get back on his board and surf!  He was surprised to be met buy 40 girls singing on the beach.

Here are some of the beautiful girls that we spent the weekend with!  God is doing such amazing things in  their lives, it was such a gift to watch Him work in them this weekend!!

Our worship times were lovely.  No matter where we were, God was there.  Truly beautiful <3

Here are some of the fun crafts and decorations that  we put together!!  We truly transformed a shell of place into a warm and inviting home!!  It was a dream come true for me in many, many ways!!!!

Until next time.............

<3 Lorraine


Friday, June 1, 2012

Update

Hey guys - It's been a loooong time!! Sorry about that. I've got a couple of things I want to cover in this post, so keep on reading for what's been going on in our life lately!!

This weekend my mother and I are going to the beach for a girl's retreat with our youth group. Our week has been spent preparing. The theme is 'Woven' and my mom is the main craft lady for everything concerning it. Which means that we've been making gifts for the girls, table runners, decorations, etc. We've been super busy! But, I promise that after this weekend we'll be back!

On another note, we're trying to rethink what our blog is and what we want it to be. We want your opinion too! Leave us a comment telling us what your favorite thing is about other blogs and how we could improve ours!! Do you want to see more day-to-day stuff, crafts, tutorials, devotions, etc.

Honduras news! We only have approximately $1500 left to raise! That's amazing!! Last night we hosted a jewelry party to raise money for the trip, we did a couple of volunteer oportunities at our church that we'll get money for our trip from, and we're still praying through it all! The cookie sales have started to dwindle down a little bit until now they're pretty much non-existent. But, that's fine... we made more than I ever managed off  of them!!

As you can tell, we have a lot going on! We're still trying to finish up school for the year, I have to go take an accuplacer  test and schedule classes for college, and we're going to have a friend moving in! Exciting stuff.. I hope everything is well with you guys! We miss you!!! Leave us a comment on any recommendations for our blog!

~Jessica