Saturday, January 31, 2015

My Favorite Outreach Tool

One of my favorite "tools" for our Lady's Inside-Out Reach is this fancy little card!

It can be used in so many ways!

We give them out with every basket, candy bar, and baby blanket!  Some of our ladies have even been known to go through a drive through, pay for the order placed by the car behind them in line, and ask the cashier in the window to give the driver of the car this card.

On the back of the card is the plan of salvation!  Not only are we being a blessing, we are giving the Gospel and inviting people to our church!  It's so much fun to come up with creative ways to use our cards!

If you have any creative ideas on how we could use these cards, please, feel free to list them in the comment section below, or on my Facebook page!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Encourage 5 Ladies with $11.00!

All you need:
  1. A dozen roses - I "happened" to have a coupon for these!
  2. 5 small vase-like objects.  :)  Be creative.  In this case I "happened" to find a few pink, jar drinking glasses that were on clearance for 49 cents each!  You could use anything, though.  Even a tin can wrapped in raffia might be cute.
  3. Some left over ribbon from the craft room
I divided the roses up into the different "vases" (because sometimes less is more).

There you have it...! 

You can be a blessing to FIVE different ladies for around $11.00!  That's only $2.20 for each.  I'd say that's a pretty good price, and well worth it! 

Have fun encouraging someone today!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pivotal Moments

I LOVE being a pastor's wife!  The biggest, best part of my ministry is leading and helping in the Lady's Inside-Outreach Ministry.  We want our church to be known as the church that cares about people.

Any people.  All people.

In order to do that, it just makes since to reach people at those "pivotal" moments in life.

Pivotal moments are those life changing moments when you know life will never be the same again.  The death of a family member, the birth of a baby, a new marriage, or even re-locating are all "pivotal" in one way or another.  These are times when changes take place and decisions are made.  Sometimes people decide to "try out" church during these times.  And, if by chance, someone is considering church as an option, our church will be there with our hands out waiting to help!

The idea:
Different groups of ladies will be responsible to reach out to people at each "pivotal moment".  Each group will have a "team leader" and several other ladies under her, that will be able to help fulfill the responsibilities of that group. 

New Babies:  For instance, we are working on getting a group of ladies together that will be responsible for reaching all the families that have babies in our county. We will reach these families by providing baby hats and/or blankets made by the ladies in our church.  (And other creative ideas too!)  These blankets and hats will be taken to the nurse's station and dropped off to be given to these babies along with letters of invitation to our church.

New Move-Ins: For families that are moving to (or within) our community, we will be dropping off baskets of practical things you need when you're moving to a new home including local information (police department, fire department...) that might make life a little easier for them...and of coarse, an invitation to our church (and don't forget information about our bus ministry in case they should want to send their children).

Recent Deaths:  For those families in our community that are facing the death of a loved one, we will will be sending cards with our condolences, invitations to our church and Bible verses that will let them know they are not alone, and Heaven can be theirs! 

Weddings or New Marriages:  For newly married brides, well, we're still working on this one.  We have all kinds of ideas, but have yet to settle on any one thing.  (If any of my church ladies happen to be reading this, we still need a team leader for this group...hint...hint...)

The idea is simple.  Using a bit of time, creativity and the love of Christ, we reach out to those ladies in our community that need to know someone cares!

It's easy...because all of the jobs are broken down and everyone gets to decide in which group(s) she'd like to be involved.

It's fun...because we're all working together.  We get together for a "game night" or a "lady's night out" and we put a few baskets together while we're there!

It's low stress...because you only have to do the one thing you signed up for (make baby blankets, deliveries, send cards, bake cookies, knit scarves for shut ins).  What are you good at?  What do you enjoy?  We want you to use that God-given talent or interest to reach others!  Also, no one person is working alone!  You have a group of ladies that are working toward the same goal. 

It's inside-out...because our shut-ins can make hats and/or blankets for new born babies. They can send cards, pray, and even (in some cases) bake cookies!  They can teach our younger girls to knit and crochet.  Not only are they involved in ministry, but they are encouraged when someone stops by their house and visits with them for a while before taking the hats and blankets they've made to the local hospital.  We are hoping to use and encourage every lady inside our church while reaching out to all the ladies in our community! 

Photo Credit

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dyslexic by Divine Design

I struggled with school.  I looked around at everyone else making their good grades without trying as hard and here I was trying over and over again and making half the grade.  I was so afraid that people would notice my grades and think what I already knew: I was stupid.

I remember praying that God would make me good at something.  Anything.  Finally one day, when I was 17, I told the Lord I would make it my goal to encourage one person every day.  If that was all I ever did with my life, I would do that. My biggest fear was that I would live my entire life and have accomplished nothing for God throughout it.  (Encouraging ladies was the primary reason I started this blog.)  I prayed and asked God to let me be successful at encouraging someone - even if it was just one person every day.

Today, I'm hoping to encourage someone who may be struggling with dyslexia.  Or, worse, someone who has a child that is dyslexic.  (It's always harder to watch your child struggle than to go through it yourself.) You see, I found out in Bible college, that I am dyslexic.  I had no idea what that meant at the time, but I was glad to hear I wasn't stupid!  There was a reason.  I just had a different learning style.

After that I learned to cope.  In fact, something "clicked" in college and I began to make pretty good grades.  For me, anyway.  After I married and before my children were born, I taught 5th and 6th grades and I realized something: I was pretty good at it!  Did you know teachers that struggled as students make better teachers because they understand where their students are coming from? They also know the importance of not giving up!!

The hard part came when my oldest was in the 2nd grade. All of a sudden signs started to show up.  Orally she was amazing.  Bright as any student in her class!  Artistically she was fantastic.  She won blue ribbons for her drawings.  But, don't ask her to write a book report.  An oral report, yes!  But, writing it on paper?  Not a chance.

What did I do you ask? 
(Understand I am trained to teach school.  I am not trained to handle these types of learning "disabilities".  And, because I am not trained in this area, all I could do was read about it, and try to figure out what seems to help her.)
  1. I panicked!!  She was made by God for a specific reason.  She must be made to understand that He has a reason and a plan for her life and her dyslexic "issues".
  2. We prayed.  She and I prayed together that God would not let her give up, even when it seemed to hard and impossible.  And, believe me, there have been times when I've had to make her get her head back into it. We determined not to let "dyslexia" become an excuse, or a cop out.  We decided to beat it, to come out of it all stronger and more successful because of it!  (Sometimes I have to remind her of this decision.)
  3. We read orally a lot when she was younger.  She is able to read and it sounds great, she just doesn't always understand what it was she read, which doesn't do her any good at all.  Reading orally gave her practice, and it allowed her to hear what she was reading rather than just seeing.  
  4. We did as much hands on work as we could.  If she could see it, if should could act it out, or even if she could sing it, she seemed to learn it so much faster and had fun too! (Pizza and M&Ms are great way to teach fractions, a pan of boiling water helps them to see the steps of the water cycle, and most recently, we let the 6th graders hang the solar system in the class room themselves.)
  5. I asked her to "teach" me what she had just learned.  If she could explain it all back to me, then I knew she understood it.  (The problem is that she still can't get it all on paper correctly.  Her spelling is as bad as her mama's - praise God for spell check! - and her sentence structure is horrible! :) Every heard of dysgraphia??  Yeah....
  6. We backed off on spelling words.  In stead of expecting her to learn 35 spelling words in a week, we backed down to 20.  She was learning about about 12 to 15 of the 35 expected words every week.  We backed down to 20, and memorize about 5 every day.  She is now able to learn 18 to 20 of her expected 20 words and I can see where this has helped in other subjects as well.  She is more confident and willing to try again! I also allow oral spelling rather than written spelling if they are more comfortable with that. 
  7. We also give her a group of answers to chose from in subjects like science where the scientific words are harder to remember, say or spell.  For instance, if she has a quiz with 15 answers to find, we give her a list of 20 possible answers.  Most of the time she has been able to recognize the word she was looking for. 
  8. We have a specialized font to help dyslexics read more easily, and it works!!  Check it out here!!
  9. I have just started looking into essential oils for help in this area.  I will be sure to fill you in on how that goes!! If you already used them, or have other ways to help a dyslexic child, please let us know in the comments below or on my facebook wall!
We always look for ways to help and encourage.  We try to never let dyslexia become an excuse for why we can't but for how we overcame.  We may not do it like everyone else, but we own it...or we're working on that...we know how it is, and we're thankful to God for making us the way He wanted us to be.

After all, life is about God.  Not us.  Dyslexic??  Yes!  That's how God designed us! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

12 (Funny) Things I Learned from my Children

  1. Nothing is ever completely mine - not anymore.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  I have plenty of my own things, but my clothes have spit marks on them and my shoes have scuff marks because my children walk on my feet more often than their own.  That bag of Christmas candy I thought I hid was found...and eaten!  That favorite necklace that went missing last summer was found in my daughter's closet along with the scarf I forgot I had last winter. 
  2. Grocery shopping is a mini vacation!  (Praise the Lord for 24 hour stores!  Now you can throw the kids in bed and let your husband "watch" them.) Who says grocery shopping is a horrible thing?  I "get" to go out...alone...and shop!!  And, sometimes I even stop and get a smoothie or a coffee or something to nibble on the whole way through the store.
  3. Blue's Clues and Dora are awesome. Who knew??

  4. Doing anything at all in the bathroom by myself is overrated!  (I have decided to get myself a supper soaker (water gun) and keep it in the shower so next time my son comes in on me, I can unload on him!  He won't know what hit him...well, he might figure it out after a few seconds!) 
  5. Primping and putting makeup on without an audience is a thing of the past.  Even my son questions what certain things are called, what they are for and why they aren't working.  (Yes, thank you for that, Son!)
  6. My clothes are outdated and embarrassing.  I hear, "Are you really wearing that?" a couple of times each week these days.  To which I usually return, "Are YOU wearing THAT??  Ewww!!  I wouldn't be caught dead in that!!  Ewww."  It usually works.  They look at me as though *I'm* the crazy one, try to hide a smerky smile and head back down the hall to continue admiring their oh-so-much-better clothes. 

  7. "Resting" when you're sick doesn't happen anymore.  Now I chase sick kids around with buckets "just in case".  I change bed sheets and disinfect the bathroom while praying my husband doesn't get it (because that's worse than all the kids having it at the same time...ya know what I'm sayin'?!?).
  8. The  hours between 9:00 P.M. and midnight are the absolute best for eating illegal contraband like brownies or caramel pop corn.  There's just something so exciting about eating in peace and quiet and without any one there to look at you with pitiful eyes as though you really should be sharing with them. 
  9. Good Will is a dreaded place!  No child should have to be in there for longer than 20 minutes - tops!!

  10. Kids eat a lot.  It's like they're addicted!  They want to eat.  Every.  Day.  I'm afraid I've become an enabler!!
  11. It is absolutely necessary to carry jumper cables at all times.  Apparently the batteries in modern day mini vans go dead when children leave the doors open all day long.
  12. "We'll see", "possibly", and "maybe" all mean, "Absolutely!  NOTHING will get in the way of your doing whatever it is you want to do!!!"

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015

    Christmas Outreach Idea!

    I know Christmas is over, but next Christmas is on it's way and the ladies at our church are going to be prepared!!

    We've been brainstorming ways to reach our community in the coming year. I wanted them to be fun, easy, and inexpensive so we can reach as many people as possible.

    God always provides!

    I was at Wall- Mart recently getting some supplies for my classroom, and I saw a whole bin of Christmas ornaments that had been marked down 75%.  These weren't regular, open the box and throw 'em on the tree ornaments.  These were "craft" ornaments.  So, I called the local hospital.  (Yeah, you read that right.) 

    They told me how many babies on average are born in that hospital in any given December, and I bought enough ornaments with a few to spare....just in case next December is a busy month!  ;)

    The Plan:  Next November we are going to get together and put a little "snow" in each ornament and a pretty paper with spaces for the baby's name, birth date, time of birth, weight, and length.  We will also include instructions that mothers are to attach baby's first photo (the hospital pic) to the back of the paper with all the info and insert it back into the ornament.  We will also recommend that the mother insert the baby's ankle bracelet and any other keep sakes that are small enough to fit inside.  It will make a PERFECT Christmas keepsake for any baby born in December and it will be given in love from our church!  

    People tend to stop and consider life during certain times of life, and welcoming a new baby into the family is one of those times.  What is the meaning of life??  So many have no idea!

    It is our hope to be there for families in our community at these "pivotal moments" in life.  Now, to figure out what to do for the other months....??  (We already have ladies working on making baby hats and blankets.)  Any ideas would be welcomed!!  Leave them in the comment section below, or on my facebook wall

    Tuesday, January 6, 2015

    Up and Runnin' Again!

    A LOT has happened in the past year.  I cannot even begin to tell all here in one blog post, but I can give you some brief details and bring you up to date.

    So, let's just jump in:

    Earlier this year I was diagnosed with Raynauds Disease, which is something I had never heard of (and also another reason I love Essential Oils!).  I was also diagnosed with Gluten sensitivity and low blood pressure.  While none of these are life threatening conditions, they do give me more to blog about! :)

    In September, my husband became the Lead Pastor of a great church in Central Illinois.  We are loving it here and so blessed with what God has given us. We are looking forward to what the future holds for us here.  (This also gives me much to blog about.)

    In August we re-started our small Christian School.  I was originally volunteering my time in the business office, but when my husband became the pastor, he had to give up some of his school responsibilities, and so I became the administrator.  The, around the end of October a teaching position was left vacant, and I had to fill that roll too.  So, I'm sure you can see why I haven't had time to blog as much as I would have liked!  (However I plan to be more faithful with it this year, and since it is one of my New Year's Resolutions, I'm sure I'll at least last through January!! ;) 

    Happy New Year from our family!!

    While much has happened in the lives of my family over this past year, I have not in any way lost my vision to help as many ladies as I can.  In fact, one of my favorite things about being a lead pastor's wife is helping ladies!  I've had a desire and a game plan in mind to start an "Inside-Out Lady's Ministry" and God has finally allowed me to put my plan into action!  I am so overwhelmed and thankful to Him for His goodness to me.  He has given me the perfect church to start such a lady's ministry!  I truly believe He was preparing me for this EXACT ministry all along!  Isn't HE a good God!?! 

    Thanks so much for re-joining me on my journey to becoming a Treasure (Proverbs 31) that is Hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)!  I'm so looking forward to what He has in store for us!