Cole's First Haircut

Cole got his first professional, big boy haircut a week and a half was quite a process! We went to a place that specializes just in kids haircuts. It was really cool....and we paid the price for that of course! They had a huge playroom in the back where the kids play while they're waiting for their turn. Once your name is called, you get to pick whether you want to sit in a race car or rocket ship. Then....get this....each station has a TV/DVD combo on the desk where the child gets to pick a DVD they would like to watch while getting their hair done. It was crazy! Yet so cool all at the same time! Cole "picked" the sleek silver Mustang-looking seat and we decided that Elmo would be fun to watch......all the fun lasted until he realized what was going on. Not being a big fan of getting his haircut, he then turned on his soprano tunes and screamed and screamed. I think the stylist was getting annoyed, but what more can you expect from a 16 month-old? And besides, she's the one who chose to work there! Anyway, we got ready to leave and tried giving Cole a red balloon (his favorite) and he wouldn't even take the balloon from us until we got in the car and were driving down the road......away from that awful place! We ended up spending more moulah than we wanted to and Jake even said, "I could have done that with my new hair clippers", so I think we'll keep doing homemade haircuts from now on.....but it was definitely an experience to remember!

A Feast Prepared for You

So I have to comment about an earlier post that I wrote on community and how I feel like I need it in my life for my own spiritual growth. I was doing my Bible study yesterday and read this quote by D.L. Moody:

"You know it is always regarded a great event in the family when a child can feed himself....At first perhaps he uses the spoon upside down. But by and by he handles it all right, and mother, or perhaps sister, claps her hands and says, 'Just see, baby's feeding himself!' Well, what we need as Christians is to be able to feed ourselves. How many are there who sit helpless and listless, with open mouths, hungry for spiritual things, and the minister has to try and feed them, while the Bible is a feast prepared into which they never venture."

I couldn't believe my eyes as I read. It felt like God was literally right in front of me and was, in a way, giving me what for. I have been neglecting the true value of the Word of God. I have been complaining because I don't have people to guide me along in my walk with the Lord. I have been sitting helpless and listless, hungry for spiritual things. And I have been blaming my situation with no community for my spiritual state. But it's not the fact that I don't have community. And it's not the fact that things might be better elsewhere. It's the fact that I haven't been looking at the Bible as a feast. When Moody says this, it opens my eyes to how much the Bible really much it has to offer. How often do I just treat it like it's a book I have to read? I rarely go into reading my Bible recognizing it as a feast that has been prepared for me.....and that through this feast, my spiritual life will grow leaps and bounds. In Hebrews the author talks about spiritual milk and solid food....I have been choosing milk lately....much to God's dismay, I'm sure. It's just such an easy road to not pursue anything on my own. It's way easier to complain that I don't have the support I need. I suppose it's a fear....what if I still don't grow when I'm trying to learn on my own? But that's just it! It's not on my's with God, through His Word....again, this feast that He has prepared. I'm so thankful that my study has provided this quote to get me thinking....I guess I'm growing just in this little study, aren't I? Funny how that happens!

Proverbs 17:1

For those of you who struggle with comparing what you don't have to what others have, remember this verse:

"Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife."

I have been carrying around this verse with me for a while now, but I am especially trying to remember it today as I look around me and I want more. Hopefully it will be a blessing to you!

The Joy of the Lord is My Strength

I'm starting this book by Debi Pearl entitled "Created to be His Help Meet". I am only in the second chapter, so I don't know whether or not it's a book I will fully recommend, but she made a point that I found incredibly interesting. She was talking about finding joy and that we will find it more easily the more we give thanks to God. At initial glance, it seems backwards, doesn't it? That we need to give thanks in order to receive joy? Doesn't it seem like we should be receiving joy in order to give thanks? But I think she's right on. The more thanksgiving we offer to God the more joy we will find in our hearts. I don't know about you, but I know that I don't go around every day offering my thanksgiving up to God. And there are so many things that I should be thankful for! I find myself sometimes thinking (more often than I'd like to admit) "Once I get this, I'll be happier" or "Once this happens, then I'll have a peace about where I am in life". But it never proves true. Yesterday, as I mentioned in the previous post, Jake and I went shopping and we each got a new pair of running shoes. While in the store, I was so excited and I felt like I was riding on cloud nine. It was such a great feeling to be able to buy something fun and I got complete satisfaction, almost telling myself that the purchase we just made was exactly what I had needed to feel better about my day. But then, as we sat in the car an hour and a half later, stuck in traffic with Cole covered in milkshake and screaming in the backseat, I was not feeling satisfied. I was not feeling as joyous as I felt when I stepped up to the counter to purchase my new shoes. And I actually thought, "Those shoes mean nothing...why do I put any emphasis on them?"

Joy is not something we can make is something we receive from God. It is not a temporary is lasting and endures throughout pain and suffering. Job 20:5 says, "the joy of the godless lasts but a moment." This is the kind of joy I think I search for on a daily basis. But considering that joy is a fruit of the Spirit, isn't it something I should have on a continual basis through my faith in Jesus Christ? I have to say that I don't think I'm the only one who struggles with this either. I don't see many Christians who have a true joy.....because when I do see someone who has this, they stick out like a bright, rare light. I'm just challenging myself to give thankfulness to God and to learn what it means to be truly joyful. If anyone has learned anything on this themselves, I'd love to hear about it!

The Grind...

Jake and I woke up this morning and did something we've never least, not that I can remember. We went for a run right away! Since our trip to Canada, we want to at least try and stay in the nice shape that we got in, so we decided that a family run each morning would be just the ticket. Besides, we went and got new running shoes yesterday, so we have no excuses now! I have to say that running is a completely different activity than portaging trails and canoing. Oddly enough, my body seems to handle the portaging and canoing much better than it does simply running! I was telling Jake that if only I could portage every day.....well, it's not going to happen, so I've got to get used to the running, I'm afraid! It was so nice, though, to be out before most people are even out of their beds and to enjoy the quiet of the day. The air was heavy and moist, ready for the rainfall that began not long after we returned home. Cole enjoyed riding in his stroller and chewing on a stick.....I'm not sure how long he had it in his mouth, but I am horrified to tell you that I think it was for a good while! I figure that if I can just keep enjoying the time together and not notice the pain, I should be okay! Our goal is to run a 5K this fall so I've got to keep up with this new habit......hopefully I'll turn into a runner before I even know it!

Always a Silver Lining...

Well, God definitely provides what we need when we need it! We took our teens on the wilderness trip in Canada that Jake and I experienced in May. The weather was stormy all week....literally, it rained every day that we were there and we had two, maybe three very huge thunderstorms......which are very scary when you're only in a tent!! But, out of those storms, God gave us two beautiful rainbows that cascaded over the horizon of the trees and water. I couldn't help but think of God's promise to Noah and then His promise to us that He will never leave us or forsake us. It sometimes felt like we were completely alone and unprotected amidst the lightning and thunder in the wilderness, but God reminded us that He is ever near. We were also blessed with seeing moose again and again. At a campsite that one of our groups stayed at, a family of moose lived there, so it was so cool to see a bull, a cow and a calf! By the end of the week, the kids were like, "Oh, there's the moose.....carry on with your business...." which is so funny because we were told that some other groups up there never saw a moose and were dying to just get a glimpse of one!

Our students did an awesome job on this trip. Many were out to prove something to their families and friends who didn't think that they would make it through the week.....but we had five girls (including myself) who portaged (carried their canoes and packs on a trail that ranged from 45-700 meters) all by themselves! We had many boys who did the same as well! The kids were wet every day from the above mentioned rain, yet their attitudes would never show it...sometimes I was the one who needed the attitude adjustment rather than the kids!

Relationally speaking, I think this trip definitely accomplished what Jake and I were hoping for. Our group has one main clique that we were hoping would dissolve and those kids to develop friendships with the "non-cliquers". At one of our debriefings, God definitely touched these kids in that way as they began to describe the preconceived notions they had of each other that were destroyed by this trip. It was awesome! Kids that wanted nothing to do with each other were now thankful to know each other and were spending time with each other instead of their "regular" friends. My prayer is that this keeps up and doesn't fizzle away now that we're back stateside.
Jake and I also feel like we are a part of this group now. Instead of it being the new youth pastor and his wife, we have become an intricate part of this group. It is obvious that the kids see us as constants in their lives and that they feel safe with us, which is such an amazing feeling to have after feeling so removed from everything in the church for so long. And, nicely enough, they think we're pretty cool too!! :-) It was just such a great week of God working in our lives. We are giving a presentation to the church next Sunday and I'm wishing that it were possible to completely describe what a beautiful place we were in and how much the kids persevered and allowed God to work in them......but I've learned from our last trip that it's just not possible to understand it fully until you've done the trip yourself. Even this post doesn't describe what I want to, but I'm trying my best!

Here I leave you with some pictures from the trip. Thank you for all of your prayers! Here's to looking to the next wilderness trip Jake and I venture on!


I am sitting in my living room listening to Selah's version of "I Need Thee Every Hour". This song is especially moving to me because I can vividly remember sitting in my grandparents' home, playing the piano as we were preparing to move my Grandpa into a nursing home facility because of his struggle with dementia. I turned in his choir hymnal to play this song and as I started my horrible one-handed rendition, he walked into the room and began singing with me. I will never forget that time when our voices melted together and I think I will well up in tears each time that memory is stirred up in my mind. Grandpa passed away a year ago this past March and I am missing him now. Why today? I am not sure. As life spins at such an uncontrollably fast pace, I wish that I had a calmness about me that he had. I wish I had taken advantage of his wisdom when he was here. The thing I can picture most about him is his hands. For some reason, I can see so clearly how they looked when he was driving and they were wrapped around the steering wheel. Or how they felt when he would give hugs. I miss his's almost like they were a picture of the wisdom he had to offer. But then I think of "our song". Needing God every hour....we all do.....but do we all turn to God in every hour? In joy and in pain? I think so much of wisdom is in this little verse of this song. And I think that's what my Grandpa did so often. Why don't we admit our need for God? I really don't have much more to say, I guess. This probably seems so random. But I just wanted to share about my Grandpa....a man who needed God and sought Him each day. Thank You, Lord, for such a man in my life.


I have realized since moving that I am a person who needs community. I thrive off of relationships with other people, particularly those who encourage me in my faith. While I don't want to make our new home and new church sound like it's completely inept at building community, I must say that I haven't been so alone ever before. Full-time ministry is a strange thing....people think you've "got it" - that you are spiritually above, therefore needing no support or encouragement in your own walk. I have never desired discipleship more than I do now. Looking back, I realize that the kind of discipleship I had in Michigan and Chicago was found more in every day occurrences, not necessarily in a set meeting time with the same person each time. I was discipled before and after I baby-sat my pastor's kids, in the youth Bible study I co-led, in the coffee times I had with different women in the church, and even Sunday mornings as I sat and listened to someone I knew had a passion for the matter which pastor was preaching that morning!

So now that I find myself in a place that lacks a community for Jake and me to be a part of, my question is, how do I fill that hole? As Jake and I talked about this yesterday, I realized that I am trying so hard to keep afloat in my faith, and since November, I've been trying pretty much on my own. Jake says that that's just how things happen in ministry and that we need to try and find ways to challenge ourselves.....but I just can't accept that now that we're in ministry, we are on in island when it comes to our own relationships with Christ. Maybe I am depending on others too much, allowing them to influence my life more than I should. And, as I cry out for relationship with someone....ANYONE!.....I think, "Is this where God wants me right now? Does He not want me to have anyone there? Is He trying to teach me something I wouldn't learn if I was surrounded with community?"

I'm sure this sounds like a bunch of rambling.....sorry for that. I guess I'm just feeling a bit lost....if you have any advice, please share!

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...