The Power of Team

I am an introvert.  It is natural for me to want to be alone, a lot.  I’m sure there are others like me around, but I don’t know anyone else who enjoys being alone as much as me.  Ha!

I do work with others quite a bit in the ministries I’m involved in.  And don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoy it.  But sometimes due to my nature, I tend to get on a streak of being alone, planning alone, thinking alone, analyzing alone, and carrying burdens alone.

Today my MOPS teammates and I worked together on a Facebook party for our MOPS communities and it was like a lightbulb turned on for me.  Time alone and working alone can be good for me – but I can also tend to isolate myself too much.

I saw so many positives in the collaboration and teamwork we had today.   It is a great reminder (and probably a much needed one) that God has called us in most circumstances to partner with others in our work for Him.

Maybe you also need a nudge to be less isolated or to accept more opportunities to work alongside others?

I know the following list is probably not really new to you – and not to me, either.  But today was just such a good example of these benefits of teamwork that I can’t help but share.  I don’t want to forget, and in case YOU need a reminder – here is the “power of team” that I saw today:

  • We can encourage one another to step outside of our self-imposed comfort zones.
  • Our ideas and effort, put together, have synergy – meaning that the result is more than each of us could have accomplished alone.
  • We can step in for each other’s weaknesses.
  • Working together can ignite a spark of motivation and energy in a teammate who needs it.
  • We can learn from each other.
  • We can learn about each other, and about ourselves.  Learning more about our teammates draws us closer together.
  • Working alongside one another gives us opportunities to provide more personal support and encouragement to each other.
  • We share the burden of the work.

Ecclesiastes 4:9 – Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. (New Living Translation)

 

 

 

 

2017 Focus

Have you heard about the trend to choose one word for the year rather than make New Year’s resolutions?

I am pretty wordy (I guess you know this if you read my blog, lol) so choosing just one word is difficult for me.

The last few years I’ve had some new year’s resolutions AND tried to pick a phrase or bible verse to focus on for the year.

This year instead of a word/phrase, I’m picking a song.

Magnify” by We Are Messengers

I love the chorus:

“God, be greater than the worries in my life,

Be stronger than the weakness in my mind,

Be louder, let your glory come alive,

Be magnified.”

I’m praying that in 2017 I live so that God is magnified in my life!

What’s your word for 2017?

Make Every Day Like Christmas!!

I’m hoping all of you had a very Merry Christmas!  We had a fabulous day and are now enjoying a relaxing week of vacation with all of us home.

I was thinking today about my favorite Christmas carol… and it was impressed upon me that I should treat every day like Christmas:

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Every day is an opportunity to invite Jesus to come and fix His humble home within me!

Wishing you happy holiday celebrations and a heart that welcomes Christ each day of the coming New Year!

A gift of a different kind.

Last week I had lunch with a woman who I’ve only recently met.  We are serving together in a ministry capacity and I invited her to lunch so that we could get to know one another a bit better.  I enjoyed our time together very much and when we were about to leave, she said to me something like, “Sharing your real life is a true gift.”

I had been open with her about my doubts and fears in taking on a new ministry role.  Let me tell you, to open up and give others a glimpse of what’s really in my heart feels risky.  Vulnerable.  Scary.

But so many times I’ve seen when getting to know other women that they will only be as open with me as I am with them… and so I am willing to take the risk, and I often do.  I’ve seen firsthand how being authentic is the first step to deeper and more meaningful relationships.

I had never thought of it, though, as a gift that I can give to other people.  And so especially at this time of year, I wanted to share this idea you.

Others don’t need to see my pretty, perfectly packaged “exterior” life and my version of what I think they want me to be.  That doesn’t draw people in.  It doesn’t encourage real relationship.  It doesn’t allow people to breathe a deep sigh of relief and say, “me, too”.

Being real is a gift that allows other people to be who they are, too.

Let’s be women who are gift-givers of a different kind this Christmas!

13-year Old Approved Gluten-free Products

We are getting close to our 3-year anniversary of my son being gluten-free.

(You can read our celiac story here).

As I think back over these past few years I realize how far we have come in both our understanding and acceptance of this way of eating. 

And truthfully, we have spent what seems like a ton of money trying things that we ended up throwing away because of poor quality or taste.  There has been a lot of trial and a lot of error in terms of buying stuff my boy will like and will eat.  

I am very thankful that there are so many more certified gluten-free products now available that weren’t even just a few years ago!  Although we live in a small town, we do have stores locally that carry a variety of gluten-free products. 

So I’m sharing the following list- especially for those of you who have kids who are just getting started on a gluten-free diet.  I hope to save you from having to buy lots and lots of different products before you find one you like!  In each category of food shown below, I think we’ve tried at least 3 different brands and this is the one we like best.

(Now I am going to preface my sharing of this list with the following- I know very well that none of these products are all that healthy!  The healthiest gluten-free diet would be full of whole unprocessed foods:  lots of meats, veggies, etc. blah, blah, blah. We get it.  BUT hey, this is real life and everyone (and especially my 13-year old) needs some store-bought products every once in a while whether it’s for convenience or just a treat.  And I’m ok with that!)

Here you go…


And a list with where it’s cheapest locally:

Kashi Gluten Free Cinnamon Waffles (Walmart)

Annie’s Gluten Free Rice Shells and Creamy White Cheddar (Walmart or Target)

Nabisco Good Thins Corn and Sea Salt Crackers, other flavors available (Walmart or Target)

Hungry Jack Complete Gluten Free Funfetti Buttermilk Pancake& Waffle Mix (Walmart)

Annie’s Snickerdoodle Bunny Crackers (Target)

Kinnikinnick Gluten Free S’moreables Graham Style Crackers (Wegmans)

Goldie Girl Cookies Gluten Free Mint Slims (Walmart)

Luna S’mores Bars, other Flavors available (Walmart or Target)

KIND Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars, other flavors available (Walmart or Target)

Snyder’s Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks, other flavors available (Walmart or Target)

Freschetta Gluten Free Frozen Pizza (BJs)

Lance Gluten Free Sandwich Crackers, both Peanut Butter and Cheddar Cheese Flavors (Wegmans)

Live G Free Gluten Free Brownie Mix (Aldi)

Live G Free Gluten Free White Bread (Aldi)
I hope this helps you!  Feel free to share any favorites products that you have!

Advent Calendar 2016

Hey, friends!  Tomorrow is December 1st, can you believe it???

Here are a couple of pics of our advent calendar for this year.  This has become a tradition for us, and although I **thought** maybe my kids were too old for this, they insisted on it!!  We love to celebrate the coming of Christmas in this way.

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(Ha – I guess as the kids get bigger the advent calendar does, too!)

This year, like previous years, there is either a small gift, candy, or and activity to do in each of the bags.  See this post if you want more info on that and some other advent calendar ideas we’ve done in the past!

The white bags I bought at Michael’s and I simply used a chalkboard paint marker to dress them up.  Then I chalked the numbers on them – sooo simple!!  I used a store-bought chalkboard banner and christmas-y mini clothes pins that I bought on clearance last year for the finishing details.  The bags are clipped and/or taped to a twine rope that is hung on the wall with 3M removable hooks.

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The kids can’t wait to get started tomorrow!!

Happy December!

Rest for the Weary

I don’t know about you, but I am so, so weary.

The election debacle, tragic stories in the news, and controversy within the church at large.  Even arguments in my own home.

I have felt alternately riled up, worn down, and again, just weary of it all.  Anyone else?

I don’t have the answers, except that Jesus IS the answer.

Consider these verses (all emphasis mine):

Psalm 119:28

“My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.”

Isaiah 40:29

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”

Matthew 11:28

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

God’s word and His presence refresh, provide strength, and give rest.  I am so grateful.

I’m praying that you are able to sit with God for a few moments today and just rest in Him.