20 Oct 2014

the church planting journey – sunday mornings.

Whew – Monday mornings I seriously feel like I’ve been hit by a train! I’ve worked in ministry for over 10 years (either as a paid job or volunteering), so I am used to Sundays being CRAZY and can’t remember the last time I went to church as a regular attender….attendee? But man, Sunday’s as the pastors wife takes things to another level.

When we decided to move forward planting, Chris and I were really committed to my job in the church being supporting him and our family. I had no desire to be the children’s ministry director, I used to lead worship at our old church but that just doesn’t make sense for us (for now at least) with such young kids, etc etc – the list goes on! For the first 2 years of doing this I felt really guilty about that. When needs came up it is my gut instinct to volunteer to fill the hole or solve the problem, but thankfully we were both pretty serious about that commitment and I haven’t stepped up to fill those roles. I volunteer in kids ministry once a month, but beyond that, my goal is to be there to make sure our kids are taken care of and be a support to Chris. I’ve gotten off track….this post is supposed to be about Sunday mornings! :)

Pastors wives…you aren’t alone in feeling like a raging lunatic on Sunday mornings! I swear, I can get the kids ready without a hitch, but on Sundays EVERYTHING goes wrong. For example, one Sunday I didn’t get up as early as I usually do (I usually get up an hour before their normal wake up time to get ready), so I got the kids dressed then hopped in the shower….annnnnd then Deacon crawled into the shower and was totally drenched, resulting in needing a total outfit change. It’s almost laughable. So by the time we get out the door I’m basically sweating (we usually go to my parents for the day after church so I have to get the kids packed for the day), and then we get to church….and all chaos ensues.

My desire/hope is to get to talk to new folks, connect with people, meet people on Sunday mornings – make them feel welcome and connected, but the reality is, that rarely happens. I have to remind myself that this is a season since our kids are SO little, but since Chris is “on duty” Sunday mornings, that means I am on duty for the kids….and like true PK’s they are alllll over the place, hahaha! Yesterday I found myself standing at a little set of stairs the entire time before and after church supervising Deacon going up and down the stairs in hopes that he didn’t crack his head open (Of which I succeeded this week….don’t ask me about 2 weeks ago) and I really didn’t get to meet or talk to anyone. I was frustrated and discouraged, but the Lord reminded me in a sweet way that it’s TOTALLY OK. I am called to serve Chris and my family, and one day I will be able to chat with people, but for now, it just might not happen.

While I feel like people have these expectations of me, I need to remember that I am not here doing this to please people, I am fulfilling this huge calling the Lord has placed on our lives and I need to do it with confidence and joy, even when it feels like a total bummer sometimes. I want to encourage other women who are in this same season….it’s ok. It’s ok if you don’t get to talk to anyone because you are chasing a crazy toddler, taking kids to the potty, or have to leave right away to prevent someone from having a meltdown. You are serving your husband and your church well by allowing your husband to have the freedom to fulfill his calling to the church by fulfilling your calling to the church and your family.

And to those of you who aren’t pastors/ministry wives/spouses – I want to encourage you to reach out to your pastor’s wife. Maybe ask if there is anything you can do to help, or go hang out with her while she does her thing with the kids – it can be an isolating time, but know she is serving and loving the church, it just might not look like what you think it should look like.

I’m excited to see what my role looks like as our kids get older and our church grows, but for now, I am just going to keep chugging along.

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
—Philippians 2:3–4


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13 Oct 2014

the church planting journey – opening your home.

I realized over the weekend I haven’t really spoken a lot about our church planting journey. I hate that because I know there are SO many women out there on this road (either as a planters wife, pastor’s wife, ministry wife, etc), yet so few speak publicly about their experiences, struggles and the journey. I was looking over my blog and I have a whopping ONE post about our church planting journey, so I’m hoping to change that. (Not making any promises though. ;))

Several years ago when we were going through our Acts29 Bootcamp one of the questions they had us talk about together was how often we thought we should open our home per week – be it for church events, having friends/neighbors over, etc. My response was quickly “one – max!” and Chris said “five”….hahah! Talk about total opposite expectations. That was a hard convo for me to have. Admittedly I am super selfish with my time. I am an introvert (I love people, but I gain energy by being alone) and the thought of opening my home several times a week really exhausted me, BUT although I know we needed to fiercely protect our family/home time, we also likely needed to open our home more than *I* would naturally want to.

Here we are, about 3 years into our journey and while this is still a struggle for me, we have really settled into a routine. Both of us have commitments through the week (life group, discipleship groups, and sometimes meetings), but we try to keep at least 2 nights a week “safe” for family time at home where we can sit down with just us and have dinner, put the kids to bed and hang out with no agenda, but honestly, opening our homes to our neighbors, friends and new folks at the church has been such a rich blessing. There are so many times that leading up to the evening I will be begging Chris to cancel, or dreading it in my head, but there has not been one time that we have closed the door at the end of the night that I have not been encouraged an grateful for the time we spent opening our home and lives.

At times it is chaotic (hello…we have a 3 year old and a 1 year old and often people bring their kids), sometimes it is emotionally draining, and sometimes it is life-giving. If you are beginning or on this journey of church planting I want to encourage you to open your home. Don’t stress about perfection (I’ve long past that stage…and I’ll write about that soon) – let people see your REAL life…the dog hair on the floor, the kids having a tantrum or refusing dinner, that’s what people relate to, that’s where people feel comfortable, that’s where you can let them see Jesus working in your home.

Yes, this can be an exhausting call and often people ask me “how do you do it? How do you open your home and lives SO often to others?” and the only answer I can give…Jesus sustains us. He has called us to this life, to this church, to this community…to serve and love those around us, and He has given us the energy and endurance to open our lives and our homes frequently, and I am so thankful that this wasn’t something that came easy for me, it makes it even more sweet.

In those times when you are weary, worn down or questioning the call of your ministry remember this:

“He who called you is faithful and He will do it”
1 Thessalonians 5:24



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06 Oct 2014

Go BOO Your Neighbors!

When we moved to Atlanta (I was in 8th grade) some kids in the neighborhood did something I had never heard of before – BOOing or Ghosting! It’s a fun little Halloween game that engages your neighbors, and it really is fun! I thought we would get it started in our neighborhood because well…we just love doing fun things for our neighbors and I thought Elliot would think it was really cool!


note: I said “You’ve been boo’d” because really…Boo’d/Booed is not actually a word and I thought BOO’d looked cuter…the internet is about 50/50 on this. You may disagree with my choice, but let’s be real…it’s all about aesthetics people! ;) 

So here’s what you do…(I included the printables I created because I just couldn’t find one I LOVED, but there are about 9 million on Pinterest if you wanted more ideas! :))

-create 2 gift baskets/bags/boxes with treats – I got these little purple spiderweb baskets at Target in the dollar section because I thought they were cute! You could do gift bags, or even just a brown paper bag with some stickers on it! No need to get fancy…or get fancy if you like that kind of thing! Fill the box/bag/basket with fun treats (I did candy and bubbles…don’t be the lame neighbor who gives kale chips and quinoa bars, mmmk? I’m all about healthy, but…I’ll just stop there. ;))


-print out the instructions (below) and stick them in your treat bag, then print out the ghost sign and tape it to their door and drop the treat on the doorstep…we knocked and ran away as fast as we could (well, as fast as a 3 year old could)!

This is such a FUN and easy way to engage your neighbors and give them a little treat while you’re at it! All of this (we made 5 baskets to try to get the game really going in our neighborhood!) cost less than $20, so creating 2 small ones would be a lot less! :)

BOO - InstructionsBW

BOO – InstructionsBW (< there is the PDF file!)

BOO! (1)

BOO! (1) (< there is the PDF file!)

I posted about this on our neighborhood Facebook page and this was a photo from one of the families who we BOO’d! :) Be sure to report back with me if you are going to get this started in your neigh-boo-rhood!  (< see what i did there?)

Screen Shot 2014-10-06 at 8.02.24 PM



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03 Sep 2014

Why I Chose Flexible Dieting/IIFYM

So, what exactly is flexible dieting/IIFYM?

For starters, flexible dieting is not a diet - it’s a nutritional concept. The basic rundown is simple: You have a daily calorie, macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat), and fiber target to hit and as long as those specific numbers are achieved, then food selection is left up to your personal preference. -Kyle Hunt

Alright, so that’s the basics – it is a lifestyle/eating plan that allows you to eat whatever you want, whenever you want as long as it fits within your macronutrient goal. I’ll go ahead and start from the beginning….

My weight loss journey started about 10 years ago with Weight Watchers. It was a time in my life when I was well over 200 lbs, didn’t know much about exercise, and didn’t know really anything about healthy eating. I thought a “healthy” day was having a grilled chicken burrito from Moe’s because it was “fresh” food…mind you what I got was over 1,000 calories, and WELL over that with the chips that I always ate. So enter weight watchers – I was given an allotted number of points and could eat whatever I wanted as long as it fit within those points. While I was doing this I ate a lot of processed food, frozen meals, sometimes junk….but I was staying within my points and I saw RESULTS. I lost over 40 lbs with weight watchers and I learned portion control and was introduced to the importance of adding exercise into my routine as well. (note: weight watchers does not promote eating only/all/any processed food, that’s just what I did as I started my journey. I am so thankful I found Weight Watchers because it taught me important lessons that might have been overwhelming had I jumped right into something more complicated!

Fast forward a bit and I ventured out onto my own in calorie counting. This was basically the same as weight watchers but I was just watching calories, not points – I was able to maintain my weight loss but didn’t really see much progression (I lost another 15 lbs or so), but during this time I really discovered the importance of heavy lifting in my routine. I started Chalean Extreme during this time (right after I got married) and lost about 20 lbs and 20 inches using this program – I LOVED it and got addicted to seeing change in my body, much of this was due to lifting heavy weights!

Next on my journey….clean eating. There are SOOOOOOOO many definitions of clean eating. Some people say no processed  foods, some say no dairy or no meat, some say no grains….it’s a really broad term. I took clean eating to mean eliminating as many processed foods as possible and focusing on whole foods. I have to be completely honest, I know this works really, really well for a lot of people, but this was probably the least effective eating method/lifestyle that I have ever done. Because I was eating whole, healthy foods I felt like I could eat as much of them as I wanted. Now, I KNEW the science behind this was wrong (you have to create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 lb), but for some reason I just ignored it! I actually GAINED about 9 lbs doing clean eating and not tracking actual calorie consumption. Again, I know this works for some people, but it just didn’t work for me.

So enter flexible dieting/IIFYM. I was super hesitant to start with this because I had heard some bad press about it. A lot of people refer to it as the “pop tart” diet, or just assume that if you follow IIFYM you eat a ton of junk and processed foods, but that really is NOT what it is all about!! I can guarantee you that there is NO way I would meet my macro goals every day if I ate a bunch of junk! To get started with IIFYM I bought Krissy Mae Cagney‘s book “Flexible Dieting“, really familiarized myself with the concept and then calculated my numbers using her formula/worksheet at the end. I *highly* recommend checking out this book if you are looking to start with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting. Her formula is pretty dead on  and super easy to figure out – the book is worth your money!

One of my favorite things about IIFYM and Flexible Dieting is removing the phrase/terms cheat meal or cheat day from your vocabulary. When I was “clean eating” and just regular calorie counting I would have a cheat meal or cheat day which meant I could eat anything and everything I wanted to without tracking it or caring. While this is a super fun concept, it truly can negate any progress you make in your week. Think about it – going back to that caloric deficit and needing a deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 lb, you could eat into half (or more!!) of that deficit by not being aware of what you are eating which while slow your progress down BIG TIME…believe me, I’ve been there. So with IIFYM you are taking away that concept. Anything and everything is ok to eat – no cheating. What other area of your life is cheating considered a good, fun or encouraged thing?! NONE! Why should it be encouraged in your diet??? If I am going out to dinner I am mindful of what I am eating all day and try to plan ahead for our meal out. Want a donut? Great! Log it/track it and move on with the day – probably means I’ll be eating a lot of high protein/low carb and low fat foods to counteract that choice. DON’T give food control (positive or negative) over your life – it’s food, it’s meant to fuel your body, not to make you feel like a good or bad person.

To get started with IIFYM/Flexible Dieting all you need is your numbers (you can get them from that book I referenced above!) and a food scale – you need to weigh everything you eat – even prepackaged or measured stuff. Weigh it and track it…no excuses! Seriously – you will be shocked how innaccurate your measuring cups and spoons are when you start weighing – I’ll do a post on that later!

My standard day looks something like this (I like to eat frequently….there is no rhyme or reason to this, some people prefer 3 large meals a day with no snacks, it really doesn’t matter!)

  • 5:30 am- banana
  • 7:00 am – protein shake
  • 8:00 am – 1 egg, 100 g egg whites scrambled with veggies, toast or oatmeal and fruit
  • 10/11 am – cottage cheese or a protein bar if I am on the go
  • 1:00 pm – protein shake with peanut butter and a giant serving of spinach
  • 3:00/4:00 pm – some kind of snack – fruit and nut butter; cheese; yogurt; veggies/hummus
  • 6:00 pm – dinner -usually meat and vegetables
  • 8:00 pm (if I have macros left which lately I don’t…) – greek yogurt with peanut butter

So that’s my standard day…all delicious food, very little processed…all things I LOVE!!!


Hope this was helpful…please let me know if you have any questions!

24 Feb 2014

praying with your kids

I have to admit, I wasn’t really sure how to pray with Elliot. When I say that, I don’t mean I wasn’t sure how to pray FOR her, that seemed like second nature, but praying WITH her and teaching her to pray seemed so intimidating to me for some reason. I came across a blog or pinterest post about a year ago and when I saw it, I knew it would work for us: the prayer jar.


In the jar there are a ton of sticks with names of family members, friends, etc. At first I just did family members and a few friends we saw regularly, but in the past few months she asked about specific people, so we added them to the jar! Now there are friends from church, school, the neighborhood, etc.


Each night I tell her to pick 2 sticks from the jar – she usually tries to take all of them out and put them back in 1 by 1 while we read the names (she an excellent staller….), but usually we end up with 2 or 3. In the past I would pray for each person by name, then pray for our day, our family, thank the Lord for our days, etc, but recently SHE has wanted to pray which has been SO SWEET! I love hearing her sweet little voice praying for the ones that she loves. It’s short and sweet…”thank you daddy, AAAAAMEN! I love you Jesus!” It’s become part of our nightly routine and I am so, so thankful for it.

If you’re looking for a little thing to do with your kids, this is a GREAT tool! We really love it in our house!



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