On Mission

Showing Up!

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A lot of my friends have had little ones with the flu recently and as a mama it gets a bit overwhelming when our little ones are sick.  We have to readjust our schedule to fit in doctor appointments, continue working, and try our best to keep the other kiddos well, among the million other things we already have going on. I’m tired just thinking about it all! This past week, one of our small group families had two of their little ones down with the flu and the ladies were all texting back and forth, encouraging this mama and promising to pray for them. We’ve only been meeting a few weeks together so several ladies don’t really know each other well. One of the ladies offered immediately to stop and bring them a meal.   I was amazed and convicted and so excited for both of the ladies!  As a side note, I’ll also share that this same sweet lady that offered had just closed on a new house and they were in the middle of moving, but she saw the importance of showing up. She reached out to this mama with sick little ones and offered a tangible help and blessed and challenged the rest of us in the text group. Isn’t that what the body of Christ should be doing? But how can we be like this sweet friend who decided to just show up!

1. Leave some margin in our schedule!   Man, we can fill up our calendars week to week, can’t we?!? We have to begin to leave some  blank space so when emergencies do arise, or a friend waves the white flag and needs some help, you can! Isn’t that what friends do for one another anyway? What do you need to say NO to in order to clear out some space to be a good friend? What do you need to say YES to? It’s all about learning to balance and prioritize our time, our wants, our desires and our callings. If we want to be a mama that shows up, then we have to live like a mama who shows up, right?

2. Keep some things on hand, ready to go!  I used to be really good about this. Living overseas, I often kept cookie dough in the freezer so when the doorbell rang, I could throw a few cookies in the oven and serve my guests. I’ve gotten quite lazy in this area though honestly. But, that’s no excuse.  It’s easy to make a double batch of chili or chicken noodle soup and freeze half of it for your family later or to give away. A couple of my favorite go to recipes are a Slow Cooker Chili Recipe or Easy Taco Mac.  It also doesn’t have to be extravagant! At times, I’ve bought into the lie that in order to serve someone else or invite some one over, my house has to be perfect, it has to be a four course meal, I have to pull out the fine china. You don’t. Just show up with a pot of chili, paper bowls, and plastic spoons. Or maybe stop by and grab a pizza and drop if off. Your friend will love you and be so very thankful and they won’t care if your containers all matched or not.

3. Just be that friend! Just decide to be that mama friend who loves and serves your other mama friends even when you’re inconvenienced or it’s not easy. Be the friend who sends the first text to check in when you saw their facebook post. Be the friend who grabs an extra coffee and drops it by your friend’s desk when you realized their morning had been pretty tough.  Be that mama friend who grabs a bottle of children’s tylenol or a LARGE container of ice cream and drop it off. Don’t let fear hold you back. Just ask and offer and be ready for the opportunity to serve and love.

Do you have a sweet friend who is having a hard week? Who do you need to show up for this week? Just show up! I’m so very thankful for a mama friend who stopped and noticed and served and loved, despite her own busy. She reminded me and challenged this mama’s heart in so many ways this past week. 

Blog

Celebrating a New Year and a New Culture

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Up until about a year and a half ago, we never really celebrated Chinese New Year. Honestly, I didn’t really even know when it was or why it was different than when the rest of the world celebrated a new year. That was until I met our Chinese student that we have had the privilege of welcoming through a local program and partnership called Friendship Families. I’ve shared before how we have had the best time getting to know her and are so honored to get to be her “friendship family”.  We’ve learned about a culture that is not our own. We’ve gotten to eat foods and I’ve learned to make foods that are a little different than what we were used to. Who gets to have dumplings at their Thanksgiving dinner?!? They were amazing by the way!! We’ve gotten to enjoy sweet surprises and gifts from her home and family. We’ve been way more blessed than I feel like we’ve blessed her. Isn’t that how God works!?

Our eyes and our hearts have been opened to love not only her, but her culture and her home. But it’s taken intentionality on our part.  I’ll be honest, Chinese New Year was just another day on the calendar, but not anymore for our family.  As we are gearing up to celebrate Chinese New Year with her in just a few short days (January 25th),  we still have lots to learn about this day and this beautiful country and culture, and we are learning and loving in several ways:

1. By reading books together. We have loved the ones that we got from our local library!  Books like Runaway Wok have made us giggle and also pause to see how they decorate, give gifts, dress, and so much more. A New Years Reunion has opened our eyes to what life is like for a working family in that country and how they celebrate the holiday. For a list of other great books to read together and learn about Chinese New Year, be sure to check out our Pinterest page. 

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2.  By seeking out resources and ideas online. Sunny over at Spot of Sunshine has done an amazing job of sharing resources like books, crafts and activities, traditions, and recipes from a personal perspective. Also Kayla over at Baby Devotions has been sharing great ideas each Wednesday with #worldlovewednesday as the holiday draws near. If you’re not following those two ladies, you are missing out! Instagram and Pinterest are filled with so many fun filled ideas to do with our little ones to teach them about a different and new culture! 

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3.  By Spending time with our student! There is no better teacher than a Chinese friend! Ask questions, listen, watch, invite them into your home, learn from them!  If you don’t have a student you can learn from, there are other ways to learn! Stop by and order food from your local Chinese restaurant, chat with the waitresses, get to know them and become their friend. We have the world right here in our backyard and we have so much to learn not just about the Chinese culture but also about countries and cultures and peoples from all around the world. You’ll be better for it, I promise! 

The more we expose our little ones to other cultures and countries and people, the more it becomes natural to them and to us to want to love and pray for those cultures and peoples. And it’s oh so fun to celebrate! Really, who doesn’t love getting some fresh dollar bills in a beautiful red envelope and enjoying yummy Chinese food! 

What are ways that you and your little ones have been learning about a new culture or new country? Share your ideas so we can learn from one another!

Happy New Year to our sweet friends! 

 

Mission Ideas

Service Idea: Encouraging Other Mamas

We’ve all been there… 

You’re just about to finish up shopping when you realize that your little one has created quite a mess. You rush to the nearest bathroom only to realize that you forgot to refill the travel wipe container in the diaper bag…

Or does that only happen to me?

Every single time? 

I’m past the diaper changing station in life, which makes me sad at times, but those messy times would either make me feel like such a “loser” of a mom or make me laugh until I peed my own pants… (kidding… maybe…)

As I am beginning to think of ways that I can serve and love others this year, I just keep thinking of those mamas who are having a tough moment or even a really tough day. I want to be an encourager for those mamas who feel like they are failing, because if we’re all honest here, we are all one of them, at one moment or another.  I want to remind other mamas that Jesus loves them deeply, sees them, and that they are not alone in this motherhood journey.

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This is a pretty simple way to encourage and remind a mama who may be having a hard moment: 

  1. Grab some travel wipe size packets from the store.
  2. Tie a little encouraging note around it and pray for that mama (or mamas) that will find this little treasure. 
  3. And leave it on the changing table at your favorite store or restaurant! 

It’s really simple…

But what mama wouldn’t smile at finding that little treasure in her most desperate moment. I know I would have!! 

To download the tag that I used complete with my own little cheesy poem,  be sure to click here!  

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Blog, Mission Ideas

Christmas Card Fun

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I love checking the mail this time of year!! And I love seeing the sweet pics of friends near and far coming in! It’s always fun opening the cards with the girls and watching them rush to hang up the card on our board.  At the end of the Christmas season, I just can’t make myself throw those sweet cards away though!! 

A friend shared with me several years ago that she keeps the cards, puts them on a ring, puts the stack near their kitchen table and each week their family prays for a different family card! 

This is brilliant for a couple reasons!

  1. Your family or friend is prayed for! What’s more important than praying for our friends and family!?! You never know what they may be facing that week when you pick up their card! After you pray, text them or better yet write them a quick note to tell them that you prayed and see how God works! 
  2. Our little ones are focusing on others and learning what it means to pray for others! One thing I’ve been noticing when my girls pray, is that it often times centers around them and about what they want or need. So I’m always looking for ways to help them focus on others through prayer and that takes being intentional. 

So what do you do with those super cute and fun Christmas cards? How can we be intentional with the families that we love and treasure and receive a Christmas card  from each year. 

Blog, Mission Ideas

Prayer Meal Idea: Afghanistan

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It’s a land that seems so mysteriously beautiful to me. I’ve never been there but have seen it’s mountains and desert hills in pictures. We’ve all seen pics of this country (usually from the news and usually cast in a negative light) but I know there is so much more beauty to this place. There has to be because God created that land and He only creates beautiful. I know there is beauty in their homes as they serve tea and welcome the stranger. Beauty in their villages as they gather to learn new trades to better their world. Beauty in their sweet children playing and laughing and loving life. 

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My sweet friend has been working in this country for several years now leading a group of women to weave rugs by hand so that they can provide more for their families. Their rugs are beautiful but their stories are even more so. We recently returned from visiting this friend (in a different country) and my heart was challenged and encouraged as she shared stories of her dear friends and coworkers who are working hard and are learning and serving and hosting and welcoming. I pray that one day I can meet them. 

 

They recently created Christmas stockings that are absolutely beautiful. They don’t necessarily celebrate this holiday but I pray that one day they will. As we hang our stockings made by their hands this year, we will be preparing an Afghani meal and praying for ladies we’ve never met, for our dear friend who works so hard to lead and love them, and for the Christmas story to be told in that beautiful land that God loves. 

Here are a few links to yummy Afghani dishes that you could prepare too and spend some time praying for our friend serving in a beautifully hard place.

Afhghani Pulao Rice 

Afghani Chicken Pulao Rice

Afghani Pulao 

You can also support the work of their hands by purchasing the beautiful rugs and stockings that they have created over at their online shop, Qadimi Rugs.  Also, If you live local, we will be hosting a PopUp Shop on Dec. 1st from 4:00-6:00pm. Send us a message for more details!
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Mission Ideas

Serving through the Fall

 

 

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Fall is such a FUN season here in the South! The weather is cooler and it’s bearable to be outside for more than ten minutes. Wait – who am I kidding? It’s still 90 degree here…  But, the apples and pumpkins are ready to be picked. Football and campfires with SMores are back. It’s just a fun season!

In this fun season, there are LOTS of ways that we can love and serve others and lead our little ones to do the same! Here are just a few ideas:

1. Prayer Walk – Enjoy the cooler days, if you have them! Get out and go for a nature walk and embrace the beautiful fall colors but as you do, pray! Prayer walking is a simple fun way to focus your prayers and “pray as you go.”  Our little ones can learn so much from walking and praying with us too!

2. Homeless Blessing Bags – As the seasons begin to shift from hot to warm to cold, many of our homeless friends are needing encouragement. And what better way to encourage them than with a blessing bag.  A blessing bag can be super simple. Just grab a zip-loc bag and fill it with items like travel size shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, socks, crackers and a water bottle. I promise you though, for many of our homeless friends, what will matter most will be the encouragement that you saw them and took time to acknowledge them. It will also help your little one begin to see others  in need too.

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If you are a local On Mission Mom, we are combining the top two opportunities and hosting a Pray & Play (and Serve too!) Event! Be sure to follow us over at Instagram for all the details and to sign up HERE to be a part of the fun! 

3. Smore’s Night in the Neighborhood – What better way to get to know your neighbors and friends during the fall than to sit around a campfire, and make Smore’s! So YUMMY!  You can make this simple or as fun and “Pinteresty” as you want, but the purpose is to get to know your neighbors, encourage them, share Jesus with them, laugh with them and build community!  I’ll be posting more about this idea soon!

4. Bake Treats for a Helping Agency in Town – We love to bake special treats and take them to our local helping agency, The Bridge, for those who are coming in for assistance. I’m so grateful for the atmosphere at the Bridge. They have coffee available for friends as they wait to be seen and helped, but many places don’t offer that. (Agencies often can’t justify the cost to do that and I totally get that!) This is a way to bless the agency, our friends in need, and your little ones as you bake and take the items to the agency. We’ve made cookies, banana bread and apple bread for friends to enjoy and look forward to making pumpkin bread and some of our favorite apple muffins soon. Be sure to check with your local agency to see if they are open to you doing this before you bake all the yumminess!

What fun ideas do you have for sharing Jesus and encouraging friends during the Fall season?  Be sure to follow along over at our Pinterest page for fun ideas or share an idea or two on our Instagram page!

 

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everything has its season…

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I love the Fall – but I also love the summer and the spring and every time a season changes, honestly.  The change from winter to spring speaks such life and joy in my heart because it reminds me of the fresh and the new. Things start becoming green again and the sun shines longer and my heart rejoices. The changing from summer to Fall though is different and sometimes hard. It’s the dying away of the old. The green begins to turn to beautiful colors of red and orange and yellow. But sadly, it then turns brown. The old  dies…  So while I love the cooler weather, the pumpkins and the apples, and all things fall – it’s a different kind of love. It’s a knowing that things are dying and that’s okay, it’s their season.  The author of Ecclesiastes 3 says it best.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 

a time to be born and a time to die, 

a time to plant and a time to uproot, 

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build, 

a time to weep and a time to laugh, 

a time to mourn and a time to dance, 

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, 

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,  

a time to search and a time to give up, 

a time to keep and a time to throw away, 

a time to tear and a time to mend, 

a time to be silent and a time to speak, 

a time to love and a time to hate, 

a time for war and a time for peace.

So, as we head into the new season of Fall, what needs to die or fall away this season in your life so that Jesus can begin to grow a new thing in your heart and life? Just like a farmer has seasons of planting and harvest. He (or she) also has seasons where the things just need to be torn up or simply die – in order for new life to grow. And it’s hard and beautiful and eventually life-giving.