Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thriving in Babylon

I have recently been utilizing my Bible App more and reading through several of their daily reading plans. This morning I started "Thriving in Babylon" by Larry Osborne and it was so good! so relevant to our modern America! It encouraged me that we as Christians were never called to hide from our culture but to stand up for God in our culture and change the tide! 

Here is the article by Osborne from Day 1 of the reading plan:

Daniel’s Humility

Daniel served his captors and wicked masters so well and loyally that he kept getting promoted. And with every promotion, his influence in Babylon grew greater, eventually leading both King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius to proclaim Daniel’s God as the only true God.

Yet I’m afraid a modern-day Daniel would be harshly criticized. Many Christians would see him as a spiritual compromiser. He’d be accused of aiding and abetting the enemy.

Today we are far more prone to isolate than to infiltrate. We keep our personal contact with godless leaders and institutions to a minimum. And when we do engage, it’s more likely to be an adversarial confrontation than conducted in a civil conversation. It’s no wonder our cultural influence is at an all-time low.

If we want to significantly influence our modern-day Babylon, we’ll have to change our tactics. Instead of avoiding or attacking the godless leaders of our day, we’ll need to begin to engage them in the same way Daniel did, humbly serving whomever God chooses to temporarily place into positions of authority.

It’s the only way we’ll ever earn the right to be heard.

Without contact, there can be no impact. Yet since the earliest days of the church, many well-meaning Christians have assumed that civil and friendly relationships with wicked and godless people are an implicit endorsement of their sin and values.

It’s a problem the apostle Paul had to address in one of his letters to the Corinthians. They had misunderstood his instructions in an earlier letter when he’d instructed them not to associate with those who were sexually immoral, greedy, dishonest in their business dealings, or worshipping false gods.

They thought he meant to avoid non-Christians who lived that way. So he wrote again to clarify what he meant. He didn’t want them to cut off from non-Christians who lived like hell. In that case, they’d have to leave the world. He wanted them to cut off from self-proclaimed Christians who lived that way.

*Are you seeking to isolate yourself from sinful people, leaders, organizations, or are you seeking to infiltrate their ranks, to be so much of a blessing they can’t help but take notice?

Friday, February 20, 2015

"The Flash" girls costume

So my daughter comes home on Wednesday telling me that she met her AR goal at school so she gets to dress up as a superhero Friday at school. Um... we are youth pastors and so Wednesday is youth night and I kindly respond "awesome sweetie, but I'll have to help you figure out a costume tomorrow night." Then tomorrow came and my husband had worship practice which means I am without a vehicle and I'm thinking "oh boy what are we going to do for a costume???!!" 

Naturally I get on Pinterest and start scanning for ideas. Simple ideas. My daughter looking over my shoulder spots a Flash costume and gets ecstatic! They've been watching the Flash on TV and so she was sold. So with gathering things already around my house I threw together a costume that looked like I spent all week working on! Don't you love those kind of projects?!

Here is what I gathered:
1. Red teenage mutant ninja turtle mask from older brother.
2. The Flash headband that was a McDonald toy in a happy meal awhile back.
3. Printable Iron on transfer sheets 
4. Yellow duck tape
5. Red ribbon and what little red tulle I had
6. White and gold sparkled tulle
7. Scissors

I printed the Flash logo on the transfer paper and simply ironed it on a red shirt she had (that we actually turned inside out because the front had writing on it). Next I took yellow duck tape and just cut the ends at angles to make the belt look right. And finally I cut and cut and cut and cut and cut.... And CUT strips of tulle. Simply double knotted them on a ribbon and voila instant skirt to glam it up a bit!

This all came together in a couple hours and cost me nothing!! Sigh. Reveling in the mommy goodness of the sound of that!

And you know I have to show you how cute she looked right?! 

Cutest Flash I know!!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine Morning

Happy Day of Love!! This time of year is bittersweet for me. Simply because our youth group puts on a Valentine's Banquet and so I end up with legs that won't work because I've been on them all week and tension headaches from the stress of things going wrong or not working and just plain tiredness people!! What? Did you think I was going to tell some sad sappy story??

However then the actual event comes and things work out and people have a blast & I'm surrounded by amazing church family helping us clean up and my heart is warmed and it makes all the aforementioned pains worth it. 

So now knowing the week I have I'm proud of myself for still pulling off a sweet morning for my kiddos! And you can now fully appreciate how easy and simple it is if my sleep-deprived, leg-aching self could do it!

Step 1. Cut canned cinnamon rolls into spirals (because no they don't come like that! How rude huh?!) 

Step 2. Fold the ends together into a heart shape. Then bake as normal.

Step 3. Ice them and toss on some pretty pink and red sprinkles!

Step 4. Pair these with some strawberry milk (cute swirl straws are optional)!

My kids loved it! Inside their boxes were some chocolates, sweethearts and nail polish for my girly girl and baseball cards for my boy! So simple and I picked all of it up at Walgreens actually. 

Enjoy your family & friends surrounding you today! 

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Friday, February 6, 2015

Geometry Anchor Charts & Center Activity

It's been awhile since I've posted some new anchor charts! Mainly because this years schedule doesn't allow as much creative time!! However our Math Special Education Teacher asked me to make these geometry anchor charts as a center for the students to do to help them learn all those shapes and angles! 

I drew almost all of these by hand but a few harder ones I simply grabbed offline and printed. I wrote the names on each card, and a letter of the alphabet on the back (so I have an answer key) before laminating. Then I lined up all the definitions on the chart and wrote a corresponding number to match up with the letters on the back of the cards (again for answer key sake). 

Laminate the charts and then simply add Velcro dots to the chart and back of cards.

The voila! An anchor chart and center activity all in one!

"It's Time to Shape Up"

"What's Your Angle?"

Friday, November 14, 2014

For Love of Country

The weekend before Veterans Day my friend and I headed off for a carefree day of adventures exploring the city of Houston. Starting off early so as to jam pack as much fun as possible into one Saturday we made a quick pit stop at Starbucks for a caffeine wake up call. There was a display by the counter as there often is with upcoming Veterans Day paraphernalia. My brother serving this great country for a good many years makes me look at this display intently instead of half-hazardly as is the common  protocol. 

I see "For Love of Country" a novel by the CEO of Starbucks and a writer of the Washington Post. This book delves into a problem that the majority of veterans in our generation face: a disconnect between them and society. They're embarking on a mission to help bridge that gap and help veterans return to the daily grind apart from their uniform. 

I say all that to say it makes me think of my own brother. Of course it does, because if you have family in the military you can't help it no matter how little lingo you know. While visiting him and his family this summer at their latest assignment in Baumholder Germany I remember going on a double date and at one point sitting across the table from him and thinking, WOW, he is so grown up and sophisticated! Now I know that sounds silly since he is 30 years old and an incredible husband and even father of 5, yes 5, kids but it still is striking to me. It's similar to parents when looking at their children not being able to help but see glimpses of their childhood baby looking back at them. So it is with siblings. No matter how hard we try we occasionally still grin and mutter under our breath, yep that's the Zeb I know! 

With statistics being common among soldiers and veterans I try not to bother myself with them however I know deep down my brother is blessed and protected by Almighty God. Serving since 2003 and multiple deployments I watched from a distance the Army shape my brother into an altered version of himself. Not in a weird, sci-fi kind of way but a maturing kind of way. He saw things I pray to never see. He experienced things I wish no one had to and he became a strong, wise, disciplined, honorable man one could only HOPE to aspire to be.

There really are pieces of him I'll never understand or be able to grasp and perhaps that's why the gap between veterans and normal citizens exist. We shouldn't want it any other way. They protect us by giving their lives so we don't have to.

It's the experiences and mysteries of the veteran that make them unique and to be respected. That should never be traded but as non-army peeps we do need to open our eyes and appreciate the beauty of a veteran. Their wisdom. Their capability. Their resilience. Their sacrifice. Their value. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gift in a Jar

Here is a cute and inexpensive gift idea:

1. Round up a large and a small mason jar (if you're like me they're in abundance around my house)

2. Buy inexpensive but cute little gifts you know your recipient will love and enjoy! Ideas include jewelry from Forever 21, tea bags, individual drink mixes, bookmarks, magnets, nail polish... Anything that will for through the top! (I used the wide lid for this reason)

3. Buy either a scarf or handkerchief to stuff halfway down and let the rest drape out the back of the jar. Fill it up with your goodies! 

4. Fill the small jar with a food item they love, be it healthy granola or M&M's or gum just something cheap but yummy!! 

5. All that's left is placing a sweet card in front of it and leaving for them to find!! (And yes flowers are optional but a nice touch don't you think?!)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Folder Magic!

Have you ever wished there was a better way to take last years names off of plastic folders so you can be resourceful and recycle but not have yucky looking tags over them or marker smudges all over?! Now you can!! And it's SO easy!

I started with a clean folder and wrote my name on it with sharpie marker to use as an example.

Step 1. Take an Expo Dry Erase marker (something every teacher has) and cover the name in its entirety.

Step 2. Next take a baby wipe...

And simply wipe the permanent marker name right off!! 

You seriously must try this - you feel like you just saw magic before your eyes!! It's looks completely new when you are done with no marker residue!! Now you can get many more years of use out of your folders, well until Johnny gets it and rips it in half. Enjoy!

Thought I should mention this only works on plastic folders. The glossy paper ones it will ony partially work but not as well.