God is Real.

this past weekend at RH Central was so unreal that it confirmed that God is Real. Does that make any sense? No, I haven't been doubting that God is Real, but sometimes it's easy to forget that He's not only real, but he's working all. of. the. time.

My Saturday started early. 8am. Child Dedications at Central are an event all their own. We host a brunch as families are surrounded by their faith community praying blessings over their little ones. There is a short message, but the real heart of the morning is to be praying for those little ones and their mamas and daddies. This was my second dedication in my new role, and for some reason, it was much more powerful for me than the first. The parents were so real and vulnerable as they shared about their kids and the reasons why they wanted to dedicate their kids. The prayers moved me to tears almost immediately as one dad was literally praying the exact thing I had prayed for the night before. Family, Friends and Life Groups surrounded all these little people and covered their lives in prayers to the Lord. Wow. what a service....and then we did it again a couple of hours later! And, the second service didn't disappoint!

Sunday morning, we had a special guest visiting us from David C Cook. Of course we wanted to morning to go smooth, but we had no idea what we were in store for. Tommy wrote an email trying to explain the awesome, and i'm just going to quote him

I just wanted to take a minute to highlight an amazing weekend at RH.  We have great weekends and then we have unexplainably great weekends and that's what just took place.
Stories started pouring in from all age groups pretty quickly into each service and I honestly felt/feel so encouraged and moved by what the Holy Spirit was doing in the lives of our RH kids/students that I felt it necessary to share.

Initially, I started hearing stories out of small group time in Preschool.  How one little 4 year old shared how she loves "feeling the heartbeat inside her that God created" - as if to say it's how she feels close to him!  Then, stories started pouring out of Elementary:  one was from a volunteer who leads the 5th grade classroom.  She shared how these 5th graders began sharing and suddenly the whole direction shifted by one side comment one of the kids made:  "I bet that would be a lot harder for kids who lived in another country...like, say, India"  From there, the kids (without the prompting from a leader) decided to stop their conversation and immediately pray for kids in India.

At the 11am, I headed over to Middle School and saw 60 kids on their feet worshiping in a way that I haven't seen in a while and being bold enough to leave their seats and head to the back of the room to be prayed over by peers and leaders.  Again, something that in our own strength as staff/leaders is just impossible - to even attempt to force something like that would be a massive failure on our part but to see it happen so naturally can only be explained by the Spirit moving in new ways for our youth.

Lastly, I spent the last half of the service in High School and came in as Connor was heading into leading response.  It was just Connor w/his keyboard and a background singer. That's it.  Nothing else.  No other band support.  And again, something incredible happened.  Kids and leaders began worshipping in ways that have been absent from that ministry for a while and I found myself starting to get choked up by what I was witnessing.  Bachman had set the table for Connor in giving a message (in a nutshell) that focused on bad things happening to good people and there was Ben Robinson - standing to his feet with his arm around one of his leaders - praising God in the middle of "his bad."  And a kid that just 2 years ago was so broken and "thrown away"  - standing in the back, arms extended, singing at the top of his lungs.  It was honestly a beautiful scene.

In these moments I am overwhelmed by what God is doing at RH.  I think that I was just struck this weekend with an obvious reality that God is leading this church and that when we simply set the table, the Holy Spirit moves and changes people even at the youngest of ages.
I just had to share...telling stories is so important, and this week marked something big for our ministries...can't wait for next weekend!


christmas day.

christmas day was started off bright and early for alex and i. we woke up, exchanged our presents, then woke up little man to open his "big present."we ate a quick breakfast, grabbed the last of our stuff (the car was packed the night before), and got on the road to alex's parents' house. unfortunately, we stopped when we were already a ways from home when we realized that we had left micah's insulated cooler. you know, the one with his antibiotics in it :( oh alex was SO sad when we realized. he doesn't like getting to his parents late, and we were already behind schedule. micah had already taken his morning dose and didn't need another until 8pm, so i offered to drive back home during naptime so we wouldn't lose any more time. no one liked the idea of it, but it was what needed to be done to make alex happy, and keep micah healthy, so off we went....

after that little snafu, the morning was awesome. a fun (and crazy) time opening gifts and just being together. the afternoon was mellow...and the drive wasn't too bad. after an eventful evening and morning, being alone in a car for 3 hours singing worshipful christmas songs was actually wonderful! no complaining here...okay a little complaining...so much traffic on the way to OC!

we had a lovely dinner together, and my christmas ended with me staying in our room with micah and falling asleep with him. the kid does not like to sleep anywhere but his crib, and it took a lot of work to get him to sleep at night. for some reason, daytime is easier with him. i think the rest of the adults watched a movie. i fell asleep nice and early snuggling my little man...not bad ;)

we hope you had a wondeful christmas filled with love and joy!

update :: i removed the video because it kept starting on it's own...to see it, go here.

christmas eve.

christmas eve is my favorite day of the entire year. i love it. i love that i start the day with the families of RH. i love having a birthday party for Jesus with hundreds of kiddos. i love being with the amazing volunteers that give of their time on what can be a pretty busy day. love it.

what i also love, is being with my family. it's one of the few times a year that we are all together. all of my siblings. all of my neices and nephews. my parents. everyone together. it's always SUCH a fun night filled with laughter, food, and of course presents! we just did personalized gifts for the kids, rudy (because he doesn't have kids), and my parents. we did a white elephant gift exchange for everyone else. the night has a lot of excitement...and not just for the kids ;) i just love it! and to be honest....it's really nice that there are older cousins to help with the micah ;)

update :: i had to remove the video because it kept playing automatically. to see the christmas eve recap, go here.

the big present.

micahs christmas present. half store built...half custom by dad.
alex and i were so excited to start brainstorming micah's christmas present this year. i had seen a pin on pinterest that i wanted to recreate for micah. it has a lot of little hardware on it for kids to try to figure out. i knew micah would love it, but i also knew that i would love something double sided so we waited on it, not knowing exactly how we were going to make it happen. then, the day after thanksgiving, i went shopping like normal, and i walked into the first store (jcpenny) to find a wooden tool bench 60% off! there were only two left...and it was only 4am! i knew that alex could do something with it, and micah would love it, so i bought it!

fastforward to 3 days before Christmas...we still didn't have the hardware to add to the toolbench, and i REALLY wanted this to be micah's first "ohmygoshiloveit" Christmas present, so we hired a babysitter, finished the shopping, and alex built the final product. it's incredible! micah was SO excited to play with it Christmas morning and every day since!

when we were shopping for the hardware, i told alex that i felt like we were speaking micah's love language ;) it's cheesy. he's only 1.5. i know these things, but this gift held so much anticipation for me, and to see him love it as much or more than i had hoped it such a gift! so, that was micah's first "big" present! 


christmas eve eve.

On Christmas eve eve, I had a total mommy meltdown. Micah had gotten an ear infection and started antibiotics the week before Christmas. The week before that, I was sick. A total bummer for all of our festive plans...I had a lot that I wanted to do with Micah, but it all got brushed aside due to illness. I just felt so sad that we weren't doing anything but laying around. Alex was awesome and suggested that we make our gingerbread house and take Micah to see the lights right down the street. It was the perfect way to celebrate Christmas eve eve!

We may not have done all that I wanted to, but i felt so much better getting in a couple of christmasy activities!