Wednesday, October 30

Should Christians Participate in Halloween?


Last year, my 6 year old came home from his 1st grade class distraught over the thought that he was possibly and most likely a "Satan Worshipper".  Surprised by his emotional concern and startling revelation about himself,  I asked him what in the world made him think that. I learned that a little boy in his classroom had told him...after my 6 yr old had excitedly told his friends that he was going to be a Transformer for Halloween...that he (my 6 yr old) was a "Satan Worshiper" and that he was going to "Hell".  Deep breath momma... Deep breath...
The rest of the car ride home was spent reassuring my 6 yr old that he is in fact NOT a "Satan Worshipper" nor is he going to Hell because he is going to be a Transformer for Halloween and go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.

When I was a child, my family participated in Halloween. As most Americans do. Our Halloween was innocent, fun and all about the candy and fun costumes. Over the years I had the pleasure of being a Mouse, a Pumpkin, a Princess, a Beauty Queen, a Clown and probably a few other silly things that I have forgotten. My sisters and I got a thrill out of our parents driving us to the "ritzy" neighborhood for the best candy and then later going home to sort through all we had collected. Although I was aware of the grim, the gross, the evil and the scary, to us it was a free cavity fest for days and a night to wear a fun costume.

When I became a mom and as our first Halloween was approaching I remember searching for weeks for the cutest, sweetest and most fun costume I could find for my tiny Trick-or-Treater. I did the same for the next year and for the next.

Over the years I have become more aware of others beliefs toward Halloween and their opinions on how Christians should respond to this particular Holiday. Growing up, I wasn't taught the "origin" of the holiday. I knew there was darkness surrounding the holiday but I never took the time to investigate it myself. Not until about 5 years ago anyway.

In my findings, and through multiple conversations with a whole bunch of different people, I have discovered that this is one of the biggest controversial topics amongst believers when it comes to the holidays we should and should not acknowledge. (It's tied with whether or not we should acknowledge the name Santa Claus in our homes.)

As a family we have chosen to "participate" not to be confused with "celebrate" in Halloween. I feel strongly that this is not something we should throw stones at each other over. Its just not worth it.

Here is what we do:
We have decided to take this night as an opportunity to not turn off our lights and hide from our trick-or-treaters or hide out at the closest "safe event" but rather turn our lights on, sit on our front porch and greet our trick-or-treators with warm smiles and free cavities.

We feel like we are called to live this life "on Mission". To be the light of Christ in a dark and broken world. We decided 3 years ago to make this night a "missional" and intentional night for our family. It has become a fun tradition that we all love. We dress-up in sweet fairy and super hero costumes, ring a few doorbells and then head home to pass out our treats. This night is such a great night to share the gospel with your neighbors and many others from your community. A couple years ago I made some address labels with some encouraging and simple scriptures on them to stick on our fun sized candy bars. It is a simple way to share God's truth with 100+ people.  The kids and I pray over those candies as we stick the address label on them. We pray that whoever reads that verse will feel God's love and that they will know that they are chosen and loved by Him.

I share this with you to not boast about our tradition or to scorn you from attending a near by Fall Festival or to shame you for participating the old fashioned way. I share this with you to encourage you to think outside the box. To seek God and ask Him what He would want your family to do this Halloween night. This could potentially be one of the biggest outreach nights for you and your family.

Here are a couple of blog links concerning the holiday and how others are approaching it that I like:
I particularly like what the closing statement of the last post says...

"We can't allow our own convictions about a holiday to cause division in the body of Christ, nor can we use our freedom to cause others to stumble in their faith. We are to do all things as to the Lord."

I LOVE this printable. I might use these this year!
 photo 4d6b85c05f39959516c8d839e57cc27a_zps2415a9b7.jpg this video above. It's pretty good.

So the question still remains...
Should Christians acknowledge, celebrate or participate in Halloween?
I don't really know.

I just know that my children are growing up in a dark and broken world and it is probably going to continue growing in darkness. That is until the day Christ returns. God has placed me in this role of being these 3 kiddos mom. It is my job to teach them, to equip them and to teach them to not hide from evil and darkness but to rather be in it fighting for the light.  My job is to not shelter them from the world. Am I to protect them? Yes. And by protecting them that means, to me, educating them on the existence of evil, wrong, the broken and the scary. On an age appropriate level of course.  I don't want my children to fear the darkness. I want them to be brave, bold and strong fighters for what is right and true. I want them to love the lost and shine their light when amongst them. I want to equip them for the long haul.

What are your thoughts on this holiday and what does your family do on this night? How do you approach this controversial night?

Tuesday, October 29

Weekend Favorites

Some weeks fly past me leaving me bewildered in a whirlwind of dust wondering ...
"what in the world just happened?"
The last week has been a week just like that. It left just as quick as it came. My boys went fishing with Phillip and their Papa and Emme went to my moms for a girls weekend while I traveled to Ethiopia with one of my best friends. We spent three days in Ethiopia looking at schools, houses, grocery stores and eating at almost every American(isn) restaurant we could find. My friend and her family have been called to move to Ethiopia. This trip was an exploratory trip. A trip for vision and confirmation.
I had a blast showing her my favorite things and introducing her to some of my favorite people. The trip was a blur. I don't recommend traveling to Africa for only 3 days. You will come home feeling like a train hit and you might just have to boss, your bossy friend around in the Germany airport a bit to  keep her from having an emotional break down. It's no joke... You might just have to. :) Aside from being delirious and sleep deprived we had fun and I can't wait to see her family blossom during their Ethiopian adventure.

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After our travels I was welcomed home with a weekend full of celebrations. It has been a week of my favorite things.
1) Starting the week off in Ethiopia
2) Seeing Beckham score his first soccer goal
3) Watching my friend marry her Ethiopian husband that she met on our mission trip back in 2012
4) Celebrating the 1 yr gotcha day of my favorite Ethiopian babies!!

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(above photo courtesy of Wynne)
It was a great, blessed and full week/weekend! What were some of your favorite things about your weekend?

Monday, October 14

Weekend Favorites

We had a really full and fun weekend. It has left me feeling tired today and this rainy weather isn't helping. We are loving this rainy fall weather though. It is such a breath of fresh air after the summer like weather we have been having the last 2 weeks. Today is a perfect day to curl up on the couch with a blanket and some coffee. But seeing how it is a homeschool day I don't see this being a reality. Maybe we will catch up on our library reading times today.

Here are some of our favorite moments this weekend.
 photo IMG_4636_zps806bbb0d.jpg We had our friends Wynne, Camp and Asher over for dinner Friday night and we played outside until way past dark. I am sad I didnt snap a single picture of our fun evening with the Elders.  

Saturday we took the kids to the Annual Air show out at the Commemorative Ariforce Base photo IMG_4739_zps24a81cc9.jpg photo IMG_4766_zps46870b3c.jpg photo IMG_4765_zps571d9c61.jpg We came home and discovered we had been "flocked" by some African Flamingos. One of our favorite families from our church is planning on going to South Africa in November and they are busy flocking many yards in hopes of raising some funds. I think this is such a fun and creative idea to fundraise! I love it and the kids loved finding these little birds in our lawn. photo IMG_4742_zps9f882d61.jpg Sunday greeted us with some MUCH NEEDED rain. Our land here in West Texas is very dry and a day of solid rain is so refreshing to our soil and to our souls. The kids adored running, playing and jumping in the rain for hours. We also enjoyed watching a couple of movies together too.  photo IMG_4764_zps1bc23f29.jpg
I hope your weekend was a fun as ours!

Friday, October 11

Thursday's Thoughts on Friday

As I sit on my porch with the crisp morning wind blowing through my trees, I am over come by the glory of God's goodness.
By His faithfulness to sustain all things.
As the branches of my oak trees gently sway with the push of the dry crisp wind and as little leaves begin to fall to the ground, I am reminded that with the crispness of Fall, the cold Winter will soon come. Then, as the chill of the Winter air is lifted, new life be will on the horizon.

Just as the darkest night will end in sunrise, the coldest of Winters will end with Spring.
Old leaves must fall from their branches to make room for the new. The ground must grow cold for  roots to dig deeper. What a gift it is to be able to sit under God's creative design and watch season after season new life come.

Much like the seasons, I often find my life changing. Its a constant revolve. I go through seasons of old dying off, making room for the new to come alive. I praise God knowing that through the shift in seasons in my life, He is there.
Sustaining me.
Making my roots dig deeper.

Just as Psalm 55:22 says, when we cast our cares on The Lord, He will sustain us. Never letting the righteous be shaken.

Through seasons of bitter gusty winds that threaten to knock us down, rip off our branches, and through the calmness of the promising Spring.
He is there.
Growing us.
Sustaining us.
Bringing new life into our souls.
 photo 1391547_10153310461580024_731196818_n_zps08488dd5.jpg This photo has nothing to do with this post. I just thought you might get a kick out of the joy Oxlee had from shredding on of my Outdoor pillows and scattering millions of goose feathers across our yard. And I mean MILLIONS. He was so proud.

Tuesday, October 8

Happy 8 Years to Us

8 years ago today these two kids were married. We were literally kids. I had just turned 19 two and a half weeks before and Phillip wouldn't turn 20 for another few months. We were facing real life situations and struggles. I was 18 weeks pregnant. Phillip was about to switch jobs for a job that would pay us half of what he was making. Only for it to not work out 3 months later.  We found ourselves between jobs until 2 months before I delivered Parker.

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 photo weddingparty_zps65da9fdd.jpgWe were young. Dumb and in love. Though our marriage was not set on the "right" foundation we made it work. Though we didn't always get along or hold true to some of the vows we made, we held true to the big ones. We fought hard for our marriage. I am thankful we did. 

Many believed we wouldn't make it two years. We have made it 8. And we will make it 100 more. The last 8 years have held many adventures.
Many memories.
Many stories.
Many cherished moments.
I never thought 8 years ago that I would be more in love with my man then I am today. 

Despite the fact that sometimes he yells and though sometimes I punish him with my intense silent treatment, our marriage is strong. We are committed to this crazy life. And I couldn't be more happy.

 photo sunglasses_zps5627dccd.jpgPhillip, you make my life full. Full of laughter, comfort, support, encouragement, love and sometimes full of a little anxiety.  I could not imagine life without you by my side to love me, encourage me, pick on me and make me madder the snot sometimes. You are my best friend and I am glad that God chose you to be my husband.

Here's to a FULL lifetime together!!
Happy 8 yrs Sugar!!

Friday, October 4

The Gift of Grace & Freedom

What a treasured gift this is.
I need it daily.
Today, yesterday, the day before. Everyday really. But especially the last 3 days.
Phillip has been out of town this whole week. Which normally I can handle. I am pretty laid back and I like to think I am pretty self sufficient. But this week has definitely tested those traits. I have been whispering "GRACE" over and over to myself. Funny how many times I have needed to remind myself about grace this year. Since however, it is one of the words I felt like God was wanting me to focus on in 2013.
Grace has been a key role in my life over the last 10 months. I have needed it more and I have needed to give it more.

Freedom has also played a huge role in my life over the last 10+ months. I have craved it. Longed for it.  And I have searched for it. I want to fully feel the Freedom that I have in Christ.
This weekend is Freedom Weekend at our church. Phillip and I have been going through a Freedom course for the last 8 Sundays at our church. It has been amazing, hard, eye opening, humbling and encouraging. God has been dealing with some junk from my past and digging things up that I thought I had been freed from but I haven't. There are even some current things that the Holy Spirit is walking me through. There are areas where I need healing and mending and I am THANKFUL for a savior who is gentle, tender, faithful and does such things.
He heals.
He delivers.
He mends.
He gives grace.

I have been listening to worship songs about our freedom in Christ on repeat this afternoon. My current favorites are:
Antioch Live's - I Will Raise
Shane & Shane - Liberty
Bethel Live - Freedom
Jesus Culture - Freedom Reigns
Kim Walker - Break Every Chain

This week we have been preparing for Freedom Weekend. During our preparing, I have felt really under attack and really distracted. I feel like the enemy has been trying to exhaust me so that I wont go or so that I cannot focus.
I am thankful a Saviour who has already won this victory and this weekend we are claiming it.

I have so much more to say about freedom and what God has been doing in my inner life over the last 8 weeks.
But for now...I will leave you with these encouraging quotes I saw on Pinterest today. They caught my heart and spoke to me. Maybe they will speak to you also.
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Tuesday, October 1

31 Days of Missional Living

I love this series that Missional Women is doing this month. Missional living is something I am passionate about. Though, honestly, I struggle to actually be "missional" everyday. Some days I am terribly self involved. Thank you Jesus for Grace and new mercies everyday.

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So, since we know that as believers we are called to be on mission in our daily life, what does that actually look like or really mean? How do you actually live on mission in real life?

This series is going to offer practical ideas of what this "living on mission" looks like. There will be different contributors everyday. So there will be a wide range of ideas. Not every topic will apply to you but maybe some will. I hope that you will follow along with me as I, myself, explore new fresh ideas on how to live missional this fall and everyday after.

I love what Laura had to say in her post today:
"Just remember that success is taking the initiative in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results up to God. That frees us up to enjoy the process and take big risks for His Glory."

Here are just a few of the Topics that will be discuss over the next 31 days:

  • How to Live Missional
  • 4 Things that Help us Live on Mission Without Getting Busier
  • 4 Ways to Use Fashion for the Great Commission (I think I am going to really like this one!)
  • How to Set Your Families Heart Towards Eternity
  • 4 Practical Ideas for a Missional Marriage
  • 11 Tips, Tricks & Thoughts for a Missional Family Vacation
  • 25 Ways to Affirm People
  • Leading Effective Bible Studies 
Follow this Series HERE
I can't wait to read/hear how God is moving in your life this month as we join together to intentionally "live on mission". 

Happiest of Birthdays to my Girl

Emerson turned 5 today. We celebrated over the weekend with a little party for her. She invited all of her friends over to her Pink and Purple Butterfly Barbie party. This is exactly what she requested when asked what theme she wanted for her party. She is indeed to girliest girl I know. She is all sparkles, glitter and glam. It is always fun for me to create a girl party. It forces me to get in touch with that inner girly girl in myself.

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The girls at the party had fun decorating their own butterfly wands. Once decoarted we went outside to fly around in our sparkly butterfly wings. Poor Oxlee was devastated he had to sit in his "cage" during the party and not participate. My littlest niece sure enjoyed keeping him company though.

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Today was Emme's actual birthday. I always get a little weepy and nostalgic on her birthday. I always get emotional thinking about how amazing it is that we have the priviledge of celebrating her. That God chose US for this. He chose us to be the ones to sing her Happy Birthday and He chose us to be the ones to celebrate her with candle lit pancakes and little presents all day. What a gift and a blessing that is.
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My dear Emerson Meti:
You are a treasure. A gift. God knew you before he knit you together in your beautiful mothers womb. She named you Meti. Meaning "my asset, my treasure". This my girl, this is what you are. Not only to your first mother but to me and your daddy here. You are a treasure to us all. But not only are you our treasure. You are a treasure to your Creator. The know who knows every tiny ringlet curl on your head. You were fearfully and wonderfully made by the Most High King. He knows you and today I believe he celebrated you with us all. You are one of the loveliest people I know. You make me a better person. You teach me to love better. You show grace, forgiveness and compassion better then any 5 year old I know.  You are tender, sensitive and pure. You are a light to everyone who meets you. You shine. You shine bright. I pray that your light will shine bright for all eternity. I am blessed to be your Momma. How on earth did I get so lucky to have you as my daughter?
I love you to Heaven and back. I hope you felt loved on your special day.