Tag Archives: service

Easy Succulent Centerpieces for a Marriage Conference

Easy Succulent Centerpieces

I’m quite deficient in the crafting department. Notice that all of the kids’ crafts that I use to have gospel conversations with my kids are simple and truly kid-friendly! Or should I say mama friendly?

My husband asked for my advice and help with centerpieces for our marriage conference. (But he made sure I got help haha!) He wanted something that “the guys” would like as much as the ladies, and I instantly thought of wood grain and succulents.

I asked a good designer friend of mine to help me pick out containers so that I didn’t pick something that would be hideous. 😉

We found some great wooden boxes and white glass square candle holders at Hobby Lobby that we planned to use for the planters. The white glass containers were my favorite – we bought every one that they had and placed those on wooden planks so that all of the centerpieces coordinated in some way.

If you’re wondering how to make succulent centerpieces, it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. Er… 4.

  • I used a Walnut stain for the wood (staining is something that is so easy to me – very quick and painless).
  • I lined the wooden boxes with black plastic from a trash bag so that the water wouldn’t damage the wood too much. You can also seal the wood with a polyurethane coat, but I chose not to.
  • At the nursery, I laid all of the plants out in groups and took pictures on my phone. This is so that I would remember later which ones I thought went well together. This was a lifesaver for me!
  • After planting them, I took pictures again to make sure everything made sense. I used this at the venue to place them on the tables.

planning centerpieces

Now it’s time to feast our eyes on some beautiful succulents!

succulent centerpieces 2 succulent centerpieces succulent centerpieces 4 succulent centerpieces 3



You’ve Been Egged – Bless Your Neighbors and Share Jesus!

We egged our neighbors for Easter!

Watch the video below for details. One egg was left empty as a reminder of the empty tomb.

The kids loved being able to bless our neighbors, and they loved getting to choose who in our neighborhood to egg. Hiding the 130+ eggs was pretty fun, too!

I got the printable from Passion for Savings, and I added our name and address plus an Easter invitation.

Have you ever tried this?? What response did you get?

A High Performance Mom Sometimes Sucks

I’m a high performance mom. Well, I’m a high performance person.

High intensity; high stress; high output; high energy.

But sometimes this means I suck as a mom. (I mean, we’re all crummy sometimes, aren’t we?)

I was talking to a lady recently who said, “I really do believe we are super women. We can do it all, and we can be amazing at everything we do.”

I have to say that I disagree. Yes we are amazing multitaskers. Yes we have Ironman endurance that we sometimes use to rock babies. Yes we can and do excel at and outperform our male colleagues in the work place. (I mean, I know I can. Heehee.)

But be amazing at all of these thing at the same time? No. It doesn’t happen. I know because I’m one of the most efficient people I know. I’m not bragging; it’s what I do – I look at systems and streamline them. (If you’re starting to feel like you don’t measure up to me, don’t worry – I don’t have an athletic bone in my body, and I spent 6 years playing the flute to just be so-so at it.)

And I don’t have just one priority. Yes, I love my husband. Yes, I love my children with every breath. But I don’t think I’m called to worship them. I’m called to worship my Creator. So He comes first. And sometimes He calls me to love and serve my neighbor, a stranger, or the “least of these”.

And sometimes when I heed that call, my children “suffer”. Or at least, that’s my myopic view of it.

Case in point, for Samuel’s third birthday party, we held a fundraiser party. We did this last year and loved it so much that we did it again! (And I hope to share a post about that, too ;))

Well, we were so busy and engaged in invites, food, decorations, hosting, etc., that we never gave Samuel his birthday presents or card from us.

Samuel has tons of toys and books, and he had a blast at his party. The kid is lacking for nothing. But I still feel like a schmuck. Really – not even the card?? Nope. Didn’t even get the card filled out.

I was wrapping those presents today (a few weeks after said party), and I felt so scummy. As if I forgot his birthday to begin with. But honestly, I don’t think I did anything wrong in this case. And I’m a HUGE proponent of owning up to things.

I truly think we were focusing on what God wanted us to do. We got to bless our precious boy and the children at Rajah Children’s Home. Samuel got to see that our gifts come in many forms, including gifts to bless others. Including obedience to the Lord.

And I think it’s healthy for him to see that mommy is not perfect! Mommy doesn’t have to do everything well! I can’t do and be everything Sam needs; only God can.

And what child doesn’t love having new toys a month after their birthday, anyway? 🙂

A Picture of Unity in Marriage

In the past week, God has given Brad and I two really cool pictures of the unity in our marriage.

A Common Mission

The first thing God showed us is that we are united by a common mission. Brad and I are convinced that a big part of glorifying God is by submitting to His mission to GO and make disciples. We are burdened every day by the lost around us.

One way we try to be a part of that mission is by loving our neighbors. It’s not always straight-forward how you can love someone on your street. But in this case, we have been building a relationship with a couple down the road who just had a baby (yahoo!).

I kept driving by their house last week and noticing the leaves in their front yard. They were just there, beckoning to be raked – in contrast to the houses on either side of them. I thought to myself, I bet that’s the last thing on their minds. It wouldn’t take very long to rake them up; I wonder if Brad would be on board with that.

I decided to bring it up with him that evening. Well, when Brad came home, we were chatting about the day, and he said (without any prompting from me), “I noticed that their leaves need raked.”


I guess the Spirit really wanted us to rake those up! And I’m glad. When we did it, it blessed ME so much. The kids were awesome, too. Emma hung out in the stroller for about an hour (this is not usual). Samuel had a snack, played in the leaves, and blew bubbles. He was unusually low maintenance. God was really present in our work.

A Common Conviction

Also last week, Brad kept coming home talking about how God was moving him to look at our giving. Are we giving enough? How can we give more? What can we do without? How can we sacrifice? All great questions to ask yourself.

I hadn’t been asking myself the same questions, but God was also making me check my thoughts about “things.”

You see, I had a few “purge” piles of stuff I’ve been clearing out, getting ready for our neighborhood garage sale. We had planned last January to get a new stove this January when the sales hit, so we also had our old stove, the purge piles, a bookshelf, a trunk, baby stuff, etc. We talked about it and decided to give the lady who cleans our house once a month the stove; she had told us her mom can use anything for a home.

I decided, you know, out of the goodness of my heart, to also let her check out the purge piles, bookshelf, et al and see if she needed anything there. I expected her to find a few things they could use and leave the rest.

Well, she took every last scrap.

Let me clarify: she is not a greedy lady. She gives us a very good rate on cleaning our home, let’s us call the day before, plays with our kids. She’s a believer and sweet as can be.

I wasn’t upset at all  that she took everything, but it caught me off guard. I found myself thinking to myself that night, what was in those piles? Like I was worried or something. Hello! It was in the pile to be gone!! But once it was gone, I was all anxoius. Every time that question came up, I had to quiet it with the truth that God has provided for all of our needs and then some. I was thrilled that she could find a use and a home for every single thing – even if she is going to sell it herself or something – what a blessing!

It was a great reminder to truly hold what God has given me with an open hand and to always be looking for ways to give it away for the kingdom.

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21, NIV)

What picture of unity have you seen lately?

Ways to Change Your Heart from the Served to the Servant

Being Jesus to the poor and lost

Two Christmases ago, my friend Renee invited me to join her to serve with Brown Santa for a Saturday. Brown Santa is an organization that helps provide a special Christmas for struggling families who live in the Austin suburbs.

I’m now ashamed to admit that I didn’t take her up on the offer.

I do think that we had some conflicts – the holiday season definitely provides plenty of those, doesn’t it!? However, in my heart, I didn’t want to serve.

I made very pathetic excuses that were cloaked in spirituality:

  • We’re already helping another family provide Christmas for their children.
  • We give money to our church and other organizations that help serve the poor and the lost.
  • We’re busy trying to reach our friends and family for Jesus.

Now that I read that last point, it kind of makes me sick. Here’s why:

I was at a community group leader meeting where we were talking about ways our groups could live “on mission” together. One of the group leaders said, “Our group has decided we are not satisfied doing nothing, so we’re going to do something.” They decided that “something” was choosing a people group to serve.

They personally know people who are not believers in Jesus who are on board with serving others. What do you think one of the biggest witnesses for those people will be? It might be their believing friends’ stories. It might be a tidy Biblical presentation of the gospel. But I’d be willing to bet that if the Holy Spirit leads them to Himself, they would claim that they were influenced to Jesus because they saw their friends being Jesus to others.

I had a prime opportunity to help Renee be Jesus. To help others who would have been with us see Jesus.

And I blew it.

Now I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Because if it took me a year to realize this, then God obviously had to do a number on my heart. Which takes time. You know… if you’re stubborn… like me. 🙂

But I’m not going to let an opportunity like that slip by again.

I’m reconsidering service! Here’s how:

  • I’m keeping my eyes and heart open for ways I can serve. Preferably, I would love an opportunity that involves my family and community group.
  • I’m rejecting the notion that I can just give money to organizations that do the work.
  • I’m listening for the needs of people around me: in my neighborhood, at my church, where we play, etc.
  • I’m praying God will show me clearly what I should do, and what I need to give up in order to do His will.
  • I’m not going to forget Jesus’s word on this:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-40, NIV)

Servant Leaders Are Sexy

This is a post for the guys. And I know your attention span is as long as my pinky, so here it is in a nutshell: Servant leaders are sexy.
So I got your attention, huh? What is a servant leader, you ask? The Candid Pastor’s Wife definition is:
Servant Leader: One who leads by serving

Not too difficult, is it? Oh, but it is. 
There is a fine line between servanthood and passivity, between leading and bullying. But that humble and firm example to follow – that is the sweet spot.
It is not easy being a pastor’s wife, but one benefit is that my husband has this natural shepherding bent. He craves for people in his care (his family and his flock, if you will) to truly experience the life-changing reality of Jesus Christ. He has to be intentional in all of his relationships… but it’s so much easier to be passive. No, actually, it’s so much easier to appear intentional. To have several relationships building in the fire, but to then sit back and watch the puny flames instead of stoking the embers.
He knows this. He also knows that Satan loves this about him. And so he fights:
  • To reject passivity
  • To accept responsibility
  • To lead courageously
  • To expect the greater reward
And when he actively does this, I like it! I see him differently. I stop looking at him through my maternal, nagging, let’s-steal-the-family-pants lenses and instead start to follow him as he follows Jesus
Let’s take our lead from our servant-leader savior:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
 Who, being in very nature God,
      did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
      taking the very nature of a servant,
      being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
      he humbled himself
      and became obedient to death—
         even death on a cross!  (Philippians 2:3-8, NIV)

What does Jesus’s servant-leadership lead to? Verses 9-11 tell us the result is that God is glorified.

So guys, follow Jesus in this and lead your families well. You’ll thank me.

Eh…gotta go. The hubby will be home soon. =D

Heavenly Father, I’m so amazed by you. I’m in awe of your Son Jesus who is our ultimate example. Would you intervene in our broken culture that says men should not be men? Spirit, empower Godly men to be the leaders you intended them to be – in their homes, in the workplace, and at church. Thank you for my “friend for life” and how you teach him more about leading every day.