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Sinner saved by grace. Wife to a cute preacher. Momma to 2 precious baby boys. Blessed beyond measure. And I deserve none of it.

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Monday, April 30, 2012

FBC Millington

D's first day wasn't until Sunday but I had been invited to a women's dinner Friday night and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to go and meet people. It was set up kind of like a spring market. Lots of tables with people selling fun things. Natalee (the jr. high minister's wife) and I worked the girl's ministry table.Well, she insisted that I walk around and enjoy myself so I did but then came and helped her publicize this....

I almost peed on myself a little when I saw this. I mean I had talked to Natalee and I knew what we were doing, but to see it for real was cool... and scary... and so fun!

Then we had a nice dinner and then a lady, Lisa Leavell, spoke. She happens to be the pastor's sister in law, but she has an amazing testimony. She was raped in her church parking lot 20 years ago by some random men from the community. She shared the amazing "coincidences" that God clearly orchestrated, how she has overcome that, forgiven the men, and encouraged us all that we can overcome tragic things that happen in our lives as well. Even when we don't understand why, we must trust Christ and in Him alone.  It was really good.

It was neat to meet so many different ladies. It was quite overwhelming. With 500 women in attendance, you can imagine all the faces and introductions, yet it is was good.

Sunday was weird... not bad weird just different. It was D's first official day as a FBC Millington staff member. It was a different routine and different people so it was clearly a very different Sunday morning for us... which we knew and expected.

There are 2 services and 2 sunday school hours. (9:00 and 10:30)
We have to be at church at 7:30 so we leave the house at 7:00. The 11 ministers get together and pray first. Then the minister's meet with their interns and set up for their sunday morning stuff.

This Sunday was different because they had special guests from Lifeway come and speak to the youth and youth leaders. All the students were combined. Jr. High Sunday school is at 9:00 so we went to the service then. 10:30 is the senior high Sunday school so that's the sunday school hour we'll be part of. Because it was our first day, we basically did a walk through, met people, and so for sunday school they had us just stay with the youth leader group. Normally, I will go from class to class each week and get to know the girls. I assume D will do the same depending on what his responsibilities are. There are around 100 senior high students active on Sunday mornings so we'll have our work cut out for us as we learn names and get to know them!

After church us and the Jr. High pastor, Jay (and Natalee) took the Lifeway guys to lunch. Then we came back to the church to set up D's office. We got almost everything done except to move his couch in and he still has to organize his desk. I mean I knew my husband was OCD, but when he spent what felt like over an hour categorizing his books, I thought I might keel over and die. I'll post some pictures soon.We worked all afternoon... but it was worth it because his office looks great. Even though he didn't even break out the tape measure or level for hanging the stuff on the walls... this is when I knew he was tired. Before long it was time for the evening service. We didn't have very many students there for the evening service, but hopefully that will change soon.

As we got into out car pretty worn out from our very long day, I was reminded how fortunate I am that God has chosen to use us at FBC Millington. It was a different Sunday, but soon it will seem normal. The people will be more than just people, but friends and the students more than just students but ours.

Please continue to pray for us as we transition into this new adventure.

Matt Redmon: Never Once

My friend, Ashley, posted these song lyrics on her blog and I just had to share them. I've never heard this song, but I love Matt Redmon so I will soon enough. I found this most fitting for our life right now... and always. Whether you're going through a tough time now, have been through a tough time or get ready... because you will go through a tough time... this song is for you. For us its new adventures, decisions to be made, transitions, goodbyes... yet never once were we, are we or ever will be alone.
Never Once
Matt Redman

Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground

Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Kneeling on this battle ground

Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Scars and struggles on the way

But with joy our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Carried by Your constant grace
Held within Your perfect peace
Never once, no, we never walk alone

Never once did we ever walk alone

Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Every step we are breathing in Your grace

Evermore we’ll be breathing out Your praise
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Friday, April 27, 2012

Enough emotion

Man, I feel like everything I've blogged about lately has been a huge emotional cry fest. Thank you for bearing with me. I do use this blog as a scrapbook for us so I of course have to include the ups and downs, happy and sad... although the happy stuff is much more exciting so hopefully you'll get to read more happy stuff in the near future as I update you on our new adventure.

A few updates on us:

The Jerkins' have the workout bug. We are slightly obsessed. Ok, that's kind of dramatic... we both have really found a love for working out. To know our insides are healthier is great but the outside difference definitely makes me love it all the more.

My goal this spring was to run a half marathon. Unfortunately, with my foot injury and then my hip injury that didn't happen. My next goal is a 10k in June. With weather being so nice, I've been running a lot lately. Its too pretty outside to be sitting inside on my butt so I've laced up the running shoes and hit the pavement. Thankfully I have great running buddies that will get up before the sun to run in the mornings and then sacrifice an hour or 2 on Saturdays for our long runs. Last Saturday Allie and I ran 6 miles in 60 minutes with which I was thrilled. I'm so glad to get back to building my miles up again. I was running 10 miles when I got my stress fracture... and its been so depressing to see how quickly you lose it. I am so glad to be back.

Speaking of injuries...You know how I dislocated my should twice in 2009 and then had surgery to repair my torn labrum? Well sister convinced me to play basketball with her this spring. My first bball experience back since the dislocation and you know what happened? Yep, went up for a rebound with another girl, our arms got hooked and my should came out AGAIN. Thankfully I was able to pull it right back in, but talk about scary... not to mention it happened the same week D was in Ukraine. I contacted my shoulder doctor the next day with which his nurse replied, "Yea that's not suppose to happen. He's going to want to see you." You think?! A few weeks ago I had an MRI (more on that story another time) to make sure I hadn't torn anything as well as to see if the labrum restoration? was still in tact. Thankfully yesterdays doctors appointment confirmed that nothing was torn and the labrum stuff was still good. The problem is overstretched ligaments. He recommended physical therapy for a few months and hopefully that'll tighten them back up. If not... another surgery. Boo. Please pray the PT does the trick. The yummy food people fixed was fun to have around but not worth another surgery.

And you know how much I love food.

Clearly so do all of the sweet ladies from FBCHW. My house has been crawling this week with our favorite sweet treats. We've enjoyed texas sheet cake, homemade choc chip cookies, and I made myself freeze this enormous container of THE. BEST. COOKIES. This lady will not give me the recipe with which I replied, "That's fine as long as you fix them for me." And boy did she! So, I've been running a lot to burn off the fabulous junk we've been eating.

Hope you enjoyed my non-emotional blog post. Sister, was that better?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I hate goodbyes.

Last night was the night...our final night as youth minister and wife at FBCHW. I had prayed and prayed that God would prepare us for it because I knew it was going to be tough. I dreaded last night more than I care to admit because I hate goodbyes.

My goal last night... because I assumed I'd cry... was just to keep from going into complete ugly cry mode. I'm happy to say I succeeded. We had so many people praying for us. The best way to put it is I could feel it. I had such perfect peace. My heart still ached and I still hated to leave, but I had composure that I know wasn't my own. I took in every moment. As we hung out over the yummy food our leaders prepared, as we sat together while D spoke, as we played volleyball afterwards... I took it all in. These students. Our students. They captured our hearts. As crazy and loud as they are, as much sleep as they deprived us, as much teasing was made at our expense, as much money as we invested in them... they are ours and always will be. We may not see them often. We may not talk to them often. But those students, we will always love. We will cherish the moments that we had... and we had lots of them!

As we stood before them at the end of our service and said our final goodbyes I could smile not because I was happy to leave them but because I was so thankful to have gotten to know them. I was so thankful they shared their lives with us these past 3 1/2 years. We were immediately welcomed and loved in 2008 and that never changed... even with our announcement 2 weeks ago.

As we got into d's tahoe... the only 2 people left at church... he grabbed  my hand and we just sat there. He was quiet. I was quiet. We took in our last moments at FBCHW... and that's when I lost it. Not an ugly cry, not even a sobbing cry, but simply a goodbye cry. A cry that symbolized the closing of a wonderful chapter that you didn't want to end.

And as we pulled away, I couldn't help but thank the Lord for the precious time he allowed for us to serve at FBCHW.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sweet Sunday

Yesterday was our last Sunday at FBCHW. It all began the night before really as we took our students out for one last youth event. We already had a Grizzly game planned so off we went. After the game 2 of our girl students, whom I'm very close with, spent the night. Both of their moms had called last week to ask if their daughters could spend the night because they were going out of town. I happily agreed to the first and laughed at the coincidence the next day of the second. They were thrilled (and I mean this sarcastically) to learn that there was a men's breakfast at 7:30 Sunday morning that d had to attend. So rather than taking 2 cars, we dropped him off and then went and had breakfast ourselves. I was so thankful for this extra time with them.

It was by no coincidence that the special music for both services yesterday was about following God in obedience. The funny thing is the lady who sang that morning wasn't even suppose to. She did it at the last minute because the lady scheduled to sing was sick. As she sang each verse and chorus, I couldn't help but tear up to know it was yet another confirmation from the Lord that we are doing what He has called us to do... we must go... no matter how hard it is to say goodbye.

 D was asked to preach both the morning and evening services. He loves to preach so he was honored to be asked. With that added responsibility, he ended up speaking 3 times yesterday... that's not including the 2 meetings he also led. He preached the morning service on obedience... a topic we know all too well now. It was a great reminder that when you're called to obedience there are only 2 options: obey or disobey. I mean we all know this but how many times do we procrastinate... slow obedience is still disobedience. I'll write more about his messages another time.

At the end of the service the church presented us with a plaque, love offering and a gorgeous picture to remind us of the journey we're on and to remind us... that He will direct our path. The pastor was also pretty bold in stating that he believed that FBCHW would see us on staff again. We of course have no idea what God has in store for us, but we were honored that he would want d to fill his pulpit.

That night D preached again and then they had a fellowship time for us after the service. I was really good all day until then. People coming to say final goodbyes.... Wednesday is actually our last day but many of the people we won't see because we'll be with our students. So they cried, I cried... it was a sight for sure. As everyone was leaving, D had to go counsel with some students in his office so I sat down and read some of the letters that we were given. That did me in... I was in full ugly cry mode. I was so humbled and honored to be reading the sweet words that were so thoughtfully written to us.

Yesterday was no doubt a very hard day. It was a challenging day. It was an encouraging day. But it was indeed a sweet day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

School Fun Days

Ok my teacher friends... or creative friends, I need your help. We have 5 weeks of school left. I was hoping that 2 days out of every week we could have a fun day. Now it would be a normal school day but add a twist of fun... out of the ordinary kind of fun.

One of our ideas was Beach Day. Each child could bring a beach towel, hat, sunglasses and a snack and we could go into our back field for a fun morning snack time. Normally we only have afternoon snack so this would be a big deal, yet so easy and fun.

So... I need more fun ideas like this but I'm coming up short. I have some ideas but they're not really great ideas... and I want greatness.

So help a sister out... let the creative juices start flowing. And no idea is dumb. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Senior Led Fusion

Fusion is what we call our Wednesday nights... although no one really calls it that. Because we are leaving, we wanted to cram in our special events that we do with our seniors... like a senior led fusion.

The seniors got to plan it. They chose the opening funny video, made the announcements, planned a game which they led, sang a special music with a guitar accompaniment, chose the music video, chose the country of the week, and then D interviewed each one. It was a sweet night of honoring them. They did a great job. The feedback we got was nothing but positive... we especially enjoyed hearing how encouraged the under class men were to hear the seniors give their testimonies, tell what God was currently doing in their lives as well as give practical advice. I think a challenge from a peer can be so much more effective sometimes than a challenge from an adult.

I am so proud of all of our seniors and can't wait to see what God does in and through their lives.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Adventure

My posts thus far on our new adventure to FBC Millington have seemed very sad and daunting. I mainly blame the fact that this is the hardest thing we've ever done and the fact that we've yet to start at FBC Millington. We are sad to say goodbye to the precious people and students at FBC Hickory Withe, but we really are excited about this new adventure.

This was something we weren't expecting, but we know it didn't catch God by surprise. He has made our path clear and we are excited to embark on this journey. The people that we have met- pastor, staff, youth leaders, students, old friends... have been nothing but understanding and encouraging during this time. For that we are very thankful.

The next few months will be interesting as we adapt to our new normal. Our schedule, events, etc- no matter how difficult the transition, we are excited to be doing what God has called us to do. We know being in the center of His will is the best place to be. Singing songs like Wherever He Leads I'll Go, Where You Go I'll Go- Where you stay I'll stay- I will follow you... take on a whole new meaning. They are easy songs to sing in your comfortable car or worship service, but now living them is quite different. Not so easy and comfortable... but the peace that comes with knowing that you're following God's will is unexplainable.

Please continue to pray for us as we make this transition. We are excited about this new adventure and we look forward to what God is going to do in our own lives and in our ministry.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jesus Calling

I have been seeing a lot of criticism lately towards the daily devo. Jesus Calling. I thought I'd jump in and share my thoughts as well.

1. It is cheesy.

2. The wording at times is more than I can handle and I do laugh.. sometimes even out loud.

3. It kind of weirds me out that Jesus is supposedly talking when Sara Young clearly wrote this book however she is using scripture... its still strange.

4. I think sometimes the devo is a stretch to what the scripture they're referencing actually says.

5. Although its cheesy and not necessarily the best written christian literature, it has been a great source of encouragement to me. I've lost count how many times I've opened it and read EXACTLY what I needed to hear... as if it was written for me and my circumstances alone. Sometimes its what I want to hear and other times its just been what I've needed to hear regardless if I liked it or not.

6. So even though Sara wrote it and its cheesy and sometimes makes me laugh, I will continue to be encouraged daily by it.

The end.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Exactly what I needed

As if I had any doubt of God's faithfulness... I opened up my Jesus Calling to this:

"Trust me and don't be afraid. Many things may feel out of control. Your routines are not running smoothly. You tend to feel more secure when your life is predictable. Let me lead you to the rock that is higher than you and your circumstances. Take refuge in the shelter of my wings, where you are absolutely secure.

When you a re shaken out of your comfortable routines, grip my hand tightly and look for growth opportunities. Instead of bemoaning the loss of your comfort, accept the challenge of something new. I lead you on from glory to glory, making you fit for my kingdom, Say yes to the ways I work in your life. Trust me, and don't be afraid."

Roadtrip and Goodbyes

Frirday morning at 3:30a.m.... yes AM people... daniel, myself and the big Jerkins headed to Defiance, Ohio. D was in a wedding on Saturday there. The big Jerkins (this has nothing to do with size) were gracious enough to go with us- one because they love us, two because they like the Pinkstons', whose son was getting married, and three because they felt sorry for us that we were going to have to drive through the night to make it back to church Sunday morning. So we were very thankful that they sacrificially gave up their possibly relaxing weekend to drive over 20+ hours there and back with us.

We ended up making the drive in 9 1/2 hours and thankfully it went by fast. Defiance, Ohio ended up being much more north than we realized... we're talking almost to Michigan. Had we had the time I would have tried to convince D to let us drive the extra miles just so we can say we've been to Michigan, but there was no time for extra stuff this trip.

We arrived at the hotel around 3:00p.m. We had time for a quick shower then we had to hurry off to the rehearsal which was at 4:30. It took 30 minutes to get to the church from the hotel. The church was in a Mennonite community.

I had lots of ideas of how I thought it would look... none of which were accurate. I expected a wooden, one, room, old church. Instead it was a beautiful new 300 or more seated sanctuary with many other rooms and floors. In fact, the guys got ready in the youth area which consisted of air hockey, pool table, and a big screen TV.

2 hours later the dinner began. :) It was a great home cooked meal by some local ladies. We're talking baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, roles, salad and homemade pies. It was wonderful. Then of course they had a blessing time and video of pictures. Then as the dinner concluded everyone was invited over to a bonfire at one of the bridesmaids homes. It was a great night for one too. So after 4 roasted marshmallows... d made me stop. (not really but I was afraid he'd think his wife was a fat cow so I did) I had one smore but some how the marshmallow kept disappearing and not to mention that's the BEST part of a smore. Its not my fault that d cooks them perfectly. I agree 5 might have been excessive though. We sat around the fire talking and sharing old stories. It was a sweet night of celebrating Crystal and Michael.

This is what happens when I ask him to smile for a picture with me.

Thankfully we were able to sleep late Saturday morning... although to make it in time for our free hotel breakfast we were up and out by 9:00am. We came back in time to shower quickly, get dressed and check out of the hotel. D had to be at the church pretty early since it was an afternoon wedding so we dropped him off at the church and went exploring. The church is actually in Archbold, Ohio which is small town America for

We went into a few shops and toured this nice, big inn they had. Then we found Mom's Diner. It was awesome. From the onion rings to dessert- it did not disappoint. So if you're ever in Archbold, Ohio... which I'm not sure many have reason to unless you have family there... go check out Mom's Diner.

After stuffing ourselves with delicious food, it was time for a wedding! D looked so handsome. Unfortunately he informed me that for the first 30 minutes of picture taking his pants were unzipped. Fabulous. And also his pants were so big he reminded me of MC Hammer. Thankfully the coat helped mask it. And more importantly they stayed up on his hips.

The wedding was sweet and the blessing D gave was so encouraging.

Before we knew it it was after 7 and we were on the road again. Thankfully we were able to split our trip up a little and visit with our friend, Frank that lives in Indiana. This is the same Frank that works for SMI Haiti. It was so great to catch up with him and hear what amazing things God is continuing to do down there.

I slept most of the way back and D along with Papa John and a 5 hour energy... drove the whole way home. We got in bed at 5:00am. Then woke up at 8:00 so we could get to church. We knew this would be a hard day, but thankfully it was a little easier because of our announcement Wednesday. This was the day we made our announcement to the whole church. It was hard and there were still a lot of tears, but we made it through. The hardest part was the greeting line that Bro. Eddie insisted we have. I was pretty ok until then. We got nothing but love, support, and encouragement... which just made it sweet, but not easy. We are so thankful to have been apart of such a loving church for 3 1/2 years, but it def makes saying goodbye so much harder.

So this weekend was full of emotion. As soon as church was over yesterday morning we went straight home, ate lunch, and slept all afternoon before we had to be back at church to teach our classes. Needless to say we are both physically and emotionally drained, but thankful for a great weekend... even if it was a bit crazy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Hardest Night of Our Lives

A while back, we were contacted by First Baptist Church of Millington. We expected like the other offers to pray about them but politely turn them down. After praying, praying, praying and fighting God on this, He made it very clear that we are to go whether we were ready or not.

This has been a long painful process. We've decided God needs to put us in one church for the rest of our lives because this part stinks. We're smart enough to know that when God leads, we must follow, but that doesn't make this any easier.

We went in view of a call last Sunday. Its customary to go in view of a call on a Sunday morning and then go back and tell your current church that Sunday night. Due to Sunday being Easter and us not having an evening service, our announcement had to wait. Bro. Eddie wanted to announce it on a Sunday morning so that meant waiting a week after we were introduced to FBC Millington. Since we are still in the same area we knew it would be hard to keep that a secret for a whole week. We had heard that people from Millington had friends at Hickory Withe so there was def talk and word was out. Thankfully Bro. Eddie gave us the green light to tell our students last night rather than waiting until Sunday. We wanted to tell them before we told the whole church anyway and we wanted them to hear it from us and allow us to explain.

I knew this wouldn't be an easy thing, but I never imagined it being this difficult. Last night at 6:15 we pulled our youth leaders together and explained everything to them. These are our trusted adult helpers that help make our youth ministry what it is. They were gracious and encouraging and prayed over us before we went downstairs to tell our students.

Daniel spoke an excellent message on what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. You must first come to Jesus, listen to Jesus, and live for Jesus.... even when its hard. You must obey even when it hurts. Yes, this was a message for our kids, but for us as well. He prayed and I walked up there. I couldn't even look at our kids so my eyes stayed on the floor or on D. He explained to them that we weren't looking to leave but that a church had contacted us. As much as it hurt and wasn't what we had necessarily planned, we had to be obedient to Christ. As our voices gave way to emotion, our adult leaders surrounded us and talked when we couldn't. I have never felt so supported and loved in my life. We explained to our students how much we loved them and how it was ripping our hearts out to leave. But we encouraged them that this student ministry isn't built on Daniel and Candace, but Jesus... and that won't change. Our adult leaders reassured them that they would carry on our routines and events until God brought the next youth minister in.

We know we are being obedient but this part really stinks. We love these kids and leaders so much... saying goodbye just hurts... plain and simple. We are so thankful we had 3 1/2 years with them. Our lives are better because of it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2012 K4 Spring Program

Today was our big program. The one we begin working on after Christmas. The last, big hoo-rah in K4. Today was the day. We had practiced all we could practice. It was do or die time. They either knew it or they didn't.

As I pulled into school, I realized I was very excited and couldn't wait for our program to begin. Our kids looked adorable in their red, white, or blue Sunday best. They'd been to the restroom, were lined up, parents were anxiously waiting and then we realize one of my little girls isn't even here... like has yet to show up and 2 other students are beginning to cry.

Ok, no big deal. We are use to being flexible and having a plan b, c, and even d.

We do some sweet talking, assign other kids their parts and now its go time. I welcomed our parents, prayed and We Are the Kids of American began... with 1 missing student and 2 who refused to even get on the stage... and another one who in the middle of a song burst into tears because she had to go to the restroom... thankfully a parent got her off the stage and to the restroom before we had pee everyhwere.

Other than all of that..... our program was great. The kids remembered their lines, sang loudly, and no one fell off the stage... and most importantly the teachers survived.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Try It Tuesday

Butterfinger Nutter Butter Cheesecake Bars

for the crust-
16 whole nutter butter cookies
1/4 cup melted butter

for the cheesecake filling-
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon all purpose flour
6 fun size Butterfinger chocolate bars

for the topping-
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9×9 square dish with foil or parchment and set aside. {If you are lining your pan with foil, lightly grease with non stick cooking spray.} Grind nutter butter cookies in a food processor until the consistency of graham cracker crumbs. Pour in melted butter and pulse a few times to mix. Press into prepared dish and set aside. In a large bowl, whip cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Stir in egg, vanilla and flour. Finely chop butterfingers and fold into the cheesecake mixture. Pour over top nutter butter crust and bake for 18-22 minutes or until cheesecake has set. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until completely chilled.

Pour chocolate chips and butter into a small bowl and microwave using the ‘melt chocolate’ function, stirring every 20-30 seconds. If your chocolate is almost melted, don’t put it back into the microwave! Just keep stirring- the residual heat will continue to melt the chocolate completely. {If your microwave doesn’t have this function, zap your chocolate at 50% power at 20 second intervals, stirring in between.} Spread melted chocolate overtop of the bars evenly and place back into the refrigerator 5-10 minutes to harden the chocolate. Remove from refrigerator and using the foil or parchment, remove the entire block of bars from the pan. Cut into bars and serve.

Recipes Notes: If you leave the bars in the refrigerator longer than 10 minutes after you’ve topped it with chocolate, cutting into the bars might be more difficult and the chocolate is more likely to crack.