30 Days of Thankfulness: Day 30

I do believe that as the month of November continued, my list of names grew longer, rather than shorter. I can think of two reasons for this:

Reason number one: I am living an extraordinarily blessed life. I am surrounded by people who love me and encourage me. People who have had made significant impacts on my life through their words and/or actions. I never want to lose sight of all the goodness God has given me.

Reason number two: The more I was able to honor people, the more people I saw who I wanted to honor. We live in a culture that loves to embrace the negative and bring to surface all the faults a person may posses. This is tragic. We are called to something greater. Our words have the power to bring someone down, or lift someone up to their full potential. Let’s focus on the latter. My hubby had the opportunity to speak at church yesterday, and his message was all about how positive thinking can be life-changing. If you missed it, check it out here! You won’t regret it.

Grand Canyon
A photo from a trip we took to the Grand Canyon about 6 years ago. I chose this because we are just on the horizon of what God has in store for us. Such grandeur, and our eyes cannot see it all.

There is always someone else to recognize. Another person who could benefit from a little love and encouragement. On this final post, I would like to highlight a few more people. I know I am leaving out more than I am including, and I wish this were not so. But demonstrating gratitude and honor should not be a month-long event. It should be a lifestyle. Will you join me in this?

I think of people like Dallas, Emma, and Ella. My go-to babysitters. It takes quite a bit of trust to be able to bring someone into my home to care for my little girls. I want these ladies to know how grateful I am to have them. They are trustworthy, love the Lord, and my girls adore them. I am so so grateful for them.

There are several staff members at Daystar that I didn’t get a chance to mention. Seth, our youth pastor, is so good at what he does and will one day be directly impacting my own children! Jon does community outreach and is working on a special serve day that will make a huge impact in our city. Jennifer is a counselor and has a sweet disposition, yet a powerful woman of prayer. All of these staff members are important and deserve great recognition.

Rick and Amber have been in our lives for a number of years and I have learned so much through their wisdom. They kept our girls for a few days for us while we went on a trip this fall. They give a great deal of themselves to so many people and it is an honor to call them friends.

Then I start to think about people who have impacted me at various times in my life. College friends like Hannah, Rachel, Beth, Amber, Maddie, Kristen, and Vickie. Each of these women left a positive imprint on my life and I love the memories that we have shared together. I also greatly treasure friends from my childhood like Emily, Sarah-Eileen, Caitlin, and Kaitlin.

Trish was someone I always looked up to spiritually. She and her daughter Ashley threw me a baby shower for my first born. The two of them have a special place in my heart. Ashley, we need another girl’s night soon!

In this month I was able to mention all of my immediate family members, but didn’t get a chance to touch on my extended family. There are too many names to list them all here, but I love each and every one of them. They are spread all throughout the country in places like South Carolina, Delaware, Kansas, California, and Hawaii. Some I have known better than others, but I value each moment we have spent together.

My thoughts travel to one who is no longer with us. Leigh Lane was a precious friend of mine during my last two years of high-school. I was a homeschool girl transitioning to public school, and she was such an inspiration to me. She lived with unstoppable joy and had a great peace about her. She was the type of person you knew had a special relationship with the Lord. I wish I had more time with her.

I could go on. There are so many more. But it doesn’t have to stop here. It doesn’t have to be a blog post or a Facebook status. It can be a card in the mail, a text, a phone call, a gift. Let’s live a life that brings honor to others.

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Chelsea & Taylor

Most of my posts have been “categorized”. I’ve had posts about family, friends, Daystar staff and volunteers, and people who I don’t necessarily know but who have blessed me in various ways. This one is a little bit different because the two ladies I’m going to talk to you about are friends and Daystar staff members!

Chelsea

Chelsea and I met at Daystar and would chat regularly on Sunday mornings. The first thing anyone will notice about Chelsea, is that her laugh is contagious! She has a kind and genuine smile that is always refreshing to be around.

During my transition between teaching and becoming a stay-at-home mommy, I worked in the Daystar office. This is the same time frame that Chelsea joined the staff, and I loved every minute of it! We giggled together incessantly about all kinds of nonsense, and were able to share about our lives and encourage one another.

Chelsesa
I was going to put up a sweet picture of Chelsea and her hubby, but I decided I liked this one better. I love her excitement!

You will probably recognize Chelsea from the Sunday morning announcement videos, but her role at Daystar is so much more. Here are a few things that Chelsea does as Communication Director that you may not have realized:

 

  • Designing/approving graphics
  • Creating and distributing the bulletin
  • Updating and maintaining the website
  • Managing all Daystar Church social media accounts
  • Special events planning
  • Organizing the timeline of announcements

And yes, that’s just some of what she does. She is a valuable team member and friend. I have so enjoyed the times when Chelsea and I got our nails done and went shopping together. She is full of joy and life and makes a positive impact on those around her.

Chelsea, I admire your hard work. I love listening to your stories and every chance I get to chat with you. You are a treasure!

Taylor

The funny thing about my relationship with Taylor, is that we have walked very similar paths four years apart. I met Taylor one night at the Tap, Daystar’s college ministry. She and I were getting to know each other and discovered that we were both recipients of the NC Teaching Fellows Scholarship and had pursued a degree to teach math. She was just beginning her job search, and I was about to leave my position. In jest, yet with all seriousness, I asked her, “Do you want to take my job?”

Of course, I really didn’t have much say in who would come in after me, but she ended up taking my exact job! When I left teaching, I began working at Daystar Church. When Taylor left teaching, she began working at Daystar Church! My first baby was a little girl, and now Taylor is expecting her first child… a baby girl. I love that our paths have been so similar.

Taylor
Taylor and her hubby are so excited about their baby girl!

Taylor’s role at Daystar is that of Connections Director. She, like Chelsea, is on the announcement screen on Sunday mornings. The times when they do announcements together are my absolute favorite. These two are hysterical and play off of each other. I love it.

Taylor’s responsibilities are all things A-Team. She oversees Growth Track, works with the leaders within the A-Team to make sure everything is running smoothly, and ensures that any special events have the people needed to make it a time of excellence. On any given Sunday, Taylor might be hopping from campus to campus to make sure everyone has everything they need.

Taylor, one of the things I love the most about you is your enthusiasm. Whatever you do, you do it well with a passion that inspires others. I am so glad to know you!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Pastor Tom & Pastor Dan

The lead staff team at Daystar Church is made up of four individuals: Pastor Allen, Pastor Tom, Pastor Dan, and my hubby. I’ve already written about two of them, so this morning I would like to honor Pastor Tom and Pastor Dan.

Pastor Tom

I personally believe Pastor Tom is a financial genius. He has the title of Executive Pastor, which means he has a lot of responsibilities on his plate. Here are just a few of the things he oversees:

  • Financial goals. One of the goals written into the bi-laws at Daystar Church, is that the budget for each coming year will be based on 90% of the previous year’s income. What does this mean? It means that the church should automatically be saving 10%, plus the ability to save extra from any new growth. This allows the church to be in a healthy place financially.
  • Budgets. Each individual team submits their budget to Pastor Tom for approval. He is able to look over everything and determine which areas may need to be increased or decreased based on meeting Daystar’s financial goals.
  • Cash Flow. This sounds very complicated to me. In the most simplest terms, Pastor Tom monitors the cash flow so that all the money is in the right place at the right time, without ever putting the church in a place of financial pressure.
  • Legacy Campaign. In this exciting time of being able to have two new permanent facilities for Daystar Church, there is a lot of managing to do. Pastor Tom has the financial knowledge to be able to determine how much we need before starting a project so that it can continue without taking away from the current facilities.

There is more, but truth be told, I don’t really understand it all. I have come to Pastor Tom on several occasions asking for help with financial decisions and he has always been willing to make time for me and my questions. He is able to explain complicated topics in a way that makes sense. Not only is he a valuable resource, but he is a kind and tender-hearted man who loves the Lord.

Pastor Tom
Pastor Tom is such a friendly guy and always has a cup of coffee in his hands!

Pastor Tom, I am so thankful for all that you do! You have been a huge blessing to Daystar Church and the lives of people around you. Thank you for contributing your knowledge in such a powerful way!

Pastor Dan

I once had the opportunity to work across the hall from Pastor Dan, and he is a hoot. He is always excited, loves to laugh, and is constantly whistling his favorite tunes. In addition to his love of life, he has a passion for spreadsheets. More often than not, if you come across any sort of spreadsheet at Daystar Church, Pastor Dan is responsible.

Pastor Dan
Pastor Dan and his wife, Kay, who also works at Daystar Church!

Pastor Dan’s main responsibilities are all things involving small groups. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Structure. Small groups are based on a “free-market” idea. This means that leaders and participants can choose to have a group based on their interests, demographic, or a specific study. Pastor Dan helps leaders narrow down their focus and trains them on how to use their group to help people grow closer to God.
  • Curriculum. For the first time, Daystar Church has started providing it’s own curriculum for small group studies. This has been true for the Legacy and Noteworthy small groups. Pastor Dan has ultimately been responsible for the creation of the curriculum. He makes sure everything flows together and is done with excellence.
  • Organization. Remember those spreadsheets I mentioned earlier? Pastor Dan organizes Rally Day each semester to help people find just the right small group. If you have ever been to Rally Day, you are sure to have seen a spreadsheet detailing which small groups are available and a map that shows you how to find the small group you are looking for.
  • Encouragement. Pastor Dan is so good at sending out encouragement to his leaders every week. He touches on what challenges that week might face, and encourages small groups to keep pushing through various obstacles. Being steady in the hard things helps us find growth and life!

Pastor Dan, I am so grateful to know you and appreciate all the hard work you put into Daystar Church. Thank you for your dedication to the Kingdom!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Momma & Daddy

I took two days off from the challenge so I could enjoy our time for Thanksgiving. It was such a beautiful day full of fun and food! Everyone came to our house and brought a little something with them. I prepared a few things and we all ate until our tummies were tight. We each took a turn sharing reasons we are thankful, we laughed together, cheered the Panthers together, and just had a good time. I loved making new memories with our family.

Wedding Day
With my parents (and my Grandma) on my wedding day!

In the spirit of family and togetherness, I wanted today’s post to be in honor of my parents. I call them “Momma” and “Daddy”, my girls call them “Nana” and “Pop Pop”, but everyone else knows them as John and Vicki. They are a fabulous pair and I love them both very much.

Daddy

My daddy is a good man. As a little girl, I always looked up to him as my hero. I got into a few arguments with other children about my daddy being the best. He was my daddy, so he had to be the fastest, tallest, strongest, funniest guy out there. I looked up to him in every way. I treasured his advice and valued special time together. There are many who do not get to experience having a good earthly father, so as an adult I am extra grateful for the man who raised me.

First Birthday
First grand-baby on her first birthday!

One of my daddy’s favorite pastimes is music. I grew up in a home that loved the Lord, and every Sunday I got to see my daddy lead our church in praise and worship. Perhaps that’s why I fell in love with a worship leader? I have always enjoyed hearing my daddy sing. He has a beautiful voice and can often be found playing for special events at various venues. I am blessed to have a godly father who sought after the Lord and led by example.

I admire that my daddy is a hard worker and never gives up. He has been a salesman, a small business owner, and is now working for Derek Prince Ministries. I’m fascinated by all the things he has learned to do through his time working for this ministry. My daddy has taught himself how to design websites, he is in charge of all the social media, and works with people from all over the world to be able to share messages that encourage believers.

Daddy, I love you and I am so thankful that God chose you to be my daddy.

Momma

I wrote a letter for my Momma right around Mother’s Day this year. You can read it here. She was the first person I honored publicly on my blog because she is a special lady who has had great influence in my life.

IMG_2685
Now with two grand-babies!

One of the things I didn’t talk about in that first post, was my momma’s love of health and fitness. Oh, how I wish she had passed this on to me! I have always struggled to enjoy the idea of exercise, and I’ve never been consistent with it. My momma, on the other hand, is a full-time pilates instructor. She teaches in her own studio out of her house and also works for other studios in her city. She has private and group classes. She does matt, reformer, and all kinds of other equipment. I would name them if I knew what they were.

Growing up, I had the opportunity to take dance lessons with my mom and be part of a dance ministry with her. I have so many fond memories of this experience! One year, we traveled to Kansas with our dance team to spread the love of Jesus. There was another year that the team went all the way to Germany! I was so blessed to have the connection of dance with my mom.

Momma, I loved being able to share time with you in the kitchen yesterday. You have been a huge blessing to me and I love you greatly!

30 Days of Thankfulness: Amelia & Kristina

I love sharing about my friends! I have been blessed with such a great group of ladies surrounding me and I love each one of them so dearly. Today, I get to tell you why I am thankful for my friends Amelia and Kristina.

Amelia

I love this gal. She is one of those people who makes you feel so good just by being around her. Amelia and I were able to hang out one-on-one a few weeks ago, and I left that conversation completely uplifted. We sat at Starbucks chatting about all sorts of things: fun things, life transitions, hard questions. I think we were both sad that we couldn’t stay longer!

Amelia got married earlier this year, and when she did, she asked if my daughter could be a flower girl in her wedding. This kind of role is usually reserved for family members, so it was extra special that she wanted my little girl to participate. The truth is, Amelia and the rest of her family have always treated my daughter like she was a member of their family. I’m not sure if there is anything that speaks more to a momma’s heart than seeing someone else love her child.

Amelia Wedding
Yes, that is my daughter under the veil. Amelia looked like a princess on her wedding day, and I love that she had so much fun with my daughter!

Shortly after my second baby was born, my husband informed me that I needed to find someone to watch our girls for our anniversary. We were going to have a small getaway for 24 hours. My baby was only two months old, exclusively breastfeeding, and waking up multiple times a night. I was a little anxious about the idea, but Amelia happily agreed to watch them. She even practiced giving the baby a bottle beforehand! Amelia, I don’t believe you can fully understand this until you have children, but asking you to watch my infant says more about how I admire your character than anything else.

Amelia is also extremely talented and has a heart for worship. She sings for the worship team on Sundays and leads at Cultivate on Thursday evenings. She has developed a beautiful skill in calligraphy, and I believe she will be able to do great things with her talent. Amelia, you are a precious individual and I thank God that I am able to call you friend.

Kristina

Kristina is one of those people who is fun and easy to hang out with. Have you ever felt like having conversations was hard work? Kristina is the opposite of that. It doesn’t matter who you are: if she just met you or if she has known you for years. Kristina has this amazing ability to carry on a conversation and make whoever she is talking to feel special.

I’m always impressed by Kristina’s ability to thrive on being involved in numerous activities. She is what my husband calls “high-capacity.” I am not this. Whatever Kristina does, she does well and with all of her heart. She puts time and energy into it. She has volunteered in various capacities at Daystar over the years, she is a full-time teacher who loves on her students, and is always connecting with people outside of work and church.

 

Kristina
Kristina and her hubby, Pastor Ian, are going to be welcoming a baby boy into their family! Love this precious family!

One of my favorite memories, is the day I called Kristina to tell her I was pregnant. My husband was going to share our news of baby number two with the church staff, and since Kristina’s hubby is a campus pastor, I wanted her to hear the news directly from me. I happened to catch her on a lunch break, so I quickly told her about our excitement. Her response? “Seriously!? Me too!!” Turns out, Kristina was expecting her first child, and our due dates were only three days apart! We even ended up being neighbors at the hospital. Our daughters were born just 1 1/2 days apart. I love that we got to share something so special together.

Kristina, I love your passion for people and how natural you are as a mommy. It is such a joy that we get to walk the journey of ministry and motherhood together. I am so glad to have you in my life!