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10 10, 2014

Redeeming Halloween Resources

By |October 10th, 2014|Blog, Core Christian Parenting Fundamentals, Family Discipleship, Holidays|1 Comment|

Do we participate in the annual halloween festivities that our culture pushes? 
This is the age old question I believe all parents for generations have struggled with. Don’t you?
 
Regardless of how different things are today than they were when our parents were raising us, the reality is, this question still haunts parents today. I have often talked with other moms about the challenge we have as first generation parents who are not only trying to learn and model wise technology/social media habits ourselves, but we also have to parent to the struggles and temptations that those devices/tools CAN bring into the hearts of our children. Parenting is hard, Amen?! 
But this struggle is not a new one to parenting. Our culture has always had temptations, whether they look the same or not. I believe how we engage cultural holidays is one such issue for parents. But because it may not seem so “in your face” every day, and because we grew up ourselves celebrating many of these holidays without asking the hard questions like, “Am I really bringing Christ glory doing this?” We often don’t see them as the same kind of struggle. Conformity without pretense.

I know that one of the things I have struggled with as a mom, has been the ugly thought that I am bringing God shame by being looked at as an intolerant grouch just because we don’t trick or treat or participate in other “halloween” traditions. Giving children candy isn’t inherently bad {well a nutritionist might disagree}, but you get the point. So where is the line? And why can’t it be easy?
We need to support one another, recognizing that none of us have all the answers. I struggle as a […]

19 06, 2014

The Great Church Search: Prayerfully Seeking vs. Selfishly Shopping

By |June 19th, 2014|Blog, Community, Faith, Family Discipleship|2 Comments|

“Church shopping.” It sounds like such a consumerist mentality to finding a new church home. Yet, I myself have been guilty of casually referring to this season of church visiting as such. What other term is there to eloquently describe the season where one {or a family} is intentionally looking for a church to call their home?

We’ve been looking for a new home as we are preparing to relocate our family. When house shopping, we Americans tend to look at all the pros and cons, weigh them out against our preferences list. Often times, we come to an immediate opinion about a home based on how it looks or seems on the outside surface. As we prepare our hearts and relationships for this transition of moving, I am also preparing my heart and mind for a season of church visiting. I don’t like calling it “church shopping,” simply because of the consumerist mentality it seems to represent. Most don’t enjoy this season– feeling displaced, out of one’s comfort zone, the fact that building new relationships can be hard; but it’s all in your perspective. I actually find it refreshing to catch a glimpse of how the Holy Spirit is moving among many churches, God’s churches, simultaneously. It’s a beautiful thing to see similar visions, making impact in the communities they have been given jurisdiction. And generally speaking if you are friendly to people, they will be friendly back. After all, we are all family right? It’s like going to a pre-heaven reunion.
So, as I prepare my heart and the hearts of my family for this anticipated season of seeking where God would have us, I have written out reminders from the lessons we have learned over the years–lessons […]

5 05, 2014

Mother’s Day Giveaway!

By |May 5th, 2014|Blog, Giveaways|2 Comments|

Motherhood. It’s a personal journey. A sanctifying one at that, isn’t it? In so many ways, the older I get, and the more “experienced” I get, the more I realize I have so much to learn; and this is especially true of motherhood.
We all love our children equally in passion, commitment and hopes– we all want “the best” for each of our own children. But the hardest part about motherhood, is often the pressure we put on ourselves. Isn’t that right?

I think we would all agree that we have all searched for that one book, that one manual, yearned to have a mentor tell us exactly what the magic formula is, for being a good mom… no… the best mom. Haven’t we. Our intentions may be honorable, we just simply love our children and want the best for them, even to be the best we can be for them.  But sometimes, in the midst of these hopes, we can find ourselves weighed down by the pressure of not measuring up to our own standards. We can focus so much on “our performance” as a mom and fall into the comparing trap, that we loose sight of what matters most– simply delighting in our children.

So in honor of all those mother’s that work so hard, because you all do, Happy Mother’s Day.

I pray that you {and I} succeed at letting go of worldly expectations of ourselves.

Mom, In our race, the most important thing we can do is let our children know we love them.  In all of other attempts we make in this life, attempts to teach, to train, to lead, to cultivate, to inspire, to model, and even to provide and protect… nothing is more important […]

1 05, 2014

Lessons from the Vineyard on Brokenness

By |May 1st, 2014|All About Jesus, Blog, Faith, Gardening|2 Comments|

Just a short few weeks ago we began our intentional studies and remembrance traditions leading up to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Coincidentally, these past few weeks have been unusually warm for the Pacific Northwest, inspiring new growth that the awakening of Spring brings. And when there is growth, I am beckoned outside to tend my garden and vineyard. Yes there is weeding to do, grass to mow, but the very impatient need to prune our vineyard takes precedence. I am very enthusiastic about sharing more about the lessons we have learned here on our vineyard and I hope you will join me as I share more these next few weeks.

What does brokenness, our Savior’s death & resurrection, and the pruning of a vineyard have in common?
Refinement and then a fruit that shines His glory.

You see, as I share in this post about brokenness, that God calls us to be broken, like His Son.
As Christians, we don’t shine our lights brightest when we seem to have everything together and look all perfect on the outside. Instead, God is most glorified when we are willing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and share with others when life isn’t perfect and we can still praise Him. When those hard trials, times of suffering or pain meet us, or when sin hurts us or others, those stories of healing, strength, forgiveness, and mercy are the ones that SHINE brightest for Him.

A viticulturist understands and knows his vineyard. He prunes off even what looks good, to focus the energy and nutrients into making what is on the vine even better.
I could talk to you until I am blue in the face about the lessons we […]

30 04, 2014

Illuminate Through Brokenness

By |April 30th, 2014|Blog, Faith|0 Comments|

About a month ago I was offered the opportunity to write on letting God’s light shine through brokenness. And just as any other time when I speak on a topic, the Lord allows me to recall and deepen my understanding of my own experiences and those I am impacted by in this life. This past month there has been much to ponder.
Have you ever felt broken?
Unfixable items often go into the trash in our culture. And often so do jobs, relationships, ideas, and even beliefs–at times. In those broken, questioning, unclear times how do you cope?
Come on over and visit me at Illuminate Wednesday on Adelle Gabrielson’s website.

And then come back over tomorrow as I share on …

Just a short few weeks ago we began our intentional studies and remembrance traditions leading up to the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Coincidentally, these past few weeks have been unusually warm for the Pacific Northwest, inspiring new growth that the awakening of Spring brings. And when there is growth, I am beckoned outside to tend my garden and vineyard. Yes there is weeding to do, grass to mow, but the very impatient need to prune our vineyard takes precedence.
Join me tomorrow as we dig even deeper into this topic of brokenness and lessons from the vineyard.
Until Then,
Sister Angie

24 03, 2014

Is Poking Fun a Sin? | A Deeper Look at Relationships

By |March 24th, 2014|Blog, Faith, Family Discipleship, Marriage|4 Comments|

About two months ago I wrote the post, I Sinned Against My Husband {Part 1}. But what you don’t know is that, the day before, I really did sin against my husband, by poking fun at him. That post, this series, was inspired by the ugliness I saw in myself that Sunday morning while getting ready for church {of all days}. But I knew that I needed to spend some time truly examining this common communication style many call poking fun. So in my reflection time with the Lord, I was led to write Part 1, all the while I knew I was still called to write on this. The problem I have had though is that while this article was inspired by my reflections on my own sin towards the dearest person to me, I realized that this such a bigger issue than just in marriage. But this topic of poking fun, tearing down affects all kinds relationships, between parents and children, brothers and sisters, friends, as well as married couples.

Disclaimer:
I am not saying poking fun or joking around is always a sin. Some couples enjoy teasing one another, and Isaac and I do as well at times. But those times of poking fun and teasing are lovers play. The poking fun I am referring to is with regard to poking fun at another and making them look lesser, tearing them down and bringing up a flaw of some kind whether it be a sin they struggle with or a character trait you don’t particularly like.
Just like any other sin, we need to examine our own heart motives for WHAT we say and HOW we say something–in all relationships. And we also need […]

7 03, 2014

Redeeming the Division: Cultivating Unity Among Women

By |March 7th, 2014|Blog, Faith, Friendship|16 Comments|

This past month I had the pleasure at speaking at Good Shepherd Community Church {here is the audio if you can view the video below} on one of the topics I most passionate about. You are probably thinking, oh she spoke on birth… nope. There is actually a lot more to me than “pregnancy, childbirth and all things prego.” You might not know this, but one of the reasons I wrote Redeeming Childbirth first {yes there are many more books in me}, was because I believe that as women, one of the most controversial topics we first encounter, stems from this season in a women’s life. But as you know, it doesn’t end there, does it?
Why, I am so passionate about this controversial topic? Well, actually I am just as passionate about the other pink elephant as well {education choices}. I am passionate about this, because I believe that the enemy is having a hay-day with the lost, while we the church are completely distracted by things that are NOT ETERNAL. 
These topics, which cause so much division among women in the church, DISTRACT us from our real calling, The Great Commission. While we should be most concerned with making disciples, in and out of our homes, and doing it well, we are so distracted by what people think, and what they will think, if we ______ {fill in the blank}.
I believe many more people make decisions in life based more on what others in their ‘social group’ will think versus what God is actually calling them to do. I know I struggled with this myself for years. Surely, I am not the only one, or maybe the only one that will actually say it out loud, […]

8 02, 2014

I Sinned Against My Husband Part 1

By |February 8th, 2014|Blog, Friendship, Marriage, Reflections|6 Comments|

I sinned against my husband.

Maybe you have too?
It was a normal Saturday morning, and I got up to make breakfast. In my heart, I wasn’t doing it because I wanted to. I had hungry children. As I stumbled out of bed, that’s when it began… the resentment. Why was I the one getting out of bed to cook? I am just as tired as he is, I thought to myself.
As I walked down stairs, it didn’t even dawn on me that I had a choice to be angry. I didn’t even have my radar up that the enemy was attacking our marriage by way of Me.
I had just awoke, without realigning my worldview that morning… my view of my husband… my view of myself… my view of the blessings in my life that God had so graciously given me.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

It was my point of weakness. Tired, not yet alert or fully awake, I was tempted to sin… and I fell for the trap.
Every moment I was cooking breakfast, unloading dishes, I was speaking mean thoughts about my husband and children in my mind.
Have you done this? Oh, it’s ugly to admit.
A pity party had a dance in my head, and the music was blaring. Every response that came out my mouth was just as vicious and ungrateful as the thoughts consuming my mind.

 “And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Why think you evil in your hearts?” Matthew 9:4

I began allowing the pots and pans to be loudly placed on the stove. The envy of his resting in bed while I worked began to turn into anger. Then the anger in my heart became […]

24 01, 2014

Either Way

By |January 24th, 2014|Blog, Prayer, Reflections|9 Comments|

Do you believe in miracles?
Do you see them in the everyday?
We read of Jesus miracles throughout the gospels, as He healed {Luke 18:35-43, Mark 5:21-43 & 6:53-56, Matt. 9 & 15:29 for example}, as He provided food for the multitudes {Matt. 14:13-21}, He calmed storms {Mark 4:35}, He walked on water {Mark 6:45}, cast out and healed those with demons {Luke 9:37}, and perhaps the most amazing miracle of Jesus was His forgiveness of the most wretched sinners… whose sin hung him to the cross {Luke 7:36, John 3:16-21}.
But do we believe these kinds of miracles exist today?
Do we truly believe what the word of God says in John 14:12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” {ESV}

When we pray, do we pray with the deep faith that can move mountains, do we believe that God not only listens to our prayers, but that He can alter what He allows us to experience in this life, that He can change what could have been our future? Do we believe that we can actually participate in the miracles of God here on earth with Him?
We who believe in God, would say, ‘well yes, of course we believe.’ But do we live those miracles? Do we look for His hand in our lives and those around us? Do we step out in faith through prayer and walking in faith as we ‘do’ what God calls us to?
Take birth for example, many think of it as a normal thing we humans can just do. We were designed to procreate. Many even […]

6 01, 2014

I’m Married to an Entrepreneur & We’re Still Happy

By |January 6th, 2014|Blog, Business, Marriage|3 Comments|

For those of you who don’t know my husband Isaac, he is an entrepreneur at heart. He was not wired to ‘work for somebody.’ That’s just not who he was created to be. He’s a leader. An Innovative Thinker. And people like him, don’t THRIVE being put in a box. Who does really? But you get my point.
For the entirety of our marriage, Isaac has enjoyed being in the business of ‘building’ people. Anyone who has ever been married to a self-employed, ‘entrepreneurial’ spirited individual knows that, because they work for results and growth, not money…and the fact that it is about ‘the mission’ or ‘the cause’… what often follows is hard work and commitment. At least for a season{s}. Many marriages die to ‘save the business’ and many businesses close their doors to save a marriage. But Isaac and I believe that isn’t necessary. In fact, we have always believed that not only can both exist thriving together, but they both can contribute to one another’s growth. How? Well this would be an entire book, in fact we have taught Leaders Marriage Seminars over the years solely focused on this and I have written a 6 Part series on Thriving Marriages and Thriving Businesses here as well.

What does Isaac do for work? He is part co-owner and founder of Choose Growth. A Company of Thought Leaders. He is also part owner and co-founder of Throwing Boulders, Web-based Communication Tool Company.

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You can read some of our most popular marriage posts here:
Thriving Marriages Choose Growth 

3 FREE Visioneering/Mission Statement Handouts

Choosing to Lead Your Wife by Isaac Tolpin

Social Media Accountability | Marriage on a Mission

Does Your Husband Know He’s Your Hero?
Marriage Pity Parties

To read all […]