Give ‘em Trouble

Posted on: April 10th, 2013 by Lisa Van Wyk No Comments

Louisville Women’s Basketball

It was by far the largest upset in women’s basketball history. When fifth seed Louisville Cardinals defeated number one seed and defending national champion, Baylor Bears, in this year’s Sweet 16 round of the NCAA 2013 Women’s Division I championship, time stood still as people gawked in disbelief.

The Louisville women won five games to get to the final national championship battle against Connecticut, but it didn’t come easy, and no one expected them to be there.  There was one team, one person, in the way: Baylor Bears Brittney Griner.  Like David and Goliath, Louisville needed to defeat Brittney, whose 6′ 8″ frame, a giant among women, practically shut down every team she played against.  The odds were stacked against them.  Brittany, the giant, took away the hope of many young ladies.  She shut down other teams’ offensive strategies, blocked them from scoring, and was an obstacle to their success. Continue Reading

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Unpacking Confidence

Posted on: March 22nd, 2013 by Lisa Van Wyk No Comments

Girl sitting on suitcaseI’m so excited and extremely hopeful, I think I’m going to burst! My 6th grade girls basketball team is readying themselves for their Big Dance this weekend in Wausau, WI – the Wisconsin State Invitational Tournament. We are putting final touches on our offensive plays, making their motion offense seamless, their defense unstoppable, and packing up our sneakers, shiny uniforms and…well…hopefully, our Confidence…

That’s where as a coach I’ve seen my players struggle the most over the years: their Confidence level.

Late this season, at one of our weekend tourneys, one of my post players, Special K, was beaten twice down the court against a local team. Her shot was deflected on offense and a guard dribbled past her for two points on defense. The next trip up the court, she drove hard to the hoop, only to stumble and fall on her left knee, and as she was sweeping the ball away from her defender, another stepped up behind her and ripped the ball away from above her head while she was still down. That was her breaking point.

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Hospitality II: Stranger Danger

Posted on: March 14th, 2013 by Alaina Pompa No Comments

New FamilyI’m never comfortable meeting new people, and any big parade to welcome me and my family, honestly, would make me feel even more uncomfortable.

When I looked back at our last Thanksgiving holiday and the act of hospitality I experienced, I realized how much making friends usually involves taking some risks. It was just as risky for us to attend as it was for them to invite us.

So I’ve made peace with allowing people to see the mess that is my home and my life. My family regularly makes a practice of inviting people over to share meals with us.  But I will be honest that the people we invite are usually people we know and who are a lot like us. Every year my husband and I casually talk about having an open house and inviting the neighbors to attend, but so far we have never done it.

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Let Us Fall More in Love with Him!

Posted on: February 19th, 2013 by Nicole Wood No Comments

heart candles

Let us fall more in love with Him! February the month of love right?  Or wrong?  For most, Valentine’s Day is either a romantic candy coated love fest, or as my good friend likes to call it, “SAD: short for Singles Awareness Day!”

No matter where you fit in this year, happily married, engaged, dating, divorced, or 100% single.  I have even more important questions to ask you?  How in love are you with the one who created you and stretched His arms wide to the pay the ultimate price for you?  Do you know Him?  Do you love Him?  And most importantly do you know how much He loves you?

This Sunday at church my good friend and worship leader Janaque told us that her little girl asked her, “Mommy how much do you love me?”  She replied, “I love you this much!”  With her arms spread open wide from side to side.

Her sweet little girl said watch this mommy as she proceeded to run through the house circling though all the rooms.  Once she made her way back to her mom she said, “I love you that much mommy!”

Such a precious picture of the love and bond that is shared between parent and child.  Can you imagine how much our Heavenly Father loves us, his children?  Truly ponder the fact that God sent His one and only son to save us because of how great His love for us truly is.  He loves us more than we can even fathom.

After Janaque shared her heart we began to sing one of my favorite songs, and I think you will enjoy it as well.  It is called, All Consuming Fire by Jesus Culture.  As we began singing this beautiful song and worshiping God goose bumps covered my skin.

The lyrics:

All-consuming fire, You’re our heart’s desire

Living flame of love, come baptize us

Let us fall more in love with you

We wanna know how high how deep how wide is

Love Love Love

How high is your love

How wide is your love

How deep is your love for us

How deep is your love

I have a challenge for you, from this point moving forward can your heart’s desire be to fall more in love with the author of love itself?  Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you don’t love God or that I love Him more.  I am just reminding or asking you to focus on His great love for you.

To know God is to know love, and to know His love feels like an all consuming fire.  As the lyrics say we want to know how high, how deep, and wide is His love for us?

We already know the answer and it rests in the finished work of the cross.

God let us fall more in love with you! 

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I Love Me.

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by Lisa Van Wyk No Comments

Romantic bride with a wedding bouquet

I love me when I’m ugly, I love me when I’m sad.

I love me when  the sun goes down and I’m  very, very mad.

When people break me down, and say I’m not enough.

Even when I save too much, and fall amongst my stuff.

When lights are low and the sun is high.

I’ll never forget to love me right.

To forgive myself and receive God’s grace.

If He can love me, there’s no disgrace.

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Hospitality Part I: What is Biblical Hospitality?

Posted on: December 18th, 2012 by Alaina Pompa No Comments

Welcome

Why is it that we so often take something simple and make a big production out of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love a big party and Hobby Lobby as much as the next girl, but is this what Paul meant when he said we are to “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality,” (Romans 12:13)?

As I began to learn about biblical hospitality one thing I notice is how often meals are shared.  This is exciting for me because I love to eat almost as much as I love to breathe.  In Jesus’ time a shared table meant a shared life.  To break bread with someone conveyed your acceptance of them.

The second idea to notice is the number of times hospitality revolves around home.  Our homes are private and personal.  In your home people will see the drapes you have chosen, the colors you like, the books you read, if you have kids, and if you have pets.   There are clues around a person’s home that reveal what makes that person tick.  Of course people may also see the stains on your carpet, the cat hair on your couch, the dishes in your sink and that your toilet could use a swish.  But this should not prevent us from inviting people into our homes, because hospitality is about people, not perfection.

Chaos

In 2007 our family moved to Florida where we didn’t know a soul. As a mom with young kids who works from home, I didn’t get out much.  In an effort to connect with other moms I joined a MOPS group.  In fact, I was so desperate for friendship that I joined three.

As Thanksgiving approached that year, I realized this would be the first year in my life that I didn’t have plans for a holiday that had always been about family and friends.  Then a mom at MOPS invited our family to join her family at her neighbor’s house for dinner.  All three of us had recently moved to the area and no one had extended family to share the day with. My husband and I were hesitant to go because I didn’t really know this mom, and I didn’t know her neighbor at all, but we accepted anyway.

Dinner was a potluck jumble of barstools, folding chairs, card tables, blue jeans and babies.   Nothing about it was coordinated or fancy.  There wasn’t even a formal table, let alone a tablescape.  But you know what?  It was perfect. 

Food, a friendly invite, and my new acquaintances was all that was needed to make us feel welcome.  If you’re considering hosting a gathering, don’t fear the fancy.  Keep it simple.  An open door is all you need.  Let perfect happen on its own.

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What’s In a Name?

Posted on: December 15th, 2012 by Donna Schmitz No Comments

Dear Donna,

I am seriously dating an awesome man who I love and respect greatly. Tonight he brought up a topic that we’ve never really discussed before. He comes from a family of 6 boys. They all have biblical first names with no middle name. In my family we all have a family middle name. He feels strongly about continuing things his way and I feel the same about mine. I already have a child who has a middle name. We do plan to get married someday and I felt it necessary to be open and honest in response to his comment. Is there a way to respectfully disagree about stuff like this? Obviously it’s not something we have to decide now, but I want to do things right now and in the future!

- Jessica

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Recipe to Keep Your Heart in Check

Posted on: November 27th, 2012 by Sara VanWychen No Comments

Oh, the desires of one’s heart. We all have them. But when our desires become our main focus, and we live our lives solely based on them, it can be dangerous, especially when they are of this world.

In the past I’ve made decisions based on MY desires – my wants, my needs.

A good friend once told me a couple of years ago, “All I hear you say is…me, me, ME!!”

I’ve been known to be quite selfish and a little obsessive.  My marriage was in jeopardy and with two small children, I became focused on getting out and showing the world how independent I could be.

Thankfully, God had a different plan for my family.  He fired up the Holy Spirit in my heart, and now I have a really hard time living this life for myself.  Truth is, it isn’t all about me anymore and I am so thankful for that.  Life is so much simpler letting God take care of it all.  When I do revert back and lose my focus, God’s got that covered too!  God is at the center of my family’s lives and we are constantly seeking out His guidance and way for us. Continue Reading

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NO MA’AM!

Posted on: November 20th, 2012 by Nicole Wood No Comments

I do not know about you but from time to time it is as if the word NO has been completely erased from my vocabulary!  Zip, Zilch, Gone!  Then replaced with, “Yes. I can do that,” or “Sure. No problem,” or the ever reliable, “No worries. I’ll just fit it into my schedule!”

Why is it so hard for some of us to say no and for others so easy?  For one thing, I have learned the hard way that good is the rival of best.  In other words there are so many good things we can do with our time but those good things can often distract us from spending our time on the best.

As women I think most of us can agree that we have schedules that are so jammed packed we hardly have the time for one more thing.  Let alone the unexpected that God might send our way. There are many good things we can say yes to, but we have to learn to start saying yes to the best and starting saying the word NO more often.

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Why Some Dreams Succeed and Others Fail

Posted on: November 13th, 2012 by Alaina Pompa No Comments

I am a dreamer and visionary. I love making plans. I love schedules. Organizing makes my heart beat faster, in a good way. Let me rephrase that. I should say – I love reading, organizing catalogs, being in organized environments and shopping at IKEA.

While I have a great schedule plan and cool calendar app I often have a hard time sticking to either.  Sitting on my shelf is an extra large 3-ring binder that contains a subject-by-subject outline for homeschooling my children. I spent three months one summer putting it together and I look at it every day when I rush out the door to pick them up from public school.

In spite of these quirks I have managed to get a few things right.

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