January 29, 2015

Christmas Day!

We had a wonderful, happy Christmas Day!

This was our first year to try a new schedule. Typically we've always alternated years of being home for Christmas or being at Kurt's parents'. This year we woke up and did Christmas at home, then after lunch we loaded up and drove the 3.5 hours to Mississippi. It felt different but we think it's going to be a good schedule for us! It's the best of both worlds. :)

Up and ready on Christmas morning!

The little faces in these pictures make my heart burst!

Kurt took this picture of our land on Christmas morning. I love it :)

Kurt and the kids gave me the sweetest gift! They all went to the store together and picked out a beautiful diamond cross necklace for me! I didn't have one, and Evy said "I know you love crosses!" I absolutely do, and it's precious to me!

We had a pleasant drive and arrived at Mia and Randad's house. We immediately continued our Christmas festivities. ;)

Only my mother in law and I would be up at midnight making the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls! They were so good!

It was such a happy and fun day!

January 28, 2015

Women's Ministry Wednesday: Our Structure and Schedule

I'm back for another discussion about women's ministry! In my first post I discussed kind of a background of why I believe women's ministry is so important and valuable. Today I want to share what our church does for events and where we're looking to expand.

We don't have an official women's ministry "committee" or team. That was the structure for several years, and then we had a shift in leadership (our former coordinator is now focusing on some missional work discipling women in Belarus, which is awesome!). Our Pastor of Education oversees women's ministry, and when I met with him initially, I told him that I knew events was my specific calling. I just knew it fit my skill set best and that was where my focus needed to be. So I oversee our events, while my friend Jennilee coordinates the women's Bible studies that we offer. As of right now, those are the only two areas of women's ministry that we're focusing on. I know some churches have a lot of "branches" of women's ministry (missions, hospitality, special interest/fellowship groups, etc.), but we have a really simple structure that works for us. We wanted to grow a strong foundation with those two elements (fellowship and Bible study) and then grow from there.

I also don't have a set group that works with me on events. I try to engage a few new people each time and I try to mix ages. I think it helps women to see "event helpers" that are in their stage of life. I connected with one of my best friends Grace when I randomly asked her to help with a women's event. They had just started coming to our church and we hit it off immediately (also, nothing bonds you like ironing tablecloths and running around doing errands together)! What's funny is that after Grace moved (I miss her every single day), one of Kurt's co-workers started coming to our church with his family. After talking with his wife Staci a little bit, I asked her if she'd like to help me set up for a recent event. She's super crafty and fun (just like Grace!) and wouldn't you know - we've become really good friends! Deja vu! :) All that to say, sometimes women just need an opportunity to help, and people bond over a shared project.

We have two main events a year: Spring and Holiday. Again, we wanted to start simple and do things well, THEN expand if we saw a need/desire for that. It also helps with budget to start with a minimal amount of events.

Spring usually features a speaker and perhaps an extra element (like when we did the interactive worship experience "Date with God"). Holiday usually features a speaker and several breakout sessions, led by ladies in our church (this model is VERY popular!). I'll share more details about these individual events in another post, but that's our schedule.

We are now starting to discuss adding in a few smaller, special-interest events (specifically geared towards moms). We work really hard to make sure women from all stages of life enjoy our events and take away things that are relevant to them, and we're now at a point where I think we can offer a few things that are demographically specific. As a young mom myself, I know sometimes it's just SO encouraging to hear a message specifically tailored to that stage of life. Looking forward to planning these!

More to come on WMW! :)

Posts in this series:

Why Women's Ministry?

January 27, 2015

Christmas Eve!

We had a happy and festive Christmas Eve!

We started the day by going over to my parents' so the kids could open gifts from my grandparents. It was such a fun time!

Nana and Poppy know the way to my girls' hearts!

. . .and Leeler's too!

New cozy blankets. . .

We headed home for nap time and I finished setting my Christmas Eve table. I chose the theme "Christmas Village" for this year! I love how it turned out. :)

Then it was time for the Christmas Eve service, which is so dear to me. And wouldn't you know - a Frozen Princess arrived too?

Let's just say that Lynley Adele was an energetic worshipper that evening.

My dad always calls the children up and he reads the Christmas story. I love it!

Poppy also spoke, and it was wonderful as always!

Singing "Silent Night" with my church family always brings tears to my eyes. There's no sweeter moment to me.

This was my first year hosting Christmas Eve and I think it went well! :)

Scenes from the festivities. . .

Of course we had traditional British Christmas Crackers - we love them!

After our family went home, we got ready for Santa. Evy has never believed in Santa. I've never said anything against him at ALL! She is just my "realist" and figures things out very, very quickly. From the time she was little, we would see Santa on TV and she would say "Santa's not real!" I was thinking, What?! But once she made that statement we've never tried to push her into "believing."

Liam, on the other hand, was really into it this year. He just seemed to be very interested in it all, so we went with it! The best part was that Evy the Realist was loving every single second of making believe for her little brother. That was really the sweetest thing to watch. She encouraged him to put out milk and cookies, leave reindeer food, and leave the Santa Key on the doormat. I could tell it was really special for her to do that with him, and it made me so proud of the big sister she is!

One last picture with our milk and cookies before heading to bed! xoxo

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