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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Porch

For those of you who do not get my email update for the youth center that adam and i started, i thought i would post one. the more prayer the BETTER!! :) also...if anyone is interested in getting our email updates, email me and i will add you to our list. ajnrileysmommy@hotmail.com. thanks!

Keeping You Up to Date...

I am writing with many different emotions on my heart right now! I had started this email last week, and was so excited to be reporting all the great things that have happened since I last updated you! I wanted to share some amazing things that have taken place in these past few weeks. I will start there, before sharing some other news.
Just a few weeks ago, we decided to get cable and internet. Getting internet was really in faith, because we did not have any computers. However, we felt that since that was what we wanted for the future, we would just do it. We had the super bowl party and it was a HUGE success! We had 29 teenagers come in, and many of them had never been in before that night. We had great opportunities to talk to teens as well as meet some parents! We ordered pizza and a lot of people from church donated tons of snacks and drinks, which was another huge blessing. It will never get old to me to see the love and support of our church family. The following week was very encouraging as well, as we had a lot of kids come in after school each day. I will probably say this a lot, but one thing that always touches me is when kids read the Bible verses on the wall out loud. I just love it! We have John 10:10 on the first wall when you walk in, and Jeremiah 29:11 on the main wall in the game room. I have heard that a few times in the past couple of weeks, and I am always reminded that God's Word will NEVER return void!

Last week Adam was leaving to go to The Porch and asked me to pray for the finances. Our account was lower than it had ever been. When he came home he handed me something - it was a check from a very dear friend of mine from college. She had decided to tithe her tax return to our ministry. WOW! This was so unexpected and we were reminded again of God's complete control. On another financial note -Several months ago, Adam had the opportunity to share our vision with the Rotary Club from Raymond. He shared how we wanted to expand and have computers and printers available for the kids that came in. We never heard from them again, and figured that they had decided against helping us out. We were wrong. We received an email saying that they had decided to give us a grant to purchase 5 laptops and 2 printers! Can you even believe how huge our God is? Not that we need proof, but He amazes us over and over.

Although we know that God is in complete control, I have news that is heartbreaking. I just got word today that an 8th grade girl from Epping named Megan was in a car accident on Saturday. She passed away this morning. While this really is devastating, let me back up a little bit. When we opened the center in July, this young lady actually came in to The Porch. She was friends with a great christian girl, Cayla, who goes to our church. Cayla told me that Megan had questions about the Bible. I got a Bible, we sat out in the hallway and I shared the Gospel with her. I sensed that she wasn't comfortable to be completely open with me, so I left her and Cayla alone. Ten minutes later, Cayla came in and announced that Megan had prayed to receive Christ! What a gift that God gave us! We will be able to comfort her friends that they don't have to grieve as those who have no hope! We can assure her family with great confidence, based on the authority of the Word of God, that Megan is with Jesus in heaven right now! Please pray for Megan's family. Please pray for us, that we will be able to minister to her family and be a place that teens can come looking for help with their grief!

I recently heard this quote from Arthur Blessitt. "Let your vision be no greater than the next person you meet." Aren't you thankful that Cayla felt that way? I know I am!
My prayer for all of us this week is that we will allow that to be our vision! No matter where we are in life right now, God can use us in the lives of the people we come in contact with. Jesus commands us in John 15 to LOVE one another. Let's do that. You never know whose life could be changed for all eternity if we let the love of God be demonstrated through us.

Serving Jesus with Joy,
Adam, Rachelle, Glen and Maria

Friday, February 19, 2010

i ♥ boston

friday nights are 1.00 admission night at the boston children's museum. how can you beat that? so me and adam decided to take the boys. we always park and take the T in...way easier. and i decided to look like a tourist because i love having pictures of adam and the boys.

we went to faneuil hall for dinner. the boys (including adam) always like to get the same thing there, so we had to start out with clam chowder in a bread bowl for 3 of us, and chicken and fries for ry.

then we walked the "3 blocks" to the museum that the website advertised. um. ya. it was more like 8 blocks, but that's ok. i love walking around, and we were all in good moods. it was a little bit chilly, but it didn't feel that bad. and just so you know, when we win 20 millions dollars, i am buying a condo in the city just for fun. oh, and just so you also know, we don't buy lottery tickets. so it will really be quite the story when it happens! :)

when we got there, there was a HUGE line to get in and i could not believe how many people were there! but hey...4.00, remember?

it is 3 stories, and there really is a lot to do there.

don't worry, my fellow home-school mothers, i made sure that i got some good material for the portfolio :)

they have this CRAZY climbing thing that aj was so excited to do. it looks like madness, especially with the million kids in it, but he did great.

if you look really close, you can see his head at the very top of the picture!

the boys had a really great time, and if you just keep telling yourself over and over and over again that the germs aren't there, YOU can have a great time too!! :) they did have a lot of hand sanitizing stations, so that made me feel a little better!

at the end of the day, times like this remind me of how thankful i am. thankful to have a husband that loves me so much, and loves our boys so much. i'm thankful that we have sweet, obedient little boys who make it fun and easy to be out together. i am thankful that God is blessing our family. i feel happy. content. oh, and tired!

good night. :)

my nieces birthday cake

2 of my nieces are having a birthday party tomorrow, and since their mommy is just getting back from a trip to iowa, she asked if i could make their cake. i thought it came out pretty cute!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

many faces

infinite power of texas

"…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16).

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Ephesians 6:18).

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him" (1 John 5:14-15).

how often do YOU think about prayer? when is the last time you really honestly stopped to think about the incredible privilege of prayer? i mean, honestly. the whole concept of it just blows my mind. the creator of the world. the one who has an infinite amount of power actually desires to have me talk to him!! (side note here. i just went to google and typed in "infinite power of..." and you know how google will fill in what you might be looking for? ya. the first word was hope, the second TEXAS!! no mention of God! WHAT?? odd. and texas? what does infinite power of texas even mean? see how i linked the title to this comment? clever, right?)
anyways. i do not appreciate this privilege nearly enough.
this past sunday, my dad preached on how our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and how in the New Testament, Jesus said His house would be called a house of prayer. interesting. if i am his house now, am i full of prayer? i mean, constant praying. i thought that if i was literally, in my mind praying at all times, i would save myself a lot of stress, negative thinking, imaginary conversations and most definitely SIN!! right?

i was at the gym today, (i don't go nearly enough. i just like what it sounds like when i say it :)) and i had the funnest time. i decided that as i ran i would just pray the entire time. it became almost a game. i kept thinking how amazing it was that i could bring whoever i wanted before God's throne. so i would be like. God please help this man with the big gold chain to see that his value comes from YOU. and please help this girl next to me to not be seeking attention from guys, but to realize that she is precious to YOU.

i wonder how many times random people bring people before God's throne that are special to me! i thought wow, i wonder if that guy might have a mom or grandmother who has been praying for him. now I can pray too! and we know that God hears and desires for NONE to perish! i am going to keep doing this. i love it. i love having a God that loves the world this much and that he does not get sick of hearing me!
wouldn't you love to get to heaven and have Jesus say, hey...this is dave, the guy from the gym. you prayed for him, and he accepted me! i don't know if that will really happen, but we might as well try. let's all do this. pray away.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

God uses people with a past...

but does he use people with out much of one? of course i know God can use anyone, it's just something i've been thinking about for a while.
a few months ago, i got together for coffee with someone i didn't know very well. we both kind of shared our life stories to each other, and at the end of mine, she said. "wow. you had a perfect life." i felt a sick feeling in my stomach. i didn't even know how to respond. see, it brought up feelings in me that have been there for a long time. for those readers who don't know me well...
i grew up in a christian home. my dad was a pastor and my mom stayed at home. they had (and still do) an amazing relationship with each other and with Jesus. i have an older sister, a younger brother and a younger sister. i met my husband in kindergarten, and we started dating in high school. we went to college together, got married and have 2 healthy, amazing boys. we are debt-free. we don't have any major health issues. and sometimes, to be totally honest, i feel almost guilty about it. and not only that. i feel like i can't be used of God like so many other people can. now don't misunderstand me here. i am fully aware of the awesome power of my Father. i know that he can and DOES use anyone. i also know that at this point, so many of you are saying - you are lucky you didn't have to go through what i did, you should be thankful. i am. but just think about it from my perspective for a minute.
i have always had a huge burden for youth. i have a heart for young girls that are hurting. i have a heart for foster kids and orphans, i have a heart for single moms, i have a heart for the broken and the weary. and i mean, i really have a burden and heart for them. i have dreams all written out on paper with plans to open a home for foster kids. i have it named, and worked out. i have already called who i have to call to start foster care classes. i have counselled friends who are or have been single moms. i have worked at 2 different crisis pregnancy centers, and i already have the plans written out to start my own pregnancy center. so don't get the picture that i am either rubbing in that i have had a good life, or that i don't plan to do anything for God with my life. i am currently involved in a lot of ministries that involve a lot of different kind of people. and i am not trying to rub anything in.
so many times i keep feeling like, God can't use me. i know it's the enemy talking, but it FEELS so true! (ugh. those blasted feelings! the heart is deceitful people!) a few years ago, adam and i had taken a group of teens on a missions trip. one night, just the girls were together. i looked at them and realized 5 of the 6 girls had no relationship with their father. either they didn't even know who he was, or he had walked out on them. i felt overwhelmed. i have a very close relationship with my dad. how can i relate to them?? they are going to know that i can't fully understand their problems!

you can look anywhere in the Bible and see people that God has used that have had broken hearts and lives. people who either made bad choices (rahab, the apostle paul) or had bad things happen to them (job) and God used them in spite of it all. everywhere you look, people are reminding you that no matter how far you've gone, how much pain you are in, God can use you. i started reading a book from a well known author (who i actually really love) and had to stop reading it, because the entire first chapter was sharing how much pain she had been through and God is still using her. so the same will be true for me. of course this is not a bad thing that she was sharing this!! but i was automatically not included in the people group she was speaking to.

all the well known speakers and authors are people who have been through it all and are now sharing. i'm not criticizing them. at all.
i am just saying. there HAVE to be more people than ME who have been blessed with a "good" life. not to say i don't have my own problems. of course i do, and i have. i have had my fair share (not sure who determines how much a fair share is) of being hurt by people, to the point that i have started to wonder what is wrong with me! i have had my times of not knowing how we were going to get food on the table. i have had my times of just downright sinful feelings of self-pity and sadness. but i have not had the loss of a parent, sickness of a child, or abuse of any kind. does that mean that i don't have a voice worth being heard? everyone wants a speaker with a story, right? you know, to make all those people feel like you know where they've been. but i DO feel like i have things to share. i am not trying to sound like i am whining here. i have just been thinking about this, and haven't even really known how to express it!

God can teach through blessings as well as through pain. i don't have a "past". but i do have an amazing, forgiving God who gave his life for ME! He is teaching me so much that i just want to share. i am always learning about ways that i need to grow. my prayer is that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in the Lord's sight. even typing that hurts a little. the meditation of my heart? maybe i have even been meditating on this for too long! it's not about ME. i need to decrease, and Jesus must increase. i know this. and i am not giving up on life or anything even close to that. i am not even discouraged! but please just hear my heart. it is still hard for me to feel like i have much to offer besides a nice smile and a listening ear.
i am a daughter, sister, wife, mom, friend, and probably enemy to some. i am ok with that. i am a sinner that needed a Savior, and when i got that Savior, i got an amazing, powerful, living book that gives me everything i need to share with anyone i can.

thank you to all my friends who have read this. you have given me a place to share my heart, and that feels good.

to my friends who have had very difficult pasts due to either bad choices, or no fault of your own...thank you for your encouragement to me and your example of living for God regardless of your past. thank you for showing me the way that God can forgive, or the way God can heal! you are an inspiration to me, and i really mean that.
to my friends who have had a life with no real "past". keep hanging in there with me! help me to see the ways that we can be used in great ways for God!! that is my desire. for my voice, my actions, my money, my LIFE to bring glory to God.

it's finally snowing!

after everyone else has been getting blasted with snow, we are finally getting a LITTLE!

Monday, February 15, 2010

conversations by riley...

me: ry, you need to put the legos away so we can do school now.

ry: mom, that can really break a kid's heart.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine..." proverbs 17:22

Friday, February 12, 2010

susie homemaker

ya...sometimes i am feeling it and sometimes, not so much.
well - the other day, i was feeling it. i had seen a really cute recipe for fondant covered oreo cakesters. i didn't have any oreo cakesters (and had already gone OVER my shopping budget) so i decided to make mini whoopie pies and use the leftover fondant frosting from ry's birthday. after i finished those (and ate 2...or 3....actually, i lost count. dang it.) i made some bread. i have the best recipe for white bread, i will have to share it on another post.
for now, didn't these come out adorable? tasted good too!

ry's cake

here's a couple pictures of riley's birthday cake. he picked out the design, and even helped make the little lego guys!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Happy Birthday Riley!

my baby

7 years. how has it already been 7 years??? hard to believe! my little riley just turned 7 and i can hardly believe it. he has brought so much joy and LAUGHTER to this family and we love everything about him.

a few of my favorite things

*the way his whole face lights up when he smiles
*how sarcastic he is
*how active he is
*how sensitive he is
*how inquisitive he is
*how smart he is
*how snuggly he is

shaking the present to guess what it is...

kahlen helping out a little bit...

have i said he likes legos?

trying to unwrap nanny's gift!!

he is amazing and i love being his mommy. every time i tell him that, he gets all snuggly and says "i love being your son".

oh he makes me so happy.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

is it a light thing?

i found something interesting while i was reading for my 90-day-reading the other day.

the first verse was in 1 Kings 16:31. it is talking about ahab, the wicked king. "and it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam..." then he takes jezebel as a wife. what stood out to me was the part that said "as if it had been a light thing". he considered certain sins to be light things in the sight of God. well, i highlighted it in my bible and put a star by it, because i wondered how many things i took lightly that God does not! do i take gossip lightly? God doesn't. do i take inconsistency with disciplining my kids lightly? God doesn't. the NIV says "considered it trivial." hmmm...good wordage there. how many times have I not even thought twice about how my words might affect my husband? ouch. ok. now on to later in my reading. in 2 Kings 3:18, i found myself reading the same words, yet in a different context. it says "And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord; he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand". hmmm...what does God consider a light thing that i consider a HUGE thing? do i consider needing enough money to pay the rent a huge thing? God doesn't. do i consider a close family friend dying of cancer a huge thing? God doesn't. see, we have it all wrong! the things that we take so seriously, God doesn't even see them as big at all! he can handle it all. but at the same time, the things that we consider no big deal, God could consider huge and it could be causing us to drift slowly away from that close, intimate relationship with Him.
i love the verse in Hebrews 3:13 that says "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness". that's just it. sin is deceitful, so deceitful that we start taking things lightly that God is totally against, and we DON'T EVEN REALIZE IT!!! and then we start doubting and worrying about things that GOD considers light, and WE DON'T EVEN REALIZE IT! i do not want to be deceived! i need to make sure that i am taking things seriously that God takes seriously. and that i should just be dropping all my worries to my God who considers delivering an entire army into Israel's hands a LIGHT THING! wow. what an awesome God we have.

cute baby feet

just had to show these cute little shots i got of baby jace

isn't he darling???

crafty kind of morning

i decided to do art this morning. it wasn't necessarily on my schedule that way, but i was just in the mood. which is really saying something, because to be honest i am not a natural crafty-type person (sorry sarah and bethany). aj had gotten a bird house for christmas that needed to be painted and ry had gotten a paint by color. they both did a great job.

our really good friends jeff and natalya were celebrating their daughter kahlen's 2nd birthday at chuck e cheese on tuesday. the boys (all three:)) were thrilled to be invited too!

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