Barn Raising

Although I think it would be fascinating to visit an Amish community, I, for one, never have. (Although I just looked and there’s one in Arthur, Illinois, so maybe one day, soon, I will). Anyway….not knowing much about the Amish or their lifestyle/community, I did what anybody would do and “googled” it. 🙂

I found a few interesting things that I didn’t know, but overall, I think I have (had) some idea of how they live. And, this….I did know. Because of their religious beliefs, Amish try to separate themselves from “outsiders,” in an effort to avoid temptations and sin. They choose, instead, to rely on themelseves and the other members of their local Amish community. Which brings me to my point. We were never meant to travel through life alone.

Now, I know I’m not Amish, but I still think the same truth applies to us, as believers. If you have decided to follow Jesus Christ and are a Christian, you are not meant to walk alone. There are countless Bible verses that can attest to this fact.

  • Genesis 2:18-“It is not good for man to be alone.”
  • Hebrews 10:25a-“Let us not give up the habit of meeting together….Instead, let us encourage one another.”
  • Ephesians 4:16 (NLT)-“As each part does its work, it helps the other parts grow, so Christ’s whole body is healthy and growing full of love.”
  • Matthew 18:20-“Where two or more are gathered in My name, I’m there in the midst of them.”
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9 (NCV)-“Two people are better than one, because they get more done by working together.”
  • Galatians 6:10-“Every time we get a chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”

These six verses all point back to one thing….Life was never meant to live alone. We were never meant to walk this Christian walk alone.

“For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.” Ecclesiastes 4:10

I don’t run now as much as (or if any like) I did back in 2011-2012, but I can remember….having Amanda at the “finish line” yelling at me to “keep going” and “to push through to the end” was a big motivator to me to finish strong, to not give up. Now, I usually do enjoy running alone (because I can’t talk and run at the same time) but having people around you to encourage you and push you a little farther is nice.

It’s just the same in our Christian walk. Romans 12:5b (NLT) says, “….and we all belong together.” We were not meant to fight this battle alone. God never promises life will be easy; in fact, in the Bible, Jesus says it won’t. (John 16:33), but we know that we are never alone.

There is an old Zambian proverb that says, “When you run alone, you run fast. When you run together, you run far.”

Life is a journey (not a 50-yard dash) and God doesn’t want us to walk alone; that is not what He intended. He always provides a companion to walk along with us, in the form of parents, siblings, friends, spouse, church members, pastors, etc. It is our choice whether to take it or leave it. Believe it or not:

 “Everybody has a longing for belonging” – Rick Warren

Whether we want to admit it or not, we want/need community. We crave it. We desire it. We deserve it. We will starve (spiritually) without it. Therefore, let us come together and do a little “barn raising.”

(The Amish community works together to raise a barn in 8 hours; here’s a time lapse of it)….

What would the world be like if we all did a little bit of “barn raising” and worked together, helping and encouraging each other along in this journey called LIFE?

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)NLT

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You. Are. Enough.

For whomever may need to hear this today:

Back in 2011, the movie, The Help, came out, based off of the best-selling book by Kathryn Stockett. At one part in the movie, Aibileen tells the little girls she keeps, “You is kind, you is important, you is smart.” Read it again.

“You is kind, you is important, you is smart.”

 No matter what anybody else says. You are. Nobody what anybody else thinks. You are. No matter what you think about yourself on any given day. You are.

“You is kind, you is important, you is smart.”

Every woman should know that. Every woman should remember that. Every woman should be that.

And yet, we don’t. We don’t recognize our own beauty. Not the outward beauty that fades but the inner-beauty that is renewed day-by-day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 and 1 Samuel 16:7). What we see instead is…Comparison. Judgment. Insecurity. Inadequacy. Defeat.

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Comparison is the thief of Joy. If we don’t watch it, if we’re not aware, it’ll sneak up and bite us in the butt. When we’re not looking, it comes and makes a home in our heart. We never intended it to happen, but it does. And we do nothing to stop it. We look at other people and wonder:

  • “What’s their secret?”
  • “Why can’t I get it all together?”
  • “What am I doing wrong?”

And then we judge ourselves. Based on what we see of others. We judge ourselves.

We thought we were doing pretty good. Holding our chins up high. Forging the way to our own destiny. Until we compare ourselves to unrealistic expectations that we put upon ourselves, based on someone’s else life.

comparison

Instead, we should REMEMBER, EMBRACE, PROCLAIM:

We are beautiful because God said so. Nowhere in Scripture did God say, ‘You are beautiful IF….’

You were created in God’s image. And God does not make mistakes. To put yourself down for the way you are is to insult God’s handiwork.

Instead, we should REMEMBER, EMBRACE, PROCLAIM:

You. Are. Enough.

What does that mean? You. Are. Enough. Enough for what? Enough of what? Enough for whom?

What does it mean?

Well, it doesn’t mean:

  • You are capable of getting it ALL done. (We all have limits)
  • You are capable of having the picture PERFECT life. (Let’s be realistic)

It does mean:

  • You are capable of finding true joy by being and accepting who God created you to be.

You. Are. Enough.

With all your weaknesses and your strengths.

You. Are. Enough.

You are worthy of His love and the joy He wants you to have in life!

You. Are. Enough.

So often, without even knowing, our hearts get so burdened and our surroundings get chaotic because we try to do TOO much and demand so much of ourselves, thinking we are supposed to achieve it all, all the while forgetting God has promised us an abundant life, if we solely rely on Him in all things (John 10:10b)

Breathe. Slow down. Take a step back. Prioritize. Focus. And decide….

Where should I put my efforts?

Make a conscious choice. Let some things go. And decide, once and for all:

To trust Jesus, who is the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)

What will you choose to work towards:

  • less mess in your house?
  • a refocused/prioritized work schedule?
  • more un-distracted family time?
  • less comparison?
  • more peace with where you are?

Clean your house and your mind. (Many times they go hand-in-hand)!!

  • Less mess. less stress.
  • Less comparison. more peace.
  • Less judging your failures…and more joyful living.

You. Are. Enough.

Canvas and Caffeine

If you remember, I’ve blogged plenty of times before from The Coffee Hub here in Lacon. Well, this past Thursday night I went to The Coffee Hub with Shannon, Jenn, and Emily (friends from church) to do “Canvas and Caffeine.” It’s similar to “Painting with a Twist” or “Cork and Canvas” but on a smaller scale. It was fun….something different and something local, which was nice. There are few things I think I would change (which I did suggest), but overall, just to try something different (that I’ve never done before), it was nice. It took about 2 hours from start to finish. I’m not sure I would do it again–maybe–but it was nice.

Jenn and Emily

Jenn and Emily starting

Shannon and me

Shannon and me

Start of the deer

Start of the deer

finished product

finished product

Shannon and me, finished products

Shannon and me, finished products

Jenn and Emily

Jenn and Emily

the whole group

the whole group

More Snow Pics

Eventually the “newness” of snow will wear off (and I’ll stop taking pictures everyday), but until then….more pictures! 🙂

The car that we have now is not the same car we had when we lived in Illinois the first time. (Remember the fire)…..

So, this car has never “lived” in Illinois before! 🙂 I’m pretty sure it’s never registered THIS number on its thermometer before!

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THAT IS COLD!!!

On Thursday morning I went for walk around the pond; it was only negative 2!! 🙂

Jim and Graham made a broomball court on the pond, thinking the Inner City kids could use it this weekend, but I don’t think the ice is thick enough. But, they made it, nonetheless.

broomball court

broomball court

 

close up

close up

I FINALLY wore my winter coat yesterday to walk around the pond. I’ve only worn it one other time and that was when we went to Chicago to meet Jonathan.

bundled up

bundled up

After taking 2 laps around the pond (which is around .65 mile) I went inside the office to “warm-up” for a bit. I was going to go back out and walk some more, so I grabbed Saddie (Jim and Ember’s dog) and took her with me!

Saddie and me

Saddie and me

enjoying the snow

enjoying the snow

After two more laps, we went inside! 🙂

School has been cancelled here for three days straight because of the wind chill factor early in the mornings. It’s been -15 to -25, and that’s too cold for kids to stand outside and wait for the bus. Next week we are supposed to be back in the 20’s, so they’ll have school like normal.

I’ve gotten out of the house everyday this week, just to run into town, go to the gym, the library, the grocery store, etc. I would get major cabin fever, if I chose to stay inside everyday. As long as Jim plows and salts, we’re totally fine.

We have an Inner-City Retreat this weekend. Paul and Jim are in Peoria right now, running some errands, before they pick up the kids! We have about 20-25 kids coming!!

 

Our First Big Snow

Well, we finally had our first BIG snow. 🙂 This winter has been unseasonably warm; we were getting frustrated because we were really wanting snow!! Well, we got it! And, it’s beautiful! On Sunday it snowed pretty hard most of the morning, which was new and exciting and made the roads very slippery! We made it to church (and back) with no problems, but just to be on the safe side, we didn’t go anywhere for the rest of the day.

the bridge from Sparland to Lacon

the bridge from Sparland to Lacon

Our screen door (on the front door) doesn’t close all the way (there’s a gap at the bottom), so frequently we will have ice INSIDE the door–

our front door, on the inside

our front door, on the inside

Monday it didn’t really snow, but this was leftover from Sunday. Paul went for a walk about 4:30PM and took some pictures.

the sunset over the field

the sunset over the field

the deep end of the pond

the deep end of the pond

By 4:45PM it started snowing and continued to snow until about 11:00PM.

About 10:30PM on Monday

About 10:30PM on Monday

It had stopped by the time we were going to bed, but we knew it might continue, so we were excited for Tuesday.

Paul woke me up about 8:00AM, when he went to work, and told me to look outside. We loved it!! (Living out at camp, it’s undisturbed, so everything is just covered in a blanket of white)!

our our backdoor

out our backdoor

We only got 5 inches; I was really hoping for more!!!

We only got about 5 inches!

We only got about 5 inches!

These are some pictures Paul took right around 8:00AM.

sunrise over the picnic benches

sunrise over the picnic benches

10898174_753543542067_2869551072281563749_nOnce I actually got up, out of bed, and dressed, it was close to 11:00AM. (I was moving slow Tuesday morning)! 🙂

We walked around the pond with Graham, watched Jim plow, and just enjoyed the beauty of camp.

all layered up

all layered up

Our pastor, Bob, told me something last month that really stuck with me, and it’s so true!

“Callie, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!” It’s so true!!!

If you layer up and cover up, you don’t even get cold! Neither one of us even wore coats yesterday because we had so many layers on!! 🙂

Paul shoveling our front porch

Paul shoveling our front porch

My sexy snowman, shoveling our front porch!

all layered up

all layered up

Graham took our picture

Graham took our picture

Eagle Nest (amongst the snow covered trees)

Eagle Nest (amongst the snow covered trees)

Jim plowing

Jim plowing

These are deer tracks (or bunny tracks)–I can’t really tell. We, for sure, had deer tracks all by our back porch yesterday, but I wasn’t able to get a good picture before it got dark!

deer tracks (and bunny tracks, I think)

deer tracks (and bunny tracks, I think)

I took this picture I was driving back into camp on Tuesday afternoon (from going into town). This is probably one of my favorite views at camp, coming down the road. It’s beautiful in the fall and in the winter!

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I cannot explain to you how much we love the snow and the cold! Over and over again people have commented, “You know you moved back at the start of winter!” “You know you moved back at the wrong time!” “Don’t you know it gets cold here; why would you want to move back?!”

Look at our pictures and tell me you wouldn’t love to live at camp during the winter!!

(By the way, today it is 1 degree outside and feels like -21 degrees)!! 🙂

(and just because it’s a cute picture–Yesterday was Hannah’s birthday, so we went to Pizza Peel and The Coffee Hub to celebrate her birthday)!

Hannah's 7th birthday

Hannah’s 7th birthday

Year in Review 2014

Looking back over this past year….

This year was the year I blogged the least, out of the almost 6 years I’ve been blogging. I’m not exactly sure why; a lot of factors probably played into it, I guess, but, overall, I hit the main highlights of the year, so I guess that’s worth commending.

January:

I only blogged 4 times in January and 2 of those posts were an overview of Christmas (2013) and Year in Review (2013)–so, the only blog post that was worthy was THIS ONE (which is pretty good, in my opinion)!

Oh, and we had our “snow day” for the year!

February:

The highlight of this month was going to Illinois to visit (little did we know, 10 months later, we’d be back permanently)!! 😉 You can see a recap of my trip here and here

Also, I wrote another “deep thought” blog post here….

March:

I was consumed 24/7 this month with my LONG-TERM sub. job as the PE Teacher! It was crazy; read about it here!!

April:

Well, I only blogged twice in April, and they were both about trips we took. So, I guess April was the month to travel. We went to Houston for our anniversary (about a month early) and went to Fredericksburg/New Braunfels for Easter.

May:

May was another month for me to travel. This time to Hawaii!

June:

Being in Youth Ministry means that your summer is filled with camp, VBS, and mission trips.

In June I went to Pre-Teen Camp with RLBC and then Paul and I took our Youth (from FBC Giddings) to Youth Camp (here and here)–(with a week of VBS thrown in there as well).

July:

We went on another Mission Trip in July (here, here, here, and here). I also went to Waco for a week, and then Paul surprised me and took me to New Braunfels for a trip to Schlitterbahn….

This was also the month the church flooded and I posted about “achieving enoughness.”

August:

Another month of traveling: This time to Illinois!!! 🙂 (Little did we know that this would be the trip that would change our lives and we would end up BACK here in 3 short months)!

I also wrote about “Simplicity” and the idea of Entertaining our Children….

September:

This month was, by far, the one of the hardest months of the year for me. (You can read about it here).

When we left Illinois in August Paul had accepted the job (of Program Director at Great Oaks), but we couldn’t tell anybody….yet. So, we went almost 6 weeks without telling anyone about us moving–it was killer! It was so hard. We knew we couldn’t move until the beginning of November, so the original plan was for Paul to work until the middle of October. But, as the days went on, he knew he didn’t want to go that long. His heart was already in Illinois, planning and thinking about Inner-City Ministry, so the end of September seemed like the better choice. And, even then it was SO HARD!!! We finally announced it to the church on September 28th. (That blog post is here).

September was the start of football season, along with spending our last days trying to see as many people as we could, knowing we were going to have to say good-bye in 2 months. I traveled to Waco to see my parents and visit with some friends. (This would be my last trip to Waco before the move).

October:

This was our month of good-byes.

We said good-bye to the church here and here.

We said good-bye to my parents here.

We said good-bye to Paul’s parents here (along with some of our church youth).

And here are more “reflections” on our move.

We also started our move to Illinois!!! 🙂

November:

Well, the BIG DAY we had been waiting for! We moved!!

We adjusted to life in Illinois quite nicely (and quickly)–it really does help when you move right back into the same house you lived in before, go to the same church as you did before, and have the same friends you did before!

It has only snowed (and really it wasn’t snow as it was just a DUSTING) twice since we’ve been back (here and here) since we’ve lived here and that was about 2 weeks after we moved here. I am very disappointed in the weather so far, but I guess it’s a nice change for them because, apparently, last year was brutal around here!!!

In November we also traveled to Chicago to see Paul’s friend, Jonathan, who was visiting (from Pennsylvania). That was really fun (but, again, it solidified the fact that we do not like Chicago)!! Too much traffic and too many people!

December:

Because we just moved here we knew we were not going to travel for Christmas. It was a pretty quiet Christmas until my sister called and said they were coming to visit 2 days after Christmas! So, we ended up having company for 4 days. They were super disappointed (and probably very bored) because we didn’t have any snow! (Sorry)!!

So, overall, as I look back on 2013 I realize that I traveled quite a bit. Which is strange to me because I don’t really feel like I did–I guess it just happened, and I didn’t realize how much it was until I started doing this Year in Review. I traveled somewhere almost every month and went out of state 5 months this year! (This coming year it will be significantly less, I’m afraid, because we don’t have the money to do much traveling, I’m afraid)!

Looking onward:

I feel like we are where we are supposed to be. I’ve said this before, but I am so blessed to be back in Illinois because Paul has friends again. My heart smiles every time he calls me and tells me he’s going to lunch with Jim and Graham. My heart smiles when I am able to hear about all the theological discussions they have while cleaning camp buildings. It makes THIS all worth it!!

I really am not into making New Year’s resolutions, so I don’t really have anything significant that I am looking forward to. But, my prayer is that Paul’s summer is the best summer yet (in reference to Inner-City ministry here at Great Oaks Camp). Please join me in praying for him as he recruits counselors and as he plans Counselor Training.

Here’s to a New Year!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Christmas 2014

We are not in any of these pictures, but I just wanted to share them (more as a memory for me)….

My parents went to East Texas for Christmas, and my mom sent me some pictures that I thought were pretty good.

Christmas 2014–

Uncle Tom and my dad are brothers.

Uncle Tom, Aunt Charlene, Mom, and Dad

Uncle Tom, Aunt Charlene, Mom, and Dad

The original “Tom Hubbard” five

The original "Tom Hubbard" five

Aunt Charlene, Tom Jr. Carla, Judson, and Uncle Tom

The whole “Tom Hubbard” family

Mike, Carla, Tom, Julie, Michelle, Tom, Charlene, Clayton, Meagan, Hannah, Jonah, Clint, and Judson

Mike, Carla, Tom, Julie, Michelle, Tom, Charlene, Clayton, Meagan, Hannah, Jonah, Clint, and Judson

The three “grandgirls” (Uncle Tom/Aunt Charlene’s)

Meagan, Michelle, and Hannah

Meagan, Michelle, and Hannah

Mom and Dad went to (cousin) Terri’s for lunch. I thought this was a really good picture of all of them together.

Dad, Mom, Uncle Dub, Aunt Lori, Jeff, and Terri

Dad, Mom, Uncle Dub, Aunt Lori, Jeff, and Terri

(These were just more for me, when I get ready to print out my blog in a book).