Kids serving kids

Right before Christmas we had the opportunity to make boxes for Operation Christmas Child along with a few other Elevation staff children.  I love serving with my kids.  I love teaching them to care about others.  They had such a great time picking out toys for their boxes and then assembling their boxes.

Did you know that this year, Operation Christmas Child expects to hit 100 Million boxes this year?  And, did you know that you don’t have to wait until Christmas time to make a box?  The boxes that we made will be distributed in Panama this March and you can still contribute to the stack (contact for more information).

And don’t forget, you can always visit Elevation Outreach for more information about how you, your family, or your small group can get involved.

12 from 12

I hope you had a wonderful new year and a very merry Christmas!  I have certainly enjoyed a break from blogging but also excited to be back.  2012 was an incredible year for us.  Our ministry and our family has never had a bigger year than we did in 2012.  Here are my 12 favorite events from 2012 (in no particular order)…

1.  Code Orange Revival.  Although it feels like a lifetime ago, this did, in fact, occur in 2012.  It was a whirlwind 2 weeks that had a significant impact on my life personally and on the life of our church.





2.  Elijah’s baptism.  There is nothing like seeing your firstborn express their own belief in Jesus.  What an incredible moment.





3.  Trip to Hillsong Australia.  I was so proud to accompany my husband to Australia and hear him preach at not only one of the most influential churches in the world, but also one that has impacted my life personally.





4.  Banner Years.  Elevation is filled with moments where God came through.  Banner Years is one of those moments for me.  Our church believed God for something big.  My husband and I gave sacrificially along with the people of our church and God multiplied it.  My faith grew yet again.




5.  Greater, a NY Times bestseller.  When my husband released his 2nd book this fall we had no idea how it would be received.  We were blown away at the response it got as the book made it’s way to the New York Times bestseller list.




6.  An incredible vacation.  Halfway through this crazy ride, we took a family vacation.  The trip was a breath of fresh air for all of us.





7.  Abbey turned 1.  The first birthday is significant because you realize that you made it and if you can make it through the first year, you can make it through the next 17.





8.  7 Mile Miracle.  Our team wove the most unbelievable Easter worship experience and many people came to know Christ.





9.  Graham’s birthday trip.  Our Graham Graham turned 5 this year.  We snuck away for three nights with just him and had a blast.  It is always so special to spend time alone with one of our kids!





10.  Best Christmas ever.  Because of our amazing weekend support team, I was able to sit and hear my husband present the gospel 10 times that added up to 34 worship experiences city wide (plus one in Toronto!) and I got to do fun stuff with my children in between.  There is nothing like watching people stand and give their lives to Christ and there is nothing like doing church as a family.




11.  10 year wedding anniversary.  My husband and I celebrated 10 years of marriage this June and we can honestly say we not only still love each other but we also still like each other.





12.  I officially took up tennis.  I began taking lessons this summer for the 2nd summer in a row, only this year, I kept it up.  I have played tennis almost every week since July and am loving it.  If you know anything about me, you know this is huge for me as it is the longest I have ever played a sport (and actually the only sport I have ever learned).

You can eat pumpkin!

Fall is in the air and there is so much more out there past Starbuck’s pumpkin spice latte.  This weekend we painted and carved our pumpkins.  I got so into the Fall spirit, I was determined to make some pumpkin soup.  I found this recipe on my AllRecipes app and changed it up just a bit.  It was so easy!

My children were not huge fans.  Graham said “I don’t like it.”  Elijah said, “I like it but I don’t want to eat any.”  Abbey refused to even try it.  BUT, Steven and I loved it.  We have been enjoying the leftovers for days!

The recipe calls for 4 c of pumpkin puree.  I used 2 cans plus a scoop from a 3rd can.  I was not interested in actually cooking and pureeing my own pumpkin.  The recipe also called for chopped onion.  We have an onion hater in our house so I subbed in onion powder.

So here’s the recipe…

6 c chicken stock
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves pressed
1/2 c heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients except the parsley and the cream.  Bring to a boil, simmer  on low for about 40 min.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cream.

Garnish with parsley and a tiny swirl of the cream.


Also, try roasting your pumpkin seeds (delicious but warning, they are time consuming to clean).  See my recipe here.  And don’t forget to make pumpkin bread.  This recipe is tried and true from Southern Living magazine.  The bread is delicious and not too spicy tasting.

Happy Fall!

The days are long but the years are short

Well the dreaded day has come and gone.  This week, both of my babies headed off to school.  Elijah is in 1st grade, Graham is in TK (transitional kindergarten) at the same school, and Abbey is home.  I am happy to report that we have an amazing school and wonderful teachers. I am also happy to report the boys were early to school every day so far this week (yay me!).

Have you ever heard the saying, the days are long but the years are short?  It is so true.  When they are fighting in the backseat of the car the days feel so long but I know that before I blink, they will be driving off to college.  So I will do my best to enjoy each moment the best that I can.

First day of school…

Changing the chores

If you have read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I am always changing up the way I manage my children’s responsibilities.  Sometimes we have no responsibilities, sometimes we have more.   Sometimes I reward them, sometimes I don’t.  I find it so hard to be consistent with any system I come up with.  And I am becoming ok with that.  Kids like change, right?

Recently I decided for the summer I would try daily chores that were done right after breakfast.  Our mornings are not rushed so why not start the day off with a straight house?  Instead of coming up with some teachery creative way to display this, I just made each of them a list.  I drew pictures for Graham’s (no laughing please).

My kids were so into this.  They loved checking their items off.  Of course Abbey with her bed head had to have a list too.  No one got paid in anything more than a hug or a high five and it felt great.  I don’t know how long it will last but it worked yesterday and we will try it again tomorrow.


Another Beach Boy

What does Daddy always tell you?


I am so proud to be teamed up with Steven Furtick raising these three kids.  For Father’s Day I interviewed our boys and then created a book for my husband with pictures and their answers.  Their answers were too good not to share…


Describe what Daddy looks like?  How tall is he?  How much does he weigh? What color are his eyes?  His hair?
G: Black hair, black eyes, light and brown skin, he is 100 feet tall, I don’t know how much he weighs because I have never seen him step on the weigher.
E: He is about 5.3 feet tall.  He weighs probably 83.5 pounds (I’m guessing).  His eyes are brown, his hair is black.

What does Daddy do at work?

G: He works on stuff about Elevation.  He works about stuff he tells people about Jesus.
E: He sort of works on what he’s gonna do on his sermon

Who is Daddy’s best friend?
G: Abbey, Mommy, Me and Elijah.  But mostly mommy.
E: Mommy, Mr. Chunks, me and Graham

What are Daddy’s favorite foods?
G: Chicken, shrimp, meat, BBQ
E: Shrimp, spaghetti, spicy stuff

How are you like Daddy?
G: We both like shrimp
E: People say we look alike. We both have brown eyes.

What is Daddy good at?
G: Fixing egg sandwiches, driving us
E: Watching tv, eating, sleeping, wrestling, playing sports

What does Daddy like to do for fun?
G: Wrestle
E: Wrestle, swim, he reads to us

What is your favorite thing about Daddy?
G: That he always wrestles with us
E: How he’s always doing whatever he says he’s gonna do

What do you love about Daddy?
G: When he took me to the baseball game
E: How daddy is such a great man and how he is going to change many people’s lives

What does Mommy love about Daddy?
G: How he always lets Mommy choose what we do
E: Because they’re married

Which Bible character reminds you most of Daddy?
G: David because he beated up bad people and Daddy beats up bad people
E: Goliath because he’s strong

What is one thing that Daddy has taught you?
G: How to swing a baseball bat
E: How to ride a bike

What does Daddy always tell you?
G: About Jesus
E: Secrets

What makes Daddy happy?
G: When he opens the door from a trip and me and Bubba and Abbey run and give him a hug
E: Love

What does Daddy know a lot about?
G: Jesus
E: The Bible