#Frugal Living – An intro

#Frugal Living

If life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  It’s a commonly used phrase  to say, make the best out of a bad situation.  Our life is anything but a bad situation.  It’s a great situation and Amy and are always saying how much we love our crazy, blessed and chaotic life.  Actually when we look at that statement, we instead see that it’s really a testament of stewardship.

Stewardship, making the most of what you got.  It’s been a theme of our lives, likely sown into us as we lived, worked, ate, played and shopped in Belize.  Amy and I LOVE to make the most of what we have, whether that’s the wood left over in the eaves of our garage from the previous home owners or the land that’s around our house.  We’re maximizers at heart.

Our whole family has gotten into stewarding what we have.  In addition to that, Amy is so passionate about helping families find margin in their finances and learning how to maximize what you’ve got.  Stewardship – making the most of what you have.

Awhile back, we were at an Apple Festival and Amy signed up for a home food delivery service to come out and give their “pitch”.  I asked after she signed up what she was doing and she said “They give you free food after the pitch.”’  So it comes time for the pitch and as it turns out, they actually cook the food in your oven and then it’s a taste test (not exactly what we were hoping for).  However, we did get the left overs for lunch.  The salesman asked “so what’s your monthly grocery bill.”  Amy answered: $400 per month .  His response was “for all of you,” and Amy said yes.

His heart sank. He knew that he couldn’t get his product services as low as our typical grocery budget.  He knew we weren’t his best client.  In fact, as someone formerly in sales, I was eating all of this up. I enjoyed the pitch, the salesmanship, the endearing himself to us and our way of life.  It was great salesmanship.  We left with let us review and then we will be in contact.

I got disappointed in the salesman because he never called back, never reached back out.  He knew we weren’t buying and he didn’t waste his time on a cold case.

As you all know Amy doesn’t work.  She doesn’t work for a variety of reasons but primarily it boils down to, desire to partner in ministry together and the blessings that is to our marriage and church and family choices.

Therefore, our budget is pretty fixed.  Over time, and especially after living in Belize, we began to develop frugal habits and became passionate about sharing some of them with our friends.

We would hope over the next few months to share some of those frugal living habits with you all, our audience.  As my mentor would tell me “Take the meat and throw away the bones.”  The same applies here.  Take what you want to apply to your life and don’t apply what you don’t want to.  We hope our anecdotes, tricks and tips are as much entertaining and funny as they are practical.  Our life is an adventure.  Come on this #frugalliving adventure with us!

To get us started, I thought I would share a very recent #Frugal Living Story

I am bald well not bald my hair is receeding….far.  In fact it looks pretty janky if I don’t’ keep it trimmed, really close, like I have to use the balding shears.

Anyway, since I can’t grow much hair on my head anymore I LOVE to have a beard (although it’s starting to get a bit more than speckled with gray hair).  So I was in our bathroom and we keep the razors in a medicine cabinet that is over the toilet.  And we have kids, who seem incapable of actually flushing the toilet and NEVER put the seat up / down or close the lid.

So it’s a morning I just got back from a run, quick shower, and trim the beard before a meeting out of the house.  I see the razor needs to be changed, so I grab the new blade and it slips.  And falls faster than a speeding bullet….all the way down into the toilet, with it’s water of a deep yellow hue….thanks to one of the boys.

So there I am needing to trim the beard. There’s another cleaner razor blade outside of the pee-filled toilet but there’s the brand new razor that’s just SITTING THERE in the boys’ pee.  TAUNTING ME!  What to do?!  It may cause plumbing problems and it definitely is wasted money if I do nothing.

So I did what any self-respecting person who’s on a fixed budget would do.  I plunged my hand in the toilet (filled with “yellow water” by the way), grabbed the blade, washed it off and it’s now on my razor!  YUCK. ICK.  GROSS.  Sometimes #frugal living isn’t glamorous but it’s always the right price!

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Not mine but Your’s

A prayer request from last week’s post….

Court – We have a court case for L and her future THIS WEDNESDAY.  Pray for clarity and favor for those presenting evidence to the judge.  Pray for wisdom for the judge.  And pray for peace for our family, for L, for her bio family and all those impacted by the judge’s decision on Wednesday

Well we had court and The Lord answered your prayers!  He provided wisdom for the judge and is providing peace for those involved.

It was OUR plan for L’s mom’s rights to be terminated.  It is OUR plan to adopt L if we have the opportunity.  It was OUR plan to be done fostering with the meetings, the visits, the this, the that.

And this court date was supposed to go OUR way.

Only it didn’t.  It went God’s way.  So now we trust and we pray!  The judge ruled that L’s mom is making progress and we will review again in 6 months.

Join us as we pray for L’s mom!  We are praying that she continues to make progress to reunification, if it is God’s plan.  We are praying most of all that she meets Jesus.  That she meets a NEW LIFE in Christ and is forever and eternally changed.  We pray that her life reflects Christ redemption plan and His glory in all she is and all she does!

AND We celebrate!  We have 6 more months until the next court date and we don’t know the outcome.  But from now until then we CELEBRATE at least 6 more months with L, the life of the party!  She’s our wonderful 3 1/2 year old going on 18!

Thank you for praying for her, her mother, for us as we celebrate and for Jesus’s glory to shine brightly in all we say and do!

For now and forever We trust and we pray!  It’s the Edmonds Adventures there’s really no other way!

Proverbs 3:5-6

 

New Things

So it’s been a little over a month since Z has left our house and we grieve.  We’re sad on days and we’re sadder on others.  We talk about her as often as we need to and fortunately (some) of us get to see her when picking up L from visits or going to lunch at school.

Eli and Amy have it the hardest.  They haven’t seen Z in a long time and Z was Eli’s playing buddy for a lot of the time.  And Z was / is (whatever it is I’m not sure) Amy’s daughter.

We all went to see a performance that Madeline was in at the elementary school and Z was there.  The moment Amy saw her all the emotions started flooding over Amy.  Amy grieved, was sad, and mad all simultaneously.

We know many will say “Well Z was not your daughter”  But we would disagree.  We had to make a decision that was best for her and the rest of our family.  It was a decision that we have total peace about BUT feel the devastating loss about as well.

NEW THINGS

All that to say is that our life over the last month has been lots of new.  New Rhythms. New Activities.  New Adjustments.  It’s been fun and hard.  Some quick updates on each of us.

  • Amy – Amy’s been splitting her time evenly between partnering with me in Children’s Ministry (something we swore we would never do again together when we moved to Belize…My how God Laughs) and her garden.
    • Children’s Ministry Curriculum– It is an amazing blessing to have Amy’s expertise in teaching as she leads the way editing our children’s ministry curriculum!  She painstakingly and prayerfully agonizes over each activity filtering it through “is this going to make Jesus famous?” / does this communicate the Gospel clearly?”  I am so blessed to have this person in my house.  It’s almost as if God was preparing her as a teacher for this role now.
    • Financial Stewardship – She not only edits the curriculum but is the driver on finding the best deals for supplies ensuring we are honoring God with finances in the children’s ministry.  I always ask her this is what we need – who has the best deals?  She mentally flips through the sales ads and coupons that are in her head and immediately comes up with the best option.
    • Organization – Amy’s the organizer of our house and the primary organizer of the “stuff” in Children’s Ministry.  And goodness there is so much stuff!  Two full supply rooms, plus a room for donations.  CRAZY!  But one of Amy’s love languages is ORGANIZING, so she goes right at it!
    • Garden – When Amy’s not volunteering her time at church to help with the children’s ministry or managing the house (She’s super woman you know?), she’s out in the garden.  We took on about a 50% garden expansion this year that allowed for the growth of certain crops (e.g. 100 onion plans) and the addition of some others (black beans).  I would list all the crops we have going but it would probably take too long and I’d leave some off.  But our family is thrilled to be blessed with an amazing garden again this year!
  • Madeline – Madeline is finishing up the 2nd grade year and is amazing!  She so enjoys school and her friends.  Most of all she enjoys READING.  Her teacher even joked that she finishes her work as fast as possible to get back to reading whatever book she’s into. The librarian at school calls her “my most consistent customer.”  We guess she’s reading about a book a day right now and are concerned about the number of trips we have to take to the library this summer!!
  • Jojo – Jojo is almost done with his Kindergarten year!  He’s still ever the servant.  Even from an early age he served his sister and now serves all the kids in his class.  It’s even gotten to the point that all the girls have told me they have crushes on him because he helps them!  I told Jojo “hey that’s what got me your mommy so keep it up!”  He loves school and loves anything sport!
  • Elijah – Our Belizean boy Elijah just graduated from preschool last week.  And seriously I wasn’t crying at his graduation it was just dusty / or maybe someone was chopping onions!  Seriously, Elijah is a clown, goof, and the most sensitive and serious all at the same time. He’s the one that is preaching in our house sharing the Gospel with everyone and always asking questions about the Bible!  What was the dumb stuff Judah did?  How is Jesus a Lion??  Amy and I were just talking the other night about all the trials he’s been through in his life.  We acknowledge that they aren’t as devastating nor as horrible things that happen all over the world but it’s almost as if the Lord has Elijah set apart and the enemy comes at Elijah trying to derail the course!  God’s got big plans for that boy.
  • L – L is the light of the family.  Her smile brightens any room and her love for her siblings and everyone is genuine.  She’s social…really social!  We just finished 2yr old preschool for her and she’s excited to be with mommy and everyone all summer!  She’s all smiles and sometimes a priss-pot with a whole lot of attitude as well!
  • Josh
    • Children’s Ministry – Well if Amy does all that for Children’s Ministry – what are you doing? Well to be honest we are partnering together in the ministry and it’s a beautiful, fun, and challenging partnership.  While Amy carries the curriculum mantle, I’m recruiting volunteers, following with families, reaching out to new families and those who haven’t’ been there in a while, meeting one on one with several volunteers and working on what’s next for the ministry (expansion, etc).  I took on learning Hoot Suite to up our social media interactions and transitioning some email features to make them more “aesthetically pleasing”.  We’re almost a year in and I feel like the first year was a whirlwind.  Now it seems we are getting our legs and ready to refine, and move forward.  Children’s Ministry takes up a lot of our time at “work” and at home but we live it breath it and love it!
    • Resourcing Parents –  I’m recently spending some time reading books to recommend for parents on any variety of subjects from anxiety and depression in kids and teens to how to handle technology today!  I’ve learned a lot and our poor kids (hopefully) cannot get away with anything!
    • Discipleship and Study – One of the most rewarding things over the past 6 months has been meeting with a couple of guys one on one studying the Bible together and getting a better understanding of who God is and what He’s done, so we can better live out a life of worship!  It’s been incredible watching these guys take next steps in the relationships with Jesus.
    • Birthday – Oh and I had a birthday this past week as well! 37 years young!
  • Family Time – Big family / fixed income = free activities or discounted activities for larger families! So our family days are filled with hikes, swimming at the pool in the neighborhood, puzzles and board games!  We had a blast on our first hike to a creek near our house…well minus the downpour we got caught in!  And our neighborhood pool is such a blessing!  We love connecting with new neighbors and swimming (read tiring out) with the kids!  And just passed this weekend my dad’s work sponsored a mud run and Madeline, Jojo, my dad, and I ran it!  It was the right price and a BLAST!!

So that’s a 30 second (probably took you more like 5 minutes) update on our family!  It’s been a full month, a month of grief, a month of fun, a month of full!  Here’s how you all can continue to pray for us!

Prayer Requests

  1. Financial Partnership – Our ministry partnership with Amy is functional because Amy does not work “full-time”.  In fact that’s why we raise support, so Amy can partner in the ministry.  We feel called and we feel that the Lord has uniquely designed and gifted us to do this together.  This requires faith that the Lord provides for our needs through financial partnership.  We are looking for 20 families or individuals to partner with us and our family in ministry at $25 / month.  If you are a family or individual that is interested in that, reach out to myself (joshua.m.edmonds@gmail.com) or Amy (edmonds.amy@gmail.com).  We would love to connect with you about how you can financially partner with our ministry in Winston-Salem.
  2. Court – We have a court case for L and her future THIS WEDNESDAY.  Pray for clarity and favor for those presenting evidence to the judge.  Pray for wisdom for the judge.  And pray for peace for our family, for L, for her bio family and all those impacted by the judge’s decision on Wednesday.
  3. Family – We are truly trying to make memories that last a lifetime.  Pray for us as we live this ministry family life.  Pray our kids pursue Jesus with all that they have.  And that they like us and each other…literally that we are a family so full of love and fun and most of all Jesus that they leave this summer liking being part of our family!

That’s a wrap friends!  It’s a new season we know!  It’s full of new things!  Most of all it’s full of reliance on God.  He is our everything!

Partners in ministry crazy – eyed on our hike with the kiddos…right before the deluge.

Beauty according to Amy – one of her organized “masterpieces”

Kick off to the pool season!

Sometimes partnering in ministry looks like buying the Dollar Store about of pool noodles

She’s a do it all kind of person.

Family fun Friday nights (weather permitting) always involve a fire and marshmallows

The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl

So yes of course, if you have been following our family at all, especially over the last month really, we’ve had some interesting changes.  But that’s for another time.  Another post.  I’ll get to that.  But what I really wanted to do is celebrate like crazy because Madeline turned 8 a couple of weeks back!

Amy and I can’t believe we have an 8 year old.  Are we old enough to have an 8 year old?  I mean I feel old enough to have an 8 year old.  In fact I ran 6 miles and biked another 4 today and have calf cramps now that run from my hips all the way to my heels!  Ugh!  That’s old feeling!

Madeline says now that she’s 8 she can know all the bad words.  She mentioned in the car the other day that she knew the “s” word.  I paused briefly and let her know the car was a safe space and that she could repeat it just this once but not again after that.  I wanted to verify (or gain CIA-level intel) into what she knew.  She lowered her voice to a whisper, leaned in, looked around (we were the only ones in car mind you) and said…”STUPID”

I (surprisingly) hid my chuckle and said: “Sounds about right.”  I then said when you’re 8 I’ll tell you all the bad words.  She responded that’s ok I already know the “H” word….HATE!  Great!  Sheltered so far so good!

But Seriously, 8 years old.  She’s starting to notice boys and boys are starting to notice her.  And at our Friday dates at lunch time, I notice the boys that are starting to notice her so I flex my muscles and make motions that I am watching them!

Madeline LOVES to read and consumes about a book every couple of days!

Madeline LOVES art  We played basketball and she’s currently doing running club at school BUT man does she love coloring, drawing, painting, sketching, building with play dough!  In fact she loves art so much that for her birthday she wanted a shirt that said “Art is my favorite sport.”

The other thing that Madeline LOVES is people.  She is the most compassionate, forgiving, empathetic and extroverted of the children.  Madeline’s favorite thing to do is to come home after finishing up homework, come outside and sit wherever Amy and I are (usually the garden) and just talk.  She loves hearing and sharing stories. Being present with people is way more important than presents!  She’s amazing!

When the kids were younger, I would put them to bed and sing them a song almost as a Lullaby.  Usually it was a praise song.  Now that Madeline turned 8; I asked the now “grown-up” Madeline if she wanted me to still do that or if she was too old.  She looked at me and said “Daddy I’ll never be too old for you to sing to me.”  So of course I sang while choking back the tears!

So Happy Birthday Madeline.  My prayer for you and my prayer that I pray over you is Proverbs 31:30 and Luke 2:52.  Would you join me in praying that over her as well!

Madeline’s Birthday Interview

  1. What is your favorite color?
    • Fucia (spelling?)
  2. What is your favorite toy?
    • Legos
  3. What is your favorite fruit?
    • Blood Orange
  4. What is your favorite tv show?
    • Liv and Maddie
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?
    • Quesadilla
  6. What is your favorite outfit?
    • I like to wear Pajamas a lot. I would wear them all day if I could.
  7. What is your favorite game?
    • Matching / Memory
  8. What is your favorite snack?
    • Pretzels
  9. What is your favorite animal?
    • Horse
  10. What is your favorite song?
    • Juju on that Beat
  11. What is your favorite book?
    • Dork Diaries
  12. Who is your best friend?
    • Kaleah
  13. What is your favorite cereal?
    • Rice Chex and Frosted Mini Wheats mixed together. That’s always what I eat…well if we have it.
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside?
    • Usually jump on the trampoline or play in the sandbox
  15. What is your favorite drink?
    • Sprite
  16. What is your favorite holiday?
    • Christmas
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night?
    • Lucy and a blanky
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
    • French Toast
  19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday?
    • Fried Chicken and Celery
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • A second grade teacher or a Kindergarten Teacher

An Ode to an Oldie

Meet Olaf.  No not that Olaf.

Madeline names our cars.  This something she picked up when we lived in Belize and had several staff automobiles.  We inherited some names and then got a couple of new ones.  Madeline took to naming them.  It’s something that just stuck when we moved back to the USA about 2 ½ years ago.

Therefore, meet Olaf. 

Olaf is a 1993 Ford Aerostar.  When we were moving back from the USA, we didn’t have a car, didn’t know what we would need for the house and prayed that we would have a car that could meet our needs.

Enter Olaf

At the time, Olaf was residing as a gently (rarely) used van at my grandparent’s house.  He enjoyed quick jaunts to church, the grocery store and well that’s about it.  In recent memory (before Olaf became part of our family and received his name), Olaf traveled less and less.

Enter our family.

Our family was growing, although not as big as it is now, and we needed transportation during furlough.  We didn’t have the capital to rent a car so Olaf was made available.  Good ol’ Olaf.  1993 Ford Aerostar.

A quick history on 1993 Ford Aerostars and me.

When I was 16, I was gifted a Ford Tempo…if you were ride or die with me in high school, you may remember that Tempo.  It was RED, really Red.  Red outside.  Red inside.  Red steering wheel, Red dash. In fact I am sure the instead of the tape deck was red.  Anyway, one day the Tempo and a Tahoe did a Tango when I was driving to school. Alas the Tempo was no more.

Enter my first experience with a 1993 Ford Aerostar.

My parents had a Buick Century and a Volkswagen Rabbit.  Then we had a Saturn.  And it was time for my dad’s new ride.  He wanted a truck.  He got a green 1993 Ford Aerostar, not quite sure that’s what he had in mind.  But dads are dads and sometimes you do that.  Don’t worry though, he is the proud owner of a Toyota Tundra King Cab, extended bed, super truck.  In fact I am quite sure it could qualify as a monster truck.

Let’s Continue.  Due to the Tango with the Tahoe for the Tempo, the van became my new ride of necessity.  It went to my senior prom.  It took me on dates.  One time I was sure that I was being chased around on neighborhood because I flashed my lights at a car that didn’t have their lights on…I am sure they were in the Bloods and I was going to die.  I didn’t die and our van got me thru it.  I hated that van.  It wasn’t what I wanted.  It wasn’t cool.  It wasn’t sleek or sporty.  I was a spoiled, rotten, terrible attitude about cars teenager that should have been thankful I had anything at all to drive and I wasn’t riding a bicycle everywhere.  Actually at that point, I was too out of shape to ride anywhere so I would have been really out of luck!  I did what every dumb teenager would do, I said “I will NEVER own a car like this.”

Olaf is born.

Around the same time that our family got our van, my dad’s brother (my uncle) and his family were in the market for a new (to them car).  Enter Olaf.  After searching for some time, my uncle and his family made the purchase and Olaf entered the Edmonds clan.

In a parallel universe, my grandparents finally got rid of their Ford Bronco (no it wasn’t white but maybe the OJ thing caused them to re-evaluate) and were down to one car. That’s ok because they were retired but eventually they needed a 2nd car.  So Olaf, after faithfully serving my uncle and his family for some time, was transitioned to my grandparents.

Fast-forward several years and our family is home on furlough.  We need an automobile.  We can’t afford to rent one on our missionary salary. Graciously, my parents and grandparents reckoned that Olaf could be for us.  And thus began our beautiful friendship!

He got us from point A to point B faithfully. 

There was of course the unfortunate incident where during a hard freeze outside I pulled off the handle of the sliding door.  Equally as unfortunate there’s not a real market for those side handles thus manufacturing for them had ceased.  The junk yards were out of them, so Olaf went without.

All this really meant for us is that we passed kids in through the windows on the driver side and kids climbed out the passenger side front door when being dropped off for school.  Man you should have seen those looks at carpool.

His horn stopped working once and we had to go hunt for a new part in the steering column, couldn’t find it, so we had an auxiliary one wired up.  I preferred to drive around with an air horn but Amy and apparently “the law” wouldn’t let me.

Olaf carried around children’s ministry supplies to two campuses and became a children’s ministry on wheels of sort, candy and crafts falling out of every door from time to time.

Olaf, is gone and that is sad.  But we are happy and blessed he chose to give up the ghost here at home.

Yesterday as Olaf was burning in the driveway (that’s literally what happened), we mused (after putting out the fire) about Olaf and how he was able to make one last return to my uncle’s house to say his goodbyes!

To Olaf a great car, a good joke, and as of 2018 officially a classic automobile (25 years old).  Twas a good run my friend.

Now we’re off.  It’s time to find the next Olaf.

How ya doin’?

So I’ve started this post a thousand times.  What on earth do I write?  I really don’t know.  How are y’all doing?  I’ve heard it a thousand times in the last two months…nah it’s probably been 3 months

I ask myself, do I really want to answer that?  Do you REALLY want to know?  It hurts too much.  Honestly, I was speaking with a great friend and mentor of mine and he was sharing the difference between sharing from scars vs. wounds.

  • Scars we have healed from. They’ve left their mark, for sure but we are healed.  And those marks, those scars, provide us with reminders of what happened.  I can look at scars on myself from bike accidents of yesteryear or at Amy’s scar on her knee from surgery and we can recount what happened.  Emotional scars are no different.  We look back at the situation when we feel the scar from the event upon our life.  And when we look back we can remember, recount, and realize the lesson learned.  We have endured.  We have learned and we’re on the other side.  Just like when a wound turns into a scar, it doesn’t need any active care….our emotional aren’t forgotten but they don’t need any active wound care from us.  From our scars we can actually be a position to teach, to correct, to provide lessons learned and direction.
  • Wounds are different. Just yesterday Jojo fell down.  He had a scrape on his elbow.  It was relatively deep but it necessitated some wound care.  Alcohol wipe, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic cream and Band-Aid.  This morning, we had to redress the wound.  It involved removing the covering, which re-opened the wound.  That was painful for him.  We had to provide more wound care, more stinging and more hurt for him.  Same wound, just treating it.  That treatment and covering is what is going to make it better.  With our emotional wounds, it’s not different.  We address them immediately or when we can.  We talk it out. We address the emotional hurt.  We apply bandages.  But there are times that they have to be re-opened.  At each re-opening of the wound, we hurt again.  We haven’t learned the lesson yet from our emotional wounds.  We don’t have the perspective of experience and time and it becomes more difficult to learn from them and teach from these wounds.

My friend was sharing that we can teach from our emotional scars.  Those may provide lessons and / or best practices.  But our emotional wounds, we should not.  As a wound heals, the lesson, the perspective is shifting and not fully-formed.

I share that today because we are in a place of many wounds.  How are we doing?  To be honest and completely transparent, it’s hard.  We’ve had a lot going on over the past few months so let me provide some updates rapid fire.

General Updates

  • Preaching – I had the amazing opportunity to share a word on temptation with our church at the beginning of December…not sure why I got tasked with that subject, something about having a lot of experience with successes and failures with it. Anyway, it was awesome and a GREAT time.  If you wanted to check out the podcast from the service….click here.
  • Get AWAY – Amy and I were tremendously blessed to be able to get away this past December for our 12 year anniversary. It was a great time to REST, REFLECT and plan for a new year.  It was filled with naps, cooking great food, playing board games, and watching Fixer Upper…I guess we are old.
  • Sports are a thing in our house – Jojo and Madeline have started playing basketball, and despite my better judgement I agreed to help coach Madeline’s team. Honestly, it’s a blast!  I love those 7 year old girls and the laughs they can provide, and some of the patience they are teaching me!  Madeline loves playing…although her dad wishes she would pay more attention.  Jojo LOVES basketball. He’s a lock down defender and really enjoys bringing the ball up the court.  The only challenge is Jojo and Madeline have games at the same time on many Saturdays so it’s been hard to catch both of them, especially when coaching.
  • Kindergarten here comes Elijah – hey remember when Elijah was born in Belize? Yeah, that was about 4 ½ years ago….which means that he is heading to Kindergarten this coming school year!  We are excited nervous and there are days…ok maybe a lot of days that we (ok I, Josh) cry snot bubble tears thinking about him growing up.
  • Christmas – We had an amazing time at Christmas with the girls making traditions and celebrating Jesus! Our family was AMAZING rallying around and celebrating Jesus with us and the girls!
  • Snow Days – We had A LOT of snow…TWICE! It was an adventure taking the girls out for the first time ever in the snow for them!  They built a snowman, sledded, ate SNOW…A LOT of snow, ate snow cream and drank hot chocolate…all for the first time!  And then it snowed again and we got to do all of it over!  It was an adventure!
  • New Floors – For 9 months Amy has researched the flooring she wanted in our front “formal living room” (now it’s our office) and dining room (actually kid’s homework and art room). Over the past week, Amy, in addition to running our house, ripped out the carpet, and laid the flooring!  Update – It looks AMAZING!!  Yes you know this, I know this but it should be stated again: My wife is simply a superstar!!

Ministry Update

  • Discipleship – Jesus called us to be disciples that make disciples. Through our lives, we have done this through small groups, mission teams, other relationships.  The Lord opened up opportunities to do that and I am enjoying meeting with two dudes every week reading the Bible together, and challenging each other to be better disciples, men, husbands, fathers and leaders!
  • Growth – The Lord continues to bless our church and bring in more families with kids! We even had the opportunity to provide 120 families of our church with everything necessary to have a Happy Birthday Jesus Celebration over Christmas!
  • One More – When we started working on the South Fork building almost 18 month ago, a little boy and his family were coming around all the time. They would “help” and we found out they were attending the church when they could.  Our volunteers started to love on Lil T and his family.  One volunteer family even bought winter coats for Lil T, his brothers and sisters!  Lil T came out 3 hours early for our first service in Feb 2017 and he has been there every Sunday since.  A couple of Sunday’s back our church was in week 2 of 21 days of prayer.  We prayed specifically that morning for our rWorld (children’s ministry) volunteer’s to lead a child to Christ.  That afternoon Lil T came up to one of our volunteers and was led to a decision in Christ!  One more in the Kingdom.  One more revolution of life-change sparked in the community God brought our church!  We’re fired up about that!
  • Community – While my community has come from the discipleship relationships the Lord has brought into my life, Amy has found rich community in her Wednesday evening rGroup (small group). It’s been awesome (and sometimes annoying) to hear Amy’s phone ding from all the texts and calls she gets daily.  What an answer to prayer!!

We enter Feb excited about finishing basketball strong with the kiddos.  We are excited about ministry opportunities and community.  We are excited to partner in this thing called life with each other!  We are expectantly looking forward to court and to Easter!  We look to God to sustain and encourage!  Thank you for praying for us as we heal from these wounds!

Retreat!

Post NYE celebration with shredded paper confetti

Homemade Slime is all the rage these days!

One of our 3 snowmen from Snow Dayz!

Look in the background there is Lil T curious about what we are doing there at this church. Over a year later, he has met Jesus and is ready to get Baptized!

Mommy and Jojo in their love language together of “projects”

Proud of his puzzle

Hide and seek genius…inside the gym bag

New floors look FLY

Praises and Prayer Requests – November 2017

Friends!  Happy Belated Thanksgiving and Merry Early Christmas!  From our family to your’s Gobble till you Wobble and Santa Baby!

It’s been an awesome time this month with family, friends, ministry and fun!  Times are always crazy but we have always said life is an adventure…thanks for adventuring with us!  Here’s some of the quick notes.

Tradition Makers

I remember the things that we did as a family, picking out the Christmas tree, “santa’ leaving the presents out instead of wrapping them, French toast on Saturday mornings.  As I got older, I remember not doing some of those things anymore and then still doing others!

Amy and I were looking at Thanksgiving and with family stuff on Thanksgiving day not really an option this year (NOTE: There was a large family event about 3.5 hours drive 1 way.  We declined to attend that), we were determined to make Thanksgiving Traditions.

So we got cinnamon rolls for breakfast, sat around in our PJs all day, listened to Christmas music, watched Christmas Movies and the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Day parade, played a couple of fun games and prepared and ate an AMAZING meal!  It was slow, low-key, relaxed and we LOVED it!

This got us thinking….how this year for Christmas will we continue to build on some of our family traditions and make new ones!  What are your traditions during this holiday season?  What about traditions / rhythms weekly or even daily?  Here are two of our more regular traditions.

  • Daily – Each night before the kids go to bed we tell them the following.  “You are so smart.  You are so beautiful (or handsome).  Mommy and Daddy will always love you no matter what.  And Jesus loves you even more.”
  • Weekly – This pleasantly plump adolescent ate mounds of French Toast every Saturday morning.  I think the most I ever got up to was probably 6 or 7 pieces.  Now that I am home on the weekends every weekend, I have started to prepare a French Toast breakfast like my mom did for me.  First it started out just for Amy and now the girls Madeline, Z and L wanted in on the action.  So each week, we go through about a carton of eggs, too much syrup, a loaf of bread, etc and sit down for our Saturday morning Breakfast tradition.

Traditions don’t have to be elaborate or they can be.  They don’t have to be out of the house!  Traditions are just routine experiences done with enough frequency and celebrations that they develop memories.  And those memories are what develops the desire for the routine experience!

School Update

  • Things are Wacky Tacky – Tuesday was Wacky Tacky Day at the elementary school!  We were so excited in our house.  I helped Jojo build his outfit and ultimately all he wanted to wear was a suit Jacket, one of my ties, and it was “tacky” because he had basketball shoes on.  I told him I have pictures from Easter one year of me wearing almost the same thing, only a worse tie and Reebok Pumps!  And Madeline and I spent some serious time planning her outfit.  The kids got off the bus and Madeline let me know Madeline was the Wackiest – Tackiest in her grade level.  She won the same “award” in Kindergarten as well!  Edmonds’ got style for dayzz!!!

Ministry Update

  • Children’s Ministry – continues to be a HUGE blessing.  I love getting to partner in ministry with my wife.  We are still figuring out how to best work together (more clearly, I am still figuring it out.  Amy knows already!).  We are continuing to see new families come into the church and even another (unrelated) Edmonds family which was cool!  December is upon us and it’s involved to say the least.  Continue to pray!  We will need pace and endurance to get through all the activities in the curriculum this month!  But it’s going to be AWESOME!
  • Students – You remember the post, A story about life-change.  Well our student ministry continues to expand at both campuses.  At our South Fork location, we have seen 3 students take their next step and begin to serve on Sunday’s!  That’s HUGE!  At our North Campus, we just completed a student retreat.  Fourteen students with volunteers unplugged for 3 days (no phone, no internet, no tv) and instead of being engrossed in those spent time studying God’s Word together.  The students came back on FIRE for God and a had a legit hunger and thirst for His Word.
  • Community – Amy and I are still evaluating community for us!  Couples group?  Family group?  Meeting with men for me to lead, Amy to be part of a women’s group.  Prayers for wisdom, discernment and appropriate margin and opportunities to meet this need and deep desire to have deeper and stronger relationships with our peers!
  • Preaching – I am preaching this weekend at our South Fork Campus!  I am so excited to share God’s Word with our people (and so nervous too)

Praises and Prayer Requests:

  • Praise and Prayer Request – Financial Partners – Praise God we have had a couple of additional financial partners join our team!  Thank you and again Praise God.  We are still praying for $250/month in additional support.  If you are thinking about partnering with our family in ministry financially, let me or Amy know.  We would love to share about ministry here in Winston Salem, NC at our church or with Z and L.
  • Pray – Multiplication – We are praying specifically over the next season for multiplication.  Multiplication of disciples, of leaders, of kids in the children’s ministry, of rooms.  We are praying specifically that God is NOT waiting on us to multiply.  We wont be caught not ready.  Pray that God will multiply and we will be prepared!
  • Pray – Student Ministry –  Our student ministry is growing and thriving!  We have students taking next steps (desiring to serve, desiring to grow deeper in their relationship with Jesus).  Continue to pray as we preach over the next few weeks on the Bible, The Holy Spirit, and Fasting.  Pray that our students would latch onto the Gospel and have their lives transformed by Jesus.
  • Pray – GET AWAY – Amy and I are about 2 weeks away from 3 days without any kids!  Be in PRAYER now that it will be a time of reflection over the last year. Be in PRAYER now that it is a time of expectation for the new year.  Pray for rest!  Pray for fun!  It’s going to be AMAZING!
  • Pray – Preaching – This weekend I am preaching at one of our campuses!  Pray for our house to be a place of peace as I work on the final preparations.  Pray for nerves.  Pray specifically that it’s NOT TOO SHORT!  I’m excited just nervous!

Friends, thank you for petitioning the Lord with us!  God is on the move.  We have so much to be thankful for!  How can we be praying for you all?!?

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Wacky Tacky Kindergarten Champion!

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Date breakfast with the wife – we’re so cool. Calendar Planning!

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Because who doesn’t love the Habit ReSTORE for a date location

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Love our leadership time as a staff each and every week

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2nd grade WACKY TACKY CHAMP!

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Decorating the Christmas Tree at Grandma Jane’s house with the cousins!