Tuesday, July 22, 2014


I've been studying the life of Paul.  I've heard the story of his transformation on Damascus Rd. before and I knew that his name changed from Saul to Paul, but I wanted to get a refresher.  One of the good things about personal bible study is that I always learn something new or have a new insight on something I may have read before.

So just a little background, Saul was a Jewish man who did not believe in Jesus Christ. He was spending a lot of time and energy persecuting those who did believe in Jesus. He actually went to a High Priest and requested the authority and permission to find believers and chain them up and bring them back if they they were found to be believers.

As he was traveling looking for believers to imprison is when he had the "Damascus Rd." experience.  This is when he fell to the ground and heard a voice asking him why he was harrassing and persecuting.  He was actually blinded, even though the passage says his eyes were open for a period of a few days.

The Lord spoke to a disciple named Ananias and gave him instructions to go to where Saul was and lay hands on him so that he would regain his sight and also be filled with the holy spirit. Ananias had already heard of Saul and how he was persecuting believers. He responded, "I have heard many people tell about this man, especially how much evil and great suffering he has brought on your saints in Jerusalem. Now he is here with authority to put chains on all who call upon your name."  

Essentially Ananias was saying, "Hey, I've heard of this evil man and he has the authority and the reputation of causing problems for any believers and I don't want to be anywhere near him."  And really this is an understandable position.   The Lord's response to Ananias was, "Go! For this man is a chosen instrument of mine to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the descendants of Israel."

So I've been thinking about Saul/Paul's transformation. And I'm thinking about a man who was driven to persecute those who were believers. And yet, in the blink of an eye he was changed. He was transformed.  And even when Ananias was still afraid of him and didn't want to be anywhere around him, he was told "This man in chosen..."  This is a reminder that we have no control over who God may chose as an instrument in our lives.  AND he truly has the power to transform someone completely.

There are times when I remind myself that there is nothing too big or too hard for God and then there are other times that situations or even people are just "written off" in my mind.  No situation is so bad that God cannot fix it if he so chooses.  

I have had some situations that I may not have said I wrote them off, but in my heart I had resolved that they were a lost cause. Things that I'd previously prayed about consistently but stopped. And out of the blue, things shifted.  

So for me it is a good time to re-read about Saul/Paul's life and ministry. It's a great reminder that God can turn things completely around when you least expect it.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Your Presence

Last week we had Vacation Bible School at church.  I use to love VBS as a child and it's one of the things I always want my kids to grow up having experienced. I can tell that Tyler enjoys his classes, whether they are Sunday school or some other special event at church. I've noticed he has made friends with other guys his age and so when we get to church, he always goes his separate way.  Sometimes I'll pass his friends and they always say, "Hi Ms. Conerly."  I'm glad that he's starting to feel "at home" and apart of this church.

There are times when I miss my old church. I grew a lot spiritually there and I always loved the other classes I took. My current church doesn't have as many classes, but it's much better for children's events.

We use to attend Wednesday night bible study frequently and i fell off with doing that in recent months. But I've decided we are going to start back going.  This past week at VBS, I was in an adult class. After class one of the ladies came up to me and hugged me and told me she missed seeing us on Wednesdays. Now just a little background. I don't know her name and I'm sure she doesn't know mine. Her child and Kayden are usually the only two kids in the nursery on Wednesday nights. So we always saw each other dropping off and picking up our kids. We speak in passing but had never held a conversation.

As we were talking, she was telling me that she hasn't been to Wednesday night service in a while b/c one of her other kids was in sports. So basically we hadn't seen each other b/c both of us had been missing. What was interesting is that we didn't know each other and never talked but I guess we missed each other's presence.

My church is very large and considered a mega church. So there's 3 possible times you could go to Sunday worship. I never saw her there b/c she goes either earlier or later.  But one of the things that was interesting was she asked me why I never come to Sunday School. I told her that I attend service at the same time that Sunday school goes on.  So she was telling me about their Sunday school class. There are a few different ones depending on your stage in life. There's a regular class, young adult one and one for married couples.  She attends the married couples class. The way that she was telling me about it was like she wanted me to come. And as she was talking I started wondering if she thought I was married?   And why she thought this b/c I'm sure she's never seen me with a man at church lol.

But this conversation just made me think about one of my concerns when I joined this church. It was a better fit for the kids but it was also large and I worried about not feeling like there is a community or like they are family b/c it's so big. This encounter with her was just a reminder that even in a large place, you can still have "community."  

This week at VBS as I was waiting on Tyler, I saw his teacher walking with him. And I was thinking, "he better not be in trouble."  She was actually coming to meet us. She said she's taught tyler in Sunday School for a while and he always talks about his little brother AND asks for snacks for his little brother also and she wanted to make sure he actually had a little brother lol.  I was glad she took the time to come and meet me and Kayden. It just further confirms that now we've been apart of this church about a year and a half and members for about a year and yes, we do have a sense of community and family.

I think I mentioned before that I love listening to the messages from Elevation church online weekly. Well yesterday I asked Tyler if he wanted to check it out. Sometimes he will listen to the messages and ask me questions. He also has a few friends from school who attend this church.   And so we went.

I can say that the church is very welcoming to guests/visitors.  We got special parking, a VIP thing and tshirts.  I enjoyed the message just as I thought I would but I also could not see myself feeling "community" there.  And that's ok. Every church isn't for everyone.  Tyler did ask if he can participate with their church in an upcoming event they're having for middle and high schoolers so I'm going to allow him to do that. It will be a good experience for him.

I'm curious about you. If you were absent from your church for a while, would anyone notice?  When you notice that someone is away, do you ever reach out to them?  Do you feel a sense of community at your church?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nurture & Environments

The home daycare that Kayden goes to has lots of flowers. The front of the home is full of pretty roses and the back yard looks like a flower garden. There are roses of all colors, benches, water spouts, etc. It's a very peaceful environment.  His daycare provider loves flowers and tends to them very diligently.  Kayden is with her from about 8-430 Monday thru Friday.

I bought fresh flowers on Tuesday.  Whenever I buy fresh flowers, I notice kayden looking at them. Sometimes he tries to touch them and sometimes he sniffs them.  This photo was snapped yesterday. He climbed up on the table and I noticed he was sitting quietly with his eyes closed just smelling the roses.

I've been thinking about his appreciation for little things like flowers. I believe that the environment that he is in influences the things that he pays attention to.  And I'm sure the daycare probably stops to smell her flowers when she takes the kids out to play. And he's started doing this as well.

Kayden is very affectionate.  I'm sure that other toddlers his age are also big on hugs, kisses and overall affection. Maybe I pay more attention to the things he does b/c I'm older and this isn't my first time being a mom or maybe I just have a different mindset now than what I had when I was a younger mom when Tyler was the same age. But he seems to value affection.

Of course he's a "normal" two year old which means he has lots of tantrums when things doesn't go the way he wants. Sometimes he cries before he says what he wants and Tyler and I simply look at him and ask him to use his words and tell us what is wrong. He's getting much better about this.

He receives lots of positive affirmations at home, at daycare and at the nursery at church each Sunday.  I'd say that other than having more time with his dad, the environment that I'm raising him in is optimal for our circumstances.

I'm always reflecting and correcting and trying to make sure that I am raising the boys in the best manner that I can. I've been thinking about the debate of nature vs. nurture and just curious to your thoughts on this?  How do you think nurture plays into how a child turns out vs nature?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In His Hands

I was reading this Instagram account. Well it's pictures like a normal account but there are lengthy descriptions under each photo that explains what's occurring.  This lady was documenting her pregnancy. She was a very big yoga enthusiast and had been doing yoga throughout her pregnancy. She and her husband had planned and planned for their little baby boy.  And when it was time for delivery, what started off as a normal delivery went very wrong quickly.  The baby's heart stopped beating and she had to have an emergency c section.  He lived 4 or 5 days after that.  He passed away on Saturday.

Think about what you were doing on Saturday.. I was dying my hair. I was doing laundry. I was picking out a birthday gift for a little girl. Kayden and I went to a birthday party and had hotdogs, cupcakes and hamburgers.  We came home and snuggled for a little while and then it was time for bed.

While we were doing this and while you were doing whatever you were doing, a mom lost her baby.

Neither of my kids were planned. To be quite honest I was afraid with both of them. Wondering if I was ready to be someone's mom and then if I could handle being two people's moms.  Initial hesitancy and anxiety but then I started imagining myself as their mom and what they would look like. By the time the pregnancy was ending, I was ready. I was expecting to see their little faces. I was expecting to hear their unique cry.  I was ready to hold them in my arms.  I was also expecting to bring them home.  Home for each of them was a different place. But in both places, I had a room set up.  I had all that they needed in that room.  Before they ever showed their faces to the world, they were already apart of MY world.  Can you imagine all of the preparations and then what you thought you'd have was gone?  I cannot.

I had a trying day today.  There are some things that I feel totally powerless about. I go from blaming myself to blaming someone else to back to this is what I have to deal with and I'm equipped so I just need to accept it.  In the midst of the frustration, I thought I probably need some alone time. Which basically means shutting myself off in my room and going to bed super early. So I can wake up and try again tomorrow.  But I had a thought about something.

Last night I was in class at Vacation Bible Study and we were discussing wombs.. Specifically this scripture,

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
    you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
    Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
    I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
    you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day."  Psalms 139:13-16

I've been thinking about this passage. Thinking about my children. How I may not have planned them. How I may not have known what being their mom would be like, what joys I'd have or what trials I'd face, but God knew.  Of course I can't see what their tomorrow looks like or even my own tomorrow. But reading this is a reminder that all the stages, phases, seasons, ups and downs, etc. were all prepared for us and we all are here for a reason and purpose.

This picture above is a photo of my hand and Kayden's.  That solo time I'd said I wanted, I put on my pjs early and sat in my bed.  He came and climbed in the bed with his blanket and before i knew it, he was sitting in my lap. And he was holding my hand.  Such a sweet gesture.

God knows just what I need before i even know I'll need it.  My heart is sad for the lady who didn't get those sweet moments with her baby boy.  Somethings we don't understand why they happen the way that they do, but as hard as it is we have to trust that its all according to the plan.

So while there may be days of frustration that revolve around responsibilities as a mom, I wouldn't trade it. Even with the hard days or the sad days, i'm blessed to have my little guys in my life.. And each day that I get with them is one more day of blessings..

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Mind Dump

  • I had a pretty good day today so far. Whenever I'm caught up on work, my days are peaceful.
  • I had a great weekend.. Let's see, Friday I attended Tyler's parent showcase at the engineering camp he went to.
  • I was very happy to see how many projects they had done. He learned a lot and had fun.  I was talking to one of the parents and she told me that Tyler's school placed often in this past year's Science Olympiad and I should "make" him do it this year.  
  • Friday, Kayden got a new bike. He's been fascinated with bikes and always climbing on Tyler's and so he got one for his birthday.. He loves it and I had to actually hide it yesterday b/c he wouldn't get off of it.
Saturday, I woke up and decided it was time to refresh my hair color... I think I did a pretty good job. ~pats myself on the back~

  • Later on Saturday, I took Kayden to a birthday party. He had fun running around.
  • Sunday we went to church.  I previously bought myself new shoes as a Mother's Day gift to myself. This was one of the pair of shoes and I finally wore them.
  • Kayden has learned how to climb out of his crib.. Keeping him in the bed this weekend when it was bedtime was a chore. Everytime I put him to bed adn closed the door he was right back out walking around.. Last night he even got out in the middle of the night and was sleeping on the sofa... Scary..
  • Yesterday we watched cartoons most of the afternoon and I played soccer with him for a while in the house.. Once I got tired of playing, he kept jumping on me hugging me very tight.. Here's one of the photos from yesterday.

This week our church is having VBS. I'm looking forward to it.. What do you guys have going on this week?