Why We are Starting a Love Fund

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When you think of the term “love fund”, your first notion of it would probably be similar to a “honey fund.” A honey fund is a certain amount of money set aside for you and your spouse to use to buy one another little gifts, surprise them with a special date, etc. While that is a wonderful idea and loving your spouse in this way is important, it is not the direction we are going with our love fund.

During the month of February, the Pearson family is committing to a Zero-Spending month. This challenge is in step with Ruth Soukup’s “31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero.” We are finally doing it!

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait…what does that mean? That sounds scary.”

It is. Especially for me–the spender of the family. But I am also very excited.

During the whole month of February, we are cutting out all unnecessary spending in order to save as much as possible. All unnecessary spending includes the following:

  • Clothing
  • Trinkets, decorations, craft supplies, baking supplies, etc.
  • Restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream shops, etc.
  • Dates and Childcare
  • Entertainment
  • Household items

Not only will we be cutting those items out, but we will be limiting our grocery budget and toiletries to the bare minimum and using what we have on hand (our pantry and freezer is full of stuff that needs to get eaten). We will still be responsible adults and pay all of our bills, our mortgage, and insurances. We will still have internet and phone service. We are just cutting out the purchasing of unnecessary things.

I will repeat that I am very excited about what this commitment means. While I may not be excited about not being able to get buy a coffee or go out to lunch on a whim this month, I am excited for what we can do with the money we save. With the money we save, we would like to put some towards vacations, some towards celebrating our 5th anniversary this year, and some towards Corra’s 2nd birthday. But a portion of it will be used to start an exciting project: our LOVE FUND.

Our LOVE FUND will be used to love our neighbors (actual neighbors, friends, church family, strangers, and family) as Jesus taught us. This fund will be used to pay for a friend’s lunch because I love her. This fund will be used to buy a card and flowers for friend who just lost a loved one. This fund will be used to make a church family a couple meals after they have welcomed a new baby. This fund will be used to buy supplies and make gifts for those we would like to thank. This fund will be used to buy Gatorade, crackers, chicken noodle soup, and tissues when a friend is sick (I have had two friends do this for me already this winter. They are so awesome). This fund will be used to send a special gift to a long-distance family member who is going through a hard time. This fund will be used to buy a meal for a lonely stranger at the intersection.

We want God to use this fund for His glory. All of our money is His, and we especially want this fund to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are praying that the Holy Spirit will move us to action when the time is right. I have often been afraid to help someone out because I would think to myself, “I would love to help out, but we will go over our budget if I help in that way.” I am not saying that you have to have money in order to love your neighbor. That is unbiblical and untrue. But being wise stewards of our money, giving it away, and using it to love others is definitely Biblical:

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

We have always had a desire to love others the way we have been loved. In our marriage, we have had friends buy us dinner, give us special gifts for no reason, buy us groceries when we are sick, and give us flowers for a special event in our lives. We want to love others in similar ways too. Someday, it is our hope to pay off our house, and save, save, save, so that we can give, give, and give some more (high five Dave Ramsey!). We just simply didn’t want to have to wait until we are 60 to be able to start loving others with the money God has blessed us with. That is why we are starting a small now and hope to grow our love fund in the years to come.

I had the pleasure of being on the launch team this past fall for a wonderful book called “Listen, Love, Repeat” by Karen Ehman. It is filled with an abundance of creative ways to love your loved ones and the people you encounter in every day life. Our love fund is a culmination of a lot of inspiration I gained from her book.

And for the next two weeks, the She Reads Truth community is going through a study called “Making Room,” which studies passages in the Bible that center around hospitality and loving your neighbor. It has been encouraging to read about why God wants us to show love to our neighbors and to answer the question, “who is my neighbor?” with Jesus as the focal speaker.

Josh and I are both excited for this challenge (Josh especially because he would prefer to do this every month!). Will you take it with us? What can you cut out this month to start your own little love fund? Feel free to share below!

To God Be the Glory Forever,

Sierra Leanne

 

Celebrating the Gospel Every Day in 2017, Part 2

img_8332I love a good party. The food. The décor. The games. The dessert. The entertainment. The people….and THE PLANNING. I know, I know…I’m one of those crazy people that probably enjoys the planning as much as the party itself. I’m a Pinterest party junkie. If I could make a job out of just researching and planning parties, I would…maybe someday???

I love to celebrate. Amidst all of the hardships, heartache, sin, and evil that is in this world, I still believe there is much to celebrate in the life God has given us. Babies, promotions, baptisms, graduations, engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, milestones, accomplishments, meeting a goal, life, beauty, joy, love, friends, family, children…it’s a long list, but I love to celebrate it all. And do you know what all these parties point back to? Our GOOD, GRACIOUS, LOVING Father. He created all the good things in life, and I just want to celebrate them all! Because in this world that is still full of darkness, we need hope. We need pure joy and fun. We need to laugh. We need to enjoy the good things and give thanks!

All the good things in this world, all the things that we celebrate…they are in no comparison to the party that is awaiting us in heaven. When Jesus returns and sin is no more, the party in heaven is going to be like nothing we have ever experienced. It will be wonderful, glorious, and beautiful. And we will be celebrating with the One who created all the good things that we celebrate. All the good will be packed into one marvelous party with our Lord and all our brothers and sisters in Christ. We will feast with Jesus, our Bridegroom, at last. It will be a day that is too magnificent to describe.

Then I heard again what sounded like the shout of a vast crowd or the roar of mighty ocean waves or the crash of loud thunder:

“Praise the Lord!
    For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Let us be glad and rejoice,
    and let us give honor to him.
For the time has come for the wedding feast of the Lamb,
    and his bride has prepared herself.
She has been given the finest of pure white linen to wear.”
    For the fine linen represents the good deeds of God’s holy people.

And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”

Revelation 19:6-9

The Every Day Celebrating of the Gospel

So how do you celebrate the gospel every day in a practical but meaningful way?

Well, it’s not very realistic to throw an party every. I don’t have the time, energy, nor the money to do so. But really, how am I going to celebrate the gospel every day in 2017 that fits into daily life and mothering? How can I help my daughter to celebrate the gospel with me in tangible, simple ways?

That is what I am setting out to do this year. I want to gospel of Jesus Christ to be alive in our home every day. I want the truth of God’s amazing grace and salvation through His Son to fill every ordinary and extraordinary day in our lives.

Here are just some of the ways I am going to celebrate the gospel every day:

  1. Being in God’s Word first thing in the morning. Since last spring I have been using a Bible study tool called She Reads Truth. This wonderful organization goes through books of the Bible weekly and/or monthly. Depending on the study, it can be two weeks long or up to seven weeks long. I love these Bible studies because they are purely Scripture based. No fluff. No extras. Just the pure Word of God. They have their studies available online for free or you can order their study books. (Their study books are gorgeous by the way and make me so excited to read every morning…see pictures below.) The study books often have maps, descriptions, timelines, and even recipes that tie into the book’s theme. I have never been so excite to study God’s Word.
  2. Singing songs and listening to gospel-based music. I am still working on this one, but I want our breakfast time to be a little family worship time…a time to celebrate the gospel together. I play the ukulele, and I hope to learn some worship songs on it soon. Otherwise, we will sing praise songs or hymns a cappella. Music is such a wonderful way to celebrate! I haven’t gone to many parties that don’t have music. During the day, Corra and I will listen to gospel-based music stations on Pandora or listen to Seeds Family Worship, which puts whole Bible verses to music for kids to learn.
  3. Giving thanks to God out loud. This is one I am still becoming comfortable with. Many parties involve speeches, thanking someone of importance. I often forget to give thanks to God when He blesses me in a given day. Sometimes it’s just thanking Him for our food. Sometimes it is more significant like an answered prayer request. Sometimes it is thanking Him for helping us avoid something hard in our day. And sometimes it is even thanking Him for the hard lessons we learn each day as mother and child. I want our celebration of the gospel to be filled with thanks to our gracious, merciful God.
  4. Reading books that help me learn even more about God’s grace and how to parent with grace. I love parties, and I love to read. It is my goal to read books this year that will challenge me, grow me, and help me learn even more about God and His grace. Right now, I am reading “Give Them Grace” by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. It is a parenting book, but it is all based on pointing your kids to Christ when they sin. Josh and I also read to Corra at bedtime out of the “Jesus Storybook Bible”. Sally Lloyd-Jones takes the most key Bible stories and weaves them all together into a tapestry of Jesus, His love and His sacrifice for us. Even Josh and I learn from this book.
  5. A little party every day. God gave us so many good things to enjoy. Sunshine. Food. Friends. Nature. Play. Art. Every day I want to enjoy doing something good with my daughter. Whether it is baking something yummy, coloring, taking a walk to the park, visiting a friends, dancing, going to the zoo,  or swimming at the pool, I want every day to be filled with something good that God has created. I want us to enjoy a gift from God every day and praise Him while doing it. It can be helping out a friend in need. It can be talking on FaceTime to a loved one. It can be getting an ice cream cone at Chick-fil-A. Whatever it is, I want us to remember that all of it is a gift. We don’t deserve these things, but we get to enjoy them and celebrate God’s goodness and creativity every day!

I hope to come up with some more ideas as the year progresses, but I think this is a sufficient list for now. Some days it won’t be perfect, and some days I am sure I won’t feel like celebrating. But I know that even on the hard days, God will still whisper to me through His Word, “I love you, Sierra. I will celebrate for you today. Don’t give up celebrating and inviting the whole world to join in with you.”

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us the greatest gift to celebrate–our salvation and our inheritance with you in heaven. Amen.

To God Be the Glory,

Sierra Leanne

Do you need to celebrate the gospel every day?

What ways would you do it in your home? Share your ideas at the bottom of the page!

Corra’s 1st Birthday was so much fun to plan and host!

Enjoy taking a look at my Pinterest party boards! Click on the pictures below.

Celebrating the Gospel Every Day in 2017, Part 1

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For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

 

I am not perfect. I know I will never be perfect in this world.

So why do I still try to be?

The Good and the Bad of 2016

As I look back on the past year of 2016, there were lots of good moments and lot of bad moments:

The Good: seeing Corra grow into a sweet little girl who is curious about everything. She is such a joy in my life. Every day is a new adventure of learning and discovery. Her little brain just seems to be working overtime these days. She is so tender and loving; she loves spending time with people. She needs quality time with those she loves and is very social. Often times she will come up to me and point to her toys and say, “sit?” with a sweet face and urging tone–she wants me to sit and be with her while she plays. How can I say no to that face???

The Bad: this past year I have raised my voice, been angry and frustrated, selfish, indifferent, impatient, and ungrateful towards Corra. Somedays I wonder, “who am I, and why am I so frustrated, angry, and tired sometimes? Why does this job feel harder than anything I have ever done in my whole life? It’s just one sweet little girl! I used to teach 20 little people at a time all by myself! The demands of a mom and housewife are tough. Even Josh says that my job is harder than his, and that is saying a lot because being an engineer is no walk in the park. Being Corra’s mommy has stretched me beyond anything I have ever done. There are days when I just don’t feel like I am cut out for this job, but then I remember that God gave her to me to raise and disciple. Even though I am most certainly not a perfect mom (or perfect person in any shape or form), I am the just the right mom for her. I am so thankful for you, Corra!

If I learned anything in 2016, I learned that I need the gospel every day. I need to hear the gospel and about God’s good grace every day. I cried many days this year telling myself that I am not good enough to be Corra’s mom. The lies in my head said that I shouldn’t get angry, frustrated, or impatient with her. I need to be perfect if she is going to have the best chance of being the woman God wants her to be.

I put too much pressure on myself this past year. I put a burden on myself that one should not have to carry. I can’t bring Corra to salvation by being the perfect mother. I can’t really do anything to make her believe in Jesus. I can teach her and proclaim the Word of God to her every day, but it will be God and God alone that brings her to Himself. I pray daily that I can be a tool to bring her closer to Him, but I don’t have to be perfect to do that.

The Beauty of the Gospel

I believe the gospel with my whole heart, but I have such a hard time living it. If I want Corra to know that she doesn’t have to be perfect (or do anything) to earn God’s love, I need to model that and show her that in the way I love her. I want her to know that I love her no matter what. I want her to come to know Jesus as her Savior, and that He will love her no matter what. Ultimately, I want her to know in every fiber of her being that she doesn’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, and she can do nothing to lose it. All she has to do is believe that she is made righteous through Jesus’s righteousness. There is nothing more beautiful than the truth of the gospel.

I am learning that God’s will for Corra’s life will be done. I have to let go of trying to control everything (I think I will always be learning that), especially Corra’s outcome in life. I will never be perfect in this life. There were so many messages in my childhood that told me I needed to be perfect in order to be a good Christian. It is a lie I believed for many years, and I am still trying to let it go. Satan wants me to believe that I have to be perfect to earn God’s love. He wants me to parent with the fear that I am going to mess Corra’s life up with every mistake I make. Satan wants us all to believe that Jesus just simply isn’t good enough to save us-that we have to try harder, be better-reach perfection. He wants us to doubt God’s love for us, rely on ourselves, fail, and ultimately fall into sin and despair.

I don’t want Corra to ever believe the lie that she has to be perfect. Ever.

But I need to let go of that lie too. For my sake and for her sake, I need to hold onto the gospel with my whole being, with my whole heart. Leave the lies of the world, of perfection, behind. Leave the lies that I am a horrible mother and will mess up my daughter’s future. I want to stop trying to be perfect for God, but instead obey Him because He is awesome. My wish for my life and legacy is that I will have glorified God with my whole life out of love and thankfulness for His great love. God has us both in the palm of His hand. He offers grace, forgiveness, guidance, truth, and freedom when I obey His Word and let perfection go.

God’s love is so deep and vast for His children. I have tears welling up in my eyes as I write this, because it has only been in the past few years that the truth of God’s deep love for me is finally seeping into my soul. I still have a long way to go, but it has changed my life.

Celebrate the Gospel Every Day!

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For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Romans 1:16

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…

Ephesians 1:13

My ultimate goal for 2017 is to celebrate the gospel every day. And I am so excited about it! In big ways. In little ways. On ordinary days and extraordinary days. I want the message of God’s grace and the gospel of Jesus Christ to permeate my daily life in a profound way. I want Corra to see that Jesus and his salvation is a thing worth celebrating every day. I want to let go of the chains of perfection and comparing myself to others, and live in the deep truth that I am worthy because I belong to Jesus. I was nothing before I knew Him, but now I am considered a child of God.

Every day at lunch, I pray that Corra will seek, knock, and find the truth of the gospel as I have. I pray that she will not seek perfection as the world seeks it, but that she will seek to know God with her whole heart. I pray that her obedience to God’s Word will not be because of a drive for perfection, but because she is so thankful for God’s salvation and wants to glorify Him with her whole life. I don’t have to be a “good enough” mom. God is good, and Corra is a precious gift from God. You are in God’s hands my sweet Corra Grace, and I love you so much.

 

Do you need to let go of perfection? Do you need to celebrate the gospel every day as a reminder that you are made perfect through Jesus, who is perfect? I pray that you will soak up the gospel every day this year. Don’t walk towards Jesus, RUN into His awaiting arms as a child runs to her daddy.

To God be the glory,

Sierra Leanne

***Stayed tuned for the second part of this topic in the next week or two. I will write about the more tangible ways that I will celebrate the gospel every day as a stay-at-home mom: Celebrating the Gospel Every Day, Part 2

 

 

Pearson Christmas Letter 2016

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And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.”

Joshua 4:20-24

Crossing the Jordan River may not have been as awe-inspiring as crossing the Red Sea, but it was a miracle of God nonetheless. Many of the Israelites crossing into the Promised Land had not witnessed God’s salvation of Israel from the hands of the Egyptians forty years before. Their parents were now gone, and they were trusting in God’s new leader, Joshua, to bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey. Then God made a strange request, but an important one. Take twelve stones from the bottom of the river and set them up as a monument to remember this moment and all the other moments of God’s deliverance since He had brought them out of Egypt. This monument would be a reminder for generations to come that “the hand of the Lord is mighty” and that they should “fear the Lord [their] God forever.”

For this year’s Christmas letter, rather than just listing the events that happened to our family, I want to set up “twelve stones” as a written monument for our family to remember how the Lord God was gracious and mighty in our lives in the year 2016. Coincidentally there are twelve months in a years, so I will write one “stone” or circumstance for each month of the year. I pray that this list will help you think of your own stones or simply encourage you to dwell on and thank God for His faithfulness to you this past year.

January: I broke my wrist last Christmas and was blessed to have my mother-in-law come in January and take care of our family while I was healing. God provided a helper for me during that difficult trial. It could have been a lot worse of a break, but it was a clean break that healed quickly and fully. I have not had any problems with it since, and I thank God for that mercy!

February: I honestly can’t remember anything of significance happening this month. This is probably because this is the month Corra started waking up three or four times a night again for several weeks in a row. I think we were so tired that February felt like a thick fog in our brains because of the lack of sleep. We did a lot of “parenting on our knees” during this hard stretch of sleep deprivation. And God brought us through this trial too. He provided just enough strength and energy for us to get through those long weeks.

March: This month was a crazy month of rehearsals, getting ready to perform Mary Poppins in April for our church’s community theater. I was the music director and also acting in the show. We performed 9 shows in 3 weekends, which makes for a very crazy month. Even though it was fun, I learned so much about my physical and mental limitations. This was not something I wanted to learn, but God taught me anyways. I learned that I have limited energy and personal resources. Whenever I am giving a lot to others, my family is not receiving very much. I can’t perform all of my roles 100%. I am human, and that is not realistic. Ultimately, I learned that a big commitment like this one is not something I am going to sign up for again while I have a young child at home. It was too much, and I thank the Lord for helping me realize this.

April: Even though Corra’s birthday is in April, we celebrated her 1st birthday in May because of scheduling. It was such a fun party, and my mom was able to fly in from Idaho to help and enjoy the celebration! Celebrating our daughter’s first year of life was so special. Her first year was hard on us parents as she did not sleep very well at all, but it was also filled with special, sweet moments of watching her develop and grow. The first year of her life went by fast as I’m sure each year will. We are so grateful for our little baby girl (who is not a baby anymore-waaaahhhh!). God has showered us with renewed faith and blessings through her. 

May: I am so proud of my husband. Not because he got a promotion this month, but because of the man he is. His employers held a promotion party for him and two other men who got promoted at the same time. Wives and children were invited to come celebrate with a nice lunch. I am so proud of him, not because he is making more money or because of the prestige of his new title, but because of how his boss spoke of him during the party. His boss had nothing but good things to say about Josh being a hard working, honest, good man…and a really good engineer. God has given him a gift. And God has given me the gift of a husband who works hard and has great integrity. He leaves an impression wherever he works, and I pray that God will continue to touch lives through Josh’s example of character and hard work.

June: June is the month for weddings, so of course, we went to a wedding! But we didn’t just go as guests; I was honored to be a bridesmaid in my friend Chelsea’s wedding in Denver, Colorado. We have been friends since 1st or 2nd grade–I honestly can’t remember. It was a fun weekend of celebrating her and her new husband, Casey. The wedding was at a beautiful golf course with the most spectacular rock formations jutting out from the side of the mountains. But the best part was seeing how happy my friend of about 20 years was as she married her best friend. It made me so thankful that God has kept our relationship intact over long distances and the course of many years. I believe that it is our common faith that keeps us leaning on one another during these big events in life. Thank you, Chelsea, for being my wonderful, amazing, and goofy friend.

July: My grandpa passed away in July, and I was unable to go the funeral because of previous travel plans. It broke my heart to miss it because I couldn’t be there in person for my family, especially my Grandma. But God has perfect timing and knows why things happen when they do. I trust in Him, even when I am homesick for my family.

August: Speaking of being homesick, our first nephew was born in August to my brother, Janssen, and his wife, Rachel. Samuel Lee Tiegs was born August 13, and we had to wait 2 WHOLE WEEKS to meet him…boo-hoo-hoo! Besides giving birth to Corra, I had never felt such immediate love for a new baby. This aunt and uncle are pretty enamored with him. God has blessed our families with our precious little ones. These little ones are our legacy, and I pray they will continue the legacy of following Christ and pass it on to their kids. Lord, we pray that you will open up Corra’s and Sam’s hearts at a young age to know your Gospel truth and believe that Jesus died to save them from their sins. AMEN!

September: Being a stay-at-home mom is wonderful. I would not trade it for any job in the world…most days. 🙂 But I have had the desire to work from home and make a little extra money for our vacations. In September, God opened up a wonderful opportunity to do just that! A position at our church opened up for an Assistant Event Coordinator. I talked it over with Josh and my now supervisor, and I gladly took the job! And it has been the perfect fit! For these reasons it has been an answer to prayer:

  1. I am working with a good friend I have known for several years.
  2. I am working at a place I know and love.
  3. I get to do most of my work from home.
  4. When I do have to work at church I can bring Corra with me or work during a time when Josh can be home with her.
  5. It gives me just enough to do to feel purposeful, and I get to determine my own hours.
  6. I love the work! I love working with people and even doing a lot of the administrative work.

October: Every Tuesday evening, we get together with two other families and share a meal. We rotate houses and whoever hosts prepares the main dish, while the other two families bring sides to share. We enjoy a casual, pleasant evening of conversation, stories, and laughter. We sometimes share our highs and lows, and we sometimes commit to pray for one another during the following week. Tuesday night community meals are sacred to us, and we don’t plan anything else for that evening because we cherish that time with friends. Building community is a God-given desire, and these friends have been a huge blessing to us this year.

November: We had the great pleasure to travel to Spain in November. We went to celebrate my cousin’s wedding, and were able to go for almost two weeks. It was a wonderful trip with family–including my parents, my grandma, and one dear cousin from Idaho. Corra went with us, and she traveled so well. It was a busy, fun-filled trip. One we will never forget. God has blessed us with family that lives in Spain, and they were so loving and hospitable towards us while we were there. The wedding was beautiful, and I was so happy to see my dear cousin Stefi marry her amazing husband, Kike. We are so grateful to them and to be able to have that experience!

December: So far, December has been a difficult month but not without God’s grace and provision. Corra has not been sleeping well, and Josh’s sweet grandma Janet passed away on December 3rd. He attended the funeral in Minnesota the following weekend while Corra and I stayed home. It was hard to be apart during such an emotional time. Our hearts are still mourning the loss of a beautiful woman of God. On the other hand, we have great cause for celebration because our brother-in-law Philip (husband to Josh’s sister, Joy) came home safely this month from a year-long deployment in Afghanistan. December has already felt like a whirlwind, and we are already exhausted even though Christmas is not in full force yet. But God will provide the strength we need, and we are looking forward to a quiet Christmas in Colorado with our church family. Josh’s parents and Joy and Philip are coming soon after Christmas to spend New Years weekend with us. We are very excited to have some family time with the Pearson side, and we pray it will be a joyful time for us and them in the wake of many hard months.

 THESE ARE OUR 12 STONES FOR THE YEAR 2016:

  1. Thank you, Lord, for healing and help during Sierra’s injury.
  2. Thank you, Lord, for teaching us to rely on Your strength alone.
  3. Thank you, Lord, for teaching Sierra about her limitations.
  4. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Corra’s first year of life.
  5. Thank you, Lord, for Josh’s hard work and his promotion.
  6. Thank you, Lord, for the wedding and marriage of a life-long friend.
  7. Thank you, Lord, for Your perfect timing.
  8. Thank you, Lord, for the birth our new nephew, Samuel.
  9. Thank you, Lord, for Sierra’s new job.
  10. Thank you, Lord, for good food and great friends with whom to share it.
  11. Thank you, Lord, for a wonderful trip to Spain and another beautiful wedding/marriage to celebrate.
  12. Thank you, Lord, for Josh’s grandma Janet and the beautiful person she was on this earth. Thank you for Your comfort, for Christmas, and most of all…for Christ Jesus.

We love you all and wish you a very Merry Christmas!

The Lord bless you and keep you; 

the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 

the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Number 6:24-26

Love,

Josh, Sierra, & Corra

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Do you milk your bad days? I do…

Bad days in our house usually end with pizza.

A couple of weeks ago, our bad day landed conveniently on a Friday (when we often do pizza anyways). Josh had a grueling day, I had an exhausting day as a mom, and Corra was miserable from teething. Neither Josh nor I had the energy to cook or clean up dishes afterwards. So we decided to order a take-n-bake pizza from a nearby place. I called in our order, and the gal on the other end said it would be done in 10-15 minutes. Josh took Corra with him to get her out of the house, and I finished up some tasks at home. Thirty minutes later, I called my husband and asked them what their status was. He still didn’t have our pizza, and several other people who came in after them had already left with their pizzas. I could sense the frustration in the tone of his voice. Continue reading

“The mountains quake…”

img_8979img_9013img_9056img_9105img_9118This past weekend, we went to the mountains. *Sigh*…enough said.

Actually, there can never be enough said about the beauty of the Colorado Rockies. Living in Colorado, one would think that I should not want for mountains when I see them from my kitchen window every day. But it is not the same as touching them, exploring them, and leaving my footprints upon them. We have visited the mountains only a few times since Corra was born. Each time I feel refreshed, rejuvenated, serene, peaceful, alive, awake, left in wonder, and a whole bunch of other warm, fuzzy feelings.

On our drive this weekend, we made it to the top of a mountain pass, and we made a pit stop at the visitor center at the summit. I walked over and went to the viewing area to behold a breathtaking scene before me. Desolate plains and majestic mountain peaks spread from north to south. I instantly got a rush in my heart and soul, just like I did when I was a little girl visiting the mountains in my home state of Idaho. Something awakens in me, and it happens every time. Each time I visit the mountains is my first time. I am in awe and wonder of them. I can’t always describe it, but it is one of the most satisfying experiences in the world. I look upon a glorious creation, and I see the magnificent and powerful God of heaven and earth.

Hiking in the mountains, strolling on the beach, kayaking on a lake, walking in a forest…these are moments in my life that I know I encounter God in a real and personal way. I learn about who He is just by exploring and appreciating the beauty He made in creation.

The colors of the aspen trees were vibrant on our visit, and it was such a joy to walk through groves of these beautiful trees with my husband and daughter. Once the leaves start falling, a carpet of yellow covers the path as if you are walking on streets of gold. A bit of heaven on earth…

 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls,

each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city

was pure gold, like transparent glass.

Revelation 21:21

Walking and discovering God’s creation is like seeing a bit of heaven. The beauty of creation makes me wonder what the Garden of Eden looked like before sin entered the world. Will the new heaven and new earth include a restored Garden of Eden? I think the new heaven and new earth will be even more beautiful and glorious than we can imagine, mostly because God will be shining brilliantly in all His glory and majesty.

And the city has

no need of sun or moon to shine on it,

for the glory of God gives it light,

and its lamp is the Lamb.

Revelation 21:23

In Colorado, they call the aspen trees, “quaking aspens”. The leaves on an aspen tree are a shiny green on one side and a matte light green on the other side. When the wind blows through these trees the leaves wave back and forth rapidly, making the trees look like it is glimmering in the sun. They look like they are quivering or “quaking” on the mountainside. In the fall, the aspen trees turn a vivid yellow and their “quaking” becomes even more striking. When I walk among them, I am reminded of this verse…

The mountains quake before him; the hills melt;

the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it.

Nahum 1:5

We have an awesome, powerful, and majestic God. The creation gives witness to it, and I want to soak it all in every chance I get. Every day I want to draw closer to Him and know that I am cherished and loved more than all the beautiful things in the world.

If God thinks of creation as beautiful, why do we have such a hard time believing that we are beautiful and cherished? He made a beautiful creation, but He thinks the world of His people. We are His greatest creation. He saved the best for last. Even though we are sinful and ugly in our hearts, He showered His grace and mercy upon us. He gives all of His love to us. He made us clean before He restored creation. He gave His beloved Son up for humankind, not creation. Embrace this today!

Walk in grace today, knowing that the God who created all, loves you most of all. I hope I never stop trying to understand and live in this truth.

Blessings,

Sierra

 

 

Why in the World Did We Have a BABY?

The other day, I was thinking to myself randomly, “Why did we have a baby?” This is not a begrudging question towards my offspring at all, but an honest question to my own heart.

Why does anyone have kids these days? Because that’s what married people do? Because they think it will be fun??? Do we think it will be rewarding and exciting? It is those things sometimes, but most of the time being a parent is hard work. These little people are put into our care by God so that we, as mature adults, can teach them and disciple them into adulthood. What a daunting task that seems…

In some circles today, having kids is seen as a hindrance, a burden, or an obstacle to having the “dream life.” Having kids means taking away our adult freedom to do whatever we want whenever we want. To be perfectly honest, I had a hard time adjusting to that fact that I no longer fully controlled my life and schedule. My daughter trumps everything I plan because her needs come before mine. Talk about self-sacrifice. I had never had to do that before. I am at her beck and call 24-7. And most days I still struggle with some form of selfishness to want to do what I want. But I disagree completely that she is a hindrance, a burden, or obstacle. If anything, she is a greatest task God has given me. There could not be a more important job for me to do in this season, and I wrestle with that fact every day I am her mom.

So, why in the world did I have a baby? Well, I knew I always wanted to be a mom. The title and job sounded so beautiful, and I have a wonderful mom who made everything look so easy. I thought it sounded glorious to be a mom, and babies are just so darn cute! Maybe I had the illusion that parenting would be fun–that this cute little person that looks like me and my husband would just follow our lead all the time. She would go right along with our schedules, our agendas, and just keep up with us. But parenting doesn’t work that way. Your whole life changes in a mere second when this human being enters the world and needs you ALL THE TIME.

Sometimes I try to remember what Josh and I did before we had Corra. I think to myself, “What DID we do? Did we just sit around all the time? Did we have long conversations about something besides what our daughter ate for lunch, what her poop looked like today, and how many times we’ve read the same book to her?” I’m convinced we didn’t really do anything very important before we had her because I can’t remember most of it. She has changed our lives so much we can’t remember life before her, and I don’t want to imagine my life without her. I love her. I love her deeply. God put her in my life to show me how to love like Jesus. I think, wow–this is what unconditional love feels like. I love Corra even when she is not doing the right things, on our hardest days together. She is the sweetest and most precious girl in my eyes, just like God sees me as His daughter (and Corra also). Even though I will never love perfectly like Jesus did, I see God using my relationship with her to teach me to love others better than myself (Romans 12:10). That is HUGE.

I believe we had a baby because that’s what we felt God next step was for our little family. It is beautiful amidst the hard. God knows why we had a baby. To refine us. To grow us. To grow our family and glorify Him in the example we set in our relationships with one another. Are we perfect parents? No, and we never will be. But I pray that God’s grace will shine through in the way we rise our children. That people will see Jesus through us–through our mess, through our authenticity, and through the grace He shows us.

Grace to you and all your peoples tonight.