Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Laugh of the Day || From my Brother

My little big brother Mitchell, who is currently living in Arkansas while interning with a church there, did an absolutely hilarious post this morning about one of his recent "bachelor" experiences. I've been meaning to link to his blog ever since he left, since he's been posting every weekday. Reading his post from this morning reminded me about this!
All that said...go read about his recent late night mice chase encounters! I guarantee you will be laughing. =)

-Chels

Friday, May 16, 2014

One of Those Days!

Life has been happening at a rather alarming rate of speed lately. 
This last week was very glorious in some ways.
And in others, if I look back and reflect, I get a headache just thinking about everything that I did.

The middle of the week was particularily disturbing. In a matter of 24hrs the following events occurred:
First, I  locked my keys in the van in downtown IA City whilst in the middle of trying to pull off a surprise birthday outing for my sister. (more on this later. but needless to say it was one of the more NOT glam moments in my life and quite a complicating process to remedy the situation)
Second, I had to rip out a TON of tight little stitches in an important sewing project that has a looming deadline (deadlines and ripping stitches always go together. always. they are inseparable. trust me. sadly I have way too much experience in this)
And thirdly....I meant to take the dish straight from the oven and set it on the table for lunch...but somehow it flew out of my hands, skidded across the table and over the edge and...you guessed it. There now was cassorole and a million pieces of glass all over the kitchen floor.

It was just one of those days. Those were the three main "moments" but there were quite a few other incidents mixed in there as well. After #3 occurred I sat down, put my head in my hands, and howled with laughter. 
(when you're a more non-emotional person and you don't cry easily you have to have some way to express yourself so generally you laugh hysterically instead =))

And finally, lest I forget the above picture...that was taken yesterday, when my dad needed me to do some painting projects for him in town. It was just spray painting, so not like "real" painting, but nontheless I still put on old clothes because I ALWAYS manage to get dirty no matter what I'm doing. (I'm still a two year old in that respect) 
Well somehow, the wind was blowing, and I was in a hurry and not paying much attention to where the paint was going other than the bookshelf. I was trying to get the project done quickly because we had company arriving soon and I needed to get home to finish up preparing for that. As I was painting along as fast as I could I kept having to stick my head inside of the bookshelf so I could make sure that I was getting all the corners. I finally finished the projects. My brothers were working nearby and came to tell me that they were ready to go.They looked at me with that strange kind of smile that warns you that something isn't quite as it should be. (you know the kind) Brother #2 so kindly informed me, "Chels, uh...you have black paint on your nose." My nose? How in the world...?? I flew to the bathroom to verify and...wow. He was definitely being kind to only mention my nose. He didn't mention my neck..and forehead..and hair. HAIR. 
Ha, always wondered what I would look like with black hair. I wonder no longer...

The picture at the top was the before picture, at the beginning of the project, although you can see that I had already started to get the paint on my hands. I took no pictures at the end. Just trust me, I looked REALLY disturbing. Picture an adult chimney sweep with a completely black nose, brown/black hair (that is sticking out everywhere because the paint has now dried) black speckled neck and face, and nearly completely black hands.
 Yeah, we're better off without the "after" photo. =)
Thank goodness for soap and hot water and elbow grease. I still have some paint in my fingernails, and I'm not convinced that its all washed out of my hair yet. But most of me has returned to normal, and that's what counts. =)

That is just a tiny little glimpse of my week. The rest was lovely, really. Lots of hard work, lots of big projects at church and at home, and several groups of very fun company, amongst other things. 

Even those above moments, that were so disturbing at the time? I can laugh about them now. =) My mother always told me that times like that grow character, and I'm trying to remember that!

In closing, I am pretty pumped that in just a few hours here, I'm taking off for a cousin's wedding in the grand state of Ohio. Super excited about seeing some of the Stoltzfus cousinhood again! And of course attending a wedding is always awesome. Doesn't get much better than the two of those things combined! =) 
Y'all can be looking for some wedding loveliness on the blog sometime next week! 

Have a blessed weekend!
-Chels

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blessings & Prayer || Conference Recaps

In the past three weeks, I've attended a youth conference and a family conference, plus heard several very convicting messages at my church.
First I just have to say that I am so thankful and so blessed to have the opportunity to be so constantly exposed to such dynamic messages. It is the biggest privilege in the world and I am so often guilty of taking it for granted. But today I'm taking time to thank Jesus for that blessing, because I talk to so many people who don't have it, and I realize more and more what a treasure it really is.

Often after listening to various messages, I go to my siblings afterwards and ask to copy from their notes, since it seems that in most services I'm either shooting pictures or holding babies. =)}

Its really hard for me to know where to start and stop, to know what to share here, because there has been SO MUCH, honestly.

Probably the biggest thing that I took away from the youth conference was the above paragraph, just about how blessed I am. The speaker who spoke on the last night talked about his life story. Without going into a lot of detail...his upbringing was pretty much as opposite from mine as is possible. During his message he challenged the audience to be thankful for their godly families, for parents who love the Lord, for siblings who are following Jesus. 
This may seem like a very simple, small thing to take from a message, but God just hit me with it. And I thought I had cause for complaining because my family doesn't....always communicate well? Seriously, my problems are so small compared to what this man went through in his family. I am SO extremely blessed. And I need to thank Jesus everyday for those blessings, for all that I have!

At the family conference I got to hear two of my all-time favorite speakers, Tom Harmon and David Gibbs. These men are just so full of Jesus that I feel like their joy rubs off on me whenever I hear them, and I always go away from their messages inspired to do more for the KINGDOM!

Once again I didn't take notes cause there was only one session in which I wasn't holding a baby. =) But my sister kindly let me borrow her notes so I can share the points with y'all here, since even though I'm pretty sure that message will be with me for life, I couldn't remember all of the nitty gritty details without looking over the notes.

FOUR KEYS TO PRAYER
1) You Must Pray!
-don't get comfortable asking for so little. 
-God is a BIG God. 
-every failure in a Christian's life is a prayer failure.

2) Pray Earnestly
-"the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much"
-we can fool people, but not God.
-he who prays without fervency, prays not at all. fervency is the SOUL of prayer.
-do you put your HEART into your prayers?
-prayer is walking into the throne room of God and talking to Him.

3) Be Clean
-"Search me, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me"
-ask the Lord to turn heaven's searchlight on you

4) Persist
-what have you quit praying for?
-God wants you to have FAITH and persist in praying!
another thing about the family conference that was SO.GOOD was that this year God really impressed on my heart the need for more encouragement, and follow up, and accountability. It is so easy to go to a conference, and listen to great teaching, and get all excited....and then go home and get busy with life and never apply the truth you've learned! 
this is something our family had been talking about with some friends and I was really determined that this year was going to be different. So at the conference I was much more intentional about being relaxed with my time and having more one-on-one conversations. Instead of pushing to attend all of the sessions, I attended some...and spent quite a bit of the rest of my time in conversation with various people, talking about what God had been teaching/showing us through the sessions, and sharing prayer requests and what God was doing in our lives. 
It was so enriching. I had conversations that I probably wouldn't have had otherwise if I hadn't been encouraged to be intentional about it. 
The above picture was taken one afternoon when my sis and two dear friends of ours went out for coffee together. We talked nonstop and it was the biggest encouragement. so thankful for women like them that God has placed in my life to push me upwards! 
Another friend of our family's who spoke at the conference has really been an example to our family in the area of encouraging and godly accountability with other Christians. It had been something I had been thinking about for awhile and his session really sent my wheels spinning about how I could be more intentional in mentoring and doing accountability with more people.
Since the conference, the four of us girls (above) have started an email loop to keep each other accountable and pray for each other in a variety of areas. We send out prayer requests and updates on how we're doing. It has been so.good. I would highly encourage others to try something like this! There's nothing quite like explaining a struggle or weakness you have with someone, and then having them pray for you and ask how you're doing! It has been a huge blessing already to me, and we've only been doing it for a week. I'm excited to see how God will grow and use it in the future as well.
I got to hang out quite a bit with this little man at the conference. what a dearie he is!
 I was so wanting to take him home with me. =)
I will close with a few last thoughts from another message.
IF YOU WANT YOUR FAITH TO INCREASE
1) You must hear the VOICE
-you hear the voice 1) from the Word 2) from God's servants 3) From God's Spirit

2) You must have the VENTURE
-don't ever get to the place where you're not "faithing it". 
-what has God called you, by faith, to step out and do?
-faith is the capital that spends with God.

3) You must have the VALUE
-what you value is where you spend your life. it determines your priorities.
-what you value will govern the whole course of your life.
-value faith above EVERYTHING.
-"without faith, it is impossible to please God"

And then just this past Sunday I heard two more incredible messages at our church by two guest speakers. But I'm not going to go into recapping those here because its already a pretty full post, and I need to be moving along. =) Suffice to say that I am so grateful for these learning times and all the truth that God is giving. 

Be blessed! I hope there is something here that touches your heart like it did mine!
-Chels