Dear Friend: Today You Took a Big Step

Dear Friend: Today You Took a Big Step

Dear Friend,

Today you took a big step. An extremely brave step.  You told me you were pregnant.  It was so obvious that you wanted to hide it and didn’t want to hide it all at the same time.  You so desperately wanted everything to be ok.

The truth is this is amazing news!  I’m so happy for you.  You have been given this gift of life.  Something you can cherish, literally, for the rest of your life.  Someone to love, to hold, to raise, and guide.  You are now raising the next little saint for Christ. What an honor!  Do not forsake the importance of the task God has placed in front of you. 

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Dear Friend: A Letter About Infertility

Dear Friend: A Letter About Infertility

Dear Friend, 

Today, I told you I was expecting our second baby knowing that it would cause a storm of emotions inside of you. I didn’t know how to tell you, and honestly, I was afraid. I didn’t want to cause you any pain, yet I knew that there was no way around it. 

The moment I found out I was expecting, I immediately thought of you. 

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How One Question Got Me To Go To Church: Tips for Inviting Your Friends

How One Question Got Me To Go To Church: Tips for Inviting Your Friends

For many people in the Christian community, the church has always been a part of routine, day-to-day life, but for a few individuals, that hasn't always been the case. If the church has been a part of your Sunday routine for as long as you can remember, then it's likely you've forgotten how scary it can be walking into a foreign building, risking being seen by people—truly being seen.

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Why Everyone Should Send Care Packages & 52 Ideas to Include

It wasn’t until I deployed that I truly understood the importance of mailing care packages.

Prior to my experience, I thought the purpose of sending packages to deployed members was to give the person something they needed. Having now been on the receiving end, I realized it goes beyond fulfilling a physical need for some deodorant or beef jerky.

When you’re away from family and friends, there’s a void that you are left with. You miss the interpersonal communication, the personal touch of a kiss or an embrace. You long for something that just isn’t available to you.

Then, on those few sporadic mail days, you are blessed with something totally unexpected and super exciting.

It is on those days when I receive a care package that I feel the love emit from the contents inside.

From the card or note that cheers me up or brings a tear to my eye, to the k-cups that restock my stash and keep me going throughout the day.

These moments make you feel like a child on Christmas all over again.

I regret not sending packages to friends that were deployed; I just didn’t realize the emotions that could travel with these small blessings.

From here on out, I vow to be more diligent to care for friends, near and far. To send them love when they are away or when they are at home and need something a little extra because a little goes a long way.

When should you create a care package?

  • When you can’t physically be there for the person on the receiving end.

  • When you want to show them you love them and you care

  • When you want them to know you were just thinking about them

  • When you’ve identified a need and want to fulfill it

  • When someone is deployed or significant other is deployed, had a new baby, is going through a really rough season, just moved to a new location.

Is there ever a bad time to send a care package?

  • I don’t think there is ever a bad time to send a care package, but ultimately you should check the motive behind sending it. Don’t feel obligated to send something; you should genuinely want to send something out of the kindness of your heart.

  • Don’t replace care packages with actually being there for someone. Things are nice, but you can’t buy love. Sometimes, an individual needs a shoulder to lean on or a person to talk to and if you are hiding from filling that need by sending a package, I would encourage you to reconsider.

 
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What should you include in a care package?

For the Coffee Lover:

  • COFFEE (k-cups, refillable K-cups, Ice coffee packets)

  • Creamer

  • Mug

  • Syrup flavors

  • French Press

For the Food Addict:

  • Different seasonings (adobo, garlic salt, etc.…)

  • Variety of hot sauce

  • A mix of healthy and guilty pleasure snacks

  • Healthy microwavable meals (quinoa packets, protein oatmeal, etc.…)

  • Something homemade

For the Book Worm:

  • Amazon gift card

  • Creative book marks

  • A motivational book

  • A book in their favorite genre

  • A book for their season of life

  • Book darts

  • Book décor

  • A book box subscription

For the Creative:

  • Coloring book with colored pencils and a sharpener (don’t forget the sharpener)

  • Journal + multicolored pens

  • Stationary + stamps

  • Inspirational wall art/decor

  • Command hooks and strong tape to display art

For a Stranger:

  • Anything motivational (book or art)

  • A variety of snacks

  • Water enhancers

  • Activity books, brain teasers, or puzzles

  • Amazon Gift cards

  • Holiday decorations (Christmas lights, American flags, posters, mini Christmas trees, New Years poppers, Easter basket, etc.)

For the Mom/Dad:

  • Pictures of their child doing every day things

  • Child artwork + tape to hang up artwork

  • A book to record themselves reading

  • Create a care package for the parent back home

  • Coupon for a free babysitter for a night upon return

For the Gym Junkie:

  • A jump rope

  • Motivational Tank / Tee

  • Refillable water bottle (aluminum keeps water cold for a longer period of time)

  • Protein snacks

  • Water enhancers (Gatorade, Spark, Fizz sticks, crystal light, etc.…)

  • Running socks (something about deployments make you go through socks quicker)

  • Wireless/portable speaker

For the Christian:

  • A new bible / study bible

  • A bible study workbook

  • Bible highlighters + pen

  • Scripture art

  • Scripture memory note cards

For a Woman:

  • Face masks, spa-day type stuff

  • Nail polish, remover, nail clippers, file

  • Body spray

  • Light makeup (favorite eyeliner, chap stick,

  • Foot scrub

For a Man:

  • See any of the other categories...

  • Beef jerky (lol)

 

Care Package blog

Friendship: For a Reason, Season, or a Lifetime

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Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.
— C.S. Lewis

One of the most difficult things surrounding moving every few years is the ability to find quality and lasting friendships.  You spend enough time at a base to find your community and then the military tells you it’s time to move.  Every move, you question whether or not you’re going to find ladies just as amazing as your last assignment; and you question how many people you will actually keep in contact with.

Sure, I will follow you on Instagram or Facebook, but are we really going to “keep in touch” like we promised? Well, that just depends…

Were we friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime?

I know that may sound harsh, but not every friendship can be for a lifetime. Some friendships start off great and then die down. Other friendships last for a few months or a few years and then no longer serve a purpose. Sometimes, on the rare occasion, you find your female soul mate in the form of a sister from another mister, a best friend whom you will grow old with and become a part of the family.

If you think back to any of your past friendships/relationships, can you identify where people belonged? Did you have a friendship/relationship you thought was going to last a lifetime, but didn’t?

First love ring a bell? How about the best friend you had in middle school?

In hindsight, I see the purpose they served and I am thankful for the time I had with them. No regrets.

Some friendships come into your life for a reason.

Some friendships come into your life for a reason. These friendships serve a purpose or meet a need. When that purpose has been fulfilled, or that need met, the friendship dissipates into a distant memory. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s not like you intentionally befriended the rich girl just so she can buy you those red bottom heals, or the jujube pump bag you’ve been dying for but your hubby wont let you by (it really is the holy grail of pump bags). These friendships happened naturally. Maybe you met them during a short business trip and they were your comfort friend in a scary place. Or maybe you met them in a gym class and they motivated you to finish the workout. These friendships were developed for a reason, a purpose, and once that purpose disappeared, so does the friendship.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
— Romans 8:28

Some friendships come into your life for a season. 

When I lived in Illinois, I attended one of the best churches I had ever been to. I was involved with many ministries and volunteered any chance I could get.  Through the church, I met many amazing women who filled me up, mentored me, and befriended me during a time when I was very much alone. My first duty assignment was two states away from my family and 735 miles away from my boyfriend.  These ladies came over for dinner often, and we would laugh, cry, and pray about any and everything.  I learned so much from these women and truly believe they helped shape me into the wife and mother I am today.

After 2.5 years, I moved out of the country to finally join my hubby. Slowly, but surely, those friendships ceased to exist. Nothing bad happened. In fact, a lot of great things happened, but God brought these ladies into my life for a season only.  In retrospect, those friendships served a purpose. The purpose was to help me on my journey of developing my faith, of discovering who I was in Christ. I still follow them on social media and think of them often.

I look back at most of those friendships and am so thankful for everything I learned.  Those ladies poured into me and allowed me to grow more than I ever thought was possible. I knew that most of those relationships would not survive a PCS, but I was okay with that. I knew that God had a purpose for each and every one of those ladies.

Some friendships come into your life for a lifetime. 

When we are fortunate, we sometimes make a friend or two that will withstand a lifetime.

A friend who overlooks your brokenness and admires the beauty inside you.

A friend who is open and honest…. who tells you when you’re wrong in a loving manner.

God brings certain people into our life to stay for a lifetime.

In this arena, I have been blessed.

These friendships are the ones that you can go a while without talking, but when you catch up, it is like nothing has changed. These are also the friendships that you will go out of your way to spend time with them even though you only have a few days to spend back home. Sometimes, these are the people that you call in the middle of the night, asking for prayers because you feel so broken or so tempted that you don’t have the strength fight the temptation alone. And when you are extremely blessed, these are the friendships that you pour your deepest secrets or embarrassments, because you can trust them to pray for you and hold you accountable.

I reflect on all the people in my life, those that lasted a long season, or a short reason, and those who are currently still in my life, and I am in awe.  Through military moves across states or across countries, through pregnancies and miscarriages, through heartbreak and marriages, these friendships have all shaped me in one way or another.

Had I disregarded any of them because I knew they weren’t meant to last a lifetime, I would have missed out on so many blessings.

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How To Get The Most Out Of Your Friendships

♥ Recognize that some friendships are only meant for a reason, others for a season, and few for a lifetime.

♥ Don’t harbor bad feelings when friendships dissipate. Instead, recognize the hidden blessings they provided you and continue to nurture the relationships you have control over.

♥ Maintain realistic expectations that sometimes, you may have expected a friendship to last a lifetime, but in reality it was only a season. Although it may hurt, God is in the midst of your relationships.

♥ And no matter the category, cherish your friendships. You never know when a friendship for a reason turns into a friendship for a lifetime.

 
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Can you reflect on your relationships past or present and identify the blessings?