Worship Wednesday – Oceans

So this is a little feature I had on my old blog and I’m ready to get it going again!

If you don’t know me and are new to the blog, you don’t know that I LOVE to sing!! I can’t believe that the Lord allows me to do it and am so thankful that He’s given me this amazing form of expression.

As a result of me loving to sing I of course love music of all kinds, but on Wednesdays I will feature Worship Music that really speaks to me.

The first song is Oceans {Where Feet May Fail}….

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
[x6]

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

These Lyrics are so powerful. Lead me where my trust is without borders Lord, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior! When I’m in my car, this song is cranked and I am praying while singing. Do you do that?? Sing a songs lyrics as a prayer to the King??

Would you dare ask the Lord to take you deeper than your feet could ever wander and where your faith would be made stronger? I do….I totally dare, and you know what, I dare YOU! Put this song on repeat…LOUD…and come to the throne asking Him to make your faith stronger!!! You won’t be sorry :]

What worship songs are you jammin’ to these days??

Who Do You Do Life With?

Life Group2 days ago I posted this picture to Instagram and asked “Who do you do life with?”.

Why is this even an important question?  Do you even care who you do life with?  Are there intentional relationships in your life worth kindling into something more?  There should be!  Here’s the story of how we got to where we are and about the people we have had the privilege of doing life with…

So Johnny and I decided that before having any bambinos, we better find a church close to home that we could raise said bambinos in.  We wanted a church that we both felt at home in, and that in and of itself was  a tall order!

We found Christ Fellowship and liked it immediately!  1/2 of the people knew Johnny from Walker where he is a PE Coach and I can talk to a door post and be just fine.  The music was great, the pastor was challenging and the kids program seemed to be huge and established.  We became regular attenders and somehow I conned my husband into checking out a Life Group with me :]

I remember going to my first Life Group at Christ Fellowship alone because Johnny was playing hockey.  I had no idea that people I was meeting that day would be life long friends that I still talk to today!

Our first group was pretty diverse in age range, so I found Kelli and Amanda and latched on!

Trio

Me, Kelli, and Amanda at Craig and Tina’s Wedding 2008

In this group, we started with 1 kiddo {Amanda’s oldest Madison}, we went to a wedding, we helped plan a wedding, we announced our first pregnancy, we cried over marriage and business struggles,  we welcomed new members who became great friends then too, we welcomed our first baby into the world, we had a murder mystery date night, we had date night {lol}, we served at our first Clothe a Child, we grew in our faith, Johnny and I grew as a couple,  Brandon came to know Jesus as his Lord and Savior, we pushed through awkward and found lifelong friends!

This is the first of many house baby decorations for friends...the first one just happened to be our house :] 2008

This is the first of many house baby decorations for friends…the first one just happened to be our house :] 2008

Amanda, Brandon and Madison came to see Baby Joey in the hospital...2008

Amanda, Brandon and Madison came to see Baby Joey in the hospital…2008

Me, Jae, Amanda, Nikki, Kristi, Brian and Kelli at our first Clothe A Child

Me, Jae, Amanda, Nikki, Kristi, Brian and Kelli at our first Clothe A Child

From there, the order of things gets a little hazy :]  I’ve had two kids now so the in between is a bit jumbled as a result!  Anywho, we had some changes in leadership and Johnny and I went out on a limb and prayerfully decided to take over our Lifegroup.  Most everyone stayed with the group but we did lose some at that time.  Amanda had another baby and we found out we were preggo again!!!

Kelli, Jae and I waiting for baby Hannah :]

Kelli, Jae and I waiting for baby Hannah, Amanda and Brandon’s second child :]

We added even more people to our group, we had even more babies, we even had another wedding!

Amanda, Shawnda, Jestine, Me, and Kelli at Jestine's Bachelorette Party!!

Amanda, Shawnda, Jestine, Me, and Kelli at Jestine’s Bachelorette Party!!

The Stouts, The Luedkes, The McAlisters, The Davis', the Pinedas, and the Ragsdales

The Stouts, The Luedkes, The McAlisters, The Davis’, the Pinedas, and the Ragsdales

As you can see, I was preggo for this wedding with Sammy :]  What a fun group this was!  Notice Amanda {she’s the on laughing her head off}, and Kelli {polka dot dress} were still in the group with us!  Wow, we had made it this long doing life together!  I can’t tell you how many tears had been shed, fits of laughter had been had, and game nights had been played at this point.  But I can tell you that the joy in this picture is real.  These are our friends…the people we called when we needed something, the people who watched our kids when we were in a bind.  In this picture, we had 3 kids in the group {Amanda’s oldest 2 and our oldest one}.

Kelli dug and igloo for the kiddos

Kelli dug and igloo for the kiddos

I can’t remember if this pic was taken before or after the wedding, but I do remember Hannah outside in her carrier all bundled up because Amanda was NOT going to miss out on all the snow fun!  I love how we literally help raise each others kids in our group.  I trust my kids with any one of my fellow Lifegroupers and I hope the do the same…well, I know they do, we all swap kids all the time :]  Here’s Kelli doing a bang up job of being the “fun aunt Kelli” with her igloo :]  This was pre-kids for Kelli, but that never stopped her!  She has always been in on our kids lives and I love that about her!

Stout Lifegroup serving at Go and Be

Stout Lifegroup serving at Go and Be

So time goes on and we add even more awesome people to our group.  Some have moved away at this point but the Lord always brings new faces in and though it’s sad to see people go, it’s really cool to see the Lord work with that!  There are some familiar faces in this pic…and some new ones!  Kelli, Amanda and I are the originals as we liked to call it back then :] Sammy was born, so maybe this was 2011??

One of my favorite memories of all times was I think around this time {lol, it’s my favorite memory but the timeline is a bit shady :]}.  Surprise!  During all this time, We had our 2nd baby, Kelli and Brian had their 1st and Amanda and Brandon had their 3rd!!!  So what do we do with all these kids?  We load them up into 2 cars with 2 babysitters and all the parents and head to Galveston for the weekend!!! This wasn’t even all the kids in our group, this is just who was crazy enough to go!  I think at this point we had 9 kids in our group total!!

Sammy, Brewer and Ben on the Beach..2011 I think :]

Sammy, Brewer and Ben on the Beach..2011 I think :]

All our stuff

All our stuff

This trip was before any of us had done Dave Ramsey, before any of us had been cut back on our hours at work, before any of us had lost jobs, before any of us had crazy medical bills to take care of.  These were the days :]  We had so much fun on this trip….it was CRAZY, don’t get me wrong, but it was fun!  Y’all want to go again???

In the midst of all this fun, we have had countless birthday parties, and numerous holidays spent doing life together!

Isaiah, John and Carolynn on Halloween

Isaiah, John and Carolynn on Halloween

Jestine and Brewer on the 4th of July

Jestine and Brewer on the 4th of July

Sammy's 1st Birthday

Sammy’s 1st Birthday

Around this time, the Lord blessed this group and we were so big, we had to multiply!  So again we lost people but we kept some too :]  We added even more friends and even more kids if that’s at all possible.  One thing I’ve always loved about our ever changing group is that no matter who comes in, we take care of them cause they are family.  They don’t have to earn it, they just are!

Not sure if you knew, but Johnny and I have always wanted to have 4 kiddos…well, after we had Sammy, the doc told me I was dunzo!  No more babies for this little lady.  No worries, we had always wanted to adopt, so we decided to go through Fostering classes.  These classes took an entire month and it was 2 classes each week for hours at a time.  Our sweet Lifegroup banned together and watched our Bio Kids so we could get these classes done.  We had nothing to worry about because we knew that our kids were in good hands while we were away!

I can’t even tell you how many kids we had in the group at this time because I can’t remember how all was in it :]  But we will do a kid count here in a minute…as always, some people had moved on due to jobs and other things, but “The originals” where still in tact :]

April Birthdays 2012

April Birthdays 2012

Now around this time, Johnny and I had been praying to the Lord…we knew that if we were going to have 2 more kids, we would need to let something go.  We had been praying and decided that God was telling us to stop leading our Lifegroup after 3 years!  Funny thing how the Lord works…He had already been pulling on Kelli’s heart and telling her that she and Brian needed to be leading a group…guess who took over??  :]

Kelli and Brian started leading our Lifegroup in late 2012.  We were still a part of this group, still hanging out with our besties, still doing life with these people.  They are family, we can’t do it without them!  I mean, at this point we had helped people move, brought meals to new mommies, changed diapers for countless kids, and celebrated even more birthdays…we weren’t going anywhere!!!

With this new leadership, we added several new couples!  This was our Christmas party that year…so much fun and so sad to look at this pic and think of the people who have moved since then :[

Christmas Party 2012

Christmas Party 2012

With this group we were up to 19 kids I believe {someone do the math for me :]  Christy M. is not pictured so I added her kids too}.

With these friends, we have seen it all from moving to different states, to losing jobs, to getting jobs, to sleep deprivation, to baptisms, to baby dedications, to…well, you name it and we have seen it!

Amanda, Jackie, Katie, Kelli, Me and Lauren

Amanda, Jackie, Katie, Kelli, Me and Lauren

Life happens and The Originals couldn’t stay that way forever :[  Kelli and Brian had to make one of the hardest decisions of their lives and move away from their friends so that they could be closer to family.  Again with the tears, again with the moving, again with the praying….this was one of the hardest times I’ve had saying goodbye to a friend.  Kelli had changed my 1st kids 1st poopy diaper for goodness sake…now the Lord was taking her away???  We assured each other that His ways are far better than ours and with sad tears we packed up the Uhaul and watched our friend go :[

Luckily before Kelli and Brian skidaddled, we had another great couple join our group and who knew God was pruning them for leadership?? Dean and Lauren {pictured above} took over our group in 2013 without a hitch :]

During this past year, we have welcomed even more friends into our group, seen another life won to the Kingdom, even more babies into our group, even more fun into our group!!  We have watched the Lord provide in miraculous ways for our friends Brandon and Amanda who have been out of a job for over 18 months, we have seen Amanda loose crazy amounts of weight with seemingly no reason behind it to find out she has Crohns Disease, we have walked with Dean and Lauren as their sweet Ruby came early and spent her first few days in the NICU, we have again brought meals, again welcomed new faces, and again loved every minute of doing life together with these people!!!

Group Camping Trip 2013

Group Camping Trip 2013

With this group, I went on the women’s retreat at church and faced my fear of heights with Tracy!  Let’s see if I can get the video embedded in here…

Life happens in Life Groups and we love it!  These are our peeps, our homies, our besties, our family!!!

Well, the Lord has blessed us yet again and we got too big for our britches!   We have come to a time of multiplication yet again!  Our Lifegroup has multiplied into 3 new groups and for the 1st time in 6 years, I am not in a group with Amanda Luedke :[  This is the craziest thing to me ever, but again, the Lord provides!!

Johnny and I are back to leading a group :]  With a ton of prayer we have decided it was time to get back to it!  We still do not have our adopted kids all this time later and we have decided that’s for a reason, so we have stepped up and answered the call to lead a Lifegroup again!  Just like all the other times, we got to keep some people and we had to loose some, but I am so excited to see what the Lord does with our group.  These are my people, this is who we share victories with, this is who we cry in front of, this is who we will dig deep with and get to know the Lord with, this is who I trust to tell my kids “cut that out, you shouldn’t be doing that”, these are the people I will bring food to, these are the people I will ask for guidance when I need it, these are the people who will pray for me in the hard times because I will do the same for them. These are the people who will ask me if I’m spending time in prayer and in the word, not because they are prying, but because they want to see me grow spiritually.

Lifegroups…..although ours has changed…a lot….over the years, the Lord has weaved the people in and out of our lives for a reason and for seasons of time.  He knew I needed Kelli to hold Joey when my back wasn’t strong enough anymore, He knew Amanda would teach me how to sew and that we would start a business together, He knew that Jestine needed Johnny’s encouragement her first year of teaching, He knew that Ray and Katie would have a lifelong impact on our lives, He knew that we would still keep up with the McAlisters and the Pinedas, He knew that Amanda and Brandon would need all of us during their darkest hour, He knew that my life long friendships were being formed, He knew that we would multiply all those times we did, He knew that our group today is who it would be, He knew that it would be where we needed to be, He knew that this little thing called Life Group would change me forever, is changing me forever….I thought I was just going to a house by myself without my husband :]

So back to the question at hand…Who do you do life with?  Who prays for you?  Who challenges you to become better?  Who picks you up when you feel like all is lost?  Who brings you food when you are so sick you can’t get off the couch?

If you don’t have a group like this…RUN…GET ONE NOW!  It will be the best decision of your life!

One of Those Days

I know you know what I’m talking about…we’ve all had them.  The kids wake up whining, but you press on, get them dressed, brush the teeth, feed them breakfast, then one of the kids says she doesn’t want to go to school cause she doesn’t feel good, the second kid follows suit by not wanting to go to school either.  Kindergartener gets shoved out the door with Daddy to go to school and Preschooler throws up.

This was our exact story this morning.  Both kids where whining and not wanting to go to school but I held on to hope until she lost in all over herself and the couch :[.  Sammy was in and out of sleep all day….

Sammy Sick

When she wasn’t asleep we were watching TV…this morning alone, I’ve seen Sofia the First, My Little Ponies, Chloe’s Closet, Clifford the Big Red Dog, and Strawberry Shortcake. Oh. My. Word.

When we weren’t watching TV, she was munching on Cheerios and sipping water.  The good news is that she hasn’t lost it again, but I’m not sure we are out of the woods yet!

At 2p I get a call from Johnny…guess who ended up in the nurse’s office with a fever?  That’s right, Joey ended up sick…at least there was a reason for the whining this morning!  So she’s home too…

Joey Sick

We watched Frozen when Joey got home and we are currently watching Sofia the First for the second time today.  Once Sammy threw up, Johnny got a sub for tomorrow so their plan is to sleep in and watch more TV tomorrow I’m sure.

Please pray that this is not the flu or anything crazy!  I’m hoping this bug passes quick and none of us adult types get it!!

2014

So here we are!  It’s 2014 and it’s only fair that we all make our resolutions and break them right??  Wrong!!!  This year I’m sticking to mine!

The difference between this year and the past years??  Well, this year I took time to create a game plan for all my goals.  That’s another thing…I’m not calling them resolutions cause in my mind, those are made to be broken.  Goals are made to be achieved.  I will achieve my goals.

One of my goals was to start this new blog. Check!  Done and done.  Another goal is to actually create content to go on this blog…easier said than done, but I have a plan, so you should see this sucker filled before you know it with tidbits about our family, our new business, our Lord and more!

For now, I’ll leave you with this super awesome picture :]  Hope this finds you well, and check back for more awesome things going on with the Stouts!

Family Pic 2013