Random Post/Update

April 1st, 2014

Well, March came and it went and finally it is beginning to feel like Spring.  We have been really busy.  God has given us so many opportunities to lead worship so far this year.  We are also working hard at school.   There comes a time in Spring when a homeschool mom sees the light at the end of the tunnel.  We are working hard to get to “summer break”.   I don’t have a specific date in mind yet, but I am looking forward to it.  It has been a trying time teaching the girls this year.  Honestly there are times I want to quit.  Sometimes I feel like this…….

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……..like our poor little snowman melting away.  I feel like I am done…..like there is not a lot left for me to give.   But then the Lord says this……

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 

There may be a lot of things I am not sure about, sometimes we struggle to find “God’s plan”.  There may be a lot of questions but this is God’s plan, to be thankful in all things.  So I am thankful.

I am thankful that I get to see my girls all day long.  I don’t miss a thing.

I am thankful that we can wrap up school work and get out and do something together.

I am thankful for my husband and his flexible schedule.  He is able to help me so much.

I am thankful for coffee.

I am thankful that we are home and can have snacks like this.  (Simple yummy snack idea:  Put ritz crackers with marshmallow on top in oven for a few minutes.  Put peanut butter or nutella on another cracker and put on top as soon as you take it out of the oven.)  Messy but so good.

 

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Sometimes you have to look beyond “your bad day”  to be thankful, but it is not just a suggestion.  It is in the Word and I believe it does make a difference.  I will choose to be thankful, even in the hardest of days.

……for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  Philippians 4:11

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!  Psalm 107:1

Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ephesians 5:20

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.    Colossians 3:15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Follower: Brunswick D-Now

February 27th, 2014

 

 

Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 NIV

 

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We had the opportunity last weekend to travel to one of our favorite places.   Brunswick, Georgia was the setting of yet another Disciple Now weekend and we had a blast.  We set out early on Thursday morning for a drive that lasted pretty much all day.  The Lord blessed us with a safe trip with no problems and good attitudes.  When we arrived, we had dinner with our good friends, the Weavers.  Greg Weaver is the youth pastor at Pine Ridge, the host church for the d-now.  We love this family and cherish any time we get to spend with them. It is such a blessing to have friends in the ministry that understand what it is all about.   We then went to our “house for the weekend” to rest.  A kind couple in the church allowed us to stay at their guest cabin. It was a beautiful place on the Brunswick River. We walked in to a table full of snacks and a refrigerator full of drinks.  The next morning,  we were able to stand outside, watch dolphins swim by and walk up the rooftop deck to see all the way to the ocean.

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Friday, we spent the day setting up and getting ready for the night’s service. There were three churches that were involved in the weekend. Because we have led worship for this group many times, we were so excited to see a lot of people that mean so much to us. The speaker for the weekend was Scott Scrimpsher from South Carolina. He did a great job of expressing to the youth why we should follow Jesus. The weekend ended with a time of commitment, where we were able to see students make that important decision to follow Jesus for the first time. We praise God for every decision that was made.

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Sunday morning, we led worship for the morning service at Pine Ridge.  Alexis was asked to lead worship for Youth Sunday School with two of the college students. Avery is one of the college students that we have watched grow up in this youth group and we met Justin last summer on their mission trip to Pascagoula.  We are proud to see these guys using their talents for the Lord.  During the morning service, several students shared what the weekend meant to them.  Two girls shared with the church that they were saved over the weekend.  I love to hear young people boldly stand for Christ.  God is raising up this generation to be an army that will fight for Him.

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After church Sunday we went to Saint Simons Island for lunch. Although it was sprinkling rain we were able to stand on the covered pier and watch dolphins swim and jump. In my opinion, a dolphin is one of the most beautiful animals God created and this was an awesome opportunity to watch them in their natural environment. We also went to the lighthouse on the island and climbed to the top. Even with the cloudy sky, it was a beautiful view of the Atlantic.

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Monday morning came; the weekend was over way too soon.  Before we knew it, we were back in the car and driving home.  We had to leave.  We had to leave the beautiful view, the dolphins, and most of all- our friends.  God gave us a great weekend.  We were able to worship Him with an amazing group of youth and their leaders.  We heard His voice- through the Word, in the music, and even in the laughter of friends.  We saw Him in the people and in the beauty of His creation.  God is so good.  I cannot praise Him enough.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.  Psalms 19:1

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All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3

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Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. Psalm 104

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Snow Day and Other Things

February 12th, 2014

    Cold……cold………cold………a few mild days………cold………….cold……….cold rain…………snow………..cold………cold……….a little sun………..cold……….cold…………cold…………rain………….possible ice.  Okay, I might be a little ready for spring but I am not complaining. Okay I am lying a little. I need sunshine!!!!! I am so ready for cold weather to be over but anyway. 🙂

One good thing I can say about this winter: We had a Snow Day! This was good for us because we had nowhere to be but you know snow can throw a southern state into a tailspin because we are not prepared for this kind of weather.

We had a great time playing in the snow.

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We even made snow ice cream!!!!!!

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Well, besides that-  What has been happening with us?  We have been leading worship a lot and we are in week twenty-three of school.  So what does school look like for us right now?

Alexis is working on her research paper.  She was to choose an author to report on.  She chose C.S. Lewis.  She picked him because she has always loved the Narnia books, but she is finding out so much more about him.   She has a full work load.  Her subjects are tough but her grades remain high.   Mercy is working hard too.  She is close to completing fifth grade math.  She is studying the senses in Science and is up to Abraham Lincoln in U.S. History.

Here are some pictures from school……..

………….some science experiments.

 

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We had a day out with friends roller skating………..

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I love my family.  I love the ministry and homeschooling, but I hope you know we are just human beings just like anyone else.  There is  nothing special about us.  We are sinners, dirty and nasty, just like you.  We have been washed by His blood and He uses us.  He uses us, not because we are so special but because we are willing.  And you know, when something good comes out of us, You KNOW it’s the Lord and not us.  We are not capable, but with God all things are possible.  Thank you God for your grace and mercy that you show us everyday.

February Update

February 11th, 2014

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We have been very busy so far this winter.  I am not complaining.  I would love to be somewhere leading worship with my family everyday.  Two weeks ago, we had the opportunity to be in Puckett, Ms. for a D-Now with several area churches participating.  We had three wonderful times of worship with these students and then led another service on Sunday morning at another church in the area.  God really did a great work in the lives of the students there and we are still hearing great things about what He is doing.  Bible clubs are growing and students are really stepping up and letting God work in their lives.

Once again, Nolan spoke at this event.  The theme was “Gospel Prayer- Realizing the Power of the Gospel”.   God used Nolan to give powerful messages on the gospel- what it is and how it should look in our lives.  The gospel is about what Jesus did for us not what we have done.  It’s all about Him.

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For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.  Romans 1:16

By this gospel you are saved….. 1 Corinthians 15:2

Saturday night we led a youth rally in Forest, Ms. at Hillcrest Independent Methodist Church.   We led worship for their revival in October of last year.  We were so happy to be back there and hear about all the great things God has been doing.  This is a Spirit-filled church and you can feel the love of the Lord and the people there.

Our next Disciple Now is February 21-23 in Brunswick, Georgia.  We are so excited about this!   Three years ago we went to Brunswick to lead their D-Now and we have been with them every summer for the past four years in Pascagoula, Ms.  They came to do mission work on the coast and we led worship for them.  We have grown to love this youth group very much.  We hope to see  a lot of friends and make new ones as well.  Please pray for us as we travel and that God would move in an amazing way in every service.

 

Empowered 2014

January 29th, 2014

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Last weekend we had a great time in Columbia, Ms. as four churches came together for a Disciple Now Weekend.  We led these students and  leaders in worship and Nolan was also the speaker.  God was with us, giving Nolan’s voice an extra boost of energy after he had struggled  with it all week.  Nolan spoke about God’s power.  He taught about what His power is and how we can have that power in our lives.  He also talked about why God’s power might be missing in our lives; for example, because we have sin in our lives.

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We had a wonderful time with this group.  Our prayer is that we would all experience God’s power in our lives.  His power is there, but we must ask for it and use it.  Nolan used the illustration of someone having electricity but never plugging in a lamp and turning it on.  The power is there, we must plug in.  We must stay in the Word and pray to God asking to be filled with His Spirit.  His Holy Spirit gives us power.  With that power we can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. Ephesians 3:20

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,  and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.  Ephesians 1:18-23

We get to do it all again this weekend with another group of students and leaders in Puckett, Ms.  Nolan will be speaking again and we are excited to see what God has in store for us.  We are thankful for every opportunity we have to lead worship and share God’s word.  Please be in prayer that people will come to know the Lord and that we would all grow closer to Him.

Band Together

January 23rd, 2014

 

 

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Last weekend our church had it’s yearly Disciple Now weekend.   Nolan led worship with the college students and Alexis participated with her youth group.  I asked Alexis to share what this weekend meant to her.

This weekend my youth group participated in D-Now with two other churches.  We started off Friday by meeting with our small groups for a time of food and fellowship,  which was followed by an awesome night of worship led by my dad and some college students.  After a late night of getting to know each other better at out host homes, we had morning worship.  Then we split into groups and went all over Magee handing out soup to those in need.  This was an awesome experience!  It’s neat how you can build a relationship with just one conversation that opens up the door for more ministry opportunities!  When we finished we had some fun playing laser tag and riding go carts in Laurel.  After that we all came together for supper and worship.  For this service we had invited churches from all over Simpson County to come.  It didn’t matter what denomination or race,  it was just a night where we could all band together and just glorify the one true God.  We all worshipped with no barriers holding us back!  That service was one I will never forget and I will always remember God being there and changing my life!  When the service ended we did something very special just for our youth group.  A senior girl came up with the idea of having white paper laid out on the floor and having every one in the youth group write the sin that they struggle with the most.  Once they were done, they were to step in red paint and stomp all over their sin.  Beforehand, she had picked some spiritual leaders in our group to wash everyone’s feet after they had stepped in the paint.   I was honored to be one of them.  The red paint was to symbolize Jesus’s blood and how it covers all of our sins!  And then the washing of the feet represents Him washing us clean!  Also, it represents us humbling ourselves before him!  Now, I have to tell you… The experience of washing someone’s feet meant more to me than it likely did to the person who’s feet I was washing!  I felt so humbled and close to God.  Also, it meant more because I was doing it with some of my closest friends who mean so much to me.   I had so many ask me,”Why are you doing this?”  or saying  “I could never do this.”  I always replied with one word, “Servants.”  The next morning we had Sunday morning worship at our church and I was part of leading worship there and it was great!  This weekend will always be remembered.  We get so fired up for God on weekends like this, but then after a couple of weeks or even days we start to fall back into our old routines. My prayer is that we would not fall back this time.

                                                                                                                                                  -Alexis Starr
 
“When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.  “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.” God’s Decree.  “I’ll turn things around for you. I’ll bring you back from all the countries into which I drove you”—God’s Decree—“bring you home to the place from which I sent you off into exile. You can count on it.  Jeremiah 29:13-14 MSG
 
 

Alexis Turns Fifteen

January 7th, 2014

Well, our firstborn turned fifteen on Sunday and we celebrated with a day of shopping, lunch at her favorite Mexican restaurant, and ice cream cake.

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We have been blessed for fifteen years to have this beautiful person in our lives. She was given to us but she is all God’s. She is talented and she knows where it comes from. She turns every gift right back to Him for His glory and  she is learning.  She is learning the hard lessons of making her own path and not following others.  She is learning that God gives you the friends you need when you need them and you cannot live your life to please others.  She is learning that not everyone understands her decisions and sometimes they can just be mean about it.    Being able to watch this process- this growth, has been the gift to us.  We pray.  We do the best we can and we watch.  We watch to see what this gift will become.  I do not know, but I know with God all things are possible. (Matt. 19:26) and I know that He who began a good work in you (her) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:6)  To God be the glory for His gift to us, we are so thankful.

Christmas 2013

January 7th, 2014

 

Do you ever feel it, that struggle at Christmas?   We all know what Christmas is and why we celebrate it.  So what do you do and not do?  I love my kids and want to see their happy faces as they open gifts, but if you are anything like me (or if your kids are anything like mine) you get tired of “the wants”.  I don’t like the stress of the holidays and I find myself saying “no” to a lot of things.  Simple is better.  There has to be room for Jesus.  It is His birthday, not ours.  I really don’t know what Christmas will look like for us in 2014.  It may look exactly the same, but I plan to seek the Lord more on what He wants His birthday to look like for our family.

 

Here are a few pictures from our Christmas.  The first being the “traditional Sunday before Christmas” pic.

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Then the “set the camera timer and run to get in the family picture” pic.

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There are many ways we try to remind our children (and ourselves) about the true meaning of Christmas.  One thing we have always done is a birthday cake for Jesus.  The girls usually make the cake themselves and we sing “Happy Birthday”.  We also read the Bible together.  This year we did a sparkle box based on the book The Sparkle Box.  My sister read this book to our family last year and she gave us a box to use.  You write on pieces of paper things you did for Jesus or things you saw others do for Jesus.  These are our gifts to Him.  We read the gifts on Christmas Eve and then placed the box in an extra stocking we put out.  We also wrote letters to Jesus and put them in the stocking.

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We try not to “over give” to our kids.  We usually stick to one nice gift and a few smaller things that they usually needed anyway.  They each had three gifts under the tree.  Two were from us- an outfit and purse and the other was a gift to each other that they picked out themselves.  We also had a box wrapped for both of them and they assumed that this was their big gift.  It was actually an empty box with a clue taped on the front.  We sent them on a hunt through the house for their gifts with clues hid all over.  It was fun to see them run around and look for the clues and it was great to see their excitement over their gifts.
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I love Christmas morning pictures, sleepy faces with big smiles.

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Now it is a new year. With God all things are possible. (Matt. 19:26) We are so excited for all that God has for us this year.

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Please pray for our family in 2014.  We have many opportunities coming up to lead worship and we are so excited about every one.  We are also praying that God would send us to even more places and lead our family in every step that we take.

Upcoming events:  Please pray for the ones we will worship with and their leaders as they prepare for these events.

January 17-19……………….  Disciple Now……………………….FBC Magee, MS

January 24-25………………..Disciple Now………………………New Hope, Foxworth, MS

Jan. 31-Feb. 2………………..Disciple Now………………………Puckett, MS (Nolan will also be speaking here)

February 8…………………….Youth Rally…………………………Forest, MS

February 21-23………………Disciple Now………………………Brunswick, GA

 When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations.  And oh, how the mountains quaked!   For since the world began,  no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!  Isaiah 63:3-4 NLT

 

 

December Update

January 6th, 2014

When December rolls around, we usually find ourselves at home more.  Ministry opportunities to lead worship as a family are few around the holidays, but that doesn’t mean we have been bored.  School had us busy in December along with outings and Christmas festivities.  Nolan has also been leading worship at Church Alive in Magee;  that has been a blessing for our family.  They have a very talented praise team/band that he works with and he has enjoyed it so much.

Mercy has moved through many systems of the body in Science this year.  Before Christmas break, she studied the Cardiovascular System and all about blood.  She made this model of a blood cell using candies and corn syrup.  I am so glad we use a Christian curriculum because the lessons also talked about how blood is life and Jesus shedding his blood for us saves us.

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Alexis and Mercy enjoyed ballet classes with some of their homeschool friends and they had a Christmas recital.  Of course they did a great job.
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We went to see The Nutcracker Ballet in Jackson with friends. I did not get a photo of that but we had a great time. We also went to Christmas Carol at NewStage Theater. We enjoyed both of these very much. This is a picture of some of the cast taking questions after the play. We had lunch as a family and then stopped by Bass Pro to see Santa. I was pleased that Mercy asked to do this, of course she made her sister get in the picture too. 🙂

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We had a Christmas Party with our homeschool group. We had snacks, crafts and singing with Alexis. It was a lot of fun.

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Once again, Alexis was able to use her gift of dance at the program at FBC Magee. It was a beautiful night of music, drama and dance. Everyone did a great job. Of course I think Alexis is amazing. She really does worship when she dances and it is a blessing to watch.

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So that is a December update. God is good!

November Update

November 27th, 2013

 

God has given us some wonderful opportunities this month.  We are so thankful for His blessings and every door He has opened for us.

We were so excited to go back to Palmer Creek Campground for Fall Retreat.  This was our sixth year and we love these leaders and students.  Ms. Jan and her crew work so hard to make this retreat happen.  It rained some, but God reigned in it all.  We were blessed to see some students give their hearts to Christ and see many grow closer to Him.  We led worship in four sessions at the retreat and again the speaker was the wonderful Wayne Hudson.  I have said before on this blog how much we love Bro. Wayne.  We have worked with him at youth events and a church revival.  He and his wife, Ms. Tina, also led a marriage retreat for our home church.  I would recommend him for any of these events.  He is a wonderful man of God and he speaks the Word with truth.  You can learn more about them here.

This is what you see going through the gate at Palmer Creek.

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This is the tabernacle. It is rustic and beautiful. I have seen God in this place. It will always be one of those special places that we love. It can get cold, but plastic keeps the wind out.

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Here are a few pictures from sound check.

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Sometimes Nolan and Alexis will lead a session or the invitation on their own. We are proud of Alexis for the way she has stepped up this year.

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Sometimes when we hear about a disaster that happens somewhere in the world, we are not affected. We are concerned but it hits home when we know someone that lives there. That is how we felt when the typhoon hit the Philippines a few weeks ago. Our friend Natalie is serving there. We were first thinking about her safety and then wondering how we could help. We decided to put a donation jar on our product table and we have been amazed at the generosity of the students and their leaders.  Learn how you can help here.

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This past Sunday and Monday we had the honor to be asked again to lead worship at Prentiss Christian School for their youth crusade.  We had a great time.  We have been blessed to be at churches in that area before and Prentiss is close to our hometown so we had many friends to come and worship with us.  We were double blessed because the speaker for this event was Bryant Bush.  He is one of the best speakers we have ever worked with.  He has a way to capture and keep the student’s attention.  BB (as we call him) works with the NFL speaking to teams and he travels all over speaking to different groups that could range from students to celebrities.  He is an awesome man of God.

This is BB and our family before our last session together. We were also glad to have one of our good friends, Wesley, to help us out on electric guitar this week.

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Nolan and Alexis led the afternoon session and BB challenged the students to reach for their goals as God leads them.

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We are enjoying our Thanksgiving break now with a week out of school. We usually do not take the whole week but we needed to this year. I am not sure who needed it more, the teacher or students.

We are so thankful for all of you that have been so kind to our family. We treasure your friendships and your prayers. We are now looking into 2014. Please let us know if we can help you with any event you have coming up. We have many Disciple Now weekends booked and we would love to come be with your group next year. God bless you all.