Tuesday, July 22, 2014



Crazy excited to host the amazing Sheila Walsh at LifeAustin on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 at 7pm! Doors open at 6:45pm. Would love to have you join us for an incredible evening! Tickets are still available~~click on the link to order. Hope to see you there!

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let's Change Some Things



Would love your consideration of 3 of 8's, Justus Carr's, upcoming trip to Uganda, where he will be helping run a camp for orphaned children who have been rescued from poverty. Be sure and take a minute to watch the fantastic video he shot and produced as part of his fundraising effort.

You can click here to give

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Monday, June 23, 2014

This is the Way; 7 Ways to Help Our Kids Walk in Faith

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~A great question from a mom came through my Facebook page following a teaching I gave on helping parents find their children's spiritual giftings.~

She writes:

I would like to know if you can suggest some things I can do with my kids to help them more to lean on GOD and His purpose in their lives?

Such an important question.  And there's something in the wording of her question that I think is so critical...'things I can do with my kids'.

1. With My Kids

This to me is the hallmark of equipping our kids to see God working in their lives.  We need to walk the faith walk with them.  Too often we try to protect our kids from the challenges we are facing in our own lives.  We think it would make them feel insecure, would make them feel scared, if they were to know about the times we are struggling and are facing difficulties.  But our kids need to see us lean on the Lord when job challenges or financial pressures or relationship hiccups are looming.  It's not that we have to expose every details or serve up the unedited version.  However, they benefit when they see us lean into the Lord in a deliberate way.  If they experience us modeling this, it will become instinctive to them in their own lives.  It speaks to the axiom, "More is caught than taught."  Deuteronomy 6:7 gives a great recipe for incorporating GodTalk throughout your day with your kids:   "Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up."

2. Active Prayer

More than asking our kids what they want to 'be' when they grow up, meaning a vocation, we should be praying with them and over them for God to reveal His purpose in their life.  Rather than focusing on what 'jobs' our kids are considering for the future, at a young age forward we should be praying with them about their passions, where their hearts are pulled, what captures their attention.  In equipping them with the understanding that God has a purpose for every life, we help them develop an inner dialog and an active conversation with the Lord for His guidance and plan.

We can also model going to prayer in the midst of life.  I've prayed with my kids over skinned knees and hurt feelings and lost Barbies.  Small things, but big powerful prayer habits can be the result.

3. Be a Tour Guide

From the time our kids are little bitty through their approach toward adulthood, we can point out the God moments and God design evident in our worlds.  Everything from the delightful design of a ladybug to the wonders of space to the mysteries of life at the cellular level, we can be the tour guide, helping our kids navigate a creation full of incredible exhibits.  We have the ability to help 'train' the eyes of our kids to look for the fingerprint of God, for His holy signature, across the experiences of our lives.  As Romans 1:20 states, "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."  Just as we are intentional about exposing our kids to great art, music, cuisine, so we should be intentional in talking about and showing and experiencing the places and creations and connections that God weaves through our lives.

4. Serve...Often

It's not the Boy Scout or Girl Scout troop's job.  It's not the teacher at school's job.  It's not even the youth pastor's job.  It's ours, as parents.  We have to teach and make priority and live a life of service.  Have your family serve as a team at church.  Choose a project to work on together for your community or neighborhood.  And talk about the 'why'.  Why we serve.  How God serves us. How Christ served the church with His life. Make serving the lifestyle of your family and watch what God will do.

5. Be Real and Visible

Let's face it...our kids see the 'real' us, the habits and quirks and reality of who we are more than anyone.  We can claim a walk of faith to our peers and Bible study pals...but it's our kids who know if that rings true.  Our kids need to 'catch' us reading the Word, listening to teaching, singing praise songs while going about chores.  They need to experience that we are patient even when it's tough, apologetic when needed, consistent in our characters.  One of the greatest hindrances we can create in wanting to point our kids to the Lord is if we walk in hypocrisy, when we allow our expectations for our kids' behavior to be tougher than the expectations we have on ourselves.  Even when our kids are toddlers, they know the aspects of our characters that are dependable and the places where we stumble.  Own it.  

6. Keep Resources Available

Just as we keep educational resources around the house, so too can we keep faith books, puzzles, DVDs, music around the house as well.  While I'm not a parent who thinks that every single play toy or movie and soundtrack has to be 'Christian', I do think that having those options available allows kids to incorporate it as part of their play life, entertainment and home experience.  

7. Don't Force It

I've seen it.  Maybe you have too.  A very well intentioned parent who pushes, pushes, pushes all things faith and God and Bible and Veggie Tales...and you can see the kids' eyes glazing over.  At the end of the day, our kids will have to make faith decisions of their own. Yep.  We can't make that step for them.  We can create a great environment.  We can model a life of faith.  We can teach them Bible songs.  And those are great things.  But the idea here is to create an echo that resounds in their hearts long after our time with them tucked into the bosom of our home has come to a close.  There's a verse I love from Isaiah 30:21 that says, "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” I want the tenor of my voice in my kids' hearts to be one of authenticity and love, not of agenda and control.  The goal is for my kids to walk their walks of faith, to live boldly with their God.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

An Art Apart

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Our home church is an arts-based ministry.

Yep. A whole bunch of creatives, running around doing life together.

It's awesome.

Our kids camp for preschool through 5th grade is all about helping children discover art forms they love and helping them excel in those areas.

4 of 8, 5 of 8 and 6 of 8 were volunteers this year for LifeKids Studios Creative Arts Camp.

And 7 and 8 of 8 were campers.

And they loved it.

Loved. It.

7 of 8 took Photography and Visual Arts and 8 of 8 took Kids Leading Worship and Visual Arts.

Last night was the big showcase and gallery exhibits of all they've been working on.

7 of 8 calls this Flower Power:

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She couldn't have been more thrilled to have Shannon LaFayette as her photography teacher.

And then there was this little painting which I assume is entitled 'Circles'...

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And a heart painting... and sculpting...

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8 of 8 got in on it too...

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He also helped lead worship...he can really rock a sign...and ribbons.

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I'm told by those in the know (Julia Barnett Tracy, I'm looking at you...) that he has quite a ribbon-waving gift...

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Camp wouldn't have been possible without the heart and amazing skills of our children's pastor, Derrick Skelton and his incredible Dream Team of camp instructors and helpers.

These crazy kids were all about helping out...

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Can't believe how big they're all getting.

The night was capped off with snowcones, compliments of Spirit 105.9...

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Congrats to all for a truly spectacular week!!!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

KVUE's 5 Who Care



 Such a great community experience~~KVUE, our ABC affiliate, produces a documentary each year on Austinites who are serving the community. This year, we were so honored to see our 2 of 8, our McKenna, and our 2dance2dream program honored.
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bday Baby

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Giving a little shout out to this guy on his big day.

Happy, happy birthday, Michael. My main squeeze. I love you.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How Did It Get To Be June Already?

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Seriously.

It's June.
Wow.

Spring for us this year was such a whirlwind. Birthdays, dance performances, prom, graduation, work, school, Easter, Mother's Day...

I need a vacation from all the celebrating.

For my Facebook friends, you've already probably seen a lot of the following photos. But I have a Facebook-phobic mom and a brother who has yet to fully embrace the social media world, so I'm going all old school for them.

I'm blogging the pics.

Radical and retro, I know.

So in no particular order, here's a little taste of what we've been up to...

1. McKenna (2 of 8) Receives the 5 Who Care Award... (early April...)

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Our ABC affiliate here in the Capital City has a documentary series they produce each year called 5 Who Care, featuring local Austinites who create change and service within the community. We were humbled and thrilled when McKenna was chosen as the youngest adult recipient this year for her work as director of 2dance2dream. She and the other honorees (five adults, five children) were honored at a reception and screening of the documentary.

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I heard raucous laughter at one point after the ceremony and turned around to see who was cackling...

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Surprise, surprise...

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1 and 3 of 8 are definitely each other's biggest comedy fans...

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The special will be aired here locally on June 24th on ABC. I'll be posting the video after it airs...

2. Homeschool Prom (mid-April...)

Yep. It's a thing.
And it's serious.
You have to take dance lessons and everything.

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Well, fairly serious.

Justus took two lovely ladies with him...his girlfriend Janelle and his baby sister Maesy.

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A great time was had by all.

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Even with all the rules. And dance cards. Yep. Dance cards. Everyone had to dance with everyone. All polite-like.

3. The Twins Turned Seven (early May...)

Seven. And I'm searching for the pictures. I know they're on some memory card somewhere.

I'll find them.

I'm sure of it.

4. Madison Graduated.

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And it was awesome.

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And it was far more emotional for me than I would have thought. I cried. A lot.

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(photo credit to Nathan...)

But that could have just been an emotional response to realizing we've got seven more to get through college...

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Hook 'em!

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Always classy, those two...

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She received two degrees~~one in French and one in neurobiology. She's working in California this summer with a nurse practitioner, figuring out her next steps...

But in her heart of hearts, she may want to be a jazz singer. Wait'll you hear the album. It's in the final stages.

And it's smokin'.
Objectively speaking.

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The graduation ceremony we attended was just for the College of Science. But at a school as big as the University of Texas, it was a long, long, long ceremony.

Long.

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For seven year old 8 of 8 Jake, it was torturous. I never knew boredom could be painful.
He taught me.
He writhed with boredom.

But in the end, it was worth it. He got to wear Madi's cool new hat...

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MiMi and PaPa made it down for the big day.

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And we tried to get some family pics...

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And then we partied...

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She's so very, very grateful....

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I'll be uploading more pics from the spring...more birthdays, recitals, all kinds of goodies. But for now, I must go replenish my caffeine levels....

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