Friday, August 22, 2014

Challenge Met! Kinda...Sorta....

Got called out by the amazing Susan Seay, my sister pastor Kat Cannon and by my adored and precious Nat. Disclaimer...Of the Carr Ten of us who could have participated, two were in route from Uganda, one was in California, one was closing a business deal and one had to hold the camera...or so they claim...

We dedicated this ice bucket experience to the memory of Earl Kahla, the daddy of one of our best friends. He passed away 17 years ago after a valiant fight with ALS. Learn more about ALS and donate by clicking here. #IceBucketChallenge #StrikeOutALS

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Quarter Century


Twenty-five years ago today, this is what Mike and I were up to...



I love you, Mike. Twenty-five years. Wow.

Grateful. Thankful.

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Saturday, August 9, 2014



2 of 8 McKenna and 3 of 8 Justus are in Uganda, working with Music for Life and The African Children's Choir.

I looked it up. Kampala is 8,554 miles from home.




We sent them off on Wednesday and they'll be in Uganda for 2 weeks. A lot of these pictures will be on Facebook but I still have some family members who are, ah, trepidatious (read here paranoid) about the whole Facebook/social media thing, so I thought I would put the pictures on the blog as well for those who decline the FB/Instagram/Twitter experience.

Side bar. True story. My brother is on Facebook...but under a pseudonym. He's not quite sure why he doesn't have any friends yet.

I digress.

Madison 1 of 8 is in Los Angeles this summer working, so she wasn't here for the big send off. It was tough on the younger kids for two more of the big kids to be hitting the road. There were a few tears.



At the airport, we took a few selfies before they headed through security.

Uganda send off






They flew first to London, where they had a short layover...


McKenna took that beautiful picture up there during the flight. She posted it with "I love moments that give me the chance to realize how small my world is. #atxtoafrica"


Another flight took them into Entebbe, Uganda. Total travel time...almost 24 hours.

They then traveled by bus up to Kampala, where they will be working with younger children the next few days. They'll then head back to Entebbe to work with a group of high school age kids there.

Uganda mck1


mck 2 uganda

Because of the magic of the internet and a little app called WhatsApp, we've had some limited but wonderful contact with them, texting back and forth about what they are seeing and experiencing.

jump rope



Justus has written about the unbelievable poverty and the incredible sweetness of the children...



(Justus is the tall guy with the orange backpack...)



McKenna has written that serving these kids is humbling in so many ways.



mck dance

This is the area where they are staying and working.



mck justus u

kenz 2

kenz 1

justus uganda 1


I'll post more pictures as they become available. A big shout-out to Kristen Benton, Russell and Valerie Lyday and Joye Qualls for getting this photos up on our various media outlets so we can see what all the team is up to. And for those of you who donated resources to help get the team to Uganda, blessings to you. You are helping the next generation, both here in the States and in Uganda, to visualize a brighter future.




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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

Jake Yellow Tunnel edit 4.jpg

~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


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:

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'...


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



8 of 8 got in on it too...




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



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


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...


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

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





Congrats to all for a truly spectacular week!!!


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