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Our Family Mission Trip to Grey Mountain Arizona

By on Jul 18, 2016

We’re home from our Mission trip to Arizona. On Thursday (July 7th) our team traveled 3 hours on a flight to Phoenix Arizona and then drove 3 hours up and through the mountains to Grey Mountain Bible Church. Our overall mission was to support the Grey Mountain Bible church by sharing the gospel with the Navajo community through programing and fellowship, as well as to address the basic structural needs of the church facilities. Grey Mountain Arizona is tough! The extreme 106+ degree temperatures and winds were harsh and unforgiving. Our group slept in tents in the gym, which was not air- conditioned, and used bottled water for drinking and brushing our teeth. The doors to the gym were so ill –fit that a brigade of cockroaches (among other critters) would enter the building at night and scurry in and out of the kitchen. We shared one shower stall (1 for women and 1 for men) and 2 toilets each. The gym floor was carpeted and stained and upon arrival we could actually feel the desert sand circulating in the air with every step. I say this to iterate that the conditions were difficult, but yet our team rallied together to make it our temporary home. We cooked, we cleaned and we began preparation for the community outreach and the construction projects as planned. Some of the projects that were executed during our time at the church included the following: Repairing the air conditioner and the non-functioning toilets in the church, replacing the doors to the outdoor water pump room (which had been frequented by rats and other pests), repairing the hot water heater (our team became adept to showering in cold water), and replacing the ill fitting gym doors which left occupants exposed to the elements. There were also additional improvements to the facility such as replacing fixtures and exterminating in and around the buildings.   We also focused on evangelizing and socializing with the local Navajo community. We hosted a Fun Fair, Movie Night & Discussion, Sports Fest and multiple luncheons where we served food and spent time getting to know one another. The children played together easily and their favorite games included basketball and duck-duck-goose. We also strove to encourage the current pastor (Pastor Toby) and his wife, who has only held the position for 6 months. He’s a welder by trade and is unable to dedicate his full attention to his pastoral work because there is very little money going into the church. The church is dependent upon missionaries who come to serve the community and maintain the facilities. Much of the congregation is comprised of senior members who are unable to work or find employment locally. Please keep the pastor and his flock in your prayers. Phil spent much of his time commuting to and from Home Depot to purchase the equipment required to complete the repairs to the buildings. The lists were long and the commute was 45 minutes each way. It was certainly a test in patience. He also served as our lead basketball player on the courts to recruit young people to come to the sports fest the following day. Despite his training as a fencer, Phil still had a few smooth moves on the court! After prepping for and leading the fun fair, Sydney and I fell ill. I spent the remainder of Saturday recovering from dehydration and heat exhaustion while Sydney battled a fever that sent us on a scary rollercoaster. Sydney’s declining health (high fevers, irritability and unwillingness to eat or drink) required much of my attention for the remainder of the trip. We finally took her to the Emergency Room when her fever spiked 104 degrees and learned that she had developed an ear infection. It was during this trial in which I personally witnessed the body of Christ working together. Not only did our team rally around us to pray for Sydney, but a team member also joined us on the 45- minute trip to the Flagstaff Emergency Room where she remained with us to care for Zoe and Jada so that we could tend to Sydney. In her absence, her responsibility as team cook was managed by two other team members. When I reflect on the book of Acts I can recall instances in which the apostles prayed for one another and supported one another when they were out in the field. Likewise, it was a blessing for me to see such a large group of people (28 total) all working together and serving not only the Navajo community but also humbly serving one another. Another instance of this selflessness is when a team member took it upon himself to be the “bug buster” and ensured that we had very few pests as possible entering into the building. He would patrol and spray the facilities even late into the evening and dispose of the remains of the pests. Two other members were charged with shuttling Navajo attendees to and from their homes so that they might participate in the activities we’d planned. Other missionaries took it upon themselves to refresh the bathrooms throughout the week or to just lend a hand in the kitchen as needed. Many of these acts were done proactively and they were done in excellence. While our primary mission was to share the Gospel, what was most impactful to me was...

What Time Is It? (Jord watch-product review)

By on May 23, 2016

When I became a mother I didn’t realize how much time I would spend on the go. Besides saying “I Love You” my next popular phrase has become “what time is it?” As I rush the girls off to preschool, playdates, museums, swim practices, piano lessons, doctor appointments, and (if I’m lucky) Grandma’s house, I feel as though I’m constantly on a deadline. It’s truly a race against time. There are no rules for Motherhood, well, at least none as glaring as rule #1: Keep the kids alive! But every other aspect of the job is totally impromptu. Even the most visionary of Moms who have mapped out their kids lives from conception to college are forced to improvise. And so, after a long day of cramming in all the activities that I think are required of me as a mother, like clockwork, I collapse on the bed and take my first full, deep breath. But the tide is slowly turning, it just took a super stylish and earthy time-piece to do it. When a representative from Jord Watch Co. asked me to review one of their watches, my initial excitement was due to the fact that it was simply a cool looking watch! When I received the Red Sandalwood & Maple time-piece from the Sully series it was truly love at first sight. Every Jord watch is hand-crafted, hand assembled and made of the most beautiful woods. They’re special, they’re unique, and I’m obsessed. But as I continued to wear it, each admiring glance at the oversized bubbled bezel began to serve as a reminder of just how quickly time was flying by…and my inability to hang-on to it! So I started to make a conscious choice to slow down, breathe deep and enjoy it. The tag-line for the Sully collection affirms that you’re “right where you need to be,” and I’m starting to believe it!” So to my fellow Momma’s out there (and you know who you are), the Momma’s in the grocery line frantically checking out before another kid needs to go potty, the Momma who is running a few minutes late for school drop-off and pick-up, and to the Momma that feels like she should be there already, my hope is that you too can slow down and take the time to just breathe. You really are “right where you need to be.” How do you remind yourself to slow down and breathe? Don’t be a stranger! Follow us here and come hang out on Facebook to get the scoop on the latest news, tips and all things Motherly.   <a id=”woodwatches_com_widget_article”  title=”Wood Watch Review”>Wood Watch Review</a> <script src=”//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/mommamina/850/250”  type=”text/javascript”></script> Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

I’m A SAHM Because God Said So – UPDATE

By on Jan 20, 2016

This past Sunday I was asked to share my previous testimony on how God instructed me (through the Holy Spirit) to relinquish a job opportunity so that I could fully focus on raising our 3 girls. I shared my testimony with my bible study group which is made up of new and seasoned husbands and wives, most of whom are parents. I couldn’t believe how many  women approached me after class to say how much they related to my experience. The decision to buck against a societal construct that invalidates mothers who choose to stay home with their children (in lieu of returning to the work force) has led many intelligent and competent women to second guess their self-worth. For 5 years I too struggled until God revealed to me my purpose in this current season. Here are 3 updates since my revelation: After realizing that being at SAHM was what God wanted me to do, I decided I wanted to be perfect at it. I attempted to manage all things domestic on my own, and in perfect time. I’m sure you can guess that I burnt out pretty quickly. I needed my husband’s help too. We’re a team! God didn’t call me to be perfect nor does he require me to be a one-woman show. Those were false expectations that I put upon myself.   My husband, Phil, is the most loving and supportive husband any wife could ask for. In fact, he’s so awesome, that I actually wrote a song about him. It’s true! I did write a song about him. From the moment I met him I knew he was heaven-sent. It might seem from my testimony that we were at odds with regard to my decision to work. The reality is that I wavered and he was decisive. But I think that the experience lead me to something more profound. I realized that for a long time I’d elevated my husband to god status (with a little g), by primarily deferring to him for wisdom, instruction and comfort (as needed). I now realize just how important it is for me to have an even more intimate relationship with the trinity outside of my husband. Even prior to my marriage, I looked to other people and circumstances for validation because I didn’t know the process by which God validates. Now I know it comes through the Holy Spirit.   Our girls are Happy! They aren’t perfect. They are naughty and ornery at times. Even to the point of being downright mean. But then there are times when they are sensitive and empathetic to one another …and even to me. They are little comedians who love to sing about Jesus’ sacrificial love and are inquisitive about everything. And sometimes, in the briefest of moments, I’m able to see a flicker of God’s light shining through them… and it brings me unspeakable joy. The time I spend with them affords me a real opportunity to develop and encourage them physically, emotionally and spiritually. I’m bone-tired at the end of the day…and if you ask Phil he’ll probably say I’m even grumpy… but I’m happy. I’m happy because I finally know what it feels like to know that I’m walking in the Lord’s will. There’s not a ton of upward mobility in my profession. I get paid in hugs, kisses and tantrums. I’ve got a few years of experience and yet I’m still stuck doing menial labor (like changing poopy diapers). But I’m happy to do it for my family… because I’m ultimately doing it for Him. Don’t be a stranger! Follow us here and come hang out on Facebook to get the scoop on the latest news, tips and all things Motherly. Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

my little Zoe… my little THIEF

By on Oct 30, 2015

Just before settling down to write this post I came across an article about Doris Payne, an 85-year-old International Jewel thief. Earlier this month she was nabbed for stealing from Saks, and was discovered to have a number of warrants for her arrest.  She’s gorgeous, poised and now behind bars. Which brings me to my little Zoe…my little thief. It’s hard for me to imagine anything bad about my girls. I birthed the little cherubs and I’ve watched them figure out this vast confusing world of do’s and don’ts. They are my little innocent creatures because they haven’t learned how to do bad things, right? Wrong! I learned recently that they too are inherently flawed creatures from birth (sinners if I might be so frank). I know…I know…not only does it sound harsh to label your own kid a “sinner,” but it’s also not a PC term either. But trust me, it simply translates to “someone who is willfully disobedient”. It’s this universal and innate nature that encouraged my Zoe to try her hand at thievery. A few Saturday’s ago,  Jada ran upstairs with what looked like play doctor tools. She held a plastic syringe and plastic reflex hammer tightly in the palm of her hand while she wildly gesticulated about some new revelation she had to make known. As she waved her hands (just shy of my nose), I realized that I, the gatekeeper of all toy purchases, had not purchased those toys. In fact, I’m pretty much aware of every toy item they own and when it was purchased or gifted. I asked Jada where she had gotten the toys and she disclosed that the toys were from Zoe. I turned to Zoe, who at this point was looking rather sheepish. It didn’t take much probing to uncover that the toys were taken from school the previous day. I launched into an entire discussion about why it is bad behavior to take things that not only don’t belong to her, but also denies other kids the opportunity to play with them. We also discussed how Mommy and Daddy work so hard to buy the things she likes (as evidenced by the room full of toys downstairs). She nodded with understanding and promised to return the toys to school. Phew! Crisis averted… …well, not really. I don’t know if my sweet-innocent- first-born- baby- girl, who could do no willful wrong, was testing me to see JUST how much I would actually notice her bouts of thievery, but on Sunday afternoon the bandit struck again! Upon returning from church I realized that she had a baby bottle stashed in her Sunday school bag, just underneath her bible stories and drawings of Jesus (how ironic)! I was so confused! Had I crafted the entire interaction that transpired the previous morning? Did she think thievery at school was off-limits, but church (of all places) was fair game! Did I botch the explanation? As I held the bottle in my hand she immediately began explaining that she would return the bottle next Sunday. I could see the guilt and remorse pulsing through her body and probably knotting up her little tummy. It’s painful to be exposed for wrongdoing. I wanted to keep it between the two of us, but I knew that I needed to alert the Big Boss for back-up…Papa Phil. I encouraged her to disclose her behavior to Daddy, but the utter embarrassment was too much for her. She cried and tried to hide. I wanted so much to provide her the cover…but I didn’t. Papa Nevels and I stood strong and united. We chided her behavior and likened it to the behavior of Jade in the book “The Missing Cupcake Mystery.” Spoiler Alert: Jade is the cupcake thief who confesses to her family. Though she disappoints her parents, they are proud of her for coming forward to tell the truth. We read the book as a family (in case any other Nevels member required a moral refresher), and Zoe hugged me and tried to hide in my arms again. This time I let her. She’d suffered enough. As we cuddled, I told her that I didn’t like the behavior but that I absolutely loved her! She assured me that she would return both items to their respective places…and she did. In fact, after each offense was resolved she would return to me explaining her good deed, beaming and proud.  Apparently, redemption feels good no matter how old you are. From that day forward she has been positively fervent about the importance of not taking things that don’t belong to her. In Zoe’s word’s, “it’s just not nice…it’s not right…we don’t do that kind of thing!” Then again, maybe those were my hasty and awkward words as I struggled to weave moral fiber into a 4-year-old. I shudder to think how small decisions (like lifting a baby bottle from the church toy bin), can lead to  bigger decisions (like becoming an International Jewel Thief). How would Zoe’s moral compass have changed if I hadn’t caught the second offense? Am I prepared to confront a third offense should it arise? More and more I realize that this parenthood thing is not something to take lightly. It requires constant watering (teaching) and pruning (reprimanding) in order for our little garden of flowers to bloom in the soil that they’re rooted in. I...

Momma Got Paid!

By on Oct 26, 2015

I got paid today in hugs and kisses! I know …I know, getting paid in hugs and kisses is like a running joke for us Momma Bears. But believe me when I tell you that this paycheck was different from the others. After a busy morning of grocery shopping (for the week) with 2 toddlers and a babe strapped to my chest like a koala, I was beat (a definite understatement)! Of course you know the job doesn’t end there. Upon arriving home I had to prepare lunch for toddlers and babe (who is still on a breast milk diet) and then put the groceries away. After lunch, I ushered the girls to bed for their afternoon nap, while I cleaned the refrigerator and put the groceries away. That’s when I got paid! Little Jada came running out the room first, followed by Zoe. “I want a hug and a kiss,” she said. But instead of doing my usual “half bend and let them hug my hips while I pat their back and kiss their foreheads,” I decided to kneel down for a full on hug. It was the best paycheck ever! They wrapped their skinny little arms around my neck (I think Zoe wrapped her arms around me twice), and I squeezed their little bodies so tightly. We gave each other big kisses (including Eskimo kisses) and they ran off saying, “you’re my best Mommy!” Sure I’m their only Mommy too, but I still felt like I’d just received a little bonus in my check this week. I think I’m going to slow down more regularly so I can really enjoy my paychecks. In fact, I think this might be the only scenario in which it’s okay to live paycheck to paycheck. Are you taking the time to really enjoy your paydays? Don’t be a stranger! Follow us here and come hang out on Facebook to get the scoop on the latest news, tips and all things Motherly. Share this:ShareClick to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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