Jonathan has just returned from a week long stint on Long Island playing music and speaking to a youth camp at Island Christian Church and what a week it was!

He and the band left at 4am to catch their flight and *hopefully* the first train out to the city. Jonathan’s sister Becky was the shuttle, packing all five guys and their equipment in her car and get them where they needed to be. The guys realized that the train would be leaving at the exact time they would arrive at the station. Being the New Yorker at heart and not wanting to wait another two hours, Jonathan sprints out of the vehicle, guns blazing towards the train, yelling at the conductor to wait while the rest of these Southern boys are politely thanking Becky for the ride over. Becky knows what’s at stake and she’s yelling at them,”SHUT UP AND THANK ME LATER!  RUN!!!” Somehow, they all made it just before takeoff.

City Boys!

Jonathan was the official tour guide and these Florida boys were blistered up by the end of the day rockin’ the city with their cool band boots yet were beyond satisfied that they experienced New York at it’s finest. NY pizza and the famous Bacon, Egg and Cheese bagel with hashbrowns was on the menu and they enjoyed every minute of it. Central Park, Ground Zero, Manhattan, the works.

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Playing at Youth Week 2014

They rehearsed 5 hours on Saturday, were up early Sunday morning to play at the church and Jonathan had the opportunity to speak.  The congregation was amazed. This was the same Schroer-kid that was a trouble-maker years ago. Many, many people came up to him afterwards to hug him and even spoke of how much his mom, Arlene had impacted them. It has been 2 years since her passing and this was the first time they’ve been able to see Jonathan and tell him in person.

The week flew by! Becky and long time family friend Gina Lang kept up with me sending me photos and video clips as well as FaceTiming me live  (thank you LoRd for technology!) while the band played. I felt like I was there myself. Joram danced naked in the bathtub while we watched “Daaa-eee” play music from the iphone.

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Facetiming Daddy during band practice

After each evening session, the guys would hang til midnight or later playing sports with the youth. He said they became like family in that short week they were there. Jonathan said it was like two worlds colliding: His new life, the band and all these people he grew up with. For Becky, it was a dream come true. She’s been praying for Jonathan to come out and lead worship for years. She and her kids were there every second “stalking” Jonathan and helping out in any way they could. She was a HUGE support to me that week and blew me away with herinvolvement with the band and kids at Youth week.  I am so blessed by this family.

Youth Week 2014

 

The band returned Thursday morning and had a hard time saying goodbye. It was like that “mission-trip high” kinda week.  Jonathan said he and the band got to worship in a whole new way that he hasn’t experienced before. THe only minor setback was at 2am before their flight home, Jonathan was slamming some Swedish fish and suctioned out his crown from a root canal he had a few years ago. He’s fine now but I think he might lay off the Fish for awhile 🙂

We are blessed! What an incredible week!

In His Grip,

Amy

“This sandwich is in mint condition.”

A weekend sermon…

This past weekend Pastor Eric talked about storms in life. And I don’t know how many sermons I’ve heard on storms so I tried to stay tuned for what God may be speaking to me for this particular weekend.

Jesus spoke to his disciples about getting to the other side of the Sea of Galilee after a long day. After Jesus fell asleep under the deck, the disciples encountered a significant storm. Being terrified, they woke Jesus up and cried,Don’t you care that we are about to drown?! And how many times has it seems that God has left us in the middle of our obedience to encounter a Category 5.

I journaled on the last painful trial I had been through and what I’ve learned from it.  In the last 3 years, everything has changed.  In 2011, my husband and I ventured out on unknown territory- the making of an original music CD. We felt like it was the direction that the LoRd was leading. We worked extra side jobs to raise money. During that time, Jonathan’s mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Ovarian cancer.  I started full time nursing school almost the same week that a German moved in with us who was still in learning English.  We got robbed the $2,000 we saved for the CD. Cars broke down. Our computer blew up.  Nursing school had it’s unprofessional “politics” and dished out personal blows below the belt. A misunderstanding with a friend in ministry started an incredibly long and painful battle. Unforseen issues kept piling up with the recording of the CD. The band was discouraged and the project was hung up indefinitely. Jonathan and I were exhausted.  I got pregnant and was beginning to lose weight with all the sickness. My mother-in-law moved in with hospice right after Christmas. “LoRd, don’t you care that we’re drowning?!”

Two days into 2012, my mother-in-law passes away. The German found other living arrangements so we could grieve. I started to feel better. School eventually finished. The CD project miraculously was revived, mastered and produced. We welcomed our first son, Joram. We had so much support from friends and family.  It felt as if God had taken us to the other side of the shore. We made it through that storm.

After reviewing today’s sermon with my husband, tears just spilled down my face.  Arlene’s sickness laid a strong foundation for me but for my husband, it really shook him to the core. I felt like I was stronger afterwards but yet this situation with a friend in ministry absolutely crippled me.

“Even after a storm, the waves are still significantly rough.”
-Pastor Eric Ward

We haven’t given up on God. We love the LoRd. But do we take as many risks as we used to? Do we have as much faith as we once did? How will I respond to the next battle when I sometimes wonder if we’ve fully recovered? Obedience lead me to a season where I deeply questioned His character. Things didn’t turn out the way they should’ve. We remember Romans 8:28 but at times it seems like that’s just a church-y answer to deep pain.  In America, we like to have the endings the same: happy, healthy and better than ever. All is well that ends well.

But Jonathan reminded me that Jesus’s whole life goal was to be crucified. There’s nothing sexy about that. He laid down his life in the most gruesome, horrific way so that the price for my freedom could be paid. It’s nice to be acknowledged, supported, befriended.  But it says in Scripture that He was a man of many sorrows, stricken by grief and yet for the joy of it, went on ahead because he knew the cost of giving up was greater. And it also says throughout Scripture that He SEES, He HEARS, He KNOWS, He CARES… so all my questioning of if He’s paying attention to my drowning gets taken out to the trash. With that knowledge I capture those thoughts of doubt and charge into Him with my troubles (1Peter5:7). Deep down, I know one day, He’ll make all things right. Romans 8:28 really is one of His precious promises and He paid a high price to give it to me.

“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

I know I’m not the same person I was, for that I’m thankful!  That crazy season was like a bootcamp and I’m leaning on His promises more than ever before. I know that not everything turns out the way we expect them too but I can still trust Him who knows what’s around the corner.

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:10

 Whatever season you may be in, may you trust Him through and through. He will, in all things, make good on every one of  His promises.

In His Grip,

Amy

The Circle Maker

Circle Maker Book This book written by Mark Batterson was a fantastic one. The main theme of the book is to pray and not give up. He opens with the legend of Honi, the Circle Maker, 1st Century, BC. There had been a drought in the land and Honi drew a circle around himself in the dust and told God that he would not leave that circle until He would send rain. The story goes that after some time, it began to drizzle, yet Honi stayed inside his drawn circle. He would not be satisfied until it poured rain and the land was refreshed. God honored his persistence and granted his request. The land flourished.

Now, some can jump off the deep end and say that there’s a hint of voodoo to it (drawing a circle around a million dollar Lotto ticket is not the idea here)  but I take it for what his point is: Pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17).  Be consistent in your prayer life with the LoRd. It’s like one of my favorite stories in the Bible, the persistent widow found in Luke 18. It’s so easy to ask for the LoRd for something and quickly move on within a week if He hasn’t answered the request. God is looking for a people to seek after Him. He also says in His Word, “We have not because we ask not.”  What a great reminder to continue to seek His face daily for the things He has in store for us!

In January of last year, I had the opportunity to lead a Bible study on this book with my friend Kristi. It was a packed-out class and over the 6 week study, we had many people share their stories of things they started praying for and how God was answering their prayers. It was a real faith booster. Many stated at the beginning that they easily give up on praying because they figure God hasn’t answered it yet, so “moving on.” It was amazing to see the transformation and eagerness of the women to seek the LoRd daily and wait for Him to grant the desires of their hearts.

I’d definitely encourage you to read this book! May it encourage you as you seek His face.

 

A friend of mine recently invited us for an adventure at the zoo. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been there- apparently, they have passes and kids under 2 get in free… Did you hear me? I said FREE. That junk can cost up to $15/head. I’m in! Two of my neighbors invited me to go the same day so it was a party indeed- 4 mamas + 4 toddlers. They have a kiddie pool and this picture just about sums it up… Continue reading

A day at the zoo…

Git in Ma’ Belly!

“Sickness is the vengeance of nature for the violation of her laws.”
Charles Simmons

What a day and age we live in now! I heard it said that the average person today takes in more toxins (air pollution, food, toxic insult on the body) than our great grandparents did in their entire lifetime! And even our fruits and veggies don’t contain as many nutrients as they did 50 years ago due to soil health and the crazy way our food is grown.

So let’s talk about food.

“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food”
Hippocrates

Food should be healing and energizing. When you want to take a nap after eating a meal, something isn’t right!

Do you have allergies/skin issues? Trouble sleeping? Anxiety? Depression? Headaches? Fatigue?

Jonathan and I went totally paleo when I was 5 months pregnant with our firstborn. Cold turkey. Yeah, I thought I was going to die- we threw out everything and had no idea how to start a new diet. Note to self: preparation is the key to success. Then we noticed how great we felt, rested we slept and how queasy “cheat” food made us feel.

Now, I am not saying one diet is better than another. With the “Caveman” Paleo diet- there’s LOTS of meat and protein involved. That can be a little much on your heart and kidneys.

But the idea is:

Lean Meats Fruits & Veggies Nuts Water

So no sugar, no breads, no pastas, refined, processed anything… It’s very difficult (especially going out for social gatherings) but you feel great once your body gets used to being clean.

One of my favorite places to eat is a totally raw eatery. I love the food, feel AWESOME long after the meal is over and take home the menu to study and duplicate it later.

The idea of RAW is consuming food completely uncooked- maintaining its nutrients and enzymes that are destroyed by heat. You can heat food- but not more than 115* in the oven- so it can literally take hours to produce a meal.

Fruits Veggies Nuts Soaked/Dehydrated combos.

I really enjoy Raw desserts. I can eat them all day long. If you’d like to learn the basics of raw, I’d recommend Going Raw by Judita Wignall. There’s plenty of resources out there, just hit up your local library.

There’s tons of different “diets” out there. I think as long as you eat food as close to the original form as possible, drink lots of water and reduce your toxic load, you will feel the difference. Everything in moderation. Like the saying goes, you are what you eat. I heard it said once that every time you eat you are voting. Voting for the types of food you want- supply and demand for the grocers but also for yourself. You can choose to move towards better health or away from it with every bite.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says,”You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

I pray you would take the time to honor Him who has given us life and enjoy the benefits of excellent health!

In His Grip,

Amy