Sunday

Gifts for jesus....Gifts from God: Advent activities for the busy mom

This post strays a little bit from the ministry...but it's christmas, so I am gonna post mostly about including jesus in our christmas celebration and how God reminded me of his goodness with a gift regarding the ministry.

I would like to start by showing you my imperfect eclectic collection of our advent activity!
I call it imperfect because when I began to look for an advent activity this year, I found many.  Being real with you all, I knew it would be difficult to read a lesson and do an activity EVERY day.  It's quite cantankerous when you have six children ranging in age from 13 to 4, school programs, basketball, husband out of town for work and early bedtimes.......I also found another post of activities called RACK'ed (Random Acts of Kindness) that I just loved!  Again, 25 different activities.......Many of you, that would not rattle, you would just choose a few and move forward......Not the perfectionist....if I can't do it just as well as she intended then why even try......that was my former life :)

I will admit that I greatly enjoy the pottery barn life....everything in it's place, nothing broken and all things surrounding perfectly placed giving the illusion of warmth and comfort.  Which is exactly why God hand picked me to live in the muck of eight people residing in one house with a dog and two cats!  Only half of my "pottery barn" decorations have made it out of hiding...only then to be marred by children and covered in animal hair.  My balloon drapes that I slaved to make adorned the windows of our dining room only to become a magnetic cat brush for our white cat hutch who loved to rub past them as he went to sit in the window....a MILLION times a day :)  I write all of this to say, that God had to shake me and get me to the point where I now teter with acceptance that maybe I can't do every thing exactly they way I used to or similar to those around me with more emotional resistance or less children (big smile)...but I can create my own new normal...and it is good.

SO, I am very excited to bring you the Roswarski Advent Activity which is a hodge podge of what I really loved in others activites, scaled to fit into our life....with no guilt of it not being enough...because jesus is and I am doing my very best to etch him into the heart of all six of my beautiful children.

1.  I did put 25 bags up, they were not stamped beautifully, just written with a sharpie, hole punched them and tied them to gold ribbon I placed on the wall with thumb tacks

2.  My close friends and pastor at our church shared an activity that his wife had found on Pinterest  LOVE that website.  It was simply having everyone write something that they were grateful for on a small piece of paper and place it in a jar to be read on Christmas day.  I adapted this a little and choose about 15 different items which included:  What you love most about each individual family member?, what the best thing Jesus has ever done for you?, why do we give gifts on Christmas day?, what was your favorite memory of your mom at Christmas? (four of my children lost their mom as well as my husband), what are you grateful for today? (that one is held in the Dec 25th bag)

3.  A friend on Facebook posted a link to this fabulous blog Random Acts of Kindness.  She takes her kids out and does 25 different RACK's (Random Acts of Kindness)  I already talked about how I knew I couldn't do all 25, so I picked out 7 of my favorite and lined them up for us to do on our weekends together or after school.  Some of them include: taking their teachers their favorite starbucks treats, taking a plate of candy to the attendent working xmas eve and xmas day, taping quarters and notes about jesus to vending/toy machines, taking a gift to the local postal workers.....see below

I found these cute mugs filled with hot chocolate and ghiradelli goodies only 5$ a piece at Sam's!  We are gonna take the hot chocolate mugs to the postal workers and the candy jars to the gas station attendants. And this next one, I am the most excited about.....

We are gonna take these cute little candy canes and pass them out to kids at the mall with a RACK note attached, you can find all her downloads here:  http://tsjphotography.com/blog/rack-download-edition/

3.  So for the part about Jesus.....A very dear friend of mine gave me the book one thousand gifts by Ann Voskamp.  She is a mother of six who has made it to the new york times best seller list, writes for compassion international and lives a simple farmers life the rest of the time.  Basically her book is about embracing your reality and being FULLY alive right where you are! Great concept huh!  So as I began lookinf for advent ideas, I saw this author's name pop up!  She also has a great advent activity called the jesse tree.  She goes through and writes a story for each of the advent days and gives an activity for your children to do and a paper ornament for them to place on the tree.  Click the word FREE below which will take you to her blog, subscribe to her feed and you can download the book for FREE!

SO....I loved all three of these ideas, so I combined them all...I will ATTEMPT to do the advent reading daily as I have placed the ornaments in the numbered bags, we will go as a family and do a few activities and we will list what we love about each other and what we are grateful for!  Yup...I started late and I am sure with our schedule, I will have to double up on a couple days and that's OK.  

So...I write this whole post to those busy mom's out there who want the focus to be on Jesus, but struggle with how.  It's ok if you just do one activity...it's ok if you start your advent activties on the 15th.....just do something to focus your family on Jesus!  You DON'T have to be perfect...just have a willing heart.

And for the ministry part :)

I had a bad week, I'll admit it and I was swimming in it. I never get to the place where I doubt God's love and provision for me, but I was there.  I had tripped over too many rocks that day and this time when I fell, I floundered on the floor like a child, wailing and kicking my arms and legs, kinda like the scene in bruce almighty where he doesn't want to get out of bed
I LOVE that scene, I have actually re-enacted it on Steve, yup, I'm that girl :).....So, as I am kicking, as the above picture shows, about how hard all of this is......wondering if all this work I am placing into the ministry is going to be fruitful......my doorbell rings.....it's the UPS man with this......



It's the adored fabric that I got from haggling my way at the AIBI fabric show in chicago with my great friend Jess Snell, owner Rockin B Clothing.  Basically they only sell fabric to their clients and to be a client you have to make a 120yrd order of fabric.  That's around $600-800 depending on the price!  So after talking with Jess at lunch, I decided to be brave and ask for sample yardage because I LOVED this fabric.  To my surprise, the rep said YES!  It had been about 8 weeks since the show and no fabric :(  I had assumed it was a no go......so in the middle of my ranting, God had perfectly timed this present!  As if to say, Nicole, I hear you and you make me laugh....You are right where I want you to be, have faith, I've got this!

The above picture includes fabric with super cool vintage cars, guitars, route 66 and surf theme.  Ever been out looking for little boy baby or toddler bedding that was COOL and just couldn't find anything other than trains and animals....well, look no more! Thank you god for putting up with my "Jim Carey" rantings.  I love that you love us Just the way we are!

Thursday

Hu.mil.i.ty

Humility is defined as, "A quality by which a person, considering his own defects, has a humble opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God's sake."

These thoughts came flooding through my mind as I sat and watched the David Crowder Band concert, specifically the amazing talent of Gungor and the drummer for DCB.

I LOVE seeing people perform in the middle of their passion.  When a person of God is doing something they are passionate about they exude joy and humility.  Usually they get so lost in the joy and presence of God, there is little time to be proud. 

It was so enthralling to watch the three musicians in Gungor excel in their own musical talents. They were each so different and each SO good.  And together it created such a beautiful form of worship.  As I watched them, I thought how each person was so important to the whole creation of music.  The leader by himself would not have been as entertaining and powerful as all of them together.  The musicians performed the gift and talent that god had given them humbly, they got lost in his presence and his joy.  Each one was equally important.  There was no pride, no competition for who's first name should appear in the band title.....just harmony.  I love how even though David Crowder Band obviously has David Crowder as it's leader, I was completely enthralled with the drummer, amazed at his musical talent and found the most joy with him.  An integral piece of the puzzle that creates the band.

Enjoy this clip of Gungor.....pay attention to the guy on the far right, he is actually beat boxing along with playing his string instrument.

video


Are you humble when you lead a group of believers or nonbelievers?  Do they see you using your gift with humility and joy in the presence of God?  What gift has God given you to add to the harmony of the church.  It's not just about ONE person.  None of us would function alone.  It is about the song that is created with ALL believers in Harmony.

I will admit, I am the most humble amidst my passion of design and sewing.  When someone complements me, I truly praise God for giving me the ability.  I am confident because I know this ability is from him.  I struggle more when I am placed in positions that I have to use aspects of my personality and abilities that are harder for me.  Parts of me that I know my flesh has a tendency to take over.  The flesh aspect of me wants to hear that I have done a good job because I am insecure about my ability.

So, at the end of the concert....I felt God telling me....That I don't have to be perfect, no one can excel in everything....and that would be no fun...what if David Crowder ran around the stage to play every part on his own!  The harmony wouldn't have been acheived.  God spoke to me about the importance of each role in the united body of Christ.  That even if he gives me a job that I may not do perfectly, it's about my obedience to own that position in order for the song to be written. 

So, how does this relate to the ministry?  I have been so blessed by help, people coming along side me to make this ministry a reality.  The other night my West Lafayette life group came over to have an Ironing party!! I had to wash all 250 yards of ghanian fabric because of shrinkage in my sample set and then iron ALL OF IT!  I never would have been able to complete this task all on my own.
 This is Amanda....she is having her baby AS I TYPE......BOY OR GIRL?????? We shall soon find out!


 As they ironed, I measured and folded.  I was tuckered out at 9:00pm, but not my team of girls!  They were determined to iron until it was all wrinkle free!!!!
 I love the unity and harmony of the church when we unite in Hu.mil.i.ty.  Thanks girls, i am so blessed and grateful to get to experience the Life Group that surrounded me at Northview Carmel, but now the group at Northview West Lafayette.  I love you girls!

So, here is next Sneak Peek.....it's called Natures Baby

Sunday

The Infamous Proverbs 31 Woman

While talking through the logistics of how production of this ministry is going to work with some friends last night, I began to feel overwhelmed.  How in the world am I to keep up?  A wife, a mom....of a lot of kids, a friend, an involved member of the church, oh, and a ministry director/seamstress.  Does your list in life ever overwhelm you?  Mine does daily.  But, always, when we go to the word of god...what does he do?  He calms us, he tells us that we ARE enough, just to trust him.

This morning in my journal I was writing to God about my to do list.  How will I ever be able to keep up?  I asked for supernatural strength and still felt heavy with....But How God?  Then he reminded me of a situation in my life, actually many, where I have prayed with tears of anguish and given him a list of my "desires" for the remedy of the problem and he has continually followed through and given me an answer to prayer that is more than I could have even fathomed.  It is as if he is saying.  " I hear you Nicole, I've got this.  I hear your heart, just rest and watch me bring the answer"  And his responses are miraculous

SO, as I am feeling overwhelmed and as if this is impossible.  My devotion in Women of the Bible, by Ann Spangler, is on the woman of Proverbs 31.  Coincidence?  Never!  The opening line states "The woman of Proverbs 31 was a real pro at working with fabrics" AMEN Sister!  "She wove the Flax threads into linen for bed coverings"  Seriously....could it be more appropriate.  The author of the book explains that the women of the household spent virtually every spare moment on one part or another of the task of making fabrics.  The "wife of noble character" in Proverbs 31 works "with eager hands" (v13), and it seems as if the spindle and distaff never leave her fingers (v19).  That's why "she has no fear for her household"

                                   The Orange and Pink Dot fabrics are hand batiked from Ghana
Therefore, once again...God empowered me with the strength to keep on sewing :)  I am close to finishing my first crib set.  Sneak peek above.

God continues to amaze me...with the desires he sets in my heart and the ability to carry them out.  My ABSOLUTE favorite quote is

"God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called"

What is God calling you to do today?  HE WILL equip you.

Saturday

CALLING ALL TALENT

I just returned from the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.  What an amazing conference!  A group of people that rally around you and call you to RISE to your calling.  God always meets you just where you are which is SO cool.  I was not having the best morning Friday and knew I should just KEEP MY MOUTH SHUT, as I knew God would have something specifically for me that morning in the talks.  And here it comes.  Three speakers on TOUGH CALLINGS.  Has God ever asked you to do something that you didn't want to do?  Yes.  Have you done that and expected to be so blessed and on an EASY path as you were following god's will?  Yes.  But it was HARD?  YES!  They used the example of Jeremiah.  God called him to give the people a message.  He thought this would be so FUN! A mission with God ....but the people didn't listen, they hated him, beat him, and told him to just SHUT UP!  Oh, Jeremiah, I feel your pain :)  But Jeremiah continued as he knew he heard clearly what God had asked him to do.  He pushed through wanting the approval of others, wanting to be liked and popular, wanting to be successful....and just did what God asked regardless.  WOW!  That takes a purposeful relationship with God and God alone.

God, is doing just this work in me...getting me to rely ONLY on HIS approval.  It is amazing how we don't realize something that we need until God brings it our way.  We are big and bushy, we have quite the Mohawk going on and we think we look fabulous, we have arrived, then God starts Pruning.  Ouch...oh don't take that piece, I like my sideburns...the whole time we kick and scream until we calm and trust him and realize...wow, that Mohawk was hot!  I can feel the breeze.

My Mohawk has been the stability and self-confidence I received from my surrounding friends and church family.  I had amazing people of wisdom surrounding me and felt confident with my voice around the leaders of our church as I had been in relationship with them for so long and they knew my heart.  But what happens when we are moved to an area where we have no friends and don't know the leadership around us....is God enough for us...do we receive our strength from him?  Or are we desperate for the encouragement from those around us....for the people around us to love our calling and what we are saying?  Is GOD's Voice enough?

Personally, I have been experiencing a TREMENDOUS amount of spiritual warfare, more than I have ever encountered in my life.  Literally, in my mind, on most days I feel crazy!  The ONLY way to combat the conflict of our flesh and the influence the enemy has over speaking into our minds is WITH GOD first! We must believe him.  We must believe that he has called us to be RIGHT WHERE WE ARE.  We must also have the courage to ACT.  There were great leaders at this conference because they believed the talents that God placed within them.  No matter how many people disagreed with them or told them no, they followed God's voice and ACTED.  But we must be silent.....Silent....So we can hear HIM.

What is God calling you to ACT on?  It might be related to this ministry, it might not.  Do it!  Do you feel called to have any part in helping to bring income to these families in Ghana?


DO you have design talent, web design talent, if you are here locally in Lafayette, do you have some skills at a sewing machine?  Do you have a heart for organization?  Whatever your talents and gifts, if you feel a nudging about our ministry, contact me!  My email is roseyswife@gmail.com or the company email is servants@twolittlefish.com

We are currently in process of designing our web-store, any help would be great.  I am in GREAT need of about six to eight women to come along side me and be my seamstresses!  We will eventually need a warehouse, we will need people that can simply cut fabric.  We will need people to coordinate our ministry with Lafayette Transitional Housing.  We will need marketing...whatever you skill.  contact me!

In Christ,
Nicole




Monday

Northview Peeps Unite!

I love using the word peeps.  It's so old school :) So, as you all know, God took me to the West Lafayette campus of Northview Church.  Robbie Stewart has been the Campus Pastor there for the last four years.  God has taken him towards his passion of working with homeless youth in Boston.....so although we are happy to see Robbie in God's will......we are without a campus pastor.  Oh yeah, and a side note....there is a girl in Boston too :)  Robbie would kill me if he knew I posted that! Lucky for me, I don't think he is much of a blog reader.


Just found this picture in the staff directory.  Doesn't he look Rico suave.  Oh Robbie, we sure will miss you.  On to the reason for the post........For the church, I am asking that you unite with us in prayer.  This campus is thriving.  Lafayette, as a whole, has very traditional churches.  Northview has a special niche in this area as one of the ONLY come as you are, contemporary church environments.  The area is also prime for a new, fresh, fun environment for the teens to come and show that loving Jesus really is cool!  Because we are blessed to be an extension of Northview Church, we have all the resources and knowledge on how to do this and bring this type of worship to Lafayette.  Both Steve and I felt strongly when we moved to the West Lafayette campus, that God has big growth in store.  So unite with us and pray for the RIGHT pastor to come in contact with Mark Crull and Steve Poe at the Northview Carmel campus.  Pray that the nudging that this person might feel gets stronger and stronger.

Secondly, the reason this post is on this blog, is in regards to how this transition effects this ministry.  As I mentioned before, It was an initial meeting between my husband, myself, and Robbie that got this whole thing started.  Our desire was for this to be a ministry of Northview Church, not just some idea Steve and I followed on our own.  We have no desire for income from this, we want to support Northview and the ministries we partner with.  That being said, we must have the support of the West Lafayette lead staff and pastor as we move forward.  That's a big deal with Robbie moving out of the picture as he was our third leg :)  I know God knew all about this as he was writing this plan, yet it is a little scary.  So pray that the new pastor shares our vision for uniting this ministry with the West Lafayette campus.

As a personal note, I felt at home for the first time yesterday during our church service!  That is a big deal.  I was so attached with the Carmel family, it has been a very hard transition to put it lightly.  But of course, there was something that I wasn't doing yet either and that was opening my heart and allowing these people and this new church to be my new family.  I did that about a month ago and yesterday, I felt at peace, at home.  I am so blessed to be able to still serve with so many that I love still at the Carmel Campus.  The best of both worlds really.  Imagine that, God actually knew what HE was doing! (Big Smile)

Transition

Oh boy. That is a word that I have come to greatly dislike. Transition. If you are a member of Northview Church you just watched a sermon on "The Land Between". If not, I would highly suggest you go to their web page and download the feed  http://media.aspireone.com/mediaplayer/nvcl/? It spoke about life amidst the difficult transitions......death, divorce, moves, loss of a job, loss of relationship......the land between slavery and Egypt....The Promised land. What do we do with this time? What do we do with these hardships?

When you look at the Israelites and hear them grumbling and complaining about their trip OUT of slavery INTO God's perfect land for them...what do you think? Idiots? Well...I have been one of those idiots for a few months, stewing on what WAS provided for me amidst my slavery and just how different life had become now.

Let me say up front, that my husband is WONDERFUL........My Knight has finally arrived.  However, the transition out of my "home church" and my supporting friend and family structure has thrown me for a loop to say the least.


 








When God called me to be a part of The Roswarski's life in Lafayette, I heard him loud and clear. I followed in obedience and I haven't looked back. I don't regret my decision...ever. But what I wasn't prepared for was the aching I would feel in my heart with the loss of the everyday interaction with my Life Group.  The group pictured above is the definition of a Life Group. This is the epitome of what Northview strives for when we promote "Life Groups". Groups of people who gather around each other and live life together. We have experienced divorce, the loss of a job, loss of a grandparent, the loss of a newly born child, addiction, and marriage struggle...all TOGETHER. When I say that I love these people, that word is an understatement. The men in this picture have been very special in my life as well....they rallied around me like big brothers. The loss of the group and change in my church surroundings has been very real to me and sadly I was focused there for a couple months....but out of my self pity arises a God honoring perspective.

Few people have the privilege of experiencing the relationships that I have, and now I have the opportunity to model this type of life giving relationship and "life group" to those around me here at my new church campus in West Lafayette. I still have the gift of relationship with these people, it is just different. I have also been forced to look at my ability to handle my circumstances by running JUST to God. I know there is benefit in that, it's biblical. God gives us relationship and support systems to help us through struggle and to speak to us many times, but we always must hold him at the forefront of our refuge.

So, I say all this to get us thinking about perspective. I have been sad about the end of a chapter with one Life Group and I have been homesick for my "home church"....but in that waller of emotion....I could miss the following




I have NEW life here. I have little women and men that desperately need to be taught how to be followers of Christ amidst their pain. God has allowed all SIX of my children to attend a private Christian School where they will be raised in the presence of God DAILY!!!! He has put a vision on my heart for a ministry that uses my favorite passion. He has brought a new Life Group into my life, open and ready for relationship. He has given me the privilege to be a part of a growing campus here in West Lafayette.

My children are joyful. Our family is learning how to navigate this messy life while honoring God. I am learning how to remain calm in the mess. I have experienced some loss.....but for what? GAIN in the kingdom of God. Isn't that what God created our lives to be about? Jesus gave us the ultimate example of self-sacrifice. I will keep my old friends and I will make new ones. I will remember my old church home and I will relish in the fact that I still get to be a part of the Northview community that I so love here at the West Lafayette Campus. I will not yearn for my time in slavery because many aspects were comfortable, but I will know that God has a PERFECT plan and his words are true!

Pray for my continued ability to trust God and move forward, to embrace new relationships and venture into the world of running with a ministry idea as well as running a household of eight.

In Christ,

Mrs. Roswarski
(and yes, we are related to the mayor) LOL

Sunday

In the Beginning

In the beginning there was God.  A simple desire changed the course of everything.  God wanted relationship.  So he breathed life into dust and created the human being.  From this one desire for relationship, an immense sea of relationships were formed.  One single thought, brought into existence and magnified by God's power.

That is our hope for this one simple thought God has set in our minds.

A meeting was scheduled with our West Lafayette Campus Pastor at Northview Church, Robbie Stewart.  My new husband and I discussed our passions and how that could be used to benefit God's kingdom.  My passion lies with micro-enterprise and global outreach, and my talents with sewing.  My husband owns his own company and knows how to start a business.  Robbie's passion is to employ the unemployed.  With these three minds set to honor the kingdom....he set the following idea into motion.

What if we use my sewing talent to help employ the women in Ghana?

The women in Ghana make gorgeous fabric called batik.  We could use this fabric and combine it with the current trends to make crib and twin bedding sets.  With each set purchased we could provide a mattress for a child in South Africa through a partnership with Horizon International (hopefully) :)  Steve of course starting speaking about the business logistics and Robbie spoke on how we could support our local homeless population.  We could have a core team of women that assisted me in design and production and we could train those in Lafayette Transitional Housing with core job skills.  Possibly even use this sewing ministry as a way to minister to struggling young women.

And then there was a verse......  Matthew 14:15-21, the feeding of five thousand men from five loaves of bread and TwoLittleFishFrom this small supply, God provided for Thousands!  That is our desire for this ministry and the ability for each family that purchases a piece of bedding to know that they have not just decorated their son or daughters room, but that they have provided for the KINGDOM!
 
So the phone calls began.....After countless hours of searching, God lead me to call one more company that utilized overseas textiles and try again at getting them to wholesale fabric.  I had already received a no when I called the first time as they sell items, not fabric.  This company just happened to be in Ghana where God had lead me with the GO Teams at Northview Carmel in March of 2010.  I got lucky enough to run my idea past one of the women that was the co-founder of the company this second phone call (there is no luck or coincidences....just God-incidences :) She agreed to have her local Ghanian women hand stamp and dye 250 yards of fabric for me to be picked up by our GO Team that was headed to Ghana in two weeks!!!!  Praise God, when he wants it to work, it simply falls in your lap.

Wayland Thompson, (who is a member at Northview Carmel and is on my Top Ten list for Outstanding Father and man after God's own heart :) lead the trip in March 2011 and collected all the fabric for me and assisted the team in bringing this fabric back to us.  Based on the following pictures, you can see why I am so excited.




In the months to follow, a sewing room was built by my wonderful hubby.....

God brought me in contact with a SUPER cool girl that knows the logistics of moving your home "projects" into the manufacturing stage.  She is UBER talented....check out her website  www.rockinbclothing.com  THANK YOU JESS!  Super excited to have you as a new friend.


and the most recent development in the story......an industrial sewing machine passed into my possession!


 But that one deserves a Blog Post all of it's own.  Next to come!!! My hope is that you will follow this blog and pray for our ministry.  We are in the beginning stages and my wonderful, entrepreneur husband wants to be sure we have all of our ducks in a row prior to advertising our goodies for sale :)  He is smart.

Cover us in Prayer!

In Christ,

Nicole