Wednesday

Thanksgiving outside the box

The season is here.....time to spend our hard earned cash and shop til we drop, but yet amidst this black Friday rush, we are to stop and give thanks.  I will admit, I am almost done shopping....having six kids to get Christmas for, I HAVE to look for the deals and hit all the Black Friday ads, but this year as I have been shopping, this image has been burned into my mind.

This is a little girl that I met when I traveled to Africa.  At first glance, I thought the marks on her face were painted on...but as you get closer you can see that they are scars.  Scars from a knife or razor that was taken to her skin to release the evil spirits.  Her family practiced Voodoo and they believe that cutting her face would protect her.  She will now forever live with these scars on her face.

When you go to a third world country, you just can't believe it.  We literally drove past a small two year old walking along a cement embankment, holding a machete, with a blindfold over their face!  Our bus passed and all we could do between the glass was stare and pray.  The feelings of helplessness simply can't be expressed.

BUT, there is something we CAN do straight from home, that was the basis behind Two Little Fish, using what we HAVE been given and blessing others with it.  I partner with a Non-Profit Organization named Horizon International.  They have the ability to send food and other various items to these women and children in Africa.  So this Thanksgiving, I am asking if you can give thanks outside of the box?  Can you share your feast with someone across the globe?  For your donation of $35 Two Little Fish will partner with Horizon to send a Turkey straight to a family in Africa.  $10 of this donation will also go towards supporting our spiritual partner for the month of December, Life Action Ministries.  Here at Two little Fish, we feel it is so important to take care of those across the globe who are so much less fortunate than us, but also to not forget of the spiritually poor, the families here amongst us that are struggling.

SO, can you have thanksgiving outside of the box this year?  Simply click the donation button to the right and donate in the amount of $35 (You may donate more if you would like) and we will send a Turkey straight to Africa for you AND support an amazing ministry that partners with families for their spiritual health.

We are THANKFUL for you!

Nicole

**Two Little Fish is an accredited 501c3 corporation, you will receive a letter from Horizon International confirming your purchase.**

Friday

The MEGA church....Do they really care?

We had an experience this weekend as a family, and I have been reflecting on it all week.  My heart has been prompted to share it with you.  It's a long post...but I don't think you will want to miss it!

Many of you are new to my story, so I will give you a quick glimpse of it.  I have six children, four of those children, I "adopted" by marrying a widower in 2011, the other two are my biological children and are children of divorce.  Their father and all of our family live about an hour away and we share pretty typical every other weekend custody and split holidays.  But what isn't typical, is the way GOD has molded our family into ONE unit, the way he has bonded my husband and I into one spirit.  God with every breath I breathe, I hope I always remember to thank you for that man.  He is truly the most pure in spirit, humble, selfless man I have ever met.  My life verse is Romans 8:28 and God really is miraculous in the ways that he works this into our story.


Family Camp 2013



Isn't he handsome?!?!  But, this post isn't just about his cuteness! Our family really has come a long way.  There is a lot of pain through death and divorce.  God has absolutely used Romans 8:28 to bring our family together and grow us into spiritual maturity through these circumstances.  However, I shared the above pictures with you to show you that you can't really see pain and turmoil through these images.  When we glance at pictures of someones life...it seems effortless and put together.  What I have been reflecting on this week is why is it that we long for this SO much?  The effortless, the easy, the put together, conflict free life?  Is it because that is what our souls long to experience in heaven? OR is it because of a wounded life we have lived along the way?  I don't know...but what I do know is that I struggle with this a lot....we talked about this at Bible Study this last week.  Comparison of how hard my life sometimes is due to death and divorce and the jealousy that others don't have to experience this pain.

So, on to my reference to the MEGA Church.  We attend Northview Church which is a multi-site church located in Carmel, IN.  My husband and I attend the Greater Lafayette campus.  Here is a shot of the Carmel Campus or more popularly referenced as ....the MEGA church.

Picture taken by Kurt Hostettler


And...although this picture is gorgeous..it still doesn't really do it justice!

 Picture taken by Mel Carpenter

Here's the big question many people ask...Can a church that ministers to 5-6K people on a weekly basis REALLY care about one person?  Do they really value relationship and invest in one another? OR are you just a number in their revenue stream?

Honestly when I hear these questions about the MEGA church, I can't even fathom where they come from.  Northview Church has been my home church for 12 years.  I visited a few churches in the Indianapolis area before landing here, but the minute I walked into Northview Church, I knew there was something different.  Back then, we had about 1,200 in attendance and our sanctuary was small with traditional stained glass windows and white walls.  Although Northview has now grown in size and has a separate building for our youth, as well as, a state of the art concert venue as our sanctuary....the people's hearts have remained the same...actually I would challenge that to say that they have grown BIGGER by watching the work the LORD has done in our congregation through attendance, multi-site campuses and spiritual growth.

This past weekend, my husband was attending a Father/Son Football tournament at North Beach located on the Carmel Campus.  This left me with all five kids and nothing to do.  Although I currently live in Lafayette, many of my close friends live in Carmel, so I decided to drive down and spend some time with them and take the kids to the Carmel service at Northview.  I had forgotten it was Baptism weekend, open baptism too...which makes it even better.  Pastor Poe preached a wonderful sermon on the meaning of baptism and the reasons for it, then at then end they opened it up to anyone who felt led by the spirit to come down and take part, they had prepared extra clothes, towels..everything.  There was no reason to ignore the Holy Spirit's leading.

Towards the end of the service, Pastor Poe addressed the children and made a quick statement to parents that we not take lightly our child's request for Baptism and truly determine whether we feel it is spirit led.  Then he asked the children, if they felt led to go ask their parents.  As soon as the music started...I knew, I could feel that Malena was going to ask and that she did...Steve's youngest daughter, Malena, came walking down the aisle and so sweetly said "I want to be Baptized...CAN I?"  Ahhh..my spirit shook, her dad was not with us and was busy...but what do I say?  My first thought was to respond and say I'm sorry, no...your Dad isn't here...but there was a hesitation in my spirit, it just didn't feel right quenching this desire in her.  So I quickly texted Steve to see if he could make it over from the Youth building.  He immediately responded and came right over.  Then it happened.....as soon as I told Malena she could be Baptized, my son Braeden came running towards me...."I want to be baptized too"  I immediately pushed back to let him know that he couldn't just get baptized because Malena was...but tears began to fill his eyes.  You see Braeden, even at the age of 7, sometimes prays circles around me. He is so gentle, compassionate, AND spirit led.  I then asked him to tell me why he wanted to be Baptized and knew I couldn't tell him no either.....BUT his dad was also not with us at service.  I just didn't feel right in my spirit telling my son Braeden no, but also knew his dad should be there.  I remembered that Braeden's Grandparents go to Sat. night service at Carmel, they could call Braeden's dad and get him there.  The problem seemed to be solved, but as we got downstairs to the open baptism, it seemed the line was moving quicker than normal and Braeden's grandparents came down to say that Braeden's dad was at least 30 minutes away!!!  So what do we do?  Do we tell our son that he can't be Baptized, when his spirit has prompted him otherwise? Do we continue with his baptism without his Dad?  These were all choices and scenarios I had to face literally within a five minute time frame.  This was NOT turning out to be a calm, stress-free, enjoyable baptism for Mom!

But that is the question that I want to pose to you.  When you have a child that you feel is making a spirit lead decision, but it's uncomfortable for those around them....Do we stop them?  What is Baptism about?  Baptism is about a spirit lead prompting to declare your love for Jesus and your following of him.  It isn't about the pictures, the video, or who gets to attend the ceremony, it should only be about the person going into the water and Jesus.  I was SO proud of my son, as he was faced with a difficult decision as well, regardless of who was there with him, he declared he didn't want to wait, because for him, this experience wasn't about his parents, it was about his relationship with Jesus.  What an example that a 7 year old child has given to us. He embraced the true meaning of his baptism and wasn't about to stop it because the family didn't feel it was going as we had planned.  Talk about a proud mom moment!

So, where does the MEGA church come in....Did they care that all this was going on?  Even though they had a line of probably 50 people, were they concerned about the one family who was struggling over what to do?  It so happens that Stan Killebrew, our Next Steps Ministry Pastor happened to be downstairs and overheard what was happening and that Braeden's dad was coming but was going to be late and therefore would miss the baptism if Braeden went through the open baptism line during service.  So, in his selflessness, he offered to wait for Braeden's dad to arrive and he would baptize him in a private ceremony afterwards.  We discussed this and braeden was fine with the idea of waiting, so we walked our daughter Malena through the open baptism line and we then waited for Braeden's dad to arrive.



DID YOU NOTICE THE WORDS THEY WERE SINGING AS WE WALKED OUT??  ROMANS 8:28, YOU MAKE ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR MY GOOD.  CHILLS.

As we went back downstairs after the service was over, I realized that we wouldn't have video or pictures of Braeden's baptism since they were closing up service.  I quickly asked one of the five volunteers downstairs if they could ask the videographer/photographer to stay and wait?  No problem....they replied.  It was about 20-30 minutes that we waited for Braeden's dad and in that time, not only did Pastor Stan wait, but the Worship Director, Greg Wallace, went outside personally to make sure the doors were unlocked for him, the 5 volunteers downstairs that were passing out shirts and extra clothes, not only stayed, but participated in the baptism ceremony with us and were filled with tears.  As we walked out to baptize Braeden in the now empty sanctuary...even though all the worship leaders and musicians were now gone, Shaun Miller and the tech team had cued new music and lights to play just for Braeden.  He also stayed to run the video camera and be sure that as a family, we didn't feel like we missed a beat.  These were all men who had worked probably 70 hours that week already as Northview hosted the Glorious Unfolding Tour on Thursday night.  But without hesitation, they stayed and did extra, to show Braeden, his dad, and our family the love of Jesus.



Still reflecting on this moment gives me chills, you see God has been working all these things together that entire day.  As we waited for Braeden's dad to arrive, our oldest son, Gavin, decided to be baptized also.  Romans 8:28.  In the waiting, Gavin was prompted.


In the waiting, God was ministering to those around us and those in our family.  You see, when my family ended in divorce in 2009, many of these individuals watched it happen.  They know our story.  What an amazing picture they showed of God's grace and love by waiting and adjusting their schedule for Braeden's dad and our family.  By watching this, I could hear jesus saying, I love you and you are important to me.  There were two mom's there hurting to protect their son's experience of this baptism, myself and Braeden's grandmother, but only ONE parent that can truly love them both equally, GOD.  God created a scenario that spoke loudly for Braeden and his father.  And without the moment that GOD created that looked much different than I had expected, I wouldn't have been able to snap this picture...which to me is pretty special.  Look at all those hands on my sweet son!



I often forget that people have watched my story, Steve's story, and our story unfold together.  I forget the impact  that our story has.  I am so thankful to one of the volunteers, Brian, for pointing out that fact to me.  He stated that he remembered me from before and had watched my story unfold.  Those who were passing out the shirts and towels, got to watch a family that has experienced much pain, sit in the love of Jesus and his will for the way things operate and how we show love to one another. I am SO very thankful for the MEGA church and all the spirit led individuals that I get to worship with every week, that truly care about our story, that sacrifice their time for us, and whom continue to show those who may not be attending their church, that we are here for you....we will stay late, we will turn the lights back on...we love you and we just want you here with us..........If you don't have a church home like this, may I suggest you find one.  MEGA church or not, find one who operates out of a spirit led love for one another.

Nicole

DON'T FORGET TO CHECK OUT OUR MINISTRY AT WWW.TWOLITTLEFISH.COM TO SEE WHAT WE ARE ALL ABOUT AND HELP PUT POVERTY TO BED

Thursday

We are ALL Adopted



Ephesians 1:5       He predestined us to ADOPTION..according to the KIND intention of his will
Ephesians 1:11      we have obtained an INHERITANCE, having been PREDESTINED
Ephesians 1:13b   you were SEALED in Him with the HOLY SPIRIT of promise
Ephesians 1:16     I DO NOT CEASE GIVING THANKS FOR YOU WHILE MAKING   
                           MENTION OF YOU IN MY PRAYERS
Ephesians 1:17    that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in
                           the knowledge of Him
Ephesians 1:18     I PRAY THAT THE EYES OF YOUR HEART MAY BE ENLIGHTENED, SO THAT
                           YOU KNOW WHAT IS THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING

God predestined YOU with purpose....What is on your heart?  What dream/passion do you hear being whispered?  Share with me...I would LOVE to pray with you.....


(image from nightlight.org)

Wednesday

Stop striving and FOLLOW



So...I just returned from The Influence Conference and it was just SO much fun.  I have had to sleep for a couple days to catch up...but after my two days of naps, I am sitting on what God did in me this weekend.  There were so many wonderful speakers and women, but I have to say those that stuck out to me were Lara Casey and Rebecca of Better Life Bags...Why?  Because their story was steeped with the term FOLLOW.  Neither one of them had "formal" training in the path God took them down, they simply followed GOD's prompting and desire for their lives and their careers.  It is SO very cool to see just what God can do when we trust him and abandon our fears and just follow him.

I have to say that I only slept about 30 minutes on Friday night..seriously not kidding...so I was just stupid tired on Saturday....ask my assistant Paige, I introduced myself to Shauna Niequist by saying "Hi, I'm Nicole, I don't read"  Ha ha ha , what I was trying to say was that I hadn't yet read her books, but I had listened to her at the WillowCreek Global Leadership Summit...but it just came out stupid.  OH, I LAUGH :)

But the beauty that God perfomed in my tiredness was that I was so completely exhausted that I simply prayed that he would connect me with women, that HE would cross my path with those that he wanted to speak with and listen to.  And guys did he ever show up.  I am still really sitting in awe of the connections he made this weekend and the work that he did in my heart as I tiredly SAT, stopped STRIVING, and FOLLOWED him.

Guys, I am so very excited for what lies ahead with Two Little Fish and for the connections and relationships that God is bringing me out of this ministry...Did you know we are a ministry?  We are actually a NON-PROFIT organization that makes Children's Bedding, YES, that means we give 100% away...This set is one of my all time favorites..ALL of the fabric was hand stamped and dyed by village women in Africa, then sent directly to us to make into this Uber cute bedding set for little Adara.



We also just received a NEW shipment of fabric just before Influence of a few new Ghanaian prints.  I had already set up to bring them to the conference to show one of the girls who was pregnant, Two Little Fish will be making her Baby Bedding and with this set a mattress will then be sent to an AIDS orphan in South Africa :)  BUT, I'm gonna let you guess as to just which pregnant lady it is?!?!?!  There were SO many.  She will be doing a blog post on it....so I will be sure to share then.  Here is a sneak peek of the fabric she chose.

So, in closing, I was so blessed to connect with all these souls at Influence who want to use their voice for Jesus, who want to lift and encourage one another.  I am so blessed to serve through Two Little Fish, such a cool dream that GOD had and gave me the honor of leading....But I hope my leading comes from FOLLOWING.

There were so many of you that I didn't get to meet...I would love to connect ...comment, find us on twitter or IG.

Much love to you!

Nicole

Tuesday

Influence.....God is calling you to be completely YOU!

So I am ridiculously excited about attending the Influence Conference this month and gathering with women from all over the states...and Canada..to share in our vision to bring Jesus into our everyday lives and businesses.  So, I will share a little bit about how I heard about the conference, what I am most looking forward to and what I am going to be sure to bring with me.

A few months back, Two Little Fish won grant money from CWAM and we were so thrilled!  With that money, God was prompting me that I was to focus on Marketing our Non-Profit organization and product.  I have to admit, when God prompted me to spend the next few months on "marketing", I was less than thrilled...I am a designer, a seamstress, I know nothing about marketing.  BUT GOD, knew just what I needed....not just "marketing", but relationship, networking.  I have been completely overtaken and amazed at the COMMUNITY of women that awaits me.  Typically when HE calls me towards something, he has to tell me twice :)  I received a text from a friend saying "Hey, have you heard about the influence Conference? You should go"  I thought...oh, wonder what that is...maybe I will look into it.  Life happened and I forgot to see what this Influence thing was that she was talking about.  Then not even two days later, I get a quick email from a friend while she was driving home from BlogHer 13 telling me I should go to the Influence Conference.  This time, I heard HIM, so I went to check it out.  I immediately loved what I saw and the heart behind their mission and signed up.  But it was what happened next that I wasn't prepared for.  I started "marketing" our Non-Profit Organization and product on Instagram and began to follow and connect with these women that were to be at this conference and I was blown away by the story of their life, their heart, and their desire to follow Jesus.  I saw them all speaking about a devotional they participated in and I looked into this as well, She Reads Truth.  She Reads Truth is now incorporated into my morning routine and I just love it.  God has used the story of many woman that i have connected with through social media to really touch my heart and shape it by watching their life circumstances or how they respond.  So my friends, the internet is real and it can be used to pour Jesus into another life.

A question was posed asking what I was going to be sure to bring to the conference.  First, since everyone was chatting it up about what "style" they were going to sport at the conference, I had the idea to get some of the women's clothing from the line of fabric that we use in our bedding sets.  This fabric is hand dyed and stamped in Ghana, Africa.  We then buy some of this fabric to use in our product, but the organization, Global Mamas, also employs local seamstresses in Ghana and Pram Pram to make clothing and bags.  So, I am super pumped to be sporting my new Chevron blouse made by Gina and Grace.  I just love the idea that I get to "market" what our mission is here at Two Little Fish while supporting and pointing people to Global Mamas for some cute threads :) 



Just giving you a teaser speak peek, but I think this color is a perfect excuse for me to go buy some new Coral pants to rock with it....you know since I am at the TOP of the age bracket for the woman attending, I need to dress a few years younger :)) The six kids doesn't really help my style either, but I am getting off topic!

The second thing I am going to bring is my SECURITY in exactly who God created me to be.  This is sometimes such a struggle to us gals, but one thing I have learned walking through my 20's into my 30's and beyond....is that we MUST find security in exactly what God purposed US for.  I know it is very intimidating for many women to walk into a room FULL of talented young women, but my sister, YOU are one of them.  God has ordained your product, your blog, your words, your ideas just for you to carry out.  He doesn't want you to be a copy of me or for me to be a copy of The Tiny Twig, or Better Life Bags.  He has gifted each of us with a certain personality and work to carry out for his kingdom.  So that will be my prayer for you my sweet sister, and myself, is that as we walk around and interact with all these amazing women that we constantly remember that God brought us there to be who HE created US to be, not morph us into someone else. 

 

So, in closing, I am most excited about sitting in the wisdom and relationship of these women that surround me and hearing their STORY.  Each one of us has been given a story that draws people closer to God, whether through our pain, our journey or our triumph.  I am excited to see the faces of those I have read about and just SIT with LIKE MINDED souls.  But as we enjoy being LIKE MINDED, I pray that God sets us apart and encourages the fire and passion he has created for each of us that have been invited into his presence.

Be sure to check out how we Put Poverty To Bed by clicking on our VIDEO and visiting our STORE.  

Many hugs to you!

Nicole


Thursday

What are you hiding from? The LIE of FEAR



I was prompted to write while scrolling through social media this morning and reading yet another story of a sweet mother loosing her precious baby.  A few weeks ago, the social community of The Influence Network rallied around a woman named Diana who was fighting to keep her precious son....she had already lost two other children.  No words to speak.  She lost her precious Kaden here on this earth, her third baby to go see Jesus before her.  Now I scroll through another community of online bloggers and another child suddenly torn from her Mother's arms as a young newborn.  This has happened to one of my best friends, we all held sweet Jeremy after his spirit had gone to be with Jesus, we came alongside our friend as she sat through the funeral, watched her experience even more pain trying to create their family after loosing sweet Jeremy, however, it was followed by a God ordained adoption and a healthy pregnancy.  So many emotions to travel over the course of time and now we get to sit in the "happy ending" of it all.  BUT what about the darkness, what about traveling the thick of it, what about the FEARS, what about the emotions that remain from all the hard stuff?  

This morning in Daniel through She Reads Truth we discussed King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel's interpretation of it....the writer from She Reads Truth then asked......

"What mysteries are troubling you today? What images have frightened you to the core? What question would you give anything to have answered right now?
God may not spell out the answers for us the way He did for the king through Daniel that day, but He does invite us to seek Him. He does invite us to ask Him for wisdom and mercy, and He delights to give it. The answers may not look the way we’d hoped, or they may not be clear at all. The unsolvable may not be solved after one prayer or thousands. But we know the One who is the revealer of mysteries, and we know that He is for us. Nothing, not even the darkest mysteries, can separate us from His love." (excerpt from SheReadsTruth)

So what are we afraid of?  What is troubling you today?  What are you SO frightened about?  Sweet sister, I know this feeling too.  I can't write and give you any promises of what is going to be of your situation.  We don't know how Diana or Katy's story will turn out...BUT we must choose to believe the above stated to be true about our GOD.  Ephesians 1:9 (NASB) states " He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him"  Did you notice the word KIND intention.  The TRUTH is that God's will is according to his KIND intention.  We MUST believe this to be true...... if not, aren't we claiming that we don't believe in God's ability, power, or sovereignty?

As we look through the lens of this world, as we look through the lens of pain at death and despair and things that simply aren't FAIR....we must believe ladies...I'm begging you to believe with me...that Romans 8:28 is TRUE, that Ephesians 1:9 is true, that Jeremiah 29:11.  We need to rally around these truths!

What is your fear?  What are you hiding from? ...BELIEVE that his word is TRUE, that his intention is KIND.  Lay your FEAR down that is your darkest nightmare and TRUST that GOD is who he says he is.  We MUST believe that the light can overtake even THIS darkness.

Praying with you and for you today....

Nicole
Be Sure to check out our designs at Two Little Fish and see how you can help us             Put Poverty to Bed





Wednesday

Are you a Prisoner?

I am really enjoying getting back into a routine with ALL, yes ALL (tears) the kids in school.  In the mornings, I am spending my quite time with two groups of ladies.



I really love them both for different reasons...if you want to get plugged in to one of these groups and have questions, comment and I will do my best to direct you.

So, this morning in HelloMornings, we were reading about Paul and his attitude about being in prison and the following passage really struck me to the core. In Ephesians 4:1, Paul states "As a prisoner FOR the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received."  So I started thinking, what is the difference between being a prisoner OF something versus a prisoner FOR something or someone?  I think the difference is profound.

I am a PRISONER OF

 - Disbelief, I know my God is big enough and able to do all the things that we read about in the Bible, but I am chained to my disbelief that he might actually do something like this for me.

- Fear, Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with fear that I actually cease to function, I hide under my covers as if they will somehow makes my circumstances change around me.

- Prayerlessness, I realized just last night that I struggle with prayerlessness in certain areas where I am afraid to be vulnerable...what if I pray my heart out for this and ask all those to come along side me and his answer is NO, can I handle that, can I open my heart up enough to pray fervently and get an answer that I don't like? Honestly, the current state of my heart is resisting this....so I don't bring my request to many to sound the trumpets.

-Negativity, For some reason I am wired to see and feel the negative sometimes more strongly than all the positive around me.  God can give me a gift, but the wrapping has been slightly damaged and all I can focus on is the damage, rather than the gift that came with it.  I have to be diligent in overcoming this with gratitude lists and my sweet husband :)  He is Mary Poppins (yet handsome without the umbrella and huge purse :)....and God formed this union on purpose...yes he has his days of seeing the negative around is, but for the most part his life story has shaped him to focus on the glory around us and the positive.  I love you Stephen.

-Circumstance, I really have a hard time sitting in my circumstances that seem to be uncomfortable.  I like to run...like literally run away.  I run to go out to eat, go see my friends, drive to the city that makes me comfortable...run, run, run, run, run  to anything that gives me a glimmer of peace and comfort rather than sitting in the circumstance that God has asked me to.

When we are a prisoner OF something...we are letting that thought pattern or addictive behavior WIN, we are actually choosing the path of defeat. These things chain us to a life of constant worry and self doubt, never embracing the present and trusting that God can set us free and loves us enough to do so.

Paul stated that he was a prisoner FOR the Lord.  What an interesting shift, he was choosing to be held captive.  He lived every day under the authority and rule of the Lord without breaking free as a CHOICE to serve him.  He controlled this...in turn allowing God to freely work in his life and point him in the direction of God's will.  He also did this without grumbling..when we are a prisoner OF something..we grumble and shake... trying to get away from it, but being a prisoner FOR something, we walk boldly into our chains each day and carry them with great purpose and freedom as we are choosing to trust our warden.

Do you trust your warden?  The God who promises to direct our steps together for good?

Today will you join with me in overcoming being a prisoner of and walk proudly as a prisoner FOR the one and only true God.

Much Love,
Nicole

Monday

There's something I need to tell you......

There's something I need to tell you......

It's not very common and goes against main stream....

Many people wonder why I do it?

I work for FREE.  

Yup, I said it...FREE.  

And the women who have come along side me to help?  FREE.

Counter cultural, isn't it?  But isn't it cool!  You may be assuming that I work for free because my husband makes a ton of money..right?  But no, we have six kids, all in private school which makes us very far from rich, this whole week we will be cleaning out the pantry because we have to wait until payday to go to the grocery again. Really not kidding. 

I struggled a little with telling you all this...not because I am ashamed of this at all, in fact I couldn't see it any other way, but because I don't want it to come off prideful.  I don't want the glory to pointed at me.  Because it's not at all about me, it's about HIM.  It's simply what he has asked of me. 

This is what God has whispered to me, he has called me to use my gifts and time now as a mom with ALL of her kids in school to give more to others....the women who hand batik our fabric in Africa at Global Mamas







And the children in South Africa who have lost loved ones due to AIDS/HIV

How does this whole process work?

1. Your Two Little Fish item contains some Ghanian fabric which has been purchased straight from the village women in Ghana, Africa. This gives them sustainable income.

2. You will be sending a mattress to an AIDS orphan in South Africa through Horizon International with the purchase of a bedding set.
 
3. The rest of the profit from the set you have bought will be put BACK into local and global organizations that help Put Poverty To Bed! It's really THAT cool.

Feel good about the products you spend your money on. 100% purpose, 100% handmade in the USA.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because I think you should know our heart...we promote Two Little Fish to look outside ourselves, we promote Two Little Fish in hopes that we CAN change the way we invest in products.  We CAN be a country that produces a product as a Non-Profit organization.  

Will you help us?  There are SO many out there who want to help globally and locally, but they don't know how...Two Little Fish gives them a way to use everyday purchases to do just this.....not through a company that gives some of their profit away, but through a Non-Profit organization that gives 100% of their profit away.  Will you share with your friends and help us spread the word?

Hugs,

Nicole

Tuesday

It's a NEW day.......

Well...it's here.  The first day of school, but this year is a little different than most.  My baby is now a first grader.  The days of pick-ups, pull-ups and play-dates have passed.  I used to process these things way in advance and really be in the moment......the past few years I think that I have had to process so much change that I now don't really allow myself to sit in it, until that very moment that it just hurts.  I will usually then spend 5-10 crying my eyes out with the Lord and then move forward.  But I wish this wasn't so.  I wish life didn't hurt so bad...we want, we get and then we are overwhelmed....we want, we don't get and then we are mad.  Human emotions stink.  Truth is.....I'm not ready for this part of my life to be over.  There was so much energy wasted while my kids were little, a lot of pain and a lot of uncertainty.  It doesn't seem fair.  As humans we want to think that our cross is heavier than everyone else's, but I know this isn't true.  I see people all around me and read about women who carry much heavier crosses than I do.  In moments like that I turn my eyes up to the Lord and say thank you that you didn't choose that cross for me.  Why are some people's lives riddled with death and disappointment and others who may never experience this extreme?  I don't know.  But what I DO know it that there is a NEW day in CHRIST.




We get to CHOOSE.  Romans 8: 5-6 "Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.Don't choose the human emotions that are governed by the flesh. The enemy looks to kill, steal and destroy and people typically that is our THOUGHT life.  Don't just look at these words literally....he wants to kill our self-worth, steal our joy and destroy our families through us CHOOSING each day to live in his lies of defeat.  In the lie that my days of play-dates and diaper changes are over and that I won't experience that much joy again with the goofiness of little kids...it's just not true.  Our God is a God of relationships and he blesses them as they grow and that takes time...which in turn brings about change.  I will have another day of play-dates and diaper changes...I may be a 60 year old grandma or it may just be reliving the joy of my children's youth through videos.  Either way, I'm going to choose to see God's promises.  My life verse is Romans 8:28 "And God will bring ALL things together for the GOOD of those who love God We can't see the big picture, we are looking at the back of the tapestry; huge knots and splattered colors.  But God sees the front, a beautiful woven picture of all the pieces and broken threads of our life.  He PROMISES that he will work each thing out for the GOOD of those who love him.  So the question to ask is not "Is God good?"...the questions to ask is "Do you love him?  Do you trust him, Do you somehow believe that through death, divorce, loss of a child, that he sees the tapestry he is making and he wants to turn the knot into something beautiful.

I'm going to choose to trust him today and rest in the NEW day he has created for me.

Bonding through service

 Wouldn't it be ideal if our work, service and family time could somehow intertwine?  We just had that blessed moment!! :)  The kids have no homework and are restless cause it's the last week of school, Mommy really needed to get a sample Two Little Fish bumper set made.  I asked my son Braeden if he wanted to come have some special time with me and help me...he resounded yes, as well as the other three kids standing there!  Ahh, what to do now.  Well, I decided they could each have a turn helping me and spending some alone time with me...how that was going to be fruitful, I had yet to figure out...ha ha ha, but GUESS WHAT??  They did GREAT.  We got an entire bumper set cut out while they each learned how to trace and cut.  Aren't they cute.....
 Lexie Bear

 Braeden making a very concentrated face...
 Avery doing a GREAT job with the rotary cutter!

 Malena beana
AND the final cut...it's our Crushing on Coral Set......coming soon!

Thursday

Change

Wind, weather, relationships, age, trends, strength, health.......all these things change on a daily basis.  They are evolving, ending, and changing.  So why then does change typically rock most of us to the core?  For me, I think it's that inner hunger to want something stable, something predictable.  The world makes us feel as if that is simply unattainable, but for those who follow Christ, we know and believe there is a better ending.  This last week has been fabulous as the weather has changed.  It is now warm and windy and simply perfect to sit outside and enjoy the day, the air...the allergies...ha ha.  I've been just sitting a lot recently and watching my children.  I love to see them laugh and watch them play...it's strange though that watching them in the present tense at times evokes happy feelings and others feelings of loss.  They are getting so big, they are playing without me right by their side, our life is so much different than it was before.

My husband and I have a blended family, I was divorced with two small children and married a widower with four children.  In the meshing of these two worlds...there was a WHOLE lotta change :)  We changed cities, we changed houses, we changed families, we changed churches and at the end of all that there were days we simply didn't want to change our clothes...cause we were SICK of that word!  But you know what, two hard but fruitful years later, we are stable and happy.  I talked with my son the other night about just this change, he was struggling with the hard parts of it....but at the same time we talked through our hurts and struggles and we were able to share about our joys that came from this change....What God has given us through this change, it IS pretty amazing.  My children love their "adopted" brothers and sisters, each one has such a special personality and blessing that they bring to our family.  Gavin, our 15 yr old son, is helping to coach my sons 7/8 Baseball team and Braeden just LOVES it.  It is such a blessing for him to have a big brother.  Emma is our 12 yr old daughter that is basically 16.  I just love her fun personality and the fact that I have someone, besides Steve, to ask about my outfit or hair.  It really is amazing that Emma didn't come from my womb because she is JUST LIKE ME!  God definitely thought this was a funny one.  I know what that girl is thinking before she even opens her mouth.  Emma is also such a great big sister, all of the little ones just love getting alone time with her.  Avery, our 10 yr old daughter, is hilariously 10 right now.  You know that screeching, oh my gawsh phase of life :)  She has a very compassionate heart.  She cares about others feelings and when she has a chance to lead all the little ones (when Emma is away:), she is very genuine in her love for them, which is a gift.  Malena is one of the three amigos, she is 7.  If Lexie ever gets hurt...which is quite often (Steve calls her Splat :) )  before I have even finished hugging her, malena is there with an ice pack.  She really evens out the dynamic between my two little ones and unites our family between the age gaps.


So why am I telling you all this?  To give you some hope if your experiencing the hard part of change.  I was there, it was ugly.  But you know what, God knows best, he really does...even when it all looks black and dark, as long as you are seeking him to follow HIS direction, don't fret.  I do still miss my friends and the city that I called home, but without the move, I wouldn't have met all the amazing friends I now have today and the wonderful women who have been instrumental in helping me sustain Two Little Fish, Paige Heitzman and Jess Snell.  Actually, without the move, Two Little Fish most likely would not exist.  It was God's pushing me to change that settled all six of our kids at a private Christian school here named Faith, that we LOVE.  My children are now set apart, not because we pay for school, but because they live and breathe God's word daily....they look different when they go out into the world and I love that and you know what?  They do to!

video


Many people will come in and out of your live, maybe you will pass through many cities, your children will grow up and the baby stage does end.  What will you be left with?  Is the man/woman that you committed your life to your very first priority under God or when the children leave will there be a stranger in your home?  What will your children see is permanent to you?  My hope is that they see that God is my ONLY permanence and that humans are flawed, including their parents and friends, and they truly know how to run to God when change rocks their core and trust that HIS change is a molding power that will etch out a creation beyond our imagination.

Love you guys!
Nicole