Takeaways from Chewbacca Mask Mom-Candace Payne

chewmomSurely by now, you’ve had a chance to watch Candace Payne’s video where she unboxes her new Chewbacca Mask and dons it for all of her FB Live viewers, who at that point, were really just a handful, she admits. Surely when she was broadcasting, she had absolutely no idea how her life was about to change, or that she would be thrust onto a worldwide platform in such a short amount of time.

If, by some chance, you’re not one of the 170 million viewers who has seen the video, please take 4 minutes and just click the link above before moving on with the blog, or else you won’t get it. You’re so welcome. Enjoy, but don’t forget to come back!

I’m really excited for this gal. I mean, to see how she is handling all this newfound publicity is a treat. I watched how, less than 48 hours after she had originally posted her video, she was asked to speak to a group of teenagers at a fine arts event. What she said to them was simple, yet profound, and made me respect her for her sincerity as much as her humor.

As I’ve watched this unfold over the week, I’ve been collecting some takeaways from her journey that I’d like to share with you.

The Chewbacca Mask Mom

chewbacca takeawaysIt’s the simple joys in life.

Okay, so this is just a stay at home mom who was struggling to get back into exercising. She hops over to Kohl’s while her kids were in school to take back some yoga pants that didn’t fit, but while she was looking for new ones, she got frustrated, and decided to head over to the toys. She was like, “not today, yoga pants, Ima head on over to look for something for my kids.” I do that. A lot! Anyone else? So, I get the “I’m not loving how I’m feeling in my skin right now, and it’s easier to just shop for the rest of my family instead” thing she was working with that day. But instead of finding a toy for her kid, she bought a toy for herself.

I love that so much. A simple mask. It brought a smile to her face in the store. She probably picked it up and laughed out loud when she heard it roar. And moms with toddlers strapped into their carts who were looking at Carter’s clothing just a few feet away probably turned their heads to find this woman, by herself, enjoying a toy.

When is the last time we just enjoyed a toy? Not our smart phones, not some super expensive toy with all the bells and whistles, but just a simple toy. Can we even do that anymore? I realized the other day when we were at the dentist office, that just sitting and playing toys with my kids is really difficult for me. Allie and Caroline were each getting their teeth cleaned, and I was in the toy nook with Kate. We played with blocks, puzzles, dolls, and read books for what felt like an eternity. It was less than an hour. Even though I had to consciously keep myself from getting on my phone or picking up a magazine (and that was quite a battle), I ended up getting a lot of joy out of discovering the new toys with my toddler.

Laughter brings the world together.

She posts this and it goes crazy-viral. Why? There’s nothing particularly fantastic about a woman playing with a Chewbacca mask in and of itself. But it was the laughter, the smile that she wore before she even put on the mask, and especially after it was on, that curls the ends of our mouths upward.

Everyone needs a reason to laugh. This world…it’s tough. It’s hard. Horrible things happen to good people. The news is scary every day (we don’t watch the news for that reason). Politics…don’t even get me started.

So when this gal just cracks up at herself in the mask, everyone around the entire world, can breathe out a collective sigh of relief. For those 4 minutes, it’s all we have to focus on. Her laughter is rich and comes from a deep place. It wasn’t forced or fabricated for her audience. She was seriously cracking herself up. And in doing so, she gave everyone else permission to do the same, if they so desire.

Being yourself: It’s worth every penny.

Thank you, Candace, for just being you. You is good enough. Your quirkiness, your silliness, your ability to laugh at yourself, we need to see that because this world keeps trying to tell us that we have to fit into a mold that usually we just don’t fit into. So be yourself, sister! On every interview from here on out, on each video you post. Who God made you to be, and how He made your body, mind, and personality is just fine.

In a world where plastic lives are plastered at every turn, one ounce of authenticity is worth its weight in gold. People who can show that they don’t have their crap together, and it’s okay, are like unicorns these days.

You never know when or how God’s going to give you a platform. Be ready.

Again, sister friend did not expect to become an overnight sensation when she posted this video. But she was ready when it happened. Watching other interviews post-maskcapade, she makes it very obvious that she is a child of God, and her relationship with Him is paramount in her life. He has trusted her with this platform, and she says she will use it for His glory.

We never know if or when God is going to put the spotlight on our lives. Sometimes it’s the result of a fun or awesome event like it was for Candace. Other times, it’s when we walk through tragedy that the most eyes are watching our lives.

In either circumstance, may we be found to be ready. The Chewbacca Mask Mom put it this way when speaking to those high-schoolers:

“It doesn’t matter how talented, how anointed, how gifted, how passionate or how willing you are if you’re not fit to do the things that God has called you to do. And that is spiritually fit.”

In order to be spiritually fit, we’ve got to put in the time and the effort. When I decided that I wanted to get back into shape after having 4 babies and 2 miscarriages in 6 years, my body didn’t just bounce back because I thought it should. No, I’ve been putting in the time and effort in the kitchen and in the gym, and it’s just now beginning to get where I want it to be.

The good news: time with God is never wasted. We want to “be someone special in the Kingdom of God” or “be used for His glory,” but when our time in the Word doesn’t reflect our claims, our true motivations are revealed. Wanna do the things that God has called you to do? Wanna be all God’s called you to be? Wanna be ready to take the stage when He opens the door? What are you doing now to prepare for then?  

Don’t try to make a name for yourself. His name will always out shadow yours.

This. This right here. I watched her say this, and my heart stung and leapt at the same time. It’s so tempting to make a name for ourselves. Our social media accounts are filled with selfies and snippets showing off the highlight reels of our lives. I’m guilty in this area on many accounts.

May our lives be reflections of His glory. May we become less as He becomes more. May we spend less time building our platforms, our names, our reputation, and more building His. At work, in our neighborhoods, at the grocery store, in the community, on the sidelines of the soccer fields and baseball fields…let’s go ahead and give God glory through our words and our actions and our thoughts and our facial expressions and with whom or what we listen to.

My prayer is that this sister who has been thrust out in front of all to see, feels her Heavenly Father’s arms around her, keeping her close to his heartbeat, and that the world will tangibly feel the joy that comes from being in that position.

The Tiger Series Part 2: Daniel Tiger’s Advice For Ministry Leaders

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In my last post, I shared 5 Pieces of Advice from Daniel Tiger to Moms. I’ve received a lot of feedback from moms who say that they enjoyed seeing (and hearing) these familiar songs through the lens of deeper meaning for their own lives. Well, guess what. We ain’t done yet.

I’m not just a mom, I’m a leader, and until our season as pastors comes to a close, I have the responsibility to lead leaders and volunteers at our church. I take that charge very seriously, and so does Daniel, apparently, because he has a few thoughts on how ministry leaders should handle their people with kindness. Whether you’re a pastor, on staff at a ministry (or any organization, really), or just a high capacity volunteer who leads a team, it’s important that you keep these truths in mind when connecting with your folks.

 Back to share her renditions of Daniel’s ditties is the amazing Caroline.

We’ve Gotta Look A Little Closer To Find Out What We Want To Know.

Ministry isn’t about systems and structures, or even vision…it’s about people.

As a ministry leader, it’s our job to get to know our people. They are not there to just get something done. Ultimately, they came to your church or ministry to know God better and to be known by others. If they didn’t want that, they could just watch a service online from home and never step foot in an actual building with other people on Sunday, much less serve.

So shepherds, it’s our job to get to know our sheep. And here’s the thing…sometimes sheep bite. Sometimes they act a fool. (and, btw, we are all sheep). Instead of getting offended or reprimanding a person when they aren’t “following protocol” or when they just plain screw up, let’s look a little closer to find out the why behind the what.

Did you just find out that your worship leader got his girlfriend pregnant? Well, that looks like a mess. Instead of just firing the guy and sweeping his mistake under the rug, why don’t you connect with him and ask the right questions to help him get down to the root of what drove him to the point of sleeping with her outside of marriage in the first place. If you’re kind and patient enough with him, he will be able to find healing from the Lord, and will probably clean up his own mess in the end.

Let’s stop cutting people off when they make a mistake, and instead see it as an opportunity to dig in deeper and help usher in true life-change through healthy restoration.

When You’re Sick, Rest Is Best, Rest Is Best.

Burnout. It’s an epidemic in churches these days. Why? Because too many leaders are so strapped for quality and reliable volunteers that they use and abuse those who show any sign of competence and consistency. This is unacceptable.

Leaders, listen to those you’re supposed to be equipping to do the work of the ministry. What do the conversations sound like from your children’s ministry workers? How many are still cheerfully bee-bopping through the hallways after having to serve every single weekend without a break for six months straight?

Zero. That’s how many. I know this isn’t PBSkids-approved language, but we are raping our volunteers to get our own needs and desires met.

We need to have a close ear to the ground to hear the rumblings before we have a mass exodus of burned out, broken people running like wildebeests out of our churches. If we can listen and know what is going on in the lives of our folks, we can make discerning moves as to how healthy they are.

And if they’re sick, it’s best to rest them, at least for a season. Ask questions, and not just at church where they feel obligated to give you a canned answer. Call them, take them to lunch, grab coffee with them. Sit, listen, hold their stories, and ask the right questions to help them communicate their need for a break.

When they do, can you as the leader trust that God’s going to fill that void, and He is more concerned with the health of your church than you are? If a volunteer needs rest, and you can give it to them without guilt, shame or condemnation, they will come back better than ever and will respect you in new ways. 

Use Your Words and Say How You Feel.

This goes along with the last point. As leaders (and many of us are volunteers ourselves), we need not be afraid to speak up and create healthy boundaries with our words, specifically our yeses and our nos. There are times when we need a break. Even staff members can get overwhelmed and on the brink of burnout. We need to be able to use open lines of communication with our own leaders and let them know how we are feeling about the position we are in.

It is impossible to not be offended in this life. When we are offended, we need to learn healthy ways to communicate and work towards forgiveness and reconciliation. This is a whole ‘notha series of blog posts, y’all, but for now I’ll say that this is something most people suck at (including me, at times). We would rather not talk about it, sweep it under the rug, and allow it to fester than confront someone when they’ve wronged us. We need to recognize that healthy confrontation is the prerequisite for healthy relationships.

Generally, if we can communicate how someone’s actions made us feel, it can be the start to a healthy confrontation. It may go something like this, “when you don’t take into consideration my suggestions on how to improve our check-in systems in children’s ministry, it makes me feel frustrated,” or “when you said ________, it made me feel ___________.”

Can we learn how to turn fierce conversations into opportunities to acheive greater success with those whom we do life and ministry? Are we willing to put in the work to become effective peace-keepers for the sake of bringing health to Christ’s body?

 Everyone’s Job Is Important, We All Help In Different Ways.

Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, emphasized that the body is made up of many parts, and that each part is vital for the health of the body. In fact, he emphasizes that the parts of the body that we would normally consider as weaker, or menial are actually the most important ones.

Yes, many people want to be on the stage with a microphone, but the guy who shows up every week to push a road case, unload, and set up the pipe and drape, and is done before everyone else shows up…he should be honored even more! God actually honors the hidden parts, the lady faithfully changing diapers, and the one who puts signs out at the road before the sun comes up.

Leaders, can we create a culture that celebrates the hidden parts instead of emphasizes those who get the natural limelight? What would that take in your own ministry? How can you continue to support and equip those who are more behind the scenes?

Taking Care of You Makes Me Happy, Too.

Somewhere along the way, the people who are called to serve have become the ones being served. Pastors, leaders, let’s get it straight. You didn’t get called into ministry so others can fawn over you hand and foot. Volunteers are not meant to spend their time taking care of your needs, they are supposed to be ministering to the “least of these”… it should be the other way around.

It breaks my heart when I hear, “I know you’re probably really busy so I won’t bother you with _________.” What?!? This is so backwards and it comes because people are used to the pastors and high-level leaders being untouchable. Leaders, we are here to help. We are here to serve.

I love how my husband handles this. He communicates to people with his words and actions, “I want to listen to you. I count it an honor that you would trust me to hold your story, no matter how messed up you think it is. It is a PLEASURE to care for you, because as I am caring for you, I am caring for the One who called me to serve you, who brought you into this fold, and who promises to take care of me.”

 Leaders, does taking good care of your people bring you happiness? If not, I suggest taking a hard look at why you are doing what you’re doing.

Daniel Tiger’s Advice For Moms

The Tiger Series Part 1: Daniel Tiger’s Advice For Moms

Y’all, my littles are ADDICTED to the PBS Kids show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and I may or may not have been the dealer of the goods. Okay, I was. I’ll admit it. I willingly and regularly stick them in front of the television from 9am-10am to get two full episodes of Daniel Tiger in so I can get my TO-DO list going.

Laundry, cleaning, ministry phone calls, appointment setting, blogging, working on furniture or DIY projects…these all happen thanks to my wing man, DT. daniel_tiger

If you’re not familiar with Daniel Tiger, you may recognize his roots. Back in my day it was Mister Roger’s Neighborhood. Fred Rogers would come in, break out in a song, take off his business attire in exchange for something more comfy, and would walk his young viewers through life situations while teaching them proper social etiquette, and addressing their inner feelings and concerns. I hearted Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and now that I think about it, my mom got a lot done while I was enjoying the songs and stories in each episode.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is the 21st century spinoff of the show, and “Daniel The Striped Tiger” was actually one of Mister Roger’s puppets who had learning adventures in his imaginary world. He has been cartoon-ized, given a new lease on life, and is now capturing the hearts of children and parents alike. He uses catchy jingles that easily get stuck in your head to pound home life lessons that all of us could use.

mister rogers and DTI’ve heard Daniel and his gang sing enough songs in the past couple of years that these songs have become part of my parenting strategy. But when I step back as an adult, a mom, I realize that I, too, can learn my striped friend.

5 Pieces of Advice From Daniel Tiger to Moms

To help me out, I had Caroline sing (basically from memory, with a little coaxing) Daniel’s 5 pieces of advice so you can get the gist (and get them stuck in your head).

1) When You’re Feeling Frustrated, Take a Step Back and Ask For Help.

Frustration. It comes with the job. We all get to the point where we want to fly off the handle…on the regular. But because it’s so important to “keep our love on” with our kids, sometimes we need to take a step back and ask for help. Who do we ask? First, God. He promises to give us wisdom to know how to handle a situation when we ask for it. He lavishes on us patience, kindness, and self-control. All we have to do is ask, and he is happy to give you what you need in the moment to check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self (and little hearts who’ve been entrusted to you.) Ask, and it will be given to you…for everyone who asks receives.. (Matthew 7:7-8). Second, ask someone else. This could be your spouse or the child’s father (if he’s not your spouse). It could be one of your parents, or a trusted friend. You need to have someone who, even if they are not in the position to help you physically, can lend you a listening and empathetic ear.

2. When You Have To Go Potty, Stop and Go Right Away.

Any mama in the trenches knows that there are times when we just need 5 minutes to ourselves in the bathroom. But usually, we are joined by inquisitive, needy little beings who seem to have been doused in super glue and are stuck to us when we need to do our business. Recognize this, Mama. It’s not a crime to shut and lock the door. Don’t spend all day on the throne thumbing through HGTV magazines while little fingers find their way under the door, but no matter how young or needy your kid is, you can put them in a safe place and take care of this basic need. Go ahead, allow yourself that privilege, but don’t forget to “flush and wash and be on your way!”

3. You Can Take a Turn, and Then I’ll Get It Back.

I think of this as Daniel giving us permission to let Daddy take some of the responsibility when he’s around. Sure, the kids may be eating ice cream and cold pizza for breakfast, but they’ll live and they’ll love it. Give Dad a turn to be “On” while you’re “Off” every once in a while. Stay-at-home moms have it especially hard sometimes…we don’t get to have regular hours or work days, vacation time or paid holiday leave. We. Are. ON. 24/7. If your husband is willing, give him a turn to watch the baby, and when you do, try not to micromanage him or criticize his parenting. Just let him be Daddy. Step away, get some down time, and don’t worry, you’ll get the kid back soon enough!

4. Grown Ups Come Back.

When I first became a mom, I found that staying at home with the baby can be very lonely at times. It takes intentionality and sometimes a whole lotta planning and straight up effort to get out of the house with the kids and find other adults in the community. Thankfully, it does get easier. Fight for community. Real relationships. Not just online relationships, although they have their places as well, and have been a source of sanity for me when getting out was just out of the question. But nothing beats good ole fashion friendships. Call your girlfriends and schedule play dates, even if your kids are different ages or don’t get along all that well. Don’t let that keep you from developing and strengthening your friendships that you will NEED in the days and years to come. There was a season when, for multiple reasons (some out of my control) I felt like my preschoolers were my best buddies. It wasn’t until I joined the local YMCA (with free childcare, hallelujah), and introduced myself to a few other girls who worked out there that I began to feel like I could hold adult conversations again.

5. Keep Trying, You’ll Get Better!

Every mom has thought she’s a failure at one time or another. Some just don’t really have that mothering instinct, some are all bent out of whack over trivial mishaps, and still some are doing a good job, but in comparison to what we see on Pinterest and in the blogasphere, we tend to believe the lie that we’re getting it all wrong. Look, mommies make mistakes. We all do. We don’t get the sleep schedule right, or we can’t figure out how to connect with our middle schooler. I’m sure I’m screwing my kids up in mulitple ways every single day. I need to start a counseling fund for them alongside the college fund and the wedding fund so they can get fixed when they’re older. But I Don’t. Give. Up. Keep trying. When I do something dumb, I apologize to them and try to help. If what you’ve always done isn’t working, try something different. There are many parenting philosophies, tips and tricks, books, videos and a whole plethora of information out there to help you keep trying. The point is…just don’t stop showing up in your kids’ lives because you’ve messed up in the past or think you can’t do it. You can. You were made to be this kid’s parent, and God wants to give you everything you need to knock it out of the ballpark.

I’m so thankful that my kids are addicts, because I’ve learned so much through their addiction!

Be sure to check back next week when I break down 5 Pastoral Care Tips from Daniel Tiger.

My Mediocre Self on the Worship Team

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It began as a half-hearted joke between me and our worship leader. I would laughingly suggest that she use me on the worship team, knowing full well that my voice is not one that needs to be amplified. Though Brandon often tells me I can hold a melody just fine, a “joyful noise” is the description I’d give for the sound that erupts when I sing to the Lord. I was trained as a child in various choirs, but somewhere between high school and now, my confidence in my singing has diminished. I wouldn’t say I’m terrible, but I’ve certainly never considered myself worship-team ready. And because I’m pretty competitive in nature, I’ve adopted the notion that if I can’t be the best at something, I probably shouldn’t do it at all. The problem with that mindset, though, is that it eliminates me from many situations where God just wants me to give what I do have, my mediocre self. 

We see this in the scriptures. Jesus liked using mediocre things and giving God more glory when they turned out to be amazing. In the gospels we find him after He’s been teaching all day on the mountainside to thousands and thousands of people. His disciples try to tell him to close up shop and send everyone on so they can grab some food, but for some reason he puts the responsibility to solve the problem back in their hands. He says, “You give them something to eat.” And they’re thinking, wow, it would cost a LOT of money (probably about $4000, some scholars estimate) to even feed everyone here a little bite of bread. We don’t have that much! 

Then Jesus says something to them that echoes to each of us on a regular basis, “What do you have?” They hand over 5 measly loaves of bread, and 2 smelly fish, and it becomes a glory story that we read about thousands of years later. Not because they were able to muster up enough to provide for the need, but because they gave what they had and God did the rest.

Jesus is saying the same to me and you right now, “What do you have, reader, that you can use in My Kingdom to bring Me glory?”

I certainly didn’t think to offer up my singing voice. Our worship leader, Kim…she has a strong, pure voice. She’s built a team comprised of extremely capable singers and musicians. Most of them could be recording artists on their own, and make a fine living doing so. I regularly get goosebumps on my skin when one of them is singing on Sunday morning, and when they get really flowing together, fa’get about it.  I’m pretty sure God likes to hang out at our church on Sunday mornings around 10:30 (wink, wink) even more than I do. It’s heavenly.

Our church, a multicultural anomaly, worships with songs from an array of Christian genre subcultures.  We could begin with a gospel song by Donnie McClurkin, move right through an arrangement out of Bethel, and end with a song that contains a serious electric guitar solo from Elevation Church. Kim is very intentional about making sure the set list connects with people from all ages, church backgrounds, and cultures. She also works hard to make sure that the vocalists on stage reflect the multicultural diversity we have in the congregation. Men, women, old, young, a spectrum of skin colors…there are so many factors to consider, and I’m glad she gets paid to do it instead of me!

While I love to joke, I’ve never actually considered being on the worship team because I’m just. not. that. good. I’ve always heard that if you can’t belt it out, then let those who can do it and find somewhere else where you are better gifted to serve.

I know this…I can carry a tune in a bucket, and I do know the way to the Father’s face through praise and worship, but that’s about it.  But I would joke, and the joke would go like this, “Kim, I know you probably want me to sing this weekend, but I’m busy, so… sorry.” Or, “Kim, you just let me know when you need a week off and I’ll take over leading worship. I got you girl!”  She’d respond with, “I got you on speed dial, Pastor Nicole! I’ll be sure to let you know if that ever comes up.”

One night we were having a leadership meeting, and I sauntered over during a break to chat. She said something she had never said before. Disclaimer: unless you’ve led or attended a multicultural church, you may not understand what I describe next…don’t judge, but basically, you need to have your stage reflect what you want your congregation to look like. For that reason, we strive to keep varied skin tones, ages, and genders up on stage leading the congregation. She said, “So, Pastor Nicole, I could use you on the stage with us this weekend. We have a lot of people out and all the people, and to be honest, we need a melanin-challenged person on stage to balance us out this Sunday.” I thought she was upping her on-going joke game, so I responded, “Ha, ha, yeah, sure, Kim! I thought you’d never ask!” “No, Pastor, I’m serious. Could you help us out? I just need you to worship the Lord on the stage like you worship on the floor every Sunday morning.”

I still didn’t really believe her, so I told her I’d do it. It wasn’t until I received the Planning Center invitation on my email the next day that I realized that she seriously was going to try to pull this off. The Redemption Charlotte worship team and my mediocre self. I thought about lip synching, but then I was picturing being on a video like this in the near future. After subsequent conversations with Kim and Brandon, I finally took it to the Lord:

Me: Why would You want me to do this, Lord? I’m not the best at singing.

God: You don’t have to be the best to give your best. [Drops mic, walks away.]

This was my loaves and fishes moment.

Sunday morning came along, and I was nervous. I’m completely comfortable speaking to this same audience every week on stage, but for some reason this felt very different. I arrived early and we began warm-ups. Kim came around as we went through the last song, and stops in front of me. Her brow furled at first, as she inclined her ear to me, and then a smile broke out on her face. I stop, stunned. “No, no, keep going,” she said. We finished the song and she punched me on the arm. “Pastor Nicole, I thought you told me you couldn’t sing!  You were right on with that melody, girl! I mean, you’re no Tasha Cobbs, but you can hold that melody. We need that filler voice. Danny (the sound guy)! Turn Pastor Nicole’s mic up!”

Miraculously, I made it through the set, and managed not to take the whole thing down with too many wrong notes or major mishaps. In fact, Kim approached me and let me know that she would be using me on a regular schedule. To date, I don’t know of anyone who has left the church yet because the pastor’s wife can’t sing. Throughout the last few months that I’ve been on the worship team, I’ve had countless people tell me that they like to have me up on stage in that realm. They never comment on my singing ability, but every time, they mention how the Father beckoned them to go deeper when they watched me worship.

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Worship Was Mine, What’s Yours?

He is a God that calls that which is not as though it were. He is a God who, for the sake of His pleasure, pushes his children past their man-made limits, their mediocrity, and allows them opportunities to soar in ways they never dreamed. He is a God who fills in the gaps where we are lacking, and who’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to the Lord, asking Him why He would want me to to do this. It seems so outside my wheel house that I didn’t understand where He was going with the whole thing. In my heart I felt Him say, “Nicole, give me all of you. Don’t hold ANYTHING back. Not your strengths, not your weaknesses, not your gifts, and not even the areas of your life where you don’t think you’re very gifted. Give it ALL to me. Lay it all on the altar, and let me use it how I choose. I will amaze you if you will.”

Friend, what are your loaves and fishes, the areas of your life where you’re holding back because you know you’re not the cream of the crop? What are you holding back because you’re just run-of-the-mill-okay at it? What else can you offer to the Lord? Does He want you to start serving somewhere you didn’t think you’d ever serve? Is there some hidden area of your life that you’re keeping in the closet because you don’t think it ranks high enough to be noticed?

What would happen if we all gave our loaves and fishes over to Jesus? How could the world benefit from it? How many more lost souls could be reached? How many hungry could be fed? How many children could be adopted into loving families? How many addicted could find healing and acceptance? How much more could our churches thrive if they weren’t searching for volunteers because you stepped up and gave yourself in absolute normal, nothing to write home about ways?

How To Disassemble Pallets

More often than not, once you get your pallet, you’re doing to need to disassemble it. Disassembling pallets to use in projects can be a serious pain in the tail, if you’re not doing it right. As an avid pallet DIYer, I’ve tried many methods, but have found one to be the most effective, and the quickest.

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Trying to use a hammer and crowbar takes forever, and it’s easy to crack a board using this method. So I like to use my sawzall to disassemble my pallets. It typically takes me less than 5 minutes to take it apart.

You will need:

  • Sawzall (also known as a reciprocating saw) With a Sharp, Heavy Blade.
  • Eye Protection
  • Gloves (optional, but great for preventing blisters if you’re disassembling many pallets)

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After putting on gloves and safety goggles, I like to prop my pallet up on something sturdy so I can get to the nails on either side and use gravity to do the majority of the work.

Disassemble The Dang Thing

I put the blade of the sawzall behind the first board and cut through the nails. I then proceed with all the nails on that side, then move to the other side and repeat, until only the center nails are holding the boards together.

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Now, because I’m a shorty, I then lay the pallet down and cut through the center nails in order to release the board from the middle baseboard. If you’re taller and can get a better angle on those middle nails, go for it propped. It’s really up to you, DIYer!

I love how the nail heads generally stay in the wood. It creates a beautiful rustic look with a lot of character. If you prefer not to have the nails, it’s easy to pull them out.

In the end, it looks something like this:

IMG_1877*Always pay attention and take care to keep safety a priority. Sawzalls are dangerous and should not be used by inexperienced operators.

What’s Next?

Now that you have your boards free, clean them, sand them, paint them, stain them…whatever you need to do to make your next DIY masterpiece!

Other Useful Pallet-y Posts

How To Find Pallets For Your Projects

How To Build a Pallet Wall

What project are you working on with your pallet wood? Share in the comments!

 

How To Build A Pallet Wall

Let’s talk about why my new pallet wall is the best Mother’s Day gift Brandon has given me to date. Over the last 12 years, he has worked hard to study me. Who I am. How I tick. What pushes my buttons, and what just doesn’t do it for me. I’m so glad to have a guy who refuses to get complacent when it comes to our relationship.

For instance, he knows that my primary love language since having kids has changed from Quality Time to Acts of Service, with Touch still coming in second place. Seriously, if you want to tell me you love me, don’t tell me. Show me. Don’t use words. Use actions. Clean something, or build something for crying out loud! Gifts don’t tickle my fancy. So going out to pick a present for me at the mall is nice and all, but I’d honestly rather you not. Brandon’s figured this out, and that is why our conversation on the Saturday before Mother’s Day went like this:

Brandon: Babe, so….tomorrow’s Mother’s Day, huh?

Me: Yeah, it is.

Brandon: I’ve been kind of busy with work. I haven’t gotten you anything yet.

Me: I figured as much. It’s no big deal.

Brandon: But I do have this whole afternoon free and will be happy to knock out a special project for you!

Me: You’ve hit the nail on the head, babe! I’ve got the perfect project for you.

A PALLET WALL!

I had seen a beautiful pallet wall at a friend’s house, and had been envisioning my own for the bonus room. Up until now, our bonus room is basically just a big room with lots of toys, a large tv that sits on an IKEA shelving unit, our very first couch set that my parents bought us for our wedding gift, and berber carpet that has seen better days. The walls are barely painted, the decor doesn’t all fit together yet. But my vision for the room has included this pallet wall that should help inspire me to get the rest of the room back on track.

I had been collecting old pallets for a while, and had disassembled them, cleaned and sanded them, and painted some of the boards. Thankfully, this was already done, and the actual planning and assembling of the pallet wall was finished in about 5 hours.

How To Build A Pallet Wall

How To Build A Pallet Wall 1

Collect Your Pallets. I have an entire post dedicated to various ways you can get your hands on these little (sometimes big) gems. Determine approximately how many you will need based on how big your wall is and taking an average pallet board is 3 inches wide. A wide board is usually 6 inches.We used roughly 135 boards for a space that was

Disassemble and prep your pallet boards.  I used a sawzall to cut through the nails and release the boards from the base. If you want to do it this way and need more instructions, check out my post on how to disassemble a pallet I had put some of the pallets out in the sun for a couple of months beforehand, and they had greyed out and gotten aged looking. I sanded each board, and cleaned it off. Some of the boards were too new looking, so I grabbed some paint colors that complemented my decor in the room, and slapped the paint on them. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and that is fine with me, because I’m not precise. That’s why shabby chic suits me so well. Once the paint is dry, you can go over it again with the sander to give it an aged look.

Mock It Up.This is an optional step, but we would highly recommend it.
We decided to lay out the boards ahead of time to make sure we liked the placement of each board. We measured the wall, and made a blueprint of sorts of the wall, window, and outlets. Then, we grabbed our kids’ sidewalk chalk and drew it out to scale on the driveway according to the plan. From there we were able to lay the boards out and figure out what we liked and didn’t like before we nailed them on the wall.IMG_4835

 

Be a Stud Finder. Find and mark the studs (Brandon said I’m already good at this–wink, wink). Use a stud finder, or any other method of finding your studs, and make a straight line from top to bottom that you can use as a guide when nailing in your boards. Make sure to use your level so that your lines are straight, and these boards are getting nailed into something that can hold them. It’s important that they do so the wall can handle the added weight of all the wood you’re nailing to it.

Stud Lines

Grab Your Nail Gun and Get To It!  This is the fun part, and if you have already laid out your boards on the ground, it should be pretty easy. Starting at the top, we went row by row, and simply picked up the pieces in a specific order, then took them upstairs, and nailed them on the wall to the studs.

Have Your Saw Ready, Too. Of course, some pieces needed to be cut to fit properly. For that, we used our chop saw. Remember to measure twice and cut once! Brandon used the “blueprint” to measure out which boards needed to be cut to accommodate the outlets.

Sit Back and Grin Goofily At What You’ve Made. It’s beautiful! It’s rustic, with tons of charm! You love different colors of the pallets. You love how it makes your room feel bigger yet cozier. You are amazed that you did this! Without having to hire a professional and spend tons of cash! In fact, you may have only spent a few bucks on some nails if you already had the tools! Way to go, you! Now enjoy the heck out of your pallet wall! Take a goofy selfie in front of it and post it for the whole world to see!

Goofy selfie pallet wall kiss

P.S. Guys, if you just made this for your wife to speak her love language, get ready because she may be extra, ahem, thankful for it!

 

 

How To Find Pallets To Use For Projects

How To Find PalletsPallets are all the rage these days, with people pinning projects using them left and right. And why shouldn’t they be? Solid wood, usually already worn a bit, easy to access, and my favorite…FREE (most of the time). There are so many different projects you can use a pallet for. Some people make pretty good money off their pallet projects, while others just enjoy using their wood to improve their own homes on the cheap. Whatever your motivation is for wanting a pallet, here are a few ways to find them.

How to Find Pallets for Your Projects

On the side of the road

I oftentimes drive by pallets on the side of the road. If it’s safe enough, I’ll park, get out and haul it to my minivan. Having a large vehicle helps for this option. Remember to keep safety a priority, and be wise about where you park, how busy the road is, how decrepit the piece is (is it worth the work), etc..

Construction and Home Building Sites

Construction crews leave pallets in and beside dumpsters all the time. I would certainly suggest connecting with a crew member or manager onsite and asking before dumpster diving, if possible. If you can build a relationship with a foreman, sometimes he will even go so far as to have them dusted off and stacked for you at a certain time and place. For as many times as I’ve asked for the, I have also been known to drag a few away before or after hours.

Ask for Them From Your Neighbors

Use Next Door or other local social media apps to put out the PA that you will come pick up any pallets neighbors have from a recent delivery. Taking a quick ride through your neighborhood the night before the trash gets taken is also sometimes effective. My neighbors recently had a screened in porch built on the back of their home, and gave me 8 amazing pallets after it was all said and done. Score!

Craigslist

Check out the FREE section of your local Craigslist, and see what others are offering. Also, you could put an ad out on CL to ask anyone to contact you if they have any they want to get rid of. Be sure to renew your ad as much as CL allows to keep it up to date.

Small Businesses

If you go to a big box store, they usually already have their pallets in a recycle program, which saves their bottom line. But smaller businesses may have plenty piling up, and need to find someone who can take them off their hands. Go in, talk to the business owner, share with him or her what you are hoping to create, and that someone may be you!

Talk to your friends

I am always talking to my friends about the different projects I have going on. Whether it’s face to face or on social media, let people know what you’re doing and that you are looking for pallets. I have a few friends who work at establishments that receive pallets all the time. They are more than willing to bring a few home each week, or even let me come and pick them up.

Pet Supply Stores

Pet food and other supplies usually come on pallets, and the pet supply stores are often looking for ways to get them gone before they stack up and get in the way.

Get The Right Pallets

When you’re picking up a pallet, check it to make sure it has been Heat Treated instead of chemically treated. You can tell if it’s been heat treated because it will usually have a HT stamp on it somewhere. Also, if you see that there is a good chance it was used to transport hazardous materials or chemicals, it’s best to leave it alone and look elsewhere. Thankfully, most are heat treated.HT-STAMP-2

Other Pallet-y Stuff

How To Disassemble Pallets

See how we made a gorgeous and FREE pallet wall.

 

 

 

Lane Change for the Berrys

lane change

I’ve been a deliquent blogger for a long time, y’all. I apologize for that. It’s definitely not been my heart to stay away from writing. In fact, my passion for writing has been continually revved up, but so has my schedule, and blogging has just kind of fallen by the wayside, unfortunately. I can’t guarantee that I’m gonna jump back in wholeheartedly, but here I am…today. Writing again.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to connect with my blog family and let you know about something exciting happening in our family’s life. Many of you know that Brandon has been in full-time ministry at Redemption for a the last ten years. He came on staff as the assistant director of outreach, then got a promotion to be the executive youth pastor, and finally was tapped by Pastor Ron to create the reproducible model for the Small Town Initiative vision to plant 100 multisite campuses in the next 20 years. Pastor told him that he knew about Brandon’s dream to plant a church one day of his own, but felt like the Lord had laid us on his heart that we would be the ones to help him build this first. After praying about it, we believed it was the next step for us. Honored, we accepted his offer and spent a year getting training on multisite and church planting, building a launch team, and preparing to move.

We launched in a movie theater on a cold January morning in 2012 with 320 people and settled in our seats, growing our roots deep in our new city, and specifically with our new congregation. Brandon connected with plenty of local pastors and other ministry and community partners, promoting unity throughout the area. Truthfully, once we got past that first year and got our heads above water, campus pastoring was a pretty great gig. Without the pressure to prepare a message and preach every week, Brandon was able to focus ample amounts of time into building relationships with our people, developing leaders, and working on the model for the campuses to come. His flexible schedule worked well with our family dynamics, and he was free to create life-giving weekly routines for the most part. The church saw a lot of growth, both numerically and especially in depth of relationships with Christ and each other. Life was good.

So when we were walking away from the staff Christmas party last year, I was confused to have a very strong impression in my spirit that it would be our last Christmas party on staff at Redemption. I couldn’t pass it off on the collard greens I had eaten, so I mentioned it to Brandon hesitantly. To my surprise, he said, “Nicole, I felt the same thing.” We couldn’t explain it, and we didn’t understand it, but we began praying fervently that the Lord would clarify our next steps.While the details remained foggy, we each increasingly felt as if God was about to bring about a major transition in our life and ministry. God is so good to prepare our hearts ahead of time for life-altering seasons, and we felt His presence ever closer in our prayer times individually and as a couple.

In March, we got a phone call from Brandon’s immediate bosses. During the conversation, I had to wonder if they were in our house, reading my journal, because almost word for word, they were repeating my prayers from earlier that morning. In fact, the phone call could not have been more confirming that our season at Redemption was coming to an end. At the end of the call, we looked at each other, and with tears in our eyes, nodded in agreement that this was God moving in our lives. Over the next few weeks, details of our transition became clearer on both sides.

Leadership at Redemption asked another couple on staff, Darin & Sarah Bunch, to take over our position, and they accepted. Pastor Darin has served in various youth ministries for over 20 years, and most recently has served as the Life Groups coordinator for all of Redemption’s campuses. We got a timeline together, and began walking out the plan step by step to make sure our congregation and our family were all taken care of. Over the next three months Brandon will be apprenticing Darin in preparation to handing over the baton on August 7, which will be our last Sunday serving as the shepherds of Redemption Charlotte. Throughout the process, Redemption leadership has been on our side, launching us into this next season God has for us. There are no hard feelings on either side, and we are all seeking to have this be a positive transition for everyone.

What Happens After The Transition?

Well that’s all great, Nicole, but what are y’all going to do? Money doesn’t grow on trees, ya know!

This is a question that seems to be coming into focus more and more as we obey the Lord. This experience as a campus pastor has led Brandon to realize that he actually does not want to be a senior pastor in the traditional sense. We’ve recognized that although he is an awesome preacher and teacher, his gifts drive him more toward the strategic planning that goes into creating organizational growth and healthy cultures.

After we transition out, he plans to come alongside one of our ministry partners, Proverbs 226, and help them reach a million children of prison inmates, reconciling them to their incarcerated parents, mentoring and developing them, and ultimately paying 100% of their college tuition so that they can be educated instead of incarcerated. Did you know that 82% of the kids who have a parent in prison will go to prison themselves one day? That statistic alone is staggering. 

Looking forward from there, he sees himself coming alongside churches, non-profit, for-profit, school, and government leaders to help them achieve the dreams God has placed on their hearts. He will be doing some speaking and preaching around the country, he is working on finishing his masters degree in Christian Leadership at Gordon Conwell Seminary here in Charlotte, and then he will pursue his PhD (in what, we’re not 100% sure yet).   We are going to take it one step at a time, and believe that God has us on all accounts.

Our family will be out and about in the city, looking for the new community God would have us worship with on Sundays. We are both excited and a little wide-eyed about this endeavor. We know that Charlotte boasts a TON of amazing, life-giving churches, and we are pumped to see how God is moving in different ways throughout the city. However, we’ve never had to ‘church shop’ before in our lives, and we are going to be walking our kids through this transition as well, so we want to be wise in our timing and get our kids plugged in as soon as we can.

Friends, this is an exciting time for the Berrys as we change lanes according to the way we feel God is leading us. We will try to keep up with our blogs (brandonberry.net and coleyberry.com) in such a way to share the ins and outs of the upcoming season and would love it if you’d like to follow our journey. We pray that God would use it to encourage you to step out of the boat when He calls you and trust that He will hold you up.

Will you please pray with and for us?

*Pray for the transition out of Redemption Charlotte, that our congregation would feel a sense of peace and security. Pray for the new campus pastors, Darin and Sarah Bunch as they move from Greenville to Charlotte. Pray that they get settled into their new community easily and that together, we are able to show our congregation a positive transition that is, sadly, pretty rare these days.

*Pray for Brandon as he switches roles and begins this immediate new assignment with Proverbs 226, that he would walk in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in how to support and build this amazing ministry up to its potential.

*Pray for us to find a new, life-giving church, where we can both rest for a season, and then serve as the Lord would lead us. Pray that we would fight the temptation to jump in immediately, and that we would be able to “lie down in the green pastures beside the still waters” as the Lord restores us so that we may avoid burnout and be better used in the Kingdom.

*Pray for our kids who very much like being PKs so far, and aren’t sure they are going to like just going to church and not being ‘the pastors’ daughters’. Pray that we would be able to lead them toward finding their identity in being God’s kid even more than the position of honor they’ve held during this last season.

 

Learning to Live With My Fixer Upper

fixer-upper

Truth be told, I was fairly warned before I got married that I might be acquiring a…ahem…fixer upper with my impending “I do.”  My husband’s college roommates took me aside during our engagement and described his uncanny ability to withstand nasty conditions, his love for piles, his lackadaisical grooming habits, and his tendency to be late to everything.

I had never been known for being a clean freak, supermodel, or especially punctual either, but to say I was a tad nervous at how this was going to go down would be an understatement. However, I forged ahead, blinded by love, and determined that I could change my man’s imperfections to fit my idea of what a lifelong roommate and partner should be.  By the time the wedding came along, I had already been successful in getting his wardrobe tweaked, and he was a far cry from the full-bearded, smelly, college football player of a year ago.  His hair, which was once down to his shoulders and had never met a styling product, was newly cut by our wedding day. He was even planning on wearing pomade in it, for crying out loud! I was obviously ahead of the curve with this transformation.

There we were, shiny rings on our fingers and keys in hand, standing at the front door to our first apartment. As we began to unpack our “treasured” belongings, it was apparent that he and I had differing ideas as to what “home” should look like. He was thinking Bash Brothers poster-motif and I was intent on making it resemble a Pottery Barn magazine cover on our Goodwill budget. As we got involved with ministry and graduate school, our ideas on how much time we were going to give to each area of our lives proved to be in sharp contrast as well.  He loved an overflowing schedule, but that exhausted me. I preferred slots of down time with nothing planned.

Yes, it was in that first year that I concluded that every area of my life was now intimately connected to someone virtually my opposite. Our commonalities and premarital counseling fooled us into thinking marriage would be easier. In reality, we were each bringing different backgrounds, different family histories, and different life experiences into our new covenant. It had the potential to be a train wreck.

At times, I felt duped by love. I realized that love lies a little.  It idealized each of us during that time of courtship. And honestly, it kind of has to. Otherwise, the prospect of marriage and joining our lives together would be too intimidating.  It was easy to focus on the favorable traits of each other while minimizing any possible undesirable aspects while dating. But after the wedding, living in close proximity to another magnified those differences to epic proportions.

After ten years of practice, five homes, four daughters and thousands of growing opportunities, I have come to know the real guy I married, and have learned to accept him, flaws and all. I even decided to forgive love for its little prank. So I’d like to offer a few perspectives that may help you in the transition of learning to live with your own fixer-upper.

Realize that everyone is a bit of a fixer upper.

Whenever I would pray (read: complain) to God about one of Brandon’s annoying habits that I wanted fixed, I would be reminded of areas in my own life that needed to be changed. Somehow his leaving dirty dishes on the counter paled in comparison to my selfishness. The crucible of marriage brings our imperfections to the surface. But the covenant relationship is meant to be a safe place where God can skim away those imperfections. Ultimately, I desire to be more like Christ, and need to allow my marriage to be the tool in His hands to accomplish that.

“The crucible of marriage brings

our imperfections to the surface.”

 Some things will change.

Over the last ten years, Brandon has figured out how to load the dishwasher, can keep his beard under control with minimal supervision, and has significantly improved his punctuality. I, in turn, have learned to be more spontaneous, how to fold his shirts the way he likes them, and how keeping the bathroom door closed will do wonders for our intimacy. These changes all came about because we had some awkward conversations that resulted in each of us examining why we do what we do, and choosing to change in order to prefer the other over ourselves.

Other things will never change.

It is important to choose your battles wisely. My precious Brandon will forever, until the day he dies, pull his clothes off and leave them in a pile next to his side of the bed before climbing in. I used to get frustrated with this habit, but one day my perspective changed when I realized that he does that because by the time he gets into bed each night, he is, in every way, spent. The man has given every ounce of energy to God, to me, to his children, to his job, and to his neighbors. Understanding this, I was able to give him grace in this matter. Now I can joyfully pick up his dirty clothes for him because I know he is putting his energy into that which will last.

Love brings out the best.

My job is to love my fixer upper husband. Period. If God wants to change him, He has His ways of doing so. Yes, sometimes He will use me in that process. In those instances, I have to remember that love is patient and kind…it does not dishonor, is not selfish, is not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrongs (1 Corinthians 13). If I can focus on loving Brandon this way, I can let God transform my husband into the man he was created to be.

The truth is, learning to live together takes a lot of work, but God has prepared you to do it!  One day, you will recognize that by properly replacing your idealized image of your fiancé with the true image of who your guy is, you are able to accept and celebrate your differences, and get on that road towards your own happily ever after.

What about you? How can you change your perspective towards your spouse in order to love and accept him for who he is? What expectations do you need to lay down in order to usher in more peace and joy into your marriage? Please share below in the comments or on social media!

Nit-Picky Love

I figured out where they got the saying, “nit-picking.” Y’all…it has hit the Berry household. It reared its ugly head and has taken up serious amounts of our time and energy.

And space in our laundry room.

I got the phone call from the school right before I walked into my spin class. The school nurse was calling to let me know that she had found a single louse on my daughter’s head. My own head dropped on the other end of the line. Deep breaths. She tried to make it seem so innocuous, but my skin was already crawling. Could I come pick her up? Of course I could, but it meant that I wouldn’t be sweating my tail off at the gym, my daily opportunity to release the stress, anxiety, and low self-esteem that tries to latch on to me like the parasites the nurse found on my daughter’s beautiful locks.

I texted my spin class friends to let them know I was bowing out, and got back in the car to trek over to the elementary school. I scooped up my girl as I mentally took inventory of the massive amounts of cleaning and laundry I would be partaking in throughout the afternoon as well as the alternative plans that needed to be made for that evening’s meeting planned at our house. I’d need to go to the store to pick up treatments and a fine tooth comb. Besides working on the infected one, I’d be checking all 6 of other our family members, and that was not going to be a quick project. I made a list of all the moms I’d have to call with the news that they’d have to check their children’s heads because of recent play dates. Despite my knowledge that lice isn’t an indictment against our family’s cleanliness, I felt shame and condemnation creep into my thoughts at the thought of those phone calls. And…did I mention the laundry? Clothes, book bags, car seats covers, bedding, pillows, slip covers and couch cushions, stuffed animals.

clothing-pile

And somewhere in there, I felt a complaint rise up…This is not how I envisioned my afternoon, Lord. This is a huge inconvenience. 

He met me before it could leave my trail of thoughts. With love and patience, He whispered to me that this was going to be a joy. A JOY, God? 

It began as we got into the car. I remembered being an elementary aged child. My parents both worked full-time, and my dad was out of town most weeks. An incident like this would have caused mass chaos for my mom and a heaping helping of guilt for me. Here I was, with the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom who could run up to the school at a moment’s notice. I didn’t have to scramble to take care of projects, take time off work, talk to a boss, or ask a friend or family member to take on the task of picking my kid up. I got to do it. To this former latch-key kid who felt tremendous pressure not to interfere with my parent’s important work schedules, this was an equally tremendous feeling. A joy to get to be the one to be here for my kid. A joy that she doesn’t feel like she messed up my whole day, my important meetings, or my business lunch. I cancelled one day at the gym with a quick text, and she never even needs to know because really…it’s not important enough to make a fuss over. Lord, I thank you that you have me in this season of life. That I get to be home with my children while they are young. Today, I’m reminded of the cry of my heart when I was young, thank you for the opportunity to be fully present with my children, and pray for those working moms who greatly desire the same option…make a way for them, Lord. 

My mother-in-law had the littles on an grandma adventure, so after purchasing the treatment, I had the luxury of spending the next four hours one on one with my daughter. We talked, we laughed, we watched Netflix on the iPad, and I nit-picked every single strand of her hair. I told her how I was honored to get to do this for her, how much I love her, and how special she is to me. The Lord was in that well-lit bathroom that afternoon, whispering to me how much He loves us, how He has numbered every hair on our heads. He reminded me how blessed I am to have daughters. How they are healthy and able to attend the public school or the state fair or church or the social event where they likely contracted this condition. He brought to mind the people whom my sister-in-law served on a recent mission trip to a third world country. They could comb the critters and the nits out, but had no real effective means of making sure they didn’t come right back as that child laid his head on the same sleeping pad in the one room house he lived in with his 6 siblings.  They didn’t have a new dryer with sanitizing extra-hot heat to kill anything on their clothes and bedding like I do. Oh Lord, I am unworthy of your endless love and countless blessings that I take for granted. Forgive me, Father.

I swallowed my pride and began to make phone calls to my peers, the girls’ friend’s moms. I expected subtle condemnation. I got lavished with sympathy, love and genuine concern. These moms understand. They offered to help watch the littles so I could focus on the the bigs. They offered to make a run to the store for treatments or help with laundry or cook a meal for our family since I’d be otherwise occupied this afternoon. They even offered to come into the infected environment and personally check me and pick out lice and nits from my own head if needed. This is friendship, y’all. This is a community coming together to take care of each other. As a pastor’s wife, I get the opportunity to offer this help to our congregation, but to be on the receiving end this time was priceless. I was allowed to take of my “I’ve got it all together” mask and was not rejected, but the opposite. I was embraced by my tribe, and it felt oh, so good. Lord, you are the giver of all good gifts. Thank you for strongly supporting me with friends and family. 

Y’all, lice has been a joy. Nit-picking has shown me such love from the Father and has given me a tangible way to love my daughter. I wanted to share this with you because I know that at some point, you may find yourself with a fine-tooth comb and a itchy-headed child in need. When you do, I pray that the God who created that child will meet you in your nit-picking as He did me.

Also, let me do you a favor and recommend Lice Freee, which is the non-toxic treatment that I used to take care of those critters and their nits. I’m not getting any kickbacks for suggesting it, I just thought I’d help you out with a product that isn’t full of chemicals, is easy to use, and has a 100% guarantee to work the first time. There is much talk about lice becoming resistant to traditional pesticide-shampoos, so this is a good option that has helped me. You’re welcome.