at the bottom of our dirty laundry...

i have been reading the book, a leader in the making by joyce meyer for a weekly bible study. we just finished up a few chapters on negative conditions of the heart. wow! there were twenty of them listed and i didn't realize how much junk can be in our hearts. junk that God certainly doesn't want there. junk that satan puts there to keep us from truly being who God is calling us to be.

the book focuses on the fact that we have to work on these negative heart conditions before God can use our leadership potential. regardless if you see yourself as a leader or not, it is important to find out what negative conditions of the heart you may possess so that you can live a life that fully worships God. some negative conditions that were described were a proud heart, a faint heart, a greedy, lustful heart and an unforgiving heart. i am realizing our hearts can be full of these negative things and we may not even know. and only God can reveal them to us if we ask.

the other day i was doing laundry. i had gotten way behind on it due to the stomach bug that hit us last week. it was really piled up. and i started thinking, i did a ton of laundry last week, why am i so behind? that is when i realized, i was only doing the stuff on top of the piles, the stuff that was the dirtiest. i was able to get that cleaned and put away. but the bottom of the piles never got washed, because i just couldn't get to it. the stuff on the top of the piles consumed me and i never got to the bottom. in fact, i had forgotten that we had some of those clothes. as i was digging my way to the bottom of the piles, i thought how much my dirty laundry piles are like our hearts.

we have these negative conditions of our hearts, the messy ones that are on top and we deal with and we get a handle on. we get a handle on those and think we are all set. but because we are always maintaining what is on the top, because just like dirty laundry it continues to pile up, we don't have time or we forget to work on what is on the bottom. so we have to dig really deep to get to the bottom of our heart and pull the things out that we haven't dealt with. just like the huge dirty laundry piles sitting on our laundry floor. they may not always be there, we may get caught up but before we know it those piles appear once again.

so, my encouragement to you to do on a very discouraging topic, is to dig deep. ask God to reveal to you the things that He wants you to work so that He can take you to the next level of where He is calling you to be.

for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 samuel 16:7


what's your story, morning glory*...

after writing this last week, it really got me to thinking about something that is missing on my blog. something that i look for when i visit new blogs. i want to know the blogger's story, their background. who they are. and i realized that i don't even have what i am looking for on my own blog.

when i end up on a new blog, sometimes i have no idea how i got there but when i do, before i read their most recent post, i like to know a little bit about them. it just helps identify with who they are. it's like reading a novel, you have to identify with the character to really get into their story and what they are sharing. and i like to be able to read their story easily, like by just clicking a link, and then i get a good review of who they are!

i have started working on this for my blog. a link that will share my story. i want new readers, or those of you who don't know my whole story, to know a little bit more about me. for those of you that know me pretty well, it may be a bit boring for you, because you know my story. it will be like one huge testimony to God and to how He has worked in my life and it will share about the trials and triumphs i have gone through.

my story, is a piece of writing that is in the working stages! i am excited about sharing it with you. i will let you know when it is done - no promises on a date! but soon!

so, how about you, do you share "your story" on your blog?

*i couldn't help but using lyrics from a song to entitle this post and so funny that i would use this title, seeing as how i am not at all a morning person!!


oh what a week...

phewwww....last week was a long week!

first, it is hard to believe that over valentine's weekend we were playing in snow and then this past weekend we were outside playing in 60 degree sunny beautiful weather. and now as i sit here and write this it is raining outside - yuck! i am so over this wet weather! i am reading for sunny days, with lots of rain at night!!!

if you remember, last weekend, jesiah had that yucky stomach bug,(you know the one that is going around way too much these days!) and then it spread through most of our family during the first part of last week....

yup, on sunday afternoon, jaelyn began running a fever and was feeling plain awful.

then, jordyn came home from school on monday and complained of a stomach ache and within an hour she started throwing up.

jaelyn's fever continued while jordyn missed school on tuesday and wednesday. i did take jaelyn to the doctor because she kept running a fever and had no other symptoms other than just feeling yucky and little appetite. i thought maybe it could be an ear infection. our doctor tested her for h1n1, which was negative and checked her ears and nothing. she must have had the same kind of virus, although she never threw up. which i am certainly not complaining about. somewhere in the midst of all of that, jamil got sick but it hit him hard and fast he was over it in like less than 12 hours! josh never got the stomach bug, he did have a little cough and cold but nothing stomach related and nothing that required much attention or missing school!! praise God!

and believe it or not, even after caring for a sick family, i never really got it!!! my stomach was a little off but i never threw up. i had one day where i didn't feel great but it could have been a mind over matter thing. seeing and cleaning up after everyone else can make you feel sick!! i was so scared that i would get it, but just kept telling myself that i wouldn't. and that is when i called in my prayer warriors to help me fight it off! and as they prayed for me, i kept praying and speaking health and wellness and i was able to fight it off! i am so thankful that i had people praying for me! one of them wrote this about fighting off sickness with the power of His healing! you should read it, it is good stuff! wow! the power of prayer and speaking truth amazes me

(one thing you have to know about me is that i have never had a stomach bug that resulted in throwing up. never. praise God!! which is so good because i hate to throw up! hate it! the handful of times that i threw up were because of morning sickness in my pregnancies!)

even though the start of the week was filled with sickness, we conquered that and were able to end the week by attending a super special, super fun birthday party for our pastor. and then we were able to go about our weekend as usual, with some family time and lots of time at church!!

so, as i sit here and type this, i am so glad God has healed our family and i am looking forward to a much different week!! i hope that you are having a good start to your week!


share your ministry...

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

no matter what your story, no matter where you are in life, i believe that each of us has our own ministry. we have people in our lives even if for a short season who we have touched by something we have said or something we have done. your ministry it is the purpose and the calling that God has placed on your life.

God uses each of us to minister to someone else. whether you have lived through a tragedy, gone through a trial, pastor a church, experienced a miracle, lead an organization, or are just a plain "old ordinary girl" who thinks you have nothing to share...

you have a story. therefore you have a ministry.

and for many of us we share our stories on our blogs. some bloggers have a huge following and some do not. it doesn't really matter the number. the point is you are sharing your ministry. you are doing what God asks of us.

this week over at kelly's korner she is highlighing "show us your ministry". if you have a blog and it tells your story, that is your ministry. God uses each of us and our blogs in a different way and to minister to different people.

here on my blog, i share a lot stories and pictures of our large family. i hope you will take a few minutes to check out my blog and learn a little bit about us! i also share in more meaningful posts how God is teaching me and using me. i share from my heart and believe in being transparent and real. but i also realize there is a line between being yourself and being "too personal". i always write my posts with the goal of leaving my readers encouraged! sometimes that is why i won't publish certain things, if i haven't figured out how to post it in a encouraging way, a lot of times i will wait until God shows me what that is. and if i still don't have an answer, i know if i just look to my bible, He will give me a scripture to share and then i can hit that "publish post" button!!

while i don't have a story that shares a journey of something really huge whether it be a trial or a triumph, i still have a story (and with four kids there are lots of them!). i believe that God will use my stories to minister to those that He intends for it too. i may not have a large number of readers and followers, but i believe that if what i write just touches one person than the goal of that writing was accomplished.

i am passionate about other women, especially expecting mothers and mothers of young children. i know God has placed that passion on my heart and i know my ministry is primarily to that group of women. that doesn't mean what i have to say won't apply to someone in a different category, because God will use us it lots of different ways that we don't expect! He knows no limits when it comes to sharing His power and glory!

i will continue in another post more specifics and an overall "about me" kind of post, so you will have to come back and check out part two of this post. that is where i will share a little more of "my story"

so, what is your ministry and what do you share on your blog!
link up to kelly's blog and share who you are and why you keep a blog!

thanks for stopping by, leave a comment and let me know you were here and pleaes come back again soon!


one week, one city and 5,000 volunteers...

there is no better way to celebrate elevation's four year anniversary and valentine's day than with love week! last week we celebrated the four year anniversary of our church in a huge way!
and this week it gets even better!

one word that can be used to totally describe our church is audacious! and what we are doing at elevation church this week through God and for our city is completely audacious.

this week we will be unleashing the power of 5,000 volunteer hours spread across our city to reach out and serve. the goal of this project is to have 5,000 volunteer hours logged. it is only tuesday day 3 of the project and we have logged over 3,000 hours already!

at elevation, we invest a large portion of our money back into the city of charlotte. we also invest a lot of time and energy serving with strategic community outreach partners. i volunteer regularly with one of them called safe journey, a program that helps teem moms stay in school. i enjoy every second of time i can put into giving back to this organization.

there are so many ways to get involved in community outreach and this week is a great way to get started. if you don't live in the charlotte area, i am sure there are plenty of ways to get involved in your city. you can go here to find out what we are doing to serve the city of charlotte. check it out and maybe it will inspire you to get involved and show some love in your city.

one way, i will be volunteering this week is by posting on twitter and facebook statistics about some of our community outreach partners. if you aren't already, follow me on twitter - dawnkmassey. or become my friend on facebook, so you can find out how important it is to get involved and spread some love!

you can listen to pastor steven's sermon here, it is all about love week! you don't want to miss this one!


little mommy...

jaelyn turned sixteen months old on february 6!
since it was not so long ago that i did a 15 month update,
i am going to share this sweet picture and little story!

at sixteen months old, jaelyn loves to carry around baby dolls and purses!
oh. my. it is so stinkin' cute.
she will say "bay-beee" and hold the doll and be super sweet with it!
it is so cute to see her acting like a little mommy.
she is a girl after my own heart.

a lot of people are telling me that she is looking more like me.
so what do you think?


clebrating valentine's weekend with...

.....some snow, so sick little boy, snow balls,
snow cream, yummy soup and seriously cute sugar cookies.

on friday night we had a date night and it started snowing while we were out! it started accumulating faster than we expected and too a long time to get home. but we arrived home safe and sound. thankful for God's protection around us!

we were catching up on some recorded tv and heard one of the kids in the bathroom. quickly we realized it was jesiah and he had thrown up several times. yuck. he only managed to make it to the toilet one time. so our date night ended with cleaning up, changing sheets and caring for our sick little boy. he continued to throw up every hour through the middle of the night. poor guy.

on saturday morning we woke up to several inches of beautiful white fluffy snow. i was so excited that we could have a family day in the snow. but before we could go out and play, josh and jamil headed off to their last basketball game and end of season party.

poor jesiah had to miss his last game. he was still feeling sick, but thankfully not throwing up!

when jamil and josh returned home we got ready to go outside and play in the "winter wonderland". by this time, the snow had begun to melt but we still had enough to be able to play.
jaelyn all bundled up to go out and play!
her first time in the snow!!!

had to make everyone pose for a picture before they went off to play!

mommy and jaelyn!
yes, i went outside this time!!

jaelyn loved being in the snow!!!

jordyn and i made a snowman
and then we decided two snowmen are always better than one....

huge snowball made by josh and jamil!

jamil & jaelyn!

huge snowball became a snowman and part of the family!

jesiah had fallen asleep on the couch before we went outside, so it was easy to sneak out without him. but, oh. my. it was so sad to have him miss this fun!! this is what he looked like while we were outside, seriously, i checked on him several times and this is what i would find...

out like a light!

we came inside and made some yummy homemad pasta e fagioli soup for dinner and made snow cream too! yummy!

jesiah was awake and he even ate some.
jordyn is feeding jaelyn snow cream! they love it!!

jamil headed off to church and we stayed at home not wanting to share jesiah's germs. jordyn and josh worked on their valentine's cards to take to school tomorrow.

and then we made some sugar cookies and decorated them!

jaelyn didn't decorate any cookies but she enjoyed eating them!

before the kids headed off to bed and before i crashed on the couch we watched a charlie brown valentine!!

today, we had to miss going to church, which we hated to do. we were all disappointed. it is elevation's four year anniversary and we are kicking off "love week". but i wanted to keep jesiah home, he was still not back to 100%. so we had some heart shaped pancakes for breakfasst and have been hanging around in our pjs. i spent the morning cleaning up around the house and worked on gathering paperwork to file our taxes tomorrow.

so how did you spend your valentine's weeken? was it as eventful as our? hope it was a great one and even more romantic than mine!


two valentine's, two surprises...

in honor of valentine's day, i am reflecting back on two special valentine's days that jamil and i have celebrated. each of them were surprises! one year he surprised me and the other one i surprised him! i am also linking up to kelly's show us your life valentine's dates and memories! so welcome, if this is your first time stopping by! read a post or two or three and leave a comment and let me know you were here!

Show Us Your Life with Kelly's Korner

his surprise to me...

i wouldn't say that jamil is the most romantic man as far as planning surprises and gifts. but this year he planned such a special surprise date that i have always remembered. i do not like surprises at all. especially if i know there is a surprise coming, i would rather just know. but this day, he totally blew me away and i did not see it coming. he put a lot of thought and detail into this special date.

it was valentine's day 2003, i was about 4 months pregnant with jordyn. at that time our life was pretty stressful. jamil was working a full time job with not so good benefits and working three small part time jobs on the side. jamil has always worked super hard to provide for our family so that i can stay home with our kids. one of his part time jobs at the time was serving tables at a restaurant. so of course he was scheduled to work that valentine's weekend! i was sad that we wouldn't be able to do a date night. but little did i know he had planned a surprise for me.

it was a friday morning and i was at a ladie's bible study. as we were wrapping up our study, one of the ladies who was hosting the study was closing in prayer and began to pray for me and for the baby (jordyn!) i was carrying. she also prayed for my husband. she closed the prayer and then began to read a sweet letter to me that was written by my husband.

in the letter he shared his affection for me and then told me that he had a surprise planned for me that day. i was handed a rose and sent on my way home with directions to go home and get dressed up. when i arrived at our house there were balloons decorating my front porch. another letter inside of our house said that childcare was arranged for josh and that i was suppose to get ready to go on a lunch date. i would be told of the location later. after josh was settled in at my mother in law's house, i received a note from her that was from jamil giving me directions to my destination although i didn't know where it was. as i started driving, jamil told me to meet me at an italian restaurant. when i arrived, he was there waiting for me with a dozen roses. we then had a special lunch date together.

even though i don't have any pictures to share, (i probably have the letters somewhere), i will always remember what time and thought jamil put into that special date.

little did he know five years and 3 kids later i would have a surprise for him...

my surprise to him...

i had the "baby itch" for a long time, when jamil told me that he was ready to consider adding a fourth child to our family. i was so excited that we were finally on the same page! in january 2008, i had every sign, symptom and feeling of being pregnant. but to my sadness, i was not. just one month later, i was barely late, and decided to take another pregnancy test. i thought that i could be pregnant but after going through such immense disappointment the previous month, i didn't wan to get my hopes up. when the test showed a very faint positive, i was so thrilled. but because of that faint (really faint) line, i didn't get my hopes up too high. after taking a few more tests and seeing the positive sign, i knew i was. i never keep secrets like this. i am the most loyal person if someone shares their secret with me. but when it comes to my own, i can not contain myself.

i received the positive tests just a few days before valentine's day. so i decided to surprise jamil in a big way. i bought him a new bible and then found several scripture verses that had to do with having babies, new life and multiplying! i cut out little hearts and wrote the scripture reference on each one and stuck them inside of the bible like bookmarks. i gave him the bible. he read the verses and kind of just looked at me and said, i know, i know you want another baby, i guess that is what you are trying to say. after he said that i handed him his own copy that he got when i was pregnant with josh, of "she's having a baby and i am having a breakdown". and that is when he got it and said/asked, "you're pregnant?" he didn't really believe me until i showed him all three positive pregnancy tests, even though they were faint lines, i reminded him a line is a line, it doesn't matter what intensity of color!! you can also go here to read about it, when i posted it two years ago!!

that brings me to this year, i am pretty sure that there will be no surprises from either of us. i know for sure that i am not planning one this year, maybe next year though ;) we have plans to go out tonight on a "shopping date", but i just heard that they are calling for more snow again in charoltte, so we will see.

happy valentine's day and thanks so much for sharing these special memories with me!


has it really been a week since i have posted something here? uggghhh! this week has gone by super fast. by the way, if you read my blog on google reader or bloglines (or something like that), it will go completely unnoticed to you that i have indeed been on here updating our pictures! so you will have to go to the actual blog to see the new pictures i have added, so go check it out!

speaking of our new family pictures, when i look at them, i just stare at them and am amazed at how each image captured so much about our family and about each of our kids. i can't get over how much older each of them is looking. (and acting too! - as i scream inside, please stop growing up so fast!!!) each of their sweet faces has taken on a new look. baby faces are fading away and being replaced by more definition and less chubbiness!

i am filled with joy and feel so blessed to have such an amazing family (and amazing photographers who captured all of this!) i am amazed at how God created each one of my kids and my husband. how he has knitted us together and made our family what it is! i do not take for granted how special each member of my family is. i am so thankful for each little personality that is represented in each one of my kids. and i am so thankful for such a Godly husband who is leading our family and these kids who are so real and so full of personality in an amazing way.

i get overwhelmed thinking about how blessed i am and completely captured by it!

candice and daniel did such a fabulous job on capturing so much about our family! thanks guys! you do an amazing job and i am so thankful for you!!


mommy doesn't play...

its been a rainy, cold yucky day. i don't do this weather too well and decided to stay home. it just isn't fun carting two little kiddos around in the rain. i had no real reason to go anywhere, so staying home was a good choice! i had planned to do so much today which included finishing up a few posts but somehow the day got away from me and barely anything got done. i guess i made choices to do other things. i spent some time talking on the phone. and i also spent some time on the floor "playing" with jesiah and jaelyn. jesiah asked me to play with him. so i tried my best to forget about my to do list and just hang out with him. he informed me that i didn't play with him. i told him that i really don't know how to play like he does. he is full of energy and imagination. and me i just want to organize the toys into bins and baskets. i tried to tell him, mommy just plays differently than you do. i don't think he got it because in his four year old mind, (almost five!), that is what he does best is play! jesiah loves to play and is so good at it. me, not so much. i hope that even though i didn't play like he wanted me to, that the time i spent with him left a deposit on his heart and when he gets older he will remember the times that i did stop and "play" with him.

oh, don't forget to go here this weekend (before midnight on sunday) and please leave a comment there about how much you love our newest family pictures!!


these days...

i had planned to run some errands today, but i woke up not feeling so great (sore throat, sinus stuff - yuck!) jesiah and jaelyn also have runny noses. so i decided to take it easy and put those errands off for today and declared it pj day. i do this way too often during the week, it is so much easier to stay home in our jammies on days where we don't have to be anywhere. i finished working on the laundry and making some phone calls, so i thought i would write a post. caution: it is very random, my brain isn't thinking too deep today. but i thought i would fill you in on what is going on around here these days, its been awhile since i was random like this, so here goes....

finally, it's february.... i think january was the first month in a long time that went by kind of slow. i was glad for time to slow down a bit. but why did it have to be during such a cold month of the year? so i am glad that long winter month has come to a close and i am welcoming february because it is a month closer to spring! i long for warm weather!!!

i heart dvr....after not having cable television for seven years, around this time last year we had cable television installed! woo hoo! and just recently we upgraded and now have digital cable and dvr! oh my gosh, how i love dvr. it has so changed how i watch tv!!

bible reading and study....in the fall i did a marriage bible study (love & respect: motivating your man God's way by sarah and emerson eggerichs) led by my friend and amazing leader, lisa shea. last week, i started a new study led by lisa. we are reading a leader in the making by joyce meyer. i am loving this book so far. i am so excited to see how God uses this book in the group of women that are in this study. i have been busy reading the assigned chapters for our study, in fact i have to finish my reading for tonight's meeting. balancing that reading and the new thru 30 reading has been a challenge. thankfully i love to read. i am a day behind on my new thru 30 reading, but i will catch up. this is the last week of the reading. it has gone by fast and i have loved reading the new testament in 30 days.

serving on sundays again...after an extended maternity leave i felt it was the right time to start volunteering again - i was really missing it! towards the end of december i stepped into a new volunteer position at church serving in our children's ministry, ekidz. i am the safari coordinator at the providence campus. the safari area is for our sweet little ones who are 6 weeks through 3 years old. i serve with our volunteer leaders and volunteers making sure that everything is running smoothly in our babies and toddler rooms. i am so excited about this new role and am really enjoying serving in this capacity!

boys & basketball...both of the boys are playing basketball this season, it has kept us busy with two nights a week of practice and saturday games and mixing that with jordyn taking dance one night a week, wow, we are busy! jesiah is kind of getting the hang of the basketball thing. he still likes to do his own thing on the court. but he has come along way since the first game. joshua loves to play and loves to have his daddy as his coach. as for me, as much as i love the boys being involved in sports, i think we may take the spring off. we need some saturdays at home for spring cleaning!!

weekends at elevation....that brings me to what our weekends look like these days. with jamil's role as an armor bearer for our pastor which is saturday night and sunday, and with my new role in ekidz, we get to spend a lot of time at church. i attend the saturday night service at our matthews campus with the kids, while jamil serves. and then on sunday the kids and i head over to our providence campus so i can serve and jamil is with pastor steven. so far, we are all loving our new weekend schedule at church. the kids have so much fun being at church both days! it keeps us busy - but a good kind of busy!

school update...the big kids got their report cards from school last week. they are doing so good in school. we were so pleased with their grades! both josh and jordyn are very bright and school work comes pretty easily to them. i am so thankful for that. they have adjusted to being in school. our brief experience with homeschooling is a distant memory for all of us! i feel so at peace with the decision to put them back in school. we are praying about putting them back into the lottery for union academy again. they both miss their old school and there are some things that i miss about it as well. so we will just see how God leads!

three in school soon....this week is kindergarten registration for the schools in our area. so since jesiah will be five next month he will start kindergarten in the fall! wow! i am registering him at the school the big kids are at. and then if we decide to do the lottery at union academy, and he would happen to get in, he would go there. i just can't believe he will be in school and i will only have one child at home with me. i have no idea what that will look like!!

family photos....you may have seen my last post with the link to our photographer's blog. if you haven't, our new set of family pictures are posted there! please go and check them out and leave a comment on their blog! our last set of pictures received so many comments, that our photographers have challenged us with some prints and discounts if we collect 25 -100 comments on their blog - so when you go there you have to leave a comment on their blog! please pretty please do this for me!!! so go here right now!!!

lots to celebrate this month... so this month is full of special birthdays, special occasions and valentine's day! we will be celebrating a lot and i am looking forward to birthday cake and parties! i am trying to come up with some fun things to do to celebrate valentine's day. if you do something cute with your family, leave me a comment with what you do, i could use some ideas!!!
i hope that you are all enjoying your first week in february!!!


we made another beautiful mess...

a few weeks ago, we had another fabulous family photo shoot with the amazing daniel and candice lanning (the beautiful mess). i am so excited about our newest set of family pictures. we have such a great time getting our pictures done! seriously. the kids love love daniel and candice and they actually look forward to spending the day with them!! it didn't use to be like that when i would take them to a studio. they would fuss and never cooperate. forget about a good picture no matter how much i would bribe (reward!) the best thing about the lannings is they let my kids be themselves. they let us be a family and they capture such great images!!

some of our pictures are posted on their blog and on my facebook page. but that is really just a few of them. (i will post more of them later.) if you go to the blog, please please pretty please, leave a comment on their blog and let them know what you think of their amazing talent! they are going to give us an incentive for the number of comments we generate on their blog! so fun, but truly from my heart, i just want to send traffic their way! the are so talented and they are growing an amazing business by doing what they love to do! we love the lannings!!!so please let them know that you stopped by to check out our pictures!! but until then,you can go here. you can also go to their blog listed on the sidebar!!

oh and leave me a comment too to let me know what you think!! thank you! i think you will love them as much as i do!!!


being quiet...

a month ago was the first day of the first month of the new year and as i reflected on the past year, i also looked ahead and made a list of goals for this year. i made goals in several areas of my life; personal, marriage, parenting, home and finances.

at the top of my list in the personal category is to spend more time being quiet. as i go throughout my days, i realize several days have gone by and i haven't had a true time of peace and quiet. i haven't had time to reflect or really think. during each day, my mind goes in a million different directions at a very fast pace. and i realized that i need to spend some time each day just being quiet. time that i can just slow down and spend time reading and or praying or just soaking in the silence!

i have found that being intentional about fitting this into my day (or night - whenever i can!) makes such a difference in my mood and that helps keep our family and our home much happier.

over this past month, i have spent a lot of my quiet time reading the new thru 30 assignments. i have so enjoyed fulfilling the goal of reading the new testament in 3o days! God has spoken to me in so many ways and has taught me so much. it has been a great way to start off the new year and my quiet times!!