10 Things My Daddy Taught Me

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Daddy. Well, what can I say about my Daddy? While I grew up, my Daddy suffered from chronic migraines. Our house was usually cold and dark. We didn't have people over a lot. But to an introvert like myself, it was a perfect house to grow up in. 

My Daddy took his job as a Daddy very seriously. He worked hard to provide for his family and sometimes that meant long days and trips away from home. But he made his "at home" time count. He spent time with his family and we knew that we were loved. While I, like most kids, didn't have everything I wanted, I had so much more than I needed. The most important thing he gave me was a life surrounded by truth. 

My Daddy is not a man who is going to tell you how he feels very often. I mean, he's not going to say it in words, he shows it in action. There was a period of my rebellious teenage years when I felt completely disconnected from my parents. You know what I'm talking about because we all feel that way at some point. It happens when you're in the middle of a transition period. When you're trying to figure out who you are and you're pretty sure no one can let go of who you used to be. There was a time I felt that way. 
I don't know if he'll even remember this, but one simple act of love changed the way I would forever look at my Daddy.

I was going through my "grunge" period. (Yeah, I'm a 90s girl) My Dad was on a business trip to India. When he returned from any trip he always brought back gifts for us. This trip was no different. When he started to unpack I was a little distracted and really didn't care. I watched as my Mom was given a beautiful silk scarf. My sister received a beautiful beaded mirror with a brush. He stared handing out these really "girly" trinkets and bracelets. And then, he pulled out a bag and handed it to me. "Here Annie, I saw this and thought you'd like it." It was a plaid flannel button up shirt. Are you kidding me!? (If you are a child of the 90s you'll remember that was an integral part of the grunge girl outfit) 

He got me. That was the moment where I knew that my Daddy, though we didn't talk about it a lot, was watching me. I wasn't invisible to him. He loved me and cared what was going on in my life. And he wanted to be a part of it. So, from that point on, when he did speak, I took him a lot more seriously. And I loved him more deeply. I am so thankful for my Daddy. 


1.       Honor God.  He is my father and will never leave me nor forsake me. My Daddy may disappoint me, because he’s human. But God never will.

2.       Money doesn’t grow on trees. Only spend what you have. Tithe first, God will get his money one way or another, it’s better to give it willingly and with a happy heart.

3.       Music is important. Always listen to good music.

4.       Even though he said, “Once you’re out, you’re out.” I always knew (and still do) that I can come home if I need to.

5.       Work hard. But work smart. Respect your boss even if you don’t like them. God puts people in places of authority and by being respectful to them, you’re honoring God.

6.       Always respect your mother. I always knew that my mom was more important to him that I was. In today’s world that might sound harsh. But to me, as a kid, that meant that my parents’ marriage was safe. And the house I lived in was safe. It meant they were on the same team and there was nothing I could do to manipulate them into disagreeing with each other so I could get what I want. It made me want to look for a man just like my Daddy.

7.       Send thank you notes. Hand written ones. It was more about treating people with respect and letting them know you care. (I'll add that as a SAHM, mail is one of the highlights of my day.) 

8.       Dance with passion.

9.       Never call boys. This one I HATED growing up. I just didn’t get it. But now, it was about respecting myself and having others respect me too.

10.   Take care of your car. Get the oil changed before the light comes on. Don’t let your car get below a quarter of a tank of gas. Take care of what you have and it will last longer.

I love my Daddy and wish him the best Fathers Day yet! And to all you Fathers out there ...

Happy Fathers Day!!

Where Belief and Behavior Collide

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I was raised in a wonderful Christian home. Not without its faults. My parents did their best to teach me how to Love God and Love People. They did their best to teach me what God was teaching them. I was (and still am if I’m honest) a headstrong, do it my own way, kinda girl. I’m a kinesthetic learner, I have to learn by doing. And most of my younger years was learning by what not to do before I learned what to do. Ya dig?

As a parent, I look back at my parents, and I am so thankful . They didn’t have it all together, but what parent does? They were learning as they went and I was the first born. My parents were not the only voices in my life. And I believe that they shouldn’t be. I don’t want to be the only voice in my children’s’ lives. That’s why Jamie and I are pouring into the community around us. We are doing our best to pour into the lives of our friends and our family. So the voices speaking into the lives of our children are strong and believable.

I was raised around some strong women. My mom, my grandmothers and my aunts. They all did their best to speak truth into my heart. But I was headstrong and didn’t come to an understanding of who Jesus was and how much he loved me until after I had graduated from high school. And it was hard.
There was a season in my life when I felt like I had grown up in the church and around beautiful Christian women and friends who had it “all together” and I didn’t have the right to ask for help. I felt like I had to figure it out all on my own. But Friends, if that’s you today, please hear me when I say NO ONE HAS IT ALL TOGETHER. We are all working it day by day. Sometimes we’re taking one step forward and two steps back. If you have questions, ask them. If you need help, ask for it.

Throughout the month of June, I’ve been working through the book of Titus with SHEREADSTRUTH and it’s been wonderful. I’ve been working through it with a new friend. And I want to go on the record as saying that I am so thankful for her! I am so thankful for the SRT community and the encouragement that I find there. I am so thankful for the way that God works in my life.
One of the best and most rewarding seasons in my life was working as a Student Ministry Intern at my church. I was horrible at it! I had no clue what I was doing. I was still very young in my own faith.  And I was supposed to be pouring into the lives of young girls and teaching them how to be women of God. I was just learning what that meant my own self. Let me just stop here to say this: You don’t have to know it all to teach someone else. But, you can’t teach what you don’t know.

I think we can look at a book like Titus and get really overwhelmed. I think we can see it as a list of rules to follow knowing full well that we’ll never be able to keep them. I know for me, if I don’t do something well, I see it as a failure and if I know I’m going to fail, well then I just don’t do it at all. But that’s the beauty of our relationship with Christ, right? We can’t do it well.  Just like our salvation, we did nothing to deserve it. We did nothing to make it work. The only thing we do is surrender. We surrender to mercy that’s given to us. We surrender to the grace that covers us. We surrender to Jesus who works in and through us for the sake of the kingdom. The beauty of our salvation is that it changes us from the inside out.
So the book of Titus, it’s a letter written by Paul to Titus who is building up the church on the Island of Crete. This particular culture was a very morally deviant place. Word had gotten back to Paul that some false teaching had seeped in from the culture into the church. So, Paul writes a letter to Titus giving him direction for getting the church back on track. I loved the notes in my bible, “The theme of Titus is the inseparable link between faith and practice, belief and behavior. The truth is the basis for its critique of false teaching as its instruction in Christian living and qualifications for church leaders.” I loved that … “the inseparable link between faith and practice, belief and behavior…”

1.       Set up qualified leaders. Because a health church must be lead by healthy leaders.

2.       Community is very important. The qualifications of a healthy believer need to not only be lived out in each man and women, but must be taught from one generation to the next.

3.       Any distraction from truth must be cut off. Don’t let the enemy take hold of anything. When we start to fight about petty things, we take our eyes off of the gospel and the ministry of the gospel. Don’t get distracted.
That’s pretty much Titus. If you believe God, do what He says. You will be known by your actions. So here is the big part for me. Community. It’s a big thing in my life right now because we are made for relationship! We are not meant to do this life alone. You can take it back to Acts 2 where the church was eating and teaching together, essentially doing life together DAILY! I believe this is one way that the enemy has really taken root in the American church. And it breaks my heart. We have been taught that we can do and have it all. And Friends, that is a lie. We can’t. We are meant to lean into each other for encouragement, for accountability and for ministry that’s bigger than we are. Friends, that encouragement is not words only. That’s mothers leaning into other mothers. That’s physical help for the purpose of mental  and spiritual healing. How many mothers out there can agree with me that we need some physical help? I’m not just speaking to mothers who work outside of the home or mothers who work inside the home. I’m speaking to all mothers! That’s husbands leaning into other husbands. That’s men asking the tuff questions of each other. That’s men encouraging each other in purity of heart and mind. That’s opening up your life in a way that others are not afraid to speak into it. And that is hard!

When we really get into the nitty gritty of Titus 2 where the older men and women are told to pour into the lives of the younger generation, that is a scary thing, but it’s oh so necessary. And again I will say, it’s one area that the American church is failing at. We have mothers hiding behind doors broken at the thought they are failing as a mother. We have marriages that are suffering because they have bought into the lie of having it all. And we need older, wiser voices speaking into our lives to encourage and push us toward Jesus. And we need it now.
Earlier I said that one of my favorite seasons of life was as a Student Ministry Intern at my church. I had only been a believer for a few years and was still very young in my own faith. I was scared out of my mind that those high school girls would figure out that they knew more than I did. There was a group of girls that were so thirsty for truth and would push me to study and grow. I had to if I wanted to keep up with them. You can not teach what you do not know, so I spent many nights pouring over God’s word just so I could answer a question. It was an unbelievable time of growth for me. And I am so thankful for it. I don’t know if those sweet girls will ever know how much they still mean to me.

 My point is, we think we have to know everything before we can pour into someone else’s life. And that’s not true. Oh Friend, it’s so not true. You teach what you know until you’ll all out of information and then you go learn something new and then teach that. Mentoring is not just sitting around a coffee shop table with your bible open, it’s a phone call in the middle of the day to make sure she’s ok. It’s sitting on a park bench with a mom while her kids play. It happens on a yoga mat holding hands during prayer. It’s passing along recipes and maybe even watching the kids while she gets to spend an hour at the grocery store alone. (Hopefully it’s a Kroger with a Starbucks in the middle. Yeah, that’s one of the main reasons I shop at Kroger.) It’s simply investing into someone else’s life for the sake of the kingdom. It’s loving.
So Friends, let me ask the tuff questions real quick …

1.       Who has invested in your life? Do you have a mentor? If not, look around for an older woman in your line of sight and ask her out to coffee. Be intentional.

2.       Who are you investing in? Is there someone who God has placed on your heart?
I love you Friends. I really truly do. I am so thankful for you and your voice in my life. I am so thankful for the comments here and through email and through other social media. I am thankful for the men and women who have spoken truth into my life over the years. Even when it was painful. I have no idea what I would be without them.

But most of all, I’m thankful for a God who loves me. Not some future version of me. But that He loves me right where I am. Without the Cross of Jesus Christ, my life would mean nothing. It’s all about the Grace that covers me. And Friends, I don’t want anyone around me to miss knowing that as well. How dare I pick and choose who gets to hear the gospel? So pray for me Friends, as I am praying for you, that I am living out the gospel through my words and my actions in such a way that others see Him and not me. Pray with me for us, the church, no matter where in the world you are, that our beliefs and behaviors collide.

A Masterpiece Beyond my Wildest Dreams

Friday, June 6, 2014

We got to check of a really fun thing on our Summer Bucket List yesterday! We went down to the Morris Museum of Art for the Mommy and Me Art Class. I didn’t really know what to expect. All I knew was my kids were bubbling over with excitement! Brewer loves art. Eva likes to Color, but Brewer loves making any kind of art. So, we signed up!

We walked into the  museum just before 10am. My kids were in awe of the beautiful paintings and spun wooden bowls they had on display in the foyer.  Of course, Brewer wanted to touch every single one and Eva wanted to have dance party on the marble floor. I had a mild panic attach seeing our picture in tomorrow’s headline, “Family Destroys Art Museum In World Record Time!” But honestly, they did great.
We all gathered and together and our teacher led us down the hallway to visit todays painting.

We talked about the painting for a little bit and then read, Minnie's Diner.
"Down on the farm one morning, Papa McFay orders his sons to hop to their chores. But from Minnie’s kitchen wafts a smell that gets the boys itchin’, and one by one, they succumb to the call of that sweet aroma. Each brother arrives at Minnie’s twice as hungry as his brother before — and looking for twice as much grub. Will they be in double trouble when Papa McFay tracks them down? With singsong rhythms and comical illustrations spiced with flavor, Dayle Ann Dodds and John Manders serve up a humorous lesson in multiplication."
The kids loved it! The plates got bigger and bigger and the kids giggled and giggled! When story time was over we all walked down to the art room. Our project for the day was creating a plate filled with all our favorite foods. Brewer and Eva thought and drew and colored and cut and glued! In the end they had a really amazing time.
I expected they would have fun, but what I didn't expect was how I would feel. I have not walked through those doors in many many years. It's one of those moments that your mind just can not reconcile. The last time I was in that building, I was a single woman in college. I was an art student. I spent many hours walking around those hallways. It's funny how smell can truly take you back.
I sat on the floor with my children, watching them giggle and squirm and was filled with so much joy. I wondered what they really thought as they walked past all those paintings. I wondered if they understood the beauty in them.
Rounding the corner to the art room, I was flooded with emotion as we walked into the same room I studied art in college. I can't really explain the feeling watching my children create in the same space I used to create. Looking at them filled with so much imagination, believing that anything they wanted to create was possible, I couldn't help but think of that young girl so many years ago feeling the same way. Who was she? How many of those dreams she had came true?
I am most definitely a different woman now. It was around that time in my life when I really started to understand that, as a believer, my life was no longer my own but Gods. And just like the sculptures we passed on the way in, I am ever so thankful that God took me, a lump of clay, and has fashioned me into something beautiful. We are in no way finished, He's still shaping and smoothing and cutting out pieces that don't fit anymore. But He's working. And this women standing in this room, she's different. She's changed. She's been so blessed. And she's so thankful.
We left the museum and I drove them around town a little. I showed them were I used to live and where their grandfather grew up. I showed them the house their great grandmother was born in. They kept asking, "Do you know anything else?" Oh kids, there is so much more I know, and don't worry, I'm teaching you. Little by little, I'm teaching you all I've learned. And I pray that you'll know far more and love so much deeper than I ever dreamed. May the Lord hold you in the palm of his hand as you learn to trust Him with your life. Because my sweet child, you can trust Him no matter what. The dreams you have, give them to Him. He is the creator of all things.
Brewer, that love you have for color that you don't quite understand, it came from Him. Let him paint through you. Together, you can create a masterpiece beyond your wildest dreams.

The Martin 2014 Summer Bucket List

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Friends, I am a list maker and a list checker offer. If it's not on the list, we don't get it done. (Mostly because I wont remember to do it. Hence the list making ...) So, in the hopes that we don't go about summer as "usual" and hoping to let my kids have a little fun on their vacation, I've made a list!

And as a Type A rule follower, I've made some "rules" for my list:
1. We don't have to do everything on the list.
2. We can add things to the list.
3. We don't have to do it all in the first week! (that's a big one for me)
4. The List is only a guideline so we don't forget some special things we want to do.
5. The purpose of the list is to spend time together, making memories, loving on each other and those around us. If it becomes anything other than that, the list gets burned.

So Friends, here is what we'll be up to this summer! I hope to be checking things off soon. Hope you guys have a blast this summer. Keep safe, grow as a family, stretch your heart, love each other more. Learn more about who God is, who He created you to be and how you can teach your kids the same thing!

What's on your list this summer?

June: Yoga Playlist

Monday, June 2, 2014

Grab your mat. Grab your bible. Grab your journal and spend some time with Jesus this month. I hope this playlist can lead you into a beautiful flow.

As always, take what you like and leave the rest. Everything I offer is only a suggestion. Whatever leads you closer to Him ...

Enjoy Friends!
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