November 26, 2014


The message at church on Sunday November 16 confirmed once again that I was doing His will.

Basically, the thing that stood out to me is OUTREACH.  I really felt this word being repeated over and over again in different ways.  God was telling me to reach out.

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest (Luke 10:2)

November 25, 2014

How this Africa thing came to be...

If you didn't read yesterdays post, I would suggest starting there.

The next morning, after a little crying and a lot of praying I was folding some laundry that was on my bedroom floor.  There was a t-shirt.  A well loved t-shirt.  A very old t-shirt.  I picked it up and looked at it, it says on it "Love God / Love People".  I smiled.  I felt like that was a little message from the Big Guy saying this IS what I have planned for you.

Matt and I discussed it a big more.  He's still not fully on bored, I think the dollar amount intimidates him quite honestly, but I fully believe that God will provide.  And I have NOT been disappointed.

Did I mention that Amy is going too?  (That was a huge influence in my decision... Thanks God for providing that little piece)  Oh, and sleeping arrangements?  It's not huts with pit toilets folks.  It's a dorm.  With the best showers on campus.  Even though I don't deserve it, God is providing some of the comforts that I feel like I need (but know in reality it's all a want, not a need).

So, here's a few details that I have (and I only have a few):

We will be traveling with a group of approximately 12 people mostly from Community Reformed Church, to Lesotho Africa, it will take about 2 days of travel, we will spend approximately 6 days there and then 2 more days of travel to return.  While in Lesotho we will be serving at Beautiful Gate Orphanage.  I need to raise approximately $2,300 in order to go on this trip.

I am confident that the Lord will provide!

I will be sharing updates here on this blog and a few other God things that have confirmed that this trip is where he wants me!  Be sure to check back.

And, if you feel like contributing please see the sidebar for different ways you can help!

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2014

So, about this Africa thing

Some of you may remember about 6 years ago when I was planning to go to Africa.  We were going to go to Ghana with IN Network.  That didn't work out unfortunately, thankfully I was blessed with a very lovely gift instead.  So, while I was disappointed, it all worked out well!

Then in November of 2013 Christina Terpstra came to Community's MLIFE program to talk to us about Beautiful Gate.  My heart just broke.  The stories she has are heart breaking and amazing all at the same time.  Just look at those faces, I dare you!

I knew that I had to go.  It was very clear to me.

And then time went on and my brain started processing all of those scary things, like weird bugs, lions, pit toilets, eating pig intestines (or worse) and I talked myself out of it.  In fact, I remember one evening one of the people organizing the trip through our church said "I heard you were in for Africa?" and I told him "I don't think so, to much crazy stuff for me, way out of my comfort zone".

Ha.  God had that covered too.

Fast forward to November 9.  There was going to be a mission trip meeting at church, right after the service.  I had brushed it off, wasn't going to go, to outside my comfort zone, etc.  Then, Amy (one of my dear friends) asked if I was going, she wanted to go to the meeting too.  So I went.  Just to get information.

We started talking cost and again, I was out.  Holy buckets of cash batman!  Not to mention time on an airplane, time away from the comforts of my home (notice that comfort word coming up again and again?) and my kids and husband.

And then Christina walked in and started talking again.  I felt my heart softening.

She stated that this would be a relational mission trip.  Going and loving kids, helping with day to day routines.  No building houses, no digging wells etc.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against physical labor, but hey, this sounds way more like me!

She told us that this would not be like going to the African Savannah and seeing Lions, this would be more like going to Colorado (hey, I can do that, we just did that this summer).  Heart softening even more!

Then I asked one of the most important questions of all... "What will we eat and how many granola bars do I need to pack"?  Ready for this... We eat food just like we eat here!  There is one traditional meal served, but hey, granola bars, right!  My heart was melted into a big puddle and I was IN!

Convincing Matt wasn't as easy.  Matt is drawn more toward U.S. needs, as in "There are plenty of needs here in the US, why do you have to travel to Africa?" and "It's so expensive, we could buy Bailey a car with the money it will cost".

I went to bed very discouraged that night.  I prayed hard.  God, please change his heart.  I know this is where you want me to go, but I need him to be on board too.  But God, if he's so against it, is this really where you want me?  Am I missing something?  Am I acting to quickly?

To be continued...

October 16, 2014

I Surrender All

I know, it's been a year and a half since I've posted, I could try to catch you all up on life here at the Bell's, but then that would take forever, and I would have to do it all over again in another year and a half when I post again!  :)  So, long story short, life hasn't changed much except that we've all gotten older.  Lila is in Kindergarten, Elliot in 2nd, Bailey in 8th and Landon in 11th.  That last one stresses me out a little lot.  That means college is not far off.  Eeek!

Anyway, why post to a blog after one and a half years?  I don't know.  I really don't.  Honestly, I was cleaning my desk area (which is currently sprawled over the entire front living room of our house) and I though I should post.

Yesterday was a ROUGH day for me, to put it mildly.  And, without giving out to many details I will say that my character, ethics, love of my family (extended), and my faith were all questioned over something that (didn't) happen years ago.

When a person tears you apart like that, even when you know better, it hurts.  A lot.

And then it makes you cry.

Even though you haven't really cried in years.

Ugly cry.

Cry so hard your abs hurt the next day.

Yeah, so that might have been me.  Not proud of all of that, yet not really ashamed either.

And then my mind replayed the whole thing over and over and over.  And I was trying to figure out why.  And then I put some of it together.  Stay with me here, there are a lot of pieces that go together on this one.

All of the questions surround the death of a special person in my life.  This person passed away quite a while ago.

I believe that when I die, I will go to heaven, I also believe that the people close to me that have currently passed have been believers in Jesus and will also be in heaven waiting with open arms.  I have hope that I will indeed see them again.  They didn't just die and go into the ground, the end.  I realized that this belief makes death a little easier for me.  I definitely don't like when someone dies, I cry and mourn, but I am a little happy for them, seriously, they are in HEAVEN.  I can't even imagine how amazing that is.  Earthly life is a little (or a lot) harder without them, but each day is a day closer to being reunited for eternity.  SERIOUSLY!!!!  :-)

I realized during circumstances yesterday that this other person is not a believer.  So for this person, life just ends.  They bury their loved ones in the ground and that's it.  Then they go back to their life.  How sad.  (Please understand that I'm not condemning anyone that doesn't believe, of course I want EVERYONE to believe in Jesus and go to heaven for eternity, but I don't like you any less if you don't).

Not having that hope of eternity is part of what caused the issues I experienced yesterday.  Material things are all that matter to this person.  Because that is all they have left of a deceased person.  That is all they have to hold on to.

Do I have things that make me remember those I love?  Sure thing.

If my house burned down and I lost all of those things would I be sad?  Sure thing.

Would my life go on without bitterness and anger?  Sure thing.

I REALLY let this person get to me yesterday, like I said, UGLY cry, but I slept good last night.  Really good.  And I woke up this morning singing (sorry if that thought makes you cry)!  Singing "I surrender all".  I haven't heard this song in a long time.  Pretty sure someone special (Jesus) placed that song in my head, just when I needed it!  The words of the songs are EXACTLY what I needed:

Just a few of the lines (I didn't know the whole song until I looked it up) that directly correspond to yesterdays events:
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live
Worldly pleasures all forsaken
Fill me with thy love and power

So, all those pieces I talked about in the beginning, I'm realizing as I type that I can't even put it all into words, so that is all you get!

Thanks to all of my friends and family that listened to me cry yesterday and encouraged me.  Thanks for the advice and verses that lifted me up throughout the day!  Thanks to God for the encouragement just when He knew I needed it, whether it be through song or friends or any other number of ways!  Thanks for letting me be real!

I can't be upset over things which I have no control, and so I'm letting this go!

And, just to update quickly, in case you made it to the end, here is a picture of my crew!

And, no, my son does not chew tobacco, he does however chew gum and I instructed him to make sure I didn't see it while I was taking pictures.  Clearly he thought hiding it in his lip was sufficient!  And, the girl on the left, yes, despite looking completely different from the others, she does indeed belong to us.

April 15, 2013

My crazy life

I've never set out to portray a perfect little life here on this blog.  I think I've been pretty open and honest about our struggles, or at least the ones I want to share with the world.  I've seen a lot of articles pop up lately about how life appears perfect on facebook and instagram and pinterest, but we are only seeing the pretty versions of what real life looks life.  That full time working, homeschooling, housekeeping, laundry doing mom on facebook/instagram/pinterest isn't showing you the parts of her life that are falling apart.  Living in this time of social media loving and sharing is tough.  It can quickly make us feel terrible about ourselves or our family or our job... it goes on forever.  I promise, as often as I post, I will not try to sugar coat things.  I will try to be honest.  I will try to be real.  I will do my best to let you see my real life, not just the one I want you to see.  I may not post much, but when I do it will be honest.

OK, that's not why I'm here today.  Not sure where that rant came from.  I have a lot more other things I would love to rant about right now, but I think I'll wait for another day.  For now, I want to show you a picture of the kids from Easter.

Apparently Landon has had enough years of dressing up in a sweater and tie for Easter and decided that a sweatshirt was dressy enough this year.  At least he dressed the sweatshirt up with a pair of jeans.  :-)
Aren't they a cute bunch?  I'm so lucky I have the perfect family.  ;-)  Ha.  Just kidding.  Far from perfect over here!

He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.

April 6, 2013

Knock Knock

Follow up to yesterdays post... when we said the joke to Lila tonight she just smiled with her cutest little grin and said "I don't have that secret anymore".  (she meant joke, but I love "secret", it just shows she is three, and I can only say that for 2 more weeks!)

Apparently her new one is:
Knock Knock
Who's there?
Salt & Pepper
Salt & Pepper who?
Salt & Pepper on your elbow.

Another one with just as much humor:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To smell stinky shoes.

Yup.  Just laugh!  Sometimes that's all you can do.

April 5, 2013

Owl who?

Nothing inspiring.  Maybe a little thought provoking.  Maybe.

Matt and I were talking about one of Lila's favorite jokes tonight when it dawned on me that I would probably not remember this silly joke in 5 or more years.  That made me sad.  So, I knew that I had to write it down.  And frame it.  Maybe.  Here it is for you to have a little laugh of your own!


March 18, 2013

Philippians 1:27

Yikes, not sure I know what I'm doing here anymore.  Hopefully I can figure out how to post!  :)  There's so much going on over here that I just can't find time to keep this up regularly anymore.  But, I'm not going away either.  The blog will stay open!

What the last 3 months have included (the condensed version):
Christmas, New Years, Planet Fitness, school, yearbook, pictures, bible studies, games, cleaning, driving, visiting, working, organizing, selling, sledding, gaming, freezing, sweating, eliptacle, weights, doctor visits, reading, spelling, listening to stories, small group, friends... oh there's so much more.  It's been busy here.  Same story.  New post.

So anyway, the real reason I'm here...  just wanted to share this graphic I made!

December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas {The only Christmas card you will get}

This is the best Christmas card I have time for this year, so sorry that it's not physically in your hands, but better than nothing, right?  And, based on the number I've received this year, I'm not alone in this!

I feel like this is all very repetitive since so many people are on facebook now, but I also want a "central" location for some of it too!

A few weeks ago our family took a little trip to Orlando.  Technically Kissimmee, but we spent most of our time in Orlando, at a small park called Walt Disney World.  Have you heard of it?  It's the most over rated, well run and populated park in the country, and probably even the world.

Everything we read said that this was the time of year to avoid.  Thanksgiving week.  We figured that since we haven't been there in years and years and years it wouldn't matter so much, we wouldn't know any different.  And, we wanted to avoid taking the kids out of school for any extended amount of time, since they had the whole week off, this worked out great!

I was very well prepared for a very stressful and crabby week (from myself).  I was anticipating getting frustrated and annoyed on a regular basis.

In the end, to be quite honest, it wasn't that bad.  It WAS crowded, no doubt about that.  Often times we felt as if we were swimming in a school of fish, you didn't really have a choice which way to go and you prayed that your kids were in the same route!  (Praise the LORD we never lost anyone)  Many times we almost hit someone because they stopped in the middle of the "road" right in front of us, but we understood that the reality was that this would happen, there were not a lot of choices for stopping.  I don't think I got annoyed with anyone.  That's huge for me!

It was GREAT to have my family to myself for a week.  It wasn't until we were on our way to the airport that I realized that this was our first vacation with just "our" little family!

Anyway, long story short, we had a great time, Disney does everything on an amazing level, I wish the rest of the world would get a clue from them about customer service.  We managed to get to all of the Disney parks, we went on most of the rides that we wanted to, we saw almost all of the shows that we wanted to see (the shows were my favorite part) and we got to spend some time by the pool!

The one thing I regret was that I did not take my big camera into the parks with me most days, it was just to much to lug around (and, it fell off my neck one day when the strap came loose and crashed on the path and slid across between a few peoples feet, narrowly avoiding a disaster), but the point and shoot camera that i have is not very good and my cell phone camera is even worse, so a LOT of my pictures are blurry, colorless and worse, but I keep telling myself that it's the memory that counts, the pictures still reflect the good time we had, just not in such a good way!

November 9, 2012

1 Timothy 2:1

I'm here again asking you to pray.

1 Timothy 2:1 (MSG) 
The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know.

I saw this verse the other day as part of a longer verse which popped up on Bible Gateway.  It was perfect timing.  I couldn't say it better if I tried.  

I'm asking you to pray.  Every way you know how.  For a very specific little girl.  

This is Lila and her good friend Lydia.  Lydia and her family need your prayers.  They recently discovered a tumor on her optic nerve and yesterday this sweet girl started chemotherapy.  Pray that the chemo works like it's supposed to and shrinks the tumor, pray every way you know how for this family.  

You can view her carepage here.  

September 19, 2012

Popular Posts (and picture)

I was just looking around my blog a bit, checking stats etc (not that stats mean anything to me really, just wondered about a few things).

I checked out the most popular post of all time.

It was this one.  I hope that that means that lot's of prayers were and are still said for Kristi and her family.

And for Lindy's family.

This is the picture from the above post...

This is the picture that got me a bit teary tonight.

Yikes.  It's pretty bad.  

We've all changed.  A LOT.  

2 of these girls have gone to be with Jesus.  

We've all grown a lot more hair.  And maybe got a better style too!  :)

Thank you for following along all these years, for all the prayers and for loving me when I looked like that.

September 11, 2012

I Will Rise When He Calls my Name

My anxiety level is through the roof right now and i just couldn't put a finger on why.

And then I realized it.

It's not school starting. (which has gone very well by the way)

It's not the heat. (I'm sick of sweating, these cooler nights have been a relief)

It's not all the time I've been spending alone with Lila. (ok, maybe a little)

It's not making dinner every night. (I don't)

It's because cancer sucks.

Simply that.

Cancer is currently taking the life of another amazing woman, who is a mom and a wife and a friend.

That sucks. (a lot)

If you aren't doing it yet, could you please pray for Lindy and her family? They need it right now. And now. And tonight. And tomorrow. And for a long time to come.

Heaven is going to be an amazing place, and Lindy will be lucky to be healed and walk with Jesus, but for those of us who haven't been lucky enough to walk through those gates yet, it sucks to loose her (anyone), especially for her family.

And I Will Rise when he calls my name
No more sorrow, No more pain
I Will Rise, on Eagle's wings
Before my God fall on my kness, and rise
I Will Rise

From I will Rise, by Chris Tomlin

September 2, 2012

My hideout

So, Lila had a bloody nose that lasted about half an hour last night.  We sat in my bed for quite some time holding a washcloth over her nose, waiting for it to subside.

Finally it did.

I was wide awake at that point.

So, instead of waking Matt up, I went on the couch to watch tv.

When I woke up this morning for a minute I had a bright idea.  You may remember a while back, my post about Lila's willingness to wake me up, but her lack of willingness to wake her dad up.

To deter this, I decided to get sneaky.

I hid.

In a corner that is blocked from view by the couch.

Go ahead and judge me.  It's ok.  I know you haven't experienced Lila like I have.

I was laying in the corner doing important stuff catching up on Facebook activity.

And then I heard little feet.

First they went to my bedroom, just as I suspected they would.

And then she must have paused to find my scent.

Because just seconds later she was stepping over me, to ask for breakfast.


That girl couldn't find her blanket if it was in front of her face, yet she walks right to me, in a corner where stuff has been known to go missing for a day or two.

She must really really love her momma!  I am blessed!  ;-)

August 19, 2012

I'm free

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free.
I'm following the path God laid, you see.
I took His hand when I heard him call.
I turned around and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I've found the peace on a sunny day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joys.
A family shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Oh yes, these things, I too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief.
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your hearts and peace to thee.
God wanted me now; He set me free.

~ Unknown ~