Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Crack

My friend Lindsay Creswell shared her family recipe for this delicious candy a week or two ago, and after I had a couple of false starts, I made a successful batch of this goodness, and we are in love!  
My favorite part is that it can be made ahead of time and put in the fridge, 
so it's perfect to make the night before a holiday function and have ready.  
I'm making it tonight to take to the Davis family Christmas gathering tomorrow, so I thought I'd put the recipe on the blog so I can find it again next year!


Christmas Crack

Ingredients:
2 sticks butter
1 cup of light brown sugar
1 sleeve of saltines
1 package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
finely chopped pecans

Directions:
(Optional: line a metal cookie sheet with foil)
1.  Cover the cookie sheet with saltine crackers, so that they are touching and fill the entire sheet.
2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3.  Melt the butter and sugar in a pot on the stove.
4.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until thick and bubbly.  Just stir it fairly continuously, being careful not to burn the mixture.
5.  Pour mixture evenly over the crackers, covering them completely.
6.  Bake at 400 for 5 minutes.
7.  Take the pan out of the oven, and quickly pour the chocolate chips evenly over the crackers and butter/sugar mixture.
8.  Place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes.
9.  Take pan out of the oven, and use a butter knife or the back of a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the top until smooth.
10.  Sprinkle with chopped pecans and place the entire sheet into the refrigerator until cool and hardened.
11.  Once hard, remove from the pan, break into pieces, and enjoy!
12.  Store pieces of candy in an airtight container in the refrigerator so it doesn't turn gooey.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Grandparents' Luncheon - 3rd grade

Each year, the PTA at Lana's school hosts a Grandparent Lunch for each grade level.
Today was 3rd grade's turn,
and Lana had 1 grandfather, 2 grandmothers, and 1 great grandfather to eat lunch with her!

A look back:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lasts.

Top row:
Tanner & David Mosely, Mark & Valita Scanlan, Joe & Michelle Rutherford (and baby CJ), Monty & Donella Ray, baby Daniel Ryan, Minh Ryan, Guy & Tiffany Meredith, Sean Ryan, Paul & Andrea and Michaela Frost
Bottom row:
Michelle Mosely, Alaina Frost, Colton Rutherford, Lana, Alyssa Clarke, Tucker, Myles Meredeith, Jacob Frost, Grace Mosely, Cheyenne Rutherford 

This is our last week at Heritage,
and it's full of many "lasts,"
but tonight was perhaps the hardest one of all.

It was our last night with our small group.
With our friends who have become quite like family,
the ones who have been our harbor.

I am very rarely at a loss for words,
but when I try to write here how the Lord formed this group,
and the things we've walked through together,
and how we've been stretched and challenged and sanctified here,
and how well they've loved us
and how safe they've made us.....
well, I can't even begin.

I can say that this group and our time together has been sacred,
and our souls are stronger for the time we've spent together.

KC Jams Christmas Musical

Our children's choir has been working on their Christmas musical since August,
and today was finally the big day!
Lana has 2 singing parts and 2 speaking parts,
and Tucker was Joseph.
Here are some video clips:
Opening song     continued
A Pretty Princess solo
Do Not Fear
Are You Ready For Some Good News?
Can You Hear the Love Song?
Mary and Joseph
Luke 2 

 They both had a great time!

 Look who came to surprise the kids and watch the musical!
 Lana and Tucker were both thrilled to have their Nana & PawPaw in the audience.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Intersquad swim meet

Look at all those first place ribbons!

We had an intersquad swim meet today
(think a scrimmage game),
and we were so proud of our sweet girl, 
who took first place in her age group for girls in every event.

She has made so much progress since she started swimming on the team,
and we can see lots of potential for her as she continues.
We are thankful for Coach Alex,
and for seeing our girl thrive.
She is truly in her element when she's in the pool.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The next chapter in our story.

God’s plan, not ours: 
a guest blog by our team captain
July 2011
Our feet had just hit the ground in Pensacola.  
We were settling in and finding our bearings (and walmart).  
Our home, a borrowed RV, sat parked 12 feet from the back door of the student building. 
Student ministry was in full swing.  
Relationship seeds were being planted and watered and fertilized.  
It seemed like everyday we met new faces and families and neighbors and future friends.  

As new became normal and faces became friends, Pensacola became home.  
I realized that if I were going to make it in the fast-paced world of teenage disciple-making,
I would have to lock arms with a few guys in town who were already running that race. 
I crossed paths with one of those guys and his name was David Wiggins.  
Pastor of Students at Hillcrest Baptist Church was his title. 
Soon, I called him friend.
We grabbed coffee here and there to talk about life and ministry.  
We spent half a day together each month as part of a peer learning group through our local association.  
We went from quick friends to old friends in what seemed like a couple of minutes.

Fast forward about 3 years.  
 
We are deeply rooted to our community.  
Rachael is doing what she loves, being a killer wife and mom and teaching 1st grade a couple days a week.
She does all of this while some how managing to keep our family between the lines.  
Lana’s in third grade, 
figuring out how to be kind and brave in a world that is often cold and scary.  
Tucker’s getting his VPK on like a boss.  
He’s working hard to figure out how to put others first and obey his teachers.  
They are knocking it out of the park. 
(I’m a little biased.) 

Our ministry at Heritage is at its peak.  
The best it's been in the 3 1/2 years we’ve been there.  
We’re surrounded by an incredible team of adults in the student ministry who “get it!” 
They are doing small group with students like it's their job, making disciples like Jesus.  
We are doing life with a small group family who loves us like only family can.  
The good, the bad, the brutal, all done together for our good and God’s glory.
We are literally in a season of reveling in God's goodness. 

And then…
Sitting at a table sipping half-burnt coffee, talking ministry and life with my friend David,
a simple question came up.  “What if?”  

What if God has been preparing something from long before this moment? 
What if God has been preparing me?
What if?
Through that question, God slowly began to reveal a plan.  
His plan.  
If I’m being honest, I didn’t know what to do or say.  
Life and ministry were going great. 
I didn’t want anything to change. 
I had been blessed to plant, and I didn't want to miss the harvest.

What I did come to quickly believe was that God was doing something,
and whenever that happens, I want a front row seat.  
David and I finished our overpriced coffee, unsure of what was coming and simply prayed.  
Prayed for God to speak clearly.  

Looking back now it seems like a silly prayer.  
Doesn’t God always speak clearly?  
We just have to be listening clearly to hear what He is saying to us. 
He is not a God of confusion. He is a God of peace and clarity and a sound mind.  
I think somehow I had forgotten that before now.  
But God, in His grace, was about to remind me of that in the clearest way possible.
David talked with his pastor and I talked with mine.  
We simply said, “we need to have a conversation and see what God does.”  
Doors were opened and conversations happened.  
Good conversations.  God honoring conversations.  
As words between men were spoken, God began to speak.  
The harder Rachael and I listened, the louder He spoke,
through His Word, through wise counselors, through confirmation of those nearest to us. 

We heard God telling us that there was something new coming.  
Honestly, we were scared at first.  
scared of the unknown. 
scared of what people might think.  
scared about shaking life up more than we could handle.  
But fear can't stand against faith, and our faith led us to our knees.  
Desperately wanting to follow God, even if that led us away from our current comfort.
In the matter of weeks (that sometimes felt like minutes and others felt like months), 
God’s plan for our family became abundantly clear.  
He was calling us on to what He had been preparing us for all along.  

You see, from our very first days in ministry together,
Rachael and I have been connected to the Body of Christ in small groups. 
My very first “ministry position” was leading a small group of teenage guys as a volunteer.  
By God’s grace, we were loved on by a small group of people 
who treated a couple of newlyweds like we were their own children.  

Through those relationships, God seared in us a love for relational discipleship.  
Life-on-life, Biblical community that can’t be done halfway
if we want to truly grow in Christ. 

I’ll never forget the words I heard from Dr. McKinion in my first semester in seminary.  He said, “As believers our mantra should be, 'I want to make disciple-making disciples'.”  Those words echo through my heart and mind almost every minute.  
It is the heart and passion behind everything that I do.  
It is truly the God given desire of my heart, and the root of the giftings He's given. 

So, when God spoke clearly and called myself and my family 
to make disciple-making disciples 
as a member of the family and team at Hillcrest Baptist Church
it was no longer a matter of what people might think,
or how to handle logistical issues.  
It became a simple matter of obedience.
What a joy it is to obey the Lord!  
He has already begun weaving our hearts with the staff and church body.
As we've had coffee and dinner and conversation,
we've learned that we have the same heart,
and that God has been clearly preparing this for them, and for me. 

I’m humbled and excited and thankful to plant our family 
and begin serving as the Pastor of Adults and Spiritual Development at Hillcrest.

It has been a great kindness of God that He has confirmed this decision to us in many ways,
the greatest and most loving of which has been our current church's blessing as we go.

From our students, to our small group, to our ministry leaders, to our staff team and our pastor,
the response has been an exhortation and encouragement to follow God.
As our church family has watched my giftings grow over the past 4 years,
and has partnered with me to lead our church
toward life-on-life discipleship in all areas of ministry,
they have seen my passion for leading families.
They see this move to a sister church as a way for the Lord to use me,
and they are sending me out
as a disciple-making disciple.

My brothers and sisters at Heritage are teaching me this:
if you're doing life right, leaving will always be sad,
but it doesn't have to be negative.
They've loved us in the coming, and they are loving us in the going.
I couldn't ask for a kinder or more gracious transition.

Team Davis counts ourselves richly blessed
to be part of the Heritage body,
and the Hillcrest body -
all part of the Body of Christ.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lana's field trip

Today I got to ride on this super festive bus full of third, fourth, and fifth graders,
my very favorite of whom is this one:

It is so fun to have a front row seat to my very favorite girl in all the world with her friends:

We spent the morning singing Christmas carols to the residents at a nursing home, 
and an assisted living facility.

They all did such a beautiful job!
They sang favorite carols, such as
and many others.

It was heartwarming to see the residents tapping their feet, 
nodding their heads, and even singing along:

After caroling, the students went to each resident and wished them a Merry Christmas.  
I was so proud of how sweet they all were,
and the residents just hugged and kissed and loved them to bits.

We have been collecting slippers and socks to leave at this facility:
 These, along with handmade cards, put smiles on many faces.

The next stop was a beautiful assisted living facility:

Lana with our beloved Mrs. Celis, 
who is adored by my daughter, 
and hands down one of the best teachers I have ever known:

What an absolutely wonderful field trip! 
Just the sweetest way to start the holidays.