Friday, October 31, 2014


“Congratulations! You are undefeated!”  This was my opening sentence to Greg this morning.  Yep, the team did it!  They have finished their pre-season, season and now play offs as undefeated!  The accomplishment is quite impressive, even for us as the coach and his family.

Truly, this isn’t a pride issue rather it is an “Awe” issue with what the Lord has done! Not only because the team was predicted to be in last position and my husbands prediction was “we could win a few”,  but it is the reality of teams, and sports and … well … life!!

The likelihood of a winning season much less an undefeated season rarely, if ever occurs.

Take our family experience for our 27 years.  Greg has coached college, little league and high school ball throughout many of those years.  He has had a few winning seasons.  Never (until last night) has he had an undefeated season.

Our eldest only played one sport her entire career (oh yeah, and a semester of cheerleading her senior year) and really she sat the bench.

Our youngest, no sports.

Our man-child, well he is a super gifted athlete.  His athleticism started with an attempt to join his best buds in karate.  He went to their first “practice.”  The instructor stood at the front of the little pre-schoolers and kindergarteners and began calling out instructions in a foreign language.  Drew, just followed along for about 30 minutes and then took a mad dash to the door crying hysterically.   He was so overwhelmed.  He was done with karate for life.  No wins there.

Then he faced a string of little league sports.  The score board invariably read no winning seasons.

High school lead to a dramatic knee surgery that ended with a disdain for the sport he was injured in.

His senior year a new sport was introduced to the school and our son.  Thus began our love of lacrosse.  As mentioned, Drew is an athlete.  He played great with a sport that he nor the school knew much about.  He fell in love with his teammates and the sport.  He even played lacrosse most of his college years.  His team went to the playoffs.  It was a wonderful experience for him.

Moms, parenting is like these sporting attempts at undefeated seasons.  We learn from each season. We grow during these seasons.  I love what God words says in II Corinthians 4: 8 – 11.
(I challenge you to write this out before your day starts and meditate on it throughout the day!)

No, we aren’t going to win every battle each day.  God wants us to know He is on our side.  He wants us to win.  No, He doesn’t want us to take the glory or even think it is us winning the battle.  He wants us to see it is HIM winning in and through us.   I John 4: 4 should also encourage us.  

Because of Christ, very morning we can wake saying to the Lord, “Congratulations! YOU are undefeated!”

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Allowing Others to Help

Sometimes we think we can do it all and forget to ask for help when in over our heads. The last 18 months have been exhausting. Whoever said three kids were easier than two...totally lied. It is definitely harder than I ever expected. No one warned me of the crazy uphill battle I would face. With an infant, special needs son, and my middle child having major meltdowns frequently because he's overlooked many times because of the baby or brother with can be crazy.

I feel like I have been treading water and barely breathing. When one task ends another begins. Laundry everywhere. School scattered about. And although it reads rather grim, there is an amazing ending to my story...

A few weeks ago, I sat down and shared with my husband that I needed help. I asked him to take off a week of work to help me schedule, organize, and put the pieces together that make up my chaotic but beautiful puzzle I call life. I needed help, but I also needed to humble myself and ask for it.  He agreed and took off a week and it was the most refreshing, encouraging, and amazing experience. Life has changed in the Seawell House. Praise Jesus!

Sometimes pride clouds our view causing us to feel weak if we ask for help. In that, we fail to recognize that the Lord created us with a heart for community. To need each other, and giving us a heart to serve as well. To love and be loved.

...those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. - Proverbs 11:25

So what happened? 

We got organized. Mornings had kids gone with Daddy causing ...Mommy to put things into practice and place that had been left on the sidelines. With Daddy's help, we created an org chart and schedule for our kids. Creating checklist that help me know what needs to be done when. Checklists in our home causes anxiety to cease and transition to go smoother. For everyone! 

First, I had to admit that I needed help. 
Then, ask for it.
Finally, we put our heads together to create & execute a plan to lessen the chaos.
It worked! 
It worked!
It worked!
Can you tell how excited I am?

Do you struggle in asking for help? Does pride slow you down in asking? Ask! It will help get you out of the slump you are in! You will be grateful! Two heads are better than one! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

"Mirrors" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Children are born holding mirrors.
Those mirrors reflect who we are…what is in our heart…  
How much we need Jesus!
My first son came along holding a tiny preemie mirror.
His mirror showed me how little I trusted God. Rather, I was placing my trust in my son’s doctors and nurses.
My second son appeared a short 11 months later holding a “SURPRISE” mirror.
His mirror revealed that I needed some serious patience, wisdom, and kind words.  I had two kids under 1, things of course got a bit harder, and sleep was not happening!
My third child arrived the following year with a pink, sparkly mirror.
As I looked in her mirror I saw how much she wants to be like me and how I need Jesus to continue to help me to become more like Him.
I want Jesus to help me to show her love and acceptance.
Each mirror is different.
Yet the message is the same.
I fall short.
As a mom I want my reflection to be Jesus!

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a MIRROR the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Losing a Child

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
 - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Yesterday was a beautiful day. I watched God use past hurt of one to encourage another. It was a normal day when I felt the prompting of the the Lord to send a scripture verse to an old friend, one I hadn't talk to in a while. Her last Facebook post I had seen was a pregnancy photo shoot picture.  

Her text back was of a picture of a tombstone with her little one's name on it. I immediately picked up the phone and called her to talk. She began to unravel the crazy she experienced as she lost her baby, while in labor, when the cord got caught around her neck and was born stillborn. 

My heart broke. I knew I had no words to share that I understood what she was going through. I just listened and let her talk.  Never saying the daunting words, " I know how you feel." Those words that can be upsetting, to those hurting, unless you have been in their shoes. Many times we say those idle words just to say something because the situation is uncomfortable.

While we spoke, the Lord brought to mind another friend, Jacky, who had gone through a similar loss just a year ago. One who started a support group, wanting to share and encourage others. One who had grieved, was still grieving, but was on the other side now ready to share with others her "crazy."

As soon as we were off the phone, I called Jacky. She promised to contact my other friend and share her story and how far God had brought her. She was thrilled to know that God was using her experience to encourage another. As we spoke for a few moments, Jacky shared all the God-stories that had occurred throughout her last year of grief. It was so cool to hear of lives changed, a baby's life that was saved (mom thinking of abortion before reading Jacky's blog), and how much she had grown spiritually from this trial. It was truly beautiful. 

I know that as these two ladies connect, HE will be glorified, both will be encouraged, and lives will be changed. Transparency leads to ministry. This is such a beautiful example of how HE uses trials for good. 

If you would like to read Jacky's blog of her experience and 
Jacky has used her loss and grief to encourage others. A beautiful testimony of the Christian life. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

My Coach!

         People are curious to know that when Greg and I fell in love his profession was a football coach.  Yes, we both knew God had called us to ministry but Greg doubted that people “came to church” to find a Savior and we needed another vehicle to “bring them to Jesus.”
         Thus the profession of coaching appeared perfect for my husband.  He loved on the young men at a college level and while teaching them how to punt, pass and kick he would inadvertently introduce them to Jesus.
         The true meaning of the word “coach” is derived from the Old West’s stagecoach.  The stagecoach would travel from place to place taking letters, packages and people.
Google Image
         Over the years as God has lead us to full time ministry (yes, at a church) we have come to recognize that Greg has continued to “Coach.”  Whether he delivers the Good News of Christ or encourages someone in their personal decisions, or challenges them in their thinking or simply loves on them as they mourn my Greg has continued to coach.  He has guided people from one place to the next.
         This week was no exception for my husband as his team won their first high school play-off game in an undefeated season.  I’m not talking about his coaching on the field (although there are examples of that) but in the home as my husband he was coaching me.
         I found myself in that pickle of a spot when I realized I had again made a poor choice, which needed forgiveness from my coach.  I asked forgiveness and he was quick to forgive.
         But I.
         I finally said to my coach, “I appreciate that you have forgiven me, I just can’t forgive myself.  I can’t shake it.”
         The Coach finally responded, “you know Joannie, on the football field the game is made of a series of plays.  You move from one play to the next.  Whether the play was good or bad or effective or worthy to be tried again you just “go to the next play.”
Google Image
I loved this visual.  Too often as a mom, I think I’ve messed up and feel like I can’t make “the next play.”  Parenting is a series of “next plays.”  So whether we handled the situation well or failed miserably we just have to get up and go to the “next play.”
         Moms don’t give up because you messed up.  Accept that you did mess up, ask forgiveness and

         MOVE. ON.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Take the Time

Ephesians 5:15-17 - Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

There was a break in our normal routine this week. Daddy was home. Taking time off from work to help me get organized and create a better schedule with homeschooling. A struggle for me as I am the most unorganized mommy you will probably ever meet :) But God has given me reprieve - as my hubby offered to help with this struggle.

So, my husband took my oldest to therapy as I straightened up and got ready for the next "lesson" when my middle son asked me to sit. Just sit and read him a book. A simple request, but in the moment my flesh wanted to get up and rush to the laundry and fold it, as I had one less child and much to do in that hour. But I chose to pause. PAUSE. NOTE: as a mom this is challenging to do as it seems like your list never fully gets done each day with things pouring over into the next day's "list". 

But as I paused, something beautiful happened. I sat down with the kiddos curled up in my lap and enjoyed a book we have read before, but it was the experience of just pausing. I was so blessed as my baby crawled up too and it was a special moment I will cherish as each had their head on the other as they intently listened as I read. 

If I had gone to the laundry instead of pausing, I would have had one more check on my list but I would have missed that moment. A blessing. I want to pause more often. These moments go quick and will soon be gone. The kids will be older and in a different season. I want to pause and enjoy life with my kids more. 

How are you doing with taking a pause every now and then?

Allow those pauses to be a time to refresh and reflect on the beauty of motherhood that so often we take for granted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

No Voice to Yell

When you are sick and have “NO VOICE TO YELL,” what do you do?  How do you get your kids to do anything?  I recently found out.

Back when I was a brand new mom I heard another more seasoned mom talk about how the only way she could get through to her kid was to yell.  I thought that was ridiculous and that she must not be as mature as I was… HA!  Little did I know that a couple years down the line I’d find myself in that same rut.  For a while now I have been struggling with this pattern of yelling I had set as the communication method – mom to kids.  How did I get here and how do I get out?!  Yes, I know there are tons of books about the issue but I didn’t want to read them nor did I have time to. 

My Ah-ha! moment:  The other day a friend was counseling me about how to handle a situation with another adult and she said, “don’t let what is going on in the other person’s life take your peace away from you.”  Then she said these brilliant words, “you keep your peace.”  DING!  Wow, I sang blessing songs to her over the phone because she solved my yelling dilemma – KEEP YOUR PEACE MOMMA. 

It dawned on me that I needed to get my peace from the Peace Maker Himself.  Like I say all the time, our kids are watching.  Let's set a pattern of going to the Peacemaker and practicing some good ole' self-control.  Our kids will learn how to be self-controlled themselves reducing frustrating moments.  DING! 
"and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7
"And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." Colossians 3:15
“Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.” Psalm 119:165
“He makes peace in your borders, And fills you with the finest wheat.” Psalm 147:14
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, And great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13

Peace be with you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Your Legacy" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

Proverbs 31:28
“Her children rise up and call her blessed;  Her husband also, and he praises her” 
This past week I attended a memorial service.
The sweet women was my friend’s mother.
I only had the privilege of meeting this mom two times, the last being at our Easter service in April.
She received the news shortly after Easter that she had cancer.
God chose to give her the ultimate healing.
As I sat in her service, her four precious twenty- something –year- old daughters were there, speaking such wonderful things about their mom.
The memories they had of her were treasures, she spent her time pouring into their lives.
These daughters love Jesus.
They’ve chosen husband that live for God.
Her two grandchildren are being raised up in godly homes.
What more could you want?
I left that wonderful service with the thoughts….
“What would my kids say?”  “What would my kids remember?”
Proverbs 31:28 came alive to me in that service
The countless hours that you sacrifice your time and energy into your children remind you that you are leaving a lasting legacy.
Take time today to read an extra book to your child, leave them a special note, or give them an extra hug. 
Make your moments count!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lunches with Love

 Your love for one another 
will prove to the world 
that you are my disciples. 
- John 13:35

Some great ideas for packing lunches with love...

A great idea for tucking scripture away each day as they head off to school...

Some fun lunch supplies to get...

Make lunches for a week...

How can we show some love in our child's lunch box today??

Do you have a fun or creative idea you use when making your child's lunch? Please leave it in the COMMENT section! We would love to hear them!

Friday, October 17, 2014

YOUR Family Favorites

The older Greg and I get the more we find ourselves entertaining questions on "Family Favorites."  
            Here is a list of some of our family favorites….

1.  Favorite Books to we read to our pre-school children: Moo, Baa, La, La, La;  The Little Fur Family;  Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall and anything by Nick Butterworth.

2.  Favorite places for a play date:  Chick-fil-A; parks; public library; beach; and the living room floor decorated as a “fort” or a “pirate ship.”

3.  Favorite music  - Steve Green, “Hide Them In Your Heart” and The Donut Man.

4.  Family Favorite special occasion recipe – Chicken Puff
Whole chicken cooked and chopped
1/2 of a broccoli head cooked and chopped
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 softened block of cream cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Mix all ingredients together.  Wrap in two croissant pastry shells. (I flatten two to make a square.) Brush each with egg white and sprinkled with sesame seeds.  Cook at 375 degrees for approximately 25 minutes.   

What are your four family favorites?  Ask your children their favorites.  Surprise them with their favorite book, play date, song or recipe!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Join HIM as HE Ministers to Them

 There has been a theme weaved this week in my life. In my quiet time, at my weekly Bible Study, and through a friend's Facebook post, that both convicted my heart and stirred me to change. About denying self and using my gifts to serve others.  I want to share with you a quote my friend shared today...

"God is at work in the lives of your friends, your neighbors, and your family members. He may ask you to interrupt your day long enough to join Him as He ministers to them. Nothing on your agenda, no matter how pressing, is reason enough to ignore the voice of God when He tells you to stop and help." -Experiencing God: Day By Day (Daily Devotional)

WOW! Isn't that awesome! 

Isn't that convicting too?

As moms, most of our day consists of keeping up with our long "to-do" list which causes us to miss divine "interruptions" with our neighbors. So many times I miss ministry HE has planned, in the schedule, because my head is down checking off the list. I get consumed with my issues and needs, that I fail to remember there are people He has placed beside me that need to see Jesus. The neighbors beside my home, the Starbucks Barista, the woman who checks me out at the grocery store most times, and others in my sphere of influence. They are my "neighbor."

So, how can we be more intentional with ministry on our "schedule" today?

How about placing a "baking for your neighbor" time on the schedule each week to bless your neighbor with some goodies the kids bake?

Maybe it's something more simple, like bringing up their garbage cans weekly. People are watching your life. They notice the little things that look so very different from the world. Small acts of love are the window to their heart.

Let the kids be involved in your planning, as you seek to be a light in this dark world.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Making the Most of Our Time

Making the Most of our Time

Ephesians 5:15-17 So be careful how you live.  Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.  Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.  Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 

Looking back at the last 71/2 years of my life as a mamma I wonder, WOW, where has the time gone.  I’m sure many of you feel the same way.  Sometimes I then catch myself thinking, has my time been well spent?  

I am pleased to say my life has slowed down a bit lately.  I have been able to, at times,  sit without interruption and meditate on His Word and breathe Him in, and it is a beautiful thing.  Maybe you are in the same phase of life.  Or maybe your life, like mine has been for many years, is on the busier side.  If so, I encourage you to find time for Him, even if for only a few minutes each day.   The Lord desires to be a part of every detail of our lives.  He wants us to cling to Him for everything and to be watchful as to not replace Him or our time with idols.   

Jeremiah 13:11 For a sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me, says the Lord, that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory, but they would not hear. (Lord I pray we hear)

I wonder, if we allow God back into the decisions of our everyday lives, what our lives would  actually look like?  Less work/more play, more missions/less vacations, more sacrifice/more fulfillment, more prayer/less talking, less stuff/more treasures, more service/less free time?  Things that make me go humm?  How about you, how do you think God would like to see your life played out?  Have you asked Him lately?  Maybe you're right on track or maybe it's time to make some changes.

Lord Jesus we love you.  I pray You give us the desire to come to You and be filled by You alone.  I especially pray for the moms who have busy schedules to be able to carve out time to spend with You and that You give them rest and strength for each new day.  I pray we find time to delight in Your Presence so that we may better reflect You and keep to Your ways. 
Love, Fran

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his step.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

"Mr. Clean and His Magic Eraser" by Stacey Wooddell Imbimbo

This is one of the greatest inventions…EVER!
I am officially in the middle of the wonderful stage of “let’s draw on random items in the house”.
The couch, walls, refrigerator, and even the doors have been artistically touched by my little ones.
I have even conquered pen and sharpie off the couch cushions.
A few days ago my two year old got tired of coloring in her Minnie Mouse book and moved on to the front door.
The door was cleaned in seconds.
Seriously, you just add water to the magic eraser, scrub the spot, and BOOM….fresh as new.
Just like our Savior.
Isn’t it so like Him, to remind us of His everlasting love, grace, and forgiveness in a tiny moment of my day while cleaning crayon off of the door.
All we have to do is add THE LIVING WATER to our lives, and we are fresh as new.
Just as Jesus told the women at the well in John chapter 4, you will never thirst again.
So today when you are cleaning up…because you know there will be something to clean.
Take a moment, pause, and thank Him for making you fresh as new.
Isaiah 1:18 promises us
“…though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”
Forgiven, Forever