Tuesday, December 29, 2009

HOUSE REMODEL

Look out Family Life Church's worship team here come the Sparks band! Rylan got a new set of drums for Christmas and he is determined to learn how to play before January 1st. Each morning I drink coffee to a beat it is so sweet. While Brailey plays away on the keyboard and sings into the mic. My hubby with ears covered is acting like he doesn't enjoy it, but the whole time is smiling from ear to ear knowing that the musical talent got passed down to them. It sure didn't come from me! The only person that likes to hear me sing is Jesus.
Really Rylan was a baby and I was singing and he told me "Mom don't sing just drive." Out of the mouths of babes. So it has been musical to say the least around here.....
We are also in phase one of a remodel. I don't know what I was thinking but we have got it all torn apart. You really don't think that you are a neat freak until your house is out of order and you are having to swallow down serious anxiety to just get rid of all of the clutter. I will be so glad when it is all done. I will keep you all posted with lots of pictures of progress made.

For now though it is back to work for me!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Well it is here Christmas packages wrapped or not. Shopping done or not it comes. Every year it comes so quickly that sometimes it catches you off guard. Things may not all be done as you would want it to be. You may not be ready for a Southern Living magazine shoot right now. Every year what surprises me about Christmas is weather I have every detail ready or not the memories that are made always take my breath away.

Time with family is so precious in this time of year. I love getting together with all the family we love so much. Getting to talk and catch up on all that has happened since we last saw each other. My son getting to learn about guns with his great grandpa. This will probably be a picture that will forever bring a tear to my eyes.



My son being the wise man in the Christmas play. He took his roll so seriously...saying he "wanted to be wise". So precious watching him and Brailey sing their little hearts out. What will I do when we don't have a Christmas program to attend one day? Let's not think about it!


Christmas shopping to do and the rain was pouring down. Brailey and I decided it was time for a mommy daughter picture. When we got out of the car we ran in the rain. Who cares my hair got crazy our jeans were soaked but we laughed so hard. I will never forget the feeling of her little hand in mine as we ran as fast as we could to the doors.


When you have five kids and things get quiet that means trouble. We go look and all five are in the leaf pile that their uncle had racked. So precious. I am still scrubbing dirt out of places from that moment. They had so much fun.....Nana's house had a trail of leaves a mile long.
You see weather you have everything perfect or not Christmas is upon us. Why not just enjoy the moment that you are in right now the way it is instead of trying to make it your version of "perfect". After it is all said and done no one will remember the presents or the gift wrap. No one will remember what wasn't done around the house....What the will remember is the laughter, the smiles, the great moments spent together. Take time to enjoy the wonderful most precious present you have around you everyday.....The people you love.

From my family to yours
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Christmas like no other

In Luke chapter 2 is a story that will be told a lot this time of year. It isn't about last minute Christmas shopping. It isn't about getting what you want or didn't want for Christmas. It isn't about making the best green bean casserole. What it is about is the birth of Jesus.


In that chapter you will see it said twice Mary pondered these things in her heart. You see Mary had her baby in a stable. There were animals all around. She didn't give birth in a maternity suite at Baylor medical. She was in a stable. A stable means poop. You could say it literally stunk where she was. Can I say this where you are right now may stink. Things may not be going your way life maybe really hard....Can you do one thing this Christmas can you take the time to enjoy right where you are?
If this sounds like where you are I encourage you to listen to this full message by clicking here. I hope you too will take time to ponder this time in your heart this holiday season.

Monday, December 7, 2009

HOLIDAZZLE


This Saturday is our annual Christmas party at Family Life Church! We will be having an ornament gift exchange and a free brunch! We have done this for 5 years now and we always have the best time. Saturday December 12th I hope to see you at Family Life Church at 10a.m.
I am going to be sharing a word about enjoying life today right where you are in the midst of anything you are going through enjoying that moment. The other day when I was reading my Bible I came across 1Kings 19:6 Elijah had just gotten done with a big battle and he had fallen asleep. An angel woke him up and in the amplified it says "behold there was a cake baked on the coals".
You know what this tells me? God loves cake! God loves to celebrate! He likes a good party! I think in the midst of it all that God was not only providing food for Elijah, but He could have made anything for Elijah. After all He is God. But God picked cake. I think in the midst of the battles in your life, no matter what is going on take a moment to have cake. Enjoy your life right where you are.
I am taking time this week to eat cake. To enjoy my life right where it is. God loves the party, and it is going on everyday of your life. All you have to do is take a moment and enjoy life today and everyday!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The best apple pie you will ever have!

WOW Thanksgiving was wonderful wasn't it? I love getting together with family laughing telling jokes, and enjoying memories being made. There is something so special getting together on Thanksgiving to think people for hundreds of years have done this very same thing. How special is that to think about that?

I will say this Thanksgiving I finally realized that no the rest of the world does not have Thanksgiving. I was shocked to learn that our friends overseas were not celebrating with us on Thursday, but then I realized DUH pilgrims, Indians, big boat....Never realized that before!

So I have to tell you I made my first apple pie the other day....It turned out GREAT! Ok girls hands down this is the best pie you will ever eat! My hubby loves loves loves apple pie and he even will say this is the best pie he has ever had! I know you will love it too!!

Crunch Apple Pie
Refrigerated pie crust (comes in pack of two)
Filling:
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. flour
1 T. cinnamon
dash salt
1 t. lemon juice
10 oz. Motts cinnamon applesauce
(yes Motts I have tried all different applesauce didn't turn out as well)
4 c. Peeled sliced apples (Golden delicous)
3 T. butter
Topping:
6 T. flour
2T. sugar
2T. brown sugar
dash salt
Vegetable oil
Time to put it all together!
Step 1.
Pre-heat oven to 350
Step 2.
Mix all your filling ingredients but butter.
Put into pie shell then dab butter pieces all over.
Step 3.
Mix up all crunch topping do enough Vegetable oil that the flour mixture is just barely moist. There should be some that doesn't even get any oil. (about 3Tablespoons)
Step 4.
Cut your second pie shell in to pieces and piece
across top of topping in the first shell.
Step 5.
Put crumb topping all over top of pie.
Step 6.
Place in oven and bake till crust is nice and brown!
(Mine takes about 35-40 minutes so be sure and watch it!)
Hope you all love it as much as my family and friends have and do! Let me know how it turns out! This will be a great treat for you to make for all of your Christmas party guests!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Faith comes by hearing.....

In Romans 10:17 it says that
"faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God".

So where does faith come from? By hearing the word right? That is how faith is built up in our heart. When I saw the biggest change in my life is when I decided to start watching what I was listening to. A lot of people think this just means music but it is so much more than that. You can be feeding your spirit all day long. Yes get good worship music but also get some good preaching.....

Here are a few that I recomend.....Don't just listen to it once but listen to it time and time again! Listen to it until it isn't just something you hear, but it becomes part of you.

You can always get great preaching here to listen to my amazing husband, my wonderful Pastor or myself.

Then you can always listen here. This is Pastor Benny Perez at The Church at South Las Vegas.

Get some word today it is something that has changed my life and I know it will change yours also!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

When is it ok to put up Christmas decor?

When is it ok to put up Christmas trees and decorations and when is it too soon? People all have their own reasoning behind it. There are those that say that it is way to soon if you do it before Thanksgiving. For those of us that drive a long way and stay the entire week of Thanksgiving it is almost as though not setting it up after Thanksgiving just isn't soon enough....


Well Chiks at the Sparks house it is Christmas...well it is on it's way to being that way! I always set up the week before Thanksgiving due to the fact that we go way out of town each year to be with Bryan's family. So I have been working on it for the last few days...Shew it is a lot of work!

I love Christmas!!! I have been in full blown baking mode and wanting to make all of the yummy treats. So that I don't gain too much weight I have been sure to pass along the sweets to dear friends and neighbors (thanks guys!)!!

With all this Christmas setting up the kids had the biggest bubble bath ever the other day...Too much bubbles got put in and this is what we got! It was hilarious how much fun they had in the bath tub. There was maybe about 12 inches of water and about 2 foot of bubbles. The kids loved it....I thought I would share with you hope this makes you smile!






So weather you are putting up Christmas like me right now or later post pictures cuz I want to see your winter wonderland at your house!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The best day of your life.....

Everyday is an opportunity. You have never had a day like this one is going to be nor will you ever. There is something so special each and everyday. Things waiting to be explored, opportunities waiting to be found, lives waiting to be changed, experiences that will blow your mind. Each day they are all there waiting for one thing....YOU.

Everyday I wake up and think "This is the best day of my life".

So many times I find that we live for what tomorrow will hold or even worse we think about all the bad that has held us back in the past. Instead of thinking of what lies before us right now. Really taking the time to embrace what is happening today.

When you treat today like it is the best day of your life you will find opportunities happen things just seem to click. There is a joy unspeakable that takes over your life. After all I believe that with each day you are one day closer to your miracle you never know when God is going to show up and use you to do something big in the earth.

I think of Joseph he didn't know the week before, the hour before he was promoted from the prison. He had one job while he was in prison that was to trust God and keep a good heart. He did so he was promoted.

Think of David. Can you imagine the prophet comes to anoint the next king and your family doesn't even think of you to bring you in for the fields...God saw him though and He called him in....

Each day is the best day of our life if we let it be. Each day is the beginning of new things if we will open the door for God to come in and do something big in and through us!

So I have to ask you....are you going to make today the best day of your life or is it going to be just another day that you gripe about having?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Personal inventory......

I love that song by Michael W. Smith "I'm coming back to the heart of worship". What I like the most about that song is when he sings...
You're looking into my heart......looking into my heart.......
Wow think about it for a minute.....Jesus......Looking into your heart....

If we all got real for a minute and really meditated on that line & took time to think about what is in our heart. What is in there when no one is around no one is looking what are those things that are deep within us?

Around this time of the year I always think about goals I had coming into that year. Was I successful after those or not? Did I make the best use of my year or is there room to do better in the next year....if yes then how....
Every good business takes inventory of their merchandise so they know what they have. Shouldn't we do the same thing in our life?

Questions to think about

God: Am I......

Actively choosing God and His ways at every decision, word, moment, thought and step each day?

Consistent in my quiet time?

Daily spending time with God in prayer and Bible reading?

Husband: Am I.......
Praying for him DAILY?

Being a help meet to him?

Preparing for my husband daily?

Spending time with him?

Positively responding to him?

Noticing, regarding, honoring, preferring, esteeming, praising, admiring and loving him?

Bending or bucking with submission?

Being predictably happy?

Giving away to others what I haven't given first away at home?




Children: Am I.....

Spending quality time with them?

Praying with them daily?

Teaching them to follow God by my words and actions?



Home: Am I managing my home effectively. ....

with finances and budgeting?

with housecleaning?

(Managing it instead of it managing me?)

with planning meals and shopping wisely?

by taking care of needs at home?

Others: Am I......
Loving others correctly?

Serving others?

Preferring others?

Self: Am I......

Growing in my walk with God?

Eating properly and exercising?

Making sure I am healthy and give myself rest when needed so I can be what my family needs?

You see I don't think that I am perfect. I wish I could say I could put a big check mark by all of these questions as though I have done them all. But you know what I am just like you a normal person with real issues and real life comes along the way and distracts us. That is why it is so important that we look inward to our self and see what we can do better. Being a good mom and wife is a process not an overnight thing. It is a daily journey with lots of mistakes along the way!

Monday, November 2, 2009

An empty journal

Whenever I pass them in the store I have to pick them up and look through them. I always flip the pages looking at the blank pages. I can never pass a journal without having my heart race a little.

I love to journal it is one of those things that just is a release for me. To put on paper what God is doing in my heart is something so amazing. What is even more amazing is to write things and then look back years later and see how God worked things out. There are so many miracles that happen in our life that at the moment we weep and thank God & even vow that we will never forget that moment. Time goes on and so does life…..and somehow we forget.

A journal empty pages. Empty pages just waiting for someone to write down the wonderful things that are happening in their life. Waiting for someone to write down dreams, prayers, and answered prayers. Waiting for someone to pick it up and read about all the good things that have happened in life.

You see journals are a lot like our life. We start out blank with nothing really. Just a cover and a whole lot of blank space that begins to get filled with time. Some pages are sad, some funny, some happy and some uplifting. They all come together and tell a beautiful story of your life. The beautiful wonderful person that you are.

I think of how I can’t help but stop and look at a journal and see all the potential. I see myself carrying it. I see myself putting wonderful things that are happening in it. I see my children reading it and they are inspired because the same God that did it for me will do it for them.

I think God is a lot like I am when He is looking through people in the Earth. He sees beautiful perfect people with a whole lot of unwritten greatness. He sees unlimited potential. He can’t help but see Himself carrying them through life and performing miracles that blow their mind. He sees them setting up landmarks for their children. That their life will touch so many with what will happen on those blank pages. He sees the funny times, happy, the sad, the wonderful, and the miraculous.

You see the great thing about God is He never puts us back on the shelf. He always wants to take us and use us. Fill our life with such wonderful things.

“Your life is telling a story make it one worth reading”-April Simons

You see we are all journals that are being read everyday. What kind of a story is your life telling? Is it good? Weather you like it or not people are constantly reading it. They are browsing the pages and seeing what is inside.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Life is a fight!!

I have come to realize that nothing in life will ever be easy. You will never wake up and have the life that you have always dreamed of. Everything that you really want in life will take two things:
1. Time 2. Determination
The word tells us in Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
You see the Lord is prepping us right here that we hold the choice for our life that a decision has to be made. Life or death. We can pick either neither is ever chosen for us. Sometimes I think people think that once you get ask Jesus into your heart that you have chosen life so now things will all be good. I have found that isn’t so. I have found that choosing life is a daily sometimes hourly decision you have to make.
One of my favorite scriptures of all time is 1Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
You see he is being reminded here to fight the good fight! I love what my Pastor says a good fight is one in which you win. You see we are in this life to be victorious we are in this life to conquer. You are not here to be stepped on, used, kicked aside, & pushed to the back. No you are here to win in this life. You are here to kick down the devil’s door and to make a difference in people’s life. To do that though takes you making a choice. You have to choose what you are going to do……choose life or choose death.
Some of you reading this have a marriage that is on the rocks….Choose life! Fight the good fight! You go in and love that spouse like no tomorrow! You begin to pray for them. You begin to sew those seeds of love that will bring life to your marriage. Whatever you do you don’t give up!!
Some of you reading this have dreams and desires that you haven’t seen come to pass yet! Choose life! Breathe life into those dreams don’t let them die no matter what the situation may be like! You go back in and fight for that dream!
Some of you reading this have people you have been standing believing God for their life the be changed. Don’t give up! Life is a fight, but you are in this to win! You don’t know what a difference you are having in their life. Things you think are small and nothing may be what is keeping them going. Don’t give up!!

You see I have learned this. When you feel like giving up the most. When there is that voice inside your head that tells you it is pointless, that you are not making a difference that it can never happen, that you should walk away now……Those moments are when you are the closest to your miracle then ever before. The enemy is doing all he can to push you down. Let something rise up in you right now and say I am going to fight the good fight! I am in this to win!
Job 42:2 I'm convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You see you have already won in God’s eyes. God gave you a beginning in this situation because He saw the end. He knew that you could do this thing! He knew that you are a winner! He knows you are a winner because He made you that way!!

So I have to ask you……Are you in this thing to win?
Are you going to choose life?
Is your destiny worth fighting another day?
Life is a fight….A daily choice to win or loose….I am in this thing to win……How about you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Big Steps in New places

I remember the night Bryan and I went out on our first date...We were sitting in his old white Ford pickup truck (sounds like something out of a country song huh?). We began to talk about where we were heading in life and what were our goals. Bryan at that time told me that all he ever wanted was to be in full time ministry. Months later after we got to know each other more and more I realized that this wasn't just a dream of his, but a passion.

Time went on and bills came. We decided that while waiting for that dream to happen he needed a different career then at the lumber yard. So he went to fire school just a few short months after we got married. Then there were the multiple applications to get on at a fire department. Lots of time passes and we still aren't able to be full time at the church. Inside him though the dream was very much alive.


As far as I can remember all I have known is shift work, fire uniforms, smells of smoke after a long night, Bryan missing Christmas, birthdays etc. This has been my life for I don't know how long.

Our church has grown so much in these last few years. We knew that he would go full time at the church soon....Bryan came to me and told me by October 1st he would leave the fire department. Not long after Pastor came to us just a few months ago and said it is time!

WOW! Here we were on the verge of everything we had prayed for the last 9 years. So many emotions came upon me as Bryan worked his last shift last Thursday. Happiness, joy, sadness, and a little fear of the unknown. I felt like we were taking one huge leap off of a cliff not knowing what was below, but knowing that God was going to take care of us.

Sunday morning at church it was a normal service. Our anniversary was last Tuesday. I love love love love the song "Then" by Brad Paisley after Bryan showed it to me a few months ago. In fact it is the ringer on my cell phone when he calls :)

Right there before everyone he begins singing this song to me. You want to talk about cry! I was in a heap! How faithful God is! So many people go through life never finding happiness and here I am with joy over flowing in mine! Not only have I seen God's faith fullness in every area of our life, but I also have an amazing husband that after all these years is still head over heels for me!

How blessed I am! How thankful I am to be going on this wonderful journey of life with the most amazing guy in the world! I love him more today than ever!

Why am I blogging this? To brag on me? NO! To inspire you! God is no respecter of persons what He has done for me He can do for you too!! Just get a purpose and a dream in your heart and go for it! Don't worry about the details God will take care of those a long the way!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All of the networking things these days!

I remember when I first started doing this whole "technology scene" with networking and such. At that time if you had a myspace you were really on the front edge of things. Then if you blogged and did myspace man you were like cutting edge. Then I started doing both and have met some of the most wonderful people. Well then "they" said that myspace is now the dinosaur in the technology world and anyone who is anyone does facebook now. So I got a facebook. So then I found out that tweeting is where it is at and facebook is good too. So I was trying to tweet, facebook, myspace, and blog. Shew! You have to have a full time job just to keep up with all of that! Can I get an amen?

So now I hear that tweeting is where it is at and that people aren't really big on blogs anymore! What is a girl to do???

To blog or not to blog? That is the question I had in my mind. So last Sunday I am thinking of all this technology madness and am thinking what in the world is a girl supposed to do and how do you know if it is effective or not!? After alll I don't just want to be waisting time on things that aren't producing fruit!

Well then a lady back in the visitor center at our church meets me. She then goes on how she came that Sunday because she had read my blog and that is what touched her life. WOW so someone is out there??? There are people that really do write what I type (ramble) about??

Sometimes you know that is how life is we get to running trying to make sure we are being effective and relevant. We spend sometimes so much time trying to keep up with everything and we don't even know if we are effecting anyone with what we are doing. At the very moment we feel like what we are doing isn't making a difference someone comes forward and says I am one life that was touched by all that you have done.

This doesn't just go for blogging, facebook, or myspace. Sometimes we in our everyday life think that we are just going to a job and doing our time and that we aren't really effecting anyone. Then out of the blue someone comes and tells you how you changed their life.

I think that is the moment that all of us live for. Deep down we all want to know that we had a positive influence on someone somewhere along the way.

So I said all that to say I am going to try and do better on blogging more often! I did say try though so no promises made!

Follow me on TWITTER!!! crystalsparks I would love it if you did because I do try and do that almost daily!! Love you chiks!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just a question! I need you though to tell me!


Hey Chiks! It has been a while since I last posted a blog!


Well we just got back the other day from.......LAS VEGAS!!





We had so much fun I will have to say that if you are going to Vegas don't go for the strip, don't go for the shows don't go for the food go to Pastor Benny Perez's church....The Church at South Las Vegas! You won't be disappointed! That is what we went for was a three day conference and it was so wonderful! They had amazing speakers. We brought a few of our youth group leadership and they all loved it!

Then my kids have been getting ready for Sulphur Springs Wildcat football season! They are really excited and so am I! We always love going to the games as a family it really is a neat time for us!


So Chiks I have to say there are a lot of really exciting things coming up in my life and hopefully in yours too!

I want to ask you a question.
What is your women's ministry like at your church?
Is it fun?
What do you guys do?
Or do you even go/have one at your church?
What if someone like me and a few of my favorite chiks I know could come in and do a complete Chik nite at your church and you just have to get friends to come! Does this sound like something that your church would like? Let me know I want feedback!!
I really want to know because within the next year Chik is going to be coming to a city near you! I want to know will you be one of our stops on our CHIKS across the NATION????

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Stand up Christians in a bow down world.

The thing that has been on my heart so much here lately is people raising up and being the people that God has called us to be. Not just church goers but people that will effect our community, workplace, schools and even country.

Being a christian is so much more than just attending a Bible study once a week or even going to church or even reading your Bible. It is truly being a walking example of the goodness of God.

Sure you are never going to be perfect, but we should all strive to do the best we can don't you agree?

James 1:22-24 Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don't act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
I think there is a world full of people that sit in church and hear the word of God preached, but they never go out and do anything with what they hear.
I was driving the other day when a man in a truck with a cross on the back of his truck cut me off then proceeded to yell at me and make mean gestures.
I thought "Man no wonder why the world wants nothing to do with Christians when that is all they see".
Listen girls: What the world needs is people that aren't going to just be people that hear the word preached they need to see people that are going to live it out. Show them what it is like to be a christian. If Christians are acting the same as the world then why should they want what you have? People should see something different in your life!
I like how this scripture talks about us looking in the mirror and forgetting who we are. I always thought of this meaning forgetting what I look like. That isn't what it is saying at all. What James is telling us here is that we are made in the image of Christ. When we hear the word preached we are not hearing what Jesus is. If you are a Christ follower you are hearing what you look like. We have Jesus on the inside of us. The question is do you remember that when you walk away?
I have a challenge for you: Let's quit just "playing church" and let's start being the difference that this world needs!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Where did summer go?

I remember when I was young...it seemed as though when I was in school that summer would never get there and when summer was upon me it seemed like I would never go back to school to see all my friends. I got to thinking it is almost August. This summer has flown by...
Before long girls we will be back to getting kids off to school. Set bed times, mornings filled with busyness trying to get everyone and everything together before they go to school. So I got to thinking where did the summer go? I thought I would share where mine went!


My daughter turned 4. She is wondering if it is time for her to get married, and if it is who is she going to marry. Most importantly when will she get to have her first baby? She really wants to know these things. As you can tell she is my 100% girly girl (look out you get what you pray for when you say you want a REALLY GIRLY GIRL! God takes this serious I found out ;) )




My baby boy turned three, or as he says "Mom, I am taking it to three". This summer was filled with adventure for Rylan. From hunting down bugs in the backyard, to trying to scale our fence, to peeing out in our backyard as all the neighbors drove by and watched on their way to work in the morning. Rylan is starting his K-3 school here in just a few short weeks. It has made me realize how quickly they grow up......

My best friend (C.D. the one in the center) is getting married on September 12th so there has been lots of planning for her wedding and then there are showers and the dress and the invitations and the decor and the cake!!! Whew planning a wedding is a lot of work!

One of the most amazing things this summer has been getting to minister with Chiks like April Simons and Misty Westlund! There are a lot great things in life. One of the best is seeing women's lives changed! There is something so amazing about seeing women come in one way and then see them totally changed by the love of God when the leave! The above picture is with Mrs. April and myself at her Chik Nite at High Point Church in July.

Ohhhh now don't get me wrong I would be lieing if I acted like there wasn't any fun. There has been multiple trips to Starbucks, Chuck-E-Cheese, pool with the kids, Six Flags with all the family and lots of time spent with tickling sessions on our living room floor.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

At the end of the day..........

At the end of the day what doesn't matter is............

If all the dishes got done. The house being clean doesn't really matter. How many phone calls you missed. If your cookies you brought to the church pot-bless were home made or store bought. If there are weeds in the flower beds. If the kids had their outfits just so so or if they got a little dirty. How many hours you worked at the office. If the line at Wal-Mart took 10 minutes or if it took 15. If you caught the red light. If the lady that you met the other day really likes you or if she is just pretending.


At the end of the day what does matter is..........

If you spent lots of time hugging and kissing your babies. Time spent on the couch cuddeling instead of weeding the flower beds. Getting away with your husband to realize how wonderful he is. Knowing that your home is a place of peace and love. Making someone feel special. Going to bed knowing that those around you know they are loved. Realizing that you have a Savior that is watching over you. Touching one persons life for the better. Taking time to pray with your children, then to have them ask you later on in the day when things are crazy to just pray to make it all better.

I think so many times at the end of the day so little really matters. The Lord has been showing me more and more if we spent time on the things that really do matter at the end of the day instead of all the other stuff how much better our life would be. Think about it. What are the things that truly matter at the end of the day for you?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Digging to China

When I was a little girl every day in the summer you would find me in my back yard with a spoon. I would start digging everyday and work as long as I could. I was digging a hole to China. You are probably laughing right now. I was totally convinced that if I dug long enough and hard enough I would eventually be looking down on the people of China.

My mom tried to tell me time and time again that you can't dig to China. Everyday I thought "Today is going to be the day that I dig a little further and see the people walking on the streets in China and she will see that you really can dig to China".

The Lord brought this to my mind the other day.......

How simple our faith is in things when we are young. You see all of the facts said that you can't dig to China. The world is round after all. Even if it wasn't could you really dig to China with plain old dinner silver wear? Even if I did dig to China how would I get to the ground to see the people?

Somewhere in life we get bogged down by all the details to tell us if something is really possible or not. When God doesn't want us to look at the facts He just wants us to look at the word to tell us what we can do.

You see when you start believing God for something big. Whatever your China might be there will be facts that say it is impossible. There will be people that tell you that it is impossible. You might not even have what you need to get to your China.

The good news is God knows how to get you to your China He has a perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11) All you have to do is trust His word and He will get you what you need to get there and see you through. So weather it is healing, finances, a relationship, dreams in your heart or whatever is your "China" I encourage you to get God's word on it and don't worry about the facts or what other say! You just go for it and see what God does in the process!

I love you guys have a wonderful day!

Friday, July 10, 2009



I twitter do you??? I just started so if you twitter also I would love to have you follow me :) So you can find me!! I really like twitter the best out of everything I have done such as myspace or facebook. So find me on twitter if you tweet! crystalsparks is my display name. Look forward to seeing you in twitter world!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The book of Acts

I have been reading the book of Acts for the last week or so. How amazing that book in the Bible is!!! The things that happened as the traveled and went is so miraculous! So in saying that it gets me to thinking about my daily life. Think about your daily life.....


When is the last time you saw something truly miraculous?

I can honestly say that there is a lot of stuff in the book of Acts that took place that I have yet to see. I know one day I will though....

You know God's power is still alive in the Earth today. The only thing that is stoping you from seeing it is well.....you! We can see those things. The problem is that we think that those things don't happen anymore. Let's face it you don't see many people that are crippled stand up and walk everyday right? So it is sometimes so hard for us to get our minds wrapped around such a thing. The truth though is this.....That is what God wants us to be seeing all of the time.

I challenge you all to read the book of Acts. All the while asking yourself....Do I just play church on Sunday mornings or is this something that I live daily? Have I given God everything or do I just do my time Sunday morning?

I can say this when you start giving God everything in your life that is when the miracles break forth in your life! That is when the book of Acts will begin to unfold in your life!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

What do you think?

I think there are things all the time going on around us in the spiritual......Check out this story about a man that was addicted to drugs. In a picture you can see a demonic dog looking over his shoulder.....what do you think? Leave comments I want to hear your imput.....

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

K-3 Graduations, road trips, new members to our family, lake, and good times!



Well I have missed all of you! Things have been so busy around here! There has been so much going on! I took pictures a long the way though knowing that I wanted to let all of you in on what I have been up to!


For starters Brailey graduated for her K-3 program at her school....she is very excited mommy was a little teary.


Do you see my little baby up there??


Once again Brailey loves pictures.....Rylan not so much.

This was at her after graduation party!


We got two new members to our family two goldfish. One named Henry (my son's) and Little Miss. Sunshine (my daughter's).

This is bear asleep in the car holding the bag with his fish.



Brailey was so excited to get Little Miss Sunshine home!!



All of my family always goes to the lake on Memorial day weekend. So off we went to the lake to spend time with the family! There is nothing like getting away from everything for a while and just enjoying nature and your children!


Brailey will never pass up a chance to have her picture taken. Bear on the other hand didn't want his picture taken that day!

Then it was off to Bryan's hometown for his cousin's high school graduation! No trip to the farm would be complete with out hay rides, Popsicles and rides around to see all of the animals!

This is Rylan and my nephew Ian.


Rylan and Aunt Brenda


Ian eating his Popsicle!

My beautiful sister in law and her daughter Zoe and Ian.

So that has been my last two weeks! It has been fast and furious. Brailey's 4th birthday was yesterday and it was wonderful! We are having her party on Saturday and she is super excited! I hope all of your summer's are off to a great start mine sure is!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Drumroll please............

After an intense drawing we have a winner and it is......

My sweet friend Liz. Her blog is amazing! She can make any picture of anything look absolutely stunning! She is such a wonderful blogging friend! I encourage all of you to go check her out here! I promise she will be on your favorite blog places to go after your first visit!

Congrats Liz!

So now that we have a winner it is back to blogging for me! There is so much I want to tell you girls about!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

WHO LIKES FREE????

This is POST #99!! So let's see what someone is going to win!

A lucky winner will get a TEXAS CHIKS ROCK THE WORLD Tee!!


Also a lucky winner gets a CHIK cookbook

Conference 3-disk CD series

Pretty good huh? So how do you win? You leave comments the more the better. If you post about the 100th post on your blog you get double points! Each comment left=more chances to win. Also our Chik blog is about to have it's 100th post so if you go over there and enter then you will get to win! So there will be 2 of these given away! So click here to enter (leave comments) after you leave comments here! So look at any past blogs they count for chances to win if you leave a comment between now and the giveaway!

So let the coments start girls!

Monday, May 18, 2009

All things country!!

As many of you know we are getting ready for CHIKFEST!!! I am really excited all this talk about country stuff has got me thinking about things I have never ever thought of before like:



I want a pair of boots...and any belt with bling catches my eye....vintage tees ohhhh dear!!! I am loving the country stuff right now!!! Chikfest is bringing out the country in me!!

Ohhhh by the way this is blog post #98 for me....I will be having a BIG giveaway on my 100th post...So for your chance to win you have to leave comments! More comments=more chances to win!!! I will announce my giveaway item on my next blog post then post number 100 I will post the winner....So your chance to win starts.............NOW!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Friends for a season......

I know you all know the saying about some friends come only for a season and some for a reason.....

I never did understand that saying until the last few years.

We all have meet people that when we meet them there is no denying that God put you together at just the right time! I can think of so many people that God just set us up to be together. These people are the kind of friends that from the minute you meet it feels like you have known each other for all you lives although you just met.

I am amazed at the people in my life that I have had like this. They wash in like the tide and as soon as I get used to them being here they are gone again.

I had a friend that was so close to Bryan and I we were the closest. Her husband and Bryan were best buds. Me and his wife got a long so well. One day her daughter got ill with cancer....We were there for them in the hospital down to the very end of her life. We prayed for them and stood with them all a long the way. The door closed. No matter how hard we tried they just weren't our friends anymore.

There are multiple other things like that, that have happened throughout my life. People that I stand with them in prayer I see God do mighty things in their life....then they no longer want to be in any part of my life....

Why is that?

Why is it that it is so God to have opened that door.....for the door to only close? I will never understand that.

Your mind does understand it, sometimes it is just hard to tell your heart.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cinderella....

One of my favorite movies hands down is Cinderella. If you are thinking "Yeah ok whatever". Then you obviously haven't seen it in quiet sometime or else you would note how wonderful of a movie it is.


I was shopping at Canton the other day and there were those cute signs you know the ones with the little sayings on a wood board. The ones that probably only cost like $5.00 to make but the charge you $25.00 because they know you will never get around to doing it yourself....Those signs.....


*I crack myself up*


Well I see this one that catches my eye

"One shoe can change your life"

Cinderella

Sounds silly but that is a powerful statement. So from that point on I had this urge to watch Cinderella. I watched it the other day finally with my daughter and realized how powerful that is. The story that is.....


You see she was going through life not where she wanted to be. She woke up every morning seeing the big castle up on the hill and dreaming of what life will one day be like, but still having to do the chores for her wicked step-mother and sisters. Then one day when she didn't see it coming she got her miracle. Everything in her life turned around.


You see Disney took this story from Joseph in the Bible he was the same way. He could see the dreams in his heart yet he had to keep doing what he was doing. Then one day his dreams came true.


I talk to people all of the time that have two things down

1. They don't like where they are


2. They know where they are going


What a lot of people fail to realize is that there is a road from #1 to #2, and what it takes to get there is a lot of patience. You see if Cinderella would have gotten fed up and just walked out she would have never had met the prince. Sure she probably would have gotten a some what better life, but not the wonderful one that she got at the end of the movie.


You see when you stay faithful where you are and in what you are doing God is working behind the scenes to make all of your dreams come true. You just have to do what I call "work the dream". Your job is to just do what you can with what you have till God shows up.


I love what Joyce Meyer says "People always see where I am today and want that. What they don't see is the 32 years it took for me to be here. The fact is they don't want those 32 years they just want my present situation".


That is so powerful when you think about it!


Girls let's work the dream. We are all on the road to our dreams. Well at least I am. I am not going to bail out for an easy out. I am going to keep working the dream because I know in the end it will all be more than I could have ever dreamt!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The best ten dollars you could spend!


If you don't know the story of Bella Marie check it out before you read on....
She is the grandaughter of one of my favorite bloggy friends Deb at Talking Trash. Let me tell you girls this baby is such a wonderful miracle! She is a living testimate of the miracle working power of Jesus! Being born at 24 weeks and weighing only 15 oz. The odds were against her....but how many of you know when we join together and pray we can move mountains and a baby can live?
So you are wondering where you come in right? Well over 50 people have donated 50 wonderful items that you....well actually I will win ;) The tickets are $10.00 and all money raised will go to help the family of sweet Bella!
Chiks let's all get around this great cause. $10.00 is so cheap when you think about it and if everyone bought one ticket just think of what a HUGE difference it could make!

The one thing that is wonderful about blog land is we are all one big family. Even though we have never met we all feel like we know eachother. I remember crying as I prayed for Bella through her first days. She is getting bigger and bigger each day....God is so good!
So go here to go buy your ticket today and to see all of the great stuff that you can win!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

So I started to think of things about being a mother here are a few I know will make you smile....

You know you are a mom when you are potty training and there is pee in the middle of your floor and it no longer disgusts you.

You know you are a mom when you use the restroom with the door open.

You know you are a mom when your kids have runny noses you are out of Kleenex so you get it with your finger and wipe it on your pants.

You know you are a mom when you ask your son what is in his mouth then he proudly shows you the candy he just found in the grass at the park.

You know you are a mom when you forget one ingredient at the store so you load the kids in the car drive to wal-mart get into the store then stare at your children because you have no clue why you are here.

You know you are a mom when you haven't had a date with your hubby in three months because every time you make plans to go out you decide to just take the kids to Chuck E Cheese instead.

You know you are a mom when you realize that all smart moms give rewards for getting through the grocery store with good behavior.

You know you are a mom when your daughter has more clothes than you and you are proud of it.

You know you are a mom when you look at your children and realize that they are growing up and begin to cry.

You know you are a mom when you are at your child's school program and you weep the whole time they sing "Wheels on the bus".

You know you are a mom when you realize that having a baby was the craziest, most life changing, incredible thing you have ever done!


Happy Mother's Day Chiks hope yours was amazing!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Funny things.....

Church nights are always crazy. I am the administrator at our church along with being the youth Pastor's wife, women's pastor etc. So every time church is over I am always flooded with lots of questions about things....

So this Wednesday was like every other. I had a line out my office door with people wanting to ask me something.

I leave and my head was hurting so bad. I was talking to my hubby telling him the music in youth started my head to hurting then I said there was a lot of people after church needing things.... I tell him "There was a line out the door". My kids are looking at me wide eyed.

I tell them come on it is time to get ready for bed mommy doesn't feel well.

We get in the bathroom to brush teeth and Rylan asks....

"Mommy why were all those people lying to you??"

Then Brailey...

"Mommy there was a real lion in your office that gave you a headache?"

Life through a child's eyes....priceless.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Marriage 101

One thing that the Lord has always blessed me with is an amazing marriage...Bryan and I have such a wonderful marriage. Sure we have our arguments, but at the end of the day he is the cheese to my macaroni.

One thing I do a lot of is marriage counseling. It seems that we have a way of finding people with their marriage on the rocks. It doesn't take long and we work with them and they see their life completely changed. I have seen marriages where it looked hopeless; it looked like there was no way to make it better. Somehow God has turned it around EVERY time. Never have we counseled someone and it not work out. God is so good!!

So with that said I got to thinking I bet there is a lot of you guys that feel this way. Like there is no way your marriage could ever work. Maybe it isn't that bad, but you feel like living daily life with your mate is total torture. Maybe you are just saying well....we could always have some improvement.

This is what I am going to do. For the next few posts I am going to walk you through what makes a great marriage. I think we will all enjoy this process together!! You ready?

STEP 1: Let your words be sweet, because one day you might have to eat them!!

One thing I have noticed about us ladies is that once we get married we tend to get very critical about lots of things. I hear women constantly getting on to their husband for this or for that. Remember when you were dating? It wasn't ever this way! You were encouraging and would tell him how great he was at everything. We need to be our hubby's best support in this life. We should be there giving him all the reasons why he can accomplish something. I know some of you are rolling your eyes saying "You don't know my husband". At first for some ladies this is the hardest step, because they have gotten in a complaint cycle. So try really hard to compliment your hubby 4 times a day. Even if it is just something small like.....thanks for mowing the grass, thanks for putting your plate in the sink, thanks for putting your toothbrush up. Find the small things and brag on them. It won't be long and the good things that he does for you will begin to compliment. All people want to hear how great they are doing at something....same is true for our hubbys.....

Step 2: Date your husband

Remember when you were dating? You would giggle at every joke, put on something nice when you would see him, do anything just to be by him? Why shouldn't you still be like that? When we get married there is this thing in some people's heads that they don't have to "try" anymore to keep their significant other. Not true. Your marriage will be as good as you make it be! It takes work! I want you girls to take off those sweat pants before your hubby comes home from work. Put on something nice even a little lip gloss or a pair of heels. Don't worry about getting so much done, instead just sit and cuddle with him on the couch. Loving actions produce loving feelings. I promise this will spark the romance in him and you when you start doing that.

So that is the first two steps to having a great marriage. Try them I promise they will work! Leave me a comment and let me know how it is working for ya! I am not telling you chiks anything I don't do myself, and have learned the hard way.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dream BIG

I believe in life there is absolutely no such thing as "luck". What happens in life is when preparation meets opportunity. That is what I think luck is. It isn't by chance that things happen. There is lots and lots of preparation that goes behind the moment that you see your dreams happen. All along God is working to make those things happen. When you are being faithful right where you are then God is moving behind the scenes making your dreams come true.



My dream is to one day preach all around the world to thousands of ladies. I know that one day God will open the door for me to do so. When I worship I close my eyes and picture them all standing behind me worshiping. When I step up on stage to preach I may just see 100-150 people but in the spiritual I see this.................

I have seen it so many times in my heart that this picture is so real to me. I know that this is my destiny. I know that one day tons of people like this is something that will happen.

I encourage each of you to go for your dreams. Realize that God has planted each of us with UNLIMITED potential. You know the only difference between people that see their dreams come true and those that don't? The difference is the ones that quit and those that don't.

I don't know about you, but I refuse to quit. I am not giving up never.

I always think of Joseph. He didn't know the week before his dream was going to come to pass. He didn't know the day before. He didn't know ten minutes before they would come get him to promote him above all the land.

I think so many times we see people doing what we know we are called to do. We don't see the years of faith fullness it takes to get that person to that point in their life.

Like Joyce Meyer. She served for years in her local church doing small Bible studies in her home before she preached to thousands. She was taking steps to her dreams even back then.

Same with Joseph he was taking steps to being over all the land when he was in prison. You see you just never give up you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Never give up!

Joyce Meyer always says "Quit waiting for your dreams to come to pass. Act like you are already living where you want to be. When you start doing that, that is when God starts making things happening on your behalf."

Isn't that so good?

So girls lets start dreaming big, and making steps toward it. Don't let anyone tell you it is too big. Don't let anyone tell you it won't happen. You just keep doing what is in your heart. All of that preparation will eventually meet that opportunity!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Seed time!

This is Bonnie
She is amazing. She has been in our youth since she was 12 she is going to graduate here in just a few weeks. She has been praying for 2 things for the last year
1. That all of her college tuition would be paid for.
2. That she would get a paid for car by graduation.

She just recently found out that she would never have to pay college tuition to Oral Roberts University that all $75,000 was paid for!! We were so excited.

So I was worshiping the Lord the other day and was praying for Bonnie. I was thanking God that whoever was supposed to get her a car would be obedient and listen to the Lord.

I heard the Lord speak to me....

"You are supposed to get her the car."

I was shocked.....ME???

I said "Sure God, but you have to talk to my husband."



So Sunday afternoon after church we were all sitting around the kitchen table just talking. I made a comment about how proud I am of Bonnie. Bryan then asks "What is she going to do about not having a car when she goes to school?"
I told him "I don't know, but she is believing God for one."
He stops what he was doing looks at me and says "Let's buy her a car Crystal." I knew it was the Lord. He then tells me that the Lord told him just a few days before to buy Bonnie a car.
So tonight at youth group we gave Bonnie her first car. The look on her face as Bryan and I stood by each other and told her will forever be in my mind. I am so thankful that I got to be a vessel of God's blessings. I will never forget that moment.
The word says in Psalms that everything in the world is the Lords. Bryan and I take that literally. We see our check books not with our names on the top, but Jesus' name. You see when you start seeing everything you have as God's that he is the owner and you are just managing it for him then that is when amazing miracles start breaking forth in your life.
Think about it. If your checkbook is Jesus' then it can't ever be in the red. You can't be a blessing to people if you can't even pay your bills. Jesus wouldn't operate that way. Nor should we.
Just a few weeks ago my husband came to me and told me that the Lord had told him to give a guy in our church $50.00. He also told me that the Lord told him that if he gave that $50 that the Lord would bring it back to us 100 fold. 4 days later we got a call that we just got a unexpected $7,000 a year raise!!! Praise God! You see when you are that vessel of blessing to other people then blessings can't help, but flow back in!
Why am I telling you this? I am telling you to give. Give when the Holy Spirit prompts your heart, and see what God does. I promise He will never leave you disappointed. Let God blow your mind! He does mine everyday. You will find that giving truly is better than receiving!