A New Year's Challenge For Me...and You!

The Lord has used a few friends to encourage me lately and it got me thinking-what if I responded to every prompting from the Holy Spirit to encourage my friends and family?  I want to be a wife, mom, daughter, and friend who encourages those around me. What if we as a culture truly desired the best for others and did not look at everything as a competition?  Instead of being jealous or upset about something someone has, or how they look, or how amazing someone else's kid is, let's choose to bless and edify one another.  I recently heard this quote and thought it was so profound. "The reason we struggle with insecurity and do not encourage like we should is because we are too busy comparing our behind the scenes with someone else's highlight reel." Can't you relate to that?  For me personally, I may not feel the need to encourage someone because I am only looking at their "highlight reel".  But, when I take the time to be in relationship with others, I realize that at the end of the day, we are all battling something... therefore, we all need encouragement.  

Will you join me in the New Year and choose to encourage, bless, and edify those around you?  I can only imagine how the Lord will bless our efforts as we choose His ways in 2013...just think about the number of people you could encourage in a year's time.  That is pretty exciting to me!  

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.  
I Thessalonians 5:11

And, The Message translation reads: (emphasis mine)
Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind.  I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.  

Be blessed!  



Today was a day full of perspective.  I sat and watched a teenage girl with Cerebral Palsy have the best time at an arcade game, even though it was incredibly difficult for her to play.  She laughed at herself trying to hit a button just right, while her dad grinned ear to ear, shaking his head at her tenacity.  Her determination encouraged me and I found myself also grinning ear to ear...all I could think was, "this young girl just made my day and she doesn't even know it!"  She is blessing others, just by being herself...isn't that what we all want?  

And, I my heart has been heavy today, praying for and thinking about a family we know who is doing the impossible...saying good-bye to their precious daughter who went to be with Jesus on December 23rd after battling NKH for 7 years.  This family has been a huge encouragement to us the last few years, even though we have only met them once, for a few short minutes.  Through social media, we have been able to connect with their family and witness their passion in fighting for children with special needs.  To see the way they remain faithful to the Lord and their family, in the midst of so much trial, has ministered to our hearts so deeply.  I have also shared some of their story on our FB page and numerous friends have messaged me, just to let me know how powerful their story is and how incredible they are as parents.  I could not agree more.  

So, I am challenged today to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus, make time to take in the blessings before me, to just be myself, and pray for those who need to feel the Lord's embrace, comfort, and peace.   

Only by His grace,


Best of Advent 2012

We have had so much fun this year celebrating Advent!  A few of my favorite days have been: The Live Nativities (Racine Christian Church and Grove Dental Associates), Rhema Bible Christmas Lights, Having a Worship/Dance Party in the Boys Room, and Making Christmas Cards for the Elderly and Delivering them at a nearby Nursing Home.

After going to the live Nativity at Grove Dental, we went to downtown Grove and took a few pics.

I love that Grove still has the Nativity scene at the City Hall.

Making Christmas cards for the elderly

Delivering the cards to a nursing home in Grove

The sweet ladies loved the boys... Will even gave out hugs :) And Jack was fascinated by their walkers...I think he wanted to take one out for a spin!

And, the residents even gave the boys stuffed animals to take home...this was by far the best activity we have ever done for Advent.  To see the joy on their sweet faces after receiving a card and hug was so special.

Christmas Blessings to you,


Clinging to The Word

I have wanted to post for a few days now, but my heart has been so heavy about the Newtown, CT devastation, a precious family who is sending their daughter home on hospice, and another friend who is facing trials, that the thought of putting anything to "paper" has just been too much.  Every time I go to write, I tear up about all of these situations and I can't find the words for all of the pain these families are facing.  I have also seen such strength and grace by these families.  It finds me asking myself how I would handle something so tragic...it is a huge reminder to me that I need to be so secure in the Word and hide His promises in my heart daily. Because, when I dive into the Word, I see God's promises to us all...despite our incredibly difficult, painful, heart-wrenching, raw, unimaginable, heavy, unfair circumstances, He is the Light in the darkness.  

"Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalm 46:10

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens;
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance." 
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

"Surely I am with you."
Genesis 28:15

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
II Corinthians 4:18

Lord, let me focus on you and your promises and be a light to those around me.  Let me teach my children to love their neighbor and love You above all else.  Help the families who are grieving for their children and send angels to minister to them during this time.  I pray the lost return home to their first love, You.  We need you so desperately, Lord.  Amen.


A Joyful Stroll

Just taking a little stroll in our living room...don't you love how excited Will is for his brother?!  It gets me all choked up to see the joy on Will's face-he has been through a lot the last 2.5 years too, and despite it all, he truly is Jack's biggest fan.  That really blesses me as a mom...praise you, Lord for the joy You give us!  

Shout for joy to God, all the earth!  Psalm 66:1

And, here's a little preview of our new shirt...we LOVE the design and meaning behind it.  Inside of a few of the letters is a power chair, wheel chair, walker, and the glasses from the Walk by Faith tee.  We went in with the idea of Rock What You Got (I just heard a song this week with these lyrics and really liked it) and having the other elements tied in somehow.  We want to promote the notion of being perfectly okay with who you are and "rocking what you got"...that could mean a lot of different things, depending on the individual, so we are so excited to get this tee out! Pre-ordering will begin soon so check back to see the exact date.  

Listen to the song by Superchick!


Hurting at Christmas

Here is an article I found on one of my favorite sites, The Works of God by John Knight (www.desiringgod.org).  I found it very applicable and honest.  
Be blessed as you allow Jesus to be your Rock this Christmas,

To Those Hurting at Christmas
I know some of you are praying you’ll make it through Christmas — just make it through — not anticipating anything good will come from gathering with extended family and friends. It has become a cliche — right next to the article on what second-graders are excited about for Christmas is the article on the rise in depression during this last month of the year.
You know the sadness is real. While you change the diaper of a teenager, or administer complicated medications, or prevent your non-verbal ten-year-old from hurting himself again, or explain yet again the complicated life of your five-year-old without a diagnosis for her disability, your nieces and nephews and young friends are playing and running and eating, happily talking about the toys they want or travel they’re excited about or things they are doing in school. They easily do things your child will never do, no matter how many therapies or medications or prayers are offered.
Or maybe the disability in your family member means you can’t gather with other loved ones, and the heartache is almost more than you can stand. 
Jesus knows.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15, italics added)
More than that, he endured and is victorious!
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1–2, italics added)
And there are some of you who can’t see it. There is still hope!
It is utterly crucial that in our darkness we affirm the wise, strong hand of God to hold us, even when we have no strength to hold him. This is the way Paul thought of his own strivings. He said, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Philippians 3:12). The key thing to see in this verse is that all Paul’s efforts to grasp the fullness of joy in Christ are secured by Christ’s grasp of him. Never forget that your security rests on Christ’s faithfulness first.
Our faith rises and falls. It has degrees. But our security does not rise and fall. It has no degrees. We must persevere in faith. That’s true. But there are times when our faith is the size of a mustard seed and barely visible. In fact, the darkest experience for the child of God is when his faith sinks out of his own sight. Not out of God’s sight, but his. Yes, it is possible to be so overwhelmed with darkness that you do not know if you are a Christian — and yet still be one. (216, italics added)
Jesus understands. Jesus is victorious. Jesus is the answer. May you find him, and in finding him, find hope and peace in these hard days.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)

John Knight is Director of Development at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments and a seizure disorder. John blogs on issues of disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.



I really like surprises...well, let me explain.  I like the actual surprise, but I am not very good at waiting on the surprise.  Turns out, Will is a lot like his momma.  Yesterday as I was wrapping up a few gifts in our room, Will came in and started snooping around.  He found one of his stocking stuffers and I loudly said, "Will, don't you like to be surprised, you do not have to know everything before you get it!"  I mean, this kid has always found out about every single gift or fun activity that we have ever tried to surprise him with.  Seriously.  I continued to tell him that I just want him to enjoy his gifts from us when he receives them.  Then, it just hit me...the Lord was using my child to speak to me about how I have been acting about "surprises" in my own life.  See, I feel like I am in a period of unknowns right now.  I have been asking myself, "Will common threads be successful?" "Will people rally behind families who have children with special needs?" "Where in the world can I work full-time in Grove?" "Should I even work full-time right now?"  The list goes on and on.  I have my answer from the Lord, the One who knows my every thought and the One who loves to surprise me with His best.  He clearly said, "Tiffany, don't you like surprises?" "You do not have to know everything right now, enjoy where I have you today."  So, I am choosing to trust in Him today and be patient...knowing that He will surprise me in His perfect timing.  

And, hopefully I can keep Will out of our hiding spots too!  


And the Winner is...

Watch the following video to see who won the Walk by Faith tee!  

Also, we are open at the Etsy Shop!  Just go to www.etsy.com and search for CommonThreadsApparel.  All of the colors and size options we currently have available are listed.  If you want to order directly from us, we are offering a discount on the adult t-shirts of $21.  Just contact us at sales@thecommonthreads.org.  Thanks!!  

And, thanks to everyone who participated in our very first giveaway...what a blessing to ready your testimonies and receive so much encouragement from each one.  The Lord has done great things!  

Email tiffany@thecommonthreads.org with your shirt info!