Last Day of Being 30 Something ~

~ Almost 40 ~.pngToday has been a good day.  I got a good sleep.  Hung out with my great family.  Took a long nap (I’ve been very tired lately) and dyed my baby girl’s hair (she is 13).  I wanted to sit here and document something on my last day before turning the BIG 40!  What has happened to me these last 30 years?  Well, I grew up in a loving, worship pastor’s home, traveled a lot and lived in 8 homes, in Canada, California, Washington, and Detroit, graduated high school, studied vocal performance privately and in college, traveled the world as a singer and speaker for World Vision and Mission of Mercy, got married to a worship pastor-in-training, had two beautiful kids, was called by the Lord to write, started writing songs, moved to three churches, produced my first debut album, continued writing and performing, homeschooled our kids for 3 years, was gently nudged to lead worship more often, became the women’s director for our church, moved again as an act of faith, put our kids in public school, became a leader for a moms group, had much needed rest from ministry, got confused about songwriting, my purpose, and my calling, so after every resource was gone and every idea was spent, I prayed and God opened the door for me to be a worship pastor and a private music instructor.  Because our church was in dire need of specific worship songs, my songwriting bug returned and I began writing again.

That is a lot of living in 30 years.  What’s next?  Hmm… Well, I’m getting more tired as I age, I have to dye my hair to cover grey.  I can pass as a 30 something still, but definitely not a 20 something.   My thinking has changed a bit.  I’m definitely more seasoned which has been the byproduct of years of patience, humility, disappointment, knowledge, experience, and perseverance.  I’m still someone who has too many ideas swimming in my head.  I like moving forward.  I don’t like being content with the same ol’.  I am more excited as a worship leader, more patient and sanguine as a music teacher, more social with my children, more grown up as a wife, more focused as a songwriter, more prayerful as a child of God.  What’s wrong with that?  Nothing.

Yes, it’s hard to think I will be 40 stinkin’ years old tomorrow, but I like who I am now way better than who I was at 19.

My hope is that in the years to come, Lord willing, I will be closer to the Lord, moving in the Holy Spirit, more thankful for what God has blessed me with instead of always wanting more.  I love my husband dearly, even though it doesn’t show too well when we are talking about finances, sorry babe.  I want to play more and do life together.  I love my kids deeply, even though they drive me up the wall with all of the questions and emotional outbursts, sorry kids.  I want to play more and be present in their lives.  I love my family members, even though most of them live far away.  I want to write them letters more and find ways to spend time with them.  I love to write songs, even though in the industry standards they are still not cutting it.  I want to continue having songs flow out of me and write for my church because it brings me so much joy and deepens my understanding of God.  I love being able to be a worship pastor, even though I don’t know how long this season will last.  I want to follow God’s lead and grow this church up to be in love with Him and transformed by His glory.  I love passing down what I know about singing, songwriting, and playing the piano, to the next generations coming up, even though it requires a lot of work and patience lol.  I want to invest all of my experience into them so that they can become great at their musical abilities.

I won’t be able to eat the amazing food I use to.  I won’t be able to shed the extra pounds that I use to.  I will probably still need to take naps and drink coffee.  But, that’s okay.  Here’s to the next 40 years.  I pray God will help me make each day count and never wasted.

Photo on 7-1-17 at 3.54 PM

Lara~

Praise the Lord for All He Has Done – Psalm 111

111 Shout praises to the Lord!
    With all my heart
I will thank the Lord
    when his people meet.
The Lord has done
    many wonderful things!
Everyone who is pleased
with God’s marvelous deeds
    will keep them in mind.
Everything the Lord does
    is glorious and majestic,
    and his power to bring justice
    will never end.

The Lord God is famous
for his wonderful deeds,
    and he is kind and merciful.
He gives food to his worshipers
    and always keeps his agreement
    with them.
He has shown his mighty power
    to his people
    and has given them the lands
    of other nations.

God is always honest and fair,
    and his laws can be trusted.
    They are true and right
    and will stand forever.
God rescued his people,
    and he will never break
his agreement with them.
    He is fearsome and holy.

10 Respect and obey the Lord!
This is the first step
    to wisdom and good sense.[a]
    God will always be respected.

Back To Periscope!

Happy 2017!  Can you believe we are in the year 2017?  I am really having a hard time coming to terms with this.  =)  Well 2016 was a good year, full of learning experiences and rest.  God was faithful and a good, good Father and I know He will continue to be this year!

Through prayer, I am starting back up on Periscope again in a more focused and structured manner.  I really feel led to broadcast about things that I am passionate about.  So I am including my schedule on this post for those of you who would like to join me in the broadcasts that matter to you! periscope-broadcast-sheet

We will begin our study in the Book of Matthew today at 9am p/t.  Then, I will teach a vocal class at 11am p/t.  Lastly, we will have some casual worship time at 6:30pm p/t where I will lead you in worshipping the Lord through song, with prayer time at the end.  It is going to be a good day!

Hope you will be able to join me on Periscope.  Here is the link to my Periscope page: https://www.periscope.tv/LaraMarriott/1yNxadnkyBXJj

Blessings to you as you go into this year.  It is my prayer that God’s Holy Spirit will draw you closer to Him.

Lara~

 

By The Streams Of Grace

Here is another song I wrote years back.  It is based out of Psalm 23, my absolute life verse.

By The Streams Of Grace

©2007 Lara Marriott

By the streams of grace I find You

Down the paths of righteousness

In the stillness of Your mercy

Is where I long to rest

By the streams of grace I find You

You supply what I need

A place where Your abundance flows

You renew me

 

By the streams of grace You restore my soul

By the streams of grace is where Your love is shown

You’re my shepherd, my father

I serve and adore

I long for nothing, but to be

By Your streams of grace

 

Your rod and staff protect me

Through the valley of dark despair

You are walking right beside me

Taking me away from all my fear

Your rod and staff; they guide me

Your blessings are awaiting me

It is only in You I trust for

You are saving me, Oh

 

By the streams of grace You restore my soul

By the streams of grace is where Your love is shown

You’re my shepherd, my father

I serve and adore

I long for nothing, but to be

By Your streams of grace

By Your streams of grace

I will forever rest

By Your streams of grace

By the streams of grace I find You

Celebrate The Seasons

I’m sharing three of my songs today that I’ve written.  I hope they will bless you.

 

Celebrate The Seasons

©2007 Lara Marriott

I found myself reflecting back to memories

I thought about every numbered year

In all the things I’ve gone through, in all the years I’ve found

Times of joy, love, hope, and the tears that I’ve battled

What do I do with all these painted pictures

There are too many to count

 

I celebrate the seasons of life

Capturing each one of them in my mind

I celebrate the seasons of life

Too precious to let go

Unique to me alone

I am blessed by my journeyed road

 

Each year of mine in worn upon my face; in my eyes

I wear them as proud badges of honor

The portraits of my life are completely designed

My experiences come in every kind of color

What is told in all of these painted memories

They are what I’ve been blessed to leave behind

 

I celebrate the seasons of life

Capturing each one of them in my mind

I celebrate the seasons of life

Too precious to let go

Unique to me alone

I am blessed by my journeyed road

 

What a gift from God I’ve been given

To say this is where I’ve been

To tell the stories of my past glories

And the hard times I’ve come out of

Oh and still I will say

 

I celebrate the seasons of life

Capturing each one of them in my mind

I celebrate the seasons of life

Too precious to let go

Unique to me alone

I am blessed by my journeyed road

I am blessed by my journeyed road

I am thankful…

It’s All About You

 

It’s All About You

©2009 Lara Marriott

When I am sick, You make me well

When I am tired, You provide my rest

When I am cast down, You lift me up again

When I am poor, You offer Your wealth

When I am lost, You see that I’m found

When I’m in doubt, You reveal Your promise

For it is You who’s life

You are truth

You are the way

 

It’s all about You

You have my heart

It is You my bright light

When I am weary from the dark

Oh, it’s all about You

You’re in the lows and in the highs

You’re the giver of my life

It’s all about You

 

When I am joyful, You make me dance

When I’m at peace, I see all Your goodness

When I have faith, with you nothing can stop me

For You are life

You are truth

You are the way

 

It’s all about You

You have my heart

It is You my bright light

When I am weary from the dark

Oh, it’s all about You

You’re in the lows and in the highs

You’re the giver of my life

It’s all about You

 

You have restored me

You’ve forgiven me

You have made all things right (2x)

 

It’s all about You

You have my heart

It is You my bright light

When I am weary from the dark

Oh, it’s all about You

You’re in the lows and in the highs

You’re the giver of my life

It’s all about You

What Legacy Are You Leaving?

This question really hits home when you attend funerals.  You look around at how many people came to pay tribute.  You listen to the stories of how lives were forever changed.  As a worship leader, do you ever ask yourself what kind of legacy you’re leaving?  How are you investing in the people you serve?  Does your family see one person on stage and another at home?  How’s your integrity; your loyalty; your leadership?

It is so important for us worship leaders to keep this front and center in our minds; not as a prideful thing, but as a God honoring thing.  Too many times we allow the fruit of the spirit to take a backseat to our own agendas as well as compare ourselves to others.

There is something so beautiful to experience when going to a funeral for someone who lived out a life for Jesus.  Their legacy doesn’t stop when they pass away, it outlives them many times forward.  It can even cross the generational divide.  We need to be “legacy- minded” worship leaders.  It keeps us from focusing inward and drives us out-word towards others.

Being a “lime-light” worship leader can only bring superficial satisfaction, but being a “legacy-minded” worship leader will bring long-lasting fulfillment and love.

How do you want your eulogy to read?  Who would you like to see at your memorial service?  What would people say about your character? Do you want everything to point to your achievements and accolades?  Or, would you rather the stories told about you and the memories shared end up pointing other to Jesus?

What legacy are you leaving?

Planning & Strategizing as an ENFP ~

This blog title is cracking me up right now because if you know anything about ENFPs, we are not planners or strategizers by nature.  However, we do need to step back from life at times and recenter ourselves to make sure we are moving in the right direction.  What does this look like for me?  Well, I am in casual clothes, surrounded by mess, with my planner open. I have resolved not to move from this spot until I have come up with a plan and a focus!

I love being an ENFP.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The only down side is that as an ENFP I have many different interests and ping-pong from one to next; often.  This is unfortunate because I never really feel like I am an achiever.  Remember that phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none?”  That’s how I feel right now.  For some of you making goals and plans comes effortlessly.  You actually thrive making lists and check boxes, but for me, that gives me a headache which makes me want to lie down and go to sleep.

If you saw me right now you would probably think I was being extremely unproductive and lazy. There are so many things to get done around the house, how could I be so selfish with my time.  At least this is what I think you would perceive.  I am feeling the guilt, but this is the only way for me to make any headway when it comes to thriving as an ENFP.

You see, I am a homeschool mom who is with my kids almost 24/7.  I spend a lot of my time with them doing our own thing that I forget to change it up and get out, meeting new people, experiencing new things. My kids are the exact opposite than me.  So they would rather stick with a routine, maybe even stay home.  There are many projects around our house that are on my mental “to do” list that seem to keep me to myself and are endless weekly tasks.   It’s like a rat race in my own home.  I am also a songwriter.  This has the tendency to become an introverted profession since it requires a lot of quiet, focused time to develop and refine a song.

So I have many things in my life where I am not thriving as an ENFP.  I need to balance those things with activities that bring me a lot of fulfillment and joy.   Hence, I will stay here, picketing my cause, until I can come up with a plan that will help me continue to be the person God has created me to be.  I don’t want to apologize for being who I am.  I want to use everything I have to bless others and to feel God’s pleasure.

Psalm139

Lara~

RESET

For the past couple of weeks I have been in a funk.  There are so many things in my life to be thankful for; however, I am finding myself melancholy most of the time.  It amazes me how our emotions can really take control of our minds and paralyze us.  Have you ever felt this way?  Instead of being proactive about my life’s situations, I have wanted to crawl back in bed and sleep.

I know this is not a healthy behavior and so I am wanting to get to the bottom of it!  Here are a few things I have been pondering lately that I wanted to share with you.

  1. I’ve allowed myself to get into unhealthy daily routines.  Instead of working out in the morning and taking a shower, I have instead scratched the working out part completely and waited until the middle of the day to get ready.  I have told myself and my husband that I am too tired in the mornings to work out and that our kids need me in the morning, hence I take care of their needs before my own.  This routined behavior has not been for my benefit or the benefit of my family.
  2. I’ve forgotten how I used to have fun before having kids.  This sounds awful I know, but it’s true.  I am 38 and my life has been consumed with meeting the needs of those around me instead of figuring out what I enjoy doing as well.  There was a day recently when I took my daughter out to have our nails manicured.  I NEVER do this!  It’s too much money. I could be using this money to buy clothes for the kids, etc.  But I have to tell you, it was a really nice experience.  We also took my husband out to go zip-lining for his birthday.  He asked me to go on it with him and the kids, but I chickened out and became the picture taking, items holding momma that watched from the sidelines, wishing I would have said yes.  I need to be more intentional about scheduling fun into my life.
  3. Water & Vitamins!  I didn’t realize how amazing water was until I found myself in the backseat of my car dizzy and dehydrated because I drank a huge cup of coffee and barely any water that day.  That one “little” episode cost my husband to come back to the church to drive me home, which put me in bed lethargic for three days!  That behavior cost me and my family a lot! I also had forgotten the importance of taking vitamins everyday.  Hey, I’m a busy homeschool mom, I don’t have time to remember everything on my “To Do” list!  Not a good enough answer!  When I was younger I didn’t need to think about taking vitamins.  The bouncing back rate was extremely high.  Now, I need to have a reality check. I am getting older.  My body is changing and it needs to be replenished with water and vitamins daily in order to function properly.
  4. Sleep.  Oh sleep, how I’ve longed to be in your arms all night long!  This has been a great struggle for me this past year.  Our sleeping environment is not the greatest right now.  Plus, again I’m not who I once was when I was in my 20s.  The biggest culprit for my sleep deprivation has been my cell phone.  If I can’t sleep, it’s like my phone is whispering into my ear, “Come check me out.  You can listen to podcasts, you can read the Bible, you can go on Facebook. I don’t care what you do as long as you look into my screen and wake up your brain!”  This bad habit has got to stop immediately!
  5. Spending more quality and quiet time with the Lord.  I do have times throughout the day when I am worshipping Him, reading His word, and praying, but I can do more.  I need to schedule alone times with God daily that are not on Periscope 😉  He is my Rock!  He is the manna I need in order to be nourished and refreshed.
  6. Lastly, trusting God COMPLETELY with EVERY detail of my life.  Ever time I do this, I feel His peace that surpasses all understanding.  Fear is a daily struggle for me that loves to come and torment my emotions, but trusting in God dispels ALL fear!

I knew I needed to write a new blog post, but I was stuck until I decided to be completely honest and transparent with where I am finding myself right now.  Today is a new day!  I made myself workout (I hated every minute of it), take a shower, had lots of water, and took my vitamins.  I do have a bag of caramel popcorn right beside me that I have been chomping on (baby steps), but I feel better moving a few steps forward in the right direction.

No matter where we are in life, there are times when we will somehow get into a rut like I have, not knowing how we got there or how to get out.  Thankfully, our lives are made up of seasons and marathons, not snow storms and sprints.  God is so gracious to give us do-overs every 24 hours to start again.  I am committed to moving myself in the right direction. Please hold me accountable.  If you are going through the same thing right now, you are not alone.  Please let me know and I will be praying for you, encouraging you to keep moving forward towards joy, peace, hope and love.

God Bless,

Lara

 

 

My Last Blog When I Was A Young Mommy ~

100_0702  I found my old blog that I created when my kids were young.  Actually, my first post was about Hannah with Josh still in my tummy, I believe.  Crazy how time flies!!  I haven’t figured out yet how to import all of my posts from this old site to my wordpress one.  So instead, for now, I thought I would give you the link to it just incase you would like to go read about my earlier days as a mom.  My kids sure were cute and hard work! lol.  http://chickideelilly.blogspot.com/

Aren't They The Cutest Ever!!

Lara~

Psalm 138:1 “I will praise You, Lord with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing Your praise.”

WebsiteItunes

Kids Bible Journal Scripture Verses ~

I had a mom ask me what scripture verses I used for our homeschool Bible journals I put together this year.  So here is a list of them for this quarter.  I mistakenly said we had 40, but now that I am looking at the journal, we’ve written down 20 so far.    Hope this list will be encouraging and helpful.

Bible Journal Scripture Verses

1. Proverbs 22:6

2. 2 Corinthians 13:14

3. 1 John 4:19

4. 1 John 3:18

5. 1 John 3:3

6.  Proverbs 3:5

7.  Psalm 138:1

8. Isaiah 29:13

9. John 3:16

10. Psalm 146:6

11. 2 Peter 1:5-8

12. Ephesians 6:10-11

13. Psalm 46:10

14. Psalm 27:8

15. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

16. John 1:1

17. John 3:30

18. Psalm 23:1 (actually the whole chapter ; ) )

19. Galatians 5:22-23

20. Psalm 27:1

If you are excited about these scripture promises to give to your kids or to just hold dear to your own heart, then join my blog or send me your email address so I can put you on my email list.  I’m going to be working on something to offer you that I think you’ll really enjoy!!

Blessings,

Lara ~

http://www.laramarriott.com & Itunes

Finding Joy

Untitled design (1)

I have been asking this question at least once a day as my days commence into homeschooling, house cleaning, planning, working, and so on.  Yesterday, I knew I had to get some things done that really were not very fun.  I find that when I am doing the laundry, sweeping, dishes, picking up after the kids, cleaning dirty messes, mediating arguments, and working at my job, I begin to feel anger, frustration, anxiety, exhaustion, and defeat instead of happiness.

It seems that we are all living in a time where it is easy to be stressed out.  Stress for me at times, becomes a broken badge that I have a tendency to wear in hopes of receiving some kind of empathy and/or relief, whether it be at work, at school, in traffic, or at home. Happiness gets hidden away and I forget where I had placed it and so the stress cycle continues to press on, leading me down a darkened path.  Can you relate?

Is there a hope?  Will we be able to fight back stress and rediscover what makes us happy again?  I believe so.  The wise counsel of my husband whispered in my mind the other day, “Listen to music while you work.”  You see, he had discovered many years ago that I was much more efficient and happy when I turned on the stereo as I cleaned the house.  I didn’t make the correlation at first, but I have come to realize that his observations were correct.  Listening to music makes me so happy.  It helps brighten my day no matter what I am doing.  Music is one of the places happiness likes to reside for me in my life. What is it for you?  Where do you find your happiness?

Now, going to those places of happiness is a wonderful departure from stress.  However, our happiness doesn’t last long enough as we’d like it to because hard life situations and events continue to happen to everyone; everywhere.  So God comes in and offers us something even better than happiness.  What is it?  What could possibly be better than being happy?  Joy.  Joy, exceeds happiness and Joy only can come from a relationship with the Lord.   Joy embraces our souls no matter what goes on around us. This is what the Bible says about Joy:

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of any kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

Even though it is important to stop and spend sometime in our days to do things that make us happy, it is important to remember where our constant source of joy comes from.  I know I need to remember this and pursue being in God’s Presence everyday.  I try to blend the two by listening to worship music.

I want to encourage all of us to ask God to fill us with His constant Joy, instead of always running after short-lived happiness.  Maybe you too can find a way to blend both like I do with worship music.

Be blessed.  “May the God of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the Power of the Holy Spirit.”

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

My Mom’s Pentecost Sunday

I love this story! I too, have had a similar, yet very personal experience with the Holy Spirit. I wanted to share this example of what being “filled’ with the Holy Spirit can be like. Blessings ~

 

Lara ~

http://www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Keeping It Real: The Leilani Life

My mom Aloha got married to my stepfather, Celes, in a Hawaiian-style ceremony. My mom Aloha got married to my stepfather, Celes, in a Hawaiian-style ceremony. My mom was filled with the Holy Spirit while reading the Bible in her living room. That experience changed the destiny of our family.

“Lani, I got filled with the Holy Spirit,” my mom said over the phone.

“What? How did it happen?” I was skeptical but wanted to experiencing this myself. I had just started attending Hawaii Kai Baptist Church and wanted to know more about the Holy
Spirit.

“I was reading the second chapter of Acts where the Holy Spirit was poured out in the upper room and I wanted that to happen to me. It’s called Pentecost,” she explained.

“Then what happend?” I had read that same passage myself but it was a mystery to me. I had asked about the Holy Spirit at the Bible studies that I attended but no one could…

View original post 709 more words

There Is Someone Who Knows ~

Today has been another random day for our family.  Do you ever have variables that just pop up out of no where throughout you day?  Well, they are frequent occurrences in my life.  Most of the time I am able to go with the flow, however by 4:00pm this mommy is pretty much done mentally and emotionally for the day.  Like today for example. lol!  Sometimes we can find ourselves down, frustrated, overwhelmed, overtired, and wanting a break.  Sometimes we feel alone and undervalued.  Sometimes we wonder if there is anyone who understands.

Little Josh and Hannah

While the kids and I were at the doctor’s getting a prescription this afternoon, there was a mom who was fighting (not literally) with her 3 year old son, trying to get him to behave so she could pick up her daughter’s medicine, but he wouldn’t have it.  I so wanted to save her from his fits and outbursts.  He kept saying, “I don’t like you!  I don’t like you!”  My heart broke for this mom.  Why?  Because I have been THAT mom before with unmanageable kids.  It is so embarrassing and degrading.  She tried her best, but eventually she had to take her kids out without achieving her goal, probably feeling like a failure and wondering how in the world she was going to find the time to get back over there to pick up her daughter’s medicine.  Being a mom is a very difficult job at times; so demanding, so draining, so all consuming.

Thankfully, there is a passage in the Bible that I remembered this evening that I wanted to share.  I wish I could share it with the mom at the doctors office.   I love this chapter in God’s Word because it reminds me I am not alone and that there is a God who loves me unconditionally and knows all about me.  I need to place His promise in my heart tonight and maybe you do to.  Hope this will be an encouragement to you as well.

Psalm 139

“O Lord, You have searched me and You know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all of my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O Lord.  You hem me in – behind and before; You have laid Your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful sunset parkfor me, to lofty for me to attain.  Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Where can I flee from Your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in the depths, You are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, ‘surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, ‘ even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.  For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.  When I awake, I am still with You!…Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is anything that offends You and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Now, when people or (kids) say to us, “I don’t like you! I don’t like you!”  we will remember that God loves us and knows us deeply.  What a wonderful promise!!  You know what is funny?  As I finish writing this blog,  my kids have come in arguing and whining about each other.  Oh and now there is our dog, Molly.  God knows.  God knows.  What we are going through might feel like it will never end, but God knows and He will get us through it by covering us with His unfailing love.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

A Spiritual Battle ~

Have you ever noticed that when you are doing what you feel God has called you to do, you get attacked spiritually? Last night I was listening to a Christian speaker give a message while I was drifting off to sleep and all of a sudden I heard a voice say, “Hannah is going to die.” It was so random and fear began to overtake me. That voice said it again, making me even more afraid. I then heard another voice that told me specifically to cast out the spirit of fear from my mind and bind it in Jesus name.

I was almost asleep. I didn’t want to work up the energy to speak that out loud, but the fear I was experiencing was tangible and overwhelming. So I verbally commanded the spirit to leave me at once. You know what? I felt peace right after I said those words and within a couple of minutes I fell fast asleep.

Hmmm…there are truly powers at work in our lives. Thankfully, there is a God who loves us and when we have a relationship with Him, He gives us the strength and the tools to fight off the spirits that come to destroy. Call on Jesus, He will help you!

Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Kid “Friendly” Websites ~

My kids are at the ages where they are wanting to be social with their friends on the internet.  As a parent I try to research and make sure the sites they go to are kid safe.  However, peer pressure is extremely strong.  My kids will come up with all sorts of reasons why they should be allowed to go on a particular site and how their friends parents let them.  It’s a balancing act to maneuver around the whole peer pressure issue without having our protection backfire causing rebellion.

We’ve had to put parental controls on our computers and phones.  We’ve had to screen each website they go to.  Unfortunately, what we learned tonight is that there still are sites that pride themselves as being “kid friendly” but in actuality are not.

animal jam picMy kids have been playing Animal Jam for a few months now with their friends.  I didn’t allow them to buy a membership until recently when my son earned it with his own money.  It didn’t take long for his account to get hacked.  He logged on tonight to find that all of the items he had been working on getting and paying for had been stollen.  His sister also received a message from him that said, “let’s make kittens together.”  Both his sister and myself knew that message was not from him and immediately disabled and changed his password.  I am disgusted by the lack of protection on this site as well as the sin that is so heavily prevalent in this world.  My poor children will no longer be allowed to have a membership on there and will unlikely go back to play.  Animal Jam is very fun and addictive.  It was a cute way for my kids to socialize with their friends. It also was a great way to keep them occupied.  Not anymore.  It has been compromised.

So here are a list of all the websites that promote kid safe play, but are really not safe at all:

1) Animal Jam – hackers, predators, addictive gambling games, unsafe chatting, poor monitoring

2) Petra’s Planet – hackers, predators, unsafe chatting, poor monitoring

3) Penguin ? (Disney) – unsafe chatting, make sure you look into this one to find out if there are more concerns

4) Chicken Smoothie – unsafe chatting, photos, forum style communication, poor monitoring

I hope this post will help other parents as they too try to navigate around the whole internet thing with their kids.  Let’s keep the dialogue going.  If you know of any other sites we need to be aware of, please post those here.  I will do the same.  Raising kids takes a village. (A friend of mine said that to me once and I agree!)

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

“Ignore The Noise” ~

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I have been sick with a chest cold for almost 2 weeks now.  I can’t remember the last time I had to stay in bed, take lots of cold medicine, and rest for such a long period of time.  I am a homeschool mom, worship leader, music teacher, women’s ministry director, singer-songwriter, and part-time receptionist.  I don’t have time to REST!!!

Being in bed, I’ve become lazy, weak, and bored.  I’ve been watching the NFL Live sports channel all week. (I had no idea there was a WHOLE WEEK of football stuff going on before the Superbowl!  It has definitely been an eye opening experience for me, since I have only been a hockey fan, growing up in a Canadian household, until this year; really.  Anyway, Russell Wilson tweeted today to, “Ignore the noise.”  His quote made me start thinking about all of the “noise” I had been hearing lately that was distracting me from my main mission in life.

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Hmmm…let me think…well…there has been noise from my poor children who have been cooped up in this house with me, the constant murmur of tv commentary in the background, the social media updates on my iPhone, the sneaky deceptive thoughts of being overwhelmed, distracted, second-guessing my life’s path, all clouding the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit.

I have loved watching and listening to all of these professional football players talk about their one goal, their mission, their focused preparation, and their resolve.  Even through all of their press obligations that can totally throw a person off course, they are sticking to their plan, come Sunday, they will go out on that football field and play to win!

To be honest, I have not felt that resilience to achieve what God has been calling me to achieve in awhile.  I have had more distractions get in my way.  The minute I start feeling confident in my mission, some sort of thought or situation throws me of course.  These professional football players do not let anything get in their way!

I don’t know about you, but I need this to be my way of life too!!

When I get better, I am itching to get out of this stuffy house and get more exercise with my kids.  I want to be focused on God’s call on my life and not let anything distract me from this.  I want to be the best homeschool coach for my kids for the rest of the school year, so they will complete their subjects with honors!  I want to be the best wife and mom I can be and sacrificially cook and clean with my family in mind (because it doesn’t come naturally), so that they can love the home they have.  Everything else is extra and could possibly be unnecessary.

What kind of “noise” are you allowing into your life?  What are you going to do to be more focused on your life’s mission?

The Superbowl will be exciting and awesome to watch, but it will come and go, leaving each one of us with the choice of how we are going to continue living out our lives.   Are you going to live with a winning mindset?  Or are you going to allow distractions to throw you off course?

I am in it to win it!!!

 

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Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Reflecting Back on 2014 ~

Well today is the last day of 2014! That is Crazy!! Have you been reflecting back on your year? What have been some good things? What have been some difficult things? Has God been faithful? What are your hopes for 2015? Are you excited? Are you fearful? Do you have any prayer requests you’d like to share?

For me:

Good things
– I got to minister with my dear friends, Brenda Yoder (http://www.brendayoder.com) & Krissy Nelson (http://www.notaloneministries.com) in Pensacola, Fl. even with a tornado in Louisiana and having to find a place to stay overnight in Ft. Lauderdale Texas (thank you Diana Thiessen!) God proved himself very faithful!
– We had a wonderful Women’s Retreat at our church and God broke through in so many ways and brought the ladies together and closer to the Lord’s Spirit.
– We had a great time in Boise visiting friends and family! Family is so important.
– The kids and I have survived the first half of our second year homeschooling. It has been quite the adventure full of ups and downs, successes and failures, and I wouldn’t change one thing!
– Our band “Not Just Sunday” had the chance to play out at some fun places together. We love gigging and rocking out! Hope to gig more together in the New Year Joshua Roosa, Brian Marriott, and Lee Lipsker!
– Went to a refreshing songwriter’s bootcamp led by Staci Frenes & Kenon Chen (http://www.kenonchen.com). God ordained that time for me. There were so many God moments that happened to me that I am so thankful for. I am planning to work with Kenon on recording at least one of my songs that I can’t wait to share with you. Looking forward to that in the new year.
– Read an amazing book by Staci Frenes (http://www.stacifrenes.com) called “Flourish.” It was so healing for me to read of another creative soul’s journey to accept her creativity and thrive in it for the glory of God! I am so inspired and determined to shine through the creativity God has given me to use. Each one of us are creative! We ALL can do something to reflect our Creator. I challenge you to not be afraid, but to do something creative. You won’t be disappointed. There is no right or wrong. Only you can express uniquely what you want to express. There is no one like you and there never will be.
– It was so much fun for me to share my music with my homeschool mommy friends this Christmas!! Barely any of them new I was a singer/songwriter. Most days are all about our kids. We sometimes dress up, but usually we are without makeup, wearing comfy clothes, and just surviving the variables of our days. So, it was a treat to share something that was dear to my heart with my dear friends. I will treasure that evening.
– I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas time!! I grew up singing in many Christmas productions and events. So this year I was able to be apart of quite a few and my heart was full!!

– Our church got through a very difficult season by the grace of God.  We are now hopeful for the future.

– My family has been healthy and has brought me much comfort this year.  I adore my husband Brian and our two kids, Hannah and Josh.  My extended family always has a special place in my heart and I pray for them everyday.

– God has helped us financially.

– Oh and one more thing, we were able to raise $1000.00 to send to our sponsored child in Uganda to save her working eye.  We are still waiting to hear how it went, but hopefully she will be able to see.  It amazed me how the people of God can come together to do great things!!

Difficult things:

– I had many times this year when I was challenged by the spirit of fear.  Fear has plagued my side of the family for generations.  I have the fear of flying, fearful dreams and nightmares, visions, and future worries, fear of failure, and it usually happens more and more when I am doing something for the Lord, but God’s Spirit has equipped me with His powerful gifts to fight back!   There is power speaking out the word of God.  There is power praying in the Spirit.  There is power calling on the name of Jesus!

– My grandmother has been suffering with alzheimer’s disease.  This has made me sad because my other grandmother suffered with it as well.  I wish I could see my grandparents, but we just live too far away.

– All of what our church has had to go through this year has weighed heavily on my heart and on our family.

– Homeschooling (enough said)

– Situations in our family’s life

– The pain in my shoulder, neck, and leg.  I haven’t been able to raise my right arm all of the way for over a year now.  I miss dancing like when I was young.

– watching friends and family going through very difficult situations

Has God been faithful?  YES!!!!  Through it all, God has been faithful.   I have learned how to rest in Him.  I have learned to give Him all of my fears and concerns and let go.  I have learned to pray in my Spiritual language given to me by the Holy Spirit that has strengthened my heart and has given me a focus and has revealed to me what to pray for.  When you give your life to Jesus, He gives you His Spirit to help you in all things and to comfort you.  I can tell you that it is completely true!  Now, I am human and still struggle.  God never promised to take us out of our problems.  He promised to help get us through them.  So I am clinging to that this year and for next year.  It also says in His word that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

My hopes for 2015 are to get closer to the heart of God and be more disciplined in spending time with Him and listening for His voice and direction.  I want to write more songs and continue ministering to others through singing and worship leading.  I want to teach my kids to love Jesus with all of their hearts and be little lights for Him wherever they go.  I want them to learn to be avid readers, good writers, get better at spelling and math.  I want to instill in them a love for learning!  I want to spend more time with Brian and invest in our friendship and love for one another.  I want to reach out to my family members more often through letters, emails, phone calls, instead of using Facebook to update them on the latest news.  I want my life to reflect God’s love in all that I say and all that I do through the grace and help of Jesus.  Lastly, that I will be equipped to conquer the fears that come to attack me and that God will surround me with His peace.

I don’t know if I’m excited.  I still face fear regularly.  That is a battle I fight everyday.  But, more often than not, I win.  So I am resting in the Lord’s love, His grace, mercy, and peace.  There is nothing better than to be a child of the Most High God.  He truly is a loving Father.

Prayer request: That our family will hold true to the promises of God and that we will walk daily in His ways.

Thank you friends for reading my posts and sharing your encouragements.  I pray God’s love and His blessing will accompany you into 2015.  If you are reading this and God is stirring your heart to want to have that loving relationship with Him too, all you have to do is believe that He sent Jesus to die for all of your sins, that He conquered the sting of death by raising from the dead, and ask Him to come into your heart to transform you into the person He has created you to be.  When you say that simple confession, You will be adopted into His family and will live eternally with Him, but not only that, He will send His Holy Spirit to live inside your heart and help you with everything life throws your way.  His grace and mercy will cover you daily and you will no longer be weighed down by guilt, shame, pride, lust, addiction, hate, fear, etc.  His love will make your heart whiter than snow.  Please contact me if you said that prayer and I will send you a bible and help you get started on your new journey with Your Creator!! = )

Lots of love to you all!

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

The Big Picture ~

I graduated from high school.  I went to college for three years.  But I never pursued a Teaching Degree.  I am convinced that in order to acquire a degree in teaching you have to minor in pyschology!  These past three days of homeschooling my children have been an up and down roller coaster ride.  Tuesday, Josh’s day was the worst day ever.  Wednesday, both kids had their moments.  Today, has started to be Hannah’s worst day ever.  I am on the verge of being an emotional mess!

When they get like this they throw out accusations that I am no fun to be around, their lives are boring, they are stuck in their homes with no one to play with while all of the other kids…on their block, get to go to public school and be with kids their own age and have tons of fun.  Ug!!!  Yes, there are fun times to be had at public school, but not all the time.  They forget very easily the amazing field trips we have taken with many of their friends.  They forget how much they love to cuddle and play with their dog, Molly.  They forget the fun they have at their enrichment schools they go to each week.  They forget all of the hugs and snuggle time they receive from their mommy.  They forget the free time they have with their friends in the afternoon.  They forget how much fun it is for them to cook or bake something.  They forget the Christmas movies we watch together with hot chocolate.  Oh how easily they forget when they have to stay home for a day or two and be with me and not their friends.

This exhausts me.  As a parent, I have the privilege and the difficulty of seeing the bigger picture.  I see how their neighbor friends treat each other.  I see how they have to come home and do homework for an hour or more after school.  I see how my kids treat their friends.  I see the freedom they have to enjoy playing all sorts of different kinds of games without the peer pressure of conforming to what is the latest cool thing to do.  My kids can play and communicate with anyone of any age.  They know about the love of Jesus and they share that love with the people they come in contact with.  I know that there are fun things on the horizon that they hopefully will get to do, but i can’t tell them yet.   I know this little bump in their week will soon pass and their days will be filled with friend time again.  I remember how exhausted they were everyday after I would pick them up from school.  5 mins into our greeting they would whine about not wanting to do their chores when they got home, how non of their other friends had to do chores.  They didn’t want to do their piano practice because they were too tired.  They wanted food and water right away because they were famished, so we would eat junk food on the way to our next location.  I remember fighting through homework time, chore time, piano time, finally counting down the hours to bed time!  This is not the kind of lifestyle I am excited about getting back into.

From my perspective, with the big picture view, I see a balanced environment that my husband and I are blessing our children with.  All I can do is hope and pray that all of these sacrifices and lifestyle choices we are making for our children will pay off in the end and they will one day look back and see the big picture too.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes