Monday, July 21, 2014

My "friend", Jen Hatmaker + GIVEAWAY!

Okay…my close friends (well anyone who I am friends with on Facebook!)  know that I LOVE the author, blogger, mother, teacher; Jen Hatmaker.  I even got to pick her up from the airport as she was speaking at conference for my church.
This is a text I received from my friend, Zach before I picked her up….

 So I was COOL. Well, maybe! 

This women has CHANGED my life and continues to do with each blog post she writes!  Did you read her post on Valentine’s Day? I must of read it 100 times!

 Jen Hatmaker recently re-released her book, Interrupted. I am so excited to share a bit about this book with you and the impact it has had on my life.

Almost five years ago I went through a personal crisis. I was dealing with the aftermath of some really stupid (for lack of a better word) decisions I had been making. I was lonely, scared, anxious, thought that Jesus could never forgive me, and embarrassed by it all. I spent about a year and half in counseling trying to recover. It was a rough time in my life. I had few friends during that time, but they were amazing people that stood by me as I figured life out and talked and talked and journaled and journaled  as I figured out why I did what I did (many times over). I am so grateful for those people who spoke TRUTH into my life during this time when it was pretty dark.

A couple of years later I was doing better, much better. I had a job I loved! A super group of kiddos in my class and some terrific parents to work with, and  wonderful co-workers. I was figuring out things, but still dealing with anxiety and panic attacks, but they were less. In some ways I kinda of thought the panic attacks were the “cross I was to bear” for the dumb things I had done.

I picked up the book So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore and just loved it. This was not a book I could just sit and read in one sitting, as it was SO MUCH to process. During the same time I came across the book  Seven by Jen Hatmaker.  I was thinking WHO IS THIS LADY? I would literally LAUGH OUT LOUD as I was reading it!  I met for lunch with a dear friend and we talked for a couple of hours about what I was learning through these books. Deb then let me know that Jen had ANOTHER book out Interrupted and she told me “YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!”

I left lunch that day and I went to the local coffee shop, found a comfy chair, and purchased Interrupted on my Kindle. I sat there for eight hours as I read this life-changing book. I would stop to refill My coffee and send off an email (OR FIVE) to Deb about how great this book was, but that was about it.

WHAT DID I LEARN? What am I learning?

*Tension is not a BAD thing and we can learn SO MUCH FROM IT!

Living on mission is about WHO! For me, right now, those are my neighbors!

*Barefoot Church-Let's come as we are 
Jen and her husband, Brandon, had a tremendous experience of giving up their beloved cowboy boots (I know it sound silly, but you gotta read it! IT IS POWERFUL).  I as well had my “Barefoot Church” experience.  A couple of weeks after finishing up reading “Interrupted” I left on a missions trip for Haiti with High School students from my church. Here is an exert from the blog post…

 “A lady was kneeling with two little ones at her side and one little sitting her lap. She was braiding her hair, or at least trying to, I don’t think the little one wanted it braided. She pointed to her feet and asked if she could have my shoes.  I just walked away, as I didn’t know what to do. One of the Haitian leaders asked me what she said and I told him. I asked him, “Should I give her my shoes?” and he said, “She most likely needs them.”  Zach came up and asked me what was going on and I told him. He said, “Do you want to give her your shoes?”  I told him yes.

Now here is the thing, theses were my very nice, beloved shoes! My comfort shoes, these were not the $1.00 flip flops that I purchased before the trip. I LOVE THESE SHOES.

Zach said he would walk over with me. We walked back and I took off my shoes right at her feet. The lady said, “Merci” and she put on the shoes. We walked away and our leaders were so worried about me walking barefoot. They said that the gravel, glass filled road would be a problem. They also said that there are tree branches with thorns and the thorns were all over the road. I walked about  5 minutes. My feet were hurting, hurting badly. I already had cuts from the sharpness of the rocks and the thorns…just in 5 minutes!

The night before we left for Haiti I had prayed, “Lord please let me give until it HURTS!”  In my mind it was more of a mental hurting for what I would see, but here it was, I am hurting physically.

For the next two years in ANY conversation I had Jen’s book “Interrupted” would somehow come up! (how did that happen?). How can I live a missional life? What does that mean for me? And the list goes on and on. 

A few things came up for me pretty quickly, but it was not easy to implement.

1)       Foster Care- I am a single gal who will be turning 40 next year (AHHHHHHH). I LOVE kids! I want my own kids! Foster to Adopt seemed like a great option form  me. I had several friends praying for  me as I went through the 12 weeks of Foster Care classes. It was a HUGE amount of work and PAPERWORK (agh!), but in September of 2012 I received my official certificate! I mostly do respite care  (just on the weekends). This has been a hard and amazing journey for me. I love, loving on kiddos! I have a kiddo who is coming to stay with me for a few days…excited about pool time, zoo time, and cookie making time! As a single gal, my time is MY TIME. God really has worked with me on NOT being selfish, making sure that when I have kids in my home they are my priority…not my instagram account!

2)      My Neighborhood- THIS is SO HARD FOR ME. I can hang out with kids ALL DAY LONG, but adults make me a bit nervous. Stepping out of my comfort zone is NOT EASY.  I created a neighborhood map and placed it on my fridge so that as I learned things about my neighbors I would write it down and then use that information to help them out! For example, one of my neighbors is a single mom and has three wonderful kids! She LOVES brownies! It is pretty easy for me to make a batch of brownies and take them to her. I  love doing Random Acts of Kindness, but this is NOT about RAKS. This is about developing RELATIONSHIPS with my neighbors! It takes TIME…a lot of time. BUT it is well worth it. So well worth it. You gotta check out the book The Art of Neighboring ….such a great help to me! 

3)      My Classroom- SO how does this message of Missional Living work in my classroom? (By the way, did you know that Jen was a 4th grade teacher? She LOVES teachers...check out this love note she left us).  I teach at a public school so talking about Jesus is not an option. BUT developing RELATIONSHIPS is an option. Helping my students understand that we should LOVE PEOPLE is an option. So we went on an adventure of MISSIONS this past year. My kids loved it when the theme music to “Mission Possible” comes on as they know that means we have a task to complete to HELP others.
My dear student, Joey,  would always name each of our missions “Operation Snickerdoodle” or “Operation Snowman” or my favorite “Operation Coffee Cart” 

At the end of the school year when we wrote and drew pictures of our “Top Ten Learning Experiences” of my 20 kids, 19 put down on one of their spaces one of our “Missions” …..that is just plain awesome. I get to loop with my students this school year so I am looking forward to more and more missions and more missions with depth. 

4)      Healthy Carmen- This past eight monthsI have been on a healthy adventure and I really do feel it is all part of this missional journey! I am able to do SO MUCH MORE now that I am eating well, exercising, and loosing weight. That developing relationships part is much easier, when you LOVE YOURSELF. It is much easier when you are not dealing with panic attacks (not one in eight months)!  Praise Jesus on that!

I look at the school year ahead of me and think about how will I live on mission in my classroom? in my school?  in my community? In my neighborhood? In my home? So much to think about and pray about, but I don’t want to just be sitting…I want to BE DOING! I can't do it all, but I don't have to.

I am excited that my friends at Tyndale have a  copy of “Interrupted” for me to raffle off! A winner will be chosen on Friday.  Just leave a blog post comment on what have you been learning this summer!

I hope you have a wonderful day, 


  1. I've been reading Donalyn Miller's Book Whisperer and learning how to get my students to want to read.

    1. Oh I LOVE that book! I actually read the pages about FAKE Reading Vs REAL reading out loud to my students last year. IT was our classroom to a T...including me yelling "why are you not reading!"

  2. I have been learning to let go this summer - of expectations and obligations - and just 'be'. I have been focusing on intentional friendships for myself and for my children.
    Coincidentally, I have never seen the movie Frozen but maybe I should watch it?

    1. LOL! I actually don't like that song AT ALL, but that is whole other story! Intentional important. I worry about kids in this generation...will they have REAL friends...or will they just be through Instagram? Prayers for you as you do this! So important!

  3. I loved seeing your soul through this post. We are always learning (and relearning), aren't we? I am learning that my heart has a passion for so many things, but my mind/body/spirit/relationships are unable to withstand it all. I am learning that God has a plan for my life, bigger than I can process. I have always believed that HE has been the thread weaving my life together, but I am learning to SEE that thread and what it has and continues to make. I am learning to act when I feel called. I have found this to be a lonely place sometimes, so I often have to remind myself that God is still right here by my side and I am NEVER alone.

  4. Oh wow...this post touched my heart in so many ways! I absolutely loved reading about foster parenting, and the MISSIONS in your classrooms. For me, the hardest lessons (that I'm still trying to learn) are knowing that He has a plan, and I have to trust that...always...and to learn to just be content. So much easier said than done, right?! Thanks for your inspiration...and for the story about giving your shoes. You had me in tears!!

    First Grade Fairytales

    1. Oh Kelly! You are just SO sweet! I so agree with you...trusting that HE does have a plan is so hard at times! I have really been working on "being content" ...I think that looks differently in different seasons of your life! Love ya friend! Carmen

  5. I am learning not to sweat the small things and that everything is in God's hands.
    Love the story about the shoes, very moving.

    1. Good for you Toni! So hard at times! I hope you have a great day!

      Blessings, Carmen

  6. I LOVE Jen Hatmaker too! So cool that you were able to meet her! We read 7 this past spring in our bible study, and WE LOVED IT!! I can't wait to read more by her! ! I will have to go out and get her other books you recommended!!

    Mrs. 3rd Grade 

    1. Oh didn't you just LOVE 7! I reread certain chapters all the time! Right now the chapter on Media is really hitting home with me...been on my laptop WAY tooooo much this summer!
      I hope you have a great day!

  7. I have been teaching 3rd grade summer school. I'm also a new follower!