I Am the Problem with the Church


vine Painting by Joey Kikke 

I have been going to church my entire life. Ever since I was a child, I have never felt that I actually belonged to any of the churches that my family attended. There seemed to always have been this “inner circle” that was off-limits; this perfection that I could never quite attain.

As a child, fitting in was difficult, especially in church. I didn’t wear the same type of clothes they did, look the same way or even act the way they did. Half of me loved going to church because I loved worship and learning more about God but the other half hated it because of the people.

I carried this thought process into adulthood. I thought that I had to look and act a certain way in order to be accepted in church. I always smiled and greeted people happily, even if I was tired or had a bad day. I always tried to dress up and wear make up to feel the part. You know the adage “fake it ’til you make it”? That was the church me. It was all about faking my life to impress other people.

Then, it changed. Then, I was transparent. Then, I told my story. All at once, there was this difference. Other people came up and thanked me for talking about the reality of my situation because they didn’t feel alone now. WOW. Other people felt left out? Other people felt alone? I thought that church people were “perfect”? This was my light bulb moment.

Church is not about perfect people coming to impress other people. I totally missed the point. Church is about lost, hurt, scared, depressed, addicted, imperfect people reaching out to Jesus and living life with other people who will help lift them up.

We need to stop with all the nonsense. We, as women specifically, need to stop believing that perfection is the end goal. We need to stop living like we have it all together. We need to stop living like we don’t need help. We need to stop living like we don’t need a savior. Because, believe me, not one of us has it all together. We all struggle, we all need help, we all need each other. We all need a savior.

So, I am tired of being the problem. I am not going to fake it anymore. It is time that we, as a church, stand up and speak truth into each other’s lives; to stop pretending we are someone or somewhere that we just aren’t. Jesus came to save us as we were still sinners, in no way did he save us after we reached perfection. Why then, would we ever want to make other people feel any differently? Feel like outsiders in a “perfect”church world?

A wise man once told me, “Don’t put your faith in me, I will fail you every time. Put your faith in God.” That is what I missed. People are not to be impressed, but to be loved with honesty, truth and transparency. It’s time to genuinely live for him. It is time to be the branches.

Good Friday Projects for Kids

There are a lot of brilliant kid friendly projects out there, especially on Pinterest land. While I was searching for some fun things to do for Good Friday, I found two great hands-on activities. Both are unique ways of explaining the events of Good Friday!

The first one that we found awe-inspiring is a simple “experiment” to show the littles what happened when Jesus died on the cross. You will need:

  • a glass plate
  • a shiny penny
  • some colored water (we used water tinted with a tad of soy sauce)
  • a candle
  • matches or a lighter
  • a glass cup


Place the penny on the plate and explain that the penny represents all of us. Then slowly pour the colored water over the penny until there is enough that covers the penny. Explain that the colored water represents sin and that we were all covered in it.


Next, put the candle on the plate with the water surrounding it and light the candle. Explain that the candle represents Jesus and the lit flame is his life.


After the candle has warmed the air around enough (about 5 seconds), cover the lit candle with the glass cup explaining that the glass represents the crucifixion. Doing this will cause the flame to go out and create a vacuum sucking up the water around the candle. Explain that once Jesus died, all of our sins were taken away.


The kids LOVED this one and they kept taking turns putting the glass over the candle to see the water get sucked up!

The second project we did today was a watercolor resistant painting of the cross. You will need:

  • White paper
  • White Crayons
  • Watercolor paint
  • Water
  • Paint brushes

Before the kids get started painting, take each paper and draw a cross with white crayon. Press pretty hard otherwise it doesn’t show up well after painting it.


After you are done with drawing the crosses, let the kids come to the table. I didn’t tell my kiddos what the mystery drawing was so that they had to uncover it! You should have the paper (with the crosses already drawn), paint, brushes and water set up for them.

Let them sit down and paint their paper to discover the secret message! It is a fun way to discuss Good Friday even further.

Hope you enjoy your day and if you celebrate, Happy Easter! If not, happy weekend!



Go West Ruff Family!


As a part of our school year, we traveled by car (agh!!) from Wisconsin to South Dakota. Driving gave us the ability to visit a ton of different spots along the way to our bigger destination of Mount Rushmore! The kiddos loved this trip and, if I’m totally honest, I loved it too. Some highlights (that the kids enjoyed) included:


Wall Drug! This place is literally a tourist stop and shop, but a well placed one. Every single one of the kids loved stopping here on the way there and the way back. They have just about everything for the hungry traveler. From 5 cent coffee to a full restaurant. And they always offer free ice water! There are a ton of picture opportunities at Wall Drug too, including a fake Mount Rushmore. There is also a random T-Rex dinosaur that pops up and roars at you. To this day, my youngest son talks about the “scary dinosaur that made him run away” to just about anyone that asks!


Bear Country is in Rapid City and a must see if you ever happen to be in town! Bear Country is basically an open range zoo for animals from bears and antelope to mountain lions and buffalo. Visitors drive their cars (with the windows up and doors locked!) through each animal enclosure and view the animals. We were able to see wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, antelope, buffalo and of course bears! The animals, all except the mountain lions, could walk right up to your car. Some bears and buffalo got pretty close to us and the kids went nuts! After driving through the open range areas, there is a small zoo that you are able to walk through which holds animals like skunks, badgers, bear cubs, deer and wolves. Definitely a favorite in our family!

Mount Rushmore was an amazing stop for the adults and the kids! Obviously, there is the Mount itself and our four wonderful Presidents on it. But there is also a great museum that teaches so much history about the process of carving Mount Rushmore and the Presidents represented on it. Of course there is also a little cafe and souvenir shop, which we also enjoyed! The kids learned so much history in the short time we were there. I tried to snap a good picture to capture this moment, this is what I got, lol!

We also visited Crazy Horse, a Pow Wow and Lakota museum, the Corn Palace and three different Laura Ingalls Homestead museums (which will be a whole different post!). This was our first long distance road trip with the kids and I would recommend it to anyone! Hands on learning for sure!

DIY: Rustic Wedding Centerpieces


I have been a part of two weddings that have had a glamorous rustic theme. In both instances, there were a lot of projects that we did on our own. Today we are going to talk about three simple projects that can make any rustic wedding centerpiece uniquely amazing!

The three favorites that I have ventured to make on my own include painted mason jars, ruffled tissue paper flowers and wood block pictures.

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1. The mason jars! They are so easy it’s silly! I picked up different types of regular ole mason jars from second-hand stores. (That way they were cheaper and unique!) I suggest washing and drying them before starting to paint!

For the pictured mason jars, it just so happened that I had left over mint colored paint from painting our bathroom, so that’s what I used. The wedding colors were mint, gold and ivory! For the gold, I bought metallic gold paint from Wal-Mart. But, for you, any paint you want will do!

After you pick out the paint, simply use painters tape to make designs. For these particular jars, I taped in sections for the half painted ones and chevron angles for the jars with mint and gold. I found that if you want the jars completely one color, it’s best to paint the inside. Otherwise the designs are easier painted on the outside of the jar! Once they are all painted and dry, add some  twine for a more country feel!

 2. The tissue paper ruffled flowers! These are extremely easy! I picked white and tan for these flowers. You can pick whatever colors match your wedding and buy them at just about any retailer! After you pick your colors, stack the tissue paper on top of each other, using about 4-6 pieces per flower. Once stacked, fold the paper back and forth using a folding fan like method. The folds will vary depending on the size flower you want. For these flowers, I folded each flap about one inch. When you are all done folding, the tissue paper should look like an accordion.

To hold the paper together, I bought some floral wire and wrapped it around the middle of the paper. After you have wrapped the paper, the rest of the wire should look like a stem. Once held together, cut each end of the folded paper  in a half circle. This should make each end look rounded.

Now you should have the folded paper (accordion style) wrapped in the wire with a stem, with both paper ends rounded. Next, simply ruffle the paper out! Do this kind of gently because the tissue paper will rip. I used these flowers inside of the mason jars behind the wood block pictures of the couple!

3. The wood block pictures! Again, these look a lot harder than they actually are to make and they are a beautiful bold statement piece of the couple! The first thing that you need to do is figure out the size you want. For these pictures, I chose 8×10.

After that is all squared away, go to Home Depot, Menards or Loews and buy some lumber. Make sure that the width and length of the wood will work with the size and quantity of the pictures you want. Now, most places will cut the wood down for you (probably for some kind of small charge after the first cut). I am fortunate to have a handyman husband and he just cut it for me!

The pictures themselves can be printed right from your laser jet printer at home! You should use regular printer paper and regular ink for this project. If you use picture paper, it will be way to stiff to work with! You can also have them printed at Office Depot on regular paper.

Now, you should have the picture printed and the wood cut to size. The next step requires Mod Podge and a paint brush. First, paint some Mod Podge onto the wood itself. Next, Place and press the picture on the wood that is covered in Mod Podge. This step should be done carefully and slowly to avoid getting air bubbles underneath. Last, paint a light coat of Mod Podge on top of the picture, let that dry and add a second coat. Voila, a wood block picture!

Add them all together and you end up with a great, rustic centerpiece that is pretty cost-effective!

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