Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Hi Friends. Hope that you are all well! Mandy and I have been talking about creating a new blog for our friends to create a on-line community of friends and family who are interested in healthy living, green practices,great recipes on a budget,snacks for toddlers,making your own bread, gardening, etc....for families and for singles. We need to know if this is something that you are interested in and if this type of on-line community is of interested. I know there are tons out there- it would just be something fun for our friends and growing community of people with families who desire healthy, simple living. We would LOVE to hear from you. The idea is to hopefully post daily or every two days with new recipes, snack, lunch and dinner ideas, in addition to anything to do with healthy living. We would also love to entertain any other ideas or thoughts for those who work inside and outside the home.We would love to hear your feedback, ideas and what is practical for you. We think it could be a great way to be apart of daily living with each of you. So if you have read this- we would love your ideas and feedback before we get started! Thanks! The Schlenker/Stewart Girls!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How can you not love these two?????

Here are a few pictures of Mandy and Eli over the Holidays. I thought they were beautiful shots, so I thought I would share with you. These two have obviously blessed my life as my brother and sister and how literally they have blessed and poured their lives out to thousands of people. I am so encouraged by the way these two live by faith, exude joy, genuinely love the Lord and love others and make choices to put their family first. I just returned from the World Missions Summit in Ohio. Mandy and Eli flew me out there to be apart of their weekend. It was INCREDIBLE to see the broader scope of how they are impacting lives by they way they live. Eli lead worship for the conference- at one point I was absolutely overwhelmed by God's outpouring and as I stood back and looked at my brother as he humbly lead over 4,000 people in worship- I wept at what God will accomplish through a willing spirit and broken attitude. I met Eli when I was 22 in Durango, Co. To see what God has and will continue to do through these two in pretty incredible. I had sweet evenings with these two just talking, laughing and just being together. Mandy and Eli encourage me to continue pressing in and live for the kingdom.......

Monday, January 5, 2009

A friend of my Mary posted this. My heart was stirred, feeling many of the same things. I just returned from the World Missions Summit in Ohio. It was an incredible moving time- where lives where lives were really transformend. I loved what Mary had to say....

Well, it’s 2009! This simple statement means so many things to me… for one, it means that I have to get used to writing a new date on checks and letters – something that generally takes me until about April to get right. And this year it means a big high school reunion since I graduated (back in the last century) in 1989! I can’t really explain to you how seeing the invitation to your 20th high school reunion in your inbox feels – a funny mixture of excitement, sadness, relief, regret, and general hilarity mixes up within you all at once. 2009 means that I will have a teenager in my home - unbelievable! But most of all it means that we get a brand new, unsullied, unspoiled, shining new year.

This, to me, is one of the best times of the whole year. I love it! It’s like kids at school – every August when they come back after summer break, for one brief moment everyone is a straight A student. The slate has been wiped clean and everyone gets another chance to try harder, do better, and really get ready for all those tests that are bound to come along. The seasons and the calendar are such a beautiful reminder and representation of God’s grace. The Bible says that God makes all things new, and that His mercies are new every morning. We are not fatalists! We are not destined to be trapped for our whole lives in the patterns we have set, or bound up in the baggage that we have collected over the years. There is always hope and there is always grace.

I love to spend some time at the beginning of each year in some serious self-evaluation. What is it about myself that I would like to be different? What are the things about myself that just drive me crazy? Benjamin Franklin once made a remarkable statement: “Who is strong? He who conquers his bad habits.” And there you have it!

I am writing this in a hotel room in downtown Cincinnati, on the last day of the World Missions Summit. This is a gathering for the history books – thousands of young men and women are here, and they really are going to change the world. Never before has there been such a generation of people who are so ready to see real and lasting change - not content with just the same old thing, the same old world. They really are going to go to the ends of the earth with the gospel, and the world really will be different because of it.

But what about me, and what about today? My country, my state and city, my church, my family, myself? There is certainly much room for improvement in all of these areas, and I cannot justify waiting on some super missionary or evangelist to breeze in and make everything better. And I cannot fool myself into thinking that if I have given my life to ministry, that somehow excuses me from working on my own life and overcoming my own faults. I can’t help but think that the job of seeing real and lasting change all over the world would happen faster and be more effective if all of us as believers would clean up our own house.

People are drawn to real Christianity. When believers live as Christ would have us live – in health, full of the Spirit and full of love for one another – powerful things happen. But we are content to live day after day, year after year in the same old mess. What if everyone of us, as a follower of Jesus, just tackled one bad habit or character flaw each year? What if we made it our business to really become more like Jesus, and not just talk about it? What if we worked on and mastered our anger, our jealousy, our bitterness, our out-of-control appettites, our backbiting, our laziness, our lack of self-contol – just to name a few – and conquered one bad habit a year?

We are not slaves to our sin any longer. Read the book of Romans again – Paul puts it so plainly and makes it so easy to understand. He gives the example of a married woman, who is bound to her husband as long as they both live. If he dies, she is released from that bond to him. Of course, she could choose to go on living as though bound to her husband, but in reality she is free from any tie to him…he is gone. That is the way it is with us and our sin – we used to be bound to it, unable to walk away or be free of sin no matter what. But that old person is dead when we come to Jesus – we are not contractually bound to our sin any longer! We can choose to live as though we were, but we do not have to. Think about that!

Who is strong? He who conquers his bad habits. I challenge you to pick just one for 2009 – that’s what I’m going to do. What is the big one? What holds you down the most? What about you pushes people away from Jesus the most? Make that your business this year. The Holy Spirit is with you and in you – you know that He will help you master this thing – that is His business, to help us be more like Jesus! I want to change the world, don’t you? Join me as I start by working on myself.