In Episode 10 of “Get to the Good Stuff”, Nicole Newson talks about the Newson Family Mission Statement. Here is the mission statement in it’s entirety. Thanks to Nicole and Wes for sharing with us!
Nicole’s episode is available at Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Newson Family Mission Statement
We, the Newson Family, will focus on and live a lifestyle that upholds godliness, family, love, health, legacy, and success.
We will do so by receiving and applying information from correct sources, associating with positive influences, and having the courage to impact others people’s lives in order to build them up for the edification of God’s Kingdom.
Last night at a peace and prayer rally, our 6 month old Henry was mesmerized by the beautiful black girls around us. He smiled at them and laughed at them and would not take his eyes off of them.
I leaned down and whispered in his ear, “Aren’t those girls so beautiful?”
While I’m aware that at 6 months of age, he doesn’t really know what I’m saying but he hears the tone of my voice when I speak to and about African Americans in our community as we greet one another at church or in passing them on the street. He senses the calmness in my demeanor as we find ourselves in a crowd where we are the minority. He sees how I smile at people who don’t look like us. And while I spend a majority of my awake hours feeling like I don’t have a clue how to parent this child and that there are a lot of things I will get wrong but this is one thing I am trying to get right.
I pray he is always mesmerized by the way God’s creation is magnified by it’s diversity.
Last night’s event was held in a big parking lot of a majority black church just south of my city. We sang, we praised, we mourned, we listened. I was reminded last night that while I know that the pain from the brokenness of this world will not be wiped away by legislation but by the return of Jesus, He is calling us stand with our brothers and sisters in the fight for racial equality just as he is leading us to hold hands in prayer for Jesus to heal our land.
What I’m seeing among the Church today is division between either fighting for social justice OR leaning on the sufficiency of the gospel and I’m here to tell you, friends, that we don’t have to choose. The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He is reconciling us to himself, to be made more like him and hear me say – Jesus stood in the gap for his children. So please do fall at the feet of Jesus and pray that Thy Kingdom come and Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven because the place that Jesus has gone to prepare for us is one of equality where every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is God.
Racism is a heart issue, it is a sin issue and Church, the repentance must start with us. We pray for God to heal our land but he tells us clearly in scripture that it starts with the people of God repenting and turning from sin. It starts with us. We can’t expect anyone to lend an ear to hear the gospel when we are unwilling to hear and respond to their plight.
We do not have to choose between social justice and the sufficiency of the gospel. We can both be people of prayer and people standing for equality among all of God’s children. There is no room for division here, Church. And dare I say we are hindering the Kingdom work that God has called us to when we ignore the injustice of the communities we’re called to serve.
It starts with us. It starts with our hearts, on our knees, in our homes, and on our streets.
This morning as I was watching church from my couch like so many others, the song “Way Maker” was being sung by the worship team. With a heavy heart, I began to wonder, “Lord, how do we keep singing this song when it feels like you’re not making a way?” Because if we’re honest, and I believe he wants us to come with an honest heart, sometimes it feels like he’s not making a way, like he’s not working the miracle we’re praying for, like he’s not keeping his promises, like he’s not providing light for these dark days.
His presence came rushing over me with every lyric of this song. He knows when times are hard and we’re in pain. He knows when we’re grieving. He knows when we’re anxious. He knows when we’re tired. And he knows that this world is broken and that this is not our home. Friends, HE IS making a way. He is working miracles. His promises for salvation are always yes and amen. He IS the light in the darkness. It’s not just what he does but it’s who he is and even when we can’t see that he’s working, we can have faith in the midst of fear and death and pain that He never stops working.
We keep singing. Even when it’s hard and our shoulders are heavy because it’s when we keep moving forward and keep singing that we feel his presence and find his rest. Sometimes our hearts need the reminder that the song provides so keep singing, friends. He is faithful to work all things for His glory and our good even when we can’t see it.
**This was written in honor of Stephanie Jones, who never stopped singing and who is worshipping at the feet of Jesus this morning.**
One of my all time favorite things to eat is a good pasta salad. Whether it comes on the side of my sandwich for lunch or I end up eating the whole bowl for dinner, I love pasta salad. One day when I was making the typical boxed bacon and ranch pasta salad mix, I thought about all the things in my fridge and pantry that would be good in the salad and out came what I like to call “Casey’s Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad”. Enjoy!
Casey’s Kitchen Sink Pasta Salad
Grab pasta salad from the store and prepare according to box.
Allow pasta salad mixture to chill for about an hour.
Add one can of drained, rinsed black beans.
Add one can of drained whole kernel corn.
Add a bunch of halved cherry tomatoes.
Add one can of green chilis with the juice.
Add seasonings – salt/pepper, crushed red pepper
Add shredded cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Mix everything well and let chill for another hour.
**other things that would be good if you need to use up stuff in your fridge/pantry – shredded or thinly sliced carrots, celery, black olives, leftover chopped chicken, broccoli**
**I wrote this three weeks ago and while the events that have transpired since rightfully demand our full attention, I felt this might shed some light on a shift in perspective that I feel is deeply necessary for the Church to step into important spaces and conversations that are in need of the healing power of Jesus. The shift in perspective that I believe is needed among Christians today is one that focuses our eyes on the Kingdom work of Jesus – and let’s be clear – there is no place in our hearts for racism when our eyes are fixed on Jesus and the ministry of reconciliation in which we are all called.**
We need a shift in perspective.
Yeah that feels about right.
Over the last several weeks, I’ve watched people (virtually, of course) place their stakes in the ground surrounding their political opinion. I’m always astonished by the Christians and their seemingly allegiance to party agenda/narrative over all. I’ve spoken publicly about this before and yet it still amazes me how a group of people called to be united by and for the love of Jesus Christ can be so divisive, so hateful and so self-centered.
Now that I have that off my chest and have your attention, let me peel back a layer or two and share one of the foundational missteps I’m seeing among my brothers and sisters in Christ —> we’ve lost perspective. And the perspective we’ve lost somewhere along the way is this : all that we are and all that we do should be in light of Kingdom work for the salvation of souls.
We study scripture to grow in relationship with Jesus in order to be molded in his likeness as the word transforms our hearts and renews our minds. We do so with a hope that as we walk with Jesus, the Holy Spirit will draw those in our path closer to Him. It’s for the salvation of souls.
We establish discipleship strategies in our churches not as a way to babysit our kids or fill a block of time before service and in the middle of the week. It’s so that we all grow as disciples who make disciples according to God’s Kingdom work for the salvation of souls.
We worship and fellowship together in community because it unites us in the Spirit and that spurs us on toward faithful living for the salvation of souls.
We work hard and are good stewards of our homes, finances and jobs so that what has been given to us is returned to be multiplied by the Father in order to continue the ministry that he has given us all – you guessed it : the salvation of souls.
And you may wonder how this applies to politics and it’s because God does not care about our politics. He cares about our hearts and when our perspective is set on the salvation of souls, we will be less focused on personal liberties and more focused on the well-being of the general public because that is the type of loving and sacrificing example that was set by our Jesus that gives us the security of our salvation.
His word says in John 13:35 that the world will know us by our love for one another so I’m here to lovingly ask that we unite in the love of Christ, shift our perspective away from ourselves and back to Jesus and the life that he has called us to live – in relationship with him, bringing others along with us.
People often question if our faith and our politics can co-exist and I believe it should in the same way our faith is intertwined in our relationships, in our careers, and in the way we live our lives – through the lens of Christ and the life he has called us to live.
We will not all agree on the best way to flesh this out but I’m certain that if we shift our perspective away from ourselves, we will be more loving in our disagreements and will grow in the likeness of Jesus.
Let’s shift our perspective back to Christ and align our hearts with his. And his heart longs for the salvation of souls.
As I put my baby boy to bed last night, my spirit was heavy. Up until that point, I had not allowed the information I’d received regarding George Floyd’s death to seep from my head to my heart.
I rocked my son to sleep and sang a familiar tune, “red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
And as I sang to my white son, I thought about the Church and our response to racism in our country. I’m certain all Christ followers would tell you they believe that Jesus does love all the little children of the world but what about when those children grow into men?
At what point is there a shift in Jesus’ sight where people of color are no longer precious and are now seen as scary, vile or dangerous? I assure you, there is no such shift.
George Floyd is precious in Jesus’ sight.
I wept as I thought about his family, his community, and my black brothers and sisters as they mourn. And while I mourn with them, the ability to receive that information early in the day and choose not to process it until hours later is a privilege.
As a white woman, I could remain detached from the situation. I could look away. I could chalk it up to not having the full story and the reason why that’s possible is because the looming threat that lurks over the shoulders of Black America is not a weight I carry unless I choose to do so. That is a privilege.
It’s time – actually it’s past time – that we as White Americans rise up and against the burdens cast on the black community by centuries of injustice in this country.
It’s a privilege to have a choice to make in this instance so let’s choose to carry the burdens of our black brothers and sisters.
Let’s choose to link arms.
Let’s choose to speak up against racial injustice.
And if you don’t know how to leverage your privilege, pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you because He has already called us the ministry of reconciliation and He is faithful to lead us in that work if we will choose to step up and step into where He is at work.
I’m a firm believer that the road to racial reconciliation starts in our hearts, in our homes and on our street.
It starts with humility.
It starts with empathy.
It starts with repentance.
It starts with seeing one another as image bearers of God the Father who’s beauty is magnified through the diversity of his creation.
Our black brothers and sisters are looking to us to stand with them and support them in the same fight they’ve been fighting for far too long.
So many daughters and sons mourning the loss of their mothers.
So many mothers who have tragically lost their children.
So many women who long to be mothers but have yet to be.
So many women who have lost babies before they were held in your arms.
So many adoptive mamas waiting to meet their babies.
So many foster moms whose babies have left their home but not their heart.
So many children with strained relationships with their mothers.
So many mothers whose children have pushed them away.
So many women who chose to give up their babies yet still ache when this day rolls around.
So many other instances and circumstances that make this day heavy for so many and I want you to hear me say, it’s ok. You’re not alone.
It’s ok not to celebrate.
It’s ok to go all out.
It’s ok to turn off your phone.
It’s ok to like every single Mother’s Day post you see.
It’s ok to remind people that this day is hard for you.
It’s ok to grieve.
Create space to feel what you’re feeling. This pain doesn’t just surface on Mother’s Day, it’s constant and is simply amplified when the second Sunday in May rolls around so hear me say, it’s ok. You’re not alone.
My heart is hurting with you with a wide array of emotions and if in the midst of the Mother’s Day posts and family photos, you feel lonely and overwhelmed, know that it’s ok. You’re not alone.
I wrote this blog post in July of 2016 shortly after Alton Sterling was killed. I can remember the nervous energy that pulsed through my veins as I finally wrote down the words I’d felt in my heart for years. I remember the even stronger nervous nausea that I felt as I hit publish on my little space on the internet. I don’t even know if I shared it right away on social media because I was so scared to speak up as a white woman.
I am no longer scared. And I urge you to set aside any hesitations you have that hold you back from speaking out regarding the racial injustice that is rampant in our country. Position your privilege. Use your voice. Write that email. Sign that petition. Call that Senator. Our silence is not only making it worse but our silence is the problem.
7/6/2016: My husband and I watched the video of Alton Sterling being shot while being pinned down on the ground by two police officers in Baton Rouge, LA, last night. I recall thinking, “What is wrong with these people?” and then I rested comfortably and fell asleep. I didn’t do anything, I was upset that this has happened YET AGAIN and I went to sleep. It’s like I’m numb to it now. Black people are slaughtered in the street so frequently that I’m not even moved to say a word any more because I feel so helpless that I just go to bed. There’s a problem here. And I think it lies in folks just like me.
See, I never have to worry that my husband could be pulled over for a busted tail light and be shot and killed. I don’t have to worry that my nephew could be out on his normal run, just training for cross country, and be mistaken as if he’s running from the police and be shot and killed.
And it’s because we’re white.
And the problem lies in my silence.
I’m white and I don’t carry those fears and I feel so completely helpless when these things happen ALL of the time that I say nothing!
White friends, we MUST link arms with our black brothers and sisters and stand with them and proclaim that Black Lives DO Matter!! And I think that there are some of us that think that this is just a black issue and that we need to stay out of it but that’s the problem!
We need our pastors to speak out about this.
We, as a Christian community, need to unite as the body in which we were created and stand up for justice.
We must set aside our political agenda and stop swinging to the right and to the left and start fighting for an issue that is right in front of us.
So, when you see #BlackLivesMatter being plastered around, they are NOT saying that your life does not. They are not putting themselves of more importance than others. They are not saying that ONLY Black Lives Matter. And I hear people say that they feel this way but you have to take yourself out of the equation and recognize that this is not about you.
The fear is real and we can no longer turn a blind eye to the lives of those that killed and those who were acquitted of those charges.
Those protesting are taking a stand. And we should be standing with them. And unless we are standing up and rallying around the issue at hand, our silence is making it worse by not acknowledging that there is a real problem.
So I’m calling out to all of us who feel helpless and like we don’t have a voice here because the pigmentation of our skin doesn’t match those being wronged in this instance – we do!
I’ve been doing some cooking over the past two months of being at home. My favorite recipe that I’ve made – and I’ve made it 3 times now – was inspired after Mark Whitt posted a photo of the gallon of Demo’s chicken and rice soup. His post reminded me of how much I miss Demo’s so I found a copycat recipe.
I think this has just been shared so many times that it doesn’t even have an original link so I do apologize to whomever originally posted this recipe. The pin only includes this photo. I’ve posted a few tweaks I made that made it even better below.
The first tweak I made was to add more butter up front. The recipe calls for 1 tbsp but I use at least 3 to get things started. I found when I used less, I ended up adding more in the end for the flavor so it’s just easier when making your roux to add more butter on the front end.
I didn’t have any wine on hand and just left it out and I didn’t miss it in this recipe.
I use one both of chicken broth which is an extra cup of broth and once we let the soup simmer, having the extra broth helped with the consistency since the rice will soak up a lot of your broth.
If you do not have cooked rice on hand and want to just let the rice cook in the soup, I think it tastes better that way but you’ll want to add a significant amount of extra broth or water since liquid will evaporate the longer it cooks as your rice gets tender.
I sub heavy cream of half and half for the milk when I have it on hand and I always think that makes a difference in flavor and making it extra creamy.
This last time that I made this recipe, I had some mushrooms in my fridge so I sliced up several and threw them in along with the chicken and seasonings and we really loved that added texture if you’re someone who loves mushrooms like we do.
It’s not exactly Demo’s but it’s pretty dang close! It would probably be closer if I had Demo’s rolls! Maybe I’ll shoot for them next time! Enjoy! 🙂