Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2010- I'm getting older!

Blanche: I have writer's block. It's the worst feeling in the world.
Sophia: Try ten days without a bowel movement sometime.

So, not that it's all about me or anything, but as 2010 approaches, it's really started hitting me that I'm almost 30! It's not so much that 30 sounds old, but it sure doesn't sound young as it gets closer and closer. I'm here to tell you that I'm seeing the signs. Maybe by the time it gets here in 2011, I'll be ready to accept it, but times are seriously changing!


1. I watch The Golden Girls a little more than I'm proud to admit. It's just who I am!


2. We keep Tums in the house and the car... at all times! You never know when you're gonna need them!


3. I skip the Bath and Body Works and go straight to the Vaseline Intensive Care lotion now.


I'm telling you, folks, it's on the horizon! I'm thinking it's officially time to start planning for baby #2. I'm not getting any younger!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Merry Christmas!

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Reflection

Well, I've been a bad blogger recently, mostly just due to the craziness from moving, unpacking, and preparing for the holidays and the fact that, sometimes, I just can't think of anything worth posting about. Of course, that implies that most of my posts are somewhat interesting... ha ha. At least I know that I mainly do this to clear my mind and get it all down on paper, if nothing else, just to document what I was thinking or doing throughout the seasons of my life.

With that said, Thanksgiving 2009 has come and gone and Christmas is 26 days away! You know, I'm so blessed and I really do have an endless list of things that make me so grateful. My life has been filled with so many examples of God's love for me, His provision, His guidance, His presence, and His power.

Like I've done in many Thanksgiving posts, here are just a few things I'm thanking my Father for tonight:

1. My husband- After 7 years of marriage and 4 years of dating, I can honestly say that I love James more and more each day. I'm so thankful that God put us together earlier than most and that He gave me the most amazing man out there. James is many things to me-my best friend, my companion, my lover, my partner, my other half. I can't imagine life without him and I am intoxicated by his very presence in a room. I love my James and I'm so blessed to be his wife!

2. Our son- I probably won't get through this without crying, but I can't help being nostalgic as I write tonight. It was 4 years ago tonight-the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2005- that we found out we were expecting Matthew. Looking back at the excitement of that moment, to his birth, to holding that sweet baby, to seeing him sit up for the first time, seeing him crawl, seeing him smile, hearing him laugh and talk for the first time, and everything from then to now, I am so thankful for every minute I have with him. He's growing up so fast on me; he's a little man now, but I'm loving every new phase and stage. I love the excitement he has when he's playing Thomas the Tank Engine, singing his VeggieTales songs, our conversations about everything from food to theology, and the effort he puts into being my big helper. There's so much more, but it's nearly midnight... I'm just so thankful for the privilege of being Matthew's mommy!

3. Staying home- I'm so thankful that God has provided a way for me to stay home with Matthew. I got my first job when I was 16 and was employed every day from then until August 7 of this year. God blessed our family with the opportunity for me to quit my job while our country is in a recession. While my job provided more than half of our income, God has provided for us and completely taken care of us as we took that leap of faith. Many people thought we were crazy, but we prayed about it for months and finally got the message that God was calling me to stay home. I'm so thankful that we were obedient. I love being able to focus myself on my family and embrace the roles that God has called me to: wife to James and mother to Matthew.

4. Liberty- I'm thankful for a new season and the amazing body of believers we've found at our church. I'm so thankful for the call that God has placed on our lives. I'm thankful for the impact they've made in our lives in such a short amount of time. I'm so thankful that God allows us to serve and I look forward to many years and seasons with our Liberty family.

In closing, I really am so blessed. I'll never fully understand why God chose me, but I'm so glad He did! I really am the most blessed person I know and I continue to be so undeserving. Thank you God for this journey, for my family, my friends, my opportunities to make a difference, and for loving me more than I'll ever deserve.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What Have You Been Doing Lately?

"What Have You Been Doing Lately?" is the title of one of my favorite Relient K songs. I can't help but hear this song running through my head when I look at some of the students we've known in our eight years of ministry.

I know the song probably sounds harsh, but sometimes you've got to be straight with people. This song is raw and real:

"Pardon me while I throw up. I guess some people never grow up. What happened to the salvation you claimed? It breaks my heart to see how much you've changed."

It's really sad though, because there are some who will break your heart. Some of these kids have turned out to be amazing young adults and are really doing wonderful things with their lives. However, there are some that changed over the years and found themselves consumed by the drama, drugs, and greed that runs rampant in our society today. I say this because one of our "kids" in our first ministry was in the paper this week after being booked on four counts of armed robbery. I wish I could tell you I'm stunned.

It's not just him-there are several others too who slowly started to care more about who the world tells you to be rather than who our Father calls us to be.

I'm praying for him-this boy- and the others to be able to turn their hearts and lives around and hear the Father calling them home to His loving arms again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Feeling at home already!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What we've been up to











Well, it feels like I haven't posted in forever, but it has been a really busy month. Between several things going on at church, catching up with family, and the every day stuff, we've had to squeeze in time to pack and paint! You got it, we're moving in a week! Here are a few photos to help you get the picture! Never fear... we'll be posting again soon!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Birthday James!


Because I know for a fact that few things make him happier than Dorothy and the gang, I had to send this shout out to my wonderfuly hubby on his 29th birthday.


You're amazing and I hope you have an amazing day! :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cake Catastrophe

I had a total meltdown this afternoon when I started frosting James' birthday cake. I've never had one totally tear apart like this. I decided to go ahead and do the piping and make the best I could out of it, but I really wasn't going to take it to church tonight. I was really upset about the crumbs. It didn't matter how many layers I put over the crumbs, they kept moving. I finally had to accept that it wasn't going to look any better than that.

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't a huge deal, but I was really emotional about it because this was the worst-looking cake I've ever done... and it was for the person who means more to me than anything in this world. I just wanted him to have an amazing cake and it crumbled everytime I touched it. My tip even got clogged a few times when I was piping, so even the piping wasn't up to par.

Oh well. Without further hesitation, I present the source of my meltdown:

Thomas Town




Needless to say, we had a great, but wet time at our Six Flags trip Saturday. Matthew deemed the entire park "The Island of Sodor." Any Thomas the Tank Engine fan would have been in heaven, just like our little one!


Friday, September 4, 2009

Dear Diary

As I continued my hunt for Relient K's Birds and the Beesides cd, I came across my first diary last night. Let me say first of all that I was so lame! I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly embarrassed I was to even read some of those things! Albeit there wasn't much room for details on any of the pages, I read enough to make myself cringe. There was nothing too bad, but lame is definitely the right word for the majority of it. I guess that's to be expected though. After all, I started writing in it in 1992-my expectations of myself can only be so high, right?

Anyway, reading through that diary last night showed me several things. I realized I was a "blogger" before blogs even existed. I got to see myself as a child/tweenager/teenager just trying to find my way and where I'm supposed to be. More importantly, I got reminded that God is in control of every aspect of our lives.

You see, while this seems so trivial looking back, I found traces of my deepest desires at those seasons of my life. Like any tweenage/teenage girl, my diary was infused with confessions about all of these silly boys I "loved." It didn't seem so silly at the time; I can remember some of them and how I would pray that God would bring us together or keep us together forever. Those pages were laced with my happy daydreams of how wonderful life would be if I married _________ (fill in the blank with an assortment of 20 different boys). God didn't answer most of those prayers the way I wanted when I was writing those pages. While I might have been devastated at the time, I'm so grateful that He didn't give me what I asked for back then.

This analogy is true in many, many aspects of our lives, but to keep it personal and relevant, God knew what He was doing when He blessed me with James. There is no other for me and I knew that pretty quickly when I met him. While I thought I knew what was best for me and my life and I thought I knew what would make me happier than I had ever known, God knew me and answered according to His will. I'm so thankful for that! My husband is more amazing than I could have ever dreamed and I find myself more and more in love with him with each day that passes. God is so good and He never forgets us.

In closing, the next time you think God isn't listening, remember that God does things according to His will and in His time. He always knows what's best for us and He's had a plan and purpose for us from the very beginning. His ways are bigger and better than we can ever imagine. While sometimes the road we walk to get there can be painful (because things don't happen the way we planned), in the words of Relient K, "the end will justify the pain it took to get us there" and it will be more amazing than we could have ever imagined.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hey, It's a good day!

Anyone remember that FFH song from a few years back? I think it was called "It's a Good Day." It's catchy, but it may even be a little too peppy in a Hanson "Mmm Bop" sort of way. Anyway, that's how I feel about the weekend-it's a good weekend! James and Matthew are napping, so I'm taking advantage of some time to reflect back on a busy, but wonderful weekend. I started off with Bunco night Friday night. It's always great to meet up once a month, play, and catch-up with the group.

Yesterday was busy enough to warrant a stunt double at one point, but it was great nonetheless. During Baby Leah's 1st birthday party, James and I had to scoot out: me to meet the girls in my family for girls night and James to the SLA festivities (PS3 football). I really had an awesome time hanging with the girls from my family. We just did the normal movie, dinner, and window shopping, but it was great to spend quality time with them. Life moves so fast for everyone. It's worth savoring when we all stop long enough to spend precious time with one another (even if it does involve viewing a love scene with Meryl Streep playing Julia Child, ick)!

I have to admit, though, I'm not one to stay up late these days. My normal bedtime ranges from 9:30-10:30 each night. It's just how I'm programmed. Can you believe I didn't get home until 11:30 last night? I even stayed up until 1:30! What a hooligan! Needless to say, despite my anticipation for another great day in the Lord's house, when the alarm went off this morning, I wasn't quite ready to roll out of bed. I finally put myself together this morning, but we stopped along the way to church to get some help for me. My setup for church this morning is in the picture below!

Anyway, our church service was great this morning and I'm really feeling great about the things God has in store for us. I feel Him moving in ways I've felt so many wonderful times before!

Overall, it's just been a great weekend in so many ways. God is so good to us and I'm so grateful for His hand in our lives! Hope everyone has a great week! Later... I'm going to see if I can add Mmm Bop to my playlist! ;)

Julie & Julia/ Emily & Rachael

I'm not obsessed with Rachael Ray or anything despite what anyone might have said about me at one time in my life. As far as the premise of the movie Julie & Julia, Rachael Ray is 100% the Julia in my life. I certainly mean no disrespect to legendary influence Julia Child has been on millions of cooks everywhere, but I have never even looked at one of her cookbooks or watched a complete episode of her show. Not even once! With that being said, she was a little "before my time," but I know that many of the chefs I watch today and go to for ideas were completely captivated by her. So, in many ways, I'm sure there's even a little of Julia in my kitchen indirectly.

James and I were married for about two years when we got cable. When I found Food Network and Rachael Ray located on channel 49 (it's since changed to 46 for me!), my life really did change. I hate to sound all melodramatic about it, but folks, she really taught me to cook! I cooked before I watched her and started collecting her cookbooks, but I really cooked once I found Rachael! She taught me that great meals don't have to be complicated or fancy-schmancy to be amazing. Even though my dad taught me to try new things as a teenager, as a wife cooking for her hubby (this was BM-Before Matthew, not the other gastrointestinal BM, sicko!), I just never tried to cook anything out of my comfort zone.

She taught me that you can do more than Hamburger Helper in 30 minutes! She helped me understand ingredients that I had never even heard of, much less tasted before. She helped me find the guts to cook pretty much anything. I'm not saying that we eat all of these diverse meals seven days a week, but I definitely have found my way out of the prepackaged box since then.

Today, I own more of her cookbooks that I can even think of right now and I have no intention of cooking my way through one of her books anytime soon as Julie cooked her way through Julia Child's book in the movie. However, I will always be thankful for the influence Rachael Ray has had in our kitchen. I'm pretty sure James is thankful for the influence she's had in our kitchen too!


So, Rachael, wherever you are today, thanks for showing me "that a great meal is never more than 30 minutes away!"

Living room basketball

video

Every time I download pictures from my memory card, this pops up again. I've cleared the entire card countless times, but it's still there! I guess that means I should share it since I can't ever seem to delete it. I'm guessing it's about two years old and it's not great quality, but, if nothing else, it's an amazing reminder of how time flies! I love that baby!
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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Randomness

Happy Thursday! I just thought I would take a moment and check in since I haven't posted in several days. Everything is good with us, but, as usual, we've stayed pretty busy. There's nothing necessarily worth mentioning here, but I will mention a few things.

1. Our pastor search at Liberty. We've brought in two of the three candidates and I'm already so overwhelmed by the possibilities and opportunities each choice could send our way. James and I haven't met or heard the third candidate yet, but he's due to visit and preach in a couple of weeks, so it could get even harder to decide. We've really enjoyed meeting the families and hearing the first two candidates; both are wonderful. It certainly would be a lot easier if one was wonderful and the others left a lot to be desired. All of our choices be easier that way! Please join us as we pray for God's will to be done as we choose the man (and his family) who will lead our church.

2. Matthew is still praying for all of his trains at night. It's really pretty cute! (God, thank you for Thomas, and thank you for Percy, and thank you for Spencer...)

3. Staying home with Matthew is really nice. I don't think either of us has fully adjusted yet, but I know it takes time. It's great to have him run up to me at any given point just to kiss me on the nose and have time to play with him. I have to be honest though, he rarely wears shirts and pants around the house these days. The moment he gets up he starts stripping down to his Thomas underwear. He claims that he can "play better" without shorts on. How crazy!

We start our preschool workbooks in the next couple of weeks. I think that will give us a better idea of the kind of structure we'll need on a daily basis. Until then, it's been nice just hanging out with him.

4. The other aspect of staying home: housework! It's actually not so bad for me right now. It's kind of crazy having time to dust, mop, and the other things that didn't get done as often as they should. It's also been nice to have time to do some real cooking. I've always been good about cooking, even when I worked, but it makes a huge difference in your motivation when you aren't rushed for time to get it prepared, cooked, eaten, and cleaned-up. In fact, the menu for tonight is tuna cakes, honey glazed carrots, and roasted potatoes. Could I pull that off getting started at 6:30? Probably not, and even if I could pull it off, I'd be cleaning it all up until bedtime!

Anyway, I guess that's about it. We've got a busy weekend, as usual, but I'm looking forward to it. We've got a 1st birthday party on James' side and a girls night on my side, along with church on Sunday.

As always, we continue to be incredibly blessed by our loving and wonderful Father God. There truly is none like Him!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Peter Gibbons Liberation Day!


Well, this is it. Peter Gibbons Liberation Day has arrived and there's something beautiful in the air today. I can't really describe it, but there's just something about knowing that after 5 PM today, I will no longer be worrying about databases, invoices, coordinating tours, scheduling meetings, or dealing with the dementor that escaped from Azkaban when the Death Eaters were back in full force (that's a complex metaphor, in case you can't tell).

I didn't wear my Hawaiian shirt today, nor did I bring a fish to gut on my desk, but, in honor of Peter Gibbons and all of you who feel like one more day at your Initech could be the very thing to drive you up the wall, I'm just not gonna go anymore! I'm staying home with Matthew and concentrating my efforts on being the best wife and mommy I can be for my family!

In honor of Peter (and all of you who feel oppressed by your Office Space), here's one of my favorite interactions from the movie:

1. Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.

Bob Porter: Don't... don't care?

Peter Gibbons: It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my a** off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?

Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.

Bob Slydell: Eight?

Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

May 5 PM come quickly! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where are you Twitter?


I'm having withdrawals. I don't know what to do with myself. I know that no one actually cares about what I'm doing each second, but not being able to share it is really stressing me out. Get well soon, Twitter! I miss you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Lady and Sons


The Lady & Sons, Savannah, GA

Nothing special, just a photo of The Lady & Sons in Savannah. I didn't get a chance to eat there when I went in May, but I had to stop and take a picture of the Deen family's pride and joy. I bet it would have been so yummy, though! Maybe next time!
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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Wedding pics


I'm still trying to edit all of the pics I took from the wedding last Saturday. Here's one I like. I've got to pick up the 35 mil. rolls today; once I get them, I should have around 200 photos for the Bride and Groom. Maybe I can get some work done on them tomorrow.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

HP 6, Half Blood Prince

Okay, I don't really have a lot of time here, but we're going to see the new Harry Potter movie tomorrow night. This will be the first time one of the movies has been released since I read the books back in the spring. I'm sure it will be great to me because Half Blood Prince is probably my favorite of the books (it's between HBP and the last one, Deathly Hallows).

Anyway, one thing that's cracking me up is all of the people who are disappointed that Dumbledore dies. The first "spoiler" upset I heard was yesterday: A guy in Ohio killed himself because Dumbledore died and he "had no reason to live." Okay, seriously, even if you are so delusional that life is no longer worth living because of Dumbledore's death, you can't say this all comes as a huge surprise to you! I mean, the book was released four years ago. If you're such an avid Harry Potter fan and didn't know by now, surely you can't be devoted enough to end your life over it.

It was a great book and all and I was surprised many times as I was reading it (noted here in several posts), but by the time the movies roll around, nothing should be all that shocking.

Well, I need to get back to Initech; it's not quite time for Peter Gibbons Liberation Day. Later...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The James


Ahem, gotta love it.
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Happy Friday!

For the sake of reminding myself, there's a lot I need to write about before I forget. I'm referring mainly to summer youth retreat. I just haven't had the time to sit down and reflect since we got back. It seemed like we were thrown back into the bustle of a busy work week the moment we got back in town.

There's a lot going on this weekend so I'm not sure when I'll have time to share what God laid on my heart there. Maybe I can get have a moment of stillness before it's all gone. I was just so moved by the time we spent with our group and I don't want to forget why.

Busy weekend... Family wedding tomorrow (we're staying in Onteonta tonight so we don't have to make two trips there in less than 24 hours). Then, of course, there's church on Sunday, complete with a retreat report on Sunday night. Then we will be thrown back into the grind again on Monday morning.

Later...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Our Story

Check out our story on UAB Magazine Weekly. Pretty cool, huh?

UAB Magazine

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

At the Well: Seasons

Today, all the talk at the well is about seasons. Boy do I love to talk about seasons! I didn't really understand seasons, beyond the traditional winter is cold, summer is hot, etc., until a couple of years ago. Now, however, I understand that seasons are such a complex, vital part of who we are. I can think about one specific "mini-season" (or seasons within seasons) that stands out to me: our seasons of ministry.

Our first season of ministry brought many things to the table. We learned some hard lessons and we grew to understand disappointment in the most pure sense of the word. We learned to build amazing relationships and we learned that even "authentic" relationships can often turn out to be the exact opposite of what they are designed to be. We learned the logistics and structure of ministry. At then end of that season, we were broken in many ways, but we were so much stronger in others.

Our second season of ministry was amazing and truly something that only God could have done for us. We thought we were going in to do the ministering, but in reality, God placed us there so He could remind us of the bigger picture. He used that season to show us what fellowship among believers is designed to be. He used that season to heal us from any brokenness that remained from the first season. He also used that season to transition us into parenthood and teach us that ministry goes beyond what happens in a church setting. He used that season to teach us that who we are each day of our lives has a strong impact on others - people we don't know very well and people we love with every fiber of our beings, like our son, for example. God used that second season to make us stronger, to shape us, and to hold us.

Our third season-the current season- is just beginning, but I look back at the first two seasons, and see so many things God has taught us through them. I think these seasons of ministry are just so typical of God. Romans 8:28 says "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose." "All things" includes times that are tough and things we don't quite understand. It all comes together in the end! Looking back at our first two seasons of ministry, the first one in particular, I am reminded that we didn't understand it at the time, but once we stepped away from that season and even the season of renewal that followed it, it all became clear. We don't understand everything that happens in our lives immediately, but please know that God will show you when He's ready to show you. This revelation alone often transitions into a new mini-season - a season of gratitude and purpose like we've never known before. Isn't God good?!?

I told you I like to talk about seasons! These seasons of ministry aren't exactly the seasons mentioned at the well today, but they are important to me nonetheless. In closing, each time I reflect on the seasons of ministry that James and I have shared, I am reminded that what God is doing in my life today, in every area, is molding me and preparing me for another season in my life. I may not understand it right now, I may not understand it in 20 years or 50 years, or even until they day He calls me home, but I'm positive that all things in my life, the good and not-so-good, are working together for His good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Nanny (our Nick @ Nite conversation)

In my old age I find myself watching more and more reruns of 80s and 90s tv shows, with Scrubs thrown in there for good measure. Here lately though, as Matthew and I are having our snuggle time while Daddy finishes up his PS3 game, we watch The Nanny. One of last night's episodes was the one where Fran and Maxwell finally get married. As usual, Matthew followed my cue and laughed at everything I laughed at and we just had our normal Nanny time.

However, when it was time for Fran to walk down the aisle in her wedding gown, Matthew says, "Mommy, what she doing?" I told him that Nanny Fine and Mr. Sheffield were getting married. He simply responds, "Oh." Then, it goes to commercial break and he says, "Me and Na'lie getting married." I asked, "Really, you're still going to marry Natalie?" (I was informed back in February when Drew and Rachael got married that Natalie would be Matthew's bride when the time comes.) Anyway, he responded, "Yeah, I going to marry Na'lie tomorrow cause she's my girlfriend."


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon & Kate!

I'm not really sure I have anything too exciting or anything somewhat interesting, but I'm at work, counting down the days until I can do the job I was made to do (47 days to be exact), and trying to keep going in the mean-time. I'm caught up on everything for now and keep going back to the news pages and can't escape the Jon and Kate announcement.

I'm kind of embarrassed to say that I'm bummed about Jon and Kate divorcing. It's not like I actually know them or have any right to comment on their lives, but I just thought they'd be able to work it out. I was hoping the "big announcement" would just be that they terminated their contract (not their marriage) and have decided to seek marriage counseling. Not so much. I was so upset when that message flashed on the screen about the papers being filed yesterday. I was a big baby and even cried. Matthew looked up at me and asked, "Mommy, why you sad?" I told him I was upset about something on Jon & Kate and he replied, "Mommy, they not do anything to you!"

Precisely the point, Little One. I shouldn't be so upset, but I thought they were different. They've always been vocal about their relationships with God. I know this is another classic example of how you can't put your trust in people. People fail. Even people who love God and try to follow Christ fail sometimes; it's got to be even worse living in the public eye like that.

The Hollywood media is like a pack of vultures. They wait for celebrities, or even semi-celebs in this case, to succumb to the everyday drama that engulfs the Hollywood society. They prey on misery and sad stories. I'm surprised the media hasn't started attacking them regarding their Christianity and the happenings (or alleged happenings) over the last several months. That just goes to show that the media only knows the post-scandal Jon & Kate and they never cared about pre-scandal life for that family.

Anyway, so Matthew said we needed to pray for Jon & Kate, or Kake as he calls her, so that's what we did. We stopped and prayed for them and their family and that they would allow God to restore them and bring them back to the place He has for them.

Some could say that this is just tv, but it's an actual family and it's been hard to see them picked apart at every opportunity. I'll get over it, but it's still sad that yet another marriage and family has been destroyed by the media.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

VBS crafts


He worked so hard! I thought they were lovely!

Father's Day Crafts


So, nothing too fancy, but here are the crafts we came up with for Father's Day.


1. Card from School


2. Yo Gabba Gabba card


3. Wonder Pets photo frame


4. The Perfect Father's Day Book (a lovely adventure, if I might add)

I would just like to add that Nick Jr. and Playhouse Disney were very helpful in these endeavours!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The things he says...

Okay, I know every parent has these moments where he/she just can't believe the things these kids say, but we've been having lots of them lately. I find myself blown away what Matthew says. Here are just a few worth sharing:

1. "You like that, Mommy? I told you I could do it." This was said after I commented on his pull-up being dry when he woke up Monday morning.

2. "Thomas has issues." His bathtub squirt toy Thomas the Tank Engine is clogged and I wasn't sure how to explain it to him so I just said he's got some issues we need to take care of. Now, we've heard him saying that Thomas has issues during the most random times. Pretty funny.

3. "He not would like that. That makes him sad. We can't eat him" This came up when we were talking about the possibility of making a Mickey Mouse cake. All I said was that I could make a Mickey cake for him and the next thing you know, he was pleading Mickey's case.

4. "Daddy's a dirty tank engine." I love this! We all have characters on Thomas and Friends and Matthew said this after playing in the bathtub one night because his James engine wasn't as clean as the James character likes to be.

5. "I'm going to check on you every time." I can't even explain it... too complicated, but I love it when he says this!

6. "I take my milk seriously." This actually surfaced a few months ago when James pretended to drink Matthew's chocolate milk. Matthew got incredibly upset and informed James that he takes his milk seriously. It's now a running joke in our house.

7. "No, don't say that every time." This happened last night as I was busted for not paying complete attention to what he was saying. I was doing the traditional "uh huh, yes, okay..." cycle until I thought his story was over. Instead, he realized that I wasn't listening like I should be and called me out on it. I felt awful about it, but I deserved it!

Okay, I guess that's it for now. There's lots more, but unfortunately they get hard to remember word for word when you don't write them down at that very moment. Maybe you just have to hear him say these things, but he constantly cracks us up!

Monday, June 15, 2009

What a Weekend (Busy, Busy, Busy!)

It's that time of year again: Vacation Bible School! Needless to say, we've been pretty darn busy with Crocodile Dock and getting ready for it. Our first night was last night, and all things considered, I think it went really well with our Tadpoles (preschoolers). If nothing else, we can say Matthew is having a blast. Every time we leave the church, he cries and says he wants to go back to his "Liberty Church." We had a good time and are looking forward to tonight's class and talking about how God takes care of us.

Anyway, we had a nice family birthday shindig Saturday evening and have another one planned for this Saturday. Father's Day is approaching quickly, as well. Matthew and I have got to find time to sit down and work on his projects for Daddy. Maybe Friday will work. That's the only time we'll have free.

We've also had a nasty weekend with the weather. The funny thing is that we were really too busy to even notice. Throughout the weekend and the many places we went, we noticed a new tree down each time we returned home. Luckily we haven't had any major power outages, but thanks to our bundle, we have no phone, cable, or internet at home right now. (Our cell coverage is even fading in and out!) I'm crossing my fingers that they get it all restored today. With the digital transition finally happening last week, when the cable service is out, we have no way of knowing what's going on in the world.

I guess that's it for now. Hopefully this workday will go smoothly and will be over quickly. My mind is at church right now.

Later... (P.S. I should have called in...)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sweet Firewall-related Irony

Okay, so this really cracks me up. It shouldn't, but it does. We just got our weekly employee newsletter encouraging all employees to follow UAB Medicine on Facebook. Sounds okay, except for Facebook is blocked by the internet police here. Can't exactly follow it and support it if you keep it blocked, huh?

They really want employees to get behind it so the public will follow the trend. Not going to happen if you keep it blocked, kiddos. Who wants to search their work's Facebook when they get home at night?

Seriously, folks...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Working for the Weekend

I guess I don't really have to bore anyone with the details of what's going on, but maybe if I list it all here I'll be able to remember it all. Anyway, here's what I've got going on right now (other than this headache):

1. Need to do some major laundry and housecleaning. I was kind of a slacker last week and really need to get caught up.

2. VBS is a little more than a week away. I'm doing my best to get ready for my Crocodile Dock "Lilypad." That's what I decided to call my preschool class. I've got most of my decorating ideas ready and just need to put them into motion when the time comes. I've still got to round up some craft supplies, though. (I'm taking empty toilet paper roll donations, if anyone's interested.) Also, it would be nice if my other two orders would be delivered soon. I really need to open up those boxes so I can finalize my plans for my Tadpoles.

3. Doing some research on homeschooling. I think I'm going to get that Lisa Whelchel book "So, You're Thinking About Homeschooling." Between that, some prayer, and some research, we should be in good shape to make a decision.

4. Trying to wrap my head around ways for me to be involved with different ministries at Liberty without butting into someone else's space. I'd love to help in some different areas, but I don't want to be pushy. I just genuinely want to help. I love church and church-work!

5. Lot's of stuff going on with different branches of the family tree this summer. I'm trying to take mental notes of the different ways we'll be involved and make sure I have my crap together when the time comes.

I guess that's it right now. My mind is anywhere but here. I am ready for it to be 5 PM so I can get the heck up out of here and go home to hang with James and Matthew. I'm ready for some family time!

Later.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crocodile Dock Decorations

So, I'm teaching the preschool class for our upcoming Crocodile Dock VBS and I've been spending a good bit of time on Group Publishing's VBS forum. While I am a veteran VBSer, I'm new to Group's VBS. I'm very familiar with Group on a children's and youth ministry level, but I've just never used their materials for VBS before. So far, I really like everything and it seems to be as solid as I would expect from Group.

I'm trying to wrap my head around the decorations. I've bought some stuff to start with like "water" fabric, nets, and cheesecloth and I've got a general game plan, but I just wish I could do more. I know how to do VBS decorations; I've done jungles, deserts, Antarctica, beaches, and more talking vegetables than you can imagine. For someone who can't draw, I do a pretty mean Laura the Carrot, if I do say so myself. Anyway, I've been searching the Crocodile Dock forum for ideas I can pull off for my class. I'm blown away by how creative some of these people are. Seriously, I do okay with stuff like this, but God has majorly gifted some people with this kind of creativity. I wouldn't even know where to begin with this stuff if I didn't have these people to rely on. Cattails out of hair rollers from the Dollar Tree? Check out some of their Crocodile Dock sites. It's amazing!

http://forums.group.com/Topic54623-4530-1.aspx

Later,
Emily

Big Smiles!

Click here to view these pictures larger

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My boys (They're so great!)

There's nothing too major going on right now. It's pretty much the same Wednesday craziness that goes on between work, church, and home. I will mention a couple of things regarding my boys quickly.

First of all, my little man has started a new class at school and has informed me that he's "big" now. He even went as far again to say that he can't be my baby anymore since he's such a big boy. He's turned three, started peeing standing up, and started a new class all in a couple of weeks. Geez, he's growing up so fast. Anyway, he's so wonderful. He really is. I never cease to be amazed by the things he says or does.

Secondly, James and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary on Monday! I love my husband more than words can even say and am so glad he's mine! He's my best friend and I'm so thankful for the seasons we've shared together and the seasons to come. Anyway, I know I've said this before, but I'm so blessed to be married to such an awesome man of God.

Well, I need to get back now, but I'll probably be humming "Must Have Done Something Right" by Relient K all day. It just sums it all up.

Also, we've got a fairly busy weekend coming up: Thomas the Tank Engine Friday night, HP weekend on ABC Family (I'm so darn excited!!!!), probably doing some type of birthday celebration somewhere in there, and church Sunday. All in all, life is good!

Later...
PS: He's my lobster. Am I dating myself by saying that?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Voice of Truth (Women of Joy Trip)

I made mention of the Women of Joy trip with the Bethel ladies a few times before my last series of entries. I really had a wonderful time and I'm so glad I went. It's funny how God knows how to get you to listen to Him. I think it's just one more amazing thing about Him: He's been telling me what He's planned for me for the last nine months, but He knows my heart better than anyone. He knew I needed to be snatched up and put in a different environment for a few days to let the message sink in. I don't know why I'm ever surprised to see God working in this way, but it always makes me smile when I think I realize what He's up to. He's very clever, you see.

James and I have just started this new chapter of ministry at Liberty and we've been praying for so long about me staying home with Matthew or at least dropping to part-time somewhere (anywhere but this place). Things are falling into place and have been for a while. James even started me email updates everyday counting down the days until I quit my current job, the one that sucks the life out of me. I should be excited, right? Well, I couldn't let myself get too excited or even think this is real. I found myself constantly thinking about the gloomy economy swarming around us. It would be so stupid to quit my job when people are loosing their jobs left and right! I've done the math and the figures don't match up. It just doesn't make sense for me to quit. Sure, I know God's been calling me to stay home for so long now. I know I'll do it one day, but now just isn't the time.

Thursday night and Friday night, the first nights of the trip, I prayed for a fresh word from God. I was already being reminded of how God has constantly been my sustainer, my provider, my strong and mighty tower, creator, redeemer, my ever-present help. (Hopefully I've done those words to Charles Billingsley's song justice.) I listened to Kirk Cameron remind us all of the beauty of marriage and family and the importance of following God's will through our families.

Saturday night was when God opened up the curtain and shined the spotlight on me and the fear that has been stirring around in my heart for the last couple of months. I've heard Casting Crowns more times than I can count. I know their songs frontwards and backwards. I could probably get up and sing them if Mark, Melodee, or Megan ever freakishly lost their voices. It's funny how God uses things we've heard a thousand times to get to us. I was fine when I heard the first few notes of Voice of Truth. It didn't last long, though. "Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to step out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves, to step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is and He's holding out His hand." He didn't even get the first line out before I wondered if he was talking to me. Then Mark sang, "but the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me, reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed. The waves keep on telling me time and time again, 'boy, you'll never win, you'll never win.'"

By this time, my light bulb had gone off and God gave me the word I needed to hear in a song I already knew by heart. Before Mark even started the chorus, my heart was singing, "But the voice of truth tells me a different story, the voice of truth says do not be afraid. The voice of truth says this is for my glory. Out of all the voices calling out to me, I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth." He's just so good! I needed to be reminded that God is in control and that I cannot let myself be afraid. Ah, but there's more to my story from that weekend...!

Friday night when I was having my quiet time, I was searching around in my new Bible I got for Mother's Day. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to read and was trying my best to read something I don't read that often. Maybe Habakkuk or Zephaniah, I don't spend nearly enough time in that area of the Bible. I just couldn't do it though, I was drawn to Jeremiah. Although I could stand to study the entire book of Jeremiah more, I went right on back to chapter 29. There I was again at a scripture I love so much- the very passage I used when I gave my testimony to Bethel's Roaring Twenties class the week of the trip. I love Jeremiah 29:11-13; He's got plans for me- plans to prosper me, not to harm me! I just stayed in those verses and went to bed.

Once again, though, God used Mark Hall to make it all click. Within seconds of "Voice of Truth" Mark said, Jeremiah 29-11 says, "For I know plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future..." I was starting to think Mark Hall was in my head. But then, he said something that really didn't have anything to do with what he was saying, but it was exactly what I needed to hear: "Mommas, breathe truth into those little ones." It was that moment when I got the most overwhelming peace about quitting my job. I've got to quit my job (the job that drains me, that enslaves me) and trade it in for the job I've wanted for so long. What I really want to do is be a stay-at-home mom and be the BEST mom I can be to Matthew, our gift, and be the BEST wife I can be to James. That's what I'm called to do. I'm sure of it.

It may not make sense. It doesn't have to make sense. I don't care about having lots of money (it's not like I'm used to that anyway). God will take care of us like He has time and time again. Barlowgirl's "I Don't Regret" song asks "Why do we think if we trust God too much He will fail us?" So, we're stepping out of the boat and trusting God. I'm quitting my job in August. God used the Women of Joy trip to confirm what I had known in my heart all along. Now, I fully have the peace that surpasses all understanding. I've heard the voice of truth.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 5

Okay, so I lied. These aren't life lessons. I know you're heartbroken that this is the last installment so I thought some humor would be appropriate. These are just some of the quotes that cracked me up. Maybe you have to read the books to think they're funny, but there's some good stuff here. Without further ado...

1. ~"Ugh! There have been 11 Azkaban Escapes (or was it dementor attacks???) and all Romilda Vane can talk about is if Harry has a tattoo of a hippogriff on his chest!"

"What did you say?"

"I told her it was a Hungarian Horntail, much more macho"

"And what'd you say Ron's got?"

"I said it was a Pygmy Puff, but I didn't say where"

2. ~ "Percy wouldn't recognize a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing Dobby's tea cozy."

3. ~"Wild! I can make that old bloke down there pick his nose again...and again...and again..."

4. ~ "I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed - or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to bed."

5. ~ "I'm not putting them on," said old Archie in indignation. "I like a healthy breeze 'round my privates, thanks."

6. ~ "What happened down in the dungeons between you and Professor Quirrell is a complete secret, so, naturally the whole school knows."

7. ~ “There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 4

My Favorites

“Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” The Albus Dumbledore character was a wise man. Think of the many ways people try to numb pain. Some people use drugs and alcohol. Some people have affairs. Some people just run away and think they’ll never have to look back. Nevertheless, you can’t run forever and you can’t out-run God. He knows what you’re going through and He knows what’s best for you. Let Him be your strength and face it head-on.

“We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, Harry, but battle on.” From the Half-Blood Prince, this is yet another quote from Dumbledore. I think we have all had times where we found ourselves sinking beneath our heartache and grief. It’s much easier to let sorrow to consume us that to keep going and put one foot in front of the other. Romans 8:37 says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” We are conquerors and we can battle on in the name of Jesus! It’s not easy, but He has equipped us with what we need to get through any situation. We can do all things, even while we are going through heartache, through Him who gives us strength!

“No, I think I'll just go down and have some pudding and wait for it all to turn up.... It always does in the end.” The character Luna Lovegood is talking about her shoes and personal belongings here, not anything too significant, but I like this quote. She’s a lonely girl with the exception of a few friends and she’s used to being the butt of the jokes, but I just like the way she handles things. Matthew 6:34 says “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Luna never worried; she just trusted that it would all be okay and realized that worrying about life doesn’t change anything.

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Well said, Headmaster. My favorite HP quote of all was yet another line spoken by the great Albus Dumbledore character. This touches on some previous comments I’ve made, but there really is so much to be thankful for, even in our most difficult times. Sometimes God uses these wilderness experiences and heartaches to mold us into the people He needs us to be. It’s imperative that we not only go to God when we’re struggling, but that we stay connected to Him in all of our seasons. That makes it easier to remember to turn on the light and find joy in our most difficult hours. Our reaction to the wilderness is what causes non-believers to take notice and want the very thing that makes us so different: the light.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 3

Miscellaneous Truths

“The best of us must sometimes eat our words.” How true, how true! There’s no need to elaborate.

"Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike." Yet another that needs no explanation.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.” We do often get so caught up in our fantasies and “what ifs” that we forget life in the “nasty now and now,” as our favorite pastor says. However, life isn’t always nasty. There is beauty and there are blessings in all of our days. Author Nancy DeMoss says, “Anything that makes you realize you need God is a blessing.” She’s talking about any pain, any heartache and any other thing that would typically cause you to bury your head and go into “this isn’t happening to me” mode.

Additionally, the Word tells us in several places to be glad in each day. Each day is made by God and we are to rejoice in them all. Take each day as it comes and look for the blessings that surround you. There is no need to dwell on what might have been or what may come. Rejoice and live!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 2

Facing our Fears and the Unknown

“There was no point in worrying yet.... what would come, would come... and he would have to meet it when it did." I’m a worrier-I know I shouldn’t be, but it’s something I have to fight in my genetic makeup- and this quote speaks to me. In the story, this line shows up as Harry has just realized the massive mission and dangers that lie ahead for him. Even though we don’t all have life-threatening missions in store for us, we do have things in our lives that we dread. This is a reminder that we have to accept that these things will have to be faced at some point or another and that dwelling on them won’t make them any easier to face.

To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. Some people fear death above all else. As a child of God, even though I don’t fully understand death, I do know that death in this life is just the beginning of an amazing eternity and an adventure unlike anything we can fathom.

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” I could be wrong, but most of us don’t really have “enemies” so I just appreciate that this quote points out that we must occasionally confront those we love the most, and that’s usually an incredibly difficult thing to do.

Life Lessons from Harry Potter- Part 1

I started reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling about a month and a half ago. I’m honestly blown away by how good they are and how much insight is spread throughout the pages of these books. There are so many amazing angles and themes throughout this story. I really feel like anyone who criticized these books has probably not taken the time to read them and decide for themselves what the true issues are surrounding this series.

I’d like to share some of my favorite quotes from the books. There is so much truth oozing from these words. Although these concepts are not unknown to me, I think it’s very reassuring to find these little gems of wisdom among the pages of a hugely popular series of books.

Choices- (all of these are spoken by the character Albus Dumbledore)

“It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” These words are so true! This line appears when Harry is dealing with a deep internal struggle that caused him to question his true loyalties, his own character, and his future. This truth applies to everyone, young and old, though. Regardless of our grades, salaries, or bank accounts, our choices speak volumes of who we are and where we are going in our lives. This reality is often much more obvious in hindsight, though.

“The consequences of our actions are so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.” How different would our world be if we considered the consequences of our choices before acting?

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” It could be said for all of us that some type of dark and difficult times are in our futures. It’s part of life. However, some people don’t know how to cope when these times come. They don’t cling to God when they see dark things on the horizon. They run from Him and question His amazing love for us. I guess it can be harder to trust Him when things don’t make sense and it’s just easier to bail out, but the fact that it’s easier to run away doesn’t make it right. We will all have a wilderness experience of some sort, but the defining moment will be how we face it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Case of the Mondays

I wish I didn't have a case of the Mondays today. I've really got so many things to mention, but don't really have the time to properly reflect on any of them right now. For the sake of reminding myself, here are some of the things I need to touch on when I get the chance:

1. Matthew's birthday and party- Can you believe my baby's three? He did inform me last night that he will always be my "Boo Boo." I was so relieved!

2. Mother's Day- I still have a hard time remembering that this day is for me, as well as my mom and the other moms around me.

3. Upcoming trip

4. How awesome my husband is (and smokin' hot)

That's all I can think of right now. I may throw in a little HP for good measure since I'm dealing with some issues with the death of Hedwig and Mad Eye. We'll see, though...

Until then, I have to sit here for a little longer and try to force myself to get something done between now and 5 o'clock. I really do have a case of the Mondays, I promise. More to come when I have time to think...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Not that anyone cares (HP related)...

I was reading Half-Blood Prince at lunch, and just as my lunch hour ended, Dumbledore was killed. Anyone who has read this knows what this means and understands why this has rocked my literary world. How am I supposed to go back to work and function for 2 1/2 more hours? I swear, I can't think and I'm in shock (maybe I shouldn't be in shock, but that's because I trusted him too)! What an awful place to end a lunch hour!

Wow. I know, it's just a book, but, to quote Quincy from Little Einsteins, I cannot believe it!!!!!!

Back to work... (I can pick it back up in just a few hours)...

Until then, I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Latest Rundown

We just finished up another busy week and it doesn't look like our lives are going to slow down anytime soon. That's okay, though. We're quite familiar with being over-scheduled and all of the fun stuff that comes along with it. Here's what we've got going on in the next little bit:

1. Matthew's Backyard Splash Party on Saturday- That pretty much means that this entire week will be devoted to preparing for the party and there will be little time for reading my Half-Blood Prince book. As dorky as it sounds, I did go to lisawhelchel.com and find one of her planners I remembered reading about in her Taking Care of the Me in Mommy book. Not that there's anything wrong with Lisa Whelchel's organizational tips, but some might think an excel spreadsheet of my to-do list is a little over the top. Anyway, this has allowed me to get a daily list of birthday party chores to guide me through the week. Hopefully this will help me remember everything (even the chores that I tend to neglect out of sheer loathing).

2. Mother's Day- Not really sure what we're doing for our moms yet. That's the bad thing about having Matthew's birthday party the day before. It's not easy to focus on both of them. Anyway, we'll have to come up with something this week. I've got some ideas, but I need to run them by the James.

3. Women of Joy Trip to SC next week- I'm heading to SC next week with a group of Ladies from Bethel. I'm super-excited about this trip. I love these Women of Joy conferences anyway. How great to be able to attend with some wonderful ladies from Bethel! I'm not sure who all is going yet. I only know Susan, Savanna, and DJ for sure. I'm anxious to see who else is coming.

4. Liberty- We started a new page in our ministry yesterday at Liberty Baptist Church. We really had a great day and I'm excited about learning more about the church, the people, and the community we now serve. I'm sure we'll be spending the next few weeks learning the ropes there and just getting a general feel for the way they do things there. That's to be expected, though.

5. Roaring Twenties @ Bethel- On that note, I've got two more weeks left with my Roaring Twenties group at Bethel. We're finishing up our most recent study that talks about leaving a lasting legacy with your life. I'm sad to leave this group, but I know they'll be in great hands with Vikki when I leave. She has always loved them and I know she'll be a great example and leader for them. They really are a great group and I know that they will do amazing things with their lives.

Anyway, I guess that's pretty much it for now. Back to work...

I'm back (I guess)

Due to being thrown back behind the firewall at work, I guess I'm going to be using this page again in addition to my myspace blog. I'll do my best to keep them both updated. We had a great, but very busy weekend. Details to come later in the day. It's almost 8, so I guess I need to crank up and get ready to get started.

By the way, Mondays are a really crappy way to spend 1/7 of your life. (I stole that from a piece of flair.)

Later.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bethel

Posted on my myspace page last Thursday:

It would take me all day to say how much Bethel has meant, not just to my family, but to me personally. Seriously, leaving Bethel is one of the hardest things I think I've ever done. For those who don't know, James and I start a new chapter in ministry this Sunday. We are very excited about this opportunity and are blessed to have been given the chance to serve again.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want anyone to think that we aren't excited about our new ministry. I have to be honest, though. Walking away from a church family that you love isn't the easiest thing. When I say we love Bethel, I mean we are all about some Bethel Baptist Church. It was so hard to actually tell our church family that we're leaving. I'm a grown adult and probably shouldn't be so emotional about it, but it's so hard to actually get the words out of my mouth that we won't really be there anymore. I struggled Sunday; I'm sure anyone who came within a 10 foot radius of me knew that. Anyway, if I could have made a coherent sentence without crying Sunday, this is what I would have said to my Bethel family:

From the moment we walked in the door three years ago, I knew there was something different about Bethel. There was something about it that felt like home from the very beginning. From the encouragement you showed us when Matthew's whirlwind birth happened to your overwhelming support of Coming of Age and all of the moments in between and afterwards, you've been more amazing than we even knew possible. You are the real deal.

On another note, as my Wednesday night crew well knows, our previous ministry left us brokenhearted. As they have heard me mention way too often, it was the closest thing to a wilderness experience I had ever experienced. (It's pretty bad when David's most dramatic psalms and break up songs seem to best capture your current emotions, LOL!) When we got to Bethel, though, we truly began an amazing healing process. God used Bethel to remind us of why the church exists.

Thank you for being there for us even when you didn't know how much we needed you. Thank you for being a church where we could truly plug in and serve God. Thank you for being a church family that welcomed us with open arms (even after James stepped down). Thank you for the amazing influence you've been to our son (he really does love his "Bethel Church"). Thank you for just being you.

It's kind of funny how God works in our lives. We thought we came to Bethel because you were looking for a youth pastor. It turns out that we needed you more than you ever needed us. In closing, I have to go back to my favorite Relient K song that seems to sum it all up: "In Like A Lion" (Just a portion of it). I know that there's a lot more to the song than this, but I like how I can relate it to the changing of the seasons in our lives (also to my Wednesday night crew, I had to mentions seasons one last time).

It'd be so nice to look out the window
And see the leaves on the trees begin to show
The birds would congregate and sing
A song of birth, a song of newer things
The wind would calm and the sun would shine
I'd go outside and I'd squint my eyes
But for now I will simply just withdraw,
Sit here and wish for this world to thaw
And everything, it changed overnight
This dying world you brought it back to life
And deep inside I felt things shifting
Everything was melting away
And you gave us the most beautiful of days...