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!

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