Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When Little People Teach Big Lessons

This summer has been a little different around our house. I've been in the midst of preparing to teach a new grade at school. I'll be going from pre-school teacher to 1st grade in a few weeks, and that has meant a lot of prep work to wrap my mind around. I've also been adjusting to being the mom of the pastor's kids and if my radar wasn't up before regarding my kids behavior...my poor kids...nobody is as hard on them as me! And then we've been extremely busy ...but who cares...so are you.

BUT, my kids have taught me a few really good lessons this summer...and I thought I'd pass them on to you.

1. You need at least one pajama day a week.

2. Your perspective changes when you are in a home made sheet fort. The world goes away for a few minutes and even laundry can't hinder you from taking a break!

3. Re-runs of Seventh Heaven and Heartland are just as good as the first time....especially when you didn't see them the first time.

4. Even moms can win at Mario Cart....when the kids let her!

5. Dinner may take 5 times longer to prepare, but nothing beats two kids in aprons helping.

6. It's ok to have a pile of flip-flops at the door. Makes going out for a quick snow cone, or to chase the ice cream truck down much easier.

7. Housecleaning is easier with Toby Mac blaring. I apologize to my elderly neighbors.

8. Hide and Go Seek in the house is way more fun if you tag with a nerf gun.

9. Never throw away random nuts, bolts or screws you find. Tucker learned to use the screw driver this summer.

10. I'm not getting this time back. Fill it will love and memories. In a flash it's all you have left.

Hope you're enjoying the last few weeks with your kids before school starts back! I know I will!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday Dinner

I don't cook on Sundays....at least that's been the norm for the last 19 years. With being in ministry it's not been a priority to cook a home cooked meal on Sundays, instead, we usually grab lunch with someone after church and let someone else do the cooking. It's worked for us.

But this past week I actually did some meal planning and decided it was high time my family saw a vegetable, so I planned the traditional pot roast meal for Sunday. I threw everything (Roast, seasonings, red potatoes, onion and carrots) in the crock pot on Saturday night and programed it to start slow cooking at 4am.

By the time I got up on Sunday morning the delicious smell was wafting through the house. I started some yeast rolls to rising and left for church at 8am.

When we got home from church at 12:30, the roast was done, I boiled some corn on the cob, put the rolls in the oven for 20 minutes and TA-DA! Our meal was ready. Nothing to it....except some

The meal was delicious and my family raved about how good it was. Tucker acted like he had never had a home cooked meal in his life and cleaned his plate with no hesitation. That's a miracle in itself.

So, while I'm not ready to commit to an every Sunday cooking contract, I will say it was very nice to come home and eat a nice Sunday dinner....and did I mention....I even got a little nap? Maybe that's the reason this idea is sounding better and better....

Do you have a favorite slow cooker meal? I'd love to have a few other easy go-to recipes for the crock-pot. Leave me a comment if you've got something yummy!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Last night our church welcomed us as the new pastor's family....and of course that means there was food...lots of good food. After church we gathered in the Family Life Center for finger foods...and well...here you go:

Pam Carter of The Catering Company and The Lodge in Commerce is also a member of our church and a friend...she made all the sweets at the celebration. In her words....she's never sliced and served a cake so fast....it was delicious! Each layer was a different flavor.....red velvet, carrot, white and marble...with butter cream icing. Yummmmmmmyyyy! My kids loved that they each had their own custom layer!

It was such special time of fellowship and getting to know our church family a little bit better. They've been so good to us over the last three years...and yet again last night. 

Thanks CBC for making us feel welcomed again!

Friday, July 20, 2012

How to Fix a Flat

Neither Bruce or I are mechanics. In fact, other than changing a flat and putting gas in my car, I can't do much more than read the gauges...and sometimes that's a little sketchy!

Bruce had gone up to the camp to see our Jr. High kids on Wednesday. He was going to stay overnight and come home Thursday. He took our kids with him for fun and on the way home picked up an extra kid from our church who needed to get home to leave for vacation early on Friday. They were heading home, cruising at 70 mph when they had a blowout.

As you can tell by the tire, this was pretty bad. Tucker said he thought someone was shooting at the car because the noise was so loud. For some reason I think it was a disappointment to realize he wasn't in the middle of a modern day shoot-em-out.

The thing is, they were in the middle of nowhere except for this one little worn out gas station with a restaurant. Thanks God. Then there just happened to be a DPS officer there to help Bruce get the kids into the restaurant and get the tire changed. Thanks God. There also just happened to be was a wheel welder there to help fix the damage to our vehicle..at least temporarily. Thanks God. And the restaurant employees wanted to feed my kids. Thanks Again God!

So, for whatever reason this happened, God took care of each and every detail to protect my family. Sometimes I take for granted all the time we spend on the road. I was reminded again today that so much can happen in a moment's time. Take nothing for granted.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Under Attack!

Ever feel under attack? Bruce and I made a decision years ago that Sunday mornings would not be the enemy's victory ground. You see, even before we had kids Sunday mornings always seemed to be the time that we would argue over small, unimportant, petty....even stupid things. It would be the time where the blow dryer would stop working or the iron would give out or the hem would be out in a pair of suit pants or the power would go out. It just seemed we couldn't make it to church without something terrible or irritating happening.

So, 16 years ago when Bruce started pastoring we decided to figure out a way that this Sunday morning havoc wasn't ruining our attitudes and actions before the day really got started. We started laying out and ironing all our clothes on Saturday nights. We started limiting what we did and how late we stayed out on Saturday evenings. We went to bed at a decent hour. Bruce started leaving earlier on Sunday mornings and I would have the house to myself and the kids so that his mind was at ease and in tune without having to worry about finding kids shoes or a blow dryer malfunctioning.

Sound silly? Well, maybe it is, but it's what it takes for us to arrive at church on Sunday mornings without the traditional fight on the way, or angry looks, or mismatched socks. It just took some intentional planning on our part. It works for us.

Sometimes when fighting the enemy we have to remember that the enemy isn't the spouse or the kids or the blow dryer or iron or _______. It's the prince of darkness...the one who is after your peace and your mind and your hope and your marriage and your contentment and your hope and your Sunday mornings. He wants it....bad. He knows if he can rob Bruce and me of a peaceful Sunday morning, he can distract Bruce from presenting a clear presentation of Christ....he can get him flustered and most of all hinder his worship of the Giver of all good and perfect gifts. The enemy is after you....he hates you.

Take the extra measure of attention to put up the barriers, to fight the good fight, to protect your family. It's worth the odd looks, the inconvenience and the early Saturday nights. Someone asked me once, "so how long are you going to do your Saturday night routine?" I don't know. What I do know is that it's way more important for my family to arrive at the church building in harmony with each other and ready to worship than it is to arrive with a plastered smile, a fake hallelujah and a look that could kill. So if it means we're home every Saturday night until eternity, it's OK with me.

Guard yourself...protect your family, filter your computer, monitor your kids TV (and your own), read your kids text messages if you need to....because your enemy is seeking whom he may devour.

Thanks God...

- For your protection over Savannah while she was at camp last week and for wonderful counselors who took such good care of her!

- For some recent girlfriend time that nourished my heart.

- For an unexpected blessing of a meal paid for while we were out eating recently....and not just our meal, but the meal of the people we were eating with...there were 10 of us altogether!

- For missionaries who share ideas for ministry.

- For golden opportunities to love.

- For your undeniable presence in our church.

- For tears that flow freely out of worship.

- For real fellowship that lingers more than an hour after church is over.

- For hard conversation made easier because you reside in the lives the of hearer and talker

- For music that touches the soul no matter the mood.

- For dreamers and visioneers and hope-filled people who see potential.

- For prayer time with believers who WANT to pray and WANT to hear from you.

- For altars full with heartbroken people who desire to be fixed with the Truth of God's Word.

- For using the broken, the out of sorts, the shy, the misfits and the unsure...along with those who seemingly have it all together...God truly does make Beautiful Things.

The last seven months have been a roller coaster of emotion and hope and doubt and trust and unrest within me. Over the last month its been a relief to have so many unknowns settled for my little family and, in a way, our church. Being in limbo is never fun (or at least not for me). It requires such trust in the God who sees past today. I'm changed because of limbo. My faith and trust in God is strengthened and my hope is secure, not because of ANYTHING I did, but because over and over God was faithful to give hope and purpose to the waiting and the in between.

What's God doing in your life...your family...your church?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Trusting God with My Children

This week Savannah is at church camp. Without me. Sniff. For weeks she's been looking forward to spending time with friends, away from her brother, being on her own. Until we looked at the weather forecast...and it looked something like this:

If you know her, you know this has been a struggle for a few years now. So, Sunday night we prepared her as best we could and come Monday morning she was good to go. Until she got to camp and it was actually raining and thundering. My heart hurt a little as I heard from one of the counselors that she was a little upset.

Savannah and I talked and through her tears in her throat voice she said she would be ok. Her counselor had prayed with her and that brought some peace to my own heart. I've been thinking about how this week might help Savannah grow in her faith in God. Without me there to comfort her or to help her cope she's having to learn that God is in control and when uncomfortable or nerve wracking things happen around us or to us, we have to learn that God is bigger and can and will help us through them.

 As I was thinking about all that God might be teaching her, God reminded me that this week there was some growth to experience in my own life. What about trusting Him with my daughter while she's 200 miles away? What about being incredibly thankful that there is a group of loving adults there from our church who can help her? What about realizing that there are situations that I can't protect her from and that God can and will use the things we have taught her to help her through them. Do I want to get in the way of all He wants her to learn this week? And then there's the simple fact that if God wants to change the forecast He can and will! My pride has tried to argue with God "But I'm her Mom" and "We're her parents" and "I want to protect her"...and God seems to be saying

"The best way to protect her is to trust me with her."

 So...Trusting God with my daughter will be a week long adventure....with rain in the forecast...I can't wait to see what God does in her life...and mine.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Reading

I've been teaching a summer reading clinic on Wednesday afternoons this summer. At first the kids were less than excited. Read? In the summer? You've got to be kidding me! But as soon as they warmed up to the games, centers, iPad and fun books they were eager to get busy each week. I'm reading the If you Give a Mouse...books and we are having fun making our own predictions!

On a personal note, I'm doing my own reading this summer, mostly ministry driven to get ready for the fall at church.

Discovering the Treasures of a Godly Woman: A Woman After God's  Own Heart Series, Proverbs 31

This book has been out a while but it is by the same author who wrote the James Bible Study we did last Fall. It was a manageable, do-able, toe stomping study. During the teaching time I added information from other studies, dictionaries and commentaries. It was so good...we still talk about it!

And....the ladies version of the Courageous Resolution....The Resolution for Women

The Resolution for WomenOne in a Million: Journey to Your Promised Land
Priscilla Shirer says this about One in a Million

Not sure which one (if any) will make it to the Ladies Bible Study table this September...but I sure am glad to be reading all of them. Really good reads!

Whatcha Reading? Have you done a Bible study that just really spoke to you? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Tucker (in white) with a posse of boys from church. 

And Savannah (almost 10)

Thankful for the freedom we celebrate today. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Where God Meets

In a quiet car with a soul sister talking...God met us there. Another time as family gathered to say an earthly goodbye, He was there. As a teenager welcomed Christ into her life, we agreed, His presence was so real. Then there was the late night conversation over hurts and heartache and the joy of a "surprise baby" times two for another friend....He was right there...in the middle of it all.

That's the beauty, heartache or hallelujah, God meets us where we are. Mountaintop experiences may prove to our humanity that He's the creator, sustainer and provider, but there's nothing like a valley to get you completely saturated in the nearness of our God. When He might seem so far, so removed from your hurt and pain and struggle, His presence can quickly scoop you up and cradle you in the strength of His firm embrace.

I'm thankful. Thankful that I don't have to go to a church to sense His closeness. I don't have to have it all together or do anything to make Him closer. I'm thankful His Spirit walks with me every step of every day. In those moments of joy, sadness, defeat and victory, His guidance and comfort remind me that God meets me where I'm at....What a promise!