Monday, October 27, 2008

When It's Not Working

Well I am running low on energy and the ability to concentrate today, so I will try hard not to just ramble. I got up at 5:20am this morning to take a friend to the airport and now John and I are watching their three kids while they are out of town for a couple of days. But the kids are great; it’s the lack of sleep that is affecting my ability to focus on anything.

The pictures up are from my grandmother’s 90th Surprise Birthday Party. John & I provided the church building and the excuse for her to come see us, and all of her sons (my dad & uncles) provided the resources for the party. It was wonderful, truly a blessing to celebrate my grandmother, Fannie Lucinda with all of our family and friends. John & I were also able to make an Imovie of all of her old pictures and the whole family growing up, it was so special and fun to see our families go through the growth over time.

Here is something I have been struggling with the past couple of weeks. Four years ago now I started a Middle School Girls Bible Study that met once a week, the group was small (between 4-6 girls each week) but it was consistent. And those girls that I started with are now freshmen; they are changing the leadership of our youth group and are the closest group of girls in our youth group. This year I am continuing their study, which is now a High School Girls Bible Study, but I have also attempted to begin the next Middle School Girls Bible Study. This is where the struggle is coming in. At what point do I justly declare that the new Middle School study is not working out and disband it? It has been four weeks, the first week I had one student, the second week I had two students (but it was like pulling teeth to get them to talk, simply painful), the third week only one made it so we went and got ice cream, and this past week it was canceled because no one could make it. So where is the line in this ministry that I can easily draw, and say this is not accomplishing it’s goal time to stop, pray, and see what will provide they unity and growth for these girls. What are your thoughts?

Monday, September 22, 2008

2 Floods and Some New Names

I am finally taking the time to update my blog, let’s see since I last wrote we have under gone some major construction at the church, the church experienced its 5th flood, John experienced his 6th office flood, we had our annual parents’ meeting, we have begun searching for our Italy trip plans and much more. I will just cover some highlights.

The 5th flood of the church was an amazing one, not the most amazing but one to remember. You see the new building was just installed with a fire sprinkler system that will eventually also be added in the old building, well a pipe on the second floor was not capped off when the water was turned on. For about 45 minutes pressurized water flooded the east side of the second floor, flowing freely into the auditorium balcony which then created a waterfall in the auditorium (which would have been so beautiful had it been made purposely). The water also came through the floors of the second floor seeping into the first floor and cascading down the stairs. So much fun! I could only laugh as we hastily swept water out of the balcony and second floor, praising God that it was not my office.

Last week John was interrupted in his work by water flowing through his ceiling tiles, we had to quickly evacuate his office of anything that might get ruined, nothing was ruined but his office reeks of stale water now.

Right now, I need your help with something John and I must decide this week. We have to name the three new youth rooms for signage purposes. There are two classrooms and a gathering/hangout space in the between the two classrooms. Since the two classrooms are separated by the gathering space I have been rejected to simply call them classroom A and classroom B. So what should we name these three rooms? I don’t mind some funny answers; I expect nothing less from many of you- but a few helpful ones also. They don’t have to be themed just simple.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cool Mountain to a Fiery Furnace

From the cool mountain air to a fiery furnace, meant literally and a little symbolically. A week ago John & I returned from our greatest week of camp with Preston Road in the last four years. Literally the temperatures were average about 50-60 degrees it was wonderful to wear jeans and fleeces in the middle of the summer. We were encouraged to take 20 students with us to camp this year; two years ago we went alone to fulfill our teaching responsibilities. Therefore taking 20 students was exciting, but numbers is not the most exciting part of course or the real evidence of God’s hand. Throughout the week our students worshipped with instruments (provided by our favorite worship team ever from Dave Drake, Edwin Guerra, and Aaron Collier), they worshipped accapella, they opened up to one another, and included everyone. The Preston Road Youth Group actually looked like a group of students seeking Christ together, this is a huge milestone for a youth group that is spread through 25 schools and has had no leadership from students until now. It was inspirational and one of the few times in four years that John and I have been able to SEE the difference in our group now. This week was our cool mountain air.

We came back to a literal fiery furnace; the temperatures this week will stay around 102 degrees every day. I am not a friend of the heat, I have always been sensitive to heat and the sun with headaches and sunburns, but after getting heat stroke and dehydration last year I do all that I can to stay out of the heat now. Symbolically, it was not exactly a fiery furnace but it felt a little similar. I had a confrontational meeting with someone that expressed to me I had let them down, hurt their feelings, and had missed opportunities to show Christ’s love to them. My reflex was to defend myself, find excuses- but I had nothing and I could defend nothing- this person was right. I had unintentionally failed to offer support, give encouragement, or show Christ’s love in the past year. It broke my heart to be told this and know there was truth in it. I cannot go back and change my lack of actions, but I seek God to forgive me, and to allow this to be a building step in my ministry. One that will encourage me to actively seek more people out boldly if needed to show them care and encouragement. I strive to not let this confrontation tear any part of God’s work in me down, or give hold to any doubt of what I am doing for Him.

Revelations 3:19-20, here He is knocking

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Orleans Mission

This past weekend John & I took our students to New Orleans to work with Operation Nehemiah, to help rebuild the city. We had a great trip, some lessons in patience and flexibility- but still a great trip that we believe has been instrumental in forming and connecting our students. Here are some pictures of our trip. I’m headed to Nashville in the morning to have a girls’ weekend with all of my old Dallas friends that have abandoned me (see blog titled “And then there was one”). I hope to fill you in more on our New Orleans trip when I get back.

Breaking open the crawfish was so gross at first.
But well worth the flavor!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Going Solo

Last year in March I wrote a blog about the core group of friends I had made in Dallas, I told you how great they were and how much God had worked in our lives through each other. The title of the blog in March of last year was “And Then There Were Two.” Because from the three close friends that I had here in Dallas- one moved to the west side of Fort Worth, and one moved back to Kentucky.

Yesterday, I said goodbye to the third. Summer and her family moved to Alabama, her husband was our worship minister and took a job at a church in Montgomery. To say that I shed a few tears is a huge understatement, but I am thankful for the sorrow I felt. It means that Summer and her family were an important part of my life here, that God has made me more of the woman He desires me to be through our friendship, and I believe I will be a better mother someday from what I have learned from her! Though yesterday was hard, and it will be sad to enter into the church not hearing her little girls yelling my name in excitement, and I am still sad for how our friendship will have to change- going from weekly visits to yearly, but nevertheless I rejoice and have faith that there will be many more opportunities for God to use new friends to mold me.

For this is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A One-Woman Man

Madness, complete madness. That is what my schedule has felt like lately. In the past month I had an amazing trip to Nashville for Church of Christ women in fulltime Youth Ministry Retreat, and I was able to see one of my favorite people Lesli and her family that moved from Dallas to KY last year. It was AMAZING! I have started a new bible study at one of the private schools nearby after having finished studying with one of the girls that had some BIG questions about God (examples: If heaven is sinless how did Satan sin while there? How do we know Jesus was the Savior? Where did all the nationalities come from? Where did the Bible come from?) And she is in 6th grade. We just had a lock-in with 25 members of our church and 35 friends they brought! So fun!!! I want to stay up 24hrs every day. Ok, the lock-in was great but at age can I claim to be too old for that? We had a Deacon/Elders/Ministers Retreat, which I was the only female at- fun times. And from the retreat I have been given my first big task at Preston Road, well you know other then spiritually forming the lives of teens.

I have been set as the chair of a committee of deacons and elders that will evaluate two things. First, potential deacon candidates, our church has not installed new deacons in six years. So they are asking me to chair a committee that will get it done in less than one month, gee thanks. And second, we will present to the elders a translation of what it means for a deacon to be the “husband of but one wife.” 1 Timothy 3:12. Literally translates a “one-woman man.” I don’t know where to go with this and how in the world I became the chair is beyond me. What is your church’s policy on this deacon qualification? Or what do you believe, I have done the research and I have my own conclusions but there are so many different situations. What do you think? And any advice for chairing a committee?

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Sad Realization & Working in a Wind Tunnel

Last month while cleaning out my parents attach I had a slight mishap, when tossing down a stack of heavy metal trays I released them to early- throwing them on top of a wooden pole which in turn flew up and hit me in the face. Sounds fun uh?! The stick came within an inch of my eye but thankfully only put a messy scratch on my eye brow. The next day after John & I went to a Couples Retreat with our church, where I was asked repeatedly what happened. Eventually one person asked if the scratch was still from the fall when I had two black eyes. I told him the story of how I got this injury at which point he asked…”are you a klutz?” Of course I said no, I really am not.

The following week that question came back to my mind twice when I once burnt my finger on the curling iron, and then again when I burnt my shoulder by dropping the curling iron on myself. And then this past week when a student in our youth ministry tossed me a cell phone and it hit in the face. So my family nickname of “Grace” has come to full tuition, and brought me to the sad realization that I am a klutz.

And now at this time I once again write to you from the wind tunnel of my office. Though my office took on no water it shares a wall with John’s office and a portion of the youth area that once again flooded for the forth time. Here is the sad part though; no matter if it is a foot of water all over the whole basement or about 10sq feet that got wet the process of drying out the walls and floor demand multiple days of huge drying fans and furniture moved. Hence now I am working with hair flying and ipod blasting to block out the noise of the fans. Oh, the adventure of it all!

This is the day the Lord has made, I will be glad and rejoice in it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Trove of Teasures

Two weeks ago John & I got the itch to do some cleaning, and well there was no cleaning out to be done at our house- we have simply gotten rid of everything we can. It is an amazing feeling! So, we went to my mom & stepdad’s house to clean out the attic. A place that evidently had not been cleaned out in at least 15 years! The task was huge, but we did it!

Among the treasures found in our parents' attic was an Atari box (not the actual Atari but just the box), a Speak & Spell, a plethora of KFC & Wendy’s memorabilia (my dad worked at each place for multiple years) , a Light Bright, Trolls (in various sizes and styles), Barbie’s, some toy zoo like creatures that we could not remember the name of (one was a lion mixed with bumble bee wings, and there was an elephant mixed with something else), many Pound Puppies, and a long lost Popple (see 1st picture if you don’t know what that is). It was a great time to throw about 10 trash cans of stuff away and see everything from my childhood!

Did these treasures bring back any memories for you?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Valentine's Day

I would love to take just a moment to brag about John, my husband. Last Monday he had his wisdom teeth out, which was in itself a hard thing for him but a hilarious experience for me. When John was coming out of the anesthesia he started right away asking if he could have his teeth that were pulled- so that he could put them under his pillow for the tooth fairy. Not just once, but repeatedly he asked…I started to let him know that I was no sure if we got them- at which point John shook his fist at me, as if saying “oh, you better get them.” The entire 15 minutes that he was coming to in the dentist office I could not stop laughing, it was great, not even drugs can take away my husband’s sense of humor!

Back to the real bragging part, John had is wisdom teeth out on Monday and Valentines Day was Thursday, which meant John would not be able to really eat so our plan was to just go somewhere with good soup like Corner Bakery or La Madeline. Also, let me tell you John is not much for celebrating anything other then Christmas and major birthdays/anniversaries, and definitely not buying gifts for such occasions, it is just how he was raised and I can see the value in not buying things for everything all the time, it makes some years even more special and memorable. But he is the type that does bring home flowers or little presents unexpectedly so it all evens out.

Well, this Valentines Day after showering and getting ready I go into our closet to get dressed and John has perfectly set up a dress and shirt that he bought me! He picked it out all on his own and did so great! It was so special that he not only went out and got me a present but got me something that he really likes too, I mean usually it is hard to get an opinion on any clothes at all- but he went and picked this out! It was wonderful! It was a great Valentines and John made me feel so special that he cared about a dress for me!

And the picture is exactly how it looks on me ;)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Foo Fighters Concert

John & I have these amazing friends, some of the coolest you could ever have. Their names are Edwin & Tami, and they among many other gifts, recently gave John & I two tickets to the Foo Fighters concert last week. It is amazing that someone would just give tickets away that they had paid for, but they did. Like I said these are amazing people we are friends with.
So last Wednesday, John & I made arrangements to skip church and went to the concert with Edwin & Tami (they had floor tickets, ours were in the first level of the AAC). The concert was pretty packed; I would not have wanted to be on the floor at all, way too much pushing and body heat and invasion of my personal space. Edwin & Tami are much more hard core then I am. The Foo Fighters were flippin’ awesome though, I didn’t realize how many of their songs I knew, they did great! My favorite part of the concert was the acoustic songs (still with the whole band but on the acoustic instead of the electric). And at the intro into the acoustic songs Dave Grohl (lead guy) begins strumming some acoustic riffs as he walks from the main rectangle stage that is set, down the cat walk in the middle of the crowd, to a circular band stage that is being lowered down from the rafters! It was so great, and once he got there, facing the opposite end of the AAC now he says to the crowd in front of him something like “I didn’t want to forget about you guys.” It was greatness, I really enjoyed their music and some of John’s dancing. Hahaha.
I had not been to a secular concert in years; John & I are usually too cheap to pay for the tickets that make it worth going. And even then we have only gone to Christians concerts. But this concert really reminded me how naive I am and pretty much sheltered by the church and people I spend time with I am. Not to my surprise, just a reminder. In between his great songs Dave Grohl threw in as much profanity as possible I think, plus a wonderful little tribute to smoking weed. I was a bit disgusted by it, especially the fact that it was not what he was saying that was getting the crowd rallied, but the profanity he used. I mean really “let’s all cheer for the f-bomb,” or “oh, he said s*%t, that’s our queue to scream.” That small part of the concert though is simply a good reminder of the world around me I think, not the reality but the world. I am glad I went, and so thankful to Tami & Edwin for giving us amazing seats at the concert!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Winterfest is a convention for teenagers in grades 6-12, it is held by the Churches of Christ in Arlington and gathers over 4,000 students together! They bring bands, commedy, artists, and all sorts of entertainment for the youth to experience Christ through. For us Winterfest was last weekend.

We took 25 students to Winterfest, the largest group we have ever taken, it was amazing! Our students built relationships, spent time together worshipping and learning about Christ, and learning how to Know, Be, See, and Share Christ. This is a weekend that John and I have been praying for and we feel that God has answered our prayers in big ways. Our youth group is finally becoming a community found on Christ. Of course it will never be perfect, but it is on the move. I hope you enjoy the pictures, there are tons more in the Winterfest Album on my myspace page, .