Monday, April 30, 2007

Nail emergency

Yesterday I had a "nail emergency." Yeah, I know, I know. Sounds ridiculous. Only women would understand. Speaking of church "for men only" I have been thinking - if we had church "for women only" we could provide an on site nail tech. People could get fills, mani's or pedi's while they are there. :-) (I know, that's about as ridiculous for men!)

Anyway, yesterday I did have a nail emergency. My husband laughs at the thought but truly there is such a thing.

When I woke up yesterday I noticed one of my nails was lifting off and a little water got underneath so I thought, "ugh, on a Sunday!" I made it through the morning service without doing anything about it but I thanked God I had extra time yesterday before evening service. After lunch I headed over to my nail place. You would have thought the second coming had arrived.

"Deeeeeeena! Whachoo doooeen heeere? It Sundaaaeeee! Yoo nah ah churcsh?"
I assured them...yes indeed, it was Sunday...I did have church, in fact I was headed back there. I had not resigned. Jesus is still Lord. I just had a...nail emergency.

So I sat there and got a fill while watching "Deja Vu" (very intriguing movie) a beautiful marble design (pink and black, thank you!) and headed back home to get ready for church. 

I've been thinking...what are some things we would have if we had exclusive "church for women"? According to some men out there, we already have "church for women". But I don't think so. If I were going to be so selfish as to demand church just for my gender, I'm sure a few changes would be made.

In addition to the onsite mani's and pedi's, why not go with chocolate communion wafers? 

Pink pews? 

Instead of a Christian bookstore on site, we could have a purse boutique on site. 

And I for one would like to have at least one man in the place. Perhaps Sawyer from Lost to give the announcements by video. Nothing like a little eye candy in church. :-)

Ridiculous? Yes, but I make the point again, no more ridiculous than "church for men."

Sunday, April 29, 2007

End to a busy weekend...

Tonight we capped off a very busy weekend at Northside, with a concert with Vicki Yohe. We enjoy her so much. I've found she's not just an anointed singer, she's just a really personable and kind person. I love her sister Terri, too. Sweet just like her and she can sing to beat the band. Here are some photos of our time with them tonight...

Saturday, April 28, 2007


This has been a good weekend but I can't wait to get back to my work week Monday at the church for some rest. :-) Really I am not kidding when I say that. It has been a good weekend but it's been a long time since I've had any hours off and when that happens I start getting antsy, like the walls are closing in. Although it will be a while til' my next day off at least I will have some evening hours to rest and regroup during the week...if I determine to take them. It's also a night to definitely get at least 7 hours sleep.

We had fine arts this weekend and went to see all the kids compete. They did awesome! They are going to nationals and several placed in different categories, including Jordan for short sermon, and Dustin for web design and short story. I'm so proud of all of them.

Today we had Lindsay's graduation and lunch, then came home to get all the loose ends tied up for tomorrow's service. In addition to getting all the remaining stuff set for church tomorrow that remained undone, making calls, and all that jazz, I got Sunday's lunch prepared. My house sits uncleaned at all as I haven't been home. As much as it needs to get done, I just can't push myself this week to do it, other than necessities. I have found that when I have a weekend or Friday like this, I have to catch up and make up for it somehow.

We did spend some time with Keith and Joy at fine arts...just went out with them for a coke...and caught up. Hasn't been long since we've been together but even a week that goes by is a lot to catch up on.

Time to go to sleep. I am zonked and want a full night tonight.

Church for Men Only

After my reprint of my friend, Pastor Leanne Weber's blog on the Feminization of the Christian Church, I see that my friend Pastor Lisa Alexander also has a blog on the subject of a new church that is...for men only. She got her info from this article here.

Things really get stranger day by day when it comes to this.

Here's my take. There are just as many flowers in the church now as there were 100 years ago. Probably even less, in many cases. There are just as many kleenex boxes as there were years ago. Before that people took their hankies to church There has always been group signing in church. For as long as there has been church, singing has been part of worship.

So why this current uprising that the church is too feminine becuase of this stuff? Seems to me that a few men are getting a little weak and whiney over something that men of previous generations just accepted as a part of most churches and didn't allow to hinder their participation.

Quite truthfully, the church is not completely feminized. If it were completely feminized as so many right now are declaring it to be there would be quite a few changes to be made...

Get rid of the urinals...

Get a lot more women pastors...

Get a lot more women deacons....

Just as a starting point.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Feminization of the Christian Church

This blog was written a while back by my friend, Pastor Leanne Weber, on her daily blog. I'm copying it with her permission here. It's excellent. I rarely if ever print somebody else's entire blog post here on mine, but I make an exception when I find something, well...exceptional. And this is something I believe qualifies. It must have struck a chord out there because in short order, she had a comment from Brad Stine himself with a rebuttal about it, on her blog. Here are Pastor Leanne's thoughts on this topic...
"The Feminization of the Christian Church"...
By Rev. Leanne Weber
I hear that phrase thrown around quite a bit. That the church has become "feminized." That Christian men have become "sissified." But no one can really give me a clearcut definition of what that means.

Are we talking about men who don't grunt, scratch, and watch every sport on TV known to man? Do we mean men who would rather spend a night at the opera than at a monster truck rally? [Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with sports or monster trucks (I personally love watching the giant trucks smash the tiny little cars!).] Are we talking about men who defy the stereotypical "man" image - men who put the toilet seat back down for their wives? Men who can cook? Who realize that both they and their wives share a home, contribute to the weekly mess that piles up, and therefore, should share the responsibilities of cleaning up said mess?

Why is it that a woman can put on a sports jersey, paint her face whatever team colors she prefers, and watch a football game with her husband, and people think that's just fine - and even encourage it, but if a man accompanies his wife on a shopping trip or to the theatre, he gets comments like, "Boy, she's got you whipped!"

Maybe men are too "feminized" when it comes to worship. We emotionally-charged women should be the ones crying, on our faces before God, while our husbands stand there stone-silent and expressionless. It's really a lose-lose situation. If a man attends church and gets involved, then he's "feminized" or "sissified." Coerced into service by his pushy wife. If he stays home like the manly man he's supposed to be, then he's backslidden and we pray for his soul.

Why can't John Eldredge, Brad Stine, and all the rest just let our men be who they are? Who came up with the definition of what a man or a woman is "supposed to" be? I prayed for a husband who was not a sports fan...who did not go out hunting and fishing...someone who would be my companion and enjoy the same things I enjoyed. And God gave that man to me. Of course we have some separate interests - we are not clones of each other!! But so stinkin' what if my husband likes to watch ice dancing with me? Who really cares if directing a theatrical production fills him with more adrenaline than attending a football game? What skin is it off anyone's nose? He's exactly what I asked God for, and I, for one, would not be happy if he went to a "Godmen" or "Promise Keepers" rally and came back all excited about going fishing with the boys! Promoters of these rallies say that wives are so happy and thrilled when their husbands come home and "take leadership" and stop being "sissies."'s one wife that they do NOT speak for!!

My husband and I are both adults - according to God's Word, we are spiritual equals, and together, work to run our household. Neither of us lording it over the other. When we have children, they will see us as a unified team, and they will not live in a house where one person's word rules - mine OR his! And until someone can give me a clearcut definition of how the church has been "sissified" - other than some lame diatribe about flowers decorating the sanctuary (To me, flowers celebrate the beauty of God's creation - what is so wrong with a man appreciating that? Would these people prefer that we decorate with gun racks and deer heads? What does that say about our church? About our God?) - then I guess my husband and I will just keep doing whatever it is that we do. Because it seems to be working quite well!!!

Blessing #4

Today's blessing that I would like to bring to you is a friend, Pastor Lisa Alexander, co-pastor of Zion Tabernacle Church, Houston, Texas. Together with her husband, Pastor Elgin Alexander, she pastors this new and exploding church plant. AMAZING things are happening at their church. I get so excited when I hear the reports about it.

I met Lisa through my pastoring partners ministry and she has become a true blessing to me. I appreciate her wisdom, her encouragement, her zeal. Pastor Lisa is a great writer and I enjoy reading her blogs, her Myspace, and also just the things she writes to me personally. She is my accountability partner now with exercise.

I have appreciated Pastor Lisa for quite a while now but she's especially on my mind today because she called me.

How can you put a value on a person who says, "I'm praying for you"? The answer is, you can't. Although Pastor Lisa and I are long distance friends, there is no distance in prayer. There is no distance in sisters connecting, being there emotionally and spiritually for one another in good times and bad.

Pastor Lisa, you are a true blessing! I love you, girl!

Can we please talk about what we're FOR, not what we're AGAINST?

I have developed a habit of listening to preaching podcasts while I’m getting ready in the mornings. Every day I listen to a sermon on line. I listen to people preach who are famous, some not so famous, some who are personal friends. Some challenge me, some bring change to my life, some refresh me, and some flat out irritate me. Although I like to look at the positive, today I do want to mention what irritates me. Because truly, it’s the fact that some preachers do not focus on the positive! Negativity is my complaint.

Lately I’ve been listening to a preacher-acquaintance who has planted a church. He’s a great preacher and I enjoy listening to what he has to say, except for one thing. Each time he preaches, he casts a little vision for the church in each sermon. Now, I think that’s great. But the problem is the way in which he does that. Instead of talking about the positives of his church, he bashes everyone else “in comparison” to his new church. This is typically a paragraph out of every sermon he has preached for the past ten weeks. For anonymity’s sake, we will call his church “Northgate church” of Brooklyn, New York.

“Friends, when you come to Northgate church, you won’t find us serving up latte like some other churches. You’ll find us serving up the Holy Ghost! In fact, you won’t find a dead dried up atmosphere like the other churches in town. What you’ll find here at Northgate are people who are excited about Jesus! When people go to the other churches in Brooklyn, they’ll find people who don’t believe in healing anymore. But when you come to Northgate, you’ll find we aren’t like that. No, no! At Northgate, we’re not catering to people who just want to have a 20 minute sermon and run out the doors. Instead, we are committed to bring you the full counsel of God’s Word! You won’t just take your coffee and run like they do at the community church across town. We are committed to being different than all those other churches!”

I have listened to about ten of this pastor's recent sermons, and you probably wonder, “why?" Well the reason is, the pastor of this church IS a great preacher. Everything else he says minus the above paraphrased paragraph is mind-blowingly anointed. But each week you have to endure the negative paragraph about all these other churches. My thought is this…why couldn’t he just say:

“Friends, when you come to Northgate church, you’re going to experience the power of God! You’re going to find people who are excited about Jesus! You are going to find, there’s healing in the house! You’re going to hear God’s powerful, life changing Word! We are absolutely committed to you understanding God's Word and experiencing Him to the fullest!!!”

There…now isn’t that better? Same vision casting, minus the church bashing. My question is, why do people have to bash others in order to cast their vision? Simply state what you are FOR, not what you are AGAINST.

Incidentally, my own church, Northside, is remarkably what he describes his own church being. Although we do serve coffee, we also believe in healing, aren’t dead and dried up, bring the full counsel of God’s Word, and we certainly expect the Holy Ghost to show up. But I don’t need to bash somebody else for all that to happen. Just let the ministry speak for itself.

Why don’t I call this preacher and tell him this? Because it’s not my place to…he’s only a far away acquaintance (we’ve just met and shook hands a few times, we’re not really on a personal level where I would talk to him about something like that) but I hope God speaks to him about it. Because he’s one of the most dynamic preachers I’ve ever heard, and I would hate for something like this to turn anyone off from listening to him who doesn’t have the tenacity like I do to “take the meat – chuck the bone” and listen for his good points like I do.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blessing #3

My son, Dustin Michael Shrodes (a.k.a. Chocki Wocki Souvlaki) is my third blessing I would like to talk about today.
I have tons of nicknames for my kids. I have heard it said before that the more nicknames a person has, the more they are loved. (good intentioned nicknames of course!) Well, I have a ton of them for my kids. So they must really be loved.

I appreciate my son so much because he has such a deep abiding love for God and His convictions are rock solid. He is just like his Daddy in the way that I know although he can sometimes be crazy, and is real humorous, he's got a great head on his shoulders. He will do great things in life but nothing kooky or unstable. He is one of those guys you just know is "a rock." He will grow to be a very solid man of God.

I don't believe manhood is about a certain age such as 18 or 21, or that it is arrived at by marriage. I only believe you can call someone a man when they take complete responsibility and are faithful and stable. While Dustin is still coming out of boyhood, He is already a young man of God and is on his way to being a powerful man of God. I am proud of him.

He graduates in a few weeks. He is ambivalent still a bit about his future, but I keep telling him to settle down. Exactly "what" he's doing is not as important as what he is personally becoming. Character is the most important thing to develop over position.

I give all the credit to God for the way he has turned out. I've made way too many mistakes to take any glory for it that's for sure. But I thank God every day for his grace over Dustin's life. Love covers a multitude of sins. Though I have not been perfect, I have loved him, and God has made up for the rest.

I'm proud of my Chocki.

More stuff about me you might or might not care about

Sometimes I just do these questionnares friends send me on line to do something non-sensical besides work and give myself a little break at night before I talk to Lar and turn in for the night. Work can become consuming on my mind and I just need a break to shut my mind off from it for a while and here we go with another one of these that I got off of Pastor Leanne's blog...



WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? About a month ago on a Wed night…a special friend helped me through it.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? I used to like it a lot. But now that I type so much, my handwriting has gone down hill as I rarely do it except to sign things.


IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? It depends on what I was looking for in a friendship. It takes a unique person to be friends with me and I realize that.

DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Yes, definitely. Keep me from going insane/postal

DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? No, I had them out when I was five.





WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? Cold Stone Creamery’s Birthday Cake


WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I get extremely angry. Fortunately I have learned how to cope with it and how to respond appropriately. Rather than explode, or suppress it, I have learned to remove myself from a situation immediately and go deal with it emotionally for at least 15 minutes or so when needed. But it’s still hard to deal with sometimes.

WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My grandmother.

WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? I am not wearing pants nor shoes. I’m wearing a tshirt and panties which is my standard uniform when at home unless anyone is here but my family.

LAST THING YOU ATE? A mini cannoli (fortunately my weight watcher teacher does not have this blog URL)

WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? A baseball game that Larry is watching as he lays beside me.

IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Something very bright with a name that sounds like an OPI polish color. (“I’m Not Really a Waitress”?)

FAVORITE SMELL? Larry’s cologne (Curve) Just by smelling it I can practically have an… (never mind)


THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? How passionate they are about the things of God.


FAVORITE SPORT? I don't really watch sports, but I like to ride my bike, walk and skate.

EYE COLOR? Greenish brown

HAT SIZE? I think hats look stupid on me. I don’t wear them so I don’t know my size.

DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Yes. For 98% of all my waking hours.

FAVORITE FOOD? I really love most everything but my all time favorite is mashed potatoes.


SUMMER OR WINTER? I love it all now that I’m in FL

HUGS OR KISSES? Both and lots of them.

FAVORITE DESSERT? Pie of most kinds. Right now my fav is Marie Callenders Razzleberry, right out of the oven.

WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? When Wallflowers Dance by Angela Thomas and the Bible


FAVORITE SOUNDS? Rain while I’m sleeping



WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Norfolk, Virginia



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Blessing #2

I really have the best women's team on the planet! I enjoy them so much. They are dedicated women who love the Lord, love the ladies, and love me. They are great supporters and armor bearers and I am more excited about our team and what God is doing than I have ever been. Tonight we had our women's leadership meeting and we are right in the thick of planning for our biggest outreach of the year. Our meeting tonight was at my house and I decided to start with high tea and then have our devotional, planning and prayer time together.

First we had scones and I had made homemade devonshire cream to go with them. Then I made three kinds of tea sandwiches - my homemade chicken salad (which always gets rave reviews), egg salad, and parmesan pesto ham with provolone. Then we had three different desserts - mini cannoli's, chocolate filled tarts and strawberry filled tarts, all topped off with...Paris tea! Now doesn't THAT sound special? I just love doing things like this. I was hoping to do something special this week for them, dependent upon my schedule. And so...thankfully, it worked.

By the time we were done tonight, we had taken ourselves completely out of any box we had been in before, (I don't think we ever were - we just sort of keep trying to stay away from any boxes or limitations completely) and we made some changes to our outreach this year that will be different from any other.

I love spending time with leaders, dreaming about what we're going to do, planning it, executing it, and most of all...reaching people. Nothing like it.

Leanne's interview!

My friend, Pastor Leanne, who is a WONDERFUL children's pastor at an A/G church in Wisconsin, sent me this today to fill out, just for fun. I thought I would post it here to share with all of you friends who are reading and might be sitting on the edge of your seat wondering such things as..."would Deanna hide evidence for me?" and "does she eat with utensils?" Find out this fascinating info right here my friends.

1. Ever punch someone in the face? No.

2. How old are you? 40 and fabulous.

3. Are you single or taken? Taken. Very taken.

4. Eat with your hands or utensils? Utensils except for a few things like a sandwich. I even eat pizza most times with utensils. I don’t like to get dirty. I know food isn’t dirt, but I just don’t like messiness. I have even tried to eat hot wings with a fork and knife and...yes, I eat ribs with a fork and knife if I even bother to eat them. Most times I don't order them because I don't want that gooey sticky feeling on my fingers not to mention having my hands smell like BBQ. I like my hands to smell like Bath and Body works Vanilla Sugar or Moonlight Path, not Sonny's BBQ.

5. Do you dream at night? Occasionally. Usually when I do it is not a good dream, so I don’t like to dream at night, only good dreams – wide awake, which are the best kind.

6. Ever seen a corpse? Yes. Being a pastor, I’ve been with people when they have died, or just shortly thereafter.

7. Have you ever wished someone dead? Out of immaturity as a kid, yes. As an adult, no. I realized as I grew up that first of all, it’s wrong to wish someone dead and only hurts me spiritually. But second, there is much greater retribution to let it go - to forgive them. This is the best revenge of all - giving it to God. I don't want people to die. If they have hurt me, my friends or family, I want them to actually stay alive and face God’s justice - first on earth, then in the afterlife. (I believe judgment begins here on earth for those who do not repent, and I believe we reap what we sow, so we all had better be careful.)

8. Do You Like Bush, the president? Yes I do. While not perfect, I think he’s faced issues that no other president has ever faced as of yet and has done the best job he knows how.

9. What’s your philosophy on life? and death? Just some of my philosophy/core values are: Life is but a vapor. You had better make the most of it. Follow your God-given dreams and don’t wait because you don’t know when your last day on earth might come. Love deeply. Forgive. Don't get bitter because it only hurts you. Be beautiful inside and out. I believe that life here on earth, although short, is a precious gift. I don’t believe in just ‘holding on for heaven.’ I believe in living to the fullest here on earth and then…enjoying your eternal reward which is an incredible icing on the cake!

10. If you could do anything with me, and have no one know about it, what would it be? Well, I’m actually different in this regard I guess in that I really don’t care if people know about most things I do. But if I could do anything with you, Pastor Leanne, it would be to come spend some time with you at your church, see you in action, and share a fru fru coffee as you call it.

11. Do you trust the police? For the most part, yes. I believe just as with pastors, at least 95% of the police are honest, dedicated people who are making a difference in the world. Only a few are corrupt and the masses get a bad rap because of them.

12. Do you like country music? Love it. Absolutely love it.

13. What is your fondest memory of me? When you just got your new children's pastor position, and seeing the burden of the previous place lift off of you, and the joy of the new place and all it has brought to your life. I was very happy for you – still am.

14. If you could change anything about yourself would you? Sure. There are always need for improvements in all of us. I’m always working on something to change, especially to be more like Jesus.

15. Would you date me? Seeing as we both are women, and we both are already married? Uh, no.

16. What do you wear to sleep? Depends on the occasion. Sometimes a t-shirt and panties, sometimes flannels, sometimes lingerie, sometimes nothing. Depends on my mood and what is on the schedule.

17. Have you ever peed in a pool? No. That is absolutely disgusting to me as is peeing in the ocean. I will always go find a bathroom. I don't consider this being a clean freak, I think it's just...the right, normal thing to do. If I don't even eat pizza with my hands, do you really think I pee in a pool?

18. Would you hide evidence for me if I asked you to? No.

19. If I only had one day to live, what would we do together? Whatever you wanted to do – you’re the one dying, not me.

20. What is your favorite thing about me? You are really all out dedicated to the ministry and so passionate about it and there’s nothing that attracts me to a friend more.

21. Do you think I'm attractive? Yes. And you are always further working on improving yourself which is something I’m always doing myself and think is really important.

22. What's your favorite color? Pink.

23. If you could bring back anyone that has passed, who would it be? My grandmother.

24. Tell me one interesting/odd fact about you? I didn’t have a car until I was 38.

25. Will you post this so I can fill it out for you? Sure.

What's right with my world...

So many times we want to look at what's wrong with the world, particularly with our personal world. Like anyone else, I face trials and as a matter of fact I'm in the midst of one right now. But I've learned at times like this it's much more beneficial to look at all that's right rather than what is wrong. So right now I'm going to do that. What's right with my world?

1) God loves me. This is enough to get a person through anything, I've learned.

2) My husband loves God with a passion, but after that he gives me everything he's got.

3) My kids love God.

4) My home is a refuge for me.

5) I love our church.

6) I am so blessed with so many people I love in my life...who also love me.

7) My bed is REALLY comfortable. I mean it's so comfy it will put anyone to sleep in 2 seconds.

8) I am able to follow the plan of God for my life.

9) We are serving in a HEALTHY church. This makes up for most anything in the church I might get upset about at any given time. There's a lot to be said for health.

10) My kids are musical.

11) I have three sets of china. Need I say more?

12) When I get stressed I can soak in my hot tub.

13) I enjoy a Tampa Bay sunset on most days unless I'm preoccupied with something else.

14) I have so many wonderful women friends in my life.

15) I'm blessed with having a lot of Bibles. It amazes me how some peopel don't have any.

16) God just keeps opening doors for me. More about that later...

There's so much that's right with my world, come to think of it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Blessing #1

Today I begin a blog series on blessings. For how long, I dunno. But today is blessing #1 day.

I'm actually going to talk about two blessings today. Not fair you say? It's my blog. Anything is fair here that I say is fair.

Obviously my numero uno blessing is my relationship with Jesus. It should go without saying but for so many, it's not obvious so I'm not going to just assume the reader knows this.

I'm blessed by His indescribable love for me. For some reason when I keep screwing up incessantly, He loves me infinitely. I'm so glad His love for me is so so great and His grace abounds in my life.

My second blessing is my greatest earthly relationship - my husband Larry. He's not just the sexiest man I know, he's the most stable. In 22 years of being together, I've never once feared him doing anything off the deep end. While he lives a life totally abandoned to God, He's not flaky. I think there's a big difference between abandonment to God and stupidity. A big difference. So, He's that (which I appreciate so much in Him, with all I've had a front row seat to in 22 years of watching some pretty crazy things) but some of his other qualities I love are that he is:




So warm and inviting (on at least half the mornings of the week I get up, get Savanna ready for school, get showered, and then...slide back into bed next to him. I can't help it, I really can't.)

Attentive most of the time...

and much more but I'll stop there for now so I can go night night. :-)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Growing up

Today is officially Savanna's 10th birthday. We celebrated it yesterday but today is the actual day. (Here are some pictures of her taken in our back yard this evening.)

I'm so blessed to have a daughter. I waited six years for her and my whole life changed when she was born. She completed my family dreams. I always wanted to have two boys and a girl. Some people don't have those type of dreams come true in their lives and I realize how blessed I am to actually have mine. I'll never forget when she was born and the doctor said, "it's a girl!" I told him beforehand that if it was a girl he better step back because I might stand up and jump up and down on the bed, out of control crazy with happiness. I was doing that in my heart, but I was so tired from all night of labor that for once in my life I didn't have the energy to jump up and down.

Savanna was my gift for my 30th birthday. Now I am even more thankful for her on my 40th. Nothing will ever take her away from me.

More pictures from Savannie Bannanie's birthday!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Savanna's Birthday

Well, in just two hours at the stroke of midnight it will officially be Savanna's 10th birthday. We had our family celebration tonight at Kobe. It's become sort of a tradition the past few years that this is what we do as a family on birthdays even aside from the kids parties that we have. We had a good time. It was a fun evening and everyone came and sang to her and we had a cake and she had the hat and all that stuff that they do each time. The kids really do not get tired of it. Here are some pictures of our evening.

Hard to believe "my baby" is 10 years old. I got her a set of earrings in different colors for each day of the week and took her to get an outfit tonight. She got a casual short set and she is going to wear it for her field trip on Monday. Jordan also gave her a present when we got home and Dustin is taking her on a special outing just the two of them.

I can't believe my kids are getting this old. It's just amazing.

Quote for Today

"If you are not living on the edge, you take up too much room." 

My prayer is that God will give me courage to live on the edge. I recently heard it said that courage is running from failure to failure with enthusiasm. I have more than enough of my share of failures, and most of the time keep my enthusiasm, so perhaps that means I am developing into a woman of courage. I hope so.

I want to do something great, and I know it's impossible to do something great and worry about being safe or 100% right every time. 

I am not ready to blog about details of this yet because they are not finalized, but in the coming months I am going to be embarking on something that quite honestly is not safe, is not predictable, and will put me in a situation I have never been in before. It's something completely new, and something that has the potential to be the most life changing thing I've ever experienced. 

I'm not afraid. I'm ready to live even more on the edge.

The dark side of putting the Z in Zeal

"When a woman of many words says nothing, her silence is deafening." King Monkut, Anna and the King

Okay, so today is my day off, a day I reflect more than any other, because it's the one day I have time to. And today my friends, I'm going to share with you one aspect of my personality that is both blessing and curse, and something I've never known quite how to deal with. Maybe if you make it all the way through this post and have an idea, you can tell me what you would do if you were me. (I know, I know it's totally scary to even consider being me for 2 seconds, but...)

Remember when you were a kid and you were instructed by parents, teachers and other responsible adults, "if you don't have anything nice to say...don't say anything at all"? Well, I try to live by that, but many times am vilified for doing so. Allow me to explain.

I talk. I mean, I REALLY talk. I'm a communicator, both naturally and it's what I do for a living. One time a friend and I had an eight hour phone conversation from Tampa to Maryland. All good stuff. We were just "catching up." It was on my day off, she called me, and it just...went that long. I know, it's crazy. My husband says, "WHAT IN THE WORLD DID YOU HAVE TO TALK ABOUT FOR EIGHT HOURS?" Unless you know me personally you are probably shaking your head and you have no comprehension. If you are just an anonymous peeker onto this blog you think, "that's insane" but if you are one who is personally friends with me right now you are saying, "well yeah, it's insane, but that's just Deanna."

Not only can I talk until the cows come home (I always used to get in trouble for it at school) but I'm a very animated talker. And usually when I greet people it's with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm. In my Sunday School class or when I am preaching you never know if I'm going to jump up on a chair and talk, or take a lap around the room. I mean, sometimes I just can't help it. It's just how I'm wired. When we have a women's event, I rarely eat - I just work the room. 200 people may be sitting there and usually by the time I get up to preach I have greeted everyone of them, and most times hugged every single one of them.

All this to say - if I'm happy, I'm talking. If I'm sad, I'm not. Talking is something I do in big doses when all is right with the world in my life. If I'm quiet, you know something's wrong.

So when I'm mad about something and don't have something nice to say, I just tone down. Not silent-treatment-quiet, I just completely mellow out. I talk to people, I normally converse with them, I even smile when I am talking. There is just an absence of the "talking 100 miles and hour with great enthusiasm" talking involved. In other words, I just start acting like most "normal" people when I get mad. All the animation stops, and I just calmly talk, discuss whatever needs to be discussed and I don't go looking for opportunities to converse and I certainly don't hop up and down with glee. If I have nothing good to say about something or to someone, I just...chill.

So what is so wrong with that? Well, when you are a person who put the "Z" in zeal, people see something really wrong with it. This is something I've been attacked for time and again. When those I am in relationship with see that I get quiet (again, we're not talking about the silent treatment - I do see what is wrong with that) they tend to get very angry. If a church member notices I'm just not as animated with them, that I am just even keeled when I talk, and not overly zealous, they realize, "she's not herself." And then comes the, "Pastor Deanna is not treating me the same!" cry.

Well, would you treat someone exactly the same if you have been betrayed or attacked? I'm not saying you would refuse to forgive them, or not speak to them again. I am simply saying that when someone betrays or attacks you or even simply hurts you, I don't think that calls for having the same exact relationship with them. There are times, simply put, that I am not excited about my relationship with somebody. Even when you work through forgiveness issues with someone, the fact is, if the hurt was bad enough, you don't feel like jumping up and down with excitement when you see them. You're doing good just to smile and greet them nicely and carry on normal conversation. I have literally had people say, "you just don't have that air of excitement when you see me." WELL HELLO...................................

Typically when this happens with me with someone I am still hugging them when I greet them, still speaking to them many times even before I'm spoken to, and carry on a conversation that if someone who didn't know us was listening in on, would say, "that's a perfectly normal, nice conversation with no negative undertones at all." The problem lies in the fact that for people who know me well they know that I have very few nice normal conversations, and a lot of high octane, enthusiastic, passionate ones.

I have thought before of purposely and painstakingly changing this dad-gum personality of mine to just be even keeled all the time, to not jump up with excitement when I see anybody - therefore I wouldn't be putting anybody out when I stopped jumping when they made me mad. I've thought of stopping my eight hour conversations with people, and given up on being the hugger that I am. I have considered mellowing out my usual attitude and becoming more melancholy when I talk to everbody so it doesn't stand out when I am just even with some. But I don't want to do that. Because I like being excited, fun, animated and I love communicating.

But I'm just really sick of being accused of being a terrible person due to the fact that I don't jump up and down and talk for 2 hours to somebody who has just emotionally or verbally hit me upside the head. I'm really sick of that. It doesn't happen every day or every week or even ever y month. Usually this kind of thing happens to me on average once a year. But it happens enough to drive me crazy sometimes. So, by now you are probably thinking, "why don't you just force yourself to be animated with people you are not happy with?" Because that is so fake. And I just don't like fakeness. I love being real as you can tell by my open blogs which sometimes drive my husband crazy. :-) I just want to be genuine. And my excitement is very genuine. I don't just jump around and get excited and hug people as some fakey thing, I really MEAN it when I do that. I am honestly excited about what I am talking about and my gushing is totally honest gushing. I want to be "what you see is what you get" real.

My husband has even asked me sometimes, "please just keep gushing even when you don't feel like it because it would just spare us a lot of problems..." but it just makes me sick to even think of going around living fake like that.

When I saw the movie Anna and the King and King Monkut said what he did, I immediately had that quote imbedded in my head because it describes perfectly my personality. I am a woman of many words. If I say half the words I normally say, or for some reason I just say nothing, it's like the silence is absolutely screaming in the room.

Have you ever heard of a person getting verbally crucified for just being even keel and acting how others act on any given day of the week?

That's me, and short of becoming an absolute imposter, I really don't know what the solution is. Pastor friends of mine have told me, "can't you just be animated by faith?" What the heck does that mean? Take a step of faith and be animated with the person hoping I will feel the same way I used to about them, in the future? Go around excitedly saying things I don't mean in the least? That sounds kind of hokey to me.

I'm not one to shy away from facing my problems/issues or refusing to change negative things about me. I wouldn't be in life coaching and working on improving myself as a pastor, and as a person in general if I wasn't open to change. I'm wanting to learn, grow and change things all the time. But when I consider this issue, I really truly don't think it's one I need to change. I think that when people get angry because I'm not animated and something has happened I wonder if it's not the conviction of the Holy Spirit over what they have done, rather than my problem because I am not as enthusiastic as I normally am.

Do you really expect someone who has been hurt, betrayed or attacked to be ENTHUSIASTIC? Jesus wasn't jumping up and down on the cross. He still loved and forgave but he was not throwing a party.

Sometimes I have literally asked God, "WHY IN THE HECK DID YOU GIVE ME THIS PERSONALITY?" People always tell me they love my energy, enthusiasm, and animated nature. That is, until I'm suddenly not jumping off a chair when I'm talking to them.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Lifetime Intimate Portrait ~ Debbie Winchester

The next person I would like to introduce you to is the Queen of Encouragement, Debbie Winchester. I have known Debbie for the majority of the time I've lived in Tampa. She became a member at Northside shortly after we began our pastorate here. Growing up in a pastor's home, I think she instinctively understands many things I go through. She is so positive and encouraging and someone I always love to be around. We have a funny story about our friendship that I just have to share with you before our interview with her...

When Debbie first met me she invited me to lunch. I was glad to go with her and we met at Applebees. When we got there she was so nervous. I didn't know why she was acting so nervous and strange. I asked her why she was so anxious. She said, "I feel so honored to eat lunch with you and it makes me nervous, because I feel like I'm with the President of the United States or something..." Well, I thought that was so funny. I mean, ME? I couldn't imagine anybody would be nervous or intimidated by being with me or eating lunch with me. When she compared me to the President of the United States I started laughing so hard, I accidently banged my head on the wall behind my chair and you could hear "crack!" I mean, I really banged it hard. I didn't know the wall was so close to my chair and when I threw my head back and laughed it really boinked it hard. Well then when we heard my head hit the chair we both started laughing so hard we couldn't stop and everybody around us was like, "WHO ARE THESE TWO NUTCASES?" Well, from that moment on, Debbie hasn't been nervous around me, we just laugh a lot. Okay, here we go...

Debbie, Where are you originally from?

I was born in San Diego, CA
What is one of your fondest childhood memories?
Spending time with my oldest sister, she became my mother when my mother and father divorced. My father had custody, but my sister, being 12 yrs older than me, stepped in and did her best to nurture me. She would take me to the library and help me pick out books to read. Any time she could devote to me was the best! I also loved camping with the family every year!
Please tell us about your children/home:

I have 3 grown daughters, each seems to be creative in their own way. None of them have ever lived a conventional life, always on their own terms, which totally drove me crazy when they still lived at home!!!! As I look back though….they all are very much like their father, more then they really want to be at times! It’s amazing to see them leaving their own mark on the world! I have 3 grandchildren and another one on the way, 2 boys that are so awesome! We just took care of them for 4 days and had the best time with them! They amaze me! We also have 1 grand daughter, which at the ripe age of 6 has become a fashion guru! “Trust her, she knows fashion!”. We have another arriving in about a week! (Skyler Dean)

Our home has changed tremendously since the girls have moved out and the youngest has moved back in, we had our independence and suddenly, it has been taken away for a time, but God has all things in his hands and knows the end before we even see the beginning, so I am trusting him to continue to give me the wisdom needed for the task ahead! I am not sure what lies ahead, but I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me! I am definitely learning to take one day at a time!

How long have you been saved and tell us briefly how that came about...

I have been saved and filled with the Holy Ghost since I was 7 years old! My father is a minister and I was in church every time the doors were open plus any other time my father was needed. I remember wanting the Holy Ghost and trying to figure out how to speak in tongues. The church we attended used to have these revivals that would start with one week and if the spirit was moving it would go on and on and on for weeks. I wonder what the other churches that were scheduled did when they had to postpone their revival? A guy by the name of Ralph Sykes preached this revival and I remember him giving his personal testimony about having an Alcoholic mother that would drag him out of bed to sing in front of her drunken friends when he was 8 or something. He had a beautiful voice and played the piano really good. During that revival I came forward to be filled with the Holy Ghost and when I started speaking in tongues, I didn’t stop speaking in tongues for about 30 minutes. When I got done speaking in tongues, I quietly slipped out the side door of the auditorium and went to the back to get a drink of water.I felt so clean and peaceful that night! I didn’t want to speak or anything, just go home and go to bed quietly. I remember people coming up to me and talking to me about receiving the Holy Ghost, but I didn’t want to talk to them.

What type of things are you involved in at the church?

Taking care of the communion dishes after communion, Women's Minstries Eagles Team, and the Care Ministry Encouragement Team.

You do such a great job with all those things and you are a God-send to Pastor Larry and I. Share with us, what is your greatest passion?

To be an encourager and to be able to witness without a bit of fear. “Fearless Abandonment” (like you PD!)

How long have you known Deanna?

About 3 or 4 years

So, why are you still hanging around with her?

She is sooooo much fun, she is not shocked by anything and generally accepts people from all walks of life.

Is there anything about her you don't like or wish she would change?

She can sometimes go too far in joking around about things.

Anything else you want to share? Serious? Funny? Other?

On a more positive note, she is the most wonderful friend a person could have! I appreciate her and love her for being such a good friend and listening to me. With the way I was raised which resulted in a lack of self esteem, at times it is hard for me to believe anyone would even value my friendship. She's been a great source of encouragement to me and I am overcoming my feelings of inadequacy and learning think of myself as having value. I am learning to get my eyes off of myself and onto others and that is when my self-worth grows. Her Sunday School class is so awesome! It has strengthened me so much and I love attending it! She has such a great way of arranging words! I love the way she expounds on the Word of God and helps develop women into the leaders they are meant to be! I love it! She has so much energy and enthusiasm! If I could have just a drop of that….WOW! I could get my list caught up in one day! It is so late!!!! I really need to get to bed!
Thank you Debbie. I love you more than words can say, and...I'll work on that issue of going too far sometimes. :-) Forgive me. You're a gem!!! I love you!

Quote of the day

"Quitters are governed by facts. Overcomers are governed by faith."

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Outtakes from Church Life Cohorts

Just came back from CLR cohorts in Ft. Lauderdale. It was such an enriching time as usual. Best of all, it was the first time for a while that Larry and I have been able to really connect. I mean, we work together every day at the church and we spend time together but lately it hasn't been as quality as usual...for some reason. It's been this way about a month. I think we've just been under an attack of sorts. Not fighting...just...a little emotional disconnect and also a lot of pressure with the kids. But these past two days turned all that right side up just where we need to be. I love it when we are functioning like this. We really needed these two days.

Then, today Pastor Max taught in the morning and Dr. Lee this afternoon. A few days ago, Doc felt in his spirit that Max needed to teach this morning. They never communicated about the topic, he left it up to Max. As much as we love Doc, the Lord had something different in store today with Max and it was so on with where everybody was. So Holy Spirit orchestrated. Just thought I would share a few of Max's insights... of my 13 pages of notes, here are some favorites...

Adversity has the ability to bring out the best in leaders – prosperity tranquilizes us.

Yes, the battle is the Lord’s but the Word also says we are workers together with God. He used Moses with a rod in his hand, David with a sling in his hand, the disciples to take the multiplied loaves and fishes. He always uses people.FAITH WITHOUT A FIGHT IS DEAD.

Soil must rest sometimes so the next crop will be more bountiful. There are times when of all of a sudden everything slows down. Sometimes God intentionally slows things down.Psalm 23 – "He maketh me lie down..." 

If you are working your behind off trying to keep a program alive in your church, it probably was born in the flesh. If there is no fruit from it, you are keeping it alive on life support. Sometimes God resurrects it later. Make the decision to eliminate things that are non-producing. 

When you are part of a denomination sometimes you are under a lot of pressure to have certain programs. It's better to have the denomination mad at you than God. 

And my favorite piece of advice for the day...

New converts are a great distraction. Keep praying the new believers’s easier to deal with any negative factors in the church because you can always redirect people's attention to the souls being saved.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ft. Lauderdale

I'm in Ft. Lauderdale today and tomorrow for church life co-horts. Does anyone in Tampa miss me?
I miss you, but I'm enjoying being here as usual. I got my customary 4 hours of uninterrupted work done on the laptop on my way here. Yeah! Had dinner with Pastor Greg and Tammy tonight and debriefed on our last two months in the church and how things are going for all of us. So glad to be here. It seems everyone needs a boost of encouragement right now, and this is the place to get it.

We don't need to know everything

Okay, I'm going to post something about the war in Iraq. Finally, I'm breaking down and doing this. Although it's a hot topic, I've tried to stay away from it as far as blogging goes, and just talk about it quietly with close friends. It's also not something I would ever bring up publicly at church, for obvious reasons. This is a very polarizing issue. But here I go with my humble opinion on this, my personal blog.

Should we be there? Should we not be there? I don't know, but here's one thing I do know. The American people's "right to know" everything is taking our country into a downward spiral. Are there worse problems? Yes, I'm not here to debate which problem is worse. But the public's push to know every detail of everything is a huge problem. What has affected our recent wars more than anything, is THE MEDIA. Years ago, journalists were not granted the access they have now. Cameras were not there chronicling the war. And that was a good thing.

In previous wars, prior to the media frenzy we have today, the president did not have to worry that somebody was going to take photos of coffins lined up on an airplane to be sent home. Throughout the ages casualties have happened, and to a much greater degree in all of the previous wars. The difference is, we just didn't see it up close or personal. Therefore it was easier for the American people to cope with. War is messy. Previous presidents/commanders in chief did not have to worry about the results of the latest explosion or casualty being shown on CNN. They were able to take care of business without the interference of those back home.

Americans are all convinced that they know how the president should be running the country on everything from how many troops we should be sending in there to whether or not we should use tactics like torture to accomplish our purposes. I realize this is very controversial, but on the subject of torture...when we have had to use force to get information out of people that would save the American people's lives, that has always been done, policy or no policy. The difference is, there was not some idiot standing there filming it and and tattle taleing back to the American public. Back during World War I and II we didn't have Rosie O'Donnell on TV every blessed day spewing her ultra left wing rhetoric. I don't consider her left wing actually, I consider her off the radar, she's so far over, she doesn't even register on the left/right scale. Terrorists are just "mothers and fathers" and not people we should be afraid of? Last time I checked my mother or father were not blowing up the world trade center. And if they did, I would say...annihilate has to be done for the sake of our people. Don't use the word "terrorist" she says. "These people are not terrorists. That's a really negative word." Okay, so then what are they? They aren't your run of the mill mother or father, I will tell you that. They are mass murderers, plain and simple and have to be stopped at all costs. If you've got to inflict a little pain on someone to get out of them information that could stop the killing of thousands, possibly millions of innocent lives DO IT. One thing is for sure, we are not going to get anything done by sitting with these people over a cup of coffee trying to reason with them. There is no reasoning with this because sin simply doesn't make sense. And this is primarily a religious war that we are in. 

As a side note - who is Rosie O'Donnell to be stating what the direction of the country should be? She's a comedian/talk show host turned left wing extremist commentator. These celebrities get on TV and talk about the way things should be in this country and I'm thinking, "and you are qualified to decide this because you a movie? Because you host a talk show where they discuss such important things as Britney's latest date or the latest kid Angelina Jolie adopted?" Who are these people to be dictating the direction of the country? You might say, "aren't you doing that right now, Deanna?" No. No I'm not. I'm saying, I am not qualified to do that, as most Americans are not. This is why we elect leaders. Actors and comedians (or pastors!) have not been commissioned to give orders to the armed forces.

What we have is a crisis of leadership. Our president and commander in chief (no matter who they are - George Bush or anyone else in the position) have not been set free to lead. We elect people to make decisions on behalf of our country, to serve the people the best they know how with the information they have been given. The rebellious spirit in our country is out of control. We think we are so smart in the USA- everyone thinks THEY know how to do a better job. The truth is, none of us see all the info that comes across the desk of our president, the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, and our Military Forces. These people have - and should have - information that we do not know. And we have elected them to TAKE CHARGE and to ACT ON that information. People say, "the president was hiding things from the American people." The truth is, some things should be hidden. They should only be known to our top officials, for the security of the USA. Today they get on TV and announce where we are going to strike next. All because of the American people's "right to know." We can't remember life without the paparazzi. In times past, official body counts were not reported back to the people for a long time, even sometimes til' it was all over. Part of the reason for this is, the president would not want to affect the morale of the American people. Things like this were kept from us for the very reason that leaders know when the people see the casualties, there will be an outcry to stop. And sometimes, stopping is not best. It was enough to know, our leaders were taking care of business.

Taking care of business has led us to have the freedoms we have today. War is messy. Whether you think we should be there or not (and I am not writing this for or against being there - truthfully I haven't made up my mind on the issue) the fact is that war means casualties. There is nothing friendly about war. While I'm still not sure about this war, I do believe in war in general. The Bible says there is a time for war and a time for peace. Had the wars not been fought in the past, you and I would not be able to go to church freely, express ourselves freely, or even post anything on a blog freely let alone walk down the street.

To have those rights, people have to die. It's that plain and simple. When we elect our leaders, we need to set them free to do their job and not try to control things we don't know all the facts about.

I do know a few people who have been over in Iraq, serving during this war. They all say the same thing. When I have asked them about it they have said, "there's a lot more going on over there than the American people know about. There are many reasons for doing things that they know nothing of."

Isn't that the way it's supposed to be? Last year I turned on an episode of Oprah and she was showcasing all this footage from the war - showing all the casualties and trying to convince people how terrible of an idea this war is. Of course this is all a drop in the bucket compared to the losses of World War I or II and many other wars, but realize, this is a war that has full media coverage, so it's different. As she paraded these pictures on TV, she said, "It's important that the American people see the reality of war." The reality of war is that there are casualties, and we should expect them. I don't like that -- I hate it. But it's a fact. All that episode did was stir up the American people even more against the president and the war, and served to further disunite the country.

This is the same reason many churches do not grow. People have a "need to know" everything. They don't trust the leader and there is a crisis of leadership as a result. If people do not trust a pastor, they won't move forward. There are many things that happen within the church that if our staff disclosed them, they could cripple people's lives, ruin people's lives in fact. There are things we hold confidential because it's the right thing to do, also because it would greatly hurt people and the church should we make them public. We take that information and do our job, always keeping in mind what is best for the organization. This is the job of a leader. It is not always easy to have that responsibility. People often criticize the decisions you make, having no idea of all the reasons behind it. My husband often laments, "if they only knew...". There are times every pastor gets so weary of it and says, "would you just trust me to do my job?"

I am Deanna Shrodes. I am not called to be the president of the United States. There are many things I do not know about the terrorists, about plots to kill us, about this war, about methods used to ensure our freedoms, and a lot more. And quite truthfully, I'm fine with that. I trust our leaders to handle that. I am content in co-running 5036 Spectacular Bid Dr., and Northside Assembly of God. That is my calling in life. I am okay with letting those on Pennsylvania Avenue handle the terrorists.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So-So Day

Our youth did a really fantastic job on the service today at Northside. The fine arts entries they presented were just wonderful. Pastor Aaron did a great job speaking and the kids with worship, and all in all the service was very good. But the weather really did a number on us.

Larry and I had an hour and a half sleep last night. We were really glad neither of us had to preach. Our central air went out, and in Florida, well...that's a big deal. It was a warm night last night so therefore we didn't really sleep well. Just a lot of tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable to no avail. Larry tried to figure out what was wrong but just couldn't get it running last night. So, we had very little rest.
Then we awoke to heavy rain - I mean torrential rain - this morning. Down pours. Not only did that totally affect attendance particularly for Christian Education but it cancelled our annual picnic. This was a bummer. My class was better attended than I imagined it would be - I was proud of my ladies. But still, we were low. Spirits were high, however. We had a good class. We were just water logged! As you can see, this made for a so-so day. I wouldn't call it a bad day simply because our youth did a wonderful job. Therefore I can't completely just write this day off. But otherwise the rain and the effect it had on our events and attendance today were disappointing.

We went to Bernie and Lisa's for lunch and Garlands and Riveras ended up coming over and then the guys went and fixed the central air. In a few minutes, they figured out what it was - a clogged drain. Now our house is nice and cool again. I stayed longer than I should have over there eating pie and talking (when I should have come home and cleaned) but the laughter and conversation was doing me a world of good. So I stayed. Sometimes you just have to go for the refreshing you are longing for in that way, and put the urgency of things like cleaning aside just for a little while. It was worth it and I'll spend a little time in the morning cleaning before we leave for our meeting. Speaking of that...

I'm so glad we the central air and all that ironed out tonight because in the morning we leave for church life co-horts and Pastor Matt will be coming to stay with the boys and Savanna will go to live with the Harts while we are gone. I teasingly call her, "Savanna Hart." She really fits in over there as part of their family. I don't really give it a moments worry when she is there, I know she is loving every minute of it and they seem to love having her there just as much.

One thing I really need tonight, going into our meeting tomorrow, is a full night's sleep...and I am committed to having it. So, g'night.

Lifetime Intimate Portrait ~ Sue Flint

The next special person in my life that I want to introduce you to is Sue Flint. I have known Sue for probably about four years now...and she has been a God-send to my life and to our church. I first met Sue outside the church, actually. She was the boss of one of our members, at a radiology center here in Tampa. When I went to get some x-rays done there, the member of our church (Joel) said, "Hey, I want you to come meet my boss..." So I went with him down to her office, and the rest is history.

Shortly after our meeting at her office, Sue came to a Princess Luncheon outreach at Northside, and we really got connected and pretty soon I asked her to lead one of our affinity groups for hurting women. She's born for this. God has really blessed it. And I'm blessed just having her in my life and on our team. She's someone I just enjoy doing lunch with and dreaming about how we can reach more women in Tampa Bay.

In addition to being on the women's team and leading Aprile's Hope (the affinity group she leads) she is also on our leadership team, and our vision team at the church. Okey dokey, here we go with our interview with Sue Flint:
Where are you originally from?

I was born and raised on Long Island – somehow I lost the accent – I’m so glad because I can’t stand it.
What is one of your fondest childhood memories?

My fondest memories are of my grandmother – She would make me a “coffee” which was mainly milk, sugar and a splash of coffee and serve it to me in a demitasse. We would sit and have our coffee together. She also took me into the city a lot. She would take me to these classy restaurants with white linen tablecloths, waiters in tuxes when I was just a little girl.

Please tell us about your children/home:

I live with my two boys Ben (I still call him Benjamin)12 yrs almost 13 and Dakotah just turned 11. We have several pets – all small including our newest addition a Chinese Water Dragon. We have a busy schedule with school, homework, soccer and of course church but we still try to take time to do things together.

You are a GREAT Mom and I don't know how you handle it all, but you do, and so beautifully. So, how long have you been saved and tell us briefly how that came about...

In 1999, I was going to meetings at the Spring and I met this lady who was on fire for Jesus. I thought she was crazy. She was always telling everyone Jesus loves you and other stuff. The people who ran the meetings couldn’t get her to stop. She kept inviting me to her church. She was always so happy and upbeat and she just kept asking me so I finally said yes. After the first time I went, there was just never any question about what I did on Sunday mornings, I got up and went to church. I was just drawn to it. I think they gave a call for salvation every week but it wasn’t until I had been attending for a while that I remember the pastor asking people to come up and pray. I didn’t understand at the time what I was going up for I just knew I wanted what she said I could have – a relationship with Jesus.

What type of things are you involved in at the church?

I am on the Eagles team which I just love. We help plan and put on women’s functions in the church. I am also the director of a support group called Aprile’s Hope which is for hurting women – women who are or have been involved in domestic violence or any kind of abuse, significant loss or divorce.

What is your greatest passion?

Helping women in pain or going through a difficult time.
How long have you known Deanna?

I’m terrible at remembering how long ago anything happened – I think I first met her four years ago. Joel brought her in to my office to introduce her to me and shortly after, I went to a princess luncheon.

So, why are you still hanging around with her?

Have you ever known someone who is always interesting to be around? That’s PD – whether she is being funny, silly or completely serious she has an intensity about her that draws people to her, me included.

What do you like best about her?

She has the ability to see things (talent, abilities) in others that they are unable to see themselves.

Is there anything she does that completely gets on your nerves?

I can’t imagine her getting on anyone’s nerves :-)

Wow, I'm glad that's in writing...I'll point that out to my family!!! Anything else you want to share? Serious? Funny? Other?

PD has been such a positive influence on my life. She has such confidence in me and encourages me to step out and do things I might not otherwise.'re a gem!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Something Way Cool about the Virgin Birth

Okay, so how did I not know this? The virgin birth is miraculous enough in and of itself, but...

Today I was having lunch with my doctor and friend, Rosemay Latortue, M.D. We were talking about a bunch of topics like we always do and the conversation came around to the AIDS epidemic in Africa and then I posed this question to her. I said, "Rosemay, I have never understood how babies whose mothers are infected with AIDS are not automatically born with AIDS." And then she told me the most amazing thing. She said a mother's blood and baby's blood never mixes! (Unless something goes wrong, something ruptures, etc.) Okay, so I am 40 years old, I've had 3 kids, I consider myself a relatively intelligent person (but as Cathy said VERY naive at times) and I never knew this!!! I assumed all this time that blood passed through the umbilical cord. Well, it does but it is separated by a membrane, keeping the Mom and Baby's blood separate at all times.

Totally amazing.

So, she says, "Deanna, that is something else that is so incredible about the virgin birth! God prepared all of this so that Jesus' blood would not mix with Mary's.

Okay, so how did I never even think of this before? So we sat there and discussed the miraculous ramifications of this and I was just in awe of the way God prepared woman for this. Then I came home and studied it more on the internet. Look what I found on one site:

" It is an established physiological fact that the mother's blood is neither the source nor supply of the blood in the unborn infant's veins. It is the contribution of the male which leads to the development of the blood. Without that vital contribution no blood could be produced because the female of herself does not produce the elements essential for the production of this new blood. Gray's Anatomy, a recognised medical authority, states: "The fetal and maternal blood currents do not intermingle, being separated from each other by the delicate walls of the villi."Woman was so constructed that in the production of her child none of her blood would enter the veins of her offspring.

This brings us back to Genesis and there we read: "And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man." --Genesis 2:21-22.

The word used in verse 22 for the making of the woman is literally "builded." God builded, or constructed, woman and she was constructed in such a manner that when she was producing a child, that child's blood would be a new creation and not formed by the mother's bloodstream. Why did God so build, or construct, the woman? Simply because He was anticipating the Virgin Birth and making ready the woman for the great incarnation of God in human flesh.

Satan used the woman as the instrument to ruin the race, but God who is always ahead of the devil, forestalled him and had already constructed the woman so that she would be the instrument to produce the Redeemer of the race. If the woman had not been constructed in this manner and the production of blood in the unborn infant not so ordered, than Christ's blood would have been common with the whole race and valueless to redeem. The Virgin Birth of Christ, which took place with no male contribution which would originate the infant's blood in the usual way, but by a supernatural act of God thus originating supernatural blood, is absolutely essential to the work of redemption. By such a birth and by such a birth alone could blood be produced-- precious, incorruptible, supernatural and divine, to redeem the fallen sons of Adam's accursed race.

Wowee. So cool. You know, there is nothing to ever be afraid of when studying science and the Bible. It will always agree because of our magnificent God and the way He orchestrates things.