Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Holy Ghost Tweaked Messages


So, I had my message done for Inspire Conference and put it to rest and went on to other things. But as usual, as I'm winding down for the evening, God drops a few more things in my head and I yank it back out and start writing all over my "final" copy. I'll re-type with all the changes tomorrow and make another "final copy" so then I can write all over THAT one in my hotel room Thursday night. :-)
Really the copy is never final. God adds things up til the last second, and then during. They have asked me to bring a message they heard me bring before at another conference...and I am. Only when I am asked to do this and I preach something the second, third, fourth (or even more) times, the Lord always tweaks it. 

You'd think it would be easy...somebody hears a message, it totally resonates with them and they bring you in to their church/conference to bring that same specific message, so - what's so hard about this? Just pull the notes back out. Well, with me, especially on the things I'm so passionate about - God is always telling me more things. Always bringing a fresh perspective. Always igniting my fire again. So it's the same message, with usually much more to it, and also other parts refined. Plus a fresh anointing of the Spirit upon it, so therefore no telling what can happen to it.

I really know that God is going to show up this weekend. I have no doubt. 

Bringing God's Word to people is the biggest responsibility but also the most exciting thing in the world. I still wake up in the mornings and say, "I can't believe this is what I get to do!"

They say if you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life!

Fifteen things I'm crazy about...


1) Levi's
2) The color pink
3) Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge
4) The life coaching class I teach.
5) Boots
6) Flip flops with sequins
7) Edy's slow churned low fat ice cream
8) Preaching
9) Worthington clothes from JC Penney's
10) Anything vanilla scented
11) When one of my kids lays across the bed and talks to me
12) Pretty underwear
13) Coffee and tea shops
14) Riding my bike at sunset
15) Feeling well! (Can't wait for this again!)

My endearing Larry


Larry has been a great comfort to me this past week while I have been feeling so poorly. Last night he talked to me for a long time about how I'm feeling, and just put his hand on me and prayed for me. That alone brought me so much peace. If I can just lay down next to him, I feel better.

I couldn't wait for him to come home today. I worked from bed all day, on my laptop. Actually finished all my initiatives that are computer related. Anything else that has to be wrapped up here in Tampa before I leave for Orlando, I have to go in to the office and do tomorrow. Everything from packing everything for my product table to making my announcement video for Sunday's service, to just wrapping up all loose ends for Sunday. Part of the difficulty when I go away is that I have to cram everything into a few days work and that is not easy. I'll still come back to a few loose ends Saturday night but that cannot be helped.

I did shower and dress today and even put makeup on but aside from that...worked from bed with my laptop. Larry came home today after work and brought me a pack of Wint-O-Green lifesaver mints. He knows how much I love them. He does special things for me like that all the time. He also brought me some lowfat cheesecake icecream. It's things like that that he does all the time that just endear him more to me. Last night I just cried on his shoulder for a while about the way I feel - literally. I just can't wait to feel normal again. Well, as normal as I can be!

I need to pack.

I need to clean the house.

Jordan got his driver's liscense permit today. The world will never be the same. I am not happy about it, but I really can't control it. He's plenty old enough by FL standards, and he's in driver's ed and he's required to have it. In 3 weeks, he turns 16. Now both my boys are able to drive and it's just the scariest thing in the world. Nobody really understands that until it happens to them...I just had my head in the sand and thought this day would never come. 

So, what else is on my agenda tonight? Remaining initiatives tonight are to watch American Idol with Larry and the kids (we have it Tivo'd) and then spend some time in prayer before bed. And lay there with Larry some more if I can convince him to come to bed earlier rather than later. I think I can.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

10 things I appreciate when I'm sick


1) My rice bag heating pad - you put it in the microwave and heat for a few minutes and it smells good and also stays hot for a long time.

2) Coca cola

3) The comfort of my bed.

4) Tylenol PM

5) When Larry comes and sits on the side of the bed and talks to me and just holds my hand for a while or rubs on my back/shoulders.

6) When my son Jordan prays for me. He has such faith and his prayers are often answered. He has always been the one I call in to pray for me when I get sick.

7) If I don't have a headache and can handle it, I like to watch TV a little and catch up on things I've been too busy to see.

8) Popsicles - preferably grape

9) Chicken noodle or rice soup.

10) Listening to worship music or a healing scripture tape.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Antagonists in the church...



Today began with my alarm ringing very early in the complete darkness of our hotel room. As usual the room was cold and the bed absolutely cozy and divine. The last thing I wanted to do was get out of it but I stumbled in to the wonderful warm shower and started making my tea, just like I do each day. Then I went downstairs to the lobby and ate breakfast with Gary and Rhonda.

We had a full day of church life co-horts, with Sis. Lee teaching this time (just love her) and Terry Yancey. Larry and I managed to quickly snag Sis. Lee to take her to lunch and talk to her.

Today the teachings were on conflict resolution styles in leadership, and antagonists in the church. Awesome stuff. Stuff I wish I knew YEARS ago. It would have changed my life. But thank God I’m learning it now! It was really fascinating to learn all this and quite truthfully in discovering it, it brings understanding to things I have gone through in the past. Now I realize just how hard some of the things really were to navigate and what a miracle it is that I’m still in one piece!

Some great quotes that I can share from today's co-hort (not confidential) 

First...from our fellow pastors in our group... 

"My wife made me read Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere." - George (anybody see the oxymoron of this quote? Get it? MADE me?) and...

"You can't be a goldfish when you're swimming with sharks." - Max

As for other quotes Sis. Lee used in her teaching that really stood out: 

"Antagonists are individuals who, on the basis of no substantive evidence, go out of their way to make insatiable demands, usually attacking the person or performance of others. These attacks are selfish in nature, tearing down rather than building up, and are frequently directed against those in leadership.” – Kenneth Haugk 

“Conflict is two or more objects aggressively trying to occupy the same space at the same time.” G. Douglass Lewis, Resolving Church Conflicts 

“Conflict arises when the actions of one party threatens the values, goals, or behaviors of another party.”
One thing Sis. Lee said that was sobering is that although God can do anything, and the supernatural can happen, and restoration is possible…she and Doc have never known even one person personally who was a church antagonist and such happened. It is with this that I realize…sometimes what you do or don’t do will never change that person. It’s your survival and thriving through it as a pastor that is what matters.

Great stuff.

We ended the CLR teaching time and then went to dinner with George and Irene. Great time of sharing and we didn’t want to leave, but had to. Were getting home at 11:30 tonight as is, and making it later just wasn’t appealing though talking to them was.

It’s so awesome to be with our co-hort coaching group, and I don’t even want to THINK about it ending. It’s going to end. The two years is going to come to a close. And I’m going to miss it so much. Even though we can sign up again, it will not be the same exact people. Maybe some of the people, but not all. And other new people would be in the group. I’m not exclusive, nor snobby. It’s just that a new group would mean establishing a whole new level of trust. We came in with no trust, most of us not knowing each other at all. At this point there is complete trust, and no problem with baring our souls about whatever is happening in our life and ministry. It’s two days of “no holds barred” conversation about where all of us are at, and everybody knows the contents of the meetings are airtight. With a new group that would have to be redeveloped all over again. Can it be done? Sure. I’m just not sure I want to risk it again. Although I would dreadfully miss not being in a co-hort or coaching...

Monday, February 19, 2007

The lack of interruption


In Ft. Lauderdale today/tomorrow for church life co-horts. We had dinner with Greg and Tammy tonight at the Macaroni Grill. Not one of my all time favorite places, BUT - the company is great of course, so who cares? I got a lot of work done today on the way here in the car. Hoping to get another 3 straight hours done tomorrow on the drive home. Larry and I will debrief from cohorts for about an hour first. One of the things I most look forward to is uninterrupted working time. I don't get very much of that unless I'm working from home on Tuesday (even then sometimes I get interrupted a lot). One reason I love to work so late at night sometimes is because in general nobody's calling me at 2 am. So therefore I get some of my biggest projects done at that time. It's one of the only times people aren't saying, "Um, Pastor Deanna...got a sec?" Or, "Mom, I need lunch money." 

It's getting late and speaking of a lack of interruptions, I think I'll go spend some time with Larry since we're in this nice quiet room all by ourselves. The alarm rings early on co-hort mornings, however...there's always a few more minutes for him.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Adam's Rib

Too funny!

Happy Sunday everybody!

Had a great day at church. Packing for co-hort. I'm always washing clothes, packing or unpacking these days. But no complaining here. It's A/G (all good).

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Busy but it's all good


Such a busy day today. Larry and I did the marriage conference... 

Got the building back in order...

Came home and cleaned up some more stuff at home in prep for tomorrow night's meeting...


Came home in time for Dustin's friends to come over and I served them Paris tea and cookies (they seemed to love it)... 

Ironed clothes for tomorrow...

Went over tomorrow morning's message again with Larry... 

Cleaned some more... 

Now it's time to pack for co-hort...

Snuggle up with the sexiest man in Tampa and the world for that matter...

Wake up to another wonderful day tomorrow. God is good.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Fun-tastic Friday


I love Fridays. I love my job/ministry, but Fridays are what fuels me to do that even better. Because it's my day with the one I love (besides Jesus). One reason I've grown so protective of it and hate when something interferes with it is because I need it so desperately to energize.

Usually each day I get Savanna up for school, feed her and do anything needed to get her ready, then Larry drives her to the bus stop. Today I did it all and let him sleep. Every once in a while he does that for me and it's a God-send. I thought he'd sleep til at least noon. I was pleasantly surprised.

I was up eating oatmeal ("the right thing to do" as the commercial says...) and putzing around doing a few things and he calls to me from the bedroom and says..."Sassy...(his name for me)....please come back..." Thus begins romp-tastic Friday. Always a good time had by all. (Don't get any ideas, it's just me and him. We're all that's needed.)

So after this I decide to go tanning since I'm white as a ghost and haven't been in forever. And then we met T and Misty for lunch down in Ybor City. Misty has an hour for lunch so sometimes we can meet her there close to her work. You know, I've said it before but...our staff is family and we do love spending even our days off together. I would like to spend a lot more time with Misty than I do. I adore her to pieces. We are both so busy with home and our jobs and she has such an early morning. But whenever we spend time together I do enjoy her company so much...

After lunch Larry and I went bargain hunting at second hand stores. I would always do that even if I was a millionaire. I love looking for treasures. And I always find them. Jones New York Suits, Liz Claiborne, hardly used stuff. Today I got a beautiful Liz Claiborne formal dress...I think it cost me $3 because everything was 50% off in addition.

So I came home and got on my bike although it is FREEZING in Florida right now. It's just a matter of doing it whether my want to wants to or not. I biked down to the Lexington Oaks gym, and did 30 minutes on the elliptical, then biked back home. I have to get these legs of mine in condition again. Don't get me wrong they aren't falling apart. But everybody tells me they are my best feature. And the other day I'm noticing that since I haven't been on the elliptical, there is a HUGE difference. And I don't like it. So it's back to the drawing board with working out hard.

Speaking of getting in shape, I'm incredibly bummed out over Weight Watchers. My leader, Ginger, is gone. Just like that...gone from WW. Permanently. I'm very upset. She has influenced my life an INCREDIBLE amount and she was a huge reason for my success when I first lost all my weight. I feel almost like somebody has died, although I know she hasn't...but in effect it's not the same. The stubborn part of me wants to not accept the new leader but I realize it's not her fault. So I won't be that stupid as to do that. But every time Ginger's been out and I've gone to another class or had a sub, I didn't like it except when Sue taught. She's the only one that even comes close to Ginger. Maybe I'll just ask when Sue's teaching and switch my class day. You know, a teacher makes a huge difference...in any area of your life. I'm going to give the new lady a try but if it's not working for me...I'll make a change.

After working out I started cleaning. I had several hours to do tonight to get things in decent shape for the weekend. We are getting ready for another co-horts, so I'm doing laundry and packing too. Still doing that and will be doing things here and there til' we leave.

We're in for such a busy weekend with marriage conference, morning service...Larry has a missionary friend from PA, Blake Richert, coming for a 10 min. window in the service and then we'll take him to lunch....then vision meeting...then finish getting everything ready for Lauderdale. I'm tired thinking about it, so that's why I try not to when I have a lot going.

I just put the pedal to the medal and GET IT DONE.

Fun Friday helped me to energize some for what's ahead.

Joy's Questionnaire


One of my favorite friends, Joy Conley, pastor's wife of Harvest Assembly of God in Lakeland, sent me a questionnaire yesterday to fill out and I thought I'd share the answers here.
1. What time is it? 8:17 pm
2. Name: Deanna Lynn Doss Shrodes
3. What are you most afraid of? Not succeeding
4. What do you drive? Silver Mustang Convertible
5. Have you ever seen a ghost? I have seen the holy ghost move, that’s about it, but that’s enough.
6. Where were you born? Norfolk, Virginia
7. Ever been to Alaska? Yes
8. Ever been toilet papering rolling in decorating trees? no
9. Croutons or Bacon bits? Croutons
10. Favorite day of the week? Friday
11. Favorite restaurant? Carrabbas
12. Favorite Flower? Roses
13. Favorite sport to watch? Skating
14. Favorite Drink? Tea or Coffee
15. Favorite Ice cream: Cake Batter
16. Disney or Warner Brothers? Disney
17. Favorite fast food restaurant: McDonalds
18. What color is your bedroom carpet? Cream
19. How many times have you failed your driver's test? None
20. Before this one, from whom did you get your last e-mail? Debbie
21. What do you do most often when you are bored? Read
22. What's your Bedtime? Around midnight unless working, which could mean anytime.
23. Who emails the quickest? My husband
24. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond? I won't send it unless I think they'll respond. I'm not into rejection.
25. Who is the person that you are most curious to see their responses: No one particular person
26. Favorite TV shows: Forensic Files, Today’s Detectives, Dr. Phil, Lost, American Idol
27. Ford or chevy? Ford, of course
28. What are you listening to right now? Nothing, I’m working in the quiet, but using this as a momentary diversion to clear my head.
29. Your favorite colors? Pink and red
30. How many tattoos do you have? None and I never will.
31. Do you have any pets? A miniature dachshund – Geena Noel Shrodes
32. How many people are you sending this e-mail to? Just a small few. Plus now, everybody who reads my blog.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Satisfying Sex


No matter how much I prepare for a marriage conference or other speaking event where I'm asked to talk about marriage, I feel I am never "finally" prepared. It's not that I don't prepare and study but I always just feel like there's so much more to learn, include and study. This is a subject I read up on constantly. I start with the Bible because it's our roadmap for life - our absolute standard for living and the answer to everything. I also read anything else that can help me and perhaps expound or explain what the Bible has to say. And...I enjoy statistics. I want to know what's going on out there.

Such is the case as we continue to prepare for this weekend's conference at our church.  Larry and I have done this at many other places but now for the first time we'll do our own church conference. (Although we do a month of marriage/family messages together each February on Sunday mornings, we have always brought someone else in to speak for the conference. This year we just felt led to do it ourselves.) 

We have more people registered than ever before. It's a record sign up, and we're excited about it. Not just that we have a great amount of people signed up, but the fact that this is something we are passionate about sharing. And I believe if people take the information to heart, they will be changed. The Word of God applied to one's life WILL change things.

Today as I was researching more for this conference, I came across a statistic that says that 49% of all married Americans are dissatisfied with their sex lives and that 48% of all women fake orgasms. (Uh, that would be the reason for the 49% dissatisfaction I guess? If nothing's happening for 48% of women I would dare say that's the reason for some serious unhappiness.) 

What really breaks my heart is that it is so needless. There are so many hurting people in the church (and in the world for that matter) who settle for status quo. In many churches, the information is never spoken about nor readily available. This is something Larry and I have always been willing to go to the wall for. Because marriage matters. And a little information and encouragement goes a long way, not to mention the most important thing which is...showing people the word of God.

I have preached the Word of God about sex for a long time now and perhaps nothing aggravates some people more. Usually I have found that those people are under conviction of the Holy Spirit. Many have unfulfilled sex lives, or did back when they were married. Some never knew what it was to be free, and God forbid they know that other people are living free and not under the same unnecessary rules and regulations that they gave themselves. They lived under a lot of false teaching or no teaching and don't want others to find freedom because they never had it. Misery loves company. Or sometimes, people are just brainwashed. Or they are uncomfortable with certain things and blame it on God.

One lady years ago caused a ruckus when I preached about this and she left the church. She couldn't imagine that what I was teaching was right since it went against everything her mother ever told her. She went the Christian bookstore and even tried to find books to disprove what I was saying. (There weren't any - what I was teaching was in accordance with the Bible - and sometimes...the Word does make people uncomfortable, let's face it!) She rebelled with all her might against this teaching and then realized...this was exactly why she was on her third marriage. What was the main issue in her marriage? Sex, and the fact that she was so uptight while her previous husbands (yes, I said husbands - she had several unhappy marriages) desired to be so free. A few months later she came back and apologized to me and told me that the reason she fought it so badly is because she knew she failed in these areas of her marriage due to her lack of willingness to change. All three of her husbands had complained about her lack of creativity, and freedom in the bedroom. And...they were all Christians. That's just one instance that I've experienced this, but there are quite a few more.

Yes, this is something I'm willing to go to the wall for, and get criticized for because it's something people really need to hear Biblical teaching about. They don't need to hear what Mom or Grandma have passed down to them through the generations that may have no biblical basis. They don't need to just go by what they "feel in their spirit" (the Bible is the authority - not what we feel). They need to know what the Word of God says. And the Word of God will set them free! Free to be satisfied...free to be fulfilled...free to truly be one.

For every one person who is uncomfortable about the topic or complain, there are 100 others who say, "thanks for saying that - it changed my life." And that's all that matters.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Valentine's Day!



This morning I woke up to a card from my husband on my dresser with a message saying the following ~ “I love you more each day. I can’t imagine a more perfect woman to share my life. [he could have stopped right there, but he didn’t!] As our love deepens with time the sparks glow brighter, the kisses get sweeter, and the days and nights just get more fun. I’m so happy that you’re my valentine, not only because of the great things we’ve shared from the start but because our love only keeps getting more wonderful. Happy Valentines day, I love you forever and ever and then some…Larry.”

[ahhhhhh! After reading this I had second thoughts about coming into the office!] But we did…dedicated working people that we are. When I got to my office I saw that he had surprised me with a bunch of balloons.

What a darling he is.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Move with the movers




"Jesus spent the maximum amount of time with those who would bear the maximum amount of responsibility. Even though he fed the 5,000, he spent most of his time with the 12. Even with the 12, he had the inner circle with Peter, James, and, John. Paul, in the book of Galatians, calls Peter, James, and John "pillars of the church” because they were the ones who would bear the maximum responsibility. " Rick Warren

Today I was doing some leadership reading and came upon an article by Rick Warren on church growth. He was talking about moving beyond growth barriers in the church and talked about "loving everybody, but moving with the movers" as he calls it.

I have come to realize that part of pastoring, growing, dealing with criticism, moving forward, etc. is simply in keeping the right focus. Many people fail because of broken focus. There are always going to be challenges, plateaus and criticisms. Part of moving beyond them is taking things with a grain of salt...generally loving everybody, while steadily moving with the movers.

The longer I pastor the more I realize you can't apologize for moving with the movers, you just have to do it.

T

Every once in a while I like to...


1) Do karaoke. Always with someone - better yet, a pack of people.
2) Re-evaluate my life, schedule, goals, dreams.
3) Stay in bed all day.
4) Call a friend I haven't talked to for a really long time.
5) Leave my hair curly.
6) Wear a really odd color of nail polish.
7) Be silent. 
8) Sit on a covered balcony in the rain.
9) Go on a date in the middle of the night.
9) Laugh so hard I fall off my chair 
10) Travel by myself.
11) Read fiction - but not very often, just every rare once in a while...
12) Go skating.
13) Take a nap with one of my kids.
14) Go to a church where no one knows me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Five things/events I'll never forget















1) Abandoning myself to God once and for all. What a moment. The best decision of my life. 

2) My first kiss from Larry. Valley Forge Christian College, outside of dorm 6. 

3) My wedding day/wedding night.

4) When Larry got me the Mustang.

5) Pastor Appreciation this past year.

Fantastic weekend


The marriage conference Fri/Sat went well and one of the nice -- and unexpected -- parts was that Larry and I actually got some alone time together. We had a whole lot to do as far as going over things and setting things up but we still had time. Whenever we are at another church or event ministering - either he and I, or me by myself - the priority is not socializing or things for us, but the main thing on the agenda is doing a great job for whatever pastor or church has invited us, and putting our 100% focus on that. So normally I have little time for anything social. But this was an exception as we had a few hours of "us" time.

We had some time at the hotel by ourselves Friday (and not just late night, which was especially nice.) We also had a 2 and 1/2 hour break before the evening vow renewal service, and since Greg had another wedding to perform across town, Larry and I went out by ourselves. We went to the mall and ate a nice quiet dinner together and just talked a long time. And he helped me to process a few things I've been dealing with the past few weeks. How beautiful. :-) There's just nothing like being with the one I love. 

We came home from the marriage conference Saturday night and geared up for Sunday. The morning service went well - four people got saved! It doesn't get any better than that - except when a lot more people get saved. :-) 

Sunday night our "Extravagant Love" night with the ladies went great -- we were filled to capacity. We had more people come than we expected. We already had a great sign up, but even more when showed up besides that. Michelle and Erin did a wonderful job of sharing and I don't think there were many dry eyes in the house if any!

I just love these great weekends...dear Lord...keep 'em coming!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Cape Coral


We are in Cape Coral today/tomorrow, doing a marriage conference at Cape Coral Assembly of God, for our good friends, Pastor Greg and Tammy Cooper. We left this morning after getting Savanna off to school and met Greg and the kids in time for lunch. Of course Greg knows all the great food places, so I have already eaten WAY too much and we have a whole other day here. First he took us to a place called Iguana Mia for lunch and it really was fantastic. He had a wedding rehearsal after that so Larry and I headed back to our hotel, and took a very fun nap. :) Here's a photo from the hotel we're staying at.

So, after one of the best naps I've eeeeever had, we met he and Tammy at the church to set some things up and then headed to yet another place to eat dinner, although we didn't make it there til about 8:30 - 9 pm. What a phenomenal place. It was called Moorings and so unique. Some of the best seafood I've ever had. And a dessert called an Irish Cannoli that was to die for. Well it was WAY too many weight watcher points and I'll need to seriously work this off. This was a good "Fun Friday"...

We have a full day of ministry all day tomorrow and I believe great things are in store.

Well, I'm off now...Larry and I need to practice more of what we'll be teaching tomorrow!

Ten things I need


1) Time alone. Space. Breathing Room. 
2) At least one date a week with Larry.
3) Lots of hugs from those I love.
4) Time to write.
5) Reading time.
6) The Word of God.
7) Exercise.
8) A friend's listening and non-judgmental ear - somebody to understand.
9) Grace.
10) Creative outlets. And I probably should add - freedom in creating without judgment - at least at first. Usually when I first create something, people go, "what in the heck is that?"  

Seven things I hate


Proverbs 6: 17-19 "There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers."
 

Well these are the seven things God hates. So I got to thinking about the seven things I hate. (I only get to pick seven according to my rules tonight, that's why there aren't more. Rules are rules.)

1) Lack of solitude. That is absolutely on the top of my list.

2) Bland writing. My definition of bland are a lot of Christian publications that stay very generic so as to not offend anybody but in doing so, they are really not relevant to anybody. I want to hear from somebody who really has something to say. Even if I disagree with what someone says, I enjoy experiencing a person's passion in their writing. That's why most of the time I do not read these vanilla publications. I have taken to reading blogs a lot because they are not edited by people who publish bland publications. :-) 

3) When something is not right with one of my kids - they are sick or going through something.

4) Prejudice

5) I know all the scriptural reasons behind it (spare me the theological dissertations...I realize the "rain falls on the just and the unjust" and all that) but I still hate it when one of my precious Christian friends or family members struggle or die with a sickness and disease but some of the meanest people in the world live longer.

6) I hate it that Martha Stewart went to prison but O.J. Simpson did not. I can't stand that guy. Martha Stewart is basically teaching the world to make first class cupcakes and how to fold our sheets, and meanwhile O.J. is out there writing, "If I did it...here's how." That guy makes me sicker than sick. By the way, I was never so glad to see Martha back on TV. While she was gone I almost forgot how to fold the sheets. 

7) I hate it when people have a sense of entitlement.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

10 things I love



1) I love it when I finish a big project and get it off my back. It usually feels like I have birthed a child. Well, I just finished such a project about 10 minutes ago and I feel...incredibly relieved and happy with my work. 

2) I love it when the house is clean all at one time, every single room. Happens rarely but when it does it's cause for an incredible celebration, or at least a latte! 

3) Speaking of that, I love latte. 

4) I love it when I am discipling someone and they make huge strides...perhaps there is no greater fulfillment. 

5) I love taking a bath in my big tub.

6) I love photos

7) I love palm trees.

8) I love it when all the laundry is done.

9) I love Tivo

10) I love the Gaither Homecoming Tour.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

It was the best of times...






...it was the worst of times. What a mixed week. But tonight we had a bright spot...PRETZELS! Tonight, pretzels were a gift of God.

Church is great and usually when it is, home is stressful. Then when home is great, church gets stressful. It seems life in it's entirety is not ever just totally peachy keen. It can't just be one wonderful ball of wax... and I for one don't like that balance of good/bad. I keep praying for that ever elusive wonderful ball of wax!

I decided I was going to re-claim enjoying my children after the stresses of the last two weeks, and do something fun even if it killed us. I say that because you know how you have all these great plans of how you are going to have some "family fun" and then the kids do nothing but fight or disobey and you think, "I'm an idiot to plan this." But not tonight. I was going to INSIST on fun. It was one of those days where I said, "Look kids! We're going to do something fun, and you're going to LOVE IT or I'm going to choke you!!!" Well, thankfully tonight it worked. And there was no choking involved. Praise Jesus.

Back story...

Last night I was so incredibly tired that I didn't have energy for anything special in me after getting home from work. I had wrestled with the computer the night before. You know how Jacob wrestled with God? I wrestled with a Hewlett Packard. I was trying to upload something for work and it wouldn't do it. I was mad. I said, "I WON'T LET GO UNTIL YOU BLESS ME! NOW UPLOAD, YOU UNGODLY MACHINE!" (Pastor T, if you are reading this, please don't chastise me about not having a MAC, thank you.) Anyway, I was mad and wouldn't give up. So I sat there until I forced it to upload at 3:30 am. "Aha! I gotcha!" I trimphantly declared to the PC. Then I went to bed and got a whopping 2 and 1/2 hours sleep before Jordan came in and woke us up and had an blow up argument with his father before school. What a blessing. That's just how every parent on the planet wants to start their day. So after getting home from work yesterday, I did...more work. I never finished at the office so found myself doing some more, albeit laying down with my laptop, upon coming home. Then did some jacuzzi time with Savanna and went to bed. But I promised something better tonight.

After cleaning up supper I went for a ride on my bike. It was so nice to be out there at sunset again. It's my favorite time. While I was gone Jordan completed his 8-page paper that I made him write as one of his latest disciplines for one of his recent infractions. It was on five attributes of Jesus. He did a good job. In his closing paragraph he wrote, "I think that the punishment placed upon me by those in authority over me has really taught me a lot about the Bible. And like you have told me a million times before, it's a lot easier to do things with a happy heart than an ungrateful heart or something like that." Hopefully he did learn something. I figure if I force the Word into him enough, it will seep out at some point. Since he had completed his punishment, he could come out and do something with us. When I got home from the bike ride, Jordan, Savanna and I made homemade soft pretzels. I found the Auntie Anne's recipe off of the internet. I promised Savanna last night that we would make them. Last night they tried their own recipe that they found from somewhere else. They wanted me to help but like I said, I was exhausted so I said no. They were on their own. Well, the pretzels last night were horrible. One bite and they went in the trash. So we redeemed things tonight and I helped them with the recipe I found. It was fun to make them, they did not argue, and...the pretzels turned out FANTASTIC. Even Dustin who is a soft pretzel expert liked them. Then it was on to watching Idol.

Every time Larry and I preach a lot on marriage and the family we go through this stress. Every time. Last year when I preached at a few places that invited me to come and speak specifically on that topic, it was unbearably tense in our house each time. I can preach on the Holy Ghost, tithing or the fruit of the spirit and nothing significantly bad happens in our home. But just let me preach on marriage or parenting and shazam!!!!! All H-E double toothpicks breaks loose. Well, we've had two weeks from you know where and I almost said, "cancel this dumb desperate households series, and these three marriage conferences we're doing! It's not worth it!" Instead I decided to call a few intercessors and let them know I needed them to stand with us. They are. And we'll just keep going forward. I know it's an attack of the enemy but it's just so hard to go through it even though you know what it is and where it's coming from. Last year I came within an inch of calling several places I was asked to come preach (on this topic) and say to them, "you know...would it be too much trouble for me to preach on something else?" But I just hung in there. I'm glad I did. It was worth it. Not that our family doesn't have stress any other time. Certainly we do. But on these occasions it just seems to triple.

Never before have I realized so much the importance of specific prayer. Just when I think I do, something happens that lets me know I've only scratched the surface. It's the best and worst of times, but prayer is the key to getting us through, as well as forcing fun sometimes!

7 things I love about Larry


Song of Solomon 1:16 You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words!

1) The fact that he helped me clean tonight - A LOT. I'm talking "scrub the floors" clean. Ah...that just makes me fall in love all over again. Smelling that Pine Sol right now is almost as good as his Curve cologne! Nothing makes a woman happier than seeing a man take interest in Comet, Pine Sol, Scrubbing Bubbles, Clorox Wipes, woo hoo!!! 

2) The fact that despite his great frustration when the kids do wrong, he always puts comforting and helping me first in the matter. He has spared me from countless nervous breakdowns. I have had plenty of meltdowns, but he has helped me not become a mental patient more times than I can count. These past few weeks, he's been my saving grace.

3) He loves watching American Idol as much as I do. (Sometimes more!)

4) The things that make me disappointed make him genuinely disappointed. 

5) He appreciates and loves my sassiness. (Has always called me "Sassy" since the beginning of our relationship.)

6) When he really knows I will like something eventually but just don't want to change, he insists for my own good. The last illustration of this would be our bed. I didn't want to have to get used to a new one. I fought it for...a few years. Then he wouldn't take no for an answer and insisted. One day he just said, "get in the car, we're going to get a new bed." I knew he had made up his mind. Amazingly, from day one of having that bed I have been so happy with it. Some days I don't get out of it on my day off and twice when not feeling well, instead of skipping work, I worked from it all day long for 8-10 hours on my laptop.

7) He genuinely respects my mind and trusts my instinct on things. This makes me love him more than words can say.

Six Weird Things about Me


I'm sure some of my friends who read my blog might say, "ONLY SIX?" Okay, okay. 

Why this topic today? You guessed it...I read it on another pastor's wife's blog. I enjoyed hers so much I decided to do one myself. So here goes. It will be hard to narrow this down to only six, but the Lord does miracles everyday. 

1) I have to have things "straightly aligned" on a table that I am eating on particularly in a restaurant. The salt & pepper and sugars have to be neatly in a row or in order, or I have to rearrange them. I know, I know...I hear you now saying, "Pastor Deanna has OCD." You are probably right but I'm not going to do anything about it. I will go on straightening sugar packets, and re-aligning pictures in my friends houses or public places that are hanging too far to one side. It's just not right that they be that way. Somebody has to take action. If not me, who? If not now, when?

2) I detest drinking out of cans or bottles - or not having my beverage with ice. If I have to do that, I would rather not eat, or drink. I will go without for quite a while until I can get the glass and the ice. Usually I don't complain, I just stay quiet and have nothing at all until something is available. 

3) I hate the phone as a general rule. If I am calling you for some reason, I don't mind it. If you are calling me, even if you are a person I absolutely adore to pieces, I usually still don't want to take the phone. I like in person meetings and e-mail. Why? I can do it at a time I choose. Phone calls are interruptions and although I live a life filled with interruptions, I still hate them. I can hear some of you saying, "and you are a...pastor?" Yep. And I know, Pastors get constant calls. The phone has always been something I just tolerate. (Would you believe it just rang as I typed this? NO KIDDING!) It was for Savanna - praise the Lord!!! Yes, I do love people. I love them very much. It's the phone I hate, not the people. I let my kids answer the phone most times and I really don't care if they stay on it for hours. That just means somebody is not getting through to me! (ha ha!) By the way, my cell has been broken for a few weeks. I need a new one but I've not been in a hurry to replace it. If anybody really needs me, and can't get through at the house they have called Larry's cell. When I come into the office or back from lunch I say, "Any calls for me yet, Cathy?" When she says, "nope," I say a big "PRAISE THE LORD" or sometimes even, "GOOD JOB! YOU KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!" (ha ha!) 

4) I am the biggest party animal and the biggest recluse as well. It's bizarre. When I'm ready to party - look out. I'm a wild woman. I enjoy people and fun get togethers so much. But if I'm ready for solo time, look out too. I start to wing out if I don't get it. Frazzled is an understatement. Sometimes I get in this totally over-stimulated mood where if I don't check out and just rest where I don't have to talk to anybody I just get more than a little weirded out. And if I don't get that time, I also find it difficult to create anything of substance, and those who know me know -- creativity is one of my strong points. Although my friends do question some of the things I create -- at first, at least. 

5) I had absolutely no cavities (NONE!!!) until I was 36 years old. Then all of a sudden it's like the spirit of cavities came upon me. I get a few filled a year now and I just don't get it!!! Is Florida the "cavity state"? I brush my teeth just the same but I am not getting the same results I did for the first 365 years. 

6) When I read a Christian book, I sometimes skip over all the scripture references. I know that's terrible. It's just that I have read them so many times and a good number of them I can quote. So when I see the reference I just skip over it. Terrible, but true. You heard it first here folks, TRUE CONFESSIONS. 

What are six weird things about you?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Breathing Room is here!


Well, Breathing Room is officially now available. Not just figuratively or literally but spiritually! They just became ready for distribution this past weekend, and we have already sold quite a few. As I've said before, the goal of this project is not to show my capabilities vocally or to become more well known or anything. Truly I don't care about being known for singing. (Yes, other things I do struggle with the desire to be known for...that's not one of them anymore.) With that said at the same time, I still like to sing and play. Anyway, I digress.

The first copy of Breathing Room went to a mother who just lost her toddler when he drowned in a swimming pool two weeks ago. He wandered out to the back yard in a moments time...and that was it. Her cousin is a member of our church and she asked me if I had any copies of the CD ready yet. At that time, I had just two sitting on my desk. She took one and immediately drove it over to her cousin's. I understand that the music and the prayer have been really comforting to her. My prayers have already been answered.

Really, that's what this CD is all about to me... that's what I envisioned it for. It was a vision in my heart two years ago to do it...some might think it crazy. Sing a bunch of gut wrenchingly honest songs about wanting to give up and crying out to God, then pray a 20-something minute prayer at the end of the CD for people who are grasping for hope. It doesn't sound too exciting to many people, but to those like that Mom who lost her little boy, it may have been all she had to hold on to the other night.

What is my goal for this CD? That people will remember that it is available when they have a friend or family member who is depressed, grieving or struggling in any way. That they will give it as a gift, perhaps enclose it with a "thinking of you" or sympathy card, and give the person more than just flowers or something that will just fade away and not make any real difference in a week or two. I want it to be something people can go to time and again, at 3 am if they need to, actually 24/7 - ANYTIME - they are having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

When people are at the end of their rope, I want Breathing Room to help them tie a knot on the end, and hang on.

Such is the life...




Really great day in the house yesterday - just all around positive...

Does this picture show you how much fun the message was yesterday? I can't believe while I was in the middle of this crazy illustration, someone snapped this photo.

It was a day where a million things could have gone wrong, but didn't. HALLELUIAH! First, it was our first day back with the stage re-set after Kidzturn. Normally after the stage has been cleared, it's a really rough morning. The sound is just not right and it needs to be tweaked an incredible amount, to say the least. Due to the help of our staff...it was not rough at all, in fact it was perfect.  The morning was smooth sailing. We all had a lot to accomplish and it all got done...and more.

After the morning service our women's team set up for the superbowl party. The women gave this as a gift to the men this year - we did the entire thing as a thanks to them for all they do for our ministry throughout the year. I believe it was very successful - our team of ladies is just right on the ball with things, and it went right according to plan. The guys seemed to enjoy just attending, which was the plan.

I had to leap a few tall buildings in a single bound, going back and forth between church and personal things today. I'm used to it. It's just par for the course with anyone who has to take their kids to work with them. I have long said, people who are not pastors just don't understand that. They never quite think of it that way. Other people are just "going to church." We are going to work - and handling our personal life at the same time.

I remember years ago at our previous church I mentioned to one of the women that one major challenge for us pastors (and when you get right down to it, also for pastor's children) is that we are the only professionals who take our family to work with us. Of course Sunday/Wednesday are far from our only two days of work! HOWEVER...they are some of our main times when we've got to have our game on. When I told that woman about it, and explained it, she stopped and said, "OH MY WORD...I CAN'T IMAGINE..." She envisioned herself at her desk at work with her two kids there at the office with her all day, she envisioned them sitting in every meeting with her, being beside her while she talked to clients, interrupting her while she was "clinching a deal" (she was in sales) and it was like a light went on in her mind. She was like, 'oh my! I wouldn't ever be able to get anything done! I would fail horribly at my job." Exactly. It takes miracles many days to have your family at work with you - and be successful, but thankfully GOD SPECIALIZES IN MIRACLES.

This is the dilemma we have sometimes, even with older kids. Two of mine are teens, but many times when I'm doing something as simple as greeting visitors or ministering to someone at the altar, my kids need me for something (usually lunch money!) or there is some kind of tiff and it get frustrating and I have to apologize to people for the interruption. There are those who get miffed sometimes and don't seem to understand it. They want the pastor/pastor's wife's undivided attention. And to some extent they deserve it. But on the other hand your kids deserve it too. Such is life...of the pastor's wife! :-)

But I wouldn't trade it. It's so worth the juggling act to serve. I'm a partner - this is WHO I AM, and it's WHAT I DO.

Side note: A few months ago Dustin and Jordan came running down as I was taking care of something after service with some people and they said, "Mom!! We need money for lunch. (They were going with friends.) I said, "I don't have any cash. Go in the sanctuary and ask your Daddy." They frustratedly said, "WE CAN'T! He's in the sanctuary casting out a demon." It was true. Again, SUCH IS THE LIFE OF A PASTOR'S WIFE. (At least a pentecostal one.)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Reflections


This questionnaire was on another pastor's wife's blog and I found it interesting, so decided to copy it here and answer it, just for the fun of it. Reflecting is fun, at least I find it to be. Happy Sunday everbody! Let's seize this day for all it's worth! This IS the day the Lord has made and I for one am believing for BIG things to happen. Okey dokey here we go with reflections... 

1. What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why?
For the majority of my ministry, my work has always been fun. Even when in an abusive church situation, aside from the difficulties with a few people, the work of the ministry that I love so much was always fun. This is because I truly believe if you REALLY love what you do and are passionate about it, you'll never work a day in your life! 

2. Name one thing you did in the past that you no longer do but wish you did?
Oh wow. Well the truth is, most things I want to do, I do. I go after them. I guess if I had to name something it would be taking off in the middle of the night or anytime we wanted to on a date. (usually an all night diner). I miss the total spontaneity although we do planned dates all the time, there's something to be said for being spontaneous. When my inlaws are here or we are there, we usually do something like that knowing it's totally cool with them. Or anytime we find ourselves "kid-less." Just think, in 9 years, that will be my life again all the time! 

3. Name one thing you’ve always wanted to do but keep putting it off?
Not too many things...like I said, when I want something I typically voraciously go after it. But I guess if there was anything, it would be spending more time on continuing my education, which I am doing, but very slowly. I have chosen to put my family & the church first and I know I won't regret it.

4. What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why?
First, I want to learn to speak spanish. I don't know how fluent I could ever be because I have been advised you really need to take a spanish course pretty much daily for at least a year. A once a week class I could handle. Not sure about more than that at this point in my life. Second, I would like to be better at the piano

5. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it, be and what would you hope to learn from it?
I have a long list. My head is spinning just thinking about it. Right now I'm actually doing life coaching and getting a tremendous amount from it. But if I had to pick one person, it would be John Maxwell. 

6. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you?
Driven. Passionate. Detailed.

7. Now list two more words you wish they described you as…
Godly, Affectionate

8) What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes)
1) Partnership Ministry.
2) Reaching the lost.
3) Women's Ministries 

9. Write–and answer–one more question that YOU would ask someone if you were writing this questionnaire.
I would ask them ~ what makes you get up in the morning?
For me, it's more than my alarm! I love to sleep. I have to have a significant reason, besides getting my daughter to school, that I need to get up for in the morning. For me, my heartbeat everyday is ministry. I wake up ready to not just seize the day but to attack it, to take it for all it's worth, to look for divine appointments around every corner, and to see God move.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A gap in the head




Larry and I are gearing up for a month long Sunday morning series, "Desperate Households". We will be tag team preaching it together. Add to this three marriage conferences coming up. What is this a recipe for? A direct attack on our family from the enemy. This usually happens when we teach on marriage or family but wowee, this time it's really a whopper.

Larry and I are fine, but it has been nothing but high stress with the kids all week. Just one "slam" after another from the enemy. I have really felt incredibly stressed. I talked to two friends today about it. One remarked to me that sometimes we hesitate to ask anyone to pray for us about things with our kids because they assume if your kid is not on drugs or something it's really not serious enough to need prayer for. Some people think all the serious stand in the gap intercession should be done on behalf of those prodigals who are in the pigpen. They think us Moms with kids like ours are just dealing with small potatoes stuff. And that's just not true. 

No, my kids aren't out there on drugs, getting drunk or having sex. Truth be told, they love the Lord. But still, the issues with them really stress me out. I have asked three people to really join with me and stand in the gap right now for us. I started reading, "The Power of a Praying Parent" again today and am praying the prayers over my kids. 

I don't have the ability to do this on my own. Not for a second. I've always known this, but right this moment...I REALLY know it. 

I am thankful God cares about them even more than I do and His guiding hand is upon them. Cathy Lussier told me this week that part of the issue is, boys brains are not fully developed until they are 25 years old. Since Cathy has raised four great kids, I tend to believe her. She says there is supposedly some "gap" in the front of their head that is not brought together until they are 25 or thereabouts. They do not have all their reasoning skills up until this point, and they may do things that just don't make any sense at all. Supposedly researchers have found this out. I don't know how true it is, but I really don't doubt it a bit. Now...what about girls? If there is no gap in their heads, then what in the heck is wrong with them

Is this all really due to a gap in the head, or is it just God's revenge for everything we did wrong as kids?