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Showing posts from October, 2009

What a difference one trip to McDonalds makes

The conference wraps up this afternoon and we come home.  We're having an amazing time.     Last night I went out with my church ladies after the service.  This was a really important time for us.  With my other responsibilities I don't get to sit with them or be with them all the time so mealtimes especially are important times of sharing with them as well as riding places in the car and talking.  Last night the only place open was McDonalds but we were out til' 2 am.  

I am not even kidding about this but when we were walking in the parking lot to go in, a man tried to run us over with his car.  He was crazy.  All we were doing was walking inside but he purposely tried to run us over and we ran away from him.  Then he screeched to a halt, looked at us sort of hanging his head out the window and laughed this horribly  deranged type of laugh.  I mean it was horror flick kind of stuff that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.  We were screaming and running and…

I had tea with the founder of Harney & Sons!!!

Okay, so this is just THE most amazing thing EV-ER!!!  Everyone who knows anything about me knows that I love tea, and in fact my entire kitchen is decorated with "all things tea" (I have an amazing teapot collection among many other things) and my all time favorite tea is Paris Tea produced by Harney & Sons.  I have introduced many people to it and have blogged many times about it. So......

Today I was privileged to be in attendance at an absolutely amazing tea for senior pastor's wives, (thank you, Marsha!) that was held at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota.   As the host from the Ritz welcomed us he said, "and today we are especially blessed to have with us as our special guest, Mr. John Harney, founder and owner of Harney & Sons teas".  Everybody politely clapped but I was about to scream like I was at a Doobie Brothers concert.  Seriously.  I don't think these ladies realized how amazing an honor this was!   This man is responsible for my favorite …

The view out my window

So here's where I'm staying this weekend...the Hyatt Sarasota.  Great hotel where every room is a waterfront room.  The Just Breathe conference is here, for the women of Pen-Florida and about 1,000 of us have descended upon the place this weekend for a tremendous time, Lisa Bevere being the keynote speaker.   It's been amazing so far -- Marsha was the speaker last night and kept us all on the edge of our seats as usual.  She spoke on experiencing God's rest and it was a different spin on that subject than I have ever heard.  I took four pages of notes.  Excellent stuff.   Some people also experienced some great healings, life changes, etc., at the altars tonight.

 I'm real busy between responsibilities as a rep and the wonderful group of women I brought with me from Tampa.  It's all good!  We are having the time of our life.   I laugh when I'm with "my l ladies" like no other time.   So many memories come from these times away.  They have already …

"Just Say It" Series:
"For the good of the church"

*I'm headed to Sarasota today with some of my very special ladies, for a women's conference.  Will be blogging from there, God willing.  Here's the next post in the "Just Say It" series...with more posts in this series to come next week, so get ready!  Today's post is about people who think they are doing certain things for the good of the church... 


Some people honestly believe they are doing God and their church a favor by criticizing their pastor or their pastor's family memberes.  They are what author Marshall Shelley calls "Well Intentioned Dragons" in his book by the same title.  There are those who are convinced they are on a mandate to "clean up their church" or "straighten out the pastor" (or their family) or "set things in order for true revival" but they are misguided individuals.

I am not referring to when a pastor has a true moral failure, such as an embezzlement or an affair.  What I am referring to are…

A sampling of Dustin's Baby Blog

July 9, 1990 (9 months old)
Today was a full day for you and I.  We got up at 6:30 am and took your Dad  to go on a trip with the youth group to Schooley's Mountain.  After that, you and I went to the Cherry Hill Mall.  You love checking out the sights while in your stroller.  I got you some strawberry ice cream from Haagen Dahzs and fed it to you.  It was your first time having strawberry ice cream and you were crazy about it!  I also bought you two books, "Rock a Bye" and "Let's Go".  I love reading to you.  And you love it too!  I also picked up some frames to put your new pictures in.  When we got home it was time for me to feed you again and then we went to the church office where I worked for a while.  After getting some work done we were both tired  and we went back home and I rocked you til' you went to sleep.  You are pulling on your ears because you have a tooth coming in.  I can't believe how fast you are growing.

July 24, 1990 (9 months…

Dustin's Birthday Dinner

Setting everything up is one of my favorite parts of family/friend dinners...


The special plate for the birthday boy


 Friends Eddie and Jake, Dustin, Savanna


Excited about his cake...he loves this kind of cake.  We lovingly call them "MRSA cakes" since I made him one every single day when he came home from the hospital and was going through his recovery.  The doctor said he could only eat soft foods.  This qualified.  :)   He's probably the only person in the world who recovered from MRSA on double chocolate layer cakes.  LOL


Maddie wanted to sit with us just for the cake although she couldn't have any.


The big 2-0


Dustin giving Maddie some special instructions about staying away from his ice cream.


Dustin and Maddie listen as Eddie tells a story.  (Never mind that Maddie can't hear...she is respectful of conversation none the less...LOL.)

** Coming tomorrow...a sampling of Dustin's "baby blog"! **

Dustin Shrodes hits the big 2-0!

Today is a very monumental day in our son's life...he turns 20.  He's not a teenager anymore!  It really does seem like just yesterday that we were welcoming him into the world.   We couldn't be prouder of him, for who He is, and what He has accomplished in these twenty years.  I'm proud of him that he works full time as a supervisor at the Cobb and consistently gets outstanding reviews and awards while carrying a full load at college.  I'm proud of him for leading worship in the church and being a role model not only to young people, but many older people as well.  I'm proud of him for being a great songwriter, guitar teacher, and a great comedian.  More than ANY of these things I'm proud of his heart...who He is inside, the creative, kind and gentle soul that is Dustin.  And of course above all else is His love for God and His unwavering commitment spiritually.  He first prayed to accept Jesus at two years old, and He has always been a God chaser.

When he…

Weekend Wrap Up

I will be continuing the "Just Say It" series with another post in the next few days, God willing.  Today I just wanted to do more re-capping from the weekend.  If you  haven't gone back and read all the posts from this weekend, I encourage you to do so especially to see the announcement regarding this: 



and much more! 

This is our new church logo and will go on all of our new marketing in preparation and after our launch on January 30th.  Just wanted to share that!    We are one excited bunch.    A little over 90 days and it will be reality.

Celebration church is a place to BELONG, where people in the Tampa Bay area can discover how amazing it is to BELIEVE in Jesus, and BECOME all they are destined to be.

In upcoming days here I will share our core values and more. 


My kiddos last night at Holy Roller Night!  They aren't just THE most beautiful kids in the world, they are the most fun too. 

   Last night was our  "Holy Roller Night" that we've been …

We're going to Tennessee!

This morning the "plan" for Pastor Appreciation was revealed!  Michele Danielson was the board member who spoke this morning and came and said some wonderfully touching words.  She blogged about it here and included exactly what she said today.  After she finished sharing, a slide presentation  came up on the big screen and showed that they are sending Larry and I on a  vacation to Tennessee, just the two of us!  They have rented us this amazing place,  We will have this huge place all to ourselves.  Taking a look at everything that's there I'm more excited every moment just thinking about it.  Mostly I'm just so excited that it will just be him and I.

We have been really busy as usual burning the candle at both ends and last night as we laid in bed I nuzzled up to him and said, "We need to go away soon."  He just tiredly hummed in agreement (exhausted after the wedding).  I said, "I want us to go away where I have you all to myself, and we're…

We're moving forward!

This morning we did this song for the first time in worship in our church, and I just love it.  It characterizes just where so many are at personally in their lives, and also where we are as a church.  "What a moment you have brought me to, such a freedom, I have found in You, You're the healer, who makes all things new.  I'm not going back, I'm moving ahead, I'm here to declare to You my past is over!  You make all things new, yes You make all things new, and I will follow You, forward!"  



Well this morning the big announcement was made.  On the weekend of January 31, 2010, we will officially become Celebration Church!  This morning we not only announced the new name but we also released our official core values and focused on our capital campaign for renovations of the facilities.  Our entire leadership team has already pre-pledged to this cause and stepped up to demonstrate to the congregation our commitment.  

The congregation was VERY excited.  To illus…

Deanna's heartfelt prayer

...and they lived happily ever after

Tonight we performed the wedding of John and Sophia at Clearwater Beach, at sunset.  It was a beautiful night.  The ceremony was very special, one of the most meaningful that Larry and I have ever had the pleasure of doing.  The wrote their own vows and I particularly loved what Sophia prepared for John:
I, Sofia, promise before God and these witnesses that I will enamor you with words of love daily, with passionate kisses and profound embraces. I will take care of your heart so that every heart beat will be one with mine. I will support you and encourage you my love, because your triumphs are my triumphs, your happiness is my happiness and your sadness my tears. Every morning you will have me nuzzled at your side to start each day, with the promise that our future is one and our love complete. I promise to love Jessie and Juan as if they where my own children and I will be with you to see them grow and become people of God. I love you John Torres with all my heart. I ask God to give m…

Photo Potpourri of Happy Feeling Photos

Savanna doing something she loves to do - take pics -- most of the photos of Larry and I that are posted on my blog are taken by her.  She took this one in front of the mirror in her room.


My favorite flower is a rose.  My grandmother (the biggest influence in my life) used to call me "Rosebud."  It's the reason I named my daughter Savanna Rose.  It's meaningful to me.    I'm blessed to have people give me roses throughout the year.  These were some that Susan gave me for my birthday that sat on the edge of my big tub for almost two weeks.  That's my favorite place to put my flowers...like this...


I like to put them there because it's where I start my mornings most days...and usually a cup of coffee or tea sits on the edge while I'm soaking.  It's one of the special things I do for myself, choosing to begin serenely in what often becomes a day that goes 100 mph down the highway of life.  This is one of my sacred spaces so I like to add many touches …