Sunday, January 31, 2010

The big reveal...a.k.a. "hey, is the old church gone?!"

(New church sign on our property - it also lights up at night as well as the part below that has letters that we can put special messages on.)

"But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." I Peter 4:13

Today is the day! I am filled with exceeding joy that few can completely understand. Only some loyal people who have lived it with us or are my few confidants that my guts have been spilled to over the years truly know the entire scope of what I'm feeling today.

Our church campus was full of people here yesterday for the unveiling of the sign and hitting the community with our launch advertisements. We had thousands of full size chocolate candy bars with our church launch info printed on it that we handed out at the local intersections when the cars were stopped. We had huge signs that said, "FREE CHOCOLATE!!!  NO KIDDING!!!" Groups of men, women and children hit the streets in full force to smile, wave and pass out chocolate with wild abandon. It was AWESOME!

 After we were finished with the candy many were still on the property working on projects that needed to be finished for today. I did a few more jobs and then stole away to my office for a few moments of peace and quiet. I needed to get still in my soul and listen to God. He led me to this verse above -- I Peter 4:13. "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." The good news is that after the crucifixion comes a resurrection. In Christ's case it was 3 days in the tomb, in the case of those who serve Him and His people, the time of waiting varies. HALLELUIAH, SOMEBODY SHOUT NOW, for today is the day we're COMIN' OUT, officially for all the world to see!!!  Our PREVIOUS church and all that it represents exists no more, it is wiped from the annals of time, and Celebration Church has been founded and launched and is headed into the destiny God has for us! Thank you God for this GLORIOUS DAY. The big reveal! Your big reveal! A day of EXCEEDINGLY GREAT JOY!   Thank you JESUS!!!

 In my mind's eye, for the last time, I took a quick trip yesterday through the rolodex of memories that we've gone through with what is now as of this day officially our PREVIOUS church, some of them extremely challenging.  If you would have told me beforehand what we'd have to go through I would have NEVER thought I would have survived.  As Whitney Houston sings, "I didn't know my own strength."  (Or rather, God's strength working through me -- it was all that got me through at times.  Thank God for His supernatural strength and His anointing!!!   As one of my favorite songs says, "If it had not been for the Lord on my side...")  Let me tell you something, you can do ANYTHING with God on your side.  If God be for us, who can be against us?  That's what the Word says!

 Just as Christ suffered, so must we at times in ministry.  Although most of us will never go through a literal death on the cross, we go through crucifixions of our own kind.  Larry and I have actually been through not just one, but a few of those here.  Some of you pastors out there who are reading this have gone through the same and you can empathize AND rejoice.  The harder the challenge, the greater the victory.  And today, VICTORY IS SWEET!!!!  We are in the end zone, and I am doing the happy dance, for sure.  (Actually we put a video of me doing that on the announcement line up today, no kidding!)  LOL

I will post many photos in the coming days.  This post is publishing early this morning while I'm preparing for church but photos of our launch service will come later as well as our launch party which will take place tonight at 6 pm.  We are doing it in official Celebration style.  Can't wait to share the outcome with all of you here on the blog. 
By the way, this photo above was taken yesterday afternoon by church photographer Lourdes Manners and is of one of our glass entrance doors.  All of the doors have been imprinted with our new logo, above.  The office doors were done in full color.  They are beautiful.  We have had many people we don't even know in the community pulling into our parking lot, commenting on our new sign and the changes and asking what's going on!   Yesterday when our people were in the local   intersections passing out the chocolate candy bars to all the blessed and surprised people stopped at red lights, a woman rolled down her window and said, "Hey!  Is the old church gone?"  One of our Celebration members grinned and said, "Yes, m'am, it sure is!  And we're opening a new amazing church in it's place tomorrow so come on over and join us!" 

Saturday, January 30, 2010


"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  Isaiah 43:18-19

It's amazing what you can forget when you make up your mind to.

People say you can't forget difficult things.  All I know is what God says.  He says to FORGET the former things -- that must mean it's possible.  Instruction or encouragement wouldn't be there in His Word if it weren't doable. 

Never in my life have I been so happy to forget - wipe clean from my mind altogether -- (and I do mean completely as if it never existed) many former happenings, people and circumstances and move on to the new thing God has for me, for us. 

The new thing springs up, even today it springs up.  This morning the new church sign is unveiled, Celebration Church is founded, and a new day has come, a new beginning -- out with the old in with the new.

He has already made a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  

We are blessed with so much fruit, mature -- ripe fruit -- that remains.

Yesterday I didn't get home from working at the church til 11 pm but you know it was a FANTASTIC DAY of people just spontaneously pulling together.  Mark Twain said if you love what you do, you won't work a day in your life!  I believe it! 
We didn't have an official workday.  It was just our staff, and people who decided to stop by the church.  Larry and I counted up last night when we got home and there were over 50 people who just stopped by just to lend a hand, most for HOURS of time...quite a number ALL DAY.  We were so grateful. 

The core of this church is strong as the day is long.  Committed.  Loyal.  Everything was shaken that could be shaken quite a while back that left us with the lasting fruit of this kind.  Larry and I as well as most of those 50 people were just exhausted beyond belief when we left late last night but I'm not sure if any group of people has ever been more excited and feeling like we are on the threshold of something HUGE!
I am just pinching myself with the reality that CELEBRATION CHURCH OPENS TOMORROW!!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Goodbye walls! Hello promotion!

One of my favorite worship songs is You’ll Come by Hillsong. “Chains be broken, lives be healed. Eyes be open, Christ is revealed…” Actually I never noticed this song until Dustin’s girlfriend Becca led it in worship one day and then I went, “oh man…I love this song” and was hooked ever since. My favorite version (aside from Bec’s) is the one on the I Heart Revolution album, the part I enjoy most being the intro when those words above are sung over and over.   I listen to this song a lot as I prepare to preach or just when I'm in my quiet time with the Lord. 

We’ve been working extremely long days and nights in preparation for the grand opening of Celebration Church on Sunday. This is the start of something amazing. The main work we have been doing for months is on our facilities. It’s an exhaustive list of what has been done and it hasn’t all been “bandaid work” like just painting a room here or there but in some cases we’ve done major surgery. We’ve knocked down walls, pulled carpet up, installed new carpet…you get the picture. A tremendous amount of cosmetic work has been done but it’s gone much deeper than that. Today we’ve got new doors being installed, new tile is going in, among a plethora of other things that are being done.  Pastor T  has been having a blast in a backhoe we rented the past 2 days digging up stuff, plowing it out of the way, moving stuff or getting rid of it.  In addition to jumping in and helping with all of these facilities projects I have been writing all of our new marketing materials, doing everything concerning guest relations, yada yada yada.  We're doing so much and there's so much yet to come!!!

The reality is that although the church now bears a tremendously different look in some areas, the main reason we have done all of this has not simply been to upgrade facilities so we can say, “wow, this looks much better” but so that we can see more people changed by God – to see “chains broken, lives healed, eyes opened, and Christ revealed.”

Wednesday night we had an amazing time in Fusion and it was very prophetic as God was moving through people as we prayed. Right then and there in the midst of it all He downloaded some things to me in the prophetic and I spoke it to the church and one of those things was that Christ is going to be revealed through the ministry of Celebration in such a way that people sense it before anything is said, preached, sung, or communicated in any way in the natural. Also that God has “moved some things around for us” and restructured without us being aware of it but that it was for our good and not our harm, to give us a hope and a future.

Wednesday night we worshipped in the sanctuary which as I said ended up being very prophetic and my message was entitled, "WE SHOUT TO EVERY WALL, COME DOWN!!!”   Right after I was done bringing the message we went to the parking lot and we acted on the word that was spoken and declared that we would possess the land, that every wall that has not been knocked down so far would be knocked down, every obstacle removed so we can possess what is ours.   I'm telling you, people were fired up, some of them out there marching around the parking lot like it was Jericho.  This is our season of promotion!  

I'm so excited I could scream, but I won’t. I need my voice to lead worship on Sunday and trust me, we are going to blow the roof off of that place, we are so psyched not to mention we have been praying, fasting, believing and we are full of the Holy Ghost.

Larry and I are so grateful for the core of  loyal and faithful people of Celebration Church who have stood by us with their unwavering love and support as we have planted this church.   And I will say this – going through some things as we have gone through to get to this point shows you who is really with you!   

I know at least a large portion of my blog readership is not from Tampa nor at Celebration Church but I just want to thank all of you who have prayed for us and are supporting us from afar. Through the power of God and your prayers we’re going to have a GRAND opening on Sunday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The New Apple I-Pad

Oh my gosh, other people are actually thinking this too!  So funny.  After reading my blog post yesterday about the Apple I-Pad, Becca sent this to me.  I hadn't seen it yet and almost fell off my chair laughing...enjoy!

3 Questions

As you might guess my brain is still frying.  We are basically working 16 hours days in prep for the launch.  There's so much I could say here about the launch but I have to be honest, I'm looking for a diversion to write about.  I just need a break.  Here's all I'll say about it -- if you live in Tampa, BE THERE.

Next week I have a new blog series planned (when I have more time for it).   Now, on to today's diversion.   Not to be outdone by yesterday's 5 wacky facts, I thought I'd share three random questions I have right now:

1)  Why has Apple named their new computer the I-Pad?   Sorry, that sounds kind of gross to me.  I guess this new product will ALWAYS give the consumer NEW FREEDOM to STAY FREE of glitches that would come about as the result of a  poor APPLICATION, helping things to FLOW better. [sigh]

2)  Why is Joy Behar still breathing?

3)  Can chocolate ice cream be considered protein in any way?  I really need it to be for this diet I'm on. (G.I. Diet)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

5 wacky but true facts

My brain feels fried as I have been going almost non-stop for the launch on Sunday.  We have done so much but still have so much left to do.    Last night I was at the church with Adam putting large portraits on boards for hanging in our foyer and I couldn't stop yawning.  He said, "I can't even imagine the exhaustion you guys are feeling right now..."  It's true we have been going 90 to nothing, but it's all going to be worth it this weekend.

Since I'm  really tired and not up to write anything that requires significant brain power I thought I'd share five random facts about me today that might give pause to somebody there from Seattle to Singapore who is reading this.  I'm not going to qualify them, just put it out there and you can wonder...

Five wacky but true facts about Deanna:

1)  I never finished kindergarten.  
2)  As a kid I almost burned our house down by toasting marshmallows. 
3)  My legal name used to be Melanie.
4)  When I was a pre-teen I had a serious crush on David Cassidy.
5)  I'm a member of two African tribes.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Double trouble!

Stuff that happens with two dogs in the house... 

This is what we came home to after leadership meeting.  Looks like they had quite a time with this Ficus tree.  Maddie continually eats these leaves and henceforth only the top portion of the tree is filled with leaves.  She gets in the dirt occasionally but usually only a tiny bit and I quickly vacuum it up.  I see she had a partner in crime who helped her make quite a bit more mess. 

The truth is I have been so busy with Celebration's launch on Sunday, regular details that I handle on a weekly basis and my other job that I have not even vacuumed this up yet!  (Critic:  "You didn't vacuum this up yet, yet you have time to blog?! "  Spare me, Mr. or Ms. Critic.  The truth is I can type this blog post in about 30 seconds and it would take me longer to find the vacuum and plug it in than it takes me for a blog post!  True story.) 

It's been a L-O-N-G day at work, and YES I did the Shred today even with all the insanity.  Just finished work a few moments ago and it's 1:11 am.  Time for bed and I will begin this rodeo all over again tomorrow, but it's a wonderful life, who's complaining?  

First order of business tomorrow?  Find vacuum...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Do unto others...

Have you seen our new addition yet?

If you didn't read my blog yesterday you probably haven't.  You might want to go back and see all the photos I posted yesterday but for now, here is a photo of Max and Maddie enjoying a meal together. 

We are really impressed by Maddie's giving spirit.  She is getting along GREAT with Max.  Yesterday Dustin gave Maddie a piece of pizza crust.  Normally she would just scarf it down as she loves them.  Instead she took it right to Max!  It's like she's mothering Max in the way she lovingly cares for him whether she brings him a toy or lets him have the pizza crust.  She even stands back and offers her food or drink in the bowl to him first!

This is what happens when you raise Christian dogs.  The follow the golden rule and prefer one another in love.  :)  

In other news, we had our last service yesterday as Northside AG!  Somebody shout now!  Six more days til' Celebration!  We had a fantastic service yesterday as well as leadership meeting last night and anticipation is high. 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Welcome with me...
Maximus (Max) Shrodes!

We have been talking for a while now about Maddie having a dog friend in the house.  I  know many will think it's silly but I hate being away from Maddie and if I am working late it's even worse.  I can't bear the thought of her being by herself for that long.  I am always concerned about her.   We have been discussing it but yesterday was the day, after searching for the right dog and calling several places we were able to find a combination English Bulldog and American Bulldog, the same colors as Maddie and a boy that we have named Maximus (Max). 

Max is 10 weeks old and has all his shots.  Besides being a boy there are some other differences.  His tail was not docked like Maddie's.  Also he doesn't stick his tongue out like Maddie.  He is also not deaf!  Yes, we now have at least one dog that hears.  This will be interesting as we are not used to it and will have to be aware that anything we do will wake him up. Maddie on the other hand sleeps through anything unless she actually feels or smells something like coffee brewing or something cooking she does not wake up.

Max is doing good with training so far.  Right now he's sleeping with Jordan at night and he will take him out if he gets up and has to go potty.   We will have a few months of training but ultimately Max will grow to be about the same as Maddie and they will be able to entertain one another. 

 Right now they are getting along just fine.  While I want Maddie to have a friend I didn't want her to feel pushed aside in any way by us.  It's interesting that last night Jordan took Max to his room to go to sleep and we took Maddie to ours for a while to snuggle with her before putting her in the kennel for the night.  As we were doing that, she whined and whined -- for Max!   That let me know that so far it looks like we made a good decision.  Will keep the blog readers posted and in the meantime here are some pics of the new addition...

Maxin', relaxin' and chillaxin on the couch!

Checkin' each other out...

Max's first bath at home...

Max's face close up.  Love all the variation of color on his nose.  Too cute!

Max already likes to go underneath the coffee table...

Max snoozing

Max and Maddie already love chilling on the couch together.

Max and Jordan

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Life coaching today!

Today we begin a new  year in women's life coaching!  I'm so excited and everyone else seems to be too.  Great things happen through life coaching.  People have breakthroughs with issues that have held them back for years.  Some change careers.  Some go back to school.  Some heal.  Some go to the next level from wherever they were at before.  Others are returning life coachers (some for the 4th year!) who have grown in past years and are just ready for the next level.

 We meet monthly and learn and grow together, we go on trips together, we eat a lot of great food, and we do a lot of laughing. 

 It's no wonder why a lot of us can't imagine ourselves without this very special group!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Flakes, phonies and frauds

Yesterday my post was about flakes and I got some good feedback on it, both on the blog and off.  Today I just wanted to mention that an unfortunate reality about flakes is that they create confusion and cause people to be skeptical of what is real.  When God really moves some people don't even recognize it because they've seen so many shenanigans they don't even know what to believe anymore.

I have scores of friends and acquaintences in ministry who are so in tune with God.  They are not charletons, on the contrary they are truly God's men and women of power and they are anointed. 

Last week one of my close friends, Pastor Melissa Kelly spoke to me by phone and said God had given her a word for me. She was right on target.  I'll be honest it was a hard word, but I received it.  Actually God had already spoken it to me but this was a confirmation and it came from a trusted friend that I've opened myself up to.  Melissa is an intercessor who moves in many gifts - she fasts and prays more than anyone I know except maybe my friends in Africa.  

Then on Monday I was working at the church and my assistant Cathy buzzed in and said Pastor Alice Beyer was on the phone for me.  I'm acquainted with Alice through her attendance at the Unstoppable Conference sponsored by the Pastoring Partners Network, and we have become friends.  Although it's been a while since I've seen her or talked to her, God strongly spoke to her Monday and said, "call Deanna NOW with this word!"  She did and it was IDENTICAL to the one given to me by Melissa.  When she called it was with tears, and hesitation to give this word.  She's such a humble woman and moves in the gifts of the spirit with such grace.  She didn't know how I would respond to it because it was correction from God but I said, "Alice, I know you're right on target here and I'm listening up."  I told her what had taken place with Melissa last week and she was so blessed to know that her urgency she felt in the spirit was not unfounded.  
I am not a flake but I am an intercessor and I do flow in the supernatural gifts of the spirit and this is definitely a big part of ministry for me.  However I do notice as I minister that "flakes" definitely affect people's perspective.  Many times when  people are raised in a church environment with flakes they have a harder time receiving real ministry than those who come in as unchurched people not knowing a thing about the supernatural gifts.  Larry and I were ministering at a revival in a church one night and a teenage pastor's daughter who had "seen it all" over the years with flakes sat in service where true miracles were happening and God was moving so mightily and we noticed she was sitting there just stone cold, unfazed by anything.  Larry went over to talk to her and minister to her and gently asked her, "How are you feeling right now about what's going on here?"  She said, "I am just numb, Pastor Larry.  I've seen so much fakeness in the church during my lifetime that when something real comes I don't even know how to respond to it."  My  heart just went out to that girl.  I am happy to report that she was able to sort through all that and respond to the presence of God, and has a strong walk with the Lord today.  But many people who feel just the way she did don't have the same outcome.

Maybe you're reading this today and you've come across a lot of flakes, phonies, and frauds.  Don't let it desensitize you to experiencing the real.  God's power is real and He will meet you where you are with a word in due season!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Special prayer for someone still missing in Haiti

This request comes from one of my co-workers at NextJob, a job coach named Dale Falini.  I was very touched by this request and am asking all of my blog readers to join me in praying for this miracle.

This is a note from Dale that I am copying here with her permission:

" I am asking that you join me in prayer today for my next door neighbor, David Hames. He was in Haiti, as a videographer for Compassion. He is still missing. He was in the Hotel Montana lobby when the quake hit. He was with another Compassion worker, Dan Woolley, who was pulled out of the rubble on Friday. Dan attends my church and just came home last night. Dan has been able to give details to rescuers about where David was in the Lobby. David had his backpack with him that he takes on video shoots and his wife tells me that it is always full of water and granola bars. So we are praying for a miracle and I hope you will join me. David and Renee have 2 small boys. Renee is clinging to her faith and Psalm 91. But it has been a horrific ride for her as misinformation has come in and the search and rescue at the hotel was called off for awhile. They are back at it and we are hopeful. I've attached a picture of David, doing what he loved. Thanks for your prayers."  ~ Dale Falini 

Thank you, friends for joining me in lifting up David and Renee, and their entire circle of friends and family.


Although I'm an intercessor I've often said that I resist announcing that or talking about it too much because the label/title causes many people to associate it with the strange things that often go on that have very little to do with God.   A lot of things get blamed on God that He really has little association with.   There are times I have sat in a meeting and thought to myself, "Am I the only one who thinks some absolutely crazy/unbiblical stuff is going on and somebody needs to say something?"  If it's in my own church, I do of course.  Being a pastor we have that responsibility.  However if I'm somewhere that I'm not in charge and this is going on it tends to give me a tension headache and I usually just get out of the room as quick as I can and hope to God that some leader steps up to the plate to bring guidance to those involved.

Yesterday a great article came out in Charisma Online entitled, "Help!  My prayer group has gone flaky!"   I have dealt with quite a number in "intercessors" in the church in the past whose behavior is much like this article described.   Just last night I referred to this in our Fusion service and I shared about a book written by the husband of the woman, Alice Smith, who wrote this article.  I had no idea this gem of an article  was sitting in my email box waiting for when I would get home to read it.   I wish I would have had it prior to Fusion -- I would have read it or aloud or copied it and passed it out, dependent upon copyright rules.

 Last night I shared in Fusion that we need to realize that the Holy Ghost doesn't fill us for our enjoyment but for our employment.  Some people will fool around with the Holy Ghost all day but never actually get out there and DO anything.  He doesn't fill us just so we can feel good, but so that we will be witnesses.  (Acts 1:8)  We are employed by God to do His work and His Spirit empowers us as we do.

 Read this timely article from Alice Smith, coordinator for the U.S. Prayer Track of the A.D. 2000 & Beyond Movement, here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The new plan and reflections on
health and wholeness

Whoa!  My body is in shock, for sure...wondering what in the world is going on.  Some friends are wondering what I'm doing too and have asked me.  Wonder no more.   Not only did I start the 30 day Shred on Saturday (and I'm still walking/breathing despite it) on Monday I began a new eating plan that I got from my friend, Pastor Tammy Young.  Tammy  has lost 25 pounds in a very short time by restarting her "glycemic index". 

 What this basically amounts to is de-toxing your body of sugar,which I've just been informed is extremely addicting and watching your carbs - not eliminating them altogether, just not overdosing on them as most of us do.  Ultimately you follow what's in the photo above in the balance of the foods you eat.  The first three days is a "detox".  I will tell you, it's not easy.  Honestly I could not do this without support.  Two other friends in ministry, LaDonna Jones and Joy Conley went on this plan last week as a result of Tammy's inspiration.  I hear they are doing great!  Joy has already dropped 6 pounds.  LaDonna's clothes are all loose now after a week's time.  I am blessed that in my church environment which I'm in most times, Cathy Garland (our asst) and Candy Rivera are also on the same eating plan.  So, I do have excellent support in this for which I am very thankful. 

Right now I'm saying, "if I can just get to Thursday..."  Tomorrow I will be past the induction phase, the glycemic index will be officially restarted and I will be able to add  many more foods to  my diet.  By the way, there are no shakes or any supplements involved in this -- ever --  it's all real food.   Nothing weird or gimmicky.  There are no artificial foods, processed foods, etc. on this, it's all 100% food and water and it's very healthy.    So there you have it, the new eating plan.  If you are interested in it, email me at and I will send you the info.  It's free, nothing to buy except for fresh food from the grocery store.

I am really determined to become healthy in 2010.  Those who really know me or have been reading the blog a long time know that I went through a lot in 2007 and 2008, which (being an emotional eater) knocked me totally got off the wagon.  Many people wonder why so many in ministry are out of shape and the truth is that many are emotional eaters in response to the pressure they are under.  I was at a minister's wives retreat last weekend and every single person I talked to shared about physical struggles they have had as a result of ministry stress.  I'm talking about serious stuff here, hospitalizations and medications and, you name it. This is not uncommon, unfortunately.  Pastor Perry Noble who is a blogger I highly respect had a blog about this recently that really hit home.  Read it here.)  He talks about all of his pastor friends being hospitalized for serious issues recently and all of them being young!    I got to thinking about it the other day and there is not even one pastor or pastor's wife that I know personally that hasn't had a real physical challenge due to stress.  This is evidently one thing the devil makes sure of and it's time we expose him for it

The year 2009 was a great year for me as far as my family, my church, my new career coach job, and other things.  Oh how I needed 2009!  The devil had to pay back a lot of things he stole.  What an idiot the devil is.  I hate him with a passion.  I'm still making him pay back, by the way.  We've got to remember Ephesians 6:12-13:  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.   Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." 

As the year came to a close I thanked everyone in my life profusely (especially our wonderful church people) for such a fantastic year.   But once you get off of the healthy eating track it's hard to get back on even when things start getting better with life circumstances.   Now is the time for me to refocus on this and it seems all my close friends are doing the same. This is a plug, by the way, to pray for your pastors, for everything, but don't forget their health!   Pray that nothing would hinder their health and that anything getting in the way of it would be expeditiously taken care of.  Pray that people of God would surround them and encourage as Pastor Perry outlined so well in his blog post

By the way, I still do believe in the Weight Watchers program.  I will probably even do it again however I do want to still cut back on sugar and also breads and pastas that are not whole grain.   You don't necessarily have to do that on WW, or cut anything out as long as you have the "points" for it.  Pretty much anything goes on the WW plan as long as you have points.  However I am learning that the older I get, the more careful I have to be about all this stuff.  I can't just eat 20 cookies for the day because I have the points for it and expect to get a clean bill of health at my next yearly physical.  What worked at 20 doesn't work anymore at 43.  As my sister Shari (who is in optimal shape and has been for years) always tells me, getting older does require a change in these things if you are going to be healthy.  

The Lord told me some years ago that I would have to be in shape to do what He's called me to do.  I listened at that time and got in shape, but then regressed terribly when under the pressure I was under.  With the magnitude of things I now have on my plate I need to be in shape more than ever!  Onward I go.

My heart is toward all women but particuarly if you are a woman in ministry please know that I am lifting you up in prayer today that God would strengthen you physically to bear up under the weight of that to which you have been called.  May the Lord empower you to be whole in every way in this 2010 year.   

Much love,

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Even Brett Favre is singing it!

I love it!

Scenes from last few days

New photo of Maddie 

Prayer and pancakes...

Jordan playing his heart out...

Afterwards at Perkins for pancakes

We filled this room plus another section of the restaurant


 There's so much more I have to say but I'll write more later when time allows.  Things are going at warp speed for the launch.  Yesterday amidst getting about 6 other jobs done, I spent most of the day sorting through photos to get the large portraits for the walls of the foyer.  There are so many things to do, I've got about 30 things on my list this week.   I need prayer!  Yesterday someone called out of the blue yesterday that I haven't heard from in a long time.  They said that God had given them a word for me.  Interestingly enough, two separate people have given me this word within days of one another.  Hmmm...lots to think about.

Monday, January 18, 2010

New church decor ~ most beautiful EVER.

This photo is from a church service at the amazing church we pastor.  This is little Dawson who is an absolute angel.  Her mother Alison was holding her during the service and Lourdes Manners, one of our church photographers, snapped this candid photo of Dawson during the service and captured the moment.

One of my tasks in preparation for the launch is to compile photos from church services and events that we are going to get blown up and on canvas for the walls of our church. This will be our new church decor that will grace the walls.   Larry  has been working on this with me today and we hope to finish ordering photos tonight.  This was one of the first photos that we chose that will adorn the walls among the many. 

The photos are all going to be ones that capture the essence that is our church -- the beautiful people of many ethnicities, backgrounds, generations, that make up Celebration Church.  The activities in the photos will show the amazing amount of fun, laughter and special moments we share together. 

And the best is yet to come...


It's been a blessed week with my sister Shari but this morning she has to fly back to Charlotte, NC.   It will be sad to see her go but she says she's coming back even sooner next time.  :)

Last night I did the 30 Day Shred with Becca for the second time and I am so sore I told her she's going to have to help me around today.  I wish I were kidding but I'm not.  I am feeling muscles I had no idea were there.  Also started my new eating plan this morning and have quite a number of other friends on this journey and keeping me accountable and vice versa.

We are normally off today for MLK but with the launch coming up in 13 days we can't afford to take any time off.  There is so much to do.  I plan on blogging more later today or tonight so check back and there might just be something a little more substantial here...ttfn.  

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sister Power!!!

This morning is going to be a great day at church.  Shari and I are going to do a tag team teaching this morning.  We've been working on it this week and the topic is, "Thinking and Speaking Encouraging Thoughts". We are really excited about it.  Last time she was here I interviewed her about her life experiences in missions and her ministry with Samaritan's Purse (Operation Christmas Child).  Today we'll join forces to present a teaching to inspire, bless and encourage.

We are also going to sing a duet in the morning service!  We've worked on it this week and it's "Word of God Speak."  We created a power point of beautiful photos with short scriptures to go with it while we sing and it's going to be just breathtaking if it all goes off like it's supposed to.  We are excited about doing ministry together this morning.

By the way, our prayer and pancakes night was excellent.  The band was smokin', absolutely searing hot.  We had more people there than we have ever had.  The excitement in the place was phenomenal and we believe we truly touched heaven and changed earth.  We went to Perkins afterwards at 1 am and were there til about 3:30 am.  We took up their whole reserved room plus several more tables.  The servers also seemed to have a great time waiting on us and thought we were a fun group.  

Yesterday Larry and the kids all woke up and went to Winter Jam at the St. Pete Times Forum.  I was way too tired for that and Shari and I wanted a quiet day at home.  We talked all day and  made two Pumpkin Pies, mostly to surprise Savanna when she got home from Winter Jam, but also for us.  Savanna has been begging me to make more pies and I have told her I would as soon as I had opportunity.  While she has been here I taught Shari how to make my broccoli/chicken casserole, my roast beef recipe (everyone loves that too, it's the kids absolute fav) and I taught her how to make pie.  She is all excited to try all this herself at some point. 

Last night she and Becca also convinced me to do the 30 Day Shred with them.  Actually Becca is on day 6 of the shred.  I have been waiting to start although I've had it for a few weeks, I have had a torn pectoral muscle that needed to heal.  It is 95% healed now but I have still been putting off doing anything til' Monday.  They convinced me to start last night and WOW.  I felt like I was beaten to a pulp but they kept cheering me on.  I made it through the whole thing.  That's an accomplishment being that both the other two ladies are very in shape and I managed to do the shred without stopping or quitting.  I also start a new eating plan Monday with some friends and I have committed to this journey with them.  However, I told them from the beginning that I would not join them this week because my sister is here and we would be eating our special things a lot, so I am committed to start it this Monday the 18th.  My assistant Cathy is going to also do this along with me which will make it nice to have accountability with one another in the office. 

We have one last day together before Shari leaves Monday morning.  This time has flown by.  I'm so sad to have to say goodbye again but so blessed she was here.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jimmy Fallon and "Pants on the Ground" - hys-TER-i-cal!!!

Larry and I love Jimmy Fallon and we TIVO his show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon every night and watch them throughout the week whenever we have the time.  I think Jimmy is one of the funniest people EVER and his versatility amazes me.  Here's a good example.  Just 24 hours after the "Pants on the Ground" song was on AI on Wednesday night, Jimmy comes out with his own rendition, imitating Neil Young.  HYSTERICAL.  Enjoy!!!