Friday, April 30, 2010

Dropping my pride and a conglomeration of other stuff like pooping on the ground...

It's been a busy few days which is nothing new for me, but always varied.  This is one great thing about the roles I really never know what the next week is going to bring.  This can be good, or bad.  One week someone may be asking me to join them for coffee and a wonderful conversation and the next moment something bizarre might happen, like seeing someone poop in our flower beds at church.  You think I'm kidding?  I wish I was.  That really happened.  Some guy, yes a grown man --  just squatted down on the sidewalk, dropped his drawers and went.  This is the stuff other pastors might not tell you, but you have me to expose you to this stuff, pardon the pun.

One day maybe I'll write a book compiling all these vast experiences.  Over the years I have learned to laugh a lot and roll with whatever comes my way each day.  If you don't do this in my line of work you will end up owning stock in Xanax.   Especially if you are going to combine marriage, parenting, ministry and another career, you better LAUGH or you will not LAST.   Some people get their panties in a bunch...I just laugh.  Yes, I did just put the words panties and poop in the same blog post.  I just lost some readers, and gained some others.  I have discovered that the most amazing thing in life aside from the power of God is human behavior!  People aren't always predictable but they are always interesting!  Speaking of flower beds, how about the photo, above?  Saw this picture somebody had posted of their yard and it just arrested my attention and had to share it!  Now that's what you call a true flower bed!

So, I'm happy to report there was no doo doo in the flower beds yessterday at the church but  a video crew came to do an interview with Larry and I.  Next week is our district council for Pen-Florida AG, and Celebration Church is being featured there for our recent re-launch.  Our assistant superintendent, Ed Russo will be doing a presentation at the Wisdom Conference, and wanted to include an interview with us to share.  He wanted Larry and I to do this together and up til the last minute yesterday I wasn't sure I was going to do it.  I have had an eye infection for a month.  It got worse as the days went on and so to clear it up I need to go without contacts or makeup for a while and wear my glasses.  Anyone who knows me well knows I just don't do that!   Ever!   Most people don't even know I wear glasses because I wear my contacts early morning to late night each day.  And I can hardly see anything a foot in front of me without them.   And as far as makeup I don't even go to 7-Eleven to get a gallon of milk at midnight without wearing make up.  I'm just thank kinda gal.  I have really  hated looking like this this especially going to church like this, preaching like this,'s just not something in my comfort zone at all.   Amazingly despite feeling so uncomfortable a few people have actually come up to me and told me, "you look beautiful" and actually sounded like they are sincere.  I am not sure whether they are just trying to make me feel better, feel sorry for me, or whether they are just the typical complimentary and grace filled people who make up Celebration Church, but hey, I'll take it!!!

 So amidst going sans contacts and make up the last week, Ed called Monday about this video.  I cringed, because I want to do a video with no make up and glasses like I want a hole in the head!!  Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!!  But I know if I put my makeup on any progress I've made in trying to heal the past week is going to go down the drain.  In fact I have to buy all new makeup because my old stuff is now contaminated.  I was just going to have Larry explain to Ed and apologize and do the interview by himself. 

Then I got up this morning to get dressed and go to the office with him (just to do my work, not the video) and I really felt convicted in my heart about this.  I started thinking about it and realized this isn't what the ministry is about.  Why have things gotten so screwed up in the past few decades with many ministries?  We have seen a lot of the glitz and glamour folks come crashing down and maybe it's because they thought it was all about looks, show, being "camera ready" and perfect and all that jazz, and it's so not about that.  In fact it has nothing at all to do with that.  I felt the Holy Spirit speak to me and say, "it's not about that Deanna...humble yourself, go on there with your pale self and do that video!"  So I did.  [gulp]   I believe part of maturing in life and ministry is realizing it's not about us -- our looks, our talents, our abilities -- but only what God can do through us.  So we need to strip down but not go so far as to squat and poop in a flower bed to the essential, and just be flexible and go with whatever God asks of us at the time.  Something is really wrong with me when I can humble myself to poop in dirt holes in the ground  in Africa when I have to but not go without make up in America.  Speaking of Africa I'm leaving June 1st!!!  Maybe to prepare Becca for the experience,  I need to take her to the church flower beds to practice?  lol

Back to the video...late last night we met Candy and Eddie for ice cream and I said, "hey guess what, I ended up doing the video this morning with Pastor Larry..." and Candy smiles and says, "yes  yes yes!  I am so glad you made that choice.  I was hoping you would make that choice although I didn't say anything to you about it."  I said, "why?"  And she said, "you are co-pastor and have worked too hard on this launch to not go on there with your husband...and I hate when the enemy steals anything from you."  (Yeah, yeah, now you know why I absolutely love her...)

So today is "Fun Friday" and normally my day off however I have things to do to get ready for our "All God's Daughters" tea at church tomorrow, which is going to be amazing!   I also have engagement calls to make, as I do in my role as a career coach with NextJob.  After doing all that stuff and cleaning my house today (a woman's work is never done) we have a show at Savanna's school tonight.  She is performing in the drama showcase tonight.  She is so excited and we are excited for her!   I really do believe an amazing weekend is getting ready to unfold...stay tuned. 

  One thing's for sure -- after this post you will never think of flower beds the same again...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sometimes you just need...

a hot shower

a friend's shoulder to lean on.

tea or coffee with a friend for a few hours, whether everything's going right or wrong, or in between -- you just need to spill it all out without worrying about sifting it first.

a quiet walk by yourself.

to sit in a rocking chair on the porch for a while.

a word in due season.

a friend to say, "I understand, you don't have to give a disclaimer or explain it."

dark chocolate.

two days off in a row, something really rare for me and most pastors I know.  

to not be responsible for anything other than yourself for a day.

to order takeout.

to laugh until you cry or your sides hurt.

to watch a movie  you don't have to try hard to follow or figure out.  (Something totally opposite of Duplicity.  Oh. my. gosh.  I got so sick of trying to figure it out I went to sleep half way through and told Larry, "don't you dare wake me back up until it's over.")

to just zone out and watch "bad TV" as my boss Kathryn calls it.  For me that would be anything from a Lifetime Movie to Tru TV.

to be silly.  Somebody called me silly yesterday.  I loved it!   What can be better than being 43 and accused of being a silly girl?!  Bring it!

 to sit around with your friends and tell funny stories.

 to live on the edge a little..or a lot.

At least I you?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I dream of simple things...

It's the simplest things in life that I love most.  Just thought I'd list a few today.

  •  Taking a nap with Maxie and Maddie.  It never gets old.
  •  Having something wake me up, (preferably rain) looking over at the clock and discovering I have a few more hours to sleep - burying myself under the covers even more and drifting off.
  • Spending a whole day in my bed without leaving except to use the restroom.  
  • Notice a lot of these things have to do with my bed?  Yeah, I guess I'm getting older.  I love rest!  And I earn every single bit of it, believe you me!!!  
  • Black tea with peach flavor -- I drink way more of this on a daily basis than any other person should ever consume, I'm convinced.  At least I do drink it unsweetened.
  • Olive Oil & Goat's Milk Almond soap from Lori's Soap and Sponge Market s in Tarpon Springs, FL.  I love, love, love this soap and every time I go to Tarpon I pick up a few bars, and try to keep them on hand.  They are not terribly expensive -- $3.50 each and they are large bars of soap, I just run out in between times of going.  I also try to keep the almond scrub on hand as it's just amazing.  After our last trip to Tarpon, I now have my friend Candy hooked on this soap too!  I'm telling you it's amazing.  If you don't live anywhere near here you can still order the soap on line and see what I am talking about for yourself.  
  • Using my snuggie at the movies.
  • Coffee/tea with friends.
  • Enjoying sunrise or sunset from my back patio in my rocking chair.  Truth be told I enjoy sunset a lot more.  At sunrise I want to be...(you guessed it)...BED!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Am I the only one who has this bizarre love/hate relationship?

I hate reading something and being convicted over it...

yet I love it at the same time.

Being a Jesus freak is perplexing at times.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Naming them one by one...

"Count your them one by one...count your many blessings see what God has done..."

Anybody besides me remember that hymn? 

I have a journal where I do nothing but count my blessings!  It's called my "Things I Love" journal.  I write on good days in the Things I Love journal and just make lists and lists and lists of things I love.  Then on the "not so good" days I read that journal.  Without fail it always lifts me up because I have counted my blessings and reminded myself of all God has done.  In reality, He doesn't have to "do" anything else --  He's already done it all by sending Jesus, but amazingly He just keeps blowing our mind and giving us more blessings!! 

So today I thought I'd name a few blessings I'm excited about.  Keep in mind, I don't just write super spiritual gobbledegook in my Things I Love journal.  I write everyday stuff like, "What a blessing banana night is at Bruster's Ice Cream!"  

So here we go...

1)  My Amazon Kindle.  I have been grateful for it and counted it a blessing ever since Christmas day when Larry gave it to me,  however I am especially grateful for it NOW because I'm taking it with me to Africa and that means I don't have to lug any books with me!  I just have to figure out how to put the books I want on the Kindle without breaking the bank.  We do still need to pay our mortgage.   On my first trip I took at least 10 books on my carry on!  OMW, that bag was so heavy.  Books are more valuable to me than any material possession.   But now with my Kindle, I can pack other things in my carry panties.  God knows I needed them when my luggage was lost for 5 (count em five) days on my first trip to Africa.  That's a lot of nights of washing the same pairs of panties.  I'm just sayin'. 

2)  My monkey pajamas.  I got a pair of monkey pajamas from a Goodwill store...they were actually originally from Old Navy but somebody was crazy enough to give their monkey pj's to Goodwill!  I love monkeys and in Africa they are  not behind a cage and I can see tons and tons and tons of them up close.  They even came and invaded the house where I stayed last time.  I loved it!  They came just for me, I'm convinced, because they know I love them!!!  They feel the love!!!  I wonder what they will think when they come see me this time and notice that I am wearing them on my PJ's?

3)  Becca.  She is going with me to Africa!  This is the trip of a lifetime for us to do this together!  I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  She amazingly raised her money in like a you KNOW that's God.  She's talented, but man, you know that has to be the anointing of God.  I am so excited to have her with me on this trip.  She's going to be a great blessing to me, and to the people there, and I'm just giddy inside knowing how this time of ministry is going to ROCK HER WORLD. 

4)  Plum butter.  Yes, plum butter.  I never had it before buying a jar on our way back from Gatlinburg.  I love apple butter and since I like plums more than apples I thought, why not give it a try?  Oh. My. Stars.  I am addicted to the stuff and just have a teeny bit of it left in the jar.  I have no idea if it's good for me or not...there's not a lot of info on the jar.  Maybe I don't want to know!  But I can't say goodbye to my plum butter.  So I've been looking up recipes on line.  Yes, you guessed it, I'm going to start CANNING!  [I'm sure my husband's heart is sinking now as he reads this... "oh  no, she's getting into something ELSE now on top of everything ELSE she!!!]  I love plum butter so much I think I'm going to make it at home and start canning it.  I might not stop there...I may just do the jalapeno jelly I love so much too!   Do you think those can both be made to taste the same with Stevia instead of sugar?  If not, to heck with Stevia, I am eating the sugar.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two women obeyed God, and it changed my life!

God knows what we need when we need it!  He is such a good God.

This hasn't exactly been the easiest week of my life.  I'm not complaining.  Nobody has it easy in this life and we've all got our stuff to deal with.    So why should I be any different?

This week was one of those weeks where I was really wondering if it's worth it all.  I went out to my mailbox on Friday and there was a beautiful letter from a woman we pastored in Maryland.  I haven't heard from her in a long time.  The letter was one full of thanks and gratitude for what I poured into her life when I was her pastor. 

Then I opened my e-mail  yesterday and there was an amazing letter from a young woman who came from our church here in Florida and is now in full time pastoral ministry.  It was also one of those "thanking God for you" letters, the subject line of which was:  "how you have blessed me..." 

What prompts a person you haven't heard from in a while to just sit down and write a letter like that?  I'm believe it's the Holy Spirit.  God knew that I needed those letters this week.  Not last week, not a month ago, but NOW.   I'm not above asking God to send me letters from people, but I didn't.  He just did it.  [But two women of God had to obey His prompting to sit down and write.  That's something for us all to think about -- how our obedience affects others.]

I believe it's going to be a great day today at Celebration Church.  I usually don't go through the week from hell without God having something major up his sleeve, so I'm just waiting to see...who is going to be saved?  Who is going to be healed?  What amazing thing is going to unfold in our church?  in my family?  in my life?  in Africa? 

Good things are in store, because He's a GOOD GOD!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Savanna's Family Birthday Dinner

Here's a photo of us last night at the Olive Garden where we celebrated Savanna's birthday as a family.  I didn't realize the photo was blurry until we actually downloaded it this morning.  (Ugh!  I hate when that happens!  It didn't look that blurry when we checked it in the little window in the camera after the server took it. ) 

We normally go to Kobe for Japanese on family birthday celebrations, or we stay home if the birthday person requests me to make a special dinner.  However, Savanna said she's tired of the chefs at Kobe asking her why she's not eating all her food!  :::chuckles:::   She is a healthy eater, but not a real  big eater and they give so much food at a Japanese restaurant.  She usually boxes most of it to take home and eat later.  She feels awkward when they ask her every time  if there is something wrong with her food because she has only eated a few little bites of each thing.  So...her choice last night was for Olive Garden since she loves the breadsticks.  Come to think  of it I've never met anybody who doesn't like Olive Garden's breadsticks. In our family we always ask for a side order of marinara and alfredo sauce and we dip them.  Even so she probably ate three or four bites of salad, a bread stick, and 1/3 of a big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs.  And that was just enough for her.

After the dinner she wanted us to go to the movies to see, "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."  I loved the movie!   I laughed so hard in parts I thought I would fall off my chair.  Dustin had already seen the movie (he sees most things before we do, being supervisor at the Cobb) and he only rated it a 4 or 5, but I think it's at least a 7!!  I turned to him mid-movie and said, "what were you thinking rating this a 4?  This is hysterical!!"   It was the perfect movie to lose myself for a few hours in laughing about middle school antics.  

In a few weeks Savanna will have a birthday sleepover with some friends and we are getting ready for that now, making all the plans for middle school girls to descend upon the house.  Should make for a very interesting night!   I know middle schoolers drive some people crazy but truth be told, I just love them.  Part of the reason is, I remember how hard it was to be in middle school.  And it's a million times harder now than when I was in school.  So, my heart just goes out to them. 

I am so blessed to have times like this with our daughter.  I am more mindful than ever how fast the time goes, now that my boys are 19 and 20.   We have to treasure every day, every moment...

The last call she made was from her new cell phone...

Do you see the motorcycle?

Now do you see it?

Surely  by now you can see it...

The Honda crotch rocket rider was traveling at approximately 85 mph. The VW driver was talking on a cell phone when she pulled out from a side street, apparently not seeing the motorcycle. The riders reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them. The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 20 feet from where the collision took place.  All three involved (two in the car and the bike rider) were killed instantly.

This graphic demonstration was placed at the Motorcycle Fair by the Police and Road Safety Department.

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Someone told me recently that texting in the car has now replaced drunk driving as the #1 cause of fatal accidents!!!   On a related subject, I believe everybody should see the movie Seven Pounds, especially teenagers who seem oblivious to the dangers of texting while driving.

So as to not be hypocritical, I need to make a full disclosure here.   I have always refused to text or read texts while in the car.  I also do not dial numbers on my cell phone unless I am stopped at a red light, or I have someone else in the car dial for me.  However, I am guilty of answering my phone while I am driving. (I justified this by the fact that I would do it without taking my eyes off the road.)  However, even that is something that after seeing these photos, I am compelled to stop doing and am going to try my best to not do anymore. 

What did we do before the days of cell phones?  People just had to wait to talk to us.  Was that so bad?  I don't think the price of this is worth it...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Just keep going

People ask me how I handle my multiple roles.   Most of the time it's just about continuing to put one foot in front of the other and move forward.

There are days I definitely don't "get it all done"...even when I stay up 'til 3 am trying.

There are days I am exhausted...

days I stay in bed...

With every role in my life I feel like I'm flopping with at least one of them at any given time.  I have learned that is one of the greatest tactics of the enemy -- to flaunt whatever I'm struggling with to try to get me to wallow in feelings of inferiority so much so that I stop whatever I'm doing

Putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward is what sets any effective person apart from someone who isn't.  The commitment to stay in the race and not quit despite whatever we feel is one the most important attributes we can possess.  Pastor Tommy Barnett often says that if you feel like quitting that's a sign of success because you actually HAVE SOMETHING in life to quit!  (Unsuccessful people don't have anything TO quit!  They just exist.)  Life is not just about us existing, it's about us fulfilling our  purpose as determined by God.

I've got plenty to quit if I wanted to...but I made up my mind a long time ago not to.  As my friend Marsha says, I will "hang on like a hair on a grilled cheese sandwich!"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Emotional nerve damage and the ministry

A doctor has to deliver terrible news -- a patient has died, a surgery didn't go as well as expected. Someone who has been practicing medicine for two years accepts the news and delivers it differently than someone who has been a doctor for 23 years.

I'm at the 23 year mark in ministry and I now accept, process and deliver information differently than I used to.

Almost nothing surprises me anymore, and rarely does something catch me off guard.  I have a love/hate relationship with this reality.  I  don't feel things in quite the same way I used to, and have what I call emotional nerve damage.  Like most if not all others who have done this for a long time, there are parts of me that are numb. 

Sometimes when people tell me disappointing things I just stare into space and say, "okay, thanks for letting me know" and almost robotically move on to the next task at hand.  It's really almost like an out of body experience some days.  I'm convinced it's not all bad.  I've found ways to make it work for me.  One of the most challenging things for me is staying sensitive to the spirit of God, while growing exceedingly desensitized to other things that used to slay me for weeks, or sometimes months.  

I want to stay so sensitive to Jesus that when He speaks to me, I can be reduced to a pile of tears or burst into a dance of joy spontaneously, while at the same time remaining undaunted by difficult things that sometimes come with the territory.  It's very hard to be sensitive and not sensitive at the same time  but I think these days I'm doing rather well.

 The Bible says that it's impossible for offenses not to come.  We should expect them but not pick them up or harmonize with them.  The Bible says that tribulation and hardship will come.  We should expect it but not fear it or allow it to stop us.

Being extremely sensitive to God but desensitized to other things is an interesting place to be but a good one because some stuff just used to knock me down is now just a blip on my screen, and some days it's not even blip-worthy.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The baby is a teenager...God help us.

Savanna Rose is 13 today.

Where did the time go?  Everyone told me this would happen, I just didn't want to believe them. 

I feel like my life didn't really start until my daughter was born.  I wanted a girl so much.  We waited six years after Jordan was born to try for a girl.  We kept saying we were going to wait for Jordan to "get under control."  Finally after six years I said, "honey we have tried our best but I don't know that he is ever going to get under control, and I really want a girl."  There were no guarantees in the land of X's and Y's, but at least we could try.

It's a good thing we just went ahead and got pregnant because Jordan is 19 and still not under control.  But, we have our girl.   By the way, in 34 days Jordan leaves for boot camp and the Air Force is going to take a crack at getting him under control.  :) 

But back to our Savvy girl...

I wanted so badly to have a girl...Larry and I not only prayed about it A LOT but we followed a book that I bought on the subject of, "How to Have a Girl."  Yes. I. Am. Serious.   He thought I was crazy but I didn't care, I said, "we're doing this book, and that's that."  Whether that book contained anything remotely factual or not I at least felt like I was doing something to try to cause XX to line up in our favor.  Yeah, I'm just a tad bit of a control freak and on certain things, my husband just deals with it.  So we followed this "How to Have a Girl" book to the 'nth degree and I've gotten a million questions over the years of, "exactly what DID you have to DO?"  Some people laughed their heads off at the answers and others were extremely sorry they ever asked.

We told the doctor we didn't want to know ahead of time what the sex of the baby was.  I told Dr. Barnett  he should be prepared in the event of a girl --  I was going to jump up and down on the hospital bed and shout.  That was honestly my plan.  However, you know what they say about the best laid plans...

By the time I was finished with her labor and delivery which was an absolutely exhausting one, I was so spent I couldn't hop on the bed.  But, when Dr. Barnett said, "It's a girl" my voice was still strong and I praised God to the top of my lungs laying there in the hospital bed.  I think everybody in Carroll County probably heard me giving thanks to God.  Although I did follow my "How to Have a Girl" book  I know that ultimately GOD ALMIGHTY gave us our girl.   Life started for Savanna but life started for me too because there's NOTHING LIKE HAVING A GIRL!!!  Having a daughter is so amazing.

I always wanted her to really enjoy being a girl.  I believe we should revel in all things female.  What a gift!  I have never understood many parents extreme strictness with things like makeup, or pierced ears.  These are some of the FUN parts of being a girl!  What could be better than a mother/daughter mani/pedi day?  A shoe shopping day?  Having our makeup done together? 

I thought I would have to wait til she was a teenager for her to want to use my things but for a few years now we have been the same shoe size and she borrows my shoes, my earrings, even a few of my clothes although we are vastly different sizes!  She either borrows from my old "in shape" collection that I still have and am longing to get back into, or she grabs one of my jackets when she's going for the extremely baggy look.  :)   She's a size "0" or "1" and I'm a "12"...just to give you an idea.  However in shoes, she's a 9 and 1/2 and I'm a 9!  She's 13 and already taller than me and has always been the tallest girl in her class, and usually even towers over the boys.  I tell her that's cool because models are all tall.  She seems to love her tallness as well she should.

She's a brilliant girl -- on the honor roll every single quarter.

She loves to write and was selected for the writing academy for her school.
She's a voracious reader and usually has a book with her at all times to pull out when she has a moment. 

She just received an invitation last week to participate in advanced art at her school next year.

She's funny -- and can deliver a sassy one liner quicker than her Daddy which is quite the accomplishment if you know her Daddy.

She is a strong girl who has a great sense of self worth and confidence.

She sets the pace by what she wears and doesn't care what others think.  Years ago she asked if she could wear her pajamas (modest, flannel ones) to church on Wednesday nights with her slippers.  I thought it an odd request but at the same time didn't have a compelling reason to say no since they were modest.  I feared others laughing at her and told her so.  She said, "I don't care what they think, Mom."  Imagine my surprise weeks later to see not only Missionette girls, but their LEADERS coming to church in pajamas and slippers!!!   The M'pact girls at our church  instituted "pajama week" once a month based on Savanna's example.  Is that amazing or what?  They didn't laugh at her, they just jumped on her bandwagon. 

She's a trend setter who runs ahead of the pack.

She has strong beliefs and knows how to articulate them.

She's a neat freak when it comes to her room and cleans and straightens it on a daily basis.  She even scrubs and washes her bedroom window on a regular basis and makes sure it's shining.   The colors she chose for her room were neon pink and green and her grandparents (Shrodes) painted it with her last time they were here.

She loves photography and is really good at it.

She likes to play the piano and sing, but not for others...yet.  And I'm fine with that.

She loves broccoli and other healthy foods.

She talks of being a missionary and she wants to adopt babies.

She's quite the creative one..I'm so proud of my Savanna Banana girl.  

We have church tonight and there is not an opportunity to adequately celebrate as a family so her family dinner will be Friday night and she will have a  sleepover party at the house with some of her girlfriends in a few weeks.

I love you, Savvy girl and am so blessed and honored to be your Momma.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You never get a second chance

This past week I was reading Seth Godin's blog post about the fact that one random blog post might be a reader's first and only impression of you -- ever.   It resonated a lot with me because in life -- not just in blogging -- this reality pretty much haunts me every day. 

Every article might be somebody's first and only impression...

Every phone call...

Every church service...

You NEVER get a second chance to make a first impression.

Years ago there were fifteen guests from out of town who were visiting our church here in Florida.  It would be the one and only time most of them would ever be here.  I had some advance notice that they were flying in.  Needless to say I wanted things to not just be smooth-- the goal was for them to be stellar.  I let this be known in advance and on that week of all weeks, a major player let us down and was not there.  It was too late for me to even do anything about it although I knocked myself out trying.  I couldn't hire someone to replace them -- and there was no possible solution other than to have it be a glaring omission.

 I was so embarrassed.  I toyed with all different ideas.  I even begged the fifteen people to try and get their plane tickets changed.  Privately, I cried.  I checked into whether the guests had flight  insurance but discovered  it doesn't cover the fact that a church worker is going to be gone.  :)  I even thought briefly about feigning illness and staying home myself just to avoid having to watch the day unfold or even suggesting they go to Disney instead of coming to church.  (Yes, I'm serious.  I was that upset.)

Finally I just took a deep breath, sucked it up and made it through the weekend.  I wondered back then if I would one day laugh about it or say, "man, what was I so upset over back then?"  Answer:  no, and no.  Whenever the thought comes to my mind about that weekend I feel a deep sense of regret.  They didn't get the accurate impression of what things were otherwise like on a normal weekend, and unfortunately it won't be possible for them to ever come back and get an accurate experience .  Nothing I could say would adequately describe or explain what they missed. 

We only had one chance to make a first impression.    

Seth Godin says, "one interaction might be the whole thing."  Yup.  He's right.   I know there are not only pastors who read my blog, but church members from Seattle to Singapore and to you I say...the next time you think it's no big deal that you didn't show up one week to be a greeter when you were scheduled, or to work in the nursery when it was your day, or to sing on the frontline when you were supposed to, or to fix the coffee before Christian Education classes, or play the keyboard, or park cars, or do the media with excellence or WHATEVER...keep in mind that the visitor sitting in your church this week may never walk in the doors again.  You've got one shot in many interaction IS possibly the whole thing, so make it count.  It really matters.

For those who say, "Why worry about first impressions?  We're gathered for JESUS."  That proves my point even MORE

Monday, April 19, 2010

Weekend Wrap Up

It has been an amazing week with Kathryn, and sadly our week together (in person) ends this morning as I take her back to the airport. 

I will miss her terribly.  

Here we are with my life coaching group -- which she taught on Saturday - two great workshops on conflict management and active listening.  We not only experienced her two workshops but we had a tea including breakfast and lunch as well as the ladies presenting her with many gifts as a blessing.  She was just overwhelmed by their love. 

I count my blessings often, as I'm a person who believes it's a key to not just surviving but thriving.  Kathryn and my life coaching ladies are among my greatest blessings.  I am realizing more and more as time goes on that every woman needs the strength and power of other women in their lives.  I have always known this on some level but never have I ever known it like I know it at this time in my life. 

If it were not for the women in my life I would be like a ship without a sail.  I would be absolutely sunk.  Friendships of other women are essential and irreplaceable. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

And we're off...for another great day!

Here's a photo from our tea with Tina on Thursday...

What a lovely day we had!  And today is going to be another level of wonderfulness.  We have life coaching at the church and Kathryn will be teaching two workshops for us today and we also have many surprises in store.  I can't wait!!! 

Will be back with photos and details...stay tuned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tea for three

Yesterday was a lovely day.  Kathryn and I met our mutual friend Tina for tea at the Empress Tea Room in Tampa.  (I adore that place and highly recommend it for any of you who live in the area, or are planning on visiting the Tampa Bay area.  You will not be disappointed.) 
The main feature of the day was conversation and the joy of being together face to face.  Nothing can compare.  I am so grateful for the time we shared.  It was really unforgettable.

Larry and I were able to have a quiet eveing together sharing dinner and conversation and then we went to Brusters for ice cream and saw Eddie Rivera and John Torres there and enjoyed some time with them.  We had planned on going to Tarpon Springs together last night.  Some circumstances prevented it last evening however we WILL be going before Kathryn goes back to CA.  We wouldn't miss that experience for the world!

I am trying really hard to not think about the fact that she is leaving on Monday morning.  In years past I would be depressed the day someone special arrived to visit, only focusing on the fact that they would be leaving.  I would be dreading the goodbye so much I never fully appreciated the visit.  I don't do that anymore -- instead I just savor every moment of the visit.    This is precious time to be maximized!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Too much of a good GREAT!

Well, life with Miss KK in Tampa is simply divine, so much so I haven't had time to blog, which is a rarity but a wonderful one at that.

We had a splendid day yesterday, mostly working however it was just great to be in the same city for once!  She also had her first cuban sandwich (she loved it) and a great night at Fusion topped off by a late night at Steak and Shake.  She loves it there and they don't have it where she lives in CA so it was a treat for her to be there.  We got home at almost 1 am, and exhaustion prohibits me from expounding further, but suffice it to's amazing to have her here and I am trying hard not to think about the fact that we only have four more days until 3,000 miles is a factor once again.  [sniffles]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happiness is...


new shoes...

warm and breezy weather in Tampa and

having a boss you are crazy about.

Mine arrived from Oakland, CA yesterday at 4 pm.  As I blogged about yesterday, she's with us for the week and started off by having dinner with our family last night.  We enjoyed a relaxing evening. 

I'm really blessed, and that fact isn't lost on me for a second.

Kathryn has some appointments today for work but other than that we'll spend the day together and she'll be at Fusion tonight.  Can't wait!