Monday, May 31, 2010

Let me pinch myself...

I'm going back tomorrow morning...I can hardly believe it's finally here. These are some of my favorite photos that I've taken on my previous trips.  Although I have brought back some great photos and video, nothing compares to experiencing the beauty of the place and most of all the people up close and personal. 

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Getting ready...

When I go on a trip of this nature, I always say I'll start getting things together months in advance but despite the best laid plans, there is always so much to do right before departure.

Getting my clothes ready is always a challenge for Africa as the expectations are very different than  here in America.  The dress code for a visiting woman minister includes ALL dresses (no pants) of a very modest length and style.  I don't wear anything immodest even when in the USA however standards there are much more conservative.  We are only allowed to wear pants when we will not be around anyone from the conference, or the church.  (Of course that is the majority of our time.  We will even stick to the dress code while in the slums as it will be expected.)  Everything we wear there will be a dress or skirt WELL below the knee, and no sleeveless dresses or tops.  I do have things in my closet that fit this expectation, of course, however wearing them practically 24/7 for a week presents a little challenge especially if I wear more than one outfit a day which I sometimes do there especially if I preach one time and then become a sweaty mess, go shower and put something else on to do another service.  I do have quite a number of African outfits I'll be wearing from my last few trips, espeically the ones the ladies there have given me as special gifts.  They love it when they see me wear "their clothes."

My goal the past few days has been to spend some time with my family in between getting things ready to leave for Africa.   Savvy and I had a girls day out.  She has been wanting to spend her birthday money.  We went to Plato's Closet, Ross, Justice, Dots and then swung by Sonic for lunch because the rain was absolutely pouring down and we didn't want to get out of the car.  We had a really good time and she was able to get some nice things, and I was able to get these amazing shoes.

We came home and I did some straightening up around the house and more packing for Africa, and made a pan of homemade apple dumplings.  It's summertime and very hot, but for some reason I was in the mood for them and so I made them. 

Today is my last service at Celebration before leaving on the trip.  I'm hoping to get a few more things donated this morning to take with me for the people in Africa.  I take as many gifts as I can, in fact two suitcases full of them.  It's always a joy for me to see their faces when they receive something.  I try to videotape some of that to bring back home so the people can see how much happiness they brought to the folks there.  Last year we gave out a lot of candy like "Smarties" to the kids in the slums.  A funny yet heartbreaking thing was that many of the kids just popped it in their mouth, wrapper and all and started eating it.  They never had candy before so they didn't know not to eat the wrapper and we had to keep telling them.  It is mind blowing that some kids in the world have never so much as had a piece of candy.  Our children in the USA are so blessed.  I am taking the kids a ton of candy this year as well as "silly bands" which are so popular right now in the USA.  Many people might wonder why I'm taking candy and silly bands instead of real food or whatever.  Well, what can you fit in two suitcases?  Not much.  I would not be able to fit whole meals or shelter.  (And we can help those efforts by just giving financially.)  When I go, I try to just bring them a bit of joy -- some little fun item that they have not had before -- not a "necessity" - but just a little something for fun.  Those little silly bands might be the only little personal play thing or toy some of them receive...ever.   People have donated hundreds of brand new silly bands for me to take but one little girl at our church, Nicole Faux, felt led by God to give the African children her collection of silly bands, which was very precious to her.   In addition I will take gifts for the ladies like scarves and jewelry and pretty things that convey how special and beautiful they are.

I get a real treat this morning that I never expected, at church...I have this Sunday and quite a few more after that  with Jordan back on the drums!  Everyone was VERY excited and surprised to see him there Wednesday night.   He is not as upset as he was initially about having to wait and quite frankly, I couldn't be happier than we have more a family of 5.  I realize for so many reasons how blessed I am.  Thank you Lord, for your blessings on me.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

sweet babies

I am going to miss my family more than anyone when I go to Africa Tuesday.  Next to them, I will miss my dogs immensely.  They really bring so much joy into my life on a daily basis, especially on difficult days.  This past week with dealing with the rollercoaster ride concerning Jordan's departure, their love was especially appreciated.  There were times I was crying and they just wouldn't leave my side and snuggled right up to comfort me.

They snuggle up to each other a lot too.  It's just precious.

Maxie, "maxin' relaxin' and chillaxin, on our bed.

Hmmmm...what can I do next?  What book of Mommy's can I chew to smithereens now that I have eaten My Utmost for His Highest and her favorite Ronald Reagan book?

It's a good thing I'm so cute cause I can be such a pistol! 

Mommy took a break from writing and I thought I'd sit down and update my Facebook page.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The wordsmith is in...

Here I am with the next vocabulary word to share.  Actually I thought I would share three that I often use.    These words have come to mind quite a bit this past week, although I use them often in my daily conversations regarding various circumstances going on in the world.  

Lament - to mourn, to grieve. 
Example of ways to use this word:
Deanna began to lament the reality of the life changes she was facing, and faith in God and the support of friends sustained her.

Vexed ~ bothered, afflicted.
Example of way to use this word:
Deanna was very vexed in her spirit about the changes she was going through, and the presence of God was what lifted her up again and again.

Exacerbate ~ to  make worse.
Example of way to use this word:
Saying goodbye to her son and leaving for Africa at the same time was only going to exacerbate the feelings of grief Deanna had, but God in His power and mercy intervened!

So now, why don't we try  using all three words in a sentence?

My friends, do not become vexed today or allow the enemy to exacerbate your lament by giving way to fear, for God already knows the end of a thing from the beginning!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

He'll be here a while...

Jordan will not be leaving on Tuesday.  Apparently what they told him at MEPS wasn't accurate.  Yesterday afternoon we spoke with the recruiter and basically what happened is that when you don't ship out on your scheduled date, the job they had for you is given to someone else.  Therefore, he now has to wait for another job to open up.  It could be anytime in the coming weeks, however they said in all probability it will be September.  As you can imagine he was NOT a happy camper when he heard that.  He was devastated at first.  But we've been talking to him about the fact that God is in control and for some reason he was not supposed to be with the group that started this week.  Just  as I had to trust God with what seemed like the initial decision for me to miss his departure, so I now have to trust God with the apparent decision to delay his departure for a while.

There are pros and cons to starting sooner or later but we're choosing to look at the pros and encouraging him to do the same and he seems a little better now and joining us in trusting the Lord with this decision.

The positives I immediately see in this are:

1)  I'll be able to be there the day he does ship out!!   I should have never gotten my panties in a bunch over that one.

2)  If he goes in the fall, he will not be going through basic training in the sweltering July heat in San Antonio!  This would be a positive for ANYONE, but being that Jordan has fainted in the heat a time or two, it was something we were already concerned about.  Yes, I know it's still hot in September/October there, however I've heard that July is just brutal.  Evidently the Lord may have taken this factor into consideration too -- who knows but that the date wasn't moved for just that reason?

3)  We'll have a little bit more time as a family of five!  No one can imagine how happy this makes me...except someone who has been there, done that.

4)  Everything that went through my head as a reminder of things we haven't done yet as a family, we can try to do before he ships out.  When the date got up on us that he was supposed to leave, I remembered things here and there that we wanted to do but didn't.  I would like to try to do some of those between now and September. 

5)  Now that I have these few precious (possible) months I am more determined to make the most of them, realizing how hard it will be when the actual departure date really does come.  I will absolutely make the most of every opportunity.  I view this time whether a few weeks or months as a precious gift from God.

6)  Now that I am officially out of denial having gone through a dress rehearsal of this once, I am better prepared now for his departure, all around.  Many friends have started giving me advice about this transition...people who have been there and navigated these waters and not only survived but thrived.  This has been very helpful.  Although going through changes is still painful, I am comforted by my others assurances that it will get better day by day.  Also, in the last few days I've joined some Air Force Moms groups and message boards and learned a lot through reading  about what to expect when your son or daughter is in basic training and the military in general, and how to handle that journey most successfully.  Being surrounded by people who understand and can advise is very helpful.  I'm like a sponge just soaking it all in. 

I'm grateful to everyone who wrote me a message of encouragement the past few days.  I will post here again when we know more about his departure and covet everyone's prayers that God's will be done in all matters concerning this.  

God already knows the ending.  I try to remember that He's already in the future, waiting to show us around.  What a learning curve this is!  But if there's one thing in life I am committed to do, it's learn and grow.  Here we go...second dress rehearsal, take two...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm a mess, but I'm growing.

"But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They're like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers- Never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf, Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season."
Jeremiah 17:7 (The Message)

I absolutely love the worship song, "Desert Song". One of my favorite parts of the lyric is, "All of my life, in every season, you are still God, I l have a reason to sing...I have a reason to worship!"

What a season I'm in.  This week has been a horrible rollercoaster of emotions. Yesterday we were supposed to be saying goodbye to Jordan as he was scheduled to leave for Air Force basic training in San Antonio, TX. His Daddy and I had cried a bucket of tears Sunday night and all day Monday again.    We had a special family dinner Monday night after he was checked into Mainsail (where they are required to stay) and prepared for the challenging day ahead of actually "letting go" at the airport.

After an almost sleepless night with many tears, we got up and prepared to walk out the door to go to see him swear in again and say goodbye at the airport, and  they called and said we needed to come pick him up and bring him home. He was sick. (All day Monday he had been nauseous which we thought was just due to nervous jitters about the next day. But they give them a physical exam again when they get to MEPS, and  he had flu like symptoms.  He has a fever and chills right now and it is beyond just "jitters.") He is home another week and tentatively leaves on Tuesday. This presents a heartbreaking situation for me as I am leaving for Africa that same morning.  My flight can't be changed.  I have to leave that day at the same time.  Yes, I've cried bucketfuls MORE tears. I realized right away, I will not be there at the airport to say goodbye.  I will not be home when he makes his first call home to talk to us.  I will be on the other side of the world, away from my family.  My husband needs me so much right now as well, just for emotional support, and I won't be there.  Jordan  is our first babe to fly the nest (quite literally) and with that a changing season in our household.   We are not five anymore here at home, we are four.  Quite frankly, I feel like a mess!     

There is so much on my mind as I ping pong back and forth between thinking about Jordan and Africa.    My emotions are quite the traffic jam, but I am resolutely trusting in God. As women we go through many changing seasons in our lives. Transitions come with our marriage, our children, our work, and our relationships. Through all of those seasons God simply asks that we trust him...that we "stick with Him" fully believing that He will see us through the seasons and help us to not only survive but thrive!  Scripture says we are to be like a tree planted deeply, bearing fruit no matter what we happen to be going through -- letting it work for us rather than chafing against it. There are parts of me that want to resist this changing season.  I have to be honest, I don't like it right now.  It feels like a searing wound.  Yes, I know he will excel in the military.  Yes, I know he will make us proud.  I know all that.  But we miss him already and we are grieving.  Yesterday riding down the road with Savanna I blubbered on and on and she says, "Mom, it's okay.  He will be back to see us.  He is still a part of us."  I said, "I know but it's not exactly the same, and I have to go through this two more times!  Once with you, once with Dustin!"  I can't even wrap my mind around that right  now and of course my mind has raced ahead to think about it.  I don't have a hard time with my kids being all that God wants them to be...I just don't want them to leave my house to do it.  (ha ha!!!) 

 I am asking, "God how do you want to grow me through this?  Please show me how to be joyful in the midst of  this so that I can be a blessing and one day even help someone else like others are helping me."   I know parents make it through this and most of them seem even better for it years later, I just don't know how they initially did it.  I am learning more than ever that it's important to lean on women friends through changing seasons. I'm thankful for a good friend, Lisa, who came and sat with me on my sofa yesterday morning and just cried for a few hours.  One thing Lisa also told me is that it's very possible that God didn't want Jordan in the group that was leaving for basic yesterday.  Who knows the danger that might have been present in the form of an influence or relationship within that particular group that may have been harmful to him?  Maybe God realized that in the long run it would have been more harmful for Jordan to be with that group of guys, versus the pain of me missing his farewell moment.  God knows best and for some reason the date needed to be changed.  There is really nothing that prayer, chocolate and the ear of a good friend can't help. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This too shall pass...but right now it hurts.

Yesterday was so hard.

Today is harder. 

We can really use any prayers you'd like to send our way.   That's all I have to say right now -- words can't really describe how it feels to be us right now unless you've already been where we're at. 

Proud?  Yes. 

Hurting?  That too.

One doesn't cancel the other out.

Thanks. :)

p.s.  Jordan's last facebook status before he left for basic training:  " learning to follow before I’m given the privilege to lead!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

I got up this morning

Yesterday was a hard day.  Jordan's "last" for everything at church. We have to drop him off at the MEPS hotel tonight to spend the night.  Tomorrow he has to swear in a second time and after that goes to the airport to leave for basic training.  We will go to the airport to say goodbye to him and that will be it -- the official "transition" into adulthood and out of our home as far as living here anymore.

Quite a few people have asked how I'm doing with it.  I know they mean well and they care, but my honest thought when I'm asked that question is, "does it really matter?"  Whether I'm doing okay or not, either way there is nothing I can do about it.  Jordan is happy and I want him to be happy.  Who doesn't want their child to be happy?   I accept his decision and am proud of him, and just do what I do...which is keep "doing."

Did you ever realize how little control you have over anything in life?  Really we have absolutely none except for what we personally decide to do.  Control starts and stops with us as individuals.  Everything else simply happens to us and we decide how to respond.  There are two choices with anything we face in life -- we can either keep going or quit.  I absolutely hate goodbyes even when they are for good reasons.  There's never anything good about a goodbye for me. As a matter of fact, I'm saying goodbye in person to Jordan because he's my son and being that he's my son our relationship as mother/son requires that.  But aside from my husband or kids I avoid a goodbye with anyone else if I can possibly help it.  Many times a goodbye means something good for the other person, but for me personally it's always very sad.  So for selfish reasons I just refuse to show up for a goodbye.  For my kids though, I just can't do that.  I'm their Mom.  And Moms show up, at least the real ones.   There is no question as a mother that you will be there for your kids no matter how hard it is.

I do think sometimes we need to reward ourselves just for deciding that we're going to keep going and keep "doing".  I like to do more than exist (I'm about thriving not surviving) but I do have to admit there are some days I think we all deserve a medal just for existing or surviving.   

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I'm not writing anything profound lately...

We spent the evening with the Mackleys, as they are in for the weekend.  They came for Jordan's party, and Pastor T , Larry and Jordan spent the day together doing a special project at the church.  We are getting ready for what I believe will be an amazing service this morning...gearing up for what God will do at Celebration Church.  This morning is Jordan's last Sunday on the drums.  He's experiencing the plethora of "lasts" this week here in Tampa before he goes off to basic training.  I'm trying not to think about it too much.  I've had two horrible crying myself when no one is around.  Crying isn't something I do a whole lot in front of people, at least not to this point in my life, for many reasons.  Maybe that will be something profound to write about in future days, but not today.

I hate the fact that there has to be a "last" anything this morning but since we're not in heaven yet it's just the way life is structured.  While we're still in these earthly shells we have to deal with this thing called goodbyes.  This morning Larry and I are dedicating a baby in the service.  These parents have no idea how fast the time is going to go before they send this little one off into the world on their own.  I could try to tell them but no one ever comprehends it until it actually happens to you.  Oh well, enough of that.  I can only handle talking about it in very small doses.

As I started out by saying in the title of this post, I haven't written anything particularly profound lately.  But my friends have.  In recent days I've just written about daily life most of the time and not ruminated on any other topics.  I thought I'd give some shout outs today:

Pastor Leanne Weber's post, Should young women go to college?  Great stuff here.  

Tina Blount tackles the issue of what to do when your faith just isn't enough.  I have found myself there a time or two and I'm sure you can relate.

Laurie at Women Taking a Stand covers the topic of making the most of time.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where's Madea when you need her?

Jordan's party last night got a little insane.  The police showed up (after being called by some neighbors who had their panties in a wad) and literally told Larry that they can put a homeowner in jail for the night if they don't comply with what they ask them to do regarding breaking up a party.  [sigh]  So what happened?

Well I knew we had over 100 people on the premises when we ran out of 100 cups in a blink of an eye!  I had to quickly have Irene help me wash some cups.  Cars were lined all the way around down both sides of the street, even the corners.  The entire front yard was filled with kids, the adults took up the back yard, and more people filled the house and even on the side of the house all down the sidewalk.  (We are the corner house.)  

So the police came and talked to Larry and then both of us together and first they addressed the car issue.  They were upset at the amount of cars lined up on the sides of the street.    I said, "no problem, we'll go park all the cars at the clubhouse (golf clubhouse in our development) and shuttle the people back in vans to the house."   I don't think they were prepared for us to suggest that.  We started implementing this plan immediately but not satisfied with that, they went on to say, "you also have to get the kids out of the front yard."  What?!   I was so ticked.  I mean, does a person own their property or what?  I can't have kids on my lawn?  How crazy.  It's my lawn.  It would be different if they were doing something illegal on our front lawn but they weren't.  There were just so many of them, that was supposedly the issue.  So I guess it's legal to have two people in your front yard but if you have 50 it's a problem?   I seriously wanted to get that whole big pack of kids together and sing, "This Land is Your Land" to the top of our lungs.  :)   But WWJD?  Well, I actually don't know that He wouldn't do something dramatic being that He turned water to wine and attended parties and all that stuff.  I really wish Jesus was there in the flesh at our party.  Perhaps he could have turned the police to a piece of bacon.  Forget a pillar of salt...just turn the po-po to a piece of bacon.and let us continue our festivities unhindered.

 Then it went to another level when the police said we had to "get rid of all the alcohol with all the kids that were on the premises."   There wasn't one drop of alcohol on the property but they couldn't imagine it.  How could we have all this frivolity without it?    Some people just can't understand how a group of people can get crazy and have this much of a good time without something putting them on a high except  joy.  You should have seen these officers faces when Larry and I were trying to convince them that there was no alcohol.  They looked at us like we were martians.  We asked them to come in, do a search...check the house, the cars, look around all they wanted.  They never took us up on it but I sure wish they would have.  They would have seen we were high on nothing but happiness!

We told the police we were sad.  We said, "you know, this makes us very sad because we're just trying to have something for our son who is going in the military this week.  And it's only 10 pm, it's not like this is some crazy's 10 pm on a Friday night.."  We then took the cars to the clubhouse, and shuttled people back to the house after dropping off their cars and continued the party with those that chose to stay.  Some were kinda spooked by the police since they were threatening as well to give out tickets.  How absurd. 

Larry was discouraged  because it did cut the party shorter than we would have liked, but I think at least during the time we did have before they showed up  it was a lot of fun.    I have to be honest, I wouldn't have cared if the did arrest me, as long as I was out in time to see Jordan off to the airport on Tuesday, and and go to Africa next week.  Bring it on.

 You get one call when you get arrested.  It would have been my privilege to call Fox News from my cell and let them know the police had arrested a suburban Mom for having a party sans alcohol for her son who was going into the military and neighbors were upset about parked cars.  Sounds like a great assignment for Sean Hannity...  "Let me get this straight Mrs. Shrodes...they locked you up because a bunch of kids were on your front lawn and you didn't make them leave?  All you were doing was having a farewell party for your son who was getting ready to serve our country?  This group was mostly church people and kids from a Christian youth group?   You were playing music and drinking Dr. Pepper and the next thing you know you are in handcuffs?  You didn't move all of the cars off the street so they moved you to the slammer?  What is America coming to, friends?  Glenn Beck is right!  The Republic is under attack when an American family can't even throw a farewell for a soldier anymore.   What are they doing to our nation when you can't even utilize your front yard? More about this Florida fiasco tonight on the O'Reilly Factor!"  

I always wanted to meet the Fox News Team and this could have been my chance...drats!!!

Oh well, great things about last night's party:

  • Outpouring of love and support for Jordan - tons of people here to express their love! 
  • Loads of fun during the party time we did have.
  • We had enough food and it was all amazing!  Special thanks to all the friends who brought desserts!  Cookies and cakes and pies, oh my!  We may not have had any booze but I'll tell you what we DID have...all our Shrodes party favorites...the best chicken salad sandwiches in the world, world famous crab puffs, artichoke dip, crab dip,  cocktail meatballs, taco salad, cherry and pumpkin pies, chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter and Hershey kiss cookies and molasses cookies, brownies, cupcakes, chocolate pie, and tons of soda pop, iced tea and lemonade.  Enough of this yummy food and you might just run around the yard or jump off the sofa
  • Jordan seems very happy!  What more could we ask for, except maybe Madea at our next party? 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Well there's a party goin' on right here, a celebration...

Tonight is Jordan's farewell party.  If you are just tuning in here on the blog, let me bring you up to speed -- he leaves Tuesday for the Air Force.  He will be at boot camp in San Antonio, TX for the next eight and a half weeks, then tech school after that, and then he will be stationed somewhere.  Yep, he's officially growing up.  After getting back from Naples I've been busy getting everything ready for the farewell party.  There are so many people who have RSVP'd to come.  I'm a little concerned about parking and space, but trying not to think about it too hard.  Actually I'm trying not to think of anything too much right now concerning him leaving.  :)  I don't know whether to avoid it or fully embrace the emotions and just deal with them.  This is the first time I've ever had a kid move out, let alone go into the military and off to boot camp and God knows where from there.  Okay, that's enough thinking about that for's about all I can handle at any given moment to think about it for about five minutes.  Back to the party plan...

I've been busy cooking and cleaning.  My house hasn't had a good cleaning for a while and this will be the last one before I go to Africa.  The next week is INSANE with all I have to get ready to go.  (Please pray!)  I have to get everything lined up for the actual trip, and things squared away for here while I'm gone.  This is more than anyone would ever imagine.  If I think about it too hard it overwhelms me so I don't look at the full scope of it and just deal with what's in front of me at the time.

As far as cooking for tonight I've been making my famous chicken salad, crab puffs, crab dip, artichoke dip, meatballs, and more.  All "favs" that our friends and fam just love.  Speaking of my recipes, lots of people ask for them, in fact usually so many I have a hard time keeping up with emailing them out.   Sorry if you are somebody I haven't answered.   I sometimes lose emails here and there in the shuffle when I have a lot of them piled up.  It's a casualty of living at this jammed intersection of family/ministry/career and what not. 

If you are interested in receiving one of my recipes week, as well as my weekly ezine devotional, you can go here and sign up for my "cup of coffee" ezine.  I've been doing this for nine years and have lots of subscribers who enjoy receiving this in their email box on Wednesday mornings.  Each week I share a devotional as well as a recipe.  This started out as something just for my church women however since so many of them forwarded it on it's grown and become much more.  Once you go to the church website, scroll down where it asks you to put your email address in to sign up for the newsletters.  It will take you to the spot to sign up for the cup of coffee as well as any of our other church newsletters.  Please note that the recipes I post each week are not just "random" - they are all tried and true ones that our family enjoys.

Ta ta for to do more cooking and cleaning.  And by the way, this morning I'm making a trip first thing to the St. Luke's Eye Institute for my follow up!  Hopefully I'll be wearing contacts and make up to the party tonight!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Coming Home

There is no way I can adequately describe how amazing the ministry time in Naples was.  HE SHOWED UP!!   I couldn't really articulate it beyond that (and that's pretty rare for me) so I asked Candy to share about it at church last night.  Speaking of Fusion last night...WOW, so glad we made it home in time.  

No blog yesterday...we were in Naples all day without internet, and rolled into Tampa just in time for Fusion...came home afterwards to be with my family. 

Although Naples was unforgettable, home is sweet. :)   Back with my husband, my kids, and my dogs.  Slept in our own bed last night.  Oh yes.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Naples or bust!

Candy and I are on the road this morning, headed to Naples. I'll be speaking tonight at Parkway Life Church of God, where  Motivated by Love Ministries is having an outreach.  This is not a women's event, it's for everyone.  (If you live in the Naples area, bring everybody you know and come on over!  The church is located at 5975 Golden Gate Pkwy, Naples.)  Tonight I'm preaching about Pentecostal of my favorite things to talk about!  Somebody give a shout up in here!!!!  Wahhhhhhhhhhhooooooo.....................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's happening at the intersection of womanhood, marriage, parenting, ministry and career this week?  An amazing array of stuff!!   I knew I'd be in Naples today and tomorrow so I worked like crazy yesterday.  I worked from home but finished 12 church projects that were on my agenda for this week.  If I didn't work from home they would have never gotten done, with the way interruptions go.  I knew if I didn't get those things done they would be hanging over my  head the whole time I was in Naples and I'd never have my mind clear while I was preaching or preparing to preach.

Moving forward we'll leave Naples tomorrow, and get home in time for Fusion service Wednesday night.  Thursday brings more church work, a NextJob meeting, and then concentrating on Jordan's going away party.  Um, yeah...did I mention our precious second born is flying the coop next Tuesday?  Yeah, I haven't mentioned it because I really don't like to cry.  In fact I loathe goodbyes and crying.  So I'll be brief in my comments here because there's no more intimate time for me than when I'm writing my feelings.  And, I cry while I write many times.  It's Jordan's "last" everything this week.  His last Wednesday youth service is this week.  His farewell party is Friday night.  He has his last service with us Sunday morning.  And, we drop him off Tuesday morning at the crack of dawn at MEPS in South Tampa where he will then fly from there to San Antonio, TX for basic training.  We're having a big open house farewell party for him Friday and I am making a mountain of food...assisted by some good friends who have had pity graciously said they would do whatever they could to help.  After receiving the RSVP's I realized this will be more people in my house than have ever been here including church events or graduations or whatever.  Yikes!!!  Seriously, it could be HUNDREDS coming over here and I'm not exaggerating.  Good thing I have some good friends who have stepped to do whatever needed to make this little party happen.  Even Pastor T and Misty and their kids are coming for the event!   Moving right along...

I'm putting the finishing touches on Africa preparation.  We leave in 14 days.  I have all but two messages prepared and those are on my agenda this week.  I just haven't gotten the mind of God on them yet, and so I wait and get His mind on it.   By the way, speaking of Africa, Becca is still raising funds.  If any of you reading this want to help her especially now that we are down to the wire...please let me know.   

I go back to St. Luke's Eye Institute on Friday for my follow up visit.  Hopefully on Friday I'll be given the go ahead to go back to wearing contacts and make up!  I am so excited.  My eye looks fantastic.  I have been taking good care of it, following the doctor's orders and going even beyond that to give it good care. 

Aside from all that I'm preparing for a great weekend at Celebration Church (yes, I know it's six days away however we start early prepping for great weekends!) and loving on Maxie and Maddie, and believing for many miracles for my friends and family.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The wordsmith is in...

I love words.

As a kid I collected words like some kids collect crayons.

If there's a better way to say something, I want to find it.

Writing words, saying words, singing words, typing words... any way to utilize words to increase others, is what I love to do. 

Martin Luther said, "If you want to change the world, pick  up your pen."  I believe that with all my heart.  I wake up each day with a passion in my heart to do that.

I've decided that some time during each week I'm going to share a "word of the week."  The word will be one that I particularly enjoy using and want to share with others.  I will share the definition but also ways that I might typically use the word in a sentence.

If you want to increase your vocabulary, try adding just one new word a week.  Find ways to fit that word into your converations in some way every day.  In doing so you will have practice using the word and it will become a regular part of your vocabulary that will be called to mind when you're looking for a more descriptive word. 

Okay, the word for today is:  extemporaneously  

I love this word and have used it since high school! 

It means to do something without advance notice, preparation or practice. 

Ways that I might use this word in a sentence:

1)  They never told me that I'd be preaching for the next service in Africa, but I extemporaneously shared the word that was on my  heart. 

2)  Jim Bob and Ellie Mae weren't very organized and didn't have a clue that they would need someone to play the wedding march for their ceremony, so at the last minute I extemporaneously played it when Ellie Mae's mother asked me to. 

3)  The ladies at the party were very interested in fashion and asked Candy to teach a workshop.  Although she had no advance notice, Candy taught a session extemporaneously.

So there you go...a new word to fit into your conversations this week.  Go and share extemporaneously!

Sunday, May 16, 2010