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Showing posts from December, 2010

This, you CAN do!

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This post will be short as I'm wanting to spend time today finalizing some personal goals for 2011, while also getting ready to celebrate New Year's Eve/Day at our home. Last night, Larry and a friend, Todd Stewart, made 60 pierogies in preparation for tonight.  I came home from shopping with Savanna and made a huge roaster full of cabbage rolls.  We make "Pittsburgh foods" in our home for New Year's Eve, as a tradition.   Friends bring other things to go with it, but these are the main things we prepare for this great night.

Yesterday I was given this challenge and I give it to blog readers today:

"The greatest thing you have is the 24 hours in front of you.  The past is gone.  The future is distant.  Today you can succeed!  Set a goal you can achieve within 24 hours!"

This, you CAN do.   Set a small goal - something you can do in the next 24 hours, and do it!It's the first step to reaching your bigger goals.

Goodbye 2010.  We've learned many th…

Joy in the Midst of Adversity

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Are you stressed?  Sick?  Dealing with serious issues with your children?  Wonder how you could possibly have any JOY in the middle of all that?  Do you ever wonder how you can not only survive but thrive through challenges?

Be blessed by the insight of someone currently going through cancer, chemo and radiation...victoriously!

Listen to the advice of someone who is dealing severe pain, an upcoming major surgery, and a ton of government red tape...and keeping a happy heart all the while!

Receive wisdom from a widow...someone who has faced tragic and challenging circumstances with her children and grandchildren, and remains rock solid in her faith. 

Last night at Fusion we had a panel discussion on the subject of Joy in the Midst of Adversity, to conclude our "Joy to the World" teaching series.  I had the privilege of interviewing three of our amazing celebraters!   If you'd like to listen, check out the podcast by going here.

Don't jack with a Godly leader

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Why do so many sheep think they can attack a shepherd and get away with it? Make no mistake - shepherds get bitten and they may bleed -- in fact they may bleed profusely for a while, but an attacking sheep will never ultimately win in a battle with a Godly shepherd.

Remember how when you were little you thought your Momma had eyes in the back of her head?    You took a cookie from the cookie jar when she told you not to, or skipped school and you thought you were getting away with it, but word always got back to them.   The Bible says that your sin will always find you out.  Your siblings told on  you for stealing the cookie and the teacher called to let them know you missed 6th period english when you were supposed to be there.  Yet you did it anyway and then had the gall to get mad at your sister for telling on you about the cookie!  You blamed your teacher for telling your parents about you skipping school instead of taking responsibility for your actions.  Momma didn't buy tha…

Fab Four Christmas

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Yesterday was a day I've been excited about for a few weeks now.  It was the day to have Christmas with three special friends.  We call ourselves the "Fab Four" because, well -- we are four, and long term, friends - which is fabulous.  The Fab Four consists of myself and three ladies who have been close to me for almost the entirety of my time here in Florida.  The bond we have is built has been accomplished over years of loyal friendship, giving opportunity for trust to build.  The women I speak of keep me sane well, relatively sane, and bring a lot of joy to my life and hopefully I do the same for them.  Yesterday we shared tea at a local  shop called Maggie's, and exchanged Christmas gifts.  Girl time was shared over Paris, Plum and Peach teas, scones and devonshire cream, finger sandwiches, and an assortment of desserts.

One of the fab four gifted the rest of us with friendship books with a personal letter inside and sterling silver necklaces for each one with a …

And so begins the week of baths...

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Not that I don't clean up on other weeks...in fact I'm rather passionate about being clean.

It's my personal tradition the week between Christmas and New Year to go at a slower pace - relax - regroup - refocus.  I need this time to be ready for the pace that the new year brings with it.  One of the ways I do that is to start everyday on the last week of the year with a long soak in the tub.  All during the year many of my days end with a soak in the tub at the end of the night when I worn and weary and need to relax and unwind a few minutes before going to sleep.  This week I like to start my day with something I love and bubble baths is one of those things...specifically a bath and body works moonlight path one!

We close the office the week between Christmas and New Year and are only at church for services and emergencies or absolute essentials. 

Yesterday afternoon after church I took a 3 hour nap with Larry and the dogs.  Then we had some friends over for a late dinne…

Thankfully, I didn't eat baby Jesus.

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My sister Shari is home for a break from her ministry/job with Samaritan's Purse in Haiti.  This past week I received a box in the mail with Christmas gifts from her and one of them was a coconut.  It was a real coconut.  I honestly thought she had sent me this from Haiti to eat.  So I put it in the fruit bowl.  It just sat there along with tangerines and apples and a bunch of other stuff...waiting to eat.  On the phone with her yesterday on Christmas she said, "Did you like the coconut?"  I said, "I haven't eaten it yet."  She was like, "ARE YOU SERIOUS?"  I said, "yes, why?"  She said, "Oh my gosh,  it's not to eat, Deanna!!  Please go get it right now while you're on the phone with me."  I said, "okayyyyyyy..." and proceeded to go get it.  She said, pull out the center thing and start pulling out the leaves and the stuffing.  I said, "okay, but I'll never get it back in, this is really tight."…

Merry Christmas Darlings...

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It's Christmas Day!!!

We had a fantastic Christmas Eve Communion.  There was a steady stream of people coming in from 5 pm - 8 pm, to receive personal communion and prayer.  Afterwards we headed with 20 people - our family plus 15 staff/friends who accompanied us for our traditional Chinese dinner.  Years ago when Larry and I first got married we went for chinese on Christmas Eve and it became tradition.  We have done this for 23 years of our marriage...every Christmas Eve.  Some years we've gone to restaurants where we've ordered a special dish each but most times we go to a Chinese Buffet as it's what everyone in the family likes best.

We exchanged gifts with staff and friends and shared some fabulous memories to last a lifetime.

I came home and got a few more things ready for the Christmas meal for today and cleaned up the kitchen and headed to snuggle with the dogs.  Now that we have three teens/young adults, they generally sleep late on Christmas.  No one wakes us…

I can dream and in my dreams I'm Christmasing with you...

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Yesterday was a busy day -- in prayer, and wrapping things up for Christmas Eve Communion, food shopping, baking pies, ironing table linens, getting the china out, and all that good stuff.  Worked til' I dropped last night.  Savanna did do some cleaning while we were at work -- she wanted to have her friend Grace over to spend the night.  This works out nicely as we'll just reunite her with her family at Christmas Eve Communion.  Michele and Marcus came over last night too and watched the Steelers game and I made homemade hot cocoa with a recipe that a friend, Jeannie Tedder, gave me.  It's better than cocoa that you get in the stores.  And, it's real simple:

Homemade Cocoa
1 and 3/4 cup of instant milk powder
1 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 cup of coffee creamer (powder)
1/4 cup of cocoa

Mix ingredients.  Store in container - may be stored out on counter, in refrigerator or freezer.  When preparing, mix 1/3 cup of cocoa mix with 3/4 cup of hot water.

Try it, you'll re…

What to do when you've got a holy hangover...

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Last night I got home from  the Fusion Christmas dinner, petted the dogs, got in my night clothes, made an iced tea and settled in to finish two teachings that I have to put the finishing touches on before Christmas break.  As I mentioned in my blog the other day, I've been working double on things to be able to take some time of at the holidays.  After I was done polishing off two messages and returning urgent mail messages, I found myself feeling down.  I mean really down.  Like crazy down.

I shouldn't be down.

What's wrong with me?

We just had a fantastic night at Fusion.
God is up to NEW things at Celebration.
Amazing opportunities have been coming my way in life and ministry!
God has blessed me in  having a part in being a significant influence in some people's spiritual journey.
I have been taking good care of myself health wise.  (Well, driving myself like crazy the past week with work, BUT -- eating right, exercising and taking vitamins.)

Yet there I was strug…

Sometimes a Mom just can't say no...

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Yesterday Savanna said, "Mom can we pleeeease make some gourmet pretzels for my teachers and friends at school?"

[Insert deep breath here]

Today is her last day of school before the holiday break so it had to be done last night.  I'm swamped with working double time at the church not to mention work at NextJob to be off a few days at Christmas not to mention getting Christmas together for my own household - everything from gifts to food.  I haven't even started getting everything ready for the plethora of things we make on Christmas day for dinner and dessert with friends here at the house.  But...I said yes.  Larry says, "why, why, why do you never say no to these things, Deanna?!"  (He sees my exhaustion at times and wonders why I do these things but honestly it's hard to say no to a pleading child who wants to give to others, and make memories, etc...  Perhaps only a Mom can understand.)  Anyway, "we" didn't end up making them -- "…

Double duty

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Yesterday we were having a wonderful lunch with our children pastor and his wife and talking about the reality of doing "double duty" in preparation to have a few days off.   We talked about our e-mail boxes filling up and the reality of what you come back to after a few days off.  It's interesting, between two jobs, Pastor Adam and I both get upwards of 300 e-mails a day. That's quite a pile up to come back to!  Sometimes I dread coming back to work just because of having to catch up on e-mail. 

I noticed that in the last day or two my blog stats have gone way down.  I'm experienced enough at blogging by now to realize this time it has nothing to do with my content but the fact that everybody is busy Christmas shopping and also doing double duty at work to actually be able to have a few days off.  Everyone doesn't have the kind of job that requires that, but people who serve in positions such as vocational ministry understand well that there is A LOT to be …

A Celebration Church Family Christmas

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All of these photos were taken by Lourdes Manners, of Celebration Church. Thanks, Lourdes!


When did Christmas become about romance?

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"When somebody wants you...somebody needs you
Christmas is a joy of joy...but friends when you're lonely
You'll find that it's only...a thing for little girls and little boys..."
 ~ The Christmas Blues, Dean Martin
Really?!  Somebody please notify God that evidently what He did wasn't enough.

I was listening to the radio the other day and this song came on and all of a sudden I just really felt irked.  
Angry!
So many people complain about the commercialization of Christmas but what about the romanticism?  Really, it's just as bad.  If we're going to complain about people who have turned it into nothing but buying and selling and hustle and bustle and Santa and Frosty, let's also come to grips with those who turn it into nothing but kissing and hugging around the fire.
I mean, really...did Christ come to earth so you could get engaged?
Did He come so you could make out with somebody under a piece of hanging foliage?
No.  
I for one am tired of songs and a…

Can't wait!

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This is such a busy weekend at Celebration and one that will be "next level" for sure.  Today is the Recovery Ministry Christmas Dinner (this is our homeless ministry & ministry to the working poor outreach that we have on Saturdays...where we feed and clothe LOTS of people each week).  Today will be an amazing Christmas dinner and gift giveaway.  It's great to be part of a church that is making a difference in the community and feeding and clothing people physically as well as spiritually.

Still really stoked about our family celebration on Sunday morning.  One thing that I really enjoy is finding individuals with talent and equipping them to be all they can be, in many cases going much further than I have gone or ever will go.  Sometimes they already have the natural talent and ability but it's the role of equipping/training/coaching/mentoring as a pastor that I can offer to bring the whole package together.  Anything is possible in the lives of those who are t…

Fun Friday Potpourri

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Today's Friday!  I'm so glad.  It's a day for Larry and I to spend together around the house, and to do some Christmas shopping at some point.   I've got some adorable new pics of Max & Maddie, but first, just a few random things that are on my mind in no particular order.

This Sunday is going to be UH-May-Zing at Celebration Church!  Celebraters, do whatever you've got to do to get there.  I'm tellin' you, I'm so excited about this Sunday.  Not only is my husband absolutely going to  kill it when he shares his message this weekend, but we've got some amazing new talent at CC that's going to be showcased this weekend and I just can't wait!  God has been so good to send us some more talent at our church that is SUCH a blessing to me personally, I cannot even describe how much.   Yesterday I spent most of the day - lunch and a few hours rehearsal afterwards, with someone who came to Celebration about six months ago.  She's new to the ch…