Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I'm not alone and I'm not crazy.

So today I'm just once again thinkin' about friends.  Because so many times friends are what make my world go round.

Friends save me from insanity...

Friends put a smile on my face...

Friends let me know that I'm not in this by myself.  Having a hand to hold (especially in the dark times) makes all the difference. 

This past week as we were riding along talking for about 20 hours when you add up all the trips back and forth combined, my friend Tammy made an observation.  After a few hours of deep conversation baring our souls she said  "our friendships are so important because they let us know that we're not alone and we're not crazy."  She's so right.

I often tell young ladies that during the time they date or get engaged they need to be careful to continue to nurture their female friendships.  Don't let them go!  Cultivate them...continue to grow.  Develop very deep female friendships for there are some things guys just can't or won't do for you.  For instance, they aren't usually in the habit of holding 20 hour deep conversations while traveling and still have plenty left to talk about when they get home.   They only listen for so long on any one subject and wonder, "why are we STILL talking about this?"  If they listen THAT long they are just waiting desperately for something else...like hopping into bed...trust me on this.  But your girlfriend will listen to it all the day long, and she will NOT think  you're crazy, and she will not need you to "do anything for her" when you're done telling her what you just told her.  LOL. 

I need girlfriends who will talk to me for 20 hours and long for more..
Who will laugh with me...
Cry with me...
and still respect the call of God and anointing on my life even when they know the good, bad and ugly that is the reality of my life as well. And I need to do all that for them in return!

 I'm not getting into name dropping here but suffice it to say, all my good friends read my blog.  If they didn't read my blog I would wonder why in the heck I'm still friends with them.  :)  A real friend not only listens to you talk on and on but they check your blog for even MORE stuff you're talking about.   So here's to you my cherished ones...for walking this road with me and letting me know, I'm not alone and I'm not crazy.  I am honored to do life with you and only hope I can be as good a friend to you as you are to me.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Observation

I recently took note of something I believe probably  happens with every leader.  At some point you will be really surprised that some of the people you most expected to be faithful or helpful will not be, and those you least expected to will surprise you and end up being some of the greatest supporters.

If you are a leader, have you noticed this?  Just shows, we should never judge a book by it's cover.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I really hope...

God is pleased with my choices today.

I can make a difference in someone's life today.

The rest of Becca's funds for her ticket come in today.  She's just a few hundred away, if prices stay the same!!!  (The big "if"!) We need to get the tickets asap and have just been praying in every dollar. I hate the fact that tickets to Africa are so darn expensive.  

My doctor's appointment  goes well this morning.

My house becomes clean and stays that way this week.  (I can not only hope, but dream, lol?)

Dustin's truck keeps running (broke down last night, had to be towed home, then started again)

Everything goes smoothly with church Easter plans.

I can be more spirit led in my daily choices.

"But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." Psalm 71:14


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Worth it

What I did to deserve such good friends I will never know.

I've been sick all weekend and by a sheer miracle of God stood up and got through a 45 minute message three times on Saturday.  

My friends (who are also speakers on the tour) took care of me --  spoke words of life, prayed for me, rubbed my back, covered me with blankets, tucked me in, and spoke more words of life.

Don't ever underestimate the value of friends. 

For probably only the fifth time in my life (that I could recall or count) I stayed home from church today.  I have a doctor's appt first thing in the morning.

When I woke up Saturday morning at the hotel and every fiber of my being wanting to stay in bed, I asked God to reveal to me in some way that it was worth pressing through instead of giving up and laying down somewhere until it was time to go home.  So many times we don't know the impact we make until years later, and in some cases we may not know until we get to heaven.  But Saturday, I needed to know right then.  God didn't disappoint and He answered my prayer quickly.

I never told any of the attendees at the conference that I was not feeling well.  Only my friends knew. No one including my friends knew about my prayer request that morning. When I was done speaking, a lady came up for prayer and said she had filed for divorce last week but was changing her mind after hearing the message.  Another woman came forward who is a pastor's wife and although she was so broken she could barely speak, told me in between sobs that if I only came for one person I came for her. 

It's worth it.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some days you just put one foot in front of the other, and keep going...

The trip to Jacksonville went very fast yesterday because I was with such good friends. (Tammy and Tina)  However,  I am not feeling well AT ALL and ask for anyone reading this today to PLEASE pray for me.  Last night my only thought when I was feeling so poorly was, "how am I going to get up and speak THREE times tomorrow if I don't feel better?"  Thank heavens I have such good friends with me who not only prayed powerful prayers for me, but they helped me in other very practical ways as well.   Normally I'm very talkative and really enjoy times out with my friends laughing to the top of our lungs and stuff like that,  but last night I was so out of it, they could all tell I was just not myself.  We went to Longhorn Steakhouse to eat and the first half of the evening I probably didn't say two words.  Tammy was so good to sit there and rub my back and Tina just spoke life into me.  What friends.  I am so blessed, I cannot even describe it it adequately.

I know the enemy really doesn't want me bringing this message today on the Hope Tour, nor going forward in any area of my life and he's fighting terribly right now.  There's so much at stake spiritually right now in so many areas of my life and those I'm ministering to, and God has opened up so many doors.  To walk through them I need to be at my best.   I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for this coming Friday, however at the urging of my friends I called yesterday moved it up to Monday.  It would just be peachy keen if God would heal me, though.  :)

Thanks for believing and I'll update tomorrow, God willing, however it might be later tomorrow night after I've gotten some rest.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bringing HOPE to North Florida

This morning I'm leaving for Jacksonville to speak on the Hope Tour again.  The part I'm most excited about right at this moment is the ride with my friends Tina and Tammy.  I'm telling you, we just kept it real last time and let our hair down!  To keep my sanity in the ministry I really need FUN in a SERIOUS way, just in case you haven't noticed.   

Last night after work at the church I called my nail shop and said, "can I stop by for you guys to do a fill and polish change for me super quick?"  (After my work at church, I was working for NextJob and had to get home to my appointment. However, I was also a week and a half over due for a fill and didn't want to go out of town with my hands in that bad of shape let alone have church that way Sunday.  Yeah, I'm picky about how my hands look.) Tony and Lisa said, "sure come on over" (of course!) for their fav client.  When I got there, THREE people started immediately working on me to get me out of there in due time and they all laughed at how special I am for them to stop everything and give me the star treatment.  Quite honestly, they treat everybody like a million bucks which is why it's a great place to be.  This is Lisa, above doing my designs.  I get them all for free and have for years because, well...they love me!   I got a new OPI purple color that I'm just in looooove with in honor of the occasions of Hope Tour, AND Easter.  The past two times I've worn my blue Hope Tour shirt (and my nails have been blue the past 3 weeks) but this weekend I'm going with the purple.  These kinds of little details bring me much joy.  :)

On a more serious and important note, I can't wait to hear the testimonies that come as a result of this weekend.  I'm so ready!   I'm planning on blogging from the hotel and then give a little update on Sunday here on the blog when I've actually gotten a few hours sleep after what I'm sure will be a weekend that takes literally all we've got in us.  If you've ever worked the altars for several hours at an event you know how much it takes out of you spirtually and emotionally -- you just get drained to the dregs, but it's the most awesome thing EV-ER!  God fills us up so we can pour it all out, not so we can just sit around and feel blessed.  Here we go...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Does God hear everyone?

But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. John 15:7 (The Message)

This week I've been reading through the book of Philippians in my quiet time.  However, after reading Philippians 3, as I was listening yesterday, the Lord led me to flip over to John 15.  I love this chapter for countless reasons and have preached from it many times.  I found myself doing something I do a lot which is go to Bible Gateway and look it up in my favorite three versions (NIV, NLT, Message) and this one just jumped out at me in the Message. 

Make yourselves at home with Him, and make sure His words are at home in you...

I've read and listened to so much of the Word over my lifetime but have renewed passion to get all the Word in me that I possibly can.  And not just "get it in" as in knowing it or memorizing it, but have it at home in  my heart where my flesh lines up with my spirit and agrees....and acts.

Bringing me to the second part -- that when we do this he says whatever we ask will be listened to and acted upon.  Doesn't God hear everyone?  The answer may surprise you.

"When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the Lord Almighty."
Zechariah 7:13

 "In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered."
 I Peter 3:7

These are just two places where the Bible refers to this, but suffice it to say there are things we can do to block our communication with God.  Notice that He does not block it, rather we do by our disobedience to His Word, and the key to being a person that God hears is to remove whatever we have put in the way.  Those things are different for everybody.  The Word specifically says that if a husband does not honor his wife and give her understanding and treat her as an equal partner, his prayers will be hindered.   Sounds like a guy can really screw up his life by not treating his wife right.  I think of all the guys I know who are frustrated that something in their life isn't happening and they pray about it and wonder why they can't seem to move ahead.  Some don't treat their wives with understanding or as an equal and I can guarantee 99% of them don't realize that has any connection with why it seems like their prayers are bouncing off the walls.  Just a thought.

As women we're not off the hook either.  God wants us to remove whatever roadblock is in the way in our lives too.  I really, really, really want God to listen to me.  There are so many things I'm talking to Him about right now, on behalf of so many, myself included.  So I want His Word to be at home in me, more than ever before.  And more than anything else, I want Him to feel totally at home in my life.  

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Losing it at the intersection

So here on my blog I write about life at the intersection of marriage, family, ministry and career.  Part of my life admist all that is that I struggle with treating my body really poorly at times.  In trying to navigate all my roles, I have lived on Hershey bars and lattes, skipped exercise and tried to keep it all going. My weight has yo-yo'd.   Anyone who has known me for very long knows I don't act like I have it all together here or anywhere else, and readily admit that yes, I do get a whole lot accomplished in my life but it's not without stress.  Ways I have dealt with that stress have not always been positive.  People who live or work with me up close and personal can tell when things aren't going well by what's on my desk.  Lately things like bananas and water have been on it. 

Well, I'm happy to report that I've been "losing it"...weight that is!!!  Yay for me.

I've lost 10 pounds in the last few weeks.  I'm so proud of myself.    I can do almost ANYTHING easier than this.  And it requires supernatural power from God to do it.  

A while back I posted about a special diet I was on that focused on watching the glycemic index.  In case you are wondering, no I did not lose 10 pounds on that.  It's worked for some of my friends, however after trying it for several weeks I discovered it was not for me,  mostly because I could never stay on it for life.  I don't need a die-it as much as I need a live-it!  It's just as well because when I had my physical a few weeks ago the doctor told me that a few challenges I have require me to make healthy low fat choices more than focusing on the glycemic index or anything else.  This is my focus now as well as portion control, and exercise.  Although I'm not going to WW right now, I still have all the point values memorized in my head from before, and add things up as I go along and make sure I don't go over a certain amount.  Although on WW you can have "anything you want" as long as it's within the points values, I am not doing that -- just going by the guidelines of healthy/low fat.  I got an elliptical thanks to Becca's parents (Pastor George & Irene) and have been on it every day of the week but Sundays.  It's workin' for me. 

When I take off the next 10 lb., I'll mention it for a bloggy celebration.  It'll happen...I'm in the zone, determined and totally dependent on the Lord.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ripe for an awakening in an atmosphere of acceleration

While the purpose of my post today is not to debate what is happening in the political realm, I simply want to  make the point that I believe with each day that passes, America becomes more ripe for a spiritual awakening.

Often, it is not until people get to a desperate point that they realize they need God.

Independent.

Self sufficient.

Smug. 

Not knowing what it is to do without.

That's all changing, like it or not.  And when the change has run it's course, we willl know how it is to live in countries that have always been less fortunate.

Why do we see signs, wonders and miracles in foreign countries, ALL THE TIME?  Why are places like Africa absolutely exploding with a spiritual awakening?  They live in an atmosphere where they need one or else and other options have run their course.  We have never known that in our country. 

It's interesting to me that when I go to minister to people in the neediest parts of the world none of them get into an intellectual debate with me, they just want a touch from God -- they just want to be whole.  They desperately need healing and their only hope is a miracle.  Very rarely do they not receive one.  It's not about me.  Their faith is so high...it's all they have left.   Divine healing is THE option, period.  A miracle is the only hope, and fortunately for them we serve the God of miracles.

As long as we have the comforts we've always had, the spiritual climate pretty much stays the same.  People don't change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing.

America is fast becoming the world's greatest missionfield.  Did you know foreign countries have now begun sending missionaries to us?
  
When I was a teenager I would read the book of Revelation and say to myself, "none of this will ever happen in my lifetime.  It's too crazy.  Who would ever let all this happen, especially realizing the Bible sets it all up by talking about exactly how it's going to unfold?  Who would be that dumb to just walk right into that trap?  How stupid can those people in the end times be?"  I couldn't imagine a world where people would actually fall for the things the Bible foretells .  It seemed thousands of years away.  Now there is such an acceleration of prophesied end time events happening, one can hardly keep up.  

Many lament the changes in the world, and I understand the concern but I choose to look at the opportunity for spiritual decisions that people might never make unless they were put in a position of changing or dying.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Treating your body with dignity

"God honored the Master's body by raising it from the grave. He'll treat yours with the same resurrection power. Until that time, remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master's body. You wouldn't take the Master's body off to a whorehouse, would you? I should hope not."  I Corinthians 6:14   The Message

Most of us do not literally "prostitute" our bodies but think about the fact that we do allow ourselves to be "used" by others many times at harmful expense to our bodies.  Time and again I have been guilty of putting my body last on the list.

Sometimes God has to give a wake up call. I have had one and have been treating my body with dignity and am resolute to continue.  I can't ever afford to get off track again and allow it to be used for anything other than the purposes of God.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."   Romans 12:1,2 (NIV)

Recently while struggling with a physical condition I felt unworthy to even pray for a miracle, although I totally believe in the supernatural miracle working power of God.   My feelings were due to guilt and shame from my disobedience in abusing my body and allowing it to get in bad condition.  A friend reminded me that "His mercies are new every morning."  I can boldly go before God's throne despite my mistakes, failures, and sins -- because His mercy  has covered me.  Thank God for grace. 

An important point however is that just because I have received His grace, it is not a license to be disobedient.  The same grace that extends forgiveness to us also gives power to walk it out everyday and live it.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Amazing weekend!

I didn't blog this morning because last night I got home from Lake Worth at 12:10 am.  I was physically and emotionally exhausted.  But it was well worth the trip.  What an amazing time of ministry!!!

Lake Worth is A LOT further away than I thought, and I am not alone in that discovery.  All of my friends made the same observation.  We had a tremendous crowd, much more than we expected.  It was awesome and the speakers just threw down.  I mean, we were really flowing under the anointing.  I was just amazed at how one thing just flowed into the next and lives were changed. 

Something happened in the last service with Dawnita Istre who was the speaker.  Marsha had asked me to head up the altar workers and organize things with that, so I was standing behind the person Dawnita she was praying for, to assist her.  All of a sudden Dawnita switched from her to me and began an entire prophecy about Dustin!!!  (He wasn't there, he was a counselor at PK retreat this weekend.  But Dawnita does not know him or anything about him...FYI)  And she goes into this whole prophecy about how there's a unique anointing upon him and he has been set apart and protected by God, and His hand is upon Him.  She said he is seen differently by the adults around him, is beyond his years, and has a unique ministry that it set apart from others and that he is different from others in his generation and he will reach many untold people for Jesus. Man, I was freaking out as soon as I heard her say something about him being seen differently by adults around him...that's all I needed to hear to know it was God Almighty speaking straight from the throne room of heaven because all his life my Dustin  has been more mature and viewed differently (very accepted) by the adults around him.  That is one very special characteristic about him.  Anyway, I was basically useless as an altar worker for few moments and was bawling my head off receiving this word.  I couldn't wait to get home and tell Dustin!

One of the greatest highlights for me was the road trip there and back.  I was with Tammy and Tina and we had an incredible drive.  Although it was long and we got stuck in traffic we had an extended opportunity for ministry right in the car, one to another. It was a time I will always treasure.  And, I find myself so looking forward to next weekend, not being able to wait to do it again if for nothing else than to be in the car with my friends!!!  To come together as leaders and bare our souls and understand each other's heart and receive ministry from each other was just indescribable. 

We leave again this Friday morning to head to Jacksonville and we will get back even later next Saturday night or should I say morning...but again, that's alright.  God is going to show up and  there's no telling what will happen!! 

This morning at church was also amazing.  I gave an altar call in the middle of worship and God was doing amazing things and what a powerful sense of His presence was there.  I literally felt the presence of God through my entire body from head to toe in the middle of the third song and said, "that's it, hit the altars if you need something...God has just shown up in a serious way so if you need a miracle, get it now!"  Then at the end of the service we had a few people make a decision for Jesus.  Now, that NEVER gets old!!!

Choir lunch was today and Candy seriously threw down in the kitchen and made some amazing spanish chicken, yellow rice and beans.  Then we had choir practice...and now I am utterly and totally EXHAUSTED and ready for a nap.  That's my weekend!!!  Tonight I should do some chores at the house.   It's sorely in need of it.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  I'm so tired.  I'm going to take a nap first!  G'night.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The big 1-9 for Jordan!

As promised yesterday here are some photos from Jordan's birthday dinner on Thursday night.  Right now I'm still in Lake Worth speaking on the Hope Tour (will be away next weekend too doing the same...) and will probably post some reflections from the conference events at some point tomorrow.  Enjoy ~

We went with his "second family" ~ the Riveras, to our family favorite for birthdays, Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. 
Left to right ~ Eddie, Candy, me, Larry, Jordan, Eddie Jr. and in back to the left Savanna, and Elijah.

Jordan with his little birthday cupcake.  He loves to play with the little umbrella, still at 19...

Savanna watches the chef cook the veggies
Where there's smoke, there's...fire!

A good time was had by all...Jordan is 19 and it's so hard to believe!  Just yesterday I was putting him in his carseat and rocking him to sleep.

Friday, March 19, 2010

On the road again...

Being on the road is perfectly fine, because I love to travel, and my family understands. I also love to be at home just as much.  This means I live the best of both worlds.

This morning is sectional council and just as soon as it's over I'm jetting off from there quickly to travel down to Lake Worth, FL to speak on the Hope Tour again this weekend.  Going to travel along with my good friends Tina Blount and Tammy Young, and that will make the ride much more fun, indeed.

Speaking of travel -- really getting excited about the Africa trip!  I'll be going June 1-8 or 9 (not sure yet what day I'm coming back, still working that out) but it's coming quickly, for sure.  I have been thinking and praying about the messages to bring there as that is always something I start early in seeking God for just the right messages.  I believe we are going to have an absolute Holy Ghost explosion!!!  If you are a person of prayer, please join me in believing for amazing things. 

Also ~ pray that Becca can raise her support to go with me on this trip.  I can always go alone, I've done it before and I can do it again.  But I'd really like to have her with me.  This will be a life changing experience for her in ministry.  And she will be able to assist me on the trip.  Whether she can raise the funds in about 3 weeks will be the determining factor as we have to get our tickets soon.  She basically needs a miracle in the next couple weeks.  But we believe in miracles!!!  If God speaks to any of you reading (or even if God doesn't speak, and you're just an exceedingly cool person who wants to help out!) send your tax deductible donation to:  Celebration Church, 16235 Lake Magdalene Blvd, Tampa, FL 33613.  On the memo just mark, "Africa Missions" and on the outside of the envelope mark it, "Becca Dearborn".  You can also give online by going here.   If you have any questions, email me here.  Thanks!

Tomorrow I'm going to post a few photos from Jordan's birthday dinner last night!  And possibly an update from the Hope Tour but if it's too late and I'm tired when I get home, it'll probably wait til' Sunday...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"One more's"

Today is Jordan's birthday.  He is 19 years old today and will be leaving for boot camp on May 25.  We are having a family birthday dinner tonight at Kobe, which is our official family birthday spot when we go out.  (Sometimes I do a special dinner for the kids at home -- it just depends on what they want.)  Today is happy and also sad.  It's a special time in that we are celebrating 19 years of life with him, sad in the way that I am not sure how many birthdays we will actually be with him for in the future, depending on where life takes him.  I look at things in terms now of, "one more Thanksgiving," and "one more Christmas"  (just had those) and now "one more birthday".  Not that it's the last one forever but you know -- he could be overseas, or just unable to be with us for whatever reason.  So I do treasure these "one more's".  

Today I thought in honor of his birthday I'd share some of the excerpts from the journal I wrote for him when he was little.  Here we go:

October 10, 1991
You are almost 7 months old now.  You are growing so strong and crawling around quickly from room to room.  The doctor says you are developed to the stage of a 9 month old.  You say "da da" and "ma ma".  We already know you are going to be a really affectionate person through your lifetime.  Oh Jordan, the time has flown by so much since March 18 when I had you in Miami Valley Hospital and we celebrated your birth.  As I write this now you are crawling on the floor and beating your hand on a toy keyboard and xylophone.  As you hear the sound when you beat it, you perk up with excitement kicking your legs and smiling.  We hope you will always be secure in our love and know that we are here for you forever...our precious jewel.

December 6, 1991
You are growing by leaps and bounds and have started eating food.  You love everything!   Your wide eyed smile greets me in the morning but you still get up at least one or two times a night but I'm adjusting okay.  You are already standing up and cruising around from place to place.  You are a wonderment.  Our precious Jordan,  you have so many pet names already, in fact your Dad calls you Spridle-ca-dingy-dong".  What a name!  I'm sure you'll enjoy it when you are 20 years old or so!  Ha!

January 10, 1992
Jordan, my "early baby" -- you do EVERYTHING early.  Not even 10 months old but you are into EVERYTHING.  You also eat EVERYTHING.  And I do mean everything!  It's kind of shocking.  For Christmas you actually ate 7 layer salad, ham, potato casserole, corn and rolls.  I mean, you are 9 and 1/2 months old.  That's kind of odd.  Everyone talks about how happy you are.  Constantly smiling.  And you hate to sleep.  You are awake and on the move all the time.  Naps are a battle.  You don't talk too much, you just go, go, go.  

January 18, 1992
You are 9 months old and you have great rhythm!  You love to clap to music and bounce up and down all the while with your ear to ear grin.  Your favorite thing to do is run and hide underneath the kitchen cabinet and shut the door.  Dustin comes are rescues you when you can't open it yourself.  You guys play together and sometimes he's too rough but you really hold your own.  Your best defense is pulling hair.  

February 19, 1992
You are accomplishing so much it's unbelievable.  You have been walking for a while now -- and you are 11 months old.  You climb onto everything and get into every cabinet and drawer possible.  You love light sockets and cords too and I'm always running after you making sure you're safe. 

May 15, 1992
Jordan, you're a bird!  That's what your Dad says.  You are into everything and get up onto everything.  You get onto dressers, chairs, the back of the couch and go flying off with no fear.  The Lord has such plans for you.  We trust that as you grow you will always feel His love and ours.  You have really been driving Dustin crazy.  You are always trying to take the food off of his plate and he yells, "Jordan, don't bother  me!"  It doesn't even phase you.  You just  go right ahead and chomp down on his sandwich.  Yep, like your Dad says, you're a bird!

July 7, 1992
You gave us quite a scare last week.  Your Dad was at youth camp and I was here by myself with you and Dustin and I was also taking care of the neighbors house while they were on vacation.  We were all in the living room and I had the bedrooms doors shut.  I have no idea how but you got out of my sight for a second and  got the door to your room open and climed up in the rocking chair.  You stood up and turned around and put your leg through the poles on the rocking chair.  Then you pulled your leg back through the small part between the poles and got it stuck.  You started screaming.  I came running in and found you.  Your leg was really stuck and turning red and it looked like the circulation was being cut off.  No matter how I tried to get you out I couldn't.  I had to call 911.  The fire department came.  Eventually you were surrounded by seven firemen who were all in your room trying to get you out of the chair.   They tried soap, oil, and couldn't get you out.  So finally they had to saw the chair in half.  It was quite the ordeal.  Then the paramedics gave you an exam.  Everything was okay you just had some bruises and were soon running around.  I can't take my eyes off of you for a second or stuff like this happens. 

March 20, 1993
Big 2 year old!  We had two celebrations for you this year -- one at church and one at home.  You had a Dalmatian dog party as you are really crazy about them right now.  I made a special dalmatian cake for you that took me forever to get just right but when no one was looking you ran into the kitchen and stuck both hands in it and demolished it with 2 forks.  So there went that cake.  I went out and bought another one from the store.  You are quite the handful at 2...did I already say that?  Always on the go, climbing higher still, into mischief DAILY.  Sometimes I kiddingly tell you Dad we should have named you "Dennis" after "Dennis the Menace".  Ha!  You are quite a spectacular kid.  We love you so much.  You are uniquely you! 

March 7, 1994
You are growing so much.  Three years old, active as ever and running everywhere.  Your favorite things right now are Lucky Charms cereal, and playing the drums.  You "play" on anything you can find...you play drums with sticks, spoons, and this week you sang a new song -- your version of "Victory shall be Mine."  You sing, "Bictory, bictory shala mine!  Bictory, bictory shala mine!  If I hold my peace, let the Lord take all my paddles..."  Ha ha!!  So cute.  I can already tell you will definitely a drummer.  I ask the Lord to use you for His glory. 

December 13, 1997
I love you so much Jordan and just want God's best for you.  You are a precious boy but I worry so much about you and all the mischief you get into.  I know God wants to use you in a special way -- you are so multi talented.  He wants to do big things in your life, but I just pray that you could calm down even just a little bit...  :)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's just not workin' for them


Many times I've come across women who are very dogmatic about laying down their identity, goals and desires for the man they are married to.  (The man becomes their identity, goal and desire.)  Or they are strong believers in the whole, "my husband leads me in my walk with God" way of thought.  There are countless sermons or articles supporting this view and many well known and respected ministries teach this.

 For a long time I've believed that good marriages exist with a foundation of mutual respect, and each person keeping the other's dreams, goals and desires as important as their very own.  There are shared goals and dreams, of course.  But there are also personal ones, and I do not believe a marriage license automatically means you abandon them.  Dr. Stephen Betchen , marriage therapist says, ""You need to maintain appropriate boundaries, allow each other a sense of individuality and independence. Support each other's hopes and dreams."

 Before we are a wife, we are a daughter of God.  We are God's and God's alone and have to answer to Him as individuals.   When you stand before God in heaven, your spouse will not stand with you.  So you better know what you believe and have your own thing going on with God.  You can't go to heaven on your spouse's coat tails any more than you could get there tied to your mama's apron strings. 

I can pick up my Bible all by myself, and it's a good thing.  I have my own hotline to God.  I don't go through anyone else to get to Him, including my husband.

Thankfully I'm married to somebody who believes the same and in fact when we wrote our marriage vows, that's part of exactly what he said to me:  "Deanna, knowing that Christ is first in your life I will fulfill my role as your second love.  I will also keep your dreams and desires as important as my very own."  To me, back then, it was just a no brainer that of course I would have a husband that would do that.  But the longer I live and the more I notice people around me I see that it's a rare thing.  I have friends whose husbands are the same way mine is but they are few and far between.  He also respects the fact that I can hear from God all on my own and don't need him to be my prophet, priest or king.   (I recently heard a pastor's wife introduce her husband before he preached and she said, "And now I want to introduce you to my King..." and I thought I would just throw up...really, it wasn't endearing in fact to me it was kind of SCARY.)  Anyway...

Here's what I'm noticing!  It's a fascinating thing I've been discovering.  When I look at these marriages up close and personal, I am noticing a starling thing.   In most of these marriages there has been a moral failure somewhere in their past or in some cases a complete breakdown and divorce.  If they divorce of course, everyone knows it.  But lately I've had an insider peek into the private lives of some couples lives who are not divorced but have significant failures in their past.  Many of the marriages that subscribe to this type of thinking or lifestyle have affairs, porn addiction, and other toxic behaviors on the part of the husband.  The other day I started just mentally filing through all the people I know who hold these beliefs who also have or have had serious issues, and told Larry I have to believe there's a connection!  He agrees with me.  And all I wanna say to this is, "how much longer are some people gonna live that way before they see it's just not workin' for them?"

Larry is my best friend, partner, lover.  However he IS NOT:

  • My Savior.
  • The one who directs my spiritual journey.
  • My hotline to God.
  • Someone I am expected to abandon my God given identity, life goals, dreams and desires for.
  • Someone I need to protect me from "outside forces".  (Yes, I've actually heard that.  FYI folks, I married Larry Shrodes, not Jim Jones or David Koresh.)
Even soft patriarchy slides ever so quickly  into abuse.   Control or abuse may initially be disguised as care or concern.  I also believe that when a wife subscribes to this way of thinking or lifestyle it causes her husband to think less of her.  We teach people how to treat us, and instead of this mindset endearing you to a man I think it creates an atmosphere of disrespect.

It would be one thing if I saw testimonial to the fact that this lifestyle or mindset was working for a majority of people but the fact is with the lion's share of them there are just too many skeletons in the closet for me to buy it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The school office has now seen me bra-less.

The Weightman Middle School office staff has now seen me without a bra on. Lovely.  And to further give TMI, I am one of those people that it is noticeable should I not be wearing a bra. [Sigh]  Please relax:  I was wearing a shirt of course, just not the proper undergarments.  :)  But still!!!

What a crazy morning I had yesterday.  It was THE Monday of all Mondays.   I woke Savanna up for school. Unbeknownst to me she went back to sleep, which never happens. I mean, the girl is up like clockwork, actually EXCITED to go to school EVERY BLESSED DAY OF THE SCHOOL YEAR.  I'm so blessed that she is a kid who loves school and absolutely hates to miss, and can't wait to get there!  She's on the honor roll too, every quarter.  (Go, Savvy!  So proud of my girl!)  Well, for once in her life, she went back to sleep.  Probably has something to do with the fact that we waited to adjust to daylight savings time on Monday instead of Sunday!  :)   I truly am not upset with her for sleeping, I mean she's pretty much the easiest child in the world when it comes to school -- (thus far, knock on wood...) and I have zippo to complain about.  Lesson learned.  Stuff happens.

But the bra-less part...that is what I'm writing about today.  This post is not about oversleeping.  It's about being bra-less when you don't want to be.  I thought she had already gone to the bus but she hadn't.  I was not showered or dressed for work yet, still in PJ's.  She burst in my room and said, "Mom, please take me to school, I accidently went back to sleep!!!"   So I am standing there in pj's, unshowered, unbrushed teeth, glasses/no contacts, and bra-less, but I said, "Quick, hop in the car!  Let's go and I'll get you there ASAP so you don't miss anything!"  And I left the house and got in the car ...exactly like that.  I never expected her to be late for school and since she has never been late, I wasn't exactly up to speed on the school rules.  Years ago I did drop the boys off  when they were running just a few minutes late and missed the bus but school hadn't started yet.   I got them there quickly and they just walked in with all the other kids who were arriving.  I have never brought the kids before when it was an "official tardy."  I just never expected my kid to be seriously tardy.  Okay so call me a perfectionist, but I don't bother to learn school rules that I don't believe my kids or I will ever break. 

Fast forward:  so then she says, "Oh Mom, YOU HAVE TO GO IN WITH ME. THEY DON'T ALLOW LATE KIDS TO JUST BE DROPPED OFF." WHAT????????????????!!!!!!!!!!   Are.  You.  Serious!!??   I could not just let her off at the doors of the school?  OMG.  And yes, I do mean oh my God.  I was crying out to God wondering what in the world I was going to do.  I was so embarrassed.

To say I was totally freaked out ........understatement of the decade.

Didn't want her to be later than she was. Didn't want to be late myself to work and this was already putting me behind. So I bit the bullet and walked in the school office like I was.  Oh DEAR LORD, what we GO THROUGH IN RAISING KIDS SOMETIMES!!!!!!!!!!! 

I hope she looks back and "rises up and calls me blessed" for this.  Well, actually she will probably rise up and say, "Mom, was crazy." 

Whatever.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Emo day

Yesterday was a real emotional day for me and for a lot of other people as we said farewell to Pastor T and Misty, and their children Nate and Celeena.  They are more than staff members -- they are truly our family and will continue to be.

Larry and I have told the congregation countless times how much we appreciate the Mackleys so much because they have been our most loyal staff members, EVER.  I cannot underscore that enough.  Look up "loyal staffer" in the dictionary and their picture is there.  :)  Finding folks like them is like finding a needle in a haystack and we could not be more grateful for five wonderful years they gave us.  They know that Larry and I can be counted on to help them with anything in the future, in helping with whatever they need in life or ministry in exchange for the wonderful trust they have built with us and the way they were so honorable with our people.  (That's not to be taken lightly - we don't extend that to everyone, only those who deserve it.)  Not only did my husband and I never have to worry that they were ever doing anything inappropriate or disloyal with our people, but we knew they were always going the extra mile to speak well of us and carry our vision in their hearts and out their mouths!  Needless to say, we love them immensely.

After the service yesterday we had their farewell reception and many people shared what the Mackleys mean to them, and how sorely they will be missed.  Thankfully they are still in the state of Florida, although way up north, they are still just a few hours car drive away and it's a path that will become familiar.  My family will miss them most on the holidays.  For the past five years we've spent them all together.  Since their family is in Missouri, we became their family here and spent all the holidays in our home together.  They won't be able to do that anymore as they are required to work every holiday in their new job.  They do, however, plan to visit a lot otherwise.  And I'm sure we'll make a trip or two to Tallahassee!  Thankfully we can also talk on the phone as much as we like (unlimited long distance).  
 
Receptions like yesterday's have always been priority/important to me but none more important than yesterday's.  I'm so grateful that everything concerning that went perfectly.   Everything went great whether it came to food, people's sentiments that were shared, sending them off with our prayer of blessing, and tons of hugs.  I just wish we could have had a reception WITHOUT a farewell.  :)   But change happens, and we will all move forward with great things in store for the Mackleys and for Celebration Church.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

When God whispers


The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by."  "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"  1 Kings 19:11-13  
                                    
Notice how God came to Elijah...in a whisper.

This weekend I've needed that in my life.  I was pretty overwhelmed Friday with a bunch of things that went wrong not to mention it was my only day off for the next three weeks.  I had high expectations and they were pretty quickly being dashed to pieces.

I had posted a facebook status about my stress and the dilemma of, "do I rest, or do I get up and do all this tremendous mound of housework I see around me?"  A few friends lovingly encouraged me that it was okay to rest.  While I did do some work this weekend, I also took a few hours to take a nap with the dogs, and lay in bed and read my Bible and some other materials (for pleasure, not business) I've had stacked up waiting for my perusal.

I'm glad I did.  In the craziness of what was happening when the day started on Friday, had I continued on that path I would have scarcely noticed God's whisper!

One of the things He gently whispered was, "I love you...now go to sleep" as I closed my eyes and drifted off to nap with Maxie and Maddie.

Speaking of sleep, we're giving people their hour of sleep back today at Celebration Church.   Every year we have people who come late to church on this Sunday, missing the majority of the service because they forgot to turn their clocks ahead (even though we remind them) and others do show up on time however all anyone talks about is how tired they are.  We thought, "why not avoid all that this year?"  So this Sunday only, we gave everyone an hour of sleep.  Larry asked me to make a facebook announcement to the church on Monday, which I was none too thrilled about (although I'm usually happy to help with video announcements) my right eye was swollen and infected most of the week and I couldn't wear makeup or my glasses, nevertheless we found a fun way to do the announcement:




It's going to be a great day at Celebration Church!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Wonder

Why some things seem so close together -- yearly physicals, dentist appointments, pap smears, mammos, birthdays, Christmas -- while other things like vacations, visits with close friends, having grandchildren --  seem so far away?

What the next big invention that is going to change the world will be?

What caused the first person who ever milked a cow to think of doing so in the first place?

Who thought up the idea of Jello?  Hey, let's make some translucent colored rubbery stuff and try eating it...

What the women on the show Survivor do when it's "that time of the month"?  They aren't allowed to bring anything but one item on the show with them and I have never seen a contestant choose a pad or tampon.  So...??? 

How I am going to be different this time next year than I am now?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Funny Friday!

The following hysterical stories were sent to me this week from my dear friend, Pastor Sandy Phinazee.  She sent them along with a note that said, "please tell me this won't happen to us!!!"  Enjoy!!!

****************

An elderly Floridian called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car has been broken into. She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher:  'They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!' she cried. The dispatcher said, 'Stay calm.   An officer is on the way.' A few minutes later, the officer radios in 'Disregard.' He says. 'She got in the back-seat by mistake.' 

*****************

Three sisters, ages 92, 94 and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96-year-old draws a bath. She puts her foot in and pauses. She yells to the other sisters, 'Was I getting in or out of the bath?' The 94-year-old yells back, 'I don't know. I'll come up and see.' She starts up the stairs and pauses 'Was I going up the stairs or down? The 92-year-old is sitting at the kitchen table having tea listening to her sisters, she shakes her head and says, 'I sure hope I never get that forgetful, knock on wood...' She then yells, 'I'll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who's at the door.' 

****************

Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day.
One remarked to the other, 'Windy, isn't it?' '
No,' the second man replied, 'it's Thursday.'
And the third man chimed in, 'So am I. Let's have a beer.'

*****************

A little old lady was running up and down the halls in a nursing home. As she walked, she would flip up the hem of her nightgown and say 'Supersex..'

She walked up to an elderly man in a wheelchair.. Flipping her gown at him, she said, 'Supersex.'

He sat silently for a moment or two and finally answered, 'I'll take the soup.'

*******************

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years, they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day, they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said,

'Now don't get mad at me ... I know we've been friends for a long time, but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is..

Her friend glared at her for at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, 'How soon do you need to know?'

********************

As a senior citizen was driving down the freeway, his car phone rang. Answering, he heard his wife's voice urgently warning him, 'Herman, I just heard on the news that there's a car going the wrong way on Interstate 77.   Please be careful!' 'Heck,' said Herman, 'It's not just one car. It's hundreds of them!'

*********************

Two elderly women were out driving in a large car - both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through. The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself 'I must be losing it. I could have sworn we just went through a red light.'

After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red. Again, they went right through. The woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous.

At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went on through. So, she turned to the other woman and said, 'Mildred, did you know that we just ran through three red lights in a row? You could have killed us both!'

Mildred turned to her and said, 'Oh, crap, am I driving?'

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fly little bird, fly...

Jordan went to his Commander's Call  for the Air Force yesterday and they have a job for him now, and he signed his contract.  He leaves on May 25.

 It's really surreal.  I haven't even really wrapped my head around the fact that he's leaving yet, but in just a few weeks it will be upon us.  My first little bird will be flying the nest.  Yeah, I know he's almost 19 but he will always be my little one.  :)  Boys always need their Momma too, no matter how old they are -- or so I'm told.

It really does seem like yesterday that I was...

birthing him in Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio...

holding my precious little one wondering what life would hold for him, and for us...

then shortly after chasing him all around trying to keep him safe...

his Daddy bringing him safely down from McDonalds roof...

watching him learn to play the drums and become really good at it, exceptionally good...

seeing him graduate from high school...

helping him through many highs and lows over 18 years...

and questioning many times if he needed prescription drugs....or if I did!

The time is almost here for our little bird to fly.  He will earn his wings and do well, no doubt.  

So, Moms out there...have any of your precious ones flown the nest yet and if so, what lessons do you have for me to learn from you?  Do tell.   I don't like to learn things the hard way so please just tell me what I  need to know.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't over think it

As my profile to the right hand side of the blog says: 
"I'm a daughter of God, wife, mother, friend, pastor, career coach, freelance writer, musician, songwriter, worship leader, conference speaker and more... all at the same time. I write here about how all these roles in my life intersect since this juggling act seems to be what people ask me about most."

Women in particular, do ask me about this more than anything.  "How do you do it all?" is the most repeated question.  Many times I tell them things like:  

  • "I don't know."  Or...
  • "Some things don't end up getting done on any given day and I have to prioritize and table some things for the next day."  Or...
  • "Grace, only God's amazing grace!"  Or...
  • "Well, I'm a list maker and very vigilant with my to do list."
These are just a few of my answers that I've given to their question but this week I realized something else about me and that is:  I don't over think it. 

I've noticed that a lot of women I talk to give an enormous amount of time to thinking about how they will get things done.   The other day I was talking to a friend who desires to co-pastor however she hasn't stepped out to actually do it yet.  She doesn't know how she will "be able to do two things at once" as she puts it and has been consumed with thinking and worrying about it.  I told her, "I never gave a lot of thought to whether I actually could do two or more things at once,  or I probably wouldn't have ever gotten started.." 

While some people are trying to figure out IF they can do something I'm usually already half way done doing it.  I don't say that to brag, but just to share my thought process (or lack thereof!) in fulfilling my life roles.  I don't spend inordinate amounts of time wondering IF I can do it, rather I've already determined that I'm going to do it, it's just a matter of how fast.

There have been a few times over the years that I've devoted a chunk of time worrying and analyzing "how am I going to do all this?" and it usually results in  a big wad of stress I don't need that keeps me from actually delving into the work at hand.  I do much better when I just leap off the edge of the cliff, and throw myself in fully whether it be addressing my home life, church ministry, coaching, writing, or speaking agenda.  I had it as my goal to get as much done each day as possible as well as leave a day each week for play.  Usually I exceed the goal, but one thing's for sure, over thinking would just get in the way. 

Instead of thinking about whether I can do the work, I do the work.  Make sense?