Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Laugh With Me

This week,..Jae Lynn's 21st birthday week,...I am looking for good memories and things to make me laugh.

Here is a man's voice mail message (audio only) that cracks me up every time time I listen to it. He evidently was on his way to work and was calling in to tell his boss he would be late.

Laugh with me,....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Birthdays and Boxes

About this time 11 years ago, we hosted a sleep-over for Jae Lynn's 10th birthday. As usual, we were planning a party while having almost zero money.
Broke just did not do us justice.
We were "pore".

Jae and Casey were rich in friends however, so hosting their parties meant we had a minimum of 15 kids. Mostly girls, but cousins Nathan and Andrew, and friend Chase always had a standing invitation to all the parties,....including this sleepover. (Only one mama balked at the co-ed sleepover/sleeping arrangements but she finally relented).

This particular year, Ralph and I went to an appliance store and found about 6-8 huge boxes which had held new stoves and refrigerators. We tied them into the truck and brought them home and placed them in the front yard.
I really wasn't sure how the kids would respond to "boxes" being the extent of the party entertainment, however,... I can not describe how much fun these kids had playing in them!

They crawled into the boxes, fell out of them, pushed each other around in them, painted them, cut windows into them, hooked them together, jumped out of trees into them, rolled down the hill in them, packed 8 kids into one of them, changed clothes in them and finally, around midnight, all 18 kids fell asleep in them.

That very same weekend, there was a write-up in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette about another 10 year old little girl who had very different birthday party than Jae Lynn. This little girl had a limousine pick up her and her friends, where they were all then taken for a manicure/pedicure, pizza and a movie.
(Oh yeah,...they also had a photographer and a write-up in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. )

I felt sorry for that little rich girl.
She should have had refrigerator boxes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Am....

I am humbled.
I've had an exciting week.
I've not spoken much about it here, 'cause I was afraid it would all fall through.
Youth Specialties is an organization has been instrumental in the formation of my spiritual worldview. No lie. I have been profoundly and deeply influenced by the late Mike Yaconelli and his staff at YS.
A few weeks ago, they sent out a request on their blog (I have them linked to mine) for all youth ministers to send in their "most memorable youth ministry moments".
It was an easy request for me.
I sent them my post from this blog dated 6/14/08.
Well lo and behold! They chose to profile that moment at their three national youth worker conventions this fall.
Their Media Specialist, Ian Robertson, flew in from California Wednesday and spent the day with me, interviewing and shooting some video.
Ian is an incredibly talented young man who just yesterday had his first short film screened at the "San Diego Film Festival".

I am unworthy.
There are thousands of youth workers out there who are better educated and more exciting than me. I feel like these men and women will watch the segment on me at the national conventions and yell,.."Impostor! She's not a real youth leader!"
It seems like I have spent most of my adult life in youth ministry wishing for a bigger budget, a better program and a more exciting staff member than me.
I seriously am no big deal.

I am relieved.
Youth Specialties has a motto which says:"You love kids. We love you." I have actually felt that love down through the years, even though I had never met any of the staff. After spending the day with Ian, I could tell he loved me and what I do.
I would have been way disappointed if he had been all business-like and intimidating, but he was wonderful.
Just like I imagined all the YS staff would be.

I am thankful.
God continues to let me talk about Jae Lynn. He allows me to introduce her to the world. I sure 'nuff would have chosen a different way to involve her in ministry, but I am trying to be content with her story as it is now.
She always was one to do things different.
I miss her.
(That's a colossal understatement.)

I am amazed.
At the grace which God bestows on me. Why does He love it when I love Him? I'll never understand.

I am afraid.
That I will stop seeing God work.
I am in the middle of about five different ways where He is working in big and obvious ways. I've been praying for Him to do BIG things and I know "He's way too big for me to mess Him up" (Beth Moore's words), but if anyone could get in His way, I'm sure it would be me.
I just don't want Him to stop the fun.
It's been exhilarating to watch Him work in some of the private and public areas of my life.

In spite of the fact that I frequently camp there, I can't stand the idea of living in mediocrity.

Monday, September 22, 2008

James 4

I Love Casey's church in Fayetteville. It's called the Christian Life Cathedral and it's where I'm sure I would worship if I lived in that town.

This past Sunday, the preacher, Bro. Steve Dixon had us listen to the bible passage he preached on but he insisted that we keep out Bibles closed. Then he read the first verses of James 4.
This is what he had on the PowerPoint screen:
James 4:1-4

"Where do wars and fights come from among you!? Do they not come from your desires for pleasures that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and can not obtain. You fight and war. Yet, you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on pleasures.
You _____________!
Bro. Steve then wanted us to fill in the blank.
He asked "What does James call us?"
Fool? (my guess)
Numb skull?
If you're like me,...the answer will create quite a stir in your mind and heart.
James calls us,.....adulterers.
Bro. Steve explained that our relationship to God is often likened to a marriage. Our connection to God is a covenant union and He has no tolerance for things which come between us and Him.
The passage in James talks about lust and jealousy.
Those are relationship words.
We say we are joined to God, but then we try to stay immersed in activities that can only be described as worldly.
Being married to Christ,..but loving the world.
How many things in my daily walk are not Holy?
What are the motives for my prayers?
When I'm stressed and squeezed,..what comes out of me? God things or.....other stuff?
Preach on!
(to me!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

God Wants Me To Sleep

The other night, I was tossing and turning, as I often do in the first couple of hours after turning out the bedroom lights. Sometimes Ralph notices that I'm not sleeping,..sometimes he snores.

This particular night, after an hour or so,..he asked me "What's on your mind?"

Sometimes I tell him "nothing much" because I know he may think my worries are foolish. They often are.
But this time I listed the things which were racing through my sleepy head.

As I listed a random bizarre list of,....foolishness.....I finished by telling him that I was amazed at the way God has worked in my life.
I said "God takes our lives, complete with the details, joys and pains and makes this fascinating story which could only be credited to Him".

I was sure that Ralph would become fully awake and marvel with me about great spiritual things.
There was a long pause.
It was 1 o'clock in the morning.

He replied: "I think God wants you to go to sleep".

I laughed out loud!

Oh it's good to have someone around you who make sense.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Wish I could Dance

If I were a dancer, I'm sure I would dance like this:

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Camera, Our Routine

There is a need for a camera.
The camera is lost.
The search begins.
The opportunity and need for a photograph is over.
Days pass.
The house gets cleaned and the camera is found.
The battery is dead.
The charger cord is lost.
The search begins.
Days go by.
Finally the camera and the cord are brought together.
The camera is now ready to be used.
Abby sees a newly charged camera.
Abby holds the camera above her head at arms length and takes approximately 350 photos of herself.
The camera loses it's charge and so she puts it down.
Days go by.
There is a need for a camera.
The camera is lost.
The search begins.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Neti Pot

I have found some good news for anyone suffering with sinus problems!
This video is not for the faint of heart.
In fact,..I just may lose a few readers after this.
But I have to tell ya,....the nurse in me is fascinated!
(You know,..kinda like a train wreck fascinates people,...)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

September Inventory

I am currently reading
"The Last Jihad" by Joel Rosenberg. It's actually a big deal to me that I am reading anything OTHER than some sort of "self-help" book.

My plans for the week
include working at Cardiac Rehab (of course) and speaking at our State conference on Friday.
I also get to assist my in-laws close on a piece of property directly across the road from us. This is God's provisional gift to us all. It became available approx 1 week before my in-laws home burned.
In their price range.
Not hardly.

My latest frustration
was definitely this blog. Did you notice the template change? I messed the other one up with one simple click of my mouse. Last night around 11:00 pm, I lost everything I had done for almost 8 months. I'm tellin' ya,..I almost heaved this 'puter right out the front door! Instead, I put myself into a coma with two Benadryl. This afternoon, as I sat down to begin re-creating some of my additions,...I decided to play around with various templates.
TA-DAAA!! All of what I had lost just re-appeared in my preview of this template.
I kept it.
I'm scared to try anything new.
You may see this layout for the rest of my life.

My prayer concerns for the week
are my children. Trying to encourage a young person's spiritual life in this culture is full-time and exasperating. I am oft tempted to nag which is discouraging for all of us.
I also am praying for my life to be useful in God's Kingdom. To desire excellence in all I do. To see His big picture and not get bogged down in the details of my schedule.
I also am praying for my church to do the same thing.

I am procrastinating
writing for publication. My friend Wayne encouraged me last night to write. I need to get that off the back burner. I have no illusions about this,..I am well aware that I possess no formal writing education OR experience. I still want to try it.
If Christie Brinkley can write a best seller about the serious meaning of her dreams, surely there's a chance for me.

I am eagerly anticipating
watching Abby in a play tonight.
I'm also looking forward to breakfast Tuesday with some friends.

I am stressed about
very little at the moment.
All of my stress and worries descend on me around 10:00 or 11:00 pm.

The last song that captured my thoughts is
the old hymn, "Face to Face"
The 3rd and 4th verse go like this:
What rejoicing in His presence, when are banished grief and pain;
When the crooked way is straightened, and the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face! O blissful moment! Face to face to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer, Jesus Christ who loves me so!

The last scripture that captured my thoughts is
the end of Psalms 147. It used a list of various weather patterns as symbols of Praise. In these days of hurricanes and storms, I always think of them in a negative sense rather than as an outlet for His glory. (Bangladesh, for instance, gets wiped off the face of the Earth by a cyclone every other year.)
I am going to try to think of "big" weather events as a form of God expressing His power,..but I still doubt that I'll be praising Him the next time I am hunkered down in my closet trying to outlive a tornado.

A thought for the day
is from the late Mike Yaconelli:
Mike wrote in his book Messy Spirituality
"I want desperately to know God better. I want to be consistent. Right now the only consistent thing in my life is inconsistency.....But Spirituality is not about being fixed. It's about God being present in the mess of our inconsistent life."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Soldier/Son Reunion

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE reunions.
Until I experience the reunions I long for, observing others will just have to do: