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Saturday, September 6, 2008

Blast Off!

Launching a new church is like living the countdown to a rocket launch. For months we've been counting down...10 (God called us), 9 (we shared that calling with others), 8(we began meeting and praying with our team), 7 (we trained together for the mission), 6 (we surveyed), 5 (we added others to the team), 4 (secured a meeting location), 3 (planned block parties), 2 (we had preview services), 1 (much prayer and fasting and prayer and more prayer),....Blast Off (Tomorrow!)

A year ago Shawn and I first shared this vision with some dear friends. Now we are finally here at the moment of take-off. I'm glad to have had this opportunity. I can't wait to see what God does next. I agree with my friend that says she is excited to discover all the things she does not know yet about God. I can't wait to see the thunder of his power. The rain of his presence is coming....leave the umbrellas at home.....prepare to get SOAKED!!!! Let's dance together in the rain!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Pleasing God....and inside jokes

This morning I read about Jesus' baptism in Matthew chapter 3. I loved God's words, "This is my son. I am very pleased with Him." I think that would be such a cool thing to hear God say. Most of the time I feel like I'm doing okay in following Christ. Like God could say, "This is my daughter. I'm pleased with her sometimes. She just has this really bad stubborn streak that we're still working on."

I finally get it....that God makes us weak and imperfect so that he can be our strength. I would just like to be stronger more often. I wish that God wouldn't wait until the last minute to rescue me from stupidity. I wish that he would rescue me more often before I am stupid. I guess living through stupid makes me more humble? It's seems like such a painful way to learn humility.

Just in case you are unsure about the tone of this blog - I am laughing at myself here. Not that I am not serious as well, but I am aware that perfection is not a possibility and I have to laugh at myself and my moments.

* Oh, speaking of laughing, my new Anna friends and I have our first inside joke. Don't you love coming to that point in relationships where you develop the first laugh that nobody else really gets! For me, it seems that the first inside joke is really the moment a relationship goes to a new level and becomes more than casual. The inside joke level of friendship means that you are tight enough to share experiences together that you have not shared with your other friends. (Of course the hard part for me is remembering who knows about what inside jokes - part of the stupidity thing I was talking about earlier.)

I tried explaining the whole joke just now...yeah, totally had to delete it because it was not at all hysterically funny online. Of course it's a little inappropriate, so if you are dying to hear the story in person, don't ask me about it in front of my children.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A deep reflection

Blogging. It has been an interesting quest, a journey of sorts. It started as a way to stay accountable for my quiet time and allow my friends to keep in touch with what's going on with my busy life. Instead it has evolved into an important part of the day that I really look forward to. When all the kids are in bed, the house is quiet, and the lights are turned off, I am sitting at the computer for a few minutes - just me - alone. For a few moments in time, there are no expectations. I do not have to be anything for anybody. I am just me.

Many years ago, I was a devoted writer. I wrote short stories; I faithfully journaled. Then I had children. For many years it seemed that my life came to a screeching halt. Now don't misunderstand what I'm saying here - I love my children. I loved staying at home with my children. I am so thankful that God blessed me with children. I would not trade any of my time with them. I do not regret the path that I chose. But there was a part of me that missed - well - me. For so many years I have faithfully fulfilled a variety of roles in order to meet the needs of my family and ministry. Who I really was or wanted to be or grew up to become was an irrelevant quest that I occasionally wondered about in the wee hours of the morning.

In blogging I am rediscovering my heart. I am finding passion, and it seems that life is more than just my career or my "duties" as a mom. Life is so much bigger. It is an adventure to be embraced and enjoyed and lived. I

It has been really cool to explore the thoughts in my head - some worthy of exploration and some not so much - and see God's hand at work around me. It is interesting to get to know myself all over again. After not journaling for over 10 years, there have been a few surprises that I discovered about myself. It has also been scary for me as a very private person to be open in a forum where other people see and read my thoughts. I don't know if I will ever be entirely comfortable with people being inside my head, but at the same time it is really neat to hear their responses.

Every night I endure an internal struggle before I push the "publish" button. Being real and honest is not always easy for me. Pretending to have life all figured out and together is much easier. But I truly feel that fakeness is an abomination. Discovering my heart has been at times a very painful journey as God has dealt with my sin and rebellion and led me to write about it all.

So there it is - a deep reflection into the heart of a blogger. I don't know that anyone really cares to know all these introspective thoughts, but that's all I had tonight.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Thoughts from the kiddie pool

Warning: Blog contains questionable content and/or language. Please read cautiously :)

Today the family was hangin' out at Schlitterbahn down in New Braunfels. Now, I am not a fan of water parks (see yesterday's blog about my phobia), however, I was impressed by this one. It was family friendly, and very different from other water parks I've been to. I spent all day in the kiddie pool with Abby while Shawn took the big kids on the scary slides and stuff. The kiddie pool is a great place to people watch. After 4 hours in the same spot, I came up with some interesting generalizations about women and their bodies.

Now girls, we are all born decently confident. We did not worry about our weight, hair color, eye color, stretch marks, sagging boobs, or anything else when we were little. But somewhere along the way, almost all women lose that self-confidence. Nowhere is that more obvious than at the kiddie pool. There were a few one-baby moms in the pool. A couple of those ladies still braved a bikini in public, but most wore shorts over the bottom. Now we all know that they are trying to cover up that tiny baby roll and probably a few stretch marks. Then there were the two-baby mommies - these moms changed to tankinis - typically with a skirted bottom. Still cute, but definitely covering up expanding hips and thighs. Then there were the other moms - three or more kids. These are the women who wear swimsuits under t-shirts and shorts or wear swimdresses. They no longer make eye contact with the other adults around them and pretend to be invisible because they are so self-conscious about their bodies. Now there were 2 exceptions to these generalizations - both were beautiful women who had obviously had some extensive repairs done. What was interesting to me is that many of the women trying to hide their bodies were very beautiful, slender, and attractive. My guess though is that they no longer view themselves as such because of the changes their body has gone through after childbirth. I am amazed that we as women are so self-conscious and find our value and worth in the mirror. It was most definitely interesting to watch and contemplate the attitudes of these women.  Really - life is short - who cares?!? I think I'm hot and my husband thinks I'm incredibly, amazingly, smokin' hot - does anybody else's opinion really matter?

The interesting thing is that I was telling all this stuff to my husband who says, "You know that's what makes you so hot." That makes no sense to me whatsoever - that he finds me more attractive after four kids than back in the day when I was skinny just because I'm comfortable in my own skin - But I guess I don't have to understand it to enjoy it!

Couple of side notes: Apparently men also change shape and have body image issues the more children that they have. It was really, really very funny to watch them as well but time is short and I can't share all of life's lessons tonight.

I did go down one big scary slide with my kids. It had to be a hundred feet tall with rushing water down the side of the steep mountain. They would not let anybody on who was not at least 3 years old! At the top, a small toddler began to cry with fear, and I felt led to join in, but restrained myself. My kids coached me through the entire process. "Mom, if you take a deep breath here, then you can hold your nose there, and really it's not as scary as it looks." I made it down in one piece, having only a moment of panic where I frantically tried to climb out of the shallow water and abandon the slide. They were very proud of me and promised that if we ever returned they would go with me on all the "safe" rides and help me not be scared! I love having kids - they do keep me from taking myself too seriously.

Now it's back to work for me. I have a crazy week ahead of me and need to get to sleep.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fear puts you on the sidelines

Fear keeps us sidelined. That's what I realized tonight by the hotel pool. Many of you know that I have this horrible irrational water phobia thing since my brother Jon drowned several years ago. In particular, I do not get my face wet. Period. Ever. I even shower backwards to avoid accidentally getting it wet. It's one of those phobias where I panic and totally freak out in public. My family thinks it's hysterically funny. So tonight we were staying at a hotel and all went swimming. I use the term "swimming" loosely since my family was swimming, and I was sitting by the pool looking especially cute in my new coverup. (not getting my face wet) My family was having a great time splashing and swimming and racing each other across the pool. It was fun to watch them, but I regretted that my phobia keeps me from joining in the racing. Just in case you wondered, I am the only adult dog-paddler on the planet. Carefully swimming without putting my head in the water is quite the sight to see!

I was thinking about fear while I was looking especially cute sitting by the pool. It keeps us from trying so many things - many times things that lead to great and amazing adventures. Now my water phobia is probably not going away any time soon since it probably needs expensive therapy to cure, but I have found the courage recently to try many other new and exciting adventures. I have totally come out of my comfort zone in this church planting business to make new friends, start a new job, and try lots of new stuff in ministry. Not allowing my ministry to be held captive by fear has led to the greatest adventure of my life. I love the unknown and the unexpected things that are occurring in my life right now. God is at work and I am simply tagging along on this journey. I just can't hardly wait to see what God has in store for The Crossroads.

Tomorrow I am spending the day at Schlitterbahn with my family. Shawn won tickets for the family off the radio. He and the kids are so excited. I am sucking up my fear and will spend the day in the wading pools with the baby. (not getting my face wet) :)