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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mortality - a pain in the butt

I rarely think about my mortality. It's one of those things that I think God designed the human mind to avoid contemplating too much too soon so that we are better able to enjoy life. Or maybe I'm just shallow, take your pick! Aging and experiencing death seems like such a pain in the butt. It seems to me like it would have been way cooler to have been immortal. (Thanks Adam and Eve for blowing that for us all). I know that immortality is coming after death, I just have such a hard time trying to imagine heaven in all its glory. But I do know that it will be out of this world (cheesy pun, I know).

The other night I was driving the kids home late after soccer practice and somehow we began talking about heaven. James wondered if there would be so much food at the feast that we would all vomit. I told him that I was pretty sure that falls under the category of "no more sickness, no more pain". But then as we talked, one of us wondered if there's really food, will there be digestion? And if there is digestion, will there be poop? In heaven? And if there's poop will it smell like poop or will it smell like flowers or something? And then we talked about angels....The kids wondered if they would sound like a gospel choir or if some of the angels are appointed to play electric guitar.

I say all this for two reasons. A. It's pretty funny, much funnier if you were there and we all enjoy a good laugh. and B. Just to illustrate that it's really hard to expand your mindset enough to grasp at all what heaven might be like.

On a much more serious note, this week one of my good friends from junior high lost her dad. He just suddenly passed away. She is the first one from my very close childhood friends to lose a parent. It is a heartbreaking loss for her and her family. I regretted being unable to attend the funeral since I live out of state. Her family was really good to me growing up. They took me in as one of their own and loved me. It was her family that showed me the value of family time and that families existed where the parents were madly in love with each other and they could enjoy each other and their children.

This made me think just a little harder about death, and about trying a little harder to make every single day count. You just never know if it's all you're gonna get.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

lose your life part 2

God's really been dealing with me about yesterday's blog on Mark 8:34-37. I really have a long way left to go in totally losing my life in complete surrender. Heard a couple of songs today about the same stuff I was blogging about. Makes me feel better that I'm not alone in this. Both of these link into - an online radio where you type in favorite artists and it automatically creates a playlist for you with other artists you might like.

Tenth Avenue North: Let It Go

This Beautiful Republic: Learning to Fall

Still trying to learn to let go..........LaRissa

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lose your life

Mark 8:34-37, "Then calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, 'If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?'"

Here's my take on life. I do the things that I know that I do well. I avoid attempting things that I am not good at. I operate in a fairly routine world. I get up, go to work, come home, go to bed, and there's some ministry thrown in there somewhere. I spend a lot of my time living my life in a way that's safe and comfortable. I try to control and plan my life myself. It is such a challenge for me to leave room for God to do really big stuff. Even though I love God and want to live a live of faith, I hang onto my life and "let" God have bits and pieces of it to control.

Here's God's take on life. If I don't give up every single ounce of my own control, He is not totally and completely God in my life. In some form or fashion, I am trying hard to share godship with Him. I get to be god of these areas, and you can be God over there. It is only when I stop trying to be a god of my own destiny and surrender my control totally over to God that I gain life. It is when God takes control that life is abundant. And life is big. And life is an adventure. It is only in losing control of my life, that I find real life. Life with God.

There have been times in my life that were very much characterized by my total and complete surrender to God. But other seasons were characterized by me trying to share godship of my life. It is so easy for me to relapse into being in charge of my own life. And settling for the small because I am afraid to go for the big. I find it easy to underestimate the worth of my soul and overestimate the value of other stuff.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Get Away

For the last five years, Shawn and I have had incredible Valentine's dates. He has planned most of these all by himself. They are typically overnights to exclusive hotels and dinner at a really nice restaurant. Places that a pastor and his wife can't afford more often than once a year. One night a year I feel like a princess and am totally swept off my feet. He tries hard every year to top the year before with something new and spectacular.

This year was no exception. Shawn planned a special weekend. He even let me know ahead of time that it would be something very different than we had ever done before. Well, let's just say that it was definitely better than that year he offered to take me to Taco Bell for our anniversary :) In his defense, he was trying hard to keep our marriage new and fresh. He was experimenting by trying a new activity. He wanted very much to wow me and please me with his efforts. And yes, I have his permission to blog about this. Just so that the rest of you wives out there will know that even the most romantic man on the planet strikes out now and again. Our husbands are human, and we love them when they wow us, and we love them when they don't.

We went home Sunday afternoon and dropped the kids off with Shawn's parents who had driven out for the weekend just to babysit for us. (Awesome in-laws, huh?) Then we got in the suburban and headed west. Now that was a little odd. Usually we go to Dallas. However, we did go to Fort Worth one year and have an amazing weekend, so that is my assumption. You can imagine my surprise when we turned north in Gainesville. I am then assuming that we are going to Oklahoma City. How cool! I've never been to Oklahoma City as a tourist. I hear their river walk is beautiful, that there are some awesome museums, and some excellent music venues. I am totally stoked.

We drove by an exit in Gainesville for the Super 8 motel. I laughingly say, "You should have pulled in there, just for a joke to see what would happen." So a couple of exits later, Shawn turns on the Winstar casino's exit and into the Microtel's parking lot, and I start cackling really,really hard. My smartass mouth kicked into high gear. "Ha, Ha....very funny. It would've been funnier if I hadn't just said something back at the super 8 motel. Ha, you expect me to really believe we're going to stay at that Microtel....and what, go to the casino? Like that would be romantic! Ha, ha......" I am still laughing when he quietly says, "Better watch out, you might hurt my feelings." I shut up, but still think he's joking. Even after he goes into the motel and comes back out again, I think he's joking about really planning to stay in a Microtel for a romantic weekend. I mean, that's just a step up from the Super 8. Then I saw the keys to the room. And that's when I tried not to cry and mostly succeeded.

Again, in his defense....he booked the governor's suite with the whirlpool tub. He expected a really nice suite. He was trying to book a romantic room close to the casino. He thought since it was the official motel of the casino and was called the governor's suite that it would be totally awesome! And it was, um .....clean...and the T.V. worked.... and the bed was comfortable..... and the continental breakfast was okay..... and next year he knows to book us in at least a 4 star hotel.

And again, in his defense....the only casino he had ever been in was a really nice one in Vegas that was attached to the hotel where we stayed one night on our way out to California. That casino was elegant, the clientel was nicely dressed, and the hotel was out-of-this world. So that's really what he expected. He just forgot to include the Oklahoma factor when he was planning. Like the woman in the lobby checking in, "If they's not smokin' rooms, I'm a drivin' back to Ft. Worth."

So we head over to Winstar for our first gambling experience. We have some cash that we can blow. He insisted that I go ahead and wear my special dress that I had purchased weeks earlier and saved for our evening out. So I am wearing my blue dress. The one that's way too sexy for a preacher's wife to own. And stiletto heels. And there was lots of walking at the casino. Very unpractical to have on stiletto heels. However, once I got over being self-conscious about being the only dressed-up woman in the place, I had a really great time. We enjoyed a pretty good steak dinner and played penny slots for several hours on about 20 bucks. We laughed and had fun. Romantic? No. Fun? Yes. In fact, I don't know that we've ever laughed that hard on a Valentine's date.

Today we shopped a little while, ate lunch at Red Lobster, and saw a movie. I absolutely loved being able to spend some time alone with my husband. I had fun, and we laughed a lot....mostly about my reaction to the motel. Maybe this weekend wasn't one of the top most romantic we've ever had....and maybe I didn't feel so much like a princess getting the royal treatment. But my husband loves me enough to be willing to take some risks to try to find new things that I enjoy. And he wants to make holidays memorable events for me so that I will fully comprehend just how much he loves me. Even if the romance meter didn't register very high on this particular instance for me....the fact that he tried, and that he wasn't afraid to take a risk....and the fact that he looked at me all evening at the casino like he had a victoria's secret model for a date instead of an aging woman who's had four kids and got the body to prove it.....and the way that he was genuinely concerned about my reaction.....all of these are things that increase my level of love for him. I know that I am very blessed to be loved by my husband in a way that most women only dream of. Very blessed indeed.

Monday Morning Update

Sunday was another awesome day at The Crossroads. We were excited to have some new people stopping by to check us out. It is really neat to see families steadily becoming more and more plugged in.

Shawn did a super job with the pillowtalk sermon. He talked about God's plan and design for sex. It was well balanced between scripture and seriousness and light hearted humor that relieved the akwardness quite well. Next week he is giving men pointers on how to love their wives. And the following week will be tips for the wives.

We had a little fun as a band, playing "Open Arms" by Journey as a bumper to the sermon. Worship Dude thought it would be fun to do a different love song each week as a lead-in for the sermon series. We had lots of unexplained and freaky sound issues during practice, but they were all solved before services began.

Worship set: (Again, if I screw up the song titles, it's just the way I am. Enjoy the laugh.)

I Will Go - Starfield (if you don't know this band, you have to check them out!)

Give us clean hands
This is the Air I Breathe
Audience of One (Big Daddy Weave)

By Your Side (Tenth Avenue North)

Only 6 more days till we get to worship together again. Can't wait!