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Saturday, April 30, 2011

A new friend for Abby

My youngest daughter, Abby, is a full blown sanguine personality. She loves people, thrives on crowds, and is devastated to spend time alone. Last night her big sister, Katie, was at a sleep over and the rest of the family was watching a grown-up movie. She cried and cried about watching Mulan alone without a friend.

When she woke up this morning, she was devastated to realize that James was sick, Katie was gone, and I had to take Grace to Anna for her trip to Six Flags. She was not happy to be facing a day of alone time.

I returned home today around 3, expecting to be greeted with cheers. Instead I found a stranger sitting in the playroom with Abby cheerfully playing wii. While playing in the yard this morning, Abby met a little neighbor girl and invited her home. Her parents said yes, and the little girl is still at our house nearly 8 hours later. Her dad has been by to check on her, and she's run home for a few minutes off and on, but most of the day she and Abby have been having a ball.

I think it is neat that today, God saw my little sanguine daughter's distress and brought her a new friend.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

tornado warning

It's been a stormy spring in North Texas. We have been inundated with thunderstorms and tornado warnings. Fortunately, the worst of the weather missed us this year. After a lifetime of storm warnings, I find that I am no longer easily scared. Unless there has been a tornado spotted within a short distance of my home, I continue life as usual.

This week as the tornado sirens went off and I continued calmly baking pies (after checking the radar and seeing that we were not in immediate danger), I wished that my faith in times of spiritual storms was that calm. When storms hit in life, I struggle so much with doubt and discouragement. I look forward to a day when my faith grows to the point that I am able to calmly and peacefully continue life no matter what kind of difficulties rage around me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Don't Burn the Meringue

I have a long standing history of cooking disasters. Since the onset of severe migraines a few years ago, I have lost my ability to multi task. When cooking, this tends to lead to minor mishaps. A while back, I was baking a coconut cream pie for Shawn. This is his favorite pie, and can be used as a bribe to get me out of trouble and back into his good standing if necessary.

After I put the pie into the oven to brown the meringue, I heard a nifty little tune playing in my mind. I sat down at the piano and all was lost. After several minutes I smelled delicious roasting marshmallows. I wondered which neighbors were having a cookout and thought about how much fun that would be with our kids. As the smell of roasting marshmallows grew stronger, I finally remembered my pies and ran to the oven. It would seem that meringue is quite flammable.

Since this was not an isolated instance, this Easter, I was determined to not catch my pies on fire. While the meringue was browning, I sat on a stool with my face pressed against the glass window. As soon as the meringue began to brown, I cracked the oven door to watch more closely. As I sat with my face stinging from the heat of the oven, I thought of a parallel between burning meringue and sin.

Proverbs 4:23 says, 
"Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." As I thought about how carefully I was guarding against burning the meringue I thought about the need to guard my heart. I frequently find myself deep in sin without realizing that I have even stumbled off the right path. It's kind of like when I get distracted while cooking and next thing I know I have a small fire on top of my pie. I realized as I sat watching my pie that I need to work harder at being alert to temptation and seek to avoid that first step down the wrong path. Being vigilant is important in growing spiritually.
Proverbs 4:27 says, "Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil." I have great intentions about loving God more and seeking after him, but next thing I know I'm sidetracked again by my busy life. And when I lose my focus on God, then next thing I know I end up thinking, speaking, and acting in ways that are not glorifying to God.

So the moral from this? Don't Burn the Meringue! Stay focused on who is important and be vigilant in guarding your heart against evil.

Monday Morning Update 4/24/2011

Well, it's been a long while since I've posted a Monday Morning Update. Life as a teacher, mom, church planter, and student is keeping me too busy to write blog updates on a regular basis. Hopefully life will slow down soon, and I will be able to write more often.

Yesterday we had the opportunity to help host a community Easter egg hunt at The Collin County Adventure Camp. Hundreds of people attended this amazing event. In between hiding eggs for the different age division hunts, the family and I had a few minutes to canoe out on the lake. Grace and I enjoyed racing around the lake together. I confess that she seemed to want to mostly race around the part of the lake where all the teenage boys were. It was super to see many of my students and friends from the community.

This morning was a glorious Easter Sunday at The Crossroads. My favorite part of Easter is the hum of expectancy that envelopes the room as people arrive. Everyone expects to encounter God's holy presence on Easter and they come ready to worship. I would like to discover a way to help our congregation have that same level of expectancy and recognition of God's holiness throughout the rest of the year.

The worship set was a little longer than usual today. I think the extra time was well worthwhile. That, coupled with the usage of visual media, seemed to help the congregation be more engaged than usual in worship today. Shawn's sermon on the story of Easter was amazing. I love that he has to tell the whole story of the death, burial, and resurrection in great detail because some people in attendance haven't ever heard the complete story. It is amazing to know that God is using us at times to be the first ones to share the story of the Savior.

After services we ate lunch with friends in Anna. With family out of state, they traditionally open their homes to others who are without local ties. While I am grateful to serve God in Texas and love our life here, on the holidays I do miss our family back home. I greatly appreciated the hospitality and good food.

For those of my readers who regularly pray for our ministry, here are our current prayer needs:
1. We are relaunching our youth ministry next Sunday evening. Please pray that God will move in mighty ways among the teens in our church and in Anna. Pray that God will raise up leaders from within our church who will be willing to help with this critically important ministry.

2. Pray for strength for our family. 3 years and counting with the house on the market has left us completely exhausted. We have been struggling with a very tough season of doubt and discouragement. We have questioned God greatly on why we are still in Sherman when we need to live among our people in Anna. Pray that our house will sell quickly and that we will be able to live life again as a normal family, without the need to maintain a continually spotless house. My children are ready to have hobbies besides cleaning house from top to bottom every night. They are tired, frustrated, and discouraged.

3. Pray for our city. Pray that God will unite the churches in Anna to work together to reach the city with the gospel. Pray that God will pour out his spirit and draw people to himself. We are hungry, desperate for his presence. Pray that he will make himself known in our city.

We deeply appreciate your prayers. We are well aware that without the prayers of others, we would be unable to do the ministry to which God has called us.