While I was in grade 12 I dated a guy whom I had had a crush on for nearly all my middle/high school years. I remember being completely ecstatic the evening he asked me out, I also remember someone (we'll call her Brittany) being completely pissed off because she too had a crush on him, although I’m sure the real reason Brittany was pissed off was because he asked me out at her birthday party…that I crashed (my crush and his best friend assured me it’d be fine if I showed up). I’m fairly confident that for the rest of my grade 12 year Brittany cursed me every time I passed her in the hallways, not that I cared – I had won the guy (typical grade 12 attitude).
After graduating I never saw or heard of Brittany ever again…until today that is.
I stopped by one of my favorite bookstores today to get lunch from their magnificent café. While chatting with the owners I caught the glance of a familiar face…the best friend of Brittany, the girl who wanted my high school boyfriend. As I continued my conversation with the owners of the bookstore out of the corner of my eye I saw Brittany, who hated me all through my senior year, peering over a card stand to get a look of me. My conversation continued and I then saw Brittany and her friend move a bit closer and peer over another card stand at me. I couldn’t help but giggle.
It amazes me how much things change in 5 years, and yet how much things stay the same.
The ultimate challenge comes when I examine myself. How have I changed (or not) over the past 5 years? My husband often challenges me that I can only be responsible for myself, and so I attempt to rise above…
The other day through a series of quite outrageous circumstances a friend of mine deleted me on Facebook (I know, I know, not a big deal…but a the same time IT IS since Facebook has become the litmus test for all friendships). At first I so upset, “how dare she delete me? I didn’t even do anything.” And so the drama queen in me began to rise, and again my husband’s words ran in my heart, “you can only be responsible for yourself.” And that’s when I made a conscious choice, "I will NOT be the drama queen in this situation. I will not change the way I treat her, talk about her, or to her."
I think for women it’s often hard to put down the drama queen crown and choose the less traveled road. Girls can be mean, there’s nothing quite as fierce as silent aggression.
The choice I have to make (and ultimately everyone has to make) daily, is to only be responsible for myself. When I start taking offense in what’s going on around me and acting accordingly, that’s when I become the drama queen. When I remain true to myself, and the character that has been developed over the years within me, that’s when I put the crown down and rise above.
So beautiful women out there…what will you choose today?
As a young adult I look at my life and can't help but feel content. I'm married to an incredible man, not only is he my best friend, but he has been almost since the day we met in grade 10 (I don't have any problem (YET) saying that that was over 7 years ago). I spent my first two years out of high school studying at a college in Australia where I made incredible friendships and really "found myself". For the past two years I've been working at my dream job, and often get referred to as a "successful college student," since I am in fact working in the field I was trained in. My husband has great job that he loves where he continually sees favor, as he makes advances that are very rare for someone of his age. We're in the final stages of having our first home built and eagerly await our move in date (within the next few weeks!).
If you would have told me 5 years ago when I graduated from high school, that this would be my life I likely would have laughed at you. Although I'm essentially living in my dream world from high school, I never thought I would be living it so soon after graduating from college. Yet here I am...but where to now?
The challenge then comes to dream bigger!
Maybe its time to stop thinking about what I WANT and rather about what I CAN DO. Thank God there's more to my life then what I've achieved to this point. I know there's more in me to give. I know there's untapped potential in my life.
And so my dreams have and are expanding...
He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence - and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself."
This verse leads into the common parable of the Good Samaritan. It's a story of a man who's traveling to Jerusalem. Along the way he's robbed and beaten up, left for death on the road. Two people from the church pass him on their way, but instead of helping, they cross to the other side of the road and pass this dying man by. Then a Samaritan comes along, someone who's people weren't very popular among the Jewish people of the time. You would think that he too would pass by this poor man and leave him for death, but instead he helps the man. He bandages him up, takes him to an inn, leaves money with the inn keeper and then says, "Hey, if he runs up a tab with you I'll pay you when I return."
This Samaritan not only helps a complete stranger who thinks of him as scum, but he then goes above and beyond in his care by ensuring the inn keeper continues to nurture him back to health.
The parable is then followed by this conversation:
"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?"
"The one who treated him kindly," the religious scholar responded.
Jesus said, "Go and do the same."
(Luke 10:36-37 Message)
I find it interesting that in this particular translation it says "which of the three BECAME..."
We're commanded to love our neighbor as we do ourselves, and ultimately this passage would suggest that we make the choice to make people our neighbors. If I decide not to help someone in need I'm not a bad neighbor, I'm simply choosing not to allow that person to be my neighbor. It's when I make the choice to live outside myself that I begin to make neighbors, and those are the people I'm commanded to love.
I think there's a valuable lesson to learn from this Samaritan and it's this...it would be quite easy to choose neighbors we're comfortable with, people that we know, from cultures we understand. But when we make the choice to reach out a bit further, that's when we truly live in the fullness of this command.
If I'm really going to live this out I need to ALWAYS be making the choice to reach out and become a neighbor.
As this conversation continued it really got me thinking, how many friendships do we create for the sake of simply “being” and how often to we look at those relationships as a waste of time?
I’ve been told that there are three kinds of relationships we build
1. we expect someone to invest into us (we get something out of it)
2. someone expects us to invest into them (they get something out it)
3. neither of us get “anything” out of it necessarily, we just get to “be”
I truly believe we as humans have been created with a need to be in relationship. Unfortunately, life experiences will often determine how we look at those relationships, and which ones we choose to spend the most time working on, when in fact they’re all so important in ones development.
As we often state at The Family Room, it’s time to bring things back to the kitchen table, to place value on all relationships. Maybe it’s time to take a closer look at those you in your life that you have a relationship with, determine which relationships maybe need a bit more work then others. Are you missing out on “being”? Perhaps you spend all of your time investing into others and are being invested in yourself. Or maybe you’re quite selfish in your relationships and only think about what you can receive, rather then what you can give.
My challenge to you would be to think about your relationships and try to balance all three forms of relationships in your life. This could potentially mean dropping a few, and making some new ones.
Happy relationship building…
Since Christmas is only 65 more sleeps away I thought I'd share this piece by the Marimba Ponies from Japan, to help get you in the Christmas spirit.
Right now I'm currently working on organizing our Christmas program here at Dominion GateWay Center, I can't help but dream of what our program would be like with a performance by these incredibly talented children!
The interesting thing is that this tragedy isn't only happening in developing countries and in Europe, it's happening in cities all across the world, including Lethbridge Alberta.
Yesterday a friend of mine shared how there are children being pimped out in my very own city!?!
Something must be done!
It's easy enough for those of us living in Westernized countries to pull out our cheque book and suddenly feel like we've made a difference. But what about the children attending the schools in our communities, passing us in the grocery stores and malls everyday...what about them?
It's time to take a good look at human trafficking everywhere and take a stand.
As far as what must be done, I've no clue, but believe me, I'm definitely going to find out.
"Never forget, justice the what love looks like in public."
- Dr. Cornel West
Although what she shared at the conference is very similar to messages I've heard in the past it was so refreshing to hear her speak. And even though Chris' messages were challenging, the best part about hearing her speak again is that I feel as though a piece of my heart that was left in Australia has been returned to me.
So thanks for that piece of my heart back Chris. I appreciate it.
There have been a few changes made over the past few weeks at church including Matt & I taking over the children's ministry.
My senior pastor asked to briefly share what my heart is for children's ministry last night, and although I didn't articulate everything, this is my answer:
Being apart of this church is overwhelming to. Since before I graduated I knew I wanted to be in fulltime children's ministry. At 22 years old I feel as though I'm continually having to shake my head and remind myself that yes, this actually is my life.
It's such an honor and privilege to be in this position. My heart for children's ministry is to mentor and disciple children to be all that God has called and created them to be in their everday life. In that I also have a heart to mentor and disciple others to lead children as well.
We are making some changes in the children's ministry, some to take place immediately, others that will follow over time.
First of all, our nursery is becoming a place where mum's of babies are spending the majority of their morning. As a result we're working to make it a place where they feel welcome. Hopefully in the near future we'll have "hosts" who not only look after babies should moms desire, but who also encourage and empower mum's for the amazing job they have in raising children who love the Lord.
My heart is to create a registration team who's job is to create an "atmosphere" as parents register their children for our morning programs, welcoming parents and children making them feel special and accepted.
In grades 1-6 we would love to see more youth & young adults stepping into places of leadership by leading worship, speaking, and leading activities and games. In the very near future we will be doing a 5 week curriculum called Hope Lives, where we will be helping children respond to poverty worldwide.
I find new seasons exciting. I love change! I also love children. I'm really looking forward to the coming weeks in children's ministry.
Keep posted for more changes and progress as we expand and grow the children's ministry at our church.
ps:Logo to come soon :)
I LOVE MY KIDS BIBLES!!!
I have The Adventure Bible for Young Readers, and the Hands on Bible. Both are simply amazing, not only because the language in them is simple and easy to understand, but also because of the great notes.
Now, obviously these Bibles are written for those still in elementary, but the extra content in them is so good that it speaks to a 20-something. All I can say is how amazing that there are such incredible resources available to help children (and adults) grow in their walk with God.
Just a little shout out to Christian publishers AND Christian bookstores. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Through all this decision making though I believe that God has a lesson for me (I'm expecting a lesson this time...there always seems to be one in there somewhere, this way I won't be completely surprised).
I remember waiting for my college application to go through a few years back and thinking to myself one morning about how anxious the whole situation was making me. Being the crazy children's ministry fanatic that I am, naturally a children's song came to mind. I have these great CD's that are Bible verses put to songs for kids. The song 'Philippians 4:6' came to mind (Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.)
I'm finding myself in that anxious state again. I realize that unfortunately I only have 24 hours in my day, which means I need to prioritize and stop sweating the small stuff. As well, prayer is key, a little (or not so little) detail I far too often overlook.
And so on this Tuesday, I'm making the decision to stop worrying about all the decisions I have to make, and rather 'present my requests to God,' knowing that there is no reason to 'be anxious about anything.'
from hearing outrageous stories of fraud, to unexpected mysterious deaths, to building a house, to taking on more responsibilities...
I'm learning that life is full of a bunch of seasons. Although the seasons we find in the yearly calendar have a specific beginning and end, I don't necessarily see that in the seasons I face in my life. At the moment there seems to be no rhyme or reason to anything that's happening.
I find that the challenge is not so much the seasons I face, rather how I choose to handle myself in these seasons. Unfortunately the person I'd like to pride myself on being isn't always the one who seems to appear when different & difficult situations arise.
Therefore I would like to state once again:
I'm a work in progress, your patience is appreciated.
My husband and I are currently living with my parents while our new house is finished being built. Everything I own apart from my clothing is packed in boxes in a storage unit. Daily we go out to our house and the anticipation grows for the day when I will call that place home.
Things at work are revving up for the new school year and I have a bazillion ideas in my head. I'm learning that unfortunately there aren't nearly enough hours in my days to make everything happen...and some dreams take time to develop...and likely won't begin to happen for a few months, potentially even years.
I feel like I'm on a constant journey to discovering a life of patience. It's said that patience is a virtue, although I'm quite confident that it's a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). We all know that you can tell a tree by its fruit. If an apple tree were to grow oranges it really wouldn't be an apple tree.
And so I am learning patience so that my fruit matches up with the tree that I claim to be.
But really, more then being excited about MY journey, I'm excited about the journey I'll be taking others on. Along with purchasing the book, I've purchased 'Hope Lives: Children's Ministry Kit'.
Take your children on a five-week journey - one that gives them God's perspective on poverty and equips them to respond with heartfelt compassion. Hope Lives empowers your children to understand and impact their world...to share home with the hopeless. Children experience five adventures straight from the Bible and then apply what they discover through prayer, service, and commitment.
This curriculum isn't about guilting children into helping those in need, rather giving them a Biblical look of what Jesus calls us to do as Christians to do. I think its easy for us to say 'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...' (James 1:27), but how easy is it for us to actually live this out? It's easy to sign a check to give yourself that 'warm, fuzzy feeling' knowing that you're helping someone, but is it really a sacrifice?
In Matthew 19:16-24, Jesus tells the rich young man to sell EVERYTHING and give it to the poor! Hello, he was rich! You want him to sell his iPhone, his new 2000 sq. foot home, his wife's Coach purse...
I have a long ways to go...
As I'm sure nearly all of us living in first world nations do.
I'm actually really looking forward to this journey. Not only for what I think it will do in me by changing my thinking, but also for what it will do in the children that I have the privilege to teach and lead.
Check out other 'Hope Lives' resources here: group.com/hopelives
I've been really challenged over the past few months to re-examine how I act out what I confess with my mouth.
I think it's really easy as an adult to say that the next generation is going to do greater things then what this generation has done. And it's really easy to say that the next generation is the future. And it's really easy to say that the next generation has so much potential. It's really easy to say a lot of things, but unless I put actions to what I'm saying...what am I really saying?
What am I as an individual doing to give the next generation the resources to do greater things then my generation? What am I doing to make sure the next generation actually does something great in the future? What am I doing to invest into the next generation's potential?
I attend (and work at) a church where we say a lot of really great things about what God is doing to do in and through the children and youth...but at the end of the day I'm left asking myself, what are we doing to make this possible?
I've been challenged to make sure I'm doing all that I can to empower the next generation. I've been challenged to earnestly pray for the next generation...not just in my community, but worldwide. I've been challenged to invest, and invest, and invest, and invest in as many ways as I possibly can.
I really do believe in the next generation. And I really do want to see them do great things...
therefore I'm going to do something.
I'm just still trying to figure out the how and when...
And as long as our culture continues to change I believe that I'll be in the place of trying to figure out the how.
the list could go on and on.
Probably the most unfortunate outcome is that we've raised a generation of judgmental people who have more issues then we'll ever be able to help them deal with.
While I was at camp the majority of the staff would have been younger then me. It was so encouraging for me to watch a generation do something that has been prophesied for years. Even more encouraging then that was watching and hearing individuals share the things in their lives that they struggle with.
During staff chapel on Monday night an individual who had grown up in a solid Christian home shared about how they had struggled with cutting as a way to relieve stress. That right there is what the church needs to be...
a place where people can come despite their circumstances and issues and just be vulnerable and real.
There's something different happening in churches today. People are sick of putting on the happy facade. We all desire genuine relationships in which we can be ourselves...our whole selves, the good, the bad and the ugly...
Maybe the time is coming when the church will be more the perfect cookie-cutter people...
something that has been achieved successfully : the reduction of inflation was a remarkable accomplishment.
the successful achievement of a task : the accomplishment of planned objectives
an activity that a person can do well, typically as a result of study or practice : long-distance was another of her accomplishments
skill or ability in an activity : a poet of considerable accomplishment
Today I accomplished a huge feat...the office that I share at work with a couple other people has become hugely cluttered over the course of the spring/summer. If you know my well you know that I don't cope well with clutter and chaos. Today was the day to clean stuff out, make room, get rid of what will never be used.
Looking at the neat bookshelf beside me I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment seeing everything organized and neat! Looking across my desk to the filing cabinet I feel as sense of accomplishment being able to see the top of it!
I feel as though I'm finally able breath with the chaos gone.
I have accomplished my task of the day!
While I was at camp last week, I had an incline to head to the climbing wall. My mum and I arrived at the climbing wall before the group of campers that was about to brave this massive structure. At long last cabin 5 arrived. One of the girls seemed very familiar to me. She totally reminded me of a little boy from Lethbridge that I've had the privilege of spending some time with.
The climbing wall instructors began to go through the safety procedures and before I knew it this little was reminding me even more of the little boy back in Lethbridge. I quickly discovered that the little girl (like the little boy back in Lethbridge) had Asperger Syndrome. Although it was aware to my mum and I that this little girl had Asperger's, the climbing wall instructors were unaware of her condition and were having a difficult time communicating with her.
God taught me a lot about His faithfulness in that moment.
The only time that I was ever at the climbing wall was when cabin 5 was there...the only cabin with a child who had mild autism. That would have been a very frustrating activity for not only the instructors, and the little girl with Aspergers, but also for the other girls in cabin. What an honor to have been there in that moment to come alongside and provide some support.
Thank you God for that "incline," and the opportunity to spend some time with a family at home in Lethbridge that deals with autism daily.
One fabulous lesson I was taught at camp was all about community.
There was on cabin in particular which was "challenging" to say the least. My biggest fear for those two counselors was that they would look back on this week and be reminded of why they never wanted to work at camp again. But, the opposite took place...
On Saturday as I was preparing to leave camp I stopped to say good-bye to these two fine young gentlemen and said hopefully: "I hope this week hasn't turned you off of camp ministry."
They replied to me, "The opposite has happened."
They went on to explain that although the week with the boys was difficult at times, they were so encouraged to see those around them rise up and support them. The head counselor told me that at moments when he felt like he was at the end of his rope, someone would pull him aside to encourage him, or let him know that they were praying for him. When a child ran off, it seemed that there was always another staff member ready to chase after them. "If anything, I've learned more about God's faithfulness this week then any other week at camp."
This is how I believe community is to truly function. Our job is not to allow people to fail, rather to support them in such a way that they succeed when it seems everything is against them.
This is the church functioning how I believe God created us to function.
We've been living in this area now for seven months; we started in basement suite of the house we're now in, and moved upstairs early this year when the opportunity arose. Our neighbors on both sides of us are fairly young. On one side there are renters as well, both upstairs and downstairs, most of which we believe to be uni/college students because we don't see to much of them since school's finished up. On the otherside is a young couple who are both working and currently five months pregnant! We're friendly with our neighbors on either side, but don't really have a real relationship with them.
Yesterday my husband and I were out for most of the day, starting with church in the morning, lunch with the family, and then a bit of time spent with my sister-in-law. When we arrived home in the later afternoon we found our front lawn to be freshly mowed (yum, I love the smell of fresh cut grass!). But who would have mowed our lawn?
My husband's brother headed over to grandma's after lunch to mow her lawn, perhaps he decided to come over to our place afterwards and mow ours as well? Possible, but not likely since we live on the opposite side of town to grandma.
Our neighbors lawn was freshly mowed as well...could it be he?
Sure enough it was.
How's that for loving thy neighbor??? We often quote the "Golden Rule" and are quick to tell other to "love thy neighbor as thyself," but how often do WE actually follow through with what's coming from our mouths?
Our neighbor Mike, who we hardly know put these phrases to action as he mowed our lawn. Now, we don't have a huge lawn so it wasn't like it was an incredibly straining task for him, yet he still went out of his way to be great neighbor. What an example of what true community should be. Though the relationship maybe isn't there, he showed common ownership, something I think the average person generally overlooks.
We often define community by the relationships we have with one another, but community can also be defined as "a group of people living together in one place, esp. one practicing common ownership." I think it's about time we start building community, but just not in around our close relationships, lets start building good communities around common ownership; around "loving thy neighbor."
I’ve just finished reading ‘Too Small to Ignore: Why Children Are the Next Big Thing’.
“The leader of Compassion International shares his inspiring boyhood adventures growing up in an African village and challenges us all to change the world – ONE CHILD AT A TIME. Why are children easy to ignore in the busy mainstream of human life? They rarely cry out if overlooked-or worse, traumatized or abused. Yet it is vial for the future of humanity that we make children a priority in every area of life. That’s the battle cry of Dr. Wess Stafford who heads up Compassion Internationl, the highly regarded international ministry to children. In this moving manifesto, he speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. With inspiring true stories, Stafford delivers compelling argument for championing children worldwide. Children are victimized by war, pornography, and prostitution, as well as by lack of funding, feeding, education, and protecting. Yet in a few short years, the world’s challenges will be theirs to manage. Now is the time to act on their behalf and invest in children because they are Too Small to Ignore.”
If you don’t have a heart or concern for children, reading this book will surely change your point of view. It’s not really a secret that I’m passionate about kids worldwide. Reading this book totally reiterated my heart for children and re-fueled my passion for the children of the world.
This book definitely come highly recommended by moi, although I’d like to slightly alter the title to ready ‘Why Children Are a Big Thing.’ We keep talking about how children are the future church…I’d like to challenge that thinking by saying that children play a crucial role in the church TODAY! But if your mind is in fact in the place where you are thinking that children are the future, please put some actions behind your thoughts (or possibly words as well) and treat them with dignity, respect, nurture and love, for if they are indeed our future we better better be taking incredibly good care of them...and not just OUR children, but the children of the world. The destiny of this planet rests in their hands...
"Character Connex is a school assembly program developed specifically to teach good character traits to your students. This high-energy program captures all the senses, featuring video, skits, puppets, games, illusions, and audience participation. Character Connex helps students leave with a better understanding of why honesty, kindness, respect, responsibility, as well as other good character traits are important to exercise and cherish."
Even though our assembly went great (we presented Preseveance today), and the children were very receptive the greatest part for me was something that had absolutely nothing to do with me, or with our team. It had to do with kids...
Before we were even given the stage the school presented some awards and such. One of the awards was presented to a man from a charitable organization, although it was so much an award but a gift. This man received a thank you card from the grade 1 & 2 students for the presentation he shared with them. He was also presented with a check for over $2000 to send to children in developing country. $2000 was collected from the grade 1 & 2 students in two weeks!!!
I was moved to tears by this presentation (partly because I'm just a big sissy). These kids showed the whole school that they care about social justice, that they see what's going on in their world and they're not going to stand for it.
I've heard it said that this younger generation is selfish, spoiled, and have not been taught manners. You cannot look at these grade 1 & 2 children and tell me that they are selfish, spoiled, and have poor manners...
Interestingly enough, my husband & I have joined a company of people who care about the starving Haiti and Africa. We've made a stand that today we will fast in honor of those who have no choice but to not eat, and all the money that we would be spending on food we are instead sending to an organization that will feed children who are starving.
Just so you know, there is a generation that cares for the needs of others.
Two Saturday's ago I celebrated my 22nd year with my family. We were also informed of the death of one my great uncle's that day...
This past Friday was a celebration of my mum's 50 years of life. She tells everyone she's got another 40 to go.
Today I will be celebrating my great uncle's life that was very well lived.
Tomorrow, will be a celebration of my parents 30 years in marriage.
I'm learning more and more that everyday is precious. Every second of my life is to be cherished and used wisely.
When I was in high school one of my favorite quotes was "a minute spent angry is 60 seconds of wasted happiness." How true...
Today as I said good-bye to my husband he held me in his arms and told me that loved me. I'm glad we said good-bye like that because (God forbid) it be the last time we see each other.
I'm realizing its not worth it to hold grudges, to be easily offended, to get the last cut in, to want to get revenge...
Today I'm choosing to celebrate and cherish the moments I have. I resolve to use the time I have wisely...to TAKE TIME to give
a word of encouragement...
to slow down and just celebrate the people I love and the moments I have.
It's my birthday tomorrow. 22 years old. Wow.
It's weird to think that I'm at the age that I once dreamed of, doing things that just a few years ago I was wishing would become a reality, or in some cases doing things that I thought were impossible!!!
I remember being in high school and day dreaming of the day that I'd be in Australia. Who knew that my first two years out of high school would be spent doing exacting what I was dreaming of all the way through high school?
When I returned from Northern Ireland the summer of 2003 I remember thinking I wanted to be in fulltime children's ministry. There was no way that I thought it would happen within 3 1/2 years.
When I was in grade 10 I had a dream of my wedding. As always with dreams like that I couldn't see the face of my husband, all I knew is that he was my best friend. Three weeks ago that dream also became a reality.
Unreal how the things that were secrets of my heart have become a reality in my life.
Yet not so unreal...
God has an interesting way of making things come together. And all I can say at this point is I can hardly wait for the next 22 years (and more!) of my life. Who knows what's to come next...all I know is that the best is yet to come :)
Today aunt JoAnne (Matt's mum's sister) arrives from Barry, ON. The party is just starting. Thursday our good friends will be arriving from L.A., plus my aunt Judy & uncle Joe from Regina, SK. And from the there the excitement will just build.
Not to mention tomorrow my day starts with coffee with my best friend Sarah (who's also a bridesmaid!), then I get pampered for part of the morning and FINALLY get to pick up my dress!
I'm loving it...
But I'm also looking forward to the break & much needed holiday following the wedding...bring on the honeymoon :)
It truly is not about me. And despite my occasional princess outbursts, it still is not about me.
Truth be known it's not really about you either. You may try to make it about you, and I may try to make it about you, but somewhere in the mix the focus changes again.
Sometimes I'd like it to be about you, just to prove that it's still not about me.
But ultimately it's about Him. What He wants. What He desires. What He's destined.
One day I'll get it. And live it. And it won't just be words out of my mouth, but the very things that I do right from my heart.
ps:"you" is not you...or anyone in particular who's reading this.
And so this week...I prepare to be away for two weeks.
And how amazing it will be to be away from here...
from the busyness life...
with the one I love.
If you think about it you can join my future sister-in-law with prayers for my sanity :)
I got my starter kit for our VBS this past Friday. I must say I'm pretty darn pumped to be a crazy scientist for a week this summer. Science was actually never my strong point. No problem though, I'm not being graded on my experiments or lab reports this time...just having a ball with kids and leaders.
The CMN (Children's Ministerial Network) in Lethbridge is once again joining forces to put on the greatest 4 (possibly 5) weeks this summer. Mornings consist of Group's Power Lab, and afternoons are spent all over the city doing fun activities from swimming to mini golfing to bowling and everything in between.
If you happen to be around Lethbridge this summer from July 21-25 and think you'd like to impact children's lives let me know!
Also...check out this website for more details of what our mornings in the lab will look like:
Someone in my life who's very wise made a comment the other day that seems so true at this time in my life. She said:
"Normal is a setting on your washing machine."
How true! What seemed to be normal last year, is no where close to what normal is to me this year. In fact, "normal" seems to be changing everyday. It's becoming normal for me to be over tired. It's becoming normal for me to have way to many things going on in my head. It's becoming normal for me to be pre-occupied with work/family/friends... It's becoming normal for me to dump on my fiance and family members. In fact, it's almost becoming normal for me to be grumpy.
Hopefully all of this too shall pass...it seems that everything else that's been normal in my life has.
The only thing that I've come to know to be really normal, is my God. In the midst of everything else that's happening He remains steady and strong. He still loves me even after I blow up and scream at Him for what I see as unfair and hurtful circumstances. And, God has blessed me even more, by not only being available to me, but by putting incredible people in my life who are available as well. People who I know would drop anything to just let me cry in their arms. People who don't except an explanation for the scowl on my face. People who are allowing me to work through things at my own pace, in my own way.
I'm daily discovering how undeserving I am of all that God has blessed me with. I come up short and will continue to...yet, here I am, by the grace of God. With people around me who love me unconditionally, just as God does. That's normal to me...even though the daily dealing of my life seem as far from normal as can be.
And yesterday...I received NEW pots! With a box full of great recipes from some amazing cooks!The domestic goddess within is about to be unleashed...
It seems like this past year has been a roller coaster, with extreme highs and extreme lows. I thought with the beginning of 2008 the extreme lows would be over and things for the most part would just mellow out with the few occasional highs. Hmmm...seems like yet again God had different plans...although the year has just begun so who knows.
Wedding plans continue as per normal (basically non-existent b/c we have everything more or less figured out). Except for the occasional (and by occasional I mean pretty much never happening) like speed bump everything has been going along fine (37 more sleeps! WOO!)
Work continues on. We're still in a transitional period, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel. God has taught me so much about serving HIM over a vision, a person, a ministry etc. And He continues to teach me that it really is all about Him, regardless of what I or anyone else thinks.
Interesting how when man's agenda gets in the way, and we as humans attempt to take total control of what He's entrusted with us, He comes in and takes control back even if it means completely shutting down what He first entrusted us with.
And one day all of the tears that I've shed, and all the pages I've journaled will make sense as I look back on this incredibly crazy season in my life...and I truly do believe that is all this is...a season.
I'm a bit over the usual church bulletin board things. I mean really, what worked while I was a child in Sunday School has probably quite working (not that bulletin boards EVER REALLY worked that well anyways). But what to do???
In Genesis 1 it talks about the creation of the world. How creative is God that He would have come up with the whole idea/concept/whatever you want to call it for the world as we know it? He thought up every animal, every plant, He even thought up each person before we even came to be (Psalm 139:16).
When the Bible tells us about the creation of people it says:
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
God created us people in His own image. Physical image, maybe not so much since we don't know what God looks like. But, emotionally I'd say we've been created in His image. AND we're creative like God.
When I share about the creativity of God I often share a story about ducks...
One day I was sitting by a lake with a good friend of mine having a cuppa and catching up on life. As we were chatting five ducklings waddled past us. For some reason these ducklings caught my eye. It wasn't unusual to see ducklings by this lake, in fact that was a "ducks crossing" sign near by the lake we were sitting at. The thing that caught my attention was that each duckling was different, from the colour of their feathers, to their feet and their bills. Each one of these ducklings was uniquely different. It was at that moment that our incredible creator spoke softly to my heart showing me that He cares not only for every person that He has created unique, but that He also cares so much for all of His creation that He would create ducklings unique as well.
So as far as my show cases go, I know that I have the somewhere within me the same creativeness that my God has. And I'm so looking forward to that creativity coming forth as I create for His glory.
My thinking is along the same lines as Tancer when he writes:
"I've always thought of these two chains as polar opposites — one designed as a sophisticated faux living room where customers could get a decent coffee drink and read their newspapers; the other, a riot of plastic-and-vinyl booths and bright fluorescent lighting where meals are counted in billions served. I wondered if it was really possible for these two worlds to collide."
Definitely an interesting read which you can find here.
I love having out of town guests even more.
(I think I get this from my mum).
I'm really loving having Essie here, although she doesn't really feel like company, more like family.
It's amazing how the wonder and awe that she has for things here in Lethbridge is giving me a renewed sense of pride in my city.
I'm also being reminded of how cold I found it when I returned from Sydney. We may have mild winters here in Southern Alberta, but it is still freezing comparatively!
Today Essie got the grandiose tour of The Miracle Channel. Yet again I was reminded of how huge and elaborate the station is. I often take it all for granted when I'm being taped.
Oh, it's all so incredible and fresh again. See, Essie is always the best thing to happen to me!
I love her! I love having her here!
Some mis-communication along the way and a lack of attention to detail on my part sent Matt and I to Calgary yesterday to await the arrival of my dear friend Esnath. After waiting in The Calgary International Airport for 3 hours after flight 851 from London Heathrow landed, and a conversation with Customs, followed by a conversation with Immigration, finally led Matt and I to the Air Canada desk where we learned that Essie wasn't on the flight from London.
One phone call to my mother helped us find our answer...Essie departed on January 10th, and arrives on January 11th.
So, once again The Calgary International Airport is my destination, and today I will have Essie with me finally!
Wow, God has a sense of humor or something...
On a good note: yesterday was a lot of fun with Matt, despite our semi-stressful moment in the airport.
I kind of flew under the radar when I came in this morning. Which was nice, tucked away in my little office and hardly no one knew I was in...until Marty came saw me. The secret was suddenly out.
This afternoon I was minding my own business working away when Teaka and Andy ambushed me for Ambushed Interviews on BTS.
Thanks for letting the secret out Marty :)
Essie is probably one of the most incredible people in the whole entire world. If you've met her you know what I'm talking about, if you haven't met her you should b/c she'll encourage and inspire you so much.
I first met Essie while I was in Australia. She was a year ahead of me and was involved in TV Media, while I was involved with Hillsong Kids, so we didn't spend much time with each other until I was in my 2nd year of college, and Es in her 3rd.
I moved into 1 Skylark Crct, the same house as beautiful Essie, and from the point on my life has never been the same.
Essie is an incredibly safe place for me. She's a vault, seriously! You tell that woman anything and you can be very sure it will never leave her lips. She's also very good at bringing me back down to earth, which is a good thing for someone who is easily excited!!!
My amazing, beautiful inside and out friend is coming to my amazing country for the first time ever and I can hardly wait!!! AHHHH...two more days!
I read an article on the Golden Compass and Pullman this morning and highly recommend it (check it out here).
To all you good Christians out there I'd like to say what the author of this article closes with:
Shouldn't I be praying for him instead of condemning him? Shouldn't I be looking for ways to show love and respect to the man, even as I look for ways to expose the flaws in his work? Pullman's not likely to reconsider his notions about God if those who believe in God organize a full-scale assault against him and his work.
Now, looking back and where I've come from, and looking forward into what I'm headed into...I say bring it on! I'm ready for 2008. I'm ready for new challenges. I'm definitely ready for new success, and I'm most definitely ready to be rid of all the crap that was around me last year.