Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Speaking of Waffles

We weren't were we?
No - ok good.
Just felt the need to get some end of the year words on here before December rolls out and 2010 hits.
2010 - How did that happen?
Doesn't it seem like yesterday that everyone was stocking buckets of water and cases of Twinkies in their basement for Y2K? :OP

This year has definitely had its ups and downs. I guess you can say that with any year. Somehow I didn't get all my goals hit. Didn't get as many hours taken as I intended. Just wasn't exactly what I had laid out.

But 2009 goes down as a full year of Gina and Al - good stuff.
2009 saw two good visits with the North Dakota crew - which rarely happens with them in the far, frozen north.
2009 saw lots of laughs with my Van Buren crew and no real scuffles (even with the 4th of July rain out).

All-in-all 2009's joys well outnumbered its sorrows and since I had named it "JOY" in the beginning I call that success!

So welcome 2010!
I vow to laugh more... hug more... smile more... pray more... praise more...
I vow to worry less bout what others think and more about what God thinks.
Really there are a bunch more thoughts in the brain tonight but nothing for y'all yet (all 4 of you) but I will say that suddenly I cannot wait to see what the new year brings.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There Should Be Warning Signs

You know that comedian who tells people "here's your sign" when people do something stupid?
I totally think that signs could be put to good use in many areas.
Like how often could I use a sign that said "Warning - Hormonal - Approach with caution..."  :O)
I'm not saying today was or wasn't one of those days... I'm just saying... it could be helpful some day.

Today was another tough day as we had our last choir rehearsal with Kim and Suzanne Noblitt. What a blessing those two have been to my life! One of the toughest things about working in ministry is that God shapes His people so often by moving them in seasons. This season has been extraordinary and I hate to see it end. The Noblitt's have such a passion for leading people to know God through worship. Both Kim and Suzanne just OOZE the Holy Spirit and they are a joy to know. I sure will miss them.

Also up today - did I mention the hormonal influx?  I know... TMI right?  I think everyone should be warned though you know... if you see me all weepy... HEY WAIT... I can totally blame it on like a Christmas song or something right? I seriously spent like 10 minutes composing myself at Sam's yesterday thankyouverymuch KLRC Christmas music. It had nothing to do with someone pushing the wrong verbal button... it was the MUSIC... yeah... music....

Night everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Christmas Story

My friend Eric is doing Christmas stories on his blog and asked for some submissions. It challenged me to get some of my thoughts together.

It was a few Christmases ago and my entire family was together for Christmas. This happens rarely for us now because my brother is up in the snowy north. But that Christmas his family had traveled down to be with us. We were all together. However as the token single in the family it never felt like the entire family was together for me because I always knew/felt that someone was missing.
That Christmas, maybe because we were all together again after so long apart, the missing person was a painful place in my heart. Now anyone in my family reading this little story will have no idea of that most likely. Because that fact and what happened next weren’t something I have shared until now.
Some point during that night it was time to settle in and I realized that I had left my overnight stuff and pillow out in my car. I needed some outside time anyways so I headed down the hill to my car to get them. Between opening the house door and the car door I started sobbing. It was a pretty good pity cry. It was Christmas. I was surrounded by my family but I felt so alone that it was overwhelming. I don’t remember my exact age at that time (easily 30 or late 20’s) but I had been praying on the way down this hill. Why am I still single God? What exactly IS wrong with me? I cannot go back in there again with everyone and be ok. I cannot do it.
Something caused me to look up in the middle of my little pity party and what I saw stopped me in my tracks.

Christmas night skies are somehow different - more magical. They are radiant. That particular night sky was the clearest sky that I have ever seen, with bright twinkle-stars, and in my view was my own breath in the chilly night air.


It was a moment of perspective for me that came from seeing that perfect moment of night sky.

Rewind 2000 years. Granted I am the first person to say that Jesus was most likely born nowhere near December 25th but He was born. According to Luke there was a night where the sky lit up and a host of God’s angels appeared to frightened shepherds announcing the birth of His Son. There was a night where a virgin gave birth to a Son. The same Son years later lived, endured, died, resurrected and lived again.
It’s not just a story.

Perspective… came from seeing my breath in that perfect night’s chilly air and thinking back to that similar quiet night. What a difference one night can make.
Unto us a child was born who would be the Savior of His people.
Somehow with that realization “alone” just slipped away and “loved beyond reason or deserving” came to replace it.

I stood there for quite a while marveling in God’s creation of the night sky and of my own very blessed life. It’s a vivid moment that I can still slip back to.
Merry Christmas!
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests”

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

If You Lived Here… You’d Be Home by Now

So I haven’t written in a bit. It’s been crazy. We do a LARGE Thanksgiving ministry here which I get the joy of helping coordinate each year. But while I love, love, love it - it kinda sucks the energy and time from my October/November each year.  This year we got to provide Thanksgiving meals for over 3100 families and saw over 5,000 people come through the doors of our two campuses.  Over 1,000 people came to a relationship with Christ with 111 of them following through with baptism. It was a great weekend.

But due to the “hustle and bustle” each year I hit December unprepared for Christmas to BE here already. The panic starts to hit me early and the starts to ebb as I settle into the season. This year things seem to have just been a bit more bustle-y. We got to celebrate my dad’s 70th Birthday with some neat surprises for him. Al’s birthday is coming up. Our Christmas program at church is the 13th. There are concerts and parties and lots of people that need to be seen in this next month.  Add to that the fun of my brother and his family coming in from North Dakota at the end of the month and you see where the craziness is coming from.

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and forget what is important about this time of year. There are a couple of focuses but first… why the weird title?  :O)

I know not everyone who reads this little blog is going to be a Christ-follower. You know me (probably know me at least), then you know that Christ is my center and the definer of who I am and want to be. It’s a relationship that I take seriously. I’m not perfect. I’m definitely a world class screw up. But I am His with all my heart. I do what I do, how I do it because of Him. I write what I write, because of what He has done within me. Because of that I know that this world is temporary and it is not my home. The problems, battles, issues and crud that I face are things I face as I pass through to home. For some reason today as I was thinking through a situation that’s just making me sad right now I had this picture in my head of this sign I used to see all the time in front of an apartment complex: “If you Lived Here - You’d Be Home by Now.” It may seem like a strange comparison but I realized that a lot of the “people” battles I face are because I am a square peg trying to feel at home in the round world. If I “lived” here… I’d feel at home right now.  But I’m still trying to get home!

Meanwhile - back to Christmas.  :O)

Focus # 1 - Christ… for me this is the season when so many people are open to talking about faith. It is a great chance for me to share what I believe. We get to minister to so many people at this time of year. Christmas just opens those doors to share.

Focus # 2 - Family - like em, love em or tolerate em this is the time of year when we all get to be together for lots of extended time between November and December.  I’ve been blessed with family who don’t just like each other, but love each other. This year we will actually all be able to be together around Christmas for the first time in quite a long time.

For me personally Christmas traditions are important for a variety of reasons. I’ve always had in my head those things that I wanted to do when I had a family of my own. There are things that I have seen/heard over the years that have struck me as important, fun and/or meaningful. So here are some of those ideas. I would love to hear yours as well - all 4 of you! :O)

Reading of the Nativity Story - Certainly Christ wasn’t born on 12/25 - probably nowhere close to it. But if we’re picking a day to celebrate Christ birth then I definitely want to take time to remember it.

Watching for Santa - Now… I stopped believing in Santa when I was 3 probably because I have two older brothers with big mouths, but we almost always took a little drive (I know now it was so our Christmas presents could get into the house since we celebrated on the Eve and “Santa” had to come to our house early). We would go out and look at lights and dad would always see him somewhere. That was our cue to head back to the house. “I think he’s headed over that way.” It was a little inside joke after a while but it was fun and a great memory for me still.

Putting up the tree together on the Friday after Thanksgiving - I always did this for my parents before I had a place/tree of my own. I think it would be really fun to make this a family event because you can tell the story of where the ornaments and stockings come from. That is how family history is passed down, in the stories from year to year.

Making Gingerbread Houses - I got to participate in this family tradition with some girlfriends of mine with a lady that was mentoring us at the time. She does it every year with her grandchildren. We were like little kids making our houses. It was fun!!  And yummy. Even with little kiddos if you have pre-made gingerbread this can be a blast - and OH the memories.

Well I’m out… this blog has taken me off and on over a day now so I think I shall post!  :O)