Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Christmas Return

"Excuse me."

"Yes, how can I help you?"

"I'd like to return this Christmas present if I could, please."

"May I ask why?"

"Well, it must be broken. It certainly didn't work how I expected it to."

"I see. Could you be a bit more specific, just for the record? What exactly is wrong with this Christmas present?"

Well, first of all it isn't like any of the others..".

"You expected it to be like the others?"

"Well, maybe not exactly, but at least similar to what's on the package. I'd say it's false advertising at best."

"You mean the promise of joy, peace on earth, love, happiness..".

"Yeah, that mumbo jumbo."

"Ah I see. Let me ask you a few questions. Did you read the instructions before you tried to use this Christmas present?"

"Sure, I've read them a bunch of times. But they get a bit confusing sometimes. It seems like I'm missing a page or that there are two separate sets of directions, and I don't know, maybe my present is missing some pieces."

"Two separate sets of directions? That must be the problem. May I see them? Maybe we can fix this Christmas present for you yet."

"Ah, here's the problem. You've been following the wrong set of directions. That's why this Christmas present hasn't been working as well as your Christmas presents in the past. And you are right, you are missing some pieces."

"This first set of directions says that your present should be filled with unbroken traditions, no change, lots of gifts, no problems, tolerance in all things, and happy happy people all around you (even if they're not)."

"Yep, that sound like the directions we are trying to follow."

"But there is another set here."

"What's it say? "

"Just two words actually."

          "Remember me."

Ah, Jesus I'm so sorrry. I wasted a perfectly good Christmas present trying to make it like Christmas in the past. Things change. but you are always the same, yesterday, today and forever.

I love you.

And Happy Birthday.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meet Me on Monday

I'm participating in a Meet Me on Monday bloghop. After you read mine, please head over to where it all started and get to know some new people! Here are the questions that were posted for everyone to answer.


1. How do you order your steak?

Medium well with just a teeny tiny touch of pink... I have to say though, it doesn't usually come back that way. It's either almost raw or cooked to leather. Any advice on this matter would be appreciated. :)

2. Are you superstitious about anything?
Not really. Although, I have seen a correlation in my life of when I comment out loud that something is going really surprisingly well, it often takes a nosedive in the next few minutes. coincidence, you say? Maybe.

3. Who is your best friend (not including your spouse)?

Jesus, of course.  From Pennsylvania, Angie... We've known each other since we were 10 months old. Our lives are vastly different, but there is a tie there that will never be broken. Can't explain it beyond that!

North Carolina- My friend Kathy hits the top of a fairly long list. I am so blessed with my NC friends.
I was loving Kathy even before I met her because she was to replace me in a temporay job that I had, that I had no business having! When I had kids she became their second mom. (My youngest said she was her "stepmom" once!) When I was down, she'd commisserate, then pick me up. Her stories make me laugh. Time spent with her is a refreshing time, a time of acceptance no matter what.

Georgia - Many possibilites... don't know yet. I think you have to live here for about 5 years before you can have one of those.

4. When is the last time your wore a dress (for the guys...a suit)?

Wow. I have no idea. I sort of remember wearing one at somebody's wedding in NC. Heels hurt my back, so usually it's black pants and flats...

5. Do you have any trips scheduled?
Going to NC and Pa real soon! Will probably go on another missions trip in the spring or summer with my hubby, somewhere in South America.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

hmmm Christmas....

I've been thinking that I should write some sort of Christmas blog. The problem is that depending on the day (or sometimes the hour) I haven't decided how I feel about Christmas this year.

What? you say. How can you, a children's pastor, feel anything but joy and excitement about Christmas?

Well, first of all my Christmas tree has too many white ornaments on it. I know that seems like a very superficial reason to not be excited about Christmas, but really, my tree used to be filled with blue and red ornaments and lots of "Hallmarky" types too... It just doesn't seem like my tree. We must be missing a box of Christmas decorations... And that's the other thing. I've put up nine nativity sets and five stockings are hanging in the hall, but the house somehow seems Underdecorated this year. I'm missing something.

We aren't invited to any parties, we're not having any parties, we haven't connected here quite like I have wanted to. I'm not quite complaining because other years (read- when we lived in Greensboro) we were probably too busy. Some down time is good.

My Mom is in heaven, my Dad is in a hospital rehab center. My brother got a divorce this year (the first in our family); Christmas day is just going to be downright strange.

So that's the "Not So Happy Hour".  Anybody else here this year?

Then there is the "I'm so blessed I can hardly stand it" hour.  My children are awesome. And other then a few sore throats, we are all healthy. We all love Jesus and want him to guide our lives. We live in a wonderful house with a livingroom big enough to spin in. We've managed to buy some Christmas presents even in this economy. We are going to be able to travel to see family this year. We've had a great year of ministry,  training Teen challenge staff all over the world.
What can get better than this?

So there it is. How I feel this Christmas. A lot like that very first Christmas, I think. What again???

Well, I can't imagine that Mary was very happy to be heading to Bethlehem being nine months pregnant, you know? And then when they got there, to be told that there was no room in the inn? I would be fit to be tied! I am sure that she was pretty tired and grumpy by the time they got settled in the hay. And I"m guessing that she had probably been having labor pains all day! Man, what a Christmas!

But all of that frustration changed for Mary as soon as that little baby was born .  When she saw that sweet little face and those teeny tiny God hands everything negative and hard was forgotten... for a time.  Yes, He changed everything for Mary.... and for the rest of us...  for all time.

We'll have our moments of yuck occasionally, I'm sure. But because Jesus came on that very first Christmas, we can have more than a just a "Happy Hour". We can have a "Happily ever after." And that's what Christmas is all about, nt my silly old Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

"What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander" (Or ) "Message to my Potential Daughters in Law"

Dear future potential daughter in law

Since I  wrote the official "husband wannabe" letter the other day, I think it's only fair that I pen one for those that potentially will be my daughter in law. The problem is (and yes I feel very guilty writing this) I've thought a lot more about what I am looking for in a husband for my daughters than I have for my son's wife. 
Why is that, you ask?
I've been spending my time trying to make sure he is a good husband for you!

After thinking on it for a few days, here's "the list" that I've come up with...

The  no brainers:
Love Jesus more than you love anyone or anything else. Put him first always. Be involved in ministry. Share what God is doing in your life. Be brave and wise with your words. Secondly, know that in this family, marriage is forever. You do whatever it takes to make it work.

Here's what we'll be watching for:

Be fun!
Prepare to be a missionary's wife.
Love children.
Be an encourager.
Enjoy life!
Have a gentle spirit.
Be a lover of all kinds of music.
Be fun!
Listen. Think before you give advice.
Liking NCIS is probably non negotiable.
Don't nag or nitpick.
Be a reader.
play games, but don't play games with his heart. Or I'll play games with your head.

Know that if you win his heart, you will have it forever. And don't ever take it for granted.
Be fun!
Know Gibbs rules. (Okay, not really. but it probably would impress him!)
You should probably learn spanish.
Be forgiving, easygoing, and a little bit organized.
And last but not least, have fun!

We will love to have you as part of our family. I can already hear you giggling in the next room when he says something funny. I can see you smile at him that special couple smile when you think I'm not looking. I'll try not to give too much advice (unless you ask of course) but you will need to know that I plan on spoiling my grandbabies (especially the blue eyed ones!)

I'm so looking forward to meeting you in about 8 years or so. Until then, study your Bible, practice the fruits of the spirit, be wise with your relationships, and learn those Gibbs rules! :)


Sunday, December 5, 2010

To the Husband Wannabees

To the future suitors (read... potential husbands) of my daughter,

I've told my daughter since she was five years old, that the decision of who she marries is the second most important decision of her life, and that we would be assisting her with it. I think she's good with that.

On that note, I feel it only fair that I give you a heads up about what we are expecting from you.

You're very welcome.

 Here are the no brainers. First of all, you need to love Jesus with all of your heart and it needs to be apparent to everyone that you do. Are you talking about what He's doing in your life? Do you study your Bible? Do you attend church? Are you involved in any form of ministry? These are the questions we will be asking.

Secondly, if you have dated longer than six months, you need to treat her like she is the second most important relationship in your life. Now, that doesn't mean you leave all of your friends in the dust, because you need them too. As a matter of fact, if you don't have any friends except her, forget it. She's not the one for you. She's going to need to foster her other friendships too.

You need to be able to make her laugh. And you need to love her sense of humor.

Blue eyes is a plus, because I'd love some blue eyed grandchildren. But if you don't have blue eyes, no real problem, I have two other children. Maybe they'll find a blue eyed spouse.

You need to be a good communicator. You need to share your dreams.

You need to have a passion and a dream that will coincide with hers.

You need to be secure in who you are so you can help her to shine.

Being financially secure is a plus.

You might want to learn to cook.

You need to have a great relationship with your mother. I've told her to watch carefully how you treat your mom. That will say more about you than a fully loaded resume'.

You need to be willing to spend time with her family. You don't need to adore us, but it would be good to at least like us a little bit.

You need to love kids, reading, and Disney movies. (Okay, you don't need to love Disney movies, but tolerating them would probably be a plus.)

You better be at least a little bit romantic.

Keep your promises. Always.

Wooing her is great- but if wooing turns to manipulating, I will find you and manipulate your face.

Some sort of manners is expected, correct grammar would be awesome: No swearing, yelling, or putting someone down...

Not too much to expect if you are trying to win a princess, eh?

Here's what we'll do:

We'll meet your family. Love on them. Make them feel at home.
We will come visit your church and yes, you better go regularly- If the pastor doesn't recognize your name, it won't be recognized in this house either.
If you are "the one", we will love on you like you were our own son. You'll be teased, honored, invited on vacations, smacked with snowballs, and asked advice, all of what helps make us a family. You'll even get an ornament with your name on it to put on our Christmas tree!

And the most important thing: We'll give you our precious, amazing, filled to the brim with potential, wonderful daughter to be your one and only forever and forever.

It will be great to meet you... some 8 years from now would be good.  Until then, grow in Jesus, practice the 12 fruits of the spirit, treat your parents well, get a good education, go on a missions trip or two.  And know that we'll be praying for you.


Your future mother-in-law
(We'll figure out what you can call me later.) :)


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November Novel Writing is finished!

In case anyone was wondering where I've been for the last month, I thought I'd blog a short explanation. I've been exploring the possibility of time travel! Yep, found a manual and read through the rules and suggestions for a good and safe trip, and it sounds exhilarating. Where did I find this manual, you ask? It was inside my brain all along. Couldn't believe it when it showed up in my novel.

Okay, Here's the deal. I signed up to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November. I started out the first two days or so writing a story about a woman who was newly separated from her husband and trying to figure out what went wrong.  After two days, I decided that this character and story was WAY too depressing to hang around with all month, so I started over.

What was interesting with this new story is I just started writing and the ideas never stopped! I'm still not finished with it yet, but I think I know the ending and I think within a few months I might actually have something that I will be brave enough to share with all (7) of you! :)

Write on!