Grandparents deserve honor

I love that our school honors the Grandparents of our students. Each year they put on a special morning just for Grandparents. Randy’s parents and my Mom have been able to attend a few of them since attending our school. This year was so much fun.

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The kids started out by showing their Grandparents their classrooms. And then they moved on to some outdoor activities.

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Watching Grandma and Grandpa’s hula hoop was entertaining in itself. And by the looks of the picture of my Mom with hands wide open with hula hoop around her shoulders you’d think there was some praise music blaring and she was in a state of sheer worship. Nope. She was hula hooping from the neck down. After all, she was the hula hoop champion back in the day. True story.

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A little beach volley ball and some fun snacks and story time with a book called, “How to babysit a Grandpa” added to the fun. Our teachers put this special day on and they did a fabulous job.

We just had a great visit with my Mom and now we get to have another wonderful visit with Randy’s Mom and Dad. So we’ve had Grandparents in the house and the kids are loving it.

Signs of Grandparents visiting:

  • Late bedtimes for the kiddos because the Grandparents begged for it
  • Overlooked instances that would have gotten you a whoopin’ as a kid
  • Sugar highs from ice cream dates
  • Hearing this quote, “Well, that’s just what a Grandparent does”

If your kids don’t have any living Grandparents let them adopt a Grandparent from church, your neighbor or a local nursing home. Our kids need the wisdom of an older generation.

 

The realization you ARE the “older woman”

I’m just wondering how it slipped by me that I am officially an “older woman”. I mean seriously I did not know this until I was at the Beth Moore simulcast on Saturday (which was really awesome) and at one point she had groups of people standing for prayer. She invited all the “older women” to stand to be prayed over. For them to have clarity of mind. To invest in younger women. I figured I would be in the next category of “younger women” when I started to look around, oh but no. She explained that all the women 40 years and older should stand. So I stood. And my younger friend sitting down in all her cute youthfulness looked at me and mouthed the words with sheer evil in her eyes “OLDER WOMAN”. I about slapped her because this was a true coming out moment for me. I have truly considered myself the “Younger Woman” in need of many mentors pouring into me.  So there I stand with all the “older women” realizing that God is calling me to step it up in my willingness to own my age and the value it has especially in mentoring younger women. I can no longer view myself as just one of the young crew who soaks up but doesn’t pour into others. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not bashing myself. I do pour into other people as God enables me and gives me opportunities. But it’s like he has now stamped it in cement for me. I have more of an ownership in my leadership. I can’t really explain it. I’ve always been a little “behind the times” – ahem, hence learning I’m an older woman at the age of 43. This doesn’t mean I have to act all old womanish – like my current voicemail suggests. (Yeah, my seven year old has left a message in the all time best old lady voice saying, “This is Melody and I’m turning 43 today and I really don’t talk like an old lady.”  And that’s better than the first one she recorded which said, “This is Melody. I’m turning 43 and I’m an old woman today so please give me my present before tomorrow because I might die I’m so old.” Oh my word! ) I’m still going to wear funky clothes, embrace my tattoo and dance like nobody’s watching, when nobody’s watching, and play practical jokes on people. But I’m viewing my life differently and asking God to give me the strength to be the older woman he wants me to be.

Meet my Mom – she’s an amazing older woman. She came up for my birthday and we had a great time together. I’m so fortunate to have a godly Mother. And a silly Mom. Love her so much.

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Okay, so how about you? When did you realize you weren’t a teenager anymore? And please don’t say when you turned 20. Because I’d feel so foolish.

My friend – she got saved and baptized and I’m in awe of our God!

Nothing thrills my heart more than to hear how someone comes to know Jesus as Savior. Even more exciting than that is to watch someone come to Christ. To sense the presence of the Holy Spirit moving, softening, and awakening one’s soul is indescribable. I’ll never forget when Tanya came to church for the first time. I was in Junior church teaching where her daughter would be in class. Tanya stayed the first time making sure her little girl was settled and comfortable. It wasn’t the little girl who was uncomfortable though, it was her Mom. Clearly she was not so sure about the whole church thing. She’d been before. Her husband is a Christian but Tanya would later share with me over dinner that she felt like an impostor at church. A fake because she didn’t really believe it all. She’d never confessed that before. We talked about a lot of different things that night over dinner. At one point I was encouraging her to read the Bible to get to know Jesus. I said something like, “Not only do you get to know Jesus but the Bible has some awesome wild stories in it.” I loved her candid response. She said, “Yeah, I know, and about that……Moses and a burning, talking bush? Really. Come on now. That’s hard to believe.”  I laughed out loud and said, “Tanya, God is okay with your questions. He loves you in the midst of your doubt. And if you ask Him to reveal himself to you  in a way that you understand and believe, He will do it.”

An hour after dinner we went to hear Candace Cameron Bure speak at a women’s event. It was incredibly wild to hear her speak and to address the very things that Tanya had spoken about at dinner. They had similar stories in some ways. It was as if Candace had been at dinner with us that night and just continued the conversation. At the end of the night they gave an opportunity for women to come down and pray at the altar. It was during that time Tanya gave her life to Jesus. The things she was clinging to she let go of and told Jesus she trusted him with her life and for the forgiveness of her sins. It was the most beautiful thing ever. We cried, hugged, prayed and on the way out she said, “Man, I feel like I need a cigarette!” I seriously considered smoking for the first time myself I was just so excited.

Fast forward six months and the landscape of Tanya’s life is still changing. She has disciplined herself in the reading of scripture, discipleship, connecting with our church family and growing in her relationship with Christ. To watch her respond to Christ has been one of the greatest joys of my life. She has pushed through the uncomfortable and the completely unknown out of a heart for Jesus. She has helped remind me that going from knowing nothing about Jesus and church culture to following him is awesome but hard at times. Humbling even. It’s not a big deal for someone who has grown up in church to flip back and forth in the Bible. But to a newbie in Christ tabs are a great way to help find books. But this can feel intimidating. Not knowing terminology that we use a lot at church can be confusing at times. I was clued in to this during one of our discipleship times. Tanya said, “You keep saying ‘the fall’. What is ‘the fall’?” I knew what it was but it stopped me in my tracks because I had never really broken that down and thought about the chosen words to describe the change in all humanity. It’s just what you call it to describe that very big huge thing that happened in the garden. Tanya has stretched me and forced me to take off the layers of “just because” to really having to think about why we do what we do as followers of Christ. She doesn’t care that I’m a pastor’s wife or that you might be a deacon. She isn’t impressed with labels or positions. She doesn’t flatter or try to impress. She is simply on the road to following Jesus.

In response to baptism early on she wasn’t ready and didn’t want to get baptized because she didn’t want to do it for the wrong reasons. After studying and reading what scripture had to say about it she is responding to Christ in obedience through baptism this Sunday morning. Ahhhh!!!!!!! I’m so excited.

Tanya, I am so happy for you, proud of you and encouraged by you. There is no greater joy than to watch your life change because of Jesus Christ alive and at work inside of you. I am praying for you and celebrating with you this Sunday what God has done and is doing. We serve an amazing God who loves us dearly. Let’s keep following Him and learning and growing together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dads & Daughters working together – it’s special

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Oh she eats her Daddy up. And working with him is one of her favorite things to do. He lets her take the roller in hand and stain the entire back porch while he bends down and smooths out the gloppy parts. Every single stroke. It would be easier for him to do it by himself but he invites her to join in and do the work. And for that she loves him all the more. They take their breaks together and get back on it. I find it funny that when working with her Daddy she takes on a “work language” with tough girl hard working accent as if she had a wad of chew in the side of her mouth. But no Red Man for her today. Just Dad’s hard working side kick.

This brought back memories for me and I told Randy today, “Oh, I think every little girl likes to work with her Daddy.” My Dad loved to work and I loved to work with him. I remember going down to the basement and trying to help him organize his space as a little girl. He taught me how to scrub the garage floor, wash cars, do yard work, paint and much more. But the thing we all remember was when I was trying to be ‘just like Dad’ and painted the garage door – royal blue! About 5 vertical strokes into it he realized what I had done. I love that he took a picture of me with roller in had and the random strokes of blue paint. Occasionally as a family we’d gather in the game room and have a slide show and somehow this picture always made it in. I thought that was totally epic.

Dads, never ever underestimate the power of working alongside your daughter. Teaching her patiently. Letting her make mistakes and even taking the long route just so she can be involved. She will hold on to those memories for a very long time.

Interrupted – by Jen Hatmaker

You will laugh. You will cry. You will ask, “Are you allowed to say that? You’re a Pastor’s Wife!” These are just a few responses to expect while reading Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. I love this girl. She is hysterically blunt and has a passion for loving others right where they are for the purpose of showing them Jesus. Here’s her heart cry:

“When a Christian consistently treats someone with compassion or demonstrates integrity at work, the gospel wins a hearing. We can continue to invite unbelievers to church, but we must first invite them into our lives. Have them over, go to dinner, welcome them in. Create a safe place for them to belong without agenda; they needn’t worry about following our Christian rules yet (or pretending to in front of us). We must become their advocates, embracing them as dear friends so they might one day feel comfortable belonging with us. This is not a strategy for rapid church growth, but the patient hard work of love is the way of Christ.”

Jen helps us understand our role as a follower of Christ as it relates to unbelievers – and Hello – this is why we exist really. Not to make us happy and feel good (don’t even get me started) but to bring glory to God by sharing his love and Truth to the world around us and even the world not around us (ie: supporting missions). The idea that we must reach our community for Christ by not expecting them to come to us but by us going to them. And loving them and treating them normal. Not pulling out weird Christian freakisms like, “Hi we love Jesus and want you to love him too and by the way we think Halloween costumes are wicked.”

Jen and her husband left a very large traditional type church setting after feeling the stirring of God in their heart. Her husband was a pastor but they were feeling God call them into something different. Isaiah 58 had a huge role in their lives being “interrupted”. If you have never read this chapter oh please do so. I will always remember where I was when I read Isaiah 58 for the first time. It was about 8 years ago and it absolutely astounded me. God takes so seriously our taking care of the needy and the poor. And this chapter reminds us so clearly of that.

So Jen and her husband and their family packed up everything and started an entirely new approach to church. They are church planters in Austin, Texas where they do life with the homeless, addicted and the marginalized. They feed the hungry and build homes for the homeless. They throw block parties. They help schools. They go to the people in their community and love them. And they speak the love of Jesus after they have shown the love of Jesus. Many of these people end up coming to their church. So yeah, it’s not like the Hatmaker’s are anti organized church. Their understanding of scripture wouldn’t allow them to go there. It’s just that “church” goes on all during the week by the people of their church. Sundays they come together for a church service and then disperse and do it all over again.

We all have heard of Jen Hatmaker’s books and especially her book “7” which is not fun to read because it’s so stinkin’ convicting. Don’t read that book. But in her own words “Interrupted” is her heart cry and what she wants people to read. Her husband, Brandon Hatmaker, also has written a book called Barefoot Church” which is pure awesomeness. I want everyone in our church to read that book. So good!

Interrupted has reopened my eyes and heart to serving the marginalized. It has been the perfect book for me to read as our church dives into an upcoming community outreach at a neighboring park. I love how our church is taking baby steps to being the outward facing church that Jesus has called us to be.

Have you read Interrupted yet? If so, what did you come away with? 

Um No

 

 

 

Um No

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00-6OyXVA0M

Red Hot Faith – A Bible Study Give Away

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I am so excited to be telling you about a Bible Study called “Red Hot Faith” taught by my friend Cindy Bultema. I met Cindy at a conference a few years ago and it was an instant connection and love for this sweet woman of faith. She has an incredible testimony of God’s grace in the midst of tragedy. She is an overcomer by God’s transforming power and she is the greatest encourager I know. You will love her too!

Red Hot Faith is an 8 week dvd based Bible study on the church of Laodicia. It is a practical study that engages your heart and helps you flesh out what it means to have a red hot faith. I came away with a new understanding of what it means to be hot or cold for Jesus Christ. It’s not what I thought it meant all these years!

Okay, so I have an extra copy of her Bible Study to give away. All you have to do is leave a comment about how awesome I am, tweet it, instagram it, retweet it, snapchat it, take a picture of you eating a red pepper AND stand on your head. That’s it people! And you could be the winner.

Kidding. Although it would crack me up to see some of you standing on your heads.

Just leave a comment below and way to contact you so that when we do the old school drawing ie: all the names go in a hat and the chilrens draw a name, I can contact you for further address information.

If you don’t win this drawing and would like to order Red Hot Faith hop on over here to order yours.

An idea for Grandparents

I wanted to share an idea of something my Mom did for Mitchell and Sophie that has really meant a lot to them and to us. In efforts to keep my Father’s memory alive for them she created a keepsake box for both Mitchell and Sophie filled with special items from my Dad. He always kept a wooden box with little treasures in it. Sophie got her box over the summer and was beyond thrilled to have it.

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She loved the wordless book, the monkey carved out of a peach pit, the little flashlight and the stop watch and the tiny knife. She listened as my Mom told her why each thing had significance. My Dad has a fabulous Case knife collection and so knives were always something he loved. In honor of that she got Sophie a pink lady’s boot pocket knife of her own. She was beyond thrilled. So yeah, my seven year old carries a knife. No, she doesn’t. I’m kidding. It stays in her special Grandaddy box.

My Mom said she looked for a long time for the right wooden box for both Mitchell an Sophie. She went in to countless antique shops and various stores trying to find what she was looking for but really anything could be used. So if you’re a Grandparent wanting to build a treasure for your Grandchild consider this idea. I know she’s my Mom and it’s my Dad and all ……but I still think it’s a great idea.

 

My Mom is the bomb!

There’s nothing better than pulling off a fabulous surprise. And that’s just what I did for my Mom’s 77th birthday last week. My sweet husband was in full support of me taking off early Saturday morning leaving behind a house full of yellow and black decorations from a bumble bee theme party the night before. No food in the house and dirty laundry. Bless him up one side and down the other because he not only held the fort down but he actually cleaned it up. I don’t deserve that kind of awesomeness.

I conspired with my sister and brother and so they had my Mom thinking she was having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with my sister on Saturday night but instead it would be me. Of course there had to be some drama before it all went down and it involved a very scary make over that left me looking like I needed to be walking 14th street downtown Atlanta in fish net hose and spike heels. I was so excited to be seeing my Mom that I exceeded the speed limit to the tune that I was an hour and a half early. So I decided to kill some time by getting my make up done at the Lancome counter. The make up artist worked on me for about 45 minutes and used approximately 13 different brushes. You’d think that might clue me in to the fact that I’d be looking “layered” for sure but I was so tired from driving and relaxed that it never occurred to me I’d be wearing more make up in all my make up wearing years all put together. It wasn’t until she handed me the mirror that I realized I didn’t recognize my own self. My eyes looked like raccoons – thick dark black layered eye liner and several layers of mascara. Sparkly stuff on my eye lids and color tinting on my brows. I could see my mascara without looking in a mirror. That ain’t right. You’re not supposed to walk around with a black halo effect in both your eyes because of your make up. I didn’t want to hurt the lady’s feelings so I just thanked her and paid for the make up and ran, I say RAN, to the closest bathroom. But as soon as I got there I realized I only had 5 minutes before meeting my Mom. I grabbed several wads of toilet paper and started taking off layers of the make up. I just hoped my Mom would know who I was.

The waiter and hostess at Cheesecake Factory were all in on the surprise and saw a picture of Mom and were expecting her. As soon as she came in they escorted her to the booth I was sitting in with my back to her. As soon as she was about to sit down she saw it was me and took two steps back, gasped in shock and turned to the waiter and said, “Oh my goodness, that’s my baby.” She filled up with tears and we hugged. I couldn’t help but think, “how embarrassing –  a 42 year old baby that looks like a hooker” As soon as Mom sat down the next thing she said was, “Your eyes.?” So I started splainin’. She actually liked it but I had to remind her I had taken off a ton of layers. We had a good laugh about it and talked about all the fun surprises we had planned for her over the next few days.

The greatest thing of all happened on my trip back home. I was halfway home when my Mom called to tell me that at her Dr’s appointment that morning they told her she could come off the oxygen she’d been on for a few months. This was a direct answer to our prayers and the perfect book end to a wonderful surprise birthday visit. God is so so good. I shared this testimony in church today because so many of our church family had been praying for my Mom to come off the oxygen and they praised God with us over His perfect timing in answered prayer.