Juggling!

I remember a friend a while back, during my brief dating phase that consisted of dating one man for 2 months before marrying him, that I’d be “bored” with a pastor’s life and a life dedicated to the ministry.
Bored. Okay, I kind of want to speak to just the ministers and their wives for a second but we have to wait for them to quit laughing so let’s just move on.

This life is anything but boring. Challenging, exhilarating, frustrating, multi-tasking, demanding, inspiring? Yep, all of those. But boring? This is a vocation, friends, that offers a daily change in events and scenery, to say the least.  Sundays in the pulpit is a portion of the responsibilities but it isn’t even close to the proverbial ball of wax!

My husband is a counselor, career coach, business advisor, custodian, arbitrator, social worker, servant coordinator, eventsmanager, CEO, fundraiser, recruiter, trainer, scholar, writer, hospital visitor, cheerleader, wedding coordinator, burial officiant and manager. In between all of that, he somehow manages to be an amazing husband, father, friend, and papa.

The truth is that pastors weren’t called to do everything within the church but it takes time to develop the critically important Ministry of Helps. If only those serving in the Helps Ministry knew just how important they are!

But, anyway, when you have all of those responsibilities and pressures on you and then you have an amazing opportunity to merge two churches under one roof, watch out! God is so good and He provides all that we need so my husband and I are just casting the vision and taking steps as He leads, stopping in our tracks when He leads, making u-turns and stepping on the accelerator when He leads. I don’t want to simplify how difficult all of this is, either~ God doesn’t send a telegram. He doesn’t typically sound the trumpets when He’s about to speak to us. No, it’s the still, small voice. Sometimes, it’s so small you need to wait to hear it repeated so that you’re confident of what you heard… but you already know that if you’re a Christian in the truest sense.

Anyway, would you commit to keeping us in prayer? There are many things happening and we could use the essential undergirding of the body. We’d like to keep you in prayer, too…. feel free to email me at PastorAmy@occonlinechurch.com

Blessings!

God-Soaked, Spiritual High

Hi friends, I’ve missed you. I’ve missed my fingers tapping the keys and sharing things with you.
Warning! Disclaimer! I am writing this while being on a God-soaked, spiritual high. If you’re a Christian, you know that kind of high I mean; it’s experienced, typically, when you come together with fellow believers and this special anointing fills the house or the church or wherever you happen to be. I liken it to a feeling similar to coming out of a warm shower, slipping into the most comfortable baby soft pajamas and then resting your bones between crisp, clean sheets and a fluffy pillow for a peaceful rest. It’s so good. Altogether comforting and enveloping. We want to just stay in those moments for as long as possible, don’t we? We just want to inhale the fresh smells and feel the billowy elegance of it all.
That’s what this spiritual high is like. My husband and I joined a few dozen other pastors, along with a couple hundred fellow believers for a Holy Spirit Conference that OUR pastor, Dr. Mark Barclay, holds a few times each year in various locations. I believe this is my 4th or 5th attendance. I can’t even begin to tell you my favorite part because it could be the amazing fellowship, friendship and support we get to experience with Pastors connected with Dr. Barclay~ NO battles for position or recognition, NOTHING but love. That’s not always seen in the body of Christ, sadly, but it IS in regard to this network of righteous preachers! My favorite part could also be the praise and worship that invites and ushers in the Holy Spirit in a way that “entertainment” praise & worship teams cannot. Maybe my favorite part is watching people be touched by God in every single meeting over a 4 day period. Maybe my favorite part is when I am personally touched so deeply that my senses are a little numb to what’s going on around me; the carnal world feels as though it no longer exists in that moment or two or that hour.
This is what we will experience someday when we reach heaven, I believe. This euphoric thing that words cannot touch.

How long I lived without the possibility of these experiences because of the choices I made or because of the climate I resided in~ one where God was not FULLY invited. Because of its relevance to this post, I must tell you about a time, several years ago, that someone close to me chastised me for “always having that Christian station on the radio” and I promptly, without thought, turned it off and replied “then we won’t listen to it anymore”. Surely you can see how blatant my message to God was but, if not,  I’ll help you out.  “God, you aren’t welcome here if your presence irritates someone. This someone is important to me and I care more about what they think than what you think. I honor and respect them more than I honor and respect you.”

That stings. It  stung God and it breaks my heart every time I recall it. I despise recalling it.

I didn’t invite God FULLY in and I missed out on this spiritual high I often partake in now. I was lukewarm. I was uncomfortable with where I was and wanted more but I felt unable to be FULLY in without FULLY losing some people and things in that decision… and so I stayed in the uncomfortable yet comfortable place of stagnation.

I’m so grateful to true, authentic people of God. I’m so grateful to my husband who has the unenviable position of not only being my local church pastor but my husband, as well. I’m grateful that I can reflect on what was, see what is and joyfully anticipate what will be. I’m grateful for all of the tough seasons along the way~ even those things that appeared as loss. What I have gained far surpasses anything I’ve lost and that may be the biggest understatement of my life.
So I want to just leave you with this…you know that person or thing you’re afraid you’ll lose if you become a radical, all-in Christian? Stop worrying about it. Let God work all that out (and He does, I promise you!). Just surrender your fears and reservations and get ready for the ride of your life.

Blessings!!

Reacquainting Myself With An Old Friend

I logged in here just yesterday, to my old blog companion of over 8 years, to get reacquainted and to play around with adjusting themes, colors, photos, etc.  I have some very longstanding friendships that often get placed on the back burner, unintentionally and regrettably, due to time constraints and lack of good planning. My blog is one such friend. We’ve walked through my big milestones together, that’s for sure. Like any authentic friendship, we can pick up where we left off despite time apart. In fact, time apart is sometimes good for us.
I was telling friends last night that if a person were to go back to my initial January 2010 post and read forward, they wouldn’t even have to meet me to know me. It’s all there.  I spared you the gory details of the not-so-fairytale stuff and tried my best to give you the highlights of the good stuff… but it’s still all there.  I type and then I publish~ outside of editing any spelling mistakes (oh, how I abhor spelling errors!). I don’t change anything I’ve typed because it’s what I wanted to say and why second guess it? It is what it is.

I was chatting with my friends about the possibility of making this more of a thematic blog (which is, by the way, what the experts recommend). Pick your area of expertise or interest and make that the focus of your posts, they say. Here’s the problem with that recommendation, however. I’m not interested in just one thing. I’m certainly not an “expert” in any one thing.. or anything, for that matter.
I want to be able to write about what divorce looks like, what remarriage looks like, what parenting adult kids is like and what it definitely shouldn’t look like, what my dog did that cracked me up, the things grandchildren say and do, what marrying a pastor is like, what being ordained is like, what signing up for a 10k is like when you are relatively sure you can’t run to the end of the driveway without needing a water break, what stupid menopause is like, and what the cure of the symptoms is like (thank you, GOD, for HRT).

I’ve got a lot of random thoughts that some people happen to relate to.
If they can’t relate, they can just laugh with me. I’m cool with that.

So I’ve decided against a ministry blog. There are thousands and many are amazing. I’m keeping the blog about this abundantly blessed, complicated, often hysterical, sometimes heartbreaking, always grateful life I’ve been given. Today, I woke up with this little thought that I want to share with you. What was the single best year of your life?
The year you graduated from college?
The year you married?
The year you landed the big career making position?

I can’t explain why these thoughts land in my brain and take root but they do. So I started thinking about it and there have been some great years in my ever growing collection and there have been some downright sad ones, too…. but I can honestly say that 2018 is shaping up to be my best year. THIS year is the best year of my life and here is why. I’m living MY authentic life. Not a perfect one; not a problem free one; an authentic one.

So I want you to do a mini self examination. What are the obstacles keeping you from living your authentic life?

Can I let you in on a little secret? It always starts with us.
Be blessed!

S.O.S.

Since the latter part of November, I’ve been working on a little project that I anticipated would bring in provision for my husband and myself while also throwing a substantial wrench into an already full schedule.
I have a very typical way of doing things~ act quickly. Strike while the iron is hot. Work out the details later. Admittedly, sometimes it works out really well and sometimes it’s a catastrophic disaster because I say YES when the answer should have been a big NO. My approach (or self taught excuse) has always been “if I don’t seize this opportunity, despite the many problems it could potentially cause, what if I miss my big break? What if I miss what is MEANT for me?” 

 

We want what God wants but do we always stop to ask Him if this is really what HE wants? Does He answer and we kind of wince at the answer and so we pretend we didn’t hear Him correctly? If we do, it’s because we want what WE want and we’re only pretending to fall into submission. One more thing before I climb down off the soapbox…a good decision isn’t necessarily a GOD decision.

So in November, as this bright idea formed and my project began, my husband asked me if I felt God was leading me.  I have steadfastly, stubbornly maintained since November, through December, and right up until last night that I wasn’t sure if God was leading me but He certainly wasn’t saying NO to me (maybe I should have been an attorney).  It was true that doors were open and it was true that I didn’t sense any red flags BUT….. this project, while providing some financial gain, would take a giant chunk out of what I am called to do.
What am I called to do? I’m called to be a pastor and a pastor’s wife and that, my friends, is no small thing if you are to do it with excellence. I’m also called to assist the church in administration and, for the moment, my husband and I kind of collaborate and do that multiple hours of the day. We’re a young church and this is the season of “we do it all” from cleaning bathrooms (yep, we had our purple latex gloves on just yesterday) to vacuuming to hospital visits to funerals to weddings to studying. My husband can add message planning and delivery to the congregation at our 3 weekly services (two on Sunday and a mid-week). We stay busy.
So let’s get back to my project. How was this going to fit AND, more importantly, was this going to take me away from my purpose and calling?

I’m about to take you to school~ ready?! Did you know there’s actually a thing called Shiny Object Syndrome? Not even joking.

SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome. It’s not quite ADD/ADHD. It’s more that a new idea captures your imagination and attention in such a way that you get distracted from the bigger picture and go off in tangents instead of remaining focused on the goal. We think of a new idea, we hear of a great new gadget or marketing technique, and ZOOM, we’re off! There’s great energy and excitement in starting something new.

UGH…… the SOS got me again!! How many times do I need to circle this tree?Proverbs 3:6 AMP says this “In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way]”. If you need that in a plainer, slap-across-the-face kind of way, the TBT translation says “Become intimate with him in whatever you do, and he will lead you wherever you go.
Don’t think for a moment that you know it all.”   OUCH. 

Okay. The project has come to an end (gratefully, it was ended for me and so I don’t ever have to naggingly wonder if I missed the thing meant for me). I was lured, with good intentions, by the shiny object. I focused on all of the positive aspects and poo-poo’d the negative aspects. SO after a brief pity party for myself last night, my husband soothed my wounds and then kindly suggested that maybe I need to listen for the YES.

Be Blessed,

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Yes, I realize it’s a New Year. It would be cliche to say “wow, time flies” but seriously….why did the 365 days between my 15th birthday and my 16th birthday seem like a decade yet 2017 was a mere blur?
So Happy New Year. How’d you do on Day 1 of those resolutions? If you snuck in that chocolate goodie that was forbidden, try again tomorrow. Please realize that it doesn’t all hinge on this one day but we all do need to wake up tomorrow and try to do better. We’re on a journey, people!

This month, my blog turns 7 years old.  It’s out of diapers and went through the terrible 2’s and then gained some independence and now it doesn’t even need me anymore! Ha…. I’ve been a terribly neglectful mom to my little birthed blog. We were joined at the hip for quite a few years and then it just got thrown to the wayside because I couldn’t find the “time”. Funny, that brings me to one of MY resolutions for 2018. Make better use of my time. For me, that means picking up my discarded blog, dusting it off, apologizing for my empty promises of reconnecting and making good on my word.

What were the highlights of 2017? Well, Rick and I have a blended family, of course. This year, I finally got to meet his oldest daughter, her husband and their 2 boys. As an added bonus, we got to spend Thanksgiving together in 2017, too. Rick’s youngest daughter had her second child and we were there for that miraculous gift, adding granddaughter #2 to our equation. My daughter’s only son, Killian, turned 1 this year and we drove to Ohio for his birthday party and spent a good amount of time with them this fall. My son married his high school sweetheart in Italy this year. I danced with my son at the reception, naturally, and all I could think of as we were dancing were two things. How my hand used to envelope his tiny one, crossing streets and walking into kindergarten and now his hand enveloped mine… and how I knew I was the best mom I was equipped to be as he was growing up and yet I wish I could have a second chance at it. He’s a blessing and even though I didn’t get it all right, he turned out to be this amazing adult. I also found out that my daughter is expecting a baby girl on Killian’s 2nd birthday so that will round us out at 3 boys and 3 girls…. so far. Wow. Think about it~ in May 2016, I had NO grandchildren and now I have 5 with one on the way. That defies time, doesn’t it?

I became an ordained Pastor. That’s a colossal, humbling responsibility that I endeavor to do well. I am blessed to have as my husband one of the most impactful Pastors I know so I’ve no excuse for lack of modeling.

I lost friends this year. One has gone home to heaven and some chose to exit my life… and that’s okay. I’ve been delivered from worrying about who loves me and who doesn’t. Only one validates me. Only the One. So for those who have spoken behind my back (and I know who they are because the people they spoke to tolerated gossip and spread it back my way~ why don’t people understand that’s how toxicity operates?) anyway, for those who spoke behind my back, you’re forgiven. Your words were ugly but they say so much more about you than they do me.

I made friends this year. I’ve been placed in the path of amazing people. People in our church, people in our Pastors network, people in hospitals, people in restaurants, etc.

This year already has some transitions coming about that I know of and I am certain there are many transitions that only the good Lord knows. One thing remains. His love doesn’t change and He saw fit to give me the husband He had for me that exceeded all of my prayers. Wow. I was such a hot mess and He did all of this for me anyway. Hallelujah!! 

What are you resolving to do or not do in 2018? Here are a few things I’d like to encourage you to do. Get plugged in with solid people. Get plugged in with a solid, bible teaching, spirit filled church. Renew your mind and guard your heart. Learn something new. Don’t be afraid. Be kind. Be forgiving. Love well. Have healthy boundaries.

Blessings,

Are you casual about Christ?

For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [which my moral instinct condemns]. Romans 7:15 

As Christians, we never fully arrive at the destination where our flesh or subconscience doesn’t want its way due to the fall of mankind (thanks, garden dwellers)~  it’s that simple. In other words, we’re never going to perfect this pure thinking followed by pure action intention we possess as a strong, mature Christian. God doesn’t even expect perfection from us. He is fully aware of our temptations, fallibility, and innate sin.

But let’s not make that our excuse.

As a pastor in a church with people who are hungry for the word and for the manifestations of God and for guidance in how to walk this out, I have the untold privilege and responsibility of seeing people begin to crawl, struggle to stand, stand upright and then take off running in their pursuit of our Lord and Savior. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, this growing up of Christians. However, just as the waitress wants to own the restaurant and the bellboy wants to manage the hotel, some baby Christians want to arrive in the knowledge and wisdom of those who have spent a lifetime studying and following Christ. Can God supernaturally equip you? Oh, yes, He can! But that should never be a substitution for doing your part.

Okay, so what is this casual Christian I referred to in the title? Before I give you my own testimony of what that looked like in tomorrow’s blog, let’s give ourselves an honest account of where we stand in the eyes of God. I’m not going to run a marathon before I know of my physical condition, right? (Okay, that’s a bad analogy. I’m never running a marathon….. but anyway)

Are you a skeptic? You’re the one who rolls your eyes when someone quotes a scripture. That’s probably not you because you’re reading a blog about Christianity… but if it is, I encourage you to give Matthew 13:15 a look. For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them. 

Maybe you used to be a skeptic and are now seeking. You have questions and your eyes and ears are open. Well, praise God. Find a good church that’s going to give you the answers because there are answers. I would encourage you to read John 1:35-39. Being a seeker is a beautiful thing but don’t set up house and live there. Seek and find.

So you’re a  believer. Now we’re talking! Changes are happening in your personal life and things that you never gave thought to now bother you and that’s a tremendous part of growth. Celebrate but maybe not everyone in your life will celebrate with you. Sound familiar? I LIVED in this phase of Christianity for years…decades… and I caution you to stand stronger than I did. You might have shallow soil and no roots but you’re an overcomer! If you take a peek at Matthew 13:5-9, you’ll find out what your own soil looks like. Is your soil rock hard or thorny or fertile?

God is so good and now, maybe, you’re a Christ follower. Christ followers are weeding out that soil and getting rid of the thorns and stones that have plagued them from receiving any fruit. Have you ever seen a farmer toil his land? It’s not a vacation~ it’s tough work. The farmer knows it has to be done to produce a healthy crop and he’ll reap the rewards in due season. With me? Persevere.

Are you a friend of Christ? This is where the rubber meets the road. You’re good soil and your obedience is producing much fruit. That waitress didn’t own her own restaurant without the process and you can’t cut corners either. He will give you ALL you need to get there and it’s truly a beautiful journey once we just put soak in His word. 2 Thessalonians 1:3-5 says We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abound toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer.

And, finally, we find ourselves being a disciple. We reflect Christ and we’re making a difference in the kingdom. We have influence. And that’s where we live until Jesus calls us home.

Be blessed,

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a Wedding

Ah, my last morning in Ireland and the first night that I’ve actually slept somewhat soundly! This is what the past 10 days or so have looked like….

Ten days ago, my husband and I flew to Michigan to attend Dr. Mark Barclay’s Ministry of Helps conference. Every one of his conferences are amazing and I wanted to take the whole 5 sessions we were able to attend, bottle them up and bring them home to our church. If people who are serving in their local church (and those who attend but don’t serve, especially!) could just grasp whom they are serving and the excellence in which we should be doing so…but so many go through the motions when it’s convenient and treat serving like it’s optional dependent on whether it’s raining outside, sunny, there’s a football game or if they’re “tired” (my personal favorite) and miss the blessings intended for the cheerful giver.  Commitment and a spirit of excellence is missing at workplaces, in marriages, and in church…. but I’ll save that post for another day.

From Michigan, we went to southern Ohio and had a quick dinner out with my mom, my sister, my niece and her boyfriend, my daughter AND my sweet little grandson, Killian Thomas.  Too short of time to spend together but oh-so-sweet to me. Alas, the dinner was cut short by an early morning schedule because several hours later, Rick, my mom, and I drove to Cincinnati to board a plane for NYC.  This trip, thus far, has been so special to me as I’ve watched my mom take in sights and sounds she’s never seen. She loved St. Patrick’s Cathedral and I am smiling inwardly now as I anticipate what she’ll think about all of the equally and exceedingly beautiful churches she’ll see in England and Rome. A couple of days ago, we wandered through a Catholic Church here in the little town of Adare (Limerick County) that was built in 1270. What a gift to have seen that, walked the Cliffs of Moher, eaten clotted cream and scones, visited with our rented farm cottage’s owner, Bryan, shopped through the narrow streets of Kinsale, played cards by the fire on the quiet evenings, and the many other things we’ve been done in the past 4 days in this beautiful country of Ireland. Beautiful memories. 

In a couple of hours, we’ll leave this sweet little cottage and say good-bye to Miller, the farm dog (a border collie) who greets us by our door every time we’ve come and gone. We’ll leave the greenest green grass and board a plane for London Town! I have to say that taking all of this in with Rick has been so, so sweet. The last time I visited Ireland, it was a little bit of a “pub crawl”. This time has been vastly different; vastly richer. Life is so much sweeter on this side of things.

When I have a little time, I’ll blog the photos we’ve accumulated! So… I’ve got to get dressed and get my British accent polished and ready to go. Who am I kidding~ I’ve been speaking in a horrendous British accent all week while trying to mimic an Irish brogue…. linguistics is not my thing. I try but it’s pretty laughable.

We’re slowly making our way to Rupacanina, Italy where my son will be marrying his stunning girlfriend of 10 years….but there are many adventures that lie between that day and now. My mom and other sister, Denise (who flew in to Shannon and met us a day or two ago) are packed and ready to tackle the UK and the weather forecast looks amazing!

Blessings,
Amy

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Have you ever found yourself ready for a shift? This blog needs a good shift; a good, swift kick in the behind. Today is the day for a new direction, a new commitment and a new focal point but a few things will remain. I’m still the author and so the writing will continue to be raw and always unedited. I DO spell correct (and if you do not, please do) but I don’t get to the end of a post and go back for re-writes or to remove what I’ve said. If I said it, it’s out there and I leave it. I just sort of figure someone must have needed to read it and don’t give it a second thought. The blog will still be about my family, though some of the characters have exited stage left (stage wrong?) and new characters have emerged from stage right. God will move into center stage here on this page just as He is in my life and won’t merely exist as a support cast member.

So if you are catching up and haven’t read my entire post history since this blog began in 2010, a) where’ve you been?  b) you can always bore yourself by doing a quick search of the archives over on the right column or  c) I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version. Please tell me you know what that means. 

Readers Digest version: I got married when I was 20 to another 20 year old and we spent about 15 years doing most things right: raising kids, growing careers, carpools, sports bleachers, family vacations and packed lunches. We spent the next 15 years struggling to hold it together and destroy it. Ultimately, respect, vows, love, like and tolerance were obliterated and the white flag of surrender was launched out of a cannon. There you go~ that’s called abridged.

So let’s talk about that word SURRENDER. Wow. I could write a book on what I’ve learned about that word and there would still be a library full of books covering surrender that I’d still have to learn… but I embrace that word like never before. When I finally fully surrendered, my life took a sharp u-turn and I found myself on a path that had been laid out and intended just for little ‘ol me. That’s what God does~ takes what was meant for harm and uses it for good. Who else but God could do such a thing?

So after I waved the white flag of surrender~ now hear me, this isn’t a “I’m defeated and I give up” flag. NO! This is a “I’m not in control but You are, God, so take this messiness and direct my steps” flag. See the difference? That flag you fly is going to make ALL of the difference so make sure you wave the correct one. I’m not even going to charge you for that valuable piece of wisdom~ it’s all free and you can go and grab it for yourself. Okay, back to my waving the surrender flag….when I did that and finally got out of the way of God, He did some pretty miraculous things in my life.

If you don’t know my current husband, go find him and become his friend. You won’t be sorry~ he takes loyalty, kindness, authenticity and the serious business of having a deep relationship with God to a level rarely seen in today’s world. I’m a very blessed woman.

We got married, we started a church and life hasn’t slowed down since. We are crazy busy~ he has a book about to be published, I am forming my thoughts of whether to write a fiction or non-fiction book of my own, we have grandchildren, we have 4 amazing adult kids, we have a church family, extended family and….. this is pretty incredible…..I’m typing this from a farm cottage in Ireland. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you why we’re here and what we’ve done and where we’re going and who we’re with. Are you ready to begin a journey with me~one that has a little to do with physical locations but far more to do

with the position of our hearts and who we are surrendering to? Oh the places you’ll go.

You have no idea what God can do with a fully surrendered life.

Blessings,
Amy

Having an Esther Moment

Has it really been 2 months since I posted last? There is so much going on that I can hardly believe we’re halfway through August. August has always been my least favorite month of the year~ probably because I currently live in Florida and it’s not only oppressive heat and humidity BUT we’re winding down summer and so I’m weary and bored stiff of the oppressive heat and humidity.
Anyway…. our little church, begun with 11 people and a tiny budget, is celebrating its 1 year anniversary this month! Woot Woot!!! That’s a gigantic feat. Church planting is serious business but I sure can testify to this~ when God is in the plan, the plan will only fail if we’re disobedient.
My husband is a man of great insight, faith and vision. When God dropped the word in his spirit to begin a church (and let me stop here– this was about 30 days after we got married!), he jumped in.  I kind of dipped my toe in the water but he JUMPED IN.  Only God could have done what’s been done at Overcomers Community Church and only God can do what is about to be manifested. Every day, we look at our congregation and we look at each other with that “Can you believe what God is doing in this place??” look.
We’ve taken over 7000 square feet of a plaza from nasty filth and much evidence of homeless squatters to a homey, warm technology filled church in one calendar year. We didn’t do it alone.
We’ve grown from our 11 to roughly 50. Not just fifty butts in chairs, either. 50 people who grasp the vision, who want more than surface motivational speeches, who authentically care about growing up spiritually, who authentically care about the other 49 people they worship with, and who have become like second families to us. From weddings to funerals to baptisms to healings…. how does one even begin to quantify the blessings?
I became an ordained Pastor this year. Not only was I ordained, I was ordained by a man and ministry that I place such respect in; a man of undeniable integrity.
Dr. Mark Barclay, I don’t think I’ll ever adequately understand how God took me and just changed EVERYTHING about me but you saw it and I am eternally grateful. Without you, your wife, my husband and the countless Pastors and leaders I’ve met in the last year, I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t be walking out the will of God the way I am so blessed to be walking it out at this stage of life. I stand in awe; humbled and inspired. 

And there’s so much more to come. Things are happening fast. Esther 4:14 has always been a favorite scripture of mine but I often wondered if I’d recognize the “time” I had been created for. I believe I was born to birth my son and daughter~ I know that in my core. As sure as I am about that, I am equally sure I was born for such a time as THIS. The here and now. What does that look like? Well, that’s up to God and wherever He leads.

Never say never. That’s my BIG takeaway from 2016 and 2017.
God can do ALL things. God can change ALL circumstances. God can right EVERY wrong.

I’m one blessed girl…….

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

Common courtesy has been discarded.
And I continue to be blown away by how blatantly, downright ugly some people wave their flag of rudeness~ like a banner they’ve been awarded! It’s not even subtle anymore~ employers put up with it, co-workers dish it back and forth, families deal with it and the church? Oh, wow, don’t get me started about how ugly people can be inside the walls of “church”. Not my church ~ THE church.
In the last week alone, these are some of my encounters. My husband and I went to a local chain restaurant, were seated and waited about 10 minutes to be acknowledged in our corner table by the bar. That’s another thing~ why are you seating us in the bar when the regular dining room has a zillion tables available? Anyway, when Miss Sunshine finally decided to approach our table after having glanced our way multiple times, visiting the kitchen staff, visiting the hostess and clearing a dirty table, her unsmiling and unfriendly mouth spewed out the following and I so wish I were exaggerating- “Are you guys ready?”
Oh, hi. Hey. No worries about the delay. No worries that we feel unwelcome. I am totally excited about this dining experience and our gratuity.
I got my purse and headed for the car. My husband attempted to speak to the manager but he seemed a little intimidated by Miss Sunshine.

Okay. let’s move on. We paid our new lawn care guy his asking price to clean out our gutters. In April. Two months ago. When we’ve texted him about it, he ignores us. I found him on the street last week doing some lawns and reminded him about it. His response was something about having had a lot going on.  Oh, I see. I responded with a cheerful “no problem. Do you think it might get done in the next week?” He said it would. It hasn’t.   His last promise was it would be done by Sunday and seeing that it’s Sunday, I’m guessing he missed that self imposed promise.

I’ve called several companies about getting an estimate for a screen enclosure repair. No return calls; no acknowledgement. Guess they’re independently wealthy and don’t need to work any longer.

On Friday, we pulled up to our church and both of our reserved spots were occupied. We occupy 6 units in the plaza and have graciously only asked for 2 spaces. Because we had things to unload, we needed to park near the front door and I noticed that one of the spaces had a gentleman sitting in his truck with the engine running. I tapped on his window and kindly asked if he wouldn’t mind vacating the spot because the Pastor needed to utilize one of our spaces. He looked at me like I had 3 heads and said, “Well, can’t you use another spot?” Okay. Deep breath. “Well, actually, these two spaces are reserved for the church and we have the things to unload.” He paused and then had the audacity to snarl, “What if I DON’T move?” UGH……..  you’re a jerk. You’re just a giant jerk.

The point is this. What happened to just being KIND?
Don’t get me wrong~ I know there are kind people and I run into them all of the time but I’m appalled by the snarky, ugly, downright classless attitudes some people are perpetuating. PLEASE STOP. You’re making it super hard for the rest of us to do business with you or to just go about our day.

Today is Sunday. Don’t be snarky to me on Sunday….. I’ve had my fill the rest of the week.

Be kind. Turn the other cheek when you can but don’t be a doormat, either. God doesn’t want a bunch of Christian doormats.

Love you and praying YOUR Sunday is abundantly blessed!