Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I have to say that today was an awesome day! Why???
Well, it started off with a terrible, massive headache that I believe came from inhaling a terrible funk...I went to clean the loft for friends who were moving in yesterday and when I opened the frig/freezer I was BLOWN AWAY by a horrible odor...from...pkgs of frozen broccoli, spinach that were left in there and thawed when the power was turned off and now are completely molded and rotten!!! ugh, the worst odor EVER!!!

It took a good hour to clean that mess out and I guess the odor filtered into my brain and caused it to gag and give me a massive headache.

Anyway, I got up, took some tylenol and got ready to go volunteer at the Ronald McDonald house from a few hours. Ivey and I were given the chore of cleaning out and organizing the pantry. We spent 2 hrs. purging and organizing lots and lots of canned goods. We had fun and both love to organize. It felt good to accomplish that huge task.

Then, Elijah and I finally washed my car. And then I hung out in the yard chatting with my neighbor about raising children, Christmas giving, our spoiled culture...catching up on things.

A little later I got a call from good friends who were coming to Macon and wanted to stop by and visit. Woohoo! I haven't seen Keisha since they adopted Faith, so I was all for that! What a great time we had catching up (just a little). I think Keisha and I could always sit and talk for days on end if we were given half a chance. Ya, know in between kids running through and getting us off track. It was SO good to visit if even for a short while. Keisha, come back soon! I miss you girl!

A good day indeed...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This is today's post from Desiring God, which so explains exactly what Ivey and I talked about yesterday...

(Author: Jon Bloom)

Each year Christmas night finds members of my family feeling some melancholy. After weeks of anticipation, the Christmas celebrations have flashed by us and are suddenly gone. And we're left standing, watching the Christmas taillights and music fade into the night.But it's possible that this moment of melancholy may be the best teaching moment of the whole season. Because as long as the beautiful gifts remain unopened around the tree and the events are still ahead of us, they can appear to be the hope we are waiting for. But when the tree is empty and events are past, we realize we are longing for a lasting hope.So last night, as Pam and I tucked our kids into bed, we talked about a few things with them:

Gifts and events can't fill the soul. God gives us such things to enjoy. They are expressions of his generosity as well as ours, but gifts and celebrations themselves are not designed to satisfy. They're designed to point us to the Giver. Gifts are like sunbeams. We are not meant to love sunbeams but the Sun.

Putting our hope in gifts will leave us empty. Many people live their lives looking for the right sunbeam to make them happy. But if we depend on anything in the world to satisfy our soul's deepest desire, it will eventually leave us with that post-Christmas soul-ache. We will ask, "Is that all?" because we know deep down that's not all there is. We are designed to treasure a Person, not his things.

It is more blessed to give than receive. What kind of happiness this Christmas felt richer, getting the presents that you wanted or making someone else happy with something that you gave to them? Receiving is a blessing, but Jesus is right—giving is a greater blessing. A greedy soul lives in a small, lonely world. A generous soul lives in a wide world of love.

It's just like God to let the glitter and flash of the celebrations (even in his honor) to pass and then to come to us in the quiet, even melancholic void they leave. Because often that's when we are most likely to understand the hope he intends for us to have at Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Will They Know What it Cost?

24 Dec 2008
Glynnis Whitwer

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NIV)

My daughter Cathrine went on a field trip to the Grand Canyon last year with her fourth grade class. As I picked her up upon her return, she couldn't wait to show me an adorable little stuffed brown bear. She started to say that it was for everyone, and then her words got jumbled up as she tried to explain how she ran out of money when she was trying to buy gifts. I could see she was distressed but wasn't sure why.

To understand the rest of the story, it might help to know that Cathrine was born in Africa and experienced deprivation of every sort for the first 11 years of her life. Although she has ma de remarkable gains, she struggles with communication and math - especially money.

After we got home that night, I understood what Cathrine was trying to tell me about the bear. She had originally taken $20 of her own money to buy a souvenir of some kind. Before buying herself something, however, she wanted to buy some small gifts. So she started with two of her teachers and bought them each a small ring with the first initial of their last names. I looked at the price on the rings and saw each was $3.99. Times that by two, add tax, and Cathrine would have been left with $11 for other gifts and herself.

I imagine she stood at the gift store counter bewildered by what she had just done. She probably was embarrassed to ask any of her classmates for help. And maybe the teacher wasn't around. There she stood with just over half of her money left, and three brothers and a sister left to buy for. She decided to get a group gift, and that's where the bear came in.

Standing in our kitchen, looking at the three items she purchased, I smiled brightly and told her how everyone was going to love their gifts, and what wonderful purchases she made. She smiled back and the night ended well.

The next morning as she wrapped up the little rings, I kept thinking about those two teachers who were going to receive a gift. All they would see is a little silver ring. They are wonderful women and I knew they would be very loving and appreciative. But would they truly understand the sacrifice Cathrine made?

Would they understand that their gifts cost Cathrine half of what she had? Will they understand the frustration and worry it caused Cathrine as she realized she didn't have enough to buy her family gifts? Would they treasure those little rings, or would they put them in a drawer with gifts from other students throughout the year?

As I pondered these thoughts, I considered a gift I was given 2000 years ago as God sent His son into the world as a baby, knowing Jesus would die on a cross for me. Do I truly understand the sacrifice of that gift? Do I understand the anguish God the Father must have felt? Do I treasure this gift, or do I take it for granted?

Christmas is a time for celebration. It is also a time to remember God's sacrifice. For it is in understanding the cost, that we fully appreciate the gift.

Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank You this Christmas season for the gift of Your son, Jesus. Help me to fully grasp what this gift must have cost You. As I give and receive gifts this month, help me to remember that the relationship I enjoy with You, and the eternal life I look forward to, came at a great cost. For that I am truly thankful.
In Jesus' Name,

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Birthday Party for Jesus

Elijah, Harrison and I attended a birthday party for Jesus at the Woods home on Monday. Elijah excitedly asked us twice if Jesus was going to be there!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Keith worked hard yesterday to put in our new kitchen floor...he did such a great job! One step closer to house going on the market.

Friday, December 19, 2008

no hustle and bustle here...

Haven't sent Christmas cards (yet), haven't baked one thing, haven't wrapped one present, no parties, no performances or class parties...ahhh,

This year has been such a non-hectic holiday season for me. I'm not sure why... but I have enjoyed the sanity. Our schedule hasn't been filled with rushing here and there and I think I like it! With the 567 closing for the holidays, Keith has been home alot more which we have all really enjoyed.

So, what have I been doing??? Just hanging out with four extra girls and their Mom. Jennifer, Emma, Makalya, Bri and Ana have come over a few times and we have just enjoyed each other. We have alot of catching up to do with them being way over in Spokane for the last many yrs. Patrick and the 3 boys will arrive in Ga today much to the delight of the girls, then they will all officially be here! We are so excited to have them join us in ministry and look forward to hanging out together.

These girls sure love a fire!

My first amaryllis

Streak is NOT very ladylike!

Bri loves Lady

Lady loves Makayla

The girls laughing at the dogs howling

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And the Loft goes to......

J.D. and Corrie! Yeah! Our friends from Dothan who are moving here in January to do ministry with us at New City have decided to move into the loft. We are a little jealous, but it would never have been a practical move for us having 3 kids and no yard. But we are SO excited for them and look forward to hanging out at their place!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Christmas tree

Mom made the crown topper for us many yrs ago when she was selling them in the garden center. We usually alternate the angel and the crown. This is our first real tree in about 10 yrs. and I love, love the smell of a real tree. We gave up a real tree because I was OCD over it dying and dropping dead pieces off every day. I vacuumed around it daily, now I have recovered!! and we can get a real tree!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Does God Really Care about Me?

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.
I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
Psalm 61:1-4

Friends can’t make you feel accepted all the time.

Accomplishments will never truly make you feel secure.

Having lots of people around you does not mean you won’t ever feel lonely.

And chocolate, while it is deliciously distracting, is just a little too temporary.

Instead, turn to the One who is Everlasting, Prince of Peace, Emmanuel - God with us. I draw close to Him so He can help me separate solid truth from shifting emotion.

Rejoice as you read God’s solid truths upon which we can find a firm place to stand and a sure place to park our feelings.

Shifting Emotion:
I don’t always feel noticed by other people. Everyone just seems to be wrapped up in their own lives. Sometimes I even wonder if God notices me.

Solid Truth:
God not only notices us, He is with us at all times. We are to keep ourselves in God’s love whether we feel Him or not. By praying, and filling our minds with God’s truth, His love will grow in us and through us. Then we won’t be so consumed with wanting others to notice us. We will become people who notice others and let God’s love shine on them. Jude 1:20-21, “But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”

Shifting Emotion:
I don’t feel very loved. Therefore, I don’t feel like being very loving towards others.

Solid Truth:
We are dearly loved by God. His love enables us to display compassion, kindness and patience even when we don’t feel like it. Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Shifting Emotion:
Does God really care about this situation I’m in?

Solid Truth:
God is with us. As we cry out to Him, we are reminded of His help. Proverbs 61:1-4, “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”

Monday, December 8, 2008

My cousin, Jennifer, along with her 4 girls,moved from Spokane, WA to Macon, GA this past weekend. Her hubby and 3 boys stayed behind to see the movers come and also do some painting to prepare the house for we hope a quick sale. God will have to do a miracle here in this time of the economy, so that is what we are praying for. They are coming to help us at New City Church!Just one of the HUGE ways God has answered our prayer for leaders in ministry for our church. Pray for them as the family is split up right now and as the deal with moving away from friends/family for the last 10+ years The men are hoping to drive over starting Friday. They will
be staying in her parents house for the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Our first fire of the year...well, actually our first fire in this house! - thanks to my hubby and our friend Dave!
Tonight the older kids went bowling and so we had Dave over for Los Patios soup, sour cream biscuits and the Alabama game. Most of it turned out great!
Earlier today, we went to pick out a tree, which went fairly quickly. Keith tried to get us out really fast, but while he went to find outlets, we searched more for the "perfect" tree, and we found it. You know it is the right one, when you notice other people around you watching "your" tree and saying, "wow, that's a good one."

So, we got it! It was the heaviest one they had I think.

I got tickled watching others pick out their trees while I waited for ours to be trimmed. I saw one man walking their tree up to the check out, only to hear his wife say," I changed my mind, I don't like that one." "Oh, I thought I was done, he told the husband in front of him. "There were many others just like him going through the motions of holding one up for the wife to look over, only to have her want to see the next one in a line of hundreds! Too funny!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy 41st Birthday Keith!!!
We love you!!!
Amy, Ivey, Robby and Elijah

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last night we had a guest over for dinner, his name is David and I almost didn't recognize him. I saw him at our service on Sunday, but he had a ponytail mohawk. Last night, he was clean shaven...beard and mohawk. I asked him..."didn't you have hair on Sunday? He said yea, but I cut my own hair and I decided to take it all off when I was doing a trim today."

When Keith called me last night to tell me he was bringing David home for dinner, I told the kids the bmx dude was coming over. They got funny looks on their face and their thought was...oh, a crazy homeless guy is coming for dinner! ...But, I knew better.

We so enjoyed sitting around asking him all kinds of questions, listening to him play his drone flute and Ivey's guitar. I was also enlightened to how cruel and crazy our law enforcement can be when they are faced with a guy riding a bike through their county ( don't you know that homeless men are all out molesting kids and burglarizing churches??!) NOT REALLY! That is just one thing he has been accused of on his journey through the South. (He stopped under a covered area at a smalltown church to avoid the coming storm, look at his map and take a break...the next thing he knew he was surrounded by deputies, being accused of all kinds of nonsense.)
Anyway, read about him below....in this post from Keith's blog.

I didn't get nearly enough time to talk to David - maybe I'll find him downtown tomorrow.David heard about us through the "Come to the Fountain" crew.
Here's what David wrote on his 'Info Card' at New City:I would like to be loved without judgment Other - just passing through.

Thanks for the warmth & vibes
by Eva DameronDaily Lobo

David Wray is riding his BMX bike across the United States and writing a book about it.

"I've got the introduction written," Wray said. "It's kind of hard to be experiencing everything and still find the time and focus to take notes. I'm definitely going to tie in a lot of other angles, like spirituality, politics, art, freedom."

Wray left Monterey, Calif., in June and arrived in Albuquerque mid-September with a 130-pound trailer strapped to his bike. He's staying at the Albuquerque Bicycle Park BMX track, where he bathes in the janitor's closet and helps maintain the track and supervise bike races.
Before he started the trip, he was a calibration technician, using skills he learned in the Navy, working in California and living in Portland, Ore. He said the job was trying his integrity.Then he lost his job, his house and his fiancée - all in one fell swoop. Facing credit problems, he took his car to the Monterey, Calif., coast on June 6, and he tried to blow out the engine.
That didn't work, so he left the car there with a note on the steering wheel that read, "This car belongs to the Navy Deferral Credit Union." Then he got on his bike and left town."I've just had it," he said. "I've had it. I've had enough of expectations. I've had enough of manipulations, whatever angle that comes from - whether it be family or relationships or job or just everything that had weighted me down and kept me from doing things that I really wanted to do. I'm going to live this adventure and see what happens."
Wray began BMX racing at 12 and got well-known after winning some big races, he said.
He rode through Death Valley for three days in 120-degree weather, he said. He can't go faster than eight miles per hour, because it's a single-speed bike hauling a 130-pound trailer. He went through Las Vegas and Colorado and ended up in Albuquerque via Taos and Santa Fe. Wray said he has been resting in Albuquerque while his broken shoulder heals, but he's fine with that because he's not racing against a deadline.
"I am planning on ending up in Maine," Wray said. "That's the one state that I've never been to. From here, I'm going to keep heading south. I've never been to Roswell.
From there, go through Dallas, Austin, Houston and then New Orleans. And from there, I'm going to go through Mississippi.
"In Mississippi, he said he wants to see the crossroads from the legendary story of Robert Johnson, the grandfather of delta blues. "I've recently learned it's actually a railroad crossing, but in the legend it's told as a dirt road crossing," he said. "He's there at midnight, and he's got a guitar on his back. And he's not sure what he's going to do with his life.
"Then, Robert Johnson meets the devil. "And the devil's like, 'If you make this deal with me, I'll give you this guitar sound and that'll be your signature on history,'"
Wray said. "So I want to go to that spot and then, from there, see what happens. Maybe I'm due for a deal - and I'll make one."