Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Advent Adventure is about to begin!

The Advent Adventure is about to begin.... so please join me and celebrate the season of Advent through creative ways that you, your family, your friends, and your Youth Group can do together to fellowship, to create memories, and most importantly and renew and refresh your relationship with the God of the Universe that came as a baby to save us from our sins.  Wow - what a reason to celebrate.  

Colossians 3:17 says, whatever you say or do - do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ - so this year whether you are shopping, fellowshiping at friends house, attending or participating in a program we are to be an example of Christ.  

So now I invite you to join me in the Advent Adventure Journey - it begins tomorrow and will appear daily until Christmas.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Operation Christmas Child Collection Week

It is hard to believe how the time flies but it is National Collection week once again for Operation Christmas Child - this is a project that we have been involved with for over 15 years..... and this year we are even more excited to introduce the project to our little girl.  Though she isn't old enough to know what is going on - she loves to participate even if she ends up just being a cute little baby sitting on the large pile of boxes that were packed yesterday at our packing party.

The party was to go from 2-8 so we arrived around 4:15 to help do some boxes, maybe do some wrapping, but as we walked in the door they were packing the last box - 360 boxes were completed in a little over two hours.  How awesome!!!  Thank you to Vonna Knouse, Teresa Shaffer, and Rachel Mingle for all your hard work!  (and any one else that was in charge that I am forgetting!)

Check out our little video!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mommy/Ella Time

I had my first overnight away from my little girl.  It was a great get away for me to spend with some girlfriends doing some scrapbooking.  So when I returned today all I wanted to do was have Ella time so after feeding her I decided to try on her new snow suit and this is what she looked like..... I know I am biased but she is too cute!  And seems to be a little immobile in her new suit!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Thankful November

Last year my sister in law Michele came up with a great idea.  She decided that for each day in the month of November she was going to post something that she is thankful for.  I love the idea!!!  Not only do I want to steal it - but wouldn't it be great if for the next four weeks we turned our focus towards that positive!  You don't have to just say something you are thankful for on facebook - the sky is the limit!  You could send a note of thanks to someone by email or snail mail each day of the week.  You could also take this idea to your children.  Each night at dinner time you could share something you are thankful for.

As I mentioned before - I just love this idea!  And when my little girl is old enough I want to be sure I have some special tradition we do in November to remind her how important it is to be thankful.  Just last night I was looking at a catalog that had a large tree made of fabric and 30 leaves on it that were numbered and were pockets (very similar to an advent calendar) and each day you put a note or something special that you are thankful for.  What a great idea - I would love to make one of those by next year!!

So let me start my month of thanks today - Joel's Sisters

I am thankful for Michele (Joel's sister) not only was she my favorite for the first year of our marriage (that was manditory since she helped me do a bunch of wedding stuff for me)  But I am thankful for her friendship to me but also to Joel (they were both single for a while and were best of friends!) Thank you for loving Joel as a best friend, thank you for welcoming me to the family and thank you for using your shopping skills to find me great deals!

I am thankful for Andrea - she loves to love!  She gives the best hugs and loves to jump on the bed when at retreats!  (long story)  Thank you for planting seeds in my mind about how wonderful your brother was, though I was resistant at the time, it was the best gift you could ever give to me!

I am thankful for Melanie - I am thankful for your kind spirit.  You are caring and compassionate and you have an amazing gift for decorating!  I will always remember the day we were sitting by the pool at the outer banks and you were wondering about Joel and I and if we were going to get married.... oh how fun it is to look back to that time.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Marriage and Ministry

Assuming the Worst

Why is it that I always assume the worst?  What do I mean by that?  Let me explain…. In the past several years of marriage and in my decade of serving in ministry I find that my mind often goes directly to the negative.  For example, if I ask my husband to help me take out the trash and he neglects to do so (or do it in the time frame that I have allotted in my mind) I assume he doesn't care about me and the things I need help with.  In ministry I may plan a huge event only to have 5 students show up, then I automatically assume – the kids don’t like me, they don’t like the activity, other commitments are much more important. 

Both of these scenerios though drastically different are completely related – they both have to do with my mindset – my negative mindset – and that negativity can easily creep into my marriage or my ministry if I don’t make a conscious change!  Assuming the worst is a common plague in our “half empty” that feels that constant need to compare ourselves to those around us.  This plague can ruin your marriage and your ministry if you don’t make an effort to make a change.

Here are a few things that I have learned over the years in ministry, marriage and counseling that have helped me pursue truth and not assume the worst.

1.     First you need to evaluate the value of what you are dealing with.  The value of the relationship or the value of the task.  For example, it seems to be rather pointless to spend hours worrying about what someone said about you, your spouse, or your ministry if you do not value that person’s opinions or actions.  The same is true about tasks, if I look at the garbage example – in the large scheme of daily life, how much do I really value the fact that my husband may forget to take it out 1 out of 5 times.  It sounds crazy but maybe it is not garbage taking out that is your issue but insert your situation and ask yourself that question – how much do I value that task or that person’s opinion in the large scheme of life?

2.     Next you must evaluate the action.  Did my husband really leave the garbage on the porch and not the curb because he wanted to make a point that he doesn’t like taking out the trash.  No – he forgot!  There was no vicious action planned to ruin my evening, he just forgot since he is still in his church counsel meeting waffle!  How about those youth group kids that never showed up for your big event?  Well with a little research I found out there was a big event going on at the school that was planned last minute even though I had checked months in advance to be sure there was no conflict.

3.     Give your spouse, your students, and the church the benefit of the doubt.  Next time a situation arises take a moment to think before you react (sometimes easier said than done).  Find out the facts before you jump to conclusions.  Talk to those involved before formulating an opinion. 

Assume the best!  Just a simple change of mindset can change your marriage and your ministry in minutes!