May 28, 2011

The One with Lovely Saturday Morning

1. A fast paced six mile bike ride with Kevin, and hearing Jillian Michaels shouting, "Finish Strong" in my head.
2. Stopped at a garage sale with Kevin.
3. Bought Schwinn Spinning Bike for $30. It's a pretty compact exercise machine we're *hoping* to use during the New York winter.  
4. Had brunch
5. Mopped the kitchen & cleaned Schwinn. How does that floor get SO dirty SO fast???
6. Went in search of another advertised garage sale. It was non-existent. Grr.
7. Swept the front walk. 
8. Hacked away at the overgrown ornamental (if it can even be called that) tree & bush in the front flower garden.
9. Cleaned up tables in the garage for our impending garage sale
10. Felt the muscles tingling in my forearms from the tree-hacking. 
11. Hammered our house numbers securely back in place. 
12. Broke the first number of our house numbers right in half. 
13. Watched The Magic School Bus with Kevin. 
14. Thoroughly enjoyed and even learned a thing a two from Ms. Frizzle. 
15. Oh, and sleeping in until 7:57am! 

Lovely indeed!


May 26, 2011

The One with the Feeding Friends

You know how there are many different types of friends in your life? 

The ones you say, "Hi" to in the store. 
The ones you keep in touch with now and then
The ones who you can reconnect with on a dime
The ones who require a bit of energy
The ones who challenge you--in good ways. 
The ones who challenge you--in bad ways.
The ones you share your heart with. 
The ones who seek advice from you. 

Many of those friends are a blessing, a wonderful part of your life. 

Then there are the rare gems in the realm of relationships--the friends who fuel you. Spending time with them is so easy. It flies by. You leave encouraged, uplifted. They share your burdens without even trying. Hearing their voice eases stress. They are a gift from God, placed in your life at the perfect moment. 

I know I am thankful right now for those friends who've fed my spirit today. 

Do you have any friends like this? Cherish them. 


May 24, 2011

The One with the Husband List

(not to be confused with a "honey do" list.)

{Top Ten Reasons I Love Being Married to Kevin Michael}

1} He makes a mean alfredo

2} He always knows how to make me smile and he makes me laugh like no one else. 

3} He puts up with my anal-retentive idiosyncrasies, and even claims to appreciate them. 

4} He encourages me to pursue my dreams and supports me in all my endeavors. 

5} I can be totally un-ladylike or completely proper, and he loves me just the same.

6} His messages to the teens every Sunday night are so incredible--I think he's the best youth pastor ever

7} If it were up to him, he would shower me with expensive gifts and fancy date nights every week. (Unfortunately, my penny-pinching-self inhibits him often.)

8} He talks to me about his computer games even though he knows I don't really care how much ISK he's earned or what he's mining. He knows I care about him and what interests him matters to me. 

9} He gushes over my culinary skills to every he meets and especially when it's just the two of us. He's my biggest fan.

10} His forgiveness never seems to run dry--he lives out Christ's love to me every day. 

Happy Three Years Since We Said, "I Do," Kevin! I love you to the moon & back! 


linked up with OhAmanda's Top Ten Tuesday

May 21, 2011

The One with the Hypocrite

It's amazing to me how hypocritical I can be. Maybe even just critical. I astonish myself with the prevalence of my sin nature many times. 

Honestly, I think it's my husband's fault. Not even kidding. You see, before I got married it was easy to hide my shortcomings, my sinful tendencies, my anger, my complete and utter selfishness. In fact, I hid the selfishness so well, even I didn't realize how bad it was. 

But being married is like choosing to carry a life-sized mirror around with you at times. You don't know how bad you look unless you see your reflection, right? Well, having a spouse gives you the same benefits and frustrations of looking in a mirror. 

Maybe that marriage mirror is even magnified. Every little flaw looks ten times worse that it actually is. But with the magnifying-marriage-mirror, the enormity of the issue is true to life. 

In my marriage, it's incredibly easy for me to build up my husband and speak well of him to everyone I encounter. He's amazing after all. I have never once lied or embellished the truth about Kevin when I'm bragging on him or bursting at the seams with love. That is all the truth. 

The hypocritical part of me rears its ugly head when it's just him and me. Suddenly I become a steam roller, allowing my frustration over the tiniest (or not-so-tiny) scenarios to crush his spirit. I say cruel things before thinking of their affect. I listen to Satan's lies and suddenly my amazing, loving, forgiving husband becomes some evil villain in my mind's eye

That may be a bit exaggerated, but the premise is accurate. Why is it that all of the positive truths I speak of my husband don't overflow into our personal lives at all times--especially when we're bickering?? I want to remember all of the good in the midst of the moment of bad. 

It's at least a 10 to 1 ratio of Husband Awesomeness to Husband-not-so-Awesomeness.     

So why not let the affects of the Awesomeness carry over into the hard times? 

Jesus, help me to love as you love, to reciprocate Kevin's love for me. 

I hope I'm not the only one who's ever struggled in this way? Am I alone? Can anyone relate? 


May 19, 2011

The One with the Spring Flowers

Last Saturday, one of those days when the sun was actually shining (unlike these past 4 days), my adorable husband gave me flowers. He put them in the most perfect vase. He set them beside my computer to be sure I found them. He received the biggest smile from me. 

You may think I'm easily pleased. And that would be true. But you might stop and realize--he thought of his wife as he was walking home. He knew how easy it would be to bring a smile to her face and a pitter patter to her heart. And he followed through. 

I love how he loves me. 



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May 16, 2011

The One the Night of Worship

Sunday evening was an incredible time of worship and prayer hosted by the youth group. We invited all of the adults in the church to attend this unique event with us, and we were blessed by their participation. 

This Night of Worship was a dream of mine. To spend an hour or more with a group of Jesus followers, pouring our hearts out to Him, kneeling before God's throne, connecting with Him through prayer, allowing ourselves to be led by His voice to worship in ways we couldn't conjure up on our own. 

We spent a month or more preparing for this evening. Choosing the right conglomeration of songs is so incredibly difficult. God moves in my spirit and speaks to me deeply through music, thus making the "narrowing-down" task a challenging one. This was going to be a new experience for almost everyone in attendance. A full hour+ of worship and prayer is not a typical Sunday morning church format. But I was certain that God would work in their hearts--if they let Him. 

Though the numbers were lower than I had hoped, those who came out for this worship time were incredibly responsive, completely open to the Spirit of God. Leading worship is a blessed experience with overwhelming responsibility. Allowing myself to be moved away from my plan, my environment, and into God's Throne Room is not always easy. But I thank the Lord for releasing me from myself and ushering me into his presence. 


The musicians' hands played what He lead us to play. 
The vocalists sang with a depth and beauty that only God could impart. 
The leaders were given words from on High
The participants were moved to experience Him in all new ways, together. 

It was such a beautiful evening. 

And they're already asking for more. 
Amen. Thank you, Jesus.


May 14, 2011

The One with the Frisbee Party

Friday afternoon we were able to spend a few hours with some of our best college friends. Brittney planned a surprise birthday party for her husband Nick by gathering all of his friends together for a reunion game of Ultimate Frisbee


The girls did the cooking while the boys headed to the local park. Between Brittney, Cheryl, and me none of us knew anything about grilling, especially starting the grill. Cheryl and Britt did an outstanding job getting things going, however, while I cut up a watermelon and delivered forgotten tennis shoes to the Frisbee game. At one point while cooking, the three of us had been gabbing for close to 10 minutes when suddenly I remembered, "THE BURGERS!" Thankfully, nothing burned! In fact, the boys were quite impressed with our grilling skills. 



Between a mountain of meat, hot baked beans, chips, my oatmeal raisin cookies, watermelon, and a rainbow-bit cake in Britt's honor (it was her birthday 2 days before Nick's--she deserved a treat!), we had more than enough food to go around. The boys had a blast playing Ultimate and didn't even keep score. (I hear there were multiple questions about me playing Frisbee with them. I was always their "token girl" on the team in college. But I just felt a bit out of practice and figured spending time with the girls was a good thing.) We all spent time reminiscing about our college antics, and Brittney and I had a chance to take a woodsy walk around the park.


Thanks for hosting a great party, Britt! 

(I won't mention the fact that they were all up until 3 in the morning, and I fell asleep on my couch at 9:30pm. I never was a night owl. But hey! I'm still a fun person. :D) 


May 12, 2011

The One where it's Finally Spring

The following is a list of activities I have been thoroughly enjoying since Spring decided to finally grace us with her presence. 

1. Sitting on the front porch for an hour or two in the middle of the afternoon reading a book as the sun warms my skin, bringing color to it's pasty whiteness. 

2. Hanging clothes on the line for that air-dried-clothes freshness. 

3. Feeling the breeze pass from window to window. 

4. Planning my garage sale. (I'm WAY too excited about this one, I have to admit. It's gonna rock.)

5. Going for runs at 6:30 or 7am and it's ALREADY daylight and warm outside. 

6. Watching the cats watch the birds tweeting from the bushes.

7. Eating ice cream and not being cold. 

8. Wearing capris (and discovering that some of them are too big for me. WOOT!)

9. Having a husband willing to take evening strolls with me down our crazy busy road. 

10. Seeing the Magnolia trees in full bloom and being reminded of my childhood home--the same place mom and dad planned to live for 5 years, but ended up staying 19. 

what do YOU love about Spring??


May 9, 2011

The One with the Reactions to THE Letter

Sunday was a day of encouragement for us. We had no idea how the congregation would react to the letter* Pastor Dale sent out to them during the week informing them of our impending departure for seminary. Happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? Excited? Indifferent?  

*if you're interesting in reading said letter, it can be found at the bottom of this post.

Last Sunday evening at youth group Kevin made the dreaded announcement to our beloved teens. As he transitioned from his poignant message about Abram leaving his homeland for the land God was calling him to, the tears began rolling down Kevin's cheeks. My husband is a sensitive man--much more so than he lets on. But he's not much for crying. He simply couldn't speak, and as the anxious silence filled the room and the clocked tick-ticked in the background. I went to him quickly, and held his hand, willing him composure.

At least five minutes went by, and finally the words came out. God is calling us to seminary, to New York, away from you. We are so sorry. You are our lives. You're all we do, all we talk about. We've poured everything into each of you. But we must go out of obedience to the God we serve, just as you've taught us to do.

Tears. Tears. Tears. They were streaming down many faces, and others sat dumbfounded, unsure of how to process this life-changing announcement. We passed tissues, shared shoulders, hugged sobbing girls, willed our eyes to speak the depth of our love for them. 

And I truly believe they understand. They're not happy about it, but they're cautiously optimistic. God wouldn't call us to something great and leave them high and dry, right? They are clinging to the teaching of the Parable of the Seeds, believing that Kevin and Melanie have obediently planted seeds of the Gospel in their hearts and watered them faithfully, but only God can make it grow. They are rooted in Christ alone, not in their youth leaders. Our job was to show them to way to passion for Jesus, for making Him life, purpose, eternity. And with or without us, their roots can go deep and remain firm and established, continuing to make disciples who make disciples

The adults had such an encouraging response to our announcement. There was message after message of sadness to see us go, but excitement over what God has in store for us. What a blessing! Thank you, Jesus, for continued affirmation as we've walked in obedience to the best of our ability. 

April 29, 2010 
To the people of M----- FMC,
It is with mixed emotions of regret and joy that I must announce to you that our youth pastors, Kevin and Melanie, will be following the leading of God for their lives, a leading which will be taking Kevin to Northeastern Seminary in New York in order to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree in preparation for full-time ministry.   
Of course, this means that Kevin and Melanie must leave their ministry here at M------- FMC, and will be moving to New York in August.  I am joyful, because they are pursuing their calling from God and will be receiving invaluable training and teaching in order to be more effective ministers.  However, I am also filled with regret, as Kevin and Melanie have done an outstanding job at our church, and have been an integral part of our church body for the last two years.  They have taken a small group of five to ten teens, and have grown a ministry triple in size, as well as being instrumental in leading teens to Jesus, and in discipling them towards spiritual maturity.  They have formed a strong and loving bond with the SpiritFire teens, and have ministered to them in powerful and life-changing ways!  They have also lent their talents and energies to bettering the worship ministries of our church, have developed an award-winning Bible Quiz program, and have been leading a weekly Young Adult study group.  In addition, Kevin has assisted with the financial ministries of our church, and this year was elected to the new position of Financial Secretary.  Their enthusiasm, love of Jesus, love for our teens, organizational skills, and spiritual vitality will be greatly missed. 
I would like to invite you to attend a special Society Meeting of our church on May 22, at 6 p.m.  During the meeting, we will be hearing a resolution adopted by the Leadership Team and Pastor’s Cabinet of our church as to the future direction of the youth ministries of the church, and you will have opportunity to take part in the discussion.  If you are a full adult member of the church, you will also be eligible to cast your vote in regard to the resolution we will be discussing.  I hope that you will be able to join us as we seek God’s direction at this exciting crossroads of our church!
Please join me in prayer for Kevin and Melanie as they follow God’s direction for their lives.  As the process of their transition to New York unfolds, we will stay in communication with you, and I trust that you will take opportunity over the next couple of months to express your appreciation to Kevin and Melanie for their ministry among us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call, or send me an email.
Thank you, and may God richly bless you and your family!
In Christ’s love,

Pastor Dale 


May 8, 2011

The One with the Generational Mother's Day

To the women who went before me, mentored me, loved me, disciplined me, cherished me, encouraged me, strengthened me, and supported me, thank you

I love you, Mom. You're amazing beyond words--and I need you more and more the older I get. 

Grams, I love you like crazy. You make me laugh hysterically. You've kept in such close contact with me these past few years thanks to email and I've loved developing a deep relationship with you. You show me a picture of who I'm going to be in 50 years--and I LOVE it. :D 

And Gramma Mary, you are the spunkiest 87 year old that ever lived. I hope I have that much life and energy left in me some day. You've been a huge part of my life and I will never forget our game nights, our silly sleepovers, and our good talks. I love you. 




May 7, 2011

The One with the Bittersweet Announcement

[originally written April 30th, 2011 @ 7:30pm]

Tonight my heart is aching, anxious with anticipation

Twenty-four hours from now, our teens will have received the news that will likely devastate them--Kevin and Melanie are leaving. There is much more to the story than our departure from this town, this home, this church, but I know that is all these students are going to hear. I'm breaking at the thought of being the cause of their pain. Some of them may feel abandoned, forsaken, or rejected. Others may be overwhelmed with anger or filled with sadness. The rest may not know how to feel. 

And knowing the ache our decision will cause goes against my deepest instinct to remove pain. When someone is hurt, something is wrong. That's all there is to it in my black-and-white emotional reality. 

But God has spoken a different message into the depths of my being. Just as He commanded Abram, the Lord God has said to my husband and me, 
Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
This portion of Genesis 12 is so poignant, overflowing with man's obedience and God's faithfulness. It must have been anything BUT comfortable to pick up and leave the only land he'd ever known, but Abram "left as the Lord had told him.

We have little comprehension of the Almighty's plan in all of this. But we are doing our best to follow him. How can we teach our students to be eager followers of Christ if we ourselves are unwilling to GO? How can we sing the words of Starfield's song "I Will Go" alongside them and sit here in comfortable disobedience? Is it possible to read the words of Isaiah the prophet when he himself answered the call and not be convicted to do the same? 
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"
And I said, "Here I am. Send me!" 
This transition will not be easy. In fact it may be painful. But Jesus did not call us to a life of ease. He called us to follow Him. And THAT is what we're doing. 


My outstanding husband, who becomes more and more faithful to the voice of Christ each day, has been called by God into full time ministry. We have been leading the youth group here at MFMC since September 2008, and we shared with the world Kevin's call to ministry back in November 2009. But since then, there has been more leading and a beckoning to go a step further. 


Beginning this August, Kevin will be starting the 4 year Master of Divinity degree at Northeastern Seminary. He is intensely passionate about furthering his knowledge of Scripture and of the doctrines of the Christian faith. He wants to learn Greek and Hebrew and experience the interpretation of the Holy Text. He desires to know Irenaeus and Augustine and Jerome--the fathers of our faith (patristics).   

I am eager to learn alongside him, discuss with him, challenge him, grow with him, support him. And while we are there, we will pursue a lifestyle of ministry--for without an eternal purpose, what are we

We are excited for the journey ahead. 
And brokenhearted to leave all of this behind. Our friends. This home. My glorious kitchen. A church family. Librarians who know our names.
The 25plus teenagers who have wedged their way so deeply into our hearts that they will forever be a part of us

O, God, grant us mercy.


May 4, 2011

The One with the First of Four Fillings

You may remember how upset totally embarrassed I was to discover I had FOUR cavities after not seeing a dentist for 3 years. Today was the dreaded appointment. The first of two that is. Not that I was scared at all. I really wasn't. It was just a severe inconvenience and a bit of a frustrating way to spend our money. 

After a really late (for me) night last night, I had to wake up bright and early this morning to see my lifelong dentist. He really is great, I must admit. He's been taking care of me since I was a toddler. THAT'S good hometown service, right there. 

The assistant (who has also been working on my teeth for 20+ years) applied Orajel to my gums to numb it up a bit before the Novocaine injections--my LEAST favorite part. Those suckers HURT. Pinch pinch pinch. Sting. Sting. Sting. 

After I was good and numb, the Dr. Seymour went to work. Drill drill drill. Tooth enamel and spit was flying all over the place. My tongue was completely dried out from the vacuum in my mouth. Suddenly I had a dire need to swallow. Was I feeling the procedure or was my jaw just getting really sore and tired from keeping itself pried open? What in the world are all of those 10 inch long metal tools he's passing back and forth, back and forth every 15 seconds? Is this almost over? I'm getting a bit tense. 

Huge ring clamps were screwed tightly around the filled teeth and the dentist continued to poke and prod (very gently, I must say), ensuring everything was just right. Finally, 40 minutes later, I was done. The left side of my lip was completely useless. Kevin made fun of my face for the entire three hours that I looked like a stroke victim. 

And then, on the three hour ride home, the ache started. It was deep within the tooth--nothing on the surface pointed to pain. But I was hurting nonetheless. A couple Tylenol and one cat-cuddling-nap later, I felt much better. 

I did get to talk to one of my lifelong best friends though, who is a receptionist at the office. That totally made it better. And she didn't even judge my saggy face and swollen tongue. 


May 1, 2011

The One with the Shelter of the Almighty

Finding the shelter in the wisdom of the Lord tonight, here in Isaiah 55:6-13

6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
   call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way
   and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
   and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
   come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
   without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
   and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
   will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
   will clap their hands.