Monday, October 25, 2010

what i learned about christmas today

Last Tuesday I was home sick and sometime that evening I watched one of my favorite movies.

The Family Stone.

I like it for many reasons, not the least of which is that Luke Wilson holds a special place in my heart ever since he was the thoughtful law student in Legally Blonde.

I also love it because it's about Christmas. And who doesn't love Christmas? It has my dream home. I'm pretty sure the Stone's house is my dream home. And all the snow? And the familyness? (Just look past me making up that word). I can appreciate that the Stones have their little family unit and they have their traditions and their dysfunction as does every family. And I love the bigness. Big families. Christmas. Pretty houses. Snow. It doesn't get much better than that.

So, I always cry at the end of that movie, but last week, during some random point in the movie I just started crying. Mostly because I was thinking about how Sarah wasn't going to be home this Christmas. Or the next 3 Christmases. And it seriously tore. open. my. heart. And tear ducts. I was really really really (and a lot more reallys) sad. Really.

I was thinking about waiting at the bottom of the stairs to go upstairs and dig through stockings and presents. Helping with lunch. Staying up watching America's Funniest Home Videos. All the siblings going to the movies on Christmas night. All the stuff that makes us...


That to me is a huge part of Christmas. It's what I look forward to.

And just thinking about it possibly not being like every other Christmas had me crying.

Fast forward to today, sitting at lunch, doing my Bible study. I'm going through Kelly Minter's 'No Other Gods' and it is so. good. It's reshaping my heart and allowing me to let go of things that I had unknowingly made into idols in my life. Or perhaps knowingly. Either way. It's changing me.

We've talked about idols and why they're bad and how they dethrone God and set us up for false expectations and the point has been driven home again and again that they will never satisfy. They won't. They can't. Eventually, we'll realize that, but it's always better when we realize it sooner rather than later. This week is focused on saying goodbye to those things that we've made as idols.

"I'm finding that when I dwell on a memory or a tradition in an unhealthy dose, it occupies every part of my brain that could otherwise be taking in my surrounding and what God may be trying to reveal to me. There is a place for sentimentality, but I've been a junkie, and living in the moment is a much fuller way to live."

I read that and it slapped me in the face. One of Kelly's (I say that like we're best friends, although, she did reply back to a tweet of mine last week so, perhaps we're on our way to bff-dom?) friends was talking about how she hated Nashville (her new town) for the longest and didn't really enjoy the city because her heart and mind were stuck back in Iowa (her old home).

I realized I did that a lot in Dallas. I had left my heart in Mississippi and wasn't fully living in the Big D.

I think we can do the same thing with memories and traditions.

Of course I'm going to miss my sister on Christmas, but that doesn't mean that God can't make this the best Christmas ever. I want to keep my eyes open to what He has for us this Christmas. Because my heart says, there can be nothing good about a Christmas without Sarah. But at the same time I read God can make anything good.

"With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible."
- Mark 10:27

All things.

Not some things. Not parts of things.

All things.

Even Christmases without my sister.

And as if that wasn't exactly what I needed to hear Mark goes on to say this:

"So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. "
- Mark 10:29-30
(emphasis mine)

I read that and I can only think how Sister is being obedient to Him. How she left her house, brother, sisters, father, mother, lands--for Christ's sake. For the Gospel's sake. And because of that, because of her obedience, she'll receive not only what she gave up, but all that multiplied by 100. Not only in this life, but in eternity. That blows my mind. That God loves us that much. That He chooses to bless those who honor and obey Him. We don't deserve any of it. Yet He gives it, because He can.

I don't have a big pretty bow to tie this thing up. I just know that my heart is growing. I'm being cleansed from the cobwebs of my former idols. I'm not letting traditions or cherished memories keep me from making new traditions, and new cherished memories. I'm allowing God to do the impossible, the stuff that is only possible with Him.

Like enjoying Christmas this year.

Monday, October 11, 2010

fool me once. shame on you. fool me twice...

This is going to be short. And I'm going to let the pictures speak for themselves. I was putting clothes in the dryer to dewrinkle before work this morning and I look out my kitchen windows that had the blinds open. I see some white paper on the bushes on the side of the house.

I thought that was quite strange.

SO...I walk to the front door.
Open it.
And immediately burst into laughter.

Some of the kids were out of school today for Columbus Day and they took their Sunday night of freedom as an opportunity to stay out late and roll my yard. I did not hear a single bit of it. Which is kind of funny considering I woke up Saturday night thinking someone was breaking into my house.

At least two high school junior girls (that I absolutely love) were responsible for this. And I'm sure others that I don't know about yet.

I'm beginning to think I should stop laughing about it and get on to them so that it won't happen again. Because...two weekends in a row?



Ideas for revenge?
(because I am NOT a prankster).

Monday, October 4, 2010

i am so ridiculously blessed.

As I mentioned last week, this past weekend was our annual D-Now for our county churches. All the sessions were great. I got to pour into 7 11th and 12th grade girls and get to know some other adult ladies better.


Like...the only pictures I got over a 36 hour period. I don't know what my problem was.

The theme was 'Consuming Fire' and the curriculum was on what it means to be authentic in our worship. It explored what worship is, what we worship (sadly, it usually isn't just God), aspects of personal and corporate worship and how the students (and us!) can be authentic and true worshippers.

It also dealt with what it means to be a living sacrifice as described in Romans 12:1-2. We talked about what it means when we're conformed to the world (as too many 'Christians' are), how to renew your mind practically (through the study/meditation/obedience of God's word) and a whole bunch of other stuff. It seriously was awesome and the corporate session with about 450 students from 11 different churches all over the county were great.

Preparing for this weekend was such a ridiculously huge blessing to me. I taught two of the sessions (on renewing your mind practically and the corporate worship session) and it really made me examine how I operate. Was I practicing what I was 'preaching'? I prayed that my words wouldn't just be something I was saying but rather, something that was true. Something that I was actually doing in my own life. Thankfully, it was. But there was some definite stepping on toes (all mine) as I was reading over the lessons in preparation. It's not enough just to be 'doing' these practices, but rather, doing them faithfully.

One of the many funny things that happened over the weekend came as I was teaching the last lesson on corporate worship late Saturday night. I'm sitting in the corner of my living room right beside the window and I hear leaves crunching outside the window. I knew that it was the 9th and 10th grade boys. They were staying in the parsonage which is right down the road and a lot of those boys like me for whatever reason. SO...I told the girls, okay, someone's out in the yard. Do NOT be surprised when they bang on the windows or doors. Sure enough, 5 minutes later BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM! Banging on the door. I go to the door and check but they've run away. Well, 20 or so minutes later we hear them again and Tina (the other adult) set her car alarm off and all of a sudden you hear a ton of boys scream and start running. That was quite funny. Just in case they were still around, all of the girls that had cars went and set their car alarms off. I'm sure the neighbors down the road were thinking WHAT is going on?! The next morning I walk out to this.

I think they did quite a good job. And people kept asking me at church yesterday if I was upset. I personally take it as a sign of love. My dad always says he wouldn't give me a hard time unless he loved me. So that's the way I think of it.

Also, the 9th and 10th grade girls went on some kind of upgrade scavenger hunt where they start with one item and they go around to places and try to find something bigger/better/worth more than what they have. And you don't get whatever you give them back.

So, I have 5 teenagers bust up in the house asking if I had something better than this.

In case you can't tell...that's a 2 1/2 inch tall rooster with fruit surrounding it. I don't get it. And it makes me wonder WHERE in the world they got this from?

So...I gave them this. That may not be the actual lamp, but it's very similar. I got two of them for like $5 each at Wal-Mart last year. And that one wasn't being used so it's all good. :) Evidently my lamp got another lamp and that's it. But the group that came and saw me 'cheated' because they weren't supposed to go to people's houses that they knew. Oh well! I know they had fun :)

One of the other teams managed to get a brand new sewing machine that was valued at $99 and a huge MS State umbrella.

Is that not crazy???

Tomorrow is my one-year anniversary at CDF! Is that not crazy too?? Crazy. I told my co-workers in staff meeting this morning that it has seriously been the best year of my working adult life :) So so so blessed to be there and do what we do and to get to work with such awesome people.

Lastly, this scripture has been on my mind for the past week and a half or so, just had to share. I love the way The Message puts it -

"But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for Him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference He made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives."
- 1 Peter 2:9-12

Are we living exemplary lives so that others will see our actions and whatever the negative things they think about Christians will be overturned? Are we living holy and set-apart lives? Lives that don't look like the world's? Just a thought.

Hope everyone had a good weekend! :)


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