Ben has been on his own in 5th & 6th grader ministry since Chris is in Hawaii for the past couple of weeks, he wanted to do a fun announcement video for the in FUEL Ministry on Wed night. Doug came up w/ the idea of filling his old wet suit with water until it popped, sounds easy right just duct tape the sleeves and around the ankle. The problem was it never popped, it just kept filling and filling. It got so full that Ben started freaking thinking he was going to be crushed…it was pretty funny, especially when Ryan Roehl came at Ben w/ a spike to pop the suit. I don’t know how much of an announcement was communicated but it was still fun to watch.
So on Saturday Abby & I leave for San Francisco with our dear friend Melissa for 3 days of awesomeness! I can’t wait! Today is about packing & getting ready. We are staying in the Union Square area of downtown but I’m sure we’ll branch out from there to see what else we can get into. Abby has never been, I can’t wait for her to see the Warf, China Town & wherever else the Trolly will take us. This trip is about fun, friendship, shopping, new experiences & who are we kidding it’s about the meals! I’ve researched a ton of restaurants but I think I’m now more confused than ever. How can you possibly decide when there is so much to choose from? San Francisco is known for their amazing cuisine, I do not want to end up at Denny’s. Does anyone have a favorite to recommend? Why am I stressing over this? I’m used to decisions like El Torrito or Jalapeno’s, In & Out or Ruby’s, Rubios or Wahoos? Surely, there must be some experts out there who can make this an easier chore…..anyone?
Okay, so what can I safely comment on today? I think my blog would be so amazing if I didn’t have such a strong filter. If I didn’t have this overwhelming sense of protecting the people I love or those whose stories have touched my life so deeply. I think if I treated this as my journal it would tell the tale of crisis, pain, weakness, trauma, redemption, grace, confusion & the truth of God’s Word that change us & penetrate the forces of evil set against us. Those are the stories we long to hear & those are the stories that change our lives because we secretly identify so closely w/ their fear, failures & insecurity. Those are the great stories but they are often not ours to tell.
This crazy time of the year where I feel pressure on all sides to get everything done. At this moment I can think of 15 – 55 things I should/could be doing to get ahead or to meet the demands of other people. But I feel the need to sit.
Sit & think. Sit & think & rest. Sit & think & rest in the fact that my Creator God is in control and no matter how hard I work it is ultimately up to my Creator God as to what counts for eternity. That alone helps me go forward with another day. That alone gives me hope that my life counts. God is in control, if I am connected to Him I am guaranteed His success. I guess you’d call that the ultimate bottom line.
So I’m headed out Friday morning to see my family & friends in Kentucky/Tennessee for a week. It’s really a kick to go back to my “old Kentucky home” – especially in the fall, my absolute favorite time of the year. I can feel the brisk air already & anticipate how it feels to stand in the presence of a multitude of trees full of leaves that are turning red, orange, brown, yellow. SSOSOOSO can’t wait for that, it’s such an “I love you, God” moment for me. I’m traveling with Joanie my dear friend since 7th grade (how bomb is that?) and we are visiting her daughter, Lauren in Tennessee, who is attending the same small Christian college we attended together Johnson Bible College back in the 80’s. Lauren is speaking in chapel which is an honor for her and such a rare opportunity as well that they allow women to speak. She has a great heart for the Lord, I can’t wait to sit in a chapel service again in that place and hear from Joanie’s daughter what she’s compelled to share. And then there’s Angie’s 50th birthday party in Johnson City TN Saturday night as well as visiting w/ Bob & Nancy, High School friends who live in Hendersonville NC, surely to be the highlight of the whole trip since Bob still makes us laugh.
Then back to Kentucky for time with my parents, in the home where I grew up which is always trippy no matter how old you are. So if you think about it pray for my folks,
they are good people, up in their years who don’t get around like they used to. I want to be a blessing to them & to the rest of my family while I’m there.
What do you want me to bring you back from the South?
I love this picture taken up at HUME Lake earlier this month. This was the gang that went on the offroading adventure w/ a HUME guide & 2 HUME jeeps. We rode up to the most amazing spot where the Fire lookout is located for Hume & much of the Sequoia’s, I think it was called Flat Rock? When I looked at this pic today I saw something for the first time… I’m the only woman that went for the off roading adventure! I honestly didn’t notice til today. Now I would normally feel funny in a group of men without my husband so why didn’t I have any reservations or even notice for that matter?? well ’cause these are MY FRIENDS…each of these godly men are special and dear to me & are such a blessing to know and work with, for & around. I have nothing but respect for each of them and a deep-deep appreciation of their hearts to serve Christ by serving the body called Calvary Church. I’ve often thought I have a unique view of these pastors in action each day and let me say I am proud-happy-thankful-encouraged-blessed- to still say, after 12 years, that they are even more amazing than I could have imagined! So yeah, these are my cool friends, Jeff Biddle, Michael Welles, Trevor Behrns, P diddy, Ron Rogalski, Armando Reyes, & Victor Estrada.
This past week we celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on October 1. We were at HUME Lake attending a Pastor’s Conference with the rest of Calvary’s Pastoral Staff. We enjoyed a simple day together at HUME without alot of hoopla, it was a lovely way to celebrate & made us both very happy. We are pretty simple people so a simple celebration seemed fitting. Let me just start by saying that 25 years together is remarkable, even to us, worthy of celebrating and it can only be attributed to the grace of God in our lives. Marriage is hard, we’ve had tough times – tough years, times when I though we wouldn’t survive the stress. Times when if I was Randy I wouldn’t want to be married to me! But we have stayed committed to each other, our love has grown and God I am SOOO thankful.
So as if the 4 day get away wasn’t enough, we had an even bigger surprise waiting for us at home (besides the fact our dear son wrecked our car). We got together on Saturday night for what Randy and I thought was a “typical” family night, Jesse was supposed to be in charge cause it was her night to plan what we would do together. They started acting a little funny but I didn’t catch on, then Melissa & Corey walked in claiming they were just in the neighborhood, cool I thought it’d be fun to have them join us. Then it became clear this was no ordinary family night, the kids presented us with a video that they had made of our lives, wait…..I’m the one who makes videos for you kids… what a pleasant surprise, one that left me all teary eyed (partly out of being reminded of how skinny I used to be). What unfolded from there was simply amazing. They gave us 2 packages & 10 envelopes. The first announced that we were in for a night on the town. The packages were new outfits to wear. The next envelope had car keys to black convertible sports car that was parked in our driveway (hence Melissa & Corey, my kids aren’t old enough to rent car’s apparently). The next envelope announced there were reservations in our name at French 75 in Laguna Beach for 7:45pm for a romantic dinner for 2. The next surprise was Randy’s favorite that they would be paying for this extravagant dinner instructing us to “go big or go home” So we took off in our cute little fast car & just laughed when people looked at us thinking we were rich (if they could only see us in our 1970 vw bug). Our kids thought of everything – Abby made us a cd to play on the way of some of our favorite songs (more tears), they even threw in the $10 for valet parking (tears for Randy this time). As amazed as we were at all this the best was yet to come. The remainder of the envelopes notes held their sweetest thoughts on our marriage, our family, our home & our faith. They expressed gratitude for being committed to them as parents, to each other, and to God. I was so moved by their kind expressions of love that it truly froze that moment in time for me. A moment where I was so fully aware of God’s grace in our lives to cover our multitude of mistakes & shortcomings as parents. So humbled to think God would entrust me with such a beautiful family. So THANKFUL that we fought thru tough times in our marriage to get here and sooooo grateful to God that He blessed our simple lives.
So what started out being a simple celebration turned into something extravagant & lavish. By the end of the night we were feeling richer than ever… not because of the cool car or the $40 rack of lamb but because we have the love and respect of the most important people on the planet to us, our children Jesse, Abby, Ben & now Doug.
I went to see James Taylor at the Greek Theatre on Tuesday night with my girlfriends. I had the BEST time because I really love this guy. I really do. My husband is fine with my James Taylor addiction so don’t start thinking weird. He is as much a part of my history as anybody I know (actually know!) He sang all the stuff I loved from back in the day and somehow doesn’t make it seem like it’s old hat to him. I loved every gangly, googly moment of the concert and though I have never been prone to being starstruck if I ever met him face to face, I could potentially make a complete fool of myself gushing all the connections I think we have in a very teeny bopper kind a way! Yep – I don’t care that he has lost 80 percent of his hair, has wrinkles, and a big nose….. I have his voice memorized & will hold it and the joy it has brought me as one of my favorite memories in this life.
Matt Doan passed on this weekend. The good news is that he is not dead but just passed on from High School Pastor to another significant ministry within Calvary Church. Matt Doan is a great man of God who has poured his life into High School Students for the past ten years, three of which are my own kids. Here are some of my observations about Matt….
Matt Doan is an above the call of duty kinda guy.
Matt Doan has a kindness about him that is rare.
Matt models humility.
Matt Doan has made each of my kids feel loved, accepted and respected. He has done this with hundred’s probably thousands of other students.
Matt Doan has a crazy streak & did his own chinese fire drill on the way home from the senior dinner.
Matt Doan struggles w/ saying his “ng’s” which sometimes makes me laugh outloud.
Matt Doan is not gifted administratively.
Matt Doan loves his wife Marie, & cuties Lilly & Samuel, they are an amazing family.
Matt Doan finished extraordinarily well as High School Pastor. The fruit from his ministry will go on for eternity.
Matt Doan is a servant leader, one of the most outstanding I have ever known.
Matt stays calm in the midst of crisis situations….here’s an example Matt’s attitude in the jungle on the morning we were to leave. We woke up to crazy rain & radio notice that MAF pilots could not fly until the rain stopped, which could last for days. Did I mention we were out of food for 15 students?
Matt – I just need you to know that I’m gushing over you because it’s worth celebrating what God has done in and thru you. It’s been a joy to watch you serve. Thanks for modeling Christ to us & teaching us the slow clap.