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Preview: Life in Awes (Oz)

Life in Awes (Oz)

Life is meant to have color, variety, goodness and adventure. And no Kansas is not really in black and white, or sepia-tone, which is what was actually used in the movie. This is pretty much life seen through my eyes and my Judeo-Christian worldview.

Updated: 2017-09-10T21:13:23.031-05:00


Old and New


There are umpteen-dozen quotes out there about old things, and new things, and old things becoming new... and that's not even including what the Bible says about it.  One of my favorites is "That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done.  So there is nothing new under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 1:9.  It's always fun when that comes in the form of renewing old friendships.  I got to hang out with my friend Rick Gonzalez last night.  However, this time it was in my living room instead of at Kanakuk Kamps or a restaurant in Branson MO on a night off from kamp.  We talked about old stories, and old friends, and about newer things.  There should have been several ears burning last night... TR, West Brazelton, Al Thomas, Skipper, Leslie Tijerina, Whit Roberts, Lee Roberts... and various others.  For the record, I'm totally enjoying renewing this friendship (as if there were any doubt about that).  

Also, there have been multiple times in the last few weeks that I've found myself writing side notes tying past things to current things going on, especially what I, and others, call "Kitchikomo verses". Point of clarification for those who may not know the term, the girls who work in the dining halls at Kanakuk are called Kitchikomos; and the verses are about serving God by serving others.  

Pastor Bob's sermon today at Northside Church Austin, included a Kitchikomo verse: " Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9. Sometimes it's easy to get frustrated and give up, but we shouldn't.  We should ask God to help up continue to do what He has for us to do.  This is something that was ingrained into me in the Kanakuk kitchens, usually while washing pots and pans.  That's what made it easy to make the connection between old and new.  I'm thankful that Kanakuk stays with me even years after I stopped working there.

So my lesson of today is that since there is nothing new under the son, we should not become weary, and keep doing good as we used to.  

Slow on the Uptake


Have I really not posted anything since last November?!?  Kinda fitting for today's topic.  I had an epiphany during church this morning... well, actually I had 2 of them.  But let's go backwards... second epiphany first.  By the end of today's sermon on Psalm 23, I found myself thinking, "Wow, I am really slow on the uptake!"  Let me be clear, this is not an indication of Pastor Bob's preaching... this is me.

Now the first epiphany that lead to the second.  As Pastor Bob was finishing the sermon, and addressing the first part of Psalm 23:6, he commented that King David could write "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" with confidence because he had seen how God had worked throughout his life.  At that moment, I remembered something that my college pastor, Tom Westbrook, told me 25 years ago in response to a question about how do you know that God is working in your life.  His response has stuck with me to this day.  He told me "I know He will because He has".  Only today did I make the connection between that response and Psalm 23:6.  I don't know if he was intentionally paraphrasing that verse, or if the verse was just ingrained in him so much that it was a natural response.  Knowing him, I suspect both.

Yes, it took me 25 yrs to connect his response to scripture, just phrased so that a semi-clueless college student could understand it.  Oh, and another point of clarification, this is not an indication of Tom's teaching either.  Like I said, it is me being slow on the uptake.  He will probably shake his head if he reads this because he always told us to check everything against scripture.  In my defense (jokingly, facetiously, sarcastically... take your pick), he didn't say to do that immediately, but I'm sure he meant quicker than 25 years.

So, yes, I really am slow on the uptake.

Zion Revisited


Was working on my Bible Study, "Living Brave" by Kat Cannon, on 2 Corinthians 4 & 5 and found an old song going thru my head:  "Born in Zion" by Wayne Watson, from the album "Giants In The Land" (1985). Great song & great album.  I listened to the whole album (cassette tape, then CD) a lot in college, and even had the performance track for this song.  

Anyway, the lesson was talking about what waits for us in Heaven, including a new body (hallelujah!) and a judgement that has no condemnation.  While I was working through the part about judgment with no condemnation, the chorus for this song kept going thru my head:

     This one was born in Zion
     Make no mistake, this one is Mine
     This one was born in Zion
     This one will never, this one will never,
     This one will never die
It encouraged me then, and it encourages me now.  I hope it encourages you too. And if you have a chance, listen to the whole album.       

Being Brave enough to find my Ezer-ness


I got to spend Friday evening and Saturday at the5th annual BRAVE Women's Conference. The conference was created by my friend Kat Cannon and is a ministry of Austin Oaks Church.  Our church was privileged to be a partner church.  I learned a lot during the weekend and was encouraged.  

When God creates Eve as a helper for Adam, the Hebrew word used for "helper" is "Ezer". It appears in the Old Testament several more times, but as a military term.  Carol Custis James asserts in her blog post Return of the Ezerthat "Based on the Old Testament's consistent usage of this term, it only makes sense to conclude that God created woman to be a warrior."

To be a warrior requires bravery.  To help people also requires bravery.  The same people that you help may reject you, turn against you, or even take credit for your work.  And sometimes trying to help people may not have the results you are aiming for.  Then you have to deal with the failure to help and the consequences.  Basically putting yourself out there as a helper, an ally, or even a warrior involves risk, and yes, bravery.  It also involves a choice.  In order to be an Ezer, you have to make a choice to be the person God created you to be.

As I continue to learn more about the person God created me to be, I hope I am brave enough to live out my Ezer-ness.

Things Old and New


So the silver lining in having water in my storage closet is throwing out things that should have been gotten rid of long ago, along with motivation to switch to plastic document & storage boxes instead of cardboard.  Of course this, in addition to the interior de-cluttering means my house looks like a tornado went through it and/or I just move in. While I've been going thru things I found things that I haven't seen in years and brought back both happy & sad memories... pictures, cards, letters, and other things from different seasons of my life. The sappy, sentimental side of me is still probably keeping things that should be tossed, but, one step at a time.

Now on to the new thing... that is totally unrelated to the old things, and maybe a little silly mentioning it in the grand scheme of things. While I was at the grocery store last weekend, they were doing samples of items like they do most weekends.  I don't stop at the little stations that often, but there was one that had what looked like guacamole.  Seeing as I'm a big fan of guacamole, I stopped.  Imagine my surprise to find that it was not guacamole, but avocado hummus, especially given that I'm not a fan of most types of regular hummus. They also had a coupon for it, so I decided to try it at home, and yes, I still like it.  It's not the first time I tried something without knowing exactly what it was and ended up liking it. Sometimes being clueless helps in being open to new things... dontcha think?

Turning Questions into Statements


Yeah, it's been a while since I've posted.  "Why is that?" you may ask.  Not sure if I have an answer for that, or at least not a decent answer... got busy, got lazy, you name it. However, it does lead into what's on my mind... questions.  There are a lot of them in life.  Some have no answers, some require and answer and some beg to be turned into statements of truth.

I used to drive my college pastor crazy with questions.  Occasionally, I think I should tell Tom Westbrook that I'm sorry about driving him crazy, but then I realize, it was part of the learning process. So, no Tom, I'm not really that sorry.  Some of the answers have stayed with me, and are still true today along with other truths we learned back then.  The one that struck me the hardest was when I asked him how he knew that God would work in his life in certain situations, as a prelude to asking how I would know God would work in my life.  His answer, which I will never forget:  "I know He will because He has."  As a result, I've stopped asking if God is working in my life and started stating that He is working in my life.

There are other questions that come up that I pray will become statements as well:
"Am I brave enough in my daily life?"  "What does being brave look like in my life"  I know that God made me to be brave, but that truth hasn't quite fully sunk in to a practical place yet.  And I'm not the only one in this situation.  That's why The Fellowship at Scofield Farms is a partner for the BRAVE Women's Conference this fall.  With God's help I will stop asking "Am I brave?" and state "I am brave."  Thanks to Kat Cannon, the creator of the BRAVE Women's Conference for reaching out and allowing our church to partner with you.

Changing questions into statements is sometimes as easy as changing the order of the words and the punctuation.  For example, "Am I smart enough?" becomes "I am smart enough."  The trick, however, is yo stop wondering about the answer to the question and start believing the truth of the statement.  Then comes the blessing.  Yes, there are areas that God's still working on this in me, and that I'm still learning.  How do I know this?  I know He will because He has.  Thanks Tom.  And thanks be to God for taking my questions and turning them into statements.

Milestones and Memories


This is my last day in my 40's.  Yes, I admit it.  I turn 50 tomorrow... or more accurately, 29 with 21 years of experience.  (Thank you again Lisa Mayfield!)  So I'm asking myself: 'Self, how the heck did I get to this point in my life?'  Standard responses in my head are: "Time" (duh), and "The Grace of God" (double duh).  Other than the totally obvious just stated, I have no clue; especially since I'm not anywhere thought I'd be when I was younger. However, even though I never saw myself where I am now, or doing what I'm doing now, I'm really happy.  Even more so when I think about places I've been and things I've done that were not in "my" plan.  Sometimes not having your plans for yourself work out can be a good thing... sometimes it can even be a great thing.

And as it frequently does, reaching a milestone brings introspection & memories.  On my Facebook page I share my post from 1 year ago which lead to memories of a college student ministry retreat from 25 years ago. It was a little freaky thinking about the fact that it was half my life ago.  However, those memories brought a smile to my face.

Recently there have also been family memories both, good and bad, leading up to a family reunion in Kansas next month.  Family can certainly be difficult at times.  You still have to love them though... even when you may not actually like them at that particular moment.

I know this is sounding a little cheesy and maybe even a little sappy; but as I start the next decade, I'm looking forward to the new memories than may come from my plans not working out.

Kindred Spirits


From time to time God surprises me with a new kindred spirit friend.  For those who don't know what a kindred spirit is, defines it as "a person who shares beliefs, attitudes, feelings, or features with another".  Some people use "soul mate" interchangeably with kindred spirit.  I personally don't agree with that because I have kindred spirits who are not my soul mate - and in one case I'm sure Jonathan's wife Rhoda is happy about that.  I know who my kindred spirits are.  I do not yet know who my soul mate is, or even if I have one.  While they can be similar, they are not the same.

Sometimes it takes a while to realize that we are kindred spirits. Sometimes we know after a short amount of time.  Even so, I have been surprised that after only 2 weeks, I have a new kindred spirit in Moses, the new interim pastor at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms.  It's nice to have another kindred spirit to do ministry with, and bounce ideas off of.

Having a kindred spirit in ministry can make it easier, and often more fun; or help you make it through difficult times.  Kindred spirits are a resource... a prayer supporter...  they help you grow, and grow closer to God.

I hope you appreciate and pray for your kindred spirits like I do mine.

Bittersweet Madness!


So I'm sitting here watching the NCAA Selection Show even if K-State isn't in it this year. It's the only time of the year that I'll cheer for KU. Yes, I know I'll hear it from both friends and family, but I recognize, and even admit, they are a good basketball team.  At least my 2nd school, UT is in at a #6 seed... Hook Em Horns!  I should also point out that 70% of the Big XII Conference is going to the dance; and what's good for the conference is good for K-State.  I'll let you know how soon my bracket is blown.

The Tournament Selection is fitting for this day that is bittersweet from beginning to end.
This morning at the end of the service at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms, we said goodbye to Pastor Russell and sent him and Brooke off to their next ministry.  

They are following God's call and aren't leaving the Austin area, which is good, but I won't get to do ministry with them on a regular basis which is sad.  And for those who know me... of course I cried, not as much as expected, but I still cried.  However, I was by no means the only one crying.  I had plenty of company in that, including Brooke and Russell.

Just because we said goodbye to the Pastor doesn't mean the ministry of the church will stop.  It won't.  We'll have an interim Pastor until a full time Pastor can be found, so we'll be in transition for a while.  It's been a while since the transition has been because of the Pastor leaving while I stayed.  The last few times, it's been me leaving a ministry.

Now that the Selection Show is over, I need to finish this and go fill out my bracket(s).  

Needless to say this day has been up and down, happy and sad, bitter and sweet... in other words total madness!  

Of Faith & Flutterbies


So we are 4 days into Lent - preparing for Easter.  I have not given anything up for Lent again this year, as I've promised friends and co-workers that I would never give up chocolate or caffeine again. It was ugly... don't ask.   However, to prepare for Easter, I'm doing Margaret Feinberg's Lent Reading Challenge again this year. It's still soon enough that you can get caught up on the readings. [Hint, Hint] The daily readings are the books of Luke & Acts. I've added my own twist, and have started a journal to record insights as I read.  Even though I've read both books before, I still learn new things each time I re-read. One of the things that have struck me so far is how Elizabeth and Zechariah each reacted when they found out that Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist.  Zechariah was struck dumb because he didn’t believe it when the angel Gabriel told him that Elizabeth would have a child.  Elizabeth, however, commented that “The Lord has done this for me”.  I find it comforting to realize that the women of the Bible had more faith than the men at times.This week the Small Group at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms started the War Room Bible Study.  It promises to be challenging.  One of the things suggested is to create your own War Room (Prayer/Study Room).  Given the size of my condo, I'm using my back yard as it is also something of a sanctuary for me.  My sister helped helped me re-design the back yard a few years ago, and it turned out really well.As you can see from the picture above, my backyard is decorated with butterflies, or as I called them when I was a child, "flutterbies".  Part of the reason I love butterflies is that they are a wonderful picture of how God can take a caterpillar, something that most consider ordinary at best, an ugly pest at worst, at turn it into something beautiful and graceful.  It's also appropriate as we approach Easter.  This is the ultimate example of God's ability to take something ordinary like a human body and turn it into something extraordinary: a resurrected Christ who paid the price for our sins, and thru which we have salvation.  My faith in Christ is what gives me ultimate hope for the future.My prayer is that we all become more aware of God & Christ's sacrifice during this Lent season.  Happy Lent![...]

I'm listening


"I'm listening."   It's what everyone wants to hear when they have something to say; and hopefully something we're willing to say when others need to talk.  However, listening isn't always a good thing.  The trick is in listening to the things that are beneficial to us, and ignoring the things that are false and/or harmful. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Yeah, it's not. I admit I've struggled with this off and on for years. (decades?)

The thoughts have bounced all over the place about where to go from here.  I didn't want to sound too "preachy", but I also didn't want to sound like it shouldn't be taken seriously. Listening to the lies that are all around us can cause more damage than we realize.  I'm still learning and struggling with this.  I used to think that when I got older I'd have this under control, but now I know this is a life-long struggle.  Some lies cause more damage than others.

However, the solution is the same as it's always been: Faith. When we hold on to those things we know to be true; the things that come from God, the easier it is to tell what is a lie. I confess that I've forgotten that more often than I care to admit.  But I got a reminder today at church.   The sermon was on the Supremacy of Christ in Colossians 1:15-23; and being reconciled to God thru Christ.  However, there is one phrase that struck me as also being helpful in combating against the lies that Satan wants us to believe: "if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel."  Part of being reconciled to God is Him helping us to not listen to the lies.

Thanks to Pastor Russell for the message.  He'll be happy to know I was listening.

Hmmmm... We'll see...


It's New Year's Day, 2016; and I feel like I should write something, but don't know exactly what to write, so stream of consciousness it is.  So let me start with "Happy New Year!"

Earlier today I went to a movie with my friend Susan.  Finally got to see the new Star Wars movie.  Glad I saw it in 3D. Some shocks and a lot of questions for next movie(s). Then we did a bit of shopping. Can't tell you what I bought because if my sister reads this, part of her birthday present will not be a surprise.

This evening is being spend watching cheesy movies I've already seen (more than once) and and reading newsy holiday letters - both hard copy and electronic - and new blog posts. New family pictures are on the refrigerator, and cards are up on the door to the coat closet.

I admit I'm taking my time unpacking.  I can procrastinate with the best of them.  Tomorrow the unpacking procrastination will come in the form of taking down the outside Christmas lights.  At least that's the goal.  We'll see.

That's actually what's been my reaction to the new year.  Hmmmm... We'll see.  Yes, I have goals.  And plans.  But I'm going to try not to get bent out of shape if I don't meet my self set goals or things don't go according plan.  I know that God can change my plans and goals.

My primary goal for this year, is to listen more, and be open to God's leading no matter what my plans are.  I know His plans are better than mine.  I just pray for the strength and help to follow what He has for me... and to say "OK God, your will not mine." even when He only gives me one piece of the puzzle at a time.  At least I know how the story ends.  So that's one thing where I won't need to say Hmmmm.

"The rest of the story" for 2016? (yes, that's a reference to Paul Harvey).  Just let me say Hmmmm... We'll see...

A Sepia Tone Christmas


El Nino is messing with my holiday.  Part of the fun of going to dad's for Christmas is getting my annual "snow fix" in.  Not this year though.  Everything is winter shades of brown... kinda like the old pictures... also known as Sepia Tone.  Btw, El Nino also has a twisted sense of humor.  It's supposed to start snowing the day after I leave, then turn into a blizzard.  At least I shouldn't have travel delays...  "shouldn't"... no guarantees.

Now that I've finished my whining about the lack of snow on Christmas, it's time to move on to other things since my celebration of Christmas is not dependent on the weather.  Tonight I'll be attending the Christmas Eve program at the Florence Christian Church.  Being the sci fi geek that I am, I love the title:  "Star Trip: Our Faith Awakens".   If you're in Florence, it starts at 6:00 pm.  This will be the first time I get to hear my friend John Branson deliver a message, and I'm looking forward to it.

This Christmas, remember why we celebrate.  Jesus came to earth to save us, and this is the time we celebrate His birth.  Yeah, I know there's a decent case to be made for the fact that He most likely wasn't born in December; but that doesn't mean we shouldn't celebrate the fact that He came to save us; not only at Christmas, but every day.

Merry Christmas!

Celebrations and Service


Last night, I had the privilege of seeing my friends Russell and Brooke get married.  It was an absolutely beautiful sunset wedding.  It was a fun time celebrating God's goodness in bringing these two together.

While they are on their honeymoon, I'm filling in for administrative things at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms, including our collection and packing party for Operation Christmas Child, as well as decorating the church for Christmas. I admit the last one is more enjoyable for me because I love decorating for Christmas.

I know that the administrative things will require some rearranging of my schedule.  I'm just praying that it doesn't drive me too crazy.  We'll see.  However, even if it does drive me crazy, I know that it's service to the church and God will take is as an offering since He knows my heart.

So congratulations to Mr & Mrs Daniel!  And bring on the holidays!

Multi-tasking & justification


So I'm writing while I'm watching football.  Kansas State is playing TX Christian.  Eat Em Up KSU!  I'm also watching a Hallmark movie that I've seen before during commercial breaks - which there seem to be a lot of on Fox. (no I'm not happy about that - I'm watching more of the movie than I am the game). Oh, and let's not forget that I have the ESPN College Football web page up on my computer so I can keep track of other scores.  While this is perfectly acceptable multi-tasking, sometimes we should be single minded and single focused.

Psalm 46:10 say "Be still and know that I am God."  To me this mean there is a time an place where we should be focused on God alone.  I tend to relate Biblical truths to songs, as it helps me remember them.  For this particular verse there is a song by Kim Hill, that says it in a perfect way that has always spoken to me, "Be Still & Know" from her first self titled album.

In life's busy-ness, we tend to justify multi-tasking a lot of things, including spending time with God.  We think this makes us be more effective in our spiritual life, but in fact it's the opposite.  God is jealous and there are times when He wants our undivided attention.

I admit I've done a lot of multi-tasking over the last few months... more than usual.  I've gotten rather good at it.  Sometimes it was good and necessary.  Sometimes it was a Hail Mary move as a result of procrastinating - which I'm also really good at.  I've also multi-tasked things I shouldn't have, including spending time with God - and I've justified it by saying thins like it was perfectly fine to pray while doing other things as prayer is a conversation with God that can happen any time and anywhere.  Not to say this isn't true, but there are also times when I need to be alone with God, giving Him my undivided attention... time to "be still and know that He is God".

I'm grateful that Pastor Russell, at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms, has started a practice at the end of First Monday Prayer where the last 5 minutes is spent being still before God.  It's a good reminder.  Hopefully I'll get better at remembering more often on my own.  Better yet, I'm praying that God will help me remember to give Him my undivided attention.  That's really the only way it will happen.

I know this isn't like my usual posts, but I believe it's what I'm supposed to write this evening.

OK, the K-State/TCU game is getting interesting.  While I'll still multi-task, I'm going to pay more attention to the game for a bit.

“D” Week


“D” is for de-compress, de-stress, de-clutter, desire, discover, depend, decide, define, determine & divine.  I’m sure there are more “D’s” that played a part in this week, but those are the ones that come to mind.  I’ve been on a ‘stay-cation’ this week.  And while I had big plans, I kept getting side-tracked.  Even though I didn’t get as much done in some areas (de-cluttering), I made remarkable progress in others.  However, it’s still a work in progress – just as I am a work in progress.My vacation started last Friday with the Vacation Bible School Block Party at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms.   It was a fun way to end VBS; but we were pretty tired after it was all over.  I spent the next few days catching up with things that had gotten set aside for VBS, including my Bible Study, Made to Crave, with women from Northwest Fellowship. What I have been discovering in this study is that I need a changed mind-set so that I can desire God over food.  No, that doesn’t mean giving up food, and a lifetime of fasting, but having it in its proper role in my life.  The mindset is that there is nothing in my life that I place over God; and that he should be the first and last thing I depend on in my daily life.  This study, like my life, is a work in progress.I’ve also been able to make some decisions about the Women’s Ministry, church events, and Fall Women’s Retreat; however, there are still some ministry decisions to be made.  Gratefully there is still some time to make the decisions.  I did finish the registration packet for the Fall Retreat, and was able to get some of the supplies for the retreat packet.  I’m getting more excited about the retreat at things are coming together.  I’m also excited to get to see my friend, Lora Jones, as she is going to be the speaker at the retreat.  De-cluttering… the most daunting of all my goals, and still a work in progress.  That’s all I’m saying on that.One of the more fun parts of the week was getting to have dinner with my sister and some of her friends while she was doing training at Ft Hood.  The other unexpected thing was a ‘divine appointment’ this morning.  I was having coffee with some of my sisters from Northwest Fellowship, and got to meet a wonderful lady who works with women and children in Mexico along with one of the girls who grew up in the children’s home, is going to school in Dallas, and wants to become a doctor.  We talked some about providing services in underserved areas, and possible programs that may possibly help her.  I ended up giving her my business card; and am hoping she will contact me so I can look into ways to help this precious daughter of God.  I’m not going back to work until Tuesday, so I still have time to work on the “D’s”; and maybe add some more.[...]

Being Unseen


I spent the day at Northwest Fellowship watching a replay of the "Undivided Heart" simulcast by Leslie Ludy; and learned a lot.  I was also convicted of a few things.  In talking about motives for ministry, she made the point that God must purify my motives.
She made a statement that stuck with me. She said that we "must be willing to be unseen." I admit that sometimes I like the appearance of being unseen, while craving selfish acknowledgements of the things I do. I know my spiritual gifts include ones that have me working behind the scenes (see my last blog entry and/or Romans 12 for more on spiritual gifts); but I still struggle with wanting to be appreciated.  It's a fine line to walk, that I don't always manage to walk.

I still have more to process from today, but this was this point that struck me, and convicted me the most

29 with 20 yrs of Experience


Yep.  I'm a woman admitting my age.  Or at least what will be my age tomorrow.  I wish I was creative enough (or in denial enough) to come up with how to state my age.  My friend from high school, Lisa Mayfield, came up with this.  I liked it enough that I told her I was going to steal/use it.

My actual 29th birthday, when I had no experience at being 29, was the last birthday I spent in Kansas.  I had just come back from Colombia, where I has spent the school year teaching at El Camino Academy.  The school has gone through at lot of changes since I was a teacher there.  And to the Class of 1995... It's been fun seeing how you have grown over the years.

The 20 yrs of experience... well that's too long of a story for one blog entry.  However, there are some changes that bear mentioning... and I'm not just talking about hair color... although that's changed several times.

In preparation for the new sermon series on Spiritual Gifts at church, I took a new spiritual gifts analysis.  I have to admit the results were somewhat surprising to me.  I think this is the first time that "Administration" was not one of my highest gifts.  (So there Chad McMillan and Darren Williams, the 2 who tagged me with the gift of Administration all those years ago. And aren't you jealous Jennie Loftis)  My top 3 from today's analysis, in order, are Pastor/Shepherd (I'm not going to seminary, so don't go there), Showing Mercy, & Teaching.  The second one kinda put a kink in one of the examples in Pastor Russell's sermon for tomorrow, which I admit made me laugh as I called to tell him.  I'm sure he'll adjust just fine.

It seems that what were once my secondary gifts have become my primary gifts; and what used to be my primary gifts of Serving (helps), Administration & Exhortation (encouragement) are now my secondary gifts.  I'm sure that this is in no small part to leading the Women's Ministry and Small Group Bible Study at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms.  One thing I've learned in my years of experience (even those before age 29) is that spiritual gifts can strengthen and weaken due to use or non-use.  But that doesn't mean I don't use my secondary gifts, or even the ones that are my weakest (Evangelism, Prophesy, & Giving).  I'm still so thankful to Tom Westbrook for the extremely intense retreat on Spiritual Gifts, Spiritual Armor, & Fruit of the Spirit in Spring 1992 which has given me a broader view of spiritual gifts and how to use them.  It has stayed with me all these years, and contributed greatly to the "20 yrs of experience".

If you're in Austin and want to learn more about Spiritual Gifts, join us at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms at 10:00 am on Sundays for the next few weeks.

It will be interested in seeing what the next 20 yrs of experience will bring.

Normal Level of Crazy


I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing to have a "normal" level of crazy.  While I think I come by it honestly (you'll understand if you're family or you have met any of my family); I'm not sure if there's any basis for it in scripture.  Of course my "Martha" (Martha of Bethany, not Martha Stewart) personality, can totally relate to having a normal level of crazy given the number of things that need to be taken care of on a daily basis; and even the unexpected things that make things really crazy.

Given the ultra-crazy season I've just gone thru, returning to a normal level of crazy is a somewhat a relief.  However, I have friends who are going thru seasons of "above normal" crazy.  This includes surgery and other health issues; problems with children and their health; interpersonal and family relationship issues; financial issues; spiritual and emotional crises; and many more.

The encouraging thing about seasons of above normal levels of crazy, is when it leads us to the feet of Jesus, just like Martha's sister Mary.  I'm thinking that having at least some level of crazy in my life can keep me from becoming complacent, and still bring me to God.  So while it may not be Biblical to have a "normal level of crazy"; it can still be used by God to bring us the feet of Jesus and encourage us to stay there more than we would otherwise. My hope and prayer is that even during the seasons when I am at the "normal level of crazy", I still remember to sit at Jesus feet.

Obedience and Annoyance


Don't you hate it when you are obedient even when you don't want to be, and then find yourself annoyed because it lead to something you needed to learn and didn't even realize it?  Yeah me too.And now I have Keith Green's song "To Obey is Better Than Sacrifice" going thru my head. That isn't a bad thing. It's never a bad thing to have a Keith Green song in my head. [yes, I realize that was random, but those who have known me for a while will get it]So this post is coming from ministry frustrations.  It's not the first time it's happened, but it's the first time it's happened at my current church, The Fellowship at Scofield Farms.  We had an outreach event on Friday.  Because the pastor had another event, I agree'd to unlock the church for set up, and help with the set up.  As it turned out, I was the only one there setting up. I know things happened, but that didn't stop me from feeling hurt and taken advantage of, and therefore upset. Also, the reaction to me being upset, or more importantly the lack of a satisfactory reaction; i.e., one that included an apology and acknowledged that I was upset; left me more upset and angry at the pastor.  I should interject that the event was pretty successful and we had over 100 people attend.Anyway, I was upset enough that I spent Saturday still angry and childishly coming up with excuses for missing church today, but kept hearing the word "obedience" in my head. As a result, when this morning came, I decided to be obedient and go to church, even though I really, really did not want to.  The sermon topic was 'Trusting Jesus During the Storms of Life'. At one point, he was talking about trusting Jesus instead of letting your emotions run away with you; and one of the examples he used was going to church even when you don't want to. Needless to say, I was more than mildly annoyed. But this was the type of annoyance that comes from realizing I needed to hear this.Long story short, by the end of the sermon I was in tears, but in a good way; have asked for forgiveness for my anger. It was gracefully given. Many thanks to Aimee and Sofia for the prayers and talk after church.This isn't to say that I won't still have frustrations, or that I won't let my emotions take over, because I am an emotional person by nature; but the important thing is that I know I can still be obedient even when I don't feel like it and it's annoying.[...]

The Bitter Sweetness of Easter Weekend


For the last several years, Easter weekend has always been bitter sweet for me.  

Let's start with the sweetness of the weekend, which the joy and hope found in Christ's sacrifice and resurrection. I'm sure the disciples didn't see that on Friday or Saturday though.  How could they?  Jesus had bee crucified and buried.  It was not until Easter Sunday that they saw the joy and started to understand what had been done for us.  So this weekend had to have been bitter sweet for them as well.  It's really the only way to truly describe great sorrow followed by great joy.

For me personally, yes the sweetness comes in celebrating the joy and hope in the weekend because I know that I will get to spend eternity with God.  The sorrow comes in being separated from loved ones.  Easter day in 2002 was the last time I talked to my mom. She passed away a few days later on April 4, 2002; 13 years ago today.  

One of mom's Glamour Shots.

Also my brother Danny passed away on Easter in 2007, April 7th, which will be 8 years ago this coming Tuesday. Danny's passing was not totally unexpected as he was suffering from complications of Multiple Sclerosis and a brain tumor.  Mom's passing however, was a total shock.  She was not only my mom, but one of my best friends.  I still miss both of them; but I also know I will see them again in heaven.  This is more joy and hope that follows sorrow.

I know there are others who understand the bitter sweetness of the weekend.  My friends from High School, Patty and Mike buried their younger brother Les on Good Friday.  Patty and I talk about it every so often as we both understand what the other is feeling.  Only those who have experienced something similar can understand.

Because of this, I think I can understand some of what the disciples and followers of Jesus felt on that weekend.  However, I have an advantage on this Saturday before Easter because I know how it ends.  The Saturday before Easter Sunday, they didn't.  I am thankful the hope I have.

Endings... or maybe not


No, I'm not ending the blog... you can't shut me up that easily.  However, things ending does seem to be a theme right now.  One of my co-workers had his last day in our office on Thursday.  Kelly will be missed.  Now we'll have to talk smack over e-mail.  He went to West Virginia, so now there's the in conference rivalry.  I can't find the picture of his cubicle after K-State be WV last fall.  It included purple streamers and I had fun decorating. [insert evil laugh].

I'm also sitting here watching the end of the Kentucky-Notre Dame game in the College Basketball Tournament.  Quite honestly, all of my teams are out, and my brackets are totally busted, so I'm done cheering for specific teams.  Although I will be interested to see what happens tomorrow when Duke and Gonzaga play.  

Since we're talking endings... Kentucky ended that game in a really fun way.  It was a nail-biter, and an exciting ending!  I'd rather have endings like that than a blowout - unless of course it's a K-State blowout win.  And that will never end.

Time to shift topics within the bigger topic.  This coming Tuesday is also the last session for our Women's Bible Study in Beth Moore's study of Revelation.  I must say it's been a wild ride, and I'm kind of sad we're coming to the end of it.  But I'm looking forward to seeing what God will do next with the Women's Bible Study at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms.  

And while we're talking about church, and faith, tomorrow is Palm Sunday, and we celebrate the beginning of the last week of Christ's life here on earth - also known as Holy Week.  It is reassuring to me to know that Christ's life is not over, that He defeated death, and still lives.

Palm Sunday last year was the first time I attended church at The Fellowship.  It's been an interesting and sometimes challenging year.  I am thankful God lead me to this church; and don't really see an ending here any time soon. 

The last ending, is ending this post.  Tune in for the next post...  

Temporary Insanity & Brackets


Yep, it's that time of year... the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  I admit I can turn into a raving lunatic - well more than some, but not as bad as others.  This year should be a mild year since my Wildcats aren't going to the dance - men or women.  There are plenty of Big 12 Conference teams to cheer for (with the possible exception of OU), not to mention Wichita State.  Yes, I admit it, I like the Shockers - as long as they aren't playing the Wildcats or the Longhorns.

I was posting comments with my friend Rick during the Selection Show talking about how interesting it's could be if KU plays Wichita State.  I don't know who I'd cheer for in that case; because even though I may get flogged and/or disowned for saying this, I actually like Jayhawk Basketball -  and I'll probably never hear the end of it from my KU friends (yes that means you Rob Hett). However, as I've already mentioned, I also like the Shockers.

For now I'll just leave it at "Let the Madness Begin!"

Biting my tongue and speaking my mind.


In my last post I made a comment about winter in central TX being short.  So much for that idea.  Time to bite my tongue.  We had freezing temps and rain last night - and it's MARCH!!!  The agency is closed today - which is why I get to blog in the middle of the day (while watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).I've long had the great ability of sticking my foot in my mouth... speaking my mind (and often being sarcastic) when I should be biting my tongue and keeping silent.  I'm still trying to learn when I should speak my mind instead of holding my tongue - moreso when talking to those I don't necessarily know.  I'm OK with people I know and trust, so most people don't realize that I'm an introvert who overcompensates.  I can also speak up when needed for work, because my job includes giving presentations to different groups and providing information at exhibit tables during different events.When it comes down to it, I get the most timid when it comes to verbally sharing my faith with strangers.  Being a geek-nerd-white trash growing up, I found it safer and less painful to shut up and try to blend into the woodwork.  It's not that I don't know how to share my faith; but I tend to mess up when speaking about it.  I tend to communicate much better in writing... thus this blog.I was thankful for this week's sermon at church.  Our guest speaker gave a sermon on How to Share the Gospel (you can watch it on You Tube), and then talked more about practical methods during lunch. It really wasn't anything new for me; so the issue is not knowledge and ability, but boldness and obedience.  Enter yesterday's post by Margaret Feinberg on disobedience... It's good, and you should read it. I found it fairly convicting.  My prayer now is that my boldness in writing about faith in Christ will help me develop boldness in speaking about faith in Christ to those who need to hear it whether I know them or not.  If you are reading this and have questions about faith in Christ, feel free to ask.  Maybe we can talk about it.[...]

There is a Season


This is a continuation of my life in songs.  Right now, it's a Willie Nelson song... "On the Road Again".  This is the time year that I'm very seldom in the office, but work a lot of hours. Which explains why I'm watching the Oscars in a hotel room instead of at home or a friend's house.  Between medical clinician educational conferences, job fairs, presentations to students and residents, clinic site visits, and health profession fairs I spend a good amount of time on the road in a rental car and in hotels.  Last week I managed to put 3 events into 3 days: a presentation to the Family Medicine Interest Group at UT Southwestern Medical School; a site visit to Mission East Dallas, where I got to reconnect with a colleague and put a face to several calls and e-mails; and exhibiting at the TX Academy of Physician Assistants spring conference. After getting home yesterday afternoon, I was home log enough to sleep in my bed for a night, catch up on missed episodes of NCIS, go to church, change out suitcases, then hit the road again.  I was asked how I was this morning, and my response was "The normal level of crazy".  Some days are more crazy than others.  I was thankful for this morning where I could slow down for an hour or so at church.  This coming week is known as "Swing Week" for 5 undergraduate universities to have their health professions fairs. This is something I do every year, and have done it often enough that I see the same people, and continue to build professional relationships.  We start with the University of Houston, then Texas A & M University, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas San Antonio, and finish with Texas State University.  In the midst of this, I'm also trying to plan events for the Women's Ministry at The Fellowship at Scofield Farms, including a fall retreat where my friend Lora Jones, will be the speaker.  As I read what I've written, I'm starting to think that during this period my life isn't in songs as much as it is in links.  Mainly because I'm looking at how many links are in this post and the professional links I'm building and renewing.  Thankfully this season is a short one (like winter in TX) because it's quite tiring.[...]