Birmingham here we come!
Please pray for our safety today. The Lord bless your weekend!
Saturday, July 31, 2004
Friday, July 30, 2004
Things I've learned in the past 24 hours:
1. Prayers really make a difference. There's been a major break through it seems with Aaron and Laney in Phoenix. As John Kerry would say (insert shiver here), "Help is on the way!"Have a great weekend, everyone! Please pray for us as we travel to Birmingham. I am excited about that time. I'm using some of my buddy, Rob Thomas's, awesome--AWESOME--DVDs. They are incredibly impactful. If you're a worship minister or any minister, for that matter, you need to check these out. ZOE Worship and Igniter Videos. Love on your family this weekend. Treasure the time together.
2. There's no way to make a hard day better like eating at P. F. Chang's. I admit, I am in a stage right now where I don't like taking our kids to restaurants. Period. However, there's something about Chang's--maybe the dim lighting, maybe the sedative we give them before hand, not sure. It was awesome last night. Mmmmm. Lettuce wraps and Chang's spicey chicken!
3. I am a closeted reality show junkie. However, there's no show any more dumb than Big Brother or Fear Factor. Please.
4. Having a potential Vice President with a bundle of personality and a John Ritter face does not make John Kerry's sweating and foaming at the mouth any more appealing. Has anyone seen the old movie, Broadcast News? It made me think of that. I also used to have a professor in college (no names to protect the innocent foamers) who had that nasty foamy stuff gather in the corners of his mouth. Eventually, it would slide toward the front and end up stringing from top to bottom lip with every phrase. My gag reflex was in full bloom. You're welcome.
5. The best thing I heard out of Kerry's mouth last night went something like this..."we as Americans need to not think of God being on OUR side, but we need to try to be on GOD'S side." He had some other good things to say, foamy as it may have been.
6. Why does every politician think the thumbs-up wave is the best way to go? I mean, couldn't someone try something new...maybe like the Wiggles? A little point and cheesy wiggle might do some good. You never know.
7. When cracking an egg in preparation for scrambling, be sure not to A: crack too hard or B: not be wearing socks. Because in my case A+B= egg yolk running between the toes. You're welcome again.
8. When planning a date night for you and your spouse, be sure to go to the CORRECT restaurant this time where the gift card will actually work. We're giving it one more shot tonight after carefully studying the gift card!
9. When my Ella takes her passy out to kiss Bear (our very lovable dog) and then offers those same lips to me for a kiss...always take it. Also, as Maddie very plainly points out, "Bear's not a bear, she's a dog."
10. I am a man in desperate need of God's filling and guidance. I will never cease in needing that.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
I sat yesterday with a couple I married not even two years ago. I love both of them deeply. We were there to witness them talking through their impending divorce. It was heart breaking. I kept thinking back to their wedding and how they had 7 couples on stage surrounding them as witnesses who would hold them accountable. Did we? Have we gone the extra mile to really walk with them through difficulties? Have we said the hard things that needed to be said? I think the answer is mostly yes. But it gave me great sadness to sit at that table and think back on their beautiful wedding night. I've married 6-7 couples and this was the first time I had experienced this.
Last night went well. We talked about honoring your parents and spouse--even in times when they aren't acting honorable. Some great stuff there. Julie Woodroof spoke about her father and how difficult it was to read those passages in Ephesians when here father didn't seem like an honorable man. He is now a Christian and loves the Lord, but it was good to hear that from Julie. I know many people are in that place.
I am busily preparing for Birmingham this weekend. ZOE is going out to sing at The National Shepherd's Conference. Not the sheep kind. :) I am looking forward to worshiping with them and everyone else from the Birmingham area. I'm also looking forward to the van trip. Those are always hilarious.
I got the finished mastered copy of the CD yesterday. I am mostly pleased. There are some things that are really bugging me, but it's always that way. I love jamming out to Blessed Be the Name of the Lord. Sheryl sounds absolutely incredible on the East Mountain South song--gracious, am I married to her??!! I have a lot to do in regards to folio and getting that ready. Whew--seems like the deadlines never end.
The replies on the cell phone posting were great! Jon--you cracked me up! Stay tuned, for one day I plan to write another post about email forwards. Basically, if your email tells me at some point that my spiritual health will be endangered unless I pass it on to 350 of my closest friends... "delete"!!! Or...as one I got yesterday stated,
For those that prefer to think that God is not watching over us....go ahead and delete this. For the rest of us.....pass this on.Need I say more? Please! We all live with enough guilt trips as it is! Have a nice day. And if you really want to have a nice day, you'll tell 139 people about this blog and ZOE. Otherwise, good luck.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
Yesterday my buddy, Jen Lemen who writes a lot about emerging culture and faith, posted a great quote that I thought I would share with you.
"Life began with waking up and loving my mother's face." George Eliot
I have such a great relationship with my mom. I also enjoyed a wonderful relationship with my dad who has now been gone almost 13 years. There are many who don't. I am grateful for their desire to be intentional in their love and guidance.
My mom wrote a cool blog yesterday reflecting on my growing up years and all the friends who came in and out of our house. While I may not have had any blood siblings, I had a lot of friends who stuck closer than brothers. I am blessed!
This month at Retreat to the Creek we are talking about family. Tonight we will be in Ephesians considering Paul's admonition to honor our parents, husbands, and wives. We'll have some cool stations set up to help people think through this and even write out a prayer honoring their mate or parent.
My mother is a Spirit-filled woman of God. She is a gifted speaker, pray-er, and minister...not to mention an amazing cook! She loves to read God's Word. She loves to love on people. She gives beyond her means. She loves music. She is incredibly affirming. She treasures her family.
My father was a man with a heart larger than he could handle. He loved people--sometimes to a fault. He mentored people. He had compassion. He was fair. He loved me and gave a lot of his time for me. He was a gifted teacher, administrator, artist, storyteller, and Elder. He loved music. He was an amazing affirming presence in my life. He treasured his family.
My wife is a woman whose beauty outside is only surpassed by her inner beauty. She is a compassionate woman of God. She is attentive to the Holy Spirit. She is forgiving and loving. She loves truth. She is a gifted artist, singer, worship leader, mother, seamstress, cook...the list goes on and on. She loves me. She loves our kids. She is protective and cautious in all the best ways. She is spontaneous and extravagant in all the best ways. She treasures her family.
If you have a moment, leave a comment here and honor your mother, father, or spouse.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
I would like to bring up the subject of cell phone etiquette. I know...it's a sensitive subject. Anyone who knows me knows that I will probably have a tumor in my ear from all the cell phone usage. Honestly, it's what helps me juggle two full time gigs and keep up with people in my ministry at the same time. However, there are certain things about cell phone usage I feel compelled to call into question.
First, why do people need to have their cell phones on during church? OK--let me re-phrase that. In the event that someone is deathly ill, a wife is extremely pregnant, or the world is coming to an end, there's this thing I like to call "vibrate". Some phones may have a "silence" function. Either way, can we all agree to turn our phones off for one little hour on Sunday mornings, or at the very least, turn it on silence?? How many Sundays have we endured sitting and listening to some phone go off for what seems like minutes playing either some classical tune or some loud obnoxious ring? In St. Louis at the ZOE conference, during one of the main sessions, a phone rang. and rang. and rang. I prefer to think that the person was so lost in worship that they didn't notice...either that or they thought it was someone else's.
When we did the live recording at OC, phones and babies were in abundance (as were a couple of folks who seized the opportunity to sing a solo into an audience mic). So, when we did the RE-recording in Abilene at the Paramount Theatre, John Mays, my co-producer went out on stage and went through this hilarious routine about cell phones. He took his out and held it up and had everyone hold theirs up and together turn them off. Guess what we heard half way through the night? Yep...ring-a-ling-a-ling! Unbelievable.
Secondly, when at lunch with someone, leave your cell phone in the car, OR on silence. Am I the only one who feels dumb sitting at a table with someone jabbering away on their cell phone? I admit, I usually have mine with me and usually only Sheryl can get through. But even at that, when I answer, I'll tell her I am at lunch with someone and she knows what that means. We have a pretty good system worked out there. She knows she can almost always get through to me, but she's also great about respecting that time.
Thirdly, when on your cell phone in public...grocery store, airport, mall, restaurant, etc...remember that you are only talking to the person on the other line. How many of us have encountered the "loud talkers" out there who like everyone to know that they indeed are talking on a cell phone. It's nothing short of a one act play...peels of laughter, dramatic "NO's!", etc.
Finally, when in a meeting, all of the above applies. This scenario is what prompted me writing about this today. (Sorry for the soap box!) I went to a meeting yesterday with my mom's real estate agent, the contractor of the subdivision and the builder of her new house. It was one of those tedious meetings where we had to go over plans to make sure all the specs had made it into the floor plan and electrical plan. Both the contractor and the builder got calls about every 5 minutes...and took them. The builder had one of those completely annoying phones--the walkie-talkie kind. After about the 8th call, and that's no overstatement, Jerry (Mom's agent) and I looked at each other and just shook our heads and laughed. It was ridiculous. It was about 45 minutes into the meeting before we even got to doing what we were there to do.
Yes, cells phones are amazing. I am personally thankful for mine and for the way it helps me stay in touch and get things done along the way. I am thankful that if anything happens to Sheryl or the kids or my mom that I can be found and can rush to help. However, cell phones have taken multi-tasking to an all new annoying level. It's ridiculous to have to make announcements or power point slides in church begging people to silence or turn off cell phones. It's insane to sit at a lunch with someone jabbering away to someone else on his or her cell phone. It's rude to be called to a meeting where 70% of the time is spent waiting while others answer and talk on cell phones.
My plea is for simple common sense and courtesy. While this blog is written with a little tongue in cheek sarcasm, I'm sure you can agree with me about the need for some cell phone sensitivity and courtesy out there. And, if you see me doing any of these things, please slap me.
Monday, July 26, 2004
Thank you all for your encouragement. Today is a new day.
Maddie, Ella, Sheryl and I played a while this morning before Maddie and I went to the office for a bit so I could listen to an mp3 of the last song to be mixed. Afterwards, we played at McDonalds for a while. I must say that I have had this love/hate relationship with the golden arches. Their french fries used to rock, until we all found out they killed people at the age of 25. Now, after the documentary, SUPERSIZE ME, came out I can hardly stand to eat there. However, recently I discovered their most excellent grilled chicken sandwich and apples. Go Mickey D's!
Maddie is a funny girl. Karin Hensley handed down this very nice red corduroy Christmas dress with Christmas trees and things stitched on the front. For some reason a few days ago Maddie found it and refuses to take it off. She sleeps in it--CORDUROY--plays in it, puts her Disney costumes on OVER it...it's ridiculous.
There are some folks very dear to me going through some difficult things in their marriages. Three couples I care deeply about are on the verge of divorce. I hate it when things like this hit all at once...and to people we love. Tim said some great things yesterday about habits. We are creatures of habit. We get in the habit of saying certain things or nothing at all to our spouse. We can, if we're not careful, slowly let the flame flicker. Who knew back in our 20's that it would be so easy to allow that to happen? Watching some of what is happening around me has made me so grateful again to be married to Sheryl. We have our faults and issues, for sure, like everyone. But, God has given us so much and we are trying to remember that as we love each other every day. Maybe we should all commit today to telling our mate exactly what we feel--without letting them assume we love them or adore them. Let's tell them and show them! Some of us just need to start the conversation and see what happens. Satan is the great deceiver. He would love for us all to blow off times like that thinking it's too cheesy or unnecessary.
What ways are you finding that work in expressing your love and devotion to your spouse?
Sunday, July 25, 2004
I came to the office this morning to find an email from what I like to call a "spiritual terrorist". Guys who write for trash mags like Contending for the Faith and Spiritual Sword and things like that. Over time, I have made a pledge to the Lord that I would not waste time reading any of that mess. It's sinful and divisive...not to mention gossipy. If I want that, I'd much rather read something like People. But seriously.
I don't want to mention any names, but there is one writer in particular who seems to have made ZOE and me his pet project. Basically, the guy is really out there somewhere. He writes paragraph upon paragraph about ZOE and how it relates (in his mind) to Greek gods of fertility, the Beast, and all other manner of wackiness. Today he wrote me and it was more of the same. I do confess to all of you that I stopped by the website about concerned members or something (in direct rebellion from my pledge) because someone had told me there were a lot of things on there about ZOE and OC. I was wrong to look and was wrong to email the writer. I know better.
I know those of you in ministry understand those days. You get a "you're going down to the bad place" type letter and then have to be about your work of ministry to people. Ministry is hard. It's an exercise in making yourself vulnerable almost daily. Some ministers out there gave up on that a long time ago. I can understand why. But, I really attempted to not give this guy any satisfaction by letting it affect me this morning.
In rehearsal, I found myself struggling to maintain good humor. Things that normally roll off hit harder and more personally today. After sound check I had the team spread out through the sanctuary and pray for those coming--to get our minds around what we were there to do. Frankly, I needed it the most. That was a great exercise.
The sermon was great--based on our vision statement and full of scripture reminding us what we are to be. This is such a difficult calling...to be Christ's love to a dying world. There are certain obstacles that threaten to trip us or even destroy, there are road blocks, there are language barriers, there's human pride and stubborn will. Through it all God still promises to use us if we let Him. I just wanted to share with my blog community some of this in hopes that you will not feel alone if you're walking that road and that there is hope beyond our current paradigm. The Church is the Lord's and He will have His way. I am thankful that He allows me to serve Him in ministry--weakness and all.
Reflections from a day spent at Kentucky Kingdom...
Yesterday we took a short family trip to Louisville, KY to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. It wasn't far and was well worth the trip. Our kids had the time of their lives! Ella, who was really too young to remember much of Disney World last January really got into it this time! She rode her first roller coaster. It amazes me how these two girls love the thrill of the rides. They really don't seem to have any fear.
Out of the big balloon ride, the carousel, the Flying Dutchman, the swings, the airplanes, and the trucks, I'd have to say my favorite was the junior roller coaster. (we didn't make it to any of the big boy rides.) When we asked Maddie, however, what her favorite ride was from the day, she answered as her father's daughter... "The shows". We saw the Rock n Roll show twice. Lots of live music, dancing, etc. It was a really good theme park show. I've seen a million and was pretty impressed. More on that in a minute.
Now, it must be said, I have never smelled so much b.o. in all my life. At one point, I was sitting on this ride and the man in front of me had his hands up and I literally thought I was going to pass out. Hello?? Deodorant, people?! This is Kentucky, not Europe. Wait, what am I saying? Of course! It's Kentucky.
We've been trying to loosely follow the South Beach diet which, yesterday, turned into more of a Gulf Shores diet. Nasty corndogs, french fries, cotton candy, coke, whoppers, etc. I'm sure that's on a diet somewhere.
Now, back to the show. I have to admit that it brought back so many memories. Mostly good. I spent a year performing at Six Flags Over Texas. It was back in the day of Six Flags Show Productions which was the production company that did all the Six Flags shows for 20 years. (There's a new one these days.) I remember growing up watching those shows as we went to Six Flags and thinking how fun it would be to do one. It's not easy to be cast. I remember the audition process. The dancing--humiliating. I remember my first job there in the Crazy Horse Saloon. I did a live country show with 3 other people. It was a blast. The music was all really fun and hip. It was the dawn of the "new country" era. Steve Wariner, Little Texas, Marty Stuart, Wynona, etc. It was a great show to be a part of. I remember moving to the Southern Palace. I remember how intimidated I was by the theater at first. I remember how it felt to finally have dressings rooms that were a little more private (geez). I remember the endless rehearsals for that show. I'm telling you--we earned every penny we made. With doing 4-5 shows a day all week, it was a tough schedule. I remember the show that closed the park. We danced and sang outside at the front of the park on these huge 3 story boxes wrapped like Christmas presents. Being afraid of heights, I just kept praying that I wouldn't fall off. I remember the "groupies". Yes...there was this sad group of people who would buy season passes and some to every single show. Every day. They would write us letters, buy us things, stalk us. It was plain ol' weird.
Seeing the show yesterday reminded me of a really difficult time in my life when I was finding my way, going from wanting desperately to be a witness in a dark world to doubting even my own faith. Those were important times in my 20's. Maybe the most intense was performing for Norwegian Cruise Line and being stuck out in the ocean for almost a year questioning, feeling lonely, finding God all over again. (The Experiencing God Bible Study had just come out and a dear friend sent it to me. I mark the reading of that with my journey back to the heart of God.) I made some great friends. I got to see parts of this world I never would have seen. It was an incredible professional performing experience. It was a time of growing up and discovering what was important to me, spiritually and professionally.
It's weird how a day at Kentucky Kingdom can bring about such feelings and emotions. Maddie wanted to go up and meet the performers after the show. They were children. Am I that old now? Good grief! Overall, it was a day of fun for everyone. Sheryl and I agreed that the most fun was watching our kids have fun. Those smiles--if I could bottle them, I would. How precious! These days are to be savored and enjoyed--making the most of every minute.
This morning we are talking about vision. I've got a great team. I am looking forward to leading. I pray your day is full of joy and love. May the Lord bless your time this morning
Friday, July 23, 2004
One, Sheryl tried to explain to me that Ariel wasn't after stuff. The "more" she was singing about was love. She wanted the deeper things in life. I would refer everyone to both Donny Vaughn's and Julie Danley's comments yesterday for some extra fun there. Enough said.
Two, I belong to a non-public blog that my life long friend, Kyle Dickson, started for 4 of us who were close friends and want to stay in touch. It's a great idea for those of you who want to try it with your own family or friends. Each of the 4 of us has the ability to post on that blog and comment with each other. It's a private blog where we can discuss and share and pray for each other--as well as harass and tease. What more could you want?
Anyway--Kyle and his family are moving to a new house in Abilene this week. He was writing about what makes home "home". He asked us to respond to a couple of questions and it made me realize how much I love a few particular "thing-a-ma-bobs". I want to copy some of what I wrote and ask you the same questions and see what you have to say.
Kyle wrote this about my home growing up in part of his posting. It really made me homesick.
I know we all share memories of Sam and Judy's house on Weatherman Lane that seem almost sacred--home as holy ground--whether packed with Christmas-sweater-wearing coeds or a few lucky friends. The gifts that BST has taken with him to Nashville of caring attentiveness were born of days and nights spent watching his home transformed into a mission, a way-station, or an inn.
That made me feel nostalgic and got me to thinking about some of the things that cause me to feel that sense of "home". Here was my response:
It's hard to answer the question about memories and "home". I guess I might have to admit that there are certain material things that cause me to feel that such as the antique dresser and mirror that sat in our hall growing up and now sits in my mom's entry way. Thinking of all the people dating back to my great-great grandparents who stood to look in that mirror, I've often wondered what kinds of things they thought. Did my skinny little great grandmother think she looked fat? Did my great grandfather who served in the House of Representatives ever look at himself and wonder how he got where he was? Did my dad's father ever look at himself and feel guilty for the way he was living and treating his family? Did my own dad ever stop to look and promise himself he would be different and make the world a better place? It's like a little piece of history...stretching back miles and miles.
There's the clock my father made for me on the wall at my mom's house. There's the "grandmother" clock my mom bought for my then future family sitting in her living room as if waiting to be handed down over and over again.
There are priceless pictures. Pictures of relatives long gone, pictures of my dad with his wicked little grin, pictures of childhood. It was the environment of fun, energy, love, humor, and acceptance that defined home for me in Abilene.
At our house in Nashville, there's a big leather couch on which we've slept, laid, jumped, vomited, comforted 2 children, socialized with friends, watched a million repetitions of Beauty and the Beast and the Wiggles, and more. It's sacred.
In our den are two important pictures on the wall. Both are large black and white Gordon Trice photos. One is of Sheryl in her wedding dress in a plantation in Nashville peering down a winding staircase as Gordon stood below to take the picture. The other is of Sam Thomas Elementary School (named after my dad). My mom commissioned Gordon to take it. At the bottom of this piece is another little window where Pam Trice enlarged and copied a selection from my father's personal journal where he talks about wanting to become a teacher. Priceless to me.
But, still, the most important parts of home are the people who are there, whether resident or guest. Maybe it was being an only child that did it. Not sure. Most likely it was seeing that heart for people modeled in real ways by my own parents. I always wanted people to come over as a kid and then into adulthood. We have a dear community that meets at our house on Sunday nights --our home church. Maddie gets so excited about their arrival, she stands at the door and looks out for at least 20 minutes prior.
These are things that say "home" to me. I'll ask you the same question Kyle asked me...
- What images, objects, scenes, memories, or ----- do you associate with home?
- What do these connections suggest about your view of your home past or present?
Thursday, July 22, 2004
It has been one nutty day. I don't have much time to blog, but wanted to share a couple of thoughts quickly.
This morning I met with Melissa who will be doing some vocal therapy with me. It relieved me and helped me not worry so much. I know it's what I need. I just want the INSTANT fix.
I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with Jen Lemen today. Jen was such an encouragement. We've played phone tag for weeks. She is involved in the Emergent Women's Leadership group and is just a kindred spirit in wanting to get to the heart of following Jesus. I would love for her to come speak at a ZOE conference sometime.
I went out to The Factory in Franklin. I had our HUGE Jesus picture that the Maxwell's did for us at Easter framed. Any guesses how much that thing cost? Sheesh. It will be worth it though. It looks great in the sanctuary.
I am headed out to Paragon Studios in a sec to finish up some mixing with Fred Paragano and John Mays. Every time I am in that studio I just can't help but gawk. It's truly unreal.
Tonight we're spending time at the most awesome outdoor pool at our YMCA. They have all sorts of great things for kids and loud music playing (usually Elvis or Beach Boys) and hot dogs and stuff. It should be fun.
One last thing. As I was listening to Maddie's video of Little Mermaid today (for the 15,000th time) something hit me. That song that starts.."Look at this stuff..." kills me in places. I mean come on...the girl's got gadgets and gizmos a plenty. She's got whozits and whatzits galore. She's even got 20 thing-a-ma-bobs. But she isn't satisfied with any of it. She says... "But who cares? No big deal! I want MORE!!!" It just hit me how true that is for so many of us. Not that I am spiritualizing Ariel, but geez, people! That could be most of North America's theme song! Help us, Lord!
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
Loved the comments yesterday! Thanks, everyone.
We had a good night last night. It was nice to retreat to our home where people were smiling and laughing. We went to eat at Royal Thai...another place we love. After we got home and had pajama time and prayers with the girls, it was time for a serious game of "13". Aunt Kiki won. We are all pretty sure she cheated.
Sheryl's folks leave today. It's been nice having them here. I get this great feeling we are entering a really wonderful time in our lives with our parents. My mom moving here, Sheryl's parents staying in Arkansas--not too far away...all potentially wonderful for family experiences and for our girls to know their grandparents.
I know I mentioned finishing Emerging Worship last week. It is so good. I want to start a book club type of thing with our staff and meet someplace like Fido's (a trendy, wacky little coffee shop) each week to talk through a chapter at a time. I want to meet there so that as we talk about it we can be in the environment of the people we're discussing. Sometimes it seems like we have all these talks about the lost within our own safe walls and it's easy to forget those folks really do exist. Anyway--I highly recommend this book.
Tonight we will resume our Retreat to the Creek gathering.
I hope you all have a great Wednesday. The Lord is near.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
I am still recovering from the weekend. It was a powerful time. They were very receptive and encouraging. We had a wonderful time with everyone at McKnight Rd. We also had a good trip home. Jason got us back in one piece.
My in-laws have been here since Sunday. Sheryl and I have a very rare gift. We both have parents who are easy to be with and who like to live in a "no-stress" zone. When I hear "mother-in-law" stories I always think they are funny, but I can't relate. It's been a great couple of days with Bob and Ernestine. In fact, they have really helped me think through some issues we are going through with some close friends right now. It's so difficult to know how to help people, especially when they don't want help. Then the Lord whispers, "trust me with all your heart and don't count on your own understanding. Give it up to Me and I will show you the easiest, straightest path."
Being with my girls the last two days has been just a delight. I know it's impossible for them to grow so much in 4 days, but it seems they have. Ella has a new giggle. Maddie is just so sweet. I am one blessed dad!
This morning I have staff meeting and then some planning for the next couple of months. I'll be taking the group back on the road in two weeks when we go to Alabama for the National Shepherding Conference. For some weird reason, that title makes me think of my best friend, Stephen, our senior year at ACU. We both got so tired of the SAME question everyone would ask... "So, what are you going to do?" (which ironically, now in adulthood, has become... "So, what do you DO??") Stephen began to answer... "Become a shepherd". And he meant the sheep kind. Something so hilarious about that to me that is totally lost in this translation.
August is filled with other activities. Our anniversary is the 15th and we are planning a silly get away for the two of us to an amusement park in Kentucky. That may sound pitiful to some, but we're actually looking forward to it! I will be traveling to San Antonio to consult with a church there as well as doing the kick off for the fall term at Middle Tennessee State University's Christian Students' Center. It's always a huge highlight.
I pray you all have a great day today. There is peace in Christ. In times when friends are falling away, marriages are breaking up, wars rage on, and America's Spiritual health is down the chute, there is peace. In Christ. St. Patrick's prayer states it best...
Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.
Monday, July 19, 2004
I feel like a truck ran over me. I am exhausted from the weekend...but what a powerful weekend it was! More on that later.
Sheryl's parents are here and we are spending the day in fun together. We are so blessed to have such great families.
Please continue to pray for the McKnight Rd. Church. May the Lord bless and grow their family. I pray that what happened this weekend would deepen and further their Kingdom work.
Please continue to pray for The church in Phoenix. Still much heartache. Satan goes around like a roaring lion--seeking to devour and destroy. We will not allow him to have his way. Let's stand in prayer against the spiritual forces at work trying to undermine and destroy the work of Christ. Let's put on our spiritual armor and intercede on their behalf. He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
Friday, July 16, 2004
I like to sleep with "white noise". We are a family of fans. We have fans in every bedroom of our house--even the guest room. It's gotten to where I can't sleep without one running. Guess what I forgot on the trip to St. Louis? Yep. So, as I laid in bed last night, eyes wide open hearing every step in the corridor, every car on the street, my heart beating, my lungs expanding, my eyes blinking...(ok, maybe not to that degree, but you get the mental picture) I tried to think of something to use instead of the fan. There was no bathroom fan--that usually works. There was no control to just run the fan on the air conditioner. I finally discovered that I could turn on the TV to channel 112 and have the white noise of TV "snow" and cover it with a black T-shirt to still keep it dark. This...THIS, my friends, is called OCD. It aint pretty.
Great day today. We had a wonderful turnout for the leadership track of the conference. There were some great discussions in our worship leaders' track about Emerging culture and worship as well as worship ministry as opposed to simply being a song leader.
The McKnight church in St. Louis knows how to feed people. Not only do they have an amazing hospitality room set up (including a massage chair and a professional to work on us), but we had prime rib for dinner. Watch out, Fresno, they're giving you serious competition!
Tonight we did our first big worship session. It was awesome. Mike was completely on. He's always funny and inspirational in deeply Spiritual ways, but tonight seemed better than his usual perfection.
I am exhausted. Teaching all day and singing for a 2 1/2 hour worship session does not work well with me. My voice is really tired...not just from the day or week, but from the last 6 months. I have to admit, I am concerned. Please pray for vocal health for me if you will.
I was excited to see Sheryl. She sounded great tonight. I always love ministering with my ZOE family. It's like an old glove. It just fits and feels like home. The fact, though, that I get to minister side by side with my wife is one of the best blessings I know.
Thank you, Lord, for answered prayers today. Please continue to fuel us this weekend. Speak, sing, and minister to your people through us this weekend. You receive all the glory.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
The drive to St. Louis was pleasant. David and Jackie England are good people. Even if at one point they did speak of David's chest hair and then tell a story about when their kitchen caught fire and David ran outside naked. But, I digress. A nice mental image there for ya. You're welcome, David.
It's going to be a full three days. The nice people at McKnight Rd are busily preparing for the bustle of the weekend. Brian Magnuson is driving back and forth from the airport. Families are preparing to drive down tomorrow. I have a stack of papers on my bed to organize before tomorrow. Instead, I am blogging and watching "Catch Me If You Can".
Wait...listen. Can you hear it? Listen....ahhhh, silence. While I will be heartsick for my family tonight (although Sheryl will come up with the rest of the group tomorrow), I will enjoy an evening of reading, relaxing and preparing for the leadership track. Please pray for Aunt Kiki who will be Maddie and Ella's buddy all weekend while we're gone. She'll need the prayers!
I know the Lord will be present here. Even if we fall on our faces. I believe He will honor our desires for Him and our efforts to build His Kingdom. It truly is about HIM. I finished Dan Kimball's Emerging Worship on the trip. What a fantastic book. It is a must read. However, it only reinforced so much of what I know to be true about my/our current approach to ministry. I can't help but think that our ZOE ministry must morph and grow and incorporate these ideas. It really is so exciting and terrifying at the same time.
Meanwhile, I will longingly look forward to the squeals of delight I will hear from my girls on Sunday when we return home. There is no better feeling. It is one of the best rewards of being a daddy or mommy.
Thanks for your prayers this weekend.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
It's 9pm. The night was a huge success. The jumpy things are all jumped out. The snow cone stand is torn down. The left overs have been given away. The 30 bags of chips I bought today at Sam's are devoured. (Have you ever seen a shopping cart with 30 bags of chips?) All the sweaty kids are either on their way home or already in bed. The most excellent Holly McCloud (my admin assistant) is breathing a sigh of relief. Gray Nowers is probably off somewhere throwing up from the 250 snow cones he ate. The grill is cooled off. I am exhausted.
I am sitting here looking at the boxes of stuff that need to go to St. Louis tomorrow wondering how I will get them home tonight when I don't even want to lift my hand to type.
I'm not sure I'll have a chance to blog while I am there. Thank you for your prayers about the weekend. Please continue to pray for us as we minister.
Well, both kids are still sickly and completely cranky. Lord, please heal them and give Sheryl reprieve today!
Tonight's the big night. Our annual family picnic will start at 6pm. We have been organizing food for 1000 people, grillers, games, football toss, several huge bouncy things for the kids, tables, chairs, condiments, you name it. It should be fun. It is also about 500 degrees here. I am thinking of adding a daisy sprinkler to the fun.
Forgot to mention that we saw Vince and Amy (Grant/ Chapman/ Gill/ don't get me started) at the movie the other night. In Nashville sometimes it's weird to see famous people out and about. I used to see Martina McBride at the movie all the time. One thing living here has taught me is that we're all human--even celebrities. Amy and Gary's kids went to Otter Creek pre-school and kindergarten (as did Alan Jackson's, Billy Dean's and others). It would be weird to walk down the hall to the kids' Thanksgiving program and see them standing there with video cameras in hand just like everyone else.
Pat Ward, our kindergarten director, is a wonderful woman. She ministers to this community maybe more than any of us. She was really a confidant for Amy through the rough times with Gary and all they faced, not to mention being there for the Jackson's through their ordeal and eventual miraculous healing of their marriage. It's unfortunate that when you are in the spotlight to any degree, it can feel very alienating.
I remember one funny story a few years back. I was driving around to the front of the parking lot at church and saw Pat and some teachers talking. There was a woman standing with her back to my car and I thought it was my friend, Cindy. I snuck the car up behind her and laid on the horn. Yeah--uh, Amy Grant. Nice job, BST. Nice job.
I remember when I worked at Reunion Records here in Nashville back in 1990 (intern while at ACU). I was doing tour promotions for Rich Mullins, working with Radio promo, and learning Nashville. It was an interesting time--I ate lots of creamed corn. It was all I could afford. I was living with a couple of other ACU ex's--Kent Roberts and Michael McCoy. Both of them were trying to make it in the biz. Those were different times. The Christian Music industry wasn't as big back then. I remember Wes King being a nobody coming in the Reunion offices and playing guitar for us. I remember going out to Susan Ashton's house on Thursday nights for a thing called "Guitars and Cigars". But the thing I loved most was going out to Gary and Amy's for "The Loft". Remember the record called "Songs From the Loft"? It came from those very special, Spirit-filled nights of worship in their barn. It was an exciting time. It was before the popular wave of worship music hit the CCM market. But in places like the Loft and at Belmont Church where Michael W. Smith would lead worship, it was like a birthing of something amazing. I remember that summer hearing a worship CD--I mean TAPE-- called "The Lord Reigns" for the first time. I picked it up the other day and was blown away at how dated it is now. It had the song "Victory Chant" on it. I remember going back to ACU that fall and teaching that song. Now, that dates me.
Those were exciting times. There was a brewing of the Spirit. It made people nervous. I remember getting called into a meeting with some important ACU faculty members who were concerned about some things they were hearing around campus. Ty Lovell was there with me. It was as if we were getting in trouble for our excitement about the move of the Spirit. Interesting--every single one of the men in that meeting would testify today that the Spirit is alive and well. We've laughed about it since.
Today, you turn on the radio and every Christian Music artist is doing praise and worship covers. WoW Worship is selling like hotcakes. Worship, worship, worship. I sit through meetings where catch phrases regarding worship music are thrown around. It's a business. It sells records. It's great and also depressing.
As the peak of the worship wave has come and possibly gone, people are asking, "what's next"? My feeling is this, I think we've been on the right track. Lyrics to songs like "Heart of Worship" by Matt Redman as well as other worship lyrics have opened our eyes to see a need for God. It has given our generation a voice in our own language to express our love for the King. It has energized churches and individuals. But what's next? Maybe the next step is to take realization full circle to implementation. We've done a lot of talking. A lot of singing. Maybe now this emergent culture with all its good and bad points can help us break through the lyrics to transformed living. Not to say there hasn't been transformation going on, but there seems to be a new hunger these days for that next level.
As I prepare for St. Louis, I keep thinking about how important it is to take the true message of worship with us as we travel. It would be so much easier to talk logistics, maybe even somewhat helpful on some level. Hold auditions, get a praise team up there, incorporate power point, use these songs, do this drama and whammo--revival. But, that just doesn't do it. The reality is, churches can incorporate all those things and still be the white washed tombs Jesus talked about. There has to be transformation. I am more and more convinced that the kind of transformation we should be after happens sometimes in spite of the order of worship or the praise team or any of those things. For some, it happens as O Sacred Head is sung a different way for the first time. For others it happens in a moment of silence before the service even begins. The key ingredient seems to be an open heart and a hunger for everything the Lord has to offer us. If those are in place, liturgy or no liturgy, the world will be a changed place.
Father, I am convicted today to pant for you, to seek you, to hunger for you more than anything else. You know my weaknesses. You are fully aware of my failings. You know how what I want doesn't always compute into how I live. You hold time in your hands...those same hands where my name is engraved. You will not grow tired or weary. Give us strength for these days and a message that is fresh and Kingdom building. If it's not about You and what You want, shut our mouths.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Here's another great date story. Different from the first. A whole lot of eating. A whole lot worse.
Kidding--but here's the thing. After singing at a wedding a few weeks ago (Merritt Compton) I got a gift certificate. I opened it and took a quick look--enough to know where and how much. So, last night we had Melissa Thomas, one of our kids' favorite sitters, come over and we headed out on the town! Even though Ella had been sick all day, we needed a break and she seemed fine with Melissa.
We got to Green Hills Grille--one of our favorites. We ordered up the appetizer, the meal, the goods. We were trying to make a 7:40 movie. (Spidey 2) As he came with the check I boldly handed him our "meal pass" and he was off again. Shortly, however, he returned seeming a bit awkward. In fact he said... "Yes, uh, hmmm, yes, I see what's happened. I see what we did...um..." and he pointed to the top of the gift card which CLEARLY read "Sunset Grill". geez. We laughed--for minutes--over it.
Spidey was AWESOME! We loved it. While I was watching I received a text message from a friend in Phoenix. If you ever prayed for things out there while Joe was dying, please, please get on your knees right now. I can't go into all of it, but it's just heartbreaking. Though my attention was somewhat captured from that time on, the movie was still fun and it was great to be with my wife who is way more beautiful than Kirsten Dunst.
Prayers today for the McKnight Rd church in St. Louis. As they prepare for all those coming for the ZOE conference this weekend.
Father, you have all of us in your hand. You are in control. Be with Aaron and Laney today. Soften their hearts, intervene. You are a God of miracles. We trust you.
Monday, July 12, 2004
We had a great morning yesterday. Tim spoke about the beatitudes in relationships. It was a really powerful message.
Last night we had Life Group at Paul and Jill's. Everyone helped them clean and get ready to move. It's so hard to organize and get ready to sell your house with two small children running around. We ended up with 5 children running around so Christy McInturff and I took them across the street to the park. It made me feel like any poetry about summer should be banned. I felt like I was in a microwave oven in Houston, TX. Miserable! The kids felt it too. They were way more interested in the water fountain than anything else at the park.
This morning Ella woke up with a fever and as I held her on the couch she vomited all over me. Now, I should explain that there are funny stories about me even hearing or smelling the "v" word that cause an immediate adverse reaction in my own body. While even typing this is causing my gag reflex to come to life, I managed to hold it together this morning. There was something about just needing to take care of her that caused me to forget my own hurling tendencies, at least for a moment. Bless.
This week will be spent preparing for St. Louis and for our huge outdoor family picnic at OC this Wednesday night. We'll have a lot of hamburgers and hotdogs and jumpy things and maybe even snow cones! If you're in Nashville, come join us at 6pm this Wednesday.
Have a great Monday!
Saturday, July 10, 2004
Hot, sticky days with thick humidity;
Cold, sticky, little hands with ice cream dripping down from finger to wrist;
The smell of sweaty little kids who desperately need a bath before Sunday;
The smell of alcohol laden sunscreen that springs forth memories of my own youth;
The taste of pina-colada flavored smoothies, homemade orange-pineapple ice cream;
The smell of grilled veggies, perfectly cooked steaks, and strawberry-kiwi lemonade;
The feel of cold pool water hitting you as you enter for the first time;
The surprise of water splashed in your face by cute little girls who can't help but giggle;
Time for love, time for vacation, time for fun, time for family;
The fresh sting of sun-kissed skin;
The fresh feel of a pressed white linen shirt;
An early sunrise, a late sunset;
Summer. Ahhhhhhh, summer!!
Friday, July 09, 2004
I wanted to alert you to a couple of new blogs links I have added. One is written by Greg Taylor. He's the managing editor and web designer for ZOE and just one great guy. Affectionately known as GT, you'll enjoy his writing.
Second, my old friend Stephanie Elliott Grosz (she REALLY loved that guy. All in fun, Rob!)is writing some great things over at her blog. Stephanie and I go way back to ACU days. She was a great friend through school and it's been fun to reconnect with her. I really love her writing style.
After a wild and crazy week, things seem to have settled a bit today. No fires, no buying of houses, no birthday parties, no 911. LORD WILLING.
My mom left today on a jet plane--we're sure she'll be back again. (Sorry--little JD tribute there) She is going home to spend the next 4-5 months packing, organizing, and saying goodbye. She'll be back in October for the ZOE conference, but until then, looks like the house building will be supervised by Sheryl and me. We dig that stuff--so it's all good.
This time next week we'll all be in St. Louis. We have a ZOE conference there at the McKnight Rd. Church. Murray Sanderson will be teaming with me for the leader's conference and then we'll do our "Ancient Future" stuff the rest of the weekend with Mike . Saturday afternoon, Randy Gill will present his "Worship Through the Ages". It's one of the best presentations on worship I have ever heard. If I could make every Church of Christer in America listen to it, I would. Randy is such a cool guy. He tells stories and uses humor in ways that always engage people. Between Mike and Randy, I'll be around some of my favorite speakers.
Working some on post-production this weekend. A couple of songs are driving me crazy. There are some fixes for sure. Overall, I am really pleased.
I want to close with these words from Fenelon that blessed me today. Have a great Friday!
"Suffering is necessary for all of us. You will be purified by dying to your own desires and will. Let yourself die! You have excellent opportunities for this to happen--don't waste them!
No book or prayer will help you die to yourself as much as facing the humiliation of your daily failures. Of course you must still retire inwardly and be faithful to bring yourself before God. I also warn you not to let your busyness distract you from your spiritual life. If you allow yourself to be constantly distracted, your heart will grow hard. Retire to pray when you can and live the rest of your day in love."
Thursday, July 08, 2004
What a week! All papers are signed, all colors picked out, all fixtures, carpet, fireplace, everything. This is a 2-3 week process that we have expedited in 2--yes, TWO--days. My mom is officially moving here and will be in her new house by December. They will start building in the next two weeks. She'll be in Abilene until then. We are really excited for her and she is really pumped. I haven't seen her this excited in a long time.
So, in other news, our kitchen almost burned down yesterday. Now, when I say that, I realize that my tendencies toward sarcasm and overstatement might cause you to think I am exaggerating. In this case, it's true. We even made the radio stations. "U-Turn Lavern" announced a house fire on our street during rush hour yesterday. Apparently, some grease caught fire and the flames billowed up over the microwave above the stove. Sheryl was going to attempt to throw the pan out the door but it was too hot and she dropped it on the kitchen floor (hardwood). The big rug in the center of our kitchen caught fire and so did the hardwood near the dishwasher--and some of the exterior of the dishwasher itself. Needless to say, it was a mess. The nice firemen helped blow the soot out with giant fans. For those of you who know me (us) you know this is par for the course. This is my life--full of craziness. Nothing has changed. The important thing is no one was hurt. Sheryl handles times of crisis like that so--SO--much better than I do. How I managed to marry such a level headed woman continues to astound me.
We're getting closer on the recording. More mixing stuff, packaging is coming together, and copyright issues seem under control. I am looking forward to this release. I had a friend call who was on vacation in Scottsdale, AR who went in a Christian Bookstore out there and heard ZOE being played over the store system. It was cool to hear about that. We just continue to pray that the Lord will use these to bless people and further the Kingdom.
Maddie and I sang "I Love You Lord" last night. Admittedly, I don't enjoy singing it much anymore because it's been sung to death for years. However, when Maddie said "I don't know what that means" and I got to explain the song, it brought such joy to my heart. I feel a renewed energy today to make my offering to the Lord a sweet sound. I'm so thankful that when He sees me He sees Jesus as my Great High Priest. There's no melody or work or offering I could give that could in any way compare to what's already been done--paid for--signed, and sealed. I am so grateful. I want my actions and life to reflect it.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
My mom had a good day yesterday in working through this potential move. I am filled with mixed emotions. What I am realizing is that what I really want is for her to be young, healthy, for my father to be living and for things to stay that way. I am facing a difficult reality--that of growing up and watching your parents get older. The thought of her being here with us and with our kids is so incredible, it's just an emotional transition. My family has never lived anywhere except the Abilene area. Now we're all in Tennessee. Strange times. It's hard not to feel some guilt about living 1000 miles away and causing her to uproot. I have to remember that "this world is not my home". But, as soon as I say it, my heart betrays me. "Home" has always been special to me. Sacred places mean a lot in my life. But, what is really convicting me in this process is my selfish nature of being too tied to "things" that make me feel secure. My mom's Godly presence in our lives and our girls' lives will be worth all the money in the world. I just confess that in the perfect world, I'd want to somehow combine Abilene and Nashville so as to keep all the things that are dear to me. One thing is sure--there is more fun ahead than we have imagined. My mom will bring a life and vitality to Nashville and to OC that will be so amazing.
This morning we go to "spec" out the house she will have built. It's really beautiful and is on an amazing lot that backs up to some woods. We are so excited for her. Please continue to pray for her in this transition time and for all those she loves in Abilene who she'll have to say goodbye to after so many years.
More to come later today.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
OK--well, I actually did write a post for Sunday, but for some reason, the Blogger people have kidnapped it. We'll see if this one gets posted or not.
What a nutty weekend! We looked all day yesterday at houses for my mom. She has made her decision and is determined to get here. Tonight we are looking at a model of the one she seems most interested in buying. We are all really excited for her. It's such a huge change for her, but the thought of Maddie and Ella growing up around their Nonnie is really thrilling!
Back to work, back to the computer, back to 50 messages marked "urgent". I am heavy today for my friends in Phoenix. Please continue to pray for the Smith family. Losing Joe was such a hard thing to endure, not to mention the months of grief that accompany such a loss. There's much more to be in prayer about there but it's not really meant for a public blog at the moment. I would just beg you to be in prayer for that family and the church in Phoenix.
I just had the most enjoyable lunch. We went next door to the Granny White Market and got some "meat and 3" type items and took them to our OC kindergarten playground. It's a huge shaded area that's perfect for kids. I feel refreshed and ready to get back at it.
Have a great week, everyone. More to come!
Sunday, July 04, 2004
Yesterday was a blast! The kids all ran around with the beach balls as Karen and Steve Speake gathered them one at a time to stand in front of the island background for a picture. Mack and Maddie did their usual--chasing each other in circles laughing non-stop. It was really fun to watch them enjoy themselves. After eating our fill of fruit and cake, it was time to shut 'er down. I'm not sure what was worse--decorating or "un-decorating". I was thankful to have Paul there to help.
My mom and Sheryl went out to look at houses yesterday afternoon. The market is so different here than in Abilene. I am worried it will affect my mom in her potential move.
I had a wedding last night. There aren't many people I'd give that time to on the same day as my child's birthday party. Merritt Compton grew up at Otter Creek and has been special to me for these last 9 years. I never thought she'd find someone who would be good enough (in my fatherly way) for her. However, Merritt and Nicole Shaub (another little sister from OC) are now living in NYC and Merritt met Jim at Redeemer Presbyterian in Manhattan. Jim is one of those rare people who completely radiates the Spirit of God. They are a perfect fit. Praise GOD!
The wedding was beautiful! I got to sing Fernando Ortega's version of Come Thou Fount with the grand piano and strings. It was fun. The service was nice--even if it was over an hour long.
Last night we were in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10pm. I remember a day when that would have seemed so hilarious to me. No more, my friends, no more!
I am thankful today for my freedom. I am thankful for the freedom I have to come and worship at Otter Creek--or anywhere for that matter. I am grateful to all the men and women who have given their lives for that freedom. But--I am even more thankful for the freedom we all have in Jesus. It is a freedom that knows no barriers of city, state, or country. Thank you, Lord!
Friday, July 02, 2004
Great night of family last night. We had fajitas and fellowship. Amy and Grant Boone are in town and dropped by for a while too. It was great seeing them. After they left we played our new card game (13). It was so much fun. Kim's parents and my mom are all cut from the same cloth. We laughed and enjoyed just being together.
This morning we took the fam downtown for the Ali Baba experience at the Nashville Public Library. It was a lot of fun for everyone. However, I would say one time through the Ali Baba puppet show is plenty.
This afternoon we've been transforming the Otter Creek fellowship hall into an island paradise. Maddie is really excited for her birthday party tomorrow. I love celebrating with kids...possibly because I am still a kid at heart? I mean, what is better than birthday cake? I ordered an extra sheet of it just for me. Just kidding.
In times like these, I feel so blessed. Treasure beyond explanation. Family, friends, laughter, love, smiles and giggles from my little girls--all treasures!
I pray your weekend is full of joy too. We have so many things to be thankful for. Liberty, yes, but even more so--freedom and liberty through Jesus. I am one who needed it and I am forever grateful.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Great comments yesterday everyone. I am blessed by the community we all share online. You all give me encouragement and I am blessed by the things you say. Many times the comments are far better than anything I've written. Thank you!
Last night we had our Retreat To The Creek back in full swing. We had soft music playing as people came in, tables with candles burning that would serve as prayer stations later in the night, and the rocking chair and lamps in place up front. Scott took us through the 23rd Psalm in a very meditative way. It was a wonderful night. Sheryl and I got to man (how does one say that in a gender inclusive way?) one of the prayer stations and were blessed to pray with several folks. I just love what happens in that setting. At the end of the night I had Sheryl come up and sing "Be Still And Know" over everyone. How in the world did I end up marrying someone who can sing and minister like she can? It's one of the wonders of God.
I had a chance to visit with Chris and Carol Beaty last night too. The Beatys are known for their renown vocal coaching and for their song writing. (is it just me or does that picture of Carol remind anyone else of Cheri Oteri ?) Chris wrote Holy Ground, a song that many of our churches have enjoyed singing. They have visited with us before for things like the Phil Keaggy concert, but will soon be here on more of a regular basis. The Beatys are a part of The Church of the Redeemer which will begin meeting here for worship next month. It was great having them. We were able to talk and share afterwards for a while and they said how much OC's hospitality had meant to all of them. After being in our service last night they were excited about how much we have in common--maybe more in heart than style. I am looking forward to opportunities to minister together over the next 6 months. We are all praying that God will bless their work.
My mom is flying in this morning for Maddie's birthday this weekend. We're so excited that she's coming! It's not widely known, but she will also be looking at houses while she is here. She's entertaining the idea of moving. It would be a huge move for her after living in the Abilene area 65 years and being so involved at Highland with Mike Cope. Her Spiritual Formation group, Trilogy, would be especially difficult to leave. We're just praying that the Lord will guide her steps. It would be so wonderful to have her close, we just want it to be right. I would appreciate your prayers for her.
Hope you all have a great Thursday. I am looking forward to the weekend and all the festivities. Tonight we are making dinner for my mom and Sheryl's cousin Kim (aka Aunt KiKi) and her mom and dad. It will be a great night. We might have to have to take a break from card playing to finish cutting out palm tree leaves, but still--much fun to be had! Sorta like adding links. A little overboard today! Hasta Manana.
PS: has anyone else noticed how retarded the blogger spell check is????