Friday, December 28, 2007

The fingerprints of God are everywhere. Tonight while the Dickson's were at their wedding we needed to get out of the house. We took the kids to McDonald's to play. Sheryl and I sat there feeling somewhat gloomy after a rainy day and full of thought about this new season in our lives when a family with 4 small children walked in. The mom and dad were probably 7-8 years younger than us. We ended up getting into conversation with them. The husband is a musician and currently out of work. The mom sat rocking their new 2 week old baby.

As we talked, we discovered that they were believers and it got us on the topic of faith and God's work currently in our lives. As we discovered what a similar place we were all in the conversation began to overflow. We confessed things we were feeling, laughed together, and committed to meeting again. They are from California and have only been in Nashville about a year.

As we were leaving, they asked if we could pray together. What a blessing!! What a relief to meet strangers who were suddenly family! We gathered at a table in the play area and prayed. As we did, the fingerprints of God showed up in living color in that room. We left there feeling refreshed and encouraged by the Spirit of God.

Yes, I believe God is real and He is active today...even at McDonald's!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

We are enjoying a visit from my lifelong friend, Kyle Dickson and his family. His wife Camille and I had Freshman Bible together with Tony Ash. We were instant friends. Kyle and I made a couple of road trips to Nashville in college. The last time he was here was to be a groomsman in our wedding. It's so fun having them here...with their kids Colin and Chloe. Maddie, Ella and Sam are so excited to have them staying with us.

Sam has a new joke. The first time it wasn't funny. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th time it wasn't funny...but over time it has gotten really hilarious. I think it's because he delivers it the exact same way each time.

Sam: Knock Knock
me: Who's there?
Sam: Sam-tootie
me: Sam tootie who?
Sam: chicken and fries.

I know...but hearing him dead pan the "chicken and fries" line kills me. Sam tootie who? Chicken and fries.

By the way...I am loving getting to tuck Sam into his new big boy bed at night. He's growing so fast!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We had a great Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Santa came and our house was transformed all day into a live concert thanks to the girls' new CD players and Hannah Montana Microphones. Sam ran around stabbing people with his new sword one minute and then would change into his Superman outfit and begin jumping (over buildings...or off chairs). It was a very fun day. My mom was here and we celebrated together.

Sam had a big day. Part of his Christmas gift was a BIG BOY BED! Sheryl made him an awesome headboard and made everything look so nice. Sam was so thrilled.

Here are some pictures of our family time...

Christmas Eve at Nonnie's...such a blast! The girls were beside themselves after opening their CD players and CDs from Nonnie! Sam got a playschool garage tower with lots of cars. He loved it!

Santa came to visit at our house the next morning. I snapped this in that awesome last moment of stillness on Christmas Day before the party kicked in.

The kids raced down the stairs as if their lives depended on it. They all screamed as they ran into the den...always my FAVORITE Christmas moment. I love seeing the looks on their faces!!

Mommy scored big with the outfit she bought Maddie. Maddie loves it!

"Seven Seas Sam" came to life at our house yesterday. And by the way...plastic swords still hurt when you get hit with them.

Maddie and Ella spent most of the day listening to their CD players and singing into their new Hannah Montana microphones.

Sam clearly loves is new "big boy bed". Sheryl did a great job!

The kids all enjoyed piling on Sam's bed with him. Later, during naps, we overheard Maddie on the monitor go in and wake Sam up and whisper to him... "Sam, isn't this great? Now you can get up whenever you want to and don't even have to call for Mommy or Daddy!" This should be interesting. :)

We talked a lot about why we give gifts and what we're celebrating. We ate some great food. We watched a pretty awesome parade on TV. We enjoyed being together. I'm grateful for Jesus who brings me such abundant joy--often shown to me through my sweet family!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Guess who climbed down our chimney tonight???

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Today marked my final day at the Otter Creek Church as the worship minister. I came on staff 12 years ago. I have learned a lot in 12 years, made many dear friends, gotten married at Otter Creek, we've welcomed 3 children into our lives, and enjoyed welcoming my mom to Otter Creek 2 years ago. So, you can imagine that it was not an easy decision. (Knowing this was coming made the Christmas program last weekend very bitter sweet.)

Sheryl and I began to sense a while back that God was bringing us to the end of our season there. We've spent many nights talking, praying and listening for God. This morning we announced our resignation and said goodbye to a very special season in our lives.

Although there is sadness, we are also filled with excitement. God is preparing new paths for us. We feel renewed in hearing His voice. We are experiencing the adventure of following Him, even when it does not seem safe or comfortable.

We will continue to minister with ZOE and I will be taking on some new roles that I am excited about! More news in the coming days, but it's important that we mark this very special day with thanksgiving for all God has given us through our Otter Creek Family. Thank you to all those who have walked so closely with us on this journey. Thank you for your prayerful support and love! So many of you are embedded in our hearts. We love you dearly!

Now it's time to enjoy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We are experiencing these days through the eyes of our bright, so full of expectation, so hopeful, so excited. It's contagious!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tomorrow morning at Otter Creek we have our Family Christmas service. I asked Phil Wilson to do a DVD that tied "The Word is Alive" to the Christmas story. He did a FANTASTIC job! Thank you, Phil!

I pray that your weekend is full of the joy of Christ!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Here are some pictures from the last couple of days. Maddie's program was on Thursday. They did a great job!

Love this candid shot of after they sang. I wish I knew what was being whispered!

Maddie couldn't WAIT for the gift exchange!

Maddie got to talk to Santa. Ella and Sam got in on the action too!

Kiki and Kevin flew to Michigan this morning for Christmas, so as is our routine with them, we celebrated to the fullest before they left.

Sam was absolutely THRILLED with his new Spiderman back pack, Spiderman slippers, and Spiderman cell phone! He was shooting pretend webs out of his wrists all night!

The kids pose in their new pj's that Kevin and Kiki gave them. This was just the teaser...they are beside themselves waiting for next week!

It's been a long week but God is good. He has been speaking in major ways to us. We're thankful for His faithfulness!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yesterday we went to see Ella and Sam's Christmas program at school. It was so cute! The kids really sang out and seemed to enjoy themselves.

Sam was clapping to the music!

Ella was singing "Rock the Baby, rock rock the baby..."

Afterwards, Santa visited each class room where they were having their Christmas parties. This is Ella's class. One of the most hilarious moments happened yesterday. A little boy in Ella's class who is very attentive to her :) was sitting on Santa's lap and Santa jokingly asked him if he wanted a girlfriend for Christmas (hello, Santa...these are 5 year olds!!!). Ella piped up and in a VERY loud voice in front of students, parents and everyone yelled... "YOU'VE GOT A GIRLFRIEND AND IT'S ME!!!" Wow.

Ella and one of her best buddies, Emma

Sam's class also had their party. His teacher, Miss Julie, is so sweet! Sam really loves her--as you can see in this picture!

Sam told Santa he wanted a Spiderman and a Superman.

This just about says it all...when in doubt, devour the snowman. Love it! Thursday we have Maddie's program and then kids are out of school til the new year. Mercy.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The concert last night went so well! I was so proud of everyone. It was such a blast!
Here are some pictures...I'll post some more in the next couple of days after Phil sends me some from his AWESOME new camera! :)

George Rowe and Sheryl sang a couple of songs together...and at one point I was just undone. It was so incredible I just wept.

Jeff Berry sang "Light of the World" and then a new song called "You Are the Light" with Amanda Vickers. It was so beautiful!

Julie Crothers, Madeline, and Allie were absolutely perfect. Not one missed step. I was SO proud of them...and they radiated!

Maddie...look at the audience...not the dancers! :)

We had a great night. I wish all of you could have been there! A big kudos goes out to Cindy Craig's mom and sister who made a long road trip to Nashville for the concert and to Amanda Vickers family and extended family for flying in from TX. It was great to see all of you!

No rest for the weary...Sam and Ella have their own school Christmas programs this morning! Yay Ella and Sam!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Come tonight! We would love to have you as our guest! 6pm at Otter Creek...
409 Franklin Road, Brentwood TN 37207

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Last night we had a blast at Gary and Ellen Musick's Christmas party. So many fun people and a lot of laughter. Their house was so warm and inviting. The food was delicious!

Lauren Gingles, Ellen Musick, and Meredith Graham

Sheryl and Nathan

Today we spent from 11-5 at Otter Creek getting ready for the big day tomorrow. The band is sounding great, Scott is doing SUCH an awesome job with sound, the choir is rockin, the kids sound good and it's finally coming together!

I hope you can come and join us Sunday (tomorrow) night at 6pm.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Otter Creek Church worship and arts ministry presents “He is the King”, a night of worship and celebration centered around Jesus Christ. His coming brought new life, new hope and a new way of living.

Please join us this Sunday night at 6pm in the Otter Creek Sanctuary! Guest artists include Jeff Berry and George Rowe joined by the Otter Creek worship choir, children’s choir, and praise band. Admission is free but there will be a collection of gift cards for families in need. Childcare is provided for nursery aged children (birth to 2 ½).

I hope to see you Sunday…but beyond that I pray that God will fill your heart with joy and peace!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
above the heavens.
From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This one goes out to my 3 college roommies (and to me)

Ps 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

He is God. He is in control. He is good.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sunday we had a great rehearsal with the adults and the young dancers. The kids choir will join us next Saturday. Here are some pics of our day...

Julie and Madeline dance beautifully! (Allie was dancing in a parade and couldn't be there for rehearsal)

4 of about 40 from our kids' choir :)

After rehearsal we took the kids over to meet Gary Musick at his church (Woodmont Christian) for their annual Walk Through Bethlehem--an amazing, AMAZING night!)

Maddie and Ella made dolls that they would later give baby Jesus.

Sam loves the livestock! He was all over these sheep!

The kids visit baby Jesus. Ella ran back (you can see her on the far right up there) and proclaimed in her gravel-y voice, "THAT'S NOT A REAL BABY! THAT'S A BAAABY DOOOLLL!!!" It was like a scene out of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Afterwards, we went over to Gary and Ellen's house for pizza and fellowship. They are so sweet with our kids. We're thankful for their presence in our lives.