Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Written November 2011...

Here we are....2 years into our 17 year stretch of teenagers in our home.  1 year shy of you driving.


Happy 15th Birthday!!!  Traditional Birthday Breakfast!
These past 10 years have been a blessing.  To walk alongside you as you have learned, grown, played and accomplished all that you have.  I get a lump in my throat when I think about how we really only have 3 1/2 years left with you under our roof.  Perhaps you'll stay close and go to the Jr. College for two years, but I remember how little I was home during that time in my life 15 years ago.  I'm not ready for the dynamics of our family to change. 

But let's not rush things.  Let's just enjoy the moment.

You weren't excited to sit and open family gifts in front of everyone this year.  But you were a really good sport about it. 
Where we are right now;  Celebrating who you have become.  A young man.  Tall.  Handsome.  Intelligent.  A warrior for God.  A friend.  A leader. 

It was exciting watching you be promoted from 8th grade into high school.

8th Grade Promotion!

So long Middle School!  Bring on High School!
I could have cried when we attended the freshmen orientation and they welcomed "The Class of 2015"  The emotions are a combination of just how proud I am of you and the reality of how fast life goes and how fast I knew high school would fly by.

You wrapped up 8th grade and survived not having a cell phone.  Really.  You actually lived to see your freshmen year!!  I know you weren't sure if that was possible.  But we made it!!!

Thrilled to receive a cell phone at the beginning of 9th grade!

You jumped right in to high school life in early June with football practice.  You were there for every practice they had this past summer, working hard, with the exception for the two weeks you went away to camp. 
We thought it was so cool to learn that you wore the same number your Grandpa wore in High School!  #65               
 It was a tough season for you.  My mama heart ached for you every game that I saw you anxiously waiting to play from the sidelines. It was a different experience for you than Jr. Rams was.  We've said it is your choice on whether or not you play your sophomore year.  Regardless of what you do next year, we are PROUD of you for your hard work, dedication, patient and perseverance that you showed on the field this year.

Your rocked the marching band on the Quads this year. You looked so handsome in your uniform and I was so proud of the improvement you made and how quickly you learned to play.

Marching in the Homecoming Parade

 Your grades continue to be good.  Although I know you could get all A's if you wanted to, I'm trying really hard to compliment the hard work that you are doing.  God is using this time in school to prepare you for something bigger in your life later on.

You had the opportunity to do lights and sound for the musical this fall  and are currently preparing to participate on the Speech Team.  (**grin!!**)

I'm most proud of the young Christian man you have grown to be.

Welcomed into membership at First United Methodist Church

Confirmation August 2011
You love going to camp; say that's where you fit in at best.  You dislike people who may talk the talk at youth group but don't walk the walk at school.  You feel God calling you to be a leader.  But haven't been able to put your finger on it.  It's hard waiting for God to reveal the big picture, isn't it?  All I can do is listen and encourage you to keep listening to God.

 It's so hard being a teenager.  Trying to discover who you are, where you belong, where you want to go.  It's hard trying to fit in when you don't agree with the way the "world" works and it contrasts with the way God wants us to live.

I pray for a friend to come into your life who could be your accountability partner in this faith walk who could also encourage you when the high school path gets frustrating.  I will continue to pray for your discernment on what and where God wants you to serve both now in high school and later in life.

There are friends in your life who I am thankful for.  You are still in touch with our former neighbor even though we have moved and she isn't yet in high school.  You have also become friends with our neighbor here at this house. 

My biggest prayer and mama goal is that you feel loved and worthy.  Loved by God and loved by us.  I pray that you see and sense that is the only thing that matters in this season of life right now.  Once you are confident in that, that's when you will be able to extend the same grace and love that God has blessed you with to others.  That's when you'll begin to be transformed into the leader you feel God calling you to be.

I have two scripture verses that I claim for you, my son as you continue this life journey....

1:Timothy 4:8  "Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future"

I don't care, more importantly, God doesn't care, about how much play time you get on the field, or how well you do in any extra curricular activity.  God only cares about your heart and how you work to grow closer to Him.  Period.  Are extra curricular activities bad?  No.  Do they define who you are or how successful you will be?  NO!  Participate in all of the fun things you can in high school but do it with an attitude of discernment as God continues to reveal to you your call.  Use it as an opportunity to be the light of Christ that others need to see.  And, while you're at it, HAVE FUN!!!!

1 Timothy 4:12 "Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for the believers in your speech, your conduct, your love, faith and purity"

Don't be afraid of your faith.  It is strong and even if you don't realize it, you are planting seeds among your peers everyday. You are planting seeds into your brothers and your dad and I too.

Lookin' Good!  Ready for Homecoming 2011
Love you bud....You make me proud.  Thank you for making me a mom.  It's the best job I've ever been blessed to do! 
"Fifteen there's still time for you  Time to buy and time to lose
Fifteen, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got hundred years to live"  Five for Fighting-100 years

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bedtime Stories

The Boy:  Mooommmm.....tell me a bedtime story...

Me:  Once upon a time, there was a little boy who loved his mommy so much that he would pretend to fall asleep on the way to daycare so that she would carry him in.  He hated when she left so much that he would cling to her, not let her go and cry.  One day she decided she just couldn't take it anymore so she quit her job.  The two of them had a sweet summer together.  She took him to swim lessons, they went to the library and parks and did VBS for the first time and she enjoyed her special one-on-one time with him so much that summer before he started kindergarten and their family grew....

The Boy:  Then the next 10 years went by so fast...

Me:  **lump in throat** Yep they sure did.  But I'm so glad I've been home for all 10 of them.  Good night.  I love you.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Day of Praise

"Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Gracious and Loving God, life is busy and full.  There is much to do and very little down time.  But rather than wallow in my selfishness, I choose to give thanks for all the blessings that are in my life.

I give thanks for the overflowing hampers...
what a blessing it is to have clothes for our children when there are so many who go without.

I give thanks for the dirty dishes...how blessed we are to have enough food to eat 3 times (or more!) a day when there are children starving around the world, in our country and in our community.

 I give thanks for the giant blow up guitar, star wars light sabers, Sorry game and plastic army guys that I can see from where I sit....it reminds me that just yesterday the house was full of children playing and having fun.

I give thanks for the full fall schedules that we have....it's a reminder that we have active boys and a family with a heart to serve and share their time, gifts and talents.

I give thanks for the dirt on the floors, dust on the shelves and streaks on the windows....it reminds me that there are more important things in life.

I give thanks for the little boy in the backseat of the van with questions, and questions and more questions....thank you for blessing us with healthy, smart, sweet boys.  I pray Lord I can lead them and teach them to know and love you. 

I give thanks for your son, Jesus...who without the love, grace, mercy and hope that he taught me, I wouldn't have the capacity to be thankful in all circumstances. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Dear BuhBuh,

I know, I know...this is late...by two weeks.  This letter has been floating around in my head and I just haven't taken the time to sit down and write it.

Just before your 9th birthday we reflected and remembered those who died on September 11th 10 years ago.  I remember how my life was 10 years ago; how I felt that everything in my life and my country were falling apart.  Then one year and 5 days later there you were in my arms.  You are the visible reminder of hope, rebirth, grace and love in my life. 

And you're a pretty cool kid on top of that!  You have a heart for blessing others.  It's natural for you. You think of others before you think of yourself.  For your birthday party this year you wanted to go to the park so that your cousins had someplace to play.   You have enjoyed baking cakes for your brothers this past year for their birthdays.  Last Christmas you wrapped up one of your old toys and placed it under the tree for Little Dude to have.   You have this way about being able to find lost things that is almost funny.  If something is missing, you can usually locate it.  You also are able to understand what Little Dude is saying when I can't. 

You are a loyal friend and really love spending time with those friends who are your close buddies.  It warmed my mama heart to hear how you sat with one of your friends the other day on the playground after he got hurt.

 In addition to your school buddies you are also very good friends with your cousin who is 5 weeks older than you

Whenever the two of you are able to spend time together you are inseparable.  It is a very sweet, loving relationship which makes all of us smile.  We hope that it lasts beyond childhood and into your teenage years and adulthood. 

You are such a good big brother to Little Dude.  You are patient and kind and the two of you have so much fun together.  He really loves you and looks up to you.  I pray that one day you and The Boy can be friends.  I think you are just trying to figure that relationship out and aren't sure how.  I celebrate the times that the two of you play games or build together.

This past year you rode your first roller coaster at Disney World, played baseball, advanced to a higher level of swimming, and are playing fall soccer right now.  You have taking a liking to playing games, but have a funny way of playing.  In the game Dominion that we like to play you never try to win but try to either earn the most money or have the fewest points.

If I had a magic wand I would make it so that school wasn't so hard for you.  It's hard to see you struggle; hard to make you do homework when you come home; hard to see you get upset about it.  So, we will keep on preserving in the best way that we can because it has to be done.  I know that when you put your mind to something, you will work hard and diligently.  I know that God has amazing plans for you.

I saw a glimpse of a leader last Sunday in Sunday School as you sang loud as we practiced a song and as you re-told the story we were learning about.  I shared how proud I was of you for doing that and will continue to encourage your leadership and faith in church, in the home and at school. 

Micah 6:8 says, "and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?
You, my darling boy, live this verse.  You seek what is right, you show love and kindness to others and you are humble in your faith.   I'm so proud of who you are and all that you do.

I look forward to watching you grow, learn and serve in this coming year...next stop:  double digits!  But this mama isn't rushing a thing!

I love you!!!!  Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lunch Box Worries

On the inside of BuhBuh's Star Wars lunch box I wrote, "I love you and God love's you too!  Have a good (with the o's of good making the eyes of a smiley face) day!!"

My thought was on the mornings that were busy and I didn't have the opportunity to write him a note, he'd have a permit message reminding him that he is loved. 

I thought it was brilliant!

He asked today WHEN I was going to take that off of his lunch box and that he had tried to wipe it off with little luck.

I told him it was permanent marker.  

"UGH!!!!  MOOOMMM!!!  When I'm in college, my roommate is going to see that and ask what that is and then I'm going to have to tell him that my mom wrote it then he'll laugh and I'll cry."

I didn't have the heart to tell him that

A. he most likely would not still be carrying that Star Wars lunch box when he got to college and

B. He would probably really, even if secretly, like seeing a note like that from mom when he's in college.

But then again, I'm just mom....what do I know, right?

In the meantime, let's just enjoy 3rd grade, yummy lunches packed in our Star Wars lunch boxes and permanent messages from mom.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Car Talk

Little Dude:  I'm going to have lots of babies

The Daddy:  How many?

Little Dude:  10

The Daddy:  Who's going to be your wife?

Little Dude:  A girl.

The Daddy:  Who?

Little Dude:  Anybody.  Girls are easy to find.  They are everywhere.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Car Talk

BuhBuh:  My birthday is coming up.

Me:  Yes it is.

BuhBuh:  But it's not right around the corner.  It's around the corner twice

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Car Talk

Little Dude:  Did you see 'dat?

Me:  See what?

Little Dude:  'Dose army cows??

Me:  Army cows???  What did they look like?

Little Dude:  Black and white.

Me:  Ohhhh....**giggling as I realized exactly what he was talking about***

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Nights

The sky looks like the canvas of an artists masterpiece. 

Red and pink hues streak the sky as the sun slips just below the horizon.

"Now??" he asks anxiously for the umpteenth time.

"No, not yet," I reply.  I know how excited he is.

The colors in the sky begin to fade and the shadows grow longer and longer.

And then you see one.

Then two.

Then more than you can count. 

Bursts of light begin to twinkle just out our door breaking apart the still, darkness that has engulfed the yard.


I hear the door slide open and then shut.  

He doesn't even ask to go out.  

Bare feet race across the deck and down the stairs into the summer night air to fulfill the mission of the moment.

I peer through the window from the kitchen, trying to keep an eye on the busyness. 

"I GOT ONE," he exclaims excitedly. 

Proudly, and carefully he slips his new friend into a jar with holes punched on top of the lid.  Again he slips out the door to find another.  He thinks his new friend needs a friend.  

What joy simple little things like lightening bugs can bring to an ordinary summer evening.  It's just about the perfect kind of summer evening there is to be had.  Especially if there's a scoop of ice cream to go with it!

Friday, July 01, 2011


Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE the month of June???  30-blissful days of being unplugged (except for work.  I was on computer way more this year than in years past.  ICK!) and reconnecting. 

We take this so seriously that even people who come to our house during the month of June have to play along.
Cousins and friends who come over to play, and we even 10 kids we entertained when it was our turn to host for our Babysitting Co-op.

So what all did June entail here at the Yellow House on the Prairie??  (I should rename this blog!  What do you think?)  

Celebrating 15 years of marriage.  I had a conference to leave for that day.  But had flowers waiting for me when I checked into my hotel.  We celebrated when I returned with a Pops Symphony Concert with 
Micheal Cavanaugh and a movie 

Vacation Bible School.  The first one I was 100% responsible for planning and organizing.  It was awesome.  We had over 20 volunteers help to make it what it was.  We had about 60 children and youth and God showed up, that is for sure!

Trip to the zoo with cousins

Lots of games played as a family both inside and out.


Day trip to Chicago



Fireflies and Toads

Evenings at the ball park

Hours spent driving The Boy to and from 2 different camps, weights and conditioning for football, youth group, Village Inn, Friends houses. (Hence the reason there are NO pictures of him.  He hasn't been around much!  SNIFF!!!)

June is over.....but I am looking forward to enjoying July even if there are a few more electronics being used during the month.

End of School

No, the child did not have to stay in school this long.  His mama just didn't get his last day of school pictures up. 

He was excited for summer to begin.  Can you tell???  

We are having so much fun this summer (except when mean mama makes him do math or read) that I doubt this will be the same sort of memory I capture when he returns to school in the fall.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Chapter

Middle School...


Multiple teachers



Broken arms


School Dances

Quiz Bowl


Getting taller

Peer mentor
Honor Roll

Figuring out life

Searching for identity

Dreaming about the future

Growing in maturity


A new chapter begins August of 2011


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Last Day of School: Litte Dude

Today was the end of Little Dudes first year of preschool.  

He has so loved preschool.  

When I would drop him off he'd skip down the hall, happy and excited.  When I would pick him up, he would run out with a smile on his face and jump into my arms.  

He would hug his best friend and the two of them would walk out to their mommy's vans holding hands.

Today was different.  There was no smile.  No running.  He tried to carry a big brave boy composer.  But his lip quivered just ever so slightly that I knew he was sad. 

We snapped a quick photo with his teacher. 

Then he fell into my arms, buried his head into my neck to hide his face.  

I could feel his warm tears on my neck.  

"Go!  Go!" he whimpered, motioning toward the door wanting to leave.  

Today there was no goodbye hug for his best friend; no walking her to her van.  

Today he just wasn't up to it.  

I tried to get a last day of school picture in the same spot that we took our first day of school picture.  But he just clung to me tighter.  

I'm so glad that he loved preschool that much.  Glad that we decided to keep him there next year rather than moving him into the program at our elementary school.  Sad that his heart was sad.  (I've never had a kiddo react that way to the end of school!!!)  But looking forward to all of the fun and adventure that we will have this summer. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


A wise mom of grown children told me once, "Never stop hugging your kids.  Even if they don't like it, keep hugging them.  Because if you stop, they might decide they do want to be hugged by you and how would you know?"

So, I make it a point to hug my boys, all three of them, big, medium and small. 

Little Dude runs and jumps into my arms and squeezes.

BuhBuh lets me hug and kiss him.  But most times his arms dangle at his side.  Unless it's bedtime then he wants a big hug.  I think it's a stall tactic, but I don't care.  If he has a bad dream he still insists on a "good night" kiss to make it all better.

The Boy curls up into a fetal position and squirms.  But I hug him anyway.  It doesn't really hurt my feelings that he doesn't hug back.  Because my job is to let him know that I love HIM

This weekend The Boy and I were at a youth retreat and at the end everyone runs around hugging all of their friends new and old.  

As I was trying to round up my group I was standing there face to face with The Boy; looking up to him.  He leaned in and let me hug him.  We were in the middle of a group of people and he didn't care.  We stood there longer than any other hug we have had recently.  This time it wasn't one sided either.  

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Words to Live By

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
Mother Teresa

Monday, April 25, 2011

Camera Cable FOUND!!!!

YIPPIE!!!!  Here are some pictures of our new 4 year old enjoying his birthday!!!

HAHA!  He's trying to give a double thumbs up!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Birthday Letter

Dear Little Dude,

Happy 4th Birthday, my sweet, little boy!!!!  You have been counting down birthdays until yours since after The Boy's.  First we celebrate Jesus' birthday, then Daddy's.  You knew that yours was coming up after Daddy's.  So then we started to count sleeps.

You woke up this morning and came to our room and knew that you didn't have any more sleeps left!!!  You knew that TODAY was THE day!!!

Then you thought about it.

Perhaps a little more deeply than most little boys your age.

You got that little whimper; crack in your voice as you tried to talk.

"I don't want to be four," you said.  "I want to be three"

You nestled your little head into my neck.  I think I might have even felt a couple of warm crocodile tears on my cheeks.

But then BuhBuh came to your rescue!!!  He said he had something for you....he put one of his toys and some of his guys on a shelf down low and told you that you could play with those toys anytime you liked and you didn't have to ask.

Thanks BuhBuh!!!

We celebrated YOU with some gifts and birthday cinnamon rolls just like we do with your big brothers.  You really enjoyed opening your gifts.  You got some new games, a pillow pet, a Leapster with some games and a soccer ball.

The cool thing about having your birthday fall on a Sunday is that your church family sings to you!!!  You were pretty excited about this and were giving some pretty enthusiastic fist pumps during the special serenade. 

We went out to lunch with some of our church family.  You asked if the restaurant was a good birthday place and were thrilled, as always that they had your favorite.  Chocolate milk!!!  Mommy and Daddy and The Boy had bible study then we came home and played your with your new games.

You are looking forward to your family dinner next Saturday when your aunties and uncles and cousins and grandmas and papa's will all be here.  Mommy is looking forward to it too.

What a fun year it has been to watch you grow and play and learn.

Naps are a thing of the past.  Once summer hit, it was just too hard to keep any kind of a nap schedule.  You do pretty good for the most part and go to bed well at night.  The car can still almost always lull you to sleep.  Which is not good when it's late afternoon.  We go back and forth between streaks of you climbing into our bed at night.  You've been really good about it lately, waiting until the sun comes up before you come in.  That I'm OK with! 

Although you were mostly potty trained prior to your 3rd birthday, there were a couple of more potty training hurdles that we had to conquer.  Which we did this past summer.   YIPPIE!!!

You started participating in the children's ministry programs at Church on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.  I love that you are able to be independent from mom for short periods.  You also have loved going to preschool this past school year!  You run into your classroom everyday with so much anticipation and excitement and a couple of hours later run out of the classroom excited to see me.  It's been good for both of us I think.

You have a special friend that you met this year at preschool.  A cute little brunette girl who you hug at the beginning of the day at preschool and once more to say goodbye.  The two of you walk out to your mommy's vans holding hands every day.  It's only cute and allowed because you are this young.  We have discussed how she may not spend the night at your house because it's not appropriate for girls and boys to have sleep overs.  But we have enjoyed a couple of play dates after school with her.  You say she's your best friend; your favorite friend.  You tell me that you will miss her just about every day when we leave school.  I think it's precious that your first best friend is a little dark haired girl, just like both of your big brothers had first best friends who were little girls with dark hair as well.

You love the color yellow.  You have begun to enjoy watching Dora during your TV time in the afternoons.  You love to play games.  You play well with BuhBuh, The Boy, cousins, playgroup friends and church friends.  You love to snuggle with mommy in her bed and read books.  You love to wrestle with your Daddy.  You give me countless hugs and kisses all day long.  I love that.  You give a pretty terrific high five.  Recently you've mastered the "super spin"  and you can tell some pretty hilarious knock-knock jokes.  You like to rev your monster trucks through the house.  Your speech is improving, although we think we will need some speech services next school year.  You say such cute, funny things.  You tell me I'm beautiful then ask if that has melted my heart.  And yes, it does, every time. 

We've had lots of fun adventures this past year.  I've always said that 3 is one of my favorite years.  But, I have to tell ya my sweet boy, I'm REALLY excited for 4!!!  I can't wait to spend this last year home with you before you begin all of the adventures of school that lie ahead.  But not yet!!!  Let's just take it slow, one day at a time enjoying the moments that God gives us.

Happy Birthday my sweet little guy.  Mommy loves you so much!!!!

***editors note:  If I werent' trying to unpack boxes (yes, still!) and get ready for a birthday party on top of the normal things that we do day to day, maybe I could have found my camera cable to share some birthday pictures with you.  But NOOOOO, it wants to remain hidden.*** 

Monday, April 11, 2011


BuhBuh:  I like being the middle child

Me:  *grinning*  Oh yeah?  Why is that?

BuhBuh:  Because if I were the oldest I'd only have two younger brothers and no big brother and if I were the youngest I'd only have two older brothers and no younger brothers

After this bedtime conversation with BuhBuh, both of these pictures flashed into my mind. 

Mark Twain Lake, July 2009
Starved Rock State Park, July 2010

I love both of these pictures of my boys.

They both tell me a story.

They both capture a precious, shared moment between the three of them. 

They both give me insight into each of their hearts.

They both remind me that despite the moments of arguing and fighting that occur;  despite my worrying about whether or not my boys will grow up and be brothers who are friends; despite me worrying about whether or not I'm treating them fairly because of their "birth order;"  I know...I see that there is a bond between them that only the three of them will ever share.

I pray that it will continue to grow stronger through the years.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

John Wesley's Historic Questions

In addition to submitting my statement of call to the SPRC, I also had to answer John Wesley's Historic Questions, self-examining questions that have always been asked of those seeking ordination within the United Methodist Church.  the committee needs to reflect upon and weigh into their decision of whether or not to recommend a candidate  Here is what I submitted. 

1.  Do they know God as pardoning God? 
God is love.  God loves me so much that he sent his Son to suffer and die on the cross for me.  It is only by the grace of God that I have been forgiven from the sins of my past, the sins of my present and even from the sins that I am yet to commit.  I know that the grace of God is bigger than any sin that I have committed.  I am forgiven and I am free from being a slave to the sin and the guilt that I once carried.   
Have they the love of God abiding in them? 
It is God, through the Holy Spirit that is alive and active within me, calling me to be the hands and feet of Christ in my home, in my church and in my community and world.  I want to share my love of God with others.  I seek out opportunities to share the love of God with the all that I am privileged to come into contact with, both within the church and outside of the church.  I pray that Christ is reflected in my words and actions.
Do they desire nothing but God? 
My only desire is to live my life loving God and loving others.  My desire is to continue to grow in the grace of God, grow in the wisdom of God and to continue to grow more Christ-like in all that I do. 
Are they holy in all manner of conversation?
I try to speak in such a way that is tender and loving and brings glory to God.   I listen when it’s time to listen and try to provide a positive aspect in negative situations. 

2.   Have the gifts, as well as evidence of God’s grace, for the work? 
I have taken several different spiritual gifts inventories.  The most recent one, on the United Methodist website indicated that my spiritual gift is in teaching with secondary gifts in shepherding, exhortation, compassion, wisdom and faith.  This most recent inventory also reflects the gifts that have appeared in other inventories I have taken, just in a slightly different order.  It is only by God’s grace that I am able to teach youth and children in Christian Education and it is something that I feel that God is currently calling me to do. God provides me with the wisdom needed to lead each class, children’s sermon, devotion or small group that I have had a privilege of leading over the past several years. 
Have they a clear, sound understanding; a right judgment in the things of God; a just conception of salvation by faith? 
Gods’ characteristics are best revealed to us through Jesus’ 3 years of public ministry.  We are created in God’s image and are called to imitate Christ.  As I continue to grow in my faith and study more about Jesus, I become more and more aware of how I am being called to live my life.  There have been many behaviors that I have consciously changed in my life because I feel that they do not reflect Jesus.  John Wesley’s General Rules also offer a good guideline to how we are to live our lives in a way that best reflects Christ; to do no harm and to do good. 
All of us have fallen short of the way God had created us to be.  We are all sinners.  But we are saved from sin when we accept God’s free gift of grace.  Hebrews 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.”  Before someone accepts the free gift of grace and salvation, faith has to already be working in their lives.  Faith is the understanding, acceptance and belief that God does have something more and better to offer us than what we can try to offer ourselves.
Do they speak justly, readily, clearly?
I am always eager and excited to be able to present the message that God has given me to share whether it is in a large group setting, in a small group or in a one-on-one situation.  I am a certified Lay Speaker within the United Methodist Church, and have had the opportunity to speak in other faith based settings outside of the Church.

3.  Have they fruit?  Have any been truly convinced of sin and converted to God, and are believers edified by their service?
Working with kids and youth has been such fun.  The younger ones are sponges and soak up every word you teach.  The youth are beginning to question and search for answers that they can grasp in a world that can be so negative and confusing.  When I am able to tell a teenager the truth about God and the love that God has for her, and I can see the fear that’s been in her fade, that is fruit.  When I see youth reach out to comfort one another, that is fruit.  When I get to watch youth step out of their comfort zone during mission trips and service projects and serve others with their whole heart, that is fruit.  When I see and hear the children singing, full of enthusiasm, in front of the congregation, that is fruit.  When the children repeat back to you something you taught them, that is fruit.  Being asked to be a reference for the college and high school students is also fruit.  When I receive hugs from the little ones through the college kids, that is fruit.  It is a privilege to be part of the seed-planting in the children and youth I serve. I pray that as those seeds are watered and tended to that they continue to produce fruit, even if I don’t get to witness all of it.  I pray that they will in turn be seed-planters for others and get the joy of watching fruit bloom just as I have seen in them.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Statement of Call

One of the steps into candidacy for ordained ministry is to prepare a written statement of call and submit it to the Staff-Pastor Relations Committee within your local church.  After reviewing and interviewing the candidate they then have to vote so that the candidate can move forward with the process. This is what I submitted.

 In April of 2007 we welcomed our third son into our family.  I was living the stay-at-home mom dream and felt privileged to be able to care for my family.  While holding my infant son one day, I reflected on how content and happy I felt.  No sooner after that idea flooded my heart, I heard God whisper.  I didn’t completely understand at the time, but I felt that God had something planned for my life which I needed to be in prayer about.  Even then, although I couldn’t really articulate what God was doing, I knew.  In that moment while holding my son I actually attempted to bargain with God.  I told God that if I wasn’t pregnant again by the time this baby was 2 years old, maybe then we could talk.
God did not wait 2 years.  Over the course of the next year God continued to place different opportunities for me to serve on my heart.  Obediently, I served hoping that would help to quench the ultimate call that God was leading me towards. 
Just a year after I had tried to “make a deal,” God was no longer whispering, but making sure that I was getting the message loud and clear.  God spoke to me while I was serving on my first mission trip, in scripture and bible study and through songs that played on the radio every time I was in my car.  While preparing to serve on my first Walk to Emmaus Team the Holy Spirit was working on my heart so much that I was overwhelmed with emotion while listening to a Pastor speak.  It became obvious to me that I no longer could ignore or push aside God calling me into ministry any longer.
Despite acknowledging that God was calling me into ministry, I became very confused on the specifics.  I felt very strongly that I was being called to attend seminary but was certain, however, that I was not being called into Pastoral Ministry.  After much prayer, study and talking to others, I learned of the Order of Deacons in the United Methodist Church.  I instantly realized that was the path God was calling me to pursue. 
I feel very strongly that my first call is in our home to my husband and children.  Accepting this call into ordained ministry has been a struggle.  However, when I finally accepted and acknowledged the direction God is leading me, I was filled with a calming, affirming peace.  I have not felt any pressure to rush this process as long as I am pursuing it at a pace that will allow me to be ready for seminary when my youngest begins kindergarten.  God has continued to re-affirm my call over the past few years, which has helped me to remain confident that this is the path I am to continue to follow.
During this season of prayer, study and searching for clarity in the ways that God has called me, and throughout this candidacy process, I have clung to Philippians 2:13 (NLT) “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”  I know that I can not do what God has called me to do on my own.  The only way I can continue to pursue and fulfill this call, is to trust that it is God who is equipping me for both this candidacy process and ordained ministry.  I am merely a humble servant of an awesome, redeeming, God. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Spring Break Vacation

One of my favorite things is to take vacations with my family.  It gives us a break from the everyday.  It gives us an escape from the busy.  It gives us intentional time together to have fun and enjoy one another without the worry of the calendar, clock or to-do list.

Our Spring Break vacation was split between Walt Disney World in Orlando and Grandma and Grandpa's Florida house in Fort Myers.

 I know Little Dude won't remember his first trip to Walt Disney World .  But it's pretty special to watch a 3-year old experience the excitement of Disney World for the first time and to be part of that excitement and joy with them. 

Although BuhBuh had been to Walt Disney World 5 years ago, we really got to watch him experience it all over again.  


He rode several roller coasters, often times putting up a fight to not ride them, but was always so happy when he did.  

Oh!  And he got to have a little light saber battle.  

Although he asked if he could battle on the dark side (sigh) he thought it was pretty cool. 

The Boy was such a trooper.  He did get to ride several roller coasters which he enjoyed.  But he was a good helper with his brothers. 



He never complained when we rode on the "kid" rides.  

I was worried that he wasn't having any fun.  This was the first vacation that I actually worried and wondered about that.  But when we got home he did tell me that he had fun.  My Sweetie and I realized as we walked out of the Magic Kingdom at 1 in the morning on our last "night" in the parks, that he might not be with us the next time we go. 

We really crammed a lot of the Disney Experience into a short amount of time.  We walked a lot, ate very little, slept very little, but had a ton of fun.  

After the Extreme Disney part of the trip, we drove to Fort Myers to stay with My Sweetie's parents at their Florida home.  We spent one day looking for alligators in the Everglades.


The rest of the time there we spent relaxing on the beach. 

It was BuhBuh's and Little Dude's first time to the ocean. All three boys had a blast playing in the water, digging in the sand and searching for shells. 

I had a blast sitting in my chair watching and soaking up the memories.