Dear Week Of Rest…

 

Andy Griffith…I really like this show, mom.

  
 Yes, that’s what I shall call you, the Week of Rest. After all of the performances, all of the writing, all of the grading and all of the travel (or none if you had the stomach flu like us), we have this wonderful week of in-between. 

One blissful week where staying up late is ok and although there is still work to be done, the pressure is different. The pressure this week is more of preparing for the new year. Planning. Brainstorming. Organizing. As Jon Acuff calls it, “Slingshot week.” 

And…cleaning. And that is where this moment makes me stop and be thankful for you, Week Of Rest. Here, my boys are playing in their clean, almost organized room, with organized Legos in their new chairs watching The Andy Griffith Show. By choice. 

“Just 10 more minutes, mom?” 

Why, sure, almost angelic children (at least for tonight).  This Week Of Rest won’t last forever. I choose to enjoy it, and enjoy you. 

When you start to take some initiative, your kids will take notice and follow.

When you start to take some initiative, your kids will take notice and follow.

This month our theme for our Children’s Church program is “Initiative – seeing what needs to be done, and doing it.” Boy do we have a lot to learn from this lesson, don’t we? From the volunteer cameraman, nursery worker, greeter, usher, and singer (this list could go on and on, couldn’t it?), to the person who stops and helps someone up the stairs, turns off a set of lights left on, or picks up a piece of trash that was accidentally forgotten – we have plenty of opportunities to use our initiative. We can see something that needs to be done, and, instead of waiting for someone to beg and plead with us to help them, we just do it!

What about those chairs that are there after church for the men or Bible College boys to pick up? Just imagine if a few seasoned people who loved Jesus stopped and worked side by side with these guys for 20 minutes? What a relationship we could build! What a Story we could help fulfill! What if your hands – serving alongside those tattooed arms – was the difference between him fighting through the craving for a drink and staying, instead of quitting and going on a binge? Could it even lead to him eventually accepting the love that Jesus has for him? The relationships we build with our community is one of the deciding factors on how they know our Jesus.

This seems to be a post on a situation near and dear to me where I live. Is there a way it can translate in your community, though? Does your church need a volunteer? I’m sure it does. Do you see someone in need of a friend, that you could begin to build a relationship with if you just have some initiative to take the first step? Could you really help build part of the Kingdom and make a difference if you started thinking about what you could do to serve just a little bit more?

Yes, I think you can!

 

 

Initiative

5in5 Day #1 “Little Bit O’ Crazy”

5in5 Day #1 “A Little Bit O’ Crazy”

Sorry for the out of tune piano. I will have the Nord setup tomorrow. The song explains why it’s not…

“Little Bit O’ Crazy”

VS 1Late nights, Early mornings, cram it in – when you can

Start a load of Laundry

Woops I forgot, I guess I’ll start it again

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

VS 2

Ten O’ Clock, I’m finally home, drove to Palmyra, Quincy and parts unknown

4 different stores for shoes – with 3 guys you know why I’m singin’ the blues

You know we’ve got a wedding coming up soon

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

VS 3

Found some pants for a high price, at least the boys will look nice (for a day)

Made it back just in time – to change

Run to Shelbina for a baseball game

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

VS 4

Supper late, and one more store, forgot the toilet paper and I can’t ignore

Showers, prayers and now the work has begun

Edit a TV show – It’s crazy, I know

But I’m starting 5in5

I don’t think I’ll end it alive

Little bit o” crazy

Sometimes, You Just Have To… (oneword365)

Sometimes you just have to give up that nap.

Sometimes you just have to wake up and not hit snooze.

Sometimes you just have to be on your kids all of the time, so they will be humans that people will want to be around.

Sometimes you just need to sit yourself down, and write.

For the past couple of years, I have participated in OneWord365. Instead of several resolutions, that may or may not be around after a couple of months, you choose one word as your “theme” for the year. Two years ago it was CREATE. Last year my word was WORK. I know, some people (hi mom) think I work too much. Some people don’t think I work enough. I am not sure how I feel about it, honestly. I am one of those people who think about how others think about me, and that is part of my motivation of doing anything. Good or bad, there it is…that is what motivates me. This year I just concentrated on doing the things that I needed to do well, and not be lazy about them. I also tried to not be motivated by what others thought of me.  I was successful in some things, in other areas, I still need some work!

For example, this year our set designs for church and our TV program have been pretty successful. I am proud of the work we accomplished and the organization (SO MUCH DATA INFORMATION) that has started. Do I need to still work on that? YES. I am not good at organization. I am a hoarder of terabytes of data. I suffer from the “what ifs…” If I delete this, what if it is needed 2 years from now? So I just hoard the hard drive space and drive my coworkers (and IT staff) crazy. But…in my defense…there have been times when I looked for something and found out it had been deleted.

Work…on learning how to play piano better. Work on practicing. This one has been pretty fun! And challenging…but SO rewarding!

Raising kids is also work. There are days when I want to just lay down and sleep…and let the boys rule (destroy) the house. There might have been a few days of this happening, but, it takes work (all of the time) to teach them that when we go to someone else’s house, the boys for the most part, are to be respectful and helpful. This past weekend at my mom’s house was pretty evident that the work is paying off… 10887209_10152473687546196_2133542400710887303_o

My teaching job has been particularly challenging. For my “work” I needed to choose and order music quicker and start the practicing/learning process earlier so they had more time to have a successful concert. Music was chosen and purchased earlier than I have ever done! It’s a young bunch of students so I have a lot more work to do…Learning how to motivate/discipline/inspire this generation seems to be more work than I anticipated!

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This leads up to (if you have stayed with me this long) my word for next year.

EFFORT

I have been challenged to make more of an effort in the things I am doing. I am a bit more organized in my work and home areas. Great! Now I need to make more of an effort to do things well.

Make an effort to plan ahead.

Make an effort to clean.

Make an effort to focus on God’s word.

Make an effort to exercise and eat right.

Make an effort to follow through on the chore chart.

Make an effort to read more.

Make an effort with friends (this one is big for me).

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Make an effort to write thank you notes, call friends, visit family.

Make an effort to have friends over.

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Make an effort to make my kids practice their instruments. OY VEY.

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We are all busy in our days. Our kids, husbands, church friends and work take a lot out of us. And I think (contrary to popular thought these days) that is GOOD. Yes, spending time at home is wanted, and needed and required. So, when I am at home, make an effort to engage with my kids and husband. NOT turn on the TV/phone/internet. What is the point of being home with my kids if they are in one room watching TV while I am in another watching TV? I am not saying NO TV. I just need to make an effort to use the time I have with my kids and not opt for the easiest thing (find a movie to watch) as opposed to something else (play a game or read with them).

Make an effort to teach the boys discipline with their homework.

Make an effort to write more. Blog, email, write music.

Make an effort to figure out my amazing new keyboard.

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I think you get the picture.

It seems like a big list…and it is. But making an effort in all of these things will make my life, my family’s, and my church better. To me, that is what it is all about. My life as a sacrifice to my Jesus. How could I not make an effort?

5in5 Day #5 “I Am Alive”

Now this was fun! My friend Mark and I got together and came up with this. It was fun working together!

Several lines are from messages from one of our speakers, Shabaka, that I had written down. Powerful stuff!

 

I Am Alive

Verse 1:

When I look at your greatness, when I look at your majesty

When I think of your mercy, when I think of how you saved me

 

Verse 2:

When I hear of all your goodness, when I hear of your love for me

When I feel you stir within me, when I feel your presence moving

 

Pre Chorus:

I’m alive and your Spirit lives in me, I’m alive and the grave has set me free!

Chorus:

I am alive! I am alive! Your mercy has come over me

I am alive! I am alive! Your grave has set me free

 

End:

We will be the generation, calling down the reign of Heaven

O Lord, reveal it through me

5in5 Day #4 “Glory To God”

One of my very good friends suggested I should write a Christmas song…and I LAUGHED at her! And then the idea completely made sense. So…here it is! Merry Christmas!

Glory To God

Verse 1:

When the glory of the Lord came to earth on that Christmas day

When the Glory of the Lord chose a stable birth no glorious display

Bridge:

And the angels came to lowly shepherds

Do not be afraid

And the angels sang to lowly shepherds

Come and see the Babe!

Chorus:

Glory to God in the highest, peace among those whom He loves

His favor rests on those who seek Him, come worship this Gift from above!

Verse 2:

When the glory of the Lord, was announced by a bright Holy star

When the glory of the Lord, called 3 wise men with gifts from afar

Tag ending:

Glory to God in the highest

5in5 Day #3 “I Come”

Well…day 3 is always hard. One of my goals was working on arranging a hymn so I decided to tackle that tonight. My favorite one is “Just As I Am.” This is my attempt at updating it. Sorry…I messed up several times and was a bit passionate but I can’t seem to do it perfectly tonight! I’m too old for these late nights anymore…

“I Come”

Verse 1:

Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot

To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb I come, I come!

Verse 2:

Just as I am, though tossed about, with many conflicts many doubts,

Fightings within and fears without, O Lamb I come, I come!

 

Chorus:

Just as I am without one plea, but that your blood was shed for me

And that you bid me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!

Verse 3:

Just as I am, poor wretched, blind, sight riches, healing of the mind

Yes all I need in Thee to find, O Lamb I come! I come!

Verse 4:

Just as I am, You will receive, You welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve

Because Your promise I believe, O Lamb I come! O Lamb I come!

Ending Chorus:

Just as I am, Thy love unknown, has broken every barrier down,

No to be yours, and yours alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

 

 

5in5 Day #2 “All The Days of My Life”

So I had something else planned for today…had even written down a couple of chords at lunch!

BUT…”The great lightening storm of spring 2014″ intervened.

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Here’s what I mean.

We were at a softball game tonight (third game of the night). The clouds were amazing…and the lightening started. It was impressive (at least I thought so), but a couple of the kiddos weren’t impressed. They were quite scared! I talked to one about how God was taking care of her and even when she was scared she could trust that Jesus would watch over her. I kind of wished there was a song to sing to take her mind off of the scary display.  So…I wrote one!

“All The Days of My Life” 

Verse 1:

When I lay down and when I’m awake, I know you’re there I just have to take

Your hand in mine, You’re with me all the time

Verse 2:

When I ride my bike or when I play ball, I know you have me through it all

I like knowing you, and that will always be true

Chorus:

Surely goodness and love will follow me, all the days of my life

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever!

Verse 3: (Quite possibly my favorite!)

When I go to school and when I’m at home, I gotta try hard not to moan and groan!

Because you’re there with me, it’s as easy as 2+3

End:

It’s a promise from You to me, and I’ll believe in you faithfully

All the days of my life (x4)

 

5in5 Day #1 “You Answer Me”

Oh how I struggle with words! I think I have so many things to express about what Jesus has done in my life I just freeze because no words are adequate! So, this year I have been making notes from scripture. Can’t really go wrong there, right? This is from Psalm 3.

YOU ANSWER ME 

Verse 1

You O Lord are a shield about me

My glory and the one who lifts my head

Verse 2

You O Lord, You sustain me

I will not fear I will trust instead

Pre Chorus

I cry to the Lord with my voice

And He answered me from His holy mountain

Chorus

Lord deliver me

God come set me free

I lift up my hands in surrender to You

Tag

You Answer Me (3X)

And I am free

When Normal Is Extraordinary

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I work in a ministry in the middle of a cornfield. The thing that gets me EVERY time?

When families torn apart by drugs and alcohol are somehow, miraculously put back together. It’s only something that God can do. Every circumstance points to suffering and destruction. And instead there is healing and restoration.

My son Noah plays summer ball. I love it. I love watching him work with a team and getting coached by someone who is passionate about the game. This year, we have a newer kid that came and joined the team…here at Heartland because his family is getting restored. His father should have been in prison. He made some bad choices in his earlier days. Drugs ruled his life…and destroyed his family.

And then…God intervened. Seriously the best words ever.

God changed this man’s life. And his wife’s life. And their families’ life. They got their boys back, have had a brand new tiny baby girl and have become normal.

Normal is extraordinary.