The girls wanted to practice stuffing a turkey!
Grandma would be proud!
Corynn has declared that she will become a vegetarian!
OCD kicks in.
Little Miss Hospitality says “ Happy Turkey Stuffing!”
I love art. It doesn’t matter where it is hanging or who has done it- it is all beautiful. The more colorful the better! One of my favorite things to do is check out the art on the walls at school!
So, come and take a walk with me…
Don’t you love the colors?
The beauty of fall!
This is one of my favorite! The lesson on foreshortening.
Hard to do but these kids rocked it out!
How cool is that?
LOVE those turkey tail feathers!!!
Now these next pictures are a vision of how God created each of us uniquely.
We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in His image. (Psalm 139)
Think about that as you look through these pictures. Each one if different, yet the same.
The body of Christ.
I wonder how many adults I could get to participate in a project like this for church?
This could be fun! I love them all!!!!!!!
This one is my favorite because it reminds me of my little Corynn.
She’s not so little anymore and her birthday is Tuesday!
She will be 17!!!!!!!
Where does the time go?
Happy Birthday Corynn! I love you!
This past week Corynn and I visited the awesome third grade class of Amy Hash and Lucy Nottingham at Laurel Elementary School. They were Corynn’s teachers when she was in 1st and 2 nd grade. They made a huge impact on Corynn at a very young age.
They are two of the most dedicated, creative, and gifted teachers that we have in Carroll County! I thank God for these two women who live their lives in the shadow of the cross-especially at school where it is so needed!
The bookcase in their room. ( They co-teach)
They have been good stewards of the earth by recycling plastic bottles and making them into tree ornaments. Tacky? You bet! Creative? Absolutely! In doing this they have taught the kids how to care for God’s green earth a little bit better.
Lucy has used every part of the plastic bottle to make ornaments. Nothing was wasted. Here’s how she did it…
This ornament is the bottom of the bottle cut off and flattened out. When flattened it makes a flower design. The kids then decorated and added glitter, paint, etc.. You just can’t buy that in Wal Mart!
You can clearly see that this is a star made out of all of the bottle and then spray painted gold.
These are old CD’s that are covered with strips of green and red duct tape and then the child’s picture.
More flower bottoms.
This is the top of the bottle cut and made into a bell. How sweet!
This is the bottle body cut into strips to make garland. It has been spray painted red and green.
Thank you Lord for the gift of spirited teaching, unending creativity and women who have dedicated their lives to teaching and loving children! ( of ALL ages!!!!)
We love you ladies and thanks for all you do!
Blessings for your classes and your kids!
“The Lord is my banner.”
by John Everett Millais
“Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest;
humility grows when we refuse to be prideful;
and endurance develops every time you reject the
temptation to give up.”
~ Rick Warren
Giving up. Ever felt like that? Ever felt like things were just pointless and beyond your reach of ever changing? I’m sure we all have.
I am reminded daily by a wise friend who told me that we have to set our minds on the things of eternity. THAT is our main purpose in life. To keep people from slipping away from God. To be the one who reaches out and says, “ come on, I’ll help you get where you need to go.”
In this painting we see Moses in the middle with Aaron and Hur on either side holding up his arms. The Israelites were being attacked by the Amalekites and Moses told Joshua to take some of his men to fight the enemy. Moses told Joshua that while they were fighting the battle he would stand on the hilltop with the staff of God in his hands.
Moses was 80 years old when this was taking place. I am sure he was feeling his age in his bones and his physical condition was probably not as healthy as one of a 50 year old. I imagine he was worn out and tired from all the work he had been doing. His brother, Aaron, was 83! I am not sure how old Hur was but it took the two of them to hold Moses up so he could accomplish what God had called him to do.
(Holding up hands is symbol of appeal to God for help and enablement.)
Moses knew that Joshua needed the Lord by his side in order to defeat the enemy and Moses was determined to stay there until the enemy was defeated. He didn’t do it alone-he had help.
We all need help no matter what our age is. 5, 15, 30, 50 or 80. No one can do it alone.
Here are the facts: This year our church grew by planting another site. When the planting took place a team of people agreed to commit to building up the new site for two years. No one had ever done this before so we were all in uncharted territory.
Being human it is hard to let go and let God. It’s like sending your child off to preschool for the first time and they cry all the way there. They cry even harder when you start to leave and you turn around to go back to get them. You know you shouldn’t, but you do it anyway and it only makes matters worse. This goes on for days and even weeks. I know, I’ve lived it! The pain of separation is very real and it hurts because as a child, we don’t know if our parent is going to come back or not. “I’ve been left with a bunch of strangers…Mommmmmmmyyyyy come back!!!!!!” But you know you have to let them go, otherwise how will they grow and learn if you don’t? So you turn and wave and say, “ I’ll be back in a little while! “
Well, this is how this new plant has been for many people. It just plain hurts. People miss people and things are just different. Another part of being human is not liking change. I know that if I were a Pastor and I was moved around every few years, because someone else wanted me to, I wouldn’t like it one bit. I would be away from my family and the people who have nurtured me, prayed for me and loved me. We are very, very blessed to have had our Pastors as long as we have. And at the same time, when a new Pastor comes in it is hard for a congregation to get adjusted to that also.
The congregation has changed in age also. I didn’t realize just how much until this past week. I have been brought to my knees over my own selfishness and lack of understanding of what other people are going through. Why didn’t I see it sooner? Because my eyes have been focused on other things.
A plea was sent out over email for help decorating the church for Christmas. I called to see what I could do and I was told that the congregation was now “old” and that they couldn’t do certain things without the young people. I saw that first hand this week. So, the girls and I went by the church and took all of the Christmas decorations down out of the attic. I was shocked at how heavy things were and how much there was to get down. As I stood in the middle of the attic floor trying to haul a gigantic boxed tree down the stairs I thought to myself, “ What are we doing? Are we so busy with our lives, families, jobs and the new site that we have become blinded to the needs of the people who have supported, mentored, grown and stretched us that we cannot offer our help? SHAME ON ME.” My kids were even complaining about how heavy things were and we expect people who are in their upper 60’s to 80’s to do this alone?
What in the world are we doing? These folks have sweated and slaved over making meals for fundraisers to send people on mission trips, myself included. They have spent hours on their knees praying for our families and our children. They have given their money and lives to building up the church by being there for the community and for each one of us. They were there when we needed them.
It’s like they have been abandoned. I don’t think any one of us ever gave that a thought. I know I didn’t. In the excitement of doing something new I never, ever stopped to consider what our leaving would do to the church. I was selfish.
Now it is time to be unselfish like Aaron and Hur. It is time to look out for the Moses’ of the church. ( sorry folks-I write that as a compliment- I really do!) They need us to be the Aaron and the Hur in the picture. They need us to hold their arms like Moses held his up. They need us to help them do things. All the things we used to do are now being done by them and they can’t physically do it. Did I even consider those things? No. I could kick myself.
Folks, God has given us time to get things right with each other. What are we doing? Are we going to continue to waste time fussing or are we going to spend our time doing what Jesus would do? He builds bridges that reach new destinations. He brings people together, not pull them apart. He helps the weary carry their burdens and he heals the lame so they can run and tell people about Him!
In my mind I can see the bridge has already been built between the two sites- the Moses’ are mentoring the Joshua’s and the children are lined across the bridge on both sides, arms linked in love, singing to their Daddy. I see the Sarah’s and Elizabeth’s with the Mary’s and Martha’s and when I look down I see the bloody footprint of where Jesus has already walked. He’s been there already-the bridge is made of rough hewn wood and stained with blood.
My heart is so heavy for my church family. The old family AND the new family. We have to work harder to join the two. We have to communicate better and join hands on the bridge. We have to meld the new family with the old and become like a big old pot of hot juicy vegetable beef stew! When all the different ingredients come together it is “oh so delicious! “ Yummy! The ingredients from both sites are amazing and each one is unique! When the stew is ready then we can feed others!
Can you imagine the impact we can have on Carroll County when we call on Almighty God, as ONE family and join Moses, Aaron, and Hur in holding up the banner of the Lord over the County?
We all need each other. Not just the Methodists, but the Baptist’s, the Presbyterian’s, the Pentecostal, the Brethren, the non denominational and the list goes on. We are all here to help people cross that bridge from death to life and TOGETHER we can do it. So, let’s start being who God made us to be and just do it. Put that selfish pride away and grab a hand in need today. You never know-the hand that you grab might just be the one that saves YOU!
It did me.
On Sunday I was asked a point blank question: “ do you love this church?”
My unspoken reaction was “ wow…really?”
People who know me wouldn’t have to ask me that question.
I think the real question should be this:
Do you love Jesus?
Do you love Jesus enough to stop bickering?
Do you love Jesus enough to stop berating others?
Do you love Jesus enough to love your wife/husband a little more?
Do you love Jesus enough to stop doing the sin that you are doing?
Do you love Jesus enough to do whatever he is asking?
You know, when I was sent out by my church family to be a part of the launch team at OOTBWC-I took an oath and to me it was a serious oath. I made a commitment to help build UP the church by going out and doing something new. I feel like I have stood by that promise and then some. I left my church family to help build up a new family. I have worked, prayed, studied, led, fellowshipped, worked some more, cried a lot, and have continued to persevere.
The biggest issue has been the negativity from within the body. It has been the most hurtful, the most thoughtless and the most selfish. But then, look at Jesus. Who crucified him? Here he was doing the work of His Father and people hated him enough to kill him. He was sent to save the world but people refused to see the good that was right before their very eyes.
This is different, yet the same. Some people can’t see the good that’s right in front of them. There are a lot of really wonderful things happening at OOTBWC and in the people there. No, it isn’t perfect and it never will be. No, it isn’t like the church we grew up in, it isn’t meant to be. It isn’t what God has called everyone to do, but it is what God has called each of us to pray for and that is for the souls of people everywhere.
Listen, people are dying while we are bickering and fighting. Children are being left behind and families are being torn apart. I sat and listened to two sermons about LOVE on Sunday. We are called to LOVE God and then love each other. If we truly love God then we will find a way to love each other-whether we want to or not. God wants us to!
The phrases that stick in my mind the most are this:
“We MUST help turn others thinking toward the ETERNAL.
We should earnestly desire the gifts that build UP the body.
The people that are hard to love are DESPERATE.”
So, no matter what I hear or am questioned with I always have to remember that people are desperate and I may be the very person who God is leading to take them by the hand and help them cross the bridge from death into life. We can’t do it alone. We need each other, like it or not, God put us all here to help each other get to HIM!
So, yes, I do love my church and I do love every single person in it even the ornery ones. I need to love them a little harder, a little more, and I need to shower them with blessings of thanksgiving!
Why do I love my church? Because God first loved me and that’s where I have heard, felt and experienced my Creator’s love for me-through the Body of Christ. Without that experience I would be desperate too. I love God first and because of His love for me-I love you too.
Peace for your journey, may it be one that leads to Life.
note: the two people who are not linked to the chain of love are the lost…are we doing all we can to show people that GOD loves them? We must be the link that connects the lost to life.
Here is a small piece of the good stuff that is going on: From my friend Brenda Harmon:
If you know my daughter at all, ( 3 years old) you know that every activity she does turns into an “occasion”–every step taken is a chance to skip instead of walk. She has Christmas and her birthday coming up, and I just asked her what she was most excited about. Without missing a beat Casey says “I’m most excited about Jesus in my heart.” My heart is dancing and skipping now….Wow. Praise the Lord!
Now THAT my friends makes my heart sing praises to God~!
I have decided to share a part of me that not many people know about. If this will help one person then it was worth it. Spilling your guts is hard but God knows what He has brought me through and I give all the glory to the God of Creation!
Depression can eat up your life if you let it. I know. Been there, done that. Depression is something that you cannot control and it is an illness. You don’t just “get over it.” It will take you to places you’ve never been and don’t want to go again. It is serious and not to be taken lightly.
I can remember after having had my first child the fits of emotion, tears, anger, guilt and shame that I would go through for no apparent reason. The house had to be just right. I cleaned every single day and even the vacuum lines in the carpet had to be just right. My husband hated coming home to the monster that I was. It was no fun for him. I had no idea what was going on. This went untreated for years. I can remember having had thoughts of wanting to kill myself. I thought the world would be a better place without me. But I never acted on it. How could I? I was a mother and not a very good one either. I can remember times of screaming at my daughter because she wouldn’t behave and one time I even washed her mouth out with soap. She was 3. Shame on me. I carry that shame with me daily. I was alone all day with a child to care for, no one to talk to, no family, no friends, no church. We lived in a trailer in the middle of a field with no neighbors and in a new town where we knew no one. I think I was literally going nuts. I was told to “get over it.” Looking back on it now I see how serious it was.
We moved in 1998. I was a a royal witch. We got involved in a church and made a few friends. Today I thank God for my friend who recognized my need to see a doctor. I was getting ready to go to a home bible study with her and I was having all sorts of issues. Crying jags, mood swings, you name it I was having it. By this time I had had my second child. All these years my depression went untreated. I remember calling her, in tears, telling her that I just couldn’t go and that I was going to stay home. She gently urged me to come, almost begged me. So I forced myself to go. You see I also had issues of not wanting to be in crowds of people I don’t know. When I would get in a room of strangers I went into panic mode. My heart raced, I got sweaty and felt faint. I had to make myself breath slowly and consciously so I wouldn’t pass out. I remember going to a party with my husband, when we were dating, and I knew no one there. I had an all out panic attack and had to be taken home. It was not fun. I have come a long way from that day.
In that bible study I felt the presence of God and experienced his conviction to get help. One of the other ladies there talked about her own depression and how God gives us doctors and medicine to help us. I had always been told that taking a pill was a bad thing to do-(why people would think I was nuts or something. )
“What if someone found out?”
“ You don’t need that.”
“ You just need to pull up your big girl britches and get over it. “
During the fellowship of the bible study I felt God gently pushing me to get to the doctor. My friend agreed. She wanted me to call the doctor on Monday and she was going to hold me to it. So I did.
When I saw the doctor I explained how I was feeling and he had me take a little depression test. Well, I lied because I didn’t want to admit that I had had thoughts of suicide-so I just skipped over that little part. The truth is that I did have thoughts of suicide and even planned out how I would do it in my head. There was no guarantee that any of my plans would lead to a successful death so I never acted on them. Just thought about it a lot. But I couldn’t admit that to a doctor-( he might admit me to the local psychiatric ward and we couldn’t have that. )
So, he put me on an antidepressant. When my family found out I heard the old, “ oh you don’t need that, just get over it” line again. The shame set in. I found out that another friend was also taking it, so at least I had someone to talk to about how I was feeling. I wasn’t alone. Things began to get better and I started acting like a real human being again-for the first time in 8 years. Yes, I said 8 years! Some time passed and I can remember this like it was yesterday-my husband told me how much more pleasant I was and how much he used to hate coming home after work because I was such a witch. He couldn’t come in without me crabbing about his dirty shoes on the clean floor or something being out of place. There was no kiss on the cheek and “ Hi honey, how was your day?!” It was like he was a constant bother to me. I had no idea how he had felt until this moment. He was afraid if he told me something I would go off. I probably would have and today I see how awful I was to him.
But it wasn’t really me-it was the illness that I didn’t know I had. Sometimes it takes the love of another person to help get you where you need to go. A knowing heart, a kind word, truth spoken in love and faith that God knows all about it.
Today I am not the person I once was. I still have issues with depression, but it stays in check with the medicine. When the seasons change-especially fall to winter-I have to keep myself busy. I used to see this season as one of being dead because all the color was gone. But today, because of the joy of the Lord in my heart, I see it as a time of renewal, feeding, rest and preparation for what is to come. Spring! Without these things we cannot have the joy that spring brings! When spring bursts onto the scene it reminds me of heaven! Heaven is where my hope lies-where there will be no more pain, no more anxiety, no more depression-just extreme, all out JOY! Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare that place for us. He is waiting for the perfect time to call us home. God is busy using each of us to prepare others so that we can take as many people with us as possible. How do we do that? We tell our stories. We share our hearts with others. Someone out there needs to hear yours. Someone out there needs to know they are not alone. Someone out there needs to hear the truth spoken in love. Someone out there needs the touch of God in their life.
Will you tell your story? Will you be the hand that helps people UP? Here is mine…let me help you…you are not alone.
I love you, but better yet, the God of creation loves you!
This is “Peppermint”
He likes to chew on candy canes and leave drops of sugar drool around the house for the cat to lick up!
This is Inkspot. He loves to play with my inkpens, markers and colored pencils.
This is Bruce Almighty. He has no idea how little he really is!
This is Polka Dot-she’s clueless but lovable!
Communing with Jesus
I entered the sanctuary.
I looked around.
I saw the smiling faces of my family.
We exchanged hellos and hugs.
I sat down in the pew.
My eye caught the communion table.
I had forgotten it was communion Sunday.
I took a deep breath and then let out a soft sigh.
I was home.
I miss home.
I miss family.
A friend sat down next to me.
The music played.
My eyes kept looking at the table that was so beautifully set.
Something was different.
What was it?
I couldn’t take my eyes off the way the sheet was draped over the table.
I knew what was under there.
But was that really what it was?
Somehow it was different today.
or was it me?
I kept staring at it while the music played.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.
It was almost as if a body was laying there
under the sheet.
That was crazy!
Maybe that’s what God wanted me to see.
in preparation for me.
Why had I never noticed this before?
Was it my vantage point?
Was it my heart?
or was I just hungry to see Jesus?
I imagined the sheet rising and Jesus coming forth.
My yearning to see Christ was strong and relentless.
The Pastor began to preach.
My eyes still watched the sheet
and my ears heard about the beauty that awaited there.
It comes in many ways.
This day it was enveloping all of my senses.
I felt myself leaning in
to hear what God had to say to me
through the pastor.
It was as if God was speaking directly
into the depths of my heart.
watering my dry spirit
encouraging my soul
and feeding my heart.
I ached for it.
He spoke about the beauty of the bride
and the way a groom’s eyes twinkle
when the bride enters the sanctuary
on their wedding day.
He explained that this was how God
was going to see us when he comes back.
His eyes would be twinkling
and he wouldn’t see anyone else but me.
The beauty of Christ will catch our eye
and we will never be able to look away
never be able to take our eyes off of Him.
Oh how I long for that day.
More than riches or treasures.
Christ is our treasure.
Our ONLY treasure.
The tears of my soul let loose.
They slid down my cheeks in joy.
No sadness here.
Only joy in hearing God’s promises.
The sheet was removed to reveal the Body of Christ
in the form of bread and juice.
I had already seen the beautiful body of Christ
through the wonderful words spoken by God’s anointed messenger.
I took the bread and juice
recalling to mind what Christ did for me.
He took it all
every curse, spit, slap, flog
flesh falling away
silent screams of agony
to reveal the beauty
and newness of life
that awaits us.
are you ready?
are you preparing to meet your groom?
are you prepared to meet the eyes
of the One who loves you?
Get ready because time is short
in a twinkle of the eye…