Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Simple Things...

As we muddle through what is, for most, the busiest week of the calendar year, I am reminded to take time to enjoy the things that are here but for a moment. Lying in bed this morning, soaking up those last few, precious seconds in the warmth and comfort of my self-made cocoon, I felt a small, warm hand pat my face. "I love you, mommy," were the precious words that I heard as I reached out to pull her little body close to mine. Something about the way she looks first thing in the morning... the big, red curls, porcelain skin, sharp, brown eyes, smile as big as a Texas sunrise...it all just makes me happy to be alive, and so thankful to be her mom.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday Funnies

While listening to a student recite his weekly Scripture passage, I heard these words, "And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he ws of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary, his exposed wife..." Poor Joseph, he sure had a hard way to go. :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Already Gone?

My corner of the world has been dragging a little over the last week. After the intestinal flu hit us, I think I was just completely depleted, and I caught another strain of it (high fever and a chest cold). By Monday, it was clear that I wouldn't be able to recover on my own, and at the urging (make that demand) of my mom, I made the dreaded doctor visit. Bronchitis and the beginnings of an ear infection are the diagnosis they gave, and I have spent the last three days trying to allow the antibiotic to do its work. It's not easy to rest with a closet full of presents to wrap, as well as the other household duties that don't seem to slow down for anything!
Yesterday evening, I raided my bookshelves, looking for something I hadn't yet had time to read, and I found:

I began to read, and didn't stop until I had finished all 178 pages. To be honest, I wasn't totally prepared for what this book would do to my heart and soul. The authors speak with clarity, and the statistics tell the story. Often I have observed children/teens/young adults in our church services and noticed the aloof, detached expressions on some of their faces, which in my mind indicated a complete disconnect from everything that was happening, and now I'm wondering: are they already gone?

Depending on whom you ask, you would get a variety of answers to why kids are leaving the church at a tremendous rate, but according to the statistics, most of these reasons are far from true. It's neither modern worship styles, with a seeker sensitive message and emotion driven music program, nor the traditional, always-done-it-this-way approach that is going to keep our kids. It's authenticity...people believing the Bible (from Genesis to Revelation), living the Bible, and relating the Bible to every other part of life...that is gonna make a difference for them.
Every pastor, Sunday School teacher, youth worker, and parent needs to read this book, and give serious consideration to the facts it presents.

I don't know about you, but I do not want to lose my kids. I want their personal experience of salvation and their relationship with Christ to be so vital and living that they are drawn to the church rather than repelled by it. As a Christian Educator, I am further grounded in the belief that our cause is a Biblical mandate, and am propelled toward finding new ways to establish students, not only in the fundamentals of our faith, but in the relevant connection of that faith to all of life.

If you have read Already Gone, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Always, Always, Always Something For Which To Be Thankful!

It finally caught us...or we caught it...I'm not sure. In any case, the intestinal flu ravaged our family on Thanksgiving weekend. As I lay in my bed, aching from head to toe, making the occasional mad dash to the bathroom, I was tempted to have a gigantic pity party. "Ok, Lord," I was tempted to say (ok, maybe I DID say), "This is the 2nd time I've had the flu in the last 3 months, and both times I have been away from home. You know how much I needed this break, and how much I have been looking forward to it. 70 of my family have traveled hundreds of miles to spend two days shopping, eating, visiting, and laughing till our sides hurt...and this only happens once a year. Now, here I am, stuck in a hotel room...on Black Friday. Oooohhh, that hurts, Lord!"
As I fought these thoughts through the morning, I was gently reminded of my blessings:

  • A sister-in-law who was kind to bring my hungry girls some food from the hotel's continental breakfast...they were the only ones with an appetite.
  • A hotel suite (as opposed to a typical room) that made being cooped up manageable.
  • The most warm, comfortable bed in the world...even with chills that rivaled Arctic breezes, and muscle aches that felt like I had been beaten with a 2x4.
  • A dad who brought Tums, Sprite, Imodium, Saltines, disinfectant spray, and wet wipes...yeah, wet wipes.
  • A husband who drove 4 hours to go home to work and back, and fearlessly entered the sick room to become my caregiver. :)
  • A sweet cousin who took care of my girls so that they could go with the other kids to Sharon Woods to see Santa and the lights.

So, although my list of blessings was a little different this year than last, they are blessings, nonetheless!

Oh, yeah, one word of advice...never eat more 7 layer salad than you would care to see later. It quickly turns into 42 layers...

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving 2010!