And this week, we joined the happy people who get movies in the mail. It is so cool, I tell you! I don't know why I didn't sign us up earlier. Three movies shipped yesterday and showed up in my mailbox this afternoon! I also have a coupon for a free in-store rental each week of the month. This couldn't possibly be more convenient, since Blockbuster is right acrss the big street from us.
No more waiting for movies to show up on the bargain rack at our favorite big box store, no more wondering what the heck people are talking about, no more railing about having spent money on a crummy flick. Nosiree. We can see movies when we want, we can be in the loop at lunchtime, and we can send back anything that's crap.
This weekend's offerings: Inside Man, RV, and Summer Rental. Bonus for me: I get to trek across the street and pick out a chick flick for while J is at his gig tonight. Woohoo!
My father-in-law is what some might call a NASCAR fan. We, on the other hand, have been known to put a race on for our afternoon nap. Something about the drone which helps us sleep. I like to watch the last few laps and the highlights (read: the wrecks).
Those cars go, what 300-400 miles in any given race? Round and round and round. Really fast. It occurs to me that the slightest hesitation, the tiniest miscalculation could put a car into the wall. The drivers must trust their team to keep them and their cars in top shape. Ultimately, though, it doesn't matter how well put-together a machine is if the driver is not paying attention.
I am thinking that my spiritual life is like that. (Not the round in circles part) I need a solid pit crew in my church family, but when it comes down to it, I have to take responsibility for my own spiritual growth.
Becoming a part of Gracepoint has really brought this home for me. This weekend, we had the opportunity to reach out to the North Las Vegas community through Balloon-a-Palooza. We made contact with literally thousands of people. GP is a missional church, some people call it a "seeker" church. (I am not really sure I like the baggage this name carries, but that is immaterial.) Two years ago, I never would have been able to be a part of something like GP; I was not ready. At that time, I still considered Sunday mornings to be about me, my growth, my spiritual needs.
Now I see Sunday mornings a litlte differently. Sunday worship is not for me, it is for God, and our Sunday service is actually an entry point; it is our church community reaching out to the community at large. This is not to say that Devin's teaching is beneath me, to the contrary; but his lessons are designed to reach out to all. Some people would say this is milk, and I was one of them. Perhaps it is, but if I am not getting meat, it is MY fault. Each of us started life on milk, and our spiritual lives are no different.
I am no longer a baby, and not quite a baby Christian either. But you know what? Adults feed themselves. What Jon and I have been through in the last year has really brought this home for me. Looking back, I can see where God was working in our life. He taught us how to feed ourselves, and now we are better equipped to reach out to His creation.
I may still run into the wall, but it would be counter-productive to place blame anywhere but squarely on my own shoulders.
Neil Simpson has a Bible study blog upon which I have recently stumbled. I picked up the tail end of Mark, and this week he begins Jonah.
I have to confess, I am not sure when the last time was that I read the book of Jonah. Certainly, I knew the story from my sunday school days, but as an adult? Cannot recall, which says that I probably haven't. Perhaps my early familiarity with the story is why, or perhaps (and more likely) sheer arrogance. After all, Jonah is a *children's* story. What can I possibly learn from this?
I did read this morning, and I had to read twice. The first time through, I kept giggling-- thinking about fish-slapping, no doubt. With a more serious mind, I read a second time. I was struck by a few things:
1) Language would seem to indicate that, while Jonah initially fled, he was pretty resigned to the fact that God there were going to be consequences. While he was aboard ship, the crew were panicking at the storm. Not Jonah, though; he was asleep below deck. When awakened, he confessed that he was the cause of the storm, and even volunteered to be thrown overboard.
2) I admire the confidence with which Jonah prays. (Chapter two)
3) Jonah's anger and frustration in chapter four humbles me. I am reminded of times when I was chastened as a girl. I can hear my dad even now, "Young lady, who do you think you are?"
Even now, I can get too big for my britches and forget that, an adult I may be, but I am still a child of God.
I am looking forward to further exploring Jonah through Neil's study. He is well-researched and I enjoy his insights.
J and Tele have an interesting little game going. Whenever he is getting dressed, she tries to attack him. This ends up being much mayhem and hand play (with the vet has told us is a no-no), with J usually getting the upper hand.
Usually. Not tonight. Tonight, as he was getting dressed for band practice, the game took a different turn. I hear wrestling and laughing and-thunk! J went for Tele, missed her, and slammed him hand on our footboard. I turned around in time to see him attempt to shake it off, and I can't stop giggle about it.
Schooled. By Tele the cat. Darn.
The cool part is this: he was smiling because my mom came home early from work. Tonight there was nothing going at church, no Weight Watchers meeting, no PTA. Tonight, my parents had dinner together. On a weeknight. And it isn't anyone's birthday. And THAT is why my dad was smiling.
I love that my parents, after thirty-seven years of marriage, still take such delight in each other's company. I am grateful to them for their example to the sibs and me of what marriage can be-- specifically what Christian marriage can be.
Over the last four decades, my folks have weathered many storms, some literal and others figurative. Each trial has served to strengthen their bond, and consequently, our family.
J and I have another of our crazy busy weeks ahead; we are barely going to see each other. I am thankful for work, don't get me wrong, but i am also looking forward to next week. Next week, we can have a night of our own. A night with no band practice, to church meetings, to skit rehearsal. So if my dad calls, I hope he can hear my smile, and I pray that God will give me 33 more years to smile with my husband.
The ever-talented Susie over at Bluebird Blogs is giving away a free blog design to TWO, yes two, lucky winners. Pop on over, take a look at her portfolio, and enter for yourself.
The girl does some good work.
A chalice? Or two faces?
This morning GP added a second service. We had a taste of two services last Easter, but this week, we made it official. I cannot fully express how awed and humbled I am to be a part of some pretty serious mission work here in Las Vegas.
As would be expected, tensions were high and tempers sparked. We had prepared ourselves as best we could, but the reality played out somewhat differently than we had imagined. The sound board was a bit of a jumble, so I ran drama rehearsal dry. Our actors were fantastic-- keeping their focus amidst drum tuning, light placement, and countless other distractions. Finally, the sound guys were ready for us; newly miced, our actors once again took their places. Piece of cake, to dial them in, right? WRONG!!! Feedback like you wouldn't believe from one, no signal from another, and still with the drum tuning (ugh).
We meet in a school cafeteria, and the noise level was out of control. I could not communicate with the guys (specifically my husband) in back for all the chatter and hack. I asked a question and got no reply (that I could tell). Finally, I raised my voice, "Jon, I need you to talk to ME about this, please."
Answer back, "I am TRYING, but I have six other problems to address back here."
That was pretty much the extent of our exchange, and after much trial and error, we ironed out the problems. End of story, right?
Wrong. No less than three different people approached me in the next few minutes asking variations of, "Are you and Jon ok? Is everything all right between you two?"
It never occurred to me that there was a problem. Things were tense, yes, but my voice was raised simply because I could not otherwise be heard. I assumed (correctly, BTW) that Jon's was raised for the same reason. We were not yelling at each other, we were yelling to each other. However, to a casual observer, this was a very different picture.
These perceptions, however mistaken, are important to consider. Not only as a family, but on a broader level- as Christians. Jon and I need to be more careful how we get each other's attention, not only to help avoid misunderstandings, but also to not make others uncomfortable. We are scrutinized because of our relationship and our responsibilities within our church community. In all fairness, as we are relatively newlywed, there is something of a learning curve. This cannot be an excuse, though; we must be more cognizant of others.
As Christians, we have a whole laundry list of perceptions and expectations, some reasonable, others not. It is not our job to decide which of these is which, merely to exhibit as much grace as we can. The limits of our sinful nature must never become an excuse; we should hold ourselves to as strict a standard as we can, allthewhile exercising charity and mercy with our brothers and sisters.
It is important to consider that my chalice may be misinterpreted as two faces in silhouette.
When I got in to the office this morning, it was 50 degrees inside the trailer. Someone left the swamp cooler on last night, and we got down into the 60's. As much as it pained me, I did end up turning the heat on for a little while. Just to bring it office temp up to par, mind you.
We are entering the season of low utility bills here in the Las Vegas valley, and it is none too soon. Two months in a row of $200 electric bills was enough for this girl-- and that was keeping the thermostat up at 85!!! I actually needed a light jacket going out this morning- yay!
I love how the changing of the seasons turns thoughts to new beginnings. Not just spring, which is the most obvious, but all seasons. As the trees lose their leaves and prepare for winter (not here, obviously, but somewhere) I am reminded that I too have things to lose, habits or attitudes which may have served a purpose but are no longer useful.
How many extra leaves am I carrying that are preventing me from new growth?
God is good. All the time.
Barb over at A Chelsea Morning is asking, and I am telling. Of course, as I prepare to wow y'all with the amazing tale of how I met my Rock Star, he is stuck in his undershirt. Yes, the man can turn my knees to jelly with a look, but he can not get out of his undershirt.
You know how when you were in college, there was that house which seemed to be a 24-7 house party? Yeah, well Jon and I met there. It was summer, and I was working at Service Merchandise with several of his friends. One night, after work, I ventured out to the "party house." Funny how seedy that neighborhood turned out to be-- I was so totally naive.
***** Mom, stop reading***** You have not heard this before******I'd like for you to hang on to your illusions*****
I parked my car on a side street, and as I rounded the corner I saw a few people sitting on the front stoop enjoying some adult beverages. (All of age-- at least these out here. I cannot vouch for anyone inside) Our friend Ari made the first round of introductions and then this wise-acre with a glass of whiskey in one hand (and a cigarette in the other) says, "Hey, you talk kinda funny. You got any Canadian in you?"
I kid you not. That's the first thing he said to me. And the heck of it is, I had NO IDEA it was some kind of joke.
"Well, I don't think that's why I talk funny, but as a matter of fact, I do."
"No. No. Do you have ANY CANADIAN in you?"
"Um, yeah, but I talk funny because I am grew up in Tallahassee."
"Noooo. Do. You. Have. Any. Canadian. In. You."
Ari decied to put me out of my misery at this point, interjecting that I had no idea what was going on, and that I did indeed "have some Canadian" in me. So, Jon was not going to get me with that joke. (At this point, I STILL had no idea what was going on, and I don't remember when someone finally decided to fill the poor little plaid skirt girl in on the joke.) Of course, as soon as I mention this to people, they get it. How did I make it to the age of 23 without knowing these things?
I saw him a couple more times that summer, but that was pretty much it. Nothing interesting, certainly not earth shattering. He picked on my musical tastes and remembers way more about that summer than I do.
Fast forward a year, when I finally gave up on the tiny country church where my parents live. I decided to go to a church in town where I knew a few people from Lay Academy. CUMC is the kind of place where, if you come more than once, someone is bound to ask you if you'd like to read, or pass out bulletins, or help the tech team.
In my case, since I wasn't a complete newbie, it was the first week. So I came early, and what do you know?! A familiar face playing bass. (And do I sound like a complete loser if I say that Jon was the first person to actually remember me from such brief meetings? I am not what one would call a memorable person.)
And he said to me, "I'll bet this is the last place you'd think to find me."
I wasn't really that surprised, but I was 18 months later, when he got down on one knee in the front of the very same sanctuary and proposed. Fourteen months after that, we sprung a surprise wedding on the same congregation.
So there you have it. Tales of our misspent youth.
We have no water. Our entire condo complex is without water. It is 6:30, and noone is anywhere to be found. Three calls to the HOA later, I am not sure when we will see the wet stuff.
I could go cool off with a swim... but wait! The pool has been closed for the last two weeks. I guess I will have to shower at the gym. Grrr.
I was just channel surfing. Lo and behold! G Gordon Liddy is sitting half-naked in a maggot infested pod. Yes, folks, the G-Man is on Fear Factor.
He kicked total buut in the first two stunts. I will not watch, no matter how compelling. I will turn the channel. I will do it now...
Several years ago, our young adult group took a spiritual gifts inventory. It was very interesting, as most of had been raised in a more mailine church setting. Some of the questions about healing and prophesy felt a little uncomfortable. (My experience with charismatic churches had been very limited and, quite frankly, not positive.)
Anyway, I did learn some important things about myself and my gifts. Helps was my biggie, then service, teaching, and music. The others were a smattering here and there. I must say, I kinda felt like "helps" was pretty lame. I mean, why not exhortation or knowledge? Even discernment, but HELPS?!!? How is that for ego?
Recently, I have grown to gratitude for God's gift to me. At Gracepoint, I can help. And you know what? It fills me up!!! I love being able to provide support for the creative team; I love that I can serve behind the scenes; I love that I can, in my own small way, contribute to the life and minstry of Gracpoint. God has blessed us with an amazing family here-- it was a long time coming, belive you me!
About six weeks ago, my newfound resolve was tested. Karen, our creative director, asked me if I would step up and coordinate the drama team. Um, wow. I have to tell you, this is not a small task. We do Sunday mornings a little differently out here. My inital reaction was "yes yes yes!!!" but I successfully squelched that impulse. I asked for some time to think and pray and discuss with MJ. That was pretty much it.
I had been praying and looking for answers for quite awhile, and had come to the conclusion that I would accpet the challenge. I am satisfied that this is a God thing and not a Kelly thing. Of course, I had not yet talked to Karen.
Sunday morning I asked her if she still wanted my help with drama. I shared my concerns, and explained that my strongest spiritual gift is helps, and I don't want to go off half-cocked with another "kelly" plan.
Karen's response? "I know your gifts. I see them. And mine is discernment, and I have been praying about this from the first week you came to Gracepoint."
Wow. I cannot tell how truly humbled I am by that. Really.
Long story short, I am GP's new drama coordinator. Please pray for me, y'all. I am in new territory here. Not the drama part, but the building of a new ministry. Scary stuff, and I am not a brave girl.
Before we moved out here, J wrote an essay abou getting your boat in open waters. Well, my little canoe is headed for sea.
It is no secret that I am an evangelical. I am a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, Spirit-craving daughter of the King. I embrace John Wesley's image of a God whose grace calls us out, and enables us to overcome our depravity. The Word has power, and sharing the Word is not something to be ignored. We are called, commissioned to spread the Gospel. We are also instructed in other things:
He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
The funny thing is, neither of these passages specifically mentions "sharing" the Gospel. What they do point to, however, is showing and living the gospel. There is a cliche: People don't care what you know unless they know that you care. Nowhere is this more true than the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Do we seek social justice to "lure" people to the Gospel? Of course not, and to imply such denies the power of the Gospel in and of itself. We seek social justice because we are called, as followers of the One True Living God, to do so.
That picture changed for me today. As he spoke to the families of those who died at the Pentagon, he was visibly shaken and rather choked up. I must say that I hold some amount of admiration for this. Hm...
PS Ditto for Rummy.
Horace was vice president of claims at Marsh & McLennan Cos., Inc. His office was in WTC 1, and he, along with 294 of his colleagues, was taken in the coordinated attakcs of September 11, 2001.
Horace is survived by his mother, Marie, and two sons, Sean and Michael.
For more information on Horace:
His quilt block
For more tributes:
In particular, this passage speak volumes:
For a Christian, I'm supposed to be optimistic. But these days, looking at the Middle East, I only find myself saying Maranatha: Come, Lord Jesus.I am not a dispie (and I don't believe Greg is either, from this post), but I too feel his concern.
He asks if, when the time comes, we will stand up. When evil comes, will we?
(Also, check out his post from 30 August. Good stuff.)
I am not one to go crazy for vaccines; in fact, I am find the growing list of vaccines required for school a little troubling. But I think some of the parents are kidding themselves. The key to the efficacy of the HPV vaccine is its delivery before a girl is sexually active. For doctors, this means age 9-12 years.
Part of me shudders at this thought, I must say. However, I think back to the first "talk" we had in school-- fifth grade. I guess I was ten years old? Mom had sat me down during the summer before school started and gone over things with me (read: grossed me out, I am sure).
Maybe 9 years old isn't so for out in left field after all? And who says that a parent has to explain EVERYTHING to his daughter when explaining this vaccine?
Obviously, I am not someone with answers, I just can't help but think about how much heartbreak a very dear friend could have been spared had she been more aware, had this vaccine been available to her.